Terry Henry Walton Chronicle Book 9
By Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle
I read this snippet as well (most of it anyway) – see it on FB.
Kaeden, Marcie, and Ramses had prepared a squad on squad contest, pitting the three squads against each other to determine what was in a remote homestead in the north. The three squads had to reach the place undetected, conduct the reconnaissance, and then leave. If they encountered one of the other squads, they were to neutralize them through non-lethal hand-to-hand combat.
Gunny Lacy and her two squads were acting as the judges by staging themselves along the route and acting as the targets at the homestead, which was an active vegetable farm.
The few members who would be working at the farm were looking forward to the inevitable good eating that came from helping the farmers with the manual labor.
The three team leaders collaborated to choose their routes north as they didn’t want initial conflict the second they started. They’d learn more when their people were tired, which would best replicate combat conditions. The colonel always told them the most impactful training happens at the end.
The three squads chose night time to travel. They all assumed it would take one night to get into place.
After the first mile of pushing, Kaeden slowed his group. They were making too much noise and highlighting themselves by moving through open areas to maintain speed.
Kae called a halt and huddled the team in a small depression. “We go slow. Bing on point. Slow, stay to the shadows. We’ll get into place tomorrow night. We can’t risk being discovered before we get there. The mission objectives are clear – stealth takes priority. We can run back if we need to, but we can’t be found out before we get there,” he whispered.
The old stealth versus speed argument. He’d fallen into the trap by setting a schedule that was too aggressive. When the team moved out a second time, Kaeden was pleased with their efforts to blend into the shadows. He relaxed as they moved and listened intently, observing with his enhanced vision, reveling in his new abilities.
Marcie chose a route close to the lake which doubled the distance she had to travel. Her squad took off running and maintained a withering pace for over half the night as they ran along roads. Her idea of stealth was to stay away from the areas where she could be observed. When she finally stopped the team to reorient them for an approach to the objective from the east, they dropped their packs and fell to the ground, exhausted.
She wanted to take a fifteen-minute break, but gave them an hour and a half to sleep while she stood watch.
When they awoke, Marcie was still fresh, and they looked dogged. But she wanted to get into place by dawn.
“On your feet. Stealth mode people for the last couple miles. We have time, so go slow to go fast. But we need to go now,” she told them, trying to be encouraging.
The team stumbled from their temporary bivouac and headed back into the rugged terrain. They disappeared from view, but Marcie could hear them as easily as if they were driving a jeep.
She shook her head and signaled for her team to slow down. Each warrior passed the order up the line. When they slowed further, the noise died down where an unenhanced human wouldn’t catch it.
Marcie was satisfied with the stealth, but concerned about the time as the false dawn started to light the sky.
Ramses took the straight approach to the objective. He figured that the shorter distance they had to travel, the better off they would be. He had his team traveling deliberately from the start. He took frequent breaks and kept them fresh. He knew by midnight that they would make it that night.
He settled his team in, one hour watches and let them rest, deciding that they would move during the day, extra slowly, but when they were fresh and then low crawl into position when everyone else could still see where they were going.
Ramses expected that being able to see would outweigh the risks as his people would be well-rested and alert.