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Battle of Broken Hope

13 October, 3057
Morges, Jade Falcon Occupation Zone.

Inside his Wolfhound, saKhan Phelan Ward of the Wolf Clan watched the early morning sky lighten over Icegrief Pass. Howling winds buffeted his 'Mech, blowing clouds of snow and ice before them, but the knife-edged cold could not penetrate the cockpit. Soon the sun would rise and strike a thousand sparks from the snow-covered ground. The Jade Falcons would land before too much longer, and then battle must be joined.

A harsh voice crackled over Phelan's comm channel. "This is Star Colonel Angeline Mattlov of Clan Jade Falcon. I have a message for the freebirth called Phelan Ward."

Phelan flicked a switch and answered. "Have you come to your senses, Star Colonel, and decided to withdraw your forces without a fight? Such wisdom deserves mercy. I will allow you and your warriors to leave this system - without your 'Mechs, of course."

"Bold words, freebirth - but worth little. I have the honor to announce the death of the traitor, Star Colonel Ulric Kerensky. He died on Wotan, in a Circle of Equals, at the hands of our saKhan Vandervahn Chistu."

Suddenly cold, Phelan could muster no reply. After a moment of silence, Mattlov's gloating voice continued. "After the traitor's death, our forces destroyed the Wolves' command and control units. The few Wolf warriors who fled their utter defeat on Wotan will not reach you in time to reinforce your meager strength. You and your Wolves are lost, Phelan. Without the Black Widow and the Gray Wolf, you will fall as they did."

Natasha and Ulric. Both dead. Only I am left. Phelan closed his eyes and pushed his grief to the back of his mind. He suddenly wanted to laugh his defiance in Mattlov's face. She expected her bombshell to demoralize him and his troops. Instead, the knowledge of Ulric's sacrifice had the opposite effect. Unconsciously straightening in his command couch, Phelan answered the only way he could.

"Wrong as usual, old woman," he said. "We revere the spirits of Ulric and Natasha even more with their passing. So much did they trust in us that they gladly risked death to ensure that we could destroy you here. Once again you have underestimated us - and your Galaxy will pay the price for your folly."

On December 5, 3057, the Jade Falcon Omicron and Peregrine Galaxies arrived in the Morges system to exterminate the remaining warriors of the Wolf Clan. Much to their surprise, they found themselves facing not the two Wolf Galaxies they had expected, but one Wolf Galaxy and two regiments of the Kell Hounds, the famed Inner Sphere mercenary unit. Khan Phelan also bid his Sixteenth Battle Cluster and chose the southern polar continent of Morges as the site of the battle.

Furious at being forced to fight "a gang of dirty freebirths," Star Colonel Angeline Mattlov bid all the forces at her disposal: five front-line Clusters, five garrison Clusters, and even a solahma unit. The Jade Falcons dropped onto Morges on 13 December, into the teeth of Khan Phelan's fortified and entrenched combined-arms forces. The frozen landscape of Icegrief Pass became the first of many battlegrounds in a conflict that would decide the fate of Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon.

The Kell Hounds pounded the Falcons at Icegrief Pass, thanks to a concerted effort by the mercenaries that cost the Falcons the entire 4th Talon Cluster. During the savage fighting, several Falcon Mechwarriors ejected from their 'Mechs, only to be caught in a barrage of laser fire from their Inner Sphere opponents. Once again, the Hounds showed the Jade Falcons the folly of underestimating the MechWarriors of the Inner Sphere...

14 December, 3057
Morges, Jade Falcon Occupation Zone.

Star Colonel Devinnia Guilli appeared on the holoprojector in a general briefing of the days ahead. Her demeanor was grim, "Elements of the Wolf Dragoons have destroyed our 4th Talon Cluster completely on Icegrief Pass. I trust our fate will be somewhat superior against these freebirths, quiaff?" The image changed to some brief battle-vids already recovered and beamed up to satillites.

"We will be striking the Wolves' 279th and 12th Battle Clusters and will make an attempt to drive them from Carson Rift. To aid us we will be joining with the 4th Falcon Velites and Peregrine Eyrie Clusters. I advise you to excersize caution, there are 70kph winds out there, it is a snow-storm, so use your MRIs to their fullest. The fate of our Galaxy is the least of your concern, our Clan hangs in the balance."

Davies looked around the room at his starmates, and wondered how many of them he could look forward to commanding in the  future. Indeed, he himself might not have the pleasure of strapping in again, such is the way of war. The Way of the Clans. He had worked very hard to become a Star Captain, the battle of Tukayyid had left many open ranks for eager young officers such as himself, although he still coveted a bloodname, he knew his origins would force him to excel should the Council even consider it.

One thing he missed about being a Star Commander was that his rank was a lot more personal, although it still kept him in contact with the "grunts" on the field, he spent more and more time dealing with the two Star Commanders under him as opposed to the MechWarriors. He knew this is the way it would have to be, and that one day he dreamed of being Khan. One of his Star Commanders broke the silence in the small spartan room, large enough just to fit the three of them and the holoprojector sat atop the table in the center.

"Captain Davies, my star's equipment is operational and ready to engage," said Star Commander Ecco somewhat tentatively, he was secretly scared of Wolf Clan, but turned that fear into hatred to keep it in check, "I have them mostly outfit with ballistic weaponry so we can rend the Wolf pups and show them our true firepower!"

They are falling into the same rut as those on Tukayyid, Davies thought, concerned. "Be cautioned, Commanders, if they cut off our supplies we need to still make a formidable fighting force."

Heedless, Commander Grendel spoke up, "I do not see that as an immediate threat, and the chances of the Wolves cutting off out supplies is minimal for the time being." Davies sighed. How could they be so ignorant? I am fresh out of the academy, never fought in an actual battle before, granted.. but I have seen the holovids. The Star Captain just gave a disatisfied look and nodded grimly, he would show them in combat that he is to be respected, maybe then they will take him more seriously once they know he was just not an untested officer.. he had passed the Trial of Position, he has seen death - maybe not war, but all the same..

16th December, 3057
Carson Rift, Morges.

They had been trudging on for two days in the blizzard, the howling winds made an almost soothing sound around his 'mech as the wind sheer caused a whining whistle, and the seventy-plus winds made piloting the soft snow difficult. He had been leading his Trinary to a strategic position, he and other elements from the 4th Velites would be combining to pincer a small Cluster of Wolf 'mechs, they would be at approximately 2-3 odds. The snow made visual identification almost impossible, his starmates were in a loose wedge formation, his closest starmate was Quavian in his Nova at just under two-hundred meters, already lost in the snow, and barely readable with sensors. The radio coms were the only working sensor devices in this blizzard, and they came through filled with static. His Hellbringer marched on, he longed for a heavier 'mech but the 89th Cluster was primarily a light 'mech unit, he had one of the heaviest 'mechs in the Cluster as it was. After 48 hours of marching, everyone's nerves were on edge, the enemy would appear at point-blank range at any time. Although intelligence said that they would be appearing within the hour.. give or take..

"This is Quavian, Star Captain," Came the wavery voice over the crackly intercom, "we are approaching nav point."

He usually would have disciplined such words, of course he knew the nav point was approaching.. but under these circumstances he let it slide - he would do anything to break the monotony, "Affirmative Quavian. Keep scanning."

"Aff sir." He strained his eyes against the snow, he thought he saw movement... "Contact."

No sooner had he finished saying the word then the first Wolf 'mech, a firemoth, turned to greet him. These guys are good, he thought. He squeezed the trigger and watched as the beams of light shot outwards, the limbs of the 'mech flew apart as every shot found its mark on the torso. Quavian was quick to catch up using his jump jets, he landed in the teeth of the Wolf as lasers lanced out at him from all directions. Comming to relieve him from the barrage were the other two stars of Davies' trinary, and a Trinary from the 4th Velites on the opposing side of the Wolves.

Star Captain Davies spun his hellbringer around and came face-to-face with a timber wolf, he hit the throttle into reverse immediately, but it was to late, it fired with everything it had. Lights flashed and sensors reeled, his right arm was torn free and metal flowed like water off of his torso and leg. He targetted the 'mech and identified it as Star Captain "Razor" - the leader of this unit was travelling near the rear of the formation, not an altogether bad idea.. He decided to fake injury, and dropped to his right leg, and fired with his PPC and missiles simultaniously into the right leg of the Wolf, most of the missiles found their mark, but a few threw up clouds of snow. Due to the raging blizzard, he could fire his lasers again, he took advantage of this by making a constant beam on the leg, freezing the actuator. The timber wolf fired again, unloading its missile pods into the torso of his hellbringer, more lights went out as they impacted against his torso and cockpit, cracking the windshield and forcing the 'mech onto its back, popping his knee's actuator on which he was kneeling at the time.
A huge shard of glass fell inwards, narrowly avoiding slicing him in half, snow filled the cockpit and he could feel his blood soaking his uniform. Gritting his teeth and struggling with the controls, he brought the 'mech into a sitting position and alpha-striked at the leg again, shearing it off. The timber wolf fell down with a mighty impact against the snow, most of which found its way into his cockpit. His opponent's right weapons pod was buried in its torso, its left arm raised into the air, and upon impact both PPCs fired wildly - apparently by accident. The one bolt went wide over Davies, while on his back he could see the beam fire directly overhead. The other PPC fired from the buried weapons pod, splashing his opponent and cracking his cockpit.
As a last ditch attempt, Captain Davies pulled his hellbringer into a sitting position. He could feel the leg moyomers and struts groan under the pressure, the right leg went limp as the actuators were crushed under the weight. He opened fire with his dual machine guns on the cockpit, he watched the snow that was flung up all around the cockpit and the satisfying crunch of glass as a few rounds hit the target. Slowly he stopped firing as his opponent's Timber Wolf went limp in the snow. Now that takes care of that, but I still have this snow to contend with, he thought depserately, in this weather he could expire from hypothermia, especially after already taking some flak from the missiles. He quickly ran his hands around his body to check for damage - everything worked but he had received a huge gash to his face and several smaller wounds on his chest, he quickly bandaged himself with a portable medkit and looked around at the raging battlefield erupting around his fallen titan.

His radiocoms were nonfunctional, great. Outside Quavian jumped his Nova directly in front of him, fending off a Wolf Storm Crow, the Crow's lasers lanced out around Quavian's Nova, a few hitting their target and flinging off his damaged arm. The Nova slid to the right using his jets as an enemy Wolf Mad Dog accidentally backed over him, tripping but pinning the Falcon Nova to the floor.
In a rare act of brilliance, at least for Quavian, the Nova twisted its torso in such a fashion that he ripped the Dog's arm off as he struggled to get free. The enemy Crow, still intent on destroying the falcon 'mech, fired all his weapons, most of which actually hit the Mad Dog's rear torso as it tried to stand, blasting the fission reactor and sending the pilot ejecting. Quavian was thrown off his feet by the blast but recovered quickly, he jetted in close to deliver a kick to the Crows' leg, apparently dropping the Clan taboo of physical combat. The Crow turned its torso and fired a second swift shot using his medium and small lasers, catching Quavian off guard most of them hit his cockpit, killing the pilot instantly.

Star Commander Grendal was searching through the blizzard, he had seen his Star Captain come this way and then dissapear from radar. Perhaps the 'mech was knocked off its feet, its fusion engine died, or worse, perhaps his Hellbringer was totally obliterated. He came into view of a Wolf Mad Dog, he opened fire upon it in his small Kit Fox - the autocannon caught the Wolf off-guard and it stumbled back on top of a low Falcon Nova. He darted back into the cover of the snow,  watching the phantom shadow of various 'mechs appear and dissapear in the blizzard, imaginary or otherwise, they all poised a threat to him, and his commander. He never liked Hellbringers, they were too bulky, he preferred to dart around in his Kit Fox, maybe it was because he was a freeborn, maybe not, but he liked to confuse enemies by speed and striking from various angles simultaniously. His commanders despised his tactics, only Star Colonel Guilli and his Captain seemed to actually believe his tactics could have a use.
He wheeled his 'mech to the left again in a search pattern, if his Captain ejected then he would have to find him in this blizzard, finding him would be hard, but stepping on him could be surprisingly easy. He watched as the multiple Wolf contacts on his radar blinked out, it looked as if the fight was almost over. Out of the shadows appeared a vaguely humanoid shape, a Storm Crow just finishing off the Nova he saw earlier. He opened fire with everything he had, his ulta autocannon hit the rear armor square on, the lasers melted away the armor and his autocannon continued to blast away at the internals. The Crow turned to see his small shape just in time for it to dart out of sight. He began to circle the Crow, it appeared he had bit off more than he could chew, at least two pulse lasers proved their point as his arm was sheared off like a hot knife through butter. He saw an explosion engulf the Crow as lasers lanced out from an unknown ally, he went closer to investigate, and sure enough, there was a partially hidden Hellbringer, covered in snow. "This is Star Commander Grendal, I need a S&R team out here as soon as possible, I have visual contact."

21st December, 3057
Wolf/Blood Hound outpost, somewhere on Morges.

One of the Blood Hound operators looked up from his radio, scribbling something down on a note-pad. His commanding officer looked up from his books and walked over as the operator kept writing: "...establish ammunitions convoy between Carson Rift and Broken Hope... ammunition supplies running low..." the Blood Hound officer nodded, a small smile of satisfaction coming to his parsed lips. He took the paper note and walked out of the Bunker.


The winds had dropped to 30kph today, visibility was hardly any better. The Peregrine Eyrie Cluster was just milling around, garrison duty was always boring, despite the climactic battle that has been raging on for almost three weeks. Only the fact that this battle may determine the future of Clans Jade Falcon and Wolf hang in the balance helped to keep their edge, and the fact that they were falcons - the chance to die a glorious death as a member of a garrison cluster was all they had to look forward to.
MechWarrior Reena looked up, maybe it was her imagination, maybe it was the fatigue she went through for the past eight hours of being on watch, but she swore she saw movement. Her concerns were confirmed by a glance to her radar, she gripped the microphone with a clammy sweat, "Contacts!"

31st December, 3057
Bay of Broken Hope, Morges.

Davies looked around him, trying to fight off the cold. The last ten days echoed in his head time and time again. He looked around the jury-rigged campsite, a piece of burning machinery with what remained of his starmates huddled around him. He should be pleased with his actions and those of his sibkin, Kerensky knows they fought their best. The memories that pressed hardest was what happened previously that day.

"Our garrison cluster around Broken Hope has been smashed by an ambush three times their numbers. They fought well and hard, but fell to superior numbers and front-line units.. we cannot reinforce them in time, and we will be outgunned regardless of our actions, shortly ammunition will not matter at all, apocalypse is upon us Falcons, fight your best. This is our Last Stand. The Wolf Forces might drive us from Morges, but they will pay a stravag high price for it!"

Angeline Mattlov finished her speech over the intercoms to all the falcons - if anyone could boost morale, she could. The sound of her voice resonating through their cockpits was enough to reassure every Falcon that despite the outcome, regardless of victory or defeat, they had given their lives for Kerensky, and if they should die in the attempt so much the better. To die with honor is all that they asked, and all that they received. Most of them, anyway.

Ten days of fighting in the frozen wastes of Australarctica had taken a heavy toll on both the Jade Falcons and the Wolves.  Two Galaxies of Falcons had dropped onto the planet - five front-line Clusters and four garrison Clusters. Now only three front-line Clusters and two of the Falcons' garrison Clusters remained operational. Additionally, severe ammunition  shortages had reduced the effectiveness of all Falcon combat units and left two of the Falcon Clusters operating at half their capability, but the fighting had significantly weakened the Wolf forces, also. Six Stars of 'Mechs had been destroyed or rendered inoperable, and three Elemental points had perished as well. The Kell Hounds had lost five BattleMech lances.

Today would be the last, however. Galaxy Commander Mattlov had decided that everything that could be thrown at the other would be thrown today, victory or defeat it would be resolved and the Refusal War ended. Ulric and Natasha Kerensky were both dead, that alone sealed the fate of the Wolf, but it was only recently that the Khans recognized Phelan's scheme. He had to be stopped at all costs or run the risk of an even deadlier foe being born, one allied with the Inner Sphere.

To himself, he respected the Inner Sphere's capability, although he despised their morales and behavior. All that aside, he forced himself to focus. He grouped his weapons on his damaged Hellbringer for the sixth time, just to make sure. He re-adjusted his seat and system consoles, he could not get comfortable. He had lost six more pilots from his Trinary, the fighting took heavy tolls on everyone.

Both commanders realized that the fighting would leave one of the forces destroyed, and quite possibly both. For a brief period, an uneasy calm fell over the battlefield, as if both commanders were reluctant to resume the battle. Then the roar of aerospace fighters broke the stillness.

As the MechWarriors of Clan Wolf watched from their protected positions in the hills. Wolf aerospace fighters swarmed through the frigid air. Using missiles, lasers, and PPCs, the fighters unleashed a hellish rain of death down onto the Falcon forces. Flight after flight of Falcon aerospace fighters scrambled from their DropShips to defend the Falcon 'Mechs, but almost immediately they ran into waves of Kell Hound fighters. Within minutes, a tangled mass of fighters filled the skies over Broken Hope, twisting and turning amid the angry, stabbing beams of PPCs and lasers and the burning dots of tracers. As the Falcon fighters tried in vain to destroy the mercenary fighters, the Wolf aerospace wings continued their strafing runs, streaking over the Falcon command center then disappearing into the jagged hills, then returning to inflict further damage on their targets. Soon large clouds of steam, smoke, flame, and shrapnel filled the air, creating a black fog that obscured the Falcon positions. Open commlink channels crackled with the terse commands of aerospace pilots and the cries of wounded and dying MechWarriors.

The order to charge crackled over the intercom, and their 'mechs surged forward, almost immediately Star Commander Ecco's Ice Ferret blew up in a mass of charred shrapnel flying in all directions. The clear unrestricted view of the landscape just a few minutes ago was obfuscated by thick black smoke and explosions ripping the soil fifty meters into the air, lasers stabbed through the smoke and it was impossible to tell if it was friendly fire or the enemy. The Wolf Clan 'mechs were  impossibly high, protected from ground-fire by fortified positions in the jagged hills. He felt lost, confused and isolated, charging forward on maximum throttle, in vain hopes of finding a way up onto the cliffs. Grendal appeared beside him, surging forward into the black mix of smoke, visuals seemed to drop off at below two-hundred meters. Flames licked at his legs as he pounded ahead, he navigated around the wreckage of a smaller 'mech and carried on. Pushing forward, he looked on the radar and was sure fellow falcons were abreast of him, pushing forward likewise. The valley opened up into a clearing about three quarters of a kilometer wide, according to topography maps, and his foray into darkness was ended as his Hellbringer was ripped apart from under him. He wanted to hit the eject button, but to eject into the skies overhead would be certain death. He wheeled around into the air, sensing his leg was ripped off and his torso was critical. His windscreen was marred black either by smoke or gunpowder from the missiles and bombs crsahing against the  ground. Silence filled the air. Pitch black, no sound, he was sure he had died.

When the last Falcon aerospace fighter fell from the sky, the Wolf fighters ceased their onslaught and Khan Phelan led the 'Mechs of the Wolves and Kell Hounds toward the Falcon positions. There they found a scene of overwhelming devastation. The twisted forms of blackened 'Mechs littered the ground, and small fires seemed to burn everywhere, attracting small groups of Falcon MechWarriors huddling against the cold.

He opened his hatch, he was hardly blinded by light. The skies had a dark muddy-red tint to them, the ground was churned up and covered in dirt, charred in places and pieces of 'mech wreckage was everywhere. Walking over to a small fire, he sat down. Next to him was, surprisingly, Star Commander Grendal and starmates Richard and Wesley, all that remained of his Trinary. Another Falcon warrior was dragging a body, his uniform read Brigan, but the body was obviously that of their Star Colonel, Devinnia Guilli. One of the few liberal Falcons in the Clan, she treated freeborns and trueborns based on their skill and not because of status politics or taboos. With her death Grendal was sure his career had come to an end. Davies pulled the torn cape around him, he always wore his battle-dress over his jumpsuit, and now he was glad he had. Every shred of cloth helped to keep the cold out. No words were exchanged, and none needed to be. The Peregrine Galaxy had been crushed under the Wolf juggernaut. Wolf 'mechs walked by the scene of devastation, slowly and respectfully. Bodies of Falcon troops were strewn across the landscape. He wanted to grab his laser pistol and run out, shooting at the enemy units. He knew that to do such would be counterproductive, would kill himself, and his comrades. Oh, he would kill them alright, he would hunt down and kill every last Wolf in the Inner Sphere... but not today.

- Galaxy Commander Dragonfly Chistu


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