14:59:00 Planetary time
Planet: Emris IV
Location: Arctic region site C.
Crunching thumps of snow resounded as Alpha and Bravo lances formed up at the coordinates. Howling winds sent razor-sharp flakes against the barely-warmed armor of the lightly-colored mechs, the only designations upon them were the small sword-bearing hawk and the tiny spiders that were scattered amongst legs and arms. Pausing to manipulate the controls, the lead mech indicated with his hand actuator that lights were to take point and circle the plateau. The lead light, a Firestarter, giving “a thumbs” up turned on its heels and bolted into the storm, the other three in the lance darting after him.
Site C, known for its torrential snow and crushing temperatures, had taken the city yet again by the natural force. Abandoned after the second initial glacier-like flash-freeze, the city was of little value in this region except for one sole reason. Being one of the few places a drop ship could land on the planet undetected depending on the conditions and those conditions the reason sentries had to patrol the area.
Alpha lance’s leader shivered in his cockpit, the man watching his breath almost crystalize in front of him, his coolant vest barely keeping him warm. The irony a coolant vest being warmer than the weather outside; when the unit was designed to keep the pilot of the battlemech from burning up during combat. Shifting his mech, he gave the visual signal to his lance mates to push into the wall of white. The Shadow Hawks, Griffin, and Wolverine trudged through the six foot snow drifts. Glancing at his map indicator, taking readings of where his lights were now at three hundred meters from his team, the lead Griffin rotated his arm up to halt movement. Intermittent flashes upon his map indicator caught his attention. Flickering sparks of red on the screen made him shift his mechs torso as he started switching vision modes rapidly the commander slammed his fist into the console bringing up the comm line that was on a silence order “Bravo Lance fall back. Enemy has us ranged. Coming at us from the east. One one five degrees angle of attack. Composition unknown. Alpha Lance, heat it up, we have incoming.”
Letting the mic go silent he uttered a quiet prayer then shoved his mech into the charge. Taking up wing positions to his left and right the Shadow Hawks pulled into the giant gait of the Griffin leaving the Wolverine to swing wide from the trio. The four blue blips of Bravo lance were moving in from the northwest. Bringing up the closest enemy the crimson text of the GRF-1N caused the man’s eyes to narrow. A crackle of static followed with the voice of Alpha two followed by Alpha three chimed out “Contact two Griffins circling to engage us in the buildings”. “Roger, saw two more no active lock” Alpha Leader called out to his companions “Two and Three primary Alpha, Bravo secondary. Four-” the order short-lived as Alpha leaders griffin shuddered and rocked, thirty-six short ranged missiles slamming all over the ferro-fiberous armor, leaving pock marks and a smoldering hole in the chest armour of his mech. He let the mech's gyro counter the assault then waited for the bright white of the enemies heat image to reappear in the darkness of his cockpit.
Leaping from behind and a top of the building in front of him, the two Griffins charged the quartet of mechs. Near-simultaneous explosions sounded off in the man’s ears, his Neuro helmet barely able to muffle the concussive blasts. Lining up his reticle, the enemy mech stopped in its tracks. Knowing better than to assume the mech had been disabled, he thumbed the button on his controls launching his own barrage of missiles at his target. Sheets of armor already rocked loose by the shaped charges from the two massive cannons mounted in the left shoulder of the Shadow Hawks, fell like thrown knives into the deep puddles of snow and water. Thirteen of the sixteen missiles sailed from the Griffin peppering the enemy mech’s already pummeled torso while three sailed wide.
Over the comm channel, Bravo Leader's voice started barking commands and engaging the enemy lights. Two of the four in Bravo Lance were still green, having transferred in only the day before from a dissolved cadre, and their leader was reminding them to aim for the legs as the two pilots prattled on as if they were holding an idle conversation. Shaking Alpha Leader back to his task at hand, barks from the enormous auto cannons to his left and right jar him right before another volley of thirty-six missiles escape the chests of the closing enemy mechs. Blinking at the explosion in front of him the enemy Griffin shudders as the arm slides free of the mechs body. Strands of Myomer muscle being the only thing to keep the limb attached trail with coolant and lubricants down the side of the mechs torso.
The enemy missiles however light up his damage indicator an instant before lifting his left hand to the shock of two missiles that plastered their warheads against his cockpit shield. The sudden pause more than enough time as Alpha Four called out to him “Leader," shouted the woman, “I lost their Shadow Hawk, I’m engaged with two lights-” before the garble of static hit his ears. Seeing two masses pass him up, the wing men intent on the second Griffin another blip appeared on his map indicator, looking up to see the Shadow Hawk he was shocked “Echo is a Shadow Hawk looks like missile-” stopping him from finishing, Alpha Leader was slammed against his harness by twenty missiles slamming into his mech torsos gutting the already damaged chest. As his mech began to fall the man braced himself for the sudden impact of his mech against the ground the hiss of vaporizing snow fills his cockpit as he hears through his crackling radio reports of Bravo Lances Ravens falling, only the two Firestarters seeming to argue about variants and primary targets. Through the static the man laid on his back eyes closed an angry look on his face came the curdling cry of Alpha Two. Three’s voice crackled “My God I’ve never seen serm’s tear a head off a mech! Bravo Lance could use help I’ve got four, no, five mechs on me! Last medium is a missile Treb and it-” the voice trailed off with a hiss of static.
Fast, resounding thumps of thirty-five ton machines trudging through snow sound off in the cockpit as it shakes around Alpha Leader. The green glow of laser fire flashes over his cockpit view port as a desperate call goes out over the comm system “Command, Bravo Lance. Mayday, mayday, enemy mechs at site C, grid delta-seven. Heavy losses. The enemy has-” leaving only a hiss of static.
. . . . .
Jerking Alpha Leader forward, his cock pit righted itself, the canopy snapping in several places before the hatch gasping for air hissing open.
Over his comm system “Great job Bravo Four, crying home to momma like that” uttered Alpha Leaders fourth lance mate.
“Piss off Alpha Four, you know that’s how the books call it, report your engagement at grid, try to give them as much data as possible,” came to the retort.
“Did anyone notice the streaks they were packing?” asked Bravo Leader, “I couldn’t get away from them!”
About a minute of arguing continued between the two lances the insults degenerating to the point of a bar room brawl, when a woman’s voice came over the room speaker “Get your sorry asses outta my sims soldiers. NOW!”
A hiss of a door as Alpha Leader snapped open his restraints, shoving his helmet back onto the shelf and releasing his vest from the simulator.
Bravo Two grumbled, “This ain’t real...”
Leaping a lion, the sergeant bore down on the rookie before he could say another word, his face shoved so close that Bravo Two had to fight the urge to step back as the man bellowed, “One day Hawkes it will be real, and you’re gonna find yourself in the middle of a big hairy furball AND YOU WILL DIE!” Turning he barks “Now you heard the woman get your slimy carcasses outta the simulators!”
Leaping from the cockpit Alpha Leader fixes his vest then moves to stand in line.
“Major on Deck!” shouts the sergeant.
The click of boots approaches from outside the room the door having already opened at the sergeant’s entrance as a woman in black, with crisp lines of purple and gold marking her uniform, strides forward, standing before the line of mostly assembled troops.
“Bravo One, are you stupid?!?” shouts the sergeant “Get your ass in line and at attention!”
The man, having all but stripped his vest off, stumbles into place amongst his company of warriors, under the watch of the woman in the dress uniform, her gaze as deadly as daggers as she glares at them all.
“You all look very lively today.” The woman comments, “I’ve only seen moves like those in holovids.” Slowly she walks along, her hands clasped behind her back. Stopping at Bravo Two she spins on her heel and returns down the line. “The only thing I didn’t see today was the trick shooting that should have been involved.” She pauses a moment then asks “So what went wrong?”
Bravo Leader clears his throat and says “SIR! We were told enemy composition was ballistic-”
Cut from speaking by a polished boot to his jaw, Bravo Leader was sent reeling by the woman’s attack. Tripping over his own equipment, the man falls onto his back.
“I was talking to someone alive, Bravo One. Not a orokana shinda otoko* like yourself.” She says.
Slowly picking himself up, the man holds his chin before returning back to line.
“It was tasked, that we turn you into Blackthornes Dragoons Battlemech Pilots evoking bowel-wrenching fear into dark hearts of your enemies! Forged tools, weapons focused and full-of-purpose, mech pilots! Not hot-rod mech jocks, of gyabī to orokana,* ass-tearing across the cosmos in search of heaven,” remarks the woman. Not flinching, the line stands at attention, taking the verbal beating from the woman. She frowns and glares at the line of pilots having stridden back down the line.
“You,” pointing at Bravo two, the Major shouts “Grab his ass!” while pointing at the next person in line. Seeing the reluctance and shock of the command, on the young pilot’s face, the she shouts at the line, “That’s an order! Grab it! Everyone grab the ass of the person to your right!”
Bewildered, the two lances lose their discipline for a heartbeat. “Sorry Sir?” dares a voice in the line.
“I said grab the ass of the man to your right!” shouts the woman.
Seven claps of flesh on field garb sound off. Bravo One breaking attention, glances at his right hand and no one’s ass to grab he looks back up making a face then grabs his own right ass cheek barking out the eighth clap.
“Well now, isn’t that beautiful?” asks the Major. “Do you feel it!” Pointing to the man Bravo Two grabbed she says as she walks down the line again “His ass is yours. Her ass is yours and yours is theirs!” She turns to pace again at Bravo One “You are combat pilots running individual mechs, but you are also a part of a lance and that lance a company.” She throws up her hands in disgust “You are a team and if you risk your ass you risk the team's. You people have been here six weeks and you –still- do not know how to work together!” She pauses at Bravo Two frowning at the line. “Well you will learn to work together or that fatty clump of flesh in your hand will be blown to the farthest reaches of the universe.” She turns to Bravo Two shoving her face into his as she shouts at him “AND YOUR’S WILL BE RIGHT BEHIND IT!” Backing away, she addresses the line “From this moment on, the only easy day was yesterday! DO YOU GET ME?!” she shouts.
Falling back into attention, the training they had received not six weeks prior taking over as all eight voices sounded out in unison “SIR! YES SIR!”
“Sergeant, take these grunts out for a stroll, then make them do it again. If they fail, rinse and repeat!” orders the woman.
“Sir!” barks the sergeant, “You heard the woman, maggots. Double time move, move, move!
Leaving the room, the woman pauses at the sound of another, rougher voice.
“Ass grabbing one-oh-one eh Cev?” says the voice.
Straitening her spine and coming to attention herself she says in a softer tone “Taisa wa, taihen mōshiwakegozaimasen.”** She bows respectfully before even being put at ease, a sign of apology. Remaining bowed she says “Colonel you know as well as I do the ops we are under. We are going to need every pilot we can muster. They are too busy arguing over load outs and tactics to be ground into the honed-edge sword that they need to be. I was trying to stress that if they don’t get along, if they can’t see past their squabbling, they won’t live.”
The colonel shifts against his spot, waving his hand while leaned against the wall “Very true.”
The major straitens and continues to listen to the man.
Shrugging the Colonel continues “Don’t take it hard, just try to not be so graphic. Your other spider-lings, as psycho as they are, have already nicknamed them the ass grabbers.”
Rolling her eyes she laughs softly “Yeah I can see nose art now.” Pausing she gestures as if viewing a grand sight. “A pair of butt cheeks with a little green cloud, stylized text that reads Ass One, Ass Two…” she says with a grin.
Pushing away from the wall, the colonel chuckles and walks past her moving down the corridor, pausing he says “They will be on that stroll for a half hour, let’s get something to drink.”
Following the Colonel, the Major walks further into the Facility.