The following after-action report is offered for the benefit of the Old-Guard Dark Sky Marines.
On the afternoon of the 6th of August, the Lost Patrol of the Dark Sky Marines launched a successful surprise attack on hill 303, two clicks west of the Deadman POW camp. The advance elements were to establish a combat operations center and supply the forward operating base with the initial firepower, consisting of the Mighty3 and a 4" Unitron dug in and ready for action.
All elements were supplied with dummy bivouac quarters to serve as decoys in the event that the Crasher would join the attack, but the fumes of excess barley distillates never punctuated the afternoon breeze, and it was an added pleasure to find that Willard and his Rat were nowhere to be seen - Schmidt-Cass optics not being missed.
On the evening of the 6th, suppressive fire was initiated by the 4" Unitron on globular clusters in Sagittarius, while the Mighty3 cleanly illuminated all three companions of Iota Cass. Mop up operations in the deep sky were conducted by the 13" Odyssey heavy artillery. Once again, the superior power of well-baffled refractors on dark nebulae at a dark, high altitude observing site was demonstrated for all to see.
Throughout the engagement, Iceman remained alert and maintained a constant vigil perchance the Troll would infiltrate our lines and offer to refigure the objective of the 4" Unitron, but the landscape remained unsullied.
Among other activites, daylight operations on the 7th consisted of new weapons tests. The digital camera eyepiece projection adapter was used on the Mighty3 for the first time, proving its effectiveness. Below are a pair of images showing its power using only a 28mm eyepiece and no camera zoom. The mountaintop target is arrowed at left.
(Experiements were done with 10 and 12.5mm eyepieces with very positive results. Live-fire exercises on solar system objects are forthcoming.)
...and much time was spent patroling for the local flora and fauna. The field was covered with lupines in full bloom.
Afternoon recons found ample evidence of star parties past. (Remember these Bob?)
When the thick clouds rolled in on the afternoon of the 7th signaling the end of nighttime operations, a large fire was built to warm and illuminate the post-attack debriefing. As the participant's firelight shadows danced about the field it was easy to imagine the Lurker skulking up behind us, but the glint of dew-covered binocular eyepieces never penetrated the darkness. All remained at peace.
Solarmon, Iceman, and The Streetster.
It was a little shocking to see how little of the old facility remains visible since the last time I visited it eleven years ago.
Until the next time I see ya in the dark, Steady Skies!
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