Most people go their whole lives without ever going into space. A blessing and a curse, depending on who you ask. There is something to be said about seeing the enormous grass-green marble, smacked down against the asphalt black of space. Moons were scattered around the fluorite fueled green giant, like a dozen little vultures slowly circling an impromptu graze site. The blinding light of the local star was thankfully not in the picture, but the light it provided was very warm and inviting to weary travelers so used to empty blackness of the vacuum.
What the star made up for in light, it failed to break the cold.
Cold. That was a word for it. It was the one thing all spacers failed to get used to. It was a deep chill that sunk into your bones. A shark with icicles for teeth, slowly burning it's way down into your heart, no mater how much you tried to insulate yourself from it.
But hey, how about those views?
Neither one of these things was on the minds of any of the men and women gathered in recreation room 6, of the IMS Hesperides, a Draconis-Class Cargo Ship. The lack of windows provided a hindrance to sightseeing, and the focus on the briefing put the cold out of everyone's minds. Twenty-seven soldiers, all in casual wear, were packed into a room originally intended to hold twenty. All eyes were focused towards the short, Slavic man up front.
Chief Petty Officer Ambrozije Kapić was one of five COs of the 441st Armored Footmobile Brigade. His was the responsibility of the 4th Battalion, which was composed of 319 souls. In front of him was his twenty-seven highest ranking NCOs, and behind him was marked map with a small list of notes to one side, containing important information pertaining to their upcoming objectives.
"Private," came the voice of the CPO, "kill the lights, if you'd be so kind." The lights in rom dimed to the point that only the front was clearly visible, illuminated by the projector. "Alright everyone, here's the deal. Oinari IX is our destination, Sanbashi to specific."
A picture of a city comprised of a large spaceport complex at it's center was on display. a large 'h' shaped building with several large pads around the outside of the arch, with a few smaller ones on the inside as well. Apartment blocks, maintenance facilities, a few transit systems, and residential marketplaces slowly rippled out away from the main complex which dwarfed every other aspect of the city of 845,000 people.
"The Peri will be dropping us off here," the map expanded to show a large courtyard outside a transit station plaza "and Alpha, Bravo, and Delta will secure any positions along these causeways." Several major roads around the station were highlighted and given corresponding unit designations. "Charlie will be held in reserve. Now, since the 3rd Spectre Legion is joining us today-" the room filled with boos and hisses "-we'll be flying in on our Bears." The room was filled with mild cheers of approval with this, until a hand came up in the crowd. "Maistre?"
The mountainous Norman man towered over all his comrades, even while sitting, stood up with a respectful nod. "What's the wait degree, Chief?"
The only question that ever truly mattered at these briefings. IMC policy coming with a vengeance to bite every last one of them in the ass. International laws prohibited the IMC from just showing up and evicting populations without notice. The amount of notice given was calculated out and determined the time the IMC gave a world to prepare for evacuation. This period of inaction where IMC forces were on maximum deployment, but also on total stand by mode, was referred to as the 'wait degree'.
These 'wait degrees' were insufferable to the troops. At first, it hadn't been a problem. But with the advent of the Frontier Militia, things had become complicated. Many of the residents usually had no intention of moving, semantics for debating at another time, so they would send out a request for help to the Militia. A colony would be given it's advance warning and, instead of using that time in order to prepare for a peaceful evacuation, they call in the help of the Militia. IMC forces would be forced to watch and wait as their opposition set up countless defenses in the time given to them. Regardless of what the Militia did in order to set up defenses, the IMC was forbidden from setting foot on the world for a minimum of 36 hours. One highly populated colony once was given a week to prepare.
And so, the question of the wait degree was always asked. "I'll answer that in a minute, Maistre, okay?"
The brute sat back down. "All good, Chief."
"Alright," Kapić continued to the next part of the briefing as the display changed, "now since our objective is to secure the Transit station and oversee the evacuation of sector Foxtrot-4, we will not be engaging in any offensive actions. Let me repeat; strictly defense." His emphasis could not be clearer. "The Guadiana's 2nd Air Assault Wing has two Goblin Gunships on standby for CAS if needed, but with authorization from ATCOM. Once your perimeters are established, Heinkel Squadron will be deployed on advanced recon. Standard ROEs are in effect, so that means..."
The small contingent of Titan Pilots clustered near the front row all droned together, "No shooting unless you're bleeding."
"Täpselt." The room had a short bout of laughter. It was small things like this that dissolved some of the tension before a deployment. A well timed joke can dissolve much of the tension, and keep everyone's minds on mission and off mortality.
A large gloved hand shot into the air. "Chief," grunted a Germanic man in the Pilots section, "what're the regulations regarding Titan falls?"
Warrant Officer Alois Haberditz was a resent addition to the crew. he was a relatively young, but by no standards green, and a very good shot. At twenty-six years old, he was on the younger side of most Pilots, but a twenty-two or twenty-three year old Pilot wasn't unheard of. He passed CTOS as a heavy ordinance specialist, and had been on several marginally dangerous operations, where he quickly developed a niche in sharpshooting with his assault rifle. A few weeks ago, his Brigade was surrounded and cut off for three days and suffered 'logistical annihilation'. The remains of his unit were transferred to other low strength forces about to be deployed to 'hazard pay sites', what military personnel would refer to as the front lines.
"It's dense population, so NRMs only. And no Ogres, either." Several members of Heinkel Squadron grunted in dissatisfaction.
Six of the sixteen Pilots operated Ogres as their primary Titan. Luckily, or not depending on how one looked at it, every IMC Pilot has a 'primary Titan' and a 'reserve Titan', which is used when the primary is restricted or damaged. The main problem with the reserve Titans, which is a major grievance with Ogre Pilots in particular, was that all reserves were standard issue Stryder-class. Even if it was equipped with a 40mm auto-cannon, MTMS, and Particle Wall, it was still an deviated setup on a rig the Pilots weren't used to.
The rest of the unit was still irritated, at least anyone who didn't use a basic projectile weapons, but were pleased that they wouldn't have to trade out for an unfamiliar Titan.
"Now, once the civilian population has been evacuated, you will exfil via the Transit system, so try to make sure it doesn't take to much damage. Remember everyone, our job on this op is over watch, not hard contact. Militia presence is expected to be very heavy, so once the timer is up, bug the fuck out of there."
The room remained mostly silent, with a mix of nods or mumbles of confirmation and understanding. Until someone in the back yelled out. "So what's the degree!?"
Without missing a beat, Kapić stated flatly, "Seventy-two hours."
Grumbles of mixed feelings flooded the room. Small discussions broke out between people as they tried to determine if this was bad or not. On one hand, there was the fact that seventy-two hours was not enough time to set up major static fortifications. With only seventy-two hours, that gives the Militia enough time to either fortify a few key areas with reinforced positions and sluggish response forces, or a dispersed, flexible response force without the ability to attack large IMC force. But all this depended on the size of the Militia Force.
"Chief," a man said, "who's the OpForce?"
Chief smiled, and a charge went through the room. Hardened veteran grunts grind in delightful anticipation.
"You want to know, uh?"
"Is it the M-COR Boss?" And other similar questions, albeit more resembling statements than questions at this point, occupied the air. All silenced with a raise of the hand.
Kapić lowered his hand and clicked the next image onto the screen. The image of a skeleton pirate pointing a pistol drawn in old dueling style, holding a flag with a stylized '11th'.
"Latest intel confirms with very high probability, that we will-" he had meant to finish with 'be fighting the 11th Advance Raiders', but the spontaneous uproar of all nearly everyone drowned him out. Even the newer additions to the 4th Battalion were fist pumping and expressing some moderate form of excitement. Similar expressions were probably taking place aboard other transport ships of the 441st Armored Footmobile Brigade.
The Marauder Corps, or 'M-COR', was the quintessence of the Frontier Militia. They were the famous of the Militia forces, and had quite a lot of popularity. That also meant that a lot of IMC units were itching to square up with them, especially for the 4th Fleet, the parent unit of the 441st. The 11th Advance Raiders in particular, shared a vendetta with the 441st, in that they had contested the same field of battle almost a dozen times. The last time had ended with the Raiders 'running back with their with their hides liked' as many of the troops put it. This had chalked up the third in a series of wins against the 11th Raiders, and the 441st was hoping to keep the streak going.
Alright, so as I was going through all the data files on the Titanfall operations, I noticed a lack of stories that, in my opinion, showed an accurate perspective view of the IMC. Even if it did, then the characters usually just up and switched sides because the IMC 'suddenly' crossed a moral line and the character didn't like it.
So, what I kind of hope to accomplish here is to show the war, or at least a fraction of it, from entirely the IMC perspective. I'll also be working in a little of my own head canon, so buckle up and brace for impact, 'cause it's going to get crazy... depending on your perspective at least.
So acronyms for all the people who have no idea what is being said, since the IMC is not a military and has made up a few of their own terms instead of using contemporary military terminology.
ATCOM- Air Traffic Command
CTOS- Combat Titan Operation School
NRMs- Non-Reactive Munitions (thermite, lasers, plasma)
MTMS- Multi-Target Missile System
Anything else confuse you, just ask.