The Heart of Dixie

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The Heart of Dixie
Product information
Type Short story
Author Blaine Lee Pardoe
Pages 49
Illustrations Brad McDevitt
Publication information
Publisher BattleCorps
First published 30 September 2005
Content
Era Succession Wars era
Timeline 1 May—10 July 3025

The Heart of Dixie is a short story by Blaine Lee Pardoe that was published online on BattleCorps on 30 September 2005. It is one of the stories that can be downloaded for free from the site for promotional purposes, and is included in the free BattleCorps Fiction Sampler. It was also published in print in the second BattleCorps print anthology, First Strike as "Heart of Dixie".

Teaser text[edit]

From the Author: I’ve always had a soft spot for the Third Succession War. That was where I (and some of the other writers in the series) cut our teeth. That was the good old days. You could defend a planet with a company of 'Mechs and support.

Plot summary[edit]

Treasure hunters Falconi and Fletcher have been collating data in their off-time for years, trying to pinpoint a legendary Castle Brian on Dixie in the Lyran Commonwealth. On 1 May 3025 they actually find the abandoned site, only to discover it largely empty and the remaining equipment mostly decayed into worthless rubble. They manage to retrieve some mint condition Star League era laser pistols though.

Randolph Falconi tries to sell the laser pistol to an antique dealer and is duped into revealing the existence of the Castle Brian. Fletcher is shocked to learn of this, and parts ways with Falconi because he senses trouble. News of the Castle Brian find are indeed relayed to SAFE, and by 17 June a battalion from the 4th Fusiliers of Oriente is inbound for an objective raid.

Fletcher divines the objective of the raid and informs the militia about the situation. Militia colonel Volger decides to take up the fight—he realizes that while the militia may be outnumbered three to one, they do not have to actually win in the field, they just need to stall the attackers until reinforcements arrive. A fake dig site is set up on another continent to tie up the initial assault, buying time for the real Castle Brian to be fortified. The ruse distracts the attackers for some time, until a SAFE operative reports to the Fusiliers' commander, Colonel Eve Hansi, that he had captured one of the treasure hunters and obtained the real site of the Castle Brian before he died during the questioning. Hansi orders he battalion to board the DropShips and leave for the correct location immediately. Leutnant Hollister Raven, commander of the defender contingent at the decoy site, similarly orders her small remaining force to pack up and leave. Lacking DropShips, the militia has to use ships to reach the other continent and re-connect with their main force, which will take them days.

Four days later, on 3 July, Hansi orders a full assault on the Castle Brian from three sides that runs afoul of 'Mech trenches and traps. Volger had a Blackjack modified to resemble a Black Knight from afar and used it and the remains of a decayed Hussar from the cache to generate the impression that the defenders possessed Star League salvage, which makes the attackers very cautious.

When the militia troops from the fake site land at the Blue Port Savannah, Hansi detaches a company of 'Mechs to intercept and destroy them. Volgers orders Raven to flee and lead that company on a merry chase. Ultimately, three JumpShips carrying the 8th Lyran Regulars appear at pirate jump point 'Bixby' near Dixie, mere hours away from planetfall. This forces Hansi to retreat and abandon the company she had sent after the militia reinforcements. The company subsequently surrenders to the Lyran defenders, and Colonel Volgers is commended for his defense of Dixie.

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