Legends and Myths Thirty Three- the 2nd Battle of Barbados part four

 As the battle was shaping up for Major’s Hunter and Kassing, the battle on the Northern Front had just come to a head and the results plain to see.  That the clan troops saw it and elected to run… was a surprise but a welcome one.

  Hollister had changed the north side force out last second, regulating Major Michaeli’s company to backstop his force if needed as he led his company out to face the Clans.  The Wolverine Khan had realized he would set a bad precedent if he let the Lancers do all the fighting.  Granted, they were partners… and Tinney had willingly put his force on one front from the start.  But this was a Wolverine Expedition… and this was the closest place to being a sacred land for his Clan.  Therefore… sitting on the sidelines was not something that made any sense if he wanted to respect himself as well as keep the respect of the others within the clan.

  Yes, he was the overall leader of the mission… but some things had to be done.

 That thinking nearly got him killed, of course, over the course of the battle but one could not dispute the results gained.  His machine was going to need some gantry time but not as much as the Spartan would.  Or the Battlemaster, for that matter.

 AS the Clan attackers advanced, Hollister used the lake to his forces’ right as a form of barrier, ensuring the attack was only going to come from one axis.  Granted, it limited his maneuver space, but it affected theirs too.  They had to go through him… and as noted in a prior discussion with both the Ghost Bear Loremaster and Lancer tactical folks, anyone Clan was going to come right at them because of Kerensky’s 250-year-old lies.

  And seeing what was coming through the pass, the clans had brought the house. A Dire Wolf, Warhawk and Gargoyle headed up the heavier aspect of the attacking binary.  They were supported by a Summoner, Black Python, Ebon Jaguar and a Timberwolf which made up the powerful heavy core, with a Stormcrow being a roving anchor for the assault.   A Nova Cat and a Cougar made up the attacker right flank troops, the two machines being a decent compliment to one another.  Not that it helped in the end of things, of course.

The Timberwolf had skirted the left side of the clan line of advance, getting lost and tripped up in spots navigating the streams that laced the field in that area.  The rest of the clan forces came up the middle, trading a few shots with his men at range.  The Nova Cat dared him and two of his company machines into engaging him… which they did.  It was then that his own battle nearly ended, with a shot hitting a weak point in his armor and slagging a portion of the gyro.  It’s what he got for leading from the front…

 Flip side of that… was the Spartan catching the Warhawk at range and managing the same thing to it the exception being the complete destruction of that machine’s gyro. This development did not please the attacking forces and they seemed to lose their minds.  The Python had raced in and collected punishment from both Battlemaster and the Spartan.  As it backed off from its error, the Dire Wolf unloaded on the Wolverine Machines, inflicting hellish punishment.

  Both the Stormcrow and Summoner plunged into his force’s backfield, with the Stormcrow finding out why no one got in front of a Black Knight unless they were in a far bigger machine.  The clan machine earned itself the Knight’s attention as well as the ancient Thunderbolt’s, the two machines destroying the interloper as it brought low the Royal Warhammer it got behind.  The Summoner, being smarter, elected not to go as far into Wolverine lines… which likely saved it from a similar fate.

 However, as the Summoner backed out from its predicament, Hollister had managed to drop the Nova Cat with the assistance of the Thug of First Lance and his out of place Royal Crab.  Once that clan machine had been dealt with, the three of them swung out and caught the Summoner dead to rights as they cleared the trees, the Wolverine’s ignoring the Cougar as they hunted the heavier machine. In the swirling battle that developed, the Thug and Crab dropped the Summoner with a bit of assistance of the Knight.  Hollister, seeing this, then paid attention to the Cougar, making it wish he hadn’t.

  The up-gunned Pulverizer lived up to its name and scrapped the light clan machine, dropping it too in place.  However, as opposed to the damage given to the Summoner, the far lighter machine would never rise again.

**

  It was the incapacitation of the Summoner that really made the clan troops start retreating.  While the Wolverines had taken punishment, with the loss of the Spartan and Warhammer along with the crippling of the Battlemaster, their own losses were far more horrific.  Losing the Warhawk early hurt them as did the pummeling and repeated falls of the Dire Wolf.  But with the loss of the powerful Nova Cat, vaporization of the Stormcrow and the Black Python being used as a targeting dummy, the clan leader smartly realized he had to fall back. The death of the Cougar reinforced the need to leave.

  While he had combat power still, the numbers were not favorable.  Down six machines and with various levels of damage to the rest, the Star Captain in charge of this effort ordered a general retreat.  A retreat that turned into a rout during the retreat, as the Ebon Jaguar fell victim to these myths. 

  Seething in his machine, the Star Captain tried to figure where it all went wrong.  He would be back on this front and would see this enemy dead.  It would just take time and a Mongoose was capable of patience. Very capable of patience…

**

  Up in space, Commodore Callihan sat in his bridge chair observing the frenzied activity around him.  Listening to the Damage Control reports and the data being relays from Sensors to Helm, he mused over the warship battle just concluded.

Yukon had mauled her opponent, the Louis, and when it was certain she wasn’t needed to help her fellow warships, began taking on lifeboats and pods from the crippled and scuttled warship, her marines (a mix of Wolverine and Lancer) guarding the prisoners as they were collected.  Medical was tending to them as much as possible- just because one escaped a ship does not mean you are not wounded.  But the Wolverine destroyer made a point to rescue what they could.

State of Grace had mauled its opponent and the symphony of destruction wreaked upon the enemy Essex she faced was very precise.  When it was clear the Mongoose warship was surrendering, the captain of the Grace ordered the McGrath to strike her engines and standby to be boarded.

 The Mustafa came about on the stricken Mongoose battleship, the damages incurred on the big ship being extensive and judging by sensors, had rendered the warship dead in space.  Once it was certain the ship was not able to put up a fight, the commodore ordered boarding crews to man the assault ships and prepare for launch.  The marines of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion of the Phoenix Lancers Marine Regiment, stationed on board the Mustafa, headed for the small craft bays.

  This was as much a first for almost all of them as it was for the Wolverine crewmen with them.  Only the company’s senior NCO, Master Sergeant Steve Garcia, had any experience in such- having been part of one boarding action during Operation Bulldog and another during the early part of the Jihad- and that was years ago.  But he remembered the events damn well and used his experience to make sure everything was ready.  One of the things learned was shotguns were the preferred weapon for this sort of activity; as a result he had a very liberal issue of boarding shotguns throughout the platoons going.  No one argued with a load of buckshot.

  No one.

  “All-RIGHT devil dogs,” the short senior NCO bellowed around his cigar as the men of the company formed up in the landing bay for loading onto the boarding ships, Garcia pacing the line of platoons. “This is what you been WAITING to DO… and WHAT you are PAID to DO when given the chance!!  LONG history you are living UP TO today, and By God and The Corps, YOU WILL PERFORM!!”

  Looking around at the marines standing at attention, Garcia affixed a steely gaze on all of them, his features set in stone as he chomped on the unlit cigar.  A full ten seconds passed then he broke into a smile. “Well Alright then… Y’all look like you’ll do.  Let’s get this done, eh?  There is some Clan Ass who needs explaining to that they are now Bondsmen and a ship to secure.  No casualties and the beer is on me when we get home…”

  The marines let out a loud cheer as Garcia then motioned to the boarding craft.  “Move Out!”  The waiting troops started to load into the assault ships as the Master Sergeant waited to board last.  When they got there, he would be the first out of the boarding craft on to the Mongoose ship.  Captain Steve Milkowski (his CO) wanted to be first of course…but after losing a best 3-out-of-5 session of Rock Paper Scissors, the company commander was going to be one of the LAST onto the enemy ship.

  That the battalion commander decided not to try and go on this job was good- Colonel Talamini was better than him at RPS and even if Garcia had won, the boss would have pulled rank. Damn officers…  Milkowski could have pulled the O card but he knew it wouldn’t have looked good.

  Garcia smiled at the memory of his captain’s response to losing as the hatch closed up.  Someday, Milkowski might figure out that Garcia had his tendencies at RPS figured out.  But that day was not today…

**

  On the bridge of the Mustafa, Callihan watched the screens and listened to the status updates.  After about four minutes, his tactical officer looked over to him. “Sir, all assault craft ready for launch.”

  The Commodore looked around the bridge once as several sets of eyes focused on him.  Time for some more history to be made…  With a deep breath, Callihan gave the order, a slight smile on his features.  “Mister Xi, the order is given.  Commence boarding actions.”

  Xi nodded and turned to the communications officer whose soprano tone rang clear through the fleet communications network.

“Attention all hands…  Away All Boarders, I say again, Away All Boarders!”

Author: John T

Warrior-Sage and full time healer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: