Legends and Myths Fourteen

Outpost Valley Access Road
Kaladonia Mountains North East of Rahway
0931hr (GMT+4) 25 December 3079

  Diane stood Aiskon on the road in for a second before angling off of it into the woods. As she had crested the slight rise before the downslope to the valley, she had spied the enemy machines as they made their way up.  Sensors and eyeballs confirmed what she faced- all fairly fast machines and all of them lights.  A Quartet of Stingers, a pair of the up gunned Hinto-Koto Stinging Spiders (copies of the Spider but better weapons) and what looked like a pair of Jenner IIc’s  with some wrong lines.

  After a minute, her battle-computer identified them as the Hinto-Koto knock off of the clan machine.  Armed similarly and just as fast, the HK version of the clan machine was pretty good for what it was. And dangerous as hell in a Non-ECM environment.  Considering she was now in one, well, they needed to handicap her somehow.

Pausing her stride long enough to acquire a target, she cut loose with her machine’s Gauss Rifle.  Watching the round whiz past one of the Jenner II’s, Diane muttered an admonishment to herself. “Steady, my dear… you got this.  They are just light mechs and this isn’t the Western Knox Mountains…” Taking a deep breath, she shifted her Battlemaster around and moved up in an attempt to draw them in.

This worked a little too well, as five of them closed in… but in turn, it gave her a better firing solution to which she capitalized on.

  Lasers flashed from her machine- both the solid off-red of Extended Range models and the deeper hue of the standard versions biting into a Stinging Spider, ripping nearly half its armor from its torsos.  Her Streak launcher discharged its load at one of the Stingers, peppering it as it sought to flank her.

  More shifting and maneuvering and a different Stinger appeared, its weapons biting deep into her armor.  Mentally, she noted the heavier damage and extra machineguns of the model.  “Custom machine,” Diane commented as she focused her small pulse lasers on it.  At that point, her machine rocked from the combined fire of four of her opponents who got brave enough to close in on her.

  Forced to its knees, she fought with the controls and nearly toppled over.  A very brief moment of panic as she recalled her last mission in Aiskon.   A few seconds of hyperventilation… then the veteran pilot shook herself out of the panic.

Looking at her sensors, she noted four machines coming up to surround her with the intent of blasting her to scrap.  “Mistake…” She said with an evil smile and levered her machine up off the ground as if it was no effort at all to do.  Once standing, she saw the shift in posture of the enemy machines as their pilots realized *they* may have errored.

  Lashing out with a foot as she stood, Aiskon connected with the Stinging Spider that had gotten in front of her and crumpled a large portion of the mech even as her weapons flashed against the collection of opponents around her.  In forcing them to scatter, it created opportunity for her to reposition even as the newly arrived Tokugawas made their presence known.  Both tanks came in on the run and planed Class Ten slugs into machines within reach- the first victim being the custom Stinger.

   This development made her happy- the rust on her skills was leaving fast but not quite as fast as she’d like.  Then not thirty seconds later, her comm chimed.  Thumbing a switch, she answered.  “This better be who I think it is…” Diane said as she snapped a gauss rifle shot off at a Jenner II.  Two bright orange bursts of pulsed laser energy stitched the same target she hit as an answer came.

[I hope so…. Madame Governor, Mind if we help?] The voice of Colonel Hollister came over her headset.  [I understand you are a scourge with your machine…. But I think a statement needs to be made about having friends to these people.  And it would be our honor.]

Diane blinked.  She knew they would get here eventually… but Hollister must have floored his machine to get here…  or she had been fighting that long.  Judging by her armor condition, it was likely the latter.  “Colonel…  I welcome the company of you and your arms man.  The tank crews and I do like to share.”  She replied.  “Feel free to introduce yourselves to our guests, party crashers that they are…”

[With pleasure.]

The attacking machines began to scatter and fall back some, the newly arrived Wolverine machines and the two Lancer tanks inflicting much damage as they came in as her back up.  The Tokugawa crews were murder on the enemy- their main guns inflicting terrible punishment on the invaders and smaller guns shredding structure and critical areas.

Within a minute, the tide fully turned as attackers became the hunted and their numbers began to dwindle.  Light Barrel slug rounds, lasers and short-range missiles found targets at the rapidly thinning ranks of the raiders.  To call it a slaughter would be gentle, but since the raiders were looking to inflict harm on the populace, their treatment was…. Appropriate.

It took less than five minutes… but the raid was broken, with one machine, a Stinging Spider, scrambling away while missing most of his armor and an arm.  Nothing pursued as no one was fast enough to chase but that was fine- a patrol would eventually find the machine and its pilot as there wasn’t much out here that could truly hide a mech.

Watching the last one run, Diane let her machine idle in place.  It had felt good to get back in the cockpit again… and while perhaps not as effective as she could have been, she had been able.  And that’s what counted.  “Colonel, thank you for your help…” She said into the comms.  “They were a little difficult to bring down…”

[Governor, you and your men would have done so without us- just might have taken a little longer, is all.]  Hollister replied.  [Though I would ask for some of your time after we return to the Castle.  I have questions about a few events that I am hopeful you may speak on.]

Diane pondered the request.  Considering what the Colonel had said when they arrived for this fight, she was fairly certain she knew what the questions were going to be about.  And perhaps, maybe, it was time to confront those memories… “I suppose I can find the time, after seeing to both men and machine… I and Aiskon are a mess…”

[Of Course…] Came his reply.  [It is no rush… and readiness should come first.  If you wish to retreat now, we will stand Watch with your tankers until reinforcements arrive.]

“Thank you…” She said.  “I will be waiting when you get back in. Major Clyburn should have dealt with the rest of them by then…”  With that, she turned her machine and headed up the road to the Castle.

 The two Wolverine machines took up posts at the road crest alongside the two Tokugawa tanks and secured the pass for the next three hours when other Lancer elements relieved them.  During that time, Hollister was deep in thought about a great many things… and some of the policies he had inherited when he took over command of his people.

  There was some changes to be made, for sure.  How well they would go over was a different matter… but one that was to be changed was the age limit.  If there was one thing the Lancers had shown him, age in many cases was a number…  As long as one was fit enough, one could serve somewhere.  Many commanders here were older than the standards for being assigned to a Solahma,  policy left over from when they were part of the clans.  Why it had stayed… he didn’t know.  But it was getting rescinded and new assessments were going to be done.

  More and more, it was a good thing they returned… 

Author: John T

Warrior-Sage and full time healer. Gamer and Arm Chair Analyst (who isn't these days?) who isn't afraid to read up on what I don't know.

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