Supreme Commander: Re-live

Chapter 8: White Rock Fortress part 1

In the war room of White Rock fortress, the atmosphere is tense. So much so that you can feel the claustrophobic air when you enter the room, full of blue-coat officers.

One of the officers slammed the field reports on his hand, hard, on a table. ” Can you damn imbeciles explain to me how the ** we lost 4000 men in a span of a few days!? ”

Seeing their General glaring at them with bloodshot eyes, the subordinate officers gulp as they wrack their brains on how to answer the question.

Four days ago, the White Rock fortress sent out a mixed force of 4000 soldiers to form a defensive line along the Reno river. Trusting their limited intel that the Belkan division across the river was still having trouble figuring out a way to cross the river, they walked right into a trap. The 4000 strong force was wiped out, costing the fortress valuable manpower in manning its defensive perimeter.

With almost half of their strength unaccounted for, the General in charge of White Rock is, of course, very pissed off.

” Sir, we presumed that the enemy used materials from the town of Reno to construct multiple pontoon bridges and sent over an ambush force. ” Biting the bullet, a braved officer reported. ” Our detachment, in a moment of carelessness, was surrounded and destroyed. ”

” Idiot! Everybody here already knows the answer to the **ing question! ” The General raged. He curses beneath his breath, blaming Headquarters for assigning these low-IQ highborn sons as his subordinates and forcing him to cater to these pricks.

” What accruing field experience! What genius fresh out of the Academy! ” The General flipped the table, almost pulling out a pistol but managed to stop himself just in time. ” You **ers bribed your way into this position, to the point of having HQ giving you the mission to stave off the enemy, and failed! Failed marvelously! By severely underestimating the enemy, you pig-brains might have cost us the entire war! ”

When the General first received this batch of junior officers, he already noticed signs of corruption. He requested a batch of replacements from HQ, citing multiple reasons like incompetency and insubordination but everything fell on deaf ears. He even got recalled back to HQ to be reprimanded for intentionally blocking the growth of these rilliant officers. During his time at the HQ, the General was notified that White Rock sent out a major force to block a Belkan division. Headquarters assigned the mission to the idiots back at White Rock, completely ignoring him, who was literally on the premise.

After HQ got words that the detachment was destroyed. The General was reinstated back at the now understaffed White Rock fortress with no change in personnel. Tasked with holding out for as long as possible, preferably till the time HQ can scrunch up a Reservist Army, the General knows his fate is sealed.

” Thankfully, for whats about to come, I don need you impotent brats to step in. Seize them! ”

Soldiers stationed outside the room barge in with guns at the ready. They apprehend the struggling corrupted officers as the General sits down, popping a cigar and contemplating what to do next.

By capturing these highborn bastards, he has effectively painted a bullseye on his back. HQ won be pleased and the people backing these guys may as well want him dead. That is if he survived the inevitable attack from the approaching Belkans, he would rather die in the hands of those freaks of nature than the fat-asses back at HQ.

Letting out a puff of smoke, the General shakes his head, the only thing he can do now is reconsolidated their force. He needs to recall the far-off perimeter posts and they must construct additional pilo- *cough* *cough*. They must construct more fortifications. Tank traps, barbed wires, their engineer corp must plug them all up. The longer it takes for the Belkans to navigate the terrain, the more time they can get out of the situation.

Assuming the Belkans finally reach the fortress, all they can do is turtling up and braced for the inevitable charge. From what they gathered before, they
e facing an armored division, backed up by a motorized division behind them. Though the latter is reported to only be in charge of backline support, a notion the General is very thankful for. By coping up inside White Rock, they can at least give the Belkans a bloody nose with the only downside being bombarded day and night. Still, he trusts that the protections will hold, theres a reason why the fortress survived the last war… Oh right, maybe its also time to call in some favors. Should be able to get some anti-tank weapons and, with any bit of luck, the accompanying crews to go with them.

Spending a quarter of an hour musing, completely forgetting about the burning cigar, the General suddenly remembers the alias of the enemy division: Phantom.

” Ridiculous name, if you ask me… ” Though he knows why HQ gave them that alias. It shocked him too when he learned of the marching speed of the approaching armored division. Like a tidal wave of steel, that division cut a deep wound into their homeland. ” Its fitting my final battle will be against them. Unlike the incompetent fools before, White Rock won fall so easily, Phantom! ”

Squashing the half-finished cigar, the General stands up and heads to work. He has much to do but, unfortunately, time isn on his side, nor any of the Ustians in the fortress.

—————————————————————————-

Under the veil of the night, dozens of figures fly soundlessly through the cold air. They fly high enough that even if you squint your eyes, you cannot even see a glimpse of their figures. It also doesn help when there is no moon tonight.

Flying in v-shape formations, the figures dressed in black soon arrive above their objective. The lead personage signals for their subordinates to stop before scanning the fortress below. It helps that the fortress is brightly lit when you look down at it in the air. Though, if the light sources below are turned off, they can also see in the dark just fine. Quickly comparing what they see to the intelligence they were briefed upon. They notice the change in the garrison is minimal and it won interfere with the mission plan that much.

Nodding to themself, the cloaked figure gives the order to initiate the operation. Splitting up into three squads, each with twelve members, they descend silently on the unsuspecting blue-coat soldiers below. And, with a graceful landing and a stab of a sword to the heart, the first casualty of this night is being lowered slowly to the ground. Following the example made by their leader, the other cloaked figures swiftly take out all the patrols near their objectives with swords, knives, and even bows.

By this time, you should have figured out that the night raiders are the newly formed Night Witches of the Belkan Army. Headed by Bryh herself, theyve trained ceaselessly for tonights mission. Armed with a firm conviction to make their first debut an overwhelming success, they do not hesitate to take out any unlucky soldiers that stand in their way.

While the other two squads disperse to perform their assigned tasks, Bryn and her own scout out one of the more fortified buildings. From the intel she was given, the building is the fortress command center. Most of their officers should be staying inside at this time, a very lucrative target to hit if you ask Bryn. Sadly, while stealth magic is good to hide away from the enemy if you
e far enough, due to the Worlds restriction on all magic phenomenons, its very weak when you
e up close and personal. Its hard not to notice a user of stealth magic when you see the space five meters away from you artifacting. So, they really have no safe way to get into the Ustian command center and assassinate their top brasses.

” What should we do, Instructor? ” An Angel came close and requested further instructions. Bryn, unhesitantly calls off the mission to attack their commanding structure.

” Our squad will pull back. The position is too heavily guarded for us to storm in, even with the second squad cutting the power supply. ”

Probably because of the recent assaults on the supply line of White Rock and the assassination of any soldier with an officer rank outside the safety of the fortress, the Ustian General shored up the defenses surrounding his close aides and himself. Well, having known of the troublesome mess the enemy General will face if he survives the upcoming battle, Bryn is actually of the mind that the General should live a bit longer. Just so that he can die a more honorable death than being assassinated or facing an execution squad.

” We move to the secondary objective, the motor pool. ”

Key objectives for tonights foray were taking out the commanding officers before blowing up the fortress armory. With the changes in the field, Bryn now aims to cripple the fighting strength of White Rock instead. Without ammunition and their tanks, the fortress is a much more manageable obstacle.

Having received Bryns order, the Angel nodded before vanishing into the shadow of the buildings. As for Bryn, she reaches for a throwing knife beneath her black coat and throws it behind her. The knife stabs the soldier that just went outside to take a dump in the head, and before he makes a commotion, Bryn stops the falling body before hiding it in a trash dumpster. Unfortunately, the rustles from the dead soldier still woke up another occupant of the barrack.

Biting back a sigh, Bryn unsheaths her trusted sword and head inside the humid building. And before the groggy Private, now sitting up, has the chance to react, she stabs him in the heart and with her left hand, she muffles any sound from the poor souls mouth. To prevent unnecessary complications, she silently kills the rest of the squad in the small barrack, and after heading outside, sabotages the door mechanism to deter anyone trying to access the building. It won stop the Ustians from noticing that somethings wrong, but it will buy them some time till the power grid goes dark.

After checking that everything is still ok, Bryn uses the covers from the buildings and cautiously proceeds forward. Along the way, she did encounter roaming patrols and even an armored car moving around. Thankfully, they haven sensed anything amiss otherwise the operation may be put in jeopardy. The last thing they need is a mobile autocannon chasing them in the middle of the night.

Exhaling a breath of cold air, she regroups with her students and sisters near the largest motor pool. While its not the most heavily guarded location, this motor pool also has a sizeable group of foot soldiers guarding it with good enough lighting to deter them from approaching, for now.

Bryn lay low on top of a water tower where two other members of her squad are located. ” Report. ” She ordered.

The Angel from before gives Bryn her account of the enemies below. ” We confirmed there are at least twenty infantries outside the warehouse with five of them stationed on top of the building. The five have an overwatch position of 360 degrees with their machine gun turret. As for the internal security of the warehouse, we
e still waiting for Kat to deliver her report. ”

Nodding in response, Bryn says. ” By the time Kat returns, the other team should be readied to cut the power supply. We will strike at that time so get ready. ”

Bryns voices were magically carried over to the rest of her squad. Except for Kat, everyone else prepped their equipment for the upcoming assault. They wait for a couple of tense minutes before Kat pokes her head out a window. After making sure the coast is clear, she hops soundlessly to the ground before dashing through an opening in the Ustian patrols. As she arrives at the base of the water tower, the Ustians are none of the wiser.

Kat exhales a breath as she pulls down the hat of her cloak. ” The interior is packed with vehicles and tanks with six engineers performing maintenance inside. Two of them are working on an armored car while the rest are playing cards near them. Only one of them is armed with a pistol. ”

Having finished her report Kat moves to another hiding location where her fireteam is.

” The inside is much less guarded, I see. ” Bryn says. ” Though if they are desperate, they may use the tank inside to counter us. ”

” We will stick with our plan for the tertiary objective. ” Bryn gives them some last minutes instructions. ” Once we
e safe to approach, archers will kill the guards with the high ground first while everyone else engages the surrounding patrols. We will get in from the main door so move fast and deadly. Explosives are to be planted with five minutes timers, more than enough time for us to evac the site. After that, we will cause as much chaos as possible during our exfil before regrouping with the other squads at the windmill North-West of Whiterock. Are we clear? ”

Receiving muted affirmations from her subordinates, Bryn nods as she clenches her sword tightly, waiting for the other squad to complete their objective. It was not a long wait, barely a couple of minutes at most when the fortress is plunged into darkness. With the opportunity now presenting itself, Bryn gives the signal for the archers to attack.

The archers, situating atop the many rooftops, silently release their bowstrings. Bryn witnesses the five Ustians, scurrying on the roof to light up an oil lamp, being pierced one by one in quick succession. The sound of falling bodies alerts the guard below but they ultimately chalk it up as some guys fumbling in the dark. Little do they know, death is coming for them swiftly.

” Go. ”

Bryn orders as she jumps down with unfurled wings. Touching down gracefully in the middle of a stupefied group of gatekeepers, she swings her blade faster than their eyes can see, killing four of them in a heartbeat. She then heads inside the warehouse, a satchel charge at the ready. She trusts that her squad can safely take out the roamers outside so she may as well take care of the enemies in the interior.

Her trust is not misplaced. The rest of her squad disperse into smaller teams, they make quick work of any and all soldiers that are unlucky enough to be stationed near their location. Those with bows and daggers launch projectiles at the patrol soldiers with lighting equipment, cutting off the enemys light source, before the others, more close-combat orientated, swoop in for the kill.

They manage to kill upward of thirty soldiers without raising an alarm, and to make sure nothing can go wrong, they hide away the bodies before regrouping with Bryn. Who, having already dealt with the four soldiers in the warehouse is now wiping the blood on her blade with a cloth. Around her are the dead bodies of four Ustians, one of them is decapacitated with his body slumping on top of a tank turret. As expected, one did try to get inside a tank.

Turning around to address her subordinates, Bryn throws away the bloodied cloth. ” Report. ”

” We are in the clear, maam. ” The Angel from before answered. ” Ive stationed a group outside as overwatch. We should have more than enough time to plant the charges. ”

Bryn nods, she then tosses a pack containing her explosives to the Angel. ” I want this motor pool up in flames in the next 10 minutes so double time! ”

” Yes, maam. ”

With the task delegated to her troops, Bryn heads outside with her sword sheathed. Bryn thoughts that by this time some parts of the fortress will be activated. First, they will try to figure out whats wrong with the power supply. After that, security will be mobilized to check the walls and important internal structures. She hopes that the other squads can handle things silently until the bombs go off, the destruction will cause chaos among the enemies, and it will be worse when they start killing their way out.

Bryn gazes up to the starry sky. ” Its almost 1:30 AM. ” She can hear the befuddled Ustians in the distance, trying to make head and tail of whatever the hell is going on. ” They are too complacent. They should have invested more effort into internal security. ”

Its a correct assessment. Had they had more dense patrol groups, and employed some mechanized units, infiltrating would have been way harder than right now. Well, a mans misfortune is a blessing for someone, after all. They only have themselves to blame.

” Are we good to go? ” Without turning around, Bryn asked her subordinates.

Done with their objective, the group behind Bryn reports their completion. Answering with a nod, Bryn has them clear the area, stationing themselves in the shadow of the surrounding barracks. She and the squad will lie in wait, well outside the danger zone, till the bombs go off.

After about five minutes, a large commotion attracts the attention of Bryn and her squad. The Ustian armory is on fire! Bryn can hear someone blows a whistle, alerting the entire fortress of the imminent danger. She knows that they
e running around to get firefighting equipment but…

” With that large of fire, they will not be able to put it out in time. ”

This is a good time to explain how the Ustian store their equipment at White Rock. For vehicles, they put them in a concrete warehouse that is depressed into the ground. While ammunition and infantry weapons are stored in underground bunkers. Bunkers, while having more than enough protection against artillery fire, is not easy to put out a fire inside one. And theres not just one fire, but multiple.

” They
e not gonna put it out in time. Brace yourself for the shockwave. ” Bryn advised. Less than three minutes later, amidst the anxious shouting of the firefighting Ustians, the armory explode. The whole fortress is lit up like the Fourth of July and a mere second later, the entire base trembles from the shockwave of a mushroom cloud. Its a sight to behold if you ignored the burning Ustians and the occasional ammunition cook-offs, the last one is similar to fireworks just more deadly.

” With their attention focused on the armory, once this motor pool explodes, their force will be stretched much thinner. ” A squad member commented.

Bryn concurs. ” They will be disoriented and with their communication method reduced to runners, they won even know what hit them. ”

” Spread out, pick your target. Deal as much damage as possible before reconvening at the rendezvous point. ”

Bryn reminds. ” Make sure you all make it out alive. ”

The last thing she wants right now is to have Yuki deal with the aftermath of a member of this squad dying because of carelessness.

Knowing that their leader won take no for an answer, the soldiers give silent affirmation.

————————————————–

On the Ustian side, tonight was supposed to be a peaceful one but instead, many woke to the urgent shouting of their fellow soldiers.

” FIRE! The armory is on FIRE! ” No one knows who screamed the sentence. What they do know is that if the fire is not put out soon, they can kiss their life goodbye, much less their sleep.

” Quick! Inform the General and get a fire truck here, stat! The rest of you, grab a bucket then scoop up sand and water, dump them on the fire! ” An Ustian Captain, one of the first to arrive at the burning underground armory, tried to contain the fire alongside those surrounding the fire.

He has no idea why theres a fire here, nor does he have time to question the ones responsible for guarding the place. All he can do now is hoisted a large bucket, fill it with sand and dirt, then pour them over the increasingly hot flame. He is busy filling up his third bucket when a Sergeant comes up to him on horseback, telling him that the General is requesting his presence.

” Hop on, sir! ” Taking the outstretched hand of the Sergeant, the Captain gets on the horse, dropping his half-filled bucket in the process, only for it to be picked up by another soldier.

They ride against the tide of increasingly frantic Ustian soldiers who desperately trying to salvage the situation. On the way to their headquarters, they have to dodge a column of firefighting trucks that are blaring their horn. For a moment, the Captain thought that with the arrival of the firefighters, the armory could be saved at last.

But Fate is a cruel mistress, only catering to one person, though that is a story for another day.

Despite using their high-pressure water hoses to stem the fire, the heat from the flame proved too much to bear for the ammunition stored inside the bunker. At first, people can hear small cracking sounds before they can feel the ground shaking with each large rumble. The munitions start cooking off and in quick succession at that, some of them know its too late to even try and save their skins.

*BOOM*

Everything in a radius of 50 meters is eradicated, wiped out of the map. The burning mushroom cloud reaches the height of 100 meters while ground zero is still sending exploding munitions everywhere. Outside of the 50 meters blast zone, extensive damage can be seen up to 100 meters. Proving to everyone, the ones still conscious, the devastating damage an ammo detonation can cause.

The Captain from before, even though he had been on horseback for some time, still got knocked off by the shockwave of the explosion. For a split second, he felt like the horse was flying before he slammed, hard, onto the cold, muddy ground.

The concussion knocked him out for a couple of minutes and when he woke up, he was stunned beyond words.

” … God. ” Was all he could utter, ignoring his bleeding forehead and a broken arm.

After laying on the ground for a while, he manages to recover a bit of his clarity, enough to remember the accompanying soldier with him on the horse.

” Ser-sergeant…! ” The Captain unsteadily sits up, he turns his battered body only to find a very dead Sergeant and horse.

Unfortunately, the Sergeants body is twisted in a very weird way, and the light in his eyes is long gone. The horse isn in a better state, also. The Captain can only chalk his survival up to luck as he landed on a patch of mud.

Mumbling a silent prayer, he grabs a stick that was lying around to serve as his walking cane. As he is making his way to the headquarters to report in and get medical treatments, he can help but curse as he witnesses the devastation in the surrounding area.

” Fuck my life… ” He can help but wonder will they even be able to recover from this.

Another series of explosions take place, making the earth unstable and causing the Captain to fall. The pain in his body intensifies as he struggles to get up, once again.

” Oh, what now!? ” He complained and look for the source of the new commotion.

Once he finds that the source is the major motor pool that holds most of their vehicles. He realizes that they are under attack. He will be an idiot if he couldn connect the dots.

The fire at the armory, the lack of guards that could have possibly prevented it, and now the motor pool actually exploded… Theres only one thing he can do right now.

” Fuck my life… ” Once again, he resumes the longest trek he ever had.

————————————————–

White Rock fortresss General.

Earlier, he thought that with the added perimeter securities, nothing can penetrate the stalwart walls of his fortress. The situation now, says otherwise. He is slapped in the face when the first trouble he encounters is the sudden power outage.

The unbearable stuffiness in the headquarters woke him up in the middle of the night. Sensing something is very, very wrong, he sent a squad to the power generators and woke up his guards and aides. He didn bother alerting the entire fortress, thinking it could be a false alarm, everything could be resolved without causing unnecessary confusion.

He was wrong.

A runner barged into the command room, with a labored breath, he reports.

” General! The armory, its on fire! ”

” What!? ” Everyone in the room exclaimed in shock and disbelief. They, of all people, know the consequence of such a major issue the best.

” Quick! Sounds the alarm! ”

” Have the fire brigade mobilized yet? ”

” I want all available manpower in the surrounding area to focus their effort on putting the fire. If that thing goes, well be dead! ”

The Generals aides, who have been following for years, competently handle the pressing matter. Allowing room for him to think more deeply into the matter. Theres something very fishy about the situation, his experience and instinct are ringing alarm in his mind. As he ponders for a bit and reaches a very plausible theory. He can stop himself from punching the sand table in the command room, startling everybody. The oil lamps, used to light up the room, almost fell off the table.

” Blasted Belkans, we
e tricked! ” He cursed. ” This is not an accident, this is a planned sabotage! ”

They paled at his words.

” I want the perimeter troops to man their post! Internal security to maximum, find me the damn saboteurs! And someone gets our electricity back! ”

” Yes, General! ”

After sending out runners, some of his aides also went out to take control of the field situation. The rest stays put to discuss countermeasures and protect the General himself. The last thing they need is an assassin getting inside and killing their commander.

While they
e in heated a discussion, the fortress trembles as they hear the largest explosion in their life. Regaining their balance, they look into each others faces and realize that the worst has happened. They failed to save the armory.

” Damn it…! ” They cursed. For such a thing happened right before the Belkan attacked their fortress.

Takes a deep breath to calm himself of the frustration he felt, the General order. ” Theres no use crying over spilled milk. Have the site contained, stop the fire from spreading, and perform a casualty check. Those that are not aiding in the recovery effort, stand guard and sweep the fortress, leaving no stone unturned. Now, go! ”

They change gears and swiftly head out to perform their task. In their minds, they thought that the worst has already passed. That there won be any more trouble tonight unless they encounter the saboteurs. And as if taunting them, they feel another chain of explosions.

Cursing the Belkans in their minds, they have a person to go out and check whats happened outside. They almost flipped the table when the guy reported that their main motor pool was destroyed. Taking out half of their vehicles and heavy equipment.

It annoyed them to no end that they still haven seen the enemy but the damage is already this severe. They hope that they can capture the saboteurs else they can wash away this humiliation. Their pride won allow it.

Unknowingly for them, this troubling night is yet over.

—————————————————————————-

Following the alert order, the fortress garrison mobilizes everything they still have, some of them focus on bringing order to chaos while others perform security checks. With the power grid still down, they go around holding oil lamps and bulky flashlights. Everybody is tense with most of them, the younger ones, in particular, have paled faces. It takes a lot of effort for the veterans to calm their spirits. Though even the veterans have grim countenances as they know very well just how deep in the shit they are.

As the multiple squads of Ustian infantries scour the darkness for anything of note, one of them stumbles upon a locked barrack.

” Wait, its not locked… Someone destroyed the lock, its stuck! ” The soldier nearest to the door exclaimed. Fearing the worst, the more experienced members of the squad directly kick down the door. They rush in along with the rest, the sight inside stuns even the most hardened amongst them.

The soldiers still draped in their blankets, are all dead. All died of the same cause, a stab wound in between their eyes, their brain matters mixed with their blood as they formed a sticky membrane on the floor. And from the look of it, they didn even resist. As if they were all sleeping blissfully unaware of the Reaper that took their lives.

Having finally registered the gruesome mess in front of them, a few with weaker spirits directly throws up on the floor. The veterans can blame them as they are also uncomfortable, seeing their comrades die in this way.

The leader of the squad decides that they have had enough. ” Lets get outta, one you inform HQ, I doubt this will be the last thing we see tonight. ”

Slowly, they file out of the bloodied barrack, in their hearts, they feel lucky that they weren the ones inside. No one deserves to die like that.

The stronger-willed soldiers vow to have their vengeance while most of them are hoping that this nightmarish night will end soon. Too many lives were lost already and it rattled their souls.

Once they
e all gathered, they split up with two of them heading out to the HQ while the rest resume their search. As the squad rounds a dark corner, their leader feels something amiss. He is about to warn his squad when he catches a glint of something metallic.

It looks like an arrowhead…? Was the last thing he could think of before the object pierced his brain.

The ones behind him fare no better as shadowy figures rush amidst their line, with their swords and daggers, they quickly cut down the blue-coat soldiers. As stealth is not a major thing to uphold right now, the shadows don need to block the death throes of their enemy. Rather, they need them to scream to cause more chaos.

Seeing the Ustians are either dead or disabled, the shadows move to find more stragglers to kill.

This is not the first group to fall prey to the shadows, the Night Witches. After the armory and motor pool blew up, the three Night Witches squads have been hunting small squads like this. The damage adds up to a hundred casualties and, finally, the Ustian HQ catches wind of the situation. They give the order to dispatch armored vehicles with infantry escort to hunt down the killers. At this time the General is damn pissed, even if it is overkill, its fine if he can get the Belkan corpses in return. Sadly, due to the machination of a certain person, this move is anticipated in advance.

Following the deployment order from the General, the vehicle crews, those that still have their rides at least, rush to their respective vehicle bay. Unknowingly, their every movement is under the watchful gaze of the Witches. Bryn, who is overwatching the opening of a vehicle hangar, gives the order to attack the moment the Ustian crews run for their vehicles.

Her squad fires at the surrounding infantry escorts with captured Ustian Lewis machine guns. By prioritizing taking those bearing light, the sudden assault cut down more than half of the twenty men escort, as the dim surrounding proved to be challenging to find cover.

Utilizing the covering fire from her squad, Bryn and another Witch dash near the hangar door and stab a Ustian through the gut. She puts the soldier in front of her as a meatshield, making another Ustian hesitate in firing his rifle. A mistake that proves fatal as the Witch following Bryn throws her dagger, striking him in the heart, killing him instantly.

Bryn pulls her sword out of the now-dead meatshield and cut open a path further in. And under the stunned gazes of the crews that are halfway mounting their vehicle, she and the Witch throw in explosive charges.

” Fire! Fire! Blast those bitches! ” Knowing their intention, the commander of the group ordered the vehicle gunners to open up with their main guns, ignoring the potential friendly fire accident.

Unfortunately for them, Bryn and the Witch unfurl their wings and leap backward, dropping grenades to cover their retreat. The guns from the armored car missed their target, instead, they hit the barely surviving infantry escort outside.

” Fuck! Get us out of here- ” The crew commanders words were cut short as the explosive charges went up in one big explosion. Taking out the vehicles and their occupants and causing a chain reaction by igniting the ammo and fuel stored inside. The blast, while not as big as the armory or the motor pool explosions, still catches the attention of many Ustians. Further diverting their focus in their damage control effort.

With the damage done, Bryn and the others move to another location to wreak havoc. The inability to respond fast enough from the Ustian side allows them free reign on small groups of enemies. Everything is fine until a Witch comes up and reports that they
e facing an increasing number of armored vehicles.

” It seems like weve overstayed our welcome. Lets retreat. ” Bryn grabs a flare launcher in her pocket and fires it up in the air. Thats the signal for her Witches to retreat, if anyone from the other squads is still in the fortress, that is.

After making sure that all members of her squad are present, Bryn leads them to find a secluded position before they fly out of the fortress. As none of the Ustians even bother searching for a flying humanoid, the extraction is smooth as silk.

Having been flying for around five minutes, Bryn turns to take in the view of the damage she and her Witches caused. High up in the sky, the view of a fortress that is on fire is strangely breathtaking.

” If only Yuki could witness the sight. ” Bryn, for a reason she couldn understand, feels that its a shame. Had the situation allowed, she would hold Yuki in her arms as they gaze at the scene. A notion Bryn finds strangely romantic.

Her musing is cut short, however, as a large section of the fortress wall explodes. It seems like one of her squad left behind a parting gift for the Ustians. The now ruinous wall will be proved disastrous for the Ustian General while tipping the scale in their favor.

” A job well done, ” Bryn commented to herself before she resumed her flight. ” Yuki would love to hear this. ”

It takes her about fifteen minutes to reach the rendezvous point. When she touches down, the first thing that greets her is somebody tackling her with a hug. In shock, she almost tips over but quickly rights herself. Catching a whiff of the now very familiar smell, her lips curve up in a gentle smile as she returns the hug.

” Welcome back. ” Her Princess said.

” Yeah, Im back safe and sound. ” Bryn scans her surrounding. Members of the Night Witches are all accounted for, with a few receiving injuries but nothing too serious. She is glad that they uphold their task perfectly. ” And so are the rest. ”

” Thats great, you have me worried for a bit. ” Yuki, still hugging Bryn, looks up into her eyes. Yukis glittering ruby eyes score more damage than the scratches the Ustians gave her.

” Sorry, Ill cook you something later as an apology. ” Letting out a wry smile, Bryn can bring herself to reprimand Yuki for heading out to the rendezvous point, even though she brought some escorts with her. Yukis action right now is too cute that its melting her heart.

” I can wait for that. ” Yuki buries her head in Bryns bosom, unflinching from the dirt and blood on her uniform. ” Im glad you, and everyone else is safe. ”

” Me too, Yuki. ”

Under the warm gazes of the others, they keep hugging for a while as Bryn takes up the task of instructing the rest to prepare for RTB. Yuki, for now, is not available as not just Bryn, but also the rest of the soldiers want her to take a rest. After all, in the eyes of everybody else, she is still a kid, a strong one, but a kid nonetheless.

A kid that is very deserving to be spoiled. Bryn thought to herself.

And with that, the curtain draws in the most successful night raid in history.

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Back at the fortress, the General received his last report of the night. After listening to it, he slumps down to his seat, his hands powerlessly reaching for his favorite cigars and lighter.

Everybody in the room fell silent as they listen to the sound of the General, trying to light a fire to no avail. After the tenth time of not being able to light up the cigar, the General raged with an animalistic howl. He throws everything in his hands and flips the table. Punching and kicking everything near him, it took the effort of four strong men to hold down the General to calm him down.

To be honest, they all want to let out their frustration that way too.

Gathering himself together, the General takes a deep breath and says. ” Grab your weapons, man your positions or whatever that are still intact… ”

While they know its futile to resist. They
e not going down without a fight. ” This fortress has always been invincible ever since its conception. Now it, alongside us, is put to the test against the strongest enemy weve ever faced! And Im sure as hell not gonna let this place fall without having a proper battle against the enemy! Viva la Ustio! ”

” VIVA LA USTIO!!! ” With the accompanying battle cry, everybody filed out of the room. Their first mission, find a rifle.

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