Abtahka - 01 - Battle in the Park
Battle in the Park
Abtakha: A captured warrior who is adopted into his new Clan as a warrior.
Topps owns and holds the copyright for Battletech and most of the related product lines. I make no claim of ownership, licensing, or copyright on Battletech and related product lines. This is just a fan fiction I've written. Have fun and enjoy. ~Stardraigh
August 7th, 3050
Ludvika Preservation Park
Cadet Grant Proust, of the Blackjack Training Battalion, 3rd company, 3rd lance, watched the backside of Holne's Commando move away.
Proust radioed, "Holne, we've got orders to stay here and screen against any units coming our way."
Holne came on, "I'm not dying next to your faggot ass, Proust. I'm with Lykke and Falk. I don't give a damn what you do, just keep your freak ass the fuck away from us. Don't bother begging, I won't listen."
The radio fell to static. Proust toggled it to standby, and settled back into the cockpit seat. Forcing the feelings of rejection to indifference. He fell short at disgust mixed with anger.
His lance-mate's mech disappeared from view through the trees of the park. He watched the sensor display after. The blip representing Holne's Commando moved to the edge and vanished from off his sensor screen.
Proust didn't bother calling a second time. He didn't want to. First Lykke and Falk had abandoned their position, and now Holne.
The three had not run away, although technically one could say they went AWOL or disobeyed orders. The three left to get away from Cadet Proust, who they detested. This left Proust the sole military unit in Ludvika. All three of his lance-mates had departed in the direction of the suburb of Boden.
On his way to Ludvika, Proust had overheard 3rd Company, 1st Lance's orders to deploy to Boden. Most likely the three had gone to join with them.
An unknown enemy had arrived in orbit early this morning and had smashed through the meager air defense on Blackjack. They had already made planet-fall.
Right now Proust knew local law enforcement and the citizen militia were assembling. It was Proust's job and that of the Blackjack Training Battalion to buy them time if they couldn't outright defeat them.
Rumors had spread like wildfire since news came of star systems closer to the periphery having fallen to them. Some of them said the Dracs making a surprise invasion by going around the Razzies through the Periphery. Some even said they were the first aliens humanity had met and they weren't friendly.
Proust didn't know what to expect, so he waited in his Chameleon. It was the basic no frills 7V model at 50 tons. Long considered a training mech and used as such, the Blackjack Training Battalion had several of them. It was jump capable and armed with several lasers and machine guns.
The squawk of his mech's alarm for reactor breach, came on for the umpteenth time since he had left the hangar earlier. Proust slapped the override.
"Piece of shit." He grumbled at both his lance mates and his machine.
Nothing came on the radio from his lance mates, or any of the others. Satcom and Satview had gone down a half hour ago on the move to Ludvika. All Proust saw were what the sensors displayed and the limited visual distance out the cockpit canopy. It wasn't much at all considering how in poor repair the mech was in.
The mag res scanner had been broke for over a week now. An accident is what maintenance had said. Something went wrong while attempting to fix the inoperative jump jet in the right leg. Both devices were waiting on parts that should have arrived by now but had not.
Proust overrode the breach alarm again.
The containment on the reactor was good. Proust had inspected it himself refusing to rely on maintenance’s word two days ago. This was after a simulated fire training session somehow made the alarm occur more often. It was only a malfunction in the sensor, one he'd asked to have replaced three weeks ago when it first sustained damage.
That was the tip of the iceberg. All thermal gun sights were inoperative. The ammo rack for his machine guns could only hold a quarter of the ammo they should. Anymore and there'd be a miss-feed. The armor on his Chameleon's right shoulder and arm had remained unfixed. That was from maintenance fouling the right arms laser while diagnosing a suspected power feed issue. The laser had worked the day before maintenance touched it, and hadn't worked since. The right torso jump jet remained misaligned from the work done on the laser. Jumping with the current jet config made the mech slide to the right instead of an arc in a direction controlled by the pilot. These problems had been cropping up now for almost a month.
The target systems calibration tended to drift every few days to the point where he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. It was luck he thought, that he'd re-calibrated it yesterday morning. Hopefully, thought proust, it would hold in place for as long as it took to stop these invaders.
Somehow with the long shipping time for the parts, other cadets already had their mechs fixed. Some even questionably so. It amazed Proust, how systems would break on his mech but never sideline it completely. At the same time other cadets would get their systems back up and running. Maintenance refused to show him the records of the other mechs. He had his suspicions but never could prove anything.
With the threat of these invaders, every mech available that could be piloted had been put into the field. This included Proust’s Chameleon.
Proust thought, that maybe he could just run away, but to where? The rumors of these invaders had spread before they arrived. News had come from planets further out in the periphery falling to them. Rumors saying they were unstoppable.
Where could he retreat to? How would he retreat? These were questions Proust had asked himself today since coming to Ludvika.
Proust squashed the alarm again.
At least it’s quiet between the stupid alarm, thought Proust. No assholes to mess with me.
A half hour went by with nothing to show, until several smoke pillars reached into the sky from the direction of Boden.
It was time.
The radio burst to life. It was an all frequency broadcast with no encryption.
… over watch reports one more mech in the forest park at the city center. Belle, Arthur, on me…
Crap, Thought Proust. They knew where he was.
An idea came to him. Proust directed his mech to grab onto a tree and uproot it. He’d do it with both his mech's hand actuators but couldn't. The damage to his large laser also included the release mechanism being stuck. The laser wasn't working anyway, and would serve the same purpose as a club or expendable shield, either way it didn't matter. The tree he picked, came up easy, snapping at the base.
Proust readied himself. Three blips appeared on his sensor readout.
“This is Star Captain Jacob Eagle of Clan Jade Falcon. To the loan mech, identify yourself”
They spoke standard English. Proust doubted they'd be aliens.
"I am Cadet Proust of the Blackjack Training Battalion.”
The alarm came on again. Proust overrode it.
“Why are you not with your fellow warriors. MechWarrior Proust?”
“Orders sir. My unit’s orders were to stay here in Ludvika and screen against the enemy, which appears to be you. It would seem that the rest of my lance has run away to their fate. Why they left me here and abandoned their orders? I don't have an answer to that. You'd have to ask them”
The three blips had stopped out of line of site, but somewhat just inside the tree line of the preservation.
“So you are the last defender of Ludvika? MechWarrior Mendel did not inform us of your existence”
Proust knew Mendel as the instructor who went with 3rd company 1st lance to Boden.
“That's not my problem Star Captain. I'm here and I stand against you.”
“Are there any other units here?”
“None that I know of. Other than the lance in Boden, and my three errant lance mates, I know of no others here in Ludvika.
“If that is the case, I issue a batchall against you for control of Ludvika. Do you need an explanation?”
“Yes.” Proust had never heard that word before. If he could buy any time at all for the militia being called up he would do it. Having some enemy take the time to talk fit in nicely into that goal.
“A batchall is simple MechWarrior Proust. We bid our forces down to reduce the amount of destruction and damage. At the same time we bring victory and honor with the least resources expended.”
“This is a duel then, but with something hanging in the balance?”
“Then I accept this challenge, how do we bid?”
“As the one challenged, you get choice in where”
“I think all of Ludvika is our battleground. It's what my orders spoke of.”
“Acceptable. I bid MechWarrior Arthur and he will not use his lasers”
“I can't accept that.” Proust felt bile rise in his throat at what he was about to do.
“Why not? It is honorable. Do you doubt the abilities of MechWarrior Arthur, or deny him the chance to prove himself in combat?”
"No sir. It’s only that I would be disobeying my orders if I did that. My orders are to screen against the enemy. I can't win against one of you and let the others go somewhere else. I have to stop you if I can here, or chase you down”
“I understand. Honorable, and perhaps foolish. Are you saying you will fight us all”
"Yes. I must.”
“Then so be it MechWarrior Proust, you will face the three of us in battle for control of Ludvika”
The alarm came on again. Proust ignored the alarm, pushing the throttle to max, maneuvering through the thick forest preserve towards the nearest unit. The dense forest slowed his progress but allowed him to close with the enemy, remaining unseen till the last moment.
It was an ungainly mech he faced, with no torso and spindly arms and legs. The bulbous cockpit jutted forward. It's right arm ended in a box with a protruding weapon barrel. The left arm didn't match and ended in a small hand actuator with a weapon barrel slung underneath.
Four missiles arced out of a launcher in its torso, and the right arm weapon fired, giving away that it was an auto-cannon of some sort. Only one of the missiles hit, gouging a mark into his mech’s chest.
The feedback seemed high to Proust. It felt like something had stung him in what would be the same spot on his body.
Proust raised the tree he carried like a hammer and swung down into the mechs upper torso. The tree broke. It’s upper foliage hanging onto the mech, caught in its shoulder joint. The mech attempted to backpedal unsuccessfully through the preserves thick foliage.
Stepping his Chameleon in close, Proust body checked the mech with his damaged right arm and shoulder, pushing it back. The mech lost its balance and fell backwards, wedged between two particularly large trees.
Damage warnings kicked off, cutting in over the reactor breach alarm for a second. Another mech, the same type, moved up and fired upon him striking him in the rear with a laser. Thankfully the fully armored left side, thought Proust. His adrenaline neutralized the feeling of pain from feedback
The third mech, same type as the first two, moved in front and raised its gun arm to fire.
Proust initiated a jump. His chameleon jerked to the right. Lucky the trees he collided with broke rather than catching and he was able to maintain his footing. A silver blur streaked by on his left.
Grabbing another tree he ripped it out of the ground. Proust, moved towards the mech which had struck him from the rear. Using the right arm to provide more cover by holding it in front, he barreled his Chameleon through the forest and closed the distance.
The tree lasted two swings before breaking. The enemy mech attempted to fire, only one laser hit, scoring the left leg.
Proust ignored the feeling in his own leg and he turned his mech to face the third enemy. He fired both his medium lasers, trading fire with it. Whatever the silver flash was, it smashed into his left arm shattering it, leaving it hanging limp. Proust clenched his teeth when the neuro-feedback let him feel the damage.
Only one of Proust's medium lasers hit.
He realized he shouldn't have been feeling this type of damage. It appeared there was one more thing wrong with his mech. The dampeners on the neuro feedback system had failed. Every diagnostic and motion sensor was feeding back information to him without a filter.
Proust moved through the forest to put distance between them. Finding himself at the edge of the preserve, Proust abandoned it. He could move fast along the perimeter road, then re-enter and engage from a different angle.
Moving full out down the road a few hundred meters, he reentered as damage warnings flashed again. One of the mechs followed him out and fired, scoring a minor hit into his weak rear right torso. His own flesh and blood shoulder felt like it took a blow in a physical fight.
His entry back into the preserve broke line of site with the chaser. Proust realized it was the same for him. Every sensor but the visual optics and his eyes out the canopy had failed. A warning light flickered on the control board showing there was a fault in the sensor system.
“God damned piece of shit maintenance techs,” Proust screamed.
Proust ripped another tree out of the ground. He moved back to the preserves edge. Maybe he could retreat further into the city and reengage. Maybe to get a better position.
Exiting the preserve again, Proust found one of the mechs waited there for him. He twisted his torso, firing his medium lasers. One hit.
Attempting to turn and keep his weapons on target, while closing the distance to the enemy mech proved impossible. The conditions caused Proust’s chameleon to lose its footing. The mech's feet slid out from under and its momentum carried it a few dozen meters down a side street ending on its side.
The neuro-feedback system insured Proust felt everything. His vision went double and the vertigo from loss of balance disoriented him.
It wasn’t too bad, thought Proust. He’d felt more before, taken more at the hands of his fellow trainees. It'd been worse.
Proust started work immediately to upright his mech and get back in the fight.
The tree was still grasped in his arm and hadn't broke. He tossed it up past his head and began using his left arm as leverage to stand.
The mech he had faced moments before falling, came around the corner. It stepped in a way the tree he had thrown caught between its legs, tripping it to the ground sending it's ugly face into a buildings side.
Now or never, Proust thought, he fought his mech to get it upright with only one hand and succeeded.
The enemy mech struggled as well to upright itself. He moved in and fired his remaining weapons into the mechs rear, not passing up the chance to do so.
Much to his surprise, the remaining weapons on Prousts mech worked.
He moved out from the side street leaving behind the struggling mech, and found him face to face with the last one.
Proust let the target reticle drift over the mech and fired, not waiting for the lock indicator to come on. Neither of his medium lasers hit. Both were off target by several meters.
The gun sights had drifted.
Instintively initiating his jump jets, Proust hoped to avoid the silver flash which had shattered his arm. The enemy mech fired and it slammed into Proust's already weakened right torso before the jump moved him clear.
He vomited. Lucky for him, his neuro-helmet didn't cover his face.
Still trying to jump, and imbalanced from the force of impact, His mech didn’t go where he expected. Instead, his mech spun around and careened into a building, coming to rest on its back, where it lay.
The neuro-feedback spiked again, disorienting Proust. The containment warning flashed. His stomach empty, he dry heaved once then screamed, "Fuck you, you piece of shit. God damn those assholes for fucking me over with this piece of shit mech. All of you can burn in hell for this."
He struggled again to upright his mech out of the building, but the mech's movement caused more of the building to fall in upon him.
The last mech took position in front of Proust and fired. One of the lasers struck the cockpit, cutting off Proust's view as it polarized and cracked. He couldn’t see the silver blur smashing into his torso.
The force of impact disturbed the building, causing structural failure. It caved in, burying him in his mech.
Proust remained unaware of anything past the silver blur, having finally passed out from the neuro-feedback.
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