The Keystone Division after WW3

kpv on a front-end loader

04 MAY 2003 / 2355 hours
1.5 km EAST of Northumberland, PA

The raid on the Alcohol Production and Storage area carried out by ROCK had proceeded as planned. That was until the road flares, home made smoke grenades, and 20-odd blackpowder charges failed to ignite the post-gasoline-era fuel. All had functioned normally-- in fact several of the blackpowder charges had put a Volkswagen-sized hole in the largest of the tanks, which allowed it's contents to splash forth with some force onto the defenders at the installation. Yet despite all of ROCK's efforts, the stuff just wouldn't light.

The defenders, a motley mix of civilians and mutineers from the 3/103rd, opened up on the ROCK Troopers. ROCK attempted to regroup, lay down suppressive fire, and finish blowing the alcohol tanks. The supporting fire from the M163's Gatling gun helped, as did pinpoint accurate sniping from the unit's designated marksman, CPL Valdez. Yet the defenders fire took it's toll on ROCK.

The first to fall was CPT Panoke, caught in a crossfire between an MG in the boat house, and some rifleman in the refinery. SGT McCain was hit, and went down writhing. More shooting erupted from the refinery as CPL "Reb" O'Herren attempted to light the nearest pool of spilled liquid manually, with a butane lighter. One of the defenders winged him, and CPL "Robbo" Robinson rushed to his aid, spraying the refinery building with short bursts from his SA-58. As he reached Reb, the firing picked up once again, and Reb took a round to the back of the neck, and another to the abdomen, and finally, one more to the leg. Robbo took cover with Reb's body, behind the berm, the 1.5 meter high gravel wall designed to hold back spilled fuel. And the berm seemed to be working well -- the basketball court sized area effectively contained the alcohol, but something was wrong, aside from the fact that the mission had gone FUBAR about 10 minutes ago.

Fuels usually gave off fumes when not contained. There, on the other side of the berm were hundreds of gallons of fuel. Yet, there were no fumes. It was there that Robbo came to the realization that the tanks didn't hold alcohol, nor any other fuel. Yet it was liquid. He heard someone splashing thru the stuff on the other side of the berm, and his thoughts returned from analytic to martial. The man slid over the berm, and right into Robbo's front sights. Thinking of Reb, himself, and the rest of the members of ROCK, Robbo pumped three rounds into the man's stomach. The man lunged toward Robbo, dead on his feet, and grappled with him. The liquid that splashed onto Robbo was not gasoline, alcohol, or any other hydrocarbon -- it was water...

The M163 and HUMVEE had motored into the midst of the refinery compound, in order to make a pickup on the remaining raiders. From within a gatehouse, near RT 11, 3 defenders emerged, and attacked the APC with either grenade bundles or some sort of sticky bombs, or perhaps both. The resulting explosion was tremendous, and one of those attacking the M163 was decapitiated by a piece of improvised applique armor, which flew from the vehicle with great force upon it's destruction. There was little hope for the ROCK Troopers inside, as the 20mm Gatling gun ammo cooked off in a tremendous fireworks display.

MAJ Tyler, the unit commander, yelling encouragement to Robbo and anyone else who could hear, formed a one-man counter attack against a particulary stubborn houseful of defenders, and was last seen entering the building. His last words were, "ROCK! Mission aborted! Save yourselves! Get out, and back to the Camp."

"Awww sh!t, the boss is going to be toast as well! Hell, If I live though this I'd hope that he'll get a VC for that one. If I don't no-one will know about it!"

Robbo scanned around for friendlies. They were becoming fewer and fewer in number. Where was the freakin' HUMVEE? At least Valdez seemed to be poppin' off a few of the defenders here and there. If only he had his cycle here, getting out would be much easier. No such luck, as his bike was concealed back at the first rally point, some 1.5 km NW of this place. If he could make it there, he might have a chance...

Robbo cursed softly but fluently, before making a run for cover.

Spotting the next berm just a few score metres to his rear, he threw caution to the wind and ran to the berm, throwing himself over the embankment, and into the pool of [OOC - (OMG I hope it's)] water.

Picking himself up out of the water, Robbo forces his body into overdrive. The adrenaline pumping though his body giving him the strength to force himself onward. Scirting around the southern side of the tank, Robbo continues onward until he reaches the south west corner of the berm, where he pauses to get his bearings and check of the coast is clear.

[GM] Robbo heaved himself over the berm with a running start, and splashed into the liquid, which is in fact water. However, the specifics of reality were at once cold and harsh, literally and figuratively.

The berm was about 1.5 meters high, and formed a square roughly 90 meters on a side. The tank, it's liquid now emptied, and contained by the berm, was roughly 30 meters tall, and 15 meters in radius, give or take. That's alot of water. On the order of 21195 cubic meters.

Robbo vaulted the berm and splashed into the water. He apparently expected much less liquid to contend with, or wasn't aware that the tank actually rested a meter or more below ground level, or about 2.75 meters from the top of the berm. He splashed in, sucked a good lungful of water, and touched bottom. He waited, the awful 90's movie theme to Titanic playing out in his mind. Dying wasn't in the cards, and Robbo bobbo-ed to the top.

Robbo spit and sputtered, and let out a fair imitation of a person who has chain-smoked for the last 65 or so years. He cleared his lungs reasonably, and then dog-paddled to the SW corner of the berm.

The berms are angled, sloping up from both inside (tank side) and outside (ground level). You rolled a 1 on your observation roll! The coast is clear. This also gives you the skill OBSERVATION: 1

To the SE is the boathouse. Firing there has gone quiet.c To the S is the truck turnaround loop (road).
To the SW is the next tank/berm area.
To the N and NW are the railroad tracks.

In the distance:
To the N is RT 11, To the S is the Susquehanna River.

There are vehicle sounds from RT11, west of your location.

The only firing for the moment is almost due north, where you saw the M163 attacked a few moments ago. Sounds like all the 20mm has cooked off, and there are small arms firing there. A few shouts, and pops of grenades in roughly the same area, and that's it.

After scanning the area, Robbo climbs over the berm, sliding down the other side, before stopping at the bottom in a crouch, his senses going overboard. After a moment of scanning, the beating of his heart almost drowning out all other sounds, he starts a low run to the corner of the next tank, climbing up the sloping wall before going over the berm, much more carefully this time. Sticking along the south wall, Robbo walks along the inside of sloped wall, his head lower than the edge, until he reaches the SW corner of this berm. There he carefully looks over the berm, scanning the area for an escape route.

Robbo is unwounded, other than a few dings and scratches, he's a new model. No missing limbs, squirting arteries, or sucking chest wounds. He is, however, tired (fatigue level 1), stressed, and damn near alone in the middle of an enemy hornet's nest. He has buzzed thru 2- 30 rnd mags, leaving 4- untouched, with 100 loose rounds 7.62N in reserve.

05 MAY 2003 / 0130 hours
3/103rd Camp, Lewisburg, PA

The garrison had repulsed the first and second waves of the attack. Mike Wu laughed to himself as his often did in times of stress. The irony was overwhelming. The Loyalists, as some referred to the 3/103rd Troops here in the garrison, had apparently chosen the same night as the mutineers, across the river, to mount an attack on their enemy. So both bases were being ravaged, or so at least the frantic radio traffic was beginning to reveal.

It was clear that another assault on the Camp would be all it would take to rout the defenders. The organization, so clear to everyone a few hours ago, had simply disintegrated. Most of the senior officers, including COL Stryfe, MAJ von FISCHER, LT CDR EVERETT, and MAJ "Doc" NOVAK, were either dead or missing. There just wasn't time to sort things out. Apparently, the ranking officer in charge was LT1 Jackson, the brainy young officer who went by the nickname "Wiz".

LT1 Jackson, despite little combat experience, had managed to organize some of the defenders, treat some of the wounded, and save some of the equipment from his shop. SGT Berger, the former highschool chemistry teacher, was directing his guncrew, helping them them manhandle the M1848 6 pounder into a position to fire on the attackers, should they renew their efforts against the Camp. MR Delacroix, or "Big Jim" as the locals called him, was busy loading pots, pans, clothing, and the rest of the contents of his general store, into a horse cart. He then supervised the loading of several families, women and children, into a second, larger wagon. Other civilians were following suit, although few of them really knew where they would go to escape the fighting. Certainly things were bad here in the Camp, but outside...

SGT Berger, his gun satisfactorily readied, headed for the command tent, the calm in his eyes replaced with fire. He'd find someone in charge, and get a decision, but by God, this place looked like a Boy Scout Troop and a toothless Yorkshire Terrier could roll over it in a matter of minutes. Upon arriving, he met up with MR Sean Cunningham, the Irishman who had been helping out around Camp. Cunningham had apparently been brought in to the Camp more or less under arrest, but the matter had been cleared up, and reaffirmed by his helping with the defense during these past early morning hours. His shooting skills had saved the south wall's defense, when he knocked off the MG that had been raking that wall.

"Hellofa time to get stuck here, Sean." Berger looked at Sean's state of dress, and chuckled. Sean was dressed in khaki shorts, untied hiking boots, and an open Kevlar vest. "I see you dressed for the occaision. You seen the CO? Or any officers? I've not seen anyone above the rank of SGT, and that's got me worried. I just don't wanna be in charge of this mess."

Elsewhere in the Camp, SSG John Sherman was also getting some stares. Despite the sheer horror and terror of the attack, he had to admit, his outfit of longjohns and kevlar vest was comical. Let them laugh, he thought. That vest had saved me from at least 2 rounds to the chest not 10 minutes ago. Sherman continued to help LT1 Jackson, organizing the wounded, and rounding up unused weapons and equipment.

Jackson, a kid in his early 20's, looked pretty shaky. Sherman had the street sense of a cop, and was pretty sure he knew why. A day or so ago the young LT had command of the Camp while the Staff Officers had some conference or another. Judging from the cigar smoke, and laughing coming from the tent, it had probably been a card game, or something similar to blow off steam. Sherman learned long ago not to judge officers until he had facts. That was probably the cop in him again. He forgot the matter, and just listened to LT Jackson.

"Y'know, if Cunningham comes back here and says no one's at the HQ tent, it looks real bad for us all. I mean, I guess I'll be in command. But for real this time. This place is a disaster, and it's all landed in my lap. I hardly know where to start. We're low on medical supplies, probably guns and ammo, as well as people to man them. I'm not sure we can hold this place." He paused for a few moments, eyeing Sherman. Almost grudgingly, he inquired, "SGT, I... If I'm left in command, I don't know if we should stay or go. What would you think if you were in my shoes, so to speak...?

[SSGT Sherman]
Sherman looked at the Wiz and felt sorry for him. He could see the young man full of self doubt about his ability to cope with the situation.

"Well LT, if we're attacked again we won't be able to hold them back a third time. I suggest we prepare to leave. We'll have to start organising things though. Firstly we should gather up some men to form a rear guard. This will give us some time to start evacuating civilians and the wounded. Everyone is a little bit shakey at the moment so we gotta reassure them that everything is under control, we don't want panic to start spreading through the camp."

Sherman stopped and moved closer to Wiz, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Will, I know how you must feel. But you'll be able to get through this just fine. The art of a good leader is to make everyone 'think' you know what your doing, doesn't matter if you don't so long as people think you do."

Sherman then moved away and resumed.

"LT. Permission to return to quarters and get the rest of my uniform."

[LT1 Jackson]
The young officer thought for a moment, just as Sherman had evaluated him -- full of doubt, creativity tapped, and staring at the wolf at the door. Then what Sherman had said registered with the man, and he grinned a sheepish grin.

"By all means, SGT Sherman. And put it on, too. You look ridiculous in your underwear, man."

From a great distance, several KM southeast of the camp, the rumbling of engines, sporadic gunfire, and the occasional explosion could be heard. Then, nearer to the camp, perhaps half a klick, or maybe 1 klick, outside the south wire, some shooting picked up. It was small arms fire, which didn't seem to be directed at the camp, and perhaps light artillery, which was directed at the camp. The messhall took a direct hit, much to everyone's dismay, despite the quality of food served there, it was something, and it was edible. The general pandemonium picked up within the camp again, with people running every which way. Notably, Berger brought his 6 lbr. into action, and searched for a target, but in vain...

[SGT Sherman]
Now dressed more appropriately in his fatigues, Sherman is on his way back to Wiz as he passes the messhall he hears a familiar whistling sound.

"INCOMING!" screams Sherman as he dives to the ground. After the explosion Sherman looks up to see the messhall, or whats left of it a smouldering ruin.

At double time Sherman makes his way through the camp and takes up with LT Jackson.

"It's not looking good sir. The problem is we don't know what is going on the moment. I suggest we start rounding people up and finding out."

"What a pain in the arse!!!" Sean muttered as he poked at the tear in his fleshy leg. "I guess I'll live!" Sean kept his rifle at the ready as he headed back to the Comand area. "I guess Wiz is in charge now...I had better see what's next, probably evac, but to where is the millon dollar question." Sean looked around the chaos searching for his best (only) friend, "Guniess come 'ere lad!"

Sherman is unwounded. The worst thing going for him is his longjohns make him alot less intimidating. But no one would probably DARE say anything. He is, however, tired (fatigue level 1), stressed, and probably about to see LT1 Jackson break into tears. His shotgun is full (8 rnds), and he has another 20 in an ammo pouch. His sidearm has been unused.

Cunningham has taken a slight wound to the right thigh. He is tired (fatigue level 1), stressed, (thinking about what's in his sidecar or his satchel...), and frustrated at not seeing anyone in charge. His 30-30 is full (8 rnds), he has 16 further rounds in a bandolier. His .45 is untouched, and he has 34 spare rounds loose in his fanny pack. Cunningham's BFD Guiness, has been sniffing around, barking here and there to draw people's attention to wounded that might otherwise have been missed in the chaos.


05 MAY 2003 / 0002 hours
1.5 km EAST of Northumberland, PA

Firefight at Norry Oil

Apparently Valdez had done his job. The guard shack was unmanned, at least by anyone living, and Robbo made it there without incident. Directly SW of Oak Park was another clump of trees. This was the spot Valdez was set up, along with Yates, his spotter. They were to remain there unless they were rushed and couldn't hold (unlikely, given the distances the enemy would have to cover over open ground. Their only worry would be a vehicle or fire from a hvy weapon.)

The M163 was a smoldering wreck now. No sound or sign from Robbo's teammates who once manned the AAA APC. Robbo had not heard anything from the HUMVEE, the other half of your group's transport. The plan originally called for the HUMVEE to extract ROCK if things went to shit. That condition most certainly has been met.

Robbo heard vehicle sounds from the area of RT 11 a few minutes ago. Things went silent for awhile, but then there was much shooting -- small arms and an M60 for sure. A few pops of grenades, and then silence. A HUGE fireball erupted in the light green building, just S of Oak Park.

A vehicle was heard accelerating. It came a-rippin' and a-tearin' Robbo's way, M60 blazing away. Within a few short seconds, it moved from RT 11, to the vicinity of the railroad tracks. Robbo couldn't see it, but could vaguely localize the sound. It came to a screeching halt in the area behind the guard shack Robbo observed earlier. It sounds like the HUMVEE...

Robbo shook his head, then eased himself over the berm. After a moment to prepare himself, he started running as fast as he could towards the shack. He reached the shack and threw himself to the ground and took cover, wishing he was religious so that he could pray the Hummer was a friendly.

05 MAY 2003 / 0005 hours
1.5 km EAST of Northumberland, PA

Thoughts of religous inadequacy crossed Damian's mind as the Hummer bore down on him. The flimsy shack offered little protection -- apparently it was riddled with scores of bullet holes, probably much to the dismay of it's most recent occupants, who were atop each other in a rude pile in the doorway.

Damian vowed to sell his life dearly should this be the time. He drew a bead with the SA-58, and steeled himself for whatever was in store for him.

The Hummer kept bounding in toward the shack, and Damian could definately make out a weapon on the ring mount -- probably an M60. Surely they saw him, yet they didn't fire. Steady... Just wait the buggers out... Abruptly the driver slammed on the brakes, and the vehicle went into a controlled spin, stopping a few meters from Damian. In the dim light of the moon, Damian saw a vision. A vision of beauty despite the dust, dirt, and olive drab BDUs. He was tired, banged up from the evening's events, and hot despite the cool night air, but now he was also hallucinating. It was... Sharon Stone?...

Damian just laughed. The cavalry had finally arrived...

Seconds later, Damian, shocky from the exaustion and near-drowning experience, had been hauled aboard the HUMVEE by CPL Valdez. He crammed in beside 2 other bodies, both in fatigues, one moaning, the other very still. SPC Tina Yates screamed a stream of profanities at Valdez for taking so long, and tromped pedal to metal, as it were...

========================== Meanwhile, back at the Camp....

It looked as if the civvies were more or less ready to go. They appeared to be waiting... scared... unsure...

"Look I don't care where we go, as long as it is away from here. I volunteer to take up the rear guard and I'll catch up when everyone is away."

Cunningham's BFD Guiness comes bounding out of the darkness, causing at least a few of the assembled people to raise their weapons, until Cunningham loudly and repeatedly assures them it's ok.

[OOC] BFD = Big F--king Dog

[a militiaman]
"Yeah, it's OK. Easy for that guy to say. He's about the only person around what's bigger than that dog!"

[LT1 Jackson]
LT1 Jackson approaches the group, stating that he is in command. "I'm not gonna lie and say I'm GEN. Patton, or that everyone will get out of this alive. But if everyone sticks together, and follows the instructions of myself, SGTs Sherman and Berger, and Cunningham and Delacroix, we might have a chance of making it... Just remember -- stay calm, stay quiet, and follow instructions."

Berger's heavy weapons section set up watch along the perimeter. Berger might not be a professional soldier, but he motivated the men, and lifted and lugged and sweated alongside them. They even managed to salvage another MG...

Slade took charge of preparing the vehicles. Anything was better than rotting in the stockade, and he said so. Now why was it he was in there in the first place???

[OOC] An experience bonus will be given to the first person answering that question!

Wu scavenged what he could from the camp. He was the tech head of the group, other than Wiz. He kept busy with the last radio. It took some damage in the mortar attack, but he's about got it. There's some static, and a signal that fades in and out. Something about an attack in Norry that's been going on for about an hour or so. No biggie, in fact, hurray! -- those bastards in Norry were the ones who mutinied against the 3/103rd last winter...

Jackson remained in command and oversaw the activities of the others. Despite his lack of experience in these matters, he seemed to be holding together for the time being.

Sherman could prepare a route recon up to Halfway Dam and go ahead of the main group with a small scouting element, keeping in radio contact. From the earlier briefing, everyone was aware of basically one way up if vehicles were involved, and that was RT 192. Berger, having recently done a recon there, offered to go, but that would leave the Weapons Section without a solid leader. Plus, it's his cannon...

05 MAY 2003 / 0230 hours
3/103rd Camp, Lewisburg, PA

The remaining military types had gotten their act together, and formulated a plan for their trek to the Recreation Area at Halfway Dam. Sherman and Berger would take a pickup truck, recently made workable by Petey Slade, and they and four militiamen would form the advance party, scouting the area ahead of the main caravan.

LT1 Jackson would lead a gaggle of armored schoolbusses, his mobile shop, horses, dump truck, and 3-4 other assorted vehicles. This would be the bulk of the civilians, and about 1/2 of the militiamen, which at this point was about 15-20 or so effectives. This group would also include most of the important equipment at the group's disposal -- radios, generator, still, some surviving medical equipment, etc. Delacroix, ever the politician, saw to it that he was in this group, along with his wagonful of mechandise.

He was running for mayor of Lewisburg so the jab about politics was not untrue. Also, his post-WWIII businesses were a distillery (commandeered by the 3/103rd) and a General Store (ok, a tent where you could buy/sell/trade scrounged and scroungy items). He is a somewhat "greasy" individual.

The final group would be all volunteers, and would form rear security. They were expected to escape and evade by whatever means they could. Cunningham would lend a hand with his 30-30 and Guiness, the BFD. He made very sure no one got too close to his cycle.

Minutes after the advance party took off, CPL Mike Wu reported to LT1 Jackson that he had gotten a report from another unit of the 3/103rd -- they used correct call signs, and counter-signs, and radio procedures. This included a trick sometimes called a "fist" -- peculiarities in a transmission, that were above and beyond the codewords. This allowed for the fact that codewords could be compromised, or operators forced to transmit while imprisoned, but if the "fist" wasn't right, the receiver would be tipped off that something was wrong. This was something particular to each operator that could identify them to one familiar with their "fist", much like a person's handwriting.

At any rate, CPL Wu was convinced that his new friend, Robbo, CPL Robinson, you remember, the Aussie, the person who had given him loads of advice, and plenty of hands-on training, had just said he and a few others from the 3/103rd would be wheeling into Lewisburg in a few minutes in a HUMVEE, and not to open fire. They had wounded aboard.

Wu and Jackson stepped away from the crowd for a few minutes, and decided that the rear security group would meet up with Robbo, if it indeed was Robbo. Wu was sure it was, and that Robbo wasn't being coerced or anything. Robbo had given him loads of advice, and plenty of hands-on training, and Wu rattled off the whole litany of reasons. Jackson was somewhat convinced, but to be safe, he would speed up the timetable, and have the main group of civilians and equipment take off immediately. That way if anything went wrong, the rear security section could hopefully deal with things, and make their escape. Jackson gave permission to Wu to confirm the message, and have Robbo (or whoever) meet up at the intersection of RT 15 and RT 192 in Lewisburg, near the old Sunoco gas station. The Security section could set up there and at Bechtel's restaurant directly across the street, and adequately cover the intersection.

Or so he hoped...



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