Part 69: Cheyenne Mountain, Part 1: Canyon of GrindI might not be the best writer, but John Ringo is worse!
Post 69: Cheyenne Mountain, Part 1: A Canyon Of Voes
The road back to the base was uneventful. The quartermaster was really happy about the Gauss minigun apparently, other paladins had been chafing themselves raw at the idea of getting one. What is the joy in a having a minigun if it can't cut your enemy in half? Why be a paladin if you can't split a foe in twain with a hail of bullets?
Flashman, acutely aware of the ammo issues that would plague such a gun, sold it without a second thought. However, he did fancy armored protection, so he spent a great deal of scrip securing additional suits of advanced power armor.
Not that it felt any more advanced than 'regular' power armor
The atmosphere around the general's tent was felt different. There was tension in the air. Everyone seemed more animated, a little more nervous, too. The guards stood at attention, the elders whispered to each other in hushed and hurried tones, and hurrying scribes kept coming and leaving with dispatches.
Ah, that's why.
The last showdown was coming. It felt somewhat sudden, unexpected. All the missions before were regular, so to speak. It didn't feel like they were heading towards the battle to end all battles. What had they done in the previous missions that got them closer to this confrontation?
But war never changes and doesn't follow the needs of dramatic pacing.
The squad moved out immediately.
How the calculator came to be, the holotape
Many underground shelters, known as Vaults, had been built before the war that ended the world. Vault 0 was the one meant to control them all.
Vault 0 was to house the most important people of the time, and a computer dubbed Calculator would look after them. Its task was overseeing the resettlement of the wasteland. But it was no mere machine it's higher functions were controlled by the gestalt mind of several disembodied human brains.
Before the people of the vaults could leave their shelter, the outside world would have to be secured. To that end, Calculator had an army of robots that would stride out into the irradiated waste and prepare the world for returning humanity.
The scribes and elders think that Calculator might have been damaged in some way: that's why it wasn't there to guide vault dwellers when they first emerged in to the harsh wastes. And that's why it is now blindly pursuing a path of total eradication.
The Calculator must be shut down, permanently.
Someone cut up an APC to make the nuke carrier
Didn't know there was more than one!
There was no time to discuss APC allocation robot sentries had spotted the warriors and opened fire.
Flashman took the usual close range approach to the problem, to which the robots responded with scurry bots, but the warriors came out on top, like always.
But just to be sure, Flashman arrayed the sniping ladies to cover him as he advanced.
I think I found the bunker! Send me someone with EMP to check it out.
So much for 'covering fire'
I take right, you take left. I have a bad feeling about those nooks that EchoBoy is showing.
Peta's hunch/technosense was right: there were robots lying in ambush. That didn't help them much, as two EMP rifles and one shotgun took care of them in short order.
There were consoles in the room, but the Brotherhood was already familiar with any historical data they could provide.
With the fall-back location in the bunker secure, the squad regrouped and pressed on.
They ran into additional robotic resistance almost immediately.
Flashman took this challenge, and responded in a conservative way: by arranging a firing line and using himself as a bait to draw the robots in.
Unfortunately, some robots flanked the position.
Drawing the robots in also resulted in shenanigans.
Brotherhood's soldiers held the line and the last of the baited robots bit the dust.
Ah, I remember the days when a piece of German steehl just like this one was my favorite weapon life was better before the robots!
Nobody really heard him, and Mandy wasn't even listening. She had spotted a robot some ways off and engaged it.
The Gauss rifle was a sniper's dream the round went where you wanted it to go, there was hardly any recoil, it was relatively quiet, and it punched through robot armor more often than not.
Would love to reach out and touch some raiders with this one
That particular robot had not stood a chance: Calculator had armed it with a grenade launcher, a weapon of dubious use in the post apocalyptic battlefield.
Remembering the flanking robot, Flashman wanted to secure the side of the canyon before venturing further and ran into an ambush.
Sniper robots rained shots down from the cliffs, and scurry bots flooded out of a crevasse.
Flashman was caught in the open, and what's worse, HR opened fire on the scurry bots while Flashman was still in the way!
However, Flashman managed to limp back to his troops while Mandy showed the robots what real snipers looked like.
Flashman was dire need of medical attention, but
Sorry, mon, me hand wen' 'n' slipped.
Once he was done receiving medical attention, Flashman decided to check out the crack that scurry bots had come from.
There was a sniper robot on a bridge and it was overlooking the ravine, but the machine failed to spot Flashman.
Flashman, however, spotted a chest directly under the bridge.
It looked like a trap, so he didn't go to check it out.
Back on the road clearing duty! The road forked into two parallel paths, and Flashman had to choose which one to take.
He took the right one. As he explained later on, the left one made his mine-sense tingle.
He also punched out one humanoid bot.
Having learned long ago that slow and steady wins the day, Flashman advanced his firing line forward before running any more baiting (or recon).
And immediately one robot ran into their sights only to be shot up in short order.
It had been just a precursor to an actual robotic ambush! There were more humanoids hiding behind the rocks and an another robot was thumping away with a grenade laucher. The signature 'fwomp' was followed by an explosion that a power-armor clad warrior would barely register. Stitch figured that the grenades (and all pre-war explosives) had lost some of their potency during the years that was the only way to explain the piddling damage that most munitions did those days.
But the robots had entrenched themselves well. The upturned car provided cover, yet at the same time it funneled the team into a kill zone as it blocked all lines of fire.
There was fire, there were explosions, and some stitching had to be done, but the Brotherhood prevailed. Blood and oil stained the ground, and four more robots were down.
The soldiers were inching towards the entrance to Vault 0, but the going was extremely slow.
I see a box!
Think it's worth it, boss?
Probably just another trap...
Much like everything in life. Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment!
Oi, luv, get it out of your system or I'll get some head-shrinking scribe to explain how your sniper training is actually just an excuse to avoid getting close to people.
Now then, I have this supply cache to check out!
ARGH, it's an actual trap!
One of the boxes exploded into his face not a pleasurable feeling even inside power armor. And the ground around him boiled away revealing shiny carapaces of scurry bots.
If push came to shove, Flashman would say that scurry bots were a bigger threat than both humanoid and pacifier bots.
But thei troubles weren't over. Ice spotted a defensive turret with those steely, cold eyes of hers and a plan had to be formulated how to take it on. The coming fight would be mildly dangerous, but highly annoying, Flashman was sure of that.
Plus, he was the bait that had to coax the turret into popping up so that the ladies could target it.
Taking care of it took way too long.
And it was only getting worse. The road went up and there were humanoid robots lying in wait behind a wall, just waiting to ambush anyone trying to advance. Worse yet, a pacifier robot was waiting up ahead.
Flashman didn't expect it to hound them too fiercely, but, like all robots, it was a big chunk of metal that would take even more precious time to whittle down.
By the end of the fight, Flashman's RPGs had destroyed a generator that was previously powering the turret, and so much EMP had passed through the robot's hull that some parts welded together. Sparks danced on the broken form of the machine and squirts of oil blackened the earth.
The road took a sharp right.
However, all roads on the Cheyenne mountain lead to more robots, and this one lead to turrets, too.
An another drawn-out firefight ensued. Brotherhood's soldiers went prone immediately, for cover was scarce. The robots, armed with heavy weapons, couldn't afford such luxury. Crouching on the road, they made almost perfect targets.
Yet luck was not with the Brotherhood that day, as even while prone the soldiers had a hard time hitting their marks.
A run-in with some extraordinarily lucky bullets left Flashman scrambling for medical attention, a trail of blood marking his passage.
While the ladies managed to eventually take out the offending robots, the turrets, cunningly hidden in a hole in the cliffside, remained.
Taking them out involved some close combat and shooting at point-blank range.
Flashman also took it on himself to explore picnic area on the opposite side of the road from the hidden turrets.
He definitely wanted to rest, but he was only half way through the mission.
Next time: More Robots Ahead
This mission is a fucking grind, no other way to put it. Laser rifle bots keep landing criticals, humanoids keep hiding in cover... And I had to replay the part you see in this post because I quicksaved a second before a robot vaporizes Mandy. Fuck this game.