Four hydraulic fingers closed in around the object, then abruptly stopped. A second set of motors then slowly ratcheted them closed for finer detail. The attached elbow and shoulder constructs than gave a quick jerk, pulling the object from the snow bank.
"I've got a left arm - any one need a left arm. Kept on ice and fresh!"
"Left arm of what, Sasha?"
"I can't tell in this light - both our suits and the aliens look pretty similar from the elbow down."
"Its an alien."
The commander's armor gestured to an oddly rectangular snow bank a kilometer away. "Ruined tank hull on the ridge. Shrimps probably got ambushed by a number of tanks. They don't do so well against thirteen-point-five centimeter cannons - which explains why we're only finding fragments of armor."
"Its not like our armor does any better."
"We've got IFF transponders that tell the tanks not to shoot us."
Shasha's suit dropped the alien part and began to lumber forward again. To most observers, it looked like a bipedal cockroach, with its arcing rounded back and overlapped plates in front. It didn't have the agility of the smaller units - it could barely bend at its waist - but this unit was optimized for firepower, and surprisingly, speed. With the pilot mostly in the torso in a half-sitting, half-standing position, the legs were entirely mechanical, then freed from the exertion of the pilot. Its systems were actually quite closely related to both the American Schwarkopf heavy armor, and by dint of convergent evolution, the alien eekaide.
"Patrol One. Anything out there?"
"Infrared and visuals are clean, though Sasha found the remains of a battle."
"I'm sending Sasha forward to see if he can find some unit markings on the tanks. Invader remains at our feet."
"Won't know until he figures out what killed the tank. Given that their energy weapons can't do much against something as heavy as tracked armor, it was probably a missile. Without knowledge of the warhead and if it could penetrate to the munitions carousel - could be mostly working, could be melted scrap."
"Forecast is calling for storms tonight, better start pulling back."
"Anything good for dinner?"
"Probably worth returning for."
"Are you sure about that Katya?"
"When you can find a tropical banana tree growing in a Tajikistan Pine forest we'll make something that tastes better. Same standing deal for everyone else."
Peter attempted to stretch as best he could within the close confines. His thoughts turned to the usual pattern - he had gone over this so many times it might as well be zen meditation. What was he doing here? Supposedly he had family father south - but what was he to do - walk up to goat farmers in a power armor and ask if they knew the directions? Command Headquarters was back in Russia of course, and probably hit by some form of orbital bombardment. So here he was, stuck in the rolling hills of a land locked central Asian republic living on gruel with no goal but to wake up and eat some more porridge.
"Boss - I reached the tank!"
"Total War Reserve unit - T-95 bis. Mobility Kill - the active defenses did well. Its an old diesel."
"So it gets what One kilometer per every five liters of fuel - thats more than we can produce all year just to get it to the nearest city."
"We can come back later and strip it for munitions and materials. Might have some working optics to fix the ones on my suit."
"Right. Back to base then."
"We might want to wait - the markings are Russian - not local. This is pretty far from home, and inconvenient for a tank to get through the territory to get here."
"What - someone airlifted a 47,000 kilo vehicle over the mountains?"
"Or there is one hell of a tunnel from china - its from the 85th regiment."
"Set an INS way point, we'll be back after the storm."