Captain Allisin Taifuu swatted lazily at a crabfly that glowed a beautiful, cerulean blue. It flew off a few meters and she resumed reviewing her training journals under the soft radiance of her camp stove. It was a warm, Autumn night, but a gentle breeze helped considerably to mute the effects of the Badlands heat. All around her, under scattered pools of light, the men and women under her command cleaned their weapons and their vehicles.
The crabfly returned, buzzing her head. Sighing wearily, she set her PDA down on her mat and watched it circle for a few moments. She wondered briefly what kind of crabfly it was, but her musings were interrupted when a long, thick, slime-coated tongue reached out and snatched the crabfly away. Taifuu raised an eyebrow at the bull springer she sat next to. "Ed" was his name, apparently. He was one of the local militia's springers, large and powerful, built to withstand the oppressive Badlands heat.
Training the militia to use the springers as cavalry mounts in combat had been an interesting task. She hadn't cared for the duty when Jarlson had assigned her it, but the militiamen of Pennyfarthing had at least some rudimentary understanding of the basics. They mostly used their springers to herd other springers, and controlling the beasts in combat, while different, was not wildly different. It certainly had made Taifuu's job easier.
She reached up scratched the creature's chin. It grunted with pleasure and strained against its hitch to come closer to her, but to no avail.
"You've found a friend, Captain," said a voice rough from cycles upon cycles of hollering over the wind. Taifuu glanced over at Minerva Duran, pilot of the Klemm tank attached to Taifuu's unit as part of the Khayr ad-Din Army. The woman sat down on the other side of Ed's head and joined Taifuu in scratching. Ed stretched out his tongue and licked her face. "Ew!" Duran cried, making a face and giggling with a measure of delight that still fascinated Taifuu to no end. She had been leery of the GREL when they'd first met: Taifuu had met plenty of her brothers and sisters during the War of the Alliance, and the experience had never been pleasant. In many ways, the post-War GRELs were harder to deal with. Their stone cold, emotionless nature was unnerving, and the stir-crazy bloodlust that pulsed through the direct combat types was downright scary.
But then, every once in a while, a springer would lick one of them and she'd giggle like a schoolgirl. Fascinating.
"It's different for us, Alli," Duran explained, obviously reading the expression on Taifuu's face. "I've told you this before, haven't I?" She wiped her face off with a rag. "Back 'home,' the closest I came to an animal was one of those big vat animals." Home for Duran was Caprice; she had been part of the GREL army produced there prior to the invasion of Terra Nova. "It's all so different."
Taifuu nodded. It had been decades since the GREL had met her first springer, she thought. The 'difference' of which Duran had spoken wasn't one of experience, per se, but one created by the simple fact that she had never gone through childhood. It was an interesting phenomenon many GRELs exhibited later in life. When their minds weren't actively working out how to accomplish their next mission, they sometimes reverted into a childlike state.
She was about to respond, but Ed's attention suddenly shifted away from the women and he stared off into the darkness, straight ahead. "What in the world?" she wondered, and then her own ears picked it up: a faint rumbling, like thunder, only very prolonged.
She reached for her radio just as the device chirped about an incoming call. "Taifuu here," she said.
The voice on the other end was one of her scouts that patrolled a perimeter a kilometer away. "Captain we've got a hostile contact here. Well, it's not really hostile... A pair of Northy landships is heading our way. They're about a klick out from my position right now, two from yours."
Taifuu pondered that information for a moment. "What kind?" she asked.
"Cargo. Markings read... Well, it's hard to see at this distance, but they are being nice enough to light 'em up at least. 'NCS-1104 Thomas' and 'NCS-1105 Putnam.' Squall-class, it looks like. No escorts on the ground, but looks like a few Gears up on deck."
"I copy." Taifuu scratched her head for a moment, wondering what to do about it. The ships weren't much of a threat, but still, they were passing through territory guarded by the KADA. On the one hand, Taifuu was out training a group of militiamen. On the other hand... "Good work," she said. "Scatter and make sure they're alone."
"Roger that, Captain." The scout signed off.
"You've got a pretty wicked smile on you, Alli," noted Duran.
"Yeah," she replied. "I think it's time to put these boys to the test." She patted the springer and nodded in the direction of the militiamen. Rising to her feet, she let out a shrill whistle. "Mount up, people!" she cried. "We're about to capture a Northern landship."
On a hot night in Autumn 1937, during the peak of the Interpolar War, a pair of Northern Guard cargo landships happened across a Khayr ad-Din Army unit conducting a brief training operation with the militia of the small Badlands town of Pennyfarthing. Not taking the small band seriously, the captains of the landships, under the advice of their Heavy Gear escorts, continued onward, despite repeated warnings from the KADA to the forces of both sides of the global engagement throughout the war. The commander of the KADA patrol chose that night to show them the folly of their ways.
Within minutes, the KADA forces had advanced upon the two landships, preparing to engage. The two split up, gambling that the attackers wouldn't do likewise and that at least one ship would make it to NorGuard forces, who would launch a counterstrike against the unruly Badlanders. No such strike ever came, however -- not for the quickly captured NCS-1104 Katharine Thomas. NorGuard forces were too busy engaging Southern MILICIA forces to go after the Thomas.
At the end of the war, the KADA returned the Thomas, stripped of many of its electrical systems and all of its cargo.
|Time of Day:||Night (midnight)|
|Base Terrain:||Desert sand|
|Raiding Force:||KADA 13th Patrol Group|
|Defending Force:||Katharine Thomas Heavy Gear Escort|
|Raider Objectives:||Capture landship|
|Defender Objectives:||Escort landship off board|
This battle takes place at midnight in the desert north of Khayr ad-Din. It is a calm, clear night, so there is little in the way of interference from the weather. Most of the terrain is desert sand, although there are scattered patches of solid ground and the occasional spot of vegetation. Begin the scenario with the NorGuard forces at one end of the map and the KADA forces at the other. The primary objective of the NorGuard side is to escort the landship Katharine Thomas off the opposite side of the map, so the exact size of the map will need to be measured carefully; the landship has a Top Speed of 6 MU per round.
The primary objective of the KADA forces is to capture the landship. To do so, at least two squadrons of infantry with six or more functional members must pull alongside the vessel for a full round, matching speeds and allowing the infantry to board the ship and subdue its crew. Unless the NorGuard side chooses to move the vessel slow enough for the infantry to catch up on foot (or on springer-back), this will require the KADA APCs to match course.
Because the landship is kicking up sand and dust as it moves, treat a zone within 3 MU of the ship as being within a sandstorm. (See page 51 of the Heavy Gear Tactical Miniatures Rules for details.)
Since this engagement takes place at night, all infantry units are equipped with nightvision goggles.
Because of various political and ethical motivations, each side should operate under slightly complex rules of engagement.
The Khayr ad-Din Army is something of a bother to both the North and the South, but it is, for the moment, tolerable. While each side would love the excuse to mow the Badlanders down, they have more or less restrained themselves. This restraint is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the KADA forces generally do not use overly lethal force on the polar armies -- vehicles are disabled far more than they are destroyed, and prisoners of war are usually returned safely within a few weeks of capture. Thus, the KADA side should avoid causing Crew hits as much as possible. Shots that disable a NorGuard vehicle are much better than shots that destroy it or its crew.
The polar armies, when engaging KADA forces, recognize them as hostile military units and treat them as such. NorGuard units are thus perfectly willing and able to kill KADA pilots and destroy their vehicles. There is one major exception:
The men and women of the Cloudy Skies do not, as a rule, engage civilian targets. When facing off against such targets, they must switch to non-lethal ammunition. Each NorGuard Heavy Gear in this scenario is provided with a clip of such ammo to use against the Pennyfarthing militia forces; this ammunition is available to their autocannons only, however, not their missiles, grenades, or machine guns. All rules for handling ammunition clips apply. A clip need not be empty to be swapped out, and the Gears lack ammunition storage compartments, so the unused clips are carried externally on hardpoints.
(Some of these rules may be overly unplayable, such as the restriction against destroying NorGuard units. You obviously should feel free to ignore them, though the victory conditions will need to be altered.)
|Each Northern Guard Heavy Gear disabled||1|
|Each Northern Guard Heavy Gear destroyed||-1|
|Landship exits safely||5|
|Each civilian unit destroyed||-1|
KADA 13th Desert Patrol
Jarlson Freelance 4th Motorized Infantry Platoon
Duelist Team "Tiger's Claw"
Total Threat Value: 7637
The 13th KADA Desert Patrol spent much of the Interpolar War patrolling the deserts north of Khayr ad-Din and interfacing with local town militias. Like many KADA units, it consists of somewhat independent groups. The unit is under the nominal command of Captain Allisin Taifuu of the Jarlson Freelance 4th Motorized Infantry Platoon's Armor Hunter squad. She is generally a hands-off leader as far as the non-Jarlson units are concerned. The exceptions to this rule are cases where local town militias join up with the 13th; in these cases, she makes every effort to maintain a chain of command with an iron fist -- much to the militias' general displeasure. Still, no militia commander has ever found reason to curse her name for getting his troops killed. While duty with the 13th is often a pain, few militia members return to their homes with more than a few scratches and several long nights' worth of stories to tell. (Stats for the infantry squads used by the 4th can be found in the Northern Guard Army List. The Jarlson Freelancers themselves are covered in the Duelist Handbook, Second Edition.)
The duelist team "Tiger's Claw" is an arena team from Khayr ad-Din's raucous gladiator pits. Always a crowd-pleaser, the unit features a garishly painted Klemm Bandit light tank that adds a certain unusual flair to pit battles. Most spectators assume the unit is named for the equally garish Tiger Heavy Gear that forms part of the team; they would be surprised to learn that the name actually comes from the GREL tank crew's old unit, the CEF 8th Fleet 13th Battle Group "Tigerclaw," which was all but decimated during the War of the Alliance. (See the Colonial Expeditionary Forces Sourcebook for more information about the CEF, particularly about using GRELs as vehicle crew.)
The Pennyfarthing Irregulars comprise the militia of the Badlands town of Pennyfarthing. Sporting bolt-action hunting rifles and light flak vests, the Irregulars ride springers into battle. The beasts give them a greater battlefield mobility than infantry on foot, and they add a small element of surprise: few modern military commanders know exactly how to deal with cavalry.
Each of the two squads has 8 soldiers, each of whom is a Qualified soldier with Light Flak armor and a 15mm heavy rifle (Acc +0, DM x4, Range 1/2/4/8, RoF 0). The springers give the infantry a movement of 5 MP (Walker). Each soldier has a TV of 20. (See Into the Badlands for more information about Badlands infantry.)
Like most town militia associated with the Khayr ad-Din Army, the Pennyfarthing Irregulars have been trained extensively by the Jarlson Freelancers.
Katharine Thomas Heavy Gear Escort
Northern Guard 38th Heavy Gear Regiment "Cloudy Skies"
Bravo Company, Section 1, Squadron 1 (General Purpose)
Bravo Company, Section 1, Squadron 2 (General Purpose)
Bravo Company, Section 1, Squadron 3 (Fire Support)
Total Threat Value: 7751
The Cloudy Skies regiment serves as a Northern Guard landship escort unit for NorGuard supply line units. Bravo Company's first section frequently escorts the Katharine Thomas, and its second section usually operates with the Katherine Putnam. Limited facilities are available for repair on the landships, and the Gears of 38th generally ride on top deck, where they are strapped down and kept under canvas to protect against the elements. When not in battle, its units sport a mottled gray paint scheme with a stylized shaft of sunlight peaking through on the right shoulder or flank.
The capture of the Thomas by KADA forces ultimately led to several demotions and a change in leadership within the 38th.
The Katharine Thomas is a Squall-class cargo transport that forms an important portion of the Northern Guard supply line. Along with its sister ship, the NCS-1105 Katherine Putnam, the Thomas provides NorGuard forces with everything from food and ammunition to replacement Gears and drone-filled rockets. It happened to be carrying a cargo of Hunter and Jaguar Heavy Gears when KADA forces captured it during the Interpolar War.
For the purposes of this scenario, treat the Thomas as a vehicle equipped with hover movement systems and a Combat Speed of 18 kph (3 50-meter MU per 30-second turn) and a Top Speed of 36 kph (6 MU). It has a Maneuver rating of -5. It is 50 meters wide and 15 meters long, and it is unarmed.
Some of these units appeared in other scenarios I wrote. The Jarlson unit appears in Encounter at Sentinel Lake, where it forms part of the 9th Raider Patrol during the CEF's harassment raids in Operation Icarus. The GREL tank crew of the Hun is part of the CEF battle group that attacks the landship Versailles in Stabbing Westward, although you wouldn't know it unless I told you. (The Katharine Thomas is briefly mentioned therein, as well.)
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