Part 29: St. Louis Part 1: Dear ShauriSorry, guys, got major case of lazy/miniature painting
They are kind of weird in the sense that they are harder than the stuff that comes after them.
Ah, but do they have better guns?
Post 29: St Louis: Dear Shauri
St. Louis was an atypical mission. My squad usually deals with getting inside the enemy base, killing everyone there, and handing it over to the rear element for assessment and looting. St. Louis... was about saving our Brothers. Or whoever was left to save.
Apparently, Fang squad waltzed right into the enemy fortifications around the city. Other rushed in to help... And we had to help them. It's a mess, really.
We also got an APC - an Armored Personnel Carrier. It's like a great metal box with tracks - just in case you haven't seen any around the base. They're quite rare.
Faced with Super-Mutants, we did something that was unusual to our squad. Hell, all the books I've ever read always warned against doing it with an APC. But we did it.
We fought from inside of the APC.
Normaly, the vehicle is supposed to just drop off soldiers at in a fight, not exactly fight with them - hence the carrier part of the name. Something called IFV was suited to fighting along with infantry, but I have never seen one of those. Might have been just a fanciful theory before the war.
But, for us, it worked. Three mutants dead, and the APC barely took a scratch. It was a successful assault.
We had done maneuvers like that, once before. It was in a little damned town by the name of Macomb. It was the first time we got the Humwee, and we did some shooting out of the windows. Well, the squad did. I don't shoot, I punch. I've heard that you're good at this CQC thing, too. I wonder if I had had something to do with that.
In any case, the fair citizens of Macomb didn't have machineguns in their midst. The Super Mutants, however, don't really have anything else.
The M249 SAW is pretty light as machineguns go, I guess. Very easy to handle for the big mutie oafs. If you ever see them one day - and I hope you don't - you'll notice the muties like to fire them with one arm. I don't know how they manage the recoil, but I guess it's of benefit to us. Accurate mutants would be unbearable. Now they're just obnoxious.
There might some sort of mutant hierarchy going around them them. Usually, you can spot them grouping together or holding an entrenched position. Then you see one of the hulks to the side. Those are the poor guys. Their job is to kill you without guns. Usually, they use grenades or bits of pipe. They're not too dangerous, but you'll want to kill them first anyways. Works with raiders, too. I hope they're keeping you hunting raiders. Initiates shouldn't go against Super Mutants from the get go.
Oh, and this is extremely important: if you meet any of the Beastlord remanants, SHOOT THE DEATHCLAW FIRST. Even if they're younglings. Actual Beastlords can't shoot for shit and they're quite squishy. Deathclaws are bad business.
Ah, well. Super Corpses looted, we trecked back, to clear position up North from out starting point. Shauri, it's really important to loot any corpse you come across, you never know what they might carry. All that talk about losing gear and spending time in the box starts to sound a little less intimidating when you start hauling entire racks of guns back to the bunker.
It might not be as important to you, Shauri, but APC is sluggish beast. Ice was doing well, considering that she had not had any additional driver training since she got on the squad. But maneuvering the bucket of bolts is pain. Took us some time till we got back over the bridge.
The fields of St. Louis were marked with various nasty looking craters. I guess those were supposed to be artillery or something similar - the holes were entirely too big for landmines or RPGs. Riding in the APC, we felt a little safer than we would have staying outside.
It was, in a way, just like mechanized maneuvers that were supposed to happen after a nuclear attack. You stay inside the vehicle at all times, because being outside would be lethal. I doubt they had time to put that in practice in the last war.
It didn't take long to reach a small Super Mutant position. One was waiting close, too close. Stitch, our squad medic, killed him with his automatic shotgun. Now, you and your initiates might not think much of shotguns, what with their slow rate of fire and shorter range and such, but once you get automatic ones... Ah, now that's a thing of beauty. I can't shoot them myself, but Stitch is a master. The ammo is plentiful and the gun chews through smaller grouped enemies. I guess you already know that there enemies other than humans out there. Those critters might be annoying and loathsome, but they're deadly none the less. And poisonous, too, so always have some antidote handy.
I hope you don't get to see what I saw in the depths of Preoria.
After some careful positioning and careless shooting we managed to wipe all the mutants out. The APC took a beating, but Stitch fixed it... eventually. The important thing was that the squad wasn't hurt. Not getting shot is even better than having armor, and the APC was like our tracked bunker. Of all the fighting positions I've seen in my service, this one is the best. It's a pity, then, that most of our missions happen in urban environments or subterranean tunnels not suited for this kind of warfare.
We fixed the APC. The decision where to go next was easy - the way north was barred with barbed wire. I could see the bodies of fallen brothers even from my seat in the vehicle. The way west was mined. So we decided to come back over the ravine, only using a different bridge, and check out a set of bunkers.
They were empty, blasted apart and ruined. Seems to be the work of our brothers. We didn't see any corpses - the muties likely collected their own after they dealt with our forces. It was either that or admitting that the entire Brotherhood assault on St. Louis had been a colossal failure - nothing gained, so much lost.
However, we did see a group of mutants guarding a crater surrounded by what could only be our fallen. The decision was clear: we charge in.
You know that one can't really lay down effective fire while on the move, right? Well, the APC is old, and has pre-war shock absorbers and thingamajigs. Firing from inside is no different from firing in a standing position. The mutants didn't really stand a chance.
Yet even before we killed the muties, we received a Pip confirmation that the fallen here are Fang squad.
Fang squad starter this who St. Louis affair, you know? Stumbled right into it, dragged everyone after themselves. Those fools. Well, let that be a lesson to you: you will see Brotherhood doing mistakes. Huge mistakes. It all comes from overconfidence in their superiority: superiority in tech, superiority in tactics, superiority in training... Shauri, you can't allow yourself to be that naiive. These savage enemies, they have survived in this land - and, judging by the numbers we kill, prospered - without any knowledge of pre-war technology or proper military discipline. They're dangerous.
Don't let overconfidence cloud your judgement.
This is a good example where my own planing nearly ruined everything. After dispatching the two mutants on the ground, we saw another appear on a cliff, carrying an RPG. Those things seem to be the only explosive projectors to have survived the years, as I have never seen, nor heard of these "grenade launcher" things. It probably helps that RPGs are unsophisticated to use and easy to handle. We scavenged one in Macomb and haven't seen any since.
So, this one mutant was waiting with an RPG to ambush us or anyone who came to check on fang squad. It was plain luck that we managed to kill him before he managed to get a shot off.
Apparently this ambush was planned to fall upon anyone following the road. An interesting planning decision, considering that there was an another position barring the road before the ambush point.
We, on the other hand, had a tracked vehicle, and those don't care about roads much.
Fang squad had not been so lucky. Bu the looks of it, they had been traveling in a tight formation when they were hit. It's a surprise they managed to get a message out. Maybe they just got cornered here or something.
That didn't really matter, tho. They were dead and the living were to recover their gear.
First, we found an M60, a common enough machinegun, you must have seen them in the base - long, triangular looking front, don't seem that comfortable.
However, I already had taken one of the M249s, a much superior and newer weapon. Strange thing, to compare ages of guns that had been designed and built hundreds of years ago.
In any case, I endeavour to learn from my mistakes, so Mandy was sent forward to scout. Mandy is good kid, a lot sneakier than you'd expect of a medic or a poet. Handy with a gun, too. She'd be a lot more useful if our squad ever did scouting. However, our battles mostly hinged on me running into the thick of it and punching out the biggest threat, bullets be damned. Not much sneaking for Mandy or Ice to do.
I figured they'd both be snipers or markswomen at first, but I dropped the idea later. Ice isn't getting enough work as it is.
Mandy might not have found anything to the south, but there were some sandbag bunkers to the the North. Would look like a security outpost, if not for a lone mutant with an RPG up on the small plateau directly North of our group. It was decided that I'm the best suited to the task.
As in most of my mission, this was they time for Psycho. Nobody else but me uses and as someone who punches people for a living, it's a very much needed boon. Makes you little less intelligent, more bestial, more ready to rip someone's face off with your bare hands. Buffout works well in concert with Psycho. Makes you feel nearly invincible, and you can punch faces all day long. Reach out touch face, and all that.
Mentants aren't really useful in combat, but you can pop one before going for requisitions or replacements, makes you think faster and your tongue cuts sharper. A good tool outside battlefield.
Now, Afterburner has only one use: seeling. You wouldn't believe how expensive it is. Civvies love to get high on that shit and it drives them crazy. In Macomb, they attacked us with rocks, all to get to our supplies. We eventually found Afterburner on most bodies. If they had sold it, they could have gotten enough RPs to last weeks if not months, or to travel somewhere more comfortable. But no, they doomed their families, held on to their 'burner and went after the Brotherhood.
I'd also advise against taking Voodoo or what's commonly known as healing powder. Your medic should have better healing stuff, and you should sell anything that doesn't look like a stimpack or a First Aid kit.
On the topic of drugs: be careful if you ever use them, kid. You might addiction, and there are only two ways to deal with that: get another hit or wander the wastes for a week, shivering, sweating and shitting yourself. Not a nice thing, to lose a week for every mission, but it's better to do that than to lose squadmates.
The mutant fired rockets at me, but I didn't care. It's easy to ignore things like that when you're on Psycho. It's a lot harder to contain yourself from just flinging bodily at the enemy.But when I do make contact... things get messy.
Know this, Shauri: armor is almost as important as skill. I'm a very lucky man, I found this Environmental Armor suit being sold by a strange merchant in the wastes. I don't have the rank to get one in requisition office, but hey, here I am, all environmentally protected. That is a another lesson for you: trading with people outside of Brotherhood is still important. And it's easy for me: back home, I spent a lot of times around traders, especially after show fights with their caravan guards. The wasteland is mysterious, so you never know what kind of lost technology they might have. Don't ignore them.
Ah, those days of my youth. The sandy, torch lit pits, people cheering, RPs changing hands, cheap booze... and two barechested men fighting hand to hand. You block, you land a hit on the torso, left hook, right hook. Never imagined I'd be punching hulking slabs of muscle with some miracle technology gloves.
It's take long to punch a mutant (who hasn't yet injured himself by firing an RPG at his own feet) dead. Too long. If you needed any more reasons not to go against them, here's one more: even if you can get close, they can crush you like that. Me? I'm 70% percent scar tissue and most of my blood is either Psycho or stims. I can handle that. But it's still unpleasant.
It takes so long that my squad members finish retrieving gear from dead Fang squad members. Powers cells used to be very valuable, back when Power Fist was the mightiest asset in the squad. Now... things have changed.
We also found mines. Our squad never used them before. Just never needed them. Always being on the offense, we could maybe only used them to lure people into traps, but that's a waste of time and money. We used to try and do that when we younger, less experienced. Well, friendly fire is thing, Shauri, a thing you might not want to experience.
Nor would you want to go toe-to-toe with a super mutant. They hit hard, but the bigger problem is how many punches they can take. I got banged up pretty hard, and was lucky to make it back to the APC, were Stitch patched me up, propped me up, slapped my back and sent me back into the fight.