Author's Notes/Disclaimers:

All credits for the Valkyria Chronicles series go to SEGA and its registered affiliates

I have decided to fast forward events in the fan fiction to evening in the headquarters of Paolo's, Alexander's and the rest of the squad's immediate superior officers. I'll be writing a chapter about what happened in their raid in Malegnano should anyone want it.

Since this chapter will involve a strategy meeting, expect a lot of dialogue. Hopefully I did that part well.

Continue on leaving reviews, any assistance from you guys will be greatly appreciated.

"Two giants rested on a boulder which could only hold one of them. They looked at each other eye to eye waiting for the other to submit and surrender. Eventually the two giants resorted to pushing one another off the boulder with neither of them falling off while a midget stands nearby the disputed piece of territory fearing for his life as one of the giants might vent his frustration on him. As time passed, the giants got tired of fighting and instead compromised that each one would occupy half of the boulder and that the midget would be left alone. This agreement was not to last long as the giant on the right side of the boulder got aggressive and decided to attack not only his fellow giant but the midget as well. Thus, the Second Europan War was on."

Brigadier General Angelo Mayorie, "Memoirs of the Second Europan War", 1955

Chapter 1: The Lost Front

April 15, 1938, 10:30 pm

"Diplomats from the Atlantic Federation kept to its strong stance of denying that Federation aid was ever given to the Gallian Revolutionary Army causing talks of peace and a possible alliance with Gallia and the Atlantic Federation to bog down yesterday. According to our representatives, Ambassador Townshend's actions during the 1935 Gallia-Empire War and 1937 Gallian Civil War were not sanctioned by the Atlantic Federation's Foreign Ministry and the whole government, in general" reported an anchorwoman on a small television with a black and white resolution. The crude chrome appliance stood beside a tiny glass statue of a bloodhound and a cerulean vase of hibiscuses on top of an elegant short rectangular mahogany bookshelf. Behind them is a wall with a mounted wolf head surrounded by numerous military badges and medals.

A short and brown-haired female soldier, by the name of Kathlyn Chevalier as seen on the tag in her brown uniform, was watching the television from her desk in the center of the room. It seems that she's bored with the news judging from the jaded look in her face and the way she sits on her chair: with her head rested on the top of her clenched fist as her elbow stood on the arm rest of the seat. She motioned a stoic female soldier, with long red hair and clad in a golden suit of armor, from across the room to turn the television off.

"Have the Atlantic Federation really lose its bite?"

"Colonel, it's quite uncommon for you to speak about the Federation is such a manner" the armored soldier replied as she turned the television off. Her name is Alannie Desmond, a mauler assigned to be the colonel's personal bodyguard.

"It's not that I am being disrespectful of the Federation or anything but nowadays not only is our government losing face in the battlefield but also when it comes to diplomatic relations with non-aligned countries." Rotating her chair sideward to the right, Kathlyn gazes with worry at the full-sized window behind her desk. The night outside was very dark with the occasional lightning storm lighting up the sky coupled with the loud crackle of thunder. The colonel views it as a sign of something ominous to come.

"It's nothing for us to be worried about. I mean it wasn't our fault if the deceased ambassador dragged the Federation's name into the mud or the fact that majority of our military commanders are incapable of effectively dealing with the Empire's numerical superiority." Despite her straight and nonchalant reply, it could be seen in Alannie's eyes that she was concerned about her commanding officer's words.

"You're right, we are soldiers. We probably shouldn't meddle with the higher-ups or the government for in the end our only job we have is to fight and die to ensure that the Atlantic Federation will continue to exist…regardless of the circumstances." Kathlyn was very grim with her statement. She believes that being a soldier means existing to defend and die for his/her nation no matter what the situation is.

"Anyways, have reports from Captain Gayares' and Lieutenant Ocampo's squads have already come in?"

"Not yet, ma'am, but Lt. Col. Dimson did send a report earlier from our forward scouts in the Funan region" answered Alannie.

"What did it say?"

Alannie took a small and slightly crumpled piece of paper from the pocket in the seat of her tassel. She then began browsing through its contents, summarizing them to Kathlyn. "According to them, Lieutenant General Moehr's 27th Tank Corp has received reinforcements from two other Imperial corps operating near the border. In line with that, the Imperial forces have consolidated all their forces in the area around Wizny Hill for some unknown reason."

"Let me see that" ordered Kathlyn stretching her arm through the table.

Alannie approached the officer and handed her the report. Kathlyn moved the report closer to her face and began reading its contents. She showed signs of being appalled at whatever is written on it as she leafed through the report. Kathlyn quickly put the paper down on her desk and placed her right hand in her forehead and began scratching it.

"With this number of Imperial troops in the area, I doubt we'll last long here even no matter how much we sabotage their factories and steal their supplies. The 11th Tactical Regiment is both outnumbered and outgunned…behind enemy lines."

"Should I move the 8th Mauler Platoon to engage or at least weaken their armored units under the cover of darkness and rain?"

"Initiating a frontal assault of any kind now is out of the question. With the limited resources we have, I won't dare sacrifice any men or tank that is here in Echelles."

"So what should we do then? Pardon my tongue, colonel, but we won't really accomplish anything here if we won't face those Imps in combat."

"Could you please fetch Lt. Col. Dimson and the other battalion officers here for we would be holding a strategic meeting ASAP" Kathlyn ordered her subordinate together with a shooing motion from her right hand.

"With your leave, colonel"

Kathlyn stood up, report in hand, and started looking with a down face at the window once more. From there, she could see that four beat-up supply trucks accompanied by some engineers and a heavy tank bearing Imperial markings with a female sniper sitting near its engine have arrived in the ruins of what used to be a luxurious and popular park for Echelle's residents in front of the rebuilt city hall.

"Just in time…thank the Valkyrias that they made it back here" Kathlyn whispered to herself. Her expression was very solemn as she looked at the battered soldiers which have returned from their recent foray into Imperial territory.

The city hall was surrounded by makeshift barracks, infirmaries, garages and warehouses. All of them were converted from the still-standing ruins of the houses, restaurants and shops that used to stand in the area before they were abandoned by the merchants and residents of the city prior to the war. Metal plating, taken from debris in the area or from Imperials during missions, was used to cover holes in walls and roofs or have been used as walls and roofs themselves while long and wide cotton cloths became some kind of improvised door for some of the structures. The city hall is now in use as a headquarters for the commanding officers for the 11th Tactical Regiment while the park ruins has been turned into a makeshift parade and drill grounds. In the background alongside more barracks, garages and hangars are large electrical generators providing power to the city through internal mechanisms fueled by ragnoline. Wires from the generators which are laid out on the ground make their way into the buildings.

A small contingent of engineers carrying bandages and stretchers accompanied by another squad of scouts came out of the infirmaries and barracks to assist their comrades which have just arrived. The supply trucks appears to have been riddled with bullets with only their wheels spared and their badly-damaged engines were coughing up a lot of smoke. The heavy tank's side armor was heavily dented, no doubt resulting from cannon, lancer and anti-tank fire, while some of its treads were missing.

"Alright people, you know the drill. Move it! Move it!" commanded a brown-skilled female sniper as she dismounted from the rear of the tank. She seems to be a woman in her late 30s or early 40s with her black hair inappropriately styled into pigtails, a fashion that only young girls and teens would usually use. A sniper rifle was in her right hand with most of the gun's body in a diagonal resting position parallel to her arm and back. Dusting off her red uniform, the sniper ordered the engineers to tend to the wounded and perform repairs and for the scouts to carry supplies and weapons they've stolen which were stashed in the canopy covered backs of the trucks and to take them into the warehouses, pointing each group or unit to their assigned tasks.

The grounds were immediately full of activity: engineers laid out stretchers behind the trucks and the heavily wounded was carried into them while those that can still walk or have only minor injuries were escorted to the infirmaries. The scouts went inside the trucks and formed a line behind them as they passed heavy crates to one another until the load made it to the warehouses. Once the trucks were emptied of their loads, some of the engineers began pushing them towards one of the garages.

"Captain Gayares, would it be possible to perform repairs on this tank or at least have a towing truck move it into the hangar?" asked the tank driver, named Angelo Mayorie, to the sniper commanding the soldiers in the area as he came out of the hatch. His chubby smiling face was covered in soot while his greasy brown hair was stained with blue ragnoline. Fuel was leaking out of the holes in the heavily-damaged engine and fuel tanks in addition to its damaged armor and lost treads.

"Reliable and on the job as always, now I wonder what's an engineer like you doing in a hellhole like this when you could be in the safety of the capital or the northern front working on your useful inventions."

"I should say the same thing about you, captain, your promotion to lieutenant general has long been overdue. As for me, I prefer it here in the south where my skills and inventions will greatly benefit the 11th Tactical Regiment." The chubby yet burly engineer came down from the tank. Angelo then began examining the damages that the tank had sustained with the keen eye of an expert mechanic. Reaching out to a white cloth in his ammunition pocket, he wiped the soot dirtying his face as well.

"As always thank you for your invaluable assistance to the regiment." Captain Gayares then called some of the engineers in the area and motioned them to come to the heavy tank.

"Alright, listen up, this baby is badly-damaged and she needs to be patched up immediately. Captain Mayorie will be the one assisting and giving you orders as you work on this tank."

"Ma'am, yes, ma'am" saluted the engineers right before working on the task given to them.

Captain Gayares then proceeded inspecting the engineers' and scouts' progress in the performance of their tasks. Only a few of her squad mates have suffered any injuries but nearly all the soldiers from the other squad have not only incurred severe wounds but broken limbs and arms as well. Fortunately none of them have made their way into the afterlife. Agony and despair can be seen in their faces, even the unconscious ones, as they lie in terrible pain in the stretchers which their engineer comrades carried to the infirmaries. The number of casualties soon exceeded the stretchers that can be used. As a remedy for this, scouts formed themselves into teams of two and started carrying their badly mauled and severely wounded comrades.

"Hey private!" yelled Captain Gayares to one of the engineers feeding a ragnaid capsule to one of his companions suffering from a mild concussion. The brown-skinned lanky and buck-toothed engineer immediately left his post and delegated his responsibility to one of his co-engineers nearby.

"1st Private Jeremiah Avaden reporting for duty ma'am!" he saluted. The captain put him at ease.

"Where are your commanding officers?"

"Ma'am, both of them are in the infirmary. Lt. Ocampo collapsed from blood loss after narrowly escaping suppression fire from a heavy tank while Lt. Casabuena was knocked unconscious after he was thrown into a nearby wall by an explosion that came from the tank factory we destroyed."

"Paolo and Alexander, that can't be possible!"

"Excuse me, captain, but Colonel Chevalier wants you at the war room at once." Alannie interrupted the conversation between Captain Gayares and Jeremiah. The mauler was out of breath as she placed her hand on the captain's shoulder. The weight of her armor and the heat it must have tormented her body have worn Alannie down as she ran from the city hall and into the grounds.

"About what?"

"For a strategy meeting, ma'am"

"But I am not a high-ranking officer. What do they want from me?"

"We know, ma'am, but because of your experience in the First Europan War, the colonel wants you to share your insights and plans with the others."

"Okay then but please do tell the colonel that I'll be visiting some of my comrades in the infirmary first before I join the meeting."

"Understood, ma'am"

All the engineers and medics in the infirmary were in a frantic mood. One could hear them discussing the vital signs and present conditions of the men they were tending to. Each engineer and medic took ragnaid capsules and medicines from the numerous cabinets marked with a red cross in the area and hurriedly administered them to the injured that are conscious. Bandages were applied to fresh wounds and slings were placed to hold broken arms and the unconscious were being resuscitated. The poor souls who were unfortunate enough to bear the brunt of Imperial weaponry looked on helplessly at the engineers and medics keeping them in place in the world of the living.

"Where am I?" Paolo attempted to ask as he regained consciousness. However what came out of his mouth was not words but faint moans. The sniper's cheeks were bruised and bandages cover the left portion of his thinly-built body as he lay in bed with a white blanket covering him from the chest down. He then turned his attention to Captain Gayares who was sitting at the side of his bed.

"Don't speak for I know what you want to ask. You're back in Echelles now. It seems that you're very lucky to survive an encounter with an Imperial heavy tank with just a few wounds. Most men would be shredded to bits by the machineguns if not blown to meaty chunks by the cannons." The captain caressed Paolo's head.

"Yeah, we were very fortunate to make it out of Malegnano alive. I just wish that I could say the same for our other squad mates" said Alexander as he approached them from the other side of the infirmary. His head is covered in bandages with blotches of blood on it while his right arm is held by a blue cloth sling. Despite his injuries, Alexander could still smile. What may seem as a debilitating injury to others is just a minor one to him.

Paolo looked at him worriedly. It's as if he wanted to know what happened to their other squad mates. However, no matter how much Paolo tries to speak, only moans came out of his mouth.

"Paolo, save your strength, let me handle this" Captain Gayares told him then she looked at Alexander and asked "What happened to the other men in your squad?"

"I don't know. Didn't anyone tell you that I just woke up? Last thing I know is that I was thrown off into a wall by the blast from the tank factory we just destroyed."

"Sorry I was so worried about the two of you that I totally forgot that Jeremiah already told me what happened on your mission."

"Avaden is alive! Captain, where is he?"

"He's currently in the grounds tending to the injuries of your other squad mates. It seems that you guys didn't lose a single man but many of them are severely injured though."

"Then I better check on them. Make sure that none of them have been taken by the Valkyrias." Alexander shuffled his way to the door. The lieutenant exerted lots of effort to force his tired legs to move his body. His mind may disregard the damage he took but it looks like his body might already succumb to it.

"Are you alright planning to do something like that? You can barely walk, much more help our men outside. Maybe I should check their condition for you."

"I'll be fine, captain. Besides, it looks like Lt. Ocampo needs you more right now." Alexander winked at Captain Gayares as he left the infirmary. His right hand kept his body straight as he stepped outside.

"I am sorry…Kathlyn" thought Paolo to himself as he closed his eyes and drifted into a peaceful sleep once more.

A small light bulb swung back and forth like a pendulum in the ceiling of the war room. Its dim light adding to the heavy and tense atmosphere that filled the room as the exhausted and worried officers gathered around a rectangular table in the center. They were looking at a large map of the Europan continent spread out like a mat on the center of the table. On the top of the map are small blue and red replicas of tanks and infantry units placed on certain points in it. They represent the positions of Federation and Imperial troops on the battlefield. Kathlyn is seated on the capital side of the table. Her face, reflecting that of someone who was awaiting execution, was looking down. It was nearly covered by her arms as they stood on the table with her clenched fists touching her forehead.

Present in the strategy meeting, other than Kathlyn and Alannie, in the war room were the following: Lt. Col. Jeremy Meinns of the 1st Scout Battalion, Lt. Col. Anna Dimson the commanding officer of the 15th Engineering Battalion, Lt. Col. Jose Velduz the head of the 30th Light Infantry Batallion, Lt. Col. Cara Moetzel of the 3rd Support Batallion and Lt. Col. Alvin Dendire of the 13th Shocktrooper Batallion. Not all of the officers belonging to the 11th Tactical Regiment were present in the area as some have been transferred to other positions in the southern front while others have been pulled back into friendly lines as reserves by the higher-ups.

"Maybe it's about time we ask permission from Lieutenant General Costellion to allow our remaining forces to retreat into the Viessen Sierra and attempt to regroup with other elements of the 11th Tactical Regiment" suggested Jeremy. Even if it is not his intention, the other officers felt intimidated as they looked at the brown-skinned burly scout because of the menacing glare in his eyes.

"…And give time for the Imperials to strengthen their hold on southern Francia? Is that what you're saying?" asked Anna. The tone of the long black-haired and brown-skinned engineer clearly shows that she is annoyed at the suggestion of her co-officer. In her mind, she's already visualizing Jeremy as a boastful commander who would retreat at the first sign of danger.

"That's not what I meant. We'll just be regrouping our forces in a safer location while we're still able to."

"There's still hope if we could just buy enough time to build up our forces here in the south" said Kathlyn. The colonel was looking anxiously at the blue units on the southern portion of the map which was outnumbered and nearly surrounded by the red units. If only the war was just as simple as chess or removing the red units on the map with her hands then the 11th Tactical Regiment wouldn't be probably be stuck in a predicament.

"Not to mention we're not only outnumbered but also outgunned considering we only have our light tanks and APCs to face their medium and heavy tanks" said Cara. The fair-skinned blond scout noticed that not only there are more red units on the southern front in the map but the large red tank replicas also outnumber the small blue ones.

"Captain Trisha Gayares reporting as ordered ma'am!" Captain Gayares saluted Kathlyn.

"Captain Alannie Desmond reporting for duty ma'am!" Alannie followed suit as well.

Kathlyn stood up and returned the salute to them. She then gestured the captain to take the empty seat on the other side of the table and for Alannie to close the door of the war room. Upon returning to her seat, Kathlyn resumed looking at the Europan map. Her expression was no different from before: still down with anxiety and despair.

"Ah, Brigadier General Gayares… nice of you to join to us" Jose welcomed Trisha. The brown-haired sniper's hand was in the front of his mouth covering the light chuckle he let out due to amusement. The commanding officers of the 11th Tactical Regiment do occasionally tease Trisha about her EWI veterancy and the position that the higher-ups kept offering her.

"Don't call me that, I never took that position… Anyways what's the situation of the 11th?"

Anna took the piece of paper in front of her and passed it to Cara. The latter in turn handed it to Trisha.

"That's the report of our scouts regarding Imperial movements in the Funan area" Anna stated. The officer was anticipating the captain's reaction upon reading the report.

"It looks like the Imperials are finally starting to take us seriously now" concluded Trisha. She skimmed through the report without any hint of concern or worry in her face. The captain even smirked as she put the paper down on the table. To her the Imperial build-up was nothing compared to the horrors and loses that she faced during the First Europan War.

"You don't look concern despite the fact that we are nearly surrounded by enemy forces. Is something the matter?" Kathlyn was puzzled by Trisha's relaxed attitude. It's as if the captain was a light of optimism misplaced in a room of dark hopelessness as what the other officers are feeling at the moment.

"Not a bit, colonel, it just means that everything is going according to the directives of the higher-ups…with the exception of the Imperials assuming an aggressive stance before us."

"You seem very calm…perhaps you have a plan on how we could face those Imps or at least secure our supply and communication lines until reinforcements could arrive?" asked Jeremy. The scout was staring seriously at Trisha, intent to hear an answer from the captain. Jeremy feels disturbed in his mind that Trisha can even smile and say things as if nothing bad is happening to them.

"Lt. Col. Meinns, please don't glare at me like that, no offence but you're starting to look like a pervert." Trisha's reply humiliated Jeremy causing the latter to look in another direction. The officer has already started cursing Trisha in his thoughts.

"So do you have a plan or not?" asked Cara. The tone of her voice sounds very urgent.

"In fact, I do have one. If it succeeds, not only can we weaken the Imperials here in the southern front but we could also open up a new supply and communication route to the north."

"What do you mean by that?"

"The key lies in capturing this." Trisha used her finger to encircle the northernmost part of Imperial-held Federation territory on the map. The captain was referring to Wizny Hill, the site of the main headquarters of Imperial forces in the area.

"Does that mean we'll be attacking General Moehr himself?"

"Exactly!"

All the other officers in the room started looking nervously at one another. Indiscernible chatter filled the room as each of the officers asked one another questions or gave comments regarding the captain's plans. Their individual opinions and questions were drowned out by the noise produced by their collective voices. Some even gave nasty looks at Trisha while whispering something to the officer next to them, presumably about the captain's recklessness or sanity. Only Kathlyn kept calm during that time while Trisha just ignored the other officers. She was thinking that almost everyone in the room are just like Darcsen refugees awaiting to be captured or killed by slavers instead of having the guts to fight back.

"Quiet all of you!" Kathlyn tapped the table repeatedly with her hands in order to silence her co-officers. She was getting annoyed that the meeting can't proceed because of their useless bickering and chit-chat. The noise died down eventually as Jeremy was about to speak.

"Are you insane, Gayares? Are you aware that we could only deploy about four battalions and two companies against General Moehr's forces which have the strength of about three corps?" The major stood up in anger and pointed at the captain. Jeremy shot a threatening glare at Trisha as if expressing that he wants to kill her as soon as he can. Alvin, a Darcsen with spiked hair, seated to the right of Jeremy tried to calm the latter down.

"That loud temper of yours must have been the reason you got thrown by the higher-ups in here" remarked Trisha. The captain was looking amusingly at Jeremy. The tone of her voice seems to be insulting the officer.

"Why you insolent…!" yelled Jeremy attempting to walk out of his seat. The officer has had enough of someone of a lower rank humiliating him in front of his other co-officers.

"That's enough, you should get used to the captain's abrasive attitude." Alvin restrained Jeremy. The shocktrooper was struggling to keep the muscular scout in place with both of Alvin's arms locked in Jeremy's stomach. The Darcsen braced himself as Jeremy's large body tried to force its way out of his hold.

"There's no point arguing over such petty reasons in a time like this." Kathlyn reprimanded Jeremy as he looked at him with a paralyzing glare. "Please, Lt. Col. Meinns and Lt. Col. Dendire sit down and let the captain finish explaining her plan" she then ordered her co-officers who were caught up in a bout of mini-wrestling.

"Humph…desperate fools and your reckless schemes…you're the very reason that the 11th Tactical Regiment is in such a terrible state right now…if only General Florestine didn't appoint someone from the disgraced military families to lead this hellhole of a regiment…" Jeremy muttered to himself as he shrugged in his seat. The officer was referring to their commanding officer and his comrades whom he view as the very reason for the regiment's losing streak and their inability to strike a decisive blow against the Empire.

The comment seems to have caught negative attention from Kathlyn. The colonel gave Jeremy a scowl but made it in a way that the latter cannot see. Even though she wanted to shout harsh invectives at Jeremy for involving her family in the argument, Kathlyn just sighed and decided to ignore Jeremy's comment for the meantime.

Trisha looked at the other officers from her seat. She is checking for any signs of possible things that could interrupt the explanation of her plan. Upon seeing that there is none with all of the officers awaiting her to say something in silence with the exception of Jeremy of course who was still trying to control his temper which now manifested in the form of a menacing gaze, the captain continued with what she had to say.

"Very well then as I was about to say before someone rudely interrupted me: we will attack General Moehr's forces but not in a way that most of you are probably thinking."

"What are you getting at?" asked Jose.

"Everyone in this room is probably aware that General Moehr is engaged in two fronts right now. First is in the northwestern part of the Viessen Sierra where his force of engineers and men sent by the Empire's lumbering companies are being harassed by the 27th Armored Division of the 1st Federation Guards Army as well as our own 6th Reconnaissance Company and 24th Anti-Tank Company. The second one is in the Saphorin front where the general's main forces are engaged against elements of the 3rd Federation Guards Army. So far, he is ignoring us in the south." Trisha pointed to the representation of the colossal mountain range and thick forest of Viessen and the plain near the central Federation-Empire border on the map.

"Yes we know that so what do you propose we do now?"

"I was planning for us to work in conjunction with the 27th Armored and the 3rd Guards Army. While they engage General Moehr's forces in the front, we'll attack his southern flank and if possible attempt to derail their deforestation project in the Viessen Sierra."

Jeremy was about to speak but both Kathlyn and Alvin stopped him from doing so. The two officers glared at Jeremy as if telling him silently not to engage the captain in another argument or let out another outburst.

"Don't worry, I am used to your outbursts by now…what's on your mind, Lt. Col. Meinns?" Trisha told Jeremy. The captain gestured him to stand up and speak up. With a light smirk on her face, Trisha was waiting for Jeremy to explode, eager to put him down in embarrassment once more.

"Even if we are able to even out the odds, we're still outgunned and outnumbered. We don't have the firepower of the 27th Armored or the numbers of the 3rd Army. How do you propose we deal with their forces in the southern part of Funan with the limited amount of men we have here?" asked Jeremy. He then looked triumphantly at both Kathlyn and Alvin for being able to say what he wanted. The two, in turn, showed a smirk to Jeremy and looked at Trisha.

"If we can't fight them then we'll provide a diversion in order to sow confusion among enemy ranks. Once the 27th Armored and the 3rd Army breaches General Moehr's northern and northwestern defenses and pins his forces down on Wizny then we could probably go in for the kill since their men in the south would probably panic stopping them from putting up a decent fight after the news that their commander has been pushed to the defensive has reached them." Trisha placed the blue replicas of infantry and tanks in front of the gaps between the red replicas in the Funan region which were facing south in order to show them what would be the role of the 11th Tactical Regiment in the operation. She then made an imaginary line coming in from Saphorin and the northwestern area of the Viessen Sierra with her fingers to demonstrate the attack pattern of their allied units.

"Even so, the 11th Tactical Regiment will still have to engage them in skirmishes so how do we minimize casualties?" asked Cara. The officer was looking anxiously at the formation of the red and blue unit replicas and noticed that there are many gaps left unfilled by the blue ones. These empty spaces represent the fact that Federation forces are really few in number and possible positions where Imperial troops could flank them.

"Allow me to answer that: we'll do what the 11th does best- hit and run tactics. By dividing our forces into smaller platoons or squads then we'll have an advantage in maneuverability and mobility over their ponderous frontline formations. We'll be moving in for the attack and be out of range before they could react" answered Anna. "I assume that is what your mind, captain" Anna then faced Trisha. The captain just nodded in agreement.

"…And as added insurance, our maulers and fencers will be deploying on the very front. Each platoon would have about 20 maulers or fencers. I believe that there prototype extending shields have enough strength to deflect any tank rounds and small-arms fire that our men won't be able to evade." Kathlyn added to Anna's answer. The colonel moved the blue replicas of maulers and fencers into the front of the infantry units and alongside the tanks.

"With all of that in mind, more or less we've even the playing field. However, let's not forget the very reason those Imps have a very strong hold on Funan: their land dreadnought, the Hyrax" said Jose. The sniper made an X mark with his finger on the position of Wizny Hill in order to illustrate the location of the Hyrax. Jose was slightly trembling at the fact that the enemy possessed their own land dreadnought. To him, the Hyrax could move at any moment on or even before the battle and crush any units sent to stop it or push the Imperials out of Funan.

"Yes they may have that thing as a last resort trump card…However, unlike the Marmota which they've used on Gallia three years back, artillery fire from our forces in Saphorin have destroyed the Hyrax's engines and propellers rendering it unable to move" answered Trisha.

"But what if they were able to repair them?"

"Then I'll lead a squad and go on ahead of the main force to infiltrate that thing and put it out of commission. If General Moehr is onboard the Hyrax then I'll be assassinating him as well."

"…Or you could just bring in an engineer along and hijack that thing. Use the Hyrax's guns against them or if you can, the land dreadnought itself" suggested Cara. "Either way, we would be minimizing the threats that we would seeing on the battlefield."

"If we don't get in too much of a firefight then we'll do just that" Trisha answered. "It isn't easy to take command of an enemy ship if there are too many hostiles inside constantly attacking you."

"Your plan is reckless and very bold but to be honest, I am impressed that you have everything planned out. I still doubt that we'll be able to pull it off successfully but I believe that we'll be able to bloody the noses of those Imps even just a little" Jeremy admitted. The officer's previously agitated and menacing demeanor was replaced with a calmer and friendlier one. Through his words, it was revealed that behind the muscular and brave exterior was a very cautious and indecisive person.

The captain replied with a very confident smile. "If you bastard just shut your trap and let me finished earlier then we wouldn't probably have to see that little outbursts of yours." That is what Trisha said in her mind as she looked in jest at Jeremy. The captain was clearly amused at Jeremy retracting his statement or at least parts of it that her plan was reckless and stupid.

"Lt. Col. Dimson, I want you to send word to General Alder and Colonel Rochefort that the 11th Tactical Regiment would wish to participate in their operations against General Moehr. Tell them of our plan and make sure to mention both Captains Gayares and Mayorie, I am sure that they'll be more than willing to help us out." Kathlyn ordered Anna. Trisha's plan may sound foolproof but in order to keep it that way, the assistance of the 2nd Federation Guards Army and 27th Armored Division must be guaranteed. Kathlyn is aware that the only way to get the help they badly needed was to use Angelo's and Trisha's reputation in the military as a bargaining tool.

"Please link a transmission to Saphorin and Langlade…" Anna said to her small radio which she took out from her ammunition pocket. The officer then made her way out of the room while giving some orders to someone over the radio.

"…And I'll be giving orders for the 6th Recon to withdraw back to base and for the 9th Recon to add more traps in the Viessen Sierra and probe the defenses of Imperial lumber mills there. With your leave, colonel" Cara said to Kathlyn as she stood up from her seat. The colonel gave her permission to leave and give orders to the men under her command.

"Does anyone else have questions or anything else that they would like to share before I adjourn the meeting?" Kathlyn asked as she looked around the room from her seat, particularly at her co-officers. The entire room was surrounded by silence as the others stared back at Kathlyn. It seems that they wanted to get the meeting over with having been satisfied by the details of Trisha's plan other than the fact that dawn was already on its way.

"I have one: when do we commence with the operation?" Trisha raised her right hand breaking the quiet that has prevailed in the room. Ever since the start of the meeting, Trisha remained very calm and collected. To her, the war between the Federation and Empire was already a big part of her life so she's already used to the fear and tension that paralyzes other soldiers and officers alike in the battlefield.

"Well I still have to inform General Costellion of what were up to and ask for reinforcements, if possible. Other than that, we still need to reorganize our men and finish repairs on majority of the equipment and vehicles we have at hand so I really can't say for now but rest assured that we will move out as soon as everything's ready."

Kathlyn took a small golden timekeeper from her ammunition pocket and depressingly looked at it. The timekeeper was designed to be like a locket with a watch on it. On the other side of the timekeeper was a black and white picture of a young man in military uniform who seems to be a colonel judging from the insignia in his shoulders. Judging from Kathlyn's expression it seems that it is someone whom she lost sometime in her past. The colonel was holding back her tears as she looked at the picture but forced herself to regain her authoritative composure.

"It's late…12:30 in the morning. If anyone has anymore questions or suggestions then let's just hear it out tomorrow. Tonight's meeting is adjourned." Kathlyn placed both of her arms behind her head as she fell back into her seat. "Until then, find peace with yourselves and get some good food and rest."

The other officers stood up from their seats and gave their salutes to Kathlyn. They engaged in conversation as they left the room while escorted by Alannie. Kathlyn was about to close her eyes when she noticed that not everyone has left the room. Trisha was still in her seat. The captain was very relaxed with her feet on the edge of the table and eyes aimed straight at the colonel.

"If it's alright with you, I want to talk about the treatment that some of your men have been receiving from you. If you know what I mean" said Trisha.

"Then be quick about it"

Author's Notes/Disclaimers:

The excerpt from the memoirs is a metaphor for the continent of Europa. The two giants refer to the Atlantic Federation and the East Europan Imperial Alliance while the midget is the Principality of Gallia.

The Atlantic Federation uses a regimental system in the military wherein every regiment can be considered self-sufficient and can decide on its own even without orders from those above the chain of command.

Will the 11th Tactical Regiment be able to successfully pull off its diversion plan against an enemy force whose manpower and weaponry strength is nearly four times their own? Find out in the next chapter.