Captain Essig, commander of the Daniel District, was pressed by numerous potential threats from the Liao raiders and felt it unwise to commit forces to the defense of Local Sources Processing Plant 5, which he considered to be at best a tertiary target. Surely the AgriMech repair facility on the outskirts of Akeoton, or the Lonely River Dam Waterworks where they were installing new water purification equipment, or even his own Fort Mirador would be more likely targets. Even among agricultural targets in the District, the Captain figured Plant 5 to be at best the third most alluring target after both the Greenridge Farms Creamery and the Cabinwood Nursery.
He begrudgingly deployed a token force to Plant 5 only due to orders from Lt Col Carla Chestine, and he chose the least experienced and thus least reliable and most expendable units at his disposal; a pair of Mechwarriors fresh out of the Academy for whom this would be their first live action. That they were his assigned rotation from Chestine’s Own Guard gave the assignment a certain symmetry in his mind.
Mechwarrior Morrison, riding an Ostsol and Mechwarrior Vargas piloting a Vindicator, were advised that a Capellan force of undetermined strength was known to be operating somewhere to the north of their position, but no planetary Militia assets were currently in contact with it. The two Mechwarriors took position just to the north of the meat packing plant in cover provided by a pair of small copses of trees which allowed them to control three of the four small valleys that approached the plant from the Plyret Hills to the north.
Seismic sensors soon detected approaching ground units to the north and eventually audio sensors picked up the sounds of approaching tanks. The attacking Capellan forces consisted of a company of Scorpion light tanks from the 151st Light Armor Reserves with a Bulldog medium tank operating as the command tank. A lance of tracked APCs accompanied them with a platoon of infantry from the 34th Infantry Regiment.
The Capellan tanks approached down all four of the valleys in lance strength at roughly the same pace, providing no real opportunity for the defenders to concentrate their attention in the opening stages of the battle. The APCs took the eastern central valley while the Capellan Command lance took the western central valley and the two standard lances took the outside valleys.
The copses of trees provided the mechs excellent cover against the approaching tanks and their positioning allowed Vargas to control the ends of the two eastern valleys while Morrison was able to control the two western valleys.
Mechwarrior Vargas made the first visual contact with the Capellan forces when the APCs of the 34th emerged from behind a stand of light trees at the mouth of the center-east valley. He brought them under fire with his Vindicator’s PPC. He failed to score any hits on the APCs but he did force them to scramble for cover and disembark their infantry platoon a significant distance away from the processing plant.
As the APCs moved under cover, the Scorpions of the 151st company’s 2nd Lance began to emerge from the eastern-most valley while the Command Lance began to emerge from the west-central valley. Mechwarrior Morrison exchanged fire with the tanks of the Command Lance for several minutes using his Ostsol’s medium and heavy lasers, destroying the Company Commanders Bulldog and disabling one of the Scorpions while suffering moderate damage in return. Mechwarrior Vargas destroyed one Scorpion in the 2nd Lance and engaged another physically as it moved to flank his position.
While the two Mechs were both engaged, the 3rd Lance of Scorpions emerged from the western most valley. One tank moved to engage and successfully destroyed the civilian Bulldog Transport Trucks that the Local Sources employees and corporate security personnel had been loading to evacuate the plant. The other three tanks quickly moved to flank Morrison’s position and succeeded in surrounding him in short order, forcing him to abandon his position in the woods.
Mechwarrior Morrison began retreating while Mechwarrior Vargas moved to support him. They succeeded in destroying another tank from 2nd Lance as both Mechwarriors maneuvered towards the southwest of the plant. They gained a momentary respite from the autocannon fire by the remaining tanks of Command Lance and 2nd Lance and were able to destroy the Scorpion from 3rd Lance which had engaged the civilian transports, but their reprieve was short.
2nd Lance and the APCs were rapidly moving along the eastern side of Plant 5 in another flanking maneuver around the south of the plant while the remains of the Command Lance joined 3rd Lance in firing on the Leaguer Mechs. Mechwarrior Vargas was pinned against the buildings of the plant, his Vindicator lacking the foot speed to safely cross the open ground between the plant and the hills where Mechwarrior Morrison had found some cover. Fortunately Vargas was able to successfully jump over the plant using his jumpjets and land behind and out of sight of the flanking 2nd Lance tanks where he was able to make his escape into the hills on that side of the plant. Seeing his partner escape, Mechwarrior Morrison used his Ostsol’s superior speed to likewise escape into the hills.