87w, 1dProject ACES
73w, 2dLook up in the sky! It's an update! No really! 1 comments · 69 views
83w, 1dBurn Out 1 comments · 52 views
93w, 6hStormriders Challenge! and the Iwo Jima Flag Raising 0 comments · 54 views
94w, 3dThe End! And New beginnings 0 comments · 44 views
101w, 4dThe Holiday Update 0 comments · 44 views
110w, 5dThe nicest thing 0 comments · 47 views
Cell - The Eagle's Nest
The sound of an explosion wakes one up surprisingly fast, and the three inhabitants of the cell were on their hooves in a heart beat. Flare concealed the combat knife into his tattered flight suit, within easy reaching distance as they all watched the door closely.
"Steady and regular... I think we're listening to a bombardment, ladies."
The sounds of the bombardment almost made them miss hearing the rapping at the door of their cell, and the rasping of the key that followed. A griffon in a black harness with a variety of equipment on it rushed in the room and shut the door firmly behind him. Flare had the knife in his mouth and to the throat of the intruder in a flash of steel.
"Give me one good reason not to slit your throat." he growled around the blade of the knife, hate bright in his eyes.
Clanky looked at the griffon with a shock of recognition.
"Flare let him gp! He's the one that helped us!"
Clanky gently pulled the stallion back, knowing after the torture reasoning with Flare when it came to hurting griffons might not be possible. The griffon for his part was rather nonchalant and dusted himself off.
"As she said, I am the one who helped you before, and is helping you now., The name’s Dirk, an agent with the NGK National Aeronautical Navigation Agency... before you ask the question, yes, obviously we don't just do windows."
Flare settled back on his haunches restlessly.
"Well, what's going on?"
"Your military is attacking this base to extract me, along with you and with any luck kill that asshole Claw"
The three ponies just stand there looking slightly shocked.
"Yes now, if the bombing outside didn't tip you off, sunshine. Come on; I've already disabled the guards and have a way out of here that should lead us to the cliffs over the flight line. That's where your Marines have made their landing."
Dirk pulled a couple of Equestrian small arms out of his pack, two submachine guns and a shotgun which were quickly divided amongst the three ponies. They quickly moved in to the hall after Dirk gave them an all clear. The bodies of about six guards were strewn across various parts of the corridor and the three ponies shared a look, they hadn't even heard a sound. Dirk buffs his talons against his chest.
"These aren't just for show you know."
Without another word, the three ponies took off after Dirk, who quickly lead them in to a maze of maintenance and ventilation shafts.
Marine Beach Head
Heavy Weapons Platoon
"Ramp down! Go go go!"
SSgt Reckless was the first down the ramp of the heavy VTOL assault plane, hauling ass with her portion of her team's heavy machine gun and her heavy weapons platoon's Lieutenant trailing behind her, completely caught up in the wake of his Platoon Sergeant.
"You freaks wanna live forever*? Move it! Get those guns up! Tube strokers, I want those mortars ready to rain day-ruining hate and discontent, NOW!"
The first of the section's heavy machine guns went up and immediately opened up on a enemy observation post that had a stream of heavy weapons fire coming from it, knocking the weapon out the fight and apparently caught something sensitive as the tower erupted in a ball of flame.
"Hot DAMN! The hell are you colts firing from that thing? Keep on the attack, Marines!"
It was a good day to be a Marine.
Marine Beach Head
Company Commander's Command Post
"Captain Stormhoof! First platoon has taken their objective and are moving up; second and third are right behind them. The LAVs are landing now and will be in the game in minutes, light casualties so far."
"Copy that, get those vehicles movomh. 20mm chain guns are gonna ruin a lot of days for the enemy."
"Roger that, skipper!"
The landing team NCO raced off to make sure that the incoming vehicles were being guided into their proper landing zones. Captain Stormhoof was beyond pleased with how his landing operations were going, his Force Recon Marines had given them all sorts of advantages, sniper fire, laser targeting for the flyboys and even found the time to give the local defenders some hidden high explosive "gifts" that had detonated right before the landing craft had come in. He grabbed his radio to report in but was drowned out by a big eight wheeled LAV's engine starting up close by him.
"...I say again, this is Blade Six. the Marines have landed and the situation is well in hoof."**
It was a VERY good day to be a Marine.
Maintenance Shaft 7-B - The Eagle's Nest
They had been very lucky so far, between the Marine assault and bombardment they'd run in to maybe a dozen guards, all quickly dispatched with a combination of silenced weapons, knives and Dirk's talons. They moved silently up the shaft with Clanky on rear security holding the 12 gauge. She had yet to engage with the weapon, the noisy shotgun might be the most lethal weapon at close quarters but it was also incredibly loud, and stealth had been their primary concern so far. She growled softly. despite her attempts to remain calm and level headed she desperately wanted to hurt as many of the individuals she held responsible for Flare's torture as possible.
She whispered to herself softly.
"Nopony hurts MY stallion."
Then Clanky checked her weapon for the eighth or ninth time, ensuring she had a slug chambered and ready to fire- right as a fire team of griffons popped out on to the landing above them opening up with their assault rifles. Dirk dove for the nearest cover, a nearby doorway.
The ponies follow suit, throwing themselves in to cover throughout the room under a hail of gun fire from the top of the stairs.
"Gee, you think?"
Clanky took a breath and looked for her companions, she was further up then they were by the time they'd all scrambled for something solid to hide behind and she had a good shot at making the stairs, she quickly formulated a plan and got the attention of her compatriots.
With that the grey mare dashed for the stairs, wings flapping to give her an extra burst of speed as her shotgun came up. Clanky took out the first of the griffons as she barreled up the stairs like a force of nature, the heavy 12 gauge slug caving his chest in like he'd been hit with a sledgehammer. Clanky made the stairs and was on them in a heart beat, had any of the unfortunate griffons survived the onslaught their report would have been a couple paragraphs of babbling about a demon with a shotgun. Two rounds of buckshot quickly finished off two of the three remaining griffons, one of whom was at such close range the shot actually beheaded the soldier in question. The third griffon managed to move back away from Clanky while she was killing his comrades and raised his weapon to fire, only to be dropped by a set of hammer pairs to the chest and head from Flare who was trying to catch up to her.
“Damn, Guess we know who paid attention when the Marines did those basic close quarter combat classes…”
The four escapees quickly reform, reassessing their situation and checking for wounds before confronting the problem of the door in front of them. Dirk quickly spoke out about what he knew,
“This is a guard post, and once we get past here we’ll be on the ridge line above the airfield, then we can signal for extraction. But first, we have to clear that room, so we’ll have to stack up on the door and…”
“We can do that, or we can liberate a couple of frag grenades from these dead griffons, toss them through the door, and not expose our tender fleshy hides to bullets.”
Dirk shrugs after mulling the idea over.
“That works too, Clanky.”
Flare pulled two grenades he’d taken from one of the griffons and primed them as he softly opened the door into the guard post. The pegasus tossed the two grenades through the door and leaped back, slamming the door shut with a kick from one of his rear hooves. A shout of alarm followed the slam, followed just as swiftly by two muffled thumps, the sound was the only indication that the grenades had detonated until the door slowly started to swing open, revealing the grisly scene within. The escapees quickly move through the room, eight griffon bodies strew around the small space, the guards of this post, shredded by the two frag grenades. They raced out onto the ridge, hooves and talons pounding the dirt beneath them, where the battle for the control of the air strip raged on below them.
“Now Zephyr! Hit the Transponder!”
A firm press of a button later and the insistent and urgent beep of a EADF SAR beacon began to pulse aboard Stormwatch, orbiting at standoff distance just out of the combat zone.
Marine Beach Head
Company Commander's Command Post
“SIR! Message from Stormwatch, they have location on our POWs! They’ve signaled for extraction!”
“Haha! Hot DAMN, that’s what I like to hear Lance Corporal! Where are they?”
“Up on the ridge line sir, North-West Edge.”
“And who’s closest?”
“First Sergeant Castle’s recon squad.”
“Perfect. Give me the radio, Marine.” The Captain grabs it from the now visibly excited Marine.
“Blade six to Shadow, priority over, over.”
“Shadow to Blade six, standing by to copy, over.”
“Break cover and move north-west to the ridge for tactical recovery of escaped POW’s. Bring’em home Shadow. Over.”
“Copy, Blade six. Shadow is moving; requesting priority fire support, over.”
“Giving you priority on the mortars, Shadow. I’ll see if I can’t scare up a little close air support for you too. Over.”
“Much appreciated sir. Shadow Out.”
Ridge line - Escapee's Position
The only sign that the escapees had that the recon element was there was when First Sergeant Castle, a massive earth pony stallion, stepped out of nowhere and introduced himself, his squad of eight following swiftly in the wake of the near heart-attacks the escapees had suffered. The salty old 1stSgt offered a hoof to Dirk, who had tensed up noticeably since the Marines had made contact.
“I wager you’re the deep cover operative I was briefed about. Good work getting them out in once piece, son. We’ve grown fond of our flycolts, and we’ve really wanted to have ‘em back.”
The massive earth pony grinned at Dirk. Dirk took the 1st Sgt’s hoof and shook it gladly, pleased he isn't about to be shot by friendly forces. His response is cut off by a sudden rumble as a set of massive blast doors a few hundred yards away on the ridge line start to open, Griffon troops begin to pour out forming up by units.
The response to the 1stSgt’s terse whisper was instantaneous, the nine marines grabbing their gear and melting into a concealed defensive positions with just a slightly rustle of vegetation to mark their passage. Castle pulled a set of binoculars from a saddlebag and cautiously popped his head around the outcropping of rock he had chosen as his fighting position.
“… Ah shit, we might be humped, ponies. They’re massing for a counter attack and are setting up a patrol our way. Get comm…” He says before something catches his eye. “Wait one… oh shit... we just scored the jackpot!”
The marine grabbed the hoofset from his radio pony and quickly started speaking into the receiver.
“Shadow to Blade six, we’re in it deep and have sighted top priority target preparing to lead enemy counter attack…”
Flare peeked over his own boulder, trying to see what had excited Castle… and was treated to the sight of a massive griffon in heavily jeweled and extremely ornate armor. He dropped back down next to Zephyr.
“It’s Claw! He’s right freaking there!”
“What do we do?” Zephyr asks.
“I think top’s taking care of it…”
AC-390 Windingo Gunship
Orbiting above battlespace
“We copy, Blade six. We’re getting the laser telemetry from Shadow now, requesting clearance to go weapons free.”
“Skyhawk, you’re cleared to engage.”
“Roger that, one large order of fried chicken, extra crispy, coming up.”
The pilot taps his crew chief on the shoulder.“Wake the colts in the back up SSgt. We’ve got a mass formation of infantry to splatter.”
“Listen up! We’ve got close air support inbound, and they’re gonna take care of most of this shit. Captain’s gonna run some LAVS in here, but we’re gonna have to hold off that platoon coming our way. We’re gonna ambush ‘em while we can. I want a weapons check; then everypony to get in position! We attack on my signal.”
The ponies quickly spread out and checked their weapons, placing ammo and grenades within hoof's reach to avoid having to fumble around with, the old MSgt himself readying a single shot AT-4 rocket launcher. He watched the sky just making out the shape of the big gunship as it started to pull into it's attack pattern and sighted the rocket carefully, settling on the obvious officer at the center of the advancing platoon. A light caress of the fire button, and the rocket erupted from the tube, exploding in a hail of lethal metal fragments devastating the center of the enemy formation. The rest of Shadow quickly took up the fight, grenades and gunfire shattering the already disorganized and confused enemy while the thunderous echoes and bone rattling whine of the gunship's main weapons sounded as it engaged the enemy's main force.
Claw died in the first barrage of the gunship's howitzer, the high explosive 157mm round impacted about two inches behind his hind leg obliterating the griffon and his command staff in a blaze of fire, the 20mm miniguns and 80mm autocannons tore into the scattering troops and everything became a cloud of blood, dust and feathers as the merciless predator cleansed that part of the ridge of life.
There was no time for the Marines and escapees comprising Shadow squad to appreciate the mass destruction being rained down a scant several hundred yards for them however. The platoon that had been hunting for them had finally recovered from ambush and was fighting back competently, one Marine had taken some grenade shrapnel and another had been shot, both were alive but in critical condition as their battle buddies covered them, Flare was popping up when he could trying to keep an eye on his friends while engaging the enemy, a griffon infantryhawk popped out of cover and popped off an RPG and terror gripped his heart as he tracked it's arc right towards Clanky. A wild scream tore from his throat.
"RPG! GET DOWN!"
The warning came far too late. The RPG impacted just next to Clanky right as spray four bullets tore in to Flare, throwing the colt from his hooves in a spray of blood. Everything else that Flare could remember was a haze, snatches of conversation and movement. Weapons fire. Lots and lots of weapons fire.
".,.Shadow, priority cas... evacu... repeat I've... five woun.. three... crit.. copy... ...t"
Gunfire, explosions, somepony screaming... maybe it was him. Flare fought hard to drag himself towards consciousness, the world of noise and light that was above him, shimmering like he was looking at it from the depths of a murky black pond as he was dragged deeper into it's enveloping depths. Then there was blackness.
Marine Beach Head
Company Commander's Command Post
"Sir! LAVs report that their approaching Shadow's position and beginning the extraction, they have critical casualties!"
"Aww shit. Tell Chief Scalpel to get his corpsponies ready for some priority customers in the medical aircraft! Then tell the platoon leaders to begin falling back, we're getting out of here!"
Captain Steelhoof grabs another hoofset from his Forward Air Controller.
"Blade six to Selene six, We're starting the evac, Captain. We're gonna need some cover to keep any enemy fighters off our backs or this is gonna be a real short trip!"
"This is Selene six. We copy Blade six; you'll have all the air cover you need. Fighters are moving to attack."
Marine Beach Head
Heavy Weapons Platoon
Reckless was in her element, a goddess of battle made flesh. Her ponies thought she was every where at once, fixing weapons, directing fire and engaging the enemy herself with a machine gun that she was running more efficiently alone then the best of the teams in the machine gun section.
"Staff Sergeant! We just got the order to pull out!"
"Copy that, Schmuckatelli! All right, freakshows, let's pack this circus up and get the buck outta here!"
Reckless swept the area mentally making sure any Marines nearby were getting support and spotted the two LAVs retreating back from the ridge line under heavy fire.
'I'm a bucking idiot sometimes.'
"Belay that last order Marines! Back on the guns! Those LAVs on the ridge line need fire support!"
Reckless grabbed Schmuckatelli by the collar.
"Schmuck! Get on the horn, and tell the CO that we're still gonna be on the ground till the LAVs hit the beach head! Make sure our bucking pilot doesn't leave with out us!"
"Aye, SSgt! Weapons to Blade Six, Weapons to Blade Six..."
Company Commander's VTOL
"...Weapons Platoon is still on the ground providing support the to remaining Marines on the ground and the LAVs with Shadow and our package."
Stormhoof hammers the ground with a hoof blow.
"Bucking son of a bitch, when did my orders become vague freaking suggestions? Alright, get those Marines some air support and make sure their transport doesn't go any where..."
"Sir! Priority alert from Stormwatch! We have enemy fighters inbound!"
"Goddessdamnit, this day just gets better. Please tell me the wing's already on it, and we're not about to die a fiery, painful death?"
"Sir, both squadrons are moving to engage now. Captain Cloud Dancer's leading the charge."
"Alright sounds good to me, in the mean time start praying. We're gonna need it."
Selene Six - Captain Cloud Dancer
"Bogies coming up 3 o'clock high, Six."
"Roger that, all fighters angle for intercept, tally ho!"
Cloud Dancer banked her fighter hard, her wingcolt struggling to keep up with the tight, high G maneuvers she was whipping through at full sub-sonic throttle. A flash on her hud painted several targets in what was a swarm of enemy fighters, and she charged towards them like a shield maiden with sword held high.
"Selene six, fox two."
The missile barely had time to ignite before it slammed in to the enemy fighter, detonating just behind the cockpit and tearing the aircraft from the sky. Cloud Dancer barely had time for brevity codes as she tore through the mass formation of enemy fighters alone, her wingcolt broke off and fell back, unable to keep up with the insane flying of his superior officer. The griffon lead formation was devastated by the guns and missile fire of Captain Cloud Dancer.
"Selenes six, this is Stormwatch. We still have three Marine transports on the ground; they’re going to need some more time."
"Selene six, copy. Wing, this is six. Break into wing pairs and provide high cover. Selene one, two, three and four form up and begin providing close air support to the grunts. I want gun runs, ponies!"
Banking to follow her own orders, Cloud Dancer dropped a snap shot heat seeking missile at a griffon fighter and was rewarded with a ball of fire as the missile quickly tracked then bore down onto the enemy aircraft like wrath personified. It was a text book missile kill.
Cloud Dancer allowed herself a lick of satisfaction as she rolled into the ground attack pattern she'd chosen to fly, lighting the ridge up with her wingcolt in a hail of cannon fire. As she came out of the steep angled attack dive Cloud Dancer caught a glimpse of what appeared to be two enemy fighters away from the main aerial engagement.
"Selene six to Stormwatch, I have two stragglers heading your way, rounding them up."
"We appreciate that, Selene six. This job can be a real pain in the flank when you're getting bothered by rude strangers."
Cloud Dancer did a quick check of her weapons and found she was down to two heat seekers and her cannon. She opened up the throttle to close hard and fast with the enemy planes and flicked her weapons selector switch.
"Selene six, going in for guns...."
Marine Beach Head
Heavy Weapons Platoon
Reckless' Marines were slowly getting pushed back, the enemy was coming out of the mountain in droves now, even the loss of the battalion the gunship had taken out didn't seem to be slowing them down.
"Damn, we really kicked the hornet's nest Staff Sergeant! We need to get the buck outta here!"
"No argument from me but keep on that goddamn gun, private. we need to let those LAVs get clear!"
An RPG detonated a few feet away cutting the conversation off briefly. The crew chief of their assault transport ran up and slapped Reckless on the helmet to get her attention.
"Staff Sergeant! The LAV's are secure and lifting! We need to go NOW!"
"Alright you pukes! Fall back to the bird! Let's get the buck outta here!"
The Marines moved fast, falling back by pairs firing as they moved, the crew chief started up the hydraulics as soon as the last Marine, SSgt Reckless, ws aboard.
"All aboard sir! Get us outta here!"
The pilot complied instantly, a quick jerk of the collective and throttle sending the VTOL skyward.
"Stormwatch, this is Sheath 1-8. We are airborne; all transports are away, repeat all transports are away."
Selene Six - Captain Cloud Dancer
Cloud Dancer's aircraft screamed down out of the sun and into gun range tight on the enemy aircraft's tails before either griffon pilot had any idea what was happening.
A stream of cannon fire shredded the first plane. His wingbird attempted to break contact and dove for the deck as fast as his engine and gravity would allow, but Cloud Dancer was in hot pursuit. One of her remaining heat seekers leapt from the rail as she rolled out of a tight high g turn, arcing across the sky and snapping the back of the final enemy plane in two.
"Selene six, splash two."
"Copy that, Selene six. The Marines just cleared the LZ and are border bound. Radar shows a large formation of NGK planes coming in hot from the north. It would behoove us to be south of the border before they get any where near us."
"Wilco, all Selene and Stardust elements, time to bug out fillies and colts. RTB with all speed and keep an ear out in case sompony decides to ambush a transport."
A chorus of wilcos answered the captain as the remaining Equestrian fighters took sharp bank southward before going supersonic. The battle of Eagle's Nest and the Northern Border crisis were over.
In the backs of various transports, corpsponies continued the vital work of patching up the wounded, stabilizing the critical for immediate transport to the base hospital once they make it back. Crewponies and passengers alike watched the sky, sweat beading on their necks and foreheads, ears cocked for the sound of a radio call that will tell them the enemy fighters have caught up with them. Finally, the radio crackled and several hundred individuals draw a sharp breath.
“All aircraft this is Stormwatch. We’ve crossed the border and are being covered by EADF relief squadrons. We’re safe ponies. Welcome home.”
There are no cheers or celebration in the formation of aircraft, though their spirits are all lightened. Just a simple sigh of relief as they begin to think about those they lost, their friends and companions who won’t see the next sunset, the ponies fighting for their lives under the care of the medics right now, the war still far from over for those unlucky few. One word reverberates amongst them. Stormwatch’s final word, “home.” They were going home.
Marine Corps Grammar facts: Behoove isn’t a pony pun! It’s a REAL word! Commonly used by Marine NCOs and SNCOs to outline undesirable behavior. “It would behoove you, not to do stupid shit in my barracks this weekend.” “It would behoove you to stop giving my daughter the long eye, cause I’ll kick your ass.”
Fun Reference: There’s a very /blatant/ obvious reference early in the chapter to a very popular series of American fiction that had a lot of influence on my own writing and is /way/ less subtle then my previous shout outs and references. In this case it refers to Clive Cussler’s “Dirk Pitt” series and the National Underwater Marine Agency he works for. They don’t just do windows either. The other major reference (besides Top Gun, Ace Combat, etc for the /entire/ fic) was a shout out to Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allision. Stackpole’s a personal favorite author of mine, and both Authors wrote the “Star Wars X-Wing” series of novels which are also a personal favorite of mine. The reference is in chapter 6 and consists of a direct quote from the X-wing novels, you can’t miss it.... if you’re an incredible nerd like me who’s read that series several times.
*/**Legends of the United States Marine Corps #4/5:
I have two extremely direct quotes in this chapter from Marine Corps history. Modified just slightly to suit the story and of course ponies. I have the originals for you here with a little context for your enjoyment. Remember learning a little more is just a mouse click away and these real stories make my humble little fic seem pretty lame.
*”Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?”
-GySgt. Daniel J. "Dan" Daly, USMC, near Lucy-`le-Bocage as he led the 5th Marines' attack into Belleau Wood, France, 6 June 1918. WW1 for those who don’t know
**”The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand.”
-Attributed to Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)
Most folks don’t that Marines have been in Amphibious warfare since our founding. The first Marine amphibious assault was at Fort Nassau in the Bahamas and a smashing success, capturing guns and powder for the struggling colonies. Later we (Marines) literally wrote the book on modern amphibious warfare and the assault of fortified beaches. The gear and the tactics were put to the test during the Island hopping campaign during the Second World War where they succeeded brilliantly. The army then borrowed our book, and our gear to make the Normandy landings during that same time frame.