The Coral Vipers were a small but deadly mercenary unit. Unlike most of their contemporaries, their unit was mostly heavy and assault mechs. And Kurita had hired them to secure the planet.

Roger Lincoln looked up at the MAD-3A Marauder. It was his personal mech, inherited from his father. That did not mean he could pilot it. The blue and red monstrosity was 75-tons, a match for any single BattleMech the enemy might throw at him. It was also in disrepair. Access panels lay open, and parts were scattered around the mech bay.

He walked a dozen meters to the right, to the next mech in the hangar. WSP-1A Wasp. The only mech available to him. One would think being the planetary governor would give him access to better equipment than a 20-ton scout. This mech was blue, the unpainted medium laser clearly visible at the end of its right arm.

A few weapon hits would knock his machine out of commission, but it was all he had. The planet rated low priority, so reinforcements would be a long time coming. Roger climbed the Wasp and entered the cockpit, sealing it shut behind him. The fusion reactor blasted to life with a low rumble.

"Militia-1, ready to go," he said to himself as all indicators lit green. The diminutive Wasp made its way out of the small hangar. Citizens looked surprised to see the BattleMech wandering the city streets. They probably knew the Coral Vipers were preparing to land outside the city proper. They also knew that Roger Lincoln's 20-ton Wasp stood no chance of survival against a unit that contained both a Battlemaster and an Atlas. Nevertheless, he led his mech to the city outskirts to do combat with the enemy.

Xxxxx

The chief tech signaled the flatbed to move back a little bit more. "Stop," he shouted as he held up his hand. Next he signaled the crane operator to begin lifting the MAD-3A. Kurita might have been about to take the planet, but Eli Helm was damned if he was going to allow the Dracs to have such a fine piece of machinery.

Once they managed to fit the Marauder onto the back of the flatbed, Eli and his crew began to tie the thing down.

Xxxxx

There were four of them in the distance. Ill-disciplined, Roger incorrectly surmised. They weren't traveling together, but at each unit's best speed. That meant the most deadly of all mechs, the Atlas, would not arrive in time to do combat. However, the Wolverine was still a very real threat. Especially since his Wasp was less than half the mass.

The red and black paint made the BattleMech more fearsome than just its chassis. The machine looked worn, but everything clearly still functioned. As the two mechs approached each other, the Wolverine leveled its right arm at Roger's Wasp. The autocannon it held spat to life, sending large caliber rounds at the Wasp. Luckily, they missed.

Roger triggered his weapons at the same time the Wolverine fired the rest of his. Medium lasers lanced past one another, damaging the armor of both mechs. Short-Range Missiles passed each other in flight, scoring occasional hits.

His Wasp's left arm hung uselessly after the weapons struck. He had been lucky; the left arm contained nothing vital. The Wolverine was mostly undamaged. It had more than triple his armor, and double his firepower.

Jump jets fired, lifting the Wasp into the air. The move surprised the Wolverine pilot, but not enough. The Wolverine triggered its own jump jets and matched Roger's maneuver as he tried to circle around the Wolverine. Not even his mech's superior agility was enough, however.

The right arm autocannon/5's muzzle flashed while the mechs were still airborne. The Wasp shook slightly, but Roger managed to set it down gently. He twisted his mech's torso fully to the right in an attempt to take full advantage of the machine's speed. Centering the Wolverine in his sights, he loosed his weapons a second time. The green flash of his medium laser missed the Wolverine by a fair margin, and only one SRM exploded against the machine's armor.

Roger watched the green lance that was the Wolverine's laser strike his mech centerline, followed by four of six SRMs. First the head caved in as the torso holding it up exploded. Then the Wasp stumbled as it ran, landing forward. Roger Lincoln was dead.