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 Category:  Horror and Thriller Science Fiction
  Posted: September 1, 2019      Views: 43

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I'm a former teacher of World Geography and World Cultures. I wrote in the late 1980's and early nineties, but had to curtail my passion due medical conditions. I"m great full for those who've reviewed my posts. I look forward to contin - more...

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Two men on a mission deep into enemy territory
"The Snow Kingdom Chapter 17 pt5" by rtobaygo

SNOW KINGDOM SYNOPSIS:  Two soldiers from the United Northern Alliance, Colonel Castille Tasca and Master Sergeant Rambika Maseru, have undertaken a clandestine mission deep into Snow Kingdom territory to test a new agent designed to kill coca plants the source of the Snow Kingdom’s cocaine, the very foundation of its power and wealth.
SO FAR:  Colonel Tasca is positioned behind the cannister with Sergeant Maseru, kneeling behind a rock in the middle outcropping, waiting for Tasca’s command to ‘open fire on both Scavs lines.
ADW: Acronym for Area Denial Weapon
AAO: Acronym for Analyze, Adapt, Overcome      
DBS: Acronym for Drop and Bury Site
LFC: Acronym for Level Four Combatant
THOPTER:  Ground-controlled airborne surveillance craft used by Alliance warriors, infantry and mechanized unites to obtain real-time visual information.  Field assembled with a 140 centimeter wing span with six lens settings and twelve shredder missiles.  Uses solar power during the day, functioning on gigatdorian batteries at night.  In theory, could remain airborne indefinitely in a sun-drench environment.
TP:  Acronym for time piece.
CFIR KNIFE:  Knife used by the Alliance, consisting of a long, slightly curved eighteen-centimeter gemsteel blade attached to an eleven-centimeter handle.  When engaged, besides cutting, generates a paralyzing electric shock. 
DWORS: Four-legged BGR omnivore one point seven meters at the shoulder, length two meters, weighing 300 kilograms.  Raised by Scavenger Clans and Warlord Tribes for meat, hides and savioa.  Wild herds can be found from the Pantanal to the Pampas regions and into the Atacama Desert in South America.
JIIN PISTOL:  General term applied to type of weapon discharging a rapid series of high electrical impulses capable of burning through muscle and bone.
“Don’t let the Worlar’s screams and shrieks get to you.  On my last mission against the Worlar, two of my men were severely affected by the noise they became disoriented to the point hey were incapable of following orders, let alone defending themselves.  Their deaths weren’t a pretty sight.  The only explanation Med Core gave was their senses had been overwhelmed by the screams, it pushed their minds into a permanent state of chaos, destroying any sense of reality.”
Disbelief spread across Maseru’s weathered face.  “You’re telling me they’re worse than the Batai Mongrels we fought in the outer tracts?  Is that even possible, sir?  I never thought humans could make sounds like the Batai did.  Just thinking about it still sends a chill down my spine.”
“I, as well, Sergeant.”
Maseru looked deeply into Tasca’s eyes. “There’s no way in hell that’s going to happen, Colonel.  I think --. Damn . . . the thopther shows the Chief and the War Council pointing towards the outcropping.” 
“It means the attack’s imminent.  Once you’ve eliminated the Chief, we’ll have two, possibly three seconds to kill the Council before they disappear from sight.” 
As the tension in the air reached a critical level, most combatants would have struggled to find ways to cope with it, but not Tasca and Maseru.  They embraced the challenge, drew strength from it.  Though they denied it, they lived for moments like this, thrived on it, their confidence feeding off the raw, visceral, energy of combat, yet able to ignore the sweet, coppery smell of spilled blood, the sickly, pungent, odor of bloated corpses as one would boring conversations.
“Yes, sir.  Except for the Chief and War Council, there’s no activity on either line.” Maseru fought hard to contain his anger and frustration.  “I wish they’d attack.  I’ve had enough of this ‘wait and see’ bull shit to last me a lifetime.” 
“Stay focused, Sergeant.  I promise you won’t have to wait much longer.” 
“I’m going to hold you to that, Colonel.  The sooner we spill their blood, the better.  We’ll kill every Scav bastard still breathing.”  The hard edge in his Sergeant’s voice left no doubts in Tasca’s mind Maseru would bring down his own version of hell on the Scavs.
“Once we’ve eliminated the prime targets, we’ll burn the Scav lines for five seconds then observe their reactions.  If I’m right, the survivors will make a hasty retreat, regroup and wait for the signal to attack.” 
“How long before they regroup, sir?” 
“Best guess . . . until they choose a new Chief, so sit tight and keep your eyes on the thopter’s screen.”  With a feeling of unease Tasca stared at the peaceful, cloudless, sapphire-blue sky and wished, for that moment, they’d survive one more day to embrace it.  Exhausted beyond words, neck and back muscles sore and tight, Tasca slowly rolled his shoulders then his neck, hoping it would bring him some relief.  Realizing it was a futile effort, he turned to face Maseru.  “Sergeant we’ve endured nothing but stress, fatigue and pain for the past thirty-seven hours.  I think it’s time we rectify the situation.”
“Amen to that, Colonel.  My arms and legs feel like they’re made of zirconin.  I’ve barely enough strength to take a piss, let alone fight the Scavs barehanded.”
“Then it’s time we tilt the odds in our favor.  Take a stim from your left shoulder pocket and inject it into your thigh while I do the same.  When you’re finished, bury it.  I don’t want the Kingdom to know we’re using them.”  Tasca glanced at his TP.  “All right, let’s do this.”  With a practiced ease they removed the stims from their shoulder pockets and pressed them against their thighs.
“Goddamn, it stings.  I forgot how much they hurt.”
“It does, but it’s a small price to pay for how we’re going to feel for the next twenty-four hours.  We should feel the full effects within four to five minutes.  When they kick in, we’ll feel invincible, so it’s imperative we stay grounded.  And no Goddamned heroics like the last time, Sergeant, if not, when we reach Command, I’ll personally bust you down to an LFC, is that clear?”  The image of Maseru jumping from a rock ledge, Cfir knife in one hand, Jiin pistol in the other, onto five T’Ming Scavs, when he could have easily killed them from where he stood, was forever etched in Tasca’s mind.  It was a reckless act he couldn’t overlook nor completely forgive.  Maseru’s unbridled hatred of all Scavs could have cost him his life.  If one Scav had looked up and reacted to his movement, he could have easily killed Maseru.  This was a scenario Tasca didn’t want to contemplate, for over the years Maseru had not only become as his best friend, but a brother, the only one he entrusted with his life. 
“On my oath, Colonel.  Is there anything else?” 
“Yeah, make sure your knife and pistol are fully charged.  We’ll need every advantage if we’re going to defeat the Scavs.”
“Consider it done, Colonel.”
As Tasca fingered the laser rifle’s trigger, his thoughts drifted back to his last briefing with Command before their clandestine mission into the Atacama Desert.  He was told the Worlar wouldn’t be a problem.  Even after a heated exchange, and still unable to convince Command the Scavs would be a dire threat to their mission, asked, as a precautionary measure, Command place the DBS two kilometers from the mouth of the Latal Gorge, not in the middle of it.  He felt his anger surge.  Command really put us in a world of hurt.  When we return someone’s going to be crucified for this.  Still annoyed, he decided to search for movement beyond the Scav line facing him.  All right, let’s see what the hell’s out there.  He leaned his rifle against the cannister, grabbed his teledars and began studying the area for signs the Scavs were being reinforced.  After two long minutes of seeing nothing but brown, stunted plants, rocks and endless sand, he laid the teledars on top of the cannister.  Relieved there was no movement, he continued to analyze every aspect, every detail regarding how the Scavs would react in different situations.  Satisfied he’d done everything humanly possible to prepare for the impending conflict, he couldn’t shake the feeling he’d somehow overlooked some aspect of their behavior, bored into his confidence like Marusuian Fire Worm did rotting flesh.
The sound of Maseru’s deep voice broke Tasca’s concentration.  “Colonel, the stim worked.  I feel I can handle anything the Scavs throw at us.”
“Same here, Sergeant.  The affects should last for about twenty hours, sufficient time, to secure a rest stop once we’ve dealt with the Worlar.  It’s twelve-hundred hours.  If the battle goes as planned, it’s about fifteen k’s to the end of the gorge, and approximately another seventeen before we reach the Dune Sea.”
“Only thirty-two k’s?  Nothing like a little stroll to clear the mind before we enter hell.” 
“I agree, if you had one, Sergeant.”
“Odd, I was about to say the same about you, Colonel.” Maseru grinned.
“Touché, Sergeant, but I can’t shake the feeling we’ll face a situation with the Scavs we didn’t anticipate.”
“AAO, Colonel.”
“Yeah, Sergeant, AAO.  If we’re gi-”
Loud crackling sounds reverberated throughout the gorge, the sand behind the outcropping and in front of the container erupting into small agitated puffs.
A look of disbelief spread across Maseru’s face.  “What the hell?  Are the Scavs targeting us, Colonel?”
“You think?  But the better question is why, Sergeant?”  Annoyed far more than they were concerned they couldn’t pinpoint the Scavs’ positions, they locked their rifles on the Scav lines.
More gunfire followed by the distinct sounds of bullets striking the top of the outcropping.  “They’re persistent little bastards, if nothing else, Colonel.”
“I believe they’re harassing us for one reason, to see the type of weapons we have.  I’d bet my –”
The sound of gunfire filled the Gorge, the bullets borrowing into the hot desert sand next to their positions.
“Changing the thopter’s optics.  Since the second volley struck the top of the outcropping, logic dictates they’re positioned on the top of each wall.  All right my beauty, let’s find the bastards.”
A fourth volley echoed about the gorge, the bullets ricocheting off the base of the outcropping and into the sand. 
“Do you see anything?”
“I’ll know in a moment, sir.  Nothing . . . nothing . . . ahh, found them.  I make three Scavs above our position on the left side with two more above us on right.  I’d say it’s time we engage the thopter’s weapon’s array and eliminate our problem before engaging the Scavs’ main body.”
“I’m one step ahead of you, Sergeant.  Lock one missile on each position.  I’ll coordinate the launch with our attack.”
More gunfire echoed through the gorge, the sand dancing in angry wisps just centimeters from Tasca’s feet.  “Goddamn, they’re getting closer.  So much for them being piss-poor shots.” 
“Missiles locked on targets, Colonel.”
“Excellent.  On a count of three, launch the missiles, on one, engage the Scavs.  You ready to become the Grim Reaper, Sergeant?” 
“Yes, sir.”  With a final look at the thopter’s screen, Maseru locked the laser rifle on the Scavs.  “I’m ready to unleash hell, Colonel.”  Despite their ominous situation, they felt a degree of calm.  No longer would they wait for the Scavengers to make the first move.  For the next few minutes they would initiate the action, control it, forcing the Scavs to abandon their strategy and react to a new threat. 
“So am I, Sergeant.”
“Good hunting, Colonel.”

“You as well, Sergeant.  Ready?”
“Yes sir.  Let’s fry these ugly pricks.”
“On my mark, Sergeant.  Five . . . four . . . three . . . LAUNCH . . .two . . .one . . . FIRE!”
Colonel Castille Tasca                        Leader of mission into Snow Kingdom Territory
Master Sergeant Rambika Maseru      Second in Command to Tasca
Chief Analyzer Anton Teis                 Oversees all functions of the Atacama Hydroponic Units
Pinowne                                              Main confident to Chief Analyzer Teis
Lord Ganath                                        Second most powerful Lord to Supreme Lord Coquero
Proctor Cortezzo                                 Evaluates legal matters pertaining to the Atacama Complex
Lord Tabir                                           Second in Command to Lord Ganath
Commander Aeripica                          Ranking Officer involved with the hunt
Praetor Ziebek                                    Subordinate officer to Commander Aeripica
Staff Lieutenant Maria Lucheri          Liaison Officer between the Lords and Chief Analyzer Teis
Supreme Lord Coquero                      Commander of all Snow Kingdom forces
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