February 1, 3048
Salagame Extended Arena
Solaris VII, Steiner Territory
"Rick Johnson here, coming to you live with Argus Konig from a newly commissioned exhibition arena in House Steiner territory, here on the relatively neutral world of Solaris VII."
"Newly commissioned is a polite way of putting it, Richard. It seems that the parent company has no more use for this factory or its workers, so they laid everyone off and sold it off to local mech combat magnates."
"That's right, Argus, there was some legal trouble regarding dumping large amounts of radioactive byproducts from sports drink manufacturing into the local waterways. But who cares, we've got another exhibition team battle coming up! Steinfeigermeister stable and their hired mercenaries are up against the Golota-Ibrahim stable. What do we have on deck?"
"Well, Richard, the Steiners have two mixed heavy-assault lances, with a short light lance backing them up. Meanwhile, the Kurita-Liao stable has a single assault lance, backed up by almost two companies of light and medium mechs. There was apparently some wrangling when the Liao people wanted to use combat vehicles instead of mechs, but Steiner had the better lawyers and in the end, Liao was forced to hastily acquire whatever they could get their hands on, so we'll be seeing some modified non-combat mechs in the field."
"Fighting in a recently abandoned factory, sounds like it'll be a giant mess, Argus."
"Agreed, Richard. The Steiner team will have to use their local firepower superiority to overcome the larger numbers of Liao screening units, but they will still have to watch out for the Kurita assault lance - there's an Atlas, a BattleMaster, a Victor and an older model Orion."
"What are the Steiner guys fielding?"
"An Awesomes, a Mackie, a Thunderbolt and a Victor. Also, three light mechs. It seems they were able to get their Locust back up and running."
"Sounds like an expensive matchup anyway, I certainly wouldn't want to be on the ground down there with all that heavy metal stomping around."
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"Looks like the House Steiner folks have the river blocked off with a bunch of boats. That ought to discourage the Liao and Kurita people from coming that way! And the lead Awesome opens up with its PPCs at long range, and that poor Crosscut is well done!"
"Remember when I said that light mechs have no place in a pitched battle? Well, neither do converted industrial mechs."
"Another kill for the lead Steiner Awesome, that mechwarrior's a really good shot! So far, he's landed every single one of his PPC shots."
"But the Mackie is rolling up as well, and a gauss rifle through the center of mass takes out a 'Hunter'. This is disgraceful, it's supposed to be a battle between mechwarriors, not a slaughter of weaklings driving civilian mechs."
"It may be disgraceful, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch! Looking to the west, the Steiner Victor is getting harassed by a security mech mounting four machine guns and taking some armor damage. Not a bad job by the little guy, and whoop, there goes his head. I think the guy in the Victor is disappointed he's not going to get to rip that little guy apart with his bare hands."
"Looks like the Steiner Awesome's overheated himself al little, Argus, he's barely going at the speed of an Annihilator."
"Firing six PPC shots over twenty seconds while running will do that, Richard."
"The Mackie is stepping up to the plate, and that Buster loses its right torso. What was that on there, a gauss rifle?"
"Probably. It's not a proper ammo explosion, Richard, but it'll still knock you out. Those Steiner light mechs are getting in some licks, but they lack the firepower to penetrate the armor of the heavier Liao units. Wait, that Deadalus is going down with a missing leg!"
"The Awesome and Mackie make a fearsome pair, with five PPCs and a Gauss Rifle stuffed into one hundred eighty tons of mech. I wouldn't want to be that Icarus, that's for sure. Its entire left half is now gone after a couple of PPC shots."
"At least they're fighting against actual military mechs, now."
"Looks like the Steiner Thunderbolt has dropped back to deal with the Daedalus, knocking another leg off, leaving it with just two."
"... both student and teacher brought low."
"Now Argus, can you tell me why the hell that Quasit just blew up? Nobody even shot at it!"
"We'll show it in the after-action replay, but I suspect it had to do with the spill it took earlier after getting kicked by one of the Steiner Locusts."
"Phew, that Harvester Ant never stood a chance. Where are those Kurita assault mechs, anyway?"
"Likely hanging back and waiting for their screen to weaken the Steiner opposition. Very un-samurai-like, but if they were samurai, they wouldn't be here on Solaris."
"Well, Argus, looks like the Steiner light mechs have finished off the Deadalus in explosive fashion, detonating its machine-gun ammo. But what's this, a Buster coming in from the north. He takes some damage from the Steiner Victor, but fires his autocannon... and one of the Lyran Stingers goes down! Well, never mind about that Buster, there goes its engine after a vicious curb stomp from the Victor."
"Look at this Cicada, Richard, trying to sneak up behind the Steiner Awesome. Too bad the mechwarrior saw through the attempt, and now the Cicada is twitching on the ground, missing its left leg."
"Ouch! Now look at this little mech attacking the Mackie, a good hit with a laser, but then loses both arms, one to a PPC shot one to a gauss shot. And let's pan back to the Awesome, the Quasit over there trying to get in behind the 80-tonner while it's busy dismembering the Cicada, and wham, there goes the right leg as the Awesome spins around and throws a kick. And then the ammo explodes!"
"Well, that's the match ladies and gentlemen. Those Capellan scrubs never stood a chance!"
"Let's go back to the after-action replay. See the Quasit takes a spill there after getting kicked, right?"
"So, if we look at the sensor readouts, we see a power spike between the engine and the torso section where the ammunition is stored."
"But it didn't blow right away."
"Right, it took a few seconds for the ammo to really cook."
"What really bugs me, Argus, is that the Kurita assault and medium mechs barely even fired a shot before the match was called. It was like those poor Liao scrubs got set up."
"That's an unusually accurate assessment, Richard."
"Well, be that as it may, it's time for a commercial break. We'll be back after a few words from our sponsors with detailed post-battle analysis."
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It's nice to be on the right side of a double-cross for once. We even got some gauss ammo salvaged from one of the crappy Capellan mechs. And some rocket pods which we can mount on our aerospace fighters when we go back to actual battles for extra firepower during air combat (or, when we get back to the Octagon, reverse-engineer that stuff and see if we can set up a factory to make those without having to rely on one of our aerospace jocks' "duct tape together ten LRMs with the guidance systems removed" designs).
Our employer appears to have signed one more battle contract for February, but at least it's not a huge team battle - a simple one on one in roughly square kilometer arena with some buildings for cover in the middle. We get to pick the weight class, and know the approximate contents of the enemy stable. Oh, and to add a little spice to the fight, if the loser's mech cannot walk off the field under its own power, the winner keeps it.
We could send one of our mechwarriors in, or let one of the employer's less incompetent mech jocks get in on the action, although they're all still pretty terrible (and completely losing that mech didn't help).
 Send in the employer's guy. No fight, but no reward.
 Send in a randomly chosen medium mech vs a Sentinel STL-3L
 Send in a randomly chosen heavy mech vs a Warhammer WHR-6R
 Send in a randomly chosen assault mech vs a Highlander HGN-732
The Sentinel is one of the more underwhelming Star League designs, with limited torso twist capability. It does have an ultra autocannon and Streak SRMs, though. The Warhammer is just a standard Warhammer. The Highlander, though, holy crap. This is not the down-graded 733 with an AC/10, this is the classic 732. It packs a pair of medium lasers and an SRM/6 for short-range firepower, backed up by an LRM/20 rack and a gauss rifle. It's also one of the few assaults that has jump jets. Ferro-fibrous armor is used to maximize armor protection while CASE prevents the many potentially detonating ammo bins from destroying the whole mech. So, it's a pretty tough customer. But if we could salvage this bastard, that would be pretty amazing.
It also says something about these stable owners that they can just bet Star League assault mechs (even refitted ones) on a whim.