MD #257: Copper Basin - Marines
Copper Basin: Marines
Summary: The Marines head down to Picon to rescue colonial citizens.
Date: 21/12/2017
Related Logs: Airwing scene not yet posted and Picon Recon
Atticus Palermo Emily Clara Gray Lleufer Randy Maxwell 
Two small towns, a river, and some farmland

The remnants of the Skath fleet are still deorbiting when the amphibious landers, Raptors, and Rhinos descend towards Picon. They're skidding across the atmosphere slowly, tumbling and burning up, terminating mostly in large explosive fireballs over Picon. Combined with the orbital nuclear detonations before this, quite a bit of the planet can at least guess at what is happening. One can only imagine what sort of angry cursing the Clerics are doing while the Skath ground units try to figure out where the next attack is coming. They didn't have to wait long when orbital bombardment took out a pair of Saber sites, giving the wing room to work and also chase away Raiders that might try and get too close to the landing site.
With the forces of King David of Easton advancing up the road from the southeast, Korwyn was going to end up being the immediately threatened and secured area. People had been told to gather whatever they could and wait for extract. The plan was to put down the four amphibious landers at grid DJ23 and the northern section of DJ24. While descending, the pilots began singing out that the areas where they were supposed to land was covered by not just people, but livestock and supplies. They had not even landed yet and already the situation was calling for adaptation. So primary extract went to DI22 and DJ22 and everything had to be moved north a bit. As the landers put down, the people are already shouting about having to move the supplies north while the crew are trying to get them to just get loaded and GTFO. Things can never go smoothly — except if you're an air wing attempting to destroy a small understrength orbital fleet apparently.
Every fifteen or twenty minutes the blue sky overhead flashes and roars with an explosion as parts of Skath ship explode somewhere in the air above. The light breeze doesn't hide any of it. The breeze also isn't blowing away the billowing smoke cloud to the southeast where the last town before Korwyn is already burning. Seeing the ships, likely the Knights and militia are already riding hard northwest to the towns.

It turns out that someone apparently did want Atticus along for this one. The words 'local knowledge' had been muttered in his direction before he was kitted out and and thrust onto a raptor with the fully trained troops. He's nervous, but not overly so, just mostly keeping his head down and trying not to get in the way. His orders are to stay close to Ynyr unless instructed otherwise, so that's what he intends to do. He'd been tempted to ask if he could bring his sword, but didn't for fear it would get in the way with the rest of the troops not used to operating with one in their volume. The ride down through atmo is something he hasn't done enough to get used to yet, but it just makes him a tad green rather than risks losing his breakfast and as they speed towards the landingzone he takes his cues from the others, checking his gear when they do, checking his radio when asked to etc.

Preferring to drop through atmo while on her feet, Palermo has one hand braced on one of the support struts while the other is looped through one of the jump straps, balancing with a bit of a grin on her face as the Raptor plummets dirt side. Her boots are braced against the deck, the weight of her gear and body armor is a reassuring touch stone as she checks her com when it's her turn but otherwise just rides it out.

Emily is still a bit weirded out by her own radio so she doesn't use it unless she has to. The bud is in her ear and radio on, but there is frump. Otherwise this is her first combat landing and she looks nervous in the dim light. And a little more pale than usual. She's staring at Palermo's back most of the time and holding on with one hand while the other keeps her rifle from bouncing around. When the doors open, she just follows the Sergeant out without a word and says nothing, looking around at some of the chaos.

Clara is quiet, as she often is on bus rides such as these. The Three's tiny frame is squeezed between two bigger marines, her dark eyes trained carefully on what she can glimpse of the raptor's windscreen. A tilt of her brow as another fireball hurtles silently past, trailing smoke and ash in its wake. Her fingers tug at the strap of her medkit absently, making sure it's snug to her shoulder.

And Gray is along as well, taking in the local scenery and the like. Or, more properly, muttering his usual litany of pre-combat prayers to gods who may or may not pick up the phone but which are part of his pre-combat ritual now (and have been in some form or another since the last war). Otherwise, he's mostly quiet on the way down.

Soon as they touch down, Gunnery Sergeant Lleufer Ynyr is putting orders out over the Marine coms for people to disemark fast. Various units are given new locations to gather and as soon as they have their assignments, Lleufer looks around to check on his own people. "Ommanney, you're with me! Benning, you are with Palermo!" Ynyr strides out a little ways from the lander he disembarked from and motions his team to come with him, "Listen up! We've got people to assist everyone on board with their gear and animals. /Our/ job is to head a bit south and get ready for what's coming! We've got eyes up on the landers who'll let us know when they can see anything coming. Probably going to be mostly on foot but some mounted. Don't know if there will also be any Skath walkers." The Gunny adds, "We've got one howitzer with us so let's get it unloaded and set up first."

Randy's got her standard gear, that is the chest rig, EOD kit, armor, headcam, Arpay feature disguises for her eyes and ears. It's a bit of a trip, her eyes just as brown as before she had to trade in for the Arpay ones. The Private yawns after having gone through her checks and started the headcam recording. A faint grin tugs at her lips as the sky keeps exploding just outside. She shuffles out to receive instructions, keeping her eyes on their surroundings past the Gunny.

Clara clambers out along with the others, eyes going skyward the moment her boots hit the ground. There's a quick nod of acknowledgement to the Gunny, then she hitches her rifle, checks her medkit one last time and prepares to move out.

Atticus feels a small desire to mount up and face the oncoming knights with a cavalry charge, but has to simply keep the mental image as one that will keep him warm on long nights ahead. As the hatch opens and Lleu is out he scrambles to catch up. Putting himself just to Lleufer's right and a pace behind so as not to get in the way he lets his eyes scan the surroundings for anything odd, or unusual, as the others start to work.

Gray disembarks from the ship, a look of vague amusement crossing his face at the idea of them needing to help evacuate /livestock/. Some things about this war are just always going to feel strange; after all, it wasn't even a year ago that he was in a normal, modern society…well, ok, that was technically a few decades ago, but not to him. Relativity is a bitch.

While the 155mm Howitzer is unpacked from the lander, along with the truck to tow it, the spotters on the amphibs begin reporting in. The radios of the Marines begin clicking live with a primary voice, GSGT Knox. "Ynyr, Mike-Six-Four. Visual contact with enemy force approximately twenty miles south-southeast of Kolwyn. They are heading this direction at roughly fifteen miles per hour. Rough count, approximately three hundred men on horseback. Dust cloud from the horses is obscuring the rear, but there may be Skath Walkers. Be advised, we have no air support assets immediately available. They are currently refueling and running air defense suppression operations, over."

Maxwell is ready, his armor is fitted and tight. He holds the LMG in his hands with a strap holding it in place over one shoulder. He has ammo and grenades in his pack and then his assault-pack on his back. When the ship touches down and Max steps out he taps his cam to record and hefts the LMG. He looks towards Lleu and says. "Gunny, Rise to the three o'clock, going to set the LMH up there, good vantage from that point for suppressive fire, if that sounds good." he waits to see if that works for his boss.

Palermo waves Benning and Anderson to fall in as she jogs for the truck that the Howitzer is hitched to. "I'll drive, you guys load up," she says as she snags the keys and swings up into the driver seat almost before everyone else is sorted out. She checks over the truck as she stows her gear, slings her rifle down to rest between the seats and has the engine running within seconds. "Gunny, where do you want me to take station?" is asked before she actually rolls out, one hand resting on the wheel, the other on the gear shift, easing forward a few rolling yards to get a feel for the weight of the howitzer hitched up.

"Palermo! Jump in the humvee! You're driving!" That means Emily's riding with her! "The rest of you, let's head south-east. Flynn, lemme know if you can think of anything we can set up EOD wise for our enemies. Something that won't force our refugees through a choke point but that you can activate after their passing?" While she thinks about that, Palermo can have fun towing the howitzer towards the smaller town of Kolwyn. Through the fields. There's no road so she'll need to go a little slow. Just as well since the rest of the Marines will be on foot. Lleu lifts a hand to his left ear as he walks and toggles his coms, "Ynyr Copies, Mike-Six-Four. Over." Then the Gunnery Sergeant raises his baritone to carry, "About one hour or slightly more ETA for enemy to reach Kolwyn! Flynn! There's a small bridge south-east of Kolwyn! I want it rigged to blow!"

"Negative, Knight. Bring it with us. We have more than an hour before the enemy will reach Kolwyn and it's only two miles for us. Keep that as a fall back position idea." Lleufer thinks it'll be put to better use in the town, first.

Gray nods in acknowledgment as he climbs on board, riding…well, he's not carrying a shotgun, but riding 'assault rifle' just doesn't have the same ring to it. "Copy, on it." Without further comment, he hops on board. "So, remind me…how much livestock are we thinking we'll be able to bring along as well as the villagers?" he asks. Getting the people, he understands fully. Taking the cattle and whatnot along as well? Not so much, at least off the top of his head.

Emily STARES at the massive gun as it is brought out of the transport. "Whoaaaaaaaaa," she goldfishes. "Its so big!" The expression spreads to a grin and she looks up and over her shoulder to Palermo. "Aye, Sergeant!" The nervousness seems to have faded a bit. Who could dare advance on a cannon of such size?! Hopping into the truck, she looks around after figuring out how to close a door. So many firsts today - like riding in a truck.

"Aye Gunny!" Randy shouts like any good grunt. She picks up her pace to stick with the group. "Gunny I think there are two bridges. Which one do you want prioritized," as if she fully plans on trying to hit them both. Ambitious little frakker. She looks back over her shoulder at Emily and chuckles softly to herself.

Clara seems to be just fine with hoofing it. She can walk further and faster than the Colonials anyway, and being on foot is preferable in case things quickly go south. Still no commentary from the little medic; Lleufer's busy calling out orders, and her job for now is to watch and wait.

Max nods and makes a mark on his map for the fall back. He then makes for the Hummer. "Marker in place and loaded… ready to roll." he slips into the Hummer and then rises up into the gunners ring in the roof of the Hummer. In less than thirty seconds he has his LMG lock into the ring and loaded. "Guns up, ready to rock." he says down into the cabin. He adjusts the kneepad and finds a happy medium comfy position and gets ready for the ride.

Atticus glances back to those four landers. He's somewhat in awe of their size, and that of the howitzer, but he's brought back to focus as the plan is made. A march/run across fields, he can do that. Defensive position while they have the advantage of range, also likely not too bad, it's when that cavalry charges that he's worried. "Gunny," he notes as he starts to move as directed, "if you know all this already then shut me up, but digging trenches and planting spikes to break any cavalry charge would be useful, if we have the time. If not then keep to tight spaces, where they can't make full use of their maneuverability. Rooftops would be good, but might make you stick out for any archers they've brought."

Lleufer pulls out his map to reference it as he walks. He speaks over his radio to Knox for a moment and then looks to Randy as they keep moving at a brisk walk, "Knox says the southern bridge is a rail line. So priority the north bridge. If we have enough explosives and time, let's do the southern bridge as well. If not we can sight in the howitzer to take it out. Won't stop them coming across that tributary but it'll slow them down a little so I prefer to catch them coming over the bridge when we blow it, and take out as many with it as we can. Good?"

"Aye, Gunny, rolling out," Palermo calls as she waits while Max gets set as well and then begins to roll out, towing the howitzer along behind. Dropping into the lowest gear as she gets a better handle on the terrain, "Eyes peeled, everyone," sharing a quick grin sidelong with Benning and Anderson as she works the wheel to feel out the handling and response time. "Be on the lookout for wandering herd animals, sudden drops in terrain, power lines, fences, and water hazards," there's a grin.. a distinctive grin in fact.. as she she shifts gears to gain speed steadily.

Atticus gets a nod from Lleu, "Problem is that digging trenches without heavy equipment to do it for us means doing it by hand. We don't have enough time. But keep your eye out - if we see any narrow choke points in town we can do that, where there isn't pavement, we can." There are shovels to help dig the howitzer in, as needed. Maxwell gets a thumbs up, happy with the LMG mount on the humvee and Palermo gets a nod for acknowledgement. (fits that in before the next set)

The hummer rolls off through the field, bouncing along. Nevermind the small pallet of artillery shells in the rear and the gun bouncing along behind it. Its slow going but the team gets down there with enough time to get it set up in advance of the Marines on foot. There is still about 45-50 minutes before the arrival of the enemy force and the amphibs are going painfully slow with trying to herd animals up inside like an ark. They'll need at least that long to get a few thousand livestock loaded.
The town of Kolwyn is roughly divided into two parts. 2/3's of the town is on the west bank of the small river, the other sparsely populated third is on the other side, where the buildings are more spaced out.
The 'defending bank' the Marines will be occupying is lines with trees and homes. The 'river' is about fifty feet across and maybe 5' deep at the center. Horseback cavalry will be able to ford it, but a little slower during that. So far though, it looks like everyone has cleared out of the homes on the other side of the river. The shutters are all drawn and doors shut. Everything seems to have been cleaned out of the yards and immediate area. Most of what is left is either too bulky to carry or useless for an evacuation. Nearby, just to the south, the main artery of the Cayuga River roars with its nearly quarter mile width moving millions of gallons every minute.

Atticus eyes the river as they reach the bank they'll be holding and shakes his head slowly. "From the looks of it she's too deep to pit the ford in the time we've got, but if we could drive stakes into the shallows and this bank, angled outwards and towards their approach, then it'll give at least some of the horses second thoughts." He knows where he'd put archers, but riflemen are something different so he doesn't comment on that side of things.

Firmly resisting the urge to suggest that they roll out and pretend to loll around and apply sunscreen, Palermo keeps the hummer engine idling once they're in place and takes the time to count the number of artillery shells that are stowed on the small pallet that's sharing space with the Howitzer. Climbing up onto the tailgate of the hummer, Palermo raises her binocs to glass the area in a slow 360 then pans upward as well, sergeant cynical and suspicious, as always. "They're not going to have enough room for all the animals, no matter how closely they pack them," she remarks after lowering the binocs.

Max keeps his eyes open while they are rolling. The stays behind the spall guard on the machine gun as he can, just in case. He can spin the ring three-sixty so he keeps an eye out all around them. Anything that looks suspicious gets a turn and point, eval and watch… so far, nothing has posed a threat. He checks the large box of linked ammo that feeds into the gun every so often, making sure there are no twists or kinks. Also to make sure that nothing foreign has gotten into it that might hamper the feeding of the belt. When the Humvee comes to a halt, he unpins and pulls his LMG from the gunners ring and drops down inside the vehicle and the exits. "Where you want me Gunny?" He asks LLeu. He can bring a huge volume of fire to bear with minimal support so he has to know where to be. He hefts the extra ammo and spare barrels for the machine gun.

"Copy that Gunny." Randy tucks her map away and starts whispering calculations to herself, probably working out her plan for the charges ahead of time. Once they get to the river, Randy makes off for the bridge. "On my way to set the charges." She takes in their surroundings as she moves along, noting a path she might be able to use for retreat if necessary. Once she gets there, she starts humming something at /least/ forty years old, some song, possibly some obscure Aquarian pop hit. Slinging her pack down, she unloads two charges and moves to start rigging the bridge, working on the side to the east where the jerks should be coming from and keeps at it.

<FS3> Randy rolls Demolitions: Good Success.

Emily helps get the gun set up and needs a lot of guidance. It doesn't slow things down too much, but she is making progress and learning. For someone who has never even seen a gun like this in real life, she does alright. She ends up standing by Palermo and looking down the road at the bridge while Randy runs off. Her hand hangs off the back of her neck while her eyes drift up to the deorbiting debris.

Clara keeps watch while the others busy themselves with various preparations. A pair of binoculars have found their way into her hands, dark eyes occasionally flitting back to the marines as she waits.

Gray nods. That's more or less what he'd figured, but he'd been wondering all the same. "Alright, we're here…" Gray says, giving the scene a glance. "Where do you need me?" He's pretty flexible about what he can do, even if most of that flexibility probably involves shooting things.

Into the town they come, such as it is - it's a small town. Lleufer looks around as they come through to catch up with the hummer and the howitzer they'll already have set up. The Gunny looks to Atticus, then looks at the tributary, "Let's do it. Either side of the northern bridge here, and as we have time we can work our way southwards. Cut some poles with spikes and as much as possible, set them into the water angled so they can't be seen. We blow the bridge here, they are likely to head into the water from the road. Being as there are so many of them coming, if we have time we can try to do some around the banks of the rail bridge to the south too." Ynyr motions for Palermo to adjust the position of the howitzer, "Park and set it up beside those buildings there to act as a screen for the gun, on the road on the west side of the northern bridge. Don't let the buildings obscure the line of fire as they come up the road." Animals are NOT his problem, atm. "Knight, you might get higher up on top of a building but I don't want you too far from the hummer than you can't make it back when we pull out." Flynn gets a thumbs up from Lleufer as Randy heads out. "Everybody who doesn't have a job to do, assist with cutting poles and sharpening, then planting them where Atticus thinks they are best suited." Then he's looking for their model Three Corpsman, "Clara! Maybe you and I can pull out as much heavy crap as we can to block every possible access between and through the buildings facing this tributary. Once they get through the water, I want to slow'm down as much as we can. We'll unhook the hummer to use it to haul things if we have to, then hook it back up to the howitzer before we retreat."

"Sure thing, boss," murmurs Clara, stirred from her thoughts by Lleufer's voice. She passes off the binoculars and gets to work. Trudging off a short way, she picks through the bracken looking for anything suitable for a road blockade.

"Gunny, why not use a bit of demo to collapse some of these buildings to make a choke point? Deny the option for other avenues of approach?" Palermo asks via comm even as she's climbing back into the Hummer. "Benning, stick with Anderson like glue, I'll be right back," she calls as she drops the hummer into gear again and eases the vehicle into the correct location, checking the mirrors and line of sight repeatedly until she has the vehicle precisely where it's wanted. She parks it, again, then hops out and narrows her eyes as she stars down the line of buildings only then does she walk jog back to the others.

<FS3> Randy rolls Demolitions: Good Success.

Atticus nods a short sharp nod to Lleu as he gets his orders, pausing only to make one further note to Lleufer before he starts forging spikes. "Gunny, one last thing. If Flynn ends up with spares, and doesn't mind the swim, something on the far bank, to startle the horses as they enter the water would be very disruptive. Take out the front few ranks, the ones following can't stop in time and pile into the mess, fall…" By the expression on his face he's already regretting what that'll do to the horses, but war is a sucker like that. Thought relayed he draws his knife and starts hunting for sticks and poles, and small trees to turn into the aforementioned spikes.

It takes Randy a good twenty minutes to finish the charges for the northern bridge. Then she has to sprint down to the southern bridge which is a bit easier having just lightened her pack a bit. Until she has other orders, this is what she's going to do. When she reaches the southern bridge, she starts her pop tune over again. It's a sequence of songs. Maybe she knows how long the time has past based on how far she's gotten into the album? Long frakking pop anthem album.

Emily looks over at Gray, then at the gun, then at the house they are standing near. "Can we not just fire this gun at the riders of the other ranks and scare them away?" TEENAGER SIGH. She walks over to the fenceposts and pulls one out of the ground. Walking towards the river, she takes a few more and sharpens them with her knife, eyes on the horizon and the closer-edging dustcloud.

Lleufer turns his head to listen to Palermo, "We may collapse some, but I'd prefer to shell them with the howitzer and drop the buildings on top of them as they are passing through." The bastard! Two for one thinking. "If we find any volitoles we can set them up to burn real easy once we have fallen back and are shelling the town. I plan to fall back /before/ they get through so we have to hustle. Whatever gets through, we'll be picking off with our rifles from the fields. I don't want to get caught in the town and still have two miles to get back to our rides out of here." He and Clara can look for flammable liquids to douse the buildings, and nails to toss around or hammer through sheets or thing plywood to make caltrops for horses and footman alike. If they have enough time.

Ynyr looks back to Atticus as he helps Clara pull out as much as they can to help block between buildings. "I don't think she's going to have time. Soon as we can see them coming, we'll be pounding them with the howitzer already." Riding piles of panic! Everybody who can better be cutting, trimming and placing poles in that tributary!

"Would they really turn back, Benning?" Palermo wonders in a low voice as she snags an arm load of fence posts to cart over to where Emily is standing and starts to sharpen the end of the first one, bracing the blunt end of it between her feet as she works. "Would they even be -allowed- to retreat?" is asked in the same low voice before she nods to Lleu, "Aye, gunny, got it."

Max nods. "Roger Gunny." he says and then turns and sizes up the buildings and vantages as well as how far away from the rally point they are. He picks a fair sized building and gets to the roof, setting up his machine gun nest. He gets out his spotting scope and then anchors a rappelling rope to one of the stone chimneys. Egress options if needed in a hurry. He loads up and sets his spare ammo close by so he can reload with added speed. He gets on the headset and makes a call in. "LGM-1 is set, locked and loaded." he says keeping his comms short.

Gray nods to the order, in effect, to babysit Emily…and then she asks the question and he smiles slightly. "You really think that'd work? You gotta presume their horses are at least somewhat combat-trained…" he observes. "Which means they won't turn and run the first time something goes 'Bang!'" With that, he joins her in sharpening fenceposts. "However, if we set this up they might just run right into the pointy ends," he offers, as if by way of consoling her.

Clara works quickly, and has no trouble hauling slabs of board and sheet metal well over her own weight. She doesn't waste time hammering anything into place though, and lets Lleufer focus on dousing the blockade with something flammable. Once the work is done, she finds a sheltered spot to fall back and hunker down into, medkit slung forward and at the ready.

<FS3> Emily rolls Body+Body: Success.
<FS3> Emily rolls Body+Body: Good Success.
<FS3> Emily rolls Body+Body: Failure.
<FS3> Gray rolls Body+body: Good Success.
<FS3> Gray rolls Body+body: Success.
<FS3> Gray rolls Body+body: Good Success.
<FS3> Palermo rolls Gunnery: Success.
<FS3> Palermo rolls Gunnery: Great Success.
<FS3> Palermo rolls Gunnery: Success.
<FS3> Palermo rolls Gunnery: Good Success.

Lleufer laughs when he hears Gray, "Only knights have pistols, and most of their horses won't be used to even that, let alone a howitzer exploding 115 mm shells among them, nor bridges blowing." Yep, the Gunny's not too worried about that as he douses the outside of a building with as much lamp oil as they can find, moving from one to another.

Gray chuckles at his own (relative) ignorance of the situation. "I keep forgetting how badly they tie a hand behind their backs…" Yes, he realizes there's a logic to it. It's still something he really can't account for in his mind…it's just not how you do things, period.

The time to get things ready winds down and as many stakes as are being jammed into position, the water is beginning to look formidable. Every single Marine is working hard while the houses begin to burn behind them. The barricades force the groups into tight sectors of fire, should the cavalry break through. The JTAC over the radio keeps a running tally for arrival times. When it gets down to two minutes to visual range, the Howitzer already has its muzzle lifted just a bit off the horizontal, opting instead for direct fire into the target area over a mile away where the road emerges from the trees.
They are hard to see at first, the dark colors of the Knight's clothing is offset by the glinting steel of the plate armor. Is it Skath? Is it mounted people?
A quick look through the binocs and then the JTAC is calling it, "Palermo, Mike-Six-Four. Fire Mission. Fire for Effect, you gun, complete all high explosive rounds. Visual contact, range one point one mile from your position. Elevation six degrees. Gods help 'em, fire when ready. Six-Four, out."
And when the gun fires, it heaves out a massive round that screams over their heads with the sound of a massive sack of burlap being ripped open. The sound is so loud that it can be heard over the burning houses and exploding debris. It screams right down the road, just a few feet over their head. The Marines can watch the little black speck continue downrange until it seems to vanish… dud?
The round explodes just to the right of center. It's a bright flash followed by dirt and smoke sending 'bits and pieces' into the air. The overpressure wave of the explosion rolls across the terrain and flattens the grass a little as it rolls, hitting everyone with a light kick to the lungs. They barely have time to high-five when the second round fires. This one hits home, nearly dead center. The horse cavalry is already charging forward and trying to spread out, but leaving the wood thicket with the road, there are only so many places to exit. The next two rounds continue knocking them over and the shell craters are surrounded by the litterings of former knights. The cavalry is just starting to get into gun range for the rifles and there's still more than 250 of them.
This is going to get real sporting.
Houses are burning, enemy is going boom-boom from the big gun, but where's Randy?

Being the one who suggesting spiking the ford, it's Atticus who got volunteered to be the one in the water making sure they're firm. Once word comes through that the cavalry is close though he's helped out by others and drops back towards his default position of 'within 12' of Lleu. He squelches a little as he runs, but he'll get over it, and he's almost back to the Gunny when that first shell fires. There's no need to wait for the pressure wave to knock him over, he's eating dirt and crying out in sheer surprise. Terror isn't quite the word for it, it goes too far to be accurate, but it clearly scared him. After the second he musters enough courage to scramble to his feet again and get going again, keeping his head down, and slotting into a suitable firing position where he can see the approach to the ford.

<FS3> Randy rolls Body+Body: Failure.
<FS3> Randy rolls Body+Body: Success.
<FS3> Randy rolls Body+Body: Failure.

Uhg. This sucks. Emily helps stage the rounds for quick loading and they're heavy as hell and she's little. Working with Gray, she doesn't talk much while Palermo gets the gun ready. It looks cool and these are big rounds but she wanted to be up on the front lines. Not ALL THE WAY BACK HERE. Emily then hears the radio crackle and something about a fire mission. "What's a fire mission?" The words barely leave her mouth when the gun in front of her booms. Her eyes follow the black speck downrange and watch it explode, eyes bigger than dinnerplates. "I WANT ALL THE HOW-ZERS!!!" she yells, nearly hooting it as she helps load more. This is suddenly so much more entertaining!

Clara knows what's coming, and whips her head around, hands over her ears as the shockwave pummels them. Once the dust clears she opens her eyes, and does a quick mental headcount to make sure everyone is accounted for and nobody needs medical attention.

With the first four rounds already aimed down range at the incoming cavalry, Palermo has her ear protection on and is carefully working the angle and trajectory to update the math for the decreasing radius. The high-5 moment may have been a nice boost of morale, but blowing the enemy into bits and pieces that go splat is just the cost of doing business, more or less. The look on Emily's face makes the older marine chuckle, "So say we all," said with a brief gleam of a grin. "When we pull back, make sure that you keep an eye on Knight," Maxwell, that is, "we're aren't falling back without him," accepting the rounds to reload, handling each artillery round with care.

Hyperfocusing? Is that how Randy got here? She's better than that surely. It's down to the wire and Randy can hear the approaching hooves beating the ground. She finishes setting the last charge and drops down into the water under the bridge to squeeze her way out. Five feet? That's as high as her head, but the makeshift staves are just high enough for someone her size to…well. She hustles as fast as possible and starts picking up some real speed when she notices one of the stakes through the water's reflection. Twisting to the side at the last second, she gets snagged on another one and has to fight the desire to trash. There's a ripping sound, a grunt. Wet like a rat, she tries to see if her comms are still working. "Flynn. Stuck on west bank of southern bridge, over." She reaches for her boot knife but keeps her eyes on the far bank. It's so close.

Max is crouched down behind his SMG. He turns his head when he sees that they are getting ready to fire the cannon. The 'Ftump' of the massive round leaving the muzzle pounds him and he smile… takes a quick breath and waits for the follow on shots. Once the last round is away he looks through the spotting scope next to his machine gun and he can't help but crack a little smile. Artillery, the Queen of Battle, she is a real bitch. It's impressive carnage to say the least. He leans back over behind his gun and waits. He has 400 rounds belted together and ready to go… He looks over his gun-sights and he murmurs. "Come get some." These men have run roughshod over these people long enough… now it's time for the bill to come due… payment in full.

Wow, hell of an opening! Gunnery Sergeant Lleufer Ynyr grins big as the first rounds fly and land. Thank goodness for ear and eye protection He's hunkered down behind one of the barriers near Clara so he has a little cover but it's not much. "Everyone ready firing positions! When they are about to hit the bridges, Palermo, pull out the gun and fall back to a new firing position for the town and hold until I tell you to resume shelling! That means you too Maxwell. Everyone else will fall back when they hit the water!" That over the Marine radio. Lleu will be on foot right along with others. Where the hell is Flynn?! "Oh shit. Clara, you are faster than I am. Go get Randy out!" Lleufer almost started to go but he needs to keep an eye on battle to change orders as required. "Fire when ready, Knight." That to Max. "Atticus, stay close by me."

As shooty shooty time comes, Gray joins in the shipping of projectiles to the approaching forces courtesy of How & Ser courier services. "So say we all…", he confirms. "Copy that…" he offers in response to the directions involving Knight, before going back to more loading.

Six, seven.. where's Randy? Where the frak is Randy? Clara's springing to her feet before the words have really left the Gunny's mouth. She shoulders her medkit, unslings her rifle and sets off at a dead sprint for the bridge. Even with a full pack and medical equipment, she can really move.

Atticus has just about stopped twitching whenever Lleu uses Max's surname, but it had been difficult at first. Since Clara had a better position than me he slips into it once it's vacated. It helps as well that it gives him a better firing line with which to cover the rescue effort than he previous. "Aye Gunny," he replies as Lleu addresses him, "covering the Corpsman." Short, simple, informative, he leaves it at that.

"Aye, gunny," Palermo calls into the com as she and Emily finish reloading the Howitzer. "Anderson, sing out when they're approaching the halfway mark to the bridges. Benning, keep a tally on the shells so we know when we're halfway through our payload."

<COMBAT> Lleufer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight5 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight5 with Rifle AP - Critical wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight5 with Rifle AP - Critical wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Maxwell fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight2 with MMG AP - Moderate wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight2 with MMG AP - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight2 with MMG AP - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Palermo uses a 105MM Gun!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Knightgrp1 - Moderate wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Moderate wound to Right Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Critical wound to Neck (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Critical wound to Left Foot (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Moderate wound to Right Leg (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Moderate wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Critical wound to Right Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Critical wound to Right Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Serious wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - ARMOR on Left Arm stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp1 - Moderate wound to Right Leg (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Knight6 attacks Clara with Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight5 attacks Lleufer with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight1 attacks Lleufer with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Atticus fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight1 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight1 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight1 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knightgrp1 attacks Atticus with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight4 attacks Atticus with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight3 attacks Maxwell with Pistol - COVER stops the attack.
<COMBAT> Knight2 attacks Maxwell with Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Knight1 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Knight5 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Knightgrp1 has been KO'd!

By the time Randy comes into view for the Three, it's clear Randy's level of calm has…well, escalated beyond what one would call calm. She's been calm as a cucumber disarming much more dangerous charges, but there's something utterly helpless about how she's thrashing aimlessly, brown eyes wide as they dart back to the opposite bank. That's probably the reason why she doesn't see Clara. She's already tried to cut herself out of the stuck fabric and tried to pull the stakes out but she's just in an awkward position. Shifting her knife in her offhand, she grabs her sidearm, expecting to have to use it but not wanting to draw attention to herself.

Atticus finds it strangely satisfying to see a knight fall off his horse after he shot them. A faint smile crosses his lips as he sees the horse pull up, then bolt in the opposite direction. His eyes don't track it though, now is not the time to be distracted, especially as he sees another knight lining up their pistol on Clara. "Sorry Sir," he mutters more to himself than the knight in question, "not today."

Clara shoulders her rifle as she wades into ankle-deep and then knee-deep water, and slides her combat knife out of its sheath in preparation to cut Randy free from the stake. "Cover me," she murmurs as she gets to work. There's an impact mark on her armour where something must have hit her.. but she shrugs it off completely. "How the frak did you manage this, anyway?" she gripes, water sloshing as she tears into the fabric.

Emily is all too happy to now sling-rounds like this. The big gun is booming and badguys are dying! Hell yes! "This is the most exciting activity EVER!" she has to shout over her dulled hearing. She's all too happy to slap the breech closed and jump back out of the way, cover her ears, and jump involuntarily every time the round fires. She slams the breech closed and jumps out of the way, this time looking downrange and noticing how close the horses are getting. Wait. They aren't running away. Uh oh. Suddenly this is less exciting. "MUST FIRE FASTER!!!!!"
Same level of exciting. Not as happy excited.

And then it's fireworks time again! Gray gets back to loading the big gun, working with Emily and Palermo to keep the shots coming. "ON IT!!!" he shouts back to Emily, acknowledging her urgency and doing his godsdamnedest to comply.

Max waits for the knights to get closer and he lines up and squeezes off a burst the machine gun. The weapon rattles a bucks in his hands and the rounds tear into the Knight he is aiming at. Rounds ping off the cover near him but he pays them little attention. He adjusts his aim and fires again on the same knight he shot at before trying to take the man out of the saddle. "Not today…" he says to the knight and squeezes the trigger again.

Taking aim at the incoming wave of knights, Palermo opens fire as quickly as she can select targets and adjust the aim accordingly. The sound is nothing short of deafening and she is glad for both the eye and ear protection she's wearing as artillery shells are ejected like mad and the howitzer kicks like a mule after each round. "Increasing rate of fire!" she agrees and slaps one hand against the side of the Howitzer while she shouts into the com, "Knight, haul ass and prepare to fall back on my mark!"

Lleufer is hunkered down by Atticus, rifing his rifle in short bursts. The Gunny gets to display his years and years of rifle handling as well as his Arpay senses to pinpoint his targets. At least until the dust and smoke are so thick that he can't see any better than the rest of them! He nails his knight in the neck, chest and gut before the tin can falls out of the saddle! Hell yes! The big howitzer hammers away and that shell is a beautiful thing to see ripping apart the earth, men and horses like so much confetti tossed up into the air in bits! Whoa. "Nice shot! Keep'm coming!" Ynyr yells. He glances to the south to see if he can spot Randy and Clara, "What's your status, Mercier?" That over his Marine channel, even as Lleufer is aimed and then firing his next burst at the on coming horseman. The Marines are hyped, but soon as those horsemen are on top of them? They might be humped.

"I don't know. I just started with trying to dodge one of these…things." Randy scans the battlefield, letting the activity pull her back into some sensible frame of mind, kind of. She spots one of the knights taking aim at Clara and lines up a single shot. It's pretty clear to Clara that Randy did some weird damage to her flank, but nothing alarming, like a long scrape of a cut from how she simultaneously fell and 'dodged' the staves. "Frak frak we gotta go am I free?" Pow! That's going to attract attention.

<COMBAT> Lleufer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight10 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight10 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight10 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Randy attacks Knight9 with Pistol Ap - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Palermo uses a 105MM Gun!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Knightgrp2 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Critical wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - ARMOR on Right Leg stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - ARMOR on Left Arm stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Serious wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Critical wound to Right Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Critical wound to Right Leg (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Serious wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - ARMOR on Left Arm stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knightgrp2 - Serious wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Maxwell fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight2 with MMG AP - Critical wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight2 with MMG AP - Moderate wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight2 with MMG AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knightgrp2 attacks Lleufer with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight2 attacks Atticus with Pistol - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Knight9 attacks Clara with Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight8 attacks Gray with Pistol - Light wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Knight7 attacks Maxwell with Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight6 attacks Gray with Pistol - Serious wound to Neck (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Knight4 attacks Palermo with Pistol - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Atticus fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight9 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight9 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight9 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight3 attacks Lleufer with Pistol but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight10 attacks Maxwell with Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Knight10 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Knightgrp2 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Knight2 has left the combat. (Emily)

The Knights are moving closer and there isn't a lot that seems to be deterring them. Even the booming Howitzer, terrifying as it is, isn't enough to turn them away. The gun only turrets a few degrees and they are starting to realize that staying away from the road is a good idea. A few of them veer back onto it at the last minute and about a dozen charge across the span. …Almost made it. The G4 under the span blows the structural joins and a few more bricks turn the asphalt into grenaded frag, blasting upwards into the horses and the riders. What doesn't end up collapsing with the span and mixing with twisted steel and concrete ends up being hurtled high into the air. Of the dozen or so riders, none of them were going to survive more than a few minutes with the wounds. Meanwhile the rest of the cavalry dives down into the river. The initial wave hits the staves and the river starts to run red with blood, the Knights yelling about their mounts, shouting a warning to those behind. But the others behind begin feeling their way forward across the river, then starting to gallop across and up the bank. Pistols are still out but free hands are reaching to hold the sword scabbards. It's about to get bladed. Meanwhile the smoke and fire of the homes makes it difficult to see and the horses shy away from some of the raging infernos, making it hard to control to even get them up the bank.

Well. Frak. That hurts, and sadly it doesn't look like Clara is about to KO him with her rifle butt to put Atticus out of his misery this time. The impact to hit guts sways him for a moment, and it doesn't take Lleu's superhearing to hear the pained curse, but his rifle is still up, and he's still covering the medic and EOD as they pull back.

"Just.. a second.." Clara grits her teeth as she tears the last of the fabric away, then shoves her knife into its sheath. "Okay, go, go!" Her boots churn the water as she charges back toward shore. She can see the fighting beginning in earnest, and she's no help to the rest of the marines over here. Two of the knights have a bead on her, and she tries to cut along segments of barricade in order to make it more difficult to peg her. But the truth is, if she makes it through, it'll be blind luck and little else.

Seeing that the knights are not all the classic jarhead mentality wrapped up inside a sardine suit, and deciding that if an insane amount of bruising left after the impact on her body armor is the worst thing that happens it's something she can live with, Palermo starts packing in the Howitzer as she's calling out orders. "Knight, in the truck. Benning," and she's reaching for Anderson with one hand and steadying him for a moment, "slap a bandage on his neck wound so he doesn't bleed out. Secure the ammo," is said before she climbs back into the humvee and is ready to roll as soon as Maxwell hits the truck bed, checking her rifle and bracing in place.

Randy manages to get a shot off at the knight aiming for Clara before she feels herself free. "Kay!" Don't need to tell Randy that twice. She squirms her way through more easily and starts sprinting back in Clara's wake. She sets off the charges at the right time. Clara's too far already, but Randy kneels a moment to stabilize just in case. Then she's off again as fast as she can.

Max pulls off another burst at the knight and can see the rounds hit him, once even in the neck. He shakes his head and gets to his feet to displace with the howitzer. As he gets to his feet he takes a round in his vest. The impact staggers him, but the pistol round does no real damage to his heavy armor. "Frak." he mutters at himself for being so careless. "That's gonna leave a bruise." He grabs up his machine gun and pack and slings then, taking the fast rope to the ground and joining up with Palermo at the gun. "Knight here, ready to move." he says. He wrestles the machine gun into the gunner ring so he can fire while they are moving to their new firing point.

Gray is helping to load another shell, enjoying the rhythm of the work, when suddenly he's got a pain in his neck. Surprisingly it has nothing to do with the teenager he's loading with, too… He doesn't /quite/ collapse, but that's more him catching himself with one hand while grabbing the leaking wound with another. He starts to speak (aside from screaming in pain) and then remembers how speaking involves moving muscles in his neck that he probably doesn't want to be giving a workout right now. With some luck, he'll have /something/ on his neck in a moment and be in the truck. Otherwise, the Arpay would say he'll be something rhyming with trucked.

Lleufer fires away, trying to keep tabs on the bridge blowing and where his people are located! He gets more good shots, notes Atticus and two of his howitzer team hit, "Medic!" Not that Clara's near yet, but… Ynyr swaps out his rifle and pulls a grenade, "FRAG OUT!" and then throws it for the horses coming up out of the river!

<COMBAT> Emily treats Gray:

< Abdomen (Light): successful
< Neck (Serious): unsuccessful

<COMBAT> Lleufer uses a Handgrenade Frag!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Knight3 - Moderate wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Moderate wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Serious wound to Right Leg (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Moderate wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Serious wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Critical wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Moderate wound to Right Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Critical wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Moderate wound to Right Leg (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Critical wound to Right Leg (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Critical wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Light wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Serious wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Knight3 - Moderate wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Knight4 attacks Lleufer with Pistol - Light wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Knight6 attacks Gray with Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Atticus fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight8 attacks Clara with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight7 attacks Clara with Pistol - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight9 attacks Atticus with Pistol - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Knight3 attacks Palermo with Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Knight3 has left the combat. (Emily)

.o0(Well, this just keeps getting better…)0o. Gray finds himself sucking in a deep breath as his armor stops /another/ bullet. That's not going to leave /too/ much of a mark, but it's probably still going to suck pretty hard in the morning. If there's a bright spot, he's got something passing for gauze and a bandage slapped on his neck, so it's less of a bloody mess than it might otherwise be: He's still bleeding a little bit, but it's not quite the veinous gusher it was trying to turn into before. "Frak…" he mutters, trying to figure out some way to be combat-effective without compounding the potentially-vital wound to his neck.

"Is it you they love Gunny," Atticus starts with a pained cough, "or me do you think?" He swears again as he's hit for a second time, but doesn't drop his gun. He wants his sword now, he really wants his sword now, and considers trying to haul one of the approaching knights out of their saddle and steal theirs, but he's not sure his arm will let him. Or if Lleu would for that matter. He decides to ask, but the fact he's aiming the rifle at someone riding them down suggests he already knows the answer, "permission to try and get amongst them Gunny?"

Bullets pepper the ground inches from Clara's feet, and pepper her armour for a third time without compromising it. She doesn't stop to marvel over this. She's got a job to do, and that job involves getting Atticus's arm patched up so he doesn't bleed out and die on her. "Hold still a sec," she tells him flatly while unpacking a few steri strips, "you're making a mess."

"Damn it, Atticus! Stop getting hit! MEDIC!" Where is Clara?! Lleufer managed to blow the living frak out of a horse and knight, throwing chunks of mud everywhere! He shouts into his radio, "Palermo! Pull the gun out! Don't let them get the howitzer. Protect the ships! We'll hold them here as long as we can!" It's going to be bloody. His left hand got grazed and is bleeding as Lleufer grabs his rifle back up as three men come at him with swords! "Stay with me, Atticus! We've got to hold them!"

Emily is in the back, trying to hold a bandage to Gray's neck, bouncing through a field. She looks behind them, out the rear and past the partially used pallet of rounds. Past the bouncing 155mm. "We're leaving them, Sergeant!!! We can't leave them!!" Emily has no idea what she's talking about.

Randy can see the bullets ping into Clara's armor. Well she can see mostly the effects of the rounds on the Three's armor. Her boots pound the bank as she darts diagonally back towards the group. She can see them now, where Clara has joined up with the wounded, but Randy still has some ways to go past this deathtrap of a journey. She hops over a small drainage ditch and doesn't look back. Nope. Things are on fire, people are bleeding, where is the LAV? She just keeps going to keep the friendlies in sight as she closes the gap.

Max gets up into the gunners well of the Humvee where his machine gun is loaded into the pintal mount and he turns back towards the river by swinging the ring and he uses the T&E (Transverse and Elevation) adapter to make sure he cannot fire low and hit his own people. He opens fire on the knights still at the river.

"We are not leaving them," Palermo's reply is in a clear if terse tone of voice. "We are repositioning so that we can open fire again and lend them artillery support. We can't open fire from that proximity without having our people within firing solution," and she's driving like a bat out of hell to get to that secondary position, rolling to a halt as soon as they've reached it and climbing back out and into the truck bed once they're there, avoiding the sudden flight of a bunch of chickens that have escaped the humans trying to herd them into the ship. If chickens can be herded. "Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it's frakking suicidal," she grouses as she upacks the gun again. "We hold this line until we can't hold position any more. IF we can't secure the Howitzer then we rig it to explode after we fall back. Every minute we buy it gets our people closer to the ex-fil point and gets more civilians and their damned animals onto the ships. Pick your targets wisely, don't waste ammo."

<COMBAT> Atticus fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP - Critical wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight9 attacks Atticus with Sword but Atticus DODGES!
<COMBAT> Knight7 attacks Randy with Sword but Randy DODGES!
<COMBAT> Knight4 attacks Maxwell with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Clara treats Atticus:
< Chest (Moderate): successful
< Right_Arm (Moderate): successful
<COMBAT> Maxwell fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight8 with MMG AP - Moderate wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight8 with MMG AP - Moderate wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Knight8 with MMG AP - Moderate wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Militia4 attacks Lleufer with Sword but Lleufer DODGES!
<COMBAT> Militia3 attacks Lleufer with Sword but Lleufer DODGES!
<COMBAT> Militia2 attacks Atticus with Sword but Atticus DODGES!
<COMBAT> Militia1 attacks Lleufer with Sword and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Lleufer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Militia3 with Rifle - Light wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Militia3 with Rifle - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Militia3 with Rifle - Serious wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Militia5 attacks Clara with Sword and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight8 attacks Randy with Sword but Randy DODGES!
<COMBAT> Knight6 attacks Randy with Sword - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Militia3 has been KO'd!

Randy's the first to get overrun by the wave of cavalry. She ducks the first horseman's slash aimed for her head, jukes another close behind, only to have a third knight on foot THUNK his blade into her stomach where her armor saves her from being cleaved in two. She grabs a flashbang from her chest rig, pulls the pin, and throws it on the ground as he frees his sword. Her hands go up for her ears right before it goes off.

Max is up in the gunners well and he takes aim at the same knight that he shot before trying to keep him away from his team. "Not so fast Junior." he says as he squeezes the trigger and then calls down into the Humvee. "Lemme know when we get there… I'll help with whatever you need." he says and then goes back to firing at the mass of knights by the water.

Clara tapes up Atticus's arm as best she can, bandages up her handiwork quickly and cleanly, and unslings her rifle to take a few potshots at one of the militiamen. Her hands are bloodied, but it doesn't seem to bother her. She aims, fires three times with the intent of knocking the guy off his horse.

Atticus sees that the knight he's been shooting at is in a bad way, barely able to keep a grip on his sword, and fires what he hopes are the finishing shots to put him down. "Thanks," he mutters gratefully to Clara, then nods once to Lleufer, "aye Gunny. Sticking with you." Then, as a thought occurs he asks, "you ride any of you? We could likely get two to a horse if we can grab them." Be a damn sight quicker than running back.

The Gunny really wants to use his second grenade but the horseman are up among them and it's all in their faces! Lleufer grimaces, trying to watch Atticus's back and presumably the knight is trying to watch Lleu's, but there are so many it's all he can do to keep from being decapitated. Ynyr keeps moving, ducking, glancing to keep tabs on his people and depending upon his Arpay hearing and eyesight to aid him. The heat coming off of the buildings is intense! "HOLD Them as long as we can!" Some are getting through and soon the Marines may have to try to ditch and run, but not yet! Up his rifle goes to fire off another burst at almost point blank range!

<COMBAT> Knight9 attacks Clara with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Lleufer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Militia1 with Rifle - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Militia1 with Rifle - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Militia1 with Rifle - Serious wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Clara fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Militia5 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Militia5 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Militia5 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Atticus fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight8 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Randy uses a Handgrenade Flash!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Knight6 - Light Stun wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Knight8 attacks Randy with Sword and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Knight6 attacks Randy with Sword - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Militia1 attacks Lleufer with Sword but Lleufer DODGES!
<COMBAT> Militia5 attacks Lleufer with Sword but Lleufer DODGES!
<COMBAT> Militia4 attacks Randy with Sword - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Militia2 attacks Clara with Sword but Clara DODGES!
<COMBAT> Knight7 attacks Lleufer with Sword - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight4 attacks Clara with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Knight8 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Militia5 has been KO'd!

<FS3> Emily rolls Body+Body: Good Success.
<FS3> Gray rolls Body+body: Great Success.

Someone really needs to teach Randy how to fight against swordsmen. The flashbang goes off right as two knights attack Randy from her flanks. The newcomer misses while her original foe nicks her arm. As the EOD is reaching for her pistol, a militia slashes across her stomach cross the spot before, but she shows no signs of hesitation as she points her gun back at him while he rounds towards Clara, pushing forward to continue being a moving target and keep the pressure of the attack rolling inexorably.

"I can ride well!" Lleufer shouts after shooting up one of the men trying to cut him down. So far the Gunny is damned fast too, dodging one blade after another! Ynyr's quick. Breathing harder, Ynyr glances to see if anyone's badly hurt and keeps moving. "But we have people among us who aren't riders. I'm not leave'n them!" Another duck of a blade and twisting around, then one HITS him in the abdomin! But it scrapes off of his armour and kit without hurting him. Ynyr turns sharply and tries to shoot that son of a bitch before Knight7 can take another swing at him!

Obnoxious neck wounds aside, by the time they get to their fallback point Gray is actually operational, helping to unload the howitzer and get it back into firing position. "Ok, let's get her firing!" he offers by way of a suggestion of 'What to do next'.

"Not well," Clara calls back to Atticus, in regards to riding skill. Meanwhile, she's wasting no time bringing down her quarry with a few well-placed shots, bullets pinging off her armour but ultimately doing no damage. The last one, though, knocks the breath out of her and she stumbles slightly and sucks in air. "Frakker," she hisses quietly.

Palermo slaps one hand on the side of the howitzer once she has the angle and trajectory just right, "Duck and cover," is shouted as she opens fire, knowing that the moment she does she's going to light up their location like a beacon yet again.

"That's why we have two to a horse Gunny, or lead 'em," Atticus replies, sounding pained either by his wounds, or by Lleu's insinuation that he was advocating leaving people behind. Now's not the time for a grump though, not with knights targeting him again, so he focuses on the task at hand and lines up another shot.

<COMBAT> Lleufer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight7 with Rifle and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight7 with Rifle and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Knight7 with Rifle and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Randy attacks Militia4 with Pistol Ap - Light wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Knight4 attacks Lleufer with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Militia1 attacks Atticus with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight7 attacks Lleufer with Pistol - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight6 attacks Atticus with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Clara fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Knight4 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Right Leg.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Knight4 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Knight4 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Militia4 attacks Clara with Sword but Clara DODGES!
<COMBAT> Palermo uses a 105MM Gun!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Militia4 - Light wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Militia4 - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Militia4 - Moderate wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Militia4 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Militia4 - Serious wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Militia4 - Light wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Militia2 attacks Randy with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight9 attacks Clara with Sword and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Atticus fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight9 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight9 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Atticus attacks Knight9 with Rifle AP and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Knight9 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Militia4 has been KO'd!

<FS3> Randy rolls 3: Failure.
<FS3> Clara rolls 3: Success.

Lleufer is a little busy but he manages to pant, "Two to a horse! We can try it!" Ynyr hears Palermo over the radio and yells, "INCOMING!" Then he's too busy dodging blades and his shots went wide, damn it! Totally missed the son of a bitch! A blade HITs him again, this time in the neck! But his shoulder armor and his helmet manage to catch most of it and save him injury. Thank Mithras or Lleufer might have been decapitated! A pistol shot wizzes past him as well! Things are getting might spicy when … -=@ KABOOM!!!! @=- … The howitzer round lands in the town and shakes everything up like the Gods unleashing a thunder clap in their midst! The ground heaves and Lleu almost falls, suddenly clods of earth raining down on top of all of them. "PULL OUT! FALL BACK TOWARDS THE NORTH! Grab horses if you can ride and help others up!" Taking his own advice, Ynyr will start trying to duck and move to the north, keeping an eye out for a horse he can grab - whether it has a rider or not!

<FS3> Atticus rolls Presence+body-1: Success.
<FS3> Lleufer rolls Presence+body: Success.

Clara hears the shout go up from Palermo, and drops to the ground. Her hands go over her ears, rifle within easy reach in case she has to shoot out someone's kneecaps who tries to get too close to her. Even in the noise and chaos, she's keeping a continuous running count of who is where, ears tuned to shouts for help or cries of pain.

Adjusting the trajectory, again, on the fly has Palermo attempting to invent new swear words on the spot. Spontaneous obscenity creation isn't as easy as it looks so she swaps from Colonial to Bominaire and back again from one breath to another. "Anderson, keep your head down. Benning, be prepared to pull wounded into the truck if we have to gun it to make it to one of the loading ramps. Knight," she grins suddenly, "damned good firing."

Atticus isn't entirely sure what the call from Palermo entails, but given what happened earlier and the way Clara and Lleu are reacting he hits the dirt in a very similar fashion. Just in time to, as a couple of sword blows ping off his armour on the way down. Once the explosion is over though he's scrambling to hs feet to try and grab the reins of the horse belonging to the knight he just dropped. He's calmed startled mounts before, many times, but never quite in this kind of situation.

The blast from the howitzer takes out the man Randy just sort of nicked in his arm. The frag from the shell bursts out before Randy thinks she can really react to the warning from the Gunny. "AAAH FRAK!" She shouts a moment after, dropping to the ground, trying not to completely curl up in pain. "Frak you!" she yells as she scrambles back, limping and holding her arm to her side as she scowls.
"Lleu!" Randy croaks out after the Gunny.

With the howitzer operational again, Gray actually does as he's told and…well, keeps his head down and tries to keep the shells coming.

<COMBAT> Clara fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Knight6 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Knight6 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Right Leg.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Knight6 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Palermo uses a 105MM Gun!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Militia2 - Light wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Militia2 - Light wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Militia2 - Light wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> Militia2 attacks Atticus with Sword - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight6 attacks Atticus with Sword - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight4 attacks Lleufer with Pistol - ARMOR on Head stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Militia1 attacks Clara with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Knight7 attacks Randy with Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Knight6 has been KO'd!

Palermo shares a single sidelong grin with Gray before she nods to Max, "Man the wheel, if we need to roll I want you at the wheel and ready."

<FS3> Atticus rolls 3: Failure.

Atticus is set up as he hauls himself into the saddle, but his armour takes the brunt of it. Swinging the horse round he shelters Clara with it so she can climb up, and helps if required, then braces as another shell comes in. In many ways he's lucky, he takes the brunt of it, not Clara, and not the horse, but he's mostly on autopilot through the pain as he turns the horses head towards the LZ and spurs it on. Good job he grabbed the medic really, as the horses white coat starts to develop red patches as he slowly starts to keel forward.

A horse is grabbed by the reins and it takes Lleufer precious seconds to slow the animal and bring it around. It also means he's suddenly too busy to do anything more than try to dodge anybody hacking at him. The horse moving wildly may help bump others out of reach, forcing them back. All the same, a round pings off his helmet and staggers Ynyr. Thankfully it wasn't a rifle shot, only a pistol. He steadies himself against the bay and then with long practiced ease, he steps up into the saddle like an old cowhand! Lleu reins around and sees Randy coming along, holding her arm. He puts his heels to the horse's sides and makes the bay leap towards her, his arm snaking out, "Give me your arm and I'll haul you up!" Soon as Flynn puts up her hand, Lleu grabs her arm and will lift her clear OFF her feet and swing her up behind him, even as the bay mare is moving forward. "MARINES! NORTH!" The knights and militia are escaping through the town and heading west and north-west. The CMC can move a little north out of the line of the howitzer fire, then move towards the ships through the fields.

Max nods to Palermo and he gets into the driver seat of the Humvee and he sits there, engine running and waits. He can drive it… and today, he is going to drive it like he stole it.

Clara fires off a few quick shots before Atticus circles around and hauls her up into the saddle. They're a little too hasty to be any good, but she definitely hits with one of them. Her mounting of the horse is less graceful than it could be; unlike many of the other marines, she didn't spend much time down on Piraeus working a ranch. And teaching ballet on Leonis doesn't really translate well. "I'm good, I'm good. Let's go." Her rifle is slung across her back and she clings to Atticus for dear life, trying not to think about their poor horse beneath them.

"Not sure," that's a good idea. Randy hesitates for a moment as if wondering if the maneuver might do more damage, like stuff is just going to come spilling out of her. She closes her eyes and gives Lleu her good arm to haul her up behind him. She's a better rider than this, but all she can do at the moment is lean forward to slump against Ynyr's back and hold on with her good arm. "I think…blood," she mutters, swallowed up by all the loud noises. She winces each time the horse sets its hooves down

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Horseback Riding: Success.
<FS3> Atticus rolls Horse Riding: Success.

The whole of Kolwyn is burning by this point and the smoke from the artillery rounds has already mingled with the billowing black puffs and orange rage. As the Marines begin an exfil, very few of the horsemen manage to follow. Those who do are met with a full on barrage of machine gun fire for even thinking of approaching. Only a few manage to actually escape the whole battle and retreat back south. As for the Marines, more than a couple were killed by blades. Two are missing in the fire, presumed dead. But the violent, bitter fighting at Kolwyn stopped the horse cavalry from moving right past them and getting in to the civilians and worse - boarding the ships. There's a lot of relief to finally get everyone on. Just about every person and piece of livestock managed to make it aboard three of the amphibs. The fourth does have some of the people's personal gear, supplies, and possessions. And most of that cafe's bar.
Too bad bloodloss and alcohol don't mix.

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