Dragon's Roar

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Life in the Inner Sphere isn't easy, but for a Mercenary, the possibilities are endless.

Submitted: February 04, 2014

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Submitted: February 04, 2014

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The sky was slowly darkening in the setting sun’s light; dusk overtaking the land, the sky changing colors rapidly and causing the ground and trees to change their own colors in tandem.  It was a dizzying effect, and Jonathan admired the sight for a moment, knowing full well that he might not see it again if the mission didn’t go as planned.  He knew that nothing ever went as planned.  He found himself mesmerized by the colors and only snapped out of it when Wraith, his lance leader, broke the radio silence.  The crack of static startled Jonathan.

“All right gang, power up.  The enemy should be here any minute now.  If HQ’s information was correct, they’ll be approaching from our east, and we should be able to take them by surprise.  Until they arrive, I don’t want to hear anything from anyone.  It would be just wonderful if this went south because they picked up rouge radio frequencies.”

“Roger that!”  Ash Williams’s optimistic voice chimed over the comms unit, “Let’s rock!”  The Highlander’s cockpit lit up and a barely audible hum filled the air as the nuclear engine kicked to life.  The hum quieted down and the great assault ‘mech began twisting its torso, running the regular checks.  Jonathan reached for his own controls and felt his Dragon jerk to life as he flipped switches and input the access codes for the ‘mech.  Wraith and Lettos’ battlemechs were the slowest to charge up, being a pair of Atlas’s

Jon sat back in his seat and closed his eyes.  Nervous, he took a few deep breaths to calm himself down; as best as he could at least.  His thoughts turned to happenings of the previous months.

It had been October 16th, 3050 when he joined the Equal Opportunity Destroyers, a Mercenary unit operating on the largest moon of a planet at the edge of the border between the Draconis Combine and the Federated Suns.  He remembered asking why they had chosen to set up on the moon instead of the planet, and was only told that it was for tactical reasons.  In reality, as he later found out, they had been forced off of the planet after an incident involving a rogue member of the group.  Though the member had been removed and sent away from the planet, the damage had been done, and the people of the planet would not let EOD stay.

During the first week after joining, Jon was put through multiple tests to check his aptitude with a ‘mech.  He had been trained to pilot and fight in a ‘mech, but he’d never actually seen combat in one.Initially he had gravitated towards the Centurion, its warrior like design appealing greatly to him, but the Dragon had caught his eye and he fell instantly in love with it.  Moving at 81kph and still being able to load up with weapons that packed a satisfactory punch made the battlemech an ideal choice.  The only real disadvantage was the large nose that stuck out, making the ‘mech look rather bulky and unbalanced, not to mention an easy target if he didn’t pay attention.  He had spent a couple of days in the simulation room tooling around with a virtual version of the Dragon before finally putting in an order for one.  It took a month for the Dragon to finally arrive, but sitting in the actual cockpit of the ‘mech, staring down the square nose and moving the torso back and forth, Jon felt right at home.  One of the mechanics in the mechbay had asked if he had any special requests for him while the crew was working on the paint job.

Jon looked at his ‘mech, specifically the auto-cannons, and said, “Could you paint a couple of skulls on the cannons?”

“You want Skull guns?  All right, I think I can do that.  Is there anything else Skullguns?”  Jon laughed, thinking back on the moment.  That’s when he’d gotten his nickname, Skullguns.  The thought relaxed him quite a bit.

A few months passed by while he continued to train and prepare himself to become an actual part of the unit.  Finally, on December 27th, he was given his first mission.  He and three others, Wraith, Lord Letto, and Ash Williams, were to go to the planet of Glenmora and recover a package from a convoy that was supposed to be in the area.  It was thought to be an easy mission upon first glance, but the report continued to say that the convoy was to be protected by some pretty heavy ‘mechs.  They spent one week preparing for a jump and prepared a plan on the two-week journey to the planet.

“Skull,” Wraith said, shaking him from his daydreaming, “We shouldn’t need a scout on this mission, but if we do, you’re the fastest of us.”

“Roger, understood,” Jon said.

“Are you all right kid?”  Ash asked.

“Yeah, I’m just a bit nervous.  This is the first real mission I’ve ever been on after all.”

“Well get over it quickly.”  Wraith said.  In a less commanding voice he continued, “Just stick to the plan and you’ll be all right.  If things get too hairy we’ll pull back to the ridge at Beta point”

Jonathan nodded; thinking back to his simulated drops, and took a deep breath.  “Roger that sir.  I’m good now.”

“Good, now everyone go to radio silence.”  One last crack of static gave way to an almost oppressive silence, only cut by the hum of the machinery around him.  Jonathan flipped a switch and the ‘outgoing’ light on his comms unit turned off.  He activated night vision and his dark purple surroundings turned a bright shade of green.  The features of the landscape were much easier to see with the vision filter, though he didn’t particularly care for the color.  They were in the clearing of a small forest, though the surrounding trees were just tall enough to hide their ‘mechs.  He twisted his torso around to gain better awareness of his surroundings, as well as to test the actuators.  Everything was in working order.  The hills to his left stretched around in a crescent behind him.  Jonathan’s radar, acting as a kind of minimap, showed Beta point just behind the darkened hill.  To the right was a large lake where they had planned to move the offensive once they’d taken out a few targets.

Suddenly a small message on the viewscreen popped up from Letto.

“I’ve got something on seismic.  Someone’s behind us, they’re moving quickly, and the targets are closing in on our position.”

Wraith’s Atlas slowly turned around to face the rear.

“Everyone take a position in the forest, set up a crossfire formation.  Skull, go see what’s behind us, but be careful.  If it’s a light, come back immediately, and try to avoid being seen.”  He messaged.  Jon turned his ‘mech and started off in the direction of a marker that Wraith had placed on his map.  He moved at only half speed and avoided as many trees as possible, not wanting to leave a large trail.  It wasn’t long before he found a path of destruction left by whatever had come this way.  Some of the smaller trees were snapped in half, the bushes had been crushed flat.  Whatever had come through here was too large to have been a light.  Jonathan cautiously accelerated to just above half speed, about 60 kph.  Eventually he spotted a small bit of soft earth.  On the ground was a footprint left behind by the other ‘mech.  Jonathan tensed up slightly, as he recognized the shape of the footprint.  Another Dragon had come through behind them. 

His comms unit suddenly cracked to life and Wraith yelled out, “There they are boys!  GET ‘EM!”Jonathan looked down at his radar and saw five red triangles pop up in between three other blue triangles.  Jon began to turn around to engage, and narrowly avoided a medium laser to his cockpit.  The green beam of plasma hit his left torso, a bit of the armor melting off, as another red blip appeared on the radar right in front of him.  The other Dragon came charging out of the wooded area.  Jon threw his ‘mech into full throttle and twisted his torso thirty degrees to the left, landing a shot with his AC5 as the enemy passed by, destroying some of the enemy’s armor as sparks flew from the arm.

The other Dragon began turning around, not twisting its torso, and tried to launch a grouping of missiles at Jon, but it couldn’t turn fast enough to catch up.  Jon knew that he had the advantage, as the other pilot didn’t seem to be quite as experienced, or at the very least was more nervous than him.  He threw himself right and turned around for another pass, but the other pilot seemed to have finally begun to use his torso twist and shot another array of SRMs as he propelled himself forward.  Both Dragons shot their medium lasers at one another, though the enemy only seemed to have one and it missed altogether.  Jon figured out why this was quickly as the weapons load out of the enemy popped up on his view screen.  The other Dragon had packed an AutoCannon 10, and more than likely had plenty of ammo for it.  Jonathan smiled and opened a direct link with the enemy pilot.

“Give up!  Your ‘mech is much slower than mine, and you don’t have the weapons to make up for it.”

The other pilot responded with a shot from his autocannon.  The shot went right past the nose of Jon’s own Dragon, barely even scratching it.

“And you suck at shooting to boot!”  Jon rang in again.  The other pilot came over the comms and began yelling expletives at Jon.  The smile on his face grew larger.  His enemy enraged, he knew that he would have a tactical advantage.  The other ‘mech began rapidly firing at Jon.  The shots began hitting and stripping Jon’s armor, but he still had speed over his opponent.  He fired back with his SRM4’s, and medium lasers, aiming for the autocannon.  The other pilot began running away as the armor for his right torso was stripped.  Jon launched another volley of SRM’s, peppering the rear armor of the other ‘mech before it disappeared from view behind the trees.  Jon shot his mediums just as the targeting box disappeared from his HUD.  The computer didn’t register a hit, and the beam of green energy only served to destroy the trunk of a tree, knocking it over with a loud THOMP.

Jon considered going after the other Dragon, but Wraith crackled over the comms before he could increase the throttle.

“SKULL, what are you doing!  Unless you’re busy, get back here!”

Jon reactivated his outgoing and replied, “Sorry sir, I ran into another Dragon.  He ran, so I’m coming back now.”

“No, go after him, we have the situation under control here,” Jon looked down at his HUD again and noticed that 2 of the five enemy ‘mechs had disappeared from his radar.  “If he comes back we’ll be in trouble.”

“Roger that, engaging,” Jon replied, pushing his throttle to maximum.  It was fairly easy to follow the trail of the other Dragon, as the pilot didn’t seem to be aiming for subtlety.  The path looped around to the east, back to the hills.  Jon cautiously moved forward, slowing to 60 kph as the hill came into view.  He saw the tail end of the enemy Dragon disappear behind the hill as he emerged from the forest.  Jon stopped and aimed at the top of the hill, waiting for the red nose to crest.  Sure enough, the other pilot came up just to the left of where Jon had aimed.  He quickly readjusted and fired his autocannon and lasers, catching the other pilot off guard and forcing him back down.  Jon took the opportunity and got close to the hill, coming just below the crest, turning his legs left and reversing, waiting once again for the other pilot to rise.  The red triangle returned on his radar, just behind him, and his armor began falling away as the other Dragon shot all of his weapons.  The armor turned orange on his HUD and he whipped around, getting shot in his nose with the AC10.  The armor turned red and he shot his medium lasers at the cannon.  The armor melted off of the right arm of the enemy ‘mech and Jon shot his AutoCannon, missing entirely as the enemy raised the arm and dropped the elbow, catching Jon’s ‘mech in the left torso and peeling off a chunk of armor. 

Jon smiled and shot his SRM’s.  The missles didn’t have time to arm, but they bounced off, dislodging a bit of remaining armor from the enemy’s center torso for him to jam his arm up into it and fire his medium lasers.  The ‘mech began to shake violently and back away.  Jon had hit the navigational center, narrowly missing the nuclear reactor, and one of the SRM’s had even hit the Autocannon, not destroying it, but making it non-functional.  Jon backed up and leveled both of his arms at the other Dragon.

“Now do you concede?  Or do I have to destroy you to make a point?”

The other ‘mech, with a delay, powered down.

“Good,” Jon said.  Opening the comms to his lance he said, “The other Dragon is finished.  How’s everything going over there?”

“You got the other one?  Fantastic job!”  Ash’s voice rang over the comms.  “We’re finished here.  Letto has secured the cargo and is on the way to the exfil.  We have the other pilots here and are taking salvage.  The day is ours, and so is that sweet paycheck!”

“That’s right boys!  Drinks are on me when we get back home!  Good job everybody,” Wraith said. 

“You’d better be ready to pay a ransom!”  Letto said, “I’ll be drinking more than a few bottles tonight!”

Laughter carried over the radios.  The other Dragon pilot finally appeared at the side of his mech.  Jon popped open the external radio and talked down to the other pilot.

“No hard feelings,  Just following orders,”  He said.  The other pilot nodded, accepting the defeat and shrugging a bit.  He began yelling and Jon’s mech barely picked up the voice.

“Could have been worse I guess!”  The other pilot yelled.  Jon nodded with his ‘mech and closed the external radio, walking back to the exfil point.

They took off after an hour of getting everything back in order.  As expected, Jon’s mech was the least damaged.  Wraith’s Atlas had taken quite a beating, its right arm hanging by a few bits of fuselage.  The other two didn’t look much better, and Jon began feeling guilty that he’d gotten out of there nearly unscathed.  They took the next two weeks jumping to the planet that the contractor specified as the drop-off point of the goods.  Everyone helped to load the large crate onto a truck and drove to a small building on the south side of the city.  The warehouse was large, almost large enough to house a few Jenners, and seemed to be made out of ferrocrete.  Only a few street lamps illuminated the dilapidated, run down building.  Outside of the building stood the contractor, or at least someone standing in his stead.  He was around 5’4” in height, and wore small, round glasses.  His jet black hair was greased into a horrible hairstyle that only reminded Jon of some old cartoons from New Terra.  He had two men on either side of him, both of them large and heavy muscled, with very few distinguishing marks.  Jon got an instant feeling of unease as he approached, and it didn’t help that both of the bodyguards had laser rifles.  Wraith had a grim look on his face, but didn’t seem to want to share anything.

“Ah Gentlemen, thank you so much,” the man said as they approached with the crate.  “I thought I’d lost this when those rats took it from me.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to have a look at the contents before I pay you.”

“Fair enough,” Wraith said, “Go right ahead.”  He gestured to the crate that Jon and Letto wheeled in front of the three men.  As it passed, Jon saw Wraith unlatch his sidearm.  He walked to Wraith’s side and hung his thumbs over his pockets, unlatching his own sidearm.  Letto and Ash already had theirs ready to pull out and fire.  Tensions already seemed very high, and Jon didn’t even know what was going on.  The man knelt down next to the crate and began to open it, but stopped short and ran his hand along the front.  He opened the case just enough to see inside of it and then relocked it. 

“You gentlemen didn’t happen to open this did you?”  The man said, standing back up.

“Yes,” Wraith said, “I did.  We had to open it for security reasons.  We can’t just bring unknown items on board our ship.”

The man paused for a second and laughed, stroking his gray mustache.

“Unfortunately that’s the wrong answer.”  He said, waving his hand.  The two men at his side raised their guns but were quickly gunned down.  Wraith aimed his gun at the surprised contractor and opened his personal communicator.

“Hello, officer?  We have a man here with some dangerous materials.  He and his men just tried to kill me and my men.  Would you kindly send someone to pick him up and a couple of body bags for his friends?”  Wraith took a look around and described the location before closing the phone and putting it back on his pocket.

“You didn’t honestly think you could take down a few mercenaries that easily did you?  Now, you sit tight and the police will be here soon.  Guns, Ash, check him and make sure that he doesn’t have anything else on him.”

The police came a few minutes later and Wraith gave a full report of the situation, showing identification and papers, including the contract, and the police were able to figure out that the materials did in fact belong to the man, placing him in a heap of trouble.  They took the entire group to the local police station to finish with a more official report.

After another 3 hours of paperwork, the group finally met back up at their transport and began the long journey back to the base.


© Copyright 2017 Gavin Emerson. All rights reserved.

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