Proserpina

Flash: 22 December 3062

To this most significant of target worlds. Duke Sandoval assigned his most prestigious units: the First Robinson Rangers, the Eighth Crucis Lancers RCT and the Robinson Battle Academy Training Battalion, along with a small host of lesser supporting units. Under the command of the Duke's cousin, Major General Mai Fortuna, the Proserpina task force set forth in mid-December.

The battle for Proserpina began as soon as the task force jumped into the system, with General Fortuna winning aerospace superiority almost immediately. At the two jump points, small fleets of assault ships loaded with marines succeeded in capturing or disabling all but three of the almost two dozen JumpShips in-system—and of the three that jumped away, only one was ultimately used to drive Fortuna's forces from the world. Closer to Proserpina Itself, Fortuna's fleet of DropShips broke through the weak blockade of DropShips and aerospace fighters that the planet's defenders put up, landing on two separate continents.

To the primary objective on Bragadln went the First Robinson Rangers, the Battle Academy battalion (combined within the Rangers' TO&E, effectively adding a fourth battalion to the unit) and two brigades of conventional armor and infantry. Defending the small island continent—including the capital city of Conqueror's Pride—was two battalions of the Ninth Benjamin Regulars plus a host of planetary militia. Additionally, Tai-sho Fenton Worridge, commander of the Proserpina Prefecture, called up what was effectively another reinforced BattleMech battalion of Proserpina Hussars that had been on leave on the world, plus the students at the University of Proserpina's military college.

Fortuna grounded her force a mere eighty-five kilometers from the capital cityHust on the edge of the megalopolis that is Conqueror's Pride. Relying first on her fighter squadrons to keep the LZ clear of hostiles and then her artillery batteries, Fortuna deployed her 'Mech and armor forces in a standard expanding ring around the LZ. She then sprinted into three surrounding communities, quickly taking over several moderately-sized civilian air Fields and a ready supply of food and simple consumables. Rather than directly move to take command of Guided Technologies or the military and civilian command centers within the city, Fortuna concentrated on swallowing whole slices of the city—especially concentrating on major roadways, railways, rivers, power stations and key industrial concerns— while her fighters and assault ships made precision bomb runs on similar targets on the other side of the city.

Still in command of the military bases and the city's primary spaceport, the Combine troops attempted to break Fortuna's aerospace superiority with the few aerospace fighter squadrons left, supported by more than a dozen conventional fighter and VTOL squadrons. Fortuna and her Rangers kept a tight reign on the skies over Conqueror's Pride, however, preventing the Ninth Benjamin Regulars and its supporting units from breaking out of the city and into the countryside where they could fight more freely.

On the continent of Darwan, Bulldog Enterprises and the surrounding city of Kalida Qan were the targets of Major General Jeremiah Marshall and his Eighth Crucis Lancers. Unlike Fortuna and her Robinson Rangers, Marshall dropped three of his four BattleMech battalions, as well as his battle armor battalion, on top of his target, grounding the rest of his forces nearby after his jump infantry regiments secured the airbase. The fight was brutal for both sides, but Marshall chose to weather that damage rather than give the troops garrisoning the factory enough time to form up and create an almost impenetrable wall of 'Mechs* and heavy tanks. Moreover, with Bulldog producing the Sehilltron OmniVehlcle, Marshall did not want his troops to have to weather an artillery storm.

The fight for Bulldog and Kalida Qan lasted a mere day and a half. The factory did suffer severe damage, more from sabotage by workers and DCMS troops ihan from stray battle damage, but in the end the Combine troops within that city of 250,000 could not hope to hold off one of House Davion's most elite RCTs.

In contrast, the tense stand-off in Conqueror's Pride lasted nine days, during which time Fortuna simply expanded her sphere of control over more and more of the city proper. By New Year's Eve she was ready to begin the second phase of her plan. At midnight, local time, she cut power, communications and the ability to travel freely to every portion of the city that she didn't directly control. Her fighters cut the last links to the "other side" of the city by destroying every major road intersection, bridge, power line and radio tower in an intensive 20-hour campaign. By 0800 local time on New Year's Day 3063, two million Combine citizens were cut off from civilization.

While a steady stream of refugees had been pouring out of Conqueror's Pride before, in the morning hours of 1 January that stream turned into a flood. The streets of the city were packed with hysterical citizens, citizens who were in many cases more angry at the DCMS for failing to protect them than they were at Fortuna arid her troops, who at that point had not specifically targeted the civilian population. The Ninth Regulars and the rest of the DCMS troops within the city were overwhelmed by a population on the verge of riot and looking to escape the city. As the Combine troops mobilized to control the city's citizens, Fortuna launched two end-runs around the city—the first aimed at the primary spaceport and the second at the city's industrial center. The battle for the spaceport lasted for a brutal six hours, but in the end, Fortuna's stronger 'Mech force carried the day. The industrial section fell In just a few hours. Deprived of primary power, most of the factories didn't even open for business that day, and the few troops assigned to that "dead" area stood no chance against Fortuna's forces.

Jumping at the opportunity to take more advantage of the situation, Fortuna reinforced her troops in both areas and had them expand out into the rapidly emptying streets, meeting at the massive seaport on the shore of Lac Turoti—a giant inland sea that eventually empties into the world's oceans. Now surrounded on three sides by Fortuna's forces and prevented from escape by the tens of thousands of fleeing citizens, the DCMS forces within the city were rapidly running out of options.

On 3 January, the members of the Proserpina Hussars finally forced the issue, launching an unauthorized attack through populated areas of the city in hopes of breaking the stalemate. Not only did they do just that, they began a quickly downward spiraling chain of events that would mark the worst tragedy in the entire Combine Invasion and SCMS Reprisal.

Drawn by the fighting in the streets, troops from both sides flocked to the growing battle in the upscale Coordinator's Cabal neighborhood. Scores of mansions, owned by the richest members ot Proserpina's citizenry, were blasted to nothingness in the course of a mere 30 minutes, with the fighting quickly spilling over into other middle-class neighborhoods. Within two hours, the fight blasted its way into the heart of a business district, leveling massive office buildings and even bringing a 65-story high rise down.

The pent-up frustrations and tensions of the previous two weeks exploded that afternoon. The DCMS soldiers lost all composure and came after the Rangers like a wave of suicidal samurai, caring little for whatever or whoever got in their way. Thousands of Combine citizens died in the fight, while untold thousands more died in the firestorm that consumed nearly a third of the megalopolis.

Shocked and overwhelmed by the Combine rush, Fortuna's Rangers fell back in neat, if somewhat hurried, order. Collapsing their lines to the spaceport, the Rangers' second and third battalions, reinforced by a single combat command of mechanized infantry, held off the rabid Ninth Regulars and Proserpina Hussars for three hours while General Fortuna tried to get more armored reinforcements to them. With their backs to the Lac Turoti and the Combine troops surrounding them, the Rangers had no choice but to hold out. They ignited the spaceport's fuel dumps, creating effective blockades to channel the incoming horde, while they used several of the Ninth Regulars' own DropShips against them.

When Fortuna's reinforcements finally arrived, the Rangers had taken almost sixty percent casualties—including the dragooned Combine DropShips. Moreover, the Combine troops were seemingly acting more with a hive mentality than as a military unit. The arrival of the Rangers' reinforcements broke the assault, though, and the Combine troops pulled back to their base at Fort Geihsan.

From the air. anyone could clearly see the large swath of destruction that the DCMS assault had cut through the city, but on the ground, matters were worse. General Fortuna called in the majority of the Eighth Lancers to help with disaster relief operations—fighting the fires and providing aid and care for the tens of thousands of civilians wounded during the day long battle.

While Fortuna fought to help the people she was conquering, Tai-sa Richard Rekai, commander of the Ninth Regulars, gathered what remained of the DCMS forces on Proserpina. He willingly gave up his base at Fort Geihsan— taking with him what he could and destroying what useful equipment he had to leave behind, and moved his command to a rarely-used base on the barren continent of Harpago, employing the few DropShips he had left. With nearly all natural life on that continent eradicated centuries before when DCMS troops launched a long series of biological and chemical attacks aimed at destroying an invading FedSunS unit, Harpago had become a prime live-fire range and the perfect location to store industrial waste.

Fortuna formed a combined brigade of 'Meohs, armor and armored infantry to destroy Rekai and his remaining Ninth Regulars, dispatching them on the 18th of January. The next week of fighting saw the Ninth Regulars fighting suicidal battles, rushing Fortuna's stronger force head-on. It also saw the Regulars using the toxic waste and even ¿ome ancient chemical weapons against Fortuna's forces. The Robinson Rangers and Eighth Lancers persevered, however, and by the 24th had broken the Ninth Benjamin Regulars.

Though Generals Fortuna and Marshall still had much work to do on the planet, they had successfully taken the first Combine prefecture capital in centuries. As the Rangers and the Lancers tracked down the remaining rogue DCMS units on the world and worked to rebuild the infrastructure of Conqueror's Pride, Duke Sandoval sent them a priority message—awarding every unit involved the Dragonslayer's Ribbon and the Draconis March Meritorious Unit Citation.

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