Hair of the Dog – Act V Scene 1 – Battle of Beasville – MD

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 Mad Dog

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

CH:L     BT     LJ

Cast of Characters

Hair of the Dog Archive

November 27, 3028

Turn 2

Initiative Information

  • No visible hostiles
  • Current location: Hex 2421 facing Hex 2321 (Guillotine in Hex 2322 facing Hex 2221)
  • Terrain: snow covered road

The angled light of dawn casts twisted shadows across the snow covered ground in front of your mech, disturbed only by a chaotic mess of skidding traffic, and a line of mech tracks as you step free of the reinforced walls of the warehouse and out ontoAnderson 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 Griffin.

Luckjaw forms up to your left in his Guillotine just a moment later. The shadows of your mech cast wide and wickedly aggressive shadows across the snow, and a helpless bus at right angles to the road, T-boned by a garbage truck, to throw his hands up in shock. It would appear that Blowtorch and Cool Hand caused a stir when they stepped out on the street.

No signs of pedestrians are below you, and no traffic is coming from the West, up Anderson Boulevard toward your position so you are clear to follow orders and head in that direction without concern for human life. 240m further down the road, you can make out Cool Hand’s diminutive Hermes turned to faceNorth West (in Hex 1725, facing 3323).

Good Morning Oliver – Your liberators are here.

Griffin GRF-1DS

55 Tons – 5/8/5 – 14 Heat Sinks*Double  (1 LT, 1 LA, 1 RA)

XL Engine (3 crits in R and L Torsos)

Jump Jets (1 CT, 2 LT, 2 RT)

H        9

CT     20

R/LT  20

CTr    7

R/LTr 6

R/LA  14

R/LL  18

Large Pulse Laser  RA (2 crits, heat 10, 2 bonus To Hit, Range 1-3, 4-7, 8-10)

LRM-20                RT (5 crits, heat 6, no ammo)

CASE                   LT

Treading carefully on the treacherous, icy, snow-covered boulevard, with enough hints of ice to keep you alert, you are suddenly alerted to the presence of Jenner and Commando walking in to your left, with a Wasp leaping over the stand of woods marking the southern edge of the museum.

As you try to get a bead on the Jenner, you get readings on one more mech, as it appears and disappears between buildings, running almost directly West, way down past the south end of Reeves avenue bringing the bad news up to 4 light mechs – three of them advancing on your position.

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 you with ill intent.   The Jenner’s stubby laser pods seem to be tracking you, and that centrally-mounted SRM rack – looking much smaller than usual – still seems to be boring a hole right into the broad side of your classically-styled mech. The Commando likewise is bringing weapons to bear and walking with some kind of swagger…?

With your course to the West on a slight southern angle, Blowtorch and Luckjaw heading almost due North, and Cool Hand much farther to the West, you will be pretty much on your own for a few seconds until the Guillotine can be turned around, and Dominic and Tate can clear the Warehouse doors and form up. One second ago, it was a quiet, almost serene snowy dawn – now, you are being ganged up on by three ferocious light mechs!

Your eyes are caught for a moment by a quartet of laser fire arcing from the Hermes far ahead of you toward a target you cannot see… he opened fire on something? Your eyes trying to adjust to the moderate snowfall, you know that you must shift your stance and torso alignment to facilitate aiming your large pulse laser at the Jenner. Torn on where to look, your eyes are suddenly drawn to the rapid discharge of heavy shell casings from the Left Torso of the Jenner as it opens up with a streaming volley of projectiles from an autocannon! What the Hell?!

Your Griffinrocks as the slugs tear into armour and scatter across the proudly purple surface, scoring deep pits and scratches along the top of the right arm where it is cradling the large laser. The cross-hairs quake with the impact on the arm, but you are dropping into the zone now, and can feel your skin come alive with sensation… and the anticipation of the cruel heat of combat.

Combat refresher

Basic Target Number 8

  • Your Movement       -2
  • Target’s Movement  -2
  • MediumRange        -2
  • Moderate Snow       -1
  • Gunnery                +4
  • Pulse                     +2

Final Roll Modifier: -7 + 6 = -1    Succeed on a 9 or better 

1. Rolled 7, miss

Knowing the others will stop fidgeting and start firing any second now, you breathe out and trigger the laser in one smooth motion as you were taught. The surging beam bridges the 180m distance in a fraction of a fraction of a second, but at the last second the beam arcs high, as the Jenner’s two medium lasers blaze across your left leg and the Commando shockingly opens up with its Medium Laser, and its two short range missile racks!  The laser also finds its mark in your mech’s left leg, sending warning light flashing as the armour protection there reports critical heat levels and a widespread loss of protection.

As ten missiles arc your way on dark plumes of oily smoke in the once peaceful winter morning air, you can’t help but wonder if anyone on any world still pays credence to the Ares Conventions.

Only 4 of the missiles slam into your mech. One finds that brutally savaged left leg, the next explodes on the center torso the next follows its leader into the left leg and the last bursts against the already damaged armour of the right arm. The rest of the missile spread rocket on past to burrow into the snow covered street between you and your new ally in the Guillotine, blowing huge holes in the pavement and sending grit and snow high in the air. Two of the missiles, however, blast into the cheap frame of a public bus full of shift workers, blowing the front end to pieces and scattering body parts like a red spray of warning across the new snow.

Your mech rocks under the successive impacts and its gyro cannot automatically compensate for the overpowering wave of data and force which assaults it in the span of time it takes to blink an eye. Although you have been assaulted by just as many shocks and brutalities as your steed, you keep the Griffin firmly on its feet, despite the massive concussions of impacts and energy bolts, despite the snow, and despite the cruelty of three warriors targetting one.

With the snow and smoke swirling around your hammered mech, there is no doubt that war is here, the only question is, how will you acquit yourself in it?

Warning lights have been flashing since fire was first exchanged – showing a level of sophistication for internal sensors that you had no idea had ever existed, but now the critical damage siren goes off indicating a total system failure in the left foot actuator.  [-1 MP: new movement rate 4/6/5; all piloting rolls now with a 1 penalty]. As the mech bucks and leans, trying to find its balance again with the loss of the actuator, you masterfully keep the mech stable and manage to keep from betraying the extent of damage to the mech’s leg with your reactionary adjustments.

This battle just got a lot harder.

With your cockpit wreathed in snow, smoke, and steam, and your concentration on keeping the giant machine upright, you can’ t be sure, but you think the Jenner has been struck by laser fire from somewhere to your right.

A section of the bizarre-looking mech’s left leg has been scored with a black crease of soot and melted armour across the Steiner Fist that was clean and gleaming mere seconds ago.

Turn 3

Initiative Information

  • 3 visible hostiles (Stinger)
  • 1 additional unidentified mech detected
  • 3 Active Allies detected
  • Current Panel: Map Row 2, Column 3
  • Current Location: Hex 1824 facing Hex 1725 (torso twist toward 1825 to fire)
  • Terrain: snow covered road

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

** More information may be forthcoming if there is any kind of fire declaration from LJ before I decide to fully advance things. Your side won initiative for Turn 3, Dominic and Tate will be entering the map (with -1 MP for the turn) also.

[The heat flare up in the Left Leg mentioned earlier was an attempt to more poetically describe how the foot actuator came to be destroyed:  Molten Armour seared through the myomer and burned out a sensor.]

Initiative Information

  • 3 visible hostiles (Jenner, Commando, Wasp)
  • 2 visible Allies (Guillotine, Hermes)
  • 3 Active Allies detected
  • Current Panel: Map Row 2, Column 3
  • Current Location: Hex 1824 facing Hex 1725
  • Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

  • The light lance is turning to the East
  • They might be going for cover behind the Museum
  • The Wasp is Jumping behind the museum
  • The Jenner and Commando are running

Ally Movement Information

  • Cool Hand broadcasts on the Lance Channel: “All Units, form up East”
  • The Orion and Crusader will enter the map this turn

Broadcast from Cool Hand:

“Rendezvous near Sector 2, grid reference 2118”

NOTE:

The map is made out in 3 rows and 4 columns. It contains a total of 12 map panels, using just 4 different maps. As a result, there are many identical hex numbers.

OOOO

OOOO

OOOO

To prevent confusion locations will be referred to this way:  Sector 2, grid reference 2118.  The Sector number will be the map panel. The grid reference is the hex.

Sector Two is this map:

OOOO

OOOO

OOOO

Sector 12 woild be this map:

OOOO

OOOO

OOOO

As your body adjusts to the adrenalin of combat, and the strange sensation of piloting a mech that is so much like your own, but yet – so very different – old habits begin to reassert themselves. Training once again tames the animal inside the man.

Over the comm, Cool Hand states coldly, “Attack the light lance.”  For good or ill, battle has been joined, and you know your friend will not willingly let it go until the enemy is no longer a threat.

Sending out your position and damage status, you fire the jump jets and take theGriffinin a low arc with no rotation to minimize the strain on the blown foot actuator. Landing will still be a bitch, but you are not worried about it if you can land on solid ground. [piloting -2, passed MoS1]. As the jump jets slam you deeper down into the couch, the position reports of the others, including Charger and Glass Heart, as they exit the Warehouse gates, filter past you in a steady stream.

A direct message comes in from Luckjaw and is routed to you in the absence of priority traffic.

“Is getting pummel is your way to target a mech mad dog…?  They are flanking the grennies… Let’s try to get them in sandwich… ”

Roll Information FYI:

Piloting: Mech   Simple Action   TN 7    2D6+6  – 1 light snow  -1 actuator critical

As you bring the Griffin down, keeping the body oriented toward the West, Luckjaw’s Guillotine comes down just to your rear in Grid Reference 2022, facing toward the museum.

Behind you, the Orion and Crusader struggle a bit in the snow the passages of the first 4 mechs have packed and made slippery, but the two men turn their mechs and send them westward toward you along Anderson Boulevard as expected, their torsos are already twisting in hope that they will be able to acquire a target despite their limited range options…. Would taking the Archer have been a better decision?

The enemy Wasp, glittering and fragile-seeming in the orange light of dawn jumps behind the museum, clearing the lake and coming down next to theGuardTower. (Grid Reference 2426)

You lose sight of the Jenner and Commando after you touch down, but they are moving at a run through the light woods bounding the Museum park.

While you are airborne you briefly catch sight of the enemy Stinger as its pilot sends it running at top speed along a road, before running offroad into a small park to hook around in an agile turn and head North. Ahead of it, a tall office tower with a familiar bank logo is wreathed in smoke.

While twisting your torso to the South to acquire a target you notice Blowtorch on your screen touching down about 120m to the North East of your position, between two heavy buildings.

As you track the Wasp with your large pulse laser, you send a reply to Luckjaw, “”Don’t even get me started…”

On its heels, a message coded for you, Blowtorch, and Luckjaw comes from CH:L ordering you to form up as a lance to attack the fast-moving Lyran light mechs.

The lance needs little encouragement even though firing through the screen of moderate snow, directly into the glare of the rising sun is not easy. There is something to be said for the psychological effect of massed fire on a single target, however, regardless of the number of shots which actually hit.

The Hermes, Guillotine, and the Orion all open fire on the tiny scout mech, despite the challenge represented by the range, the speeds involved, and the difficulty in seeing. All miss.

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 continue to track it [aim] in hopes of nailing it next time.

Over a clear frequency that anyone can monitor, snarled with static and interference you think you hear Luckjaw’s distinctive tones insulting and goading the Lyrans… and something about a Penis, but it’s hard to say.

____

You have won Initiative.

Turn 4

Initiative Information

  • 2 visible hostiles (Wasp, Stinger)
  • 5 visible Allies
  • 4 hostiles detected (Stinger, Jenner, Commando, Wasp)
  • 5 Active Allies detected (Spider,Griffin, Guillotine, Orion, Crusader)
  • Current Location: Sector 7, facing West
  • Terrain: snow covered ground

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

As you begin your movement a sharp message goes out over the command channel from CH:L, “Lasers don’t run out of ammunition, people!”

On its heels, 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 brutish-looking Thug, and as Luckjaw is arcing high overhead, threatening to crush both Fitz and Cool Hand beneath his armoured feet, you curve around to face southward. As you turn, Blowtorch touches down in the small park next toPolicePlaza, and the Wasp alights on the roof of what you think you might remember as being some sort of clothing 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 Blowtorch.

As you settle into position, still retaining your aim on the Wasp, Charger and Glass Heart move to either side of you.

“Got your back, Lieutenant!” states Dominic with sincerity over a private channel. It comes in quietly and pitched under the end of the Lyran announcement. Clearly Dominic sees you as being more important than what the Lyrans have to say.

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 walks down the street backwards then settles in against a building to go back to back with CH:L against whatever enemy might present itself. He is just a few scant metres from the Wasp and already raising a massive PPC to erase it from the skyline.

Will the others keep up the attack, or will they pause in reaction to the Lyran broadcast, waiting for CH:L’s reaction?

You cannot help but feel 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 hospital.

As you and several others open fire on the Wasp perched so tantalizingly in the sunlight, a message from Cool Hand ordering all mechs to cease fire begins. His intent is not stated until a full second after you have fired. The message is unencrypted and is on the same open channel as the Lyran commander used.

Grey Hawk Irregulars:  hold your fire.  Commander tell your people to cease fire, and we will gladly meet them north of the city for honorable combat

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

About 120m in front of you, the potent discharge of one of the Thug’s PPCs crackles fiercely as Fitz also seeks to blast the light mech to scrap.

Through the glare and snow and discharge of energies, you can only be certain of one thing, the attacks have torn the right arm off of its mountings and shredded the armour across the right torso, exposing vast swathes of the internal structures lying underneath. The tiny mech rocks in its feet on the concrete rooftop, but does not fall.
A streak of light catches your eye and you guess that Blowtorch has also opened fire, due south, but you are unsure if there is return fire.

You think your sensors are picking up high concentrations of metal on the East side ofPolicePlazabut the heavy construction of the Plaza is playing hob with detection in that direction. Could there be forces massing on the other side of the semi-fortress that the Lyrans have commandeered from the local police?

____________________
Your side has won Initiative.

 

Turn 5

Initiative Information
1 visible hostile (Wasp)
6 visible Allies (Cannot see Spider)

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

2 possible hostiles detected (vehicles?)

Current Location: Sector 7, Hex 2220, facing South
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 (charging BT?)

The Commando is moving North slowly…freeing itself from the building
The Stinger is walkingNorth West

You have “a bad feeling about this

Ally Movement Information

All Mech units are on the board

There was a lot of radio traffic at the time, so I have gone with no message announcing fire, from Mad Dog.

TheGriffinyou are piloting, lacking the years of battle and repair that have given yours so much character, is eerily devoid of creaks, vibrations, and groans as you as you pivot and kick in the jumpjets for another jump. The foot actuator will not react well to a full 150m jump, but there is nothing for it. You know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have to get out of the kill zone you have all been filling for the past few moments.  [Simple]

As you are slammed back into the pilot’s couch, you hear Blowtorch taunt the enemy on the open channel, “Catch me if you can, kokotko!”

Her jump… 240 metres travelled, clearing an 8 storey building [L4] while simultaneously passing between two much, much taller structures that look like government housing. The taller of these, an overbuilt and reinforced monolith of an apartment building standing nearly 30 storeys tall, points like a spear at the angry sky overhead.

You send your own message out to Cool Hand and Fitz, “I have a bad feeling about this.” [simple]

You still have visual contact on the Stinger, and Charger is right behind you in his Orion, but you have pulled a little ahead of the others in your north western movement. The only mechs you cannot see are Fitz’s and Blowtorch’s, but Rover and Luckjaw are actually going in the exactly opposite direction!  Back toward the Wasp’s last known position. [Incidental]

As you conduct a routing check of the sensors you see a vast reading as though a cloud of missiles had begun to rain down somewhere behind you from the heavens… so many they register as a solid object on the scope. [Incidental]

[You have two simple, or 1 complex action remaining]

As you watch the seething cloud of LRMs on your scope descend on the position of the Thunderbolt, a message from Rom comes across the open channel and the Hermes’ external broadcast system, to denounce the cowardice and trickery of the Lyran commander [Acting, simple action], while you note that he has flagged the Wasp as a prime target and sent it out to all of your forces [simple action].

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

As his words crackle with menace and disgust across the airwaves, and roll like amplified thunder toward the park, all of you are witness to what might be considered a miracle. 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, but 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, do 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 a target you assume to be the Wasp which must be visible 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.

The Thunderbolt, smoke from the detonations coiling around it like a jilted but still passionate lover, opens up with three medium lasers fired up Weaving Street toward the NE, and its large laser, which a turn and stretching look out the side window of your canopy shows you has blasted large glowing and glittering fragments of metal 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.

Pietr got him.

You have won Initiative

 

Turn 6

Initiative Information
1 visible hostile (Stinger)
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)

Current Location:

Sector 7, Hex 1719, facing West
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 (Stinger).

Ally Movement Information

Luckjaw and Rover are out of formation, perhaps they have been attempting to cover your retreat with a fighting withdrawal?

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

Moving upJohn Street, parallel to Rover’s mad dash upWeaving StreettowardPolicePlaza, 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.

As you land, somewhat heavily next to the Planetary Exchange, you have a long-range shot at the Jenner. 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 can hear Luckjaw 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.

You and Death Breath calmly report your new targets, flanking CHL as he turns once again to head East, into the glare of the rising sun.

It’s a long and difficult shot, but sometimes where there is a will, there is a way. Always a better pilot than a gunner, it is at times like these that your instructor’s continued harping on “Close Can Get You Killed!” comes back to haunt you, as tension at trying a shot like this at near the effective distance limit of your weapon settles in.

Even though you are a fine gunner… nothing ever satisfies those loud-mouthed sergeants and their, “I am the God of thisGunneryRange!” attitude.

Lining up the shot, putting faith in your training, and in the lost technology in the pulse laser you let off a burst at the Jenner… but it goes high and a little wide. The pilot jinked left at the last second, almost as if they could feel the cross-hairs settle on them…  these are Green mechwarriors?

Around you, combat has erupted suddenly, as Fitz opens up with both of his massive particle cannons, Luckjaw unloads everything he has on something, and is nailed in return, and… Cool Hand and Blowtorch begin blasting troopers on the Police Plaza Roof.

Although reportedly an excellent shot, Fitz misses with one of his twin bolts. The one that missed blasting out windows across the narrow band of parkland fronting the commercial sector your forces are using as cover. The one that hits blasts the Left Arm clean off the Jenner, and in combination with the barrage of laser fire from Rover, rocks the tiny mech almost off its feet.

Turn 7
You have lost initiative this turn.

Initiative Information

2 visible hostiles (Jenner, Wasp)

5 visible Allies (Orion, Crusader not visible)

Current Location:

Sector 7, Hex 2218, facing East
Terrain: snow covered road

Enemy Movement Information

The light lance has regrouped to cover the retreat of the heavily damaged Wasp

Ally Movement Information

The unit has regrouped in the killing zone around the museum.

About to turn your attention southward, you catch sight of Blowtorch jumping back off a rooftop which might be too hot for her, back behind the cover of towering apartments to the North.

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.

As you jump toward cover in the heavily wooded section of park abutting the Warehouse, you are also able to catch sight of Cool Hand’s Hermes running flat out, slipping and sliding, but staying upright as it charges over some store or other, across the long strip of parkland lining the big commercial avenues until you lose sight of him deep in the residential section on the tail of the retreating Wasp. That Hermes can really move.

As you touch down in the trees behind the Warehouse, 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 belatedly identifies them as Warrior Attack Helicopters, and a quick glance out the side window reveals they are decked out in proud Marik Purple and Gold.

“Enemy Lyran choppers!” blasts across all bands at full volume from Rom at the same instant as you make visual contact with the ‘copters.

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

Before the streamers of smoke, steam, and burning paint have stopped trailing the powerfully striding Thug under Fitz’s control, your woundedGriffinis once again in the air and arcing over the Museum compound. Death Breath’s humming, a constant when he is stalking prey and in the school’s battered Trebuchet he cherishes, is absent but his body language as he sends the Assault Mech to close on the Commando cannot be mistaken. In your mind’s ear, you can hear the tuneless humming anyway, but it feels strange for it to be gone.

The attack helicopters rip past you at speed, and are easy to track as you start to curve back toward the snow covered streets, slowly filling and emptying with more and more panicked commuters and shopkeepers. A quick glance at your landing zone catches sight of a dog barking wildly at your mech as it crunches down into the crusty layers of snow and ash thrown about by the missile detonations of moments before. How the black and tan dog survived the explosions and shrapnel is a mystery for another time, but the beast, covered in snow and soot, yields no ground – standing firm and barking for all he’s worth as you shift your attention back to the sky, and the chopper tagged now as Warrior 1.

Of your three potential targets in the glare and snow, it may be the best. Warrior 2 is on a similar angle, although at a slightly higher and more blinding elevation and at a much greater range. The Commando makes three separate tries to rise as you jump, and fails each time. The last attempt ends up sending the mech’s face catapulting cockpit first into the hard earth with an impact that has to have done the pilot some harm. The mech ceases to move at that moment, face down, in a position you know will be hard to hit, even at this close range [-2 for being prone].

If you had to make an assessment, based on the angles of approach, you would have to say that he helicopters are planning to fire into Luckjaw’s rear.

As you size up your targets, you notice a message from Luckjaw has begun broadcasting, but has been cut off by a priority message from Cool Hand:

“Follow orders and disable light mechs and spotters.”

Commando:

2D6+4+2 – 1-1-3-2  for 2D6-1

Warrior 1:

2D6+4+2 – 1-1-3-4 for 2D6-3

Warrior 2:

2D6-7

Linking to Luckjaw to mutter, “Negative,” you begin to track the lead Warrior with your large pulse laser. The targeting system in thisGriffinoperates smoothly, without any of the lag and distortion you take as standard on your own mech. It seems almost too quiet though… as though something were missing…?

As you get a tentative target lock on the Warrior as it side slips to the left and right in some kind of standardized and self-defeating evasive pattern that you have never seen before, you realize what  is missing….  the Command Console isn’t yammering on about the ammo door!

Of course, the red telltales signifying the mangling of the foot assembly and Left Leg go a long way to killing the ebullient mood.

Your reverie is shattered by laser bolts – they must have come from the Orion – blazing past the Warrior you are sighting, and on up into the stratosphere. Is Tate nuts? A long range, tracking shot on an airborne target? The Orion could not make a shot against a fast moving bogie like that in a million years, and “Charger” certainly hasn’t been keeping up on the shooting range.

Beyond him, Glass Heart is maintaining his distance, flanking you in an almost text book demonstration of control and range… but to the exclusion of covering any of the others…

Fitz is out on his own holding the centre of the formation, begging to get pasted by a missile launch, Luckjaw is way out on the edge, who knows where Blowtorch is exactly, and on your scope Rover looks to be pinned down with a backstabber right on his six!

As these thoughts float to the surface, sensors indicate the release of another massive cloud of LRMs…

Where is the spotter?

Who is the target?

You can hear the missile strike hammer down on and around Fitz’s mech in a wave of missile after missile, shattering glass and blowing massive hunks of concrete out of the building next to the Thug, shattering the street, and detonating endlessly across the armoured surfaces of the mech.

Your side has won Initiative

Turn 8

Initiative Information
0 visible hostiles
2 visible Allies (Griffin, Spider, Hermes not visible)
3 hostiles detected (Jenner, Commando, Wasp)

2 ICE hostiles detected (SturmFeur1,2)

2 Bogies detected (Warrior 1, 2)

Current Location:

Sector 7,  facing North
Terrain: snow covered woods

Enemy Movement Information

The Light Lance is making a fighting withdrawal to the East. Contact with the Stinger is lost

Ally Movement Information

The unit has flared into an expanding circle formation, no one is protecting the Orion and Crusader, Rover is charging around out of control, Blowtorch and you are behind cover, and Rom is chasing after the Wasp and Jenner by himself.

Foregoing the shot on the Commando, you keep your sights firmly on Warrior 1 as it rises up to clear any obstructions between itself and its intended target. The autocannon mount under the nose is probing…  are the side-mounted SRM packs arming too? Opening the channel to Rom and Fitz, you start your explanation about the large numbers of spotters and the value of concentrated fire on the Sturmfeur’s but have to break off speaking as the Warrior suddenly jukes to a higher altitude with a neck breaking maneuver. (Evasion)

For all the vaunted ability of this mech’s vaunted Pulse Laser technology, so far it seems like you have not hit a single thing you have targetted. With the clock ticking and the Lyrans holding all the cards, the time for missing is over…

“Nooooooooo!” comes across the open channel used by the Lyrans suddenly, and then cuts out. It was not a voice you recognize. Squeezing down on the the trigger, holding the reticle just behind where you would in yourGriffin, you fire your main… your only gun.

You hit!

The timed bolts of your laser burn up the side and across the back of the Warrior as it fires its AC2, doing only cosmetic damage to the armour, but blowing something off the rotor housing, and dispersing like a rainbow as the beams splash through the madly whirling counter rotating twin rotors. In seconds, dark smoke begins to claw its way out of the assembly.

The craft is still airborne, but its speed and altitude drops markedly.

Out of the corner of your eye you are aware of a massive exchange of fire around the Commando, followed by a ground shaking detonation!

 

Your side has WON initiative.

Turn 9

Initiative Information
0 visible hostiles
5 visible Allies (Rover obscured by smoke, CHL screened by buildings)
2 hostiles detected (Jenner, Wasp)

2 ICE hostiles detected (SturmFeur1,2)

2 Bogies detected (Warrior 1, 2)
Current Location:

Sector 7,  facing NE
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?

One copter is losing altitude fast, Warrior 1.

It’s not every day that you get to see a Thunderbolt jump.

Rover’s aggression on the battlefield, first charging the Wasp, then chasing after the Jenner, then the Commando, and now going after the missile carriers, has no rhyme no reason… It just seems like fury, …or fear.  Attempting a DFA in these weather conditions, under the guns of the Elite Infantry in place on the roof of Police Plaza, and who knows what else set up to guard the Sturmfeurs, is pure madness.

Leaping after him in the very responsive and agileGriffin, adds yet another layer to the spectacle of a jumping Thunderbolt. It is not a graceful machine, it is brutal. So too is the blast of plasma which sends it hurtling forward, and so too is the slow and powerful-looking adjustment of its posture as it prepares to crunch down on the tank, slamming both legs down like meat hammers in a butcher shop. Hanging in the air, it is like watching an accident about to occur with no way to interfere.

Calling after him, you shout, “Rover!” in a voice that demands attention, but is not answered.

You receive a message during your tirade to Rover. It is a priority message from Cool Hand, which simply says: “Tag all Spotter locations.”

With all eyes on the Thunderbolt as your unit converges from different directions on the Plaza, the sight of proud Marik colours passing under and over it almost goes unrecognized. Death Breath’s Thug charges across the open parkland and on into the residential district, trying to keep a bead on the remaining mechs in the light lance. Blowtorch’s Spider arcs up and over the Plaza and deep among the apartments and skyscrapers, trying to form up with the Hermes. YourGriffinpresses ever closer and sets down in the wooded parkland screening the West side of the Plaza, showing the grievous injury to its leg as little as possible.

With such a surfeit of choice, you could perhaps forgive the Infantry for hesitating, or being uncertain where to fire, but without hesitation their missile squads open up on Rover with their LRM launchers. Explosions erupt across the Thunderbolt’s torso and upper legs, but this is not the worst of it.

As you blast him further, enquiring if he had not heard the Captain’s orders, you recognize something horrifying… the Sturmfeur on which he is attempting to leap, is not an LRM carrier.

Blanketing the area in sudden smoke and fire, the Sturmfeur unleashes hell in the form of a sustained barrage from its machine guns, as well as letting go with its full complement of SRMs at point blank range.

In training, the maimed old veterans they keep around to scare and keep the young men in line always used to say that the best way to defend against a DFA was to destroy the incoming mech in the air.

It would seem that the Lyrans take that old saying very seriously.

Lacking clear targets and deep into your harangue of Rover, you do not fire, and are not fired upon, although you catch sight of a shocked face peering at you through the armour-glass in a stairwell of the Plaza.

As you casually note the positions of the suspected Medium lance, and insert the current position of the infantry on the Plaza roof, you see the second Warrior, the Wasp, and the Jenner all release spikes in their heat signatures.

A woman’s voice comes over the open channel, thick with emotion. “You knew!?” is all she has a chance to say before the signal dies.

The dots  representing the Wasp and Warrior wink out.

Luckjaw unloads his full complement of lasers from behind you  – probably targeting the Sturmfeur to give some kind of cover to Pietr.

Missile after missile and bullet after bullet tear into the armour of the Thunderbolt, cloaking the mech in smoke and sparks, until it drops from your view behind the Plaza.

For his part, your scope shows that the Thunderbolt comes down right on target, but is significantly damaged.

Your side has WON initiative.

Turn 10. 

Snow Increased to Heavy Snow

Heavy Cloud Cover and Strong Winds

NO Glare

Keeping an eye on the Jump Infantry behind you as they occupy your former position in the park, you grit out a message to the CH:L, “These fuckers still aren’t listening, Captain!” Hopefully his order for a fighting northward withdrawal, coming in as you send yours out, will get the force working together again.

Jumping from the trees near the Plaza into the highly landscaped embrace of the nearby residential sector, you see Cool Hand slowing and reversing the Hermes. He is backtracking to close with the crippled Jenner. Smoke is still billowing out from the shredded armour of the scout mech, but while he steps 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.

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

Blowtorch also closes with the two downed mechs, her heat sinks steaming as she nears them. You set down carefully about 180m from them.

Rover, Death Breath, and Luckjaw are still in the vicinity of the tanks, North of your position. If your scope is right, Fitz has sought cover behind a wooded stretch of park, but should still be able to strike at the damaged Sturmfeur, while Rover and Luckjaw are out in the open and under the guns of both heavy tanks.

Pivoting your torso you let loose a pulsating stream of high-energy death at the jump infantry as they take over your recently vacated position in the woods attached toPolicePlaza. [2D6 -3]

Cutting through the heavy snow which mars visibility, your bolts shred trees and cause an avalanche of bark, trapped snow, and branches. In the explosion of wood chips, snow, and smoke, it is impossible to see what sort of effect your attack has.

Their reply is an LRM barrage on your position which falls short, exploding in a parking lot instead of against your vulnerable mech. The exploding cars throw up a thin screen of smoke which you know will dissipate all too soon.

During your exchange, through the armored skin of your mech you hear a heavy volume of laser and missile fire being exchanged and can only assume your allies are venting their frustrations on the Sturmfeur, which is no doubt venting its own on the Thunderbolt.

Turn 11

Your side has lost Initiative

The Lyran commander is signalling a request to speak with the Marik 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. Training tells you that any step could bring you into contact with Black Ice.

No other threats are registering on your scopes.

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

Kicking the Hermes into a run but signalling the rest of you to keep speeds low, Rom rapidly blasts past the Spider before BT gets herself into motion. Unable to risk exposing youself to the potentially mech-killing armament of the Sturmfeur, you prepare to jump to cover between two towering apartment complexes, while scouring your sensors for any hints of Lyran reinforcements.

*How can I use my gear?

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 set the visual scanning controls for rapid zooming.

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 CHL runs forward, scouting out the North exit from this sector of the city, you advance in a jump of approximately 150m to set down under the watchful eyes of the tenants of the apartment complexes.

Will using them as cover get more people killed?

With all of these windows and with Lyran troops potentially billeted anywhere in Beasville, how will it be possible for you to escape the city without being tagged by more spotters?

As you touch down lightly in a swirl of snow, and to the great and visible consternation of a huge snowplow’s driver, you note that Luckjaw leaps between Rover and the struggling Sturmfeur, while Rover doesn’t seem to be moving at all.

On the command channel you hear Rom order Rover to fall into position. Immediately after the thick French accent of Luckjaw insists “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 CHL 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.

Replying on the Lyran channel to the Lyran Commander Rom states, “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?”

At the mention of his name, you suddenly remember that in the museum, the curator mentioned an Oberleutnant Braun in conjunction with her planned surrender of these mechs today at 8am…

As you listen to the exchange between Rom and Braun, you hear the discharge of mech weapons and can separate the sound of a heavy laser (Luckjaw?) some medium lasers, and the unmistakable discharge of PPCs.

On your scope, the computer’s attempt to estimate the unknown armour factor of the Sturmfeur is not faring too well, with a suggested status of Green, but it does indicate a heat bloom on the ride side that your experience tells you is probably the result of damage to its motive system…  friction heat, or perhaps burning lubricant…

After the brief exchange of fire, the tank comes to a sudden halt, and a more significant burst of heat is indicated on your scope.

Rover’s mech is also displaying a high amount of heat, and the much more accurate rendering of its condition indicates a status of yellow, but more importantly shows some damage to the head.

It is possible that he has been knocked cold, or at least has been stunned.
Initiative:

The sudden withdrawal of the Jump Infantry, 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 sensor contacts in the Argent Estates region reported CH:L suggest that the medium lance reported there must be holding 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

As you ready your wounded mount for another leap across the iced and dangerous streets of Beasville – keeping pace with Fitz as he closes in on the rendezvous point, you believe your external mics pick up the distinct sound of… metal on metal…  Did Luckjaw stomp on that tank AFTER he killed its engine?!

Turn 12

The snow is making it difficult for the unit to come together again at the rendezvous point. Your mech is reporting increased resources being devoted to mimicking your sense of balance, so the others of lesser skill in larger mechs must be having a much, much harder time…. there is something graceful in the way that  Fitz is making his Assault mech navigate the streets though, and it catches your eye. Even though the whole design of the Thug screams brutish power, the lumbering you would expect of mech that shape with those rear-canted knees, and huge arms is being transformed into a dexterous stalking motion that almost captures Fitz’s comfort and ease of motion in the boxing ring.

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

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

Checking on progress, Rom starts a long walk in reverse toward the rear of your unruly group, as Rover’s mech suddenly comes back to life and jumps near yours in a slow and controlled arc in the direction the rest of the unit is moving, coming down behind your position.

At the same time, a message comes through in text and speech from Death Breath stating, “Caution! Watch for Private Security Forces” Looking around, 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 the chosen rendezvous point.

Ahead you see Blowtorch leaping over a 14-storey building which you think might be some kind of government agency, before you lose sight of her behind a huge and ritzy-looking apartment complex.

As you jump toward the rendezvous point, 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, Rom and he are now the last mechs in the line – farthest from the rendezvous point. Even your damaged mech can move faster than 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 Rom had set – until now. They now have to struggle to catch up. Not the best reward for actually following the plan.

As you wait long, long seconds for Rom’s reply to the Lyran commander, you begin to get a hastily typed text-based message from the Captain, concerning his next plan….

“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…[more next turn]

As you read, you hear him speaking over the open channel deliberately, “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 that he is implying that he has other forces  in the area, which are not immediately obvious.

As Braun speaks, Luckjaw opens fire with his full range of weapons at the immobile Sturmfeur again – hitting with everything. The effects of the beam weapons are impressive, and armour melts, boils and steams away from the immobile tank, but… the beams do not appear to have penetrated.  The designer definitely wanted the tank to be well-protected…  despite the ease with which Rom, LJ and Rover had in seeking out and exploiting its vulnerabilities.

No one is reporting any contacts or threats, and you interject your type-written question concerning a general veering to the East to more easily hook up with the lagging heavy mechs piloted by Tate and Dominic.

You get a signal from Sal requesting communication, and reply, “Mad Dog here”

Sal responds, “The Jump Troopers are in the LRT, Sir – they can beat us to the edge of the city.”

At the same time he sends a data dump containing weather and map info which indicates the storm front will weaken in two hours’ time, then hit even harder from the North. He feels confident that the Lyrans will not be able to field conventional aircraft of any type, North of Beasville.

OOC:  LRT = Light Rail Transport, Beasville’s bland subway system.

Across your screen, Ch:L’s message continues to churn out in stops and starts as he swings his Hermes around to face his direction of travel, and continues to communicate with Braun. From the sound of his voice, he is cooking up a plan.

“[Continued from Previous Turn]…the student lance reverses the ambush.  We then arrive to help mop up, or support if needed.
-If the Lyrans don’t arrive early, we start quick reloading and repair while the Students defend.
-if the Lyrans show at the challenge location without ambush, we send the student lance anyway.  We will tell them its only to defend us until we reload, but if its just one medium lance, we will let the students fight the entire battle.  The mech selection will surprise Braun, and the students will get some experience.  We will stay out of the fight unless it looks like the tide is turning against the students or if more than one lance shows.”

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. It is almost as if Luckjaw believes he has to protect everybody…

Cool Hand offers a challenge to Braun offering a formal challenge to reconvene hostilities in a more genteel fashion at a set of coordinates your memory indicates is roughly 50Km south of the suspected location of the Marik Base in 5 hours time.

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

Turn 14

You have no visible/mobile enemies

You respond to Sal, “Good work, I’ll let the lance leaders know what you told me as soon as I can. Keep your people together, stay on Deathbreath, and keep an eye out.”

Responding to CH by text, “Sounds good! By the way, well played with Braun, Captain…”

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