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. Were 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 sheeps 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 vessels
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
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. Gyros
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
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 Stealths 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 commanders 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
20s. 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 circuits need to
run the mech. Fires flared to life and the alarms started in the
enemys cockpit. But it was too late. Stealths 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
enemys 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
"Sir in the old earth archives Sir"
was the reply. The puzzlement on the face of the Khan could be
"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.