In the mid-nineties I ran a combined Full Thrust/Legions of Steel game at a local convention. It was a three-way battle between Fantasia, Legions of Steel, and Black Empire. All three forces had navies converging on an abandoned Space Station. The goal was to dock with and board the Space Station so that LoS game units could activate computer terminals and take control of the station. If the station was controlled, it was a huge naval asset that could easily destroy the ships of the other navies. The ship to ship action was played using Full Thrust, the boarding actions played using Legions of Steel. Anyway, digging through my old files I found the battle report I wrote describing the epic game. It's written from the point of view of the losing Fantasian side. I thought you guys might enjoy it. I wasn't sure where to post it. Technically, it's not fiction, because it's an actual battle report, but it seemed to fit the fiction section best.
TO: SECURITY LIAISON NEITRICH
FROM: KOMISSAR THIUMEN
RE: BLACK BOX RECORDINGS RECOVERED/ANALYZED
WARNING...WARNING.. .WARNING...WARNING. ..WARNING...WARNING ...
SECURITY CLEARANCE RED J765 REQUIRED TO READ THIS DOCUMENT. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE SECURITY CLEARANCE RED J765 BURN THIS DOCUMENT AND IMMEDIATELY REPORT TO NEAREST GHON POLITZ PRECINCT FOR STERILIZATION
Citizen, after our initial analysis of the Black Box transmissions from the Destiny De-militarized zone we have come to some preliminary conclusions as to what went wrong in our battle against the Azaraim Empire and the Legions of Steel. As you know, for the last fifty years we have honored a non-aggression pact with our Imperialistic neighbors, a non-aggression pact they violated several days ago when they sent a task force to capture Space Station Destiny, an abandoned naval station, so that they could repair their battered Arosaltine 3rd Fleet. Anticipating such treachory, we had stationed our own fast-reaction force on the border of the de-militarized zone, and it was this force that immediately entered hyperspace to engage our former allies. Azaraim diplomatic insistance that the penetration of the de-militarized zone should not be seen as an act of aggression against our Fantasian State but rather as an honorable retreat from our common enemy the Legions of Steel was, of course, ignored as a mere bluff or even a two-faced lie so commonly heard from the agents of the Black Empire. Our violent reaction was just.
Unfortunately, justice alone could not win the day. Security Recorder data transmitted from the two class CM Missile Cruisers that exited hyperspace straight into the hot battlezone indicate that they were not used to maximum efficiency. Were their captains not killed in the ensuing battle I would recommend they be immediately disciplined and then liquidated. Only fifty percent of their missiles actually detonated against Azaraim or Machine hulls, and one Missile Cruiser was destroyed with a missile still in the launch tube! What a waste of Fantasian resources! The Cruiser CM-2’s impulse engines were destroyed before its marine compliment could invade the station, and CM-1’s assault bays took a direct hit from a Legions of Steel Railgun on its way into docking, killing half of the marines preparing to board. The inablity of these two large ships to unload their human cargo, and both T85/37 Angel Eaters in particular, proved a great hindrance in the ensuing battle on board the station.
Our AC Microcarriers performed quite well, however. Fantasian fighter-jockeys ran a guantlet of scattergun fire to single-handedly destroy one Legions of Steel destroyer and drive another spinning off into empty space. They then turned to concentrate on the Black Empire Fast-Attack Cruiser, which they had less success with. They did succeed in eventually destroying it, but only after it had managed to dock with the Space Station and unload its elite Talon of Drakkar. The fighters then moved on to the Legions of Steel Blood-Lord Cruiser. The Cruiser’s own computer-piloted fighters intercepted the Fantasian ones, buying it enough time to assault the Space Station with an entire Assault Horde supported by an Advanced Command Pack. Although our two Micro-Carriers were the only vessels to actually survive the Naval battle, we can not characterize their success as actual victory, since one-half of the ships they destroyed actually achieved their primary objectives--that is, to transport troops to the Space Station. And without control of the Space Station it was impossible for our Carriers to declare space supremecy.
As the Space Battle continued to rage, there was, of course, skirmishing aboard the station between Fantasian and Azaraim Marines. One Fantasian D-Squad tried to assault two Azaraim Assault Lances that had found a laser defense station and were harassing our ships, but the Assault Lance easily repelled the attack. The one-half Powered Infantry Squad intercepted the Azaraim Talon and fought a brief guerrilla battle in an attempt to assassinate the Sairraith Drakkar in command of the Azaraim Marine operation, but succeeded only in killing an Aseth and Seth Drakkar before meeting their own ends. As the Space Battle ended, and the Machine forces boarded the station, each platoon of troops re-grouped and prepared for a final, decisive assault. The Black Empire remained in a strong position, with two Assault Lances, an Honor Guard and a single Seth Drakkar. The Machines, too, were a force to contend with, consisting of no less than eight of the dreaded G3 Predators, two Mark I Assault Fiends, a Mark II Assault Fiend, a Sniperbot, a G1 Nightmare armed with a Thumper Grenade Launcher, and a Mark IA1 Fiend, all commanded by a C1 Centurian Command and Control Robot. Our Fantasian forces consisted of a single D-Squad, the remains of a second D-Squad consisting of a Starshina, four Stormtroopers, and 2 SS-2000 gunners. Each of these squads were supported by a T85 chassis configured with the 34 assault weapons load.
The decisive battle took place in sector 345 of the Space Station--an apparently worthless piece of real estate--but our agents are combing over design plans of the station to determine whether there might have been some hidden value to this particular sector. Though outnumbered and out-gunned, I am pleased to report that our Stormtroopers performed admirably in the ensuing battle. Our expense in training these troops almost payed-off. The superior speed of their T70 armor allowed them to take the central room of the sector first, and a subsequent liberal use of Guass grenades and SS-2000 bursts managed to hold of the Azaraim shock troops to their back while they concentrated on engaging approaching machine units. In fact, a mere two stormtroopers, one alternating between suppressing with his Ppsh and tossing in Guass grenades, and the other keeping the area well-lit with SS-2000 heat, managed to hold off an entire Azaraim Assault Lance for quite some time. At another entry point the second Assault Lance was trying to penetrate our hastily prepared defenses, but the field effects of the Guass grenade placed there managed to Daze both of the invading Massa Kar grenadiers. The Starshina in command quickly took advantage of the situation and tossed a pulse grenade into the mix, further stunning the Massakar, and commanded a nearby stormtrooper to do the same, who managed to completely short-circuit the Massa Kars’ armor. Meanwhile, a PKM gunner performed the coup de grace on a Mark I Assault Fiend after one of the T85/34 mowed down his two-Predator escort. This was the high-point of the battle. Our glorious Fantasian Stormtroopers had taken few casualties, had inflicted quite a blow on both their Azaraim and Machine opponents, and had managed to take and hold the tactical center of the battle area. Unfortunately, this glory was fleeting.
Defeat came in the form of the Azaraim Tozai Drakkar. Both enemy Tozai immediately followed-up their MassaKar shock troops and ran straight through the field effects of the Guass grenade with no ill effects. Our troops, wearied by the fighting, and their backs largely turned to the Tozai, were unable to react to the Tozais’ attack. In less than five seconds the Tozai had killed a Starshina and PKM gunner with their D-blades, killed several more Stormtroopers with a barrage of Tarnak Grenades, and destroyed one T85/34 and damaged another with their heavy lances. Although the surviving Stormtroopers managed to drag one of the Tozai down with them as the room filled with smoke and blood, the battle had turned. The remainder of the second Assault Lance finally managed to eliminate the two Stormtroopers resisting them and proceeded to re-join their comrades. The tactical center of the room became a blood-bath as the fantasian-prepared defenses crumbled. Machines and Azaraim swarmed in, destroying each other in a smorgas borg of weapons fire. The Mark IA1 destroyed the Second Tozai Drakkar and killed one of the two remaining MassaKar grenadiers in a line of suppression.
Little is known of the remainder of the battle, since most of the Stormtrooper’s data recorders went off-line at this point. However, Starshina Kioskov survived and continued to fight with guerilla hit-and-run tactics to the very end. In fact, Starshina Kioskov was ultimately responsible for taking down the Mark IA1, and as he did so his recorder panned the tactical center of the room, revealing through the clearing smoke that only three predators, a single Massa Kar grenadier and two Massa Kar lancers survived, all of whom had retreated from the room into the doorways and were manuevering for tactical advantage. It must also be mentioned at this point during the fight for the central room, a significant battle was taking place between the remainder of the Machine forces (including the Centurian command bot) and the Azariam Talon. Though little is known of this combat, since no Stormtroopers were involved, interrupted radio transimissions indicate that the Sairraith Drakkar engaged a Mark I, Predator and the Centurian in Hand-to-Hand combat, eliminating each with her D-Sword, only to be ultimately brought down by a Predator’s Disruptor grenade. In that coner of the combat area only a single Takkar Lancer and two Takkar Grenadiers survived.
This, then, is how the battle stood. Six Azaraim troopers against three Predators and a single Starshina. Starshina Kioskov moved through the corriders to engage the MassaKar while the machines concentrated on the takkar. Two predators went off-line taking down the Takkar grenadiers, while Starshina Kioskov assassinated the one remaining MassaKar Grenadier. Starshina Kioskov lined one of the lancers up in his sights, but the Ppsh misfired, faling to penetrate the heavy Azaraim armor. The heroic Starshina payed with his life. Two of the predators were destroyed but took down the Grenadiers with them, and a third predator charged the Lancer Takkar. Our agents have been going over the security camera data that recorded this charge with a fine-toothed comb, and we still can’t understand what happened. The predator was efficiently covered from most of the lance’s effect by a corner, and this, in combination with the predator’s heavy armor should have been more than sufficient to stop the low-penetration of the Takkar’s light lance. Yet, somehow, the lance not only stopped the predator, but destroyed it. We recommend recovering a light lance from a dead soldier in the field for field testing. Is it possible we have underestimated the power of this weapon?
In the final analysis, after studying the recorder data from the entire eight hours of fighting, we must conclude that the battle was lost in the first three hours, during the naval engagement. While the Azaraim were content to avoid naval combat, and were happy to sacrifice their ships in order to unload their troops, they managed to board the station with 90 percent of their fighting force. Compare that to the 70 percent the Fantasians managed to board, and the 50 percent the machines managed to board, and the final outcome of the battle becomes obvious. None the less, it is a testamant to the bravery of our Stormtroopers that the final battle was as close as it was. It is the recommendation of this comittee, therefore, that Security Squads immediately be dispatched to every Naval vessel serving in the Fantasian force, and that their performance records be scrutinized. It is quite possible that in our efforts to improve the efficiency of our army we have been lackluster in our Naval discipline, and a purge may be in order.