Friday, February 13, 2009
Just Another Bug Hunt
Lawton II is a central ring planet of considerable mineral wealth. It has enjoyed an elevated seat in the sector's council for some time, and its location within the heart of the trade gate lanes ensures it to be well off for centuries to come.
Lawton II has a somewhat dirty past unfortunately; its natural resources were unfairly wrested away from the indigenous peoples already living there. The Bayang were once a low-tech, peaceful race who enjoyed an existence subsiding on a complex agricultural culture. When automated survey teams first landed hundreds of years ago, the Bayang were determined to pose no immediate threat to corporate assimilation.
Through legal manipulation and covert strong arming, the Bayang quickly found their way of life over as corporate colonists flocked to this natural resource gem. The Bayang were the only sentient species on the planet, and their numbers were surprisingly sparse. Physiologically, the Bayang were extremely long lived, yet would only reproduce once in their lifetime; hatching a single pod. It was not uncommon, however, for a Bayang to choose not to reproduce whatsoever.
The Bayang are second rate citizens now on their own planet. Outright slavery would have brought down the swift hammer of Galactic Prime, so instead the corporations simply shuffled the natives to the side and began colonizing, mining, and taking over their planet.
Modern day life in Lawton II resembles most planetary metropolises in terms of government and infrastructure, with the deeds of the past better left forgotten and erased from history.
A battle node of Bayang (using Hydrissian stats)
Mercenaries of the B.O.B. Charter (using Free Company stats)
B.O.B. Charter Mercs clear the nearby woods
The sector had been under a minor Bug infestation for the last three cycles. No major incidents had been reported on any of the planets so far, but it has come to the attention of sector council that the frequency of the reports had increased.
Lawton II was no stranger to an occasional bug sighting, but most were isolated incidents, and many reports were suspected to simply be fauna as yet undiscovered by the original survey teams. However, contact has been lost recently by many mining sectors in the remote back country. A COG team was put in charge of the investigation before full fledged military forces were committed.
Acting as a small, five-man unit, the COG team contracted Free Company Mercenaries of the B.O.B. Charter that were known to be of somewhat good repute, and operated exclusively in the system. Their contract fees were waved in exchange for COG forces turning a blind eye to some of the few illegal transgressions the B.O.B. Charter had unfortunately been involved in. The B.O.B. Charter, which would be dirtside, in turn hired out a Bayang Diplomat and its battle node retinue to act as local scouts and guides.
Bayang clear another forest
The COG team circled the area far overhead in their Type 4 Gunship, scanning the grounds for bugsign, keeping in radio and visual range with the ground teams. If significant contact, and subsequent allied casualties occur, the COG team would then pod drop into the center of the disturbance, eliminate the bug threat, and extract the remaining survivors. It should be noted there was also a contingency plan that called for eliminating any allied survivors as well. This would only be needed as determined by preset parameters, of course.
Bugsign! A horde of thirty two bugs erupt from their nest...
B.O.B. Charter Mercs take cover and prepare to fire
A second bug hole erupts west of the B.O.B. Charter Mercs, uncomfortably close
It was shortly after the second bug hole opened up that a third appeared directly behind the first nest. A transmission was sent to orbit and intel reports were instantly amended to change the bug rating of Lawton II to BR3. This was no isolated incident, nor were these indigenous fauna; Lawton II had an infestation. It was decided that COG forces were to pod drop and intervene at once.
Carapaced masses bound towards the Mercs
As the bugs from the second nest charged headlong towards the ranks of the B.O.B. Charter Mercs, most of the humans' nerves broke and they ran, clambering up the scaffolding of a nearby crane to take cover. The Lieutenant and his second-in-command maintained their composure, stood their ground, and fired round after round of small arms fire into the teeming mass.
The bugs prepare for close combat
Through the withering hail of bullets from the COG team's assault rifles, the high cyclic rate of B.O.B. Charter Mercs' submachine guns, and a stalwart melee stand by the B.O.B. captain, the bugs of the second nest were cut down entirely. A small victory, but the battle was far from over however.
The brood from the remaining two nests surged forward as one, threatening to engulf any who stood against them. If the COG troopers were concerned, they didn't show it as they carefully put round after round into the target rich environment, all the while executing a judicious tactical retreat, keeping the bugs at bay.
COG troops continue to retreat, and signal the 'clear out' directive to the Mercs
Fire in the hole!
As ground forces were trying to coordinate orbital fire support (ie, try to find something like 'off board fire support' in the rulebook) they switched from their assault rifles to their wrist mounted mini-grenade launchers built into the gauntlets of their Neo-Armor. It was found that the blast radius of the grenades was most efficient when dealing with targets grouped so tightly together.
Bayang firing line
Bayang forces had a busy time of their own. Early in the battle their alien intellect perceived a threat so overwhelming that they took cover in a nearby building. Their cerebral functions threatened to shut down their bodies in a comatose state as a defensive/submissive tactic. If it weren't for the COG team leader, who engaged them early on, persuading them to "Get back out there and fight you limp-  ups!" they would have surely been been overrun.
Wielding energy weapons devised mostly on their own, using what technological scraps were thrown their way, the Bayang tore into the bugs; bright, incandescent beams lanced out in irregular streams, blasting the targets' shells apart.
Run away! (loosely translated)
As the horde inevitably closed with the Bayang, the natives exhibited a fascinating cultural coping mechanism. The Diplomat is the leader of the battle node, and the safety of the node is its primary responsibility. When the node is threatened by sure destruction, it is the Diplomat's duty to stay behind and sacrifice itself so that the others may escape. It is then customary that those who escaped change their pheromone signature to that of the fallen diplomat; a sort of way of honoring the fallen by "renaming" themselves after it.
Your [scent] will not be forgotten (loosely translated)
The Bayang node was wiped out, the B.O.B. Charter Mercs were safely beyond the bug's immediate reach, and the COG troops were out of both assault rifle ammo, as well as mini-grenades...and the bugs kept coming. COG troops began assembling their sky hook harness apparatus to prepare for a low altitude extraction of their team. It would take time to configure, but their training had them more than ready for the task. The gunship moved into position, low and fast, successfully snaring the team's harness and arcing skyward, COG in tow, before the bugs could close.
Nerve agents were shelled into the area first from a mountain howitzer battalion several kilometers away, but to no avail, the bugs were impervious to the deadly vapors. It was hoped that the structural facility could be saved, minimizing the overall economic cost of the battle. Option 'B' was more direct, as a corvette waiting in orbit rained guided helbombs to the surface, leveling the structures, and bugs, that were there.