He activated his radio. “Looks like they’re still hanging on,” he told the others. “I think this is going to be a no go.”
N ora watched the bombardment unfold as well, trying to determine the best course of action. They could throw Barghest Company into the breach, but for what purpose? Having spent plenty of time with them in their formative stages, she knew they were capable, good fighters, but what could they do, struggling to get ashore against a heavily defended beachhead in the dark?
And what could they accomplish, when they got there? They would have to fight their way inland to do any more damage, and doubtless more enemy reinforcements were on their way. Nora imagined they had managed to rouse the entire garrison.
“I’m with Danny,” she said. “Looks like this is a no go.”
Z ach heard all the suggestions from his subordinates, but in truth he had already made a decision. Their lack of progress only served to reinforce that.
He opened the main channel to every member of the battalion. “All units, this is Ghost Lead. Whiskey. I say again, Whiskey. All units on the ground, extract and get back to your transports. Barghest, Black Wolf, move to Redd Foxx’s position and help provide cover fire.”
No point in staying and incurring more casualties at this point, he mused as his troops pulled back. They had already accomplished their goals.
He could just imagine how much Ragnarok Command would be sweating after tonight.
“ E verything looks to be normal .”
Zach looked over at the screen and the research assistant beside it. He didn’t know why, because the readouts on the screen meant absolutely nothing to him.
The assistant looked over a list on his tablet. “Anything unusual this week, medically speaking.”
“Feelings of lethargy, exhaustion or the like?”
“Headaches or migraines?”
“Blurry vision, afterimages in your sight or double vision?”
“Any phantom smells, feelings or sounds?”
“You mean feeling or seeing something that actually isn’t there?” Zach asked.
“Nope, haven’t had that problem,” he replied.
The assistant nodded. “Good. Looks like you’re not suffering any side effects from the neuro-helmet. Those are extremely rare, of course, but we want to make sure you’re healthy and functioning properly.”
Zach nodded. The medical tests had been going on for a while, though they had increased greatly after a year in the research study. That was likely because they wanted to study the long term fallout from spending a significant amount of time in a virtual reality. Any long term medical problems stemming from it needed to be accounted for, and they were the test subjects.
But Zach hadn’t seen anything to worry about, although he was pretty far from being anything close to a medical professional. He also imagined the company would remain hush-hush about certain things to keep from scaring them off, but there was no hiding serious medical issues. None of them had experienced anything dramatic, outside of an occasional headache.
The study’s strict requirements also served to keep them healthy. Elysium Visions wanted data from subjects who had good mental states and physical health. All of them were required to exercise a certain amount of time a week in order to stay fit. None of them had a problem with that order, since most had been athletes during high school and college. Zach had run track during high school and still enjoyed jogging, even in the cold Chicago winters.
There were also provisions for time off, which Zach welcomed as well. Nora’s family had a cabin in the Wisconsin backwoods, and sometimes it was good to leave civilization behind for a bit.
Speaking of which, he needed to remember to finalize plans with her later tonight. Yet another thing to put on his to do list.
Even with all the requirements, Zach remained