Lancer Command Compound Operations building
Auburn Mountains, Cromwell
1449 hours 7 December
Governor Diane Sodher-Schaller quickly exchanged her uniform blouse top for a cooling vest. She had gotten into the habit of being prepared for duties other than admin after the events of last Christmas. And with both main Lancer commanders off world, that included her cooling vest and Aiskon, her Battlemaster. As the attacks began here, she had sent an orderly to fetch her ready bag from quarters. She had a feeling it was going to be necessary…
Some fifteen minutes prior, she had been in the Com Center watching the feeds and observing the space battle play out and then when the transports jumped in, watched the responses. Major Farquharson had been in with her at the time and his commentary had been special.
“The wobblies seem tae be determined this time,” Sean said as he saw the alert for the in-system jump ring out “D’ye think they are coming here?”
Diane watched the fighter battle develop and how their transports moved. As they began to firm up their paths to the planet, she looked at the operations chief. “Mister Smiley, see if the predictor software can narrow down potential landing sites. I want an idea on who to send where…”
Chief Warrant John Smiley looked over to the Governor and replied. “Already working on it, ma’am. The windows are interesting and rather problematic.”
“Problematic how, Mister Smiley?” Diane asked. What could be problematic besides the obvious with an invasion and everything else going on.
“Predicted drop zones are here for the bulk of the inbound craft,” Smiley’s answer was dry. “The large vessel looks to land somewhere near the mountains north of Zathras… but the Unions all look to be coming here. Or close enough.”
Diane turned and stared at the Chief. “Confirm that…” She barked as she turned her attention to Sean. “As for you….”
Sean, who had been listening, had already figured out what order was coming next. “Aye… I’m going. I already ordered the Company to be ready to go for the Bays when I told them I was going to Operations. We’ll be mounted up when Wobblies get here…” He said with a wicked grin. “Dinnae worry, they are gonna get a kickin’…”
“I’m sure… but be ready for nonsense.” Diane replied. “Now git.” Sean departed and she returned her attention to Smiley. “Mister Smiley?”
“Analysis has solidified probability. 80 percent chance of combat drop on the area of the Compound. 15 percent north of the compound and 5 percent elsewhere near Landing- plus or minus seven percent,” he replied. “I would make bets based on those numbers, Governor. They are coming here.”
She closed her eyes for a moment. “Thank you, Mister Smiley,” Diane replied. Taking a deep breath, she continued. “Please assist transfer of command center operations to the secondary center up in Forbes. I need to notify Governor Devine he will be handling things for a bit.”
The command center staff, having listened to the Governor’s exchange with Chief Smiley, immediate started the shifting of responsibilities to the mentioned site. Secondary now became the Outpost Castle held by Wolverine… and those notifications would be going out too.
Smiley nodded. “Of course, ma’am,” He replied. “I take it you are planning to greet the uninvited guests yourself?”
“After a fashion, Mister Smiley, after a fashion…” Diane said as she stepped to a com-station. Turning her attention to it, she tapped in the direct line to Governor Devine on the vid-com.
Within a pair of seconds, he answered. “So, I’m in charge now, is it?”
A smile. “Unfortunately for you, yes…” she replied in a light tone. “I’m sure you saw we are about to have some rude visitors…”
Governor Devine frowned. “As soon as we got notification about being Primary, I got a brief,” he commented. “You know you don’t need to be out there… or are you feeling your oats?” He had teased her at the summer Command party about getting back into a mech and had handed her a bag of mash one would feed a horse. Good natured teasing… but the concern was very real. Devine was NOT a mech pilot but had respect for those who were.
With his background with medical and science, he knew exactly what Diane’s medical conditions were and combined with her age, he better than most understood the risks she took when she fought the raid last year. The stresses of combat, even in the very solid confines of a Battlemaster cockpit, was not exactly soft. With her balance issues… stability was a concern.
She laughed. “Roy… I appreciate the concern… once I got back in the saddle, I wanted more of it- within reason, of course.” She said lightly. “I got this, and I am certain I will be fine. Besides, Farquharson is here; you might want to worry about any Blakist that actually hits me….”
Laughter from the other man. “I suppose I could feel sorry for them- but I would be lying,” he replied. “Get some, Diane… I got the Big Hat till you get back. Forbes has issues but not like yours. Clyburn is going to be furious…”
“As much as he ever gets mad,” She commented. “Got to go- Aiskon awaits.”
Outside, the defense towers opened up on the incoming dropships as they disgorged their cargos. Barracuda missiles launched from the ground and sped towards the incoming transports. The weapons on the Blakist ships managed to shoot down most of the deadly missiles streaking for them but not all.
The ship delivering the last of the dropping Blakist machines detonated as the last group dropped and the explosion threw off the descending mechs. Several deviated from their planned landing zones and two wound up in the waterway that bordered the strip. The results were unfortunate for the two machines, with one machine, a Grand Titan, suffering catastrophic damage which caused the engine compartment to flood. This resulted in a shutdown of the battlemech.
Other machines landed as planned and the one LvL II that stuck its landing in the Ops compound, was immediately beset by a full Alacorn platoon and the now-mounted Governor in her duelist machine. Elsewhere, another pair of LvL IIs landed by the reinforced Typhoon platoon who immediately moved to engage with their heavy autocannon. Out on the main strip, Delta First Battalion was already moving to engage anything within reach of their guns- and in the case of Warrant Officer Dougan, his Berserker’s axe as he charged forward.
The battle was on and no quarter was expected…. Nor was it going to be given. Many of the pilots in First Battalion were veterans of the Jihad and quite a few were here the last time the Word of Blake was here in force.
In this fight, there was no retreating if it could be helped. Reinforcements from other Lancer units would come… but it fell to the defenders here to hold the Word in place…. And make them pay dearly for this act.
Cujo got the update on the main compound as his force was heading down to rearm and refuel.
[Mastiff Flight, Forbes Command]
“Forbes, Mastiff,“ He answered as he immediately looked in the direction of the main Lancer facility off in the distance. That it was Forbes and not the main base calling him was not good.
[Mastiff, redirect and intercept landing north of Zathras. Coordinates to follow. Doghouse is currently off line- facility under attack and defenders engaged.]
FUCK!!I “Forbes, Mastiff; request clearance to support Doghouse.” Cujo quickly looked at the rest of his flight to gage overall damage. Noting several of his ships were smoking some from damage didn’t give him happy thoughts…. But this was home. And he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to do something.
[Mastiff, Forbes… negative. Blakist forces are heavily engaged with Doghouse defense troops. Per Romeo Delta, Doghouse can handle.]
Cujo thought on that one. Racking his brain, he tried to remember who Romeo Delta was…. Then he remembered. “Forbes, Mastiff. Confirm Romeo Delta being greedy…” Romeo Delta stood for Regimental Duelist and he knew who that was. She was a badass bitch and considering she had help, she just might manage to kick them off the base. Damn sure didn’t like it not helping but she knew what she was doing.
[Mastiff, Forbes; Romeo Delta stated can contain and remove infection,] Was the controller’s reply. A different voice came on next. [Cujo, Forbes Actual…. I don’t like it either, but I believe her. However, we need eyeballs on those landing zones. If necessary, you are backup. Brookstone Field is New Primary; Sage alternate.]
“Forbes, Mastiff; received new mission and heading there now.” Changing channels for the squadron, he called to his pilots. “Ok Mastiff.. we are heading to eyeball a Blakist LZ north of Zathras; new base is either Brookstone or Sage.”
[Cujo…] Doc commented. [What’s going on?]
“Doghouse is compromised right now… and Forbes is asking for eyeballs on an LZ north of Zatrhas.”
“Tell me about it…” He replied as he redirected his fighter towards the new destination. “Faster we get this done, faster we might be able to do something.”