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CHAPTER NINE – CONTACT AUTHORISED!
Logging onto his Xbox one and into World of Tanks™ Liam went straight to the Team Training rooms where he found the rest of the Celts’ senior officers: Aaron, Jes, Santos, Kevin and even Sully already waiting. Almost the instant he arrived there a notification popped up inviting him to a chat party.
Clicking his controller he navigated to notifications and accepted the invitation launching him into the chat party. Where he was instantly greeted by everyone there.
After the initial greetings – which of course included the usual “What about ye Sully?” from Liam to Sully. Liam apologised for being slightly late. “Sorry I am late boys.” He told them. “Sully – who just beat me here I see – and I were arranging to go out for a curry tomorrow evening.”
“What time are you going?” Kevin asked. “I might meet up with you.” He added with a chuckle.
“About 9.” Liam answered. “And yeah, one day we will meet up, like we said we would, I promise.”
“Oh it’s fine,” Kevin told him. “I am sure we will meet up at some point.”
Initial greetings and chit chat having been completed, Kevin brought everyone up to speed on the the plans. He explained how he had arranged for them all to go up against members of another clan on a kind of search and destroy, team destruction type scenario. The other clan had agreed to try to hide somewhere on the map – either individually or together – and the Celts had to hunt them down and destroy them.
As Kevin was explaining things Liam checked out the team listings to see if he recognised anyone on the enemy team, but didn’t recognise any of the Gamer Tags listed. Which was hardly surprising given that he didn’t recognise the [-VEL-] Clan Tag either.
The map that had been chosen was a relatively new one – Caen – and was fairly large and had lots of hiding places both in the surrounding countryside and the small part of town that was accessible. So, what with there only being six players on each team, this should make for interesting battles.
Kevin also explained that the enemy team had agreed not to come looking for any of them and that it was purely about the Celts lads having the objective of seeking the enemy out and destroying them. He also explained that since the object of the training that evening was to see and get used to how each other led and communicated, the idea was that they each take turns in leading the team and deciding how that particular battle should be played.
Everyone soon confirmed that they understood the rules and the expectations, and it was decided that Liam (as Commander in Chief) would lead for the first three battles. With the battles only going to be about 5-10 minutes in duration – due to the size of the teams – hopefully each of them would get a chance to lead for three battles.
And with that Kevin checked that everyone on both sides had chosen a tank and then launched the first battle.
The battles that followed that evening were extremely interesting with some spectacular team work and some spectacular kills for both sides. various communication and leadership styles were tried by the Celts lads throughout the course of the evening with varying results. True to their word the Vel clan tanks hid in various locations, sometimes doing so together, sometimes in twos or threes, and sometimes even as individuals spread out all over the map.
Likewise, the different Celts members employed different tactics as they each took a leadership roles for different battles. Sometimes staying as a platoon, sometimes working in two groups of three and sometimes employing a one, two, three line-up with the smaller lighter tank going ahead to scout, the heavies then pinning down any tanks found and the tank destroyers and Artillery sniping or picking them off from a distance.
What made the evening more interesting was that the Celts lads had stayed in party chat for the whole evening. This was at Kevin’s suggestion and due to the fact that only one of the opposing team actually had a mic.
The battles, tank choices and line-up variations, game-play, techniques, leadership and communication skills employed by the Celts lads really was interesting to observe and by the end of the evening all of the Celts lads felt that they had learnt a lot from the battles.
For Liam, the only downside of the evening was the fact that as soon as the last battle had finished the other clan all left the Training Rooms. This meant that he hadn’t gotten a chance to thank any of them. As the Commander in Chief of the clan he always felt it was important to develop links with other clans and so would have liked to at least thanked them and perhaps gotten to know them better. But he decided that he would get their names – or one or two of them at least – from Kevin, later. “And after all,” he thought, “it really had been a very enjoyable and interesting exercise.”
But whilst Liam could not have known this at the time, the truth was that he was not the only one who had thought it to be an interesting, and in fact a very informative exercise.
About an hour before that evening of training for the Celts senior officers had begun, the Commander had reconvened the meeting that he had suspended earlier that day.
Having first explained the summarised results of all the reports he had ordered from all the different section heads of his team, he and the federation and government representatives had discussed these results and their implications fairly extensively. The Commander had then invited the government and federation representatives to join him in the Operations Command Room so that they could all observe the live feed of the Celts’ senior officers’ team training, after which he would share his conclusions and decision.
But then that is the nature of the internet, is it not? And something that very few gamers, indeed very few internet users actually give enough consideration to. Once you have linked your console or computer to the web, you have opened up a whole plethora of possibilities in respect of hackers, companies, and indeed government agencies spying on what you are up to. And the mentality, “I am too insignificant for anyone to bother spying on what I am doing,” – which is not one which either Liam, nor Sully, nor Kevin for that matter actually had. – is a naive and a dangerous one.
Immediately after having viewed the feed, he (the Commander), some of his senior personnel, and the representatives, had all returned to the meeting room at which time the Commander presented them with his plans. Or – to be more accurate – as little of them as he felt that they needed to know at that time.
And to say that the conversations that followed this had gone smoothly for the Commander, would in fact be untrue. In reality the Commander was faced with a lot of; doubt, concerns and, from certain quarters – especially madam British Ambassador, a fair amount of opposition to his plan. But opposition was something that the Commander was very used to dealing with. And by the end of the meeting nothing had changed in respect of his commitment to proceed with his plan.
“Send the message, Veles.” A very weary and tired Commander instructed as he slumped into his office chair and loosened his tie.
“Yes, Commander.” the soft-spoken digital voice responded. “Message sent.”
Thousands of miles away, as the Commander poured himself a stiff Bourbon whiskey, a mobile phone vibrated on a night stand.
Reaching down and turning the phone over, the message’s recipient opened his messages screen and read the message which had just been delivered.
In truth, the message suddenly arriving had come as no surprise, as it had indeed been expected. Just what it would say however, now that – until now – was the unknown part.
“Contact Authorised.” was all the message said, But then that, was all the message needed to say.