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Author Topic: A Christmas Carol from Misery  (Read 325 times)

Plinythemechwarrior

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A Christmas Carol from Misery
« on: 24 December 2020, 23:56:39 »
A Christmas Carol from Misery

Captain Rondema grimaced from the cockpit of her upgraded Atlas, “Peppermech,” stunning in green and red dazzle paint. She frowned again at the sensor readings: five heavy mechs approaching. Glancing at her map, she nodded to herself.

Here would be best, she thought.

“Let’s give these Snakes something to think about,” she spoke into her mic.

“What’s the plan, boss?” responded McLaren from his Marauder II.

“A little something I call payback,” responded the Captain.

**********

Hirokichi Higuchi relished the Kuritan plan, directing his Atlas towards the Dragoon’s main strength. He and his wingman, Corcoran Winnal in his Battlemaster, were to push forward, supported by long range fire. This would come from the Archer of their lance commander, Tai'sa Fujita, as well as from the Grand Dragon and the newly salvaged Awesome.

Surely the two enemy Atlas would be trouble, but nothing they couldn’t handle.

The freezing rain continued to fall, coating everything with a thin layer of ice; however, it wasn’t raining particularly heavily, and with some luck it wouldn’t affect their thrust forward.

Checking his sensors, Higuchi chuckled.

“They’re just hanging around on that hilltop, still as statues!”

Fujita responded, “Hai. But do not underestimate those Marauders. They are not your father’s model – the Dragoons have meddled with them. Kuono, Jezek, fire when in range. Primary target...” checking his screen again, “...is the Marauder exposed on the hillside, not his friend in the woods.”

His lance responded, a series of “Hai.” With that, he opened fire with his Archer’s twin LRM 20s.
**********

MacLaren giggled like a schoolgirl from the commanding height of his Marauder-II. He hadn’t had a day like this in the cockpit before. He couldn’t seem to miss – nearly every shot landed, even the ridiculous hail-Mary’s. Meanwhile, he danced. Like a man possessed, he bounced around the battlefield, while his foes earnestly, but ineffectively, tried to land hits on him.

**********

Filling dead man’s boots wasn’t Salamun Jezek’s idea of a good time, but who would pass up the opportunity to get their hands on a Dragoon Awesome? These things were almost new, not the centuries-old models that made up the bulk of the Inner Sphere’s stock. The Kuritan techs had done a yeoman’s effort salvaging it.

His eyes glanced over, spotting the Kuritan Atlas on his left, partially obscured by the near-horizontal rain. He knew that beyond, hidden by terrain and weather, Winnal’s Battlemaster also surged forward.

He finally rounded the intervening hill, and spotted the enemy Marauder-II on his HUD.

“Got you, you *******...” he murmured, firing his three PPCs at the massive target.

Immediately, klaxons blared in his cockpit, followed by the softly spoken “Warning Incoming Missile” which came from the mech’s feminine voice system. His cockpit lit up as an enormous amount of incoming PPC fire reached out towards him.

**********

No plan ever survives contact with the enemy.

“****!” shouted Higuchi. Dumbfounded, he could only think: overreached – I’ve overreached.

He had managed to land one big hit with his Atlas’ AC/20 on the dancing Marauder, entirely stripping its center torso of its protective sheaf – leaving a ragged hole that practically begged to be targeted.

But a moment later, the massive concussion of two near-simultaneous AC/20 hits from the two opposing Atlas had rattled his teeth; their continued rattling was from his fear response.

Habitually, he looked down at his damage display. Still in disbelief, he noted again that one of those strikes had disabled his own AC/20…

On Misery, Murphy’s Law continued to bedevil the Sword of Light.

**********

Jenkins let out a deep, relieved breath, watching his Atlas' AC/20 hit squarely in the enemy Battlemaster. His fellow Atlas pilot, Captain Rondema, followed up with a full alpha strike, hitting with nearly every shot.

Darn, she’s good, he thought.

The enemy Battlemaster seemed to be suffering from technical difficulties – once again it fired ineffectually, missing with all of its weapons. Then, from a combination of the multiple heavy blows it had sustained and the icy terrain, the Battlemaster teetered over.

Just behind it, he watched with satisfaction as the enemy Awesome was struck by a series of PPC hits and also collapsed.

He heard MacLaren shout over the comms, “I got ‘em! I got ‘em!”

The Captain responded, “Great job, kid. Don’t get cocky.”

**********

Tai'sa Fujita slammed his mech’s console. What the devil?! he thought, watching yet another volley of his lancemate’s fire effortlessly pass by the dancing Marauder-II.

He re-examined his external sensors – yes, the ice storm continued to worsen. The wind was now gusting at over 100 km/h, and he knew the accumulating ice would making piloting more and more hazardous.

Worse, his Archer’s prodigious load of LRMs were becoming increasingly useless, hampered by the terrible weather of Misery.

Over the comms, he began to hear the worried voices of his lancemates, exclaiming their difficulty in getting their fallen mechs to stand up on the skating rink that the battlefield had become.

This is going from bad to worse, he thought grimly.

He made the call. “Chu-sa, we need reinforcements.”

**********

Zhou kept his Marauder-II standing close to MacLaren’s.

The guy’s on fire today, he noted.

MacLaren spoke on their shared sub-frequency, “DUDE, this is SO AWESOME! Hey, dude. DUDE. Let’s get that fallen Awesome. See what I did there? Awesome? Awesome! Get it?!”

He’s also really irritating…

“OK, MacLaren. Whatever you say,” said Zhou. He aimed carefully at the enemy Awesome, which was doing its best impression of a funky chicken while trying without success to stand up on the icy ground. He hit it with both PPCs, but was a little dismayed to see MacLaren hit with every shot of his alpha strike.

“HAHAHAHA I AM A MECH GOD!” said MacLaren on their shared comm. “BEST MARAUDER PILOT EVER, AM I RIGHT?”

It’s going to be a long battle, thought Zhou.

An enemy mech, a Grand Dragon, suddenly made a mad dash into MacLaren’s left flank.

“Hey, look at this little guy, what’s he think he’s going to do to me? HAHAHA!” laughed MacLaren.

**********

Kouno wiped moisture from his brow. Despite the cool running cockpit of his Grand Dragon, his proximity to a pair of Marauder-II assault mechs caused him to break out in a cold sweat. He fired with his medium lasers, but their emerald beams failed to land on the still-dancing Marauder.

Just my luck, thought Kouno. But he noted that the Marauder seemed disinterested in him...

He watched as the same Marauder fell to the ground from the battering of several PPC hits, but it dismayingly danced back up from the icy ground without issue.

Behind it, he was relieved to see a Dragoon Atlas fall to the ground, immobilized due to an unconscious pilot.

The Dragoons really should start issuing better helmets, he thought idly to himself.

**********

On board his Awesome, Jezek was overwhelmed by the sound of warning klaxons.

He had fallen on the now inch-thick ice that formed the floor of the battlefield, and he simply could not find purchase for his mech’s feet.

He got partially up, just in time to see the dancing Marauder blast into him, hitting with a PPC and a large laser and damaging both his gyro and engine.

This was followed by two PPC hits from the twin guns of the other Marauder.

Then, adding insult to injury, an AC/20 from the strangely colored Atlas tore open his right torso. His damage display also winked out for a moment, itself a victim of damage.

It was cold outside his cockpit, and Jezek began to wonder whether he’d die in the Awesome or be ejected onto Misery’s surface, to become yet another frozen corpse.

**********

Fujita continued to bring his Archer closer to the fray. Closing with the enemy was seldom the best approach with such a mech, but with his LRMs at such a disadvantage and his lance in such dire straits, he felt compelled to help.

There was now one of those strange lulls that happen in a battle. Several mechs were disabled or otherwise out of position.

Fujita saw with a sense of dread the Battlemaster slip while attempting to rise, bashing itself heavily in the process. He saw the strange green-white-red colored Atlas stand beside the Battlemaster before it opened a full barrage on the nearby Awesome. Its lasers blasted through the Awesome’s leg armor, crippling it and ensuring it would never stand again.

In turn, the Awesome brought its guns to bear on the Atlas, but Fujita was crestfallen when he saw all three PPC bolts fire wide.

The Dragoons have the devil’s own luck, he thought.

**********
Winnal felt himself swimming inside the Battlemaster’s cockpit.

“Stay awake *******! Stay the **** awake!” he shouted to himself, trying to shrug off the multiple wounds he had sustained from two precipitous falls caused by the treacherous ice.

“Please baby, get up,” he said softly, pushing the controls as gingerly as possible.

Unfortunately, the mech’s foot slipped upon another icy patch, causing the mech to pitch wildly sideways.

“****!,” Winnal shouted, as the harness gripped him painfully and his helmet slammed into the back of his chair.
The damage display lit up as more pieces of the mech were bashed apart by his artless flailing.

From the corner of his eyes, he saw the colorful Atlas connect with a kick on his mech. It looked almost like an afterthought.

“****nuts,” Winnal sighed.

**********

MacLaren kept up his barrage on the disabled Awesome, now close enough that all of his Marauder’s weapons could be utilized.

He was shocked when, uncharacteristically, only three of his five weapons hit.

“WHAT THE HECK, HOW DID I MISS THE AWESOME?!!” he shouted into his shared comm with Zhou.

Zhou responded, “uh, don’t you want to shoot the working mechs, like the Archer I’m shooting at?”

MacLaren glanced over to see the aforementioned Archer lose its footing, spin around and fall on its left side.

A moment later, the Grand Dragon he had been ignoring as inconsequential kicked him in the leg, causing him to fall due to the ice.

“Oops,” said MacLaren.

**********

Rondema’s Atlas kept pouring hits into the Awesome. Stripped of armor across most of its surfaces, her fire was merciless and effective. Her sensors showed her destroying a PPC and multiple heat sinks. One of her AC/20 hits went wide despite the close range, but her second AC/20 connected, coring the Awesome and causing the resulting explosion.

She turned, then, to kick at the Battlemaster – and managed to core it too.

Not a bad day, she thought to herself.

Her sensors dinged, then. Looking over, her display showed Kuritan reinforcements approaching her position...

********

This is a narrative play-by-play of our recent campaign game of Quantity Isn't Everything from the HTP: Misery book.
« Last Edit: 25 December 2020, 00:00:19 by Plinythemechwarrior »
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