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A Warrior's Family (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 45[]

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A Warrior's Family[]

Strike Mission - Part 2[]

Moon in Necromo System
Capellan Confederation
November 3029

"Hap, what the hell did ye find?" Patrick asked "I'm seeing an 80 ton 'Mech, where did that come from?"

The Goliath fired both missile racks at Grizzly, as Hap replied, "It's the tank we couldn't identify."

Goliath (In Combat)

Goliath Class Assault 'Mech

Grizzly howled, "Damn it Hap, that's not a tank. When you said-" Hap could hear the missiles hitting the Wolverine over the neurohelmet's mic. "Sunavabitch, when you said, 'lets jump the ridge and charge the tanks' I thought we'd be stomping on tanks."

"Do you ever stop complaining?" Hap asked as he debated between engaging the tank or trying to address the problem of the assault mech.

Wolverine BattleMech (firing)

Wolverine Medium BattleMech

"No." David and Patrick said in unison

"Honestly, I don't have to have a command link to know Grizzly's status, as long as he's bitching I know he's fine and his 'mech is functional." Patrick added.

Hap jumped his 'mech to the side to try to encourage the Goliath to turn. The Goliath was moving, but it was a slow lumbering monster. Hap could see the Dragon and Valkyrie on his scanners, they needed to move more north. Hap hoped to keep the Goliath pilot distracted while David and Patrick flanked him.

"Hap the Goliath his limited short range weapons, you should close with it." David suggested

"I don't have short range weapons either." Hap replied

"Oh yeah. Sorry." David mumbled.

Dragon Mech (City scape - Papercraft version)

Dragon Heavy 'Mech

"Don't apologize. Just get your asses behind the Goliath and take him down." Grizzly yelled as he jumped backwards and fired his autocannon. His jump brought him close enough to the Pike that it engaged him with its pair of short range missile racks. "I've had about enough of your shit too." Grizzly yelled at the tank.

Hap was partially relieved the tank was focusing on someone else, just as he saw another small explosion in the dust and in front of him, then felt a slight impact to his left torso and chest. Apparently the gunner in the turret was keeping Hap in his crosshair. Hap instinctively shot back at the Pike tank. "I've had about enough of that tank too."

The Goliath fired the PPC at the Wolverine as it sent a salvo of ten missiles at Hap. Hap kept his left side facing the mech as half a dozen missiles hit him across the left arm, leg and torso. Hap grimly noted the Goliath's choice to only fire one missile launcher meant he was managing his heat. This meant it was an experienced pilot, and they were in for a long fight.

Hap saw Patrick's Dragon crest the ridge behind the Goliath, and level his PPC. There was a flash of lightening and the smoke of missiles from the Dragon and from David's Valkyrie behind the ridge. The Goliath pitched forward as it was struck by the PPC and Patrick and David's missiles. The Goliath started to turn slowly to get the Dragon and Valkyrie out his rear arc.

Valkyrie (Davion Guard Paint Scheme - by Blue)

Valkyrie Light 'Mech

"Hap I don't think it's worth our time to take down this bastard." Patrick said.

"Agreed." Hap said flatly. "Grizzly let's-" As he spoke he turned his 'mech's torso to see Grizzly send his 'mech sailing into the air and land squarely on the Pike tank. The tank tipped up on its side, and buckled under the 'mech's weight. As the Wolverine staggered backwards it knocked one of the tank tracks off.

The Goliath pilot stopped and rotated its PPC turret to shoot Grizzly. The blast caught him squarely in the chest. Grizzly continued to backpedal to maintain his balance. The Goliath shuffled to turn and fire both missile racks. Grizzly cursed as his 'mech was struck by the missiles and started to fall backwards.

Patrick fired another salvo of PPC and missiles into the assault mech's back as Hap shot his PPC and jumped his mech toward his prone comrade. Hap saw David put more missiles into the Goliath's back.

The Goliath ignored the attack and continued to turn and bring all its weapons to focus on Grizzly.

"Think he's mad I kicked his friend's tank." Grizzly said as he got his 'mech into a crouch. "I'm not sure I can take another hit like that. I vote to disengage and go home. I stomped my tank, I had my fun."

Hap could see the tank looked mostly intact but hadn't moved to engage either him or Grizzly. He put his 'mech between the Wolverine and the enemy 'mech as Grizzly got his Wolverine standing again. This time Hap lined up his right side. He didn't think he could take much more damage to the left side either. It was dangerous because all his weapons and ammo were on the right side.

"We have to disengage, or we'll start losing 'Mechs." Hap said, "Grizzly get moving I'll cover you."

"But we can take him" David replied, "Let me line up another shot. We've almost penetrated his rear armor and if we can-"

"Not if we all want to go home." Patrick said, "David start moving toward the shuttle, we'll need you to establish an overwatch position so you can harass him while we try disengage."

"Let me just get behind him." David said as he jumped his Valkyrie out from behind the cover of the ridge and shot his missiles and lasers at the giant 'mech. The Goliath did a surprising side shuffled on its four legs and got close enough to kick the Valkyrie and rake the light 'mech over his machine guns. The smaller 'mech's leg bent sideways and Hap could the actuator bundle in the lower leg snap.

"Damn it', David!" Patrick yelled, "Get back." He put another barrage into the assault 'mech, but it had repositioned itself so that all of Patrick's weapons hit its legs and side.

"Hap the tank crew must have been stunned, if you attack the tank it will distract the Goliath, give Mr. Invincible a chance to survive." Grizzle said. Hap looked down. The Pike was trying to move but the bogie wheels just spun and kicked up lunar surface. The turret started to turn toward Hap.

At point blank range he had few options so he chose to stomp the armor where Grizzly had put a significant dent. As he stomped it felt like he was stepping on a large insect with an exoskeleton. He thought he heard the "whoosh" of air as he felt his 'mech's foot being pushed back by the explosive decompression of breaching the crew cabin.

The Goliath hit Hap's Griffin with an alpha strike. Hap lost nearly a ton of armor from his right torso as the PPC struck him and missiles hit him across the body. Hap could see David jump away from the monster 'mech with his leg barely holding on by a few iron threads of the internal structure.

"Now whose plan is getting who killed?" Hap asked as he checked his system status to ensure his 'mech was still intact.

Grizzly jumped down the hill and in the general direction of the LZ, said "Now who's complaining?" He said as he shot autocannon at the Goliath.

"I think my leg actuator was damaged, but my weapons are good. We can still lead the Goliath into an ambush." David said.

"David, jest get your 'mech to the drop ship while it's still in one piece." Patrick sounded exasperated.

Hap jumped his 'mech near Grizzly's Wolverine. He turned to fire his weapons at the Goliath. He saw his heat start to climb and it didn't look like he hardly damaged the Goliath. "Go, I'll start laying down covering fire."

Grizzly started jogging away as the Goliath tried to hit him with his PPC and missiles. The PPC missed but over a dozen missiles hit Grizzly in the rear armor and legs.

"Jokes on him, I think I got more rear armor than front armor right now." Grizzly said

"I still believe we could still defeat him." David said as shot.

Patrick sighed, "This is that waste of heat and missiles that we talked about." Patrick shot another mixed salvo of missiles and PPC at the quad 'mech and moved back down the ridge out of the Goliath's view.

Hap's targeting computer indicated his PPC was recharged and his missiles reloaded. He stepped back nearly a hundred meters and sent a volley at the Goliath. He was approaching the end of his weapons effective range but the Goliath was large enough to easily target even at half a kilometer away. He was also standing high enough on the hill to create a silhouette against the starry sky.

Hap watched David limp as he ran toward him, and the Goliath started to lumber after Patrick. When Patrick moved behind the ridgeline Hap's targeting computer lost the telemetry data needed to calculate engagement ranges. Hap switched his weapons to manual, and lined up the crosshairs with the Goliath and then moved the cross hair just past him to lead the lumbering brute.

He squeezed the trigger and watched the ball of lightning sailed toward the Goliath. Without a missile lock he'd have to override the missiles safety and fire with a flat trajectory which would reduce their range. Hap considered the effort as he zoomed in his rangefinder to watch the PPC bolt passed between the quad 'mech's legs.

"Well that's a one-in-million miss." Grizzly said.

"I don't think I could do it again if I tried." Hap said. The Goliath paused and seemed to be thinking about his good fortune, or Hap's improbable bad luck.

"Can't be that hard." Grizzly moved his Wolverine next to Hap's Griffin and brought his autocannon up. The cannon belched out a round and sent it into the ground dozens of meters short of the Goliath.

"Part of the trick is to shoot past the target." Hap said as Grizzly cursed.

"Well I got knocked down. I might have a concussion, or my sights were damaged."

"Grizzly, what the hell are you giving out about now?" Patrick asked as he set his Dragon to run.

"Nothin' We're just harassing the enemy to cover your asses." Grizzly answered.

Hap's PPC recycled and he had the green light to fire again. He fired center mass as the Goliath. This shot hit the 'mech in the lower leg. The Goliath launched all it's missiles and took a parting shot with its PPC. Then performed a sideways crab walk off the ridgeline and disappeared from view. The PPC was wide and over Hap's head, but a few of the missiles struck Hap and Grizzly.

"Grizzly, your armor still intact?" Hap asked as he looked over his own armor.

"Barely." Grizzly answered.

"Stop gossip' and Charlie Mike, gents. We're still on the clock." Patrick said as he caught up to his lancemates.

"Skies still clear, but I would prefer to leave before that changes." Kate said.

The MechWarriors started to run to the LZ, but they were slowed down due to the damage to the Valkyrie's leg. Eventually they came to the crater where the Leopard was waiting to take them to the jump point. Hap could see the broken locust. It was obvious the 'Mech had wandered into range of the Leopard's PPCs and missile batteries. It looked like the 'mech had sustained several direct shots to the center torso, and at least one PPC bolt to the cockpit. Hap wondered how the pilot could have been so foolish to go anywhere near the Leopard. Hap's scanners warned him the 'mech was dangerously warm.

"I still wish we would have stayed to have defeated the Goliath." David sulked.

"I wish you could faster than 75 kilometers an hour right now." Grizzly replied

A pocket of trapped air escaped and the Locust's magazine of machine gun ammunition exploded, causing an engine breach that released a brilliant flash of escaping plasma. When everyone's vision returned all that remained of the Locust were red hot melting portions of the Battlemech's skeleton.

"Miss Berlin, what happened with the Locust here?" Patrick asked.

"When we started to come in for a landing he broke off from the rest of his lance and came by to check us out. We made a low pass over the crater which kicked up a lot of dust and then landed in the back here. I think he got lost in the dust or didn't think we'd see him on our scanners. Either way, he got too close and became gunnery practice."

"David, this pilot was too aggressive. He paid the price for his foolishness, like you nearly did with that Goliath." Patrick said.

"A Locust versus a Leopard is not the same thing." David replied.

"No, but going against an assault 'mech with a lance that is already seriously damaged could have the same outcome. Someone could have ended up dead." Patrick said.

David cleared his throat, "A Goliath-"

"Is armored from hell to breakfast." Kate interrupted, "I remember making strafing runs on an assault lance with a Goliath and I don't think he paid any attention to me until the third or fourth pass."

"In a Stuka?" The voice had a strong German accent. Hap recognized this as Mitchelin the company's master pilot. Hap had played enough poker with him to know he didn't really get sarcasm or hyperbole. He was on this mission because he had to administer Kate's final check ride before she would be a qualified drop ship pilot.

"Yes, Sir." Kate replied

"It is not possible they did not notice you, young lady." Mitchelin said, "The 'mech pilot chose to not engage you, but I assure you the fire power STU-K5 Stuka is sufficient to disable any Battlemech."

"Oh I eventually disabled him, but my point was the damn thing was so armored even my Stuka had a hard time piercing its hide."

"Ah, I see, once more you are trying humor." Mitchelin said with a patronizing tone. "I should expect this from a woman with the callsign of 'giggles'."

"That's all beside the point." David cut in, "A Goliath is a 'mech like any other. We had him outnumbered four to one. A few more shots to his back and we could have hit the LRM magazine in his center torso. He would have blown up like that Locust."

"Enough David." Patrick now sounded like a frustrated parent, "listen to me. When I make a decision during a combat operation, it's final. Cross me again like that, and you'll be looking for a new lance."

"Yes. I'm sorry." David replied.

"You would be even more sorry if your Valkyrie had been destroyed, or if your lancemates had been hurt." Patrick added. There is a time to go all in, and there's a time to run. But I choose that, not you."

"I am sorry, Grizzly." David said quietly.

"It wasn't your dumb idea to charge the Goliath, which was all Hap's stupid plan." Grizzly answered.

"Yeah, I was thinking I needed to give you something different to complain about." Hap answered.

"I'm sorry to you as well,

Leopard Class DropShip (Pickup) (Farseer Animation)

Leopard Class Dropship prepping to lift off with the Lance.

Hap, I mean, Captain Calahad."

"Hap is fine. I've had a lot of similar talks with Mags. She can get a little aggressive too. It's like Patrick said, it's always a balance, David." Hap said.

"Jest get loaded up. We'll talk more underway." Patrick said as the doors of the DropShip opened up and the lance maneuvered their 'mechs inside.

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