Zenn7 thinks it over for a minute. "Lieutenant, go help Beta-Hunter out. We'll hold down the fort here, we couldn't get there in time to help anyway."
Beta-Hunter picks a pretty dense forest in which to stage their interception. We had to re-jigger Beta-Hunter a little bit - it used to be a lot of LRM boats, but since we only sent part of the company in, the Archer and Catapult stayed behind. Well, the Archer stayed behind... on Wright. In pieces. As did Leraje's previous Guillotine. But we were able to buy a replacement one, thankfully. So currently, it's Leraje/Guillotine, Angel/Flashman, Wolf/Warhammer, Cylus/Grasshopper, a pretty heavy-duty brawling lance. We've also got one of Hawk's people with us, a guy in a Panther.
The replacement Guillotine annoys the piss out of our mechwarrior, as we haven't had a chance to relocate the leg-mounted jump jets upwards to the torso and move the heat sinks down to the legs. So, no taking a bath for extra cooling for now.
We begin the battle from a high ground position, but we'll be able to move down into the woods as necessary to reduce the volume of incoming fire.
Our mechwarriors watch with some amusement as a Spider takes a step into a lake and glops down, then frantically (and unsuccessfully) struggles to get up.
"Forest fire?" Wolf asks.
"Nah." Leraje responds. "We're trying to minimize collateral damage."
"And get down from the ridge, let's quit silhouetting ourselves." He adds as a sizeable number of autocannon rounds and LRMs come our way. Not much hits, except a few LRMs on Wolf's Warhammer, while Cylus scores a non-crippling hit on a Bulldog tank.
The Spider finally manages to get up, it's armor all dented from scraping underwater rocks. Our new plan is to engage the hostiles in the woods - we'll be able to stalk around and uses the dense trees to manage line of sight while picking off strays.
The militia decide to clear themselves a path through the woods by using energy weapons to blast through the tree-line.
Alpha-Ranger arrives to the west, having circled around the back of the enemy force. Sensors report that additional hostiles are about thirty seconds behind Beta-Hunter.
A Ferret drops some infantry off close to Angel's Flashman, which turns out to be a mistake - our mechwarrior turns the 75-ton mech's flamer on the troops as they run for the cover of a nearby forest, frying them to a man. Before they croak, they do wind up designating our mech as a target for indirect LRM fire. The LRMs pretty much all miss, but they do start a fire.
Cylus and Leraje move in to engage hostiles to the northeast. Leraje favorably exchanges fire with a Bulldog, cutting its treads to ribbons and immobilizing it while taking a minimum number of SRMs in return. Cylus blows the left arm off an approaching Stinger, causing major torso damage as well, while Wolf scores a PPC hit on a Galleon tank but fails to breach armor.
(guess where the infantry was in the above screenshot)
The Stinger isn't quite destroyed, but its right arm looks like it's about to fall off, and the mechwarrior fires up the bug mech's jump jets, leaving the battlefield.
Wolf moves up with the rest of the lance, and is engaged by a Commando trying to sneak around the back. The Warhammer fires all of its short range weapons - the lasers cause a right torso armor breach, which is exploited by an SRM salvo - one of the SRMs clips one of the Commando's ammo bins and shatters the 25-ton mech. Our Warhammer doesn't remain undamaged, however, taking two actuator hits to the right leg from the Commando's SRMs before the lighter mech is blown apart. Wolf keeps the Warhammer standing, however, but our mech will be slowed down considerably.
Leraje is so distracted by all the ammo explosions that he misses all of the Guillotine's shots. Or maybe it's the incoming firepower from a Rhino that rolls up, or getting booted by a Griffin which jumps in to the rear left of our mech.
Cylus lasers an AC/2 carrier that's been pelting us with light autocannon rounds, reducing the 60-ton vehicle to slag with the Grasshopper's weaponry.
Wolf's Warhammer creaks and groans as the damaged actuators protest being made to work anyway.
Cylus and Leraje break south to engage a cluster of tanks, with the waterlogged Spider getting in the way as well. The Spider takes multiple laser hits from Leraje to the torso and arms, blowing out jump jets and actuators. Our Guillotine follows up with a kick, cracking the 30-ton "not a bug" mech's right leg and sending it flopping to the ground. Cylus melts through the left side of an LRM Carrier and immobilizes it. We take some armor damage from laser fire, but nothing major. And a glancing hit on our Grasshopper from a Hetzer's AC/20, but at least not the entire shell hits.
The militia forces retreating from our dropship arrive to sandwich Beta-Hunter. Wolf hangs back (having no other option anyway) and blows away a Savannah Master as the rapid hovercraft tries to get around the back of our lance.
Leraje and Cylus continue engaging the two enemy assault tanks. Leraje has pretty good luck against the Partisan, avoiding its quad autocannons and breaching the left side armor with laser fire. Cylus disables the Rhino, after putting multiple blasts through the assault tank's right side and melting the engine.
Cujo's lance mixes it up with tanks to the west, trading armor damage. Although we come out ahead, we still take a few laser hits that we'd rather avoid. At least no AC/20 hits from the Hetzer, we really need to take it out.
Our Panther buddy from Hawk's group reports disabling a Vedette. That's great little guy, now watch out for the twenty other tanks.
Alpha-Ranger gets in among the LRM Carriers in an effort to disrupt their LRM barrages, which are starting to take a bit of a toll on our armor. Cujo uses lasers to cut through the armor on one, then sends SRMs into the breach. The vehicle remains intact, but pours out black smoke as its engine is destroyed. Stefan blasts and kicks through the armor of another LRM Carrier - the tank remains intact, but burbles and turns to retreat rather than continue to fire.
Cylus moves on from the crippled assault tanks, running west and ignoring laser fire coming in from some infantry. The Grasshopper focuses its lasers on a Scimitar hovertank, blowing it away. Mindful of the Hetzer underfoot, our mechwarrior lifts a 70 ton foot and squashes it, the fuel tank detonating in the process.
To the east, Angel finally manages to finish off a Scorpion tank that's been moving around the trees on a hilltop and pelting our Flashman with MG fire (the autocannon being ineffective at this close range). With a couple of lasers through the chassis, the tank stops moving. Wolf, meanwhile, has no ground targets to shoot at but does get a good bead on one of the Ferrets zipping around, evaporating it with a PPC blast.
Our Panther buddy reports that a Victor has engaged him, which isn't going to go well if he doesn't get some help. He'll have to come to us, though, we're a little busy.
A Bulldog and a Longbow arrive a little late from the east. The Longbow immediately takes a PPC hit to the left missile rack from Wolf's Warhammer, stripping off what little armor there was from the previous engagement. Wolf ducks away behind trees before the enemy 85-tonner's LRMs can home in.
Most of this round is spend jockeying for position and trading armor damage.
"Here he comes." Angel warns Wolf as the Victor fires its jump jets up and moves towards our Warhammer. Wolf turns the Warhammer to the incoming threat and unloads just as the assault mech lands. All the important weapons hit, but it's an assault mech, so its armor holds up. Wolf's mech rocks as the Victor's autocannon roars to life and blasts armor off the left torso. Wolf manages to keep the Warhammer upright, while the Victor goes down to a knee. Angel attracts quite a bit of fire on top of the hill, keeping our mechwarrior from doing much damage but keeping the fire off of Wolf in the process. Wofl's mech heats up quite a bit from all the weapons fire, even the increased heat sink count unable to keep up with the rapid PPC fire. And the fight isn't over yet.
To the west, Leraje, Cylus and Alpha-Ranger hop back and forth, their high mobility confounding the tankers' efforts to target them. Leraje disables a Manticore with lasers through the side and into its power plant, then stomps on a Scorpion tank, while Cujo destroys a Scorpion tank and cracks through the armor on an LRM carrier. A productive few seconds, for sure.
Angel moves towards the Victor, firing at it to attract attention, which works - the enemy mech lets rip with its AC/20, disabling one of the Flashman's large lasers after blasting through all of the armor on the right arm. The damage throws our mechwarrior's aim off and most of the Flashman's laser go wide. However, this leaves the Victor open to weapons fire from Wolf's Warhammer. Our mechwarrior takes advantage, damaging several actuators on the Victor's left arm with a laser and stripping armor with the other short-range weapons and a PPC. The Victor keels over this time.
To the west, our Ostroc disables a Scorpion tank while Cylus punches through a Goblin's armor to immobilize it via engine damage.
Angel's Flashman vibrates under rapid fire from the Victor's AC/20. Somehow, our mech's armor holds, but is little more than a memory at this point. Our mechwarrior is unable to keep up with the loss of nearly three tons of armor and the mech falls over. Between continued fire from Wolf's Warhammer and Angel's Flashman, the Victor takes several armor breaches, however and is also forced to a knee. LRMs from the Longbow keep Wolf from capitalizing on the advantage as the Warhammer beeps incessantly, regaling our mechwarrior with stories about "internal damage, left torso". Still, Wolf swings one of the Warhammer's PPC arms and connects with the Victor's head, rattling the mechwarrior as he tries to get his mech up.
To the south, Leraje and Cujo move to mop up a couple of loose Vedettes and help our Panther buddy out. Cujo blows up one of the Vedettes with a salvo from the SRM launcher, detonating its fuel tank. Leraje is unable to seal the deal on any of his targets, however, scoring multiple hits but no armor breaches.
To the west, Cylus stomps a Hunter support tank flat.
With their force severely damaged, the militia initiate a retreat, offering a cease-fire. We're not really in any position to refuse, so we accept it. Wolf and Angel let out a sigh of relief as the Victor jumps away and Angel levers the Flashman off the ground.
Salvage is mostly crappy tank wrecks, but there are some spare parts we need, including a large laser for Angel's Flashman that we can pull off a Bulldog. We also grab a Manticore, a couple of LRM carriers and the Rhino, mostly for the LRM ammo, but also so we can strip armor. The rest, we'll shove into the Seeker and leave it to Hawk's people to deal with.
We're able to fix most of the damage within a couple of days, but one of the actuators on Wolf's Warhammer's leg is unrepairable. We're also (already) running low on Gauss rifle ammo (there was a logistics mixup), so our mechwarriors will need to be conservative with that. Or we could ask Hawk if his local intel guys can arrange for the purchase of gauss slugs from the locals. But then again, that might lead to them being less effective at finding the smugglers they're supposed to be looking for.
 Ask Hawk if he can hook us up with some gauss slugs
 Tighten our belts, suck it up