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Dust storm is a Battlefield 3 fan fiction by Heatedpete. It is based upon a game on the map Damavand Peak in Battlefield 3, with some (major) modifications.

Infiltration

"Storm 2-7, this is Marker 3. Approaching base from the east, over."

"Marker 3, Storm. Ops has a visual on position from C2 helo. Be advised, Russians in area are still at the outpost, but have air support lingering at an abandoned military base a hundred metres back, over."

"Marker copies. We're getting a large amount of squad-squad radio static, seems to be some form of storm brewing. RQ on regular updates as things develop. Marker out." Private Brewer waited as his unit commander replaced the radio headset, before shouldering the heavy SINCGARS radio fitted on his backpack. The twenty Marines around him were hidden from view, even to their comrades, but were on their feet within an instant as the Lieutenant waved his unit forward. The buzz of chatter from the outpost down the hill drowned out the sound of the Marines' advance, and the poor visibility in the early morning fog concealed all from view.

The infantrymen halted at the edge of a ridgeline, finding cover before moving themselves foward again. The squad leaders, close to the CO, positioned their units expertly, creating killzones in the open ground.

"Brewer. Radio." Unshouldering the heavy bergen, the Marine pulled out the radio's headset, before switching to the Ops channel.

"Marker 3 to Storm. Things are deteriorating here. We can't see for shit. Can we get some distance markers? How far are we from the outpost?"

"Marker, Storm. About 50 metres, but the Russians are mounting a patrol towards the rear of the base. Seems pretty routine from here. But Command's wanting this mission over, so we can't wait long. The fog's clearing from the top of the hill. Reccomend that you use what's left of it to infiltrate the base and capture what intel that you can. Speed is essential."

"Marker copies. Moving up-"

"Marker, hold fast. Russians are putting up a scout helo from the base. We need to act now. Intel says they may have thermal cameras at the base perimeter, so watch out. Storm will provide CAS for mission, with two AH-6Js providing ground support. However, authorisation must come from senior operatives unless complete clearance is given. Storm out."

The Marines pulled themselves to their feet, flicking off safeties and checking ammunition loads. The lead Marines slid down the ridge, breaching charges ready and primed. The remainder readied themselves to rush the breaches once the dust had cleared. The two main targets were a satellite uplink station, codenamed Alpha, and a signals hut, Bravo. Brewer was told to follow the Marines tasked with taking Alpha, and to upload any intel to the tablet he was carrying.

"All Markers, cleared hot." The first two breaching charges exploded against the calmness of the mountainside, smashing open the HESCO bastions that made up the exterior wall. The lead Marines dived through, and isolated gunshots could be heard as the Marines engaged any Russian defenders close to the blast. The second two charges detonated soon after, drowning out the thoughts of the Marines waiting to attack the base. Within a few seconds, Brewer was on his feet, jumping the foot-high remnants of the HESCO bastion, and was in the base. Lifting his M4, Brewer let off a burst of shots at the nearest Russian he saw, causing a few dents in concrete but little else. Steadying his breathing, he fired single shots, and not before long saw a Russian flung back as a 5.56 round caught his chest webbing. Sparks flew as ammunition cooked off, and the Russian yelped in pain.

"Marker, Storm. HighCom has cleared authority for CAS to go on station. Storm 2-1 and 2-2 will engage Russian helo. 1-4 and 1-7 will service ground targets. 15 minutes until change of station, how copy?"

"Marker copies. Stinger units will remain behind to engage helo if needed." The sound of the first AH-6 clattered over the ridge, miniguns spooling up. The sillhouette of the Russian helicopter, a Z-11W, came into view, and the Little Bird unleashed a storm of fire, tracer rounds disappearing after a few metres of flight.

"Brewer to CO, Russians are conceding Bravo, repeat. Russians are conceding Bravo, how copy?"

"Copy. We clear that position now." A four-man fireteam of Marines peeled off, blasting open the doors to the signals hut and arming the C4 charges specifically for the equipment in the signals hut. A garbled message from the fireteam acknowledged their success, and the dull explosion that followed confirmed the destruction of the signals gear.

"Storm to Marker, update from C2, over."

"Go for Marker"

"C2 states that the weather will continue to deteriorate, including a dust storm towards the east, ETA three minutes. Seems to have closed up on us through the valleys in that direction. Storm will be unable to operate in those conditions, but we have an Abrams column moving up from the west. Unknown whether they will be able to operate when the storm hits. You must reach the military base ASAP for operation to continue, how copy?"

"Marker copies. We'll leave two fireteams behind to clear up this base and push forward to engage the military base." An audible blip sounded as the Lieutenant switched radio channels. "All Marines, we have a developing situation here. FTs one through three will push forward and clear the military base towards the north. FT4 and FT5 will stay at base and follow once the base is clear. CO out."

Escalation

The twelve Marines vaulted the concrete barriers at the rear of the satellite station, sprinting forwards to try and overtake the retreating Russians. Brewer's team, up on the high ground to the west, took up positions in the rocks to engage the Russians. Brewer's M4 barked, taking a Russian down through the back of the head. Marshall, the Marine next to him, fired a 40mm Grenade from his M320, which scythed down a Russian group centred around an officer. The other two fireteams charged forward, entering the military base with ease. From their vantage point, Sharpes, the designated marksman for the platoon, made a call to the Lieutenant that had the possibility to change the course of the battle.

"Sharpes to CO, important call, break."

"Send traffic."

"FT2 has eyes on two Z-11s and a KA-60 being boarded by Russian paratroops. Boxes amongst them, presumed high-tier intelligence, break. Dust storm ETA is one mike, but the fringes are already lapping at our position. I expect that the helos will not make it out of the combat area unless they launch now. Recommend firing SMAWs to delay them so that they can't escape, over."

"Risky idea Sharpes, but good eyes. FT1 will provide SMAW fire. Get your unit up to the base and try and get as much intel from the base as you can." The fireteam pulled themselves to their feet, bundling down towards the military base. Not even a hint of resistance checked their charge - the other fireteams were already pinning down the Russian defenders inside the base. The KA-60 lurched into the air, a full load of Russian troops filling the hold, flares dumped to throw off the aim of SMAWs and Stinger threats. The first Z-11 also pulled itself into the air, but swung round the wrong way.

Into the dust storm.

The skitter of dust hitting turbine blades, compressor housings, and the rotors themselves was audible from the many metres away that the Marines of Fireteam 2 were watching the events unfold. The central engine belched out a tongue of flame and machined parts. Brewer stood there, like most others, dumbfounded as the helicopter fell out of the sky. But there was worse to come. The KA-60 dived down, acting as a search-and-rescue helicopter. But to everyone there it seemed that the helicopter's flight was doomed.

The second Z-11 started to take off, dust encroaching it's flight path. But at that one moment, fate decided to intervene. Whether a bad twist of fate or a just luck, an SMAW exploded by the helicopter, seriously injuring the occupants and tipping the helicopter. It began to spin towards the cliff-face, but passed close to Brewer's position.

"Damnit, we need that intel! Shut the rotors off!"

Brewer launched himself at the controls, diving beneath the arc of the rotor blades and trying to grab the emergency shut-down button. The other Marines jumped into the passenger compartment, trying to attend to the injured Russians inside the helicopter. But it was no use. The shut-down button was shot to pieces by the explosion, and, before the Marines knew it, the helicopter had toppled over the edge of the cliff, and crashed into the ground.

Apocalyptic

When Brewer came to, he found himself in a hellscape, the fires from the crashed Z-11 his fireteam had tried to save mixing with the dust to obscure all hint of the world more than half a metre away. In the distance, secondary explosions from the other Z-11 and, what the Marines would later find to be, the KA-60, which had smashed into a fuel tanker during it's descent. Pulling himself from the wrecked helicopter, he checked his body and equipment. No broken bones, but most of his equipment was smashed and his carbine missing. Another figure staggered out of the smoke - Marshall, carrying his M16 and a G36 from the crash. He passed the G36 to Brewer, who checked the weapon for any faults.

"You the only one that survived?"

"Don't know. Any idea where we are?"

"Nope. But we've got to find some cover from the storm. Follow me." The two Marines trudged through the dust, past burning fuel tanks, burning oil and the like. Evidently the helicopter had struck one of the tanks on it's descent, and caused others to explode. All it did was to add to the sense of impending doom that the Marines were walking through. Seeing a light breaking through the smog, the pair moved towards it, finding a relatively-intact warehouse. Brewer silently opened the door to the warehouse, finding clear, still air inside. Marshall ducked inside, before the door crashed down behind him. The two checked the interior, before finding an office, where they bunked down, waiting for the storm to pass.

The two Marines, trapped inside their concrete haven, took turns to browse through the radio channels on their headsets - the SINGCARS set Brewer carried had lost a battery in the fall, and neither had a replacement. On all the channels, there was nothign but static or simply nothing. Except one.

"All units listening to this net, this is Sierra Actual. A huge dust storm has hit the the town of Damavand and has encroached all nearby areas, including Mount Damavand. Seismic activity has been detected by USGS workers in the Middle East, with the epicentre believed to be Mount Damavand itself. Any units in the region are advised to withdraw immediately towards Damavand town. I say again, all units listening this net..."

"Hear that Brewer. Damavand's a fucking volcano."

"Yeah, and if we do nothing about it now, we'll be like that damned volcano - extinct. Damavand hasn't erupted this side of history being invented. We'll be fine."* The two Marines pulled themselves to their feet, checking the map on Brewer's tablet for their location. "GPS hasn't got any tabs on our position, but I'd guess that'd be the dust storm. I think we're in this building here, owing to the lorry parked outside.

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