Marcus shut down his PADD and stood, scooping up his rifle from where it was proped against the wall. He moved towards the nearest breech in the wall to move to the forward barricades.
"Alright Marines!!! Let's move!" He smiled to himself slightly... he was the one that posed the theory that the Enemy was strictly regimented.... He had noticed in several fights when the Enemy's officers were taken out the troops under him became confused and were taken down easier by the Marines. He sent a plan to the Command Post to just move all out and strike the Enemy command center... by capturing or killing their leading officers it should help with taking the planet easier as the Enemy would be disorganized. He hoped the utilization of this plan would help get him a transfer to rejoin regular StarFleet... the only reason for him to join the Marines was in hopes of rapid advancement...to secure a posting that Elizabeth could go to within a short time. That plan died with her.... now he wants to go back to the Fleet...where he feels he belongs.
Marcus ducked behind the barricade and looked to Lt Anders....the man in charge of the company of Marines Marcus was in.
"Sir...what's the word..."
Lt Anders glanced over and spoke, "When the fighters strafe the Enemy's frontlines we are to charge over there... Obviously using what cover we can. The Enemy command center is about a mile north of us... Other units will be offering distractions while we do the real push."
Marcus was about to answer when the Marine fighters screamed by overhead releasing volleys of pulse phaser cannon fires and barrages of mini-torpedoes at the front areas of the Enemy holdings. As the ground and fortifactions were ripped with explosions a wordless cry went up amongst the Marines... They charged as one. Marcus noted with a detatched part of his mind that in that moment a dozen lives ended as Marines dropped...hit by the packets of charged particles fired by the Enemy's weapons. The Enemy fared no better... Marcus and the rest of the Marines opened up with their rifles as they ran... all along the Enemy lines they dropped. Marcus lost himself in the fury of the battle, firing and avoiding fire. Over an hour went by but finally Marcus found himself at the Enemy command center... the building that used to be the medical research facility. As he crouched behind a piece of wreckage he took a look around... nearby were Kier and a number of Marines.
Marcus watched the building and spoke to those around him,"Okay...we might not have a lot of time so let's do this fast. When I give the word charge the building and throw forth whatever firepower can be mustered... Kier and I will open the doors....Now! Charge!!!"
He threw himself into the open and charged with the dozen or so Marines, Kier by his side matching his stride... they raised their weapons as one and opened fire... The pulsed fire struck the door at the same time.. blasting it open easily. They flattened themselves on each side of the door and a Marine tossed in a concussion grenade. After it exploded Marcus and his troops moved in...firing at targets of opportunity.
Marcus stepped into the building after the concussion grenade went off firing his phaser rifle at several Enemy troops standing dazedly by. The Enemy raised their weapons to fire back as several of their number fell. Marcus and Kier dove behind a receptionist's desk and placed their backs to it. He glanced over at Kier, wholooked back at him with a feral grin, chest heaving from the Klingon battle lust coursing through her.
"You ready Kier?", he asked as he prepared himself to dart towards the next bit of cover.
She nodded and replied, "Lead the way StarFleet." She always called him that.... a reminder that he was a member of StarFleet and didn't try to join the Klingon military forces. He ignored the jibe for now and sprang to his feet, sweeping phaser fire over the positions held by the Enemy, using the distraction to run foreward and duck behind a decorative pillar flanking the Enemy positions. Kier followed, pressing up close to him behind the sparse cover. He tried to ignore the attractive woman pressing up against his chest while he waited for his men to distract the Enemy long enough for himself and Kier to take them down. Upon hearing the reports of the Marine phaser rifles Marcus and Kier leaned out on opposite sides of the pillar and let loose long bursts from their own rifles. Seven Enemy troops collapsed to the ground.
Marcus clapped Kier's shoulder,"Good work Kier.", then stepped out to look over the Enemy for anything important as his Marines spread out to secure the lobby. Off to one side Private Crett worked with the portable communications gear to try to punch through Enemy jamming to get more Marine forces to this breech. Marcus looked over the Enemy troops...taking in their features. Typically around six feet tall and weighing about two hundred pounds they were within typical humanoid sizes. Their physical strength ranges about twice as much as a human and their endurance let them withtand stunning phaser blasts.... the requirement to use lethal settings meant not many prisoners are able to be taken. The Enemy had scaley greenish-grey skin...much like a reptile.... causing some speculation as to wether they are an offshoot of the Jem'Hadar... the timing was quite coincidental... The day the attack on this world started the Jem'Hadar attacked Veridian 3.... where most of the best Marine units got sent.
Finding nothing of importance Marcus called together the bulk of his men taking a quick headcount. Aside from the ten Marines covering the various entrances he had a dozen able bodied men and women, and Kier. He divided the Marines into two groups of eight, leaving six to secure the lobby.
"Okay people...spread out by groups and try to find their commanders... Kier and I will start by getting to the administration offices... they might have set their command post there. If we find it we will call both of the groups in for support... If Team One or Team Two finds it... call for backup. Now move!"
The two teams broke off and headed farther into the building. Marcus hefted his rifle, nodded to Kier and set off for the stairwell so he and Kier can make their way upwards.
Marcus led the way up the stairs.... eyes sharply looking for any signs of the Enemy. From the floorplans they had downloaded for this building Marcus and Kier knew the administration offices were located on the third floor of the seven floor building with labs taking up the top floors. As they passed the door leading from the second floor Kier paused to attach a small device right next to the door about chest high. Marcus recognized it as a motion activated anti-personel mine. If the door was opened before the device is turned off the resulting explosion would cut anyone in the hall behind the door in half from the shrapnel. Marcus nodded to her and they set off up the stairs, Kier moving up closer to Marcus now. They stopped when the saw the top of the door over the stairs... Marcus crouched and made his way slowly upwards to see the door was
unguarded. He pressed his back to the wall next to the door and motioned Kier foreward..... they got ready to enter the floor with rifles raised.
Marcus nodded and Kier took the door handle in hand and yanked the door wide open. Marcus pushed off the wall and spun into the doorway in a crouch instinctively blasting a pair of Enemy troops looking over in surprise. Kier's weapon spoke death of it's own... dropping the troop turning the corner and raising his weapon to fire. Marcus and Kier stepped inside and scanned the area with their tricorders quickly... then set out down the hall to the right with Kier watching the back and Marcus watching the front. They passed doors as quickly as the could as they made their way deeper into the third floor to get to the main offices. As they passed one door it opened.... Marcus swung his rifle butt up swiftly catching the soldier across the cheek...he flew back into the room and crashes through a table. A quick burst from Kier's rifle silenced him for good.... and they moved onwards. As they turned a corner energy weapons opened up.. blasts impacting all around them. Marcus looked quickly then backed around the corner pulling Kier with him.
"They have a barricade set up with at the least eight troops behind it..... I think we found it...", said Marcus as he looked at Kier.
Kier grinned ferally and tapped her commbadge,"This is Kier to Team One and Two... converge on this signal...We have found their command center."
Kier and Marcus leaned out and opened fire..taking three of the troops down only to have them replaced instantly by more troops. They ducked back behind the corner as the Enemy opened fire at them.
Marcus muttered under his breath as he looked to Kier, "Not gonna make it that way Kier....". She nodded and they both looked around... at the same moment they pointed to the door nearby. Marcus grinned a bit and led the way through the door carefully to find the room empty. Marcus walked to the far side of the room and scanned the wall with his tricorder, "About a foot thick... plastene compound. Got anything to bust through with Kier?"
Kier placed a satchel that normally hung at her back on a table in the room and rooted through it, pulling out a disc shaped object, "This bomb will blow that wall down easy.". Marcus ndded and gestured to the corner of the room before ging to the far side and pushing a table over. Kier set the object against the wall and pressed a few buttons on it... running back across the room and scooping up her satchel. She ducked behind the table with Marcus and braced. A moment later a large explosion erupted. Ears ringing Marcus and Kier peered over the edge of the table to see the gaping hole in the wall.... the shattered barricade and broken bodies of the Enemy beyond.
They stepped through the flame edged hole and scanned the area visually through the drifting smoke but could see no moving Enemy.... the continued onwards through the doors the barricade guarded. As they entered bolts of energy were fired at them by a half dozen Enemy troops dressed in more elaborate uniforms. One blast struck Kier in the left shoulder buring a hole right through her body. She fell back against Marcus who dragged her behind a desk.
"Grrrr...... go get them StarFleet!", she growled at him as she reached for the med kit in her satchel. Marcus nodded and rushed out from behind the battered desk to draw the Enemy fire. He shot off a few rounds to keep the Enemy from advancing and ducked behind another desk. He rolled out the way he came and quick snapped off a few shots taking down three of the Enemy elite troops, then narrowly avoided the counterfire of the other three as he took cover again.
Marcus threw a grenade over to where the Enemy took up positions and used the distraction the blast made to advance...firing with deadly effect at the three dazed soldiers. Kier joined him with her shoulder bandaged as they looked over the bodies... then to the closed door in front of them... They heard the sounds and shouts of the other Marines closing from behind as Marcus kicked the door in... rifle ready to fire. Standing in the ornate office were three Enemy wearing fancy uniforms... As they saw the Klingon and half Klingon they raised their hands away from their sidearms.... the rest of the Marines crowding into the room and taking up firing positions....
Marcus stepped foreward and stared down the one in the fanciest uniform, thoughts running through his mind. He hoped now questions would be answered... who the Enemy were, why they attacked this planet...what they wanted... He raised his rifle and spoke calmly,"On behalf of the United Federation of Planets... you are now my prisoners."
Shadow Front: The Aftermath
Verium Prime...... once, not too long ago it was a fertile world... home to a medical reasearch base for the United Federation of Planets. There were hopes that many diseases could be studied and cured here. Serveral key experiments were bearing fruit... three horrible diseases about to be cured... Then the Enemy came and attacked without mercy or regard for what they ruined. The planet fell quickly to their onslaught.
Some time has past... now Verium Prime is a ravaged battlefield. On one side are the Enemy forces... reptilian humanoids with a fierce warrior spirit. On the other are the forces of the Federation embodied by the StarFleet Marines... fighting to reclaim Federation territory from an unprovoked attack. The battle has raged for awhile... and yet little is still known about the Enemy.
One week has passed since the attack on the Enemy command post. Marcus lay on a cot in a fairly intact building, his Marines around him cleaning weapons, sharpening knives, eating or sleeping. It was his plan to capture the Enemy leadership... based on experiences where their attack groups fell apart after their leaders were taken down. It had the opposite effect when their three top officers were captured and transported off planet... Seems those three were also some sort of religious functionaries.... Now the Enemy fought like mad zealots... The casualties on both sides were horrendus...
Marcus turned his head to the left and looked over at the cot next to him upon which lay Kier. Her shoulder was fully healed by now and Marcus watched her sleep for several minutes before looking back to the ceiling. He had a lot to worry about... he and his unit were being sent into the thick of the fighting to try and help shatter one of the last few Enemy strongholds....
Marcus looked up as he heard voices speaking and getting closer... he looked towards the doorway from his cot. Standing in the doorway speaking to his aide was Captain Thorne... the officer in charge of the unit Marcus was in. He stood up and went to attention before his superior officer. Thorne nodded to him,"At ease Cole.... we've been given orders... We attack the Crag in three hours." With that the Captain left...leaving Marcus to get his men ready.
The Crag was a base set up by the Enemy on a large rise overlooking one of the shattered cities. Nearly impossible to scale on the cliff face facing the city and with a long gentle slope towrds the fortified base..... truely a tough nut to crack. Several times the Marines tried to take the base.... the network of trenches forming the main line of defences for the slope side were heavily placed with troops. Three companies of Marines died in those assaults.
"All right Marines listen up!!! Our orders came in..... we take the Crag in three hours!"
Marcus looked over the faces of his men and women.... they all knew of the Crag... it's reputation as a meet grinder. Seeing how nervous they were Marcus used one of his empathic abilities granted by his half Betazoid genetics... he concentrated on the brainwaves of the Marines as they prepared themselves. Using his abilities he began drawing their fear and nervousness into himself, letting them concentrate on being ready to fight.... his own mind able to deal with these excess emotions. Over time the excess would bleed away harmlessly. That done he turned to Kier and began planning the movements of the Marines...