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The Other War (Cover)

Chapter 2 - The Other War[]

03/08/3059 | Black Mesa, Dagda, Pentagon Worlds

Five dark blue mechs jumped through the thin air landing on dark basalt. The exhaust of their jump jets blew away debris with Burrock markings. Star Captain Seth Irons kept his eyes glued to the Active Probe readout on his Neurohelmet. His Nova S panned looking for Burrocks and their Dark Caste allies in Black Mesa's rugged terrain. Three Points of Elementals hung on to their Omnimechs. A pair of Incubus mechs were on point poked their pulse laser 'rifles' into narrow canyons.

They are here somewhere. Elementals disembark and provide close cover. Watch for traps.

Elemental boots cushioned by their boots landed on the rocky terrain and began searching likely hiding places for Bandits. Tense silence was broken by loud explosions that echoed off a nearby ridge. An Incubus leg flew high in the air crashing nearby and almost taking out an Elemental before it came to a stop sparking over the rocks.

Seth turned toward the location just in time to see a Wyvern IIC kick in the cockpit of the stricken Incubus. At its feet was a collection of heavy infantry wearing mismatched uniforms but brand new weapons and armor.

Ambush!

More infantry climbed over the edge of their pits before readying their weapons for combat. Three more mechs appeared from the void atop a flare of jump jets to clear the pit. Seth's eyes got big when he saw the boxy form of a Hunchback IIC. Oh hell.

His starmates took a moment to collect themselves but launched into evasive maneuvers. Two Huntsmen narrowly avoiding a double burst from the Hunchback that could have crippled the mechs in the opening volley. If it weren't for the polarized camera feed project on his cockpit the muzzle flare of the Devastator Double X's muzzle flash would be blinding.

Seth fired his six heavy lasers, invisible pulses of coherent light melted most of the Hunchback's armor plating and the exposed elements turned cherry hot. Despite the massive cooling system built into this unit he could feel the temperature rise in the cockpit. Both Huntsman took fire from the shoulder mounted rocket launchers of Dark Caste Bandits. The Wyvern IIC's missiles blasted into one and the gun of a Clint IIC hit the other. Shattered and slagged armor plates fell from the combatants.

The Huntsmen fired back aided by the remaining Incubus who chose the more nimble Clint IIC as its target. All three fired their 14.7mm machine guns at the Bandits inflicting casualties on the heavily armored but still fragile infantry combatants caught in the open. Adder Elementals launched their shoulder mounted missiles at the Wyvern threatening to topple it but the pilot kept his feet. Cries of pain and explosions filled the air along with hot lead and burning lances of light.

At this range Seth could hear the Hunchback reload its autocannons, Bring it Bug! He jumped away figuring that the Burrock had marked him for destruction after having almost all the armor stripped off his mech. His instincts were right and the Hunchback turned to face him at close range striding over the blackened earth beneath the skeletal form.

Another roar was let out over the battlefield, the Hunchback struck true with three of the four shots the final one whizzing past the Nova's low slung but wide form. The armor display went from green to red in an instant and two of the brand new heavy lasers on his left arm were crumpled from the impact, their thermal fins shattered and the power supply burned out after their final volley. Seth's heavy lasers cut the arms off the enemy mech and bit deep into its legs but it still had a final shot in its magazines.

The Nova was blown off its feet by the impact and a laser had pierced the center damaging the gyro. It took all damage from its fall on its right arm. Now grounded he was in the worst possible position to take on the Hunchback. This Burrock stood firm while the battle raged on behind him between the forces roughly equal to one another.

Seth grunted as he struggled to stand the mech up against pivoting the arms up and getting its feet under it the Nova stood shakily against the Hunchback. The cockpit temperature rose and Seth felt the cooling built into his jumpsuit increase circulation. It would be cooler running now that two of the six heavy lasers were offline but all four machine guns were active.

Finally the Burrock fired its final round obliterating the Nova but the remaining four lasers and machine guns chewed up the cockpit and core utterly killing the Dark Caste conspirator. Seth ejected into the thin mesa air thick with missiles. He landed wrong breaking his left hand and giving himself severe abrasions on the unforgiving stone.

The Star Captain reached down to his survival kit and found the respirator attached to a four hour breathing bottle. The hypoxia was already settling in and it was either death or glory now. Seth needed one of those Dark Caste LSSUs and a chance to exfil. He opened panels in his chair to reveal a matte black Gauss SMG, two extra mags, and cylindrical 'satchel' battery for it beneath.

A large explosion sounded behind him and he saw the Incubus' machine gun ammo cook off throwing shrapnel nearly a hundred meters away. Elementals were fighting hard against the Dark Caste crawling up from their pits and firing inferno SRMs to fry the operators inside their suits. The hollow thump of satchel charges sounded above followed by Seth feeling the rumble of a rock slide. Part of a cliff fell down taking a damaged Wyvern and Huntsman off the mountain.

Dust and smoke from the fires covered the eerily quiet battlefield that moments ago was filled with the crack of rifle fire and whir of missiles. The remaining Huntsman punched its way out from the scree before returning to fight the Clint that had avoided the landslide. Some Elementals had survived as well they charged the dazed Bandits, closing into melee with their battle claws and preventing further inferno SRM fire.

The mechs closed fighting at close range, Seth scrambled over the debris field toward the sound of rifle fire. He saw one of the Bandits charge an Elemental, the man was stopped by the huge claw punching into him but detonated a suicide vest tied to his LSSU. The explosion threw up rocky debris that clattered around him and burst eardrums but left nothing behind but a crater.

With a burst eardrum and concussion Seth fell down coddling his SMG in his arms but kept it pointed at the enemy. Three ran by fleeing a combat scarred Elemental suit that bounded behind them. He fired on them, hypersonic metal darts punched through their body armor dropping them immediately. The Elemental walked over to him, he could see its markings now, those of Clan Burrock. He fired upon it but the darts bounced off as it closed, he loaded another magazine, then another, finally it lifted him up with its claw taking a moment to inspect him. You need a breather Star Captain and I need to get off this planet. Take me as your bondsman and we both live otherwise we die together.

You conspired with the Dark Caste.

Neg. I came here on my own. I told your Watch where to find this place but my suit is not as swift as your mech once was.

What about Hannah?

The other pilot, she will not make it off this mountain. More of my people are due to arrive any minute. I could just let you die but we can retrieve your BattleROM and record what is about to happen. You will be the sole survivor of a force that was double crossed and we can tell the truth. Eliminating more conspirators while saving your life and career.

Bargained Well and Done, Burrock.

03/10/3059 Location – Aegis-Class Heavy Cruiser, CSA Ares' Might, in orbit around Dagda

Star Captain Seth Irons' hand had been splinted, his ears still rung however and there were numerous abrasions and cuts he gained after 2 days of SERE on the Black Mesa while dodging Dark Caste until he found a Star Adder unit. Next to him was a dark skinned Burrock, This is Bowie Opriq, my bondsman, formerly of Clan Burrock's 15th Rapier.

The pair stood before a tribunal of Star Adder officers one each from Epsilon and Delta Galaxy as well as the Keeper assigned to the Ares' Might. You informed us that you have intelligence pertaining to the Dark Caste conspiracy among Clan Burrock. Particularly concerning the Black Mesa Bandits.

Aff, Bowie and I captured what really happened there. Please play it now.

The room darkened and the display came alive showing the hunt, ambush, and final double cross of Clan Burrock against Mechwarrior Hannah's Huntsman through the Elementals' sensors. After sending a message that they surrendered the four slaughtered the remaining Dark Caste.

During the fight her mech was damaged extensively and would be unable to make the trip down. She powered it down accepting a ride from the Burrocks but was cut down outside her mech. They then pushed the damaged machine into a defile to hide it and moved on. They abandoned the Bandits along with Bowie and Seth to die of exposure.

Thank you for bringing this to us Star Captain. You are to be transferred to Sheridan along with your Bondsman for evaluation, hospitalization, and debriefing. We will handle these dezgra Bandits with utmost haste in order to make it clear what we do with conspirators. Dismissed.


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