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The area surrounding Belden is mostly ruins. Once a mix of tall, mighty buildings and palatial mansions, months of hard combat have reduced the city outskirts to a jagged mass of ruins with the occasional skyscraper in questionable condition. No one, or almost no one lives in this area, officially evacuated and little enough to draw looters given the degree of destruction.
Here and there among the ruins, often hard to see until very close, are small clusters of military vehicles parked around an intact first story, or else patrolling the broad avenues. The armored vehicles of the Durasteel Tigers are painted to blend in with the debris, making them hard to pick out at first glance, even when moving.
[Exits : [In] To Belden, and [CA] Contested Area ]
Michael Harris has a light tone to his visage. None the less, one might call his look swarthy. His hair is short and brown, typical for service, but with a slight squarish outline. He's quite obviously scarred from either training or battle and his framing MIGHT belie some combat readiness but...he's a bit on the chunkier side with what looks to be a very average build. His movement is surprisingly dexterous however...especially for such a wide, stocky looking frame. It sure isn't all muscle though. His left eye is probably missing, as an eye patch on that side is a permanent feature. His unremarkable grey uniform has even less remarkable patches on it, barely visible in a slightly darker grey, showing that he's only at an E1 grade.
Heuvelman IA2XSM, and Pvt Micheal Harris's Tanker's Vest With Plates
Ben Magnan is a thin, nervous-looking man in his early twenties. He's got mousy brown hair that's already thinning, and washed-out-brown eyes. He's got a narrow face and a weak chin, with a sallow complection. His gangly appearance is indicative of his lack of coordination, and he doesn't move so much as stumble along from place to place. He has narrow shoulders and a toastrack chest, but spindly legs, though he keeps it all going well enough.
He's currently wearing the uniform of the Durasteel Tigers - gunmetal gray with subdued rank and unit markings that can be seen close up, but are hard to pick out from any distance. They mark him as a 1st Lieutenant in a Combat Cars unit. His tailor is quite skilled, because he doesn't look like a total dork despite everyting to the contrary. He at least looks very pleased with himself, though his uniform shows no ribbons and he has no service stripes indicating longevity. His heavy utility belt seems ready to fall off his narrow hips under the weight of a pair of Heuvelman H94-X's.
1LT Ben Magnum's Tanker's Vest With Plates, Mitchell T21AR, and Heuvelman H94-X
1LT Ben Magnum checks INT(0) + MECHANIC(0): 2d6 + 0 + 0 = 5
Mike Harris and Ben Magnum are interrupted from the ongoing tank repairs and called to the Captain's tent. This pleases Ben, though it does mean he has to stop giving Mike technically incorrect advice for the moment in a kind voice..
1LT Ben Magnum takes the lead like a good little Lieutenant. He's good about taking the lead when there's no danger. Reporting to the Captain's desk in the command tent, Ben saluting smartly, the Captain eyes them both skeptically. "You were both in one-three company, so I figure you know how to do extractions?" He doesn't beat around the bush.
Pvt Micheal Harris salutes and isn't going to reply if the captain wasn't addressing him correctly. Folks are SLIGHTLY less formal around here but...you know, it gets hectic when people with possibly disparate information all chatter at the same time ANYWAY so...he just waits for Ben to handle this one.
1LT Ben Magnum's protests about his sudden attack of lumbago are completely ignored by the captain, who shows them a map on a tablet and continues on. "This was where we lost track of Lt DeGurichev's tank. Her driver was killed, and her tank knocked out, but we think she's still alive. If the tank's knocked out, it won't put off a homing beacon, but that's the spot where her Sergeant said her tank was last seen. They were still fighting so they couldn't check, themselves, though. But they did pull the Oscars away from the area. You two'll take a jeep," the ubiquitous hover jeep they love so well, "and go out and find her and bring her back."
Pvt Micheal Harris watches closely. Takes any notes he might need, where applicable....again, not going to say too much. He'll salute before they leave, if that's the end of the briefing, though. He has no questions. Those don't seem to help around here.
1LT Ben Magnum looks a bit relieved about it being a rescue mission with no expected hostiles. "We'll get right on it, sir," he says, and since there's no questions - Mike doesn't seem to have any, and he can't think of any - Ben will about-face and head out to the motor pool, such as it is. The motor pool being three jeeps and a frame that used to be a jeep before buzzards stripped it bare. An old corporal with half his face and scalp missing, known by the callsign Gorgeous, looks up from removing what may be the last part from the jeep frame. "What'cha need?" he asks.
Pvt Micheal Harris offers the captain a proper salute. "Sir." - and turns to follow after Ben. Upon reaching the 'pool', he steps next to and off to the...right? I'm not sure that matters, and awaits Ben to do the talking. He offers the Corporal a salute, even though that's probably not typical...but, that seems to be all he does these days anyway. Keep Ben out of trouble and salute.
The corporal gives Mike a puzzled look. Ben assumes Mike is addressing him, since noone salutes a corporal, and there's a moment or three of intense confusion, which the corporal ends by saying, "Take number three," he points to the jeep on the end. It looks like it's seen better days, or at least better paintjobs, but it seems to have most of the parts. Ben uhs, but shrugs and climbs in to the commander's seat.
Pvt Micheal Harris whispers over to Ben as they walk off. "Sorry sir. Confusing corporals is about the only entertainment I have around here when not repairing things." Mike's a simple guy in many ways. He'll follow after Ben of course and get into the driver seat.
1LT Ben Magnum checks INT(0) + SENSORS(1): 2d6 + 0 + 1 = 5
1LT Ben Magnum shrugs about confusing corporals. "We're not here for our entertainment, Private Harris," he says primly, attempting to upload the data from his PDA to the onboard tracker. Ben's having trouble with this, and finally just props up the PDA, with the map showing so Mike can see it. "Ready to go, anyway," he announces.
1LT Ben Magnum checks INT(0) + RECON(0): 2d6 + 0 + 0 = 5 Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + RECON(2): 2d6 + 1 + 2 = 11
Pvt Micheal Harris gestures to the path, tracing it with a finger if he can reach and assuming it allows for that...otherwise he just points. "We can reach it here. The terrain is only partial cover but it's a pretty direct route. I have no idea what sort of resistance we'd encounter but if it's assumed that little will impede us, this seems the fastest way."
1LT Ben Magnum nods slowly at what Mike says. "Uh, okay? Let's go rescue the Lieutenant." Having done his leadership bit, he sits back to enjoy the ride. They've identified the location on the map, now all that remains is to get there.
Pvt Micheal Harris is just a pillar holding up the true rulers of society. Hierarchies n' all. Mike offers a salute, which he's fond of evidently, "Yes sir." He settles in and gets the thing energized if it isn't...and gets ready to go.
Pvt Micheal Harris 'revs her up' and...reasonably starts driving out of the area. Upon reaching a 'safe zone', driving wise, he'll open it up a bit. I'm assuming Ben is handling sensors? He wants to keep a lookout. No offense to our sigint guys or anything but so far...most of our intel of any kind ends up being a little off c.c That's probably a given but none the less, one must compensate. Etc. Still, he tries to set a good clip. Can't dally.
As Mike gets used to the jeep, he realizes it's not tricked out like the jeeps back at one-three company where they'd started out, which is why Ben's holding his PDA for Mike to see their destination. It takes maybe 30-40 min to get there because the jeep is kind of junky, and the terrain is kind of close. Ben is not keeping much of a lookout, but the nearest Oscars should be 20-30 km away, still playing hit and run with the remains of 2nd platoon. When they do get to the area on the map, there's clear signs of a fight, and a burned out Oscar M1A1. No sign of the target, though.
Pvt Micheal Harris rolls to a halt in an area a bit further away and glances back at Ben. "Sir, it seems as though everything ended here. One still Oscar and no sign of the extraction subject. Orders?..." He'll take a look around as he asks this...being that he has to be more manually aware here.
Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + RECON(2): 2d6 + 1 + 2 = 9 1LT Ben Magnum checks INT(0) + RECON(0): 2d6 + 0 + 0 = 6
1LT Ben Magnum sees nothing, says, "Well, I don't see her tank. Maybe she got out and walked back to camp?" Though from the looks of it, the battle continued on from here. Mike at least, can see chunks of turf dug up by a tank turning sharply enough to scrape the skirts, and small trees flattened leading off east.
Pvt Micheal Harris just kind of points at first, then mutters a bit. "I'm sorry, sir, but I believe she may have retreated that way. Should we check in for orders? I think I can make it through that area if we need to follow." He DOES look around for alternate routes in that direction that might offer more cover or flanking possibilities...
The terrain is lightly rolling, the best that could be done wouldn't do much. The other problem with skimming the valleys is it limits visibility as well. Ben's response is vaguely apprehensive, but he shakes his head about checking in. He says glumly, "They'd just tell us to keep looking out til we find her tank." They see another Oscar M1A1, minus the turret, a smoking ruin like the first. The turret, they spot several meters away. Well, the largest chunks of it. And then, as they crest another rise, there it is, an M2A1, with the front blown open by several hits, the nose buried in the turf.
Pvt Micheal Harris rubs his chin. "Sir I...might be overreaching here but I think....our subject has possibly...been WINNING...against these odds. Of course we have to still find her but...I have this odd feeling that she doesn't need our help as badly as command thinks." That's just musing though. This is just so crazy. I mean, he and Ben have managed...but.... He shakes his head, glancing back at Ben. "Continue en route, sir?..."
1LT Ben Magnum nods about continuing on, and he points when even he can see the M2A1 that they seem to be looking for. "Yes. Continue to right about there, I'd say," he says, entirely serious. "And see what you can see about the tank." Which is just sitting there, cold.
Pvt Micheal Harris blinks. He starts to say something...but... ... ok. Ok. This is all still a social endeavor of sorts....let's not rock the boat unless we have to. He offers a tight lipped smile and says curtly, "Yes sir." He...drives the jeep very slowly over to the cold tank...and...looks?...
Well, the tank actually looks mostly intact, as it happens, apart from the catastrophic hits to the front of the tank. There's no way the driver could have survived. As far as the gunner/commander, you'd have to pop the turret and see how deep the damage goes. If what hit the front went deep, it could have gutted the tank. If not, there could have a rescue mission to do.
Pvt Micheal Harris stares for a moment...and snorts. He glances back at Ben. "I assume you want me to disembark and check to see if anyone's alive, sir?" Does this thing have a turret or anything? I NEVER HAVE ANY COVER WAAAAH - Ooh how about Project BenShield?
1LT Ben Magnum eyes Harris and says, "You assume correctly. It's a rescue mission, so go rescue. I will wait here of course." So, a normal mission: no rest for the weary and all that. "Keep in touch by radio, of course, and if she's alive, bring her back out."
Pvt Micheal Harris nods. "Yes sir." Offers a salute, as best he can from there, and makes his way out of the jeep....pulling his SMG up and readying it. Peering around slowly, assuming nothing looks super deadly, he'll slowly climb down and crouch by the jeep once he's on said ground.
It all looks the same from the ground as from the jeep. "The tank's powered down, the anti-personnel charges will be inert," says Ben.
Pvt Micheal Harris glances back up at Ben, nods with a mumbling 'yessir' and he then heads toward the tank. He moves a little more quickly than a crouch-walk...but he's checking his 'corners' and watching carefully just in case.
Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + RECON(2): 2d6 + 1 + 2 = 8 1LT Ben Magnum checks INT(0) + RECON(0): 2d6 + 0 + 0 = 10 1LT Ben Magnum checks DEX(0) + DRIVE-HOVER (OTHER)(1): 2d6 + 0 + 1 = 9 Pvt Micheal Harris checks DEX(1) + STEALTH(-3): 2d6 + 1 + -3 = 8
As Harris creeps towards the inert tank, he hears the hum of hover engines other than his own jeep. Apparently Ben does too, because he hops into the driver's seat like his pants were on fire and the jeep takes off like is was in a race. And planning to win. Harris has got just enough time to hit the deck before three jeeps, Oscar jeeps, crest the nearest rise, heading in the direction Ben drove off in. They don't seem to have seen Harris, at least.
Pvt Micheal Harris is going to check the tank, he guesses? It looks like the danger is clear. He does comm back to command, "I have lost track of Lieutenant Magnum. I'm currently examining a possible location for our subject or information relating to context thereof. Is this acceptable, command?"
The headset communicator isn't quite strong enough to call back to HQ from here clearly, so Harris gets a respose that's mostly static, but is probably along the lines of 'Say again'. The tank, if there's any charge left in the battery, and if the radio wasn't blown out, ought to be able to get a message through. The tank just sits there as he checks it out.
Pvt Micheal Harris is just gonna climb on in, then. I mean, need to check the inside SOME time and....maybe the radio will help here so...let's do it. LEROOOOOOYYYY - Wait, no one uses that anymore. Ok. Mike'll try to open the entrance hatch and get more personal with this tank.
Harris climbs up onto the hull of the tank and crank open the main hatch. Inside is an 11-year old girl. Pale blonde hair, fragile build, and dried blood running down from her forehead. She also has a Submachinegun pointed at Harris's face. The moment lingers.
Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT (1): 2d6 + 1 = 3
Pvt Micheal Harris has his SMG pointed down too but...he doesn't want to shoot either. There's some reason that a little girl is just sitting.... ... He clears his throat. "I...am Private Micheal Harris of One-Four company, third platoon of the Tigers. Plese identify yourself..." Well, it's...diplomacy may save some shooting.
Tara DeGurichev looks like a child of eleven: a little over four and a half feet tall, and slender besides. She's got golden blonde hair and intense blue eyes, though many would call them manic. Though her build is tiny, she moves with an intense energy through any obstacle. And anything that gets in her way is an obstacle. She's currently wearing the uniform of the Durasteel Tigers - gunmetal gray with subdued rank and unit markings that can be seen close up, but are hard to pick out from any distance. They mark her as a 1st Lieutenant in an Armor unit. Normally, no award decorations are shown on the combat uniform, but a low-contrast Distinguished Service Cross, an eagle superimposed on a maltese cross, is a special enough medal that uniform regulations make an exception for the Tigers' second-highest possible award.
Carrying: Heuvelman IA2XSM, and 1LT Tara DeGurichev's Tanker's Vest With Plates
1LT Tara DeGurichev blinks a moment, then stows her weapon. "Good," she says flatly. "I hope you're here to get me out of this mess. I think something in the main power blew out, cause I can't get this junk heap to restart. But not the fusion bottle, itself, cause we're having this conversation." Her tone is matter-of-fact and fairly calm, if put-upon. Harris can see now that she's wearing a Tigers uniform, herself. And would seem to be the person he's here to rescue.
Pvt Micheal Harris nods once, salutes. "Glad to see you're alright, ma'am." He glances around for a moment and if nothing's snuck up on them, he looks back. "My handler was chased off and has our vehicle. My personal comm system is basically out of range. What are your orders, ma'am?" Is he thrown by an 11 year old girl being an officer? Sure he is! No time for that though. It's all about improv.
1LT Tara DeGurichev checks INT(2) + MECHANIC(0) 2d6 + 2 + 0 = 10
1LT Tara DeGurichev is alive, though the amount of blood on her face, on her scalp, down the front of her uniform, and splashed on her main console make 'alright' something of a stretch. The med tabs on her vest have deployed, though, so she's probably functional, at least. And ... there are the rumors about the child-like lieutenant. Some say she's the devil, and some others are more far-fetched. Seeing her in the flesh brings back those conversations, and her nickname: The Devil of Drang. Apparently she was pretty ruthless when the Tigers were deployed there recently. She may look eleven, but the medics say its a combination of malnutrition in youth, hormone insufficiency, and genetics: she's like 22, the rumor goes, but her body never grew up. She certainly -sounds- adult enough when she takes charge, saying, "Check up front, in the driver's compartment, there's a power reset switch. See if you can trip that. The one back here doesn't do anything."
Pvt Micheal Harris nods. "Yes ma'am." He endeavors to follow her orders. Sure, she looks 11...but he's heard those stories and she matches up with the HVT that they were trying to exfil. He heads to the front to try his luck, idly offering while he does that: "Ma'am, are your injuries severe? Do you need any treatment? My training was mostly as a medic..." He trails off there though. If she wants the help, she'll let him know he imagines. Meanwhile, he checks out the switch.
The front compartment is, not to put too fine a point on it, a mess. The repeated hits that finally cracked open the bow of the tank also basically blasted the top half of the driver into a fine mist, which was deposited over the remains of the driver's compartment. Harris can see the remains, from the waist down, anyhow, still in place. The switch the Lt is talking about is part of an area that took secondary damage, melted and slagged in places, most of it clearly not in operational condition. He can see this all clearly because there's a meter-tall hole in the front of the tank letting light in. Lt DeGurichev says, "I'll be good enough to get back to HQ, at least."
Pvt Micheal Harris checks END (0): 2d6 + 0 = 9 Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + MECHANIC(1): 2d6 + 1 + 1 = 9
Pvt Micheal Harris stares at the half a body for just a moment. After shaking his head slowly, he examines the state of the tank and it's controls. He looks back at Tara and shrugs slightly. "My apolgies, ma'am. This is damaged beyond field repair. I'm afraid this vehicle is useless to us now."
1LT Tara DeGurichev frowns, and says, "It can't be useless. I'm damned sure not going to walk home. Look," she goes on, "Hand up the body of Mitchell, or what's left of him, and then see if you can wire around the switch or someting." He might be able to, if he violates a few safety rules. If he does, though, he won't have a safety switch if he needs it. Though he could just yoink the wire if he did have an emergency.
1LT Tara DeGurichev checks INT(2) + ENGINEER-POWER(0): 2d6 + 2 + 0 = 14 Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + ENGINEER-POWER(1): 2d6 + 1 + 1 = 5
Pvt Micheal Harris shakes his head a few times, looking back over at Tara. He looks apologetic...but firm. "I'm sorry, ma'am. I can't do that. It's far too risky and I believe your order is endangering the both of us excessively. Forgive my insubordination but I have to decline. I'm not even sure I could manage it correctly."
1LT Tara DeGurichev rolls her eyes and hangs down through the hatch. "Private, if you won't do it, I -will-, and you can walk home while I drive this thing back." She points at a place on a strut, "Look, if you cut there and there," she points to another place, "And use the power cable splice section from the repair kit, it should carry the current just fine unless you completely screw up the splice. Run the numbers yourself," she challenges, sounding entirely certain.
Pvt Micheal Harris sits there for a moment, pondering. He quickly decides, because these situations have to be decided quickly really, and nods. "Yes ma'am." He turns back to the panel and sets about getting the work she perscribed done, if he can. He'll at least attempt to follow her directions.
Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + MECHANIC(1): 2d6 + 1 + 1 = 10
And when Harris hands up the remains, because he needs to clear the space, she will sling them in the cargo nets on the turret. At least he's not abandoned or missing, that way. The repair is done smoothly and swiftly, and the Oscars do not return. Neither does Ben, but he's probably still alive because if he wasn't, the Oscars would definately be back. "All right, Private," Tara says. "Mount up, we're going to get back home, and maybe kill a few more Oscars on the way." Since she now has the only power switch, the rumble of engines is Mike's first indication that she's cut the power on. The damage to the tank's bow was so extensive that his screens are all shattered but one, on the far right edge, so he'll have use that one and tab through his displays rather than putting them on separate windows. He could drive forwards useing the open gap as a viewport, but the LT orders, "One quarter thrust backwards." Apparently she expects to go the whole way home in reverse. It's ... not as hard as it might seem, as long as he keeps the one viewscreen showing his rear perspective, and remembers to reverse his steering.
Pvt Micheal Harris hrms. Nods... "Backwards... Yes ma'am." Well, she's not just being weird...the damn thing isn't working right or anything. Ah well. This could have gone worse. Who knows where Ben is but...he abandoned Mike in his time of need. This...makes up for saving him that one time. He's had about enough of not being able to rely on good old Ben. They'll probably find him later anyway. He tries this reverse driving thing, as ordered.
Pvt Micheal Harris checks DEX(1) + DRIVE-HOVERTANK(1): 2d6 + 1 + 1 = 8
The driving backwards is a bit disorienting, but not as hard as one might think. As detatched as a tank driver is normally, the backwards is just a thing. The hardest part is left and right being swapped, but Mike can look out the hole in the bow and if the land is going to the wrong side, he can swap. Anyhow, you back a tank when you park it, so this is kind of the same thing, just faster. "OK, bring it up to Max reverse," DeGurichev says. That's about 1/3 of forward speed, but a respectable clip, even so.
1LT Tara DeGurichev checks INT(2) + SENSORS(0): 2d6 + 2 + 0 = 10
Pvt Micheal Harris seems to have the hang of it. He actually chuckles ever so slightly as he manages some tougher terrain, as so much as there IS any around here. He's not here to have fun, though, so he tries to stay somber. He flips through the status screens as necessary to get his bearings. Is the radio in this thing working/existant anymore?
1LT Tara DeGurichev checks DEX(2) + GUNNER-TURRET(0): 2d6 + 2 + 0 = 9
1LT Tara DeGurichev gives Harris a course on his computer display, and is doing tank commandery things, herself, though without the extra displays to echo hers, there's no way for him to see what those things are. Watching Ben's displays had gotten to be a habit, but Tara does not appear to be a retard. The driver's radio is slagged, as are most of his electronics, unfortunately, though now that power is back on, the emergency locator is enabled, so the rest of the company (and Ben) can find your tank. Then the main gun goes off, and Mike realizes she /may/ be psychotic. "That's one down," she says matter-of-factly.
Pvt Micheal Harris almost seems startled. Not by the fact that we're fighting things but more... ... Well, he's not used to this little terror just yet. He clears his throat. "That sounded like a beautiful shot, ma'am. Are there currently Oscars in the vicinity? I could try to find cover..." He doesn't REALLY think there's much cover out here anyway but...his senses are a little artificially dulled right now.
1LT Tara DeGurichev waits for the gun to cool down as she says, "Nothing these jeeps have can touch us. Just turn if you can see them through the breach." The tank will laugh at the jeeps' tribarrels. "And if they get close enough to hurt us, I will cut them apart." She keys the radio and says, "Salty Dog One from Pixie One." So, she's calling Ben on the radio. "We are mobile now, and will pull your bacon off the fire ASAP. Hang tough." There's no reply back, but one can imagine Ben with one hand on the conrtol yoke and the other hand over his shoulder on the tribarrel, he won't have any hands free to talk.
Pvt Micheal Harris hms. That explains her opening fire. He tries to keep us in the right area, as best he can, although he's 'flying' kinda blind. He mostly waits for further orders and tries to keep the tank stable. He doesn't seem to have much else to do just yet.
Pvt Micheal Harris checks DEX(1) + DRIVE-HOVERTANK(1): 2d6 + 1 + 1 = 8 1LT Tara DeGurichev checks DEX(2) + GUNNER-TURRET(0): 2d6 + 2 + 0 = 11
1LT Tara DeGurichev calls down to Harris, "Come right, your left, ten degrees. There'll be a bump, then a downslope about forty meters, then go straight up between the hills you'll see." And apparently she knows what she's about because in a moment Mike feels the bump as they plow through a stone fence, and he can feel the speed pick up on the downgrade. "Hold it steady, you're doing well so far..." There's a jolt as she fires again. "Salty Dog One, splashed another jeep. Third one is breaking off and looks like he's taking cover. Recommend we return to base now, before he thinks of anything else." There's a pause, and Harris can hear Ben reply, "Copy that, ma'am, nice shooting!" DeGurichev says to Harris, "That's for us as well. Let's get this heap back to base."
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