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Recovery Operation
Masterston, Glasgow Commonality
Capellan Confederation
27th September, 3102

The Federated Suns commanders had refused to authorize the recovery operation for Anna Devalis who had been shot out of her BattleMech and the members of her command were furious.  So furious that they were capable of anything including things that could jeopardize their contract with the Federated Suns force.  Anna Devalis was the leader of the command, to many she was secretly their only command link to Clan Nova Cat while to others she was simply a likable commander who stuck by her troopers.  To Lieutenant Tom Sanderson, a man who knew nothing of the unit’s Clan heritage, she had given his lance a home after money troubles had seen them on the brink of liquidation and he felt he owed her a lot.  He was thirty-six years old and had his unit been liquidated the debts he’d built up over the years would have cost him his BattleMech as well, he’d have been dispossessed and no-one wanted to hire a MechWarrior without a BattleMech.

Watching Lieutenant Eric Storm literally Storm past him angrily heading into their DropShip after the Federated Suns commander refused their rescue mission Sanderson knew what he had to do.  Heading over to a small arms locker he grabbed an assault rifle and body armor kit.  “Eric, what are you doing?” Sarah Hoffmann, another member of his lance, asked watching him.  She was young compared to him she had a future beyond this place with the Devils.

“I’m going for a walk” he said almost cheerfully adding ammunition to his belt.

“Without your Phoenix Hawk.  Isn’t that a little risky?”  She asked reaching out to touch his shoulder, he could hear the concern in her voice.

“They’d see a Mech walk out, but they won’t see me.”;; he said turning to face her.  Sarah Hoffmann should have been the face of a MechWarrior recruitment campaign she was beautiful with a heart-shaped face her blond hair was cut just below the ear and at the moment it was tied back.  “Now go back to your Mech.”

“Where are you going?”  She asked staying in his way he noticed behind her several of the armor crewmen had joined her each of them had small arms and armor already.

“You already know, I’m doing alone if anyone asks it doesn’t blow back on the unit.”

“Alone, how exactly will that work?”  Lieutenant Cameron Novacat, one of the unit’s Clan bondsmen asked he commanded the armor lance, he was a big lump of a man who no doubt had some Elemental blood in him that hadn’t served him well enough to be a power armored trooper.  Sanderson was pretty sure he could knock him down if it came to it but he really didn’t want to especially seeing the other three members of his crew behind him.

“I’ll figure it out.”  He said admitting he hadn’t figured that out yet.

“You need a plan,” Sarah Hoffmann said “a plan we can provide.”  She suggested Sanderson glanced between the faces who had surrounded him he saw Eric Storm standing at the top of their DropShip ramp.  The unit’s XO nodded towards him, he knew exactly what he had planned but hadn’t said a thing, he’d respected the choice he was making.

“What’s your plan?”

“There’s an armed medivac going out for in twenty minutes” she said “the Sunners are looking to recover some troops and have been looking for volunteers.”

“Storm volunteered our entire unit and was turned down!”  Sanderson said angrily not understanding how one mission could be authorized and how another could not.

“Yes, because we wanted to go after Anna Devalis.  The Federated Suns commander cannot afford another offensive, he simply wants to go after a pinned down infantry unit, it is his own troops he wants to recover.”  Cameron Novacat explained his face turning angrily as he spoke the words.

“And this is our commander!”  Sanderson snapped

“Who we don’t know is alive.”  Hoffmann said “We don’t know if Anna is alive.”  She said quietly reinforcing the fact “They know these troopers are alive and they need to be recovered if we are to be successful.”

“We will be.” he said glancing back up at Storm who had remained at the top of the DropShip ramp the two shared a nod of agreement.  “Let’s go, anyone who wants to join me is welcome but I’m going regardless.”


An hour later Tom Sanderson was in a strange position he was sat in the command chair of a Goblin X Infantry Support Tank which had been released to the unit for this mission and they were a dozen miles behind Capellan lines.  The Goblin X was a forty-five-ton tracked vehicle with an experimental engine, experimental guns and two turrets.  Sanderson knew very little about the vehicle but he knew how to command and that was all that was needed for this mission.  Below him in the hull Cameron Novacat sat at the driver’s seat in a reclined position he drove the vehicle using monitors and sensors.  Alongside him sat Sarah Hoffmann, like Tom she knew little about a vehicle but today she only needed to know how to fight as she controlled the vehicle’s rear turret while at the front one of Cameron’s tank crewmen controlled the front turret.

“Break, Break, Break, Adder One from Devil One, how do you read?”  Sanderson said into the radio system as the tank crept forward in the darkness.  The infantry platoon was pinned down in the ruins of a burnt-out warehouse where half of the building had collapsed under the fire from the Capellan forces.  Fortunately, due to the Federated Suns still having forces on the world Mechs had not been deployed to wipe out this platoon yet.

“Devil One, Adder One, we’re alive and giving these bastard’s hell, confirm authentication Nutmeg” the infantry trooper called out.

“Dry skin.” Sanderson said using the code phrase he’d been instructed to use when he reached the troopers, he had no idea who came up with these things but it seemed to work.

“Confirmed, come into us from the right part of the building is down there I’ll collapse my defenses there and you can back out of dodge?”  The infantry commander asked.

“Agreed” Sanderson replied “Cameron, can you get us in there?”

Aff, Lieutenant.” the Nova Cat born man responded Sanderson had struggled with some of the former clansmen initially when he’d joined the unit which had fought Clan Nova Cat so often but he had to admit he liked how they operated.

“Mike, Sarah we’ll need cover fire for the troopers I don’t want to fight for too long.”

“Understood” they both responded.  The Goblin X surged forwards moving around the ruined building Sanderson felt strange housed deep inside the vehicle and the constant movement instead of feeling his BattleMech’s familiar movement but he knew what they needed to do.  His thoughts were shattered as he heard the rapid “ting-ting-ting!” sound as the vehicle came under fire from enemy forces.

“Contact left!”  Mike shouted out a warning the front turret turned to the right and the two Magshot Gauss Rifles housed there opened up on the enemy troops engaging the enemy troops who were hidden in the undergrowth.

“Engaging.” Sarah Hoffmann responded the Goblin X was filled with noise as the rear turret turned and opened fire with a flight of nine short range missiles flew from the Multi-Missile-Launcher housed there.  The missiles crossed the short distance rapidly and exploded in and around the trees blowing troopers to pieces and showering others in explosions.

Behind Sanderson he heard the rear door of the Goblin X lower and troopers begin to stream in.  There was a surge inside the Goblin X as the particle cannon overcharged and within moments it launched across the space between the vehicle and the Capellan troops.  “They don’t like that!”  Sarah shouted adding another salvo of short-range missiles to the fire.

Neg, nor these!”  Mike laughed opening fire with his Magshot gauss rifles to the attack cutting into troopers. More return fire slammed into the Goblin X with a huge bang going off against the right-hand side of the vehicle.  The damage on Sanderson’s screen suggested it was a short-range missile glancing off the vehicle’s hull and exploding.

“Get on board!”  Sanderson shouted back into the bay.

“Adder One to Devil One, I’ve got three injured men being taken in we’re holding the line at the moment!”  The infantry commander responded a moment later.

“Understood, shift your arses!”  He said Sanderson hoped they were not badly injured as the troopers had a detour to go through before going home.  There was another explosion nearby the Goblin X which caused no damage to the vehicle but worried them a little more.

“We’re aboard get us the **** out of here now!”  The infantry commander screamed a few moments later from the infantry bay as Sanderson heard the rear door begin to close.

“Cameron, get us out of here and toward our coordinates half this mission is done now our part!  Sarah, Mike keeps up suppression fire!”  He ordered getting up from his chair and squeezing down through the vehicle and in between his two gunners into the rear compartment.

In the rear area of the Goblin X there was a large cargo bay with nearly two dozen troopers cramped in on the ground there were three troopers receiving first aid. In the middle overseeing everything was a grizzled old AFFS Major who had commanded his troops through the fighting.  Balancing as the vehicle moved at high-speed Sanderson approached “Major, your people alright?” He asked the older man turned towards him he was at least ten-maybe-fifteen years older than Tom Sanderson and his full beard was turning greyer and the dark it naturally had.  An old scar added a strange twist to his left eyebrow.

“We’re fine?”'  He asked seeing no insignia on his chest “Thank you for pulling us out of there, son” he said still obviously searching Tom Sanderson for a rank or an insignia.

“Happy to help!”  Sanderson shouted over the rumble as more fire impacted the Goblin X.  “I’ve got some good and bad news for you, Major, you’re not going straight home.” he warned the man seeing immediate anger rising from his and a few of his troopers but he wanted to be honest with them.  Sanderson raised his hands trying to calm the anger that was rising “We’re recovering a downed MechWarrior, my commander from the field.  We don’t know her condition.  My crew can recover her but you’ll be a little delayed.”

“We’re in this together, son, we’ll do our part.  These men and women have bled for each other we’ll bleed for those who pulled us out of the fire.”  He said reaching out with his hand “Major Conner Hall.”

“Lieutenant Tom Sanderson of the Devalis’ Devils.” he said hearing Sarah call his name from the front cabin “Glad to have you aboard Major, we’re coming up on drop two, I’ll pass the word.”  Sanderson said as he headed towards to front of the Goblin X.

“Understood!”  The major called as the vehicle continued to move and be hit by weapons fire.  In the front cabin Sanderson saw that both Sarah and Mike were engaged with the enemy as the vehicle moved.

“Status?”  He asked crawling into his chair.

“Particle cannon’s bust the capacitor blew taking it out too, waste of space tech!”  Sarah said angrily “I’m burning through missiles fast.”  She said launching a group of missiles at an unseen enemy.

“Magshots half capacity, we are in the thick of it.”  Mike replied from the front not looking away from his screens as he targeted a closing Capellan vehicle.  The Magshots had superior range to machine guns but they were little better than machine guns against armored units.

“We are also almost at our target too.”  Cameron replied “I will park us facing the enemy to cover our recovery operation.”

“Major Hall has agreed to help us in the recovery.  We just need to cover his people and they’ll do the job.”  Sanderson confirmed seeing the relief on the faces of his three companions none of them had relished the idea of trying to defend themselves against the advancing Capellans and trying to recover Anna Devalis.  Cameron brought the vehicle into a turn facing their pursuers even as a laser blast burned across the left-hand side of the vehicle.  Sanderson could see the armor was weakened by the attack but importantly it held.  Before the vehicle had even stopped the rear doors was opening and infantry troopers were pouring out.

“I lost a weapon!”  Mike shouted from the front meaning he was down to one Magshot.

“Short range ammo down to 25%, Long range ammo still 60%, but these guys are closing.” Sarah reported.

“Keep firing, we may as well use it all!  Even if your LRMS are at point blank fire them we’ll go down swinging!”  He said defiantly as a particle cannon blast washed over the front of the Goblin X burning armor off the front of the vehicle.  “That was a Mech!”

“We need to go!”  Tom said hearing infantry men and women pile into the rear of the craft on a stretcher laid the still form of Anna Devalis who joined several other troopers on the deck.  Tom caught the eye of Major Hall who gave him a thumbs up and slammed the retract button for the cargo bay ramp.  “Go! Go! Go!”  Tom shouted hearing the door begin to close Cameron didn’t waste anymore time and accelerated the Goblin X turning tightly away from the enemy forces.  “Sarah concentrate on the Mech if you still see it.”

“Still see it?  It’s an Anubis and it’s barely beyond our short!”  Sarah said continuing to fire long range and short-range missiles at her target.  The Anubis was a thirty-ton Mech anything bigger and they would have already been dead.  Missiles exploded either side of the Goblin X as the Anubis pursued them but fortunately most of them missed.  Cameron wasn’t being fancy with his driving other than to avoid obstacles he kept the Goblin X’s speed up heading for friendly lines slowly but surely the Anubis was losing ground on them despite being capable of far faster speeds than the tank.

To start with Tom was confused he’d expected the Mech to run up beside them and deliver a sharp kick that would cripple the tanks tracks then Tom realized why as a pair of particle blasts followed by several autocannon salvos reached out from the Davion lines and peppered the Anubis shattering the light Mech before it could get too close.

The battered Goblin X drove straight into the Davion encampment and then up onto the unit’s DropShip ramp entering the Union-class DropShip’s cargo bay.  Within five minutes the DropShip was taking off heading into space.


DropShip

The Will, Union-Class DropShip.

The Will, Union-class DropShip
Jump Point, Masterston
Glasgow Commonality, Capellan Confederation
4th October, 3102


While the Devalis’ Devils loss had not been the last straw for the AFFS assault on Masterston the arrival of the Red Lancers Regiment had been. Nor had the escape through the atmosphere been easy as aerospace fighters assaulted the AFFS and mercenary DropShips retreating from the planet but they’d made it in one battered shape or another.

Laying on a medical bed barely conscious even after a week according to the medics she’s suffered a severe concussion and had lost a lot of blood leading to severe weakness.  Without the full medical facilities of a planetside hospital the unit needed to make do with what they had.  In her weakened state Anna Rosse was still in command as she listened to Eric Storm and Tom Sanderson give their reports four dead MechWarriors from the unit and their Mechs lost.  Anna’s own Marauder had also been lost on the battlefield.  They were carrying an AFFS APC and a platoon of AFFS infantry who would need to be offloaded when they reached the Federated Suns.  “We are not sure how to proceed next?”  Storm asked looking for guidance.

“Spica,” Anna croaked “it’s time we called in what we are owed.  You understand Eric, Quiaff?”  She whispered before falling unconscious.  The last word was the kicker anything else Eric could have possibly explained but that word could only have come from one place.

Eric Storm stood there for a moment looking at his CO then saw Tom Sanderson’s face of surprise “Spica’s a Clan world?”  Sanderson said “and this unit we’ve all heard the stories she shares a name with the Clanners or she ran away from them to become a merc but “Quiaff?”  What the hell, Eric?”  He asked angrily looking at Anna Tom and his people had only been with the unit for a short period of time but even in that time he had begun to feel at home and feel like he wanted to know the mysterious Anna Devalis better.  Now he did know her better and wondered what he’d let himself in for.

“She’s the CO Tom the woman that you swore loyalty when your Rebels joined us and the woman you risked your life to save just one week ago.”  He said responding to Tom.  “She knows what she’s doing and if we are going to Spica, she will explain to us before we get there, that I am sure of.”  He said trying to sell that while he didn’t understand where Anna was going with this, he was willing to trust her plan.

“I hope to hell you’re both right because the Clanners don’t normally react well to mercs, especially ones that just happen into their systems.”  Tom said obviously worried about this new development Spica was held by the Sea Fox Clan who were known to be traders but still they were unlikely to treat a mercenary unit any differently.


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