Maverick was still a little ‘wet behind the ears’, but he had been training hard. I had noticed him after he got through boot camp and the trials of fire with ease. His handling of the Stormcrow Battlemech we had ‘acquired’ was improving steadily. He attended all the training drops over the last two months and although he was a little unsteady with his use of missiles, I felt he was ready for a live drop.
He arrived at my office on time at 5:30am on the dot. “Lance Corporal Maverick reporting as ordered General Bronurstomp.” His salute was crisp, and I returned it easily.
I noticed his uneasy tension, so instead of adding to it, I laid it to rest. “Good morning LC Maverick, At ease. You can relax; you’re not in any trouble.” He changed his stance from Attention to parade rest, his hands clasped behind his back, legs slightly spread, and relaxed visibly. “I’m taking a mission of some importance to the Spires. You familiar with that planet?”
“Just the few practice drops we made on the uninhabited side. The low gravity is a bit awkward in a 45 ton ‘Mech sir. I didn't see any spires, so I wondered why it’s called that.”
“I’ll make it short and to the point. Our drop will be just the two of us, and we will be landing on the north side of the main city. You’ll see then why it’s called Spires. The buildings reach several miles into the sky. Make sure your jump jets are in working order, or it’ll be a long walk around. We have some Intel to pick up on the south side. I don’t expect much, if any, resistance, but there have been reports of Gray Death League Mercs in that sector. Our employers, the Clan Nova Cats, are eager to get their hands on this Intel, and I’m sure the GDL would love to snag it first and sell it on the black market. We need to move fast, so we will be boarding the drop ship at 0800, with a drop to the planet at 0900 sharp.” I watched him gulp at the short notice, but otherwise he seemed to take it in stride. I hoped he could handle that Mech in a fight should the GDL show up. These were the only Storm Crows we had.
The trip though hyperspace to the Spires planet went without a hitch. We were finishing up in the Mechlab, and I made a point to remind Maverick about some of the finer points of fighting on this rock, should the need arise.
"We'll be taking LRMs and LBX10 autocannon. Remember not to try to fire the missiles over those buildings, they wont arc that high. Your target has to be either above you , below you , or on the same side of the buildings. I also recommend a laser in the cockpit. I like a Med Pulse." I was pleased to see him take my advise, and outfitted his Mech just the same as mine.
There's just something about freefall in a Battlemech, that doesn't compare to anything else on a low gravity planet like the Spires. Terminal velocity here was way too slow to get us down in time to complete our mission, so we flipped our mechs head down and fire the jump jets in bursts to get us going once we broke atmosphere.
I flipped on the com, and saw his face vibrating in rhythm to the bursts of jets. He looked especially calm for someone so young. I hoped he wasn't faking that look. " Flip over to landing mode." I said curtly. He initiated the maneuver smoothly, and I followed suit.
We landed just a few clicks from the city, the pastel hued spires glimmering softly in the distance, disappearing into the clouds we had just descended through.
It only took a few sprinting steps at full speed and a few bursts of Jump Jets and we were right at the outskirts. I came to a stop and Maverick stopped just behind me to my right, 1st wing position. Good I thought, he was alert and thinking. I hit a long burst of jets and rose vertically, watching my satellite,and tactical screens for contacts. Sure enough, two blips appears right where we had dropped two clicks behind. He was still on the surface.
My coms crackled, and Maverick said a little shakily, "Sir".
I interrupted, "I see them. Stay with me to the south side before we engage.Jet straight up from here"
He simply replied, "Copy that sir."
We cleared the first set of spire buildings, and vectored our vertical flight path to the south. I noticed Maverick drifting further to my right with each passing kilometer. It might be a good idea to split up here. I know a trick or two, and if they follow him, I'll have the advantage. I stopped bursting my jump jets, and I began to slowly fall between two tall towers. Maverick continued on south, the two GDL following us, one on each of us. I landed softly on a building top, tapped my com, and said, "Keep heading south until you clear the last buildings. I'll take this guy following me, you have the other one."
"Wilco General. How far from the city do I need to go?"
"Just engage him with your missiles when he gets in range. I'll catch up as soon as I can, and give you a hand if you need it."
He faded from view in the cloudy rarefied air, one of the GDL following him, the other vectoring toward me.
I stepped off the building and floated down toward the ground a few miles below.
My alert system "******** Betty" announced "Incoming Missiles. I grinned, watching them streak toward my position from where the GDL Mech had stopped 800 yards from where I was standing on the ground. I heard the salvo slam into the buildings overheard, Another volley streaked in my direction on the tactical display, with the same results. I turned my mech to face the building, and the GDL Merc in his Catapult. He had started moving in my direction, finally realizing why my armor wasn't reacting to his missile barrage.
Just before he reached the building I was standing behind, I hit my Jump jets on full throttle, and cut them about half way up, my momentum just enough to clear the building. He reached the edge of the building and began to descend just as I passed him, firing both my LRM15s into his torso. He hit his Jump jets in an attempt to slow his decent, but even in low gravity, inertia will have its way with 65 tons of Battlemech. He continued downward, and every so slowly, and for him must have seemed an eternity, began to reverse direction from down, to up. My momentum had been just enough to get me above the building, and alowed me to hover with a few short bursts of the jump jets. The tactical advantage was all mine, which afforded me a killing blow with the LBX10. His armor shredded under the hammering slugs of exploding ordinance that struck him midsection of his rear torso. He released his jump jets, hoping to escape to the ground, only to have his Mech burst apart from my next volley of LRms that rained down on him.
I watched as his escape pod rocketed past me to his jump ship in orbit. My com cracked on the open channel..." Nice Bron. I wont let that happen again. Be kind to that mech, she's been good to me."
I grinned in silence, reveling at the salvaged Catapult on the surface below. Another relatively intact Battlemch for my employer!
Now to find Maverick, and see how his fight was going. His mech and the other GDL were in the circle of death just to the south of the city. I couldn't tell from here who was winning, but I was going to make damn sure it was my wingman.
Missions of the ELH (Eridani Light Horse) from the M3L
2 replies to this topic
Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:14 AM
Bron! Seen you on the field today and pretty near flipped out. Couldn't believe I saw one of my old school NC/ELH buddies just by chance! I just did a search for M3L and saw there actually a few more floating around from the old League. Look'n forward to fighting with you again.
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