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Chapter 42[]

Clover Spear - The Story of the '56 War[]

Grim times on the banks of the Grey River[]

The South Bank of the Grey River
Salomek, Sarna
Capellan Confederation
May 9th, 3057

“****** Parsons, double check those wires, I won’t have them fail to detonate when the time comes.” Private Mike Parsons had had his Sergeant, a black hearted fellow by the name of Tieth, all over him today since they’d awoke at 0450 with orders to blow one of the major spans across the Grey River. Yeah, but they tell us to wait until orders to actually blow the ****** bridge. Considering what’s going on just across the river, and what I am hearing come across the radio? I don’t think we’re gonna have any time to wait.

Parsons took another look. The flashes of light from the battle in the distance lit up the predawn sky, competing with the rising sun to create an otherworldly atmosphere. The sounds of the various weapons systems being used bled into each other, each type becoming a series of whines and cracks that hid individual reports, and just became a series of bangs and crashes. Occasionally, a larger explosion would occur, perhaps it was a ‘Mech losing containment, or an ammo explosion, this far away, who knew. Long as it ain’t me? Yeah, I hate being a soldier, and I hate being this close to the shooting, so why the hell am I here? Because that damned Vegan Rangers recruiter back on Demeter convinced me there would be more money in it than the Planetary Guard and working for old man Harper’s construction business. Well, two lies for the price of one I suppose.

Parsons continued to gingerly check the blasting wires as they led back to the explosives, which were a kilometer away from the blasting machine. He was checking He’d had enough required. And to check on the little surprises we left for anyone trying to cut the wires. Parsons grinned evilly at that last thought. He’d had enough of Salomek in particular, and Sarna in general to last a lifetime. I am going to see this place in my nightmares for the rest of my life. Just like dad sees Tikonov. Yeah, that’s gonna be a ton of fun. Parson’s father had been a Wasp driver, and had lost his machine, and his legs on Tikonov with the 6th Crucis Lancers back during the 4th War.

Parson’s reverie was shook by a distant tremor, then another that crashed slowly across the violent night. The tremors got closer, with the cadence of feet, and it wasn’t just one, or two…but many. Please let that be Gamma Regiment, his mind pleaded.

A corporal leaning over a sandbag wall to Parson’s right with a pair of FLIR goggles was scanning the far horizon. He cried out Lance plus approaching, heat signature says medium plus. No recog flare!”

Cries of “Stand To!” rippled through the position, and Sergeant Tieth grabbed Parsons, throwing him into a shallow foxhole which was ringed with sandbags. At the bottom was a beat up old “T” shaped blasting machine. “Get on that demo, and if you hear somebody scream “Alamo”, blow it! Otherwise, do not leave that blasting machine!” Tieth said in a tone that suggested equal parts menace and fear.

Parsons gripped the blasting machine for dear life, and ducked into the hole. A gnawing fear grabbed at his stomach as the footfalls came ever closer. Parsons shutting his eyes closed tightly, as he repeated over and over like a mantra, God, don’t let me die here, don’t let me die here. Not like this. The vicious man-killing barks of automatic weapons fire began, some were deep and throaty, suggesting larger caliber rounds, some were a series of fast pops, almost like a sheet of canvas being torn, suggesting lighter rounds, the boys are really engaged in panic fire, eh? Parson’s mind idly noted.

Cries in Chinese began to get closer, and more frequent, and then a strange sound filled his ears. It was a hiss, and then a KA-WUMPH! Sometimes he’d hear a scream, followed up by a couple of rifle shots. Fire on both sides began to slacken, and die, and the metallic footfalls came close, and then passed, but the hiss and KA-WUMPH came ever closer.

Parsons began to wonder the nature of that sound was. He hadn’t heard anyone scream “Alamo”. As a matter of fact, he was getting worried he hadn’t heard from anyone. Parsons slowly began to raise his head…and the world exploded in a gout of flame.

Lance Corporal Zhou Chi-Lien, 2nd Company, 2nd Death Commandos smiled as he lit another Vegan Ranger on fire with his flamethrower. This one was too easy, and they dance so nicely in the flames. The Chancellor did well to send us here! Chi-Lien kept walking, sending jets of flame down likely holes. He smiled. The Davion lapdog mercenaries will not deny us. The way to the 12th Vegan Command Post is open. And we proper sons of the Confederation will lead our way to a great triumph. I’d better have the lads catch up before House Kamata leaves us…

It was dark, and Chi-Lien didn’t notice the thin trip wire of the Davion made M20 directional anti-personnel mine. Some 1200 ball bearings and scrap were propelled at a velocity of 800 meters per second, and collided with Chi-Lien in an explosive gout of flame. As they hit flesh, and the flamethower’s fuel tank at the same time. Producing an impressive gout of flame that lit up the night as it consumed Chi-Lien completely, and two other unlucky to be too close behind him.

And on the killing went, but by morning, it was obvious that the Capellans had forced a beachhead across the north bank of the Grey River. Worse, it had pocketed 2/3rds of Gamma Regiment

Battle for Sarna, Part 3[]

Sarna, Part 3

Attacking Units: 12th Vegan Rangers (all four regiments), 1st Kestrel Grenadiers
Defending Units: McCarron’s Armored Cavalry (all five regiments), Sarna Home Guard, (1st Battalion, House Kamata, and No 2 Company of the 2nd Death Commandos reinforce the Capellans in late April).

The arrival of a battalion of the feared Capellan Warrior House troops, in addition to a company of Death Commandos heralded a plan by McCarron’s Armored Cavalry to end the fight for Salomek once and for all. Both units lead an attack by the Wild One’s Regiment of the MAC into the seam between Gamma and Delta Regiments of the 12th Vegan Rangers. This seam had been hit before, but this time, Gamma gave way, grudgingly and bled the Wild Ones white. It didn’t matter, as by morning, the Warrior House troops and the Death Commandos had forced a weak bridgehead across the Grey River, sitting astride Gamma Regiment’s main supply route, and threatening to strangle two of Gamma’s battalions into surrender. But the Capellans didn’t have the reserves to exploit the gains, and the Vegan Rangers didn’t have the strength to crush the bridgehead, so a new stalemate ensued after the Vegan Rangers withdrew into a tighter perimeter. This time, their FAX messages to New Avalon pleading for help became insistent, stating that the Rangers had perhaps “36-72 hours before any practical resistance was doomed to futility.”

In other news, the 1st Kestrel Grenadiers reformed and hit the Sarna Home Guard again in their base outside the capital city. After launching a fairly successful raid, their luck held and they managed to catch the 3rd Battalion of the Nightriders strung out on a road march moving to relieve the Home Guard. By morning, the 3rd Battalion had ceased to exist.

Surgeons continue their battle against death[]

9912th Federated Suns Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
Salomek, Sarna
Capellan Confederation
May 11th, 3057

It had been a rough 36 hours for the 9912th. Casualties had been flowing in at a prodigious rate the fighting all along the “Grey River Seam” as some had been calling it. Captain Joseph Cartelli, MD, FSGME was bleary eyed and dead on his feet, barely kept going by a mix of bad army coffee and stim shots. Probably far in excess of the approved army dose I bet.

And then came the news they’d all been dreading. Rumors had been rife that the Capellans had forced a bridgehead across the Grey River and that a bugout was coming. We’ve packed up and moved this MASH four times in the past 72 hours..and we’ve lost patients because of it. Not that it matters to the Capellans, now does it?

He ran his fingers through his thinning hair, and the crow’s feet surrounding his hazel eyes seemed to deepen in the mirror he’d been attempting a passable shave at. Fresh water was at a premium, so they used dirty water that had been used to clean the floor of the OR. It had been pumped in from a nearby water tank atop a building four blocks away by the most jury rigged thing he’d ever seen, but it did a good job. You just couldn’t drink it. But they had that handled too, so long as the QM guys did their jobs.

Just then, a short, ebon skinned Corporal, whose Adams apple was his most prominent feature, came running in with a message flimsy, “Sir, it’s orders from Vegan Actual. We’re to move out to new coordinates about six kilometers from here.”

Cartelli took the orange-white flimsy from the Corporal and nodded, after reading it, he crumpled it up and shook his head. “We have six patients whom it is going to kill them to be moved. I’ve killed enough kids today, Corporal.”

“Sir, orders…” the Corporal responded.

“Yeah, I know. Do me a favor, call a formation in ten minutes for all those not currently treating patients?”

“Um sir, what should I tell em it’s about?” enlisted man asked

“I need volunteers, Corporal. That simple, I have to ask some people to risk their asses to give our patients a fighting chance.”

15 minutes later

Cartelli looked over the small crowd of 200, less then half were actually engaged as doctors and nurses. The rest were a small army of those who maintained the medical equipment, or who cooked the food, cleaned the bedsheets, and so on. At this point, I will take bottle washers to do this job. I just hope this won’t be something that I am going to see in my nightmares.

“Folks, we’ve been ordered to withdraw again.” A chorus of groans and “Oh no’s” flew up from the assembled staff. “At ease people.” Cartelli said, but the order had little effect on the cacophony. “AT EASE, DAMMIT!” That shut down the twittering of the crowd, and it listened with the rapt attention a dog gave it’s master after it got a newspaper across the nose. Cartelli nodded “Alright, look. We train for this, we have already done it a half dozen times during this mess alone. I know it’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done. But we’re not taking all the equipment..or the tents. There are six patients who cannot travel. Most have severe burns, or head injuries and are in medical comas. One has a spinal injury. We cannot move them. I need volunteers to stay with them. You all know what that means. I cannot promise what the Capellans will do, or not do to you once they arrive. We’ve been hurting them as badly as they have hurt us.”

A young Leftenant stepped forward from the ranks. Her hair was in a dusty blonde ponytail, and her white coat was covered in stains and fluids. Her eyes were shot through with red streaks, and her face had a look of resigned “What the hell” written all over it. She simply stood, and said nothing.

Dammit Leftenant Shrobersham, why you? You’re my best junior surgeon. I can’t spare you. But there’s not any good military or medical reason to say no. Cartelli’s eyes met hers, and he simply nodded.

Two nurses soon joined her, one was a tall, gangly auburn haired girl who Cartelli didn’t know. She was new to the unit, and he just hadn’t had time to meet with her. The other was a petite redhead with almost albino skin, dotted with freckles. Sergeant Josephina “Joe” (you never failed to pronounce the “e” or there was hell to pay) Sanchez was popular in the unit, beloved and from a long family of military medical professionals. Sanchez was a consummate professional in her own right. She would stay simply because “It isn’t done to leave patients like this, sir.”

A half dozen other support staff stepped forward as well. He accepted three of them, ones most likely to survive being a Capellan POW, the rest, he ordered back into the ranks with his thanks.

“Thank You. Whatever happens, you will be remembered for this.” Cartelli then dismissed the formation with a jaunty wave, and a smile he didn’t feel. I probably just sent 11 people to their deaths. God help me.

War for the Draconis Combine[]

Nova Cats detect an opportunity[]

Bugeye Class WarShip, CNCS Mata Hari
Pesht, Pesht District
Draconis Combine
May 15th, 3057

"Status Change, Star Captain!" The voice of Star Commander Alex woke the captain. Star Captain Jeanne slapped the intercom in her spartan quarters and snarled "Report!"

"Drive plumes detected! Estimate of three Battlemech regiments plus auxiliary forces boosting for the Zenith point from spectral analysis."

Jeanne grabbed her duty jumpsuit and swam into the bridge. Strapping herself in as the ship drifted in its ballistic course through the Pesht system, she watched the holotank with interest as the set of vectors left Pesht and headed toward the icons of a cluster of transport jumpships.

"HPG preliminary movement report to Irece! Communications traffic analysis? Is this a planned Trial for our worlds?" She snapped out as she pulled her uniform on.

"Positive identification for the DCA Kaga, DCA Akagi, DCA Shoukaku, and the DCA Zuikaku. Dropships assigned to Ryuken regiments according to the Watch." The holotank redrew itself as the advanced computers on the Bug-Eye used the combination of the telescope's observation of the distant dropships and their drive's unique spectral characteristics plus electronic emissions to determine a picture of the DCMS movements.

Jeanne glanced to the communications section. The best computers that the Scientist caste could produce labored there to break the coding on the HPGs. "Code break!"

The message came up on the screen. "Tai-sa Shotoku, taken command of Ryuken-go, Ryuken-roku, and the 22nd Dieron Regulars, secure Midway for the Dragon as a forward staging area to liberate Galedon V."

Jeanne's eyes glittered. "Append the message to our next transmission to Khan Leroux. Continue observation of the Spheroids and work up a profile on what they left behind. Once they commit..."

A feral smile, "Pesht is ours."

Watching coming storm of the Angry Dragon[]

Palace of Spreading Harmony
Galedon V, Galedon Military District
Draconis Combine
May 17th, 3057

Coordinator Franklin Kurita stared at the holotank. Worlds under his control, the true Dragon's control, gleamed scarlet, while his cousin Miyako's worlds were an angry orange. A scattering of loyal icons held the border secure, but unless things changed, his cousin would breach the border.

What to do, what to do?, he thought to himself.

"Replay projections." he ordered

One orange arrow shot out from Xinyang in Benjamin to Hachiman, while another speared down from Pesht to impale Midway. As those worlds fell, the arrows struck deeper into Galedon, aimed for him.

I can't stop her, not alone.

A touch on the control and the map zoomed out, showing the blue of the Federated Commonwealth and the gold of the Clan invasion corridor.

But I can bleed her, slow her and....

He turned to the young man next to him. "Tai-i Karoda. I have a mission of utmost importance to the Combine for you."

The fifth-generation Samurai bowed. "My life for yours, Kurita-dono."

"Assemble a company of my most loyal samurai and take our information about the DCMS supply base on Xinyang with you. Your mission will begin here." A touch highlighted a world along the Smoke Jaguar/Combine border.

As Karoda departed, Franklin nodded to himself and then touched a control on his terminal. A burly man with a shaved head and African features entered and bowed before him.

"What is the Dragon's will?" He rumbled.

Franklin spoke quietly. "It is time to use some of our assets, Director Jerrar. Inform Tai-sa Ioto, Tai-sa Doi, and Tai-sa Kusunoki to begin disruption operations. Code word is Kyomou."

Jerrar bowed and departed at a gesture as Franklin began to touch and move icons of his unis to assemble them at Agematsu.

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