Legends and Myths Sixty Three- The Storm: Assessments…

Phoenix Lancer Command Center

Auburn Mountains north of Landing

0901 Local, 8 December 3080

  Governor Sodher-Schaller stood in the center of the briefing amphitheater and dispassionately looked around the room.  The room had seating for approximately forty personnel and almost all the seats were filled.  Occupying those seats were company commanders and execs of the Mech companies in Landing as well as those infantry, battle armor and regular armor units stationed here or at Landing proper.

 On video screens and holocom were various commanders stationed elsewhere on the world. Among them was commanders of the handful of guest mercenary units confirmed to not be in the employ of the Word of Blake. And there was damn few of those…  Only two Battlemech units and three Infantry centric commands were among the loyalists (she hated that word but was appropriate). Thankfully, one of those was a heavy infantry unit; that unit was going to prove to be important in some of the battles to come.

 Also here was the Comstar representative, Precentor David McCormick.  He was still seething from damages done to his HPG compound and the loss of some of his people.  His stark white and grey combat fatigues stood out from the rest of the uniforms in the room and on the screens.

 Entering the room as she got ready to speak was Major DJ Hartman, still showing the injuries of his fight at the starport. Supporting him was Major Sean Farquharson and Chief Warrant Jess Knox from First Bn’s Charlie and Alpha companies.  Hartman should have been in the hospital still…  “Darryl… what are you doing here?” She asked.

 Hartman looked at the governor and smiled grimly. “This is a War Brief ain’t it? All able commanders are supposed to be here if duties allow it… so I’m here.”  As he spoke, Sean and Jess set Hartman down on one of the upper seats. “I’m available so I’m here.”

 Diane gave him a stern look. “You are quite injured still…” She said. “and I am fairly certain you are supposed to be still in the hospital.”

 A shrug as Cujo also came scooting in and snagged s seat near him. “Well, you see, I’m still alive and have had far worse injuries, Gov… and these guys have made me mad.  Ain’t nothing short of a sucking chest wound stopping me from bein’ here for this….” Hartman replied. “I want these fucks gone as much as you… and I wanna be sure I’m with the program when I get back in a ‘mech.”

Diane shook her head at DJ. “Very well, Major. If you start leaking all over the floor, you are cleaning it.”

 DJ nodded at her then turned to look at the aerospace commander. “So how were the MacKenzies? Still cranky?” he asked.

 Cujo looked at the Major. “Very hospitable, actually.  And damn scary…”

 DJ chuckled. “Duncan’s a pushover if you discuss crafting shit. Bronwyn’s the same with cooking and plants…” he answered. “The kids are angels compared to them.”

 Cujo snorted. “Dude… their oldest was toting a sniper rifle when we got to their hut to collect them. The two littles each had a gun too.  Damn weird…”

A low chuckle from Sean who was sitting nearby. “Aye… Esmerelda is a better shot than her mom w’ the thing.”

  Down below, Diane took a deep breath and then called everyone to order. It had been a very long night and she hoped she didn’t stumble on her words. Two-hour catnap was not real sleep… But then, no one in the last twenty hours had gotten much rest.

 “Gentlemen and Ladies,” she began. “Glad those local could make it and for those elsewhere, I am pleased we have signal. I’m assured by both Lancer Comms and Wolverine technicians that our lines are secure as possible… For those who do not know me, my name is Diane Sodher Schaller, acting Governor General for all Phoenix Lancer forces on Centaurus and Local Space. This briefing is to give an overview of what has transpired in the last twenty hours and status updates of some locations as they are known.”

 On the wall behind her, various images would appear as she spoke.  Usually maps of the places being spoken of or pictures of known commands involved among the attackers.  Very graphical… and paid attention to. Those linked in externally would have access to the imagery via a datastream to their respective locations.

“As of 1300 or so local on 7 December, the Word of Blake and its contractors launched what Intel has learned they are calling Operation Lex Talionis. For anyone with Latin skills, it means Law of Retribution. An appropriate term, as some of the units involved on their side have a bit of history with both the Lancers, our Comguard Allies and in one case, one of our contractors over on Ashton.

 In all cases, Intel is going over what we know about those units who have history with us.. at least over anything we may have on them.

 The first hint of this Operation being initiated was the near simultaneous arrival of the Word of Blake fleet out neat Centarus VII and the bombing of the Comstar Hyper-pulse station at Kensington Park. Several of the prepositioned elements of the enemy on world revealed themselves with attacks on Forbes, Ashton, Johnson and here on Cromwell.

 The attempted combat drop assault on Forbes by the unit known as Shadows Incorporated was repelled by Clan Wolverine’s Delta Battlemech Company, which had been recently stationed there for upgrades. Lancer Bravo of First Mech was immediately sent to bolster them and hunt down escapees.  Operations there are still ongoing…

 On Ashton, the battle of Area Amalisar Training area occurred, and elements of the Swords of Loki were defeated by Ravyn’s Reign, one of the commands fighting on our side of all this. Other elements of the Swords with attendant infantry support assaulted Compound One Eight Five near Desert Strip One, taking it in a short firefight with the platoon of troops on security duty.

 A secondary assault upon Desert One by the unit known as Shen Dragons was thwarted by the arrival of Knight Captain bin Zalas with his Knights Errant.  The Dragons were chased off and at this time, there has been no resumption of assault on either location. Two companies of Anti-Mech infantry have been lifted to both locations and one company of grav tanks should be on station within the hour; last information I have on them is they departed the port of Mojave on the east coast about two hours ago.

 A battalion sized infantry attack on Crossroads was beaten back by a combined effort from Clan Dusal Elementals and security troops who were conducting exercises on the east side MOUT sites. Last information I have on situation there is extensive casualties though most appear to be attackers. Scene commander for Allied efforts is Krog Dusal.

 Right now, known enemy on Ashton is remnants of Shen Dragons, theorized to be approximately two lances and a reinforced Company of the Swords; of which approximately half are former members of Company Fenris- a unit thought neutralized last year.  About a half battalion of the infantry that assaulted Crossroads has retreated to the mountains north of the city and are being harassed by elements of Dusal.”


DJ leaned over to Cujo and whispered. “Dude… that’s Krog’s stomping grounds. Those guys are fucked…”

 Cujo chuckled slightly. “Almost feel bad for them…” he replied just as quietly.


Down below, Diane continued.

“On Johnson, the reserve facility C One Zero One, a maintenance and supply hub for battalion level operations was brought under invader control as was the majority of the settled areas of the continent by the Greybolts Legion.  This unit and its commander, a Josias Barnes, are one of the commands we have had interactions with approximately three years ago.

 Details are available to Battalion S-2 sections if necessary for background.”

 Diane paused in her briefing for a moment to settle a bit of nerves that had crept into her voice. She had given speeches before and briefings… but this was a lot.  Didn’t help she was tired…  Reaching for the cup of coffee on a podium next to her, she took a sip.  After a moment to savor it, she continued.

“On Cromwell, there were two prepositioned elements that took over the resort town of Zathras, cutting the major monorail line from here to the western portions of the continent.  There were also three major landings, one of which was an attempt on this compound and facility.

 As evident, the assault on this facility was repulsed and elements of the Blakist forces are being pursued by elements of the VTOL battalion and available fast Lancer armor. As of now, it appeared the survivors of the assault are attempting to fall back towards Zathras and the landing site north of it.  An attempt will be made to bring them to heel today.

 North of Zathras, approximately a battalion of battlemech forces supported by some aerospace has set up near the old Cassandra Gorge crossing. Courtesy of reconnaissance imagery, we have a good picture of what we are faced with in terms of ground combat mechs and vehicles.

South of Zathras, along the central divide, the other two landings by elements of the prepositioned were conducted and have reinforced their hold on the town and its station.  A probing engagement between Charlie Company of Third Battalion and elements of the enemy, tentatively identified as the Ice Eagles Mercenary Command occurred about two hours ago and Charlie was forced into retreat as the Ice Eagles had advantage of numbers and position.

 Losses are light for both sides, based on the information I have.  Another probing engagement from the south will be commencing within the next six hours as data firms up.”

 Elsewhere on Centarus, there are reports of minor engagements and attacks all over.  From what is able to be determined, these attacks are distractions meant to tie up combat power. So far, planetary security is holding firm in these locations.  G Two is expecting the vast majority of parties conducting these will be neutered as the day goes on…”

A pause. “Aerospace and Space assets have Cleared local space of any further Blakist shipping and are conducting patrols or recovery ops as appropriate. Station Agnes remains in the hands of Blakist troops, some surviving aerospace and dropships. Efforts are underway to relieve the personnel located in the evacuation bunkers on Centarus VII.

 Fleet Losses are the SLS Gloria, incapacitated in a ramming action and medium damage to the remaining fleet assets.  Word of Blake losses are all four warships as either captures or destroyed.  Information on Dropship losses are somewhat spotty; Lancer and Wolverine assets are three destroyed or incapacitated for about double that in Word of Blake assets.  Aerospace losses are estimated to be some fifty fighters for the Word and nineteen for Allied….”

 Diane paused again as she looked around the room and into cameras. “All told, this was a vicious attack on our planet that we have weathered well. It is NOT the worst we’ve faced over the years but pretty close…. But it is not the worst and we survived that.  This is far from over and there is a lot more violence to come for them…  I assure you of that.

  Within ten minutes after this briefing concludes, all elements slated for counter assaults will be notified and Operation Riposte begins within six hours.  Briefings for those in the initial stages of Riposte will be in an hour.

  Any questions on your roles, please hold until notifications go out…” She said with some steel in her voice. “As much as I want to tell each of you who you are going after and where, it has to be done the right way.  I want them gone as much as anyone else… but haphazard will only get people killed and set us up for failure.

She gazed out at Sean. “Trust me when I say that the Blakists will be kicked off our planet. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick… but they and their minions are going to regret this act… this…. Insult. We have a long history of reminding folks they need to make sure we can’t get back up when they knock us down… and if they require a reminder, then by all that’s holy, they will get one.”

 Diane gave one last look around. “Commanders… see to your commands and standby for orders. Notifications are coming… Dismissed.”  She then turned and left the room via a lower door, her mug to hand.  No one had noticed her lack of cane… until after.

 Sean was one who did as he stepped up next to DJ, who also had. “Lad… let’s get you up.” He said. “Back to the docs before she sends the MP’s.”

 DJ laughed. “yeah… hey, where’s her cane?”

 Sean glanced down to where she had been and then back at his friend. “Lad… Rage is one hell of an anesthetic… and motivator.” He spoke.  “The lass is verra pissed over all this.  And I’m sure she be having a wicked shitton of doubts to go with her anger.  Th’ Word isna favorite people, ye know… and they are having a second go at us again. Therefore, she ain’t got time for a cane…”

 Cujo came over as Sean had spoken. “I wasn’t here for the first invasion, but I read the reports…  If this is her mad, she’s a damn cool hand.” He paused. “Never a combat commander?”

Sean shook his head. “nay… Duelist. She’s been a resistance leader before but never the boss of this much.  Governor Devine is help’n but this was left in her lap by Leslie.  And when that one finds out she wasn’t here for this, she’s gonna be horrified Diane had to go through this…. Again.”

DJ spoke up. “Whelp… lets see if we can’t get this handled before Les gets back.  I know Tinney is supposed to be back sometime around the next week or so- the last message from the Barbados detachment via HPG was Thanksgiving.”

 Sean shook his head. “Ach… what a welcome home gift he’s getting… Not sure I want to be the other side when he finds out about this…”

Legends and Myths Sixty Two- The Storm: Cujo’s Rescue Part Two of Two

North of Zathras

Two kilometers west of Mastiff Crash site

1816 hours 7 December 3080

 Staff Sergeant Greeley snapped his head around when the first pistol shot was heard, a loud boom against the mostly quiet night followed a few seconds later by rifle fire and another boom. “Shit!” He muttered as he tried to raise second squad one more time.  They had failed to answer for the last two minutes and with the gunfight starting, he had no time to waste. Looking over at one of his command section, he singled out one member. “Jenks… take Kristof and go check on McVey’s squad. No one’s answering.”

 Jenks nodded. “On it Sarge,” he said and tapped Kristof on a shoulder. The two of them departed the location to move the sixty meters or so to where the other squad should be.

 Greeley shifted channels. “Tomchuk, report…”

 [Gotta be the pilot, just a pistol from the sound of things. Big one too…  Rudica caught one in the chest and Jackson is wounded…] The sound of third and fourth booming shot was heard. [Shit! Greeley, we really gotta not kill this guy? He just took down Beard….]

 “Orders, Tomchuk…  He is to be taken alive.  Wounded I imagine is fine though…” Greeley snapped. “I don’t care what condition he’s in- he just needs to be alive!”

 A fifth boom was heard. [Right… Alive it is.] came the reply.


  Cujo drew a speed loader out of a pouch.  He had two handy in an external pocket of his survival pack; the rest of his rounds for the big gun being in an internal to the pack pouch. His observation skills were sound, he noted, as the chaos of this situation was compounded by the smoke trails of gyrojet weapons that the other side was armed with.  Between the nighttime and the propellant smoke trails, visibility was going to shit.

 That he had seen one trying to sneak him on his left side had been lucky.  Cujo could hear her moaning some five meters away meant he had not killed her. Despite his opponent only just recently trying to maim him or simply force a surrender, he did feel a touch sorry. But only just… after all, were the situation reversed, he might have tried the same.

 Who am I kidding? He thought. This grunt shit is for the fuckin’ birds… Taking the time to dump the empties from his pistol, he caught the unfired round and tucked it between his teeth as he quickly used the speed loader. Closing the cylinder, he placed the loader and loose round in a pocket. So far, he was doing far better than he had a right to…. And a loaded pistol was going to go a long way towards maintain his health. Looking behind him, he saw no movement but there was no guarantee this was accurate as he returned his attention to the front.

 He’d give his left nut for night vision right now…


 Duncan and Bronwyn moved quickly through the forest towards where the pilot was surrounded.  The two of them at elected to move back and around where he figured the enemy troops were, based on where the pilot was on the plot.  Turned out to be a smart play as two troopers were seen in the dim night air heading for where the dead squad was.

  Swapping weapons for his shotgun, the old soldier looked back at his wife and saw two fingers upright extended as she advanced still.  She was going to deal with these two herself.  A bloody-minded woman she was… and he loved her for it.

 Bronwyn moved like a cat, an arrow nocked, and arms positioned for a snap-draw. I get one chance at this… She thought as she shifted behind a tree, the trooper getting close to point blank range as he traveled oblique to her.

 A shift as she drew back, acquired, and released within a heartbeat…. The arrow flying true at the first target’s throat even as she brought her draw hand down to the small submachine gun she carried.  It was in a tight-to-her-body extendable rig, much like a keyring would be attached to a lanyard, though a far stronger one than what keys would be on. As her had grasped the pistol grip of the weapon, she shifted to the other side of the tree she had initially stepped around. Bringing the weapon up from the hip, Bronwyn stroked the weapon’s trigger once then once again.

 The second trooper had been fast on the uptake… and got his rifle into play but a half second too late and aimed at where the woodswoman *had* been. He paid for his attempt with a burst of silenced rounds stitching up his chest into his face followed by a second set of impacts.

  As that trooper dropped, Duncan stepped forward into a rapid motion, covering ground between his position and that of where the two troopers had come from in a handful of seconds…


  Greeley sensed more than heard the strides of Death coming for him. “What the?” he said as he turned towards where his two troopers had gone and came face to face with a living shadow holding an auto shotgun…

 “FUCK!” came the expletive as the large barrel pointed at him.


 Cujo thought he was hearing things when three shotgun blasts were heard from the direction of his front and right.  A quick scan of the area in front of him revealed some movement of several figures, who were apparently repositioning.

 The hair on the back of his neck began to stand up and he quickly looked behind him.  And cursed as he set his pistol down after seeing two troopers with their rifles pointed at him.

 “Freeze fucker…” One said as he pointed his rifle at him. Raising his voice, the trooper called out. “GOT HIM! Tomchuk, I got-“He never finished as his face exploded in a violent explosion of gore when several bullets crashed into it.

 The other trooper spun to face the direction the rounds came from and Cujo took his chance. The pilot’s reaction speed was far better than the trooper’s was and this was borne out when the big pistol re-appeared in Cujo’s hand, speaking twice at short range.


 Sergeant Tomchuk hunkered down as a cloud of smoke appeared some ten feet from his position. The sound of a shotgun in this mess had taken him by surprise.  None of his men had one and the pilot had not used one so far… which told him there was another group out here.  There had been no reports of SAR in the area… at least Greeley hadn’t mentioned it.

 So, it was either a very lucky as shit local or some other force.  And one not worried about numbers… as they had started with twenty going after this pilot. “Damnit…” he hissed as two pistol booms were heard just after Carl’s shout was cut off. This was far past getting ridiculous…  Slinging his rifle, Tomchuk drew out his las-pistol.  If things were going to be close, the pistol was far better for that sort of work than his rifle.

  Bringing the pistol up, he scanned the ever-expanding smoke cloud on their flank.  That it was coming from where Greeley had been pretty much said his platoon sergeant was either dead or incapacitated.  And he was going to be damned if what got Greeley gets him.  “McGreevey, watch your flanks!” He called to the nearest man in his squad. “Jackson!?! Anything?”

 Jackson called from where he had gone to ground, attempting to cover where the pilot was and their rear.  He had watched Carl and Jodi sneak the pilot, heard Carl call out and then saw his squad mates get dropped- one without a sound and the other via that big fucking pistol of the pilot. “Naw, I got nothing! Ain’t nothin movin- wait!” Jackson paused in his scanning with his night vision and saw the shaowy figure holding a bow as it raised it up.  “There is some fucker out there with a goddamn bow!” He yelled as he triggered a burst in the shadow’s direction.

 The shadow seemed to anticipate the attempt to shoot it and ducked behind a pair of large trees… only to emerge on the other side, and arrow nocked and let loose…

 Jackson was almost too slow and the arrow rendered a furrow across the top of his helmet as he ducked. Coming back up to shoot, his target was nowhere to be seen. And that was when the big pistol spoke again.


 The one who had shot the trooper in the face was a woman clad in a kilt with a bow and submachine gun. Her cloak gave her the impression she glided across the terrain like it was no hinderance.  When she had got close to Cujo, she called to him.  “Lad, be ready tae shoot a fucker… I ken only do this trick once if I be lucky…”

  Cujo spun to face back to a position to look over his original line of advance and in the dim light, saw the weapon discharge at his rescuer.  Sighting his pistol in the area, he waited for a head to show itself again and was rewarded for his patience.



 Tomchuk heard Jackson and the subsequent shot from the pistol.  He flinched when he heard it and quickl looked in the general area of Jackson. Noting that he was not moving, Tomchuk let out a string of curses…. Only to hear an accented voice reply back.

 “Now tha’s nae very neighborly… Where be ye manners?”

 Spinning back towards the smoke cloud, a figure had appeared no less that five feet from him and moving quickly.  Bringing his pistol around he attempted to shoot the target when it closed the distance and pointed a shotgun at him.

 Tomchuk fired as did the figure before him.  Tomchuk missed, the figure didn’t.


 With the blast from the shotgun, what bravery remained for McGreevy broke.  Getting up with a scramble, the trooper ran back in the direction of their personnel carriers.  Tripping and staggering as fear lent speed to his departure.  Every step he took, McGreevy felt it would be his last…

 Some ten minutes later, he would reach the carriers and sob his story to the squad leader of the troops protecting the transports.  None of them wanted to go into the woods in the dark; it had been two full squads that entered and only one man returning.  Suicidal acts were not the list to things to do…. And going into the woods in the dark, even geared up, seemed counter-productive.  They would wait it out until dawn or wait for a lot of reinforcements.


 Cujo waited for an all clear from the woman.  This had been a scary fight and he knew his getting out of it was no small miracle.  He stood in his small defensive redoubt and waited for her to come to him.  As she did so, another figure approached, and he could see the shotgun in his hands. “Brazen” he called out and felt stupid for doing so. If these were not who was to get him, he was kinda fucked.

 “Aye… And may the All Father protect us,” Came the reply from a male voice- the one with the shotgun. “Cujo ye be?”

 Cujo smiled. “Yes I am,” he replied. “Thanks for all that… I thought I was a goner.”

 The woman, who arrived as he said this, snorted. “Bah,” she said. “This here is our land an’ naebody who knows us knows trespassin’ is a dangerous thing. Ye fuck aroond up here and ye find out right quick.” A smile.

 The man added. “At least at some point they do,” He reached down to the body of a trooper to pull its night vision goggles. “We were asked tae go an’ find ye… an’ get ye home.  Seems we found ye and a whole bunch more…”

 Cujo looked at the dead bodies then to the man. “That you did.  Name’s Mike.” He held out a hand.

 The man took it. “Duncan MacKenzie and that be my mate, Bronwyn,” He said. “There be time enough fer chattin’ later.  We need tae get movin’ back tae the cottage.” He looked at his wife. “I dinnae think we need to be stayin’ out here with all the Blakists about, aye? And when did ye get shot?”

 Bronwyn looked at her left arm and the blood that was now quite present. “Shite…” She replied. “I thought thae bugger missed… And aye… we need tae get thae bairns out of ‘ere.  No need for them tae be caught up.”

 Duncan reached down to a dead trooper and produced a medical bandage off of the dead soldiers web gear. “Lemme treat this….” He said to her then looked at Cujo. “Best grab some night vision and perhaps a rifle off one of them. Thaire be plenty around to choose from… We have about three kilometers to cover and while we have horses, it will still take time.”

 Cujo nodded. “Good idea…” He said then caught sight of the war hammer on Duncan’s hip. “Question… a war hammer?”

 Duncan smiled.  “Aye… to a man wi’ a hammer…”

 Bronwyn finished as she winced under her husband’s ministrations. “Ev’ryone… ow… and ev’rything is a potential nail.”

Cujo laughed as he reached down to grab a rifle. “I suppose so…” he said as he liberated ammo to go with the rifle. “Let me grab my bag and we can git. I don’t think we are going to be alone long.”

“Nae… I suspect the Blakists be looking for their wayward platoon before long,” Duncan said. “And we ken leave the bodies… thae animals will get rid of them b’fore long. Especially with the weather changin’…” The night had clouded up and flurries now were tumbling through the air that now threatened snow.

Within three minutes, the three of them headed out and back towards where the two Blood Spirit commandos had their horses.  It would be easily an hour back to the cottage where a call to Wayfarer would be made to come get Cujo and the MacKenzie family.

 As good as the two were, they would not risk their children in a fight if they didn’t have to. Esmerelda was old enough to remember the last invasion… and still had the occasional nightmare. But the other two… didn’t remember and the two parents wanted to keep it that way.

Legends and Myths Sixty One- The Storm: Cujo’s Rescue part one

North of Zathras
Two kilometers west of Mastiff Crash site
1801 hours 7 December 3080

 Staff Sergeant Amos Greeley looked ahead of the line of advance as he moved with two squads of infantry through the woods.  Some time ago, his platoon has been tasked with going after the downed pilot that had buzzed the landing site of his unit’s employer.  The Word of Blake had been very forthcoming, for that organization, as to expected resistance on Centarus IV. He had studied the orders of battle available to them prior to landing and was pretty sure this plan was going to work out.

 They had quite a few mercenary commands attached to this effort and all of them had been sold on the viability of this last offensive against a pseudo-mercenary command that had been a problem for both the Word and units like his own.  Mercenary life was a rough enterprise and sometimes, not all the Laws of War were followed by mercs. His own command, The Blood, was one of those who had been accused of such actions in their activities… and to be honest, he had not always agreed with the unit’s actions in places.  But they were professionals… and his commander, Colonel Joseph Peratu, was a firm believer in strength of arms could solve most issues faced.  Or at the very least a show of force.

 Greeley had done research on the planet they had landed on and the forces expected to be faced.  It was one combined arms brigade and maybe a battalion of independents.  Mind you, the stories and rumors of them being the mythical Wolverines of the Clans were somewhat believable, if you thought what was being bandied about was true.   And that was an if.  He was a veteran of many small wars and knew information can be circumspect as to origins of groups. Sometimes they were legit, othertimes, it was a bunch of well managed bullshit.  And he was dubious on the origins of these so-called descendants of the SLDF.

 He was also dubious about the overall reputation of their hosts, the Phoenix Lancers.  Much of what he was able to find on them painted the enemy as a very capable and perhaps lucky Mercenary Command.  He snorted at the thought of them being mercs.  More like a glorified house unit with delusions of grandeur he thought. That they had participated in the famous Operation Bulldog was fact, though something of a background player.  That they had tried to retake Terra with the Dragoons was also known… and their near destruction there should have made them fold.  That they still existed was due to this planet of theirs they held… and it was a place not locatable on any normal map of the Inner Sphere. Some really old ones… but nothing currently available in a bookstore.

  But the Word of Blake knew where they were…and when The Blood was activated for this operation, they were told this would be a combination of punitive and siege.  The Precentor in charge of this invasion had been actually upfront about the difficulty.  No where had it been mentioned they might have to face warships… but the Word had its own and had assured everyone that there was nothing available that could face their force.

 That assertion proved to be wrong the moment they arrived in system.

 While the Blakist fleet fought the surprise fleet in system, their jumpships performed a micro-jump and deployed onto the world.  And it was a near disaster when they did, even so. The defenders had deployed a massive aerospace force to try and stop them and as their drop ships burned for the planet, another defender warship showed up and proceeded to repel their aircover.

 Thankfully, it was a too late effort to stop the landings.  The prepositioned forces had kept the ground-based forces busy as the landings took place and it was clear the majority of the drops were successful. As far as he knew, all targets planned on were hit and that was a good thing for the invasion.  The problem arose for their part when Lancer Aerospace managed to perform a recon mission over their chosen site.

 Thankfully for The Blood, anti-air battlemechs had been deployed first and they managed to shoot down the lead fighter that had overflown their positions.  Not long after, orders went out to go collect him and to secure the wreck.  And it was reasonable orders… because unless the second craft had gotten good video, that first one had the most complete picture of their landing area.  Can’t have that getting to their hands…

  Within twenty minutes, his platoon was detailed to go find the pilot.  And the wreck.

 The wreck was found quickly enough… but it was clear the pilot had bailed.  ELINT had managed to pick up a broadcast in this area that had to be the pilot being looked for…and they rushed his two squads to the area in front of his expected escape route.  It was rapidly getting dark, but his men had night vision… and likely better equipment than any pilot would have.  After getting ahead of the believe position of the pilot, he deployed his men and they began to slowly backtrace in the direction of the crash.

  His earbud buzzed.  Tripping his throat-mic, he answered. “Greeley.”

 [Sarge, Tomchuk,] Came the soft voice of Sergeant Mickey Tomchuck, squad leader of the right flank squad. [Think I got something…  movement to my eleven o’clock.]

 “Make sure… remember, he’s wanted alive.”

 [I know…] came the answer. [Katie is checking now with her section.] Kate Beard was a hunter from Skye, and something of a natural woodsman. As far as Greeley was concerned, she was as good as he was and that was saying something.

 “Ok… we will hold here in the center.” Greeley turned to his command team.  “Ok, sharp eyes people.  One has something.”  Shifting his com to the channel for second squad he sent a ping.


The earbud buzzed quietly in the ear of the leader of Second Squad, but it went unanswered.  A pair of shadows moved among the eight bodies laying in various positions of death.  One of the shadows was reaching down and extracting, with surprising success, white feathered arrows from necks of some of the downed troops. The trailing five had died to arrows through necks and in one case, an eyesocket. The other three had been shot with pistol and in one case, the heavy swing of a war hammer to a head, helmetless after it deflected an arrow. That one had nearly sounded a warning to the last one who had been dropped with pistol fire.

  The second shadow, a silenced pistol and war hammer to hand, stalked over to the body with the light buzz sounding. Reaching down, he pulled the earpiece from the dead trooper and examined it.  With a shrug, the cloaked man pocketed the device and moved on, putting another round into a groaning victim, ending its last vestige of life.  He looked over at the other shadow and after a few hand gestures which were answered, the two moved forward with almost no sound betraying their presence.

  The man with the hammer lifted his arm and glanced at a device on his forearm.  A second later, he returned the cover of the device and moved on in the direction of the beacon for their quarry.

  Duncan smiled slightly.  The fieldcraft of these men had been good but not good enough.  He and his wife knew almost every inch of this area around their home and these guys didn’t.  That they didn’t expect to be hunted… really showed and had allowed the pair to close within almost five meters as they quickly dropped them one at a time and super-quietly.  That advantage was not going to last long when whoever was trying to contact the dead squad didn’t get an answer.

 They needed to get to the pilot fast.  By his estimate, things were going to get loud very soon…


 Cujo peeked from the cluster of large boulders and downed trees he had sheltered in.  Something had told him there was others out there in front of him and a bit of movement from the corner of his eye made him pause.  It had been slow going and he had a feeling he needed to assess his route before moving again. Remembering what he had been taught the last time he did an E and E, he never looked directly at an area he wanted to look at. 

  The human eye could be fooled at night and while it was not completely dark, it was dark enough to not completely trust what he directly looked at for anything over a dozen meters.  Good thing he remembered that as he might have missed the three figures in the distance.

 Lifting his pistol to a ready position from his cover, he panned his vision slowly across his field of vision.  Nothing… nothing…. THERE.  Armed figure about seven meters away.  With a careful breath, he brought the pistol up and after he was sure it was not a Lancer he was looking at, called out in a low voice, “Lawyers Guns and Money….”

  The target froze and snapped up its weapon, a ‘cone rifle that was NOT Lancer Issue.

 That answers that… Cujo thought and fired.

  The sound of the large caliber revolver echoed with a Boom in the night air, the heavy round striking the target cleanly in the chest.  The body armor of the target, resistant to most rifle calibers, was not good against the pilot’s pistol and failed to protect the trooper hit. As the target sprawled from the impact, Cujo ducked down as a second later, several shots rang out in his direction along with a shout or three.

 “You’re outnumbered! Give up!” was heard from a voice off to his front and right.

 “Bite me!” He yelled back as he saw a figure sprint towards a position to his left.  Snapping off a round at the target, he was pleased to see all the practice with his pistol did pay off as the shot clipped his target in an arm. His action earned a fusillade of shots all around him.

  He realized quickly they weren’t trying to kill him, and he really was that outnumbered.  Too bad for them he wasn’t doing the same to them.  He really hoped whoever was coming bail him out was close.  This standoff was not going to last long if they got around him.

Legends and Myths Sixty- The Storm: Rising wave crashes (part twelve)

Desert One Airstrip

 The Knights shifting of targeting priorities began to truly pay off.  At Khalid’s order, the three former Romanovs of the Knights really went gunning for the Catapult and its companion Jagermech. Traci had gotten her Tempest back on its feet the same time the Jagermech regained his… and she put him back down permanently- her weapons ripping the mech to ribbons and chunks as limbs were removed.

 Chase and Carlotta continued to harass the Catapult from its position, Carlotta’s Enforcer herding the machine away from the hill the enemy had been on. As it leapt away from its perch, it dropped right into the sights of Chase’s Warhammer and the Knight let him know about it. A mix of laser and particle cannon fire tore chunks of armor from the heavy support machine and the damage was beginning to show.

 Khalid had managed to weather the firestorm of infernos well enough even as he rebalanced his machine into standing.  The enemy Cyclops also managed to reorient itself but the damage was really being done.  As various Knights were able to, the enemy assault machine took a small beating from them. They were aided in this from one of the remaining Hunters, the Lancer support tanks being quite difficult for the lighter attackers to take out.

 The other Hunters also made life difficult for the lighter enemy machines, one of them dodging weapons fire from a pair of Stingers and the other being pursued by a Stinging Spider of the recently arrived Sword of Loki machines.  Neither would survive the attentions long but their refusal to die did pay off.

 Long range missile fire from the two light tanks laid into whomever they could target- one of them being the Victor who had been a right pain in the ass to the Knights.  Damage from him and from Sir Erec’s missile racks of his Longbow would see this assault machine start to back off.

  A Phoenix Hawk had moved up to support the Cyclops and threaten a backing off Khalid.  Brunor shifted his Trebuchet forward to take some of the pressure off of the Knight Captain and also deliver some pain to the attackers. A valiant effort it would be too…

 Sir Tristan, who had ventured forward to be a target, got his wish as several of the attackers targeted him…. And the enemy Battlemaster closed on his Albatross in an effort to use its close-range weapons to bring him down. Tristan welcomed the attention… and the boldness of the Battlemaster. His Albatross was ten tons heavier and while having less weapons for close range work, at least what he had hit a touch harder.

  The two machines wound up toe to toe, with some weapons fire assist from another Hunter of the remaining Lancer armor and the Battlemaster took the worst of it. Toppling over, the enemy assault machine landed hard and earned a stomp from Tristan’s machine, which nearly removed a leg.

 An enemy Grasshopper weaved his way from a Von Luckner it had been pounding and joined in the fighting against Tristan’s Albatross. In doing so, it was replaced by an enemy Raven, the EW machine being well armed and capable of dealing with the wounded tank.

 Back to the south of the battle, the enemy Catapult found itself in a triangle of pain. Carlotta and Chase had continued their pursuit of the machine with theirs and were joined by a repositioned Lady Morgana in her Executioner, the fast heavy having shifted away from the main battle.  The high tech machine had outstanding mobility for it’s size and the pilot knew how to get the most of it. 

 As the Catapult attempted to hurt Chase in his Warhammer, Morgana rained some Long-range missiles in its direction and between the three Knights, forced the heavy support machine off balance and on the ground.

 Elsewhere on the field, the duel between the Battlemaster and Albatross continued but not for much longer. Tristan had to give the enemy pilot credit- he was determined to stand up against him as the enemy levered his mech off the ground.

 The Exec must have been about to say something over the net as the comment of [You should have stayed down, buddy] was heard by everyone as the Knight hammered the mech yet again. This time. Tristan’s weapons fire ripped the assault machine’s leg clean off, causing it to crash to the ground once more.

Khalid, having managed to back off from the damned Cyclops, delivered a particle cannon strike to the Victor who had strayed into his sights. A glance to the tactical display confirmed what his sense of time said was about to happen…. And he tapped an open channel for broadcast.

“Enemy Forces…. You now have three choices facing you all…  You may Surrender and be treated fairly, you may Run as beaten and scared dogs to be hunted at leisure… or you may Stand and Die.” He said with a measure of menace in his voice. “The Choice is yours…”

 Behind him, Lucan had arrived on the scene, his Grasshopper leading the machines of Sister Margo in her Thug and Brother Benjaminin his Centurion. Lady Pellinore leapt her Spider to an overwatch position on the hill next to them.  All four machines were pristine, the white of his and Pellinore’s machines glistened in the daylight while the near-silver sheen on Benjamin and Margo’s mechs as untouched as their companions.  Their arrival added volumes to the level of implied violence that would come if the Shen Dragons chose to stay and fight.

 A full healthy lance of battlemechs was nothing any sane enemy wanted to deal with right now. And that would be with healthy machines themselves.  That none of theirs were…

  It became apparent quickly the broadcast was heard though no answer was made via transmissions. Three machines did make the surrender choices; The Catapult, surrounded by Chase, Carlotta and the (repositioned again) Executioner of Morgana, fired off a surrender flare even as it powered down.  Same with the Battlemaster, though its flare tumbled across the desert by a landing strip.

 In the distance, a Jenner, having been dropped by a still-defiant Von Luckner’s LRM fire a short time ago, also fired a flare off.  That machine had taken actuator damage to a leg, and it had caused a hip to lock up which hindered the machine getting up.  Armor damage showed on the machine where it had tried.

 The rest of the enemy machines though, chose to run as best they could.  The Cyclops backed away as fast as it could as did the Grasshopper, though not before it got a last lick shot on Brunor’s Trebuchet which killed the machine through a wrecking of an engine. The enemy Phoenix Hawk used its jump jets to fall back, trusting in the now reactivated stealth system to help it get away. Both the heavier machines backing off also activated theirs.

 Both the Victor and a Blackjack scooted (if a mech could scoot) backwards on their jump jets, using their maneuverability to reposition for a dedicated retreat. The Raven, already a quick machine, used its speed to get more distance from the battle. All three of these machines also had Stealth systems and activated them as they retreated.

 A Swords of Loki Griffin who had been providing support to the Shen machines, used its speed to back off and get away.  It was the second time it had to retreat from a battle today… and the pilot was getting used to it.

 Khalid snorted to himself as he watched everything play out. “Knights… send the retreating on their way…” He called out.  “Secure the surrendered….”  Moving his machine forward, he too sent a particle cannon shot at one of the stealth armor machines.  Missing as he expected, the Knight assessed the damage his forces had taken.

  With the exception of Brunor’s mech, no one was critical which was a positive.  Noting the scorching his own machine had taken, he lamented that perhaps the Romanov color scheme might not be a better choice for their machines. If infernos were the new standard, Romanov schema was easier to clean. He was quite happy with their performance though; not bad for not having been in a real fight in almost four years.

As he watched some of the Lancer infantry come out of bunkers to assist the Knights with securing downed pilots, a comms request came in. Noting the source, he tapped the panel. “Knight Captain bin Zalas…” he answered

[Knight Captain, Colonel Warrington of the Lancers…] Came the reply. [I want to thank you for your help.  We were not sure if anyone heard us.]

 “Understood and not a problem, Colonel.” Khlaid replied. “I happened to have been monitoring local channels when your request was heard. Have your communications been restored well enough to get news of elsewhere or make requests for support? You have us until relieved…”

 Warrington had an answer, and the answer was not a overly positive one. [We’ve managed to get a satellite link back up to Forbes Center; the fighting there is still going on over in Landing though the port battle seems to have come to a head. Forbes is working on getting some assets sent out here to assist once they have locked down exactly where they can grab them.] A pause. [I can patch you into our feed if your Black Knight’s command suite is operational.  The picture is crap… but we’ve had a lot worse.]

  The Knight looked over the command computer panels and noted the settings needed for the patch. “Colonel, I will gladly take the data feed.  Not that we can affect much globally… but locally, you have my Company to assist.  Have we information on the billeting areas or other places on Ashton?”

 [We do… in short, The Reign is on our side- they stopped elements of the Swords of Loki from wrecking the billets or the hangars. They took some punishment but I expect they will be fully operational by tonight or the morning.  Crossroads is doing alright- the Airfield there has a far more robust defensive belt than this outpost strip. They also have a full infantry battalion.]

 “Were they assaulted?”

 [No… but their radar showed a landing up in the mountains…  and I’m certain the Dusal will have something to say about it….}

 “Indeed.” Khalid tapped the button for the data feed. He had heard of the Dusal in passing and was rather impressed with a bunch of Clansmen devoting themselves to both free enterprise and to serving former captors freely.  Creative and peculiar bunch they were… but so were the Lancers. “I will study the information, Colonel. In the meantime, the Knights are your protectors until more assistance arrives.  Those machines that got away are not likely to stay away.”

 [No they ain’t,] Warrington agreed. [They are going to have to be hunted down… and I suspect I know where they went. Or are going, at least.  When I get a chance, I’ll make sure you get briefed.]

 “I appreciate that, Colonel. Unless you get some of your own mechs from the rest of the Command, it would appear we and the Reign are what you have… at least locally- I should think Landing will be back on line by then.”

[Don’t I know it,] He replied. [I figure I will have a better answer within the hour.  Warrington out.]

 Khalid pinged Tristan after ending the call with Warrington then looped in Lucan so his third lance commander was involved.  When both men responded to the call, he spoke. “Gentlemen… it would seem we Knights are the local Defense force for the time being…  Colonel Warrington of the Lancers has me patched into their data feeds and the picture is unpleasant but manageable. Ravyn’s Reign won out over in the billeting area; unsure how badly damaged they are but their opponents came out worse.”

 [Good on them,] Lucan said.

 [I agree, at least that is good news,] Tristan added. [What of elsewhere?]

 “I do not have a complete picture but it appears, locally, that Ashton is contested in areas.  The City of Crossroads is secure but there is activity in the Dusal mountains.  Over on Cromwell, there is fighting in some of the cities and at their main compound. Warrington is working on finding out though; he wants more forces here before attempting any counter strikes.”

 [And where or when does he plan on that happening?] Lucan asked

 “Unknown… but it will happen sooner rather than later I think,” Khalid opined. “The fleet battle is a Wolverine victory; there should be little left in the way of more landings.”

[Not like what is here isn’t enough…]

“I agree, Lucan. However, we both know things can shift and change. For now, we concentrate on securing the area and possibly setting up a secure means of transit between here and the billets.” Khalid stated. “I’ll work with the colonel to figure out how that is to be done.”

 Murmurs of agreement greeted the statement. “Now then… I should be meeting up with Warrington to get a better picture within the hour. When I do, I will pass it along. In the meantime, I have some data to sift through. For now, everyone fan out and keep a sharp eye; I have my doubts that the shooting is done.”

[Agreed] Lucan said.

[Same…] Tristan added. [it would not do to get caught being ignorant of what is out there… I suggest we have Morgana and Pellinore perform some reconnaissance in the direction the Dragons departed.  Anything coming will be from that direction.]

“Good idea. Get them moving and get everyone else into coverage points. We are going to be on our own for a bit.”

Legends and Myths Fifty Nine- The Storm: Wave Crashing (Part Eleven)

Near Desert One Airstrip
Area Amalisar Training Grounds, Ashton
1355hrs 7 December 3080

 As the Knights got closer to the strip, a private comm channel pinged within Khalid’s cockpit.  Noting who it was from, the Knight Captain answered it. “Yes Lucan?”

 [Got an idea- Tristan is looped in on this too as I suggested it to him.] Lucan began, his voice confident. 

“What’s your idea?” He asked. If he went to Tristan first, it had to be either a good but questionable idea or a change to normal doctrine for them- and likely good. Just not usual.

 [I think we need to leave behind a rear guard…] Lucan said. [While I have grown to trust the Lancers, I do not trust what’s going on.  Especially with Word of Blake possibly being involved in all of this.]

 Tristan spoke up in the link. [Khalid, I see merit in it.  We are not operating as part of an army, we are not fighting Clanners and we do not have a full picture of the situation… One lance should be kept as reserve in case this is a trap.]

 Khalid mulled over their words the closer they got to the airstrip. “Agreed… Lucan, your idea, your lance in Reserve….” He ordered. “Your thoughts echo some of my own and I expect you to be vigilant. If this is a trap, I expect you to break it and bail us out.” A pause and he added lightheartedly, “I know you’ll never let me forget you had to rescue me… so don’t be late if you have to.”

 A low chuckle. [Knight Captain, being late is something I will never willingly be.  And may the Gods help anyone who gets in my way,] He said. [I rather like this Grasshopper and while I want to teach a Blakist a deadly lesson, I can wait for opportunity.  After all, it was my idea… We will be there when you need us. And Khalid,] he paused. [Make the bastards hurt.]

 The Knight Captain smiled slightly. “Lucan, this need not be said; be assured we will… Remember, sharp eyes and quick wit.  Tristan,” he said as he noted their position, “Thirty seconds… line abreast.”

[Thirty seconds… Line abreast.] The Exec parroted.

Desert One Airstrip Command Center

 The Phoenix Lancer forces had scrambled to their vehicles when the attackers showed up on the perimeter and blew the communications tower.  The structure’s resiliency allowed some transmissions to be made calling for help but there was no sure way of knowing if any was coming.  Attacks all over the planet were occupying higher command’s attention as well as the fleet battle out on the fringes of the system.

  News of the fighting in the Billeting area was only an additional worry for the Cadre stationed out here.  Colonel Warrington noted the designs of the incoming mechs and listened to the reports of sensor difficulty in getting solid reads on them. “Gotta be stealth armor,” he mused. “That’s going to complicate things…”

 Not that it wasn’t complicated already.  Since the activity of a year ago, there had been many a shuffling of assets around the world.  The airstrip’s former Armor Bn complement had been reduced to the half company he had now (a pair of Von Luckner and a platoon of Hunters), with the expected grav-tank reinforcement due beginning of January. Back of his mind, he knew shifting out the Tokugawa and Striker platoons before their replacements arrived had been an error. And if he had needed a stark reminder of such, he had it now.

 Turning to his coms officer, he ordered. “Joe, keep trying to raise someone. Local band or SatCom feed.”

 The communications officer, Lieutenant Joe Zapp, answered him. “I am, Jim… only thing left to try is damn smoke signals. SatCom main antenna was co-located with the Primary; I have someone getting the secondary dish reset on the roof along with a man-pack. Figure five minutes…”

 “Not sure we will have five minutes…” Warrington replied as he looked at the master plot screens. Noting the enemy mechs closing, he saw a group of icons closing in on the left flank. “Jenkins… who are those?”

 Jenkins quickly zeroed in on the inbound blips. “IFF says they are those Marik mech jockeys, the Knights.” He said just as Zapp called out.

 “Got a signal….” He said as he put it through the main speakers.

[BEAU SEANT!!] Came the words that Zapp had heard a second time. [KNIGHTS! LET US TEACH THEM SOME WAR!!]

 Warrington looked back at the plot again.  The Knights dove into the flank of the attacking troops much like a lance, eight machines closing in. Four machines hung back, and looked to shift off to a guard position against the Knights being flanked.  Smart thinking… but right now, he needed to get news of this out to Command… providing the backup SatCom dish worked as it was supposed to.

 The desert winds had messed with the thing which is why Zapp had someone up there to fix it. Shit happened, he knew… but now really was a bad time to find out it had happened.

 While all this was going on, he could only shake his head.  He was supposed to have been gone from here yesterday, in order to be back in Landing for Pre-Holiday Leave starting on the 10th. But with everything in mid-shift, staying here for an extra day seemed a good idea.  Silly him…

 “Joe, see if our transmitter can send to them. If so, let them know we are trying to raise Landing. Alsoi make sure the others know not to shoot at them….”


 Outside, the battle really started to get hectic.  The Knights came surging in, the eight machines of the lead two lances of the active company, targeted the enemy machines as they cleared the borders of the strip.  Khalid kept a sharp eye on the tactical display as he maneuvered to an overwatch position.  Panning his sight reticule over various targets in the distance, he noted some interference with the targeting systems. “Tristan…” He called over the Command channel. “Are you getting interference targeting some of these machines?”

 [I am,] His exec replied. [I believe they are using some sort of stealth system.  It wasn’t in wide use last I knew… but that was before the Jihad. Something like… twelve years ago?]

“A lot has changed, my friend…” Khalid replied as he missed with his clan-spec particle cannon. “We need to close on them hard and fast…” Shifting to a force-wide channel, he ordered a change in strategy. “Knights! Close in to engage them; the enemy has a means of degrading targeting solutions… ”

 [Knight Captain… not all appear to have those systems!] Sister Traci called out as she snapped a gauss shot from her Tempest at an enemy Whitworth.  The slug neatly removed the medium machine’s head like it wasn’t there. [Some don’t have those signatures, like that guy…]

 A grim smile as Khalid replied. “Noted, Sister.  Everyone, pick your shots… and someone get rid of that Catapult.”

 The rest of the Knights shifted their priority targets, quickly identifying threats with and without stealth systems active… and they made the most of it.  Unfortunately, in doing so, the enemy also managed to figure out who was leading the Knight’s charge.

 An enemy Cyclops closed in on the Knight Captain at its top speed and opened up on him.  Khalid, having stopped his machine dead to steady his aim, noted the dropping of the stealth system on the enemy Assault mech as it opened up on his machine.

 A wave of energy weapons and short-range missiles slammed into him; a wall of flame erupted from the missile strikes. As his heat exchangers and sinks worked hard to compensate, the Knight tripped the short-range weapon package of his machine even as a warning light for his engine lit up, showing damage.

 Elsewhere, Morgana in her Exterminator ran out and managed to get behind an enemy Victor. As some missiles from a defending Lancer Hunter peppered the enemy, Morgana’s lasers and weapon fire from Tristan’s Albatross added to the misery of the assault mech.  The machine toppled from the damage- not dead but decidedly in some trouble.

  Sir Brunor in his Trebuchet lit into the Cyclops just as a volley of missiles arced in from Sir Erec in his Longbow. Combined, their strikes along with Khalid’s attack forced their target to the ground- the command machine of the enemy force toppling from the damage.  It too wasn’t dead but it damn sure wasn’t healthy.

 Sister Traci turned her guns next on an enemy Jagermech as Brother Chase leveled his twin particle cannons of his Warhammer at the Catapult. Carlotta maneuvered her Enforcer to flank the heavy support machine and their fire forced the mech pilot to question his perch even as its missiles targeted Traci. Between it and the savaged Jagermech, they forced Traci to lose her machine’s balance and fall over.  Thankfully, she, like Khalid, avoided hurting herself.

 Lancer Armor was helping as it could, the two Von Luckner’s still in the fight but neither was moving. Between motive system hits and the stunning of crews, the two powerful tanks were neutered but not completely.  The three remaining Hunters were using their speed to be difficult to hit even as they tried to bring the attackers under missile fire.

 At this point, four machines came in on the north side of the airstrip from the direction of the Billeting area.  And none of them were Lancer machines.

 Khalid noted this as he levered his machine off the ground.  Alqarf he cursed as he saw the IFF of the incoming machines.  A confident man, he knew his force could handle what was here with the assistance of the remaining Lancer armor.  But with the arrival of a lance of lighter machines, the odds had changed some. Tapping the com-panel to a specific channel, he spoke. “Lucan, Khalid”

After a second. [In trouble already?] Came the concerned and yet amused response.

“Parameters seemed to have changed slightly,” Khalid replied. “Four light to medium party crashers… IFF of the Swords”

[We will start your way…] Lucan replied. [Not sure it bodes well for the Reign; but if vengeance is needed…]


Updates on the Storm arc

Hi there!

First off, I want to thank everyone who has come to this here Blogsite and read my stories. It is greatly appreciated and I hope everyone has found something to enjoy here.

I apologize for the long delay between posts. In trying to get this entire story arc to gel and play out, there was a decent bit of logistical planning involved. Some of it, I expected. Some of it, I didn’t… and still yet, a few things that I should have written down better than a few notes.

Lessons learned, eh?

AS the arc has progressed via writings and battles, it was determined there is to be several phases to the arc. Phase One (The Rising Wave) we are just about done with as all but one major battle has been played in the initial waves. That last battle, the Knights of the Inner Sphere versus the Shen Dragons is being played this week and should be complete by Thursday Night (*should* being the operative term here) as I have time in the evening after work. Depending on how the battle goes, it should be good for two to three chapters.

Phase two (Center of the Storm) will center on counter attacks locally and any pursuit of escapees by available Lancer forces. The Rescue of Cujo by the two retired Blood Spirits is technically part of that…. and will be a fun write up. My wife has been a big part of the personification of Bronwyn so the snark you read coming from that character is quite RL influenced. (the missus is having a bit of fun with it too. 🙂 )

I hope to have appropriate titles to chapters as I go along… this is, after all, a fun side project telling the stories and adventures of a military force in a sci-fi universe. Trinity’s journey to the south will also be part of this… and a return of Argyle should also be somewhere in here.

Phase Three will likely center on a push to encircle the WoB primary LZ and put them down. That overall battle… is likely to be done over a series of games, much like the Barbados chapters were done. For this one, the sheer amount of assets to be used is daunting, with even a Dropship possibly being part of a defense.

In the thirty four-ish years I’ve played battletech, I have never played a game where a Drop Ship was part of the defenders or attackers. Talked about it, sure… but I don’t recall actually having one be an active part in a battle. Going to be a fun learning curve….

And it also likely won’t happen until next year. A lot of stuff between now and then… with a convention thrown in that I work a vendor booth at.

As always, TO&E for the sides in ANY battle are available if you want to play a fight out at home. Most maps are from the Grasslands set or the side B’s of the neoprene CGL maps (Alpine and Badlands). Side B of the Vendor Game Mat (tundra) has also been used, as have some of the Tukayyid ones.

Good maps… and I await the release of more from Catalyst (especially that gorgeous city map they were using LAST Christmas in a game posted about on their FB site)

Legends and Myths Fifty Eight- The Storm: Wave Crashing (Part ten)

Area Amalisar
1335 hours (1535 Landing time) 7 December 3080

The handful of staff from the Barracks area provided by the Lancers escorted the pilots from the downed Swords of Loki machines as the remaining Reign battlemechs pulled area security. The fight had been brutal and sharp, with the turning point being the dropping of the two Hinto Koto Jenner II machines.

 The Reign had used the elimination of the two light machines to power their offensive at the enemy mercenary platforms… and to good effect. Cato and Nicolas harassed the Awesome even as Matias Delgato in his Salamander rained long range missiles at him. Between the three of them and an opportunistic gauss slug from Moose’s Wardog, the big assault machine eventually fell.

 Ravyn survived the trap the enemy Commando and Stinger attempted to spring, scooting away and letting her lasers do some talking.  An enemy Grasshopper, fresh from harassing Matias, tried for her and ran afoul of Sanchez Marin in his Stalker, who scored some impressive hits on the enemy machine.  Didn’t stop him though but it did make him think twice about sticking around.

 Natasha, fresh from helping to bring down the Jenner II’s, raced across the pavement of the hangar area and laid into the Grasshopper as it tried to get away.  Others converged on the area as Ravyn shifted away from her attempted would-be assassin, her own weapons speaking in her defense.

 On the far side of the field, a Griffin, who had been supporting the efforts of the engaged Swords,took off for the wilds of the area when the Catapult ate dirt. Others among his cohort, the Stinging Spider and a Fenris Stinger, also headed for the badlands when it became very apparent this battle was lost.  They would serve a purpose as a raiding party, harassing outposts and other facilities out here in the desert… or they would join up with the Shen Dragons, provided they were successful in their assault of the airbase.

 The rest of the Swords were attempting to assault the company facility located near the desert strip about the same time as this battle and the troops here didn’t know those results yet… With any luck, that assault would be successful, and damages taken could be fixed. Otherwise, it was a raiders life for them too.

 The fighting at the main Lancer Compound on Cromwell was just about over at this point as well, and the assessment of what was won or lost would be made.  The answers would not be happy ones.

Knox mountains north of Zathras
1602 hours Landing Time, 7 December 3080

Cujo hobbled over to the back of a rock and pulled his emergency commgear out of the recovered gear bag of his cockpit, lamenting the drill he had half paid attention to two weeks prior. “Proof positive you don’t know everything, dumbass…” he scolded himself as activated the small comset. “Hope you fucking remember how this thing works… And you should have looked twice.”


  He had led his flight as directed over the area they were told the Word was landing some drop ships in.  They were only supposed to get an eyeball of the area only and not engage.  As much as that order had grated at his sense of duty and anger at everything the Word was doing, the veteran pilot would do as told.  He didn’t have the full picture of what was going on and this overflight would go a long way to helping operations get a better idea.  He knew it as did Captain Doc Holiday.  Both of them had a good idea that things were not going well everywhere… and the more info acquired, the better a response could be sent.

 The entire flight had closed on the requested area to be looked over and he had discussed with Doc on who should do the initial checking.  She knew only one of their number could do the honor while the others flew top cover. Cujo was initially cool with the idea.  He and She were the better pilots up here and if their recon passes got jumped, she with her wingman were best defense.  Himself and the very surprising rookie Axe Ibanez could play defense if they got top duty, though Axe’s plane was not at its best.

 Her bird had taken some engine damage in the scrum above but her return to base was delayed by herself and this frag op order.  After a hefty discussion about it followed by both Cujo and Doc looking over her engine area, it was determined that she should be alright to go. IF they got jumped by more than the four of them, she was to burn for Brookstone.  No ifs ands or buts.

  One of the things discussed was distraction duty so the recon plane could get good pictures and sensor data.  A careful short discussion later, it was decided that Doc and Ticket would fly cover; their planes were the healthiest.  Axe could overflight the area fine enough- the sensor packs on their craft were pretty good and all she’d be doing was taking pictures.  That left distraction to him.

 He was confident he would pull it off… and as long as they didn’t have a Rifleman out on Anti Air duty, he’d be fine.  Damn things were wicked effective against air and his personal nemesis.  Five times in his career he’d delt with facing one on Anti Air duty when he did recon flights as either photo bird or distraction…. And only once did he come out unscathed.  Twice he had to bail and twice he made it home with a sick bird…. With everything that was going on this day, he had a feeling he wasn’t escaping with no damage… He just knew.

  And that feeling had been on the money.

 Cujo streaked in, being bold as brass, daring anything in the area to shoot at him.  And things did.  A handful of mechs had been already out on the ground by the grounded dropships.  Evading their fire, he grinned like a damn fool as he wiggled his way through the incoming fire…. Only to come across his nemesis on the western side of the zone.

  The damn battlemech didn’t miss, either. An obvious refit of a classic war machine, this Rifleman had opened up on him with Cluster munitions from a LB class cannon backed by the bright blue power of light particle cannon.  Much to his chagrin, very little missed.

 As the cluster munitions slammed into his plane, various warning lights lit up from damage dealt.  As he warned off Axe, she already had committed to the flight… and she wisely banked hard right after her pass, allowing her to avoid his fate at the hands of the heavy air defense battlemech.

 Which was a good thing, as Cujo realized there was no getting back to an airbase this time. After notifying Doc his intent to bail, he made sure the sensor for the gear locker was green then triggered the cockpit separation process, ejecting his entire pod out and away from the bulk of his dying bird.

 As his pod drifted down on multiple chutes, he glanced out the cockpit glass and noted the rough ground awaiting his landing.  With a sigh, he tightened his seatbelts before landing.  His pod was going to tumble… and the less he moved, the better.


Cujo checked the comset one more time then clicked on the transmitter. “Any Station this net- MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY,” he transmitted. “Any station this net- MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY…  Mastiff Lead on ground approximately one-five-three kilometers north-northeast of Zathras. Condition nominal.  I repeat, Mastiff Lead on ground approximately one-five-three kilometers north-northeast of Zathras.” Letting go of the transmit button, he listened for a reply.

 After about thirty seconds, he tried again with the same message.  Halfway through the wait period, a reply was had.

 [Mastiff Lead, Wayfarer One] came the answer.  [We copy on the ground one five three north northeast of Zathras.]

“Wayfarer, Mastiff Lead, confirmed one five three north northeast.” He sent. He knew the pilots of Wayfarer flight.  All of them were some excellent Search and rescue pilots. Given what shot him down, he hoped they could nap of earth it to him as even good pilots had issues with Rifleman mechs.  His getting shot down proved that…

 [Mastiff, Wayfarer One- approximate position noted and will attempt to get SAR to you soonest.  Request relocation if able one-two kilometers west of your position. Area you are in considered hot without suppression assets.]

 Cujo stared at his commset for a few seconds then sighed.  They were a bit right on that- this was not exactly the best area to be in if you were a fragile VTOL… and rarely do Combat SAR ops go textbook.  Really, the SOP should be re-written to reflect that. “I copy, one-two kilometer relocation west.”

[Mastiff, Wayfarer; good copy. Be advised, Forbes Center advises possible friendly and hostile ground assets near you location. Friendly Asset call sign Brazen if encountered.]

  A grimace. Great… it’s a damn race. “Wayfarer, message received. Relocation shortly. Will check in three hours from now.” He said as he glanced at his watch and then the sky.  It was going to be dark by then…

[Mastiff, Wayfarer; Forbes Center informed and will be listening zero three hours from now. Conserve battery and we’ll be waiting.]

“Wayfarer, Mastiff; moving out.  Catch you in three.” He said then shut off the radio.  Setting it back in his pack, he pulled out his magnum revolver and checked its load.  After confirming its condition, he replaced it in his holster, shouldered his pack and headed west.  It was a good thing his flight suit was insulated, and the emergency pack had an excellent emergency blanket. Hiking broken ground was not high on his list of activities, especially in the dark.  But with hostile assholes in the area, staying in one spot was not well ranked on the To-Do list. Matter of fact, it wasn’t even in the top hundred options.

 He hoped whomever Forbes Center had out here could deal with what might be looking for him.  He had thirty rounds for his big revolver, and he knew that was no where near enough for a firefight. With any luck, he’d not have to fire a damn round. Other pilots carried high-capacity pistols or hold out lasers. Much like a bunch of the others among the Lancer commanders, he too favored something classic for a sidearm. Granted, a revolver was as classic as it got for an effective sidearm on a pilot but if he had to shoot someone, they likely were not getting up from it.

 And if they did, he’d shoot him a second time.  Even Clan elementals had enough sense to back off when shot twice from this type of pistol or Krog Dusal had said. Krog also said if the elemental got up from being shot twice, it was likely a Fire Mandril, and he would need to shoot him several times. According to the leader of the Dusal, all Fire Mandrils were too stupid stubborn to realize they needed to back off or reassess a situation.

 Considering there was rumor which said that particular clan was no more, Krog’s assessment made lots of sense as to why that was.

Knox Mountains
Five kilometers west of Mastiff Lead crash site
1615 Hours Landing Time

 The older man in the black-and-red kilt, a black beret on his head, walked to the stables by a fast-moving creek. Slung over his shoulder was a shotgun, a pistol was on his hip and a Warhammer in one hand, In his other hand was a saddlebag pack with a bedroll attached and a cloak rolled up on it.  As he was about to enter the structure, a woman’s voice called out. “Duncan MacKenzie, where d’ye think ye be going?”

 The man turned and looked back at the multi-room cottage that had been behind him to see a red-haired woman in the doorway to the hut also clad in a kilt, arms folded. “Goin’ out tae find a downed pilot,” he replied. “That was thae call that rang earlier…”

 “Oh, are ye now?” She replied. “Out tae go be a hero and wi’out me?”

 “Lass… it’s a simple find and return.”

 “With Blakists aboot?” She shot back. “Ye know how I feel aboot them. An’ a find an’ return isnae ever simple.”

 “Aye…” Duncan replied, knowing where this was about to go. “I know it isn’t but I dinnae want ye to get all worked up about killin’ some wee cultists and over doin’ it, Ye sciatica and all…”

 A snort. “Duncan James MacKenzie, there be Blakists out there and ye goin’ after someone who might be surrounded without me? And hurt besides…’ She replied. “Tae hell with my sciatica… I heard the news same’s as you… and I’ve eyes too. I saw the space battles up above us and know this is serious.”

A low chuckle. “Bronwyn… It will be some fast movin’ and its tae be a chilly night. I dinnae want ye hopes up too much if ye couldnae do it.” Duncan commented, genuine concern in his voice. “I know you will manage but thae toll…”

 “Gladly paid if we get thae pilot out and a few cultists get sent to wherever…” Bronwyn said in a clipped fashion then her voice softened. “And I’m nae different than you… The job will be done, damn thae cost.  These cold nights play hell w’ye too.”

The old highlander closed his eyes and sighed. His wife was very right in her assessment. This was not to be simple, and the cold would play hell with him.  And her too, but he moved better than her when the Body Ache started.  Still, he knew she was as determined as him about getting a mission done.  And a second person for this was probably smart. Especially if the pilot was hurt. “Alright…” He said after a few seconds of contemplation. “Hurry up then- we have tae get a move on before it gets too dark. I should think the bairns ken take care of themselves.”  The ‘bairns’ were their three children, the youngest of which was 10 and the oldest, 16.

 Bronwyn’s smile was a touch evil; she really did have a hate for the Word of Blake. “Five minutes… and aye, Esmerelda will make certain no shenanigans. I’ll tell her to get out the good guns, just in case.” A pause. “Saddle up Mollie for me; I figure ye be taking Buddy and Willy then, aye?”

 The horses mentioned were older mounts and very well trained. Mollie was her horse and Bronwyn could control her in her sleep if she needed to. Buddy was his and as stable of a mount as any, especially in rough terrain. Willy… was just unflappable and would be the one to carry the pilot.

 “Aye, ‘tis the plan…”

 “Smart.  Five minutes…” She turned and disappeared inside the cottage.

 Duncan shook his head as he entered the stables.  His wife and her hate for the Word rivaled young Argyle’s; it probably wasn’t healthy but if you were Word of Blake near her, *she* wasn’t healthy for you. Almost four minutes later, as he was finishing up saddling Mollie, Bronwyn came in at a brisk pace carrying her travel ruck and her compound bow. A quiver full of her white-feather fletched arrows within.  Those could puncture body armor like it wasn’t there….

 “’Tis business ye mean, aye?” He asked. “Ye have a backup?”

 As she set her gear down, her cloak shifted to reveal the small silenced submachine gun she used to favor when she was an Active Blood Spirit. “Oh aye… Bess be looking tae get some use somewhere other than a range…”

 Duncan laughed as he started to saddle Willy. “Well ok then…” he said. “Get ye gear set and we’ll be off in a few. Sun will be down in a bit and while light enough, it willnae be that fast of goin as I’d like. I’ve the pilot’s beacon frequency in me wrist comp but we have to be within a kilometer tae be sure of him.”

 She nodded as she set up her gear upon the saddle and tossed a second blanket to him to put on Willy. Couldn’t hurt to have it if it got *that* cold.  Both knew the ground well around this part of the mountains and there were numerous places to bed down out of sight.  And if this went the way they thought, they would have to.

 Not long after she joined him in the stables, the pair departed with the third mount being led. In the doorway of the cottage stood the aforementioned Esmerelda, a hunting rifle in hand as she watched them go.

Legends and Myths Fifty Seven- The Storm: Rising Wave part nine

Area Amalisar

1321 hours (1521 Landing Time), 7 December 3080

 The battle at Amalisar had been going for a good fifteen minutes and the fierce fighting between the Swords of Loki and the Reign had not abated by any means.

  As the incident here began, the Swords had expected no real resistance as they thought that their most likely opponent, the former Knights of the Inner Sphere detachment, was nowhere in any position to stop them. They also thought the Reign was still in barracks.  While they were right on the former, the latter was very wrong.

  Ravyn’s Reign had been ready for nonsense and when the Swords began their efforts, they acted almost as one.  As the Canopian mercenaries exited their hangars, the Reign began to target the Swords as machines entered sights.  A sharp exchange of fire was had, with the battle ranges being only a few hundred meters between their respective hangar complexes.  Accuracy was average for both sides and improved as they closed.

 And closed they did.  Ravyn had ordered no quarter for the Swords… and her people responded. With dogged determination, everyone within the Reign stayed on target and hounded their foes.  Moose McGee in his Wardog, had weathered a massive amount of fire from a Swords Awesome and a Catapult while returning a bit of love in return.

 The Cestus among her forces, piloted by Selina Cato, supported by Sam Nicolas in his Wolverine, ran pell-mell at the Awesome. Nicolas, a former Taurian Marine, was a talented Mech pilot who had come to the Reign with Cato some four years ago; she was a Cat Girl running from what she said was a bad situation and her Father, John Daniels (who had founded the Reign) had taken her in no questions asked. Nicolas had been with her, helping to get her out and Ravyn’s father took him in too.

  And in the maneuvering on  the field, both of them acted to occupy the big assault machine before it found a means to shoot at Ravyn.

 Lurch, in his Zeus, suffered extensive damage from a pass-through round to his machine’s chest which damaged a gyro.  It didn’t keep him down long as he managed to stand his assault machine up in time to unload a blast from his energy weapons at a Swords Stinger. The light battlemech had come up to try and kick him in the head, getting there a few seconds too late to try and instead got shot up for his error.

 Ravyn, coaching/leading from a flank, moved into a position to avoid the Awesome and came face to face with a pair of Swords Mechs.  A Commando and a Stinger had taken the long way around and she found herself face to face with the two enemy machines.  Her companion machine, an old CMD-2D Commando piloted by Esmerelda Beckwith, quickly redirected her planned path and attempted to take the heat from her. This was marginally successful, as the short-range missiles fired by Beckwith shredded some armor from the target Stinger.

 Ravyn had bigger fish to fry.  While the enemy Commando was not a big threat, size wise, it was in terms of firepower.  The light battlemech was capable of delivering punishment of larger platform, with its payload of short-range missiles… and it did so as it came around a hill.  As missiles slammed into her Wolfhound, she triggered a full energy salvo back at the enemy light mech and was rewarded for the excess heat in her cockpit as the Commando practically glowed from engine damage.

 Up on the northern side of the battle, the Ostroc of Natasha Romanova and Liz’s Hatchetman were busy fighting a pair of Hinto Koto Jenner IIc knockoffs; deadly machines with their twin streak-six launchers but in an ECM environment, slightly nerfed.  They still did some harm though… As the two machines attempted to chase down Singh Tomagachi’s Kk model Phoenix Hawk, Tasha and Liz went after them, trusting in their respective abilities to shoot skeet with targeting the smaller machines. A bit different with battlemech scale weapons though the concept wasn’t far off.

And it paid off too, with the Reign warriors clipping the enemy light mechs like they were pheasants in front of a shotgun.  And with that, the direction of the battle changed from anyone’s game to the start of a rout.

Merck Landing Field
Merck Province, Johnson
1116 hours (1516 Landing time), 7 December 3080

 Not all battles were one sided or truly contested affairs.  The small continent of Johnson, off the western coasts of Ashton and Cromwell, was also a target by forces attacking on the planet- though in a different fashion.

 About fifteen minute prior to the initial strikes elsewhere happened, a force of Dropships landed at the port just after eleven local time, their expected arrival having been on the schedule for about a day. No weapons fire, no passes by fighters… just a simple landing by a handful of craft.  That it happened just before the attacks began elsewhere was timing. And good timing, too.

  As they arrived, the locals were quite surprised when the battlemech and armored cargos of the dropship came out armed to the teeth.  Their rapid capture of the field was nearly bloodless, with only a handful of security troops by an aerospace hangar being the few to resist the initial attack. Troops clad in the livery of the Greybolts, gray-colored lightning stripes on black armor, moved efficiently and professionally throughout the small complex, securing all main facilities fairly quickly just as news of the attacks elsewhere on Centaurus became known.

  Some of their hover tanks, a mix of troop carriers and strike craft, raced from the strip and headed for the provincial government buildings to secure them. Within the hour, all official connections to the planetary networks were under the control of the Greybolt mercenaries.

 For a place being invaded, there was very little on Johnson that would constitute a major objective outside of one thing.  Johnson was used for various vacation getaways by folks and was considered a lovely place to vacation. There were a few training facilities and more than few medical research sites but nothing extravagant. What IT did have though was a good network of defensive sites and its crown jewel, a Star League Era Maintenance Bunker.

 The facility, towards the center of the island, was much like some of the other facilities on Centaurus, a small presence above ground and extensive one below. In that aspect, it was very similar to the Company Level location out near Desert One on Ashton.  And it was to there that the bulk of their forces headed.

 The facility was in what was called Stand By mode. It was stocked with supplies and repair packages, but manning was light.  Stationed here was about a platoon of infantry along with a dozen technicians.  As news of the attacks disseminated out to the various posts, the platoon commander realized quickly that he needed to start shutting the doors to the Site and getting security points properly manned. Unfortunately, the early arrival of the Greybolts to the important areas like this prevented their being secured.

 An extensive firefight at the main access point to the bunker broke out; the few defenders in their superior position managing to slow down the attackers some but not completely. A pair of Greybolt infantry carriers, their drivers bold in their actions, raced into the vehicle passageway as the door began closing.  The carriers with their deadly cargo quickly moved into the heart of the complex and dumped their infantry out. These troops rapidly advanced through the facility, with most defending troops having been unprepared for anyone actually getting inside this fast.

 It took ten minutes… but the Greybolts managed to secure the facility entryways and its command center.

 Some twenty-five minutes later, the Greybolts commander, Oberstleutnant Josias Barnes, entered the bunker’s command center and looked around the room. The close-cropped grey-haired officer nodded to himself as he took in the features of the room. Noting that no damage was present, he grinned slightly and glanced to the Hauptmann with him. “Steiger, make sure all the technical teams go over these systems with a fine-tooth comb; I would not be surprised if the Lancers have some sort of failsafe to wreck them.”

  The slight Greybolts officer nodded. “Jawohl,” Steiger replied. “I would not be surprised either… but we did capture this facility quickly.  I would say too quickly… but then, we were early, and they were undermanned.”

 “Agreed… but still, I will not assume anything where they are concerned,” Barnes commented. “That verdammtes Arschloch Tinney is the sort who would have an ace up his sleeve to prevent use of a facility like this… I expect something electronic… or a charge in the main base hubs.”

 Steiger said nothing as he lifted his personal communicator. “Feldwebel Johns, Hauptmann Steiger.” When the called-for person answered, the Hauptmann continued. “Be sure to check the demarcation closet for explosives. Use one of the dogs to be sure.”  After acknowledgement, he looked to his commander. “Ordered.”

As other technicians began to run checks on the consoles, Barnes allowed himself to truly smile. It was about time he had handed the Phoenix Lancers a black eye, after all the times they had interfered with his contracts over the years.  That he was working with the Word of Blake to do it bothered him some… but at least they were doing something about the uppity pseudo–Star League command. History was to be learned from, not clung to like some sort of holy grail.

 And Barnes had learned a lot from history, especially the available Phoenix Lancer histories.  He knew they would not bombard this place, despite the Wolverine ships at their disposal.  What they would do is try to take it back in as quick an operation as possible and by conventional means if able. Which was fine by him.  Every Greybolt had been recruited to be loyal to him and to the Goal- which was to make the Lancers bleed…. And bleed a lot.