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The Other War (Cover)

Chapter 12 - The Other War[]

04/26/3060 - Circe IV, In Orbit

The CFMDS Mastodon's engines flared ultraviolet on the far side of Circe IV. Its reinforced nose cone was grappled onto the habitat about ten times as massive and more than forty the volume. Beyond them the blue green ice giant looming large over the Mongoose Naval Cache and its tiny scrappers that thought themselves big.

Star Commander Nina Tanaga was suited up and strapped in along with the crew withstanding 4 gees of thrust and the rapid warming of the spheroid vessel. After a ten minute computer controlled burn the dropship/station construct was drifting towards a decaying orbit. Nose mounted RCS rockets activated creating separation between the two constructs.

Structural members in the station were deformed and shattered after the rough push. Most orbital constructs were amazingly fragile and a 15 kiloton dropship pushing at 4 gees was enough to crush them. They could have reduced the burn rate if they wanted to push it into a better orbit but since it was a one way trip that wasn't a concern.

The nose view-screen still showed nothing but crushed metal. "Kline, Regnar sitrep." Regnar had seen this as a useful training exercise for pushing their target warships toward a pirate point that regularly appeared in the orbit of Circe IV. They would be using those old jump drives there to return them to Newgrange for most of the repairs. "Good separation Tanaga. Caretaker Station's orbit is slowly decaying. When you turn, the thrust plume should speed up the process." "Aff. Waiting for distance before flipping."

Slowly the station drifted away to its doom, Nina noticed a broad range flash transmission from the Snow Raven's Circe Orbital Control. A text message appeared on the emergency monitor. "Attention! Circe IV Caretaker Station suffered critical reactor breach. All hands lost. Remote de-orbit engaged. Do not approach. Await further instruction."

"Derek, are you receiving this?"
"Aff, but I do not understand it."
Kline joined the channel, "I say we not argue with it. The Scientist's allies must have triggered the de-orbit and might not be able to tell it was us."

"Particularly since we did it on the dark side. I wonder if they know we took out their comm sats?"

"They thought their message went through. If they look now they will see the station's orbit decaying. Maybe we got lucky." "We did say it was going to take a lot of luck for this to happen Joseph thus far its held. Return to the Mastodon and secure yourselves for a turn and burn."

The small crafted returned and secured themselves to the deck before the Mastodon turned and burned away at 1 gee. Portions of the station broke away as hyper-accelerated hydrogen impacted it at fractions of light speed. Now that normal thrust had returned the crew relaxed and began moving around the vessel conducting their assigned duties for the two hours of normal gravity they would enjoy each 12 hour cycle for the foreseeable future.

In one of the former vehicle bays Claude and Faye stood within a nine meter circle spray painted on the deck. Surrounding them were boxes of supplies strapped down to the deck with webbing. The atmosphere was steamy as both were watched by a few Harvesters enjoying the spectacle of competent Warriors fighting. Their fellow Tanites were brutally suppressed by the Cloud Cobras and allowed no weapons but still had some. They had no formal Warrior training beyond brawling otherwise they would have pushed Faye's unit out sooner. Claude had trained them in basic gun drills since Rhea, the Caretaker station fight was their first real one. They were happy to stay junkers rather than Marines despite bragging rights.

Faye was clad in shorts and bandeau beneath the padded vest that showed midriff but protected ribs while enabling her full range of motion. She was the only one that could take Claude in one on one and their matches improved his sometimes dour mood. Not as much as the shared shower after, but that was just Marines and a bonus for her trouble.

With the padded helmet and vest on she readied a synthetic staff roughly shoulder height in her hands. These or smaller clubs were the preferred weapons of the Clan Patrol caste and fighting with them or using Savate were popular sports for Marines. Claude faced her donning his own helmet but wore no pads over his pale muscled torso. No one had felt sun on skin in months and there was no tanning booth aboard.

She put the staff out, "Es tu pret?" He matched the measure his longer arms but shorter club gave them equal reach but freed his off hand while she had to use both of hers. Male Elemental versus Female Mechwarrior was almost the worst pairing but they managed to even it up. "Ou, commence."

Faye opened with a series of rapid thrusts that put him on the backfoot as he tried to enter she withdrew before firing out again. He tried to grab the staff but she entered instead putting it under his arm and throwing him to the side before coming down with a strong vertical strike. He rolled out and the staff rapped off the deck and back into her hands. The second time he caught it flinging her to the side but she completed an aerial cartwheel while hanging onto the staff and upon landing tried a sweep to his legs.

They went back to circling each other at measure, "That was new." "I have many tricks."

Both worked out their strategies Claude tried to close and use his off hand to grapple and weapon to parry as he was unable to close without getting hit in the hands. Faye kept distance using her smaller size, agility, and longer weapon to evade his grasp and strike low while guarding high. The Harvesters watched with keen interest as she used the staff to initiate a clinch and compromised the taller and heavier Elemental's fighting stance by holding his head down with both arms before striking at his body with her knees. "Where'd she learn how to fight like that?" "Don't tell the others but I heard the Jaguars talking about her being held at a Pillarine Convent in the Occupation Zone for a few years. Sounds like some kind of Cobra Cloister with nothing but women like her inside." "We've got to get to this Inner Sphere."

Their match ended with Claude victorious via a club assisted shoulder lock and tap out by her. She rolled the offended shoulder that was sore now but would be relaxed after a hot shower and tender attentions. "That was new." "I learned it from Evan. You are not the only one with tricks, Faye."

They entered the shower bay together, "Scoundrel. You have been holding out on me. Here I thought you were just a brute."

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