Valkyria Chronicles is owned by Sega. Ubisoft owns Tom Clancy's name and Endwar.
Here's the beginning of the new Endwar Chronicles. I cannot apologise enough for keeping everyone waiting for such a long time. Motivation comes and goes unfortunately as does the time to write.
March 15, 1935
Southern Gallian-Imperial Border
Major General Radi Jaeger, Southern Command stood outside in the rain despite the insistence of his staff to return to the shelter. At precisely 0200 hours that morning Imperial forces would cross Gallia's borders on the orders of Prince Maximilian. Minimal resistance was predicted from the little country's standing army and militia.
That was all irrelevant when he considered the amount of firepower that was levelled against the Gallians. Over 3000 artillery pieces, 1800 multiple rocket launchers and 20 000 mortars were organised by Maximilian's Drei Stern over the months leading up to this moment. An average of 600 tubes was positioned at the border per kilometre and the crews could fire an average of four salvos a minute and each salvo consisting of about 2000 tonnes of high explosives… Annihilation was the only word he thought was fitting.
The general looked over at his command staff who were huddled in the cramped comfort of the command vehicle. He made eye contact with the closest officer and tapped his right index finger into his left palm. The man reluctantly pulled on a rain jacket, took out a waterproof map and ran out to join him in the rain.
"In 5 minutes we will commence firing. Send out a scouting element here. There's sure to be Gallians in the forest," Jaeger marked the spot on the map. "When they make contact, send reinforcements, I'm sure they'll be needed. The first echelons should be twenty or so klicks deep by sunup. Don't forget which order as well."
"I'm sure everyone knows their part," replied the officer confidently.
"Good, you're dismissed."
They exchanged salutes and man gratefully returned to his shelter.
Jaeger checked his watch and followed the seconds hand as it reached the 12.
At that very moment the field around him erupted with light as every artillery piece in the camp fired at the same time. The shaking of the ground startled the men in the command vehicle but Jaeger did not flinch. Already a trio of vehicles were moving at top speed towards the border.
Meanwhile just over the border in the forest known as the Kloden Wildwood a five member militia fireteam was scurrying to complete the meagre defence against the invading Imperials. Crouched behind a fallen log Hermes Kissinger stared east in the direction of the Imperials. A few days and nights of non-stop reconnaissance had revealed a battalion of tanks, troops and other assets massing along the border. Similar reports were relayed back to the headquarters at Fort Amatrian but it was only at the last minute that action was being taken.
"What on earth was going on back there?" he asked Catherine O'Hara next to him, "Surely General Damon had an idea of what's facing us?"
"You know how unreliable the brass can be when it comes to unpleasant news like this," she answered.
"Tell me about it," whispered Hannes Salinger as he ran up and stopped beside them.
Somehow the majority of the military leadership, General Georg von Damon worst of all, refused heed the warnings from the diplomats and intelligence agencies about the Empire's sudden change in tone towards Gallia ever since the Second Europan War commenced. Only now were the hasty preparations being made.
The three of them turned their eyes back to the front as they heard Theold Bohr cursing at Herbert Nielsen.
"Hurry up with that, I swear every time I look away from you to watch YOUR back I see you trying to nod off," snarled Theold as he shifted his lancer from shoulder to shoulder.
His hair, normally standing up and proud was plastered flat against his head and this served to make him all the more grouchier.
"Watch what you say Theold, it takes time to lay these things. I need to move slowly so I don't set this thing off and this happens to be tiring work," retorted Herbert as he laid the last mine.
The three behind the log didn't know whether to sigh with relief that the minefield was complete or to curse with frustration at the amount of bickering the lancer and engineer had engaged in. Herbert was a good engineer most of the time but his apathy and sheer laziness meant that it would take at least a week to complete such a task. Theold who was known to be harsh and confronting around everyone was sent to ensure he stayed on task. The arguments they had up there kept the rest of the fireteam from sleeping.
"Finally," whispered Catherine as the lancer returned, dragging Herbert behind him.
"Got the detonator?" asked Hannes.
Herbert's face remained impassive.
"You didn't bring it then." Hermes came to the same conclusion as everyone else. "In that case I'm not going in there."
"Dibs not getting it," said Hannes.
"Hopeless dimwit, I'm not going back out there again," spoke Theold.
"Same here," Herbert added.
"Like hell, you left it so you're going back to get it." Theold gave him a hard shove but he refused to budge.
Hermes, Catherine and Hannes each gave a sigh as their younger comrades bristled and prepared turn on each other. No one was in a good mood because of the rain which was pounding so heavily the tree branches above appeared to bend.
"Alright cool it boys, I'll go and get it," Catherine interjected before the situation could escalate, "Make sure to keep Theold and Herbert apart," she said to the scout and shocktrooper.
She clambered over a log, struggling to get a grip on the wet bark and almost fell over the other side onto a field of mud. Catherine quickly regretted volunteering. Out here where the trees were thinnest the rain acted as a physical force which threatened to push her feet first into the sucking mud which was almost knee deep. Squinting ahead, she pushed through the mud and darkness before reaching the boundary of the minefield which was marked with a rotting tree stump.
"There it is," she thought as she snatched up the bulky handheld device, the wire attached to it disappeared into the mud where twenty anti-personnel mines were concealed.
She looked up as a flash of light in front caught her eyes.
"Was that lightning?"
The noise of distant explosions from behind and the thunder that buffeted Catherine from the front proved otherwise. The mud all around her feet sloshed upwards, splashing her uniform. For a moment she feared that the mines would go off but thankfully nothing happened. Pulling the scope off her rifle she scanned east towards the Imperial border. Just then the east lit up again. There was no mistaking it; the Imperials were firing the opening shots of an invasion. She caught her breath as soon she saw the two vehicles approaching.
As soon as Catherine returned the rest of the team was almost in a state of panic.
"Snap out of it guys." she knew she had to take charge as the most senior member. "The Imperials are sending a pair of scout vehicles our way. I think there's another one bringing up the rear that's all we need to worry about for now."
"What about the shelling?" asked Hermes.
"It's probably the rear-enders getting hit, they sounded like heavy artillery," answered Hannes.
"Well he's right, I just saw the Imperials firing the big guns back there," Catherine grimaced, "Still we can't let those scouts get through."
"But you said they were travelling on wheels. Dammit! I knew those mines were a waste of time," exclaimed Theold angrily.
Herbert didn't say anything, for some reason the rumble of artillery fire was a lullaby.
"Wake that lazy bastard," said Catherine, "I know what we can do, ok. I'll nail the gunner of the first vehicle. Theold take the second car as soon as I fire. When the infantry dismount from the first, wait until they're within the minefield before we detonate them. You got that Herbert?"
"Yeah, yeah," he grunted without looking up.
"Then we open up on the survivors," added Hannes, completing the plan.
"Exactly," said the sniper.
Hermes chimed in helpfully, "I got an idea, time your shot with the sound of those explosions; it takes about 12 seconds after each flash for the noise of the guns to reach us so you can disguise your shot and throw them off."
"Yeah I know that trick, though it was with lightning and thunder, not heavy guns. I suppose it should work. Let's get ready for them and don't forget we need to break contact and fall back as soon as it gets rough," Catherine concluded.
"You'd forgotten the third one," said Theold, "I only got one working shot here."
Everyone gulped at this except the sniper who answered, "Their vehicles can't follow us back to our rally point. The trees and mud will see to that and their infantry won't the heart to pursue us either."
The others looked back at her dubiously before one by one, they turned their attention back to the front. Catherine after all survived the last Imperial invasion. A few minutes later the five of them leaned up against the log, occasionally one of them would reach over and tap the Herbert on the shoulder to wake him up. Their weapons were aimed towards the clearing with the mines, anticipating the arrival of the Imperials. The distant artillery continued to fire, a flash accompanied with a loud boom which followed about twelve seconds afterwards. The rain had lightened considerably and Gallians were grateful for the increased visibility. At that moment the rumbling of a wheeled vehicle was audible. Here they come, they all thought. The headlights of the scout vehicles came into view, a manned heavy machine gun with an attached searchlight on each panned left and right. The lead car slowly advanced into the minefield. The second one stopped behind and to the left of the lead, providing cover as the other moved forward.
The flash appeared again, the searchlight of the lead car swept over the log. Catherine started counting down but squinted as she was dazzled by the searchlight.
Her eyes needed time to readjust after her natural nightvision was ruined by the sudden brightness.
The lead car started to move a little faster, it was right in the middle of the mine cluster.
The light returned and stayed there.
She pulled the trigger just as the thunder erupted again. In her sights the searchlight swung up as the gunner fell back with a bullet to the throat. A split second later Theold fired his lance at the other stationary vehicle. The small warhead easily penetrated the light armour before exploding inside. The light from the explosion illuminated the clearing, revealing the soldiers piling out the doors of the first vehicle. The Gallians waited a few seconds for the Imperial infantry to fan out.
"Now!" mouthed Hannes.
Herbert turned the switch on the detonator and an ear-splitting roar erupted as all the mines went off simultaneously right below the hapless Imperials. Once the smoke and mud was clear the entire scouting unit was either dead or seriously wounded.
Hermes stuck his head up and peeked over at the enemy positions only to duck as a bullet hit the log in front of him.
"There are more of them…at least six," he was clearly shaken by the near miss.
"I'll take care of them," Hannes stood up and opened fire with his Mags submachine gun. He could see dark silhouettes up ahead taking cover as best they could in the muddy, torn up clearing. The rest of the fireteam stood up and opened fire; Hermes and Herbert with their Gallian-A rifles, Catherine with her GSR sniper rifle and Theold with his sidearm pistol.
One of the Imperials lobbed a grenade which exploded just short of the log the fireteam was using for cover but the force was enough to roll it over, forcing the Gallians to reform their skirmish line. Another set of lights appeared and armoured personnel carrier joined the fire fight, its mounted gatling cannon adding to the volume of fire directed at the outnumbered defenders Hermes responded by firing a Randgrizer rifle grenade, scattering the enemy soldiers.
"That thing has armour! Should have saved that last shot!" Theold shouted in frustration, emptying a clip from his pistol.
Catherine tried to get a bead on the gunner on the APC but the flashes from the firefight made it near impossible. It didn't help that he swivelled his weapon about regularly, sweeping its attached searchlight around in addition to the volley of bullets.
Gritting her teeth in frustration she cried out, "Need a smoke on that PC!"
Hermes complied, peeking over the stump behind which he'd crouched before lobbing a smoke grenade it so it fell in front of the vehicle. A few seconds and opaque cloud was thick enough to obscure the gunner's view while scattering his light and making it difficult for the other Imperials too. The APC driver advanced; wanting to move beyond the smoke but the ground gave way five metres ahead, trapping the vehicle's front in a muddy depression.
"Peel back now!"
Theold who stood at the end of the line on the right ceased firing, turned, tapped Herbert on the shoulder before retreating ten metres to the back and left of Hannes who stood at the other end of the line and resumed firing. A few seconds later Herbert did the same, tapping Catherine on the shoulder and retreating so he was on the left of Theold. The pattern continued until the whole fireteam had retreated without ceasing their suppressive fire on the enemy. The manoeuvrer continued until the Gallians had fallen back a hundred metres. By the time they stopped they could faintly hear the Imperials calling for reinforcements and medical support.
"Alright! Seems like we'd given those Imps a bloody nose!" exclaimed Theold, clearly relieved like the rest of them.
The others furiously motioned for him to quieten down while Catherine listened on her radio headset for a minute and snapped her fingers to draw everyone's attention, "We're withdrawing to Phase Line Bravo, we've been hit hard everywhere we share a border with the Imps."
Without a word the Gallians trekked west along a muddy forest path and found their jeep which was hidden under a camouflaged tarp beside a paved road. The fireteam then began the journey back to the dubious safety of friendly lines.