Toil and Trouble
|Toil and Trouble|
|First published||4 January 2008|
|Timeline||5—10 July 3068|
|Series||The Edge of the Storm|
|“||With war erupting all around them, Lennox’s Light Horse looks for a peaceful few months guarding something no one wants far away from anyone threatening, only to find their peace disturbed by the far-reaching grasp of the Inner Sphere’s greatest enemy.”||”|
Looking for work further away from the Chaos March, Lennox's Light Horse have taken on a contract from the ruler of the Caiman Province region of Sorunda, and are now based in the city of Raymond, trying to integrate the BattleMechs they recovered from the damaged Leopard in the New Canton system earlier in the year. While Andrew Lennox is more than happy with his dual-Heavy PPC-wielding new Marauder, a number of the techs are unhappy with new equipment they don't understand... but the contract on Sorunda promises to be a well-paid and low-intensity contract.
Tasked to investigate vague sightings of "'Mechs in the hills", Lennox leads a patrol out... only to find himself clashing with unmarked enemy 'Mechs. His lance manages to down an enemy Grasshopper before the enemy group retreats... only for the pilot of the Grasshopper to commit suicide rather than be taken alive. Concerned, the Light Horse recover the downed Grasshopper and work to repair the damage inflicted on their 'Mechs.
The Light Horse's technicians make a disturbing discovery when they investigate the Grasshopper - although the markings on the 'Mech have been removed, the chemical traces left by the original markings can be picked up, and it's revealed that the hostile 'Mechs bear the markings of the Word of Blake. Working with his executive officer, Lennox tries to keep the news of the discovery quiet while they recover data from the remains of the computers aboard the Grasshopper, which the dead pilot had tried to destroy.
Lennox and his XO piece together enough information to determine that the Blakists have inserted a Level II of 'Mechs and twice that number of infantry onto Sorunda, as part of a larger plan; similar groups on numerous worlds are working to create the impression of increasing instability and bandit activity, so that Blakist forces can arrive on world as "peacekeepers", gaining influence until the new worlds can be persuaded to join the Word of Blake Protectorate. As Lennox debates how much to tell his employer, word comes in of the Blakist forces moving again, and he leads his forces into the field.
Lennox and his team discover that they've been lead into a minefield when one of his 'Mechs steps on a mine, and is soon contacted by a Blakist piloting a Starslayer, who taunts him and attempts to get Lennox to surrender... while revealing that Blakist forces are also attacking the Light Horse's barracks. Lennox refuses to surrender, instead ordering his forces to attack the Blakists; one of his lancemates uses the cluster munitions in his Bandersnatch to try and detonate buried mines, while his 'Mechs battle the defiant Blakist forces. Despite taking damage and losses, Lennox manages to drive the enemy 'Mechs off - making sure that the Blakist leader is one of the casualties - and then moves his troops back to Raymond as quickly as he can.
Returning to Raymond, Lennox discovers that there are fires burning in the city and rising from the Light Horse barracks; as word arrives that an unknown DropShip has left Sorunda on a vector that leads towards a Word of Blake JumpShip, Lennox learns that the battle in the woods was a diversion. The Blakists struck at the barracks to recover the Grasshopper, and with it the only physical evidence of their plan, killing the four astechs sleeping in the hangar at the time; as a part of the diversion, the Blakists also attacked Raymond, starting fires, and while only four people were killed at the barracks, casualty figures from the city number in the hundreds...
- Leopard (mentioned)