By Ravek 5 Comments
The thundering of artillery and the constant clatter of small arms fire filled the night air. The chirping and howling of wildlife overwhelmed by the sounds that permeated the battlefield. Nimble fighters and dropships roared just above the jungle canopy, discharging their lethal cargo at irregular intervals. Korluv VII, A sparsely inhabited jungle world where temperature rarely dipped below 120 degrees. It's endless jungles home to a variety of flora and fauna. Beneath the stifling heat lies a metallic core, ready to be unearthed by whoever can seize the pristine world.
The men and women of the 47th Sapper Platoon, The Wolves as they were simply known, moved through the undergrowth with a surprising mixture of speed and stealth, seemingly unimpeded by their distinctive battle armor. The enemy patrol never saw them coming. Bursting from the tree line the elite commandos went to work, razor sharp blades concealed in gauntlets severing spines and slashing throats in a lethal dance of death. Less than thirty seconds later bodies were being drug into the bushes and hidden from sight.
One mile later a clenched fist was raised, signaling them to halt, as one they stopped and took a knee. Their target in sight, a communications hub coordinating all enemy troop movement in a 1,000 mile radius. Their orders were to capture or destroy it by any means necessary.
The squad leader raised two fingers, signaling for his marksmen to spread out, a man and a woman, both with ghillie suits covering their armor moved out in separate directions, high powered rifles cradled in their arms. Sixty seconds later the signal was received. Two distinct beeps indicating they were ready.
It wasn't much, a few prefabricated buildings with a semi-permanent fence line. Two guard towers, one to the north and one to the south, a narrow dirt road entering from the east. The leader looked back and signaled one of his men to go cover the road alerting the snipers, telling them to hit the towers first.
Another 30 seconds and they were set, the unit's leader softly speaking into his throat mic.
In a blur of motion the two tower sentries went down, the rest of the guards none the wiser. The only sound they made was the slight rattling of the fence as they vaulted the eight foot fence with minimal effort.
Perimeter sentries falling prey to blades and bursts of silenced rifle fire as the wraiths made their way through the compound, those sound asleep in the barracks met their end in a hail of gunfire. No survivors remained, the only thing left to clear was the communications center. Leaving a small team outside for security the six man team moved inside, specially made boots impacting the metal floor without a sound.
A wary technician exited a room just ahead of them, his scream muffled by a throwing knife perforating his neck, the body falling to the floor, the nearest commando catching it and slowly easing the fallen enemy to the floor to avoid detection.
The outer rooms were cleared, the one hapless technician their only victim. All that remained was the central control room, the heavy blast door left open to ventilate the room. They staked up outside, listening closely to what was being said.
"Fighting the Keresh, How did we end up like this? I thought they were three systems away!"
"Stow it and watch you monitors soldier!"
"Ya know... I heard those Keresh soldiers aren't even men, their all machines, like Mech's but smaller."
"That's a load of it, They bleed just like we do."
"Not those Commandos of theirs, They say they can bump into you and you won't even know it..."
"Why is that?"
"... Because you'd be dead."
Behind their infamous 'T' shaped visors the ghosts grinned as they checked their weapons.
Three fingers were raised, the men closest to the door readying stun grenades for the breach. One dropped, the next bringing their weapons to bare, aimed at the open doorway. One finger remained... their minds readied for what was next...
The signal, without warning the two men closest chucked a pair of stun grenades into the gathering of technicians in the center, the reptilian alien's eyes not lacking enough time to adjust to the intensely bright light, their hearing destroyed by the high pitched noise the followed the detonation. They came by two's, black and gray armored soldiers, the head of a Keresh'navan Frost Wolf emblazoned on their shoulder pauldron in red. They were Vanguard, the elite of the elite. Master's of any type of combat, experts with every weapon. The unflinching, uncaring gods of combat.
The technicians could do nothing to stop them, only armed with sidearms they didn't stand a chance so they did what they thought was the only plausible option, they surrendered, but as they dropped to the floor they were gunned down mercilessly, Vanguard never took prisons unless ordered. Standard procedure.
The hardened veterans lowering their weapons, knowing what they had to do the six spread out, searching for anything of use.
Ten minutes later the exited the building, regrouping with their teammates, all accounted for. Their job was done.
They moved out through the main gate, stealthily entering the thick brush again. No pleas for help had gone out, no distress signals activated, the comm relay simply went quiet. Days later the station would be discovered by a passing patrol. It's personnel scattered about with no signs of struggle.
The stations hard drive was a wreck, it's information stolen and memory gutted by a virus. Everything of value sabotaged.
'What should we do with it sir?' A lowly private questioned, surveying the scene, his brethren burying the bodies of their fallen comrades.
"Bury the dead and leave it for the jungle, There's nothing here but ghosts..."