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Realistic/Modern Overcast: Stratocracy [Tkalec]

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Dystopian, Horror, Realistic, Zombies
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
OVERCAST: STRATOCRACY




  • 0600

    As newly commissioned officer, you have been given command of 2nd Platoon of the 4th Independent Company. The company is currently stationed at Fort Sulch, the main base situated along the buffer zone.

    Tomorrow, at the company will deploy near Jayton, a small town located a short distance into the Dirty Zone. The area around Newley has been scarred by several nuclear power plant meltdowns, as well as widespread forest fires that have reduced most of the surrounding area to a temperate wasteland. Still, parts of it have started to regrow, albeit slowly, and your unit is not being deployed near any radiation hotspots.

    Jayton is believed to be occupied by DZ smugglers and bandits who are potentially aligned with the Children of the Plague death cult. It is the intent of Zone Command to use the 4th Independent Company to sweep Jayton, capture and kill any opposition, destroy any dens that have been set up. A side objective is to look for intelligence concerning more smuggling outposts, as well as cult connections with the local survivors. Zone Command has prioritized the destruction of the DZ survivor presence in Jayton to stifle any plague-winging attempts by the cult to smuggle infected individuals into the Clean Zone.

    3rd Platoon will go up through the west side of town, 1st Platoon will go up through the middle, and your 2nd Platoon will up through the east side. 4th Platoon will be kept in reserve.

    The rules of engagement are to shoot infected individuals and armed DZ survivors on sight. You are permitted to use your own discretion when it comes to engaging unarmed survivors. Regardless, they are not classified as 'civilians' by the NPA, or even citizens of the Central Republic ('zone residency' being the replacement for citizenship). At this point, they're viewed more like animals, at least by the younger generations that have a more flimsy idea of what life and morality was like before the apocalypse. Over the years, survivors in the DZ ('dirties') have been portrayed in propaganda as having lost their humanity in the apocalypse, reduced to thuggish brigands, lawless scavengers and rapists. The NPA has capitalized on the Children of the Plague to showcase DZ residents as zombie-worshipers as well.

    You have the rest of the day to collaborate with your squad leaders and command staff. You will have to designate which kit to bring, and give a briefing to your men. You can inquire First Lieutenant Hennen about more details of the mission, as it came up quickly, and the Captain's briefing was relatively quick.

    581702

    You are in your office, located in a space in one of the garages of Fort Sulch. It isn't much, and it smells like rat shit and grease, but it has a typewriter and lots of paper and ink. Sergeant Winther comes to attention at your door, near the Central Republic flag hanging in the corner. "Permission to enter, sir?"



 
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Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
"Granted." I mutter distractedly while reviewing the report that I had just written. Report writing was tedious bureaucratic work but it had to be done nonetheless. It is safe to say, however, that being an army officer wasn't always what I thought it would be. Naturally, I preferred to lead the men in field exercises rather than being cooped up in an office. I comforted myself with the thought that we would be moving out soon. Although that will be another challenge all together. After much training and exercises, we are being deployed on a combat mission. I was comfortable with the fact that I would be leading men into combat, even though this was my first field deployment. It might come of as arrogant, but after thorough self-reflection I was sure that I would keep a cool head.

I turned my head away from the report and towards the Sergeant as I hear the footsteps coming in.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
Sergeant Winther enters, coming to attention in front of your desk and giving you a salute. Once put at ease, she hands over some documents to you.

It's the hardship discharge papers for Pvt. Robin Finch. His father died from the flu recently, leaving his younger siblings in need of a caretaker (at the moment, they are wards of the state). The discharge has finally been approved, albeit at an inconvenient time, one day before an operation. It only needs Finch's signature, your signature, and to be passed up to the company commander. "He hasn't been notified yet. It can wait until after," Sergeant Winther suggests. "But, it's something he's entitled to, at the end of the day," she shrugs.

She clears her throat. Sergeant Winthell is a short woman in her early thirties with cropped hair, toned arms, and an immaculate (albeit faded) uniform. Her squad tends to have the shiniest boots and cleanest uniforms during the inspections, as Winthell is particularly anal about deportment. "We'll be short a man, though, and I'm not sure if the company commander would be willing to look at it right now."
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
I looked at the Sergeant as she handed me the discharge papers all the while considering her stature and appearance. A fine woman by the looks of it. She exhibited an air of confidence and I suspected that she had an eye for detail, at least judging by the state of the shoes which were polished clean. Naturally, I preferred my NCO's competent and flexible. It was these men that formed the bulk of a platoon. They were the link between me and the other enlisted men and it is an understatement that I admired these men deeply.

"We'll pass it on to the Company CO. It's standard procedure, albeit at an inconvenient time." A short pause ensues as I briefly consider what to do next. "Inform the Private and send him to me so we can finish the paperwork".
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
Sergeant Winther nods, perhaps slightly disappointed that she'll be losing a member of her squad, but she's not one to question orders. "Yes, sir," she replied. She waited a brief moment to see if there was anything else, before quickly striding out of the musty office. You're left to continue working on your paperwork for another few minutes, before Private Finch comes to attention at your door.

"Permission to enter, sir?" Finch is a younger man, only twenty years old, born not long after the outbreak. He looks reluctant, perhaps ashamed, having grown up in the highly martial world of an NPA safe zone. Though the Supreme Marshal's policies attempted to intertwine civilian and military affairs so that they were indistinguishable, the military was still like a caste above the rest of society, something Private Finch probably wanted to be a part of.
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
"Permission granted." I quickly reply to the request while shuffling through various papers and numerous forms trying to arrange them in an orderly fashion. I prepare the discharge papers and proceed to observe the Private as he enters - my eyes fixed on the slightly anxious figure by the doorstep. He was fairly young, even for a man in uniform. A lot of young men served in the military, many of them still boys. I swear that some of them have never even shaved once in their life. It was my duty as a commissioned officer to ensure the survival of these men and like any good officer, I was determined to lead from the front and by example.

I put him at ease after he comes to attention and salutes the rank.
"Your discharge papers have been approved. We just need your signature so we can pass it on to the Captain." I say while laying the discharge papers in front of him by placing them on the center of the table.
 
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
Private Finch looked like he might have sighed, albeit internally, as he nodded to you. When you told him the news, he had appeared somewhat relieved, though it was mixed with disappointment. The upcoming deployment was undoubtedly going to be dangerous, but with danger came glory, after all. He'd just have to miss out on both. "Thank-you, sir. I'm sorry I have to go. I'll rejoin as soon as I can," he promises. He produces a blue ink pen from his tunic pocket, and gave his signature. "Is there anything else, sir?" he asks.
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
"That would be all private." I say while sliding the discharge papers towards me. Promptly, I proceed to sort out the pile of documents on the table. I can hear the private exiting the room. "Take care of those kids." I mutter just as he starts closing the door.

When the private leaves, I continue with the desk clean-up all the while making mental plans and notes for the rest of the day. I made a point to find Lieutenant Hennen and inquire about additional information about the deployment such as reconnaissance and intelligence reports. Also, I should find a runner and send him to Company HQ with the signed discharge papers. Finally, I need to hold a meeting with the NCO's before briefing the men about their mission.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
"I will, sir," Finch assures you as he departs. He has the rest of the day to relax and help his buddies prepare, most likely- though knowing Sergeant Winther, she'll probably find something strenuous for him to do.

First Lieutenant Hennen can usually be found in the company HQ office, located not far from the MT garage. Though, around this time, she was scheduled to deliver a lecture about zombies and a brief overview of Reanimatory Necrosis to the junior ranks of all platoons. She's being assisted by the company sergeant, a veteran of the initial outbreaks. You can probably find her out by Fort Sulch's small soccer field.
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
Command mode

Send a runner to company HQ with the signed discharge papers
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I headed towards the soccer field knowing that I would probably stumble upon Lieutenant Hennen whilst giving a lesson on Reanimatory Necrosis - the disease that almost eliminated humanity were it not for human determination in the face of annihilation. An interesting lesson no doubt - however I already know much about it from before due to the fact that officer are extensively educated on such topics nowadays. However, the lesson probably won't last for too long, so I decided to wait it out and then speak to the Lieutenant.

Having left my office in a hurry, I strolled along the camp mostly withdrawn in my thoughts, but occasionally observing the various buildings and tents that sprawled across Fort Sulch.
 
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter

One of the unoccupied privates is sent to inform the CO of Finch's release.

Lt. Hennen stands before the soldiers sitting on the grass. She's a petite woman with brown hair kept in a bun, an officer's crusher cap on her head. She perpetually looks tired, but manages to keep a strong reading voice. Next to her is the silent Master Sergeant Mailer, a tall and burly man who stands with his arms folded in front of him.


"Anyway, your squad commanders will never order you to conduct a frontal against reanimates. Emphasis is always placed on the defensive, because reanimates will almost always outnumber our forces in the field. Engagements with them carry completely different strategies, as you know from your training. Deliberate fire is prized over rapid fire, and select-fire weapons should only be fired on repetition mode, not automatic."

The lecture continues on for another twenty minutes or so. Many of the soldiers look like they've heard it before, but some of the newer troops appear to be paying close attention to the officer. Some CZ residents have never seen a zombie in their life.

After Hennen dismisses the men, she takes notice of your presence in the corner, approaching with MSgt. Mailer at her side. "Hello, Second Lieutenant," she greets.

 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
I positioned myself near one of the corners of the soccer pitch, where the touch-line meets the goal line, determined not to interrupt the Lieutenant during her lecture. I refrained myself from taking a seating position so the Lieutenant would notice me as soon as possible. As the lesson proceeded, I listened intently despite the fact that such a lecture was not a novelty to me. It is good to be reminded of the basics from time to time. I suspected that we would have close encounters on our mission - with both the infected and fellow humans - and I wanted to make sure that I was ready to make the right decisions when the time comes to make them.

Finally, the lecture is over and I can see the Lieutenant approaching me along with MSgt. Mailer by her side. Mailer seemed quite scruffy, he was built like a jock with significant upper body strength. The Lieutenant was the complete opposite, quite lean and skinny, she paced along Mailer. I quickly stood at attention and saluted the rank.
"Lieutenant Hennen, still sharp on Reanimatory Necrosis, as I see." Small talk had little place in the army, it was more common in civilian life, but some of it was necessary to keep the edge off, even in the military.
 
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
Hennen returns the salute, and after lowering her hand, she unbuttons one of her uniform breast pockets and produces a small gray cardboard packet. They're "Type 2" cigarettes, a step above "Type 3" which are more commonly smoked by low ranks and civilians. Twos aren't particularly smooth or flavorful, but at least they aren't allegedly made from "rat shit and sawdust" as the privates and civilians often complain about the Threes.

591281

Hennen takes a dart out uses her flip lighter to ignite it. She merely shrugs at your remark. "It's all in the pamphlet," she tells you, sounding tired. She takes a drag, and exhales through her nostrils. "How can I help you, Mr. Ward?" the company XO asks. She withdraws one of the Twos and offers it to you.
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
I reach out for the offered cigarette and place it between the lips. Since I am not an active smoker, I do not carry a lighter so I ask for the Lieutenants, which she promptly slides into my hand. I light the cigarette with a slightly awkward movement, it has been a long time since I last smoked one of these. The smoke was bitter as I inhaled but there was also a certain pleasantness that came with smoking. "I won't waste your time so I will cut straight to the point." I say after I exhale. "I need to know any additional information about our deployment. Anything that the Captain didn't mention but might come of as important."
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
Hennen thinks a for a few moments, taking another puff on her cigarette. "Remember that the Children may look like any other survivors in the DZ- at least around the area where we're deploying. Hopefully, the folks in Jayton are nothing but smugglers and bandits, but they only way we can be sure they're not connected is to take prisoners. So, if you can, nab some people. Remember the rules of engagement, though. If they seem like a threat, waste them. DZ denizens aren't legally considered persons, so don't be afraid to give your men the green light," the XO says coldly.

"We've got our hands on some updated maps for you, which you should receive soon," she continues. "Try to preserve the lives of your men. We project the resistance to be light, so a frontal assault might be enough to scare them off, but it's up to you if you want to risk that. Other than that... be careful of zombie hordes. They can really muck it up. If they start showing up, keep in mind that that human contacts might engage you during anti-undead drills," she says. She never used the 'Z' word in her presentation. The proper term in the pamphlet is 'reanimate' or 'infected contact', after all.

"So don't do them if there's a risk of a jerk with a hunting rifle taking pot shots." Said anti-undead drills involve firing ranks and standing still on open ground to make sighting the dead easier. It works well on the rotters, but as the XO said, it doesn't work with people.
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
"I understand the rules of engagement Lieutenant. I am mostly curious about the expected resistance. Do we know more about their capabilities other than a 'projected light resistance' and have there been any reconnaissance missions into hostile territory in the past few weeks? I want to have as much intelligence reports as possible at my disposal before deployment. Those updated maps sound promising however," I say after taking another drag from the cigarette.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
"Our last recon of the area was a few days ago. Scouts didn't report seeing many survivors up and about, but they saw a couple going in and out. We estimate two to three dozen individuals. Their capabilities can be what is expected of the DZ; random, often improvised weapons and little or no armor. Since they're smugglers, expect their weapons to be on the lighter side. But, since we're attacking a stationary position, it's not unreasonable to assume they have a cache of long guns somewhere. Rifles, shotguns, the like. You should also be aware of booby traps and alarms. They're known to have a few civilian vehicles there, probably for the transport of goods. Be prepared to engage those if they try to use them against you, or escape," the Lieutenant tells you.
 
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Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
I listen closely to the Lieutenant as she makes her point, ocasionally giving off an affirmative nod. Hennen was direct, always right to the point. She seemed to have that no nonsense attitude and I liked that about her, however she did come of as quite cold at times which ofcourse wasn't uncommon in the professsion. After perpetually following orders, a soldier almost becomes a machine devoid of normal human emotion. Many of the men were already toughened by the hardships of living in a post-outbreak society and those that weren't had to adapt or succumb to natural selection. It was almost like survival of the fittest while the weakest were cast out or culled. "Thank you Lieutenant, I will keep that in mind," I say after extinguishing the ciggarette on the ground. Before I leave, I salute the Lt. once more. I decide to return to my office to prepare for a briefing that I would give to my NCOs.

COMMAND MODE

Arrange a brefing with the NCOs
 
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
Hennen nods to you, then brings her heels together and reciprocates the salute before continuing on with the company-level preparations for the mission. The grizzled company sergeant follows behind her, after nodding and saying "sir" in parting to you.

Staff Sergeant Burke helps set up the meeting. He volunteers a few privates to set up some tables and folding chairs in the garage, just outside your office. He prepares to send out runners to inform the squad commanders of the meeting. "Two stripes invited?" he asks, referring to the squad 2iCs, who are, for the most part, corporals. Lance corporals are also considered junior NCOs.
 
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Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
I nod in agreement. "All of the NCO's should be present, even the junior ones. Please inform the runners that I would like the meeting to start exactly 20 minutes from now," I say briefly before continuing with all the necessary arrangements. I wanted the tables set as fast as possible, so I proceeded to help the privates in their endeavour. I still had to give a platoon wide briefing and this meeting with the NCO's should help me prepare for that.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
Burke sends out a few men to fetch all the non-commissioned officers of the platoon. The tables are set up with your help with due haste, and most of the junior leaders have already filed in at around fifteen minutes. It's generally not fashionable to be anywhere less than five minutes early to a timing in the army, after all. If you're not five minutes early, you're ten minutes late.

All in all, there are 13 non-commissioned officers in the company, including your platoon sergeant, 2 specialists (the medic and signaler), 4 squad commanders, 4 squad 2iCs, and 2 grunt-level lance corporals without any particular assignment other than being a 3iC should the need arise.

The men and women have taken their seats, idly chatting. When the twenty minute timing has elapsed, SSgt. Burke orders silence and directs the room's attention to you.
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
"Attention!" I say loudly. The effect is immediate as the 13 men stand upright in unison; arms fixed at the side, heels together, eyes facing forward in a fixed position and a blank expression on their faces. They resemble machines, I think to myself as I observe the, now motionless, NCO's. I proceed to the center of the garage so that everybody can see me. "At ease," I say to the men.

"Alright men, listen up!" I raise my voice again. "Tomorrow, we are being deployed near Jayton. Zone Command has commissioned the 4th Independent Company to sweep through the town with the intention of eliminating DZ survivor presence. Jayton is believed to be occupied by smugglers and bandits. We estimate their numbers at about two to three dozen men with limited combat capabilities. However, caution is advised because Command believes the survivors might be aligned with those Children of the Plague freaks. A scout report detailed a couple going in and out of the settlement. We do not know if they belong to the cult or not but it is safe to assume that they are somehow involved." I say in a brisk and assertive fashion.

"Also, it is possible that the survivors posses a small quantity of heavier stuff, along with their lighter and improvised weapons. We know that they have operational civilian vehicles in there which they may use against us or even try to escape. Furthermore, it is possible that they might have set up booby traps and alarms, so make sure to exercise caution. On a side note, command wants us to keep an eye on intelligence concerning smuggling outposts and possible cult connections with the local survivors so expect to take a few prisoners in for questioning," I say.

"1st Platoon will go up through the middle, 3rd Platoon will sweep through the west side of town and 2nd Platoon has been ordered to approach the town from the east. 4th Platoon is in reserve. As far as rules of engagement go, infected individuals and armed DZ survivors should be engaged on sight. It is a bit trickier with unarmed survivors as they may be aligned with the cult or potentially carry hidden weapons on them. We can not risk a rogue survivor popping a few caps into one of our own, so all unarmed survivors should be subdued. Hit them unconscious with the butt of your rifle if they cause any problems. Anybody remotely suspicious will be dealt with immediately by either shooting or subduing them," I say to the NCO's. I knew that some innocent men and women might be killed tomorrow, however I simply couldn't prioritize their lives over the lives of my own men. Being an officer entails making difficult decisions and this certainly was one of them.


"I should receive some updated maps soon, these will be used during the platoon-wide briefing. I'll keep you posted, until then, you are dismissed." I say finally.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
SSgt. Burke takes it upon himself to help slightly with the brief. Before anyone can get up and leave, he adds, "Any questions, troops? Comments, queries, concerns?" The room remains quiet. A few of the NCOs scribble down a few notes, probably to help them relay it to their own squads later on. With no further questions, the assembled non-commissioned officers are dismissed. Privates shuffle back in to fold up the tables and put the chairs away.

--

Your maps have been updated [Check Area Maps tab].

Pvt. Finch has been removed from the unit roster. The company quartermaster sergeant allows you to redistribute his rifle and ammunition if you so choose.

SSgt. Burke asks if you plan on issuing out the reserve weapons and bombs that have been allotted to the platoon. He does make a remark on the very measly number of grenades that have been given to the platoon. He does inform you, on the down-low, that bottle bombs could be made. However, it's not in the pamphlet, and would likely involve re-purposing lantern fuel and sending someone to steal laundry detergent.

596501
 

Tkalec

Wannabe Economist
Command mode

I arrange another briefing which I give to the whole platoon. Using the provided map, I explain our deployment zone and the location of the dens. The troops our informed that they will most likely face other hostile humans and that they should be ready to implement fire and maneuver tactics if it should come down to it. Also, I emphasize that there are a lot of buildings between our deployment zone and the designated objective. The troops should exercise caution because any of these buildings can contain a fixed enemy position from which they can pin us down.

Concerning Finches rifle, allow his squad leader to redistribute it based on her own discretion.

Redistribute the five frags and the three smokes among the NCO's. As for the suppressed weapons, I want to form a fire team in one of the squads. The fire team will be given the suppressed weapons and they will be positioned upfront as we move so that they can engage enemy contacts in a quiet fashion whenever possible. For the fire team, I want to select them among the squads in my platoon that showed most promise in training, particularly on the exercises that test marksmanship and maneuverability.

Also, those bottle bombs sound useful, particularly so because of the scarce number of grenades so send someone to get a hold of some detergent discreetly.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Supporter
You hold the platoon briefing, covering the specifics that weren't covered in the company briefing, and outlining the details of your platoon's area of responsibility.

The frag and smoke grenades are given out to some squads [view roster and make changes as you see fit].

After the briefing, Pvt. Denton is given the mission of 'tactically acquiring' some liquid laundry detergent. He successfully nicks a bottle of the stuff from Fort Sulch's laundry room and hands it over to the Staff Sergeant, who works with a few troops to make some firebomb cocktails out of lantern oil and cleaning rags. Nine bombs are made.

Sgt. Winther doesn't have anybody to give the rifle to, so she distributes the spare magazines and keeps the rifle in lockup.

SSgt. Burke suggests Squad 4 for the special weapons, as some of them are carrying lighter weapons, and there is no machine gunner. He does remark that it might be difficult to approach the smugglers from a stealthy angle. The suppressed weapons might work well on zombies, however.
 

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