The first encounter was a complete mistake. While open to any clan by virtue of its’ presence in the periphery, Elissa laid within Clan Wolf’s designated invasion corridor, and thus the Wolves took it for their own. Unbeknownst to the initial landing force, a small contingent from Clan Diamond Shark had already arrived. The Diamond Sharks had covertly appropriated multiple Inner Sphere Battlemechs in order to keep their presence quiet, and the initial engagement between the two clans was well underway before either side discovered they were not being ambushed by the best equipped militia this backwater world could muster. Within minutes, with one pilot dead and with mechs barely standing, the surviving Diamond Sharks were in full retreat.
Analysis of intercepted communications indicated that the Diamond Sharks had been looking for Project Achilles, a legendary Star League research facility. Combined with the location of the prior engagement, the Clan Wolf commander selected several potential search areas, and set out to engage and drive off the other clan.
This time, all pilots involved knew exactly who they faced and was at stake. Another defeat would be too costly, and the Diamond Sharks would have to withdraw from the planet. But a defeat of the Wolves would serve as a major power shift between the two factions, and likely cause an escalation into a much larger conflict than would be normally expected for a world of such low strategic value.
As a reward for their heroics in the prior battle, Wolf MechWarriors “Hammer” and “Anvil” were given the right to investigate the ruins which were calculated to have the highest chance of encountering the Diamond Sharks again. Much honor was gained this day by the intelligence agents involved in those calculations, as the Timber Wolf and Summoner pairing (still proxied, due to supply issues) arrived in the sector simultaneous to a Diamond Shark force consisting of two Kit Foxes and another Timber Wolf, approaching the ruins from opposite sides.
Clan Wolf enters from the eastern side, Diamond Shark from the west. Outnumbered, and not expecting the rules of Zelbriggen to be followed based upon the awkward nature of the previous battle, Hammer and Anvil approached this battle cautiously, not wanting to close too quickly on the enemy. Both Kit Foxes were of the B variant, and their Timber Wolf ally a C variant – In addition to their other weaponry, all three Diamond Shark Battlemechs carried an Ultra Autocannon, a rapid fire weapon which could cause a significant amount of damage in a hurry at a relatively low heat cost.
With targets acquired, the Wolves assume a defensive posture to maximize use of their long range weaponry. The Kit Foxes then shift direction and flank to the North (with the Wolf, hoping to catch the Summoner unaware while separated from his ally.
The plan to circle and isolate the Summoner, who stood back as a long range sniper in the previous battle, backfires on clan Diamond Shark. Having lost the initiative roll this turn, one Kit Fox takes cover behind the large building on the northern edge of the combat. Anvil then takes zellbrigen into his own hands, forcing single combat by triggering his jump jets and leaping over the building into a close range to officially open the firefight!
As advertised, the Kit Fox delivers a nasty punch to the Summoner, landing multiple hits, stripping most of the armor from the right side of the mech, and damaging the internal structure of Anvil’s right arm. But this pair of Wolves have earned a third designation outside of their callsigns and their official ranks within the Touman: the “Headhunters”. Anvil proves this true by laying in to the Kit Fox with three of his four lasers – missing with one ER Large Laser, hitting a leg with one ER Medium Laser, and slamming home the remaining ER Large and Medium into the cockpit of his target, killing the pilot outright.
Hesitant to meet the same fate but unwilling to surrender the planet after one display of accurate shooting, the remaining Sharks took note of the Summoner’s jump jet capabilities and approached under cover.
The remainder of the battle takes place at point-blank range, without all the dancing and maneuvering seen during the approach. Having seen in their previous engagement that the Diamond Sharks are perfectly willing to fire from prone, and that the Catapult from the previous battle refused to surrender despite grievous damage and later escaped, Clan Wolf would not be allowing the enemy to escape again, nor would it treat these interlopers with honor by waiting for them to stand (or fire from prone, as was more likely). Instead, the Headhunters prepared to finish off their foe. This caused the enemy Timber Wolf to rush to the aid of their star-mate, and be taken down himself in the process.
With severe damage piling up, and unable to bring significant weaponry to bear, the Diamond Shark known as “Whale” ejected from his Timber Wolf, and was allowed to flee the battle on foot and add to the legend of the Headhunters by reporting back to his unit. The Kit Fox, however, took one last opportunity to prop up on one arm, and fire a Ultra Autocannon/10 burst into the rear armor of Hammer’s Timber Wolf. For his efforts, the Wolves provided him with summary execution, twisting at the waist and unleashing their full armaments into the remains of the machine. This was the end of “Ray”, and thus the end of the Diamond Shark presence on Elissa.
A search team arrived shortly thereafter to examine the facility, but nothing of note was found. However, in their haste to flee the world, the Diamond Shark forces left behind a Nova Omnimech, which the Wolves claimed as an additional prize, and added to their arsenal, to be presented to a pilot who proved themselves in battles to come.
Despite being defended by an unexpected foe, this world was now a Clan Wolf holding. Regardless of whom they faced along the way, there would be many further conquests on the road to Terra. One step closer to their goal, the reluctant crusaders would march on.
Stay tuned for future battle reports from our Classic Battletech campaign.
– The Tabletop General