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Mistaken Invasion is a parody not to be taken seriously, barring the introductory exposition regarding Imperial Army airmobile units. All facts conveyed there are true.
Intro and DisappearanceEdit
That was really the only way to describe Imperial Army airmobile divisions. Fully equipped and armed, these units would be transported completely by hoverjets and fixed-wing aircraft, escorted by Air Force fighters, and delivered right into a combat zone. Vertical envelopment. In the modern galaxy, it was the name of the land combat game. As with all other military schools of thought, the Eteno were light-years ahead (sometimes literally) of their rivals and allies. Battle-tested and proven hoverjets and planes effortlessly carried the burdens of the hundreds of thousands of men in a division, as well as their vehicles and supplies. Braving ground fire or hostile aircraft, vast formations would insert crack Eteno troops into battle. Some would parachute, leaping into the shattered skies below them, followed by supply palettes and vehicles. Others would be carried by hoverjet close to the action, and abseil down into the glory of battle. Cargo carrier helo's could land in areas seized by Eteno infantry, and deposit the tools of war to be used in the violent conflict.
Support from the air came not only in the form of supplies and vehicles however. Armed to the teeth, hoverjet gunships would rake ground held by hostile forces with guns, rockets, and missiles, quick to provide support anywhere in the battle. A bit higher in the sky, lumbering fixed-wing gunships would cast down bolts of destruction upon the heads of enemy forces, directed by the keen eye of the Imperial Army cavalry scout, or the camoflauged sniper inserted days before.
Once an airmobile unit was fully organised and guaranteed further support, they would press the attack without mercy; never would enemy formations be given the opportunity to catch their breath or regain their balance. From the wee hours of the morning to the pitch-black of night, heavy tanks would rumble over the soil followed closely by infantry, trodding along tirelessly to bring the fight to the enemy, regardless of the cost.
The bold tactics of airmobile units and their frequent success led to their definite immortalisation in the annals of history. Recorded in the enlightening pages of literature, the subtle strokes and colours of the canvas, or the stimulating melodies of song, airmobile units shall live on long after they are rotted away from disuse. It is not just through art that they shall be remembered, for their valor and triumph is visible by merely looking at a map. Vast swathes of Eteno territory, recovered and won, are much of the time in the possession of their short-statured owners in no small part due to the actions of airmobile units.
All of this combined is the reason that the first wave of the attack against Asylum was comprised exclusively of the most veteran airmobile divisions. Forming part of the first wave was voluntary, given the extremely dangerous nature of the attack against such powerful Kklxin positions. Yes, the Council of Generals had given choice to the Imperial Army's trillions. With an enthusiasm that eclipsed that of all other volunteering units, fifty airmobile divisions heeded the call, prepared to resort even to threats to secure a place in the first ill-fated wave of attackers. With the whole of the free galaxy firmly behind the 'courageous fifty' as they were called, the divisions' members prepared themselves with the same undying enthusiasm shared by all airmobile units. Perhaps the full weight of the battle ahead never really made itself apparent to the divisions until their arrival around Asylum, but for those who had second thoughts, it was already too late.
The thousands of aircraft supporting and of the 105th Army Airmobile sped low over the water. Transport and gunship hoverjets hugged the tumultuous sea behind a formation of naval patrol bombers. Transport planes and medium and light bombers filled the skies above, escorted by Luca and Defender IAF fighters. Far above the cloud layer, three RNSLB strategic bombers lumbered above the main attack force, loaded with heavy bombs. Soldiers and pilots said nothing as they approached probable death for their Fatherland, absorbed in their own minds on all manner of things. Some remembered spouses and fiances, possibly for the last time. Others pondered the statistics of Kklxin defenses, or considered the inaccuracy of any possible orbital gunfire afforded to them. The accuracy of orbital bombardment had increased little since its origins hundreds of years ago, and still remained a dangerous and ineffective method of fire support. Most all of the airmobile soldiers and pilots wished that that was not the case, but some conjectured that they wouldn't have thought so while under an atmosphere blockaded by Kklxin or Harbinger guns.
In one of the many formations of HV-17 gunships, a lead pilot, Green 1, noticed the position of one of the naval bombers before him fluctuate. The aircraft was rocking much more than others in its formation, and Captain Dmitry Senyavin noticed that through all of its attempts to remain stable, it never once used aileron.
"I have a rocking Constellation ahead of me... NB 1, do you read me?"
"NB 1 here, I have you. One of my planes just lost aileron control, or so the pilots say. He says he's gonna turn back."
"Roger that. You think he might have just got cold feet and wanted a reason to bug out?"
"I don't think so, but he could be. I'll let him off, though. I'd rather have one less aircraft than to have one possibly causing a collision in combat."
"I hear you, NB 1. Green 1 out."
Soon, the unstable naval bomber rose from its formation and began a wide left turn. It swung right in front of several formations of aircraft, who either descended or ascended to avoid a crash. It was a large, clumsy aircraft, and this one in particuar was one without any aileron control. While it was a mostly-ideal patrol bomber, the Constellation suffered greatly without aileron. With only rudder, it made notoriously shallow and committing turns.
"Hmm... Kurt, you see that?" Dmitry nudged his co-pilot and pointed to a collection of faint pink clouds in the distance.
"Yeah... Looks like some weird atmospheric crap to me..."
"I dunno. Haven't seen anything like that yet, and we're not too far from our target. Maybe the Kklxin have something to do with it."
"Relax. If it makes you feel better, let's call it in."
"Right. Big Brother, do you read?"
"This is Big Brother. Yes, we see the cloud, and no, the general doesn't know anything. We'll get the word out to the whole flight if we see anything."
Corporal Eirik Holger clutched his rifle close to his chest. While many of his comrades rested, he had remained on edge since the beginning of the flight. As he always did, he went through the battleplan over and over, searching for any holes or inconsistencies. It began as an annoying tendency, but over time, his platoon lieutenant had begun to see the value in the soldier's habit. Whenever he spotted a hole in a plan, he usually had a way to fill it. Once, his platoon lieutenant put forth the suggestion to his captain, who approved of it and sent it up the chain of command, all the way to a general. The general immediately incorporated Holger's suggestion into his battleplan, promoting him straight from Private 3rd Class to his current rank. Soon, he'd be a sergeant. He took the test, and his lieutenant assured him that he would be promoted after the battle at Asylum. Like many others, Holger had doubts that he would live that long.
"We're nearing the target, and I have a few things to say." Sergeant Gimlek piped up.
Gimlek was a seasoned soldier, having refused a promotion for years, saying that he wanted to be closer to his men in every way possible, including pay and seniority. Among the squad leaders in Holger's platoon, Gimlek was by far the most enthusiastic, and passionate. That passion was for victory, and in his unrelenting pursuit of it had very rarely lost a squadmate. His tactics were careful, but effective. Everyone wanted to be under Gimlek, and with each passing day under his leadership, Eirik knew why a little bit more. Where his tactics were careful, his speeches were bold and confident. His motivational speaking was also the best in the platoon.
"Beyond us, the Kklxin have entrenched on our own territory. In one loud voice, the EIT has told them that they cannot stay. The EIT has told them that even if it takes centuries, or even millenia, their empire shall be ground into dust. Today, we help make that happen. For the last decades, our war has been one of defense, and waiting. Recently, we've attacked their positions all across this galactic arm in full force. Today, we shall begin rolling them back across the entire front. Today is where all of the momentum shall stem from. Centuries from now, people will still talk about how the airmobile caused the beginning of the end of the Kklxin Hegemony. They will talk of courage and valor, but most of all, our brave sacrifice. Many will die, and perhaps some of us may never see each other again, but it will be a glorious death for those who leave us! Your sacrifice for the Fatherland shall be forever remembered. So let us go forth into the fray, fight, and die! For the Fatherland!"
"For the Fatherland!" Two squads yelled back.
Dmitry struggled to keep alert, the dull pressures of his duty beginning to take their toll. Most hoverjet combat missions were an hour each way from base, in most cases. Spend two hours flying back and forth, and maybe half an hour in the actual AO giving fire support. This was an eight hour round trip. Kklxin heavy guns and patrols had an unusually wide range, forcing airfields for airmobile units to be paved great distances from the primary fortifications of Asylum. While most Eteno aircraft could fly for twelve or thirteen hours without having to change or charge fuel cells, their pilots grew weary long before the engines of their machines. It was just about time to switch. Dmitry would fly two hours, and then rest in the co-pilot's seat for two while Kurt took over the controls. Even with the naps, the Imperial Army pilot found it arduous to stay fully alert at the stick, at times. Luckily for him, he was just a few minutes away from switching seats with Kurt. Before he could, however, Dmitry observed something rather peculiar about the pink cloud.
"Kurt... That cloud looks like it's growing..." Dmitry rustled his co-pilot from his light slumber.
"Mph... Hm? Oh, yeah... It does seem larger, doesn't it?"
"I don't like the looks of this. We're just two hours off, if we possibly need to change formation to get around that thing, we might have a bad time going in for the attack."
"You might be right. C'mon, let's call it in."
"Big Brother, this is Green 1. We're concerned about this cloud coming up, are you sure we can just fly through that?"
"All signs point to yes, so far. We don't have any abnormal readings coming from that direction, so maintain current course... Wait... It-it's coming towards us!"
And that it was. For a few seconds, it seemed to expand and blow towards the formation at a moderate speed, before blasting towards the flight at unbelievable speeds in the blink of an eye.
"That isn't natural! Green Wing, peel off! Peel off!" Dmitry yelled to the four other HV-17 gunships in his formation.
"It's coming too fast! All aircraft, maintain formation! That is an or-" That was all could be heard from the command plane before a brilliant flash of pink and red overwhlemed each of the over 300,000 airmobile personnel.
It was violent. Extremely violent. Dmitry's jet shook and rattled, seemingly on the brink of disintegrating. He tried to maintain control over the aircraft, but had little success on account of the blinding light and sheer intensity of the shaking. Kurt began to panic, desperately attempting to shield his eyes while feeling for some switch or button on his dashboard.
That panic quickly spread to Dmitry. He did his best to hold the stick steady, but for all he knew, the helo could've been making a beeline for the water, or heading straight up to an inevitable stall. He furiously ran his left hand over the dashboard, feeling for autopilot. In any normal situation, he could've located the switch with his eyes closed, but blindness and extreme turbulence put a considerable deal of stress on the pilot. After a few seconds of searching, the violent shaking abruptly halted. The bright light vanished, and when Dmitry's vision slowly returned, the world before him was as calm as it was mere minutes before.
Not a single cloud was in sight, much to the lieutenant's relief. He looked to his left, but saw no trace of the hellish candy-coloured monstrosity that he'd just traversed. Still, clear blue seas passed under the hoverjet, as if no clouds of abject terror had just sped over. Of even greater relief was the sight of the rest of the formations of aircraft, in the exact same positions as before the ordeal, save for minor discrepencies caused by the jarring oscillations. Best of all, Dmitry had not lost a single ship in his own formation.
"This is... This is Bruiser 1 to Big Brother, what the hell just happened to us? What was that shit about the clouds being safe to fly through, again? These bombs nearly went up in their bay!" The lead RNSLB pilot scolded the formation Overwatcher pilot.
"Readings didn't indicate... They indicated nothing. I don't think that some rattling and jostling is the worst of our worries, though..."
"What? What's going on?" The RNSLB pilot replied.
"Let me just confirm this with the sensor and radar crews... Yes, this all checks out... Attention all pilots, as some of you may know, we have lost all conection save for within the formation."
"What do you mean we've lost all connection?"
"Nothing but our own aircraft are showing up on radar... UPS seems to be down... I can't make contact with any higher command, and I'm not picking up a single ship in orbit."
"So... The Kklxin... Have they won?"
"No, no, they haven't won... Why would they take out everything else and leave us untouched, aside from some headaches..."
"If I may," An Air Force fighter pilot cut in, "Perhaps we're not even at Asylum anymore... There's a chance, however small, that the cloud was some sort of anomaly."
"Great, so now the pink cloud has knocked us into another dimension... Well, at least there might be some pretty nice women over he-" A transport pilot attempted to look on the bright side.
"Quiet. Whatever happens, we must assume that Asylum is directly ahead of us, and that our mission remains unchanged. Maybe the cloud sent us into another dimension, or maybe it's just some screwy atmospheric anomaly. Stay in formation and maintain current heading," The Overwatcher pilot commanded, "General's orders."
This was not Asylum.
Seloveda Cloi schoif HegsenEdit
"We cannot turn back... We would barely have enough fuel left to make it a fraction of the distance..." Kurt sighed.
"If we stay on our current heading, then we just crash into this god-forsaken ocean. We break off, we might find an island, or at least, not have to ditch in the middle of hundreds of other ditching planes, all with their own ordnance."
"Maybe y-... Dammit! Dammit, look! Two, she's dying!"
"Engine two's giving out!"
"Cut it! Cut!" Dmitry jerked the second engine's power stick back.
"Come on, get some altitude, get some altitude. Don't quit on me, one!"
Followed by the rest of the hoverjets in his formation, Dmitry put his HV-17 into a sharp climb, seeking thinner air. As the aircraft's speed began to plummet, Dmitry leveled and restarted engine two.
"She's back, she's back!" Dmitry yelled jubilantly.
"Yeah, but we're getting dangerously low here. If we don't get land soon, we're dead..." He was right, and that significantly curbed his comrade's enthusiasms.
"By Marana... All the jets are danger low... Kurt, keep an eye out for land," Dmitry requested, "Attention, Greens 2 through 5, I don't need to tell you, but we're in dire straits."
"If only we were in straits..." Green 3 muttered.
"Yeah. I won't lie... I really don't think we're coming home after this. I'm as disappointed as you all surely are about not reaching the Kklxin... I cannot order you to do so, but I ask all of you to possibly refrain from bailing..." Dmitry sighed, "If we die, at least let us die in our cockpits, pilots of the Fath-"
"I see it! I see it! Look! Look!" Green 2 exclaimed. In but a few seconds, the pilot's exclamation triggered a burst of cheering and whooping.
"Coastline! I see the coast!" Kurt ecstatically proclaimed, grabbing and shaking Dmitry by the shoulder.
"This is Big Brother, all fixed-wing aircraft are to follow the hoverjets. Jets pilots, find yourselves clear landing zones! We're too close to have you guys drop out of the sky!"
A fleet of jet-propelled aircraft sped away from their original formation with breakneck speed, gambling on their destitute remaining fuel. As the first aircraft began passing over the inviting beaches and pristine woodland, some of the aircraft's engines began giving out. A small few barely managed to recover, bringing themselves back into formation within their own ranks, while most ended up shooting for a comfortable crash landing. In the distance, beyond the picturesque lakes and woods, vast fields were just barely visible. As quickly as Dmitry's hopes rose, it plummeted into the ground when he both felt and heard a grind, then two failing jet engines.
"They're dead!" Kurt began panicking once more."Pull up! Pull up! Feed those babies! C'mon..."
"We'll be out too much speed. There's a little clearing just to our left, let's set her down as smoothly as we can." Dmitry gave no objection, reverting both the HV-17's nacelles to their vertical position.
Landing gear was extended, and it seemed that the landing would almost be comfortable, with their slow descent and relatively large area to land. Of course, Murphy's Law rang true yet another day, and the HV-17's engines stopped just as Dmitry raised the nose to lower the aircraft's speed. Much in the fashion of a rock, the helicopter plummeted to the ground.
"Oh sweet Marana veer to the left!" Kurt yelled. His panicking was both expected and no longer worthy of note, but the situation that he was panicked about certainly warranted alarm.
Dmitry immediately took Kurt's suggestion. By using the left wing and thick forest cover as a shield, Dmitry and Kurt would be more likely to survive the crash. The HV-17, unfortunately, had less time than Dmitry had anticipated, and the aircraft slammed into a wall of tree trunks as opposed to a bed of pine. Effortlessly sweeping through several dozen metres of wood, the HV-17's left engine snapped off and rolled under the chassis, sending it back into the air for the briefest of moments. The metal hulk spun to the right, affording the woodland a glancing blow against the cockpit with a particularly dense trunk. This rapid spin also resulted in the right engine snapping off.
Dmitry and Kurt, while alive, had their heads jerked back and forth with considerable force, with the more worried of the two suffering minor cuts on his arm.
"Marana oh Marana don't let the rockets go c'mon keep the rockets safe Marana oh mother..." Kurt muttered to himself, staring out in to space while his fingernails dug into his seat as if trying to marry himself to the chair like a tank turret to a hull.
In his shell-shocked mumblings, Kurt had raised a good point. Dmitry tore his comrade from his seat, and climbed through the now-angled cabin of his totaled helicopter to the left door. While the HV-17's engines have a bad record of snapping of under fire, their pilots could trust doors to work after the most grisly of beatings. A simple matter of pulling the handle up and right, and Dmitry was free. Kurt collected himself, shook off the hold of his comrade, and practically dove out of the aircraft behind the leveler-headed of the two.
"Pack your flares this time... Or is it impossibly pointless... As you always tell the QM?" Dmitry asked between breaths, sprinting away from a gunship capable of going up in a ball of fire at any second.
"I-I got 'em this time. Thought I would give Roch warm final memories of me before my last mission." For all of his quick panicking, Kurt was by far the most fit of the pilots Dmitry had seen. The captain's sprint was like a morning jog to him.
"Good... There's a place to sit and wait... Catch a fish, huh?"
Like an image right off a postcard, a quiet river weaved in and out of a pastoral field of flowers of all different colours. An occasional fish leaped out of the water, glinting in the sun before returning to its watery habitat. That was another oddity that Dmitry noticed. The division had set off at noon. They had flown for almost twelve hours, and here, it seemed to be just as sunny and noonish as the airfield had been.
"Sit." Coming from Dmitry, it was more a suggestion than a command.
Kurt nevertheless obeyed, plopping himself down next to the captain while attempting to channel the serenity of their environment to lower his heart rate.
"Wanna catch something? Last we had food was on the helo, and that was a good eight hours ago..." Dmitry suggested.
"We don't need a fish, we got a nice packaged noodle meal or something still-" Kurt's retort was left dead in the water as a resounding boom emanated from the direction they had just come from. A light orange glow pervaded the environment before subsiding seconds later, "Sure, let's catch something. I'll show you how mom did it."
Dmitry watched with a thin smile as his fellow pilot removed his 40/40 pistol from its holster, and loaded it.
"Fire fishing, huh? I thought Gagarin tried that and shot himself in the foot... Well, I suppose you aren't a dumbass," Dmitry smirked, "Not a Gagarin level dumbass, at least."
"Mom got each fish she aimed for. It tasted just as good as any other fish, and whichever of my brothers and I found the bullet got dessert," Kurt chuckled, "Artur always cheated though... But look where that got him!" Kurt fired and barely missed a particularly large red and silver potential dinner, "I'm the one flying gunships!"
"And it's a mystery to us all how you even passed the test, Kurt." Dmitry clapped sarcastically as Kurt missed two more juicy-looking fish.
"They didn't take me because I'm a genius."
"That much is evident, Kurt."
"As I was saying... They took me because of my natural good looks and strikingly toned body." Kurt grinned as he finally hit his mark, a massive fish similar to the first that he had missed.
"Your looks could scare away a drunken Chyrian. I'm getting firewood." Dmitry rose and walked into some brush, searching for sticks and twigs to burn.
"If I'd offered, our instructor would've let me have her in an instant!" Kurt retorted.
Dmitry mumbled to himself as he walked of, "I doubt she was into males..."
"High General Kairun. We have word from the Eteno forces." Said a lieutenant.
Kairun Rek'thar was sent by Supreme High General Hess to coordinate and lead Sauren forces in the joint effort to take Asylum. He had under his command 10 Armored Legions, 30 Light Infantry Legions, 40 Airborne Legions, 15 Engineer Legions, 10 Heavy Infantry Legions, 10 Heavy Artillery Legions, 15 Light Artillery Legions, 20 Recon Legions, about a platoon of HIRIOTs, and to top it all off, a Ground Support Fleet in orbit with about 8 Orbital Drop Legions. It was a small force, but then again, he wasn't the one leading the assault. Most KMF forces were sent to support EIT and DFM troops. Hess promised he'd send in another few Armored Legions, but it would take a while for him to clear the Logistics Division. So far, he was following typical KMF doctrine; Identifying priorty targets, hitting it fast and hard with as many available assests as possible, and leaving absolutely nothing of the enemy left. The Kklxin knew that when Kairun found a fortification, the best idea was to abandon the area and consolidate their forces. Still, he used HIRIOTs and Recon Legions to make sure they don't see him coming. Word from EIT forces was common, so the High General didn't rush to break away from his planning.
"What is it?" Kairun asked.
"They're reporting a peculair anomaly which somehow caused them to lose some aircraft. Well, about 300,000 men in aircraft." Reported the lieutenant.
"Lieutenant, how does an anomaly take out 300,000 Eteno?" Kairun inquired.
"They weren't taken out sir, they just... disappeared, by the reports we're recieving." The lieutenant answered.
"So we have about 300k Eteno lost in the clouds?" Kairun summarized.
"Yes sir. They said they have no free assets to investigate, and were wondering if we could spare some Airborne Legions to investigate." The lieutenant said. Kairun turned away, dismissing the LT.
"Some one get me EIT HQ. Tell them that if they want me to send the nearest Airborne Legion to find their lost drakes, I'm game for it, but I'll have to redirect assests to maintain security over the region my drakes were keeping watch over." Kairun ordered.
"Right away, sir." Called out a nearby comm tech.
Kairun returned to bending over his war table. He ordered the 234th Heavy Arties to lay down suppressing shells on a Kklxin stronghold under siege by EIT forces, and then swapped over to alert the 45th Armored that they were danger close to a friendly airstrike and to raise emergency shields for safety. Looking over at the comm tech, he stared impatently. Kairun was a busy man, he was used to getting results ASAP. Eteno... so slow...
"Sir, they're game for it."
"Good. 451st Airborne Legion, Kairun here. Listen, we got some lost Eteno drakes at these coordinates, I'm sending the 232nd to relieve you. EIT HQ wants us to find out what the hell happened to those drakes. Investigate, and regardless of their state, report back immediately after concluding your investigation. If you don't find them in 12 hours, they're MIA. Once you're done, I'll need you running air strikes, so hurry up."
"Colonel Renr, 451st Airborne here, sir. We copy, and we're stretchin' our wings now.'
Kairun now looked to some Kklxin recon units on the map. Huh... well, he was going to call in an orbital drop to assist nearby EIT tanks anyway... why not now?
The SD-88K Vesperatum. Manufactured by government contracts and built for firepower, these fighters were the standard fare for KAF Airborne Legions. From Asylum to Karnas, the Vesperatum was a sign of the KAF's strength and presence. It was synonymous with the KMF's doctrine of 'hit where it hurts and hit it hard', sacrificing endurance for speed and firepower. Renr's 1st Battalion was almost completely comprised of Vesps, and for good reason. They were the pilots of the 451st who were assigned for offensive air strikes against hostile installations, and the fact Kairun had them running search and rescue was out of the ordinary. It meant he was running someone else's op, Eteno probably, and wanted to save face, so he sent the nearest unit out to do it. Fully intent on wrapping up this op as quickly as possible, Colonel Renr Tern charted a course for the coordinates and told his men to move out at top speed.
Approaching the coordinates now, Renr saw the anomaly Kairun sent him word of. It was a large pink cloud, but it seemed to be fading. As if the anomaly was ending. Entirely satisfied to label the missing drakes as MIA, Renr figured he could head back and say there was no hint or clue within the last known position of the drakes as to where they went or what happened, and so opened comms with his own drakes.
"All units, investigation complete, no sign of the drakes. Turn your Vesps around, we got bigger problems to deal with." Renr ordered.
"Sir, affirmitive on that, the anomaly is approaching our position at ridiculous speeds!" Reported back a captain.
Checking the anomaly, Renr saw exactly that: Though fading the whole pink cloud was rushing at them like a predator.
"All units, break off now, evasive manuevers on that cloud!" Ordered Renr.
The Vesps broke their orderly formation and started all swarming about like the vesperatum they were named for, dodging this way and that, here and there, all clammoring to turn around and make damned sure that cloud didn't touch them. Unfortunately, Fortuna didn't smile on them this day. The cloud utterly consumed them all, and Renr found his drake enveloped in a rainbow vortex, and kept her straight as much as possible. He didn't care if he was headed for ocean or space; Well, ocean maybe. But Vesps were designed for dual action in both atmosphere and space. Just for certainty's sake, he hit the autopilot, and felt himself lurch upward. Huh... so that was down.
As the 1st Battalion was slung through the vortex of colors, Renr tried to keep his men together, and did so well enough, tanks to onboard AIs on their Vesps. As they exited the vortex, rather than being over the ocean, they were flying over a moderately forested area near a coast. Several pilots reported in:
"Uh... sir? UPS isn't working..."
"Same over here, boss."
"UPS systems down across the board, Colonel."
Wherever they were, it was outside of UPS range, and thus not in Senate space. Renr thought back to his officer training; When lost outside of operational space, a KAF unit was to survey the area, determine long-term survival possibility, and either attempt six months of awaiting rescue or immediately attempt escape, if possible. With dual-action Vesps, it was possible, but the area seemed survivable enough, and they didn't know if their fusion coils could take them home.
"All units, we will initiate a five-mile sweep of the area. We will search for the lost Eteno or a landing site. Either way, we're going to be here for a while." Renr ordered
"Sir, don't you think we should try to make it back to Senate space?"
"Of course I do. But until we find out where we are, and how far from Senate space we are, I don't want to risk going the wrong way or running out of fuel en route." Renr responded.
"Aye aye, sir..."
With that, the 1st Battalion went out in sweep formation, and started their search.
Picturesque meadow and field, once so untouched by even the smallest groups of sapients, was trampled and cut down by fast and loud Eteno recovery vehicles. Armored vehicles designed to push aside burning hulks and bolted fortifications alike instead levelled an airstrip with their heavy-duty plows in a defined rectangular zone, marked only by the helicopters parked at its edges. Recovery vehicles plowed up and down the rectangle, at least a mile or two in length, and but a few hundred feet in width. Sergeant Gimlek and the subordinate Holger watched on lazily, they and the rest of the squad sprawled out on the cushiony field, stretching their limbs so tired from bearing the weight of combat gear for the hours-long flight.
Gimlek lifted his head weakly at the sound of approaching jets, and noticed a few rapidly approaching black dots in the distance. "Take a look at that, men. The fighters are coming in." A few moments later, sets of two fighters each began landing on the improvised field side by side, immediately taxiing away to make room for the set just seconds behind.
One of the squad members yawned. "Yeah... Those are fighters alright. I'm going to try to get some sleep, wake me up if the bombers land. I want to see if one of the pilots botches their landing and blows us all to hell." These three bombers that had attached themselves to the airmobile formation remained in a circling pattern above the makeshift forward base.
"Just remember that we're still on guard duty, private." Gimlek said as he mustered the will to sit up. He reached for his rifle laying just beside him, and gave it a once-over.
The private scoffed. "Guarding against what? Grass?" He curled up with his heavy pack. "There's nothing around here. Nothing!"
"I'd contest that. Some of the pilots said that they reported what looked to be ports and towns off in the distance. Who knows, maybe we're being watched and we don't know it. Because you all want to sleep, we've got pretty bad fire cover in case something hits us from the forest that surrounds us completely." Corporal Holger retorted.
"Calm down, Eirik. We've got guys running all around here, and some well armed fighter cover circling us right now, though it's a bit low on fuel. Nothing's going to risk attacking us like this."
The concerned soldier just sighed in response and remained standing guard beside their helicopter's rear door. All he could do was try and cover for the inconsistency of his own comrades. Until he was promoted, there'd be no ordering.
"Sergeant, what do you think?"