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The Bull and the Genie
- Chapter 11 - Floating or Sinking on an Even Keel

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If I'd known what the Arugian fight was going to be like, I probably would have resigned and become a farmer. On the other hand, it did prepare me for trying to keep Takashi and Hanse from killing each other.

From the Periphery to Unity City, One Woman's Story..

City Fighting[]

Coromodir, Aurigan Reach

“Get ready to attack the objective.” Spear Lead said. The four BattleMechs advanced quickly through the woods. There was a transmitter station that was used to jam rebel broadcasts. Once they took out the jamming systems, it would be easier to get the truth about the coup out.

Once I would have been fighting to defend it, Linda thought. But she’d joined with Lady Arano to restore the rightful rulers to power. Behind them were the troops that would move in and recover any salvage.

“No 'mechs on scope,” Spear Two said.

“Understood, keep moving forward.” The transmitter station had only a light guard force, and they were mostly fleeing as the 'mechs and tracked APCs crested the hill.

Linda didn’t mind. She didn’t want to kill fellow Arugians. Now Taurians, that might be a different story.

“Get ready to—“


Linda looked up as a pair of meteor strike fighters shot over them. The sound of their cannons were loud in her ears, as they bracketed Jake’s Wasp with fire, tearing the armor off of the mech’s left arm. She turned and targeted them with her Hunchback’s lasers, but missed.

Hunchback (Firing & Walking by TMC Group)

Hunchback Medium 'Mech firing it's lasers

Where the hell did they come from? All the conventional air was staying at the cities!

“Spear Lead, recon reports several incoming VTOLs. They’re…” the man fell silent. “They’re moving to the Oderhaus Bridge.”

@!?#?#$ Mechs could move through water. Tracked APC’s generally couldn’t, at least not the deep waters of the Oderhaus River. VTOLs meant troops and she bet they were vibromining the bridge as they spoke. It wouldn’t be the first time the new Taurian commander played that trick.

And right on schedule, one of their civilian spotters with the radios they’d distributed reported that she’d seen Taurian BattleMechs and tanks leaving the local base. Not our BattleMechs. They might be traitors, but some of their enemies were reluctant to shed Arugian blood. Not the Bulls.

But now Linda had a problem. She couldn’t get tied up in a fight for the bridge with heavy 'mechs coming in behind her, and the strike fighters meant the plains were a no go, especially for her drop ship to land and extract them.

“Everyone on me. We’ll make for the Jumbles, and then leave from there.”

“But the station?”

Linda thought about wrecking it. But wrecking it would also destroy local broadcast stations and enrage the locals. They’d just have to leave the jamming equipment. “Another time.”

After Action Report[]

“We were able to destroy three APCs and damaged two BattleMechs, but no confirmed kills.” The lance leader looked mulish. “If we’d chased them into the canyons—“

“They could have turned it around on you.” Mary said. “They had two Hunchbacks and that’s not something even a Marauder wants to get into a point blank range fight with.”

Mobile HQ Tank (Dave School MW) 2

Mobile HQ

Two weeks and we are still shadow boxing. Mary stared at the holotable of their Mobile HQ, and didn’t that say wonderful things about the local security situation, that she was here instead of in a building. She’d managed to slightly @!@&?!@ their situation, using VTOL’s and the landing craft she’d pulled from the space force, but they were still restricted by the slower speed of their mechs and the need to protect everything.

Blocking forces deployed via VTOLs and mechs stationed at nodal points has stopped the bleeding, but we’re still nowhere close to winning this. Lady Arano also had some very tough, very skilled mercs working for her, who had torn right through a Directorate unit that had gotten too eager in chasing some “wounded” mechs and ran face first into the kind of ambush that would have been hard for Mary to pull off.

“It’s confirmed.” Thomas said. “At least one of the APC’s was new, and the manufacturer is Canopian.”

“No, it is confirmed that obviously that APC was stolen, or perhaps grew legs and wandered off from the perfectly innocent Canopian military base.” Mary said, shutting down the display with a vicious move.

That was the other thing she’d discovered, right after the Concordat had informed her that for the near future she was in charge, and they had full faith in her, and she should read the general’s classified orders.

I read them. Then she’d screamed. “Under no circumstances are you to risk killing Canopian civilians or military personnel unless they are directly engaged in combat. Furthermore, attacks on regions where Canopian military or civilian personnel are active are forbidden, regardless of any actions they may be taking regarding insurgent forces. Canopian drop and jumpships are to be respected. Contraband may be removed if they are stopped, however, if they are registered to recognized Canopian civil or governmental agencies (see appendix C), the ship itself may not be impounded.”

“How about I also put my eyes out and use a cane with my BattleMech.” Mary muttered.

“That again,” Thomas said. “nobody wants a war.”

“Then maybe they should mention that to Arano and Espinoza.” She gestured at the pinned map. “How can we win this, if they can keep resupplying! All they have to do is jump back to some Canopian world, or hell, a compound on an independent world and they might as well be on Terra! Screaming ‘not it’ is something you do in school, not here.” Because I can win this war, but it means risking a bigger war that nobody wants.

“Let’s go,” Mary finally said. “Santiago Espinosa needs to talk to us.”

“About what?”

“I don’t know, but he’s not happy that the Ambassador died and left me in charge.”

Mainly because I’m not letting any of the dear departed’s subordinates anywhere near this situation. The papers in the embassy had been classified, but now that Mary was in charge, she’d gone through, or had the legal officer go through, his personal financial papers, and it was an open question is there was anyone in the local region that the Ambassador didn’t have deals with. Enough to make it plain that he had divided loyalties, and just about every bit of information he’d sent back to the Concordat had been designed to make the Directorate look good. Like for example the fact that “Santiago Espinosa enjoys the complete support of the people, with only a few bandits seeking to rally the discontented.”

Which at this point are numerous enough that two sports complexes have been converted into detention centers. Mary had said something about that, but had been told that it was internal business and to butt out. Oh, he’d been more polite, mentioning that her youth left her inexperienced in such issues…

Problem is, I am inexperienced at this. Nobody ever worried about pirates running a successful insurgency, and this was the first time the Concordat had done something like this in decades. Well, nobody said this would be easy.

Meeting with Espinoza[]

By the time they got to Espinoza’s office, they’d been passed through no less than six security checkpoints. Before the coup, the Palace had included a museum and large parts were open to the public. Now you needed a permit to get within six blocks of it.

Inside, Espinoza and his daughter were waiting for Mary and Thomas and they didn’t look happy.

“I heard that another force escaped, Brigadier.”

Thomas tensed. Mary shook her head, quelling him.

“Escaped yes. Achieved its goals, no.” Mary nodded. “As you know, the enemy can choose where to strike.”

“And yet, we know where they obtain their supplies from.” Victoria stared at her. “We could smash them.”

“And possibly end up in a confrontation with outside nations if their nationals should… accidentally be harmed.” Another requirement of her orders. Officially, the Concordat and Magistracy were at peace, and no, they would never dream of interfering with each other.

I could be preparing to attack Tortuga, right now! The injustice rankled. Mary bet none of those officers were worrying about ‘what if the slaves decide they want to form an insurgency to keep us from liberating them!’

“They continue to spark discontent.”

Mary frowned. “Forgive me, but I think the actions of your government are doing that. If all the people in prison right now were active insurgents, this city would be burning down around our ears.”

“Not everyone fights, and we have discovered more than a few individuals relaying communications to the rebels.” Espinoza said.

Before or after someone broke their fingers?

“We’ll never be able to get them all.” Mary said. “I’m afraid that you’re… losing the allegiance of many people.”

“What is losing their allegiance is your inability to use the forces you have!” Victoria said.

“Victoria, please. Brigadier Cheng is new to her position. Perhaps however…” He tilted his head. “A closer liaison would be helpful.”

“Who would that be?” Mary asked.

“My daughter and her royal forces. They can both add numbers to your forces and bring a unique perspective to the situation. After all, it is our nation that we are fighting for, and the sooner this conflict is ended, the sooner the healing can begin.”

Crap. But the problem was, it made sense, and at least Mary knew that Victoria probably wasn’t working the opposition. And if she didn’t, people from the Concordat would be asking ‘why?’

“Very well,” Mary said, pasting a smile that probably only felt fake. “I look forward to working with Lady Espinoza.”

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