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Lancers: Chapter Two

 

A Small group of people stood at the feet of a beaten and battered Bushwacker, while two people on top of the machine worked at repairing the damage. A loud "Clang!" and a sudden curse came from on top of the Bushwacker. One of the members of the group below, his left arm in a cast and sling stepped forwardand yelled.

"Hey! Be Careful! That's my 'Mech your working on!"

On top of the 'Mech 2nd Lieutenant Matthew Waters yelled back down, "Then why ain't you up here working on it, Carmack?!"

"Because I didn't close range with a Hunchback IIC!" Sergeant John Carmack yelled back up.

"Naw, just a Kraken!"

A tall black man stepped forward and spoke, "Which would have been a smart tactical move, had that Kraken been the original that John thought he was fighting, rather than the second variant!"

"You keep out of this Sean!"

One of the two remaining members of the group not fighting with Lieutenant Waters, turned to the other, "Are they always like this?" he asked.

"Naw," Sergeant John Davis said. "Matt's just mad that the Major chewed him out for closing with that Hunchback, and didn't chew out Carmack for closing with that Kraken."

The other man, Dany Taylor, nodded. The clan Hunchback was one of the few clan designs that Inner Sphere equipment could outrange. But instead of sitting back and slowly bleeding the Hunchback to death with his extended-range large laser, Lieutenant Waters had raced his Wolfhound up right next to the Hunchback for a faster kill. It had been amazing that the Hunchback pilot had missed with both autocannons at what amounted to point-blank range. If either one of those autocannons had hit, chances were that neither Lieutenant Waters nor his Wolfhound would have been alive today.

Sergeant Carmack, however, had assumed he was fighting a regular Kraken, which mounted several light, long-range Ultra-Autocannons, he had closed his Bushwacker into a range where those particular wouldn't have been effective. Much to his dismay, however, John Carmack had found himself facing a Kraken variant that had replaced the light autocannons with a heavier model used for close and medium ranged fighting. Carmack had actually managed to get away from the Kraken when a point of Elementals found him and finished what the Kraken had started, destroying the Bushwacker's engine. Amazingly enough, the entire ordeal had only left John Carmack with a broken left arm. Sergeant Carmack's Lancemate, Charlene Cooper, did not have as much luck, however, as the Kraken big autocannons had torn the head off her Shadowhawk.

As the three continued to argue a figure stepped out of the shadows of the 'Mech bay.

"Excuse me." Major Charles Lambert said, "But do any of you know where Captain McCall is?"

The four mechwarriors on the floor turned to face their commanding officer. Lieutenant Waters, caught off guard by Major Lamberts sudden appearance, lost his balance and fell off the Bushwacker. Luckily for the Lieutenant, the Zero-G enviroment of the dropships 'Mech bay turned what would have been a disastrous accident planetside, into a really amusing scene as Lieutenat Waters tried to get control of his movement, and attempted to `Swim' back to the Bushwacker.

Ignoring the spectacle going on above his head, Sergeant John Carmack answered the Majors question. "I think the Captain's over working on his 'Mech sir."

"Thank you John." Major Lambert said as he headed over to where McCall's Wolverine was stored. Behind him three members of the group turned around, looked up, and started laughing hysterically at Lieutenant Waters situation, while the fourth jogged after Charles.

"Couldn't sleep again?" Sergeant Sean Conrad asked quizackly, as he caught up to Major Lambert.

"Still acting as my bodyguard I see."

Sergeant Conrad let out a Chuckle at that.

Sean Conrad had been a Mercenary for nearly his entire life, but when his old unit was decimated by the Clans, Sean had suddenly found himself without a unit or a 'Mech. For years he had worked as a lone mercenary, signing on with anyone that could put him at the controls of a 'Mech. Unfortunately those 'Mechs had never been much more than souped up Aromechs. When Sean had signed on with the Lancers, however, just before the Roadside operation, he had found himself at the controls of the Lancers MAD-6S Marauder. Grateful and delirously happy that the Lancers had given him a chance to pilot an actual Battlemech again, Sean appointed himself Major Lambert's personal bodyguard.

The two walked in silence. Sergeant Conrad didn't know about the dream, though Charles thought he suspected. The only other Lancer that did know about the dream was the Lancer's Executive Officer, and Charles best friend, Captain Brian Moody.

Captain Jack McCall flipped up his welding shield and inspected his handiwork.

"Looks good Captain." Lieutenant Bartholomew "Bart" Laubenstein commented. "We'll have your 'Mech fixed up in no time."

McCall looked up at his fifty-five ton Wolverine. "I'd still like to check that medium pulse laser again."

Bart rolled his eyes, "Look, we've checked that thing a dozen times, I'm telling you whatever fluke caused that thing to overload and blow up while you were still in the Highlanders, it's not there now."

Jack just stared up at the laser. "Whatever it was, it cost me my 'Mech, and it nearly cost me my life. We can check it later, but I still want it checked out."

Knowing that Captain McCall wouldn't budge on this, Bart just sighed and shook his head.

"I know the feeling." Major Lambert said as he approached the Wolverine. "McCall can be a major pain in the ass." 1