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The City of Independence will accept applications with resumes attached at Kansas Works, 317 N. Penn Avenue, Independence, KS 67301,or online at the City’s website, for a full-time City EngineeDirector of Public Works & Utilities. Click on Employment Opportunities under Quick Links at the bottom of the City’s home page, www.IndependenceKs.gov.
Basic Function
Responsible for the overall direction and administration of all Public Works and Utility departments. Directs, develops, plans, manages, and coordinates the design and implementation of public improvements and maintenance projects including streets, alleys, sidewalks, streetlights, traffic signals, storm and sanitary sewers, and water lines; operations of the water plant, wastewater plant, sanitation, and airport operations. Develops and implements short and long-term planning, goals, objectives, and policies. Manages the City GIS system, including updates to the infrastructure.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  • Assists in strategic planning, including the preparation of the infrastructure portion of the capital improvement program; prepares project descriptions and cost estimates; programs years for the various expenditures in the cost estimates; prepares financial summaries
  • Hires Public Works and Utility staff, coordinates training and professional development, evaluates performance, recognizes and rewards performance excellence; works with the administration to address performance and disciplinary issues as necessary
  • Provides oversight and coordination of construction and engineering functions; reviews and approves technical plans, drawings, papers, reports, and specifications; interprets technical materials; directs construction, maintenance, and project management as assigned; monitors activities of the department and performs field reviews of projects
  • Represents the City in dealings with outside organizations, including regional and state agencies, on a variety of issues
  • Communicates with citizens, both individually and in groups, and on a formal and informal basis, to handle questions and complaints about infrastructure, streets, and projects
  • Communicates clearly and concisely both orally and in writing
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of civil engineering, including, but not limited to: potable water provision, stormwater protection/environmental, wastewater treatment and collection, geotechnical, drainage and transportation/traffic engineering
  • Knowledge of construction and maintenance methods, materials, and equipment as employed in public infrastructure projects
  • Ability to proficiently operate a computer and complex software applications, prepare technical reports, and conduct research
  • Ability to effectively use various software tools to track projects and prepare reports
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of comprehensive planning, and the ability to read, analyze, apply and make recommendations based on regulatory, long-range planning and/or general guidance documents
  • Knowledge of research methods and statistical analysis to make informed operational decisions and report findings
  • Knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Knowledge of municipal budgetary preparation
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  • Knowledge of financial management skills to monitor expenditures and control departmental budgets and public improvement construction projects
  • Knowledge of capital project funding including how to qualify for and acquire additional local, state and federal resources
  • Knowledge of applicable federal, state and local laws, codes, regulations, occupational hazards and standard safety precautions
  • Ability to effectively supervise and direct professional staff, professional support staff, construction, maintenance and public service personnel
  • Knowledge of contract negotiation techniques and program development and administration
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  • Comprehensive knowledge of public works/utility functions and broad knowledge of its relationship with other City functions, including efficient service delivery, project design and management, intergovernmental relations, customer service, and managing a diverse workforce
  • Knowledge of modern principles and practices of building, civil engineering, public works construction, and maintenance
  • Sufficient knowledge to review and interpret plats, engineering plans, and other studies as necessary to ensure they meet the City's requirements or accepted engineering principles
  • Ability to learn and apply municipal engineering practices and procedures to review, verify, research, and perform the following tasks: traffic studies, design revisions, and contract documents
  • Ability to coordinate activities from surveying and design work to the final engineer's estimate, project inspection, and project closeout
  • Knowledge to perform complicated engineering calculations and functions
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  • Ability to legally operate a motor vehicle in Kansas and be insurable by the City’s insurance carrier, and maintain a valid driver's license and insurability by the City’s insurance carrier
  • Ability to effectively communicate with citizens and co-workers with accurate information, and maintain a positive attitude
  • Ability to perform job duties fairly and equitably without bias
Education, Professional Licensing and Experience
  • Bachelor's Degree in Engineering required
  • Supplemental college coursework in public or business administration, environmental health or a related field is preferred
  • Professional Engineering License recognized by the Kansas Board of Technical Professions preferred
  • Five years of progressively responsible civil engineering experience preferred
  • Five years of progressively responsible management experience preferred
  • Three years of public sector experience is preferred
Physical Requirements
Moderate physical effort is required. Individual must be able to stand, walk, sit, climb, crawl, speak, and listen for extended periods of time
Working Conditions
Work involves some exposure to hazardous or unpleasant elements with moderate risk of accidents and requires following safety precautions
NOTE: Final applicants will submit to drug and background screenings. Residency within Kansas (Independence City Limits preferred) within a thirty minute response time is required within six months of employment.
SALARY RANGE: The starting salary for this position is $66,154 annually, with a midpoint of $81,039, plus benefits.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Open until filled. The first application review is scheduled for November 18, 2020.

Special Requirements

Bachelor's Degree in Engineering required Supplemental college coursework in public or business administration, environmental health or a related field is preferred Professional Engineering License recognized by the Kansas Board of Technical Professions preferred Five years of progressively responsible civil engineering experience preferred Five years of progressively responsible management experience preferred Three years of public sector experience is preferred

Miscellaneous Information

Residency within Kansas (Independence City Limits preferred) within a thirty minute response time is required within six months of employment, which may be extended an additional six months at the discretion of the City Manager.
submitted by IndyKSNews to IndependenceKS

The Jackal Guards (Beta Reader Test) Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Salvaged Fortune

6 miles southeast of Jilib, Somalia
June 4th, 02:25 AM
They had to move fast, disregarding day and night, stressed or stretched, they marched ahead of the main armored spearhead of Horus. These mobile airborne wolves of the Legion set up a series of FOBs and FARBS along the highway connecting Mogadishu to Jilib. Each FOBs was manned by a company, who got there thanks to the fast-moving Roc Eagle VTOLs and helicopters dropping them into the battlezone ahead of time. AMISOM troops assisted in the construction and clearing of landmines ahead of time, while the troops waited for the following forces. First came the gunships and utility helicopters, they brought in mortar tubes for fire missions, as well as ammo for MRSI (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact) fire missions.
Horus and Temujin accompanied each other in an IFV’s passenger cabin with a full squad ready for combat. Their convoy consisted of an M5A1 Sekhmet MBT tank platoon, three platoons of mechanized infantry, and their M3 Sobek IFVs and a cavalry recon squadron of lighter vehicles like Humvees and M2 Sobek, the reconnaissance and battlefield surveillance variants of the aforementioned IFVs. As they rode towards their objective at the town of Jilib, Horus took the time to call his wife, Princess Roxanna.
The video call on his HUD showed his beautiful wife sitting by a table with Thoth working on various matters with papers, books, and maps all brought to her attention. Roxanna was a beautiful anthro gold eagle, like Horus, she had her wings separate from her arms. Since married into the royal family, Roxanna wore a linen cloth dress with a gold beaded necklace on her neck and golden ring bearing a turquoise gem. Even when her dress left her hips and legs rather exposed, they could still see the hilt of her dagger in its sheath on the right leg. Besides her ample C-cups, she had a pair of brown and amber eyes with a golden sun-kissed feather.
"Hey, darling, how are things in Alexandria? I hope I'm not making you feel anxious while I'm away from home." Horus chuckled light-heartedly to Roxanna, she smiled wryly to him and shook her head gently. "Besides the fact that I'm having dinner with neither my husband nor brother. I'd say it's fine considering that we have a crisis we need to avert." Roxanna sarcastically replied to him while working on several maps and books with Thoth, one of the books appeared to have a page on the world serpent Jormungandr. "Look, I'm sorry that I messed up, and you're probably going to chew me up for it. But I am doing the best I can to fix things. Anyway, how are things in the palace?" Horus asked mildly to Roxanna to let her reply to him at leisure.
"Trying to figure out how Jormungandr's bad breath entered the human world, nothing much so far. Thoth tried explaining it to me. Maybe you can help?" She turned to Thoth, who happily nodded to her and looked at the screen of Horus's video call. "I've been researching the matter by order of Pharaoh Ra to assist you. Now you know that there are times when what happens in our world may manifest in the mortal one, no?" Thoth asked rhetorically towards Horus, prompting the falcon prince to nod as an answer. "Uh, yeah. I know that since I was five. So how exactly did Jormungandr's breath pop up in this world? I mean it needed someone to distribute it there, right?" Horus replied, asking his question, he was rather curious as to what Thoth might have in mind. "I suspect that someone in our realm of the gods brought it in there. Someone intimate with two things, the ocean and wyrms."
Thoth's ominous hypothesis sent chills down Horus's spine as he felt the air around him grow cold even for his armor plates. "Okay, that's a start. But who could that be? Are they alone or act in groups? We know that our enemy, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, has a lot of rotten deity apples working for him." Horus replied skeptically, Thoth seeing this and chuckled to Horus.
"Oh, dear Horus, it's a simple game of deduction. We know that for one, our pantheon has no deity of the sea with wyrms. Besides the extremely distant Primordials, but even they are not responsible for that serpent born from Ra's umbilical cord." Thoth hinted to Horus with a tinge of annoyance at the end, making him think about what he meant a bit more. None in the Egyptian pantheon would do that, so it must be the Norse who knew Jormungandr, but they needed the help of another deity who was the deity of sea and oceans.
"Da Ji was in the North Sea helping them steal the samples from the Calypso. Do you think she was the one?" Horus hypothesized, promptin Thoth to nod at the falcon's progress in deduction and thinking. "Yes, a highly plausible suspect. But that alone simply won’t suffice. There might be other forces we know little about. And they might be benefitting from the situation."
Before Horus could reply, however, he heard the vehicle commander informing him of their distance to the target destination. “Lock and load back there! We’re in the hot zone now." He sighed out and looked at Roxanna intensely before bidding her goodbye. "I'll call you later, love. Gotta go now." He said solemnly to her, with Roxanna nodding to him sympathetically before bidding him goodbye for now. "You stay safe darling. And take care of my brother for me." Roxanna reminded him strictly, to which he nodded to him before he ended the call.
Once the IFV dropped down its ramp, Horus and his troops began to fan out and spread evenly around the area to cover the grasslands. As the IFV's turrets swiveled and rotated with their thermal imaging systems scanned for targets. They caught sight of enemy RPG gunners on patrol with assistant grenadiers hauling a backpack of extra RPG warheads. The ARGOS highlighted these threats with red geometry symbols with additional NATO symbols to indicate the types like infantry or vehicles. Horus moved with Temujin's rifle squad into the grasslands while others covered their flanks, the rest of the convoy fanned out for an all-out assault.
“Launching UAV.” The squad UAV operator, Gunter, said before launching a small falcon drone soaring into the sky, its optics served as the airborne camera for the Task Force, feeding the Unit of Action Command Vehicle with thermal imaging updates of enemy movements around the town. “Falcon-6, we have eyes on an enemy tank company set up on the other side of the Jubba River. How copy, over?” The commander's message came through to Horus, who was aiming his weapon at the outlying patrols. "I hear you Bulldog-6. Tell Hermes to expedite to Objective Kadesh."
"Roger that. All Hermes Units, expedite to Objective Kadesh and set up blocking positions." The robot wolf inside the Command Vehicle with his finger danced across the touch screen of his command table. A blue arrow drew from the position of the tank platoon and their cavalry recon squadron towards the direction of Objective Kadesh. It was nothing but a patch of dirt next to Jilib. The maneuver would, however, put the Sekhmet tank platoon and their scouts in front of enemy armor. Exactly as Horus would like it, a blocker on his right-wing to smash the numerically superior enemy tank force. Sure, there might be more Type-59s compared to a single Sekhmet MBT platoon, but the odds were in his favor. With howitzers to his rear, and their top attack ATGMs, Chinese tanks would be nothing but target practice.
"Keep formation and move at cruising speed. We're expecting hostile contact anytime now, so heads on a swivel!" The platoon commander sternly instructed his troops as they zoomed across the landscape, cruising at roughly 60km/h towards their objective. Their cavalry recon squadron moved at a faster pace, being ahead of them by one kilometer as the trailblazers. The tank platoon was from the 501st they brought with them the Jackal Guards' cream of the proverbial armor crops, the M5E1 Sekhmet Main Battle Tank.
Their recon squadron used cavalry recon vehicle variants of the IFVs. The M5E1, in particular, was something to be feared and respected on the battlefield. Some would rightfully laugh at its seemingly smaller and compact size when compared to other main battle tanks like Leopard 2s, T-90s, or M1 Abrams. Appearance-wise, it looked like a cross between the small M8 Thunderbolt's chassis design, slightly enlarged but still could be airborne deployable. The hull and chassis had blocks of ERA lined them to protect the steel beast from incoming projectiles.
The turrets had a sleek and angular wedge-shaped design, much like the Challenger series or the Abrams. On either side of the turret, there were sensor pads for its APS (Active Protection System), it didn't use a projectile base system like the Trophy system. The APS instead utilizes a laser system to melt incoming enemy projectiles, jam enemy radio-controlled explosives, and interference with enemy missile systems.
Even then, the tank's main gun made enemies fear for their very lives. A 120mm smoothbore main gun capable of engaging targets beyond the line of sight with GPS guided rounds, or fire barrel launched ATGMs of their own. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun to ward off enemy infantry, and a triple barrel GAU-19 .50 cal BMG machine gun mounted on a CROW station.
"Sir, permission to fire?" Temujin asked anxiously, having his IR laser lined up on target with his M4A1 ready to fire. "Weapons free." Horus permitted nonchalantly. The crown prince and his iron wolves opened fire on the outlying patrols, dropping them instantly. But as expected, this alerted the enemy defenders inside the town as they hastily moved out to their fighting positions.
What followed was a cascade of tracer rounds and the crackling of machine gun fires, the thumping of grenade launchers and the whizzing, snapping of bullets as they hit the ground and clanking of shell casing falling to the ground. "All Rhinos, move up along the road and provide cover fire. All Hitman elements follow the IFVs and take out any RPGs you see." Horus ordered his troops and hastened their assault under his watch. “Here I go killing again.” Gunter grunted as he opened fire his M4A1 at the insurgents hiding inside the pillboxes.
The battlefield to the robots was like a rave party with their IR lasers dancing up and down. Trenches and bunkers had Dshk machine gun nests and SPGs to keep the Jackal Guards IFVs on their toes. As whenever the Dushka fired, the robots dived to the ground, and their automatic riflemen quickly lay down suppressive fire on the bunkers. The riflemen like Temujin sprinted across the field towards the trenches, with their grenadiers like Gunter, forming an assault team. Enemy technicals sped down to intercept the assault forces, only to be shot up by the IFVs. The turrets blew apart the vehicle's engine blocks before destroying the chassis of the fragile 4x4s.
Temujin led the assault into the trenches as he fired at the enemies that were preoccupied with the other robots. Being a combat pragmatist, Temujin quickly terminated any threats he saw with a double tap. When he approached the entrance of a bunker, he switched to his frag grenade, pulled the pin, and tossed in the grenade. It detonated and killed the occupants with a loud and violent blast. Temujin came in and found the place littered with burned and torn fabric, splattered blood, and the gruesomely twisted remains of the defenders.
He paid no notice to them and waved his hands to Horus and the other elements of his mechanized infantry company. "Alright, they took the trenches, move up! Hitman-1, you sweep the southern part of town, Hitman-2 cover them, Temujin, you're with me and 1-1 to flank their right." Horus shouted orders to them, quickly coordinating the robots to take swarm in and secure the town.
As Horus and the robots began to sweep into the town of Jilib hunting for their HVT, the defenders fell back and regrouped in the inner parts of town. Horus took point with Temujin, Gunter and a squad of robot wolves following the falcon as they cleared through the streets. Occasionally, they bumped into civilians hiding in their homes or shuttering their windows, trying to hide from the sudden outbreak of fighting in their town. When Temujin took the lead, he bumped into a panicking mother and her crying infant. The black wolf held her still and took a glance over his shoulders to see if his teammates were covering him. He shushed at her and gestured for her to keep her head down before helping her seek shelter. “You sure got ways with kids.” Gunter commented with a smirk.
Once Temujin and his squad arrived at the main road running through Jilib, he saw the enemies hiding inside a two story building adorned with the Al-Shabaab black flag. There was a radio antenna on the rooftop with enemy machine gunners defending the place with RPDs. The machine guns opened fire on Temujin, making him flinch in reaction, falling back as debris and concrete fell on his muzzle and optical lenses. He wiped them off and took a deep breath before pressing himself against the wall. "Cover us! I want suppressive fire on that bastard, Temujin, you and Karkaros with me. We're kicking the door." Horus ordered them fiercely, prompting the machine gunner of their squad to lay down sustained suppression on the enemy machine gunners.
As their teammates tossed down smoke grenades to cover Horus and Temujin sprinting across the streets with some volunteers, the occupants inside the building were scrambling to call for reinforcements on the radio. The operator screamed frantically, his cries for help sounded static laced through the radio filter. "Rhino, Rhino! This is Den, we are under attack, need immediate assistance, so get over here and drive back the enemy assault." On the other end of the line, the tank company commander picked up the radio and replied with a thick Chinese accent. "Affirmative Den, we're moving to assist you now. Hold on tight." Once he put down the radio, the Chinese captain ran out of his bunker wearing his tanker helmet cap and uniform. The Chinese crew ran to their ZTZ-59s and crewed up with the tank headlights switched on. They began to roll out first, heading towards the bridge, followed by the BMP-1 IFVs carrying their infantry.
As for Hermes, they came to their objective on time with the tank platoon fanned out and took positions inside the treeline. The scouts dismounted from their vehicles with Javelin ATGMs set up inside hastily dug out fighting positions. Some of them had binoculars and long-range surveillance tools set up to survey both the town and the bridge. "I have visual contact on enemy tank battalion. Bearing 285, distance 4 Klicks and closing in, recommend that we get Arty on standby just in case." The scoutmaster instructed his JTAC operator, Archer. The robot owl then nodded and tapped into the communication network to relay the information to the tank platoon commander.
"Looks like a pretty flimsy force coming at us. All Hermes elements, this is Hermes-6 open fire. Engage targets at your discretion." The platoon leader eagerly ordered his tank platoon, prompting them to open fire on the incoming Type-59s. Their night visions showed them a green-tinted world with a darkened horizon that occasionally lit up by the flashes of their gun muzzles and 120mm smoothbore rounds going downrange. "Hermes-6, great gun! Great gun! We got hostile tanks lit up down there, and must have hurt them plenty." Said Archer as the robot owl used his binocular with a wrist-mounted computer pad to analyze enemy vehicles to determine their variant and models.
Archer's screen showed him a 3D hologram of the enemy tank that his binocular laser range finding system scanned. It identified several modular mounts on the tank, these were laser range finder modules, and slat armor around the dome-shaped turret with smoke dischargers. "Positive ID on enemy Type-88 tank. Expect more of them coming. How copy?" Archer's message came to the Unit of Action Command Vehicle, where the commander took it with some concerns. "Good copy Archer, setting up for arty strike now over."
The Battalion commander then danced his finger across the screen, tapped on symbols of howitzer detachment to the rear, and began tapping on enemy symbols to relay strike orders. "Coordinates confirmed, firing. Shells out!" The artillery began to fire off their payload of 155mm rounds on the target coordinates. To the rear of the Commander, armored tracked howitzers fired off a barrage of conventional 155mm HE shells. The shells came down on the enemy tank company, stunning them instantly. The Chinese tanks slowed down and scrambled to take up positions along the riverbanks, forming a defensive line to defilade for their IFVs.
"Hostile IFVs are crossing the river, all elements, fire at will! Take out those BMPs before they disembark." The platoon commander ordered, prompting his tanks to turn their attention to the fragile BMP clones and fired, the lead vehicle took a direct hit through the hull, the second following it got hit in the turret. The dismounted robot jackals of the cavalry recon squadron had their Javelin ATGMs ready; they aimed at the enemy tanks and fired. Top attack missiles soared into the air, before correcting their flight pattern to strike at the top of the Chinese tank turrets.
As the enemy tank company and their IFVs and their IFVs took heavy losses, Horus and Temujin breached through the walls of the enemy command post with a sledgehammer smashing a large gaping hole through the wall. Temujin tossed in a flashbang, stunning the enemies inside. Horus then came in firing his weapons with Temujin following him closely with the grenadier and auto rifleman filling in behind him.
The defenders inside the building were Al-Shabaab militants. Caught off guard and terrified, they fired wildly through the dark. They foolishly hoped that their muzzle flashes would give them a hint of where their enemies were. Only for Horus to slam his fist through the doors and walls, knocking the militants dead, or Temujin landing accurate shots into their barely protected torso.
As they cleared through the command post's ground floor, Horus kicked down a door to a room with a single lightbulb on the ceiling with Temujin storming inside. "Got somebody here! He looks banged up real bad." Said Temujin as he then untied the subject, and Horus quickly examined the wounded man. Cuts and bruises were visible on the man’s body, a fresh bleeding scar ran down his cheek.
The robot falcon began to use his healing power as he did to Colonel Chima. Unfortunately, his power didn’t seem to do much as the man himself remained in critical conditions. Some wounds were stabilized but he was not out of the woods. "Hey, look at me! Can you hear me? How many claws am I holding up?" Horus asked urgently, the prisoner made a labored breath and replied. "Two. Who or what are you?"
"Your guardian angels for today, let's get you to the medic," Horus replied with an elated tone, he took a second look at the man's face for his facial recognition software to run a check if this was the target he was looking for. A positive ID result came in, further elating his mood as he lifted the man over his shoulder. "Sir, couldn’t you heal him like Colonel Chima?" Temujin asked cautiously, with Horus huffing in annoyance.
“Look at me, do you see serious damages or bullets on me? Depending on the damages I take, I can heal myself and nearby friendlies to a certain degree.” Horus grumbled before switching to a medic of the squad as they moved into the building. "Medic! Link to remote triage and see what you can do. We need him alive five by five, understand? Temujin, get up to the roof and set up an overwatch with the AT section.” Horus ordered the robot wolf, who nodded to him and picked up his weapon then ran up to the roof.
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Horus and a Combat Lifesaver robot were working on the agent. The CLS was hard-pressed to stabilize the wounded agent completely, while then Horus was taking potshots at the incoming Chinese hordes. "Almost there, the doc is applying the disinfectant and bandages. I'm giving you fire support priority, rain fire on those assholes!" Horus screeched out as some bullets struck his chest, sending slight jolts of pain through his body before harmlessly bouncing off to the ground. "Just bombard them back to the stone age!" Horus ordered aggressively with an annoyed tone as he dusted his chest plates.
Temujin soon heard a ping sound on his wrist-mounted hologram interface. He pressed his back against the wall and began to work on the interface. His finger trailed from the artillery icon and tapped it on the map, where the mass of Chinese militias was. "Roger that Hitman shot out, splash, over." The artillery crew called over the radio with the thundering howitzer roaring on the distant horizon. The whistling and howling of artillery shells flew overhead, landing down on the ground with a violent detonation and rumbling. Chinese militia saw their ranks decimated in seconds, flesh and blood splattered all over.
"Thrasher, this is Hitman, good effect on targets. We're counting 20 hostile KIA the rest are disengaging, expect more to come." Temujin reported the artillery crew with a sigh of relief as he watched the terrified Chinese turn away from the battle and ran as fast as they could. Some even tossed down their rifles and equipment to run as fast as they could. "Roger that Hitman, glad to have assisted. Standing by if you need further fire support, over." Temujin then went downstairs to check on Horus and the agent. Once he came down the stairs, he saw Horus and the CLS had the agent stabilized, "Good work with the artillery. Maybe you should sign up for arty school once we've finished here." Horus congratulated with a pat on the robot's shoulder, a thank you exited Temujin's mouth as he then helped the doctor with the stretcher and the agent.
As they came out to the streets of Jilib, their MRAPs pulled up in front of the building. The CLS to load the agent into the back of the MRAP with Horus climbing in as well. The Crown Prince was mindful with his wings folded into his back to save room and sat down next to the agent. "Are you alright? Before I send you off to the nearest medical tent, I need to ask something. What did you know about the airfield?" Horus asked the agent, who then smiled at the deity even if he did not fully comprehend who Horus was. "I thank you for saving my life, Sadik. I was keeping my eyes on the airfield. They pack it up just before dawn all the time. Then hide the equipment in the town of Jilib. Then deploy at night to guide incoming aircraft. May I ask your name, Sadik?"
As they came out to the streets of Jilib, their MRAPs pulled up in front of the building. The CLS to load the agent into the back of the MRAP with Horus climbing in as well. The Crown Prince was mindful with his wings folded into his back to save room and sat down next to the agent. "Are you alright? Before I send you off to the nearest medical tent, I need to ask something. What did you know about the airfield?" Horus asked the agent, who then smiled at the deity even if he did not fully comprehend who Horus was. "I thank you for saving my life, Sadik. I was keeping my eyes on the airfield. They pack it up just before dawn all the time. Then hide the equipment in the town of Jilib. Then deploy at night to guide incoming aircraft. May I ask your name, Sadik?" The agent asked with a friendly chuckle, with Horus smiling gently to the gratefulness and friendly attitude. Prompting him to return his own, "Horus, son of Isis." He tersely remarked before standing up and exiting the MRAP.
Once the MRAP drove away, Horus and Temujin went with a platoon out to check the airfield on the other side of the river. Once they crossed over, the platoon saw the remains of Chinese Type-59 tanks and various IFVs burning from their encounter with Hermes. Archer joined Horus, accompanying him on foot as they casually marched towards the now abandoned airfield. "Sir, you think they might leave behind some surprises for us? Maybe booby traps and burning the documents?" Archer suggested cautiously. Horus shook his head to Archer, "Nah, negative. They hastily took off. So I doubt they would have the time to either shred or burn documents. Let alone wiping the black boxes." Horus remarked confidently.
After arriving at the airfield, they began to fan out and search the surrounding areas for clues. Horus found a wind flag on a mobile generator trailer. The generator had its cable coupling connected to a mobile radar trailer. The place appeared to have been nothing more than a stretch of land, flat and open enough for them to use some steamrollers to pave a makeshift runway. Archer went under some tree shades and found a camouflage net with wooden crates with simplified Chinese writing. "Sir, it looks like we hit the motherlode. Still, I'm surprised that they didn't try to take off with these cargoes. Maybe they're incompetents? Fresh meat and want to desert?" Archer mused, trying to make sense of their finding.
"Maybe they can easily replace the loss. Let's open it up." Temujin obeying the order, he then helped Archer crack open one of the boxes and lifted the lid. They found the content of the box to be nothing more than cheap AK knockoffs. The other box was a more modern HJ-12 box with a launcher and optical system. "What's your assessment, Archer? An opinion or two would be nice." Horus asked before going over inspecting the other weapon crates.
"Probably a new shipment, maybe a day or two old. From the looks of it, nothing much, but would still be enough to keep the insurgents annoying us for a week." The robot owl assessed with his hand stroking his chin while Horus and Temujin inspected the crates. "A bad week is more than enough materials for the media to latch on. Grab the crates and stuff them on the HEMTTs, we’ll be heading back to the Mog." Horus ordered calmly, the other wolves nodded to their monarch and went to work beginning to bring in their cargo trucks to load the shipments on.
10:35 Hours that same day
Mogadishu, Somalia
By the time the Jackal Guards had returned to the city's airport, they had a display of trophies in the form of captured enemy weapons. On the ground were a dozen large sheets with different colors for weapon categories. The robot wolves and their AMISOM allies placed their trophies on the sheets, starting with pistols. Then came SMGs and Assault Rifles. Before long, they reached RPGs, mortars, sniper rifles, machine guns of all manners. The cacophony of metal clanking and clinging against the ground made an even louder roll call than the armory master. Eventually, Horus was standing before a dazzling array of weapons enough to feed a battalion of guerrillas.
As he paced around the displays, journalists and AMISOM war photographers took photos and recordings of the captured weapons. Some of the journalists were busy interviewing a robot wolf with a Pioneer's crossed shovel and pickaxe symbol painted on his shoulder patch. "Sir, what can you tell us about the captured weapons? How did the insurgents smuggle these firearms into Somalia? Is there any evidence that these are Chinese made weapons?" An Austrian journalist asked, holding his microphone to the 7 feet robot lycan. "Simple, they used a five miles stretch of open land, paved by steamrollers as their runway. Then their aircraft will either land or airdrop the cargo." The Pioneer bot replied with his hand pointing to a sample crate with parachute harnesses on it.
The Pioneer bot then begins to demonstrate one of the weapons, a Norinco Type-56 assault rifle, the Chinese clone of the Izhmash AKM. He then squeezed the trigger, laying down several bursts of automatic fire on the target boards downrange. The journalists and reporters cringed and reacted with hands holding their ears at the crackling muzzles. The Pioneer bot then held the weapon to the camera, giving them a clear look at the Chinese production stamp and the serial numbers, writings imprinted on the rifle.
"A bit of an excessive demonstration there, Corporal, allow me to handle this," Horus muttered to the Pioneer 's ears before the robot falcon stepped in to continue the interview before the cameras. Publicity has always been Horus's forte, much more so than Anubis. In many ways, Horus was the marketing face of the Jackal Guards in their previously almost exclusively African and the Middle East market.
The moment Horus stepped into the camera's view, the journalists were overwhelmed by sheer ecstasy and the chance to interview an entity from beyond their world. "Can you please disclose details in your operations? How long have you been operating in Somalia?" An Indian reporter asked, holding his microphone to Horus's beak. "Any comments on the enemies you've fought so far?" An American New York Times journalist asked with her recorder ready. "What's your motivation for being here? Money? Fame? Glory?" A Japanese journalist chimed in, trying to get a scoop as well.
Horus seeing the journalists ganged up on him, felt a bit off-putting by their apparent insistence with getting information. He had grown accustomed to curated interviews with journalists with Anubis's approval and inside a secured location. "Easy people, one question at a time." Horus held up his hands and gestured to them to take it slow one at a time. Behind him, Rameses nervously rubbed his temple. He knew Horus's ego and his craving for publicities and playboy attitude could get out of hand. "First of all, we're not here for the glory. Money is arguably one motive for us, but not the overriding one. We're here to fight for those who can't defend themselves."
"Can you specify your involvement here? Your operation objectives and the forces present here? Were you in the North Sea and Paris a couple of days ago?" A German DW journalist asked Horus, prompting the robot falcon to nod his head. "Long story short, yes, I was in the North Sea and Paris. I represent the Jackal Guards, the world's finest Foreign Legion besides the Gallic one." Horus suddenly stumped as he felt like he had shot himself yet again, with the journalists having a double-take when he called the French Foreign Legion "Gallic." Rameses gritted his teeth behind Horus's back, "Damn you, idiot!" the Inquisitor cursed at Horus as he grew much more stressed out.
"We're here to provide long term security and development for the Somalian people. The SPLF threatens them and our AMISOM clients. Naturally, we are obliged to engage without a second thought." Horus continued, the journalists lean in a bit closer to continue their interview and get anything they can from Horus.
"Our method is that we employ long term counter-insurgency strategies against the SPLF. Firstly, we sever communications and coordination between cells. Then we starve them of supplies from both abroad and within Somalia. Finally, we decapitate their leadership." Horus concluded his presentation. Along the way, He also used his claw to draw golden lines in mid-air to illustrate the Jackal Guards strategies.
The journalists gasped, and some had their mouths hanging at the sight of Horus' claws being a stylus pen drawing holograms in mid-air. Some of them had to switch on the video recorder mode on their phones to make sure that they have more than enough scoops for their editors. "So how long have you been operating in the region? Who created and programmed you?" The Indian journalist asked again with a highly inquisitive expression. Horus felt even more nervous, divided even. He could ill-afford the poor publicity, but this was an opportunity to rally the world's opinions to the Guards favors.
"To be frank with you, we've been operating in the Middle East and Africa for roughly eight years. We kept our operations localized and secret, for the most part. Many brave warriors are charging into battles as we speak, and I cannot disclose them for their operational security. As for your other question, no one made me. I was born like anyone else." This bombshell by Horus made the Journalists baffled and confused.
Their minds and thought processes found it nonsensical for a robot to claim itself born instead of made. "What do you mean born? You are a robot, a machine in front of our very eyes! Who made you? Do you even have memories of your creator?" The same DW journalist asked again, making Horus rolled his eyes in annoyance at their insistence.
Horus sighed out and maintained his composure for a moment. Even then, it was growing difficult with how the journalists kept coming at him to try and make sense of the oxymoron idea of a robot somehow being born. "To elaborate, I am crown prince Heru Sa Aset. But you may better know me as Horus, son of Isis." Horus spoke with a steely voice, prompting the journalists to cave in and asking him more.
"Was it literally or figuratively? Our readers and viewers are very bewildered by your statement." The Austrian journalist questioned, with Horus looking over at the Austrian man to answer his question while the other microphones and recorders were mere inches from his face. Suddenly, he felt oddly at home with this. It was familiar with what he had done in the days of town criers and orators to build his cult's following.
"Literally." He replied tersely, "I am THE one, and only Horus the divine god of Egypt." Horus spoke, his attitude and flair sounded more upbeat and confident than before. Rameses took notice and raised his head to see if his senses were playing tricks on him. And indeed, he was seeing Horus holding the media's attention fixed firmly on him.
"Yes, I'm a literal god before your very eyes. Why am I a robot? Just for the conveniences of leading my troops, whom you all have seen to be robots." Horus stated with a dramatic flair and a casual, relaxed, cocky expression on his robot face. "Also, before you ask, this is my body that I enhanced and robotized through advancements in Nanotechnology."
For a moment, Rameses felt a little less stressed out by Horus' method of handling the press. Usually, they kept to themselves and shunned press coverage of their works. The law of the Hidden One, the gods work in mysterious ways, for it is proof of their omnipotent and omnipresent. To do so otherwise would risk mortals grow complacent, and the gods can ill-afford humanity being over-reliant on them. Horus knew this well, but times had changed, so too must the gods.
"How do you think the viewers would react to know that you're running a mercenary army and perhaps black operations for hire? Would that affect your divinity or legitimacy in any way?" The American NYT journalist inquired cautiously. Horus took notice of it and made a little confident smirk. "A god earns his followers through actions. They know that what I do helps them sleep well. Therefore, I don't think I would lose any followers." Horus replied confidently to the journalist, for NYT journalist, the idea of a mercenary army, a black op one at that, would fight for ideals and noble causes sounded like a relic of a different time.
"Just one last question, sir. Will there be press releases of media from your forces? Such as photos and videos as proof of your work?" With the question of the Indian journalist, Horus nodded and further elaborated on how much disclosure there will be. "Of course, there will be. Our in-house media and outreach team has an archive of declassified footage of our combat operations as well as some more recent recordings of our operation in Somalia." With that, Horus had the Pioneer bot lead the journalists to a different area of the airport to see the outreach team. Horus sighed out a breath of relief that he had gotten the pressure of media coverage off his back, presumably for the better.
Horus turned around and went over to Rameses, patting his shoulder for reassurances only for the Inquisitor to catch Horus’s wrist with a glare. “You know there’s a reason why Anubis shun away journalists, right?” Rameses asked threateningly to Horus, making him nervous for his dear life when the Inquisitor sounded eerily close to Anubis. "I do. But we can't just keep on pretending that the world has no ways of finding us. We let them know who we are. It's our chance to prove ourselves and earn some new supporters." Horus calmly replied to Rameses before walking away with him.
"It's risky but worth the shot. And if it's successful, perhaps Ra will give you a reason to be on the throne." Rameses reluctantly conceded with a sigh, prompting Horus to hug him with a bear hug. "I won't let any of you down, I promise!" He eagerly remarked while Rameses grunted and cringed when he felt the pressure of Horus's much more muscular athletic build bearing down on the Inquisitor's robot chassis.
submitted by PointMan97 to HFY