Mech Battle 11 - Derf
Written by BlackPhoenix
It had been only thirty hours since word had came of the Incursion of the
Templars into settled space. The installation on the planet Derf was mainly an
emergency landing station for the transports that prowled the depths of space.
During the hostilities of the Comstar War the small garrison had been armed.
There was a large particle beam projector that was quite capably of hitting a ship
in high orbit. This was complemented with three proton cannons and numerous small
arms. But the men were engineers not soldiers. Their leader was Cuzn_it,
he on the other hand was a soldier. Not that the men did not know how to fight but
they were builders. This rock needed builders. It was a jagged crater filled planet
with just a single flat spot for the ships to land. It had taken the men 6 months in
habitat suits to make this small area of so called civilization. A single hanger
facility and radar station were the only buildings on the small burned world. A
large nuclear reactor provided power for the instillation and would be used to terra form
the planet into something habitable but that would come after the war. Thirty hours
before the five men stationed here gathered around the radio receiver and listened to the
reports of the fall of Ganma Crucis, but that was a light year away, and what importance
was their little planet.
The long-range detectors register contact with the first invasion ships of the
Templars when they were still in sub-space heading straight for them. The part time
soldiers manned the particle beam projector and waited. The Templars hoping for a
fast victory dropped from Sub-space just out side the atmosphere of the planet.
While the Templars were still disoriented from the jump and were in the process of
powering up their weapons systems the Particle beam started its deadly work. The
first two ships to appear were destroyed before they saw it coming. The beam cut
through the hull of the ship opening the interior to the unforgiving emptiness of space.
The third ship to enter the orbit of Derf was a large battle cruiser. This
ship was armored enough to withstand two direct hits from the particle beam before it
managed to re-enter sub-space. No other ship stayed long enough to become targeted
by the large blaster on the planet surface.
The retreat of the enemy fleet was cause for the men on Derf to celebrate. It
did seem that they had won. Cuz did not feel like cheering and dancing. He
knew that the Templars would not be surprised when they came back, and they WOULD come
Cuz made his way to the radio transmitter alone amid the festivities. He
fired up the radio and sent a massage to headquarters.
"Under attack by superior forces <STOP> Repulsed first attack
<STOP> Can not hold without significant reinforcements <STOP> Will hold as
long as possible <MESSAGE ENDS>"
Cuzn_it removed the master fuse from the panel in the back of the
transmitter and placed it in his pocket. That would at least cut down on the
propaganda from the enemy. It would take three days for the message to reach the
closest base and he had doubts that Derf would be here long enough to get the reply
Cuz set the men to work. They dug slit trenches to place the proton
cannons in for concealment. The Particle beam was much too large to even consider
moving so it was left where it stood. Deep underground bunkers were dug and
reinforced with steel and cement for the men to take cover in during the up and coming
bombardment. Even with this protection the men were ordered into their heavy
construction Elemental suits.
Every minute the Templars delayed was one more minute that was used for defense
preparation. Three days after the initial attack the long-range scanners detected
the ships approaching. They dropped out of sub-space well out of range of the
particle beam. Cuz knew this defensive weapon would be a primary target and had the
men well away from its position. Watching the radar from deep under ground Cuz saw
the large battle cruisers move to the front of the formation.
The Bombardment started at exactly at 500 hours and lasted for three hours.
The first target to be hit was the particle beam projector. It took four direct
hits in the first volley. The entire area was bracketed but the Templars who were
ever so careful as not to hit the reactor. Cuzn_it and his men were under
cover and managed to survive. When the shelling stopped Cuz called the men to battle
stations. They jumped from cover and manned the proton cannons. The first wave
of enemy troop ships made a long low pass over the landing area. The men held their
fire waiting for orders. As the first ship touched down a red flare climbed into the
sky from a concealed position and the proton cannons opened fire on the helpless
occupants. The loud sizzle of the projector ports and the explosive concussion of
the beams contacting matter were deafening. The troop ships exploded into showers of
little bits of white hot metal with human remains thrown in for effect. The carnage was
devastating. Of the three ships that had attempted to land none survived. The
bombardment re-started almost at once trying in vain to cover the retreat of the troops
back to the fleet.
Cuz had the men fall back to the reactor and set up sled mounted Automatic
Cannons, (AC 20s), in close proximity to the cooling core of the power plant.
It could be seen from the way that the attack was going that the Templars wanted to
capture the reactor intact. While Cuz knew he could not stop them. He knew he could
exact a great price for this place. The men acted like battle hardened warriors
instead of a bunch of bridge builders. They took their time and laid down a
suppressing fire in concentrated kill zones. The gun closest to the landing zone was
silenced in a brilliant flash of thermite. The heat melted the barrel of the AC into
a pile of molten metal. The enemy elementals over ran gun #2 and killed the crew
with out a thought to accepting their offered surrender. Cuz moved to the reactor
and activated the self-destruct timer and headed for the radio. As he put the fuse
back into the transmitter the final gun was silenced. Cuz set the frequency and send
what would be his last message.
"Base over run <STOP > Situation hopeless <STOP > I am
destroying reactor <STOP > Tell them we did our duty <MESSAGE ENDS >.
AC fire came through the door of the radio room hitting Cuz. He fell to the
floor in a bloody mess. As he slowly slipped from life, the last sound he heard was
the soothing voice of the alarm warning
"Energy Spike detected, detonation
eminent." Somethings just ended badly at times but they would pay.
On the bridge of the Dropship "Avenging Angel" a young Khan stood
looking out the main view port. He knew that there was no chance of reaching Derf in
time to be effective but he had been obligated to try. The quickly brightening star
in the darkness of space spoke volumes. He knew that it was too late. But he
also knew that the Templars would not make use of Derf. In the lapse of a few
seconds Reddragon had aged years. At times the weight of command was a great burden
that only the soul could bear because the flesh was not strong enough. Behind him 30
seasoned troopers awaited a chance for revenge, it was up to him to tell them of the loss
of their comrades. This was the part of the job he had never gotten used to.
He watched the star dull then it disappeared into darkness before he took a deep
breath and headed onto the drop bay to deliver the bad news. Derf had fallen.