Thunder on the Horizon
By Charles Cole

a players take on Operation Eminent Storm
May 21rst-23rd, 2004 @ Smak Zone Paintball

    As Sunday morning began, gray clouds rolled in, blanketing the Missouri sky. Ever so faintly a rumble of something sounded in the distance, but too faint to tell exactly what. The dark clouds made a nice canopy for the wooded field that the paintball players for the Operation Eminent Storm 3 scenario game given by Smakzone, were entering into. The woods grew around winding dirt roads that lead to bases, forts and bridges. These roads also lead to the Special Forces base where players were piling in for the start of the game. The General of the SF side, Billy Goodman, took his last chance to summoned his troops to battle with one clear objective. "We must take Satcom." he said in a loud voice so that he could make sure he was heard. "After Satcom is taken, then other objectives could be accomplished." Then before composure could settle in, the game horn blew. Game on! And the troops moved out in one general direction. The empty wooded field with summer time foliage popping up welcomed the mass amount of paintball players to move across it's terrain, but the sky spoke of conflict. The rumblings echoed through the land and thunder was upon the SF team. With this concentrated effort, the mass amount of troops acted as a spear sifting through the brush, and onto its objective. It wasn't long and Satcom was in the hands of the Contra's that occupied it previously.

Satcom, a base, loaded with surrounding trenches, walkways, levels, lookout towers and resting on the top of a hill, to look down on any opposition that might come its way, was secure in the hands of SF. The special forces general and the XO, Johnny Bucy were standing securely near the base, plotting the next move. I was standing some distance behind, taking a breath and waiting to be of some use. My name is Charles Cole, one of the newer members to the Pukin' Dogs Scenario team. I was carrying my A-5 Tippmann that felt more like the machine gun of paintball markers than anything else. The General, XO and several others began to make their way past me along a stretch of road that passes The Power Station, and The Outpost. The power station consist of several small shacks that make for a quick take, if necessary. The Outpost is a nice 3/4 round ramp and circles a tower structure, difficult to hold and take, a 50/50 type situation.

On the trek down the road we pass the Power Station. Everything was clear. We then proceeded to the Outpost. Our single file line down the road was split on either side, when it came under fire from Contra's hiding in the Outpost. The players on the right side of the road was laying down cover fire at the contra's on the walkway level. Several SF's were being shot out . On the left side, a few special forces held the same contras at bay with better angles. I hung back looking for a way to help out. I saw the XO-Johnny and Pukin' Dog teammate Travis go deep into the left flank of the outpost to give them something to think about. I looked back and saw General Goodman taking up the rear. With little advantage on the left, I waited till the left road laid down cover fire and sprinted across the road to the right. He paused at a fair sized tree to assess the advantage. Before me. I saw two special forces in a gully before the outpost wall. One of the SF's had a Law rocket with him, waiting for his chance to take out a wall. I sprinted more to the right flank, and took cover with another Pukin' Dog Teammate, David.
"What are you wanting to do?" I asked.
"I need someone to go around this left side, I can't see where this guy is in the base." David replied.
Paint fire zipped by both of us and I exchanged fire until my gun started running out of CO2.
"Stay there!" said David.
"Ok."
David then asked " Can you get over to that brush?" while pointing to a area on a river bed slope that went around the right side of the Outpost.
"I'll try" positioning myself to start my sprint. "Lay down some cover fire for me."
David did just that, giving me the opportunity I needed. The window gave me a chance to get where I needed. Paintballs started hitting around me, so I hit the dirt and shot a few puffs of air just to make noise in hopes that it would help some. Then I was finally shot out.

When I returned to the Outpost on my next insertion, the SF had taken the base and several of the troops where there. The General was also there plotting the next move. He needed a few people to stay behind and guard the Outpost until a certain time. The General was to take with him what he could to fortify what real estate we had ahead. I choose to stay back to catch my breath and rest, forgetting that it never happens, especially when you think attack is avoidable. I first took position on one of the ramps that circled the structure. I noticed I had two other SF's walking about. One approached me. The players name was Steve, and from suspicions back at camp we thought he might be a spy, since it was rumored there would be some.

I humored him as much as possible trying desperately not to make him feel unneeded if he was an SF and not give his idea's any credit if he was a spy. He made several suggestions, but I had to deny them all and keep him in a defensive role at the Outpost. He eventually took the middle tower. Meanwhile my radio was taking on a important role. A female player was at the Battery Station just up the road from me was needing some help while also trying to find out how fortified the Outpost was. Like a dummy I couldn't stop myself from giving out information on a channel that probably wasn't secure. "How many guys do you have?" she would ask
"Just a few." I answered
"Do you need any help there?"
"Well I only have 3 here, so if you can send a few more, that would be good." I realized what I had done right then. With my head in my arms, I could hear her say " Ok, we will send someone down after we defend against these attackers first."
I couldn't believe I had made such a critical error with the radio. A few other SF's came by the Outpost. I talked to them for a minute urging them to stay. They were on the way to the Battery Station to help defend it and then promised to be right back. Luckily, that's what they did. It just took them a short time and they came walking back. I would now have five in various positions around the walkways and in the tower. This is when the bad news broke over the radio. " The Contra tank is moving and heading your way Outpost. They will be crossing the bridge side first." the woman said.
"Ok, thanks" I replied. I looked around. The last time I was in the outpost I had a hard time defending the walkway. I decided the ground level would be my best bet. The ground level of the Outpost has many covered areas between the walkway post, with lots of room to move around in the middle. I took cover behind one of the bunkers underneath the walkway. The engine of the tank/van could be heard, then the whiteness of the tank/van could be seen making its way down the road, past the SF base and on its way to the bridge. Contra players were taking cover behind the tank in order to get to their objective. The tank stopped at the foot of the bridge. The Contra's were switching the flag on the poll by pulling the cord on the poll replacing one flag with another. Once this was done the tank started making its way across the bridge and toward the Outpost in order to weed out the SF by putting them in a crossfire with the troops that followed. I took cover behind the bunker, knowing that at some point it would be compromised by the tank's position.

I had taken a beating from the tank several times that game. Apparently someone inside was a good shot and kept the paint flying from the tank. Being behind the front bunker was a risky decision. I would lay down as close as possible in the bunker while keeping just out of site by tank. This left the defense of the base to those on the walkway, but I would be the last defensive position. The players on the walkways engaged in a fire fight with the approaching Contra's in the gully ahead, while the circling tank was taking shots at the Outpost. The sound of running footsteps could be heard, and then two SF players where calling themselves out. This only left three I thought as the tank was now directly opposite of the approaching Contra's, but the tank changed that too. It starting firing on a player covering the flag on the walkway. The player called himself out. Now just two of us. I had to wait now. The tank couldn't see me and any movement would disturb that. It didn't take long until a Contra took the courage to sprint into the middle section of the Outpost.

I jolted up, trying to lay into him with paint. As he disappeared out of view, there was movement on the back entrance to the walkway. The contra player was hunched down heading up the ramp to the flag. By the time I noticed him, and started throwing paint his way, he went deeper into cover. The courageous Contra was now heading toward the tower part of the fort and coming into my aim again. He then engaged in a fast battle with Steve who was waiting for him in the tower. I took my opportunity to fire at the opposing player. Then there were two eliminations. Steve's by the contra, and the contra by me. I focused again on the walkway player. Just when I was about to take action, the brush behind my bunker started moving, the sound of fast footsteps made their way to the other side with a loud "thud" on my bunker wall. Normally I would have played this out, but the rules for this game was that only the bunkered could call the surrender, not the bunkee. So I called it. " You got me, I'm out! Let me out!" The Contra's saw me walk out, then took a quick glance around and claimed their victory by raising their guns and letting off a celebratory yell.