Legends and Myths Ninety One- The Storm: Old feuds and mind games

Kincade Medical Center Village of Kincade

235km east of Zathras

1230hrs 9 December 3080

  Kincade was a town along the major East West highway that transited the continent of Cromwell. While it wasn’t the bustling city that Landing is, it also was not the picturesque village that Zathras was. So it had some of most anything you would expect in a small town. Among its anemities was a medical center.

 Not the biggest one, it was able to handle most any medical emergencies one would expect to have. This included such things as trauma- there was farm communities out here and sometimes bad accidents happened.  It wasn’t really a combat hospital but with its capacity to handle major incidents, it became the nearest facility to send combat injured.

 With the mostly mech fighting on this front, there thankfully hadn’t been much need. But even the pilots of those machines could get injured, and it was here any such casualties were brought.  This included enemy ones… and it was where the injured Gordon Dragoons wound up- very much under guard.


 Color Sergeant Hannah Gordon woke up with a groggy start and looked around. Where am I? she asked herself as she tried to recall the last few hours and noted her bandaged head along with her splinted arm. Her ribs hurt like hell too and she noted that she had a bandage wrapped around her ribcage, which a dressing placed on her flank where it hurt the most. It’s a hospital… and the last I remember was Lancer battle ar- ah shit. Realization hit her as her wits fully returned.  I’m in a Lancer Medical Center…. And a prisoner. Great…

 Entering the room, a technician spoke out. “Good afternoon, Miss Gordon,” the male technician said as they approached the monitors. Behind him, a female infantry soldier entered and took up position to the side of the doorway. “Welcome back to the land of the awake. How are you feeling?”

 Hannah eyeballed the technician. “Gordon, Hannah A; Color Sergeant, Gordon’s Dragoons… Serial number 3152996…” was her reply.

 The technician nodded as he checked the screen and then lifted a pad to make notes. “Duly noted, Miss Gordon. I see you are also alert to the fact you are not among your own… which means no apparent lasting issues from your injuries. There was a concern when you passed out as you were captured.”

 Hannah continued to watch the actions of the technician as she repeated her identity. “Gordon, Hannah A; Color Sergeant, Gordon’s Dragoons. Serial number 3152996…”

 The tech looked over at her and gave a slight smile. “Miss Gordon, while you are a prisoner, you are entitled to certain rights as enumerated under the Ares Conventions. As such, you are entitled to medical care on a level commensurate to what we give our own. Questions about your well-being are part and parcel to ensuring we are giving appropriate care,” He paused. “So those sorts of questions are NOT part of an interrogation for intel. That stuff we leave to spooks after you are well enough for a detention center.”

 “And even then, we don’t torture prisoners,” From the entrance to the room, a dark-skinned male officer in fatigues entered along with a female member of Comstar. “Unless you count constant Musak being played at all hours of the day. Then maybe it might be. Though I’m told highlanders self-torture with their choice of musical instruments so I’m not certain it would work anyway. Because bagpipes…”

 Hannah actually chuckled slightly. “Ach ye heathens…” slipped out before she clamped her mouth shut.

 The officer nodded. “Now that’s a reaction I expected from a proper child of Northwind…” He observed then continued after a moment. “My name is Major James Payne, Phoenix Lancers and this is Demi-Precentor Julia Styles from the MRBC office here on Centarus. Despite your unit’s discovered association with the Word of Blake and its soon to be Wanted Rating, you are being accorded rights as a captured Mercenary under the employ of an Enemy Nation-State…. Up until your Unit’s status officially changes, at the very least.”

 Hannah pondered this information. “And what happens when th’ Dragoon’s status changes?” She asked. “And when?”

 The two officials looked at each other then back at her. “At that point in time, your status will change to that of captured criminal at which point the Lancers collect a bounty for you while you sit in a prison cell… and then you will be shipped back to Northwind,” Demi-Precentor Styles answered. “What they will do with you is up to the government of Northwind. Considering what they have experienced at the hands of The Word, I do not expect you to be well received… or treated kindly. As to when the status update that will be once secure communications is restored with one of the satellite offices. Within a few days, I suspect.”

 Payne added. “Until such time, as I said, you will be accorded status of captured mercenary with the ability to renounce your affiliation and seek employment elsewhere. Granted, your choices will be limited due to associations once word gets out about the Dragoons but not everywhere- even we have former Clan warriors among us.”

 He paused as he laid a small sheaf of papers on a mobile table within her reach. “Something to consider while you heal up, at least. I or another will be back later on this evening or tomorrow for a proper processing, seeing how you only just woke up.”

 Styles smiled. “Indeed. You have quite a bit to think about and should I see you in a few days, I will discuss repatriation to Northwind then.” Looking over to Payne, she asked. “Anything else, Major?”

 “No, I think not.” He answered. “If you will pardon us, we have a few others to speak with about their status yet. Quite a few were recovered and are also in this facility being tended to. Good afternoon.”

 The two officers departed then, leaving Hannah in the stunned silence she had descended to after being given the news.  The Dragoon mechwarrior was aware of the fate of those deemed Traitor to Northwind and to the people of it; she had grown up on stories of the Covenanters, their resistance to Amaris’s forces during the Coup… and tales of the fierce independent streak every scion of the world had. Among those tales was stories on the fates of those who had betrayed the world.

 It occurred to her right then that what her Uncle had done was condemn them all… and she was not sure he understood this. But she most certainly did. Oh, she most certainly did… and the likely outcome chilled her to her core.

The tech had left along with the two officers and the trooper had stepped out when they did, which left her alone with her thoughts. And Hannah’s thoughts were a swirl.  It was then she noticed the folded papers on the table.  Stretching out with her good hand, she managed to grab the end of the table and pull it closer. Once it was more within reach, she snagged the documents that were on it and pulled them to her lap.  Opening it up, she looked at the contents and just stared at the words on the top of the various documents.

Application for Employment- Phoenix Lancers and requirements were one part of the pile. The other was a Centarus Application for Residency. Looking through it, she noted a part of the applications that indicated potential sponsorship. Apparently, such things helped with gaining citizenship here as well as membership within the Lancers…. And the sponsorship block on both had a name in it.

 The name listed was that of a Major Sean Farquharson… the commander of the Lancer force they had faced.  I am being given an out, she thought as she read through the documents. This has GOT to be some sort of joke…

Eastern Central Divide

71 Kilometers east of Zathras

 Sean stood in the ad-hoc command center set up in the barn of a local farm. The building, part of one of the myriad of horse farms and plantations on this side of the Divide had become a staging point for the push west. After the initial battles of the day before, the Lancers had kept up a general pursuit and push, using careful advance and recon to keep the line moving.

 As suspected, the Word’s Allied Forces didn’t have a large presence or any sort of real reserve out here. And with the various raids taking out supply points and their staging areas, the assets arrayed against the Lancer Counterattack were having to fall back far faster than they would like. This suited him just fine, as it allowed the tech boys to get his stuff repaired and rearmed as needed for the continued offensive. Besides, there was still a Gordon force to bring down and he wanted to be the one to do it.

 While he trusted the acting leader for Alpha Company First Battalion, Captain Jess Knox was not a skirmisher sort of commander. She was just as much a stubborn bloodhound as her commander though… and if those Gordon survivors were going to be caught, she’d get them. But he secretly hoped she wouldn’t catch them because, well, they were Gordons.

 At least with her chasing them, it allowed his company to pursue as a supporting force… and respond as needed even as the badly damaged mechs were cycled forward as they were repaired.  And it was here in the temporary command post that word caught up to him about what was going on back in Kincade.

 “Major,” a Coms Tech called to him.

 “Aye?” he responded from the map table he was standing at.

 “Vid message…” the tech replied. “Routing it to the tablet next to you.”

 Sean nodded and lifted the tablet as the icon flashed for the incoming message. Tapping it, he waited for it to open up. “Farquharson…”

 [Major, James Payne,] the face within the video was that of Major Payne. [Subject is awake and your suggestion is being tried.]

 A smile. “Ah good… We will see if the wee lass is as diehard as the commander o’ th’ Gordons be..” He said. “There be nae reason tae see a young’n be condemned… even a blasted Gordon.”

A nod. [Agreed. I thought about some of your possible reasons for this… and I suspect I know at least one.]

“Do tell…”

 [If you turn her, its insult to injury, isn’t it?]

 An evil smile. “Aye… tha’ be the crux of it.” Was his reply. “If’n she can be turned and by me, with your support for the idea, of course…  it is the bigger insult to the bastard then just capturin’ her or beat’n him. Falling in battle is one thing… but being killed by Kin for th’ dumb decision of her commander is a waste…

 Buck stops wi’ leadership and even if’n the Head Gordon gets caught alive enough tae be tried… I know th’ price she would pay being sent tae Northwind wi’ him,” He paused. “Thair be no honor in tha’ death. None.”

[Honorable action, Major,] Payne said. [Even in a classic highlands clan… disagreement.]

“Aye that. She is still a Highlander, lad… Despite her bein’ on th’ wrong side, she’s still a Child of Northwind. And much like th’ colonel, I cannae kill in cold blood unless they deserve it. Thae feud does need tae end sooner or later. May as well start wi’ her.”

 [Noted.] Payne commented. [And if she has information, she might trade it for something.]

 “Maybe, though I dinnae think she has verra much. Time will tell… Ri’ now, I’m counting on her being pragmatic and seein’ what options she has. Or dinnae have, as case be.”

[Understood and solid reasons, Major.] Payne replied. [I’ll keep you posted.]

“Good.  Farquharson out.”

Legends and Myths Ninety- The Storm: The Die is Cast (Khon Kaen enters the fray)

(Admin note- this is another chapter from our guest author as the wargaming portion begins again after a hiatus of weather and health (rona and heart attack) issues in the household delayed everything. Enjoy the story!)

0631hrs, 13 December 3080

Fortress Class Dropship “Armageddon”

Entering Centarus on orbital landfall approach

 All personnel were in landing positions when the Fortress class dropship began to enter the upper atmosphere. Circling the planet in a hi-gee orbit, the Overlord class dropship Apocalypse would follow a short time behind. the plan was simple, the fortress would make landfall with the Regimental Command Company, the Command Lance of the battlemech battalion and the armor and mechanized infantry of the 10th Close Group. Landing with them would be the 861st Fire Support Cohort in the Lion Class Dropship Tantalus.

 The Overlord Class Pocket Warship “Valhalla” would remain in space with the 332nd Fighter Squadron as an overwatch, its weapons and fighters ready to cripple a blockade runner and its platoon of battle armored marines ready to board and take control of the vessel afterward. After making the high-speed orbit the “Apocalypse” would the join the other dropships at the predesignated drop zone and offload of first and second companies of the 112th Heavy Cavalry Battalion. Before landing however, there would be a low altitude combat drop of the battlemech assets of the 10th Close Assault Group while the 99th Pursuit Squadron kept the airspace clear from air to ground attacks.

 Timing was important, at low altitude the drop time would be approximately 30 seconds. The Assets from the Armageddon had to be in place and attacking as the drop was taking place. The 10th would make the attack while the Regimental Headquarters Company and the XO’s Command Lance would standby as a reserve force added only if needed firepower was needed.

 If all went according to plan the rest of the Legion would move in and secure the Spaceport, setting up a perimeter to defend against counterattack. and hold until relieved by Centarus forces. [Commander,] the voice coming into the earphones of his neuro-helmet caught him by surprise.

 “Yes Captain,” Pryme replied,

 Hauptmann Valerie Barr responded [We will be entering the upper atmosphere in three minutes. Touchdown on drop zone will be seven minutes after. I have received the Go signal from the 99th Pursuit Commander. His squadron has already entered the atmosphere and has done several flyovers of our landing zone. His squadron is now flying patrol circuits in the area.]

 Pryme thanked the Captain and punched in the standby code to all units. Once on the Ground his unit had to get moving. He opened up a private channel, “Lori, once we get into range you take the left flank, I’ll take the right the heavy recon lance will escort the Armor to their attack point and get rid of any scout teams that try to delay them. First and Second company will stay with the 861st and secure our drop zone perimeter.” He said as he checked his boards one last time.

 “The Grey Bolts have no artillery assets but if they do, then all units will begin movement to contact missions with the rallying point being the Spaceport. All grounded dropships will launch and maintain a low elliptical orbit in case we need to withdraw. When, and I say when… we take the Spaceport, our ships will make landfall, then we go for the dropships.”

[Understood, Kommandant] Was Lori’s business-like reply.

 Hauptman-Kommandant Pryme thought of an unusual phrase as they began to enter the upper atmosphere. As Julius Caesar was deciding whether to take his legions across the Rubicon River into Rome he noticed several men gambling near the bank. What he said to his commanders was, “The die is cast”.

Dropship “Apocalypse” 

Orbiting Centurus

 Hauptmann Andrew Garland had his mechwarriors mount their battlemechs early to check and recheck their machines. Each battlemech was jump capable, but as an extra safeguard external jump packs were attached. Though normally used specifically on non-jump capable during a combat drop, his company used them as the primary drop system and their own jump jets as a backup system. in his cockpit was an additional panel containing a lighting system keeping him informed of the jump status his entire company. From this control panel he could down check and remove any of his company from the drop procedures.

 Nicknamed the “Christmas Tree”, the green, blue, yellow and red lights strips gave him information on mech status, jump pack, drogue chute, and each mechs shipboard drop equipment status. Each mechwarrior had long since made an external check with their tech crew and taken care of any deficiencies. Each on was now strapped in their cockpit, running systems checks of their battlemechs being double checked by their lance commanders and the being reported to him. The panel let him know in advance what they were telling him, but he let lance commander command and simply observed. Meanwhile he reviewed the last satellite and drone overflight images of the drop zone.

 Spread across the spaceport were about a company of Heavy mechs with a few mediums thrown in and a company’s worth of armor (heavies and mediums) with a lance of hover tanks. Not insubstantial.

 His company consisted of two lances of VTR 10D Victor battlemechs.  Armed with a class 20 ultra-cannon, two extended range medium lasers and a Streak 4 missile rack, they were perfect for the type of fighting his company did. Every mech company modifies old mech to fit their need and his company was no exception. His third lance consisted of four modified VTR 9B Victors that were changed to deal with vehicles, battlearmor and infantry.

 Listed as the VTR A1c, the changes added enhanced its profile. Leaving the standard engine in left plenty of room for modifications. First, five heatsinks were removed and the rest are upgraded with double heatsinks. A class 20 LBX autocannon replaced to Pontiac 100 normally found on the Victor B and an extra ton of ammo was added. This gave the battlemech the ability to fire as a standard autocannon as well as cluster rounds. The two medium lasers are now upgraded to extended range versions. The Holly Short Range 4 missile rack was left in, but the abundant space and the extra tonnage allowed for several new weapons systems to be added.

 Each leg now contained an anti-battlearmor pod [B-pod], the left torso has a flamer to contend with conventional infantry and two clan antipersonnel gauss rifles with a ton of ammunition to attack battlearmor. Doing this allowed the four Victors to be modified without removing the armor needed for protection from other battlemechs.

 His company had one specialty: combat drops, either to seize and hold a specific objective or to be a reaction force to provide immediate reinforcements. During operations where combat drops are not warranted his unit acts as either a reserve force to exploit breaches in the enemy lines to shore up friendly lines as well being used as a flanking unit. Garland spent his time going over plans and contingencies, observing his mechwarriors and occasionally offering a word of encouragement or advice, just enough to let them know that the “Old Man” was there. Soon this dropship would begin its burn for the surface, dropping him and his company over their drop zone. He took one more look at the ready board which showed all telltales green and then he relaxed in his command couch and waited for the drop alert klaxons.

Fortress Class Dropship “Armageddon”

Lion Class Dropship “Tantalus”

Landing Zone Alpha, Centarus

 Reentry and landing went without incident and both dropships offloading their charges, The 861st was moving to setup a defensive perimeter around the dropships while the Regimental Headquarters Company, the Xo’s Command Lance and the rest of the Close Assault Group moved to a rally point just outside the perimeter before they would begin movement towards the spaceport.

 The Regimental Headquarters Company consisted of a Headquarters Lance with his ZEU 11S “Zeus”, a Star League era VNT 1A Ventilator, a ZEU 9S Zeus and a Victor modified to the specifications an alleged VTR 9K2 model that had been terrorizing the Taurian Concordiat. His Heavy Recon Lance consisted of four CGR 1L “Chargers” remodified to fit their new role. The large 8cm Laser and two medium 5cm lasers were removed. Double Heatsinks replaced the standard ones.

 Taking a cue from the Victor in the Headquarters Lance, each has a Supercharger installed. The chassis had long been replaced by an endo-steel one. The new weapons loadout is now a set of clan medium lasers. A clan heavy medium laser in the right and left torso, a clan extended range medium range laser in the right arm and a clan medium pulse laser in the center torso. The rest of the excess tonnage is used to replace most of the armor removed by the Capellans.

 The battlemechs are now more effective as pathfinder and scout hunters. The Scout Platoon is made up of odd combination of modified tracks to fit the need and older scout battle armor. Like most of the modified equipment in the Legion, the vehicles are rebuilt from battlefield salvage.

 The Hi-Scout II is a perfect example. Built from the salvage of a Hi-Scout and a Devastator class Demolisher, the Hi-Scout II is a scout command center. The 8o ton vehicle now uses a standard 320 fusion engine giving it a top getaway speed of 61 Km/Hr. The Sure Shot II Short Range Missile system has been replaced by a five shot multi-missile system, a Guardian ECM Suite has been added to help conceal the lightly armed vehicle. The remote drones are still carried, two Napfind hover drones and three Pathtrack tracked drones. The rest of the storage space is divided into 5 and a half tons of sensor and Communications Equipment and a specially built battlearmor bay for a squad of six Infiltrator Mk I scout suits. With only the original Hi-Scout’s five and a half tons of armor, this vehicle will “scoot” rather than “shoot”.

 The escort vehicles consist of two salvaged Partisans rebuilt and rearmed. Six Light class 5 autocannons are now in the turret along with two clan antipersonnel gauss rifles and a pair of Anti-Battlemech Pods [M-Pod]. The direct fire weapons are all linked to an inner sphere targeting computer. The Scout Platoon had already moved out using its drone to search the route ahead. Anything that seemed suspicious was given an “Eyes On” investigation by the Infiltrator squad, operating in teams of three.

 Following closely behind was the Heavy Recon Lance, ready to surge forward and deal with any enemy recon units. Kommandant Spector’s Command Lance consisted of two VTR 10L Liao stealth Victors and an RFL 3N-2 Rifleman-II an eighty-ton variant carrying a Beagle Probe and armed with two class 10 LBX cannons, two 9cm large pulse lasers and two standard 5cm medium lasers. The Kommandant’s mech, captured during a raid on Solaris VII during the Jihad is a custom build. Designated the BLZ 1X Blazer, it still resembled the old 3025 Battlemaster from which is probably built. Sheathed in almost twelve tons of standard armor, the Blazer is not an easy kill. The weapons though are rather mundane, a binary laser in the right arm, a clan short range streak six rack and four inner sphere medium lasers, two each in the right and left torso.

 With only thirteen double heat sinks to control heat dissipation, the Blazer can run hot during prolonged combat. But it’s the electronics that make this mech a bit of a marvel. Inside this machine is a supercharger, a targeting computer, a laser ant-missile system and an Angel Electronic Countermeasures Suite. With all units out of their dropships and the defensive perimeter set, Pryme and Spector’s lances moved out last, trailing behind and to the outside flanks of the rest of their contingent.

Centarus, One kilometer from spaceport

The scout platoon and the heavy recon lance moved to the forward edge of the final line of departure. Heavy recon stood overwatch while the scout platoon used drones and scout battlearmor to gather information on the range of the enemy sensor net. Inside the defensive perimeter of the attack force heavy armor moved into position to start the assault. Eight “Devastator class Demolisher tanks, four Rhinos and four other legion modified armored vehicles moved into position. Pryme and Spector’s lances slowly moved into flanking positions being careful to stay outside of the spaceports sensor grid. Once in position, everyone waited. for the signal to begin the attack.

Dropship Apocalypse

Centarus, in orbital reentry flight, high altitude

Hauptmann Andrew Garland took deep breaths as the g-forces lessen from the high-speed reentry. The Hi-Gee orbital burn hadn’t been as bad as he thought it would be. Kaptain Bell had cut his thrusters and entered the atmosphere early tis would put them across the drop zone for a quick pass limiting the time the dropship could be in antiaircraft range. After the deep zone pass making a intense controlled burn will bring the ship into the landing zone.

 As they ran in, Kaptain Bell had piped the comms into his net so he could listen in as the Apocalypse made contact with ground forces. [Legion One, Legion One this is Apocalypse enroute, ETA five minutes to drop zone.]

 A second later came the reply. [Apocalypse this is Legion Actual; drop is a go I say again drop is a go, Drop the Hammer.]

 Garland replied, “This is Hammer Command, received”. Garland got off the command channel and went to the company wide band. “All Hammers, drop is a go, 5 minutes; Get ready”.

In the sky above, an Overlord Dropship was flying in, a fiery tail from the tail section as the fusion drive slowed its descent. The dropship was canted sixty degrees from the horizon, falling tail first across the sky.

 Garland began the jump sequence, “Three minutes, check systems.” At this point he took the time to double check his mechs systems. Satisfied that All systems were Green, he continued the continued the sequence. “Sound off on systems check!”

 It was more tradition than a requirement both the Loadmaster and he had panels and could see any problem and down check any mech that had systems problem. The sound off began.

 “Twelve OK!”, Eleven OK!”, Ten OK!”, Nine OK!” and down the line until he heard, “Two OK!”. Then it was his Turn. ”One OK, All OK Loadmaster!”

 The Load master now took over, calling out “One minute!”

 Garland could feel the dropship shifting for the drop. With a silent prayer, the commander pulled the seatbelts tight as a last second check.

The upper retros fired, and the Overlord shifted its sixty degree cant to a thirty degree cant in the opposite direction. During the shift the main engines during the shift flared briefly to full power before going to a minimum power glow and then nine thousand plus tons of dropship seemed to glide across the sky. As the dropship shifted, six giant doors opened.

 From his position at the Jump chute, Garland could see the light as the giant Hanger door opened. They could all hear the roar of the atmosphere beating against the hull of the dropship and roared into the mechbay. Then the Loadmaster called out “Thirty seconds, Stand By!!”

Armor forces on the ground had already begun their movement to contact; Kaptain Alicia Bailey could see the towers of the taller buildings. In another thirty seconds she would be at the far end of the tarmac. Even the Kaptain couldn’t see enemy forces; the sensor system in her Devastator was already marking bogies as possible targets in her heads-up display. The first line of tanks reached the tarmac and the clusters of enemy battlemechs, and tanks were now in view. The HUDs of the Legion tanks were loading with hostile icons and the target lock alarms were screaming in the ears of the crews. ”This is Bailey to all crews, engage!”

The Loadmaster gave his final command. “Go!” Hauptmann Garland felt as if his stomach leapt into his throat and then drop to his abdomen as he was first ejected from the dropship and then had his mech pulled into the upright position by the static line drogue parachute. The parachute did little to slow his descent but kept him from tumbling and held his mech in in the proper landing position. The timer was on, twenty seconds until he released the parachute and activated the jump packs and thirty seconds until he reached the ground… One way or the other.

Anyone looking up would have seen a dropship streak by. As it passed overhead before once again stood on a tail of fire it disgorged twelve objects All falling in the direction of the small spaceport. On the ground a reinforced company of armor was deploying on the tarmac, being met by a combination of battlemechs and armor ……

 The die has been cast.

Legends and Myths Eighty nine- the Storm: Shire Eight

In the Air above the continent of Tolkien

0541 hrs local, 10 December 3080

 The Phoenix Lancer Condor dropship streaked through the high atmosphere on its way to the Drop Zone over Testudo.  The plan as hatched by the Airborne troop commander and his command group was a modification of the original plan.  The original mission was to head to the village of Bree, land, then head to the captured base in order to root out the invaders.  Two battlemechs, laid out on rollers in the cargo bays, were set to be rolled off and configured to join a ground offensive.

 However, they were also configured for airdrop, big heavy cargo chutes able to allow the machines to land and get in the fight with minimal assistance.  And it was this fact that gave the troop commander the notion that a Combat Drop was the way to go.  And so, the command group met in the few minutes before they were to drop to go over plans….


 Major Robert Taylor, acting commander of Charlie Company, Third Battalion of the 173rd Airborne of the Phoenix Lancers, looked at the datapad with the map of the area one more time before looking up at his platoon leaders. “Ok… so that’s the plan- we drop in around the base and work our way to the center. The base personnel gave us some solid intel on their gear and while we are a little light on anti-armor, what they have we should be able to handle.”

  The platoon leaders all nodded as they looked over their own datapads.  Off to the side, the company senior NCO and brother to the Major, coughed once. “Not for nothing, Major… but you sure this is the way to go?” Sergeant-Major Dwayne (Hightower) Taylor, grumbled from where he sat. “A reinforced Airborne Company against a dozen tracks and a hundred troops is not exactly an easy fight. Even with that damn clan machine…” What he referred to would be the repurposed clan Piranha they carried on the rollers. The machine was a fast light battlemech and death to anything infantry with its twelve machineguns. The two Clan-spec ER Medium lasers were for things bigger and tougher than infantry, such as IFVs.

 Robert smiled. “I’m confident this will work… between it and the Mongoose with its equipment, we have the firepower to handle it.  Dropping in prevents them from being ready for us as they would be if we walked in.” the major laid his pad on the meeting table. “Yeah, it will be chaotic, what airborne operation isn’t… but WE know what we’re doing and what we’re facing. They don’t…” Looking around the space, he asked. “Anyone else?”

  No one else responded.  Robert nodded to them as much as himself and pronounced the pre-drop meeting over. ”Ok then… Back to your platoons. We are dropping in about ten.”

 As the leadership departed, Dwayne levered himself out of the seat he was in. At just a hair over seven foot, the powerfully built black man shook his head as his brother. “Bro… I don’t know, man.  I see what you see but I just don’t know…”

 Rob looked back at his brother. “Dwayne, I know what you’re thinking… and I am SURE this is the way to go.  Even light autocannon at range is dangerous to us and our mechs. If we are on top of them, it cancels range advantages… and increases us kicking them in the teeth.”

 Dwayne grinned in return. “Oh, I’m all about kicking them in the teeth.  But I don’t wanna get kicked in return if I can help it. And if someone didn’t say something, y’all would have worried like a bitch ten seconds before we dropped….”

 Rob punched his younger brother in the shoulder as they both left the space to gear up. “Shuuut up…” he mock scolded. “I’m gonna worry either way- but nice try.”

 The two brothers headed to the cargo bay to gear up for the drop.


Testudo Base environs

0601 hours 10 December

 The Immortals combat troops, having managed to use the tools of the base to fix some of their transports, used the downtime over the night to rest.  Colonel Spanac spent most of the night planning out what the next steps were.

  This base was a defensible position, with its bunkers and shelters; the defenders leaving food supplies and the like in their leaving. Had the original inhabitants had more troops and some heavier guns, his men might have not managed to take it. But take it they did- and Vanatov worked hard to find a way into what links were left. What he did get overnight wasn’t terribly much though.

 The connection to the master server was re-established but very little solid data was present. At least ninety percent of the server was plain trash. What wasn’t was nothing useful- unless you played a video game. Leftover saves for the latest version of Civilization (Civ 31) as well as what looked like a copy of the game itself. No technical data was present and the expected connections to the main Lancer systems were deactivated.

 He tried five times to reactivate them, rerouting through the handful of active drives and terminals… and every time, his security software was assaulted by remaining server defenses. After the fifth time nearly caused his own deck to become a brick, Vanatov stopped trying.

 He did manage to improve the connections to the Civilian Network and was able to give his commander a good picture of how the invasion was going. And that news… did not make him happy. At least with what was being reported.

 Needless to say, it had been a semi-sleepless night for the group command.  Spanac had napped some and was nursing a cup of coffee when word of the arrival of enemy forces came.

 “COLONEL!” A trooper came bursting into Operations. “Airborne troops are landing around the complex!” His exclamation was added to by other messages coming across the group comms as the landing forces began engaging his own.

 “Shit! Get everyone up and fighting,” He called to his exec, who jumped awake at the yelling. “Fucking Lancers are here sooner than expected!”


 Outside, the landing Lancer troops conducted their drop around the complex almost as if the impromptu drop had been planned out.  And coming in from as high as they had helped them avoid detection until landing.  And that was the key here.

  Sporadic fighting broke out as Immortal forces who caught sight of the landing Lancer troops engaged as they passed the word to Spanac.  The airborne infantry returned fire in earnest as they ditched chutes and married up with their platoons. As Major Taylor had surmised, their appearance had caused chaos… and in that chaos, it gave his troops time to orient themselves and press the attack.

  The Lancer forces had laned in a circle around the base as planned, the two light battlemechs landing about a kilometer away. And it was this envelopment that really caught the Immortals off guard.


 Spanac had Vanatov use the imagery they had of the base and put it on the screens. As reports of the three-sixty nature of the assault arrived, he realized how much they were caught in the middle of all this. “Christ on a crutch,” he cursed. “They can’t be everywhere…”

 The Exec, Josias Greene, a veteran former Marik trooper who been with him for years, spat some of the chew he’d been working on to the floor. “Anatoli… Its Airborne troops; they literally can be ANYwhere to include everywhere….” He replied. “They likely don’t have anything heavy though- we’d have seen it by now, I think.”

 Spanac looked at his Exec. “Well, as long as they don’t have anything that can pop an IFV, we should be ok.” As he reached for the comm unit to order the IFVs to move out against the ground troops, he noted a fast moving blip on the tactical screen Vanatov had up. “Sergi, what’s that?” he asked.

 Vanatov tapped quickly on his keyboard to query the IFF just as a communications tech called out. “Sir! Delta Two One is reporting battlemechs. Two machines, both light. One is a Mongoose, the other unknown.”

 Sergi added as he obtained an answer a second later. “The base sensor package indicates it’s a clan machine.  According to Jaynes, it’s a Piranha.

 Spanac cursed inwardly. He knew about that clan machine and how dangerous it was to EVERYTHING here.  Add in a Mongoose to support it and it spelled trouble. And a lot of it. “Damnit… who knew they had one of those? Alright… all vehicles need to hunt that thing.”


 Village of Bree


 Justin, with the help of Coins, had managed to remote into the surviving network and gain a video feed within Operations a few hours past.  When the attack began, he had his dad woken up and right now, the elder Harvie was present when news of the battlemechs was learned. Looking at his dad, he asked. “Do we mess with their systems and give Rob’s troops a leg up or do we watch?”

 Eric smiled. “My son…. If one has an advantage no one expects, use it.” He said. “Rob won’t ask for it but he damn sure won’t complain about it if we do it anyway. You sure you have a hook in that non-spec hacker deck you found?”

 A snort. “There is no hack-deck in this universe I can’t get into, Dad. Not when its on my network.”

 “Then do it,” he replied. “And tell them you are pulling their plug…”

 “With pleasure…”


 Sergi was in mid type when his keyboard stopped working and a message appeared on his screen in big bold letters….


 A giant laughing skull and crossbones appeared underneath the words, the skull stylized after the head of an Atlas.

 Sergi cursed as he pounded his keyboard attempting to regain control of his machine. After six seconds of trying (and failing), he pulled the hard-wire connection he had from his deck. “Fuck me!!” he exclaimed as the remaining active screens now all showed a laughing Atlas skull.

 Spanac spun and looked at his technician even as he saw the handful of active screens with the new imagery. “Sergi?!?” He queried as he took in the taunting pictures.

 “Whoever their hacker is, he’s fucking good, Colonel…” Vanatov said as he rebooted his deck, hoping like hell it wasn’t completely compromised. “He still has a connection somewhere here and got into my machine. I hope it isn’t dead.”



 Eric watched the video feed on his omni tool as Coins showed him which channel to activate and got a slightly dark laugh at the responses of the enemy in Operations. “Specialist Spades… have you raised the troops attacking the compound?”

 “I have, Chief…  Major Taylor, Third Battalion of the 173rd,” she replied. “I think I can raise them right now.”

 An evil smile. “Oh please do, Specialist. I know the Major and he’s gonna like this idea I have. Coins, see if you and Justin can set up a video line- I want to give these guys a message….”


Some fifteen minutes later, as Spanac watched his transports get whittled down by the two battlemechs working in tandem, one of the screens popped up with a new picture.  It showed the inside of what looked like a school-house.  Standing in the middle of the picture was a man with close cropped grey hair in Lancer combat fatigues, a stern look on his features as he stared out from the screen. “Who the fuck is that?” he wondered aloud.

  About five seconds later, the man on the screen spoke. [Attention Immortals Command… I strongly suggest you pay attention…]

 Spanac turned to face the screen properly and noted a slight smile on the man in the screen.  Vanatov, who had rebooted his deck, also watched the screen too from where he worked.

 [Ah good… Now that I have your undivided attention… I am going to strongly suggest you and your men stand down from this endeavor of yours…. And no one else has to get killed.]

 Spanac stared at the screen. “I don’t know who you are, buddy… but I doubt you can take us all out,” he muttered aloud.

 The person on the screen smiled even more. [I know you think we can’t take you all… but I assure you that we can and will knock you all out] He lifted a hand and pointed to someone off screen.

 Greene looked over at Spanac. “Colonel, I’m getting reports of Lancers masking up…”

 Spanac looked over at his exec. “Masks?” At the nod from Greene, he looked back at the screen. “Gassing us makes you no better than the Blakists!” He yelled to the man on the screen as vents quietly opened in the operations center.


 Eric chuckled at the accusation leveled at him from the Immortals commander. Off to the side, Justin and Coins gave him a thumbs up and then Eric spoke. “If it was nerve gas, I’d agree with you… but We don’t use such things.  Tear Gas, Sleep Gas…. Sure…. And we might.  Especially if it’s going to end this fight faster… and save some lives. Something they don’t care to do.”

 Justin and Coins had worked hard on the environmental controls. Getting the HVAC units to spew a mist wasn’t too hard- the firefighting nozzles could do that to fight any fires in the ducting. But getting the system to push that mist out into the room in a visible format was the challenge.  It was just going to be water… but what his dad was telling the Immortals… was that it was something else.  He looked at his father and gave him a thumbs up.  This trick, at least the technical part, was going to work.  But will the Immortals believe it?

 Eric coughed once as a subtle sell of what he was bluffing with. “Two choices, Colonel Anatoli Spanac….” He said as he identified the enemy commander by name. “Vacate the operations building and all other facilities in surrender or get ready to nap for a few as you get took. You have about a minute to-“


[- make that choice before it’s made for you.] he finished.  [Either way, I will be seeing you…]

  The others in the operations room started to notice the mist coming from the vents. Panic started to ensue as those without masks began to run for the doors as a mist began to fill the room. Spanac spun around and grabbing his rifle, he headed for a door as he coughed- the psychology of the threat already having an effect on the veteran soldier.

All over, various groups of Immortals had heard the threatened gassing as the base wide speakers had been activated remotely by Justin’s activities. Those in buildings also fled them in a panic- many of them not having proper masks with them or if they did, they were in bottom of gear bags as everyone knew the Lancers didn’t use gas.

 At least they thought this going into the operation.

As groups of troops ran from buildings, various squads of Lancers were waiting, already masked and weapons up.  Some of the running Immortals surrendered when confronted by the ready airborne troops. Some didn’t… and they paid for their decision.

Outside the immediate area of the base, the two battlemechs were inflicting major damage on the Immortals armored vehicles.  Clan-spec lasers tore armor from machines and the machine guns capitalized on the damage being inflicted.

 All of this got back to Spanac as he retreated from operations.  And as the reports came in, the commanding officer of the renegades weighed it all.  And the answer he was getting… just didn’t sit well with him.

 He never gambled when he wasn’t sure of the odds… at least until this operation.  And right now, this gamble was proving to have been a giant mistake. Tapping his comm unit to the battalion wide channel, he issued the commands no leader ever really wanted to do.

“Spanac to all Immortals…  Stand Down. I repeat, Stand down…” He sent. “They got us by the balls and I’m not about to lose more of you after a bad deal…  Stand Down.”

Legends and Myths Eighty Eight- The Storm: Shire seven

With the Immortals

1227hrs 09 December

 It had taken some doing but the smoke combined with the stepped up fire from available Immortals allowed Spanac and his men to get to the door and blow it open. Once breached, the troopers entered the entranceway and eventually made it into the tunnels it connected to.

 A few random exchanges of shots occurred as the Immortals worked to push defenders back and away from the breach.  And they were successful in doing so- as it was here the training the renegades had showed itself.

 A flashbang down the hall followed by a frag, the enemy troops moved down the tunnel.  Getting to the entryway that led to Central Ops, they paused to assess defenses. A trooper moved up with a small anti-armor rocket and after a fast conference on potential back blast, it was decided to use it on the reinforced hatch. In theory, it should do the job.



  Eric and his techs had relocated some of the chairs and the movable tables to areas near the escape tunnels to the Armor Bay and the north eastern residences by the drone garages. No one expected to defend the building for long but they would make it look good.

 Justin worked at a terminal near the exit, setting up kill codes for the primary servers and databanks. It was kind of a slash and burn defense but at least there was backups. One of the things he and his dad had done when creating this base was set up a remote backup of everything electronic. There were three of them- one here on the base under the facility cantina and the other two off site- One out in Mordor (there was a joke there somewhere) and the other actually in a building on Cromwell not far from the main Operations building. The scratch program being generated right now would scramble the mains and cut the facility backup from the network. Unless you knew where to go, physically accessing the Cantina site would be a royal bitch for anyone bigger than Coins.

 “…aaannnd done.” He muttered aloud. “Electronic lock set and Primaries set to scramble at command from you or me.” Justin picked up his rifle and moved towards the accessway selected to retreat from.

 Eric commented. “Good… if they are here for the data, they are going to be mad as hell.” Glancing up at the monitor screen that showed the hallway towards 11, he noted the anti-tank launcher about to be deployed. “Shit…. Everybody down!”

 Justin sprinted to cover as the doorway on the far side blew up. Spinning as he got to cover, he lifted up his rifle to aim in the direction the enemy was about to come from. He didn’t have long to wait.

 A pair of grenades bounced up into the main dais area and exploded, sending fragments everywhere.  Two seconds later, several Immortals scrambled through the hatch and up the short staircase into the central areas.  A few were hit by shots from the defenders and went down while others managed to gain cover and return fire.

 And the shooting was intense, at least from the defending personnel. While the technicians weren’t trained infantry, they could shoot and there was casualties among the invading enemy.  The damage wasn’t all one-sided by any means, as two of the Operations techs fell from wounds. Once of Kim’s security troops died to a head shot, which elicited a slight shocked yelp of fear from Coins.

 Spades pulled the trooper down from the firing point and practical-like, grabbed the man’s grenades.  She immediately pulled pins and gave them a toss in the direction of the attackers. As they exploded, she grinned slightly- the carnage being exciting to her.  Or the danger…. In either case, she was laughing as the explosion of curses from the other side told her the random tosses hurt someone.

 Eric lifted his SMG and blind-fired a few bursts. “Alright… Justin! Scramble the boxes and let’s get out of here.” He called out as he reloaded. “Also issue the bug-out orders; no need for anyone else to get killed if we can help it.”

 His son lifted his omni-tool and after activating the code, he confirmed the instructions were being carried out by the servers. “Dad!  Codes sent and successfully activated. In two minutes, they are big paperweights.” Justin called out. “Case Echo Evac orders sent….” Case Echo was a pre-set plan for defenders to make their best way to the Armor Bay if able or best means to escape the base and get east to the village of Bree.

 “Good… ok- everyone out of here… Sergeant Kim!”

 Charlie Kim, his shoulder bleeding from a hit taken a minute or so ago, pulled a flashbang of his own. “On it… Noisemaker deploying….” He said and lobbed the now active charge.

 Five seconds later, the disorientation device detonated.  The defenders, knowing it was coming, used the loud distraction to fall back.  Within fifteen seconds, everyone who could leave, did so.  Three defenders remained behind, their lifeless bodies being testament to the efforts to keep the Immortals out of operations….

 It would be a similar story throughout the base, as various bunkers fell silent and Immortals investigated, only the dead would be left to show anyone had been present.  The dead and empty casings or powerpacks, at least.


Testudo Base Operations


 Vanatov investigated every single remaining active terminal left in operations once the facility was secure.  As he finished up with the latest one, he turned to Spanac as the commander entered. “Colonel…. I have some bad fucking news….”

 Spanac looked at his electronics expert. “Can it be any worse than the state of our transports?” he asked.  The Immortals vehicles had taken a beating from the aerial drone defenses with ten of the vehicles being immobilize and the remaining four retaining some ability to move. That there was ability to use tools in the recently vacated Armor and repair bays was something.

 “Depends…” was the reply. “The Lancer techs scrambled their servers or at least the links; I can’t find an active connection to a databank ANYwhere… Granted, I’ve been using their consoles but it seems like whatever they were using to store data has been fried. System query has a connection to something but whatever it is, it’s indicating a ton of faults.” Sergi shook his head. “No connection to anything else in their networks at all, actually. I can get commercial Sat feeds- at least what ever hasn’t been dropped due to invasion but nothing within their network that isn’t Public Domain. And that’s a small stretch.”

“Fuck” Spanac cursed.

 “Sir….” The tech acknowledged. “I can try to brute-force the connection I do show here, but it will take a bit of time and my own deck to do it.”

 Spanac nodded. “Do it… we’re gonna be here a while; As long as we aren’t hit again in the next six hours, we should have more tracks up and running. Their repair garage is operational….”

 Sergi nodded. “Well… at least we got that. We gonna try and occupy here or go retake the drop ship?”

“I’m considering options, Sergi. Right now, those are among the choices,” The colonel replied. “I’ll have an answer sooner or later- hopefully sooner. This is already a bust…”

“That’s an understatement…”

Village of Bree Meeting House


 As the last of Testudo Base defenders arrived, Justin looked at his tally sheet and grimaced slightly. Of the base’s 50 permanent party personnel, 39 reported in as they arrived; the three suit teams all made it but some of them weren’t healthy.  Not as bad as it could have been but not exactly wanted either.  Turning towards the back of the village Meeting house, a large-ish rustic structure meant for annual holiday feasts, village social gathers or the occasional visit by the Governor on a tour.

 The role of Governor had fallen to his dad and for the life of him, Justin could not remember if his dad had even been here before. If he hadn’t, well, what a time to pay a visit.

 Walking up to where his father was in conference with his Uncle Stan, Justin waited for an opportunity to butt in.

 “… so we have a bunch of SUVs, a few motor cycles and a dozen carryalls?” Eric questioned Stan.

 “Yep,” Stan replied as he looked at a datapad. “A few personal VTOLs too. On the plus side, everyone has weapons and not just small arms. Half dozen manpack PPC and about the same in machine guns.”


 A shake of the head. “Better than what it could have been. At least the ODAs still have their weapons and the spare suits are out.”

 “Better than hoped, I guess. We never practiced the evac drills so….” Eric paused and looked at his son. “Yeah?”

  “Thirty-nine checked in,” Justin said. “That doesn’t include the special forces teams or battle armor squads but they aren’t normal residents. All suits are accounted for but will need refurb. The handful of injured are over at Doc McCoy’s clinic”

 Eric frowned at the news. “That’s shitty…” He said. “At least Doc McCoy is here and knows combat injury treatment… Yes, I do pay attention to who lives near us. You never know when a social or not so social call might be needed.” The older Harvie smiled at his son. “Now that we know, I need to update Auburn.

 Coins was nearby working on a portable terminal, a bandage on an arm from a round taken during the battle in Operations. “Chief… I will have this piece of-“ She slammed the table she was on, bouncing the terminal some. And the jarring seemed to stabilize. “-shit operational in a second…. There we go. Sorry took so long- I grabbed the older box when we left.”

 Eric smiled. “Don’t worry about it, Coins. You have it working and right now, that’s what matters.”  Stepping over to the terminal, he went about raising Auburn.


Some ten minutes later, Eric ended his conference with the main Lancer facility and sat back. “Well fuck…” he breathed. Turning to his son, he motioned him over along with Stan and Kim. “Ok… here’s the deal…

  “Counter offensives are ongoing; so far the counters are driving them back towards Zathras and there is a few missions planned to mess up the Word backfield assets.  We’ve been promised four squads of Battle Armor to bolster us and some Strikers; they should be out by the captured dropship by the morning… If possible, a few platoons of regular troops will be sent to us too here in Bree; provided the Immortals choose not to pursue.” Eric paused. “The reinforcements aren’t exactly what I would want but at least we are getting them AND we are getting supplies to re-equip. All things considered, it seems the Lancers got extremely lucky with all this… and while a side show, we’re doing well.”

 Justin pondered his father’s words. “What are the chances the Word take to their drop ships and try for out here? Easy to hide all sorts of troops if a chance is given. I mean, the Grey Mountains have tons of hidden passes to be unseen in.”

 Eric shrugged. “Beats me… but not my problem. At least not yet… right now, the bulk of things are over *there*… and we have our problem over *here*…” He paused. “And also right now, I think we need to see if we can spy on the unwanted guests back there.” As he got up, the elder harvie motioned to the terminal. “Justin- you, Coins and Spades work with this and what ever the pads and Omnis can do to try and get a camera or something operational remotely back at Testudo; I’m going to go do the leadership thing right now…”

 Coins looked at the Chief Warrant. “Leadership thing?”

 Lifting his submachine gun and slinging it, Eric answered. “Yep… time to go check on our people and reassure them that we ain’t beat yet. Good leadership is getting out of the office and getting involved instead of delegating everything. Even if it’s just showing my face, it will be a help…” Looking to Kim, he motioned him to lead the way. “Sergeant Kim, after you….”