The Opinionated Bastards: Rasalhague Contract (Dec. 25, 3051)

Since Last Time

The Opinionated Bastards pack up and ship out, leaving Piedmont for the Free Rasalhague Republic world of Stanzach.

In transit, we get word from the Free Rasalhague Republic intelligence liaison that the Clans have restarted their attacks, and that Stanzach is nearly overrun. They redirect us to Gunzburg instead, and even that isn’t looking like a particularly tenable position when we arrive on December 9.

surrounded
Clan Wolf has advanced as far as Hainfeld and Wheel down to the galactic southwest; Clan Ghost Bear is as far as Alshain on the other flank.

We barely manage to land and get unpacked before reports reach us that Clan Wolf has landed on the planet and already overrun the capital. Provided we can survive until Christmas and are willing to fight the remainder of our contract elsewhere, the Free Rasalhague Republic has promised to send a DropShip to evacuate us. It’s a fair deal; we get a free ride back to the front line and keep the generous terms of the contract, and the Republic gets access to four lances of heavyweight mechs with veteran pilots.

First, though, we have to survive…

The Action of December 21, 3051

While the yet-unnamed Second Lance (Rook and company) is patrolling a wooded valley along the edge of our area of responsibility along with our liaison (who drives a Shadow Hawk), they stumble into the first Clan units. There are only four mechs; either a light star or a previously-damaged one. They didn’t call us up to offer a challenge, so presumably they bid for the right to engage us. Happily, Drake’s Destroyers are also deployed nearby, and will be able to join us in a few rounds.

The map is large and heavily forested, which plays to our advantage. Lots of cover means lots of opportunity to stay out of sight of the heavier Clan units until they get to very short range, where punches and kicks tend to negate their advantages in range, heat management, firepower, and speed.

Round 1

We deploy behind heavy woods in the middle of the map, where the trees will screen us from enemy fire to a degree. My goal here is to keep the enemy at a distance and shooting ineffectually until First Lance arrives, at which point we can hopefully overwhelm the Clanners. Their fault for attacking without sufficient reconnaissance.

deployment
More Clanners offscreen to the south. The red hexes are the jamming field from the enemy Loki.

Despite the briefings we’ve received, it’s still a little unnerving how much weapons fire comes from just four Clan mechs. Happily, they miss through the trees. Rook lands a few missiles on a light mech running through the trees, and takes a few shots from some kind of cluster-firing autocannon in response.

Round 2

Jockeying for position all around. Rook and Wizard have a decent chance of some hits on a heavy mech our helpful liaison informs us is called a Thor.

round2

Rook and Wizard both hit, and are looking rather satisfied with themselves, when The Thor fires back. An AC/20 shell and a large laser tear into the Stalker’s right arm, slicing it off. To make matters worse, the Stalker falls, and Rook falls again trying to get back up. The Stalker is looking decidedly less healthy. (n.b. to make this series of events happen, Rook rolled 3 on 2d6 three times in a row, which has a probability of about one in five thousand. Maybe the Flashman was lucky.)

Round 3

Rook finally manages to get her Stalker on its feet, and runs it into a dead-end gully where it’s largely safe from enemy fire. Unfortunately, the enemy light mech (a Fenris, says the liaison, and a medium mech in weight despite its speed) has a shot. The rest of the lance can bring some weapons to bear on it, at least, although none has a very good chance to hit.

round3

Round 4

The Fenris remains in the backfield, but doesn’t score any further crippling hits on the Stalker. Rook clips the enemy Thor in the head, but not enough to knock out its pilot.

Wizard and the liaison officer’s Shadow Hawk surround the enemy Fenris and both land kicks; it isn’t enough to knock it out or even knock it down.

Round 5

Drake’s Destroyers arrive! By more than doubling the enemy’s weight, we roughly even the odds.

The enemy Fenris has snuck around behind the Stalker yet again, a worrying trend, but it’s also been targeted by many of our reinforcements. The enemy Thor is likely going to take a highly destructive shot at Milspec in the Crab, but Rook and Wizard can both take a crack at kicking it, potentially.

round5

Drake and Carcer (now driving Rook’s old Flashman) combine for our first Clan kill. Drake lands all three PPC shots on the Fenris, blowing out its remaining autocannon ammo, taking out its left arm, and chewing through its center torso armor, while Carcer cores it with a large laser and medium laser to the center torso. Rook kicks the Thor in front of her, and it falls.

Round 6

round6

This round, we aim to put the enemy Thor in the ground. One way or another, I think we’ll probably manage it.

In the south, Drake has a very good chance of hitting the enemy Mad Cat with three PPCs (though, annoyingly, the Clan PPCs do a whopping 15 points of damage to our 10, the jerks).

Wizard scores the killing blow on the Thor after Rook softens it up, but not before it’s able to score immobilizing hits on Rook’s Stalker. (She’s still standing, but not able to move or turn.) On the southern front, the enemy Loki hits Double Dog in the Thunderbolt Tallman with two ER PPCs and knocks him over, while the Mad Cat plugs Drake with one.

Round 7

With only two Clan mechs left, it’s looking like the tide has turned somewhat. (Thanks in the main to our reinforcements.)

round7

The enemy Loki isn’t going down without a fight, though. He scores an ER PPC hit to the head of **Double Dog’s* Thunderbolt, who only just manages to eject in time. Shrapnel from his exploding cockpit hits him hard. (n.b. per the game, he died; he’s now spent 1 Edge to survive lethal damage and has 1 Edge remaining.)

Drake and Carcer prove a solid combination again, knocking out one of the Loki’s PPCs and eating through most of its torso armor. The Loki’s pilot stays on his feet, but the mechs coming down from the north put enough fire onto the Mad Dog to knock it over.

Woad, who is driving one of our medium laser boats and therefore leading the charge, is close enough to kick the Loki from one elevation up. He plants his Grasshopper’s foot right on the Loki’s shoulder and shears it clean off.

Round 8

Swarming the Mad Cat, the faster elements from both lances aim to finish it off, or at least cripple it, this round.

Rook has managed to get her balance back a bit, and has turned partway around. At this rate, another eight or ten rounds and she’ll be back in the battle.

round8

Private Hernandez in the Phoenix Hawk falls over, and neither Clan mech falls, though Drake, Carcer, and Milspec have done a number on the Loki, which is all but unarmored now.

Round 9

Still swarming the enemy. Drake gets his first Clanner kill, punching through the Loki’s center torso armor and knocking out its engine.

Wizard and Woad continue kicking the Mad Cat, which is more or less immobilized in a little dip in the terrain. Its right torso fails, dropping the arm off, and its left arm follows shortly after.

Cleanup

With all six operational, mobile mechs now focusing fire on the Mad Cat, it goes down. Wizard gets the last shot, her second kill of the day.

Damage, Injuries, Salvage

damage

Rough day for the Bastards. The Stalker is a figurative wreck, while the Thunderbolt is a literal one (at least until we order a new head).

Carcer, Rook, and Hernandez are lightly wounded. Double Dog is on the brink of death.

Salvage is a better story. The Fenris, Loki, and Mad Cat all end up in our possession, although we’ll be hard-pressed to strip them before we’re heading offworld in four days. They’re beyond repair, but that’s hardly a great loss; we can’t buy parts to field them anyway.

salvage

The Thor is a different story. It’s actually functional, or could be restored to function; that puts it well outside of our salvage budget.

Kill Board(s)

Last Battle

killboard

Wizard is moving up the ranks.

All-Time Leaders

  1. “Rook” Ishikawa (24, 5 mechs)
  2. “Drake” Halit (13, 5 mechs, 1 Clan kill)
  3. “Woad” Kohler (12, 4 mechs)
  4. “Carcer” Ngo (10, 4 mechs, 1 Clan kill)
  5. “Linebuster” Atkinson (5)
  6. “Severe” Payne (4, 4 mechs)
  7. “Double Dog” Dare (4, 1 mech)
  8. “Ker-Ker” Ec (3, 2 mechs)
  9. “Wizard” Que (3, 2 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  10. “Teddy Bear” Jamil (3, 1 mech)
  11. “Milspec” Ortega (3)
  12. “Euchre” Kojic (2, 2 mechs)
  13. “Wojtek” Frajtov (1, 1 mech)
  14. “Hanzoku” Yuksel (1, 1 mech)

Status

It is now December 25, 3051.

Contract Status

After radioing the Bastards’ command post to be sure it’s clear enough to attempt a landing, a Rasalhague Royal Army Union touches down, followed shortly after by a Leopard. There are just enough mech bays to fit the active units, and too little cargo space to comfortably fit all our salvage and parts. Our administrators work with the Rasalhague officers to make it work.

The men aboard the dropships are ashen-faced and gaunt, and no wonder. The Bastards who choose to wander get the sense this isn’t the first world the Royal Army has abandoned in a hurry, not by a long shot. It hasn’t been a very long war by the standard of such things, but it has been a brutal one, defeat followed by failure circling right back to defeat again. There’s very little of the Free Rasalhague Republic left to flee to. The soldiers and sailors aboard are very aware of that.

The more reflective Bastards realize that they got off easy. Only the presence of reinforcements turned a brewing rout into a costly victory.

Unit Market

There isn’t much worth mentioning for sale: an UrbanMech, a Dragon, and three Wasps. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for better stuff.

Finances

We have 23.155 million C-bills on hand, after purchasing the spare parts necessary to get the unit back into fighting shape.

Training

Wojtek increases his gunnery to 4+, the last Green pilot to join the ranks of the Regulars.

Ker-Ker and Double Dog have both used 1 Edge at various points in the campaign, and have 1 remaining. All the other claimed mech pilots have 2.

Repairs and Refits

Our mechs are back into fighting trim. In the rush, we haven’t had time to fix the paint, so they’re looking a little battle-scarred.

Mechwarrior Claims and Assignments

  • For the record, the following mechwarriors are claimed.
    • Captain Huri “Drake” Halit (Mephansteras) – Awesome AWS-8Q
    • Lt. SG George “Linebuster” Atkinson (Hasek10) – Lancelot LNC25-02
    • Lt. SG Mariamu “Rook” Ishikawa (Culise) – Stalker STK-3F
    • Lt. JG Sung-min “Double Dog” Dare (a1s) – Thunderbolt TDR-5S-T
    • Sgt. Jose “Milspec” Ortega (milspec) – Crab CRB-20
    • Cpl. Damayanti “Carcer” Ngo (Dorsidwarf) – Flashman FLS-7K
    • Cpl. Tedros “Teddy Bear” Jamil (Knave) – Vulcan VL-5T
    • Cpl. Ferdinand “Woad” Kohler (A Thing) – Grasshopper GHR-5H
    • Pvt. Jan “Euchre” Kojic (EuchreJack) – Trebuchet TBT-5S
    • Pvt. Cathrine “Severe” Payne (Burnt Pies) – Custom Locust
    • Pvt. E-Shei “Ker-Ker” Ec (Kanil) – Lancelot LNC25-02
    • Pvt. Ed “Hanzoku” Yuksel (Hanzoku) – Guillotine GLT-4L
    • Pvt. Ik-jun “Wojtek” Frajtov (Blaze) – Trebuchet TBT-5N
    • Pvt. Xue-Min “Wizard” Que (Rince Wind) – Guillotine GLT-4P
    • Pvt. Abdul-Hafiz “Pepper” Popalzi – Archer ARC-2K
  • The following mechwarriors are available.
    • Pvt. Gwenael Hernandez – Phoenix Hawk PXH-1K

Action Items

  • We’re en route to Nox. Presumably, we’re honoring the deal we made for evacuation. If we don’t, then there’ll be consequences regarding our reputation.
  • We have some Clan salvage (one ER PPC, two ER Medium Lasers, one double heat sink, one anti-missile system). The Free Rasalhague Republic doesn’t have much left in the stores to trade to us. Other employers (FedCom, the Free Worlds League) may be willing to share advanced technology with us in exchange for our Clan salvage. We can’t just slap the latter onto our mechs; advanced Inner Sphere tech isn’t up to the same standard as Clan tech, but also doesn’t require us to salvage a functioning Clan mech and put it back in service.
    • Put another way, should we look to trade our Clan salvage for access to advanced Inner Sphere weaponry, or hoard it and try to assemble a franken-Clan-mech or two?

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