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What Could Go Wrong (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 69 - What Could Go Wrong[]

15 December 3041
Joshua (Former Outworlds System)

By calculating the time from the pirate radio call and then their turnover time, the crew of Intrusive, their Intruder Dropship, figured the pirate Jumpship had to be at least 3 maybe 4 days from the planet's surface. Neither did they waste any time in heading further out while Commodore Noble and his wingman fly much wider search patterns. In an act of irony, both their Mule and the recovered tug were also on their way towards the planet. But with a much longer trip and the limited fuel onboard the recovered tug, a whopping 20 tons at full load, barely enough for the trip to the planet at a constant 1G thrust.

On the surface, General Jaws and his pirate band had waited until dawn to begin their search for the mysterious attackers. With his two Firestarters in the lead, they set off down the path made by the attackers at an easy 64 kilometers per hour pace. Though they halted every 20 minutes to allow the Firestarters to expand their search for ambushes. General Jaws might have turned pirate, but he had not forgotten any of his military knowledge. But as they approached a low ridgeline, he ordered his Vedettes to swing wide on the left of the path made by the attackers while his pair of Wolverines moved to sweep the right by several kilometers.

On the ridge, Sergeant Tabitha Raines watched the movements but not wanting to be flanked, gave the order to fall back at flank speed. This time, they would be heading back all the way to the Depot itself.

Back at the Depot, Captain Gweneth Rolando double checked her defensive plan. Heavily dug in and camouflaged 3 kilometers away was her Hunter Light Tank, while not potent by itself, it was useless inside the Depot itself and might be able to deal some pain to the pirates when they engaged those inside the Depot. It's three tons of LRM-20 ammo would not last terribly long in a fight and its orders were to on order, fire it's war load and run for the hills.

It was dusk, before General Jaws and his force finally sighted the obvious landing zone where the attackers had grounded. But what caught his attention the most was the obvious signs of digging that had been done. What had these mysterious people been digging for and why here, he thought. He would find out tomorrow at dawn, it had been a long day of marching, so he posted guards and made camp 20 kilometers from the attackers landing zone.

16 December 3041

As dawn broke, General Jaws had his Infantry Platoon a kilometer from the landing zone slowly working their way forward. They were covered by his two Firestarters, the rest of his force was 2 kilometers back and advancing very slowly. Both Vedettes were sweeping wide along the base of the large, forested ridge north of the landing zone.

Captain Gweneth Rolando, standing inside a heavily camouflaged trench watched the cautious infantry advance. After the return of Sergeant Raines and learning the exact composition of the approaching enemy, she had made the decision to man the trench lines, she wanted the enemy infantry out of the fight. All of Bravo Company were in the various trenches that had been dug, each leading back to the safety of the Depot. When the unit formed, Leftenant Colonel Mitchell has assigned each Company four platoons, though with 2 squads up at the Jump Point. Plus their previous casualties, she only had three platoons in the trenches. However, she added Master Sergeant Croyle's Engineers to the defenses which gave her an additional platoon worth of rifles. Each platoon had 2 light machine guns assigned.

Firestarter (Firing flamer)

Firestarter Light 'Mech

When the enemy infantry reached 250 meters, she gave the order to fire, and the area echoed with gunfire. The enemy infantry were mowed down by the incoming fire. The two Firestarters did not hesitate and rushed to support their infantry from the incoming fire. Captain Rolando gave the order, and everyone scrambled down the trenches and into the Depot itself having drawn first blood and removing the enemies most effective force at clearing the Depot. Seeing the enemy disappearing into some sort of opening in the small hill, the lead Firestarter wasted no time in following them inside, its flamers sending bursts of flame ahead of it.

Emerging from the tunnel, the Firestarter MechWarrior barely had time to register the danger before 17 of 20 Large Laser bolts struck it from close range. The 'Mech crumpled to the floor of the Depot, with its left arm gone along with its left torso gone, left leg removed and the front of its head removed. Seeing the lead Firestarter crumple, the second Firestarter backed up as quick as it could from the tunnel, sending random medium laser fire and machine gun fire to cover its exit. It halted not far from the entrance and waited for the rest of its unit to arrive.

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