The following is from an unedited account from Army Specialist Ackerman, as he recounted his time among the United Nations of Earth's worst combat unit in existence. The 42nd Expedition Battalion, also known as “Blunder Battalion”.
42nd UNE Expedition Battalion, Transport Fleet 13, 21st September, 2500
Day 1: The life of a Protectorate
If you told me that Earth was going to be federated two hundred years ago, I would have laughed…but it happened. We where to weak to defend our selves, so we worked out a good deal with a neighbouring hivemind. We where surprised when we didn't get eaten and they accepted our offer.
Life in a Federation isn't so bad. We pay our tithes.. Turns out we cant fight our own wars. Because we decided to take as few systems as possible.
When we had our first 4K Fleet, our enemies had two times that amount. Not exactly the smartest move, I know. When the Alvanian Commonwealth decided to take us under there wing in a Federation. Who were we to say no? We needed it, our lands where a mess, and our people were unhappy.
Thanks to being in that Federation, we got our lands sorted out right quick (thanks, Martial Law). Countless reforms got our empire to the top of the underdogs. Of course, while we still might not match up militarily to the rest of the galaxy, but at least we're not dead.
While those Hive Minded Alvanians have fancy Laser Carbines and personal shield generators for there troops, we get by on flak jackets, kinetic weapons and sheer numbers. If one Human doesn't cut it, try a few thousand more. But I won't let the UNE High Command know i’ve got wind of there high level strategy.
The enemy is lucky if they are eaten first. However, we usually scuttle into orbit before that happens, at least in the simulations. I’m proud to say our regiment has a 91% score in the simulators, and thats on Rookie difficulty. Of course, with friendly fire enabled, our score goes down to 34%. Turns out that panic fire and suppression goes both ways.
You're probably wondering why we don't have Laser Carbines. The reason, where in deep debt. High Command undocked our new 5k fleet to go deal with pirates. All of those alloys we’re meant to go into our arms and armour, simply didn’t. So we had to break out a few museum pieces to keep our newly raised armies going to war without arming us with sharpened sticks. Our air wing was the only ones to actually receive modern equipment. They had a sky carrier, which was a good thing, because we were using in a rather ancient in atmosphere fighter design.
We did do a test about what happens when you drop a museum fighter out of a drop ship. That kind of erased a 502 year old aircraft. Man, General Yang was not happy. So, the UNE ‘kindly’ provided us with the only piece of modern equipment they could scrounge up. Safe to say, we should have joined the Air Wing.
Of course, even our land transports have taken a hit, we used to be able to arm them with hoverjets and plasma missiles, now we’ve got noisy fuel engines and rotary chainguns. I guess we’re deploying old school now, bloody Air Wing.
I need a goddamn drink.
Day 2: Emergency Stop!
Christ, we’ve arrived over the target planet, let me tell you, it's a mess! Both the Alvanian and the enemy fleets where slugging it out to the death, burning wreckage from both sides entered the atmosphere, our fifth fleet arrived two days ago, there was a massive pile of wreckage where they are meant to be.
We convened an emergency meeting about what to do, of course, our meeting was rudely interrupted by Petty Officer Franklin from the Fifth Fleet, whose frozen floating corpse gently bumped into the briefing room glass. General Yang tried to shoo him away, but Franklin seemed determined to stick around. Even after Yang ordered him to return to the wreckage of the Fifth Fleet.
We were told we’re deploying in the city itself, almost right on top of an enemy force. The rumor was that the enemy empire landed an assault army on the planet, before the Alvianians sent there fleet in. This meant that…we’d be seeing combat. It wouldn't just be the “hang back and watch” type of mission I was hoping for.
The only thing we know about this empire is that they are “overwhelming” in every sense of the word. General Yang wants us ready for a combat drop. There's going to be so many bereavement letters sent out today.
Day 3: Combat Drop
Our descent was actually alright. I guess the pilots actually got their training. Some of us…did not handle the descent well. I hung a pine tree air freshener in our drop pod. It did not help with the sickly smell some people spewed out. It did look funny as it flapped its way around the drop pod.
We hit the surface boots first and autoguns blazing. Or more accurately, Private Easting hit the ramp, lost his balance and discharged his firearm forty two times, hitting a nearby enemy dropship that contained enemy command staff.
Inspired by his valour, we hastily disembarked the drop pods and began to fire at the badly armoured dropships.
I shouldered my gun and let rip every round in the magazine. Even our heavy support disembarked, the tanks trundled forward and let loose a fusillade of shells. Those transports went up like a flaming paper bag. But, there were so many of them!
Unfortunately, we learned later that those transports contained the cute alien animals and space puppies. We quickly fanned out through the wreckage, our tanks following close behind. We saw them, the bugs, their shining black carapace and sharpened claws. We had run into an enemy garrison.
We panicked. Our infantry hit the dirt and opened up with everything we had, our miniguns spun up and fired, we threw every last frag and shot to the last round. The tanks fired shell after shell, the thunderous booms rocked the ground and set my ears ringing.
The tanks shells impacted into our recon teams, leading from the front. The majority of our bullets where on target though, the same could not be said of the recon division.
When the smoke cleared. They were still there. They only had a few pock marks on their carapace. They chittered.
Yang was enraged, he grabbed his radio and screamed into it, ordering a fire mission to obliterate the bugs. The scream of primitive fighters filled the air, hundreds of them where in the sky. The Bugs waited, they seemed curious about what was to happen.
The fighters opened up. The missiles arced into the sky, unfortunately, those missiles hit our frontline. Obliterating our front line of tanks and what remained of our vanguard. The fighters banked sharply away from the strafing run, weaving through buildings. Some of them slammed into buildings.
It reminded me of watching a swarm of flies slam into a window. Only flies that exploded. Some of the buildings were weakened by orbital strikes. The fighters proved to be the final nail in the coffin. The buildings toppled against one another, creating a chain reaction of destroyed plasteel and reinforced metals. The buildings slammed into the bug unit, crushing nearly all of them.
This shocked them. They let out a harsh alien scream which translated to “Ahhh!”. They charged us, scythe like arms at the ready. They were baying for our blood. We did the only thing we could, we screamed back, terrifiedly.
Fortunately, a legion of Alvanians snuck up behind them and fired into them. Their mad chittering turned to shrieks as the arthropods were set alight via laser fire. Yet, the Hive Mind had their location now.
More and more Alvian Armies marched into the fray. The arthropods were fighting for their lives, had their backs pushed up against the wall. But they came rushing into us. They scythed through both Alvian Legionnaires and our own unit in a mad dash to get away. Yet the Hive Mind just sent more and more Legionnaires in.
They blasted apart the bugs with calculating precision. In the scant seconds that had passed, we had lost the majority of our infantry. But, we did the only thing we could do, we fixed bayonets.
That proved to be better than using our own weapons. Some of them were stunned when we charged them with a sharp bit of metal attached to our guns. That allowed the Alvian reinforcements to catch up and put the bugs down.
One of the Legionnaires flashed us a toothy canine filled smile, it unsettled us. So it snapped off a mock salute. Was the hive mind mocking us? This just caused Yang to bury his face in his hands and sigh.
We had a 64% casualty rate. In UNE terms, that meant a critical success. But, unfortunately, the war rages on. I don’t think this will be the last deployment i’m sent on.
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