After holding position for little more than an hour, the party was relieved by fresh troops. After some medical assistance, they were debriefed by Lt. Cmdr. Lars Thawaar, who had picked up camp and moved into the ravine. If all went well, he expected that they could break through the enemy defenses and hit the base where the rumored super-weapon was being deployed.
During their debrief, another group of recruits were deployed, this time shoving the line forward hard. They arrived en mass in an armored personnel carrier, and quickly set to defending the ravine from the newest wave of enemies.
The first onslaught was brutal, leaving several dead and dying, but the UEA troops gave as good as they got. One by one, the Duul'Tlak fell to the UEA guns. A tall spire between the two sides created a definite "our side" and "their side"; the Duul'Tlak took refuge behind the wall, and the UEA jarheads refused to advance past it. Grenades and gunfire flew in both directions, until the UEA troops were down to only a third of their original number.
Even so, they pressed their advantage, using their APC as a mobile shield and picking off the enemy one by one. A wave of reinforcements arrived, including a large mech, and soon the APC was taking fire! The two sides battled to a standstill, with the Duul'Tlak keeping out of sight of the APC's autocannon, and the UEA forces staying well away from the deadly gun of the Duul'Tlak mech.
The sound of a low-flying UEA troop carrier echoed up the ravine, and within moments, the jarheads were joined by the original party, as well as a few friends they had made earlier - Lisa Tychus in her Fireteam armor, and Albert "Huffer" Huffman in his Heavy Weapons armor. Together, they opened fire on the enemy, quickly eliminating the last troops, and beginning to focus-fire the mech.
Suddenly, the ground beneath their feet rumbled, and dozens of creatures poured out! Some were the size of very large dogs (or small ponies), sporting razor-sharp claws on their backs, while others were tall, snake-like creatures with arms ending in wicked talons. Huffer was swarmed by the creatures, and fell, screaming, as they shredded his armor and tore him to pieces. The Duul'Tlak mech was surrounded by the snake-like creatures, and after two blasts of some sort of spikes or needles, it toppled over. The UEA troops quickly returned fire, with Lisa opening fire - literally - on the swarm of creatures, and the others hurling grenades and spraying bullets.
Surprisingly, they managed to wipe out most of the creatures almost immediately; the clusters of razor-dogs were no match for the grenades, and even the needle-snakes couldn't handle an APC blast to the face! The initial cheer was interrupted, however, as another wave of creatures poured over the side of the cliff, and from the direction of the ravine. While the APC slammed into reverse and provided covering fire, the marines leaped aboard and rode to the still-waiting troop carrier. Piling aboard, they saw several other carriers racing up the ravine; as the needle-snakes began spitting at their own craft, the pilot quickly pulled up and out of the ravine. As they rose into the air, it became clear just what was happening. Like a living carpet, the new creatures flowed down the ravine and across the plains to the south, while Duul'Tlak troops to the north opened fire on the newly-acquired target... but not for long. With no one left to eat in the ravine, the creatures quickly scaled the other side, and slammed headlong into the Duul'Tlak troops. The cannon fire targeting the carrier quickly faltered as the troops turned their attention on destroying the new threat.
The danger wasn't over, however; on the horizon, a large, blimp-like creature with dangling, fleshy tendrils floated slowly towards them. Smaller creatures flapped through the air, and suddenly dove towards the nearest ship! With a rending crash, the creature latched onto the fuselage, then suddenly exploded! The troop carrier fell from the skies, as more creatures began targeting other ships. Manning the guns, the marines kept most of the creatures from their own vessel, but another carrier took a hit. Dripping fuel, the only option was to escort the other ship to Outpost 7, one of the few military outposts nearby.
After several near misses, the ship managed to safely reach the outpost and land; the other carriers arrived as well, spilling out troops, medics, and equipment. Within minutes, they were once again rushed into a base... but this time, the battle wasn't for Quern, but for their lives. The Lt. Cmdr. estimated they had only a few days before the outpost would be discovered.
Luckily, however, Outpost 7 was well stocked with supplies; armor, weapons, ammo, and even surgery centers, if anyone wants to try a new limb on for size, or maybe get a few skills implanted?
More importantly, there is a discrete but urgent request for anyone with above-average intelligence for a super-secret project...
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