Prev: [GZG] RE: [GZG Fiction] Precious Cargo Next: [GZG] [GZG Fiction] Orduna Revisited

[GZG] [GZG Fiction] The Fall of Orduna Recounted

From: <Beth.Fulton@c...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 01:44:36 +1100
Subject: [GZG] [GZG Fiction] The Fall of Orduna Recounted


Based on a series of requests I've decided to post the latest stories to
all four gzg lists/groups. If this really aggravates you I'm deeply
sorry and feel free to drop me a line and say so. I'm trying to work out
a happy compromise that keeps the largest number of people happily
content ;)



New Guardian Times, Strait of Matakanka, December 17th, 2196

On the Swabian military maps it is simply Hill 27. The locals call the
place Glorioso montón de tierra, or Virgin Mound. Just mentioning its
name inevitably initiates a long chain of innuendos from any new comer
or the young folk of the area, but its actually named for the 200m tall
statue of the Virgin Mary which graces the top of the hill. It is the
tallest free standing religious statue on Mars and it commands a view of
the steppe surrounding Orduna for tens of kilometres in every direction.
Miraculously the Kra'Vak left it standing and even more miraculously our
artillery fire didn't fell it either; despite the entire area being
carpeted in artillery fire for the three days preceding the crossing of
the Strait of Matakanka. With the amount of shrapnel and scrap metal
that has been dug into the churned soil on the hilltop it will be a
wonder if any significant vegetation recolonises the area for years to
come. But for all that there was only a network of scratches from the
Virgin's knee down to indicate what she had endured.

Orduna had started as a humble ravine town, the buildings built into the
walls overlooking stream fed gardens. From these modest origins the town
had grown into one of the most vibrant, though still not the largest of
cities, in the Margaritifer Sector. At its peak, just as the Kra'Vak
invaded, it stretched in a narrow band for nearly 50 kilometres along
the ravines east of the Strait of Matakanka. It had contained the
sector's main factories for farm machinery, as well as substantial metal
works and a large chemical plant. The greatest fear of those approaching
it across the strait from Ariza was that all of this had been turned to
war-time production by the Kra'Vak. They were on tender hooks, expecting
to see floods of tanks, guns, and other war materiels flowing from its
The lightning speed of the Kra'Vak invasion back in January of 2194 had
caught the populace by surprise. This peaceful city had prided itself on
the fact it had avoided being drawn into in the Basin Wars of the mid
twenty-first century and the Solar Wars of the twenty-second century.
Consequently, the bulk of the population was caught in the city when the
battle got underway. The Kra'Vak began with air raids and then the first
troops were dropped on the city's meshed roof, breaching it and dropping
on to the CBD. Within minutes the area was aflame, reducing much of it
to rubble. Panicked calls were broadcast planet wide, but with similar
attacks made across the sector little could be done to save Orduna from
the coming tsunami of alien invaders. 

With the centre of the city in flames, the editors of the local media
had put together improvised broadcasts via the generator powered cryptic
antenna of the much loved pirate station Orduna-Zeta. With the limited
power available they broadcast basic defence plans, evacuation protocols
and ended with a flash page that was a single banner headline "We Will
Smash Them On Our Gates!" It was a heroic sentiment, but estimates are
that over 40,000 had died even before the broadcast ended. While this
was the only visual broadcast that was successfully transmitted after
the attack began the reports that were sent out by audio only over the
following three weeks provide a valuable record of the course of the
fall of the city and the valiant defence the inhabitants put up.

The first evacuations mobilised were those of the centre of the city
where the attacks were thickest to that point. From their actions it is
apparent that the Kra'Vak commanders quickly realised the punt boats and
hover sleds evacuating the children and elderly from the centre of the
ravine were shuttling in an improvised militia on their return. The
Kra'Vak strafed and bombed every one of these transports they found as
well as the landing areas. This not only destroyed the flow of
reinforcements it also caused concentrated panic amongst the civilians
flocking to the evacuation points. Thousands more died during this
second stage of the Kra'Vak attack, but in a testament to the bravery of
the people of Orduna the ferry traffic continued unabated until the
river was so clogged with debris that only the GEV and grav routes were
The worst was still to come however. The first elements of the main body
of the Kra'Vak shock force breached Orduna in the northern residential
suburb of Santiago. The mortars that had come in with the original
paratroopers continued to pound the centre of the city into rubble,
while the shock force advanced from the north. The citizenry was trapped
in the very walls that had made the city such a habitable alcove in
Mars' often hostile landscape. The fires started that day would continue
to burn for weeks.
By the dawn of the 6th of January 2194 the impromptu Orduna militia were
fully engaged with enemy forces throughout the bulk of the city. The
battle had begun in earnest. The rubble and the ruins of the city now
cut the inhabitants a break. Used to the labyrinthine nature of the
built up areas of the ravine floor and the air walks and subterranean
pedestrian transport lines the militia had a much easier time than the
invaders, whose vehicles were often stymied by the very destruction they
had wrought. With even the smaller grav-tanks unable to manoeuvre
rapidly, or with ease, through the debris choked streets, the speed of
the advance slowed. Unfortunately while the invaders' advances were now
being measured in metres not kilometres they did not stop. The Kra'Vak
had already turned several key buildings at either end of the ravine
into strongholds. As soon as any path used by the militia became known
to the Kra'Vak it was levelled by artillery. The aliens evidently not
perturbed by the massive destruction of infrastructure and resources. 
The hardy nature of the Martians came to the fore in this dire hour. The
determined citizenry of Orduna made the Kra'Vak fight for possession of
every house and building that remained (even partially) standing.
Miniature, bird-sized, drone bombers were being used by the Kra'Vak to
hammer the human strong points and with some effect, as they were
inflicting numerous casualties. The survivors were bloodied but they
merely shook of the plaster dust and found new hiding places to base the
fight from. It was clear to the runners moving around the city that the
Kra'Vak were taking horrendous losses by this point, but they continued
to systematically level the city block by block nevertheless.
For a short while, a matter of days, the farm machinery shop was turned
into an armoured truck production line. The trucks were driven directly
from the factory into battle. By the final day of this operation they
were even crewed by the workers who built them. 

The Kra'Vak jamming of the airwaves was as successful in Orduna as
elsewhere. Communication amongst the beleaguered forces was by runners
for the most part. As in Stalingrad roughly two and a half centuries
earlier "Every man had to be his own General." Positions that were
by-passed fought on undirected until they were reinforced, re-supplied
or exterminated. A reporter caught in just such a position sent out 24
hourly reports for seven weeks, before they finally ran out of food and
more importantly, for them, ammunition. The last report was his open
mike as they defended their position with converted scythes and long
knives. They were over-run and killed.
Another epic defensive battle was fought over the maglev station. The
veteran, and much hailed commander of the Second Solar War, General Lech
Pawodowski personally lead a platoon of 50 men in a spirited defence. He
had retired to Mars after his release from captivity at the end of the
Second Solar War. For as long as any of the young folk could remember he
had simply been the old man who ran the tinker shop down on the
esplanade; the old guy that took those needing direction in their lives
under his wing. Now that he was back in the thick of things, his old
martial persona was exposed with burning intensity. These were not the
men who had fought so famously at his side for seventy days as they
defended the last Eurasian bases on Lancelot. Instead they were a
cobbled together force of fireman and police officers. Still the
charismatic 86 year old again worked his magic and he and his soldiers
frustrated the Kra'Vak in a room by room struggle that lasted for nearly
three weeks. The depot eventually fell, but by all reports it was the
most costly battle the Kra'Vak had in the entire city. Breaking through
walls, using the ceiling space as crawl ways, and burrowing under the
floor boards, Pawodowski's troops would yield one section of the
building only to emerge ghost like somewhere else and start again.
They became masters of exchanging fire down hallways, lobbing grenades
between rooms, in what became known as depot tennis. The tongue in cheek
reports of these actions bringing some levity to these dark days.
Pawodowski 's men successfully inflicted as many casualties as possible
on the alien enemy. Their courage contributed to their downfall however
and after ten days the resistance force was reduced to ten men, one a DJ
from the pirate radio station. With their rations exhausted and running
critically low on ammunition half the compliment slipped out of the
building, using the sewers, found sufficient supplies to maintain them
for at least another week and made their way back through enemy lines to
rejoin the fight, at least for a time.
It is known that Pawodowski survived until the dying days of the
struggle, but his eventual fate remains a mystery. Legend has it that he
died in hand-to-hand combat with a horde of Kra'Vak in the final battle
for the final room, but truth be told nobody knows.

At about the time the men in the depot made their daring re-supply run
the people of Orduna briefly challenged the Kra'Vak dominance of the air
within the ravine city. The shattered dome roof was still partially
intact and this made flying by anything but miniature planes incredibly
difficult. One young, twenty-two year old took the challenge face on and
adapted the frowned on teenage pursuit of base sledding into a military
vehicle. Riding her sled over the faces of the buildings and up the dome
pylons Orduna's Rose, as she became known, took to the airways over
Orduna like its own personal airforce. She was reported as being
equipped with a rifle or machine gun, though she also used improvised
DFO's, like bricks. While her efforts were likely to have only provided
morale boosting benefits for the human troops on the ground, rather than
causing significant enemy casualties, for a brief time, just 72 hours,
the Kra'Vak were not in uncontested control of the air. Sadly she was
killed in a rather unique dogfight on January 15th 2194. The identity of
this brave young lady remains a mystery.
By this point in mid January the Kra'Vak controlled large parts of the
city. With explosives of many kinds pouring into the city around the
clock, the ravine resembled some wild scene conjured up from Dante's
Inferno. The glow from the burning city could be seen at night by
VRfighters and wet-navy ships fighting in the waters off the coast. One
live sortie pilot that penetrated to within 20 kilometres of the city on
the 14th of January said the gruesome pall of smoke and dust rising from
the ravine city gave it the uncanny appearance of a gateway to Hell. 

Lead by the local librarian - who had been an amateur expert on the
street fighting methods of Stalingrad, Baghdad, Houston, Montevideo,
Dakka Base and Nova Turov - the local militia had made the Kra'Vak pay
dearly for every block they took. To minimize the alien's advantage in
raw firepower the citizenry of Orduna had been instructed to get as
close as possible and try and catch the Kra'Vak up in dead-end alley way
firefights or one sided mob ambushes. While the Kra'Vak were terrifying
at close quarters it had been found this mob approaches were still more
effective than fighting more conventionally, where artillery or
airstrikes could be called in by the well supported Kra'Vak forces.
Small unit actions and attrition of the enemy forces were the order of
the day. Surely the Kra'Vak did not have endless supplies of troops to
throw at this problem. With reports of the sustaining heavy losses, even
as they made telling advances, throughout the sector they must run dry
of reinforcements soon, surely.

Unfortunately the Kra'Vak ability to provide new troops as the old ones
were killed surpassed what anyone, particularly those with little
military experience, could have anticipated. Moreover, while the Kra'Vak
losses were seemingly enormous, the losses for the people of Orduna
could only be described as staggering. Estimates run as high as 120,000
killed by the second week of the attack. Dead lay in the street and the
stench was almost intolerable even through the rebreathers everyone was
now forced to wear. And yet the worst was still to arrive.

Some of the last reports that came from the city, dated 17th January
2194, showed the Kra'Vak in control of over 90 percent of the city; the
shredded remnants of the militia struggling to maintain an ever more
precarious toehold. They had descended into the sewers to contest the
last large tracts of free ground in the city. Everyone had been reduced
to a primitive level of existence after a fortnight of continuous
artillery fire, bot directed saturation rail-gun fire and close quarter
street fighting. The media men had begun signing off with the quip "Rat
Division Alpha Over." Nothing living remained in the city but Kra'Vak
and humans. The buildings were crumbling. The gardens had been destroyed
and the livestock that had not perished had fled. Only the sentient
races endured the torturous conflict.

By the 18th the Kra'Vak controlled all of the heights of the city, as
well as the surrounding hills and flat ground. The southern residential
suburbs had fallen to them, as had the entire city north of the downtown
area. The splintered human forces still held tiny pockets in the centre
of the city and in the industrial zones of the southern branch of the
main river, but all the potential production base this represented was
in ruins. 

Even with these meagre holdings however, the militia forces still
managed to thwart the invader's attempts at complete control for a
further week, some pockets holding on for at least another three months
(based on intermittent, undirected and broken radio signals). Probably
the most famous of these last stands was by a group of largely Indian
IT-workers. With a solid background in military sims they directed
attacks on passing Kra'Vak convoys from their office building for
nineteen days after the attack began. The location of the high rise
office block amongst a series of lower storey shops and gardens just
south of the downtown area meant it had sweeping views of all the

Their nominal leader, Rajendraprasad Gunasekera, discovered fairly early
on that fire from the roof of the building could be undertaken with
relative impunity. The founder had been a survivor of the Great
Californian quakes so the building was near indestructible and
fortuitously of a design that meant that a ground-based tank was unable
to elevate its barrel high enough to hit the roof directly, while
levitating vehicles got strung up in the nest of support cables running
from the building to its neighbours and the dome roof. Bristling with
machine guns, mortars, and rifles that materialised from some unknown
source, this group remained a hazard for Kra'Vak in the proximity. At
least until the building was felled by an aerial bombing run on the

In the final battle for the main part of the city beginning on the 20th
of January the Kra'Vak became increasingly brutal. They poured flammable
liquids into the sewers and set them ablaze. On entering a building they
ripped up the flooring and hurled charges into cellars and attics to
root out hidden defenders. The city effectively fell on the 24th of
January 2194, though the final squeaks from the human rats of Orduna was
not heard until April 4th of that
''; ''

Gzg-l mailing list

Prev: [GZG] RE: [GZG Fiction] Precious Cargo Next: [GZG] [GZG Fiction] Orduna Revisited