No Shit, There I Was…

Kahrsh Pacification Zone
Kaher (Yaffish Marsh)

Even from within the thickly-armored Hellwind-class command tank, and at the entire river’s width, the yells and screams of the mob advancing towards the nearest island, and so the final span of the lengthy bridge were clearly audible. Lieutenant Vikal Karelian, Forty-Third Waserai Regiment, turned from the periscope’s view of shaken fists and thrown stones, and quoted:

“’It is imperative that you prevent the protesters from crossing the Kardenh Bridge under any circumstances. You are authorized to requisition whatever decisive force is necessary to achieve this. It is also essential that collateral casualties be entirely avoided, and casualties overall be held to a minimum, in order to avoid strengthening the grievances of the insurgency.’”

“I would say that that didn’t come from the First Regiment,” Lieutenant Oly Larios – 25th Imperial Night Riders, currently on secondment – replied. “Seein’ as they’ve actually fought an action or two in their time.”

“Local civvy government.” The words were a curse. “Hand-to-hand it is, then. Unless you have one of your tech miracles in your pack?”

Larios’s face blurred out for a moment in thought, and then he grinned. “Actually… I do have an idea. Not a tech miracle, though.” He gestured at the communications equipment. “May I?”

“Be my guest.”

“Flight Operations? Lieutenant Larios, Waserai Occupation Authority.  By my command, you will please instruct flight tango lima three one two to perform an emergency cargo dump in two seven, mark… Yes, I’m aware of that. Order is confirmed. Larios, clear.” He flipped the radio back to the local command channel, then reached up and hit switches on the environmental panel. “All units hold position and do not, repeat, do not engage unless directly engaged. Engage chemical protection protocols; recycle all atmosphere. Clear.”

“What!? Minimize casualties – you’re gassing them – belay –”

“Well, not strictly speaking. Just a little something to dampen their enthusiasm. See?” The eldrae held out his slate, one line of text blinking for attention.

Karelian had just enough time to read “FL TL312 (MLV Cloud Hauler): Organics to orbital stations for recycling” before the shit hit the span.