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Book 1: The Rebirth of the Aztecs


Chapter 7 Part 4: It's Raining Tanks

His Uncle shouldn’t have, and for a moment afterwards the pirate wished his eccentric Inquisiting relation hadn’t. Stuffing the new kid’s massive frame inside the cramped space within the sub tank, the squad of privateers, and all their gear made sardine life in a can look spacious. His suit was going to have all the wrinkles.

Beatrice was not going to be happy, and she was going to insist on ironing the fancy ensemble herself no matter how exhausted she was from entertaining the guests tonight. Oh well, at least Don had insisted on giving him the commander seat in the turret. It was exactly five percent more spacious. Lucky him.

Drake laughed through the intercom at the softest thought he’d had in his life. When did he become that guy whining about how his knees were tucked up to his chin and the gunner’s bad breath was in his face? He needed to get back in the field next job. They were too good at this pirate stuff. The loot was making this Captain soft.

“Launch in ten seconds,” called Brother Eisen from over the intercom,” Please keep your tables, and chairs in their upright position before we shatter your spines.” Drake laughed with his men though he noticed the new kid went a bit pale. Everyone on the subtank, but the techweenie had been inserted via airship drop before. Well, it wasn’t exactly a skill most militaries needed for their tech boys. Good experience for the kid. He wasn’t joining up with swashbuckling pirates on a musical with more dancing than gutting.

The Pirate Captain thumbed the dual joystick controls that worked the turret. He knew the power was cut to them until splashdown. After all, a drone was going to glide them into the water after a quick dive. Couldn’t have an overly curious marine turned freelance privateer mess with the aerodynamics mid flight because he wanted to check to see if the advanced piece of machinery could look left. Pity, Drake had always fantasized about seeing how far you could shoot one of these things while flying like a drunk out of shape thunderbird over the ocean. Shame the drone wasn’t included in the deal for that kind of mythbusting. Yet anyways. There were more jobs ahead. Uncle Colt knew what the ladies liked.

“Three,” Brother Eisen’s voice barked through the intercom skipping his ten count as was traditional when training rookies in Royal Ranger Marine boot camp. Drake rolled his eyes and leaned back in the leather seat. There wasn’t far to go, but for a combat vehicle the extra space and cushy seat was a luxury almost unheard of.

“Two,” Whistles came up from the pirates as they heard the metal doors open beneath the subtank. Drake grinned as he let his imagination run wild with all the potential his new asset with all its shiny new gear and dozen or so scout drones could accomplish in the field he found himself operating in.

China was still selling processors and other goodies to various Mexican hold outs and Aztec warlord types, and those went for a pretty penny. Snatching up a shipment after the Chinese had sold the goods meant they weren’t making an international incident with the primary power in the Pacific while also picking winners and losers in the tribal warfare going on down south of Catalina. Not a horrible move though the subtank might be overkill on a logistics center with a few grunts with small arms around. Needed to think bigger like raiding one of those warlords’ fortresses. Shoot, they were going to need to procure ammo and gas for this behemoth. That was going to be interesting while nominally hiding their connections to the High King on the global stage.

“One,” And just like that Brother Eisen ended the spirally thoughts of logistics, plans, and headaches which tore at any decent officer’s mind during quiet moments. Simultaneously ruining what sleep Drake would have and making useless plans that would never survive contact with reality. The tech monk managed to cure the Captain with a press of a button.

Drake smiled as he heard the grind of machinery above him and the hiss as the hydraulics releasing the heavy troop carrier. A moment of suspense as the clamps burst open, and the feeling of weightlessness hovered on the cusp of reality giving one just enough time to pee his pants if he was new to the ordeal. Drake was happy he wasn’t sharing the turret with the newbie.

A rush of wind and Drake’s stomach jumping up the pirate’s throat and out like an exercised spirit being sent straight to hell. The Captain was a simple marine again as he joined his voice with the shouts and whoops of excitement from his men in the free fall. The lighting was nothing but a green glow from the emergency lighting, and there were no windows to see their fall. The camera feeds were still powered off since they were doing a full stealth insertion, but Drake knew what he would’ve seen as The Hammer of Heaven rose up out of the dive it had just performed to release its secret cargo. The show would’ve intensified as the airship set off flares to distract any sensors watching the massive ship. Though in this case Drake knew they would be using a firework show to “entertain” and blind the guests to the operation taking place beneath their feet.


The Subtank fell with increasing speed as the dive continued and the marines cheered. As always the drone operator seemed to wait just a hair longer than necessary before deploying the wings. In fact, whatever monk was controlling the system still hadn’t. Any moment now the folded metal monsters would twist into position making a proper V to lower their radar signature and save them from being splattered across the ocean waves.

Water was not soft at these speeds as any drunk uncle joining a belly flop contest on the high dive will attest. Drake felt his smile falter as the agonizing seconds turned to hours in his head. The subtank might survive the fall, but all the squishy humans inside the tin can weren’t going to be that lucky. The monks knew this. They were just messing with them knowing they couldn’t see outside to know how close the all consuming waves of Neptune’s abode was to swallowing them in an instant. They were just messing with them right?

The terror was unwarranted as Drake knew, Marines learned Tech Monk humor fast on the field, but that didn’t matter to your unconscious mind when the brain knew what would happen if the Monk decided to take the joke all the way this time. You knew they wouldn’t. They knew they wouldn’t. Right?

Just when Drake was half way ready to thumb the intercome the groan of metal and churning machinery exploded from either side of the tank marking the deployment of the heavy insertion drone’s wings folding out in a jolt that tried to give every pirate in the tank whiplash. Drake hoped Don was sitting by the new kid to prevent his neck snapping. He was new to this less than normal insertion method after all. A rush sounded as the Monk pulled up on the controls and put the drone into a proper low flying insertion like a paratrooper glider tank right out of World War Two.

Drake sighed in relief. He really needed to get back into the field if a simple drop like that had fraid his nerves. Monk humor or not he’d been on hundreds of insertions like this in the field and in training. If this simple operation was getting to him he really was going soft.

A few minutes later Eisen signed a final note over the radio with a simple message using electrical pips and morse code so no one tracking the exchange could connect the airship to the tank via the link. “Christ Is King,” The universal Catalinan sign off notice when initiating radio silence. They were just pirates again in the eyes of the world. An idea that tugged on Drake’s good mood before he managed to suppress the intrusive thoughts. The Golden Kingdoms had rejected him and his crew so they were just going to have sort things out on their own. For the most part. 

Another hydraulic hiss marked the clamps on the drone releasing the Captain’s new pirating asset into the waves before kicking its own quiet engines on for the flight back to the The Hammer. Drake’s stomach went back into his throat again for a long second before he heard and felt the ocean giving way to the two tons worth of armor and pirate crashing into its surface. 

With a hum, power was restored to the personnel carrier and the computer screens flipped on in a flash. A pre-programmed subroutine took into effect filling the ballast tanks with water and diving the subtank in seconds. Looking at the instruments the pirate Captain saw they only had a few minutes of cruising time to their link up with Troy’s Folly. Don was already on the controls in the driver position so Drake went back to his cramped nap in the turret. Sometimes things just ended better than you could hope.

The Story Will Continue Every Monday

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Diary of a Postwar Pirate series cover
It's Raining Tanks episode cover
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Diary of a Postwar Pirate

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RPGrizzly
It’s thirty years after World War Three. The world has changed. Borders have shifted, nations have died, empires have crumbled, and now new peoples and kingdoms have risen to take their place. In the midst of the upheaval Drake Stoneman finds himself discharged from the Republic of Catalina’s Royal Ranger Marines, and soon chooses a life of piracy. Stoneman soon finds that business is good for a man with his skill set. However, after being hired by an aging Aztec warlord to recover a prize from an abandoned old world facility Drake will discover if he still has enough patriotic blood left to save his people against the rising Death Cults and reforming Aztec Empire. Will the Republic of Catalina survive her infancy, or be just another kingdom lost to the dried bloodshed of history?
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