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Chapter 71 - What Could Go Wrong[]

17 December 3041
Joshua (Former Outworld System)

"Radar contact. Range 10,000 kilometers." Commodore Franklin Noble called out as he moved onto an intercept course on his radar contact. He pushed the throttles to 3G of acceleration and rapidly began closing the distance. It did not take long to gain visual sight of the Merchant Class Jumpship. As he circled the Jumpship, his radar picked up his wingman also rapidly closing on his position.

"Unidentified Jumpship, this is Commodore Noble of Mercenary Company, SaRI. You have been intercepted. Any move to activate your jump drive and you will be fired upon. Respond."

Samurai Aerospace Fighter

Samurai Class Medium Aerospace Fighter

His calls were met with silence. He swung his SL-26 Samurai Aerospace Fighter around and using his thrusters brought his fighter to within 100 meters of the Merchant Jumpships bridge. He jockeyed his thrusters to maintain his position, verified he had all his sensors active. He repeated his call to the Jumpship and was again met with silence.

<<"Intrusive, Rogue lead. She is not responding. But I am sitting close enough to kiss her bridge really good if they make a move I don't like. ETA?">>

"ETA is 2 hours. By my rough math, she has another 10 hours or so before she can jump. Her sail still deployed?"

<<"Roger, it is still deployed.">>

"Then she is not fast charging off her reactor. We will be there before she can move. We will make a hostile docking and force our way aboard her."

Two hours later, Intrusive, the unit's Intruder Class Assault DropShip, docked with the pirate Merchant Jumpship. Even though they bumped her harder than a normal docking since the Merchant was not being friendly. Her engineering team verified a good seal and overrode the ships airlock. Every crewman aboard Intrusive were veterans of the AFFS Navy and while not Marines, they knew how to board and fight off boarders. A brief firefight inside the main cargo bay which resulted in several crew from Intrusive being wounded and several dead pirates from the Merchant Jumpship. It took an hour to declare the Jumpship secure.

Turhan Combat Vehicle (in Desert)

Turhan Combat Vehicle

On the surface, Captain Gweneth Rolando made sure the new Turhans had a clear field of fire at the entrance to the Depot. They had spent the night moving the destroyed and damaged vehicles after the Depot's automatic fire suppression system had kicked in. Lucky for them, they had not been attacked during that because visibility was exactly zero for about 30 minutes until the Depot's computer system removed the smoke and remains of the fire ****** from the Depot. Where it exhausted it at was a mystery to those inside. The previous days fighting had cost them; five Turhans destroyed, six Turhans damaged, 22 KIA and 19 WIA.

She seriously considered having Sergeant Nathan Davis secure the Depot door and just wait for Leftenant Colonel Mitchell to return. But she hesitated, she did not like being cornered like a rat, plus she did not know if the Depot would suck all the air out if the main door was closed back up. That scared her more than anything.

Outside the Depot, General Jaws knew it was hopeless, he had already lost 5 Battlemechs trying to force that damned tunnel. He still did not know what he was facing. He made the hard decision "Fall back to the Dropship."

18 December 3041
Joshua (Former Outworld System)

The emergence wave from the arriving Star Lord Class Jumpship caused some skipped heart beats until Leftenant Colonel Mitchell announced their return. Commodore Franklin Noble gave him a quick brief on what all had occurred while he was away. Two squads from Alpha Company were transferred to the Merchant Jumpship so that Intrusive could dock with the Star Lord and take on Alpha Company. Captain Blythe Hudson was given the Depot's coordinates along with the coordinates of the pirate Dropship. She wasted no time in launching her squadron of Rapier RPR-101 to support Bravo Company while Commodore Noble remained to escort Intrusive to the surface.

A radio call from the Hunter Light Tank informed Captain Gweneth Rolando that the pirates had pulled out, letting her exit the Depot and back into fresh air. It was not long before Captain Hudson and her squadron zoomed overhead. Contact was made and Captain Hudson led her squadron to deal with the grounded Dropship.

General Jaws, onboard the ancient Lion Dropship, watched the captain prepare the ship for liftoff. It was taking too long in his opinion, but he had no choice but to wait. As the Dropship began its lift off, its sensors detected the incoming fighters. "Fighters inbound!!"

Captain Blythe Hudson, already informed that the Dropship was a hostile, wasted no time in targeting the lifting Dropship. Her fighter's computer identified it as a Lion Dropship, which meant nothing to her, and she did not have the time to study any details about it. She lined up her shot and fired her three PPC's, seeing two strike home. One at a time, the Rapier RPR-101's came in for their attack runs until the Lion aborted it's take off and crashed landed, it's landing gear collapsing under the impact causing the Dropship to lean heavily to one side.

"One Dropship on the ground and hurt." She called out.

<<"We are diverting to your location, Intrusive out.">>

After crash landing, General Jaws tried to get his TDR-5Sb Thunderbolt into action but if he released his locking clamps, it would slam into the far side of the bay. One door was pressed into the ground from the lean, another door was facing the sky. Only the Firestarter had a chance to get out by using it's jump jets, which it did. Landing 40 meters from the leaning Lion Dropship, it saw the incoming Intruder Assault Dropship and took off at a run. Captain Blythe Hudson spotted the Firestarter and detailed a flight of Rapier to deal with it.

<<"We have a runner. Blue flight, bring it down.">>

Rapier Aerospace Fighter (In Combat - IWM version)

Rapier Heavy Aerospace Fighter

It did not take too long to bring down the running Firestarter. Though it did manage to dodge several passes from the enemy fighters, it was only a matter of time before a pass struck home and sending it face first into the ground.

Once on the ground, Alpha Company was able to secure the crashed Lion Dropship in less than an hour. Bringing the captured pirates out along with even more freed slaves.

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