Hair of the Dog Act V Scene 1 – Battle of Beasville – CH:L

These entries comprise the official turn resolution posts for Act V Scene 1 of our PBeM-run A Time of War Mechwarrior RPG campaign entitled Hair of the Dog. This scene encapsulates the entire urban aspect of the Battle for the port city of Beasville on the planet Oliver – a Marik industrial world recently annexed by the Lyran Alliance during the opening months of the 4th Succession War.

Player entries and GM notes have been largely excised from the narrative to allow for faster reading, a greater grip on continuity and shorter threads as this battle sequence requires frequent accessing of the maps and battle data to make real sense. The data sheet for the battle can be found via Google Docs at this link: Battle of Beasville Chart. The maps have their own album located here: Battle of Beasville Maps

This entry is told from the point of view of Cool Hand Luke

For the other characters’ view points click any of the following links:

MD   BT     LJ

Cast of Characters

Hair of the Dog Archive

November 27, 3028

The angled light of dawn casts spindly, twisted shadows across the undisturbed, snow covered ground in front of your mech as you step free of the reinforced walls of the warehouse and out onto Anderson Boulevard, facing North West. Through the large and slowly falling flakes of snow, the winter sunrise washes everything in shades of orange and fiery reflections, but your eyes adjust quickly thanks to the tinted view ports of the Hermes.

Blowtorch forms up to your left in her Spider just a moment later. Her mech is quite possibly the only one in the Inner Sphere capable of making your current ride look large.

Pausing for just a second to get a reading on the specialized console for the Beagle Active Probe which crowds the right side of the cockpit, [sensor ops, 1 complex action as it is not ‘basic’] you figure out the icons for mechs and vehicles by comparing the locations of the blips to objects in your line of sight. A parked ground car 30m away shows up as a dimly colored icon flagged, ‘transport, civilian’ while the Spider next to you is brightly coloured and flagged as ‘Battlemech, potential hostile’ and gives you the option of tagging the reading as friend or foe.

An instant later, a short line of traffic heading your way from the North East registers on your senses although it has been on the sensors for much longer, and looking out across the city before you, you catch sight of a bus, a garbage collection truck, and a few private vehicles slamming to sudden stops, skidding through the intersection to your right, while in the park to your left, you see a chubby jogger clad in layers of thick exercise garb against the cool -15 degree morning air try to stop to turn and run the other way, but go down on his well-padded ass in a spray of fluffy snow, stained orange by the sunrise.

Good Morning Oliver – it’s a new dawn.

Turn 1

Initiative Information

  • No visible hostiles
  • No Hostiles detected within 150m radius
  • Current location: Hex 2421 facing Hex 2321 (Spider in Hex 2322 facing Hex 2221)
  • Terrain: snow covered road

Hermes HER-1SB

Tons: 30

Walking: 9   Running: 14/18

Head            AF 9, Small Laser

Center Torso AF 16, Beagle Active Probe

CTr              AF 4

Right Torso   AF 10, MASC

RTr              AF 4

Left Torso    AF 10, 2 Medium Lasers

LTr              AF 4

Right Arm    AF 10, 2 Medium Lasers

Left Arm      AF 10, Flamer

Right Leg    AF 14

Left Leg      AF 14

Heat Sinks (Double) 10

As you proceed at a walk which almost doubles the rate at which TLC can move, the thin shadow of your tiny mech stretches out and away from you down Anderson Boulevard, pointing like a crooked and accusatory finger at the power station, out of sight behind rows of middle class apartment high-rises and commercial headquarters office towers.

As you draw nearer to the intersection of Anderson and Reeves, you can make out flickering amber emergency lights, and yellow hazard tape strung haphazardly along scattered barricades further along the boulevard.

It looks as though the bridge which passes over Settler’s Pond collapsed during the night. The icy surface has been shattered into cruel, jagged shapes and refrozen in oddly anthropomorphic postures of terror. The ground to the North of the pond is torn up, and shows signs of something large and very heavy having been dragged from the water and up onto the boulevard. A section of guardrail and the shoulder of the road have been crushed down to make a temporary on-ramp from the small park below.

As you slowly and carefully navigate the snow covered surface of the street and swing the Hermes around to face the North West (in 1725, face 3324) the Spider descends on a white hot plume, to settle lightly just ahead of you, clearing the architectural eyesore you believe is the National Art Gallery (Hex 3323).

Perhaps it is due to concentration on the terrain, or the wealth of information being flashed at you from the BA Probe, but the readings on enemy mechs in motion to the South fail to catch your eye right away… not until one suddenly angles toward you – a Jenner way down at the southern end of Reeves Avenue (hex 1834). Seconds later, you discern the readings of a Commando amid the noise of buildings and terrain (hex 2134).

The Jenner is heading right for you. Even if you were facing him, you would not be able to get visual confirmation due to the line of swanky shops and restaurants that lineReeves Avenue. The Commando is headed North-West (facing 2033).

It doesn’t seem like they will fire, but there is no way they could have missed seeing the Spider’s long jump, and are no doubt about to change course to pursue. The secret is out!

Turn 2

Initiative Information

  • No visible hostiles
  • No Hostiles detected within 150m radius
  • 2+ Hostiles approaching from the South
  • Current location: Hex 1725 facing Hex 3324 (Spider in Hex 3323 facing Hex 3123)
  • Terrain: snow covered road

Treading carefully on treacherous, icy, snow-covered ground, alternating from grassy knolls, to patches of concrete, to pavement, and back again, with enough hints of ice to keep you alert, you hook around to the Southwest to try to get a bead on the Jenner and Commando you spotted. Sending a message to Westerlie on a secure channel, in code as you split your attention between the BAP readout and the cockpit window, you advise her to be prepared for incoming and implement phase one of the contingency plan.

As you walk, you get readings on two more mechs, bringing the bad news up to 4 light mechs advancing upReeves Avenue. The Jenner and Commando are in the company of a Stinger and a Wasp, so you and Fitz correctly interpreted the data and predicted one of the potential opponents.

The lights appear to have been in no hurry, but as the Wasp hurdles the rough, forested terrain at the South corner of the Museum park, you get the sense that they are picking up the pace and are trying to close in on Mad Dog.

With your course, to the South, and Blowtorch and Luckjaw heading almost due North, Mad Dog will be pretty much on his own for a few seconds until the Guillotine can be turned around, and Dominic and Tate can clear the Warehouse doors and form up.

If you are reading the sensors correctly, Mad Dog has a wedge of three of the lights moving in on his left side, while the Stinger is charging for a rendezvous with you.

You aren’t sure of the name of the street you are flattening beneath the Hermes’ broad feet, but two civilian and 1 police vehicle swerve to avoid being crushed as you stomp up through the light, early morning traffic.

A large flock of fat birds scatters and arcs around the gleaming purple shoulder of your mech heading toward the harbour as horns begin to blare, and the sickening sound of a vehicle crumple-zone doing what it was designed to do, echoes in the broken stillness.

Playing the angles so the 5-storey Shanyu Credit Union interferes with targeting rather than shielding you completely, you open up on the running Stinger with your full complement of medium lasers at a range of 180m.

[Torso twist will allow all forward arc weapons, despite partial cover, misses including yours will hit the building]

Basic Target Number 8

  • Your Movement         -1
  • Target’s Movement   -3
  • Partial Cover               -1
  • Sunrise                          -1
  • Snow                              -1
  • Medium Range          -2
  • Gunnery                      +5
  • Linked Attribute(s)  +1

Final Roll Modifier: -9 + 6 = 2D6-3    Succeed on a 11 or better

1. Rolled 14, MoS rounding up yields +1 damage

2. Rolled 9,  miss

3. Rolled 17, MoS, rounding up yields +2 damage

4. Rolled 8,  miss

*I normally will not be providing all of this system detail, but I thought you might appreciate the reminder.

The beams from your arm-mounted lasers sear across the left arm and left torso of the Stinger, while the torso-mounted beams, angling toward the enemy mech, blast through the second and third floor windows of the Credit Union, blasting furniture fragments and flaming bolts of curtain out into the street in a shower of glass, concrete, and plastic.

The Stinger returns fire with the medium laser mounted on its right arm, but overcompensates and blasts a great hole through the heavy awning protecting the front entrance from the snowfall, igniting it.

Reflections of brilliant coloured light in the glass and across the snow lead you to believe that it is not only you who have engaged the enemy.

Turn 3

Initiative Information

  • 1 visible hostile (Stinger)
  • No Hostiles detected within 150m radius
  • 4 Active Hostiles beyond 150m radius
  • 3 Active Allies beyond 150m radius
  • Current Panel: Map Row 2, Column 2
  • Current Location: Hex 2626 facing Hex 2527
  • Terrain: snow covered road

You have won Initiative.

Expanded Initiative Information

  • 2 visible hostiles (Stinger, Jenner)
  • 1 visible Ally (Griffin)
  • 4 hostiles detected (Stinger, Jenner, Commando, Wasp)
  • Greatly Increased Radio Traffic
  • 3 Active Allies detected (Spider,Griffin, Guillotine)
  • Current Panel: Map Row 2, Column 2
  • Current Location: Hex 2626, facing Hex 2527
  • Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

  • The light lance is turning to the East
  • They are hooking around South of the Museum
  • The Wasp is Jumping
  • The Jenner and Commando are running

Ally Movement Information

  • You broadcast on the Lance Channel: “All Units, form up East”
  • The Orion and Crusader will enter the map this turn and be able to move with -1MP

Note: You can start receiving Sensor Information from allied mechs if you spend an action to request it and one to look at it, and the pilot spends an action to send it.

As you move into position near the Museum again, you open a channel to Blowtorch, Luckjaw, and Mad Dog, to issue an order to form up as a lance to attack the fast-moving Lyran light mechs.

Firing through the screen of moderate snow, directly into the glare of the rising sun is not easy, but there is something to be said for the psychological effect of massed fire on a single target, regardless of the number of shots which actually hit.

As you run into position near the others, you see Glass Heart tracking the Wasp with his Medium Lasers, but the former test pilot does not fire. Likewise, no fire comes from Mad Dog’s Griffin off to your rear.

Luckjaw in the Guillotine and Charger in the Orion also let loose a barrage of laser fire as you do, adding the energy from their combined 2 medium lasers and one large laser to your 4 medium lasers. The searing energy  blazes across the icy lake around the Museum and blasts large chunks of terrain and roadway into flash-boiled smoke and debris.

The silvery mech, glimmering orange in the rising sunlight, remains untouched, but its arms come up to cover its head and the pilot begins to crouch for another desperate jump.

____

You have won Initiative.

Turn 4

Initiative Information

  • 2 visible hostiles (Wasp, Stinger)
  • 5 visible Ally (Griffin)
  • 4 hostiles detected (Stinger, Jenner, Commando, Wasp)
  • Radio Traffic Increasing
  • 5 Active Allies detected (Spider,Griffin, Guillotine, Orion, Crusader)
  • Current Location: Sector 7, Hex 1924, facing East
  • Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

  • The light lance is moving to the North
  • They are hooking around South of the Museum
  • The Wasp is Jumping North East
  • The Jenner and Commando are running
  • The Stinger is running North

Ally Movement Information

  • The Thunderbolt and Thug will enter the map this turn and be able to move with -1MP

NOTES:

Return Fire: There was no return fire of any kind

As you complete your sharp message, “Lasers don’t run out of ammunition, people!” over a clear channel the following communication begins:

This is local force commander Aaron Schmidt, for the People of Oliver. Rebel Force, cease fire for the sake of the innocent lives around you!

As your movement brings you past the museum as Fitz is about to exit in the suddenly gargantuan-looking Thug, and as Luckjaw is arcing high over head, threatening to crush you both beneath his armoured feet, you curve around to face into the sunlight and can barely discern the low, fortified towers of thePolicePlaza. As you turn, Blowtorch touches down in the small park next to the Plaza, and the Wasp alights on the roof of what you think you might remember as being some sort of bargain consumer electronics store.

Looking south east you can only make out the Wasp in silhouette and you lose sight of the Jenner behind a fat, ugly fitness centre.

Due to the squat stature of most of the strongly constructed buildings, and the propensity that the citizens of Beasville have for building underground, you are able to see most of the mechs in your force, but still cannot get a good visual on Mad Dog’s Griffin to assess its damage, or a look at the newly exited Thunderbolt to see why its pilot has yet to check in.

Death Breath (Fitz) ever-nimble narrowly avoided getting DFA’d by Luckjaw as the former mercenary came in hot and chose the entrance of the warehouse as his landing zone. He passes by behind you backwards then settles in against a building to go back to back with you against the enemy.

Will the others keep up the attack, or will they pause in reaction to the Lyran broadcast, waiting for your reaction?

Radio traffic is just as heavy, but no new contacts show on the BAP. You cannot help but feel though that if you were the enemy commander, you would be about to do something terrible and decisive.

Further south, you hear the shrieking and grinding noise and cacophonous glass-shattering crescendo to what can only be a mech gone down and skidding into a building. Hopefully, it was not the school.

As you open a channel to all units under your command, several mechs open fire on the Wasp perched so tantalizingly in the sunlight.

Wreathed in snow and steam, the energy bolts from Mad Dog’s large pulse laser, and one of Glass Heart’s arm-mounted mediums blast out almost in tandem.

Behind you, the potent discharge of one of the Thug’s PPCs crackles fiercely as Fitz also seeks to blast the light mech to scrap.

With your attention primarily on speaking and checking the scanner, you can only be certain of one thing, the PPC struck to great effect tearing the right arm off of its mountings and shredding the armour across the right torso, exposing vast swathes of the internal structures lying underneath.
A streak of light catches your eye and you realize that Blowtorch has also opened fire, due south, but you are unsure if there is return fire.

You can detect no hidden forces within 150 metres of your mech, but are picking up high concentrations of metal on the East side of Police Plaze which are low, and issuing heat signatures more commonly associated with internal combustion engines than mechs…  the Beagle is trying to decide if these two targets, not currently visible around the corner of the Plaza, are ammo loaders, Ontos Heavy Tanks (Intelligence: A Marik Unit), or StormFuer Heavy Tanks [Intelligence: A Lyran Unit], or some combination of the three. The heavy construction of the Plaza is playing hob with detection in that direction.

____________________
You have won Initiative.

Turn 5

Initiative Information
1 visible hostile (Wasp)
7 visible Allies

4 hostiles detected (Stinger, Jenner, Commando, Wasp)

2 possible hostiles detected (vehicles)
Radio Traffic Continuing

Current Location: Sector 7, Hex 2621, facing East
Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

The light lance has split with 2 units moving North, upLawrence AvenuetowardPolicePlaza, one unit down, and one unit in Sector 6 heading North

The Wasp is not advancing

The Jenner is running North

The Commando is moving North
The Stinger is running North West

You have “a bad feeling about this

Ally Movement Information

All Mech units are on the board

Westerlie has signalled they are good to go for an ammo-drop whenever

Any input on where you’d like Death Breath, Rover, Glass Heart, and Charger to go?

Behind you, Mad Dog’s Griffin, new and lacking character, easily launches itself into another jump. The foot actuator will not react well to a full 150m jump, but there is nothing for it. You know as well as Mel does that you have to get out of the kill zone you have all been filling for the past few moments. Walking backward, you almost lose control on an ice patch that has formed in front of the warehouse entrance, but keep the Hermes upright and in motion. [Simple]

As you pass the still open doors, you hear Blowtorch crow on the open channel, “Catch me if you can, kokotko!” [A slovak insult to men…]

Her jump… 240 metres travelled, clearing an 8 storey building [L4] while simultaneously passing between two much, much taller structures that look like diplomatic housing. The taller of these, a secure and reinforced tower standing nearly 30 storeys tall, must be providing excellent views of all of this action to all the ViPs in residence within.

Mad Dog sends his own message out to you and Fitz, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Charger is 30 some metres behind you in his Orion, between you and Mad Dog. The only mechs you cannot see are Luckjaw’s and Blowtorch’s, with Rover and Luckjaw actually going in the exactly opposite direction! Back toward the Wasp’s last known position. [Incidental]

As you conduct a detailed check of the sensors you note a sudden drop off in most of the enemy radio traffic, but then see a vast reading as though a cloud of missiles had begun to rain down somewhere ahead of you from the heavens… so many they register as a solid object on the scope. [simple] The view out of your canopy shows a massive trail of smoke, not unlike a twister, arcing over the top of the Police Plaza, looking to come down somewhere very near the warehouse… and Rover.

In the glare and snow, you can scarcely make out the Wasp crouching on top of that blasted store, but you suddenly know the pilot has been spotting for the tanks, the Lyran message was a tactic, and if you hadn’t mobilized the troops to move out, what is about to happen would have been much worse.

[You have 2 simple actions or 1 complex action left]

As you watch the seething clouds of LRMS begin their deadly rain on and around the Thunderbolt, a message from Alexandre is relayed, flagged as non-priority. “Merde Cool Hand… Les sacrements continue to shoot at me… Fuck them!!!… They just shoot a barrage of missile at me…. ?”

Toggling the open channel and the Hermes’ external broadcast system, to denounce the cowardice and trickery of the Lyran commander [Acting, simple action], while flagging the Wasp as a prime target and sending it out to your forces [simple action].

“Treacherous Lyran DOG, have you no respect for civilian Lives??”

As your words crackle with menace and disgust across the airwaves, and roll like amplified thunder toward the park, you are witness to what soldiers tend to classify as a miracle. Although dozens of missiles pour out of the sky in a cruel and deadly rain, seeking to rend the armoured flesh off the metallic bones of the pristine Thunderbolt, the vast majority impact in and around the open doors of the Warehouse, suddenly veering off crazily and exploding with massed concussive force along the still open door frame and in the darkened interior of the entrance.

Some however, unerringly strike home across the front of the heavy mech, blasting armour fragments into the air and rocking the machine back on its heels. For a moment, the Thunderbolt is obscured in flames, smoke, and flying debris, and then is revealed again – still standing, still drawing a bead on the Wasp crouching on the roof-top not 120m in front of it.

“Captain, we have GOT to get out of here – North to open territory. I’ll get Luckjaw!” blasts across the command channel (reserved for you, Mad Dog, and Fitz) from Fitz.

At that moment, a low-flat crack of explosive ammunition erupts and echoes through the streets from somewhere out of sight, far to the North East. Someone fired an autocannon, and the spray of high-velocity explosive rounds blows chips off the warehouse wall beside the Thunderbolt.

Almost simultaneously, you note three things: There is a signal coming from the Thunderbolt which the computer has automatically dampened as noise and pushed far to the background. The visible waveform for the signal is constant, which suggests a non-verbal vocal communication. The Thunderbolt retaliates for the autocannon attack with three medium lasers fired upWeaving Street toward the NE. The Thunderbolt retains its focus on the Wasp and opens fire with its arm-mounted large laser, blasting large glowing and glittering fragments high into the air where you can see them flaring in the brutal glare of the rising sun overtop of the warehouse which screens the tiny mech from your view.

You have won Initiative

Turn 6

Initiative Information
0 visible hostiles
5 visible Allies (Spider and Guillotine not visible)
4 hostiles detected (Stinger, Jenner, Commando, Wasp)

2 ICE hostiles detected (LRM carriers the computer does not recognize, Data: 1 carries 2 LRM20s, 1 carries 1 LRM20)
Radio Traffic Continuing at a reasonable level for battle

Current Location:

Sector 7, Hex 2020, facing East
Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

The light lance has fragmented. 1 Heavily damaged (Wasp), 1 on the offensive (Jenner), one wandering around to the South (Commando), and one making a Beeline for the NW.

Ally Movement Information

Luckjaw and Rover are out of formation, perhaps attempting to cover your retreat with a fighting withdrawal, or perhaps engulfed in bloodlust – who can say?

Death Breath has volunteered to retrieve the wayward mechs while the column pushes on, out of this killing zone.

Rover is charging up Weaving street toward the police plaza, everyone else is trying to go west and or north to go NW-ish. Rover is screaming, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

Moving up John Street, parallel to Rover’s mad dash up Weaving Street toward Police Plaza, you try to track the Jenner – ultimately losing it and the other enemy mechs behind one of the many department stores which litter this area.

You have a slim chance of targetting the Jump Infantry assembled on the rooftop in Sector 8, Grid Reference 3218, but the bulk of the unit has cover. As you assess the shot, Blowtorch lands lightly somewhere further North on the roof of the Plaza, causing a visible stir among the Lyran Jump Troopers – not of panic, as they are too elite for that, but of readiness.

It is not beyond reason that they would be equipped with LRM packs.

You have a visual on Luckjaw, as he stalks into position, crowing on the open channel about lining up a shot to blow the living daylights out of the Commando.

Rover executes a wide and skidding turn at the end ofWeaving Streetto keep a bead on the fast-moving Jenner, still screaming incoherently the whole time.

Mad Dog and Death Breath calmly report their new targets, and these messages are filtered into the background under the louder, more urgent-seeming ones.  Each mech flanking you as you turn once again to head East, into the glare of the rising sun.

The angle on the infantry unit is not good, but as you told the others, lasers do not run out of ammunition. Opening fire, it seems like no matter what result comes of this attack, your barrage should interrupt their plans.

Four medium lasers stab outward from your nimble Hermes and blast fragments of heavily reinforced ferrocrete from the crenallated rooftop of Plaza, scattering troopers and flash vaporizing the accumulated ice and snow around the battlements.

As your beams blow fragments into the air, Blowtorch also opens up with one or both of her medium lasers. You cannot see the effect your combined fire has had, but you can hear the screaming.

You note in passing that around you, full-on combat breaks out. Mad Dog takes a pot shot at the enemy mechs to the East, Rover opens fire with all weapons on the Jenner, someone, probably the Jenner hits the Thug with a stream of AC slugs, the Thug sends a twin PPC response back at it, and the Guillotine and Commando unload everything they have at each other. A stream of SRMs briefly come and go in the corner of your eye past where the Guillotine must be, and erupt among a set of snow-covered parked cars.

Even the troopers on the rooftop open fire, sending missiles screaming at the Spider’s armoured hide.

Turn 7
You have lost initiative this turn.

Initiative Information

1 semi-visible hostile (infantry with partial cover)

5 visible Allies (Orion and Guillotine not visible)
Current Location:

Sector 7, Hex 2619, facing East
Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

The light lance has regrouped. to cover the retreat of the heavily damaged Wasp, 2 on the offensive (Jenner, Commando)

Ally Movement Information

Your lance has regrouped in the killing zone around the museum.

Tactical Assessment

The enemy forces have had almost enough time to send infantry spotters out to high observation points around the area, and if in possession of additional mobile missile platforms will be bringing them into position from wherever they are kept.

Air support, should any exist, should be appearing very soon.

About to turn your attention to a MASC-enhanced run after the Wasp as it retreats under a flag of surrender, you catch sight of Blowtorch jumping back off a rooftop which might be too hot for her.

Luckjaw also blasts his jets, but heads South, perhaps trying to get behind the Commando. The Commando, however, is using its superior speed to snake around behind the madly careening Rover as he churns up snow and bits of pavement in a futile attempt to ram the Jenner, who eludes him effortlessly, and hooks around behind you.

On your scope, you see Mad Dog heading for cover behind the Museum. Sensors show considerable damage to one of his mech’s legs and it has been far, too quiet from those LRM Carrierrs that your scope now shows as having been tagged as Sturmfeur Heavy Tanks (2 turret mounted LRM20s plus defensive weapons) – perhaps the Lieutenant believes another barrage is due?

As you cross into the parkland lining the commercial district your scope registers two airborne contacts coming in fast from the South West at a very low elevation as the pilots hug the ground, ripping up and over the roof tops of the private housing facing that far corner of the park. Your HuD quickly identifies them as Warrior Attack Helicopters.

Opening your priority channel you broadcast “Enemy Lyran choppers!” knowing that will blast across all your units’ bands at full volume overriding any other banter.

At a much more muted and peripheral volume and audio placement, you hear Luckjaw query the unit, “Is anyone tacking care of the Stinger…..”

With the old, comfortable calm that gives you your callsign, wrapped about you like a cloak, you drop your thumb down to the secondary trigger which will fire all 4 Mediums into the savaged rear of the Wasp as it heads deeper into residential territory, hiding under a flag of surrender, but showing no sign of actually surrendering – just escaping.

[-1 Edge to avoid falling]

[Wasp Shot Calculation: 2D6+5+1-2-2-1-1 for 2D6 on 8]  4xML

As the target reticle is settling on the mangled and carbon-streaked rear armour of the fleeing scout mech, the Jenner cuts across your Line of Sight in reverse, and begins a painful-looking torso twist, displacing shards of shrieking shattered metal, to bring its far-side laser pod into firing position. It’s left side pod has been blasted clear away, leaving a gaping hole, sparking wires, and flanges of twisted armour.

Unfazed, you lean into the shot and almost nonchalantly try to bring the flamer online for a quick blast across the Jenner’s cockpit, only to discover the flamer is showing an ‘ammunition warning’ and refuses to fire!

The buzz of the warning brings the memory back – too late – that this mech did not carry a flamer that used vented plasma, but rather carried a store of napalm jelly…

Still focused on the Wasp, you breathe out, and trigger the Mediums before you lose the angle through the snow and streamers of brilliant sunlight… just as the Jenner opens up with its sole remaining medium!

Your four beams lash out to its one. The Jenner pilot must have jerked the trigger as the beam went too high, blasting over your cockpit, but the discharge leaves your eyes squinting and a blob of amorphous green fills them from the laser’s intensity.

You know that one of your shots bored into the Right Rear torso of the Wasp, but are not sure where the others went. A massive discharge of electrical energy from behind the buckled and gaping slag which used to be armour tells you that it wasn’t just armour your laser hit!

Still, the Wasp keeps on moving…

[You have no actions left for a physical attack; otherwise, this situation would allow an attack of opportunity on the Jenner]

To your left, echoing down the canyon-like streets, you hear the roar of many rockets firing as the Sturmfeurs unload more of their deadly cargo… who is the target this time?

You have won Initiative

Turn 8

Initiative Information
2 visible hostiles
0 visible Allies (Spider and Guillotine not visible)
3 hostiles detected (Stinger, Jenner, Commando, Wasp)

2 ICE hostiles detected (SturmFeur1,2)

2 Bogies detected (Warrior 1, 2)
Radio Traffic Continuing

Current Location:

Sector 8,  facing East
Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

The Light Lance is making a fighting withdrawal to the East, probably to regroup later. The reason for the Stinger’s actions elude you.

Sensors indicate a massive detonation and blast of heat similar to the last missile strike near the Warehouse… near Fitz

Ally Movement Information

The Unit has flared outward again, three surround the Commando, BT and MD are under cover, CGR and GH are flanking MD, DB and LJ are flanking RR

The Wasp, after ages of controlled, careful jumps and steady progress at cruising speed, slams up to flank speed and tries to take a hard left at the first intersection. Unable to retain control, the tiny mech’s feet slip out from under it and single arm flailing, it goes down on its Left Side, sliding a good sixty metres, sparking and scraping paint and metal away, before crunching to a jarring stop with a sickening sound.

As it took off, a communication comes in from Luckjaw (complex action) that plays out for the rest of the turn at varying degrees of volume depending on where your attention is focued.

” Sir, we need to let them go… They are bringing us in the opposite direction we wanted to go… Let’s just destroy that Commando and those 2 tanks, and let the other ones go… I smell an ambush big time and we are putting the city inhabitants in dangers, we need to get back on track… there is no one else than me who want them dead, all of them calisse!!!, but not at the cost of our own people!!!, Bring the troop together, or we will get slug out of the park.”

The Jenner, perhaps intending to run interference, and get its autocannon, an AC2 that you get a moment to see very clearly in profile, and its sole remaining medium laser into position to fire on you at the same time, begins an erratic course, but soon abandons it to press close to the Wasp when it starts to skid.

On your scope, you can see your own forces start to mass together and surge implacably toward Police Plaza.

The Warriors look to be preparing for a run on the Guillotine from behind as it starts a slow charge into a firing line with the lead SturmFeur.

Maneuvering through these streets is slightly easier as some of them have been plowed in the last few hours. The pavement is still slippery, but at least you know what you are stepping on. Of course, that also means that somewhere around here is a snowplow…

As you get the gist of Luckjaw’s  impassioned request, you override all transmissions with your command priority channel, and reinforce your order to kill the lights and take out the spotters.

Cars careen out of your way, and a slow moving bus skids into a row of parked cars to get out of your way, as you try to keep the dots on your scope long enough to move into position to ambush the Wasp or the Jenner, seeing the Wasp take its fall, and skid, saprking down the street, and the Jenner’s attempt to run interference, you know your best chance of hitting lies with targetting the Jenner. Coming around the corner of some bland and boring apartment tower surrounded by ridiculous sculptures in ferrocrete and stone, you try to get a clean shot on the rear armour, but have to settle for sending shots into its mangled and sparking left side.

Mad Dog starts a transmission, but his voice fades away as he gets distracted with something else…  “Captain, there are spotters everywhere, we are getting hammered by LRMs…”

Your reticle slides into position. Just 1 more second….

On the open channel the Lyrans were using a voice screams, “Nooooooo!”

The shot is perfect. You take it.

Three of your mediums strike the Jenner. The third passes under the forward thrusting cockpit. Armour explodes of off the underside of the right arm, and a cascade of sparks fly as something melts inside the arm. Two shots bore deep into the gash left where Fitz amputated its Left Arm, and cut through the inner facing of the torso armour and burn through important systems. The autocannon suddenly jerks skyward as its controls go haywire, and black smoke and flame burst from the lateral jump jet, as one of the nozzles fries itself into slag.

The Lyran transmission cuts off like it was sliced with a knife.

Somewhere near the bulk of your force, an immense explosion rattles windows, and sends flashes of light reflecting down the street.

Turn 9

Initiative Information
2 visible hostiles
0 visible Allies
2 hostiles detected (Jenner, Wasp)

2 ICE hostiles detected (SturmFeur1,2)

2 Bogies detected (Warrior 1, 2)

Radio Traffic reduced to 1 signal

Current Location:

Sector 8,  facing North
Terrain: snow covered road

Ally Movement Information

The Unit has formed up around Fitz, and are generally moving NE at a good clip.

Enemy Movement Information

The Light Lance has been stopped, and is turning to fight?

Sensors indicate a detonation and blast of heat between Fitz and Rover, erasing the Commando. A glance out the left side of the cockpit shows a flame-lit cloud reaching skyward and drifting toward you on the stiffening breeze.

One copter is losing altitude, Warrior 1. Trailing smoke

The Wasp must try to rise
The Jenner is down to 1 medium laser, right side, circling the Wasp
The Lyran commander is signalling a desire to talk, he has been trying to reach you for almost 20 seconds according to the call log displayed next to the incoming message alert.

Westerlie is sending this message via encrypted com. It scripts across your HUD:

  • Sector 1 – Medium Lance: Shadowhawk (2D)  GR:1283, Clint (2-4T) GR: 1602, Centurion (??) GR: 1504, Vulcan (5T) GR: 1403
  • Entrenched and waiting – local police clearing the streets, blocking roads, infantry occupying rooftops
  • Relayed from Scarecrow

It’s not every day that you get to see a Thunderbolt jump, and as you move down the slippery streets of Beasville trying to keep track of the Wasp and Jenner, this remains one of those normal days where you do not see it.

On your scope, as you tag the reported locations of the entrenched Lyran Lance in Argent Estates, and share your complete sensor log with the unit, you open a channel to Mad Dog, requesting he tag the locations of all spotters.

Coming out into an open stretch, you catch sight of the Wasp taking a brutal fall, as it tries to stand, and fails.

Trailing smoke, the Jenner circles around, trying to get that right side medium laser into alignment with your position, as Blowtorch descends into a nice spot rougly 120 metres behind it. Th esunlight still glints sharply off the silver and brown mechs, but this time, its glare is working in your favour.

As Blowtorch drops down with the thickening snow into the busier streets of this residential sector, SRMs rocket past her from behind wreathing her in the smoke of their passage before blasting holy hell out of a snow-draped dumpster to her left.

She aligns her mech with the smoking Jenner and lets loose two bolts from her Mediums into its rear, blasting large parts of the autocannon free and onto the street below.

With the Jenner in your sights you can also see the Wasp on its back, trying to reach out to the Jenner…?

Over the open channel you hear a woman’s voice, “You knew?!” but the signal ends abruptly as though the power were switched off. The Probe indicates the signal as originating from the Wasp

At that very instant had come twin blasts at two targets from Fitz. One blazed over BT’s head and blew the front end off the Warrior. The other ripped brutally into the Wasp as it held up its one good arm in vain toward the mangled Jenner. The PPC tore the internal structure of the Centre Torso apart, sending the tiny mech flipping over onto its front toward you like a rag doll. As it hit the scarred pavement the arm tore out of the shoulder joint to roll slowly away.

The pilot does not eject.

As sparks and heat flares fade around the Wasp, you rock the Jenner, with a blaze of fire from your set of four medium lasers. The Jenner shudders, and its torso whips around, getting off a wide shot at you before it collapses in an uncoordinated heap on the ripped up pacing of the avenue.  Its heat signature spikes suddenly!

Your side has WON initiative.

Turn 10.

Snow Increased to Heavy Snow

Heavy Cloud Cover and Strong Winds

NO Glare

As you finish your order for a fighting, northward withdrawal, Mad Dog’s voice comes over the comm in frustration, “These fuckers still aren’t listening, Captain!”

Slowing and reversing the Hermes, you backtrack to close with the crippled Jenner. Smoke is still billowing out from the shredded armour of the scout mech, but while you step cautiously on the slippery terrain, seeking a good position for a kick, the hatch is flung open and the mechwarrior, a man clad only in the traditional shorts and cooling vest of his calling, stumbles out onto the domed surface of his mount’s head.  Wreathed in a cloud of steam produced from the heat differential, he seeks a way down. He seems to be frantically trying to reach the Wasp.

The temperature is well below twenty, but with the wind chill and other factor will have far stronger effects.

The Wasp, lifeless and in pieces, has yet to show any signs of disgorging its pilot.

Blowtorch also closes with the two downed mechs, her heat sinks steaming as she crosses in front of you. Mad Dog touches gently down about 180m to your left, giving you a clear view of the melted mess of useless armour and exposed workings that is the Griffin’s left leg.

As you rapidly check the progress of the tanks, you note that one is reentering the vehicle garage of Police Plaza. Its partner, trailing some smoke and grinding with difficulty through the snow, brings its turret around to track Rover’s jump in your direction as Luckjaw and Death Breath run into position right under him. Fitz seems to be trying to use the woods to get a covered shot into one of the tanks, where Luckjaw seems to be relying on movement and weather.  As the LRM Sturmfeur nears the entrance – your cockpit screams to life with visual and audio alerts confirming a missile lock!

North of you, combat ensues, with your four medium lasers a welcome addition to the energy weapons complements of the heavies against the impossibly thick armored hide of the Sturmfuer.

Keeping cool despite the shrieking of the missile tracking alarm and the long-range shots through the movement patterns of friendly mechs, you trigger your weapons just instants after the others.

Luckjaw rakes 4 medium lasers and a large laser across the side of the tank, while Fitz’s twin PPCs follow-up like silvery-blue hammers into the same area. Although armor melts and runs steaming into the snow like tallow, and blasts off in shreds and fragments, no appreciable dent is made in the tank as it struggles to claw its way with engine revving furiously through the snow. As it comes more clearly into view you can see that the track cowling has been bent downward in two locations on the right side, possibly by Rover’s aerial antics and that the tank has lost mobility.

Your own lasers splash along the front right corner and side of the tank, melting more armor, and sending large smoking gobbets of it down into the tracks where the smoke begins to thicken into an angry fist shaking itself at  the blank sky overhead.

Looking ready to launch kicks – or punches should the Jenner successfully rise – Blowtorch hangs near the abandoned Jenner as the Lyran mech jock, woefully ill-dressed for temperatures your gauges put between -30 and -40, stumbles out of the Jenner’s hatch and carelessly makes the descent down its blackened armor to the street below to head off toward the remains of the Wasp where he is soon lost to sight in swirls of snow and steam.

The Sturmfeur crew, undaunted by the barrage of fire, looses a flight of SRMs at Rover in the Thunderbolt, but once again luck is very much with him as far fewer strike than miss. The rest travel past his mech before scattering wildly across the open ground, exploding against whatever they find… statues, benches, parked vehicles, sign posts… shrapnel and smoke fill the air.

Through the smoke, snow, and flying bits of metal, your mind finally registers what your eye detected long instants earlier in the adrenalized slowness of battle. A flight of 20 LRMs has come ripping out of the bunker into  which the other Sturmfeur has retreated and are angling flatly right at you, arcing shallowly over the Guillotine’s flanged shoulders and curling around to come at you in small clusters of deadly munitions and seething territorial hatred.

Bracketed by the spread of missiles you have nowhere to go, and in a mech this small there is no safe place for any of these missiles to strike…

Settling into the command couch as you were taught in order to better absorb the concussive impact of the missiles it is strangely off-putting when the explosion comes but brings no violent shaking of your mount…  WTF?

Behind you, two floors of corner apartments have had their windows blown out and flaming furniture and bodies rain out the other side ablaze, to plummet the many stories to the frozen ground and concrete below.

Turn 11

You have lost Initiative

The Lyrans are still signalling a request to communicate with their commander.

Sturmfeur 1 is moving toward the vehicle entrance with difficulty – the tank keeps pulling sharply to the right

Sturmfeur 2 is no longer registering on your scopes

Winds have picked up to very high levels and the snow is coming down in sheets at an angle of nearly 45 degrees, but gusting up into chaotic swirls every few seconds. The temperature is pushing down toward -40 or lower.

No other threats are registering on your scopes.

Current Orders: Fighting Withdrawal to Sector 3 Grid Reference 5610.

Kicking the Hermes into a run you rapidly blast past the Spider before BT gets herself into motion. With your attention split between watching the terrain for ice and other dangers, (such as the buses and the fleet of snowplows working in this part of town), and your sensors for any hints of Lyran reinforcements, it is difficult to watch over your wayward flock.

*How can I use my gear?

The Beagle Active Probe is a pleasure to use and more sensibly designed than most sensor panels you have used during your career. While complicated, it is laid out sensibly, and responds quickly. Knowing that MagScans in this area will be next to useless [sensors] and IR only marginally better, you raise the importance level for the motion sensors and lay on a filter to screen out the identifiable ground traffic. 

Known for its ability to sniff out even powered down mechs and identify them, the Probe is limited in range to a radius of less than 150m. Normal mech sensors can barely produce reliable detail scans out to 90m. Tight directional scans in coordination with weapon targeting systems can allow for sensor readings to extend out to standard weapons ranges, but obstacles such as buildings, and large masses of vehicular traffic can make processing readings a fool’s errand. 

In open terrain, under optimal conditions, it is possible to detect and identify a mech out to 1km in the forward arc and 300m in the rearward arc, but terrain and cover can block this easily past 300m. 

As you run forward, scouting out the North exit from this sector of the city, Mad Dog advances in a jump of approximately 150m to set down between two towering apartment complexes, using them as cover versus the threat of reprisals from Police Plaza.

Luckjaw leaps between Rover and the struggling Sturmfeur, while Rover doesn’t seem to be moving at all.

Opening the command channel you order Rover to fall into position.

Echoing your command comes the thick french accent of Luckjaw. “ROVER MOVE TO THE FUCKING COORDINATE NOW, OR I WILL SHOOT YOU MYSELF”

Fitz has pushed a little extra speed out of his mech to gain some distance and be ready to back you up without being out of contention for another round of shots on the Sturmfeur.

So far, nothing new is registering on your scopes that poses a threat.

Opening the channel to the Lyran Commander you state, “This better be good…”

The reply is instant and in a different, and older voice than their last communication.

“This is Oberleutnant Gerber Braun, regional commander. First, my apologies for the unnecessary duplicity of my subordinate 1st Leutnant Aaron Schmidt. May I  know to whom I speak?”

The name seems familiar…

While Oberleutnant Braun (damn his common name!) makes his introduction and you evaluate your response, you are busy with the Probe console. as you try to find the ideal range for the sensor task you are attempting, a sudden need for a course correction to avoid obliterating a child running across the street, requires you to look away for a second. When you return that part of your attention to the display, you notice a new set of tabs has appeared since your mission started, one for each mech you have come near. The tabs are arrayed with the enemy mechs on top. The top name listed is the Wasp. Opening the tab produces a full technical readout of the mech, from internal structure through to armour remaining. Greyed out sections indicate areas damaged during this combat. Of special note about this Wasp was its weapons loadout was unusual: 6 small lasers!

The next tab shows the Jenner, the one after that is the Stinger.

You take all of this in in a heartbeat, but before you can get too distracted the screen reverts to its normal setting and a heat bloom around the damaged Sturmfeur suggests that Fitz and Luckjaw have maintained fire on the tank which has fallen short of its projected maximum distance, and seems to have stopped…. without firing a shot, even though the Guillotine is practically sitting on top of it!

Rover’s mech is just standing there, and no response has been issued to either you or Luckjaw.

As you think about the massive mechwarrior, the source of familiarity grows stronger… something about Braun and an angry, threatening Alexandre seem to go together…. did you hear the name in the museum…?

The final piece of the puzzle clicks into place as Blowtorch’s tiny mech drops down next to the hulking mass of Fitz’s Thug. The curator cited a Lyran officer named Braun when she mentioned having arranged to turn over the mechs… but was it Leutnant or Oberleutnant Braun…?

Initiative:

The sudden withdrawal of the Jump Infantry (filtered information from MD’s sensor data), the LRM Sturmfeur, and the attempted withdrawal (without return fire) of the SRM Sturmfeur strongly suggest an attempt by this Lyran commander to end hostilities in the city.

  • No new threats register on your scope.
  • No new contacts in the region reported by Scarecrow’s team via Westerlie suggests that the medium lance is holding their position
  • The weather is growing too rough for conventional aircraft to be effective
  • The Sturmfeur has shut down – no infantry or police reinforcements are closing on its position

Things you know:

According to data worked out between Westerlie, Scarecrow, and Mad Dog the Marik Secret Desert Base lies directly North of the city, roughly 50km from the coastal highway and no more than 200km from the city limits. The coastal highway essentially runs straight North before jogging East slightly at the start of the Northern Steppes, to angle straight to Hanstanople. The highway is raised 24m (4L) on the seaward side, and a 12m ferrorcrete wall on the landward side offers good cover from the East. Pursuit will essentiall have to come from the rear, or the air. Seaborne assaults will require large guns and produce costly holes in the highway.

Fitz’s research into the surrounding terrain produced a report that states the economic collapse of two years ago left a number of large agro concerns abandoned or in foreclosure to the North East of the city. One of his copious footnotes presented the suggestion that equipment suitable for simple field repairs may be present and easily scrounged. A detour to the East before closing on the base would add a projected 80km to the overall distance, with excellent chances for finding acceptable armor and heat sink patches, potential to uncover fuel for the Hermes’ flamer, coolant, and possibly even wiring. Slim chances exist of discovering industrial mechs or parts for same, suitable for scavenging for other parts such as actuators, gyros, or joint assemblies. The terrain is mostly rolling hills and orchards (light woods) which will slow movement, but allow for stealth and cover. He cites a good probability of encountering a Medium Mech company in this region as a pacification measure and as a recon-in-force unit to prepare the seizure of Shanyu that you now know was launched on Wednesday,  while you were preparing to make the run to Beasville.

A good site for a classic Lance vs Lance battle would be a stretch of park land about 20km north of the city. This park is a preserve for the rate crystal formations which occur near the edges of the desert. Reforestation and soil reclamation around Beasville has driven the desert back almost 100km leaving this crystalline wonderland without natural context, but with added beauty – particularly at high noon, when the sunlight causes rainbow light effects throughout the area. The land is stony and uneven, given to sudden shits in height ranging from (-1L to +3L). This site has a great deal of sentimental value to the locals, and its destruction will not endear loyalists to the party responsible for that destruction.

A better site for battle is the desert itself, and if your crew can reach the secret base in time to reload and refit, it will present the soundest tactical advantages. Open sandy terrain in all directions (now likely deep under snow) with whatever defensive emplacements were set up by the 18th.

Turn 12

The snow is making it difficult for the unit to come together again at the rendezvous point. Your mech is getting harder to balance, so the others in larger mechs must be having a much harder time.

A fall now, could be deadly. The Lyran light mechs… when they fell, they never got up again. Still – the mechs cannot afford the damage, the pilots cannot afford the risk of injury and unconsciousness, and the citizens have even more to lose…

Over the unit’s comm comes and open and chagrined message from Rover, “Sorry, Captain!”

Behind you, as walk in reverse toward the rear of your unruly group, Rover’s mech suddenly comes back to life and jumps in a slow and controlled arc in the direction the rest of the unit is moving, coming down near you.

At the same time, a message comes through in text and speech from Death Breath stating, “Caution! Watch for Private Security Forces” From your first foray into the area moments ago, you can understand his warning. Embassies, corporate holdings and media outlets from outside the League, and the upper-class infrastructure to support that sort of rarefied level of living are spread out all around your chosen rendezvous point. It will work to your advantage in defense against Lyran aggression, but if the unit is not careful, might lead to civilian losses which could come back to haunt you later.

Ahead you see Blowtorch disappearing behind a 14 storey building which you think might be some kind of embassy, or government agency.

As you back toward the heavily scultped and stylized parks which extend along the interchanges, parking lots, and open land which serves as a buffer between the Cultural sector and the rest of the city, you note Luckjaw making a short low jump, maintaining a weapons lock on the crippled and immobile Sturmfeur. Likewise, its turret tracks him – but has not fired.

With the unit under orders to rendezvous in the Northern part of the city, you and he are now the last mechs in the line – farthest from the rendezvous point. Your mech moves more than double the speed of his Guillotine, but there is also Charger and Glass Heart to consider, who have been cut off from the rest of the unit by early compliance with the initial orders and a refusal to break the cruising speed limitation you had set – until now.

Typing furiously with your free hand, you begin a coded message to Mad Dog to let him in on your plan, while you consider what to tell Braun….

“MD.  Here is what I am thinking now.  I will talk to Oberleutenant Braun and get a sense of whether he is still up for a fight.  He may sense he is outmatched and let us go.  If he starts talking battle outside the city, we will suggest coordinates south of the Marik base.  If he knows of the base (likely), he will assume we are going there to reload, and hit us there while we do so.

Our plan could be as follows.  Head north, while radio Westerlie to drop the student lance at the base.  Tell them to expect Lyran lance before we get there.  She should be able to get the lance in place long before the Lyrans show.

-If the Lyrans show early to ambush us

Deliberately, after a long pause, you reply, “This is Captain Rom of the Free Worlds League Planetary defence, Grey Hawk irregulars.  I strongly suggest we continue this action outside the city, but be warned we will meet any duplicity with deadly force.”

Turn 13

Braun replies, “Excellent Captain Rom. May I suggest then that you call off your attack dog, so that I can order my men to stand down? We have ceased fire in good faith, but need not be so restrained.”  You sense an implied threat in his words, indicating that not all of his cards are visible on the table at the moment. What other forces could he have in the area?

As Braun speaks, Luckjaw opens fire with his full range of weapons at the immobile Sturmfeur again – hitting with everything. The effects are negligible in terms of armor penetration to all appearances at your range (outside the range of the BAP).  The designer definitely wanted the tank to be well-protected…  despite the ease with which you and your more experienced troops had in seeking out and exploiting its vulnerabilities.

No one is reporting any contacts or threats.

Mad Dog interjects a note into your hastily typed message to concur with what you have sent him so far, and to ask if it is possible to veer toward the East a bit in order to better meet up with Charger and Glass Heart.

The two heavy pilots are currently passing by the north face of the imposing Police Plaza and are vulnerable to attack should there be any sort of reprisal from the Lyrans.

BT has flagged a building as a potential threat and announced the presence of possible snipers. The building is adjacent to the new rendezvous coordinates.

The lances are converging nicely and should be able to make the rendezvous points and exit the city in a uniform fashion – barring any more heroics from Luckjaw, or surprise attacks by the Lyrans.

Typing furiously to Mad Dog, as you calculate times and distances for your challenge to Braun offering a formal battle to reconvene hostilities in a more genteel fashion at a set of coordinates roughly 75Km south of the suspected location of the Marik Base in 6 hours time – High Noon.

“OK Oberleutnant Braun,  We are under cease-fire, barring any more treachery.  If you still wish to contest these mechs we will suggest a location outside the city.  If not, I’m sure we will have plenty of chances to test each other in the coming months”

Braun simply replies, “Go on.”

“Excellent, We will meet you at these coordinates (sent electronically) at Noon.”

Braun acknowledges the coordinates, and ends communication with, “Until Noon, then.”

Turn 14

You have no visible/mobile enemies

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