Campaign of the Month: June 2014

Battletech : The Farscape Campaign

Episode 21 - Strike the Head

"The attrition among the mercenaries on Dunkelheim was atrocious. The Dingoes were still doing fairly well, but their allies were close to the brink. What was needed was a strike to the head of the enemy to shake things up…"

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————-Phoenix Hawk
Dana (Voice)——————————Hunchback
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk
JP (Pitbull) ——————————-Black Knight
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Crab
Ralph (Wraith)—————————Wolverine
Jay (Advocate)—————————Griffin
Lee (Priest)———————————Valkyrie

Returning to the Citadel with their war booty, the Dingoes assault unit scattered to their various tasks. The technical team along with the Werewolves and most of the command staff that had visited the “Shadow Station” were in need of a serious decon shower and close medical attention. It was quickly identified that they had all been exposed to a curiously chaotic soup of chemicals in their short stay, and required close attendance at the clinic for the next few weeks. Some reacted very badly to the air in the station (Fixer and a few others very badly), but all were expected to recover. Their little friend, Tech LaForte was in need of extreme supervision, and was admitted to the Dingoes Den medical bay for an extended convalescence.

Although suffering from a perfectly hideous cold, Fixer and Glamour got right to work looking over salvage and the extensive listing of captured vehicles and Mech components. The decision was made to break apart the hover tanks, most of the severely damaged Mechs, and scavenge what components they could from the damaged Scorpion Light Tank to bring the Manticore (having suffered only armor and motive damage) back to operational status. The resulting armor lance was entered into the security lance, though it lacked full crews. The remaining Valkyrie was formally granted over to Priest, and the remaining Thunderbolt, Jenner, Vindicator, Archer and Chameleon left in the reserve lists, while complete load-outs were discussed and reserves acquired to effect repairs and modifications.

Also, several members began to add minor modifications to the unit’s T&T systems, planned for in the past, but never having the handful of days it would require to install and modify. Lastly, the value of Needle Laser : “The Hatpin” was discussed, and its potential production for the Dingoes armory was agreed upon.

As the weeks passed and patrols through Hebron continued, it became apparent there was little to no resistance remaining in the Central Sector trying to stop TF29s interest in the region. TF29 Command sent their promised handful (four platoons) of local troops, mostly former members of the Civic Guard, all with basic arms and some passing training in police work. Furthermore, a collection of Baron Sarne’s personal Ranger Battalion were assigned to look after the oil refinery, reminding everyone its value as the only such facility on-planet.

Word reached the command staff about how desperate their merc allies were for repairs. Having salvaged extra parts, the Dingoes approached their allies Veruca’s Visigoths, offering them spare parts and technical assistance to bring them up to par, in exchange for 14.5 tons of combat armor. They readily agreed, and Glamour made several contacts among the techs of the Visigoths, for future work. The remaining mercenaries ( The Black Band, and Bane’s Badgers were in much the same state, though they were not is as desperate a situation. The main military force of Baron Sarne’s Forces were doing much better. Reports held the enemy of The White Death’s Forces were battered, but retreating and consolidating what they had left around the capital.

As the weeks passed, the constant food supply convoys from the Citadel became a common event, led by the assigned Liaison officer, Cornet Troy Barnes, who worked with a mixed company of Light Mechs, Armor and Hover Infantry, to escort nearly a hundred tons of food and medical supplies every few days for local distribution. Although there was some trouble, the Iron Dingoes alleviated the local shortages from their own supply stores, giving 10% of their own stockpiles to the town leadership for further distribution, as well as having their medical teams help-out in their spare time with clinics and at the small hospital in town. What might have been a very difficult month was eased greatly by their efforts, and the town council that had formed accepted and worked well with the Dingoes command staff.

Notable events during the month included;

Glamour : Intending to work on her Mech one morning, discovered her lead Tech, Tech Brandy Wiebe listening to a tirade about something from Tech Marion Ravenwood, a junior tech from one of the salvage squads. Upon spotting Glamour, she turned and accused her of being “… another misbegotten whore of a scavenger…”, before storming off. Glamour remembered that both she and Fixer had a deep philisophical disagreement with her and one other tech nearly a year previously, on the trip from the Marik border to Heroditus. Glamour noted she would investigate the files on this woman and try to figure-out why she was so hateful…

Pitbull : Accused one day of having forced himself upon a local man’s young daughter, the civilian father demanded Paladin, as Major of the Dingoes, either seek punishment for the man, or marry her and “…take her to the stars with them…”. After a few hours of debate, and a medical test to determine she was, indeed with someone’s child, and not willing to risk injury to the baby, Major Ruxbundy called for docking half Pitbull’s pay to be donated to the man for the child (750 Cs), and promised that “…the very bad man…” would be flogged. While Pitbull was later docked pay (though he found 750 Cs in his Mech cockpit a few days later), he was not punished in any other way, though the civilians did not know this. At first, Pitbull did not seem very pleased with the situation, at all…

Advocate : Advocate had a “prophetic” dream, though he never shared it with anyone, and it shook him enough that his abilities suffered for the next month:

“You stand in your Griffin, on a wide flat concrete swath of open nothing. Your DropShips rest before you, and in the sky above, floats the Vagabond. It slowly moves away from you, towards the distant sun, a low-hanging red glaring eye of storms, and you feel it is abandoning you, being chased by three black ravens. In the distance, a wave of blood seems to creep towards you, transforming into a massive tidal wave. The vast wall of water seems to rise above you in your Mech, threatening to swamp the three DropShips and DropShuttle. You strive to try and hold the waters back, and you are able for a time, but eventually the water crests even higher, and it covers everything you hold dear…”

Fixer : In his efforts to acquire supplies for his DVM-3 MiningMech conversions to SalvageMechs, made a secure contact with a supply sergeant in TF29s logistics and supply. In future searches for equipment or supplies from the regimental depot for a 20% reduction in costs, though such items are alsways considered “Salvage quality”, having been deemed surplus to regimental needs.

Wraith : While moving through the Hebron market, avoided a near assassination attempt that forced him to spend a few weeks in the medical bay. While exactly what was on the assassin’s corpse at the time was not determined, but it seemed to make Wraith very pensive for a few weeks. His sister, Tech Mitsuko Kitsune began wearing a sidearm constantly afer this event, and was also noted as being very pensive.

As food shortages continued, it was not surprising that during one particularly large “riot” near month’s end, trouble occurred. During what was at first a normal distribution day at the central supply depot in town, a number of individuals began to agitate for receiving more than their fair share. As the crowd began to get agitated, a pair of mortar shots landed in the middle of the compound, originating from a nearby apartment. The handful of patrol Mechs and hover armor rallied to the site, searching for the shooters, but found only a pair of abandoned tubes on the roof of the large building.

While the majority of the local units were busy trying to find the shooters, a number of military troops rose from the crowd of refugees, and stormed the distribution site, taking the officers present as hostages. The terrorists demanded via bullhorns that “… the mercenary scum leave Dunkelheim…”. In this difficult situation, the Major was contacted back in the medical bay of the “Dingoes’ Den”, and he demanded that casualties be kept at a minimum. Plans to begin negotiations were in the works, when a number of shots rang out from the warehouse where the hostages were being kept. After several minutes of tense waiting and no reply from the terrorists, the warehouse was stormed, revealing numerous dead, including the liaison officer, Cornet Barnes. All had been executed, and white skulls painted across their faces; the mark of White Death’s elite commandos. White Death had noticed the actions of the Iron Dingoes, and was leaving a message…

The last item of note to occur in the month, was the information Advocate had requested of Lieutenant Commander Kristina Schmidt, regarding the mysterious co-ordinates uncovered on the “Shadow Station”. She informed the Dingoes command staff they marked a site on one of the outer gas giant’s L5 points; the position wherein micro-gravity effects are minimized and remains relatively stable between the orbits of a large planet with one (or more) of its moons. LaGrange Points were infamous for becoming the “dust-bunny” spots of a planet’s orbit, collecting debris and even rogue comets over the millenia of their existence, but they also provided a great position for JumpShips to use as pirate points, provided they had intelligence on the locations collected debris. The possibility of sending a recon force with the DropShuttle to the location was discussed, but if the spot was the location of White Death’s missing JumpShips, then he also likely had them well-guarded, and so investigating the location was shelved for the moment, and the Dingoes kept the knowledge about the site to themselves.

As the month drew to a close, Paladin was contacted and ordered to engage in an objective raid into Goldberg. As the forces of White Death had pulled back into the capital and consolidated their hold on that important location, Baron Sarne had decided to bring his superior Mech forces to bear, and break the growing stalemate. With the local regions pacified and watched over by rebel militia loyal to his forces, Sarne planned to flank his combined mercenary Mech forces to the south, in an attempt to encircle the city in a noose, expecting Colonel Death would counter by pulling his reserves and meeting the Mechs along the city borders to stall the maneuver.

In reality, Sarne planned to use the diversion of a battalion of mercenaries moving rapidly along the city’s edge to allow his strongest single force of mercenary Mechs (the Iron Dingoes) to push quickly into the city center, and move against the central military command structures, destroying them and any repair facilities in their vicinity. The hope was the raid would demoralize Colonel White “White Death” remaining pirate allies, and break apart his coalition, destroying his control of any force beyond the core of Dunkelheim’s regular army.

The attack went forward on September 21st, 3017, with the mercenary BattleMechs moving to surround the city of Goldheim. two days later, with the bulk of Colonel White’s reserves in motion from their central garrisons, and heavily engaged in the raid, the Iron Dingoes were let slip and by the night of September 23rd, pushed swiftly past the scattered infantry forces left as picket troops from the 1st Guards Battalion along the north-eastern edge of the capital. They reached the center of the city late at night, and under cover of darkness began their search for the command center (with its distinctive antenna array), the main command barracks, and any repair bays they might find along the way.

Facing them around the brightly lit center of the city, was a pair of Mech lances, and an armored defensive force. The first lance, identified as “Kasparov’s Knights” was a raider lance of allied pirates on picket duty, consisting of an Archer, a Blackjack, a Scorpion (Quad-Mech) and a Dervish. The archer was identified as one of the pair encountered back during the raid on the Citadel when the Dingoes had assaulted the laser towers, and was believed to be piloted by a very skilled pilot. The light lance, a recon element from the White Death Battalion, consisted of an Assassin, a Locust and a pair of Stingers. The armor, an element of the 1st Guards Battalion, consisted of an LRM Carrier, a Striker Light Tnak and a pair of Scorpion Light Tanks. The heavier Mech lance awaited in the concrete ruins to the north, while the light Mech lance held point in the center, and the armor lance waited in the center of the south concrete ruins.

The Iron Dingoes had sent a full company of Mechs, consisting of a hastily (and confusing) reorganized collection of Mechs; Paladin led Ravenheart, Slayer and Stargun along the north edge; Voice led Glamour, Wraith and Boom-Boom along the south; while Pitbull had temporary command over Fixer, Priest and Advocate in the center of the site. They began moving among the buildings of the center of town, some having mounted searchlights, and were spread-out looking for the command center and any other important buildings on their target lists. The Archer and Scorpion moved to the point of the open lit area on the northwest, the Scorpion going hull-down in a ruined building, with the Archer standing just before it. The light Mech lance moved to intercept Paladin’s unit, along the edge of the northern concrete ruins. The Blackjack and Dervish hopped across to flank the armored lance, which advanced through the dark areas in the center of the southwestern region, taking ranged shots with their combined LRM-20s. It quickly became obvious that there would be difficulty with the darkness affecting range and the sighting of weapons.

About 30 seconds into the raid, a vehicle repair bay was identified along the south-east corner, and came under combined fire from both the Assault Lance and the Striker Lance. In the north, Stargun took some LRM fire from the Archer, revealing that it was indeed a very good pilot. Wraith kicked the repair bay into submission and the southern/cetnral lances moved forward. A flare went up, illuminating the area where the enemy Light lance was gathered, and they scattered.

The Locust from the enemy Light lance was forced forward, and took withering fire from Paladin’e lance, forcing it to stagger back into the light with a damaged gyro and its engine shielding cracked. Glamour concentrated fire on the LRM Carrier, and destroyed it with only scattered damage from the enemy armor lance in return. The Dervish and Blackjack moved into a point position east of teh southern concrete ruins. The enemy Light lance began to withdraw across the open area between concrete ruins, moving south.

The Dervish, as the point Mech near the center, was lit-up with searchlights and took scattered fire from the central assault lance. Glamour and Voice quickly moved along the southern edge of the command area, firing as they went, and Glamour immobilized the Striker, forcing its crew to abandon their vehicle. The southern lance identified a second vehicle repair bay and began firing on it. Pitbull also spotted the peculiar antenna array atop a heavy building near the center of the southern concrete ruins, and called in fire on the site with his PPCs at extreme range. This alarmed the Archer, and it and the Scorpion dislodged themselves from the northern ruins, forcing them to move south, slowly advancing through the darkness. Glamour circled behind a Scorpion Light Tank, doing serious damage, and destroying it. The second vehicle repair bay was destroyed. The enemy Light lance gathered around the cmmand center, but seemed unsure of their tasks, with the Assassin taking point and sniping at the Voice’s approaching raider lance.

Paladin’s lance moved into the north-western concrete ruins, sniping at the moving Archer and Scorpion, while they slipped into the area looking for more targets. Voice charged and engaged the Dervish in a “knife-fight” behind the command center, while people continued to snipe at the Archer. Ceasing fire on the command center, everyone began to try and take out the Archer, as it slowly approached the center of the map. Fixer managed to get a lucky shot past its armor, damaging its gyro, though it remained standing. Glamour continued following the last Scorpion tank, and destroyed it. Suddenly Paladin’s unit identified a new repair bay; a large structure loaded with an entire lance of Mechs undergoing repairs, and the swarm of techs and crews hinted the Mechs would be activated very soon…

As Paladin’s unit changed targets to gather around the Mech Repair Bay, firing and tearing into its iron and concrete hide, the Archer took intensive combined fire from Pitbull and Parish, who tore it apart and knocked it savagely to the ground, its Gyro a faltering ruin.

As panic began to set in, everyone opened fire on the first Mech Bay and the Command Center, and for nearly 30 seconds, the structures withstood the intensive damage. As the first Mech Bay blew apart, the Archer pilot tried to stand, failed, tried again, and failed again, finally powering down and staying put. With the fall of their leader, the enemy light lance of Mechs retreated in full rout to the west, its Assassin leading the way. The pristine Scorpion Mech holding point covered the battered Dervish and Blackjack while they slowly retreated, as well. Around the Command center, another vehicle bay, a second Mech Repair Bay and the command barracks were identified, and the Command Center finally was torn into submission with a vicious kick by Voice.

The combined Dingoes fire on the remaining repair bays and the command barracks took less than a half-minute, but the results were final; they had succeeded in both their primary and secondary objectives with scattered damage. Taking the opportunity to collect “battlefield salvage”, the unit scavenged the limbs from the Locust (both arms and legs), and the arms off the Archer, before coring both downed Mechs, to ensure they couldn’t be rebuilt. Taking the severely injured pilot of the Archer hostage, with Pitbull personally leaving his Mech and using his sonic stunner to subdue and secure him for transport. The pilot, Captain Edward Balwin of Kasparov’s Knights was his prisoner. The Dingoes promptly abandoned the field, running swiftly to the north-east and away from the reinforcements moving into the center of the city. The next hour and a half was tense, with the Dingoes pushing past sentry pickets of infantry, but they managed to reach the relative safety of Hebron and its garrison, largely because of the chaos in White Death’s command structure.

That was when Ravenheart’s sensors went wild and noted that several things were happening; points of heat were dropping on the town, implying drop-pods with about two lances of Mechs inbound. Behind them a couple hover lances had dogged them and seemed to be on approach towards the city with what looked like a large force of mechanized hover infantry. The Dingoes had a heap of trouble on the horizon and a possible reversal of their fortunes…

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