Colony planet Eos
March 4, 2321
4:55 PM Local Time.
For all of the chest-beating arrogance that the Gronskande's political oligarchies displayed towards the GDW, it could hardly be said that they were as independent as the near-constant gestures towards independence seemed. The system was a treasure trove of mineral rich worlds and the avenue to true independence was to be through economic growth. The reality of preparing them for settlement and constructing facilities to mine their rich resources was another matter altogether. The massive exodus that had settled these worlds had far from turned them into a bustling series of metropolises and kept the GDW far closer to Grönskande's operations than anyone was comfortable openly admitting.
To the GDW troopers peering out of a dropship's viewing ports, how they wished that belligernece hadn't costed them the one thing that could have prevented the devastation laid out before them. Shining under the late mid-day sun was annihilation laid bare for all to see, the sights of so many political ads and television commercials rendered not as industrial glory but a cruel mockery of former aspirations and would-be glories. The magnificent javelin-like central communication tower with bulbous pods lined up its immense length was scourged and charred, withered like some great piece of piscine bone upon which some rotted torn-open fruit had been impaled as if by a rough skewer. An audience of vehicular husks led away from its structure down the streets, slouching ruins of storefronts and habitation blocks spilling outwards onto the road with the half-flattened messiness of crushed produce. Whatever had decimated so many of these structures treated the blocky, brutalist government buildings and military garrisons with no less respect. The former appeared to have had an enormous chunk of one its tower-like structures shorn off along with most of the roof and the upper floors underneath - as if some large aircraft had flown a little too closely.
The long almost claw-like trails on the adjacent structures and the road almost looked like trenches. Someone swore under their breath, tapping on the reinforced glass of the port, their visor zooming in around the grim sights; human bodies cloven in two or impaled on metal signs near the gigantic slashes on structures and streets. Looking further, blackened masses far less distinct and bodily coherent were littered near blockades of makeshift vehicles and concrete barricades. A few tanks and armoured vehicles lay smoking near these forms and the weapons still clutched in lifeless, withered hands. Opposite of them no signs of their opponents were seen, only crisp-burnt trees and vehicles torn clean open by some vicious firepower, partially collapsed after who knew how long the brutal firefights beneath had gone on.
Some kind of hell had come to Eos. The Soyuz were ruled out; they had no reason to attack the colonies given that they had been pushing for an entryway into whatever markets they possessed. Daqin? But this was very far out for them; what reason did they have to brutalize what was an up and coming colony? Some sort of civil conflict? While the Gronskandians presented a united front against the Gemeinschaft, it was not a secret that the sluggish progress of their promised lands had meant their once vital unity was fraying at the seams. Enough to annihilate one of the core colonies that was meant to be a centrepiece of their planned economic upturn?
The questions remained as the dropships descended to their individual landing spots. Soldiers fast-roping onto the central government building, rushing out onto the streets by the withered remains of the central com tower, sweeping through the hab-zones, and advancing unto the mining facilities near the outskirts of the town - they scattered to cover as much ground as possible as drones hovered in the skies above. They were keeping a close watch on whatever was left of the city and the quiet, verdant green and craggy rock formations it stood as an industrial oasis against.
There remained the possibility that the SSM would be sending military forces of its own. They too would have likely noticed the same time the GDW had when Eos had gone quiet. If that was so, then they had no doubt become aware of the ruin it had become. As they walked through hallways and streets long since devoid of any life, their leaders right now were attempting to coordinate on this venture. Eos was important not just to Groskande but both rival powers and it was in their joint interest to ensure something could be salvaged. The mission was initially to investigate but now it was a race to try and find any survivors and signs of whatever it is that had caused such scouring destruction upon a near hapless colony.
For lieutenant Jurgen Olbrich, every overturned hover-APC and jammed automatic double door was a threat ready to be made good on; cover for the still unseen threat, a firing port to snipe at his squad, or a hidden explosive waiting to set off of its proxy charge. He wished he wasn't as tall for once at seven and a half feet; he was too larger of a target even partially crouched and partially minimizing his profile. The LMG in his arms felt maybe a pound too heavy as if he couldn't sweep it fast enough for the blink of a second he knew he could zero it in on the centre of mass and shred a target to bits. Nobody needed to know that the quiet giant who lead them was strong but not necessarily always confident; confidence was something you took in small recommended doses until the want outgrew the need and you didn't see the next ambush in the plain light of day.
Cybernetic fingers gripped the handle of the weapon; a reminder of the price of cocksure arrogance and its real world cost. His squad had been assigned to sweep the streets by the tower and he was already hating the way the looming husk of a structure screamed sniper nest. Granted, the structure was being watched not only by its own deployment of drones but ground support capable craft hidden within the lower areas of the atmosphere. It felt like the world's most devastating Mexican standoff just waiting to happen but given the risk, a few of the flying disc-like robots were busy sneaking into its many new entrances to scan for survivors-
Or whatever it is that can tear up a cement road and the surrounding buildings like a hoe going through farm soil.
Moving through the streets was troublesome. Vehicles lay scattered haphazardly, doors still open and some with charred remains staring ghoulishly at wheels and windshields. Sometimes there were no bodies but smears of a now blackish red against the ground and small, dried giblets along the dirt. Sometimes the ground seemed to be cracked with small yet deep holes, like some powerful claws had been digging into it repeatedly. Piles of debris, some sliding over from the ruined structured spilling over the sidwalks, forced them to occasionally hike ove the loose tiles and shattered architecture. Sometimes, he saw a tuft of hair or a hand sticking through. He wondered if those ones had been luckier than those splattered on the street or trapped in the cars.
It wasn't long before he sharply paused, taking a crouch as his weapon swept around the streets, the windows, the roofs. Something had caught his eye and he motioned with his steel hand to the rest of the squad: fan out, defensive positions, watch any avenues of fire and approach, investigating.
He had amost missed it among the numbing ambience of the fresh ruins and the steady crackle of still burning fires. It was innocuous enough as little more than footprints faded away by the winds and whatever tumultuous activity they had ushered along. These weren't old footprints though. There was blood, reddish rather than the black of the gore-tinted stains and the imprints in the gravel and debris were fresh. His eyes followed - a crushed metal can still matching up with the rest of the steps, a door with the dust around its push-handles irregularly removed.
A building that relative to the rest of the city was intact. What was it exactly? A neon sign lay slaunted and hanging on barely by a few joints but the words were tattered by the prior devastation. The windows were covered in patchy, grey dust but he could make out some computers inside and a reception desk. Some sort of office space; probably as good a hideout in the wake of armageddon as any bunker.
The private com channel crackled open and his worn, quiet voice spoke.
"Inform command we have possible signs of survivors and ping them our location. Preliminary scan then we enter, sweep it floor by floor. On me."
The towering soldier didn't seem so large now when he got into action, crouching down to half his normal height and his heavy weapon lowered in preparation for his advance into the room. His visor seemed to go opaque for a few seconds and faint lights glowed behind the bluish green as a variety of complex vision modes peered through glass and plasteel - the room appeared intact to his sight, no signs of concealed traps, unusual heat signatures or odd movement.
His hand raised momentarily, balled into a fist, and he nodded. It was go time. Survivor or attacker? He hoped he would only encounter the former.