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Bitter Betrayal (part of the Harlequin Corps writeup)
Facts
Author Joshua "Hobbit" Tyler
Series Name
Alternate Universe Name
Year Written 2012
Story Era ???




"Today, I come before you as your leader and your friend. For over two years, I have had the privilege of serving as your Commander." The words of Commander Harlequin cut through the pouring rain like a knife, rousing the assembled throng of officers and troops from their rain soaked misery. Commander General Hobbit shifted uncomfortably from one foot to another as his boots filled with water. Looking over the assembled group of Warriors, he could not help but wonder what was next for this unit.

They'd been through hell's gates together as Harlequin had single-handedly forged them into the most renowned unit in all the Federated Suns.

Noticing his attention had wandered, Hobbit quickly turned his mind back to the words of his leader. "I have in my hand papers assigning this unit to join the Federated Suns forces on the periphery, where, YOU will be on the front lines of the Inner Sphere's assault on the invading forces of the Clans." His announcement was met with grim silence. "Sadly, I will not be joining you there." There were murmurs from the Warriors, and several looked around in confusion.

Harlequin continued, "I have been given a different task, assigned by Victor Davion himself, and, though my heart begged me to refuse, my honor demands that I carry out the wishes of our ruler. However, do not fear, I leave you in the capable hands of my 2nd in command Smurf and your new XO, Dakkara Sin. Both have my full confidence, follow their orders as you would mine. You are dismissed."

Hobbit watched, still in shock as Commander Harlequin strode from the stage. However, he and his lance had little time to consider the loss of their beloved leader, before they knew it, they had loaded their s and equipment onto their dropship "Sunspot" and were headed for the periphery.


LOCATION: GHOST BEAR HELD PLANET-- LIDIA

Hobbit fired off a full salvo of SSRM's from his captured Vulture "ShadowFax" at the already damaged ShadowCat, knocking it to its knees, then watched as his Sergeant Wolfman closed on the severely mangled ShadowCat in his MadCat "Voyager" and quickly finished it off with his ER Small Lasers. The Scat exploded in a brilliant gout of blue flame and the Clanner's ejection pod soared into the sky.

Shadow Cat Medium OmniMech (Snowy River bank - Papercraft)

Shadow Cat Medium OmniMech

"Last one Lance Leader," called Wolfman over his comm.

"Good work Wolf," Responded Hobbit.

"You think maybe NOW Smurf will let us get back to base?" grumbled the surely Sergeant. "I mean, he's had us out here hunting down Clanners for 18 hours now, the lance can't take much more of this kind of abuse."

"Well, I'm due to check in right now, so maybe you'll get your wish, Wolf." Quipped the Lance Leader. "1st Davion One to base, we've cleared out another sector, we're pretty beat though, request permission to return for some R&R, over."

"Base to 1st Davion One, this is Deadly, request denied. I want you to link up with Ravenhawk's squad at grid coordinates oh nine nine and assist him in patrolling that area."

"Now look here Deadly, we've been out here way to long already, why don't you take our own lance out there after Ravenhawk, you guys have had plenty of down time," growled Hobbit.

"Negative Hobbit, these are your orders."

"Let me talk to the XO." Hobbit responded tersely.

"Sorry Hobbit, I can't do that, Dakkara's out leading a perimeter patrol, besides, these orders come directly from Smurf. If you don't like 'em, you can take it up with him when you get back."

"Yeah like that will do any good," muttered Hobbit.

"What was that Lance Leader?"

"Nothing base. You can tell your boss that we're en route to rendezvous with Ravenhawk and the Harlequin Corps, 1st Davion One out." Hobbit shut down his comm and turned his to face Wolfman's MadCat, now standing beside him.

"Wolfman, tell the men we're moving out, we've got a rendezvous with Raven and the 2nd Lance," said Hobbit.

"What!" said Wolfman, "The Harlequin Corps is still out here too? They left base even before we did! What the hell is wrong with Smurf anyway? Ever since Harlequin left we've been getting run ragged by that lunatic, while he sends that fool Deadly and 3rd Lance out on all kinds of weird hush hush missions in the middle of the night. I'm getting sick of this boss."

"Sergeant, we didn't sign up for a party, we all knew that going in. Smurf is only doing what he thinks is best for the unit." stated Hobbit authoritatively.

"Unit my ass!" shouted Wolfman.

"Stow it Sergeant, and lets get moving, the sooner we rendezvous with Ravenhawk, the sooner we all get some R&R, now move out!"

Two hours later, long after the sun had sunk below the horizon, Hobbit and the 8 of the 1st Davion Guards topped the ridge above Ravenhawk's position and were quickly confronted by the dark form of a Bushwacker.

Bushwacker Medium BattleMech (In Bad lands - Miniature by Nardyes)

Bushwacker Medium 'Mech

"Who goes there?" came the challenge over Hobbit's comm.

"Its just us Crashdog," responded Hobbit calmly, "what's wrong, isn't your friend or foe identifier working?"

"Am I glad to see you sir!" sighed Crashdog in relief, "my friend or foe identifier is working just fine sir, only it's getting a little harder to tell which is which these days."

Hobbit's Vulture strode out of the dark shadows of passing clouds towards Crashdog's Bushwacker, followed closely by the rest of the 1st Davion.

"What the hell are you talking about man? It's pretty simple, blue equal's friend, red equals blow his head off! Not much thinking involved Lieutenant." said the Lance Leader.

"No sir, I mean yes sir, I mean... well... you better come talk to Ravenhawk sir." stammered the young lieutenant.

The 1st Davion's stomped their way through the dense underbrush behind Crashdog's 55 ton Bushwacker as he led the way into the Valley below. As they shoved their way out of the dense growth, they entered a large clearing at the bottom of a ravine where in the moonlight they could see 5 mechs of varying shapes and sizes silhouetted in the light of the rising moon. One, a somewhat battered Orion strode towards them.

"About time you got hear," proclaimed its rather verbose pilot. "Sergeant Hunter hear, Ravenhawk instructed me to tell you we have managed to set up some limited repair facilities on the south edge of the camp, so your men may want to avail themselves of them. Meanwhile Hobbit, Ravenhawk is waiting for you straight ahead. You'll find him in the tent with the Annihilator standing next to it... kinda hard to miss right?"

"Sounds good to me Sergeant. I thought you guys were just out hunting Clan stragglers like we are... looks to me like you are preparing for a real battle." said Hobbit.

"Well sir, you'll have to talk to Ravenhawk about that," responded Hunter. "All I can say is we need your help. As for the why and what for of it, that's for Raven to tell you."

"That seems to be the general consensus around here Sergeant. But all right, take my men over to your makeshift repair setup while I talk to your lance leader, maybe I'll finally find out what the hell is going on around here. Wolfman, you and the rest of the lance follow Sergeant Hunter here, I'll join you shortly." spoke Hobbit.

"Yes sir," acknowledged Wolfman, "But sir, I gotta tell you, somethin ain't right, when the Harlequin Corps left base they had 10 mechs and I only seen 6 since we got here... where are the other 4? All I'm sayin sir is I know these are our friends, but keep your wits about you alright?"

"Same to you Sergeant, same to you," Intoned the Lance Leader.

Hobbit watched, as his lance stomped off behind Hunter's Orion, then turned his attention to the little encampment in front of him. Spotting Ravenhawk's Anni towering over all the other mechs, he set his Vulture to a brisk walk and headed in that direction.

Coming to a halt beside the monstrous Annihilator, Hobbit shut down "ShadowFax" and popped open the canopy of the 60-ton weapon. Dropping his neurohelmet onto the pilot's couch behind him, he swiftly descended to the ground below where to his surprise Ravenhawk stood awaiting him.

"Greetings Hobbit, it is good to see a comrade in such desperate times." said Ravenhawk.

"Desperate times?" queried Hobbit, "Last I checked we were on the winning side in this war."

"Some of us are," Raven said mysteriously. "Come, we must talk immediately."

Hobbit stayed behind Ravenhawk as he led the way into his practically empty tent. Sitting on two bedrolls, Ravenhawk begged Hobbit to listen to all he had to say before responding.

"Since Harlequin left, you have perhaps noticed the many changes that have taken place in the unit that Smurf has brought about. I too noticed and at first thought nothing of them. I may not like being stuck out in the middle of nowhere mopping up leftover Clanners for 2 days without rest, but such is a commander's prerogative. But, then I began to notice that every time a patrol was sent out, always did Smurf send yours and mine at the same time, while Deadly's remained behind. Then there were other things, most notably the unknown missions on which Deadly and the third lance were often sent in the middle of the night. All of these orders came directly from Smurf, not his XO, which in itself is strange as the XO usually schedules patrols. Then, last week, my Lance Sergeant Hunter was in the base HQ manning the comm station when he received an odd pulsing signal from deep in Clan occupied territory. It was odd because it was not a stray transmission, but directed specifically at our base. He reported it to Smurf and when he did, Smurf ordered him out of HQ and told him to return to his quarters, with no explanation. This was all enough to make me very suspicious, however, what transpired tonight confirmed it. How much do you know about our Commander Smurf Hobbit?"

"The same as everyone else I guess, he approached Harlequin and requested a transfer to his unit, Harlequin agreed and he quickly proved that he was one of the best of the best, rising through the ranks to XO within just a few months. After which he actively recruited Deadly and the rest of the 3rd Lance who have also proven to be excellent Warriors, what are you getting at Ravenhawk? What's your point?" responded Hobbit impatiently.

"I'm getting there. Four hours ago while on patrol in this sector, we received a garbled transmission from Dakkara Sin, unit XO, apparently also out on patrol near HQ. I think you had better listen to this for yourself Lance Leader." Ravenhawk reached down and pressed the play button on a recorder, which had somehow appeared in his hand.

"This is Dakkara Sin to all loyal members of the Federated Suns," the words crackled and hissed, fighting their way through some unknown source of interference. "My wing and I are under attack by Ghost Bear Forces. Repeat, Ghost Bear Forces. They were in the base when we returned from patrol. It was as if someone had just let them in and when we approached, they opened fire on us.... Deadly and his men were with them and so was..." there was a large burst of static and some sort of screech and then the transmission ended.

"My God," gasped Hobbit. "We've got to get back, got to help him!"

"Its already been four hours Hobbit, and moving at the fastest pace of our slowest battlemechs it would take us another five to get back. This is exactly the way Smurf wanted it, can't you see, this is what he's been planning all along." said Raven grimly.

"What to you mean?" queried Hobbit.

"I mean that Smurf is a traitor and always has been a traitor. Traitor to us, traitor to Harlequin and everything he tried to teach us and tried to instill in us. Smurf joined this unit with the intention of destroying it and now he is succeeding," answered Raven.

"How can you know that? Dakkara only mentioned Deadly being with the GB forces." said Hobbit.

"Yes," said Raven, "But he said there was another and I'm certain it had to be Smurf, Deadly has to have been acting on orders all along."

"You don't know that for certain." said Hobbit.

"I'm certain," said Raven.

"Regardless," answered Hobbit, "We have to take action and fast! Dakkara Sin may still be alive."

"Three hours ago, I dispatched my two fastest scouts, an Owens and a Strider with orders to maintain radio silence, reach Dakkara Sin's last known location and assist him in any way possible. My overall plan was to await your arrival and return to base to attack en masse, probably our only hope of defeating them." stated Ravenhawk.

Owens Light OmniMech (by Wild-Cat144)

Owens Light OmniMech

"Your right," answered Hobbit. "As soon as my men have completed repairs, we'll all move out. Agreed?"

"Agreed Lance Leader, and may God light our path."

Strider OmniMech (Urban setting firing - Papercraft version)

Strider Medium OmniMech

The first rays of dawn streaked the horizon as the 1st Davion Guard and the Harlequin Corps came to a halt just a kilometer from their HQ. Torso twisting his Vulture to get a good look at his lance's battlemechs, Hobbit signaled his two scout mech pilots GreenKnight and Rat to scout ahead. Immediately, the two pilots put their Striders into action, triggering their jump jets, the two medium mechs leaped over the trees headed for the 1st Davion's former HQ. Minute's later GreenKnight called in his report, "Heavy patrols Lance Leader, so far we've spotted 2 Pumas and 3 ShadowCats walking the walls of the base. In addition, they've got a pair of Blackhawks stationed at the front gate."

"Any sign of Dakkara or my two scout pilots?" interrupted Ravenhawk.

"Negative," responded GreenKnight, "no sign of... no wait a minute, spotted some wreckage on the south side of the base, can't get much closer without being spotted, but it looks like the wreckage of a Strider and an Owens, can't be sure though."

"Damn," whispered Raven under his breath.

"Alright GreenKnight, you and Rat know the plan, we're going in, just wait for my signal," Ordered Hobbit.

Broadcasting on a lance wide frequency, Hobbit addressed both lances. "Alright boys, listen up, we're not sure what we're up against, we're not sure what's gonna happen today, but one thing is for certain, those dirty Clanners have our base! We've been cheated, tricked, and betrayed by people who we thought were our friends. No more. We're taking our unit back. You all have your orders, move out!"

Hobbit's Vulture broke right at a dead run, followed closely by two of his Lance members, one in a Champion, the other in a Bushwacker. Right behind him was the rest of the 1st Davion, Wolfman in his MadCat, a shiny new Avatar, and a second retrofitted Champion. Their job was to take out the two BlackHawks guarding the gates as quickly as possible while the Harlequin Corps blasted their way inside.

Avatar Heavy OmniMech (In Combat - Miniature Painted by Nardyes)

Avatar Heavy OmniMech in combat

As Hobbit and Raven raced to attack the Clan forces now holding their base, GreenKnight and Rat lay concealed behind a thick grove of trees as the large, unsuspecting Clan patrol strode past, confident in their numbers to deal with any threat that might approach them.

"They're now 400 meters away Green," Rat's voice crackled over Green's headset.

"Wait till 500 Rat," Responded GreenKnight.

"480, 490, 500!"

"Go!" shouted Knight.

The two pilots slammed their jump jets to the floor causing their Striders to leap from the underbrush concealing them. As they flew through the air, both pilots opened fire with everything they had. Both mechs had been configured to attack at long range, and now the Ghost Bear patrol found itself being pelted with a maelstrom of Large Lasers and wildly fired LRM's. The two pilots' Striders cleared the trees that had concealed them and landed abruptly on the rough terrain, their jumpjets completely spent. By this time, the Clan pilots, having only sustained mild damage from the wild and poorly aimed attack had recovered from their initial shock and turned to face their harassers.

"Hmmm... what say you Rat, 2 Pumas and 3 ShadowCats versus 2 incredibly handsome Scout pilots, shall we take our leave?" mused GreenKnight.

"You don't have to ask me twice," Replied Rat as he turned his Strider and took off at a run back the way he'd come.

"I'm right behind you buddy," shouted Knight, just as the first Puma fired off a PPC. The two scout pilots raced back into the forest, the entire patrol, now extremely angry, hot on their heels.

"Patrol has taken the bait Hobbit," came Wolfman's message to his Lance Leader.

"Perfect," Responded Hobbit, "coming into sensor range of those two Blackhawks, everybody look sharp and engage at range."

The 1st Davion Guards now broke through the tall trees surrounding their former HQ, quickly closing on the hapless Blackhawks standing guard. The unit's Champions and Wolfman's MadCat both launched multiple LRM flights and Large Lasers seared through the air at the enemy Blackhawks. One staggered under the assault and tumbled to the ground, where he was pounded mercilessly by Hobbit's SSRM's. The remaining Blackhawk leaped into the air only to be brought down by the deadly accurate Autocannon fire of a 1st Davion Bushwacker.

By this time, Raven and the Harlequin Corps had burst onto the scene, and were blasting away at the reinforced gates of 1st Davion HQ. Just when things seemed to be going rosy, a scream screeched over the com "aaagghh I'm hit I'm hit! Ejecting! Ejecting! Ejecting!" Hobbit's shuddered Vulture shuddered as the ground trembled from the force of a nearby explosion.

"What the hell was that?" came Ravenhawk's voice.

"Wolfman, report!" shouted Hobbit calmly, as he turned his mech away from the captured base to get a better look at his troops. There was Wolfman's MadCat, standing over the smoking heap of a pop-up weapons emplacement.

"Pop up PPC turrets sir," responded the stalwart sergeant. "Don't know when they put those in, but I took 'em out, just wasn't quick enough to save VorpalChipmunk and his Champion. He didn't eject in time sir, I'm sorry, my fault."

"No time for that now Sergeant, we.." Hobbit's voice cut off as his Vulture was rocked by AutoCannon fire. Two Clan Thors had blown the base's gates off from the inside... much to Ravenhawk's troops surprise, and had come out firing. One of them, equipped with an AC20 and ERMedium Lasers had targeted Hobbit's Vulture. "The enemy is counterattacking, everybody move!" shouted Raven.

Triggering his jumpjets Hobbit leaped his Vulture out of the Thor's line of fire, knowing that Wolfman's LRM's were already incoming. Only seconds after the departure of Hobbit's Vulture, 60 LRM's ripped through the air where it had stood only moments before, pounding into the attacking Thor, rocking it back and forth, until its pilot could no longer compensate for the sudden catastrophic loss of armor and his Thor toppled to the ground.

But, his comrade was not about to be destroyed so easily. Stepping in front of the stricken omnimech, the other Clan Thor proceeded to pound Wolfman with multiple PPC blasts, melting away precious bits of armor. But, his attack was not to continue for long, vastly outnumbered and outgunned, he quickly found himself under barrage from all sides, and in no time he was forced to eject under a barrage of Missiles, Lasers and AC's. As his Omni exploded in a gout of brilliant flame, two Clan MadCats flew out from inside the base over the heavily armored walls on plumes of smoke expelled by their brightly flaming jumpjets. They came down firing, launching SSRM's and PPC bolts with wicked accuracy.

"Ejecting!" came a scream over the com, one of the Harlequin Corps. mechs exploded in a ball of flame.

"I'm hit" came the scream another pilot, and smoke was everywhere, the air was heavy with the scent of overheated machinery and sizzling beam weapons.

"Hobbit," called Ravenhawk, "Take Wolfman and follow me and Hunter into the base, if we don't go in now, we may never get the chance, the others can hold the line out here."

"We're right behind you Raven," responded Hobbit. "Look sharp Wolfman, no telling what kind of nasty surprises we'll find inside."

Entering the base, the four mechwarriors quickly spread out in a defensive formation, in the center of the base's courtyard stood two mechs standing side-by-side, immobile. One a red Sunder, bristling with Streak Missile Launchers, the other, an Orion with a pair of LBX cannons clearly visible on its torso. Neither moved an inch as the four mechwarriors plunged into the base, their targeting reticules locked on tightly to the apparently frozen mechs.

"What the heck is this," muttered Hunter over the comm. "That looks like Smurf and Deadly's, why are they just standing there."

As the four closed on the two traitors' mechs, the stillness within the base was deafening. "I don't have any other sensor contacts," observed Wolfman.

"This isn't right." Suddenly.... "sensor contacts sensor contacts!" yelled Wolfman, "powering up all around us, we're surrounded!"

All around the four pilots, omnimechs began powering up and emerging from their hiding places. Two Daishi's, having powered up behind them, strode to the bases entrance, blocking their escape. A pair of ShadowCats and a Vulture emerged from the shadows and flew over the base's main wall on Jump Jets, apparently to assist their MadCat comrades outside. To their left, 2 Thor's, to their right, a Supernova and a pair of Blackhawks, and right in front of them, the immobile Sunder and the silent Orion took 2 steps forward, and were joined by a third Daishi.

"I wonder if you'd like to surrender now?" Came Smurf's smug transmission. "You really have no choice, your men outside have already been neutralized."

"Nobody move," Raven whispered over their secure channel. "You're awfully smug for a traitorous dog Smurf, how long have you been planning this?" questioned Ravenhawk.

"From the very start Lance Leader, from the very start," Smurf laughed glibly, his chuckles echoed by his lieutenant Deadly. "The Ghost Bears pay well, much better than your rag tag excuse for a unit ever could. So my men and I agreed to infiltrate you, and when our superiors felt it was time, destroy you. For to long you and your men have been a thorn in the side of the clans, with Harlequin's departure, they thought the time was ripe for your elimination. Now, you have a choice, power down your mechs and exit your cockpits or we'll slag you right now. Of course, you could try to fight, but with the amount of firepower pointed in your direction, you'd last about 10 seconds."

While Smurf spoke, there was a soft rumbling coming from the southwest wall of the base. The Thor pilot standing next to it torso twisted his omni to get a better look. That was the last thing he ever did. At that moment, a massive explosion ripped through the wall, blowing chunks of concrete and steel in to the base, and directly into the Thor. One large chunk catapulted through the air, impacting cruelly with the cockpit, smashing it and the pilot, to bits.

Through the ensuing smoke stepped the dark ominous shape of a battered, but fully functional Atlas. Dakkara Sin was alive.

"Hobbit, Raven, out NOW! I will cover your retreat." The four warriors wasted no time, all of them raced for the newly opened gap in the wall, dodging the Ghost Bears hasty return fire. As they ran past Dakkara's Atlas, Dak let Deadly's Orion have it with his duel Gauss Rifles, and the stricken battlemech crumpled to the ground under the impact of the heavy weapon. Lasers and projectiles flew everywhere, and Dak's heavily armored Atlas staggered under the assault, but he backed his way out determinedly, blasting away and somehow managing to make his sluggish behemoth dance around incoming fire. Once clear of the base's outer wall, he turned his lumbering Atlas and ran full speed, calling over his com "Run! Run NOW!"

As the Warriors raced away from the base, the first Ghost Bear pilot emerged from the gap in the wall, his Daishi glimmering in the mid day sun as he raised his arm to fire a PPC at the fleeing Atlas. At that moment, his mech and everything around him, exploded in a flash of blinding fire.

As the Federated Suns pilots made their escape into the forest, Dak could be heard muttering to himself, "you gotta love artillery."


LOCATION: FEDERATED SUNS DROPSHIP SUNSPOT IN HIGH ORBIT OVER THE GHOSTBEAR HELD PLANET OF LYDIA- 2 DAYS LATER

Commander General Hobbit stood alone in the observation lounge of the "Sunspot," his mech stowed safely away below, he took a moment to enjoy the stars and consider the planet they would soon be leaving behind.

"So many lives," he thought. "So many left behind." But the Fed Suns forces had had no choice. By the time the survivors of the 1st Davion Guards and the Harlequin Corps had made it to the nearest Fed Sun base, all hell had broken loose, Clan Ghost Bear dropships were landing all over the planet, reinforcing their already dug in troops. The Federated Suns had had no choice but to withdraw in the face of a vastly superior force. The GB's wanted that planet bad, real bad, and nobody knew why. Perhaps some day he'd get back here to find out, thought Hobbit.

The door to the observation lounge slid silently open and Ravenhawk entered, his newly pinned General's bars gleaming on his shoulder. Striding over to Hobbit he stood behind him, clasped his shoulder, and cleared his throat, "uhum, Hobbit, I've just come from the med-bay, I thought you'd want to know... Rat didn't make it."

A soft sigh escaped Hobbit's lips. "So many Raven, so very many. And everyone of them to young," He responded. "Any word on Dragoon's condition?"

"Well after the pounding his Champion took from those GB's after we went in the base, he has no right to be alive. Darn fool, he and Patman both should have gotten out of there, at least Patman had the sense to eject. That's why he's up around walking. When Dragoon's mech blew pieces, Patman pulled him out of it and somehow carried him to a designated pickup point. But, Dragoon lost a lot of blood on the way. I don't know Hobs, he's in bad shape. Doc says he may pull through, but we'll just have to wait and see."

"What about the others? Has Fleet located any more of our men?" Asked Hobbit.

"Actually, that is the one bit of good news I've had today, just got word that they located Redeemer and Rage out wandering around in the jungle evading patrols. They are boarding the last transport now, as soon as it's on the ship we're blasting out of here. So anyone else still down there...."

"Is at the mercy of our enemy. I know." intoned Hobbit.

"If only there was more we could do. Damn it I feel so helpless, the unit is in shambles, our men are lost or dead..... why the hell are we even here!" barked a frustrated Ravenhawk.

"There is something we can do," said Hobbit. "We rebuild. We take what we have and rebuild. And when we're ready, we come back. We come back in force and we make them pay. We make Smurf pay."

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