BattleTech Fanon Wiki

Story By Daniel Morgan[]

Dawn’s Early Light (Reflections)
Author Daniel Morgan
Series Name The Highlander Way
Alternate Universe Name
Year Written 2008
Story Era Jihad Era

The Highlander Way

Dawn’s Early Light


Altreos forest/Nevil’s Rift
130 Km North of Harlow Space Port
Caph, Chaos March; Terran Defense cordon
Word of Blake Jihad Campaign
16th June, 3069

In the early morning hours a thick fog covers the ground like a heavy blanket, caressing the trees of the Altreos forest as would love struck lovers embrace one another.  The typically quiet morning is suddenly disturbed by heavy footfalls.  Like the great Jurassic giants of ancient Terra, huge mechanical beasts crash through, breaking off tree limbs without effort and crushing undergrowth beneath their massive weight as they advance deeper into the mixed eco-culture of deciduous and conifer.

One of the giant mechanical beasts stops, the massive feet disturbing the thick fog one final time.  The fog swirls up and around the feet to the lower legs, and then settles back as it was before, but now caressing the metal biped.   The 30 meter tall behemoth resembles an armored First Century AD, Roman soldier.  The whine of powerful servo-motors and leg actuators sound their final chorus as the Centurion BattleMech settles into its temporary rest stop.  A sharp hiss and pop of pneumatic systems can be heard as it equalizes the hundreds of pounds of air and hydraulic pressure required to assist in propelling these massive War Machines.  A high pitched whine slowly changes its tone downward as the potentially destructive Fusion reactor shuts down.

A series of tinted opaque plexisteel panels cover the cockpit of this War beast.  Inside, Capt. MacKay is checking gauges, light readouts and various other functions while speaking into the boom mike mounted onto his neurohelmet.  “Red Fox Lead to Red Fox pack.  Go to shut down mode once in position.  Remember people; maintain a wedge formation keeping a minimum of fifty meters between each other.  We do this just like we did in the simulators folks.  We need to catch the Blakies off guard and we cannot be emitting any EM signatures.  Keep your Fusion reactors in pre-heat status and be ready to warm start when I give the command.  I want to hear status reports from all Lance Leaders within two minutes.  From then on we maintain radio silence.  Red Fox Lead out.”

For the next sixty seconds a steady flow of radioed status reports came through the mechwarrior’s com system, and then all was quiet once again in the fog covered forest.

Capt. MacKay disconnects several tube like connectors from his cooling vest, then carefully lifts the neurohelmet from his head and puts it in it’s place above and behind him in a small cubbie reserved for it.  He opens the cockpit hatch then climbs out onto the shoulder of his armored steed.  Wearing only a pair of shorts and light shirt under his cooling vest, the most a Mechwarrior would wear to keep him cool against the scorching temperatures that can be generated inside the confined cockpit.  Mackay reaches in, grabs his jacket then puts it on.  It’s not much of a defense against the chill morning air but it will help.  Gazing around he takes in the smell and ambience of the Altreos forest.  Everything about this place reminds him of his boyhood home on Skye, light years away.  Reaching once again into the cockpit, he removes a pair of high powered Binocs and plugs the power cord from the Mech into them.  Turning the Binocs on he proceeds to test them.

The first rays of morning light begin to emerge on the horizon to the east.  MacKay looks at his chronometer…  It’s almost 4:30 AM.  If the Battalion Commander, Maj. Kozyra calculated correctly, the enemy will be passing by through Nevil’s Rift any time now.  At least that’s what the most recent scout report had indicated, and that was over four hours old.

Tactically an ambush inside Nevil’s Rift is a sound idea except that any Commander worth a damn will know it too, and everyone in the enemy Command will be looking for it as they pass through, so they will be on extra high alert.  The “Rift” is not the best way for an army to get to Harlow but it is the fastest, and these guys are in a big time hurry.

Nevil’s Rift is a kilometer wide and 200 to 300 meter deep crack in the planets surface which runs for nearly 100 kilometers long.  On the floor of the “Rift” a trail winds it’s way around gigantic boulders and rock spires.  The “Rift” has a high concentration of Iron ore deposits, which would play havoc with the sensors.  That could work for or against someone moving through there.  Great for hiding a large concentration of War Machines on the move, but it makes getting solid targeting contacts in or out of the “Rift” equally as difficult.   That would mean any sort of combat will ultimately end up in an ‘In your face slug match’.  Two full Companies of Mechs with a reinforced Command Lance is a lot of hardware to move quickly, so in order to get to Harlow in a hurry the Blakies  will have to go through Nevil’s Rift.  That’s what the Battalion Commander said anyway.  The only thing that could frag this ambush is if a Blakist scout spotted his forces before the main body arrives.  So Mackay ordered all his Mechwarriors to be on the alert for any possible scout activity.

Bringing the Binocs up to eye level he scans the Northern horizon looking for any possible heat signatures.  There… About 1200 meters out… He can just make out what looks to be a lone Mech, moving at about 65kph.  Stopping occasionally to scan the area immediately around it.  Zooming in, MacKay can just make out the outline of the enemy Mech.   An Uller, equipped stock with an ECM Suite and Advanced level sensors to supplement the weapons systems.  It is one of the best scout Mechs around short of the Raven or a Men Shen, albeit not nearly as fast.  Well if there is one scout Mech there is at least two or three more roaming about.  Climbing back into his Centurion Mech he types rapidly on the keyboard to the C3 communications system, which broadcasts over a scrambled and multiple relayed transmission.  Text style communications can be received only if you are on the same frequency and have a de-scrambler.  All Lance Commanders have C3 capability including upper Command echelon.

A light Mech Lance will move to intercept him within a few minutes and attempt to divert him away from the forest, and if he has any friends, perhaps them as well.

Several minutes later, faint Com chatter can be heard from the cockpit of the Centurion, orders for battle and sounds of combat can be heard in the background behind the chatter.  From the sound of it there was more than one Scout floating about, and the intercepting Light Lance engaged them as well.   The skirmish did not last as long as MacKay would have thought, all of about ten minutes.   The enemy Scouts evidently made every attempt to disengage but suffered substantial damage none the less.   Now it was a matter of the Main body arriving, if at all.  All MacKay could do was wait.   His wait would not be long however, since within the hour the first of the enemy main body was advancing from the Northern horizon towards Nevil’s Rift.

Focusing in on the lead group of BattleMechs through the eyepiece of the Binocs, Mackay could make out several classes and types of the massive War machines.

The Blakists were leading with a mix of Heavy and Assault Mechs, an Atlas, which appeared to be the Lance Commander, a Highlander slightly modified, a Zeus, and a MadCat which seemed to be in a configuration he did not immediately recognize.  This particular Mech had arms attached to either side of it’s torso which ended in tubular shaped weapons.  He was not sure, but they could possibly be either Gauss Rifles or Heavy Autocannons, not the standard large laser configuration.

Climbing back into the cockpit MacKay shucks off his jacket then tosses it behind his command couch.  He closes & dogs the hatch behind him then dons his neurohelmet and fastens the restraining straps.  He plugs in the tubes that will supply welcoming relief from the scorching heat that comes with battle to his cooling vest. Engaging the computer he pulls up the recognition files for known BattleMech profiles.  Scrolling through 3D illustrations of known Battlemechs he finds one that fits the profile of the MadCat variant he had spotted.   A “MadCat 2C1A” or “Timberwolf” as the Clans referred to it.  Rated at 90 tons it fits into the Assault Mech class.   That will be one to watch out for, especially if it is sporting a pair of Gauss Rifles, his own Clan LRM missile packs deal out enough damage on their own at very long range, but get into range and those Gausses or Heavy Autocannons could shorten your day real quick.

MacKay sits patiently in his armored steed waiting for the rest of the enemy forces to enter into the “Rift”.  His Centurion Mk2C3A in a powered down mode, however, the titanic power core that provides the unlimited supply of energy to power his armoured steed is set in a pre-warm-up state or sometimes called ‘diagnostic mode’ to the techs.   Suddenly out of the corner of his eye he spots movement where there should be none.   He focuses in that area straining to spot the source.  Bringing up his ‘AHUD’ Mackay zooms in on the area in question…  At about 150 meters he can just make out a faint outline of movement through the trees.  Typing in the C3 keyboard he checks for positions of the roaming Highlander Scouts.  He receives no confirmation of any “friendlies” operating in his immediate OP. Carefully moving the zoom reticule over the image it blinks between red and gold, unable to get a positive lock.  Tagging the reticule for IFF mode it sluggishly responds and is unable to get a positive lock.  Zooming in at maximum while following the movement…  There where the morning sunlight had managed to break through the tree caps shrouding the forest.  A small ray of morning light illuminated the upper right section of the shape.  Mackay could just make out the symbol located there.  It was definitely not one of the Highlander’s scout Mechs.

“Bloody Damn!!  Just great, a Blakie Scout got loose in our back yard.”  He says out loud to himself but not enough to activate his mike.

Activating his mike, MacKay alerts his Company of Mechwarriors.  “Red Fox Lead to Red Fox pack.  Let’s get hot lads we’ve been caught in the chicken coop an’ I got a bloodhound bearing ‘Zero, seven, seven mark three five my position…’  Fox Bravo flank around to the left and hit their rear guard, Fox Charlie, close up and form on Fox Alpha and let’s hit the middle of the main body.   Fox Delta… move up to my position and hold…  We may need you to engage any units backtracking out of the ‘Rift’ or trying to flank us.  Ok, let’s go Lads & Lasses we’ve got  daylight a’ burnin’!”

Before Capt. MacKay could even ‘hot start’ the Centurion it rocked from the initial assault by the enemy BattleMech he had just spotted.   Azure and Crimson beams of concentrated light, resulting in megajules of energy, boiled armor from the left arm and torso of the Centurion.  Just as suddenly, the huge Mech rocked again from four of six short ranged and un-guided missiles.  As each missile struck home yet another piece of armor was wounded.

“Come on! Come on!”   MacKay screams at his WarMachine to re-start quicker.

“Fox Lead needs assistance… Under attack…  Still in hot-start up… Can anyone assist?...”

Again megajules of Azure and Crimson beams of energy erupt from the enemy mech only to be partially stopped by a friendly Thunderbolt BattleMech. The rest just missing his cockpit by mere centimeters.

“Thanks, Caelin!  I owe you one”

“Nae’ worry Fox Lead…  Let m’ know when you’re up ‘n runnin’ an’ we’ll tak’ th’ bugger doon’…”  Caelin retaliated with his Clan ER Large Lasers and Clan LRM Tens hitting the Blake Mech solidly in the center torso with the Laser, instantly vaporizing several tons of armor there.   Six of the Ten Clan designed missiles peppered the center torso again, removing yet more tonnage of armor, exposing sensitive internal systems.   The enemy Uller BattleMech staggered back from the sudden and severe retaliatory assault by Caelin.  Recovering, he responds to the new threat and focuses all his firepower on it, rewarding him with only minor armor damage to his foe.

Mackay now at full power and weapons ready joins in the fray against the enemy Uller.  The targeting reticule turns gold indicating a target lock, MacKay pulls the trigger of the weapon joystick and the Clan designed Autocannon, immediately sends a burst of 50 mm armor piercing and tracing rounds downrange to their target.  Several tons of armor is removed from the Uller’s right arm.  Following up the Autocannon he adds hundreds of megajules worth of energy from his Clan ER Large Laser into it as well.  His superior martial skills are rewarded with a direct hit into the previously exposed internal structure in the center torso of the Uller.   Striking the Scout Mech’s sensitive gyro causes the Mech to stagger again, but this time stumbles backward and falls on its back, damaging the rear armor in the process.  The downed enemy Mechwarrior signals his defeat and surrender.

“Alpha Lead to Leap frog…  I’ve got a downed enemy Mech pilot that needs to be relieved of his ride.   Position is ‘Point Break Zulu’.

“Ok, Caelin, let’s catch up with the rest of Alpha Lance and see how many more of these Blakies we can make extinct!”  MacKay said.

“Rrogrr’, Fox Lead… Ya’ brr’ng th’ swatter anna’ I’ll brr’ng th’ bug sprray!”

Throttling up Mackay heads his Centurion toward the Rift.  Eyeing the radar screen and keying up the numerous enemy targets one by one, he marks them in sequence in order of importance or level of threat.   The enemy Atlas was already engaged in a fighting retreat further into the rift.  The enemy MadCat was covering his retreat behind a burnt and pock marked spire that pierced up from the ground.  Missiles and lasers striking against the spire that half hid the MadCat.  MacKay pulled up a target closest to him.

A Blake Jenner streaked by in front of him and let fly several bursts of medium pulse lasers, scoring only a single hit in his right leg.  Mackay and MacDonnagh both responded at the same moment.   Each, unleashing a mix of high velocity projectiles and beams of concentrated light at the fast-moving Jenner leading him by a few meters.  Several of the autocannon rounds found their target but did only minor damage, while one of the large lasers managed to score against the right torso and shed a half ton of armor from it.   Caelin maneuvered toward Mackay’s left and twisted his torso to follow the Jenner.  Mackay watched as Caelin tracked it like a seasoned hunter lining up his shot.   Then just as suddenly the loud report from Caelin’s LRM’s broke MacKay’s trance like state.  Watching Caelin in battle was like watching a ballet dancer going through a routine.  He has such grace and cunning when it comes to battle.  All but two of Caelin’s LRM 10’s hit home.  A ruby pulsed lance of concentrated light erupted from his Clan ER medium pulse lasers and speared into the forward jutted cockpit of the Jenner.   The Jenner pilot must have been shaken pretty badly because the next thing the Mech did was miss a step and topple forward right onto the cockpit.   The weight of the Mech combined with the forward momentum caused the forward jutted cockpit to crumble onto it’s self.  That was the end of that confrontation as far as Caelin was concerned.  He was already scoping for new targets.

Mackay spotted two enemy Phoenix Hawk’s as they jumped in a high arc across his horizon towards them.  He scrolled his targeting reticule onto the nearer of the two and triggered off two short bursts from the Autocannon before he even got full target lock.  Once again his superior martial abilities rewarded him with solid hits from both bursts.  The hapless Phoenix Hawk caught both in the left leg and center torso.   This caused the Mechwarrior to lose partial control of his Mech as he landed.   Mackay flinched in sympathy when the Phoenix Hawk landed and the right leg bent forward in an un-natural position.   Myomer bundles seemed to burst out from within the armor casing like snapping rubber bands.  The torso folded forward and rolled into an awkward summersault, finally landing on its back.   Caelin came out of nowhere and pumped several Large Laser shots into the back of the fallen Mech’s Cockpit as a ‘Coup de Grace’.   Mackay winced at that.

Sometimes in the heat of the battle fury you tend to forget that there are living human beings piloting these gargantuan behemoths, and you are not just destroying a machine but also sometimes killing the human occupant inside.   That was the uglier side of war that always seemed to haunt Capt.MacKay after a battle.  ‘It’s always good to walk amongst the littered corpses of fallen machines, and peer into them as you walk past them.  For once a living being controlled that machine.  Always remember that, because tomorrow it might be you.’ was what MacKay’s old Academy instructor would tell him.

“Capt’n!!  Watch yer Six!”  Caelin shouted.  Mackay’s inattentivness nearly got him killed.  Just then Mackay’s Centurion jolted forward as if he had been hit from behind.  He stepped the Centurian forward then twisted his torso to the right, hard against the stops, he could just make out the source of the attack.  The other Phoenix Hawk had hit him from behind, evidently from a slightly botched attempt at a DFA (Death From Above).   Not always a successful maneuver but one that could have devastating results if it is, especially against an unsuspecting victim.  Since the Phoenix Hawk has jump jets it can perform such a maneuver.

Mackay maneuvered his Mech sideways further to the right and took a couple of steps backward and swung the torso of his Mech around to face off against the Phoenix Hawk.  About the same time Mackay got his Centurian in position, it reverberated from several hits from the Large and two Medium Lasers of the Phoenix Hawk. Several tons of Ferro Fiberous armor fell from his already damaged left torso and leg, exposing sensitive components within.  The heat inside the cockpit was reaching nearly 100 degrees Farentheit.  The cooling vest was increasing the coolant flow thru the tubes running inside of it in a vain attempt at cooling the pilot's body core.  Sweat was dripping down his face and he could feel it as it made it's way from the top and back of his head and seemed to pour like a stream down his head to flow down his cheeks, the back of his neck, even his ears were not immune from the flow of his sweat.

Mackay lined up his Autocannon in a near point blank shot into the center torso of the Phoenix Hawk and held the trigger down.  50mm high velocity armour piercing slugs can do a terrible amount of destruction at less than twenty meters.  Armour flew off in sheets as the stream of AC rounds poured into the opening of the now breached armour, to strike deep into the bowels of the enemy Mech destroying the gyro housing, causing the gyro to fly apart shredding yet more crucial components inside.

Then he brought the Clan Large Laser up and fired point blank into the cockpit of the Phoenix Hawk causing the heat in his cockpit to climb even higher and his mech's heat readings to climb into the upper yellow nearing the red zone.

It was too much for the enemy Mech and Pilot.  The head of the Mech seemed to open up and peel away like a banana.  Through his IR sensors Mackay could see the rising heat bloom of an escalating fusion reactor explosion.  Evidently when the gyro shredded apart it also severely damaged the dampening systems for the reactor as well.  Realizing what was coming next, Mackay quickly throttled back in reverse as fast as he could, to get his Mech to back-peddle through the underbrush and trees around him.  Screaming a warning over his comm to Caelin and anyone nearby that a mech's core was about to go critical and twisting his torso so the force of any blast would be taken against his virtually undamaged right side.   The Phoenix Hawk disappeared in the fury of a blinding white hot light, as the pandora’s box of the Fusion reactor was released from its protective shielding.

Unfortunately for Capt. Mackay he was unable to get far enough away and was partially caught in the fury of the released energy that was the Phoenix Hawk's reactor.  The force of the blast knocked the Centurion backward and Mackay lost his footing then fell backward.  The sensation of falling was dragged out as if in slow motion.  Thirty Meters is a long way to fall.  The sudden impact Jolted Mackay so hard he momentarily lost consciousness.

He awoke to alarm claxons blaring for attention, and red and amber warning lights flashing all over his instruments.  The heat inside his cockpit was registering at one hundred and forty five degrees.  His mech's internal heat had been pushed into the red zone, and it's Clan built heat sinks were being overtaxed to their limits keeping his Centurion from shutting down entirely.  Stabbing the button to silence the alarms MacKay began to take stock of the current status of his Mech.  The armor status outline showed red in his left torso and amber in the left leg. That did not surprise him, and neither did the mix of red and amber on his rear torso armor.  The armor on the right torso and arm was in the amber zone, a little too light for his comfort.  Shaking the cobwebs of unconsciousness off He rolled his Centurion over onto the less damaged right side and pushed himself back up to a standing position.

“Capt’n arr’ ye allrrright?”  Caelin’s voice was edged with deep concern.

“Ye look th’ sight lad, ahm’ serpris’d ye goot’ up fra’ tha’ oon’!  Ye neerly’ took th’ full blast wae th’ `Hawk blew.”

“Aye, Caelin, I’m ok…  A wee bit shakin up but I’ll be ok.  Thanks for the warning about the other Hawk… I didn't even see him coming.”

As Mackay looked out through the plexisteel canopy he could see several small star patterns and one rather big and ugly spider web pattern in it.  Possibly from debris traveling at a high velocity from the exploding Phoenix Hawk he surmised.  The smell of ozone was heavy in the cockpit and it stung at his eyes, Mackay wished he could vent it out, unfortunately his Mech did not have that capability and the only way to do so would be to open his cockpit hatch, and given the current situation, that  would not be a good idea.  He would just have to live with it.

Looking at his tactical map it seemed to flicker in and out.  “Great” Mackay thought to himself. “Sensors are damaged.”

Over the comm line he said.  “Caelin, my sensors aren't functioning.  I’ll need ya’ to be my eyes and ears.  What is the current tactical sitrep?”

“Weel’ Capt’n  we managed t’ tak’ out wa’ flank’n rresistance the’ thrrew at us.  Na’ wi’ hae ta’ push inta’ th’ centrr’ o’ em’.  Th’ enemy Comman’ lance is fight’n back prrretty fierrc’ bu’ wi’ th’ rrest o’ th’ Fusilierrrs prresin’ ard’ o’ th’ o’thr sied’ th’ mae’ b’ fold’n soon.”

Switching over to a private channel Mackay called up Caelin.

“Okay, good.  I’m not sure how much more damage I can take before I get taken out myself.  My indicators tell me I have no armor left on my left side and I may have internal damage in my left torso.  I can’t seem to get any response to the LRM’s when I do a diagnostic.  From what you can see, how bad is it?”

“Capt’n ye hae been in worrrs’ shape afor’ anna’ wak’ awa’ fro’ it.  Fro’ wah’ ah’ kin see ye’ hae bits o’ ahrrmor’ jammed inta’ some o’ yer tubes’.   Mebe’ ifna’ ye’ tak a beamer hit there it’ll clear it oop’ fer ye, hee, hee, hee,” Caelin chuckled.  “Ah’ will coverrr yer flank fer ya.  Let’s get back in thrr’ an tak’ oot’ these bloody bastards once an fer all eh.”

“Aye, let’s…”  MacKay switched back over to the company frequency.   “Alpha lance close up and form up on me, Delta lance close up and form up on me to my right… wedge formation and let’s finish this my ‘Dogs O’ War!!.”

MacKay throttled up his Centurian and turned toward the entrance to the ‘Rift’.   “This is going to be a long day!”  He thought to himself.  “And it’s only just getting’ started.”

As ugly as Caelin’s Thunderbolt was, he managed to maneuver it with tremendous grace and style.  When ever there was a threat to MacKay’s left flank he always seemed to be right there to take the damage for him.  Like a Guardian Angel he always lingered close by.  Several times MacKay took hits intended for Caelin’s light rear armor, nearly crippling himself in the process.  To which he was not so politely chided by Caelin for.

The tide of the battle had definitely turned in favor of the Northwind Highlanders.  The Blakists were either dead or surrendering.   The final straw for most was when the two Command Mechs went down in a massive white fireball.   A shame too, it would have been nice to recover the Atlas and that MadCat variant.

MacKay was right about his suspicions regarding that MadCat tho’.  As it turned out, it had been fitted with Clan Heavy LBX 20’s, very, very nasty when fighting in close quarters or hand to hand, as some within his Company found out to their demise.  Perhaps the LBX’s can still be salvaged anyway, the clan designed power plant was toasted, pity that.

The fighting had been quite fierce in the ‘Rift’.   The cost of men and machines was high for both sides.   Capt. MacKay and Sgt. MacDonnagh had dismounted from their respective Mechs and walked amongst the burned out hulks of what were once mighty war machines.   They made their way to where the Phoenix Hawk that MacKay had destroyed laid to rest.   Little was really left of the once graceful ‘Hawk’,  the cockpit was split open like an orange when stepped on, instruments and controls were melted beyond any resemblance to what they should have looked like.  The smell of Death hung over the battlefield like a curtain.

“Ya know Caelin, it’s humbling to know that there was once a living being sitting in that Command couch.  And I was responsible for killing him.  It’s frightening too in a way…   Because I have no doubt that if the tables could have been turned…  I would have been the one splattered in my cockpit.”

“Aye… Trru’  Dannagh.  I hae’ ta’ strruggl’ wi’ tha’ too’ m’ self’.  Ah’ ooftin’ woondrr’ if next time it wae b’ m’ turrn’ next.  But ah’ love bein’ a Mechwarrior ab’v all else in thi’ life.  Anna’ ah wuld na trrad’ places wi’ annyoone’.”

“Caelin,  you are the best damn Mechwarrior I have ever seen.  You have the cunning of a hunter and the grace of a ballet dancer when you maneuver your T’Bolt.  Why won’t you take a bloody damn commission and become an Officer?  You are a natural at commanding troops.   You would make an exellent Lance commander, and I really need someone like you to take over Bravo Lance since Lt. Campfield is dead.”

“Dannaigh I kin tell ye this, I hate ahficer’s’, presen’t company excluded o’ cours’.   O’ all th’ commandrrs tha’ I hae serrv’d wi’ ye arr th’ only onn’ ah’ hae any respect fer.  Tha’ wa’ ah’ do th’ best ah’ kin ta’ keep yer alive anna’ yer skin intact.”

All around, recovery teams and medic personnel were combing through the carnage.  The recovery teams looked like millions of worker ants working over a piece of candy on the ground, the way they were stripping salvageable parts from the mix of destroyed Mechs and combat vehicles.   The medics also were combing through the destroyed equipment in the search for the lucky ones, or lucky depending on the severity of injury, and who managed to survive.

Capt. Mackay and Sgt MacDonnaugh continued to make their way through the forest of destruction.  As they made their way into the Rift, MacKay spotted a destroyed Thanatos.

The markings looked very familiar, grabbing MacDonnaugh by the arm, he started running toward the Thanatos.  As they got closer Capt. Mackay could feel his heart get heavier and legs begin to numb.   The cockpit of the Thanatos had been severely damaged, the Mech was lying at an extremely skewed angle as if it had been swatted by a giant sledge hammer in the head and somersaulted backwards.

MacKay worked his way up to the cockpit and peered in, hoping against what he knew what he would find.   Still strapped in the command chair, was the broken and bloody body belonging to Lt. Kozyra, the son of Battalion Commander Maj. Kozyra.

“MEDIC!  MEDIC!...  I NEED A MEDIC OVER HERE NOW!”  MacKay screamed as he climbed down into the cockpit.  When he reached the body of the Lieutenant, he checked for a pulse and found none.  Carefully MacKay unfastened the restraining harness, cooling tubes and neuro-helmet from the lifeless body, then lifted the body out of the command couch.  Sgt. MacDonnaugh reached down to help MacKay lift the forever young Lieutenant out.

Capt. MacKay sat on the arm of the command couch, and let the flood of raw emotions boil up and over-take him, the tears of sorrow flowing freely.

Capt. MacKay had met the young Lieutenant when he was first assigned to Command the company.  Even though he was the son of the Battalion Commander, his father insisted that he not be accorded any special treatment.  He understood the importance of developing his combat prowess, and that meant ‘no special considerations and treat him like any other soldier in your unit.’

MacKay did just that, and learned to respect the young man.  Capt. MacKay had grown very fond of him because he never asked for any quarter and gave none in return.  He had a natural talent for BattleMech operations that, had they been allowed to develop further, MacKay had no doubt that young Kozyra would become a very effective Commander like his father.

After composing himself MacKay climbed out of the ruined cockpit and joined MacDonnaugh on the ground.  Gently taking the body of Lt. Kyle Kozyra into the cradle of his arms, MacKay walked the hundred or so meters to the C&C vehicle, which had been moved up to just inside the entrance to Nevil’s Rift.

As Capt. MacKay made his way toward the Command vehicle one of the technicians came towards him.  When he saw that it was the Major’s son he stopped and ran back into the Command vehicle.  Major Kozyra was just at the top of the ramp when MacKay reached the base and stopped. Kozyra stared in a mixture of disbelief, anger and deep sorrow at the lifeless body of his son.

The Major and MacKay looked at each other their eyes locking, each understanding what was being communicated even though no words were exchanged.  Kozyra broke eye contact first by looking down.  Looking up again, he then gestured to one of the technicians to take his son's lifeless body from Mackay.  “Take him to the MedVac for identification and tagging.”  He said.  The young tech acknowledged with a sharp nod and, “Aye, Sir!”

Capt. MacKay snapped to Attention and executed a smart palm out, finger tip to temple salute and held it there a few moments longer then necessary.  After returning his hand to his side, he did an about face and left the vehicle, leaving the Battalion Commander to his mourning.

Major Kozyra issued orders to several of the Technicians, then returned to the control center and into his private office space in the C&C vehicle.   Upon securing the door behind him, he let the well of emotions consume him.

“Why?!” “Why my Son?!”  Kozyra screamed, as he pounded the top of his desk repeatedly until the heels of his hands were numb.  Tears streaming down his face he cried out “YOU GODLESS BASTARDS!!  YOU KILLED MY SON!!”  His sorrow slowly turned to rage.  Speaking just above a whisper and through clenched teeth he concluded.  “I will not rest…  Until I see…  Every one of you ‘God-forsakin’, Blake-worshippin’, Sons of Bitches…  Are…  Dead!!”

This story is protected by copyright 2004
Daniel Morgan author
No permissions granted to copy or reprint any part or form of this story.
All rights are reserved by the author.
Author has given his permission to publish his story on the BattleTech Fanon Wiki.