As I sat in orbit around Linhauiguan, taking stock of all the damage, I realized it was worse than I thought.  My repair schedule was sitting at 47 days and even though I had four auxiliary Mechs ready to go they were mostly Light Class and I was down one pilot.  I had just hired Vamp, a straight Rookie with no outstanding features, but I was forced to go back to the Hiring Hall and recruit Panda.  They could have been carbon copies, statistically, they all could, but I chose Panda because of her Periphery background: she grew up in the same region as Riana so I figured in a straight popularity contest she would choose someone she could identify with.

I spent over a month in orbit, repairing Mechs critical to the mission at hand; hunting down an injured, but experienced Lance.  The pay was good, and would offset my wasted month with a little left over.  I had Glitch and her Vindicator and a brand new Shadowhawk I had managed to slap together from parts.  I put Vamp in that.  Panda got to pilot the Blackjack which left Medusa in a Commando Light Class Mech.  The latter was literally nothing more than a long range missile platform; I had sacrificed armor and guns to load it to the gills with missiles and my plan was to have Medusa hide far behind enemy lines and just use Sensor Lock and rain death from afar.


Commandos are rather silly looking



The terrain was remarkable for the imposing feature of Mt. Everest.  Seriously this mountain was HUGE and it stood between us and our prey... or possibly predators considering how things had gone recently.  The Blackjack was not outfitted for ranged combat... at all.  Boasting an impressive array of Short Range Missiles (SRMs,) Medium and Large Lasers, and even a Browning machine gun it could lob 
nothing over that mountain.  The Commando, of course ran ahead to scout but the path up the mountain was steep and long.  The new Shadowhawk featured the same load out as the one I scrapped so it, at least, had Long Range Missiles (LRMs) and Glitch's Vindicator had both LRMs and the trusty PPC sniper canon.  By the time the Commando neared the top the enemy appeared on long range sensors... which meant they saw us as well.  Medusa established a Sensor Lock which allowed Vamp to fire the Shadowhawk's LRMs but both he and Panda were still pretty far from the top, and it would take a few rounds to get there.  Glitch fired her Jump Jets and reached the top, enabling her to target the first enemy ... a heavy class Jagermech.


The Jagermech


Looking like a bad guy from a Godzilla film, the Jagermech was massive... but damaged.  Glitch let loose with everything she could; a called shot to a vulnerable shoulder area, and scored a critical hit!  The Jagermech's left arm fell away, taking with it the armament there, but now an enemy Jenner moved into view.  The Jenner JR7-D is a fast cavalry striker; a heavily-armed bastard cousin to the Locust.  They tend to carry a lot of energy weapons and run hot, but we were in a Polar environment.  It unloaded what it could on Glitch even as a third enemy appeared on long range sensors.


The Jenner D



Medusa had switched from Sensor support to firing all missiles at the Jagermech.  In fact the heavy Mech drew all of my fire even as the enemy focused on dismantling Glitch's Vindicator.  Panda, in the Blackjack, was still trying to get to the summit, sprinting to try and appear as a distraction lest the enemy tear apart my valuable sniper.  Glitch relocated to a forested ridge near the extreme summit, granting her a little cover from enemy fire while increasing her to-hit bonus for height advantage, but the Jenner D was bearing down on her; with every closing meter able to fire more lasers.  Finally Panda reached the top, the enemy Jenner coming into her sights, and she let loose an impressive full barrage that tore apart the Jenner's left side; blasting off some of the laser cannons there.  Just then the final enemy, a GRF-1N Griffin, came into range.


The Griffin Sniper and Fire Support Medium Class Mech



The Griffin presented a pretty sizable threat; armed with a PPC and a huge battery of missiles I knew I couldn't leave Glitch in the open any more.  I risked one more attack, a called shot to the Griffin's PPC cannon.  It hit and diminished its capacity for damage, but failed to destroy it.  At the same time Vamp crested the summit and opened up on the Jagermech, blowing off its other arm.  The heavy Mech was shredded and largely harmless at range but it started moving forward threateningly; a melee attack from this monstrosity would be devastating.  Still, though, Panda kept the Jenner D in her sights, advancing and unleashing another full barrage that melted armor and tore into critical systems.  The Jenner wouldn't be able to ignore her for long.  While Medusa continued his largely ineffectual missile barrages Glitch fired her jump jets and fled behind the cover of the mountain, firing her LRM's at the Griffin from the mountain path, but back at the summit Panda rushed the damaged Jenner and kicked the CT out of it, taking down the first enemy.  Both Vamp and Medusa turned their fire on the Griffin, ignoring the handicapped Jagermech for the time being.  As the heavy Mech approached all units concentrated fire on the Griffin, but it was Panda with a flanking maneuver that landed the deadly salvo, unleashing all weapons at close range.  However now the Jagermech was getting close.  Luckily Vamp got the initiative and with a mighty punch dropped the monster in its tracks.  There were more repairs than I would have liked to the Vindicator, but overall we came through that mission with flying colors.  Still though, we were hurting and I needed a milk run.  I paid 150,000 C-Bills for transport to the distant, wealthy planet of Rockwellawan.


Sure enough I found one, a simple Destroy the Base mission, and as a bonus Hysteria was now back in action.  I ordered a complete refit of my devastated Centurion, being forced to replace an arm, CT, shoulder, and both legs.  It was expensive; nearly 300k in repairs.  To help balance it out I sold the Commando.  I took to the planet with the Vindicator, a brand new Jenner I put together from parts, Hysteria in her Blackjack, and Panda driving the Panther Light Mech as an auxiliary sniper.  There wasn't much to say about this mission other than it was the first repeated map I've seen in quite a bit of play time, which is impressive.  Total milk run, no damage at all.  I've still got over a month to go on the Centurion refit so I've accepted what looks to be another easy job on Sacromonte.  With a few more of these under my belt I'll finally feel ready to hit Weldry and open hostilities against the Aurigan Directorate.