Spc. Ezekial reporting.
At 1830, daycycle 20090215, Sgt. Orion returned from his negotiations with Benedictus of the Nex Manus Imperator faction (NMI), and ordered me to select five (5) men from our number to form a combat squad. I was to lead said squad in a raid into territory held by KFC's Voodoo Posse (VP), specifically targeting a secure structure believed to contain the credit records for the VP gambling operations. Destroying or capturing this objective would severely damage the operational capability of the Delaque faction.
Sgt. Orion informed me that our squad could expect assistance from the NMI. The Cawdor leader and one other member of that faction would meet us outside the boundaries of the VP territory. This alliance was initially forged before the 20090111 action at Dark Bluff, and although the NMI has honored the truce thus far, the Sarge is convinced there is an alterior motive. Although it is unclear what that motive may be, we have agreed to be civil with these fanatics as it is believed they still hold Old Chester captive within their territory. Until he has been released, Sgt. Orion will not risk double-crossing the NMI.
After the briefing, I spoke with the rest of the Rifles and selected my squad. Tex, Visili, Laertes, Lazarus, and Vincent were chosen, and after making preparations and checking weapons and gear, we moved out at approximately 1900 hrs.
We arrived outside the edges of VP territory in Subsector 19 at 1927 hrs., and linked up with Benedictus and Urbanus of the NMI. The Cawdor were armed for close-quarters fighting, and I ordered Lazarus and Laertes to move with them in a spearhead element along the western flank, avoiding contact with VP elements until support was in place. Vincent and Visili would move up the center, and take firing positions upon visual contact with VP sentries. Tex would move along the eastern flank with his plasma weapon, supported by myself and the squad's stubber. Tex's earlier leg wound had been problematic given his specialist role in the Rifles, but the power of his plasma gun was too important to the mission to leave him at HQ.
With a plan of action established, I ordered the squad to move out. Despite the urgency of our action, Benedictus and Urbanus insisted upon undertaking ritual combat prayer before moving into position. All elements signaled readiness at approximately 1940 hrs. and I gave the order to execute maneuvers.
There was no resistance for several dozen meters. All squad elements and allies advanced across the field, with the NMI operatives moving at the very front of the spearhead, followed by Lazarus and Laertes. Vincent and Visili reported visual contact with two VP sentries, identified as Replay and Rude Boy. Visili further reported having secured two firepoints atop an abandoned hab-structure, several meters apart. I moved up into a derelict freight-elevator tower, having ordered Tex to close on the objective at ground level.
As I moved to the third floor to establish fire support, Benedictus broke from the established plan of action and opened fire with a bolt pistol. Despite his lack of discipline, the NMI operative was able to incapacitate Replay. However, Rude Boy activated an alarm klaxon and two VP reinforcements identified as Grease Job and Tom Tom arrived from the northwest. Benedictus was wounded by fire from Tom Tom. Urbanus took cover as Grease Job fired, then dispatched Tom Tom in melee combat with surprising efficiency and finesse before moving to engage Grease Job.
I opened fire on Rude Boy but failed to wound him, as he attempted to find cover. Laertes similarly failed to wound the target despite emptying his weapon's magazine, but Lazarus lightly wounded the sentry and forced him to take cover. Visili fired on the Delaque position, and finally took Rude Boy down.
Further VP reinforcements arrived, identified as Prince and Little Caesar. Both moved past the melee combat to support their wounded comrades. Little Caesar fired at Lazarus, forcing him into cover. Prince eliminated NMI operative Benedictus with blows from a shotgun, and stepped out to fire on the pinned Lazarus. I opened fire with the stubber and took Prince out before he could take a shot, although my stubber's ejection port became jammed by a fouled casing. Vincent and Visili provided covering fire for Lazarus, forcing Little Caesar back. Urbanus easily subdued Grease Job and moved to engage Little Caesar. The Cawdor operative's melee skills allowed him to quickly eliminate yet another of the VP, leaving the field clear for our raiding party to close on the wounded Replay and the objective he had been guarding.
Despite his assurances to the contrary, Tex's lingering wounds had slowed his advance significantly. He was still unable to make visual contact with the objective and as our squad waited for him to close on the objective, one final reinforcing element of the VP arrived. KFC moved into the combat zone, but operative Urbanus reported that the Delaque commander seemed dazed (several reports of varying reliability have been made that KFC has suffered a head wound of some sort, leaving him prone to violent behavior or inhibited mental capacity) and shortly thereafter, KFC stopped in place, making no attempt to defend himself or open fire.
Urbanus engaged KFC in melee combat, but only barely managed to take down the Delaque leader. The Cawdor operative reported that despite his lack of initiative, KFC's reflexive defenses were still unhindered. After KFC was subdued, Urbanus rendered Little Caesar unconscious. At this point, 2008 hrs., all hostile elements in the VP territory had been neutralized, and Tex proceeded to destroy the objective with plasma gun fire. Squad casualties were zero, save for the wounded NMI operative Benedictus.
Operative Urbanus was debriefed following the action and his comments have been added to the preceding report. As I linked back up with the NMI man, I was surprised to see that he had not only carried his unconscious leader to safety, but had also captured one of the VP fighters. Benedictus recovered sufficiently to walk (although he seemed to be suffering from psychological shock), and the two Cawdor agents withdrew from the field, Urbanus hauling the wounded Delaque back to their territory.
Addendum: Due to their devastating wounds in the raid, the Voodoo Posse have apparently reported our actions to the Guild Watchmen. However, during the course of their investigations, the Watchmen have deputized the Rifles, perhaps as thanks for disrupting the VP gambling operations, thereby removing direct competition for settler credits. It is difficult to say what affect this may have on our standing in Subsector 19.