Our transport was headed toward A’Blam. It would take approximately twenty days until we got there. During that time, we would have daily training routines and free time after that. Our duty there was to help with the invasion on the city of Azual. It was a city that was held by a fairly large Chattan force and was they key to a fairly large territory. We would be doing a full frontal assault after an air raid. It would be like another D-Day landing, or at least that’s what I was told. Yippy ki yi yay…
Much of the time I spent alone or with A’Shual. I only spent time with the others when we had to do our training exercises. I was one of the few in the Force Marines that carried a sniper rifle. It was a fairly large rifle and could easily show I was a sniper. It fired .75 caliber slugs of depleted uranium. It could penetrate personal shields and take down a medium tank if I got a good shot at it. It had little recoil and was semi-auto. It wasn’t a heavy rifle either, just long. It had a range of over three miles and the scope could help me lock onto a target about a mile and a half away. My sidearm was a laser pistol. It had fuel cell of about thirty shots. It was a short-range weapon but I could snipe something about 500 yards if I wanted to. I also carried a Spatha. The Spatha was the standard issue weapon of the entire United Forces. So was the M68 pulse rifle. No one like using rifles though. Personal shields did a fairly good job at making any weapon less than a .50 caliber round ineffective. Energy weapons were useless against them unless they were the ones mounted on tanks or you landed many hits on a person wearing a shield.
Even though there was all this technology made to protect people during wars, it was bloody as fucking hell. The battles could last days on end of non-stop killing. The advent of mechanized suits only made things worse. Those lucky enough to get a mech would score about 30-40 kills per battle. Being killed by one of those was never pretty. You would either have missiles blow you apart or have a plasma rifle melt you. There were plenty of other weapons mounted on them but those were the more popular ones. The sword was the main way of combat. The squads moved fast and usually met each other openly. The only species that actually preferred rifles were the humans. Crazy humans…
It was time to go to the surface. We got into our drop-ships and got ready. A’Shual was with me. He was our squad leader and rightfully so. Next to me was a new member of our unit. She was transferred over on orders. She looked remarkably like Shieta. When I saw her I fell over and had to be snapped back by three people. Her name was Genevieve. She was an awesome fighter, very skilled with a sword and dagger. She could have been a sniper but she was very distrustful of any kind of firearm.
I had made friends with her quickly. She was fairly caring and smart. She was philosophical and almost made you wonder why she became a soldier. But she could also be very harsh and cold. She could easily kill someone and not think about why she did it. She was like Shieta in some ways, but in others a total opposite. A’Shual, Genevieve, and I were the top three of our squad, Alpha Pack. I named it in honor of my old gang. A’Shual had no problems with it and liked the name, so it stuck.
A’Shual was one of the few Chattans that fought for House Lupus. Needless to say, he had gotten into his share of fights because of remarks about him siding with us. He was very patriotic, dumb in that sense, but very patriotic. No one has ever won a fight against him when they challenge his loyalties. It would either be him or me knocking the bastard senseless.
It was time to depart. We got out of the drop-ships quickly and got our gear out equally as fast. We reported to the commanding field officer for orders on where to set up base camp. We were told to set up camp about a mile up from this position, his men would follow us there. I took point and A’Shual followed me. He had no objections to me taking command; I had better orienteering skills than he did. I followed the directions and the map and found a cleared spot near a stream.
“This is it boys!” I called out.
“Set up camp here!” Yelled out A’Shual.
“Who has first watch?” I asked.
“Liandri, J’Haad, Mohammed! You three, get your men! You have first watch” Yelled A’Shual.
We had a decent detachment to our squad. Altogether, we had about 45 units. We were lucky enough to have a mech with us. We should be able to handle most anything that would come our way. Most of us were Force Marines. There were a few SEALs with us. I never met a SEAL and wanted to know what the training was like. A’Shual said they were pretty good people to know. I went over to their site and started to get to know them.
“I’m Shaul, call-sign ALPHAwolfOMEGA.” I said.
“I’m Jed. This is Drake, Xander, and Xiang.” The leader said. He was a lupine and had a few humans with him.
“Where are the rest of your men?”
“Out helping your guys patrol.”
“I see… thanks for the help.”
“No problem. Who has the mech?”
“Dunno, one of our guys. I didn’t know we were going to have a mech with us.”
“Me neither. Hold up, you’re a sniper aren’t you?”
“Yeah, how’d you know?”
“I saw you earlier with that rifle. Those things are fucking huge! How much they weigh?”
“Not nearly as much as you would think. You guys got the anti-tank weapons don’t you?”
“I sent a few guys over with em. Told ‘em to give you some of the rockets and to give the team leaders the rest.”
“Thanks, you guys got any food?”
“Yeah. We packed some extra.”
“Never go without what you need…”
“Heh. What happened? Didn’t pack any?”
“Nope. Packed too many weapons. Had to get rid of some gear and supplies. Our guy accidentally left behind the food.”
“Too many weapons?”
“Well, you know what I mean. We packed some food, just not enough. We should have a resupply soon though.”
“I hope. You have any idea how big this thing is?”
“Another D-Day from what I hear.”
“What was D-Day?”
This caused some laughs. The guys spent the next hour or so explaining the history of World War Two and Three. I finally knew what the joke behind “Parris Island” was and what the importance of D-Day was in comparison to this operation. And I was also hoping this wouldn’t turn into Omaha Beach. We spent another hour joking around and then I had to leave. I got a report of an enemy patrol heading this way.
I ran over to A’Shual who was completely battle ready. Genevieve was ready too. I grabbed my sniper rifle and got three other men with me. We ran about a mile out and found what we were looking for. There was a patrol of ten Chattans. All of them were bobcats, very large bobcats at that. They carried rifles and long-swords. They were of the Elite Guard. They were better trained than most other Special Forces Units so they got to have their own custom weaponry. We took our perches and prepared for an ambush. I took perch in a tree about 50 yards away. I could easily take out two or three of them before they could do anything. By then I would hope my men would be able to take care of the rest. It was six of us and with a sniper it would be even easier. We also had stun grenades and they would help.
I dialed in on their point man. It was an easy kill. There was a loud report from my rifle and he dropped to the ground with a fairly large hole in his chest. The rest of them ducked down and made it easier for me. I took out another one of them before they realized what was going on. They pointed their rifles in every direction and fired. I took out another two and then my men attacked. They threw the stun grenades and ducked back behind something to avoid their blinding flash and deafening explosion. They didn’t hurt you unless you were literally on top of them when they went off. The purpose of them was to incapacitate you fir a short amount of time so an assault team could gain some time to fire off a few rounds.
I got out of my perch and went into the hell. It lasted about sixty seconds. I jumped on top of one of them and slit his throat. The guy next to him raised his sword and was about to bring it down on me but Gen ran him through before he could do anything else. She took her sword out of him and he dropped to the ground bleeding. There was one more guy left and he was doing a fairly good job at fending off the others in my group. I took out my pistol and fired at him. I hit him but his shield blocked my shot. It caught him off guard enough for one for my guys to slash his chest open though. He fell to his knees screaming in pain. He lied down and curled up into a ball of fur and blood. He looked young, a new recruit who made it through Basics. It saddened me that he had to die; he couldn’t have been older than twenty; This was war though.
We had gone through this the next day again. Holding off attacks on our camp and attacking areas around us as a diversion until the rest of the troops arrived. Then we were informed that there would be a large attack force from our side joining up with us. We would be one of the first ones to attack the city of Azual. When the forces joined up with us we had about 150 units. Twenty mechs, four tank squads composed of three medium tanks and on light tank, 90 ground units and ten snipers. I was the lead sniper and the SEALs were calling the shots. There were 20 SEALs and they usually stayed in groups of 10 or less. I knew this was going to be a very large operation. We got our gear ready for the assault on Azual. Base camp was taken down and packed up. We laded whatever gear we didn’t need in the drop-ships that came back to resupply us with more ammo. We had a few APC’s given to us and some more anti-tank weapons. Those were usually large rockets that took two people to fire. The smaller ones were becoming somewhat ineffective against medium tanks unless you could score a direct hit to their treads.
A’Shual took point command and led the way in an APC. Most of our troops were inside the massive transports but a few preferred to hike. We moved fairly slow in order to let the troops that couldn’t find room in any of the APCs to catch up with us. We traveled all day and got to our position about ten miles from the city. We wouldn’t attack for another three days. We were the first units to arrive to our positions. The rest had met some resistance along the way and were detained for three days. I had a feeling that something would go wrong just then.
We met up with some drop-ships that gave us some gear to set up camp. I always wondered why they didn’t have drop-ships get us to the location so we didn’t have to hike. Some others told me that they were prime targets to get shot at. It made some sense but I always wondered. I figured the air defenses were pretty tight in this sector and they preferred not to send a massive assault force by air. The previous wars taught us not to use that tactic.
In the few days I was there I enjoyed the surrounding areas. It was very beautiful if you ignored the war going on around us. There was something primal about the planet; it had a life force that I could feel. A’Shual felt it too. We both sensed it. Genevieve could almost feel it. She had the beginnings of a sense. She could almost see into people’s minds but hadn’t developed it that much. I could see things more often now. I was still working on commanding it to happen at will. A’Shual had his Sense. He could sense things that some people shouldn’t. He had amazing control over his ability.
I went out one night into the forest. Genevieve was with me. A’Shual said that he’d catch up with us sometime later. We took some weapons with us, mainly our Spathas and sidearms. We went deep into the forest. I could sense something was in it. Gen was getting that feeling too. We found a clearing and a small pond with a stream feeding and draining it. We stayed there for some time. It was a beautiful sight. The moons gave a magical touch to the scene. It reflected off the pond giving it a glow. The water flowing over the smooth stones in the stream had a calming affect. To the left of the pond was a large tree. It had a small entrance going to a cave. I looked at it for some time, in wonder.
The hair on my neck began to stand on end and I got a prickling feeling in my chest. I felt something behind me. I jumped up and looked behind me but nothing was there. I drew my Spatha but heard something tell me not to draw my weapon, that she was of no threat. Gen must have heard too because she just dropped her gun. We sat back down and enjoyed the scene until A’Shual arrived. He crept up on us and was right behind us. We didn’t notice.
“I’m telling you guys, you’d make a great couple.” He said, surprising us.
Gen smiled. “Oh you!”
I just smiled and looked back to the pond. I knew A’Shual felt what I felt earlier.
“You feel that?” I asked him.
” Aye. There’s legend around here of a being known as Manawolf. She’s very peaceful and caring, but knows how to fight. She can appear on any planet that has some life force there. She’s very kind and welcomes people who she knows won’t do any harm. She’s very beautiful and has a certain aura around her…” A’Shual said, almost in a trance.
“She sounds pretty cool.” Gen said.
“Aye, just don’t get on her blacklist.” I said, jokingly.
“C’mon, we have to get back to camp.” A’Shual said.
We started to head back to camp. There was something there that I couldn’t forget. I knew there was something there, someone. I just couldn’t shake that feeling. I knew Gen and A’Shual felt it too. There was someone there. That night, I could hear a howl coming from the pond. It wasn’t a howl of anger or anything bad, but one of peace. I slept easier after that.