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Operation Red Beach

As predicted, reports soon came flying in of kingdoms acquiring Terran weaponry, be it legal or illegal methods used. However, they only managed to get standard firearms and ammunition. No power suits of any kind were reported to be seen in these countries` new armies, which made logical sense considering that one needed the Barracks to suit up quickly and efficiently. Regardless, a bigger problem emerged.

What was not predicted was the number of stolen Dropships. Over 100 Dropships were reported to have disappeared from Terran possession. Many of them were later identified as being sold to rival kingdoms, their pilots often turning to money than loyalty in these cases of betrayal. It was suspected that some of them had full infantry squads within that deserted as well. This did not bode well for the Terran Empire as their own superior technologies were cannibalized and used against them.

Since an air attack became possible to execute with these traitorous troops leading, Rorke was tasked with finishing up the Missile Turret technology. He did so with much gusto, constructing several of them along the coastal bases in Terran lands. But as mentioned beforehand, another new building was needed for the homing missile technology to function. And so, General Rorke created the Engineering Bay.

The Engineering Bay, unlike all other Terran structures, rooted solid to the ground with no possible way of moving it once built. It was, in essence, the extension of the Supply Depots as the two produced raw goods for the Terran bases. Pipes from Supply Depots could be connected to the Engineering Bay, which would take whatever raw materials the Depots produced and refined it into class-specific materials for advanced buildings or weapons. The refined materials would then be piped back into circulation and then deposited in their final location. Perhaps an example would clarify the topic.

Missile Turrets required homing missiles, so production went like this: The Supply Depot would manufacture standard Terran ballistic missiles, used primarily in Marauders and Widow Mines. The missiles, if delegated, would then be sent to the Engineering Bay for refinement. Inside, the missiles are disassembled and rebuilt using new components essential for the homing missile but were not supported by the Depot`s AI. The refined homing missile would then be shipped off to the Missile Turrets, where such ammunition was needed.

However, homing missiles wasn`t all the Engineering Bay could produce. With a little tinkering, Rorke created the AI systems to improve local infantry weapons and armor suits via refining ammunition and power systems. The individual systems had to be installed separately, one at a time per Engineering Bay facility, but the upgrades were extremely helpful for all ground units. Cain and Abe supported these new inventions greatly as their troops could now become more durable and effective in combat if a base was nearby.

With a solid defense set up back home, Commander Anthony took a leap of faith and left the Terran lands with three Generals accompanying him: Cain, Abe, and Takeshi. General Rorke was left behind to guard the mainland and coordinate a rough defense in the case of an emergency. Rorke`s "condition" prevented him from serving on the front lines anyway; he would do much better in a defensive line.

The four Terran leaders split up into four small forces and sailed overseas to an assigned Terran ally, tasked with the job of integrating the allied and Terran armies together as one technologically superior army. It was a tedious task, and would take months to complete modernization. During that time period, the Terran Empire was exposed to an attack from the two enemy kingdoms to the east. There weren`t enough deserters for an air assault, but there was certainly no shortage of boats to prevent the eventual attack.

General Rorke knew this, so he and Takeshi cooked up a new invention, one that would change Terran battlefields forever…

O O O

February 6th, Year 5

"Here." Rorke stopped and held up the tablet, making sure he got a wide sweep of the beach area using its camera. The General was precariously close the edge of the cliffs as he moved around, but he was fine. He quickly tapped one side of his headphones. "Adjutant, confirm data stream."

"Data stream confirmed," The robotic voice replied through his headset. "Analyzing environment…landing sites found. Terrain is muddy and rocky. Chance of enemy selection: 86.5%."

"That`s the highest so far. What`s the status on the prototype?"

"It is ready for deployment General. SCVs are already moving to your location with the console. A full army group is accompanying them."

"Good, good. Standby for further orders." Rorke tapped his headset again and nodded to his escort, the War Pigs. "Looks like we`ve found a good spot. We just need to sit for a few minutes for the backup to arrive."

"Understood sir." Staff Sergeant Salem turned and gestured to his men, pointing at several spots. "Alright ladies, let`s get unpacking! Just cause backup is coming doesn`t mean we can slack off! You know the drill: sniper post up back there, gun nest on the edge here! Get going!"

"Yes sir!" As the advanced Marine squad began setting up a defensive position, Rorke moved closer to Salem and began talking in a hushed voice.

"You`re a soldier. What do you think about this beach?"

"As a landing site? It`s hard to say with this thick fog." Salem gestured with his head to the thick cloud covering the open ocean from view. Even the beach was barely visible with the fog in the way. "However, I`d say that it would be a good spot to surprise the enemy with a landing, just like how we did Hanar. But they`d have to land with most of their troops intact, which is practically impossible with our defenses."

"I know, but this fog…it bothers me as to how thick it is." The General looked down at his tablet and swiped a few times. "The forecast for this area was a sunny day. Even if it`s just natural fog from the sea, it should`ve dispersed by this time of day…" Rorke`s voice trailed off as he thought about the situation.

"Well, I`m not a scientist like you, so I`ll leave the thinking up to you." Salem rubbed his face and blew into his hand, his breath fogging up. "Man, it`s cold this spring. You gotta install heaters in these suits."

"The heat output does not balance out with heat consumed in that small of an environment." Rorke absently replied, and then he caught on. "Hang on, did you just say it`s…cold here?"

"Yeah, don`t you feel it?" The War Pigs blew again on his hand. "Geez, it's seeping into the suit itself!"

"I don`t feel the extreme cold…" Rorke quickly typed into his tablet. More evidence for his Terran Theory. The body`s cells could resist frostbite. Afterwards, his mind snapped back to the task at hand. "How can it be cold now? We`re at bloody sea level! It`s too low for ice to form naturally at this time of the year!"

"Uh…sir? What`s going on?"

"Turn on that damn HUD and look at that fog in heat mode!" Rorke shouted and held up his tablet, activating the camera once again. With a few taps, the tablet`s screen turned into various shades of blue and red as it scanned the fog. The fog appeared to be a giant cloud of blue with little specks of red in it.

Those specks of red signaled a heat source. Humans within the cold fog. "I`ve got contact!" The General shouted as he contacted the base. "Adjutant, analyze!"

"General, it appears that enemy mages are conjuring up a cloud to mask their attack on the beach. The only giveaway was the resulting temperature drop as they had to condense air for their cloud. Our sensors would have been unable to detect anything wrong besides a cold front approaching from the east."

"Give me an ETA on our backup!"

"50 minutes General. However, it is estimated that the enemy`s forces would arrive and disembark on that beach in 15 minutes. Recommend engagement to slow them down. They should come within firing range in a minute or so."

"Tell backup to hurry up their ass and for the base to mobilize all troops: we`ve got an invasion on our hands!" With that, Rorke cut communications and turned to Salem, who was already closing his visor and standing at attention. "You`ve got one minute to set up an impenetrable position up on this cliff! We have to hold this cliff and the beach! The line is drawn: we cannot retreat!"

"Understood!" The War Pig replied over the intercom and the General nodded before turning away and leaving the cliff. Rorke needed to get to the backup force quickly, if they were to have any chance of pushing the attack back.

Once the scientist was gone, Salem gestured and Lance Corporal Matthew moved over a bit, just enough room for his superior to squeeze into the sniper nest. The Staff Sergeant did so and carefully placed his own C-10 right next to Matthew`s. "Will, do you have the Widow Mines?"

"Sure do," The Private First Class replied as he checked the clip in his C-14 at another defensive position. "You need them to defend?"

"Roll them down the cliff and activate them. The sand should soften the fall enough for the mines to stay in one piece and should also be easy to dig through."

"Got it. Henry, hold onto this." Will tossed the rifle to his friend and took out the two metallic canisters from his back. Carefully, the War Pig tossed them both down the cliff and watched as they sank into the deep sand below. He then took out the control tablet and tapped the screen, activating both death machines.

Below, the Widow Mines came to life and both popped out from their inert state. With a few more commands, the two machines scuttled around the beach before pausing and drilling into the sand. Within seconds, they were hidden and primed for detonation.

"Good job. Return to your post and keep watch." Salem complimented Will before turning to his fellow sniper. "Matthew?"

"Sir, the range is about 2,500 yards. I can make the shot."

"You sure? Your record is 1,000 yards. Are you willing to take someone out twice that far away?"

"Depends. You buying drinks tonight if I make it?" A brief moment of laughter was heard from all comms as the light banter loosened up the pre-battle tension.

"If you make it, the night`s on me. Take the shot," Salem replied and Matthew squeezed the trigger.

2, 694 yards away, one of the foremen in the troop boat let out a scream and fell back to the wooden floor. The nearest soldiers visibly flinched as their comrade`s blood splattered all over their armor, the entire head missing from the body. Then they began shouting for an alarm.

"Alright, drinks on me tonight," Salem told Matthew, who smugly grinned. "But let`s worry about the invasion now. Open fire!"

O O O

It had only been about 17 minutes since Rorke left the cliff and returned with his modified power suit with a building chest, but already a bloodbath was being created between the War Pigs and Exodus` vanguard units. The chilly weather and the disguising fog has dissipated in the crossfire, the heat expended by the firearms enough to clear up any false ice. That was a testament to the fierceness of the combat scene.

Well, the battle was more of a slaughter than anything else.

The War Pigs were still holding the cliff, that much was expected. The armor looked a little scorched and there were dark markings everywhere- perhaps a fire mage attacked to their position? There were some ominous looking round holes in the armor, possibly from any traitor Terran troops. Regardless, the number of bullet casings on the cliff was absolutely ridiculous the Marines continued to fire down upon the beaching enemy.

Speaking of which, the carnage down on the beach was absolute mayhem. Boats would sail up to the beach and would get focused upon by the ever rattling machine guns, piercing the sail and wooden planks of the ship with ease and killing the invaders. If the men were lucky to make it off their vessel, they suffered from having no cover whatsoever on the beach and most of them would be killed by the Widow Mines. The truly fortunate few who pushed through all of that were pinned down at the edge of the forest, unable to move due to heavy sniper fire.

The guns kept clattering, occasionally softening as one of the Terrans reloaded their firearm before resuming the fire. Exodus troops kept screaming as bullets pierced their limbs, Widow Mines blowing their legs clean off, or just from their friends getting cut down like grass around them. Blood poured freely from the bodies into the beach; so much that it colored the sand a crimson color and the sea beyond it. But beyond the colored water were even more enemy ships: they must number thousands of soldiers.

"General!" One of the snipers lifted his visor, revealing Staff Sergeant Salem. "We`re starting to deplete our ammunition supplies! Where`s our reinforcements?!"

"The infantry won`t be able to reach you in time to assist; however, the Siege Tanks are ready to go!" Rorke replied, pulling out his tablet with haste and tapping rapidly into it. His four additional metal limbs responded, placing the building console down and activating it. "They don`t have sight though, so they refuse to fire without knowing enemy locations!"

"Right damn in front of us!" Salem shouted and fired his C-10, pulling back the hammer quickly. "Tell them to just open fire onto the ocean! How hard can it be?!"

"That`ll risk the chance of missing far too much as they don`t have very much in terms of ammo. But I`ve got the solution: behold!" The four robotic arms went to work, welding together and bolting metal sheets as commands was issued from Rorke`s programmed tablet. The General was also using his hands to work, sweat forming on his forehead as he connected sizzling circuitry together. "Give me some time, and I can get a reduced prototype working!"

"Reduced? Prototype?! Better be a hell of an invention!" Salem growled, his visor hissing back down as his C-10 barked again. A sudden explosion from the beach was heard and the suit`s HUD detected a strong heat source emanating from the beach. "What was that?!"

"Dammit! We`ve lost the Widow Mines!" Will shouted, grabbing his rifle and joining the firing squad. "Sir, we`ve got to move now!"

"I hate to say this sir, but I agree." Fellow sniper Matthew grunted as his gun kicked from the recoil. "Without the machines, all that we have is a dwindling supply of bullets. The beach is lost; most we can do is pull back and meet up with backup for a counter."

"Incoming!" Des shouted and the entire team looked up instinctively. A fireball had launched from one of the seaward ships and was heading directly for the cliff. As it impacted, the CMC suits held against the concentrated heat, so no wounds were sustained. Rorke had his back to the impact spot, so his metal limbs and pack took most of the hit. However, the bright light blinded the War Pig`s HUDs for a while.

Once the flash of light was over, Salem returned to his scope and saw, with shock, that enemy troops were now pouring into a beachhead they created. There was far too many for a Marine squad to take care off. "General! We need to pull back!"

"No, no! I`ve almost got it!" Rorke`s coat was smoldering and tips of his hair were burnt (again), but the scientist merely took off his glasses and quickly wiped his face. "Give it time to boot up…calibrate the sender…"

"What the hell is that!" Will had turned to look and saw a weird structure behind the War Pigs: a blue circular base with a rod sticking out of it. A few plates of metal were attached to the base and the rod rather haphazardly and a red light was blinking at the very top. "Is that an antenna?"

"Better: it's a thermal, electromagnetic, seismic, and sonar detector!" The green hair scientist proudly replied, rapidly tapping on the tower`s screen. "But let`s just call it the Sensor Tower. It allows for us Terrans to map out areas way beyond our reach and will even tell us the presence of enemy units! Watch: I`m linking it directly to the Siege Tanks` HUD to give them coordinates!"

"Wait, so we`re finally getting artillery support!?"

"Yes…and here it comes!" Rorke quickly covered his exposed ears as earthshattering shots were heard and several whistling noises followed. A second later, the beach erupted in hellfire as artillery shots raked the ranks of Exodus.

The surprise bombardment was the final straw for the soldiers: they panicked and ran into the water, wading and swimming out to the ships still further out. Some decided to play dead and laid down on the blood soaked sand, whimpering as thunder stroked the world around them. But even the ships still out in the ocean weren`t spared of the carnage. Well-placed artillery shots landed dead center of many ships and caused them to explode in a flurry of flames, their crew diving overboard and screaming for help. Whatever may be the case, the invasion force`s morale was broken.

"Now that`s what I`m talking about!" Salem grinned, his visor hissing open as he leaned back to take a well needed break. The elite Marines leaned back as well to watch the invading army get smashed by the Siege Tanks. "I guess the artillery`s got this now."

"Not really. Soon, the tanks have to pause to move back into position as recoil will send the vehicles moving backwards." Rorke sighed and sat down, deactivating the augmented robot arms. "During that time, you have to keep the enemy running scared. There should be enough ammo for you to do so. Got it?"

"Yes sir!"

And so, the naval attack was repealed and Commander Anthony named the defense as Operation Red Beach. A fitting name, as the beach, to this day, is still colored crimson from the blood of the fallen. It is doubted that this reminder of Exodus` foolishness will ever disappear from the world.

If you are curious about Rorke`s modified armor, just think about Stetman`s medic armor from the Belly of the Beast mission. There are no medic guns or shields, just plain robotic arms instead.