For Want of a Nail
|For Want of a Nail|
|Author||Dan C. Duval|
|First published||30 September 2004|
|Era||Civil War era|
|“||In the Periphery, fighting a ground war often involves using what you have. Or, what you haven't sold off. Dan Duval shows us an unlikely hero reaching deep and using whatever he has left to defend his home and nation.||”|
Following a very embarrassing experience with a live grenade in training, Alliance Military Corps soldier Defoe finds himself assigned to grunt work involving spare parts and supply runs on Ramora as part of the Alliance Borderers. While he is replacing a damaged communication component on a decreipt and grounded Pegasus Scout Hovertank, the nearby fighter factory comes under attack from a company of BattleMechs and Defoe is trapped inside the tank with the two spotters (Benny and Hutchins).
The tank is hit and critically damaged. Defoe awakens from being knocked out in the back compartment to find Benny dead and Hutchins heavily wounded. Over the radio, they are urged to provide targeting data for the incoming air wing. Defoe prepares to run away. Hutchins, having lost an arm among other injuries, is in no condition to do anything but commands Defoe to report targets, but Defoe points out that the tank's transmitter was destroyed.
Recalling the saying about "For the want of a nail..." and realizing that providing the targeting information may make all the difference in the fight now, Defoe reconsiders. He rebuilds the still-functional receiver unit, which uses the same antenna and data bus as the transmitter, by exchanging receiver modules for transmitter modules even while an enemy 'Mech is approaching to finish off the wrecked tank.
Defoe awakens in a hospital, the only survivor. He learns that his improvised transmitter worked. The factory was saved and all enemy 'Mechs were destroyed, yielding valuable salvage.