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Chapter 39 - By the Horns[]


Command Lance, 2nd Battalion, Red Chasseurs
Dougal, MacLeod’s Land
Taurian Concordat
November 10th, 3025


Brigadier Michael Griswald reached down and armed the control panel located on the right arm of his ejection seat. He could not see the long lines of the heavy-weight ‘Mechs of McCarron’s Regiments advancing through the blowing storm with his eyes, but his sensors detected them just fine. Such storms were common here on MacLeod’s Land—that was why most of the planet’s structures were built under-ground; and those few necessary above-ground structures were heavily reinforced against the violent weather.

Structures like Port Caine, the main space-port complex serving the capital that Griswald now defended—the first objective that McCarron had to secure before he moved on to the capital itself. He held the Pinard Protectorates Limited factories outside the city, true, but Archie McCarron would need this space-port if he wanted to land more troops—or leave MacLeod’s Land. And the extensive air-defense of Port Caine meant that if Archie wanted the port, he had to take it the hard way.

Wonderful things, these storms, Michael thought. Our air support may well be grounded (or it would be if it still existed)—but so is theirs. Missiles were almost useless in these winds—and artillery was even more haphazard than normal, he thought with a snort. No, this fight would be up-close and personal . . . and Michael smiled. For the Second Chasseurs were not alone. No, the nobles of MacLeod’s Land had turned out their forces and an assortment of tanks, infantry, and some few ‘Mechs stood with him.

Behind him, the regular TDF armor and infantry manned the fortifications and bunkers that surrounded Dougal; well, most of them. A few of the furthest formations had been left to secure less vital cities . . . and while Michael might miss their firepower today, he fully understood the need to keep McCarron’s Regiments outside of the densely populated capital—even though most of the population was underground, heavy battles could collapse the subterranean structures. So it was imperative to keep these Capellan mercenary scum as far away as possible.

Michael smiled. They think we Taurians aren’t ready for an attack? Well, we’ve got a few surprises for you, Archie. Including Gordon’s Armored Cavalry—all three battalions of the Regiment turned out in the Taurian style at four companies apiece, plus a command company. And if my Bright Flame troopers aren’t as skilled as yours, Nicholas Gordon’s soldiers sure as hell are—and they have a bone to pick with those who willingly follow Mad Max Liao.

Centurion (Winter Forest - Farseen Version)

Centurion Medium 'Mech

Colonel Gordon was out there now, somewhere, swinging deep around the invaders—the hammer to Michael’s anvil. The console he armed began to beep and the Taurian Brigadier looked down and he smiled. “Bright Flame Two,” he broadcast, “attached auxiliaries. Time to earn our princely salaries, gentlemen.” He triggered the first band of command-detonated mines over which McCarron’s Regiments were advancing—and a thousand individual mines erupted in plumes of smoke and soil . . . and dozens of shattered ‘Mechs.

The mercs began to trot forward, still not at full speed, and Michael triggered the second band—and more mines detonated. Now, the enemy was running at full tilt and he hit the final trigger, and the last band exploded—but half of these mines were infernos and 'Mechs covered in blazing streams of flowing ignited gel entered range at last..

“BRIGHT FLAME!” he yelled out, swinging the arm of his Centurion forward. “CHARGE!”

Outnumbered six-to-one, Michael Griswald led his battalion in the teeth of McCarron’s Regiments, supported by fire from a hundred tanks and crew-served guns manning the parapets that surrounded the oh-so-vital tarmac and hangers.


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