Writing backstory for a villainous army, who mostly use disposable, mind-wiped troops, was quite challenging. However, according to my understanding of unit choices this army has all of two human pilots in it, the rest fanatically loyal (maybe) personality free (in theory) clone troopers…
“I really think I’m getting used to this.”
The chair, as luxurious as could be found in the dusty town, creaked as its occupant eased his too-tall, too-heavy body back. He lifted the cover on the plate before him, examined what was on it, and threw it at the servant who had brought it in.
“Not this though, what the hell do you take me for?” A breadknife, thrown with slightly better than human strength, embedded itself in the door frame. “Proper. Food.”
There was a second place set, and shortly after the first attempt at a meal had decorated the wall its occupant walked in.
“Something disagree with you, Alvis?” The chairs were mismatched, and the one set out for Alvis’ companion was significantly too small and poorly-built to properly support her solid frame. It creaked, its legs wavered, and she adjusted its position until it was wedged against one of the dining room’s pillars.
“This whole damned planet, Viletta. Reminds me of the wrong side of home’s lovely city walls.”
“Then the ordinary people for whose sake we fight will, I’m sure, find it a marvellous home-from-home.”
“Quite. Now, with some luck our refreshments will arrive at around the same time, and be edible. Would you care for a drink?” He poured it carefully and with a rueful look. Wine was not exactly in plentiful supply for the former occupying forces in the Badlands, and the best ways to find more were tax the colonials harder or buy some at great expense from their erstwhile mercantile allies.
“At least something here will be like home.” Viletta Deslok, Formerly Eighth Fleet, Deputy Commander of the Western Red Sands Garrison, was currently reduced to a teetering edifice of shiny black uniform, white cape and rolling locks of red hair on top of a bar stool with the legs sawn down to make it the right height for the table. “Are the people on this planet all stunted from birth? I barely fit through the doors.”
“You always were too tall to find a dance-partner.” More food had arrived, and this time Alvis Dietz deemed it acceptable. “Now, we should- oh.” Viletta had already begun eating, her steak near-raw and leaving streaks of red around her mouth. “And your table manners were always disgusting.” The disappointingly small piece of meat vanished in moments and she took a deep breath, preparing for the remaining ingredients. “We need to talk.”
“Your last report.”
“It was filled in fine.”
“That wasn’t the problem. You mentioned a slight run-in with a few of this planet’s natives?”
“Ah, yes. I itemised the munition expenditure. One missile, more than enough.”
“And you’re sure it didn’t send a distress call out?”
“Sure as can be. It didn’t even see us coming. And besides, don’t we have the blessing of the city-states to deal with trespassers?”
She was clearly ignorant of the problem, and Alvis was in no mood to explain it. He wrote a quick note on a napkin and handed it to the waiter to be delivered down to the command centre.
Identify patrol route of VD 13th, send cleanup crew to location of reported action. Prepare ambush.
It would be insurance.
“My shower wasn’t working this morning.” A voice which was usually suited to being heard across starship hangars and parade-grounds was unwelcome in a deathly silent dining-room. And, to be honest, one did not really have to spend long around Viletta to have worked that out. “I got back from morning patrol and-”
“Why don’t you send the… troops?”
“Because I enjoy it, Alvis. But I don’t enjoy no hot water. Or indeed no water of any sort.”
“If you’d not been out on patrol you’d have got the message the pumping station was undergoing maintenance and there was a scheduled outage for residential areas. Besides, the garrison still had water.”
“There’s no way I’d shower at the garrison. Those things, the ones that are supposed to be women, freak me out. Especially the ones… going native. One of them tried to offer me a flower the other day. I think the locals are-”
“I’ve submitted a report to the fleet informing them that we need to recondition them, but there hasn’t been a reply yet.”
“How irksome. I had the thing reassigned away from street patrol, a bit of time in the desert should sort it out. Now, are you done? Much as I appreciate our dinner dates, especially as a refreshing source of your latest extremely funny ways to get on my nerves, I am currently-”
“Rather in need of some soap, Viletta.”
They had grown up together, trained together, travelled to this terrible planet with its appallingly well-armed natives together, and hated each other every minute of it in the way only good friends could. Although by strict rank Alvis was the supreme commander of Red Sands’ western garrison, he and Viletta shared responsibility for it. She quite enjoyed leading the emotionless grunts beneath her out into the desert and taking potshots at targets of opportunity. He didn’t hate cleaning up the mess and making sure anyone trying to capitalise on an apparently stupid front-line commander never returned home.
Standing, arms folded, cape as dramatically-worn as possible, in front of the vast panoramic window of the rather run-down mayoral residence he was using as a home was always enjoyable for at least a few minutes. He could survey all he commanded, looking out over the dusty assembly-ground of the garrison – a few tanks, a dozen or so Frames and a couple of platoons of infantry. Enough to feel like a real command, but not enough to ever require serious effort or strategic nous. For a pair of survivors of the botched first invasion, ending up at Red Sands had been as close to falling on one’s feet as was possible. It was uncomfortable, but then again everywhere was. Supply of food was variable in frequency and quality, but that was hardly surprising given a significant portion of the planet’s population hated Earthers’ guts. But there was a good title to be worn with some pride, an enclave of civilians who tolerated Earthnoids, and plenty of things for Viletta to shoot when she got bored. Experiments in hunting the local wildlife had proved poor entertainment and poor value in terms of supplies; beam rifles and shaped-charge missiles were somewhat overkill against large amiable herbivores, and the grunts didn’t care much for the idea of hunting.
All this musing on killing was making Alvis’ trigger finger itchy. If Viletta had kicked a hornet’s nest, there would doubtless be a response team sent out to investigate. It wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience to make sure he was on the ambush party, and that would be quite fun.
With a renewed enthusiasm in his gait, Alvis Dietz set off towards the garrison, a master plan in his head and visions of the primitive, ungainly enemy machines melting to slag under his accurate laser shots.
This was going to be a good day.
Red Sands Western Garrison: Main Line Units
Fire Support Unit: The Black Knights
CF6-16 Frame [AT Pack, Mobility Pack, SCO] 15TV … Alvis Dietz
F6-16 Frame [AT Pack, Mobility Pack] 11TV … Viletta Deslok
BF2-19 Frame [Support Pack, Mobility Pack] 16TV … Pilot 34
BF2-19 Frame [Support Pack, Mobility Pack] 16TV … Pilot 76
1st: BF2-21 Frame [Recon Pack, Mobility Pack] 13TV … Scout 11
2nd: BF2-21 Frame [Recon Pack, Mobility Pack] 13TV … Scout 23
Medium Tank Unit: The Cold Steel Lancers
MHT-95 [FLAIL Crew] 26TV … Soldier 91
MHT-95 [FLAIL Crew] 26TV … Soldier 84
BF2-25 Frame [Assault Pack, Rotary Laser] 14TV … Pilot 107