The Youngstown Campaign...Day 4 pt.1 by Rich
The southeast portion of the city - east of the Mahonning and south of I-80 - had been partially cleared, although isolated nests of demons still remained.
A key factor had been that they had reached the river by multiple routes. This had cut up the area into several manageable subsections; which had allowed the combined force to block enemy reinforcements from each section in turn, partially neutralizing the demons' numerical advantage at the local level. Of course, they still had a huge numerical advantage overall, which if anything was growing; the monsters were still coming out of the Hellmouth faster than they were being killed. Pushing the front forward liberated territory (and people), but it also meant that there were a growing number of demons confined in a shrinking area, and that couldn't last forever. Not to mention the fact that the price of block-by-block fighting inevitably fell chiefly on the infantry. Mechs and tanks could flatten buildings, but it took boots on the ground to clear them.
At Rally Base Ranger:
Jack O'Neill was based out of Cheyenne Mountain, but had been shuttling all over the region for the last several days, and thought it was time that he took a personal look at the situation on this front. At the very least, he wanted to meet a few of the people he'd been reading about; and Major Sanchez's request that they allow the ambassador's "Dropship" to land at the field had given him a perfect excuse. He also thought that Hailey could use a chance to get out of her office for a bit - her "liaison to everybody" job had kept her confined behind a desk for days. Since she tended to be rather...well, "brusque" might be a kind way to put it,- even when she was in a good mood, he thought it might benefit everybody if she got to breathe some fresh air and stretch her legs.
He'd used the Odyssey's transporter to pick up Hailey at Rally Base Refuge, then the two of them had arrived at the mall a little after 7:00 AM, where they had a quick breakfast with Major Sanchez; the Republican forces were cooking, and Jack found the food unusual but tasty. The general atmosphere was surprisingly relaxed, which made a nice change. The open area of the food court encouraged interection between the various groups. Rangers and Gurkhas often ate together, and sometimes the Republicans joined them. There were still refugees being routed through here on their way to the rear, and some of them were present as well.
The Colonel's drive to the north hadn't made much progress. They'd been opposed every step of the way, and although they'd killed thousands of the enemy there were always more. The only good thing about the situation was that the demons they killed north of I-80 were demons who weren't breaking through to the south of I-80, which made things easier on the troops in that sector.
Near the intersection of I-80 and route 46 was a large complex of hotels and restaurants. That could be turned into another base, with the motels serving as barracks. It could easily be supported by the forces in the southeast sector, and would interdict demons moving into the southwest
sector. The Colonel recognized all of these things, just as Maria Seydlitz had recognized them when she pointed out the complex on the map.
What interested the Colonel, however, wasn't any of these factors. It was the fact that from that complex, the Rangers could advance northwest up I-80, or north up the west
side of Warren, through mostly open terrain - and in open terrain, his mechs could move.
Sonya Zhukov's POV:
The Colonel still wanted a scouting mission towards the Hellmouth, as soon as it was feasible. The information the ambassador had given them at the meeting explained why, not that she really needed an explanation. That was the enemy's source of strength, therefore that had to be the objective. It's not like this was complicated
, after all.
In the meantime, she and Terry were providing an escort to Lieutenant Calvert, who was driving westward on I-80, with Doreen as a passenger, and Tamiko, her arm still bandaged, riding along on the monocycle which she'd appropriated for her own use. Evidently Faith (whoever that was) was going to be "like, so
The area along I-80 was mostly open, with good fields of fire, and it looked like the area around the hotels was much the same. What really interested Sonya, however, was the fact that if the motels were intact, then they would have actual beds, and bath tubs. Of course, the owners, like the owners at the mall, might have some objections to having their property occupied; but that was a problem for the HSC.
There were demons in the area, but they were keeping their distance at the moment. She didn't know if that was a good thing. As the fighting in Youngstown had shown, it was easier to kill the monsters when they came at you on open ground. If they'd learned not to do that, then they might learn some real tactics next, and that could make the job more difficult.
This mission actually had a dual purpose. In part, it was just to get a look at the terrain. Calvert, however, was looking for areas where Doreen's "circle of protection" could be put to good use. Doreen had said that there were limits on how large a circle she could make, and on how long it would last. Even a temporary circle might be useful, however, if it could channel an enemy into a particular line of advance, or cover an exposed flank.
Lieutenant Miles' POV:
Hannah had been reviewing the record of Sonya's unsuccessful attempt at a scouting mission.
The most disturbing aspect of the failure was the fact that the "Hellmouth Effect" could seemingly affect a mech's sensors, and the perceptions of the pilot. Doreen's crystal had evidently largely negated the second effect, but it hadn't completely countered the first. That didn't bode well for any further attempts. Anyone who took part would need to carry one of the crystals, and Hannah didn't know how many of those Doreen had. She also didn't know what powered them, if anything did - there was no guarantee that they wouldn't fail at a critical moment.
On the other hand, the circle of protection could definitely be useful; but Doreen was the only one in the group who could create one.
It was beginning to look as though if there were any more scouting missions towards the Hellmouth, then Doreen or someone like her would have to be involved. If Doreen went, then at least one of the Slayers would insist on going as well. Hannah was starting to think that this might not be job for the Regiment at all. Perhaps, for a magical problem, they would need a magical solution.
At Youngstown-Warren Airfield:
After breakfast, the three of them had joined a convoy of GEVs and trucks heading for the field, along with Master Sergeant MacKenzie, and Mr.Bregman and his crew. MacKenzie reminded him of many senior NCOs he'd met during his career; he didn't mind talking about his job, and Jack actually learned a few things about mechs along the way. Bregman had been a little cranky to be up so early, but was enthused at the thought of filming an actual spaceship landing.
He wasn't disappointed. At 8:13, a large ovoid vessel, roughly 400 feet along it's long axis, had dropped out of the sky on a tail of fire. It set down in the angle between the two runways. According to Sanchez, the ambassador planned to leave it in place, at least for a while. MacKenzie said that it would significantly add to the base defenses, since it carried more firepower than a lance of mechs. Also according to MacKenzie, the ambassador had been holding out on them; because the "Overlord" class weren't just cargo ships - they were designed specifically to carry mechs.
mostly a "setting things up" kind of chapter