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Author Topic: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...  (Read 3597 times)

Liam's Ghost

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Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« on: 24 December 2020, 05:52:26 »
-PROLOGUE: August 7, 3053-

~Monticello Township, North America, Terra~

The fire had burned hot, leaving precious little of the two story suburban home in its wake for the investigators to sift through. Of course that would tell its own tale. The hot but localized burn would indicate the presence of accelerants even without the chemical confirmation that would swiftly follow. Energetic, but definitely commercial grade. Easy for any citizen to get their hands on.

Even with how hot the burn was, they'd still find remains from a couple dozen people, which would make a hell of a splash on the local news. That many people gone at once, it wouldn't take long for the media to start wondering why. Not much longer before what those people were into went up on the news. The official ruling wrote itself. Radical religious cult took itself out. Hoping to ascend through suicide, or maybe in protest of the new order in Comstar?

The latter explanation might be tempting, what with the Precentor Martial and his hand picked Primus pushing back on the old religious elements. But Precentor Maywether thought the former would fit the available evidence better. You shouldn't get greedy and overcomplicate things when covering up a murder.

"This is getting to be a bad habit, Agent Ebon," he said. "This makes, what, six hits this year alone?"

"Activity is picking up," Ebon acknowledged. "We've had to step up operations in response."

Maywether didn't know a lot about Ebon or the group he was working for. Only that every Primus, from Mori all the way back to Conrad Toyama had signed off on their work, and it was Maywether's job to clean up after them. The pattern of targets was remarkably similar. Fringe religious groups, students of obscure lore, people who came into possession of odd artifacts...

"If it picks up too much," he replied, "someone's gonna notice."

"Something already has," Ebon replied. "That's part of the problem."

Maywether couldn't help but be curious, but he considered himself a loyal servant of the Order, and Fotch, Mori, and the man on Mars himself had all told him to do his job and not to ask, so he didn't ask.

"This one will pass investigation just fine," he said. "But some of your jobs are tricky, so try to give us as much lead time as you can."

-----

~MRS 27, outside Koryo, Mars~

"It's not a bad plan, if I could actually trust you to go through with it."

Floating in the holosphere around him was a map of Terra, with diagrams and popup windows describing missile targets, weapon yields, expected casualties per strike, long term lethality numbers.

"I'll give you credit for not immediately ordering it dismantled when you found out about it," he said.

It had been Primus Waterly's last resort. If Fotch had been defeated at Tukayyid, if Operation Scorpion had failed, if a last ditch defense of Terra with everything they had left hadn't been enough to repel the clans. Thousands of nuclear warheads, cobalt jacketed, starting in the half megaton range and escalating to a few gigaton yield weapons pre-placed at appropriately vulnerable locations.

No matter what, even if all else failed, the Clans or nobody else would take Terra. It wasn't just spite (though he was sure there had been a fair bit of that in the planning, too). Preventing Terra from falling to outsiders was the single most important mission the Order had, handed down from Jerome Blake himself. Even Fotch had come to realize that.

But did he really? "You're too soft, you didn't follow up your victory at Tukayyid, didn't push forward when your troops were all in one place to do so. Too hung up on the losses you'd taken when you'd hurt them at least as badly. You were content to buy time, you didn't commit to doing what you had to to end the threat."

Thomas Marik sighed. "You can't be trusted to do what needs to be done."

-----

~Phillip XII Station, Sol Kupier belt~

"It's a big ask," Doctor Yung said to the fairly elderly man sitting across from him in his office. "I just want to be clear on that."

"You saying you need more money?" the elderly man asked. "That's not a problem."

"No, no, you misunderstand." Yung replied. It was annoying, but he couldn't really blame the guy. An outsider, not really familiar with how things were done out here, suspicious by profession. "We have a contract. Made and paid for. That's sacred out here. I'll do everything in my power to fulfill it."

He pointed back to screen, the fMRI data, gene typing. "But I gotta temper expectations. There's a difference between repairing the damage and fixing the man. Brain scans and Genetyping say he's an ideal candidate for neurogenesis." Almost too ideal really. Genetyping was consistent with someone who'd already gone through stage one resequencing. You weren't supposed to see that in a baseline spheroid population, unless they had the pull to have access to some star league medical technology but didn't really know what it was for.

The patient had definitely had the pull and the access. And you just had to look around to know that they didn't know what it was for.

"Fixing the damage is the easy part," Yung continued. The elderly man had not protested or interrupted at all, which was a nice change of pace from what a doc usually got from family and friends. The elderly man knew the value of listening. Another occupational trait?

"What comes after is the problem. We can replace the dead brain tissue, but anything that was encoded in it is just gone. And the brain isn't a simple system. It's adaptive in unpredictable ways." He gestured to the scan. "I can say for certain that he's going to have to relearn certain basic motor functions, based on the location of the stroke, but beyond that? We won't be able to say until we've repaired the damage. We can give him a fully functioning brain, but I can't promise that his memories, his personality, or his cognitive function is going to be completely intact. As he recovers, there's a chance that he won't be the person you remember."

"Our own doctors have already told his wife the same thing," the elderly man replied. "Except they didn't think it would even be possible to try."

Yung looked down to the verigraphed letter on his desk. A written statement of consent from the patient's wife to begin treatment. Normal procedure would have the next of kin present to give the consent verbally, but that was problematic enough that Yung's bosses had made an exception for extraordinary circumstances.

Yung was compelled by ethics to help the patient, but there was the realist in the back of his head that had wished his bosses had refused, and who saw the patient as the potential time bomb he was.

"All right, Mister Allard," he said. "You can reassure his wife that we'll do our utmost to bring Hanse Davion back to her."

-----

~AE Aurigae system, 1300 light years rimward of Terra~

Unit N1P571U017 maintained a silent over watch over the crippled target as its shuttles disgorged swarms of drones to begin the process of cutting into the wreckage and securing it.

The target (identified by hull form and observed capabilities as a Terran Alliance Project C6 light cruiser, baseline design, historically recorded under the label of "Model 2260 Standard class Cruiser, Atreus Type") currently showed no signs of operation. And even when active, it and its two sister ships had presented no significant threat to Pod N1P57's superior numbers and firepower. U017's tactical analysis had already concluded that any remaining threat would come from surviving crew, most likely the small numbers of non-human personnel that may or may not be aboard, and thus the probability that U017 would find it necessary to resume firing at the target was deemed very small.

Regardless, U017 maintained a close watch on the crippled vessel in accordance with standard protocols, ready to deliver the entirety of its available conventional firepower into the wreck if necessary.

Other elements of Pod N1P571 were engaged in similar operations on the other derelicts, including the remains of Autoscout U400. The small vessel had been responsible for the discovery of this cluster of targets, but had itself been disabled shortly after sending its report to the rest of the Pod. The Autoscout had already been deemed unrecoverable, due to critical damage to its jump core, but it would be boarded and swept for intrusion just the same, and if practical, U400's core programing would be recovered and returned to the central command node. If sweeps for tampering came up clean, U400 would get a new hull and an assignment to one of the new Pods being built, while any additional information it recovered would be disseminated to the rest of the fleet.

But those were the duties of others. The immediate task of U017 and its drone components was to recover information from the crippled enemy vessels.

"Data download coming in."

U017 would almost describe the voice feed to be jarring, though it lacked the cognitive reference to really use that phrase. The speaker was a subprogram tagged Guardian, which occupied its own separate set of processors and memory storage in the core of each ship. The subprogam was... quirky would be the appropriate term for those equipped to consider such things, but it performed an important function, physically sequestering and analyzing data recovered from foreign sources to protect the main core from intrusion. U017's own analysis of Guardian's specifications indicated the subsystem was ridiculously overengineered for such a task, and that it possessed other undisclosed secondary functions, but the notion of questioning its purpose further simply didn't occur to U017.

"This data stack tastes like old garbage," Guardian stated. "Raw data's unreadable, the underlying hardware and processing systems are so obsolete that they don't even fit in my data structure. That's arright. Separate off subprocessor 17, reconfigure to emulate an Apple Technologies model 2251 Data System. This is why we don't throw out the old technical manuals, kids."

U017 waited silently for Guardian get to the points.

"Bingo, we're in. It'll take a second to get the full notes to you, but short form, this group wasn't alone, part of a major migration heading back towards Terra. Putting this together with our own patrol routes, other pods would have caught three groups. But there's a lot more of them. They're jumping from bright star to bright star, minimizing recharge time, but it makes their path predictable. We should be able to predict and knock off several more before they realize we're on their tail and scatter. Minimum, we take out twenty percent before they reach the Inner Sphere. Max, maybe fifty."

The full report had already been submitted and reviewed by U017 by the time Guardian was done talking. U017's own analysis agreed with Guardian's conclusions, and the body of the two analysis were already on their way to the command units for further dissemination.

"Pygmalion's going to be pissed," Guardian commented. "Keeping this from happening was literally his only job."

U017 had no opinion on Command Node 1's capacity for emotional outbursts, but it was able to acknowledge that their primary objectives would become exponentially more complicated should the targets reach the Inner Sphere, something that would now be considered inevitable.

Collateral damage would likely be very high.

-----

~Director General's Residence, New Seattle, Martin's Landing, the Bastion~

Testimony in the Senate chamber went on for six hours, not just focusing on the rescued survivors from the Knights of the Saints Cameron, but Captain David Morgan and his own crew, who'd brought them here, and had observed the scope of the invasion first hand.

The arguments had followed. Senator Demnes had spoken first, pushing to remain isolated. To not get involved. She had good arguments. They weren't under threat themselves. These Clans had not struck at the Bastion. And an intervention in the Inner Sphere would cost unknown lives and require a radical re-alignment of the economy as they shift to a war footing. The Bastion would have to change in ways they couldn't really comprehend. Ways that they might not be able to come back from. Going back to the Inner Sphere wouldn't just mean defeating an old enemy, but stepping back into the very morass of politics and betrayal that had once nearly destroyed them. Her words got muted assent from her supporters, but shouted objections from her opponents and the crowds that packed the observers' gallery. Word about the Clan invasion of the Inner Sphere and the nature of the invaders had leaked very quickly, and the old warhawks who'd never forgiven Kerensky or were raised on stories of his betrayal were out in force.

Senator Adams' rebuttal played off these sentiments. He wasted no time in labelling Demnes and her "peace faction" as cowards, the notion of not intervening against the traitor spawn as unthinkable. The debt the Bastion owed to those that they had to leave behind and those who remained under threat as sacred. The crowd ate it up, and he left the podium to thunderous applause.

Even with the push of the crowd and the fiery rhetoric of Senator Adams, though, the vote was close, and could have easily gone another way. Ninety nine Senators still voted against a formal declaration of war. One hundred and three, however, voted in favor. The Terran Hegemony had decided to go to war.

"You sure about this?" General Russel Lee asked as he and Director General Martin observed the proceedings from the Director General's office. "We're not ready for this. We never bothered to get ready."

"Our projections never suggested Kerensky would be able to come back," Director General Martin said. "Certainly not like this. He and his people should have cannibalized each other to extinction, or ended up as subsistence farmers. And our intel didn't show any other credible threats to Terra. I'd say we were content to play the long game, but really, we got complacent."

"So now we pay for it," General Lee said. "Two years to fully transition to a war footing, four or five years before we have enough forces in the Inner Sphere to actually start pushing the clans back."

"The alternative is to trust that the traitor spawn will uphold this truce of theirs," the Director General replied. "We can't take that risk with Terra on the line, and we can't just assume Blake's people can hold it when the truce breaks. I need you to buy me as much time as you can. If Terra falls, everything falls."

"Forty WarShips and one battlemech division," General Lee said.

"I've already issued orders to reactivate the mothball fleet and call up all reserves," the Director General said. "We'll send everything else we can as fast as we can."

General Lee sighed. The Director General was still hedging his bets. They had over a hundred ships that could be manned and in operation in a matter of days, and several divisions, but the bulk were being held back for home defense. How much of the mothball fleet would get the same priority? "I guess it'll have to be enough."

-----

Research Station Gateway, Vilnius, 150 light years coreward of the Kerensky Cluster

The subject had been reading non-stop for the last three local days. Normally, this was something the science team encouraged. Her insights into the topics she chose were always ground breaking, often revolutionary. She'd gone from speaking only an indecipherable language to fluent English in a matter of hours, and dozens of languages in the course of a few days. In a week she went from being ignorant of the sciences to devising new alloys, power systems, and electronics that had already surpassed the Scientist Caste's own best efforts. Everything she set out to learn, she learned with frightening efficiency. She might very well be the greatest scientific asset in the universe. Obviously the Society was happy to indulge her curiosity.

But this time, her object of obsession had been ancient Indo-European mythology. There were no great scientific revelations in that. Nothing truly useful to the Society or the Clan leadership to be gleaned from that. Keeping her happy by indulging the occasional bout of frivolous curiosity was certainly important, but there were certainly more important things she could be teaching them.

"Hello Etienne," the subject said casually as Etienne entered the observation room, not even looking up from her display. Her chamber was an airtight ferroglass cube wired up with various sensors and monitors which tracked the status of everything within it. Access was only available through an airlock (with the controls available only on the outside). They could filter, recycle, or completely purge the atmosphere at will, and if necessary shaped and thermite charges under the floor could obliterate and incinerate everything in the cell in an instant.

None of that had so far been necessary. The subject didn't complain about the lack of privacy or the spartan accommodations. Her only real acts of rebellion were petty, mostly focusing on using her physical appeal and complete lack of any sense of modesty on observers (she seemed able to determine their level of interest at a glance). It had been enough to get three men and one woman removed from the research team, but not enough for her to breach containment. Not that she even seemed to want to try.

"This is so disappointing," the subject said, not looking up from her display. "All the gifts he bestowed upon you, and what do you remember him as? The god of wine." She finally looked up. "Not that you really care either way. Did they get you to come all this way just to ask me to read about something more interesting?"

Etienne shrugged. "I am curious why you are so fascinated with ancient history," he said.

"It's more curious that you aren't," the subject said. "Don't try to hide it, you're all very impatient for the next revolutionary secret of the universe. But I have to wonder, what would you even do with it? I already told you. The greatest secrets are already out there, you just have to get them. Worse than impatient, you're lazy. Content to wait for your warrior masters to stop failing to get them for you. The Jaguars couldn't even take Luthien, and now you've all got yourself bound up in some truce keeping you from ever reaching your holy grail."

Etienne felt a chill. "How do you know that?" he demanded. She wasn't supposed to have access to any current information. Even the terminal she had was one way. It could only receive data, it couldn't access outside systems.

"Does it matter?" the subject asked. "It does, it really does. If you're going to be of any use you're going to have to figure it out eventually, but for now..."

The door behind Etienne swung open and two men in combat armor entered. While one aimed his weapon at Etienne, another moved to the air lock controls.

"What are you doing!" Etienne demanded, only to get the butt of a combat shotgun to his gut for his trouble, dropping him to a heap on the floor.

"Director's orders," the other soldier said as he engaged the airlock controls.

The airlock slid open and Etienne could hear the subject walking through. He looked up to see her crouching down over him, a look approaching a terrifying mockery of concern on her face.

"I have to confess to being fairly impatient myself," she said. "And I have been waiting for a very long time. But don't worry. I'm not going to make you serve me. In fact, I'm going to give you everything you could ever desire."
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #1 on: 24 December 2020, 05:55:02 »
~Zenith Point, Tamar, July 7 3055~

As the central command center for the Wolf Clan forces in the Inner Sphere, the jump points of Tamar were some of the busiest in the occupation zone, with both military and civilian traffic filtering through regularly. On this particular day, better than three dozen jumpships balanced on station keeping thrust just under the jump point. Most of them were part of a supply convoy in from the homeworlds, escorted by the WarShip Nature's Wrath. The rest were a mixture of military ships attached to Alpha Galaxy, merchant caste vessels, and a few spheroid free traders hoping to pick up some short term contracts from the merchant caste, something the Clan tolerated for the same reason they kept low level local government and law enforcement in place. No Clan had the resources to actually manage all this territory themselves, and those that tried tended to suffer as a consequence.

At the center of all of this was the cruiser Dire Wolf, the flagship of the clan, support ship for Alpha Galaxy, and at present serving at the transport ship of the Ilkhan himself.

They aren't aware that they're currently under attack, and have been for over four hours.

"OvKhan, sensor array is detecting anomalous returns," The technician manning the sensor array of the Dire Wolf was nearing the end of his watch. A long boring watch of monitoring ships hanging stationary at the jump point waiting either for their drives to recharge or for dropships to arrive to be transported elsewhere.

"Source?" the warrior in command of his station asked, looking up from a paper copy of local Inner Sphere literature he'd acquired somewhere planetside.

"Small, intermittent contacts," the technician replied. "No signs of drives or sensors. System evaluates them as most likely debris." Even at a relatively clear area like a jump point, it wasn't unremarkable. Dust clouds, improperly disposed of refuse, space was never quite completely empty. Except...

The warrior set aside his book and turned to his own monitor. "No collision risk. Only flagged because they are bigger than the autofilter's threshold. Why are you bothering me with this, technician?"

"Sir," the technician said. "The pattern of the contacts..."

"There is no pattern," the warrior snapped. "A few returns on random debris..."

The technician would have spoken further, made sure to mention that yes, the contacts were small and intermittent, but taken together they weren't random, they had all the looks of objects coming from all around them, all heading towards a common point that seemed to be centered on them, but he wouldn't get a chance. Instead, as the objects whistling through space got closer, and the sensor signature began to firm up, half a dozen intermittent contacts suddenly jumped to a dozen, then dozens, then hundreds.

The technician lost a few precious seconds to stunned disbelief before his training kicked in. "Vampire! Vampire!" he called out, using the centuries old callsign for anti-ship missiles, heedless of the warrior supervising him as he sent his feed to the Captain's holotable. "Missiles inbound on all bearings!"

The Captain reacted much more quickly, barking orders for emergency thrust, severing the jump sail, sending to all non-combat ships that could to execute emergency jumps away from the jump point.

The technician, however, knew they wouldn't have time... the munitions were too close, moving too fast. He'd only just felt the lurch as the Dire Wolf's drives went to full output before his own boards lit up, indicating that each of the nearly four hundred capital missiles closing in on them had triggered their own active sensors and chemical thrusters and began diving in on their target.

As the ship was hammered over and over again by missile impacts, the technician fought against his fear, uttering something like a prayer that he would survive. For a moment he wanted to curse his warrior supervisor for ignoring him, but he realized there was no point. They wouldn't have had time to do anything anyway.

That thought gave him something like a bit of comfort just before a warhead punched in deep enough to take out the command center, the overpressure rendering him mercifully unconscious before he was sucked into the void of space.

-----

Aboard the Jumpship Baltimore Clipper the ship's crew watched the unfolding catastrophe with a degree of detached calm, something fairly unique among the ships currently collected at the jump point.

So this was what it felt like, Captain David Morgan mused. Killing someone from a distance instead of up close and personal. Somehow... Well, he didn't care for it. Somehow, the separation, the layers between being the one who pulled the trigger and the one who made it happen felt worse than what he remembered from Elbar, and that alone felt weird and wrong.

"She's dead in space," his XO confirmed what he could already see for himself. The Dire Wolf was drifting out of control. They'd recorded over a hundred hits, around 33% accuracy, which was better than any simulations had told them to expect. Captain Morgan wasn't a navy man, but he couldn't shake the feeling that the success was due to lousy doctrine among the clans rather than superior performance on their part. Only a few small picket dropships on close escort, no real sensor net. Like the clans expected the big swinging dick of their WarShip would be enough to deter attack.

"Send the assessment," he ordered. "Then get us the hell out of here."

-----

"We cannot get through to the Dire Wolf." The communications officer reported.

"Assemble boarders and damage control teams in the shuttle bay," Star Commodore Nigel Vickers ordered. His own ship, the Nature's Wrath, had been powerless to do anything but watch as a missile swarm descended on their flagship. "Send them as soon as they are ready. Our primary responsibility is to determine the state of the IlKhan." The Dire Wolf had been on detached duty, transporting IlKhan Kerensky across the occupation zone to meet with the leaders of the Jade Falcon clan concerning the Red Corsair affair, and would have left in only a couple more days. The attack could have been a coincidence, but...

"Plot the missile tracks," he said. "Give me something to shoot at." He looked at the reports coming in. Almost two thirds of the missiles fired had failed to find a target. Of the rest, the vast majority had struck the Dire Wolf, only a few instead homing in on one of the Titan class dropships in close escort.

Also on the display were jumpships popping out of existence as they scattered to other jump points. The Clans didn't generally worry about these sort of missile attacks. Proper warriors engaged in a fair contest, not lobbing missiles from beyond their opponents' reach. But there were protocols practiced for those rare occasions, such as scattering the most vulnerable ships. That had been Star Admiral Nygren's last order before communications were lost.

And Star Commodore Vickers had realized too late that it was the wrong decision. "Order all ships to remain on station," he commanded.
"All gunnery stations, all ready fighters, you will engage and destroy any ship that attempts to jump or otherwise flee the jump point."

His executive officer looked over, surprised. "Star Commodore?"

"They launched from beyond our detection range, from beyond their own detection range, but they were targeting the Dire Wolf," he said. "They had a spotter hidden among us, relaying targeting data." He looked over the list of ships at the jump point, and noted that several clan vessels and one of the spheroid flagged free traders had already jumped out. "We may have already lost him. Nevertheless, we search every ship. Spheroid and Clan. This was an attempt on the life of the IlKhan. And whoever conducted this cowardly attack must pay."

-----

Deep in the system, in a run down apartment on the outskirts of Tamar City, a fellow named Ashley Krentz was looking at a sheet of paper his roommate had just handed him, the paper covered with seemingly random characters from top to bottom.

"More of the same, huh?" he said.

"Yeah, not our ciphers," Kurtz confirmed. "Just like all the other messages we've been getting on the box the last two weeks."

"I'd sure like to know what's going on," Krentz said. Communications traffic wasn't unusual. It was part of the job, running a listening post on the Wolves' de-facto capital meant both getting and sending regular transmissions over the black box. Messages that they had no way to decipher was something else though. Nothing in the normal updates, nobody making contact to pass on new codes... just pages of gibberish, picking up pace today in particular.

Despite assurances to Krentz and his team that nobody else in the system would be using this technology, it looked a hell of a lot like someone else in the system was using this technology. Too many messages too close together, it looked like folks were talking to each other, close to each other so that propagation time was almost nothing.

It'd be something worth reporting. Except if they did send a message off home on their own box, whoever else was using them would pick up their transmission, just like Krentz was staring at this sheet of paper sitting on the table. It was a security risk.

It would be a couple more hours before Krentz decided it was a risk he had to take, when regular signals intercepts of Clan communications revealed that IlKhan Ulric Kerensky was dead.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Cannonshop

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #2 on: 24 December 2020, 06:15:55 »
mmmm yummy
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namar13766

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #3 on: 24 December 2020, 09:28:39 »
I saw Ebon and I immediately thought "WOLVERINES."

Is this supposed to be a soft reboot of "And I Feel Fine"?

worktroll

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #4 on: 24 December 2020, 13:29:23 »
Whatever the driver, a wonderful present to wake up to on Christmas day! Thankee kindly :)
* 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"

Dave Talley

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #5 on: 24 December 2020, 15:09:59 »
Tag!
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

Because while the other Great Houses of the Star League thought they were playing chess, House Cameron was playing Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker the entire time.
JA Baker

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #6 on: 24 December 2020, 16:45:04 »
Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Kujo

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #7 on: 24 December 2020, 18:23:49 »
Eye of a hurricane listen to yourself churn...
For the FEDCOM For the Archon-Prince

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #8 on: 25 December 2020, 06:32:17 »
~Across town~

"Bingo," Warrant officer Niki Hayasaka-Simms said as she leaned over her portable computer. "We've got confirmation. They just sent out a pulse to all commands."

Captain Robert Lee looked up from the stack of maps piled up on the dining room table of this cheap appartment they'd obtained. "Let's see," he said.

Niki nodded, and in a moment Robert's own portable was dinging for his attention. Opening the message, he was greeted with a wall of text, most of it routing information, identifying by alphanumeric code how the message was to be retransmitted through the HPG network. "How much of this do we have cracked?" he asked.

"Their security sucks," Niki replied. "I've managed to tag and locate every HPG in their civilian network, which is also every ground based installation in the occupation zone. Whoever has been running this network these last few hundred years either didn't know about all the built in back doors, or didn't think anybody else did."

"So all this location data..."

"Yeah," Niki confirmed. "It maps out every major military force and command center in the occupation zone. By name and rank."

"Nice," Robert replied. "Send it out in the next packet."

He turned his attention to the five other men and women in the room, who had been busying themselves preparing an assortment of small arms and equipment.

"All right, kids," he said. "Navy got lucky with their score. Let's show them what Royal Marine skill can do."
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Cannonshop

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #9 on: 25 December 2020, 07:15:41 »
gleeful giggle and rubbing of hands.  "Dis gon' be gut."
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

mikecj

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #10 on: 25 December 2020, 17:04:58 »
Nice... lets see what happens next!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Brother Jim

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #11 on: 26 December 2020, 00:01:17 »
I want to know more!!!

Daryk

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #12 on: 26 December 2020, 07:46:54 »
Glad to see you writing again Liam!  :thumbsup:

monbvol

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #13 on: 26 December 2020, 22:40:03 »
Captain Robert Lee?  Royal Marine?

Does he perchance have a sniper qualification too?

'Cause sounds rather familiar....

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #14 on: 26 December 2020, 22:49:34 »
To answer an earlier question, the original idea was an alternate timeline where things started going to crap during the Clan Invasion instead of the dark age.

But... umm... I've developed a grudge against the Dark Age setting for reasons I'd rather not discuss here. So I don't know when the original would be continued. And I liked some of the stuff I did with some of the characters, so I didn't want to abandon them completely. So while some characters will appear as appropriate to this point in their original lives, others who wouldn't have been alive at the time are getting yanked back into the past as well (probably not literally, but no promises...)

Captain Robert Lee?  Royal Marine?

Does he perchance have a sniper qualification too?

'Cause sounds rather familiar....

Trained as a sniper and leading a small special forces team specialized in raising mischief. I made him a general in "And I Feel Fine." It was only fair.  :P
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

monbvol

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #15 on: 26 December 2020, 23:03:27 »
Hilarity will ensue!

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #16 on: 27 December 2020, 02:53:01 »
~situation room, Clan Wolf Command Center, Tamar City~

"Back tracing the missile tracks was a failed endeavor," Star Captain Falon Kerensky said to the assembled senior officers. "Projections based on standard firing parameters for naval missiles predicted hundreds of separate launch points, as though the enemy had managed to infiltrate into the system the largest fleet of capital armed vessels seen since the Exodus."

"I trust Star Commodore Vickers has ruled that out," Khan Natasha Kerensky said with a hint of sarcasm. Fallon wasn't certain if the sarcasm was directed at the absurdity of the idea, or the absurdity of dismissing it out of hand.

"Star Commodore Vickers believes a large force would have either continued to fire, or would have engaged in a more conventional attack, where they could be more certain of the outcome." he said, splitting the difference. He didn't care for this sort of 'staff work', a task normally reserved for warriors on their way out of front line service rather than an active warrior in the 4th Wolf Guards, and he was certain he was ill suited for it. But the Khans had been pushing this among their officer corps, not just administering lesser warriors and lower castes, but actually being involved in the guts of how the Touman functioned.

In Fallon's case, that meant temporary duty as the Khan's aid, dealing with the tremendous amount of paperwork and internal politics that went into keeping the Clan going. He still wasn't certain if it was her acknowledging his Ristar status by giving him a taste of what real leadership was about, or if she was punishing him for something.

"Would a fleet that size even be possible?" Star Colonel Carns, Fallon's normal commander in the 4th Guards, asked.

"The Star Commodore and his staff believe it unlikely, OvKhan," Fallon said. "Even assuming dropships that have been refitted with capital missile launchers. His report indicates that it is most likely a smaller number of ships, at least six, launched the attack over a long period, and the missiles themselves varied their acceleration so that they would all reach the target area simultaneously."

"And I assume this is not standard practice for naval missiles?" the Khan asked.

"Neg, my khan," Fallon said. "The Star Commodore believes that these munitions had been modified, or possibly even represent a technological advancement over existing types. At last report, the Star Commodore has elements attempting to recover fragments from those missiles that did not strike their targets to confirm this hypothesis."

"Just fragments?" the Khan asked.

"According to the Star Commodore's report, those missiles that did not hit a target self destructed, my Khan."

"What about the attackers themselves?" Star Colonel Carns demanded. "Surely they are the more immediate concern? Tamar is effectively blockaded until this threat is dealt with."

"Dropships are presently sweeping out from the jump point attempting to locate the attackers," Fallon said. "Though the Star Commodore is uncertain he possesses the forces necessary to engage if they are located."

"I've already sent out an order recalling the Werewolf and Mother Jocasta," the Khan said. "They aren't going to find anything though."

Star Colonel Carns looked over, incredulous. "My Khan?"

"Whoever our enemy is, they were smart enough to launch this attack." Khan Kerensky said. "They already have an exit strategy, and they have no intention of sticking around to fight us." She looked over to Fallon. "Did Star Commodore Vickers have any speculation who launched the attack?"

Fallon shook his head. "Neg, my Khan."

The Khan sighed. "Comstar is out. Fotch wouldn't have fought so hard for the truce just to throw it away. Even if the Great Houses have the capability, they benefit too much from the cease fire to risk jeopardizing it. An attack would fall on the enemies on their borders, not the one man holding them back. The list of possible suspects is very thin."

It was a very unsettling picture the Khan was painting. Made worse, to Fallon's ear, by the rumors that had been floating around the command center regarding the Red Corsair and her rampage through Lyran space.

"We need answers," she said. "And we need them quickly. The Clans will want a new IlKhan. And if the crusaders are behind this, we need to nail them too the wall before they can put one of their own in place."

As though punctuating her words, the building was suddenly rocked by a tremendous explosion.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

JA Baker

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #17 on: 27 December 2020, 04:50:25 »
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Daryk

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #18 on: 27 December 2020, 04:52:07 »
Hilarity indeed!  ;D

georgiaboy

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #19 on: 27 December 2020, 07:47:27 »
All very good words and good thinking. But based on the Character Potrail shown of Natasha in the Novels. This Natasha's speaking/thoughts do not jive with what I have seen from Cannon. She has not been shown in a good light before in Cannon. For how long she lived in the Inner Sphere, this portrayal is what you would expect to see a person who has had to perform many duties not just being a Mechwarrior.


Good Work!
"Constructive critism is never a bad comment"
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"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
- Socrates

DOC_Agren

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #20 on: 27 December 2020, 14:57:49 »
Interesting
Just have not figured out who pulling the strings
"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!"

georgiaboy

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #21 on: 27 December 2020, 16:05:32 »
The Hegemony SLDF is pulling the strings of fate this time.
"Constructive critism is never a bad comment"
-Me

"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
- Socrates

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #22 on: 30 December 2020, 01:06:38 »
Fair warning, due to a surprise biological attack by my great nephew, further updates have been briefly delayed.

Like, I can be upright for more than a couple minutes without blacking out or vomitting (or maybe both), but I'mma take it easy for a couple more days.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #23 on: 30 December 2020, 01:46:12 »
Yikes.  That sounds...advisable.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #24 on: 30 December 2020, 18:12:21 »
By all means!  Put all your energy into fighting off this diabolical biological scourge!

DOC_Agren

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #25 on: 31 December 2020, 18:44:12 »
gee don't you know those little things are loaded with GERMS!!!
"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!"

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #26 on: 01 January 2021, 05:27:41 »
"I'll miss you Betty," Sergeant Carter said as a massive cloud of thick black smoke rose from the detonation site. The gate was now a crater with a burning wreck in the bottom of it. The front of their target, an ancient, structure used by the rulers of Tamar for centuries, had had its front blasted to rubble, but that was all façade. Fancy brick and marblework to impress the peasants. The core of the Government House, reinforced ferrocrete backing a layer of armor plate, was basically unharmed despite the close blast of nearly a quarter ton of improvised explosive.

"She gave her life for a good cause," Captain Lee said as he scanned the area around the flaming pyre that had been the front gate of the Wolves' center of government on Tamar. The delivery van had been stolen from a used car lot. The explosives manufactured from abandoned agricultural stocks. But Betty, she'd been special. A Dustball Special, in fact. They'd found her in a scrapyard, reasonably intact, almost as though an insanely rich teenage boy's mom had thrown her out in the trash in disgust. She was really quite a monument to inner sphere ingenuity all things considered. Fully ambulatory, frighteningly lifelike, and with a little bit of programming, able to drive a delivery truck down the wide, straight boulevard that led directly to the seat of power for the entire Wolf Clan. Honestly, it would have been a crime not to use her.

He could hear other explosions in the distance, much smaller than the one that had just gone off here. Guard posts, police stations, a few random points where you could stuff a bag of explosives and set off a good bang. Direct casualties from most of the blasts should be light to nothing at all (the squad of troops guarding the gate here was an exception). Killing wasn't the point, not yet at least.

-----

Niki picked up a cell from the floor next to her as she heard the first big boom go off. Her direct role in tonight's festivities was quick and easy, simply typing a message into the phone, sending off a command to another bundle of electronics the others had stuffed into a civil communications hub a couple days ago.

Upon receiving its command, the device did what it was designed to do, it started making calls, thousands of simultaneous calls to every emergency service line in the Tamar City phonebook, each one a computer generated, interactive chatbot just convincing enough to sound like a panicked civilian calling in a fire, explosions, armed men moving through the night, intruders breaking in, aircraft streaking through the sky dropping bombs...

With security and response forces spread out trying to pin down so many phantom threats (and some real ones), that would make it hard to secure everywhere they should have been watching. 

Niki set the cell down and picked up a glass of soda.

"Happy Tanabata princess wolf," she said. "Unfortunately, you've been a bad girl. So no prince for you." Even as she said it she realized how awful and tortured the metaphor was, causing her to chuckle to herself as she flushed a little with embarrassment.

"I'm so glad nobody was here to hear me say that," she said, then took a drink.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Cannonshop

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #27 on: 01 January 2021, 05:44:44 »
ooh nice.
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Daryk

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #28 on: 01 January 2021, 09:31:08 »
Somebody's been reading a certain kind of science fiction lately...  ^-^

georgiaboy

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #29 on: 01 January 2021, 11:31:24 »
Its called Stardaka!



"Constructive critism is never a bad comment"
-Me

"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
- Socrates

 

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