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.”