“When two evil guys fight in a duel, the worst of both will be the winner.”
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Atlas
February 24th, 3026 : The Duchy of Horn, Fortress of Horn :
Having spent ten days in preparations for the coming fight, and sifting through their intelligence briefings, the unit deployed to the site chosen for the duel, located near the Barony of Lackmahnia, using their DropShip, the “Relentless” to land near the site. The landing proved hard, damaging their landing struts, but otherwise was without incident.
The field was covered in blowing sands and moderate winds that threatened to obscure advanced firing solutions from the T&T systems, likely affecting ballistic and missile weapons most of all. It also meant stability issues were a likely problem.
The chosen members of the raid moved to the site, lining up to find the remnants of a factory site along the west edge of the battlefield, and a series of slag heaps along the east. Their opponents appeared to be a pair of PXH-1 Phoenix Hawks, an ENF-4R Enforcer, a GRF-1N Griffin, a WVR-6R Wolverine, a Whitworth and a Shadow Hawk.
The Iron Dingoes were represented by “Pitbull” piloting his private secret weapon, a KY2-D-02 Kyudo wielding the Hatchet and salvaged head of a HCT-3F Hatchetman. Accompanying him were “Prince”, “Advocate”, “Templar”, and “Fixer” in their traditional Mechs.
Choosing to use the hills as cover to get closer, the mercenaries moved swiftly over the ground, using their jumpjets to good effect, while exchanging snipes at long range. The Enforcer came under direct fire, with two PPCs from Templar and two LLs from Advocate. In response the Enforcer managed an AC/10 shot on Advocate.
Closing quickly, Fixer managed a LL hit on the closest _P Hawk’s Left Leg, while Pitbull and Advocate managed multiple strikes against the Wolverine. Templar, staying high and un-moving on the far hill, hit the Enforcer three times with PPCs, one of which blew past its CT, to tear apart some of its engine’s heat shielding.
In response, the Wolverine and S Hawk targeted the smaller Kyudo, hitting it with several weapons strikes. The Wolverine kicked the Kyudo, damaging his LA, but in response, Pitbull displayed his personal secret weapon; striking the Wolverine twice with his Hatchet, shattering its LL, causing criticals to its jumpjets, and knocking the unstable Mech over onto its back.
The Wolverine wobbled erect, hitting with a couple shots at Pitbull with its RA weapons, but Templar remained on his high spot over the field, targeting the damaged Wolverine, hitting three times with his PPCs; the LL twice and the LA, all of which tore into the LT, critically striking a jump pet, the SRM and its ammo bins, blowing the entire Mech apart in a rippling series of explosions.
Advocate and Pitbull targeted the closest P Hawk, registering multiple laser strikes all across its armored structure. In response, it fired several laser strikes on Advocate, including a SL strike on his Head. Fixer targeted the advancing Whitworth, hitting with all four of his LLs, directly into its CT, blowing through its armor and internal structure, forcing the Mech to collapse in on itself.
Prince stumbled into a MINEFIELD!, scattered across the hillside. Taking some heavy damage to his legs, he still manged to keep his position, but carefully scanned the surrounding area for more traps.
The remaining Mechs concentrated on the closest and most-exposed Mech, Advocate and his heavily modified FLS-8K Flashman, registering several more strikes. He missed an arm melee strike on the P Hawk, but Pitbull hit twice more with his Hatchet, striking the CT of the Enforcer, and knocking it over onto its left side. The Mech shattered with the impact, and the machine collapsed in a heap of scattered parts.
The enemy unit began to retreat, calling for a cease-fire, but the Dingoes refused, as the duel was “…to the destruction…”; also, as the lead pilot in the S Hawk had proven to be a capable fighter, Pitbull wanted him removed from future fights.
Fixer and Advocate registered several laser strikes on the S Hawk, but it managed to slip back with a couple hits on the advancing Pitbull. Pitbull shot the closest P Hawk, who responded with a couple hits on Advocate. Templar sniped the Griffin for two hits on its CT with his PPCs, and Griffin struck Prince with its PPC in response.
Close in melee strikes involved Advocate kicking the S Hawk, though it remained standing, and the P Hawk counter-punching Advocate.
As the mercenaries continued to retreat, the Iron Dingoes pushed forward, exchanging shots and blows with little to no effect for the next few seconds.
Finally, having closed with the mercenaries, the Shadow Hawk took repeated strikes from the massed weapons of the Advocate and Pitbull, including a strike to the S Hawk’s CT causing a critical strike to its engine heat shielding. Fixer and Prince concentrated multiple laser strikes on the P Hawk, but it managed a LL hit on Pitbull in response. The Griffin got a shot on Prince and the S Hawk managed a single SRM hit on Pitbull’s CT.
Nice and close, Pitbull Hatchet struck the closest P Hawk, striking it firmly in the Head, which destroyed the Mechs entire assembly, killing the pilot with a solid “Kiss”.
The fight was over, and the surviving three pilots retreated from the fight; the Iron Dingoes were successful in winning the duel! They left the field and made their way to the Relentless, and quickly returned to The Duchy of Horn. They settled in for the after-Battle-ROM reports, and were treated to a victory feast by the Baron.
25th of February : The planting of minefields by unknown parties came under scrutiny, with several such fields being identified after close examination of the Battle-ROMs. After examining the footage presented by the scout they had left to observe the field, they had clear holo-footage of technicians from Central Tharn Authority surveying the sites that there had been such devices planted. While their scout had earlier observed them, the command council had not been able to accurately determine why they had been surveying the sites, but it now became obvious they knew about the fields, and were ensuring their condition and locations for their own side’s benefit.
Word came back from the Central Tharn Authority, that they refused to accept the duel as a fair fight, citing the use of mercenaries on both sides as justification for refusal of his bid for Ducal status. Baron Jemmas refused to accept the claims, citing national laws, but tehy wouldn;t budge. Armed with the knowledge of the CTA’s potential cheating, he contacted the various Lords, Barons and Dukes, and called for a meeting of the resource Barons and Dukes to discuss the growing threat of CTA’s continual flaunting of planetary traditions.
Over the next few days, several agreed to meet, and their agents began to flood into the Barony of Horn, though the realms of Lovelace, Crescent, Ostland and Slavia refused to meet. Surprisingly, Lackmahnia appeared, citing disgust at the illegal activities having been placed on its lands, even though the realm typically supported Lovelace in its political activities. Windward, as a Duchy held some degree of esteem among the council, but all were promised an equal seat at the table to voice their opinions.
Word came from the CTA, that marital law had been declared, and that the various resource colonies should begin to arm for war. Eventually they various resource nobles agreed to meet at Horn in open council on the “leap-year-day”, of the 29th of February.
29th of February, 3026 : The gathered nobles met in open council at the Fortress of Horn. The Iron Dingoes discovered that Baron/Duke Jemmas had ensured they might have a voice in the council, by giving them an equal seat, though they could only bring one representative and an assistant to the meeting. The rest of the Council sat by and listened in on the discussions.
The chief evidence was presented again in council, and all gathered agreed that the many issues being represented by the CTA needed addressing; constant quota increases, excessive taxation, and the growing militancy of the Authority were causing problems for all the resource colonies. It was agreed that with or without the support of the hold-outs, they would ensure this problem cease.
The Dingoes attempted to present the concept of a written charter to ensure the resource colonies gain their rights, using the recent efforts to establish The Commonwealth of Nations with which they were a part, but this was rejected, as they all believed that if a person’s word was questionable or doubted, that person obviously didn’t deserve to be in command; planetary traditions against written laws rather than oral traditions were just too strong to overcome.
They did agree, however, that there should be some sort of larger council with Industrial Lords, Resource Barons and the powerful Dukes all sitting in council and determining their planet’s direction, to limit the cultural changes and power that the CTA seemed intent on forcing. Details of this council were discussed, but no one seemed to talk about how they might ensure this change.
Eventually, however, Pitbull and Advocate realized that they were seated as equals with the assembled nobles, and it dawned on them that Baron/Duke Jemmas had given them an opportunity to seize some degree of power here. Pitbull spoke up, and suggested that he and his take the lion’s share of the war risk, in exchange for taking control of the remnants of the Central Tharn Authority as a personal landhold.
Surprisingly, the council seemed to welcome the idea. They agreed to try and talk the Industry Lords_ to stay out of the fight, in exchange for a promise to avoid combat on their landholds. In exchange, the Dingoes, as represented by Pitbull would receive control over the landhold that the CTA presently controlled, though not the industrial efforts of the Mangai; but its people and general resources and infrastructure could be taken as a landhold if the Iron Dingoes fought the mercenaries and whatever other military forces might hold the starport.
Once these off-world forces were removed, if the Dingoes removed any other threats to peace in the region, they might set about establishing themselves as a Duchy, and sit at council among the other nobles. Advocate found the discussions that followed a little difficult to follow, and depended heavily on Lady Siobhan Jemmas to interpret their talk of traditional terms and cultural moors. The council voted, and overwhelmingly agreed to the idea, in principle, and all present vowed their support; which under Gollere law was as good as iron in its promises.
It was decided by the gathered council to make the attack in two days, starting on the 2nd of March. This gave the gathered resource nobles the time to contact the Industry Lords, and keep them out of the conflict, as well as prepare the Dingoes for an assault. The noble’s council broke up, and its membership scattered across the planet to their holdings to prepare.
The Iron Dingoes made plans to deploy the Loup-Garou to find and seize the two CBR-34 Cobra-Class Courier (Gunship)s rumored to be parked at the starport, under the control of The Duchy of Lovelace. Once they were secure, the Dingoes would unleash their AeroFighters to seize air-space over the starport, and then hit the starport with their DropShip fleet, to deploy against any massed defenses at the site. Once defeated, the starport would be seized by the unit’s Line Infantry, and then its reserves, in the form of the 3rd Border Guards Battalion “The Jungle Cats”, would be landed on the “Spearhead”. This would provide the beginnings of their control of the territory, though everyone agreed it would be a long-term proposal.
The fight was planned, and as the unit made ready, it began launching into orbit, while the forces examined their known holos of the starport and intelligence briefings provided by the noble’s council. War.
It was war.