Facts of Denebola
Star Type: K0V (slight yellow)
Position in System: 5, Time to Jump Point: 5.00 days
Denebola V: cool and wooded
sprawling capital New Bonn north of Lake Diamond;
main products: logging & farming
compact capital Fallen Star wich has a regional defense post;
main products: fishing
(planetary) capital st.Cameron on the eastern Rhyde Peninsula;
also location of the main spaceport
New Bonn (Denebola), may 3016: switching sides
Wind and rain made the capital of New Bonn look like a city that had just risen from the waves. The few people on the sidewalks fled when they saw the convoy rumbling down the streets. Occasionally some would glance around a corner when they passed and see the Denebola colors painted on their sides. Some of those then even seemed glad.
"Henry, check that crossing", Hamal ordered from his Striker, as he tried to keep an overview of the situation through the view slits. Hunting an unknown raider vehicle lance in an unknown city was tricky even with numerical superiority. He had the numbers, but he wondered if he had the tonnage, and the mission gave them little but command and transportation rights - no salvage and no damage compensation. Why had the captain accepted this? Then again, the League did not seem to like them much at this moment.
Three weeks before at the Warriors base
Deborah and Miriam sat across two radically different people: Ylyana Mosnick who was thin and raven haired and sat still like a coiled spring; Misca Strasser however was a rather big man with thining salt-and-pepper hair and a direct business like style.
"We have got ein problem, Frau Capitain Hansen. The Steiners rule, but they do not protect us, while das League raids us as soon as we have stockpiles. To make things worse is the fact that Denobola is within raiding distance of das verfluchte Combine, and even the Liao's. Twei years ago we even had a Federate raid. This has to stop."
"We discussed asking League. We know Commonwealth cannot hold us if population rebels, but then situation will stay same, only Steiners will raid and League will do nothing", Ylyana interjected.
"So the merchants of both Everwood and Zadipos have agreed to form a defence Gemeinshaft. We tried to have our own defence forces, but they were absorbed by the Steiners before they finished training, so we decided to hire mercs", Misca continued.
Deborah glanced at the proposed contract: a few fairly meagre initial missions with a clause for semi-fixed employment if both sides were satisfied. Riscy, as little stopped the 'Gemeinshaft' from stating that they were not totally happy after they had done the dirty work. Even worse was that their employer was a cooperation without official support of the three barons running the three continents of Denebola, although Mosnick had stressed that both Neurasia and Lyracropis had enough of Steiners lackluster performance. A less than impressive contract... Still it was better then the other offerings. After some more haggling over terms Deborah signed.
Once in a while the yellow light of the local sun stabbed through the clouds between showers and the city even looked a welcome place. But soon after new rain blew in and the hunting continued in grey light and strained nerves.
The Warriors extended lance saw traces of the raiders: warehouses with their doors wrenched open, serious autocannon damage where security personal had tried to mount a defence, and even, once, a wrecked truck with burned-out wares. The two wheeled APCs were in front with open hatches to let Henry and Joab see as much as possible, followed closely by Baraks SRM-Scorpion. Some distance behind were the two Striker and the rear standard Scorpion; that too had an open hatch to give Steve mcLadin the best field of vision.
Joab reversed and drove next to Hamals Striker. He called out: "We really need to spread out a bit more. I'm sure that they're close, but they've been here a couple of days already, so they know what is where."
Hamal silently cursed his vehicle: although they had accurate maps of the city, the Striker lacked any form of decent battle system and the limited space inside the vehicle precluded the use of maps. Some people said that one targetting and tracking system was as good as any other - well, this was one of the differences. He saw how the APCs each took a side street, while the Barak continued strait on in his SRM Scorpion. 'They better find something before it finds us', he thought, yet he knew that their vehicles lacked the sophisticated sensors of the Beagle or a Mongoose to discover ambushes before they were sprang.
Joab sat on top of the machinegun turret of his APC. A vulnerable position to be sure, but to say that the view from inside his vehicle was limited was a small understatement. He saw signals that tracked units had passed here, but the houses and light industry all seemed deserted. 'Pity, directions would have been nice'. He saw a good parallel route, but on a hunch decided to take the next one. He was already turning away when he saw a unexpected movement. "Floor it", he shouted to his driver as he let himself drop inside the turret while he hung on the hatch grip.
The APC surged forwards a few meters, so the 170mm AC/20 auto cannon just blew up a shed behind them, but the short range missiles corrected their flight path and most of them hit. For a second Joab hoped they were clear, but then a sharp snap from the engine compartment told him otherwise and the vehicle lost power immediately. "Out, out, out", he yelled, as he threw the hatch open again and rolled out shortly followed by his driver. Machinegun fire tracked their movement, as they dove for a ditch.
Hamal heard the shots and grabbed the microphone, but then the target lock indicator screamed and he saw missile arc over the building strait for them....
Barak saw missiles flying over his Scorpion, their exhausts bright against the gray sky. He quickly scanned for spotting units. There. A Harasser parked between two flimsy sheds. Targetting - range 300 meters - No Lock. Before he could close in, it sped away into a narrow side street. 'Follow?', he thought, 'no - that is the way to get ambushed'. "Driver first side street on the right and keep it quiet, we're doing a flanking maneuvre.".
Joab and his driver splashed down into a drainage ditch, mere seconds before bullets swept over them. A heavy rumbling sound made Joab peek over the edge while they crawled away in the muddy stream, and he saw a 60 tons Bulldog tank crush their APC. An ugly rebuild, instead of the large laser blister and twin SRM launchers, this model had a crude bulky turret with a huge short barreled cannon and one of the original launchers tacked on a side. Joab was glad his comset was still on his belt as he called in: "AC/20 Bulldog took out our APC, now turning back."
The barrage wasn't as bad as Hamal feared, as most missiles missed the Strikers by meters. 'Rain' he concluded, it cooled down the vehicles, so IR was useless. Then he heard Joabs radio message, and he ordered the attack on the Bulldog or the LRM launcher. Steve turned his Scorpion in a wide muddy field, while the Strikers slowly drove through a narrow alley. Just before Hamal left the main street, he saw their other APC race towards the last position of the Harasser.
"Bulldog is retreating towards - wait - I guess grid 15/F", Joab and the driver tried to keep tabs on the heavy tank running from cover to cover, but they quickly lost ground. They started to chill as their clothes were soaked, but the need to stop another ambush drove them on: the Bulldog had to retreat to something.
"*** a vonLu-", was the last they heard from Henry as the APC-4 was engulfed by SRM and autocannon fire. Barak swallowed, did a quick guess and turned left. 'There's the bastard'. "Fire" and 16 missiles peppered the ancient fusion vehicle and the nearby buildings. To Baraks chagrin the spread was to great to breach any armor. Yet, wait, yes, one of the explosions was strait on a drive wheel, bending the axis and immobilizing it. Baraks driver quickly drove away before the turret could swivel towards them, as the weaponry was clearly still online.
Hamal had the scent. Keeping the vector of the original LRM barrage in his
mind coupled with Joabs information on the Bulldog, and the few things he
remembered from the local maps, he had a clear hunch of where the fourth enemy
vehicle would be. Ordering Steve to continue over uneven ground to stop him
being intercepted by the Harasser, he sneaked their two Strikers through narrow
alleys to surround the position where the other vehicle had to be.
It had clearly detected the groaning engine of the Scorpion as another load of missiles slammed on its front armor and turret. Retaliation was quick, however, as an autocannon shell, and most of the Strikers LRMs and SRMs hit and penetrated its armor and an almost full ammo bin.
After the explosion nothing remained but an undeep crater which quickly was filled with steaming water.
"Shit, we lost him", signalled Joab over the radio, "I think he turned towards you guys, but I don't know which vector". This was inconvenient, and next time his vehicle was destroyed he really should wear thermic underwear and carry some hot coco.
Baraks turned his vehicle to use the next road around the helpless vonLuckner to try to find either the Bulldog or the Harasser. Buildings, industrial machinery, road signs and even the ground exploded as the vonLuckner blasted through several intervening building. Damage was serious and a telephone pole became intimate friends with his right track. For half a second Barak contemplated a duel between his Scorpion and the vonLuckner, then sanity reminded him that the other tank outweighted him three times. They quickly scrambled out before the other could reload.
Steve mcLadin grinned. 'Two down', and he turned his small tank towards the
main road. His
class 5 autocannon was much lighter then the Bulldogs weapons, but he had more
range. So an open field of fire was in his advantage even with his non existing
The Bulldog commander had figured this out too, so when he reached the broad avenue, he was met by a 170mm shell. The SRMs could only target flying debris.
Joab hunkered down under an open shack as he heard Steves signal revert to static. It was poor shelter, but the rain had taken an insistened quality. 'Hot coco', he thought, as he peered out between stacked rusting machinery parts. He reached for a piece of moldy tarpaulin, then frooze.
"Hamal, Eli", he whispered, "a Harasser is creeping up on you. I can read the 'no step' instructions on its side."
"Where are you", Hamal hissed in return, hating the lack of overview, as he tried to remember which sidestreet Joab had gone into, and where he was in relation to that. Eli did not reflect. He climbed out of the hatch, kept his balance vaulting on the wet box turret - 'hm, missile port s4 was damaged' - a hauled himself on a nearby roof.
"Ehh, 150 yards south-south west of where the APC was hit... I think. The hover is going south-south east", Joab guessed.
Eli ignored the streaming rain and tried to find his bearings: the hiss of steam from the destroyed LRM vehicle, the noise of falling debris of the Scorpion, the thick smoke of burning diesel of Joabs APC, and hardly audible, the reverbing sound of a hovers turbine. "Hamal, 7 o clock, 2nd street", as he lightly leaped down on the turret and into the Striker.
Narrow streets, poor visibility, the hovers main strength (high speed), and the ETA of the Bulldog all fell into place. Gone were the doubts as Hamal ordered Eli to stay put and rev his engine as he quickly drove of.
The Harasser came racing towards Eli. The hover closed in to optimum range and let loose a full load of short ranged missiles. It then did a quick turn to flee back again, the Harassers favourite tactic, only to find the end of the street blocked by Hamal. Elis Striker absorbed the impact of the missiles, although its left front tire blew. Their counter fire was less impressive, because the targetting system had had no time for a clean lock, but that would change soon. Missiles were reloaded and the Harasser tried desperately to sneak past Elis Striker. It did more damage and the rear differential was blown to bits, but this time Eli and Hamal had target lock. The paper thin armor of the hover was ripped to pieces and a destroyed hulk ended in a drainage ditch.
Boom, as a barrack exploded, and some missiles from the Bulldog hit Hamals Striker. "Use LRMs", Hamal yelled as he raced away from the Bulldog. Eli tried to comply, but his damaged drive train was not up to the request and the Bulldog closed the distance. "Speed loss, I'm in trouble", Eli yelled back, as a 170mm hit the rear but by a miracle did nothing but remove all armor and the exhaust pipe. That most of his missiles hit was a small condolence.
Hamal turned around and saw to his utter frustration that the turret refused to swivel. 'Not a turret lock, not now', he thought, 'only one option left'. "Ram him", he ordered his driver, as he tightened his safety belts. The Bulldog saw him coming and switched target. The Striker front sloped armor was hit by the auto cannon, but the shell glanced off, and some missiles hit, but non slowed the Striker down. The impact almost broke Hamals ribs as the Strikers nose pierced the Bulldogs shoddy front armor and folded the tanks frame, killing all inside.
The rain continued in silence, as the two remaining Strikers stood there. They had won, but they did not feel as victors.
Deborah plodded through mud and rutted earth towards her HQ - a deserted farm house. All around her mechs, vehicles and supplies stood in the pouring rain with everybody working hard to bring some order in the chaos. Even Micheal was busy - if only with checking if his spare parts were placed near his mech. She looked around in disgust. No shelter or trees within miles and the only thing with a roof was the shed which now doubled as baracks. Slightly downhill an ugly dark spot showed the landing spot of their transport dropship. Accomendation inside the dropship had been bad, but this was worse. The only saving grace was the restaurant unit, just visible through the barns open door. She wished she had time to get something hot, but continued toward her 'HQ'. A small Jeep stood outside.
Inside the farm house one room was C&C, with maps nailed to the wall and a projector fixed to the roof beaming the local situation on a table covered by a more or less white sheet. Lieutenant Goldbau was busy reviewing the little information they had and updating the maps with erasable markers. The only other room had been the ktichen, but was now empty except for table and chairs. Miriam, David, and Ariben sat on one side, while Misca Strasser was removing his rain cloak.
"Who's brilliant idea was it to put us here?" Deborah asked, spending no time for niceties, "We cannot defend this place, we're nowhere near infrastructure, and the -" She was interrupted as Miriam poured her a cup of coffee. Pure Arabica and black as sin.
"Frau Capitain Hansen", Misca made good use of her silence, "we had arranged good quarters near st.Cameron. It hurts to say, but it is now in use by a large League raiding force. Steiner forces have retreated to the defence post near Fallen Star and they tried to get command over your unit invoking the Emergency Act. Even now they are looking for you. That is why we choose this 'place'."
Deborah stared into space for a second and shrugged. "Oke, sorry about that. SitRep?"
"Part of the 5th Lyran Regulars is here, but no more then a mech company and a vehicle battalion", Miriam replied.
"The League has at least twice that, quite possible thrice. Current estimates are half regular forces and half mercenary support. Fairly few infantry units. They seem to be planning to keep the spaceport while they raid Neurasia and Zadipos. The vehicle lance we fought with was probably a vanguard unit", David explained.
Ariben waited till he got a nod from Deborah: "I'm not sure, but I think there is a dropship inbound with Lyran reinforcements. Probably merc. At least they're talking to somebody in space and they use a commercial code."
"What size do you think?", Miriam asked.
"Nothing above a company or two", Deborah concluded, "otherwise they would not be trying to get us." She paused again for thought, "We'll play it both ways. Miriam, you and David and the Flankers can fulfill our obligations with Denebola. Take the Packrats and the Vedettes as vehicle support. Ariben you're base defence. A Demolisher should give raiders a pause. Two of the Scorpions can be your patrol units. I'll take the rest and support the 5th, but first an honour guard is going to pay their last respect to Steve and I have to talk to the doctors about Henry."
"He's alive?" Ariben clearly was surprised.
"Yes, but he's got no legs below the knee and he broke most bones in the rest of his body. When the vonLuckner destroyed his APC the turret was blown off and he was sitting on top of it. He was lucky - in a way."
Deborah ended the meeting and went outside to meet with Joab.
"The mercs paid the ransom, captain", he told her.
"Good. It isn't much but it helps. Keep this quiet though: it was a good idea of Barak and you to negotiate a ransom for not destroying the vonLuckner, but if anybody finds out we'll be sued for contract violation. How did you get them to pay, by the way?"
"Barak en I just walked over with a white flag and told them that we still had two Strikers left and they were frozen. Then we hassled about him destroying our frozen Scorpion and the rest of the neighbourhood, and we arrived at an unofficial payment of a hundred big ones and him leaving the planet."
"Excellent. Now go with Strasser to see if you can find replacement vehicles. Anything with at least 5 tons of armor and a usable main weapon."
She turned towards her Wolverine. At least she would be warm and dry.
Fallen Star (Denebola), may 3016: Neighbours
TO&E after 3rd Denebola mission
Wolverine Aurora captain Deborah Hansen (4/3) -- Grasshopper Vulcano lieutenant Miriam Ami (5/4) Wolverine Horizon cadet Micheal Ironford (5/4) PhoenixHawk Dancer corporal Wanda van Buren (4/4) Interdictor Dwarf corporal Gabriel Balawski (6/4) -- Spider Rusty lieutenant David Everan (6/4) Trebuchet RockyModifications and non-canon designs:
cadet Peter Ronson (6/4)cadet Boris Oblaw (5/4) Flanker 1st-Dan corporal Cato Barasda (4/4) Flanker Jester corporal Galil Elajeh (6/4) -- [no-vehicle] lieutenant Joshua Goldbau (4/4) Scorpion-S -1 cavalier Sheba K'Tangl (6/4) Scorpion-S -2 cavalier Barak Barasda (6/3) Scorpion-S -3 cavalier Simon Petrovski (5/4)-- Demolisher Thunder sergeant Ariben Arbi (5/4) Apc -5 cavalier Misha Shen (5/5) Vedette -1 recruit Renier de Labol (5/5) Vedette -2 recruit Samson Bukatin (6/4) -- Striker -1 cavalier Eli Lwanbak (5/5) Striker -2 cavalier Hamal Gudeon (4/4) Scorpion -1 recruit Steve mcLadin (5/4)-- Ferret -1 cavalier Joab Alison (4/4) Ferret -2 recruit Henry Rawwings (6/5) Packrat -1 cavalier Joshi Mazim (4/4) Packrat -2 cavalier Levi Strauss (5/4) -- Master tech Gerome Malier Senior (weapon) tech Kuzo Mogazaki Senior (mech) tech Imme Smidt Senior (vehicle) tech Earl mcAlister
- Wolverines: replace AC5+ammo by PPC and 2 SHS (no crit and weight change)
- Grasshopper: replace LRM5+ammo by SRM4+ammo (no crit and weight change)
- PhoenixHawk: replace each ML by twin MGs, downgrade MGammo and upgrade armor (0.5)
- Interdictor(75): 3/3, ra:AC/20, rt:SRM6+ammo+jj+2*ACammo, ct:jj, lt:jj, la+h:4 ML, 21shs, 13.5 armor
- Flanker(35): 7/5, ra+h:MG, rt:LL,2jj ct:/MGammo,jj lt:2jj la+h:MG, 10 shs, 4.5 armor