Vol 14: Chapter 8-3.
Lonely and tire?
Gando smoked the cigarette quietly. For some reason, he was scared of looking at Zheng after hearing this. The feeling was difficult to describe. Like he was afraid of obtaining something or hoping to obtain something impossible. He headed to the center of the group following their plan and continued protecting Lan.
But... lonely and tire?"
The group kept on going. The Roughnecks finally met up with the majority of Platoon 6. There were about 5000 troopers remaining as Xuan had expected. 40% of them still had their weapons and could fight. 2000 uninjured. The rest either were injured or threw away their weapons. Johnny Rico was unconscious due to loss of blood. Xuan somehow found him from the several hundred people. His leg had a puncture by bug teeth but unfortunately, he didn't have the same recovery rate as Zheng. His life was at risk if he couldn't get treatment within twelve hours.
The highest ranked officer among the group was a major. Though this major also fell unconscious. His whole arm got torn off. The officers of both groups came to a conclusion and handed command to Razak. Thus, Zheng became a sergeant major of both groups and his military rank rose to sergeant. He was allowed to join in on the officer meetings.
"Are these the squad leaders you assigned?" Razak tapped Zheng's shoulder and pointed at Xuan who was speaking to several troopers and Kampa and Wangxia who were picking gunners and scouts. He seemed interested in these three troopers.
Zheng nodded. "Yes. They escaped the sea of bugs with me."
Razak said. "Let them know that they are corporals until they die. And get in touch with the starship. Tell those assholes to send in rescue ships or see a report of the army annihilated!"
Zheng smiled bitterly. He got an idea of the situation through soul link. There are still functioning communication devices in Platoon 6 but all the starships they could reach either ran away or destroyed. There was no sending in rescue ships to help them. A weight fell on their hearts after twenty minutes of trying to get in contact. The officers felt that the federation had abandoned them.
However, the wait didn't continue much longer. Ten more minutes later, they received a reply. The higher ups in the federation weren't all idiots. When they noticed the starships getting destroyed and over 80% of the infantry had died, they gathered backups. The message they received was the first wave of backups would arrive in seven hours. They had to survive for seven hours in this battlefield.
Razak apparently had decent self control. He didn't curse out directly but the other officers, not so much. They cursed the higher ups as trash and was gradually getting enraged. Well to think of it, every minute they stayed here meant ten more casualties. They were getting surrounded by bugs. When the bugs fully surround them, all they could do is keep firing until the bugs eat them.
Razak turned to Zheng. "Sergeant major, do you have any advices? You look like something's on your mind. Speak it out."
Zheng immediately relayed the message to Lan who then connected him to Xuan.
"Ahem." Zheng paused for a good twenty seconds. The others thought he was organizing his words. He repeated what Xuan said. "Can't decentralize our forces. Our numbers are low to begin with. We need the firepower in order to fight the bugs. Can't abandon the injured. That will take a hit to our morale, which will drive the army into a passive position. The scouts had just found a small mountain. We can reach the top in about an hour. There is only one road that isn't wide leading up. However, the top of the mountain is fairly big. As long as we can defend that road and have a part of the troopers defend against the hopper bugs, we are likely to survive this seven hours."
Razak pondered for several seconds. "The biggest casualties come from marching. Many places, the ground just collapses and the bugs beneath will kill all the troopers that fall. An hour of marching meant one to two thousand deaths. Why not choose to garrison nearby? The terrain here isn't as advantageous but the flat area is also good for firing."
Zheng heard a sigh from Xuan. He was obviously not content with the suggestion. The lack of knowledge in tactics from these lieutenants were equivalent to their lack of heavy firearms. Their trainings were excellent but only in the combat level.
"Because what we are afraid of isn't the bugs gathering from afar. The firepower with two thousand troopers can kill off even tanker bugs charging at us or the high speed hopper bugs. Similarly, we have our weakness. Any bug could kill a dozen troopers if it gets in close range. So how can bugs get near us? Ambush from under the ground. Once we garrison at one place, this type of ambushes wouldn't stop. However, the top of a mountain is different in that its height and rocks can prevent the ambushes. We have to act fast before the bugs located us!"
The army received the order to march within five minutes. These lieutenants couldn't find a point to refute the plan. They handed the army to Zheng's group. Razak said to the other lieutenants. "Looks like we found an incredible sergeant major. This guy can join tactical department. No, those fools in the department is probably worse."
Zheng, or you could say Xuan's ability gained acknowledgement among the lieutenants. The team obtained control over the army in the march. Lan's psyche scan in combination with the gunners under Kampa's leader and scouts under WangXia's lead transformed the army into one with actual strength. The training these troopers went through weren't terrible. They just didn't know how to cooperate.
"I get the situation." Xuan was ordering the army through communication devices while he still had the time to speak with Zheng.
"The civilization of this Earth has a flaw. I learned through conversation with some people that the third World War nearly destroyed Earth. The government that formed post World War emitted heavy control on the possibility of wars starting. The next several hundreds were completely war free. Civilian technology evolved while military tech was suppressed by the government. Furthermore, military theories, tactics, and training went in an abnormal direction. The government of this Earth has totally forgotten what war is like because humans can't initiate war against themselves anymore. The Arachnids exposed how far behind they were in everything concerning the military."
"This is a bonus mission, Zheng. I can't be certain but it should be at least a BB or even A tier bonus mission to help the federation recover in their military technologies and qualities."