Black Omen

Shedding Light on the Mystery, part 1

Captain Cynthia Ito of the 1st Genyosha, Liason officer to the Black Omen, fully expected much of the nature of the events on Hyner to remain a mystery. After all, the ISF were not known for “getting back to you,” even if they said they would do so. In the normal course of events, they sucked up information like a black hole – everything going in and nothing coming back out. Not to people at her level anyway.

They knew something was off with the supposed “Word of Blake” forces that hit Hyner. Aside from the camo, they really didn’t fight like, nor handle themselves like Blakists. When the battle was over, the mystery just got deeper rather than victory providing any sort of enlightenment. For, under the false Wobbie colors and camo, were the emblems of dead men: the 14th Alshain Avengers. That force was thought to have been entirely wiped out by the Ghost Bear after their ill-fated attack on Alshain. The coordinator himself had declared them traitors and placed a bounty on their heads, should they somehow manage to survive that debacle. And in the roughly five years since that event, nobody had heard a word regarding them. Everyone believed they had to have perished, victims of their own over-reach and the resulting wrath of the Bears.

Dead men!
Where had they been for the past five years?
Who was hiding them?
Where had they been hiding?
And what was their true purpose when they showed up on Hyner, pretending to be Word of Blake?

Capt. Ito had resigned herself to never getting answers to her questions.

Then a communication from her ISF contract was received. “We have a priority mission for your team.”

The briefing revealed some answers but brought up yet more questions. Under interrogation by the ISF, a few of the once-noble warriors had broken. The answer of “where” turned out to be McAlister, a planet which had a substantial history with the 14th. During Operation Bulldog, when the Jaguars launched their counterstrike, it had been the 14th who helped defend the planet. But when she had looked into that history, there were noticeable discrepancies.

One set of records stated “under the combined strength of these defending forces, the Clan invaders were wiped out.” But in other records, she found “The SLDF forces couldn’t stop the Second Jaguar Regulars on McAlister.” Which was it? The various records seemed to agree, though, after the brutal fighting there and after the resolution of Operation Bulldog, the under-strength 14th had been tapped to provide a Battalion to bolster the nominal garrison forces of McAlister until the defenders could build themselves back up to full strength.

That Battalion had remained on McAlister for nearly three years until they unexpectedly left without orders, only to join the rest of the 14th in their ill-fated attack on Alshain. As it turned out, they comprised a majority of the survivors of that battle. It also appears they got warning of their status as “traitors”, likely via the Black Dragons in some way. The survivors, a little under two companies worth, somehow made their way back to McAlister, and used their knowledge of the planet and local connections to lay low.

As to who – After the 14th’s abrupt departure, an under-strength battalion of the 2nd Sword of Light had been assigned to take the 14th’s place on McAlister. They were expected to fill out their ranks with “local recruits”. A process that happened surprisingly rapidly, even when you accounted for the attraction of 2nd’s reputation. It all started to make sense now – no doubt many, or nearly all, of those recruits had come from the remains of the 14th. Small wonder they staffed back up so quickly.

That meant the Black Dragons had their own clandestine force, nearly two companies strong. Nobody was looking for them and they had been operating, doing gods knew what, for the last several years… What had they been up to before Hyner?

She suppressed a shudder for, as chilling as the notion of a rogue mini-battalion running amuck was, the revelation that the 2nd Sword of Light was in some way compromised was even more terrifying. One of the premier units in the DCMS, Elite, Fanatical, under influence of these cursed Black Dragons! Was it just this one Battalion? An entire Regiment? The entire Unit? The prospect of a unit this large and well respected, four Battalions of ’Mechs, plus associated regimental-sized units of Aerospace, Armor, and Infantry – ALL of it potentially under the influence of the Black Dragons – brought a sinking sense of dread to the pit of her stomach.

And thus the mission. This particular battalion of the 2nd Sword of Light was to be eliminated. Obviously fully complicit in hiding and providing cover for the remains of the traitorous 14th Alshain Avengers, they would be destroyed. But Combine leadership feared revealing the 2nd’s association with the Black Dragons, lest it lend too much legitimacy to their “movement”. So a cover story was needed, along with credible witnesses to back it up. It had to be 100% deniable and no House unit could be involved. Fortunately the Black Omen were in the neighborhood, were good at keeping secrets, and already had some knowledge of the situation, so nobody new needed be briefed in on the rather sensitive information regarding the extent of the Black Dragon’s corruption.

So far the plan was going well. The 2nd had been ordered away from their base on McAlister under the pretense of a training exercise on the Chupadero. It was an out-of-the-way planet, producing nothing of great military value and garrisoned by a relatively green force. That an experienced unit such as the 2nd would be used as OpFor in order to help train them up played to the 2nd’s ego and was a believable cover story.

In a rather ironic twist, since the 14th had been imitating Wobbies, it would also be Wobbies that decimated the 2nd. “Live as fake Wobbies, Die by fake Wobbies,” someone had said. It was rather poetic justice – Black Dragons pretending to be Blakests had been defeated by the Omen and now the tables were turned 180 degrees. She suppressed a chuckle as the thought that the Omens, with their mix of many Star League and Clan ’Mechs made far more believable Blakests than the 14th had. If the cover story was believed and this also ended up pitting the remaining portions of the 2nd Sword of Light against the Word of Blake, so much the better.

She had to give credit, the leader of the Black Omen was a devious bastard. The idea to extend the “exercises” ruse beyond just getting the 2nd to the planet, and using it to ambush them while loaded with training ammo was a bit of brilliance. Instead of a prolonged series fights it looked as if the 2nd could potentially be swept up all in one neat tidy operation.

Under the pretense of the exercise, the local forces had been tasked with carrying out an ambush, doing a hit-and-run on the 2nd. But when they arrived to setup their ambush, they were in turn ambushed by the Omen in their Wobbie disguises. Loaded with dummy munitions for their ballistic and missile weapons, the local forces had been no match for the Omen. Best of all, the ECM fields had worked and none had been able to raise an alarm, so the 2nd had no clue what was in store for them.

She refocused her attention on the monitors in the Dropship’s C&C where a medium company of 2nd Sword, mostly scout ‘Mechs, was facing a similar fate to the local forces. A Clan ERPPC cleanly removed the entire head from one of the scout ’Mechs, likely vaporizing the pilot in the process. Suddenly one of the other observers called out, "They’re not going for it!" and she shifted focus to a secondary display where the bulk of the 2nd’s forces reversed course and began to make their way out of the remains of the burnt out city that had been the location for the “exercise”. It would appear that this time the nature of the trap had been exposed. “If only they had not legged that dammed Firestarter just outside of the ECM coverage”, she thought. Ah well, Plan A had been a bit optimistic but they had accounted for that. Everyone knew no plan survived contact with the enemy, so of course there had been a Plan B to fall back on. The critical element was to hit the 2nd before they could return to their dropship and load up with real ammo.

Still, the next phase of the fight was going to be a lot more brutal. The enemy ‘Mechs were heavier and nearly outnumbered the Black Omens two to one. Even without live ammo for their missiles and ballistic weapons, the remaining extended company of the 2nd was a force to be respected. And it looked as if only a few of the Omen scout ’Mechs would be able to engage in this phase of the battle, the others being too damaged or too busy running down the remaining ’Mechs and pilots from the 2nd’s scout company.

The remaining forces of the 2nd moved at the full speed of their slowest forces, retracing their way back towards their dropship. Moving faster and more tightly concentrated as they covered known terrain, it would not be long before they emerged onto the open plain. Soon after that they would near the location chosen for plan B, where they would be forced to ford a minor river with tree cover on both sides. She was wondering just how the Omen would use this terrain to their advantage when she heard the acceleration warning and the Omen’s “Battlewagon”, a Star League-era Rhino tug, rapidly descended to a lower orbit in order to drop the remaining Omen ’Mechs into battle.

View
Operation: TDS Coma (Part 2?)

Bill gracelessly tumbled into the Battle Wagon’s command center, barely catching the hand hold that would stop him from barreling into the back of ensign Cornell, who was in her seat monitoring some kind of thermal sensor.

Usually gliding down the dropship’s corridors in zero-g was easy for a seasoned veteran such as Bill. However, lingering effects of transit disorientation syndrome left him feeling like he had drank an entire case of Glengoolie Blue the night before.

Normal people typically didn’t have this problem, and described the momentary feeling of travelling through space-time as being harmlessly and existentially turned inside out, or becoming one with the universe. To Bill, it just felt like the worst hangover in the universe. Or one the size of the universe. Or one that began at the big bang and would continue until the heat death of the universe. In short, interstellar jumps sucked for Bill and he hated them.

After steadying himself, Bill looked across (or was it down? He tried not to think about it too much, lest he relieve the contents of his stomach into the command center. That would be embarassing) the room at the primary monitor.

It looked like a battle was just wrapping up and a new one was about to begin. Bill realized he should have been in this battle. How did that happen? Why was he up here, and not down there. Oh, right… A vague memory of The Commander telling him to get his shit together and in his ’mech by the time phase 2 started percolated through the grogginess.

He was vaguely aware of the conversation happening in the commander center. Someone was saying how this battle had gone really well for their side, despite a few of those Alshain Avenger ‘mechs almost getting outside of the ECM bubble. Then, someone else was saying how the Dracs weren’t going to appreciate the Omen coring out three of their ‘mechs. Then, Lieutenant Graff was saying it was worth it just to watch Klaus make that amazing Hail Mary PPC shot to the back of the Avenger Battle Hawk before it got away. Then, ensign Cornell made a comment about how Otto really didn’t need to target the back of that Kintaro, but that it was probably unavoidable. The same going for the Daimyo that just wouldn’t die. Everyone also seemed to be agreeing that Dargo firing all of the missiles at the Urbanmech had been totally epic, despite being totally overkill.

Then the battle damage reports started coming in. Harry’s commandeered Charger had taken a couple hits, and Kim’s Nova was getting thin on leg armor. Klaus’ Lynx hadn’t taken any additional damage and everyone else was just peachy aside from some potential ammo shortages (Dargo!)

Bill was suddenly aware of someone looking at him. It was Ensign Cornell. She was staring at him, like she was expecting an answer to a question. Oh right, she had asked him something about 10 minutes ago…or was it 10 seconds?

He blinked, and could not for the life of him account for the time that had apparently passed. It was like people who said they got abducted by aliens. Shit! Have I been abducted by aliens? Bill thought. No, that’s crazy! Pull it together!

“Can you repeat that please, Ensign Cornell?”

“Sir, the advance team is in position and about to engage. Shouldn’t you be in the ’mech bay? The rest of the company is about to launch.”

“Yes Ensign, I am going there now. Keep up the good work!”

With that, Bill spun on his heel (or whatever the zero-g equivalent was) and propelled himself down the corridor to the elevator. Good thing his Thunderbolt’s ‘mech bay was next to the elevator. He would be there in no time at all! Good thing he wasn’t the poor schlub piloting the company’s Stormcrow. That ’mech bay was like a mile away!

Feeling pretty optimistic and good about himself, Bill floated into the elevator and slapped the button for the ’mech bay.

Phase 2 was going to be great! Good thing they wouldn’t be combat dropping! Bill didn’t think his inner ear could handle that.

“All personnel, general quarters. Two minutes until combat drop. Repeat, two minutes until drop” a voice said over the PA system.

Oh shiiiiiiittttttt, Bill thought.

In the middle of the elevator, Bill curled up into the fetal position and moaned softly. Phase 2 was going to suck!

View
Operation Black Dragon Mystery - Interlude, Part 2

Hyner
Luthien Armor Works Facility
Warrenton Township
September 29th, 3067. 21:45 hours

The Luthien Armor Works executive lounge was really nice, Bill mused as he strolled around the room’s perimeter, a tumbler with ice and his favorite spirit, Glengoolie Blue, in his hand. The lounge had everything! Wood paneling where there wasn’t floor to ceiling windows, plush blue carpeting, black leather sofas and recliners, imported Earth-oak tables, washrooms with gold fixtures, a small kitchen, an impressive buffet table, and most importantly, an open bar.

The lounge itself was located on the top floor of the central administration building at the southern end of the LAW manufacturing facility. The structure was fairly standard; three stories, above and below ground parking, locally sourced marble facade, blue tinted windows. It primarily contained offices and cubicle farms, but it also had a cafeteria and small gymnasium. It had taken a few errant laser and missile strikes during the battle, but someone had the forethought to lower the building’s blast shutters, so it had taken negligible damage.

As soon as the battle had ended, Black Omen ground troops had swooped in to clear and secure the facility. After encountering no resistance, word had gone out to the local LAW executives that they could return and begin getting the facility back up and running again. They had responded enthusiastically and insisted on hosting a dinner party for the Omen to celebrate and show their appreciation.

That had sounded great to Bill. Locals usually kept their distance from the mercenary company and didn’t often show such gratitude.

Bill felt slightly ashamed that the bar, with its impressive array of liquor, was the first thing he had noticed. While technically off duty, The Commander had asked Bill to keep his communicator on and tuned to the patrol frequencies. There were still unaccounted for hostiles on planet and it was always a possibility they would try something stupid. Getting drunk and letting The Commander down was not on Bill’s list of priorities, so he decided to take it easy tonight and stay frosty. Just keep it to two drinks and you’ll be fine! he thought to himself.

They were now about an hour into the event. After everyone had gathered, the senior LAW representative, Margaret Saito, had given a short speech, then it was time for dinner. Bill had honestly been a little disappointed with the catering. The catering staff of about 15 had been late, the food was cold, and they seemed a little disorganized. Still, it seemed everyone was having a good time. The alcohol was flowing and there was even some decent music playing over the lounge’s stereo system.

Bill stopped his pacing in front of one of the large windows and tossed back the last of his drink while admiring the view. The sun was setting and the sky looked like it was on fire. Hyner really was a beautiful world. It was a shame they wouldn’t be spending very much longer on it.

He noticed a figure approaching him from the reflection in the window. It was one of the wait staff carrying a tray with several flutes of champagne. Bill turned to face him.

“Another drink sir?” the man asked in a clipped tone.

Bill took a moment to study him. Caucasian, tall, athletic build, dark hair in a buzz-cut. He also had tattoos peaking out from under his shirt collar and his jacket looked one size too small.

“Oh, no thanks. I’ve hit my limit for tonight, but you can take this.” Bill said as he placed his empty glass on the tray.

The man accepted the empty glass but didn’t make eye contact with Bill as he turned and walked away, and his expression held a hint of annoyance.

A little rude, Bill thought. This catering company is not the best! Oh well! Time to hit the head.

Bill made his way to the executive washroom and picked the very last stall. These weren’t the typical open-bottomed stalls, they were little restrooms unto themselves. Very nice! Bill thought. After using the tiny and only semi-private lavatories on the dropship for the past few weeks, this was a treat.

He started unbuckling his belt when a call that came over the radio caught his attention.

“Bravo team, Bravo 1. Anyone heard from Bravo 4? They are overdue for a check-in and aren’t responding to coms.”

Bill had been listening to their chatter all night, but teams not responding to coms was unusual and warranted a little extra attention.

“Bravo 1, Bravo 2. Last we saw, they were headed to the west factory parking garage to check out that catering truck that took a wrong turn.”

“Copy that Bravo 2. Charlie 1, that is close to your location. Can you send a squad over there to check it out? The structure might be interfering with Bravo 4’s coms.”

“Roger that Bravo Lead. Charlie 2 heading to west parking garage.”

A few moments passed as Bill waited for anything else.

“Alpha lead, Delta 1. Activity in the tree line 150 yards west of gatehouse A.”

“Delta 1, Alpha lead, what have you got?”

“Standby Alpha.”

SRM! Everyone down!” Bill heard a bang over the com, and then static. A second later it cut out completely.

“Oh shit!” Bill said to himself as he frantically buckled his belt.

That was when the gunfire from the lounge started.

View
Operation Black Dragon Mystery - After Action Report and Phase 2 Prep

Hyner
Warrenton Township

September 29th, 3067. (All times are local)

10:15
The remaining hostile ’mechs surrender to Black Omen forces.

10:26
The four “Word of Blake” dropships takeoff and boost to parts unknown.

11:30
The Battle Wagon makes landfall. Salvage / recovery operations begin and Black Omen ground troops begin securing the LAW facility.

13:05
A small group of 36 LAW employees (mostly graveyard shift custodial and maintenance staff) are found locked in the facility’s main cafeteria.

16:10
The LAW facility is secured. “Word of Blake” POWs are moved to an empty vehicle hangar on site for later processing / interrogation. The LAW employees are also moved to a more comfortable and secure area for further questioning.

Initial Intel
21 “WoB” Mechwarriors were taken alive. Three were killed during the battle. None of the survivors are talking, but they are complying with instructions and not resisting. They are not wearing Comstar / Word of Blake uniforms. Their clothing is generic and does not have any insignia or identifying marks.

Two “WoB” Aerospace pilots have been recovered. Like the ’Mechwarriors, they are also choosing to stay silent. The remaining four pilots are MIA. Based on gun-cam footage, two are presumed dead.

An inspection of the downed “WoB” ’mechs reveals they were hastily painted in Comstar colors. Some armor panels that were found with paint burned away indicate the ’mechs belong to a DCMS unit. Specifically, the 14th Alshain Avengers.

Initial conversations with the LAW employees indicate they were press-ganged by the invaders and spent three days moving completed artillery vehicles and ammunition from the factory to the waiting dropships. After that, the employees were moved to the cafeteria where it would be harder for them to observe any further activities. They estimated there were about 200 “WoB” personnel on site, with perhaps 60 of them being soldiers and the rest various technical personnel.

No hostile forces were encountered in the LAW facility. However, several vehicles were observed leaving the facility just before the Black Omen ’mechs landed. It is believed they contained the “WoB” personnel that initially took part in the raid. They took several routes and were lost track of due to forest canopy, or driving into the dense urban area of Warrenton. Local police are investigating but so far have no leads.

A number of locals that live near the facility have come forward. They say that the invaders would rotate four to eight ’mechs out on patrols west of Warrenton, near the ruined town of Chinn. The purpose of these patrols is unknown.

The local militia has continued its general unresponsiveness and has not moved out of its base in the town of Wessen. The militia commander has not returned recent communications.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have now, or we can discuss at our next session.

Now – 20:45

We will begin transitioning to Phase 2 of The Black Dragon Mystery!

To prepare for Phase 2, I need everyone to…

Step 1: Setting the scene(s)

Choose one of your characters currently participating in the campaign to head back to the dropship with their ’mech to oversee repairs, help with salvage operations, take a nap, whatever.

Choose one of your other characters to head on over to the LAW facility executive lounge. There will be a meet and greet with Black Omen staff and the local LAW executives. Dinner will be served and the lounge supposedly has an excellent open bar. (Bill is going!)

If you had a third character, he or she will be on perimeter patrol in their ’mech (I think this only applies to JC and Chuck. Maybe pick the ’mech that suffered the least amount of damage? Its up to you and The Commander).

Shawn, The Commander must be present at the meeting. I’m sorry that this limits your choices!

Also, does anyone besides Callie and Conrad have Sixth Sense?

Please reply to this e-mail with your selections. If I don’t hear back from you by Friday, May 19th, I will make the selections for you (or make you play an NPC!). :P

Step 2: Get your kit squared away!

What gear did you bring on this trip? What gear do your characters have on them at the moment? Do they carry their sniper rifles around with them 24/7? It might be good to know ahead of time! Having a couple of gear lists ready will help out a lot and save us from having to do impromptu shopping trips.

View
Operation Black Dragon Mystery - Interlude, Part 1

In the command room of the Battle Wagon, Bill drifted cross legged in front of the large 4’ by 6’ screen that took up nearly a third of the room’s wall. It showed him a birds-eye view of the battlefield of the area surrounding the Luthien Armor Works facility, complete with tactical and strategic overlays, approach vectors and everything else necessary to oversee and direct a combat operation from orbit.

In his left hand he held a datapad which contained all of his checklists, timetables, unit call signs, and personal notes. His right gripped a comms router strapped to his belt. With the press of a button he could communicate with just about any unit or person involved in the battle.

The Commander had wanted to attend to this mission personally, and volunteered Bill to oversee operations from the dropship. That essentially gave him overall command and control authority unless The Commander decided to step in and override him.

Everything was going well so far, and according to plan. At times, directing all of the disparate elements was like herding cats, but everyone knew their role and carried out their tasks with little fuss.

Stationed around him, belted into acceleration couches were the support staff; intel analysts and sensor operators that were monitoring the Battle Wagon’s plethora of scopes and communications gear and imputing the relevant data into the battle computer, which could then be called up on the wall monitor.

The DCMS liaison, Captain Cynthia Ito of the 1st Genyosha had insisted on being present and was now drifting near the command room’s elevator bank, one hand holding an overhead gripping point for support. She watched the proceedings impassively.

Standing a little over 150 centimeters tall, with short black hair, and classical Asian features, she appeared outwardly unassuming; the girl next door that really didn’t draw too much attention. However, something in her eyes and the way she carried herself gave Bill the feeling that she could break him in half without breaking a sweat, and not really feel bad about doing it.

Since joining the Black Omen task force 9 days ago, Captain Ito had been courteous and professional, but not overly friendly with any of the crew. Choosing to take her meals by herself in the cafeteria and not participating in any of the typical amusements dropship crews used to pass the time.

That wasn’t particularly unusual under these circumstances. The DCMS had a long history of despising mercenaries, and despite the Black Omen’s good working relationship with the Combine, some in the DCMS ranks longed for a return to the old ways.

Still, something was off about her. Bill suspected she was an ISF agent of some kind, but he didn’t want to share that thought with anyone, lest any rumors get started. However, maybe he would speak with Jack about it after the mission. Jack had run in those circles and might have some insight.

Bill’s attention was quickly diverted by a flash on the satellite image, about 5 kilometers north of the LAW facility.

One of the sensor operators, ensign Cornell, noticed it too and called it out. “Possible missile launch in grid B16.”

“I see it Sarah,” Bill replied. “Arrow IV artillery?”

“Speed and trajectory matches, sir.”

“Okay, mark it. Lieutenant Graff, get an infrared scan of that area. See how many units we are dealing with”

“Copy that sir.” he replied.

Bill keyed the button on the router that would allow him to address all 14 of the Black Omen battlemechs currently in the field.

“Squirrel Group, Eagle Command. Possible missile artillery launch detected north of your position. Watch for TAGs.”

“Copy that Eagle” Barrett replied. “Squirrel 5 was just TAGed by that Dire Wolf, but it has a bad angle and there is plenty of cover to break locks.”

“Received Squirrel 4. We will re-task an element of Blue Bird flight to take that battery out as soon as they mop up the Wobbie aero. Shouldn’t be more than a minute or so.”

“Copy.” Barrett quickly sent back.

Overall, the battle was unfolding pretty much as Bill expected. The Black Omen had combat dropped their ’mechs only 1 kilometer from the Luthien Armor Works facility and it appeared that it had taken the Word of Blake forces somewhat by surprise.

Their aerospace fighters had reacted quickly enough, moving out of their CAP zone as soon as the Omen ’mechs had started their drop from the Battle Wagon. It was a risky move to drop ’mechs from the upper atmosphere with hostile aero in the vicinity, but the eight Black Omen Transgressors had done an exemplary job of intercepting the Word of Blake fighters and keeping them off the ’mechs.

They were now engaged in a whirling dogfight above the drop zone. To their credit, the Word of Blake pilots appeared to be fairly competent and were putting up a decent fight. However, based on the radio chatter coming from the Omen pilots, it seemed that the Omen had a bit of a firepower advantage and the battle in the air would turn in their favor shortly.

On the ground, the Word of Blake had scrambled to re-deploy their perimeter guards and had waited too long in recalling two lances of ‘mechs patrolling to the north and west. Bill estimated it would take another minute for them to be in a position to engage. That put their ground speed at about 80kph, which could indicate medium ’mechs or fast heavies. Those two lances could potentially cause problems, but Bill could put The Commander’s reserve lance into motion if things got dicey.

The artillery was a little worrying as well. None of the intel they had received from the local militia indicated the Word of Blake had deployed artillery units. However, it was certainly possible that they had re-purposed some weaponry from the LAW facility at some point in the last 9 days.

The seconds ticked by and Bill continued to listen intently to the radio chatter between the ’mechs on the surface, the aerospace pilots, and the various duty stations on the dropship. He also kept a sharp eye on his satellite view. The area in and around the LAW facility was lit with flashes every few seconds and smoke was beginning to shroud the battlefield.

The Word of Blake artillery battery was firing one missile every few seconds, and several had come close to making contact. The Black Omen ‘mechs had done an excellent job at breaking the laser designator locks, causing the missiles to detonate harmlessly overhead. However, it was only a matter of time before one hit home and ruined someone’s day.

A few seconds later, Bill finally heard the transmission he was waiting for.

“Bogey down! Splash four, splash four.” With the Word of Blake aerospace now safely outnumbered, he felt it was time to re-direct two of the Black Omen Transgressor to take out that artillery battery.

“Blue Birds 3 and 4, Eagle Command. vector to grid B16 and reconfigure for ground attack. Your target is an Arrow IV battery approximately 500 meters north of the sharp bend in the river. Over”

“Copy that Eagle. We have their smoke trails. Commencing our attack run now. ETA, six seconds.”

A few seconds later, the area about 90 meters wide and 200 meters long began to glitter and spark as laser fire rippled off the terrain exactly where Bill had specified. There was a quick flash and then smoke began billowing skyward. A moment later Bill saw the two Transgressors streak into the observable area on the satellite display and then peel off to the east.

“Eagle Command, Blue Bird 3. We have secondaries. They were really dug in, but we think we got them.”

“Copy that Blue Bird 3. Make another pass to make sure, then rejoin Blue Bird flight.”

“Copy Eagle Command. Approaching from the north.”

Bill breathed a sigh of relief. With that threat eliminated, his ’mechs could mop up the Word of Blake defenders unimpeded. The two remaining lances had arrived and were working their way towards the fight and would be in weapons range momentarily. They were badly outnumbered 12 ’mechs to 8, so this would probably be over quickly. Still, Bill admired their resolve. It took some serious kōgan to face off against a group that had just decisively beaten more than half your forces with minimal losses.

As the first volleys began between the two groups, Bill twisted around and gave Captain Ito a smile and a thumbs up.

He was met with an icy glare.

Bill suddenly had a feeling that the easy part of the mission was over, and that the hard part was just beginning.

View
Operation Black Dragon Mystery - Briefing 1

Mission Overview:

On September 15th, 3067, Two unscheduled jumpships arrived at the Hyner system zenith jump point. four dropships (two Unions and two Mammoths) deployed and began a 1g burn towards the planet. When interrogated by ground control, the dropships declared that they were from the Word of Blake and that any forces that oppose them would be destroyed. Soon after, a distress signal is sent from the planet to DCMS high command requesting assistance.

Due to the strategic insignificance of the Hyner system, mercenaries (The Black Omen) were contracted to deploy to Hyner instead of regular DCMS forces.

The Black Omen arrived in system on September 24th.

One day later, the WoB dropships entered atmosphere unimpeded and made landfall near the Luthien Armor Works facility on the outskirts of the planetary capital of Warrenton. Approximately 24 battlemechs deployed from the Unions and took up guard positions around the perimeter of the facility. At this time it is not completely clear what their goals are, but it can be suspected that they are interested in the material and equipment located at the LAW facility.

Local militia stationed in the nearby town of Wessen have been unresponsive, and are unwilling or unable to mount a counter offensive to face the WoB ’mechs.

The Luthien Armor Works facility on Hyner has little strategic importance to the DCMS, as it only produces a small number of artillery pieces and vehicle platforms. It also contains a modest ammunition line, turning out limited runs of small caliber ammunition and heavy artillery shells. The loss of this facility would not unduly hinder DCMS capabilities in the sector, but it does represent an unneeded distraction.

Mission Objectives:

Primary: Eliminate or drive off all Word of Blake forces.
Secondary: Collect intel from any captured WoB troops.

Intel:

Geography, Climate, History:

Hyner is a temperate world with three sparsely populate continents. The most notable geographic feature is the five kilometer wide Niederwald impact crater on the planet’s equator.

Terrain is typical for a temperate world and is very “earth-like.”

It is currently late spring with average daytime temperatures around 21c.

The world has changed hands several times since the fall of the Star League. The city of Quantico was reduced to rubble by Lyran Commonwealth forces during the 1st Succession War.

West of Warrenton, in the swamps between the towns of Chinn and New Bethesday, lies a ruined Star League era methane processing plant. Chinn was also the sight of a fierce battle at some point in its history, as it still shows the signs of battle damage. It is rumored to be the sight of a Star League Castle Brian, but no evidence of its existence has ever been found.

OPFOR:

The latest reports indicate only 24 ‘mechs of indeterminate size around the LAW facility. Two to four aerospace fighters have also been observed at various times on CAP above the dropship’s landing area.

The local militia has been reluctant to get close to the sight to provide better intel.

Projected Timetable of Operations:

The Black Omen dropship will reach orbit in approximately 6 days. Use this time to decide how you would like to approach the mission (Combat drop? Standard land and deploy?)

DCMS Liaison:

Captain Cynthia Ito from the 1st Genyosha has been assigned as a liaison to your unit. She will observe this operation and report back to DCMS high command at its conclusion. She may also coordinate with any remaining LAW representatives.

View
Operation Sandworm, Conclusion

Part 5:

Jack guided the Banshee forward about 120 meters short of the copse of trees the Word of Blake Flashman had fired from. He had been bracing himself to take a full volley from the enemy ’Mech’s considerable energy weapon loadout, but to his amazement, the Flashman’s shots had all gone wide. Either the pilot was impatient, panicking, or experiencing problems with his targeting system. In any case, Jack considered himself extremely lucky. The Flashman pilot had rolled the dice, and they had not come up in his favor. That fusillade could have badly damaged Jack’s ’Mech, probably so severely that it would have taken him out of the fight.

A quick glance at his ’Mech’s weapons panel indicated his seven remaining medium pulse lasers had cycled and were ready to fire. Another burst would surely be enough to gut the Flashman. The damn thing had been harassing the Black Omen ’Mechs from long range for the entire battle and it was time to put it down once and for all.

He knew a WoB Tessen was at his 9 o’clock, but he chose to ignore it. It had decent firepower for its weight, but the 70 ton Flashman was the bigger threat.

Settling the crosshairs over the Flashman’s torso, Jack placed his finger on the trigger, but he hesitated for a moment. Steam was pouring out of the Flashman’s cooling vents and the ‘Mech wasn’t moving. Normally a ’Mech was constantly in motion, twisting and turning to prevent an opponent from getting a clean shot.

Flash is shutdown. Probably overheated. Engaging the Tessen.”

Before he could get a reply from his lancemates, Jack slammed the pedal under his left foot to bring the Banshee’s torso around, simultaneously leaning the ’Mech into a turn and throttling up to get the ’Mech to speed. The 50 ton Tessen was running full bore towards the collection of buildings just to the north in an attempt to get away.

He had two choices; lay into it with pulse lasers or particle cannons, or run it down and smash it with the Banshee’s battle fists. Using the ranged weaponry wasn’t a sure thing. The Tessen was nearly undamaged and he would have to get really good groupings to bring it down. On the other hand, crushing it with two triple-strength myomer enhanced fists would end it quickly.

He knew what he had to do.

Jack pushed the throttle wide open and engaged the ‘Mechs supercharger. This allowed the fusion engine to operate beyond its design limits, pouring more power into ’Mechs actuators, increasing its top speed. Coupled with the ’Mech’s triple-strength myomer, it was even faster when the ’Mech was running hot, which it was. It was now potentially 30kph faster than the nimble Tessen. The Tessen pilot had also had to spend time turning his ’Mech a full 180 degrees to put it on an escape vector, giving Jack the perfect opportunity to run it down.

The Tessen wasn’t getting away.

The range closed quickly. 200 meters. 100 meters. 30 meters. The Tessen pilot had twisted the ’mech’s torso and extended its right arm to bring its particle cannon to bear on the charging Banshee. A white hot stream of charged particles sizzled from the barrel. The shot almost connected fully, instead it scored the Banshee’s right shoulder with a glancing blow, doing negligible damage.

0 meters. The Banshee’s fists came down and smashed the hapless Tessen from behind. Ferro armor and foamed titanium structure crumpled. severed power cabling sparked and smoked. The Tessen went down in a heap of grinding metal and stopped moving.

“Devil 3, Devil 1. Stop damaging the salvage,” The Commander intoned sternly.

“Sorry sir. Couldn’t let him get away,” Jack replied.

“Understood Devil 3. Return to formation. It looks like we are done here. The center and right flank are wrapped.”

“Copy that. What is the status of that Flashman?”

“Harry saw a flash in the cockpit. Probably a suicide… as usual.”

“Copy.” Well, that was good news. The Word of Blake Mech Warriors had a tendency to commit suicide rather than be captured. The Black Omen troopers had seen them use kidney bombs, cortex bombs, and pistol shots to the head. Now they could add “grenade in the cockpit” to the list. The techs wouldn’t enjoy cleaning up the mess, but an intact Flashman was a huge windfall. Hopefully the Kuritans wouldn’t try to re-negotiate the salvage contract at the last minute and attempt to steal it out from under them.

The Commander was back on the com, “Angel and Demon lances, I want a five hundred meter perimeter around the LZ. Kurita air cav will be here in 5 mikes. Devil lance will secure the lava tubes and check for stragglers. Move out.”

Jack took a deep breath as he started walking the Banshee back to the center of the field. The adrenaline rush of combat was beginning to wear off and he could feel exhaustion start to settle in. With the battle over though, everyone could relax a little bit and let the Kuritans mop up.

All in all, it had been a good day. Word of Blake plans foiled, some great salvage to be had, and no one had died. Jack couldn’t ask for anything more.

Part 6:

After sweeping the Mt. Logan mining site for intel, it was discovered that the intercepted transmission was indeed part of a ruse to lure the Black Omen into a showdown with the Word of Blake forces. Captured memos indicated the Word of Blake commander was extremely confident his forces could annihilate the Black Omen and remove them from the field. This would allow the WoB to sweep into Palepo and capture the city, solidifying their hold on the region.

Obviously, it did not go according to plan.

With the Word of Blake command structure crushed at the battle of Mt. Logan, the rebel forces they were supporting quickly began to fold under the pressure of Kurita counterattack. In a matter of weeks, order was restored and Garstedt began the process of rebuilding.

Having fulfilled their contract, the Black Omen could return home.


GM Notes:

Great job everyone! This campaign was fun to run. I hope everyone enjoyed it!

Here are the EXP rewards…

Mech Battle 1: Palepo Flats

  • 8 EXP for characters participating in the battle.

Power Armor Defense of the Green Zone Checkpoint

  • 24 EXP for all of your characters!

Mech Battle 2: Mt. Logan Showdown

  • Part 1: 8 EXP for characters participating in the battle.
  • Part 2: 10 EXP for characters participating in the battle.

Campaign Bonus

  • 10 EXP to all of your characters if you were present at all four sessions.

Please let me know if you have any final questions or concerns.

I will also send Shawn the details concerning payment and salvage for this op.

View
Operation Sandworm, Briefing 3

Part 3:

From the cockpit of his Stormcrow, Bill surveyed the green zone checkpoint… or what was left of it. The highway leading into the city was a battleground littered with burning vehicles and human bodies. Bill estimated maybe 50 or 60 casualties. From his vantage point, he couldn’t tell how many of them were rebels and how many were civilians. The area immediately around the stricken Kurita Raptor had been blasted to rubble. The rebel truck bomb had been very effective.

Groups of shell shocked civilians milled about, apparently not sure what to do next. Hell, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do next. “One thing at a time Bill, one thing at a time” he quietly admonished himself. He was in a BattleMech. There wasn’t anything he could do for those people down on the ground, but he could begin securing the area.

Bill keyed the Mech-to-Mech com. “Abner, take up a blocking position on the highway, 300 meters east of the checkpoint. Civilian vehicles get no closer than 100 meters of your position. Warning shots first. Combat vehicles that aren’t squawking as friendly get particle cannons at 700.”

“Copy that,” Abner replied. “Moving into position.”

Traffic on the highway had stopped, but there was always the possibility of a second wave attack. Abner’s Nightmare was better equipped for long range fighting, mounting three extremely deadly Clan particle cannons as primary weapons versus the single large laser on Bill’s Stormcrow. Bill was confident that nothing short of a ’Mech assault lance would get past Abner.

He redirected his attention back to the checkpoint. Two of Lieutenant Franklin’s battle armor troopers had taken overwatch positions on top of the ferrocrete checkpoint buildings, standing guard over the incoming convoy of fire fighting and medical vehicles making their way down Oswaldo Boulevard to the checkpoint. The other troopers were either moving among the wounded civilians, doing what the could for them in their bulky armor, or securing rebel weapons and looking for survivors to take into custody.

Franklin’s squad had performed brilliantly, neutralizing an estimated 25 rebel soldiers and their vehicles in a matter of minutes while taking no serious casualties of their own. Each trooper had taken hits, but their armor had held up. Jeff Ober, the squads grenadier, had taken the worst of it; a rebel support laser had managed to breach his suit’s left arm armor and he had received some flash burns, but he would be okay.

Despite the civilian casualties caused by the rebels, the situation had been resolved satisfactorily. Bill was grateful that the fight hadn’t moved into the city proper. Without the battle armor squad’s intervention, conventional infantry would probably have had to go building by building to root the rebels out, inevitably leading to more civilian deaths.

Bill turned the volume up on the company-wide frequency. On the way to the checkpoint, he had been listening in on Sabre 1’s intercept of the rebel BattleMech force assaulting the city from the south. Now it sounded as if they were wrapping things up. Katsuko’s Warhawk had taken severe damage and was knocked out of the fight. Harry’s King Crab was badly chewed up as well. Both would probably need at least a few days in the repair bay. Everyone else had taken little or no damage.

The rebels had put up more of a fight than expected. Barrett had said something about “ringers.” There had been some rumors that the Word of Blake was supporting the rebellion. If not supplying BattleMechs directly to the rebels, they could possibly be providing experienced warriors to pilot captured Kurita ’Mechs and techs to fix them instead. It made sense to Bill. From what he had seen on Denizli and back home on Summerset in the last few months, the wobbies were making moves in the region, and destabilizing local Kurita worlds would certainly help their cause.

Bill resolved to be extra vigilant from here on out. With that thought, The Commander’s voice came over the com.

“Sabre 1 and 3, Sabre Actual. Lance commanders RTB at earliest possible convenience. Remaining undamaged ’Mechs take up standard guard positions for salvage crews.”

Something was up. If Bill had to guess, The Commander had some kind of urgent announcement.

“Sabre 1 copies. RTB.” Barrett replied.

“Sabre 3 copies. Inbound now.” Bill set his ’Mech in motion and angled toward to main boulevard that would take him back to the Omen ’Mech bays.

Barrett apparently had the same thought as Bill, and he piped in. “Something going on Boss?”

“Copy that Sabre 1. Need help planning a wedding.”

Barrett chuckled, “Copy that sir. What color will the bridesmaid dresses be?”

There was a pause. The Commander was obviously building some anticipation.

“Blue.” he stated simply.

Bill grinned. It was normally bad form to discuss operational plans over the radio, but the Omen frequencies were encrypted and there was little danger of eavesdropping. Still, it was good practice to speak in code.

“Wedding” was company code for a combat drop from low orbit. The color indicated the time of day. Blue meant it would be in the middle of the night. Did The Commander want them to plan a combat drop in enemy territory? Tonight?! The Commander must have received some kind of information during the battle to warrant pulling the lance commanders in for a planning session.

Bill checked his chronometer. It was late afternoon. He figured they would have roughly six to nine hours to get ’Mechs ready and a plan of attack set before takeoff. It could be done. Questions remained though. Where and who? The latter was obvious; a high value target. Could they have located another ’Mech force? Possibly.

Anyway, Bill thought. He was quickly getting ahead of himself and making assumptions. He usually did that when he got excited. This op would be good and he was itching for a little bit of action.

Part 4:

“Bill, I’m going to have you stay behind on this one” The Commander stated.

“Sir?” Bill was genuinely surprised. He hadn’t seen any combat during this campaign, and he was surely fresher than some of the other MechWarriors who had been in battle today.

“I’m going to lead this op personally, and I need you to take command here. Kurita still hasn’t locked down Madras and I want a lance ready just in case the wobbies try something stupid.”

Bill had felt a sinking feeling in his gut, but he quickly dismissed it. His first reaction was to feel like the Commander was doubting his skill was a MechWarrior, but it was a great honor to be given a command assignment and he would be responsible for the defense of the city until the company returned. He decided to take this assignment gracefully and trust the Commander’s decision.

“Hai, Commander. I understand. Thank you for this opportunity.” Bill replied, and he bowed slightly in the Japanese tradition. It was unnecessary to bow to The Commander, but some habits died hard.

The Commander placed a hand on Bill’s shoulder and squeezed slightly. “I know I can depend on you Bill.” He was reassured by the gesture, but easily read the implied subtext of “don’t mess this up.”

Bill nodded and replied, “Thank you sir. I won’t let you down.”

“Excellent. Now, I’m leaving you Jax, Kimiko, Abner, most of the infantry and half of Franklin’s battle armor. Kurita will also have some Aero in our sector tonight if you need air support. Standard channels.”

“Understood sir, and happy hunting.”

The Commander grinned, gave him a wink and slapped him on the shoulder before turning back to the briefing area.

The planning and briefing session had gone well, and people were gathered in small groups conversing, or on com lines getting things organized for the impending operation.

Earlier in the day, a very lucky and resourceful Kurita signals technician at a listening post had intercepted a flurry of encrypted com traffic on a discreet frequency. Quickly realizing it wasn’t Kurita in origin, he ran it through a decryption program and hit the jackpot. The com traffic indicated high level rebel leadership was using a captured mining facility about 500 kilometers from Palepo as a command center. The rebels had gotten complacent, and now they were going to pay for it.

Tonight, the Black Omen were going to combat drop on the settlement, establish a perimeter, and support a battalion of Kurita infantry that would seize the structures and neutralize any rebel resistance. This operation could potentially cut the head off the snake and end the uprising.

Satellite and Aerospace reconnaissance only showed a smattering of tanks and combat vehicles along with prepared infantry positions; nothing a ‘Mech couldn’t easily handle. It would be a cake walk.

During the briefing, reports had come in from the salvaging crews south of the city that all of the enemy MechWarriors were dead. Those that hadn’t obviously been killed through combat had chosen to take their own lives rather than be captured. This was a pattern becoming all too familiar with the enemies the Black Omen had been facing recently. There was no concrete evidence yet, but it pointed to one thing: The Word of Blake.

Bill paced the room, head lowered, deep in thought. He had a feeling he was missing something, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Why was he suddenly feeling so worried? Was it the responsibility of taking command of the city garrison? A concern for his friends and comrades that would be fighting without him? He raised his head as Conrad, the company’s Wolverine pilot, approached him.

“Hey Bill. I heard The Commander is leaving you in charge of the garrison?”

“Conrad-san. Yes, that is correct.”

Conrad must have detected the slight regret in Bill’s response and chuckled nervously, “Ha! I think you lucked out this time. I have a bad feeling about this drop.”

Bill responded with a wry smile and said, “Conrad my friend, you always say that.”

“But am I ever wrong!?” Conrad said with a nervous laugh.

Bill joined his laughter. “No, you usually aren’t. Maybe that’s why I’m worried.”

“Well, we’ll get this done, one way or another. Good luck Bill.”

“You too, Conrad-san.”

They shook hands and Conrad turned to the conference table to gather his prep material.

The Commander rapped on the room’s wooden podium to get everyone’s attention. “Alright everyone, listen up. Finish up here and begin prepping for liftoff. We depart in three. Tonight, we end this.”

There was a chorus of “Hooahs” and “Yes sirs!” but Bill’s attention appeared to be focused on something a thousand light years away.

Mission Objectives:

  • Primary: Neutralize any resistance at the mining facility.
  • Secondary: Disable and capture any vehicles attempting to flee the facility.
  • Tertiary: Ensure all Kurita VTOLs land safely.

Intel:

OPFOR:

Reconnaissance indicates roughly 24 heavy vehicles and tanks, and prepared positions that could possibly accommodate several hundred infantry.

Terrain:

The mining facility is at the base of Mt. Logan, a long dormant volcano in the Xavier mountain range in the center of the continent. The terrain is rocky, with some vegetation. The area is riddled with cavernous lava tubes, which have given prospectors easy access to the extremely valuable ore veins.

Deployment:

Under the cover of darkness, Black Omen forces will combat drop just out of air defense weapon range of the facility. DCMS VTOLs ferrying ground troops will land and deploy troops as soon as the perimeter is secured.

GM Notes:

You may choose to deploy all of your MechWarrior characters. Since Shawn will not be available this weekend, that should give us a total of 11 ’Mechs. The Commander will technically be present for the battle, but he will be commanding from the rear.

Chuck, there will not be enough time to repair the Warhawk before the operation starts. We will have to find Katsuko a replacement. Consider a missile loadout for the Nightmare. Abner can find something else to use while on garrison duty. We may also be able to salvage something from the previous ’Mech battle.

JC, I think the King Crab can be fixed in time, although I can’t remember exactly what kind of damage it took.

Morgan, the Lynx took some hits, but we can probably fix it.

Everyone else took no damage or easily repairable armor damage, so you are good to go.

Those of you running OmniMechs, consider installing anti-personnel weaponry. It might come in handy!

View
Operation Sandworm, Briefing 2

Part 1:

Southern Outskirts of Palepo
09:36 hours

Bill fidgeted in the command couch of his Stormcrow, which was perched on a small hill (along with Abner in the 75 ton Nightmare) about a klick and a half away from the current area of operations just south of the city of Palepo. The rest of the ’Mech company was down in the flats positioned and ready to intercept the mix of rebel ’Mechs and vehicles that had been spotted barreling over land from the south; more than likely from the rebel held city of Madras about 20 clicks away.

The Commander was keeping him and Abner in reserve just in case the eight Black Omen ‘Mechs got in trouble and needed help, or if any rebel vehicles or ’Mechs managed to break through the cordon. Bill highly doubted any of that would happen. Everyone down there was an elite MechWarrior. Barrett, Alex, and Otto were long range specialists and this open desert was their dream come true. Anything that came within 750 meters of them would be met with intensely accurate laser fire. Harry, the company’s close combat melee specialist was down there in the King Crab as well. Whatever didn’t survive its particle cannons and Gauss rifles would have its legs crushed in short order if they got close to him. Katsuko had also laid some FASCAM ordnance in a few of the most likely approaches with her Warhawk. The rebels had no idea what they were getting into, but they had to face down the Black Omen ’Mechs if their ultimate goal was to take the city

Nothing was getting through, and Bill anticipated the battle would be over in about a minute once contact was made.

The Stormcrow’s sensors showed that the rebels were almost in range of the kill zone. Bill adjusted the magnification on his ’Mech’s optical sensors and switched on the external microphone pickups. He would rather have been down on the flats, fighting this one out with his comrades, but this was a good opportunity for him to observe and get an idea of the “bigger picture” the Commander was always talking about.

Suddenly, he heard a loud, distant explosion and a small shock wave rolled over his ‘Mech, gently rocking it and rattling the cockpit canopy. That was really strange, he thought. Nothing was happening in front of him. Where did that explosion come from? He keyed the Mech-to-Mech intercom. "Abner. What the hell was that!? The battle hasn’t even started yet."

Abner replied, “Bill. our 9 o’clock. I think something just happened at the green zone checkpoint.”

Bill twisted the Stormcrow’s torso to the left and looked eastward. Sure enough, a huge column of black smoke was twisting upwards from the area of the checkpoint, about 3 kilometers away.

The checkpoint had been extremely busy recently. Refugees from nearby rebel occupied settlements had been streaming into Palepo over the last few days, seeking shelter from the fanatics’ death squads. In the last hour though, it had been complete chaos. With enemy ‘Mechs incoming, people were frantic to get in. It didn’t help that the green zone checkpoint was the only open, paved highway into the city.

And now someone had just blown it up.

“Abner, see if you can get on the checkpoint guards’ frequency and figure out what is going on. I’ll radio The Commander.” Bill switched over to the command frequency and keyed the mic.

“Sabre Actual, Sabre 3. We have observed a large explosion at green zone checkpoint. Requesting situation update.”

A few moments later The Commander’s voice came back over the com. “Sabre 3, Sabre Actual. Reports of hostiles at green zone checkpoint. Sabre 4 is arming and powering up now, but won’t be ready for another 15 mikes. Approach checkpoint at best possible speed and assist Dagger 1.”

“Sabre Actual. Roger that. We are on the move.” Bill flashed Abner a quick hand signal to power up and get moving and got his own ‘Mech headed in the checkpoint’s general direction.

“Sabre 3, we are probably looking at an A3 scenario. Proceed with caution.” The Commander paused briefly, “I don’t want any collateral damage Bill.”

Bill grimaced. This could get ugly really quick. ‘Mech-grade weaponry in an urban environment with civilians mixed in with hostiles? Bill didn’t like the idea of being hauled in front of a war crimes tribunal for accidentally vaporizing a family of refugees. Fortunately, The Commander intimated that a squad of the Black Omen’s battle armor troops were on the scene. They were better equipped to handle this kind of situation. Either way, a lot of people were probably going to die today.

“Sabre Actual, copy that. We’ll check in as soon as we are in position. Sabre 3 out.”

“Sabre 1, Sabre Actual, did you guys get all that?” The Commander queried the ’Mechs on the flats about to engage the incoming ’Mechs and vehicles.

Barrett, Sabre 1’s team lead piped in, “Sabre Actual, Sabre 1. We got it this. We’ll let you know if things get dicey. Good luck at the checkpoint Sabre 3. Give’em hell.”

“Happy hunting everyone. Sabre Actual out.”

Bill quickly programmed the green zone checkpoint into his ’Mech’s nav system. It plotted a course through the city that would get Abner and him there in a little over 5 minutes.

“Abner. What can you tell me about the checkpoint?”

“Nothing good. It sounds like someone used a truck bomb to take out that 22nd Dieron Raptor that was stationed there, along with half the gate house. Other than that, it’s complete chaos. Lots of small arms fire. Maybe those fanatics were hiding among the refugees?”

“Probably. The Commander said A3 scenario.”

“A3? Fuck. We drew a shit assignment today after all. I’d rather be down on the flats getting shot at by ’Mechs!”

“Hopefully Franklin and his troopers will have it under control by the time we get there.”

“Copy that.”

The sinking feeling in the pit of Bill’s stomach was increasing and he desperately wanted a drink. He took a deep breath and willed himself to calm. There would be plenty of time for that later and by the end of the day, everyone would probably want a drink.

With that thought, Bill refocused on the road ahead and prepared himself for battle.

Part 2:

Oswaldo Boulevard, near the green zone checkpoint
09:35 hours

Lieutenant Shaun Franklin and his squad of four battle armor troopers were on patrol 100 meters from the green zone check point when the bomb went off. The blast was so powerful it knocked people off their feet and blew out windows over half a kilometer away. Franklin and his troopers, however, barely felt it. Encased in the 750 kilogram Achileus battle armor suits, nothing short of a BattleMech or another person in battle armor could cause them to lose their footing. Okay, maybe a rocket launcher might do it, Franklin grudgingly admitted to himself.

His squad was already dispersing and finding cover. They all had their weapons up, ready to engage anyone stupid enough to shoot at them. Each Achileus battle suit was equipped with a ’Mech-grade small laser, flamer, or machine gun as its primary weapon. Each suit also had an anti-personnel weapons mount, on which the squad carried a mix of projectile and explosive weaponry.

“Dagger 1, Sabre Actual, come in, over.”

“Sabre Actual, Dagger 1 is about two blocks from the checkpoint. We are okay. Orders sir?”

“Dagger 1, proceed to gatehouse and assess the situation. Neutralize any hostiles and report ASAP.”

Franklin could already hear the reports of small arms fire, and out of the dust and smoke a block away, civilians were beginning to stream down the boulevard in a panic trying to get away from the fighting. Many were carrying or dragging wounded.

“Sabre Actual, received. Proceeding to gatehouse.” Franklin gestured with the appropriate battle signs and his squad began moving.

“Dagger 1, Sabre Actual. Crow and Horse inbound to your position. ETA approximately 5 mikes. I’m also mobilizing Platoon 1 and Sabre 4. ETA 15 to 20 mikes. First responders also en route. Over.”

“Saber Actual, received. We’ll hold the checkpoint until the cavalry arrives.”

The lieutenant was fairly confident he and his troopers could handle just about any kind of confrontation, but it was nice to know that ‘Mech jocks Bill and Abner were on their way to back them up. ’Mech support was always welcome, but he just hoped they wouldn’t stomp in and cause too much collateral damage. Bill was solid, but Abner could get impatient sometimes.

Franklin activated the inter-squad com link and addressed his troopers. “All right boys and girls, I want a clean dispersal this time. This will be smooth and by the numbers. Engage anyone shooting in our direction, but be sure of your targets. I don’t want any friendly fire! And watch out for civvies. Any questions?”

A chorus of “no sir!” came over the link in reply.

“All right people. Let’s kick these assholes off our front porch!”

Mission Objectives:

  • Primary: Secure the green zone checkpoint and eliminate attackers.
  • Secondary: Get as many refugees / civilians to safety as possible.
  • Tertiary: End the day with zero friendly fire incidents.

Intel:

OPFOR:

Number and strength of attackers is unknown. Small arms fire can be heard in the area of the checkpoint.

Deployment:

Please pick the trooper you would like to command. (First come, first served!) Each trooper will be equipped with either a small laser, machine gun, or flamer as a primary weapon and an anti-personnel secondary weapon. Come prepared with some familiarity of the weapons chosen.

  1. Shaun Franklin – Small Laser and Machine Gun 5B / 4B – Range: 30 / 85 / 200 / 460 – Ammunition: 150 rounds
  2. Javier Weber – Small Laser and Auto Shotgun 2B / 5BS – Range: 4 /10 / 20 / 45 – Ammunition: 72 rounds
  3. Garrett Cage – Small Laser and Zeus Heavy Rifle 5B / 5 – Range: 35 / 80 / 190 / 420 – Ammunition: 50 rounds
  4. Jeff Ober – Machine Gun and Heavy Grenade Launcher (Class B) – Range: 20 / 60 / 150 / 250 – Ammunition: 20xAP, 5xHE, 2xAV, 2xSmoke, 2xFlare
  5. Watson Cole – Flamer and Heavy Gyrojet 4B / 6 – Range 45 / 120 / 300 / 625 – Ammunition: 50 rounds

GM Notes:

We will run this scenario on the 17th. See ya’ll then!

View
Operation Sandworm, Briefing 1

Mission Overview:

An all out civil war has broken out on the Combine world of Garstedt. Anti-Combine religious fanatics have launched a terror campaign targeting civilian and military installations in an attempt to overthrow the local government. They have managed to seize several weapon caches and the attacks have escalated in intensity.

The 22nd Dieron Regulars stationed on Garstedt have been hard pressed in containing the rebels and several of their positions have been overrun. The Black Omen company has been hired to bolster the 22nd’s ’Mech forces and defend vital infrastructure.

The Black Omen will be staged in the city of Palepo, which is located on the western seaboard of the world’s largest continent. From this location, Black Omen forces will defend their assigned sector and prevent rebel forces from acquiring more territory.

The city is equipped with extensive desalinization and water storage facilities and provides most of the region’s water supply. This infrastructure is extremely valuable and must be protected at all costs.

Depending on the strategic situation, Black Omen forces may be called upon to support Combine forces attempting to retake lost territory or assist in other operations on the ground.

Mission Objectives:

  • Primary: Defend Palepo and its surrounding environs.
  • Secondary: Assist DCMS forces in anti-terror operations.

Intel:

Geography and Climate:

The area of contention lies within the world’s largest continent, which is primarily hot and dry. It is dominated by vast deserts of rock and sand. This area is mineral rich and provides the bulk of the world’s GDP.

OPFOR:

The rebel forces primarily consist of local militia and civilians. They are largely unskilled and unorganized, but their use of terror tactics (suicide bombings and indiscriminate warfare) have cowed the population into submission.

Their military equipment initially consisted of vehicles and infantry, but they were eventually able to acquire ’mech assets captured from overrun DCMS installations. This has greatly aided them in acquiring territory and keeping the DCMS garrison forces from mounting effective counter attacks.

It is unknown at this time how locals could have utilized the captured ’mechs so effectively, considering that they had none to begin with and were not known to have had the MechWarriors to pilot them or the technical expertise to repair them. Rumors are circulating that they may be receiving aid from an off-world entity…

It is estimated the rebels have been able to cobble together roughly a battalion worth of BattleMechs to augment their vehicle and infantry forces. Expect to see a mix of OmniMechs, Clan-upgraded Inner Sphere ’mechs, and Star League equivalent designs in addition to a wide variety of combat vehicles.

DCMS Forces:

The 22nd Dieron Regulars are known to be an elite and reliable unit, but during this time period their overall forces are at roughly half strength due to recent clashes with Clan Ghost Bear in the Kabah system. They are in the midst of a repair and refit cycle on Garstedt and this uprising could not have come at a worse time for them.

Do not expect ‘Mech reinforcements if things get dicey. However, the 22nd’s aerospace assets are in much better condition and have been able to operate freely in the AO. They may be able to perform CAS or reconnaissance if not otherwise occupied.

Projected Timetable of Operations:

With the Black Omen’s assistance, DCMS forces expect to have this area retaken and back in Combine control within a month.

This should be a fairly easy assignment for a unit of this caliber.

GM Notes:

I would like to do some out of mech activity at some point, so everyone make sure your characters are properly geared up for desert and / or urban operations.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.