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The Other War (Cover)

Chapter 18 - The Other War[]

07/20/3060 Location – Eden, Pentagon Worlds

Star Colonel Zigfried Ravenwater stood just outside his blocky gray green camouflaged Rhino II Suit leaning against it as the Anhur transport moved beneath him. He walked over toward the open rear door to look out at the other three turbofan VTOLs in formation over the broken and waterlogged terrain of the Minotaur's Shatters. Four of the wasp like Donar Attack Helicopters operated in pairs just forward of the formation.

Below them five mud-covered Corvis Battlemechs lumbered through the swamp using their jump jets to cross large stretches of water but still having to mostly slog their way through. The machines were not as graceful as their larger relative the Stormcrow but they were functional and for a mech poor Clan like the Hell's Horses that was enough. These ones had been altered slightly to support the Counter-Insurgency effort by installing a six pack short range missile system in place of the pulse lasers under its left arm.

Hey keyed in to the Battlenet using his headset radio and signaled to the other Rhino operators that it was time to suit up, “Star Captain Kenneth, we are almost at the target position. The Shamblers may have armed their stolen Pouncers so I want you on full alert.”

“Roger that Star Colonel. Eyes peeled, weapons locked and loaded.”

The VTOLs broke off toward their objective and the Rhino technician already had the machine open. Every Elemental could suit themselves up but it went faster with help. Zig stepped in turning and locked his feet into the machine and hands into the waldos that would guide the small pulse lasers and heavy battle claw.

He used the chin keys to activate the startup sequence as the Tech dropped the rear armor plating that protected the power plant, extra missile cylinder, and an armored compartment carrying a stripped down Mauser IIC to serve as an emergency weapon. All the ambient noise dropped away until he activated the external audio.

The tech slapped the rear plating, “All systems green, Star Colonel.” He heard the advanced short range missiles load into their tubes and the holding clamps release, “Weapons ready.”

The Anhur pilot came in over their local Battlenet, “Rhino Point One, we are approaching the combat area. Attack choppers are stirring it up right now. We are not going to stop! So watch your step.”

Star Colonel Ravenwater walked his suit toward the rear ramp where the flak jacketed and tethered technician was looking out with his assault rifle. The sounds of battle were rapidly approaching and the ground was growing closer. He held up five fingers and when they counted down the Rhinos jumped out splintering branches and using their jets to cushion the landing.

Zigfried could hear the Anhur's jets power up and fade away as the lightly armored transport cleared the combat zone. The sounds of bullets clanking off his armor keyed him into the enemy's location. Twenty Rhino suits were dispersed on the approach and most took cover behind the trees like the unarmored Patrolmen they were until Zigfried had trained them.

The 40th was lacking more modern Power Armor suits due to a Clan-wide shortage of Harjel that had seen many Trials of Grievance against the Diamond Sharks that controlled the distribution of this valuable substance. His Technicians had spent the past two years tinkering with them and had used many techniques that were perfected in the modern Gnome to repair and enhance the old suits.

Gnome Battle Armor (Geergutz)

Gnome Heavy Battle Armor

Rhino Point One stood firm in the face of the machine gun assault. Zig advanced toward the enemy machine gun post and fired his pair of Advanced SRMs which exploded in clouds of shrapnel that silenced the weapon. He effortlessly snapped the gun with his heavy battle claw. “We are Clan Warriors. We do not hide from dezgra Bandits. All Points advance!”

The Rhinos advanced through the withering firepower breaking up strong points with their missiles. As they approached the perimeter an anti-personnel mine went off under Zigfried's feet lifting him off the ground and knocking him on his back. “Star Colonel!”

Zig shook his head and his world came back into focus, the audio sensor had cut off saving his hearing but the concussion was apparent. He pushed the heavy battle claw into the ground and lifted himself up using the myomer enhanced muscles of the battle suit.

The suit turned toward an enterprising and bold enemy that was unceremoniously cut down by his laser. “Like the Pilot said, watch your step Horses.”

Star Colonel Ravenwater and his Rhinos pushed deeper into the camp while Donars launched missiles at targets of opportunity outside the camouflaged tent camp. They were taking light machine gun fire from the woods but it was nothing the combat vehicles were not capable of handling. He heard a massive explosion and saw a portion of the tents ripped apart by the back-blast. “Reki?”

“Aff, Star Colonel. Four-Two is knocked out but alive.” The Donars aimed their lasers at the recoil-less rifle armed jeep and slagged it. “Any sign of those Commandos?”

Neg, Sir. Dirtbag Bandits. Heaviest weapon till that Reki were grenade launchers. Crude ones at that.”

The Donars came in over the radio, “Lots of Bandits fleeing into the forest. Missiles are dry.” Anhurs were beginning to land and the Suit Techs were trading out missile cylinders. “They will outrun us too. Star Captain, any sign of those Pouncers?”

“Neg sir. This camp is abandoned. Far as we can see they were here recently. Left some tools behind.”

The planetary Battlenet broadcast an alert to all Warriors planet wide which were mostly the 40th Mechanized and their support assets. Petrograd Bay Spaceport Raided by unknown forces Hostiles hijacked Lion-Class Dropship CHH Stirrup, last reported vector was toward Abaddon Heights. Severe civilian and Warrior casualties, Union C Merchant CHH Tonya Kibbin destroyed.

“That's them. All Points load up.” As he stepped back into the Anhur he disabled the radio and muttered, “I can't believe I have to ask the Falcons for a ride because Bandits stole mine. Star Colonel Zywot will never let me live this down.”

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