I hit the deck.
Not because of the fear of that dreaded weapon, no far from it. If I did not hit the deck and survived the non-com would have my rank afterwards. That is, if I was lucky.
Two years ago the non-com gave a warning to help us survive. Three did not head it and two of them died. It just happened to be another needler attack. After the battle he stripped the rank of the soldier who did not hit the deck, docked him all his combat pay and administered 10 lashes. Now when something like that warning comes out we hit the deck.
Fist I guess I have to explain what a needler is. Most planet siders have not heard of the weapon. It is nasty. Unlike most ballistic weapons the needler rips you up inside. It fires a small filament of glass that has high textile strength when pushed, but breaks apart as it penetrates flesh. The filament is only about a millimetre in diameter but breaks apart into hundreds of shards that splinter into about 23 centimetres spread in the body. They take out major organs, causing most people to die of internal bleeding. If the heart is hit the impact kills in about 5 minutes; likewise if your lungs or other parts are hit. I say 5 minutes for after your heart stops beating your brain keeps working till that time is over. It survives for up to 5 minutes after the heart stops; nothing like a slow death that you can do nothing about.
“Jones is down!”
I looked over to see him slumped against the abutment. He must have tried to look over it. Lucky for him in how he was hit. His eye socket was now empty, clear proof that it was where he was hit. The needlers shards must have gone into the brain through the eye, liquefying it as it exploded.
Two good things about needlers, they carried 1000 rounds of ammunition and you could run through that in one minute if you were green. It seems that the ones they gave them too are green. Soon all we heard was the puffing of the guns as their cartridges became empty.
“Squad one, ready to decoy on my mark. Squad two, flanking positions with cover from one on my mark….MARK!”
I bounced up and fired 5 rounds in rapid succession. I hear a pressure suit erupt from the gas it held.
“Damn! They were closer than I thought!”
It was Ricky. He will catch flack for that.
“Genkins, stow that chatter.”
We have only guessed what the bugs look like. After they die their exoskeleton implodes. It seems that their soldiers are implanted with a micro charge to help persuade them to keep fighting to the last. I saw it in action once. A bug started to back up from its position and it just collapsed. When I opened the suite it was wearing it looked like a multi mixer had been used on it.
“Squad two…Cross fire now!”
The second squad had reached the 90 degree angle to us and the bugs. They started firing and mopping up.
“Damn good thing they’re not smart. Any first year cadet would have seen that coming and killed us.”
It was the non-com again. He likes to brag that he can out think a bug with no problems at all. Really, I just thought that the drones we were fighting had just basic instincts.
“Hey, look at this one still clenching that weapon…”
“Don’t touch that corp…”
It was too late. Genkins kicked the arm holding the needler and it went off.
I looked down and saw the point of impact. Lucky for me it hit the sidearm I wore on my leg and not the leg directly.
I crumpled in agony.
It must have hit the tibialis anterior and shattered from there. A Small muscle in the leg for all intensive purposes, but still it will sideline me for a month.
A small set back in the fight that we have happening on this planet now.