From the Highest Spire
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|From the Highest Spire|
|Type||Novella (5 parts)|
|Author||Steven Mohan Jr.|
|First published||11 February - 9 March 2009|
|Timeline||22 May - 25 August 3071|
From the Highest Spire is a serial story written by Steven Mohan Jr. and published through BattleCorps. The story follows special forces troops from the Federated Suns versus Warrior House Rakshasa as the Suns' Rabid Foxes attempt to exact revenge for the Rakshasas' assault on Chesterton during the Jihad.
(published on 11 February 2009)
|“||When the Capellan Confederation finally came to reclaim Chesterton in the Jihad, they didn’t send the strongest regiments or the most powerful WarShips. They didn’t come to liberate the world in and fulfill the dreams of generations of Capellan noblemen. When the Warrior House came, they came to terrorize; they came to frighten. They came to Chesterton to punish.||”|
On 22 May 3071, Rabid Foxes Leftenant Miguel Romero, field-promoted from Sergeant Major, is guarding the Overlord-class DropShip Dunkirk together with Corporal Liu as the Federated Suns forces are withdrawing from Chesterton. A student approaches from the nearby university and begs to be evacuated with the DropShip because of the atrocities the Capellan troops are committing on the population. While they are still arguing, the girl is shot by a Warrior House Rakshasa trooper who suddenly appears. Romero barely manages to cut the enemy's head off with his laser but is himself wounded.
On the retreating DropShip, Romero berates the young Corporal Liu for not sending the girl away immediately from the combat area and even accuses him of effectively killing her.
On 20 June 3071, a secret meeting is held on New Syrtis where the assembled AFFS officers learn that Warrior House Rakshasa has withdrawn from Chesterton and that Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao denies involvement in the atrocious re-capture of Chesterton; apparently, Warrior House Rakshasa was sent not by him but by his unstable sister Kali Liao. A retaliatory mission is in the works. Sun-Tzu Liao is actually inviting a Davion attack on one of his own worlds: Highspire, where Kali Liao reigns. The Maskirovka has provided the Federated Suns with data for Pirate Jump Points to the Rakshasa base.
- published on 19 February 2009
|“||The bloodlust for vengeance after Chesteron has lead the Foxes and the rest of the AFFS against the homeworld of the Warrior House that attacked them. They’ve come loaded for bear—but have they remembered how powerful a bear is, secure in its lair?||”|
Confirmed as an officer and even promoted to Captain after the death of all senior officers on Chesterton, Romero is now in command of Fox Team Seven aboard the Fury-class DropShip Footpad. On 25 August, three Federated Suns JumpShips (including Moore's Sunburst and Hasek's Sword) jump to a pirate jump point in the Highspire system and detach an assault force. Footpad races ahead of the main force to deploy the Rabid Foxes who have orders to take out the planetary C3 installations before the main attack lands.
The Union-class DropShip Chesterton deploys a BattleMech company of volunteers on a suicidal diversionary raid while Footpad deploys the Rabid Foxes from orbit. On the ground, Ghat and his Manei Domini liaison officer Ravana are not fooled by the diversion. However, they do not get along well and begin to butt heads over how to proceed: Ghat fears the Foxes might attack Granite Hill, while Ravana declares Granite Hill a fortress that is adequately protected while the nearby BattleMech factory is not; therefore, Ravana (by authority of Kali Liao) orders Ghat into the jungle to intercept the Rabid Foxes and threateningly forbids him to use any VTOL, APC or WiGE to (presumably) get to Granite Hill.
Romero's team meanwhile loses two troopers (one injured and one dead) in the parachute drop and gloomily embarks on their mission.
- published on 04 March 2009
|“||On the ground on Highspire, the Foxes are moving toward their objectives as the Liao forces awaken to their presence. Desperate tactics, desperate battles, desperate people. Desperation is a familiar facet of combat—but can they overcome their desperation to win through to victory?||”|
Romero and Ghat play a deadly game of hide-and-seek in the jungle with their respective teams, with the Foxes remaining hidden despite a Sha Yu BattleMech being deployed to flush them out. On a hunch Ghat returns to the BattleMech factory, sees a figure running across the perimeter and finds that the electric fence securing the facility is without power. Initially unsure if the trooper is one of Ravana's Manei Domini, he raises alarm.
It is Nancy Tyre who has infiltrated the BattleMech facility with the second Rabid Foxes platoon and manages to set and detonate explosive devices, but they are overrun by Rakshasa Thuggees and Tyre is killed with her entire force as she is making her report to Romero. Ghat picks up the radio and taunts Romero. But then he realizes that there was only a single platoon of Rabid Foxes at the 'Mech facility, and recognizes the diversion for what it is.
- published on 05 March 2009
|“||Combat is a swirling mix of action and reaction, of attempting to grab the initiative from your oppenent and force him to react to your actions before he can make you react to his. The Rabid Foxes are masters at holding the initiative—but so are the Rakshasas.||”|
Demi-Precentor Scott Taggart's Cobra transport VTOL is requisitioned by Ghat and his men, killing Taggart's friend in the process to prove a point when Taggart remarks that he is under orders to allow Ghat nowhere near his aircraft.
Meanwhile, Romero and his unit have arrived at Granite Hill, the enemy command-and-control center on Highspire and true target of their operation, for a decapitation strike: Kali Liao is present within the base. Impersonating Ghat and his unit, they overpower the guard at the first checkpoint and notice, in passing, the emblem of a crouching white tiger on him instead of WH Rakshasa's usual emblem of the Goddess Kali.
The pursuing Ghat arrives nearby, but narrowly fails to catch up with the Rabid Foxes before they make off with a diesel truck.
- published on 09 March 2009
|“||Highspire has been a deathtrap for the Foxes of Fox Team Seven, and most likely for the rest of the Davion battleforce following them. But there is still time—still time for Romero and his Foxes to salvage some victory out of defeat.||”|
Romero's team overcome the second of four checkpoints along the road to the entrance to Granite Hill, but then they encounter a patrolling 'Mech in WH White Tiger colors and realize that their battle plan was flawed: There is another Warrior House guarding Granite Hill, and all the diversions to draw off WH Rakshasa were useless. Knowing that their game is up as soon as the 'Mech reaches the second checkpoint, they run their truck through the electric fence besides the road as soon as the 'Mech disappears around a corner, then scatter in groups of two in hopes that some of them might survive. Penetrating the fence raises a general perimeter alarm at the same time as Ghat raises an alarm from the first checkpoint.
Now the Thuggee Warrior Houses have to run down every single Davion trooper to prevent them from warning the incoming strike force that a second Warrior House is defending the planet. Ghat divines Romero's unorthodox idea of running uphill and catches up with Romero and Liu. When Liu is mortally wounded by a laser shot from Ghat, Romero finally despairs and remains with the dying Liu whom he has to come to regard as his foster son. Ghat points out to him that he might have escaped and warned the invasion force about the second Warrior House if he had left his comrade and chastises him for his weakness; Romero only answers that this is why they are strong.
- Miguel Romero
- Nancy Tyre
- Liu Xiyun
- Cobra transport VTOL
- unspecified diesel truck