Mood music for the first part
A message bleeped on the screen in front of Taran. The man himself was stretched across the cabin in some inhuman way, feet supporting into the video camera screens. The front windows was covered in shrubbery through which a forested area could be seen. In one hand of the pilot was, as always, a cup of hot coffee that he made here, using the thermonuclear battery as a kettle. In the other hand he held a schematic of a ship called Cayman Lerr, reading it comfortably while sipping the coffee.
Class III Assault Carrier
Class III carriers count among the smaller sea-faring mech transports, being able to carry about 30 mechs with full equipment. They are usually supplied with enough weaponry and defenses to be able to withstand a light artillery attack and can often repair damaged compartments while on the water.
A run down Class III carrier from the Great War, the "Raven".
The Cayman Lerr is a modified version of the standard Class III, being able to carry only ten mechs at any given time. This decrease in carrying capacity is offset by other improvements. Most notably, the Lerr has much, much heavier armour than similar ships, being able to withstand a medium bombardment without significant damage. It also carries all of its cargo inside the ship at any given time, unlike some Class III's, who carry their load on deck. Finally, the dramatically decreased carrying capacity comes with some serious firepower, even though the ammunition for it is extremely expensive.
Full-body 300 mm plating, reinforced titanium
10 Full Size Mech Hangars with all necessary equipment.
6 Medium aircraft bays with full weaponry and partial repair equipment.
2 Ship Repair Bays with full equipment.
560 2-person cabins for personnel.
Other standard Class III carrier equipment.
2 Uranium Reactor Drives. Average time on sea: 20 years
4 G-44 Waterjets, capable of propelling the ship up to 50 km/h on calm water.
12x 30mm "Phalanx" Anti-Air Systems, located all over the hull. Total munitions capacity: 996,000 rounds.
6x 320 mm "Goliath" Howitzers, located in pairs of three on the front and back deck of the ship. Total munitions capacity: 1200 rounds
4x "Garuda One" Missile Defense Systems, located in a single module on the top of the command tower. Total munitions capacity: 200 missiles.
The ship itself was docked a few miles from where Taran was. Nevertheless he turned on the comm and saw the face of a young Ensign.
"Carlton, was it?" asked the pilot with a raised eyebrow.
"Actually, Carlson, sir."
Even though the Ensign technically outranked Taran, he still called the man "sir". Out of respect or just for the show, I don't know. He chuckled at how that rhymed.
"What is it Ensign?" inquired Taran after he was done thinking. The young ensign looked around and spoke, visibly using force of will to keep his calm:
"Erm..Miss Morg....I mean, the Lionness has ordered me to send you a message..," the man shut down. A faint smirk appeared on Taran's face.
"Yes? What is the message?"
"Well, sir, she told me to tell you that you are a bas...tard for leaving her out here to handle things, and that you should, and I quote, "get your sorry arse here ASAP!".....sir." Taran was drinking when the Ensign quoted the Lionness.
The last remark made him spit back half the coffee as he nearly choked laughing. Wiping off some tears he replied, still chuckling:
"Tell Miss Morgan that I cannot currently return and that she should send the rookies here as soon as possible. Forest out." Taran shut down the comm link before the officer could respond. After all, his goal was to maintain radio silence until they reached the town. The pilot leaned back and thought back along his "career".
Mood music part II
He remembered the first real battle he had with the Manticores. The first time he stepped on the ground which turned out to be their doom. The massive and seemingly indestructible Scorpion that served as their homebase and backup. He recalled the bickering he and Sharon had over the targets. The gracious movements of the lighter airborne mechs and the fast running of the scouts in front. That was their first real battle. Who knew that it turned out to be their last?
The wreckage of their scouts, taken down by the advancing support. The Scorpion as it slowly burned, hit by the particle weapon firing seemingly from orbit. The resonance of his own head cannon as the Wolf took down approaching mechs. The Sylvan soaring above, taking down the airborne enemies and strafing the ground. The impacts on the body and legs of the Wolf, him being thrown around the cabin. The slow and painful retreat, leaving their wounded pilots, friends, at the scene. Taran remembered the last steps he took on board of the evacuation ship. There was still a single mech running towards the ship, firing back at the base defenders. It got hit once, twice...after the third shot the machine fell down, first on its knees and then on the ground, with a giant gaping hole in the middle...the silhouette of the once great team and the Scorpion, towering above the battlefield...that was the last thing Taran saw of his team...
Now he was back with Katrina, leading the namesake team whose name once meant something. Whose banner and pride was left on that field....but not their soul...their soul lived on.