As her company backed off of the Water Site, Alex triggered a volley of shots from her Nightstar at a pursuing Clan Machine, sending it packing. Even as she did so, she cursed the situation she found herself in and chided her poor deployment decision along with assumptions….
Going into the battle by the Water Filtration systems the expedition had set up a few days past, Alex had deployed her troops line abreast. Somewhat standard Lancer style, with solid overwatching fire from support machines (in this case, an Archer and a Royal Catapult) to cover or assist flanks. She had sent her mobile machines (a Victor and a pair of Axmen) up her right and positioned her heavy resilient machines (a 4S Battlemaster and a Royal Thunderbolt) on her left supported by the two Rifleman II assault machines in the company.
She took up position more in the center of the battle line, with the upgraded Catapult K2 and her weirdo Mauler MAL-1K. It was a solid battle line and should have been just fine for fighting most any enemy she had faced. I mean, it had worked before… and against the overzealous Clan warriors usually faced..
The problem became evident when her opponent shifted tactics for a Clan commander.
On their way forward, the normal spread nature of a clan advance coalesced into a power flanking move, with a handful of their machines being patient and acting as an overwatch force. What also threw her off… was their patience. Oh sweet Jesus, were they patient for Clan forces. The approaching enemy machines set up their side march and used their powerful weapons to advantage, savaging the machines on her left.
It was not without return punishment they did so- Lancers being Lancers, their accuracy let the attackers know they were in danger too. But given the size of the machines coming for her troops, it was then the doubts began to creep in as the Clans absorbed the fire coming at them, claiming a Rifleman II as it had defied the three clan mechs pounding it to hammer a Mad Dog..
Throughout the battle, Alex had a question nag at her as her troops exchanged fire with the enemy mechs. About fifteen minutes ago, that question finally come up with an answer. And it was something of a minor revelation… that could be important. Almost all the machines in front of her were either Common Omnis, findable anywhere… and what wasn’t a common machine, was platforms one would find among the Ghost Bears.
What really made it odd was that of those machines she *knew* were a prized machine within that Clan (having a drink with that cute Ghost Bear mechwarrior back in Crossroads when they visited helped her knowledge of such) in the enemy forces initially made her mad they might have been played. But then, it also registered that the weapons on some of them were way wrong.
Know your Enemy Alex had thought, These ain’t right… Confirmation on this came in the form of the giant Kodiak firing not one but TWO Light Barrel autocannon as that assault machine closed. That is when she started really looking at the other machines attacking them- the Kodiak was considered a totem machine and no one monkeyed with its set up like this. This thing had to be a captured machine and fixed with whatever. It’s the only thing that made sense…
Three other machines among the attacking forces (a pair of Ursus and a Grizzly) also didn’t match the known designs for the machines- especially as they were NOT omni-mechs. No, these Ghost Bear Machines were not normal… because the Bears don’t mess with their totem machines. And all three designs were totems…
“Damn things are customs…” she had muttered as her own Light Barrel cannon blasted at the aforementioned Grizzly. When she saw a Loki take a ton of punishment and not reveal its innards afterwards, she then knew for sure this was a cobbled together Binary and had ordered a retreat. The retreat order came too late for the other Rifleman II as an Ursus shredded a torso, forcing an ejection. The Battlemaster dropped a minute before, when what seemed like every enemy machine in range used it for a piñata but not before it ravaged a Madcat some in the process.
As the last of her troops broke contact, she noted the discipline of the Clan troops. This was another odd bit- Clan mech warriors were famous for over pursuit and these guys weren’t at all… which was against type. Very against type. Did she have the luck to draw the smart ones this time? Damn sure felt like it, considering everything else…
“Operations, Lancer Delta,” She called over the network as she assessed her command.
[Lancer Delta, Operations…]
Steeling herself, she reported in what had transpired. “Operations, Lancer Delta; Clan forces have pushed us off the Water Filtration sites. Current Company strength is approximately 60 percent with four losses. Remaining elements have minor to moderate damage. Clan forces have suffered substantial damage but impossible to verify overall strength outside a Binary. Known losses is one Thor class Omni.” She said. “Be advised OpFor is using several Modified Ghost Bear designs.”
[Lancer Delta, Operations. We copy current force is 60 percent and Clan forces possess Water Filtration sites. Lancer Alpha will be Dispatched to bolster and attempt a re-capture. Assess and advise ability to Support.]
Alex blinked. She just lost a front and they now wanted her to go back in? Just then, she saw the Priority Channel diode on her com panel light up, blinking. “Receive. Stand by- accurate assessment shortly.” Changing channels, she answered the call. “Delta Six.”
[Alex, its John,] In her speakers was the voice of her adoptive dad. [You alright and what happened?] There was no anger or accusations in his voice, just concern.
“John, I got took…” She raged. “I assumed usual stupid and got took…” Over the next minute, she relayed to Tinney what she and her troops saw then the realization of the changed designs.
[Alex… number one- anyone can get taken by the unexpected. Given what you describe, I could have and I’m freely admitting this. But that doesn’t change that you face some weird shit and a patiently creative Clan commander; I guess its nice to know even they can learn] He said to her. [How mauled are your remaining machines?]
“Not bad. I am down four; I lost the two Rifleman Sean and his men found. The clanners made a point to blast them to scrap.”
[That’s because they are SLDF machines… Rare ones too. But they are machines. They can be fixed.] He said. [Rest of your company?]
“Some armor. Two aren’t even scuffed.”
[Ok… When you get reinforcements, see about retaking the site- I know that order is coming… Right now, Hollister is neck deep in alligators so he can’t tell you himself. For what it’s worth, I don’t think the clanners are going to stick around long to set up a camp. They will either retreat to regroup as no other front is doing well… or reinforce then try and force this flank some more. I bet the latter more than the former and they won’t expect a counterattack so quickly. The one thing they won’t be able to do is clean up armor damage… but that isn’t their way. At least usually…]
Alex snickered slightly. “Neither is being patient with a hated enemy.”
[Alex, we’re just mercs and according to them, just dezgra scum. They really want Hollister and his men.. we are just in the way.] Tinney replied. [Our Job is to remind them that we are just as capable as them… and looking by us will get them very dead.]
She smiled slightly. “Yeah… speaking of that, I don’t know if all our downed guys got caught.”
[Safe bet is half got taken… and are still in the area. You’ll get them out.]
“I appreciate the pep talk, John.” She replied. “Helps.”
[No problem, kiddo… Remember, I wouldn’t have put you in that seat and taken you on this crazy trip if I didn’t think you could handle it.]
[Good… now figure out how much ass you got and get ready to kick someone else’s. Neither Mike or Chuck will hassle you- it will be one of them coming, I’m sure and neither of them are gonna give you shit. Dragoon Companies ain’t as easy as everyone thinks… Talk later.]
“I’m sure we will,” She replied.
[Lancer Six out]
Back in operations, movement orders were issued as Alex gave an updated assessment of her forces. As a result, Lancer Alpha was heading for the west side along with updated ammo supply where Delta was consolidating while a lance from Charlie headed to the Wolverines on the South side to bolster the company there. A second lance was preparing to head to the Northern Front, where Hollister was engaging the Clans in their attempt to blast through to the camp.
The rest of the defensive forces were getting into hidden positions in and around the camp locations. If ANYTHING broke through, the Lancer Armor was going to give them a giant problem.
On the Clan side of things, each front was either engaged, had reinforcements enroute or was busy consolidating after losses. The Western Front was assessing its own damage and the decision to hold long enough for ammunition resupply and the reinforcement star to arrive would prove fortuitous for them. The reinforcements of a trio of Assault Class Omni-mechs and a pair of lighter machines would be valuable for the push. And the Star Captain in charge of this front was already relishing the glory that was to be had.
He and his troops had put down four of the Mercenary machines at the cost of one destroyed and two rendered ineffective; not great but he would finish the job as soon as the rearming was complete. The reinforcement star would see them crashing into the dezgra mercenaries and then into the heart of the Not Named forces. This would be a cake walk…
(note: this entry is being broken up into two parts as the battle is continuing (the guest commander is here visiting his dad. 🙂 ) And yes, it is a giant mess. As always, a list of the units used to play out this battle are available on request. The Hollister fight will hopefully happen next week.)