In-country

Slowly the patrol moved through the jungle.

Regular shelling of their base has grown disturbingly precise lately; regiment command suspected a spotters’ nest on one of the hills nearby, maybe even a whole rebel outpost – and that was the objective. They were to move unseen to the hill, surprise and overwhelm the outpost, if there was one, and bring any intelligence they could find. And so here they were.

They walked along the ghost of a trail, thin footpath barely there, weaving through the green darkness. The jungle buzzed, chirped and screamed at them, full of life that ignored them completely. It stank of wet leaves, decaying plants and a hundred of intermingled animal smells. The heat and humidity were unbearable. Even under light trail load, they were overheated and tired; nobody was talking, they simply walked, slowly tearing through the vines and leaves, waiting for the command to stop. The 2nd lieutenant in charge figured out they were good for another half a kilometer before a rest.

He was wrong.

The point man was tired, too tired to recognize slight thermal bloom in his visor. When the camouflaged HMG stand moved its barrel, he shouted, but then it was much too late: the drone machine gun already had the whole patrol bracketed. It took two seconds and six short bursts to kill or maim them all. The gun concentrated its fire on the synthetics and tore them apart. The humans were seriously wounded, then left to crawl for cover. The gun did not ignore them; it kept track of their position, ready to fire through or around their flimsy covering.

The humans were sure to radio for help. Sooner or later a search party will come.

The gun settled down to wait.

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Posted in EN

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