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Author Topic: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I  (Read 4173 times)

Chace of Spades

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The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« on: 14 January 2020, 04:59:14 »
     Greetings. I am Chace, a science fiction author with my debut novel, The Descendant set to be released later this year. The Descendant is a completely original work and completely unrelated to BattleTech. However, I love BattleTech, I have loved it for a long time. At the behest of some of my beta readers, who wanted to see more of my work, I have come here to share what I wrote in the BattleTech Universe. I apologize if I format something wrong, or post it in the wrong location, I have never been or a forum before. Please show me the way if need be, feel free to DM me about it, I will not be insulted.

    I played the table top game briefly but very intensely with my father and a few friends in the mid to late 2000's. My Mechwarrior was killed on his very first deployment because the dice had it out for me. After that I ended up being the game master and running the campaigns for my friends most of the time. I personally feel one of the most underutilized units in the game is the "PBI". As a game master I tried to utilize the infantry units as effectively and often as I could. I also wrote this collection of short stories based on some of those infantry filled campaigns we ran. I started writing science fiction because of BattleTech, and would like to take this opportunity to pay homage to it the wonderful world of BattleTech.

     The adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit are not the first bits of science fiction I have written in the BattleTech universe, but were the most fun to write. The short stories are collected into something akin to an anthology. Each short story while taking place in the same general time, frame during the Fed Com civil war and being centered around the same two characters who bare the call signs of Spaceman and Rabbit. Each short is unrelated to the others and they can be read in any order. I will post them in the order that I edit them and deem them worthy of public viewing. These shorts detail some of the escapades these two infantrymen were involved in on actual pen and paper, others I continued to write for fun after the cruel dice tried to take the characters away from me in game. There are multiple volumes, I will probably post them under separate threads to avoid confusion. The first collection of the two men working together during the Fed/Com civil war, then the second volume after the war, then the third when one of them retires and the other struggles on his own and the fourth collection when... I'll spare you the spoilers. Within each collection the stories are not related or linear in anyway. I had some of the most fun writing these because I could describe skirmishes and action filled gun battles with out having to set it up, provide too much plot or exposition and instead just blow stuff up with words and dice.

     For me as a writer it was an excellent exercise in description, setting and character building without having to worry about plot, or continuity. I apologize if you read only a one or two of the shorts and thing's don't make sense. The relationship between the two characters is deep and long and could not be explained readily in the scope of a single story. The more you read, the more you'll understand the two soldiers and the dynamic between them. Everything I plan on posting is already written and I am just dusting off the documents and editing them. Depending on how fast I run out of material and how positive the feedback is I may write more. New content never hurts, and the ink on my pen has been dry for too long.

     Again if I do something wrong, I implore you send me a private message so that I may fix my mistakes. I apologize in advance for any typing or grammar errors. I am a writer not an editor. I normally have people for that, but those people aren't helping on this project and I will do the best I can with out them. If you are interested in learning more about my original series and the universe I built for it, you can find more about The Descendant at my personal websites (thedescendantsaga.com or chacerandolph.com) or follow me on Twitter, IG, Facebook etc... Or even join my on Discord if you are a fellow member of the PC master race. If we have mutual games I wouldn't mind playing, or just discussing science fiction. I will be busy the rest of this month with the 2020 King of Hammers race, but afterwards I plan to start a YouTube channel too, discussing both my books, and my love of science fiction and BattleTech.

     May your core run cool and your missiles fly true, I'll see you out there.
« Last Edit: 14 January 2020, 05:06:29 by Chace of Spades »
-Chace A. Randolph

Cannonshop

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #1 on: 14 January 2020, 10:34:37 »
ping.
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

snakespinner

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #2 on: 15 January 2020, 00:12:10 »
Double ping
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

Hairbear541

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #3 on: 15 January 2020, 11:52:44 »
resounding ping

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #4 on: 15 January 2020, 13:08:32 »
I'm sorry I do not understand the purpose of this, what do you mean with you "Ping" comments?
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #5 on: 15 January 2020, 13:12:54 »
                                                                                      The chronicled adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit.
                                                                                                                        Intro

     Spaceman was a five-foot-eight one hundred and seventy-five pound dirty blond with an exceptionally thick beard. He was originally a mechanic by trade, and later a gunsmith. He could shoot anything good, drive anything better and fix anything in the known universe. He did all of these things for his local militia units. He was flat-footed but was able to sprint very fast over short distances, he had a strong upper body, and could perform numerous pull-ups. He was agile, borderline acrobatic and very light on his feet, his reactions were fast, his punches always landed and his throwing knife always flew true.

     Rabbit was six foot one and two hundred pounds. His dark brown hair and dark complexion were accented by deep dark green eyes that often bore a tired and slightly haunted expression. He was an instruction manual loving aircraft tech by trade, working with the Davion air force on aerospace fighters. But had a love for the rifle, he was an excellent shot, matched only among his peers by Spaceman. He bore a very black and white, all or nothing, speak softly and carry a big stick kind of personality. He kept to himself mostly, but through their grade school friendship implicitly trusted Spaceman.

     Don’t ask for an explanation of the names, they just are. These two ended up mixing it up because of the Steiner/ Davion civil war. They both were of Davion heritage and worked in an average city on an average planet making average salaries and living average albeit slightly gun-laden lives. When the war reached their planet and later their city they took up arms and fought a several month guerrilla campaign against the invading Steiner troops. They were good at it. They worked well as a team, both knew how to handle a weapon and with Rabbit being of the tactically paranoid mindset they could pull off almost any mission they set themselves too. Through their exploits, their city was largely spared, from long term damage.

     They well enough to earn their reputation even in the Davion military. They were pulled from their normal lines of work and both unceremoniously pressed into the Special Forces as the violence and desperation of the civil war increased.  Because of the violence and desperation of the civil war. They were able to sneak, hunt, maim, destroy and kill to their mischievous heart's content with little to no oversight from their superiors. They did it their own unique way, and with House Davion military resources at their disposal, they were sent out with little more than a blank check and a very long leash. Their sole purpose was causing trouble for the Steiner military and government. Their own discretion was best, they were given by military standards, unnatural freedom. As long as they achieved the desired results.

     The pair operated independently, behind lines and without supervision, an unspecified number of times, at an unspecified number of locations for an unspecified number of years doing an unspecified classified list of dirty naughty things that cause destruction, disorder and death amongst the Steiner forces. They proved to the world of BattleTech that a small team of determined, skilled and well-equipped infantry could accomplish quite a lot that. That they were not to be underestimated or taken lightly. Their activities became so feared by Steiner troops and so dread by Steiner government officials that the pair was colloquially known as ‘The Rodents.’ These are their accomplishments.
-Chace A. Randolph

snakespinner

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #6 on: 15 January 2020, 23:15:07 »
With ping it's just to keep notified of any updates if we like the story. :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #7 on: 16 January 2020, 03:42:12 »
Thank you for clarification.    Here's one part I think is fairly edited.

Please don't pass judgement off of a single entry. The character dynamic takes some acclimation. If the action is too much let me know and anything new I write will not lean so heavily on the action. I am open to opinions and feedback.
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #8 on: 16 January 2020, 04:54:35 »
                                                                                                          Ooh Aah, The bridge.

     House Steiner had managed to occupy this particular planet early and hold it for some time. House Davion managed to sneak Spaceman and Rabbit into a cargo shipment and get them planet side and moderately well equipped. With the simple objective of causing mayhem and destruction, the pair targeted something that was very important, hard to build and rarely guarded well enough to prevent two mischievous men from getting close to it. One of those things you don’t miss until it is gone. A bridge.

     Spaceman was acting as the point man on this operation. He was outfitted with all the usual gear, combat boots, good gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, a combat knife. His throwing knife, a radio, a medical kit, packaged food, water and various survival tools. What was special about this time was that they were both wearing ghillie suits. Spaceman carried a select-fire long-stroke gas piston assault rifle with a heavy silencer and a red dot optic. He also had a large caliber, low velocity silenced handgun, who’s cheap availability did nothing to tarnish the plastic gun’s reputation as indestructible and boringly reliable, albeit ugly. Rabbit carried a rifle and a handgun of the same type. However, he also carried a large caliber bolt action rifle. His assault rifle had its stock folded and was sealed in a watertight tube with a spring-loaded cap and was loaded with a smaller than standard magazine so it would fit inside the tube for transport. This tube was then strapped to his back as he carried the heavily scoped sniper rifle as his primary weapon. He also carried less ammo since he carried three types of ammo, Rabbit had five magazines for his assault rifle, three for his pistol and five for his sniper rifle, while Spaceman had five for his pistol and eight for his assault rifle.

     They had taken time to bury caches of gear in various locked safe boxes in the forest that surrounded the city they had landed near, they collected some charges of plastic explosives from one such stock pile and the two men set out for the nearest bridge. The nearby city was actually rather small. The buildings were all inside a twenty-foot tall concrete wall complete with searchlights, guard towers, machine guns, anti-tank cannons and oppressive gray paint. This little town was positioned at a point where two rivers met. The rivers in the area were general both slow-moving and shallow but broad enough in their meanderings to require many simple bridges. The city was surrounded by dense conifer forests, having trees on three sides, and gates in only two of its ominous gray walls. There were many roads that all met up at these gates entering and exiting the city. Each road had its own bridge that crossed the river at some point and ran off to some other city or base or fortress that dotted these lowlands. All the cities on this planet that Spaceman and Rabbit had looked at from orbit before there drop seemed to be constructed like this, with massive walls and cannons. It was all so heavily fortified, they felt more like castles then cities. It made Rabbit rather cross with the world to think that the Steiner troops didn’t even have to fight in some cases to capture all this military might and hardware. They won it through subterfuge, cheating in Rabbit’s book was supposed to be only for himself and Spaceman.

     All the bridges they had seen in the area were roughly the same. Laden with several small packages of plastic explosives each, they set out for an unfortunate bridge. After hiking through the morning the covered the distance they needed over land and decided to take a break in the early afternoon as their packs were getting heavy. The two men lay low in the grass and leaf litter, only three-quarters of a mile more to the bridge. They unfurled thick camouflage suits from their packs and wriggled into them before starting their crawling. It took them nearly two hours of slithering through the bushes and leaves covering the forest floor before they got to the bridge. They sat for another forty minutes in the brush near by, waiting for the birds and frogs and other ambient sounds to return. They listened carefully. Feeling the situation with their minds more than seeing it.

      Once the pair were satisfied with the situation, they slunk down to the river bank and Rabbit sat back on his haunches, to lean against a tree with a good view of the road and the bridge. He handed off his share of the explosives to Spaceman, who then stripped out of his gear and wadded into the river wearing nothing more than his skivvies. It took him almost twenty minutes, but he systematically placed and armed six separate charges before he donned his gear again and lay back down in the brush, letting his ghillie suit do the hiding for him. Rabbit slowly leaned over and joined him, lying on his side to avoid crushing any of the gear he was wearing strapped to his chest under the camouflage suit. Again they waited. Closed their eyes, slowed their breathing relaxed their muscles and listened. They could almost feel the world around them as their collective awareness slowly grew to the point that the buzzing insects grew deafeningly loud. Having lost his patience and being satisfied the coast was clear Spaceman spoke. The sound of his voice, even at a gentle whisper, when it broke the silence jerked Rabbit from his zen-like concentration so hard he jumped, rolled over and thumped his head on a rock, earning himself a moderate-sized lump just above his right ear. Spaceman said that he felt they should get to a safe distance to detonate the explosives to start the party since he so dearly loved blowing things up. But after Rabbit’s incident, he wheezed with barely contained laughter for a second before asking through the teeth of his grinning face if he should kiss it better. Rabbit quietly but firmly voiced his opinion that Spaceman should kiss some other hairy part of his anatomy.

     Spaceman grinned and crawled away, Rabbit still rubbing the side of his head slowly followed. They went almost two hundred yards upstream, as far as they could without obstructing Rabbit's line of sight. Once in position Rabbit set to work digging a hole to lie in, and shuffling some branches about to make a rifle rest and hide his muzzle flash. Spaceman again stripped down and wadded the river to attach a rope to a tree on the other side for use as a zipline. Once Spaceman returned Rabbit jokingly admitted to being infatuated with Spaceman’s pasty white, untanned legs. Spaceman kicked the sole of Rabbit’s boot hard enough he had to wiggle a little to re position himself for the shooting he was about to do. Spaceman set up a spotting scope in a bush a few yards to Rabbits left, though he kept his rifle handy. Once established they waited more.

     After ten minutes a car drove past. They let it go. A pair of men in spandex shorts on bicycles went past too, in the opposite direction. Another hour passed before a convoy of flatbed trucks with canvas tops bearing Steiner camouflage began rolling over the bridge. The first two were allowed to pass unmolested. But as the third slowly rumbled past the half-way point of the bridge, Spaceman showily whipped out a detonator and with flashy relish, mashed the button. The delay was just long enough for Rabbit to shift his eyes from Spaceman’s detonator back to the targets through his optic. As the bridge exploded, the third truck in the line disappeared into a fiery ball filled with bits of concrete. The explosion engulfed the front half of the fourth truck and was strong enough to shatter its windows, kill its passengers, melt its paint and ruin its front tires. While truck number two having just past lost both of its rear tires as they were filled with flying sharp bits of concrete. The sound of the blast reached the two men, even at this distance the felt the gentle rumble of the shock wave through the ground the sprawled on. Rabbit could see rainbows in the mist blasted out of the water from the explosion.

     After a few seconds of silence, they could hear the voices of a few men shouting. Several men in Steiner uniforms came to stand on the stumps of the destroyed bridge, the shouted and pointed and waved their arms. Rabbit thumbed the safety off on his rifle and sucked in a breath. He wrapped his weak hand around the flat end of the rifles fore end and simultaneously pushed it down onto the log. He gently began exhaling and midway through the four-count breath, he steadily depressed the trigger to the rear, firing the rifle. The solid steel copper jacketed round flew downrange and struck one of the gesticulating truck drivers in the chest. It went straight threw his flak vest and left a gaping fist-size exit hole where his sternum should have been. Missing a vertebra and with two more shattered the man slumped off the bridge into the water and drifted away, never making an attempt to swim. The other trucker drivers stood about, they stopped shouting and instead stared at the body drifting away, confused. They must have thought themselves impervious so far behind their own lines. Rabbit cycled the action of his rifle and fired again. The second shot struck the man who had been standing next to the first victim. His head evaporated from the massive kinetic energy of the high caliber bullet. His helmet seemed to spin in the air for a moment, before dropping to the ground and rolling under the front axle of the ruined forth truck. A second body was added to the river. Now the truckers dove for cover. Truck number one, which had stopped immediately after the explosion had lowered its tailgate and was puking out soldiers from under its canvas top. Spaceman mentioned it with a whisper on their radios in Rabbit's ear, Rabbit adjusted himself. After cycling the bolt again he fired a third shot at a man who jumped from the cab of the first truck and was wearing binoculars around his neck just as he began shouting at all the other soldiers.

     The bullet struck him in the hip. Shattering his pelvis and dislocating his hip. Leaving his right leg attached by little more than the meat of his inner thigh, most of the flesh and bone blasted away. One of the soldiers ran to the felled officer, and began applying first aid. The other twenty or so men were now all prone on their bellies on the road and firing into the forest on both sides of the road. Spaceman grinned at their lack of knowledge. Rabbit cycled the bolt and put a round in the soldier trying to help his fallen leader. Cycling again he adjusted his aim once more and fired into the group of soldiers in the road. He hit two birds with one stone. The first man who was perpendicular to Rabbit and parallel to the road was hit in the right ankle, the bullet passed through, severing his foot and then went through the other leg, due to the angle it went through his knee, shattering his kneecap and destroying the cartilage. If he didn’t bleed to death, he would never walk again. The second man was struck in the abdomen after the bullet exited the first man's knee. The bullet went through his hip and buried itself in his tail bone. The calcium shattered and filled his colon with shards of his own bone. He would likely not survive either. The fifth and final vehicle in the column was an open-top jeep, with three men aboard. Mounted atop the jeep was a machine gun. The jeep now rolled to a stop next to the wreckage of truck number four. The driver jumped out of the jeep and began trying in vain to help the already dead men still inside the truck. The two men remaining in the jeep loaded the big machine gun and began firing it into the forest, the bullets all flew to the wrong side of the river. Spaceman could see them kicking up dust almost seventy yards away. Rabbit opened the bolt on his rifle and loaded in a fresh magazine. The five bullets in this magazine were hand loads he had made himself. The projectile was divided into three solid steel chunks, all contained inside the copper jacket. It would shoot and fly like a normal bullet. But when it struck a target the jacket would break and the three separate parts would cause massive damage. Rabbit grinned evilly as he closed the action and adjusted the zoom on his scope.

     By now the soldiers had figured which direction the fire had come from. The half of the platoon that was facing the proper direction continued to fire their weapons haphazardly into the trees as the other half that had been on the wrong side of the road now stood and ran across the pavement and twenty-yard easement into the tree line. One of the men never made it through. Rabbit hit him in the shoulder and even though he was wearing hard plate ceramic body armor the massive projectile took his arm clean off. Leaving it a few paces behind the man among his still firing comrades. The fell, in shock. Rabbit cycled his bolt and fired again. Missing for the first time. The troops that had entered the tree line began firing their weapons as the men in the street got off their bellies and made a break for the foliage. Rabbit scored another hit with this third shot out of the magazine. Right in the man’s crotch. The massive impact spread over a greater area by the segmented projectile shattered his pelvis and took both legs away from the poor soldier. He fell tumbling to the ground, the shock and blood loss was so sudden he was unconscious by the time he hit the ground and dead seconds afterward. Rabbit cycled and fired two more shots dealing with both of the men in the jeep operating the machine gun.

    Rabbit shouted through the din of gunfire to Spaceman that it was time to leave before he stood and ran. He covered the twenty yards from their position back to the zip line reloading while he ran. Spaceman offed the safety on his rifle and returned fire, a single long burst, burning eighteen of the thirty rounds in his magazine. Now as Rabbit kneeled at the base of the tree with the zip line he fired twice while Spaceman bounded to him. Both his shots missed, but some of the troops could be seen ducking at the sound of each thundering report from the large rifle. Rabbit donned his heavy leather gloves and went across the line first. Spaceman emptied the rest of his magazine into the forest as Rabbit zoomed just over the water's surface. One of the bullets from his second burst found their mark. Hitting an enemy in the left hand. Destroying his rifle and his two largest fingers. Putting him out of the fight for the time being. Once Rabbit was across he propped his rifle in the crook of a tree. Spaceman with his thick gloves slid across the rope second. With the Steiner soldiers still split into two groups, they took turns shooting and running, moving towards the two vigilantes. They were closing the gap fast, Rabbit fired again.

     The round hit a running man in the knee, passed down the length of his shin and came out the bottom of his foot, blasting his whole lower leg open like a filleted fish. Rabbit cycled the bolt and together he and Spaceman ran full tilt through the trees away from the shooting and carnage. By now the driver of the jeep had returned to the vehicle and replaced the other men on the gun. He began firing madly in their general direction. The enemy troops closed in but failed to notices Spaceman’s trap. He had laid a simple hand grenade in the brush near where he had been hiding. As the enemy troops passed through, one of them pulled the trip line on the grenade’s safety pin. He was unharmed, for he kept running. The two unfortunate souls who were running behind him were devoured in the fiery explosion. The surviving two-thirds of the platoon was stopped at the river bank having found the zip line. The two men already across the water kept running through the shade of the towering conifer trees. Using their speed and camouflage to disappear into the forest.

     After covering more than a mile, they stopped and flopped down in the bush. Both of them panted heavily, sucking for air through mouths that suddenly felt too small into lungs that were too restrictive. They lay dripping with sweat, bordering on heat exhaustion under their camouflage suits in the humid air, sucking all the air they could. Trying to calm down, to get their heart rates and breathing back under control. So they could get their stealth back. After a few minutes as they calmed down, they could hear the distant thumping of helicopter rotors beating the air into submission over their own gasping.

     They crawled slowly, angling themselves slightly. They aimed to come to the tree line further up the road from the bridge behind the convoy. From there they planned to shoot parallel to the road at more men that came to rescue the fallen and repair the bridge. After a hundred yards they stopped and drank from their water flasks. As they rested, Spaceman spotted the gleam of a nasty looking attack helicopter circling overhead, near where their zip line was across the river.

     Replenished they resumed their crawl. Spending another forty minutes to reach the edge of the wood. The helicopter was spiraling ever closer. Rabbit was able to spot nearly a dozen vehicles approaching through with his scope. Most of them were trucks with more troops and materials to repair the bridge with. But two of them were the same topless jeeps with the large machine guns mounted on their roll bars. As they reached the edge of the wooded area the vehicles stopped. The two trucks in front deluged troops all over the ground, and one of the jeeps accompanied them as, with rifles raised the marched straight into the forest. Spaceman and Rabbit cradled their weapons and lay absolutely still, daring not even to breathe for what seemed like hours as the troops marched past. One man, with a very nasty looking shotgun and bandoleers full of shotgun shells crossing his chest, walked so close to them that when he spat his chewing tobacco it struck Rabbit in the small of the back. He tensed first in alarm, then in disgust but managed to hold still as the soldiers lumbered past. The second jeep and all the trucks except for the two that were now empty continued down the road towards the bridge. The first jeep now sat with two men in it, only ten yards from the edge of the forest. The two men sat in it watching as the soldiers marched in. they were rather good at waving that big machine gun about. Agonizingly slowly Spaceman and Rabbit crept forward again. Spaceman drew his throwing knife, and Rabbit his suppressed side arm full of heavy subsonic ammunition.

     As they slunk within range of the jeep they nodded to each other and sprung. Spaceman flinging his knife at the driver, before he could raise and aim his submachine gun, Rabbit firing four shots, three hitting and killing the man in the back of the jeep on the machine gun before he could adjust the aim on the eighty-pound weapon. His pistol hardly made any noise besides the rattle of the slide slamming in and out of battery. The two men died silently. Spaceman and Rabbit rushed forward and dumped the bodies from the jeep. Spaceman recovered his knife as he started the jeep’s engine. Rabbit climbed in the back and dug a rope from the jeeps toolbox. Spaceman mashed the accelerator and drove toward the road, following after the other vehicles. They had formulated and exchanged a plan in sign language as they advanced on the jeep, and now, it worked flawlessly. Rabbit fired the big machine gun into the forest at the receding troops. Killing one and maiming three others. Spaceman rushed into position behind the other newly arrived vehicles. Several men were standing about and turned with confused looks of anger upon seeing their jeep disobeying orders. And those were the looks on their faces as they rest in pieces upon the road. Rabbit mercilessly blasted them with the machine gun. Spaceman rolled from the driver seat out the half door as the vehicle halted and lay on his belly firing his rifle into the group of engineers that were further up the road all looking over the bridge and pointing at various clipboards. He slew all six of them. While Rabbit used the rope to jam the firing mechanism on the machine gun. Leaving the gun blazing away the pair dove into the forest on the far side of the road, arms and legs pumping. They stopped after two hundred yards and dropped to the ground. Hoping their camouflage would save them again. The attack helicopter fired a missile and destroyed the jeep. The massive explosion lit up their faces in the now fading daylight.
     
     They sat for hours more as the light slowly faded into dark and soon the stars came out and the night birds began to hoot in the distance. To the chorus of a distant pack of howling wolves, the pair of shooters slowly crept away. Crawling through the night, away from the carnage. Away from the destroyed bridge truck and almost thirty dead men. They disappeared off into the night. Using the darkness and the distance to protect themselves. They left nothing behind except a few empty magazines, spent brass and a zip line dangling between two trees. Pinned to their zip line they left a small note that bore the following script.

     “For more serious mischief try our new double-tap dosage. Now with double the lead and double the dead!”

     Hours and miles later the pair of riflemen sat among another previously stashed cache of gear they had dug up. They leaned back against their respective trees taking turns dozing and keeping watch. They survived the night, they survived the fight and tomorrow would have a beautiful sunrise. They slept like babies, albeit four hours at a time. Even with his bumped head and the reeking stench of sweaty, dirt crusted man, Rabbit managed to smile in his sleep.
-Chace A. Randolph

snakespinner

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #9 on: 17 January 2020, 01:04:21 »
Well written and i enjoyed the first part.
Just a question not a criticism, why choose Steiner as the enemy.
They are a heavy trading partner with House Davion.
But not to say it is not possible, anything can happen. :beer:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #10 on: 18 January 2020, 02:02:39 »
This is set during the Fed/Com civil war. Is it inappropriate to refer to the two groups by their house names rather then governmental names? This was the general practice between myself and the others I played with. I wouldn't be surprised if I got something wrong there were only a couple of us, and no one else I know has ever heard of BattleTech, I'm sure our isolation has lead to some mutations. (I.E. i remade all the to hit tables for d10's just because I liked them better.)
-Chace A. Randolph

snakespinner

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #11 on: 18 January 2020, 04:33:29 »
Basically they both reverted to their house names anyway during the war.
I did not know it was fedcom so perfect scenario. :beer:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #12 on: 19 January 2020, 15:24:24 »
                                                                                                        The Place

     Spaceman opened the door and leaned back against its frame so that Rabbit could squeeze past him. Permitting him entry to the lounge of a dimly lit little bar, they lifted their sunglasses from their eyes no longer needing to shield their pupils from the late afternoon sun that blasted down the street as the light struggled over the horizon and slithered between the rows of buildings. They rested the sunglasses on the tops of their heads and scanned the room. They searched and found a small table, not perfectly in the corner but close enough for them to feel comfortable. They sat shoulder to shoulder at the round table so they could talk and watch the door at the same time. Their leather jackets rustled gently as they sat down. Video screens and a dozen other patrons provided enough background noise that they could speak to each other and not be overheard, but not look suspicious in their private discourse. The barmaid percolated over to ask them what they were drinking, the slender woman had gravel in her voice from heavy smoking. They requested four shots and chasers for the two of them. She left and the pair turned their attention to the television that was playing a rerun of a college ball game.

     To try and look less conspicuous in the bar’s sparse crowd, inhabited only by the grungy men who were always there to spend their weekly pay, Spaceman started the facade that he had already seen the game. Rabbit began guessing at the various possible outcomes and begging for answers when Spaceman refused to divulge details. The dozen tired-looking men that were scattered around the bar occasionally glanced at them, some curious, but most of them just annoyed by the strangers mussing up the seclusion of their bar. The Barmaid returned with their drinks. They took the first of their shots and chased them with large gulps off their sodas. They continued to talk about the game. Ten minutes later they did the second pair of shots and finished their chasers. Half an hour more passed and the game was nearing its close, a third man slipped in through the door, also in a leather jacket. The street lights had come on now that the sun had finished setting and the light filtered in through the open door made the men in the darkroom squint their eyes at the newcomer.

     This late arrival was the pair’s ‘handler’. Their contact and liaison to friendly loyalist forces. He was older, known to them by the name of Squid. The Rodents assumed he must have been retired Navy. He sat opposite them at their table. They shook hands in a wordless greeting. The Barmaid arrived before they were done with their greetings to ask Squid what he preferred to drink. The three hardened men sat in stoic silence until the barmaid brought Squid his drinks. Spaceman and Rabbit asked for another round, which she brought quickly. They slammed back their drinks and sat until after the game ended. Squids paid for all three of them and they rose to leave. As pre-planned Rabbit feigned being too drunk to walk. Spaceman and Squid half drug, half carried him out of the bar with a little hand-painted sign over the door identifying it as “The Place”.

     They exited The Place, to the relief of the other bar-goers. Not needed again, Spaceman and Rabbit stuffed their sunglasses into the pockets of their jackets as the trio spilled out the door into the pool of light from the streetlamp. They turned right, out of the doorway and went down the sidewalk past the pawnshop to the parking lot with their vehicles were waiting on the other side. Or at least that’s what the plan was. As they rounded the corner a blinding flash like lightning and a clap of thunder blasted out of the small alley between The Place and the pawnshop. Rabbit’s ears would ring from it for days.

     A hollow point bullet with a deep cup launched by a snub nose medium bore revolver met with Squid’s face. Having been on Rabbit’s left, Squid was unlucky enough to go around the corner first. The round went in just under his left eye, blew out the floor plate of his skull and the bottom of his brain case leaving a tennis ball-sized whole in the back of his head as bone and brain matter leaked out. The shot came from less than a foot away from Rabbit's head. The pair let Squids body slump to the sidewalk, as they leapt back, Spaceman drew his silenced large bore pistol from inside his waistband. He never seemed to be encumbered or bothered by the carrying or concealing of bulky items for extended lengths of time, as normal for Rabbit, he was over-equipped, producing a compact, silenced sub-machine gun on a single point sling with a telescoping stock out from under his leather coat.

     After a short pause to make sure the unseen enemy was not coming around the corner after them, Spaceman drew a flashlight clipped to his pocket, and lifted it to shoulder height, he stuck only his hand around the corner illuminating the alley. Meanwhile, Rabbit had extended the buttstock on his sub-machine gun and ducked around the corner, dropping to his knees, hunching his shoulders and turtling his head forward, making himself the smallest possible target. He used his weak hand and pulled the sub-machine gun back into his shoulder almost painfully hard. His thumb hit the momentary switch and activated a green targeting laser that he used to aim with. Using Spaceman’s light he identified two dark targets. He fired two short bursts, seven rounds total. Both targets fell. Rabbit activated the tactical flashlight on his gun and filled the alley with white light. Spaceman turned his light and attention to Squids, who was still twitching but was beyond their help. With a nod to each other, Spaceman and Rabbit stowed their weapons.
     
     Spaceman left to make sure their vehicle was secure and to search for Squid’s vehicle if he could identify it, intending to make sure the deceased hadn’t left anything that might have been important to them or otherwise incriminating to the operations of their forces. Rabbit stayed behind, withdrew his pistol from its holster, it was the same caliber as the sub-machine gun and dropped its magazine into his palm, then thumbed out the same number of rounds he had fired from his SMG out of the pistol’s magazine into his other palm, reinserted the magazine, then dropped the weapon next to Squids body. He adding the bullets back into the SMG’s magazine and patted Squid down, taking his flechette pistol before he left at a fast walk in the opposite direction Spaceman had gone.
 
     Rabbit disappeared into the shadows beyond the streetlight just as the bartender, with shotgun in hand burst out the door, and promptly gagged, holding back his vomit as he found Squid’s body draining grey matter into the gutter. Rabbit watched from the shadows outside the pool of light until the bartender stumbled back inside to call the authorities. Rabbit slipped off into the night, hiking his jacket’s collar up higher as the breeze brought a chill with it.

     It took Rabbit almost six hours to return to the abandoned apartment quad that the pair was using as a hide out. Spaceman had already been there for over an hour with their vehicle and was convinced that Rabbit had been captured or killed. Rabbit flopped down in an old armchair with funny smells they had dug out of a dumpster, and leaned back, carefully avoiding an odd stain.

     As he wriggled deeper down into the recliner to try and sleep Spaceman slapped him. Waving his big hairy middle finger in Rabbit’s face as he explained to Rabbit, how he was scared and because Rabbit was such a humongous puss covered dick for scaring him like that, he got to sleep first. Rabbit growled and stood from his chair which Spaceman promptly occupied, and was soon asleep. As Spaceman slept, Rabbit dug out a second silenced pistol from their stash in the apartment, loaded it and holstered it to replace the one he had left with Squid. Then he spent the hours of his watch looking intently at squid’s flechette pistol. They knew little of him personally, Rabbit looked at the scratches and dings and wear marks on the gun, and judged the choice of brand, modifications and features of the weapon. Weighting Squid’s character by the weapon he had carried for so long. Wondering if he had ever actually used it?

     He checked what was left of their gear, and found they had very little left. Their medical supplies were still intact but beyond that and their now empty shotgun, sniper rifle and assault rifles as well as various sized silencers they had nothing. After four hours Rabbit woke Spaceman and took his turn to sleep in the nasty chair.
They continued to switch off sleeping until morning. As they were packing their gear to leave Rabbit found a stowaway slip of paper in his jacket pocket. It had a string of hand written computer code on it. Fortunately not only did Rabbit recognize the handwriting as Squids, but he was able to read and write that particular programming language because of his background with aircraft electronics and software. Spaceman left to find them some breakfast as Rabbit sat at the three-legged coffee table they had while working to decode the message from Squid. He was able to deduce by the time that Spaceman retuned that this code was a set of coordinates. Probably to where their next supply cache was hidden. Squids had completed his mission, even in death. It was fifteen miles outside of town, deep into the woods. Too far to walk, they had to get new transportation assuming their abused compact car would be recognizable now by whatever cloak and dagger guns for hire organization was trailing them at the behest of the usurpers pocket book, after all they had killed Squid.

     They took the maps they had of the city and what they knew of the area and planned an attack. To steal a vehicle from their quarry. Use it to get out into the woods, abandon it, get their gear and go into hiding for a while until things calmed down. Their counterparts hired by Katherine were too close on their heels for their comfort. Unfortunately, they had only two silenced pistols and one silenced sub-machine gun for the two of them. The rest of their weapons were all dead weight without bullets to feed them. Not much firepower to leverage another vehicle into their possession.

     They planned all morning, ate lunch cleaned and prepped what little gear they had left. Once they were ready they slept some more, in four-hour shifts until well into the night. Their regular nocturnal activities left them just tired enough that the two men had learned to catch sleep anywhere and anytime they could get it. In the depths of darkness, they slipped out from a second-floor window, down a rope ladder. Spaceman carried a silenced handgun with five magazines, a rope, his throwing knife and a combat knife. Rabbit had had his sidearm with three magazines and his sub-machine gun with three magazines. He also had his tool kits. They both carried large backpacks with the remnants of their gear loaded into them. They were going to drop these at a secure location and come back for them later after they were done with their planned thievery.

     Rabbit gently whispered to Spaceman through their radios. Explaining that because they were wearing all black, and even had their heads covered with balaclavas. All he needed now was a string of pearls to go with his black dress for their night on the town.

     After two hours of slinking through back alleys and dark places, the men climbed a power pole. Spaceman tied his rope to the handle of a broom that he had swiped from the back door of a restaurant after braving the ferocious growling of a scruffy tomcat. He threw the broom with the rope attached like a javelin from the top of the power pole, establishing a zip line from the pole to where the broom was entangled with the barbed wire fence around a vehicle depot they intended to steal from. The lights of a jeep came around the street corner, the two of men hugged tightly to the power pole, hoping their silhouettes would pass as power transformers hanging just below the pole’s stringers.

     The wheeled vehicle past below them without incident. After a few seconds of pause to let their heart rates decrease they crossed the zip line with their worn leather gloves. Their hands burning and blistering from the friction-induced heat. Spaceman crossed first, gritting his teeth as he slid down the length of the rope. Fighting the growing pain in his hands, struggling to cling to the rope for the duration of the trip. Rabbit followed with equal amounts of discomfort. Once over the fence, they knocked the broom down from where it was tangled down and suck out of the pool of light from the external lights on the garage near them.

      The scuff of boots on pavement alerted them to the approach of personnel and sent them diving into the shadows between structures as a team of soldiers with night vision google came around the same bend as the jeep had only minutes before.The squad of infantry marching firmly, with rigid purpose down the street. Spaceman and Rabbit in a deliberately slow panic so as to not cause undue ruckus buried themselves in the junk in the alley between the two multi-story structures.

     The bad part of their plan was, the vehicles they planned to steal were on the other side of the compound, passed the maintenance garages and office buildings near where they had crossed in over the fence. Albeit those storage buildings were close to the compound’s gates, if they could get there and get a vehicle, their ex-fill would be easy. They had chosen to approach this side of the compound because going the short route to the perimeter  on that side of the compound would have required them traveling past the local hospital and the law enforcement station controlled by those who followed the usurper Katherine. Even at this hour of the night, there would be too much activity in that area, they wanted to avoid the risk of detection whenever possible.

      They wove in and out of the buildings, working their way down the alleys and finally came within sight of the garages. pleased that the facility was so lifeless and such a late hour of the night. Standing in the light of the single bulb in front of the door were six guards, mercenaries by the looks of the somewhat mismatched and ragged uniforms. All with sub-machine guns, compact rifles or shotguns in hand. Spaceman held out a hand to stop Rabbit who nearly rushed around the corner in his excitement to get to their objective. He pointed and as Rabbit’s eyes followed his extended arm. Spaceman sat down on the balls of his feet and waited to see if the guards would move on to finish their rounds. After twenty minutes, the guards were still standing there, scuffling their feet in the hard pack dirt road between the buildings. Rabbit and Spaceman came to the conclusion that the guards were not moving and that they either had to get in past them or around them. Around them being the easier option, and certainly less dangerous. They split up and skirted through the shadows on opposite sides of the building. They met together in the darkness on the far side of the storage building and both nodded to the other. There were no other doors, no other windows, the only way in was either a skylight or through the big roll-up doors in the front, past the guards.

     Since they had no way onto the roof, they saw no other option but to take out the guards and claim a vehicle by force. They separated and went back to around to the front of the building, back the way they came. Spaceman reached his corner first and waited a full five seconds for Rabbit to catch up. A small crackle in Spaceman’s ear told him Rabbit had tapped the transmit button on his radio, the go signal. Spaceman drew his silenced pistol and stepper out from around the corner weapon already raised. His first shot went lower then he intended and hit his target in the hip. The big slow slug shattered the guard’s hip. Spaceman adjusted his aim and put the second round through his ear, in one side and out the other. The pistol making no more noise than the “snick-snack, snick-snack” of the cycling slide. The guard fell and Spaceman adjusted his aim to fire at the second. The first round struck the mercenary's weapon as he turned to raise his shotgun, shattering the polymer fore-end on his weapon and blasting a big hole through the magazine tube of the shotgun. The second round went into his bicep and the third his neck. He fell drowning in his own blood. Gurgling and sputtering. The third guardsman was turning, he had a two-hand grip on his machine pistol, but before he could raise it Spaceman shifted his aim and fired three more times, the first missed the guard, but hit and shattered the radio on his belt, the second and third were both solid hits in the chest. Spaceman heard the ribs in his chest snap. The man collapsed to the ground coughing, spluttering and writhing about in pain.

   The three guards standing in a group on the other side of the door were all huddled closer together against the night's wind chill. As soon as the metallic clatter or Spaceman’s pistol warbled through the darkness Rabbit fired three short bursts. One of his targets took two hits square in the back. He fell to the sound of his crunching bones. The second man who was standing perpendicular to Rabbit took three hits. One in the kidney, one in the ribs, and one in the armpit.  All of which penetrated deep into his torso cavity since his generic issue flack vest had no protective side panels. The second shot in his ribs went through both lungs and the third his heart. The light was already fading from his eyes by the time he came to a rest in the dirt. The third man had time to turn and face the threat and was swinging a compact rifle or SMG of some flavor to bring it up to his shoulder. He took two rounds to the chest too. The first went through the receiver of his gun and showered metal fragments all over his chest, perforating his vest. The second shot hit him square in the sternum with an audible crunch. He fell and lay coughing on the ground.

     The two shooters met at the roll-up door and Spaceman kept watch over the dying and writhing men, saving the last of his precious ammunition while Rabbit raised the door and disappeared into the shadows of the unlit garage. It was filled with close to twenty small 4x4 vehicles and another dozen large flatbed 6x6 trucks. Spaceman could see the outline of an office against the far wall down the row of vehicles from the light filtering in throug hthe open roll up door. Hoping to find keys for the vehicles inside he went towards the office. Meanwhile, Rabbit went to the adjacent wall and drug a gas can off of a shelf and used it to fuel one of the 4x4’s. Spaceman’s voice gently tickled Rabbit’s ear as he radioed through the head set that the door to the office was locked and he needed Rabbit to kick it in. Rabbit hopped down from the back of the vehicle, leaving the now empty fuel can in it and jogged back to the door. As he raised his foot to kick it in all the lights in the garage came on.

     Rabbit’s eyes nearly exploded out of his head. The bulged from surprise and stung from the sudden blast of light. Spaceman turned to see three men standing in the open doorway. The Man with the machine pistol and the shattered radio, the one who had the shotgun and had now taken another machine pistol from one of his fallen comrades. And the third stood on the opposite corner holding his compact rifle. Those hadn’t been the sounds of bones shattering, what they had heard was ceramic carbide plates in their body armor breaking. The guards had recovered and were coming after them now. Rabbit turned and kicked the door to the office inwards. A loud long burst of automatic weapons fire shattered the window into the office as Spaceman tackled Rabbit into the room. Spaceman drew his combat knife and began prying at the lock box on the desk inside with it, hoping it contained the keys to all the vehicles. Rabbit flipped over a filling cabinet and hid behind it and switched his gun from fully automatic to semi-auto.

     A second burst of bullets went through the room. Perforating the corrugated walls around them. Spaceman got the lockbox open and took a fist full of keys out and pocketed them. Rabbit caught a glimpse of a man ducking behind a truck and squeezed off several rounds as Spaceman drew his pistol again and dove out of the door. He could see two enemies coming down the aisle towards him. He was running out of options as they raised their machine pistols and took aim. Spaceman dropped down onto a wheeled mechanic’s creeper he found on the floor and kicked his boots again the tire of one of the trucks. This sent him rolling across the aisle under the opposite 6x6 truck. The burst of fire chewed the concrete in the aisle, and not him. Tucking his gun under his chin he paddled the ground with both hands and rolled under more trucks, going two rows further over on his wheeled cart.
 
     He came to a stop, grabbed his gun and stood, to face down the barrel of the third man’s nasty looking carbine. Spaceman judged based on the diameter of the barrel was neither sub-machine gun or assault rifle but instead, a magazine-fed semi-auto shotgun, only ten feet away from him.

     Alarms started thundering outside. Rabbit guessed someone outside had been woken up since the guards hadn’t been nice enough to also bring subsonic weapons with suppressors. The Rodents were in for it now. No one liked to be woken up in the dead of night, or have their guards shot, or their vehicles to be stolen. No one was getting out of this happy. The two men with machine pistols were still coming towards the office. Spaceman and the third man were nowhere to be seen. Rabbit glimpsed a man and shot. Putting two rounds in his shin between the axles of a truck. He fell to the floor and Rabbit shot some more, firing until the man stopped moving. Rabbit leapt out through the shattered office window back into the garage. The second man with a broken radio still dangeling on his hip, now holding someone else’s machine pistol was crouching below the window. He must have been hiding there preparing to make an attack when Rabbit had started shooting the other man. He flinched as Rabbits shadow past over him. Rabbit saw the guards crouched form at the edge of his vision as he passed over him, he landed on his feet but allowed his momentum to carry him forward. He rotated as he fell and landed firmly on his back. He exhaled so as to not knock the wind from himself. He fired between his feet as he landed on his back. Putting the remaining rounds form the magazine into the unarmored side of his foe. He swapped magazines and stood. The deep boom of a shotgun went off somewhere else in the building, he flinched and nearly covered his ears. It came from close by, perhaps from the other side of the truck to his left.

    --Continued--
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #13 on: 19 January 2020, 15:25:13 »
                         The Place, continued....

 Spaceman had gotten up and raised his hands at gunpoint. He took a step back from the deathly muzzle of the shotgun, going backwards onto the wheeled creeper and it rolled out from under him, he fell hard. The wooden cart sped forward and struck the other man in the ankles, he stumbled and fired his shotgun, and the massive blast flew high over Spaceman’s head as he was still traveling downwards, the buckshot slammed into the grill of the truck in the next row down. The plastic wad that cupped the load of shot together inside the shotgun shell hit him in the gut. He didn’t bleed but would have a massive bruise and a good-sized welt. Spaceman lay on his back, he leveled his pistol and fired the rest of his magazine a his assailant. He put one in each leg and the other two shots climbed higher and hit him in each hip. The guard was unable to stand and fell on his back, he screamed wildly as both his femoral arteries dumped their contents onto the garage’s concrete floor. Spaceman winded, scrambled away so the bleeding man wouldn't get the  chance to use the tactical shotgun one more time with the last dregs of his strength.

     Rabbit jumped from around the back of the truck with a horrified look on his face. He found Spaceman leaning on the back of the next vehicle over reloading his handgun and gasping for breath. Rabbit insulted him warmly for resting on the job. Spaceman wheezed and coughed before leading them at a jog back towards the rows of jeeps at the front end of the garage. Finding the one Rabbit had fueled and loaded he dropped into the driver seat and began trying keys. Rabbit climbed into the back and loaded the machine gun mounted in the turret ring. The first three sets of keys he tried didn’t work, Spaceman tossed them into the passenger seat. When the fourth key did work he tossed the rest of the stolen keys onto the seat too. Dropped the jeep into gear and mashed the accelerator. He didn’t bother to flip the lights on as they emerged from the garage, the whole facility outside seemed to be alight. Towers with floodlights illuminated everything inside and outside the fence. A group of armed men were running up the hard pack road towards them. Spaceman turned the vehicle towards the gate and accelerated faster, shifting from first to second gear. Rabbit swung the big machine gun around, facing rear he shot at the running men. They all dove to the ground. He was unsure if he hit any of them but at least they weren’t shooting at them.

      The chain-link main gate came into view around the next building. Spaceman finally turned on the headlights and shifted from second to third gear as the vehicle continued to accelerate. Its little four-cylinder engine labored hard under Spaceman’s heavy right foot. They were known for rugged reliability, but not their speed. They hit the gate at about thirty-five miles an hour.

     Rabbit hunkered down in the turret as they smashed through the gate, the chain-link passing over his head. As he straightened a massive shape obscured what seemed like half the night's sky. Blotting out the searchlights and the very stars as it appeared from inside another of the buildings inside the compound. Rabbit nearly had a bowel movement as he looked up into the looming face of a battlemech. Spaceman shifted gears as they continued to accelerate.

   Rabbit was more scholarly and technical then Spaceman was, and he recognized the shadow of the towering mech as that of a GRF-1DS Griffin. An older model that had no short-range weapons but was so durable that it had become a standard for some mech units. The machine turned to face them and with a massive glowing light and the huge roar of raw exhaust, it dumped missiles into the air that sailed in a perfect arc over their heads. The short-range making their little 4x4 difficult to target.  It was too close to use its massive energy cannon or LRM launcher effectively.  Its legs began to move and the mech slowly picked up speed. It pumped its legs hard, chasing after the rodents in their stolen 4x4. Rabbit surmised that the mech’s pilot meant to step on them. Spaceman grunted in frustration as the tachometer reached the red line and he ran out of gears to upshift into.

     Spaceman eased off the gas pedal a little and downshifted dropping their speed quickly as he pushed the needle dangerously far past the red line. He made a hard right turn disappearing down a side street. The Mech seemed hard-pressed to slow its bulk and now considerable momentum down fast enough to turn and continue the chase. Rabbit fired the machine gun at the looming metal monster. He held the firing plunger down with both thumbs as the big gun jerked back and forth on top of the jeep’s roll bar and spat out big smoking brass casings all over the back seat. Rabbit could see the small flashes of sparks from where the bullets shattered on the huge mech’s armor. He aimed for the hips. Hoping to do some damage to its leg joints, maybe slow it down.

   The deep thumping of the machine gun filled his ears as he watched the mech chase them. The whole world seemed to shake as each of the colossal, metal feet struck the ground. Spaceman rammed the jeep back into its highest gear. Just in time to drop the jeep into neutral and smash the brake pedal onto the floorboard, the tires screeched and Rabbit was thrown against the ring of the turret. Spaceman made a hard left turn as Rabbit returned to his firing position. They crawled up the road to their left in second gear, much too slow for comfort as Spaceman tried to recover speed after the sharp turn. The buildings got in the way and Rabbit was unable to fire at the mech. The world seemed to fill with light again as the air itself seemed to vibrate and thunder. The mighty battle mech lifted into the air sailed over the buildings and came crashing down on the street mere yards behind their jeep. Landing so close that the massive blast of fire burned the eyebrows off of Rabbit’s face and sucked the air from his lungs. The mech nearly landed on them, as the pair was sure the pilot was trying to do. Spaceman slammed on the breaks again and threw the jeep into reverse. Rabbit spun the turret around and fired a short burst from the big gun into the mech’s ankle as the passed. They turned and backed down an alley.

     The pair both dove from the jeep in opposite directions, Spaceman scooping one of their hidden backpacks from one dumpster, Rabbit another bag from a dumpster on the other side of the alley. The mech took a step back and turned to face them, but its shoulders were too broad to fit between the buildings into the ally. It leaned forward and started to crush the buildings, inching closer. The pair climbed back into the jeep and Spaceman dropped it into gear again. The low gear ratio in the jeep launched them hard, it would have knocked Rabbit out the back had he not been clutching the grips of the machine gun. He fired into the mech’s other ankle as their jeep passed between its feet. The giant machine was less than a foot away from them on either side. They turned right and continued down the road. Spaceman pushed the jeep into second gear, not bothering with the clutch.

     The mech straightened and turned to give chase again. Rabbit fired another long burst from the machine gun, the bullets glanced off of its thick armored shoulders and bounced off the sides of its cockpit. He would have kept firing but he ran out of ammunition. He reached down, to heft a second one hundred round belt out of an ammo can by his feet. But Spaceman made a hard right turn and pushed the jeep into third gear. Rabbit slipped and hit his head on the roll bar as he fell down hard in the rear compartment of the 4x4. For a few moments, he saw nothing but stars and colors. Soon he saw nothing but light as the massive battle mech lifted into the air again and landed with a crash a few scant yards behind them. The blast of heat and smell of melting asphalt brought Rabbit back to his senses. He reached down again lifted a second ammo can and reloaded the big machine gun with the belt he pulled from it. Spaceman shifted into second and made another sharp turn just as Rabbit chambered the gun. They turned and passed not between building or onto another street but into a tunnel. It slipped underground and would spit out almost half a mile away, where it would join up with the highway. The clear lanes and open spaces this late at night should give them space to outpace the mech. Spaceman pushed the jeep harder, shifting back into third. The enemy wouldn’t have time to establish a roadblock at the other end of the tunnel, Rabbit caught the sound of sirens from law enforcement vehicles drifting through the air rushing past his head before he was swallowed by the dark echo’s of the tunnel and heard nothing but the flogged engine of their 4x4. The mech could still catch them, roadblock or not if their luck didn’t hold. They were safe while they were in the tunnel, or so Rabbit thought.

     The mech must have jumped again because suddenly its massive feet and legs crashed down through the roof of the tunnel ahead of them as it was unable to support the sudden application of fifty-five tons of battlemech. Spaceman immediately slammed on the breaks, dumped the transmission into neutral and spun the wheel. They ended up skidding sideways into the mech and all the rubble raining down around it. Denting in both passenger side fenders of their vehicle. Spaceman got it back in gear and raced back out the tunnel the way they had come, the knobby tread of the government issue all-terrain tires humming loudly on the asphalt.

     As they screeched back out of the tunnel the mech didn't pursue them, it was stuck in the tunnel. Having been buried up to the waist it was unable to walk out. A massive blast of flame came out of the mouth of the tunnel as it's leg mounted jump jets fired again, but the mech did not lift into the air, instead, it lost its balance and fell. The weight of its torso came through the tunnel’s roof too.  Soon it ended up making a trench out of the tunnel. As the mech still struggled back up out of the tunnel and rubble a pair spotlights appeared. Ghostly white light showering down from the sky as VTOL’s on the wing began their search for the runaway vehicle. Their searchlights bathing whole swaths of the city in blinding white light as the glow of the mechs jump jet exhaust faded.

     After thirty seconds and another turn, the jeep broke free of the big buildings and The Rodents were suddenly thrust out of the city into the countryside. Spaceman kept the jeep in fourth gear pushing the engine as hard as he dared. The helicopters were getting close fast. As he drove on, Rabbit dug his ghillie suit out of his backpack and put it on. struggeling to get the mesh netting on over his boots. Finally dressed he came over the back of the seat and slipped in behind Spaceman as he climbed past the shift lever into the passenger seat and put on his own camouflage suit. Rabbit kept the jeep going. Once Spaceman was suited too, they shouldered their backpacks and Rabbit let off the gas, and downshifted from fourth to third. He swung hard and drove the jeep off the two-lane road out into the flat lands towards the forest and their ultimate goal. He pushed as hard as he dared in the rough terrain, the two men collected a few extra bruises for their effort.

     The ground twenty yards to the left of the jeep exploded as another salvo of rockets descended on them from the heavens. Be it form the VTOL or the distant Griffin they didn’t know. Rabbit slammed on the breaks and they both leapt from the vehicle before it stopped. They ran in opposite directions from each other. More missiles slammed into the 4x4 and it disappeared with a thundering explosion in a ball of fire and metal. Punctuated with the pop and rattle as the ammunition for the machine gun cooked off. The two men in camouflage ran until they were each about one hundred yards from the jeep’s wreckage then dropped into what was now the knee-high grass of the prairie, laying atop their backpacks. Breathing heavily, they hoped the aircraft couldn’t see them from altitude in the darkness. They waited for their camouflage to save them.

     After fifteen minutes of hovering and noisily flying about the VTOL’s left. Ten minutes after that the wreckage of the jeep stopped burning. Rabbit realised he had lost his sub-machine gun when he bailed from the jeep. He crawled back and was unable to find it in the dark. Spaceman materialized in the grass next to him and told him it had probably been destroyed by the missiles too. They stood and turned their backs to the city. Walking together, they still had almost eleven miles left to cover before they reached the supply cache out in the forest. They wanted to be there before sunrise. If they made it there they could rest in the shade and safety of the trees, for now, they had to stay moving.
 
     They set out already tired and sore, on their eleven-mile hike. The two man-bushes shuffled off together brandishing smiles. They were still alive, they still had all their parts and they had outsmarted a battle mech and its pilot, their only regret was the loss of Squid. Which at the moment seemed to have been a long time ago. They used the cover of darkness and their camouflage to disappear. Slinking into the night, and out into the vast rolling grasslands and stands of trees that dotted the countryside, eventually, they would find their buried gear in one of these clusters of vegetation, restock their supplies. Loading themselves up with new rifles, ammunition and other bits of smaller gear like silencers and fresh batteries. They left the empty backpacks and Rabbit gingerly, almost reverently reburied the watertight container, now containing Squid’s flechette pistol along with the other trinkets and gizmo’s they didn’t need at the moment. The pair slept in turns, by the time another day came they were ready and they set off wreak havoc someplace and sometime else.
-Chace A. Randolph

snakespinner

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #14 on: 20 January 2020, 02:53:55 »
Have not spotted any mistakes.
This part edited as well.
Looks like they are having fun. :D
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #15 on: 25 January 2020, 14:12:25 »
 :thumbsup:
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #16 on: 28 January 2020, 12:36:07 »
I'm going back to the King of Hammers 2020 race for the Ultra-4 season opening with the non for profit Revival Racing team who has partnered with Got-your-six racing. I have been packing tools and warm clothes and will be leaving some time Wednesday night. I will not have time to finish editing and post the entirety of the third installment of Spaceman and Rabbit. I have been working on it and I will post the first half, because as I found out with the previous part, there is a word count limit per post anyway and it will exceed that. I apologize for not being able to drop it all at once. I will return from the desert some time early next week. First part to follow shortly, thanks for your patience.
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #17 on: 28 January 2020, 13:49:35 »
                                                                                                             Snipers
   This mission was a rare case where the office that Spaceman and Rabbit technically operated under actually gave the two men direct orders. It was to be a cooperative undertaking with some hired guns, a specially trained team of mercenary snipers. This alone was enough to give The Rodents pause. They had achieved a great many small victories without the need for outside help. Working with a unit that didn’t know them personally made them nervous, they wouldn’t understand the dynamic between Spaceman and Rabbit, they would lack the cohesion that had made them so successful on their own.

       Word came down the grapevine that forces under Kathrine’s colors were making unprovoked movements. They had moved an entire company of medium to heavyweight battlemechs into the region. Those loyal to Victor didn’t have the firepower to deal with this threat, and the desk jockeys fearful from the news of death and discontent trickling in from other planets didn’t think there was time to hire a bunch of mechs of their own to counter this move. So instead they plotted to use teams of snipers to eliminate the pilots outside of their mechs. Eliminating the threat before it could become a threat. Throwing the Pawns against Rooks on their chessboard.
       
       The mechs had been spotted from orbit recently as they marched to a new and hastily erected installation buried deep in the backwoods of the mountains only accessible by a couple of roads that were more akin to game trails than actual roads. This recently established facility was positioned close enough to several cities and other installations to be able to strike at any time, but far enough away that they would be hard to strike back at. There was no way an equal or greater force could move against the installation without the forces inside from knowing something was coming. No one was sure what they were doing there, but the news from outside worlds had been bad enough and this move felt both bold and uncalled for.

       To reach so deep into the wilderness without using large vehicles that would activate remote sensors that were no doubt spread all over the few roads and through the countryside around the ‘mountain retreat’ as Spaceman had dubbed it during their rare and awkward official briefing, The Rodents were going to use a bulk cargo transport aircraft and parachute in with their rifles and equipment from the highest possible altitude.

       After their briefing in which the person lecturing them was visibly uncomfortable being in the room with the two hardened and senseless soldiers, withering under the wordless thousand-yard stare, they headed to meet up with the special sniper team hired to aid them. Add enough firepower to knock out all the pilots before they got to their mechs. The plan was to congregate in the dark of night at a civilian airport far away from their target.

       Soon they were climbing into an unmarked military cargo hauler plane. The five mercenaries they met in the dark and the shadows kept their cool. They didn’t have time to chat or get to know each other. The others were already geared up, it was dark and the loadmaster from the plane’s crew wanted them strapped in the plane and moving with wheels up as soon as possible.

       Hours later the massive piston engines and archaic propellers had lofted the team to a ridiculous height, pushing fifty thousand feet. The lightly laden plane’s tired engines struggling to keep them up there, gasping almost as hard as the snipers on board were, as they gulped air like fish in the poorly maintained cabin pressure. The three teams of snipers had all their packed up into special aerodynamic hard plastic cases, one case strapped to their back, another slightly smaller one to their chests. These packs held everything, their camouflage their rifles, ammo, their water and food rations. Radios, med-kits and any other survival equipment they could pack in, they were traveling as heavily as they could with an unprecedented amount of bulk per person. They each also wore two full-size parachutes, one as a primary the other as a reserve. They also were so high up they were forced to wear masks and small oxygen bottles so they could breathe during the jump. Most of the riflemen had cracked them on to trickle oxygen into their face masks due to the tired freighter's sub-par cabin pressurization.
 
       They were hoping to make a ‘HAHO’ jump, this style of High Altitude High Opening parachuting coupled with their rectangular airfoils would allow them to jump from a position that wasn’t directly over their target, and glide in on it with their parachutes. From this altitude, they hoped to cover over twenty miles, even with their burdensome combat loads dragging them down. After landing they would be able to creep in on their target undetected on foot.

       As their plane was mere minutes from their drop site and everyone had already lined up at the door prepped and they were finishing getting ready to drop, klaxons and sirens went off in the cockpit. Rabbit looked back over his shoulder from in the middle of the stack, past the three men and load master’s assistant behind him through the still open cockpit door, a bunch of lights turned red and started blinking furiously. The pilot came on over the intercom his words barely intelligible over the tooth rattling vibration of four fuel-hungry radial piston engines. His voice was calm and professional as he told them simply “Brace for impact” No sooner had the pilot said those words did over a dozen LRM missiles slam into the front of the aircraft. A massive explosion shook the plane, fire and shrapnel filled the cargo bay. The smoke billowed in and soon no one could see anything. Spaceman was able to feel his way along the wall and clutch onto Rabbit’s backpack as they started to change pitch quickly. There was a horrible shrieking as metal groaned and rent. The cabin depressurized, sucking a myriad of small objects forward and out the breach until the interior and external pressure equalized and then the thin high altitude air started rushing in. Instantly sucking the last of the warmth from the bodies of the nine people still alive inside the aircraft.

       Fortunately for the soldiers, since they were only five minutes from the drop zone they already had all their gear on and had been caught in the process of triple-checking each other’s equipment. The depressurization of the cabin sucked all the smoke out of the cabin, they could see again. They felt the plane tilt as it began to climb uncontrollably. the troop of snipers collectively looked forward the saw a massive hole in the forward fuselage where the cockpit should have been. The pilot, the cockpit and co-pilot, everything was all gone. With nothing to move the control surfaces, the plane was slowly leaning back into a climb, slowly dragging them higher and higher after the initial violent pitching from the impacts and explosions.
 
       The sniper team Spaceman and Rabbit were with, were clinging to the webbing on the walls so as to not fall as the pitch of the deck increased. The controls to the rear ramp of the plane were unresponsive. The loadmaster couldn't let them out, now they were trapped inside a plane that would climb and climb until it reached an altitude where its engines stalled and would then drop them into a plummeting death spiral from which there would be no escape.

       Then another salvo of LRM missiles slammed into the side of the headless airplane and rent a massive gash into the already decapitated fuselage. The inside port engine burst into flame and after a few seconds gave out, trailing a massive plume of smoke and droplets of oil, that seemed to hang in the air, like blood spilled in still waters. The wing stressed and bent and groaned and then suddenly was gone, peeling a big long strip of the airplane's skin off from the outside, taking it with the wing. Leaving a massive hole, the high-speed high altitude air screamed and whistled in through the hole, as if it was the massive plane's death screech. The plane stayed upright just long enough for Spaceman to curse out loud before the lift of the airframe's surviving wing flipped them over, and over and over again.

       With two of its engines missing the plane was no longer capable of climbing and as it spun madly about as it nosed over, falling into a screaming power-dive. The wristwatch looking device that the shooters were all wearing, were actually barometers. Telling them their altitude based on air pressure. They had now dropped below forty thousand feet. What was left of the plane's air-frame groaned under the strain of the acceleration, the dive and the massive G forces.  The wing and its two remaining engines running at nearly full throttle were rotating faster than the rest of the weakened air-frame wanted too. The tail section groaned, heaved, twisted and let go. The last twenty feet of the airplane broke off taking the entire tail of the aircraft with it. The now hollow tube of the fuselage, with the remaining wing and engines still screaming at full throttle plummeted. The huge wave of air that was rushing in ejected some of the team members. Others were trapped against the wall of the aircraft by the G forces or were entangled in the cargo netting on the walls of the aircraft. Spaceman and Rabbit were both among those ejected from the tumbling carcass, the wind blasting them out past the still spinning tail section and out into the freedom of the open air. They found themselves at thirty-six thousand feet, free of the tumbling death trap. Without hesitation, the two hardened grunts opened their parachutes seeing them do so prompted the others who had been flown free to do the same.

       They drifted for a few moments, buying the soldiers time they reached thirty-five thousand feet. Spaceman spotted a cloud of smoke not drifting, but rushing up from the ground to meet them in the darkness of the night. He shouted over the radios inside their full-face helmets.
 
       “Missiles incoming, they must be locking onto our parachutes signatures. Cut your canopies loose and free fall”

       With that the four surviving personnel reached for their sheathed knives and drawing their blades, swung them above their heads, cutting the dozens of fine shroud lines between them and their open canopies. Spaceman, Rabbit and one of the two others  were soon plummeting through the air, free-falling again. The fourth man had failed to cut all his shroud lines and was still attached to his parachute. The uneven distribution of weight caused the parachute to buckle and he too was falling faster, but he still had this massive radar signature attached to him as his partially inflated airfoil drug him around in wild circles. The cloud of missiles from whatever LRM launcher was below them shifted, the missile's guidance locking onto the one remaining target, and engulfed him in one massive explosion. oblivious to the events above them the three survivors continued to fall and those missiles that missed the parachuting man required the tumbling bits of the aircraft fuselage and attacked that radar signature instead.

       Using their hands and bodies to steer they angled themselves in their free fall, trying to put some distance between them and the falling bits of the airplane. They were trying to work their way closer to their target. Rabbit griped to himself that it would be a long hike through he estimated almost thirty-five miles of forested mountains before they would be able to reach their planned position. They had enough food to last the two or three days that would take, but they lacked the water. They would have to find some freshwater once safely on the ground, if they got that far. They continued to free fall the indicators on the barometers spinning madly as they reached terminal velocity, delaying as long as they could before opening their reserve parachutes so as to not make themselves targets again. They wouldn’t be able to pull such an evasive maneuver again, they only had one extra parachute each. The ground seemed to be rushing up to meet them. Finally, at one thousand eight hundred feet, Spaceman opened his chute, following his queue Rabbit and the other sniper opened their reserve airfoils as well.

       Once their chutes were open and inflated, they didn’t have much time before touch down, instead of gliding closer to their target they had to find a spot among the vegetation that was clear enough to land. Searching for somewhere on the ground by the light of the full moon, where the trees wouldn’t impale them. They drifted into a valley between the foothills that was relatively clear, following Spaceman’s lead, they angled towards and came down in an oblong clearing. They were going fast and landed hard. The landing made the three of them roll head over heels on the grassy loam. Tangling in the many lines of their parachutes and making their knees and ankles ache from the impact. Rabbit stood and with much confusion and a little excessive flailing managed to get untangled from his chute and made a dash for the concealment offered by the nearest trees. Once there Rabbit began changing his gear, pulling off his boots and digging his equipment out of the sealed plastic cases that he had dumped on the ground. He pulled off his helmet and air tank too. Soon Spaceman and their third wheel joined him. By now Rabbit had his gear out of the cases and was busy strapping on the lightweight chest rig that he jokingly referred to as “tactical suspenders” next came the ghillie suit and the headset for their encrypted radios.
 
       Spaceman sat down next to him and began the same process. Without a glance he huffed “let's not do that again” he then proceeded to gripe about how much the hard landing had hurt his big flat feet as they shivered in the cool air of the night, still chilled and wind burnt from their high altitude free fall. The third shooter just stood there and after a moment removed her helmet.

       When they had arrived at the airfield rendezvous in the darkness of night, and everyone was already geared up and they had immediately boarded the plane, Spaceman and Rabbit had not met the five mercenaries in the team they were to be working with. They didn’t know their names or genders. Spaceman and Rabbit both sat unmoving for a long moment, Rabbits mouth hung open. Finally, Spaceman went back to unlacing his boots, and with a shake of his head Rabbit donned the sling for his rifle and began stuffing his parachute into one of the plastic cases. He paused mid stuff and thought better of it. He pulled the chute back out and stretched it out on the ground, rolling it and packing it away properly. Replacing it and its pull cord in the proper pouch at the small of his back. Spaceman and Rabbit were almost done by the time their third surviving team member started moving. When she moved all she did was sob, looking upwards at the now empty sky, after a few seconds she whipped her eyes and started to repack her parachute too. Spaceman took the biodegradable plastic cases they had worn their gear in and started digging in the soft soil to bury them under a  tree in the shadows. Rabbit shifted, turning to sweep the hillsides around them with his rifle, covering the other two as they dug or changed their gear around. Once they were done, the trio jogged a good two hundred yards from where they had landed and melted into the bushes. Burying themselves in the undergrowth. They used the camouflage and the stillness of the night to conceal themselves. Now it was time to figure a new plan.

       The growling drone of a small plane engine told them that the enemy was searching. After a few minutes they could see a small plane, with long narrow, gently forward-swept wings growling through the air, two small pods under its extended canards housed powerful cameras and swiveled about rapidly. The trio dared not move. After the plane had passed the mercenary finally spoke. She was on the verge of tears and spoke of nothing but her spotter. Who was apparently went by the named Napier, and was the fourth person who had managed to escape the plane with them, but had failed to free himself from his parachute in time to destroy his radar signature. She went on to talk about how they had worked together for years on their previous deployment, which had been boring garrison duty. Of how they had been on so many missions together, of how well they worked together, how he had been so excited to not be on garrison duty anymore. She kept going and her voice was rapidly getting more and more choked up, soon she was just bawling. Pouring her eyes out.

       fearful of her blubbering noises giving them away in the silence of the night Rabbit snapped at her, telling her to shut up. A little more sharply than he intended but it got the point across. She stopped talking, and for a moment stopped sobbing.

       Then he growled at her. “He’s dead, I’m sorry. But you’re not. We still have a mission to finish, and even if you chicken out on us and you don’t want to finish this we’re out in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere. We are going to finish this, we can’t let them have so many mechs here. If you want to survive in this wilderness by yourself fine, but if so get away from us. So that your crying and sniveling doesn’t give us away and get all three of us killed.  Now put your big girl panties on and make a decision. We’re leaving, we have to get farther away from the landing site. I’m sure that the plane’s camera picked up our skid marks in the grass from our landing. They will have boots on the ground here soon enough. I’m sorry you liked him, I’m sure he was a great guy and a good partner but we have more important things to do right now. Do not let him die in vain, don’t let any of them die in vain and don’t let your grief slow us down. For now, we need to move fast without breaking our stealth.”

       She was shocked into silence. Rabbit instantly felt guilty for so thoroughly speaking his mind, but what was said, was said. They had to deal with it now. After she gulped back her tears she replied, “They call me Vix” Her voice still shaky. It was the first time she had heard either of them speak. harsh words from one of the infamous Rodents.

       With that Spaceman stood and scanned the area with the optic on his rifle, not seeing anything but trees and shadows the trio set off. Spaceman and Vix with their sniper rifles in front and back. Rabbit with his assault carbine in the middle. They moved out at a fast jog. Every seventy yards or so they would stop and drop into the brush. Letting their camo and the darkness swallows them back up. They would wait for a few minutes, catch their breath and listen, waiting to hear if anyone was following them. After doing this several times the gentle rolling hills they were in were quickly growing steeper. The mountains now looming over them, casting dark craggy shapes against the moonlit sky, their long shadows all over the valley. They didn’t stop. The shadows grew longer in the moonlight, the world grew quiet in the wee hours of darkness before the sunlight started to trickle over the horizon, they pressed on. They had some distance to cover, and no idea how long the mechs, and more importantly their pilots would be stationary, and they still had many miles to cover.

                         Continued...
« Last Edit: 28 January 2020, 13:55:16 by Chace of Spades »
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #18 on: 06 February 2020, 14:24:51 »
I apologize for the delay, I was working on the pit crew for an Ultra4 race team at the King of Hammers race in Johnson valley California. I was to far from electricity or running water to make a post. I have finished editing the second half of "snipers" and am leaving it here for your viewing pleasure.                                                                                 

                                                                                       ...Continued ----Snipers Part 2----

       They marched through the night, and by the time the sky started to brighten the trio was exhausted, Rabbit’s eyes were heavy and his legs very sore, Vix was nearly sleepwalking as she trudged through the brush, only Spaceman seemed unaffected. His eyes were heavy, you could tell he was tired, his shoulders sagged a little too. But he still moved with grace, with the power of a coiled snake.

       The trio had left the foothills and were now in the mountains proper. They had scaled the first peak and were descending its leeward slope. They worked their way through the saddle between two mountains as the sun rose. Not only did they still have more than thirty miles to cover, but it was going to all be through the mountain. Vix seemed very affected by the high altitude. Her breath coming and going very fast. She panted in rapid short, shallow breaths. Out of concern for her, and his aching ankles Rabbit called a stop. Vix flopped down on a knee-high rock and promptly put her head in her hands and went to sleep. Spaceman and Rabbit huddled next to her to confer.

       Rabbit started with, “She’s not doing too well, listen to her breathing, I don’t know if she can do this.”

       Spaceman replied, “She doesn’t have a whole lot of choice, it’s not like she can get out of these mountains, the only thing back there is more wilderness and eventual starvation. The only way out is forward. We must continue the mission. We have to get to that base, snipe the shit out of the bad guys and call for an emergency extraction.”

       Rabbit countered “How are we going to do that, there are lots of mountains between us and our target. You know all hell will break loose when we start shooting people down there. We might not even have enough food and water to get there, much less to get back out of this. You forget we're still working on a time table. We had to hike all night, in about five hours, our ride out of these mountains will think we’re dead and move on. If they even bother showing up at all, after the plan got shot down before the drop point, if they aren’t already assuming we are all dead. We can’t even hope to get this done.”

       Spaceman parried “No I don’t know how we will get there, or how we will get out. But we will. If we don’t, those mechs will be let loose on the rest of the valley. Who knows how many lives we will save by eliminating that threat, even if it cost us our own. We are doing this. Now, I have been on point all night, My adrenaline is running out and I’m tired. I’m going to sit here with sleeping beauty and grab a combat nap. You should scout ahead, keep an eye out for traps and see if you can find an easier path up the next mountain.”

       Rabbit first inkling was to argue back, he had hiked all night too, he was tired too, he needed rest too. But he decided not to rub Spaceman any further the wrong way he had been on point, he had dealt with the stress of leading them in unknown territory for all hours of the night. He had earned the break more than Rabbit had, and besides they couldn’t all sleep at once. Rabbit was just a bit concerned about being or getting separated from the two of them. He nodded silently and turned to leave.

       He trudged away as Spaceman sat down and leaned against the sleeping Vix, back to back. Rabbit now alone, worked his way into the bush. He moved slowly, his feet heavy with weariness, and his shoulders heavy with his pack. There was no path, no trail. He muddled through the brush and ferns among the towering trees all by himself. He moved with less purpose, meandering from side to side, looking for little details, covering as much area in a given part of terrain as possible, in the twenty minutes he marched he covered surprisingly little distance. He came to a small clearing that was just down slope from them at the very bottom of the saddle between the mountains.

       The clearing itself was of no consequence, but through the gap in the canopy, he was able to see into the valley below, down deep between the mountains. Way down there was a house. All by itself out in the lonesome of the wilderness. Probably a rancher or someone that grazed cattle or even mountain sheep on these steep slopes. He could see not just the main house, but a couple of small sheds and other such outbuildings too. Rabbit felt they could secure supplies form there, possibly transportation or even communication. At the very least refill their water stocks. He quickly returned to where Spaceman and Vix were resting and woke them. Spaceman checked his watch, rubbed his eyes, checked his watch again and then grumbled for only getting half an hour’s rest.

   It took almost another two hours of hiking, but the trio made it down to the building, which they approached cautiously, with weapons ready. They slowly closed in around the main house, spread out to cover three of the four sides at once. They came to the grimy rear entrance, with a tattered screen door. Rabbit stepped aside and opened the screen door, holding it aside to let Spaceman go past. Spaceman tucked his rifle into his armpit, so he could maintain control of it better in case someone else grabbed it, then with his now free hand, he reached forward and grasped the knob on the inner door. He turned and it rotated smoothly and evenly, but then as he pushed the door it only opened an inch or two. He shoved harder, still nothing. He lowered his stance and put his shoulder into it. Finally, it swung open in one rapid motion, banging into something inside the room. Deep gouges were worn into the linoleum floor from where the door would bind on the tiles. Spaceman burst in, Vix and Rabbit behind him. But the room was devoid of inhabitants. Whoever lived there was not present at the moment but had been recently. There was fresh produce on the table, the light in the hall was still on.

       The two men left their packs on the table and told Vix to refill the water bottles and pack as much of the produce in as she could. She looked at them incredulously. “You want me to do what for you?”

       Spaceman replied with” Rabbit and I are a team, we work together, we have worked together on a lot of two way shooting ranges. We need to clear the rest of the house.”
 
       She scowled at them both fiercely, but after a pause turned to retrieve the water bottles from their packs and fill them. With that Spaceman followed Rabbit down the hall, both with weapons ready. Aside from a dusty old couch in the living room, a bedroom with many worn-out jeans on the floor and a small bathroom, there was nothing else in the house. They returned to Vix and her dirty looks. They retrieved their packs, and even with the extra heft, felt better for having filled their water supplies again. They left and split apart, agreeing to each check one of the three sheds, and then meet up and check the fourth one together, since it was largest.

    Most of the sheds were filled with miscellaneous farm equipment, some shovels and other hand tools, a generator and a nice welder. A couple of deep freezers and some large sacks of grain. Nothing of interest until the trio regrouped at the fourth shed. Which turned out to be a garage. Rolled way into the back of the building was a small two-seat helicopter, it had a small bubble canopy and a two-blade main rotor. The lightweight steel tube boom extended back to the tail rotor, it was yellow and had a fifty-gallon tank of fertilizer or pesticides or some other odd liquid suspended between its two-wheel equipped skids. That would have been a great find, except there was only room for two of them in it and no one present knew how to fly it. In front of that was an empty space with an oil stain and some tire tracks denoting some type of wheeled vehicle, which was not present and again was of no use to the trio of soldiers. To the side, however, were six bicycles. They were all in various states of disrepair, but they were transportation and better than that, they were transportation they could use.

   Spaceman dug out his tool kit and with some help from Rabbit, they used the parts from the six bikes to make three that worked well. Thought one was in such bad shape they discarded it altogether. Not caring, they left the pieces and broken parts lying about the floor and benches in the garage, and after filling their tires with air, they mounted their steel and aluminum steeds and set off, deeper into the mountains.

       Soon however the steep terrain and the weariness from their forced night march took their tool. They were able to cover the ground fast but they soon grew tired and decided to stop for rest. They roller the bikes under a particularly large tree and sat. Spaceman took watch this time as Rabbit and Vix dozed off for a couple of hours, then Spaceman woke Rabbit and they switched jobs so that Spaceman slept for hours more. Rabbit woke the other two and they drank and ate. Now with slightly more energy and slightly lighter packs, they set off again, walking the bikes half as much as riding them due to the vegetation and rocky terrain.

       They traveled the rest of the day, stopping twice more to take brakes and naps. When the sun came down they ate and drank. That night they slept in turns. Due to their sheer exhaustion, they slept better than any of them had in quite some time despite the uncomfortable chill in the air and lack of beds.

      They woke in the morning and set out again. Slowly this time, they were low on water. By the time they stopped mid-day to eat and drink their stores where exhausted, despite only being roughly halfway done with their trek. They would have to find something by nightfall, or they would be facing dehydration issues. The group sat in the shade for a couple of hours, planning their course of action. Now they stood the very real possibility of both failing their mission, and dying.

       The trio decided they would have to spread out, and look for streams, or any source of water they could find, then they would meet up at the lowest point of the valley below them. They scattered, though only by a little, only fifty yards or so separated each from the others as they made their way downhill. Near the bottom of the slope Vix found and traced an empty stream bed, and at its base a stagnant pool of water. She followed the valley floor to the meeting point, then led the two men back to where she found the water, and they collectively wrinkled their noses. Vix had a plastic water bottle with a built-in filtration system. Slowly, bottle by bottle she filtered the tea-colored scummy water and loaded all of their canteens, they drank their fill and topped off their canteens again. The water was so murky and the snipers so thirsty that the filter was used up in the process, they wouldn’t be able to do that again, but for now at least they had potable water again.

       The mountain going up the next slope became too steep and rocky, they had to abandon the bicycles, Rabbit had a flat front tire anyway and was not sad to leave their commandeered transportation. To break the silence and fight the boredom as they pressed on, Spaceman cracked a joke to Vix about being a hippie for having a filtered water bottle. Rabbit apologized for Spaceman, and thanked her for having a filtered water bottle, and then agreed with Spaceman that she was a very dangerous hippie.

     They trudged slowly uphill. Their feet tired and their shoulders aching. The dense trees and knee-high grass sometimes hindered their progress even more than the steep slope, forcing them to back track and find a new route multiple times. There were squawking birds and buzzing insects, the crawling lizards, the millipedes. The forest was very alive, even if the three of them felt like the walking dead, their limbs and backs ached, they paid no attention to the trees or the critters or even the pretty view. They were just putting one foot in front of the other and cared little of anything else, except for once when Rabbit walked through a large spider web, it took him ten minutes of cursing and flailing as they hiked to finally get it all off. Once they crested the Mountain's peak they found to their relief the other side had a much shallower slope, with a broad shallow river at the base.

       They reached the river’s edge just after lunchtime. The water was moving fast, was rather cold and very clear. They sat at its edge, refilled their bottles, drank and filled their bottles again. Vix pulled off her boots and dipped her aching feet in the water despite it being so cold it made her shiver and sapped the feeling from her toes. Spaceman and Rabbit both removed their gloves and sank their arms in up to the elbows, cooling themselves off. The afternoon sun was unforgiving and their trecking was laborious. Rabbit voiced his opinion that they should call it a day and rest there at the water’s edge, regain their strength as best they could, soother their aches and catch up on sleep. Vix agreed.

       Spaceman would have none of that laziness. He said they could rest a while, but not more than an hour or two. The longer they waited, the more likely their target was to get beyond their reach, and the weaker and hungrier they would get. With that, he turned and stalked off back to the tree line and relieved himself on a small bush. When he returned he spoke with Vix a then the pair left, Spaceman going one way, upstream along the bank. Vix went downstream leaving Rabbit alone at the water’s edge.
They were searching for a better place to cross. Rabbit, after putting his gloves back on and soaking his ball cap in the water, returned to the concealing shadows of the tree line and waited for the others. Rabbit figured the water was only knee-deep, they might as well just wade across where they were, save time and effort, but Spaceman figured it was too easy to slip on the rocks and sprain an ankle, which would be a death sentence up in the isolation of these mountains. So Rabbit contented himself with relaxing as they looked for a better way to make it across and he waited for the hottest part of the afternoon to pass.

       His hat was nearly dry when the other two returned. He stood and stretched his legs, and yawned, having nearly dozed off. Vix had not found a better crossing, but Spaceman found a bend in the river upstream, the current was slower there, and a log was half-buried in the mud, they could hold onto it and better maintain their balance, he had decoded the would cross there. Spaceman and Vix sat to rest, and Rabbit stood, with rifle ready, slowly shuffling his way through the brush keeping an eye and ear out for any unnatural disturbances on the way. Paying attention to the way the wind blew, the smells it carried, the sounds of the forest, if the birds got quiet or took flight. He looked for tracks and disturbances in the soil, at one point he even sat on his haunches for nearly ten minutes with his hand on the ground, just to see if anything “felt” out of the ordinary. Convinced they were not being followed and weren’t in any immediate danger he returned to the other two. He had to nudge the dozing Spaceman with his boot, rather firmly but good-naturedly. Vix, on the other hand was not asleep and instead was stripped down to just her skivvies and in the river, he camouflage and various other gear was strewn about in the soft mossy grass along the cold waters banks.

       Out of respect for her privacy Spaceman turned his back as he struggled to shake the sleep from his limbs. Rabbit cleared his throat to get her attention, then asked her to 'get booted and suited' so they could keep moving. She turned and rose from the water to retrieve her gear, Rabbit struggled but managed to avert his eyes and turn his back too. As she dressed, he grumbled something out of the corner of his mouth to Spaceman. Spaceman snorted and held back his chuckling as Vix approached, still securing the straps of her backpack and ballistic vest. She looked at them foully and asked what they were snickering about. When Rabbit replied “Nothing” she gently but firmly elbowed him in the ribs and stalked past the pair.  Leaving them with a nasty glare and the lingering word “Perverts” hanging in the air after she walked past.

       The gentle slope down the back of the mountain to the river had let them cover some good linear distance, they were less than ten miles from their target now. The going was going to get easier for them, they were coming out the other side of the mountain chain. Soon they would be in the gently rolling foothills again.

   By the next nightfall, they were no longer in the mountains proper, back had come out the backside of them and were among the foothills again, the forest had thinned out too. Leaving only sparse patches of thick vegetation in the gullies and rolling grasses everywhere else. They didn’t stop to rest that night when they crested one of the foothills they suddenly had their target thrust upon them. Not more then a mile off out in the darkness was a giant pool of light as towers with massive floodlights covered every square inch of the recently erected compound. The trio used the cover of darkness to move closer. Getting in a good position undetected while they could. They were close enough now to the facility that when the sun rose they would have nothing to conceal them except their own camouflage. The night made their job easier as they slithered into position, the lights of the hired gun's base made it visible from far and wide while making it hard for anyone inside to look too far out beyond their own walls. The high caliber rifles that Spaceman and Vix carried, would work just fine. They both had powerful optics and the large cartridges their guns ate had plenty of range to make solid hits at these distances on a target that conveniently illuminated itself so well.

   The limiting factor would be the flight time of the bullet. The long delay between firing and impact would make it very difficult to hit any moving targets. If they were to shoot the pilots of the battle mechs, it would most likely be done as they ran to their battle mechs. Vix volunteered to sit out at a longer range. She found a nice hilltop just under one mile away. Rabbit lead the way closer to the target, getting Spaceman and his rifle at a range of just less than three-quarters of a mile. Then Rabbit sat and established himself a nice concealed position to cover Spaceman. Vix had the distance to help protect her. They tested the wind, built some rests for their rifles, dug in some fox holes, set up some improved camouflage and Rabbit even established some trip lines on their flanks, that would alert them in case foot soldiers tried to sneak around them. Then they sat and waited, napping until the sun started to rise.

       Rabbit was stiff and achy from the chill of the night and wiggled deeper down into his fox hole and looked into his spotting scope, he adjusted the focus and clicked on his radio, so he could talk to Spaceman who was forty yards uphill behind him, and Vix almost a quarter-mile away. Spaceman removed the lens caps form his scope and hunkered down, snugging his rifle in tightly to his shoulder, then adjusted the zoom and focus on his scope, made some corrections to make up for wind, and the mist that was forming down in the valley, he had to correct for the humidity. He hoped the Fog wouldn’t obscure his vision too much, but he also didn’t complain because he knew it would hide the three of them even better. Vix sat all by her lonesome. Rifle at the ready, optics adjusted and a couple of magazines of ammunition laid out next to her so she could swap them out faster.
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #19 on: 06 February 2020, 14:25:36 »
                                                                                                          Snipers, Part 3


       Then they waited for the base to wake up. Some lights came on inside some of the buildings, spilling light out of their windows and casting odd shadows in the early morning dimness after the floodlights had switched off on their timers, but before the sun had fully risen. Some men started to shuffle about, none of them armed or even in uniform, they must have all been maintenance personnel. After a while longer, a few sleepy-looking security personnel wandered from one building to another. Four men with rifles boarded two jeeps, one went to the front gate, the other drove twice around the inside of the fence and then parked again. The men inside the second vehicle exited and then stood about to smoke their morning cigarettes and drink from thermos bottles.

      Eventually, the doors to one of the large garages were rolled open. The trio of shooters could see the dark silhouettes of battle mechs inside. As the sun grew stronger a few technicians with books under their arms pushed a cart of tools through the open doors and disappeared inside. An hour or so after that two men in uniform wearing berets marched in and could be seen in the shadow of the doors talking to the techs, there was lots of pointing involved. After a few seconds, Rabbit breathed into his radio, “I think their pilots. Vix you take the one on the left, Spaceman the one on the right. Send when ready.”

   Rabbit breathed in deeply and held it, then ever so slowly, exhaled through his nose. He knew this was precisely what the two nearby shooters would be doing, and he wanted to know when the shots would go off.

   Vix hoped that Spaceman was smart enough to wait until after she fired to take his shot, that way, the two rounds would impact at close to the same time. Leaving less room for error, and greater psychological effect on the enemy, at this distance, they would only hear one shot, as the distance would muddle the two reports together into one by the time they reached the enemy. Two men would fall, and they would only identify one shooter.

       Vix breathed deeply and lined up her sights, she began to exhale, slowly squeezing the trigger at roughly the same rate she breathed out.  When she finally emptied her lungs she fired. The massive round rushed down the barrel at well over three thousand feet per second. Soon it was out the muzzle of her rifle and beyond her control, flying through the atmosphere. The recoil from the big gun pushed her back into the dirt, the toes of her boots scrapping trenches across the bottom of her fox hole. Spaceman fired too.
   
       The rounds flew straight and true. She had her cross hairs lined up for a perfect head shot lined up, but because of the range they were firing at her round dropped more than she had compensated for, and it hit her target in the neck. The kinetic energy of the round took a fist-sized chunk out of his neck, destroying one of the vertebrae in his lower neck. Spaceman hit his target square in the chest, splitting the man's sternum as if he had struck it with a hammer. Vix watched the two targets fall in her scope. She cycled the action of her rifle.

   The techs nearby stood looking stunned, the two pilots in front of them seemed to explode simultaneously. They hardly had time to glance from one man to the other before they were both on the ground. Then after the men had fallen the distant echo of a single rifle shot came to their ears. They stood next to each other in stunned silence. Then realizing they two were also in danger they dove from the door to cover behind the workbenches in the depths of the mech shop. They shouted for help.
   
       A few security guards wandered out from the station towards the hangar. Vix tracked their progress. They reached the bodies of the pilots and immediately became alert, one-shouldered his rifle and dropped to a knee between the two downed men, scanning the field, one was on the radio, two others ran for stretchers and the last drew his sidearm and crouched near the partially hidden techs behind the toolboxes and workbenches in the hangar.  Soon more security forces deployed. Several men jumped out of a shack, three went to the second jeep that had been used to patrol the fence, two more went to the hangar and one last one went to another building. The only brick building there. The other buildings were all made of corrugated steel. The security officer knocked on the door of the brick structure, after a pause the door opened, answered by another man wearing a beret. His shirt was still unbuttoned. The pair spoke for a second, and the color drained from the pilot's face. The door closed and the security guard waited. After eleven more minutes, the other pilots came out of the building, and the security guard led them to the hangar.
   
       As they jogged across the open tarmac Rabbit called it out. “Pilots in the open, multiple targets, fire at will.” Vix picked the Security guard in front, hoping that if she lead him enough it would strike one of the pilots behind him. Spaceman started at the opposite end, aiming at the last in the line, leading him significantly as well. Spaceman fired, and after a moment’s pause, Vix fired too.  Spaceman was a little closer, he didn’t have to lead as much or hold as high, he hit his mark. It was a clean head shot, cored the man’s cranium like an apple, from temple to temple. Vix’s shot was close, but didn’t make a permanent mark. The shot passed between the first and second pilots in the group. They kept moving, not even noticing the last man in their line had just dropped. The snipers cycled the bolts on their weapons.

   The Pilots soon arrived at the hangar and stood dumbly gawking at the two dead on the ground, who had now been moved to stretchers. The two snipers both fired again. Spaceman didn’t hold over high enough and his shot when through the pilot’s knee, but the massive round was enough to shatter the man’s kneecap and leave his lower leg hanging on only by the ligaments. Bone shards and blood smeared the floor. Vix put a round through another pilot’s shoulder blade. The lung beyond was destroyed and the ribs shattered as the round exited his chest and bounced across the floor of the building between the feet of a dormant Griffon mech. The shooters cycled the actions of their rifles again.

       Now the pilots knew something was up, they scattered. Fleeing into the depths of the hangar. The security guard grabbed the collar of the pilot who took the hit to the knee and drug him to safety too. He left quite a trail of blood and jiblets from his shattered leg.

   The gates to the compound opened, the three rifle-toting security guards in the jeep came out, engine straining as the driver pushed the vehicle hard. Spaceman could see someone waving an arm about from behind a tool trolley. He aimed carefully, taking full advantage of the mil-dot lines in his scope’s reticle and put the round between the two shelves of the cart. Hitting the pilot in the ribs. Destroying both his lungs and the kinetic force lacerated both his liver and his spleen. Vix spotted another target hiding behind a welding cart. She fired and skipped the round off of the concrete floor and hit the man behind the cart in the ankle. Severing his foot, the pilot flopped onto the floor, spurting blood and curses. That was more than half of the pilots down, seven of thirteen. The jeep turned down the beaten dirt road that angled slightly towards the trio’s hiding places. But not directly towards them either, they used the medium machine gun mounted on the roll bar of the jeep to shoot, at what Rabbit wasn’t sure, the rounds were splashing all over the countryside. The gunner fired madly.

       Spaceman shifted his aim and shot the vehicle. Having his scope doped for the much farther range inside the fence of the facility he held very low on the approaching vehicle, hoping his guesstimate was good enough and he would land a hit in spite of the long-range dope on his scope. The heavy slug smashed into the grill of the vehicle and punched through its radiator, water pump and into the core of the engine block, destroying the front end of the camshaft. The first two cylinders' worth of valves stopped working. It motored on for a bit, but soon the vehicle stopped as the engine rattled and clanked its last breath in the morning chill. Vix fired, smashing the windshield and killing the driver. The gunner kept shooting as the remaining passenger rolled out and dove behind the jeep. After one last long burst, the gunner abandoned his post and dove behind the jeep with the other man. They must have been out of ammo for the belt-fed gun.

   Rabbit whispered into the radio again. “Movement in the garage.” Spaceman and Vix swung their rifles back around and sure enough, there were men rushing about.  The remaining mech pilots were making a dash for their steel steeds. Spaceman and Vix both fired and reloaded. Vix’s shot missed, bouncing off the concrete floor and punching through the back wall of the building. Spaceman’s shot hit one of the pilots in the hip spinning him around and throwing him down. The remaining half dozen pilots were soon scrambling up their ladders to the cockpits of their mechs. The snipers fired again after installing fresh magazines in their rifles. Spaceman missed narrowly. Vix hit one of the pilots in the wrist as he climbed towards his cockpit. The blast took his hand off, and reeling in pain he fell from the ladder to the concrete floor fifteen feet below, he didn’t move. The remaining pilots passed above the edge of the doorway as they ascended to their cockpits. The pilots were for the moment safe from the snipers, out of their line of sight.
   
       Spaceman cursed in anger and fired another shot, punching through the body armor of one of the rifle-wielding security guards standing in the hangar's doorway, waving his hands about. He stood for a second looking at his entrails hanging out, then slowly slumped to the floor and moved no more. Rabbit warned on the radio “Mechs on the move.” The trio could see the feet of some of the giant machines moving about under the edge of the doorway.

   The mechs one by one emerged. As five massive machines ducked under the doorway and straightened to survey the field, the cockpit of one popped open, and the pilot leaned out, shouting at the security guards below. They must not have had compatible radios between the mech and the rent-a-cop guards. Rabbit advised Spaceman and Vixen over the Radio, they both shot, and they both hit. Rabbit watched as the pilots extended left arm tumbled to the ground, and then the headless body slumped back into the seat in the cockpit, the machine moved no more. Instead if stood idling like a gargoyle, only threatening in principle and appearance.

   The remaining lance of mechs jogged through the compound and out the gate. They closed the distance towards the three shooters and then clustered around the jeep and used good old fashion hand signs to communicate with the two security guards on the ground rather than risk opening their cockpits. Rabbit radioed “There is nothing more we can do here, let's bounce.” Spaceman was able to get another shot off, killing one of the guards behind the jeep. After that the three stood up form their positions, emerging out of the soft damp holes, the sticks and leaves piled on them falling from their shoulders as the straitened. They turned and ran, heading for the mountains. Hoping to use the broken terrain to hide and evade the battle mechs.

       They ran hard, their tired legs carrying them uphill, then downhill. The mountains looming over them as they kept running pounding the dirt with their feet. Their legs pumping, fighting the weight of their packs, the steepness of the slope and the hunger in their bellies. The mechs fanned out, covering a broad area, spreading their firepower out. But even one of the beastly machines was enough to kill the three of them. Soon the sweat was running into their eyes, and Rabbit's vision began to get blurry and turn gray. The mechs were still getting closer. They ran down the slope deeper into the foothills, putting the terrain between them and the mechs. They took the opportunity to change directions. They shifted to their right, running diagonally across the slope, they reached the gully at the base of the foothill and dropped into the grass and laid still, panting hard. Rabbits vision slowly began to return to normal, he rolled his head around, scanning the ridgeline. He couldn’t see any mechs yet. The three troopers began burying themselves in the foliage. Burrowing deeper into the loam where they could. Letting the earth and foliage camouflage them visually and minimize their heat signatures as best they could.
       They waited in these makeshift holes for hours as the mechs and a hand full of troops crawled over the hillsides looking for them. They lay hungry and exhausted, stuck in their hidden positions. Until the threat was passed they had nothing better to do, and gave into their hunger and exhaustion and they slept, to tired to care if they were found, they had hit their targets their mission was accomplished weather they got out alive or not.

       Two days later and five miles further to the East of Katherine’s hired troops base, a helicopter flared above the peak of a mountain. It never actually touched the ground but instead hovered two or three feet in the air, for less than thirty seconds. Only long enough for three people all in need of a shower and shave to climb aboard with hands shaky from hunger. The VTOL dropped back below the ridge line and flew the nape of the earth, back the way it had come out of the mountains. Back to safety and warmth of civilization.
 
« Last Edit: 06 February 2020, 14:28:15 by Chace of Spades »
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #20 on: 19 February 2020, 12:46:39 »
                                                                     Who let the dog out?
       Spaceman and Rabbit didn’t normally receive orders. Typically, they were given some gear and free reign within a specific region, to do what they wish so long as it caused mayhem for those flying the colors of Kathrine the traitor. This time there were given orders by dead drop. They were to meet an informant for some instructions. Specific instructions no less.

       So they rode on some 'borrowed' mountain bikes three or so miles from their abandoned warehouse hideout into a shoddy apartment complex. The climbed the stairs through the first and second floors and went to the appropriate room on the third floor. When they knocked they were greeted by a small mousy man with shifty eyes and very little gray hair. He stared at them just long enough for it to start to feel awkward before removing the chain and letting them in. He closed the door and replaced the chain and deadbolt. The room was rather large. From the looks of things the owner was renting the room next door too, and they had knocked the walls down in between the two apartments to make one large room. One wall had three gentlemen seated in front of a large banks of computers. They were all watching video feeds and reading data streams, they must have been some sort of surveillance team. A surveillance team that Spaceman and Rabbit weren't privy too. Which was typical for the cellular they operated, in complete ignorance of what the 'official military' was up to. The mousy man returned to a small desk and went back to meticulously cleaning an older, very used looking heavy machine pistol, complete with wire frame folding stock and archaic wooden for grip. Two other men and a dog sat in the other corner, farthest from the door. These men were warriors, much like Spaceman and Rabbit. Dressed in full gear, with knives, pouches, magazines, night vision goggles and many other assorted types of gear, looking uncomfortable being in such clandestine accommodations.
       
        After a pause  as the two teams looked each other up and down judging and weighting each other one of the two men stood from the table, and walked over, shaking hands with first Spaceman and then Rabbit. He motioned they sit at some folding chairs surrounding their wooden coffee table that was half-covered by a paper map, and half-covered with empty rifle magazines and a freshly opened ammo crate. Once they were seated the other man and the dog both got up and staying very close together both came and sat on their haunches at the other end of the table. The man took up a magazine and began to load it. The dog nuzzling his elbow all the while.

       The first man identified himself as the ranking officer and the handler for the other man and his dog, who was identified as Scooter. There was a forty-minute question and answer session in which the handler explained the mission to Rabbit and Spaceman, and queried as to weather they would have the skills to assist with it.

      They were to work closely with these men, and their dog Scooter. They explained a significant offensive was being planned. In order to get their battle mechs into position for the attack they had to sneak them through a particular mountain pass. It just so happened that Katrina’s forces had been kind enough to fill this remote mountain pass with numerous and varying types of land mines, everything from tiny half-pound anti-personnel mines to based on orbital readings and vibration-sensitive anti mech mines.

       Precluding the mechs passage, they had to disarm all the mines. Spaceman and Rabbit were to covertly bring back all their gear back to this hideout since this team of guys was one of the few remaining on planet sources of covert resistance. Once they brought the gear back and they assimilated their equipment. Then they would get the rest of the briefing in case they were compromised before they knew enough to be really harmful to the operation should they and their knowledge fall into the wrong hands.
 
       The two irregulars shuffled back downstairs got back on their bicycles and went back to their safe house. To try and make it harder to tell what they were up to they took separate routes that were both different from the route they had taken before and rode with large backpacks and overloaded cargo racks back to the watch station in the apartments. They were precariously overloaded, but managed to get all their supplies there in one trip.

       Once they were back and all the gear was sorted through and checked they were instructed with the rest of the plan. The four of them and the bomb-sniffing dog Scooter were going to stow away on a civilian aircraft. The pilot had been bought off, he would take a slight detour to avoid a spot of “turbulence” on his flight and the four of them with dog in tow would HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump into the valley where the mines where. The two other men and the dog would play a delicate game of search and destroy to uncover and disarm the mines in the valley. Meanwhile, Spaceman and Rabbit were to land in a different spot and hike up the mountains. There they would keep a look out for trouble and provide sniper fire if necessary. If things got really bad there was a wing of three missile toting attack helicopters they could call into strike targets while a fourth light transport would come to get them and pull them out if they had to scrub the anti mine operation and by extension the entire offensive, at least for the moment. If all went as planned then they would hike out of the valley and be picked up by a local farmer who had also been bought off. He would hide them in his barn overnight and sneak them back into town with them posing as laborers.

       After they were instructed, they packed all their gear and made ready before squeezing in some sleep. The pair ended up slumped in a corner leaning on their freshly packed parachutes passed out like babies.

      They all awoke before daybreak and hid in the back of a truck under a tarp. The mousy man, with a nice leather jacket and his machine pistol concealed under it, drove them to the airport. There they climbed into a wooden crate and sealed it from the inside. The four of them and the dog were very cramped, and the few air holes drilled in the back of the crate were nowhere near enough. It quickly got very hot. After what felt like an eternity but was really only thirty minutes a forklift loaded them into the back of a moderate-sized two engine civilian cargo hauler aircraft.

       They waited even longer for engine start and the plane to taxi, after another agonizing ten minutes sitting on the ramp with engines idling, they were air born. As soon as the plane leveled out form its initial take-off climb the lot of them burst out of the wooden crate, panting and gladly sucking at the fresh air. After a few moments wheezing, they reconstructed the crate and checked each other’s gear. They all carried the slightly larger than standard ten cell para-foils. They also had seven cell ones as reserves. The second man of the ground team as they referred to themselves would be carrying the dog down too. With the extra weight, he had an extra-large eleven cell para-foil. Spaceman and Rabbit making up the mountain team had their gear checked first and were briefed on the basics of parachuting. While they had been trained to do it, they had only ever made the few jumps required in training and had never performed the feat since. Once the gear was checked they all crowded forward to talk to the pilot.

       He was an older gentleman with little hair left on his head, though he still had a dense salt and pepper beard. The top of his bald head was covered with a black skull cap. He was slightly overweight but had thick and powerful forearms and biceps. He talked to the operation leader briefly. He nodded once and then shook his head repeatedly. Eventually, he just shrugged and went back to intently flying his plane.

       The op leader said he was having second thoughts but in the end agreed to continue as planned. Rabbit didn’t like him though, he felt slimy and wrong. He didn’t mention that though because Rabbit never really liked anyone, No not even Spaceman. He did however like the dog Scooter. Being in the plane they were properly introduced. Scooter was a happy boy who shook paws and wagged his tail until it thumped on the cabin wall. The soft fur around his ears reminded Rabbit of home. In the twenty-something hours Rabbit and Spaceman had been with this team, they had emotionally bonded more to the dog then they had to the two other men. Rabbit made mention of this and Spaceman’s only reply was “so?”

       After another twenty minutes of flying the operation leader told the pilot, it was their stop. He sealed off the cockpit and they put on their oxygen masks. They opened the side door and depressurized the cargo bay. Their gallant leader leaned out into the slip stream, the blast of cold air instalty sucking all the warmth from his body and looked at the terrain, checking to make sure they were in the right spot and then with a thumbs up, he jumped. The second guy, now with the Scooter strapped to his chest leapt immediately after him. Spaceman and Rabbit waited fifteen seconds and then they jumped too.

       They free fell, then they fell farther, then the fell some more, and finally, as the ground was getting disturbingly close and they could see individual trees, they opened their parachutes. The snapping motion jerked them firmly, but both of their chutes deployed nicely and had they had no troubles in their decent. With a quick glance to his right Rabbit could see the other two men and their gray parachutes just before they touched down. After a rather eventful landing among the trees, and Spaceman doing some climbing to retrieve their parachutes so they could stow them. They then donned their camouflage suits.

       They hadn't brought suppressors for their weapons this time. It would have been more weight to carry on the parachutes, and more significantly the reduced range of their weapons would have been a big hindrance. Out here in the mountains if they did get in a gunfight the echo’s from the mountains would confuse the enemy just as much as the suppressors would. Spaceman readied his sniper rifle and Rabbit checked to be sure his assault rifle was ready and the illuminated optic was switched on.
 
       They found a nice clearing on the steep slope of the moutains, offering them a gap in the trees large enough they could look out and through this gap they scanned the opposite side of the valley. Spaceman cranked up the power on the scope and began systematically searching , hidden in the shadows and the foliage at the uphill edge of the clearing. Mentally establishing a grid and searching every tree inside of every square for targets. As Spaceman looked for enemies far way, Rabbit looked for enemies much closer. He stayed within shouting distance of Spaceman but slowly crawled in a big circle sweeping the area around Spaceman. Moving slowly and carefully so that not only would his suit camouflage him but his cautiousness prevented him from disturbing the vegetation too much, trying not to mark his passing by leaving a trail of broken stems.

       The two men on the valley floor started their part of the operation. One, being led by the dog looked for the mines as the other swept the surrounding hillsides with his rifle. After twenty yards they stopped, one man help up a balled fist, the dog laid down, and the two men both dropped to a knee. After a few seconds more, they radioed Spaceman and Rabbit that they had uncovered their first mine and were going to attempt to disarm it. After three or four minutes they radios back the all-clear and signaled they were going to keep moving on. Thirty yards further into their search pattern the dog laid down again. The two men stopped and dropped to a knee and radioed they had uncovered another land mine. This one was larger than the first. Spaceman rolled his eyes and turned to ask Rabbit if they were going to stop and radio for every single mine they found. They could be there all week at this rate. Rabbit who was ten yards away concealed at the base of another tree never got the chance to reply.

       When he opened his mouth to speak a shot rang out. A second later the dog’s handler came on the radio and started to say that the op leader had been hit, but he never got to finish his sentence. A second shot rang out and all was silent and still afterwards.

       The deep booming shot of whatever high caliber rifle it had been was still echoing through the mountains by the time both men of the ground team lay motionless in the grass at the bottom of the valley. Scooter howled forlornly at the side of the dying men. Spaceman and Rabbit both sat perfectly still. This plan had just gone sideways and had gone from a successful stealth mission to a fight for their lives in seconds. Slowly Spaceman adjusted his aim, searching the far side of the valley all over again. Rabbit sat even more vigilant, rifle at the ready watching their flanks. The report of the shots was echoing about the valley. They couldn’t tell where they came from. The same factor that would maintain their stealth was also concealing their enemies. Slowly Rabbit inched his way over to Spaceman and whispered that they should retreat to higher ground. Ever so slowly and delicately they scooted farther uphill. After covering thirty yards they stopped again. They sat and they waited. They waited long enough that the ambient noise returned. The insects buzzed and the birds chirped. Some mountain sheep somewhere bleated loudly. They sat and watched and Spaceman slowly leaned over and whispered that they should move again. Rabbit put a hand on his shoulder to keep him from moving and with the muzzle of his rifle slowly pointed. Through the woods, about sixty yards away was a bush. A bush that was balanced perfectly atop the stump of a tree and had a four foot long blued steel and black plastic appendage protruding from it.

       More importantly, that appendage was pointing at them. Realising their predicament Spaceman dove downhill. The steepness of the slope let him roll through the pine needles that littered the ground and he covered almost twenty yards. Rabbit lunged in the opposite direction. Diving into cover behind a fallen tree. Sheltering himself behind the log, and slowly half crawling half clawing made his way up the steep slope. As they dove a shot rang out, and passed in the air between them. When Rabbit reached the narrow part of the log and was tangled among the branches and dead leaves. He rolled onto his side and aiming in the general direction of where their assailant was, he let off five shots. The deep booms of his assault rifle echoing and rolling over the top of each other filling the whole valley. His shots missed. Spaceman having recovered faster from his roll turned and watch the bush leap form the stump and run downhill. He heard Rabbits shots ring out and watched as they kicked up dirt and leaves to no effect. He backed the magnification back down on his scope and took aim at the bush as it ran downhill. The steepness of the hill accelerated the bushed run to a barely controllable rate. It had intended to join second bush that was cradling a sub-machine gun, but because of its momentum was carried past its comrade. Spaceman fired the big bolt action rifle, hitting the second bush with the sub-machine gun. The massive round slammed into the bushes chest and it slumped back against a tree and didn’t move. The fleeing bush had finally managed to stop but was now at a disadvantage because it was so far downhill of Spaceman and Rabbit. The two maintained their cover as they thoroughly scanned the whole of the slope.

       Spaceman radioed to Rabbit, whispering through his earpiece that he had got the spotter but lost the sniper. They spread out and slowly oozed down the slope. After almost twenty minutes of sneaking, Rabbit found the sniper. Buy stepping on him. He had risen from a crawl to a low crouch and was gently working his way down the slope, when he stepped on the bushes hand, having not seen it. The bush yelled and cursed and swung his rifle about, sweeping Rabbit’s feet out from under him. The steepness of the hill caught him as he fell backwards. As he Fell Rabbit flipped his rifle from semi to full automatic and put the muzzle between his boots. He held the trigger down firing one long burst perforating his enemy's arm, shoulder and upper chest. The man was dead by the time Rabbit stopped. A large blade still clutched in the bushes other hand. Then as Rabbit changed magazines the echoing was accented by another high caliber rifle shot. It blasted through the tree canopy and slammed into the ground mere three feet from where Rabbit was. He leapt to the side and froze in the brush near the base of a wizened old tree. Rabbit radioed to Spaceman saying there was a second sniper team on the other side of the valley. He continued by complaining about how he felt the civilian pilot was slimy and he must have tipped off their foes ahead of time, saying “this is why you never plan an operation that involves anyone but the shooters themselves.“

       Spaceman’s reply to Rabbit telling him there was another team of snipers was “Yea no shit, I heard the shot.” He ignored the other complaints.

       Spaceman leaned back against another tree and watched the opposing slope. Cranking his scopes' zoom back up to three-quarters of its maximum magnification. They all sit still, doing nothing more than breath for almost forty minutes. Finally, Spaceman noticed movement he adjusts his aim and fired, cycling the bolt after his shot. There is a short burst of automatic weapons fire as the second sniper teams spotter tumbles head over heels down the slope, missing his left forearm. Spaceman carefully scanned the surrounding trees near where he was hiding but is unable to find the sniper he was spotting for. After thirty seconds or so another shot is fired. It blasted the foliage ten feet to Spaceman’s left. He was still looking downrange and saw a flash of movement as the other shooter cycled the bolt on his rifle. Spaceman fired again. Another shot another kill.

       The pair gently shifted fifty yards to their left across the slope. Oozing slowly through the terrain so as to not draw attention to themselves. After another ten minutes of waiting and no activity, the decided they had to go get the dog and get out of the valley before more trouble showed up. The dog, poor Scooter was still down on the valley floor next to the bodies of his compatriots, whimpering and howling, occasionally nudging one or the other of them.

       The pair began working their way down the slope, and then once they reached the edge of the tree line they followed it heading back towards the side of the minefield where the operation started. Spaceman carefully scanned the opposing trees as they slow walked through the trees, taking almost twenty minutes to get back to where the dog was.

       Finally convinced it was clear, the pair broke from the cover of the trees at a dead run, heading not strait for the dog but to a point roughly fifty-yards from him, where they knew for sure there were no mines. They came to a stop and after sweeping the trees with their rifles again they began calling the dog. Poor distraught Scooter paid them no head though. They spent three minutes whistling and whisper shouting his name. Finally, Rabbit stood and told Spaceman.
“cover me, ima got git ‘em”

       Spaceman spluttered at him, “Are you crazy? That’s a mine field out there!” But Rabbit was already moving. Spaceman sighed and sat back on his haunches sweeping the valley with his scoped rifle. Rabbit tightened the strap on his rifle, so the weapon was held snug against his chest, letting his hands be free. He scooped up the dog and turned. Jogging back out of the minefield, not thinking of what he was doing. The dog was too confused to resist, and he just turned into dead weight in Rabbit’s arms, fortunately, he was a smaller dog. Could not have been more than forty pounds at the most, if he had a full belly.

       Rabbit rejoined Spaceman without further incident. The pair stood and turned to leave. They had only covered ten paces when they heard distant thumping. At the far end of the valley was a looming shape, a battle mech. Spaceman quickly glanced between Rabbit the distant looming mech and the bodies of their fallen comrades. He sucked in a breath and as he exhaled told Rabbit to get himself and the dog to safety. Then he turned and ran into the minefield himself. Rabbit trotted as best he could with the limp weight of the dog flopping about in his arms towards the concealment of the trees.

       Rabbit was almost to the shadows of the tree line when Spaceman caught up with him. They could hear the heavy footsteps of distant mechs. They were still distant, but they were getting closer. They spread apart by fifteen yards or so and then burrowed their way into the underbrush. Rabbit spoke to Spaceman asking why he too was fool enough to charge into the minefield, and this time without saving a dog. Spaceman replied by waving a small paper notebook in the air. With handwritten radio codes. He cranked up the output power on his radio set and called for the helicopters to come to pull their butts out of the fire. They had no skill for disarming mines and now there were mechs involved. It was time to get out of there. They had done all they could.

       After a minute or two muttering on his radio Spaceman told Rabbit the choppers would be there in ten minutes. They dug in deeper, almost burrowing into the ground. Wallowing into the brush and ground itself. The dog now conceded defeat and lay breathing gently in the grass among the roots of the trees he and Rabbit were purposely tangled in. Now the two men and the dog laid in absolute stillness. They listened to the heavy footsteps of the mech as it approached closer. It must have known a clear path through the minefields. Because it was well into the valley by now. From his vantage point, Spaceman could see the muddy red legs and faint greenish torso of the approaching mech.  a gab in the branches let him peer out, he could see it was a commando. Small, old, simple. Cheap but good, still enough to kill the three of them with no more than a blink of its pilot’s eye. It slowly ambled closer, up the valley. Rabbit’s gut was coiling about itself with fear.

       As the mech came to within a hundred yards of where they were the roaring of rotor blades suddenly filled the air. The group of four helicopters blasted over the peaks of the mountains. The transport VTOL dipped hard to the left, swinging away from the threat. The three Warrior gunships spread out and bore down on the Commando. They fired their LRM launchers, keeping out of range of the commandos more powerful SRM launchers. They hammered the little mech. It turned and ran back up the valley whence it came. The Warriors followed after it, and blasted away with their LRM launchers again and again from outside the commando's SRM range. Eventually, the mech had all it could take and as the pilot ejected, it shut down and tumbled to the ground as the pilot lifted out and away from the commando’s head, riding a pillar of flame. The Warriors returned and orbited the area, the transport flared to land at a safe distance. Just as the transports wheel's touch down the whole valley was filled with thunder.

       Two more mechs had appeared a very old fifty-ton Griffin and a newer eighty-ton Salamander. Each had many LRM launchers. Their massive salvos put more than one hundred missiles in the air, the barrage engulfed the Warriors. One exploded into a cloud of sparkling metal confetti, the second lost its tail rotor and spun madly before going down hard into a fiery explosion among the trees. the spinning rotors hacking down the brush, slapping the soil, kicking up the dark earth before breaking off and cartwheeling madly out into the valley. The third chopper managed to avoid the barrage of missiles. It turned about and fired its measly five LRM's in return. They thumped upon the thick armor of the Salamander's chest with no result. From out of the trees emerged a fourth mech. Stepping over the prone remains of the gently smoldering Commando. Neither Spaceman or Rabbit could identify what is was through the trees. A the ear splitting boom of a large bore auto cannon raked the sides of the valley with its thunderous shock wave. The shot flew true, past the warrior and cored the now grounded transport helicopter like an apple. Spaceman and Rabbit sat in mute terror. Their escape was gone. Now they had to get out of the valley on their own. They couldn’t go over the mountain, another hundred feet up the slope and the mountain became almost sheer rock, they did not have the needed climbing gear to make that ascent.

       The Warrior now realising its folly, thrust it's rotors back and climbed vertically skywards. The new mech's torso rotated and its stubby arms pivoted. It let loose with PPC and blasted the lonely Warrior out of the sky. The two largest pieces of its destroyed air frame tumbled back to the ground and landed with heavy thumps in the minefield, setting off secondary explosions. Leaving nothing more than a pair of smoking black craters as a testament to the carnage.

       The two men and the dog gently broke out of their hiding places and slowly wiggled deeper into the trees, hoping to use the dense foliage to mask their heat signatures from the mechs’ sensors. As they worked their way up the slope into the deeper vegetation they changed course. They soon moved parallel to the slope of the mountains. It was slow, dull and immensely stressful. After nearly six hours of crawling, and creeping through clearings, the two men and their dog managed to escape the valley. The mines were still in place, the offensive could not be launched. The helicopters were shot down, the other two men were killed. But they had the dog and they managed to escape with their own lives, right under the noses of a lance of mechs.
 
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #21 on: 19 February 2020, 12:52:47 »
I apologize for the delay, life has kept me from the keyboard and I haven't had time to do much editing. It appears life intends to continue to do so in the future. My publisher is coming to a book festival in my home town the middle of next month. For the next three weeks I'm going to concentrate all my efforts on getting another draft done for my original, to be published works so that I can make an in person delivery to the publisher. Once approved I'll begin work on the audio book there. I still have more adventures for Spaceman and Rabbit, I'll get them to you when I can. Thanks for reading them, the views here have been encouraging and i look forward to sharing more with you. I'll put more updates through on twitter as it develops if you care to find me there.

--Chace A. Randolph
-Chace A. Randolph

snakespinner

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #22 on: 19 February 2020, 17:36:22 »
Good luck with your with your book, hope it is a great success. :beer:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #23 on: 04 March 2020, 00:13:58 »
Good Luck and if it as good as this I think it will be hit :thumbsup:
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #24 on: 13 March 2020, 17:21:59 »
     Sorry for the delay, here's another part.
                                                                                   Archery practice

       It had been nearly three hours, Spaceman and Rabbit were very sweaty and starting to get tired. They were tracking a group of eight men, all in mercenary uniforms with Kathrine’s camouflage. Six of the eight also had red berets atop their heads, signaling them to be more than the average infantrymen, the other two who wore only regular fatigues and carried no weapons. One had a large backpack, the other a backpack-sized field radio, the kind that was capable of talking with ships in orbit. Spaceman and Rabbit had been following them ever since they had penetrated the invisible line in the sand across the front in this eastern theater. They had crossed the field of scrimmage at  at night, the only thing that betrayed their presence was a set of motion sensors.  The Rodents were sent to investigate, and for the three days since had been following this crew waiting for the moment to strike. They had only been on the move a short while this morning, but they were moving fast and steady, more so than usual. The Rodents were hard-pressed to keep up without giving away themselves or walking into an ambush. They didn’t know what they were up to, or what the two unarmed guys were about. They did know however that Kathrine’s artillery assets had been moved in close, and with that big radio, the pair was sure that they could call in whatever rain of fire they wanted. To try and maintain their stealth, the pair did not carry rifles, instead, they had bow’s to go with their heavily silenced pistols with subsonic ammunition. Each had six arrows in a quiver attached to the bow itself.

       The plan was to wait for the right moment and eliminate them simultaneously, but it had to be done stealthily. Late that morning the team stopped to eat, they sat in a clearing and relieved themselves of their packs, two men went into the trees to relieve themselves further. Two others still stood at the ready, rifles unslung and ready, they marched the perimeter of the clearing eyes shifty and heads on a swivel. Spaceman signed to Rabbit “We have to do it eventually so they might as well do it now.” With that, they split up.

       Spaceman broke left, Rabbit to the right. Spaceman came up on one of the two soldiers who was relieving himself. Spaceman approached from his opponents eight o’clock. He stood with his assault rifle slung across his back and his trousers around his knees, his hips thrust forward almost comically as he relieved himself on a, particularly large tree. Spaceman paused and shook his head before averting his eyes when confronted with the sight of this man’s particularly hairy posterior. He popped an arrow free from his quiver, fitted the knock to the string and drew, slowly and steadily, breathing in as he did, letting his chest inflate so that it stuck out, filling the space between the taut string and the compound bows camouflage limbs. He exhaled slowly, letting his chest shrink again. He gently brought a finger onto his mechanical release and its three quarter pound pull, the caress of death he called it. Spaceman aimed high because the man was wearing a Kevlar vest. Spaceman waited, sitting on the bows eighty percent let off, giving the Steiner soldier the time and privacy to finish his stream since few things feel as good and emptying and overloaded lizard. The soldier sighed as he worked his zipper, exhaling deeply, the arrow flew across the thirty-five-yard gap, the horizontal broadhead hit the trooper in the base of the neck, slipping between two vertebrae it cut his spinal cord and that last relaxed deep exhale was the last sensation the man ever felt. Spaceman felt a little better for killing the man while he was comfortable. He slumped forward onto the tree into his own puddle. Spaceman fitted another arrow and reset his mechanical release.

       He stepped through the bushes past the body, and worked his way towards the clearing, the other soldier who had stepped out had returned to the group by the time Spaceman arrived, he sat in the concealing shadows for nearly two minutes before he noticed a gentle flutter of movement at his eleven o’clock across the clearing, it was Rabbit signing to him, telling him to wait. He rolled his eyes and signed his impatience. The two patrolling soldiers had sat now with the other five men. They grumbled about having to eat prepackaged food. Slowly Rabbit stood on the other side of the clearing, his bow drawn. Spaceman followed suit. They paused for a moment as they picked their targets. One of the soldiers spoke up asking “What is taking…….” He Never finished his question about the eighth team member because Rabbit's arrow buried itself in his right eye, just under the rim of his helmet. Two of the other troopers leapt up, one exclaiming “Da fuk?!”

       Spaceman put an arrow threw the man’s navel just under the edge of his body armor. He screamed long and loud. The rest of the men were on their feet, unslinging their rifles. Spaceman was still drawing when Rabbit put an arrow through a man’s armpit, puncturing a lung and a heart as it buried itself laterally across his rib cage. Spaceman finished drawing his bow as the shooting started. The deep thump, thump of a high caliber semi-automatic marksmen rifle perforated the air as he fired. The arrow came passing through its recipient's bicep, and through the open armpit of his vest and planted the sharp broad head just above his heart, cutting the veins and arteries that fed it, the man fell silently. Rabbit was forced down back into the bush as a submachine gun racked the foliage just over his head. The long burst was followed by a second and then a shout, at his two o’clock. The other men turned and fired, a second submachine gun and the high caliber DMR all turned on Rabbit. Spaceman sent his fourth arrow.

       He took aim at the foe closest to Rabbit, but he was just over sixty yards away, slapping a fresh magazine into his submachine gun. That was a longer shot for this compact bow, he could hit a man-sized target at 80 yards, but this wasn’t at the range, this was in the mud and trees with tired shoulders, aching feet and bugs in your ear. He fired, the arrow struck low, passing through the back of the man’s right thigh, and buried itself on the inside of his plastic drop leg holster for his pistol. He screamed and fell backward, the carbon fiber arrow broke off as he crumbled the ground, shattering and tearing the wound wider, filling it with splinters. The two remaining men swung about to face Spaceman now. Rabbit was able to stand and ready his bow as Spaceman hit the dirt, burying himself in the brush and undergrowth. The rapid-fire submachine gun and marksmen rifle hammered the air and the trees. Rabbit sighted in on the man with the big rifle first, he was a good fifty yards away. Rabbit shot, but miscalculated, the man must have only been forty-five yards away, instead of putting the arrow in the base of his neck it went through his beret and split his skull. The mechanical broad head that Rabbit preferred to Spaceman’s traditional broad heads chiseled its way through the man’s cranium and opened up in his grey matter. The three hooked and spring-loaded prongs churned his jello-like brain matter into a liquid. The force of the strike whipped the man’s head around and he tumbled to the ground, looking over his right shoulder.

       The last man standing cursed as his comrade fell and his submachine gun ran empty at the same time. He let the weapon fall on its three-point sling across his belly as he drew a pump-action shotgun from its leather scabbard across his back. Rabbit set another arrow.  The man drew a knife from his belt and fixed it to the shotgun as a bayonet. He then cycled the pump and charged towards Spaceman who was still drawing his bow on the charging soldier. The shot gun went off, the massive thunder of the buckshot filled the ears of all present, but only three remained who were capable of flinching at the shock wave. Two of the pellets from the 00 buck caught Spaceman in the leg. One in the shin, the other in his thigh, both on his right side. He cursed as he let his arrow fly. It flew true and slammed straight into the chest of the shotgun welling man. Spaceman fell as his own blood soiled his fatigues. The shot gunner looked down at the arrow protruding from his chest and reached down. In one jerking motion he yanked it free, the thick layer Kevlar of his vest had stopped it, he was unhurt, though it had cut the sling for his submachine gun, it fell to the soft earth between his feet. He cursed and cycled the pump on his shotgun, bearing down on Spaceman. Rabbit fired his bow, the arrow sailed through the air, whistling, shielded from the breeze by the copse of trees. But it fell short, striking the man in the calf. He shouted and dropped to his knees, he looked back over his shoulder to see the two feet of shaft protruding from his leg. Then he turned back to Spaceman and shouldered his shotgun for the killing blow. Spaceman had other plans though. He had now shifted his weight and drawn his pistol, with two quick double taps he killed the man, the first round hit the man in the neck, and the second in the chin. Then just because he was feeling vicious Spaceman put a round in each of the man’s thighs as he slumped backwards drowning in his blood. He stopped squirming bent over backward, his knees still on the ground and his back arched awkwardly so that his head rested on the ground between his feet, the arrow sticking up through his armpit.

       Rabbit ran to Spaceman through the maze of bodies as his comrade began to curse. He dumped a string of words, referring to various political figures and the possible ethical orientations of their mothers. Rabbit reached Spaceman and immediately pulled the lower half of is ghillie suit off so he could put a tourniquet around the cursing man’s leg. Once it was tight and secured he jabbed him with a syringe of pain killers. Then using his knife he cut the mans bloodied pants and removed the pant leg, he used the back half of the pants, that was still mostly dry to wiped the blood off, then he used his knife to cut the pant leg at the knee and use the two sections to apply pressure to the wounds. Spaceman cursed louder.

     Rabbit had the bleeding and the cursing stopped and the wound in the meat of Spaceman’s pale hairy thigh dressed when a voice came from the backpack sized field radio and demanded to be answered while still attached to the back of one of the fallen men. Rabbit gave Spaceman a confused look, Spaceman didn’t notice. Rabbit stood and went to the radio, took up its handset and waited for the angry voice to finish its second demanding salutation. Rabbit answered.

      “Yes we’re here.”

       “Have you got to the checkpoint yet? We’re working on a time line here, we need those packages delivered.”

       Rabbits' eyes got big at the word, packages, but he replied calmly “We were making good time but a couple helicopters have been about, we’ve been forced to take it slow to remain hidden.”

       “Understandable, but get this done, you don’t want to be around for this fireworks show, over and out.”

       The line went dead and Rabbit was left holding the handset pondering. Packages? Fireworks? Rabbit began searching the bodies for any clues as to what this all meant. He started with the man who had the most stripes on his shoulders. The man appeared to have normal soldiers gear, but as Rabbit shuffled through his backpack he found a folder. A red plastic folder that had been sealed airtight, but had been cut open with surgical precision. Rabbit's hands shook as he withdrew a dozen or so sheets of paper. The top of each one was stamped top secret with very large black letters. As Rabbit skimmed through them his hands began to shake more. These papers were a mission briefing. Detailing how these special forces team we to infiltrate enemy territory and deliver a low to medium yield man-portable “suitcase” nuclear weapon. Rabbit trembled as he looked to the man with the largest backpack, he approached slowly and when he unzipped the top he was faced with a metallic cylinder, painted olive drab green it was about nine inches in diameter and fourteen or so inches long. A serial number had been stenciled on the side in yellow. Rabbit took several steps backward and then looked back to the papers still in his hand. Then he dropped them because he noticed in one corner it said copy three of thirteen.
 
       His mind went from panic back to soldier mode. If there were twelve more copies of this document that meant there were twelve more bombs. House Steiner was going to deploy thirteen nuclear weapons to blow the front wide open. Nukes were illegal. Held as a war crime by all the galaxy and only used but the lowest of criminals. He had to get the word out. Rabbit picked the papers back up and brushed them off, then returned them to their plastic folder and gently placed the folder inside of Spaceman’s backpack. He dressed the now unconscious Spaceman’s second wound, drug the man thirty yards deeper into the forest to a better-concealed position and camouflaged him better with his own ghillie suit and foliage from the surrounding trees. Then he obliterated the trail from where he drug Spaceman and abandoned all his gear, he kept only his water, his pistol and its ammunition with him. He took an assault rifle and several magazines of ammunition from the fallen mercenary soldiers and laid it in Spaceman’s lap, with the magazines in a row next to him. In about two hours the pain killers would wear off and the man would wake and hopefully survive.

     Using Kathrine’s troopers’ radio was a no go, its encryption was different, he couldn’t get on any of the correct channels. There were more bombs in more places, lots of people were going to die, and unfortunately, the pamphlet of papers he had left with Spaceman did not provide a specific timeline, he didn’t know when all this was going down. His short-range radio was just for him and Spaceman to talk to each other, they didn’t have the range to talk to any of the friendly forces, he had to make contact, he had to get ahold of someone and pass this up the chain of command, it had to be dealt with. He would just have to do it the old fashioned way, deliver the message on foot. With a final chuff of defeat Rabbit began to jog.
-Chace A. Randolph

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #25 on: 13 March 2020, 17:51:24 »
       Rabbit broke from the trees and was jogging across the grassy plain, he angled to the North East, towards the nearest city, even though it was a good thirty miles away. He kept running. After two miles he was sweating hard, after three he began to feel weak. After five miles he had to stop to vomit, hands on his knees heaving hard into the soft grass. When his gut was empty he started running. After Seven miles he was overheating, he left his gloves and hat behind.

       After eight miles the grassy plain had transitioned into a sandy flatland, it got hotter. Still, he kept running, his lungs burned, he had a horrible cramp in his right shoulder, his diaphragm ached, his legs felt as if they were made of lead, his feet now hardly left the ground, they just scuffed along through the sand, leaving a little trail and clouds of dust behind him. as Rabbit shuffled quickly, to exhausted to run anymore, his breathing was ragged, but who knew how many people’s lives were at stake, he pressed on. After ten miles he left his half-empty water bladder and his sidearm in the dust, in his exhaustion, their weight seemed momentous, but without them, he felt no lighter, no faster. He kept going, twelve miles. His skin started to go pale, he was now periodically wracked with dry heaves as he kept running. Fifteen miles his world was small and painful, his vision was fading in and out, all he saw was the sand in-between his feet for every other step. Sixteen miles, his brain was now running low on oxygen his thoughts were slow and confused, his legs felt as if they were filled with concrete, each individual stride took mental effort, out of sheer force of will he made first one leg rise from the ground, the meet of his tired thigh jiggling under his trousers, then the foot came down and slapped itself into the sand, flopping about onto the ground like and equivalent sized dead fish. Then the other leg, he would struggle to lift it into the air and swing it forward, then release his mental hold over it as its own weight would let it flop back to the ground.

       Eighteen miles, his lips were chapped his throat felt as if it was bleeding, his lungs burned from the abuse and the sand. His heart felt as if it was going to rip out of his chest, it thundered along at too many beats per minute, moving faster than Rabbit was, just trying to feed his body and starving brain with oxygen. Nineteen miles, all Rabbit felt now was his head and shoulder shake, bobbling back and forth with each step, his arms swung limply at his sides, he shuffled along as best he could. His mind was not thinking anymore, now he was just concentrating on breathing, nothing else existed any more just him, his pain and his need to get to that city.

   Twenty miles, he first realized he wasn’t moving anymore, then as his eyesight returned he realized he was on the ground, his body was cold and slippery, he blinked several times and saw nothing distinct, no matter how hard he tried his eyes would not focus, he could tell that the sun was still in the sky, and that was reason enough for him to keep going, he coughed and groaned and forced himself from prone to his hands and knees before rocking back to sit on his heels, he felt so very hot, he pulled his shirt off. He stood and stumbled, falling back to his knees. He stood again and stumbled some more, but he managed to keep his feet moving under him, so he was constantly falling, but he managed to stay moving so that he never hit the ground. The world started to spin around him. Twenty-one miles, Rabbit felt very cold, his whole body was shaking as the air moving past him seemed freezing, it sapped his strength and pulled him to the ground, he sat on his knees, gasping for air but not sucking any in. he stood and fell, he stood and fell again and a third time. Unable to stand but still dominated by a force that needed him to get to that city he kept moving shuffling along on his knees for a hundred yards or so, then he blacked out again.

   He came to a second time and was immediately chilled, his body was cold, his shoulder was cramped so bad he couldn’t move his right arm and his legs didn’t move, no matter how hard he tried his legs would not move. He shouted at them, trying to push the lactic acid out of his muscles with his force of will, he cursed. A long stream of foul words poured out. Or so he thought, the world around him saw a man grunting into the sand, small puffs of dust blown into the air with each labored breath, his skin was almost transparent, he shook and was drenched in sweat, had his mouth not been bone dry he would have been drooling. His anger for Kathrine's forces savagery grew, they were going to kill millions of innocents, of non-combatants and it was their ****** that had him here in the desert, in the dust. He had to keep moving, but his legs would not hold him, they simply shook with weakness. So he crawled, soon the sand felt hot, burning him, his weak and chilled body was soon blistered from the hot sand, he kept going, reaching up ahead of him digging his left hand into the sand and dragging himself forward with it. Soon his chest was bleeding and his forearm rubbed raw. In his flailing and his mad need to get to the city he drug himself, after some distance, he realized he was in pain, now that he had broken his pinky and ripped the nail clean off his middle finger, his chest and stomach were worn open, raw and bleeding from scooting across the sand.

       Twenty two miles, Rabbit lay on his back now, his chest stung, it was full of sand, though the blood had dried it formed a single brown sheet almost like a breastplate of crusted and dried blood all down the front of his abdomen. He arched his back and his neck, dragging himself another seventy yards on his back, crawling like an inch worm, before he blacked out a third time.

       He came to again, the sun was much lower in the sky, he was unable to move, but he had to get the message out, slowly and painfully he dug around in the large thigh pockets of his pants and found a note pad and a permanent marker, slowly carefully, he wrote in large distinct all capital letters to make sure his message would be legible in his state. He explained the threat of nuclear weapons and wrote down the location of where he had hidden Spaceman, and the file of papers that more detailed outlined their enemies mission. Then tucking the note pad into the ankle of his boot he laid back and pondered his plight, of what he could have done instead, what other options he could have taken but he did not ponder long, his vision faded and his mind stopped again.

       Rabbit regained consciousness. He sat still and didn’t open his eyes fearing he would be assaulted by pain. He wasn’t he found he was comfortable. The ground felt unusually soft, he was warm, but comfortable not assault by the desert sun warm. His hand didn’t hurt, his chest didn’t hurt, his legs did ache, but it was a gentle dull ache, or at least it was until he wiggled a toe. That hurt, but he realized, he wasn’t wearing shoes or socks, in confusion, he opened his eyes, but saw nothing, it was dark, mostly. A dim glow came from around the curtains and bottom of the door to his right. He tried to curse in exclamation but instead, he only grunted and coughed painfully. Where the hell was he? A lamp came on. It sat atop a small circular table six feet away, net to the lamp and its table was a hideous red and orange plaid chair. In the chair sat Spaceman, he was in a hospital gown, his leg was in a cast and a set of crutches leaned on the wall behind his chair. His silenced pistol was in his lap, and an assault rifle sat on the table under the lamp along with a bandoleer that contained several magazines for each weapon.
       Spaceman asked “You alive homie?” Rabbit grunted and slowly, delicately raised his undamaged right hand and gave Spaceman the bird. Rabbits head flopped back into his pillow, his chest was wrapped in bandages and the whole of his left hand was bandaged and cast. And iv was plugged into his arm and after a moment, he realized there was a machine attached to him, measuring heart and respiratory rates. It beeped annoyingly. Spaceman turned off the lamp and told Rabbit to go back to sleep. Rabbit Slept again.

   Rabbit awoke, Spaceman was still in his room, and still armed, but now he was eating too, A nurse had wheeled a small cart into the room and was lifting trays from the cart to the table while Spaceman shuffled his magazines out of the way. She left without noticing Rabbit was awake. He wanted it that way, he had feigned sleep as she turned to leave. Now Rabbit was able to Speak. “How long was I out?”

   Spaceman didn’t reply, he was busy spooning beef stew and chocolate pudding into his mouth as fast as he could, he paused and washed it down with a long draw straight from a carton of juice. “Almost three days, about seventy hours, maybe more depending how long you were in the field.” Rabbit groaned and leaned his head back into the pillow again. Spaceman continued. “Some goofball on his adventure bike out on a joyride found you, and brought you in. the nurses found your note and panicked. They took it to the cops, cops handed it to the military. Media got wind of it and there was some rioting, it was, it is a political mess. But now everyone knows what is up and the situation is being handled. Four more of the nukes were intercepted, two were found and disarmed. Some special forces guys captured and interrogated some guys, got some details out of them. Not all the weapons had been deployed yet, half are still sitting in some depot. But some went off. We didn’t get all of them.”

   Rabbit winced “how many?” Spaceman continued after another mouthful of stew. “5 of the weapons never got deployed, we stopped and disarmed seven more.”
Rabbit groaned, “So they only blew one nuke? How many casualties?”

   Spaceman finished the juice crumpled the carton and threw it across the room to the trash can, he missed the basket. “We didn’t know precisely where it was going to be, but we had a good idea, so we evacuated a lot of people, those that weren’t were put in bomb shelters, there were almost three million people in that city, we couldn’t get them all out, we lost almost a thousand in the initial blast, wounded and irradiated people are still coming in. We did what we could, if it hadn’t been for us, no one would have known until the sky went dark. They were going to blow enough ordinance that this whole continent would have been under dark clouds for the next decade, most of the plant life would have died. We saved the world. We’ve been recommended for Silver Stars. And thanks for not letting that heatstroke kill you. Posthumous medals always seemed rather stupid to me.” Rabbit grimaced, smiled and then grimaced again. Hopefully, the political backlash would turn the tide and the enemy would lose all their support for this atrocity.
-Chace A. Randolph

Chace of Spades

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #26 on: 21 March 2020, 19:20:04 »
Hey guys, just curious, any feedback for me? Trends you have noticed with my writing, weird things I have done, or haven't done? To use, or not to use the oxford comma? Comments and constructive criticism about my writing itself are always welcome, or even send them to me as Dm's if you prefer so we're not muddling up the stream here. I have another short story for you today. It was a short one so I was able to squeeze through the edits fairly quick. Over a thousand views already... I'm touched to all who came here to read the adventures of my favorites P.B.I.
-Chace A. Randolph

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #27 on: 21 March 2020, 20:18:47 »
                                                                                                  Lambs to the slaughter

       Spaceman and Rabbit sat nearly two hundred yards apart, concealed in the camouflage suits amongst the knee-high grass. The pair both had suppressors on their long barrel marksmen rifles. They had plenty of ammunition and more importantly, mines. Land mines all over the place. Big remote detonated antitank mines, motion-sensitive Vibro mines and lots of smaller infrared trip laser anti-infantry mines. They had themselves planned an elaborate ambush.

       They had been domestically tracking a convoy of several enemy tanks and transport trucks that was slowly, almost casually winding its way through the valley, towards the front some fifty miles away. It had taken nearly two days, but the requested a large stock of supplies and later received it in a dead drop. Now their days of planning and preparation were paying off. The convoy was only a quarter-mile away. Slowly rolling towards them. through a small break in the Grass Spaceman was watching them with binoculars. He identified A simple Po tank in the front of the column, followed by a pair of trucks. A Partisan anti-air tank sat in the middle of the convoy followed by two more trucks and the rear was brought up by a second Po tank.

       As the convoy rolled down the hard pack dirt road beaten through the grass they were unknowingly doing precisely what the Rodents wanted them to do. As the first of the tanks came into range Spaceman gleefully squeezed the detonator on the first set of antitank mines the Rodents had buried in the dirt road. The massive blast shattered the front half of the tank. Slinging bits of metal high into the air, the drivers of the trucks behind the lead vehicle brought their transports to a screeching halt, stirring up a cloud of dust when they stopped. The second Po came from its position in the rear and rushed forward to see what happened. The air defense tank came to a halt as with the trucks, nearly pulverizing one of the transport trucks with its massive bulk. The tank's treads locked motionless it slid forward across the dirt on sheer momentum before swinging its turret around wildly, looking for the threat after having come to a rest. The Po tank came up on the left side of the column. There were more of the larger anti tank mines on the left and right sides of the road. Giddily squeezing the appropriate detonator, Rabbit watched as a second massive explosion went off, setting loose another shock wave that went rippling through the ground. Destroying the second Po tank. Its left track was utterly gone, and the main hull was laid open, its engine and mechanical guts hanging out for all to see. The Partisan, still unsure of what to do turned its turret and fired, one cannon in one direction, then after swinging the turret around, the second cannon in another direction. The first and last of the four trucks in the column dropped their tailgates and poured out nearly a whole company’s worth of foot infantry.

       They spread out into the long grass, the two platoons broke up into squads, each squad then spread out covering each other with overlapping their fields of fire, covering a full three hundred and sixty degrees. Now the shooting started. Spaceman and Rabbit shouldered their rifles and leaned forward into the recoil, snugging the weapons firmly into their shoulders, using their rifle's optics to sight in on their targets. Just as two of the squads stood and took a few cautious steps forward. Two men were cut down. Rabbit hit one in the neck, the low-velocity heavyweight rounds were designed specifically to work with silencers. The kinetic energy of the round blew the man’s neck open. His thick red lifeblood sprayed readily into the waist tall grass as he crumpled to the ground meekly trying to cover the hole in his neck. Spaceman shot at one of the soldiers who was getting up to move. The round aimed for his head, instead struck his arm and blasted through his right bicep and shattered the plastic buttstock of the bullpup assault rifle he was carrying.

       The infantry dropped down onto their bellies in the grass. Several of them firing burst from their rifles blindly. After a pause, they slowly stood and moved. Spreading their circle out slowly. They moved more cautiously now. The pair fired again. Spaceman fired a single carefully aimed shot. Puncturing through the light Kevlar plating on one of the soldier's ribs. Passing through his rib cavity, puncturing both lungs. He fell down, drowning in his own liquids. Rabbit fired several rapid shots. He felled four men. The first took two shots to the chest. The first shattered the hard ceramic armor plate in his tactical vest. The second round passed unhindered through light Kevlar plate carrier and split the man’s sternum before burying itself in his vertebra. The second man, also took two hits, first one in the wrist, nearly severing his hand, the second higher up in the shoulder. He crumpled to the ground as well. The third man took only one round. It went through his thick thigh muscles and shattered his femur. He too fell. The fourth target was struck with a single round in the head. The bullet ricocheted off of his metal and ceramic helmet, the blow was still powerful enough to knock him staggering back he tripped and fell backwards.

       After this volley of fire, the enemy surmised which direction the fire was coming from. The troops now turned to face their enemy. The squads spread out into a staggered line. Two squads remained behind. One sat with the trucks, as a guard unit Spaceman assumed, the other began collecting the wounded, and returning them to the shelter of the vehicles. The Partisan tank now rolled around passed the wreckage of the two ruined Po tanks and pressed towards the hilltops where Spaceman was. It fired a third cannon blast, the massive slug passed over Spaceman’s head. With his tongue protruding he slapped the detonator on the third set of anti-tank mines as the massive eighty-ton partisan closed in towards the Rodents position. The explosion enveloped the vehicle in a wall of flame and burned away the left rear section of the machine. It smoldered gently letting a column of blackened smoke curl into the air. The tank moved no more, no hatches opened, none of the crew appeared from within the shattered husk.

       Spaceman and Rabbit continued firing, felling more enemies. But soon found themselves being suppressed by what had to have been a belt-fed machine gun. They were forced from their kneeling positions, diving deeper into the grass, taking up prone positions. The air seemed to pop, crackle and wiz, almost like electricity as the bullets flew over their heads. The high rate of fire from the machine guns seemed to thunder. The enemy troops pressed inward. Tightening the noose on Spaceman and Rabbit. They braved the withering enemy fire only enough to raise their heads and fire their rifles from their prone positions.  They managed to knock out a few more of their encroaching enemies. One of the teams moved up on Rabbits right, edging closer.

       But then they crossed the line. Entering into the ring of laser trip mines. Two shock-waves rippled through the ground as the mines detonated. The explosions killed three and wounded five more. More importantly, it scared the enemy. There weren’t just anti-tank mines, there was also antipersonnel mines in the tall grass. They could be anywhere, who knows how many. The suppression fire of the light machine guns soon turned into covering fire. The squads were pulling back. They decided they were facing too great a threat. The teams bounded back to the trucks and started loading the wounded and themselves into them. Spaceman and Rabbit were able to pick off a couple more as they withdrew. Some one unfortunate became victim to another of the smaller mines.

       As the pair of rodents were swapping magazines, the two trucks that were loaded with cargo and the first truck that was toting all the wounded men started up and made to turn around, leaving the road. That was their fatal mistake. When they strayed so far from the road the weight of the rolling trucks triggered the sensitive Vibro mines that were buried there. Two large explosions destroyed the three trucks. Their shock waves seemed to lift up the ground itself before letting its massive weight drag the earth and rock back down. This left only the last truck and a dozen men to climb in it. Seeing the other trucks destroyed and even more of their comrades dead, they stopped. The seemingly endless rain of machine gun fire stopped. The thirteen remaining soldiers stood from their various hiding places, looked about slowly, and in the deafening silence that enveloped the grassy plain, laid down their rifles and raised their arms above their heads.

       Spaceman gently keyed his radio, his voice whispering in the depths of Rabbits right ear through his earpiece. "Now we have to deal with P.O.W.s, that will make getting back to camp much more awkward." After a pause, Spaceman and Rabbit looked to each other, and then in unison stood, flipping their rifles from semi-automatic to fully automatic. They marched down the hills keeping a close watch on the group of enemy soldiers. They tread lightly through their own minefield and covered the two hundred yard distance to the troops in Katherine’s colors. They stood a fair distance away and looked their enemy over. All the enemy saw were two 'almost bushes' of the men in camouflage suits emerge from the plains like the plants themselves hand congealed to wield the rifles the Rodent's carried. Rabbit spoke.

       “Thank you, gentlemen, o’ so much. For walking into our hungry maws just as we planned, like lambs to the slaughter. I’m sorry our little mines scared you so much. Thank you to all you fine men for surrendering to just the two of us.”

       The baker’s dozen of soldiers collectively looked to each other, to the two men standing before them and to their discarded weapons in the grass around their feet. One of them shouted something unintelligible. One man dove for his discarded weapon, another fumbled for his in the grass, trying to recover his bullpup rifle. Rabbit whisper shouted through the side of his mouth. “Looks like they’re still resisting, shall we dispose of them?”

       With a grunt and a nod, Spaceman agreed. Together the pair fired two long bursts and mowed down the entire group of soldiers where they stood. Then they left the scene, the giant metal hulks of the wrecked tanks still smoldering. The dark oily smoke oozing into the sky like a blood stain into a deep stack carpet. Leaving nothing more than a few brass casing strewn out in the grass and some land mines they were too lazy to recover still buried in the soft loam, held together more by the roots of the vegetation then the gravity of the planet. Hopefully whoever came upon the ruined convoy and attempted to salvage anything from it would succumb to the few remaining charges. Spaceman and Rabbit sure weren’t telling anyone where they were. This deep behind enemy lines they weren't worried about friendly forces accidentally stumbling across them. The pair left, walking nearly a mile across the grassy plains to a small ravine.

       They dropped into this gully and recovered a pair of mountain bikes that were concealed beneath an earth-colored tarp. They pulled off their camouflage suits and stuffed them into the large backpacks they had left with the bikes. Then re-securing the packs onto the cargo racks of the bikes they swung their legs over and mounted the saddles. They rode the bikes out of the ravine, struggling through the soft sand before emerging into more stable terrain, off into the grasslands. Using their lightweight transportation to put distance between them and the scene of carnage, removing themselves from danger, and soon they returned to Loyalist controlled territory behind ‘the line’.
-Chace A. Randolph

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #28 on: 22 March 2020, 00:49:41 »
They really are not actually the Good Guys, are they (The Rodents)?

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Adventures of Spaceman and Rabbit, Part I
« Reply #29 on: 23 March 2020, 01:51:37 »
I love these guys
these are the guys you call when the job has to be done, neber mind how
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"