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Author Topic: Tales of the Brave  (Read 164 times)

ShiraUso

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Tales of the Brave
« on: 26 November 2020, 05:24:42 »
Hi again everyone, decided to start writing a spin-off series of side stories that take place in the main Blood and Scrap storyline. It’ll mostly be full of combat so hopefully it’ll be an interesting read. Once again I love to hear feedback, whether good or bad. Thanks!

Tale 1, Artemis

Sadachbia II
Draconis Combine
Inner Sphere
6th December 3039


It was the final few days of the campaign for Sadachbia. A daring spearhead made by the DCMS 9th Dieron Regulars into the AFFS 8th Deneb Light Calvary’s headquarters had turned into an all-out brawl. Nearly the entirety of the 9th Dieron Regulars’ active mech forces had been committed to the attack, yet even with a numerical advantage they were struggling to overcome the enemy.

Sadachbia II was a planet located on the hotter end of the goldilocks zone in the solar system. It had a very active core that generated powerful magnetic fields, which in turn gave rise to a thick atmosphere. As a result, it was a very hot planet that made it nearly impossible for humans to live anywhere too far from the poles. The battle was taking place on Kamaland, one of the two main inhabited continents in the North and the continent on which the main spaceport was located.

Over the course of the long grueling campaign, the 9th Dieron Regulars had been peppering the 8th Deneb Light Cavalry with brutally effective hit-and-run tactics, though losing an entire battalion in an overextension they had managed to whittle the AFFS forces down and severely hamper their forces to hold territory on the continent.

Finally, after 4 months of intense fighting, the 8th Deneb Light Cavalry had been squeezed into a corner of Kamaland, with the 9th Dieron Regulars holding control over the majority of the remaining land.

The Deneb regiment was trying to hold out as long as possible, holding until sufficient dropships could be transported into the system to evacuate all their supplies. If the DCMS forces could break through and force a premature retreat, it would be a massive victory for the Draconis Combine.

With the AFFS now backed up against the sea, there was only one last battle to win before Tai-sa Montgommery’s ambitions of overflowing success could be realised. They would have to take Hill 18. The hill was difficult to bypass, as to the south was a river that was just waiting to become a killzone, and to the north was the coastline.

In the end, they settled for a frontal assault, but so far it has been a disaster. On the high ground sat company of AFFS mechs laying fire support, while the rest of the 8th Deneb Light Cavalry engaged the Dieron Regulars in a brawl. Holding superior ground, the fight was not in the DCMS’ favour. They had been fighting non-stop for nearly half an hour now, with no sign of either side giving in anytime soon.

The fire support company was the 8th Deneb Light Cavalry’s linchpin. The 9th Dieron Regulars held the numerical advantage, but the high ground gave the AFFS far too much fire superiority, and the assault was quickly looking to be a failure if the AFFS backlines remained undisrupted.

The battlefield had become scarred and pockered with craters, a fog of war in the form of smoke from fires and steam combined with Sadachbia’s thick atmosphere reduced visibility significantly. Any mech that was able to get clear of the smog would be torn asunder by either side’s fire support, and any mech within the smoke was effectively blind beyond a short distance.

Lieutenant Artemis’ second makeshift lance had been reduced to her and Lieutenant Norman. Artemis was piloting her Wolverine-6K, while Norman was in his Thunderbolt-5S. They were battling a weakened Archer-2R, having smashed straight into a mech company’s backline in the chaos of the battle.

“I’ve got one last alpha strike before cooling off. Targeting it’s left torso.” Norman’s voice was cool and calm, a stark contrast to their current situation. His Thunderbolt charged towards the lone Archer ahead, guns blazing. Its triple medium lasers burnt squiggly lines of molten metal along its left torso, creating an eye-sore of modern art gone wrong in its armour. The emerald green large laser flatly hit its centre torso, burning a terrifyingly deep hole in its clunky body. Missiles burst forth from the Thunderbolt, sailing through the air and creating a symphony of destruction out of the Archer's centre torso and left leg.

“Copy that, give him hell. I’ll give supporting fire.” Artemis hit her throttle up to max. Her Wolverine sprinted ahead from the Thunderbolt’s right flank. With the Archer’s attention fixed on Norman, she had the liberty to move up as she pleased.

The Archer released some retribution of its own, but its quad medium lasers did little to deter Norman. As he drew into close range, let loose a swarm of metal fury unto the Archer’s left torso, creating a shower of armour splinters for the ground below.

Artemis pushed ahead, rotating her torso leftwards to bring her targeting reticle to bear on the Archer. She was going far too fast to make a precision shot. She took a snapshot instead, lining the target up in her reticle and immediately pulling the triggers.

A full complement of lasers danced along the foe’s left torso and arm, leaving a valley of molten armour in its wake. She then pulled the trigger on her SRMs, the volley of 6 charged forth as if bearing her fury, though some missing their intended target. Half of them zipped wide and unleashed their payload into the air, while the other half slammed hard into the target’s right leg, creating a triangle of explosive blossoms around its knee cap.

The Archer recoiled back slightly from the two attacks, taking a step back with its right leg to stabilise. It rotated its torso to face the Thunderbolt. Its lasers converged and burned into its centre torso, while its dock bays flapped open and released a full salvos of LRMs. The veteran Combine pilot was too close for the missiles to arm in time though, and the missiles simply pounded very unimpressively into the Thunderbolt, denting its armour.

The unfazed juggernaut shrugged it off and continued its approach. The Archer pilot must have been panicking, as it backed away from the Thunderbolt to try and slip away; a mere pipe dream since it didn’t have a prayer of outrunning it.

As Norman closed into melee range, he reached forward with his right arm and grasped the Archer’s left shoulder, metal screeching against metal as the Thunderbolt’s stubby fingers dug in to find purchase. The Archer pulled back against its grip, but the Thunderbolt stubbornly hung on, tugging hard against it.

Norman cocked his mech’s left fist back and swung it in a hook at the Archer. The Archer raised its right arm and blocked the attack. The two wrestled for a moment or two, before Norman decided it wasn’t going anywhere. He opened his throttle wide and shoved forward, combining the Thunderbolt’s leg and arm strength to send the Archer stumbling backwards.

Artemis tracked the fight closely, targeting reticle fixed on the Archer. The moment it was knocked back and her line of sight was clear, she pulled her triggers. Her mech’s trio of medium and large lasers burned into the Archer’s left shoulder.

A heatwave from the weapon discharge battered Artemis’ face, but she was too high on the rush of battle to care. “A bit of a stubborn one, aren’t you...” She scoffed, keeping her targeting reticle firmly over the left torso under the Archer’s armpit as the lasers burned into it. The armour held though, despite the significant amount she managed to clean off.

“Nothing an ammo explosion can’t fix…” She smirked, firing her SRMs. One missile flew wide, while 5 of them hit spot on. They slammed into the weakened area, 3 blowing away its remaining armour and the last 2 exploding on its vulnerable inner structure. One missile accomplished exactly what she had been hoping for; ammo ignition.

A chain of explosions erupted along the Archer’s left shoulder, consuming it in an awe-inspiring blast. Clearly the pilot had enough. The mech’s head erupted with a bang, its top plating popping right off and making way for a humanoid figure to eject, a trail of smoke in the mechwarrior’s wake as they streaked into the air.

“Nice one, Arty.” Norman’s voice crackled over the radio channel.

They simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief over the radio. Artemis leaned back into her seat. Her head was pounding with every heartbeat. She wiped a bead of sweat off her brow, and smiled. “You too, Norman.”

There wasn’t much time to celebrate. They took a moment to recuperate and vent heat from their mechs, and pushed forward once again. The world around them burned with destruction, and the booming of mechs exchanging fire was constant background noise.

The heavy arms’ fire up ahead grew louder and louder. The duo slowed down their speed instinctively and approached cautiously. The smog in the air was thick and made it difficult to see further than a few metres ahead. Artemis’ heart raced, her feet shaking away with anticipation.

Her IFF lit up red as a mech surfaced from the smog. There! An enemy! It was a Banshee, though clearly already engaged in battle, as its PPC was in the midst of a volley, azure blue lightning streaking from the weapon.

Both of them had a clear shot at its back, a situation neither Draconis mechwarrior sought to abuse. Before they could challenge it though, a Jenner zipped out of the smoke. Her IFF tagged it green, an ally. It dashed around the Banshee and took a potshot at its back as it zoomed along. Quad crimson lasers drew squiggly lines of melting metal along its centre torso, while its four missiles whistled straight into its back centre mass, sending chunks of armour and molten titanium alloy hurling into the air.

The Banshee ignored the volley, still fixated at the enemies it faced ahead. A second Jenner joined the first. It hurtled through the air on a flight of jumpjets, and killed them mid-flight to take a shot — a jumpjet’s rocky lift made it nearly impossible to aim accurately. The mech ugly duckling gilded somewhat gracefully through the air across the Banshee’s back, bombarding it with its arsenal. The lasers were spot on, concentrated onto the weakened back armour. They skinned the centre torso’s back clean, making way for the SRMs, to wreck absolute havoc onto the Banshee’s internals.

The titan continued on undeterred for a few moments, letting loose another deadly beam of lightning into an unknown foe, before falling over as its gyro finally threw in the towel. Predictably, the pilot punched out before it could tumble pathetically to the ground, leaving a broken mech and an exploding head in his wake.

With their enemy now destroyed, the two Jenners turned to face the duo. Artemis turned to glance at Norman’s Thunderbolt. He was silent. As always, she had to take the lead. She stepped forward, opening up a wide-beam radio transmission on all frequencies directed ahead of her. “Unidentified DCMS units, we are friendlies. Hold your fire.”

A reply came through just as quickly. The voice sounded young, with a fierce tone that seeped with adrenaline rush. “Identify yourselves.”

“Chu-i Artemis and Chu-i Norman from 3rd Battalion. Who’s in-charge of this force?”

There was a short pause before he replied this time. “You are now, ma’am. I am Kashira Genji, at your service. Our company’s officers are dead, and we are without orders.”

Artemis checked her scanners. The otherwise highly distorted radar circle now showed 7 green blips ahead. “Right then, I want a battle formation, with your heavies on Chu-i Norman and your lighter warriors on me. This battle is chaotic, and I have an idea to make full use of the situation. We will move out on a flanking mission, and hit them where it hurts.”

Hai, ma’am. Lead us to glory.” He transmitted the frequency codes of their radio net, which Artemis and Norman quickly punched in. One by one, friendly mechs slipped into view from the fog, hastily forming up into untidy staggered firing lines, with the lighter mechs forming up outside of the heavies’ arc of fires by the sides of the formation.

Among the assorted company of 7 fellow mechs, there was a single assault mech; an Awesome-8Q piloted by Kashira Genji. With the Awesome organised into the middle of the heavy pack alongside Norman’s Thunderbolt, 2 Dragon-1Ns and a Catapult-K2. The lighter mechs were organised into two packs, with Artemis’ Wolverine-6K rolling alongside a Hermes II, the second consisting of 2 Jenners and a Locust-3V.

The company moved out through the burning wasteland of a battlefield. Artemis took point, with the Hermes II flanking closely and the makeshift platoon not far behind. All around them, littering the battlefield were ruined and fallen armour plates, mech remains and scores of little craters in the ground. The air was so polluted with smoke and ash that Artemis should detect faint hints of it through her mech’s filtration system. The continuous rumble of explosions of varying sorts could be heard behind them, as she led them out of the hot zone.

During the briefing before the regiment moved out, Artemis had noted that the intelligence reports suggested the river below the hill was left unguarded. The simple reason for this was probably that any attempt to utilise it for a flank would be a slow and easily detected gamble, and the river was an easy killzone. However, with how the battle had progressed so far, Artemis was fairly sure the odds were stacked in favour of the gamble paying off.

They moved in radio silence, entering the river and beginning the long and difficult move upcurrent. The boom sounds of the prolonged fighting could be heard in the distance. The intensity of the combat was slowly decreasing; both sides were undoubtedly wearing out their numbers. A part of her feared she might end up court-martialed and forced into seppuku if her superiors discovered she was leading a sizable force away from the battle, but the rest of her knew this opportunity was far too good to pass up.

Any forces being used to protect the backline must have been committed into the battle by now. Their flanks are wide open, and smashing them up could throw the Feds into chaos. The battle would be ours. We could save the Dieron Regulars from shamefully losing an all-in attack.

The hours went by. The thunder of fighting in the distance was becoming sporadic; both sides’ numbers must have diminished significantly by now, and the fighting was probably becoming smaller in scale. Artemis winced at the thought. Their hit-and-run tactics over the past months had seen them embarrassing the Denebs, but Tai-sa Montgommery had definitely made a massive blunder by launching such an ambitious frontal assault.

Artemis kept an attentive eye on a displayed map of the battlezone as they drew near to her desired exit point from the river. Satisfied that they were sufficiently far behind the enemy’s frontlines, she led the platoon out of the river, and had them form up parallel to the river.

They began approaching the cursed hill that had caused the regiment so much trouble. She kept her eyes peeled for enemy opposition as they moved uphill, her fingers anxiously stroking the triggers of her joysticks. Should they be discovered at this point, their deaths might be sealed. She purged her heart clear of fear though, and filled it with hunger for victory.

They stopped short of the peak of the hill. She took a deep breath, and finally broke the long radio silence. It was customary for an officer to give a rousing speech before such a momentous and daring offence, but she had neither the time nor the heart for that. She settled for something simple, and the first thing that came to mind. “Come fellow warriors, let us obliterate their backline, and win this battle for the Dieron Regulars. For honour and glory of the Draconis Combine!”

They charged. The light pack was first to move up to the plateau atop the hill, followed closely behind by Artemis and the Hermes II. The first sight that greeted her gaze was that of infantry and trucks, in the midst of manning a constant line of supply to the enemy backline. They were quick to make a run for it though, and as Artemis knew the element of surprise was sure to dispel in a few seconds, she ordered her make-shift company to push ahead and ignore them.

They were quickly rewarded with the long-anticipated enemy backline. A long row full of Griffins, Enforcers and Riflemen had their backs turned to them far ahead, preoccupied with the battle below. The heavy lance of Artemis’ platoon was first to open fire. The Awesome let loose 3 vicious beams of lightning onto the Enforcer furthest away, easily overwhelming its thin back armour and plowing into its waist, sending it tumbling forward as its gyros were completely ruined in one single salvo.

The Catapult and Dragons were quick to follow up with a combined volley onto a Rifleman next to the Enforcer, the Catapult’s duo PPCs concentrated onto the Rifleman’s back, while the twenty LRMs fired by the Dragons hammered in afterwards, demolishing any remaining armour and setting off the AC/5 ammunition stored in its centre, the subsequent internal explosions dealing a lethal blow to the mech’s engines and engulfing it in fiery demise.

Artemis locked in a Griffin into her targeting systems and pinged it to the Hermes II. The Hermes II turned its attention to the marked target accordingly. Their combined alpha strikes spooked the Griffin’s mechwarrior enough to punch out, the Griffin dropping to the ground, pilotless.

The battle was not looking like a landslide just yet, though. One enemy mech stood out amongst the rest, its size unmistakably that of an assault mech. As it turned around to face them, Artemis realised it was a Battlemaster. During the mission briefing, it was mentioned that there would be a lone Battlemaster…

Piloted by Colonel Denzel. The one whose viciously outstanding command over the 8th Deneb Light Cavalry had cost them hell over the past few months.

Norman seemed to reach the same conclusion at the same time as her. “Chu-i Artemis, is that…” Despite the realisation, Artemis could not detect the faintest hint of nervousness in his voice.

She stared at the towering assault mech. “I believe it is. Kashira Genji, take your Awesome and keep the Battlemaster busy while we destroy the rest of the fire support company.”

Genji’s voice sounded even more fiery than before. “Hai, Chu-i. I will let him feel my fury.”

While Genji’s Awesome engaged Colonel Denzel’s Battlemaster, the rest of Artemis’ makeshift company continued its assault against the enemy fire support company. As the distance between them closed, they were able to overcome the numerical advantage, as most of the enemy’s weapons were meant for long-range. The enemy couldn’t retreat either, as the only place to retreat to would be the battle below.

They were taking losses, specifically a Dragon and a Jenner so far, but things were looking very promising. During the brawl that ensued however, Artemis glanced over to the assault mechs’ duel, only to realise that Genji was very much losing, and was forced to withdraw to assist him.

She clicked on her radio’s push-to-talk. “Norman, Kashira Genji needs assistance. Care to lend a hand?”

Norman backed away from an enemy Griffin, leaving it in a duel with an allied Dragon. “Nothing would make me happier, Chu-i Artemis.”

The two turned tail and withdrew from the battle to turn their attention to the distant duel, which had progressed extremely poorly for Genji. The Colonel had closed the distance between him and Genji, making it impossible for Genji to use his triple PPCs, and tearing him apart with his short-ranged weaponry.

Genji had lost both his side torsos, and the Colonel was working down his centre, bombarding him endlessly with his lasers and machine guns. To Genji’s credit however, the Battlemaster had taken significant damage as it was. It’s left torso was smoking, probably from an ammo explosion, leaving it with heavily hampered firepower.

Artemis waited for a lull in the company’s combat chatter, before radioing in. “Kashira Genji, punch out. We will handle the Colonel.”

Hai, Chu-i Artemis. Good luck.” With that, his Awesome's two ‘eyes’ exploded outwards and the top of its head erupted with a puff as Genji shot upwards from his cockpit, leaving his battered smoking mech to fall backwards without him. A shockwave reverberated across the ground as the assault mech hit the armour-strewn ground, metal clanking against metal while the Awesome sunk into its new resting spot.

Their prey turned around to give his full attention to the approaching duo. Its right torso lit up with 2 emerald deadly lights, and Norman was their target. The medium lasers stabbed into his chest, cratering it with ravenous beams of hot power. Norman didn’t even attempt to spread the damage though, instead retaliating with his own arsenal and lasers, accompanied by squadrons of LRMs taking a one-way flight to the Battlemaster’s chest.

Artemis let loose a full salvo in conjunction with her partner’s attack, heatwaves slamming into her with every pull of a trigger. Her lasers carved up a neat chunk of armour, sending the molten ceramic flowing to the ground, while her missiles took a chomp on the weary armour that protected the injured foe.

There was no way it could outgun them, and they knew it. Norman was making a beeline straight for the Battlemaster, even as it began reversing away slowly. He wanted to get into close-range where its PPC would be useless, and bring his machine guns into play. A hail of bullets would do much good in wrecking the rest of the assault mech’s arsenal, and Colonel or not, Norman would demolish him in melee combat.

Before the Thunderbolt could get close enough though, a newcomer entered the fray. A Enforcer had broken away from the main battle and moved in to assist the Colonel. It had lost its right arm however, but still fearlessly engaged. Its crimson red large laser menacingly lacerated Norman’s right torso, and with the Battlemaster’s PPC pitching in to help, his Thunderbolt’s entire right shoulder slid down an ugly red-hot jagged cut across it that severed it from its body. All of a sudden, with the majority of Norman’s firepower now flopping lifeless onto the battlefield, the tables had turned.

“Norman you still with me?” Artemis waited for his reply with bated breath.

“Not punching out yet Arty, frankly your wrath scares me more than them.” As always, Norman seemed a bit too calm in the firefight.

She rolled her eyes at his joke. “Alright, focus up. Soak up what you can then get out.”

Hai, getting myself in there.” Norman turned his attention to the Enforcer, which did not get the memo to back away from him. Even without one arm, Norman was a dangerous melee fighter. The Enforcer fired off its large laser once again, spearing it straight into the Thunderbolt’s chest. Norman was unfazed though, continuing to close the distance between the two of them.

The Enforcer was too far for him to get into melee range before he was decimated however. Norman jabbed at the Enforcer’s left torso with his remaining three lasers, but it was a futile effort. The Battlemaster released its next barrage, its PPC nailing him hard in the chest, voracious ion destruction sinking right through his centre torso. Sparks erupted from the wound, and his mech dropped to its knees. “Sustained heavy damage. My engine’s cooked, I’m out. Good luck Artemis, you’re on your own.”

Artemis didn’t have the luxury of time to watch Norman eject though. She was in a 2 on 1, and would have to act quickly if she was to come out on top. Norman had bought her enough time to dispel excess heat and get into position. While the Battlemaster had been preoccupied in bringing Norman’s thunderbolt to its knees, she had been able to close the distance between them and circle around to his flank. Just where she needed to be to finish the job.

Her Wolverine fired its SRMs straight into his back armour, the vicious act rewarding her with puffs of sparks and smoke. His internal systems were certainly not doing too well. He swerved around and swung his right arm at her, but she ducked under it and gave him a hard jab to the torso, before stepping back for a good laser salvo to his right shoulder. She scorched its armour right off. Some of the myomer fibres beneath were visibly seared by the attack.  If she could cleave off his arm or at least knock out its myomer fibres, the Battlemaster wouldn’t have much firepower left.

The Enforcer slashed its deadly laser at her, but she had already slipped out of its line of fire to use the Colonel as her shield. Said Colonel began showering her with his machine guns, and jabbed her shoulder with his own lasers. Alarm bells behind her back. His lasers were searing up her shoulder’s myomers.

She shot another round of SRMs at his face to try and blind him with explosions, and made an uppercut at his armpit. He lowered the right arm and her punch glanced across the mech’s shoulder instead though, and he countered with a brutal elbow to her mech’s face. She recoiled back from the shock, her body slamming hard into her seat.

She tasted copper in her mouth and coughed a spit of blood out onto her lap. Damage reports indicated her head’s laser turret’s optics had been knocked out of alignment, but other than that she was very much still in the fight.

Momentum was being lost, and she needed the initiative back on her side. The Battlemaster’s legs were suddenly her target of interest now. Just as the old earth saying goes. The bigger they are, the harder they fall… She swung her right arm to do a hook at his left hip, before lunging her mech forward and having it drop into a roll. It was a very tricky and very risky maneuver in a mech, but there was little choice. The rapid set of movements left the Colonel somewhat disoriented.

With a clear line of fire at her now, the Enforcer’s lasers were on her. She tanked the shot, the lasers melting into her right arm’s medium laser and knocking it out of commission, threatening to do the same to her large laser. She lunged forward again and threw her knee at the same spot on the Battlemaster’s left hip. More armour platings were chipped off. She fired her SRMs at it and sprinted around him.

The Colonel had gotten his bearings and was rotating around anti-clockwise to retaliate, but she dashed right along him clockwise, right past his targeting reticle and forced him to reverse his directions. It bought her time, enough time to raise her right leg and launch a push kick at the same hip, hitting it as hard as she could to knock some armour off for the last time. It was now or never.

She brought her large laser to bear and, like a surgeon with a scalpel, cut up a slit in the armour. She fired the SRMs, and with the range she was at, her missiles were relatively accurate, surging forth straight into the exposed myomer fibres.

His mech staggered as she knocked out the gyros. Now! With him off balance, she threw her mech at him in a fervently aggressive tackle. With a collision that shook her teeth, the Colonel fell over.

Wasting no time, she planted her left foot on the Battlemaster’s chest and lowered her right hand’s large laser to rest just above the cockpit’s canopy, and fired. The fat beam of concentrated light burst through the canopy and into the cockpit, eliminating its contents. Colonel Denzel was no more.

Triumphantly she slammed her right fist into the destroyed head, and savoured her moment. Sweet victory. The enemy Enforcer had its hands too full to finish her off; the rest of her make-shift company had defeated the enemy fire support company. A Dragon and Jenner being the last two left standing, and were all over the last surviving enemy.

She soaked in her victory, and the rushing swell of pride in her chest. Without their fire support, the 8th Deneb Light Cavalry didn’t hold much of a prayer against the rest of the 9th Dieron Regulars. She had just managed to win the battle for the regiment. For once in her life, she felt sure she had done her family proud. And that was the true victory to her.
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