BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

RAINSTICK

WAR DIARIES OF A SINNER Chapter 5
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Book wasn't born a shepherd, he was born Brian M. Yong, an ex-colonel surprisingly, and unwillingly, brought out of retirement by the Alliance to fight in the Unification War.----Yong's troops are sent to Sihnon to help fend off them damn Browncoats.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1133    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Cold air came rushing in from the open doors as the troop transport flew over the hinterland of Sihnon. Yong ventured a look over to the other transporters flying in formation alongside his own. They were heading towards their drop zone some miles towards one of the satellite cities of Sihnon’s capital, each of them itself home to millions and more magnificent than any city of the border planets, although of course shrinking in comparison to the great city itself. Yong found it mind-boggling that just less than a month ago he had been scraping a living off the scarce pickings on the border and that after first coming to Osiris he was now in the very centre of the solar system, at the centre of culture, economy, power. The events of the last couple of days had been turbulent indeed. After the short bombardment of Osiris a week ago most troops, including Colonel Yong’s had boarded the already crammed Alliance ships that had come to relieve Osiris. They had been in a hurry to stay on the heels of the Independent fleet which had made a quick thrust for Sihnon. Although they had not been able to land directly in Sihnon, the Browncoats had established a beachhead, if it could be called that, far outside the city centre, even outside the satellite cities. However, they had quickly made advances into the sprawling urban mess that this megacity was. But now their advance had ground to a hold. Neither Alliance nor Browncoats could drive the other from their positions in factory complexes or residential areas. These had by now been sufficiently fortified to be held for weeks, maybe months. However, the Alliance had ordered an all-out assault to begin in 48 hours. Colonel Yong’s 37th and some other units had been assigned to creep up on the enemy and weaken their positions at strategic points so that the main offensive could break through.

They had now reached their drop-off point. It was a park in a run-down district, with a couple of scattered trees and some kind of memorial. Bleak concrete blocks overlooked the area, a stark contrast to the splendour in the centre of Sihnon city. While the transport ships slowly set down, the first squads were already jumping out while the ships were still hovering severl feet above ground. They spread out, taking cover behind trees, benches, and the stone and steel constructions of the monument. Everything seemed clear. Finally all the troops had touched ground and split into their companies and platoons scattering around the area. Yong, who stayed with the 1st company, clapped down the visor-like transparent digital screen of his helmet and loaded up the map of the area to get his bearings.

“Position Alpha clear, Sir”, said one of the captains over the com transmitter in the helmets. It was Mendes whose 5th had gone further ahead. “We found the station. Everything secure.”

“Copy that, Mendes”, Yong answered, then gave orders to the rest of the officers over the com. “All join up with Mendes at Alpha.”

A few minutes later the regiment had gathered in and around the derelict station in the midst of this suburb. The old magnetic train system was long out of use, but here on the outskirts there wasn’t even the money to clear away the old technology that was no longer needed. Yong’s troops were to follow the tracks further north towards the positions of the Independents.

-------

For the last three hours Yong’s troops had now followed the tracks, creeping rather than moving forward on both sides of the course, always checking the area around for signs of ambushes or hidden Independent positions. The surrounding area had changed little. Instead of obviously neglected houses they now moved through districts that used to be in a better shape before the Inependents had hit. Scorched concrete, broken glass and warped steel were a clear indicator that there had been fighting going on here. Parts of building blocks had collapsed or showed signs of heavy shelling. Here and there a couple of corpses were visible, lying in unnaturally twisted positions, surrounded by puddles of darkened blood. Only a few of them were soldiers, both Independent and Alliance. Those corpses that could not be seen were given away by swarms of crows, a couple of rats, and sometimes a dog which were scared away from their feasts each time a platoon came too close. So far there had not been any enemy contact. Yong checked again the map on his visor-screen. According to the data the tracks they had been following should soon go underground. He activated the com: “Mendes? Yong here. Do you read?”

“Mendes here, sir”, responded the voice in the transmitter. Mendes’ company were still forming the vanguard and were about three to five minute ahead of Yong and most of the rest. As the tracks made a rightward bend a little further ahead, the scouts could not be seen.

“Have you reached position beta yet?”

“Right ahead of us, sir. We’re going in.”

“Good. Report when position is clear. Yong out.”

The soldiers continued their slow advance. When they had taken the complete rightward turn they could see the massive tunnel swallowing up the tracks in several hundred yards’ distance. Other tracks from different directions joined the ones the soldiers had used to get here. In all around ten parallel tracks disappeared into the tunnel’s gaping mouth.

“Mendes here, Colonel. We’re now hundred yards into the tunnel. Everything seems to be...Oh, shit.” Yong can hear the faint sound of shots over the com as well as Mendes screaming orders at his men.

“All, here Yong”, he said over the com to his junior officers. “Enemy contact. Repeat. Enemy contact. Take defensive positions. 4th and 7th company join me and the 1st at tunnel entrance. We join up with Mendes. The rest watch our backs.”

Yong and his soldiers rushed into the tunnel entrance. The echo of the shots could clearly be heard from deeper inside. Apart from the muzzle flashs of the distant combat the darkness was complete. It was difficult not to stumble or to fall over each other, so going was much slower than Yong would have liked. Mendes’ men were pinned down on both sides of the wall, pressing their backs against the stone. The tunnel was narrowing down at this place, having only room for four or five parallel tracks, before opening up again into a huge underground train depot, maybe two hundred yards in diameter. At least that was what Yong discern on the visor-screen before his eyes. It wasn’t much use in complete darkness. Yong squinted into the blackness of the tunnel. Whenever the Independents fired at them, he could shortly see where they were. They had build some kind of wall across the tracks at some distance. It was impossible to tell exactly how far away in the darkness, but Yong estimated it were around 60, 80 yards away. Whatever the distance, the Independents had a formidable cover and could target the Alliance soldiers from behind there easily. But telling from the number of flashes during each salvo it could not be many. Yong searched Mendes among the soldiers huddling against the tunnel wall. The tenth person he grabbed was the Captain.

“How many did you lose?”

“Not sure. They took us by surprise. Threw grenades when we were walking into the depot. And they’re decent shots, they have taken out couple. I’d say I have around 30 men dead, dying, or wounded. Sorry, Sir. I really should’ve paid more attention.”

“This is not the time nor place for that talk. How many did they lose?”

“Impossible to tell with the cover they got. There weren’t many to start with, maybe fifty. I’m sure we got some of the bastards. The only good thing is their ammo seems to be running out. Don’t shoot as much as before.”

“How close do you need to get to deliver gas shells from an assault rifle’s grenade launcher, considering darkness and all?”

“30, 25 maybe.”

“Okay, get ten men from your company, and tell them to creep forward very slowly. We give them cover fire for all the time they need. We have superior numbers and more ammunition.”

“Since we have superior numbers, why don’t we just rush them?” Mendes asked.

“They have a defensible position. If we just make a frontal assault they’ll kill another 30 of your men, possibly more. That would be our last option. You got your orders, captain.”

“Yes, Sir.”

The plan was going ahead as discussed. Mendes selected ten good shots from his company and filled them in on the details. Moments later they were crawling along the tracks on their bellies, spreading out so the Browncoats couldn’t take out all of them at once if they started throwing grenades. When they had covered about a third of the distance, Yong ordered the men to fire. He opened the safety lock on his own rifle and fired a series of shots into the darkness. They kept up this constant barrage for over a minute. The Independents returned fire, although there seemed little sign of them running out of ammo. However, the ten soldiers creeping up on the Independents’ wall used the diversion of the cover fire to advance more quickly, scurrying across the tracks in a hunched-down position. Then Yong could hear the sound of the grenade-launchers over the noise of the gunfire. He saw the trails of smokes signalling the arch of the gas shells as they flew into the Independents’ position. The gunfire on the far side of the large depot died down entirely within a few seconds. Yong waited ten minutes until his and Mendes’ companies ventured to go across, everyone with a gas mask strapped over their faces. They entered the Browncoats’ position searching the ground with their torches. Several dozen men and women in Independent uniforms were lying there. Some obviously killed by bullets, but most of them had fallen prey to the gas. Their limbs and faces were contorted in pain, eyes bulging, cheeks and lips turned blue, some of them clutching their throats as if they had tried to strangle themselves. A couple of them had obviously tried to escape into the tunnel behind them. They had not got too far. After a couple of yards they too had succumbed to the effects of the chemical agent and showing the same effects on their bodies as their comrades at the wall.

Yong felt a lump in his throat when he turned on the com now to speak to his soldiers. “Colonel Yong speaking. Position beta is clear. Repeat. Position beta clear.”

-------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer: For the events of the war I am loosely orientating myself on the unofficial timeline on the Fireflywiki. The 'Verse is of course Joss Whedon's. But Book's alter ego Brian Yong is essentially my creation.

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Sorry I kept you waiting. Just didn't get to writing much yesterday. But as a compensation this chapter is longer. Please comment

COMMENTS

Friday, October 27, 2006 8:04 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Wow...guess the Alliance isn't satisfied with using something like CS or smoke, huh?

:(

Still...that was some mighty riveting action, rainstick. Can't wait to see what kind of stuff you put Book through before he has his moment of conscience;)

BEB


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