The wind howled outside, blowing cold and hard, no doubt full of the gritty, reddened particals of the dirt that blew around on this forsaken planet. Orontes. It was a habitable planet in the periphery loaded with mining resources. But desolate, far from an earth-like paradise that was its neighbor planet, Alesia.
Dent smiled listening to the sound. He rather enjoyed it as he and Sphinx worked to replace the split piece of track on a Hyena APC. The Hyena had been disabled in a battle from a few weeks ago. The sound of the wind storm made him feel oddly safe and secure inside the relatively cozy confines of the repair bay. The walls were thick, and armored. While the wind shrieked and pounded the walls on the chaotic outside, on the inside the walls were bare and dusty, lined with shelves, tools, crates, spare parts. The room smelled like grease, oil and dirt. To Dent, who had been working in such places since he was a boy, it smelled like home.
The pieces of track were long and skinny, made of light metal and were known as “Chinks” in the ADF maintenance facilities. Named for the distinctive sound they made when the clattered across the floor when dropped, which happened often as they were slippery to grip. He was inserting the last track, which was always the toughest. Once done, this fast and lightly armed tank would be tossed back in action. And it very well could wind up right back in the shop again… because the odds of it seeing combat on the next run were high.
The BDA had all but been wiped out on Orontes. Ragged groups of BDA infantry had been coming in for the last two weeks to surrender. They were a sorry lot. Skinny and starved due to lack of supplies, their equipment was often tattered and they were usually without basic infantry gear. It was clear they were beaten through and through. What to do with them was now a serious problem. There were so many… but that was a problem for JOC and the local ADF authorities to figure out. Dent had other things to worry about and his mind wandered to their situation as he worked.
Yesterday morning a small convoy of ADF vehicles had been hit hard on their way to Teutoburg Station from Hartmann Station. They had been delivering supplies to the station and were rolling with a series of trucks and a light escort. The BDA hit them with several mechs and the weakly guarded convoy didn’t have a prayer. All but one of the vehicles, a Hyena like the one Dent was working on, were destroyed or disabled. SOO mech forces were scrambled but it was long over by the time they arrived. The supplies were missing, the vehicles were stripped bare, everything useful that could be quickly taken was gone. Several of the ADF troops and civilian personal were captured and had clearly been executed. It was a brutal sight. SOO had known a BDA force still lingered out there somewhere but hadn’t expected that kind of brazen attack.
Now it was time to strike back. SOO was sending another convoy to Teutoburg Station and this time it would have a mech escort, but one small enough that they hoped to entice the BDA force to attack it so they could be wiped out once and for all. Dent was glad he wasn’t tapped for this mission, because being used as bait wasn’t something that appealed to him.
He gave a final hard pull on the track wrench and felt the satisfying crunch as the last piece of track snapped into place. Sphinx gave it a kick to make sure it didn’t wobble. It didn’t. Dent and Sphinx nodded to each other. The unlucky soldiers who would be driving this thing tomorrow couldn’t afford to have a slipping track, or really, for anything to go wrong.