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How To Catch A Ghost Bear In A Pit Trap

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#1 LennStar


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Posted 30 July 2017 - 09:46 AM

Two big, blueish crackling sparks hit the summoner in the torso, making the Mech turn to the side by the sheer destructive energy of the PPC bolts.

“Anyone see where this came from?”, asked Star Commander Pollux.
“Neg. Nothing to see”, came the response of his pilots.

That was strange. Heavy weapons like that and nothing to see that could carry them, no Mech, no tank. What did those freeborn do this time?

Star Commander Pollux was irritated that this tiny planet far away from the main fights was putting up such a heavy resistance. By this time the attack force should already have destroyed their military potential, but instead it was a close fight.

The main part of the enemy’s success was their usage of cowardly tactics, deceptions and often avoiding the fight.
How do you fight someone who always runs away?

Two more blue bolts were shooting towards them, but by a lucky step the Summoner avoided them. Instead one of the PPCs hit the Nova in their back.

At least this time Pollux had seen where the shots came from.

“20 degrees, near the boulders. Go team!”

Star Commander Pollux moved his Timber Wolf forward at max speed. On this wild ground the Mech was shaking a bit but Pollux and the three other pilots of his star were used to rough terrain. Just those freeborns…

The next time the PPCs were shot he could actually see the Mechs.

“Ravens! The have put the PPCs on ravens!”
Star Commander Pollux was angry. There it was again! Ridiculous outfits. Heavy weaponry on a scout Mech!
But at least this made sense since the ECM suite of the Ravens prevented his units from getting lock-ons on the far away Ravens. His Timber’s LRMs were useless. Until…

“Point Commander”, he ordered the Elementals that accompanied his Mech star ”go to those Raven’s position. You don’t need to make damage, just keep them from running away and give me locks”.

A few kilometers away Major Meech was watching the scene with his field glasses.
“You should think they are more careful by now”, he commented on the move of the heavy infantry units.
“Claners...”, was all his aide said.

Together they watched the Clan Mechs moving towards the position that his two ravens had left immediately after their third shot. He didn’t like the Elementals going in front but he doubted they would find the trap in time. They were searching for ECM-ed Mechs to get a lock on them, not for something that locked their own Mechs.

And indeed the Clan fighters were too late to see the ravens, all they had were six pairs of footprints going to different directions, all disappearing into the dark woods.

A minute later the Clan Mech group arrived. Meech pressed a little button and when a tiny red light on his armband blinked he said just three words.
“Drop the hammer”.

Star Commander Pollux was just about to give a command when the earth erupted. Several explosions shook his Mech and clouds of soil and little stones filled the air.
For a moment the Star Colonel wondered why the enemy had done this. It was very unlikely they could do any real damage to the Mechs by planting those mines.
But the Elementals…

“Point Commander, how are you?”
“Everything fine, command. Just a bit dizzy.”

Pollux breathed in relief. If the plan of the militia had been to kill his infantry, so the Elementals could not follow the ravens, they had not succeeded. Still they had won time.

Too late he realized that the plan was a completely different one.
All that he saw before the LRM salvo hit his Mech was the red line of a laser TAG pointing at his torso. The smoke and soil in the air had prevented his Mech’s sensors to detect them, but the strong enemy’s TAG was giving away his position.

Damn, they found the first one”, Mallorey the aide said when the Timber spat burning light towards the guiding laser.
“We have two more”, said Meech flatly and continued to watch the Long Range Missiles beat the enemy Mech.

Star Commander Pollux was angry. Angry on himself that he had fallen for the enemy’s trick.
The air had cleared and now the sensors on their Mechs were detecting the incoming LRM in time for the Kit Fox of his Mech star to shoot them down. But the ammo of the anti missile system was not infinite.

Meech grinned as he saw three of the Clan Mechs hustling into cover while the Kit Fox, with blazing AMS, run towards the place where the LRM where still climbing into the sky. Three Elementals where following him.
He gave a short signal, nothing more then a pre-programmed number, that told his soldiers to continue with plan A.

“I see it!”, came the report of one of the Elementals.
“What Mech?”, asked the Star Commander.
“No Mech”, came the hesitant answer. “Nothing. Nothing except… it looks like a big truck with the mounted LRM launcher, nothing more.”
“It is still firing.”
“I take him out”, said the pilot of the Kit Fox.

For a moment Pollux wanted to tell him otherwise, to come back. That smelled too much like another trap.
But then he thought what could happen without enemies nearby? They had put up this automated trap to give the ravens time to run away into safety.

He had better gone by his doubts, because a few seconds later, when the Kit Fox reported the destruction of the LRM launcher, the com erupted in cries of surprise.

“They come out of the earth! I’m under attack Star Commander! Infantry with SRM and flamer.”
“Help him!” Pollux pressed his lips together. Again he had fallen for their tricks.
If they had ignored the LRM rain and gone together the militia would not have dared to attack them. They could have stepped on the infantry and…
A shake nearly as bad as the one from the explosions earlier stopped his thought. A warning light told him that his left side torso was severely hit. A big hole in the armor and some molten internals. Nothing destroyed yet, but one more hit and he could lose half his Mech’s ability.
“PPC fire from the back”, his Summoner pilot told him needlessly. “Those Ravens again.”

Mallorey laughed when the Timber Wolf was hit by the heavy weapons.
“Too bad they didn’t take him out.”
“Don’t be greedy”, scolded Meech. “They still have to walk a bit.”
“True, true. We certainly don’t want to have all that work go to waste.”

Star Commander Pollux wasted quite some breath cursing the freeborn militia soldiers that put him in such a tight spot.
They could not afford to help their Kit Fox and it was questionable if they would reach in time anyway. All they could do now was to chase the Ravens, kill them and then turn around to get bloody revenge.
The Summoner shot his ERPPC but the running Ravens were hard to hit even in the best of times. His own lasers could only scratch their paint at this distance and the short ranged Nova watching their rear had no chance at all.
And who knows what more traps the militia had prepared.

Major Meech’s eyes nearly closed as he watched the Clan Mechs running towards the ravens. His light Mechs were doing fine. If they survived this, he would need to buy medals for the two boys out of his payment because the militia would damn well not have the money to do it.

It seems the enemy was totally unaware that they were on their best way into the biggest of all his traps. They were only 300m away now from the small river. The river bed on the other side was only 30m wide and after that the hills started where his Ravens were playing hide and seek with the Claners, peek-shooting them from ever-changing positions.

The terrain also meant there was only a 40m wide area for the Clan Mechs without jumpjets to cross the river if they didn’t want to run half a kilometer in the ravens fire.

But then the Clan Mechs stopped at the river. It surely looked like too good an opportunity for a trap and even a cocky Claner could learn.

“Go, go!”, Meech mumbled. But even when a Raven scored a hit on the leading Mech they didn’t move. They send their Elementals first. The two remaining battle suits crossed the river, climbed a hill and found nothing.
The Clan Mechs started to move.

“Gotcha!” Meech grinned. Only a matter of seconds now.

In full speed the Timber Wolf, the Summoner and the Nova crossed the river. They took a few steps at the bank and then the ground opened up under them. The trap was stable enough to hold even heavy infantry, but not to carry a heavy Mech.
The Timber dropped like a stone, the Summoner tumbled in after him, unable to stop fast enough. The Nova just jumped above their heads, but two out of three was all they needed.

“Get them boys!”, Meech shouted as he pressed the button that would detonate the barrels of fuel on the ground in the pit and made the Clan Mechs not only stuck but also hot as hell. A bit away the sides of two hills disappeared to show the bodies of two Hunchback medium Mechs powering up and several dozen infantry.

“And that, Mallorey”, Meech said grinning “is how you catch a Ghost Bear in a pit trap.”

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