In 2503, the 128th was given the mundane task of relieving a garrison on Anselm. They took passage on a Minotaur-class battlecruiser. A minority of the unit had seen combat, and most of that had been minor peacekeeping actions. The assignment met with even less enthusiasm when the battlecruiser received new orders: all Minotaur-class battlecruisers were to deposit non-essential personnel on the nearest habitable planet and return to Korhal IV immediately to be refitted for interatmospheric combat. The platoon was subsequently deposited on the colonial world of Sorona. They were neither given a prospective retrieval date, nor informed that the planet was now occupied by the zerg.
Into the GrinderEdit
The marines intended to secure quarters at Cask, an outpost 15-miles from the curiously deserted starport. Ten miles into the trek they were ambushed by burrowed zerglings. Lieutenant Travis Orran calmly ordered his marines to drop packs and form circle. Five marines, including Private Braden, were killed before the terrans could return fire. Orran ordered a cease fire after two minutes. Seven more marines were killed and three died afterwards from wounds. Only ten dead zerglings were found. The survivors expected to be overwhelmed during the night before reaching Cask. They were rescued by Cask civilians investigating the gunfire, and driven to the settlement by ore loader.
The marines were initially jubilant at being rescued but it became apparent Cask itself was under siege by the zerg. The colonists had been isolated for eight months and hoped the marines were a relief force. Within an hour of arriving at Cask, the platoon joined the defenders at the Wedge to repel a zerg attack.
Colonists and marines immediately established a working relationship. The marines were supplied with ammunition from a modified tool factory and water. The platoon provided more than just tactical support. Its supplies helped eased exist shortages. Private Maren Ayers, the medic, began addressing the backlog of medical cases after the suicide of Cask's doctor a month prior to the 128th's arrival. "Tech-savvy" Private Hughes confirmed the colony's communications equipment was functioning properly, and confirmed requests for Dominion aid had been transmitting properly.
The platoon fell into a routine based on the zerg attack pattern. They learned to conserve ammunition. As the siege wore on, Private Ayers began to suspect the enemy was using the siege to test evolutions. She appealed to Lieutenant Orran to find and destroy the responsible hive. Orran was unconvinced. Without proof the lieutenant first priority remained the preservation of his men until relief arrived.
A lull in the daily attacks occurred six months after the platoon arrived on Sorona. The prevailing opinion was the terrans had won. Private Evans, Godard, and another marine were chosen from a large group of volunteers to scout the surroundings. They discovered a valley full of zerglings in the midst of mutating into banelings. However, the sickly and immobile appearance of the creatures fooled the terrans into believing the zerg were dying from disease. Only Ayers realized events would soon turn for the worst but there was now nothing to be done.
The banelings began to attack soon after the scouts returned to report. Ayers sent another distress signal with news of the new mutation. The platoon was overwhelmed and destroyed in the four days it took for the zerg to destroy Cask. Orran and Ayers survived by hiding in the cliff face and were rescued by a Dominion fleet. The fleet arrived shortly after the destruction of Cask after setting out in response to Ayers signal.
Ayers was debriefed by Captain Serl Gentry. Ayers accused the Dominion of callously abandoning the platoon and Cask for research. In revenge she detonated a smuggled baneling pustule at the end of the session. An audio log of the session was recovered from the wreck of the battlecruiser Emperor's Fury.
- Lieutenant Travis Orran
- Private Maren Ayers (medic)
- Private Braden
- Private Delme
- Private Evans
- Private Godard
- Private Hughes