Legends and Myths Eighty Five- The Storm: Shire Four

Village of Grey Havens

1301 hours 08 December

 The advance elements of the Immortals entered the village on foot, the heavily armed ground troopers alert to anything taking a pot shot at them.  All of them were veteran troops and this lack of action was starting to get worrisome.  The home world of the Lancers was supposed to be a slash-bill nest if you screwed with it and right now… they haven’t been shot at.

 The leader of the Immortals, Anatoli Spanac knew it wasn’t going to last… and when nothing jumped them at the crossings, he was damn sure it would happen here.  He was not to be disappointed….


 Mikey Johns looked out an upper window of her shop at the end of Main Street.  It had a clean line of sight all the way out of the village, sitting at the T intersection of the main drives into the village. She was a veteran of the FedCom Civil War and had spent time in a infantry battalion pulling anti-insurgent duty in Skye before helping to retake New Avalon. Getting out after that nonsense, she had emigrated to Centarus as the world was regarded as a peaceful place and a good location to retire to…

  Then the Word of Blake came here in 3068 and she spent a good amount of time being an insurgent until the world was freed in 3072. The following years had been good and moving to the Far Side of the planet had been a blessing to her.  Its peaceful environs and the laid-back nature of those who lived on this side of the world had been a godsend for her. Her shop, a general store, had flourished in providing for the locals and she made many friends here- to include the folks over in the research base to the east.

 So when the world wide warning order came out about invasion, there had been initial panic on her part.  She had long ago stopped being a professional soldier and the concept of fighting again sickened her.  Those thoughts only lasted a short while though… and Johns eventually dug out old gear long packed away… along with her Federated-Barret rifle.

 Contacting Testudo Base, she informed the friend on security there that she and others in town would be waiting for whomever showed up. The friend told her to be careful and not be a hero. “Being a hero is for the young… I intend on being old for a good while yet….” Was her reply.

 So the forty six year old former soldier scanned the field of fire from her second story window through the scope of her heavy sniper rifle.  If there was an enemy trooper out there, she would see him… and if he was in the right spot, the bastard would die.  A dozen others in town had stayed to defend too. None of them had heavy guns but hit and run tactics didn’t call for them.

 High above, a quartet of drones overflew the village and watched events unfold.

Tetsudo Base


 The Harvies watched the screens within operations as they showed the battles on the Landing side of the planet and the feed from the drones in operation here. The Senior Harvie could only smile at the initial success of the base projects…

 In addition to working on various battle armor technologies, the facility also engineered various technical solutions to Drone Warfare. Chief Harvie had been intrigued by the reports of the WoB Drone machines and had started working on applying what was known to various other platforms.

 Drone Tech wasn’t new by any means… but for whatever reason, many a Successor State just didn’t use them.  Due to the lack of good AI, the electronic counter measure issues of the modern battlefield, a lack of good platforms… they just weren’t used.  Eric saw it as a giant oversight, and he had convinced Colonel Tinney to let him experiment with it concurrent with the battle armor trials… and the combat aspects were about to come to fruition.

 Three of the drones carried a pair of one-shot streak Inferno launchers. These were designed to hunt tanks and infantry formations. The fourth was a spotter drone armed with an enhanced medium laser and probe. That one would be the lead drone when looking to find armored vehicles…. And it would be this machine that would spot the formation advancing up the road towards the village store.


 Johns sighted down her rifle.  She had seen the weapons trooper then his companions… and she noted their spread formation.  It was good movement skills, she had to admit… but it wasn’t going to save them from her rifle.  Or from Heather Mack’s assault rifle in the cottage down the street.  Sighting in, Johns slowed her breathing and let herself relax as the sights settled on the chest of the machine gunner advancing up the road.

  Counting to five, Johns squeezed the trigger on her Federated-Barret.  Rewarded with the boom of the round discharging, she saw a large blossoming of blood on the chest of her target.  The big heavy rifle was very good at making a mess of personal body armor back in the day… and it demonstrated here that it still could.

 Heather opened up with her rifle a few seconds later… her shots adding to the chaos of the moment.

On the receiving end, the enemy troops scattered, the one shot by Johns crawling slowly behind cover. Too slowly, as rifle fire from yet another location on Main Street struck the man, ending his efforts. The Immortals returned fire, the heavily armed infantry unit being disciplined in their actions.  All of them had fought in city fights before; given this was a village and they hadn’t taken fire on the way in, the cardinal mistake of letting one’s guard down happened.

 Johns sighted in on another trooper. She’d get this second shot then it would be time to move. It was rare a sniper managed two shots from the same hide, but she would get that rare event. She was back far enough in her house to not reveal her position and her first shot had been a surprise one. Scanning downrange, she saw a head pop up over a wall then duck back down. Smiling, she aimed an inch below the top of the wall.

 Her rifle was very powerful, the weapon having a long history of service as a heavy sniper rifle…. That it also functioned as an anti-materiel weapon, able to defeat light vehicle armor- or the less solid material of a light cinderblock wall, was a plus. She fired, confirmed the shot’s impact and then moved, heading for the back door of her shop.

There was another hide to get to and she was certain the enemy would not treat her kindly- that last shot had exploded the troopers head like a grape.


 The Immortals, realizing they needed some armored support, called in their APCs to lend their machine guns to efforts. Within two minutes, a pair of Rhino Armored Personnel Carriers roared into view on the road.  The troops on the sides of the street began directing the APC to put fire into various building they were taking shots from and the vehicle crews did so with gusto.

  As they were attempting to root out the defenders, the drones up above took notice and the anti-armor ones went into action.  Swooping down from on high, the Franklin Labs Model T Dante Anti-Armor drone bored in on the unsuspecting fighting vehicles below.

 The drone, a highly advanced VTOL carrying a pair of improved Streak Launchers loaded with inferno munitions, darted in and when within range, achieved lock with a launcher and opened fire.  The two missiles with their highly flammable contents slammed into one of the Rhinos. The incendiary missiles did their work well, the flammable gel setting the vehicle aflame and forcing the crew to bail out- the engine of the machine no longer operational as the gel managed to get inside engine vents.

 The second armed drone streaked in not long after the first one and dumped its initial payload on the squad being supported by the now-burning APC. Its weapon system also achieved lock and fired, the inferno missiles eliminating the squad of troopers in a fiery embrace of napalm gel. Other troopers nearby opened up on the attack drones as they retreated, their weapon fire managing to damage one and causing it to trail smoke.

 The Immortals, realizing the danger above, were ready for the third drone and forced it to abort its attack run.  The aerial assault had been successful in slowing them down, even costing them troops. But the message was clear- there would no longer be unopposed advances. Between insurgents and drones, their advance on Testudo would not be so easy.

delays, projects and the Plague

To my readers,

I apologize for the lack of content over the last two weeks. Between work, a bit of a brain lock on what to write and trying to get a project finished for Cold Wars Convention, my time was pretty locked up.

And this past week, plague struck and I managed to be caught by Covid via exposure through my workplace (deal with enough ‘Rona patients in a row, the odds can catch up with you… *sigh* ).

However, I am somewhat back on track. The latest Shire post is just about finished and the Kohn Kaen drop is slated for mid feb play through (was supposed to be this weekend but plague…).

Once the Shire thread is run through (about four more stories I think, maybe five), there is a Riposte story looking to be done/fought and then a guest story or two- the Drop and the chase battle by Major Clyburn. And let me tell you- that chase battle was plain vicious. Fun battle but damn bloody.

Legends and Myths Eighty Four- The Storm: Shire Three

Gulf of Lune near Harlond Bay

11km east of LZ

0901hr 08 December 3080

 The lead elements of the Immortals recon group followed the shore east, headed for where available maps indicated a bay-side village. The lead vehicle, a recon variant of the Chimera APC, advanced at a slow pace, its sensors active and the hatches open to allow extra eyes to look out.  So far, the unit’s advance had seen no resistance or defenders which suited the men of the recon unit just fine.  They didn’t want to run into anything without warning; their transport was tough enough for minor skirmishes but there were no illusions about large ones.

 Coming to a stop as they reached a stream that fed into the bay, a team of troopers deployed out and went to check the potential crossing area. Covering them, the vehicle commander used his sensors to scan the tree line for anything watching.  This was the third time they had to do this… and he wasn’t counting on anyone not being here- especially two hours after landing. Intel said there wasn’t much on this continent, but intel has been wrong before…


 On the other side of the crossing point, ODA 1st Special Forces Group 1st Battalion 1st Company, 1st Team (ODA 1111) was observing the advancing recon vehicle from their hasty hide. The eleven troopers of the ODA had been rushed out here to lay eyes on the advancing invaders and either engage if possible or simply get a better assessment on what was coming. All eleven of them were in position to observe or engage if shooting was necessary.

 The team leader, Captain Diego Moss, took a long look via mag-oculars, assessing the vehicle before them and the overall attentiveness of the troops. “Ciara… ever see an APC like that?” he asked the trooper next to him.

 Sergeant First Class Ciara Hoskins shook her head. As the assistant Team Sergeant and resident Intelligence Sergeant to go along with her weapons rating, there was very little out there that she had no knowledge of. At least from any of the major manufacturers of combat vehicles. There were a lot of non-mainstream out there though… and this was one of the latter. “Nope… this one’s a new one on me.” She said as she too looked at the machine before them. “Light auto cannon on the hull, turret laser and some machine guns… not bad for a troop carrier but not great.”

 “Autocannon still kill you dead.”

 “True, true… nope, boss… I got nothing.  Get me a signal to use, I can get something but right now I got nothing.” She replied. “I do know I recognize the insignia.”

 Moss looked over at his intel NCO. “Who?” he asked as he turned to look again.

 “Spanac’s Immortals… Only reason why I know them is I got into a bar fight with some on Galatea about five years ago…” Hoskins said as she stowed her mag-noculars. “Fucking full of themselves assholes, the lot of them.”

 “Do tell…” He commented as he too put his device away and backed off from their observation point.

 Hoskins backed away out of sight and moved down the low rise they were behind, her rifle out. “Yeah… one made with his hands in a place he shouldn’t and got hands back.” The very fit sergeant replied. “Bozo and his buddies found out what happens when you fuck around.”


 “Left five wanna-be’s on the ground moaning. Two with broken limbs…” Ciara smiled grimly. “Angry Bill over in Third can vouch for that one. He was there.”

A snort. “Ok… now that we have established that they are amoral shits… are they any good?” Moss asked as he joined her on the thin path back to their temp camp. The others in the ODA that were in positions to overwatch and shoot if need be would warn him if things went to shit while he was calling to make a report. They didn’t have heavy enough guns to engage anything in an IFV, but they could watch all right.

 “Last I knew, they were competent and NOT fanatical.  Their boss is an opportunist… and depending on the how well the Wolverines’ Navy handles anything space related…” Hoskins stated. “We might get out of this without a big fight.”

 “Noted…” Moss replied. “I need to update Testudo; Its Harvie’s call….” Adjusting his com-gear, he made the call.


About ten minutes later, Moss ended the call and shook his head.  “Well shit…” he mused aloud. “The old man wants blood.” 

 Walking up to Hoskins, he tapped her on the shoulder. “Answers…  They want as good a count on what they got as we can get. Chief Harvie the First would like to know how many there are, within reason, so he can sick the dogs on them….”

 Hoskins blinked and then laughed. “Sic’ing the dogs boys on them will be something to see.  The rest of the team should have a good count right now. Ain’t no one reported being seen at least.” She chuckled. “This should be easy.”

 A slight smile. “that’s the problem, Hoskins… It’s too easy.” Moss replied.  “Which means I think we need to go pay a visit to their drop ship and see what they left to guard it. Testudo asking for that. Based on estimates, five hours for us walking.”



 As the last vehicle cleared the crossing point, Spanac looked at the master plot map of the area.  There was three more major fording points on the fastest route of march to be made.  So far, nothing had jumped at them, but he’d be a fool to think that was going to last.

 Yeah, they made three crossings already… but if he was a betting man (and he was), it would be this one or Crossing Four he’d hit them. Considering three was now behind them, the pucker factor was ratcheting up some the closer they got.

 “Woz, tell the heavy boys to deploy at the next crossing,” he said to his commo sergeant. “I don’t think the next one is going to be peaceful…”

 “Gotcha Colonel…” Tech Sergeant Wally (Woz) Wozniak replied and passed along the orders.  After he did so, he looked back at the Colonel. “Got a feeling, sir?”

 “Yes I do,” Spanac commented. “We are making decent time, but I know something is waiting for us…. I refuse to believe we avoided interdiction so far.” A shrug. “Call it paranoia… but were it me, I’d have hit us by now.”

 Woz grabbed his rifle and made sure ammunition was chambered right. “Well sir… if they hit us, we hit ‘em back.” He said. “They ain’t got enough ass to deal with everyone here…. And them Blakists should have things in hand by tonight…. Right?”

 A shrug. “They should… I’ll get an update once we get to near Grey Havens, provided our info on what’s out here isn’t shit…”

Legends and Myths Eighty Three- The Storm: Shire Two

Gulf of Lune near Harlond Bay

0701hr 08 December 3080

 The Condor class drop ship sat on the ground near the wood line bordering the shoreline along the bay. The craft had landed not long ago and disgorged its infantry cargo.  The half of the three hundred troops of Anatoli’s Footmen set up a perimeter around their landed ship while the rest assisted with the offloading of the twenty light tracked APCs of the force.

 Colonel Anatoli Spanac watched from the hatch of his command Chimera APC and chomped on his cigar.  This foray to the wilds of Centarus was something of a gamble for the now-renegade mercenary infantry unit and it was hoped it would prove to be profitable.  The force had been hired about a year ago to set up something of a cover story about getting advanced training from the Lancers and maybe winning a security contract here; after all, a battalion of infantry was solid inexpensive asset to have available if the Bad Guys came calling.

 Their cover story held up for the most part and they had been on the planet for about six months. They used that time well in learning a good bit about both their hosts, the areas on the populated side and as much as possible about the wilder areas of the world. They also spent it legitimately training up too; because there was an irony to having the guys who you were gonna be fighting teach you their methods…

 Everything he or his people had learned about the military commercial and industrial sectors seemed to indicate that the companies that maintained R and D here had their quieter operations elsewhere from the main continents… and those places didn’t have much in the way of defenders of the places on the Crowell and other populated areas, there was going to be enough fighting there to make espionage difficult.  But in the information gathering, Spanac’s intel guy had managed to learn of a battle armor testing facility over here during a hunting trip he took about two months back. The facility supposedly wasn’t heavily guarded by much, some tanks and maybe a platoon or two of troops.  Being somewhere out of the way was a big help with protection and could make a small force that much more dangerous.

 When this was learned of, Spanac decided he didn’t want to be part of some Word of Blake party and that getting his hands on whatever the Lancers and their tech boys were doing with armor might be a better idea.  He’d been impressed by their maintenance and equipment during exercises, with the Phoenix Lancer specific gear being very solidly efficient.  Add in that they also produced some of their own suits rather than buy off planet… gave him the idea to snatch and run.

 Now, doing so would be damn hard… as the overall security of the world was pretty good.  But with the incoming assault on the planet, Spanac figured they could raid the facility, take what they could and find a means of leaving in the chaos. Granted, there was a Warship problem but given the Word was supposed to be the best at it, the prospect of leaving was possible.

 At least a few of the Jump Ships coming in would want to have a paying contract to leave once the Word settled in to beat down the defenders. Anatoli was sure the Renegade Adepts of the Word of Blake could beat these guys.  AS good as the Lancers may be, the Word was as good with a lot better tech to do the job.  Fanaticism was a strong ally and could be a force multiplier.  And the Word of Blake had that in spades.

 Which was also why he wanted out; when allied with fanatics, the possibility of them turning on you for not being fanatical enough for them was always a threat.  And after hearing of some of their acts elsewhere during the Jihad, he was only going to take their coin until he could find something more valuable.  And cutting-edge research on power armor… would be that more valuable thing to someone… be it the Cappellans, Kurita or something on the Periphery.

 When word of the pending attack came to them from an agent off world, Spanac started planning in earnest… and had managed to get his troops loaded under false documents on their ship.  The ship then lifted and stayed low as the warning orders came in about the invasion fleets…. And the chaos that developed from other turncoats doing their things. This kept them from getting too much attention in the ensuing couple of hours as they sub-orbitaled their way to the far side of the planet.

 When they did get noticed, it was far too late for anyone to prevent their flight…. And here they were, on the shore of one of the bays near their eventual goal.

 Spanac knew they only had so much time before someone, or something came looking for them here… and his Drop Ship needed to be pulled under as much of the available tall trees as it could.  Nets could only do so much.

 “Colonel, contact report!” Came the word from his electronics expert who was manning the ground radar unit in the Damocles Rhino.

“What do you have, Sergi?” Spanac replied to the man as he turned to look at him.

 “Recon Drone, bearing 091, about five kilometers out,” came the answer. “It’s flying towards us at about one hundred kilometers an hour and closing. Here in about two minutes.”

 “Noted. Warn everyone…”

  The warning went out within seconds and everything that go to ground did so and the handful of LRM troops got their weapons set and ready to fire.  The Immortals were well trained and by the time the drone arrived, weapons were set to shoot it from the sky….


  The drone flew on, its sensors canning the ground below and as it came into range of the defending weapons, the little machine managed to get a fairly good picture of the landing area and the marks on the ground before weapons fire from the defenders opened up on it.

  Within ten seconds, the drone was shot from the sky and a renewed emphasis on the Immortals to get deeper into the woods and a bit of distance from their ship.  The troops knew that there would be more coming but if they could finish camouflaging their ship, it might get missed by other craft looking.

Testudo Complex Operations
0715 hrs

 Justin stood with his father watching the feeds of the drone and whistled slightly when it filmed the landing zone before it was blown from the sky. “I think they aren’t too happy about our drone…”

 Eric shook his head. “No, they weren’t… how soon for the ODA’s to get on location?”

 “Sometime in the next hour,” Justin replied. “Had to get their Kestrel reconfigured. Squad Orange is on their Karnov and enroute to Grey Havens.”

 A nod. “Ok… I want to know when the ODAs are in position to eyeball these guys,” Eric replied. “I need to update whomever is in charge back on Cromwell about all this.”

 Justin looked over to the communications console where Sergeant Heather Coins sat listening to reports from the other side of the world. “Sergeant Coins…”

 Coins, who had been paying attention to her bosses, tapped her console a few times. “Sir… Forbes Center still has operational Control.  Raising them now.  Camera Two.”

 Eric moved on the command dais over to where Camera Two would see him.  When Coins nodded, he spoke. “Forbes Center, Testudo…”

After a moment, a hologram sprung to life and the image of Governor Devine sprang into view. [Devine…]

 “Roy, Eric… We are current on the situation over there. Calling to let you know we have some rats over here now too.”

 [Do you now?] Roy commented as the projection showed him being handed a data pad. [One drop ship, aerodyne style?]

 “Yeah… we had a drone investigate and before it went off-line, showed an infantry carrier ship and a bunch of armored personnel carriers with troops. You should have the imagery now.” Eric informed his old friend. “Our uninvited guests weren’t terribly happy about it.”

 Roy nodded. [Yeah, I imagine they wouldn’t be.  I don’t know what I can send to support you right now; still chaotic here. As you likely know, the space battles are only just finishing and we have problems all over out here. Nothing that can’t be dealt with but it’s going to take time; we are down almost two battalions of combat assets with the Barbados mission. Any counter offensive is a knife’s edge…]

 Eric thought a moment. “I am pretty sure we can deal with them. If it’s only that one ship and its troops, then I know we can manage.” He smiled. “I have more than enough of the battle armor testing units here as well as that new heavy infantry kit. As I didn’t see anything very heavy among them, what I have should work fine. There is nothing big they can grab out there to use- though the garage in Grey Havens has those mothballed J Edgars going through Omni Vehicle conversion; they are light but fast.”

 A frown. [Are they operational?]

 Eric glanced at Justin who held up two fingers and then returned his gaze towards the camera. “Only two. Not enough to be a huge problem but not something I want to lose. Any idea who these guys might be?”

 [Not yet though I will have someone check the list of known units on Centarus and get that information to you…] Roy said. [These guys chose the wrong people to stab in the back, Word assistance or no…]

Eric smiled. “And this unit chose the wrong place to go solo. Most of our experiments are ready for live testing…”

A chuckle. [Nice of them to volunteer for you, Eric] Roy laughed. [I will see what can get sent out your way if you think you’ll need it fast.]

 Eric shook his head. “Right now, I think we have what we need… though I may need some additional security troops.  I only have about sixty combatants here not counting staff and prisoners use up human assets. What other people are here are not exactly all soldier types. Backwoods Militia sorts, sure… but I think we need regulars.”

 [Noted… and I will see who we can shake loose. Should have an answer in an hour or two- most of the initial engagements ongoing are slowing down and assets can be allocated better,] Roy answered. [It’s mostly been battle mech fights; infantry has been playing clean up and securing specific areas.]

A nod. “About what I figured…  We’ll manage for a few days, I think. But sooner I know if I have additional forces coming, the better.”

 [Will do, Eric.] Roy said. [When the situation irons out here, I or Diane will contact you.]

“Ok.  I’ll be waiting…” Eric answered. “This attack took some balls…”

[It did… and Diane is looking to cut more than few off right now.  Updates soon. Forbes clear.]

“Testudo clear.”

Legends and Myths Eighty Two- The Storm: Welcome to the Shire

 As the assaults were ongoing over on the populated side of the world, the areas on the far side, collectively known as the lands of Tolkien, named after a famous writer of 20th Century Earth by the original settlers, was largely left alone.

 As one of founding settlers had put it, “These lands seem to be similar in scope to the places in those books; the continent even looks like the map of those places- though more trees. Be a shame to wreck them…” It was this sentiment that partly kept everything localized to the five continents most of the population was in currently. That and the need for easy access to the primary sites used for landing for equipment or normal needs.

 As such, the areas of Tolkien stayed predominately pristine.  More than a few small settlements were to be had out here over the centuries- though most of them remained small and low impact. There was no civilian industry other than Tourism to speak of out here either; the founding fathers electing to keep such on the continents of Cromwell, Forbes and Johnson, with Ashton serving as the resource hub, rich as it was in minerals and ores. That said, anything needed for construction was taken from one area nicknamed Mordor, for the stone here was dark and foreboding… even the control tower for the shuttles moving ores from here was stylized as if from the books.

  All major industry that left scars upon the land became localized to this area.  Doing so helped keep the rest of the continent clean of pollution and remaining as natural as possible.  Despite the dirty industry that covered the area known as Mordor, efforts were made to mitigate as much as possible.  These efforts were successful in the long run- despite the dingy dark appearance of the area, it was no more polluted than anything on Cromwell or Ashton.  You could live there… though as dingy as it was, why would you…

 All in all, this side of the planet was under-populated, with at most ten thousand people spread throughout the continent; in the almost three hundred years since planetfall, it remained that way. This was not to say that the planetary rulers didn’t use anything over here. On the contrary, there was many labs and research facilities located in the various places out here. Many of them dealt with electronics or refinement of various systems used in civilian or military gear.  Most of the sites entered and exited mothball status over the years, as the various companies required their use.

 One site was one long associated with the military side of things.  Testudo Base, a mixed training and research complex, sat in a low hills region of the continent labeled the Shire and it was a site that specialized in the research of battlefield electronics.  Given that the Lancers had long been able to maintain their command computers and comms gear, special attention had been given to manage their refinement and when possible, expand their utility.

  A secondary role of the facility was the refinement of recon drones, remote systems and battle armor.  Much of the observation equipment used in the various training ranges got it start here as a concept and experimented with before seeing deployment at them or on a mission off world.

 The Battle Armor Testing Facility was a newer portion of the facility with its activation just after the Jihad concluded. Since that time, it had seen quite a bit of use, with testing of light power armor such as the Nighthawk suits of the Blood Spirits tactical teams and the recent acquisition of several Clan elemental suits from the Trial last year, claimed as salvage.  The Lancers had several of the older suits from missions years past but with some of the advances in Clan technology, these newer examples were being dismantled for inspection and potential lessons for refining existing suits.

 The Complex, being as unobtrusive as it was, was not heavily guarded with battlemechs. Indeed, the head of the facility was not a fan of those machines and preferred regular armor units or battle armor as defensive means. Between the electronics available to him at the facility, the utility of all the various units of powered armor for security troops and the easy obscurement of the armored company stationed here, it was felt there was plenty of defenses should anyone come calling. It also helped that many a Special Operations detachment trained out here, and at any given time, there was four of them doing something.

 Anything Battlemech related that attacked here would regret it, or so the facility commander had assured Colonel Tinney when assuming command.  Between harassment by the complex’s multiple battle armor teams plus the extensive drone systems assigned here, anyone stupid enough to come assaulting wouldn’t last long.

 Besides, assigning battlemechs here made the place a bigger target than it needed to be.

Testudo Complex operations
The Shire, continent of Tolkien
0350 Local time 08 December 3080 (1550 Landing time 07 December)

 Chief Warrant Officer Five Eric Harvie woke with a startled jump by the base alarms. “Goddamnit…” he swore as he looked at the clock on the wall. “You’d think they’d have a drill during the damn day?” Getting up, he hit his communication button on the night stand as he also turned on a light. “Harvie to operations…”

Within a second, the voice of his son Justin was heard. [Dad, this isn’t a drill,] The calm laid back attitude of Chief Warrant Officer Three Justin Harvie belied the seriousness of what was happening elsewhere. [The system is under attack and Governor Sodher-Schaller has declared an alert planet wide.] Justin was obviously in early or just hadn’t gone to bed yet.  Either was likely with his son…

Pausing as he was pulling on pants, Eric questioned his son. “Sodher-Schaller? Where’s Tinney or McCormack?”

 [Uncle John left with Khan Hollister for the reclamation mission to Barbados a few months ago and Leslie should be on Alshain by now as a guest of the Ghost Bears.] Justin replied. [This is why he missed the fishing trip two months ago… or don’t you remember?]

 Eric could hear the half smile in his son’s voice, the question being a gentle chiding over his habit of losing track of the universe when neck-deep in a project. “Yeah yeah… I remember. I think… Never mind,” He replied to his son. “Who’d being stupid enough to attack us through a warship fleet?” He at least remembered the Star League era warships that had come with the Wolverines last year. And how could he forget those…

 If there was one thing he shared as an interest with Lieutenant Colonel McCormack, it was a love of old military things. The deep detailed tour she had scored for him of their Texas class for his birthday was the best gift he ever gotten from anyone.

[Apparently the Word of Blake is….] His son replied. [And they have brought warships of their own.  They are apparently getting help from assets on planet currently. Apparently, there was enough deep cover agents to blow up the HPG station over in Kensington Park.]

 Eric stopped dead as he pulled on his boots. “What?”

 [Dad…. I wish I was wrong.]

 A sigh. “Ok, let Auburn Command know we are awake over here; I’ll be over in a bit.” He said. “Anything coming our way?”

[No one sees anything just yet but who knows?] Justin replied. [Lieutenant Montgomery thinks there was something that landed over near Lune Gulf. Auburn Command thinks it might be a unit that was already here. Something infantry based…. They are working on it.]

 Eric, for the first time since he was woken up with the alarms, smiled. “Oh this is not going to be good if they did… for whoever it is.” He said. “See you in three minutes.”

[Ok dad…] Justin said and ended the call.


 Some five minutes later, Eric entered the operations center for the complex and looked at the holographic displays on the far side of the room.  Unlike the main operations center over on the main continent, this center had several systems they didn’t. Given free reign to customize and optimize this place, Eric had worked with his son to update everything in this facility.

  High-end computers, holographic displays of various sizes… a number of the holographic systems were of the sort one found on Star League ships and in some of the old facilities discovered on the planet.  All of what was here was reverse engineered by himself and Eric was rather proud of the results.  That they were now being tested by an invasion… well, he was about to see how well they worked in a real situation. He had updated some of Auburn Command Center systems last year and he was sure they were working just fine. But he had the full suite here… and as near as he could tell looking around the Ops Room, every single system was working just fine.

  Looking over to his son, Eric walked over next to him and held out a hand.  Justin deposited a data pad into it.

 “Ok dad… we are seeing the same data Auburn is in real time…” Justin explained. “Just as you modeled it, everything seems to be working as it should.  Forbes Center just went online; we don’t have the same feeds from there but as long as Auburn is operational, we got it.”

 Eric looked at the data pad then around at the screens. “This is good,” he replied. “Anything on that blip?”

 Justin looked over to his right and lifted a hand control.  Clicking a button, one of the displays changed to show a representation of the Gulf of Lune.  On it, a series of dots with labels appeared. “A dropship landed on the coastal plain there about a minute ago… It isn’t ours or anyone claiming to be allied.” He said. “I requested a proper satellite pass… and I sent a drone to go look.”

 “Any idea who?”


 Eric pondered on a course of action…. And decided on one. “Ok… who can we get out there? I would like some eyes on the ground looking.” He asked

 Justin looked at one of the other screens and pointed. “First and Seventh Operational Detachments and Squad Orange of the Canis Pugnax with their Rottweiler suits… call it an hour?”

Eric nodded. “Do it… The faster we know what they have shown up with, the more we can do something about it. I don’t expect much help from Auburn; judging by that display, they have enough problems…” He said as he pointed at a holographic display showing the situation on the other side of the planet. “If the unannounced guests are infantry based, we can deal with it on our own.”