"The relative peace of Egypt's sandy dunes is suddenly broken as the BETA launch a vicious surprise attack against the human defenders stationed along the Suez Canal."
Burning Sand Grave is a short story included as part of TSFIA.
June 15, 1989
Suez Canal Defense Line
The sudden and unexpected arrival of a BETA horde erupting without warning from a sand dune had effectively pierced the Suez canal defense line. Within the deserts of Egypt, humanity had finally learned the hard way that the current generation ground vibration sensors were useless for detecting underground BETA movement through sand.
"CODE 991! Requesting immediate artillery fire support!" Said one unit's officer, his voice high pitched with barely reserved terror as his men were overwhelmed around him.
"Request denied! The risk of friendly fire is too high!"
Because of the preparations already organized to defend against a predicted push by the BETA from Hive 09, the human defenders were well dug in when the attack hit, but what was unexpected was that the BETA would emerge directly beneath the defenders; the surprise attack threw the entire line into a panic as the defense was smashed to pieces by the BETA's hardened pincers and gaping maws.
Without the support of artillery, the entire communication net filled with screams of the dying and the urgent voices of various commanders requesting aid, confirmation, and orders. The arrival of several dozen Fort-class disgorging their monstrous payload of Grapplers, Tanks, and Laser classes caused fear and terror to spread like wildfire among the ranks of the surviving defenders.
In every sense of the word, the first Suez Canal defense line had collapsed in on itself.
To the people of the Middle East, who had already lost their homeland during the early days of the BETA invasion, the defense of the Suez Canal was of absolute importance and failure there of any kind could not be allowed. The sanctuary offered by the land of Africa to the refugees of those who lost their homes, and the resources supplied to sustain the rest of the free world could not be lost to the BETA.
However, even now, when the Suez Defense Line Command had finally ordered the artillery to fire, the arrival of laser class had rendered those efforts ineffective.
Then, on the death and despair-riddled battlefield, coming far from the rear, reinforcements began to arrive. Several battalions of TSFs from various nations had arrived via NOE flight, and for a moment a breath of relief was taken by the besieged defenders.
"Horus 1 to all friendly forces in the area, fall back and rally at the final defense line. My battalion alone will stay as the rear guard."
The CO finished their announcement to allied forces and then opened a battalion-wide channel to speak to their subordinates.
"Horus 1 to all Horus battalion sub-units: split into Element pairs, and prioritize the laser class for destruction. Conserve your ammo and use knives until we reach the laser and fort classes."
The channel was filled with the chorus of their subordinates confirming the hastily spoken orders.
The 331st Horus TSF battalion of the 3rd Egyptian Army Corp, using their F-4E configured for desert warfare, charged into the fray to where the BETA seemed to number more than the very heated sand they stood upon. Using well rehearsed tactics and drills, the TSFs began their relentless and implacable advance to close in on the priority targets: Laser and Fort classes.
Even during the chaotic nature of this battle, the 331st still maintained their unit cohesion with inhuman discipline and displayed examples of gallantry and bravery that would later become legend among the defenders of the Suez Canal.
"Command Post, this Horus 1! The Laser class are suppressed in my area, bring in the rain of cleansing fire, danger close!"
Though the defenders suffered a 20% casualty rate during the retreat, it was thanks to the noble sacrifice of the entire 331st battalion that the defense line was held.
Thus ended Day 1 of the first defense of the Suez Canal. The battle would continue to rage for four more months. Even then, it was only the first of many battles to be fought against the BETA at the Suez Canal.
As of the present day, no BETA have managed to set foot into Africa proper thanks to the stalwart defenders of the Suez Canal.
- ↑ The region of Southwest Asia, commonly known as the Middle East, was besieged by the BETA as early as 1974: one year after the first BETA landing party arrived on Earth. In 1984, with the construction of Anbar Hive (H09) in Iraq, most of the remaining armed forces retreated to the Arabian Peninsula and the Suez Canal. The Arabian Peninsula finally collapses in 1997, which leaves the Suez Canal as Africa's final defense line against BETA incursion from the northeast.
- ↑ Nap-Of-Earth, a term used to describe a flying vehicle maintaining an altitude dangerously close to the ground. It is tactic reserved for when the danger of Laser-class anti-air fire is high, but the mobility of flight is still required. Given the amount of obstacles and rough terrain found on a battlefield, a TSF can easily catch itself and crash with one wrong move, so the tactic is most effective with experienced pilots
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