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Author Topic: 5000 BV Merc  (Read 773 times)

jamesbeil

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5000 BV Merc
« on: 15 July 2019, 18:37:51 »
Planet: Kiyev
Ambient Temperature: Ten-one point zero two degrees
Local Time Is: Zero six, ten one, five three GST.
Reactor: Online.
Sensors: Online.
Weapons: Online.

All Systems: Nominal.

Kiyev was not a happy planet at the present; what had begun as a minor disagreement between invitations to a wedding had exploded into open armed conflict when a stray punch had killed Duke Capulet's son, and now the Duke was determined to have revenge on the Montagu family, ruling from the planetary capital, Kiyev City. The League weren't going to get involved; this was an internal affair, and it was going to be solved on the battlefield – and Capulet knew exactly how he was going to solve it...

“All units, call in.” Sensors were useless in a storm like this; there was so much electrostatic interference that even the comms were almost impossible to use. Sorensen wasn't sure the transmission has gone through until a voice came back, buried underneath layers of noise. “Actual Two, calling in.”
“Actual Three, en route.”
“You-Emm Lead, all units good to go.” UM was the group callsign for the militia lance, four UrbanMechs older than most of the buildings in the capital, with most of their communications gear burned out from centuries of use. Forced to rely on visual confirmation of their status through the thick fog, they could have been miles away before they knew anything about it – only the nav markers were keeping them on-target.

Sorensen's Strikers had been sitting on a lucrative contract – twenty four months, guaranteed pay, garrison duty on Capulet turf with nothing to do except polishing weapon barrels and keeping the distinctive red-yellow-white stripes down the middle of their 'Mechs in top parade condition. With just two months left until he could take the C-bills, get off-world and pick up a whole new lance on Outreach, that stupid kid had to go and get himself killed. Taylor had always been a hothead, but as the Duke's eldest son he was obviously beyond reproach – the two had argued constantly whenever he found themselves together, and since Capulet only had the one 'Mech bay, it was almost impossible to avoid him.

He was forever tinkering with that damn Orion, firing up the engine, pretending to run through the checks and playing at being a real MechWarrior. Sorensen had never even seen the yellow war machine even leave the 'Mech bay, let alone engage in combat; it was a family heirloom, and in such great condition that he doubted it had ever seen a fight for at least a century. He had hoped to convince the Duke to part with the ONI-5K in return for a big slice of the final contract payment, but since Taylor Capulet got his comuppance the Duke wasn't talking to anyone about anything but crushing Montagu beneath the heel of that 5K.

Capulet and most of his forces were swinging south towards Kiyev City to avoid the Rus river, and presumably most of the Duke's forces were digging in north to meet them, leaving – so the plan said  - the southern approach up the river scarcely defended. Just an easy drive up to the capital, seize the palace, and back home in time for the updates from Solaris VII. Naturally, that meant Duke Capulet took all the fastest units, and lumped the Strikers with the UrbanMech lance. He had begged – begged! - to be assigned to the assault, but Capulet wanted to lead it personally. Turning down an Awesome and a Charger for an assault seemed like a poor decision – Sorensen knew it was a poor one – but the Duke's mind was made up. Sorensen wandered if perhaps the Duke was hoping to go out in a blaze of glory and gunfire rather than carry on without his only heir. If he was looking for glory, the battlefield was the wrong place for it – Captain Sorensen had seen too many fights to still believe battle was some heroic clash of good versus evil. It was bloody, it was horrible, and an LRM salvo to the cockpit was a crap way to die.

“Match speed, thirty klicks proceed north. Watch your step out there, the ground's uneven out here.” The Rus foothills made movement slow, and in better conditions Sorensen would have preferred a single-file advance through the valley following the river bank. The dense fog made navigation nearly impossible, but with the UrbanMechs able to jump over any significant hurdles, it was only really him and Claire who were going to be seriously held up – neither the Awesome nor the Charger mounted jump jets, and Mika's Commando was fast enough to pick through the broken ground without too much difficulty. The odds of being intercepted on ground like this were pretty poor, but with the morning's dense, chilly fog laying on the ground like a thick blanket it was almost impossible to imagine running into the enemy.

“All clear up here, boss,” said Mika, riding up ahead with the Commando. “Just heading up the hill now, sensors still shot.” She said something afterwards, but it was lost in the screech of a burst of static as a spear of lightning struck the ground nearby, agitating the dense clouds hanging just above the ground. “No sign of movement,” she repeated, barely audible.

Another burst of static growled in Sorensen's ear, and the source was lost, the onboard computer displaying a green error message. “Repeat?” No answer came. He tried a second time, then a third. Only on the fourth attempt did a garbled “-tact?” come through from Mika's transponder. Seconds later, there was a horrible screeching noise followed by a metallic clang from within the Awesome, and instantly Sorensen knew what had happened. Gunfire! The offending party was still hidden in the fog, so he slammed down on the accelerator and rushed forwards, barking off as he went. “Contact! Return fire!”

Pressing through the fog, he followed the few tracers he could see, until eventually he was in place, standing above a battered, white-painted Locust, plink-plink-plinking away at his armour with bursts of machine gun fire. This must have been a raw recruit; nobody sane or smart would take on his 'Mech in a Locust like this. Sorensen didn't even bother to use the targeting computer, blasting two PPC beams into the Locust's centre mass. Half a second later, the super-high energy particles burned their way through the scanty armour and made contact with the machine gun's ammunition bins. The poor Mechwarrior within wouldn't have had time to realise what was happening before a ton of white-hot shrapnel ripped him, and his 'Mech, to unrecognisable shards. Sorensen's ears were bombarded as the clattering of scrap metal against the cockpit glass shook his bones and wrecked his paint job.



“Just two more months,” he sighed to himself, trying to coax his targeting computer into life. “and we would have been out of here without a single repair bill.” He didn't have time to mope, as the Awesome's computer began to squeal intermittently. “MISSILE LAUNCH DETECTED.” Sorensen swore as the Awesome shook, spears of flaming light crashing into the Battlemech's massive frame from an unseen assailant. Desperately struggling to keep his machine upright, Sorensen hurled the 'Mech forward, up a slight hill to try and get a better signal for the targeting computer.

“Lead, taking fire!” Magda's voice crackled through the electric haze as she drove her Charger through the fog, laser blasts scorching the right side of her Battlemech, the beams evaporating the fog as they burned through the cloud hugging the countryside. As she hit top speed in excess of eighty klicks per hour, a huge grey shape loomed out of the darkness, and reflexively she threw her 'Mech right and blasted a volley of Magna Mark I lasers towards the shape. Her targeting computer beeped into life and her blood ran cold as the electronic voice intoned in her ears. “TARGETING. BATTLEMASTER.”
“Holy mother, lead, I'm up against a Battlemaster here! I need support!” If there was an answer forthcoming, Magda couldn't hear it through the static. “Stay cool,” she told herself, banking left. If she could clamber over the hills and get behind the Battlemaster, she could deliver a few punches and hopefully breach the rear armour – if only someone could keep the Battlemaster's attention to the front. She just had to hope someone was out there and could see through the atrocious weather.

“I'm right on top of you Mags, hold on!” Mika's Commando jumped over the river, sliding as it landed before turning hard right, spraying SRM fire into the fog as she went, hoping she'd at least distract the 'Mech and give Magda a chance to put some hurt down.
“I see you,” barked Magda, catching a glimpse of the Commando's distinctive striping as she swung around behind the Battlemaster. “Move fast, I've got no armour left on my right side, I'm down a laser!”



“Trey, can you hear me out there? We need support up here, I'm taking fire and we've got an assault mech!” Another volley of missiles burned through the air, and this time one struck a vulnerable section of thinner plate, cracking the armour and bursting apart inside the central cavity of the Awesome. The computer voice beeped, “CRITICAL HIT. ENGINE,” and Sorenson swore again. With the heat already beginning to build inside the cockpit, he drove the Awesome forwards into the river, hoping the water would help make up some of the lost heat capacity now that the engine was leaking fusion exhaust gases into the inside of his 'Mech. These repair bills were mounting up quickly, and those missiles were still coming.

“We're a little busy here, merc – we just ran into a Hunchback, we'll get to you when we can!” That made it at least three contacts, not counting the bits of Locust blasted all over the countryside. It was unlikely they could signal for help with this much static, but whatever happened they needed to move fast – if those missiles kept coming eventually they'd pound Sorensen's 'Mech to bits. “Make best speed to my location, lance – provide covering fire!”

Magda twisted her torso to try and avoid the green laser blasts but her right side was now scorched bare down to the internals, and even with Mika harassing the Battlemaster with missile fire it just continued to drive onwards, firing out into the distance – presumably it had a bead on Sorensen's 'Mech. If this went on much longer the rear-facing lasers were going to hit something important – time to go for broke. She rushed forwards as the Battlemaster made its way over the river, torso lasers blasting at the rear armour. A chunk flew off as the armour plating heated and melted, and she took her chance. Straining the gyro, she threw two massive swings into the Battlemaster's rear. The first one threw her around inside the cockpit as the huge reaction forces hurled her against the restraint straps, but gave her the crucial chance she needed – the Battlemaster was off-balance, and the second blow was enough to send it tumbling, and the right arm with the PPC was crushed underneath, exposing a snapped actuator. “Mika, finish it,” Magda shouted, as she wrestled to recover her balance.

Mika poured missiles into the beleaguered 'Mech, now stationary. Within, the pilot must have smashed against something or else their neurohelm was broken, because the 'Mech was dead still – bad luck for the poor bastard inside, but Mika had no intention of giving them enough time to wake up and return fire – even with a mangled right arm that machine had a lot of firepower. As she unloaded onto the 'Mech, she caught scraps of comm chatter - “Spider...three is down!” That had to be one of the militia Mechs; too bad for them.

Three beams of high-energy particles blasted across Mika's viewscreen, and inside the cramped cockpit she looked for their source – weaponry that heavy would mean bad news, and while she was fast enough to get out, Magda would be in trouble. “I see your target,” came a familiar voice, as Sorensen's Awesome moved into view, cruising through the fog. “Sight for sore eyes, boss,” said Mika, as she noticed the blast marks all over the Awesome's front – someone had been taking a pounding.



A 'Mech as heavy as a Battlemaster had to be the commander – Sorensen had an idea. “Mags, Mika, bounce my message, open channels,” ordered the Rasalhaguer, switching his comm settings with a  quick set of button pushes. “Enemy forces, this is Captain Sorensen of Sorensen's Strikers, under contract with Duke Capulet. Your Battlemaster is down. Your Locust is scrap metal. When I find who is firing those LRMs I am going to melt your engine for paperclips. You have one chance to power down weapons and retreat. Ten seconds before I order my Mechwarriors to crush you.”

It was ballsy, at least. Mika wasn't convinced it would work – the LRMs could have been coming from anywhere, and the militia lance were down at least one 'Mech, probably more – but she bounced the transmission and hoped it would carry over the static, her targeting reticule staying dead still over the fallen Battlemaster's cockpit. If it moved, she was going to shoot first and ask questions later. Five nervous seconds passed. Five turned into eight, then nine.

Ten seconds passed.

Twelve.

“Open fi-” Sorensen was cut off by another message on the open channel.
“This is Lieutenant Shirikawa, 1st Hirota Lancers. We are quitting the field, cease fire.”
“You've got an hour, Shirikawa,” barked Sorensen. “I suggest you avoid Kiyev City.” Mika breathed a sigh of relief inside the Commando's cockpit while Magda laughed. “I call dibs on the new 'Mech!”
“Hold it there, Mags,” said Sorensen. “We've still got a job to do. Magda, you stay put and secure the area – I've already called Recovery. Mika, sweep for anyone who didn't get the message.”

“Oh, and I don't think Duke Capulet needs to know about this, does he?”

“No sir,” came a response in stereo, as Mika turned her Commando to begin her sweep.

Strangely, Sorensen suddenly found himself less concerned about his repair bills.

After the failed KO roll for the Battlemaster, my opponent was left exposed; his Hunchback was facing three Urbanmechs, plus the one whose pilot he had KO'd, an under-gunned Spider SDR-5V, and the Catapult, which had burned through half the ammunition against a damaged-but-effective Awesome with no armour breaches, the Charger which was still in good enough condition, and Mika's Commando, which was kicking arse.

The key to this game was my opponent being drawn forward towards the Awesome and ignoring the Charger & Commando manuevering to the flank - by the time they were close enough to be an obvious threat it was too late to get the rear arc safe, and soon a headshot knocked the pilot unconscious, the 'Mech fell, and he called it there. Since the game itself was a bit of a walkover due to some very lucky rolls in my part, and some inexperience in the game from my opponent, I thought a narrative AAR would be a bit more interesting. Hope you enjoyed!

swammeyjoe

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Re: 5000 BV Merc
« Reply #1 on: 11 September 2019, 00:33:21 »
Loved the narrative!

 

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