Summary of Forces
Hells Lancers – Sons Of Odin Regiment
Zeus – Sandman (MattS)
Battleaxe – DefCon (TylerA)
Quickdraw – Silk (JenniferS)
Shadowhawk – Deadeye (TomK)
Enforcer – Bureaucrat (DougW)
Centurion – Snipe (RichS)
Trebuchet – Jager (SteveW)
Assassin – Brummbar (MattS)
Crimson Diao – Blood Dragon Regiment
Ostroc – BDA Mech Commander
Ostroc – BDA Mechwarrior
OstScout – BDA Mechwarrior
Predator Hovertank x2 – BDA
Drillson Hovertank x2 – BDA
Maxim Hovertank x2 – BDA
Armadillo APC x4 – BDA
Transport Trucks x4 – BDA
Armored Transport Trucks x4 – BDA
Ammo Transport x2 – BDA
The time spent in Echo Base with the ADF troops and their families went quickly. Everyone spent most of the time working with SOO engineers to repair their mechs, or resting, and talking about the future of the campaign while trying to ignore the human suffering that surrounded them. The base itself was simply out of food. Per the orders of captain Gorman, the ADF fighting troops were running on standard rations while everyone else at the base were being given half rations, including all of the civilians. However, many of the ADF soldiers were sharing their meager rations with them. Thus, the ADF troops didn’t look like the typical fighting men in peak physical condition from the Alesian military, but rather they appeared as a group of beaten, worn out young men trying to maintain their confidence in a horrible situation. Their demeanor was that of defeated men trying to keep their heads held high. Your arrival, with your impressive array of mechs, resulted in a glimmer of hope flickering through the complex. And when SOO confirmed Operation Extra Crispy, a raid on a food supply convoy from Shionshang City, that flicker turned into a flame. The older veteran soldiers of the ADF tried to help you however they could. Did you need more ammo for that pistol? How are you doing for instant coffee in your kit? However they also seemed somewhat skeptical, would you really help them, or were you just here to turn tragedy into profits like other merc outfits? Their occasional questions were pointed, with the hope and lurking distrust of mercenaries, apparent. The worry among them, that the hope you created would be dashed as soon as your mechs were repaired, was plain on their faces. Among the younger men of the ADF, and the civilians, however, you were like the knights of ancient eras, riding into the village to save the day. Looks of open admiration were upon their faces. You all hoped that you wouldn’t let them down, at least not right away.
The reality of war, from the eyes of a veteran mercenary, was a grim thing indeed. Often as mercenaries you’ve learned to ignore the human tragedy that inevitably surrounds you in any and all wars. Innocent people, unable to protect themselves, are always the first losers in every conflict. Sometimes, more often than not, as a mercenary you’ve been somewhat insulated from this. You have your mission, you execute it, and try to avoid anything on the periphery, especially civilian strife. However in this war, it has been all around you, and unlike the far away worlds of your mercenary days gone by, these planets are your home worlds, these Alesia’s people are your people. Many of you have family among them. And try as you might, ignoring their plight was impossible. Seeing the children growing up in these war torn places, which used to be safe and beautiful, the promised land of the Periphery, makes you sick. Though the enemy has proven to have honorable men among them, the regular travesties seen on Alesia Prime, surrounded by constant tragedy, makes it hard not to hate them.
A Good Plan
Sandman, briefed the team, including some ADF scouts and drivers of support vehicles heading out with you. The meeting was held in in a break room adjacent to the main entry bay where you came in. The plan was simple. Sionshang City, a sprawling underground complex and the largest city on Krios, was the main source of food supplies for the populated areas of the planet. The BDA had been using the city’s food production, as the ADF had before it, to provide foodstuffs for the remainder of the planet. The BDA pretty much kept the same schedule for resupply that the ADF did. In that, at dawn, they had a large resupply convoy leave the city once every three months to resupply their garrison at the Spaceport. The route was the same as the ADF used previously, and the ADF scouts knew it to be venerable to ambush. The goal was to sneak into the route of the convoy at night, near the entrance to the city, setup an ambush of the convoy along their route, drive off or destroy their escort, disable or capture the supply vehicles, and above all, capture the supplies. The quantity of foodstuffs captured would feed the people at the station for a long time. It sounded easy, but the escort of the convoy was substantial, consisting of a lance of heavy but mobile mechs, along with two squadrons of fast attack hovercraft. That could be a problem, but with the size of your combined mech force, the BDA would be at a severe disadvantage. The question would really be, could those units stop your force from stopping the convoy? That would be the ultimate factor of success.
Once everyone was up to speed on the plan, the meeting broke up and the mechwarriors, crewmen and commanders saddled up and got their vehicles warm. It was going to be damn cold outside. A few minutes later, as the doors to Hoth Base slid open to reveal the night sky, the howl of wind drowned out the sound of the massive blast door sliding in its track. Not a man wasn’t feeling a little venerable as they slowly filed out of the entry bay. The extreme cold immediately made the deicing systems in everyone’s cockpit kick in, and continue running. Although everyone’s cockpit computers were maintaining optimal interior temperature, not a man didn’t feel a little chill as they stepped outside. The nights were so cold on this planet that going outside felt like deploying into a place with no-atmosphere, where the harshness of raw space would kill you quickly. Nerves were up, trigger fingers were itchy.
The force made its way into the night, with the ADF scout mechs, a Locust and Stinger, leading the way to the enemy occupied city.
As the combined force arrived at the outskirts of the city, the ADF/SOO vehicle convoy, lead by Sgt Rock in a custom Savannah Master light hovercraft, broke off and made its way to some hills well to the rear. They would wait there until the enemy escort force was neutralized, and would then move up to secure the supplies and intact enemy vehicles for transport back to Echo Base.
The ADF Locust along with Jager’s Trebuchet weaved their way into a cluster of heavy woods, near the main bay into the city. They were careful to avoid detection by sentry bunkers placed outside of the entrance. The ADF had apparently approached this way before successfully. You couldn’t help but shake your head at it. After all, why didn’t the BDA, or the ADF before them, simply level ground and cut down the trees near the bay entrance? This would have prevented a stealth approach inside the arc of the city defenses. Regardless, it worked and the two mechs were able to take position close to the entrance undetected.
Further down, the SOO mechs spread out on either side of the worn trail to the spaceport. To the South of the trail were the Assassin, QuickDraw, Zeus and Battleaxe. These mechs were concealed in trees that were dotted along a frozen lake that ran alongside and close to the trail. To the North, were the Enforcer, Shadowhawk and Centurion, taking cover in a nearby copse of trees. Though they were a bit further away, they were still very well positioned.
The thought was that once the ambush began, the mechs on either side would engage the escort force and once the convoy realized the danger, they would try to flee back to the Coldhome city entrance. That was when Jager’s Trebuchet and the ADF Lousy would come into play, cutting off that retreat and leaving the vehicles caught in the middle. It should work, assuming of course all went as planned. Everyone shut down, leaving only critical life support systems powered up to keep cockpits warm and ports from icing up. A chill went up everyone’s spine as engines shut down, with only the sounds of the wind and the occasional flutter of interior fans blowing heated air into the cockpit. It would be a long two hours until morning.
Dawn. The massive doors to the Coldhome entry bay slid open, and the enemy convey and their fighting unit meandered out into the morning cold. Leading the way were a pair of Drillson hover tanks, followed by a pair of Maxim hover tanks. Very, very fast opponents, and dangerous, but easily brought down if you could hit them. Trailing them was a convoy of vehicles, mostly lightly armored trucks and unarmed military transports. However they were lead by four heavy Armadillo APC’s. Everyone frowned at that, they were Alesian vehicles. No doubt captured by the BDA, their crews likely having surrendered, and who knows where those poor souls were now.
Following the convoy, were a pair of Ostroc battlemechs, heavy hitters, and a high speed Ostscout, little more than a recon mech. Then, just when everyone thought they’d seen the end of the enemy force, a pair of heavy Predator attack hovercraft, came sliding out as the big gates closed behind them.
A strong force. Probably not strong strong enough.
The convoy plodded ahead at cruising speed, and walked right into the trap. Sandman yelled out “Go!” And everyone fired up their cold fusion engines. There was a moment of panic when Snipe’s engine fluttered, and nearly didn’t start, but it turned. The enemy reaction was instant, their scopes no doubt shrieking with alerts as 10 mech fusion engine signatures bloomed all around them. Their combat units immediately turned to face the surrounding threats, while the convoy suddenly broke up, some vehicles turning away from the closest threats, others whipped around and headed back toward the gates. All around them, the SOO mechs closed.
In the East, at the front of the convoy, the Drillsons split up, one moving toward Brummbar’a Assassin and the other circling behind the SOO mechs in the North woods, firing a barrage of middles at the Shadowhawk, Enforcer and Centurion in the trees. The enemy Ostscout raced that direction as well, also circling behind them, while the Northern Ostroc lumbered straight at the Enforcer and Shadowhawk, large lasers blazing.
To the South the Predators turned and began firing on Battleaxe, and the Ostroc on that side charged ahead bullishly, also straight at the Battleaxe who was the furthest South of all of the SOO mechs that the North. The two huge mechs squared off, the Battleaxe seeming to ignore the AC fire coming from the two Predators as the two heavy mechs unloaded on one another. The violence of the two mechs weapons was furious, with the Ostroc pilot scoring several big hits, but what the Defcon’s Battleaxe did in return was later replayed a thousand times in Arminius vid feeds, and retold just as much. Defcon’s hit the Ostroc only with a single Large Laser and few middles from his SRM6. The large laser hit first, directly in the head of the mech. The Ostroc pilot took another half step forward, unphased, when a single middle hit the exact same spot, and this time the mech stopped in its tracks, the blast of the missile penetrating the cockpit.
It is this kind of hit that mechwarriors fear most. The ignoble and sudden end from dumb luck, and it made everyone who saw it wince just a little. Whether the blast killed the pilot or just knocked him out, didn’t matter. Because the mech toppled face first into the trees in front of Defcon, and the top of those trees plunged right into the open cockpit. There was no way that guy was alive in there. Though the BDA were a hated enemy, the mechwarriors on Krios had shown themselves to be honorable, and thus there were no cheers over the coms, in spite of the fact that this Ostroc being killed so quickly in the fight, all but ensured an SOO victory.
The battle continued with unabated, the Predators seeming to renew their fury with fire at the Battleaxe. To the North, the other enemy Ostroc got into a shoot and maneuver match with Deadeye’s Shadowhawk and Snipe’s Centurion, while the ADF Stinger pilot moved to pressure the flank the Ostroc’s bullish attack. Meanwhile the enemy Ostscout, moving at incredible speed took a pair of potshots at Bureaucrat’s Enforcer with its medium lasers, though the Ostscout was much faster and harder to hit, the Enforcer had the advantages of cover, firepower and armor.
In the South the Predators gave up firing long shots at the Battleaxe and instead began to engage the Trebuchet and Locust who had moved out to threaten the convoy of scrambling and panicking vehicles. One of the Drillsons however screamed at high speed past the convoy and began lighting up the Battleaxe with a flurry of fire, scoring several hits. The Battleaxe, enjoying the cover of heavy trees, fired back with LRM5’s, also scoring several hits. As the missiles impacted the armor of the tank, one appeared to fly directly into an LRM missile tube. An incredible shot, especially at such speeds! The resulting thundering explosion in its turret obliterated the Drillson, blowing it apart, pieces of it, carried by its extreme speed, scattered in flames in a long path across the snow.
Further North, lacking better targets, Silk’s Quickdraw unleashed a volley on one of the Armadillo tanks, her LRM15 hitting the vehicle in several places, disabling one of the drive trains. The Ostscout moved toward her and started shooting with his two medium lasers. Big mistake. His shots were blocked by the trees the QuickDraw was standing in and Silk fired back, hitting with three of her four medium lasers. Two of which cut into the Ostscouts center torso armor.
The Shadowhawk, pounded on the nearest Drillson with his PPC, as did Bureaucrat’s Enforcer, but neither were able to score decisive hits. The Drillson retaliated back, hitting the Enforcer with a few shots, but none decisive.
On the other side of the field, Jager’s Trebuchet broke cover and began hitting one of the Predators with LRM15 volleys. The Predator returned fire scoring several hits with it’s AC5’s before breaking away further East. East toward the area of the Battleaxe, who stepped out of the protection of the woods and begin lobbing LRM5 fire at the fleeing Predator. The Predator, not expecting fire from that direction, was blindsided by a hard hit which blew a hole in the crew compartment. The vehicle stuttered and glided to a stop. The hole was big, smoking and looked nasty… and if the crew was still alive in there, they had to be hurt bad. The Trebuchet then began hitting the convoy with repeated shots, blasting truck after transport after truck, several exploded with fuel or engine hits, damaging the supplies inside. The remaining vehicles at the front of the convoy split directions, trying to escape his fire any way they could. However he succeeded in disabling a couple of the vehicles, including an transport truck and an Armadillo APC without serious damage.
To the North the remaining Ostroc circled around behind the SOO force, and was pursued by the Zeus and QuickDraw. The Ostscout moved to the middle and tried to pressure those mechs from the rear, but the Enforcer intervened, hitting the Ostscout in the chest with an AC10 and Large Laser. Those hits punched into the interior of the mech, causing critical damage, with the mech collapsing to the ground. Shortly thereafter, the mech’s engine shut down. Either from damage, or as a signal to let SOO know it was out of the fight. Nobody had time to worry about which it was at the time.
In the South, the remaining Predator continued to fire and maneuver around the advancing Trebuchet.
In the center, the Drillson moved in close to the Shadowhawk. A little too close. Though the Drillson lit up the Shadowhawk with many hits, the Shadowhawk’s excellent armor absorbed them easily enough, and returned fire. Only this time the Shadowhawks dangerous compliments of SRMs were added to the punch of its PPC. One of the resulting SRM hits struck the engine resulting the Drillson crashing to a stop, the vehicle knocked of action.
In the North the Ostroc continued to moved back toward the cover of the trees and frozen lake behind the SOO force, aggressively pursued now by both the Battleaxe and Zeus. The Ostroc was a little bit faster but would have a tough time escaping from the heavier mechs and their substantial LRM firepower.
To the South the remaining Predator circled, trying to protect the remains of the convoy as it fled, too slowly, back toward the entry bay. He was keeping his distance though, firing at long range at the Enforcer and Trebuchet as he moved. He began focusing fire at the ADF Stinger and the Assassin as they made their way through the swirling convoy, shooting and disabling vehicles as they went. The Assassin closed on the Predator and disabled it with a flurry of SRM and small laser fire at point blank range.
At this point, the open com channel popped with activity. The BDA Ostroc mechwarrior, apparently second in command, was wanting honors. A cease fire was called and the discussion didn’t last long. The BDA commander was concerned for his remaining mechs and cared little for the non-combat vehicles. Sandman’s objective was simply to capture as much of the supplies as possible and wanted the lower value transport vehicles to help haul them. There was some haggling over the Alesian Armadillo APCs that the BDA were piloting. However the BDA commander quickly conceded vehicles in exchange for the heavy haulers. Which was a little odd as the unarmed heavy transports were far less valuable than the heavily armored Armadillos.
Regardless, SOO made off with the supplies 3 Armadillos, a pair of 5 ton trucks and an ammo hauler loaded to the brim with foodstuffs, while suffering now casualties or major damage. Every SOO mercy felt really good knowing their actions were not only going to get them paid, but we’re going to help a whole lot of people.
MVP – Battleaxe: Defcon (TylerA)
While everyone played a solid game for SOO, Tyler’s Battleaxe by far had the biggest impact in the game. In three rounds he killed an Ostroc, Drillson and Predator. All three powerful and dangerous enemies who were literally wiped off the board, before they could really have an impact on the battle. That was some insane shooting and well played tactics and left no question who was MVP.
Top Shot – Quickdraw: Silk (JenniferS)
Scored 3 out of four hits on the Ostscout, when rolling for 9’s. That bit of nice shooting lead to that mech later being disabled.
Shark – Trebuchet: Jager (SteveW)
Wiped out 3 unarmored vehicles in back to back to back turns, unfortunately blowing them all sky high and taking out some of the supplies with them. Luckily, not everything burned up but those poor BDA truck drivers quickly learned they had to surrender or be massacred.
Goose – Shadowhawk: Deadeye (TomK)
Covered the Enforcer from flanking attacks by the Drillson and Ostscout allowing his teammate to stand in a great firing position. Later covered the back of both the Zeus and Quickdrawn from flank attacks by fast enemy units.