Initially implemented to counteract stealth attack missions by Mishiman forces, K-9 teams have been a staple of the Capitol armed forces for years, proving their worth in both guard and seek & destroy missions. Capitol has many enemies who have mastered the skills required to penetrate Capitol territory undetected, despite the vigilance of sentries and bodyguards. The keen senses of the dogs in the K-9 teams are employed to weed out such mal-intent. Each K-9 team consists of one handler and up to four dogs. The K-9 dogs have been bred specifically for their task and have all completed a year-long training programme. The training programme is diverse and comprehensive; its content dependent on the intended role of the dog. Some are trained to sniff out explosives or the taint of the dark potential, whereas others are trained purely as attack hounds. In the case of the latter, any failures are shot in full view of the trainee pack. This act is carried out by a K-9 Corps ranger wearing armour and insignia from another megacorporation, so imprinting a fear, loathing and attack reflex in the dogs when the uniform or insignia is seen again. The training culminates in the hounds being released into a prison complex where condemned prisoners are supplied basic close combat weapons. Any hounds without human blood on their jaws after five minutes are euthanised instantly. Such an occurrence is rare. For many years the K-9 regiments were a subdivision of the ultra-elite Ranger Corps; the first to utilise specifically trained and bred canines in military operations. However, since the end of the first corporate wars the K-9 division has been seen as a separate entity. The two divisions have a close affinity still, with many rangers ‘retiring’ to dog handling. The K-9 division is proud of its ranger roots and rightly so, for the latter has an honoured and illustrious history. As such, and as a nod to their origins, dog handlers don the ranger hat and gas mask combination when they enter the Warzone as a mark of both honour and respect to their founders. After a number of high level Capitolians were assassinated by undercover operatives in the Sarasota Campaign of 1272, the K-9 teams have been utilised as pseudo-bodyguards on the battlefield with more and more frequency. Such teams normally consist of the handler, three attack dogs and one investigative dog, the latter better known as a ‘sniffer’. The sniffer’s role is to identify any hidden threat the battlefield contains, such as mines, entrenched enemies or potential assassins. When the dog does so it will ‘point’ with a particular limb or combination of limbs raised, signifying the nature of the threat. The handler then confirms and releases the attack dogs as appropriate. The lightly armoured attack hounds have not only been bred to be the biggest and fiercest possible, they have also been enhanced surgically: Each and every tooth has been capped with mono-atomically pointed titanium alloy, enabling the hounds to penetrate not only flesh but plate armour too. In severe situations the handler can remotely inject the beast via their collar with muscle contracting drugs. Such an action is not a pleasant one as the action of the drug cannot be specifically targeted to the jaw and so results in complete muscle rigour and often heart failure. Such cruelty and loss is seen as worthwhile collateral damage, especially when the target light vehicle or trooper is incapacitated or killed. The bite of a drugged K-9 does not cease until the target is bitten through or the jaws have shattered; to say it is an excruciating experience for both dog and victim alike is a momentous understatement.
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