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…”