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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 239

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January 3072
Interlude: Ghostly Ambush

"Ghost City"
Word of Blake Protectorate

As she sat in her Javelin-O's cockpit chewing on a ration bar that was probably left behind by Kerensky's Exodus due to being out of date Lieutenant Cassandra Burton tried hard not to think about ghosts. Sitting in a long deserted city in the dark while the mother of all lightning storms flashed around you wasn't exactly easy on the nerves of someone who's older brothers used to tell her ghost stories about the "unquiet dead of lost Acoma" when she was growing up on Markesan as a little girl. She tried to distract herself as the lightning lit her cockpit up by wondering what the city who's ruins she was hunting had been called. No doubt the captain knew but she hadn't thought to ask and the other members of the mission had just taken to calling the city "Ghost City". Unfortunately the thoughts of the dead city around her led her back to wondering if the people here had been evacuated before the end or had they been left as the storms closed in to watch their power slowly fail, their food and water run out and then one by one to die in the darkness or take their chances outside in the storms...

Javelin (In front of waterfalls - Alex Iglesias MWO version)

Javelin-O Light OmniMech

When she caught a hint of movement at the edge of her cockpit the young lieutenant couldn't help herself and she screamed out in terror of the ghosts of the city coming for her and dropped the half eaten ration bar before her training kicked in and she fought down her fears at the realisation that it wasn't a ghost out there. It was a BattleMech. Specifically a GHR-5J Grasshopper. Intel had been right, the WoB were using the ruins of this city to slip their battlemech's out of whatever rat hole they were hiding in. Calming herself while thanking every God she had ever heard off that her mike hadn't been live she gripped the controls and resisted the urge to bring her own omnimech up from standby to full power. She had to wait just a few minutes longer which was nothing compared to the six hours she had been sitting here since she had nestled her battlemech into the hollowed out ruins of what might have been a car park or office block. Flicking her eyes to the ECM icon on her instrument panel she was relieved to see it still glowing green. Not that it was probably needed with the scrap metal all around her omnimech and the furious lightning storm that would be causing havoc with even active scanners. No the Blakist had no idea she was here and wouldn't until it was too late...

Grasshopper (Facing Building - NoGutNoGalaxy - Rudy Valle)

Grasshopper Heavy 'Mech

Finally the

Enforcer (MWO Version)

Enforcer III Medium 'Mech

Grasshopper advanced cautiously past her well chosen hide and presented it's back to her at point blank range. Her previous fear forgotten she brought the targeting icon over the back of the heavy Battlemech and fired both her SRM-6 at point blank range into it's back. Even as she was firing she hit the pedals for her jump jets and flew up and back, crashing out of her now useless hiding spot. Even as she soared through the air, pressed down into her chair, she crowed her victory as she saw the inferno warheads of the twelve missiles she'd fired explode all across the back of the Grasshopper! "That's a HIT!" she roared into as her OmniMech came down hard on the roof of a building 170 meters away from her starting location.

For all the shock her strike had no doubt caused the Grasshopper pilot was no slouch and was instantly swinging around to face the direction the attack had came from, raising it's arms to track her. Which was exactly what she had been hoping he or she would do.

Warhawk (in Battle at old Fortification - Papercraft version)

Warhawk Prime Assault OmniMech

Just under 700 meters away and in response first to her shrieking cry of victory and then the flickering fires that the enemy so helpfully turned to face him Captain Kellman of the 2nd Dragonlords' 1st Battalion's, 2nd Company raised his Warhawk-Prime's two arms and took careful aim. At the very edge of his weapon's range he smiled as first his targeting computer helped him lock onto the back of the Grasshopper - the burning inferno jell outlining the target didn't hurt either. Unleashing four Clantech ER PPCs in a single volley his cockpit was suddenly filled with burning heat that caused him to gasp and struggle to breath. However the result was worth it. Well worth it.

Three out of four of the ER PPCs hammered into the still burning back off the WoB Grasshopper and the chained lighting of the weapons flashed armor to vapor in a second before burying deep into the internals of the heavy BattleMech. A flare of heat over the rear left torso spoke of an engine hit while the entire 'Mech shuddered as the rear center was stripped of armor and the engine took further damage. The third and final hit "wasted" itself on the right leg's armor while the fourth ER PPC strike flashed past the right shoulder close enough to probably strip paint off. Still the third strike combined with the other two and the loss of nearly two and a half ton's of armor and the engine hits were enough to send the Grasshopper crashing down to hit the cracked and broken concrete of the road hard enough to make the still gasping Captain Kellman wince in almost sympathy. As he fought for breath he snapped an order. "Fullerton, Chi, close on Cassie's position! Sergeant Richardson, get your squad moving! If you can take him alive!"

Even as the Grasshopper began to rise, Lieutenant Burton was jumping again, this time to another building closer that overlooked the damaged enemy 'Mech. This time the warhead's she fired weren't inferno but instead ordinary HE. The struggling Grasshopper crashed back down as her SRMs stripped more armor from his back and legs while causing the left shoulder sagged as the internal structure collapsed that supported it. "Cassie! We want him alive and his cockpit intact!"

"Yes, Sir! I just didn't want him to get back up before the sergeant and his ground pounders could get here!" She crowed back and jumped again, riding her heat curve hard as she landed near the crippled WoB 'Mech. Already Fullerton's Enforcer III was stomping forward to join her while Chi's Warhammer was nearly there as well. The Cavalier Battle Armor of Sergeant Richardson's squad was pouring from a ruined hab-unit and swarming towards the enemy cockpit. With his heat approaching bearable the captain began moving carefully down from the roof he had placed himself on in over watch of the trap. Hopefully they would get something useful out of the Mechwarrior who's day his command lance had just ruined!

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