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
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.]