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Mech Battle 8 - Honor

Written by BlackPhoenix

As dawn finally came to Galuzza, the vastness of the forests came into view. An unspoiled world, trees and brush spread in all directions for as far as the eye could see. Tall towering trees that resembled the redwoods of old earth. They covered every unattended spot on the planet. The massive under ground lakes and rivers provided the sustenance of life. This along with the rich fertal like soil was perfect for fauna. Ghost Bear clan had set up a small supply depot here. Just clearing enough space for the necessary buildings and landing platform for the re-supply ships. This was a warehouse plain and simple. Being just a warehouse and of no strategic value, Ghost Bears had sent personnel to man it that were not the prime first line troops. The men stationed here were older pilots that had lost their edge, and new recruits that were lacking experience.

This is why when the first Comstar ships dropped their deadly cargo into the deep forest it came as a complete surprise. The Ghost Bear forces were not prepared for this, besides this was nowhere near the front lines what could they possibly want.

The Comstar veterans were met with unsuspected resistance. The rookies and old vets made a good job of delaying. They used the trees natural cover and made the Comstar TimberWolves pay dearly for every step. Jetting from tree to tree the old men and boys laid down surppressing fire that would have been the envy of any battlefield commander. But they knew they could not hold long with out help.

Star Captain Sephiroth along with cadet trainer Jackal were on their way back from a training seminar when the call came in. They altered course at once and headed for the small planet, making sure they came in fast and as low as possible. Just skimming the trees and dropping hard on to the small landing pad. The starboard landing gear collapsed when they hit and Jackal scrambled out to the tarmac. Sephiroth fired the transmitter beacon from its housing, and watched as it left the planet for orbit. This would send its pre-recorded massage to Clan headquarters. He then followed Jackal.

The enemy had pushed to with in 3 kilometers of the main gate and fighting was intense. The two Pendragon pilots ran to the mech yard and right past the guards who made little effort to stop them. Jackal was in a Timberwolf and moving before Sep got the engines started. The comlink was full of Jackals voice giving orders to form into hunter-killer teams of three and concentrate fire on a single mech at a time. The inexperienced pilots slowly started to obey orders and fall into action behind Jackal, the old man knew his stuff. (Never face an old dog in the woods.) Jackal told Sep to take 2 men and not to let anything into the compound. Sep agreed and took the first two men he saw and entered the compound securing the heavy steel gates behind him. From the top of the wall Sep could see that the tide was turning. The initial surprise had been overcome and organization was coming to the battlefield. The teams were working, three pilots would lock onto the same target until he was destroyed. Comstar always did work as individuals and teamwork was their weakness. But the attack had already done so much damage that it was doubtful that even with their help Ghost Bear would be able to hold. They had lost a lot of men and machines already. Sephiroth could tell that these were crack troops they were up against, not just a hit and run operation. This was not a chance attack, and there was a reason. Then something caught his eye. Out on the rear of the Comstar lines he saw a large Direwolf with a pennant. He hit the switch to magnify the front screen. It zoomed in, damn, that was the pennant of the Comstar Leader. These were his personal guard. No wonder they fought so hard. There was no chance. These troops would die before they failed. Scanning the fielded Sep saw Jack take a hit, one of the Timberwolfs legs was dragging and he had to use his Jump Jets to find cover something had to be done. They were losing.

Sephiroth told the men with him to stay here and let no one pass, then headed for the back wall. He used his lasers to cut a hole big enough for his Timberwolf to go through. He headed out from the base to clear himself from enemy radar. After 3 kilometers he swung the fast moving mech north and headed toward the enemies flanks. Turning off his transponder, he crossed the enemy lines. To the left a lone enemy stormcrow sat as a sentry. But his attention was focused on the battle below and not on his job. Sephiroth was less than 10 meters away when the machine started to turn. It only took one burst from the Ac 20’s to eat through the cockpit and destroy the mech. Sep kept the machine moving, hoping that no one was paying attention to this sector. Quickly the Command Direwolf of the Comstar Leader came into view. Sep slowed speed and approached from the side. Still no sign that he had been seen. Sep set the parameters of the Timberwolf so that as it walked one leg failed to actuate fully, this gave the impression that it had sustained damage and was headed back for repair. As the trees became thinner Sep could see that in front of the Dire stood two massive Warhammers. The personal guard of the leader. Launching in to the air on his jump jets, Sep took aim on the command mech. At a height of 200 meters with the distance closing fast Sephiroth fires all 3 racks of missiles. (Go high aim low). The messengers of death close the yardage quickly, exploding on the back of the 100-ton monster. As the last one contacted the machine, Sep’s twinned AC 20’s began to chatter. The heavy depleted uranium slugs chewing through the armor like termites through wood, of course these termites were moving at 1750 feet per second. As the ammunition for the AC’s was expended the Timberwolf crashed into the damaged area of the Direwolfs head. This concussion was too much for the big machine to take and it exploded into a tower of fire and sparks. Pieces of white hot metal screamed into underside of Sephiroths machine and he fought for control. The explosion propelled him upward and backward with such force that he barely had any control. The Timberwolf hit the ground hard and fell over backwards. When his head cleared, Sep looked out the window and saw the big Warhammers closing quickly on his now useless TW. He was mentally preparing hisself for the inevitable when they spun around and started launching their missiles. Blood was starting to obscure his vision, his injuries must be worse then he first thought. He was trying to cut his self-free as a Warhammer dropped to the ground with a ground-shaking announcement. Sep looked up believing that the end had come. The big machine was not firing. Then the crest on the big machines chest caught his attention. It was a PENDRAGON crest. The hammer pilot had the skills of a surgeon as it ripped away the charred remains of what had once been a Timberwolf. The big mech picked Seps injured body up and jumped into the air. The cold wind in his face felt good. Shock was setting in as the machine landed like a feather in the medical area. The damage looked worse than it was, superficial cuts and a lot of bruises but nothing that wouldn’t heal. Jackal came in limping a little but trying not to show it and shook his hand.

‘Good job Sir, you did fine."

Sep smiled and drifted to sleep. Maybe he did.

The Court Martial

The trouble on Galuzza had managed to become a major incident. Comstar was saying that they had been provoked. That this was a strike of retaliation. And that Pendragon had no authority to help or assist in any way in that quadrant. The murder of their Leader was an act of pure terrorism and the guilty parties must be called into account. Sephiroth stood with Jackal before the high command at the hall of honor to answer these charges. All officers of the rank of Nova Captain and above were commanded to attend.

As the court was called to order Sephiroth stepped forward and spoke.

"SIRS, I was the highest-ranking officer present at the alleged incident. Anything done was done on my orders and I accept full responsibility for the actions of my self or the men under my command, SIRS."

Reddragon looked at Sep and said.

"We would expect nothing else, Jackal you are dismissed."

Jackal started to speak but Sep leaned close and said.

"Let me do this Jack."

Jack saluted and left the room. Reddragon rose to his feet and crossed to stand in front of Sep.

"Star Captain Sephiroth you are charged with interference in domestic problems, assault on non-aggressive forces, and murder of the Comstar Leader. How do you plead?"

Looking straight ahead and never flinching he answered.

"To the charge of interference, sir, Ghost Bears sent out a general distress call sir and we responded. NOT GUILTY SIR! To the charge of assault sir, they attacked first sir. NOT GUILTY! To the charge of murder, war is not murder SIR. NOT GUILTY! Sir I will let the record stand for its self, SIR."

Reddragon returned to the table and sat facing the defendant.

"Star Captain you will await our decision in the ante room, dismissed."

Sep saluted and turned on his heel and marched out of the room to wait. The room was quiet as a tomb, breathing was the only sound.

RD broke the silence.

"What do we do. Comstar said that if this was not handled by us they would issue an order for the boys death."

Self-mumbling was heard and Rd was sure he knew how they felt about Comstars orders. Nightowl offered the first suggestion.

"Send him to some remote place until the smoke clears and he cools off."

"Banish him, Hell NO!" injected BlackPhoenix

"You want him killed BP? Because Comstar will kill him if we don’t hide him out and that would be a death sentence in its self." Said Nightowl.

"What did he do wrong?" asked BP.

Silence again filled the room until it was smothering. Dark Wizzard started tapping his pencil. Everyone in the room knew that this was the way he acted just before an idea, and this habit brought a little fear to all who knew about it.

"What do you have DW?" questioned Reddragon.

"Boss it is a little crazy" DW answered with a slight smile on his face.

"Crazy I can handle, it is when you guys go insane that I have problems." Replied RD.

DW stopped tapping and carefully laid the pencil down next to the paper in front of him. He looked right at the Khan.

"Promote him"

The shock showed on every face. DW stood and walked out from behind the table to face the entire court martial board.

"Comstar said they would issue a warrant for his death if we did not do something about this. So promote him. Put him in a position that is highly visible. Dare them to touch him. Everyone here knows this is a crock of lies. Sep was just lucky enough to get the shot and he took it. I think it was the bravest thing I have ever heard of. And he got their leader, wow.

Look a Comstar they are breaking up, leaderless, the officers are trying to gather enough forces to assert their own power. They will be to busy trying to stay alive to do anything else. Promote him, RD."

Rd looked around the room heads were starting to nod in agreement. This might not be a bad idea. This group was more worried about what was for lunch than what Comstar did or thought. He faced the group and asked.

"Then we are in agreement gentlemen?" hands were raised in acknowledgement.

Sep had just decided to sit down when the sergeant at arms signaled him to return. This was not good, they didn’t even think about it. He entered and stood in the center of the room at attention. Reddragon stood from behind the desk raising the blue sentencing paper as he spoke in a voice that Sep thought cold.

"Star Captain Sephiroth, in response to the charges leveled against you concerning the incident on Galuzza four weeks ago. We a court of your superiors have little recourse in this matter. We then on unanimous judgement of this panel hereby promote you to the rank of Nova Colonel to take effect at once, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Sep stood there for a moment to make sure the Khan had finished. He snapped to attention and saluted.

"SIRS I accept the punishment of th…. " The stance sagged and the salute weakened "What did you say?"

Laughter roared through the room. Sep was still at half attention when RD held up the paper that he had read from and read it again.

"On unanimous judgement of this panel we hereby promote you to the rank of Nova Colonel to take effect at once, and may god have mercy on your soul."

Sep blinked and looked around at the panel, all were laughing. This was for real. Shock fell in and Sep sat right on the floor. This brought a new round of laughter. RD helped Sep to his feet and the others stepped forward to shake his hand.

Let Comstar beware this was CLAN PENDRAGON and they protected and defended their own. No one dictated orders to them. HONOR ABOVE ALL.