Register Register

Author Topic: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...  (Read 3596 times)

monbvol

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10788
  • Flogging will continue until morale improves
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #30 on: 01 January 2021, 18:00:52 »
Somehow a certain webcomic panel has come to mind but darn google fu is proving weak in finding it.

Now for the T.

Liam's Ghost

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6250
  • Miss Chitty demands justice for the Warhammer C
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #31 on: 03 January 2021, 01:17:48 »
~in the Command Center~

"A car bomb at the main gate," Fallon relayed the comm center's report. "The squad at the gate reported a van approaching at high speed that refused to stop even when they opened fire. Other positions reported the van striking the gate and exploding."

They'd cleared the room when the explosion had gone off and were making way to the underground hangar underneath the Government House, another holdover from the world's former rulers. It said something about the spheroids who once governed this world that they had built their seat of power as such a fortress, though whether it was a sign of Warriors simply waiting for the next challenger to come and face them or cowards who so feared even their own people that they hid behind thick walls of ferrocrete and armor plate, he did not known.

"How bad is the damage?" Khan Kerensky demanded.

"The outer wall is thoroughly breached, and the civilian sector of the building is completely compromised," Fallon reported. "There are multiple small fires and garrison is reporting moderate casualties among the infantry point. Function of the command center is otherwise unharmed."

"Someone who didn't know how tough this place was," Khan Kerensky wondered.

"Unlikely to be local insurgents then," Star Colonel Carns reasoned. "Or FedCom operatives."

Their discussion from before the explosion came back to Fallon's mind as they entered the hangar itself. Built to accommodate a company's worth of troops, it currently housed equipment for the command star and elemental trinary of the 13th Wolf Guards, which acted as the Khan's honor guard. Two points of those elementals were waiting for them, fully suited up, when they arrived.

"Why aren't you out there doing something useful?" the Khan demanded.

"We were to wait for you to provide a body guard, my Khan," the lead elemental said. "The Star Captain believes your safety is our immediate priority."

Khan Kerensky snorted derisively. "Fine," she said. "Let's get out there and lend a hand."

She walked passed them and the elementals turned to follow when Fallon spoke up.

"Neg, you cannot go out there."

Kerensky turned back at him, her annoyance on the edge of shifting to anger. "Explain, Star Captain," she said. Not quite emphasizing his subordinate position, but making it clear he had better have a good explanation.

But Fallon stood his ground. "We have to assume that this is a follow on to the attack on the Dire Wolf," he said. "As such, you are almost certainly the primary target. We cannot afford to expose you until we have secured the area. Khan Ward is in the Inner Sphere pursuing the Red Corsair. If we lose you, we have no leadership and the..." he caught himself before actually naming the Crusader clans as the culprit. "...our enemies have won."

Kerensky glared.

-----

~An apartment window a kilometer away~

"Tallyho," Sergeant Carter said. "Brass sighted. Sally port, left side."

Captain Lee had already had the laser rifle shouldered and swung it in the indicated direction, quickly finding the individual indicated. A tall woman wearing tabs with three stars on them on her collars.

"Way too tall," Lee said. "Probably one of those elementals. And she's a colonel. I was hoping for something better."

"You didn't think the honco would actually turn up?" Carter asked.

"Psych profile was promising," Lee said. "Hands on, prone to sticking her nose in to get things done, kinda a diva. Odds were good she'd come out to dig in the rubble and yell at people just to prove she could."

"How long do we want to wait?" Carter said. "Won't be too long before security sweeps get close enough we'll have to leave."

Captain Lee sighed. "Nah, you're right," he said as he lined up his shot. The laser discharged with no recoil and barely a sizzle of rapidly expanding air around the muzzle, just another reason to feel horribly unsatisfied about the whole thing. He saw the target drop as the armored troops flanking her frantically scanned the area around them for the shooter, eventually narrowing their gaze in Lee's general direction.

Lee leaned the laser rifle against the wall in front of a backpack already sitting on the floor. Reaching down, he pulled a small length of wire out of the pack and pulled it taut (an audible click coming from the pack), attaching it with a dollop of quick drying adhesive to the butt of the gun.

"Time to go," he said as he picked up his own kit from the table. Sergeant Carter nodded and they quickly but casually exited the building.

Elementals would arrive a few minutes later, though they would be delayed in searching by the need to shed their armor to handle the old building's lightly constructed stairs. It'd be a total of seven minutes from when the shot was fired to when the room was found, and the troopers would have a very good look at the laser rifle that had killed Star Colonel Jera Carns, before one of them picked it up, pulling the detonator wire the rest of the way.

From two streets over, the two kilos of industrial pentaglycerine still had a pretty satisfying bang, which made Captain Lee feel a little bit better about today's fishing expedition.

"So," he said. "Lunch?"

"There's still some of that vindaloo curry stuff in the fridge back home," Sergeant Carter said.

"Split it with you."
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

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5193
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #32 on: 03 January 2021, 01:22:39 »
I giggle...hehehehehehehhe
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.

monbvol

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10788
  • Flogging will continue until morale improves
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #33 on: 03 January 2021, 03:17:42 »
Of course Robert Lee is grammatically correct so now he's got to do the punctuation.

cklammer

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 245
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #34 on: 03 January 2021, 08:15:06 »
 .. and an IED is an exclamation mark!  8)

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17018
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #35 on: 03 January 2021, 09:25:52 »
The Wolves really have NO idea what they're up against...  ^-^

Liam's Ghost

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6250
  • Miss Chitty demands justice for the Warhammer C
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #36 on: 04 January 2021, 04:55:21 »
~TPRN Offices~

As the largest and most watched video broadcasting company on Tamar, offering simulcasts in English, German, and Urdu to accommodate as much of Tamar's population as possible, the Tamar Planetarisches Rundfunknetz was considered a vital military installation by the world's clan Wolf Overlords, necessitating of a full time garrison of a conventional infantry point to provide site security, a mix of Solahmas and bondsmen (considered valid as long as they were not sent out to fight other warriors and were used only to maintain order over the lower castes). Such a force would make it a tough nut for a small team to crack cleanly, even an elite team might not be able to breach in broad daylight, get in, and get out again without raising an alarm and drawing too many reinforcements to overcome.

But with panic racing through the streets of Tamar City, the Wolf garrison needed troops in dozens of other places to chase the phantom insurgency that had suddenly sprung up in the city, and the only place to get them was from places not currently under threat. About fifteen minutes after the first explosions, most of the point defending the broadcast station was pulled out, split into squads to investigate reports of infiltrators on the east side of town.

Ten minutes after they were gone, the two guards left at the door were down. One was taken out by a rifle shot at range, the other, as he moved to investigate, was surprised and killed by a vibroblade wielding assailant.

Three men stormed in, all dressed in black, their faces covered by simple fabric masks, and armed with a mix of weapons. The apparent leader carried a massive, intimidating sternsnact gun, waving it wildly in the general direction of any of the panicked civilians who looked like they weren't sufficiently cowed, shouting in a thick rural Amirani accent as he kicked hiw way into the newsroom and discharged a shot into the ceiling.

"Any of you ****** move and we start lining you up like that collabi trash outside!" he shouted as one of his cohorts took potshots at the security cameras with a laser pistol, and the other just seemed to be randomly smashing or cutting up things with a vibroblade and a stun baton. "Which one of you brown ****** is in charge here!"

The news director stepped forward and was immediately pistol whipped for the trouble.

"The answer's nonayah!" the leader screamed at him and pressed the gun against his head. "I'm in charge here. Ya do what I say!" He pulled a disc out of his hip pocket. "You broadcast that, right now, or I start killing the loot of your worthless ****** hides."

The news director spat out a tooth and glared sullenly, but he took the disk and went to a computer. On a large monitor overlooking the director's station, a still image appeared, showing a crudely rendered emblem of the Lyran Fist with the logo "No Wolf is Safe" superimposed over it in red.

"That's it?!" The leader shouted, pressing his gun into the head of the news director again. "It's broadcasting?"

"Yes," the news director said, holding in his panic. "To every channel on the network."

"WOOOOO!!!!" the leader shouted, firing his gun into the ceiling again for emphasis. "Can't stop the revolution!" He waved his gun over the crowd. "I see one copper or wolf yiffer and we're gonna come back and put you all in the ground!" he declared, then motioned for his cohorts to follow as they left the newsroom.

They met the forth member of their team in the lobby. "We happy?" the leader, actually Lieutenant Harlan Lewis, THAF, asked.

"Virus is in the military network," Sergeant Ling said as she held up three cut bondcords, one of them splattered with blood. "Three more collabi bracelets for the collection, too. We should probably get moving, though."

To emphasize her point, fire alarms started ringing, and the team quickly made for the exit.

"How'd your side go?" Ling asked as they slipped back into the street through a side entrance in the building.

"The LT was positively chewing the scenery," Sergeant Kaplan said. "I think the hate crimes were probably a bit much."

"Artistic flourish," Lieutenant Lewis insisted. "'sides, I don't think those are even a thing here. That's more of a 'we used to systematically exploit an easily identifiable and exploitable segment of the population and we feel real bad about it' thing. Not a 'I'm angry at folk better off than me so I call them dumb names' thing."

As they vanished into the side streets discussing the finer points of race relations in the inner sphere, the employees so recently briefly their hostages flooded into the streets, the blaring fire alarms and the smell of smoke overcoming their fear at being shot by a gang of lunatics. The fire, started in the point commander's office, would spread quickly to eventually engulf the building, unchecked by emergency services so overloaded with calls that they wouldn't even learn of the attack for a couple hours, much less be in a position to intervene.

Between the fire gutting the building and the testimony of the witnesses to the downright comical behavior of the attackers, Clan Wolf forces wouldn't even know to suspect what the actual objective had been. Really what the whole point of all of this had been, as a small, virtually untraceable file went from the point commander's terminal and started spreading from system to system within the Wolf clan' military network, bypassing the immediate problems of two centuries of divergent architecture and file structure protocols with direct hardware access.

Within thirty minutes of the first explosion, the Wolves had locked down Tamar City, ordering residents to remain confined in place while elementals and battlemechs patrolled the streets and the warrior caste and Watch attempted to sift through ruins and wreckage for clues. But Captain Lee and his team had already hunkered down, their assignment complete, as their viral tap gradually permeated, unlocked, and copied the clan's military secrets. Though a major opportunity target had eluded them, Captain Lee and his team had every reason to regard this operation as a rousing success...

----

Niki saw the indicator light shift to blue on the FTL transmitter on the table before hearing her laptop ding to notify her of an inbound message. 

Messages sent and received by the FTL transmitters were never fancy. The transmitter received the message, translated it into a simple text file, then could either print it out or forward it to a connected computer. KF physics dictated how big of a message you could send, with power requirements increasing and transmission quality decreasing as the amount of data increased.

The first thing Niki noticed was that the message their transmitter had received was too big. Too big by a wide margin. That was an immediate red flag. These transmitters were brand new, but they'd been rushed into production for this campaign based on very early abandoned prototypes. There hadn't been time to refine them. None of their transmitters could have sent this message.

She checked the physical connections and even went over the transmitter, looking for signs of tampering, and found none.

"What are you doing?" Captain Lee asked, noticing her behavior.

"Trying to figure out how much trouble we're in," Niki replied as she went back to her laptop.

Captain Lee looked at her expectantly. "You want to elaborate? Immediate threat? Someone need killing? Do we need to be running?"

"Sorry, working on it," Niki said. "Not an immediate threat, but someone might be seeing everything we send on the FTL." Diagnostics run on the file indicated it was a standard text file. No hidden scripts or executables within it. Just pages and pages of plain text.

Captain Lee had come over and was looking over her shoulder. "And how is that possible?"

Niki sighed. "You know how the higher ups told us that this was abandoned technology, something the Hegemony discarded hundreds of years ago, there were no copied left behind in the inner sphere, and there was no way anybody else was using it?"

Captain Lee mirrored her sigh. "The clans?"

"I don't think so," Niki said as she opened the file. "If they clans were using this technology, they'd be a lot more aware of us than they have been. I mean, we already own their comms, no mention of any of this."

The data was indeed pages and pages of unformatted text, by all appearance composed of gibberish. A quick command running it through their decryption system turned up just more gibberish. "Surprise surprise, they're using a different cipher than ours."

"They had a whole lot to say," Captain Lee said. "Any idea of what I'm looking at?"

Niki thought about it. "These things broadcast for everybody to see," she said. "It's probably a copy of every message our side has been trading since operations at Tamar began. They've probably been holding off on sending because they knew we'd see it, until they heard something they had to report."

"Taking out the clan war leader probably counts," Captain Lee said. "Well that's a massive security failure. How do we find and kill them?"

"No idea," Niki said. "A message this size is going to require some hefty power. I'll go dancing through the municipal networks and go looking for a sudden spike of juice, but that's iffy." Their own system used rechargeable power packs, that could recharge slowly using city power without creating an obvious spike. Anybody using one of these covertly would take similar precautions. "Speaking of iffy, there's one more thing I can try."

She opened up a new message, toggling off encryption. "The first of these transmitters were a secret project, of course," she explained. "So engineers designed the operating system so you could feed them admin commands in a message, in case they were compromised. The architecture of this one is similar in format to that. If they were copying rather than doing their own work..."

-----

Ashley Krentz wasn't sure what he was waiting for, but he was standing by the Fax system in anticipation and a touch of anxiety since it had finished transmitting their report.

Kruger, his team mate, seemed to share is anxiety, alternately pacing around the room and taking a moment to look out the window to see if Clan Wolf or whoever was about to come beating down their door, a small automatic pistol, their only weapon, clasped in his sweaty hand.

Ashley heard the FAX start spooling up, as though getting ready to print out a sheet of paper. Kruger, desperately on edge, almost jumped at the sudden sound.

Ashley picked up the sheet, and was immediately surprised that it was actually readable.

-//admin com 405 9927
 If that didn't work, then sorry, I had to try


Realization dawned on him as he grabbed Kruger and pulled him to the other side of the room. The Fax didn't quiet down, only starting to whine louder as it started a message cycle. Except this time instead of drawing power briefly from the attached power pack to emit a pulse, it just kept drawing and drawing while every part of the system that could began overloading, pushing the core of the device, the external power pack, and even the print drum beyond tolerances.

Sparks began emitting from the connection port as the power pack caught fire, and smoke began to emit from the the printer output. Surprisingly, it was Kruger who was the first to react, quickly retrieving the extinguisher from the kitchen and dousing the device. Even pulling open the casing to give the internal mechanisms another dose.

Ashley came back to reality. "How bad is it?"

"Well I just killed any of the ancillary components that didn't roast themselves," Kruger said as he looked over the device. "But it looks like the power supply failed before the core could cook itself. We might be able to put this back together." The core was the true 'black box' of the Fax, the only part of it that the two of them didn't really understand well enough to put back together. New power connections and a printer would be simple by comparison, except...

"Under lockdown with the Wolves looking for terrorists and spies?" Ashley asked.

"I didn't say it'd be easy." Kruger acknowledged. "How'd they know the destruct code?" he asked.

"Maybe the same way we learned it," Ashley said. The NAIS had managed to learn a lot of the technology and refine its function, but some parts, such as the core control programming, were still a mystery. They could copy it from one system to another, but they didn't really understand it completely. There were literally dozens of administration level command codes that they hadn't figured out yet, and so far the only method to do so was trial and error. "That was an admin 405," he said. "A universal command. Every one of our transmitters in range of theirs just got orders to die in a fire. Whoever these guys are, I doubt they've got the same vulnerability."

"You're thinking of doing something stupid, aren't you?" Kruger asked.

"I'm thinking we've got not choice," Ashley said. "We've gotta know who these guys are."
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!

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17018
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #37 on: 04 January 2021, 05:10:54 »
It's too funny to see TH and FC spies tripping over each other...  ;D

Cannonshop

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5193
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #38 on: 04 January 2021, 11:24:10 »
I giggle MORE...
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.

Kujo

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #39 on: 04 January 2021, 22:28:48 »
LIC doing something stupid...  They will need Heimdall or MIIO to bale them out, that or blame SAFE... :-)  Thank you!
For the FEDCOM For the Archon-Prince

Liam's Ghost

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6250
  • Miss Chitty demands justice for the Warhammer C
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #40 on: 06 January 2021, 03:44:17 »
~Alpha Galaxy Field HQ, Outside the City~

Emergency services had extinguished the handful of serious fires by nightfall and already had a preliminary report of the damage.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, actual damage was relatively light. Aside from the government house, a single empty building, and the TPRN station building, there'd been no casualties or serious damage. The majority of bombs set off and fires set seemed to be aimed at causing only superficial effects. Lots of bang and flash, no substance. False calls had been the worst of it, creating the impression the entire city was under siege.

The lower castes were still working out how that part was done, but from what they'd told Fallon, it apparently wasn't that hard to do with some basic knowledge of how the system worked. Spheroid emergency services apparently worked on the honor system, with it simply understood that they wouldn't be abused by malicious actors.

Honor, heh, there'd been precious little honor today, and it was still going on. Even out here, you could occasionally hear the cracks of small arms fire or the occasional explosion.

The Khan was brooding in her temporary quarters when he arrived, watching live feeds from their units on a couple monitors that had been set up on the desk. "They're still at it," she said.

"The current actors seem random, unplanned," Fallon said. Random shooters, petty vandals, the occasional cobbled together pipe bomb using household chemicals and nails. "They do not have the same finesse as the first attack."

"'Cause they're opportunists," the Khan said. "We created a lot of resentment taking this world. We just handled it better than the Jaguars or Falcons would. Jobs lost, rights curtailed, economies disrupted. A whole new foreign flag and alien people to hate when the Tamars were perfectly happy hating the flags they had." She leaned back in her chair. "There were always people who wanted to hit back, but didn't think they could. Today's action gave them a reason to think they can get away with it."

As a clan warrior, the concept was still alien to Fallon's experiences. He could only trust that his Khan understood the Inner Sphere better. "Will it continue?"

"Depends," Khan Kerensky said. "On what our instigators do next. If it's just about killing our leadership, then all of this was to set up an opportunity to take their shot. Their next move will be to take me out, not foment a rebellion. If it's about discrediting the Clan, though... The crusaders haven't been having an easy time ruling. Being able to show evidence that we have the same problems gives them credibility when the election comes."

Fallon took his own seat. "You sound certain that the Crusader clans are responsible for this attack."

"If you have a better suspect, I'm listening," the Khan said. "Regardless, the result is the same. If we can't present a strong case against, Critchell or Osis will get the job. A repudiation of the truce comes next."

She sighed. "And if that happens, I'm going to have to throw the Wolf Clan into the crusaders' jaws to try to stop it."

She plucked a file off the table and offered it to Fallon. "So we are calling on some help."
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!

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17018
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #41 on: 06 January 2021, 05:22:27 »
Throwing the wolf clan into the crusaders jaws sounds like a fine way to get their leadership killed.  This campaign works on SO many levels...  ^-^

Intermittent_Coherence

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 861
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #42 on: 06 January 2021, 06:14:13 »
Throwing the wolf clan into the crusaders jaws sounds like a fine way to get their leadership killed.  This campaign works on SO many levels...  ^-^
Ulric did it before. Not to say that it worked out for him at the time, but the precedent exists.
It's refreshing to see Natasha move on from her usual shoot first tactics. Give some of that Kerensky insight(sic) a workout.

Liam's Ghost

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6250
  • Miss Chitty demands justice for the Warhammer C
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #43 on: 07 January 2021, 04:15:36 »
Fallon took the offered file and opened it up. It was a sparse watch report on an individual named Azrah Kreutzer, female, thirty seven years of age. Resident of Tamar City, occupation, police detective.

"We are relying on assistance from the lower caste, quineg?" Fallon said, stumbling on his surprise.

"I told the Tamar City police department that the alternative was we go through the city house by house searching for suspects and picking a fight with anybody who doesn't comply quietly," the Khan said. "They were happy to offer the help of detective Kreutzer as an alternative to setting off an actual insurrection by stumbling around like Smoke Jaguars."

"But this was an attack on the Warrior Caste," Fallon objected. It was part of the understanding that helped keep things civil between the locals and their clan overlords. Their (albeit now disarmed) police force was allowed to continue dealing with civilian manners on their own, but they had no jurisdiction over warriors or right to involve themselves in matters pertaining to the warrior caste.

"She is an advisor, nothing more," the khan said. "The warrior caste takes the lead, but we do not have the expertise to pursue these attackers. And we can't afford to rely on standard methods."

He hated to admit it, but what the Khan said made sense. Still... "Whatever warrior is in command is unlikely to pay much heed to a lower caste's advice..." realization only now hit him. "It's me, isn't it?" he said, slipping into contractions without a thought.

"Language," the Khan said. "You know what is at stake. And you have good instincts. You won't let your warrior's pride get in the way of doing what needs to be done. Besides, if you really want to be a leader, you need to learn about these people, beyond what it takes to order your coffee at the corner store every morning. Large, three sugars, and milk, correct?"

For some reason Fallon felt a strange degree of embarrassment at having his preferred coffee order repeated to him by his leader. He almost stammered out an excuse for his regular coffee habit, wondering if it reflected poorly on him as a warrior to frequent such an establishment. But the Khan's look was amusement, not reproach.

"I've lived among the spheroids longer than any of you have been alive," she reminded him. "If we intend to stay here, we can't stay separate, and we can't absorb them all into our ways. We all have to learn to adapt. That's something the Crusaders failed to understand. Not only shouldn't we try to smash the inner sphere into submission, we can't. In the end it's a simple numbers game. We will lose, and then the Clans will die out."

"So, Star Captain Fallon Kerensky, let's stop that from happening, shall we?"
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!

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17018
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #44 on: 07 January 2021, 05:35:42 »
I can only hear the admonishment "Langauge" in Captain America's voice these days...  :D

Liam's Ghost

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6250
  • Miss Chitty demands justice for the Warhammer C
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #45 on: 15 January 2021, 07:26:08 »
~THS Audacious, outer system~

The attack against the Dire Wolf had not been a simple matter. Moving half a dozen cruisers and two dozen cargo dropships to supply them into position slowly enough and carefully enough to attack the zenith point without detection had taken two weeks all on its own. It took a couple more days before their spotter, a jumpship operating under a free trader's flag, to determine that the Dire Wolf was actually at the point, the IlKhan was aboard, and the ship was in the midst of a recharge cycle and would not be moving any time soon. Another two days passed to allow the cruisers and their support ships, still coasting on built up inertia, a chance to reach their closest point of approach with the jump point itself, so that they could launch their attack with the absolute minimum warning possible.

There were a lot of moving parts to the operation, and a lot of things that could have gone wrong. In fact, if Tamar had been in any way prepared for any sort of naval incursion, or at the very least had any sort of spaceborn industry, a lot of things would have gone wrong. Instead, so far the operation had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and the strike force had made it out without being detected.

At least... so far.

"Just how far do you want to chase us?" Captain Emily Garson wondered aloud as she watched the contacts mapped out before her on the holotable. Whoever was leading the clan forces at the jump point had ordered every dropship in his reach (military and civilian) to spread out in all directions, banging away with every active sensor they had to try to find who had just attacked them. It was either desperation or anger rather than something with a reasonable chance of success. Space was huge, the number of ships the enemy had was limited. The odds that any of the wolf ships would manage to intersect the track of one of their own ships, even just getting close enough for active detection, was supposed to be minute.

Minute, but not zero it turned out.

Contact d27 was what had Captain Garson's attention at the moment. Running silent, they didn't have active sensors to give them a complete picture of what it was, but passive systems told them something. Drive flare suggested a craft in the 5000 ton range. ESM was recording a sensor signature consistent with military grade systems. Following its path back to its origin point in the senor logs showed that the ship executed a few relatively high G maneuvers to get it on its final course, suggesting a maneuvering profile probably comparable to Garson's own ship. They ruled out a lot of candidates, but not enough to tell what it actually was, particularly if it was some new clan built design.

What she could say for certain though, is that it was a potential problem. Its course projection would pass within a hundred thousand kilometer of their own in a matter of hours. Close enough to not only detect the Audacious, but the cargo dropship following in close formation. It'd been a necessary burden. The Hegemony's WarShip fleet had been built for home defense. Fast, powerful, well armored, but completely lacking the cargo space for a long voyage when easy resupply was supposed to just be right there. Every ship in the attack group had a cargo carrier following it, plus many more waiting in the outer system to resupply them on the way out again.

That made things a little trickier. Contact d27 would have to die, of course, but she had to do it in the right way.

"We have a shooting solution," her executive officer reported.

"By all means," she said. "Shoot."
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

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6250
  • Miss Chitty demands justice for the Warhammer C
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #46 on: Today at 08:16:02 »
~Dropship Desert Kit, a couple hours later~

"How long are we going to keep up this chase?" Star Commander Samuel asked in frustration.

"Until we are ordered back," Star Captain Sieman replied to his executive officer's whining. "Or until we have found something worth reporting."

"That will not happen," Star Commander Samuel insisted. "The area the enemy could have launched from was at least twelve million kilometers across ten hours ago. The area where they might be now is basically impossible to measure. Even if we have overtaken them, the odds that one of us would get close enough to detect them..."

Technically it was the proximity warning that went off first, but what really stifled Samuel's complaints were the naval missiles that suddenly struck the ship less than a second later. Only a few missiles hit, and in normal battle conditions the well protected Carrier class ship would likely have survived. But at their current velocity, after an extended burn of several hours... the missile warheads didn't even get a chance to explode before both they and the ship they had struck were torn apart by raw kinetic force. 

Samuel wouldn't even have time to realize he was about to die, much less marvel at the odds they'd beaten by getting close enough that their opponent had decided they had to die.

-----

~THS Audacious~

"All sensor systems go full active," Captain Garson ordered. "Helm, ahead one and a half gravity, closest proximity point if you please."

The massive cruiser under her feet shuddered to life as readouts on her holotable indicated its sensors had begun plotting everything around them. There was their support ship, continuing on its merry way running dead quiet about four thousand kilometers below them. A hundred and sixty thousand kilometers away and still technically closing fast (but no longer accelerating or radiating) was the wreck of the dropship they'd just killed.

She also knew that a couple more dropships within a million kilometers of them would be picking up the signature of their active radar in about three seconds. About eighteen seconds after that, the ships at the jump point would be getting word back from them at the same time they themselves saw the Audacious' drive flare.

It was all about priorities. Step one, kill the dropship so it didn't stumble on the Audacious and her support ship. But, they didn't have the time or positioning to set up a massed cloud attack like they'd done to the Dire Wolf, so even if they killed the dropship there was a very high probability that the other ships would get enough information to track the attack to a probable course, thus ensuring they'd be discovered.

So step two, be discovered by making as much noise as possible and making a run for the point. The Audacious was now such an obvious target, the enemy wouldn't even think to look for a second ship casually drifting away. Was a relatively small cargo dropship really that important? Well in a cold equations sort of way, not really. They could afford to lose a cargo ship more than they could afford to lose a full on attack cruiser. The thing Captain Garson didn't want to give up is even the hint that they needed to use support ships for an operation like this.

Of course she had no intention of sacrificing either ship, so step three. Run (almost) like we stole something. Or rather like someone else who stole something. The Hegemony's cruiser fleet had been built around a common Star League era jump core design, which dictated its maximum dimensions and mass. Something the Clans were very familiar with. By now the ships at the jump point were taking in everything they could see, watching them run, refining their data, getting a feel for what they were facing. Their analysis would peg the ship at about 830,000 tons, making a gravity and a half of thrust while running for their life from a murder scene.

It's easy to suss that out, when your flagship used to match those exact specs.

The clan ships at the jump point were running silent right now, probably to avoid being easy targets for another missile strike. But they knew what had already been there. They'd also picked up two more ships arriving in the system, and plotted their most likely types by the IR flashes before they too had gone dark.

So you're a clan commander. You've got a target responsible for killing your IlKhan. You have a good idea what it is, it's telegraphing where it's going, and you've got two ships that should be fast enough to catch it. All you have to do is get in ahead of it.

"Two IR flashes, four hundred thousand kilometers dead ahead," the sensor officer reported as the information was automatically routed to Captain Garson's table.

"Nice," she said as the data resolved to a Lola III class destroyer and a full on McKenna class battleship. "Helm, let's keep playing along, second course, maintain one and a half gravities."

"Communication from the McKenna," comms reported. "Surrender immediately."

She saw the indicator on her console, noting with disgust that the McKenna's transponder matched that of the SLS Caph.

"I've half a mind to take that grand old lady back from them," she said angrily. Instead, she toggled the comm to reply.

"Come and get me," she said. "You inbred freeborn whelps fit for nothing but suckling the Inner Sphere's teat."
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

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5193
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #47 on: Today at 08:26:42 »
nice diss.
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

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17018
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #48 on: Today at 08:35:34 »
Nice indeed!  8)

JA Baker

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1562
  • Dreamer Of Dreams
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #49 on: Today at 08:54:04 »
I think that's the Clan equivalent of "yo momma..."
"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


Kujo

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #50 on: Today at 09:22:00 »
Well in my view 'Freebirth' is a compliant :thumbsup:!  inbred not so much xp

Great Story keep it up!!!
For the FEDCOM For the Archon-Prince

Cannonshop

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5193
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #51 on: Today at 09:24:47 »
Well in my view 'Freebirth' is a compliant :thumbsup:!  inbred not so much xp

Great Story keep it up!!!

what, you've never mocked a Clanner by calling them 'Jed'? (ref: "Inbred Jed".)
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

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17018
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #52 on: Today at 10:18:08 »
It's a nice bit of misdirection too... it sounds like something the Dark Caste would say.

 

Register