APAGear - Volume 5, Number 5 - August 2003
16 Spring 1936
"Yeah, I see 'em." Sara 'Sureshot' Jaxon of the Green Men adjusted the magnification on her binoculars, zooming further in on the group of hover vehicles and Heavy Gears making its way across the blasted desert rock in the distance. The predawn light only barely lit the scene, but the binocs' image enhancement showed enough detail to identify each vehicle. She watched them move carefully over the terrain, skirting larger patches of sand to avoid kicking up dust. "You figure that's our objective?"
Beside her, Lydia 'Whitenoise' Vicente of the Savage Stripes grunted. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's what the captain has in mind."
"Care to bet a couple cases of Fenris?" The third member of the group, Tessa 'High Stakes' Capone, also of the Stripes, held her datapad at the ready, waiting to jot down wagers.
"Don't do it," warned Vicente.
"Seems like a safe bet," commented the leader of the Green Men, Automne 'Flames' Montagne. "Fenris ale isn't exactly 'high stakes.' Why not?"
"Because it is a safe bet," replied Vicente, "and like a drug dealer, with Capone here, the first one's always free."
The four women lay prone in a small stand of scraggly brush at the top of a low hill in the Western Desert, passing Jaxon's binocs back and forth between them. Their unit had been on patrol for three days, heading farther and farther from their home base at Khayr ad-Din, traveling always within sight of the great Gamma Maglev line that stretched from one pole of Terra Nova to the other. It had only been two weeks since Colonels Sanz and Jarlson had formed the Khayr ad-Din Army, and Jaxon's unit, the KADA 1st Patrol Group, was already conducting live maneuvers in hostile territory. The Interpolar War, as it was likely to be called, hadn't yet begun, but the White War was in full swing. Waged by an upstart community of GREL pirates and bandits at the edge of the Great White Desert, the New Human Republic, the White War endangered dozens of Badlands communities. The 1st was operating in accord with the New Coalition, another recent addition to the Badlands political scene.
Behind them, the rest of the 1st performed minor maintenance on their own vehicles: ten Gears and a trio of armored personnel carriers. The Gears were part of the two arena Duelist teams -- the Green Men and the Savage Stripes. The APCs were part of the Jarlson Freelance motorized infantry platoon attached to the 1st. Most of the infantry sat in small groups at key points around the makeshift camp, carefully cleaning their weapons and checking their equipment. The rest stood guard at the perimeter. It looked to Jaxon like many of the soldiers had been issued anti-armor rifles. Captain Taifuu, the Freelancer leader who was also nominally in charge of the entire patrol group, seemed to be expecting heavy opposition: the hovertank group, almost certainly.
As Jaxon watched, Taifuu, emerged from the largest APC and issued a few quiet orders to her soldiers. Apparently noticing Jaxon watching her, Taifuu gave a brief set of hand signals. The Duelist still wasn't familiar with the Jarlson unit's signals, but the meaning seemed clear.
"Hey, Boss," Jaxon said, tugging Montagne's shirt. "Looks like the captain wants you down there."
"Holy shit!" Capone exclaimed, peering at the hovertank group through the binocs. "I'd swear that was you out there in the Mamba, Flames!" She tossed the binoculars to Montagne. "Hit replay."
A few seconds later, Montagne spat a name, "Aoyama." She tossed Jaxon the binocs and scuttled down the hill to meet with Taifuu, who had just been joined by Harper 'El Tigre' Witherspoon, leader of the Savage Stripes.
Jaxon replayed the scene Capone had recorded and let out a low whistle.
"What?" Vicente asked, glancing back and forth between the hovertanks barely visible on the horizon and the 1st's leaders back at the camp. "What's 'Aoyama'?"
In the replay, a Black Mamba went through some warm-up moves, twirling its autocannon and spinning into a crouch. "Aoyama Mei was Montagne's protégée back in the 27th," Jaxon explained. "When Automne left, Mei took over as the regimental Duelist. Looks like she's working for Proust now. Those are Montagne's moves."
In the weeks before the Interpolar War broke out, the Khayr ad-Din Army was given the opportunity to test its mettle. Mobilizing to come to the aid of the settlements involved in the so-called "White War" waged by the fledgling New Human Republic, the rag-tag band of Duelists and mercenaries underwent a trial by fire. Casualties were surprisingly minimal: a large proportion of the Duelists were, after all, veterans of the War of the Alliance and had fought GRELs before, when the latter had been fresh from Earth and outfitted with brand new equipment. After nearly 20 cycles of use, most of that equipment was quite well worn, giving the Duelists an advantage they lacked during the first war.
This scenario pits the Khayr ad-Din Army's 1st Patrol Group against the New Human Republic Army's 5th Strike Force. It is a strange reunion of sorts, with old enemies deploying as friends and old comrades meeting as enemies.
|Time of Day:||Predawn|
|Base Terrain:||Desert rough, hills|
|Attacking Force:||KADA 1st Patrol Group|
|Defending Force:||NHRA 5th Strike Force|
|Attacker Objectives:||Defeat NHRA forces|
|Defender Objectives:||Defeat KADA forces|
The first engagement of the Khayr ad-Din Army takes place in the predawn hours in a hilly desert region to the northwest of the City of Trash. Most of the terrain is rough, with little actual sand. This particular portion of the desert is close enough to the MacAllen tunnels below that vegetation is more abundant than one might expect. Start the two forces on opposite sides of the battlefield.
There are no complicated objectives to this scenario. The KADA forces must defeat the NHRA forces and vice versa.
Hover vehicles traveling over sand terrain will kick up a cloud of dust. Treat a zone within 2 MU of a hover vehicle in sand terrain as being within a sandstorm. See page 51 of the Heavy Gear Tactical Miniatures Rules for details.
At first glance, it seems the New Human Republic Army has a significant advantage over the Kahyr ad-Din forces. The pair of hovertanks in Beta Patrol alone is a match for the entire KADA group. All is not quite as it seems, however. Each of the KADA Gear pilots is a Duelist, giving him or her a tactical advantage in a close-combat fight. Furthermore, many of those pilots were involved in the War of the Alliance, and some honed their skills at hunting hovertanks and fighting the predictable GRELs during that war. In addition, the pilot of the Cheetah was an electronics specialist for the CEF, and she is capable of spoofing a CEF guidance signal with her target designator and electronic warfare equipment; not only can she cause a guided missile to miss, she can sometimes redirect it at a target of her choosing.
Finally, the NHRA hover vehicles are old and were never designed to operate on Terra Nova for long periods of time -- certainly not for nearly two decades. The 17 years they have spent on the desert world have taken their toll: each hover vehicle is suffering from the effects of two Light Damage systems damage results (but not armor loss). Re-roll Crew hits and any result that flat-out destroys or makes useless the vehicle. Ignore "roll twice" results as well.
Attackers' Victory Conditions
|Defeat NHRA Forces||5|
|Each Hovertank Destroyed||2|
|Automne Montagne Defeats Aoyama Mei||1|
|Each KADA Combat Group Defeated||-2|
Defenders' Victory Conditions
|Defeat KADA Forces||5|
|Each KADA Combat Group Defeated||2|
|Aoyama Mei Defeats Automne Montagne||1|
|Each Hovertank Destroyed||-2|
KADA 1st Patrol Group
Jarlson Freelance 4th Motorized Infantry Platoon
The Green Men
The Savage Stripes
Total Threat Value: 14,219
The KADA 1st Patrol Group was the first organized unit of the Kahyr ad-Din Army. Led by Captain Allisin Taifuu of the Jarlson Freelance 4th Motorized Infantry Platoon, the 1st was Terra Nova's first real introduction to the KADA forces. Taifuu's unit consists primarily of troops outfitted for armor-hunting duties; see the Northern Guard Army List for stats for the infantry. Her main responsibility in the 1st is to keep the two dueling teams, the Green Men and the Savage Stripes, from each other's throats. Not only are the two rivals in the Khayr ad-Din arenas, they come from opposite ends of the world and likewise have opposing philosophies. Conflict of some sort between the two teams is almost inevitable.
Each of the Green Men was once part of the Southern MILICIA's 27th Gear Regiment "The Hanged Men" at various points in his or her career, generally towards the end, just before a dishonorable discharge. Khayr ad-Din provided refuge for many of these Gear pilots, an escape from the ill reputation of the 27th. Automne Montagne gathered together the best of them, the ones who had, in her opinion, been unjustly assigned to the 27th, and formed the Green Men gladiatorial dueling team. In the arena, organizers frequently pit them against the Savage Stripes.
As might be guessed, the Gears of the Green Men are painted a brilliant green in the arena. On the battlefield, however, they are generally painted appropriately for the terrain. In both cases, they feature the Green Men logo: a wizened, fanciful face formed from leaves. Each member of the Green Men is a Veteran Duelist. If using the Complexity rules from the Silhouette Core Rules, consider each to have Complexity 2 in Mecha Piloting and Gunnery and Complexity 3 in Mecha Dueling.
Automne "Flames" Montagne pilots Groucho, her Sidewinder from her days in the 27th. She "appropriated" it from the regiment just after leaving the unit but before the Gear's security systems had been reprogrammed. Shortly before being discharged from the 27th, Montagne was personally grooming a young pilot, Aoyama Mei, to be her successor as the regimental Duelist. As the "Trial by Fire" battle begins, the pilot of the NHRA's Black Mamba demonstrates a few of Montagne's own moves, revealing herself to be Aoyama. Deeply insulted that her student would now be fighting as one of Colonel Proust's lapdogs, Montagne will preferentially attack the Mamba.
Basil "Butterball" Coeur d'or is the somewhat plump pilot of Fangs, the unit's Jäger. Although he can barely fit in the Gear's cockpit, one would hardly know it observing him on the battlefield. He strongly favors close combat, using combo moves to combine his autocannon fire with a barrage of rockets, followed by a quick retreat.
The Black Adder Vermillion is piloted by Sara "Sureshot" Jaxon. A veteran of the War of the Alliance, Sureshot knows how to move her machine in sync with GREL hover vehicle pilots, giving her a +1 bonus to attacks and defense against such machines.
Hamasaki "The Dragon" Ryuuichi pilots the Green Men's Pit Viper Aristotle. Like Sureshot and the Savage Stripes' Angel, the Dragon learned to hunt CEF hovertanks during the War of the Alliance, and he gains a +1 bonus to attacks and defense against GREL-piloted hover vehicles.
Dante "Firestorm" Cicero is the pilot of Barbarossa, the Green Men's Badlands Python. He is the most recent member of the team, having been discharged from the 27th in 1930 after serving five cycles in military prison for stealing from the 27th's supply stores.
The Savage Stripes formed in TN 1920 as the Smolensk sports dueling team known as the Silver Stripes, one of the city-state's two teams. In 1931, a major scandal erupted between the Stripes and the Highballs, the other team. Their mutual promotion agency, Lucas, Hartz and Associates, decided the Stripes' popularity was damaging the Highballs' reputation and attempted to coerce the Stripes into deliberately losing several matches against the Highballs. Disgusted with the very notion, the Stripes instead packed up one night -- Gears, technicians, pilots and all -- and left the city, heading into the Badlands to pursue dueling on their own. They wound up in Khayr ad-Din, where they quickly found a strong rivalry with the Green Men from the South.
The Savage Stripes' Gears are always painted with tiger-stripe patterns. In the field, the colors are muted and designed to blend in somewhat with the surroundings. In the arena, however, the background colors are always brilliant oranges, yellows and reds with bold, black stripes, and the vehicles' heads or torsos are painted with snarling, toothy mouth designs. Each member of the Stripes is a Veteran Duelist. If using the Complexity rules from the Silhouette Core Rules, consider each to have Complexity 2 in Mecha Piloting and Gunnery and Complexity 3 in Mecha Dueling.
Harper "El Tigre" Witherspoon pilots Geronimo, a War of the Alliance-vintage Tiger Heavy Gear. He was company commander in the Northern Guard 12th Gear Regiment during the War, and he retired shortly thereafter to move into the world of civilian Gear racing. Geronimo is actually the Gear he used during the War. In 1925, the Northern Guard sold it for scrap to Jessee Cartwright, a merchant in Rapid City who happened to be a fan of the Silver Stripes. She tracked Witherspoon down and sold it to the team the same cycle. She still keeps contact with the Stripes, selling them equipment and spare parts when the local Khayr ad-Din resources aren't enough.
Olympia "Bittersweet" Simone was the 12th's regimental Duelist until her retirement in 1922. The Last Thing that You Said, an unmodified Hunter, is her current vehicle. It's not quite up to par with Firestar, her Hunter Commando from her days in the 12th, but it has served her well. Only she understands the meaning of her Gear's name; fans assume it has something to do with an old lover, but she has kept her private life very private and the details are entirely unknown.
Erik "Angel" Calhoun pilots Deliverance a War of the Alliance-vintage Razorback. During the War, he learned to use his machine's snub cannon expertly against CEF hovertanks. Despite the machine's clumsiness, Angel racked up an impressive list of kills. He gains a +1 bonus to attacks and defense against GREL-piloted hover vehicles.
With its trademark playing card emblem painted across its right forward-facing hip plate, the Razorback Peacemaker Pair of Twos is easily recognized on the battlefield. Its pilot, Tessa "High Stakes" Capone is a consummate gambler known for calling temporary truces with opponents in order to make a quick wager on the next attack, be it theirs or hers. The youngest member of the Stripes, High Stakes was never part of an army before joining the KADA, and this is her first military battle.
Lydia "Whitenoise" Vicente is the pilot of Livewire, a standard Cheetah with a pair of heavy panzerfausts strapped across its back. An Earther who arrived on Terra Nova as part of the CEF 8th Fleet during the later stages of the War of the Alliance, Whitenoise has adapted quite well to life as a Duelist. Although it's been 15 years since she served with the CEF, she still remembers her old training as a CEF electronic warfare specialist and, more importantly, knows the frequencies and encryption codes for CEF electronic devices, including the homing systems of the CEF standard-issue guided missiles. She can use this ability to spoof the signal from a CEF standard-issue target designator and cause a CEF guided missile to miss its target or, occasionally, cause it to hit a target of her choosing. Whitenoise is an electronic warfare specialist rather than a combat specialist. Swap her Gunnery and Electronic Warfare Skills, making her Gunnery 2/+0 and her EW 3/+1.
While using Livewire's target designator, make an opposed Electronic Warfare Skill test against a CEF unit firing a guided weapon that is locked onto a CEF signal. This counts as a second action for the Livewire, so both the EW test and the use of the target designator are at -1. If successful, apply 2 x MoS against the attack roll of the CEF unit. With an MoS of 5 or more, the CEF guided weapon locks onto Livewire's target and attacks it as normal for a guided weapon. This action uses Livewire's ECM generator, with appropriate modifiers, which means Livewire's ECM will drop out for a round.
NHRA 5th Strike Force
Alpha Patrol (GREL Scout Armor Patrol)
Beta Patrol (GREL Strike Armor Patrol)
Gamma Patrol (Mixed Heavy Gear Patrol)
Total Threat Value: 27,310
The New Human Republic Army is fashioned after its CEF progenitor, albeit on a much smaller scale. The troop is its primary strategic unit rather than the battle group, with three patrols per troop. Like the CEF, combined arms are commonplace amongst the NHRA, and infantry patrols often operate alongside hovertank units. Many of the army vehicles are vintage, unmodified War of the Alliance-era CEF equipment, although defections from the Port Arthur Korps generate an influx of well-maintained vehicles adapted to Terra Nova's technological base. The army features a relatively large number of Heavy Gears as well, captured from local raiders or purchased through the black markets.
The 5th is a combined-arms troop that operates out of Aspenpic on the eastern edge of the Great White Desert. Under the leadership of the Jan-class GREL Peshkov-4199, the 5th has been raiding settlements in the Western Desert since the start of the White War.
Gamma Patrol is a Heavy Gear patrol led by a human, the Terranovan native Aoyama Mei of the Mekong Dominion. A former Duelist for the Southern MILICIA's 27th Regiment "The Hanged Men," Aoyama supervises a trio of Minerva-class GRELs (Humboldt-2185, Albert-3119 and Newmark-0003) in the operation of Heavy Gears for several cycles. Their training actually began shortly after the end of the War of the Alliance, when they operated construction Gears during the early days of Port Arthur; Aoyama has been refining their skills for several cycles now.
Aoyama is a Veteran Duelist. If using the Complexity rules from the Silhouette Core Rules, consider her to have Complexity 2 in Mecha Piloting and Gunnery and Complexity 3 in Mecha Dueling. Her Black Mamba, Fukushuu ("Vengeance") is an unmodified model.
The Jarlson Freelance 4th Motorized Infantry Platoon shows up in my "Encounter at Sentinel Lake" scenario and my "Supply Lines" scenario. In the former, it is part of the KADA 9th Raider Patrol Group, which was formed after the Interpolar War and which operates during the CEF's Operation Icarus. In the latter, it is part of the 13th Desert Patrol Group during the Interpolar War.
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