Copyright © by Hammy
Wolf – 75T Black Knight
Banshee – 25T Raven
Rampage (Josh) – 55T Ryoken
Cool-Hand – 55T Ryoken
Banshee flipped open her team comms for everyone to hear, "Fifteen hundred meters to Nav Charlie, gentlemen. We need a plan of action." But most were normal pilots who pretty much followed directions and shot whatever moved.
Cool-Hand: "I would say split up into groups of four, but Ram and I agree that isn't much of an idea there. We have no idea how big of an army they are bringing, much less who their pilots are."
Wolf: "Easy; their lackeys go first, followed by the bigger guns, or the other way around."
Rampage: "Looks like we are in for the fight of the century!"
Wolf: "I think it's time the tables are turned."
Banshee: "Seriously, Wolf? After what I witnessed on Panthera?" There was a pause of silence on comms before she continued. "Even so, Sam made sure you all went first as distractions. He then sent the rest of us off from the far side of the planet in an expedited transport overnight. He told me he'd be joining us afterwards, but he never showed up. I knew he was crazy, but not that crazy enough to take them all on his own!"
Cool-Hand: "He awoke the founders at the last minute, based on a really good feeling, and changed his orders from the meeting overnight."
Banshee: "HE WHAT?!"
Cool-Hand: "Relax Gail, he was not alone and the rest of us approved of his actions. If he can take them on, so can the rest of us."
Banshee: "I can see that partially happening, probably without that hammer wielding horn-dog with a hard on for a cock-fight that gets himself killed!"
Cool-Hand: "Umm well– about that–"
Banshee: "Well what?"
Rampage: "At one point in our travels to Outreach, he kinda went ballistic in the pods with a handful of vets and newbies alike. One of them was a high ranked spy for WOB."
Banshee: "You gotta be yankin' my chain–"
Wolf: "They're serious. I watched the results myself. To think he was hiding this kind of skill–"
Cool-Hand: "Seven hundred meters guys. And Gail, JD dropped the hammer on their number three with ease in the city. He doesn't know it, at least I don't think. He was completely lost in a fit of rage over what happened to Sam."
Banshee: "Wait a minute here– scratch that. Tell me later. It's time to get down to business and I don't want any of us getting caught with our pants around our ankles."
There was a few giggles heard over comms, but nothing else was said as the team eased forward slowly. Banshee arrived at the crest first, but she was not using the Light 'Mech's full speed, except when she thought it was needed. When she got to within four hundred meters from Nav Charlie, she maneuvered her 'Mech up the mountain 'til it barely reached the peak. It wasn't really much of a mountain, more like a small rolling hill, but you get the picture. There were no trees in sight and most of the grass was brown with several loose clouds of dirt drifting on the ground. Once her 'Mech stopped, she crouched down and engaged the exterior probe to see over the hill. When the view screen suddenly changed, she was looking at nothing but wide-open space at first. She scanned the left and found nothing. When she scanned the right side, she thought she saw some specks of dust flowing in a certain direction, or some sort of dust tornado, but a closer inspection made her do a double take.
"Everything looked clear till I looked to my right. I'm seeing some sort of dust trail or something."
Wolf: "This planet has a lot of those, mostly tornadoes that move in counter-clockwise directions, never linear."
Banshee: "Then it looks like we got company!"
Cool-Hand: "What ya seeing?"
Banshee: "A Stampede of light 'Mechs!" She took out her electronic binoculars and looked at the massive squadron of maybe fifty or so.
Banshee: "That ain't half bad! They have some Mediums in the mix there." She clicked on a button to allow the probe to return to the 'Mech.
Banshee: "Please tell me you have something other than PPC's on that thing!"
Banshee: "Oh hell, Death, Steel, Drake, Plasma, stick with Wolf and assist us with missiles when possible. Coolio and Ramp, you guys try to pick them apart from your range while the rest of us try to distract them!"
There was a chorus of 'aye's' heard over comms, and she gunned her 'Mech forward and shouted, "Engage!"
JD – 95T Warthog
Hellboy – 95T Warthog
Simon – 100T Daishi
Blinker – 70T NovaCat
Firewolf – 70T NovaCat
Diablo – 75T Black Knight
"Can't you guys slow down some?" Simon whined as he watched everyone except him take off like bullets. At least it's what it looked like from his point of view anyway.
"We don't have much time to waste! I'm sure Wolf and the others took off already," JD commented over comms in response to Simon's whining.
"Not yet. We are the second group to leave. Pain's group was the first to go," Fire announced. "Stick together if you're going to run off. If you get yourself caught, you bloody better get out of it or there'll be hell to pay!"
"Relax, Fire, I sent a couple of ECM Ravens ahead to scout for us. If they find nothing, the enemy is most likely powered down in buildings."
Fire didn't respond, nor did anyone else. JD looked at the computer, and there were a thousand kilos to go. It wouldn't be much longer till they got to their destination. He was thankful for the ECM cover, but wondered if it was even effective. He sighed and looked back for a moment searching his memories. Suddenly, he held his breath and realized what he'd done. A shallow groan escaped his lips.
"JD, you okay?"
"Yeah, Blinky, I am. I just realized what happened in the pods on the JumpShip."
"What exactly do you remember?"
"I'm sure I remember you being there, as well as someone else that seemed familiar, but can't quite place where I saw him."
"I hope you're not referring to the spy I took down on that ship."
"So that's who it was. He directly threatened me and after handing him his ass more than once, he just commented it was luck and left."
"You're lucky he didn't fire off a message. I mean, as far as WOB is concerned, they believe you to be a regular, not an elite."
"Heh. What about you? Aren't you worried that they might be able to separate you from the rest of us?"
"Unlikely. Before today, my callsign has no data on it. As in, they're in for a very nasty surprise."
JD wanted to ask something else, but figured he would find out soon enough. It was less than 500 meters to the outskirts of the city and the buildings were already visible, even with the dust blowing and making visibility worse. JD hated dust storms. Sam had always managed to get him in the storms one way or another, and with that little thought, JD smirked thinking about it. Before he could let everyone on in an idea, his comms went off.
"Guys, the city looks clear for the most part. We are heading back to you now."
JD frowned, thinking to himself, 'I don't like this.'
JD: "Guys, I'm getting a bad feeling."
Blinker: "So am I."
JD: "I remember Sam teaching us a lesson in dust storms... I always lost no matter what. But this is eerie."
Firewolf: "Now's not the time for trips down memory lane!"
JD chuckled: "Not at all. It's a reminder to me and everyone else in the harsh lesson of tactical command and flanking."
Firewolf: "Get to the point."
Blinker: "Oh I see what he means now."
JD: "We're about to be attacked from behind! The city was a distraction!"
Firewolf: "Shit! You bloody fucking better be right!"
Just then, Blinker let loose the full power of his NovaCat at a target that he assumed was an enemy. He turned his 'Mech to the right of where he thought the enemy was and fired again, getting an explosion.
Comms crackled to life with a young teen's voice sounding from the other end. "Thanks! You just killed an ECM Atlas!"
JD wasted no time waiting for orders as he turned his 'Mech around and headed straight into the chaos. Simon caught on and hurried after him at his best speed, which was a snails pace in terms of the massive tank he was piloting, leaving Fire and Blinker alone.
"That fucker!" Firewolf complained as he watched JD take off and disappear into the dust.
"Fire, we'll have to cover each other. This thing is hot as hell!"
"Roger. Switching to thermals." As soon as the thermals were activated, Fire would see many bright red dots in the distance, all enemy 'Mechs.
"You seeing what I'm seeing?" Fire asked Blinker, ignoring the various chatter over comms.
"Yep. Let's do it!"
Fire pointed his 'Mech in the opposite direction of Blinkers and fired an alpha strike to the biggest 'Mech at seven hundred meters out and hit his right torso. Blinker followed up with a well placed shot to the same torso and immediately shutdown due to the heat. He had been firing randomly here and there during their little discussion. Once Fire felt he was cooled down well enough, he fired again at the same spot and suddenly, there was a cloud of smoke billowing from the heavily damaged torso. Before either of them could fire again, comms suddenly became more clear.
JD: "Last ECM 'Mech has been destroyed."
Blinker: "How many were there?"
JD: "I lost count after five or so."
Simon: "I'm sure you did. You asshats are lucky I'm still alive!"
JD sighed as Blinker responded: "Ya okay?"
Simon: "Sure, was hiding in a small ditch. In fact, I have a nice birds-eye view of a Behemoth II and a Marauder IIC. Can only take on one of them."
Simon: "About seven hundred or so meters from you guys."
JD: "I'll distract the Behe with Hellboy. We're closer at least."
Hellboy: "Oh hell."
JD: "No worries. I'm running out of targets anyway."
JD: "And ammo."
Firewolf: "Oh for fucks sakes."
JD: "I got enough shots left anyway. Simon can finish what I started."
Simon: "Damn straight I can."
Just as soon as JD and Hellboy hit the clearing, Simon began his power up sequence. To start it off, the first Assault 'Mech fired its railgun, narrowly missing JD and hitting its own teammate. The second Assault 'Mech fired and hit Simon smack dab in the center torso, getting a critical hit, but Hellboy never changed course. JD instinctively knew he needed to protect Hellboy and he moved quickly to position his 'Mech in front of Hellboy's.
Just before the first Assault was about to fire again, Simon let loose all his weapons, eliciting a thunderous explosion as the full force of the weapons hit the rear torso, instantly destroying the 'Mech. The second assault had already fired a second or two later, after the explosion, throwing its aim off yet again, destroying another of its own teammates. At the same time, Simon's Daishi was forced to shut itself down due to the excessive heat output of the Assault Lasers combined with the Autocannons.
JD smiled wickedly as he rapidly closed the distance with his 'Mech. Once he was in optimum range, he fired an alpha towards the Behemoth's right torso, twisting it slightly, and then ran past it. Hellboy repeated the same and gave it an alpha, causing the massive one hundred tonner to twist its torso some more and fall to the ground. Just as the 'Mech was starting to stand up, Simon, who had cooled down enough, fired upon the helpless 'Mech, destroying it in the process.
JD managed a sigh of relief, as did Simon and Hellboy. The battle of the city was nearing its end as Blinker and Firewolf finished off the rest.
JD: "This battle is far from over." There was a chorus of agreements sounding off from comms, but JD was not done. "Guys, we need to support Wolf and his group."
Blinker: "How? We're at least four thousand meters away! Not to mention our base is about half that!"
JD: "That's fine. I'll meet you along the way. Hellboy and I need to switch 'Mechs."
Firewolf: "There's no time for that!"
JD: "Yes there is. Trust me. I'll need to switch anyway. You'll see why."
Blinker: "Fire, let them go. I have a feeling about this and JD knows something we don't."
Firewolf: "Oh alright. But, be quick about it!"
JD: "No worries, Hellboy secretly prepared them in advance for us!"
By now, JD and Hellboy were well over a kilometer away from Nav Alpha, leaving a huge dust trail behind them as the fighting was slowly dying down.
Firewolf: "I sure as hell hope they know what they're doing." He fired a volley in a pissed off manner, hitting an enemy 'Mech in the head, instantly destroying the 'Mech.
Blinker: "I think JD knows what the cause of this dust storm was. I'm sure I do, but I don't want to know. Not yet." He fired off a pair of lasers and hit a medium 'Mech, destroying it. He continued to alternate lasers in similar fashion 'til nothing else was moving, except their lance mates.
Firewolf: "Then we best get a move on." He sighed then continued, "All remaining personnel, intercept Wolf's squadron at Nav Charlie! Our work here is done."
Fire did not wait for a response, as he and Blinker took off towards Nav Charlie with whatever wings they had left from the battle. Once again, Simon was heard whining on comms about how everyone else was so much faster than he was, but he had a slight head start over every one else. That however, was corrected once everyone passed him.
Chris – 70T NovaCat
Pain – 75T Black Knight
Rampage (Adam) – 75T Black Knight
Laser – 75T WildCat
Pain audibly groaned into comms as Rampage spoke in response. "Guys, I know we are up against some tough shit here, but we need to hold this valley, all of us. We all have long range weapons and most of us have jets, so let's give them a poptart show!" And with that, he fired his jets, jumping into the air, clearing his weapons. Once he jumped, he fired a pair of PPCs and another pair of Thunderbolts.
At the same time, everyone else popped over the hill and fired their weapons. All of the shots hit their mark, but none of them destroyed anything, as they were too wide spread.
Once everyone returned to their spots under cover, several railgun shots hit the dirt, narrowly missing several 'Mechs.
Chris: "Guys, can't we hit the same target at the same time, assuming we have the range to reach them? I mean, I thought they were slightly over nine hundred meters away."
Rampage: "You are partially correct. All of us are packing long range weapons, however, those railguns can actually hit us at this distance, delivering full damage, so don't get hit! Think of this as target practice, those big monsters can't move very fast to dodge us!"
Pain: "Yeah, I agree."
Half of the 'Mechs jumped and fired, then the other half repeated the same. Several enemy 'Mechs had smoke coming from the damaged parts that were hit, and they all appeared to be doing nothing.
Chris: "Guys, something's wrong."
Pain: "I agree, they're not moving, but the dropship is firing railguns."
Rampage: "How many of us have arty beacons?"
At least half a dozen responded in formal manner of 'aye sirs' and some with 'I dos'. At this point, Chris decided to move off and break formation, checking on a gut feeling.
Chris: "Guys, I'm going to check on things towards the right."
Rampage: "Make it quick."
It took maybe a minute or two to reach that side and as he crested the hill, he spotted a huge dust trail heading away from him and fast, with some heavier 'Mechs following in the dust trail.
Chris: "Bad news guys, there's more heading away from us. That dropship is a distraction!"
Rampage: "Oh fuck! We've gotta hurry and destroy that thing! Everyone, launch the arty beacons! Once the dropship is being bombarded with them, everyone open fire at the same time!"
Chris wasted no time returning to his previous spot, except he stayed on the flat, right before entering the valley, to see what the damage would be. However he was also exposed to the dropship's full firepower, yet he was somehow ignored.
There was a huge brilliant flash with well over 40 explosions as the artillery strikes bombarded the dropship as well as the remaining firepower from the twenty-one battle 'Mechs. Chris witnessed the explosions, followed by one massive explosion and a shockwave that pushed his 'Mech slightly back from the sheet force, almost knocking him over. Once the dust cleared, all that remained was the burning carcass of the dropship, however a second one was visible off in the distance.
Chris: "There's another dropship some two thousand meters away!"
Pain: "I don't see any of those monstrous beasts that were visible where the dropship was."
Rampage: "That was an illusion it seems. Clever distraction, however we are out of range and can't let anyone know!"
Chris: "I'm not!"
Pain: "Do be careful."
Rampage: "Did that other dropship have any markings?"
Chris: "Yeah, barely visible, but it was red and black with stars across the middle!"
Rampage: "Oh fucking hell, not again!"
Pain: "Oh com'on, Ramp, they aren't too bad."
Chris: "Allies or...?"
Rampage: "Pains in the asses."
Pain: "He means allies."
Chris switched comms to a different channel requesting for anyone to answer and Simon did.
Simon: "Everything okay over there?"
Chris: "Yes and no. Yes, we are all fine, seems we have more help on the way. No, because there is a horde of 'Mechs headed towards what I think is Nav Alpha. We'll be late to the party, but pass this message on!"
Simon: "How many are we talking about here?"
Chris: "My best guess is forty plus!"
Just then, several 'Mechs began passing Chris. He looked to his left and right and noted an extra fifteen in the mix. The comms cackled to life as Rampage found the channel Chris was on.
Rampage: "Get a move on, we are on the way!"
Simon: "Roger that! I just arrived at the hangars, switching 'Mechs as well!"
Rampage: "What the hell?"
Simon: "It'll be a laser show, except the others took off without me. I don't see Hammer's Warthog anywhere and he wasn't too badly damaged, except all of the NovaCats that were in the bays are gone, including several SuperNovas. My guess is Hellboy somehow managed to remote control them to follow him as extras!"
Chris: "I hope JD's not planning on a suicide run!"
Pain and Rampage: "Oh hell."
Just as the conversation ended, Chris eased the throttle forward to maximum in order to catch up with the departing group with one single thought on his mind: JD.