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The Nova Cats

Ready and Waiting

"I thought these Clans had been stopped cold," the Heishi muttered, peering through the field glasses. "Licking their wounds was more like it," replied Sho-ko Reese, tightening her grip on the PPC firing-control grip. "Command staff reassigned us here to prepare for their return."

"The communications channels have been lit up all day talking about the Smoke Jaguar landing," the Heishi said. "They are said to be dangerous opponents, worthy of the Dragon's honor." Suddenly his back stiffened and he focused his view. "Sho-ko Reese, I have spotted enemy troops - Elementals - approaching. Numbering ten, possibly more." The Sho-ko grinned. "Inform all commands that Elementals of Clan Smoke Jaguar are approaching our position."

"Negative, Sho-ko. These Elementals are in dark armor, almost a blue-black. I do not believe they are our former adversaries." Without warning the communications speaker in the bunker came to life. "I am Star Commander Alexander Jarrel of Clan Nova Cat," the voice said. Outside, the Elementals ceased their approach, juts out of range. "What forces defend this position?"

"Sho-ko, they bait us into a fight. We have seen what they can do. Perhaps surrender would be best?" Dana Reese grinned. "No, we have learned from our previous battles with them, and have had time to prepare. This time they will not have such an easy time of it." She reached up and turned on her headset mike. "Greetings, Star Commander Jarrel of Clan Nova Cat. The forces that defend this position are those of the Fifth Dragon's Ghosts, Fourteenth Infantry Regiment, First Battalion, Third Company, Second Platoon, First Squad. I am Sho-ko Dana Reese."

From the viewport Reese saw one of the Elementals step forward almost ten meters ahead of his comrades. Again the speaker in the bunker crackled. "Sho-ko Reese, the Nova Cats salute your honor." Reese smiled, knowing that the Star Commander was finally in range of her PPC. "Why, thank you, Star Commander," she replied, letting go with a blast from her weapon. In a bright blue flash, the first of the Nova Cats had fallen in a battle in the Inner Sphere.

Marshdale, Northern Continent, 29 October 3051
When the Clans resumed their invasion of the Draconis Combine, they attacked the planet Marshdale. Two of the Clans, the Smoke Jaguars and the Nova Cats, worked together, dividing u the continents. Their attacks were not coordinated, making the defense somewhat easier, but it was still a lopsided contest.

The Nova Cats were new to the Clan invasion, not having participated in the original wave that gobbled up so much of the inner Sphere the year before. They were unaccustomed to the fighting style of Inner Sphere troops, a factor that worked against them almost immediately. What neither Clan knew was how intensively the Combine military had worked to improve their infantry's fighting ability. Combat armor, once a rarity, had become commonplace. They had also beefed up weapons and other equipment to deal with the Elemental threat. Combine troops also trained heavily in new tactics with the new equipment. As a result, they were ready to meet the new threat in a deadly manner.

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