The Badlands of Ashton
1051hrs 11 December 3080
Khalid sweltered within his cockpit, the heat exchanger overloaded from the waste heat of his weapons after their alpha discharge. The target of his fire was a Shen Dragon Catapult, the large support machine looming large in his sights and now, headless even as his own Black Knight began to rock from weapons strikes…
The leader of the Knights had led his warriors to this front looking to bring the Dragons to battle. It was both business and person- the personal being Sir Benjamin’s near death at their hands a pair of days ago. One of the pieces of discussion that was had among the Knights was the targeting difficulty they had in the last engagement. After techs from the Lancers had the opportunity to go over the wreck of a Dragons Cyclops brought down early on, the reason for the sensor issues became known.
The battlemechs the enemy was using were all equipped with Stealth Armor. The expensive protective material was laced with extensive wiring that emitted a signal that messed with targeting systems at range. Effective tool it was… though its use generated extensive excess heat. But if one had capacity, using it was smart to avoid long range fire.
The Knights, after being given this information for certain, discussed the future engagement that everyone knew would happen- and the decision was made to charge.
The stealth armor protected their users at range; it would NOT do the same at point blank or from a battlemech fist to the head. The Knights, almost to a man, decided to take it to them up close and risk getting shot up on the way in. It would be the only sure way to bring the advanced machines to battle… and well, fighting up close was a Knightly thing.
As the battle joined, the Knights’s plan was initiated. Khalid gave the order to charge, and everyone save Sir Erec and Sir Brunor, in their Longbow and Trebuchet respectively, who attempted to give covering fire with their LRMs, did so.
The level of shots sent their way was substantial, with Khalid’s Black Knight being struck several times on the way in. Lady Margo in her Thug went straight up the middle, shrugging off weapon strikes as if they were nothing. The assault mech just kept coming.
Tristan in his Albatross didn’t fare nearly as well. The Exec of the Knights was hammered by an enemy Warhammer and staggered. Rising from the ground, the warrior was greeted with the sight of Lady Morganna standing over the smoking ruin of an enemy Vindicator, her Exterminator having done what it was designed to do- kill enemy battlemechs.
Lucan, having played bait for the Vindicator with his Grasshopper, redirected his advance and headed for the Dragon Warhammer while it was attempting to kill Tristan. Joining that ‘Hammer in this effort was a Phoenix Hawk, the very maneuverable medium machine attempting to act as a lighter version of an Exterminator.
The enemy mech was chased off by Sir Chase in his own Warhammer, the very modern -7A brawler unloading on the medium. But as noted, the wily machine managed to avoid being hit but it did leave where it was… and headed for Sir Erec’s Longbow.
Meanwhile, Carlotta took her Enforcer and hunted down a Dragon Stinger, the lighter machine hunting Brunor in his Trebuchet. Didn’t work well for the light mech, as Carlotta cored the scout machine with two well placed hits. The two Knights then redirected their attention towards the center of the battle line.
Margo, her advance drawing the attention of an enemy Grasshopper who was playing fire brigade for their side, just kept coming. The chosen target of her advance, a Blackjack, did everything it could do to keep the assault mech from advancing any further. The Knight assault mech rarely missed when firing and in the end, the medium machine fell to the deadly accurate particle cannon fire of the Star League era battlemech.
Khalid roamed the central area of the line, lending his Clan-spec particle cannon to the general chaos of the battle. Spying the enemy Catapult attempting to shift to support a Crusader against Tristan and Chase, the Knight Captain decided to pursue. Weathering its fire and that of the roam-y Grasshopper which changed targets to seek him, Khalid laid into the enemy support machine with his short range weapons. Scoring major hits, it forced the now identified enemy commander to retreat back towards his fellow sixty-five-ton machine, firing ineffectually as he went.
Out in the flats, the enemy Phoenix Hawk saw the Tempest piloted by Lady Traci and elected to run from her attentions, giving up on harassing the Longbow before she could come after him. As he did so, the medium skirmisher came within view of both Tristan and Chase. This proved to be a major error as the two Knights fired as one and ripped apart the right leg of the retreating battlemech.
Back in the present, Khalid cursed as his mech rocked with weapons strikes. “Damnit!!” He snarled as he could feel his Black Knight start to fall, the warning tones of internal damage singing in concert with the alert bell of gyroscope failure due to damage. As his machine crashed to the ground, he noted the enemy Raven to his rear, the little machine having slipped his notice in the chaos. Which had worked to its advantage as it snuck into his rear to shoot him in the back.
And shooting him a lot…
“Going down!” He called over the command network. “Someone get that little want-to-be assassin!”
Above him, the Dragon Crusader jumped back and was looming over his downed mech when a number of laser blasts and missiles crashed into it. Bleeding from his forehead where he hit his head on a monitor, Khalid scanned his systems to see who shot the enemy heavy that was above him.
[Cavalry is coming] Lucan calmly stated over the comms. Fresh from having sent packing the opposing Grasshopper who tried to slow him down, the Knight Captain’s foil plowed through the stand of trees next to Khalid’s down mech as he went by. [He’s about to learn you have friends, Knight Captain…]
He noticed Pellenore stood over the smoking wreckage of the Raven, her Spider’s guns cooling and a piece of the enemy mech in her machine’s fist. [The Assassin Candidate has been dealt with…] She said over the network as he noted Traci had Traci in her Tempest advanced into the cluster of small hills with her guns turned towards the staggering Crusader, who was now retreating. [I think someone else needs a time out… Traci, would you please?] Pellinore snarked.
[With pleasure…] Was the Tempest pilot’s reply as her path set her herding the enemy machine away from his position. Carlotta was not far behind her, her Enforcer’s large laser speaking with authority in dealing damage to the Crusader’s armor.
Despite himself, Khalid laughed at that as he attempted to right his Black Knight. “I am certain your gauss rifle will see to that…” he replied. “And many thanks, Lucan. It was looking a bit grim.”
[The Raven mechs are slippery foes, Knight Captain…] Lucan replied dryly. [I am shocked you forgot that- or did you forget Gibson?]
Khalid grimaced as he carefully stood his mech upright, the heat sinks having cooled him enough to move at a normal pace once more. “Blast…. I suppose I had; its been a good while. And of course, the gods of war have decided on a proper way of reminding me of a forgotten fact.” He paused in his thoughts as he scanned his screens and noticed far fewer enemy icons. “What happened to their Grasshopper?”
[I made sure he will jump no more…] Chase answered for Lucan. [It would seem my particle cannons were quite sufficient in making that happen.]
Morganna added. [It helped I chased him into your sights…]
[Noted and thank you.] Chase replied as he observed, [Knight Captain, it would appear they have been defeated to a man.]
Khalid noted the last icon, that of the enemy Crusader, winked out as inoperable, Lucan’s machine showing next to it. “Lucan?”
[He decided surrender was better than dying. How very un-zealous of him.] came the dry reply. [How fares the Reign?]
The Knight Captain quickly checked the master status plotter. Prior to the battle, he had loaded the IFF of all the Reign’s machines into his management suite; he they had to go help them, it would pay to know where they were exactly or how bad off they were. Noting that they seemed to be in some sort of pause and support troops were arriving, he answered Lucan. “The Reign appears to hold their area; Lancer air cavalry is currently arriving on location. It appears they suffered some losses- at least two cripple and one down.”
Tristan spoke up. [It would seem they didn’t need help.]
“It would… but then, if we didn’t make plans for it, they might have,” Khalid replied as he shifted the secondary CommNet to the support forces and noted there was some already inbound. Apparently, Area Amalisar command had been watching. “Time to get some infantry assets here to round up prisoners along recovery. I have doubts this is not over just yet.”