The Aardwolf is a versatile and well known mech, unfortunately it's best known for it's repeated and one sided defeats across Africa and the Far East. On the shores of the Victoria Sea, dozens of Aardwolves earned a place in history, making history, and inspiring dozens of war sims, in a daring raid against the Kinshasa Arcoplex. The machine stood tall on the red martian soil, where among all of the other great war machines, it was the only one operational. And in wars across the Silk Road, the Wastelands, and the Federation AfroZone, hundreds of these mechs have left their footprints in military history and left a tremendous wake in collateral damage and human lives.
The Aardwolf can be traced back to the highly influential and top ten wanted warlord Mustafa Mons. Mustafa Mons was the charismatic leader of the Eight Stars terrorist organization. An unlikely patron for mecha design, Mons was a man of purpose and focus, and used his connections across the Silk Road and with the fringes of civilized industrial world, to create the great tool, the great weapon, he wanted. History is littered with thousands of grandiose, overblown, and pompous war machines, bloated over budget monstrosities, and war machines that barely worked. There are only a few weapons that have stood for decades without serious challenger, such as the AK-47 assault rifle, the M2 heavy machine gun, the old Soviet T-72 tank, the B-52 Bomber, and so forth. When commissioning his great weapon, Mustafa Mons didn't want one of the flashy weapons, he wanted a cheap one, one that always worked, one that was easy to fix, easy to use, and absolutely relentless in battle.
The design demands of the Aardwolf were as simple as they were difficult to overcome. The machine had to be massively reliable, and it had to work with a minimum of support and maintenance. It had to be simple enough for quickly instructed pilots to drive it, and for technicians with only cursory training to keep it operational and in the field. Given the myriad sources of basic equipment across the Silk Road and available to the Eight Stars, the chassis had to be adaptable, and able to use a variety of power sources, weapon systems, and be readily adapted to whatever electronics and sensors are available.
The Enoch Skunkworks
The Holy City of Enoch is the secret base where the Enoch Skunkworks is buried. Scientists, engineers, and designers worked incessantly to create a machine that reached Mons' demands. The Skunkworks started with a very old machine, the pre-Federation Titan walker. The Walker was built by a handful of factories, and it's service was overshadowed by the formation of the Atlantic Federation and the destruction of Cleveland, Ohio. OmniCorp Walkers provided several years of patrolling and heavy fire support for the hotly contested border between the Commonwealth of New England and the Great Lakes Republic, including over-ice missions, and urban combat. It was not glamorous, performed only modestly, and lacked the flash and dazzle that was espoused by the nascent Federation.
But the chassis and leg superstructure were incredibly simple and well designed. The Grand Vizier Tairin, roughly analogous to design chief of staff, was originally from Ohio and drew on her experience with the last generation of Titan walkers, and how reliable they were. She lead the design team to build a blocky chassis, with ample room for modular systems, and most importantly, the ability to equip different powerplants.
Fusion engines are commonly available in the Federation and other nations, but can be difficult to manage in the wastelands. Ideally, shipments of stripped engines are procured, and then installed in waiting chasses. When this isn't the case, the Aardwolf can be equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, or fission reactors. Fuel Cells have range limitations, and fission reactors require painfully expensive and rare fuel that can't be readily synthesized. Regardless, Tairin ensured the machine was versatile enough to equip any of these power sources.
There are a number of near legendary Aardwolf mechs, and at the core of each of these machines is a scavenged or stolen powerplant. The Shenburg Raid is a frequently overlooked footnote in EuroZone history, a daring Armas raid against a number of facilities all belonging to the European Commerce Guild, a subsidiary of the New Hanseatic League. While casinos, currency handling facilities, and communications hubs were subjected to scattered attacks and terror bombings, Mustafa Mons and his Black Hand Commandos broke into the Shenburg industrial depot and carried out a massive heist. Tons of military grade equipment was stolen, and the rest of the facility was burned down.
Frankenmechs and the Grand Debut
The forces of the Silk Road and the Wastelands had long been characterized by cobbled together units and piecemeal machinery. Striders, mag-rails, and the eponymous Frankenmech were the heavy hitters of the scattered wastelanders.
In the annals of military history, more than a dozen different mecha have been emblazoned with the title Frankenmech, but the greatest machine to wear that title was a 70 ton amalgamation of destroyed Federation mecha and black market parts. This machine was for the most part cobbled together from Thunderbolt parts, a scattering of Wolverine pieces, and the star on top of the street, an experimental Tesla cannon. The Frankenmech was effective, destroying a number of light and medium mecha before meeting it's match at the hands of a three way coalition of Federation and mercenary forces.
The Vanquishers (117th Independent Mobile Squadron) were deployed north of Kinshasa, where they patrolled the northern shore of the Sea of Victoria. The Vanquishers fielded a mixture of light mecha, medium armor, and a contingent of jump infantry.
The Federation 91st Mobile Armor, the Sentinels, were sent to sweep NE of the patrol zone, where their light mecha were able to move quickly across the desert. They were backed up by a half dozen VTOLs and air cavalry power armor.
The Federation 45th Mobile Armor, the Legion of Honor, swept NW in a plan to capture or destroy the Frankenmech, and it's supporting raiders. The Legion of Honor was planned to carry the day and bring down the Frankenmech forces. To this end, the Legion was bolstered to nearly a battalion in strength, including armor, power armor forces, and the support of a Federation destroyer.
It was supposed to be a textbook job.
The Frankenmech was present, and was destroyed in a firefight with the Vanquishers, but not before inflicting significant damage on the mercenary unit. The great debut was the roll-out of the production series Aardwolves. This was not the first time the Aardwolf saw combat, as previous early models had already been sortied in unremarkable missions. The Great Debut was orchestrated by Mustafa Mons to deliberately draw out a sizeable Federation force so that his machine could face a worthy foe. Years of planning went into the battle of the Victoria Sea.
The Frankenmech forces consisted of a handful of cobbled together machines and the eponymous Frankenmech supported by an extended battalion of Aardwolves. The first stage of the battle was staggering. The Aardwolves smashed through the Sentinels, and their machine guns chewed up the jump infantry. The debut was so stunning that the Sentinels weren't able to respond. The Vigilantes fared no better. The Frankenmechs took the brunt of the damage, allowing the vanguard of Aardwolves and other wastelander forces to advance with ease. Mons and his force of Aardwolves made it to the shores of the Victorian Sea.
The climax of battle came when the forces of the much vaunted Legion of Honor, supported by the warship Subjugator, squared off against Mons and his wastelanders. What should have been a one sided battle turned into a disaster for Federation forces, and a route. Mons had no intention of sending his hard earned mecha into a toe to toe scrap against Federation mecha, where the Legion of Honor's Wolverines and Centurions were both larger, and generally better armed. The Aardwolves laid down volleys of static smoke and produced a dense screen against the superior electronics and comm systems of the Federation machines. The Aardwolves were equipped with decidely low tech systems, and primitive targeting systems that relied heavily on the pilots. The Aardwolves moved through the hot pink smoke and quickly engaged the Legion of Honor. The Legion was scattered by their inability to communicate with each other, and their targeting and tracking systems were scrambled. Dozens of times, a Legion mech pilot would try to lock onto the Aardwolf advanced directly in front of him while the computers screamed there was nothing there.
The Legion of Honor suffered extensive casualties and lost almost all of their machines. The Wastelanders salvaged over a dozen mecha before falling back. The Subjugator fared almost as poorly.
One of the aces of Mustafa Mons deck was a number of prototype jagd rockets. These short range rockets detonate and create a temporary dimensional sheer. This phenomenon interferes with dimensional reactors and a-pods, as well as other high end arcanotechnology. Mons's aardwolves were primitive in their fusion reactors and autocannons, were unphased by the sheer. The Subjugator lost primary power in the first volley, and suffered a low speed crash. The ship was severely damaged, and was not able to provide fire support, and when the static smoke rounds were popped, damage control on the ship suffered as crew could not communicate from one section of the ship to the other.
Propaganda and the Aardwolf
The Atlantic Federation did not suffer their black eye well, and followed Mustafa Mons daring raid with the brutal reprisal that was Operation Whistleblower. This operation was a massive intelligence and media campaign that blurred out Mons' devastating raid on facilities on the Victorian Sea, and ranged from straight media interviews where the raid was heavily downplayed, and doctored data was presented that showed the raid in more favorable positions.
Secondary operations were launched to find information on Mons' base of operation, and more importantly, the facilities that provided the mecha for the wastelanders. A dozen warships and the AfroZone 2nd Division was deployed, along with a classified number of mercenaries, shadow ops, and bribed wastelanders opposed to Mons and his radicalism spent two years hunting the would be World Controller. Whistleblower succeeded in killing Mustafa Mons in a low key assassination in an Icelandic Cafe, an intelligence ops assassin delivering a poisoned beverage. Hours later, the corpse of Mons was 'recovered' from the wreckage of a Levant war factory.
This was an apparatus of Whistleblower, as attempts to find the massive facility required to churn out mecha, or the lost tech depot where the aardwolves had come from had failed. A large piece of political stagecraft was concocted. Captured drone equipped Aardwolves and frankenmechs barely cobbled together were presented as defending a massive semi-buried complex. A propaganda laced stream was crafted with ceremonial regiment mecha destroying these knocked together defenders. Mons' body was seemingly pulled from the wreckage, and the great World Controller was dead and the Atlantic Federation could rest easy and have pride in their military forces.
This stagecraft was something of a known factor, and most people shrugged and went on with their lives. Embellishment aside, Mustafa Mons was dead, and the Wastelanders and rebels were humbled by the campaign against them. Most streams that discuss the production value of Whistleblower often find themselves eventually purged, but when it comes to things like this, the MECHA! stream will always deliver the clearest possible history, regardless of the potential threats.
Mustafa Mons has had a lasting legacy with the Aardwolf, and while Whistleblower proved his demise, it cemented the value of even a budget war machine like the Aardwolf. The schematics for the mech are readily available, and with even a basic polyforge facility, the machine can be built relatively easily. Military propaganda will often portray the Aardwolf as a soft target, a machine that can be shot one or twice and then explode like it was full of TORPEX. The truth is much different. Aardwolves are tough, their systems are solid state. The mech can operate easily in space, underwater, and in other environments, even when damaged. Federation Mecha can often suffer serious problems by being breached in a hostile environment, and will often retreat when even only modestly damaged. There are videos of half destroyed Aardwolves, arms missing, cockpits torn open, and engines exposed, still slugging it out with mechs that are, on paper, their superiors. Most of the forces that field the Aardwolf are also well versed in asymmetrical warfare, and how to use anti-technology weapons and tactics against their high tech addicted foes.
MECHA! is an irregularly produced tech and military hardware stream produced by a known and wanted Seibertronian rogue known as Skyjack. This individual has a surprisingly well versed in human information networks, and infiltrating various archives.
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? Responses (1)
Nicely written! I like it!