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File 162282789379.jpg - (266.71KB , 980x1457 , cop197.jpg )
1002615 No. 1002615 ID: e30795

Your name is BAN. You're a warrior.

The attack's been underway for a couple hours, now. Air support's getting shot out of the sky left and right, but they're still getting the job done. You've gotten this far without detection, but now you've reached an impasse.

Sergeant Dane leaps into cover behind you. MUDA and VARGA fall in close behind. You've lost sight of JOAN, WEIS and ORI. They might still be hiding in the last piece of cover.

>"Fucking hell, LT," Dane hisses. He adjusts his helmet nervously. "Fucking hell, that tank's like 30 yards away. I saw a couple foxholes, too. What the hell can we do now?!"

"Cool it," you chide. "We've got this."

The rest of your platoon is spread out in the ruins across this small area. What's left of your company is a small distance behind, waiting for you to find a point in the Canardi defense line to pierce through. If the sounds from the city are any indication, you've got thirty minutes at most to succeed before this flanking maneuver blows up in the entire Advance Team's face.

If you had a mouth, you'd be grinning from ear to ear. God, you love your job. In seconds, you've already put together a few ideas...
Expand all images
>>
No. 1002623 ID: eb1fcc

>>1002615
We're stealin' a tank, lads
>>
No. 1002631 ID: df76b1

I mean, yeah, got to get them out of the tank first. Putting something stinky enough by the radiator might do it.

otherwise just pop the hatch with a charge, and drop a grenade in.
I bet 2 men could make the approach, while the rest of you make a ruckus.
>>
No. 1002638 ID: 094652

Immediately honk yourself to make sure you're not dreaming a power fantasy about all those unfortunate scrubs who are going to get slaughtered because they stood in their way.

Now draw their attention and frame the enemy commander for treason while the rest of your squad ruins their tank unit.
>>
No. 1002763 ID: 3ed3c3

If the tank is a problem, then we may just turn it into an asset.
>>
No. 1003118 ID: 88966b
File 162337549483.jpg - (346.17KB , 638x980 , cop198.jpg )
1003118

"Give us cover fire," you order the sergeant. "VARGA, you're with me!"

>"Yes, sir!!"

>Dane grits his teeth and aims through the broken window. "Here we go again," he grumbles...

The rest of the squad opens fire as you burst out into the open. The Canardi only have seconds to react before you're on top of them. VARGA mows down the soldiers in a nearby foxhole while you climb on top of the tank. You tear the main hatch off of the frame with one hand, and toss an unprimed grenade inside. The three crew members have just enough time to start panicking before your shotgun wipes them out.

You breathe in deeply. This part of the job always gives you a head rush... You remind yourself that you aren't dreaming, and try to control your adrenaline.
>>
No. 1003119 ID: 88966b
File 162337594306.jpg - (239.18KB , 980x780 , cop199.jpg )
1003119

Your guys rush to meet you, taking up firing positions near the tank and in the nearby pits. It looks like the your missing squadmates have caught up, too.

>Dane shakes his head in disbelief. "You're gonna give me high blood pressure if you keep pulling stunts like that," he pants. "Jesus, you didn't even kill the tank."

"I figured we'd turn it into an asset," you say smugly.

>"The rest of the platoon's on their way to us, they should be here in a minute. I've also got Big Man on the line," ORI reports. "They've have been following our bread trail, they'll push into the city from this point in ten minutes. He says that First Platoon has first dibs on the targets, and to push forward ASAP."

You sit on top of your new tank and look over the battlefield. Your company has four main objectives: you have to capture the police department and the local university, provide support for the other companies' frontal assault, and eventually capture or destroy the cathedral on the far north side of the city. You received a suggested order for completing the tasks based on their general difficulty, but Big Man heavily implied that you could pursue whatever objective you preferred after breaking through the defense line.

Two sharp whistles go up a short distance behind you. Your other two squads are close by. Time to choose your hunting ground...
>>
No. 1003120 ID: 094652

I see railroading Police Department, Frontal Assault.
>>
No. 1003121 ID: 057c9e

Let's capture the police station and provide support to the troops assaulting the university from there.
>>
No. 1003159 ID: df76b1

Police department is gonna have arms and ammo that you need to lockdown. If you don't do it first, you're gonna have problems later
>>
No. 1003240 ID: 34cd60

We need to hit the PD. Leave the tank behind- it's a surprise tool that will help us blow up the cathedral.

For the PD, low and stealthy. Let's scout first before we go in guns blazing.
>>
No. 1003582 ID: e30795
File 162398998886.jpg - (318.85KB , 1829x800 , cop200.jpg )
1003582

You make your decision just as your other squads come into view. "We'll hit the police department first," you announce loudly. "We're back on the 'Predator' strategy, avoid detection until we reach the target. When that's taken care of, we can worry about supporting the troops and taking the university. Don't bother manning this tank, leave it with the company--I've got a plan for it, later."

>"Sir!!!"

The response is immediate and intense. You never get tired of that sound... You motion for the platoon to form a file and start bounding toward the city.
>>
No. 1003586 ID: e30795
File 162399112169.jpg - (211.99KB , 809x1000 , cop201.jpg )
1003586

The men defending your formation's flanks signal that they've sighted enemies multiple times, but you all manage to avoid detection. You succeed in getting into the city proper without further conflict. Each squad splits into 'packs' once again, hiding in any and every alley, bush and pile of rubble within a block or two of the police department. Your pack is the first to have eyes on the target. A glance at your watch says that you have just over 20 minutes to take this building.

Your heart feels like it's about to explode. You're all completely surrounded, now--once you set it off, it's not going to stop until they're all dead, or you are. Your vision's so sharp, it's making your head hurt. Christ, this feels better than any drug...

>"This is batshit," Dane murmurs. He pulls his binoculars out and scans the scene. "There's movement in the windows. Fuck, there has to be a platoon in there, right? They wouldn't put less in an asset like that. Those guys on the outside near the door have cop uniforms on, too. The whole department could be in there. And you know they've got to have it all rigged, by now."

>"Don't jinx it, meatsack," MUDA whispers back. "You're paranoid. I see five fucking guys out front, and a few guys walking around in there. We could rush it, easy."

>"Don't 'meatsack' me, cyclops. That's the problem with you dickheads, all that extra bloodlust fucks with your common sense." The sergeant nudges you and frowns. "I really don't like the looks of this, LT. Doesn't feel right..."

You take Dane's binoculars and scan the scene yourself, for a moment. There are five men in front of the building, maintaining what looks like a little checkpoint on the street. Most of them are suited up in full police SWAT kit, but the one closest to the door is wearing regular Canardi army gear. You can see some movement in the windows, but you can't make out how many men might be in there. The entire building is just one floor--you want to confidently say that there's no way that it could fit a platoon of soldiers and a police department, but you'd really hate to be proven wrong...

>Dane's still grumbling, mostly to himself. "Shit, we should've just been MPs. Fuck being a motherfucker, that's a real gig. Just stand around, fight some drunk assholes, never get shot at... When's the last time you heard about an MP getting blown up by a pyre? Never, 'cause the MP brigade's never even stepped foot on this side of the border. Shit, even my sister--"

>"She wants to be an MP, and you're gonna let her fucking skip out on college to do it because that's how fucking safe it is. Fuck, man!" MUDA lowers his voice again and looks around cautiously. "Jesus, you bitch so much that I've got your whole fucking spiel memorized. If you weren't such a heavy motherfucker, I'd kill you."

>"Love you too, buddy--"

"Can it, already," you hiss. You can barely hear yourself think. You try to quickly devise a plan of attack using everything at your disposal. You don't have much in terms of heavy weapons, but you're pretty sure that Sergeant THOMPSON's heavy machine gun is working again. Everyone still has one or two grenades apiece, and ORI should also still have air support on the line, if you require something heavier fast. Even without the extra firepower, though, there isn't much that 20 demons and a motherfucker can't accomplish if the strategy's right...
>>
No. 1003604 ID: 16d082

I think we should split into two groups with eight guys moving in while the other thirteen including THOMPSON and his machine gun stays behind to cover. The eight lucky ones can begin to move towards the police department at a wide angle from the side to reduce their visibility from the front windows and the support can open fire on the guys outside and anyone in the windows or on the roof that could potentially respond to this. Once the eight reach the building they can throw their grenades through the windows and the quite numerous supporting group will likely be able to maintain fire superiority over whoever’s in the building. This would force their heads down and prevent them from reacting to anyone outside, giving the eight plenty of time and agency to raid the building basically however they want, perhaps even having enough time to scale the fence to attack from the back.
>>
No. 1003627 ID: 7eb947

I say we split into three groups- a false frontal assault, everyone else on two sides of the front.

Set up the heavy weaponry and just open up on the front; mow down who can be, pop the windows, everything to make casualties and draw attention at the same time, as long as is comfortable with our ammo reserves.

Then, have the HMG gunner fucking ghost on them. See if we can draw them out- and then send in the side teams to pincer and dismember. Just expect more men than you'd think; PDs usually have big basements.
>>
No. 1003864 ID: b7456f
File 162433150692.jpg - (241.23KB , 1160x950 , cop202.jpg )
1003864

You've got it all laid out in seconds. Your squad will hit the police department from the side while the rest of the men cover you from the front. When things are looking good, a third team will split off from the main group to take the other flank. You send MUDA to relay the orders to the rest of the platoon.

>Dane stares at the men on the street and grinds his teeth. "Here we go again," he says. "Jesus, my heart's gonna burst at this rate."

You elbow him in the side playfully. "You really do bitch a lot, Sarge."

>Your friend scowls at you. That weird vein on his face is starting to throb again... "So what if I do, LT, is that so wrong? I just don't want either of us to get plugged in this shithole of a country, goddammit. We--!"

A barrage of gunfire opens up from further down the street. Two of the policemen are down almost immediately. The third falls soon after, and the fourth takes a couple hits while scrambling back inside. The soldier yells something and manages to get a few shots off before THOMPSON's machine gun explodes his skull.

>"Shit," Dane spits. "Hold that thought..."

The rest of your squad comes sprinting into view. They cut to the right, using nearby buildings to cover their approach. Looks like CONN's come along too, rounding your team's number out at eight. You and Dane break from cover and join their mad dash for the building.

Return fire comes sporadically from the windows, but it's too late. MUDA and JOAN sling grenades with deadly accuracy, and the front of the station is rocked by two explosions. The muffled screams that follow are music to your ears.

Your platoon's gunfire goes unanswered for several seconds. You're almost on top of them, now. There seem to be several potential openings to attack from--you could try your luck going straight through the front door, or vault the fence and try to gain entry from the windows on the side. There's likely a back door, and there may be roof access as well, but you can't tell from this position. You eagerly make your decision as you get closer to the target...
>>
No. 1003870 ID: 094652

You have the initiative, use it to flank from all sides! Have two demon soldiers throw grenades from the front door, have your stealthiest soldier open the back door and infiltrate, the rest shoot from the windows.
>>
No. 1004089 ID: b7456f
File 162458727458.jpg - (144.93KB , 997x744 , cop203.jpg )
1004089

"Soften up the front door," you order quickly, "and clear those fucking windows!"

Your commands are followed to the letter. MUDA and JOAN stack up on the front door and toss the last of their grenades inside. The rest of your squadmates square up by the fence and start firing into the side windows. A couple of policemen pop up to return fire, but get mowed down instantly.

"Dane!" you call. The sergeant's read your mind, and he's already halfway over the fence. He drops to the other side, gets low and starts scrambling toward the back of the building, being careful to stay clear of your buddies' cover fire.

A change in the sound of the action catches your ear. THOMPSON's machine gun has gone silent, now--the platoon must be getting ready to send the second flanking team.

>MUDA pokes his head into the doorway, then turns back to you. "Front door's clear!" he barks.

>"LT, look!!"

You look in the direction that ORI's pointing. Far down the street to your left, a squad of eight humans is moving in your direction. You can't tell if they're Advance Team or Canardi from this distance, and they haven't started shooting yet.

Several gunshots ring out from the other side of the building. An Advance Team rifle starts chattering in response. Shit, sounds like Dane ran into some trouble...

>ORI's eye darts between the approaching force and the front door. "What's the move, boss?!" he asks urgently.
>>
No. 1004092 ID: a2493c

>>1004089
That doesn't look like a military formation, so I'm going to assume those are either civvies or canardi. We gotta get out of the pinch-zone. All in on the cop shop, we need to fortify yesterday.
>>
No. 1004095 ID: 9d29cf

Let's get everyone inside,, but leave a lookout to tell us who those oncoming guys are.
>>
No. 1004210 ID: b7456f
File 162468159315.jpg - (201.37KB , 1200x787 , cop204.jpg )
1004210

"Everyone in," you yell. "CONN, keep watch out here. Figure out who our guests are..."

>"Yes, sir!!"

You motion for the rest of the platoon to come in as well. Your squad stacks up on the front door and storms the police department.

The lobby has been blown to hell and back by those grenades. Six corpses litter the area. Looks like there are both police officers and soldiers among the dead. There are two doors on the back wall leading further into the building, and one on each side leading to adjacent rooms. You hear someone crying in pain from the room to your left.

>"Everything's dead in the right room," ORI calls. He and WEIS move to take up positions inside of it.

>MUDA and JOAN move to investigate the yelling on the left. "A couple meatbags are dying in here," MUDA reports. "More cops. Should I plug them, or let 'em keep crying?"

>"It's kind of nice, isn't it? Like white noise," ORI remarks, poking his head back into the lobby. "It's the LT's decision, though."
>>
No. 1004211 ID: b7456f
File 162468179330.jpg - (145.81KB , 1193x654 , cop205.jpg )
1004211

>Dane bursts through one of the doors on the back wall. He stumbles and falls, narrowly avoiding a salvo of Canardi bullets. He contorts himself to fire back through the doorway. "Fuck!! Close the door!!!" he screams. "Fucking close it!!!"

You fire three shells' worth of buckshot into the hallway. You catch sight of an enemy, but he ducks into another room. You pull back to help Dane up while VARGA slams the door shut.
>>
No. 1004213 ID: b7456f
File 162468275543.jpg - (190.80KB , 903x980 , cop206.jpg )
1004213

>"Fuck me," Dane groans. He starts patting himself frantically as he checks his torso for blood. "Fuck me, they killed me. They shot me. They fucking shot me, BAN!! Jesus, they were right there, I fucking felt it, where did they--!"

"You're fine, buddy," you say, prodding the sergeant's armor with your shotgun. Near his gut is a fresh bullet hole, but it's incredibly shallow. "Look at that, and thank the Canardi government for still trying to field these pea shooters. Can't pierce anything worth a damn."

>Dane stares at the hole for a moment, then closes his eyes. "Jesus H. Christ," he breathes. "You could have told me sooner, asshole..."

>"Lucky motherfucker," VARGA laughs.

>"Hey LT, I still can't tell who those guys are," CONN calls nervously. "They've stopped moving forward... I think they saw our boys."

The rest of your men have closed the distance to the police department. Sergeant KAVE's squad joins you indoors, while THOMPSON and his men keep watch outside.

On the other side of the lobby doors, you can hear several men shouting back and forth in Canardi. Your soldiers are looking at you with hungry eyes... If you give the word, they'll tear the rest of this building apart with no survivors. As much as you'd enjoy that, you do take an extra moment to think on whether or not your attack plan needs any extra nuance.
>>
No. 1004225 ID: a2493c

>>1004213
These cops or soldiers? If the former, we may be able to negotiate. Probably not. I say we dig deeper in, try and make it out the back. Don't dig in or try to fortify anything more than a distraction, getting stuck here would turn it into a war of attrition and we have places to be.

Also, we're here to kill, not to torture, we're sons of bitches not bastards. Unless we get intel out of it, plug 'em.
>>
No. 1004352 ID: 094652

Begin negotiations for their immediate surrender, while you reposition some guys to breach from the flanks. If they try to kill you again, waste them.
>>
No. 1004516 ID: b7456f
File 162500358698.jpg - (170.50KB , 1201x650 , cop207.jpg )
1004516

"MUDA, put those guys out of their misery unless you think we can get something out of them," you call into the other room. "We're sons of bitches, not bastards, remember that."

>Your subordinate nods sheepishly and hefts his rifle. "Sorry, sir. I'll handle it."

The cries of the wounded are cut short by three shots. You nod in satisfaction. You have a lot of fun on this job, but you're still professionals. You're not about to let your boys get too sadistic about it, like those freaks in 11th Company...

You turn back to the issue at hand. You send KAVE's squad back outside to cover the sides of the building, and assemble your own men in the lobby. If the fuckers on the other side of these doors are soldiers, they'll start shooting the second they hear you speak. If they're just cops, though, then maybe...

You carefully crack one of the doors open a sliver. You catch the quickest glimpse of someone in blue, but he ducks out of your tiny line of sight. Someone shouts in Canardi, and you hear that familiar sound of peashooters getting loaded... "Anybody speak Inglish in there?!" you shout. "Answer me, dammit! We want to talk!"

>Your squad's already positioned themselves for a breach. Dane looks at you with wide eyes. "LT, what are you--!"

>A gruff voice answers you from somewhere on the other side. He's got a thick accent, but he can be understood. "Answer me, Statesman. Am I speaking to a man, or a devil?"
>>
No. 1004520 ID: df76b1

Both, last I checked.

You really want to die for this glorified cop shop? we're just killing time until the big guns roll in.
>>
No. 1004521 ID: 9d29cf

A devil who wants you to surrender.
>>
No. 1004524 ID: a2493c

>>1004516
"Both. My devilry is for soldiers and warmongers, not policemen and peacekeepers. Exit the building, we have no quarrel."
>>
No. 1004525 ID: 094652

"Devil, definitely; I love this job.

And here's my deal: are you seriously going to commit suicide with guns smaller than your dicks?! Because you don't have to die for your country! In fact, they can just replace the free logistics slot from your deaths with some fresh conscripts!

Take it from a devil, War is not Hell, it's an occupation! And Hell isn't a place, it's a realization!

You've let yourselves get sucked into a corporate nationalist narrative! You need to wake up and remember who you are and how precious your life is, because nobody else gives a flip! Not even me, and especially not the ten soldiers ready to shoot you if you come out guns blazing!"
>>
No. 1004526 ID: a2493c

>>1004525
not-
no, not this one.

-1.
>>
No. 1004528 ID: 9a2966

Everyone’s a devil in this war, but whoever told these fellas that policing duties involved frontline stationing must be some kinda demon lord.

Tell your folks that anyone who drops their weapons to surrender and gets to the ground may get out of this alive when we breach - anyone still fiddling with something is fair game. Cops have fucking cuffs or zip ties right? You can stash some prisoners. Maybe even in their own cells. Sound cozy, right?

Frankly, you just didn’t expect to be fighting cops with peashooters - half civvies, half soft butter, practically speaking, no offense. Tell your coworkers or don’t, this place is getting cleared regardless.

(Give them ten seconds, and your own troops a silent exhortation to just ‘try capture’ and to get to the sides of the door. Kick the door open, but stand to the side - if gunfire pours through, you pump a few shotgun shots through at waist height to tag whoever’s standing their ground like a dumbass. If not, you breach proper.)
>>
No. 1004816 ID: e30795
File 162541568188.jpg - (429.10KB , 880x786 , cop208.jpg )
1004816

"Both, last I checked," you reply. "Now clear out of here, will you? We're here to fight soldiers, not cops. We've got no quarrel with you."

>You hear some excited chatter in Canardi. Eventually, their spokesperson speaks up again. "We can't do that, devil. As long as your kind draws breath, we're all soldiers."

You scoff. "You really want to die over this shitty building? We've got an entire force headed this way, we're just killing time. Surrender, and we can--"

>"Enough!! You're wasting your time!" the cop shouts. "We are men of the First Police District! As long as we live, we'll fight for our city!"

So that's how it is, you think darkly. "Listen closely, civilian, because I'll only say this once," you announce. "I'm coming through that door, now. Anyone who drops their weapons and gets on the ground might get out of this alive. Everyone else is fair game, understand?! Tell your friends what I just said or don't, if you don't value their lives. This place is getting cleared, regardless."

There isn't a response, but you're not waiting for one. As you count to ten in your head, you quietly address the squad. "When we breach it, get to the sides of the door. Capture anyone you can, ice the rest."

They acknowledge eagerly. You take a step back, and with one kick you smash the door off of its hinges.
>>
No. 1004817 ID: e30795
File 162541593531.jpg - (320.83KB , 1000x767 , cop209.jpg )
1004817

MUDA, VARGA and WEIS make it through the ruined doorway and take cover off to either side of the hallway. A barrage of fire comes your way almost immediately afterward.

>"Fuck! They're in those side rooms, too!!" MUDA yells over the noise. "The whole corridor's covered!"

Dammit, so much for diplomacy... You snap out to fire back at any dipshit who's standing their ground--!!!

A live grenade rolls right past WEIS's cover. A second lands directly at MUDA's feet. Two cops are charging your position with bayonets attached...!
>>
No. 1004819 ID: 094652

Shout 'grenade, take cover' as you shoot into the left leg of the nearest soldier to get him to fall onto the grenade, then dive to the right.
>>
No. 1004832 ID: df76b1

Strafe to the left, firing at the two chargers. Then kick the grenade back at the ones in the back.

They try to shoot back, they're gonna shoot their own guys first. Idiots.

Trust someone to deal with the other grenade.
>>
No. 1004854 ID: e799e4

Kick that thing back, MUDA

Yell that as you shoot at the oncoming soldiers.
>>
No. 1004971 ID: 88966b
File 162561824703.jpg - (497.60KB , 880x878 , cop210.jpg )
1004971

You approach the attack with a cool head. There's still enough time on the fuses to handle this. You'll have to trust WEIS to get clear of the second grenade, you decide. You take aim and bark orders at the same time. "MUDA, kick that--!"

Your world incinerates in two explosions of light. Shit, they were flashbangs?!! Your vision's gone, and it feels like you've been thrown underwater. You think you can hear someone yelling, but you can't make out what they're--?!!

Someone crashes into you at full speed from the front. The two of you get tangled up, and start to fall backward...!
>>
No. 1004981 ID: a2493c

>>1004971
no footing, but you're both moving. Rookie mistake. Use the momentum to roll that fucker over you. Use your weight to send him flying.
>>
No. 1005049 ID: 9a2966

>>1004981
Sounds like a plan, but make sure you don't hit your head hard.
>>
No. 1005084 ID: df76b1

drop your gun and snap his neck as you topple. You may need to use him as cover when you land.
>>
No. 1005515 ID: 88966b
File 162619859776.jpg - (525.69KB , 1593x700 , cop211.jpg )
1005515

Muscle memory kicks in well before any conscious thought. You let go of your shotgun and grapple the assailant as you fall. You strike at where you expect their neck to be, and feel a very satisfying crunch. You hit the ground and lash out with a foot, rolling your opponent over you and sending him flying several feet. Blood splatters you as he passes over your head.

You stagger to your feet and grab your gun. Your vision's returning, slowly. You can make out Dane going after the fallen cop, combat knife in hand. You turn back toward the door just in time to watch the mangled corpse of the second cop go flying back down the hall.

>ORI grabs you by the shoulder pad and pulls you back to one side of the open door. "--hurt!! They got him!!" You have to strain to hear your radio man's voice over the ringing in your ears. "He's bleeding bad, we've gotta wrap this up!"

>"Fucking assholes," JOAN grunts. He pops out of cover and takes two well-placed shots. "I got one," he calls as he pulls back. Another barrage of small arms fire comes your way in response.

You use a splitsecond break in the gunfire to peek into the hallway. MUDA is slumped against the wall, tightly gripping the rifle that's now jutting out of his stomach. Red is already soaking through his armor... VARGA and WEIS are blind-firing down the hallway in turns. They're definitely still reeling from the flashbangs, but their suppression is keeping any other cops from attempting a charge.

Fuck, it's getting hard to think. You made sure not to bang your head as you fell, but your brain's still swimming in pain from those grenades. You try to will the discomfort away as you quickly decide how to break this impasse...
>>
No. 1005530 ID: a2493c

>>1005515
throw a couple inactive grenades, make them panic.

Use the distraction to force them back into their holes, then rush them before they can fortify. No need to actually expend more than bullets here, just gotta reposition the fuckers.

They had their chance to surrender.
>>
No. 1005531 ID: df76b1

I say pop smoke, let them use up their mags, then go in for CQC
while they're getting their bearings.
>>
No. 1005617 ID: e30795
File 162638114976.jpg - (499.29KB , 850x904 , cop212.jpg )
1005617

"I need two frags and a smoke," you order. "We're not wasting more than we have to, here."

>ORI pulls the grenades out from a slot on his radio backpack. "This all I've got left," he reports, pressing them into your hand.

You toss one of the frags to JOAN, keeping the other and the smoke grenade for yourself. Your subordinate catches on quickly, poising himself to throw without pulling the pin.

>"Frag out!!" he bellows.

Frantic shouts follow as the two frags roll through the doorway. You prime the smoke grenade and sling it in, next. Confused gunfire answers you for a moment, but fear of the two grenades seems to win out. You don't have to give the order when the firing stops--your squad immediately moves to rush the hallway.
>>
No. 1005618 ID: e30795
File 162638210149.jpg - (348.57KB , 980x802 , cop213.jpg )
1005618

VARGA hangs back with MUDA while the rest of you charge. WEIS, ORI and JOAN disappear into the growing smoke cloud to clear the room on the right. Cries of shock get cut mercifully short as your men get to work in close quarters.

You barrel into the left room with Dane close behind.

You skid to a stop and freeze up at the sight before you. It's a detective's office... A tiny desk sits against the wall near a small window, and two of your pillows--

>"LT, behind!!" Dane barks.

You kick yourself for letting your mind wander. Three cops and two soldiers have been crouching along the wall to either side of the door, clutching riot batons. You notice police-grade rifles, an assault rifle and a Canardi officer's pistol are strewn about the room--they must have finally run out of ammo.

They quickly rise and move to encircle you. The cops exchange a few nervous words, but they're silenced by several desperate-sounding orders from the soldiers. They all look almost feral with fear--they've probably never seen a demon this close before, you realize.

>Dane backs toward you until you're close enough for your armor to touch. "I've still got rounds, you?" he asks breathlessly.

"Yeah."

>"We could ice them right now," he says, warily looking around the room. "Unless you want to give them a fair fight. Either way, I've got your back..."
>>
No. 1005619 ID: df76b1

Got to get back to MUDA. take them out hard.
>>
No. 1005624 ID: a2493c

>>1005618

>two of your pillows

ah fuck this isn't real is it

"Last chance. On the ground. Throw your weapons away."
>>
No. 1005966 ID: 88966b
File 162667104460.jpg - (561.20KB , 1026x860 , cop214.jpg )
1005966

You consider one last attempt at making them surrender, but you decide against it. There's no time, not with MUDA bleeding out... "Take them out hard," you order.

The officer starts to shout something, but it's too late. Dane mows down both soldiers and a cop in the same burst, and you blow the other two soldiers back with your shotgun.

>"Clear," Dane shouts. He makes for the smoke-filled hallway again. "There's three more rooms!"

>"We're clear!" ORI calls from the other room.

Geeze, what a mess. As if the office wasn't shitty enough already...

>"Stack up! Dane, where's the lieutenant?!"

>"I'll get him!" Sergeant Dane runs back into the room. She urgently motions for you to follow her. "C'mon LT, are you hurt?! BAN?!!"

You still haven't moved. You look around the room, confused. Why are you so hung up about this space? You feel panicked, like there's some weird kind of pressure on your head. Did the flashbangs fuck you over worse than you thought? Every time you stare at your desk, you feel--!
>>
No. 1005967 ID: 88966b
File 162667128944.jpg - (381.44KB , 1041x800 , cop215.jpg )
1005967

>"You're a little late to the party, boss!"

You're standing in some kind of armory or workshop, surrounded by your squadmates. A few men from THOMPSON's squad are running in and out of the room, and one is keeping an eye out the back door. The effects of the flashbangs have all but worn off, but you still feel weirdly disoriented... The building's cleared, and your platoon's already started scanning for potential funeral pyre triggers, but when did it all happen...?

>"The lieutenant held back to keep an eye on our new friend," Dane lies through his teeth. He elbows you roughly and forces a laugh. "I lit her up but she kept coming at us with that baton, it was scary."

You've put together your best hypothesis in seconds. You must've been knocked out in the fight to clear that room, and now the sergeant's helping you save face... You put on your best poker face and nod.

>"The whole building under control in twelve minutes, and a Canardi captain in custody," ORI says proudly. "Big Man will be pleased when he arrives."

"What's the situation?" you ask. "How's MUDA?"

>"DIN's taking care of him now, but it doesn't look good," VARGA reports. He hangs his head. "I wasn't quick enough to stop that cop from sticking him, LT. I'm sorry."

>"If that bastard could die from just getting poked once or twice, I would've done it myself. He'll be fine," Dane scoffs. He's trying to keep up his usual attitude, but his eyes give away his concern.

>"Those guys are still watching from up the road, LT," CONN announces from his new perch at the back door. "THOMPSON wants to engage, but he said to ask you first..."

>"Current orders from on high are to hold here until the rest of the company arrives," ORI says. "We've got maybe ten more minutes to kill, however you want to do that."
>>
No. 1005974 ID: 094652

"Set up some basic defenses, a couple sandbags and some mines or whatever junk you can pile up.

And get me a medic, I think something in my cranium got jilted serendipitously stop playing Jackpot 2 Dane where's my Chiiiiiiiii-"

Fall on the floor unconscious.
>>
No. 1005981 ID: 510e7b

Dig in and await. We've put in enough time for now.
>>
No. 1005993 ID: df76b1

Lets send a couple guys to detail that tank in case we need it. Even if it's just hosing it out. Everyone else sweeps the building and moves the bodies out.

With that kind of timeline, Thompson should just stay put too.
We should find our medic, and see if we can be of any use there
>>
No. 1006474 ID: 88966b
File 162741575972.jpg - (341.96KB , 1045x800 , cop216.jpg )
1006474

"Just dig in and wait," you order. "Tell THOMPSON to stay put, too. We've put in enough time, for now."

>"Got it, boss." ORI adjusts his backpack and runs out of the room to spread the word.

You close your eyes for a moment. Shit, more errant thoughts... You try to clear them from your head and focus. You open your eyes and turn to VARGA. "I want a couple guys to run back and detail that tank. Everyone else should sweep this place, and move the bodies out."

>"I'll get ZAN and YUDI to do the run," VARGA says. "They used to be armored cavalry, they can handle that thing."

"Great." You start toward the door that leads back into the hallway. "Sergeant, where's our medic?"

>"They're back toward the front, come on."

Dane leads you back the way you came. Your men have opened some windows, but the halls are still hazy from that smoke grenade. Judging by the red streaks on the ground, the platoon's already started clearing out their victims.

>The sergeant waits until he's sure that nobody's nearby before stopping in his tracks and turning to you. "Look, before we keep going I need to know." He awkwardly fiddles with his helmet. "Are you good, man...? You scared me when you froze up like that. The way you looked, I thought you'd finally snapped, or something..."

"Yeah," you lie. So much for your hypothesis... You really have no idea what happened, then. "Sorry about before, I'm fine now."

>Dane stares at you for a second. Finally, he frowns and starts walking again. "Alright, I'll trust you. But you and me are gonna talk about this after we're all in the clear."
>>
No. 1006475 ID: 88966b
File 162741659779.jpg - (280.67KB , 1258x800 , cop217.jpg )
1006475

The two of you reach the other end of the main hallway.

>"Fuck," Dane breathes.

Your heart sinks at the grisly sight. MUDA's still down by the door that you busted open. Someone's gotten his helmet off, and his vest has been cut open, revealing the full extent of the damage. Corporal DIN is frantically working on him while two more of KAVE's men watch from the lobby. The medic's almost as red-stained as his patient...

>DIN glances your way and gives you a look before quickly getting back to applying field dressing. "Hey, LT," he says cheerfully. "I was just telling MUDA about my buddy in First Company who got poked like this. It looks like shit, and it feels like shit, but all things considered it's really not--"

>"DIN," MUDA rasps. "You only talk this much...when someone's dying...."

>The medic falters for a splitsecond. "That's not true," he says darkly, returning to his work. "And I told you not to talk, didn't I? This thing's still a cunt hair away from your lungs."

>Your subordinate weakly tilts his head back so he can see you. "LT... Sarge... What'd they really get me with...?"

>"What do you mean? You're holding it in your hands," Dane says. "The fucker just stuck you with a bayonet. DIN's right, you'll be fine."

>MUDA stares at the rifle jutting out of him like it's the first time that he's seen it. "Can't be right," he slurs. "It's too cold...."

>"You're talking too much," DIN says, urgency creeping into his voice. He motions for one of the other soldiers to pass him some more tools. "What do you mean, cold? Don't answer that."

>You can see MUDA picking his words carefully. He takes a deep, painful breath. "LT knows... Bullets, blades, if they make us bleed... There's always heat, like...like it's burning... But this time... God, it's fucking freezing...."

>Your subordinate looks at the two of you. His breathing's getting more shallow... "You guys... Sarge... LT.... We...we've been together since basic...." His eye rolls lazily before fixating on you again. "Why...did we come here...? Going out like this.... There's a point to it.... Right....?"
>>
No. 1006491 ID: c65507

Try to remember- why are you here?
...Where is 'here'?
>>
No. 1006500 ID: 094652

"There isn't. When you get to Hell, tell the cops we mowed down we're sorry we're violent, ugly brutes that love war. Then do a 180 and tell them you're not sorry you separated them from their families because now their children have a chance at a real life instead of a fate as indoctrinated, abused slaves."
>>
No. 1006505 ID: df76b1

There's always a story, but it comes down to us doing what we had to, cause no one else could.

Making it worth it... that's not our job.
>>
No. 1006536 ID: a2493c

>>1006475
Nothing that would make this worth it.
>>
No. 1006594 ID: 0fbdcd

"Why do we wage war" is for the philosophers, not for the likes of us. I'm sorry, son.

Don't panic about how you can't remember what the war is over.
>>
No. 1006765 ID: e30795
File 162766851076.jpg - (418.17KB , 1405x750 , cop218.jpg )
1006765

You grip MUDA's shoulder plate tightly. "Nothing that would make this worth it," you say bitterly. More words are floating in the back of your mind, but you're struggling to get them out.

>The wounded soldier looks disappointed. "I figured.... Like you always say.... Thoughts like these...aren't in our paygrade, right...?"

"Right... I'm sorry, MUDA."

MUDA leans his head back against the wall, closes his eye and lets out a weak sigh. "Geeze, LT.... This part of the job....isn't as fun....."

>"No, no, no...!" DIN's movements are becoming more desperate. He quickly finishes the dressing and starts patting MUDA's face. "Buddy, open your eye back up for me, alright?! I told you not to close it until I was done! MUDA!!"

>The medic checks for a pulse. He utters a curse and slowly rises to his feet. "Fuck. He's done, LT..."

>"God--!!" Dane stands abruptly, tears his helmet off and slings it down the hall. He looks at MUDA one more time before storming off to retrieve it.

Goddammit...
>>
No. 1006766 ID: e30795
File 162766876687.jpg - (678.80KB , 1976x600 , cop219.jpg )
1006766

You try to stand, but your legs feel like lead. Your stomach's twisting as you stare at what's become of Private MUDA. Why did he have to eat it, of all people?

Why are you here, again?

Where is here...?

You stay by MUDA's body a moment longer. A foreign emotion is eating at your insides. Fear? Panic? Dammit, you've been through too much to break now... You refuse to move from this spot until you can get yourself under control.

You know where you are, BAN, you think desperately. You crossed the border into Canard half a year ago. You're all here to end this war by any means necessary. That's why their capital has to burn. That's why MUDA....!

But what are you even fighting for?

>"The company's arrived, LT. LT...?"

You feel like you're going to be sick, but you keep kneeling by the corpse. 13th Company has lost almost 80 men since crossing the border. Before today, First Platoon's accounted for only four of those casualties, and only one of those were from your squad. You're just in shock over the loss, you rationalize. STEVE was one of the few constant faces in this shithole of a city, and with him gone--

>"BAN, tell me you aren't a vegetable or I'm gonna shoot you in the head and be done with it."

You blink. You're currently staring down the barrel of Dane's rifle. "Cool it," you say, quickly standing and pushing his gun off to one side. "My hearing's still a little shot, that's all."

>"Just your hearing, huh?" Dane looks like he's holding on by a thread. His eyes keep darting back to MUDA. "We are entirely in the shit right now, BAN. I know we're all fucked up in a lot of ways, and if you want me to shrink your head or something I'd be happy to do it later. But jesus christ, if you break right now then we're all gonna end up like that--!"

"I said I'm fine, goddammit!!" You must have given him a dangerous look, because Dane immediately backs off. You try to calm yourself some before you speak again. "You said the company's made it?"

>"Big Man called a meeting with the lieutenants ten minutes ago," Dane says, looking down at the ground. "I told him you were praying for MUDA and that you'd be right out."

You mask your concern for the sudden passage of time and walk into the lobby. "Let's not keep them waiting any longer, then."
>>
No. 1006767 ID: e30795
File 162766938341.jpg - (383.17KB , 1000x966 , cop220.jpg )
1006767

You feel more like yourself when you exit the police department. It's a lot easier to ignore your subconscious with the constant noise of battle in the distance.

The rest of the 13th Company has arrived. It looks like they've made short work of any opposition in this area on their way to your position--your flanking attempt has succeeded, so far. You're quick to notice the captured tank sitting further up the road, at the front of the company's vehicle column. Seems like KAVE's guys have already gotten it combat-capable.

>Big Man smiles widely as you approach. "Lieutenant BAN, fine work as always. Your radioman told me that you only took one casualty while pushing this far."

"Thank you, sir." You bite your metaphorical tongue as your stomach turns. He's right, only one casualty is a resounding success...

The other lieutenants shoot you blank looks from behind the captain's back. IFRIM, OTTO, RIN, CORVO... Despite First Platoon always taking point, their men have suffered the bulk of the company's casualties, and they've really started to resent you for it.

>"Here's the situation." Big Man gestures toward the map that the other officers are crowded around. "The operation's going well on our end, but the main force is hurting. Sounds like the Canardi still have a good amount of armor and artillery, and they're throwing all of it at them. Our guys are facing at least two extremely dug-in defense lines. The air force is about ready to give up on their current sortie, and when they do, everyone on the front line will be in a bad way..."

>The captain looks into each officer's eyes in turn. "We're at a crossroads, gentlemen, and I want your advice. We've been on the horn with Lieutenant Durst from 11th Company--Captain FINN's dead, and he's taken charge of the outfit. He suggests that we forego reinforcing the front line entirely, and blitz the cathedral with everything we've got."

>"If Durst suggested that, then we shouldn't do it," RIN speaks up. IFRIM nods in agreement. "That guy's just hounding for another medal, and he'll get half of us killed to get what he wants. If we don't follow our original orders, there might not be a main force to return to after we take that church!"

>OTTO shakes his head. "Bullshit, that's not the kind of guy that Durst is. He's got a head on his shoulders that rivals our golden boy, over there." The lieutenant gives you another unreadable look. "If Joe wants us to do this, it's because he believes in the main force's chances, and in ours."

>"Captain, OTTO and I both suggest listening to Joe," CORVO says.

>Big Man nods sagely. "Two for and two against, then." He turns back to you. "Lieutenant BAN, where do you stand on this?"
>>
No. 1006772 ID: df76b1

They know we want that cathedral, and we are going to get torn apart getting there. That's fine, it's... what we signed on for.

But if we don't reinforce, and they hit us, we could lose this whole push. With all due respect, I'd rather get shot from the front.
>>
No. 1006779 ID: 7eb947

Saturday morning cartoons have taught me the trouble always starts when the gang splits up. We reinforce the line and push as one from there.
>>
No. 1006782 ID: 094652

You're hurt, but you have to move on.
How many people have you slaughtered? How many times have you forced others to watch their friends die?
Except this is your @#$%ing job. You are not in control. You don't get to decide which country to attack, you don't get to decide if this war ends now, you don't even get to decide if you want to be a part of this war. Your responsibility is to ensure that your team lives. You are not expected to single-handedly win this war, they wouldn't send wave after wave of soldiers if they did.
Just don't commit any war crimes, that's on you because it's what you can control.

And what was that about STEVE?

Yeah, reinforce the front lines. But while we have the flanking advantage, confuse them a little by sending shock troopers to stealth and attack from the rear, while the main force attacks from the sidelines as they regroup with the main force. With any luck, the entrenched lines will be too confused to realize what's going on.
>>
No. 1006789 ID: 3ed3c3

>>1006767
If we split up now, I guarantee it's going to get worse. I'm all for getting stuck in with the best of them, but there comes a time to dig in and play it smart.
Also, we're in the process of possibly securing a tank, so that's nice.
>>
No. 1006862 ID: df76b1

I would point out that reinforcing the line means some splitting up, because those troops have to come from somewhere.


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