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An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 32 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]


A Clash of Eagles[]

The skies over Rookhaven
Harvest, Federated Commonwealth
May 12th, 3050


In the skies over the continent of Ohio, a series of massive aerial engagements is taking place between the ASF squadrons of the Allied Expeditionary Force and those of the Clans. Above the city of Rookhaven, Field Marshal Hodges’ AWACs vector his aerospace fighters towards the enemy; the engagement begins with a volley of Sparrowhawk AAMs launched at near maximum range; so as to deprive the Clan fighters of any warning about the incoming attack, their targeting information comes from the several AWACs orbiting over the battlefield. It’s only at the last possible moment that the missiles’ seeker heads will go active.

In keeping with Field Marshal Hodges’ policy of keeping alive his former affiliation with the U.S military, his ASF squadrons all bear the names of USAF fighter squadrons; one of these is the 8th ASF Squadron, the ‘Black Sheep’, one flight of which is commanded by his daughter Capt. Rebecca Hodges (call sign ‘Valkyrie’). In fact, it’s Captain Hodges’ fighter ‘Hell’s Belle’ along with her flightmates (1LT Amelia Nakamura; call sign ‘Buns’) and 1LT Kathy Raulston; call sign ‘Lips’) who fire the very first missiles of the engagement with the calls of <<“Fox One!!”>>

In terms of raw numbers, Field Marshal Hodges’ aerospace forces have a 17% numerical superiority over their Clan opponents; 720 ASFs compared to 600 for Clan Smoke Jaguar. Almost immediately, superior numbers begin to tell as 100 Clan OmniFighters fall to the initial missile volley. Seeing his forces savaged with such ridiculous ease even before his OmniMechs, tanks and artillery can come into play, Khan Leo Showers swallows his pride and calls on Clan Diamond Shark for assistance.


A Thunder of War[]

The skies over Rookhaven
Harvest, Federated Commonwealth
May 16th, 3050


On the left flank, Captain John Hodges and his tank company (the ‘Cratermakers’) are preparing to engage the Jade Falcon elements advancing on his position. After peering through his CITV, Hodges calls out to his tank commander "Target Bearing 270 degrees relative, range 3,600 meters and closing; two stars of clan mechs with escorts."

"Identification?" The lieutenant commanding ‘Hell Hammer’ asked.

"Smoke Jaguars." Captain John Hodges responded after looking through his CITV

"Gunner, load SABOT; stand by to fire on my command."


Timber Wolf (MechCommander)

Timber Wolf Heavy OmniMech

Star Captain Andrus was bored and angry in the cockpit of his Timber Wolf; the opposing dezgra having refused to meet him and his fellow MechWarriors in open combat; always shooting from extreme ranges and running off…

By the Great Father, he wanted a real challenge!!

"There! The freebirth scum deploy tanks, the new one from Hodges…." His sensors showed eight tanks, all of which were dug in hull-down; he was insulted.
"Send the Elementals." .

Some minutes later aboard Hell Hammer, the tank commander called out <<"Elementals moving fast; range 2,400 meters and closing"; the gunner replied "got ‘em">>.

"Beta 2 through Beta 4, load canister and prepare to engage the bugs; Beta 5 through Beta 8 will take the mechs."

"SABOT UP"

"FIRE!!’

"On the way!" The gunner spoke as the tank’s main gun roared, sending a 150-mm APFSDSDU shell forth at 1,800 meters per second. A fraction of a second later, the projectile reached its target.

Star Captain Andrus felt the impact as a shell hit the right arm of his Timber Wolf; instead of an explosion, the projectile tore through the armor and knocked out the ER Large Laser.

"Gunner, load HESH and Fire!”

"ON THE WAY!!"

The HESH projectile struck Andreus’ mech dead-center and destroyed the mech’s gyro, the hit causing the Timber Wolf to fall backwards. Elsewhere, the other tanks in Beta Company opened up with a combination of APFSDSDU, HESH and canister shells; the Elementals approaching Beta’s position began to be mowed down with swarms of high-velocity tungsten carbide shot, while the clan mechs lost arms and legs; in some cases, enemy mechs were destroyed when APFSDSDU projectiles cored through the torso armor and destroyed their fusion reactors.

For Star Captain Andrus, the other mechs of his two Stars and their supporting elementals were being absolutely savaged. In two cases, clan mechs were disabled when the ammo bins for their LRM launchers exploded; the pilots survived due to the protection afforded by CASE. Climbing from his cockpit, the clan Mechwarrior shouted angrily "HODGES!!!!!!"

After the commanders of the other tanks in Beta Company reported that they had expended 10% of their ammunition loads, Captain Hodges ordered “CEASE FIRE”; it was time to redeploy elsewhere.

<<"Alright Cratermakers, those baby seals have been clubbed enough. Re-deploy to Phase Line Bravo and assume standard defensive positions; HEAD’EM UP AND MOVE ‘EM OUT!!">>

Where two proud stars of clan battlemechs and their supporting elementals once stood, there were damaged and destroyed mechs scattered all over the battlefield; the elementals had been hit particularly hard, losing some 80% of their strength. As clan mechwarriors helped their wounded or unconscious comrades out of their cockpits, Star Captain Andrus began to rage on open comms.

In the meantime on the right flank, Captain Richard Hodges and his company of assault mechs (the ‘Iron Legion’) are taking the fight to the enemy. As the engagement gets under way, a challenge is received over the open comms channel.

“I am Ranna Kerensky, mechwarrior of Clan Wolf. I call on Field Marshal Hodges to engage me in open battle.” The response is swift “Kerensky, I am Captain Richard Hodges; my father sends his regrets that he is unable to accept your challenge in person because he’s engaged elsewhere against the rest of you nipple necks. However, I will accept it in his name; step up and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.

Freebirth, prepare to meet your maker”

Captain Hodges moves out onto the field, with his PPC capacitors charged and ready for use. He catches sight of Kerensky’s machine coming towards him and does a quick scan with his active sensors. ‘Hmm, a Warhawk-C; has two ER PPCs and two large pulse lasers coupled with a targeting computer for increased accuracy. Nice machine; it’ll be too bad if something bad happens to it…’

The two mechs are some 1,500 meters apart when Hodges has Green Lantern break out into a run at 80 kph. Across the field, Ranna Kerensky almost can’t believe what her sensors are telling her; that her opponent (who weighs 15 tons more than her machine does) is moving a full one-third faster that her Warhawk is capable of. The distance between the two mechs closes rapidly until they are 750 meters apart; mockingly, Hodges calls out over the comms channel and says “Kerensky, for what you’re about to receive, may you be truly thankful.”

Two bright, brilliant emerald green particle beams flash across the battlefield in the blink of an eye. The first beam strikes the Warhawk’s right arm and removes two-thirds of the armor protecting that location, while the second beam hits the right torso and removes the same amount of armor.

“What in the name of the Great Father did Hodges hit me with?? He nailed me from 750 meters and stripped off two-thirds of the armor on my right arm and right torso…”

As Kerensky’s Warhawk is somewhat outside the longest range of her ER PPCs, it isn’t until ten seconds later that she’s able to open fire. Seeking to end the fight as quickly as possible, Kerensky targets both of her ER PPCs on the center torso of Hodges’ mech; the fact that Kerensky is moving at the run affects the accuracy of her weapons; one PPC beam goes wide left, while the other hits Green Lantern as intended. In his cockpit, Captain Hodges’ sensors tell him of the damage his machine has taken. Silently remarking to himself, Hodges says “Hmm, I actually noticed that; it’s time to punch Kerensky’s ticket.”

Warhawk (in Battle at old Fortification - Papercraft version)

Warhawk Assault OmniMech in combat.

The targeting computer locks all three of Green Lantern’s large pulse lasers on the right leg of Kerensky’s mech. Instantly, the brilliant emerald-green beams flash across the battlefield and remove some 83% of the armor. Worse yet, one of the beams finds a flaw in the armor and destroys the left leg’s hip actuator; in one moment, Kerensky is charging across the battlefield confident of victory. The next, the Warhawk falls and causes yet more damage to the right arm and right torso.

As Kerensky’s machine starts to rise, Captain Hodges seizes his opportunity. He runs over, kicks Kerensky’s Warhawk onto its back and plants Green Lantern’s left foot onto the enemy mech’s chest. Next, he taps the cockpit canopy with his right hand and says “you’re indeed brave, madam. However, the fight is mine; do you yield?”

“I…I yield.”

“Very well. Under the customs of your people, I’ll be taking you as my bondswoman; I expect you to comport yourself as such. Remain here; the MPs will be along to collect you. Quiaff, as your people would say?”

Aff.”


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