Star Force: Liberation (SF56)

BOOK: Star Force: Liberation (SF56)
9.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



March 19, 2554

System (Dvapp



“Any movement?”

“Not on the ground,”
said, looking through his sniper scope from his perch on the rocky hillside,
“but I can see the transports coming in.”

“We are so about to get owned,” his fellow commando
said, taking a glance back at the 200 or so Dvapp troops in the valley below.
They and several other units in the area were set up to attack the fringes of
the Skarron base just a few kilometers away, but word had come down that the
enemy had gotten a reinforcement fleet into orbit and was fighting their way
down with multiple transports…and that the limited navy that Star Force and the
Dvapp had in place wasn’t going to be able to stop them all from getting to the

frowned. “Um…something’s
wrong. They’re not carrying walkers.”

Donald mimicked his frown, though both commandos were
wearing full armor and couldn’t see each other’s faces. “What do you mean?”

“I mean I’ve got the closest one lined up and there
are no walkers hanging underneath it.”

“Must just be a troop ship then.”

adjusted his sights to
match the battlemap telemetry being transmitted down from orbit and sighted the
next transport. “Negative. Another one is empty too.”

“Maybe they don’t have the big toys to throw around
anymore. Good for us, except the infantry alone are going to be more than we
can manage.”

“I hear
said, sighting a third equally empty transport, as
far as the exterior underside latches went. He saw the drift angle they were
taking and moved his rifle to the side and ahead of their path, pulling back
the insane zoom and looking at the bit of the enemy base that was in view.
“Hold up, we’ve got activity…north side. Troops coming out.”

“They might be trying for a hot drop,” Donald said,
adjusting his crouched stance in agitation. He hated waiting for the fighting
to start, though this next battle wasn’t one that looked to be anything less
than a slaughter…which meant a fighting retreat trying to whittle down the
enemy’s numbers as they moved.

“Walkers are not coming out…they’re heading back in?”


“Perimeter walkers are pulling back. What do they
think we’ve got out here that can touch those transports?”

“Pulling back to the LZ?”

“Looks like.”

“What’s that mean for us?”

will have to
reposition. They’re going to be too far away to hit at full strength.”

“Damn…there goes our ambush,” Donald said, biting his
lower lip. He knew orders would come down eventually, but right now the
were silent.

“I think the ambush was off as soon as they started
coming down from orbit.”

“Point…so where does that leave us?”

“Keep our heads down and wait,”
said, still scoping the LZ as the first of the transports got close. “You
know…” he said, trailing off.

“For the record, you didn’t finish that sentence.”

“The infantry is coming out of the city and it looks
like they’re headed to the LZ.”

“Joining up with the incoming for an immediate

“Should be the other way around.”

“What are you thinking?”

“Give me a moment,” the commando said, watching the
first of the giant transports land next to the small Skarron base, nearly right
on top of the infantry and walkers but in an open spot just large enough to fit
its bulk. As it settled large doors on the underside opened up and
could see one of the ramps lower to the ground…with
the infantry outside running up it and into the ship.

“Son of a bitch, they’re loading.”


“They’re getting onboard.”

be a hot drop

“Won’t be on us.”

be going for
one of our bases.”

“Walkers too,”
as the second transport came in and didn’t land all the way, hovering over the
surface as several of the docking arms reached down and grabbed the nearest
walker, pulling it up and into one of the niches on the underside of the
transport, with several more headed its way.

“This is too weird.”

“Explains why the transports were empty. Are all of

readjusted his sights
and scanned the incoming ships. “I don’t see a single walker under them.”

“Must be really short-handed right now…same as us,”
Donald said as deployment orders flashed an incoming message icon in his HUD.
“Here we go,” he said, pulling them up. “We’re moving a
to the west.”

“Archon chess pieces,”
said, referencing themselves. “Looks like they’ve got a plan. Let’s hope it’s a
good one,” he said, looking up from his rifle and crawling back behind the
nearest rock before he stood up and looked down at the Dvapp below that were
just now stirring as they began to redeploy.

“After you,” Donald said, waving his hand forward as
the two commandos came down from up high to join them.


An hour and a half later
was ducking behind a jagged rock as a quartet of Skarron fighters flew over
pelting the ground with plasma blasts. He saw a nearby Dvapp literally
evaporate when it got hit, blowing bits of goo everywhere, some of which washed
over his grey armor. A split second later two
zipped past overhead in pursuit, with blue mauler blasts reaching out towards
the slower fighters and blasting one out of the sky before they got out of

One of the incoming transports had been loaded with
enemy fighters, which had taken to the sky and moved directly against the
friendly infantry positions around the base even as their walkers continued to
load up for their hot drop. It was obvious that they were providing cover fire,
but they were doing so far more effectively than the commando liked. The Star
were nearby but out of sight, leaving
this group of Dvapp temporarily exposed, but at least there were friendly air
assets in the area to keep the Skarrons from getting too comfortable up there.

held position, knowing
there wasn’t much he could do right now with no enemy infantry nearby to shoot.
He thought about trying for a shot on the fighters, then dismissed the notion
given how low powered his lachar rifle was compared to their shields and armor.
About two seconds later when another section of rocky terrain blew out and
threw debris across him and three nearby Dvapp he change his mind, tired of
just sitting and waiting to get hit. With the rocky fragments bouncing off his
armor and being expulsed by the
bodies after
penetrating a few inches deep, he swung his sniper rifle off his back rack and
tucked in backwards to the nearest crevice that gave him a good view of the sky
and tried to pick out a moving target that he might be able to hit.

The Skarron fighters were slow, but they were still
aircraft and moved a hell of a lot faster than anything on the ground did.
knew he’d need a long range shot to have any chance
of getting a bead on one, so as a pair swung around a couple kilometers away
and started heading
in his general
direction he brought his scope up and
tried to get one in range.

To his surprise he got a lock on one fairly quick and
kept his arms as steady as he could, then pumped out a
beam burst, with the continuous lachar just nicking the upper edge of the
fighter and hitting its shields. He fired again, then got two more shots in before
the fighter zipped past on the right. He was pretty sure he hadn’t hit the
hull, but at the least he drained a touch of shield energy off…which might make
a difference.

Another bit of movement in the distance got his
attention and he swung his scope around…then checked his fire as a Star Force
ID tag hovered over it, indicating it was a
in flight. To his relief it was heading directly
towards them, taking a bit of Skarron plasma on approach but its shields and
armor plates were so thick it almost didn’t matter. The heavy ‘super fighter’
flew in near to
position and came to a hover,
then began transforming some 600 meters away and dropped onto the top of a
small rise with its newly formed feet landing on the rock as its shoulders
formed and popped up anti-air turrets.

They began spraying lachars through the air, covering
and the rest of the nearby infantry and pushing the
Skarron fighters back, save for those attempting runs on the mech. Regardless
the repetitive explosions nearby the commando ceased and he breathed a sigh of
relief, along with a deeply felt thanks to the mechwarrior for flying in…and
the for techs who’s thought of creating a flying
in the first place.

put his rifle back on
his armor rack and moved to a different position, trying to get some view of
what was going on in the direction of the enemy base but not wanting to expose
himself and press his luck. As he darted from one rock to another a Skarron
fighter blew apart overhead with the debris falling some 40 meters nearby in
three separate chunks, one of which bounced off a rock in a shower of pieces
and caused the commando to duck for cover.

He didn’t get hit but one of the Dvapp nearby did,
getting a sharp piece impaling it all the way through its

Are you
” he asked, scurrying over to it.

For a moment it didn’t respond, then it melted around
the shrapnel, flowing out onto the ground and
thinking it was dead, but the pool reformed and became another meter-high
pillar ‘crouching’ on the landscape.

No, but I will
,” it finally answered him, vibrating to create the sound, for the
Dvapp had no mouth or vocal chords to speak from.

Way to stay
alive, buddy. I envy you that

And I envy your
,” it said, forming a pair of legs and walking over to a different
rock to take cover behind. It left behind a small pool of goo, with
seeing just how much material it had lost from the
impact. He knew if they lost a certain amount of core material they’d die, though
he was never sure how much that was or what ‘core’ material was comprised of.
He just knew they were damn resilient to physical impacts and could soak up
several plasma blasts before going down too, though it had a lot more effect on
their crystalline bodies than blunt force trauma.

, they’re pulling
out,” Donald broke in over the comm.

“What do you mean?”
answered his fellow commando, who was some 230 meters to the south.

“I mean the Skarrons are pulling out…as in off the
planet. The transports are taking them back up to orbit, and not just here.
It’s happening everywhere.”

“We are not that lucky,”

“Luck or not, they’re leaving.”

“They bring a fleet into orbit just to pull them out?”

“Looks like.”

“I thought they liked to fight to the death.”

“Just be glad they’re not this time.”


“Keep your head down, their fighters aren’t gone yet.”

“Will do,” he said, lying and breaking out of cover to
running up the hillside to find a partially obscured viewpoint on the distant
base just in time to see one of the big ships lift off and start to head up to
orbit, with several more already on the way and the others still on the ground,
loading up.

pulling his rifle off
and sighted in on the base, ignoring the few fighters still zipping overhead
and trusting the starscream to keep them off him as he scoped out the activity
at closer range.

“Son of a bitch,” he said, seeing more infantry and
walkers being loaded up. They really were leaving.


“Here and here,” Paul said, pointing out the two star
systems in Dvapp space that the Skarrons were holding onto. “Everywhere else
they’re pulling troops out.”

“To reinforce those positions?” Megan asked from
across the display table that held several different maps and

“We think so. A lot of the convoys are still in

“Where’d the
come from?”

“Cal-com said they must have pulled a long flanking
run to get around them. They didn’t come through the systems he’s got

“Well, good for us they didn’t bring in more troops.”

“Bigger fish to fry.”

Megan wrinkled her nose. “Need a better metaphor.”

Paul frowned. “You’re right, I do.”

“I don’t think we’ve got the troops to do more than
annoy them if they’re consolidating their forces,” she said, rubbing her chin
thoughtfully. “They’re making it easy on us giving up the contested worlds, but
the two they own are going to get very
fast if all these troops are headed their way…and we don’t have a Last Whisper
to throw on since you broke yours.”

“Just a few scuff marks,” Paul said, referencing the
damage to the

“More like pot holes.”

“I always preferred a full
build anyway.”

BOOK: Star Force: Liberation (SF56)
9.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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