Legends and Myths Seventy Three- The Storm: Operation Riposte Two

Eastern Central Divide
176 kilometers east of Zathras
1621 hours 08 December 3080

 Major Sean Farquharson looked over the advance from the slightly to the rear of the line of Mechs he commanded and grinned slightly.  This was the beginning of the end for the invaders, he was sure. The initial assaults on Centarus by the Word of Blake had met with mixed success.  Those turncoats on the planet had managed to have some victories- most notably over on Johnson and near Crossroads.  That they had used Phoenix Lancer hospitality to enable an invasion of the planet… well, that just pissed him the hell off.

  Advancing on the front was the entirety of Charlie Company, First Battalion and they were supported by the Hammer Lance of Alpha First Battalion- an entire lance of Warhammers.  Support for all the mechs was a pair of Maxim transports with platoon of Cavalier battle-armor and a full platoon of Bulldog tanks.  It was one of the largest groups he’d ever led and he was rather pumped.

  The command channel pinged, and he answered it. “Aye, Charlie Six…” he said as he piloted his machine forward.

 “Charlie Six, Auburn Command…” The voice of Governor Sodher-Schaller was heard. “I have information for you…”

 “Send it.” That it was Diane calling and not one of the communications technicians was ominous.

 [Sean, we have an identity on who you’re facing.  Up until the drone was shot down at least,] She said. [A unit called Gordon’s Dragoons… they landed with the Zathras forces.]

 Sean blinked. Gordons?  “Lass… are ye sure?” He asked.

 [Yes, which is why I am calling…] She replied. [Remember the mission, Sean.  No vendettas… Do you understand?]

 He growled.  “Lass… I nae be stupid.  Me Clan hatreds willnae color my response to these bastards overmuch.  I want them off as much as anyone else and I willnae jeopardize kicking them off planet just to give an extra kickin’”

 Silence. [I will believe you for now, Major… I know you and I know if you give me your word, you will stick to it. No crazy vendetta Honor Hunts.] She said. [Am I clear?]

 Sean replied firmly. “Crystal, Governor…  I know if th’ Colonel were here, he’d just pull me or stick me as follow on.” A pause. “Mission first….”

[Good.] She said.  [Data sent… be well, Sean and I look forward to hearing from you after this. Auburn clear.]

 Sean looked at the tactical plan and noted the information relayed to him.  The hated Gordons were spread line abreast, with a light lance supporting a platoon of Zhukov tanks and what looked like an Ontos of all things.  A Badger platoon was on the far right of their line and looked like they were going to be spoilers.

 The heart of their line was anchored by a pair of clan machines, a Dire Wolf and a Stormcrow. A Griffin occupied the central area while their left flank had a pair of heavy hitters- a Highlander and an Awesome.  Those two were supported on their left by a vicious quartet consisting of an Avatar, Warhammer, Lynx and a Nightsky. A Vulture was lurking out there too and would be a concern. It was a very strong force… and it looked like it outweighed him a bit.

 “Tonnage is overrated…” he breathed and clicked on the transmit key to Chief Colt. “Chief… we find a comms channel for the other side or am I insulting the bastards over Guard?”

[I was wondering when you were going to ask that…] Colt answered. [I took a stab at looking and I think I got it. Pirated a feed off some sensor they have out here- fuck if I know where but it’ll do.  Put your secondary on One-Four-Four-Niner-Sierra…]

 Sean entered the channel in on the secondary comm unit. “Alrighty… Time tae insult a bunch of shitebag Gordons…”

**

  Lieutenant Colonel James Michael Gordon sat in the command couch of his Highlander and looked at the data feeds from his own drone, still flying out and about.  One of the early moves he had done was to salt the forward areas of their lane with sensors.  Basic things, they were… but they served to provide basic data.

   And the sensors were working well as they picked up the collection of Lancer troops advancing on his position.  A pair of Panthers, a Valkyrie, a Hatchetman on the enemy leftfollowed by a lance of Warhammers, a Marauder and Rifleman in the center with a a pair of Blackjacks, a Griffin, Shadow hawk, Wolverine and Centurion anchoring their right flank. What was curious to him was the two Maxims, not exactly the best in hilly terrain and a platoon of Bulldogs split between the center and enemy left.

 Targets for his Zhukovs, he supposed when the sensor feed became corrupted. “What the hell?” He said as he tapped the screen. All of a sudden, he heard a voice come from the unit speakers.

[Mar sin dè am baga shit Gòrdan a tha a’ stiùireadh an rabble seo?]*

(*: So which shitbag Gordon leads this rabble)

 Gordon cursed as he adjusted a commset to the channel to reply. “Unknown sender… Identify your honorless self…”

 [Am Màidsear Sean Fearcharson Chlann Fhearchair, a shit. Faigh a-mach às mo fhearann ​​​​mus cuir mi gu bàs thu.]

(Major Sean Farquharson of Clan Farquharson, you shit. Get off my land before I kill you.)

 Laughter. “Bha mi a ‘smaoineachadh gu robh mi a’ fàileadh cù an seo. Thoir an aire do mhodhan, cur. Tha thu an làthair do rudan as fheàrr …”

(I thought I smelled a dog. Mind your manners, cur. You are in the presence of your betters…)

 [Oh, laddie Is e an aon rud as fheàrr a tha thu mar neach-brathaidh do dhaoine sìobhalta.]  A pause. [An cothrom mu dheireadh … fàg no faigh buille do asal..]

*(The only better you are is as a traitor to civilized people. Last chance… leave or get your ass beat)

 Gordon had a flash of anger. “Pòg mo thòin!!”  He snarled.

* (kiss my ass)

Laughter [B’ fheàrr leam a bhreabadh. And so be it- It’s tae be your funeral.]

(I would rather kick it)

 Gordon cursed as he clicked on the overall command net. “All Dragoons… there be Farquharson dogs over there.  Ten thousand c-bills to the one who brings me his head!”

**

 Sean chuckled to himself.  He was dead sure he pissed the Gordon off… which meant his opponent might make a mistake.  Psychology was part of warfare… and if he had learned nothing else from Tinney over the years, he had learned that much. Clicking on the lance channel, he contacted the Fengs. “Lads…”

[Sir]

[Major]

 “I need ye both to support the right side…” He spoke. “I do believe I am going to be hunted a wee bit…”

 Jun spoke. [Major, what did you do?]

 A chuckle. “I made it personal… Tis a Gordon o’er there and I insulted him a wee bit…” He said. “They will be gunning for me and I need ye both to take advantage of that.”

 Quaing questioned. [Was that smart, Major?]

 “no… but I have Colonel McCormack’s Hammers around me… so its nae like I’m alone.”

 Jun answered. [Then I have confidence you will be fine, Major. Colonel McCormack’s Warhammer pilots are all competent and dangerous. I have no worries.]  This was echoed by his brother.

“Good… Get on with ye then…  It’s almost time tae give them a kickin…”

**

 The battle joined not long after the exchange and lasted for about forty minutes, the fighting fierce as the two sides clashed.  Charlie Company’s light lance worked their frontage like champs, drawing fire and giving the Bulldogs time to get into position to use their missiles against the Zhukovs. The enemy light force came out to engage along with the Badgers and ran right into the sights of Lancer armor.

  First to go was a Gordon Commando, as combined fire slagged it in place as it was looking to plunge the line to go after Sean. Not long after, Destiny worked over a Gordon Night Hawk and harassed it into becoming a target for her lance mate in the Valkyrie. Between the two of them, the enemy light machine died in a hail of pulse and missile fire, mere meters from her father.

 Towards the center, the Gordon Zhukovs and an attached Behemoth engaged the Lancer Warhammers, keeping them honest.  Their fixation on the heavy lance cost them in the end as the Bulldogs eventually closed and wrecked them- two of the heavy tanks detonating from ammunition explosions.

 The Gordon center and left forces had a different problem.  As the enemy Dire Wolf cleared a hill, every available PPC on the Lancer side lit into it. And kept shooting at it over the next few minutes, forcing it to retreat under the punishment. The Gordon Left played a maneuver game with their Lancer counterparts… up until the Maxims arrived with their deadly cargos.

 Cavalier battle armor made their appearance and became the threat they were supposed to be.  Between weapons fire and leg attacks, the suits kept the Gordon Mechs from getting too set in place or comfortable.  This bought the Lancers time to get solid solutions on their foes and make their weapon fire sting.  And sting hard.

 A Gordon Awesome had a particularly hard time of it.  It’s pilot suffered a fall early on from damage and briefly stunned himself… which was long enough for a Cavalier squad to jump on its chest and attempt to rip out an engine.  Even when the pilot managed to return to its feet, the battle armor hung on and continued to rip at various places on the machine’s upper body.

 The Lynx and Nightsky attempted to support their heavy companions but between ranged fire of Charlie’s medium machines and the battle armor, they never were able to make their guns matter. Indeed, the moment they found something to shoot at, it would fade from sight and be replaced by another machine, the Lancer forces using their maneuverability to make life difficult.

 The Gordon Vulture’s role in all of this was muted, at best. Early on, the machine suffered an armor failure from a long-range attack and two pieces of its engine shielding failed.  This forced the former clan machine to fall back as being able to shoot effectively… was rendered nearly impossible.  When this battle would be reviewed later on, the early loss of the fast heavy with its firepower would be deemed a critical event… One of several.

  The carnage being dished was not all one sided… as the Gordon troops laid into the Charlie Company mechs.  Whether it was due to the innate toughness of the battlemechs in the command, luck or just plain better tactical decisions, the only machine to fall was one of the Warhammers. Damage throughout the Lancer forces was substantial but ultimately not enough. More than a few would need extensive time with techs replacing armor and the occasional limb. None of it was enough to stop them in the meantime.

  Gordon recognized that things were not going well and this was struck home when the Warhammer on the left fell followed by the Lynx. That entire front had been rolled… and his right was folding too.  The Zhukovs had held their positions well and their weapons had ripped much from the Lancers in front of them… but the enemy had the right combo to put them down. 

 As the last of his heavy tanks was rendered unable to fight, he signaled to the command to fall back. This battle did not go the way he intended, and it would be a neat trick to get out with half of his command at this point.  He’d lost far too much and with the Awesome being mobbed as long as it had been and leg damage to his own Highlander from those damn power suits, preserving what he had become very important.

 From what he could tell, his niece got dropped but managed to get away from her Warhammer; there was enough of his men in the area to make sure of it. If not, Gordon felt she’d not let herself get captured. That would be an embarrassment… especially with who he lost to.

 The damnable Farquharson on the other side had managed to beat him… this was a stain he’d find difficult to live down.  He knew he had the bastard on the ropes… but just couldn’t pull off a finishing attack. Perhaps he had over extended… he didn’t think so but then, war was a funny thing; sides that should prevail sometimes don’t.

 There would be a next time… as the invasion force would not be dislodged anytime soon.

**

  “Charlie Company, Charlie six…  Hold position and let ‘em git.” Sean called over the company net as he paused his mech’s advance. “They be runnin’ with their tails between legs and tha’s good enough for the likes o’us.”

  Even he was surprised he pulled this off.  Going into the battle, the weight disparity was serious. When you factored in the Firepower, even more so… but terrain and mobility were keys here.  And perhaps, his insulting the Gordon on the other side. That was fun…  When the command channel pinged, he answered it right away. “Aye Charlie Six…”

 [Major, Stiletto One,] the lead battle armor squad leader was calling him. [Are the MP’s on the way?]

“Stiletto, Charlie Six; they are, lass. Why for?”

 [Six, it would seem we have a prisoner to add to the collection the armor boys have. My team just pulled the pilot out of that Warhammer of theirs.  And she has an interesting last name…]

 Sean lifted an eyebrow. “Do tell.”

 [Name tag says Gordon…  Had a quick search done and ID papers has her listed as a Colour-Sergeant Hannah Gordon, age twenty-six…] Stiletto One replied. [I got her drug over to our transport; she’s a mess.]

 Sean thought a moment. “Aye… make ‘er comfy, One, and watch ye sharps. I’m certain she’s nae going to be happy when she wakes, and Gordons are good for stabbin’ ye in thae arse when ye distracted.” He said. “I’ll be by tae give a look-see later when follow on’s get here.”

[Six, don’t worry- she’s in no real condition to be stabbing anyone but thanks for the warning,] Stiletto One replied with a slight chuckle. [Already called for medivac so she won’t be our problem long. Even money who gets here first- recovery or them.]

“Good on ye,” He replied. “If nothing else, she is a bargaining chip.”

[Stiletto One receive. See you when you get here.] One replied. [One clear.]

.

Author: John T

Warrior-Sage and full time healer. Gamer and Arm Chair Analyst (who isn't these days?) who isn't afraid to read up on what I don't know.

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