Legends and Myths Thirty Two- the 2nd Battle of Barbados (part three b)

The lull on the western front lasted roughly an hour.

  In that hour, the Lancer reinforcements in the form of Major Kassing’s Striker Company arrived as well as reloads for Alex’s remaining machines.  As the reloads were being handled, Chuck had a quick conference with the Dragoon company commander.

  “Alex…” He called out from down below her Nightstar. “Got a minute?”

  Looking down from where she stood on top of her machine with a set of binoculars, the woman replied. “Yeah…”.  Going over to the rope ladder, she climbed down to the ground. “I know this is a shitshow, Chuck…”

 Kassing waved off the comment as he stuck a fat cigar in his mouth and adjusted his old Cavalry Trooper Stetson- a relic of his time in a Davion Guards Cavalry unit.  “Bah!” he snapped. “This sort of shit happens, Hunter.  Ain’t no one immune; I’ve been on the receiving end of a potential bitch slap and pulled it out by the skin of my teeth with no little luck.  Hell, I watched Tinney look like he was about to get slapped silly in the bad old days and he manages to find a weak spot in the other guy’s plan to come out smellin’ like a rose.  It’s what I love and hate about working for him- he defies odds like it ain’t no big deal while the rest of us have to work at it.  So, it is not your fault. it’s just been a goddamn while since we’ve stepped in shit, and it happened to be you in the barrel.

  Anyway, what are we lookin’ at for Test Tube Types?” He asked.  “Big surprises?”

 Alex shook her head at Kassing’s confidence.  The man was crazy, but he was one of John’s oldest friends… and he knew what he was doing.  Maybe if she heard the same from all of the others, it might make getting beat sting less.  “Right now, they had left a Storm Crow, a Loki, a mod’d Kodiak, an Ursus, a Grizzly and a beat to hell Timberwolf.  There was a Piranha of all things runnin’ around too.  All of them have some heavy energy-based weapons but they did show a large number of light barrel cannon.  If they didn’t get resupplied like us, then they should be short ammo.  Not counting on it though; I mean, if we can get bullets, why can’t they?”

 Kassing listened. “Smart thinking… just because you can, doesn’t mean they can or can’t,” he replied. “I would count on them getting ammo at the very least.  Any mech reinforcement should take time to get to them.  I say should as it all depends on speed.” He said. “I would expect a full star of something to be added to the mix by the time we get back there.  As long as it isn’t like an Assault Star full of Warhawks, I’m pretty sure we have this.”

 She blinked. “Really?”

A chuckle. “Really… everyone who can take it has Semi-Guided rounds missiles in your weapons.  My four TAG boys are pretty good at plantin’ a dot in the middle of a mech’s chest so if we get a lock, that Clanner is getting a beat-down,” Chuck paused as an alert chime rang.  “Time to roll, ammo in the last of your machines is in.”

 Alex looked over at the Archer, who was just shutting the reloading hatches for its Class Twenty launchers. “That was fast!”

 “Yep.  I asked for the fastest hands when I came to reinforce you.  Figured we would need to be quick about it,” Kassing replied with a shit-eating grin.  “Let’s go show these genetic anomalies what it means to get in a street fight….”

  Alex smiled, knowing what he was going to say next, having heard if from Tinney a few times.  “Because a street fight is a brawl an’ there Ain’t no rules in a brawl…”

**

Over the next ten minutes, the two Lancer commanders led their troops forward and back into the killing field that was the ground near the filtration plants.

  The remaining clan forces had spread out some, taking up some decent overwatch positions as they waited for either a Lancer counterattack or reinforcements.  What they got was both as a monstrous Assault Star entered the area.  While it wasn’t the feared Warhawk star Kassing had joked about (there was one of those machines in this star) there was some serious beef on its way in.

 A Gargoyle, an Executioner, a Nova and a Cougar complimented the aforementioned Warhawk; and the reinforcements were running for all they were worth to get into the fray.

 Alex saw this and ordered her troops to find good overwatching positions to support Kassing’s men in their effort to pick off the weaker numbers of their foes.  And for the most part, the battle played out along what they both thought it would.

  The advanced Super Locusts did their jobs well early, with planting TAG on several clan machines.  The resulting havoc from accurate LRM fire   The clan command, realizing what was going on with the smaller machines, began to hunt the four battlemechs- knowing if they killed them they hindered some of the power of the mercenaries.

  This of course opened them up to punishment from the non-missile machines of the Lancers.  And it was telling.  As the monster Star of reinforcing Omnimechs reached the battlefield, the original seven defending machines were reduced to two- the previously slammed Timber wolf and a lucky-as-hell Loki. The two remaining members of the original force backed off under the guns of their newly arrived backup.  Which was fine, as said backup now began to take fire from the Lancers.

  First to feel Lancer fire was the Warhawk. A Super Locust gambled and lit up the machine with TAG and paid for his work with the clan machine removing his entire torso area.  In the process of doing that, some sixty missiles rained down on him and knocked him over.  The pilot didn’t manage his fall well and was stunned as a result.

  The rest of the star attempted to kill the other Super Locusts, with mixed results.  A second Super died under the focused attention of the Omnis but not before the newly arrived Nova earned immense amounts of LRM fire- homing in on the electronic tagging by the nearby Super.

 As this went on, the Clans were exacting a bit of revenge for the punishment they were taking.  Both of the Lancer Axmen were brought low but not before they finished off the crippled Ursus, having destroyed the Grizzly earlier that tried to slow them down.  The Gargoyle managed to sneak a lucky hit onto the Mauler, destroying the arm-mounted ammunition bay for the Light Autocannon that machine carried but not before it helped drop the Kodiak that was trying to get after the Archer which had been raining missiles down on his star mates.

It was just after the Kodiak dropped that Chuck gambled with a communications call.  While he knew what he had could take what was left of the Clan troops, the Lancers would take losses they really could not afford… and it was pretty apparent that the Clanners thought this was the front to take down.  Or that they had the mechs to throw at it.  Either way, it was time to see if they could be bluffed into a back-down.  He knew the naval battle was done at this point, that fight having resolved itself when he was on his way here.  He was betting the Clan Command didn’t know.  Or Did and knew the power of a Naval Bombardment.  Not that he had permission to use one… but the Clans didn’t know that.

And he was counting on it.

Setting the frequency to the last known General channel of the clans on his secondary comm-gear, he called out.  “Clan Commander Clan Commander…  Care to Parley?”

Alex heard this over the Lancer net and comm’d Chuck on the side.  [Dude!]

Check replied. “I got this, Alex…  Right now, I’m working a bluff; we can beat ‘em but I got doubts on what we’ll have left afterwards…”

  Alex answered after a few seconds. [Yeah… I see what you mean.  I’m down to a lance of my company and I’m not happy about it.]

“Alex, I get it…  and I want that pound of flesh for you too… but I also want us to survive getting it…”

The Clan commander finally answered. [What, Dezgra Scum? You want to surrender?]

 Chuck laughed.  “You’re funny, Star Captain.  I’m offering you the opportunity to back off and get off our land with your remaining lives before I nuke the shit out of you.”

 A sputter.  [You won’t dare use a nuclear weapon! That’s against your OWN Laws of War!]

 Kassing smiled inside his neurohelmet; the choice of word had gotten the man’s attention, as he wanted… “who said anything about using an actual nuke? It was a term only… though I’m told an orbital bombardment from a Black Lion has just about the same effect on a target; you stay on this location and I get to find out if that’s true…” He said.  “So, I am offering you the opportunity to leave with your lives.”

 Silence on the other end for a moment… which meant Chuck had planted the right doubts in the clanner.  He knew what was left of his company and Alex’s could take what the clan had left here- but it really would be a damn mess- and counterproductive.  For BOTH sides.  And maybe this guy figured it out too.

[Fine.  We will back off… but if you try to reclaim this area, the deal is off and you won’t get the chance for your bombardment as you too will be in the bullseye.] The Star Captain replied. [This area remains No Mans Land.]

  Chuck let out the breath he had held.  This will work… He thought. And someone else can deal with forcing the issue. “Good enough for me… the machines that are down stay.  Including that Warhoawk; you can get the pilot, of course.”

 [Preposterous!]

 “I can still blast it to scrap while he’s down…”

 Some more sputtering. [Very well, dezgra… it remains as unclaimed isorla.]

 “I can work with that.  Whoever wins overall here can have it… We will advance no further.” He replied.  Not like we were going to but he don’t know that.

[Done.] The Clan commander snarled and the enemy machines began to back off, the savaged Nova limping away.

  Chuck took a deep breath.  He really didn’t want to try and drop what was left of the clan troops; while he had confidence in his crew, he knew the damage to be taken in return would make any victory a bit pyrrhic.  Not a thing any sane commander wants.

He glanced at the status panel that showed his company’s state and grimaced.  Here’s hoping Hollister has a plan, he thought. We are going to need a refit if we have to hunt these bastards.

Author: John T

Warrior-Sage and full time healer.

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