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Mech Battle 16 - An Oldie but a Goodie

Written by BlackPhoenix

Setting at the communications console of the Templar Raider ship the young Star Captain listened to the static of space as he played solitaire in the dimly lit room. It came through but just barely. He stopped playing and listened intently not quite such if there was something there. Then it came again. Yep, that was a voice, very weak but a voice. The young Star Captain adjusted the gain and reception and managed to get the voice to come in.

"Pendragon Headquarters, Pendragon Headquarters or any units available. This is the Kobayashi Maru, 14 hours out of Meridian Prime, we have struck a gravidic mine! Hull has been compromised. We are venting drive plasma. The regulators are gone. Life-support is down to 35 percent. I am the only one left alive. We’re going down on Seti Alpha 5. Please dispatch search and rescue at once.

Our cargo is replacement mechs and medical supplies desperately needed by Orion 1. Request assistance at once. Pendragon headquarters, Pendragon headquarters, or any units available. This is the Kobayashi Maru…"

The message continued to repeat its self. The Star Captain rushed the message to the officer of the watch. Orders were given and the drop ship headed for Seti Alpha 5, but rescue was the last thing on their minds.

The Templar ship Devastator was a raider. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. It prowled the heavy traffic routes of deep space looking for merchant vessels flying unescorted. Disguised to look like just another merchantman would allow them to get close enough to fire on the unsuspecting vessel’s engines. After the craft was disabled pillaging the cargo was no problem. Crews did not want to die in the depths of space alone in the darkness. This privateering supplemented Templar supplies while at the same time depriving the enemy of their much-needed supplies.

Star Captain MechWrecker looked through the ship registry and could not find the name of the distressed ship. This was not unusual with all the transports lost and destroyed and the amount of new ones being built it was no surprise. Still something was vaguely familiar about the name.

Seti Alpha 5 was a ball of green in a dark sky. Over run with vegetation, it was a big jungle. Nothing but plants survived there, with out any animal life at all. This made finding the downed craft simple. A quick life form check showed only one life form on the whole planet.

As the distance closed the sensors showed what was expected. A single ship down on the surface. It had landed on top of the six-layer jungle canopy. The vegetation on this planet was so thick it was possible for heavy mechs to walk on it with little trouble. The drive plasma for the jump engines was being vented out of the engine room of the much smaller ship by a large hole in the port side. This ship had seen some trouble. The plasma covered an area of over three acres and was still venting unchecked. This ship was going no where.

A quick fly over brought no response at all. Sensors showed that the lifeform was located in the main control room, but that was where he should be. Trying to save his dying ship from its forth-coming death. As the Templar Raider dropship "Devastator" came towards the crippled ship for a close in landing the science officer reported that the plasma leak seemed to be contained and the ship was not venting the precious fuel any more. Not unusual more than likely the fuel was gone. No way of telling how long they had that leak.

MechWrecker did not change the landing orders but ordered the men to their mechs now instead of waiting to touch land no reason to take chances. The retro-rockets fired and the big ship started to settle on to the soft green foliage.

As the big ship touched down the cloud of plasma ignited. Sensors screamed from the overload. Thermal cameras were fried. The main view screen shorted out and refused to re-boot, each attempt to re-boot the screen added another warning alarm to the din of noise. As systems recovered the noise slowly quieted with a motion of his hand MechWrecker had the last of the alarms silenced. Damage control reports started to come in, the long-range scanners were out. Their communications dish was damaged but it was repairable. All thermal instruments were toast. They would have to be replaced, they were way beyond repairing this side of a spaceport. No injuries but a lot of headaches from those who saw the flash, but they would get over it. As visual came back up MechWrecker was amazed to see the ship still there. The engine nozzles were melted but the ship some how had managed to stay together in one piece. With a nod of his head the cargo bay hatches started to open. The machines of death hidden inside the large ship started to stir. Then they rose and headed for he ever widening opening at the rear of the massive ship.

The large flare created by the flash fire in the fuel plasma did not go unnoticed. On the lifeless moonlet circling Seta Alpha 5, four sleeping Warhammers saw the bright dot of light burst to life and fade away. Laying on their backs in the shadow of a large over hang. The behemoths were hidden from view. Their life support reduced to minimum they went undetected, until now.

This was Pathfinder Star, the recon-star, they were the first in and the last out of an unknown situation. Star Colonel Stealth had hand selected each man, They were the best, and they knew that no matter what the cost they had to complete the assigned mission. They knew their job and they knew the skills of the others, they would do it.

As the flare faded their great mass strained under the power that filled the circuits. Gyro’s whined as the massive bulk began to rise and the machines righted themselves. Computers called to the pilots as the weapons and life support systems came on line. Weapons connections were checked and rechecked. Then as if planned jets fired into the already burned soil of the moonlet and all four left the small dead rock for the lush green of the planet below.

Star Captain Mechwrecker was standing on the bridge, his uniform barely able to contain the pride welling up in side him. Nova Colonel Targon himself had congratulated the Star Captains actions upon finding the injured ship. It was the Nova Colonel who had told him in front of the crew that he had command of the bridge in his absence and that he had the greatest confidence in his abilities. In command of a ship while only a Star Captain, this had to look good on his record. This could perhaps lead to greater glory, maybe a position at command headquarters. He could only dream.

The small specks of glowing light were ignored at first as incoming meteors. Then their direction changed. This caught the attention of the radar operator at once. He watched the radar screen with intent. There it was, the direction changed again and was headed right for them. He hit the attention button. A light started to blink on the officer of the days console. The officer pushed a button and a mirror of the operators’ screen came into focus. At once the officer saw the threat. He slammed his hand on the alarm button. The young Star Captains heart sank as the sounds of the alarm screamed into his ears.

The Warhammers were coming in at close to terminal velocity. Their feet and legs were glowing red as they touched the thick atmosphere, in their semi-controlled dive to the surface. Winger 1 and Macleod hit the ground less than fifty yards from the raider and started their assault. Missiles contrails and the constant chatter of heavy rapid-fire auto-cannons filled the air even before their feet touched dirt.. The explosions destroyed the ships ability to leave by destroying the ships engines and power generating equipment. Staying on the ground just long enough to lock their missiles they sent missiles on their way and were in the air again, changing attack angles to strafe the hull of the ship with auto-cannon fire. The defenses of the ship were designed for use in deep space. They were useless on the ground. The raider depended on its Mechs for defense on the ground and only 4 were out of their racks. The first volley of Pendragon Missiles had entered the open doors of the mech bay and the massive machines were burning hulks still lock in their transportation racks. The two large Pendragon mechs hit the ground directly in front of the large ship. The enemy command crew could only stare as the Warhammers raised racks of Streak Short-Range Missiles and fired at the bridge. Sixty tubes of fire hit the hull at the same time and set the Templars to the great Tabernacle of Zardoon.

The Pendragon Warhammers with out a thought turned and leapt into the air on their way to assist in their Commander and his wingman.

Star Colonel Stealth was coming in hot, too hot. The heat sensors screamed for his attention. His down view camera was next to useless. The fire and smoke of the burning paint from the Warhammers legs obscured his view almost completely. He still refused to slow down, Morgan his wingman had slowed his descent after pleading into the communicator for a reality check on the construction design of the Pendragon Warhammer. Morgan was steadily losing ground as Stealth continued his plummet. As the atmosphere thickened the Warhammer slowed. As his down view camera cleared below him was the out line of 4 Warhammers headed toward the disabled ship. The enemy mechs were growing in size quickly. Getting closer with every nano-second. Then like a flash from the heavens one of the Hammers had a bright red pennant on top of his head, the sign of the mission commander. With only a minor course correction in his hyper-dive to the surface, Stealth was falling straight at the head of unsuspecting officer. The collision was hard to say the least. The alarms in Stealth’s Warhammer screamed their protest as they stopped with a jerk upon contact before continuing to the ground, The gyros gave their cry of alarm while fighting to keep the 80 tons of fast moving mech in a semi upright position. The Templar mech exploded in a shower of fire and bits of red hot metal. There was not a piece of Templar machine big enough to identify. After the brief interruption in its flight path the Pendragon Warhammer slammed into the foliage. Until you come in contact with plants making 300 kilometers and hour it is hard to imagine how hard flowers can be.

The Templar commander’s wingman was sent out of control by the blast. The pilot was busy trying to regain control. Stealth had staggered forward getting the balance of the large mech stabilized, as the second team of Templar wings started to close ground. At a half crouch Stealth tried to bring his weapons to bear on target, any of his weapons. The lock indicator started to flash, the enemy had lock their weapons. Still coming under control, the though of the full racks of missiles pointed at him filled his mind. As His hammer stood upright, the closest enemy exploded in a hail of sparks and fires. Morgan had finally decided to join the party. His lrm 15 rack still smoking as he hit the ground. Two steps and he was airborne again turning in the air to lock his second rack of missiles on the wingman of the burning Templar metal.

Stealth opened up with his massive AC 20’s. The large slugs started to slam into the Templar pilot as he tried to track Morgan who was passing over him. They made short work of the armor and cut into the circuit’s need to run the mech. Fires flared to life and the alarms started in the enemy’s cockpit. But it was too late. Stealth’s guns found the ammo compartments and the machine exploded.

The last of the enemy machines was closing fast. Morgan was jumping trying to avoid a lock of the enemy’s weapons while his missiles reloaded into the racks. Stealth leapt into the sky to close range. The enemy was climbing into the sky trying for distance to maneuver against missiles. As the Pendragon warriors watched streaks of smoke intercepted the course of the Templar Warhammer and it vaporized. In awe and disbelief they watched. Then through the smoke flew Winger 1 and Macleod. Flying high and aiming low they had targeted the enemy mech. As they fired their missiles headed for the ground on the set course, once clear of their launch rails the targeting system engaged. The missiles hung close to the ground and headed for their programmed target. Then at the last moment arched upward into the lightly armored under-belly of the behemoth. The monster had no chance.

Winger 1 and Macleod touched ground with a thud and targeted on the downed machines, just to be sure. Nothing was moving, they were the only things still breathing. Stealth set the homing beacon to call for a drop ship. Getting onto a planet was easy, getting off required a lot more power than the Warhammer possessed. All four searched the wreckage of the Raider and filled out their reports as they waited. It was hard to come down from a battle and work was the best sedative.

Laying in his bunk in his barracks trying to relax with a little reading, Stealth never heard the door open and the first time he knew he was not alone was when someone coughed. He glanced up and sprang to attention. Before him stood the entire command staff. The Khan Reddragon flanked on the right by DarkWizard, and on the left by BlackPhoenix. This was the first time he had noticed but those 2 never smiled, interesting. Reddragon broke the silence.

"At eases Star Colonel. I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done." The khan extended his hand and Stealth shook it with enthusiasm. "Just where did you get that idea to trap the space raider?" rd asked.

"Sir in the old earth archives Sir" was the reply. The puzzlement on the face of the Khan could be seen.

"Sir I found some old books on military history and early space exploration. " Rd shook his head in agreement. "And well Sir this Captain Kirk is a military Genius." Reddragon seemed to understand. Stealth returned the Khans salute and the Command staff turned as if by mind control and filed out behind the Khan.

Stealth returned to his book while thinking that the Khan had just visited him. Looking around his quarters he commented more to himself that anyone else, "And in this dump." Stealth decided the reading could wait and started to clean his quarters who knows who will stop by again.