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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 235

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January 3072
Interlude: Gibson - Mop up

Foothills of Bali Mountain Range
Jakarta, Gibson
Principality of Gibson (WoB Protectorate)
Free Worlds League

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Calum Zavala, 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, Juggernauts Regiment of Stewart's Dragoons, fought through the fog of sleep deprivation to keep himself and his BattleMech moving. At least unlike most of the battlefield orphans he was leading deeper into the rugged terrain of the foothills his Anvil class BattleMech's weapon load out was entirely laser based so he didn't have to worry about running out of ammunition. Plus his ECM was probably one of the reason's they hadn't been found and torn apart already. Looking at his sensors he could see one of his "command" starting to trail behind the others. Keying his communication console he made sure that it was on the lowest power possible before speaking. "Corporal Blackmore keep up! I won't order the others to slow down for you..."

Just saying the words that he would leave Corporal Alison Blackmore behind made him want to retch, but he wasn't bluffing. Her Apollo's fitted jumpack had misfired. A risk that you took with a bolted on set of jump jets rather than an integral one, and when she landed it had caused heavy damage to her hip actuators. Her BattleMech's usual graceful stride had been turned into a pained lurch and she was struggling to make it keep up with the other BattleMechs including his own of the ad-hoc company he was leading. The fact she hadn't slept in over thirty hours probably wasn't helping with that either. She managed to coax a few extra kilometers an hour out of her heavily damaged BattleMech while answering with a voice tinged with exhaustion. "I'll keep up Lieutenant. Don't worry about me."

Flea Light Mech (in Combat - MWO version)

Flea Light 'Mech firing its lasers.

He did worry about her. Perhaps more than the others. Probably because she was the only remaining member of his lance left. Sergeant O'Reilly hadn't made it out of the dropship before it had exploded while Corporal Ramos had been lost somewhere in the drop, Calum wasn't even sure what had happened to him. The other odds and ends he had collected were a mix of Juggernaut MechWarriors from other units along with a scattering of Atrean Hussars. It was just his bad luck that he was the senior officer amongst the group.

His scout, Corporal Antonia Perez of the Atrean Hussars in a quad legged Tarantula, suddenly broadcast in a tightly coded channel directly to him. "LT, six Toasters ahead. Blocking they way. I'm falling back down the draw... I don't think they've seen..."

The sudden roar of gunfire and then missile strikes tore over the channel before suddenly cutting out. Clearly Perez had been wrong about remaining undetected. Her BattleMech icon on his screen, 800 yards ahead, flashed from yellow of light damage to the strobing red of heavy damage. Dammit! Snapping onto a "company" wide channel. "Perez is hit, deploy on me, Assault Lance with me in the center, Striker Lance on the left, recon right... We're moving forward to get her out of there..."

Orion ( On the March)

Orion Heavy 'Mech in combat.

He waited a half second for the others to begin moving into position and then pushed his BattleMech up to full speed. On his left Smith's Orion took up position, while Gupta's Marauder took up position on his right - although the Marauder was only partially combat effective having lost it's right arm in a firefight just after landing. On the left the three BattleMechs of the Striker Lance - Gregor's Trebuchet, Blackmore's crippled Apollo and Thomas's rebuilt Wolverine drew ahead slightly, while on the right the boxy shape of Hutch's Flea raced ahead followed by Ferguson's Spider. "Hit them hard, hit them fast... We get Perez out of there and push through... We need to make it deeper into the foothills people! We need to take them down fast and hard! Charge 'em!"

Spider (on Battlefield)

Spider Light 'Mech

Kicking his jump jets into action Zavala hopped onto the ridge overlooking Perez's position just in time to see her Tarantula which was struggling to it's three remaining legs go down under the hatchet of a WOB Buccaneer, which took her mech right in the cockpit. Lips drawn back in fury the exhausted lieutenant brought his targeting reticle down over the left flank of the WoB mech and released an alpha strike with both large pulse lasers and his two medium lasers. The heat in his cockpit soared and sweat beaded his brow, but he was rewarded by seeing both pulse lasers and one of the medium lasers strike across the flank of his enemy. With almost a ton and a half of armor vaporized over his left arm and torso the axe wielding BattleMech lurched and fell, the pilot losing control of his BattleMech and crashing down on the Tarantula he had just killed.<br

For a fraction of a second too long, Lieutenant Zavala paused in righteous triumph at downing the MechWarrior who had just killed one of his people and then suddenly his BattleMech shook like it had been hit by a hammer as a one of the Buccaneer's friends took advantage of his distraction. A Toyama down in the valley below had targeting him for a full alpha strike of his own, hitting him with one of his ER large lasers, his LB-10X AC and a spread of LRM missiles. All three medium lasers missed as did the other ER large laser. With a shotgun blast from the LB-10X cratering armor across his mech, and the LRM strikes tearing most of the armor off his arm while the ER large laser melted a deep furrow in his leg armor it was Zavala's turn to try and stay on his feet, which he did with some difficulty.

He was saved from further follow on attacks by the other four WOB BattleMechs by the attacks of the other units in the company. His recon lance swept in from the right and swiftly began trading volleys of laser fire with a WOB Initiate, while on the left his three strong striker lance pared off against another Initiate and a Wolverine. The two other members of his assault lance joined him on the ridge in the center and found themselves facing the Toyama that had caused him such damage as well as a Grand Crusader. Snapping himself out of his momentary distraction Zavala gasped out. "Smith, take the Grand Crusader, keep him busy. Gupta make sure that Buccaneer doesn't get up then help Smith, I'll take the Toyama."

Half sliding down the ridge to close the range Zavala ignored the threat of the Grand Crusader, trusting in his allies to keep it off him while he fired his two large pulse lasers at the enemy, holding back his medium lasers to let his heat die down a bit. He struck with one, splashing molten armor from the Toyama's left flank and in return took more damage to his armor from the LB-10X. Still at least for now the armor on his BattleMech was holding, although the diagram to the side of his screen was showing a lot more warning orange and red than he liked. Hitting the flat ground of the draw he jinxed his Anvil right and then left,managing to avoid most of the Toyama's LRM's but taking a hit from a medium laser and another ER large laser strike to his torso.

Even at full speed he managed to keep his target lock on the Toyama's left torso and this time put both large pulse laser shots into the already damaged armor there. One of his medium lasers flashed between the Toyama's leg, while the other struck the BattleMechs so far undamaged right arm. A sudden surge in heat from the enemy mech told him he had managed to punch through the armor and burn off some engine shielding with his last strike! As he maneuvered to keep his target in sight, the Blakist MechWarrior began falling back and twisting his BattleMech to keep his damaged side out of range, but that affected his riposte strike which almost entirely missed Zavala's Anvil, hitting only with a handful of LRM missiles along his right arm.

"Lieutenant... I took care of the Buccaneer, but we're having real problems with the Grand Crusader!" Gupta snarled, his panting showing how hot his Marauder was running.

Marauder (Side View while in Combat - meltdonw14)

Marauder Heavy 'Mech in combat

Glacing at the tactical map, Zavala could see that both Gupta and Smith's BattleMechs were showing signs of heavy damage - although Gupta's Marauder had started the fight already heavily damaged. Still his striker lance was making short work of the two enemy medium's they were facing, the Initiate was already down and wouldn't be getting up soon while the Wolverine's armor was more memory than reality now. "Thomas... Can you get hit the Grand Crusader in the rear... Blackmore, Gregor you two finish of the Wolverine and then help them."

Firing his own large lasers again he missed with one and the other struck the retreating Toyama already damaged leg. For now the armor held, but he could see myomer bundles through the now ragged armor. Another strike and he might manage to bring the beast down. Even as his cockpit shook from a return volley that finished off his armor on his right arm and left his right torso's protection dangerously low he kept moving forward to finish it. Unexpectedly Ferguson's Spider appeared on alongside him firing a single medium pulse laser into the damaged enemy heavy BattleMech. There was no sign of Hutch's Flea.

Risking another full alpha strike Zavala almost screamed over the warning sirens of immediate shut down as the heat in his cockpit climbed to nearly unbearable levels, hitting the override button savagely. Through the shimmering area and heat glitching screens he saw the enemy BattleMech shake and shudder as the entire left hand side of the Toyama seemed to collapse in on itself, the internal structure so damaged as to be incapable of holding up the shoulder and left arm. Collapsing down on itself the suddenly bulged and exploded as the stored ammunition in the right torso for the LRM launcher exploded, probably because of the heat of firing and then engine failure.

Turning his BattleMech back around as best he could with it almost overheated he looked back to find the fight over. Along with Perez's Tarantula and the six WOB BattleMechs, Hutch's Flea was scattered across the floor of the draw, while Gupta's Marauder had collapsed with it's XL engine clearly destroyed. Blackmore's Apollo while still standing was no longer capable of moving as it was frozen in place, it's already damaged hip actuator's either hit in the battle or simply ground into oblivion by the rigors of combat. Gregor's Trebuchet was missing it's left arm at the elbow, while Smith's Orion had clearly suffered at least some engine damage. His own Anvil, Ferguson's Spider and Thomas's Wolverine while still mostly intact were missing more armor than they had left. In his first combat he had lost half his command and the other half were walking cripples...

Wolverine BattleMech (firing)

Wolverine Medium 'Mech

Before he could begin to order them to form up and check to see if Sergeant Gupta was still alive. He was going to attempt to pick up Blackmore from her destroyed BattleMech, but suddenly additional enemy icons appeared. At least two full Level II of WoB BattleMechs were moving in on his position from opposite directions... Fighting despair he made a snap decision. "Ferguson, pick up Alison and get the hell out of here. There's no time to check on Gupta. Your Spider is the only one of us with the speed to get out and with your jump jets you should be able to clear the ridges. The rest of us will buy you time..."

Forming up his remaining forces as best he could he spoke softly even as the Spider having collected the crying Alison Blackmore, shot up over the ridge on it's jump jets. Hopefully taking her to safety. "We can't get out... But we can maybe keep them busy enough for Ferguson to get clear. It has been an honor ladies and gentlemen..."

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