Friday, October 23, 2009


I had been sent to destroy a radio station.

It was 0515, just before the invasion was to begin. HQ had identified a radio station that OPFOR was probably using to coordinate their coastal defenses; so our squad had been airlifted in, in the wee hours of the morning, to mark its location for "fast movers". Or, that is to say, tactical bombers and their laser-guided ordinance.

I took the laser designator, per orders from the squad's lieutenant, and scrambled off the helicopter, getting clear of the LZ. We moved forward together, using night-vision goggles to pierce the murky pre-dawn gloom. And then... well, something of my inexperience showed.

For this was a video-game, you see, which I'd gotten on sale earlier that day, and I was not very good at it.

I wandered through the night, frequently getting lost, hearing radio chatter as my more-capable AI team-mates engaged and eliminated hostile forces. (ENEMY MAN 200 METERS FORWARD, their robotic voices would disjointedly announced. 3 ENGAGE TARGET. SCRATCH ONE.)

Our original mission had been to target the radio for a bombing run, but it turned out the radio was in the center a populated village. A bombing run would cause horrific civilian casualties. So instead, I agreed to take the radio out with satchel charges.

I had the satchel charges. I planted the charges. I had no idea of how to use them.

So: better idea.

Nearby, the local OPFORCE had a weapons cache; several automatic weapons, ammunition, and an RPG-7. (A rocket-propelled grenade-launcher.) That would do the trick! There were three rounds for it, too... but I couldn't carry more than two (of the three) without dropping something.

Looked at my inventory. What to drop, to make room? Perhaps... this now-useless laser-guide battery?

Now happily (and heavily) armed, I gained a safe distance from the radio. I aimed. I fired. Whoosh! Boom! The radio antenna was fine.

I blinked. I aimed higher. I fired again.

Whoosh! Boom! No more effect.

I loaded my last round and decided to get another angle on the situation...

Which promptly revealed that, rather than firing into the power generator for the radio antenna, I'd been hitting the wrong side of an adjacent truck.

Took aim at the generator. Nudged my aim up. Fired. Whoosh! BOOM!

Objective complete.

The mission continued. Civilians were rescued; enemies were eliminated (by my team-mates, of course); I got lost. Autosaves were made. Finally, I made it to the extraction point; our command congratulated us on a job well done, and suggested that, being already on the ground, we might be suitable for a job spotting enemy beach defenses for the bombers. (A massive invasion was about to begin, you see.)

I was always up for more. "Sure!" I agreed.

"All right," my squad's lieutenant said. "Where's your laser spotter?"

I blinked.

The battery was still on the ground, next to the enemy weapons cache.

"...I left it on the chopper," my character lamely excused himself.

"God damn it, Cooper," my lieutenant said wearily.


I hope you were entertained by this humorous anecdote

(Plusses: I found another weapons cache en route, so I have another three rounds for my splendid RPG-7! And inventories seem to carry over between missions... man, I anticipate good times.)

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