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New Dawn in the Sun's - Chapter 8[]

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Heliogland Raid[]


Outside of City of Helio
Heligoland, Capellan Confederation
December 9th, 3015


Harry Brockton tried to find the bright side of the raid he was on. He should have been in command, unfortunately his actions had precluded that. The MechWarriors who made up his command would have mutinied if he had retained command after mouthing off like he had to the first prince. They were all from the lower nobility of the outback, and to them the first prince was a check on their local planetary dukes. Harry had inadvertently stumbled into a political mine field; his social rank made his gaffe worse. With one action he had gone from a respected retired heavy guard's captain, one who had generously volunteered to take the most problematic of the experimental refits, to a typical example of the upper nobility.

Swordsman SWD-2T (in combat on wasteland battlefield)

Swordsman Medium 'Mech in combat.

In theory Harry could have retained command, but he wasn't a fool. The pilots would have second guessed his every move, making actually commanding into an exercise in futility which had a high probability of getting them all killed. Especially given that they had a depth of experience that matched or surpassed his own. With that in mind he had dumped command onto the Davion liaison, letting Major Janet Olsen command. As a retired member of the Armored Cavalry, she was honestly the better choice, having spent her time in service working with primarily medium weight 'mechs, and she had rank on Harry. It was a sidestep of the issues he had created, but workable for the moment.

With Janet's experience with this type of operation was vast and it showed in her planning. Her well weathered face, greying hair, and solidity had been a comfort as they jumped their way towards their target, she had made herself into a familiar face on the Lion class DropShip, Deliverance. She was getting to know everyone, even going so far as to spend time with the techs. That had allowed her to build a level of trust with everyone involved, something that Harry had tried to do before. Additionally, she had a deep knowledge of their operations area, Harry wouldn't have thought about using the limited water supply of Helio to his advantage but she had. There was a single reservoir which served the entire city, and Janet had seen the opportunity to draw out the Kingston Legionnaires by attacking one of the pumping stations which served the main citizens residential areas. Given the screen of light 'mechs they were pushing against, it seemed to be working.

Janet's personality had allowed her to set the lances without anyone getting bent out of shape, even if they weren't anywhere near what Harry himself would have done. She had kept the two mechs with the heavier RACs together, grouping them with her CRD-3D Crusader and the experimental MML armed Whitworth, due to their lack of long-range firepower. The remaining two Swordsmen had been grouped with the Shadow Hawks to form the second lance. That had been a decision made back on New Avalon, when they had decided which machines to bring with them. The 2DX1 Shad had been left behind along with the X1 Swordsman, the Shad because of the simple nature of its modifications showed a clear upgrade path for the SHD-2H Shadow Hawks in service and the X1 because the Swordsman wasn't popular enough to justify such a simple upgrade. Besides the coveted 2D2 Shad designation would go to one of the more comprehensive upgrades, while the original 2D configuration would probably be retired in favor of the SHD-2DX1 as it had more short-range firepower while retaining the armor of a 2H, solving the long running issue of the original 2D.

Clint (by tplambert)

Clint Medium BattleMech

"Looks like the Legionnaires are committing, 2-2 on me, we have the Clint then move on to the Stingers. 2-3 and 2-4, looks like the locust is going to try for a fast pass, make sure that doesn't happen. Raid one, you know what to do…" Janet's orders broke Harry's train of thought and he concentrated on the charging Liao mechs. The Clint was hanging back, clearly intending to provide covering fire, while the Stingers were charging in behind the Locust. If he didn't miss his guess they intended to dance in middle range as a distraction while the Locust got all the sensor data it could. Janet held back, letting the Liao mechs close, until they were all firmly into the middle range band of an LRM system. She let the Clint get in the first shot, its autocannon chip away at the thick armor of her Crusader's chest in order to have a better firing solution.

Harry could respect that, but he didn't have time to really follow what anyone else was doing. Switching his own temperamental autocannon into four shot mode he tracked the Locust and then opened fire as soon as it entered medium laser range. Only three shots rang out, before a warning buzzed in his cockpit as the RAC jammed. Raid 2-3 in his Swordsman despite having the same weapon lacked his issues. The over the shoulder configuration gave the large weapon a more stable rest and so was less prone to jamming. He fired off six shots, although only four hit, but combined with the one Harry managed to land it was enough to finish off the charging light Battlemech.

Stinger Mech (Firing in city combat - Farseer Animation Version)

Stinger Light BattleMech firing its Medium Laser.

Cursing as he hit the button which would spin the autocannon and clear its jam Harry swung around to target the Stinger on the left. He noted that the Clint was already in retreat. Its light armor was compromised due to the number of LRMs which had rained down on it. The Liao officer, smartly in his opinion, chose to retreat before the two mechs targeting him could start breaking the expensive and hard to replace internals of his 'mech. That left the Stingers on their own, facing four mechs which carried enough firepower individually to out fight the pair.

Say what you would about the Liaos, and Harry could say a lot about the slaving bastards, their citizen warriors didn't lack for courage. The two Stingers didn't pause for an instant before charging in, they knew they were doomed but clearly intended to do at least a little damage before they went down. Unfortunately for them they were severely out matched. 2-3 kept his autocannon going at full bore, landing shots from the left shoulder of his intended target all the way across its chest to the other shoulder, causing the smaller mechs gyro to over compensate and the Liao mech jock to lose control. The other Stinger was slightly better off, as the LRM salvos which hit it were less concentrated, with the majority of the missiles being decoyed off by its basic ECM. It charged out of the smoke and thrown up dirt just as Harry's autocannon finished unjamming.

Ignoring the downed Stinger, even as it got back to its feet, Harry setting his crosshairs on the smaller 'mechs torso and fired his second shot of the engagement. This time his Autocannon worked, although only two of the shots impacted. Harry's aim had been off, although he shouldn't complain too much. The shells tore into the right shoulder of the smaller machine, tearing off its main weapon, even as the other two shots drifted wide. 2-2's LRMs came in at the same time, one flight haring off after the sun while the other impacted on the Stingers left hip, causing it to lock up and the smaller mech to plow into the soft earth of the field they were fighting in. Harry was tempted to finish off the smaller machine, but restrained himself.

"2-2, you have the honor." Harry put out over the radio while turning his own 'mech towards the brewing battle to his left. While his own lance had been annihilating the light mechs sent after them the Legionnaires mediums had started a long-range sparing match with Raid one. That would be a problem, as the Liao mechs were set up for that sort of long-range sparing match. A pair of Vindicators backing up a Marik Wolverine, with a lone Panther hanging out in the backfield, made for a formidable lance. They had a lot of long-range firepower, and were using it well. LRMs, PPC bolts, and Autocannon shells were crisscrossing the field between the two lances, and the Liao's were already getting the better of the exchange.

Raid one was concentrating fire on one of the Vindicators, clearly hoping to take it out of the fight quickly, while the Legionnaires were spreading their fire between the two Shads. Harry brought his 'mech up to a run, intending to make the Kurita built Panther concentrate on him rather then giving its lancemates fire support. Before he could get close enough to do so a second medium lance entered the fray, forcing him to pull up short and redirect his mech. They weren't in weapons range yet, but if Harry had kept on his original target, he would have been so far ahead of his lance mates as to present a prime target for focused fire. Given the relatively light armor scheme of the Icarus II he was currently riding? That would have been a disaster.

Once again Harry wished he was still riding his Thunderbolt, rather then the 'mech he was in. If he had been then he would have felt comfortable in keeping his course and tanking any shots he took, confident that his armor would hold long enough for the rest of his lance to get involved. As it stood, he started to pull back, bringing his BattleMech into line with the rest of his lance as they turned to face the emerging threat.

"Keep the range open, we don't want to get into a slugging match with a Hunchback, concentrate fire on the Enforcer." Janet swiftly ordered. Harry had to respect her reaction, it was decisive and showed her experience, but he questioned if the orders she had given were the correct ones. He personally would have thought that the Quickdraw was the larger threat then the Enforcer, it was the heavier machine after all. Then again, aside from its ten pack of LRMs it was designed to fight at short range, and it had the speed to dictate the range. "Once they close 2-3 and 2-4 on the draw, take him down quick, 2-2 the Shad."

Hunchback (MechCommander)

Hunchback Medium 'Mech

Harry reached down and adjusted his autocannons settings, going for single shots rather then burst fire. Having jammed up his cannon once in this engagement he wanted to be sure it would work, better to sacrifice firepower at range for the chance to let rip once the Quickdraw closed in rather then being forced to clear a jam due to being over eager at range. Drifting his targeting reticule over to the broad chest of the Enforcer he waited for it to come into range.

Long range missiles flashed out, trailing smoke across the field between the two advancing lances of titanic war machines, with Harry's own lance producing the majority of the shots. The Liao mechs weren't configured for this kind of long-range slugging match and it showed, as they only returned about a quarter of the missiles. To Harry's experienced eye it looked like the Liao's were having maintenance issues with the Enforcer, its native ECM wasn't nearly as effective as it should have been perhaps it had been replaced with parts meant for a militia mech, meaning most of the LRMs impacted on the tough mech. No matter what Harry thought of the Liao's maintenance issues the pilot was good, despite losing more than a ton of armor he kept his feet and closed the range, gamely trying to get into range of his own weapons.

Quickdraw (by Juodas Varnas)

Quickdraw Heavy BattleMech

The Liao mechs return fire was much less effective, but they concentrated well. Clearly, they had decided that Janet's 'mech was the largest threat, and they further chipped away at her armor as they closed the range. The two faster mechs broke from their slower companions, in a bid to disrupt what Harry and the rest of the lance had planned, but he thought he would get at least one shot at the Enforcer before he had to shift targets. That supposition turned out to be wrong, and he had to throw his aim around as the Quickdraw was faster than he had thought. The Legionnaires might be green, but they knew their business well enough to see a losing proposition and react to it. The Quickdraw driver had over ridden his computer and put it into sprint mode, forcing Harry to shift his target and react before he was really ready.

Due to his target fixation Harry didn't think to change his autocannon settings, meaning he only got off a single shot at the charging heavy mech. 2-3, who had much more confidence in his cannon, got off four shots, drawing the attention of the Quickdraw to his own machine. While the rest of the Liao mechs which had the range kept on Janet's Crusader, the Quickdraw altered course to swing into the smaller Swordsman. Cursing himself as an idiot, Harry switched his cannon into four shot burst mode, even as he moved laterally to get the advancing heavy into a crossfire with 2-3. Keeping an eye on the Shadow Hawk, which was still slightly behind, he let rip with his cannon. The Quickdraw driver seemed to come up short in surprise for an instant, before continuing on his course towards the Swordsman. 2-3 continued to make himself into the larger threat, having gone full bore with his own cannon, trusting the better mounting to keep him jam free.

Crusader (Unseen version by SU-SMD)

Crusader Heavy 'Mech

As he repositioned a flight of fire missiles roared over his head, causing Harry to instinctively duck just in time to move his torso into a blast of autocannon fire from the Shadow Hawk. Seeing that the Shad was about to eat a flight of missiles from 2-2s Whitworth Harry kept his eye on the prize, sending out another salvo at the rapidly closing heavy mech he had in his sites. Half of his shots went wide, his sudden movement having thrown off his aim, and Harry quickly readjusted, he almost changed his cannons settings but the closing range changed his mind. He would have to deal with a bit of heat, but at this range it was time for him to bring his lasers into play.

They were on the edge of their range, but better to bring them into play now that the Quickdraws own arsenal was in range. He wasn't the only one to think that way, as 2-3 opened up with everything he had. Explosions wracked the Quickdraw, but from what Harry's sensors were telling him they hadn't gotten through its armor. With a frown he switched his cannon to its maximum, preparing to cover for the now sluggishly moving 2-3. The Quickdraw driver could tell that the Swordsman was carrying a bit more heat then was advisable, and moved to take advantage of that. Unfortunately for him that put him squarely in Harry's sites, at just outside of optimal range.

The Swordsman took to the air, 2-3 was using his jets to compensate for his stress mymomers, and putting a trio of auto cannon shots into the advancing heavy. Despite his best efforts his mech was wreathed with explosions as he caught most of the heavy mechs return fire, Harry couldn't help but wince at that. The Swordsman was just as lightly armored as his own Icarus, and it couldn't take more then another salvo like that before he was in trouble. Fortunately, he didn't have to, Harry's own alpha strike went in almost perfectly, concentrated on the right side of the heavy his shots broke past the armor and struck deep, evidently catching at least a part of the SRM ammo stored there. The heavy machine came apart, o rings flying everywhere, even as Harry swung himself around to take a look at the rest of the fight. Between the high heat load he was carrying, making his mechs responses sluggish, and the fact his autocannon had jammed yet again he had very little to contribute.

Janet had clearly gotten the better of the Enforcer, it was withdrawing missing an arm. The Hunchback was trying to cover it, but its lack of long-range weapons was telling, not that it really needed to be more than a shield. Janet had shifted her target to the Shadow Hawk, combining her fire with 2-2's in order to give that mech a very bad day. Harry started moving towards the retreating mechs, but his autocannon failed to clear its jam, and so he slowed his mech in the hopes that a smoother ride would allow him to clear the jam without further issues. 2-3, despite the armor damage he had taken, wasn't having the trouble Harry was. He had shed most of his heat and joined the others of the lance in pounding on the Shad. Faced with three to one odds, an unbelievable number of SRMs cratering his armor, and now the heavy autocannon fire that the Swordman could generate, the Liao MechWarrior in the Shadow Hawk choose the better part of valor and punched out.

2-2 and 2-3 ignored the ejection seat, but concentrated their laser fire on the downed machine, punching through the depleted armor and eviscerating the hulk as they hit the SRM ammo.

Enforcer (MWO Version)

Enforcer Medium 'Mech

"2-2, 2-3, enough." Janet sounded annoyed at their actions, which Harry could understand. She was used to dealing with regulars on both sides of her engagements. The pilots Harry had brought with him came straight out of the CrMM which served the outback, there opponents tended to be pirates, and so making sure that a Mech wasn't usable if you weren't sure, you would control the field after an engagement was standard practice. Better to destroy an irreplaceable machine then to have the pirates recover it and use it against you later, at least that was their thinking.

"We're facing regulars here, not the usual scum of the Sphere." Harry broke in before Janet could start berating the mech jocks for their unchivalrous conduct. "They might be slave taking bastards just like the scum you usually fight, but they are regulars and need to be treated as such."

"Roger."

"Shift fire," Janet quickly took back control. "Raid ones in trouble, lets bail them out."

She wasn't kidding. Harry, when he actually took a look at raid one, was surprised to see just how battered they were. Both of the Shadow Hawks were falling back, missing arms and with armor that was more a suggestion then a fact. The Swordsmen were covering them, but they were getting battered by the Vindicators and the Panther. It looked like the only part of that battle that had gone the Davion's way was the downed form of the Wolverine. Harry couldn't tell if it was truly knocked out or if it was playing dead, his assumption was that it had gotten close enough to for the obscene number of SRMs the MMLs of raid one made possible to come into play.

It seemed that the Liao officer controlling the lance which had been battering raid one hadn't been in the Wolverine, as they started to pull back as soon as raid two began their own advance. Janet kept their speed down, letting the Liao mechs go, wary of any additional mechs that the Legionnaires could bring into play. The Legionnaires had two Liao style battalions on world according to DMI, so they had the numbers to smother this raid should they choose too. Once she was certain that the Liao mechs really were in retreat Janet began pulling back as well, using her less damaged lance to cover the withdrawal of raid one. Undoubtedly the Legionnaires would consider this a victory, having driven off a Davion raid, but Harry, and evidently Janet as well, was satisfied that they had proven his point. The two-lance raid force had destroyed the better part of a company of enemy machines for no permanent losses of their own. In his mind that meant his point had been proven. Before Harry could wander further down that mental blind ally his com system chimed with a laser link request. Slightly surprised he accepted it.

"What the hell was that?" Janet sounded heartily annoyed. "I thought you brought professionals, and hitting a downed mech? That is not professional."

"They are professionals, the best pilots we could get our hands on." Harry defended. "The problem is we're all from the outback, and things are different out there."

"I looked at your service record, kid." Janet wasn't giving an inch on this he could tell. "You never did anything that boneheaded in a fight. Off duty? Sure."

"I had the opportunity to go to Goshen, and then went directly to the Heavy Guards right out of school." Harry thought about how to phrase his argument. "Most of the mech jocks I brought with me, they're family trained. The two who went to an academy? Point Barrow. Then they served with the local march militia.
"

"I started my career with the March Militia, and was family trained before I won a spot at Sac. Don't bullshit me."

"Not in the outback," Harry quickly sought to clarify. "Out there what they did is standard procedure. You can't afford to let the enemy recover a 'mech, because inside of a couple of months its going to be back doing all the standard pirate things. Given the support we get out of New Avalon… it's a compromise. You know just as well as I do just how far the March Militias are stretched in that direction."

"Christ…" Janet paused, thinking if Harry had to make a guess. "It's that bad?"

"Forty percent of the 'Mechs are Militia grade, even with my family and the other nobles of the region chipping in where they can." Harry drew on every political bone on his body as he continued, hoping to sell what he was saying and not fuck up further then he already had. "We understand. Between the Capellans on one border, and their love for slave taking, and the Dracs on the other with their predilection for war crimes, someone has to get the short end of the stick. So, training and customs have developed a little differently to compensate."

"That's part of why you are so hung up on Corean, isn't it…" Janet's voice lacked an accusatory tone. "Why you're pressing so hard to get the Swordsman accepted into service."

"Yeah, the Swordsmens cheap, barely more expensive than a bug mech, and relatively easy to produce. Couple that with its utility?"

"Save the sales pitch, you already sold me on them." Janet laughed lightly. "I wouldn't have thought it when I took this assignment but, you were right."



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