It was clear that they were scouting. Looking for something. What wasn't clear was what it was. Or where they were coming from. The scanner teams monitoring the city's airspace hadn't detected the aliens until they were almost within striking range. It couldn't be determined if they'd come from orbit, from a drop-ship of some kind, or if they'd skimmed in low from nearby ground-bases. The drop-ship was the most likely scenario, but the alien's "stepladder" carriers were normally detectable further out than this.
Leaning over the scanner display, it was immediately clear that this wasn't a probing attack. They were coming in force this time. Once again they were too close for comfort - how in hell were they masking their approaches so well? Regardless - they were coming. Fast. Air, ground-skimmers and infantry.
At least paranoia had some uses - after the obvious failures of the scanners earlier in the day, the defence forces had mobilised pretty much everything for rapid deployment. Feet were already on the ground, engines were running, impellers whining as aircraft strained at the leash.
Co-ordinates and target descriptions were up-linked to unit commanders and flight-leaders and the dots representing the UCM forces on the scanner began to move to intercept the aliens.
A commotion broke out at the rear of the war room. Two troopers were hauling a limp, bloody form across the room. It was dumped on the floor at the feet of the commander. A technician's bloody uniform hung in tatters from the man's battered frame.
"What's this about? I'm trying to co-ordinate defences here..." growled the commander.
"Sorry sir," replied one of the troopers - a sergeant. "We found this tech sabotaging a scanner array. He put up a hell of a fight. He was armed with this."
The sergeant passed a weapon to the commander. Scourge technology.
"A traitor? How..."
"No sir - look," the trooper indicated a small, inscectoidal protuberance on the back of the man's head, in a place normally covered by a uniform cap. "He's been controlled somehow. We think this is why the scanners haven't been at peak efficiency."
"Good work. Get him to a medic for analysis. Scan him for booby-traps first. Get me the scanner tech team lead - now! He's got work to do."
"We already notified the scanner teams of the sabotage," replied the sergeant. "I think they may already be working on repairs."
The commander glanced down at the scanner screens.
"I think you're right," he replied. "Look."
Pointing at the screen, the sergeant's breath stilled. Sector-by-sector the display was changing as each scanner was re-calibrated to reverse the damage caused by the technician. As each display panel winked off and back on again, the number of red threat-indicators grew hugely as the true extent of the attacking force was revealed.
I decided it was high-time that I got my airbrush out again and as I'd recently picked up a couple of boxed sets of Dropzone Commander it seemed like it might be a perfect candidate.
And here are the results:
|Kodiak Command Vehicle|
|Troop units 1 & 2 and their Bear APCs|
|Troop units 3 & 4 and their Bear APCs|
|Troop units 5 & 6 and their Bear APCs|
More Dropzone Commander stuff: