Rangda University — Muhimu Shimba, Lion Battalion HQ
Confusion reigned over the Lion Battalion fighters and planners at Rangda University.
Far as they knew, the 1st Motor Rifles Regiment should have remained contained to their base in southern Rangda, but all communications other than foot traffic had been lost to the rest of the 8th Division and to the military command in Council. So there was no way to confirm or broadcast the locations of the enemy’s units. Through foot traffic, they had hoped to link their forces to begin a counteroffensive. This had proven useless, and despite sending dozens of horses out, they had no intelligence. There were maps, but nobody was certain whether anything being pinned to them reflected the real situation.
Everyone suspected it was the 1st Motor Rifles Regiment — who else could it be? — but without visual, without radio, without active confirmation of the enemy, and without any connection to command or to units suspicions were worthless. They could not be acted on.
Lt. “Lionheart” Badir knew only that most of his couriers were not coming back, and that those who did were the ones who did not travel far and did not see enemy movement, and therefore could not organize any sort of attack in any useful direction. At best they heard gunfire somewhere in the distance, but that too was useless. He had attempted to launch artillery on areas thought to be threatened by an enemy advance, based on perceptions of gunfire direction and trails in the sky and other similar forms of divination, but he had no way of knowing the effects or correct his fire, so the impetus to shoot was utterly lost.
Instead of using them as artillery, he had his 122mm guns latched onto horses and readied to drive out to meet the enemy. Fortresses were worthless — this was the era of the assault troops! Liuetenant Badir hoped to gather all of his remaining forces and launch a bold counterattack through University and down the Northern roads.
His preparations for battle were slow, tentative; until one particular horseman returned.
Arriving at the edge of Muhimu Shimba in a stout cavalry horse of old, 1st Sergeant Arando swung his steed around a line of parked artillery guns and dismounted swiftly. He saluted. He was the kind of man Badir appreciated. Tall, gallant, with a thick beard and cropped head, large arms and long legs, black as the night. Like Badir, he had taken up his sabre in mutiny against Solstice in 2026. He was the courier Badir knew to expect back.
“At ease, Sergeant.” Badir said. He smiled, and approached for a shake of the hand.
Arando did not move. He cast eyes aside and heaved a sigh.
He was not alone in Muhimu Shimba.
Behind his horse, Badir spotted a second rider, and farther behind, a line of men and women arriving, many wounded, most disarmed. At first, Badir wanted to think that Arando had defeated a column and caught prisoners. But he knew these were his men and women. They all shared the same uniform with the 1st Motor Rifles Regiment, and Arando, despite his bravery, lacked the combat power to defeat any enemy unit alone.
Badir did not ask from where they came. It could only mean that several of his roadblocks had been broken, and the platoon-level unit of disparate soldiers arriving at the park were all the remained of these fortifications. They made their way back, having discarded their weapons and vanished into the urban thickets, dispersing into alleyways to hurry north.
“Sir, we have at least sixty survivors from battle with the 1st Motor Rifles Regiment. They are still able and willing to fight, but they are shaken. I advise we have them build–”
Badir raised his hand to quiet Arando.
“Rearm them. We’re not building more fucking forts.” He interjected.
“Sir?” Arando asked.
Badir turned around and moved deeper into the park woodland without answer.
Arando followed him.
Several dozen meters into the treeline, Badir arrived at a massive object beneath a tarp bound to the floor by poles. It was over nine meters long and four meters tall, dwarfing the men in stature. Badir beheld it with a grin. He had been hiding it, in case the enemy had an air force to speak of. Air attack was the only weakness of his great weapon.
Beneath that tarp was a tank with more firepower than any Ayvarta had ever seen.
“To think, Arando, that they chose that little girl Ravan’s tank design over Orabe’s!”
Arando stroked his own beard in confusion.
“Orabe? Sir, you have a tank designed by Orabe? I thought he was–”
“Disgraced? Yes. But still a genius. He gave us an invaluable tool.”
Badir turned over his shoulder, casting an intense look at his subordinate.
“Will you gather your cavalry and join me on the assault, my friend?” He asked.
Arando had a dark look on his face, but he did not immediately deny him.
That was enough for Badir.
He turned back around and began to extricate his ultimate weapon from its bonds.
Soon the Yotun would roar to life and his enemy would be crushed under its treads.
Badir The Lionheart would cower in Rangda University no longer.