Monday, July 12, 2010

Part 18, Chapter 6 - The Best-Planned Raid in History, Part Two

The Psychlo convoy is bottled up in a canyon, their super-dangerous tanks are proving vulnerable to mortar fire, and things are going well - but then the narrator opens the chapter with "Debacle!"

Bittie shouts over the radio that the ambushers' command post took a tank shell, which knocked out Colonel Ivan and Robert the Vulpes vulpes. So there's no one to translate Jonnie's orders for the Russians. I guess this is pretty bad, even though to my recollection Jonnie hasn't given any commands since deployment.

The Psychlos take advantage of the swinging momentum by disembarking, grabbing their guns, and charging up the hill towards their attackers. Jonnie's not too worried since anyone not stupid would simply wait for Dunneldeen to swoop in and strafe them.

The Russians immediately start running to take the high ground and engage the Psychlos, right in Dunneldeen's line of fire.

Jonnie tries to get them to hold back, but the Ruskies' blood is up and they can't understand him, and evidently no one thought to use those magical learning machines to teach them Psychlo. They charge downhill into the advancing Psychlos.

The Psychlos are hulking, thousand-pound monstrosities capable of carrying a horse under an arm, with weaponry far in advance of anything humanity's come up with. What's more, they're used to a high-gravity world, which means charging up a slope like this wouldn't cause them to so much as sweat.

So of course the Russians slaughter them with a 100:3 kill ratio, without even using radioactive rounds.

Still, it counts as a disaster because Jonnie wanted to take some Psychlos alive. He finds four survivors out of the whole convoy - everyone decided to disembark and run up into an entrenched position, so the only ones left behind were the crew of the tank that got flipped, and they're all "crushed and suffocated."

Oh, and nobody in the command post got killed, just knocked out and concussed and bruised.

Sir Robert started to speak and Jonnie joined him in chorus.

"The best-planned raid in history!"

I'm trying to decide if Little Bittie saved the day. He did alert Jonnie to a problem, but Jonnie couldn't fix it. And it wasn't a disastrous problem, just something that turned a clear victory into a near-victory.

Hmm. Little Bittie sounds like a rapper name.

Anyone wanting to know what the action scenes in Battlefield Earth are like without my paraphrasing, see below for the Russian-Psychlo clash in its entirety.

The Russians were in among the Psychlos, firing ceaselessly!

The remaining Psychlos tried to run back to their vehicles. The Russians were right on top of them!

Huge bodies went tumbling down the slope. Isolated groups tried to stand their ground. Assault rifles ratcheted into solid sheets of sound. Then one last Psychlo almost made it to the cab of a truck. A Russian knelt, sighted, and cut him in two.

A cheer went up from the Russians.

The slope went quiet.

See what you're missing?

Back to Chapter Five

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