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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:11 pm 
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The low hills between highways Six and Seventy-three were not a barrier, or even much of an obstacle. But they gave the division a place to dig and hold, so they did. Thumpphs filled the low ground in front of them. Most of the men didn’t think they had enough ammunition to kill them all, but they would die trying. They were First Division, First Corps, the oldest large units in the United States Volunteers. General Jackson had pulled them north to try block the enemy advance into the southern suburbs of Salt Lake City.

They would stop the enemy or die trying. General Dufresne had been fighting Thumpphs since the beginning, they were all sure he had something up his sleeve.

At that moment, Dufresne lay at the crest of a hill, watching the enemy advance through his binoculars. Something looked wrong, although he wasn’t sure what. Even considering the fact that they moved uphill, they moved too slowly. Then he noticed something. A line of Thumpph officers, marked by the fire batons they carried, followed the front rows of assault troops closely. Watching intently, he noted the assault line waivered whenever the officers stopped pushing them forward.
“Signal down the line,” he snapped at his adjutant, “those front line troops are either newly hatched soldiers or slaves. Maybe both. They have numbers, but maybe not the motivation to fight.”

He looked back out at the battle, the roar or rifle fire making it hard to think. The sheer number of Thumpphs might eventually overwhelm him, even if most of them served only to soak up bullets. He looked through his binoculars again. Behind the front assault lines, he could see formations of aliens formed up to charge.

So that was their plan! They use poor troops as a moving wall to get the real soldiers close enough to carry the line. It was an interesting piece of information, but he wasn’t sure how it helped him. His men had to keep firing, and hope their ammunition supply outlasted the supply of targets.


Tom Rancic saw his command of the situation slipping away, and felt powerless to do anything. Columns of aliens swarmed over any available route through the mountains. He set up his own HQ half a mile from the tent used by XXV Corps. He needed to direct the bigger picture, and having the Army Commander breathing down his neck wasn’t going to make the Major General’s job easier.
They had already lost contact with one brigade assigned to block Highway Forty. The last communication suggested they had taken refuge on a hill overlooking the road. They said Thumpphs were passing below them, they would inflict as much damage as they could.
The conversation ended with somebody screaming about Thumpphs coming over the ridge behind them. That was a perfect example of his problem. Previously, Thumpphs always attacked the mountains along developed roads. Now, suddenly, they swarmed over the landscape like a flood. They used logging roads where they found them, but increasingly they just charged up the hills. Meeting attacks from several directions forced him to spread his troops thin.

The valley where he tried to take a stand filled with smoke, and alien incendiaries. The latter started fires, obscuring the view and interfering with long-range fire. This cancelled the advantages of the cannon’s and heavy machine guns. Tom sent off a report to Thorne in Salt Lake City, and began studying a map, hoping for inspiration to continue the fight. Even as he tried to solve his problems, he heard the headquarters security company begin firing. He looked out to see them shooting at a dozen Thumpphs that appeared in the swirling smoke two hundred yards away.

The security people knocked them all down in a minute. Rancic went into his tent and picked up his pump shotgun, loaded with slugs. He slung it over his shoulder by a homemade strap. It looked like he might need it.


On the ridgeline and narrow cut south of the lake, Brewester’s situation had come apart badly. His men shot down a wall of advancing Thumpphs, to no effect. They just kept coming. As they pushed into the line holding the highway, his men had to fall back. This left one regiment stranded on the hillside.

To their credit, the trapped men made good use of the position, firing down into the river of monsters running toward the city. Above them, another regiment held off a Thumpph attack climbing the hillside. The machine gun crews held their fire unless presented with a cluster of enemy. The advancing troops, here as elsewhere, consisted of newly hatched soldiers. They tended to bunch up, giving the machine gunners the targets they needed. But no matter how judiciously they used their ammo, they would run out soon.

The main mass of Thumpphs continued east, marching and running along Interstate Eighty. This corridor would lead them directly into Salt Lake City. Brewster’s men no longer had the power to stop them, they could only reduce their numbers. Brewster did have time to note, and report, the enemy fought as a mob, not an organized fighting unit. Even as they advanced what little formation they had fell apart. One group split from the main column and set about looting an abandoned music venue next to the lake.

Brewster gathered the remnants of his command atop another hilltop overlooking the intersection of I-80 and another road that led around a series of catch ponds east of the hills. From here, he reasoned, he could harass the enemies flank and report matters up the chain of command. Both roads led directly into the heart of the city. He hoped someone, somewhere, could stop the enemy.


South of the Wilderness Area, Dufresne managed to keep his division mostly together, although the oncoming waves of Thumpphs forced him back. He now blocked the road between Flat Top Mountain and the Lake Mountains. Beyond that, a narrow gap north of Utah Lake led into the Salt Lake suburbs. Now he had reports of Thumpphs advancing around the south end of the lake. As he considered pulling back to block access to the city itself he received a most welcome call from Zeb Jackson.

A brigade from Parker’s Army had arrived on the scene, coming in on the road from Price to Spanish Fork. Jackson ordered him to form a “mini-corps” with his division and the new troops arriving on the scene. He ordered them to block the advance into the city.

“Just like that,” he thought, “no problem at all.” But still he knew somebody had to do it, and the command set up made sense.

Fifty yards away, a machine gun chattered, throwing a stream of bullets at a dozen aliens that made the mistake of clumping together. Half of them fell at the first burst. The enemy had the numbers, but they fought poorly. He turned to his operations officer.

“If they keep that up we’ll just kill them all.”

“Yeah, if we don’t run out of ammunition first.”


General Burton listened to the many reports of slaves and untrained alien soldiers fighting, and wondered why his Army of the Colorado fought only professional warriors. The fighting had changed abruptly at dawn. Over the course to the previous few days, the enemy had given ground as he advanced, slowing him down, but not taking a hard stand.

Now they fought fiercely, instead of mass attacks they hit one flank and then the other. Several times, they launched swarming attacks clearly intended to force a breakthrough into his supply lines. The assaults from different directions stalled the advance and kept him off balance, forced to use the available transportation to shuttle reserves from one threatened sector to another.
The hardest fighting took place around his left hand column. This Corps marched toward the heart of the Thumpph stronghold in north central Nevada. From a quick consultation with Ed Harvold in Reno, he learned the same thing was happening there. Although the enemy had thrown a huge offensive aimed at Salt Lake City, he wasn’t stripping forces from to do so.

Burton and Harvold both had their hands full. When queried by Thorne, both replied that they would try to move offensively to take some pressure off Salt Lake City. Neither had confidence this would work. The new tactics by the enemy kept them from stabilizing their lines and attacking. Both men feared for their supply lines. Suddenly, it seemed it seemed the enemy knew how to fight humans.


Eric Windmaster watched a band of about three hundred Thumpphs circling his left flank. He detached two companies from the position he held on the low hill and ordered them to cut off the enemy movement. Even as he spoke, another pack charged the regiment’s position.

“I don’t think we can hold here, Dutch,” his second in command said quietly.

He couldn’t summon the energy to rebuke his old high school friend for using his nickname instead of calling him “Colonel.” People had been calling him “Dutch” for most of his life. He picked up the name after endlessly explaining that he wasn’t Native-American, his family name was the product of an immigration officer’s inability to spell. He was afraid he would die on this unknown lump of land, having his friend close was good.

“I know, but if they get past us they’ll get up the road between the hills and Utah Lake. If that happens…well I don’t want to think about it.”

“I know. Take charge of that battalion and stop them.”

“Yes sir.”

To Windmaster’s surprise the man saluted before he ran off. Refusing the line was one command the new men had practiced well. They formed up in good time and in a position to take the enemy in defilade as they tried to move up the road. They stopped the first surge, but another column of
Thumpphs quickly moved up.

Windmaster’s radioman called Brigade to tell them of the flanking attack and request instructions, adding the regiment could not hold the position much longer. The two men could not know it, but a Thumpph attack had overwhelmed Brigade HQ a few minutes earlier. The backdoor to Greater Salt Lake City now stood ajar.


Third Corps had held the area they called “The Bend” for months. In this combat zone the area held by humans made a wide ninety degree turn from east-west to north-south. The southern extension marked the west edge of The Finger. As much as it enraged them, the sudden alien offensive forced them to back up to a line of hills covering Interstate Eighty. If they retreated any more, the escape route out of the Salt Lake area would narrow, perhaps close. They all knew there would be no more retreats.

Grimly, they fired at the advancing enemy. They managed to stop the attack at the last minute by switching their cannon to canister. Many looked upward at the sun gauging the hours until sunset. Presumably, they would get some rest at sunset. However, they could see another crowd of Thumpphs in the distance, forming up for the next assault.


Chien Nguyen decided that it was time to do something. He’d spent most of the day listening to the worsening reports of trouble to the east. General Leavitt had moved one of his divisions east to support the fighting around The Bend, and ordered him to be ready to move more troops east. After briefly considering just following his idea, he decided to clear it with General Leavitt first. He had his orderly make the call.

“General, it’s quiet up here. I think my Corps can do more on the south side of the river than it can here. The bridge is intact and my skirmish line reports almost no activity in front of us.”
He quickly outlined a plan to cross the river leave one division in Twin Falls and move east with the other two. There were three bridges still intact where he could stay in touch with his supply train.
Leavitt quickly agreed. Something different had to happen, and fast or Salt Lake was gone. Nguyen gave orders to move out, bored soldiers quickly jumped to the task of going back on the offensive.


Late in the afternoon Jesse began receiving reports the defense line south and west of the city was collapsing. Thumpphs, ignoring the guarded roads were crossing the high ground in force. The USV units had no choice but to fall back or risk encirclement. To their credit, the retreating units fought for every inch of ground, but the fighting now extended into the suburbs, sparking a series of violent house to house fire fights.

Jesse gathered his command team in a small conference room, where he outlined his plans. Ken Bradley would gather as much artillery, including machine guns, has he could near headquarters and parcel it out to the most desperate fighting. Any incoming reserves would proceed directly to the battle zones as needed. He took a deep breath, knowing his next words would start a fight of his own.

“Phil, I want you to take Joshua, the prisoners and these four,” he gestured to the four women standing near one wall, “and get out of the city to the north…”

“I’m not going.”

He turned in surprise, he had not expected Allison to be the one to kick up a fuss. The others immediately spoke up, announcing they had no intention of leaving.

“Look I need you to go, if it comes apart completely here, somebody has to be ready to carry on.
The six of you will provide the institutional memory to form a new army. And there isn’t anything more you can do here.”

“I’m not going,” Allison repeated, her voice quivering, tears streaming down her cheeks, “you can’t make me leave.”

“I need you to go,” Jesse said, trying to soften his voice, “there isn’t anything you can do.”

A ten minute fight followed, with everybody shouting. Kristen insisted on staying behind to document events, whatever they might be. Phil yelled that he had a duty to defend his home from monsters, Jesse told him he had a duty to follow orders.

“Not if they make me look like a coward.”

“Phil, nobody is EVER going to call you a coward. If we all die here, who’s going to defend your home? It’s taken us months to build an effective fighting force, if we all die here, somebody will have to start from scratch.”

That seemed to penetrate the emotion in the room. Phil reluctantly agreed to take the prisoners and Dr. Hapsburgher to a safe place. Darla and Joshua would go with him to manage rebuilding the supply train, if needed. The others refused to budge, Kristen pointed out that everything she’d recorded up to that morning was safe. She would transmit new information regularly, therefore anything she knew was already safe. Allison announced defiantly that when a Thumpph came through the door she would throw the coffee pot in its face.

“OK…” Jesse started to thank them, but couldn’t talk. After a moment, he asked them to leave the room. He wanted to call his wife, if he could get through.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:24 am 
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What more can I say ??

'P for Pleistocene' A camp-out goes impossibly wrong...

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