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Update and Status Thread 09 Oct 2020

Update and Status Thread 09 Oct 2020
Hi all,
Since Reddit only allows two sticky posts per subreddit and there's always going to be multiple things we want to keep everyone updated on, I've created this thread that will be edited and updated regularly with the status of items and any major updates.
Attached here is the link to the Diagnostic Tools that might be referenced in the thread if we need anyone to capture diagnostic logs for their issues. For submission of diagnostic logs, we appreciate if you can include your Reddit user name, the Reddit thread which would correspond to your issue (if there is), or a short description of your issues. There were some submissions with only the log and no other information, so it is also difficult for us to corelated the issues that the log is meant for without combing through the entire forum.
📷📷Diagnostics Tool (Public)
Any private correspondence or submission of diagnostic logs should be sent to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). Please note however that this is more of a community engagement email, so those with specific support issues required on their products are still advised to contact our official Customer Support at https://www.creative.com/contactus/, where we have much more dedicated resources and Customer Support Officers to track and look into various support issues.
So, with that being said. Here's the latest!
CURRENT TRACKING ITEMS:
1) Sound BlasterX G6
1a) G6 Game/Chat support for PS4
2) SB Command Support
3) DDLive/DTS issue [Monitoring. No active update 06/14]
4) AE-7/AE-9 audio dropout (including channel swap on X570 boards)
5) Sound Blaster X3
6) Sound BlasterX Katana
7) Windows 10 Update 2004 20H2
8) Sound Blaster K3+
9) Sound Blaster G3 Intermittent no audio device after device resume from hibernate/sleep (New!)
1) Sound BlasterX G6
1a) G6 Game/Chat support for PS4
The v1.16 beta firmware, which contains support for Game/Chat on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, has been officially released on January 22, 2020. We are still working on reproducing the outstanding intermittent microphone audio cutoff issue on PS4 party chat, with help and support from forum users to help share the setup where they are seeing issues. We have not been able to see this issue internally using exact PS4 model, PS4 firmware version, settings, etc. The team is working to get the exact microphone used by the user to see if that enables us to reproduce this issue.
03/02: We have been working to reproduce the microphone cut off issue in-house with no progress to report at this time. As part of this investigation, we have been working closely with GhostOfficer who has been able to see the issue consistently, ensuring that both the G6 and PS4 Pro model, firmware and settings are identical. We have also purchased the Antlion Audio ModMic that GhostOfficer has used to eliminate potential differences in microphone use, yet we are still unable to reproduce this issue. We have also tested running the PS4 in different environments to see if the user environment played a part in triggering this issue, and have not been able to trigger this consistently.
We have some suspicion that this may be an issue on PS4 itself, where there might be some form of detection within PS4 that will disable the microphone audio if the PS4 determines that the current audio recording is not a valid microphone audio, possibly to prevent issues where microphone audio from some users causes disruption to a chat session. Some threads that seem to be discussing this since 2017 can be found in the following threads.
https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/get-help/forums/playstation-systems.topic.160.20.html/ps4_microphone_notw-vCWB/
https://www.reddit.com/SoundBlasterOfficial/comments/ebi8sv/gamechat_balance_for_sound_blaster_g6_on_ps4_beta/
We do not have any confirmation on our suspicion, but workarounds that are provided by users who encounter this issue, such as keeping mic boost above 0dB, disabling noise reduction, etc., are general actions that will result in higher background hiss/noise in the mic audio, which seems to help to keep the microphone audio working. This is suggesting that PS4 might have some form of heuristics of detecting a valid mic signal which might not work when the microphone signal is too clean. During our internal testing, we did encounter some mic cutoff immediately when the microphone volume level was set to very low, around 4 or 5, which in general is in line with what we suspect as a clean mic signal being part of the trigger to this issue. We suspect that similar mic signal recorded for this particular condition might have occurred during the usage, triggering the microphone cutoff, and we are investigating deeper in this direction.
Meanwhile, for users who can consistently see this issue, we would like you to send us a video showing your connection, the sequence of steps you usually go through from starting the PS4 until you enter the chat session where the issue will eventually occur. This could help us identify if some change in steps that we have not tried might be the key to consistently seeing this issue. Please send these videos to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
03/21 : Based on feedback from various users, we would like those in the community who are able to see the intermittent microphone no signal issue for PS4 chat to try out the following sets of values using v1.16 firmware and let us know the results
The following settings are the same for all 4 sets.
- Mic Volume 68%.
- All other Voice Clarity effects off.
- Voice Morph Off.
Set 1 (matching to v1.11 settings) : Mic Boost +20dB. Noise Reduction ON.
Set 2 : Mic Boost 0dB. Noise Reduction ON.
Set 3 : Mic Boost +20dB. Noise Reduction OFF.
Set 4 : Mic Boost 0dB. Noise Reduction OFF.
Please also let us know the model of microphone that you are using. Please send your results to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
04/25: So far, we have only received response from u/GhostOfficer on the testing of the settings. SET 2 is indicated to be the only set of settings where the mic cut off issue is occurring. The difference in the 4 set of settings are only on the background mic hiss and noise that is present in the mic signal that is recorded by PS4. SET 2 is the set where the background mic hiss is lower but least similar to a traditional mic hiss profile due to the noise reduction.
Our theory is that PS4 Party Chat app is doing some valid mic signal detection on the signal for all users, and it will automatically cut off users with mic signal that does not seem to be valid. This is likely to prevent a signal bad mic signal from affecting the entire party chat. However, it is likely that the criteria for detection of valid mic is dependent on the background mic hiss.
We are considering adding a physical toggle for Noise Reduction in PS4 usage, which can allow for users to toggle the Noise Reduction state. Default Noise Reduction setting would be changed to OFF in PS4 mode, so that majority of users will not face the mic cutoff issue. Noise Reduction setting will be remembered separately for PS4 and PC usage, so that this change will not affect Windows user. A new v1.18 beta firmware with this implementation is target to be release for testing in end ApEarly May.
06/14: Official v2.0 firmware has been released on 20 May 2020. Default setting for noise reduction was changed to OFF which is found to be more compatible and does not trigger the mic validity checking on PS4 to determine that the mic signal from G6 is invalid. Users who wish to try using Noise reduction on PS4 will need to go into sidetone mode, double click on the master volume button to toggle the noise reduction On/Off state. Those who do not experience the mic sudden cut off could continue to keep Noise Reduction enabled on PS4, while those who start to experience the issue is advised to keep Noise Reduction OFF. This setting on PS4 is separated from the setting on Windows platform.
We are exploring is there is a way to inject some inaudible noise to keep the mic signal alive in PS4, but this is hampered by the inability to reproduce the issue in-house, which was also the reason this issue took such a long duration to resolve. We are still working on identifying what could be preventing the reproduction of this issue in-house.
09/12: We are still testing out various scenarios to reproduce the mic cut-off during chat issue to allow for the possibility of a future fix that allow noise reduction to be used on PS4.
10/09: No new update, investigation still in progress.
2) SB Command Support
03/21: We will be working towards adding support for Sound BlasterX G6 in SB Command. We are targeting to have the official support out by Sep 2020, and to have beta version ready for testing at around June 2020.
04/25: We will start to work on this now that AE-5 support on SB Command has been released. Estimated release of beta is currently still June 2020.
06/14: The beta release of SB Command with G6 support is undergoing internal testing, and should be released for community to test somewhere near end of June to Early July.
08/02: Sound Blaster Command v3.4.84.00 has been released on 30 Jul as a public beta for G6. Please refer to this Reddit thread for more information. https://www.reddit.com/SoundBlasterOfficial/comments/i0e69e/sound_blaster_command_for_g6_public_beta/
10/09 – Official support for G6 will available on our support site by 31 Oct 2020.
3) DDLive/DTS issue [Monitoring. No active update]
Please see this thread https://www.reddit.com/SoundBlasterOfficial/comments/ct80w0/dolby_dts_issue_identified_explanation_and/ .
The issue has been identified as a change that Microsoft made to a default privacy setting in Windows.
Here's the link to the latest Diagnostic Tool (v1.0.8.0) that contains the changes for detecting issues with the missing encoder tab. We have change to use a OneDrive public link here to ensure that the community will get the latest diagnostic tool the moment it is ready for release.
Please run the Diagnostic Tools with the link at the start of the thread. Once you've run the diagnostic please send the log files to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
03/02: Since the Diagnostic Tool was made available, we have not received any logs related to this issue. If you have sent us a log on this, please help to highlight this to us by indicating that the log you sent is in relation to the missing encoder tab issue. Also, please re-send the log files to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
03/21: We have not received any logs from users regarding this issue till date. As such, we will put this issue under monitoring and will not be providing any active update. If any users are encountering this issue, please follow the instructions that has been provided and send us the log files.
06/14: It seems that there are still users who are facing this issue, but we are not receiving any diagnostic logs on this issue. If you have sent it but we did not response, we would appreciate if you can help to send again with some indication in the email that the log is regarding this issue.
There is a feedback in the thread saying that one of the community users found that NVidia HDMI sound driver could play a part and result in the SB tabs not showing up.
4) AE-7/AE-9 audio dropout (including channel swap on X570 boards)
10/12 - An AE-9 / AE-7 beta driver that has been tested internally to resolve issues with systems that have had the audio dropout issue is now available. You can download the driver here - https://creative.box.com/s/rpladc8kfu1hg55zbhl5nxhce1uq0eib
10/11 - Good news. With the feedback we've received from various users (many located on here) we've been able to reproduce and isolate an issue that leads to this audio dropout. The internal beta has rectified the problem internally and we will be releasing to the public within the next few days. We will update here once again once the beta is ready for distribution.
12/02 Update: the latest driver is available on Windows Update. We are still looking into audio drop issues when memory is overclocked.
12/30 No Update.
02/05 No Update.
03/02: Currently, the outstanding audio dropout reports are related to high-speed memory (3000+ MHz). We are still investigating this issue, as it is only seen on certain systems.
03/21: We have invested in a new equipment that would help us to expedite and improve our capacity in the investigation of this issue. Due to the worldwide COVID-19 situation affecting delivery of the equipment, we estimate to be able to do that in June 2020.
04/25: The delivery of the equipment we are getting to improve on our capacity for investigation of this issue has been brought forward to early May. We are also working to gather the relevant equipment and systems required to investigate the issue due to COVID-19 isolation measures affecting the way we can work and look into issues. We are still trying to work as best we can within the bounds of such measures, and we hope the community would understand and give us more time during this trying time.
06/14: We have been studying the issues on a X570 system since obtaining the new equipment at end May 2020. The new equipment has allowed us to identify unusual events that occurs when audio drop or channel swap occurs on X570. Currently investigating the issues based on the additional information found. We are currently focusing on the X570 boards for the investigations which seems to be what majority of users facing the issue is on, and will see if the fix for the issues will help users on other boards.
08/02: We are working with AMD to investigate the issues seen on the X570 chipset motherboard.
09/11: We are still working with AMD on the investigation of the issues. As details of the investigation progress cannot be published, we hope everyone can be patience on this while the investigation continues.
10/09: AMD has advised to adjust the following settings, which may help to resolve the issues:
a) Disable PCIe Link State Power Management and other power saving settings in BIOS. In general, power management can add latency to devices wake up.

https://preview.redd.it/ro94jyndiat51.png?width=432&format=png&auto=webp&s=bf9283d53a3d52ba2847128fc0ae2a35c6cf1e04
b) Disable CPU Global C-State. From AMD findings, disabling this setting seems to have improvement on bus completion latency.

https://preview.redd.it/gaieickiiat51.png?width=555&format=png&auto=webp&s=8adca81c2830cfd352045304db5a8d2f17e1089b
5) Sound Blaster X3
We are working on a new software and firmware release that would solve some of the following issues reported. The update is targeted to be released in January 2020.
a) SXFI effect affected by audio enhancement
b) SB Command showing headphone output when audio output is on speaker
c) Disable audio output from both speaker and SPDIF output when headphone is in use
d) General stability and driver fixes
Update 2/05:
The new firmware, driver, and SB Command update has been released as of January 20, 2020. We are working on a newer firmware that would support the microphone usage on Nintendo Switch.
03/02: We are preparing for a new firmware for X3, targeted to be released mid to end of March 2020. The planned changes are below:
1) Added Nintendo Switch mic support
2) Fixed Volume knob not syncing with OS after power up
3) Improved SXFI effect
4) Allow control of optical output volume
5) Support PC sleep mode, device will enter low power mode with LED turn off
03/21: We are currently testing the new firmware for X3. There are some issues found from testing which we are fixing. The release is likely to be happening in end March to early April, depending on the result of our testing on the new firmware with the fixes.
04/25: v1.3.20200406.0200 firmware has been released on 24th Apr. It should be progressively available on SB Command on all platforms. Windows users are already seeing the update. SB Command v3.4.72.01 has also made available as an app update to users to resolve software related issues.
06/14: We are working on a v1.4 firmware release for X3 which should be available soon. The key issue that is resolved is the inability to sync windows volume control through the volume knob after a cold boot or hibernation.
08/02: v1.5.200705.0120 was released on 13 July to address a L channel inbalance issue. We are planning a new v1.6 firmware to further address the issue of audio level being at a louder level than shown on the device.
09/11: We are still planning the scope of v1.6 update. Focus is currently on some outstanding issues that occur only on Mac OS, and also the intermittent issue where audio level is louder than what is shown on the device. Tentatively looking at Oct/Nov 2020.
10/09: No new update.
6) Sound BlasterX Katana
03/21: We are working on releasing a new version of SB Connect to fix an issue where almost no control is shown.
We are also doing some investigation on the issue where audio drop is reported in Windows 10 1903. We have not been able to reproduce the issue from initial testing, and would like users who are seeing the issue to run the diagnostic app to provide us with more information.
04/25: We are doing some internal testing of the new version of SB Connect that fixes the no control shown issue. It should be release in the 27th Apr week for testing by the community if nothing adverse shows up from our testing.
Regarding the audio drop issue, we are seeing it on 1 particular system which exhibits the issue only on the USB3.0 ports, but not the USB2.0 ports. We did a BIOS update on this system and the audio drop on the USB3.0 ports no longer happen.
While this might not be the cause of issue for all users, we would advise those affected to check on this to see if you are affected by USB port compatibility issues. We are still testing on various system to reproduce the issue but so far, no other systems are showing pops after audio playback of 2 hours.
For users who are seeing the issue, if you have not done so, please help to run the diagnostic app to provide us with more information. We hope to be able to find some hints that could help us identify potential systems or settings that have not been tried to reproduce this issue. Please send your logs to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]), indicating that you are seeing audio pops on Katana, and some description on your usage scenario where you encounter the issues.
06/14 : Till date, we have found that the following could trigger the intermittent audio pops with Katana
1) Insufficient power delivered on the USB port.
There were systems with this issue where switching to a different port helps.
2) BIOS update
We have found system that has the issue but is resolved after the BIOS is updated to the latest
We are also testing a new SB Connect release to resolve a detection issue for Katana where available controls are not fully displayed.
08/02: We have discovered some issues that requires addressing during our testing. A new version that addresses the issues found have released for internal testing.
09/11: We have released an updated SB Connect v 3.4.06.03 for Katana that resolved some issue with missing controls and also update the driver for Katana. We are aware that there are users who encounter audio popping issues, which we are still trying to reproduce internally.
10/09: We are able to reproduce the popping issue in certain scenarios and target to release a solution by Dec. 2020.
7) Windows 10 Update 2004 20H2
06/14: With the release of Windows 10 update 2004, we are aware that some users may be facing issues with your existing products. We are in communication with Microsoft on this. Those facing issues which is triggered by the v2004 update could let us know with some description and information of the symptoms, together with the logs captured with the diagnostic app with link at the start of the thread.
Below is an issue that some of you have raised for v2004 update
- AE-5 volume slider lag
08/02: We have found some change in the number of volume set triggered by OS with the Windows OSD volume set. There are many more set by the OS, resulting in more processing as compared to Windows 10 prior to v2004. We are working on a fix to handle this behaviour change in Windows 10 v2004 that is triggering the volume lag.
09/11: We are working on releasing new driver for AE series and SBZ series that will address the volume lag issues.
10/09: The new driver for AE and SBZ series have been submitted to Microsoft for release through Windows Update and users will get it once Microsoft pushes the drivers out.
8) Sound Blaster K3+
09/11: We are looking into reports of audio pop issues with Mac OS 10.14 and 10.15 that users are facing, and targeting to provide a solution in October 2020.
10/09: There is a new K3+ firmware that has resolved the reported issue, it is under internal testing and we target to release by the end of Oct. 2020.
9) Sound Blaster G3 Intermittent no audio device after device resume from hibernate/sleep (New!)
10/09: We are working on a solution, target to be available by early Nov.
submitted by CreativeRobert to SoundBlasterOfficial

First Contact - Third Wave - Chapter 355

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General No'Drak looked down at the holotanks below him. He was standing up at the observers area, in front of the seats, leaning against the railing and smoking a cigarette. He could see all of the holotanks from up here, watch the ebb and flows of the battle. Next to him stood his aide, Colonel BuChampe, and one of the Great Grand Most Highs of the system, formerly in charge of the infantry now in charge of precisely jack and shit but wounded troops that had barely survived. On No'Drak's other side was Most High Ge'ermo'o, aide to Great Most High A'armo'o, who still commanded nearly ten thousand tanks, and General Moffeta, who was in charge of Terran close air support assets.
Most High A'armo'o's men were pushing deeper into the three cities, paving the way for 3rd Armor to engage the Precursor forces inside the city that were surrounding the massive ships that had landed or crashed in the city centers. 18th Armor Division was currently sweeping The Graveyard, where dozens of Precursor machines had crashed. It was a radioactive hellscape full of twisted metal, destroyed or heavily damage Precursor combat vehicles, and shattered landscape. All twelve infantry divisions (unpowered) were sweeping the cities, fighting next to the armored vehicles. The power armor troops were mixed in with the cities as well as working with the Air Cav units to sweep the countryside, looking for any Precursor that might have avoided the net so far.
That wasn't to say combat was over. Space Force had only recently finished off the last of the Harvester Class Precursors and most of the lesser machines, but some were still out there playing hide and seek with Space Force.
It was odd, No'Drak thought to himself, these ones didn't Helljump out. They kept fighting, as if they could pull victory from defeat from an enemy that outgunned them, outranged them, and that they could barely effect even with massed fire.
Space Force was holding roughly a third of their ships in reserve, suspecting another wave to come in.
It was all down to the ground forces now.
"Trucker's engaging," Ge'ermo'o stated. The fact that humans often dispensed with titles when talking about one another seemed odd.
"Of course he is," No'Drak said, tapping his ashes into the ashtray. He brought up a virtual keyboard with a command to his implant and tapped a few keys with one bladearm, taking a long drag off of his Terran import smoke.
"Sir?" the summoned image was of a Saurian Compact Kobold with red scales and the flash of a staff sergeant on his collar.
"What's the bandwidth looking like for Trucker's battle tactical network updates?" No'Drak asked.
The tech looked down, then back up. "Minor updates to the battleplan, fairly low so far," he said.
"Let me know once it crossed into BOLO bandwidth territory," No'Drak said and closed the channel.
"So, he doesn't give orders verbally?" Ge'ermo'o asked.
No'Drak shook his head. "No. He uses his implant to make warplan addendum and adjustments. He reserves voice commands for urgent things."
"And he has never lost a battle?" Ge'ermo'o watched as the lead ranks and the forward section of the western flank of 3rd Armor started flashing yellow to signify they were engaged in combat.
"He's lost a few," Moffeta said, folding her arms and leaning on the railing. "Most expensive victories the enemy ever bought though," she shook her head. "One war, the enemy threw so much metal at Trucker that when they finally forced Trucker's one regiment to retreat they realized they'd lost nearly sixty percent of their military forces and Trucker's unit was already reloading and getting ready for a counter-thrust."
"That war was over, right there," No'Drak said.
Ge'ermo'o watched as 3rd Armor seemed to move like a well oiled machine. He had to admit, with two hundred years experience as a tank commander, he understood the holotanks and what was going on.
It just frightened him.
"First Telkan is falling back with Great Herd Armor," one of the techs reported from the ground.
Ol' Smokey 'No opened up a window in mid-air in front of him, looking over the numbers.
"Looks like the most that First Telkan took was some moderate armor damage," General No'Drak mused. He opened a few other windows. "A'armo'o's tanks are a little beat up, but nothing that can't be handled in the field."
He checked another window. "Looks like Fifteen Combat Sustainment is meeting them," he leaned forward. "Hmm, interesting, their Battalion Commander requested it directly after making sure that the CO for First Telkan is going to be there."
"Problems?" BuChampe asked.
"Not sure. Have someone keep an eye on the memetic traffic, that's usually a good indicator of shit going sideways on a person to person level," No'Drak said.
Great Grand Most High of Great Herd Infantry Ga'alawpi'in had been largely silent, listening to the others.
"Why, General No'Drak, do you give such autonomy to your commanders?" he asked, frowning.
"They are on the battlefield, I am here. My data is seconds behind actual events. Not as bad as it was in eras long past, but still, as little as a half second can make the difference between defeat and victory, between living and dead," No'Drak said.
"But yet you allow General Trucker command units he cannot even see," Ga'alawpi'in said. "See, right there, he ordered BOLO Vegitales to go to rapid fire on their infinite repeaters nine through seventeen at a specific aiming points in eight seconds," the Lanaktallan said.
"Let's take a look," No'Drak said. He activated the railing holosystem and brought up BOLO Vegitales' optical sensors.
The battle was roaring. Hordes of Precursor light infantry and light armored vehicles were charging the massive super-tank. The huge super-tank wasn't even using its main gun, just using infinite repeaters, mortars, point defense, and anti-personnel charges to destroy the mechanical attackers.
"There is nothing the..." Ga'alawpi'in started to say.
A horde of fast attack hover-pods lunged up from behind a pile of ferrocrete rubble, their launchers deployed, obviously getting ready to launch multiple armor defeating missiles at the massive tank.
The infinite repeaters shredded them before they could get much more than a meter over the rubble.
"That is preposterous!" Ga'alawpi'in said, curling his tendrils and shaking his jowls in outrage. "How could you possibly expect me to believe that a sole tank commander nearly a hundred miles away would know what was going to happen."
General No'Drak gave the Treana'ad equivalent of a smile and made a motion, wiping the display and bringing up the map. "Let's look it," he made another motion.
"108th Military Intelligence, Tech Specialist Hannah, how can I help you, sir, ma'am, both or neither?" The Terran female that appeared asked.
"This is General No'Drak, Theater, Commanding, put me through to Combat Analysis Division, Trucker Sequencing Section," No'Drak said.
"Right away, sir," the Terran said. There was silence on the line for a moment. "Hold for Sergeant K'Krik."
Ge'ermo'o restrained a smile. He knew that his rival was about to get completely embarrassed.
"108th Combat Analysis Division, Real Time Operational Analysis, Trucker Section," a furry looking Terran said.
"General No'Drak here," the big Treana'ad said.
"General. How can I help you? Keep in mind we're extremely busy," the Terran said.
Ga'alawpi'in felt a little offended that the Terran seemed to be implying he had better things to do than talk to someone who outranked him by such a factor.
"Have you determined how Trucker knew the anti-armor pods were going to engage BOLO Vegitales?" No'Drak asked.
"One second, sir," the Terran said. He muted it, turning away. After a minute he looked back, then down, obviously doing something on a screen they couldn't see. "All right, sir. Four hours ago a Djinn class Precursor vessel was shot down by a combination of orbital strikes and BOLO Vegitales' main gun fire. It deployed its full compliment while under orbital fire that disabled it. Third Regiment, Second Telkan Marine Division encountered pod-drones and two dozen heavy pod-layers three miles from where Vegitales was operating."
He took another look. "The Telkan Marines disabled the Precursor combat robots that didn't withdraw but could not follow up their assault. They reported and moved on, catching up to Great Most High A'armo'o's armored units. Two hours ago 22nd Infantry Division elements encountered a heavy pod-layer mech company and destroyed it, although it appears they only discovered half of the pod-layers that the Telkan Marines reported as escaped. The known speed of those drones for cruising speed under stealth is only two miles and hour. As you can see, the ferrocrete used in the ground-car elevated highways system there is the same sensor signature as the drones and prevents a direct line of sight."
The Terran male shrugged. "Once you look at the data, it's fairly obvious that the anti-tank drones sent by the Djinn before its destruction via orbital fire would be heading toward BOLO Vegitales. It was just putting the evidence together."
"Thank you, Sergeant," No'Drak said and closed the window. He looked at Ga'alawpi'in and put out his cigarette. "Does that satisfy you?"
Ge'ermo'o knew that the other Lanaktallan couldn't see it, but Ge'ermo'o could. Some subconscious part of the Terran General's brain had put all the data together, analyzed the pattern, and come to a logical and straightforward conclusion.
Ge'ermo'o was impressed that the Terran military had dedicated an entire section to analyze one man's battlefield impressions. It made sense to Ge'ermo'o, as it would allow them to refine combat predictive algorithms as well as train other leaders in how to put together circumstantial evidence into a coherent whole.
"But, if he is making these deductions, surely it effects his ability to lead as well as to take part in combat," Ga'alawpi'in harumphed. "How can he be an effective leader or combat soldier if he spends all his time analyzing data?"
No'Drak slowly pulled out his half-empty pack of cigarettes, tapping the top end against one bladearm. "Wanna see?"
Ga'alawpi'in frowned. "See what?"
"See Trucker in action then decide if you want to revise that statement?" Moffat asked.
"I'd like to see," Ge'ermo'o said.
No'Drak made a few poking motions with one bladearm. "Behold, the magic of cybernetics, tank sensors, and software."
The window opened up then expanded around everyone, visible only to those who stood on the balcony.
Trucker was half out of his tank, his helmet on his head, both hands wrapped around the firing handles of the quad-barrel TC's gun. He was raking the fire across the side of a Precursor that was trying to pull itself out of the rubble of a collapsed building.
"Black Betty, rotate up new port battlescreen projectors, you're about to take a hit," he yelled out.
A datascreen popped up that he had already ordered it via implant nearly thirty seconds prior. Ten seconds before even that he had warned the Defensive Crewman of the tank that they were going to take a 15 kiloton hit to the port battlescreens.
There was a flare of white light behind Trucker as he let off the trigger, whipped the gun up and to the left, and spit tobacco juice off to the side. He started raking the upper floors of a building and the bright purple flash of Precursor battlescreens taking hits started erupting from out of the shot out windows.
"Bag of Bolts, recycle your APERS strip, I can see the crack in it from here. You know not to wet-print the new APERS strips," he shouted, raking the building again.
A tank fired, hitting where Trucker was lashing the building, the heavy main gun of the tank blowing the roof off the building in a shower of debris and a clawing rising cloud of fire and smoke. A Precursor shot out of the building, lighting its grav drive, but a main gun shot from another direction blew it into confetti before it could get further than a hundred meters from the building and twenty meters of altitude.
Letting off the triggers, Trucker spit tobacco and looked around, stomping the foot pedal to rotate his command platform in a quick three-sixty, checking the data on his implant against where he could feel the battle was going.
Something's off, he thought to himself, keeping his thumb on the switch to keep the barrels rotating so they'd cool faster. He did a quick check of HHC, did a quick check on Cry Little Sister, then ran another fast status on the Division.
Nothing.
He out two fingers against his datalink, checked the updates to the Battlefield Tactical Network system, then frowned.
Something still felt out of whack.
A Precursor machine lunged out of a half collapsed store, scattering Tri-Vids and chairs everywhere and ran straight into the main gun shot of Raspberry Pi. The Precursor slid to the side, the entire side caved in and fire licking at the internals.
"All Regimental commanders, status reports," Trucker snapped, sending a datalink ping to go with it.
The reports came in rapidly.
Eight tanks disabled due to blown tracks, one tank had taken an engine hit, and another one was currently working its way out of a rubble after an underground parking garage had collapsed and dumped it into a...
...
...hole.
He held onto that for a moment as the tank rocked slightly as it crushed several twisted and burnt ground cars under its bulk.
For a split second he could see an iridescent insect, floating on the breeze, just outside the battlescreens, his cyberoptics focusing on it for a second before returning his field of view to the horizon.
It suddenly gelled and he double-checked the deployment map.
Nice try, he thought.
"Karmine, get me Colonel Dremsal, right now!" he yelled out loud, looking around again.
It took a couple tries, but PFC Karmine managed to get through the Colonel Dremsal, 14th Regiment, 3rd Brigade, and pass the link to Trucker.
"Dremsal here, sir," Trucker heard.
"Move your unit to the attached location, ping me when you get there," Trucker snapped, adding his gun's fire to another two quad-barrels that were ripping apart the armor on the side of a medium Precursor vehicle.
"Roger that, sir," Demsal answered.
"What do you think he sees? There's nothing there?" Ge'ermo'o asked, watching the holotank.
"Not sure. Check with Planetary Defense and Civil Defense," No'Drak said.
Dremsal checked the orders again. He'd served in Third Armor for over a hundred and fifty years and was well used to strange orders coming in that made sense after the fact.
"Get the tanks in closer! Shut down your screens except your starboard, overhead, and undercarriage!" he shouted over the comlink. "Nose to tail! Nose to tail and main guns to starboard, Thunderpunch!"
His tank moved forward slightly, bumping into the one ahead with a barely felt thump. His XO flashed him an angry icon as the paint cracked and chipped. The CO for 2nd Battalion bumped his tank up and the starboard battlescreens clashed for a moment before they got on the same harmonic.
Dremsal looked to port where there was nothing but the rubble of a parking garage that had collapsed sometime earlier, then back to starboard, where there was nothing but wreckage from multiple skyrakers that had collapsed and destroyed Precursor heavy vehicles.
"Get ready, Thunderpunch!" Trucker yelled over the comlink to Dremsal. Colonel Dremsal could hear that HHC 3rd Armor's main guns were firing.
To be honest, Dremsal didn't like making his tanks a fixed fighting position. It gave away speed and battlefield manueverability, but he trusted his CO. He checked his quad-barrel and swung it around, lining it up on the top of the rubble of a collapsed skyraker.
Any minute now, he thought.
Old Iron Feathers led his men on a close in pass, checking the battlefield again. Great Herd Armor and First Telkan had gotten involved in heavy fighting, and while there were no MIA from the battle it never hurt to do one more sweep just in case.
"Iron, you read me?" Trucker's voice popped up in his suit.
"Iron Feathers here, Trucker," the neo-sapient replied.
"Got three heavy dropships coming down from The Blessing, but I'm not sure if they're going to get there in time. I need your men at these coordinates as fast as possible," Trucker said. Old Iron Feathers could hear the sounds of combat and knew that the big tanker was engaged. The coordinates pinged in, only four miles off, but the arc that Trucker wanted him to take increased it to six.
"Enroute. 13th Evac, out," Iron Feathers said. He opened a channel to his men at the same time as he crossloaded the flight plan. "Drop Nap of Earth and go full afterburners. Trucker's got something."
All nine of his men flashed green icons as he led them on a spiral down to just above the ground, lower than twenty meters, and leveled out. Once his men were in a wedge he kicked off the afterburners and the SAR armor boosted to over two hundred miles an hour.
"Look at that. He's calling in medevac and medical dropships now," BuChampe mused. "What is going on?"
"I'm not sure," No'Drak said. He frowned.
"Sir, Diasy Sue is confirming an orbital strike request!" one of the techs said, her head and shoulders suddenly appearing from a holoprojector.
"Who's request?" No'Drak asked.
Ge'ermo'o knew.
"General Trucker. He wants a four-fifty kinetic shot from near orbit less than a mile from 14th Armor Regiment," the female Terran said. Ge'ermo'o could see that her heavy duty datalink implant had all nine LED's red.
His had three LED's.
"Authorize it," No"drak said. "Get me a satellite overview of what's going on with 14th Regiment."
"Yes, sir," the Terran said and vanished.
Dremsal saw the nine members of 13th Evac touch down right before the countdown to the orbital strike reached zero. He had his hands wrapped around the handles of the quad-barrel so tight his knuckles and fingers were starting to hurt.
The lance came down and struck ground with a blinding white light. The ground heaved and surged, the tanks clanking and rubbing against one another, the battlescreens losing attunement for a moment and snarling where they joined. The blast wave carried dust, dirt, and debris in a solid wave out to smash against the battlescreens, to flow over the tanks, and barely miss the SAR armor crouched down in the rubble, before hitting the ground and rushing out nearly two miles more.
"OPEN FIRE!" Dremsal yelled, even though he could barely hear and couldn't see.
Right before the first tank fired there was another roaring as a dozen Precursor machines, massing several thousand tons each, breached the surface, the laser drills on the front still flashing and burning with red light. Underground several exploded, damaged too much to continue by the orbital shot.
The heavy tank rounds started slamming into the heavy duty Precursor vehicles, blowing huge craters in the armor that normally served to protect the robotic harvester deep in the crust. Smaller machines started deploying from the massive drill and extraction robots, jumping to the ground and charging toward 14th Armor.
Behind the tanks the ground shuddered as heavy hydraulics began lifting massive slabs of endosteel up in the air.
Iron Feathers looked into the gap and saw hundreds of civilians, their faces gray with dust, looking up. He looked up with them, pinging his datalink.
ETA: 215 seconds
Crap, Iron Feathers thought.
-------------
Vuxten jumped off the back of the Lanaktallan hovertank, trying not to think of how not too long ago beings just like the crew had mocked and belittled him as he worked menial labor. The tank commander waved to him and he waved back as he hustled over to where his datalink told him that Sergeant Casey was waiting.
The one eyed human was standing in his loading frame, looking at where two sets of 40mm grenades were coming out of two different nano-forges.
"There you are, Lieutenant," Casey said.
"You said you wanted to see me when we got here?" Vuxten said, moving up. He looked at the grenades on the conveyor belt and frowned. They were standard 40mm high explosive dual purpose armor defeating.
"Yup. Solved your problem," the human said.
"Which problem?" Vuxten asked.
The human pointed at Vuxten's left shoulder. "Your grenade launcher."
Vuxten turned and looked at him. "Space Force and Armor Engineering say the launcher's fine even though it keeps jamming up."
"It is fine. Your problem isn't the launcher," the big human said. He pointed at the grenades. "These are," he pointed at the second one, which Vuxten could tell by the slight glossy sheen to the casing had been wet-printed by a hot nano-forge. "Well, those are to be exact."
"How?" Vuxten asked. He couldn't see any difference.
The big human picked up one from each conveyor. "Superficially, they look the same. Unfortunately, they aren't. I checked the armor logs, you guys wet-print once you get into combat. By the fifth or sixth wet-printed shell you get jammed up."
Vuxten nodded.
"It's because when wet-printed the booster charge that launches it from the launcher is more granular, sticky so to speak. You end up with what looks like carbon, but is carbon and unexploded Composition Delta-Seven, a low explosive," the human said. "It's not much, but enough to jam the weapon as it loads. When you get it clear, it's good for five or six launches then it jams again."
Vuxten nodded slowly. "All right. What do I do about it?"
"I talked to Ordnance Command in the fleet, they gave me permission to run a reorder on your ammo. Instead of caseless using Comp Dee-Seven, we'll use Comp Bee-Ex-Four. That burns cleaner even when wet-printed. That should solve your jamming pro..." Casey's eyes opened wide and he grabbed Vuxten yanking him down onto the ground as the big human went one knee down, fist into the ground, covering his face with the other arm.
The dust blew by, the wind knocking the grenades off the conveyors. The shockwave shook the ground and the rumble went on for a long second.
"You OK, Lieutenant?" Case asked, looking at Vuxten.
"Yeah. What was that?" Vuxten asked, getting up.
"Orbital strike. Someone just got pancaked," the human said.
Vuxten turned and stared. The mushroom cloud, and any sufficently powerful explosion creates a mushroom cloud, was reaching up for the sky.
Casey stood up slowly, straightening up. "You better have your men load those templates, sir," he said.
He pointed at the cloud. "Got a feeling you're gonna be back in it real soon."
Vuxten nodded.
"Status report!" A'armo'o snapped, standing up in the tank, his upper body outside the cupola. He could see the Telkan officer, Vuxten, running back over to the tanks, waving his arm to encourage his men to follow.
"Orbital strike from the Daisy Sue, sir," his commo tech yelled. "We've got multiple heavy Precursors coming straight at 14th Armor Regiment. Looks like subterrainian extraction and refinery systems that got forced to the surface by the orbital strike!"
"Who's close enough to provide support?" A'armo'o asked, staring in awe at the mushroom cloud taht was still red and orange.
There was silence for a moment. "Nobody, Most High."
A'armo'o looked around. His tanks were being reloaded, some of them were damaged badly enough that they were smoking.
Rolling coal, went through his mind.
He tapped his datalink, bringing up a map. He was six miles away, a river in between. The Terran tanks were all tracked vehicles, they couldn't cross the quarter mile river.
But his hover-tanks could.
He opened the channel. "All units, all units. Two minutes then we roll out! We lock and load, rack and stack on the way!"
"Most High, my main gun's out!" one of his subordinates protested.
"THEN RUN THEM OVER!" A'armo'o yelled. "This is not optional. I will shoot anyone who disobeys."
"Fifteenth, grab the forges, mount the tanks. We'll dismount at the river!" Captain Starpunt yelled out.
"First Telkan, mount your tanks!" the human commander of the Telkan Marines yelled.
"Plot us a course," A'armo'o ordered.
"But, sir, the Terrans should be able to handle it," His Third Most High protested.
"Not by the time we get there," A'armo'o said.
He didn't know how he knew.
But he knew.
No'Drak watched the screen update and turned to look at BuChampe. He reached out and poked at General Trucker's image with one bladearm even as he exhaled smoke from his legs.
"Not a psyker, my great big bug ass," No'Drak said.
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submitted by Ralts_Bloodthorne to HFY