((USS Atlantis, Deck 5, Outside Holodeck 2))
:: Pausing outside the holodeck Alana activated one of her favorite programs, it replicated her favorite beach from her childhood. On the north side of Kauai. ::
:: As she stepped into the holodeck the familiar sights and sounds of Kauai appeared around her. She walked out on the jetty sticking out into the bay, she had spent considerable time on or around it with her friends while growing up. ::
:: She paused at the end and stared out at the ocean listening to the rhythmic pounding of the surf. She had neglected to swing by her quarters and grab her board, for a moment she debated whether or not it was worth telling the computer to generate a holographic board for her. In the end she decided that she would rather run another program instead of running a holo board. The computer was good but could never quite seem to get the shape of her board quite right. ::
Larson: Computer end program and run program Larson 67-A.
:: With that the beaches of Kauai faded from existence to be replaced by the triple canopy jungle of central Vietnam. The evolution of warfare in this period had always fascinated her, countless new ways of waging battle had been implemented improved upon and sometimes discarded. ::
:: As the rest of the scenario shimmered into existence around her, her starfleet uniform was replaced by worn and muddy tigerstripe camouflage. The last time she had ran this program her LRRP (Long
Range Reconassiance Patrol) team had been briefed on their patrol zone as well as possible extraction LZ's. Their mission was to observe enemy supply routes through the A'Shau valley and plant what at the time had been cutting edge sensors along trails. ::
:: She entered the team house to gear up. As she was applying cam cream (a mixture of camouflage paint and insect repellent, usually spread over all exposed skin) the team leader entered and started going over the plan for insertion one last time. ::
Zoschak: Alright listen up.
:: The half-Trill turned to face the hologram. ::
Zoschak: We will be scouting Dong Ap Bia. Insertion will be at last light drop via slicked huey, two aircraft are assigned to this mission one will be carrying us the other will be empty and... :: He trailed off as he looked over at Alana. His eyebrows arching quizzically. ::
Zoschak: You okay Larson?
Larson: Of course. Why?
Zoschak: Your forehead is covered in spots you might be coming down with something.
:: Had she forgotten to adjust the parameters of the program to hide her spots from the characters she could interact with? At least she seemed to have remembered to alter it so the holograms wouldn't question why she had long blond hair. ::
Larson: Computer alter my visual parameters to make me appear as a human male.
Larson: :: Looking in the mirror. :: What spots are you talking about Zo?
Zoschak: :: Taking another look. :: Must have been shadows or something. :: He didn't seem convinced. :: Anyways as I was saying one of the hueys will be acting as a red herring. Standard insertion procedures for our chopper apply don't get out till you here go go go! Otherwise you are going to have a long lonely walk back to the fire base . We are skids up in five gentlemen.
:: A host of varying affirmations came from the squad as they checked over their weapons and ammo for the final time. ::
:: The new man on the squad, John Tronick, wandered over to her. ::
Tronick: So what do you think the chances are we will see some action this time around? I've been with the team for two missions now and haven't seen any.
Larson: With any luck at all we won't see any this time around, the A'Shau is a haven for the enemy. If the get wind of us our chances of survival drop dramatically.
Tronick: Yeah I guess, I just want to feel like I am pulling my weight around here.
Larson: :: Smiling as she slung 100 round belt of M60 ammo over her shoulders. :: That your way of offering to hump the extra '60 belt around?
Tronick: Ha ha not a chance, I already have to pack that around. :: He gestured to the radio lying on his bunk. ::
:: She nodded at him as she grabbed her rifle and slammed a fresh magazine into the receiver. Walking out to the helicopter she lined up with the rest of the team. One by one they performed the jump test where each would in turn jump to see if their gear was silent, if it wasn't they applied liberal amounts of green gaffers tape to silence it. ::
:: As they flew out to the LZ there were no words said, you had to shout to be heard over the noise of the helicopter as it thundered over the rolling green hills of Vietnam. Her thoughts turned to the mission at hand, even with the holodeck safeties in place there were still many things that could still injure her and she was not to keen on that. ::
:: The pilot of the chopper made three false insertions before they arrived at their destination, after they were on the ground he would do another two false insertions in an attempt to mislead the enemy from their actual position. ::
:: Once inserted the entire six person team flattened themselves against the ground in a defensive position with everyone covering a 60 degree arc. As soon as night fell they would move to a position overlooking the LZ, for this patrol Alana would be walking point a little ahead of everyone else. No that they were in the enemy's backyard there would be no talking unless they needed to radio coordinates and even that would be done with a barely audible whisper, all other communication would be done by hand signals, or if all else failed a burst of fire never failed to alert the rest of the team to the presence of an enemy. ::
:: They moved out silently under the cover of night. ten minutes after they had left the clearing Alana spotted something that didn't look like it belonged. She raised a clenched fist above her head freezing the team in their tracks. She slowly opened her fist and signaled Zo' to make his way to her. ::
:: Once Zo had caught up with her she pointed in the direction of what she saw with the barrel of her rifle. ::
Larson: :: Mouthing the words. :: Looks like a trail watchers hide.
:: Zoschak nodded his agreement and motioned for the team to get on line so the full firepower of the team could be brought to bear if necessary. They slowly crept up the hill alert for any movement. When they got close Alana continued to move forward while the rest of the team hung back to cover her, it was a strange feeling having so much firepower at ones back, it was simultaneously the feeling of security and having a target on your back especially at night when telling friend from foe was much more difficult. ::
:: The half-Trill approached the hide cautiously, thankfully it appeared empty. Suddenly there was a loud crack over her head she instantly flattened herself to the ground adrenaline pouring into her system. ::
Larson: oO Come on guys what are you waiting for? Take him out! Oo
:: After what seemed like an eternity two more cracks rang out from the opposite direction, likely it was Zoschak returning fire with the starlight scope on his M-16. Hopefully that would silence the enemy soldier. Another burst of fire from above her hit uncomfortably close to where she was lying prone quickly discounted that possibility. ::
Larson: oO That was too close! Oo
:: She looked uphill as best she could with out exposing herself to more fire, unable to see anything but jungle she began inching her way back down to the team. If they could rejoin one another breaking contact would be much easier. Suddenly in between to trees at the top of the hill a silhouette appeared, reflexively she raised her rifle and squeezed off five rounds towards the shape. The top of the hill seemed to come alive with muzzle flashes with tracers flying all over the place. The trees behind her also erupted with gunfire as they returned fire. Scrambling down the hill in between bursts of fire she came up on John Tronick. ::
Larson: :: Now that the mission had been compromised there was little need to communicate with hand signals. She raised her voice to be heard over the din of battle. :: Get us support! We'll be wiped out otherwise!
:: The man looked dazed and frightened. ::
Larson: You wanted some action, now you've got it. :: She paused momentarily to empty her magazine towards where a hail of tracers were coming from. :: Now get on that radio and bring in the gunships!
Tronick: :: Nodding his head vigorously. :: Right away.
:: Gary Rodman the teams machine gunner was calling for ammo. ::
Rodman: I need another belt!!
:: Alana un-slung the belt of 7.62 from around her shoulders and dropped it next to him as she dove for cover. In the background she could hear John calling for support over the radio, shouting to be heard over the battle. ::
Tronick: We need gunships, damn it we need them now!
Larson: oO He should be just fine, if that is the last time he freezes up. Oo
:: As the gunfire quieted down with both sides consolidating their positions, the LRRPs took stock of the situation. Zo had been wounded but it was only a flesh wound. Low on ammo they would not be able to hold out much longer without support. ::
Radio: Negative 2-6 the gunships are committed to an engagement farther down the valley.
Larson: oO Of course they are, command always tells us that they have gunships on standby if we run into trouble but then the go commit them elsewhere. Oo
Tronick: If you cant give me gunships give me arty, hell even just an ammo drop!
Radio: Standby 2-6.
:: Zoschak made his way over to Alana. ::
Zoschak: Are you okay?
Larson: :: Shooting him a quizzical glance. :: Asks the man with bullet wound in his arm.
Zoschak: Well you did have spots earlier.
Larson: I'm fine, you are the one who got shot remember?
Zoschak: True enough, but it'll take more than a extra hole to stop me.
:: She opened her mouth to respond but the radio interrupted her. ::
Radio: We have arty support available to you 2-6 just tell us where.
:: As Tronick directed the artillery fire, the distinctive sound of hueys could be heard thundering up the valley towards them. ::
Zoschak: I thought command said all the gunships were tied up?
Larson: Maybe they have come to their senses and sent a few our way?
Zoschak: Now is not the time to be funny Larson.
:: Just as quickly as the sound had started it died down again. ::
Rodman: They must be inserting an infantry platoon to sweep the villages east of here.
Zoschak: We should have been briefed on that if it were happening, I mean whats the point of having a buffer zone around our patrol so to avoid blue on blue, if they just drop infantry in where ever they please?
Larson: If command knew what it was doing we would have never let the enemy get a footho...
:: She trailed off as she spotted a man sneaking up to their perimeter dropping the man with a short burst. ::
Larson: :: Frustrated. :: Damn! I'm down to my last mag.
Larson: oO Wow did we ever burn through the ammo. Oo
Rodman: Movement! Below! :: He cried out. ::
:: Sure enough there were people moving towards them from below, half the team turned to engage them. ::
Zoschak: Hold your fire HOLD FIRE!
:: A shot rang out from somewhere to Alana's right. ::
Zoschak: I said HOLD YOUR FIRE DAMNIT!
:: The people moving below them became easier to see and identify, nearly two dozen LRRPs in various stages of readiness, with only one or two fully cammoed up, the rest were in their OD's or undershirts with web gear, and ammo belts thrown on over top. When they finally reached their position they dropped off extra ammo for their team. ::
Larson: :: Looking over at Gary Thanos the team leader of 2-8. :: What took you guys so long?
Thanos: :: A smile split his face. :: Had to make sure you guys were making all this fuss for something more than a chimp flinging poo at you.
Larson: :: Rolling her eyes. :: Thanks
Thanos: The pilot that inserted you heard your call for gunships and radioed the firebase asking for volunteers to help drag your butts out of the fire. By the time he made it to the fire base everyone who wasn't out in the field was waiting with a full load of ammo. The Major is gonna be pissed that we shirked our KP duties for something this unimportant.
Zoschak: I'm sure, anyway lets get on with this.
Thanos: No you guys are going down the hill and getting on the chopper out of here.
Zoschak: No way..
Larson: That's a bunch of targ dung Gary, this is our fight and we are finishing it.
Thanos: Targ-dung? What are you on about?
Larson: oO Of course they don't get it. Oo What I meant was with all respect screw that, LRRPs finish what they start.
:: As a grenade rolled down the hill towards their position everyone dove for cover. There as a sharp cry after it exploded. ::
Zoschak: That was where John was. :: Raising his voice. :: Tronick you okay?
Tronick: MY ARM!!
:: His scream turned Alana's blood cold. ::
Zoschak: :: Getting up he pointed at Alana. :: Your with me, the rest of you cover us.
:: The world around them turned into a rain of hot lead as the twenty six odd men cut loose with weapons on fully automatic. Zoschak and Alana ran over to Tronick's position where he lay moaning and clutching at his left arm that was bent at an unnatural angle. ::
Zoschak: Come on lets get him on the dust-off.
:: She nodded her agreement and they picked him up careful to not move the arm more than they had to. Once they got him back behind the curtain of fire their team medic came over and took a look at him. ::
Dreger: :: Aside to Zoschak and Alana. :: Its bad we need to get him out of here now.
:: Zoschak nodded to Alana, and she went to let Thanos know. As she approached him he nodded his head. ::
Thanos: Get him to safety its our fight now.
Larson: :: Nodding her head. :: Drinks are on us after this.
Thanos: I wouldn't expect anything less.
:: As the rest of the team carried Tronick down to the evac heli Alana brought up the rear just as she stepped into the clearing where the chopper was waiting she was knocked to the ground by a sudden blow to her right shoulder as she hit the ground her vision faded to black. ::
:: When she came to she was on the huey with the rest of the team minus Tronick who had been evaced to the hospital. ::
Larson: What happened?
Zoschak: You caught a bullet in your shoulder.
:: At least the holodeck safeties were working, her shoulder felt quite bruised but there was no blood. ::
Zoschak: Command managed to free up some air assets to send our way just after we got on the chopper, the B-52 should be plastering that hill top any moment now. The other teams are also in the process of extracting only minor injuries reported.
Larson: Good to know.
:: She winced as she sat up, she would have to go to sickbay and see if they could do anything for her shoulder. ::
:: For the remainder of the chopper ride back to the firebase she sat with her legs hanging out of the helicopter marveling as she always did at the contrast. It was so beautiful and peaceful looking from up here yet down on the ground a few miles away it was hell on earth. ::
:: After the helicopter landed Zo tried getting her on another helicopter to take her to the hospital, the computer making them think that the bullet had actually gone through her shoulder. ::
Larson: Zo I'm fine, give me a few minutes and it will be as though nothing happened. Computer save and end program.
:: The program blinked from existence replaced by a grid of holo emitters. The half-Trill left the holodeck headed for sickbay. ::
Ensign Alana Larson