Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Central Europe

© 1999-2001 Imminent Storm of NEWST.


When the enemy U-Borgs appeared, Longbow was a mere 2,000 yards away. Her elevation was higher than the plateau where the U-Borgs were, so she had an excellent view of the action. Having just finished helping the demolition of the enemy forward outpost, she was still armed with High Explosive rounds. Quickly, she opened the large portable ammo container at her side and loaded her rifle with armor-piercing rounds. She prepared to fire.

Two flights of three VTOLs each were flying overhead near where the enemy U-Borgs appeared. The flight leader of flight 'B' radioed back to the LZ requesting permission to alter target to the enemy U-Borgs. The LZ commander gave clearance for flight 'B' to engage the U-Borgs but for flight 'A' to stay on designated target.

As the main ground force advanced south towards the primary target, one of the armored squad commanders in the rear decided to turn back and give assistance to the Commander and the other U-Borgs. His squad consisted of three gauss cannon and two PPC Wyvern tracked units.

Rapier kicked in his thrusters and launched forward. He was focused entirely on the enemy U-Borg in front of him. The rest of the world became a blur as he closed in on his target. He slashed down with his left plasma blade, but the enemy dodged it with a quick thruster burst to the right. Rapier turned to face his opponent, the radio chatter from the other fights fading into background noise.

Rapier looked his opponent over, trying to find some advantage over him. The enemy U-Borg was a humanoid type, lightly built from appearances. It was obvious that this machine was built for speed and agility. The first oddity about this U-Borg was its arms. They looked like normal humanoid arms, but they had no hands. This mystery was quickly solved when two bright blue beams shot from the ends of the arms.

'So, no hands but two huge plasma blades instead,' Rapier thought to himself.

On the enemy's shoulder mounts were a large extra plasma pack and a rapid-fire chaingun.

Rapier broke the face-off by spraying the enemy with his light machinegun and kicking sideways with his thrusters. Rapier was trying to lure the enemy north so that he could fight in the open. The enemy engaged and followed Rapier's lead.

The duel continued pretty much as a battle for position. Each U-Borg tried to maneuver into an advantageous position for attack. Rapier strafed right to try to get an angle to attack the enemy's side. But the enemy read his moves and cut him off. Rapier stopped to change directions and the enemy attacked. The enemy planted his feet and jumped into the air. Rapier kicked sideways again to avoid the enemy's downward slash. He the spun 90 degrees, locked on with his stinger missiles as fired. Two missiles streaked away and hit the enemy square on the torso. But the enemy landed with little apparent damage. The enemy turned, crouched, and fired a burst from its chaingun. A few rounds hit Rapier's torso causing surface damage. Rapier responded by firing a sustained burst from his machinegun. The clip went dry, and Rapier ejected it, but he held onto the gun. He still had a trick up his sleeve.

Rapier continued north and shot down the path that they had used to get to the plateau. He jumped into a deep and wide ravine hoping to buy a few seconds to re-load. He opened his right torso storage compartment and pulled out and extra clip of machinegun rounds. He slammed the clip into its socket and launched out of the ravine.

The rounds in the extra clip Rapier loaded were not normal machinegun rounds. They were special bullets called "darts." Rather than trying to physically punch through armor, these "darts" clamp themselves to an enemy's armor then detonate using a specially shaped charge.

As Rapier leaped out of the ravine, the enemy was just about to pass him. Rapier fired five rounds into the enemy's left arm. Three rounds made solid contact. A few tenths of a second later three explosions went off on the enemy's left arm. The effect was immediately apparent: There were visible cracks in the left arm's protective plating.

Rapier landed very close to the enemy U-Borg, and he fired up his left plasma blade. But the enemy charged and slashed. Rapier instinctively raised his left arm to block, and to his amazement the enemy's plasma blade met his and stopped.

The enemy pushed harder, and Rapier pushed back harder, but the beams would not pass through each other. The point where the two blades met was wreathed in electrical discharges, and the crackling and roaring noise was deafening. The enemy changed tactics and slashed with his other arm. Rapier hopped back, suffering but a shallow slice across his torso.

As the battle continued, Rapier couldn't help but notice that this enemy pilot was much better than the one they had encountered before. But the enemy's moves were becoming predictable and Rapier was waiting to get another shot at that arm. He got an opportunity and took it. He fired more darts and hit the left arm again. When the darts exploded they knocked a small chunk of the arm's armor clear off. Rapier knew that if he could get a shot into that hole, he could seriously cripple the enemy, but his machinegun wasn't built for pinpoint shooting.

It was his infrared sensors that gave Rapier an idea. The hole in the enemy's arm plating was much hotter than the rest of him. Rapier activated his stinger missile launcher and set it to IR targeting. Rapier got a shot off and the two missiles homed in on their target. But the enemy saw it coming and spun hard. The missiles impacted its torso and caused some damage, but not the desired effect. The enemy was on to him and Rapier would be hard pressed to get another clean shot.

But he got his opportunity sooner than expected. Two Project VTOLs made an attack run on the enemy with heavy Scourge missiles. The missiles knocked the enemy off balance for a second, and that's all Rapier needed. He fired two more stingers and this time they found their targets.

The enemy's arm exploded in a bright ball of red and blue flame. The force of the explosion sent the enemy U-Borg flying into a nearby wall of rock. The enemy slammed hard into the rock and slumped to the ground. But Rapier knew that the enemy was not done yet. So he readied his left plasma blade and charged in to land the finishing blow. But the enemy recovered sooner than he anticipated. At the last moment before Rapier struck, the enemy thrust out his remaining blade and buried it deep into Rapier's torso. Rapier's mind reeled and he just managed to pull back off the enemy's plasma blade. His mind was filled with a confusing noise of alerts, alarms, and damage warnings.

The enemy remained slumped against the low cliff wall as it activated its chaingun. Just before the enemy fired, Rapier's redundant systems kicked in and he regained control. So when the enemy fired, he managed to dodge to the side, but several rounds hit his machinegun. Now totally useless, he tossed it away. The enemy finally stood back up. The enemy charged wildly, but Rapier blocked the enemy's blade with his left again. Rapier removed the hand-held emitter with his right arm and activated it. The enemy tried to break away, but it was too late. Rapier slashed with his right blade and severed the enemy's other arm.

Rapier was quick to not give his opponent any room. Another quick slash and the enemy was headless. A third cut the connector between the torso and legs. A swift upward thrust with his knee and a backwards flip with his thrusters sent the enemy's torso rolling. The legs collapsed and fell forward. Rapier then deactivated his plasma blades and began heading back to the LZ. He was now receiving emergency calls from there.

One of the enemy U-Bs charged Prometheus. Prometheus switched his plasma weapon to 'medium' and strafed right. The plasma canister currently active showed enough fuel for 2 medium shots. The enemy spun hard to face Prometheus and fired a shot from his right hand weapon, a large cannon of some sort. The shot missed and Prometheus responded. He fired from his plasma cannon and just missed the enemy as he dodged. The enemy was a medium-heavy model and lacked maneuverability, so Prometheus was able to get off a second shot before the enemy could return fire. The enemy tried to dodge but so many high-speed maneuvers must have depleted its energy supply. The enemy's thrusters gave out and the plasma beam hit it square in the left arm, near the shoulder mount. The heat and power of the impact blew the arm clear off and sent the enemy stumbling back for balance.

Prometheus's current plasma canister ejected out the side of the gun and a new one moved into firing position. Prometheus set this one to 'large,' a full blast that would empty the entire canister. 'No need to let this battle last longer than it has to,' the Commander thought to himself. The enemy recovered quickly and brought one of its back weapons into firing position. The Commander recognized it instantly, the Big Bertha super cannon. The enemy fired. On impulse Prometheus raised his shield to block the cannon round. The huge shell hit the shield with such force that it sent Prometheus flying backwards into a cliff wall. Prometheus quickly got up. He shot sideways with his thrusters just in time to dodge another Big Bertha round. Prometheus activated his remote attack drones and sent them to attack the enemy U-Borg.

When the attack drones reached the enemy and fired their pulse lasers, they distracted him for that critical few seconds Prometheus needed. He kicked on his thrusters and shot towards the enemy. At almost point-blank range he fired. The searing blast of plasma found its target. The beam hit dead center on the enemy torso and blasted the enemy U-Borg in half. What was left of the enemy's upper torso, head, arms, and lower legs lay on the ground, silent. Prometheus's drones returned to their storage bays, their job complete. The empty canister ejected from the gun. Prometheus loaded the two remaining canisters that were stored in his Torso into the gun. He had defeated his opponent rather easily, but the Commander knew there would be more "surprises" in store for him and his attack force.

Bahamut faced off with his opponent, a large, heavily armored type similar to Tiamat in design. Bahamut now readied his heavy machine gun. As soon as the enemy U-Borgs had appeared he had quickly replaced his clip of standard bullets with a clip of "Darts" the same as what Rapier had. Only these darts were of a larger caliber and possessed better armor shattering ability.

Bahamut fired first, a five-round burst into the enemy's torso. The darts exploded creating a large cloud of smoke that obscured his view of the enemy. The enemy emerged from behind the smoke screen with his hand weapon raised, a heavy cannon of some sort. The enemy fired a round and Bahamut dodged it while hitting the enemy with five more darts. The enemy took the explosions like they were nothing and turned to fire again. Bahamut decided to try a different strategy.

When the enemy fired again, Bahamut launched to the side to dodge, then quickly planted his feet and launched forward, towards the enemy U-Borg, with his plasma blade engaged. The enemy tried to sidestep and turn to fire but it was too slow and couldn't avoid Bahamut's attack completely. Bahamut stabbed at the enemy's torso, but before he could penetrate fully the enemy fired a round from his hand weapon. The round struck Bahamut's torso at point-blank range and the impact knocked him back. Bahamut managed to use his thrusters to prevent himself from smashing into the ground and to land somewhat softly in a sitting position. The enemy's shot hadn't breached the armor but had come very close. A huge gouge showed where the shell had hit. Bahamut had also suffered some internal shock damage, and of all things his legs wouldn't move. It wasn't joint damage, some internal relays had been knocked loose and it would take a few seconds to re-route them.

The enemy fired again, the shell hit his upper torso but glanced off just before exploding. Bahamut decided to return the favor and brought his Big Bertha into firing position. He fired, from his sitting position, and the enemy tried to use its thrusters to dodge, but the enemy's huge bulk didn't move fast enough and the shell slammed into its torso. The enemy staggered back from the shock, and Bahamut fired again. This shell hit near the same spot and the explosion blew a hole in the enemy's armor.

Bahamut, now with control of his legs again, got up and deactivated his Big Bertha. The enemy armed a chain gun that was on its back and opened fire on Bahamut. Numerous rounds impacted on his torso as he tried to dodge, then suddenly the enemy stopped firing. Bahamut looked at the enemy and saw that somehow the enemy's chain gun had become a smoking wreck. Bahamut then heard the unmistakable sound of a hyper-velocity round streak though the air, then the hole in the enemy's torso plating exploded in a ball of fire. Then a second round hit. The enemy's legs collapsed and the huge machine fell face first to the ground. Then over Bahamut's comm. channel came Longbow's voice, "Bahamut, I hope you don't mind that I took your kill."

Bahamut replied, "Longbow, thanks for the assistance, and no I don't

When Paladin engaged his enemy he was looking for a quick and easy win, but the enemy had other plans. As the duel opened, the enemy U-Borg charged full force at Paladin. The enemy closed with incredible speed and Paladin had to do an emergency burn on his thruster to launch him up and out of the enemy's way. Paladin used what was left of his reserve power to spin 180 degrees before landing. Now out of power it would be about 30 seconds before he would have enough to fire his PPC. The enemy stopped running and jumped into the air, he then used his thrusters to spin around. The enemy was very lightly built and had some kind of rifle in its hands and two identical weapons on its back mounts. The back weapons were large boxes and appeared to be some kind of missile bays. The enemy landed and fired from his back weapons.

When the box on its back opened up, Paladin was expecting it to be packed with numerous Scourge class or slightly bigger missiles. What was in the missile bays were four huge objects that looked like pods. One of the pods fired up and flew out of its bay on a rocket engine, but it was far too slow to be a missile. Paladin's curious feeling turned to one of alarm as the pod broke open at about a third the way between himself and the enemy. As the pod broke apart, four smaller missiles shot out of it at different trajectories then all arced back towards Paladin, homing in. Paladin's instinct was to run away, away from the enemy U-Borg, but He knew the missiles would still follow him. So instead he ran towards the enemy. The missiles arced in tighter and tighter. Paladin then passed them and the missiles tried to arc in behind him. But their turn radii were too wide and they either hit each other or impacted into the ground.

Paladin fired up his plasma blade and closed in on the enemy. But the enemy was fast. It jumped into the air and flew over Paladin's head landing behind him. Paladin turned around and the enemy fired from its hand weapon. It was a medium power Gauss rifle, similar to Fenrir's. A gauss round penetrated Paladins upper right torso, then his lower left. No critical systems were hit and only served to get Paladin mad. Paladin crouched to fire his chain gun. But just as he was about to fire, a gauss round hit the chain gun and knocked it out. Then the enemy fired another missile pod. But this time the range was too close and paladin had to take the time to stand back up. He couldn't get inside the missiles' arcs and the four missiles hit him hard. The explosions knocked him off balance and he fell over. Another Gauss round just missed Paladin's head and hit the ground behind him.

"Alright, I'm through playing these games!" Paladin shouted out loud over the comm. Paladin got back up and charged to enemy again. As the enemy tried the same trick again to land behind Paladin, Paladin spun hard on his thrusters. When the enemy landed Paladin was ready and aimed his PPC. "Predictable, too predictable," he said as he pulled the trigger. The PPC was set to dual fire and both a beam of positrons and a beam of anti-protons cut through the enemy's torso. The antimatter reacted and a violent explosion tore the enemy U-Borg apart.

Satisfied that the enemy had been destroyed, Paladin quickly headed south to rejoin the assault army.

When Fenrir engaged his opponent, he did not close quarters with the enemy U-Borg, but rather, he let the enemy charge him while he put three gauss rounds into the enemy's torso. The enemy closed and attempted to impale Fenrir with its plasma blade. However, Fenrir's light and nimble design allowed him to easily evade the attack. Fenrir switched to his stinger launcher and sent two missiles streaking towards the enemy. The enemy evaded one of the missiles but the other got lucky and struck the enemy square in the face. The enemy was stunned, but not long enough to allow Fenrir to take advantage of it.

This enemy was a medium type with reverse-jointed legs. Its right arm weapon was rather peculiar. Rather than holding it in its hand like a gun, this was physically attached to its right forearm. The weapon had two large tubes that came off it and looked like some kind of claw. But it was no claw, as Fenrir soon found out. The enemy raised the weapon and fired. Two huge rockets shot towards Fenrir and he managed to dodge just milliseconds before they impacted. The enemy fired again but Fenrir dodged them much easier this time, now that he knew what to expect. The rockets were slow, unguided, and very predictable. The enemy U-Borg fired once more and Fenrir launched into the air to dodge them. At the same time he fired two gauss rounds at the enemy, and both scored hits. To Fenrir's surprise the enemy now jettisoned its right arm weapon and let it fall to the ground. It was out of ammo after only three shots of two rockets.

The enemy wasn't finished yet though. It activated its back weapons, which appeared to be twin rotary cannons. The cannons fired in rapid 5 round bursts with short pauses in between. Fenrir now had his hands full trying to dodge the cannon rounds and he seemed stuck in a defensive posture. With his thinner armor, he couldn't afford to let the enemy get a clean shot at him.

Suddenly a bright beam hit the enemy from the side, then a second hit one of its legs. The enemy was racked by explosions and fell to the ground. The enemy amazingly wasn't destroyed yet. As it tried to get up several gauss rounds hit it. Fenrir now saw the source of the new attackers. It was a small group of Project tanks that had broken off the main force. As several more gauss rounds impacted the enemy, Fenrir joined in with his gauss rifle. The enemy still moved for several more seconds as gauss round after gauss round penetrated its armor. It wasn't until the two PPC tanks fired again that the enemy finally went silent. The accelerated antimatter beams tore the enemy's torso to shreds after the intense gauss bombardment.

Fenrir now also headed south to rejoin the main assault force.

Bird of Prey engaged an enemy U-Borg of totally unique design. It had a standard torso, arms, and head, but its legs were totally different from any Project design. This U-Borg was a quadruped. For weapons, the enemy was holding a heavy machinegun in its right hand and on its back were a huge plasma cannon and a rotary assault style machine gun. Bird of Prey soon found out that the enemy's four-legged design gave it incredible running speed. However, the extra weigh added by the other two legs seriously cut down the enemy's thrusting performance. It had a hard time changing direction quickly and also couldn't stop very fast. Bird of Prey's nimble reverse-jointed design gave him an edge in maneuverability where he lacked in speed.

The enemy's weapons were highly ineffective at long range, but could give Bird of Prey quite a beating in close quarters combat. The enemy began using a very simple and repetitive tactic. It would charge Bird of Prey to try to get into effective weapons range, then unload with whatever weapon it was using at the time. Bird of Prey dodged sideways every time the enemy tried to charge him while using his chaingun to spray the enemy. After a few times doing this, Bird of Prey felt that he had a good sense of the enemy's speed and maneuverability. The next time the enemy charged, Bird of Prey decided to try something different.

As the enemy closed, Bird of Prey jumped as hard as he could and leaped over the enemy as it ran. Bird of prey used his thrusters to spin 180 degrees and locked his gauss cannons on the enemy. The enemy U-Borg tried to stop and turn but it couldn't do it fast enough. Bird of Prey fired four gauss rounds at the enemy. Each fortress-caliber gauss dart tore through the enemy. Three rounds hit square on the torso and one hit the right arm. The arm fell limp and dropped its weapon.

Smoke poured from the three wounds on the enemy's torso. But still the enemy moved. It tried to activate its plasma cannon weapon. But Bird of Prey sent a precision shot right through the enemy's head. The head shattered from the impact. Another gauss shot hit the torso again. Flashes could be seen through the holes in the enemy's torso and low rumblings told of internal explosions. Then what remained of the head blew off and the pilot compartment ejected. Bird of prey backed off to a safer distance and watched the enemy U-B explode.

After all the enemy U-Borgs were confirmed to be destroyed, the Commander was about to ask for a status check from all Project forces. But he was interrupted by a call over the emergency channel.

"This is LZ defense forces to all Project units. We are under heavy attack by enemy ground units, requesting assistance! Repeat..."

The message repeated twice more before it cut off. The Commander now got on the comm. "Which U-Borgs are closest to the LZ?"

Rapier replied, "I'm about as far north as anyone, besides Pandora and the artillery group. I'm pretty messed up and am low on ammo, but I'll be fine. I'm already on my way."

"Very good," the Commander replied, "join up with Pandora and both of you along with the artillery head to support the LZ. Longbow, I want you to break off sniper duty and head to the LZ as well."

"Yes sir," was Longbow's reply.

The Commander continued, "Everyone else, give me a status report."

All of their U-Borgs sent in damage and supply reports. The main assault force had gotten bogged down in a narrow gorge and was making slow progress against stiff enemy resistance. Communications with the LZ were either jammed or the whole place was already demolished. Either way, with a large enemy force at their backs as well as a huge fortified base ahead, they could be in trouble. The Commander ordered all remaining U-Borgs to head south and rejoin the assault force.

Rapier met up with Pandora at the north gate. While they couldn't communicate with the LZ, Pandora's powerful radar was able to overcome the radar jamming the enemy was putting out. The LZ was still in the fight, but was now completely surrounded. They would have to tear a corridor through the ring of enemies in order to get to the LZ. Longbow joined them just north of the north gate. As soon as the artillery units were in range, Pandora fed them targeting data and they began firing at the blockade of enemy units.

After a minute or two of concentrated bombardment, Pandora gave the artillery units a scatter order. The tanks quickly dispersed and hid among the trees and geography. They would continue their bombardment but in a more random and scattered pattern. Hopefully the enemy would have a harder time counter attacking them that way.

As the three U-Borgs passed through the trees towards the LZ, several Project VTOLs flew overhead after making an attack run. Following close behind were numerous SAMs. The VTOLs veered hard and dumped countermeasures to try to spoof the SAMs. One of the VTOLs didn't make it. Two SAMs hit it and it disappeared behind a ridge, followed by a low rumble and a rising column of smoke.

Rapier, Longbow, and Pandora emerged suddenly from the trees into the fray of battle. The place was so choked by smoke, dust and burning hulks that they could only see small patches of ground. The battle raged only a few hundred yards away. The enemies had penetrated the outer ring of defenses and were now trying to break the inner ring. Considering the enemy's numbers, it would only be a matter of time before the final defenses were breached and the base demolished.

Rapier opened a secure laser-com link with the other two U-Borgs.

"Okay. I've only got a few Stinger missiles left but plenty of plasma fuel for my blades. Longbow, what kind of ammo you got?"

"I reloaded my rifle with HEAP rounds before I came, had to leave the rest of the spare ammo behind though. My Stinger is fully loaded and my laser is working fine."

Rapier paused a moment. Then he said, "Here's the plan. We need to get inside the defensive ring as soon as possible. Pandora and me will advance towards the base while Longbow covers us from behind. Pandora will use her EMP cannons to disable as many enemies as possible while I use my blades to destroy them. Sound good?"

"Sounds good to me," Longbow responded. "Me too," said Pandora.

Rapier removed his handheld emitter from its bay and fired up both blades. "Alright, lets go."

When they reached the first enemy units they took them completely by surprise. Pandora disabled unit after unit and Rapier sliced them to pieces. Longbow used her Stinger missiles to knock out numerous enemy ground units as well as several enemy VTOLs. Rapier also fired off the remainder of his stinger missiles, destroying a group of Pulse Laser -armed super cyborgs.

They reached the inner defensive ring just as a group of heavy gauss tanks was moving in to counterattack them. Using their thrusters they leaped over the defensive wall and into the LZ base. Pandora quickly moved to provide support fire for the defenses. Rapier headed straight for the transports to find the spare machinegun he had brought.

The assault force was moving again after their U-Borgs arrived and helped clear enemy resistance. Phalanx and Tiamat had only been able to provide limited support because of their size and the terrain. But now they were in more open terrain and could clearly see their destination. A long ramp snaked up the mountainside towards a large flat plateau area. The entire area was heavily fortified and the plateau itself was packed with firepower. The assault force was down to only 60% of its initial strength and with artillery still falling, though sporadic, that amount was bound to decrease.

When they reached the bottom of the ramp, they found an army waiting for them. Tiamat, Phalanx and Bahamut proved invaluable as they pounded the enemy units with heavy artillery and blanketed them with bullets. Bird of Prey and Fenrir skirmished around the enemy's flanks and picked off units with pinpoint gauss strikes. Prometheus and Paladin held back to conserve ammo. The Project tanks pushed into the enemy's center and attempted to break through into their rear.

In just a few minutes an enemy force of about 50 units was decimated and the survivors were retreating back up the ramp to the central base. A flight of enemy VTOLs tried to attack them. Paladin took out two with positron beams and one with bursts from his pulse laser. Stingers from the other U-Borgs destroyed several more and the SAM and Stormbringer units that had survived the previous battles shot down the rest.

As the assault force moved up the ramp, the defenses began to open fire. The U-Borg's heavy artillery silenced most of the defenses along the ramp. But as they reached the top and approached the plateau, ammo was running short and the most powerful of the enemy's defenses were still ahead of them.

The defense of their LZ was turning desperate, and a few breaches in the defenses had been made. In each instance one of the U-Borgs had to annihilate any units that got in and defend the breach until the construction units could throw up some hasty defenses to fill the gap.

Rapier had run out of ammo on his spare gun and all the spare clips he brought. He now had to get up-close and personal with the enemy and use his plasma blades. Pandora gave him as much EMP support as she could. Even so, Rapier had suffered a considerable amount of damage already, and every shell hit and gauss round reduced his fighting capability. He had taken a few hits to his reactor control systems that almost shut him down, but he had been lucky, no serious damage resulted, yet. Longbow provided defense primarily for the construction crews while they repaired crumbling defenses or rebuilt destroyed ones.

The flow of enemies seemed to be tapering off, but then things took a turn for the worse. Rapier's feed tube for his hand-held plasma blade had been severed and he was now operating with only his left. He finished slicing a Wyvern unit in two and deactivated his blade to conserve fuel. He noticed a gauss cannon unit to his left. He turned and ran towards it. The unit detected him and turned its turret into firing position. Rapier tried to throw it off by moving sideways left and right quickly at random intervals. But he was so damaged that his reaction time and maneuvering speed were compromised. The Gauss cannon fired and scored a hit on Rapier's torso. Just a second later Rapier managed to get close enough and cut the enemy apart.

However, the damage had been done. The rail dart had splintered when it penetrated the armor, sending shrapnel throughout the torso. Rapier staggered forward; he was losing motor control. Acting as if they sensed wounded prey, enemy units began closing in. One of the plasma feed lines in his torso gave out and ruptured, sending a jet of super-hot plasma into the torso. Alarms went off as the internal heat rose sharply as well as from physical damage caused by the plasma. The shutoff valves were not working due to damage. The internal reserve power pack was nearing the critical heat point. If it got too hot it would explode and blow the U-Borg apart. There was nothing that could be done.

Pandora had knee damage that left her out of action until repairs could be completed. Thus she could only watch as Rapier's auto-eject systems engaged and sent the pilot compartment shooting into the sky. Seconds later the torso exploded. Several enemy Super Borgs that had gotten too close were destroyed by the force and heat of the explosion. Things didn't look good.

Prometheus had two plasma canisters left. He set the gun's blast setting to large and leaped into the air. At the top of his jump, he used his thrusters to hover for a few seconds as he lined up his shot and fired. The blast hit the cluster of defenses and set off a huge explosion. Only a smoking crater remained when the dust cleared. The primary cluster of structures now lay within sight.

The last wave of enemy units had cut their numbers down to 50% and had knocked Fenrir out of action. His reactor core had been penetrated and he was forced to shutdown. A squad of units had been detached to guard him, but he would have to wait the rest of the battle out.

The battle raged on, and they were getting closer to their objective. Then a voice came over the comm. "What the hell is THAT!?"

Ahead, emerging from the center of the base, was a huge structure, slowly lifting into the air. Paladin now got on the comm. "Commander, I'm picking up powerful ECMs. I'm losing radar. Short range comm. seems unaffected."

The Commander suddenly recognized the new arrival. They had encountered two of these before, right after Delta base was formed. This wasn't good. "Do we have anything that can hit something at that range and pack enough punch to penetrate Dragon class armor? That thing's gonna start firing high yield antimatter missiles at us soon!"

Paladin got an idea. "All PPC armed tanks, switch to long-range settings and aim at that aircraft. At this range the effectiveness of a single PPC is negligible. But if we concentrate numerous beams, the effect should be close to a normal single beam hit."

All of the PPC tanks called in when they were ready to fire. Paladin set his PPC to dual beams and took aim. "Ready.....FIRE!"

The sight was an impressive one as numerous beams engaged simultaneously. They all converged on the target. The whole front end of the aircraft exploded sending the monstrosity out of control. The thing's VTOL engines were still functioning so it didn't immediately crash into the ground, but drifted slowly sideways as it lost altitude. They could now see SAMs being fired from the enemy base at the burning aircraft. The enemy was trying to push its huge VTOL away. A minute later the enormous machine hit the ground and exploded. The SAMs had just managed to push the VTOL clear of the inner base defense ring. But the crashing VTOL had devastated a large area of the secondary defenses west of the central base.

The Commander stopped the assault force and grouped them into a large mass. He decided to wait a few minutes to let the drivers and pilots rest and the auto repair systems work. Artillery occasionally still impacted nearby, but with the enemy's sensor net mostly destroyed, the accuracy had dropped substantially. The Commander was preparing for one last drive. If they attacked with sufficient force, breaking the defenses should be easy. Then they would only have to deal with the units that may still be guarding the central base.

Longbow couldn't help but think that if the enemy had only concentrated their attack in a focused drive, the LZ would have fallen easily. But despite their numbers, the diffusion of their attacks gave the LZ defenses enough "breathing room" to fend them off. It almost looked like the enemy was trying to play with them. "Or trying to distract us." Longbow said out loud.

"What was that Longbow?" Pandora said over the comm.

"Oh, nothing. Just talking to myself."

Rapier's destruction left them shorthanded, but they still managed to hold off the enemy attacks. Longbow knew the enemy was intentionally prolonging the battle. For what reason she had no idea.

The Project's assault force and U-Borgs hit the enemy's defenses like a steamroller. This was it, the final assault; there would be no second chances. The defenses hit back hard, but high power demolitions fire from the U-Borgs flattened everything. As soon as the first units broke through, they were hit by a wave of enemy tanks. All coherent strategy along with any semblance of order flew out the window as the fight degenerated into an all-out brawl. The enemy units dwindled in number and soon were overrun. At the last moment, two enemy U-Borgs appeared. But as soon as they did, every single weapon in the Project's arsenal was turned on them. Even Ultra Cyborgs could not withstand that amount of concentrated firepower. Riddled with holes, one fell; then PPC beams shredded the other. At last it seemed nothing remained in their way; they turned their guns now to the cluster of primary base structures.

The commander ordered the remaining tanks and cyborgs to destroy the factories, power generators, and research facilities. The U-Borgs attacked the command and control structures and the other, unknown structures. Prometheus engaged his plasma "sword" and went after the Command Center. The structure used a similar design as the Project's. Prometheus sliced through the base where it met the top half of the building. The entire thing smashed into the ground. In a few minutes there was nothing left but smoking debris. They had done it. The base was effectively destroyed.

Or so they had thought. As a silence fell on the base, a sharp static burst onto all the channels. A man's voice could be heard laughing, then an all-too-familiar voice spoke once again.

"YOU HAVEN'T WON YET! You may have defeated my minions and laid waste to this base. But now you will have to face me and my power. I WILL DEAL WITH YOU MYSELF!"

"Oh hell, what now?" Somebody said. The ground began to vibrate lightly. Then the ground at the south end of the plateau began to lift up. Two huge doors opened upwards revealing a huge hole. Out of that hole emerged a giant crab-like machine of such dimensions that id made the U-Borgs look small. It had four legs, two at each end of an ovoid center. The legs moved and functioned much like a crab's. The core of the machine was wider than it was deep and was itself about the size of two U-Borgs. The core was about 50 feet off the ground at its lowest point. Attached to the top and bottom of the core were what looked like various weapons.

"You have got to be kidding me!" Paladin said.

The voice came back over the air. "This is my personal war machine. I was going to use it as the final blow that would crush your worthless armies. It seems that you are going to be the first victims of my glorious victory."

"Oh, Shut up!" Bahamut yelled back. The Commander cut off all outside com channels and switched to the sealed frequencies. "All units attack now! Concentrate fire on the joints where the legs meet the body!"

What was left of the Project's units moved in and began attacking. But a strange thing happened when the PPC units fired. The beams bent away from the enemy instead of going straight through. No PPC beam was able to hit. Paladin gave the explanation. "He must be generating a powerful electromagnetic field from his armor plating. All our PPC units use a positron beam so he must be using a negative charge. I think my anti-proton beam should be able to get through though. To generate a strong enough field to repel a PPC he would need ...." Paladin's voice trailed off. Paladin came back, "...More power than all of our U-B generators combined. Unless he's got some kind of super generator, there's no way he could possibly use any kind of energy or particle weaponry with that field active."

"Let's hope so. Paladin, attack at will!" Was the Commander's only comment.

And it seemed Paladin was right. When the enemy machine, "piloted" by Dr. Boot, returned fire, it did so with only super high-yield missiles and high-power cannons. The fire was deadly. Within the first minute 10 tanks had been destroyed and Bird of Prey was hit and knocked out of action by missiles. But it was obvious that Dr. Boot had not addressed the problem that the U-Borgs still suffered from, weakness in the joints. The concentrated pummeling that the Project's forces were giving the front two joints where the legs met the body was having an effect. Paladin got within range and tested his theory. He fired an anti-proton beam at the left front leg joint and it hit square on. The antimatter reacted and the explosion tore the leg off. The core dipped and threatened to fall but somehow it was able to use the other three legs to balance the weight.

Paladin immediately came to the enemy's attention and several rounds of missiles were directed at him. He dodged the first two, but a third hit his PPC, and a fourth hit his left leg. The PPC was totaled and about to explode so Paladin threw it. It exploded in mid-flight but was still too close; the explosion knocked him down. His damaged leg prevented him from getting up. Paladin then switched his chain gun on and began firing at the other front leg joint. The enemy responded with missiles again. A pair hit the right arm and ripped it off. Another hit the left side of his torso. Two more hit the upper half of his torso and blew a gaping hole in it. An internal explosion blew the head off. Paladin fell back and lay silent.

While the enemy machine was distracted by Paladin, Phalanx worked his way underneath the thing's core. Being a treaded U-Borg, he was much shorter than the others and could slip underneath the beast. The electromagnetic field was interfering with his mass driver cannon so he switched to his quad autocannons. At point blank range he opened fire. He destroyed two missile launchers and a cannon in seconds. He then began to pummel the underside armor. It dented, then crumpled, then cracked, then shattered. Phalanx kept firing until his ammo ran out. He then retreated as fast as he could. A missile impacted near him. Then a cannon shell hit the front of his tank chassis. It did some damage but nothing serious. As soon as he was at a safe distance, he fired his last Big Bertha shell into the right front leg joint. The explosion cracked the mount and the leg fell off.

The gigantic machine, now unable to balance, fell forward and the core crashed into the ground. The top weapons continued to fire, but the machine was no longer able to move. The Commander changed the focus of the attack. "All units still operational, Target the central core."

Every Project unit still alive began firing on the core. It wasn't before long that the frontal armor began to buckle and crack. Soon thereafter chunks began flying off. The front of the core was looking pretty mangled. The Commander decided to try something. He ordered one of the PPC units that had pulled back to fire on the core again. The beam still repelled, but not as sharply nor in a regular pattern. The bean cut through a thin section of the upper armor and blasted a gouge.

This gave the Commander an idea. He raised his shield and got out his plasma sword. Launching forward as fast as he could, he charged the giant hulk. A cannon round hit the shield knocking him around a bit. But he closed and thrust his plasma sword at the enemy. The sword warped and contorted as it passed through the magnetic fields, but it went in. He then stepped sideways with the sword still inside the enemy and cut a long gash. The other operational U-Borgs caught on and closed in to attack with their plasma blades. The monster was obviously losing control. The cannons were firing wildly and the missiles now missed more than hit, though they were still dangerous.

The commander used his thrusters to climb on top of the monstrosity. He then jammed his plasma blade down into the machine. He used the blade to cut a circular path in the top. Putting the sword away and dropping his shield, he grabbed the circular section of armor plating and ripped it away revealing the thing's innards. He then removed his gun from its storage location and set the last canister to the largest blast.

"Everybody get back!!" He shouted as he aimed the gun into the hole. Nobody questioned him as they all pulled back. The Prometheus squeezed the trigger and a massive blast of accelerated plasma burned into the hole. The machine's core shook violently as explosions blew it apart from the inside. The Prometheus was seen running towards the rear of the machine just before the final explosion turned the giant machine to dust in a blinding flash of light.

They found the Commander later, standing next to a half-melted Prometheus. After all the cheers had died down he was informed of the current situation. As soon as the monster machine controlled by Dr. Boot had been destroyed, every last enemy unit in the area fell silent. The jamming also lifted from around the LZ and contact had been restored. The LZ had survived.

Only 10% of the original assault force remained. The U-Borgs Paladin and Rapier had been destroyed, but their pilots were fine. Bird of Prey and Fenrir were disabled and would have to be recovered by the transports. They were victorious.

Later, after all surviving and disabled units were recovered and everybody returned to Delta base (which was still standing), and even after repeated enemy assaults during the mission, they got the news about the results of their attack. After the "real" Dr. Boot was "killed," confusion and disorder broke out among enemy forces everywhere. There were even reports that some enemy groups were attacking other enemy groups all over Dominion controlled territory. It seemed their guess had been right. Now all that remained was to mop up the remaining Dominion forces and demolish their strongholds. Without the guidance of the central mind, the task should be much easier. However, HQ had decided the Delta base and its entire staff had performed so well, that they all deserved a vacation. So new personnel were going to arrive in the next few days to relieve them. The Commander knew exactly where he was going to ask to go. He wondered how Sicily was this time of year.

* FIN *