Distant Travels MUCK - Log: The Land Bear

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Salbendin - Rural Area

The rural area here is mainly undeveloped land, consisting largely of trackless forest and occasional cleared areas devoted to agriculture. The forest is hugely expansive, and quite widespread, filled with wild animals and other forest things, and the occasional trapper or hunter. The cleared areas are almost entirely farms where they try to grow enough food that they don't have to import too much.

[Exits   : [UA] To the Salbendin Urban Area ]
[Players : Tara_DeGurichev, and Micheal_Harris ]
[Things  : M2A1F Ursa #716 'Dominator'(#716X) ]


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.

Heuvelman IA2XSM(#744), and 1LT Tara DeGurichev's Tanker's Vest With Plates(#745)


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 E-2 grade.

Heuvelman IA17(#736), Heuvelman IA2XSM(#689), and Pvt Micheal Harris's Tanker's Vest With Plates(#688)

So, this new mission is almost more of a support role. The cities on this heavily forested planet sport very narrow streets, and there's no hope of getting armor into or through them. The infantry are going to be bearing the brunt of the load on this one. The armored units have been assigned to positions outside the major cities to both interdict supplies coming into the cities for the opposing forces, creatively referred to as OPFOR or, as before, Oscars, and to make sure no uprisings occur in the (very sparsely occupied and fairly foreted) hinterlands that will come to the aid of these Oscars. To that end, Pixie platoon is stationed out here in the middle of the forest, with their tanks stationed about a tenth of a mile apart, forming a part of a sort of sensor cordon around one of the major cities. It is eveningtime, and Pixie One has just arrived on station.

1LT Tara DeGurichev mutters, "All right, our post is here. Set out the sensor drones so we can see if anything's out here. Not a lot of visual through the forest," she adds with a grumble. "But we'll be better off than the yokels if they're trying to drag stuff through the forest." She peers at her sensor panel, shrugs. "This should be a pretty easy post."

Pvt Micheal Harris stays close by, as one would assume he's wont to doing. He glances around in a slightly paranoid fashion but...you know, sometimes they ARE out to get you, right? Combat n' all that jazz. He keeps most of his attention on his own panel, of course. The drones are so much more nimble and technology-...y...than he is.

Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + REMOTE OPERATIONS(1):
2d6 + 1 + 1 = 11

1LT Tara DeGurichev checks out the sensor inputs as the drones deploy and get into position. She grunts approval after a moment, and says, "That's a good pattern. I'll stay here and watch the sensors, you set up the campsite." There's very basic camping gear fastened to the outside of the tank in a case: tents, sleeping bags, a tiny cookstove. "We've got to watch these sensors 24/7, so we'll set up four hour shifts. I'll take the first watch, then wake you up, then you take the next watch and you can wake me if anything shows up we need to deal with." You -could- sleep in the tank, but it'd get stinky really fast, and you'd be sore as hell after one night.

Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + SURVIVAL(-3):
2d6 + 1 + -3 = 5

Pvt Micheal Harris initially offers a bit of a nod and a dry, slightly tired but professional and well-meaning "Yes ma'am." before trudging off to battle his lack of experience in field survival. Can't sit and bitch about it, of course. Then we're stuck in the Stinky Tank B&B. After some time, he has the camp set up. The stinky part might still be an issue, as he's sweating a bit since he probably didn't do everyhting ENTIRELY effeciently...but he seems to have managed a decent showing.

Once the camp is set up, Tara sticks her head out of the top of the turret. It's getting late-ish by now, and she says, "Not much to do out here, you might as well get some sleep. I'll wake you in four hours." She yawns and goes back to watching the sensor monitors.

1LT Tara DeGurichev checks INT(2) + SENSORS(1):
2d6 + 2 + 1 = 14

Pvt Micheal Harris nods once, offering a tired, slow wave over his shoulder. "Thank you Lieutenant. Goodluck, god speed and if the locals do attack, tell them that they owe me overtime pay." He shakes his head a bit as he wanders back to the tent, knowing full well how unfunny he is and how unlikely it is that Tara is actually capable OF laughing...but, eh. WOrk together long enough...

1LT Tara DeGurichev nods, accepting the statement as typical of the gallows humor of military life. Harris goes into the tent, and gets into his sleeping bag. It's .. not awful, really. It doesn't seem like four hours later, though, when a vibration can be felt on his comm unit.

Pvt Micheal Harris stirs away with something between a grunt and a snarl. Shaking his head clear, he lifts the phone to his ear and emits a shakey, "L...Lieutenant?" Obviously on top of his game. Mind you, he's fully awake in an instant, his brain just hasn't registered any kind of 'danger' as of yet.

And a quick glance at his wrist will inform Harris that it -is- time to relieve the watch. "Good morning, sunshine," she says dryly. It's like 2AM, of course. "Got your beauty sleep? Nothing going on so far. Some kind of animal on the sensors, maybe a quarter mile out, seems to be browsing around the underbrush. Nothing else going on."

Pvt Micheal Harris laughs a bit at that one. Well, I guess everyone needs SOME humor to get through this ridiculousness. He grunts an affirmation and goes on to say, "Ma'am, I need so much 'beauty sleep' that the universe will die a heat death before I make it onto TV." He finds his way back to the sensor 'base' before long he imagines?

The sensor receivers are part of the tank's monitor screens, so they can be watched from either crew position. Once Mike has assumed his normal seat, Tara climbs out the top, heads into the tent, unrolls her own sleeping back, and goes to sleep. Then the waiting begins. The watch is over in four hours, which will be about dawn, so all there is to do is watch the sensors. On which nothing is happening. Except whatever critter is downrange slowly getting closer. Like, ten feet at a time. It's 4-footed, you can tell from the seismic sensor report.

The radar returns are weak, but it looks like maybe a bear or something in the lowlight TV pickup. Hard to tell with the colors skewed.

Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT (1): 
2d6 + 1 = 10

From the planetary briefing: There's normal forest animals, generally speaking. Some of them are a bit bigger than earth-normal, but in this planet-sized forest, that seems pretty normal. The bear-thing you're tracking is ....

Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + SENSORS(-3):
2d6 + 1 + -3 = 9

This is a bear almost the size of the tank according to the sensor readings.

Pvt Micheal Harris seems to wake up a bit more at that one. If the tank is totally powered down, he's going to at least bring it into a power state where weapons are available. He quickly sends a call over to the LT. She maaaay want to know that whatever the heck this is, is on its way...

The bear seems to be content with browsing the local bushes for berries, or whatever it's looking for. It's big enough to get the lower apples from any apple trees, should it care to. Lt DeGurichev wakes to the buzz on her comm, and silently slips back to the tank, pulling her coveralls up as she climbs in. "What've you got?" she asks quietly, noting the tank's powered state. It was on battery before, and can sit there for days like that if need by, but powered standby, which Harris has set, will enable them to bring the tank on-line more quickly if the need arises.

Pvt Micheal Harris keeps a cool attitude about it. Hell, Tara's the one in danger, if any, at the moment. He mentions, though, "Evidently we've got some kind of local wildlife, more or less what we seem to universally call a 'bear', foraging around out here... It's...just...big. About the size of the tank. No threatening behavior right now but...since you're out there...I thought you should know, ma'am."

1LT Tara DeGurichev grunts, and says, "Yeah, it wandered down to that area a few hours ago," she replies, implying she's seen it already, and didn't wake you for it. She had apparently not thought it was much danger.

The tank's got no lights on, so it wouldn't attract the bear's notice that way. Though it does seem to have wandered a little closer in the intervening minutes. "They do, the briefing said, get up to a decent speed if they run, so if it'll make you less nervous, I'll just sleep here?" She's small enough, she might be able to do that without waking up all knotted up.

Pvt Micheal Harris actually manages to flush slightly. He shakes his head a bit and rubs the back of his head. "My apologies, ma'am. I guess I'm just an attentive, caring grunt. Lord only knows how I've survived this long. I admit that I'd feel better...but if you aren't worried, I won't bother you again. ...Possibly after my earliest fuck-up since I started on this campaign, left me a little extra nervous."

1LT Tara DeGurichev shrugs off the apology as unnecessary. "No worries," she says through a yawn, and Harris's readouts show she's flipped her lighting off inside the commander's station, so it looks like she -is- going to sleep in the chair. The bear -does- wander closer over the course of the watch, snuffling at the ground and rooting through bushes and such. Not much else to watch. Still. Maybe half an hour short of time to wake the Lt, and the bear has wandered to within maybe 100-200 yards.

Pvt Micheal Harris is glad he's run into just the FRIENDLIEST bear out there. Yaaaay. He sighs softly. He leaves the tank in standby, juuust for now. He doesn't want to drain power but he's JUST not sure if a beast this big can do any damage. (Unless the power drain is going to be just THAT bad, in which case he might power it back down) - That aside, he just keeps an eye on it. He doesn't THINK it could actually damage the tank and the LT is now with him in said tank, so...

The power drain is not appreciable, the tank can run for months at this level. The bear isn't so much friendly as not aware of the tank at the moment. It can't really hurt the tank, though they're close to the same size. Though as you watch and think about it, it looks up, and in the very first light of dawn, it seems to notice the big metal thing now.

Pvt Micheal Harris sighs softly. He's not about to wake his, as of the moment at least, even tempered CO. It's bad enough he roused her once and...she's a solider, she'd get over it, but...it just doesn't seem warrented. Most animals don't attack inanimate objects anyway. Since he left it in standby, he sits ready to fire everything up as quickly as possible but...he just watches the bear for now. Hell, it's pretty interesting to watch. He doesn't have much else to be doing...

So the bear is munching whatever bears munch in the underbrush as dawn slowly sheds more light on the scene. Then, suddenly, the bear looks over at the tank as if first noticing it. It may be first noticing it, as it doesn't have radar and light amplification like you do. It peers for just a moment, then begins loping toward the tank.

Pvt Micheal Harris is going to go ahead and sit tight at THIS point. One would assume it can't really damage the tank and...instigating it without it showing any initial signs of aggression is, at worst, going to deprive the LT of whatever sleep she gets left and make a ruck over nothing. He keeps a watch on the bear, not having much else to watch unless the sensors go nuts on something else, and waits.

The bear is now face to ... side, actually, with the tank, and the lack of reaction leaves it very confused. Or, perhaps curious. It sniffs at the tank. It finds the tent after a few minutes and sniffs at that. It takes a swipe at it with a paw, and seems to eat a bit of tent, but doesn't like the flavor. Good thing the Lt's in the tank at the moment or she'd be bear food. It comes back to the tent and starts sniffing again, as if following her trail up to her hatch.

Pvt Micheal Harris grumbles. His current LT is spectacular in combat...but does she HAVE to be so small and attractive to wild animals looking for bite-sized animals to gnaw? c.c - He'd NEVER be prejudiced on anything so stupid, of course. He's just tired of this bear already! Still, he holds tight. He doesn't think it can actually breach the hatch and such. If he can check the locks on said hatch though...he'd like to do that now.

A quick check on the tank integrity screen shows that she did, in fact, close the hatch behind her. And it seems quite true that the bear cannot gnaw through tank armor. That does not stop it from trying. And there -are- things strapped to the outside of the tank ... for instance your duffel and sleeping bag.

Pvt Micheal Harris was hoping it'd lose interest. He sighs softly at the situation. Explore new worlds, meet strange new people...find gigantic bears and get harassed by them. His recruiter never mentioned that last part. If he can swing the turrent around, slowly at this point, he'd like to try to nudge the bear. Assuming the 'noise profile' on moving the turrent won't violate their 'low-power, low-sound' presence, etc... He's not imaginaing that it would.

Pvt Micheal Harris oh wells. He can owe the LT 10 minutes. He tries to get communications over to her, "Ma'am? Wakey wakey. This bear seems to have a thing for you and evidently wants to propose. I don't wanna hurt the poor lovestruck bastard but...We have stuff out there. I'm going to go ahead and power our metal friend up and see if I can't swat it with the turret or...somethin'. Just wanted to give you a heads up before I started making a ruckus."

Warning her was probably the best thing you could do, cause powering the tank up begins with a momentary klaxon just to warn anyone with their hand in a fan to get it out PDQ. She grunts something that might be an affirmative as you bring the tank slowly up to power. There's no rumble like a physical engine, though there is a series of slight hums as various electrical motors are given a quick half-turn by the automation to confirm that nothing's broken.

Pvt Micheal Harris shakes his head. He frankly looks a bit pissed and would just drive the hell off if they didn't have to go get their stuff. This bear is persistent though and seems to be leaving him with little option. If he can get the tri-barrel to 'bear' on it (HAHAHA-no?), he'll hit it with whatever the smallest burst of fire he can muster happens to be.

The tribarrel will indeed bear on the bear, and Harris fires a short burst. This results in a loud growl and a jarring blow as the bear swipes at the tank with one massive paw. The tanks damage indicator now indicates the tribarrel is offline. "Bear didn't like you tickling him?" asks DeGurichev. "Don't bother wasting the anti-personnel charges, either. They'll just make it mad." Another blow shakes the tank. "More mad, anyhow."

Pvt Micheal Harris blinks a few times, holding on as the tank shakes. His eyes widen as the tri-barrel is basically bashed in by this thing. "Uh, I may have missed that part of the briefing...but did they ever MENTION that the enemy was using anti-tank bear weaponry?" If the tank is on, he'll try to do a short burst of forward movement so he can try to swivel the main gun. He doesn't WANT to hit their gear in the process either but...jesus, this thing is an actual threat.

Pvt Micheal Harris checks DEX(1) + DRIVE-HOVERTANK(3):
2d6 + 1 + 3 = 11
1LT Tara DeGurichev checks DEX(2) + GUNNER-TURRETS(3):
2d6 + 2 + 3 = 13

Now that the tank is online and responsive, it's a simple matter to spin up the fans. A judicious application of thrust ... OK, a shit-ton of thrust under the one side lifts it up enough to creepycrawl it out. The bear isn't really alarmed by it, but its claws don't hold on to the tank. They do hold on to most of your gear that's lashed to the side of the turret, but when it's clear, the LT swivels it around. She's not nearly so squeamish about shooting bears with tank guns and gives it a shot at point blank range, right in the chest.

This makes it mad, and it stands up and growls frighteningly. DeGurichev says, "You'd better get clear now, the gun needs about twenty seconds to cool down before I can fire again."

Pvt Micheal Harris curses in whatever languages he happens to know. He guns it as much as he can 'safely' to try to buy some time for another shot. He grumbles over the comm, "I'm dead serious. We should weaponize these fucking bears. This thing is like something that would have given me nightmares as a child."

The tank continues scooting away from the bear, ricocheting off a thick tree bole in the heavy forest and scooting several more meters away. The bear seems content to chase you off, though, approaching, but not fast enough to catch up. DeGurichev is on the radio, "Pixie One to all Pixie units. Local wildlife found to be very dangerous. Don't bother it with the tribarrel. Main gun just makes it mad. Will inform you when we have a solution."

Pvt Micheal Harris sighs, leaning back in his seat just a bit and slowing down somewhat when the opportunity presents itself. He comm's over to Tara, "I'm guessing no one in intel had any idea just how ridiculously tough these things are?..." He shakes his head. "We should nuke em from orbit, etc... etc..."

1LT Tara DeGurichev comms back, "HQ knew about the bears. They hadn't expected them to be a factor, though," she explains. "They apparently live on roots, berries, and anything man-sized or smaller. They're curious, but not aggressive unless hungry, the report said." The bear continues after you guy, and the LT tells you, "I'm gonna see if hitting it in the face bothers it much. Steady up for a sec."

Pvt Micheal Harris sighs, nods to himself. "Yes ma'am." He grumbles something about eating the bear where we're done with this and brings the tank to a stop...although he steadies himself for having to gun it again in case this doesn't work out. They haven't made much progress at this point c.c

1LT Tara DeGurichev checks DEX(2) + GUNNER-TURRETS(3):
2d6 + 2 + 3 = 12

1LT Tara DeGurichev is, luckily, a maestro with the boom, though at this range, that's maybe not saying -too- much. Whatever the case is, the shot hits the bear in the face and draws a ferocious growl that chills the blood. When the smoke clears, though, the bear can be seen loping away at high speed. No bear steaks for you.

DeGurichev calmly reports over the radio, "A shot in the face will, however, drive it away."

Pvt Micheal Harris rubs his eyes and slumps back in his seat. Looking and sounding tired. Then again, they're all tired. He does comment, "That was a beautiful shot, ma'am." He doesn't seem to have much else to say on the matter.

1LT Tara DeGurichev replies, "Thanks, Harris. I'd say I'll take the watch and you can get some sleep, but I have a feeling you're not too into camping just at the moment. We probably need to check and see what can be recovered from our gear, though."

Pvt Micheal Harris nods tiredly. "Yes ma'am. Absolutely right. One of us should...probably stay on the main gun? I'll go check on the gear..." Obviously, it's a suggestion/volunteering rather than a statement. He waits, of course, for her final say.

1LT Tara DeGurichev was pretty much saying that /you'll/ need to check on the gear and she'd stay on the gun. She gives a little grunt as you ask, basically, for confirmation. "Right. I've got you covered in case it comes back, though sensors lost it about a quarter mile out. It either fell over or went in a cave."

Pvt Micheal Harris figured, but...his CO is nertz. Not stupid...or reckless...but definitely nucking futs...so he JUUUST wanted to make sure. He nods, offers a short, cramped salute and pops the hatch to start climbing out. He'll poke his head out and give a quick 'just in case' scan before fully climbing out.

The view up there offers a little better view of what the bear did to the top of your tank. Which is basically ripped it clean of anything not welded on with armor-strength welds. The tribarrel is sheared off, most of the stores are gone, some of the sensors are gone. There's a bit of bear splatter from the couple of tribarrel rounds that were fired before it knocked it to the ground. You can see it, a ways over there, where you were parked for the evening.

Pvt Micheal Harris whistles. "I tell you Lieutenant, this thing is a monster straight out of a horror story." He climbs down carefully, glancing around and listening for any tell-tale signs of threat. He doesn't bother pulling his weapon out...what good would it do? He's covered by a tank's cannon anyway... He starts toward the campsite.

The trip back up the tanks backtrail is easy enough, 165 tons of blower leaves a pretty flat track over anything. It's clear where you first encountered the bear, huge footprints in the soil are hard to miss, even for city boys. The campsite is trashed, as you pretty much saw, the bear snuffled it, gave it a few slashes, scattering everything over a dozen yards, then came to the tank.

Pvt Micheal Harris will get to work then, as best he can!

Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + RECON(2):
2d6 + 1 + 2 = 10

So, Harris eventually finds all of the gear from the original camp. There wasn't so much of it, but there was, for instance, a scrap of ground padding for under the sleeping bag that somehow got pitched up into the lower branches of a nearby tree. It's not all in the best of shape - for instance the sleeping bag's got a couple small slashes in it. The bear's got huge claws like daggers, but this is super high tech tear-resistant stuff.

DeGurichev suggests, "You can pitch the tent on top of the tank, if we have to bug out again, it can't get much worse than this. And there's less far to go if there is another alert."

Pvt Micheal Harris nods, working on packing things up, putting them in storage/strapping to the tank/etc... When mostly done, if he has any time left, he'll take Tara's suggestion to heart and set the tent up on top of the tank.

There is time, seems bears aren't as common as all that. You just got lucky. When everything is set up, and your camp is set, 1LT DeGurichev asks, "By the way, with the tools that are left, can you weld the tribarrel back into place?"

Pvt Micheal Harris glances over the damage and having seen the tri-barrel and the tools they have left, decides that he...might be able to. He nods to Tara. "Yes ma'am. I believe I can. I'm supposin' that....if I fail, it couldn't be much WORSE..."

Pvt Micheal Harris checks INT(1) + MECHANIC(2):
2d6 + 1 + 2 = 11

The tribarrel is currently in the pile of recovered debris, so 'couldn't be much worse' is pretty much dead on. It's a quick bit of work with a welding torch to fasten the post itself back onto the tank. It's a bit more complicated to reattach the tribarrel controls so it can be fired from inside the tank, but Harris is able to find a splice kit among the trashed remains of repair gear, bringing the tribarrel up to like-new condition, apart from the glimmer of welding putty where the post had to be reattached to the tank hull. "Good work," says DeGurichev. "You may as well get some rest, I'll give you a full watch before I wake you." So, the last 2 hours of cleaning up the camp and welding the tribarrel back on won't take away from whatever sleep he can get in daylight on the hull of a tank.

Pvt Micheal Harris looks very appreciative. Out here, that's about one of the nicest things your comrades could do for ya. I mean, aren't many bars out here, are there? ;) - He nods once and offers a salute. "Thank you, ma'am. Good....night...ish...morning? I have no idea what time it is." With that odd little comment, he offers a half-smile and wanders over to set up the tent if he didn't before and crawl his butt in there. Ah, warm tank hull.

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