Post by Logan Shivers on May 11, 2020 18:28:50 GMT
It had been a month since First Centurion Hock Snewcks had been in that meeting with Proconsul Shri Bacca. Now, as per that long, detailed briefing that he had received, he was aboard an Action IV freighter on approach to the planet Ebra. His ship, along with two others were loaded up with heavy building machinery, tools and supplies. Trailing behind the Actions IV’s he knew were two GR-75 freighters, those packed full of raw materials, and the 31st Engineers Corps.
The 31st was a specialist Legion, their business was expert, fast deployment on locations where colonization was required, and required either at speed, or under duress of sorts. They were part of the military, but would only engage in combat as a last resort, fully capable of defending themselves, but their primary objective was hard labour, construction against any odds, no excuses.
As a First Centurion, Hock was of course not in charge of the 31st, his role in this was to take his Century of troops and patrol the borders of the build project to remove any large threats that would otherwise impede the 31st. His own soldiers were in an Arquittens fast Cruiser that was already in orbit, having been dispatched some days before the remainder of this small fleet. The crew of the Arquittens had been busy running comprehensive surveys of the planet and confirming that the initial decision on the location for this endeavour was the most appropriate.
The speedy freighter was approaching the planet quickly, and Hock stared out of the window at the growing image of this, the newest discovery of the Alliance of Mercenary Consortiums, kept quiet from the galaxy at large for now, but inevitably that could not last, and they had to be ready as and when that information leaked out to securely lay claim to this bit of galactic real estate.
Hock also knew that he and the 31st were simply the first wave of AMC to arrive. It was impossible to build fast enough to secure an entire system before others came, no matter how good you were, no matter how well prepared. And so the AMC was moving huge firepower this way. Two Lucrehulks that would act not only as battleships, but also as starfighter garrisons, the AMC flagship was also on its way, a Star Destroyer he had only laid eyes on once before, and a magnificent sight it was too! Those would be escorted by their own supply ships, support ships and of course troops. They were due to start arriving within the month. Within two weeks however, a small taskforce was due to arrive, bringing with it re-supply materials and additional manpower for what would by then be a much expanded operation to the initial ground clearing and preparation work. Hock knew that First Lieutenant Reeat Sacuul was in command of the re-supply ship, a Modular Taskforce Cruiser, and was looking forward to seeing him, they had not crossed paths for quite some time, their duties not permitting. Running escort to the MTC was General Logan Shivers, reported to be coming in the FHA flagship, the Black Dragon, an old, but battle tested Strike class Cruiser. Until then… It was up to him, his Century of troops and the 31st.
“Gods, what a desolate place… it is truly just a rock.”
Hock was brought out of his daydream by the ships communications operator who had sidled up next to him and stared out at the view ahead of them. Hock could see what he meant. The planet was a rocky wasteland, pitted by ancient craters and nothing much else. It was a wonder it was habitable, which he guessed meant that there was some sort of plant life down there…. But not enough to be visible from orbit. As the pilot altered their approach vector to better match the orbiting pattern of the Arquittens, huge glacier fields came into view.
“You are not wrong there Thrane, and damn cold too.”
“Better and better huh?.... oh well… anyway, we have contact from the Cruiser sir, they are beginning their descent and ask us to follow. They plan to take position directly above our landing zone and remain at the altitude of 1km for the duration, providing a secure base and optimal sensor coverage.”
“Very well. Pilot, take us in on a slightly steeper angle of descent so that we can duck in under them when they reach their desired altitude. Comms, signal the rest of our intent and patch me through to my Century on the Cruiser.”
This did not take long and by the time Hock made his way through the cramped cockpit of the ship to the comms unit the officer had the line open and ready.
“Private Oswalds reporting in sir.”
“Greetings Private, I hope all is in order and that despite my absence, you have all conducted yourselves well?”
“Are you ready for deployment? The Courier should be loaded and ready to deply by now?”
“Yes Sir, the first team is already on it, they will deply as soon as we get the green light from the Ship commander. Their drop will take place at about the same time as your planned arrival, the second team is already in the docking bay ready for the Couriers return to load up, will be on surface one hour later. The final team an hour after that.”
“Good, see you planet side Private.”
Hock returned to his place by the window and waited. He had no further preparations to make for arrival so he just enjoyed the view.
Their descent and landing had been timed well, depositing them on the ground just after Sunset. The three Action VI freighters sat like dark humps at the base of a deep crater, no lights showing, powered down. They had made the approach as stealthily as these work horses could muster, just in case the planet was not as unpopulated as it appeared to be from space. It was not uncommon for smugglers and pirates to search for new hyper lanes to do their illegal runs and as such they often came across such systems well before anyone else and used them as hidden bases. The Arquittens was in stationary atmospheric orbit, again running silent and dark, but casting its sensors out across the ground to obtain as much information as possible about their immediate surroundings.
The first team of Hock’s Century was on the ground and mustering in front of him, quietly awaiting their orders. The crews from the freighters busy inside unfastening their cargos ready to be unloaded.
“As the first drop team you are designated Alpha, your squads Alpha 1 through 3. Alpha 1, split down to four units and take the compass points North, East, South and West, go to the crater rim and set up pickets. Alpha 2 North East, South East, South West, North West, go out beyond the crater rim and set up picket points 1Km out. Stay quiet and alert. Beta 1 and 2 will be joining you once they land so plan on 6 personell, 8 hour shifts. Alpha 3, you are on camp duty, get our base of operations set up. Beta 3 will likewise join you once landed. Go.”
As planned, an hour later Beta team landed and was divided up as per Alpha team. With Alpha and Beta 3 squads now on duty setting up the camp, the pre fabricated command hut and barracks bunker were taking shape nicely. By the time Gamma Team arrived, consisting of two squads plus his two adjutants, the Command hut, being the smaller and simpler construction of the two was complete and being furnished.
Hock met Gamma teams as they disembarked, forming up in front of him.
“Welcome to Ebra soldiers. You are designated Gamma 1 and 2.”
Hock brought up a holodisplay map of the crater and surrounding regions, as far as the sensor coverage from the cruiser above them extended. Green pin pricks showed the location of the pickets and a larger green circle the central location of the camp. The map was split into quadrants, North to East, East to South and so on.
“Gamma 1, scout North West and North Eash quadrant, extend out 1Km past current coverage. Gamma 2 likewise for South East and West quadrants. Complete two sweeps. Include detailed terrain mapping in your reports back. Go.”
By sunrise, they would have a base set up, eight secure and defensible picket points, a wider perimeter which would hopefully prove secure at least for the immediate future, a landing pad for the much heavier GR-75’s that should be arriving just after sunrise, and some very tired troops, some of whom would already be taking their rest break and sleeping in the barracks. The landing pad, like almost everything constructed in this initial stage was of course temporary and basic in its construction. Essentially a rectangular area large enough to allow the two large freighters to land would be flattened by super heating the surface rock to the point that it melted, then a controlled cooling down of the area would mean a solid and smooth rock base to land on. Any such construction would not withstand constant use, but it was more than enough for the two ships to land on.
Satisfied that all was in hand, Hock retired to his cramped cabin in the Action VI freighter he had arrived on to catch some sleep. His Adjutants were now on duty and he would need to be back up and fresh for when the 31st arrived.