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Author Topic: The Hunt - a battletech sort story WIP  (Read 1297 times)

glitterboy2098

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The Hunt - a battletech sort story WIP
« on: 26 September 2013, 21:51:36 »
10:67am (local)
Filtvelt Coalition
Marielund
Southern Continent
3rd of Ylir (Local)/Apr 25th, 3143 (Terra standard calendar.)


Do it if you dare
Leaping from the sky
Hurling thru the air
Exhilarating high
See the earth below
Soon to make a crater
Blue sky, black death
I'm off to meet my maker

   The music being piped in over the drop frequency didn't help to alleviate the tension Erik Voss felt as he ran through his mech's pre-drop checklist for a fourth time. He couldn't even place it, probably some obscure local band the ship's captain liked. The lyrics had a macabre humor to it, given that he was about to march his seventy ton battlemech out the side of a ship while it was still almost a kilometer up, with only chemical rocket packs bolted to its back and legs to ensure a safe landing. Something he'd only done once before, outside a simulator. “at least it isn't a drop from orbit”, he whispered to himself for what was probably the 5th time.
   Outside in the dropships mechbay, things were quiet. The crews fitting the drop packs had cleared out half an hour ago, and the maintenance crew making sure everything was secured in the bay had cleared out minutes earlier. To Voss, it felt like the calm before a storm. Or perhaps just the quiet of a tomb. Inside the cockpit of the HD-2F Hound battlemech, Voss double checked the cooling vest he wore and the bulky neurohelmet on his head that would translate his mental impulses into something the mech could use for balance and control. Even with only the mech's fusion reactor active at standby, his cockpit was already beginning to warm up and his bare limbs stuck uncomfortably to the synthetic fabric his command couch was made of.

Up here in the air, this will never hurt.
I'm on my way to impact, taste the high speed dirt.

   The song cut out suddenly, at the end of the 2nd chorus, a Klaxon indicating that the ship was over the dropzone. It also served as a warning that the ship's bay doors were opening, gusts of wind shrieking through the bay as the large hatch slid its way up into the ceiling. Voss could see bits of paper picked up in a vortex and sucked out the opening. The noise was quickly dampened by the mech's soundproofing, making the words of the captain audible. ”..over point tango seven. The target has been spotted by the Rangers headed north up the valley. Estimate 10 minutes to contact, once on the ground. they shouldn't see you coming. May Shiva give you victory this day.”
   On that less than regulation note, the Klaxon changed tone, the light by the door turned from red to green, and the message “INITIATE DROP” flashed into being at the top of the holographic display that filled Voss's main field of view. Gripping the joysticks tightly and pushing the pedals at his feet, he spurred his ten meter warmachine into walking forward, striding out of the bay and into freefall. Too bad his stomach had decided to remain behind on the ship. “Oh frak me!”
   The pounding of Voss's heart and the sound of his breathing seemed to echo inside his cockpit, as he tried to ignore the fact that his machine was now freefalling and focused on keeping the machine sufficiently upright. Not an easy task when the mech wants to spin top down, with only the gyroscope and the pilots sense of balance to fight it. Although it felt like forever to Voss, the landing program kicked in only seconds later, the rocket packs firing and slowing the mech's fall just fast enough for its legs to flex with a dull 'thud' when it touched down.
   “Garm Four, on the ground.” Voss said automatically, his eyes running over the telltales in his cockpit. “All systems green. Ejecting drop packs.” With the input of the cockpit command, explosive bolts fired, severing the expended rocket packs from their mounting points on the mech and causing them to fall away to the reddish grassland below. Now that the drop was over, Voss's stomach finally caught up with him, as he stuffed a paper bag to his mouth and revisited his last meal.
   This last part of the drop over, Voss cleaned up with a paper towel and some bottled water he'd stashed in the cockpit for just such an issue, and dropped the whole mess into his mech's fusion powered incinerator. Over the radio, the voice of Garm one, the Leftenant, scratched out. “If your all done puking your guts out Garm lance, we have a mission to do. Spread out into skirmish formation and keep your passive sensors on high. I don't want these targets to get away.” Taking a last swig of electrolyte enhanced water to clean the vomit out of his mouth, Voss set his mech into motion, throttling up to a steady 40 kph walk to the east, to take his place in formation. On his holographic display, he could see the other 3 mechs of the lance doing the same, the 'hazard orange' color scheme of the Coalition's Militia blending into the dry red grass of late fall.

**********
12:45pm (local)
Filtvelt Coalition
Marielund
Southern Continent
2nd of Ylir (local) /Apr 25th, 3143 (Terra standard calendar.)

-
10 hours earlier-

   The briefing room was chilled almost to freezing, Voss could swear he could see his breath when he breathed out. The others in his Lance shifted in their chairs, obviously as uncomfortable in the room as he was. The Major from Intel though, she didn't seem to notice at all. Probably her idea. Having finished her presentation on the aftermath of the raid last week, when that group of pirates tried to hit New Baltimore, she finally got around to whatever it was that had brought her here. “Intelligence has pinpointed the last group of stragglers. They have gone to ground in the Harford Mountains, and thus far have escaped all our efforts to run them to ground. However they have been moving towards Turner's Gap, and we believe we can trap them there and take them out.” Voss could see his lance mates perk up a bit at that news. The pirates of the Tortuga Dominion were ancient enemies, dating back to well before the Coalition succeeded from the Federated Suns. After missing the fight when the pirates landed, the chance to finish the job was too good to pass up. “The group appears to be mostly light vehicles and infantry, but there are signs they have mech support. Reviews of the BattleROM's from Alpha company's engagement and after action reports indicate that one pirate mech escaped. Intelligence believes it to be a stealth armor equipped Raven, although the exact model is currently unknown. Local Rangers are tracking the group and attempting to confirm the mech sightings.”
   The major's face was calm, but out of the corner of his eye Voss could see the Lieutenant was frowning. Raven's were hard enough to trap normally, with their electronic warfare systems. Stealth armor versions were relatively rare outside the Capellan Confederation, almost a thousand lightyears anti-spinward, but they could be even more nasty than the normal ones. Their active stealth let them become almost invisible to anything but optical and magscan sensors, and they generally packed decent speed and firepower for their size. Voss understood the lance commander's worry. Garm lance had enough firepower to bring it down easily, if they could catch it. Light mechs are hard enough to catch, but one that can all but disappear?
   The Major seemed not to notice. “Garm lance of Baker Company will be dropped near the mouth of the pass, and move south to cut off the enemies line of advance. Conventional forces of the 2nd Militia Armor are in pursuit, and will isolate them inside the pass. They'll have nowhere to run, and can be eliminated as a combat force.” The plan was elegant and simple.. it might work. The pirates could probably escape if they abandoned their vehicles and heavy weapons, cutting across the many dirt trials the pass likely has, but then they'd just be more lightly armed thugs for Marielund's criminal class. The leftenant motioned for the attention of the Major. “orbital drop?” the Major shook her head. “No, suborbital. No more than a kilometer up. An orbital drop is unnecessary, and we need to fly you in low enough to avoid being picked up by any long range sensors their vehicles may have. The exact drop point will depend on where the enemy is within the pass when you arrive.” The Leftenant didn't look all that happy to find out we were going in blind, but he just nodded. Voss raised his arm, and when the Major nodded his way rattled off his question.
   “why us ma'am?” The major seemed a bit confused. Voss refined his question. “why Garm Lance of Baker Company? Why not one from Able Company?” Now the major seemed more at ease. “Able company is still undergoing repairs from the raid, and cannot field an intact lance at this time. Of Baker company, Garm Lance has the best fitness reports, so you were chosen. Any other questions?” no response, just shaking of heads. “Then good luck.” The Leftenant stood up and faced the rest of the lance. “Alright, head out to your mechs and make sure they are armed and ready to go. We load into the dropship in 4 hours. Lets move it Garm Lance!” Standing up, Voss made for the mechbay, a plan already forming in his head. He'd need the help of the head astech.

*****
12:45am (local)


   The pirate tank exploded as the stream of autocannon shells ate into its side armor and hit an ammo storage bin, the vehicles turret flipping 6 meters into the air before crashing back onto the plains. Turning to the other pirate Scorpion, Voss unleashed dual streams of charged particles from his Hound's right arm light PPC's, digging into the armor and stopping the vehicle in its tracks entirely. One hundred and twenty meters south, the Dervish's of Garm two and three poured long range missile fire into an approaching cluster of trucks and world rovers with missile launching racks in their cargo beds. To the north, the Leftenant's Marauder poured PPC fire into a lance of pirate Striker missile tanks.
   Beneath the feet their mechs swarms of infantry and vehicle crews milled around. The occasional man portable rocket arced from the swarm, but most of them were just fleeing from the explosions, little more than blurry shapes in the thin smoke that billowed across the field from burning vehicles. Through the smoke, Voss could see movement, something larger. But his sensor display didn't show anything, just an empty sector. Then a blue hexagon appeared on his map display for a second before disappearing. Something was out there, but the computer hadn't been able to identify it before it lost it again. “Garm Four to Garm One, I have an unidentified contact down valley. Permission to pursue and investigate.” the radio crackled with static from the PPC fire. “Affirmative Four. Good hunting.”
   Voss turned his mech to follow the direction the contact had been headed. With his sensors unreliable due to probability of the enemy having stealth systems active, he scanned visually, looking for movement and other signs of mech activity. Passing by where the contact had been, Voss almost missed the footprints dug into the soil, proof that a mech had passed through there. Switching to thermal imagining on his main display, the footprints stood out brightly from vented heat. The tracks lead west to the forest, and away from the rest of the lance. Since his prey was at faster than him, it likely had a large lead, so he throttled up to a run, following the fading tracks.

-------------------------------
this was written for a writing contest run by a friend of mine, but i moved and got a new job halfway through so never got to finish. i still intend to finish it up at some point, i just haven't had a chance yet. but i figured i could post it here, instead of letting it sit unread on my hard drive.

snakespinner

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Re: The Hunt - a battletech sort story WIP
« Reply #1 on: 26 September 2013, 22:37:40 »
Nice start to the story.
Hope you can finish the story, the duel between the Raven and the Hound will be most interesting. O0
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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glitterboy2098

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Re: The Hunt - a battletech sort story WIP
« Reply #2 on: 30 September 2013, 20:00:28 »
actually there is a bit more involved than just that. but i can't comment about it without giving away the ending.

snakespinner

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Re: The Hunt - a battletech sort story WIP
« Reply #3 on: 30 September 2013, 21:50:59 »
Now i am intrigued.
Looking forward to it. [cheers]
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

Dave Talley

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Re: The Hunt - a battletech sort story WIP
« Reply #4 on: 30 September 2013, 22:51:14 »
tag
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

Because while the other Great Houses of the Star League thought they were playing chess, House Cameron was playing Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker the entire time.
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