TCB Irregulars

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The TCB Irregulars On The Road Again

You enter a large tent on the north side of a camp being rapidly dismantled.

‘Goddamn it you stupid fucking idiot!’

Hauptmann Hoefler throws a field comms receiver across the tent. Turning to scream at the red blinking light on the field communications array,

‘Do you really think they’re going to bother promoting your scorched fucking corpse!?!’

He pauses, chest heaving, face red with anger; then picks up a folding chair and slams it into the ground.

‘FUCK!’

There isn’t much left of the chair when it follows the receiver’s trajectory.

‘FUCK YOU IN YOUR FUCK BOX!’

Corporal Whitfeld, judiciously stepping to place Corporal Osborne’s bulk between himself and Hoefler, speaks up.

‘Hauptmann?’

The hauptmann grabs what was left of the chair he was beating and slams that into the ground, shattering the frame into individual pieces connected by a few strips of canvas. Whitfeld steps behind Mechwarrior Waller and tries to get the hauptmann’s attention again.

‘Hauptmann? The drop’s complete. Everyone’s here…’

Hoefler flings the chair-cum-kindling at the communications console. Whitfeld, taking a step behind Mechwarrior Holland, speaks up a little louder.

‘Hauptmann!’

Hoefler, again heaving in anger, screams.

‘WHAT?!?’

‘New Mechwarriors present or accounted for sir!’

Two deep breaths later, the hauptmann seemingly calms himself, and turns and faces everyone, scanning the faces of those present and the late arrivals.

‘Right…alright everyone…here’s the situation…out esteemed Kommandant has ordered us to completely eradicate the intruders he’s gone off and found on his own. Not a single soul is to be allowed to escape alive. He mentioned that if you wanted a new ’Mech, you might wanna aim low if we find any. We are to avoid anyone spotting us as well…as we are operating in an intel blackout due to operational security needs…’

The color in the hauptmann’s face darkens from a light pink to a tomato red as he speaks. As he reaches the words “operational security needs”, Corporal Osborne snickers.

‘Oh, for fuck’s sake! Okay. Yes! Fine! We’re in the shit again. You’ve got four minutes to get your asses deployment ready. We’re rolling in five.’

As Mechwarrior Waller opens his mouth, Hoefler holds up his hand.

‘Before you ask, if I knew where in the fuck we were, I’d tell you. All I know is it’s another shithole-backwater that apparently makes the Kommandant moist when he dwells on it too long.’

When Mechwarrior Holland coughs politely, the hauptmann scowls and pointedly looks the red-headed pilot in the eye.

‘After our last debacle, he’s even more tight-lipped than normal. I can’t imagine why he might not trust us. It’s not like someone didn’t follow orders or anything stupid like that, right?’

When Whitfeld tries to stutter out a question, the hauptmann spins on the spot, strides over, and slowly holds the communications NCO’s mouth shut.

‘If there was more information to give, I’d give it. You now have three minutes and fifteen seconds to get deployment ready. Ozzie, the paint jobs…this lot came with what?’

The materiel NCO sighs, ‘Parade Ground, sir.’

‘Oh for fuck’s sake, why not just sell advert space?! Here’s hoping there’s something left to repaint when we’re done.’

The hauptmann turns around and focuses on a digital map of the surrounding terrain. Holland and Waller turn and duck out. As the rest of the Mechwarriors dawdle, the hauptmann turns and yells,
‘What are you waiting for? Fall out! You’ve now got two and a half minutes! Corporal, upload these coordinates and this waypoint set to the Howl’s navigation system. And the minute, I mean the very fucking second those dropships are fueled, you let me know. we’re not spending one second longer than necessary under fire, you hear me?’

As the hauptmann stalks out of the briefing tent, Corporal Whitfeld turns to look at the last few dawdlers, and calls after Hoefler, ‘Yes sir!’

Then, to the new arrivals, ‘I’d shift it you all, you’ve got a little over two minutes at this point, or not only will you have to run to keep up, you’ll likely be the ones repainting everyone’s mechs at the after-party…and that’s after you get ten lashes for missing the rendezvous with the Kommandant, of course.’

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