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What Could Go Wrong (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 133 - What Could Go Wrong[]

27th June 3043
Thazi (Former Outworlds System)

The small fleet materialized at the Nadir Jump Point, but not before the Invader Class Jumpship managed to jump out of the system. But it left empty, two Mule Cargo Dropships were caught halfway between the jump point and the planet. Within fifteen minutes of arriving, the invasion force consisting of SaRI and the Arcadians detached from the Jumpships and headed for the inhabited planet. Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Noble thought about running down the two Mule Dropships but decided to conserve his fuel for the campaign.

30th June 3043

The invasion force of Dropships entered the planets orbit and began making detailed scans of the surface. Guided by the old maps recovered for them SLDF, they had a good idea of where to focus their scans and quickly identified the pirate base location by the grounded Overlord, two Union and two Mule Dropships grounded at a space port. First Lieutenant Nathan Davis looked over the details of the scan and frowned "Colonel? The damned pirates are located right on top of the main SLDF base, if not occupying the damned place."

"What about our special location?" Colonel David Mitchell asked

"Scans did not detect any activity there nor at the second identified base location. Only at the main SLDF base itself. Roughly 45km from the old capital city, which looks to be where the main civilian area is located." First Lieutenant Davis replied

Colonel Mitchell got in touch with Colonel Bradley Andrews of the Arcadians. "Colonel, change in plans. I am sending over our scans. Ground your Dropships between the indicated pirate base and the city. I will ground my forces on the other side of the space port. We will be separated by about 60km, but either of us should be able to hold until the other arrives." He switched channels "Colonel Noble, we are changing plans. Take your folks down and make sure none of those Dropships get off the ground. Looks like the bad guys are basing out of the old SLDF main base. Keep that squadron carrying our surprise ready to go."

Titan II DropShip (TRO Project Nelson)

Titan Class Fighter Carrier DropShip

Without delay, Aerospace Fighters began launching, forming up and heading down to the planet's atmosphere. Lucky for everyone, at the last minute, Colonel Mitchell had been convinced to bring along the recovered SLDF Aerospace fighters which were based on SaRI's Titan Class Fighter Carrier Dropship while the other fighters were shifted to the three Overlord Dropships carrying the Arcadians. The extra squadron of SL-26 Samurais and two squadrons of IRN-SD1b Ironsides Fighters would prove pivotal in the campaign. They were slated to carry the special munitions recovered on Wokha.

While the fighters entered the atmosphere, the Dropships carrying the ground forces began making preparations to begin their landings. Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Noble led the Aerospace fighters down to a fairly low level before taking himself and his wingman up to a higher altitude and accelerated faster than the rest of the strike package until he rocketed across the target zone. "Group Three, we have hot engines on the Dropships, but I do not think they are ready to launch yet. Seed the entrance area with those specials and then turn on the Dropships and let's see how those special rockets work."

"Roger that, Group Three is rolling in hot."

Union DropShip (Landing - MW5)

Union Class Dropship attempting to launch before being shot down.

Two squadrons of Ironsides Aerospace fighters ripped across the flat area outside the main entrance to the base and dropped their bombs across the area. These bombs had been recovered on Wokha. The FASCAM bombs deployed a massive minefield all over the area in front of the main entrance. As they turned for the nearby space port, a squadron of Samurai dropped their bombs over the large minefield creating a dense smoke screen. The grounded pirate Dropships started firing on the attacking Aerospace fighters, but the fire was mainly ineffective. Both squadrons of Ironsides let loose with their paired ERPPCs as they closed the distance on the grounded Dropships, which made for easy targets.

One of the Union Dropships ignited its main engine for takeoff and attracted everyone's attention, much to its own demise. Twenty-four ERPPCs and thirty-six standard PPCs from twelve RPR-101 Rapier slammed into the Union Dropship. The shots peppered every side of the Union, which slammed back into the ground hard enough to crumple one of its landing legs. Flying over watch, Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Noble picked up the hostile targets on his radar. "Here we go, incoming bandits. Those designated air to air, let's go dance."

Samurai Aerospace Fighter

Samurai Aerospace Fighter

Corsair V12 - Aerospace Fighter (Robert Smith 1998)

Corsair Medium Aerospace Fighter

Six SL-26 Samurai and six CSR-V12 Corsair AeroSpace Fighters rocketed after Lieutenant Colonel Noble and his wingman, who were rapidly closing the distance on the airborne pirates. "Tally Ho, a dozen Inseki or Meteor inbound. Time to boom and zoom." He pulled up and kicked in his afterburner to gain more altitude before pitching over and diving on the pirate conventional fighters. He lined up his shot and let loose. His shots struck true, and the pirate fighter went down. The remaining pirates started breaking formation, with several peeling off to engage the attacking Samurais.

For ten minutes, it was a furious furball as the SaRI Aerospace fighters and Inseki II conventional fighters merged and began their own dances of death over the old capital city. It was not all one sided and though SaRI did not lose any fighters, they did take enough damage that several had to break off and return to their Dropship for repair. The pirate ground forces began emerging from the former SLDF base, the leading Battlemechs running into the minefield and several lost legs to massive explosions as they entered the smoke shrouded minefield. As the first pirate Battlemech managed to start firing on the Aerospace fighters near the space port, eight pirate Battlemechs were down.

"Group three breaking off to engage the Battlemechs." Came over the radio as the twelve Ironsides broke off and lined up on the pirate Battlemechs. "Let's hold off on the ERPPCs and see how these SRMs work on them."

The first three Ironsides ripple fired their Heat Seeking SRMs at the pirate Battlemechs. Equipped with single heat sinks and putting out a furious amount of fire from their weapons, the Heat Seeking SRMs had no real difficulty in homing in on the bright hot signatures presented to them. The Heat Seeking missiles mainly struck true, peppering the pirate Battlemechs, though several SRMs went after several grass fires started by exploding mines. By the time the pirates retreated back into the former SLDF base, they left another five Battlemechs down by the massed SRM volleys and then lost 4 more to the minefield.

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