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Lancers: Chapter One

 

"Nice shot Delta!" Charles Lambert shouted over the comm. "Now rotate out and bleed off some of that heat. Charlie take Deltas place. We've got to hold this pass long enough for the St. Ives troops to land!" Lieutenant Lambert watched as Solomon Gray's Mauler pulled back as Austin Lytton's Centurion took its place. "How're you doing Beta?"

"It's getting hot out here Lieutenant!" Sergeant Major Nancy Dugan said. "The Capellans are starting to send up their heavy hitters."

"Alright Beta, I'm going in, Delta, your heat scales hit green and your ammos reloaded I want you back up here reinforcing Charlie. Epsilon, Foxtrot what's coming at us?

"The Capellans are pulling back their lighter units and sending up heavy and assault units." Sergeant Brian Moody replied. "Their also sending up a bunch of Infan... Holy!" Moody shouted as a loud explosion sounded in the distance. "Sir! Foxtrot is off the board. I repeat they just blew the shit out of Foxtrot!"

Charles Lambert stifled a curse. Half of the units hovercraft had just been wiped out. "Gamma and Halo squads, how are you doing?"

"Halo squad if off the board sir." A tired, haggard voice replied. "A wave of Capellan infantry seperated and surrounded them. They didn't have a chance. We've hole up behind some boulders, but our ammos running low. Some of our people have already changed to their backups."

The demise of Halo squad weighed heavily on Lieutenant Lambert as he pushed his Archer toward Beta's position . At the pass he saw Nancy Dugan's Shadow Hawk and Austin Lyttons Centurian firing on an advancing Marauder. Lieutenant Lambert kept on moving, watching his Archers red targeting cross hairs drift across the Maauder. The cross hairs turned gold, indicating a lock, Charles triggered both racks of his Archers LRMs. The Marauder, already under heavy fire from the two Lance 'mechs, was caught off guard byt the arrival of the Archer. As most of the forty missile salvo hit it, the Marauder lost its balance on the steep slope it had been slowly climbing, and fell over backwards, sliding down the mountain and taking other Capellan 'mechs with it. Charles Lambert smiled. The Domino effect was comical, when it happened to the other side.

"Thanks for the assist Alpha." Nancy Dugan said over the comm.

"Not a problem Beta. Delta will be here to reinforce us once his heat hits green, and his weapons are reloaded." Charles said.

"Alpha this is Epsilon." came a crackling voice over the comm. "We're out of the game. Our airskirts riddled with bullet holes. We managed to get to safety efore it completly gave out on us though."

"Roger Epsilon." Charles replied. "Try to get away from your craft and into shelter in case the battle turns your way."

Lieutenant Lambert sighed before activating the comm to his 'mechs. "Alright people, both of our hovercraft are down. Halo Squad's gone, Gamma's still around, but their pinned down. That leaves us. What have we got?"

"All my LRM's are expended. I've got two good bursts left for my autocannon and Thirty-four SRM salvos left." Nancy said, "but" she added with a hint of cheerfulness in her voice, "My laser is 100% on line."

Charles smiled that laser would be little more than an annoyance to all but the lightest 'mechs and Nancy knew it. "How 'bout you Charlie?"

"Autocannon and LRM's are down to half. Lasers on line." Austin replied Judging from his tone Charles figured that he didn't credit his laser as much as Nancy did.

Charles own missiles racks had run dry after his first turn at the pass, though he had reloaded since. "I'm down two salvos, Delta how're we doing.

"Heats bled off sir, I'm coming up now. Ammo guys say they have enough left to reload Beta. Sorry Charlie, their out of Artemis missiles and the heavier autocannon rounds."

"Alright." Charles said, "Beta pullback and reload. Delta reinforce Charlie."

"Roger." two voices said on the comm almost at once.

"Uh-oh." Charles said as he watched the capellan Marauder finally untangle itself and get to its feet once again. "Looks like our brief respite is over." Respite, the mountain side had been peppered with enemy fire ever since the battle had started. The fallen Marauder had only stopped the enemy advance, not the constant fire. The only reason Lambert's Lance hadn't been destroyed already was because of the cover the narrow pass provided.

Then Nancy Dugans Shadowhawk spun out of cover, into firing positon and fired, its autocannon catching the Marauders side. The Marauder turned, facing its attacker just in time to catch a second burst in its torso. The battered Marauder finally gave out, its head splitting apart in flames as the pilot ejected. The Marauder tipped over, once again taking other capellan 'mechs with it.

"That should buy us some time." Nancy said. "Hold down the pass while I'm gone." she said moving her Shadow Hawk back toward the Ammo dump.

Once Nancy left an eerie silence passed over the commline. A couple of minutes passed, but they seemed like a couple of hours. Then Solomon spoke up. "This is Delta, I've got movement, looks like their trying the light stuff again.

"Alright." Charles said. "Try not to waste your LRM's on this Light shit." With that Charles stepped his Archer out straight in the path of a Locust. Charles lashed the Archers right leg out at the spindly legged Locust in a motion that almost looked like one 'mech tripping the other. The result was devastating, ripping the legand part of the torso off of the 'mech. The 'mech fell forward plowing into the ground. Charles aimed carefully and sent two laser bolts into the hole opened in the torso, ending the Locusts fighting days. Across from him Austin's Centurion took down a Wasp with one well placed autocannon shot to that 'mechs poorly armored head. Solomon's Mauler mauled a capellan Raven with laser and autocannon fire. Charles spotted another capellan Raven. The Raven tried to outrun the Archer, but the tight confines of the pass hampered its mobility. Charles approached the Raven and with two quick pucnches dispatched the enemy 'mech.

"We've got mediums." Austin's voice said over the comm. Charles turned his head. Coming up the slope were a Griffin, a Shadow Hawk, a Wolverine and a Huron Warrior. Charles drew a bead on the Shadow Hawk and let both racks of missiles fly. The Shadow Hawk staggered backwards as nearly forty missiles struck, and those that detonated in the ground around the Hawk didn't help its fight to stay upright.. Still the Hawk remained standing. It fired its autocannon, its shells raining across Charle's Archer. Charles twisted his Archer back behind cover as twenty of the Hawks own missiles peppered the ground where he had been standing a split second before. Close by Austin's Centurian was playing a fire and hide game with the Wolverine and the Huron Warrior, popping out, firing his autocannon and launching LRM's and then ducking behind cover before the other two 'mechs could return fire. The Griffin was getting the worst out of its duel with Solomon's Mauler. The Griffins PPC and LRM's seemed inefectual against the Mauler's armor, but the heavy return laser, LRM and autocannon fire seemed to be rapidly chewing up the the Griffin.

"Done loading. I'm heading back up there now." Nancy Dugan's voice said over the comm. "Our ammo dumps completly dry though."

"Understood Beta." Charles said as he stepped back out and launched two more salvos at the Shadowhawk, and stepping back behind cover as return fire came at him. Charles listened to the sound of fresh missiles being loaded into the launch tubes. Stepping out again he launched two more salvos. The Shadow Hawk staggered back, its return fire going wide and black smoke started pouring out. "Engine hit" Charles thought as he waited for his missile tubes to reload.

"That's it, I'm dry." Austin's voice came over the comm, "What the hell, I always wanted to be a hero." With that the Centurion broke from cover and ran at break neck speed straight towards the Wolverine.

"CHARLIE! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU..." Charles yelled into the comm as the Centurion slammed shoulder first into the Wolverine, "THINK YOUR DOING!

Charles heard the sound indicating his missile tubes were reloaded. He aimed at the Shadow Hawk and fired, the forty missiles finished the Hawk , the pilot punching out as the massive machine toppled over. Turning his attentionback to Austin's Centurion, he saw the Wolverine stagger back. Remarkably both 'mechs remained standing after the charge. A single ruby shaft of light lanced out from the Centurion's torso and green fluid boiled out of the Wolverine where it struck. The Wolverines head split apart as the pilot ejected from the 'mech as the Centurion's laser melted the Wolverines Gyro into slag. As the Centurion paused over its kill, the Huron Warrior came up behind the 'mech and leveled its Gauss Rifle at the back of the Centurion's head.

"AUSTIN, BEHIND YOU!" Charles screamed into the comm, shifting his aim to the Warrior. A Dart of Ruby light shot from the back of the Centurion into the Huron Warrior, but it was too little, too late as the 250 pound Nickel-Ferrous slug obliterated the Centurions head and the pilot within. Charles launched both racks of missiles, and additional laser missile and autocannon fire rained down on the Huron Warrior from the Mauler as it turned from the freshly destroyed Griffin at its feet to the Warrior. The Warriors Gauss rifle exploded as one of the rounds got through the warriors armor to hit it. The explosion ripped off the Warriors right arm and part of its right torso. Suddenly another flight of missiles appeared, peppering the Warriors head and torso and an autocannon roared tearing the Warriors Head off its shoulders.

"That was for Austin you son of a bitch!" Nancy's voice yelled over the comm as her Shadow Hawk Came up to Charle's position.

"Uh oh. Alpha I've got four heavy hitters comin g our way." Solomon said. Advancing up the slope was a Orion, a Cataphract , a Marauder and an Atlas. The battle raged on, Charles firing his Archers missile racks as fast as they could reload at the Atlas, Nancy took her Shadow Hawk up against the Cataphract, and Solomon's Mauler took on the Marauder. The Marauder fell and Solomon turned his attention to the Cataphract. The Cataphract crumbled under the duel fire of the Shadow Hawk and the Mauler, but the victory was short lived as the Maulers autocannon ammunition cooked off. The Mauler's Head split apart as Solomon ejected from the burning wreckage of his 'mech.

Nancy's Shadowhawk turned her fire on the Atlas. The Atlas paused, as if contemplating whether or not to swat a gnat, and then it turned and attacked the Hawk with its full fury. The result was devastating. The Shadowhawk stumbled backwards, something exploded.

"Oh god." Nancy's voice over the comm, which was now intermittent with static. "Charles, There's a fire, I don't think I'm goin to..." a burst nof static interupted the comm for a few seconds, "Charles I love..." Something else exploded and the burning wreckage of the Shadow Hawk crashed to the ground.

***

Major Charles Lambert sat bolt upright in bed, screaming. It had been months since he'd had the dream. Since before the Roadside operation. He thought back to that fateful day on the planet Vestllas. After Nancy had die he'd lost control. He'd charged at the Capellan Atlas firing LRM's and lasers. When he had reachd it , he rememberted punching. The Atlas was the tallest 'mech in existence, so he'd had to punch up, but he had crushed the Atlas's grinning skull head between the Archer's fists. He had then just fired . fired in the direction of the Capellans. He wasn't even sure he had hit anything, but he was pretty sure he'd hit something. Then the world fell out from under him as his 'mech crumpled under enemy fire. He remembered looking up from his cockpit as an Orion pointed its autocannon at his fallen Arche's head, and he had waited for death to come.

But death hadn't come. The next thing he remembered seeing was the Orions Head exploding as a Gauss slug hit it, and then the giant 'mech that strode on to the field. He had never seen a battlemech like that before, but he had since learned that it was called a Pillager. It was one of the first off the production line since the fall of the Star League. Other 'mechs rapidly flooded the battlefield. The St. Ives troops had arrived. The Capellans, weakened by Lambert's Lance, had fled before the fresh battalion of troops. Charles found out later that his unit had accounted for well over a company of the Capellan troops, costing the invading Capellan battalion over a third of their strength.

After the battle Solomon Gray had found him in a field hospital, and proceded to royally chew him out before storming out.. Gamma squad had been found with five survivors, 3 of which were severly hurt, and one who died two days later. Lieutenant Lambert then collected the pay and replacements for his unit, including the Gallowglas he now piloted, and a Badger transport. Solomon had taken his replacement Victor and left angrily. Though parting with other troops didn't cause as much of a scene as Solomons did, the remaining infantry, and all of the surving hovercraft crew, with the sole exception of Brian Moody, had left.

Since then Lambert's Lance had rebuilt, though the name was now Lambert's Lancers. The unit was now Battalion sized and was currently heading back to Outreach.

Charles undid his restraining strap and drifted through his cabin. He wasn't going to get any more sleep now, so he figured he might as well as checkup on the rest of his unit.

 

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By P. Baumgart
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