Western areas of the Central Divide
Approx. 200 kilometers west of the Drazi-Zathras road
0920 hrs local 09 December 3080
Captain Ben Leisey plodded forward in his repurposed Daishi Widowmaker and assessed the advance of his assault company. One of the newest companies in the Lancers, Delta Company of Third Mech Battalion was also one of the heaviest. Possessing two of the newest local variants of the Awesome, they were joined by a trio of Warhammers, an Orion, Banshee 5S and Tempest. A Grand Dragon and a pair of Goliaths rounded out the company. It was a lot of beef on the field and the sheer firepower was impressive.
That they were not a fast company was an issue but when you had the guns they did, speed was not exactly available. The fastest was the Grand Dragon and he functioned as a scout, of sorts, and a harassment machine. The platform was excellent at it. Ben was fairly certain Warrant Officer Shanice King would be running hard throughout the battle… but given how tough a go Charlie Company had, he had no illusions over how difficult his attempt to push them back was going to be.
As his company adopted a solid line-abreast formation, Ben looked at the command screen that had been installed last month. The Daishi was NOT a commander’s machine, but it had space for some of the necessary gear to be installed. Gear which he was now relying on somewhat to manage the battleline. “If I wanted easy…” He muttered to himself as he looked out of the cockpit, “I’d have taken a Marauder…”
Hills above the Ice Eagle Supply Station
Along the Drazi-Zathras Road
0920 hours 09 December 3080
Master Sergeant Foraker spat a bit of chew juice from his mouth as he looked through the scope of his M18. “Gawdamn are they stupid,” he said quietly to his RTO. “Piss poor security, poor fields of fire, just… poor.”
What he was describing was the former construction yard the Ice Eagles, the contingent of the invaders occupying this area of the central divide, had occupied as a supply point and minor repair facility. The facility was a good location for it, Foraker gave the attackers that much, with its walls, security fences and larger shelters for its loading cranes being good for what they were using it for. However, the defense positions chosen to secure the place against infiltration by folks like him was shit. Complete shit…
Clearly whoever thought out this defensive plan here got their job out of a box of crackerjacks… whatever that means. Foraker looked through his scope one last time then sighed. “Kate, gimme the handset.”
Specialist Kate Kidney, the copper-and-white-haired comms specialist next to him, handed him the handset. “Here ya go,” she said. “I’m pretty sure everyone is ready by now…”
A spit of more juice. “Damn well better be….” he replied as he took the handset. Activating the mic after Kate confirmed it was the right channel, he spoke. “Wolverines, Wolverine Six. Pick your targets and commence firing when the tower idiot drops.”
When acknowledgements came, he handed the handset back to Kate and picked up his rifle again. Sighting in on the aforementioned target, he steadied his breathing and counted to himself. Four… three… two…
Standing on the water tower, Trooper Schultz scanned the area, his weapon at the ready. When his command had come to this world, he had been impressed by the standards of living here of its people. Growing up on the factory world of Hesperus before entering The Trades, he’d never had much in the way of wealth. Mind you, the life of infantry as a mercenary was never going to make him rich but at least he should be comfortable.
After coming here, Schultz had come to the realization that maybe he needed to get out of this life. Maybe go House Military… or at least a planetary militia somewhere… and somewhere comfortable. That would be the life… somewhere not to hot, not too cold. As he smiled to himself at the thought, he paused in his scan of the area as a small flash was seen. “What’s that?” He asked aloud as he brought up a set of binoculars to his face. It was an action he never finished as bullet impacted his face.
As Schultz fell from the tower, a series of thumps and bangs were heard from the direction of the woods and hills surrounding the camp. Then a few explosions from the just launched grenades occurred. Explosions in amongst various supplies and pallets of ammunition set for reloading battlemechs…
The troops defending the camp, approximately two platoons of troops and assorted techs, did well in responding to the attack. But it became apparent that the defensive machine guns were in poor locations to return fire. And those locations that were in good locations were brought under fire by the attacking forces. Many defenders became casualties as more grenades were launched into the camp unhindered by return fire. This went on for a good eight to ten minutes before the incoming fire slacked off.
Before long, there was nothing left incoming…. And the defenders, when they realized it, were able to finally get to their wounded and assess the damage from the raid. The damage dealt to the camp was substantial and rendered the supply point non-functional.
Foraker counted heads at the rendezvous point and once satisfied he had everyone, ordered his platoon to move out. This raid was a success and for that he was glad. Coming into this op, he had doubts as to how well this was gonna work. Granted, it wasn’t likely that the invaders had many places set up to function as bases and in his mind, Foraker had felt a bunch of grunts wasn’t gonna matter much. But as the scope of what they were expected to hit became clearer, he changed his mind.
A platoon of airborne infantry could carry a good amount of firepower. And in the right circumstance, that firepower could wreck some shit. These early raids were going to matter; those that came later, probably not so much. The enemy couldn’t stay dumb forever… and if nothing else, he hoped it wasn’t his platoon that found the smart ones.
Western areas of the Central Divide
Approx. 200 kilometers west of the Drazi-Zathras road
0935 hrs local 09 December 3080
The two forces clashed in among the foothills of the western front. The Ice Eagles, advancing in a modified phalanx formation, marched forward towards the right side of the Lancer lines. Colonel Sasha Romanova looked at the data coming in on the command systems of her Black Knight and frowned.
Ahead of her was an assault lance of Phoenix Lancer mechs- a pair of Goliaths, a Banshee and a Grand Dragon- and she wondered exactly where the rest of their force was. Some sensor blips off to her forward and right but nothing concrete. Then came the report from her Wasp pilot when he crested a high point.
Pretty much the rest of their force was strung across the valley and running hard at her flank. Ordering her troops forward, her hope was to have the Lancers force in front of her fully engaged before the others got here. Surely, they will close, she had thought at the time. And when they didn’t, she was puzzled up until that flanking force began to shoot.
The two Awesomes in her force, both KM variants, unleashed their guns at range but it wasn’t enough of a deterrent. Not nearly enough, as the heavier aspects of the oncoming forces kept coming… and laid into one of her KM’s with a vengeance. Then other machines from their side started finding their range, starting with that Daishi who ripped Bravo Lance’s Griffin (which had only just returned from the last battle) into a nearly crippled mess.
Just then, her command channel pinged. “India Echo Lead…”
[Lead, Support Alpha] The voice of her unit’s chief technician, Ivan Armata, was heard. [Sasha, we have a problem.]
“A little busy here at the moment,” she replied as she snapped shots off at the Lancer Grand Dragon dodging in her sights. “What’s the issue?”
[We just got raided… Infantry force just wrecked the forward supply dump] He replied. [It’s done.]
She blinked. “What do you mean it’s done?” Sasha snapped. “Unless they hit it with a fucking company of battle armor…”
[Sasha… they didn’t even TRY to capture it or the winery…] Ivan informed her. [They just blew it to hell and gone. Grenade launchers and sustained marksman fire. Picked off anyone who even remotely had a chance to get to a support gun after they blew up the gun bunkers.] He paused. [The site is fucking matchsticks…]
“Christ!” She exclaimed. “How many dead?”
[Still figuring that out… but its not pretty.] Ivan commented. [I told you this was a shit contract…]
“You told me a lot of things, Ivan… things like the fucking Lancers never losing… and I beat them yesterday!” She snarled just as one of her forward mechs, a Phoenix Hawk, got shredded by the Grand Dragon she had shot up.
[Da, I did… and tell me, Sasha- did you really win or did they just back off?] was his reply. [Remember, we are on their lawn… and with how well you got off last time, I can’t help but think it was a set-up… An expensive one for them but still, a set-up.] Ivan paused then simply said what he was thinking. [Sasha, if you hold them off this time, I can’t fix you for whatever comes next. I can’t… Tell me, are they fighting like last time?]
Sasha looked at her tactical screens again. Her right flank was now engaged against the bulk of the attacking Lancer forces, the trio of Warhammers backed by a Tempest riding the left flank of the advancing Awesomes and that damned Daishi. And they were advancing as a wall of death. The lance in front of her was still holding pat, the two Goliath walkers standing just around the corner of the pass and shooting the crap out of her light-medium forces that tried to get at them. Their Banshee still sat in his mini bunker, having just laid into Kev Mack’s Thunderbolt, which was supporting her advance lance,with a gauss slug and paired particle cannon.
It was then that it hit her- the lance in front of her was bait. Mother-fucking bait… and the rest of their force was driving hard to pin her against the damn river gorge. While it wasn’t a trap, it damn sure was a meatgrinder she was walking into. And if she managed to get out of it, her crew would be hard pressed to beat a lance of Locusts, especially without supplies. Anything bigger than that… yeah no. She had gotten fixated and walked right into a damn fire sack. Damn brilliant, really, on their part. And her errors early on made it happen. Fuck.
“No, they aren’t… and I fucked up, Ivan.” Sasha replied in a defeated tone. “I need to end this and hope they honor the white flag. You’re right- we are on their lawn, and they are about to be the Cranky Old Guy with a shotgun.”
[Sasha… I’m sorry.]
“So am I, Ivan; so am I,” she said. “See to the wounded… I got a thing to do.”
Ben held his advance up and lowered his reticle onto a Thunderbolt that had walked into view when it paused and a series of white flares began to fire up into the sky. “What the hell?” he said with a surprise and noted several of the enemy machines coming to a stop, weapons pointed away. His exec, Sgt Major Malloy, pinged him on the side.
[Cap’n, Malloy… You might wanna tune over to the Guard channel…] he said. [Otherside is asking for you.]
“Right…” Ben replied. “Tell everyone to hold fire…” He shifted channels. “Enemy Commander, Go Ahead…”
[This is Colonel Sasha Romanova of the Ice Eagles… We are requesting a cease fire and end to hostilities.] came the reply.
Well, I’ll be a… Ben thought. “Colonel Romanova, Captain Benjamin Leisey, Phoenix Lancers. I am willing to entertain that notion, but I strongly suggest everyone on your side powers the heck down…” He said. “Not for nothing… but unless I have full assurances of complete surrender and no live guns over there, I ain’t biting on your request… Ain’t no one gonna trust you guys are being legit otherwise.”
[Captain, I understand…] came the reply. [I’m not about to waste lives or machines when I no longer have a secure rear area to fall back to. Your special forces made that plain.]
Ben lifted an eyebrow. Special forces? What’s she gettin on about? He thought but didn’t let it show in his response as he rolled with the news. “Colonel… I assure you that there is more than just a Spec Ops surprise out there. If none of you are Word Of Blake, I can assure you the normal procedures between Mercenary Commands where surrenders are concerned will be followed. I will tell you to not expect much outside of three hots and a cot though…”
Romanova’s reply showed her resignation to that fate. [Captain, considering everything, I didn’t expect anything more than that… We will power down. Romanova clear.]
Ben watched the machines in his sights power down in place, the machines all coming to a rest and cockpits opening where they could. In one case, there was no hatch to speak of but that pilot stood up in the wreckage that was his machine’s head armor. This battle was over… and for his second foray in charge, having a win, no matter how weird it came, was rather nice. “Malloy,” he called as he swapped back to the other channel.
“Get the security boys here…” He said. “In case you missed it, they are surrendering, and we have some prisoners to secure. And a ton of salvage…”