(Apologies- it took time to finish the battle for this story then RL had its way with my free time.)
The battle raged around the foothills of Ranger Pass between the Mechs of Delta and the invading machines of what was believed to be Wolverines. Both forces were heavy weights and the firepower showed itself in the damage to either side.
Major Hartman, the heat manageable in his Atlas’ cockpit, steadied his machine after the last volley struck its hide. A confusing battle, the opponent machines range of ages and the range of weapons- some Inner Sphere standards, some advanced versions of same and even some Clan Grade weapons. None of it made a whole lotta sense but if these *were* who they were thought to be, there was a reason for it, he guessed.
Staff Sergeant Cyndi Lee, in her Catapult on the back line called over the net to him. [MAJOR!! They be runnin’!!] Her excited radio call had him looking at his own sensor feeds as well as looking out his starred cockpit glass.
“That they are, Cyndi…” he said and noted the Warhammer piloted by Corporal Kissinger chasing a retreating Orion. “Kissinger!! Get back here- ain’t no one fast enough to get to you if you get bounced.”
[Aw man… I know I can take him!] Came the expected whine.
“Jon, I will kick you AND your mech in the nutz if I have to come over there…”
Silence and then the sensors showed the heavy machine stop and retreat back out of pursuit. [Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnne….]
But yes… the assaulting machines were retreating. And the three assault class machines left behind would be rather telling. Not every day one drops a Highlander. Scanning the wreckage, he noted the cockpit on the Crockett was intact. “Jon, go check that Crockett; there might be someone still in its seat. Tucker, go with him…”
Jon didn’t answer, he just started marching his machine towards the downed machine, followed by the Crusader of Tucker Stine. If the machine was playing possum, the two heavy mechs should hand it a load of pain alright. Scanning the feeds, Hartman still wasn’t convinced this was over.
[Mike Delta Six, Mike Alpha Six] The clipped tones of Major McCormack came through the Battalion Channel. She was back at base- her command getting repairs finished after she had tangled with these guys.
“Yeah Leslie…” DJ answered as he stopped his machine on a hill.
[Decisions have been made. Prisoners are being taken to the space port shortly; MIIO has gotten wind of all this and is requesting them to be transferred to their care.]
DJ stared at the side viewscreen, McCormack’s face present on it. “Yer fucking kidding? Right?”
She shook her head. [I wish I was. The Colonel is not happy… but then, he wouldn’t be.]
“Fuck no… He’s gotten fucked by shenanigans before with those guys. Someone’s gonna spill.”
[Agreed. And there is a plan to minimize local shenanigans,] She answered. [And I think it’s a sound one, Darryl.]
“Damn well hope so… Tess’s Bolt is going to be in the shop for a bit as well as Dougan’s ‘Zerker. Everyone else is armor thankfully. But a lot of it.” The Dragoon major groused. How much time do we have and when are they being moved?”
McCormack glanced down at something- likely a note pad, knowing her, before replying. [A day, maybe two. The MIIO message said soon… and the Colonel is thinking early movement. Colonel Warrington says he has just the thing for duty on the port… I’m inclined to agree.] A grim smile. [I’m certain the deck is stacked, DJ.]
“The question is for who though?”
[I don’t have those answers…. I’m just the messenger.]
“yeah yeah… ‘Aight, lemme get my crew sorted and ready. We have one more to add to that bus and three more machines for the picking… Thankfully, recovery won’t have my head this time.”
[Indeed. Watch you backs… this is getting more precarious.]
“Tell me something I don’t know… Delta Six out.” DJ killed the comm-call. “EDGAR” He then called with a roar over the company network.
[Boss?] DJ’s exec, Dogrobber Ed, answered.
“Ed… make sure the salvage teams get EVERYthing. I want to see if that Highlander or the Crockett have clan spec gear. Time to update some machines after this is through.”
DJ lit a cigar inside his cockpit. The Colonel has something up his sleeve. He knew it and he was betting that the Colonel was not even trusting the Regimental network for specifics. That MIIO knew already.. yah, something was fishy.
But Warrington was providing Security for the port… which mean whoever showed up was dealing with a serious surprise. Tread-based surprise…
A few minutes into his musing, Stine called over the company net. [Major, the Crockett pilot is alive. A bit messed up… but alive. The other two machines are empty.]
“Lovely,” Hartman said around his cigar. “Get Medevac to take him too. Dougan can sit on him while they are waiting.”
DJ fumed a bit. It was a lot closer of a battle than one might think- the other side had a King Crab who was sportin’ Class 10 guns, which was highly unusual. Many of this batch of machines were classics as per the ThreatComp but some profiles didn’t fit what was observed. Like the Spartan, also dropped by his troops. That seemed to have all Clan-Spec but it wasn’t in the database. Then again, neither was the Pulveriser that McCormack’s company put down.
Who WERE these guys?