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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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File 140697107967.png - (16.39KB , 694x481 , LGaM.png )
587562 No. 587562 ID: ba8629

Expand all images
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No. 587563 ID: ba8629
File 140697111437.png - (18.31KB , 800x600 , LGaM1.png )
587563

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No. 587564 ID: ba8629
File 140697113823.png - (51.29KB , 800x600 , LGaM2.png )
587564

Even though he knows better, Teskel thinks it's thunder he hears.
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No. 587565 ID: ba8629
File 140697119072.png - (55.72KB , 800x600 , LGaM3.png )
587565

He goes to the window and stares out across the cloudless east. Neumono don't use ballistic cannons, so their artillery comes down in waves, ten or twelve rockets at a time. It's too rhythmic to be lightning, and too red.

Firek's public security department announced that the enemy was being thrown back a hundred miles from Illipe. Teskel figured they were lying, but hadn't expected the fighting to come here so soon. He imagines most people didn't.

Which means he'd better work fast.
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No. 587566 ID: ba8629
File 140697123684.png - (50.18KB , 800x600 , LGaM4.png )
587566

When the capital falls, and he's certain it will, he needs to be on a ship out of here. All the main, surviving adhilian transit lines radiate out from here. The government can relocate, but if they couldn't halt the invaders before, they're not going to turn things around after the continent's logistics collapse.

Teskel paces, fixing his fur. In the next few weeks, if he survives, he's going to regret every minute he wastes now, but he doesn't know what the hell to do.

He came to Firek with a diplomatic mission, to help assess the planet's defenses and see how useful a bulwark they are against the neumono. Since then, small, disorganized enemy incursions grew into a full scale invasion, and the adhilians are starting to collapse.

So, that isn't going very well.

Instead, Teskel's taken it on himself to learn everything he can about the course of the war. That isn't going very well either, but there's still time, precious time, to do something.
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No. 587569 ID: dc4b80

You will drive yourself nuts trying to figure out how to win the war unless you start small. Break the problem up into smaller pieces and solve each one individually.

How did this war start and what motivations are involved? What do the logistics look like? What sort of resources do they have versus what you have?

Just as a example Neumono need a ton of food to keep going. If you could find a way to cut off there supply lines a week later they would be all eating each other. Maybe you find that there supply lines are to well defended so you check the next thing on the list. Eventually you track down some weaknesses and find a way to exploit them.
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No. 587571 ID: 879a42

Are you planning to escape the planet then? What are your options that come to mind? Any belongings you have with you that you need to pack up?
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No. 587586 ID: 54af1f

Go out and see what the adhilian command is up too.
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No. 587589 ID: 9ddf68

could you gather all the reports on the war so far, the official military ones not the bullshit public ones they release to keep the public from panicking? If you want information and to leave I suggest gathering as much as you can before leaving the city, go somewhere small but with a line off planet. If you can get that far we can decide what to do next.
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No. 587634 ID: 13cd06

how fast are the transports?
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No. 587639 ID: 1f8505

>>587566

So what is your current situation?
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No. 587858 ID: ba8629

You need to salvage what you can, and that means extracting natives with intel and experience that'll be actionable and useful in future clashes with the Neumono. Start organizing an escape ship, and figure out who you can - and should - take out with you.
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No. 588025 ID: ccd544

What degree of authority do you have?

>Maj. Teskel Sammuta
You are military yourself!
Who and Where is your direct superior?
Is your military allied with Firek directly, or just political alliance?
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No. 588135 ID: 75653c

What's the war 'about' insofar as the war is about anything? If we're going to stop it we need to know why it hasn't stopped itself, if we're going to beg for help we need an angle, and if we're going to exploit the fallen to sell our memoir we need a local twist to our poignant lines about the fallen state of (figurative) man.
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No. 588253 ID: ba8629
File 140728830718.png - (33.70KB , 800x600 , LGaM 5.png )
588253

>Neumono need a ton of food to keep going. If you could find a way to cut off there supply lines a week later they would be all eating each other. ... Eventually you track down some weaknesses and find a way to exploit them.
Funny thing about weaknesses. Intelligent enemies try to mitigate them. The first time the Ultrahives banded together and bullied their neighbors for resources and concessions, LICTO, the (decreasingly) dominant power in known space, stopped them by threatening to cut off food and economic aid. The neumono backed down, but learned their lesson. This time, they aren't making demands. They're invading a fertile world, almost certainly for food security.

>What degree of authority do you have? Who and Where is your direct superior? Is your military allied with Firek directly, or just political alliance?
Teskel is here in an advisory capacity to assess whether a military alliance would be a good idea. (Kind of a moot point now) He reports to the Antevan ambassador, Abidan Tarsus. Teskel has an aide and a bodyguard, of limited use right now. He does have some friends with the embassy, though. He can call in favors if he urgently needs some legal pretense, some military vanguards, or just someone with cash and connections.
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No. 588255 ID: ba8629
File 140728833288.png - (43.04KB , 800x600 , LGaM 6.png )
588255

> Are you planning to escape the planet then? What are your options that come to mind?
Teskel can see which way the wind's blowing. He can't see the full picture from here, but analyzing Firek's armed forces is the entire reason he's on the planet, and he's pretty good at it. There's no evidence of nearby reserves large and organized enough to turn the battle around. Local nets aren't showing signs of panic, but that will change.

He'll need to get back to the Antevan Embassy to catch a tiltrotor with the diplomatic staff to the spaceport. Or he could get to the spaceport himself. It's not a long drive from here. He's got hours at least before the fighting reaches here. Unless commandos are already going for the city spaceport. Maybe he should think about abandoning everything and leaving right now.

> Any belongings you have with you that you need to pack up?
Lifeboat rules. Everything he really needs can fit in a duffel bag. He'll need to burn a lot of these papers, before-
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No. 588256 ID: ba8629
File 140728849778.png - (12.71KB , 800x600 , LGaM 7.png )
588256

Shit! The adhilians. They're going to burn everything to keep it out of neumono hands. Teskel's been trying to get his hands on uncensored combat records for weeks. Now they're going to go up in smoke.

> Go out and see what the adhilian command is up to.
The adhilians have so far blocked every effort to get useful information. If he is going to go there, he needs to decide if he's just going to bother them and beg for information, get a bit more clever, or a bit more, uh... clandestine.
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No. 588257 ID: 54af1f

Presumably the Neumono aren't outright genociding planetary populations of less resource intensive folks, so by helping you with information they'll be furthering the efforts of their own liberation. . . or that's what you can tell them.
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No. 588263 ID: dc4b80

They are definitely going to be here for the long haul then. Will take time and a lot of resources to get food production going after they take over. The Adhilians will not just be burning records. Most likely have been sabotaging all the infrastructure that supports the farms and killing most of there herds. Plus unless they murder all the natives there will be rebel groups sabotaging stuff for months or years.

What are they doing with the native population? Not something we can do anything about but if they are doing anything horrible to thm it would be nice to bring proof with you when you leave.

Of course either way the government can release a few touched up propaganda videos of Neumono soldiers eating screaming civilians in the streets later on.

Right now you need to get your ass in gear and get moving. Once the invaders hit the city there first push will most likely be to take control of the starport or the government buildings. So get your ass over to wherever they keep the records and lets take a look at the situation.
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No. 588274 ID: 9ddf68

>They're invading a fertile world, almost certainly for food security
So you think the locals will put up a scorch and burn retreat to deny the Neumono a food source? If I was going down in flames that's what I'd do.

But yeah for a plan of action, you said you have friends in the Antevan Embassy right? Ones who you could call a few favors from? I say call them and see if they can't get you access to those files before they burn them, if you need an excuse just say the Neumono are less likely to search for a third party so it stands a better chance getting where it needs to go with you then by most other means. Also call your bodyguard and have him meet up with you before you grab what you need if you can, things might go to shit so it wouldn't hurt to have someone watching your back.
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No. 588292 ID: f839a9

>Teskel's been trying to get his hands on uncensored combat records for weeks.
>They're going to burn everything to keep it out of neumono [oven mitt] hands.
Are these records actually worth anything, now that the forces you were here to analyze are going to be steamrolled?

>clandestine?
Biggest drawback to trying something like that in the middle of a war. The usual curtsies don't apply. Attempted spying in wartime is liable to get you shot, no questions asked.

So... how confident are you in your ability to get at the information you want, undetected?

>So you think the locals will put up a scorch and burn retreat to deny the Neumono a food source?
They'd be starving themselves to pull that off. And it would take a pretty concerted effort to systematically destroy the long term food production capability of an entire planet. By the time they're desperate enough to consider it, I kind of doubt they'd have the firepower or coordination left to pull it off.
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No. 588751 ID: ba8629
File 140753795966.png - (69.09KB , 800x600 , LGaM 8.png )
588751

"Good morning," says Teskel.
"Sir," snaps Sgt. Ivah.
"I'm awaghe," says Lt. Eunice.
"The city's fucked," says Teskel. "I'm going to get my hands on adhilian records before we get out of here. I want Ivah with me. Eunice, grab whatever electronic records I didn't take, burn whatever you can't bring with you. Remember, your first priority is to get out alive."
"Right, okay... right," she says.
"If you get captured, I'm going to tell everyone you fell back asleep."
"Okay..." she says.
"I'll write a book."
"Right."

>Are these records actually worth anything, now that the forces you were here to analyze are going to be steamrolled?
It so happens that Teskel also hails from a fertile world. If they're going to keep the neumono off Antev, they need better information than 'the rabbits are dying at the gates of Illipe.'

>Presumably the Neumono aren't outright genociding planetary populations of less resource intensive folks, so by helping you with information they'll be furthering the efforts of their own liberation. . . or that's what you can tell them.
He'll try talking, then. Hell, that might even be true. Last he heard, the neumono haven't exterminated the sentients on their homeworld.
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No. 588754 ID: ba8629
File 140753816869.png - (83.16KB , 800x600 , LGaM 9.png )
588754

>You have friends in the Antevan Embassy who you could call a few favors from? I say call them and see if they can't get you access to those files before they burn them
"Scythia Atral," Teskel tells his dialer. A moment passes before she picks up.
"Hey, war-nerd. You watching the news?"
"No need. I've looked east," says Teskel. "I'm en route to the Capitol defense building. I need legal pretense to copy their ground action records."
"The fuck? How about I schedule a blowjob from the prime minister, too? You free tomorrow?"
"This is extremely important."
"Well... shitballs," says Scythia. "Okay, legal-legal, kinda-legal, or fool-one-guy-for-five-minutes legal?"
"Ideally the former, but if you don't have enough time or it proves necessary to-"
"Oh, you want an analysis, too? Then give me a week and ten thousand international credits," says Scythia. "As your attorney, I advise you to make a choice in fifteen seconds or I'm hanging up."

Fucking norther.
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No. 588761 ID: 54af1f

kinda legal. We don't have much time and I highly doubt they're gonna get their lawyers to check this with multiple Neumono divisions bearing down on the capital.
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No. 588777 ID: 445ff6

Kinda-legal is probably the best option, especially if you're planning on leaving the whole planet in the very near future.
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No. 588778 ID: 13cd06

mostly ignore the law, the northerners see you as shit anyway so why bother dancing through there hoops?
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No. 588780 ID: 2a806e

Kinda-legal. Doesn't need to stand long, just long enough.

The more intel that can be secured, the better. Not a pretty situation to be in.
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No. 588790 ID: 9ddf68

kinda-legal and willing to drop lower if you need to. You need that info before they burn it.
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No. 588852 ID: a19cbe

Kinda legal. 5 minutes legal isn't enough time. Things aren't desperate enough that they wouldn't send someone after me. I don't want to deal with that, and they have better things to be spending people on.
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No. 588893 ID: ba8629

Kinda legal. Fuck da polease
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No. 589150 ID: ba8629
File 140783518502.png - (26.04KB , 800x600 , LGaM 10.png )
589150

"...Kinda legal," says Teskel.
"Gimme half an hour," says Scythia. "Maybe more..."
She hangs up before he can pry.

Ten minutes later, they pull up at the capitol defense building and approach the guard, who challenges them in English. Fortunately, Teskel is fluent.

"Halt!" shouts the guard. "Damn, I almost shot you!"
"What? Why?" asks Teskel.
"You look like neumono."
"What? You're crazy," says Teskel.
"With those helmets on..."
It occurs to Teskel that he's underestimated how much adhilians suck at telling upright bipeds apart.
"Well, we're not," he says. "We need to go inside. We're on official business."

The guard narrows his eyes.

"There's a war on, if you didn't notice. I'm not going to let offworlders just walk into the defense building," he says, with slow realization. "Wait, I recognize you. The analyst from Antev. Even if you are on the level, the staff has better things to do than entertain nosy sergals."
"This is plenty important," Teskel says.

The sergal pauses, carefully considering his next words. Scythia's quote-unquote legal order won't be ready for awhile, but he can't just stand here fidgeting til then. Every minute could count. On the other hand, if he pisses off the guards enough, he could sabotage his chances of getting in even with a legal(ish) order.
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No. 589159 ID: 54af1f

Smooze him/her. Be friendly.
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No. 589170 ID: 4b571b

>You look like neumono
My ears don't hang down to my ass, my hands aren't the size of my head, and my tail isn't a fluffy mile wide.

>Even if you are on the level, the staff has better things to do than entertain nosy sergals.
Your guys can also use all the help you can get. You don't think a military analyst might be useful, especially when the damn war he's been analyzing for actually happens?
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No. 589181 ID: 2a806e

Good grief. No wonder it looks like they're getting their asses handed to them on a platter. Even if their opponents have oven mitts for hands, they're hardly built for using weapons themselves.

Uhhh... what do we know about the invaders? Might be able to weasel in under the pretense of giving them some advice, if they're not too proud to accept outside help.
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No. 589217 ID: 9ddf68

the neumono are attacking the city, Teskel was sent here to help them defend their planet, If they're refusing to accept help when the neumono are on their very doorstep might as well be fighting without weapons, there is no reason why they shouldn't accept help when it's being offered to them.
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No. 589236 ID: 2a806e

>>589217
Never underestimate how stubborn sentients can be when it comes to accepting outside assistance, even if it is offered with the best of intentions.
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No. 589357 ID: ba8629

Look, he knows this is pointless, but he's still compelled to do it by anxiety, social expectation, and ritual. Just bribe him.
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No. 589805 ID: ba8629
File 140826207446.png - (54.95KB , 800x600 , LGaM 11.png )
589805

>the neumono are attacking the city, Teskel was sent here to help them defend their planet
Teskel hopes he's a good enough liar to pull this off. It's too late to help this city, or this world, probably.

"I have important information for your commanders. There's still time to win this war," he says.
"You can tell it to me," says the adhilian.
"Like fuck I can. Did you know the Hostola-Vlippu rail line is down? Multiple breaks all along its length, apparently catastrophic."
"What? An attack? Bullshit," says the adhilian. "That's way inside our lines."
"It would take an organized, widespread, and synchronized commando raid."
"That... Those raids have been pretty disorganized. Or, they were before."
"They were. A raid like that would change everything. It would mean their best units working together. Something we haven't seen before, all directed at a single point of interior lines of communication. What do you think that would mean?"
"An attack. A big one. Flanking. But there's nothing there to... Damn it. You got all that from a train schedule?"
"And net traffic, and news reports, unencrypted communications and volume of crypto signals. I'll be able to examine footage from aerostats, after you let me in."
"I... I can relay your analysis."
"No," says the sergal. "You can't. Now stand the fuck aside."

Teskel thinks that's a very interesting theory the adhilian has, there. The line is in fact down, but probably from backed-up traffic at railheads, exacerbated by chaos and contradictory orders. What's easy in peace becomes impossible in war. Sapients in Teskel's line of work call it friction.

What's important is that he put the fear of the gods into this guy.
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No. 589806 ID: ba8629
File 140826210897.png - (24.74KB , 800x600 , LGaM 12.png )
589806

>No wonder it looks like they're getting their asses handed to them on a platter. Even if their opponents have oven mitts for hands, they're hardly built for using weapons themselves.
You'd think that, but those tail parts can form little pseudopod-fingers. Adhilians actually score even higher than humans on the Narang-Sherazi index of fine motor skill. However, they lack strength due to bad leverage.

Teskel marches like he has a purpose. The best way to seem like he belongs is to look busy, and the best way to do that is to look angry.

Inside, it's as bad as he feared. He smells burning paper and burning plastic. Scythia still hasn't messaged him with his legal-ish documents, so it comes down to bullshit for now.

Where should he begin? There's sections for paper documents, or computer backups, or he could head for the analytical wing to see if he can get some more refined, current info, perhaps talk an adhilian or two into coming with him. Alternatively, he could march right in to the Firekan high command and start blustering. He'd rather not do the latter unless he has a very good plan.
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No. 589807 ID: ba8629

Analytical wing. We've got a good bullshitting streak going, let's keep it alive.
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No. 589810 ID: 9ddf68

analytical wing, if this place is going to burn we might as well learn how the enemy likes to burn things to the ground and with what.
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No. 589813 ID: 2a806e

Digital records, if a suitable storage device is available. Easier to transport than paper. Plus trying to save burning records looks pretty shifty.

If not, or that's too risky, analytical sounds good.
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No. 589815 ID: 879a42

Getting paper will be a nightmare, and our last place to go. Let's either go computer records or analytical, whichever seems more valuable. We should go for high command after we find something useful.
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No. 590023 ID: 54af1f

I'd go analytic first. We don't have time for the others yet. We should pull in some reports, then chase up the cites in digital.
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No. 590656 ID: ba8629
File 140874264740.png - (9.03KB , 800x600 , LGaM 13.png )
590656

Teskel decides to start with the analytical wing. He doesn't know what records to begin with anyway, and they might not appreciate him randomly pocketing active data storage from their network.

Adhilians scurry around and shout to one another. It's busy, but not busy enough. Teskel notes vacant rooms. Are they understaffed? Suffering desertion? Or evacuating in phases?

Those who are left are busy enough. Too busy to do more than double-take at his presence. He hasn't even been challenged since the guard at the door. That's good for when he does start stealing shit, but for now, being ignored won't do. Teskel needs to find someone approachable.
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No. 590658 ID: ba8629
File 140874293072.png - (22.65KB , 800x600 , LGaM 14.png )
590658

"This is it. This is really it," mumbles an adhilian. The voice sounds female. "This is how it ends."

That sounds promising. Teskel quietly approaches. The tag by the door reads 'Lucianda Mirak, Lieutenant, Army Intelligence.'

"What the fuck is wrong with the trains tonight?" asks the adhilian. "Maybe it IS sabotage. Gotta be..."

"Maybe, but probably not," Teskel interjects. "Confusion and contradictory orders are explanation enough."

"Why is there a sergal in my office?" asks the adhilian, without looking up.

"Major Teskel Sammuta, Antev Planetary Guard. At your service."

"Are you with a brigade or more of airmobile shock troops? Because if not, I don't really give a shit," says the adhilian. "Wait. Contradictory orders? What would you know about that?"

"Educated guess," says Teskel. "The situation's changing fast, and your media's spouting obvious falsehood. It's pretty clear your high command's lost its grip on things. I figure, that's probably why your transit lines are paralyzed. They don't know if they're rushing to shore up the defense or running for their lives. I drove here and I didn't see a single fighting vehicle on the road."

The adhilian contemplates this.

"What, exactly, are you doing here?" she asks.
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No. 590661 ID: dc4b80

I am here to help analyze the war. Find weak spots in the invading army and make sure we can stop them while they consolidate here. I know that the day might be lost but what we do today will affect future battles.

So I was hoping to find someone who would see the value in saving as much data on the fighting as possible and get it off planet quickly. When the fight to retake Firek happens knowing exactly what happened here will give you a advantage.

It might backfire on me but asking you seems like a sensible option. You seem to have your head on straight and maybe you are more interested in getting things done than worried about sweeping stuff under the rug.

This is my last chance to get the real data before I evacuate. Without it I have to make educated guess's about what happened.
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No. 590763 ID: 54af1f

Say it straight. Possibly with an offer to get her out with you if she helps.
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No. 590769 ID: 487455

>What, exactly, are you doing here?
Offering what help I can, for selfish reasons. Kind of hard to sit around and ignore what I know, when I spent so long preparing. And nothing personal, but what happens here has future implications in what happens to my people.
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No. 590913 ID: 9ddf68

two things

1) to offer whatever aid I can to help slow down the enemy (not totally true but since we're here I don't see what offering some advice that could buy yourself some time to get off the planet with the data)

and 2) to acaure as much data as we can on the enemy to aid in future battles, after all if we need you to help us to help you.

Get what you came for but also see if you can't lend a bit of a hand here, If for no other reason then to try and get her to help us.
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No. 591149 ID: ba8629
File 140900483495.png - (17.08KB , 800x600 , LGaM 15.png )
591149

>Say it straight.
>I know that the day might be lost but what we do today will affect future battles.

Teskel decides to take the honest approach, despite the risk. This will be delicate.

"I'm here to learn," he says. "I need to gather as much information as I can on how to beat these critters."

"Too late," she says. "The city's lost. Our staff's already pulling out. Fuck, I shouldn't even be telling you this but it doesn't matter. Once the neumono take the city, all the important rail lines and roads radiate out from here. We'll be fucked for logistics, and they can attack outwards in any direction they want. Meanwhile they're pouring in recruits from their giant fucking population and we've got nothing to stop them. Planet falls in like two months maybe, not counting idiots and fanatics holding out in the mountains."

"Then what, Mirak?" cuts Teskel, firmly. He knows adhilians put formal emphasis on the last name, human-style. "History ends?"
"What?" She hasn't thought about it. "I mean... I don't know. They take over and do whatever."
"They build up space infrastructure and keep spreading," says Teskel.
"Bummer," she says without inflection.
"This feels like the end of the world, but it's not the end of the war," he says. "Help us, and we'll win and take back this planet some day."
"Who's we?" she asks. "LICTO? Vilous? They don't give a shit."
"I can guarantee LICTO is shitting itself right now," he says. He avoids mentioning Vilous. Aliens think Antev's still their colony, but that hasn't been true in decades. "We have to show them how to win. I need your help."

"What, me?" she asks. "What the fuck is this?"
"Help me gather intelligence on the enemy. How they move, how they act, how they cooperate."
"We don't even know that! No one does! It's their empathy, we don't-"
"You know, but you don't know you know. You've got the information you need. You just don't know how to put it all together, yet. Get that data offworld, before anyone has a chance to sanitize it into a narrative about unstoppable space bunnies drowning everyone in numbers."
"Actually, that sounds about right-"
"Prove it," he says. "Bring us uncensored data and come with me to vouch for it."

She thinks about it.

"That's treason," she says.
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No. 591153 ID: ba8629
File 140900530414.png - (22.68KB , 800x600 , LGaM 16.png )
591153

"Against who?" says Teskel. "Not your planet. Not the people who live on it. The law wasn't structured to account for its own collapse."

Mirak goes quiet again. Teskel decides to press on.

"Do you want to lose with dignity, or do you want to win?"
"This is... I need time to think about this," she says.
"We're out of time."

Mirak stays silent. There's a faint rumble of distant explosives.

"Fine," she mutters at last. "What do I do?"

Teskel rocks back, shifting gears. He wants time to think, but indecisiveness will undo Lt. Mirak's choice. He can use her help to find strategic information about the overall shape of the war and logistical capabilities of the enemy, operational and tactical information, meaning after-action reports and analysis showing how the enemy fights from squad and platoon up to division and corps scale, identify more intelligence personnel to flee with them to Antev, which could be extremely valuable but extremely risky, or something else.
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No. 591156 ID: 54af1f

operational and tactical information

You don't have the time for the rest IMHO.
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No. 591157 ID: 40935b

Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics. Go for the strategic information.
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No. 591158 ID: 9ddf68

My question is has your lawyer come up with that kinda-legal crap yet? If she has or hell even if she's just trying to get it through but has it more or less done it might help us move around more smoothly or even make it easier to pull a few more of Mirak's co-workers with us when we leave, but we need to know what your lawyer put on paper so we don't get caught in a lie and hold everything up as we try to get it cleared up wasting time.

Other then that I'd say start with operational and tactical information. If we know how they fight it would make it easier for use to come up with ways to move around or counter their strategies, next priority would be to try to grab the strategic information, if we can figure out how they work and what makes them tic we might be able to figure out where they'll go from here. As for finding more intelligence personnel to flee with to Antev Don't go out of your way to grab them as two sergals walking around only turned a few heads, two sergals walking around leading a bunch of bird people around might cause a bigger reaction, unless we can work with that kinda-legal stuff if we ever get it.
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No. 591176 ID: 2a806e

Top priority should be strategic information - logistics, etc. - no doubt about it.
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No. 591178 ID: ccd544

Strategic Information is toip priority

Neumono operate as a hive, hives operate strategically. Learn their strategic habits, exploit them on a strategic scale.

Tactical information is less important.

Intelligence people are only as useful as their ability to use their credentials to withdraw data wholesale.
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No. 591273 ID: 697427

Strategic information is important, but it also seems less likely to have low-hanging fruit. I say we should focus on the tactical stuff, since that's where the information about Neumono empathy is going to be hidden.

The invaders can change their logistical strategy; in fact, they've done so before. Vast dietary needs are a glaring weakness in extended combat, everybody knows it, and they've learned to compensate for it. Any weaknesses in their current logistical strategy will become irrelevant as it continues to evolve. What they can't change is the composition of their own minds. Figure out a cheap way to mess with empathy, use it against them somehow, that's what could really turn the tide.

Also, try to get a second analyst, preferably one who's not from the same background as Mirak. Raw reports are going to be full of some idiosyncratic local dialect of military jargon, and you don't want to be stuck with single-source translations.
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No. 591865 ID: ba8629
File 140943527034.png - (30.17KB , 800x600 , LGaM 17.png )
591865

>Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.
Yes that's incredibly helpful because Teskel has never ever heard that phrase before. Ever.

In Teskel's experience, amateurs like to repeat that quote, then look puzzled when you ask about the place of operational-level art. They know that tactics build up into strategy but get handwavey about the in-between. Something about big white arrows pointing at the enemy capital?

>near-even vote between Tactical/Operational and Strategic/Logistic
Teskel frets. Knowing how the neumono fight could be worth everything. Their tactical organizations have a basis in their very biology. If someone could crack how that works, and train accordingly, it could be worth any price. Conversely, no one expected them to have the logistical chops to pull this thing off. Conventional wisdom held that the Hives are too tribal, that the Hyperhives can barely keep them pointing their rifles in the right direction.

Presently, another barrage of rocket artillery rumbles in the distance.
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No. 591866 ID: ba8629
File 140943537744.png - (10.95KB , 800x600 , LGaM 18.png )
591866

For a moment, Teskel's indecision tempts him to demand both options at once. He shakes it off and picks one.

"I need a strategic picture of the war, with as much about enemy logistics as possible," says Teskel.
"Nobody knows that," laments Mirak.
"You haven't had time to assemble a coherent picture before the picture changes," says Teskel. "We can sort that out later, if we have good, unbiased information. Think you can get that?"

The adhilian swishes her tail when she thinks. Teskel notes it as a tell.

"Okay, yeah, I can," she says. "You'd better take me with you afterwards, though. If the bunnies don't kill me, my bosses will. I mean, for real. Like, with bullets."
"Sure. You're hired," says Teskel. He's stepping way outside his authority. The embassy won't like this.

As the two get to work, Teskel's phone buzzes. It's... Sally Atams? Is that even how you spell that? Who could possibly be- Oh it's Scythia. She sent him some hastily-written legal paper, but didn't use her real name.

That's not very encouraging.

This looks rather like an order from the Firekan foreign office authorizing Teskel to help with offsite backups if it looks like the Capitol HQ might be overrun. You'd have to read real carefully and probably call half a dozen offices to figure out that's not really what it says.

Teskel wagers it can buy him an hour or two of openly copying data. Should he wave this around, hope it works, and start copying tactical to operational-scale reports, or stay quiet and stick with Mirak?
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No. 591867 ID: 879a42

Why not squeeze every last second getting data this way and wave it around when people start getting curious to why in the hell you are even here? We get as much data as we can before moving on to something else and only wave it when needed. One more thing, how much estimated time until the fighting gets too close for comfort?
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No. 591868 ID: 2fd516

>>591867
I like this idea.
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No. 591873 ID: ba8629

>>591867
As do I.
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No. 591905 ID: d6f8c9

>He's stepping way outside his authority. The embassy won't like this
Hey, if you pull it off, they'll be happy to pay that price for all the info you're getting.

If you fuck up, there's a good chance Mirak will end up dead (and/or you will) so it'll be a non-issue, anyways.

>>591867
A reasonable idea, to play one card, then the other, if we have time.

If you don't think you have time to do things in series, you could work in parallel. Leave Mirak to do this, and arrange to meet later, while you copy the other stuff openly.
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No. 591928 ID: 9ddf68

>He's stepping way outside his authority. The embassy won't like this
if they don't like they can come and do this shit themselves. This may be an intelligence war you're playing but it's still a war, improvise, overcome, and adapt and all that.

>>591867
also, Yes this is a great idea. Although once we start waving this thing around I think we should start wrapping things up because then not only are we trying to get out of here before the guns get to close but also to get out of here before these guys start to see through our bullshit.
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No. 595923 ID: ba8629
File 141174367194.png - (83.46KB , 800x600 , 19.png )
595923

Teskel decides to keep the document quiet for now, and to drag this out as long as he can. All the while, the neumono are advancing. It's a big risk, but so's this whole business. He distracts himself with the task at hand, helping Mirak salvage reams of data from the computers to sort through later. Her resolve softens.

"This is insane," she says. "I can't believe I'm actually doing this."
"So, why are you?" Teskel asks, then silently curses himself for so dumb a question. Rather than apologizing and blaming his sleep deprivation, he lets it hang in the hope of playing the wise guru card. For agonizing seconds, Mirak doesn't answer. Can't answer. Her face sags.
"I don't know. Why would you ask... cripes. Because I want a second go at them," she says. "This war's over. I want to be in the next one. That makes sense, right? Tell me this makes sense. Fuck, I'm just walking away from everybody. Yavilah brought me coffee an hour ago so I could get that report ready..."
"It makes sense," Teskel says firmly. But that makes him wonder. How many soldiers is he killing by taking this cog out of the adhilian war machine? What if all this data falls into the enemy's fat hands? What if Firek can turn this around, and he's fostering defeatism?

Shit. He really hopes this all makes sense later. He puts on a big, fake smile.

"You are doing the right thing," he says. "I promise you that much. This is our best chance to give meaning to everything that's happened here. Everything that's going to happen. This is how you make it count."

The words feel greasy in his mouth, but Mirak seems to buy it.

Teskel's glad he didn't try recruiting more adhilians. They'd have given one another a different sort of pep talk, and he'd be thrown out of here or stood in front of a firing squad for sedition.
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No. 595924 ID: ba8629
File 141174374640.png - (124.25KB , 800x600 , 20.png )
595924

About an hour later, Scythia's Sorta-Legal-Documents have their moment of (semi) truth. The adhilians are mad as hell to find that Mirak's helping him at a time like this, but they stop short of defying what appears to be a legal order to make this happen. It's not hard to rationalize. Making offworld copies of vital information sounds like it makes sense. Maybe they think this will summon a bunch of heavily armed sergals to save the day.

Honestly, Teskel suspects this is only working because they've already lost hope. The shift in attitude's palpable, and growing worse by the minute. Why even bother? This place will be up in flames soon enough.

Now, the challenge is just grabbing data before it's destroyed. There's already teams wiping and burning.
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No. 595925 ID: ba8629
File 141174406233.png - (109.66KB , 800x600 , 21.png )
595925

Later still, Teskel finds a vantage to try to gauge the enemy's approach. It doesn't work, of course. Two eyes aren't enough for situational awareness. Most of the actual intelligence personnel have fled by now, and the rest don't want anything to do with him. His phone rings.

"Speaking," he says.
"Major. It's Laci," says a female sergal.
"Colonel! What's going on?" asks Teskel.

Col. Laci Aloisus is a friend. Though she outranks Teskel, she's never been in direct command of him. She focuses on field work, and commands the Embassy's security force. He figures she should be kind of busy right now.

"Where are you?" she asks.
"The Firekan capitol defense building," he says. Their phones have end-to-end encryption he doubts neumono can break, but still feels nervous announcing himself over radio.
"Damn! I hoped Scythia was full of it when she told me."
"What's wrong? What do you need me for?" he asks.
"I need you to not get your dumb ass splashed by a rocket," she says. "I brought you here because I thought you had a brain, apparently in error!"
"Wait, you-?" Damn it. He thought Laci was done pulling strings like that. He continues. "We can't leave yet. We're stuffing hard drives of intel into fucking bags like they're gold bars. We can fight our way out, if we have to."
Sgt. Ivah cuts in: "We checked our weapons at the door, sir. Remember?"
"Uh," says Teskel. "How long do we have, exactly?" he asks the colonel.
"Before ground forces overrun you? Perhaps two hours, if you're lucky. Before forward teams get there? No idea. Before artillery's in range to destroy the high value target you're inside? Long ago."

Teskel hesitates to answer.
A: "Forget this. We're leaving right away."
B: "I'll be gone in an hour."
C: "If we've got two hours, we're staying two hours."

>>
No. 595928 ID: 8b533b

>How many soldiers is he killing by taking this cog out of the adhilian war machine? What if all this data falls into the enemy's fat hands? What if Firek can turn this around, and he's fostering defeatism?
For an analyst, you're suddenly not very confident in your own analysis. Also a surprising amount of guilt and regret for a spy.

>they've lost hope
Really, you may not have to worry to much about the damage you did.

>We checked our weapons at the door, sir. Remember?
...well, if the building has been largely abandoned, hopefully that means are guns are still at the door, waiting for us to pick them up.

>what do
If we've been in range to be splashed by artillery and they haven't, that suggests one of two things.

Either (a) there are higher priority targets in range, and they just haven't got to you yet, or (b) they want the intel in that building just as bad as you. You haven't been splashed yet because a ground team is gonna try to seize it. There's a Polo, or someone like her, on the way.

You could confirm this, if you have data on nearby shelling. If there's a logical progression of high value targets... well, we want to get out before the list reaches you. If they're shelling things less valuable than this place? They want it intact. Time to gtfo before they show to claim it.

A second variable to consider is travel time. How bad are things on the streets? Panicked civilians, clogged roads, etc? The closer to the end it gets, the slower travel is going to be. Take a look at how hard it would be to get to the spaceport and your ride out, and guess how worse it's going to get. This should also factor into how long you think you can afford to stay.

I put a lot of ifs in there, but that probably boils down to leaving right now (if you think you're in risk of being flattened or neumono sfs showing up soon) or in an hour (if you really think you can afford it). Staying to the last minute risks too much. You could be getting your people killed, and if it costs you the intel, it's all for nothing.
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No. 595930 ID: e6e219

If you wait two hours you will probably be overrun long before then. The enemy probably wants this info just as badly as you do. I would expect a strike team within the next half hour to hit this building.

So jam everything you have so far into bags and get the fuck out.

You could also warn the other clerks about the situation. If the enemy gets there hands on this stuff it will make your job harder. Tell them there are reports of forward scouts headed this way to capture the building. And that if you were them you would torch the building and get somewhere safe.
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No. 595932 ID: 2a806e

One hour, tops. 15-30 minutes and get out.
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No. 595935 ID: 2fd516

>>595925
Get your shit and go. You can make sure this wasn't a waste of time, but do not spend an extra half hour grabbing info that's already half-deleted.
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No. 595951 ID: 9ddf68

You're in the CAPITOL defense building, this place has got to have an armory at least for it's guards, Mirak might even know where but DON'T waste time looking for one if you don't know where to look, you don't have that kind of time.

I say pack up whatever the hell you got, finish downloading anything you're downloading and get the fuck out of here. If you hit your 1 hour mark say fuck it, take what you have, ditch everything else, and run like hell and hope somewhere in all that data you got something you can use.
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No. 596008 ID: 879a42

Just spend 20-30 minutes making sure there isn't a vital piece missing and then haul ass. We gotta make sure we have a bigger chunk of data to fit together but plenty of time left to get out.
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No. 596239 ID: 367ffa

>>595932
This guy has the right idea. Particularly since there might be complications preventing you from getting out as quickly as you may like.
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No. 596285 ID: ba8629

>>595925
A. A! Get the fuck out of there. All your fancy hard drives full of data are a valuable asset and you're exposing them to risk, let alone your own risk of being blasted to shit by artillery. Get the fuck out of there while the getting is good - you've pushed your luck enough as it is!
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No. 597508 ID: 2f3ac1

>The shift in attitude's palpable, and growing worse by the minute.
>Before forward teams get there? No idea.
>Before artillery's in range to destroy the high value target you're inside? Long ago.

The Adhilians aren't putting up a fight that would cause artillery missions to be prioritised away from the potential decapitation strike that is presented. We have to assume it is because they want the building and its intel intact.

They're also not likely to wait around for the Adhilians to finish trashing everything. Expect company sooner rather than later.

Grab what you can and bail now, put as much distance as you can between them and yourself before the Adhilians collapse completely. Have Mirak switch any rank or unit indicators to those of a grunt before you go- last thing you need is bunny FOs deciding to capture a HVT you're attached to.
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No. 597925 ID: ba8629
File 141308068033.png - (132.06KB , 800x600 , 22.png )
597925

>For an analyst, you're suddenly not very confident in your own analysis.
A healthy sense of skepticism is important for an analyst.
>Also a surprising amount of guilt and regret for a spy.
Teskel is not a spy.
>Really, you may not have to worry to much about the damage you did.
Sure.

"I'll be gone in an hour," says Teskel. The walls shudder. "Under an hour."
"If that data falls into enemy hands, I will shit on your memory," the Colonel says, then hangs up.
She has a unique way to motivate.

Teskel rushes back to Mirak.

"We're wrapping up here. I want us on the road in under one hour. Faster the better," he adds. "And uh, maybe help delete things, if we have a little extra time."
"About that," says Mirak. "Some demolition teams dropped by and slapped some demolition charges to the computer banks."
"Oh. Did they say how long we had?"
"Something to the effect of 'trying to catch some bunnies when it blows.'"
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No. 597926 ID: ba8629
File 141308074106.png - (152.46KB , 800x600 , 23.png )
597926

Despite sitting near a bomb, Teskel can't bear to leave until the last few downloads finish. Twenty agonizing minutes crawl by.

He mutters a quiet prayer that's almost heretical for someone waiting on a computer. He prays to Ral, god of friction, who humans sometimes call Murphy. A machine approaches, infinitely more complicated than mine. It grinds smoothly this way, he thinks. A machine of soldiers and vehicles and weapons and plans. Drain their batteries, scramble their radios, unmake their maps and disorder their thoughts...

"Didn't take you for the godly sort," says the Sergeant.
"Was just talking to myself," mumbles Teskel, not realizing his lips were moving. "Though... maybe a prayer could help."
"Maybe so. But I don't pray to your gods," says Sgt. Ivah.
>>
No. 597927 ID: ba8629
File 141308092935.png - (99.62KB , 800x600 , 24.png )
597927

It's time to go. The artillery's drawing closer. They still haven't seen a neumono in the flesh, or the biosuit, but if that happens, it'll be too late.

Should they sneak away on foot? That'd be quieter. Less likely for a soldier to spot them on the way out, but more likely to stop them them if they do. As footmobiles, they'll be harder to spot from the air as well. The neumono aren't loaded with air support, but they must have some top cover on call.

Vehicles, however, are a hell of a lot faster and don't tire. They can speed past enemies on foot (if they aren't shot) and make it to the embassy or the spaceport in a fraction the time as walking. At the very least, they'll move faster than the enemy can advance.
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No. 597929 ID: ba8629

*Vehicles* are very yes. Get in the car and motor. If you have to bail out on foot, the option will always be there.
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No. 597939 ID: 2fd516

>>597927
Vehicles. If you're in need of stealth then you're already dead, right?

You could always abandon the vehicle once you think you're clear of immediate danger, then start sneaking to avoid being spotted from the air and chased down as a priority target.
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No. 597943 ID: a0eba6

> Vehicles

You're in a rush against time and unless they've set up roadblocks you should be able to speed past any "bunnies" you pass before they can draw a bead on you.
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No. 597944 ID: 8b533b

Do you have any idea how bad the roads and travel conditions in the city are? If things are gummed up enough that cars won't be useful?

What's the distance from here to your exit?

You can always abandon the cars later, although the primary advantage you give for going on foot is stealth. Abandoning cars after you've been noticed doesn't immediately get you that.

I'd lean towards grabbing the cars. They're a resource, might as well use them while you can. Or else someone else will.
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No. 597969 ID: 879a42

I agree, vehicles and ditching to foot if needed.
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No. 597976 ID: 4a5b3b

Vehicles, bikes for preference. They can take the smaller streets at need and get through jams better. Its not like a car protects against bullets anyway.

Have Mirak ditch her uniform for something civilian or lower rank. An intelligence officer would be a high value target for the bunnies to capture, and too valuable for the birds to let escape alive.
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No. 597994 ID: 5af684

>>597927
did you just ask if yo feel like taking a stroll to the evac? have you gone senile on me? take a fucking car.
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No. 598008 ID: 95c255

>>597927
Take a vehicle. We want to get as far as possible before the enemy figures out that you have the data.
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No. 598024 ID: 04d6d6

>>597927

Take a vehicle, definitely a vehicle. We need to get out of here as soon as possible, and going by foot risks getting boxed in by the enemy advance, particularly if it turns out to take longer than expected.
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No. 598030 ID: 54af1f

Vehicles.

Units are going to move slow. You want to break the cordon with vehicles quick.
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No. 598740 ID: 8f01e8

Vehicles. Something with high ground clearance and all-terrain wheels in case of poor road conditions. Best thing would probably be an armored troop-transport hovercraft. If there are going to be multiple vehicles, bring motorcycles as escorts and a backup option.
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