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Central Europe

© 1999-2001 Imminent Storm of NEWST.

Chapter Fifteen: The Storm Returns

The Commander hurried into Ops and took his place at the holographic situation map. Putting his hands down on the table with a loud thud, The Commander went quickly to work. "What's the current status?"

"We currently have only 50% unit strength. Enemy units are approaching overland from the east. Long-range radar has detected numerous enemy transports landing at positions to our north and south. Exact numbers are not certain. Base defenses are fully operational and at full power. All three Ultra Cyborgs have been fully repaired, re-armed, and their pilots are standing by"

"Ok. Put all defenses on automatic, including artillery; shoot anything that ain't ours. Assign VTOL group Alpha to eastern strike towers, group Bravo to northern strike towers, and group Charlie to southern strike towers. Tell them that the Rules of Engagement are now RED; fire at will. Tell U-Borg Tiamat to stay in base, Fenrir head to the northern defesive zone, and Bird of Prey to the south defensive zone."

The enemy wasn't bothering around with fancy tactics this time; they were going to pound him from all sides until they broke the line. But, this base was in a north-south valley with high hills forming ridges to the east and west. When the Poject took this place they attacked the weak ridge defenses of the former base here, and it looked like the enemy was now going to try the same thing. But now he had the heaviest artillery in the Project's arsenal focused on that eastern ridge. Anything that came over it was going to be pounded to a pulp, at least so he hoped. Tiamat's slow speed meant that the best he could be used for was artillery; the other two U-Borgs would have to help the defenses to hold the base.

"Sir, message from U-Borg factory one."

"Commander, this is Colonel Franke. We are at the Ultra Cyborg factory and uploading the specs now. It's estimated that it'll take two days to build the six that we'll need, so long as we don't get blown to Hell in the mean time."

"Ok, very good. Commander out." The next few hours would decide the fate of Delta base.

Tiamat, the walking cannon fortress, positioned himself where he had a clear shot at the eastern ridge. He crouched into the firing position for his Big Bertha cannon, this enormous piece of weaponry rotated from its vertical storage position to its horizontal over-the-shoulder firing position. Its barrel, previously folded back on a hinge system for space conservation, was now rotated around and locked into firing position. The first round entered the firing chamber. And now he waited, daring the enemy to take one step over that ridge.

Fenrir ran last minute checks over all his systems. Any attack through the northern passage would be a mistake, for a long thin valley ran north (in contrast to the the hilly ridges in the south) surrounded by sheer cliff faces, which would channel any attack into a long column which they could take on in detail rather than all at once.

Bird of Prey surveyed the landscape of the southern portion of the base. The ridges dropped in height here and openned into a flat plain. Rolling hills and dense forest could be seen in the distance. A small stream emptied into a lake about a kilometer away. A light fog could be seen hanging just over the lake. It was a chilly morning. It was strangely quiet, too; even the nearby base defenses were not making any noise. A picturesque landscape, but one that was about to become a bloodied battle field. He now heard through the U-B's external microphones low rumbling noises comming from behind him, the unmistakeable sound of artillery fire. The battle had begun.

"Enemy now within artillery range! Artillery opening fire!"

The eastern enemy force was still on the other side of the ridge, but was now within range of Project artillery. The Commander didn't expect any serious damage to be done, but any done now would count for later.

"Sir, enemy encountering first defenses.... ...Sensor tower 18 destroyed sir, 5 enemies confirmed destroyed. Enemy units 100 meters from ridge top and advancing. Enemies now entering north and south sensor detection zones, not within north and south local artillery range yet."

All the data was being displayed on the holomap. The commander stood up, "Order all cannon and mortar artillery to hold fire, rocket artillery continue barrage." He got some puzzled looks from his staff. "Don't ask questions, just DO IT!"

"Yes sir!" was the unanimous reply.

The reports kept coming in. "Northern and Southern enemy forces are ten minutes from artillery range. Eastern enemy forces 30 meters from ridge top."

The Commander was hunched over the map staring intently at the little red blips moving towards his base, wispering softly to himself, "wait for it, wait for it...."

"Enemy now crossing ridge top, now in direct line of sight, direct fire defenses locking on."

The Commander threw is arm in the air, "NOW! All cannon and mortar artillery, open fire, continuous barrage!"

Tiamat got the signal, he openned fire with his Big Bertha cannon and kept firing as the new rounds were loaded. At the same time, all Hellstorm, Ground Shaker, Thor's Hammer artillery, incidiary and EMP mortars opened fire simulateously. The enemy came pouring over the ridge and were greeted by a mass of fire. Explosions rocked the ground and threw dust and smoke high into the air. As the surviving enemies moved closer, the rest of the base defenses joined in the fray. The hill that formed the ridge was blanketed in fire, shells, rockets, missiles, and laser fire. The enemy began splitting up and spreading out to evade the artillery, and also started shooting back. Project VTOLs took to the air and added their firepower into the mix. The enemy kept coming, more units pouring over the ridge. Fires were now burning all over the ridge and the eastern portion of the base defenses. Construction trucks were rushing to perform repairs. No enemy unit had yet breached the defenses. Tiamat continued to fire, his Big Bertha's barrel starting to glow from the repeated use.

"Enemy units now entering local north and south zones. U-Borgs moving to engage, local artillery systems opening fire."

This was now the tricky part, defending three fronts at the same time. But the eastern defense was going well, and new units were flowing out of the base factories. He hoped that his main ground forces could stay out of this fight as much as possible, but it looked like at least some may be needed.

Fenrir fired two more rounds from his gauss rifle into the enemy advance, scoring a hit and completely detsroying a medium unit. He had positioned himself behind one of the several Cannon Fortresses guarding this entrance. The scourge tower beside him fired two rounds at a heavy pulse laser unit close-by. So far it was only ground units; no enemy Vtols to speak of. Two Project Vtols flew over-head firing pulse laser shots at some distant enemy unit. Dust and smoke were blocking his view down the valley. He crouched, then jumped hard into the air, kicking his thrusters on for a few seconds, shooting him an impressive 300 feet up. He activated his stinger missile launcher, rotated it down, locked onto an enemy super-borg below him and fired. Two missiles streaked away towards the enemy, homming in on it, and the enemy was soon reduced to scrap. Fenrir came falling back down to earth. He kicked his thrusters on again just before impact to land softly next to the cannon fortress. More enemies were on their way. Fenrir looked back behind him and saw the battle raging along the eastern ridge. A scourge missle flew past him, missing his headpiece by mere feet. He turned back to his battle at hand, raising his gauss rifle and firing.

Bird of Prey fired a wide srpead from his Rapidfire Chain Gun. The enemy was racing towards the defensive line. A friendly Vtol swooped down and fired two scourge missiles into an enemy tank, giving it considerable damage, but not enough to destroy it. Bird of Prey finished it off with a shot from his Gauss cannon. Another enemy tank burst through a cloud of dust and smoke to his left and turned its own gauss cannon turret to fire at him. Just then it exploded as a shot from a mass driver fortress pierced right through it. A small group of enemy Pulse Laser Super-Borgs were getting very close to the defensive line, their lasers were causing substantial damage to a Cannon fortress whose turret was slowly turning to meet them. Some other defenses began firing at them and detroyed one. Bird of Prey leaped through the air, landing right in front of the enemies. He quickly let loose several gauss rounds knocking out all but one of them. The cannon fortres finally was able to fire and obliterated that last one. Trucks quickly responded and began repairs to the structure. This was going to be a long fight.

The Commnder rubbed his chin. Beads of sweat were forming on his furrowed brow. So far the defense was going well, but the enemy showed no sign of letting up. Even trying to use the artillery to disorganize the enemy wasn't working; they were moving in highly organized attack patterns. It was taking all his effort to keep up with the enemy's changing moves and give out orders. He zoomed in on the holomap on the eastern base defenses. Small holographic models represented each individual defensive structure and unit. Each had a small bar beside it that represented its relative damage level. The enemy was alternating their focus of fire at random intervals, causing his repair efforts to become erratic. No sooner did he start repairs on one set of defences, then they started attacking another. He'd move some of his trucks to handle those repairs then they'd switch back. They were slowly wearing the defenses down. Soon there would be a breach, and the enemy would likely try to rush through it, and cause havoc with his artillery.

Then, it happened. A severly damaged fortress suffered a direct hit from an enemy gauss cannon. Its ammuntition stores ingited and the structure blew apart. There was now a gaping hole in the eastern defenses. And sure enough, the enemy started rushing towards it. The Commander got an idea. "Commander to Tiamat."

"Yes, sir?"

"Move to the location where that fortress just exploded. Fill the gap and don't let anything through, got it?"

"Yep, I got it. They won't get past me."

The Commander could see Tiamat through Ops's windows. He stood up, and launched forward using his thrusters. His holographic icon on the map table moved to the former location of the fortress. The enemy broke off hard to avoid him. Several of the enemy icons dissapeared, destroyed by Tiamat fire. If they could just keep this up, they might beat the enemy back.

Two hours into the fight and the battle was still a stalemate. A few more breaches had formed, but they had been patched up by committing some of the reserve units to combat. The Commander did not like this, but there was no other choice. The U-Borgs were starting to run low on ammunition. At least there was some good news: The northern battle seemed close to over. The valley between the cliffs was so clogged by enemy debris that they could barely advance, and their numbers were shrinking quickly. Fenrir was now receiving repairs and rearming at the U-Borg plant since he really wasn't needed at the north anymore. The six members of Team Thunder were now supervising the research at one of the facilities regarding the air-to-surface missiles that had given this base so much trouble right after it was built. It was evident that they were some kind of anti-matter devices similar the ones on the helicopter Team Thunder came in.

Four hours into the fight, it became clear that the battle was almost over. Enemy forces in the south had retreated and the eastern forces were wearing down. A breach had been made and several enemy units had entered the base. But luckily, Fenrir had just finished repairs and took them out with no problems. Bird of Prey was heavily damaged, but serviceable. The battle would be over soon.

And five hours into the fight, the battle was indeed over. Enemy forces on all sides were retreating. Delta Base was safe, for now. There was a lot of work to do: base defenses were burning, serval destroyed; numerous valuable units had been lost or badly damaged.

The Members of Team Thunder decided to get to sleep early, they would check on their U-Borgs early tomarrow morning.