Katja sat silently on the makeshift bench and stared blankly at the pulse rifle on her lap. Her breathing was steady and her stare was fixed and distant. Scattered on the floor around her, were the bodies of her team-mates; victims of the war that raged outside.
Katja’s gaze changed. She sighed deeply, slapped her legs and said “no use sitting here” before getting a grip on her rifle and standing up. She closed her mind to what she was doing and rifled the bodies for ammunition and water before stowing the items in her webbing and preparing to exit the building. She crouched low and stood up before shrugging, in an over exaggerated way, to make sure that her newly issued, uprated, ballistic armour sat comfortably and allowed her to move freely before she checked her magazine to ensure it was fully charged.
“Here goes nothing” she thought; as she dashed into the street in a combat stance. The street erupted around her as small arms fire rippled across the ground from all angles but Katja managed to evade injury whilst heading in the direction of her fellow Grymn. She knew that she had about a mile of battle to survive and if she could manage that, she would find the protection of the Forward Operating Base (FOB). Jinking from side to side and using every tiny bit of cover, Katja was making good progress but when she rounded a corner too quickly she came face to face with four Dog-Soldiers. She cursed and instinctively dropped and rolled while she fired her weapon. The first of the Dog-Soldiers slumped to the floor with a neat hole through his forehead and the second fell with a vivid spray of bright blood from the side of its neck. The other two managed to overcome their surprise at the ferocity of the small attacker and return fire; wildly missing their target and allowing Katja to take down the third Dog-Soldier with a group of shots to the chest. Suddenly Katja felt the full impact of a heavy round on her chest; throwing her backwards and into a low wall. Her rifle hand went numb and she lost her grip on the weapon; she cursed as she heard it clatter to the ground.
The last of the Dog-Soldiers let out a guttural, growling laugh as it approached the prone figure of Katja; its bestial face showing dirty, yet extremely sharp fangs. Its loping gait allowed it to get up to a charging speed extremely quickly and it was scant seconds before it set upon Katja.
Instinctively, Katja rolled to one side and took the force of the bite on the right shoulder plate of her numb arm. In a single, smooth movement; using her left arm she quickly unsheathed her combat knife and thrust it upwards into the beasts exposed abdomen. She was rewarded with a pained yelp and the grip on her shoulder relaxed just enough for her to struggle free, roll to one side and thrust her knife into the base of the creature’s spine. It yelped again and began to flail about on the floor. Katja sheathed her combat knife and scrambled over to her rifle. She picked it up with her left hand and without pausing fired two blasts into the beast’s chest. It ceased flailing and became silent.
Katja knew she didn’t have time to waste so she threw her rifle sling over her shoulder to give her enough support to fire her rifle one handed and steadily made her way through the embattled streets towards the FOB. In just a few moments, she rounded a corner to see the armoured walls just a hundred or so metres away.
“Mayday, Mayday” she spoke breathlessly into her comms-set “Wounded in-bound to main gate. Cover required, Out”.
She paused for a moment before watching the two heavy gates open and a unit of power armoured troopers march out. She waved her rifle at them and they immediately converged on her position; surrounding her and protecting her with heavy shields. In a few moments, they were all inside the FOB and Katja was disarmed and ushered onto a stretcher before being taken to the medical facility.
“So… you say that you were shot in the chest by a Dog-Soldier and bitten on the right shoulder?” asked the medic.
“Yes, that’s what happened” replied Katja “My right arm went numb so I had to fight left handed”.
“Hmmm… let’s have a look” said the medic as he carefully removed her shoulder and body armour “There’s no sign of damage to your fatigues”.
The medic removed her shirt and examined her further. There was slight bruising to the right, upper quadrant of her chest and what looked like the imprint of a button just below her collar bone.
“How does your arm feel now?” he asked.
“I am starting to get the feeling back in my fingers, Thank you” Katja replied.
“Good” said the medic “it seems that you need to make sure that you don’t trap any buttons under your armour straps, otherwise you may end up with a dead arm”.
“What?” replied Katja “all I have is a dead arm?”
“Yes… and some slight bruising” replied the medic “it appears that the newly issued body armour works much better than the old stuff”. He lifted up the chest armour and showed the front of it to Katja. There was a very small dent in the front of it with a small amount of paint loss but apart from that it was unscathed. The shoulder guard fared less well because the scoring nature of the Dog-Soldiers teeth had managed to get a purchase and gouged the paint off in four neat lines, leaving deep scratches in the ballistic material beneath.
By now, Katja’s arm was feeling much better and after dressing, she left the surgery and reported to her leader.
“With this new, field tested, ballistic armour, I am confident that the protection it offers will greatly improve the efficiency and security of our troops on the ground” said the senior officer as he addressed the politicians and commanders around him “so it is recommended that our forces receive it as quickly as possible”.
“Agreed” they replied.