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Author Topic: A Warrior's Family  (Read 7541 times)

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #60 on: 18 May 2020, 03:01:17 »
Iron Grenadier and DOC_Agren, thanks. I was not familiar with the "Design Quirks" System. I'd seen it referenced, and assumed it was part of one of the BTech system add-ons, but wasn't sure which (Apparently it was Strategic Ops). That Sarna article is very helpful.

Conversations like this make me think, "Damn. I need to do more research, or maybe I shouldn't be writing for this universe, there's always some other rule, addition, or something else I'm ignorant of." That's not necessarily bad, it's just I mean need everyone to be more patient with me.

The Improved Sensors Quirk or Improved Communications is probably what the AAA would fall under. If I had to choose one I'd go with Improved Sensors.

Although the JagerMech and Rifleman both have spinning wave guides that I always assumed were part of a Synthetic Radar Array, and they get "Anti-Aircraft Tracking" as a quirk, although the Rifleman does get Improved Communications too.

I think I'd go with Iron Grenadier's recommendation of Improved Sensors Quirk.

Also in my previous post I wrote it would give +1 to hit, I should have wrote -1, I forgot how Battletech's To Hit system works (I might have been playing this other game system where +1 is always good, and probability is based on a D20, rather than 2D6). That's if you choose to go with just very classic BTech, or let it act as a Beagle Active Probe.

Iron Grenadier

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #61 on: 18 May 2020, 03:49:06 »

Conversations like this make me think, "Damn. I need to do more research, or maybe I shouldn't be writing for this universe, there's always some other rule, addition, or something else I'm ignorant of." That's not necessarily bad, it's just I mean need everyone to be more patient with me.


No worries at all. The basic knowledge is there, and the story has been good quality.

worktroll

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #62 on: 18 May 2020, 04:44:47 »
And you can write, which is more than I can do ;) You'll pick up the lore. Sarna's a great way to lose hours.

BTW, the original Unseen Rifleman had the spinning propellor beany. The JagerMech, and the Reseen Rifleman, had fixed arrays. So they're not unknown.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #63 on: 18 May 2020, 05:44:35 »
Thanks again Iron Grenadier and Worktroll. I can attest how easy it is to lose hours on Sarna, truthfully a lot of the reason I'm writing this is I was playing the PC game, and then I was reading on Sarna, and I got me wondering about a lot of the things I'm writing about or trying to explore through Hap, Anastasia, Joker and Mags.

Also the depth of the battle tech universe is so profound from sensor quirks to Operation Holy Shroud sometimes it's not about losing yourself down the wiki rabbit hole, rather it's knowing the right things to search for (The old, "to get the right answer, you must ask the right question" paradox). 

Still, the more I learn the more I enjoy this universe, and I've been enjoying the friendly and collegiate attitude of the community. Thanks for writing and helping out.

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #64 on: 18 May 2020, 17:42:53 »
I will say you write an interesting story, why we are all asking questions and viewing it

Now may I present my take on your Vallois Solutions experimental Agile Adaptive Aperture (AAA) Synthetic Radar Array, Vallois Solutions Targeting and Tracking systems, and Vallois Solutions Comms package.
Using quirks
Improved Communications
Improved Sensors

But to also represent the extra hardware shoved into the head
Cramped Cockpit
Difficult to Eject
Difficult to Maintain


and now my reasoning:
You pointed out better Comms and Sensors, so that was a given.  I also looked at replacing the Improved Sensor with a Variable Range Targeting system, but felt the Improved Sensors was a better fit.
Now Anastasia fully understand the Vallois Solutions hardware in her mech, but the average Tech is going to have issues keeping it all working correctly.  And that cockpit is a tad more cramped then normal now so a bit harder to pilot and when/if she has to eject without bouncing off things is harder.
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #65 on: 18 May 2020, 19:08:43 »
I'd say that's probably accurate, DOC Agren. Cramped Cockpit is a good choice. This is definitely a prototype system and since the inventor is dead it would be hard for someone to go back and fix the form factor. Also Anastasia and her Father are both short (She's introduced as 1.5 meters, and his height gets mentioned in a later chapter), so this again would not be something they care about in the prototype stage.

The difficult to maintain is a good catch too. There are no moving parts to the struts, but any damage to them (even incidental shrapnel, rocks, trauma type wear-and-tear) would require some careful work to either fix a break in the grid and not create impedance, or just a complete replacement. Also the struts would be much more expensive than a regular antenna.

I think if Anastasia ever resumes her father's work she'd probably fix the cramped cockpit issue but the Difficult to Eject would still remain because you'd also have a lot more cables between the cockpit and antenna grid to support the additional power and data requirements, so that also would interfere with most ejection systems. You could argue it could come with safety break couplings in the wire, but the system is difficult to maintain, and those safety breaks don't always work, and you know there will be a tech that will bypass, or just remove the safety coupling...

Thanks for adding some negative aspects, and making trade offs. I think when things get too OP or too perfect they can be sort of boring, so nice touch. 

EAGLE 7

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #66 on: 18 May 2020, 19:39:56 »
“ You could argue it could come with safety break couplings in the wire, but the system is difficult to maintain, and those safety breaks don't always work, and you know there will be a tech that will bypass, or just remove the safety coupling..”

       You could always upgrade it, but with “ Difficult to Eject “ on a set number of 2-die6.
Currently ejection is difficult on number >6 on 2-die 6.

After Anastasia improves the mech system then > 9 on 2- die 6.
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DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #67 on: 18 May 2020, 20:15:32 »
I'd say that's probably accurate, DOC Agren. Cramped Cockpit is a good choice. This is definitely a prototype system and since the inventor is dead it would be hard for someone to go back and fix the form factor. Also Anastasia and her Father are both short (She's introduced as 1.5 meters, and his height gets mentioned in a later chapter), so this again would not be something they care about in the prototype stage.

The difficult to maintain is a good catch too. There are no moving parts to the struts, but any damage to them (even incidental shrapnel, rocks, trauma type wear-and-tear) would require some careful work to either fix a break in the grid and not create impedance, or just a complete replacement. Also the struts would be much more expensive than a regular antenna.

I think if Anastasia ever resumes her father's work she'd probably fix the cramped cockpit issue but the Difficult to Eject would still remain because you'd also have a lot more cables between the cockpit and antenna grid to support the additional power and data requirements, so that also would interfere with most ejection systems. You could argue it could come with safety break couplings in the wire, but the system is difficult to maintain, and those safety breaks don't always work, and you know there will be a tech that will bypass, or just remove the safety coupling...

Thanks for adding some negative aspects, and making trade offs. I think when things get too OP or too perfect they can be sort of boring, so nice touch.
No problem, I wanted to see if you had plan or idea before throwing something together.
Well if she continued it might end up like the Beagle Active Probe with the wgt and space factored in.
and no tech would ever change the wiring plan... he  ;D :D after working in an arcade with old pinball machines who wiring match nothing in wiring plans
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #68 on: 19 May 2020, 07:00:37 »
No problem, I wanted to see if you had plan or idea before throwing something together.
Well if she continued it might end up like the Beagle Active Probe with the wgt and space factored in.
and no tech would ever change the wiring plan... he  ;D :D after working in an arcade with old pinball machines who wiring match nothing in wiring plans

I would strongly suspect there are similarities between maintaining a centuries old battlemech and a decades old pinball or arcade cabinet. Especially since a lot of the tech dreamed up in the original Battletech looks straight out of the 80s.

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #69 on: 19 May 2020, 19:44:20 »
Trust me you aren't wrong.
so older machines were basicly Frankstein Machines with parts borrow from others. 
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

worktroll

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #70 on: 19 May 2020, 20:48:49 »
Mechs, or pinball machines, Doc? :)

It's worth mentioning that Anastasia's Valkyrie is probably shiny recent, with that 'New Mech' smell. The FedSuns have at this time one of the few fully automated production lines for Valkyries outside the Lyran facilities on Hesperus IV. So fully automated no-one understands it, and they dare not try to fix any of the problems which limit production. As long as the right parts go in one end, the shinies come out the other.

Given Anastasia's background, I'd expect it to be one of those, not an epic-hand-me-down. But the installation of her dad's equipment will fix that! Plenty of plot hooks there.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #71 on: 19 May 2020, 21:41:41 »
Mechs, or pinball machines, Doc? :)

It's worth mentioning that Anastasia's Valkyrie is probably shiny recent, with that 'New Mech' smell. The FedSuns have at this time one of the few fully automated production lines for Valkyries outside the Lyran facilities on Hesperus IV. So fully automated no-one understands it, and they dare not try to fix any of the problems which limit production. As long as the right parts go in one end, the shinies come out the other.

Given Anastasia's background, I'd expect it to be one of those, not an epic-hand-me-down. But the installation of her dad's equipment will fix that! Plenty of plot hooks there.
I agree that her mech is new machine, or damm recent.  Until they added in those extra features in the cockpit.  Sure hope she fully understands that equipment and how to maintain it, because there no records in theory to fallback on.

and worktroll, mechs, pinball, early video games, redemption machine
« Last Edit: 19 May 2020, 21:43:45 by DOC_Agren »
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #72 on: 20 May 2020, 03:26:35 »

It's worth mentioning that Anastasia's Valkyrie is probably shiny recent, with that 'New Mech' smell. The FedSuns have at this time one of the few fully automated production lines for Valkyries outside the Lyran facilities on Hesperus IV. So fully automated no-one understands it, and they dare not try to fix any of the problems which limit production. As long as the right parts go in one end, the shinies come out the other.

Given Anastasia's background, I'd expect it to be one of those, not an epic-hand-me-down. But the installation of her dad's equipment will fix that! Plenty of plot hooks there.

This is exactly what I had tried to imply in earlier chapters, I think it was Hap's impression though, and not clearly stated. This was a "straight off the line" VLK-QA Valkyrie that received a prototype AAA package. Anastasia's father installed it himself, handed it over to his daughter, and, as a consummate business man, had her do a field demo for a few of the Generals at NAIS. This was the last time they saw each other before she shipped out to Klathandu.

To Doc's point about pinball machines and difficult ejections, Anastasia's install is neat and clean and professionally done by a doting father, but (given my experience with buying used cars with after market radios) not every tech or mechanic can follow a wire diagram, and some vehicles have to be made "compatible" which invites problems and quirks. Anastasia's system is not a rat's nest of wires and a potential death trap, her father wouldn't allow that, but for someone installing a AAA into a third-generation salvaged war prize, there's some potential for problems. 

Regarding Anastasia's ability to maintain the system. For her it would be very easy. She was a "Daddy's girl" that spent a lot of her free time in his workshop, and went to NAIS to study Electrical Engineering (or the NAIS equivalent). Her father also taught her how to program, wire, and build electronic systems, so she could easily read his code or understand something he built. The only way she would be more familiar with this system would be if she made it herself, and there's components and code functions that she designed used in the AAA.

Iron Grenadier

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #73 on: 20 May 2020, 03:41:53 »
Based on that feedback, I think perhaps a negative quirk might be something like
"Non-Standard Parts"
https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Design_Quirks#Non-Standard_Parts_.5BBT.5D

"Prototype"
https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Design_Quirks#Prototype_.5BBT.2C_AS.2C_SBF.5D


In a nutshell, she will likely be the primary pilot and tech for her ride, and finding the replacement "doohickey part Z147" could be an adventure all by itself.


Or, you don't have to give it a negative quirk at all. Sometimes, things just work really damn good.

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #74 on: 20 May 2020, 06:49:13 »
By definition this AAA would be a prototype. I should probably read through all those quirks.

I personally like the idea of having drawbacks in a system, because, like WorkTroll wrote, it helps with creating story hooks. Although I agree in the real world periodically you encounter those wonderful things that just work right, or that were so well designed you feel like it was made for you, I worry about putting something like that in a story.

As I'm writing I'm sensitive to accidentally creating the "universal solution" like Dr. Who's Sonic Screwdriver or the Enterprises "main deflector dish". That piece of kit that can be anything it needs to be when it's required. I'd prefer the characters have to struggle through, or improvise something else, than just have this amazing pre-built thing that's always a little too handy.

The other thing I'm sensitive to is balancing certain lines with the characters. First, I don't want to be like 80s GI Joe where you have this amazing team of elite special operators versus a near-peer terrorist organization but rarely does anyone get seriously injured. I've found if I'm reading a book where the characters have too many close calls, but always slip by unscathed it gets boring, because it feels they're never really in danger. On the other hand I don't want to be like George R.R. Martin where you don't really get attached to his characters, but you stick around waiting for the people you really hate to get what's coming to them.

Second there is the character personalities themselves. Is Anastasia becoming a Mary Sue or a Pollyanna. Are Hap's responses too perfect? Is Joker too much of a nuisance (well yes, but how much of that is on purpose and how much is alienating?) Is Mags just a tough girl clique? How can I give Mags more personality than just the tattooed girl that always yelling, "I'm going to cut you!"

Then on top of all this there is the actual universe rules, you have to understand it, but the actual specifics may not matter. For example, an AC-2 has 3 more hexes of long range than an LRM. 3x30 meters is 90 meters. That's not as interesting as the fact that a Blackjack could attack an Archer from just outside the Archer's engagement range. The Blackjack can only chip away at the Archer's armor, and the Blackjack is just one wrong move from 40 missiles coming down on him. Three hexes on a weapons chart make this situation possible, but so would just one hex.

As I writer I don't exactly care about three hexes, what I really care about the inherent drama of just staying outside of range, carefully trying to maintain the distance and advantage, while slowly picking apart the adversary. The drama of losing line of sight, having to re-establish contact but hope you don't accidentally walk in range.  I need the rules to create the drama, and to keep things realistic, but minutia of how it all works isn't always important (at least as I'm writing), Which is more if tried to explain it, it would likely slow down the story.

When you guys asked me how does the AAA work I was a little at a loss. How exactly it worked in-game is sort of a "cart-before-horse" problem for me. I knew how I wanted it to work for story purposes (a little extra long range scanning, a little more detail scanning, later on Anastasia will figure out how to use it to use it jam other 'Mechs scans). Kinda like a Beagle Active Probe and kinda like a Guardian ECM, but not necessarily as good as either.

Quite frankly I appreciate the question, as well as everyone's help to make this thing more inline and realistic with the universe. Thank you everyone, but weather you know it or not, you created sort of a different writing exercise for me.
The Blackjack vs. Archer is a simple deduction made from looking at the weapons chart, and knowing a few basic 'mechs. The AAA was me thinking I needed a "thing" to help me with my story, but the real specifics wasn't something I put much thought into. (Back to the AC-2 example, from a writing perspective it doesn't matter if it's one hex, or five hexes, just as long as it has greater range). 

I made the AAA as a writing device. It's something Anastasia's father could make to generate cash for his project. It's a scanner because Anastasia is a naturally curious person so it speaks to her character. It's also an expensive piece of kit on shiny new 'mech confirming her place as a spoiled rich girl, and all the drama that goes with that. It's useful, and it gives her lance an edge, but it's not game changing, or a wonder weapon. It's almost innocuous, but it can drive plot and reveal details, both about characters and the world around them (pun intended).

As you guys seek to clarify things with it (make me lock down those 3 hexes, as it were) I have to ask myself does change anything I've already written, or will create a problem down the line in the story as I've drafted and outlined it. So far the answer is no, but I thought I'd take a moment and lay some of my cards on the table, and if my answers to the question seemed a little evasive this is why.

This conversation as a whole is fascinating for me, again at showing the depth of the BattleTech universe, and how everyone as a fan looks at it and thinks about it.

Thanks again everyone.

Also I know it sounds like I'm downplaying the importance of the rules, or really the mechanics of how this universe operates. I'm not trying to do that. I wrote in the past that I would rather write a good story than adhere strictly to the rules, and while this is true, I don't want to intentionally create a situation that takes someone out of the story by making them think, "That's not how that works..." even though it looks like I did that in the opening chapters. Honestly, I am trying to do better, and provide an enjoyable read.

Thanks again for reading
« Last Edit: 20 May 2020, 08:09:42 by HFC05 »

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #75 on: 20 May 2020, 21:18:24 »
To Doc's point about pinball machines and difficult ejections, Anastasia's install is neat and clean and professionally done by a doting father, but (given my experience with buying used cars with after market radios) not every tech or mechanic can follow a wire diagram, and some vehicles have to be made "compatible" which invites problems and quirks. Anastasia's system is not a rat's nest of wires and a potential death trap, her father wouldn't allow that, but for someone installing a AAA into a third-generation salvaged war prize, there's some potential for problems. 

Regarding Anastasia's ability to maintain the system. For her it would be very easy. She was a "Daddy's girl" that spent a lot of her free time in his workshop, and went to NAIS to study Electrical Engineering (or the NAIS equivalent). Her father also taught her how to program, wire, and build electronic systems, so she could easily read his code or understand something he built. The only way she would be more familiar with this system would be if she made it herself, and there's components and code functions that she designed used in the AAA.
I didn't include prototype because there was comments about her dad selling these kits, but non-standard parts (should have been a given).   :thumbsup:
It might be a clean and professional install job, but you are still cramming extra hardware cases into places where the mech was were never to have them.  All it takes is to interfer with ejection is a 286 computer unit slightly in the way.  She not that big, she might not notice the "extra space" taken up but Bruce Campbell in her mech would.

If he prepped her that well, she might get a visit from Holy Shroud ROM unit, so maybe it is better they think she dead.

Still enjoying your story

Updated
Now may I present my take on your Vallois Solutions experimental Agile Adaptive Aperture (AAA) Synthetic Radar Array, Vallois Solutions Targeting and Tracking systems, and Vallois Solutions Comms package.
Using quirks
Improved Communications
Improved Sensors

But to also represent the extra hardware shoved into the head
Cramped Cockpit
Difficult to Eject
Difficult to Maintain
Non-Standard Parts

"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

worktroll

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #76 on: 20 May 2020, 21:40:20 »
Quote
The other thing I'm sensitive to is balancing certain lines with the characters. First, I don't want to be like 80s GI Joe where you have this amazing team of elite special operators versus a near-peer terrorist organization but rarely does anyone get seriously injured. I've found if I'm reading a book where the characters have too many close calls, but always slip by unscathed it gets boring, because it feels they're never really in danger. On the other hand I don't want to be like George R.R. Martin where you don't really get attached to his characters, but you stick around waiting for the people you really hate to get what's coming to them.

I think you've handled this very well so far. The losses of Lucky and Tuna hurt; we'd only known them for a few paragraphs, but they were people by that point, not redshirts. And casualties don't have to be deaths; while loss of a limb is almost certainly a career-ending injury at this time, there'll be burns, broken bones, concussions - and then (for example) how Hap copes with being stuck in a cast while Anastasia goes into battle ...

One note on the HBS game vs the BT game vs the fictional 'real world'. In the boardgame, one-on-one a Blackjack simply can't keep that distance from the Archer, because the Archer can close faster than the Blackjack can walk (or jump) away. That's where you, the writer, make the difference. What stops the Archer from closing? Is it defending a position? Is the terrain broken, boggy, or forested, limiting movement? Is there another 'Mech closer, and more immediately threatening? Does it have leg crits already?

I just make the comment because I see in some of the computer-game-players coming across that there should be ways to knock out opposing 'mechs without taking damage in return. But the board-game players expect to get bits knocked off - minimising return fire, but never expecting not to get hit. Which ties in well with the Succession War false-chivalry (aka the 'Forced Withdrawal' rules). Your first post had much stronger impact because of the deaths of Lucky and Tuna, and that was good. But as you're already aware, death is like hot chili - essential, but not to be overdone. Of course, the exact 'heat' level varies from person to person.

TL:DR version: write first, obey the rules second ;)
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #77 on: 21 May 2020, 16:21:01 »
Thanks again Doc and WorkTroll, you guys may not know it, or even see it directly, but you are keeping me honest and making me a better writer, and I appreciate it.

I need to get the next couple chapters ready to post tomorrow, so I need to "focus up" on that, but I've enjoyed this conversation.

I also see your point with the Archer vs. Blackjack, I may have to think how that could play out. I'll have to put that in my notes and scraps file to revisit it later...or I may just let a couple of my characters argue it out.

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #78 on: 21 May 2020, 18:30:31 »
Blackjack has the range, but if that all it got vrs the Archer, soon or later those LRM are coming hard.  But if the Archer has something else to keep it busy, then light it up and hope for that Golden BB.
I have seen a Blackjack show what it could do vrs a fixed position of LRM launcher and threaten to Shell the Moon Base until the "dome" popped as the quote went.
"I have the ammo reserves and your not moving, and can't reach back to me.  Think you should surrender operations now or learn to breath in space."

Now sorry we have slowed your writing down with our Tech questions, but it been a good Story.  Like I said, when the next Death comes for one of these characters we have got to know, it might be a gut punch.
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

worktroll

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #79 on: 21 May 2020, 19:27:28 »
And to further disrupt, are you a Strazinski, or a Martin? Do you have a "5-year-arc" in mind, or are you letting the characters loose in your playground and seeing what develops organically?
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #80 on: 22 May 2020, 04:34:54 »
And to further disrupt, are you a Strazinski, or a Martin? Do you have a "5-year-arc" in mind, or are you letting the characters loose in your playground and seeing what develops organically?

I'd hate to compare myself to either one, because they're pros, and I do this to relax.

I have a pretty broad story outline written out with some "must happen events", and some "think this is a good idea" events. I'm willing to let the characters wonder and if, doing research, or during one of these conversations an interesting idea comes up I'd probably pursue it. There are a few gray areas in the plot line though, and I don't think I have the same level of vision as Strazinski showed in Babylon 5.

I'd also be hesitant to wonder too far off the plot outline though. I have some incomplete works and a meandering story where I wasn't very disciplined and I introduced too many characters and the whole thing just got too complex, too complicated, and it was hard to reconcile the party's current activities with the plot. Letting my characters wonder made the story collapse under it's own weight. Somehow Martin didn't let that exactly happen with Game of Thrones, but sometimes I thought he was struggling with that too.

The other thing I'm trying (and I'm hesitant to mention this) is leave little clues to where the story is going. This also drives me to keep my eye on the end goal and incorporate future aspects of unrevealed plot points into the story. This is something J.K. Rowling is famous for, (again I'm just a hobbyist), and I found that very rewarding as a reader to go back see a small detail and realize it was referring to something important later.

Good Chess players do two things: 1) They play multiple moves ahead, and 2) They constantly prosecute a checkmate. I try to write like that. I'm willing to deviate, but constantly working toward the end goal.   

worktroll

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #81 on: 22 May 2020, 05:07:32 »
Works for me! And thanks for taking the time out to answer.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

PsylockeSmythe

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #82 on: 22 May 2020, 08:36:06 »
I've been enjoying the story and looking forward to the next chapters.

Psy

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #83 on: 22 May 2020, 16:21:53 »
Chapter 18

Anastasia heard Hap say her name as he gently shook her. She stretched and turned over to look at him. Without thinking she gave him a warm smile, "Good morning, Harold."

Hap couldn't help but smile back, "Good morning Anastasia. I wanted to talk to you about last night. Before you fell asleep did you say something?"

Anastasia looked a little sheepish, "I might have said something as I was falling asleep. I've been told when I get comfortable I tend to say or do things I wouldn't normally say. What did you hear?" Anastasia didn't regret saying that she loved Harold, but she didn't want to get lectured on how they still needed to get to know each other and how she shouldn't say "that" word.

Hap paused for a moment, as he debated with himself, "I thought you said, 'I love you'."

"Sleepy Anastasia says many things." she said dismissively. This sounded like it was going to be a lecture. She snuggled up to him, if he was going to lecture, or call her naïve, she could at least enjoy being close.

"Whatever 'sleepy Anastasia' said it got me thinking that even if I didn't hear those words I wanted to, because I enjoy spending time with you, and getting to know you. I also appreciated our conversation last night. I, uh, it was, uh, I appreciated the emotional support."

Anastasia looked at him expectantly. This no longer sounded like a lecture, it sounded promising.

"What I'm trying to say is…" Hap paused, "This is awkward because I said we need to take things slow."

Anastasia felt bad for him, "Harold, you don't have to say anything. I know you love me. You can't hold me like you do and not love me. You're not pawing at me for sex. You wrap your arms around me and make me feel loved. It's why I said, 'I love you'. I felt loved, I wanted to let you know I loved you back"

Hap nodded. He didn't have anything else to say. He ran his hand up and down her back as she laid with her head on his chest. After a minute Anastasia broke the silence, "So where do we go from here?"

Hap shrugged, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You decided we should take things slow, I assumed you have milestones or goals for our relationship that we need to meet in a certain order." Anastasia tried to remember if any of the books she had read had some sort of timeline for relationships.

Hap shook his head, "I don't. I figure our relationship should progress naturally, it's not a process."

Anastasia got quiet for a moment then said, "I think everything is a process or at least has an orderly way to be accomplished. Anything you do in a step-by-step method is a process. It doesn't matter if it's your morning routine, or starting your 'Mech. Why should our relationship be any different?"

"Do you hear yourself?" Hap was at loss, "There is no 'do these ten things and you'll go from strangers to lovers for life'. Even if a relationship does need steps or activities you can't just race through them as quickly as possible. Time together is just as important as anything else for a relationship to grow. Honestly, you sound more like an engineer than a 'sweep-me-off-my-feet' romantic."

"Being swept off my feet implies the process can be done quicker in the right circumstances. It's actually more efficient when you think about it, which is generally the goal of engineering." Anastasia replied.

"Relationships take time Anastasia. I mean, look at you, you're comfortable with saying 'I love you', but you take your bra off under your shirt, so you're not comfortable showing me your naked body."

"Maybe I'm not comfortable with my body, and that's a different process to fix."

"Or maybe it's because you're not ready to have sex."

They both got quiet again, then Anastasia sighed, "So it comes back to time?"

"Yes time." Hap replied quietly as he squeezed her shoulder.

They laid quietly together again, then Hap asked, "So are you uncomfortable with your body, or did you just assume if I saw you naked I'd want more, and it would just lead to problems?"

"A little bit of both." Anastasia replied. She glanced over at Hap's watch, and then flashed him an impish grin, "But if you really want to see me topless, and you promise to be good-"

"I'm always good." Hap said slowly as he gave her a questioning look.

Anastasia sat up "Okay, but keep in mind, I've been told my 'rack' isn't the best."

"You were told that by a man that has never, and likely will never, see your 'rack', and generally has to pay a woman to see or touch her anything."

Anastasia nodded, "True". She slowly started to roll-up the bottom of her shirt, then stopped, "but I want to make sure you're not disappointed."

Hap's eyes narrowed. She was clearly teasing him, "I assure you I won't be disappointed."

"Promise?"

"Anastasia, what are you-" as Harold spoke he was interrupted by the morning wake-up bell.

Anastasia smoothed out her shirt, "Oh! I'm sorry Harold, it's time to start our morning processes."

Hap caught her wrist as she reached for the door. "I've been learning about more 'efficient processes'. I think I can spare a moment."

"I'm not sure I can" Anastasia smiled and freed her wrist with a quick twist. Before Hap could stop her she got her hand on the door latch and threw it open. Hap responded by sweeping off his blankets in Anastasia's direction. He managed to wrap her up in blankets, and gave her a playful shove. She responded with a muffled "Hey" as she fell over in a tangled heap at the foot of the bed.

Hap looked up to see Joker perched on on the edge of his compartment. He looked like he was debating the merits of getting out of bed. He looked at Hap and asked, "What are you two doing?"

Hap glanced over Anastasia trying to untangle herself, "We were talking about efficient processes."

"Like the fastest way to do something? Is that what Anastasia calls having sex with you?"

Anastasia pushed her head out of the blankets, "You hear efficient process, understand 'fastest way to accomplish a thing', and immediately think of sex?"

"It's all he ever thinks about." Mags said as she pulled a box out of her locker and put it on the deck.

"Sounds about right." Hap told Anastasia, "you look like you're not having an efficient time, need help?"

"No." Anastasia said darkly, as she sat up, got her hands free, and began to untangle the blanket.

Mags pulled a palm sized cylinder out of the box. She stepped over toward Hap, "I have a question. "

"What do you need?" Hap asked.

"Not you, Anastasia. I need someone smart." Mags took another step to stand in front of Anastasia.

Joker jumped down, with his stupid grin, "Ah Hap, Mags doesn't think you're smart."

"That's not what I said." Mags snapped

"That's exactly what you said." Joker replied with his characteristic irritating smile

Anastasia was mostly free of the blanket. She was feeling closer to Harold and Joker's slight at him annoyed her more than usual. "Joker, if Harold isn't smart then you have donkey brains."

"Donkey Brains? Is that the best you got?" Joker stepped closer to Anastasia and starred at her.

"Quiet donkey brains." Mags said as she pushed Joker away from Anastasia. Mags handed Anastasia a small black palm-sized cylinder. "My personal Holoviewer broke, can you fix it?"

Anastasia took the cylinder, and it rattled as she examined it. "What happened?"

"It fell during our landing on Klathandu." Mags explained. Anastasia looked up. Mags voice was low, and her expression told Anastasia this was important. Before Anastasia could reply Mags told her, "You're the smartest person I know. If anyone can fix it it's you."

Anastasia nodded and began to play with her braid. As she nervously tugged the braid she noted that it Hap's roughhousing had loosened it, and she needed to be fixed, but she was more interested in the holo and trying to solve the problem of how to repair it.

"Mag's can I ask why it's important?"

"It has holos of my family, and a video from my Father. It's important to me." Mags almost whispered.

Hap could see Joker was still staring at Anastasia, probably trying to think of some devastating insult to hurl at her. Hap opened up his locker and asked Joker, "How was the card game last night?"

"It didn't go so well" Joker looked at Mags,"because someone doesn't understand how to play spades."

"You're the one that doesn't seem to know how many total tricks there are." Mags snapped.

"Look, I could only take two. You said you would win five, but you took twice that." Joker snapped.

Anastasia examined the broken holoviewer as Joker and Mags bickered. Aside from the rattle the metal case had a large dent. The holo array appeared to be fine, so it was just the internal electronics. She could fix a lot of things, but this would likely be difficult. These things weren't designed to be repaired. They were probably made in an automated factory in Marik space and no one knew how to fix them. She sighed, if she had some tools maybe she could try something, at least salvage the memory module. The holo wasn't important to Mags, the pictures and videos were, so that gave her some options.

Anastasia put on her coveralls and slipped the holoviewer into a large cargo pockets. Soon everyone had finished there morning processes and were headed to the galley. Anastasia fell into step beside Harold. She looked over at him and smiled. It was good to talk to someone that understand how it felt to lose a parent. Since she had lost her father she had needed someone to talk to that could understand her and relate. She felt a little guilty as she wondered how her mother was coping.

Breakfast was all canned or prepackaged foods. After weeks of space travel all the fresh food had been eaten and whoever's day it was to cook had just given up and put out dried cereals, ready-made bread, canned milk, and canned fruits. It wasn't fresh, but at least it was nourishing.

Normally Fletch, or Tomax would pass out training assignments during breakfast. Today they handed out tasks for preparing the shuttle to land. There were areas to clean, equipment that had to be secured and dozens of other duties that had to be done before the drop shuttle could enter a planet's atmosphere.

Most of the MechWarriors helped the techs prepare their 'Mechs. The upcoming mission was supposed to be a garrison duty, and there was no expectation that this would be a combat drop, but just in case McFinnigan wanted the 'Mechs ready for action. He also wanted his company to look like professionals.

Since Hap, Anastasia, and Joker's 'Mechs were on the other drop shuttle they were tasked with helping Codey and Mal take apart the simulators. They went down to the vehicle bay and found the two techs already at work. Codey was pressing buttons on a terminal built into the large Leenex 60 cylinder.

"What is that thing?" Joker asked pointing at the cylinder.

Codey gave him a questioning look, "It's the power source from a 'Mech, specifically an Urbanmech. I can't believe you didn't know that. What do you think has been powering all the systems?"

"I dunno. We're on a massive ship. I just figured everything was patched into the ship's engines."

Anastasia sighed, "It has nuclear and hazard markings all over it. It's a large fusion reactor shaped cylinder, and nearly everything here is wired into it. Further, it has large air hoses going into the ship's air exchangers. It never occurred to you it might be a 'Mech's fusion reactor?"

"Anastasia, I'm not like you. There are a lot of things that never occur to me, alright?"

"Yes. I actually knew that." Anastasia replied.

Hap knew if he let them, Anastasia and Joker would argue all day. "Codey you need any help shutting down that generator?"

"Yeah I could use a hand." Codey said as he continued to press buttons on the maintenance panel.

"Mal, what do you need help with?" Hap looked to the short young woman with blue hair.

Mal had an armload of large cloth bags. She raised her eyebrows in surprise, and almost dropped her bags. "Um, I dunno. I usually have to do all this myself."

"What are you doing with those bags?" Hap asked

"The setup for the command couches are all custom work, so I have to make sure all the cables and pieces stay together. Each couch gets a bag and everything for that couch goes into its bag."

Hap nodded, "Got it. Joker, help Mal with the couches. Anastasia, you want to help Codey or Mal?"

Anastasia looked at Mal, and then saw something on the table behind her. "I'll help Mal."

"Hey why does she get a choice?" Joker asked

"Because we're here to help, and you couldn't recognize the most basic of fusion reactors." Hap replied

"Look, first of all I shut down a fusion reactor all the time, and I didn't recognize one because mine is inside my mech, where it's supposed to be. I bet you or Anastasia can't even name your engine type."

Anastasia looked up from the NAV board she was unscrewing, "It's an Omni 150."

"That doesn't mean anything! She knows everything about everything." Joker said.

"Mine is a CoreTex 275, and your Firestarter has a GM 210. I did a lot of my own maintenance, and I had to request a new engine after part of your shielding got destroyed during the 'hot drop' into Klathandu."

"Oh yeah. Well I didn't want to work on the reactor anyway." Joker said as he took a bag from Mal.

Hap walked over to Codey and helped him go through the reactor's safety shutdown checklist. Anastasia finished one couch and moved over to the one next to where Mal was working.

Anastasia carefully unplugged a target acquisition computer, "Mal, the HUD for these simulators, are they all made from personal holoviewers?"

"Yeah. This is one of my and Codey's specialties. We take a micro holoviewer, overwrite the code, wire it into the system and it works just like your 'Mech's HUD, and shows you stuff in 'the game'."

Anastasia continued to roll up cables and place them in the bag, "I see you have one plugged into your terminal at your workstation. Can you transfer data between holoviewers?"

"Oh yeah, we do that all the time. I got a whole setup over there." Mal said gesturing to the long table.

"If I had a broken holoviewer, do you think you could help me get the data off of it?" Anastasia asked

"Um…probably. Let's look at it during lunch." Mal replied. "Codey's really fussy about getting the simulators packed up before we start to land. He'll insist on sticking to his schedule."

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #84 on: 22 May 2020, 16:22:36 »
Chapter 19

"Remind me again why I'm looking at this broken holoviewer." Codey said as he sat down at his workbench. He unfolded the paper around his sandwich and admired the dent in the holoviewer.

"Anastasia asked me for a favor." Mal said as she sat down next to him and put her sandwich on the table in front of her, "Asked me" She repeated, "Since most MechWarriors usually bitch and yell at us to fix some piece of their 'Mech that they broke, I thought we'd reward her good behavior by helping her."

Hap sat at a loveseat near the work bench, he leaned back and got comfortable and started to eat his sandwich. Anastasia sat down next to him. She kept her back straight, crossed one leg over the other and carefully balanced her sandwich on her knee. Hap felt self-conscious and sat up a little straighter.

Codey mumbled to himself as he took a bite of his sandwich. The holoviewer rattled as he picked it up. He glanced over at Anastasia, "These things aren't supposed to rattle."

"You hear this guy Anastasia, he's a pro. Knows that holoviewers don't usually rattle." Joker laughed to himself as he took a chair next the couch. He slouched in his seat and began to loudly eat his sandwich.

Anastasia ignored Joker and looked at Codey, "I thought the same thing when Mags handed it to me. She was insistent that I try to fix it. She said it broke during the drop on Klathandu."

Codey nodded, "We lost an engine coming down. Let me tell you, that was an exciting drop even for us non-MechWarrior types. I wonder why she didn't ask me to look at it."

Hap smiled, "You know Mags. I'd say you're probably better off having her not ask you for help."

Codey mulled that over as he took another bite. He nodded and looked at Anastasia, "Yeah, he's right you're going to have to tell her we can't fix it."

Anastasia daintily unwrapped her sandwich. "I was hoping the memory module was still intact and you could transfer the data from this one onto similar model. I was also hoping, that since you used these as HUDs, I could purchase a spare unit from you"

Mal shook her head, "No need, we'll swap ya for it. We can use this one for spare parts. I like Mags, she doesn't take shit from anybody."

Codey gave Mal a questioning look and she responded with a look of her own, "Come on. It's usually the holo array that burns out, and this one looks intact, it's probably the board that's broken. It's really no big deal. Besides this is for Mags. She's usually pretty cool to us, or at least me." Mal told Codey.

"Are you and Mags friends?" Hap asked

"Sorta. She dated my brother for awhile. It was fun to watch her keep him in check." Mal set her sandwich down, "We got along pretty good while they were dating, and we still do."

"Who's your brother?" Joker asked as he sat up and leaned forward.

"Grizzly. It only lasted a few weeks. Grizzly decided she wasn't marrying material." Mal said.

Joker looked indignant, "What do you mean not marrying material?"

Mal shrugged, "I dunno, he thought she was too wild. I'd guess probably wanted a woman that didn't argue with him about everything."

"Or he didn't want his children's mother to be a woman that constantly says 'I'll cut you'" Anastasia said.

"Has she ever actually cut you?" Joker sneered at Anastasia.

"I pointed that out to her a few days ago in the showers. She replied I was lucky she didn't have a knife."

Before Joker could answer her Hap asked, "So Grizzly is your brother? How did the two of you come to be part of McFinnigan's company?"

"Dad joined up when Commander McFinnigan thought he had enough work for a company of Mechwarriors. When Dad retired Gerald, I mean Grizzl,y took his place piloting the family Wolverine. Codey's dad taught me to program and fix stuff. When Dad split Kelly offered to put me on the payroll."

"What sort of programming do you normally do?" Hap asked

"Usually it's pretty simple stuff, we got a broken system in a 'Mech, or in one of the shuttles, and then we find a similar part and I, as Commander McFinnigan likes to say, 'make it behave'. Basic stuff, modify the readout on a Targeting System to say 'Jagermech' instead of 'Rifleman', or change some of the basic configurations, sometimes I do some custom work for a MechWarrior or the shuttle pilots. Most times though, the Commander has these crazy ideas, like making these 'Mech simulators."

"You've done quite well." Anastasia said, "These simulators are very complicated."

Mal's eyebrows shot up, "Uh… thank you. Sorry, I don't often get compliments."

"What about you Codey? How did you join?" Hap asked

Codey sat up from soldering the holoviewer, and glanced over at Hap, "Oh my story is similar to Mal's. My Father signed up as an electronics expert, and eventually I took his place."

"So your dad taught you everything he could about electronics?" Hap asked.

"I wish. He taught me a lot, but not everything he knew." Codey turned back to the holoviewer and continued to solder. "My dad was a high ranking ComStar Adept that got disillusioned with ComStar and walked away. That man probably forgot more about electronics than I'll ever know."

Anastasia looked at him in disbelief, "I didn't know one could just walk away from ComStar."

"Normally one can't, or at least they usually don't. We lived in a tight little community that felt like military campus, or a prison, and we were surrounded by other ComStar members. When Mom was dying from cancer Dad needed a place to get away from it all. He found a bar he could slip away to and drink. For the year my mom was dying from cancer he'd just go and have a drink some nights. At first he thought ROM agents were tailing him, so he never talked to anyone. He stopped seeing them so he figured they gave up out of pity or boredom." Codey used a magnifying glass to inspect his work.

"So how'd the two of you end up here?" Hap asked.

"One night Dad overheard Erik and Mike talking about some 'Mech subsystem they couldn't make work." Codey passed the holoviewer to Mal, "It's your turn now. I bypassed the broken section of the board to get power to the memory module. Hopefully you can copy the data before the battery dies." Mal took the holoviewer and started connecting cables between her terminal and the holoviewer.

Codey turned back to Hap and Anastasia. "Dad told Erik and Mike how to fix their system. They talked awhile and they asked him to come to their garage. When Dad got there he easily fixed their problem. They showed him a dozen other systems that weren't working or were only partially functional, and by morning he had fixed those too. The next time he went to the bar McFinnigan offered him a job."

"Was it more money than what he got at ComStar?" Joker asked

"Yeah, but it wasn't about money, it was a way out. You have to understand my dad had a couple problems with ComStar. First, once you make it through the initial Acolyte period you become an Adept or a Precentor. According to my dad, if you were smart and showed you could figure stuff out like, like how to operate a Hyper Pulse Generator, you'd become an Adept. If you were more into the spiritual nonsense and management you become a Precentor. The Precentor Dad worked for was an idiot. He could quote Jerome Blake, and say all the right ComStar catechisms, but he was incompetent. Dad and his team kept the Hyper Pulse Generator working in spite of his boss's nonsense."

"Yeah that sort of thing pisses me off too." Joker said.

Hap looked over at Joker, "What are you talking about?"

"Uh, not you, I meant whenever I see that sort of thing." Joker lied

Hap shook his head, "Next shit detail is all yours." He looked to Codey, "Apologizes, please continue."

"Another problem Dad had was that he hated the way ComStar played Inner Sphere powers against each other, especially how they pretended to be neutral but were actually using information they got from running the HPG network. He didn't think they had the morale authority to condemn the House Lords, and thought ComStar had made themselves unworthy to bring about a new Star League.

Anastasia nodded as he spoke, "My father said the very same things."

Codey looked at Anastasia suspiciously, then shrugged, "It's sort of an obvious secret, I guess. The final thing was my mom got cancer. Dad requested a transfer to a core world so he could get her the best medical care, but his Precentor denied it. The Precentor knew Dad kept the HPG running, and if Dad left the HPG might fail. After Mom died that was it, he was done. Then Kelly offered him a way out."

"Wow" Hap said with a sigh, "Where is your dad now?" Haps asked

"Dead." Codey said matter-of-factly, then quickly added. "He was killed by a ROM agent. He had figured it would happen eventually. The real wonder was I survived and they haven't come back for me."

"I hate to pry," Anastasia said, "but, may I ask what happened?"

Codey nodded, "We were on Buckminster doing some jobs for the Lyran Commonwealth. We had set up a forward ammo and resupply point because the missions were almost back-to-back. Dad and I were working on a Range Finder when he got shot by a sniper. Everyone dived for cover and Erik called into Ops to let them know we were pinned down. Usually Ops would respond with artillery if we could call in an exact location. I was trying to see the sniper when I thought I heard Dad move. I carefully looked over the pile of armor I was hiding behind, and I saw this man's face floating in the air, and where his body should have been it looked like a rainbow of heat waves and weird colors."

"That sounds like an advanced mimetic cloaking device." Anastasia said.

"Yeah a sneak suit. ComStar has a bunch of high tech, los tech, and advanced kit. So I knew this had to be a ROM agent. It was just like Dad had warned me. The sniper saw me, and told me to come to him. He asked me if I was Codey, and wanted to know everything my Dad hold told the mercenaries."

"How did you get out of that?" Hap asked

"Well he was asking me a lot of questions about who my Dad had talked to, what sort of help he had given the mercenaries. It was a lot of stuff about tech exchange. I knew Dad was smart and a technical expert, but this guy made me think Dad knew everything about everything. He asked me about stuff I never imagined. While he was interrogating me, Mike slipped behind with that giant torque wrench."

"What giant torque wrench?" Joker asked.

"It's this two meter long adjustable torque wrench that looks like it was made for a 'Mech to perform its own maintenance. Mike and Erik are the only people I know that can even pick up the damn thing, and Mike walked behind this guy as silent as a cat and with one swing bashed in his skull."

"Damn, Hap. Didn't you say Mike hated you after working with you on your 'Mech?" Joker said.

"Mike told me my welding didn't look like a bag of ass. So I think I'm good." Hap replied.

Mal laughed, then looked around nervously, "Sorry, that just so like Mike." She quickly resumed typing.

"Mike might be a bastard sometimes, but he saved my life. The next day two people claiming to be representatives from the Mercenary Review Board came by, and asked a bunch of questions about the sniper and my dad and me. I wasn't there for the conversation but from what I was told Kelly knew something was up because they hadn't reported anything to the Review Board. Kelly gave them the body of the sniper and his gear, and told them all my dad's stuff had been burned, per his instructions.

Then Kelly convinced them that Dillon was me. Dillon's mech had taken a hit in the meat, so he was banged up pretty bad, and almost unrecognizable. Whatever answers he gave the "representatives" convinced them that I was an idiot. They left and told Kelly if he found anything odd in my dad's effects to bring it to the nearest COMSTAR office, and there'd be a reward." Codey said.

"I don't get it. Why would they care about any of your Dad's crap?" Joker said.

"Dad had some books and things that were very technical. ComStar actively seeks to prevent any high end technology from being recovered by the inner sphere House Lords. Like I said, they want the great houses and periphery bandits to destroy themselves. Then ComStar will usher in a new Star League and a new age of enlightenment, or some bullshit. The sad thing is, according to Dad, ComStar used their monopoly on interstellar comms to provoke or perpetuate the Second and Third Succession wars."

Anastasia nodded as he spoke. "Exactly. I'm sorry about your father, but, if I may, you said your Dad had ComStar books. Do you still have them? Are they ComStar technical readouts?"

"Sorta. I have several manuals on electrical engineering and communications." Codey said as he pulled a large plastic box out from under the table. "They're almost text books, and Dad used them to teach me and Mal. I still reference them sometimes." He opened the plastic container and pulled out a large black book that had Electronics Manual emblazoned in front of a Greek Alpha and the ComStar symbol.

Anastasia took the book from him and her perfect posture disappeared as she leaned back on Hap. She hands slightly shook as she opened to the table of contents. Her eyes flicked across the chapter titles and she rapidly flipped to a chapter near the end of the book. Hap could feel her almost trembling as she began to look over a chapter titled "Hyper Pulse Generator theory and Interstellar Communication"

Joker leaned over and frowned, "There's no words there, just a bunch of strange symbols and math problems. It was like the books for those math classes I wasn't smart enough for."

Hap glanced down and saw that there were several pages of mathematical equations. He couldn't tell if it was just one equation, or dozens. Anastasia turned the page as she explained, "It's similar to the equation a jump ship would use to calculate a jump between systems. Except a jump point is usually at the nadir and zenith of star's gravity well, but this equation is much more specific and complicated so that you can transmit your data as close as possible to your destination HPG station."

Codey eyes grew wide, "You shouldn't know that. You're right, but according to my Dad, Acolytes would not be taught that until they became Adapts and most Precentors were too stupid to understand that."

"Damn, if we were in ComStar all of you smart people would be working for me." Joker laughed.

Anastasia shook her head and turned a page. "I'd quit so fast it would seem like I never worked for you."

"Anastasia, how do you know how Hyper Pulse Generators work?" Codey asked.

"My dad wanted to build out his own competition to ComStar, so we read everything we could get our hands on. When I was at NAIS I had access to the Halstead Station library and the Helm memory core, so I did research for him. " Anastasia looked up for a moment, "May I borrow this book?"

Codey gave her a hard look, "That book is one of the few things I got to remember my dad, and I need it from time to time." He hesitated for a moment, "but yeah, just get it back to me before we land."

Anastasia nodded eagerly, "Certainly, yes. I understand."

Anastasia pressed herself closer to Hap. The elegance and formality were gone from her posture, she was focused on learning now. Hap put his arm across her shoulders and gave her a gentle squeeze.

Mal turned around with the new Holoviewer. "Alright people, moment of truth, let's see if the data transferred." She flicked the power switch with her thumb and the system lit up and displayed a menu. Mal selected the most recent video and a holographic image of an old man appeared. He looked mean. He had multiple scars and was missing a tooth. His features softened as he looked into the camera and began speaking in fluent Spanish. Mal quickly paused the holo. "Oh! That's Mag's dad."

Hap nodded. "I think that's a private message. Thank you again Mal. Are you sure we don't owe you?"

"Naw, It's nice to have MechWarriors that appreciate my skills. Tell your friends." Mal joked

Codey stood up, "Well now that the charity work is over, I think we should get back to packing up."

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #85 on: 23 May 2020, 10:50:13 »
When and if ROM comes a knocking they could bag multiple people of value...
 :thumbsup:
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

ThePW

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  • One post down, a thousand to go...
Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #86 on: 24 May 2020, 00:19:05 »
Love it... but I'm not sold on the idea that Comstar's position on the Inner Sphere 3029 should be common knowledge or even common conjecture (outside of some circles in NAIS). I thought most rank & file IS citizens blame their nation's enemies for the tech knowledge decline?

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #87 on: 24 May 2020, 02:02:55 »
not everyone
but Codey is the son of disenchanted genius Comstar Adept, who he passed on his feelings to and well Anastasia, her Dad was a genius who didn't trust Comstar.

and gee both dad died most likely by ROM
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Kyryst

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #88 on: 24 May 2020, 02:05:30 »
There is a problem when every scientist and reverse engineering team for 150 years dies. It becomes an open secret that the only ones that could do it are the phone company, because if you didn’t kill them, your enemy you just finished whaling on who couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag sure as hell didn’t kill them. Then the phone company that handles your mail and inherited those SLIC teams that killed scientist who pryed into secrets the Terrans declared Verboten and killed people in all those ways that just seem to be the exact same way all your scientists died... Well, there is only one place that higher technology and education exists, and that makes people nudge and wink about certain things.

HFC05

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Re: A Warrior's Family
« Reply #89 on: 29 May 2020, 16:09:37 »
Chapter 20
October 3029
Monhegan System

Hap, Anastasia and Joker met up with Mags in the galley after spending the afternoon helping Codey and Mal disassemble and pack the simulator system. They sat down around her and Hap asked, "How was your day Mags? How's the work on your Jenner?"

Mags groaned, "The techs had been doing routine maintenance on my Jenner. The missile feed mechanism was on the schedule, so I had to help them get it done. I spent the day lubricating the feed trays and linkages. I got all this lubricant shit under my nails and it takes forever to wash it off."

"I got something you can lubricate." Joker told her

"You want a lubricant gun shoved up your ass?" Mags countered

Anastasia set the holoviewer on the table, "We fixed your holoviewer."

"Really?" Mags snatched the holoviewer, and flipped the power switch. She went directly to the videos and again the image of the old man appeared. Before he could start speaking Mags paused the video.

Mags leaned over and hugged Anastasia. Anastasia gave Hap the half terrified, half overwhelmed look that she had when Kelly hugged her. Hap was bemused by this reaction. When they were alone she craved intimacy, but she seemed to dislike unexpected physical contact with friends or acquaintances.

Mags let her go and began to search through the other files on the device. Anastasia recovered from the surprise hug and explained, "We weren't actually able to fix it, but Mal and Codey were able to transfer the data from your broken system to one of their spares."

"Wow." Mags said quietly, as she played with the device "I wouldn't have thought to ask them."

"Mal was happy to help." Anastasia said, "She wanted you to know it was mostly her efforts."

"Mal really thinks pretty highly of you." Hap added.

"Yeah I dated Grizzly a while back. I think she liked the idea I'd be her sister or whatever." Mags said without looking up from the holoviewer display. "Didn't work out though."

"Yeah what happened with you and Grizzly?" Joker asked, there was an edge to his tone.

Mags continued to scroll through menus and files, "Nothing. He just wanted sex all the time." Mags shut off the holoviewer, "Jefe, you need me for anything tonight? I'd like to just go back to my rack."

Hap nodded, "Yeah, I understand. We don't have anything planned. If I need you I'll come find you."

Mags gathered up her holoviewer, but before she left she thanked Anastasia again, and then nearly jogged out of the galley. Joker watched her leave then turned back to Hap and Anastasia, "That's weird."

"Yeah, did she call me Jefe?" Hap asked as he adjusted his plate of schnitzel and spätzle mit kasse.

"It means chief. Maybe Mags has decided to be a team player now that we did something nice for her."

"That's not what I meant. Mags and Grizzly are weird. I wonder what they did together."

"Had sex apparently." Anastasia said nonchalantly as she cut into her schnitzel.

Joker looked up from scrapping Mags food onto his plate, "You're not funny."

Hap took a bite of his spätzle, "So you like Mags?"

"Yeah, maybe. It's not a big deal, you and the pri-uh-professor have each other."

Anastasia gave Joker a hard stare. "pass the mustard, please."

"You've been with a few girls, what's wrong with Mags having a past relationship?" Hap asked

Joker handed Anastasia the mustard, "First, don't threaten me with good manners, it's just weird. Second, it's not her past relationships, I'm cool with that, it's just that it's Grizzly."

"Thank you" Anastasia took the mustard, "Are you intimidated by Grizzly?"

"You shouldn't be, most women like men that are like their fathers, and Mag's dad looks like a skinny squirrelly bastard, which is a lot like you. Of course he looks a hell of a lot meaner." Hap said.

Anastasia pursed her lips and shook her head, "That not true. I'm very attracted to you, Harold, but my dad was a short balding little intellectual with a goatee. That is nothing like your clean shaven, tall, broad shouldered physique. Further you've made improvising, and exploiting the incalculable into a lifestyle. That is the polar opposite of my process driven, highly organized, scientist of a father."

"Damn, I think she just insulted you." Joker said.

"No, I'm telling you that not all women model their life partner after their father. This is actually fortunate for you because everything Mags says about her father implies he does not share your terrible sense of humor, he is, as some would say, a stone cold killer. Quite frankly, he is your opposite."

"Well they both love Mags." Hap responded.

"Whoa, I didn't say I loved her. Why are you two throwing around 'L' words like love and life-partner?" Joker spoke through his mouth full of food. "Mags and I are just getting to know each other."

Anastasia gave him a reproachful look as Hap asked, "What do you like about Mags?"

"First she's not uppity." Joker said returning Anastasia's stare. "and she's kinda cute. She's fun to be around I guess. Doesn't spend all her time reading." Joker smiled, "She also has a nice rack."

"You like Mags because she is completely unlike me?" Anastasia asked.

Joker swallowed his food, while smiling and nodding, "Yeah, I guess she is."

Anastasia's eyes narrowed, "One of the things I like about Hap is how he is unlike you."

"Of course he isn't like me, I'm one-of-a-kind." Joker laughed as he shoveled more food into his mouth.

"There is, of course, a lot more I like about you." Anastasia told Hap.

"I'm sure you've made a detailed list." Hap told her with a chuckle.

"I haven't, but I could make one." Anastasia said as she dug into her pocket for her pen and notebook.

"Don't" Hap reached across the table and putting his hand on hers. "Just tell me later."

"Yeah, Mags would never make a list about me. That's one more thing I like about her." Joker said.

Anastasia chose not to respond and dinner passed quickly. Afterward they returned to their living spaces. Mags bed chamber was closed but the other mechwarriors were sitting on their bunks talking. Joker asked them if wanted to play cards, but they weren't interested. Anastasia sat down on Hap's bunk and started to read the ComStar electronics manual.

Hap sat down next to her, and smiled as he teased. "So you only like me for my good looks?"

Anastasia frowned for a moment then she looked at Hap in surprise, "Oh Harold, I didn't mean to imply that. I was trying to say you weren't like my father, not in intellect but in process versus improvisations."

"I know Anastasia, I'm just giving you a hard time."

"Harold, our relationship is important to me. For the last three years I was generally trying to push everyone away, and I suspect I've probably learned several anti-social behaviors that I'm trying to stop doing. If I say something hurtful or offensive, please tell me, and know I probably didn't mean it."

"Okay, that's fair. If you say something that sounds intentionally offensive I'll talk to you about it. Is that just for you and me, or everyone?"

"Probably should be everyone." Anastasia said as she settled in close to Hap and rested her head on his shoulder, "Unless it's Joker."

"Yeah, I figure you're usually trying to offend Joker." Hap said as he rested his head on top of hers.

Fiona stormed through the berthing area. She briskly passed Hap and Anastasia and stopped at the other end of the hall. "Eugene, tomorrow I want your 'Mech repainted. No excuses. Get it done." She spoke authoritatively and Anastasia and Hap leaned forward to watch.

"Aww Fiona, but that's the last joke Jerry is ever going to play on me. Can't I leave it?" Crow pleaded.

"No. There is a large poorly painted penis on the side of your 'Mech. Fix it tomorrow." Fiona demanded

"But…"

Fiona interrupted, "Take a picture of it, we'll hang it in the galley. Then repaint your damn 'Mech."

Crow reached into his locker and produced a framed picture, "I hung it in the galley and Elinor came by and started shouting that she didn't want any pornography in the pub. She even gave me the look."

Fiona nodded and her voice softened, "Yeah even as a girl when Elley gave you 'the look', you were done. If you can get Kelly drunk enough he'll tell you how he was going to break up with her, but she gave him that look and next thing we all knew they were at the altar. But that is beside the point. Eugene," Fiona leaned forward to look him in the eye, "repaint your damn 'Mech."

"But what about Jerry?"

Fiona's shoulders dropped and her voice softened, "He's gone. We have to move on. I know you and him were best friends, or worst enemies." She sighed. "Honestly I never understood why Jerry tormented you. Look, there is a staff meeting tonight, but if you want, we can talk afterwards."

"Come by your room?"

Fiona nodded, "Bring a bottle of wine, it'll be like old times." She spun around on her heels. "Hap you hear all that? Kelly is convening a staff meeting."

"Um yeah." Hap said, he looked over at Anastasia and gave her a shrug. She nodded as he stood up and followed behind the Fire Support lance leader.

"We need to hurry Hap, or we'll be late." Fiona told him as she proceeded down the hall.

They started to quicken the pace as Hap asked, "Are you and Crow together?"

"We were awhile back. It's a long story, but after everything that happened on Klathandu I've been thinking we should get back together. Eugene is a good man, and he can be a calming presence."

"Was your relationship with Crow a problem with other members of your lance?"

They started to climb the stairs to the command deck. "You live with the mutants in my lance, what do you think? Dillon is just smart enough to do what he is told. Old man Rolph doesn't care about much as long as he gets the parts he needs to maintain his 'mech and time to pump iron, and Eugene's more laid-back than you. Eugene can also separate the bedroom from the cockpit. So no, it wasn't a problem."

Hap was quiet for a moment as they kept climbing the steep stairs of the drop shuttle. Fiona slowed and looked over her shoulder at him, "Hap, if you're concerned about you and Anastasia, I'd remind you that you're a mercenary now. The Ares Convention is just something House lords accuse the other guy of violating. All is fair at love and war, and you'll learn pretty quick it's all the same. You two clearly like each other, and life is short. Don't over think it.

"I'm trying not to, but I want to get my lance together before things go too far with us."

Fiona shook her head, "I'm telling you it doesn't matter, Mags might bitch, but she is always looking for something to complain about. I don't know about your pal Joker, but he probably won't care either."

"As long as Joker doesn't think I'm being hypocritical he's usually fine." Hap said, pulled himself up the stairs. He really didn't want to talk about him and Anastasia. "What is the story with Jerry and Crow?"

Hap could sense Fiona tense up a little. She stopped walking, "I don't know if you've noticed, but Eugene is the guy you want on your team. He is easy to get along with, and when things get hard he usually looks around and tries to make things easier for others. Jerry was...not that way. He was selfish, mean spirited, complained about everything, and his practical jokes often got out of control."

Hap nodded, "Joker can be like that sometimes. Crow is easy to like. Do you think Jerry jealous?"

"No." Fiona said quickly, "Well, actually" She thought for a moment, "I'm not sure. I will tell you that Jerry perpetuated a 'friendly' feud with Eugene. Maybe it was out jealously. I will tell you the feud wasn't something that Eugene was good at, I always thought that was Jerry's real joke."

"Really? That 'Mech hand seemed clever. It had Mags and Joker howling, but it nearly broke Anastasia."

"See, what I mean by, 'out of control? The story there is Jerry requested fire support, but Eugene's magazines were dry, so he told Jerry he was "Winchester, and returning to the munitions point". Jerry turned his Shadow Hawk around and flipped him off. Then the one-in-a-million shot happened and the OpFor blew the hand off of Jerry's Shadow Hawk."

She started walking again, "After the mission the techs couldn't fix the 'Mech's hand. Erik made a hook for him until we found another Shadow Hawk arm, but Jerry liked it and opted to just keep it.

"Is that the weird curved thing on the wall in the galley?"

She nodded, "Yes. We kept it after his 'Mech was destroyed. However, when he was alive Jerry took what was left of his 'Mech's hand and had the techs make a rude gesture which he put in Eugene's bed."

"What about the toy rabbit and the laundry."

"You don't want to know, let's just say you made the right call by having Eugene replace everything that touched that terrible rabbit. I had him space it." Fiona shuddered as she thought about the rabbit.

They continued up the stairs quietly for a few minutes, until Hap broke the silence. "So what do you think this meeting is all about?"

"Since we're in system I assume Kellly has been in contact with the client. He probably just wants to tell us what to expect, and make sure we off load like professionals."

"Sounds like it should be a pretty quick staff meeting."

"It should be, but Kelly will keep us around half the night trying to take all our money."

"Yeah, I like the informality of it all, but, no offense, I'd think I'd rather spend more time with Anastasia."

"Oh you're not alone. There is only so much of Fletch's sarcasm and Patrick's drinking I can take."

"And you got a night of reminiscing with Eugene about a guy you didn't really like." Hap pointed out.

Fiona gave Hap a wicked grin, "We're not reminiscing. We're going to polish off a bottle of wine, and he's going to forget about that jackass. Tomorrow we'll be back together, and he'll repaint his damn 'Mech."

Hap gave her a perplexed look, "Why get back together with Eugene now?"

Her grin disappeared, "Klathandu was a hard contract. Normally we drop on a planet, destroy whatever or whoever our client paid us to destroy, and get to the DZ before sundown. If we spent more than six hours planet side, we either made a mistake or were getting paid a fortune." Fiona swallowed hard.

"The ReeCee lance leader, Danny, got killed on the initial drop. Jerry took his place and led them into an ambush a week later. I had a resupply truck with ten tons of ammo. We launched everything we had, overheated our 'Mechs, and still couldn't save them. After that deployment I had to take some time for myself and think. I've decided life is too short, and I want to get back together with Eugene."

They finally reached the command deck. As they approached the officer's lounge Hap asked, "So you're telling me not to waste time, and if I'm going to start a relationship with Anastasia I should just do it?"

"You're a grown ass man Hap, do what you want, but me, I'm not wasting time anymore." Fiona told him as she pushed open the door to the lounge. "But if I were you, I'd start acting smarter."