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They hear a vehicle and turn to see a Camel enter the compound. It stops and a man jumps out.

“Hello” He says “I’m Mike and wondered if you could tell me the way to the Marian Heights Hotel, my sat nav went down in a sand storm”.

“Err….” The group seem a little take back, then Woods answers his question.

“Oh, having problems with your Pathfinder?” says Mike

“That’s not the only problem we have. Anytime now a very bad tempered 10ft tall, fully armoured and heavily armed bio-weapon is going to come up from that lift and try and kill us all” replies McCallum.

“Oh dear” says Mike

“You need to go sir” Continues McCallum “There is a nuclear reactor deep beneath our feet and its going to blow. So you need to be at least a mile away”.

“Um….I see…..you really aren’t having a good day are you?” Says Mike “It sounds that you need one of these”

He walks around the back of his Camel and presses a few buttons. Before McCallum could tell him to get going a large suit of some sort swings down from the back of the Camel on hydraulics.

“Heavy Armour Rapid Deployment suit” He says. “I can show you how to operate it. You are welcome to use it”.

McCallum waves bye to the back of Mike’s Camel as he disappears across the plains. Joseph and Woods take up position, Joseph quickly familiarizing himself with McCallum’s assault rifle. Daniels moves and takes up position across the compound.

McCallum looks over his HUD and checks the suits functions. Then the cover to the subterranean complex opens and McCallum finds himself, for a second time starring at the foreboding sight of the D-generation.

For the first 5 minutes the compound erupts with gunfire. The HARD suits HUD flashes and flickers as MG rounds smash into it. McCallum opens up with a sustained MG burst, followed by the shoulder mounted rocket. The impact makes quite a dent and the D-generation gets knocked off its feet. Not before a smart RPG hits McCallum from above. Warning lights flashed and the suit loses power. McCallum fires the suits MG again, strafing the ground where the D-generation lay. With the suits targeting system offline the shots fall short.

McCallum switches to auxiliary power then checked the suits systems. Hydraulics shot, atmospheric breach, ammo all but spent, power down to less then 10%. He radios the others but gets nothing. The firing has stopped, so they are either dead or out of ammo. He looks over at the D-generation which to his relief was lying still. But something bothered him, this thing had the ability to revitalise its cellular function. And as good as the HARD suit was, McCallum had no such ability. He looked at his HUD and the word Malfunction flashed back. The suit had gave all it had. He exited the suit and collapsed to the ground.

He picks himself up then sees the sight which he was dreading. The D-generation was raising! It was clearly damaged but getting stronger. McCallum drew his pistol and fires until it clicks empty. He looks around, no sign of his team, the HARD suit standing crumpled. No hope……Then a sound of a projectile…

The High Explosive Air Burst round detonated only inches from the D-generation smashing it into pieces.

McCallum looks around and for the first time sees a very welcome sight. A Paladin from Badger troop, but what is it doing this far out?

The Paladin pulls in and two RDF troopers jump out.

“McCallum, you okay?” Says Lt Hunt

“Its good to be recognised”

“Yeah, we recognised one of our HARD suits, but what the hell was that?”

“I’ll debrief you later, but for now we need to get going” Says McCallum

With that Woods comes running up puffing and panting in the thin Marian air.

“I am glad to see you guys” he says smiling.

“Where’s the others?” Asks McCallum

“Daniels is hit, I’ve treated her wounds, she should be fine” He says

“And Joseph?”

Woods shakes his head and explains that the young security guard took a round to the head.

They help Daniels into the Paladin and retrieve Joseph’s body. Within moments the RDF are on their way.

Meanwhile……somewhere else. Sir Timothy stops his vehicle and sticks his head out. He eyes the man up and down. He notices that he is not dressed very suitably for the Marian environment. He also notes the old style six shooter pistol on his hip.

“Need a lift?” He says, puffing on his Ivory lidded pipe.

“Sure, but I’m keen to avoid any RDF interest” He says

Sir Timothy smiles to himself.

“You and me both”

The End

Well, folks hope you all enjoy the pics and the little story with it. That concludes Project Stratosphere. I must say I did enjoy putting it all together. Quite a lot of work, I streamlined the ending a bit, there was going to be more on the intro of the HARD suit. And I changed other bits of the story a bit too. But scenery worked well, I kept the design of the rooms fairly spacious without too much clutter. To give room for the figures to move around, it was hard to do desks and chairs for 6mm. Maybe at some point when time allows I’ll add to it. But for now it made an interesting game board. Ideal for an internal skirmish if I even get around to play a game. Not to mention I have all the bases on all my figures to re-paint to blend with my new Mars mat. Always lots to do.