Taurian Invasion 41: Tsunami

Part Four:


I awoke that morning with Sylvia at my side once more. She had rarely left my side for more than a few minutes and I had to admit, it was pretty nice. I was beginning to dream about what the future might hold for us while watching her sleep, when she stirred. “Good morning, dear one. How do you feel?”

“A bit stiff. I think I slept wrong because my neck is sore. Could you rub it for a moment?”

“I’d be happy to if you’ll let me sit up.” I proceeded to massage her neck in an inexpert fashion. “What do we have on the agenda for today?”

“How about we get breakfast and coffee and then you ask me again? I think that’s all the massaging that my neck can stand. Can I have a kiss?”

“Of course, fair lady.” She got up and got dressed quickly after that.

I was moving slowly this morning, and she caught me at it. “Are you feeling OK?”

I patted my side gingerly, “My ribs are just sore this morning. I was able to sleep most of the night, but there is still a price to pay.”

She gave me one of her ‘don’t mess with me glares,’ “I’ll trust you to tell me if you so much as cough hard while I’m in the shower.”

“Yes dear. So, what do you want for breakfast?”

“Just eggs and toast, and you’d better make some for yourself this time. No more sneaking cereal when I’m not looking.”

“Guilty as charged.” I put on a hang-dog expression and looked at my feet until she laughed.

I hobbled for the galley to make us breakfast, and was just finishing up when she came in. “You’re just in time. I’ll be done in a minute.” She busied herself making coffee while I set up everything on the counter. “Since there is no one else here, does this count as private?”

She smiled coyly, “Yes.”

“Then, can I have a kiss?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

When we parted I looked thoughtful, “I generally don’t like coffee flavored things, but I think I could learn to like coffee kisses from you.”

She whacked me gently on the shoulder, “You are terrible,” and leaned in for another kiss…when her phone rang. “Hello…OK he’ll be right there. They need you in the command center. You go ahead while I gather up breakfast.”

I hobbled there as fast as I could.

“What’s the situation, Eddie?”

“General Dupree has ordered an alert. They have bio-soldiers on the Goto islands near Nagasaki.”

“Contact all units and tell them to get ready. I have a feeling that this is it. Let everyone else know to be on alert.”

“Sir, I have a report coming in from Yakushima Island. Bio-soldiers are coming out of the sea on the southern part of the island. What should they do?”

“Eddie, tell them not to panic. Just stay out of their way and don’t pick up anything until the bio-soldiers have cleared the area. They’re probably just passing through.”

“Got it boss.”

I smelled breakfast approaching, “Is it starting?”

I grabbed a piece of toast, “It’s too early to say for sure, but I think so.” I crammed down the toast as fast as I could. I started to call on Eddie, but he was obviously very busy, “Dear, could you call up Sniper while I scarf some food?”

“Sure, but if you choke, it’s you own fault.”

Soon Sniper’s face was on a small monitor, “I was just about to head to the morning meeting. What’s up boss?”

“The Taurians are on their way. They are crossing over some of the outer islands as we speak. I need you to take the Giant Killers down to the southernmost peninsula east of Kagoshima Bay and be ready to blow away the first group of them.”

“How long until the blinking things arrive?”

“The ones that have been spotted are still a good fifty miles from your defensive position. You should still have several hours, but I have no guarantees this morning.”

“Alright Allen, we’ll be there ASAP. We’ll send those monkey farting things back to whatever hell they came from.”

I gave him a salute, “Good luck and good hunting.”

I had a few good feeds coming in from Yakushima, and they showed a new mob of around one thousand bio-soldiers arriving every ten minutes and they just kept coming. We established open channels with the HQ of the 2nd Infantry, and with those of General Dupree, and General Abe. Tight coordination was our key to victory, if we could pull it off at all.

* * *

I watched with a bit of envy as the troops moved out. Flatbed trucks were moving in and out constantly to take fresh troops out and bring tired troops in. It was one of the limitations of working with hybrid battlesuits. Regular battlesuits just needed to be recharged, which is easy enough to do in the field, but hybrid battlesuits need to be, recharged, fed, rested and put through dialysis. This takes a minimum of two hours, and we did not have as many care stations as we had suits coming in, which added to the time.

Only as our units were going to face the enemy did it occur to me that simply staggering the times I sent groups out would have solved this problem. I would have to put that into effect during combat, which is definitely not the best time.

I called up the 7th Air Force HQ, “Major Brenton here. What can I do for you Colonel?”

“I just need to know when your boys can be in the air.”

“I have a full strike wing ready to take off as soon as we have a target.”

“Then I have a target for you. Yakushima is directly south of here and apparently directly in their line of march.”

“Isn’t that on the restricted list? A world Heritage Site if I recall correctly.”

“The forests in the center of the island are restricted, but the beaches are not. If you hit them going in and out of the water, that I think you can do some significant damage without ruffling too many feathers.”

“I’ll brief my pilots and they will be over the target in 20-30 minutes.” He gave me a crisp salute and signed off.

Sylvia was looking dubious, “I thought you needed permission from General Abe to change the restrictions like that.”

I winked at her, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them. I cover things with the General later.”

“I think you’re pushing it.”

I sighed…and coughed. “Ow. Yes, your right, but this is not the time to worry about these things. If it saves even one life, it will be worth any amount of hassle later.”

“You’re probably right, but I still don’t like it.”

I thought about it and tried not to sigh again, “You’re right, of course. Get Larry and we’ll prepare a press release to let everyone know that we made this decision and why. No sense starting a PR nightmare when we can head it off.” With Larry, Emmy and eventually Harry’s help we crafted a statement about striking the Taurians on Yakushima that, in the end, kept it from being a real issue. By the time we got that to General Abe’s HQ, the strikes were already on their way. I know for sure that they had already made several bombing and strafing runs before I got permission to launch them. That’s not how the official reports read, but that’s politics.

Quite a number of us were watching the feed from the Rumblers as they started their runs. Their napalm a bombs cut a swath through the enemy and we all cheered. Now Rumblers carry an insane amount of munitions, but watching the footage showed me clearly that this was not the answer to all our problems. Each strike could get twenty or so of them, but the sheer numbers of the bio-soldiers made them unstoppable. It was a great way of thinning their ranks though.

Sniper called in after a bit, “Hey boss, we’re in place.”

“Has your fire support team rendezvoused with you yet?”

“No, but they’re on their way. Any ETA on the ugly butters yet?”

“You’ll know how long it’ll take them before I do.

“Seems a shame to tear up the scenery just to put up defensive works.”

“I know, but what else can we do? Just keep your eyes open and don’t let them get the drop on you, OK?”

“You got it boss, Sniper out.”

* * *

The minutes dragged by as we waited for word on when the main force would arrive on Kyushu. Times like this are when the waiting is at its worst. You know they’re coming, but you just don’t know when, and aren’t exactly sure where.

After nearly two hours of waiting, I heard Sniper’s voice over the command channel. “Everyone look sharp and follow me. We have Centaurs on the rocks about two clicks from here.” I changed my monitor to get the feed from his suit, “Holy crab-apples. Eric, do you read me?”

“Yes, I’ve been listening.”

“As soon as they get off the rocks, they are taking off in a straight line at a dead run. They are not forming up or anything like that. Several have already gotten past my boys before we can get into range, and are heading your way.”

“My boys will clean up for you. Eric out.”

“Fire support three, are you listening?”

“We are already in route to your location.”

“I’ve designated point Tango on road 564 which should give us some good ambush possibilities. Let me know when you’re in position. Alright, my people. Let’s hit them hard and fast from the side and they’ll never see us coming.”

Eight Centaurs were clambering up the rocks using all six limbs, and looking like giant bugs more than anything else when the Giant Killers let off a volley that blasted them back into the sea. Within ten seconds, they were replaced by another twenty who were flung back in turn. But for every one they killed, it seemed like two more came out of the sea.

“Sniper, this is Allen. Would you mind some advice?”

“I’d sure as shakes welcome it boss.”

“Have Joey’s squad start digging defensive works and have Leon’s check the local houses for civilians.”

“I thought that this area was under mandatory evacuation.”

“That doesn’t mean everyone listened. Those Taurs are going to gain the road soon and you need to be able to fire without hesitation.”

“You guys heard the boss. Get to it.”

I had to shift my attention elsewhere for a time as new reports of bio-soldiers were coming in from at least three other locations in southern Kyushu. Similar reports were coming from the northern and western coasts at the same time, but there were other forces poised to deal with them. The Taurians seemed to be arranged into loose columns that were all pointed toward the heart of the island. I instructed my forces to meet these thrusts where they were the most vulnerable; As they emerged from the sea.

It was immediately evident that they would need fire support if they were not to be overrun and destroyed. Fifty battlesuits against one thousand bio-soldiers just was not winnable. Each enemy line of march was assigned 3 companies of battlesuits, a company of tanks, and a company of attack helicopters. They could also call on support from naval batteries and artillery fire-bases when they were pressed too closely. Between each of these column forces were clean up companies of unarmored infantry whose job was to watch for additional alien forces and take out any strays that wandered into their areas.

I checked in with the Giant killers as soon as I had gotten all that in motion to see how effective these changes had been on the ground. “Sniper , this is Allen. How are you guys holding up?”

“Well, things were going blasted fine until we ran out of ammo. We’re riding back right now to reload. I hope the other two groups can hold the line until we get our ashes back into the fight.”

“Crud! Let me work on setting up closer resupply points. Anything else being a problem?”

“Other than the enemy bodies are piling up like crazy, none that come to mind.”

I signed off with him and called Jeff Nelson over. Jeff is my head of logistics and was responsible for an awful lot of what was going right at the moment. “Jeff, I need you to do something stupid for me.”

“OK, that makes me nervous.”

“I need to set up mobile supply points just behind the tank companies where the battlesuits can go and get rearmed. I was thinking we could load all the ammo on a truck and send it out.”

“That would be stupid. You need to send out the ammo in pick-up trucks and Humvees that can be loaded and unloaded easier and in smaller loads for better mobility.”

“Take care of it ASAP.” I switched channels, “Sniper, how close is your unit to the base?”

“It should be coming into view in a minute here.”

“Good. I need you to release the Knight pilots for support work.”

“OK, what do you need them for?”

“I need them to put out fires until I can get the mobile supply points set up. Let me run an idea past you. How about taking a squad and having them shuttle ammo and supplies to the rest. You could use what reserve pilots you have or rotate squads or something like that. Does that sound workable?”

“Sounds good. We’ve just never had to face this many enemies without a dog break before.”

“I know. There’s no way that we’re going to be able to pin them on the coast for much longer without getting overrun.”

“So have you come up with something barking brilliant?”

“I’m working out the details right now. I need to get the reports from the rest of the island next.”

“Well let me know when you’ve got something, genius boy..”

He signed off and I began to review how the battle was going. Most of the alien columns had pushed in from the coast, as far as three miles in one case. This was not what I wanted to see, but it was not unworkable. “Encyclopedia, I need a map of Kyushu with the locations of all engagements with bio-soldiers.” Each engagement was marked with a small red ‘x’ and as they filled in, a clear pattern emerged. There were eleven lines of march from the sea toward the center of the island. “Anyone seen Phil?”

“He’s been in and out of the restroom all morning.”

“I need him ASAP.” I went back to working with the map and only looked up when I heard Phil approach. “Phil! You look nearly as bad as I do and I should be in the hospital.”

“I either ate something bad or had a bad reaction to something I ate.”

“Look at this map with me …” I explained the symbols that I had added and asked what patterns he saw.

“I can see what they are doing, but I have no idea why.” Phil swayed a bit and then Sylvia pulled an airsickness bag out of thin air just in time.

As soon as he stopped heaving, I said. “Sylvia, please have the nurse escort him to the hospital and have Sir Jacobs go with them. As Phil was escorted out. I did some quick estimates and pulled up a real-time satellite map and found something after only a few minutes of searching.  “Major Abe, I need your assistance.” She hurried over, “I found the key to this battle, but I need you help explaining it to the general as quickly as possible.” I brought up the map of Kyushu that Phil and I had modified. “The bio-soldiers are coming out of the sea and moving in a straight line as quickly as possible, but they are not heading for any traditional military target. Instead, they are heading for this.” I brought up another picture.

“What is that?”

“This is a current satellite picture of a Taurian base right in the middle of Kyushu in the mountains of the Kumamoto province. Their objective is to get a large force of bio-soldiers here and use that force to start their conquests. Knowing their objective, the general must make a terrible choice and this what you must help him understand.”

The major looked me in the eyes, “You have my full attention.”

“If we wipe out this base, the Taurians will most likely call of the attack and withdraw from Kyushu. We will have won the battle, but the Taurians will be able to replenish their army and be ready to strike again within a few weeks at most with the lessons that they have learned from this battle.”

A coughing fit took me before I could continue, “That hurt. The alternative is to use the knowledge to help draw the bio-soldier army in and destroy it completely. It will take them a minimum of four to six months to rebuild their forces in the region. Can I count on you to make sure he understands this message?”

“I swear that I will get him to understand if I have to write it on his forehead myself.” She saluted and headed for her station. There was definitely the blood of warriors flowing in her veins.

“Eddie, I need to talk directly to General Dupree.”

* * *

A unit of battlesuits came around the hill at a full run and began jumping into a set of trenches beside the road. The last of the armored warriors made it out of the rain of chaff and into the trenches as their pursuers came into sight. A mob of Centaur bio-soldiers that easily outnumbered the battlesuits five to one was backed up by three Cyclops. The battlesuits were temporarily out of sight, but a squadron of  eight Schwartzkoff main battle tanks and eight Stryker III armored combat vehicles were in plain sight a half mile down the road behind a row of rebar stakes. Without pausing, the bio-soldiers charged and began firing.

The Strykers fired short barreled wide mouthed mortar-cannons high into the air and the tanks fired a volley that burst when halfway to their targets. The rounds from the tanks released dozens of thin chains with weights on each end that spun like bolas toward the mob. Unlike bolas, these chains did not wrap around their victims, but sheared through then like giant flying razor blades. Then the napalm rounds from the Strykers hit the rear ranks of the bio soldiers and exploded into an inferno. The battlesuits popped up from their trenches and began mowing down the few survivors while the tanks put standard rounds into the Cyclops.

“Clear. Giant Killer One to Echo Squadron Leader. That took care of this stinking mob. Head to the next ambush point and we will bring you some more suckers.”

* * *

A venerable B-1 bomber cruised over a Kyushu beachhead at twenty-thousand feet. The bomb bay doors opened and a number of bundles of iron rods fell from the plane. The packets each separated into two dozen iron rods with thin steering fins. A small hover drone with a wide angle IR camera had a good view of the whole battlefield. It guided each rod towards a separate IR source until the tiny IR camera on the tip of each rod could see its target. On the ground, hundreds of bio-soldiers simply fell apart after being speared by the iron rods and sliced into sections by the steering fins. All without a single explosion.

* * *

Three Dragon and twenty Wyvern bio-soldiers broke the oceans surface ten miles south of Kyushu and struggled to gain altitude. A navy AWACS picked them up and relayed the information to Battleship California. The battle wagon had four giant turrets each with four guns, but the two turrets amidships had yet to participate in any of the bombardments. These turrets swung south toward the intruders. There was a popping noise a a white swirl at the cannons nozzles, and the flying bio-soldiers jerked suddenly in the air a several large holes appeared in each of them nearly simultaneously. Only a single Wyvern didn’t immediately plunge into the sea, but it was losing altitude from the four large holes that had appeared in its wings. Another pop and two more holes appeared and the Wyvern went to join its brethren.

* * *

Barbara Sullivan looked over the cavern that had become her hospital. Patients appeared in irregular intervals, but the planning had paid off. She was checking on the progress of converting one of the motorhomes in to an ambulance flight for stable patients, when a trio of familiar faces walked in. Mike and Fredgar were carrying Rico in on a stretcher. She hurried over and asked the triage nurse accompanying them, “What’s the situation?”

“He’s in shock and has a traumatically separated right elbow.”

She addressed Fredgar, “Do you know what happened?”

“A chain shot bounced off of something and hit his forearm. It completely shattered the armor joint and we had to cut the last few connections to get it off his arm. If it hadn’t lost some of its momentum, it probably would have taken his arm off.”

“You guys head back, I’ll take care of him.” She began by cutting the glove off of his hand. She suspected he might have a broken thumb, but she needed to make sure he didn’t loose his arm before she dealt with that. “Rico are you with me?”

Without a trace of his usual accent he said, “Yes, Doc. I’m meditating to keep the pain at bay.”

She moved the scanner into position and scanned from the shoulder down. The dislocated shoulder, broken thumb and fractured metacarpals could wait, but the severed radial artery couldn’t. She calmly yelled,  “I need a surgery kit and a blood recycler machine here.”

Rico looked at her with eyes that were not quite focused, “Am I going to lose my arm?”

“With any luck you won’t, but you’re out of the fight for quite some time.”

* * *

Allen took the call from General Abe in the conference room so that they could have a private discussion. “You have given me quite the difficult discussion, young man. Is there any more information you can give me?”

“There should be about one hundred total waves of bio-soldiers for each invasion corridor. There should also be a string of undersea bases to head out to each of eleven staging areas which will be vulnerable once the final wave comes ashore.”

“I see. If we were decide to destroy this army of Taurians, what would you say?”

“I would suggest a deliberate and calculated fallback as the battle progresses in order to give the enemy the illusion of progress in order to minimise the chances of the enemy withdrawing their forces early.”

“And if we were to decide to end this battle swiftly?”

“Then I would suggest that naval resources trace back each of the invasion routes until the staging areas are found, then consider the use of nuclear depth charges to reduce the enemy force as much as possible.”

“I see. What of the Taurian base on Kyushu?”

“I would suggest that as soon as the final wave of bio-soldiers comes ashore, an overwhelming infantry force should assault the base as I expect there to be a sizable force of enemy soldiers waiting to take command of the bio-soldiers.”

“You seem to think that we should draw in and destroy this army of bio-soldiers utterly. Why is that?”

“I believe that it is the shortest path to victory in this war and that it will also lead to the least casualties and destruction in the long run.”

“Thank you Colonel Spencer-san. You have given me the information I need to make this decision.”

* * *

Sniper frowned at his suit display. “Giant Killer One to control. Where is the bloody tactical data on the next wave of Taurs?”

“There isn’t any.”

“How can there be no FLAPPING DATA?”

“Because that was the last mob of bio-soldiers on this route. Return to base Giant Killers. Well done.”

Sniper stood there for a moment and let the knowledge soak in. He fell back against a tree as his exhaustion caught up with him. “About damn time.”

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