Outskirts of Mazzengaville 05:32:16 Octo 5, 2913
No one expected anything different when we heard that the New Israelis were under new management. We just assumed that the previous Groundpounder Colonel had been slotted and there was a new one taking his place (whether he wanted to or not).
Via, we were surprised that the New Israelis had gotten not only a face-lift but a gorram body-lift as well. New corporate backers and a lot of donation dinners had allowed the N.I. enough creds to buy 1st line Star Marine equipment that had just become 2nd line when the Terrans upgraded their strike force en masse.
|Slammers blowers crash through the pre-dawn haze.|
It was only after the Mjolnir Brigade got Holy hell handed to them in the slums of Mazzengaville that the colonel realized he'd been duped. We were expecting a mop up of N.I. walking pop up targets and some Outriders led by of all things, a female ex rock n roll band member but instead found ourselves facing Bond Authority grade armor unleashed with a vengeance.
Needless to say our contract got re-negotiated with the government (at gunpoint (our guns)) and now the denizens of Mazzengaville are watching our fully loaded dropships, burning in re-entry, streaking their way like angry fallen angels cast from heaven and looking forward to hell.
Someone told me that it's the farmers who'll be the winners but from my point of view they're just as likely to cop it as we are when all the guns on both sides range in for this upcoming bloodbath. Time to get paid.
Mazzengaville, Engagement +16 minutes
We had Mazzengaville slotted for a thunder run but the Major changed the op order as we came in at high speed with the sun to our backs. Satellite recon had told him that there were big tarps hiding armor in the center of Mazzengaville. The N.I. had pulled out from the edges of town and meant to rumble it out in the alleyways where their Infantry could get up close and personal. It was going to be a knife fight.
Ophelia's Outriders were somewhere out here too. We had fought with them before but today they had penned for the other side. I had heard their colonel was a looker and it was worth it to get an eyeful of her, even if she was the last thing you would ever see.
The Major had the combat cars arrow in first with the Panzers following close behind; he wanted his knockout punch a hair behind his jab as we streaked toward the center of town.
Buildings flashed by, the streets were empty. Kipling our mongrel mutt stood on his hind legs in the combat car. Tongue lolling in pleasure as we whipped along at speed. I gripped the handles of my tri-barrel, thumbs on the trigger and scanned my sector. In my peripheral vision I caught flashes between buildings of our sister cars, on our left and right as they kept pace with us.
It went bad fast, too fast. As their commo tower loomed ahead of us, I caught the silhouette of their armor. Punching up to speed and coming right for us. At first I thought it was the Bonding Authority in a Halo tank, come to collect us for a violation but then the light revealed all. Wrong color, green not sea blue and then I saw the six pointed star on her turret and then her guns began to speak.
|8th Cthonian Dragoons "Ophelia's Outriders", field HQ.|
Not at us though, we were the small fry. At our heavy blowers, firing at us twice as fast as our panzers could reply in turn. The Major faced our tanks to theirs and had them ground in cover. He coordinated our fire, calling out targets while exposed to give our gunners the best shots.
Behemoths traded blows and we lost but not without exacting a price. Two of the Halo tanks disappeared in fireballs and a third lost anti-grav and slammed into the dirt but still her guns spoke. I saw the Major waving frantically trying to get his turret turned around at a Halo that streaked around to get in a rear armor shot. His tank turret was fast as it whipped around but they were faster. The Major's tank ceased to exist and I thought I saw what was left of his arm and shoulder tumbling away through the air.
We spotted an outrider medium tank hiding behind a building just in time, skidded sideways and came around the building on the opposite side. At close range our tri-barrels punched through the rear armor and she came apart. Her crew bailing as she started to burn. We shot between two buildings trying to keep up our speed, keep up our maneuverability, making ourselves a fleeting target but Ophelia's men beat our best work.
I didn't see who hit us. All I knew was that we went dead at full speed and nosed into the dirt, cartwheeling headfirst end over end. My restraining straps broke and I launched out of the combat car. I saw sky, ground, sky, and then hit the ground like a rag doll. I skidded some and tasted sand and blood. My combat car had struck a building and come to rest upside down. Someone's arm twitched beneath the wreckage.
An N.I. infantryman was walking toward me taking casual aim. I was stunned, seeing the world through a mask of my own blood. I told my body to get up and fight but all I did was lay there, watching him. Kipling ran up barking and the soldier silenced him with a burst of fire that he kept going long after Kip's yelp of pain had stopped.
My combat car said goodbye and immolated herself in an explosion behind my enemy. He was thrown past me and crunched into a wall, landing limp. I crawled towards him, my legs useless, my hand filled with a chopping hatchet that it had freed from my belt of its own volition.
He rolled to face me with a pistol in his hand. I deprived him of both hand and pistol then went to work on the rest of him. I kept chopping long after his yelps of pain had stopped.
I heard a deep hum behind me and the biggest tank I had ever seen was bearing down on me. The turret whirred and I could hear the deep bass of the main gun charging up, it sounded like a subway train filling up a tunnel and that, is when I saw her: Marshal Ophelia Caligo in the tank commander’s hatch. Looking me over like a Valkyrie, she was the last thing I was going to see and... she really was worth it.