“Where are they?” Fu Lan muttered in frustration. I silently agreed with the Haidao sniper as I watched the team push into the seemingly deserted Comms Centre.
We’d flown the transport in under the radar and crept up onto the plateau that held the Haqqislam listening network but there should have been some form of sentry or guard.
“Stay sharp,” I radioed to the team. “Let’s make the most of it and get in and out without any dramas.”
The deafening silence dragged on without any sign of opposition. I watched my TacDisplay with bated breath as Xu Heng ran from comms console to comms console in his Hulang armour. “Third console connected Boss.” Even his normally loud and offensive nature was dulled by the heavy expectant silence.
“Sir,” Tai Sheng radioed in, “We’ve got two potential friendly contacts on our flanks. They’re not responding to hails but their IFFs looks good.”
“Keep trying to raise them on comms and keep an eye on them. We shouldn’t have any of the reserves or flight crew in the AO.” I highlighted the two blue dots on my TacDisplay with growing unease.
“Contact right!” The Haidao on the building behind me shouted. “Ragik moving in our right flank!”
“Seen. He’s going for the informant.” I held my breath as the Ragik opened up with its Spitfire. The traitorous comms technician managed to dodge out of the way, cowering around the corner of a container. The Ragik chased after the terrified civilian, leaving her lying unconscious and bleeding.
“Tai Sheng heads up. The Ragik’s heading your way and you’re exposed out there.” Even with the enemy in our backfield I felt more at ease finally having eyes on one of the opposition.
“Don’t worry Sir, I’ve got him,” came Tai Sheng’s calm response. The roar of the Ragik’s Spitfire rattled behind me as I tensely awaited the result of the contact. A pair of loud cracks interrupted the Ragik’s Spitfire bursts.
“Confirmed hit,” Tai Sheng reported. “Looks like a gut shot. He got in to cover but I reckon he won’t last much longer.” A note of respect tinged her voice as she reported the Ragik’s dogged determination to survive.
A Govad fireteam took the Ragik’s distraction to open up on the Zuyong fireteam with an HMG. Feng Bo returned fire with his own HMG and the two merged into a terrible cacophony. The crack of Fu Lan’s sniper rifle marked the sudden and uncomfortable return of the tense silence.
“Boss,” Fu Lan reported tersely, “Enemy HMG neutralised but Feng Bo got clipped as well. He’s down and bleeding out pretty bad. His suit is reporting basic vitals. Can’t say more until I get to him.”
“Negative. Hold position and maintain overwatch,” I responded. “We don’t know what else these bastards have out there. The med team will get him out.” I felt a horrible twisting in my stomach as I ordered the Haidao to leave his comrade bleeding on the floor. An awkward silence on the comms net followed my command until Fu Lan responded with a stiff and formal acknowledgement.
The whistle and boom of missiles flying towards Fu Lan confirmed I’d made the right call. The Haidao sniper remained motionless as the missiles exploded into the building around him, taking his time before placing a pair of sniper rounds into the Govad ML.
“Right, I’m sick of waiting for these bastards to come at us,” I radioed. “Tai Sheng, take the fireteam and verify that callsign on the left flank. We’ll deal with the threat this side.”
Following Tai Sheng’s affirmative I watched through the Pangguling’s video feed as it scuttled around the corner. My suspicions were confirmed as I watched Hussein Al-Djabel attempt to disappear into the cloud of a smoke grenade. The Pangguling’s reactions were quicker, however, and I was rewarded with the footage of multiple shotgun blasts pummelling his body.
“Let’s get that civvie out of here!” I shouted to the Haidao with me. He nodded and ran over to the unconscious civilian. As he bent to grab her a snap shot from a friendly IFF marker revealed a Hassassin Friday.
The Haidao dodged into cover before advancing and pumping rounds from his shotgun into the revealed Fiday.
With the Fiday unconscious and bleeding I decided it was time to take the attack from our backfield into the enemy’s.
“Marking DZ. Jump on my mark. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Mark.” I radioed to the circling transport. A flaming meteor thundered down on top of three Asawira behind a building. As the impact hit I noticed the 3 Asawira indicators disappearing from my TacDisplay as an Ayyar dove for cover.
“Drop successful. Engaging targets.” The Liu Xing radioed. I heard his shotgun bark several times before he reported the Ayyar down.
The Haqqislam force was battered but refused to give up. The remnants of the Govad fireteam advanced on Xu Heng, attempting to immobilise him from cover.
“Boss, I could use a hand here,” the nervous voice of Xu Heng called as I saw his suit reporting multiple hacking attacks. Luckily the enemy commander was focusing on the Liu Xing on the left flank.
Avicenna moved up to revive the downed Ayyar, her combi rifle spitting as she advanced. The Liu Xing ducked back into cover, radioing for support. Seeing the Ayyar and Avicenna exposed in the open I ordered the Son-Bae forwards. The screech and boom of its missiles flying across the centre marked the deaths of the two unfortunate Hassassins.
“You take out their programmer, I’ll grab the civvie.” I messaged to the Haidao. The unforgiving bark of his shotgun preceded his confirmation of the target’s execution.
I sprinted down from the rooftop I’d been coordinating the battle from. My heavy breathing and heartbeat roared in my ears as I pounded through the centre towards the unconscious technician.
As I reached to drag her body into cover a burst of rifle fire forced me back behind a wall. I could only watch helplessly from cover as more rifle rounds struck the unfortunate comms technician, causing her body to jerk and twitch like a demented puppet.
Xu Heng’s angry, and increasingly frantic, calls over the comms net reported the Govad fireteam advancing on the exposed Hulang. The bark of the Govad’s rifles silenced his calls for help.
A beep on my HUD indicated the backdoor program was successfully installed into the the comms centre’s mainframe.
“That’s us done. We’re getting out of here. Tai Sheng, take your team and suppress the Govads, we’ll grab Xu Heng. Withdraw to the extraction point on my command.”
IA 8 – 2 HB
I was terrified. Two impersonators and well hidden units meant I couldn’t fire a single shot in my first turn. Instead I focused on grabbing objectives with my Hulang. I was expecting to get absolutely brutalised on Alex’s first turn.
I was saved by two factors: Alex got unfortunate with some dice rolls when his Ragik Spitfire faced off against Tai Sheng’s Breaker Rifle and he didn’t play his two impersonators aggressively to prune my fireteam. This allowed me to start taking on his units on my terms during the second Round.
I’ve not been convinced by the Liu Xing, however, it performed well in this match. Dropping on the holoechoes saved me the drama of trying to figure out which one was the Ayyar. I was very lucky it was behind one of its own holoechoes and couldn’t shoot the Liu Xing as it came down.
Again the Zuyong fireteam demonstrates itself as an auto-include in any IA list. This is slightly frustrating as I like the fact that are very few auto-includes in Infinity. I’ve been toying with the Yan Huo Multi-HMG/2xML Haris fireteam or a Mowang+Pangguling duo but can’t justify taking them over the Zuyong fireteam.