Lancer Command Facility
Deep in the Auburn Mountains
Oct 2, 3079
Major McCormack glanced at the notepad next to her as she typed a message. A one-time Cypher that had been handed out to all company commands had been her idea for message security, with the key being tossed 48 hours after issue. It was an old way of encryption… and time consuming when done by hand. But with the prospect of spies and other eyes within the Lancers, the Colonel felt it was necessary and the keys couriered out. This was being done two reasons- Both for the security of who they had… and for the correction to leaks within the command.
That there was any was somewhat surprising… the Lancer Way having been something of a uniting factor in the long life of this Merc Command. The sense of family and loyalty had been a glue most other merc units she knew tried to emulate… and just never managed like the Lancers did. That outside crap was finally weaseling its way into here made her mad.
She had sicc’d some of her people who were good at finding out things on the hunt for leaks. The half dozen AsTechs and supply folks had taken the task with deadly seriousness. All were veterans of the Blakist assault on the temp bases five years ago and none had sympathy for sell-outs. When two reported a find within a day of hunting, the plan that was being enacted was hatched and put into play.
As long as this cypher didn’t get found, of course.
Now if Warrington could get his troops into position, whomever took the bait was going to have a big problem…
Disused (abandoned) SLDF POMCUS Facility 33-2154
Segway Mountain Range
2 October 3079
Precentor-Mu Randolph looked at the message that cropped up on his datapad. It was from one of the observers he had overlooking one of the larger Lancer facilities near their command facilities… the one where they usually kept prisoners.
Reading the message, he smiled as he pulled up a new map. It seemed the mercenaries were moving the prizes to a remote strip in the badlands to minimize danger to the more populated areas. And it was being done quietly too. Maximum personal security- a mix of commandos and light powerarmor- and yet low key as it was a rush job with a lot of quiet orders being given.
That he learned of it was due to some of the more…. Malleable agents that had been planted among the Merc Command’s support personnel. Folks got agreeable when family members were held hostage and well, everyone and everything was a tool to be used for The Cause.
Looking at the image of the facility, he noted the terrain involved and shrugged. Open terrain couldn’t be helped but the foothills on the outskirts would mask the approach of his forces well enough. And judging by the listed security for the facility, it shouldn’t be a difficult raid. He expected additional defenses… but if this was to be as quiet as hinted at, those would not be much.
“Adept Kincaid, awaken the blessed and be ready to move,” He called out. “Its time to strike and be away from here.” Randolph was something of a historian and it had been his efforts that located this forgotten facility here in the wilds of the planet’s secondary continent. That the Lancers, as good as they were at finding old facilities on this planet, hadn’t found this one… was a small miracle.
A miracle that would now help them get a valuable series of assets and pawns. If those pilots the Lancers had were actually what they thought they were. That some of their trusted pawns among the Protectorate troops commtted in other actions were also being moved, it made for a potential morale boost for the other Protectorate forces if he was able to recover them too. Randolph didn’t care for them one way or another; that they were there was simply convenient.
Sending a message out from the portable com-device, he shut it down after including where their pickup was to be. The Order had spent countless weeks in the asteroid belt deep in the system setting up a Jumpship and Drop Ship docking facility… and it was now time to use the faithful manning the station. IT was a sacrifice to activate it but its presence had been provided for operations against these Mercenaries… and it was now time to make use of it.
The Phoenix Lancers had long been a thorn in the side of the Word of Blake, despite the hammering they took all those years ago. That the hated mercenaries had survived against everything else thrown at them… was maddening. So anything to give them grief was well worth the expense.
Desert Strip Delta One-Alpha
Southern Badlands, Continent of Ashton
Colonel Jim Warrington looked out over the strip and shook his head. When he got handed the cypher, he thought it was crazy. Then the message that followed from Leslie was even more weird… but after thinking on it, it made more sense… though it would be a hard sell for the armor company that was now here.
Patton Company, a full twelve machine armored company of Patton MBT’s was deploying around the strip and into dugouts under camouflage nets while the quartet of Hunter Support Tanks scattered into other hides around the field. A platoon of Abrams was also being emplaced for the reception committee. The plan that was hatched was to let the prisoners be seen being transferred to to craft which was to bring them out here to the old strip, with the story being this was the pickup point for their Employer to get them.
That MIIO agreed to this was semi-silly… then when he found out why this was happening, he was shocked, then mad. But not at who you might think.
The secured message informed him of the potential moles within the community that served the Lancers and even among Lancer Support Staff. That they were working to identify who they were was a given… but this plan being enacted was to try and cause some of them to out themselves. The true destination of the prisoners was not to this strip but to anyone monitoring, it would look like it. Body Doubles had been found and those were used for the visible aspects.
That he had been asked to commit some of the Lancer Armor here was for the expected attempt to capture their guests. It was felt no more than a company of mechs or other would be coming for them- movement of anything more was pretty hard to hide.
On that, Warrington agreed. That his armored troops were being used as a surprise… was annoying as fuck. But then, he would be hidden and whatever company of mechs showed up would have a nasty surprise when twelve gauss rifles opened up on them supported by PPCs and LRM’s.
No no… He was Not Amused. But more so at the necessity of all this than actually being out here.
Whoever showed up… was in for it.
About six hours later… company arrived.
Systems Radar had picked up a trio of drop ships entering the atmosphere; two initially and then a third one hanging way back… almost as if it was shadowing the other two. Which didn’t matter overmuch, as the first two grounded a distance away from the strip.
Warrington got the warning order and had all the tank crew ready. If this plan was to work, his people needed to land their shots a lot. And hope like hell there wasn’t that much hitting them… as the Sensor Mast for the field continued to operate, he got a clearer picture of what was coming- and it wasn’t great.
22 Mechs of various size… Far far more than expected and judging from the Electronic Emissions they were generating, it was Blakists. Which meant electronic shenanigans. Which was fine… ECM didn’t stop a gauss slug. As they closed, he finalized fire plans and reposition options. There wasn’t much of the latter- it was an open airfield and only so much could be done. At least the two flanking Rommel platoons were positioned well to hammer the incoming enemy when they hit best ranges.
Not long after the Blakists reached the edge of the field did the shooting begin. And it was telling fairly quick that the defense plan was working. Two of the Manticores took punishment from weapons fire at range. Expected but the Manticore was a tough tank. Return fire was hit or miss… but the Blakist troops came on confident in their superiority.
They even had a damn LAM…
When the hidden tanks opened up, the odds immediately improved, and stuff started to get hit pretty hard. But not as hard as wanted, as both manticores finally succumbed to the incoming fire…. Then one of the flank Rommels blew up.
Just as orders to move were given to White Lance to reposition, the comms were flooded with a transmission as that trailing dropship, a Union-class, sped up and traversed the Strip- dropping Mechs from its bay doors… All in Star league White, with orange and grey highlights….
“Ground Control, this is Colonel Hollister of the Clave. I have operational control of the SLS Quickhatch and am moving to intercept the Renegade 151st Division forces. Please advise SL Commnet as to their Disposition.
Captain Thomlinson will be leading the dirtside pursuit with Lieutenants Ebon, Callahan and Hallis commanding lances.”
Warrington looked around his command center. “Who the fuck are these guys?”
His communications officer and XO exchanged looks then looked back at the Colonel. “I’ve no idea, Jim,” The XO said. “But their machines look like those Mythical troops McCormack and Hartman fought last week… And they seem to be here to help us instead of fight us…
The Coms Officer brought up specific cameras which showed the newly arrived battlemechs engaging the Blakist machines. Their arrival served to distract the incoming enemies which allowed Lancer Armor to take advantage… with gauss slugs and LRM fire hammering Blakist machines distracted by the new arrivals.
Warrington blinked then spoke to his comms officer, issuing orders. “Send to all units- support our new cavalry…. Questions will be answered later- if there is any answers to be had…”
Warrington returned to the feed on the screen. Some of the machines seen were familiar- others, not so much. In all of it, he got the sense something drastic had just changed… and their lives were about to get super interesting here on Centaurus.
Oh holy crap was it…