We were on the way to or target, an isolated base on Hossin, with Bravo and Delta squad when our pilot lost control of the Galaxy. We started to go down and were instructed to bail, lest we’d die in the burning wreckage of our transport. Dropping down, I could see the Bravo and Delta gal go down as well, some distance from us. I had no idea what had hit us (and our pilot didn’t know when I asked him afterwards), but what had seemed like a routine mission had quickly turned into something else…
Down on the ground the squad gathered up and I did a headcount. All were present, so we hadn’t lost anyone. But we were stranded, in the middle of Smurf territory, with no support, no way of getting transports, and only a vague idea about where we were. I briefly wondered where Bravo and Delta had landed, but I wasn’t sure, and was forced to make the hard decision to let them fend for themselves. My priorities were to get my own squad back to base in one piece. The other squads had strong leaders, they’d get them back. And with that, I dismissed the other squads and set to the task at hand.
It was clear that we needed to keep a low profile, and use the land to navigate. We knew roughly from with direction we had come, so that wasn’t too much of a problem. But we didn’t know where we had friendly, or enemy forces, and any contacts were presumed to be hostile. So we headed out in a tight group, keeping low and using cover, while our infil and our light assault scouted wherever possible.
After a short while we spotted Gourney Dam, which was caused both relief and worry. Relief because we knew where we had crashed. Worry because we were way behind enemy lines. We doubled our efforts to keep hidden, but pressed on ahead. Hugging the base of the cliffs, taking the ways which were the least likely to be used by enemy armor. The tactic seemed to work, until we suddenly heard tanks fire ahead, and saw Reavers up in the air. It seemed we were getting close to the front. But we couldn’t go straight ahead, since that would take us through the Smurf forces. So we backtracked a bit, went through a quiet base and tried to make our way over a cliff.
One by one, we managed to get up to the crest of the cliff. Except for one soldier, Steve, who had hurt his leg. Despite his and our best efforts he just didn’t manage to get up the cliff. We spent as much time there as we could, doing whatever possible to help him. But after a while, Steve made the choice I should have made as leader. “Go ahead without me”, he said, “I’ll find another way. You’re just waiting time here.” I didn’t want to leave him behind, but he was right. We were running out of time. Any moment, a smurf tank could roll by and kill us all. Pain me though it did, the rest of us pressed on while Steve tried to find another way. His only connection to other VS his radio link to us. It couldn’t have been an easy decision to take, accepting to be left behind, and he has my respect for taking it.
The rest of us sped up to make up for lost time, and soon heard tanks firing again. But this time on our left, instead of in front of us. We had reached the front. And not just that, we had reached it in a point where there were no enemy forces! We knew that a lib of smurf plane might show up any minute, so we went even faster. Crossing a road, a svamp, a small forest… And then, we saw a base. A base with VS flags on it. I could feel the whole squad relax. We were not safe, the front was less than a click away, but we were on the right side of it at least.
We hastened by the base, towards the warpgate, we Steve suddenly started describing features in the landscape that we had passed but minutes ago. We started to look around frantically, telling him to give us more details. We even shot flares up into the air to give him something to navigate towards. First he couldn’t hear the flares. But then, he could. Then he saw them. And at last, we saw each other. The squad was full again. At last. And I’m not ashamed to tell you all that while the rest of the squads hugged and hooted, I had a big grin on my face while my worries about loosing one of my soldiers melted away. I welcomed him back, basked in the warm thought that none of my soldiers had died today, and we kept on going towards the warpgate.
Now, the atmosphere was relaxed, and everyone was joking. Already talking about our march here and cementing the memories. As we finally saw the dome of the warpgate we started to get reports from Bravo and Delta as well. They had lost some people, a damn shame, but most of them were on the way back as well. And as everyone in the squad had made it to the center of the warpgate and we reported back in to command, I could barely hear the replies because of the chanting of our battle motto.
“Charlie squad, best squad.”
Charlie Squad lead,