Those Who Stand High

Those Who Stand High
Product information
Type Short story
Author Jason Hansa
Pages 40
Publication information
Publisher BattleCorps
First published 22 November 2010
Era Jihad era
Timeline 9—12 October 3078
Series Jihad Hot Spots: Terra tie-in

Those Who Stand High is a short story by Jason Hansa that was published online on BattleCorps on 22 November 2010. It was (re-)published in print in the 2019 anthology Kill Zone.

Teaser text[edit]

In our second story tied to the release of Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, Jason Hansa shows the cold and merciless tempo of a hard-fought campaign.

Plot summary[edit]

Leftenant Samantha Webb of the Forty-fifth Cerulean Mountain, an infantry regiment specializing in mountain warfare, attached to the Second Davion Guards, is leading her battalion in an attack on Gunnison Airport in North America. A young woman from Manassas, Webb joined the AFFS after the beginning of the Jihad and in defiance of her mother, a Baron; pushed hard to excel at every sport she attempted from an early age, Webb was an excellent candidate for the infantry, but is constantly plagued by an internal monologue of critical comments from her mother, that dogs her every action.

The Forty-fifth's original command - the Third Davion Guards was been destroyed earlier in the Jihad; working in concert with the 199th Lyran Jump Regiment, formerly attached to the Fifteenth Arcturan Guards, and with support from aerospace fighters from the Seventeenth Benjamin Regulars and Karnov transports from the Third Free Worlds Legionnaires, the light forces were deployed by Devlin Stone with orders to capture Gunnison Airport, an airfield close to the Gunnison Castle Brian and tipped as a likely rendezvous point and refuge for various broken Word of Blake commands in the local region of North America.

The Forty-fifth were already down to just two battalions, after losses taken during the approach to Terra and in battles around Dallas, when the first Karnovs come under fire from a Blakist Rifleman, killing half a battalion of infantry in less than a minute.

Webb's battalion make an emergency disembarkation from their Cobra Transpot VTOL while aerospace fighters battle the Rifleman and a second Blakist 'Mech, and ancient Thug; as the Rifleman is destroyed, Webb's command frantically attempts to engage the Thug, only to see the Thug destroy the Karnov containing the rest of the Forty-fifth - including all of the HQ and support elements - before being destroyed itself when the flaming remains of the Karnov collide with it on the runway.

Two days later, Captain Schulz and his 'Mech lance from the Second Davion Guards are chasing Word forces through Colorado, having found Purifiers attempting to hide among buffalo herds and running down isolated 'Mechs when he receives word that the major Blakist forces nearby had broken into three groups and largely been intercepted by forces led by Devlin Stone and Galen Cox at Dodge City, or by the Fifteenth Arcturan Guards and the Twelfth Vegan Rangers en route to Alberquerque; however, the remains of a pair of Level IIs that were part of the group heading for Alberquerque that had managed to break out between the two commands are now headed directly for Gunnison Airport.

Schulz and his command - an ad hoc lance containing his Uziel, a Men Shen and two Legionnaires, two squads of Cavalier battle armor and some support trucks - are ordered to head to Gunnison Airport and support the light forces in place there, and to prevent the Blakists from reaching the Castle Brian and rebuilding.

Now commanding a complete company, Webb's contingent of infantry is sent to intercept and slow down the Blakist forces heading for the Castle Brian, but make chance contact with Adept Lewis Smith, a retired MechWarrior and survivor from the Com Guard 201st Division, who points out that the infantry are in the wrong place - the Blakists will take another route to reach the Castle Brian, a route he knows well because it's the same route the 201st used, and Webb frantically redeploys her forces accordingly.

Schulz and his troops are resting at Coaldale in Colorado when they receive word via the locals of Blakist 'Mechs nearby, and set out in pursuit, running into a Burke, Schulz manages to capture the vehicle, executing the crew when it's confirmed that they're Blakists rather than TerraSec.

By dawn on the 12th of October, Webb and Schulz's forces are within a few kilometers of each other, with Blakist forces in between. As Webb's infantry sets up positions and prepares for combat, Schulz engages the Blakists, beginning with a pair of Demons, dangerous opponents that inflict damage on several 'Mechs, including knocking down the Men Shen piloted by Schulz's Executive Officer - only for her to regain her feet just in time to spot and destroy a Kanga attempting to attack Schulz's Uziel from behind. Before Schulz's 'Mechs can destroy both Demons, the Blakist tanks destroy one of the two Legionnaires and take the leg off the Men Shen.

Webb's forces find themselves facing an overpowering enemy force; although all of the 'Mechs were damaged, the combination of a Black Knight, a Champion and a Sentinel would have been more than enough to overwhelm her infantry forces, even without the Fury and supporting infantry in jeeps; nevertheless, Webb attacks, hitting the Blakists with everything her troops have - beginning with LAWs, fire from a semi-portable autocannon and a volley of fire from disposable Dragonsbane pulse lasers. Anti-Mech attacks follow, and Webb manages to disable the Sentinel just in time for Schulz to arrive and disable the Black Knight. For the first time in her life, Webb realizes just how wrong that critical internal voice she's always heard is wrong.

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