Payback!

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Payback!

Written by Spartan Franco | Tags:

The outskirts of Brussels…

All things considered, there were worse postings, thought Lieutenant Hideo Koizumi of the 29th Osaka Ashigaru Regiment, leaning against the doorway of his dugout. He and his troops, all hailing from the 2nd Army Group, Crucible Army 3rd Division Kanadzuchi, were part of the glorious Empire’s latest military exchange mission with their Prussian allies.

Although they had seen considerable action against both Britannian and American forces, as well as their Belgian Royalist allies, Koizumi still counted them lucky – after all, back home they might well be stuck in the sweltering heat and harsh terrain of the Pacific islands.

He looked out along line of barricades and walls that formed his troops’ position. All along the line, Ashigaru and Imperial riflemen sat or leaned against the walls. Every so often, a vigilant sentry stood guard – reminders that these relaxed soldiers were far from indolent.

“Honoured Lieutenant, may I speak with you a moment?” The sudden words jolted the officer from his thoughts. He looked at the speaker, a thin man of medium height in a long leather coat. His bald head shone in the weak sunlight, pale skin causing the dark-tinted goggles that shielded his eyes to stand out in stark contrast.

Koizumi straightened up and dipped his head respectfully. “Ah…forgive my inattentiveness, honoured Battle-Alchemist Tonegawa.”

Tonegawa’s expression did not change. He said nothing for several long moments. Koizumi shifted uncomfortably, especially when the Alchemist’s steely-bodyguard stepped out from behind his master.

The captain was not a faint-hearted man – his very status meant the blood of a distinguished line of samurai flowed in his veins. Most Imperial Alchemists were merely eccentric, but there was something distinctly unnerving about Tonegawa and his obsession with poison gasses; not just the irritant vapours that were a key part of the Ashigaru’s arms, but truly deadly concoctions – the ‘higher form of war’, as he called them.

At length, the Alchemist spoke again. “Your slight is excused, Captain…for now. I merely wished to remind you of the importance of your task. The gasses stored here will be vital for our next assault on the enemy positions to the west. I hold you personally responsible for their safety in the event of attack.”

Koizumi dipped his head again, but Tonegawa was not finished. “To fail is a grievous slight to Her Divine Majesty…and to me. Now remember your duty, and get your men battle-ready.”

The Alchemist gave a curt bow and walked off, followed by his silent bodyguard, leaving a shaken Koizumi looking to his tasks with far greater urgency.

Colonel MacDonald

“Are you certain, lad?” The big, heavyset Britannian officer leaned on his ornate walking stick as he stood in front of his trestle map-table, surveying the information gleaned by numerous scouting parties.

Sergeant Deeks straightened up. “Yes, Colonel MacDonald, sir. Our last patrol reported the Suns making a lot of fuss around a cluster of dugouts due east of here. Big canisters, they said – they saw eight or nine being moved, but they’re certain there’s more.”

Colonel MacDonald gestured to his batman, who immediately handed him a glass of brandy. “You know what this means, Sergeant? The blighters are stockin’ up on gas.”

The young NCO frowned. “Gas, sir? You mean like bigger tear-gas bombs?”

MacDonald fixed Deeks with an intense look, part exasperated, part pitying. “You haven’t served in the Orient, have you?”

“Err…no, sir. Not yet.”

“Ah, then you’re still blessed with the gift of ignorance, lad, but not for too long. I’m talkin’ about the killin’ clouds, Deeks. Burn up a man’s lungs as he breathes. That’s what we’re up against, Sergeant.”

Deeks swallowed nervously. MacDonald gave a grim smile. “That’s not all – some of my reports say the Little Gasman’s with them as well.”

“‘Little Gasman’, sir?”

MacDonald sighed. “You’ve a lot to learn, lad. He’s a chap called Tonegawa. Gas specialist, with a nasty reputation, mind – he’s cost us a lot of lives in the Far East. Our cloak-and-dagger chaps say he’s spent a lot of time teachin’ tricks to the Prussians.”

“He sounds dangerous. What are we going to do, sir?”

“Do?” MacDonald drew himself up. Suddenly, to Deeks’s eyes, the colonel seemed to transform from a fat old man into the legendary figure who graced so many recruiting posters back in Britannia. “Why, we’re going to attack them, sergeant. We can’t allow that gas to be used. We have to see to it that those stockpiles are buried. And that blighter Tonegawa too! Smethwick, fire up me chair and tell ‘em to sound the muster. There’s some payback to be had!”

Scenario – Payback! (0.2MB)

You can currently pick up Colonel MacDonald and Alchemist Tonegawa at a 1/3 OFF in the Spartan Games Online Store.