Heavy/Airdrop started off at 800 hrs the next morning, heading in the same direction. Their speed dropped slightly, as Archangel could not jump of the obstacles that began to appear on the rougher ground. Heavy/Airdrop was ambushed while they were paralleling half a click in from one of the rivers that fed the Highdrain.
The ambushers were set up athwart the river, hidden behind ridges. I started my battleclock immediately after witnessing the initial attack on Akton at 1128:48. There was also a heavy missile attack on Larkin, two flights of fifteen to twenty missiles. Comp confirmed twenties. There was an Archer out there somewhere.
QUINN: Akton, pull back behind Archangel and Gifted.
Second element, sweep around my right flank. Eyes open for another 'Mech.
STEINER: What makes you think there's another.
QUINN: Four to a Lance. Betcha.
QUINN: [CMDfrq] Mr. Akton, take any defensive action necessary. [BRDbnd] Unidentified 'Mechs, this is an unlawful attack on legal government representatives. You must surrender immediately.
UNKNOWN: You and Steiner can go free if you surrender Rasputin, Larkin, and Akton.
I did not bother to reply. It disturbed me that they knew who we were. Close on the heels of this insult, the enemy jammed our primary command freq.
1129:18 hrs: Beast and Larkin continued toward hill 10108. The Rifleman and Gifted stayed on that hill. Akton moved west out of the river. The Stinger ran after him, ending up in the stream. The Vindicator moved out into the open northeast of Ridge 21016. Archangel stayed in the woods.
Larkin missed the Stinger. Archangel missed the Vindicator. Beast hit their Stinger in the head with her PPC, destroying it. The Rifleman and the Archer fired at Gifted, piercing the left torso, and damaging the jump jets there. Gifted hit the Rifleman again, and fired an arm of lasers at the Stinger.
1129:30 hrs: This time, Lt. Steiner and I found the enemy's command freq. I blasted the raucous late twentieth-century popular classic 'School's Out for Summer'. I ordered Second element after the Vindicator.
QUINN: Mr. Akton, I suggest you take any defensive precautions
STEINER: Watch it, the Rifleman's moving.
QUINN: I'm on him.
The Rifleman must have decided he was getting the worst of the deal on Hill 10108, because he ran east toward the woods that hid the Archer. Gifted jumped after him, landing 90 meters behind and to his left. Archangel came out of the woods after him onto Hill 21016. The Vindicator jumped backwards 120 meters. Akton and the second element took off after him. The Archer shifted into deeper woods.
The Vindicator hit Akton with its PPC in his untouched right torso. Akton, Beast, and Larkin all missed the Vindicator. Archangel missed the Rifleman, was hit in the leg by return fire, and fell on his back. Gifted pounded the Rifleman at close range, and he also fell over.
QUINN: Akton, get your 'Mech under cover NOW! Break off your attack immediately. Behind 21016. No one fires at the Rifleman. He's mine. Archangel, can you start clearing the woods? Let's flush that Archer.
Akton jumped behind Ridge 21016. Archangel got up and stayed behind the ridge. Second element walked toward the Vindicator, maintaining pressure on it. Gifted jumped 120 meters southeast to avoid closing with the Rifleman.
The Vindicator jumped 90 meters NNE into a copse of heavy woods. The Rifleman stood up and backed toward the woods. We lost sight of the Archer in the woods.
Archangel began to clear the woods. My intent was to deny the Archer its hiding place even if we had to defoliate the area. The second element missed the Vindicator in the woods.
I destroyed the Rifleman. There was nothing left to salvage. I regret that I wasted two missile packs; a more intelligent review of the enemy's condition would have revealed that mere laser damage would have sufficed to destroy it, and might have left something to salvage. The Rifleman's attempted return fire was wild, perhaps indicating the condition it was in.
My shouts of "Die pig!" were not dignified and set a poor example. I apologize for that, too, but seldom, even in a simulator, have I seen much less done such ultimate destruction to a battlemech.
The Archer and the Vindicator concentrated on Larkin.
RASPUTIN: I found their new command freq. Jamming.... now!
1129:52 hrs: The Vindicator stayed in the woods. No one could see the Archer.
Beast stayed put while Larkin advanced on the Vindicator. I had Akton jump to the edge of the woods. Gifted walked east toward the woods. I planned to pass south of them, but I planned to get a shot at the Vindicator first. Archangel would wait on the ridge for us to flush out the Archer.
Akton met with a surprise in the woods - two platoons of waiting Infantry, armed with machine guns and flamers. They seared him and he fell over. I had not foreseen the trap to lure us into the woods, but we had had no indication of any other units previous to this act.
Rasputin hit the Vindicator with her PPC and with her LRMs, as did I and Larkin, opening his torso. Archangel set the woods containing some of the infantry that had fired on Akton afire, destroying it as a unit.
AKTON: Christ, there's hundreds of guys in the woods, and they all got Flamers! I'm burning up in here!
LARKIN: So shoot back
AKTON: Not without melting
QUINN: Get up and pull out, man, out of the woods!
Akton slipped, then stood up and backed out of the woods. The infantry followed him to the tree line and continued to fire at him. Archangel crossed the stream and fired into the woods, setting fire to the areas containing two more platoons of infantry that were chasing Akton. Some of these were flamer-armed and set off secondary explosions. I jumped southeast to begin to get around the woods toward the Archer.
Larkin stayed still to concentrate on the Vindicator, who retreated jumping 120 meters northeast. Beast found a vibrobomb on his way toward ridge 21016, the end of which he took cover behind.
QUINN: What was that?
RASPUTIN: Beast just found a Vibrobomb. Left leg armor is mostly gone, but she still works.
QUINN: Vibro- Just what have we stepped into?
RASPUTIN: Hey, I see the Archer! He's backing upriver.
He came into my view. I fired LRMs at him, but missed. And then dodged missiles from behind Balu Mountain, immediately to our east.
Larkin caught fire from the Vindicator, the Archer - and something else firing LRM-20s from behind Balu Mountain. Larkin concentrated on firing, over-balanced, and fell after a leg shot. However, he hit the Vindicator with a pack of missiles in his damaged chest and it fell apart.
Considering the growing size of the force we were facing and our condition, I decided to retreat, call for aid, and to observe the enemy. We could all still move. We retreated a kilometer and waited to see what happened while I called in.
1130:46 hrs: *Ebrauc Base Comm Record*
QUINN: Abbey, Abbey, this is Halberd One. I have a hostile situation.
T/Sgt TERRENCE: Halberd One, Abbey. Say again?
QUINN: Abbey, I have a hostile, repeat hostile situation. Get the Abbot and record: Halberd was ambushed by enemy Lance. Got three. Enemy reinforced by infantry and LRM launchers. And Vibrobombs. Obviously a prepared ambush.
BEAR: Halberd, Abbot. Where is this?
QUINN: In the vicinity of map reference M2-L970. We're about a click and a half south of peak M2213. Balu Mountain. I request immediate air support.
BEAR: Already scrambled. What's your situation?
QUINN: There is some infantry moving from the woods to the left off behind Balu. Infrared shows the Archer slowly moving off southeast. We can't make out much more. Shall we pursue?
BEAR: What condition are you in?
QUINN: Akton's in a bad way, Larkin took a beating but is unbreached. Beast and Archangel are lightly damaged, except for where Beast found a Vibrobomb -
BEAR: Vibrobomb? Christ. And your 'Mech?
QUINN: Uh, light damage except for the left Torso. That's breached, with some damage to jump jets.
BEAR: Negative on the pursuit. Stay put. We're coming out.
The enemy made no further offensive actions, and pulled out to the southeast. Battleclock off at 1134:09 hrs. At 1146:22, our medium Air Lance's two Corsairs flew overhead, circled the area twice, and headed off southeast. In twenty-seven minutes, at 1201:20, Xanadu landed, and Captain Bear took command of the situation.
Beast took approximately 1.5 tons of armor damage to three surfaces, almost all of it to the left leg. Repair time less than two hours.
Archangel took light damage (less than .5 ton total) to three surfaces. Repair time less than two hours.
Larkin's Catapult took heavy armor damage and will require four tons of armor spares to repair the damaged surfaces.
Akton's Phoenix Hawk was heavily damaged. All armor was destroyed in the left torso, head, and ... Further armor damage to both legs, both arms, and the center torso. Internal structure damage to the head and the left torso. Damaged jump jet on the left side.