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Author Topic: If not for our lives (Remembrances) part two of the Dawn's early light  (Read 287 times)

The MadScot

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Part two of the storyline
that began with Dawn's early light (Reflections)

If not for our lives
(Remembrances)


Harlow, Military Garrison post.
Caph, Chaos March; Terran Defense cordon
Word of Blake Jihad Campaign 
17 June 3069

The salvage from the battle at Nevil’s Rift was good.  Six salvageable Mechs that once belonged to the Blakists.  A dozen or so assorted Battle Tanks, Assault Hover Vehicles, and infantry Power Armor, also formerly owned by the Blakists.  The cost however was way too high, the loss on the Highlander’s tally numbered in the thousands
of men either wounded or dead.  Almost a complete company of Mechs damaged beyond salvage or repair.  Combat vehicles such as Battle tanks and Hover assault vehicles.  Equal to about a reinforced Battalion strength were destroyed beyond salvage.
The amount of recovered salvage did not come close to equaling their losses. The final tally in the balance sheet was in the red.

Perhaps the highest immeasurable cost was the death of Lt. Kozyra.  The Battalion’s morale was nearing rock bottom, he was very much loved and respected by all.  Even the Funeral services for all those lost at Nevil’s Rift did little to bring closure for the men and women in the Battalion.  Capt. MacKay was particularly feeling the weight of command now, given that he had to try and keep his company focused on the Task’s at hand.

All of the Blakists that surrendered or were captured had been interred within the stockade back at the Garrison.  The Blakist wounded had been sent to the stockade infirmary for treatment or surgery and recovery.  There had already been numerous instances of Highlander infantry beating and torturing Blake prisoners under their care.  Any refusal by a Blakist to follow instructions promptly, or do as they were told, had been met with severe beatings and in some cases death.  Capt.MacKay had tried to keep the men restrained but Maj. Kozyra listened with a deaf ear to his concerns about the beatings.  The Major seemed to be lost to the Universe.  He would only reply with “Let them all die for all I care.  The Bloody Bastards murdered my son.”

Prostalizing by any Blakist was immediately met with an extreme beating.  The increase in the number of injured Blakists being sent to the infirmary threatened to over-tax the medical staff beyond their limits.  Maj. Kozyra had even told one doctor.  “Not to bother treating the bastards and just let them die from their injuries.  After all…  They deserve much worse…”  He said. 
Capt.MacKay was worried for his Commander’s sanity, he even considered going over his head and reporting the situation to higher command.  The only thing stopping him at the current moment was his own feelings toward the Blakists, to some extent he empathized with his Commander.  But still, if he could not get control of his own men soon however, he may have no other choice.

Three weeks after the battle at Nevil’s Rift new orders came down.  It would seem the Blakists were rallying and making another push to the city.  This time the Northwind Highlanders would have to face them in a stand-up fight.  It is highly doubtful that they would fall for another ambush. 
The planning meeting was called for all company and lance commanders to go over what strategy would be used this time and to seek out any ideas on how to hurt them enough so that they would at least leave.  According to intel recovered from the prisoners and data files in the captured equipment, the overall planetary assault force is commanded by a former Comstar Presentor by the name of Asa Foster.  From all commonly available data about Foster, it did not indicate that he was a very exceptional military commander.  He had commanded a ComStar Battalion during the Clan invasion, but his command had been severely ravaged when they fought against a Galaxy belonging to the Ghost Bears.

“Ok people, it would appear that Sr. Adept Foster is not operating according to the kind of tactics that he normally uses... Therefore, do not underestimate him.”  Maj. Kozyra began. “I propose that we set up a ‘delaying picket’ inside the Rift…  Here about eight klicks shy of the north mouth.  We will need a Heavy lance in there that can sustain a beating but still maneuver fast enough to maintain a delaying action.  Any suggestions?”

“I recommend Leftenant MacNamara and his Heavy Lance for the picket.” Capt MacKay said.  “His lance is comprised of a Cauldron Born, an Argus, a Thor Mk1a, and a Catapult IIc.  I would however, suggest that we replace the Catapult with a Heavy Mech configured for short to medium range weapons, to accommodate the magnetic anomalies in the Rift.  Missile weapons which require ‘lock on’ would be mostly ineffectual there.” 

“I have a Loki I would happy to exchange for your Catapult.”  Capt. Herndon chimed in.  “Unfortunately it’s in dire need of repair.  I was considering stripping it for parts…”

“I have a Black Knight I would be willing to exchange!”  Capt. Jones quickly interjected.
“At least it’s not in pieces… Like your Loki…”  Shooting a sharp look at Herndon.

At that point numerous Company Commanders were chiming in with their offers for trade.   After about two minutes Maj Kozyra interjected.  “Alright people!”  “Enough already…”  It took another couple of minutes for the cacophony of voices to finally die down.  “Capt Mackay, if you wish to volunteer your Heavy Lance I have no objections, I will approve any equipment transfers you wish to make to his lance.”

“Now let’s get down to planning this out.”  Maj. Kozyra said, once the room came to order.  “We will deploy Second Company east of the Rift along the reverse side of this slope, be ready to advance when called for. Your primary role will be to hit their flank as hard as possible and disrupt their line.  Have your artillery pre-plot fire zones all along here.”

“Third Company will deploy here.  Make sure that your Medium Mech lances are visible, deploy the balance in this line of trees here to protect your flank, and use them as support when needed.”

The next several hours were spent planning the upcoming battle.  The one thing that Capt.MacKay knew for sure was that “Rarely did any plan of battle ever survive actual combat.”  For sure he would plan contingencies for that also.

After successfully negotiating equipment trades, to augment the Heavy lance that would be the picket inside the Rift. Capt.MacKay held a meeting with his own Lance commanders.

“Gentlemen, I have traded the Catapult from ‘Charley Lance’ for a Loki and the Argus Mod for a Heavily modified Thanatos.”
Capt.MacKay continued, “These will be assigned to Lt. MacNamara’s Lance.  ‘Mac’, you will be assigned as a ‘picket’ in the Rift.  Since I have traded your Catapult you have the choice from the new rides we have acquired as your replacement.  It will be your job to stall any advance by the Blakists through the Rift.  Hit them then fall back…  Try not to sustain too much damage in the process, ok?”

“Roger, Cap’n.”  MacNamara replied. 
“Jerry, your Lance will be positioned here along the rim of the Rift here.  Ian, you will be here to support both Jerry and my Lance.  We have at our disposal the 35th Guards Battalion to support us.  They are a hybrid Armoured Unit, comprised of two companies of Heavy and Medium Tanks, Armored Mobile Infantry, with two Batteries of Artillery attached.  Their job will be to fill any gaps in our lines.  The Artillery will have these areas here pre-plotted as free-fire zones.  They are designated as ‘Oscar, Tango, and Zulu respectively.

“The plan is to draw the Blakies into the free-fire zones and hammer them with artillery to soften them up before we take them on head-to-head.  Whatever you do…  Do not be there when the arty’ opens up.  The Major has scraped together two Balac Attack Helo’s and Three Lamprey Attack Transports.  They will provide some measure of C.A.P but their primary role will be to harass their rear lines.  Be advised people…  The Blakies have managed to secure air assets of their own…”  MacKay paused long enough for that bit of news sink in before continuing.  “From what Intel put together, that somehow Foster has received reinforcements from the outside, in the form of two flights of Shilone fighters configured in ground attack role.  This means we need to maintain an active air watch.  We have no fast-mover assets to counter them, so watch your heads folks!”

Capt. MacKay dismissed his Lance Commanders to prepare their people for the upcoming battle.  He made his way from the ad-hoc command center for his company and headed to the make-shift maintenance area where repair vehicles and their crews worked feverishly to make last minute repairs to armor and reload weapons.   In one of the portable repair gantries for Mechs MacKay noticed a BattleMech of a design he only saw in Battle Roms or Computer files.  Several technicians were putting a coat of paint over the Blake emblems and other markings.  As he walked over to where his own Centurian was parked in a repair gantry, a grizzled old technician bearing Sergeant rank intercepted him.  “Cap’n Sir…  A word?”   MacKay stopped and faced the Sergeant.  “Yes Sergeant?  How can I help you?”  The man executed a lazy palm out salute to his commander then proceeded.  “Sir, yer’ Cent’ she’s no’ reedy yet…  Ran inta’ problems w’ th’ gyro, sh’ took a hit someweer’ in theer’ anna’ we canna’ noo’ get th’ new on’ ta werk’!
But ifna’ yer’ wanta’ we ‘ave that’n over’n theer’…”  The Sergeant pointed in the direction of the Mech that MacKay had seen a moment ago being repainted.  “Sh’s reedy cept’ th’ paint’n.  a wee bit heavier tha’ yer Cent’ but also hae’ more punch’n arrmour’ tae gae wi’ it.  Th’ thin’ aboot it sh’s as fast a’ yer Cent too!  Clanner teck’ ye know.”
MacKay surveyed the towering behemoth with a critical eye.  He had seen the Masakari before in the earlier battle.  What he could not figure out was why it had taken so little damage, but yet ended up in Highlander hands.  He then inquired about that from the Sergeant.

“Sir, some o’ our arrmoured infantry managed ta’ capterr’ her neerly’ intact…  Th’ pilot dinna ha th’ stomack’ fer battle ‘ay would seem… nay th’ ‘ead fer it eitherr’ literrrally’.”
“Th’ beast hae advanced optiks’ anna’ wae modded’ w’ two Clanner AC 10’s ‘stead o’ th’ ‘fiver anna pair o’ LRM 15’s.”
MacKay nodded to him in an affirmative and said. “I’ll take it, Sergeant…  Go ahead and get it ready for me.”
“Alreedy doon’ Sir, all tha’ needed noo’ is yer seecurity’ input…   Th’ lads arr’ paint’n yer emblem ae’ we speek’.”

MacKay smiled in spite of himself.  He thanked the Sergeant and patted him on the shoulder then headed to his new ride, taking in the awesome firepower it represented, then climbed up the gantry to the waiting cockpit, and set about familiarizing himself with the controls and other systems.  Looking around in the cockpit he found the familiar C3 computer.  Somehow Sergeant Hannan and his crew managed to squeeze it in and slave it to the existing systems.  MacKay only hoped the jury rigging does not cause any major problems during battle otherwise. The last thing he would need is a weapon failure in the middle of combat.  But then again, the Sergeant is the best Tech in his company.

As MacKay was powering up the Masakari Sgt. MacDonnagh maneuvered his T’Bolt over towards him.  “Nice ride Cap’!  Who’d ye kill ta’ git’ tha’ from?”  MacDonnagh said over the command frequency.
“I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count Caelin!”  MacKay laughed.
“I hope this bad boy lives up to his reputation tho’.”  Mackay completed the startup sequence then programmed his own security protocols to prevent any unauthorized access to the Mech’s systems.  “Manus Fortes et Fide” MacKay said into the voice activated mike system.  A few seconds later the computer animated voice responded with “Access code accepted and recorded.  Weapon systems on-line.”  MacKay then throttled up the Masakari to one third and maneuvered out of the repair gantry to join his friend and the rest of his Command lance.

“Alpha Lance, form up on me and move out, column march until we meet up with Bravo and Delta Lance.”  Switching over to a private com channel with Sgt. MacDonnagh MacKay called up his friend.  “Caelin, if we can I want to be able to support ‘Mac’ there in the Rift as much as possible.  I don’t like the idea of leaving him hanging in the wind.”

“Carl!  Get the Bloody Hell over here!” KRANG! PING, PING, PING, BA-BOOM!  The sounds of heavy armor piercing rounds hitting, exploding and removing multiple tons of armor from MacNamara’s Loki continued relentlessly.  “Now!... Dammit!... I’m getting m’ arse handed to m’ over here!” 
“Sorry Gov’ I’m a tryin’ ta’ get…  Unhh…  Get ta’ ya… Ah’ got m’ han’s full m’self over here…”  A loud booming noise in the background and the sudden hiss of static from the transmission abruptly ending, told Mac all that he needed to know.   He was on his own against his opponent…  A virtually undamaged Thor.  Mac tried maneuvering around the multitude of vertical spires that littered the floor of the Rift, anything to keep some measure of cover between the Thor and him, but to little avail.  He was losing this battle, and his opponent knew it too. 

Now Mac had no support, his lance had been destroyed.  It seemed that the Blakes had planned well, leading in with the Shilone’s they took out one Mech from his lance and several of the Arty company’s cannons before they could even get a shot off.  “Well so much for pounding them with Arty to soften them up!”  Mac thought to himself.  “Not to mention being spotted early on did not help any.”

“Charley one to any hammer unit… I need assistance!”  Heavy high velocity rounds impacted the spire that Mac had been using for cover.  They pierced through an upper section of it enough to send it crashing into the cockpit of Mac’s Loki.  The impact was just hard enough to daze him long enough for the Thor to maneuver to get a near point blank shot at the hapless sixty-ton Loki.  The blinding flash of a Heavy autocannon discharge was the last thing Mac would experience before the cockpit of his Mech was penetrated by five, sixty-pound slugs traveling at nearly fifteen hundred feet per second.
Today would not be a good day for the Northwind Highlanders.

 
This story is protected by copyright 2004
Daniel Morgan author
No permissions granted to copy or reprint any part or form of this story.
All rights are reserved by the author.














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