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|Hit Fast, Hit Hard|
|Author||Steven Mohan Jr.|
|First published||22 June 2007|
|Era||Civil War era|
|Timeline||14 October 3067|
|“||The Steel Vipers have declared a Trial of Grievance, a pretext for harassing the Jade Falcon garrison on Marshall. Point Commander Talon and his ProtoMech Point are belittled and ignored by both sides of the fight. But when it's time, when the Vipers discard zellbrigen in the face of the honorbound Falcons, Talon and his Point are ready to hit fast and hit hard.||”|
Forces from Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Steel Viper are engaged in a Trial of Grievance in a remote, unclaimed area of Marshall. The Steel Vipers have launched the Trial, part of an ongoing campaign of harassment against the Jade Falcons following the Vipers' ejection from the Inner Sphere, and the Jade Falcons are only too happy to punish them for it. Point Commander Talon isn't happy, though; piloting a Centaur ProtoMech, he knows that he and the rest of his point are only a part of the battle because their commanding officer, like many in the Jade Falcons, regards the ProtoMechs as an inferior force and only included them to underbid his rival. Star Captain Robert Newclay had successfully under bid Star Captain Marra by including the ProtoMechs, but had no respect for them; while the rest of his Trinary had orders and a plan from Newclay, he'd made it clear that the ProtoMechs were an irrelevance that could do whatever they wished, as they would make no difference.
Hunting Elementals amidst the cold and falling snow, Talon knows that Newclay had underestimated his forces, and swiftly realizes that the Jade Falcons are being led into a trap, being deliberately led further south from the shore edge of the Tsu Ice Shelf on Gondwana; when he spots a canyon that the 'Mechs are ignoring because of its small size, but which will soon be in the Jade Falcon rear area, Talon attempts to warn Newclay of the risk, but Newclay dismisses him out of hand.
Talon leads his ProtoMech point towards the canyon, taking the lead himself with two of his companions - also in Centaurs - while the remaining two members of the point hang back in their slower Gorgons. Given the small size of the canyon and the lack of Steel Viper infantry forces other than the handful of Elementals his point had already defeated, Talon suspects that the canyon is where the Steel Vipers have hidden their Elementals - and is soon proved correct.
As Talon fires and falls back, he orders the Gorgons to fire into the canyon, and their first strike kills between six and ten Elementals, but there are more Elementals emerging from the canyon than he can count - at least thirty, maybe forty or more battle armor infantry, and Talon's calls to Newclay for 'Mech assistance are rejected because all of the Jade Falcon 'Mechs are committed, despite the threat of the Elementals pouring into the Jade Falcon rear. Even as Talon sees one of his point being overwhelmed by Elementals despite his attempts to help her, he's ordered to hold the Elementals off by Newclay.
Despite observing the tenets of zellbrigen himself during the opening skirmishes, Talon spots Steel Viper Elementals setting themselves up to attack the Jade Falcon 'Mechs in defiance of zellbrigen, even as the Elementals spread themselves out to reduce the effect of the ProtoMechs weaponry on them. With his point under heavy attack, Talon continues to fight, determined to follow the Jade Falcon tenets of battle - to hit hard, and to hit fast.
After the battle Newclay comes to visit Talon, the only walking survivor of his point; three of Talon's point are dead in battle, and the fourth is severely injured, with a chance at survival but no chance of ever fighting again. Talon is cutting and dismissive of Newclay, telling him that he knows the loss of the ProtoMechs is insignificant because of the low opinion Newclay holds them in; Newclay initially responds angrily, having come to congratulate Talon on the ferocity of his forces, but overcomes his temper to point out to Talon that while the Jade Falcons hold to the tenets of honor and zellbrigen, that doesn't mean that they can't learn. With that, he offers Talon his hand - which Talon accepts.