The Landing: Commentary

Quinn's thoughts regarding the first action on Proserpina

The plan was simple enough. Quinn was very excited and nervous when the Lance exited its dropships. They were DOWN on the GROUND of an enemy planet. This was different from school games. He piloted Gifted behind Sgt. Steele's Marauder, and waited for further orders. He expected a detailed dressing down on march order from Steele or Lt. Foster, commanding the recon lance.

Steele just said "set tight"

Orders are orders. Quinn set tight. And stewed, listening to the lance comm freqs. He thought he heard music from one of the other 'Mechs, something twangy and metallic. Quinn wondered - wasn't that non-reg? Should he report it to Sgt. Steele? He looked again. It was Steele's lance command freq. Oh.

After about more than half an hour, Steele came over the line. "Saddle up, boys. Foster found the baddies." The other 'mechs stirred. Quinn waited for a more technical briefing. Shouldn't they be fully informed before deploying? The other 'mechs started off in a ragged line. Quinn joined them, back a bit and off to the right flank.

On the way, Steele's voice drawled in Quinn's ear. "'Pears there's a fort up ahead bout another three klicks. They should stock a company. Foster says there's a six turret-topped towers and two lances of heavy-to-medi 'mechs. Boss's group caught their recon lance and shut 'em off.

"We go in from one side. Boss goes in from the other."

That's it? thought Quinn. "Uh, sir?"

"Yeah, boy?"

"What's our mission goal?"

"Take the fort, boy. And destroy all Kurita 'mechs you see. Got it?"

"Yes sir. How do we deploy?" At that point, we could see the grey cement of the fort against the snow white background.

"Well, since you're on the right, you take the right flank. Me 'n' Eric will cover the center. 'Manda and the Minister can move along the other wall of the canyon. What else do you need?"

"I guess that's all, sir." That's a deployment? No primary, secondary objective lists, no cover patterns?


"Yes, sir."

As we moved into combat and started clocks, Quinn calculated Gifted's next few possible moves. Gifted walked along the canyon wall as running did not gain much space and made it harder to shoot. As Gifted began to take fire, Quinn marvelled at how solid the 'mech felt. With Gifted's special targetting and control system, he could dodge missiles most of the time.

Quinn was not bothered by the upcoming enemy Thunderbolt as it concentrated its fire on Steele and Monroe. Until it kicked him, and did a large piece of damage (about 1/3 the total armor on that leg). For Quinn, maneuvering so as to seek cover from most of the enemy towers was a textbook exercise. He began to wonder what was happening when he was ahead of any other Lance member by over 200 meters. He considered waiting for more support, but was close enough to the fort (and some of the fire he was accepting) to just complete the mission. It was easier than waiting and being shot at.

Quinn was tickled pink by the sight of the Archer backing up, and decided that he physically entering the fort would not by much, and he had been taking fire from the Archer since he got in range, so he chased after it, only to have someone else destroy it.

Quinn was elated by his first combat, though a bit embarassed by the amount of damage he took. He had done much better in practice simulators. He figured that he should have been able to do something else to avoid some of the damage (although he is a better shot than he is a pilot).

This was written by and copyright © Mitch Schwartz.
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