The Great Dropship Heist

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A dingy, run down pub somewhere in the periphery. The interior is dark and gloomy with exposed rebar supports and collections of bullet holes clustered around head height. A young man dressed in expensive, designer combats and light armour inserts sits at a table covered in scratches and mystery stains. Opposite him is an older woman wearing a vacuum warfare under-suit with an aviators jacket and armoured vest over the top. Perched between them is a camera drone and an active compad. Everyone in the bar is visibly armed, including the lady; though the man’s weapons have a brand new look to them and his nervous fidgeting suggest he is out of his depth. The indicator on the drone winks green:

Transmission Starts

{Presenter}: I’m Cael Alleyne for Bad Ass Monthly. We have a special guest today – a member of the legendary drop ship heist of 3041. Now enjoying a well earned retirement, here on Gotterdammerung. Having recently acquired the title of oldest mech warrior in the Valkyrate, it is our greatest pleasure to welcome Alicia MeEvedy – also known as Helion.

{McEvedy}: Oldest mechwarrior in the Valkyrate; ‘‘Hmph’’ that bastard owed me money and now he’s gone and died, who’s going to pay me. I don’t talk for free you know.

{Presenter}: I hadn’t heard that about that one {forced grin} Now moving on, how does it feel to be a living legend in these parts?

{McEvedy}: It doesn't pay the bills for one thing; and for another people still want to stick a knife in your back. They will use a stiletto instead of a punch blade, but a knife is a knife. Take my advice, stay at home in your comfy Inner Sphere and never get famous, the shit is never worth it.

{Presenter}: So how do you feel about being the last living member of the dropship raid?

{McEvedy}: I am only the last living member, because the penultimate idiot didn’t duck in a bar fight and the previous idiot had a terminal accident in my airlock. So no, its not an accolade I want or like. It’s just, I am the only one, smart enough not to up and get killed. Kids these day’s aren’t half as respectful as they used to be, they don’t care about a crusty old relic; except when that relic is droping their sorry asses in a fire fight. ‘‘Hmph’’

{Presenter}: {Clears throat} Can you tell me about the raid?

{McEvedy}: {looks {} in the eyes and grins} You are paying me for this right?. She settles back in the stained chair, eyes closed in thought.

It was early 3041 and these Clan assholes were just starting to steam out of the periphery. My ship was lurking in this godforsaken system somewhere unimportant. Nothing serious, we just needed to lay low for a while after those Steiner blue bloods got a little hot under the collar. I’d guess they didn’t like our ‘‘partnership’’ we had going with some of their merchants.

{Presenter}: And this partnership was what exactly?

{McEvedy}: What do you think Mr fancy reporter? Our partnership was simple, they gave us their valuables and we didn’t space the poor fuckers out of their own airlocks. It was a win-win for everyone, we got paid and they didn’t have to suck hard vacuum.

So anyway, we were cooling our heels in this anonymous system and out pops a jumpship of unknown design. That got our interest alright. They hadn’t seen us, because we had parked ourselves behind a convenient moon and were watching them via a series of relays linked to a camouflaged surveillance sat.

The odd thing was, one of the two dropships peels off on a high burn trajectory towards the systems gas giant. We though they were looking for us, but it turns out they were retrieving something hidden there. And no we never found out what it was, so don’t ask.

Anyway there’s this jumpship all alone and unattended with a fancy dropship parked on its hull. We held a vote among the crew, minus the cook who just been terminally demoted for fucking up someone's food. Naturally we were all in favour of introducing ourselves to the unattended jumpship.

Normally its a shock seeing an ancient Carrick class warship pop out of nowhere and point its guns at you; but these guys were readying themselves for combat, the moment they picked up our drive emissions or maybe it was our active sensors that clued them in?

Any way we tried the usual tricks; warning shots conveniently close to the life boat launchers, hard deceleration burn with full sensor sweep, manually locking the main guns on to their broadside and the usual stop or we shoot bullshit comms message. None of it worked, instead we got this gibberish about being disgraceful surats or something.

The captain told them to remove the stick from their arses and surrender; he wouldn’t space them if they surrendered he said. He usually kept his word to, maybe he actually meant it. Who knows?

Their response was to open one of their secondary cargo bays and shove out 5 aerospace fighters. We were shocked, which moron sacrifices precious cargo space for dinky aerospace craft? Then to make matters worse, what we thought were anti meteorite defences; turn out to be some pretty heavy duty fire power. Shit like a pair of gauss rifles and some fancy lasers, point was it was a nasty ball of needles we were about to poke.

At this point, we were locked on course and couldn't deviate away easily and even if we had; those weapons would have ripped open our belly. Better odds to continue and hoped we survived long enough to board that fucker. Our dropships popped off, at about 30,000 klicks off from the target. By this point he was firing his main weapons, and shit started to break, we lost the secondary cargo hold on the port side and a bunch of hull plating further up. We fired back of course, but his weapons were fancier than ours and had seen the inside of a dockyard more recently than ours had.

Somehow we survived the first volley mostly unscathed, but his follow up volley with those weird lasers depressurised our main shuttle bay and gouged chunks out of the forward plating. We almost the main weapons, when something chewed through the primary fire control relays; that alone took the best part of a month in dry dock to fix. Fortunately the secondary survived unscathed, because scarcely 30 seconds later, we could open fire ourselves.

Our first shots targeted their jumpsail, chewing through it and then walking back across the flanks. You ever seen what an NAC/20 does to a ship? No, to bad. The holes it punches through reinforced hull plate are big enough, that you can stick your head through them. Shame the ammo is so expensive, we only had the one volley. Still it was worth it, that one volley crippled them and left plumes of air outgassing. We must have hit a life support subsystem or something, poor bastards.

Their fighters hadn’t been idle in the mean time, they had split to intercept our dropships, which was actually our intent. Those dropships were almost empty, carrying a skeleton crew of the most expendable. Rezak actually copied our buccaneer configuration did you know? He just added some fancier shit than what we had access to. Still two star league er ppc’s are nothing to sneer at right? And the rest of the ship was heavily armed and armoured too. The other ship was a real shit bucket, though. Some shitty Taurian blockade runner; that the boss salvaged somewhere. It had almost no weapons or armour, but a ship is a ship right? It usually worked to.

Those fighters though they were mean bastards, I swear that between them they outgunned our Buccaneer and Trojan combined. They were fast too, pulling a high g burn like it was nothing; all that g-force must have been hell on those pilots though. We got lucky and gutted one with a lucky ppc shot, then they were on us.

You ever seen that fancy Terran cheese? The one with the holes in. What is it, Swiss cheese? That’s what the Trojan looked like after the first pass; holes punched everywhere, plumes of venting propellant and assorted debris jetting away. They were moving to fast for the antique weapons to lock on. Still a lucky shot did get through, one of the Trojan’s large lasers managed to clip the wing of one fighter and sent it spinning out of control; we never did find out where it ended up. That left 3 fighters burning fuel to come around again.

In the mean time, we were still hitting that bastard ship for all it was worth, its flank was holed in multiple locations and we must have damaged an engine or something, because one of their drive torches was sputtering erratically. Still they kept on coming and certainly gave as good as they got. We’d lost on the NAC/20’s, a bunch of lasers and another cargo hold; they almost hit one of the secondary oxygen tanks, but fortunately missed by a couple of millimetres. If that had gone up, we’d have lost a good chunk of the ship for sure.

They must have though we were trying to disable them which we were, though they apparently missed the fact that our secondary weapons were chewing through their point defences. The dropships were a feint you see, the real danger was a mass of small shuttles and in-system vehicles in the forward hold that held the majority of our crew. Fortunately the shuttle bay hadn’t been seriously hit yet and we were ready to go. Nearly 50 stimmed up pirates was normally enough to overwhelm any ship, but we had no idea what to expect, so the we took the bosses Shugosha along for the ride.

We were minutes from boarding, when the fighters slammed back round for another pass. This time the Buccaneer cut one in half with a lucky laser volley, but we lost the Trojan’s engine to a missile hit. The Trojan was left to drift for the rest of the battle, of course we picked them up later Mr.

Who do you think we were barbarians? Besides we had to salvage what we could from that ship; there were a lot of valuable components on the dropship that we needed.

Then we were within boarding range of the ship and those fighters were moving to fast to intercept us in time. It’s always a sight to see, the Carrack disgorging a cloud of little fire flies. We rode out of the hanger bay as fast as the engines would take us, the g-force pressing us back into our restraints. Barely 10 minutes later, we were slammed the other way as the front torch cut in and slammed down the speed to survivable levels so we could board.

Boy, do you know how we board a ship?, how we open up holes in its hull and swarm in like rats? Because that's what we did when we docked. We used harpoons mounted on the shuttles to anchor us in place and then we cut our way through the hull with power tools or if we were lucky overrode the air locks. Each little firefly only held a few of us, but a few people in the right place can easily take a ship.

The rest of it well it was a blur. Combat has a way of doing that, everything tends to blur to together until its just one bad memory. I do remember shooting at a bunch of armed crew and see a weird suit of armour get blown to pieces by Shugosha’s guns. My next memory was of those of us who survived cracking open the dropship they had left attached. Inside we found tons of these strange mechs and weapons, this was before we knew what clantech was. We had word back from the ship, that the other dropship was inbound at high burn to intercept us, though they were still hours off.

There isn't much more to say really, we spent the rest of our time onboard; stripping the ship for parts and valuables, cramming it in our shuttles or in the dropships. I don’t think they had a single intact compartment to their ship when we were done. Anything and everything that we could steal was taken, even their KF drive or at least the bits of it we could remove. Than we were linking up with the Carrick which had gone to retrieve the Trojan. We must have reached the jumpoint an hour ahead of that dropship and then we were gone; heading for home to sell the loot with a new dropship to boot.

{Presenter}: And the rest of the story? What happened afterwards, the readers want to hear about your time raiding the Clan occupation zones.

{McEvedy}: You haven't paid me yet and I don’t talk anymore until I see some C-Bills.

She places a pistol on the scratched table and starts to finger it’s trigger. The {presenter} is visibly nervous at this point.

{Presenter}: Now, now there’s no need for that, I am sure my producer is wiring the money to your account, right now.

He looks off camera desperately.

Transmission ends