Monday, February 18, 2013

Duelin' Spitfires 2: Wildcat

Hector Hernandez

Look, the press eats up the stories the other 'cats tell, and I don't blame them. The Hellcats get all the glory, all jumping into hot zones and saving the Princess stuff. And if you want a working-class hero, it's always a Tomcat that tells the tale: skilled professional nerds with flinty gazes and nerves of steel, the lot of them. Or so they say.

But you wanna know who does the real work around here? It's us Wildcats. Every time they need a VIP protected, and not just rescued, who do they call? The Wildcats. Need a drop zone cleared and held for a MASH chopper? That's our bailiwick. Need to prosecute a real fight instead of a snatch and grab and who gets fingered? Yeah that's right.

So next time you hear about some kitty-jumper leaping from the sky to snatch some hostage out from under the noses of the bad guys, just remember that the hostage in question is more likely to be some rich lady's pooch, and the real work happened at ground level.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Duelin' Spitfires 1: Aswang

My second Aswang started as a conversion using the very similar arms from a Boarding Shotgun Gwailo. At the time there was no Shasvastii Spitfire model so he began life as a simple Boarding Shotgun wielder - my first Aswang is a Combi Rifle conversion so I lacked that loadout. When I saw the Spitfire in my Corax blister I knew what had to be done, and hacked this guy apart five minutes after I got home from the store! Though he shares the same body pose as my other Aswang, I think that the radically different arm and weapon positions give this figure a unique appeal.

There seems to be some consensus that the Spitfire Aswang isn't worth the point upgrade over the regular dude, perhaps compared to the Noctifer and perhaps because he loses some synergy with his abilities and the standard-loadout ADHL. However I've found that another 1 SWC heavy weapon, especially one with Combat Camo, is extremely useful to hold down or delay a flank, and anyway my attempts to use Protheion have been costly and lackluster.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Malignos Sniper


The dark pool edged closer to his nose, seeping languidly into the sand like a summer tide.

Odd that I’d finally get poetic, so close to the end. Sgt. Wayne suppressed a wry chuckle at the thought, then fought hard against the wracking pain that followed that first effort.

It wasn’t that he was so much fascinated by his life-blood darkening the dirt around him. He literally couldn’t look away; the last time he glanced around, watching his rescuers cut down by the unseen sniper, he took a second round to the leg. For good measure, it seems.

He’d been thoroughly briefed, of course. That’s what got him into this mess. A veteran soldier, he’d never ask of any man what he wouldn’t do himself, and especially not the Ariadna-fresh recruits that had been assigned to him. This patrol through ‘sanitized’ territory was meant to be more training than practical, but of course there was no safe ground against a literally invisible enemy.

So he took point, and so he was the first to be cut down. A canny human sniper would have let the point man go past, to get at the meat of the patrol. A canny Shasvaasti sniper thought differently, perhaps believing that humans shared their alien psychology and going for the first available target, surgically wounding him. Expecting that racial preservation instincts would override good sense and that rescuers would inevitably present themselves as targets.

The alien was wrong about the motivation, but not about the results. They’d tried to get to him twice, and lost four in the attempts. At the edge of his field of vision Wayne could just barely see the still-steaming pile of meat that was once an eager 18-year old kid. He wished he could look away. Wayne hadn’t survived the ambush by chance; the sniper was keeping him alive. As bait. Thank god his men had gotten the hint after the second futile attempt, and left him for dead. If he played possum maybe they’d lose all hope and just go away.

And so they waited; he and the sniper, separated by race, distance and purpose, united by circumstances in this deadly game. All he had to do was wait a little while longer. The sun hung low and red in the sky, dripping languorously ever lower, beating on his face, baking the sand and dust onto his parched lips. Soon it would be dark, and then maybe he could risk putting a hand to the wounds on his leg. It itched so badly.

His gaze was fixed on the dark, expanding pool beneath him. Wayne suddenly realized that the sound of crashing waves was his own pulse - blood rushing past his ears in the near total silence - and he laughed at the absurdity of it all. The chuckle turned to a cough, blowing dust softly into a tiny column, at once affirming and betraying his existence.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nomad SAR: Valeria, HMG Hellcat

Here's the start of a new project I've had in the works for over a year now.

Why do we have such hi-vis uniforms? We get that question a lot, actually. If we're supposed to be this high-tech, elite commando unit, why does Nomad SAR wear uniforms that make us look like traffic cones?

One reason is that in today's tactical environment, camo is pretty useless. Between thermosensors, satloc, heartbeat locators and all manner of detection equipment I can't even talk about, squiggly brown lines on your pants aren't going to matter very much. So we wear what we want to wear. And these duds look pretty flash.

Of course, there's a few tactical reasons for blaze orange, too. First of all, we want everyone to see us coming. If we're on a rescue op, the guns are security, and we're hoping that the vics are looking for us as hard as we're looking for them. If we're on an opposed retrieval, sometimes the bad guys see us coming and suddenly reconsider their decision not to negotiate. The smart bad guys, anyway.

And also, when we do need to do a hot jump, we want to be able to see each other quickly. Our uniforms pop in our peripheral vision, so in the chaos and madness of a lightning op, we know where everyone is at all times.

But honestly? We wear orange and red because it doesn't matter if we're spotted. By the time you see us, you're dead already.