Location: Little Creek
It was going to be the last Vermin War. No one said it, explicitly at least, but we felt it. I was about to finish my freshman year of college, Joe was going off to join the marines that summer, and everyone was about to go their own way – but we still had one more battle to fight.
The original “Vermin” team had effectively split up following the second war. We had faced a number of home grown teams and militias after that point, some enemies lasting longer than others; but all of them were “vermin” to us, the term we chose to represent our enemies – vile, inferior, wretched. There was a new team of vermin this year. Some of the faces were old, some of the faces were new, but we relished the prospect of kicking their asses and showing them where they belonged. If this was our last hoorah we were going to go out with all guns blazing.
Joe The location for the war was new, yet not one completely unfamiliar to us. The state was building a 4 lane bypass around town and it intersected the road my neighborhood was on, about a mile down from my house. The highway wasn’t built yet, it was just one long massive expanse of orange packed earth surrounded by the incroaching green forest. There was a large pond, almost more like a lake, about a quarter mile north-east of the proposed bypass. It was an old mill pond, and there was a large dam at the base of the pond. We decided to make our fort at this point amongst the ruins of the old mill. The ruins were situated atop a steep little hill adjacent to the dam. The old columns, grey faded concrete, made for great cover. A myriad of vines, creepers, and briars had closed in around the columns, seemingly choking them out in some areas. We agreed that the thick, tangled underbrush would be great for masking our movement.
I got there early that morning to help set up camp. I brought my trusty 1500 and a cooler of around 200 waterballoons. Joe was the next to show up, Flash Flood in hand. He was wearing a full ghillie suit. We filled up a few 2 and 3L bottles from the pond, just in case we got shut up in our base. The rest of the team showed up shortly after, Robert dressed like a typical metal head, carrying his CPS 4100, Viper with his 1200, Logan Water Warriors Firefly, Sam Arctic Shock, Kirk 1500, Seth XP 70, Drew only had two XP 20s, so I gave him my beat up 2100. Our weaponry was looking pretty rag tag, a testament to the amount we had fought over the last few years, and to the dearth of quality guns currently available. I wasn’t sure how many opponents we were facing, but the battle was to begin at 10, it was to be 1 hit kills, and it was to last until…well all day long if need be.
It was 10 o’clock. I saw enemy soldiers on the opposite bank of the dam. They were climbing down the bank and looking to ford the creek at the base of the dam. Viper’s squad quietly exited the base, crouching, almost crawling through the undergrowth. My squad provided overwatch from the base.
Viper’s men crouched in the thickets along the hillside over the creek. Three of our opponents were out in the middle of the creek now, on the rocks. It looked like they were just trying to scout out the area since they didn’t know exactly where we were. They paused, looking around out in the open. Viper gave a loud war cry RAAAA and jumped down onto the rocks. The rest of the team followed, yelling as they jumped from the bank. Our opponents turned around, scrambling to get back to the opposing bank. Two made it, only to see their teammate trip on the rocks and fall into the rushing water. He got up, gasping. It was April, and the water was still cold. He tried to scramble but my teammates got there first. He must have been hit at least five times. The two other guys ran off into the brush. Viper’s team waded back to our side, cheering at the kill.
The enemy had discovered our position. We had taken out one in the process, but they knew where we were, and I was still unsure as to where their main force was. I had Viper’s squad man the base and patrol our side of the bank. The vermin hadn’t seen my squad, so if they spotted Viper’s squad around the base they wouldn’t notice anything different from before, they wouldn’t notice that the Long Patrol had left the base. We were hoping to hit them from behind, unexpected.
Joe took the point. We went out the back of the base and climbed down the hill, circling back around towards the creek. It was only April, but the brush was thick with new spring foliage. Joe was impossible to see from where I was at, but every now and then he would take a knee and we would catch up to him. After about 10 minutes we crossed the creek in an area that was really more swamp than it was creek. We were now on the opposite side of the bank, the same side where somewhere the main enemy force was lurking.
We started heading uphill as we moved further from the creek. The underbrush started to thin out and we started heading into an oak forest. I was looking ahead to the left, at a swampy area going back towards the pond when I heard a loud downpour of water crashing through the leaves above. We all turned around instinctively as the spray fell amongst us. Robert, who was covering the rear, was hit. I looked up. It was a deer stand.
“CLEAR OUT! CLEAR OUT!”
We pushed ahead. We could have taken the guy out, but without waterballoons we’d have to get in close, and I didn’t know how many guys we’d lose before we could get a clear shot at our opponent. We had been gone for about 30 minutes, were were down a man, and we still had no clear idea where the main enemy force was. Sam took Robert’s CPS 4100 and we pressed on.
We circled around, heading back towards the base. If the vermin were launching an attack on the base we would be coming up behind them. Joe ran ahead, as usual. A few minutes he came running back, breathing heavily. “They’ve crossed the creek and attacked the base. Our guys are held up inside!” We raced off to the fight. I made it to the bank first. It looked like Viper’s guys were surrounded. The swampy area further down the creek would be the easiest to get to undetected. We headed that way. Two vermin were firing on the base from a little island in the swampy area of the creek. Joe and I got there first. I came crashing down on this guy, 5x shot to the back of the head. His teammate turned around, bringing his 2100 up to fire. Joe lept up out of the high grass, like some swamp thing, in his ghillie suit, pulling back the top mounted flood trigger. Flash flood to the side of the face! We crossed the creek and ran up the hill into the base.
SamOur guys had taken up some good defensive spots behind the old mill stones. Viper rolled out from behind a pillar and lobbed a water balloon. Drew was out, and Seth was out. We were down 3 men now.
“How many have you hit?” I shouted.
“None! They split their force, half came from around the lake, that’s how they caught Drew and Seth off guard and pushed us in here.”
Well, we were no longer surrounded, more like, pressed in by a crescent shape. We could sneak out the back, down over the island, and through the swamp, but if we did that they would have the advantage of running downhill as we exited the base. We’d have to fight it out. First, we had to figure out the weak points in the offense, anywhere with less firepower, less cover, or significantly downhill from here. My brother pointed out that there were 2 guys firing at us from a stone and mortar wall that ran to the dam. Although they had good cover, their firepower was lacking, and they’d be easy to stealth attack.
I had Viper and Logan put up a good masking fire towards the oak forest behind the base. We left the 4100 with Logan so that they wouldn’t look as vulnerable. The rest of us headed for the two vermin by the wall. Kirk and Sam posted up behind the two old pillars closest to the wall. They laid down a heavy fire to distract the enemy while Joe and I crawled through the briars and vines along the base of the wall. Water was going everywhere, being launched over the wall from both sides. Joe and I could see the 2 guys, ducking and popping up to fire. We had to get in close to get a good shot. At about 10 ft away we opened fire, not tap shots, but holding down our triggers and completely drenching them.
With that threat cleared we were now free to move around a little better. We faced some scattered opposition in the oak forest behind/to the left of the base. The two guys we had just hit were walking in front of their position, leaving the fight. It obviously made an impression, because I saw 2 more guys get out from behind a pile of logs, as if to run away. Viper and Logan came charging out of the fort, sensing that the tide of battle was turning in our favor. The rest of us followed their lead, rushing into the brush.
We were chasing 2 vermin, one with a 2100, and the other with what looked to be a painted 270. I saw someone else stumble off into the woods, but he was far away and we had our sights locked clearly on these guys. They were fast. We ran along the side of the lake, chasing them further and further from the old mill to an area of the woods I wasn’t too familiar with. It was getting thicker and the ground was getting wetter. Every now and then they’d slip out of sight. They were about 50 yards ahead of us, I estimated. Our pace had slowed down considerably. Finally, things cleared out and we came to an open area of marsh, behind the back of the lake. We saw three guys, and a fourth running towards them carrying a 2500. I guessed it was the guy who had been up in the tree stand.
Should we risk open combat? We had a 6 on 4 advantage with 2 1500s, a 4100 +Firefly, 1200, Flash Flood, and Arctic Shock vs a 2500, 2100, 270, and a large third gun that I couldn’t make out. I gave the order to spread out and we advanced slowly. Our opponents backed up onto what can be best described as an island, or a sand bar rising up out of the muck, covered in reeds and cattails. We would get bogged down in the mud, while they had the high ground, and cover… this wasn’t going to work. We traded fire between the 1500s and the 2500 while Joe, Viper, and Sam tried to find a better way to get to the island.
They came across firmer ground, a bit over 50 yards down and began crossing over. Three of our opponents began wading and jumping through the reeds to stop our flankers, leaving the big guy with the 2500 to stop the rest of us.
“SPREAD OUT AND ATTACK!” I yelled.
Kirk ran to the left and started stumbling through the mud towards the island. Logan split off to the right where it was a bit more sandy, and rushed forward towards the 2500 in the reeds. I lunged forward, firing my 1500, hoping he would concentrate on me while my guys hit him from the sides. Logan raised the 4100 to fire – the trigger snapped. I fell in the mud. I pulled myself up and lurched forward, mud all over my face. I saw Logan pulling out his Firefly and getting hosed by the 2500. Kirk had made it to the bank, 1500 pushing through the reeds. He found his mark.
Soon I was on the bank and we were pushing through dead grass from last winter and new growth from this spring, mud on my face, blood and cuts on my legs. The battle was raging on ahead of us. I saw Sam drop his Arctic Shock and run down the bank. I had no idea what was going on, but later I found out that the Max D firing mechanism had broken. There was a fourth guy with a Pirahna, I have no idea where he came from, but he was chasing Sam who was running towards us. He shot Sam in the back, but I burst out of some high brush to blast him from about 10 feet away. The guy with the 270 turned and saw what had happened, that it was now 4 on 2. He turned, as if to get away. There would be no escape this time. Joe and Viper tag teamed the guy with the red shirt and the 2100 and then turned on the 270 who was stumbling into the brush. Five-times bursts and a flash flood downpour crashed through the reeds. Last man down!
That was it, apparently everyone had been eliminated. The four of us who had survived, plus Logan an Sam made the long trip back to the old mill to clean up together, one last time. One final win for the good guys.