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The Assault of Orion I

Part Seven

General Parker was startled when an unexpected image appeared on her holo-projector "Field Marshal ! I was expecting General Matthews." Field Marshal Khan gave a wry smile " General Matthews has been ....reassigned. I took personal command to ensure that nothing goes wrong this time." Gen Parker felt a sense of relief as she knew the reinforcement units were in competent hands. "May I ask your E.T.A. sir ?" He didn't need to look at his chrono "Six hours , sooner if I can put the fear of Me into the Navy. After the job you have done so far , that shouldn't be too hard for your Corps." She nodded."XV Corps will be here. But Sir......" The holo image shook as a series of nearby explosions rocked her Command Post. She looked into his eyes "Sooner would be better." The Field Marshal just nodded. "Sooner."

Rhame saw yet another battleoid crumple in on itself as the plasma bolt melted it. Jenkins voice had a note of amusement as Two tank fired again ."Is it me Sarge or do they not seem to be pushin this attack too hard ?" Rhame smiled a bit at that."Nothing like running over hundreds of your buddies bodies to ruin your whole day." He frowned as he realized how many friends of his lay dead on the perimeter."Ruins your whole day." He muttered.

Gen Parker's map board showed units assaulting along the whole perimeter but a huge mass of Antarans were hitting the weakest part of her defenses along the north. She looked what she had in reserve. One battered Squadron of Armor and a Platoon of Marines. "Well if they punch through in the north then we are gone." She checked the long range sensors again."There are no other large enemy formations that can attack anywhere else on the perimeter before help gets here." Her finger slashed down on the northern edge. "Get all the reserves moving there now! We have to stop them there before they break through."

TechServant Luf turned to HiveMaster Nurrclian. "They have commited the last of their reserves to the main attack area GreatOne , the way to their HiveMistress is now clear." The HiveMaster turned to PilotServant Ompl "Travel to the coordinates and deploy all pods." He closed the faceplate on his Battlearmor and strode to his drop pod. "Kill all her Servants but the HiveMistress is mine." Fifty voices spoke as one "YES GREAT ONE!"

Cooks apprentice Second class Kerrigan tried to stay near his guard post as explosions rained down near the maintenance and repair bay. "I'm supposed to be using a spatula not a blast rifle" He said to himself for the 20th time today. He looked around "If that Marine Corporal catches me away from my post again though there's no telling what he's gonna do. I can't figure if all Marines are that bad or he's just nasty cause he's lost an arm." The sound of the air defense plasma guns firing caused him to look up. Just in time he saw some sort of aircraft pounded to slag then explode in mid air. Debris rained down around him along with several large spherical objects that hit nearby."Oh my God BOMBS." was the first thought he had. But when they merely bounced off the ferrocrete surface he breathed a sigh of relief. He assumed they were duds until he saw a seam open in the nearest sphere. Curiosity overcame his fear as he moved to one and looked in the opening. An armored hand reached out and snapped Kerrigan's neck before he could move an inch.

HiveMaster Nurrclian unfolded himself from the drop pod and checked his display. He saw that 29 of his Special Attack Unit have survived the landing. "More than enough to cleanse them. " He renumbered them and assigned them to their tasks. "One through nine destroy their air defense weapons then keep all the humans away from this area. Ten through 19 kill every Servant you see and destroy any equipment you find. Twenty through 29 follow me to their HiveMistresses lair."

Lance Corporal Heller circled flaming debris as he stamped across the repair area. "If that damned Army puke is away from his post again I am gonna rip off his arm and see if the Doc can sew it on my shoulder. Thats why the Army always needs us to save their ........" His tirade ceased as he saw Kerrigan's body and what looked like a re entry pod of some sort. He keyed his com. "This is LCpl Heller , we have Commandos in the Headquarters area." A Military Police Lieutenant answered. "You sure Corporal ? We have had no other reports of enemy troops inside the perimeter." Heller just shook his head. "Sir , I have some sort of landing pods all over the area and they look big enough for power suits so we better get some REAL help here soon or we ain't gonna have nothin left." He heard a snap and gurgle from a nearby tank repair shelter. Heller realized his blast pistol wouldn't scratch battle armor so looked for Kerrigan's weapon. He found it nearby bent into a U shape. "Gotta be power suits." He looked into the shelter and saw two dead Meklar mechanics and an Antaran in powered armor tearing a third Meklar to pieces. He dropped the carcass and turned towards Heller. The faceless armored form moved towards the one armed Marine. Heller just nodded and drew his knife.

General Parker was trying to coordinate the defense of her perimeter when reports of Antarans attacking from within started coming in. She turned to her com officer. "Son get on a command channel and contact the three nearest units and tell them to get what units they can spare rolling here to assist us before these damned Commandos rip up the whole Corps area." She furiously began typing a set of Operations orders and handed it to her com officer. "If I am not back in 1 hour , send that out to all units." The young Lieutenant's eyes widened as he looked at the message. She looked down at him and touched his shoulder."It will be O.K. son , just send it in 1 hour." General Parker looked around her Headquarters and took a deep breath."ALRIGHT EVERYONE LISTEN UP." All motion and noise in Ops. ceased and everyone looked at their General. "Anyone that isn't doing an absolutely essential job at the moment , grab your helmets and rifles and assemble outside the Command Building in 5 minutes. Anyone who stays behind that doesn't belong will get a bullet from me as soon as I get my weapons." There was silence and a frantic movement as headquarters personnel scurried to find their weapons. General Parker started to strip her clothes off as she headed for her office. She was nearly naked before she got the door closed. Her orderly helped her on with her interface jumpsuit. "You haven't been doing your exercises , that armor is gonna hurt when it locks in around your butt." She smiled at her orderly of 20 years."Why do I keep you around anyway Sanji?" He shook his head at her."Near as I can tell General , I must have done some great wrong in a past life and you are my punishment." She climbed into her Power Suit and suppressed a squeal as the armor locked down. She spoke through gritted teeth. "See a perfect fit." Sanji just nodded sadly. "You keep out of the line of fire , remember you are a General not a grunt. She nodded and walked out the door to defend her Headquarters. Master Sergeant Sanji waited till the General was out of sight. He checked the power source on his artificial leg and grabbed his helmet and rifle. The General would blow a gasket if she thought he was out there fighting . So like many things he did to take care of her ...... he just wouldn't tell her.

It had been so long since Rhame had gotten a secure text transmision from Ops that he almost didn't notice it. When he read it his gut went cold. Checking all his sensors he made a decision. "Four tank we got a big problem." Kindred sounded puzzled."What's up Sarge , looks like we have them under control here. Unless they try a lot harder the three of us can hold em off forever." Rhame replied bleakly."Ops. and the maintenance areas have Commandos tearing them up and there are nothing but M.P.s there to slow em down. We are the closest units , which means either we head over there and help out or the Corps support units are all dead men." Kindred took a while to reply. "And since we are immobile we got to defend this whole ridge alone while you two roll and save Ops." There was a long pause before Kindred spoke again. "What are you still doing on my ridge Rhame. Don't you need to rescue the settlers from indians or something?" Kindred saw Rhame's and Jenkins' tanks back off the ridge and start rolling towards the Ops. area at top speed. He saw the Antarans south of the ridge gathering together. "They must have seen One and Two tank leave and want to have another go Burke." Kindred knew that Rhame must have seen the Antarans grouping up to attack the ridge again. He heard the com pop. "Kindred , Burke ........ I'll see you when I see you." Burke answered first. "Don't worry Sarge , we'll save you a seat near the fire."

Field Marshal Khan stood in the flag bridge of the Superdreadnaught Repulse with two Power Suited figures flanking him. "Admiral if you dont get this operation in gear NOW I am going to have these two soldiers stuff you out the airlock." The Admiral sputtered. " We have established procedures that we have to follow ..." Khan didn't let him finish , he just pointed his finger. "Admiral , because of the Navy's 'procedures' I have had a whole Corps on that world for three weeks holding off an entire PLANET. I don't care what 'shortcuts' you have to make in procedures. But if I don't start seeing some action from YOU then I will see if your replacement is more cooperative."

Rhame and Jenkins were rolling across the spaceport as fast as they dared push their engines. Rhame saw some of the distant buildings of the Headquarters and maintenance area billowing smoke and flames. Even with maximum magnification on his command sight he still couldn't see any Antarans yet. Jenkins was slowly falling behind for some reason "Cahill slow up a hair , I don't want to get seperated from Two tank." Cahill sounded disappointed but slowed down just enough for Two tank to come alongside. Rhame saw a strange looking object on the side of Two tank's turret. "Jenkins is that what I think it is welded to your tank." There was a pause. "Well Sarge you know how busy we were loading on Schiff and we didn't get a chance to take it off." Rhame heard Dunphy and Cahill laughing . "Does it still work ? Or did it take too much fire ?" Jenkins came back on "Russo thinks it is still good , one speaker is blown but the other 5 are intact.Why Sarge?" Rhame had grown up on tales of the Cavalry and the Troop had always kept the old traditions. "Let em know we are coming , full volume." Jenkins gunner , Corporal Russo looked up at him. "He want 'The Song'?" Jenkins rolled his eyes and smiled."What else."

The song was old when the cavalry was mounted on horses. But Cavalry traditions die hard. So no one but the Antarans were surprised when 3rd Platoon charged into the Headquarters area to the strains of 'Gary Owen'

( For those of you who wonder , "Gary Owen" was the unofficial marching song of the Seventh Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer. Gen. Custer reportedly heard the song among his Irish troop and liked it. The tune was then played so often that it became associated with the 7th Cavalry.It has also become defacto the traditional song of all Armored Cavalry Units )
(For those who wish to hear it , try close your eyes and you can see the horses marching by)




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