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Old 08-29-2005, 10:08 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Mumbai
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Part III: Survival

Smoke arose from the burning gunship. It was black and charred. Lt. Wefive glanced up at RAS Shred’da, which was almost out of the atmosphere.
“What the- They’re evacuating? They’re just leaving us here?” Lt. Wefive asked, a hint of rage in his voice. The clones looked up at the great Assault Ship as it’s ion engines lit up and it began a steady flight out of the atmosphere. Communications were down as the droids had seemingly brought in some sort of a jamming device with them. There wasn’t any ship in sight, no transport, no gunship. On the horizon, the droid armies advanced ominously. Lt. Wefive knew it was time to act.
“Alright, we are ten here. We have no ship. All, report ID.” Lt. Wefive ordered.
In turn, each member announced their ID and status:
“Trooper IF-H763 ready, sir. Minimal damage.”
“Sniper 4F-KAS ready. Injured left hand.”
“Sgt. Ac-25G ready. I have an injured leg.”
“AA trooper RPS-101V ready, battered armour, minimal damage.”
“Recon 55-YUI ready, medium ammo, injured hand.”
“Recon 4R-KJ, I’m ready but I have damage on my left limbs.”
“Recon RRT-F9, ready, minimal damage.”
“Trooper WX-BB5 ready to fire, sprained ankles”
“Trooper DDS-RM3 ready, minimal damage.”
“AA Trooper PSS-322S ready, minimal dama- damage.”

Gathering his squad, Lt. Wefive scanned the horizons. To their south was a large mountain, with two peaks, one higher than the other. They weren’t very tall, possible some 1000-2000 meters high. To their north, north-east and north-west were an impenetrable wall of droids, grey, beige, tall and deadly. The east and west were plains, rocky and endless.
Lt. Wefive knew there was only one place he could take refuge in, and that was the great mountain that lay to their south. “Alright, everyone. We’re going to that mountain there. It isn’t far. No complaints.” Nobody even felt like complaining. Lt. Wefive was racing with questions as he began the slow march towards the mountains. “Why had the RAS left them there, stranded? Did they call for reinforcements? Why were only thirty soldiers sent to recon and capture an enormous planet? Was this a covert operation? Did the high Commanders even know of this operation?” He couldn’t find answers to even one question.
The wind was travelling slow most of the time, but sped up soon, as if siding with the Separatists. The droids were still at a distance, though the Sniper 30X scope could find faint details of the droids. Outlines of Spider Droids and Hailfires were seen at a distance. Even the hailfire droids were moving relatively slowly, unlike their usual rash, high-speed behaviour.
The Clones trudged on, leaving behind all injuries in a desperate attempt to survive this planet. Their hopes were low, but they were Clones. They would never say no. They had a duty to protect the Republic at all costs or die trying. Lt. Wefive, although being a former ARC, was true to his faction. He was just as obedient as any other clone, but had a mind sharp enough to know what was right and wrong. It was this mind that substituted his lack of experience.
After traversing for some two hours, the Clones finally reached the feet of the great mountain. The path was luckily, easy. The initial slope was gentle, but rose suddenly. Spires jutted out at random locations. Finding a path wasn’t hard. Lt. Wefive gave some basic information on climbing as he made his way through the spires and boulders. His blaster was in it’s sheath and he was using both hands to get a good grip. The slope rose and at some places there was even sheer cliff wall.
The clones were good at climbing. Mishaps were very rare and recon troops got the added bonus of their jetpacks. The sun was low and nightfall was only a few hours away. Lt. Wefive watched the sun, tiny, above the sea of grey and beige droids. He was sitting on a boulder, awaiting for his entire squad to reach his location. He had sent recon out, hoping that they would find some cave to hide in. He knew he had made some good decisions up to now. The mountain would give great defence against the droid army. Droids were clumsy and it was impossible for them to climb steep slopes.
Recon troopers arrived before long. The squad had settled in on a flat surface, about halfway to the summit. Although it was a good place, it was very vulnerable and offered hardly any defensive support. They lamented, talked about strategies, their exploits and what-nots. Some boosted the morale and an occasionally laugh brightened the place, where at times they were reminded that their survival here is impossible. As soon as Recon troopers arrived, Lt. Wefive jumped up. “So?” he asked. “We’ve spotted a large cave, empty. All of us can fit in. It faces East, so we’ll have to turn. 4R-KJ devised a path leading to the cave. He’ll transmit it to you now. RRT-F9 is back at the cave, keeping watch.”
The party rose and marched almost mechanically. The march had considerably tired them out and no-one had even considered having a drop of water or a light bite. The cave wasn’t very far. The path was easy and was level most of the time. There were a lot of fissures in the rock and at times a cliff wall would meet them at their right, which they would hug to advance. The sun was almost setting and the sky was enveloped in violet-blue, with some pink and amber towards the west, where the sun was ready to depart. No sooner did the party plop down on the hard cave floor than they began shuffling for emergency rations and water. Taking off their helmets, they set them aside and laid to rest, depleting their resources. Lt. Wefive sat on a boulder, his helmet still on him. Finally, he took it off and kept it beside him and stared into the vast sea of stars. Sgt. Ac-25G and the Recon troopers sat nearby, planning the next day. Lt. Wefive paid heed to the conversation, but didn’t let anyone know he was. As the night continued, the Clones slowly dropped asleep. One clone was appointed the night watch and had to sit at the edge of the cave, trying to keep his eyes from falling. Even the intimidating Lt. Wefive got tired and fell asleep on the harsh cave floor. A day that started as usual had ended as a perfect disaster. Now there were few things that could save his squad from being wiped out.

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