BARD Combat Arms Guide
Excerpts from the Biological Assessment and Removal Division’s Xenofauna Combat Arms Manual, First Edition
Know Your Enemy and You Shall Know Thy Salvation
An excerpt from Chapter One of the Xenofauna Combat Arms Manual, First Edition, credited to Sgt. Major Herman “Danger Close” Wagner
In the field with an enemy that is intelligent without emotion, how exactly do you persecute a war? In traditional warfare, one can count at least on the demoralization of the enemy, the recognition of too great sacrifices and too grand losses of territory. The thing that could be relied upon was humanity, or what some nu-philosophers refer to as ‘mirrorism’, wherein your opponent could somewhere in the deepest recesses of their heart find that the cost was too great.
The current Xenofauna threat that the Unknown Threat Division faces today flies directly in the face of mirrorism. The Xenofauna knows where to strategically place its hives, it knows how to bait advances and create diversions, it understands fear, darkness and deception. What it does not understand is surrender. When the Colonial Militia rallied against the pirate fleets of the Frontiersmen, as my father did years ago, they fought for their homes and families against a threat that wanted capital. Money. The xenos want to eat, and eat, and eat, and that eating makes more xenos and those xenos want to eat just the same. Their hive mind structure – at least, as far as we understand it – does not account for anything but eating, means to eat, and where to go to get the food. There is no concept of loss there, or love, or companionship. When a pirate dies at the feet of another, they may at least cry out for a lost brother or friend, but when a high-power laser bolt turns a Xenofauna’s torso into a fine acidic paste, the only reaction of its fellows is to nimbly glide over its festering corpse as it lunges at the laser’s owner.
What do we do with this information? Well, when surrender is not an option, and your foe is unintelligent, then it is a simple matter of logistics. Point the business end towards the baddies, job done. But we have an enemy that is as intelligent as it is numerous, and so the only option that remains becomes eradication.
Xenofauna hives are not simply a place where Xenofauna gather. They transform the environment, plastering it with weeds and nests and webs of pulling, aching mass. They transform asteroids and ice moons and outposts into warrens of vile intent. Like a deep sickness, purgation comes not from within, but without.
Burn the fuckers down.
Knowing Thy Salvation: Arms and Armor
An excerpt from Chapter Two of the Xenofauna Combat Arms Manual, First Edition, credited to Head Researcher Reads-Between-Lines
Standard equipment for members of the Unknown Threats Division has previously been one of two things: non-standard, or woefully standard.
When the battles against the Xenofauna threat began, soldiers were armed with the standard battlefield implements that the Colonial Minutemen have employed for decades: automatic rifles, frag grenades, and bulletproof body armor. These, to say the least, were not very effective. In close quarters, the long-barreled P16 rifles were poorly maneuverable and prone to jamming within the damp and acidic environments of the hives, while shrapnel wounds did little but turn xenos from lightning bruisers to lightning bruisers that melted everything they touched. Speaking of, ballistic body armor does little to protect against splashes of acid or high-velocity parasitoid-stage Xenofauna (colloquially known as ‘facehuggers’) capable of knocking even a secured helmet off a soldier’s head due to insufficient visor protection. The early battles were, accordingly, a slaughter.
In fact, nonstandard equipment brought to bear by the civilian populace were often more effective. Engineers and mechanics employed improvised explosives, breach sealant tape and welding fuel tanks to create incendiary bombs which easily scorched away the weeds of the hives, while their welding masks provided adequate facial protection from parasitoid-stage Xenofauna. In fact, the inspiration for modern Blastmaster-issue engine-based flamers arose when an enterprising shuttle machinist jury-rigged a plasma thruster to a cargo lift and created a mobile battering ram used by Unknown Threat Division forces to breach the primary hive on Halix Station. From there, the Elimination Methodology Technician Sector (EMTS, the authors of this manual, if you failed to read the inner cover) changed gears from existing combat methods to derive an entirely new method of combating the Xenofauna threat. EMTS commissioned a special contract from Eoehoma Firearms to create specialized energy weapons meant to cauterize xeno wounds and light up their environments, disabling the effects of their acidic blood and fusing their joints together to hamper movement. Ballistics tests were conducted against recovered corpses or captured specimens, and it was found that rather than bursts of rifle rounds that could easily graze or miss entirely in the darkened environments of the hives, shotgun blasts of buckshot or incendiary shells were best able to lethally impact Xenofauna to put them down in one shot.
Collating reports from law enforcement in impacted colonies, the traditional ballistic armor of the Colonial Minutemen was substituted for advanced riot armor, capable of blocking both slashes from Xenofauna claws and thrown parasitoids. In one particular instance, research recovered from an invasion of an gas mining station known as Heloton found that exposure to certain gases deprived Xenofauna of their ability to create hive structures or spit neurotoxin, leading to the development of specialized gas grenades meant to remove any special advantages xenos may have in manipulating their environment or their opponents. Fragmentation grenades were eventually dropped as standard equipment in favor of incendiary explosives, more effective against the armored exoskeletons of most Xenofauna. With this new equipment in hand, all that was left was to develop techniques…as listed in the next chapter.
When You Know Thy Enemy and Thy Salvation, Know At Last Yourself
An excerpt from Chapter Three of the Xenofauna Combat Arms Manual, First Edition, credited to General Titanium XI
When fighting the Xenofauna, you may recall that they do not know fear.
And therefore, so shall you.
You may also recall that they do not know compassion.
And therefore, you shall use your compassion against them.
Work in teams. Soldiers with ballistic shields and energy weapons go first, followed by soldiers equipped with flamethrowers tasked with burning the hive structures as they go. On the outside, teams of technicians will provide ongoing communications and keep eyes on lifesign readers, calling out the locations of downed squads. Specialists are tasked with utilizing their gas grenades against large groups of xenos, while combat medics tend to wounded soldiers. When tending to the wounded, form strong circles around them, while also maintaining vision on the ceiling and unconventional entrances such as air vents or seemingly sealed airlocks. Most of all, when captured soldiers or civilians are found, rescue them from captivity as to both deprive your foe of greater numbers and bolster your own. For all the posturing and machismo of the Colonial Minutemen, the lifeblood of the colonies is not blasters or dead xenos. It’s the men, women and otherwise that populate them. Let your determination and empathy overwhelm their calculating hunger. Suffer not a one to live while bolstering yourself with the knowledge that the people you care for will be safe after all this is over.
Let it carry you home.