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Exile in Syberia
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Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-01107C-J
Date 3018-07-16 14:31:34, Log Entry 9

Well, that whole experience sure did suck.

Stepping out the door into the valley next to my bunker, I found that our new Beetle-class AutoMech, Manx, had been spotted by a roaming Sounder-class belonging to the DemoCons, who then called in support from another DemoCon Beetle class and, even worse, a Seeker class.

Beetle-class AutoMechs are 35-tonners, with decent armor, double heat sinks, and an extended-range large laser. Sounders, or VeeMechs like Spanner, are 60-ton Thunderbolt derivatives like my current form. Unlike me, though, they have a 6-tube short-range missile launcher and extra cargo instead of the six tons of communications gear I pack, and like the Beetle class and unlike me, they pack an ER large laser and double heat sinks, instead of single heat sinks and a conventional large laser.

So, we out-tonned them, but given I was a terrible fighter and Spanner wasn't great himself, we were in trouble. We needed to keep them from getting away, but with a middling fighter like Spanner and my own level of ineptitude in combat, I wasn’t sure we had the forces to do it.

Fire Seeker (Desert background by Herbert Beas II)

Seeker Class Fighter AutoMech, Fire Seeker

Our first bit of luck came in the Seeker, named Fire Seeker as it turns out, had decided to fight on the ground rather than from the air. “What do we have here?” he growled. “You're a long way from AutoBoP territory.”

Instead of answering him, I powered up most of my comm gear, flipping through my options modes, finding my options under EW, and selecting "broadband comm jamming". My other viable option was to try to burn through their Sounder's ECM field, which I could already detect trying to futz with our sensor locks, but, like I said, the priority was keeping them from getting a message out.

Glyph was still trying to get into position, as were the rest of us, which resulted in a whole lot of running around, and an exchange of fire, but nobody, not even Glyph, managing to connect with a shot.

As we continued to maneuver, the DemoCon Sounder, named "Blast Sounder", held back a bit from closing, while their own Beetle, or "Ender", as the DemoCons called them, tried to flank our loose formation. The desert valley we were in offered little terrain other than rolling hills tall enough to completely block line of sight, which I wanted to try to avoid, since I wanted to shot back, and make sure the terrain didn’t block the radio static I was generating.

For my troubles, I took a hit from Fire Seeker's medium pulse laser in my right leg. Getting shot in the leg did not, in fact, tickle. Fully a third of my armor was rendered ineffective as the pulsing beam briefly swept down my leg, from thigh nearly to ankle. It felt like my leg was on fire which, I suppose, it was in a way. Luckily, the pain, as bad as it was, was muted enough I could continue to function. Decades of knee pain probably helped me deal with it as well.

I could barely keep track of it at the time, but Manx had taken a much worse hit in his left leg from their Beetle-class "Wild Ender", the ER large laser nearly punching through. Manx had been setting up his own shot at Fire Seeker, smacking the larger 'Mech in the chest with a solid hit.

Evidently, Glyph was commanding everyone on their shared combat frequency to focus on Fire Seeker and knock him out quickly. They kind of forgot to share that frequency with me, at first. I couldn't get a bead on Wild Ender, the little bastard was just too fast, but before I could aim at Blast Sounder, my radio crackled to life with the sound of Glyph. "Target their Seeker!"

Fair enough. He wasn't far away, so I charged towards him, firing my large laser, and trying to bracket with a small laser in my chest. Swing and a miss, of course, for both. While charging, their Sounder opened up at me, missing with the laser, but peppering me with four SRMs. I felt the thudding impacts on my torso, my right arm, and two impacts against my left thigh. Irritating, but not enough to stop me.

As I charged in, trying to close the distance in an effort to hit something, I could see Spanner's SRMs connect against their Seeker. Evidently, he'd been smacked hard enough that he lost his balance (I'd missed Glyph's shot against him), and he fell over. I took the opportunity, running past him, and kicking him myself, trying to take his leg off but failing.

Glyph had built up a head of steam at this point, weaving across the battlefield, and nearly shooting their Seeker's right arm off as he stood up. Unfortunately, this gave him his own opening, which he chose to carve in Glyph's back as she passed by, decelerating to turn back towards him. I kept moving, trying to keep my own back protected, and taking a lucky potshot back at Fire Seeker, burning through into his right torso with my large laser, but not hitting anything vital.

Once again, for my trouble, that damned Sounder peppered me with SRMs. Worse, my right leg took another hit, this time from its ER large laser, which burned even worse than that damned medium pulse laser.

At this point, things had dissolved into a wild melee, Glyph kicking Wild Ender, Wild Ender sweeping its leg out at Manx, Fire Seeker kicking Glyph, Manx kicking Blast Sounder, Spanner punching and missing their Sounder, and Blast Sounder trying and failing to kick Spanner, only to fall on its side.

Manx wasn't so lucky, failing to stay upright after having his leg swept, and damaging his right ankle in the fall. I watched him struggle up, and try to put some space between himself and their Spanner, but as he watched Glyph go after their crippled Seeker, he flanked Wild Ender instead, only to get battered by their Sounder's SRMs.

Spanner and I, meanwhile, barely moved, anchoring the east and west sides of the battle. Fire Seeker opened up on Spanner, bracketing him with his pulse lasers, and connecting with his mediums, but Spanner seemed to weather it fine. In turn, Spanner tried, and failed, to connect with Wild Ender, the little bastard weaving and making himself hard to hit.

I didn't bother, and focused on their Sounder instead, firing all my weapons, and managing to connect with only a single small laser, the large and other two smalls just barely missing. I did mention I'm a terrible shot, right?

I did, however, get its attention, as it turned more towards me and, in a voice so digitized it was almost unrecognizable, said, “Terran Hegemony?”

Glyph had more luck, and a lot more skill, than me, smashing into Fire Seeker's rear torso and, evidently, knocking out two of his jump jets. She successfully landed a kick on him, but it didn't seem to slow him down much.

Trying to get away from Glyph, Fire Seeker ran right into the reach of Spanner, who lashed out with a punch, smashing the DemoCon’s shoulder. Spanner wasn't done yet, though, wrenching at the joint with his salvage arm, and tearing the damaged limb right off the DemoCon, then using it to smash him in his damaged torso. I could see the thermal bloom from damaged reactor shielding: Fire Seeker was nearly out of the fight.

Unfortunately, so was Manx, who'd taken to trying to trade blows with Wild Ender, only to take a kick on his already damaged left leg, for the poor limb to snap off at the hip.

Furious, I charged the short distance to Wild Ender, intent on kicking his ass...which is exactly what I did, smashing my foot into his left hip and causing it to seize, and the DemoCon to fall flat on his face.

Spanner tried to open up the range a little bit, backing up to get a clearer picture, but that just let Fire Seeker flank him, forcing Glyph to flank the DemoCon Seeker in turn.

Manx was in trouble, nearly crippled, unable to stand, so he simply propped himself up with his left arm and shot their Sounder in the back, getting hit in his own back, knocking out a heat sink, for is trouble, as Wild Ender managed to stand. Give him props, he refused to give up.

Trying to draw some heat off him comrades, I charged right for their Sounder, firing everything, feeling myself heat up in return. I couldn't connect with my small lasers, but managed to use my large laser to burn across his right leg, nearly burning through his armor, then following it up with a kick to his other leg, as the Sounder stepped back to protect his weakened right leg. I tried to keep track of what was happening to everyone else, but things happened so damned fast, and I was mad enough that it was a struggle.

As it turns out, Glyph had finally knocked down Fire Seeker, taking out his right leg. With one leg and one arm gone, he couldn't even prop himself up to shoot, and Glyph ignored him, chasing after Wild Ender, who was intent on taking out Manx. Glyph shot the DemoCon's right leg out from under him, but not before the shot Manx in the back, damaging his gyro and engine shielding. As Wild Ender fell to the ground, my own small lasers passed through the air where he stood a moment before, but my own momentum carried me forward, and I stomped the little bastard's right hand in passing. Unfortunately, I'd been aiming at his forearm-mounted laser.

Spanner and Blast Sounder, meanwhile, circle each other, trading fire. It looked like Spanner was holding his own, hitting with his laser and a punch, but failing to repeat the trick he'd pulled with his salvage arm, though he took a savage kick in return.

The Sounder disengaged, moving to reengage Glyph and protect Wild Ender, who was continuing to trade shots with Manx from the ground. Glyph hesitated for a moment, unsure of who to shoot, before finally aiming at the Sounder and missing.

At this point, I don't think the DemoCon Sounder expected to escape, and he was more interested in doing damage before he fell. It opened up with everything at Manx, peppering him with more damage, but failing to kill him.

I can't say I did much better, actually. I opened fire with everything at Wild Ender, smashing into his back with my large laser, but not hitting anything vital, and stripping more armor off with two of my small lasers, one of which wrecked his left knee. My own kick took off the rest of his left leg, crippling him further.

That was when the DemoCon Sounder stomped on Manx's rear torso, knocking out his engine, and taking him offline.

Spanner and Glyph went into a frenzy, throwing themselves at the Sounder, smashing its right leg, crippling it.

Glyph disengaged, running back to the downed Seeker, and shooting it in the back, penetrating the engine shielding and wrecking the remaining structure there, knocking it out permanently.

Spanner started walking around the downed Blast Sounder, intending to shoot him in the back, but missing. I did the same, but was angry enough I only connected uselessly with a single small laser, kicking him again as I closed.

I figured none of them were getting back up. I was wrong.

Blast Sounder staggered to its one good foot, its ruined right leg dragging along, and turned to reengage Glyph, who'd left the wreckage of the DemoCon Seeker to finish off Wild Ender. She shot the other Beetle-class in the chest, but didn't penetrate. Wild Ender, in turn, took a shot at Spanner in reply, hitting, but not hitting anything vital.

Instead of shooting at Glyph, though, Blast Sounder twisted, and fired at Spanner instead, smashing through what was left of the armor over his center torso, and striking his gyro housing. I tried pushing the bastard over, but failed, as the bastard somehow sidestepped me with his one bad leg.

Reeling, Spanner tried, and failed, to successfully return fire, and given I'm reeling even without damage, I did no better with my guns.

Glyph was not having it, flanking the bastard again, and striking him in the torso with her ER large laser, striking his gyro. Blast Sounder, unable to reach her in reply, focused on Spanner, missing with his laser, but peppering him with SRMs, before its own damage got the better of him, and the DemoCon crashed to the ground again.

Spanner couldn't turn quickly enough to reach Blast Sounder with a punch or kick, but did stomp Wild Ender's right arm, tearing it off, and taking away his last weapon. I kicked the larger DemoCon, breaching his left torso cargo hold.

Even now, Blast Sounder refused to surrender. The DemoCon struggled, and failed, to stand, succeeding in nothing but damaging its one good leg, crippling the foot and ankle. Failing to stand, it fired at the smallest of us, Glyph, missing with its laser, but peppering her with SRMs, including one that hit her head, and another that ruined her left foot.

Our return fire, though, tore his right arm off, and smashed his one good hip, crippling him further. Prone, the three of us took turns kicking the DemoCon, Spanner stomping him in his back like Blast Sounder had done to Manx, finishing him off.

Glyph broke off, returning to the crippled Wild Ender, and put him down with a single shot to the chest. With his armor already breached, that was it for the smaller DemoCon AutoMech.

In the final total, Glyph had taken a hit in the back that resulted in a damaged heat sink, and damage to her left leg sufficient to mangle her foot. Spanner had a damaged gyro that kept him from moving fast, and a lot of armor damage, especially over his right leg, which had breached the armor. I had armor damage, well, everywhere it seemed, but had gotten lucky and hadn't suffered any internal damage.

And Manx. Well, yeah. Manx was pretty much gone, and his current body wasn't salvageable. The only question is whether his primary and secondary CPUs were intact enough to transfer to another body, which we didn't have in immediate supply.

I could do without another victory like this.


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