Major Patrick Rudder, Alpha Company, 4th New Republic Special Forces Regiment (Rangers)
Colla IV, Colla System, Colla Sector
“Alpha, this is Alpha Six, all teams report when set, over,” said Patrick quietly, speaking into the mouthpiece of his comm headset which sat snugly in his ear. He lay on the ground in some grass which was barely tall enough to cover the bodies of him and his team from any cursory observation, having low-crawled nearly three hundred meters from the nearest cover of lush tropical jungle. Patrick had seen countless different planets during his time serving both the Empire and the Rebellion and its successor, the New Republic, but never had he been on a world where the primary terrain was jungle. It was one of the reasons his company had been chosen, he knew, them being the only Ranger company within the 3rd Battle Group. And so here they were, on Colla, the latest objective of the aggressive Liberation Campaign currently being undertaken by the New Republic. Their own objective was the compound which lay before them, a sensor station with an enormous relay which could scan the entire system around this Imperial fortress world, providing accurate early warning of any Republic fleet movements into the region.
“This is Alpha One, we’re set, over,” replied Captain Ravin Calder, one of Patrick’s platoon leaders whom he had chosen to be the second-in-command of this mission. Patrick had taken only two of his platoons on this particular mission, with the other platoon being held in reserve aboard the Vigilant Resolve, a captured Strike-class Cruiser which had served as the operational ship for Alpha Company for over two years now. Captain Denell, Patrick’s Executive Officer, would deploy the other platoon as needed if Patrick requested them, but for now, the smaller the element, the better, and so only eighty-two men had come along when Alpha Company made planetfall on Colla. Right now, Patrick was with approximately thirty of them, while twenty were with Captain Calder and thirty more with Captain Iris Owebeth, the other platoon leader on the mission.
“This is Alpha Two, we’re set, over,” said Owebeth, checking in.
“This is Alpha Six, roger all,” said Patrick. “Alpha One, execute, over.”
The only response was the sound of an electrical surge zapping through the air as Calder’s team detonated the surge charges they had set on one of the power boxes near one of the outlying buildings. The charges sent a powerful electrical pulse through the utility lines underneath the outpost, overloading all of the systems at once and causing a momentary blackout. An outpost of this importance would no doubt have backup power on a separate grid, secured internally, but it would take several minutes to kick in and realign all of the systems on the backup power, which gave Patrick and his teams their chance.
“Alpha Two, this is Alpha Six, we’re moving in, over,” said Patrick over his comm. Getting up into a crouch, Patrick motioned for the thirty men with him to advance, and they all got up at once and headed towards the nearest perimeter fence, spread out in small fire teams to cover the most area and get the most dispersion. They reached the fence and several men took out small blowtorches and began cutting entry holes in the fences. Meanwhile, Patrick knew that Owebeth and her team would be securing the perimeter approaches with small teams, ensuring that no reinforcements would be able to reach the outpost in time to make any difference. Patrick knew that the Imperials would be scrambling inside the compound, trying to get the power back up, as well as deploying troops to investigate, so they had only moments to get through the fence and to the other side before they would take contact. Patrick watched the men with blowtorches, anxiously waiting until he saw the men deactivate their torches and pull the sections of fence away. He stepped forward, along with the rest of his team two slipped through the cuts in the fence and spread out again, advancing more slowly now towards the outpost’s central building.
Patrick was right in the center of the staggered line of Rangers, all dressed in camouflage fatigues and carrying A-280 blaster rifles, all of which were raised at the high ready, prepared to engage anything that emerged in the darkness. As if on cue, several doors in the building’s exterior opened up and a group of white-armored Stormtroopers emerged, weapons raised. Patrick glanced down his 4x magnified sight, which doubled as a night sight in low illumination such as now, and centered the red dot on one of the Stormtroopers. He stopped his movement for a moment to keep his weapon steady and pulled the trigger three times. Two of the blaster bolts hit their mark on the Stormtrooper just as the man fired his own weapon, catching him in the chest and knocking him backwards, dead. All around him, the SpecForce troopers fired at the emerging Stormtroopers, cutting them down as they were funneled out of the doorways into the clearing outside the compound. Patrick continued to walk forward with his men, acquiring another target down his sight and pulling the trigger four more times, killing a second Stormtrooper who had knelt down and begun returning fire. By this point they were within a hundred meters of the compound and the Stormtroopers had stopped emerging. From the comm chatter over his headset, Patrick knew he had lost two of his own men, but they were being attended to by the medic, and Owebeth’s team was already sending evacuation teams.
They reached the building and the men began to stack up at one of the doors before filing in, beginning their room clearances. “Alpha, this is Alpha Six, we have reached the target building,” Patrick said over his headset. Small, four-man teams blocked the other three doors from which Stormtroopers had exited, to ensure no one could get behind the large entrance team, with whom Patrick moved inside with. The building had stark gray walls and black floors, perfectly square hallways and neatly-organized rooms. Each room was cleared methodically by Patrick’s men, ensuring they were empty before moving forward. Patrick knew that these were all barracks rooms, supply offices, and other nonconsequential rooms, and that the real fight would be at the objective: the central control room.
As they moved through the hallways, several Stormtroopers suddenly popped out from around a corner and began firing. One of Patrick’s men went down, but the SpecForce reacted instantly, and by the time Patrick raised his own weapon and acquired a target, the four Stormtroopers had already been killed by his men. They moved methodically through the rest of the compound, encountering two more small teams of Stormtroopers which they dealt with without further casualties, until finally they came to a large blast door. It had been sealed, likely as an automatic hydraulic response when power had been lost, but Patrick and his team had been expecting this. “Truint, bring your team with me,” said Patrick, waving at the Sergeant First Class. The veteran brought three other men with him, all carrying backpacks, and knelt down in the side room, a barracks room. Without needing to be told, they began clearing beds and lockers away from the wall which the room shared with the control room. Once that was done, they dropped their backpacks and removed small directional explosive charges from them, affixing them in two square patterns to create two square entry points for the team to enter the control room through. After less than a minute, Truint looked at Patrick and said, “Sir, we’re ready.”
Patrick leaned out into the hallway and motioned to his men, who began to file into the barracks room and divide into two groups, one for each prospective entry point. They started about a meter away from the wall, as the directional charges would only explode into the wall, keeping the SpecForce troopers safe and allowing them to move in quickly. Patrick was in the center of the left-hand group, and once he was satisfied that everyone was ready, he nodded to Truint, who activated the detonator. The explosives triggered all at once, and the first two troopers in each line stepped forward, activating flashbang grenades and tossing them inside. The Special Forces waited until they heard the loud CRASH of the flashbang before beginning their swift entry. Each team entered and immediately spread to opposite sides of the near wall, engaging targets as they saw them. Patrick entered in the left group and moved to the left, bringing up his rifle and firing several times at a Stormtrooper who was blasting away wildly from the hip. It was obvious that the defenders had been arrayed for an assault on the blast door, and the breach on their flank left them terribly exposed. Patrick continued to move to the left along with his group, firing another burst which hit the head of a Stormtrooper, blowing the helmet open and sending the body collapsing to the ground in a limp heap. Continuing to sweep, Patrick scanned for any more targets but saw none; there was no one left standing in the control room, and no return fire.
The SpecForce now began a forward sweep of the room, ensuring that all of the Imperial defenders were dead and the room was secure before the next part of their mission could be accomplished. His heart racing from the quick burst of adrenaline, Patrick walked along with his men, observing the results of their swift, deadly assault. The defenders had been caught completely unaware, and the flanking assault from an unexpected location, along with the flashbangs, had spelled their quite deaths. The defenders, a mixture of Stormtroopers and regular uniformed Imperial military personnel who manned the sensors, lay strewn across the floor, most of them still clutching their blasters in death.
Upon reaching the far side of the room, calls of, “Clear!” echoed amongst the Special Forces troopers. “Alright, let’s get to work and get out of here!” ordered Patrick, but he knew his men did not need the urging; they set to work immediately. Some of them searched the dead officers for any code cylinders or other intelligence sources, while Truint and his explosives team began to rig the sensor stations with charges. The rest of the troopers secured the breach hole and the blast door, just in case. In a matter of only five minutes, everything was complete. Truint flashed Patrick a thumbs up, and Patrick called over his headset, “Alpha, this is Alpha Six, charges set, we’re coming out now.”
“This is Alpha Two, roger, we’ll be waiting for you out here,” replied Owebeth.
“Alright, let’s move,” said Patrick. The Special Forces began filing out of the now-open blast door, hurrying down the hallways and out the door through which they had entered. Once everyone had exited and been accounted for, they jogged across the clearing back into the jungle where the rest of the strike team was waiting for them. Patrick moved to the center of the patrol base, where Captains Owebeth and Calder were waiting for him.
“Sir,” said Owebeth, a short blonde human female who was much tougher than she looked.
“Sir,” said Calder, a lithe human male with black hair and a large scar across his right cheek.
“Captains,” said Patrick with a nod. “Everyone accounted for?”
“Yes, sir,” said Calder.
“Good, how are our casualties?” asked Patrick.
“We lost one, sir,” said Calder, glancing down. “Restarpo.”
Restarpo, Patrick thought. A kid, new to the Special Forces. Shaking his head, Patrick said, “Alright, let’s get out of here.” Turning to Sergeant First Class Truint, Patrick said, “Blow it, Sergeant.”
“Roger that, sir,” said Truint. He took out his detonator and activated it, and several hundred meters away, the sensor station was torn apart by a series of explosions, rocking it from the inside and ending with a massive fireball which engulfed the building.
Well, the Imperials would not be able to track incoming ships anymore, Patrick thought as the Rangers melted away into the jungles of Colla, but they certainly knew the Republic was here now.