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Author Topic: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)  (Read 4287 times)

Trace Coburn

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Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« on: 01 September 2013, 00:58:25 »
[[Posted 14-05-2008, 21:04:29]]

3059, Tharkad, Triad...

Bejwelled and silken patterns of the latest fabrics swirled among Steiner Blue as the cream of Lyran Society schmoozed in the presence of their Archon.

Well, almost.  "Every party has a downer, and ours, is Elizabeth Ngo."  Grafina Lynda Von Streit commented, as a narrow, pale-faced shadow dressed in solid black arrowed past.  One of the other ladies, Geraldine Bradford, shussed her, "Don't say the name! she might show up."

this elicited a storm of giggles from the other ladies.

Alexa Umayr, Fourth wife of the Duke of Bolan, rolled her eyes, "The weed makes the flowers more beautiful." she said.

Elizabeth shoved her way through the glittering peers without seeming to notice them.  Among the finest of Lyran nobility, wrapped in their most expensive and fashionable clothing (much of it obviously copied from the Archon's public wardrobe), Elizabeth Ngo's costume, manner, and demeanour were shockingly, horribly, and utterly out-of-place.  Black, Wool, stark, and undecorated skirts, a crisp, bleach-white Flax shirt, and then, a black, glitterless three-button jacket.  Her hair was un-highlighted, left shoulder length, and she wore thin metal rimmed glasses without so much as a speck of makeup.
The only concession to 'fashion' was a pair of heeled boots that raised her height up to the average. 

Liz stopped ten meters short of the Throne itself, and gave a stiff, formal, and utterly insincere curtsey.  "You summoned." she said it without feeling or emphasis, as dead-seeming as her mourner's clothing.

Katherine Steiner-Davion was the opposite of Elizabeth Ngo in almost every concievable way- tall and blonde, with the sharp features of her germanic ancestors mixed with the graceful curves of her Davion-French ancestors, the Archon set the fashions, and indeed, the PATTERN of high society in the Lyran Alliance.  Her gown was of the finest fabrics, opulently decorated and embroidered, her hair was styled and highlighted to emphasize her natural beauty, a beauty that had won as many hearts and minds as her powerful oratory.

"Obviously my invitation was poorly worded, I did say  this was a formal." Katherine said, "I must remember to mention it to my secretary."

Liz straightened, "Indeed, it did say this was formal.  I spent extra to make certain the clothes fit...Why are Lyran soldiers dying for the Draconis Combine?"  Elizabeth's tone was blunt, to the point, and all business, "Why aren't they killing Jade Falcons and Wolves?"

"The Star League chose to liberate our allies in the Combine first, as a test." Katherine said smoothly.

Elizabeth wasn't impressed, but she was wise enough not to Say so.  "I see."

Katherine let the glare slide, "Did you take your medications this morning?" she asked, "After all, as your host, I would prefer not to have to summon the paramedics..."

"I'm current.  Why is Victor still free?" Liz asked, "He killed your mother, everyone knows it, Regicide is a crime."

This was what Katherine had hoped for-Elizabeth Ngo's blunt and tactless behaviour, a chance to provide a public lever against Yvonne... "I do not necessarily subscribe to conspiracy theories and rumours, Grafina Ngo,  Victor May have been involved in my mother's assassination, but he may not have been, I know only that he was mis-managing the war against the invaders to such an extent that he tried to decieve the Leaguers at exactly the WRONG time in precisely the wrong way... and holds too much dear in the Federated Suns to be a proper ruler for the Lyran people-truth is, he may be innocent. You should not rely on rumours and scandalsheets for your facts...and he IS my brother."  Katherine smiled a beatific smile, and added, "Unlike the rougher parts of the realm, I can not simply have the man seized and hanged on the street.  There are broader issues than you well know."

Liz nodded one nod. "Okay, why did you invite me here?" she got back to the point.

"It has come to my attention that you have..done some rather harsh things, it is something of an embarassment.  I brought you here to explain yourself." Katherine said, "Particularly the Crucifictions."

Liz relaxed visibly.  a small, empty half-circle of space separated her from the other nobles present.

"Pirates." Liz said, "Pirates, Rapists, and in one case, a Traitor who was making backhanders by re-routing military supplies from the Theater command to pirate groups operating against the Commonwealth."  Her tone was just as neutral as if she were commenting on the weather outside, or a particularly bland canape'.  "Lyran soldiers were dying because their supplies were being routed to Hopper Morrison, who was then using those supplies to kill Lyrans."  she folded her arms in a gesture of obstinate stubbornness, "As for the recent one, they were Bandits, with death penalties already on them. I simply carried out the process in a manner that would dis-encourage their fellows."

"We have laws." Katherine said, "I think impalement and crucifiction might break those laws."

Liz snorted, "They were given fair trials, plenty of opportunity to prove their innocence, and presumption of innocence during those trials, they recieved due process of law.  Does the Archon have a problem with how I did my job in handling the Sentence?"

Katherine looked down at Liz, "Do you?" she asked.

"I take a pill for that." Liz stated, "And I rather expect that when I die, I will experience an eternity of punishment over it.  One can not govern and be free of guilt or live without regrets, wouldn't you agree?"

Katherine nodded slowly.  It was purely for the cameras, "Indeed."

"Well?" Liz asked, "Since it was brought up, you are the Archon, what I did drew your attention enough to bring me here, obviously you intend...something.  Am I under arrest?"

Katherine pursed her lips, frowned a bit (just the right amount), sighed, and said, "No.  I just wanted to get that straightened out and cleared up, and I wanted to tell  you...don't do that again.  I can pardon shooting the traitor Condit-although I do feel some pity for him, and I can pardon the others, but in the future, let the State take care of State criminals-we have a justice system, and it does work."

Liz inclined her head, "I see.  Is that all?"

Katherine nodded, and dismissed her with a gesture.

After Elizabeth Ngo was gone, Katherine got up, and joined the party.  "...pity the girl, really I do-her father was killed early in the war and she lost so many others, including her brothers when Victor retreated..."

For Katherine, Elizabeth was useful, and unwitting, tool.

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #1 on: 01 September 2013, 01:03:50 »
[[Posted 15-05-2008, 06:54:34]]

Triad Hyatt, Der Alpine Room, Tharkad...

Liz brushed the dusting of snow off her over-coat, and sat down.  "Overdid it a bit, don't you think?"  Louis Crosby asked. "I'd almost have thought you hated the Combine, and that would make our business relationship a bit strained."

Liz nodded, "I did do a rather good job, didn't I?  Mister Crosby, your proprietary information is still safe- Ngo Industries does NOT trade in trade secrets."  she said darkly, "It would be bad for business."

"Well...Wakazashi enterprises is interested in the offer you tendered, but a bit mystified. Tell me, why, when there are Stukas, do you want a license for yet a third party to produce parts for the Slayer?" the DC rep asked.

Liz cocked her head, "Currently, there are approximately twenty-seven domestic producers for components to repair the STG series fighters in the Com- I mean, the Alliance.  There are around nineteen planetary militia, and four LAAF Regiments, that still retain salvaged SL-15's on their TO&E.  It's a niche market, and given the history of relations between our states, one that can not rely on politics allowing parts from one nation, to be delivered to customers in another."

He nodded, "True...but again, the Commonwealth uses the STG series far more often than the SL series..."

"My client is looking to produce components for the SL-15's remaining in Lyran hands, Mister Crosby.  Those are the older, as your current literature puts it, 'obselete' models undergoing replacement and entering the surplus market according to your own public-relations estimates.  Essentially, my client wishes to service that market, and Wakizashi will recieve a licensing fee that is, I am sure you must agree, quite generous."

Crosby nodded, "I understand that, Mister Wakizashi has some questions about the quality of those licensed parts-it is, after all, an aftermarket that addresses the firm's flagship line..."

Liz smiled, "Mister Wakizashi should be relieved then, to note that the people I represent will be using Ngo Industries tooling-just as he does, and as part of the agreement, and my own firm's portion of the license, he can be assured that strict controls on quality will be enforced at every step."

"It sounds like you're negotiating for yourself, not a client." Crosby said.

Liz shrugged, "I provided them with their initial loan, if they fail to meet their obligations, I'm obliged to make good on it.  Kowloon needs Jobs, and Military grade production generates jobs, even if it is only considered or rated militia-grade. We chose a market that is largely un-addressed here in the Lyran Alliance, and should relations between our two states warm further, it is potentially lucrative for both parties to have a common product to compete with firms in the Federated Suns."

"You're also looking to tap the Rassalhague market." Crosby said, "That much is obvious."

Liz shrugged, "A small state, mostly occupied by the hate-worthy Clans? yeah, I'd give them guns if I could." she traced a pattern on the Kaumberg Oak table, "The Clans are a boot on the neck of all humanity, and they must be stopped, driven out, destroyed, like the pestilence they are."

Crosby smiled, "I believe Mister Wakizashi may be amenable to your offer..."

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #2 on: 01 September 2013, 01:04:20 »
[[Posted 16-05-2008, 08:43:58]]

Nha Tranh, Kowloon, 3059/06/14 14:00...

Mike Breland brushed his suit.  "She'll be here." he reassured the Speaker of the Assembly, "The arrival of a Com-Guards division's big news, and Liz isn't totally a naif."

Speaker Isaac Ben Hattet looked at the Minister of Defense with  a sigh.  "Mike, I'm not worried about that, you are."

Mike snorted, "No shit I'm worried-Liz just spent the last year chasing down contracts for the local industries to support building the Miliz, and now Comstar's putting a division on-planet."

The Dropships finally cooled enough, their bay doors opened.

"Better hope the boys look good, Colonel." Mike said,  "They're going to have to share training areas with our guests, and I don't need them holding an even Lower opinion of your men."

Colonel Chung was out of earshot, of course-overseeing the first battalion's honour-guard five hundered meters away.

"where the hell is she?" Mike muttered.

"Late again." the Speaker speculated, "Maybe a traffic problem..."

"Not late, I've been standing behind you two for the last five minutes." Elizabeth Ngo's voice came from Mike's right.

She looked tired.  "Has the Demi-Precentor off-loaded yet?" she asked.

"Nope.  the port authorities just sounded the clear alarm.  Adept Wolsoski just left to meet him at the gate." Speaker Ben Hattet said.

"Well, Time to put on the face for the press." Liz said, "Let's go meet our guests."  She took the lead, and they followed her on the five hundered meter walk.

"Liz, you're looking unsteady, maybe we should call a car..?" Mike said worriedly.

"Nonsense." Liz said, "I will not go rolling around my own damn spaceport like a cripple. My soldiers can walk, so can I."

She opened up the distance with rapid, determined steps.

The speaker looked at Mike, "The latest treatments are taking a toll on her." he stated.

Mike nodded, ''yeah... just think, six years ago, she was just a sick little girl." he said.

Liz reached the gate as the inner doors opened on the Overlord.

"Call the men to attention, Colonel, our guests are offloading." she said.

Adept VII Wosloski looked at the Duchess of Kowloon.  In his mind's eye, he imagined a status-bar, like in a gaming sim, showing her 'health' level.  It looked bad.  "Lady, May I escort you to the Podium?" he offered.

She accepted the Comstar-man's help, and he leaned conspiratorially close, so that it would look like the typical politician-talking-to-a-peer, and whispered, "You had a seizure before you arrived?"

She nodded once. " the bathroom.  I barely got sorted out before the second gate-alarm." she replied.

"I'll talk to Doctor Brentworth, then, the new dosage doesn't seem to be performing as we'd hoped." he muttered, "You'll be alright through the ceremony, though, right?"

"Sure." she answered.

Demi-Precentor xi Hart Kraig stepped down the ramp behind the 222nd's honour-guard.  Nice. The local Miliz was lined up-he counted nearly four hundered, in formation.  Not much gear, hell, Kowloon's a poor world, I'm amazed they could manage that many uniforms that look the same...  "Okay, men, let's look good." he ordered.  His command Level II stepped smartly into parade formation, matching into marching step.  It took very little time to pass the reviewing stand.
Okay, now to meet the local dignitaries, exchange empty pleasantries, and get to work... He un-strapped and climbed down the exit ladder of his Crockett.  The unit's colour-guard formed opposite the Militia, creating a wide avenue for the rest of the Bircage III Omicron could march down, for the sake of the local officials and the local media, as well as the delight of the crowd he could see at the 'port's fences.

The Ferrocrete of the tarmac, he noted, was cracked and patched with asphalt, ordinary concrete compounds, and what appeared to be some local clay.  Kraig noted that there were signs of meticulous, but improvised, maintenance throughout the spaceport.  The local officials, Hart noted, were dressed in clothes that went out of fashion sometime ten years ago or longer.  Backwater...and proud.  GREAT.  I hate these assignments...  He smiled benignly for the trideo and two-dee cameras, waved from his jeep as it rolled up to the reviewing stand.

"Kowloon welcomes our guests, the Two Hundered and Twenty-Second Com-Guards Division!" the woman at the podium looked almost too young to be a VIP-Hart's study of briefing papers, however, told him who she was-Elizabeth Ngo, the most politically powerful force on Kowloon, and the duchess.

She looks like she's going to pass out.  He noted, as he mounted the steps.  "Thank you, Your Grace." He said, The report from the local staff says she's in pretty bad shape.  She didn't look like the Demon Cortini painted her to be-just a sick young woman with a lot of responsibilities.  Kraig felt a stab of pity.  "We are pleased to be here." he lied.

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #3 on: 01 September 2013, 01:04:40 »
[[Posted 16-05-2008, 19:42:06]]

Baker Ridge, overlooking Nha Tranh Starport...

Evelyn Mosovich watched them arrive from horseback.  "Well, Charlie, We've got five thousand Comstar people down there." she commented.

Charles Vanh lowered his field-glasses, "Near enough...Davie's awestruck." he added.

"Think your oldest boy's going to run off to join that Army?" Evelyn asked.

Charles shrugged, "I did at that age, right out of a part-timer slot in the Miliz, hell, it could have become a career."  he shook his head, "Thing is, I joined a Military, not a church."  He sighed, "The boy had Comstar recruitment materials hid under the bed."

"Well, you talked to him about it?" she asked.

Charles shook his head.  "no." he said, "It's his life-he'll be a grown man soon enough, and I can't make all his decisions for him.'

"OH, but you Could influence him..." She said.

Charles shrugged.  "He's his mother's boy, and Melinda wasn't ever really comfortable here...I think I'll have to hold out for Edward to keep the farm in the family."

Mosovich laid a hand on his shoulder, "Charles, Melinda's been gone for two years now...your boys are growing up, don't let them grow up without a father, too."

"Well... I think we're going to need to wait for that claptrap to move on down the road before we drive this mess to the slaughterhouse." Charles said, pushing aside the uncomfortable subject.

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #4 on: 01 September 2013, 01:05:02 »
[[Posted 16-05-2008, 21:15:57]]

Thung lũng Eastman (Eastman Valley) construction zone," Site John"...

Ernie Ketteridge used to be a 'mechwarrior, a Noble, and a powerful man.  He looked in the mirror hung on the tent's supporting beam, Well, I guess I'm still a powerful man. he thought ironically.  Four years out of a twenty year sentence "at Hard Labour" indeed.  His muscles rippled in ways he'd not seen since he was eighteen-the tight, corded muscles of hard work.

He finished his morning routine, and pulled on his shirt. 

Hard Labour had stripped away the middle-age fat, and the diet had built muscle in its place.  Not like I didn't need it.  he stepped out of his tent, and put his cap on.  The cap had cost him more work than earning his spurs had.  "Morning Chief." He greeted the senior guard.

Chief Pham nodded, "Morning Trusty."

The cap said, "NDUT" Which stood for Người được ủy thác, more commonly, "Trustee"-a prisoner tasked with leading other prisoners in work-groups.  Ketteridge had to spend his first two years learning enough of the Kowloonese argot of Viet, English, German, and Hebrew to communicate.  After that, he worked his ass off to gain the trust of his guards, the Coastie Warden, and finally, the other prisoners.

It wasn't a royal barony, but there was dignity in it.  He had worked his way into a form of respectability again.

He reached his table in the mess-tent with a tray of breakfast.  The others at the table stood up when he arrived, and sat down again.

"Okay...Toi, what's on our task list today?" he asked.  Toi, the other NDUT in his group, a former insurance banker here for ten years on a Fraud charge,  brought out a clipboard.

"The digging crew finished last night, we're laying a class nineteen fiberoptic line along Green twenty-three, when that's finished, the 'dozers will be doing the bury job, while we shore up the number eighteen cooling shaft with Crew Nine and Fifteen."  Toi said.  She'd nearly died her first four months until Ketteridge took her in and started using her talent as an assistant.  Her cap was still unfaded orange... "Oh, and don't forget, you've got a Parole hearing at twenty-two hundered.." she added.

This caught Ketteridge by surprise, "Isn't that due on the fifteenth?" he asked incredulously.

"Um...yeah, it was." she emphasized, "But Warden Sook got it moved up..."

Ketteridge looked at the rest of his team, most of whom were relatively old-hands now.  "I can't lay off work for that-" he started.

"We'll be fine, Trusty." Gordon Feng, a pickpocket caught in Ia Drang, said.  "We've got little Toi to look out for us, you just go in there an' dazzle 'em."

A future, as a released felon, in the outside world stretched before his mind's eye-the treason charges will follow me for the rest of my life...Kara left this world with the kids after divorcing me...and outside of here, I'm hated and despised... His status in the Prison was pretty high-he was trusted by the staff, and by most of the other inmates, and his few rivals were too afraid to try anything truly dangerous. I'm important here, I have power...HERE.

He sighed, "Of course,  but I don't think it'll go that well..." he said pessimistically.

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #5 on: 01 September 2013, 01:05:28 »
[[Posted 17-05-2008, 08:16:32]]

Vin Drin Lap...

Alicia Li picked up a few scattered stones, and looked out across Golden Lake, the largest "Freshwater" body on Kowloon at nearly five hundered kilometers across, it was more of an inland sea set between two continental plates and fed from the largest drainage zone on the southern continent.

"The ground's firm here, granite underlayer with no mudstone or sand-stone, the inlet from Tributary One wore it down during the last ice-age..." she looked at the construction manager.  "We'll build the shipyard here."

Davis Parker frowned, "Isn't that bad luck? I mean, Dinh Diep is so close..." 

She shook her head, "Nope.  Here.  The original colonists built Dinh Diep here for a reason, and it's the same reason resettlement grew Vin Drin Lap nearby.  The area's sheltered from three sides against the weather, it's tectonically stable in a zone where that's actually unusual, there's plenty of minerals just a few tens of KM to the northeast, and in a pinch, the lake and the inlet are calm enough to handle dropship emergency landings.  We'll build it here."

"Cho might disagree." the manager said, "She likes Ben Hoa better...or so I've heard."

"The Admiral's getting her training base up there,  until the highways are built putting the production, headquarters, and training up there makes for serious issues traffic-wise, besides which, the area's too mountainous, and funding from the Assembly's going to have to rely on support from multiple districts-that means we have to put something in the Golden Lake area."  She skipped another stone, "Besides, it's probably a poor idea to have the trainees too close to distractions."

"Well, I'm going to need men..." the contractor said.

"Forget it-the shipyard's not a new settlement, no forced-labour in it." she said bluntly, "We'll find space in the budget to hire, and if necessary, transport workers from outside the district, or even off-world if we have to." she skipped another stone across the water, "Convict labour's fine for building non-critical infrastructure, but I'm damned if we'll use it as a replacement for free men."

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #6 on: 01 September 2013, 01:05:59 »
[[Posted 17-05-2008, 21:00:26]]

Elizabeth's office, Government House, Nha Tranh, Kowloon...

Demi-Precentor Kraig had  been here before, a short tour as an Adept during Regent Condit's time.  "You've changed the decor." he commented. 

Elizabeth looked up.  "OH.... shi-er, you're my Five o'clock?" she pushed a pile of papers over to the side of the desk, and stood up, "Sorry, I ah...get busy sometimes..." She was kind of half-stammering.  It was, in a way, amusing.

"Efficient as the last administration, I see." he quipped wryly.

"I should hope not.  I had to shoot the last guy that had this desk." She responded.

"I saw the vid." he nodded, "I take it running a world's a bit more complicated than you thought?"

She sighed, "Yes."  her mouth set a grim line, "I've managed to put out most of the fires Condit's people started, but..." she shook her head, "It's created some other issues." she motioned, "Please, have a seat, I'll have, ah..." She checked a schedule, "...I'll have Anh fetch us some coffee."

The Comstar officer sat down in one of the chairs.  "Coffee at seventeen hundered?" he asked, "Plan on working late?"

"Every day." she said, "Between the business, stumping for capital contracts, settling disputes, and overseeing policies, I generally find I'm working most of the time."

"Might delegate some of that." he pointed out.  Liz nodded, "I do, otherwise I'd never get any sleep...which brings things around to why we're meeting."  Anh was a younger lady, Kraig guessed her age around twenty.  She carried a silvered tray with a fine-china pot and two cups.

"You broke out the good china?" he noted, making small talk and getting a feel for things.

"Um...not sure-It was here when I arrived, and since I won't live in a palace, here is where it stays."  Liz told him,  "I think it was Gerhardt's or Dad's."

He looked over his cup.  "Twentieth Century, and from Taiwan-it's a true antique, Elizabeth, it belongs in a museum."

"I thought it was fake." she confessed, "Probably best that I made it public property, otherwise my clumsy ass might break one on a day I forgot my meds."

He grimaced as Anh poured the coffee.  The smell filled the office, and he took a sip-it was damn good coffee.  "Damn good, local?" he asked.

Liz nodded, "Farmed in Hue." she said, "actually, outside Hue...about fifty kilometers up." she was genuinely proud of that, he realized.  "I don't know what they're roasting with, but it's brilliant, whatever it is."

"So...I take it that you understood my message-I want consistent comissary supplies, and we don't have time to walk around trying to make tiny deals like the previous garrison."

Liz nodded, "I know.  You want to single-source it, and you want to get a lower price for bulk, but you don't want to sacrifice quality."   her manner went from bumbling hostess to businesswoman without a seam.

"Exactly." Kraig said, "there's also the matter of training and practice areas."

Liz nodded, "I know.  The compound's too close to town, and the ranchers aren't keen on having fifty-tonne death machines stomping around in their grazing.  It so happens that I have a rather peculiar need myself-and it occurs to me that our problems mutually make for a solution."

"I'm not giving concessions on HPG rights or technologies." he told her.

She shook her head, "Not that-we can make what we need, and I wouldn't dream of trying to undercut your core business-I'm not some Feddie technoble looking for an edge or Leaguer who'll sleep with fanatics to get a leg up by stealing Comstar technologies...nope. not me."  she said it with all seriousness, "I'm worried.  Focht posted a division here, that means he expects heap-big-trouble here.  It also means your men are probably going to be rotating out and back a lot.  Kowloon's had division-sized forces here before... and when they go, it's usually ten to twenty years before the militia's worth a damn again."

He licked his lips, "Reasonable worries." he said.

"Good.  Here's my problem, and maybe you'll see how it dovetails with your needs...We need to train the Militia we're building, develop a doctrine that doesn't centre on Mercenaries in Battlemechs, and design the force so that when, not if, whatever it is you're here doing is done with, we're not totally at the mercy of the next raider that shows up.  YOU need training ranges to keep your men sharp, expendables like ammunition to feed their guns and missiles, and something to train against in the absence of either real enemies, or sophisticated simulators-simulators that probably did NOT get shipped here with you."

He cocked his head, "Let me get this straight, you want me to help you develop a Militia?" he asked.

Liz shrugged, "and buy food, and maybe houses for your dependents, automobiles, clothes when your men aren't on duty, ammo that doesn't have to be shipped from half-way across the sphere...yeah.  Train with 'em, help oversee 'em, a little advice on doctrine and techniques for when you eventually have to leave."  She folded her hands, "Kowloon is the world the Alliance forgot.  Right now, Comstar has the biggest and best trained army on the planet, and when you finally do whatever it is you're here to do-or when you finally leave because whatever the threat was, it evaporated, we're still going to be here, and still going to be forgotten by the Alliance.  I'd as soon not continue that pattern of neglect without something to protect my people."  She sighed, "The predators aren't going to go away just because the protectors have."

"That's a pretty grim view." he said, and sipped his coffee, "Depressing, even."

Liz sighed and leaned back, "My people have learned from their history, Demi-Precentor, when the superpowers grow busy in their own affairs, little places with a tiny bit of prosperity become the chosen targets of the scum of the universe-and that scum never goes away, they only change symbols and how they word their Manifesto.  Eventually Comstar will lose interest in us here, whether because the Clans are gone, or because they're a greater threat elsewhere-it's good for both of us if you help us prepare to defend ourselves, because in so doing, perhaps in the future, we can help to defend what YOU value."

"Perhaps... is that an apple" he asked.

"Fresh.  Grown up north, we've got a few startup settlements on the north continent-they're still in the initial phase, but the fruit's in season." she said, "Help yourself."

He took the apple.  "I want a discount, and guarantees, and some redress if a local merchie starts trying to take advantage of my men." he said.

Liz nodded, "Fair and Fair.  Usually a guy who tries to skinflint a customer's also shorting on his taxes, cheating his neighbours, and generally being a prat."

"I want immunity.  A Status-of-Forces agreement.  My boys do something in town, WE handle the justice." He ticked off.

Liz again nodded, "I'll want some assurances that your people DO handle it, and not brush it under a convenient rug." she stated, "But I think I don't want the hassle of an international incident that can generate an interdiction, So as long as we get to present evidence and witnesses are interviewed in those cases, I can deal."

Kraig nodded, "that's the basis of a SOFA, Duchess." he said, "I'll also want a look at what you've got-if we're going to be helping your militia to train, it's best we know what kind of material they already have."

"Done." she nodded.

"Okay, then, let's work on the details..." Kraig said, relaxing...

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #7 on: 01 September 2013, 01:06:26 »
[[Posted 17-05-2008, 22:43:01]]

Com Guards Billets, Nha Tranh, 20:00...

"'d it go? they put up much of an argument?"  Adept XI Leonards asked.

"Fight? She practically handed me an engraved invitation." Demi-Precentor Kraig said, and dropped into his chair, "She wants us to help them reorganize their militia-which means recruiting 'em to fight the Clans is going to be a cinch."

"You're shitting me-The last three stations we tried this with, they wanted to hire Mercenaries." Leonards said incredulously.

"Something's got a bug up her ass about Mercs...mercs, imports, she doesn't trust the Lyran Government..." Kraig shook his head, "You know what she said? She said-now get this- She said that she thinks Focht expects something serious or we wouldn't be HERE-we'd be on Inarcs, maybe, or the old Headquarters complex on Mainstreet, she told me that she expects that we're going to leave, and she wants her people ready when we go."

"Well...we were assigned up here in case the Falcons decide to push things to the Line out on this end..." Leonards said.

"Yeah-a remote possibility as you, me, and Focht all know-we're here to hold off the pirates so that the damn Elsies can focus on holding that border zone...and prepping some of these ass-end worlds for the expected Clanner counter-attack when everyone's sunk too deep into Bulldog to deal with it."  He stretched, "Oh, and tell your support people-we've got a Comissary contract, local currency and discount chits."

"HOW did you swing that?" Leonards asked, "Meds? airtime?"

Kraig smiled, "Nope.  like I said, she WANTS our help, she offered 'em without me asking."

"Damn...maybe she's afraid of more than just some pirates then..." Leonards commented.

"Maybe she is, and maybe she's just a Noble ruler with too many ideals, and too much concern for her people." Kraig countered, "anyway, I'm going to take a look at what they've actually got tomorrow-equipment, production facilities, logistical plans...tonight, though, I think I'm taking a nice, hot bubble-bath." He said it with a decisive certainty, "and then, a night's sleep on clean sheets."

"A hell of a lot better than we had on Tukkayyid." Leonards said.  Kraig nodded agreement.

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #8 on: 01 September 2013, 01:06:47 »
[[Posted 18-05-2008, 06:14:19]]

Assembly, Debate Period, 3059/06/15...

"...turning our schools into boot-camps, Children into Soldiers." Assemblywoman Ai Thieu (Social Democrat, Hue) was on a tear.  "Children should not be taught to use weapons! These 'reforms' have brought us closer to a violent society, and they must be ended.  let them grow up and learn it if they wish-when they are adults!"

The buzzer dinged, and she yeilded the floor to her opponent.

Truc Ton stood, and walked to the podium.  "Understanding provides context.  I understand the position of the Senior representative from Hue.  My own mother felt the same-until Pirate battlemechs destroyed her place of work, and killed her, while the Militia was unable or unwilling to respond."  She drew in a shaky breath, "I lost my sister in that raid, and to this day, I do not know if she is alive, or dead, but if she is alive, it is most likely in the kind of horrifying servitude only possible for one sold into slavery in the Periphery."  She paused a moment, "We can not afford to lie down to invaders or pirates again.  I do not know what things are like in the Hue area, But for the rest of you-everyone here, from the richest to the poorest, knows someone, or has lost someone, or has had to bury someone, because the regular military was under-staffed, or busy, or neglectful..." she swept the room with cold eyes, "Mercenaries are only good for the length of their contract.  When they leave-and they always Leave, they take the money given and invested in them with them somewhere else, leaving us helpless until new ones can be found.  Helplessness is the heart of our sorrow."  She placed her hands on the podium, "The reforms have not harmed student's performance in Academics, but in the long run, they may help save future generations from the horror of helplessness."  She swept the room, "We MUST sustain the reforms, we must for our own sake, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of their children."  She looked at the clock, and yeilded the floor with four seconds remaining.

Ai stood up, "You'll turn our children into violent criminals, you fascist bitch!!"

The speaker pounded the gavel."ORDer, ORDER!!!"

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #9 on: 01 September 2013, 01:07:16 »
[[Posted 18-05-2008, 07:08:50]]

Duong Traktorwerke, Xiao Loc, North Coast of Ia Drang Province...

Precentor Kraig looked out the window of his Pinto as it came in for a landing.  The parking lot was filled with older cars.  "They make tractors?" he asked.

Elizabeth Ngo sat on the bench across from him, "well, most of the time it's tractors. Lately, they've had contract to produce spares for the Rommel-Patton series heavy tanks as a contract-supplier to Defiance industries."  She told him, "They were on the verge of bankruptcy five years ago."

"What kind of spares?" he asked, "I mean, it's quite a leap from making steel tractors to making the advanced components of a main-battle-tank."

She nodded, "I know, I floated the Duong brothers the loan for updating their machinery to handle the advanced ceramic composites and rare-earth motors for the drivetrain."  The pilot put down at the north corner of the parking area.  "I also helped pay for re-training the workforce."  They waited for the rotors to slow.

"We use Manticores." he told her, "along with Furies and a few heavier designs."

Liz nodded, "yeah, I know-I'm pretty sure they can handle Manticore spares, but you'll have to look for yourself and decide whether they can meet your heavier unit needs."

"I'm actually thinking about yours.  I watched the telecast of the debates period with a translator." he said,  "what's this about turning kids in school into soldiers?"

Liz looked away for a moment, "The Clans train their warrior caste from birth.  'mechwarrior houses run theirs through apprenticeships.  Half the kids in the rural areas come from families with vets-and those are the kids who come back alive, most of the time, from their armed-forces enlistment."  She sighed, "We've got bodies, and light arms, but even if we make it into the big leagues equipment wise, I had to run most of the 'mechwarrior families out..."

"Compensating by making an attrition base probably won't win you any popularity contests here, or off world." he cautioned.

Liz nodded, "I know-but we've got to be self-sufficient.  If the kids going into their five already have some skills, they'll live longer and come home."

He nodded,  it was logical..."So, you're planning a mostly-conventional militia?" he asked.

the aircrewmen opened the door, and the pair stepped out.  "Yeah.  Which is why I asked you to help-Comstar's forces are designed around a combined-arms approach that works.  We don't have the kind of scratch, industrially or otherwise, to build around a large core of 'mechs like the Feddies do, or the kind of pull to keep a Lyran Theatre Militia posted here with their 'mechs..."  They walked across the lot to where Duong was waiting to take them on the tour.  "So...we need work-arounds."

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #10 on: 01 September 2013, 01:07:59 »
[[Posted 19-05-2008, 07:10:25]]

Work Camp John, 3059/06/16...

"Ketteridge, pull your crew in, you've got visitors."  Cheif said.  Ketteridge frowned, and looked over at Toi.  "Who-?"

Toi shrugged, "Who knows? We're still pissed that you blew it at the parole hearing." She walked away to gather the rest of their team, while a contract-transport truck rolled up with the benches down to carry them back to the head-shed.

He sighed, Like I needed you to tell me that...  a couple of "Hats" in riot gear climbed down off the truck, and brought out the manacles.

"Any idea what's going on, Lam??" Ketteridge asked one he knew-Able Seaman 2nd Class Lam Trung Dam. 

"Not really-there's a VIP onsite wants to talk to you." Lam said, "I'm not sure why or what about, but the Ell-Tee said to bring your whole crew in."  Lam fastened the Manacles, "You really blew it on your parole hearing-why'd you do that? do you like having chains to go out the wire, or something?"  Ketteridge shrugged and let himself be led/hoisted into the back of the truck.

Toi was pushed into the seat across from him, and the rest of them filled up each side of the 2.5 tonne truck.  The two guards got in last, and the truck's topsider slid into the pintle-ring, to keep an eye out for dangerous wildlife known to inhabit these parts.

Forty Minutes later...

The ride out had been in a kind of uncomfortable silence.  Ketteridge's whole crew had spent the ride alternately staring at him, and at the floor of the truck-even attempts to make some conversation with each other had fallen flat once it became clear that nobody knew why they were being called to the administration camp-also known a the "Head Shed''.

There were more guards around the admin trailer than normal, and He could see a pair of Studebaker AT trucks parked outside the building.

The prisoners were led indoors.

"I don't think we'll need the manacles, Leutenant."  Ketteridge recognized the voice before he saw her.

Elizabeth Ngo was seated in the Warden's desk.  Beside her, a man in a white uniform stood, straight as an arrow.

"Demi-Precentor Hart Kraig, this is the former Baron Kitteridge Von Golden Lake, and his companions." Elizabeth said, "If I recall right, I gave you eighteen years' hard labour for land-fraud and arson, and plea-bargained out your other crimes in exchange for weregeld to the families of your victims?"

Ketteridge swallowed hard, "Yes ma'am." he said.

"The young lady in the cap next to him is Toi Nguyen, former investment banker, busted for money laundering, insurance fraud was the other one, miss Toi?" Liz asked.

"Conspiracy to defraud the Government." Toi said clearly and loudly.

"The rest of the gang here are petty stuff, shoplifters, vandals, a couple of first-offense robberies, and Johnston, you're a junkie, right?" Liz asked.

Johnston was a large, pale-burned man, "No ma'am, spouse-abuse." He said, "I lost my job, lost my...well, she didn't deserve it."

"Right, a beater...anyway, go ahead, folks have a seat." Liz ordered, "Now, this is about as hardened a core of crims as we didn't purge, although I understand some of the lower courts have been putting minor violent offenders into the hard labour programme instead of warehousing 'em in solitary like I told them to-the limits of constitutional power, you might say." her expression was disapproval.

Kraig walked around the desk, and looked Ketteridge over.  "You said, in your parole hearing, that you deserved to be here, Mister Ketteridge."

There were astonished gasps around the room from the other prisoners.

"I do." Ketteridge said, "I was raised better than I acted."

Kraig was staring into his eyes, weighing him.  "Do you really want to make up for what you've done, or is that just an act because you're confident a show of contrition will make your sentence easier?"

"It isn't an act." Ketteridge said, "I belong here, I make a difference here, I have respect that I earned here."

"That's not what I asked.  Would you like to make up for the things you've done, make a real difference, regain your respect?" Kraig asked,  "Would you like to wipe it all clean and start again, wiser, maybe?"

"What are you offering?" Toi spoke up.

"This crew, according to the Warden's notes and your files, are on the hot-list for early release." Liz said, "Now, I'm a fool, but I'm not THAT much a fool.  The Com Guards are recruiting, it's a job when you walk out that gate, and it's a job where you'll  be treated fair, your convictions won't have any impact if you're straight-and-narrow, it's the best job, really, for people who're otherwise going to be blacklist felons even after release.  You pass their tests, you're in.  You don't, your records are sealed and it's back to wherever you came from to do whatever you're going to do free-and-clear."

"Anyone else going to be getting this recruiting speech?" Toi asked suspiciously.

"No." Liz said,  "Like I said, some of the lower courts have been feeding violent offenders into the hard-labour system, violent offenders don't get early release no matter what skills or other traits they might have.  Mister Ketteridge is a 'mechwarrior-or was, anyway.  You're a tech, some of the others just have high IQ's and good physicals."

"You're serious?" Ketteridge asked.

Kraig nodded in serious silence.

 Liz held up a stack of forms.  "See these? these are Pardons.  You don't have to pass their entrance exam, you just have to volunteer.  The Com Guards are fighting the Clans, fighting for all of us, along side Lyran boys and Lyran girls far, far, from home.  It's very likely that you'll be put on the front lines of that fight if you enlist, and unlike our dear Archon, the Comstar people are willing to fight the invaders, so it ain't without risk."

Johnston piped up, "I'll do it..."

Liz frowned, "It's Ketteridge's call.  He doesn't, you all go back to the shovel-work."

Ketteridge looked at her, "WHY do you put this on ME??"

liz smiled, "Life isn't fair, Mister Ketteridge.  I'm more unfair than most.  You say yes and your crewmates can say yes or no, you say no, the offer's no good for them."  she tapped her pen on the desk, "I'd suspect that might impact whether or not you blow THIS parole hearing like you did the last one."

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #11 on: 01 September 2013, 01:08:25 »
[[Posted 19-05-2008, 08:07:03]]

Mosovich Ranch, 3059/06/16...

"Whatcha doin, Dave?" Eddie Vanh was eleven.  His older brother looked back at him.  "I'm leaving." Dave said.

"Dad's not gonna like that." Eddie said, "You're supposed to help Nguyet watch the kids..."

"I'm Sixteen, I'm old enough." David said, "Besides, Nguyet's got the younger kids under control."

Eddie frowned, "You should wait until Dad and Evelyn get back." he pointed out, "At least that long, it's what's right."

"I don't care, I'm going." David told him, "I don't wanna live my life out on a farm."

"You're going to join that cult, right?" Eddie said accusingly, "You're gon' wear a robe and shave your head..."

"NO, I'm going to join the LAAF." David lied, "Like dad did when he was sixteen."

Eddie just frowned, skeptical, "Yeah, sure, an' that girl from the Comstar compound ain't got nothin' to do with it, does it?"

"What do you know about Gwynned?" Dave demanded, dropping his pack and picking up his brother by both arms, "TELL."

"I'm not blind, an' I'm not stupid, either." Eddie said, "You 'n her been making out by Flatrock almost every weekend, and I found your portable phone."

"Did you tell Dad?" David snarled.

"No.  I'm not a carry-tales, but you should." Eddie fired back.

David let him go.  "I'm going, you tell dad I'll write when I get there." He said.

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #12 on: 01 September 2013, 01:08:46 »
[[Posted 19-05-2008, 14:06:27]]

Nha Tranh Hyatt, 2200 Hours, Grand ballroom...

Social functions are a part of life for the upper classes, even on a world like Kowloon...perhaps especially a world like Kowloon. 

Hart Kraig found his way to the wet-bar after only deflecting one or two local "Prominent citizens".  The styles were, of course, a few years behind the times compared to Tharkad, and only half a decade or so behind worlds like New Earth and New Avalon. They contrasted rather nicely with the Com-Guard warriors in their dress uniforms.

I could do without this..  thinking that, he accidentally bumped into a dark-haired woman.  "Pardon me, ma'-" when she looked up, he felt a fleeting stab of horror.  Her face was...

"Quite alright, Precentor." Evelynn's vox was recently tuned, but she hadn't been able to get a replacement for the cosmetic lusatex cover that hid the myomer rebuilds and gave her a semblance of humanity.  Likewise, she didn't bother with the false-eye covers that hid the implant-cameras that served her for vision.  the resultant look, contrasted against her general good-health and full, long hair, tended to make people uncomfortable.

Evelyn didn't mind that at all.

", you must be Kommandant Mosovich." he said, "You startled me-"

"It's okay, Precentor.  This isn't my usual scene." she told him, "and it's Kommandant-Retired, actually." she took his hand and shook it firmly. "I'm actually here to see the Duchess about a local matter." she added.

"of-of course..."

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #13 on: 01 September 2013, 01:10:58 »
[[Posted 19-05-2008, 17:51:25]]

Vanh ranch...

"Davey left." Eddie said, "I guess he just didn't want to stay."  He looked around the small collection of pear trees, bare in the winter air of late fall.  He swept some of the leaves away from the grave stone.  "Dad misses you a lot.  I don't think he's going to get another wife.  Auntie Evelyn's been taking care of a lot of the mom-stuff, but I guess you know that, right?"

He lit a small stick of incense in a metal holder, "I miss you too, mom.  Things got hard again after you went away... dad tries to hide it."  He sighed, "Anyway, I won the junior long-range tournament, they gave me a medal..."  He reached into his pocket, and laid a small velveteen box on the stone, "see?  I hope you're was pretty happy about it, and so was Davey...he wasn't happy enough to stay though."

He sighed, "Anyway, I gotta get back-we're staying at Aunt Evelyn's place until dad gets back from Nha Tranh, but I'll be back next week."

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #14 on: 01 September 2013, 01:14:51 »
[[Posted 19-05-2008, 18:23:10]]

Nha Tranh Hyatt...

Elizabeth Ngo showed up around 2200.  "Well, that beats her record." Evelyn Mosovich commented.  Kraig looked over at the expressionless face quizzically.  "Oh, sorry, you probably don't know our duchess that well-she's usually late to these things." Evelyn said, "I think she sometimes tries too hard to play the noble."

Liz was decked-out.  Hart had been on Tharkad when Liz showed up to her audience with the Archon in a tailored business suit, looking so plain she actually stood out.  Here, she wasn't dressed in a suit.  "I didn't know she owned a dress." Hart said.

Mosovich nodded, "Yah, she doesn't usually turn out in anything but one of those suits.  She must have had Cho pressuring her to play the role tonight."

Elizabeth Ngo slinked across the floor.  "I don't think she's going to be doing any business tonight." Mosovich said.

"What makes you say that?" Kraig asked.

"She's arrowed in on that red-haired 'mechwarrior of yours-over there." Evelyn said, "I certainly hope he doesn't have duty tomorrow."

Kraig looked where the retired officer was pointing.

"Oh... oh, my..." he started to chuckle, "No, I don't think that will be a problem.  Adept Rhys is not interested..."

"oh, do tell?" Mosovich prodded, as Liz swayed her way over to the 'mechwarrior.

"He likes men." Kraig said, "She won't get any traction from him-though he might offer to set her up with one of his troops."

"Oh, that should go...atrociously." Evelyn said.

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #15 on: 01 September 2013, 01:15:15 »
[[Posted 19-05-2008, 19:25:43]]

[out of story]

I toyed with the idea of showing Liz striking out, digging into the turmoil and humiliation involved. 

Then, it occurred to me that I have No Frigging idea how that feels.  See, there is, I believe, a real difference in how women handle rejection and how men do.  Consequently, writing it from her perspective and doing so well...well, it's way past my ability.

It's safe enough, however, to assert that at this point in her life, she's socially awkward and naive about how the romance game is played.  A more experienced girl would have probably spotted it, and maybe not have been quite as...clumsy.

[/out of story]

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #16 on: 01 September 2013, 01:16:12 »
[[Posted 19-05-2008, 20:12:31]]

3059/07/18, Training Range One, Eastern Province Forest area 62...

Adept V Rhys looked over the vehicles, and shook his head.  "Cheap." he said flatly.  "Cheap, not inexpensive.  This just won't do."  he walked around the assembled vehicles.  "Won't do at all."  He flicked ashes on the tread of a Vedette that was, quite possibly, older than Comstar.  "Gun tube's worn the lands completely off, you're leaking lubricant on this pristine ground..." he sighed, "This just simply will not do..." he  shook his head.  "Colonel Trung, your men performed very well, my compliments to your tactical training, but their equipment is so far below even normal, nominal militia standards that, frankly, if this excercise had been for real, your men would all be dead, the town you're trying to protect would be looted clean, and the pirates would have walked off without more than minor damage to their paint."

"It's what we Have, sir."  Colonel Chung said, "It's what we can afford."

"Bullshit."  Rhys said, "First, you're trying to maintain, what is this, Fourteen different vehicles off the same budget?"

"Sixteen, sir." Chung said, "We're supposed to be getting replacements-Mister Breland's working on it."

Rhys nodded, "Well, these might make for good training targets, and they're okay for familiarization, but I'd suggest you try pressuring Mister Breland about getting this mess tightened up."

"It's hard to import the needed parts..." Chung said, "Mister Breland's working on it..."

"I'd suggest he needs to work harder.  You don't have the Battlemechs to let your tank forces hang in this state." Rhys said, "you just don't have 'em."

"The artillerymen scored well." Chung pointed out, "and our FO's-"

"Without cover, Artillery becomes a juicy target and that's it." Rhys snapped, "admittedly, your artillery crewmen are bloody fantastic, and you've got good light infantrymen...but without the punch of a mobile force of heavy units, that's not much... I take it the artillery units are locally produced-they sure as hell didn't import those."

"Nosir, not imported." Chung agreed, "Groves turns out the shells, and the tubes are produced at Ia Drang and Da Nang."

Rhys hmmphed, and made notes in his PADD.  "Let's take a look at your tubes, then." he said.

They drove for five kilometers to Battery A.

The Guns were a familiar towed version, and Rhys recognized them immediately as copies of the RW-70, a 155mm howitzer used by the Rim Worlds Republic back when it was a going concern.

There was something missing about these.  At first, he couldn't quite place it..."Where is the fire-direction computer?" he asked.

"Um...we gotta do those manually." The Battery Commander was a Leutnant named Nguyen, "We don't have the patterns for 'em.  I devised a work-around for it..."

"Show me." Rhys directed.

Nguyen brought out a wooden board, with cardstock wheels.  "It works for mortars too-better, really, 'cause it's easier to calc range in tens or hundereds of meters." Nguyen said, "and it's easier to estimate wind-drift when you're not trying to read the weather by eye."

Damned ingenious... He marveled, Reinventing a military technology nobody's bothered to use in over six hundered years!  "you're a mathematician?" He asked.

Nguyen shrugged, "Masters' degree at the Pandora College of Arts and Sciences, class of '44...but I built this one so anyone who can pass an eighth-grade math class can use it."

Rhys smiled, "Making the complex simple is a sign of Genius, Leutnant.  I'm surprised the Order didn't come recruiting."

Nguyen chuckled, "I was dead-middle of my Class, Adept.  Comstar recruits from the top ten percent... besides, I came home after doing my five with the intent of being a teacher."

"Well...this is an excellent piece for a lesson-plan, Leutenant.  I take it your comission is reserve?" Rhys asked.

Nguyen nodded, "I use it for class-work.  Most of my Grade Eleven physics class is out here today for drill."

"Teaching and Leading?" Rhys asked, "How does that make their families feel?"

Nguyen shrugged, "They're okay with it-it's going to be harder when this lot graduates next year.  Hopefully, by then, some of them will be ready to train their replacements."

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #17 on: 01 September 2013, 01:16:56 »
[[Posted 20-05-2008, 07:15:48]]

Com Guard barracks, 2200 hours, 19 July, 3059...

"...okay, so what have they got?"  Demi-Precentor Kraig asked, "We've all seen Rhys' report.  Phoebe?"

Phoebe McLernon, Demi-Precentor III and commander of the Class-Acts III-xi, stood up.  "My trip with Commander Cho's people was informative.  Did you know most of the commercial traffic on the planet runs along river systems? Their wet-naval operation is one of the most professionally developed I've seen anywhere, including Thorin and Skye.  Their littoral troops are well trained, and actually pretty well armed, considering.  They're short heavy front-line assets, and very dependent on commando operations and scouting."  She brought up a display, "They're not set up for face-to-face fights against regular military gear, but they act more like a traditional militia with that whole 'public safety' angle.  Our week-long operation was suspended about midway through because of a forest fire here, along tributary 21 in the north end of the watershed.  Tactically, I'd say they need heavier assets to maintain a defensive posture, but there's not a lot I can tell 'em about how to run a Navy."

"Infantry wise?" Richard Shaftic, commander of the Blessed Intentions III-pi asked.

"Good light infantry, extremely good at heli-borne and waterborne operations, excellent public relations and civic activities you might want in an occupation force."  She said, "I don't know, how did their coast-guard pilots score in the aerospace angle?"

Shaftic shrugged, "Other than flying outdated junk? pretty well, all things considered.  There were four in-flight emergencies that we traced back to jury-rigged components, and there was a serious talk about budgets.  Tactically I'd rate their aeropilots as proficient, but inexperienced.  Most of their aircraft are sitting on the pad waiting to be rebuilt or repaired-mostly waiting for spares from off-world...kind of like what Adept Rhys found with the ground-forces-good troops, decent officers, shit equipment, and saddled with Lyran doctrines that don't work for the machines they have available."

Kraig frowned, and looked at the other Com Guard officers, "So, in a nutshell, we're working with good infantry troops-but under equipped, good artillerymen but no solid base of support to protect the guns, good wet-navy assets that can't handle a straight fight, and average aerojocks in crap equipment.  Is that about it?"

Maria Jorns spoke up, "Good counterintelligence people.  Especially the coasties.  Their emphasis on policing has built a pretty solid basis for an intelligence agency.  I was visiting their HQ up in Ben Hoa, and watched them train some officer-candidates.  Whoever designed their investigation apparatus must've learned a lot from the Maskirovka and DMI, because the interrogation training was very thorough, surveillance was also thorough.  Nothing fancy or flashy, very few special items, just solid technique-particularly the analysis areas and training for organized crime infiltration.  Someone sophisticated in basic field craft taught those instructors, 'cause I don't recognize any of 'em."  she stretched in her chair, "Give 'em a few years, and they'll be a pretty solid outfit."  she smiled, "Not up to ROM standards, but solid for anyone else."

Kraig nodded.  "Thank you Analysis... okay, so, I suppose you're all wondering why I haven't gained forty pounds in the last week, with all the gladhanding and politics?" he asked wryly.

The staff laughed.

"Well...I've been talking to their Defense minister, Mister Breland.  Part of the problems you've all observed, come from a directive, you might say, from  'on high'..." he switched the display to public.

"Here's what we will have to work with in about two years."  the display showed a collection of familiar looking units.

"I see..a couple VTOLs, a Patton? is that right? and not a lot else."  McLernon said, " that an SL-15?"

"Very observant." Hart said, "They're getting an industrial base up, and licenses to produce spares-but the intent, is to go into localized mass-production of specific units that they intend to use pretty much exclusively."  He folded his arms, "One model of tank that serves as the base-chassis for a whole family of combat vehicles, two models of VTOLs to serve in scout and air-assault roles, two fighter types, and that's really about it.  Minister Breland's run the numbers and they can't even consider building a 'mech design here without first growing the local GDP enough to attract a manufacturer from off-world to supply chassis parts and advanced components."

"Why the single-typing?" McLernon asked, "Doesn't that limit flexibility?"

"Logistics." Maria interjected, "Multiple factories making the same part means redundancy protection from disasters, it also simplifies the book-keeping for parts, and maximizes the use for each tonne of spares you have to stockpile or ship...Paul?"

"It also simplifies training.  A mechanic that's got to be trained on forty different chassis takes a long time to be proficient with any of them, if you run one chassis, your mechanics can become highly proficient really quickly-it also simplifies crew training since the same guys that are trained to drive your APC's and SP arty are trained to drive the MBT's, CEV's and Bridging units."
He looked at the list.  "Interesting choices-I wonder how they'll get the rights from Lockheed for the Warrior's older model, that is an H-7, isn't it?  Not to  mention avoiding the wrath of Defiance once they start turning out completed Patton hulls... I won't speculate on how they're going to deal with the legal for building Slayers and F-90's."

"Do they even have an engine plant yet?" Schaftic asked.

"One under construction at a place called 'Camp John', one of the 'new' colony areas. another's about to go on-line at Ia Drang." Kraig said, "Not a bad place for a fusion engine plant, the ground's superstabilized because it's on top of prestressed old crustal rock. Kind of like the Laurentian Shield area of North America." Kraig said, "Very solid ground, not likely to have shakers."

"I can see a doctrine out of this." Paul Davies commented, "a pretty solid one, at that.  It'll work better if they use a copy of our organization than the LAAF's."

Trace Coburn

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Re: Blood of my Motherland (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #18 on: 01 September 2013, 01:17:58 »
[[Posted 20-05-2008, 19:46:14]]


One of the most important reasons many other worlds avoided the offer of Comstar assistance preparing their defenses is found in the Legal code of the Lyran Commonwealth.  Legally, militias are limited in size and scale, with larger forces defaulting to the Lyran Government.  This makes heavy local investment in military resources a losing proposition-it also feeds the Mercenary trade in the Alliance, as Mercenaries are not technically Planetary forces.

What Elizabeth Ngo is doing, building up her planetary forces with outside help with the intention of producing a force large enough to deter Bandit and Pirate attacks, is essentially illegal, and has been since before the Star League.  Doing so constitutes High Treason and charges of Conspiracy to Overthrow the government.

It's a dangerous move, breaking into the Archon's military monopoly...

Huyn Win Engine Plant number One, Ia Drang, 3060/01/05...

The observers sat behind armoured ferroglass, as the fuel-feeds were switched to full.

"Here goes." Elizabeth Ngo, the Duchess of Kowloon, stood with Kham Phuoc, the Senior assemblyman from Ia Drang,  Admiral Banh Cho of the Coast Guard, and Minister of Defense Michael Breland.  The engine on the stand roared to life, and strain-guages showed its power.

"one fifty...two hundered...two sixty five! Two SEVENTY!! TWO EIGHTY!!! MY GOD, IT'S GOING TO MAKE IT!!!"  The needles on the analogue guages hit the magic number-320 Megawatts.

"Okay, keep it going, see how fast the fuel burns." Liz shouted.  The noise was enough to vibrate the entire structure.

The ground-test was vital-without it, all they could build were parts, with a working engine, Kowloon could, if necessary, violate any number of trade restrictions and produce completed airframes.

"How did they solve the cooling problem again?" she asked.

"Run the fuel through the cooling system-it preheats it so that after initial ignition, you can lower the flow rates-it also helps keep the combustion chamber from melting off."  Cho said, "It's an unconventional system, someone looked up chemical rocketry in one of the old libraries.  Nobody's used it since the 21st century."

Liz's jaw dropped, "Does that mean what I think it means?"

"Depends on what you're thinking."  Cho bellowed.


Jakob Win, the junior partner in the new engine plant, seemed to sparkle with his smile.  "MY patent!" he said, "I already paid a firm to research it once I was sure it would's not much of a gain in efficiency over existing engines-if there's a gain at all, but it's mechanically simpler, and that means it's going to, if I'm right, be a bit tougher."

"How much tougher?" Liz asked, "Can we use durability or maintainability for a sales-pitch?"

He nodded, "Tougher Enough."

"You're taping this, right?" Liz asked anxiously.

"Damn right.  I'm going to send copies of the successful test results to Lockheed CBM, as a bid for a piece of the Eisensturm programme."  He was grinning, "If they like it, I'll be needing some of that lawyer stuff you have in the loan agreement to secure good royalties."

Things were looking up...

Nha Tranh Starport, 1300 hours...

"...keep your head down, and do what your DI's tell you, boy. I want you home when this is burned out of you."  Charles Vanh cautioned his son, as David hefted a C-bag and waited for the transport to begin boarding.  "I might not come back, Dad." David said.
Charles looked at his son, "David, I said the same thing to MY father when I joined the AFFC.  You'll see the universe, you'll see things you'll always remember, but you'll come home in the end...and if you don't, well, you'll make your home somewhere out there-but there's always a place for you Here."  He grasped his son's hand with his own-not the prosthetic, but the real one, "You do your best, okay?  I'm Proud of you Son..."

"I'll do that, Dad..." David said, and the boarding lights went green.  "Time for me to board ship."

"Bye Davey." Eddie said.

"See ya, runt." David told him, "Don't be a brat or I'll come back and make you sorry..."

The Adept gathered the other recruits, and led them to the dropship.  Eddie watched.  David didn't look back.

"First time for everything, Edward." his father told him, "David's going to be a 'mech pilot when he graduates."

Eddie watched the line of recruits board ship, and said, "I don't want to be a 'mech pilot."

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