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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ELS 4 - Unit Competition

Commander Kazia Tamm bounced along in her seat
Held mostly in place by her four point harness
She hung onto the controls of the T-34 medium tank with both hands
The throttle on the howling V-12 engine wide open
Both eyes scanning carefully the two track road ahead

She knew all she had to do in order to win
Was to get to the checkpoint first
But she didn't know where her opponents were

They could have gotten there already
And be toasting one another
Saving their scorn for her as she arrived late

Or she could be in front
Out of sight of her pursuers
For her turret man had been on the lookout for anyone else
And had spotted no other tanks

With the unit trophy on the line
She knew all of her focus should be on the task at hand
In order to avoid any sudden holes in the road
Or obstacles in their path

But her thoughts were thousands of miles away
Focused on her lover
With his strong wiry body
His soft almost feminine features
How their bodies had fit together like puzzle pieces
Long thought to be lost and fitting perfectly together

A bend in the road grabbed her attention back
Her hands deftly bent the path of the tank around the curve
Madly spinning steel and rubber tracks skidding slightly on the loose stones

A circular red sign on a wooden post stuck out from next to a tree on the side of the road

Kazia keyed her throat mic and barked an order to the gunner
"Дима! Оружие бесплатно! Целевые грядущего на право!"
("Dima!  Weapon free! Target coming on the right!")

In what felt like one second
But was closer to ten
The rushing tank sped into an opening in the brush on either side

On the right side of the road
An old transport truck had been painted bright red
The final target on this leg of the run

Which meant that the finish line was no more than half a kilometer further

More importantly:
The truck had not been hit yet
Meaning they were likely the first to come to it

Kazia held the tank steady
As the turret and barrel servos tracked the target
Dima's sure hand on the trigger

Fire belched from the 76.2 mm F-34 gun
The tank shuddered
Kazia could almost feel the armored vehicle jump sideways almost imperceptibly

A cheer went up over the intercom from the spotter in the turret
Joined by the rest of the crew

But not Kazia
Who only clenched her jaw in determination
To win by the largest margin in unit memory
To cement her name on the trophy
And in the memory and shame of her fellow competitors
As well as her commanding officer
Who mocked her regularly

A transfer to a more modern unit awaited the crew of the winning tank today
A new T-54 tank
A new unit
A new start

Soon nothing was left in the clearing by the side of the road
Except a smoldering red painted transport truck
And black exhaust smoke drifting in the warm summer breeze