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The Wings of the Dragon: Zharrian Frontier


Haruspex

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Temporary Imperial Legionary Command HQ
Levee Colonial Legionary Frontier Base #2
House Tagnik Zun Deployment
K2/06/06

General Yagarith Zun made her way into the temporary command post. She noted an ill suited to office life individual standing rather tensely, as if it were some sort of sentence of shame. Aria looked like she missed being on the front lines, down in the trenches with her legionary, and leading them into combat, rather than being here, within speaking distance of the political officers. She grinned a bit and settled with a lean of left hip to the edge of her desk, allowing a manila folder to be set before her.

Interesting news M'lord Regent.. Of which Aria sighed and told her she didn't have to refer to the status as such as she leaned back within the office chair, fingers at the sides of the folder. Well then cousin, seems we are primed for deployment into the DeCon Zone. She watched as Aria's interest got the better of her and she opened the folder to show some photographs of black and white. It was mostly farmland, jungle and the ruins of townships. Very little was left of the infrastructure following the bio-weapon/atomic warfare of forty years ago.

There was a steel eyed look in those bluish-greys as she gave such photos a hard examination while responding. Notify the Duke of Levee, that we shall begin deployment of our house forces, and that the colonial legionary shall follow behind as we secure the first fifty kilometers of territory. Yagarith nodded, and replied. It will be done. Also, I've taken the liberty of having the closest commanders awaiting authorization. As soon as the Duke of Levee gives the blue code, they will advance upon your orders.

Aria plucked up the field phone and became stiff, as the sound of a voice on the other end gave authorization verbally. She snapped her finger to Yagarith and as setting the phone down with a soft click. Deploy the columns. We are authorized for advancement into the DeCon Frontier.

In the Field
House Tagnik Zun Legionary
Sengar'd isto Tharim Zun
3rd Column

Through the darkness, step by step gaining elevation on a ridge, came the 3rd Column. For the officers and soldiers equipped with GPS units and two-way tactical radios, which gave them access to information, the picture was clear enough. Company B, which calls itself Lancer, was moving south, climbing a ridge that rose more than nine thousand feet above sea level and towered over the ruins of farmlands and townships alike.

Its mission was to search and scout the jungle and or access the mountainous area beyond. It was not alone. In the cold night air that had settled over the valley below, beyond earshot, a pair of attack helicopters was flying in wide circles. Farther out, and higher, fixed-wing attack aircraft were on station. The legionary could call these upon these assets if something beyond the norm was encountered.

But most of the hundred soldiers in the column did not have radios, and though they had attended briefings and participated in rehearsals, they did not know what was happening minute by minute, beyond that they were walking through dense vegetation and up a very steep hill and just about anything could happen in the days ahead. For each of these soldiers, the infantry life was the infantry life, and the universe had shrunk in the darkness to a small space around soaked boots: a shifting sphere of tree trunks and shrubs, mud and jungle and sky, and the sweaty back of the soldier ahead covered in NBC gear which made the experience the usual amount of terrible.

Even here technology snuck in. As a soldiers chest expanded and shrunk in the thinning air, and as quadriceps and calves strained under the weight of a weapon, ammunition, grenades, helmet, NPC suit, water, food, spare batteries, chem-lights, and first-aid kit, each soldier peered through eyepieces suspended from the enclosed helmet. The eyepiece hung in front of the shooting eye, just beyond the lashes; it was the transmitting end of a night-vision device. Night-vision devices do not open up the night wurld to the full richness of sight.

But they illuminate a private keyhole: a narrow cone visible only to the soldier wearing the lens, who is treated to a grainy, dim, two-dimensional black-and-green version of the wurld. In this case, what mattered most in each soldier's green keyhole was the shimmering back of the soldier ahead. One minute that back would be five yards away. The next it would be a few feet off, as the five platoons in the line extended and shrunk like an accordion being dragged through undergrowth, snagging here and stretching, stalling there and bunching, but always moving forward. And higher.

Each soldier silently peered down through that dim green cone, breathing deeply, picking those next footsteps, walking on. The moon had yet to rise, and they knew that when it did, it would be a sliver, which meant that all night the mountain would be so black that when a soldier switched off his night-vision device, he would see nothing except stars overhead through gaps in the trees. The legionary of the 3rd Column were almost all lean, sinewy even, and acclimated to the air. They knew the rhythms of this place. One of the platoons, 2nd Platoon, had been deployed as a scout force ahead of the initial authorization. 

By sunrise the 3rd Column had reached the false peak of the rangelands immediately facing the jungle ruins valley, a knob of dark soil and stone nearly ninety-two hundred feet above sea level. The true peak was perhaps two hundred yards on. The arrival of light had revealed the surroundings, which were little like the Zharr most people, even many Zharrians in the cities, would recognize. This was logging country, and the area was cloaked in old-growth forest. Some of the tree trunks were more than four feet thick, and their branches towered above the soldiers huddling by the boulders. Prata-Khan Edain, commander of the 1st Cohort, called a halt, and one platoon pushed forward to clear the top. The remaining soldiers, took slow inhales upon the food paste tubes within their suits, rested for the work ahead. Once the column crested the peak, the plan was to break into platoon-sized patrol bases and send out smaller groups to search the peak and the many ridges off of it. Clouds drifted overhead, and as the sun climbed, its light remained dim. The temperature held stubbornly in the mid twenties Celsius, so more than a bit uncomfortable, even with the cooling devices in the suits worn.

In the field, Zharr is rich with variable climates and terrain, not an expanse of baked hills, steppes, and ravines. The Central Province, which includes the Valley, passes as Zharr's jungle, a mountainous region of forests and spires. In springtime it is laced with dark rivers and cascading streams. Away from the valleys, many of which are little more than terraced slots between ridges, its terrain is so forbidding that few roads exist. Here Zharrian's would walk ancient trails. High on and in the mountains, those trails were out of sight, sometimes even from aircraft above, which often cannot penetrate the canopy. 

The platoon ahead radioed back. The peak was clear. 3rd Column stood up and began the last climb, and reached the top quickly. Edain and Taika of the 2nd Cohort ordered the remaining column to continue to the mostly flat ridge beyond. A new wurld opened up: the vista of the opposite side. In every direction were small valleys, and within each were smaller canyons, an unexplored swath of terrain, folded in uncountable ways. This was the Haru experience of rural Zharr in a microcosm, a land of seams beyond measure, with each valley and each hamlet below an area where few Haru's, if any, had stepped in years. Armed drones flew silently overhead and forward while the platoons fanned out.

Over the span of days, sometimes hours, a series of infantry cohorts of the Third Column had been assigned to the jungle ruins and immediate valley. They were a highly lethal force, scores of organized and armed legionary, with night-vision devices and precision navigation equipment, watched over by drones and connected by radios to a mortar section, to an artillery battery, to a pair of helicopter gunships, and to fixed-wing attack aircraft on call, minutes away. This was small-unit maneuver and firepower all but perfected. 3rd Column was at this very moment a Haru standard, the archetype of a forward deployed unit backed by intricate layers of firepower and material and medical support.

It was also a wandering dot in a foreign wilderness. The legionary could clear the area around them and yet could also expect to have little lasting influence on this territory. Inevitably it would move on. In hours. To the next point, and the next, and so on until the initial movement of kilometers had been reached, in tandem with every other column of House and Colonial legionary doing the same.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Oz..

The land was torn, ripped asunder, he commanded them forward, and in the haze of smoke and blood, he could not remember their names. Just faces that screamed forth from the darkness of his own mind as the war, savage as it was, raced about, slowing for no man. Moans, sounds of pleading and the determined squelching with each boot step. What the Haru had called the Line of Hamai-Ya'Ken. The first line that had held against the vicious Olath Orn and Xukuth traitors.

He was sitting behind the wreckage of an AT-80 transport, the field surgeon scooping out the remains of his eye, the jelly raining down to his burned hands. Each brush of scalpel, every scrape felt as the surgeon did his best under the cover of exploding shells and HIAAR rifles banging away across no man's land of wrecked armor and transports. The sewing that happened later draped his eye lid down and then came the screws. The Haru lived a hard life, what was one more scar?

A gentle shake of his right shoulder woke him, his aide, trusty and loyal Prata Khan De'Kr offered a rueful nod from his decidedly Northern features with a shaven head, light stubble seen about jaw to either temple, at the sides of the officers field cap so worn. Low were the words that came forth as settling as rain drops from above woke him from the memory. Sir, we are nearing the remains of Kos'uke. Coordinates put us at an old Zharrian airbase five kilometers from Ya'Ken. He paused and then spoke again. Was it the dream again Sir?

Sengar'd isto Tharim Zun merely nodded, a mild gruff of sorts exhaled out as leaning forward to look out an over the advancing forms of legionary as they came over the mountains and down into the valley, where armored carriers had slowly grinded through the foliage to also be there. 

As bent over and slightly forward, he breathed inwards and then spoke. We cannot afford to foul this up my friend. Much counts on us. Half expected to die in the homelands from a blood squad. The times being what they are, it could feasibly happen. The times of war will surely, eventually be upon us.

De'Kr nodded some, looking away, crimping his hands in repetitive fashion. I long looked at this country through a scope. I to thought this most recent endeavor would finally be my end, traipsing through the DeCon. It seems fate has a sense of humor bringing to wolves back to the lions den, no?

At the reference made, Tharim laughed heartily and nodded some in a wry fashion. A pause as he was famous for them. He was staring intently at a screen, showing the force recon of two aerocraft (a pair of HIA TE-01B Dymuh (Talon) VTOL Gunships) to the west of their own position, a slow patrol about the exterior of the airbase, with gunships hovering, two transports landed upon faded and cracked tarmac. Gunships then did likewise, forming a phalanx about their protected transports. 

The view became one of a bouncing, almost nausea inducing camera as the legionary lead hustled forward towards a control tower for a better over-watch of the area. Booted feet rang against the old yet sturdy metal, the communists had at least built it to last. De'Kr spoke then after muffled words were received and then spoken to through a radio handset. Sir, we've secured an over-watch of the airbase, initial air testing suggests that it is a safe zone.

Very well, alert the third column to advance, armored cohorts one thru six to match pace. We'll secure the airbase, and make it DeCon frontier starting point base.

Ya'ken Airbase

The ride in the Vannad (Ferret) wasnt exactly the most comfortable, the beastie bucked and bobbled even on flat roads because of it's knobby tires. De'Kr lit a cigarette once more, Tharim shaking head at the offer of one, and as each vehicle made the turn, check in's were made with throat mic's sounding off. Rolling to a slow stop, against the ancient tarmac of the airstrip. 

Grass, once cut and cared for had grown wild and weed infested over the last few decades or so and a half since it's caretaker had probably died, disparaging thought but that's how it was. With the morning light aiding their search, the flashlights on the rifles would only need be used in darkest of recesses, the remains buildings that had crumpled and or below ground storage areas.

As soon as his booted feet touched the ground outside of the vehicle, and his junior legionary officers had been gathered, he spoke. Siet Khan Porta, Ji Yel'Nal take your squads and check out the hangers. Yeyinde Keric, take two platoons and check out office building adjacent to such. Hult'ah Nika, secure this airstrip with the remaining cohort and secure positions. The rest of our Third Column will be here by nightfall alongst with several armored cohorts. 

The orders from Tharim, Sengar'd isto of the 3rd Column were crystal clear and evidenced by the way the legionnaires reacted. Grabbing their HIA HBAS rifles, and wearing the mop suit combat gear, orders were followed to the letter. Beyond those given orders to scout out the geriatric airbase, the rest moved to attain secure positions. 

Keric and her forces slowly approached the single story building and passed by a few corpses. These were victims of violence, a few looked as if they had been there since the war, mostly bone and tattered clothing though you could still discern lacerations and so forth, the type of thing that didn't usually happen in firefights. After a time, she approached the front door which hung by it's screws just barely, with a push of a gloved hand, it came crashing off against the smooth concrete ground.

As Keric was beginning to breach the building, Yel'Nal and Porta had managed to find the winch controls for the hanger's doors. Soft electric whirring filled the air as the doors slowly pulled apart, the rest of the unit were at the bay, rifles at the ready. Nothing. There wasn't even an airplane inside. Just a tool bench, a fuel storage tank and...very old bloodstains on the ground. Lots of blood by the look of it, though it was faded with time, just a stretch of shadow against the concrete.

Porta looked at Yel'Nal, and then Yel'Nal looked towards Porta. The Ji had already begun to move though, motioning to one other to accompany them outside again and to the rear of the hanger through its side door. Yel'Nal had a feeling about what he was going to find, but didn't want to believe it. The bodies out front however, well there couldn't just be a few old corpses, there was probably a lot of people here once.

Sure enough, this airstrip had been a killing ground. There were four long trenches, piled high with the dead, covered in the white powder of lye and left to that end. Yel'Nal spoke quietly to his men. Give them a last rites.

Realizing he'd given an order without authorization, he'd just turned his head to the rear hanger door when Porta's right hand touched shoulder and a nod of the senior officer's head was made. Light squeeze further and then the Siet Khan was heading towards the hanger once more. Relief once more for a time, nodding to the others as they set about the task ahead.

Back with Keric, they had swept the building, finding nothing. Though the place had been a battleground for a little bit. Shell casings were all over the place, holes in the walls, glass against the floors. The office area had sandbags here and there for positions. Whomever had attacked the airstrip had definitely bled a bit in doing so.

She spoke to Aseigans Trask and Gal'ek as she stepped outside of the building. Well people here probably died to whatever survived the initial atomic and bioweapon exchange, survivors going at it for supplies or just a place to hole up in. Tilt of head towards the other legionnaire. Catalogue everything, then have the bodies buried in the yard behind the building. The corpses are to be taken to the trenches for the burning. Aseigan Jos, head over to Sengar'd'isto Tharim and let him know of the situation over here.

Nods from both of her lads, with the latter sprinting towards the collection of Vannad's, which served as the command vehicles for the moment and if there had been any civilians found, a rescue transport. Medic's had retrieved their equipment while a few others from the security detachment were now gathering a few barrels of diesel fuel from the back of a vehicle. He came to rest at the rear of the S-17 APLAV that had accompanied them, facing the road and the highway, looking over the area separating himself and his vehicle from it.

The funeral pyre in the back of the warehouse touched towards the heavens. A bright and clear day otherwise marred by such as Keric stood next to one of the Vannad's, watching more vehicles come up the road. One of which was a command staff armored car. Snapping to attention, salute at the ready as General Yagarith Zun climbed out of the vehicle. Once the main road to the airstrip from the original frontier had been cleared, apparently the General had leapt at a chance to get out of Levee.

Within moments, Keric had begun to respond to the General who'd demanded a SITREP. Sir, as radioed, we have begun to burn the bodies and collect evidence. It looks like they might have been survivors of the war initially, had a falling out or were raided, either way, they have been dead a long time and there aren't any fresh signs of presence. 

Yagarith understood that legionary such as Keric genuinely gave their all and why might be affected by her grating personality, obeyed out of the training they had. She wanted more then that however, it was obvious that loyalty meant a great deal to her. Something she'd had before being assigned to serve Aria, and sent here no less. A boost of confidence would make her subordinates at ease but more willing to support her. At ease Yeyinde Keric. Take me to where Sengar'd'isto Tharim is at.

Keric nodded and then proceeded to lead towards the aeroport tower as Trask and Gal'ek saluted beside the communique setup inside their vehicle, of which was visible because the entry ramp was down. Coming to the spot where Tharim was, the senior officer turned about and saluted quickly. I'm sure Keric has informed you of our findings General. With your permission I would like to head towards the next township, I believe Vaska shall be the next target. It is within reach, and would strengthen our position here in the DeCon.

A rather shark like grin upon Yagarith's face. I had come here to confirm that with you. I prize thinkers over many types of soldiers. You will head the frontier forces here for the moment, and you Keric are hereby promoted as well to the rank of Kenyet, and you will advance upon Vaska. Do Kaldana proud. Now get this under wraps and then gather what you need for Vaska.

Edited by Haruspex
corrections. (see edit history)
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Heading to Veska
2nd Cohort Scouts
3rd Kompanie, 1st Regiment, 3rd Column

The wind whipped by, rattling against the sides of the lead vehicle, a Vannad, knobby tires smashing against the cracked and overgrown with foliage two lane road that led towards the former Zharrian town of Veska. Within the lead vehicle sat recently promoted Kenyet Keric. 

She pictured her father receiving the news of promotion with a proud smile. For generations her family had served as a support line of the Valis Zun, a splinter house of the main Tagnik Zun bloodline. It was all really rather confusing at times and at the moment, not important.

A glance at the field map and the digital readout of air quality, turning sideways to look into the backseat where her second also recently promoted, the newly minted Setg'in Nika had the sat headset, keeping the command element at the airbase of Ya-ken apprised of their advancement. A slow nod of head as this was going as planned, leaning back to turn around and let her third, a twenty-something beanpole named Gavi, a Hult'ah from a medical kompanie who'd been 'recruited' to the 2nd Cohort.

Behind Gavi sat another Hult'ah, Pravik. He to had been 'recruited', from a specialist platoon that hadn't anything to do for the time being, and that he spoke Zharrian all the better. 

As they passed by a road marker, Keric plucked up the vehicle communique mic and spoke to the three other vehicles behind them. We're coming up on the outskirts of Veska, when we get there, lead will slow to allow vehicle #2 to advance, we will fan out out behind and provide over-watch as we dismount. She clicked the mic off as the remains of buildings began to appear. Housing units maybe, warehouses, ruined automobiles, and some that weren't. Overgrown with weeds just like the highway to get here, nature had taken over when people had vanished. A slight tap of Gavi's left shoulder, indicating he should pull over to the side to let the LAV-25 Jeban take the lead, the heaviest armored vehicle of the 2nd Cohort took up a position near the remains of a gas station and a four point cross intersection. 

Keric's own Vannad slid to the right just within reach of the IFV, while the somewhat armored S-12 halftrack troop carrier rumbled some ten meters to the left. The last vehicle to arrive was that of an H17 cargo truck with slats around the lower portion and an antenna with dish was being hoisted up from within it's cargo box. 

A tense moment as watching the air quality device beep slowly and then make an all clear sound before the doors of the transports were opened. Gingerly placing right foot out, Keric kept a watchful gaze on the surroundings, a firm grip upon the slung weapon, the scouts choice being that of the GAR-01TB Automatic Rifle, a service weapon that had been in most major conflicts pre-collapse and showed no signs of slowing down.

There were thirty troops under her command, and from her spot, there was just rubble. It wasn't like atomic wreckage though, this area had seen probably fallout, and then combat as the government fell apart. Some buildings beyond his current purview however looked in good shape, good ol communist concrete construction and the like. A slight peer down the field optics trying to see more, but in the end she'd have to go further into the town.

Drawing Nika, Pravik and Gavi to her, as well as communicating with the IFV Yeyinde Naris, she plotted their next action. Gavi was going to stay with the cargo box communique vehicle, and the S-12. Supporting would be the techs of the gear truck, four in total, and six legionnaires. 

Going with Pravik to check about the exterior of the town from about the east, to circle back towards the coms truck would be twelve legionnaires on foot. 

Coming with Keric and Nika, would be the remaining six legionnaires, and the IFV as they proceeded towards the town center and what looked like a good central observation post, a residential tower of moderate height, roughly ten stories tall. Keric gave a last look to Gavi, then a pat on the shoulder followed by a nod to Pravik. Of whom returned such and then whistled to the gathered group of twelve, who took to a slow walk, three meter spread between them, heading in the opposite direction. 

A rueful grin towards Nika as climbing once more into the Vannad, an Aseigan who she'd come to know as Tarn, slid behind the wheel of the all purpose military utility vehicle, with Nika getting in the second row, folding the seat so the others could crawl in and take up the rear portion. Four of them scrunched into the back, one in the mid next to Nika, Tarn the driver, Keric the nav-plotter, and another named Garos, up in the turret, ballistic plates attached.

As the vehicle under Yeyinde Naris began to rumble forward, Keric gave a hand motion to Tarn, and they were off.

Edited by Haruspex (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Vaska Township
2nd Cohort, 3rd Kompanie, 
1st Regiment, 3rd Column, 
Recon Taskforce

The Twelve

Hult'ah Pravik slogged through the outskirts of the township. What had happened near the gas station and four corner intersection, had seemingly expanded in all directions. They'd passed family homes and so forth, some in good condition, others had been turned into charcoal or overgrown with nature. 

Alongst the way they'd paused to test the rivers for radiation and so forth, and while it had shown a presence, it was relatively low, the fallout in this place had not been extensive. The real damage had come from human hands, the aftermath of a nation in the death throes. 

Plenty of the dead had been found, skeletons in half buried trenches, others in vehicles, or houses, some looked as if they'd just accepted it, others with the telltale frantic last moments or the bullet holes. Aseigan Kass glanced up from one of the impromptu graves. Sir, what do we do with these? 

Pravik looked over from his moment of prayer. Mark the graves, when the column gets here, they can give these folks a proper burial. For now, we'll continue on.

At a road leading away from the township, they marked it with beacons and so forth, making sure the area was clear before continuing on. Aseigan Hazan paused, clutching the earpiece of the radio pack so worn and on Pravik's cue, radioed in to the mobile truck as to where the main road let out at and status of patrol.

Once finished, the patrol began to move again, cutting across  a weed infested field belonging to a school after clearing it. Whatever educational facility it had been, it had served as some sort of refugee center judging by the way it was cordoned off, the food packet waste, sandbags, and round casings, the after effect of having food and safety as the land eroded further east.

All in all the patrol was fairly without instance, spying some rather healthy looking deer and a dairy cow ambling along in the low woods next to the area of their crossing.

Returning up the main thoroughfare towards the communication truck, Pravil dispursed his platoon to static points, giving them time to rest and what not. Letting his mind wander a bit towards what the taskforce leader was up to.

Keric's Advance

While Pravik had only the wildlife and the dead, they had run into a different scenario. Still surviving people, lean, sunken eyes, dirty of skin, and ragged in appearance. Still they were alive and they were a priority. 

Encountered when heading to the last really stable concrete apartment building, most of the bottom floors stairs were blocked off except for one. This led to the introduction of a woman with a pitchfork and then a myriad of young and old faces alike. 

Keric and Hult'ah Gavi made up the advance team while the rest fanned out to provide cover. Gavi spoke colonial Zharrian, but it apparently was understood because the barrier to the steps was pulled aside and then a group of people ambled out. 

The old woman by name of Teska, leader of the survivors, had been a teacher at the school and did what she could to help the town after the terrible war that had come and shattered their lives. The rest were townspeople, assorted refugees from other places, and children. They'd been living off of what could be found and stores of canned goods that the military had in an armory not to far away, taken before the gangs and other groups began to fight for it.

Keric got in touch with Pravik, and then to the communications team to radio the command element at the airbase of Kos'uke, and the township of Ya'ken that lay around it. A familiar voice of the head of the 3rd Column replied back as to her status. She began rather formerly, M'lord Sengar'd'isto Tharim, we have secured Vaska, and we have rescued survivors of the tragedy that has befallen this township. There are roughly twenty civilians. We require food, housing, and medical treatment more then my task-force can provide.

A moment of pause before the voice replied. We copy Kenyet Kuric, expect the 12th guard of the 3rd Column to arrive in the next few hours. Vaska will become an outpost, you may do as needed for the survivors until then. Yes M'lord.

Kuric turned towards Nika and gave her orders to secure the area, while Garos was given to Gavi as he set up a makeshift treatment area, to give each survivor a going over. Food was distributed but in low amounts, so as to not overwhelm those present, to avoid shock and other sorts of responses to an overage of nutrients to bodies who've been without for a long period of time.

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Vaska Township
12th Guard, 3rd Column

As the lead vehicle chugged into Vaska near the reconnaissance groups radio truck, the third vehicle in the line, was the armored command vehicle of Prata Khan Viss. Clambering out of the Rihdan LMV, he took stock of the crumbling township and shouldered a weary sigh before waving his second in command, Siet Khan Varis towards him. 

The younger man festooned with combat gear, and with barrel of the service rifle pointed towards the ground while in chest sling, bounded over with an enthusiasm that was hard to match. As the Siet Khan neared, Viss spoke while looking at a terrain map on the land nav pad and once Varis was within earshot.

Varis. Sir? Get the engineering and demo crews unpacked, have them get rid of any building that cant structuraly be a support element. Also have the clergy units deployed, these markers here. and here, and here are apparently mass grave areas. Gestured with his right index finger at map markers as denoted by the recon taskforce that had proceeded them. Yes of course. I'll see to it right away. Oh and get Ji Yalenko and Ji Karis over here. Yes Sir.

Few minutes later, both Yalenko and Karis appeared. Yes Sir? They both chorused, nearly jinxing one another. He grumped and then looked to both of them, gods they were so young. And he wasn't that old himself! He'd just turned thirty-three! Alright you two, get your platoons to the center of the township. Survivors need medical, food, and housing. This'll be your platoon's job. 

Swivel of his head to the right spying Liet Yagaro. Yagaro! The woman jerked to a stop and looked over. Sir? Get to the center of the township with your unit and bring pre-fabs for survivors, and start surveying buildings for keep or removal. A salute and the woman jogged off.

Well, what're you two waiting for? Dismissed! The two Ji's acted if shocked by a bolt of lightening, vanishing in an instant. Before to long, the rumble of trucks, mostly S-12 halftracks and H14 cargo trucks began to amble about, heading in various directions. The infantry legionnaires who had dismounted were next. 

As Viss strolled towards the gathering point, he encountered Varis and a few Kenyets. Varis turned and spoke. Sir, this is Kenyet's Alka and Toral. Alpine Legionary of the 8th Legion are here, voluntold to join us Sir. What shall they be doing? Viss already had the men and women he needed in the township doing the things they were trained for, but extra security would be nice. Especially with the other columns either bypassing Vaska or advancing to townships and villages near it.

Kenyet Alka, you will deploy however many you see fit of your legion to the northern road and exterior of the township. Since our Eastern and Southern approaches are being covered from the other columns, the North will need securing. Understood Sir, duty earns victory, victory is life! The statement caught Viss off guard, he wasn't sure which house of the Tagnik Zun this legion was from though, it could only be a few however, the Zun didnt have as many as others. So he casually asked which. Of what house are you Alka? Varin Zun Sir. Ah. Understood, carry on.

Varin Zun eh? Wonders never cease he supposed and carried one with the other Kenyet. Kenyet Toral. I've a mission for your half of the legion. You will accompany the taskforce that came here initially, they will be heading to the Zharrian military armory to the West of here. The survivors indicated gangs, para-military and or what was left of the military was focused there for a time. May still be. Reason with them if you can, but if not, you have clearance to engage as you see fit. Yes sir, I will approach the taskforce leader and confer orders before march. Center of the township is their location yes? Yes it is. Very good Sir. It will be done.

He watched as they strode off to their duty, the way they signaled troops and the dispersal began. Varis spoke after a time. Varin Zun? Viss sighed a bit, slightly raising right arm over head in a bit of a stretch. I've heard they are a kin house to the main line, I believe the Lord is fourth cousin to Aria, head of the main house, they dont get out much, usually border guard duty with the @Tagmatium RulesTagmatine.

Varis continued. Ah. I'd heard that the splinters were getting marching orders to prove their worth to the bloodlines that are. Viss spoke. Oh? Well makes sense, cant stay at home forever and claim the banner. Eventually you'll be sent to prove your worth.

An almost mirthful, perhaps predatory smirk showed on Varis's face as he spoke to his superior. Keric is going to be just thrilled Sir. He laughed then, especially at Varis's comment. I'm sure she will. Oil and water those houses. Still they know what's at stake, petty rivalries can wait until we're back home.

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  • 1 month later...

Ya'ken Airbase
Frontier Command

The former Zharrian small aerocraft airport had been changed in just over a twenty-four hour period, and it was still undergoing said updates and alteration as Sengar'd isto Tharim Zun strode about the cracked tarmac with his second in command, De'Kr, trailing not to far behind him and the enigmatic General Yagarith Zun who strolled beside. 

De'kr turned head to the right, as the sound of turbines crested the moment, a HIA made aerocraft, the unique to HIL forces, the heavy quadrotor V-33H threw its shadow over him and the other aides as it slowly thundered by laden with supplies and equipment.

The second in so many hours since Ya'ken had become the frontier command post for all infield HIL columns on deployment. So much so that the corporations had begun to take notice, behind their advance, had come the engineers and what not. De'kr doubted that this deployment would be short lived, that the expanse was going to become a profitable necessity for the effort being expended.

Speaking of the devils, a small convoy of heavy trucks and HIA security drove by as the high ranking House Zun officers paused in their walk to let it happen. Regarding his own superior, Tharim hailed from the House Varis Zun, and General Yagarith was from the Valis Zun, both considered to be nearing status of major signatory houses to the main bloodline. So powerhouses, even if they in his opinion, didn't act as such.

He realized that both of them were looking at him, and he vaguely noticed that he'd missed answering a question. Pardon Sir, lost in thought a moment. Tharim smirked, even Yagarith held some form of mirth in her gaze and then she spoke. I was asking, how are the defenses coming?

Ah, Yes General, they are coming along well. Prior to being summoned, I had a meeting with the officer pool and assigned duties relating to providing security forces, first and second line defenses and air denial equipment deployment. He paused a bit before regaining from his lapse in attention. If you recall Sir.. Speaking to Tharim. Siet Khan Porta has been placed in charge of the legionary mustering here, and he has deployed them to static lines about the aeroport, forming a rectangle with four extended points. An inner line is being dug right now by spare legionary and engineers. He dug out a digital pad that made notes and so forth easier to retain. 

Ji Yel'Nal was assigned anti-aerocraft duties and has been essential in the implementation of establishing two SAM sites, making sure man portable weaponry is issued, and what mobile AA we brought with us, has been strategically placed. A slight point of left hand to indicate the HIA made Pylg Cdyp (Back Stab) MMLS parked at the end of the runway, with its arsenal pointed to the west for the moment. Four such vehicles are currently in and or around the aeroport, with the two specialized mobile vehicles being parked just behind the first line within reach sight of the tower.

Yagarith nodded and gave a pass to De'kr with an approving look. She spoke after noting the lesser ranked officer had come to a stop in his report. What of armor, I've seen a fleet of LMV's, an occasional IFV, but what of the rest? 

It was at this moment that Yagarith's own aide spoke up. An equally ranked Prata Khan by the name of Jeune Velven. My General, the 3rd Column will be passing us and heading for Veska, on the main highway towards the capitol of Kanamar. Followed by the 2nd and 4th Column's as mechanized rifles legionary support.

As if on cue, several LAV-25 Jeban's slowly drove by, outfitted for long distance deployment. Behind them, shrieking of metal upon tarmac and dirt, the rumble as the ground shook a bit, and then came the monsters. 3rd Column's main force of panzers, a mixture of S-94c's and S-98b's. More IFV's and LMV's, and then a pair of Hoplite light panzers and H17 cargo trucks carrying legionary. 3rd Column had arrived and was pressing on as gunships trailed overhead.

Well..give them style points on an entrance. Tharim spoke, hands on his hips as he watched the display as it ground on past the outpost. The jungle tiger stripe paintjobs were of a contrasting hue to the normal slate grey HIL inking on vehicles.

From the outside, the number of legionary and equipment might seem to much for a country that had basically died off. However, command was also looking to the larger issue at hand. Anglian offenses had created a sizable territory of their influence nearby, and if the Haru could see the opportunity of the former Zharrian/Cabarrian lands, then Anglia would see it to.

Thus, the legionary under command of General Yagarith, and by extension overseen by that of House Tagnik Zun, would push towards Kanamar, seize its port, and occupy what was left of the capitol, creating a presence. The boundary line would draw from Kanamar across the length of the country, where all the columns would push up to, and then stop. Tharim had no idea if this was something already spoken about to Anglia, or if this was as far as the HIL command thought they could push their presence without running into a potential war.

If the HIL gained another port, it would connect to the Haru to another sea-lane and resource rich Cabarria would become a site of heavy industry. Even if they didn't, it would probably still ferry such industry needs, just at a slower pace. Thus the general staff officers orders were as they were, to not only create operation centers, but to expand and keep doing so until the boundary was reached. Once reached, to continue having forces consolidate and turn to industrialization.

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  • 1 month later...

Veska Armory
Zharrian Territories

Keric knelt down upon one knee within the tree-line and brought a pair of optics up to her eyes. The digital view displayed the armory and the surrounding buildings out for her wherever she moved her head. Most of the buildings were very run down, pitted with bullet holes, some had new doorways from explosives. There were the wrecks of vehicles of all manner, and then there were the Swanson style bunkers arrayed at the end of what had probably been a helicopter aerofield or another. Several rusted AA guns sat without crews, pointed towards the sky, but all facing towards the proclaimed border with Cabarria.

She loathed her reinforcements, but had forced the bile from her voice to maintain the professionalism of her position, and to remain collected in front of her own command. Toral wasn't a bad soldier, not even a little bit, but his house was of contention. Varis Zun and by extension the parent house of the splinter, Tagnik Zun was the serpent of the great houses. Few trusted them, despite their ability time and time again to be chosen as the royal guard over all others. Ability trumped personality usually.

Keric had conferred with her counterpart, and it had gone well. The other Kenyet was agreeable, she had more experience here, so he would follow her advice, and together they would capture the objective as they had been ordered to. She hoped it would go that smooth. Toral's voice gave her a bit of worry however as she looked towards his comment.

Activity at the third hanger bunker. Toral kept speaking. They are armed, but do not appear in a uniformed fashion, makeshift armored vehicles, two in total, and armament cases being transferred. Keric also observed, and spoke. The civilian leader Teska spoke of brigands, perhaps this is them. Mm..prisoners or worse it appears. 

A group of half naked individuals with collars and chains were being led from a transport vehicle to one of the hangers, with a bag tossed from one of the groups to the other receiving the cases. Keric felt a bitter rawness to her words as she spoke them. Slaves.

Toral for his part was taken aback by the way Keric had suddenly spoken. It was almost feral, the anger in that word, a fury seemed to be overtaking the other Kenyet. For some reason he had a moment of perhaps fear, or excitement pulse through him. Not a moment was wasted as he positioned his field mic. Recon two and three, do you have coverage of bunker three? Confirmed. Targets are viable. Blue light. I repeat, blue light, engage hostiles.

Glancing to Keric, he gave a nod and together, the joint legionary group arose as one and began to tactically move across the armory grounds with the IFV and APC's of Toral's forces making a slow push behind, cannon at the ready. 

Keric began to motion troops to inspect buildings and bunkers as they passed, leading a core group of the half legion with herself and Toral towards the main area. The recon teams had done their duty, the brigands had not been expecting action beyond their charges and had been laid out. There was the danger of the vehicles, and sure enough a machinegun began to rattle. However the vehicle in question soon found itself across the weed infested tarmac as the IFV's anti-tank cannon punched through it. 

HBAS rifles raised, adrenalin surging, Keric and the others advanced, securing the would be slave currency and those within the bunker had thrown up hands in surrender. Legionary were dragging the bandits from the other vehicles and putting them to knee, hands behind head as she strolled out of the bunker and back into view. 

Pravik and the recon teams were keeping over-watch, but so far no other forces were in the area. Gavi, Garos, and Toral had returned from deep within the bunker and had the looks of men who had seen something beyond their expectations. It was Garos who spoke first. Cannibals. There is an unground section for these bunkers, probably all of them, and there are rooms filled with corpses, strung up and butchered like cattle. There are more civilians, but they have the shakes, the kind that can only happen when your eating people. We are bringing them up, what do we do with them though?

Keric was silent a moment, she brought Toral close with a gesture and whispered a bit with the other Kenyet. A series of nods and then she looked towards the legionary that were gathering. Yeyinde and Hult'ah's etc. Those who had seen such a sight, as well as the civilians being led into the open, nervous legionary about them.

She spoke to the rest. Keric spoke to the gathered legionary, because she knew the fiends would not know it. E fuimt ryja luhvmeldat ev drana fana lremtnah ysuhkcd dras, pid drana yna hud. Drao ryja luhcisat dra vmacr uv draen pnudranc, po dra kutc, drao ryja jeumydat dra cylnat nekrd uv meva.[I would have conflicted if there were children amongst them, but there are not. They have consumed the flesh of their brothers, by our gods laws, they have violated the sacred right of life.]

Many seemed to relax, vindicated by her words, the gods decree was true. One does not devour a brother as if cattle. Keric stood as a statue, influenced by her decision and to be the sight the brigands and the defilers would see, they would understand if not the words, the deed to come. Their was some unrest, but it was over so quickly. The rattle, burping of rifles and the brigands and eaters alike, downed. Headshots given afterwards to make sure. 

Toral spoke upon the grim affair. Burn it. Burn it all. This place is tainted now. Even the k'hil'matine [general slur, (translated to: non-believer) of the Haru faith, generally referred to Christians, in manners like k'hil'matine, to reference Tag] wouldnt suffer this place.

Agreed cousin. Keric spoke as she watched the bodies about the slaves fall, and said slaves being freed. She approached them amidst this carnage and spoke to the first she saw that had eyes of vengeance. Brother, you are free, there are people in Vaska who told us of this place. There is food, shelter, and safety being offered. A contingent of legionary will take you there. 

A tilt of head and over. Gavi. Get these people some clothes, there should be spares in the transport. He nodded head in salute and then motioning a few others to join him, jogged back towards one of the personnel carriers. Inside were several boxes of one piece mechanic jumpers, and a few boots, they could pinch from the dead if need be, for more.

Edited by Haruspex (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Amnalos Sea
HIN 4th Fleet
HIN Heavy Guided Missile Cruiser Drnacran [Thresher]
Vice-Lord Stannis Varin Zun

Stood within the command and control area of his command, the heavy cruiser leading what was called the 4th fleet, but was more of a small taskforce. Composed of frigates and supply tenders, troop carriers and the like with the cruiser within the center. Six combat ships with twelve support vessels, heading down the narrow stretch of sea separating Kabarria and Namica.

They were of course on full alert, the situation was going to be tense as the infantry legions were pushing, pursuing a course towards the now quiet capital and port city of Kanamar. The naval contingent would then link up with the colonial legionnaire elements of the 3rd Column, under command of his counter-part General Yagarith. 

The travel around the horn of Anglia with a brief stopover in the port of Verlucio, North Korninon had been somewhat under the radar of some of the powers that be. The 4th fleet had disguised itself as trade ships with escort to Kaldana, only changing flags and so forth as entering the mouth of the narrow sea.

Of recent, he'd given the order to dispatch two scout aerocraft as their communication section confirmed contact with legionary frontier command. Alongside Stannis was his second in command, Affin. A rather young Sengar d'isto hailing from the House of Grail Zun. The 4th fleet was mostly composed of Zun splinter members, there may have been a few that weren't, but by far and large the Zun bloodline was dominant in presence.

He observed just within his peripheral vision, his second in question giving a muttered prayer to Inyambo, Goddess of the Seas. Perhaps unnerved by that they were sailing upon a sea that offered little room to maneuver should anything come to pass. Just then the vibrations of the outer doors of the hangers opening so that the roll out could commence of the cruiser's two carried naval variants of the HIA TE-01B Dymuh (Talon) VTOL Gunship. 

Flight coordinator, notify our pilots to proceed no more then twenty kilometers from the taskforce, do cursory sweeps until such time as otherwise needed. Copy that sir, relaying orders now. Eyes of the sailor focused as orders were spoken into the headset so worn, Stannis checking in on the condition of the transports following along behind. Naval legionnaires and light armor that would reinforce the capture of Kanamar. 

Affin leaned in. " Sir, we have confirmation of the 3rd Column advancing armor and mechanized infantry towards Kanamar. Barring any resistance or barrier, we should arrive at roughly the same time. There are also no contacts below or above the water, at this rate I don't think even the K'hil'matine @Tagmatium Rules are observing closely anymore. Stannis grumped. " My friend, they are always lurking. The Christian's will hound us, even if we cannot see them.

Slight rub of fingers against bridge of nose, disturbing the thin wire frames from their perch momentarily. " Once we've escorted this bunch, we've another group that will be just behind them, carrying technicians and huh'luspyd [non combat] personnel to begin the rebuilding."

Affin smirked somewhat. " How in Thelin's name did the Empress swing that?" To which Stannis slightly shrugged shoulders as he spoke. " She spoke of a great crusade, a public works to empower the citizenry. And one that wont freeze your fingers from your hands, of which Kussia's weather seems want to."

A faint bemused look upon Affin's face. " So a semi-tropical land pulls them. They are unaware I assume of the beast that is within the backyard so to speak." A faint glance towards the tracking station as continuing. " Anglian activity in this region is not light. I assumed this was the reason for expanding the frontier."

A nod from Stannis. " A correct assumption. Best to parley with the Anglians now, then drawing sabers. The order is to secure Kanamar and then create a parallel line, much like North Korinon."

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  • 4 weeks later...

3rd Column "Dra Apuh Makeuh" (Ebon Legion)
Commanding officer, Sengar d'isto Hal Bel'la Kyorl
Approaching Kanamar

The road had been quite long, sometimes just a rut of dirt across weed strewn and broken concrete. While normally the path to the former Kabarrian port city of Kanamar, there were frequent stops to test the air and water about them for contaminants. 

Of which took precious time, and the end result was always the same. It was barely registering, perhaps the potentials for cancers and the like would remain, it was considered safe enough for the technical and infrastructure personnel following along well behind the 3rd Column's long convoy of armored vehicles and troop transports.

After several arduous days, the outskirts of Kanamar had become visible. As he resided within the cupola of his command, an armored command vehicle of the LAV-25 Jeban class. Speaking into the mic of the headset worn, directing the column to advance, with light armor leading the way for the heavier main battle tanks that are the core of his force.

A glance towards the land navigation aid, plotting a path and speaking with a subordinate officer. Said officer, with the rank of Prata-Khan, was also from a minor house seeking glory. Tarune Hallas Elemmiire was atypical of a young man from Yaris. An almost devil may care attitude, felt invincible and boasted a pride of the Imperial domain. Those like him gave Hal a firm headache some days.

Yes, yes Tarune. I said advance your recon force and the 12th Engineering cohort into the port and make it to the docks. The navy will be there to meet you with supply tenders and naval legionnaires. You are to secure this area. 

Cutting the communication to drive home the orders, he switched channels to one of the panzer cohort leaders. Prata-Khan Gias Grail Zun. Gias, follow the 66th recon cohort as they advance, support them until the navy can offload armor and infantry legions. 

A moment. Glanced at the map again as his command vehicle bumped along what passed as a road, barely. Head southeast of the docks, and form a defensive position. I will have the 2nd panzer cohort and the 8th mechanized infantry legion join your 3rd cohort soon after. You will be senior lead, spread your allotted forces through the Eastern corridor, splitting the city in two. 

Received a confirmation of said orders just as he himself was on the receiving end of General Yagarith. He leaned down and ordered his driver to pull over to the side of the road so as to not become an obstacle for those behind as he focused attention on the general.

Yes General, we are arriving on time. I have sent forces to occupy a portion of the port, whilst securing the docks for the imperial naval forces enroute. Found himself nodding as words replied back. You may begin your approach General, we will have our sectors secured uponst your arrival.

Gave the swirl of right index finger to the driver, the command vehicle sliding back into place, this time behind a troop transport.

Kanamar City
Dockyards
66th Reconnasiance Cohort
Commanding Officer, Prata-Khan Tarune Hallas Elemmiire

He was somewhat annoyed. The rather curt tactics from his current superior were nothing like what he was used to. Having spent most of his previous military career within the home-guard of Yaris City-state.

Still he'd been given a chance of great honor, to secure the docks for the arriving naval forces to offload safely. The 66th was quite capable of reaching their destination without much worry, equipped with rugged and stalwart vehicles. Within his cohort, he commanded two Vannad (Ferret) Military Utility Vehicles, four S-12 Half Tracks, and two, including his command, Q39 Nota'man (Devil) Tank Destroyer variants armed with the anti-aircraft 30mm Gatling cannons. 

The 12th Engineering Cohort's most senior officer was a subordinate in status. A Siet-Khan Yosis Higan, a non house career legionnaire. Yosis had six H17 3.5-Ton Cargo Trucks, and two Rihdan (Hunter) Light Multi-Role Vehicles, as well as an S-11/RV/A variant of the standard IFV, for vehicle recovery.

He to was in the cupola, though with the ballistic shield propped into place for safety reasons. As the vehicles maintained a high entry speed, he was afforded a view of the rather still put together city, which wasn't crumbling as much as it might have been. 

As the lead vehicles drove about wrecked vehicles, the wedge nosed Q39's barreled through them, and they crumpled as if made of tissue, nearly exploding as if struck by a bomb. Behind came the creaking and clanking half-tracks, remote turrets swinging left and right, scanning the area.

On approach to the docks, the two light vehicles pulled up next to a checkpoint that led into the main area. Legionnaires deploying, as the rest of his convoy drove on through. As he glanced backwards, two of said troop transports and two of the 12th engineer transports pulled to left and right, the boarding ramp lowering to allow the scout legionnaires to debark and move to help the 12th cohort engineering sorts pull out pre-fab deployable guard posts and defensive barriers.

A slap of palm against the metal of the cupola, as there was a loud horn on the air, there in the distance was the first warship of the navy, approaching one of the three docks, and the most still put together one at that. The others looked appropriate to the age of ill use. Using right hand to make visible gestures while giving vocal orders, the non-command Q39 stopped at the start of the still serviceable dock to one side in a guarding fashion. Both troop transports and the rest of the engineering cohort were nearby, pulling more of the pre-fab barriers and so forth. 

Tarune himself told his driver to park on the other-side of the dock, as legionnaires moved about the Conex boxes and checked them for security purposes. 

The recovery IFV was being used to bulldoze a few of the empty and damaged containers out of the way while the cargo trucks were parked in neat rows one after another. An alert from the picket scout legionnaires told of the arrival of the heavy armor, a panzer cohort.

As it got closer, he could hear them. The sound of panzers was quite unmistakable in urban areas. They were passing by, heading towards a predetermined position, though a few of the anti-air vehicles nosed pass the picket dock position and positioned themselves in good spots to further offer protection. 

He didn't see why they just couldn't take the whole city, but that was up to the high command. Still it was vexing, and trying to come up with different thoughts, he turned about to watch the first supply tender be eased into the docks without a tug.

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Veska Township
Kaldana Trade Authority
Colonial Mining Consortium Ministry

Simon Yanck traversed the soggy ground about the township, noting its disarray and transformation into a logistics center for the GVM (Kaldana Frontier Legionary) forces that were, well, everywhere. He stood still, counting the seconds and minutes, and in that time, dozens of vehicles, transports, loaders, aerocraft were roaming about, back and forth, crisscrossing skies and roads alike.

A slow breath exhaled, his soft brown hair settled against scalp with the sweat and humidity that this part of the wurld possessed. Such an opposite to even the tip of old Zharr where Kaldana thrived. Slow mop of head with a handkerchief, turning head slightly as hearing the squelching sound of boots in mud.

He turned about, lanky form slightly hunched over from years of bad posture and internal meetings that seemed endless. The sight of the jovial, almost endlessly so, much shorter man however seemed to brighten the day.

His counterpart, Yarnek Alius, the executive foreman for the LSLS (Colonial Mining Consortium Ministry), was slightly under the average height. Copperish-red beard that wrapped about and gave him a wild mountain man appearance going with the mop of same hued hair. Piercing green eyes, and a burly fireplug sort of build. 

He was currently running the operation that was going to be re-activating the local Gypsum mine following the inspection by the legionary and signifying that it was safe to work. The original hardware of course had to be scrapped, it had suffered under the sitting still, nature's grasp, and so on. 

Of course this meant that hardware had to come via either aerocraft, or naval vessel and then towed or carried from Kanamar. As it was, most of the equipment had been ferried in from the aerocraft option. Diggers, personnel, processing equipment, dump-trucks, backhoes, etc.

As the legionary progressed, more and more would Simon's services be put to use. Finding men and women like Alius for example. A tilt of head to the foreman. Alius, I saw several trucks filled with what seems like miners for your mine, and prefab buildings being towed to its rim.

Ah, yes, more workers yearning for a better life I'd wager. Good news about the prefabs to, Veksa will take some time to be properly rebuilt, though I hear it is beginning already.

Mm..I would suspect the GVM are behind that, Veska will become an important logistics center for the other townships and support posts along the defensive line. At least be happy that you are not foreman Thrasi. 

Oh? Why is Thrasi getting shade? You've not heard his misery? No, its been a few weeks since we've spoken. Ah, well my friend, he has been assigned the dubious task of creating the roadway through the mountains and forests that act as a natural barrier. There is a road more or less, but it is unsuitable for cargo carriers. 

Oh, oh my. Yes I am glad that I was not assigned to that. I'd heard that two thousand miners, laborers, and so forth were being sent there, but I was not aware who had been put in charge. It's a nice start but it will require more I'd wager. 

Simon rubbed the bridge of his nose for a moment, before looking at a notebook with names and locations. Foreman Taro is close to re-activating the Mica mine near Ya'ken Airbase. Foreman Braka has been assigned the Salt mine near..flicking through a page or two with the tablet pen. Ah, the township of Grath. She is joined by foreman Nerun, who will be managing the quartz mining and refining operation nearby.

Alius grumped a moment before speaking. This land has a good plethora of resources. The mountains behind us have low grade ore and lumber in plenty. Still, it will take time to benefit local, colonial, and mainland economies. 

He continued. The leftover machinery, vehicles, rubble of what was will give rise to the recycle and waste industries. Veska has a concrete factory, and I'm sure before the end of the month a recycle center and so forth will pop up. Local industries will emerge, etc etc.

Simon nodded as he settled the tablet notebook into a sling bag once more and propped a cigarette between lips after offering one to Alius who shook his head no at the offer. A slow exhale of the eucalyptus scented smoke, letting it drift between lips before he spoke.

There is talk amongst some of the officers. A few of the houses that came here at request of the Empress, will be staying. Minor houses looking to build their strength, will be making the frontier the home of their keeps. 

One has already laid claim to Veska, on the word of a daughter who scouted it no less. Valis Zun has adopted the daughter of one of their vassal supporters, and plans on giving her a title as foundation of a house Keric Zun, frontier splinter house of the main Zun line.

Alius stared at Simon. By the gods..! A new house and from the Zun? Simon nodded a bit. Apparently General Yagerith was pleased with her performance, and gave legitimate praise on her behalf unknown to the main Fleet-Lord, head of the base line. Aria Tagnik Zun. f*ckin' scary to say her name.

To right. When the base line nobles get involved, might as well put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. Simon laughed a bit at Alius.

Indeed friend, indeed. It wont be long before the other houses, minor, and splinter look to do the same. Keric could become a force to be reckoned with. I've heard legionary of various ranks sing praises for the scout. A legionary's legionnaire, that sort of thing. If she's popular with rank and file, could see a number of them petition to join the house, not to mention the locals who she went out of her way for.

Precisely what the main line wants to see, initiative, and take hold attitudes, especially now. Stubbing out his cigarette, Simon nodded. Yes, the long game begins again in this new land.

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  • 1 month later...

I.N.N. Deployment to Veska

In the northwest of the Kaldana/Zharrian Frontier, the threat of the 3Rs (Retour, Reclamation, Rehabilitation) is once again hanging over the prefecture of Ohuam, Township of Veska. In Ohuam, legionnaires from the Second Mechanized Infantry Company of the 7th Column, part of the Frontier Expeditionary Force (VAV) of the 2nd Imperial Legion, stand ready to intervene.

We arrived about a week ago, apart of the Imperial News Now in-field reporting and journalism team. Our camera crew and other members of the team have been given residence in Veska, and having visiting officers and regular legionary alike throughout the township and the firebase adjoining to it.

2nd IL, commanded by Sengar'd Isto Urta, arrived three weeks ago, and took up residence in the sprawling firebase located at the exit of the township. Its almost 2,300-strong troop is not unfamiliar with the terrain: staff maps stored in a canteen are accessible at all times; moments of rest are also moments of learning.

At the Company Operational Base (LUP) in Veska, the days are hot and the nights cold. The view is unobstructed, allowing for the observation of the whole township behind them and the surrounding forest and highway that leads towards other firebases and townships that have been claimed. 

The sentries are on round-the-clock duty, their assault rifles ready to defend the firebase and protect civilians who may take refuge in the vicinity of the base. To this end, the manoeuvring areas in front of the base are intended to accommodate the latter, if necessary. These areas are also protected by mobile armoured vehicles provided by the 2nd Legion.

Sengar'd Isto Urta, at the head of VAV and Prata Khan Yeni, at the helm of Rotation and Deployment Services (NTC), are conversant with legionary missions in the frontier. They are well acquainted with the terrain and are no strangers to the kind of challenges that may lay ahead. They never miss an opportunity to remind their legionary; Do not forget that we are in the frontier to implement our mandate. Our priority task is the protection of civilians. It’s about the values you stand for and the flag of the country you carry on your left shoulder!

Sengar'd Isto Urta has previously served with the 77th Mzil Velven in Kyussia (Northern Territories). He is one of a long line of Black Augustine (A Haru-Kussian bloodline) officers traditionally serving in imperial legionary operations. 

Prata Khan Yeni also served in Kyussia, within Ulusk as an aide to Fleetlord Kaorin. Hailing from the mountainous Ulan-Ude, she has been a career military officer.

The bond between the brothers in arms is natural among these legionary. With a common military tradition originating from the Imperial Academy, the officers regularly go for training during bilateral gatherings. The meetings regularly carry conversations in Anglish, KalZarr (Kaldana Haru/Zharrian slang) and Kussian, sometimes surprised to understand each other, and are happy to meet during during rest periods. During such moments, the hierarchy and the strict separation between officers, non-commissioned officers and non-commissioned soldiers is put on hold. For the duration, everyone becomes equal, before returning to their respective barracks.

The legionary work outfits – different from the ceremonial uniform – remain impeccable despite the difficult living conditions. Regular haircuts are the norm and the salutes are faultless to higher ranked officers. The base itself is particularly well maintained and built to last with reinforced concrete.

Life in the camp is punctuated by the call to prayer of the legionary priest who holds the rank of a non-commissioned officer. He prays with the units before each departure on mission and before meals – whose spicy scents comfort these soldiers, often times far from home.

Arriving recently are forces who have joined up with the newly made Keric Zun House. With its many tents, the conditions in the temporary base of this new force are rougher – but this does not diminish their operationality. These legionary, all from different common units of the Imperial army. Often called regulars, the common units are generally composed of legionary who are not affiliated with a house. 

The Keric Zun command and NCO element is mostly from the Valis Zun 333rd Mechanized-Rifles Legion. Renowned for their courage, restraint and professionalism, these brave fighters are feared by the enemy, whom they, in turn, respect. They can equip themselves in less than seven minutes before taking to the field; their armoured tanks are on stand-by for action at any time. 

Prata Khan Pravik, newly promoted due to the ascension of Keric, looks relaxed. Yet, he commands his company firmly. Nothing escapes his gaze behind his glasses that reflect the scene: his men, clad in dark helmets, their faces covered with the masks standard to Haru legionary, stand at attention, their weapons ready for inspection and the start of the exercise.

A word from Pravik and, in a few seconds, the men join the light armoured vehicles and infantry combat vehicles that hurtle off to simulate an alert. The most impressive soldier remains the gunner in his turret, his hands glued to his machine gun. He is the most exposed, but he is also the one who will respond to any convoy attack or to protect the population. Above the House banner and the Kaldana flag is his qualification patch: 'Byny-Makeuh' (Para-Legion).

On the other side of the manoeuvring area, Siet Khan Gavi gives his orders to those under his command, chronometer in hand. They come out of the hatches and position themselves almost in a phalanx, the most appropriate tactical position to defend themselves and ensure the safety of the convoy. Here too, there is no room for error: The lives of my command and the people we are escorting are at stake. In addition to regular patrols, our mission is to escort all convoys that cross our vast area of responsibility on dangerous roads due to both the possible presence of armed groups and the state of the road network.

A few hours later, while the men are getting ready to enjoy the evening over a hot drink, exchange strategies and talk about their families, the general alert is given: the incessant rumor's leave no room for doubt. The soldiers immediately return to their battle stations and a light company is dispatched to an outpost for reconnaissance. They will all return at dawn…

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  • 2 months later...

Ilos and Tnay

Looking up into the glowing, white stars every night she wondered why, why her, why was she not cared for, why did no one love her? Scavenging through vile trash cans for puny scraps of food that others take for granted was a hassle. The wet and moldy piece of cardboard provided very little protection against the disgusting sidewalk lined with chewing gum. The sun was blocked by the crumbling haphazard army of buildings in the capitol and the sky was next to nothing; invaded by grey by the impending winter that loomed in the near distance. 

She knew that she would be driven insane if she continued to live as a victim of this brutal city, of what it had become. When her gaze was forced up and over the numerous dull buildings by the blinding reflection off a passing patrol vehicle’s window, her feet followed. 

There was a warm glow emanating from a doorway, a slight pause before it and then an arm came out of it and she was hauled within. The yelp of surprise was greeted by the warmth of the interior and the owner of the arm. Tall and yet somewhat heavyset, the smile that came from above did not trigger her senses of danger.

This is how the street rat met her future patron, the Yeyinde known as Ilos or by his nickname 'Old Man' to those who served with him. A soldier of the regular infantry, now a member of the Keric Zun. Not knowing a name of her own,  Ilos gave her one. Tnay. Pronounced 'TEnahae', it took some time for her to become comfortable with it.

The name was not alone in her gift, adopted by Ilos, she became apart of the Keric Zun. It was a home! A family! All those things she'd have had, and now here it was. The city didn't look so scary anymore, and Ilos was sure to give her a good hug or a pat on the head. 

Ilos had been sent to provide a bit of structure to the rising house, and despite living in an old shattered house in that huge old town, it was hard for him to settle in a new home of a new city, mingling with so many strangers. It was the city that never sleeps; Bustling, always under construction, crowded, lively, and also fascinating. How will you imagine an imperfect city with some but not all of the facilities? 

Despite having a bit  of comfort, Tnay could see Ilos found it laborious to be open about things from his past, and there seemed to be troubles that ran deeply. Even with huge buildings and eventually becoming clean roads, with trees running along the paths and birds cheering on the trees, with the sky showing glints of violet above the horizon, with people walking around with different destinations, with the weather changing in just a minute from sunny to cloudy and then sunny, just everything was so perfect. 

Why then? Sitting under the huge shadow of a tree, she observed every nook and corner that Ilos would seemingly swing his gaze to. By the time, they reached their place of living, the sky was black with a million little stars shining, defining the beauty of blackness. 

As he settled within the dining room, she could see his right hand shaking a bit, until she reached out and grabbed it. His smile warmed her right up! A childish bit of a response, patting his bald head gently as if he was a dog. His voice cut through the space between them.

My Tnay, I spoke with a superior today. You have a choice to make. You may attend the legionary academy in the homelands, away from this place, or you may join the ranks of the Kaldana Youth Services (GOC) and serve the communities on the rise here, until you are old enough to enter general legionary service for House Keric Zun. He seemed old as he spoke, older then he might have actually been. Its tough to tell sometimes.

She glanced upwards at the ceiling some, noticing some of the cracks and the hole that had been covered up with partial construction and prefab roofing etc. Home is home though. Downward tilt of head, those auburn tresses brushing against cheeks a moment.

I choose the youth services. I mean the academy sounds nice, but this is where I've lived. I'd like to make here, better. A smile followed her words as she replied to Ilos.

Hmm. Very well Tnay. You'll come with me in the morning to speak with Ji Dev'Hen. He'll reach out to the head of the 4th Services Cohort in this area, they are pretty involved with helping the medical units with refugees. You should get some rest, I'll wake you when its time.

Hugged him, which he seemed unprepared for before bounding down the hallway towards her room, which had been a pantry once. An air mattress and a duffel waited within, and after sliding her boots off, fell onto the comfortable sleeping spot. A slow curling of frame, and was asleep before she realized it. 

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  • 3 months later...

Ilos and Tnay Part 2

Ilos looked ill at ease in his service uniform, while not the formal wear, it was the field equivalent of such attire, even his jackboots were polished. A slow slide of the soft cap atop his head, gently running right finger against the somewhat faded ink that lay imprinted into his right temple. Citizenship barcode, and the house of service, such was how a legionary could be noticed. 

He'd been promoted, notified by a runner. It'd been made official, he now had the rank of Kenyet,'Brave' in Haru-dakat. This meant a citizenship tier upgrade as well, to ten. Better living, better food, slightly more stipend pay.

The Ministry of Youth Services had even named him guardian of Tnay. Once she completed her training, she'd be of the Keric Zun house as well, fully.

There was some sound and then Tnay appeared, hair braided, wearing her recruitment uniform that had been delivered. It was a flecktarn of green, black, and brown. Half boots, and an LBV derivative style assault vest. Atop her head was also a flecktarn soft cap. 

Ilos gently grabbed her shoulders and gave a nod before sliding his hands away. It was at that moment the door to the house opened and two Hult'ah's stood at ease, next to a 4x4 field car. A slight glance to Tnay as he climbed up and inside. Tnay following behind, and the sounds and lights of Kanamar fading behind them.

Two weeks later..

Before eating, Tnay and the other youth service recruits drank large field cups of water, and inverted the empty cups on their heads to demonstrate the achievement. A soldier came in to observe them. He was the platoon commander, a Liet named Boule, a muscular Cussian with a military bearing and an air of easy authority. 

Tnay had heard from one of the others that he'd been a Yeyinde, the equivalent of a warrant officer. He had been barred from the Royal Imperial Army because of troubles with the law when he was a teenager, and so had joined the House of Vek Zun, which meant leaving the homeland to Kaldana. He had risen through the Legionary ranks during a seventeen-year career, most recently in the Northern Territories, where he had shown a particular aptitude for leading long patrols across some of the most difficult terrain on Eurth—thriving in conditions that cause even strong men to decline. 

And now he was here, training recruits like herself.

Boule now found himself on the farm, adjusting to garrison life and trying to steer this batch of recruits through their introduction to the Legionary life. On the one hand, he needed to make legionnaires of them. On the other, he had already lost fifteen to bandits, accidents and so on. Not too soft, not too hard—that was the pressure he felt, and with a sense that his own future was on the line. For his part, Boule missed being in the field. Mostly what he did here was to supervise the other instructors. 

Boule strolled past Tnay, pausing to give her a bit of a gnarl (rough talking to) and then she was doing push-ups as he continued to walk about her. Morning, afternoon, evening, night. There were tactical exercises during which the recruits advanced in confusion through forest and field, shooting off blanks and suffering scores of imaginary casualties for their errors. There were parade-ground exercises during which they learned the strange, slow cadence of the Legionnaires ceremonial march, and the lyrics to meaningless Legionary songs designed for motivation. There were runs, short and long. There were weapon-disassembly-and-cleaning classes. And there were endless housekeeping chores, the tedious affairs that constitute much of garrison life. 

One month later..

The stay on the farm (legionary slang for basic training) was nearly over. The program called for Tnay's Contubernium (akin to a platoon) to walk out carrying full patrol gear and to make a roundabout, two-day, 80 kilometer march back to the operational fortress township of Veska, headquarters of House Keric Zun, for the final three months of basic training. The march is a rite of passage. Once it is completed, recruits become true legionnaires and during an initiation ceremony are given permission by the regimental commander to put on their helmet masks for the first time. 

Tnay, and her Contubernium had been training since before dawn, and now they were standing in formation holding practice helmets wrapped in protective plastic, and being drilled on the upcoming ceremony by the vicious Hult'ah's (specialist). 

Again and again, to the order of “Contubernium, cover your heads!,” the recruits had to shout, “Fa Bnuseca!” ('We Promise!', and hold the helmets over their hearts), “Du Canja!” ('To Serve!', and hold the helmets straight out), “Fedr ruhun! Yht muoymdo!” ('With honor! And loyalty!', and put the helmets on their heads, wait two seconds, and slap their hands to their thighs). She was so damned tired.

Before dawn Tnay and her Contubernium staggered out of their barracks, and set off in file through heavy rain. They wore bulky packs, with assault rifles slung across their chests. Liet Boule navigated at the head of the column. Those vicious Hult'ah's brought up the rear, watching for strays, for those who didn't have what it took. 

It was a slog, mostly on narrow roads through rolling farmland of the frontier. Dogs kept a wary distance. When the column passed a herd of cows, some men made mooing sounds. That was the entertainment. Late in the morning the column entered a large village, and Boule called a halt for lunch in an empty barn. Tnay glanced down for a moment having had thought that people might come out to encourage them, and even warm them with offers of coffee, but rather the opposite occurred when some of the residents closed their shutters as if to wish the legionnaires gone. 

This fit a pattern she had seen all day, of drivers barely bothering to slow as they passed the line of exhausted troops. 

He said, “It angers you.”

Tnay looked at her commander with surprise, as if to say, And you it does not?

" You will learn in time Aseigan Tnay. It cannot be taught. For now, save yourself for the Frontier."

Three months later..

The frontier country of what used to be Cabarria has nonetheless become an integral part of the expansion of the Haru-Zharr colonial needs. The arrangement is awkward. One consequence is the need to pretend that the borders are real, and to do something about increasing numbers of banditry.

The embarkation port was a muddy embankment with a couple of open-sided shelters, where in heavy rain a team of legionnaires piled barrels of fuel and bottled water into two 45-foot shallow riding landing craft. These relics are leaky, and extremely crude, but capable of carrying as many as fourteen legionary and tons of supplies, and particularly resilient during encounters with submerged trees and rocks.

A half-dozen replacement legionnaires boarded the LC's for the ride. They were joined by the company’s commander, an earnest Zharrian Liet, who had been in North Korinon attending to bureaucratic chores. The trip upriver took six hours, much of it spent bailing. The day was intensely hot and humid. 

The village of Tresta occupies a point between Kanamar and Levee, situated within the new territorial holding of the frontier. Tresta has a national police post manned by ECC legionary who rotate through from Kaldana or Levee. It has a school, an imperial mail station, bank, a boardinghouse, a bar, a restaurant, and a general store. The residents of Tresta are Haru citizens, and they are not inclined to forget it. They know that, because the Kaldana administration treat their traditional subsistence living as a form of employment, and they qualify for a low level citizenship tier and stipend. 

The Legionary’s base is semi-solitude, isolated from the settlement by the confluence of rivers, yet close enough for the sounds of music to drift through the air on sultry nights. The base has a floating dock, a small guard tower, an elevated barracks with bunkrooms above and hammocks below, an open-sided kitchen and mess hall, and various small structures, including those for the all-important generators. 

There is no cell-phone coverage. There is a satellite television that one can watch the news if there is nothing else: Things babies do. Things pets do. Goof-ups and pranks. There is a drinking-water system that no one trusts. Depending on the gods, there is sometimes the whisper of an Internet connection that lands on a patch of dirt by the outboard-motor storage shed. There are at least two wooden signs saying, 'Fedr ruhun! Yht muoymdo!'. 

There are mosquitoes. There are coral snakes under the wooden walkway to the showers. There are wandering chickens to keep the coral snakes down. There is no air-conditioning. There is a pet duck. Behind the base there is a runway that has been recently paved and could be used by small military transport airplanes in a pinch, though moving legionnaires by boat is cheaper and makes more sense. The runway is paved because someone got a contract. There are small helicopters but no aerocraft otherwise.

Tnay wrote to Ilos about her current assignment-

On the evening of my arrival, about thirty legionnaires were there, most having just returned from patrols, and were engaged in the high military art of appearing to be busy while doing nothing at all. The talk was about joining a supply mission; it involved portaging around rapids of a small inland river, and then transferring to three small shallow rivercraft. Blue butterflies, green jungle, heat, water, flitting bats, stagnation, rot—monotony. The Centuria’s motto is 'Frana Udranc Tuh’d Ku' (Where Others Don’t Go) 

A soldier told me that the most common thought in the Legionary has always been “What the f*ck am I doing here?” He said his mother had phoned him from half a wurld away after seeing a special on how beautiful the Frontier is. “How beautiful is it?” she asked. “It sucks,” he said. First, you can’t see it, because it’s too dense. Second, it’s worse than ugly because it has hostile intent.

Toward the end of the day and miles farther up the river, when we got to Boule's former Contubernium, the Liet in command began to express his frustration within minutes of our arrival. He came up to our commander and could be heard saying that he did not trust the locals. He warned us that the smugglers and possibly bandits had placed a lookout directly across the river from us, and that he was watching us now, and maybe wondering why we had arrived, except that he probably already knew. 

His name was Diakovs. He said, “You do not live in the forest; you survive.” His men did not love him as they loved Boule though. Still, they called the camp “Akov” in his honor. They had hacked it from the dense forest two months before and now lived there full-time, sleeping in mosquito-netted hammocks beneath stretched tarpaulins, bathing in the river, and running daily patrols in uniforms that never dried. During the few days I spent at Akov, the Contubernium captured no one but found an empty homemade pack, a swamped boat in excellent shape, a few bags of rice, a cache of diesel fuel in six 65-liter jerry cans, and plenty of fresh footprints and trash. 

The work was hot, wet, and tiring. Mostly it involved clambering on and off the river boats with weapons slung and machetes in hand, and conducting innumerable searches of the braided trails and virgin forest within a few hundred yards of the banks. There had been some excitement the week before when a patrol surprised two couriers hurrying along the riverbank. One of them jumped into the river and escaped. 

At the camp’s edge, confiscated goods were burning in a firepit and emitting black smoke, all the better against mosquitoes. Sweat streamed down my face. The latest seizures brought the Contubernium's total to several tons over the previous week’s. That was a measure of something, at least. But the conversation was mostly about the strength of the opposition. “Oh, they’re good,” a Kenyet had said, and no one disagreed.

In a nutshell? They’re not the “enemy”; they’re the “adversary.” They include hundreds of people—no, thousands—most of them from ex Cabarrian or Zharrian military following the collapse of the central governments of the two province-states that had made up the nation. Runners, scouts, boatmen, porters, lookouts, drivers, mechanics, miners, machine operators, guards, carpenters, medics, cooks, washerwomen, prostitutes, musicians, heretic ministers—none with the right to be there. They build whole settlements in the forest, some with stores, bars, and chapels. 

The clandestine settlers live without fear. On Saturday nights they clean up, dress up, and dance on wooden floors that are level and beautifully joined. They hack A.T.V. tracks through some of the most difficult jungle on Eurth and pre-position spare parts in hidden depots where mechanics can fix whatever is required. As for the porters, they carry 150-pound packs in columns of 30 or more, sometimes for 20 miles at a stretch, up and down steep hills, in sandals, often at night. 

They are not immune to the dangers. Some are bitten by poisonous snakes; some are injured; some fall sick; some die. Their graves are occasionally found in the forest. Nonetheless, the smugglers never stint on the goods they deliver—including, for instance, frozen chickens in Styrofoam coolers, eggs, sausages, women’s makeup, live cattle and pigs, candy, cereals, soda, rum, various alcohols, suntan oil, animal growth hormones (for human use), marijuana, Bibles, pornographic DVDs.

At dawn, moisture hung in veils over the river. We left in two river patrol boats and traveled up the main river towards Kanamar, forest so thick and so steep. The week passed in a compression of extreme physical exertion, in severe effort, slashing at the jungle-forest to bivouac at night, stung by insects, warding off snakes and scorpions, slamming over logs in the creeks, wading, thrashing, constantly wet, moving through the natural ruins of the forest, through swamps, up muddy slopes so slippery and steep that they had to be climbed hand over hand, falling on the down side, breathless, thirsty, swallowing lousy colonial combat rations, zipped into hammocks to get through the nights, boots turned upside down on stakes, fighting river rot, fighting infections from cuts, heavy rain, digging thorns from our hands, heavy rain. In these conditions even the waterproof G.P.S.’s turned soggy. 

We came upon trails, A.T.V. tracks, smugglers or bandit campsites. The closest we came to finding anyone occurred when Stevens got lost with a detachment and stumbled onto the campsite of a lookout, who escaped into the forest. 

Aseigan Streso took it upon himself to befriend me. He stuck with me when I fell behind, helped me with the bivouacs, and quietly made sure that I survived. Mostly he tried to explain a way of thinking. One day, in a small group, after struggling for hours through heavy jungle and having lost the way, I realized that the leadership—the Setg'in (corporal), was plunging ahead blindly without reason. I stopped and said to Streso, “What’s he doing up there? I know this is wrong. We need to stop, go back, and figure out where we lost the track. And I know we need to get up on that ridge.”

He said, “You’re right, but don’t bother about it.” He gestured for me to follow. It was simplifying. 

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