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Doc Bens

Doc Bens
Story information
Author David Smith
Pages 24
Type Novelette
Product Shrapnel Issue 3
Era Succession Wars Era
Timeline 9 November 2790

Doc Bens is a short story by David Smith that was published in Shrapnel Issue 3 on 15 December 2020.

Plot summary[edit]

On 9 November 2790, Nouveau Toulouse is under attack by an overwhelming Draconis Combine force. On the ground, Paul "Doc" Bens and his Doc's Scorpions protect the capital, New Light, and defend multiple evacuation DropShips. Above, Admiral Merris waits in his Fortress-class DropShip, overseeing the defense and ready to carry out his contingency orders. Paul calls for support, but Merris's fleet is outnumbered six to one, and Merris decides to wait for orders. The orders eventually arrive: destroy the planet's factories with an Asset Management Weapon bombardment and leave.

On the ground, Paul's forces fight, Paul coordinating the movements of each company. The DropShip he defends, the Amanda 4, survives, but that of Chic Mattson, the Amanda 5, is completely destroyed. When Paul learns of the severe losses involved, anger builds. Just hours later, he sees orbital fire on his readings: the AMWs are coming. The new goal: get as many people onto the Amanda 4 as possible.

Chic reaches the Amanda 4 mere minutes before the barrage is set to hit, and has only 'Mechs in tow - no civilians and no APC support, all lost behind him in his escape. These losses enrage Paul, who, under time pressure with the area about to come under nuclear bombardment, prioritizes another lance for boarding the Amanda 4. Chic fires on said lance, resulting in a brawl that ends with most surviving Scorpions aboard the escaping DropShip, Chic dead, and Paul waiting out his final moments before nuclear death.

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