|APAGear II Archives||Volume 2, Number 8||September, 2000|
[Note: Dennis revised this article in Volume 2, Number 11. -Ed.]
Western Protectorate Archives, Fort Henry: War of the Alliance Excerpt
Reconstructed off military recordings: 263-tango/34
The midday sun was continuing its ritual descent, creating shifting shadows along the mountain slopes. At the same time, the routine patrol for the 53rd's Beta mountain squad was finishing its sweep of the ridges 100 kilometers west of Erech. The forward-most hunter signaled to the remaining squad of Alpine Hunters to keep moving forward, then stared back at the two stragglers still two hundred meters back.
"Peterson and Jamie what's going on," squad commander Wilks called out over the comm. "I told you to stay in formation. What's going on?"
"Jamie thought that he saw something in on the eastern slopes," Peterson responded.
"What's your HUD saying?" Wilks inquires, signaling for the rest of the squad to hold.
Before Peterson could answer a series of 24mm rounds shatters his left hip hydraulics, sending his gear stumbling unto its back. Accidentally fumbling the controls to recover from the attack, Peterson's Alpine launches a grenade into the back of Jamie's gear. The shock from the grenade impact throws the gear into a face plant.
"Targets in the shadows, people," Wilks barks. He began closing the distance between his gear and Peterson's. He calls out, "Charlie and Salador, find cover and acquire. Jamie, you dazed?"
"Uh," Jamie responded. "No sir." At that point, another burst of rounds comes down on Jamie and Peterson. Jamie pilots his gear to crawl behind nearby cover.
Wilks' HUD computer quickly isolates the location of the shots. "Bogies, northeast 12, 13, 15 and 16 degrees. Target and fire at will." Wilks moves between the down men and the targeted enemies.
"Acquiring, . . . firing," Salador confirms. Their Alpines lob double taps of grenades at the target area. As they do, another burst of 24mm pierces Charlie's fuel tank from behind. "From behind!" Salador panics. "I think Charlie's leaking. Charlie?"
"Cover your man, soldier," Wilks shouts over the comm. Wilks watches the grenades strike at the first target as three more 24mm rounds whiz past his gear. "Good shooting guys, but we aren't out of the sandstorm yet. Come on Jamie, get your ass in gear and cover Peterson."
Righting his gear and moving to shield Peterson, Jamie replies saying, "Peterson's covered. Sir, I'm picking up a heat signature still up on the eastern bank."
"Confirmed," Wilks calls out. "Looks like his heat exchanger went offline in the blasts. Jamie assist Peterson in getting behind those rocks." Wilks fires a rocket salvo into the hillside above the spotted sniper, burying the GREL in the resulting rockslide.
Wilks hears more explosions to the south, near the other two gears. "Salador," Wilks booms out. "Give me status!" Spinning around, he looks up on the western slope and sees an explosion settling. "Salador?"
"Targets appear to be axed," Salador confirms.
"Well, you just confirm that, soldier. Jamie, you too. I'll look after Peterson. Move! . . . And check on Charlie too." Wilks gear turns toward Peterson's and asks, "You OK, little brother. The draft's a bitch, huh?"
A Northco predecessor to the Mountain Jaguar, the Alpine Hunter was one of the very few gears rugged and simple enough to survive as a successful mountaineering gear. Using the common Hunter chassis, Northco engineers found a challenge in adapting the gear to the rugged conditions of the mountains. Reinforcing the legs with climbing claws and off-road hydraulics was difficult but ended up being manageable. However, attempts at integrating a ground movement system with all the larger leg braces and hydraulics proved exceedingly difficult for the engineers. In the end, the Northco designers were forced to abandon using any ground system altogether. This was resolved to be only a minor downgrade in open ground performance under which the machine was not expected to perform regularly.
The Mk IV anti-personnel grenade launcher was kept, as were the standard M-2A hand grenades and the HW-VB1 vibroknife. The Riley M222 autocannon was replaced with the Ankerson G-60 Grenade Launcher, providing excellent offensive capabilities in the uneven terrain allowing the machine to push hostiles out from behind cover. Also, the powerful rockets of the GH-6 replaced the smaller RP-109 Pepperbox, adding punch and distance to the machine's firepower.
The Alpine Hunter entered service in TN 1862, just ten years after the release of the Hunter MkII. Mountain gear squads, who enjoyed the enhanced rugged abilities, quickly praised it. Later in 1870, the gear began serving as escort to powerful ThunderHammer striders in the 53rd Armored Regiment, the Highland Rangers. During its service with Western Protectorate forces in the War of the Alliance, it assisted in clearing out CEF holdings all along the Serpentine Range. Over time, the 53rd, along with support from the armor of the 168th, had effectively cut off vital supply lines through the Serpentine Range to the CEF forces occupying the Eastern Desert. The success of their shared efforts gave the Peace River Army time to regroup and join the Northern and Southern forces to flank the Earth forces out of the Eastern Desert, eventually ending the war.
A year after the war, in 1918, CNCS high command, embarrassed by the field superiority of the Southern Desert Viper MkII demonstrated in the War of the Alliance, commissioned Northco to produce an improved mountain gear that gave even better performance. Northco quickly saw that the simple improvements applied to the BearHunter might provide the answer to CNCS high commands concerns. Installing the S-V790T V-engine on the Alpine Hunter's chassis, they quickly began running field tests. However, the heavier powerplant proved to cause annoying instability for the gear's mountain traversing requirements. In addition, one of the prototypes was badly damaged after the S-790T powerplant stalled and shut down, a known mechanical problem with that engine, causing a severe fifty-meter fall that killed the test pilot. With these early reports, a frustrated CNCS high command issued instructions that it wanted the new gear to be based off of the heavier Jaguar chassis. Northco agreed, and the Alpine Hunter was later replaced by the Mountain Jaguar in TN 1921. Due to its commercial objectives, Northco has currently ceased all new production of the Alpine Hunter, but continues to manufacture field replacement parts.
Code Name: Alpine Hunter Production Code: HACS-01MG-ALP Production Type: Mass Production/Discontinued Cost: 519,000 marks Manufacturer: Northco Use: Mountain Combat Gear Height: 4.3 meters Width: 3.0 meters Average armor thickness: 45mm Armor Material: Durasheet w/alloy Standard operational weight: 7415 kg Primary Movement Mode: Walk (44 kph), Top (72kph) Secondary Movement Mode: N/A Deployment Range: 500 km Sensor Range: 40 hexes/2 km Communications Range: 200 hexes/10 km Powerplant: S-V950A V-engine Horsepower: 450 Hp
Add: LGL (F, 20 grenades), MRP/9 (F, 9 rockets), Chassis Reinforcement, Improved Off-Road, Rugged Movement System, Climbing Apparatus Remove: LAC, LRP/24 Change: No Ground Movement System Modified Threat Value: 692 Offensive: 823 Defensive: 249 Miscellaneous: 1003
Availability Threshold: 5 Max. No. of Units in Field: Nearly Unlimited Individual Lemon Dice: 3
|APAGear II Archives||Volume 2, Number 8||September, 2000|
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