Aswan's Fall Chapter 1
Aswan's Fall Chapter 1
C&C AU Fic
2062, Operation 'Victory's Purgation', Reclamation of the Aswan Yellow Zone
Corporal First Class Hasanal bin Abubakar or Hasan, as his friends called him, moved forward silently, his ghillie suit blending in with the desert background. Behind him Corporal's Gerard Maston and Zach Shalit, his spotter and flanker respectively, followed with practiced ease.
Taking care to remain as stealthy as possible, they made their way down an escarpment, cautiously climbing down to the water's edge. In the distance the exchange of artillery continued, the Behemoth Juggernauts of elements of the Steel Talon, Red Falcon and Iron Wolf divisions pounded the main Nod forces.
It was a fighting withdrawal as the 2nd Singapore Guards Regiment withdrew from the onslaught of the Brotherhood's elite armoured corps, the Fist of Kane. Composed of several Avatars and Scorpions, it was centred round a powerful core of Redeemers and a captured Scrin Eradicator.
In what was supposed to be a 'cakewalk' as senior command had supposedly stated, a regimental combat team consisting of the 2nd Singapore Guards and its three component infantry battalions, for a total of 15 active combat companies with supporting logistics and headquarter companies; supported by scout elements of the Malay Regiment and armour elements of the Steel Talons, had been deployed to the city of Aswan, a critical Yellow Zone territory.
This highly mobile armoured infantry force had been tasked with capturing a heavily fortified Nod base on the eastern bank of the Nile, on the other side of the venerable Aswan dam. Chosen specifically for their ability at air and coastal assault, direct action and raids, they were a highly mobile force with the right attributes for the task at hand.
Unfortunately, military intelligence had been wrong. Of all the different commands, Asia Command and South Pacific Command maintained the most competent and reliable intelligence services, relying to a high degree on a combination SIGINT (Signal Intelligence), ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) and HUMINT (Human Intelligence).
Central Command in North America was descended from the old Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency of the United States of America and while possessing a sophisticated suite of SIGINT and ELINT apparatus, lacked the qualified analysts to piece it together, unlike the other commands. This had resulted in the situation in Aswan currently going FUBAR, as was the common designation.
The 2nd Guards were an airmobile regiment, used for raids on fortified positions and direct actions, flanking actions and assault. Where commandos operated behind the enemy lines, the Guards regiment were the shock troops of the GDI and their trump card, operating in the NML (No Mans' Land) zone between two different fronts.
So when they had launched the first wave with Alpha and HQ Company of the 1st Battalion landing first, they had been unable to advance due to the potent anti-air defence grid that wasn't supposed to exist. Furthermore, they hadn't been prepared for the forces deployed there, least of all for the Fist of Kane, which was supposed to have been in South America.
The result had been the first two companies pinned down in a small zone of hilly terrain, surrounded on all sides by Nod forces, while they were subjected to nonstop bombardment from both the base defences and the Fist of Kane. What hadn't helped matters were the close misses from their own GDI artillery. Friendly fire it wasn't. However, the artillery barrages of the Behemoths was the only thing keeping them from certain doom. A Nod advance had been blunted due to concentrated artillery fire from GDI.
So they had ended up deploying the regimental pathfinder teams, a combination sniper and recce team, in a bid to open up a second front. Which explained why Hasan and his team were there; a GDI attempt to fix a FUBAR situation due to misinformation from intelligence.
Moving along the water's edge in a crouch, they referred to their map and GPS system, confirming it as their location. Their role was unerringly simple; infiltrate enemy territory, survey the area, destroy targets of opportunity and spread general chaos amongst their ranks.
Hasan exhaled deeply as he sighted the cyborgs through his scope.
"Bearing 062 degrees, ranged at 1671 metres" Gerard read out.
"Mark". With a burst of three shots, the cyborgs went down, victim to the tungsten carbide kinetic penetrator rounds of Hasan's Arctic Warfare RRC10B sniper rifle. Chambered for .50 calibre (12.7mm) rounds, they were capable of penetrating through light vehicle armour and were used for anti-infantry and materiel destruction from a long range. Which was how Hasan preferred it.
Zach maintained watch along with Gerard, carbine resting on the ledge of the hide they'd dug into a hillside and camouflages. They'd taken up a point near the old Egyptian tombs, a tourist attraction and historical curiosity that had fallen into ruin ever since the Brotherhood had taken over the area. The Brotherhood had other priorities besides maintaining what were essentially historical relics of a bygone era that were of no value to them. Most of the tombs emitted a green glow, from the Tiberium crystals that jutted out from the floor, walls and ceiling of the tomb.
"That's the third patrol that's come through this area in the past hour. They're going to get suspicious". Hasan nodded at the comment from Zach, looking through his scope at the ruined city across from him.
Yellow Zone cities were a breeding ground of disease and poverty, places where a battle for the minds and hearts of the people was fought over by GDI and Nod. Conditions were unsanitary and many bordered on uninhabitable. They were environmentally and socially harsh, most run by degenerate death cults, crime syndicates, religious fundamentalist and warlords seeking to maintain the power.
Just to survive was a daily struggle and if the crazies didn't get you, Tiberium exposure did. If not that, it was either visceroids, Tiberium fiends or becoming a casualty of the crossfire in the constant skirmishes between the GDI and Nod. No matter which way you looked at it, the common people suffered.
Hasan was well aware of the realities of such an environment. He'd grown up in a GDI Yellow Zone city, Johor Baru, in South East Asia, one of the few places that had stubbornly held on despite the Tiberium infestation. His mother had worked as a harvester driver while his father had worked on a hydroponics farm, struggling to get enough cash to send their families to a Blue Zone city. One could get in, provided you knew the right people and bribed a few along the way.
Blue Zoners jealously guarded their cities from migrants of the Yellow Zone. Zach and Gerard both came from Berne, a former Blue Zone city that was slowly being reclaimed from the Red Zone it had become. In the end Hasan had gotten out by enlisting with GDI, eventually moving his family to Japan with his earnings. His thoughts were interrupted by Gerard tapping his shoulder.
"So, any updates from regimental command?" Gerard asked. Hasan checked his datalink, before checking the narrowband satellite antenna that jutted slightly from their hide.
He cursed as he read the text that scrolled across the liquid crystal screen. Gerard's and Zach's faces fell upon hearing his swearing.
"As usual, there's no good news. It seems they've forecast an ion storm around Aswan, so we won't be getting any air support from the Orca's, Firehawks or the new Garuda's or for the next few hours. That also rules out our guys getting airlifted out of here. The Nod net is drawing tighter around our guys and at the current rate command estimates they can only hold out for another 2 days. Our orders are to push deeper if possible but otherwise stay put at our current location."
Gerard groaned while Zach's face fell further.
"Suck it up guys. Yeah, the whole thing is fucked up, but we do what we can. Anyway, I've got a plan. From here to Aswan is about two hundred metres or so of fast flowing water. It's a bit deep, but I reckon we can get across under the cover of night. The Nod forces will know we've been here when the patrols don't report back in another hour, and we've got another hour or so till nightfall. We swim across the river, use it to shield our heat signature and then we hide. There're plenty of ruined buildings along the waterline, so as long as we stay away from civilians we should be fine. Any questions?"
"Sounds like a plan. You're the boss Hasan. Who'll be overwatch?"
"No one. All of us are going across at the same time."
Tightening the clasps of his equipment, Hasan slung the SMG and sniper rifle around his neck, checking that his pistol was secure. The standard issue GDI weapons were the IMI Tavor 21C, a solid, reliable weapon from the early 21st century that was around before Hasan was even born.
The other weapon was the HK416, a derivative of the venerable M-16 family that combined American concepts with the precision of German engineering. These were the mainstays, though each GDI Command and division had its preferred standard weapon, from the sophisticated Western European rifles to the rugged Asian and Israeli deisgns.
Hasan's was a custom-modified FAMAS G4 with integral 3x scope and holo-dot system, a hybrid between a sub-machine gun and assault rifle. Gerard and Zach each used the HK 416B G2, as well as carrying the other requisite equipment of a pathfinder team, such as marker beacons, binocular scopes and claymore mines.
"Everyone ready?" he whispered, as they leopard crawled down to the water's edge. Gerard and Zach gave the thumbs up. Punching his fist, all three rose and sprinted the short distance to the river, diving into the freezing water.
All connected by a strong nylon rope, they wore rebreathers that allowed them to survive underwater for upwards of 3 hours. Weighed down by their equipment, Hasan led the way as he held onto rocks along the bottom, going against the current. Behind him his spotter an flanker followed, shadow figures against the murk. Hasan took extra care to avoid the Tiberium crystals that littered the riverbed, obvious by the green glows in the depths of the murk. You were as good as dead the minute you came into contact with one.
The minute they reached the edge, where the river bank dropped rapidly, Hasan started to swim, letting the current pull him as he kicked and moved his arms in freestyle. Overhead, he felt a slight rumble as the bank they'd just vacated was subjected to artillery bombardment. Without a doubt, Nod infantry would search the area afterwards and find nothing but an abandoned hide and assume they had withdrawn. It was the most logical thing to do after all.
Unfortunately, GDI pathfinders were trained to be unorthodox and not to follow logic. Their instructor had a favourite saying; "Show the Nod bastards the unexpected."
And that was exactly what the Brotherhood was going to get.
Reaching the other bank, Hasan crawled onto the land, panting slightly at the exhausting experience. He pulled off the rebreather and gulped in breaths of the moist night air, his breath visible in the cold temperatures. He felt the water drain from his hard armour shell and the tug of the rope as Gerard and Zach crawled onto land.
Pulling them forward, they made their way to the cover of the overhanging concrete. They watched as fireballs rose from the opposite bank, where they'd been. During their afternoon posted there, they had cost the Brotherhood several teams of Black Hand, two cyborg commandos and more than a dozen Marked of Kane.
As such they were using the opportunity to reduce a barren hillside of Tiberium crystals and sand to molten glass. Hasan checked his datalink, marking the locations of their fellow pathfinder and sniper teams. What he found sent a spike of unknown emotion through him.
Hasan began to chuckle quietly before Gerard and Zach joined him in the revelry. As they finally quieted down, Gerard asked the critical question.
"What's so damn funny? The Brotherhood wasting their ammo on a hillside or what?"
Hasan's smile finally broke down to a grimace. "My friends, Allah forgive me for my mistake, but I think I might have led us into…deeper shit. When they gave the order for us to stay put or advance, apparently that was another miscommunication. They were actually ordering everyone to hold their position until an armour battalion joined up with us. The order they sent us was actually meant for a patrol of commandos who were northeast of us."
"Exactly. My friends, we're the only pathfinder them on the other side of the river, trapped behind a screen of Nod forces. In short, we're in the pits of hell with Shaitan to our left and Asrael to the right."
"So…what are we going to do?" Zach asked, the gravity of their situation slowly dawning on him.
"What we always do. Insha'Allah, we survive."