The Triocat Incident

Todd Malinowski was once again in his element. Senior Regimental Command Sergeant Major of Ryman Recon, he seldom got a chance to play in the field and fate had put this directly into his hands.

This was a typical Training Assignment to a Class One colony that by present standards was barely into the Industrial Age but was having Calp problems. The first settlers had a fair leg up and were progressing rapidly, so of course the Calps put down a second settlement claiming equality first, and as their population increased escalated the claim to primacy and by now supremacy.

That of course was standard procedure, tried and true, by which they used Earth’s overwhelming numbers and financial and military power, to push and expand the Caliphate. The day might come when the Colonies could match them in the power and numbers department but not now and certainly not on Triocat.

So, Todd was out here earning credits for Ryman by trying to train the non Calp supporters on a Class Three world how to hold on to half of a planet. The early settlers of Triocat had a struggle with nature this was a struggle against human nature; the Calps had landed a fighting force and tonight was going to go a long way in deciding whether this planet would be called Triocat or Saladin.

The Ryman Intelligence Unit, inserted without the knowledge of the Triocat government, had finally determined that the true damage was not being done by imported trainees but by one platoon of Calp regulars. Tonight’s operation was designed to eliminate them In Force Toto. So here he was leading Squads Three and Four while One and Two played the Kabuki Dance to draw the Calps into the killing zone.

They watched from the cliff top, clad in the gear no local had ever seen; the contents of sealed cases they had brought with them. Oh, the locals had been equipped with the best that Ryman exported to any other planet, but no out-worlder ever saw — much less got a chance to handle standard Recon Issue.

The area below the cliff might as well have been illuminated by the full noontime Sun; Todd’s night-vision devices and the weapon slung over his shoulder would have been close to Black Magic for any of the locals.

His rifle; its caseless ammo left no trace of where it had been fired, and its advanced suppression system allowed no sound and precious little muzzle flash to reveal its position. The cyclic rate made it simply a ‘Finger of Death’. Five Generations of Ryman engineering had gone into its design and no non-recon type was ever going to touch its lethal beauty.

Capitan Richards flashed the signal as the Sucker Force moved past their own position and Todd waited until the Calp force moved by, chasing confidently their seemingly outclassed prey.

Two clicks on his finger microphone and the group started to move in unison. First they removed the small rappelling ropes and then the sealed packs containing their pitons. Ryman designed they had only four hours of useful life after the packs were opened. They would then begin to degrade into the plant protein matter from which they had been formed As soon as the first were driving into the cliff top the troops began deploying their lines through the pad eyes. As the end of each line hit the ground below a light flashed in their vision displays and they strapped both sides of the line through their figure 8 carabiners pulling the lines around their bodies.

Grasping with their off hands as their brakes they dove face first off of the cliff in an Australian Rappel. Hands burning even through the purpose built gloves they hurtled down the cliff face with their feet touching maybe every thirty feet. Approaching the bottom they spun and slammed on the brakes setting down lightly.

Safely on the ground they all hit the switch on their belts that turned on the electrostatic fields that would stir up the dirt and remove their footprints. A few of the more sensitive felt a tingle in their lower legs but that was only a minor annoyance. Now taking hold of the bitter ends of their lines they pulled the remainder through the top, faking the line into a coil as it fell. The line and the package the piton had come from went into their backpack. Recon left no trace from whence it had come!

Moving quickly down the trail behind the Calp force they waited for the first signal from the Anvil Force in front of them. “Sergeant Major, we have set up one mile in front of you. Targets are exactly halfway between us. It’s killing time.”

“Roger Cap, we are cocked and locked. Your knee mortars start the party!”

“You don’t say Todd, get ready. With their rate of advance I guess around ten minutes. You should be right up their ass by then.”

“10-4 Boss. You stop them and we will stomp them!”

Ten minutes later the thumping of Ryman knee mortars filled the night as the Calps dove for cover, there was none as Squads Three and Four ran up their backside like a wall of death. Todd thought the Calp Lieutenant had tried to surrender but he had been cut down before the movement of his hands had been clear.

Four hours later the Force Platoon having stowed their issue gear and grabbed showers was trying to look alert while the first Triocat Battalion marched in Graduation Parade. The troops from Headquarters Detachment looked suitably awake as well they should. They had spent the night in their beds while the Operational/Training Platoon had been out and about.

As the ceremony was ending Todd looked across the field and saw Rich Carpenter coming his way with a dispatch case in his hand and wearing Command Sergeant Major stripes. Last he had noticed Rich was a First Sergeant. Closing the range he spoke first,
“Hell Rich, good to see you and congratulations on the promotion. Now can I ask, Why the hell are you here?”

“Thanks Todd, at least I can bullshit with you until I hand you this case. Then you are my Boss again.”

“What the hell do you have in there Rich?

“Your orders as Force CSM to replace CSM Davis!”

“Dear God, who or what got Robbie?’

“Nothing, he resigned; right after he took down Dear Leader’s nephew like a sack of shit and left him Medically Unable for Life.”

Todd had to stop and think on that one. That punk was being pushed up through the ranks to finally gain a position as Oligarch Commander of Recon; Robbie had clearly ended that threat. “How is Robbie?”

“Damned if I know, he ducked three assassination attempts on the way to the spaceport and rumor has it he has a Merc job out there somewhere.”

“How the hell is Terry taking that?”

“Well, if you get off of your dead ass fast enough; you might get home in time to present him the Honor Sword. That is the Force CSM’s job you know. Not to mention the one I know you don’t want. Sorry Buddy, that one goes with the Turf!”

Todd’s face grew dark as he contemplated the load that had just fallen on his shoulders. “Plan the Logistics for The Day and to always assume that The Day shall occur no more that fourteen days from Today. Yeah, I know the drill just. No one will ever be as good at that as Robbie was.”

“Look on the bright side, somewhere and some when some smart Merc Commander is going to catch Robbie someway; more than likely on a Hospital bed and stick Officers bars on his ass!

Todd had to take a couple on minutes to laugh and then suddenly sobered up, “What if that boy is as good as or better than Art Redmond?”

“Well then, we walk up to him slap our fists to our chest and shout ‘Shai Dorsai’.”

Todd who was as well read as his friend understood that at a gut level. Without another word he reached out and took the case, shook his friends hand and moved away smartly. Damn, The Day could occur in his lifetime and they both knew it!