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Author Topic: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)  (Read 70152 times)

blackpanzer

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Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« on: 09 May 2011, 23:41:54 »
Note: The Black Stars are a mercenary command active in an alternate universe setting in Battletech Mercenaries that is currently set in the year 3083 and is based on the canon information leading up to 3068, but in the dozen or so years since have taken a different path from the 'Dark Age' story path.

Some of you may had read our exploits that were posted before the Great Forum CrashTM. Unfortunately, much of the info has been lost. I shall make all attempts to retrieve them, but would most likely only be able to repost short snippets of past contracts. Enjoy!


From the Succession Wars to the Clan Invasion, from the SLDF's destruction of the Smoke Jaguars to FedCom Civil War. Constant and increasingly escalating warfare destroyed worlds and killed billions. What many failed to account for, and was indeed ignored when reported, was that years of fighting decimated something else. Something intangible - a soldier's soul. Most soldiers persevered, barely retaining their sanity by loosing themselves among their brethren and unit. Some commit suicide. Others flee, searching for a place to recover their direction, humanity and soul or simply to escape from court martial charges of desertion, cowardice and mutiny.


A group of such warriors from all over the Inner Sphere and Periphery met on New Hedon, the capital of Herotitus and formed the unique and unconventional Black Stars mercenary command. Though technically a single command, the Black Stars operate like no other mercenary unit. It is basically a collective of small units ranging from individual soldiers, to an entire Battlemech lance, to an entire reinforced combined arms battalion. These small units sub-contract jobs from the Black Star leadership. The leadership of the unit that runs the operations is simply called the Cell. Consisting of soldiers who have stayed for the longest with the Black Stars, the Cell negotiates all contracts after filtering through suitable ones and getting a majority vote from the current sub-contracted units.

The Black Stars make no preference for their recruitment. They would just as readily hire a retired Colonel from the AFFS as they would a washed out Periphery Mechjock seeking to escape gambling debts. There have been been cases of former Word of Blake soldiers fighting side by side with ex-ComGuards within the unit. The Black Stars thus offer autonomy and a safe haven to individuals in the very eye of the turmoil in the current universe. The founding members of the Black Stars decided to gave the fragmented members of the unit at least a passing sense of unity and belonging by deciding on a simply black star as the unit insignia. It also reflected the fact that the unit's loyalty was to itself, which may change from battle to battle hence the preclusion of a traditional 'House' of 'Unit' colours. It may also be noted that being a simple spray and/or stencilled on design, a new unit sub-contracting under the Black Stars can put up the small logo quickly, and remove them just as easily when they inevitably decide to leave.

Current Status:

No one could have foreseen how far the Black Stars had come from the very dark days in 3078. Back than, the unit was barely 2 companies strong, picking up contracts in the Periphery usually for corporations that require additional muscles, or some nobles who needed someone else to do their dirty work for them.

During a pirate hunting mission for the MoC in the Gal' ron systems, the unit, together with a BattleMech lance from the First Canopian Fusiliers were ambushed after receiving false intel. Stranded on Herotitus with nothing more than a few VTOLs, foot infantry platoons, light 'Mechs and even lighter tanks, the Black Stars went under new management and picked up their first contract on Fujidera. It was make or break - if the rag tag unit survived, and survived well, they would be able to rebuild. If they failed... they figured they would be joining other commands if they were still alive.

With their unorthodox methods and constantly changing TO&E, the Black Stars completed their first few contracts easily enough, earning enough cash, and salvaging enough equipment to grow. Rather than working for any of the major factions and Houses, they chose instead to work for corporations and private entities, thereby assuring that they would be able to travel across borders easily to pick up the most lucrative and suitable contracts with little problems.

Still, not everything has been a cake walk for the unit. Not all contracts would be what was initially thought, with unexpected encounters with unexpected enemies. The unit has been hammered badly several times, bashed down in size and manpower. However, with the unit's rather unassuming recruitment policies, and no lack of recruits from all corners of the known universe, the unit has always been able to rebuilt.

Currently, the unit is classified as over a regiment strong, with their own DropShip carrying capabilities as well as technical and medical staff. However, the collective lacks their own JumpShip assets - a point that has not escaped the Cell. All efforts are being directed to the acquisition of these valuable assets. Until than, the unit has always been insistent that employers provide full JumpShip transport capabilities both to, and from the unit's contract destination.
« Last Edit: 10 May 2011, 00:24:04 by blackpanzer »

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #1 on: 10 May 2011, 00:01:49 »
The Black Stars' TO&E (As for July 3083)

Sub-unit: Sharp Shooters under Zhao Zi Long
Seeker Class DropShip - Event Horizon
Gazelle Class DropShip (Obsolete) - Ourang Medan
4 x Ajax OmniTank Chassis
2 x Ajax A Omni Kit
4 x Ajax B Omni Kit
8 x Manteuffel Attack OmniTank Chassis
8 x Manteuffel Prime Omni Kit
4 x Manteuffel A Omni Kit
4 x Demolisher Heavy Tank
6 x Demolisher (Arrow IV)
2 x Demolisher (Gauss Rifle)
2 x Badger Tracked Transport Chassis
2 x Badger G Omni Kit
Nephilim Assault BA (Gauss)
Shedu Assault BA (Standard)
Se'irium Medium BA (Anti-Infantry)


Sub-unit: "Mortuus Legio Victrix" under Legate Gaius Marius

Century Primus: "The Reaper's Henchmen"
Aurora Class DropShip - Charon's Ferry
Hellion C
Fire Moth (Dasher) D
2 x LCT-1V2 Locust

Century Secundus: "Death's Chariots"
Fury Class DropShip (obsolete) - Baba Yaga
16 x Savannah Master Hovercraft

Century Tertius: "The Stymphalian Birds"
Leopard CV Class DropShip - Strigoi's Nest
6 x Seydlitz SYD-Z1

Century Quatrus: "Evil Omens"
Aurora Class Dropship - Prometheus Unbound
9 x Kobold BA Squad (Modular and Support Mounts)
Afreet BA Point (JFV)


Sub-unit: Trouble Inc. under James Lockheart
Seeker Class DropShip (Obsolete) - Pandora's Box
Aurora Class DropShip - Matryoshka
2 x Black Hawk-KU BHKU-OF
Black Hawk-KU BHKU-OD Omni kit
Incubus (Vixen) 2
Solitaire
6 x Havoc B OmniVTOL
Havoc B Prime Omni kit
4 x Yellow Jacket Gunship (Arrow4)
6 x Warrior H-7C
12 x Ferret Lt. Scout VTOL (Armor)
6 x Ferret Lt. Scout VTOL (Cargo)
2 x Kanazuchi BA Squad (Heavy Battle Claw)
1 x Corona Heavy BA Point (Standard)
6 x Fah Shih BA Squad (Modular)
3 x Rottweiler quad BA Squad
4 x M3077 HMMWV (Artillery Spotter)


Sub-unit: Jack-O-Lanterns under Markus "Lantern" Jackson
Gazelle Class DropShip (Obsolete) - Cutty Sark
Aurora Class DropShip - Tam o’Shanter
Protech "Intruder" PA Transporter
Nighthawk Battle Armor (Laser)
4 x Void BA Squad (Nova Cat)
4 x Trinity BA (Ying Long)
4 x Grenadier Assault BA (Hunter Killer - Modular)
4 x Hauberk Assault BA
4 x Kobold BA Squad (Modular and Support Mounts)
Tornado PA (L)
4 x Werewolf Medium Battle Armour
Byakko Assault Hovercraft B
Byakko Assault Hovercraft C
2 x Maxim Mk II Transport (ISV/Shiloh)
2 x Tyr
4 x Hiryo WiGE Armored Infantry Transport B
2 x Hephaestus Prime
4 x Myrmidon Medium Tank
Enyo Strike Tank
Giggins APC
2 x Giggins APC (Fire Support)
2 x Badger Tracked Transport (Prime)
Badger A
Badger C


Sub-unit: Headhunters under Natasha Black
Union (Upgraded DMM Edition) DropShip - Saguenay
Pillager PLG-3Z
Supernova 3
Flashman FLS-9C
Huntsman (Nobori-nin) N
Raijin II RJN-200-A
Grendel Prime
Arcas 2
Scarabus SCB-9T
Ostscout OTT-9CS
Tarantula ZPH-4A
4 x Yellow Jacket Gunship (Arrow4)
2 x Sabutai Prime
Visigoth A
Batu Prime
Batu B
Jenghiz A


Sub-unit: Winter Wolves under Aleksei
Longinus BA Squad (Modular)
Gray Death Standard BA (Modular)
2 x Elemental BA Point (Modular)
Salamander BA Point
Saxon APC
Donar Assault VTOL
Hephaestus Scout Tank


Sub-unit: Alpine Rangers under Bill Frost
Union (Upgraded DMM Edition) DropShip - Dehgolan Lion
Pouncer D
Banshee BNC-8S
Thunderbolt TDR-9NAIS
Griffin GRS-6S
Turkina Prime
Mad Dog H
Kit Fox F
4 x Marten (Infantry Variant)
2 x Pinto Attack VTOL
4 x Foot Infantry Platoon Rifle
Mad Dog A Omnikit


Black Stars General Unit Property
Spector SPR-5F
Patron LoaderMech
Sai S-7
Mobile Headquarters
2 x 135-K Coolant Truck
2 x Ferret Lt. Scout
4 x J-27 Ordnance Transport & Trailer
2 x MASH Truck
3 x M3077 HMMWV
Foot Infantry Platoon Inferno
Foot Infantry Platoon SRM

Security & Anti-Riot:
2 x Anti-Mech Foot Infantry Platoon MG
2 x Ferret Lt. Scout (Cargo)
M3077 HMMWV (SRM Variant)
M3077 HMMWV (Artillery Spotter)
M3077 HMMWV (LRM Variant)
2 x M3077 HMMWV

Engineering & Salvage Team:
DemolitionMech WI-DM
DemolitionMech WI-DM2
Hyena SalvageMech HYN-4A
Kiso K-3N-KR5
2 x Flatbed Truck
Heavy 'Mech Recovery Vehicle (Hover)
Heavy 'Mech Recovery Vehicle (Tracked)
Heavy 'Mech Recovery Vehicle (Wheeled)
3 x Tonbo Superheavy Transport VTOL
4 x M3077 HMMWV
2 x Engineering Vehicle
Field Engineering Platoon
« Last Edit: 22 June 2011, 01:32:03 by blackpanzer »

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #2 on: 10 May 2011, 00:29:46 »
The history of the "Event Horizon" is a long and ill omened one, stretching back almost two hundred years.

In that time, the ship has served in units both prestigious and obscure. It has participated in missions both glorious and mundane. It has travelled to every nation of the Inner Sphere and the majority of the important Periphery realms.

Unfortunately, almost from its very construction on Tharkad, the ship has laboured under a reputation as a ship with a dark side.

During the ship's acceptance trials, a catastrophic reactor failure caused by construction mistakes killed the entire trial crew and engineering teams. It took almost a year after this to decontaminate the ship.

The next twenty five years did nothing to help dispel the building reputation of the ship, as an average of three crew-members died each year in improbable accidents and strange circumstances. Airlocks cycled with no command. Pipes ruptured for no apparent reason. Cargo shifted unpredictably, despite being well secured. One Captain was even electrocuted when his command chair somehow became part of the jump circuit controls.

Following this last incident, the surviving crew quietly brought in several priests to perform an exorcism and blessing of the ship. While not sanctioned by higher command, this action appeared to quiet things for the next fifty years.

Unfortunately, this period of quiet was not to last. The next incident was the one to precipitate the ship's departure from Steiner service. Tasked to deliver an independent raiding unit deep behind Marik lines, it is not known what occurred on board, though a mis-jump is suspected. What IS known is that the Event Horizon was discovered by Marik AeroSpace patrols drifting powerless with its JumpShip near a pirate point in the system of Campbelton.

Investigation found the two ships to be completely unoccupied with no sign of the crews, or any indication as to their location. (Darker rumors speak of mysterious writings on the bulkheads in corrupt Latin and bastardized Aramaic.) All cargo and equipment, down to the crew and passenger's personal items remained exactly in place, as if they had just set them down and walked away.

In-depth investigation of the JumpShip proved impossible, as during recovery operations, the ship mysteriously regained power and initiated a jump sequence. The Event Horizon had already been detached at this point, but the JumpShip, (the Scout class LCSS Marie Celeste), disappeared and has not been seen again to this day.

The Event Horizon passed into mercenary hands at this point, as the ship's reputation led many House units to refuse the ship due to morale considerations.

In the last one hundred and thirty five years, the Event Horizon has served with ten different mercenary and commercial concerns, each time changing hands under unusual circumstances, and always dogged with rumours of a "Curse" and a reputation as a crew killer.

When news broke of the demise of the majority of the Black Stars at their home base on New Hedon, Herotitus early July 3078, Zhao and Ten-Bears were hard pressed to keep the tattered remnants of the unit together. Putting together small groups of mercenaries, the self appointed CO and XO of the mercenary collective were faced with another problem - the complete lack of interest of any DropShip Captain to sign on.

After thorough meet ups, failed attempts at black mails and bribery, the pair were approached by a Captain Nigel Harris. Pleasantly surprised, but with suspicions on the unsolicited approach, the new Black Stars officers were stunned when it was disclosed that Harris was the Captain of none other than the Seeker Class DropShip Event Horizon.

Dismissing the Captain's (repeated) offer of joining up with the Stars, Zhao and Ten-Bears continued their increasing desperate search for another DropShip. The curse of the Event seemed to leech itself onto the fate of the Stars even at that point. Two other DropShips - the ancient Union Class DropShip Simon Says, and a heavily refitted Mule Class DropShip, the Princess Bride both suffered mishaps. The Captain of Simon Says was ran over by a garbage truck on his way to put his signature on the papers to tie his Union to the Stars, while the Princess Bride was rendered inoperable indefinitely when an unloading accident resulted in an explosion of a cargo of explosive chemicals which gutted the entire hull of the 11,200 ton DropShip.

Faced with the prospect of being stuck on Herotitus while the start time of their contract on Fujidera closing in, Zhao and Ten-Bears reluctantly accepted Captain Harris's offer.

Thus began the intertwined fate between the Black Stars and the Event Horizon.

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #3 on: 10 May 2011, 00:37:47 »
The Saguenay’s long history started way back in 2658 when she had been first launched out of a shipyard now long since lost to the sands of time from the countless battles of the Succession Wars. Originally manufactured to the specifications of what today would be considered an obsolete design she had been twice extensively retrofitted, first to an upgraded Union-class in 3067, and then more recently last year by the new Star League’s Department of Mercenary Management who acquired the ship to be used in one of its starter mercenary programs.

Originally built as a twin ship along with the Union-class Skeena the pair of vessels had been laid down and constructed at virtually the same time and had been bought by a subsidiary firm of Irian BattleMechs Unlimited intended for use in shipping orders to clients outside the borders of the Free Worlds League. For many long years both ships worked in tandem or together making delivers of freshly produced factory products to both worlds within the Free Worlds League and outside its borders to planets such as Altair, Dieron, Solaris VII, Sian, Terra, Tikonov and once even as far away as Canopus IV. It was during one of these trips in 2729 that things took a horrible turn for the worse.

A transportation manager for the firm was bribed and later discovered to be implicated in a plot with four other individuals to have a shipment of ‘Mechs and both DropShips stolen while on the final legs of their journey to Canopus IV. However the Free Wolds League military and Irian BattleMech Unlimited were too late in being able to prevent the theft and a large collection of mercenaries overran the Invader-class JumpShip Yougotoy and her three attached DropShips in an uncolonized system just one jump outside the League’s border. Part of the reason for the slow response by the Free Wolds League military was due to the ongoing political crisis and the dissolving and subsequent arrest of the Free Wolds League Parliament one week after the plotted theft was discovered. To this day it is not know who was responsible for the attack, whether there was Cappellan or Taurian influence or even if the Magistracy of Canopus itself was responsible when it later refused to pay for the lost shipment. All that is known is the spotty details of the aftermath.

Several weeks later the mercenaries jumped into the system PT8794, which would in the future be colonized and renamed Rockwellawan, where they released the Mule-class civilian transport Arboris and some of the JumpShip crew to a band of pirates known as “The Shelhaiya” for a modest fee. These survivors were later ransomed back to the Free Wolds League or would be found working as slaves on half a dozen bandit held worlds. The mercenaries however would then make a jump to another uncharted system to meet their contract employers for payment and transfer. However during the subsequent negotiations the mercenary commanders doubled the price of their operating fee and tensions mounted to the point where combat ensued. Most of the mercenary fighters were destroyed in the opening minutes of the engagement, but before a boarding action could be completely achieved the mercenaries attempted to jump out system. By this time however both the Saguenay and Skeena had been seized by boarding teams and both ships had detached from the JumpShip’s docking collars. When a jump window was opened both Union-class DropShips were still inside the KF Drive field and were violently hurtled through space with the Yougotoy even though they were not securely attached. When a malfunction in the KF Drive caused a partial field collapse at 99.4% of the jumps distance and then again at 99.99937% the Yougotoy arrived in the Herotitus system approximately 10AU out from the systems star, however both DropShips were missing.

It took another two weeks for the JumpShip to recharge and make the jump to Ward were those on board issued a distress signal to the colony in system. When a relief ship arrived with supplies most of the persons on board had succumbed to starvation. Those that survived would give little information as to the incidents that transpired. It took almost another 300 years for the story to pick up again when in 3013 a single ship was tracked drifting into the Herotitus system by a band of mercenaries known as “The Roadrunners” who salvaged it and discovered it to be the lost Saguenay. For the next fifteen year the Saguenay served mainly along the FWL with the Roadrunners conducting operations during the 3014 Free Wolds League civil war, a few raids into MoC space and fighting off piracy. The Roadrunners were destroyed during the fighting that followed the Duchy of Andurien seceding from the Free Wolds League, supporting the fledgling nation in their attack on the Capellan Confederation the ship was captured, than upgraded and later sold on Palos to the Styk’s Commonality. As part of the Styk’s limited navy force the ship succeeded in helping stall the invasion of Gan Singh during Sun-Tzu Liao’s Xin Sheng movement. The ship’s crew was credited with killing three medium class Capellan aerospace fighters in the opening engagements alone, but after grounding on planet was placed back in Capellan hands when the Commonality fell. Afterwards she was transferred to the SLDF navy while Sun-Tzu Liao was the first Star Lord of the Second Star League.

Initial;y used for running supplies in and around the Chaos March when Terra was recaptured by ComStar for the first time in over 350 years the Saguenay began running shipments from Irian BattleMechs Unlimited to Terra again, but this time working for the SLDF navy. However the ship itself, it has been logged, stubbornly refused to cooperate. The engines would cut out, controls surfaces would suddenly freeze and at one point the ship shut down all air traffic in a 300km radius around the Irian BattleMechs Unlimited factories small spaceport when the ship was blamed for transmitting a screeching signal on all available communications frequencies that totally disabled all communications for close to an hour with no known scientific or mechanical cause.

Yet there is one explanation that has been put forth by her last Captain, a man named Neil Silver, who reported in the ships log, that the ship itself is cursed! Rather if one took the time to look back through the ships record, wrote the Chief Engineer Kenneth MacDonald in a memo during the ships recent refit to a DMM Edition status at the Alice Springs Spaceport on Terra, the vessel isn’t so much cursed as it is obsessed.

Starting with the most recent ‘anomaly’ and working back operators at the air traffic control center for the Irian BattleMech Unlimited spaceport were quoted as saying when the ship let out its burst of static that a bone chilling female voice could be heard calling out “Skeena! Skeeeeeena!” amid the static and background noise of whatever failed mechanics caused the event in the first place. Computers would shut down whenever anyone tried to erase or move out old ships records to another mainframe to save memory space in the vessels computer core. The engines would fail whenever the ship finally arrived at its destination star system, along its old convoy route as if it were waiting for another vessel to hurry up and follow along. A JumpShip Captain once made the mistake of renouncing the ship's past and the existence of the Skeena by extension as a load of bologna. The Saguenay’s engines cut it to early during the undocking procedure and the JumpShip’s number 4 collar was all but destroyed when the engines melted away and scorched most of the frame in that area.

At Gan Singh when the Capellan navy sent six fighter craft to intercept and destroy the Saguenay and her two aerospace escorts the only surviving Capellan Confederation pilot talked of their fighter’s sensors playing tricks as if there were two DropShips flying side by side. The pilot, one Mallory Qin Li gave a report of an enemy ship that seemed to be possessed by a demon. Not only did sensor ghosts prevent the Capellan forces from achieving solid locks on their much larger target but the Ship itself seemed to seethe with fury. Miss Li announced that its armour absorbed damage as if it were twice as thick as it should be, and that the craft's energy weapons in particular fired with an accuracy and with such devastation as to be labelled paranormal. However the trouble the Capellan navy had with the ship didn’t start there. Years earlier when the Capellan’s had captured the Saguenay and begun retrofitting her for an upgrade the vessel mysteriously broke free of the stations moorings and lazily spun off using manoeuvring thrusters in the direction of Herotitus. But even before that strange episode the craft claimed the life of a Captain and his aide who had ordered the vessels name to be change to “Huo Niao” (Fire Bird). Needless to say the Captain, his aid, and their Rotunda armored car were vaporized on the spaceport tarmac at Grand Base when a lower weapons pylon puzzlingly opened fire without the vessels primary fusion drive being online.

During the extensive time the Saguenay had been in the employ of the Roadrunner mercenary unit the CO Captain Jake Gallegar had spent quite an effort at searching for the lost Skeena in and around Herotitus during his near yearly trips to the mercenary world. This seemed to have placated the Saguenay for during her entire history with the Roadrunner’s she served them admirably without complaint. For now however historians to this day say the fate of the Skeena remains an ever present mystery, and the Saguenay seemingly a ghostly shell of her former self, wandering and meandering through the stars watching and waiting for the return of her lost sister.

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #4 on: 10 May 2011, 00:39:01 »
"The tiles you stand on, the handles on the doors, and all the buttons and switchs on the Charon's Ferry  are likewise of bone and human ivory. We surround ourselves with reminders of what awaits all of us in the end, so that we might reflect on its meaning, and never lose sight of our ultimate fate.” Gaius Marius's conversation with Zhao Zi Long, 19 October, 3081.

The legacy of the dead permeates the Aurora DropShip's entire history. Charon's Ferry has seen more death than even the most prolific killers in history. Before the Black Stars Mortuus Legio Victrix sub-unit acquired her, the Ferry was a morgue ship, carrying the remains of countless souls into the heavens, to be set free amongst the stars. Instances when it was employed included when a small nuclear weapon was employed as part of the little succession disagreement in the Free Worlds League a few years ago. This particular Aurora was there, carrying away the remains of the dead so as to prevent the spread of disease and help restore order. It was also part of the response to the Winter Plague outbreak on Mauripur, that time carrying medical supplies to the system, and then housing the physicians as they tried to stop the Plague. It also carried their bodies away again, when the Plague struck them down as well when they got careless.

All in all, this small DropShip carried over a million discarded mortal shells in its short time.

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #5 on: 10 May 2011, 00:41:06 »
Dropship: Fury Class
Type: Aerodyne
Mass: 1,900 Tons
Date of Acceptance: February 17th, 2954
Location of Manufacture: Gibson, FWL
Configuration: Standard, Factory Spec.
Crew: Eight (8 )
Capacity: Type 2 Military Vehicle Transport Cubicles (8 )
Type 4 Personnel Berthing Compartments (4)
Misc. Cargo (200 Tons)
Upgrades: NONE
Maintenance Grade: 2
Known Major Deficiencies: Interior Furnishings stripped
Date of Last Refit/Refurbishment: June, 3075 (Galax Shipyards, Fed-Suns)


Ship Identification Number: G7645JK9837ADE7560003B

Ship Designation: Baba Yaga

Assigned to DMM broker for Sale: November 1st, 3081
Previous Owner: Fed-Suns Military Transport Command (Outback Regional Directorate)
Reason For Sale: Not Given

List Price: 30,000,000 C-Bills (Negotiable)



…FS Baba Yaga: Recovered: Half-Trees System September 17th 3080. Crew/Passengers: Deceased.

In the chaos of the recent four-way bloodbath that the Clan invasion of the Outback had become, WMD's of several sorts had been used with abandon, chemical and biological weapons included. The Adelson system was one of several systems that had been completely depopulated and functionally destroyed by said weapons. A fact which had been discovered only when the unit “Chisholm's Raiders” were sent to reinforce the beleaguered planet and found nothing but a giant graveyard.

Less than a month later, a Merchant class and an Invader class jump-ship were discovered in a seldom used, unoccupied, way-point system, apparently having stopped to recharge their drives before proceeding. Attached to the ships were the Baba Yaga, the Princess Class liner Nicolletta, and the Monarch Class ships Henrietta May, Mary-Ellen Carter, and Liza Jane. The ships were all derelict, with power, but not responsive to hails, and only automated beacons transmitted any information, with those systems broadcasting a clear “Warn Away” signal.

Investigation by military salvage crews found all aboard deceased, the apparent victims of a very virulent disease.

Later reconstruction of the ship's logs and personal writings found aboard, painted an all too clear picture of what had happened.

Following the initial bio-weapons attacks on Adelson by the Word of Blake, many of the planet's “Elite” and wealthy had sought to flee the devastation, hoping to avoid the plague. Seizing the DropShips, and ruthlessly abandoning anyone with even a hint of illness of any kind, even a simple cold virus, they hoped to escape any contamination. They failed.

From the records, it appeared that several of the passengers had already been infected before boarding, but due to the subtle nature of the initial symptoms, and fears of being abandoned leading to the infected individuals concealing them, this fact had not been discovered until it was already far too late. By the time the first symptoms had appeared, the enclosed environment of the ships had been completely contaminated and everyone aboard exposed.

Within four days, it was almost over. Eighty percent of the passengers and crew were dead. Either from the disease, or from a choice to commit suicide rather than suffer through the course of the disease. The rest were not to be far behind. All the remaining crew could do was to set the automated beacons and initiate one of the anti-boarding protocols installed on the ships. Anesthetic gas quickly rendered everyone remaining aboard unconscious, letting them die relatively peacefully through gas overdose instead spending their last hours writhing in pain.

Overall, the death toll aboard the ships was over two thousand. A mere drop in the bucket set against the backdrop of whole planetary populations being wiped out, but horrific nonetheless.
« Last Edit: 10 May 2011, 04:15:23 by blackpanzer »

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #6 on: 10 May 2011, 00:42:43 »
"Many of the Tamar and Skye worlds in the Lyran Alliance were populated by the Scottish and Irish, and many of us, including me, have some heritage from that direction, though I am mostly of German origin. Nonetheless, I speak fluent Gaelic, and as part of our schooling we are taught the histories.

“One of the most celebrated of the Scots was a poet named Robert Burns, and his famous work is a cautionary tale told in verse, about a man named Tam o’Shanter. Now Tam was an honest man, but prone to giving himself over to the drink. His wife, portrayed as an authority to be feared, usually keeps him in line either through her viscous tongue or with the threat of a frying pan to the back of the head.

“One evening however, after a trip to the markets, Tam gives over to his desire for the drink and settles in at the local pub to down some ale. When he finally realizes his predicament, that he is drunk, it is late and his wife will give him a thrashing when he gets home it is already nearly midnight, or the witching hour back in those days if you will.

“On his way home, Tam, through a drunken haze, perceives a strange ritual in the local church which is commonly believed to be haunted. A group of witches and warlocks are performing a wild dance, complete with open coffins and the devil himself in tow. The witches are dressed only in the their night-shirts, and the prettiest of the witches, named Nannie, has on a shirt, called a cutty-sark in those days, that is much too small and reveals more of the comely witch than Tam’s inebriated libido can resist, so he calls out:

“’ Weel done, Cutty-sark!And in an instant all was dark’”

“Well, even a drunkard like Tam could now see he was in serious trouble as the assorted ‘Hellish Legion’ started to chase after him. Putting all his faith in his horse Meg, Tam o’Shanter fled for the bridge across the River Doon, as all good folk knew in those days that the wielders of magic could not cross running water.

“The mare wins the race, though not before losing her tale to Nannie, who is not only the most comely but the fastest and hungriest of the assembled demonic host. Tam, it is assumed, goes home to face the wrath of his wife, but the tale concludes with a warning to all, albeit with tongue firmly in cheek:

“’ Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother's son, take heed:
Whene'er to Drink you are inclin'd,
Or Cutty-sarks run in your mind,
Think ye may buy the joys o'er dear;
Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare’”

“Nice story,” Cherie complemented after a moments silence, “So you have called the ship Tam o’Shanter then?”

“Actually I was going to name it Meg after the horse,” Markus replied.

“That is a stupid name for the ship,” Michelle exclaimed, giving Markus a hard look.

“I know,” he said back with a grin, “So yes, Cherie, the ship will be named the Tam o’Shanter, more due to the fact that he had his fun and got away with it than anything to do with the moral of the story.”

snakespinner

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #7 on: 10 May 2011, 03:51:47 »
Good to see the Black Stars back.
I like the dropships you are getting. Cursed and diseased. }:)
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #8 on: 10 May 2011, 04:20:53 »
Past Contract List Completed (Ordered by descending date commenced)

Registered Contract: FW-SD-02-03
Region: Free Worlds League
System: Fujidera
Galactic Coordinates: X: -77.46 Y: -227.42
Days to Jump Point: 5 days
Planet: Fujidera
Primary Planetary Climate: Continental
Approximate Population: 499 Million People
Capital City: Kintetsu
 
Contract Type: Security Duty
Primary Operational Terrain: Unknown
Contract Duration: 2 Months non-negotiable
Employer: The Corporate Sector
Employer Contact: Chief Executive Officer, Mr Roger Temagu-Irez
Command Rights: Liaison Assigned
Supporting Forces: None
Enemy Forces: Unknown
Supplement Contracts Offered: None

PLANETARY DETAILS:
Fujidera is a small world. It holds a breathable, but thin atmosphere (sea level equivalent of 7000 feet on Terra). Within the last few thousand years, Fujidera suffered a major climate change. The terrain is primarily salt flats and marshes, cut by steep mountain chains. These mountains create a rain shadow. During the climate shift, the major wind patterns reversed direction, causing the flats and marshes to change sides. A massive extinction event wiped out most of the local fauna.

Currently, Fujidera is inhabited by three-quarters of a billion inhabitants. The culture is fairly homogeneous, but there are some deep political divisions. Strangely, this has not affected the profits of the Sumitomo Group; a massive industrial zaibatsu that owns most of the planets production.

Socio-Industrial Levels:

Technological Development
   Advanced world with access to many new technologies; world hosts universities; good medical care available, though without benefit of bionics and other cutting-edge technologies; basic microelectronics industry.
Industrialization Level
   Basic heavy industry at level of 22nd century; fusion engines possible but no complex products (including BattleMechs).
Raw Material Dependence
   World/system produces some of the raw materials needed and imports the rest.
Industrial Output
   World has a moderate industrial base that produces a few different categories of products, exporting some of the output.
Agricultural Dependence
   World is agriculturally poor and must import much of its food to supplement what is grown.

EMPLOYER SITUATION REPORT:

The Sumitomo Group is worried about the protection of Grand Duke Christopher Halas of Oriente as he secretly visits the world for a couple of months to make the final preparation for Fujidera to become a powerhouse in construction of orbital defense satellites to be used throughout the Duchy to discourage adventurism by any of the factions in the Civil War.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES:

1) Work with the Company of Oriente Hussars to Protect the Grand Duke during his tour of the factories.

SECONDARY OBJECTIVES:
1) Help enforce the communications blackout of the planet during the Grand Duke's tour.


Contract Summary:

The start, or rather, the beginning of what would eventually evolve into the current Black Stars mercenary collective, things did not began well for the unit. Consisting of sub-units and individual mercenaries that were deemed too weak, irrelevant, or simply unimportant for the leadership to be sent on their mission for the Magistry of Canopus - and that said a lot about the bunch left behind by the already lowly regarded Black Stars.

When news reached the ragtag bunch of individuals barely a company in strength that the main Black Stars collective had been destroyed in a botched up pirate hunting mission in the outer Periphery Gal' ron systems, the surviving members decided to pull whatever resources they could and seek out a contract.

After reviewing several viable options, the Stars decided on a seemingly easy security assignment on Fujidera. While the assignment itself would prove to be a very interesting one, what did leave a longer lasting impression was the Stars' run in with a Captain Martina Lowe who would be leading the Duke's personal body guard unit.

While the contract stated that there would be no supporting forces, Sumitomo Group deployed their own security details to provide additional protection to Grand Duke Christopher Halas of Oriente, while the local constabulary would be placed on standby to lend any sort of support as and when necessary. Furthermore, the Grand Duke has decided to surround himself with a bodyguard BattleMech company drawn from the ranks of the 2nd Oriente Hussars - a strange move since all the places that the Duke will be visiting would not be accessible to 'Mechs.

The Stars had thought that the most exciting part of their contract would be trying to outdo each other in finding new ways to tweak the Captain's nose. They would be wrong.

On his visit to Juniper Fields Assembly Plant, the Duke and the Stars, with the dismounted Mechjocks from the 2nd Oriente Hussars were attacked by Cultists who worshipped Blake. Armed with weapons ranging from table knifes, pitchforks to a few ancient guns, the group were no match for the heavily armoured and armed infantry bodyguards that the Black Stars had posted around the Duke. When their attack faltered, the Cultists fled from the factory buildings - straight into the waiting guns of the Black Star tanks. The carnage was unbelievable.

Quote
Juniper Fields Assembly Plant
Kintetsu, Fujidera, Duchy of Oriente
Free Worlds League
24 October, 3078
14:50 Hours Local Time


The twenty five minutes from the moment the crazed attackers stormed the assembly area to the point where survivors broke and flee saw the Overlook J11 Master C3 systems on the Morningstar received the most comms exchange in its decade of existence. Zi Long would have shot the complaining Brandon a grin if not for the potentially grievance of the situation. However, he DID allow the old comms wizard to respond as he pleased to the wails and complains of the Hussars' Captain Martina Lowe. He could still remember more than a couple of exchanges David and a couple of the officers in the Blacks Stars shared after the first few less eventful tours of the Duke, as well as statements from the local police as to the reasons for a number of bar fights in the pubs in between visits.

"She's not in our chain of Command... and she's an idiot.. any more questions?"

"Why an idiot? Well.. she wants to use ‘Mechs for a job they aren't suited for, she wants to take command where she is neither entitled, nor wanted.. and she's very obviously the product of extended inbreeding"

David had given Zi Long a very level and smug look as one of the infantry officers - Zi Long thought it was Conti, had past THAT particular comment. His XO had more than once questioned the Chinese man's fascination with Martina.

"We in the Stars do believe in hiring the handicapped, but not to run ‘Mech companies."

"..Yes, of course.. but only an idiot would consider a company of ultra-modern ‘Mechs in THAT camo scheme discreet."

Those two had started off AT LEAST three fights between Black Star and Oriente Hussar personnel on a little R&R.

"Why no, I DON'T know who your daddy is, nor do I care.. but he really should stay out of the livestock pens the next time he's feeling a bit randy."

And THAT, had resulted in fight that landed one of the Oriente Hussar lance commanders in hospital after he started a fight, and Zi Long having to rather reluctantly compose a lengthy, eloquent and totally non-heart felt apology letter to the Oriente Hussars.

Right now, the Taurian had more important tasks to handle than entertain her woes about being ignored by basically everybody - including her company of Mechjocks who had enough common sense to run for cover rather than trying to get into the way of the tidal wave of attackers. For once, the image of her turning all purple and red with anger did not appear in Zi Long's mind.. not TOO much anyway.

While much more suitable compared to the Battlemechs of the Oriente Hussars for the streets of Kintetsu and the Juniper Fields Assembly Plant compounds, they were still not allowed to enter the building. Idly training the turret mounted Mydron Excel Class 10 Autocannon at the main bay doors, the tank gunner, Frederick had made fun about Louie's request to smash and crash the Morningstar, all guns blazing, into the area to extract the Duke and the Black Stars infantry. "That stuff only appears in the Immortal Warrior series." He had chided. "We'll just as likely kill more than half our own people and maybe even the Duke if we do that."

Brandon called out to Zi Long as he patched Lieutenant Gallagher through. "The attackers are fleeing. Mostly through the main bay doors, some through the side doors."

"Roger that." Zi Long responded with a nod that the infantry commander would not see. "Hold positions and stand fast. We'll bring the CCV around."

Switching to the company frequency of the rest of the Black Stars, Zi Long sat up in his command seat. "David, swing your vehicles along to the main bay entrance and main side exit. Cut them off, offer surrender. If they resist, take them out." He finished grimly. "We have enough injured inside for questioning and interrogations as it is." Remembering Nikita and her crew, the mercenary commander continued. "Nikita's got a kid in her team who's an electronics genius who can locate transmissions and stuff yes? Get the kid to monitor sudden spikes of comms exchange - that may be where the lair of our friends are."

"James, bring your birds over the compounds. Keep a look out for getaway vehicles or larger clusters of escaping attackers. Try to keep a tag on them. Let me know where the slink off to for wound lickin'." Zi Long next instructed. "Also use the standby bird at base to bring in the Doc. I'm sure we'll be needing his services."

Mercenary they may be, and oft times considered ill disciplined. However, efficiency had always been the hallmark of the Black Stars. Quick responses were returned as each went about their assigned tasks.

"We're not gonna take part in the turkey shoot?!" Frederick nearly cried.

"No, we're doing something more important." Zi Long replied. "We're gonna pull the Duke's ass out of the fire and out of the way of our infantry so that they can close the escape door on those attackers." He smiled and he looked at Brandon. "I do believe that Captain Lowe was not contactable during all this chaos? Too bad than. I can't help it if she continues to scream her pretty little head off even though the Duke and Temagu-Irez would have been far away and safe, can I?"

"Ooooo.. so we'll make her look even badder?" The despair on the Morningstar's gunner face turned into childish delight.

Louie sighed even as he kicked the sixty ton machine into speed. "There's no such a word as 'badder' Fred."

"So what." The gunner replied. "There is now."

As it turned out, the attack on the Duke was never meant to succeed. The entire slaughter was recorded, and planned for widespread distribution to weaken the Duke's political position and paint him a monster. Fortunately, the Stars managed to pinpoint the hideout of the parties involved and retrieved all information.

All in all, things turned out pretty well for the Black Stars, especially for what was considered their maiden contract.

Quote
Space Station Oriente Light
Orbit above Fujidera, Duchy of Oriente
Free Worlds League
1st November, 3078
1200 Hours


The line of Black Stars officers in their predominantly black, custom tailored long coat were a stark contrast to the bright green of the Oriente Hussars soldiers, and the bright orange work suits of the Sumitomo representatives. Silent but ominous, a squad of each of Black Stars infantry in body armour stood protective guard at the entrance to the link way to the Duke's waiting DropShip as well as behind the Duke as well. The deaths resulting from the cultist attack nearly a week ago still hung like a heavy shroud over the assembled group, making the atmosphere somewhat sullen.

The Duke was clasping the hand of Tamagu-Irez, exchanging a few quiet words - no doubt words of praise for Sumitomo Group's efforts and contribution to the Duchy of Orient. The elderly man's back was ramrod straight despite suffering the thin atmosphere of Fujidera for the past two weeks, as well as the punishingly hectic schedule and itinerary, and the cultist attack one week ago. Even beside the massive frame of Temagu-Irez, he looked even inch the warrior that had driven the powerful Duchy of Oriente and House Halas.

As the two men released their handshake, the Duke walked up to Zi Long and David. Both mercenaries snapped to a sharp salute which the Duke returned equally crisply, before breaking into a warm smile.

"I'm sorry I've not had the time to properly thank and commend you and your soldiers on a job well done." Christopher Halas began.

"Unnecessary your Grace." Zi Long replied with an easy smile. "It was our job."

"Indeed." The old man chuckled. "While that may be expected, especially from mercenaries, it still does not take away the fact that your command rose to the occasion admirably." Behind the Duke, Lowe could not hide the sneer in her face. "Still, I understand that one of the soldiers had lost his life protecting me?"

"Yes Sir. Trooper Edward Belloq suffered a shotgun round in his face." The smile on both Zi Long and David's face faded somewhat. "The fortunate thing, according to our medical officer, was that he died instantly and did not suffer."

"I am sorry to hear that." The Duke shook his head slightly at the news. "While it would go against protocol to compensate your unit more than what was on contract, I shall try to acknowledge his sacrifice some other ways. It is the least this old fossil can still do."

"Thank you your Grace." Zi Long and David bowed.

The Duke turned towards the squad of Black Stars troopers behind him, and caught all by surprise by giving the group a salute. It took a few seconds before they shouldered their assault rifles and presented arms in return. With a smile, Christopher Halas allowed his hands to fall to his side before making towards his waiting DropShip. As he passed by Temagu-Irez, he patted the man on his shoulders, both sharing a nod and smile before he disappeared into the air lock of the space craft, followed closely behind by Lowe and her contingent. The Oriente Hussar Captain was the last to board, turning at the entrance of the air lock and fixing both Zi Long and David a stare of hatred before following her charge into the DropShip.

As the procession cleared after the DropShip detached itself from the Space Station, Tamagu-Irez walked up to the pair of Black Stars officers. "Well, I dare say you guys made a rather good impression on his Grace."

Zi Long shrugged. "I don't really care as long as we get paid for keeping his royal ass safe."

Tamagu-Irez stared in mock shock at the Chinese man before breaking out in a boisterous laugh. "Spoken like a mercenary. Regardless of your attitude, his Grace has reminded me to send an independent assessment and reports of the events over the past month to the Oriente Military command."

"Just so because he doesn't trust Captain Lowe to relate things.. accurately?" Zi Long asked with a raised eyebrow. Temagu-Irez winked at Zi Long with a bright twinkle in his eyes. "And of course, it has got absolutely nothing to do with the chance of you having the opportunity to put your well polished shoe into her petite behind." Zi Long added.

The Chief Executive Officer of Sumitomo Group laughed again. "Anyone ever told you that you're too direct and too smart for your own good sometimes Captain?"

"More than I care to remember." Zi Long replied matter of factly.

"Hmm. I foresee that I might 'forget' to include Captain Lowe in the copy list of my report. All well and good if her own reports are accurate even though she might not know that another viewpoint is getting submitted." Tamagu-Irez next said, stroking his chin. "On the other hand, if the two reports are very different, someone might start asking questions.. pointed ones."

"It'd be a shame if that was to happen." David said in deadpan. "She might even get cashiered."

"C'mon." Zi Long looked at both men more than a little defensively. "Lowe's most likely a more than capable combat officer. Just not a good PR person in any way." He ignored the look David gave him. "What? I'm just saying that she just wasn't suited for THIS job."

"Indeed Captain." Tamagu-Irez looked at Zi Long in knowing amusement. "Despite my bias against the Oriente Hussars, I'm sure they would not simply allow anyone to rise to command and officer ranks, regardless of birthrights." It was Zi Long and David's turn to give him a wry look. "It's true!"

All three men laughed at that before Tamagu-Irez looked at the Black Stars again. "So, what's next for the Black Stars mercenary command?"

"To be frank, we're not sure yet." Zi Long turned and looked out of one of the glass panels at the black space beyond. "Wherever there's cash to be earned I guess. The universe is full of opportunities."

The CEO of Sumitomo Group joined him in his view. "I wish I could join you on your adventures."

All three men remained silent. They all knew it was a lie.
« Last Edit: 10 May 2011, 05:16:53 by blackpanzer »

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #9 on: 10 May 2011, 06:30:09 »
Registered Contract: PY-SD-06-01
Region: Periphery
System: Novo Franklin
Galactic Coordinates: X: 673.52 Y: 62.13
Days to Jump Point: 14 days
Planet: Novo Franklin
Primary Planetary Climate: Temperate
Approximate Population: Unknown or under 1 million people
Capital City: Campus Carinthia
 
Contract Type: Security Duty
Primary Operational Terrain: Unknown
Contract Duration: 6 Months negotiable
Employer: The Nobility
Employer Contact: Lord Alexi Trenchard, Posavski retainer & spokesman for the Franklin Trustees
Command Rights: Liaison Assigned
Supporting Forces: Carantania Guards (2 Lances of Mechs, mixed handful of Armour and Infantry)
Enemy Forces: Unknown
Supplement Contracts Offered: Siege Campaign

PLANETARY DETAILS:
Refugees fleeing from a Kuritan incursion into the Outworlds Alliance first settled the world of Novo Franklin in 2598. Looking for a new world to call their own, these refugees found a world rich in water and arable land, two details that became a beacon call throughout the region. As more and more refugees made their way to this world, dozens of farms and agricultural concerns sprouted up across the planet. Few major communities sprung up on the world, however. Its inhabitants were content to simply work the land and trade with each other for whatever they needed.

Within just a few years of its colonization, a social pecking order of sorts developed on Novo Franklin. Several powerful families gobbled up less productive farms, while dozens of smaller concerns banded together into co-ops to keep themselves from being taken over. When the chaos was over, the leaders of these fifty or so major farms had tightened their grips over their own territories. Within a decade of Novo Franklin's colonization, each had become the warlord of a miniature city-state.

Even with these problems plaguing the word, news of the great successes and bountiful lands there brought more and more hopefuls to Novo Franklin. Some paid their own way to the world while others were brought with the promise of a change to shape their own life. Nearly all ended up working the farms, indentured to the world's ruling families.

Remarkably little has changed since those early years, with a constant state of war existing between the various farms/city-states. Just as eras of war and peace, prosperity and depression swept through the Inner Sphere, so too did they wrack Novo Franklin. Alliances were made and broken, wars were won and lost, and revolutions came and went. Technology that had reached parity with the Inner Sphere was suddenly reduced to ashes by petty neighbours. In fact, Novo Franklin's history closely resembles that of half a dozen worlds throughout the Inner Sphere - though on a microscopic scale. The only significant difference, in that being that alone amongst the stars, Novo Franklin never had the economic and military might of an interstellar power to pull it back from the brink of collapse.

Today, the world continues to exist as it has for centuries, as a result of measures employed by the ruling class to preserve the neofeudal system. The planet's isolation has undoubtedly been a major factor in their success. That isolation, and the fact that Novo Franklin contains only a single, small spaceport, has enabled the planet's ruling class to closely monitor and control all contact the planet's working class have with the outside universe. The ruling class also prohibits workers from educating their offspring. Any worker who displays the ability to read and write or who teaches such abilities may be executed under the planet's laws. The rulers educate their own offspring of course, to ensure that their families continue to maintain their dominant positions within Franklinian society.

Even the education of the "gentry" class is far below the standard set by many nations, though, due to its limited access to outside information. The overall standard of living is actually relatively high, a fact directly attributable to the world's agricultural bounty. On the other hand, many within the working/peasant class are clearly dissatisfied with the way they are treated by their leaders. Though the punishment for revolt is swift and final, the people of three different city-states have successfully overthrown their warlords. This has naturally led to a growing popular uprising on the world, one that many of the militias on Novo Franklin are having increasing difficulty in putting down. For now, the ruling families still maintain their hold over the world, though that grip is growing ever more tenuous as the days pass

3058 Update

In addition to these measures, Novo Franklin's ruling families retain the exclusive right to interpret and enforce the laws of their planet. At times the families have imported mercenaries to aid them in enforcing the laws, but the families generally have little problem doing so themselves, as the planet's workers are legally prohibited from possessing any form of weapon. In addition to banning weapons, workers are prohibited from possessing almost all modern tools and appliances. One result of this ban has been the reintroduction of animal husbandry on Novo Franklin to produce horses and other beasts of burden.

Reportedly, Novo Franklin once boasted nearly an entire battalion of BattleMechs, but recent intelligence reports place the number at twenty-four. All of these machines are owned by the ruling families, but these are dispersed among dozens of political states over half the northern continent. It is unlikely that any state could muster more than two lances

Socio-Industrial Levels:

Technological Development
   Some advancement; poor educational systems; medical care at level of 21st-22nd century; microelectronics industry non-existent; some areas with higher rating possible, but privately run/held.
Industrialization Level
   Some industrialization at level of mid-20th century; fusion reactors imported.
Raw Material Dependence
   World/system produces all the raw materials needed and commonly exports large quantities of surplus.
Industrial Output
   World has a small industrial base that may produce a limited number of products for export.
Agricultural Dependence
   World has a rich environment producing a great excess of food in relation to population needs, with planet’s agricultural regions augmented by agricultural technologies; exports some portion of its resources.

EMPLOYER SITUATION REPORT:

Novo Franklin has changed a lot in last 10 years, it has been under inconsistent garrisoning by Clan Snow Raven and Clan Star Adder forces and during those times they have seen fit to strip the world of anything they wished before heading off to their destination. The most recent occupation was by several clusters of Clan Star Adder forces, as our little planet is not up to speed with what is happening in the Inner Sphere we are are very worried about the sustainability of our world.

Prince Posavski has taken the opportunities from the chaos of the frequent clan occupations to basically take control of the nobility and the assets of the planet via the Franklin Trustees, the group of powerbrokers created to deal with clan leaders when they arrive. The Prince has sent an envoy to the Inner Sphere to purchase some mercenaries with high-tech BattleMechs and auxiliary hardware to solidify his grip on the planet, although he recognizes that he will still be at the mercy of the godlike clans.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES:
1) -Undisclosed-
2) -Undisclosed-

SECONDARY OBJECTIVES:
1) -Undisclosed-
2) If a Clan unit arrives on planet, be passive.

Contract Summary:

The Black Stars were kicking their heels on Fujidera, enjoying VIP status under the purview of a grateful Sumitomo Group and Tamagu-Irez. With no contracts had really catching their fancy, with most requiring considerably more military hardware than the Black Stars had at the moment. The Stars were about to consider talking to Sumitomo Group about their offer of signing up the Black Stars on long term security when a message package came in.

The Stars were surprised that the origin of the package came all the way from the other side of the known universe, from the Periphery system of Novo Franklin. It was a contract offer from a Prince Ljudevit Posavski, Lord of the Carantania Principality. Actually, the liaison would be another blue blood sounding person with the title and name of Lord Alexi Trenchard - Posavski retainer & spokesman for the Franklin Trustees.

To the Black Stars, it was like a name from beyond the graves. Alexi Trenchard was one of the many previous Black Stars sub-unit commanders that had came and went as fortune brought along riches, and then inadvertently took them away. Trenchard had never worked under the current Black Stars leadership, but the man and his unit were known to have signed on several stints under the previous CO. While Trenchard's unit had usually been made up of machines more comfortable within a junk yard, the old and wily soldier had always found a way to find and exploit weaknesses in an enemy’s rear and hit them where and when it hurt the most. The last anyone heard of Trenchard, the old man had went into retirement after netting a cushy job for some noble family.

While the contract had been as official as any other, Trenchard had taken the liberty to add in some more information on the world itself, as well as the latest military intelligence. Looking at them, Zi Long and his fellow Black Stars officers had laughed. Barely two companies worth of ancient ‘Mechs and a smattering of supporting conventional vehicles were spread all over the world, broken up into small pockets, each controlled by separate petty lords and gangs. Trenchard’s employer, Prince Posavski, commands the largest and most powerful concentration

The offered contract had much going for the Black Stars. It would be in an environment and setting familiar to most, if not all of them since the majority of the Black Stars had at one point or another worked contracts in the one region of Periphery or another. More than a few were born in the Periphery. It would most likely require the employment of irregular warfare and the Black Stars’ trademark unconventional ways. It was relatively low risk – as long as the Stars did not have to engage in direct combat with the various Clans that frequented Novo Franklin, and higher paying that what Sumitomo Group offered them.

"Join the largest, richest and most powerful faction on a planet, baby sit their military and kick the others’ asses – what’s not to like about it?" The vote to pick it up was surprisingly quick and uneventful. Almost everyone was all for the contract. One of the Stars even commented that about the only injury they might suffer were back aches after sitting in the holds of the Event Horizon for the inhumanly long period of time needed to travel from Free Worlds League space to the Deep Periphery system.

"But, if that was true, Trenchard wouldn’t even need to hire outside help." Zi Long had wondered.

The situation that greeted the Black Stars confirmed their fears. Rabble that were passed for as military, nobles who were more interested in their petty political squabbles, and ancient feudal ways of life made training and reorganizing the troops a massive chore.

With the Black Stars bolstering their ranks, the Carantania Guards immediately set out to attack neighbours who had not seen the wisdom of bowing to them. The single target that the Black Stars hit were quickly won. It was several other fights that the Carantania Guards engaged in that the Stars discovered their brutality and incompetence. Towns that had surrendered were plundered, raped and torched. Frontal assaults against entrenched and prepared enemies caused unacceptable casualties.

Quote
The bunch of soldiers in mud splattered Carantania Guards infantry uniform huddled around the blazing fire which they had started in a discarded oil drum. Nearby, a crate had been smashed open, its contents already more than half emptied. Empty whiskey bottles lay strewn around the fire, as some of the soldiers snored, while most others took turns gulping down from the half a dozen bottles still left.

Lieutenant Nathan Katz was warming his hands in the freezing night as close to the fire as possible without actually getting burnt. He had already downed half a bottle of whiskey, but the burning liquid had not done much to raise his body temperature other than that of his face.

A scream of pure agony ripped through the night, shocking several soldiers, and waking two who had fallen asleep. Nathan turned towards the shattered building behind him with a frown, followed by a curse as another Caranthania officer strolled out from the darkness of its doorway. "God damnit Jiom, what the phuck did you do to her? Gut her alive?"

Lieutenant Nin Jiom smirked as he buttoned up his pants and joined the group. He looked down in irritation at his groin area. There was a wet and dark patch of red there. His frown turned back into a grin before he shot the soldiers around the fire a wink. "I'm thinking the bitch will be wishin' we'd actually do that to her by the time we're finished." The others laughed raucously at his comment and resumed their drinking. Joim snatched a bottle of whiskey from one of the soldiers and kicked the whimpering man away. "Who's turn is it next?" He asked after he took a swig at the dark brown liquid. One of the soldiers thrust his chin reluctantly at Nathan.

The Carantania Guards officers grinned at each other. "You actually won the draw?" Jiom asked in surprise.

"Nope, I reminded these bastards that rank has its privileges." Nathan's grin broadened and showed his chipped front teeth.

"Go enjoy yourself." Jiom encouraged his fellow officer with a pat on the latter's shoulders. He downed the last of the bottle and stared at the empty glass container. "What the hell?! Someone get me another.."

Another scream shattered the relative silence of the night. It was not those of a woman. It was Nathan's voice. The soldiers around the fire stared in silence once again at the pitch black doorway into which Nathan had strode into just minutes ago. After a few moments, a figure sauntered out. It was most definitely not Lieutenant Nathan Katz.

"Who the hell are you, bitch?!" One of the soldiers spat. In their drunken stupor, no one had even remembered to pick up their weapons.

The woman snarled as she eyed the group of Carantania Guards. "I would've thought that you'd know the person whose fiefdom you've came to invade."

In the ten seconds it took for at least one of the Carantania Guards to finally register who the woman was, semi machine gun rounds had hosed the entire clearing, sparing none of the invaders. The woman continued to stare at the still twitching bodies as another figure walked up to her from within the building where she had appeared from.

"It's too late. She won't survive." The second figure reported. The woman nodded, eyes burning and features hard.

"Help her on her way, cut short her suffering." She instructed. The figure nodded and retreated back into the shadow of the building.

------

Of the Carantania Guards led by a General Roger O' Connor that took part in the assault against Trellis Fief, not even the best techs on the entire planet would be able to put the pair of Locust back onto the field without a sizeable amount of spare parts. The Shadow Hawk would be repaired within a short time, although the Carantania Guards would need to find a competent enough MechWarrior for it. Two APCs were completely destroyed, as were three Scorpion light tanks. Of greater consequence was the lost of two entire battalions of infantry – nearly half of the total infantry strength of the Carantania Guards. Not enough marginally sufficient to offset these losses, would be the salvage consisting of a single operational armoured truck with a jury rigged autocannon, and the wrangled remains of the Phoenix Hawk from the fields of battle.

The Trellis Fiefdom would be reduced to nothing so much as blackened cinder and charcoal. Nothing of the once thriving village would remain – not even a whole piece of brick. Of its reported twenty thousand inhabitants and soldiers, only an estimated six hundred had survived the attack of the Carantania Guards. After exhaustive searching of the debris, no sign of Warlord Jessica Kolbe could be found. The few hundred of captured Trellis villagers and soldiers were bundled up, stripped of all belongings and force marched all the way back to Novo Franklin – after selected Carantania Guards who were known lackeys of General Roger O’ Connor had their fun with a couple of Trellis women. Less than four hundred would survive the punishing ordeal.

The Prince and Trenchard never had the chance to announce the arrest of O' Connor and his officer corps. A substantial portion of the returning Carantania Guards broke formation and headed out north about fifty kilometres before the borders of Carantania Principality. The rogue General had led the Firestarter, a pair of Scorpion light tanks and a single tracked APC in his Archer and fled. Several other known lackeys of the General fled from the Principality as well.

Days later, the group would be reported at the gates of New Saars Principality - the strongest opponent against Carantania and the alliance of kingdoms. Sketchy reports indicated that an ageing War Master Stephen Gould welcomed the renegade General and his troops with open arms. That was followed shortly followed by the War Master introducing his new and recently installed Commander-In-Chief to the former Carantania Guards General - Warlord Jessica Kolbe.

It was said that a 'Mech dual was immediately held between the two - O' Connor in his own Archer, and Kolbe in a Blackjack loaned from the stables of the New Saars militia. While no reports of the fight was released, both O' Connor and Kolbe were amazingly installed at the War Master's sides as his second in commands.

Shortly after that, the Unified Defense Force was formed, made up of troops and equipment drawn from all members of the Franklin Trustees Council. Novo Franklin had effectively divided itself into two major blocs - one under the dictatorial rule of the War Master, and another led by the Franklin Trustee Council.


blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #10 on: 10 May 2011, 07:39:53 »
Nobo Franklin Supplemental Contract - After the great success of the Black Stars' deployment and integration into the strategies of the Prince, they are called on (and paid to) continue the pressure on the New Saars Principality until they realise the futility of opposing the Franklin Trustees.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES:
1) Use traditional Siege tactics to force attrition of the New Saars forces.

SECONDARY OBJECTIVES:
1) Avoid pitched battles, the Prince does not want to pay for too many repairs.
2) If a Clan unit arrives on planet, be passive.

Contract Summary:

Slowly but surely, the Black Stars trained and led United Defence Forces pushed into New Saars boundaries. Knowing that his forces need assistance, New Saars hired the Silver Sabres that specialized in fast assaults and night attacks to beef up their own forces. In addition, War Master Gould also snapped up as many free lance MechWarriors as he could.

Against what was essentially a barbaric horde, with mercenaries scrapped from the bottom of the barrel, and New Saars leadership who ignored practically every piece of good advice from the Silver Sabres - the only competent military unit under their employment, the New Saars forces were doomed against the savage attacks of the Black Stars spearheaded UDF attacks. Desperate, War Master Gould used the last of his dying kingdom's resources to hire Rossi’s Armoured Legion - another mercenary command of battalion size. It turned out to be the best thing that happened to the Black Stars.

Quote
“Dominance Tor”, Gould Clan Fortress
New Saar Capitol, Novo Franklin
13th October 3079, 1200 Hours Local Time


“My Lord! It was not my fault!” O’Connor pleaded with the older man. “If my troops hadn’t broken like cowards, we would have defeated them! Punish the cowards, not those of us who are your most loyal.”

War Master Gould’s voice was almost a purr as he spoke softly, his manner almost that of a snake regarding a fat mouse. “Yet this does not explain why you ran as well. The Mercenaries I expected, all such money troopers are naught but cowards at heart. But YOU retreated as well.”

“Lord, I HAD to! When the peasants and cowards broke, I was left to fight alone. My remaining would achieve nothing but my death.” O’Connor tried to look righteous and adjusted his sling, tightening it so it cradled his wounded arm closer to his body. “Someone had to return to tell you the truth of the day! Otherwise you would hear nothing but lies from scum trying to save their own pathetic lives!”

“You mean like the stories I have heard, of YOU ordering a retreat? That sort of lie?” Gould’s voice dropped even lower, almost to a whisper.

“Exactly my Lord! I gave no such order. That is the sort of thing I was concerned about, that traitors would try to shift the blame for their failure onto those of us who remained loyal! Besides that, I COULDN’T give any order at that point! My ‘Mech was damaged in the fight against a Black Star ‘Mech.” He gestured at his wounded arm. “I’d been injured, but I almost had him! If the cowards had not broken and run away, I WOULD have taken his head! Anyway, my ‘Mech’s com-gear was damaged, I couldn’t send or receive anything.”

Gould nodded. “So.. what would you have done to the ones who fled the battle? What would your decree be, if you were in my position? What punishment is appropriate for such cowardice?”

O’Connor relaxed slightly as he concluded that the War Master was accepting his version of events. “Punishment or reward lies in your hands, Lord, as it should be, but were it up to me, I would say that nothing less than impalement would suffice! None should be allowed to defy your will.” He smiled inwardly, as he thought of the screams and blood such a punishment would bring, not to mention being able to rid himself of a few more potential rivals.

Gould smiled coldly. “I’m so glad we are in agreement.” He motion for Kolbe to step forward. “Fortunately, Major Kolbe’s com-gear was NOT damaged, and her recording gear didn’t suffer the unfortunate malfunctions that yours did, so we were able to view the recordings for ourselves.”

O’Connor paled as he began to realize that things were NOT as he had thought they were.

“Imagine my surprise, when I heard the ever so loyal Colonel O’Connor order a general retreat. The fact that this occurred moments after the enemy had managed to inflict painful, but non-life threatening wounds on his person makes this doubly fascinating.

O’Connor started to speak, but fell silent as Gould motioned to one of the guards, who pointed his pistol at the shocked MechWarrior and relieved him of his side-arm.

“At least the mercenary admitted to his actions, cowardly though they were.” He motioned to Major Kolbe. “And Major Kolbe has been kind enough to demonstrate to me, through the use of simulation programs, that he made the correct tactical decisions, if not the bravest. So they will not be punished at this time. Their actions will not be forgotten though.”

Gould sat back in his throne. “We have also reviewed the tactical situation at the main battle… Again, the decision to pull back was the correct one… IF it had been done properly, ordering a fighting withdrawal… allowing the units engaged to support each other as they withdrew… but this is not what was done! By ordering the retreat in the manner you did, you guaranteed a panicked rout! You COULD have saved at least twice the forces you did from destruction, instead you lost almost all of the forces I trusted you with! Then, as if that was not enough, you chose to lie to me!” Gould’s voice steadily rose during his tirade. “Did you not think I would discover your lies!? Did you not believe I would discover your deceptions!?”

O’Connor could not speak, his tongue was tied by his terror.

Gould looked over at Kolbe. “Jessica… while impaling this fool would be MOST satisfying, we don’t have the time. Would you?” He made a small gesture at his former advisor.

“Of course, my Lord.” Kolbe nodded as she drew her pistol.

O’Connor fell without a word as the bullet shattered his skull.

Jessica lowered her pistol, but did not holster it yet. Turning back to face Gould, she smiled. “I do have one other bit of business today, War Master, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble.”

Basking in the afterglow a good execution always gave him, the War Master smiled indulgently at his new senior advisor. “Of course, Jessica, I always have time for loyal servants, we can decide our next move against the southern scum later today.”

Jessica nodded. “My thanks, Lord.” Squaring her shoulders, she kept on, her tone light and reasonable. “Unfortunately, I must report one additional complication. Another threat to the war effort.”

Gould sat up, intently eyeing Kolbe. “Who would dare!?” The man questioned, then gestured at O’Connor’s bleeding corpse. “How many fools must be killed before they cease resisting me?”

“Just one more, My Lord.” Jessica smiled. “Once he is removed, things will go much more smoothly, I believe.”

“A spy?” Gould demanded. “The one who has been giving all our plans to the enemy? Bring him here! His death will last for weeks!”

“So you desire that the one who has led your forces to ruin be executed my Lord? You do not wish to keep him alive for another purpose?” Jessica questioned the elderly ruler.

“I want the treasonous bastard dead!” Gould snarled, “I want him destroyed as an example for all such traitors!”

Jessica smiled broadly. “As you command, so shall it be.” She raised her pistol, aiming at the old man. “War Master Stephen Gould, you sit condemned out of your own mouth, having passed your own sentence. By your actions and paranoia, you have substantially weakened the war effort for New Saars, and significantly harmed the men fighting for this nation. You yourself are the single worst obstacle to New Saars dominance. At this point, we will be lucky to hold onto what has already been taken, any further such follies will lead only to our total destruction.” She shrugged. “Perhaps once you are gone, we will be able to discuss peace with the southerners… we need time to rebuild, and will not get it so long as you live.”

Gould’s face reddened with rage. “Guards! Kill this traitor!”

Jessica just smiled. “You seem determined to prove my point. Did you forget just WHO sets your guard schedule? Such a shame that you decided to send them away today. But who would have guessed that O’Connor would turn traitor like that? And that he would be able to kill you before I could bring him down?” Jessica shrugged. “Ah well, such is the way of things.”

Gould never heard the shot.

Taking over leadership of New Saars, the self appointed Dominarch Kolbe immediately called for a cessation of hostilities. While New Saars was inevitably slapped with a long list of concessions, it nonetheless halted the faction's headlong rush into oblivion.

The Black Star further proposed a way for them to release any claim of conquest - New Saars are to divert the incoming mercenary unit to a port of their choosing. The new ruler of New Saars knew that her newly acquired and bankrupted faction would have no way of paying the Armoured Legion's salaries. She was also certain that it would be suicidal to have a battalion of unhappy mercenaries running amok on Novo Franklin. Dominarch Kolbe immediately agreed.

Quote
Campus Carinthia
Carantania Principality, Novo Franklin
16th November 3079, 1630 hours


“Inbound Mule Class DropShip, you have clearance to land.” A bored sounding voice intoned. “Please proceed to coordinates Epsilon Zeta One One Niner Six Zero. Details will be transmitted to you in ten seconds.”

“Roger and wilco that Ground Control.” The comms officer onboard of the Fresh Beginning grinned. Everyone onboard the Armoured Legion DropShip had been looking forward to finally getting their feet on solid ground again after months of space travel – even the DropShip crew who were more used to the gravity-less environment.

He frowned slightly as the data streamed across his monitor as the landing site came in. “Eh… ground control, this is the Fresh Beginning.”

“Go ahead Fresh Beginning.” The same bored voice replied again.

“The coordinates indicate that we are to land in Campus Carinthia.” The mercenary DropShip crew asked with a slight frown. “Doesn’t that make us sit smack right on top of the enemy capital?”

“Negative that Fresh Beginning.” The comms officer was getting increasingly agitated at the droning voice of Ground Control. “You are clear to land.”

“Whatever you say Ground Control.” The mercenary shrugged.

------

Zi Long and David looked out of the command centre as the Armoured Legion’s Mule Class DropShip slowly descended from the skies on plasma heated flames. Zi Long could not help but grin. Incredibly, David was smiling as well. The arrival of these mercenaries had presented an unanticipated haul of high tech salvage that they would never had thought possible out here in the Periphery. Hell, none of them would have dreamed of salvage of such quality that would be coming their way even if they had worked in the largest Periphery states like the Magistry of Canopus, the Marian Hegemony or the Taurian Concordat who had access to some of the newer toys around.

They had discussed long and hard on how to approach the situation. Trenchard had been authorized to allow the Black Stars a free hand to do what they want, as long as the mercenaries were kicked off world after that. None of the factions on Novo Franklin had any illusions on their ability to handle the well equipped soldiers if they were to allowed to roam Novo Franklin.

The Black Stars had finally settled on one of the plans proposed by David. He had it planned that the ‘Stars would wait for them to land, then before they unloaded, the ‘Stars would drop a volley of paint rounds on them.

At that point, Zi Long would contact them and point out just what a bad position they were in – especially since they are in a cargo DropShip with paper thin armour and cannot quickly unload.

“Rossi would than break out in chains of Italian explicits, after which I expect him to cry and sob.” Zi Long had commented with a wink.

David shrugged. “Of course.”

“They’ll surrender to the inevitable.” Zi Long had continued. “At least I hope they do. Blowing all that equipment to dust and scrape would be SUCH a waste...”

The Black Stars’ XO had than nodded in agreement. “Yeah. We name a tonnage price and ransom for them to be allowed safe passage off planet.” He had than raised an eyebrow at Zi Long. “They would, of course, be required to leave immediately, yes?”

“Of course. Escorted by the Event no less.”

“Sounds just about right.” David nodded as he shifted his fake arm. “Nothing personal, just business.”

Zi Long nodded solemnly. “Of course.”

“And actually, given how much a Mule can carry, we're not asking for all that much.”

“I’m thinking of asking for about 300 odd to 400 tons of ransom.” Zi Long agreed. “We're not even taking that much. Maybe a lance's worth.” Zi Long continued.

“Not TOO outrageous.” David replied. “It'll sting, but not as much as an artillery barrage. Not to mention the rockets.”

“And the mortar.” Zi Long pointed out. “Or they could lose everything if we decide to blow the crap of their Mule.”

“Yup. So losing a lance or so.. not so bad. Smacks the ego a bit, but..”

“They've been smacked around worse before so I expect they'll live.” Zi Long waved the point away.

“They'll develop an even greater paranoia about employers of course.” David pointed out.

“Yeah. At the very least, they should do some background checks before picking up a contract.” Zi Long winked. “And they would have learned that a contract that says your opponents are going to be the Black Stars should be something to drop like a hot potato.”

“Indeed.” Both men had than looked at each other, before breaking out in laughter again. For some reason, both of them were trying to justify to each other the morality of what basically amounted to the blackmailing of Rossi’s Armoured Legion. In actual fact, both the Black Stars officers knew that they needed no such justification – war’s a bitch after all. And to the victor goes the spoils.

------

Zi Long shock his head to bring himself back from the highly entertaining conversation between himself and David as a low rumble and slight tremor announced the landing of the Armoured Legion’s DropShip on Campus Carinthia’s Drop Port tarmac.

The Black Stars allowed the fusion plant of the DropShip to cool down. Over on their comms, they heard the usual protocol as the Legion’s DropShip Captain requested for permission to unload and disembark. Zi Long barked a short order into the ‘Stars’ own systems.

Seconds later, a dozen shells arced over the Drop Port control tower and impacted onto the Mule Class DropShip.

The comms between the DropShip and the Ground Control ceased immediately.

Taking a deep breath, Zi Long slapped a switch that redirected the communication lines from the Drop Port Ground Control to the ‘Stars’ command center.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is Captain Zhao Zi Long of the Black Stars mercenary command. On behalf of our employers, the Franklin Trustee Council, we regret to inform you that the New Saars Milita has been defeated. Your employer, War Master Steven Gould has been… removed from office.”

Zi Long paused for a while, letting the information sink into the Armoured Legion.

“The rather offending thuds you just heard, and no doubt felt on your DropShip’s hull are paint rounds fired from artillery assets that are already zeroed onto your position. I am transmitting an external video feeds via channel Twenty Seven if you wish to view our handiwork.” Zi Long grinned. “I’m sorry if we could not get a more soothing colour, but blood red paint seems to be the most common and preferred colour here on Novo Franklin.”

“Furthermore, we already have quite a number of rocket launchers and mortar batteries who are also taking aim at your vessel.” The grin on Zi Long’s face faded. “In other words, Colonel Delio Rossi, you are screwed. Bad.”

Zi Long paused and waited for a while more. As he and David had expected, a red light flashed, indicating incoming comms from the DropShip. The Chinese man switched it on, patching himself through to the trapped mercenaries.

“This is Colonel Delio Rossi of the Rossi’s Armoured Legion. What right have you to hold me and my people ransom?! If New Saars is no more, than my contract is void, and we are a free unit. You have no right to lay such terms and conditions!” A man of about forty odd years of age appeared on their screen. Silvery white hair streaked back from the widow’s peak on his forehead. Even through the fuzzy resolution of the screen, Zi Long could tell of the wrinkles that told of hardship and suffering the man had suffered. It nearly made him regret what he was about to do. Nearly, but not quite.

“What you said is indeed true Colonel.” Zi Long smiled. “Unfortunately – for you and your command, New Saars Principality is NOT gone. It merely changed leadership. I’m quite sure you know of the difference.”

“Than New Saars will have to underwrite my unit’s losses as per all DMM sanctioned contract!” The Commanding Officer of the Armoured Legion roared. “You and your scum of a unit can claim whatever you wish from them!”

“I hate to point it out to you my dear Colonel Rossi, but you are again in error.” Zi Long replied. “I have asked my contacts on Terra to check things out. The contract Rossi’s Armoured Legion signed with New Saars Principality is NOT a Department of Mercenary Management approved one. That means that you are NOT entitled to replacement funds and rights, unless your contract with New Saars stipulated such a clause – which I seriously doubt given that the best piece of military hardware they could field were a couple of 3020s era Vedette tanks, and a couple of BattleMechs falling apart from rust.”

“Also, since until notice of termination of contract, Rossi’s Armoured Legion is officially still under the employment of New Saars. As at this moment, they have surrendered all the mercenaries under their employment to the UDF.” Zi Long narrowed his eyes. “And that, of course, includes the Armoured Legion.”

“That only means that we would be surrendering to the UDF!” Rossi screamed, his face getting redder by the moment. “You dirt bags have nothing over us!”

“For your information - the United Defence Force have in turn transferred the rights of your surrender to the Black Stars.” Zi Long smiled like a shark closing in on a wounded seal. “This means that your ass is mine.”

The face in the screen froze as that final bit of news hit him.

Zi Long pulled a hand over to the back of his neck and massaged it lightly. “To be frank about things Colonel, my people actually tried to persuade me to confiscate your entire unit’s hardware and leave you and your people to the mercy of the locals. I refused, although after all that shouting, screaming and name calling you just subjected me and my Black Stars to, I’m not sure if I've made a right decision.”

Zi Long pulled out a cigarette from his pocket again as Rossi simmered in the screen. Out of sight of the Armoured Legion CO, David rolled his eyes and wrinkled his nose. Zi Long ignored him as he lighted the white paper stick and took a long breath out of it. “Luckily for you, me and my XO managed to persuade our people that it wasn’t entirely your fault for not checking up on your employer before signing a contract. On the other hand, I do wish people would stop jumping onto the contract negotiation table and do a dance every time they found out that the Black Stars would be their opponents.”

By the expression on Colonel Rossi’s face, Zi Long could tell that he had hit close to a nerve or two with his remarks. Nothing like a good soothing after some serious bitch slapping. “I know your unit has had the short end of the draw against the Blakists previously Colonel. I know of the losses and pain your unit suffered. It must have taken incredible courage and determination to pull together and rebuild the Armoured Legion like you and your people did. For that, I cannot, and will not be a party of that which would cause your destruction.”

The shoulders of the older man sagged as he finally admitted defeat. “Fine. What is it that the Black Stars want Captain Zhao.”

“I know that your command has been registered as a combined arms reinforced battalion.” Zi Long replied. “What we are asking for, is a ransom of up to four hundred tons of your hardware – no limitation as to the total number of unit.”

Rossi looked up in surprise. “You would only ask for ten percent of my unit’s total tonnage?”

“I told you we’re not as blood suckish as you thought.” Zi Long winked at the image as he looked out of the command centre at the unmoving Mule sitting out in the open tarmac. He imagined that Rossi was looking in the same direction as well. “However, don’t be surprised if we pick the heaviest machines under your command, or the most rare. A pair of forty five ton VND-1R Vindicators don’t really compare to an eighty five ton Templar even though the former outweigh the latter by five tons.”

The figure in the screen nodded once mutely.

“After we have collected our bounty, our Seeker Class DropShip will escort the Fresh Beginning back to the jump point. Once your JumpShip has been recharged, you are to leave Novo Franklin system. All of your DropShip crew, soldiers, technicians – basically EVERYONE are to disembark from the DropShip and come under the custody of our security. You will be placed under our protection as our people check on the pieces of equipment that we want to take. If necessary, we will call for your people for assistance in what I believe your people will classify as looting. Otherwise, at no point between now and that point in time of your departure are any of your people allowed out of our sight.” Zi Long intoned.

The Colonel seemed to be listening to a voice outside of the screen. His eyes widened slightly before turning back towards Zi Long. “Your Seeker Class DropShip? You are talking about the Event Horizon!”

“I see that its reputation has once again preceded it.” Zi Long smiled. "I hate it when our ride's reputation goes before our own..."

Rossi took a deep breath as he nodded once again to some people out of screen view. “Very well Captain. I will allow you and your people on board. Give me some time to announce the news to my people.”

“Fair enough.” Zi Long agreed. “You have five minutes.”

Sadly, even before the Black Stars lifted off from Novo Franklin, there were already signs that the peace was breaking. Rather than military action, ugly politicking was already rearing its head once again on the Periphery world. It would seem like what was won with blood, would be undone with words...

blackpanzer

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Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #11 on: 11 May 2011, 00:32:34 »
Registered Contract: PY-SD-04-03
Region: Periphery
System: Nibo
Galactic Coordinates: X: 444 Y: 645
Days to Jump Point: 6 days
Planet: Nibo IV
Primary Planetary Climate: Mediterranean
Approximate Population: 504 Million People
Capital City: Nibo City
 
Contract Type: Security Duty
Primary Operational Terrain: Unknown
Contract Duration: 4 Months non-negotiable
Employer: The Nobility
Employer Contact: Professor Dextor Sparks, leading of KoN Exploration Expedition
Command Rights: Liaison Assigned
Supporting Forces: Mule Class DropShip, air lance of Sword OmniFighters
Enemy Forces: Unknown
Supplement Contracts Offered: Offensive Campaign

PLANETARY DETAILS:
The founding fathers of Kingdom of Nibo had high ideals when the discovered the deep periphery world more than forty light years away from the Draconis-Lyran borders during the First Succession Wars. Escaping from the ravages of war after the departure of General Kerensky and the Star League Armed Forces, the refugees from the Draconis Combine had tried to follow the trails of the Exodus Fleet, but had lost itself in the uncharted deep space. They had nearly given up hope, and nearly surrendered itself to mutiny led by the increasing frustrations of more than a few of its members against the leader of the wandering group when the JumpShip captain declared with joy that they had chanced upon a water rich world in an otherwise uninhabited system.

And so was the system named Nibo, with the solitary sustainable planet settled.

The Kingdom was to be a place where political terrorism and strict state police monitoring were none existent. It was to be a world where economy would be self sufficient, and reliance on outside commerce cut to a minimum. Nibo would be a place where the memory of the decline of technology so widespread among the Inner Sphere would be arrested, and reversed. In short, the Kingdom was Nibo was to be a paradise.

It was all crap.

Over the next few years, assorted bands of rag tag refugees much like the pioneer refugees themselves and other miscellaneous groups of pirates chanced upon the Nibo system and the newly minted King’s small but well trained army. The former provided much hungered after news from the Inner Sphere, while the latter offered the chance for the Nibo Armed Forces to sharpen their skills and obtain hard to come by salvage, not to mention willing recruits from the defeated pirate forces. (The NAF had grown noticeably slack after the first year passed with them not needed to do anything much except stand intimidating around to cower the civilians…)

With a wide cross section of civilians among them, the Kingdom of Nibo actually managed to engaged successfully in agriculture, fishery, animal husbandry and even light manufacturing of civilian products.

While the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Succession Wars tore the heart out of the Inner Sphere and many other Periphery kingdoms, the Kingdom of Nibo was relatively untouched. Succeeding lines of Kings achieved their leadership by ensuring loyalty of the standing military force, they managed to persuade the civilians to throw in their lots behind him.

While the population of the Kingdom of Nibo never soared, it climbed steadily over the years to reach an impressive number of half a billion. Even though the Kings of Nibo could never claim to be excellent rulers, they all did wisely follow in the footsteps of first King in encouraging research and investments in all aspect of life so that Nibo could be self sustaining.

The Kingdom even managed to reverse engineer some of the hardware that trickled into the Kingdom. While many of these were pathetic and crude machines, mostly manufactured by the less than reliable Quikscell Company, they did mean that the military of the Kingdom could churn out military vehicles cheaply and rapidly in obscene quantities. Further supplemented by a semi-company of BattleMechs (the youngest of which was a 25 ton Commando captured sometime during the 3rd Succession War), the vast fleet of vehicles would pose considerable danger to many an unwary raider. More than an invading force of pirates had found the price of poor (actually, none existent) intelligence gathering as they fell quickly to concentrated and overwhelming firepower from hundreds of tanks crewed by hastily conscripted civilians.

The Kingdom of Nibo narrowly escaped invasion by the Clans as their system laid just (and by just here, it meant a single jump) beyond the invasion corridor of the returning Army of Kerensky. However, routed military units fleeing the Clan invasion DID stumble onto the Kingdom. Seeking to take over the seemingly defenseless world for their own, more than a few of such units tried to drop onto the world in a show of military might. Very few could display the subsequent required show of flight.

3078 Update:

With the Kingdom's slow but steady rejection of Quikscell military equipment, its subsidiary in the Kingdom - Nibo QS Ltd, hatched an insidious plan. They would covertly hire and armed bandits and assorted mercenary bands with war machines and encourage them to raid and attack the Kingdom. They surmised that with the relative lack of experience and what they felt was Periphery produced pooh-dunk equipment, the NAF would not be able to withstand these attacks. Nibo QS Ltd would than step in, offer their superior combat equipment to the NAF, and then pay their hired guns to lose and retreat, thereby swinging things back in their favour.

Quikscell would also supply other machines that were commonly available throughout the Inner Sphere so as not to draw suspicions of their involvement with the attacks. (Unofficially, even Quikscell knew that their own machines would be no match for the generally superior machines produced by Nibo Heavy Industries. Not only would combat machines produced by more reputable companies like Aldis Industries and Scarborough Ltd hide Quikscell's involvement, they would also provide the raiders with hopefully higher quality and efficiency).

However, Quikscell’s plans backfired as the numerous raids only prompted the Kingdom to expand their units by buying MORE of their own products. Faced with a mounting payroll without positive input, Nibo QS Ltd ordered the pirates to come together into a massive horde and invaded the Deep Periphery nation.

Socio-Industrial Levels:
Technological Development
   World of moderate advancement; average educational systems and medical care; microelectronics can not be manufactured.
Industrialization Level
   Moderately industrialized; may produce a limited number/quantity of specific complex products.
Raw Material Dependence
   World/system produces all the raw materials needed and occasionally exports a small surplus.
Industrial Output
   World has a small industrial base that may produce a limited number of products for export.
Agricultural Dependence
   World has a rich environment producing a great excess of food in relation to population needs, with planet’s agricultural regions augmented by agricultural technologies; exports some portion of its resources.

EMPLOYER SITUATION REPORT:
The Kingdom of Nibo has received faint transmissions from a rough area about a jump away from their system. Possible source have been narrowed down to 5 nearby systems, all thought to be uninhibited.

The contract would be for an extended exploration. Nibo is interested in seeking out the source of the transmissions - but several small exploration parties they sent out never reported back. They suspect pirates and other such dangers. As their own military has been shattered in the recent war against the Quikscell Company sponsored mercenaries, they are looking at hiring their own mercenaries to provide escorts to a larger exploration expedition of biologists, geologists, etc.

With resources stretched, the Kingdom will be only able to provide a Merchant Class JumpShip to the targeted systems, a Mule Class DropShip to transport the Kingdom’s own personnel and their assortment of detection and research equipment. To provide aerospace protection, a pair of Sword heavy OmniFighters will be carried onboard the Merchant Class JumpShip’s small craft bay.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES:
1) Protect the Kingdom’s exploration team against all danger. Assist the Nibo scientific team in identifying the source of the transmissions.

SECONDARY OBJECTIVES:
1) Keep the findings of the exploration quiet. News of any sort of derelict or findings - valuable or otherwise, will most likely bring vultures from all corners of the Inner Sphere, maybe even the Clans and Word of Blakist to this far and previously ignored system.

Contract Summary:

Quote
Nibo City, Kingdom of Nibo
Nibo IV
24th December 3079
2005 hours local time

“What do you mean NO news?” The recently crowned King Marcus Collins II asked of the bespectacled man before him. “They were on a DropShip, linked to a JumpShip – just two jumps away from the Nibo system. There must have been SOMETHING.”

The older man swept his brows with shaking hands. The young King did not possess of the fiery temperament of his father – not yet anyway. But it was never a good idea to upset one’s liege, and paymaster. Professor Dextor Sparks spread his arms in resignation. “I’m afraid that’s just it my Lord. Their last transmission reported that they detected what seemed to be a space vessel orbiting one of the systems and would be moving in for closer inspection. That was early this month. Since then, we have not received any further reports back from the expedition team.”

Marcus turned towards a heavy set man standing to the Professor’s side. “Admiral?”

Rear Admiral Vincent Alfax had been appointed to his position after the invasion. Then Captain Alfax had been in command of the only assault DropShip – an ancient Avenger purchased from the Draconis Combine (at ridiculously high cost), and led the small but potent mix of spanking new Sword aerospace fighters, other older designs and a pair of armed Mule Class DropShips against the naval armada of the invaders. Alfax had displayed amazing tactical skills and ingenuity, frequently manoeuvring the small force he had in hand against the numerically superior enemy fleet so that he could hit them where the Nibo fleet could fight with local advantage in numbers. With the Nibo Air Admiralty now expanded to include a pair of Kuan Ti assault DropShips, two Avengers including Alfax’s former ship, Sword heavy fighters and the more nimble Corax light fighters, Rear Admiral Alfax had sworn to bleed any invaders bone dry before they could ever feel the soil on Nibo itself. The entire Nibo military had seen a new breed of soldiers and officers rose to prominence during the invasion. Young officers like Alfax had replaced many of the dead wood that had previously spread throughout the old NAF. While Quikscell might have severely damaged the economical and industrial abilities of the Kingdom, it had inadvertently strengthened the Kingdom in ways it had never thought of.

“I’m afraid what the Professor said is true my Lord.” He replied simply.

The young King scraped his chin, deep in thought. “Any chance of the DropShip Captain making a find of some sort of treasure trove and running?”

Alfax shook his head slightly. “I have known Captain Pallister since my time as a second mate on one of our merchant DropShips. He may have been known as an old coot and a stick in the mud, but his loyalty and integrity is beyond doubt.”

Marcus nodded before raising his eyebrow. “The people under him?”

A new voice joined the discussion. “Lieutenant Hughes who led the infantry detachment had a distinguished track record during the invasion. I doubt he would have given up his land holdings, or his family here for money – no matter the amount.”

Marcus turned towards the new comer even though he already knew who it was. “Major Katz, glad that you could join us.” He smiled. “The part about not giving up on land holdings or family… that’s a little too much to ask for don’t you think? Especially if the treasure they find might make them multi millionaires.”

“True.” The elderly female MechWarrior agreed. “But Hughes was offered a huge bribe by Quikscell during the invasion. If he did not turn than, I doubt he would turn now.”

Marcus swore under his breath. He turned towards the Professor. “You do realize that this was the THIRD expedition I’ve despatched yes? I don’t know what you guys teach in NU, but these things DO cost money, and money do NOT grow on trees – whatever my father might have told our citizens.”

Emma smiled. “I have an idea, if my Lord would care to listen?”

Marcus mirrored her smile. “Of course Major. It’s not like me of my friends here are currently brimming with them now.”

“I’ve heard recently of reports of this group of mercenaries who seem to specialize operating in the Periphery, especially under… interesting situations. They have a certain… reputation that seemed to preclude more reputable employers from seeking their employment though.” Emma started. “Our particular predication might be something they might be interested in exploring. For a suitable fee for course.”

“Mercenaries?” Alfax spat the word like it was poison. “My Lord, I must protest. Haven’t we had enough of them.”

“Indeed we have Admiral.” The smile on Marcus’s face spread into a grin. “However, these mercs would be operating mostly AWAY from Nibo, out of our system, far from spitting distance to our planet.”

“The mercs would provide more protection that we ourselves could afford at this moment. And frankly speaking, they’d be a better escort than our own forces since most, if not all of them had never fought away from our own planet.” Emma added.

“But what if there’s a repeat of the invasion?” Alfax pushed on. “How can we be sure that they would not take advantage of our current weakened state and attack us under the guise of seeking honest employment?”

“The Kingdom of Nibo? Offering honest employment?” Marcus laughed. “I’m sorry my friend, but you do realize that these two are absolute oxy morons yes?” The King of Nibo stood. “If it would pacify you, you can mobilise the entire Nibo Air Admiralty during their arrival in system. And of course I will have Major Katz put the entire Immortals battalion on guard duty during their stay here.”

Alfax still looked dubious. Marcus clapped his hands onto the man on his shoulders. “I love you like the brother that my departed father did not see fit to bestow from his royal loins. However, I doubt a mixed company of mercenaries, even if they were from the Wolf Dragoons would be able to do much against the entire might of the Nibo Armed Forces, yes?”

“And to make doubly sure, we’ll dispatched them together with a pair of Sword OmniFighters. You’ll get to choose the pilots. They’ll also be transported by one of those armed Mule DropShips that served you so well in the invasion.” Marcus beamed.

“An excellent proposal my Lord.” The nearly forgotten Professor Dextor Sparks remarked.

“Oh, and to make sure that the expedition is under good, knowledgeable guidance, YOU will be put in charge of the mission.”

The face of the Professor turned pale. “But… but… there’s lots of other important work back at the University that requires my personal attention…”

“Come now Professor.” Marcus smiled widely. “Remember what you told me? This might be THE find of the century if not the millennium! What wouldn’t I give to be part of it if not for the chores of running our little world.” The young King grinned. “No. I would not refuse you the chance of attaining possible eternal fame. You will go, and that is final.”

Professor Dextor Sparks spared at the faces smiling at him. For all the hours long lectures he had ever given, for some reason, words failed him completely. All he could do was to nod in surrender.

Satisfied that everything was in order, Marcus turned back towards the Major. "What's the name of this outfit again?"

"The Black Stars my Lord." Emma announced. "They call themselves the Black Stars."

Hired to basically provide armed escort for a Nibo expedition to investigate faint signals from unknown sources deeper in the Periphery, the Black Stars spent more time taking stock of their increased size - both machine, manpower and sub-units. At least 2 more sub-units had signed on with the lowly regarded unit, while existing sub-units all made sure that they made use of salvage and earned cash to bolster their strength while they passed through Federated Suns territory.

The first planet of the unknown system which the group jumped into had an abandoned monastery, long abandoned. They would next find one with nothing but half a dozen huge asteroid fields circling a dying star. The only sign of human activity in that system had been a radioactive lump of metal that might at one time have been a ship. But sometime in the past, probably hundreds of years ago, an unknown force had nuked it into slag. Whoever had done it, wasn’t taking any chances, even today it remained too radioactive to get near without much greater protections than were carried on this mission.

The third planet was where the expedition literally hit the jackpot.

Quote
August 1st, 3079
1600 Hours, Ship’s Time
Rec-Deck
Dropship “Event Horizon”
System #: DD-456-M-2
Deep Periphery


David’s face showed mild boredom as he cued the next aerial photograph to be projected. “Most of the orbital scan showed nothing until we got to this section.” He pointed out a few obviously man made structures. “It appears to be a mining camp on first glance, but the second and third orbital passes, along with radio intercepts show it to be a Pirate base. Probably a wildcat mining team got taken over and the mine captured from them.”

David shrugged, indifferent to the real origin of the site. “Either way, our best evaluation at this time is around a company of Mechs, supported by a few vehicles and techs. This doesn’t count any slaves they may have of course.

Lieutenant Conti spoke up. “Why the domes? Is there some reason why a hostile environment camp? And was the DropShip spotted? Are they in a defensive posture?”

David shook his head. “We don’t have any indication that they detected our overflights. Zhao believes that they are relying on obscurity for defense, and have avoided setting up a sensor grid because that’s easily detectable.” He frowned. “Personally I think it more likely that they are probably just lazy, sloppy bastards, who didn’t want to do the work or watch the monitors. As for the domes, well... the atmosphere isn’t toxic, but there isn’t a whole lot of it either. Anyone outside a dome, Mech or adapted vehicle has only a short time before hypoxia sets in... maybe ten minutes or so, shorter if exerting.”

David shrugged. “On the plus side, low atmosphere pressure and oxygen count means that inferno rounds are less effective, if they were to try to use them on anyone.”

“What about their transport?” Gallagher piped up from the back of the room. “Have we seen any DropShips?”

David nodded. “Over here.” He called up another photo-recon image. “They have a Mule class DropShip, and a Leopard. We’re thinking that most of the Mechs are stored on-board, with the personnel shuttled back and forth via ground vehicle.”

“JumpShip?” Gallagher followed up on his first question.

“Not yet.” David yawned. “The ship’s captain believes they are likely at the opposite jump point from where we jumped in system. Which means we were likely masked by the system’s sun, and neither of us could detect each other.”

“When do we attack?” Glen smiled, the former clansman was clearly eager for a fight.

“We don’t.” David drawled.

“WHAT!” At least half a dozen voices blurted out in shock, followed by quiet grumbling.

“I was quite clear.” David spoke softly. “We will NOT be attacking at this time.”

“But, we could take them by surprise and crush them easily! Why wouldn’t we attack scum such as those worthless Surats?” Glen clearly was confused by his commander’s orders. From the expressions of several of the others in the room, he was not the only one.

David shrugged. “Not in the contract.”

“But...”

David glared at Glen. “I am not in the habit of repeating orders!”

As Glen subsided, visibly unhappy, David ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. “Look, I understand the temptation, believe me I do. But right now, under THIS contract, all we’re being paid to do is guard the surveyors and keep our mouths shut about whatever they might find. That’s IT! Not charge off on some noble quest to rid the Periphery of every Pirate band we happen across. We’re not getting paid enough for that! Not on basic security rates and no provision for salvage rights!”

He smiled slightly, just a hint of humour on his lips. “Now, if Nibo decides they want to HIRE us to do just that.. for a more appropriate rate for a combat contract.. we might just be back to bring this little group to account.”

He glared out over the small briefing room. “Until then, I don’t want to hear any more about it, got it?! Good!”

He gathered up his notes. “We’re headed back to the JumpShip and jumping out for DCP-1336TG as soon as we get there. Once we’ve recharged, we’ll be heading back to Nibo to report. Any questions? Good, now let’s not get sloppy because we’re headed back to the barn, we might yet run into something out here.”

From way in the back, where Aina’s sub-unit clustered, Theresa’s voice floated forward. “When we did the orbital sweeps, were there any indications of enemy aerospace forces? In case we come back, I’d like to know what to prepare for.”

David nodded in her direction. “We have no direct evidence of aerospace fighters, but as you know, the Leopard has bays for two, and we have no idea what kind or how many other DropShips they might have besides these two. I would have to say, for the purposes of sims, assume they have six fighters. They probably don’t have that many, but plan for the worst case, and hope for better.” He glanced back down toward his notes.

“Right, that’s it for now. I want everyone secured for jump by 2200 hours. Dismissed.” As the Black Star troopers filed out of the large room, some of them grumbled under their breath about not going after the pirates, but none of them made a formal objection. They understood the reasoning, even agreed with it, but that didn’t mean they liked it.

David leaned back on one of the couches. There was a downside to having aggressive troops, and this was one of them. Sometimes it was harder to get them NOT to fight. He sighed, at least most of them understood the concepts of “Appropriate time and place” and “Staying on task”.

David smiled slightly, he’d thought it was going to devolve into a fistfight in the system after that. At first, they’d thought they had found what they were looking for, but it quickly became obvious that the local population was in no way capable of sending the sorts of signals that Nibo had been detecting.

The Star League era plague beacons in orbit told the beginning of the tale, but it didn’t take much to piece together the rest.

Centuries in the past, the planet had been a thriving colony, poised to become a bright spot in the periphery, a jewel of civilization in the darkness. But then came the Amaris Coup, and Kerensky’s campaign to retake Terra. All but ignored, still the colony survived, even prospered. The population soared, fuelled by a benign climate and swelled by refugees from the conflicts raging across the inner sphere.

But it all came to naught. The beacon didn’t list the source of the plague, if the placer ever knew. But whether a Bio-terror weapon intentionally employed, an accidental release from a research lab, or the simple mutation of a naturally occurring virus, the result was the same.

Dubbed the “Zombie Plague” by the doctor whose files were attached to the beacons, it turned men, women, and children into mindless brutes, prone to explode into senseless violence at the slightest event. Attacking the central nervous system like Rabies, the plague spread rapidly, plunging the nascent colony into chaos and death.

Lacking the resources to combat the plague, and not even able to isolate the specific virus that caused it, much less create a treatment or vaccine, the authorities had placed the beacons and declared the planet under perpetual quarantine, sacrificing those on the planet in order to prevent any further spread of the disease.

Surprisingly though, there were survivors. David guessed they’d either somehow managed to avoid contamination, or that there was a genetic component that made them immune to infection. Probably around six to eight percent of the original population had lived to try to salvage what they could from the ashes.

Overall David thought they’d done pretty well to salvage what they had and rebuild to where they were today. Steam engines and telegraph communications were now the cutting edge for the population, which seemed to be growing slowly, but steadily, from what could be seen from orbit. The arguments had arisen when certain members of the science team wanted to land and investigate the planet, despite the quarantine, and had been soundly vetoed by both the ship’s captain, and the Black Stars.

The landing faction had argued that the disease was likely gone, or at least mutated into a harmless form by now, citing the existence of the population as evidence. But, the Non-landing faction had again vetoed the landing idea, on the basis that not only did they know almost nothing about the vector and biology of the disease, that the quarantine was a permanent one, and that anyone that landed was STAYING landed - period. Even if they had to shoot down anyone that tried to take off again. The JumpShip Captain had also declared that he’d scuttle his ship with all aboard before risking taking something like that back to Nibo.

Standing and stretching, David grabbed a cold beer from one of the small coolers scattered around the rec-deck. Taking a sip, he started for his quarters to get ready for the jump. Just a little while longer and they’d be back at Nibo. Maybe they’d be back to deal with the Pirates, maybe not. Right now, David didn’t much care.

blackpanzer

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  • Posts: 139
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #12 on: 22 June 2011, 01:29:06 »
Registered Contract: PY-OC-06-01
Region: Periphery
System: Nibo
Galactic Coordinates: X: 444 Y: 645
Days to Jump Point: 6 days
Planet: Nibo IV
Primary Planetary Climate: Mediterranean
Approximate Population: 504 Million People
Capital City: Nibo City
 
Contract Type: Offensive Campaign
Primary Operational Terrain: Unknown
Contract Duration: 6 Months negotiable
Employer: The Nobility
Employer Contact: Professor Dextor Sparks, leading of KoN Exploration Expedition
Command Rights: Independent Command
Supporting Forces: Merchant Class JumpShip, air lance of Sword OmniFighters
Enemy Forces: Pirates
Supplement Contracts Offered: Garrison Duty

EMPLOYER SITUATION REPORT:
The Kingdom of Nibo has received faint transmissions from a rough area about a jump away from their system. Possible sources have been narrowed down to 5 nearby systems, all thought to be uninhibited.

After a exploration mission undertaken by the Black Stars, the source of the transmissions has been determined to have been emitting from an old abandoned SLDF mining colony. However, of equal importance was the discovery of pirates who had made their bases out of the colony.

As their own military has been shattered in the recent war against the Quikscell Company sponsored mercenaries, the Kingdom has charged the Black Stars in eliminating the pirates that had been accounting for the lost of numerous civilian freighters in recent times, as well as making it safe for the Nibo Expeditionary Force to conduct extensive exploration and possibly re-opening the mines.

The same Merchant Class JumpShip and pair of Sword OmniFighters that had accompanied the expedition shall be attached to the Stars, while the Mule Class DropShip shall be withdrawn in view of its own near non-combat capabilities, as well as its crew and occupants.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES:
1) Eliminate the pirate threat once and for all.

SECONDARY OBJECTIVES:
1) Minimize collateral damage to any remaining equipment from the mines.

Contract Summary:

Nibo City, Kingdom of Nibo
Nibo IV
12th August 3080
1000 hours local time


Quote
The huge double doors on one end of the hall way that led to the King’s court opened silently on well oiled hinges, with a young Nibo officer approaching the three men.

“The King would like to request for your kind presence please.”

Zhao winked at David. “Let’s not keep his Majesty waiting than.”

In the room, the Black Star reports had been spread over a large table, with holovids of aerial and orbital photos of the pirate bases projected over the table. Around the table, King Marcus Collins, Rear Admiral Vincent Alfax and Major Emma Katz were pouring over the details, joined by two other officers, both spotting the ranks of Colonel.

“Captain Zhao! Lieutenant Ten-Bears! Welcome back to the Kingdom!” The King beamed brightly as the pair approached the table. The others turned towards the approaching mercenaries. “I believe you have already met Rear Admiral Alfax and Major Katz previously. This gentleman is Senior Colonel Andrew Smith, commander of our 1st Heavy Guards Regiment.”

The more elderly of the unfamiliar officers extended his hands to shake both of those of Zhao and Ten-Bears. Despite his obvious age, his grip was strong, but not overly so.

“And this is Colonel Richard Carls, commander of the 5th Nibo Armoured Regiment.”

“Gentlemen.” The younger Carls smiled easily at the pair of Black Stars. “We understand that we owe you the safe return of the Professor and his crew, as well as the discovery of those blasted bandits who had been plaguing Nibo. Thank you.”

“Its our job.” Zhao dismissed the complements with a slight tilt of his head. “I would be worried if we didn’t find anything.”

“Indeed.” The young King added. “For without a proper enemy, we wouldn’t be here.”

Zhao raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“As you well know, the Kingdom’s still rebuilding from the devastation of the QS backed invasion last year. While the Colonels had wanted the honour of crashing the possible remnants of those mercenary turned pirates, a quick number crunching concluded what I have feared – that we are in no shape to undertake such an operation.”

David shrugged. "Not exactly a surprise... if you'd had available forces for outside operations, we wouldn't have been hired for escort duty in the first place."

“In light of that predicament, the Kingdom would like to extend a supplement contract to the Black Stars for the neutralization of these pirates.” The King continued. “Payment would be double what we offered for the earlier escort duty of course, with full salvage rights.”

“Any supporting forces?” Zhao asked.

“The Next Stop will continue to provide you with the means to travel to, and back from that system where the pirates are holding up. Its… what was it called again?” The King looked around.

“DD-456-M-2” Ira reminded his King politely.

“Silly name to give a planet if you ask me.” The King rolled his eyes. “But anyway, Lieutenant Kepford will also continue to provide some aerospace support with his pair of Sword OmniFighters.”

“Unfortunately, that will be all the military support we can provide you with.” Colonel Richard Carls concluded.

"If these are indeed the remnants of the pirates and mercs who participated in the attack against us the previous year, I can tell you now that they're armed with more than just rust buckets and tanks held together by spit, bale and prayers."Senior Colonel Andrew Smith rubbed his jaws, brows knotted. "While you won't spot the latest top of the line machines in their ranks, they have been known to have some upgraded hardware as well."

"We'll work with that in mind." Zi Long replied. "And thank you for letting the Swords accompany us for this supplement contract."

David sighed. "It's more than most of our employers are able to contribute." David turned to face the King. "And if you don't care for the current name, your Majesty, you could always give it a new one. The planet WAS found by forces under your banner, and you ARE the local sovereign. Who better to give it a more fitting name?"

The young leader of the Deep Periphery world grinned at Ten-Bears. "We'll see about that after the successful conclusion of your mission. There's more than enough time."

Zi Long nodded. "If that's the case, we'll see to the necessary preparations for our departure as soon as possible."

"Of course." Marcus agreed. "Good luck, and good hunting."

Given the hardware that their enemies could muster, the Black Stars were concerned, but not overly so with coming up against qualitatively superior opponents. What DID concern the mercenary command however, was that the pirates were dispersed at three separate encampments, with three separate sets of defenders, all of which needed to be taken down. Unfortunately, once the Stars hit one of them, and the others would be alerted, letting them prepare defences and making the costs to remove them that much higher.

Adding to that problem was that the thin atmosphere on the mining colony planet meant that the unit's VTOLs, WiGEs, and hovercrafts would be next to useless as all of those vehicles required a thicker atmosphere to operate effectively. The Black Stars would be deprived of one of their most potent force multiplier.

The only thing to be done was to hit all three locations simultaneously, or as close to it as they could manage.

Three camps -  an old mine, a crude spaceport (though truth be told it was more a flat spot with a couple atmosphere and a larger encampment.

The mine site was interesting, if only because for some reason, the pirates appeared to be constructing an old style castle on one of the hills overlooking the place. The Stars could not for their lives come up with a reason WHY the pirates wanted a castle, but it didn’t really matter. Whim, ego, or maybe just to keep the slaves busy, it really wasn’t that important right now.

Combat vehicles or 'Mechs would be of limited use in those confines. Battle Armour would have to be used.

Next was the so-called space port - basically three small support domes and an open area. When they’d photographed it, it had held a Mule and a Leopard class DropShip. If possible, the Stars would like to get those ships intact, but if they had to settle for blowing them to hell, that would be acceptable.

BattleMechs and a near battalion of Battle-Armour were deemed to be able to take the ships fairly quickly, supported by Aerospace Fighters flying CAP. It was hoped that the latter especially would go a long way to convincing the DropShips to stay on the ground. And if the Leopard should have a fighter or two loaded, air-to-air Arrow IVs should take the starch out of them fairly quickly.

The last location was the largest, and in the unit's mind the only one that could really be considered a real camp or settlement. Over a dozen environmental domes of varying sizes clustered around the remains of what looked to have once been a massive hydroponics dome. The heavier 'Mechs and combat vehicles would have to be deployed to deal with this particular group, supported by the Black Stars' heavy infantry.

None of the Stars were happy with the thought of splitting their forces, but they all accepted that it was unavoidable.

Quote
Quikscell, Inc. Headquarters
Port Royal, Kalidasa
Free Worlds League
15th August
2200 hours local time


"Are they already on their way?" The woman asked of the pair of well dressed men before her. The room was dimly lit, but ornately furnished. Various scale models of armoured combat vehicles were on display - trademark vehicles manufactured by the Inner Sphere spanning Quikscell Inc.

"They are." The smaller built of the pair replied in a low monotone. What little lighting in the room reflected off his clean shaven scalp. "As instructed, they have been issued some of the better quality equipment we have."

The woman nodded. "And the BattleMechs?"

"As per your orders, we have allowed them to trade in their old machines with Orion, Hercules, Trebuchet, Hunchback and Wasp 'Mechs which we managed to obtained from our... friends from Kali Yama." The bald man reported. "Their commander even asked for a couple of Perseus OmniMechs."

The woman's head raised slightly at that. "Which you declined?"

"Of course." The man replied.

"My Lady." The bigger man interrupted hesitantly. "Are we certain we want to spend so much of our resources on them? It seemed that the resources we are pouring into this vendetta of your late father has far outweighed the benefits it was supposed to reap. After all, they seemed to be slowly rotting to nothingness since the invasion."

"They had shown surprising resilience despite our best efforts." The woman waved his comments away, though a slight rise in her voice hinted that the man might had struck a chord. "And that is something I cannot allow." She glared at the bigger man. "In fact, from what I hear, they've actually shown signs of recovery in the last six months."

"But they are so far away!" The man nearly wailed in despair. "And is diverting our higher quality equipment which are reserved and slated for domestic use wise? These have traditionally been reserved for the FWLM and used to keep the Federal Government mollified and avoid unpleasant investigations into some of our more... dubious operations." Beads of sweat had started to trickle down his face. "And the 'Mechs from Kali Yama - wouldn't these allow people to trace things back to us?"

Never renowned as a quality manufacturer, the rush to exploit the export sales market led Quikscell to cut even more corners in an effort to maximize profits. The company’s infamous cost-over-quality dogma, even when cutting costs means using sub-standard materials, has given Quikscell its well-deserved “cheap and nasty” reputation. Less well known is the company’s practice of dual-sourcing many key components, reserving higher-quality versions in products slated for domestic use within the League. This practise had kept the FWLM and the Federal Government mollified and helped avoid unwanted investigations into the company's practise. The end result was that export buyers usually ended up paying the price of noticeably poorer maintenance and field performance. Despite its quality issues, a solid market continued to exist for Quikscell’s products, particularly among planetary militias and other groups that had to work with harsh budget constraints.

"Don't be ridiculous Marcus." The woman snorted. "Those 'Mechs are some of the most widely exported machines all over the Inner Sphere. They can be found in virtually any Successor State and uncountable number of merc units, not to mention some Periphery states."

"And those bureaucratic pigs in the Federal Government are currently too busy occupied with cleaning up the mess of the Civil War than to notice a slight drop in the quality of a couple of dozens of vehicles." The smaller man added.

The woman turned away from the pair. "I trust that things would be more... conclusive this time round." It was not a question.

"The mercenaries we hired this time round had a better reputation and proven track record than the hodgepodge of low lives we hired the last time round. Given the difference in equipment and capabilities, I have no doubt of the outcome."

"Marcus is right though, this has been dragging on for far too long. I want this ended once and for all Julian." The woman stated as she stared at the ceiling. "One way or another."

The latest orbital scans and aerial photos that the Event Horizon and aerospace fighters had brought back from the mining colony upon the Black Stars' arrival over the system showed the pair of old DropShips had not moved an inch... literally. Trajectory calculations done had shown that they were sitting exactly where they were when the Stars last spotted them.

More of the pirates' ground had however, been revealed. Other than the few 'Mechs, Battle Armour suits and vehicles last identified, more of the enemy hardware had been spotted. At the space port, an Archer and a partial view of a Rifleman near to one of the hanger bays had been photographed. The presence of the pair of them did not surprise him. Both were renowned for their anti air capabilities, and stationing them at the only Drop port made logical sense.

Over at the still under construction fort on the sand storm blasted hills, the Stars could now add a Vulcan light medium 'Mech to the enemy's TO&E in addition to the Panther they had scanned earlier. The sketchy intel reports provided by Nibo that the mines could only hold light BattleMechs had taken a blow. However, given that the forty five ton 'Mech barely qualified as a medium class BattleMech dampened his doubts a little. It was the heaviest machine that the Black Stars Battle Armour troops assigned to take it would come up against.

Over at the main pirate base a quad Scorpion 'Mech had been stationed at the only entrance of the valley where the base had been built in addition to a Stalker and Centurion. None of the 'Mechs spotted there so far were jump capable, giving the ambush plan that the Stars planned for them a much higher chance of success. The appearance of a very rare Grasshopper was surprising though. Not only was it a heavy machine, but it was the only machine they had spotted at the main lair that had jumping capabilities. On the other hand, if it was the only machine that could escape their planned trap, it would be easy enough to take care of.

The operation against the Quikscell backed pirates, when it was finally put into action, proved to be a complete let down, especially after all the recon and preparation work the entire unit put into the mission even before they had arrived over the planet for the second time. Even when they had discovered no aerial and orbital defence, the Black Stars had still proceeded with their deployment and attack plans with utmost caution.

However, once the action started, the pirates had proved to be as effectively offensively as a hunting rifle against an assault 'Mech. The Stars had split their forces into three, each assigned to tackle the three identified pirate positions. The first two groups consisting of the Jack 'O Lanterns, Loch's Lancers and their newest recruit Natasha Black against the pirate's force holed up in their mountain fortress, as well as Trouble Inc. and the Fallen Falcons against their Drop Port, had carried out their timed assault in the early morning. Like their advance warning systems, or rather their complete lack of it, the pirates were slow to respond to the attacks.

Their attacks had drawn the largest pirate force from the base in the Devil's Valley as expected by Ten-Bears and Zi Long. After another well executed and well timed ambush, the pirate force was trapped like sewer rats. Zi Long will have to give credit where it was due though. One of the bandits actually tried to call the bluff of the Stars. Too bad for the 'Mechjock though. Zi Long shook his head at the lost of salvage as the memory of the Quickdraw heavy 'Mech igniting its jump jets in an attempt to escape from the trap, and maybe even get at the Black Stars. A single 'Mech against an entrenched, well positioned and truly bored and itchy fingered group of high tech 'Mechs and tanks, the pirate 'Mech was literally vaporized under an a maelstrom of autocannon shells, lasers, missiles and particle projectile beams.

News of the fall of the other two pirate bases and surrender of their forces most probably came through to the trapped pirate force at that point in time. Without firing another shot, the pirates surrendered their forces. THAT piece of news convinced those pirates that were still putting up resistance to finally gave in.

The real surprise was the several ancient machines they found in the pirates' mountain fortress. After the Black Stars had taken stock of the surrendered pirates and their equipment, they had bemoaned about the complete lack of even reasonably combat worthy assets that the Stars would want to make use themselves. They had than came across the massive bays where the pirates themselves had discovered and had been trying to restore several ancient machines back to operational capability. Zi Long had to admit that he was impressed by their efforts. While they had not really succeeded, they were close to doing so. He was sure that the Black Stars techs would have much less of a trouble getting them into shape.

When the Stars were certain that the battles would end in victory for the Black Stars, they had worried about how to salvage the two pirate DropShips given that the Next Stop could only take two DropShips, of which the Event Horizon would have to one of. The destruction of the pirate Leopard during the Stars' attack on the Drop Port solved that particular predicament neatly. It was a waste, but the unit couldn't really complain about it anyway.

With several hundred tons worth of salvage on top of their cash earnings, the Black Stars had already decided to call the relationship with Nibo quits... at least for now. It was not that they were not good pay masters or employers, but they would not be able to offer much in the form contracts with high payment and salvage rights.

With the discovery of vast quantities of Palladium within the abandoned mines, the Kingdom of Nibo would definitely be bringing in resources to restart the mines. Their nearest Succession State neighbour, the Draconis Combine, would pay well for the mineral that was the major component in the fabrication of jump sails. The Kingdom had high hopes that the discovery would pave the way for their rebuilding and recovery.

Despite the rosy outlook of their employers, the Black Stars Cell had already started to sift through contracts forwarded from Terra. There were definite possibilities out there, and the Black Stars were definite scavengers that excelled at sniffing out and taking advantage of such situations out there.

AnubisZombie

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 241
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #13 on: 22 June 2011, 20:55:58 »
Haunted  ships. Are u cereal?

 [AAAH]

snakespinner

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1895
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #14 on: 22 June 2011, 23:21:29 »
Another pirate band bites the dust while paying for the privilige with their equipment.
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.

blackpanzer

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 139
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #15 on: 23 June 2011, 05:05:48 »
Haunted  ships. Are u cereal?

 [AAAH]

The Stars have since added a couple more DS to our fleet. Unfortunately, not all have such... colourful backgrounds.
Also, I do have to apologize, the contracts posted here in the forums is about 5 completed contracts behind, and a 6th that is currently ongoing. I can assure readers that the Black Stars are not about to set in stone the nature of our contracts such that we only tackle poohdunk pirate bands. We suffered losses in later campaigns, and had to content with unexpected opponents of quality. I'll try to put up more details as soon as I can.

And for anyone reading, thanks for the interest in our funny little unit.

AnubisZombie

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 241
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #16 on: 23 June 2011, 12:42:55 »
It's good to have some ships that wont kill you. That way you can rotate duty and it just becomes a bit of excitement instead of a death sentence. Course it doesn't help that it's the jumpship. Since it can go crazy and jump everybody into the hyperspace world forever or out to a isolated haunted periphery system.

blackpanzer

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 139
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #17 on: 23 June 2011, 23:07:52 »
Good thing its not a JumpShip than eh?
With that in mind, when the Black Stars do eventually get a JS of our own, we should probably give it names like Bambi, Snow White and such...

snakespinner

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1895
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #18 on: 25 June 2011, 01:18:37 »
I can just imagine the Black Stars having a JS named Bambi.
And i assume it's emblem will be Godzilla stomping Bambi. ::)
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.

serack

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 801
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #19 on: 25 June 2011, 14:59:57 »
or bambi stopping godzilla ;D

Perkins789

  • Guest
Re: Black Stars Mercenary Collective (AU)
« Reply #20 on: 07 February 2012, 17:30:32 »
Just checking in to see if there will be an update in the near future.