Deep Space Sensor Buoy #5
Outer reaches of the Centaurus System Pirate Point A
07 December, 3080
The energy release of several Jumpships transitioning into the local space near Buoy Five was hard not to notice. Four Warships and five jump ships had entered local space and the little sensor satellite dutifully recorded what had arrived. Within six seconds of the inbound ships full transition in, the sensor suite on the buoy activated and sent a message back towards Sensor Station Agnes, with a priority flag active.
What had come into the system was trouble. And the computer on the buoy was programmed to identify transponders and forward their contents to Agnes along with data on type of drives. Or lack of content in the case of these ships.
IT didn’t matter that the inbound ships had no communication emissions post transit; their drive signatures and other electronic tidbits were enough to identify who they were…
Deep Space Sensor Station Agnes
In orbit around Centaurus VII
Lieutenant Sariah Ford happened to be on duty when the signals arrived. She was scheduled to be rotated out of this station in about three hours and had been waiting for the ping of the inbound shuttle when the Transit Alert came in from Buoy Five. “Well, that’s odd,” she said as the duty tech, Charlene McDaniel tapped away at her terminal to refine what was coming in and throw it on the screens.
As she saw the identifiers crop up, her entire being chilled. “Ma’am…” she said in disbelief.
“Ah see it, Charlie…” Sariah replied as she too was stunned. This was not a friendly visit; this was an attack. Snapping out of it, she began to bark orders even as she hit the alert button. “Charlie, refine and get it to Kiiko. Kiiko, send it as fast as you get it. Lancer Command and to Wolverine Command. Copy the Bismarck while you can,” She turned and activated the station wide comms even as sensors picked up the launches of fighters. “All Hands, this is Lieutenant Ford. Hostile Fleet inbounds to system. Defense Protocol Ghost and abandon ship. Defense Protocol Ghost and abandon ship…”
Defense Protocol Ghost was a set of computer-run instructions that would take over the control of the anti-fighter defenses and internal means as soon as the last pod left the station. Fifteen seconds after that, the station sensors should have a solid enough lock on what was coming in to engage any fighters that came after it…. Or take potshots at anything that went after pods burning for the surface of Centarus VII, the mostly airless rock they orbited.
On the surface, there was a series of preset landing points for pods that would place them near entry points to the bunkers built within the surface. The bunkers, built a long time ago prior to Jihad, had been as a fall back for whatever station the SLDF had in place here three hundred years ago. They had fallen into disuse over the years since, with their refurbishment and reactivation coming at the start of the Clan War. Even after that had ended, they were finished up and used again by station crews at the start of the Jihad.
Now they were about to be used, as the Word had Returned once more. Even if atomics were used on the world, the bunkers were designed to resist those as they housed up to forty souls for a maximum of ninety days. That the station was only 24 strong, this meant they could hold out for a lot longer than three months. They would not be defenseless, as those bunkers had some. Likely not enough to stop a dedicated assault… but enough to buy time at least.
Provided they all got to the surface.
Kiiko called out. “El-tee, messages away!”
Charlene added. “Confirmed four warships- two Carson class, a Lola III and a McKenna. No names yet…”
Sariah spun to face Charlene. “Confirm the McKenna! No one is supposed to have those anymore.”
The technician tapped away quickly, even as the rest of the crew started reporting to pods. “Confirmed; emission signature is that of a McKenna class. Rest of the jump ships are Star Lord types.”
Sariah cringed as she took the news while looking at station status board. Nearly all sections were reporting clear of personnel. Damn, her people were good… “Crap! Ok… send confirmation out and then bug out. Ah’m the last one to leave and the longer you take, the longer I gotta stay.” She hoped someone grabbed her bug-out bag. The SOP was whomever bunked with a duty crewman would grab that person’s bag along with their own.
They’d gone over the procedures about two weeks ago so it should be fresh in minds. She hoped….
Kiiko and Charlene made sure the data transferred and was sent. “Done!” they said in near unison
“Good! Now Git!” Sariah said as she tapped the final commands for the Defense Protocol to activate. They now had three minutes to get out before the lead Blakist fighters she KNEW were coming would possibly be in range. Sighing as she looked around, the Lancer Officer headed for the pods ten seconds after the other two left ahead of her.
She liked this station, damnit.
Centaurus HPG Station
Lake Kensington Park
Nine Kilometers south of Landing
The guard at the gate of the HPG complex spotted the large sports car as it came driving up the road. As the Adept in the booth came out to meet it, the vehicle sped up. As the trooper, a veteran of the early Jihad, jumped back to avoid being hit, he slapped the alert button inside the hut. A second Adept brought up a rifle and ducked out to shoot at the speeding vehicle as it crashed the barrier.
The car, showing hits from the defender weapons, absorbed the shots without any visible effect. Other troops, all armed with at least side arms per Precentor McCormick’s rules, also attempted to shoot the driver of the car.
It was in vain, as their pistols did not have enough power to damage the window appreciably.
As the defenders were distracted, two other vehicles came racing up the road to the complex. These were vastly different than the car; one was a large SUV and the other, a delivery van in the livery of Pan-Centaurus Parcel Service. The two additional vehicles came barreling up the road and their passengers engaged the gate guards.
The two forces exchanged fire as the SUV pulled over to let the delivery vehicle past…. Then continued forward. The guards at the gate, now down to one, were powerless to stop what was coming….
The sports car deployed a light machine gun from the front and began spraying rounds in every direction the vehicle pointed. The chaos of the moment ensured the delivery vehicle reached the curb bordering the ground that was between the pavement and the wall of the Transmission Station.
The defending Comstar personnel did their best to stop the truck…. But though slowing it, they were unable to stop it.
As the vehicle came to a rest against the wall, the sports car aligned itself with the road out and raced away. As it cleared the gate, a small explosion went off within the delivery vehicle…. Which was shortly followed by a far larger one.
A FAR larger one that encompassed a good fifteen to thirty meters in the fire and fury of a large Fuel Air Bomb. The concussive force blasted the wall of the HPG building like a semi-shaped charge, collapsing it. The overall force of the explosion also radiated up and took out the HPG Antenna, ensuring warning was not going to get out.
The Swords of Loki, having been in their Mechs some ten minutes prior to the bomb at the HPG, began powering up and exiting the mech bays they were in. All their machines were Combat ready, and they set out to start tearing up the area.
Weapons hot, the members of the Mercenary group began to target structures important to contacting anything away from here. About half of them moved towards the Mech Sheds of the Knights while others headed for the SLDF facility found by their employers last year.
Other units had left here earlier to head toward the Desert Landing Strip, their job being to eliminate any resistance there as it would be a base of operations for what was to come and to take the old SLDF complex for use as a staging point. It was Lancer held, for now… but only by technicians and supply personnel.
But the forces heading for the command buildings were not unopposed. As the security troops scrambled, Ravyn’s Reign came boiling out of their mech sheds and heading to an intercept course of the Swords faction. The Reign’s leader, having a feeling trouble was coming, had everyone bunk in their machines from early in the morning. She knew what was coming… and knew if someone wasn’t prepared to answer it right away, things were going to go sideways.
This is what they were here for…. And it was time to act.
City of Gates Space Port
As the Union transport drifted over the port, it began disgorging its cargo via low-level drop on to the port. The Drop Ship had been behind schedule when the attacks began, and the force aboard elected to combat drop in rather than wait to land.
So, the dark colored machines of the Hand began to land like shadows even as the Wolverine Detachment stationed here powered up to meet them. The warning order alerting all detachments of the attacks had been enough time to scramble.
And the Wolverine troops here would make whoever was attacking pay….
The Outpost Castle
Continent of Sage
The warning about the incoming fleet and alerts pertaining to the attacks elsewhere galvanized the security troops of the Outpost into action. A well-rehearsed plan of action since the Christmas Attack on 3079 went into motion as various remote gun systems went live and Observation Posts were manned with either Lancer or Wolverine personnel.
The Mech Bays of the facility started to become busier, as the Wolverine Company stationed activated as pilots arrived from wherever they were. They would sally out if it became apparent that the Outpost was a legitimate target.
Loremaster Kosh, nominally in command of the Wolverines here, entered the command deck of the Castle and began to organize the response a bit more efficiently while escort teams went out to the villages nearby to pull in civilians. Contingencies had been mapped out and tasking set. There had been two drills to test the process and the last one had run nearly flawlessly. He hoped it was not a fluke… and so far, the indications were it had not been. People were moving smartly and those who were not evacuating, were heading for resistance bunkers hidden on the approaches to the fortress.
Those going for the Bunkers were to be a surprise for anyone coming for the Castle… the newly christened Battle Armor units resolving to be the biggest pain in the ass to anyone trying to break in. They knew their jobs… and wanted opportunities to show they knew what they were doing.
Lancer Command Compound
29 07 December, 3080
The warning from Station Agnes arrived moments before notifications of events all over Centaurus came in. The World was under assault from without and within, either through the actions of those mercenary units who were ostensibly here for training, bombings by infiltrators or the incoming fleet of Word of Blake warships and transports.
Governor Sodher-Schaller, who had moved into Officer Quarters on the main complex for the duration of her temporary command, scanned the alerts coming in and shuddered. This was a full court press, with agents within the populous and some of the visiting units turning on their hosts.
The last time the Word came in force to Centaurus, the Lancers were mostly off world and the Milita far smaller and less capable to stop them. Now was different. Now, there was the bulk of a Mech Regiment on world, substantial Non-Mech assets… and far more experienced defenders. And Warships to deal with what was coming in. This would be far different from the last time…
“Lieutenant Rodriguez, get me Colonel Conigliaro,” She ordered. “If he’s not in the air, I need to speak with him.”