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Author Topic: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...  (Read 5062 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:

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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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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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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"
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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:

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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"
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- Socrates

monbvol

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Daryk

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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

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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

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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

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #38 on: 04 January 2021, 11:24:10 »
I giggle MORE...
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Kujo

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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!
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Liam's Ghost

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #46 on: 16 January 2021, 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

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #47 on: 16 January 2021, 08:26:42 »
nice diss.
The core rules for interacting with me:

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Daryk

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #48 on: 16 January 2021, 08:35:34 »
Nice indeed!  8)

JA Baker

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #49 on: 16 January 2021, 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"
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Kujo

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #50 on: 16 January 2021, 09:22:00 »
Well in my view 'Freebirth' is a compliant :thumbsup:!  inbred not so much xp

Great Story keep it up!!!
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Cannonshop

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #51 on: 16 January 2021, 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:

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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 #52 on: 16 January 2021, 10:18:08 »
It's a nice bit of misdirection too... it sounds like something the Dark Caste would say.

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #53 on: 18 January 2021, 04:57:17 »
~CWS Nature's Wrath~

"A weak taunt from a desperate opponent," Star Commodore Vickers mused.

"Dezgra who strike from ambush," the executive officer said. "Now they choose to run like cowards rather than facing a warrior's death for their crimes."

The enemy vessel had made no further attempt to communicate, and according to the readouts on the holotable was now concentrating on altering its trajectory back to its original course.

"Oh they will fight," Vickers said. "Physics demands it. They are simply seizing the advantages they have." Though the ship had started maneuvering to head to the proximity limit, it hadn't had time to shed much of its original velocity. That gave them a speed advantage, about a hundred and seventy kilometers per second worth that would have to be made up.

"They are betting on their engines and crew over ours," he continued. A Sovetskii Soyuz at maximum power could manage a gravity and a half of acceleration, but for how long was questionable. If it had been well taken care for, if there wasn't much time since its last overhaul, it might be able to hold it for hours or even a day or more without having to slow down.

"We can outpace them easily." The executive officer said.

"Can we survive doing so?" Vickers asked. His own ship could beat a Soyuz in acceleration easily. In theory so could the Werewolf, except... "The Werewolf has been on constant escort duty since the invasion began, and facilities for a proper refit are few and far away. She may not be able to keep up emergency power for more than a few hours. Worse, the strain on the crew during a long two gravity chase is considerable. Our personnel are not properly acclimated for for this."

"We will still fight!" The executive officer protested.

"Aff," Star Commodore Vickers agreed. "But we may do so without the support of the Werewolf, with the crew on the brink of collapse from the strain of hard travel."

"This fatalistic defeatism is not like you, Star Commodore," the executive officer said.

Vickers smiled. "Not defeatism, realism. We have flushed the enemy out. Likely this cruiser is the mothership that supported the attack on the Dire Wolf. We will not let her go. We must simply accept that our ship will likely not be the one to strike the final blow. The hounds will chase the prey to the hunters."
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.

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Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #54 on: 19 January 2021, 05:05:34 »
~THS Indefatigable, eight million kilometers away~

"The wolves jumped the gun," Commodore Robert Gladstone said as he watched the chase from the holotank. "That's good at least."

Every WarShip in the Terran fleet was equipped with a holotank, and it was quite handy both for the range of features it offered and the amount of detail it provided. Using a virtual environment you actually moved around in and interacted with could be iffy during combat maneuvers, of course. And some captains relied on the smaller and less user friendly holotable exclusively simply so they didn't have to move from station to station.

But, if Commodore Gladstone couldn't direct or interact with the chess game between the wolves and one of his captains, he'd at least be able to watch in high definition.

"I'm not sure why Captain Garson is bothering with this," His executive officer Captain Eddington said. "The Audacious is still in the shallow zone. She could just jump out."

Commodore Gladstone glanced over with an annoyed look. "If I could risk doing so, I would have ordered her not to," he said. They still had FTL comms, but after the sudden discovery of somebody else with the systems, and not knowing if the ground team's destruct command worked, they couldn't risk it. And they certainly couldn't use the HPG and give away their own position. "The less they know about what we can actually do, the better. Garson gets that."

Still, he couldn't help but be nervous trusting her to act on her own initiative. Emily Garson was just that kind of 'coin flip' captain, due for either greatness or disaster.

Even so, he didn't have any power over what was going to happen there. He could make an educated guess, but he couldn't influence it. He just had to trust her judgement.

-----

~THS Audacious~

Captain Garson gave the enemy two hours of trying to run them down at two gravities of thrust before she made her next move.

"Gotta be getting tired by now," she said. A baseline star league era human could endure about one and a half gravities long term, assuming they were in good shape. With acclimation exercise (carefully monitored to avoid or deal with incidental injury), those same people could actually handle environments higher than two gravities for extended periods (Garson had heard that some people could actually live in such environments, though with a significantly reduced life span).

Keeping up with those acclimation exercises got tough in space, though. Warship duty was frequently all about very long stretches of the exact opposite, and naval doctrine and training regimens had enough trouble just getting enough long term gravity to allow their crews to function on a planet.

(Even Terran doctrine didn't really focus on high gravity acclimation. Instead the people of the Bastion relied on genetic engineering. Her crew was handling the extended burn just fine.)

"They're really eager to kill us," Commander Honeywell, her XO, sitting across from her at the holotable, said. "The Caph's actually increasing thrust."

She glanced at the indicator. "Wow, two and a half," she said. "They're going to break something at that speed." It was a little bit more than just facetious. The Bastion didn't have any McKennas in their fleet, but they had the old service records from the SLDF. McKennas were big and impressive, but they were also just a bit delicate in spots, part of being the biggest and most complicated piece of technology around. The League dealt with that through having repair yards everywhere, while their intelligence of the occupation zone had shown minimal naval infrastructure, and a fleet that was constantly moving from point to point conducting roving patrols.

Also, "that's an awful straight path she's flying," she said.

Commander Honeywell smiled. "Yes it is. He's really eager to kill us."

Captain Garson turned to the fire control. "Aft starboard cannon turret, shoot me the prettiest pattern you can, full magazine. I buy a round at the next port of call for every shell you can put in the Caph."
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.

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Cannonshop

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #55 on: 19 January 2021, 10:06:17 »
lol, someone doesn't know how to fight a warship, and now the THN is going to provide the supplementary instruction.
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Daryk

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #56 on: 19 January 2021, 18:10:47 »
I'm betting the Captain is buying more than one round...  ^-^

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #57 on: 21 January 2021, 07:38:16 »

~CWS Nature's Wrath~

Even through the radio signal, Nigel Vickers could hear the strain in his fellow commander's voice.

"You fall behind, Star Commodore Vickers," Star Commodore Winston DeVega said breathily.

"I simply see no reason to put my ship and crew to such undue strain," Vickers replied. "On their current heading, the enemy does not have the thrust capacity to reach the proximity limit before we catch up to them. When we do, my ship and crew will be in shape to fight." He did his best to keep any hint of rebuke from his voice. "You should not underestimate this enemy."

Winston DeVega had been a ristar once, his victories as an aerospace pilot praised by the Clan and doing much to redeem what had been a largely lackluster and forgotten bloodhouse. But his time had passed long ago. His status as commander of the Clan's most powerful WarShip was a remnant of that lost glory, an honor for his past service, but there was little chance for a WarShip commander to find glory. Honor or not, it was a posting for officers destined to quietly die.

Star Commodore Vickers knew that those thoughts were clouding his superior's thinking. More than anger at the cowardly assassination of the IlKhan, DeVega saw this as a chance at redemption. And he was rushing towards it.

Vickers found the man distasteful. DeVega's orders to rush into battle had put them in this chase in the first place. Now his obsession with being the one to defeat the enemy was putting his ship and crew at risk even beyond the punishing pace he set for them.

Ships in combat situations never flew in straight lines. Even if the general course they were following was a straight shot from one point to another, combat vessels threw in a complex series of lateral burns from the maneuvering thrusters to ensure that their exact position wasn't entirely predictable. Enough to keep a clever opponent with a stopwatch and a calculator from sniping them from thousands or tens of thousands of kilometers beyond normal firing range.

But these maneuvers used up extra fuel and reduced overall acceleration. So DeVega had apparently decided they weren't important. The Werewolf wasn't flying completely straight, but its adjustments were few and far between, and to Vickers' eyes, distressingly predictable. Almost as though he was ordering them himself whenever he remembered rather than trusting the navigation computer to generate a properly unpredictable series. "Your evasion pattern is weak," he said. "The enemy has already demonstrated a proficiency in long range strikes."

Through the stress of high gravity, DeVega still managed to scoff. "They are cowards who strike from ambush," DeVega insisted. "Not warriors. We will weather what pinprick missles they fling at us. Then we will run them down and destroy them."

-----

It would take time before Star Commodore Vickers was proven right and his superior wrong. The distance between the two sides was enormous, even for the insane muzzle velocity of a naval autocannon shell to cross.

The aft starboard naval autocannon turret of the Audacious mounted three series twenty cannons not terribly different in design from guns used by the old Star League since it had come into existence. It was fed by a cavernous magazine that could, if necessary, feed the autoloading cannons in the turret for a full one hundred minutes of continuous fire.

The distance between the Audacious and her target being what it was, they had plenty of time to empty that magazine. Shots were fired in an ever widening pattern, anticipating that the target would begin to maneuver as soon as the crew could react to the first shots hitting. Observations of what little maneuvering the Werewolf nee Caph was doing showed a starboard/up bias, so a greater proportion of shots were focused in this quadrant as the pattern widened. A guess, but not a blind one.

Even with the magazine now empty and the shots on their way, the crew of the Audacious still had time to busy themselves transferring additional ammunition from other cannon magazines to reload the empty one, just in case they could get away with doing it all over again.

And even then, there were still a few hours to go before the first flash appeared on their scopes, indicating a hit.
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!

Sabelkatten

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #58 on: 21 January 2021, 08:02:54 »
Reminds me of the a houserule I made for Starfire:

Normal combat speed: no to hit modifiers.

+1 speed: enemy fire to hit +2.

+2 speed: enemy fire automatic hit. ;)

Daryk

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #59 on: 21 January 2021, 17:31:17 »
Vickers is more likely to survive, but not much...  ^-^

Cannonshop

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #60 on: 22 January 2021, 00:39:17 »
Vickers is more likely to survive, but not much...  ^-^

actually, he's probably MUCH more likely to survive-he's observing actual tactics and keeping his environment in mind.  DeVega forgot that he's not flying in an atmosphere.
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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.

jonen c

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #61 on: 22 January 2021, 02:35:01 »
actually, he's probably MUCH more likely to survive-he's observing actual tactics and keeping his environment in mind.  DeVega forgot that he's not flying in an atmosphere.

It's cited as a rule of air combat that you never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area. From at least back in world war two.

If you're predictable, you're essentially betting the enemy is a bad shot.

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Birds, Snakes and Aeroplanes...
« Reply #62 on: 22 January 2021, 08:01:09 »
~CWS Nature's Wrath~

"Ahead full emergency power!" Star Commodore barked out his orders. "Switch navsystems to full evasion!"

At this moment he couldn't be certain what had just happened to the Werewolf, even as his ships sensors showed the flashes of impacts against the battleship's hull. Mines, missiles, it didn't matter exactly what at the moment, only making sure his own ship didn't suffer the same fate.

As he felt himself pulled and twisted into his acceleration couch by his ship's violent maneuvering, he saw the track of the Werewolf changing as well, trying to overcome its own tremendous inertia and fight its way out of the cloud of munitions it had run into. But even as its nose came up and it began to swing to starboard, more impacts were detected. Too strong to be any naval missile or space mine that Vickers was familiar with....

Naval cannons, Vickers realized abruptly. His first thought was to wonder how they'd pulled off such a shot, but the answers came to him quickly enough. DeVega had been too predicable, just as Vickers had warned him. Still, to pull of such a shot with ballistic cannons rather than energy weapons or missiles...

Another realization hit him. Shear volume of fire. Overcome the chance that any one slow moving projectile would find the target by filling the sky with them.

The Werewolf began another violent maneuver, this time dropping its nose straight down and accelerating, stalling what little upward momentum the ship had gained from its prior maneuver. As though trying to throw off an enemy's aim.

"You fool, no!" Vickers shouted despite himself. There was no aim to throw off, it was a cloud of munitions, not a foe in a dogfight. He needed to get out of the cloud, not try to outfox an opponent that had taken its shot hours ago!

DeVega seemed to realize his mistake when another series of impacts were registered against the Werewolf's port hull. This time the ship made no attempt to execute another turn, instead putting all the thrust it had into accelerating straight ahead.

After a few more tense minutes where nothing happened, Vickers began to dare hope that the threat had passed. "Resume original course, two gravities," he ordered. On the tactical display, he saw that the Werewolf had itself slowed down to a single gravity. Not only that, but the battleship's forward laser batteries were reaching out towards their tormenter, lancing patterns of beams trying to score a hit on the cruiser that had just sucker punched them.

There wasn't much chance for success there. At this distance even naval lasers would take a couple seconds from firing to reach the target, and with the enemy actually using a proper evasion pattern, and with the range between them magnifying even minute variances in beam alignment... They might be lucky enough to sear some paint.

He toggled his communication control. "Star Commodore DeVega," he called out. "Do you require assistance?"

Unsurprisingly, some of DeVega's haughty disdain now seemed to be absent. "We have suffered moderate damage and are dealing with fires on three decks, as well as other system damage, but my crew is equal to the task." He seemed positively pained as he continued. "However we are unable to continue high gravity maneuvering while conducting damage control operations. I fear I must leave the pursuit to you at the moment. We will follow when we can."

Humility was a terrible pill to swallow when the stakes were so high. "Understood, OvKhan," Vickers replied. "We will do what damage we can, but I request the Mother Jocasta be made ready to interdict the enemy at the proximity limit, should we be unequal to the task."

That was their last card to play, and one Vickers had been certain they would have had to call upon. The Cameron class battlecruiser that had arrived with the Werewolf didn't have the engine power to join this foolish chase, but she could execute a jump ahead of them, once the enemy was close enough to the proximity limit that changing course was no longer an option. That would give the Mother Jocasta one clean shot against the target before it could escape.

Hopefully, it would be enough. 
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 #63 on: Today at 06:36:41 »
~THS Audacious~

"Looks like three percent accuracy," Commander Honeywell reported once the observed numbers of impacts on the Caph had been recorded. "The Caph appears to be slowing. Probably for repairs."

"Huh," Captain Garson said in response. "Not bad for just under seven hundred thousand kilometers. That's gotta be a record, right?"

"I don't know, lemme check." Commander Honeywell busied himself at his console for a minute. "Library says the longest ranged hit with a naval autocannon in combat conditions was achieved by THS Marblehead in 2409, the battle of Terra Firma. Just over nine hundred thousand kilometers against a Capellan battleship whose captain had been recruited from the ground forces. Apparently the incident served as a major teachable moment for the Capellan navy."

"Damnit," Captain Garson said. At first it was just about not clinching a record. But as it twisted around in her head... "Damnit," she repeated. "Now I wish we hadn't done it. Not if we can't finish the job yet. The last thing we need is for them to start learning."

"We bloodied their nose," Commander Honeywell offered.

Garson sighed. "I guess. But I think it's time to stop playing around. Helm, give me a four gravity burn for three minutes. Let's show them this whole song and dance was pointless." It was giving up a little bit more information on their capabilities, but they would have needed that extra speed to shake their pursuers at some point. And the math lined up. Their pursuers didn't have time now to get turned around and to a closer point on the proximity limit before the Audacious had crossed the line on its own.

That left the enemy with one more move to make. The third WarShip at the jump point. Jump signature said it was most likely a Cameron. It could still pop in ahead of them to get a parting shot off. And unlike the other two ships, it had not been committed already, which meant the enemy was cagey enough to hold it in reserve until it could actually do some good.

(Or maybe they'd been stupid enough to figure it wasn't good enough for the job, or bid it out of the fight or some nonsense like that, but she wasn't going to base a strategy on assuming stupidity).

And the thing was, she couldn't think of any tricks to get around that. Well, she could, but not without giving up an important piece of information way too early in the game. A spheroid or clan ship was bound by the proximity limit, where the gravity well was strong enough that their jump computers and field generators were unable to make the calculations to create a stable field. But Terran ships enjoyed almost three hundred years of actual innovation and development. They still had to deal with a proximity limit, but it was slightly closer (in the grand scheme of things, about nine million kilometers past the standard limit in this case) to the star.

So that was the choice: jump out, right now if she wanted, and let the clans know that was a thing they could do; or keep going and take the hit when they ran up against the Cameron, accepting any damage and loss of life they took to keep the secret.

Emily Garson liked to present the image of someone who chaffed under oversight, but right now she really wished this was a decision she could kick up the chain.
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 #64 on: Today at 06:41:32 »
Yup, now that's a Dilemma.
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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 #65 on: Today at 07:54:04 »
Those kinds of decisions suck no matter what level they're made at...  :-\

 

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