GRUNTS
a yogang for Cybergeneration
by Gary Astleford
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"I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. How about you, palmolive?"

"If you desire peace, prepare for WAR."

"So I went to the CO, to give him my AAR from an H & I mission we just did, and he says we need to perform a C & S on that abandoned arcology ASAP. So I tell him that half my cadre is WIA, I got two MIA, and one KIA collecting flies in a gutter somewhere. So he tells me..."

You're a Grunt, and proud of it. You and your squad know that you're the ultimate war machines, the front line. What about the ISA? What about CorpSec? What about BuReloc, and the rest of 'em? Frag 'em! Bring 'em on! You and your boys'll show 'em what-for.

You and your squad don't do anything stupid. You're not like those Megaviolent crazies. And the Streetfighters..? They're tryin' to hold on to some old world honorable rules, like the ISA's gonna play right along. They might as well cut their throats on their fancy swords and save CorpSec the bullets. This is a WAR, man, and war doesn't have any rules.

As a Grunt, you're part of an elite fighting unit among your peers. You and the rest of your squad were brought up within the military machine. Maybe your mom or dad (or both) were in the military. Maybe you were in high school ROTC. Or, heaven forbid, you grew up in an ISA-sponsored military acedemy. Whatever the case, you learned discipline, tactics, and teamwork, and you're not about to let your knowledge go to waste.

WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE

One of the things you've learned is that in order to win a war, you can't be seen. Fade in, attack, and then fade out again like spectres. To this end, Grunts wear camoflage uniforms. These uniforms (or utilities) come in a variety of patterns and colors : urban, desert, woodland, jungle, and many more. Each uniform identifies its wearer with a name tag bearing his call-sign. Each ganger's rank is displayed on his left shoulder, while his squad's symbol or patch is marked on his right.

Most Grunts who can afford it have a set of combat webbing, a system of belts, suspenders, pouches, and packs which disperse the weight of the gear he carries evenly over his body. Some also wear steel or kevlar helmets to protect their heads. Hair is usually very short, cut to military regulations. Of course, combat boots are required equipment.

When not performing guerrilla operations against ISA, corporate forces, and other yogangs, most Grunts continue to wear camoflage or olive drab clothing and their omnipresent combat boots. Some wear headgear, including wool watch caps or army surplus baseball-style hats with floppy brims. Tank tops and t-shirts that display military and combat-related slogans ("If you run, you'll only die tired.") are also popular.

SUBCULTURE

As a direct result of your upbringing, you and the rest of the Grunts in your squad are well-disciplined and serious. You only joke when you're sure it's safe, and even then you keep your voices down. Paramilitary training permeates every aspect of your conciousness, from the time you wake up till the time you come in off of guard duty. You speak in acronyms, or what most other gangers call "alphabet soup". Most of your other slang is a mixture of common military parlance and streetspeak.

Grunts travel in small, tight-knit units, or squads. Each squad member is loyal to the rest of his buddies, and everyone watches everyone else's back. Unless you're alone, you'll never have to worry about someone getting you from behind. Every squad is familiar with a number of fast action drills, or FADs. If a particular situation should arise, such as an ambush, the squad leader will indicate which FAD to enact. The entire squad will react without thinking, and depending on the FAD in effect, will begin an organized retreat, counterattack, or defense.

Squads consist of between four and twelve members. They are experts at urban geurrilla warfare. They stage ambushes and small raids against government installations and resources, and plant booby traps where ISA and CorpSec agents will find them (ie, inside a fallen enemy's genius gun, or under a wounded (but helpless) agent's body).

Gang structure is defined by a rank system. The system most commonly used is that of the U.S. Army's enlisted branch. Officer ranks are reserved for older members and those who are responsible for the welfare of several different squads. Rank carries with it privilege, but also great responsibility. Those with higher ranks are responsible for those of lower ones. They are also called upon to plan raids, keep track of supplies, and maintain discipline.

Grunts, due to a life full of constant moving and pulling up roots, are good at making and breaking friendships. They never become too attached to one person because they may be called on to leave that person behind. This emotional dislocation makes Grunts seem cold and unfeeling, especially when their friends die and they appear unconcerned. They are, however, deeply wounded on a subconscious level, and they use this pain as motivation to keep on fighting.

BELONGING

To become a Grunt, you must have some form of military upbringing, be it in an academy or an ROTC program. Growing up with military parents, however, is also acceptable, since exposure to the military machine is an almost daily ritual among "army brats." Grunts require you to have at least some knowledge of military history and tactics. Most Grunt squads aren't open to new members. If they want you, they'll watch you for a while and then get into contact. A sure fire way into a Grunt cadre is to make friends with a member. If your interests are similar to his own, there's a good chance he might suggest asking you to join.

Initiation is fairly strenuous. Grunts are required to run a makeshift urban confidence course, which includes tests of strength, stamina, speed, reflex, and awareness. Grunts must also be good at using weapons, and some knowledge of explosives, boody traps, and military discipline (which takes the form of drills) is favored.

Once inducted into the gang, members are made to perform all kinds of tedious and degrading tasks (cleaning toilets, garbage cans, and doing the rest of the gang's laundry). The Grunts believe that this teaches the FNG (Fraggin' New Guy) humility. The newbie might also go on a few short patrols. His real indoctrination occurs during his first fire-fight. If he freezes, locks up, or makes a serious mistake (such as trying to be a "hero" at the expense of the squad), he is expelled without hesitation.

It is an uncommon occurance for a Grunt to be forced out of the gang. If this occurs, it is usually due to some form of insubordination. Insubordinate activities include disobeying an order, initiating a fight with someone of higher rank than you, and damaging eqipment that has been declared a gang resource. Grunts who are insubordinant are usually taken before the gang's regional leaders and "court marshalled". Disciplinary action takes the form of anything from loss of rank to expulsion from the gang. The most serious crime one can be charged with is treason, and those convicted of such activities are usually executed by a firing squad.

ALLIES & ENEMIES

Grunts have very little respect for most other combat-oriented yogangs, especially the Megaviolents. They see Megaviolent tactics as crude and overly risky. After all, combat isn't something sane people actually enjoy. It's a means to an end. Actually looking for a face-to-face confrontation with no regard to your own safety or that of your cadre is foolish, and is the sort of thing that self-proclaimed heros try to do. They also have contempt for Beaverbrats, Glitterkids, and Goldenkids, who they think have had life too easy.

As far as allies go, Grunts prefer to hang with the Guardians and the Rads. They see the Guardians as what they might have become themselves, had they been allowed to lead "normal" civillian lives. The Rads, on the other hand, are thinkers and politicos who can use doctrine to direct any revolutionary movement, and Grunts have a great respect for this.

SLANG

AAR : After Action Report.
ASAP : As Soon As Possible.
Believer : A dead person.
Cadre : A squad of Grunts.
CO : Commanding Officer.
C & S : Cordon and Search (operation).
FAD : Fast Action Drill.
FNG : Fraggin' New Guy.
H & I : Harassment and Interdiction (operation).
KIA : Killed In Action.
MIA : Missing In Action.
Palmolive : A non-combatant. Someone with soft hands.
WIA : Wounded In Action.

YOGANG SKILL : TACTICAL (INT)

You're a Grunt, and that means you know the art of warfare. You understand typical military parlance and tactics, and can utilize your knowledge of free-fire zones, ambushes, and booby traps to the greatest effect on the enemy.

When on patrol, you can spot potential ambush sights (EASY), set up your own ambush with interlocking fire zones (AVERAGE), plan a method of attack (AVERAGE), and figure out what tactics an enemy force is using (AVERAGE) and what they may be intending to do themselves (DIFFICULT). In addition, you gain +2 on any Get A Clue roll used to spot an enemy ambush or booby trap.

IF YOU'RE A GRUNT :

1)Tell me your name, age, and sex.
2)Describe what you look like.
3)Besides your uniform and V-Trodes, pick four different things from the list below that you are currently carrying :
Camoflage Flak Vest (SP20, EV1)
Twenty-Two Caliber Rifle with paramilitary accessories (banana clips, scope, folding stock, and flash supressor) RIF +2 N/L C 1D6 (.22) 25 2 VR 100m
Kevlar Helmet (SP 20) w/Radio Communicator (1 mile range)
Combat Webbing (includes ammo pouches, rucksack, first aid kit)
Smartgoggles with Image Enhancement, Infrared, and Teleoptics
Medium Handgun
Four Fragmentation Grenades (5D6 damage, 5 meter radius)
Gibson Battlegear IR Combat Cloak (-5 to Awareness/Get A Clue when using IR to spot wearer)

"I was always taught to fight for what I believe in, and against what I don't. I believe in freedom, truth, and individual choice. But I don't believe in the ISA and their nazi goonsquads. So guess what I'm doin' tonight..?"

- John Payne, Grunt


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