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First to Fall

Attack on Santander
-From the journal of Bondsman Felix Nowakowski, 20 August 3049

The old man himself, Captain Helmar Valasek, told us he had received word we were going to be attacked by an unknown force. "Alien," was the word he used. His orders were to hold to the last man to defend the palace. We dug in tight - those of us that didn't run away - with barbed wire, mines, trenches, and whatever else we could muster. I couldn't shake the feeling that this was going to be some kind of last stand. Word was that there were no aliens, but that either the FC or the Combine had finally decided to put an end to us. I thought about running away myself, but on that desolate rock there was no real place to hide.

Sandtander's  World had only a battalion or so of BattleMechs and two ad hoc platoons of infantry. Me, I was the lieutenant in charge of First Platoon. Our orders were to hold the outer perimeter while our 'Mechs jockeyed into position.

When our communicators picked up their broadcast, the name was clear and crisp. Star Colonel Erik Kerensky, he said. Kerensky! The very name sent a chill down my spine. He claimed to be from some unit called Clan Wolf and actually asked Helmar how any forces were defending Santander V. The old man tried to bluff his way out of it, saying we had two battalions of 'Mechs. The bluff failed miserably when their DropShips landed and their units began to pinch in on the palace at Vadra.

When I first saw them from my trench, I couldn't tell if they were small 'Mechs or huge infantry. As they closed in, I could see that these were massive infantry troopers, wearing some kind of phenomenal combat armor. When they hit the mines on the outer perimeter, some of them disappeared in a ball of flame and smoke. But the others barely paused before they began to fly at us, moving like the wind.

I plugged one square with my gyrojet rifle, but I don't think I even scratched the paint on his suit. I fired again, and again, pumping rounds so fast and hard it was all a blur. I saw him fall, I think. . .

Suddenly, something hit me across the face and I flew through the air and onto my back. I remember looking up and seeing two of them leap over me into what was left of my platoon. Then one of those armored hellions leaned over me like a  vision from hell. In hits claw-like hand was a white cord. It was a small, harmless-looking thing, it it was about to change my life.

Santander's World, Vadra Palace, August 3043

Operation Revival was the first stage in the invasion of the Inner Sphere. During these strikes at the pirate kingdoms of the Periphery, the Clans took their first measure of the Inner Sphere's fighting ability. Often the impression they got was false, as was the case on Santander V, the pirate hold of Helmer Valasek.

Valasek had secret supply dumps in several minor systems of the Periphery to which he made an occasional resupply run, leaving a handful of troops on an isolated moon or asteroid. On one such run, a Valasek JumpShip was just leaving the Santander system when the forces of Clan Wolf arrived. Seeing this impressive fleet of apparently unknown BattleMech classes, the captain sent Valasek a warning of a possible attack.

Instead of scattering his forces, Valasek made the rash decision to make a grand stand at the palace of Vadra. With only a battalion of semi-functional BattleMechs and infantry, the pirate leader ordered his forces to dig in. The 352nd Assault Cluster of Clan Wolf led the attack. Elemental Star Able, under Star Captain Marijane Shaw, led the initial softening attack on the city's outer defenses. Valasek's mines went off as the Elementals closed in, causing some damage, but it only enraged the invaders, who would not be denied an honorable combat test.

As the Elementals began their dive through the outer perimeter of the palace, the First Infantry Platoon of Helmer's force bore the brunt of their fury. Given the speed of the Elementals and their heavy-hitting weaponry, the battle tended to be lopsided. It was soon over, proving the worthiness of the Elemental armor and the foolhardiness of the pirate king of Santander's World.


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