A Dragon Once: Beyond Rastho Prime

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A Dragon Once: Beyond Rastho Prime

Post by Ella2 6 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:28 am

Image
Beyond Rastho Prime

An ADO Expansion Pack


By: Ella

“Those who embrace life perpetuate death. Those who embrace creation perpetuate destruction.”
- The Mantra of the Dragon

It's been a full month since the United Autonomous Republic entered the great war against the Morimpan Empire on 102/01/12150HE with the outbreak of the Rastho Prime Incident. Since then, the two powers had encountered each other on two additional battlefields. Rastho Prime itself had been secured by Admiral Jefferson after sixty days of intense fighting against Fleet Lord Kyv'Tamara.

However, only twenty-eight days earlier, the Morimpan invasion of the allied system of Ascillia had begun and the Empire prevailed some forty-eight days later, having all but destroyed Admiral Ferreiro's garrison and interdicted all of the Ellian reinforcements, preventing them from entering battle. Only a fraction of all Ellian vessels deployed ever returned to Bastion following the defeat.

Determined to press their advantage and maintain momentum, the Morimpans pushed thirty million vessels into the neutral system of Aulux on 071/02/12150HE. Only twenty-eight days later, the combined forces of the local Aulux Navy and the Ellian Starforce repelled the invasion with Pyrrhic losses to all sides involved. Morimpan Fleet Lord Paq'Bucyvy was forced to retreat from Aulux with only a fifth of his remaining forces while the Ellians lost even more.

All the while, the United Autonomous Republics' Royal Starfleet had been marching swiftly into the theatre, regrouping at the UAR forward military base in Outpost before commencing a twenty-five-day voyage to Aulux to relieve the exhausted garrison. Yet, even as help was on the way, tensions grew in the region as the Aulux peoples threatened to close its borders to the Dominion of Elliannia, the largest allied military power in the entire region and the homeland of all Ellians.
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Re: A Dragon Once: Beyond Rastho Prime

Post by Ella2 6 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:28 am

Arcs
The Forsaken Regiment
Follow the clones of the Forsaken Regiment (177th Division, Ellian 12th Clone Army) and their Ellian commanders through the wastelands of Nos'Goth as they are brought up to the frontline from the rear and witness the horrors and virtues of modern warfare for the first time in their accelerated lives.

102/02/12150HE The Forsaken Regiment I
Last edited by Ella2 6 on Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Fifth Quadrant,
a science fiction
group/setting/region
founded by yours truly.
All players are welcome!
The Crossroads Discord,
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Re: A Dragon Once: Beyond Rastho Prime

Post by Ella2 6 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:29 am

The Forsaken Regiment I

102/02/12150HE
Rastho Prime, The Rastho Prime Theatre
Tos'Hoth, Nos'Goth
Has'Both Road, Hoh'Suth Woods
Clone Second Lieutenant Cuddles


The Battle of Nos'Goth had been raging on for the past month or so and the end was finally within sight. With the Morimpan fleets driven out of the system half a month ago, the army was trapped upon the planet and set upon by the locals. Now, the remnants of the once proud conquerors were shattered and scattered across the world, hiding in the craters and ditches of the battle-scarred terrain, awaiting either death or rescue. For the moment, it must have seemed to every Morimpan that death was inevitable, if not imminent as supplies and ammunition was depleted day by day.

Weeks of relentless shelling have made quite an impression on the landscape. Has'Both Road used to run through densest parts of Hoh'Suth Woods. There was no longer a single tree in sight; from the foreground to the horizon, the scene was a panorama of utter desolation. The burning husks of tanks, planes and even orbital debris littered the field, sending plumes of smoke skywards. Between the dark pillars, the bodies of the dead and wounded shot days ago lay, their bodies contorted in every angle of agony.

The road itself no longer bore any semblance of a man-made structure to the civilisation that built it, erased from the face of Nos'Goth by marching, bombing and the unforgiving dust storms that now swept through the devastated ruins. In spite of all this, the hardy wildlife of the Gel'durk homeworld are already steadily repopulating the area. The first sign of life on the seemingly endless barren fields, blackened from weeks of intense fighting, was the pale shoots that had been steadily sprouting out of patches of slightly less-damaged ground over the past few days. For the weary soldiers of the Forsaken Regiment, these tender greens served as a reminder of life beyond the bitter struggles of war.

Columns of heavy machinery crawled across the landscape, the rumbling of their powerful engines was almost deafening in the unusual silence. Immense blades bulldozed the road clear of wreckages and flattened craters while men and equipment scraped up the fragmented concrete and laid down fresh pavement. On the roadside, in a clearing seemingly untouched by the fires of war, a field hospital treated the wounded while labourers buried the deceased. The complex of tents was, per custom, neutral territory, and staffed by doctors, surgeons and nurses and soldiers hailing from every nation involved in the conflict.

A large shield generator in the centre of the camp, generously donated by the Ellian Starforce guarded the camp from stray shots. The wide area contained within this protective sphere - an region some hundred metres across - was a demilitarised zone where only the scalpel and saw was allowed entry. Anti-aircraft and point-defence batteries girt the perimeter, their task to vapourise falling debris before they hit the sanitarium. Several small tents prepared hot meals to serve the hundreds of thousands of servicemen and patients working in and around the area, each optimised to meet the specific dietary requirements of the multi-racial workforce.

The huge shadow of a medical dropship loomed overhead, its various thrusters igniting in sequence to bring her down on the adjacent landing zone, the fiery engines kicking clouds of ashen dust into the air. As the nebulous masses settled, the bright red crosses painted onto her hull split open and ramps deployed themselves onto the ground. First, the supplies were unloaded, then the sick and wounded were carried aboard, destined for the medical stations and hospital ships in orbit. She was just one of the unfathomable millions of such dropships that ran planned circuits around the planet's myriad battlefields.

A second dropship soared overhead, its whitewashed hull showing signs of damage as Morimpan fighters and missiles trailed its graceful movements. It was not until the Forsaken Regiment's anti-aircraft platoons opened fire that the pursuing fighters were finally forced to break off and withdraw, though they continued to circle high above the area, like vultures awaiting carnage. The bright blue tracers from allied anti-air batteries tracked their erratic flight, dissuading such lingering.

Cuddles glanced up as a nearby self-propelled anti-aircraft gun joined the fray and opened up skywards, its chassis rocking as the super-sonic autocannon lobbed round after round into the air. These tracer-like plasma bolts were merely a distraction while the tank's laser emitters moved into position. She watched them for a few more seconds before unzipping command tent's flaps and ducking inside. The dusty breeze swirled in around her and she quickly zipped the door shut behind her.

"It's a wonder how the fish still have planes after all these days," she mused aloud, gesturing the skirmish in the skies. Her companion, a blue-haired and orange-eyed Ellian holding the rank of colonel, merely grunted in reply. Cuddles watched her almost wistfully, disheartened by her lack of commentary.

The senior officer glanced up at her aide. "Um... Sorry. I wasn't paying attention. What did you say?"

"It's nothing," the clone replied, setting down a plasteel bottle on the table, "Here's your tea." The colonel thanked her with a nod before turning back to her computer. The second lieutenant removed her helmet and placed it on the table as well. "What are you reading?" she asked, peering at her superior's screen.

The Ellian was quick to respond. "Um. A message from Brigade. We're being redeployed to Jut'Loth."

"Jut'loth?" Cuddles echoed, bringing up a map of the area on her tablet. Spotting the marker, she enlargened the picture to reveal a formerly Gel'durk fortress city some distance behind the frontline and not far from their position. According to the labels, an estimated one hundred thousand Morimpans garrisoned the fortress. "Is it just us being redeployed?" She asked, tentatively zooming in on the city's reinforced battlements and walls. Massive guns housed in armoured turrets jutted out from the city at every angle.

"Um, no. The entire division is moving to support the siege," the blue-haired girl answered, "Major General Dunameii is requesting additional reinforcements, though it is dubious that he will receive any at this stage." The colonel rubbed her forehead wearily. She could guess what the top brass was thinking: Standard doctrine often emphasises the challenges and intricacies of urban warfare, favouring ten-to-one odds for the attacker. These were the founding principles of the universal truths embodied in The Art of War, the military theory that all Ellian commanders were ascribed to; the basis of all material taught in all war academies.

Major General Dunameii read it. Colonel Tsunamoyo read it. Some clone officers such as Cuddles herself also read it in passing. However, the pink-haired girl could not help but feel that the leadership missed the fact that it was not just a simple city - it was a fortress. She could tell her commander was having similar thoughts too. She sighed inwardly.

"I told the Regiment to move out in two hour's time," the Colonel decreed once more, "We should be in Jut'Loth by dinner time. Could you head down and oversee regiment H-Q pack themselves up?"

"Of course, Ma'am," Cuddles agreed. She picked up her helmet and was about to leave when it suddenly struck her that the Colonel would usually supervise these proceedings herself. "Colonel Tsunamoyo..." she began, turning back to her commanding officer, "Are you..." She trailed off, unsure how to phrase the question. "Is something wrong?" She eventually inquired, "You usually do this yourself."

"Oh, um. I'm leaving ahead with the support companies to rendezvous with Brigadier Shurston," Tsunamoyo explained, "Major General Dunameii wants to set up all divisional artillery assets as soon as possible. He's worried about the fortifications."

"Understood," Cuddles affirmed, saluting, "The rest of the Regiment will be with you by dinner time, Ma'am."

The colonel returned the gesture from her seat. "Farewell," she bid.

Cuddles let herself out into the dingy air once more. The anti-air platoons had fallen silent by now and the medical dropship has taken off from the heated sands, her hold loaded with patients. The humanitarian vessel passed, unmolested by anti-aircraft fire, over the Morimpan lines, her rockets igniting to push her back into orbit. Another Ellian dropship entered the atmosphere behind her and was instantly subjected to volleys of missiles. Her fighter escort broke off to counter the threat while she forged onwards to her drop zone. It was simultaneously disturbing, yet strangely beautiful, Cuddles reflected, and she would not have it any other way.
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Re: A Dragon Once: Beyond Rastho Prime

Post by Ella2 6 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:52 pm

The Forsaken Regiment II

102/02/12150HE
Rastho Prime, The Rastho Prime Theatre
Jut'Loth, Nos'Goth
Mil'Doth Woods, Mil'Doth Hill
Clone Second Lieutenant Cuddles


The Forsaken Regiment arrived in Jut'Loth four hours after sunset. The massive column of armoured vehicles kicked up clouds of dust behind them as they rolled along the remains of Has'Both Road. Their arrival was confronted by the enormous Jut'Loth fortress, a bunker city carved into the heart of the gigantic Mount Jut'Loth after which the great city was named. Dense forests crept their way up the base of the slopes before ending abruptly a few hundred metres up the incline where they were replaced by solid grey rock reinforced with bastions of concrete and steel.

These defensive positions were now earning the ire of the 177th Division's big guns, which had arrived several hours earlier to begin laying siege to the commandeered stronghold. The darkened sky lit up rhythmically with the lightning of gunfire and the air rumbled with the thundering of artillery as the howitzers attempted to soften up the defences for an infantry assault. Six hours of continuous shelling had only just started to make an impression on the Gel'Durk fortifications. The rock and soil were blasted away easily enough, revealing yet more rock and soil underneath. However, the pillboxes themselves held firmly against the barrage, having been optimised to provide some resistance to starship-grade ordnance.

A prolonged siege was anticipated, but not welcome, and a more or less permanent regimental headquarters had been established near the rear, hidden from Morimpan observation by the dense forest of Mil'Doth Hill. Portable plasteel slabs were connected together and erected into the buildings and structures that comprised the base, offering a much more enduring presence compared to the tents that were used in the previous encampment.

The colonel was nursing a cup of tea when Cuddles entered the newly assembled construct. The junior officer saluted quickly before approaching her superior. "The whole Regiment's here, Ma'am," she reported cheerfully, "The other regiments are almost here as well. It looks like the encirclement's almost complete."

Tsunamoyo nodded. "General Dunameii has ordered us to assume defensive positions," she stated, "He's probably hoping that the Morimpans would attempt a breakout before the encirclement is complete." The Second Lieutenant considered this and decided that it made sense. Suddenly, the chorus of a well-known pop song from Tinamoyo started playing. This was punctuated by the vibrating of Tsunamoyo's computer tablet. The Colonel glanced at her computer screen and stiffened perceptibly. It was from the General. "Colonel Tsunamoyo speaking," she answered quickly, after Cuddles fetched the portable device from its charging port, "Did you need something, Sir?"

"Good evening, Dear," Dunameii greeted. She relaxed a little. The conversation was an informal one. She looked up at her aide, gesturing politely for her to leave. The pink-haired girl smiled in understanding and unobtrusively let herself out. "The Brigadiers and I were discussing our offensive. I was wondering if you would like to weigh in on our plans?" The major general continued.

"Offensive?" She asked tentatively, unconsciously leaning into the desk as she spoke, "I wasn't aware of any offensives. Did I miss a memo or something?"

"You haven't missed anything," Dunameii assured her, "I haven't given any orders yet."

"Oh, alright," a relieved Tsunamoyo responded, raising her teacup to her lips, "So what's the plan?"

"As you know, our current deployment is purely defensive. I was hoping to use our artillery as bait to draw the Morimpans out of the fortress, but now that our entire division is here and our encirclement is complete there is no way they would dare to leave the city. So it's up to us to make the next move." A pregnant pause. "The plan right now is to position the tanks along Has'Both and Dim'Soth Road to support an infantry advance on the flanks. We'll create diversionary attacks along Has'Both Ridge, Mil'Doth Ridge and Dim'Soth Forest to draw their attention away from the offensive."

"Is my regiment going to be on the prongs?" The colonel asked.

"It'll be part of the decoy," the general told her, "Your current position makes it difficult to redeploy to the staging area, so you'll have to make the feint."

Tsunamoyo considered this for some time and sighed. "It almost sounds like a waste of men."

"So that's what you make of it," Dunameii said at length, "Is it the plan that you disagree with or just your part in it?"

The colonel set her cup down and considered the question. "I'm not sure," she replied after a while, "I've neither the experience to say if the plan would or wouldn't work nor any particular love for being on point." Dunameii hummed thoughtfully. "It's probably just being part of the diversion. I feel like I'm losing men without achieving any real, tangible objective. As for the plan itself..." She trailed off, her brows furrowing into a knot, "Hold on. I need to look at the map."

"Take your time."

She quickly pulled up a map of the area on her computer screen and studied it carefully. There were a number of green markers on the chart, detailing the general position of units on the field. Her own were marked in blue and neatly positioned around the edges of Mil'Doth Ridge. ""The ideal plan of attack should combine strength, speed, surprise, concealment, mobility and flexibility,"" she quoted, her words straight out of the textbook.

"You'll be hard pressed to find all those conditions on an actual battlefield," Dunameii informed her.

"Maybe," she agreed, crestfallen, "But if you were able to get all those factors, where would you launch the attack from?"

"I'd come down from the slopes between Mil'Doth Ridge and Has'Both Ridge," the general told her, "The two ridges on either side provide excellent cover and concealment, and if I was the Morimpan general I probably wouldn't expect an attack from that direction. But the problem is that it'll be difficult to funnel troops through and concentrate them in such a dense forest. Moreover, there isn't a way across the river from that position."

Tsunamoyo frowned and leant back in her chair. "My regiment is stationed in the nearby area. We got through relatively quickly. My battalion commanders should know more about the local terrain, given that they've already dug into it. I can call them if you want."

A lengthy silence. "Alright."

"Cuddles!" The door opened and the pink-haired girl poked her head into the room inquisitively. "Get the majors on the line for me. I want to talk to them." The second lieutenant nodded before leaving to organise the group call and Tsunamoyo drained the last of her tea while she waited.

The Morimpans had set up powerful radio interference around Jut'Loth, disrupting the majority of Ellian communications. The signals regiments had been hard at work, attempting to power through the disruption by setting up amplifiers and relay stations throughout the area of operations. Wires had also been laid but were only really useful for stationary formations and unit headquarters. As of now, bandwidth was limited, and all communications had to be approved by the signals corps.

Of course, rank factored in as well. The higher up the chain of command, the higher the priority given to communications. Dunameii would, therefore, be able to cut through the queue while Tsunamoyo would have to wait if the line was already busy if she wanted to contact him. But at the same time, since she outranked anyone who would have direct contact with her subordinates, she too would skip the queue when calling on them.

Cuddles returned a moment later. “A line had been established, Ma'am.” Tsunamoyo waved her acknowledgement and sent a group call through the prepared line. The majors were, for the most part, prompt the answer.

The first to reply was Mugs, a respectable and highly reliable field officer. He was something of a yesman to his superiors and he always sought to appease them, but his command was true and his men followed him. Babe came online next. She was a sometimes arrogant, but often loveable, pink-haired girl who challenged authority in pursuit of truth. Third was Special. A free spirit by nature, he cared little for protocol but demanded excellence from both himself and those around him with a short temper and an iron fist.

Then Ruby answered the call. She was something of a role model among her peers. Strong, intelligent, ambitious and notoriously difficult to impress. Her battalion was always in tiptop shape and is widely considered the best of the Regiment. Lastly came Lioness, a truly inspiring leader and a highly capable tactician. She was the top of her grade when she graduated from the war academies of Tinamoyo, but some fear that her achievements may have gone to her head.

"Ladies. Gentleman. Sorry for disturbing you at such a late hour," Dunameii began, "I'm considering the possibility of planning an offensive in your area. Divisional scouts did a quick survey of the area, but they weren't very thorough. I would like to know more about the local terrain. How many men can I move through Mil'Doth Ridge and at what speed?"

"At most, you can double the number of forces stationed here," Ruby replied. The clones all shared the same voice - through the male and female clones had different voices, of course - and it would have been difficult for them to tell who was talking without their respective icons lighting up on the computer screen as they spoke.

"That's hardly enough to be the main body of the assault," Dunameii conceded, "I think it might be enough to act as a supporting element as opposed to a diversion if there was enough artillery support. But, my scouts tell me that there are no suitable locations to set up any guns."

"Actually, there is," the voice said again, only this time, it was Lioness. "Tanks can be positioned along the ridgeline for direct fire support. Even a single armour regiment would do wonders for the offensive."

"They can get through the jungle?" Dunameii asked, surprised.

"There's room enough," the major confirmed, "I've already deployed the tanks in our regiment in a similar manner."

"How long will it take?" The Ellian quizzed.

"If I start now, they'll be in position by sunrise," Lioness declared.

"A bold claim," the general observed, "I admire your spirit. Very well, Major, you will have your tanks. I want to see them lining the forest when I wake up in the morning."

"They'll be there, Sir," she asserted.

"Very good." His voice rose a little louder, but it also pulled away a little further too. "Bo, tell Brigadier Henokatsu to send one of her regiments down to Mil'Doth Ridge." A few seconds later, his voice had returned to normal, though his tone had softened perceptibly. "Majors, I bid you evening. Rest well. Tomorrow will be a big day." The clones took this as their cue to leave and their avatars disappeared from the group call in rapid succession (incidentally, in the reverse order that they arrived in). Once they had all left, Dunameii turned his attention back to Tsunamoyo. "Are you nervous?"

She hesitated slightly. "I... Yeah..."

"Don't worry," he told her comfortingly, "I'm sure you'll do fine. I'll send another brigade to your area to help you. But that's for you to worry about tomorrow. Right now, you should get some sleep."

"Alright. Goodnight, Uncle Dunameii."

"Goodnight, Dear."

The line was cut. Tsunamoyo rose and yawned, stretching herself as she did so. "Cuddles," she called at length, "I need another cup of tea."

"You're not going to bed?" Her subordinate asked, turning from her desk.

"I can't sleep when my stomach feels like it's trying to digest solid rock," the colonel replied, sitting back down again, "I need something to steady my nerves."

"You know, milk is much better at doing that," Cuddles told her, "Tea keeps just you awake."

"Make that a milk tea then," Tsunamoyo said absentmindedly, opening up the sketchpad on her tablet and loading a detailed drawing of her foster father.

Cuddles, however, disagreed with her request. She tilted her head to one side, her hands on her hips. "What's the point of mixing the two if they neutralise each other? I might as well throw in five sugars at that point. Did you want some tapioca balls too? How about some jelly? Coconut milk is pretty nice too. Ice? What about s-"

"Alright, fine! Get me the bloody milk!"
The Fifth Quadrant,
a science fiction
group/setting/region
founded by yours truly.
All players are welcome!
The Crossroads Discord,
an OOC chat/chill channel
to facilitate communication
between NS role players.
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A writer of magic, fantasy & science fiction.

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Ella2 6
Level 5.2
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Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:43 pm
NS Nation (Prefix): The Winter Kawaii of
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Re: A Dragon Once: Beyond Rastho Prime

Post by Ella2 6 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:09 am

The Forsaken Regiment III

103/02/12150HE
Rastho Prime, The Rastho Prime Theatre
Jut'Loth, Nos'Goth
Mil'Doth Woods, Mil'Doth Hill
Clone Second Lieutenant Cuddles


Scouts were unable to reach the bridges during the evening. Captured thermal sensors revealed their presence as soon as they reached the treeline and machine gun fire raked the forest, much to Lioness' annoyance as her tanks were caught in the random bursts. The battalion commander refrained from returning fire out of fear of revealing the position of her armour regiment to enemy artillery, but the random barrages had taken a small toll on the lightly armoured gun carriages.

The Siege of Jut'Loth had claimed its first Ellian victims: A divisional clone scout who was cut down by the initial burst of gunfire. Medics were unable to reach him in time and the reconnaissance specialist quickly succumbed to his wounds. The Forsaken Regiment had received casualties as well: A tank commander from Lioness' Battalion was struck by a stray round, wounding him. He was taken to the rear while they awaited the arrival of the first medical dropship (a medical landing zone had been established some distance to the rear and the Morimpans also designated one at the top of the mountain). A tank destroyer had been disabled by a penetrating round to the engine and the crew was forced to abandon her.

It would have been an otherwise uneventful night, but the assault began a few hours before sunrise with a preliminary artillery bombardment that lasted until dawn. The intensive barrage swept the mountains clear of as many fortifications as practically possible before the infantry assault commenced. Universal carriers advanced from the slopes of the Mil'Doth ridgeline and across the Bon'Moth Valley under the cover of Ellian anti-tank and self-propelled rocket artillery fire support. The heavy ordnance proved formidable against targets at the base and crest of the mountain but struggled to destroy emplacements in the woods - the artillery out of fear of hitting the trees and the much more accurate anti-tank guns due to a lack of direct line of sight. For Ellian guns, concealment was also cover as the plasma bolts simply exploded in contact with solid matter, likely setting fire to the forest itself.

As such, the infantry had to force their way up the treacherous slopes without support, and it was a bloody business for the rookie troops. Their training prevailed in the harsh environment, but they had little combat experience to draw on. By contrast, their Morimpan counterparts where initially untrained, but battle-hardened levies drawn from across the oceanic empire. The clones, united by family and birthright, pushed their way up the rocks. The Morimpans, bound by duty and empire, pressed them back down again. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Jut'Loth Woods for the remainder of the morning, neither side gaining a decisive advantage over the other.

Colonel Tsunamoyo shook her head as she listened in to the radio chatter from the other brigades. The second wave had gone in, but progress was unsatisfactory. “Radio Forsaken. Get the men ready to advance.” The signals officers were swift to obey. It was not long before the order came.

“Colonel,” one of the signallers called, “Brigadier Shurston's ordered us forward.”

“Then forward we must go,” Tsunamoyo agreed, “Deploy the Regiment to the line.”

The order was rapidly passed down the chain and met with great enthusiasm. The Forsaken Regiment's armoured vehicles burst forth from the treeline and assembled themselves into fast-moving columns. Tanks and rocket artillery emerged from the underbrush and opened fire on the bleak, grey peaks. It was not long before the infantry reached the Bon'Moth Valley River, completely unscathed thanks to the heavy bombardment. Everything when south from then on.

Cuddles lowered her binoculars, her face pale. “Colonel...” She called unsteadily, “Colonel, the bridge.” She turned to her superior. “Colonel, the bridge is down.” Tsunamoyo turned from her computer, aghast and snatched the binoculars from her subordinate. True to her word, a pile of rubble and a cloud of smoke had replaced the highway overpass. She glanced back at the glass table which displayed a map of the area with markers on it for various allied units. Her own were highlighted in blue, the other regiments green. A quick count revealed that she was one short. Mug's Battalion had disappeared from the map.

“Colonel,” one of the signallers called, his tone urgent, “Major Mugs has been wounded. Major Lioness has assumed command of his battalion.”

She nodded her approval. It was good that her subordinates knew when to take initiative and she made a mental note of Lioness's competence. “How extensive is the damage?” She inquired. The signaller shook this head. “Private, get me Lioness."

"Battalion, this is Regiment. Lioness, come in please." There was a long pause. "Colonel, Major Lioness isn't in her U-C."

“What's going on over there?” Tsunamoyo demanded, her tone urgent now, "I need a sitrep. Double quick."

“Battalion, what's your status?” The signals officer quickly jotted down some notes on his tablet as the reply came in. “Colonel, Major Lioness' Battalion has disembarked,” he explained, handing her the device, “They're trying to recover what's left of Mug's Battalion. Major Ruby's Battalion is just behind them. They'll be on their way when they catch up to them."

Tsunamoyo skimmed over the notes quickly, her brows creasing into a frown. "Alright, fine," she decreed, "But I want them moving as soon as they can."

A second signaller joined in the fray. “Colonel,” she cried, “I've lost contact with Major Special's U-C.” Tsunamoyo turned to the table at that. The unit was still intact, but it might very well be leaderless for all she knew.

“Do what you can.” The clone nodded, brushed aside a lock of pink hair and returned to her workstation. The colonel sat back down and scanned the digital map with a critical eye, assessing the situation in her mind. “Tell Brigade that the line is about to break and we're at risk of being outflanked,” the colonel said at length. “We need urgent support. Cuddles, I need another cup of tea."

"At this rate, I'm going to have to requisition a second water tank from the kitchen," the second lieutenant bemoaned, filling the kettle and putting it on boil.

With another cup of tea in hand, the colonel settled down to direct the battle again. She cast a vigilant gaze over the digital battlefield and it was not long until she noticed a discrepancy. The offensive had progressed into its earnest and the Ellian troops had been slowed to a halt. Special and Babe's Battalions had both made it across the valley and were steadily advancing on the Northern flank. However, a large hole had developed between them where Mug's Battalion was supposed to be. Lioness and Ruby were meant to bring up the rear and act as reserves, but they were still crossing the river.

"Colonel. Brigade has responded. They say it's no longer possible to send troops across the river without the bridges intact. I'm that afraid our lads are on their own."

"That means that withdrawal is no longer possible either," Tsunamoyo realised. She rubbed her forehead anxiously, staring at the map, debating whether or not she should order Ruby and Lioness' battalions to return. She weighed the risks carefully but was unable to come to a definite decision. On one hand, there was still hope that the operation could succeed if they made it across. On the other hand, if the assault failed, the entire regiment would be trapped and isolated. There would be no resupply and communications may even be permanently severed. She could not make the gamble. "Ask Brigadier Shurston if we should withdraw what troops we can."

The radio operator wasted no time contacting the brigadier's headquarters. The wait was excruciating, despite it only being a minute or two long. "Colonel," she called after an eternity had passed, "Brigadier Shurston recommends that we see the attack through to the end."

"Alright," Tsunamoyo agreed. She took a deep breath to steady herself, "Tell the battalions there will be no more reinforcements. Is Major Special's status known yet?"

“Yes Ma'am,” the signaller replied, “It isn't good, Ma'am.”
The Fifth Quadrant,
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