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Author Topic: Clan Dogfight! (A Clan Wolf/Rasalhague Dominion story)  (Read 1877 times)

Alan Grant

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(OOC: Note, the below was part of a collaborative fan fiction project on the Battletech-Mercenaries website. We have an online writing/roleplaying game setup in an alternative universe that is currently circa 3089. The focus of the group is on the Growling Bears, a Rasalhague Dominion unit that is Clan and not mercenary, but this was written from an OpFor Clan Wolf perspective of a Dominion invasion of Rasalhague itself. Enjoy!)

Polar Region
Clan Wolf Occupation Zone
22 September, 3089

Star Captain Jodan Leroux strode across the tarmac with his flight helmet under his arm and loaded down with his other flight suit gear. He ignored the hum and buzz of utility vehicles around him and focused on the sound of engines firing up. It was a sound he had always enjoyed. Across the tarmac were ten aerospace fighters arrayed in two staggered rows of five. Each was being attended to by technicians overseeing the final preparations for takeoff.

The airfield Jodan Leroux was standing on wasn’t very large. If memory served him, it had once been a squadron base for a Rasalhague conventional fighter wing decades ago. Clan Wolf had long since repurposed it to serve as the base for a star of OmniFighters and a slew of conventional support aircraft, both Fixed-Wing and VTOLs, that served a variety of functions. The airfield had come to traditionally serve as the Field Headquarters for the senior flight operations officer on Rasalhague. That was him, as he commanded the sixth Fighter Trinary of the Fourth Wolf Lancers. Every fighter pilot, whether in his star or in one of the Trinary’s other stars, reported to him.

The Trinary had rarely served together since being stationed on Rasalhague. Typically one star was stationed at this airfield, while another was stationed out of the capital city’s starport. The third was usually deployed via a carrier-class dropship to patrol the system’s Nadir or Zenith jump points.

Jodan had always seen that last deployment as largely superfluous. Rasalhague was not a common target for pirates or bandits or raiders of any kind. Clan Wolf’s threat assessment for Rasalhague had always highlighted the high probability of Trial of Possession for Rasalhague itself by the Rasalhague Dominion. The Fourth Lancers, a frontline unit, had been stationed on the world for that very reason.

Knowing Clan tradition, Jodan knew that probably meant the Dominion would be granted safcon. That always had meant to him that any combat would be on-world or close to it. So when the Dominion did show up at a jump point several days ago he was not at all surprised when his third star’s carrier-class dropship was ordered to burn for orbit, a journey lasting days from the jump point.

The entire Trinary would see action but coordinating their actions would be difficult. For all practical purposes Jodan Leroux was acting as a Star Commander, leading his first star into battle. He would have to trust his Star Commanders to do their part. He would not be able to monitor them closely.

The chosen battlefield was located in Rasalhague’s arctic regions. Jodan’s orders were relatively simple in concept….sweep the Bear fighters from the sky and support ground operations. The Wolves had a history of taking a liberal view of zellbrigen, often allowing aerospace fighters to conduct strafing runs of ground targets when the opportunity presented itself. Jodan himself had three ‘Mech kills to his credit.

All of those kills and those achieved against other fighters had been gained flying the aerospace fighter he was approaching now. The gray Visigoth sat on the tarmac surrounded by machinery and lifting equipment that was being towed away.

Jodan’s wingman, a warrior named Tomal, came jogging up to him and started walking alongside. Like Jodan he was fully loaded with flight gear that gave him a somewhat clunky appearance.

“Message from the Star Colonel, Star Captain,” Tomal said.

“Change of plans, neg?” Jodan Leroux asked. He already had orders in hands and hated it when commanders changed things up on him. It was usually bad news.

“Neg, simply new coordinates based on the last surveillance pass made by the Vandals in third Star, the Bears have moved a little further south,” Tomal stated.

As Tomal spoke, another Visigoth that had already completed its take-off swung over the airfield, dipping its left wing to the fighters and pilots below.

Jodan could almost sense the pilot saying “let us go”. His pilots were anxious to get to the fight.

“I will make sure Control uploads the new coordinates to Nav Com,” Jodan said. “Get to your fighter, we lift immediately.”

“Aff, Star Captain!” Tomal said and sprinted off down the tarmac.

As Jodan reached the Visigoth he conducted a quick walk-around visual inspection. The aerospace fighter was mounting its primary configuration. A nice blend of lasers and missiles bulked by an LB-X autocannon that could be murder against the often fragile control surfaces of a fighter.

The rest of Jodan’s Star was a mixed bag. Each point of fighters flew the same airframe but that’s where the similarities ended. Down the tarmac he spotted his wingmate’s Visigoth. Two other Visigoths were already in the air. Down the line he spotted two Jagatai OmniFighters, Clan Wolf’s preferred heavy fighter. The remaining four fighters consisted of two Sullas and two Turks, lighter fighter craft. The Star’s mixed composition was not unusual given their independent deployment. Within the star Jodan Leroux had good escort and multi-role light fighters in the form of the Sullas. The Visigoths and Jagatais were excellent dogfighters. The Turks were a little more limited in the roles they could perform because of their limited maneuverability and were best suited for attacking ground targets but had excellent firepower. The machines aside, what Jodan put the most faith into was his pilots. Trueborn warriors all, they were among the best pilots in Delta Galaxy. Much was expected of them and they understood that fact.

Much was expected of Jodan as well. Both of his geneparents had fought in Operation Revival and died in the Clan’s glorious victory on Tukayyid. Nevermind that the other Clans failed to do their part, in that battle, the Wolves had won. That was the history he had been taught, that was the knowledge of his parentage that he chose to remember. His genemother had been a young Star Captain at Tukayyid. Jodan had already achieved what she had at her age. He had ambitions to achieve so much more.

Jodan spent the next few minutes climbing into his Visigoth’s cockpit. Like most Trueborn pilots, Jodan was short at just under five feet tall, with a wiry thin body. Due to genetic refinements he didn’t seem to have a large head, a description commonly associated with the pilot phenotype, but he retained an important trait…Jodan could handle G-forces like few freeborn pilots could. That genetic engineering had bred true in him and between that and his uncanny situation awareness; he had a lot of advantages on his side. A technician helped him get fastened in and helped him put in the slightly bulky helmet. The helmet had separate connectors that plugged it into the fighter and gave him a virtual HUD in his field of vision. Jodan waited patiently while the technician plugged in the helmet and then Jodan and the technician both went through the steps to ensure it was working properly. It was a procedure Jodan had literally done hundreds if not thousands of times and he practically knew it by heart.

Once that was done, the ladder leading to the cockpit was removed and Jodan began the power-up sequence. The fusion reactor at the heart of the Visigoth began feeding power to all its systems and weapons. The engine was the loudest part of the process. Even after the canopy snapped shut and formed an airtight seal, he could still hear its muffled roar.

Through his helmet, Jodan heard, “Alpha One, taxi to marker 3 green, you are number two for take-off.”

“Taxi three green, two for take-off, roger tower, “Jodan replied almost without thinking.

Revving the Visigoth’s engine up slightly he was directed by a technician onto the taxi way where the green marker emblazed with bright number 3 appeared ahead of him. Beyond that was one of the Jagatai fighters turning on its landing gear off the tarmac and onto the airfield’s first runway.
Jodan didn’t have to wait long, just moments later the Jagatai went roaring by, its engine blazing heat and light as it accelerated down the runway in a conventional long-roll take-off. As soon as it was gone he heard a new message in his helmet.

“Alpha One, move to take-off position one, cleared one for take-off, vector 060 and angels 10.”

The controller was telling Jodan which heading and altitude to take after his take-off. There was an existing pattern forming. As each fighter launched they joined the slowly growing formation that was gaining altitude as they flew in a box formation around the airfield. Jodan was one of the last to launch.
Jodan accelerated the Visigoth slightly, opening up the engine enough to allow a slow travel forward. He could feel the smallest bump in the tarmac surface. Using the rudder pedals at his feet, he began a sharp left turn into the runway, then continued that turn until he was staring down the long ferrocrete runway and its colored lines.

After one final check of his instruments, Jodan put his hand on the throttle and pushed it all the way forward. The engine’s whine soon became a roar and he accelerated down the runway. Within seconds he was pulling back on the flight yoke located on his right-hand side. The Visigoth tilted its nose into the sky and began to lift off the ground. Moments later Jodan heard a thud as the landing gear came up into place.

Almost immediately he began a banking turn right, gaining altitude toward 10,000 feet, on a course of 060 to link up with the rest of the star. He could see them, eight fighters of different sizes and shapes already in a relatively slow-moving formation.

As Jodan listened over the communication channel, the last two fighters, both Turks, accelerated down the runway and lifted off. They immediately began a turn and raced to catch up.

He wasted no time in speaking up, “Alpha Star this is Alpha One, form up, inverted V by points on me. Heading 135, angels 30….Alpha Two take my right wing.

They were headed off now, across the Rasalhague sky toward the battlefield.


Approximately an hour after Alpha Star took off, the formation of ten OmniFighters was now flying over the white polar continent. The ground below was like a blanket of snow and ice. Only the occasional town or industrial center jutted up from it. Periodically they passed a mountain range that added touches of rocky gray to the otherwise barren horizon.

Star Captain Jodan Leroux’s eyes were not on the horizon. From the cockpit of his Visigoth he was studying two display screens. One was showing their position, gauged globally with the aid of navigational satellites. Another was showing his full spectrum sensor array. It combined radar with radiation detectors and other systems that were useful for detection in space. In atmospheric operations, the radar, not that different from the radar used on fighter craft for centuries, was the primary tool for the occasion. Star Captain Jodan Leroux’s gloved finger was pressing the buttons on a touch-screen display, cycling through the options until he was presented with a 2-dimensional radar screen that was the simplest to use.

That screen showed the other nine fighters around him and nothing else. Thus far the airspace was clear and that was an excellent sign.

“Alpha Star,” Star Captain Jodan Leroux said into his helmet. “Begin ground radar sweep, we are approaching the last known location of at least one of the Bear ‘mech units.”

“I have them Star Captain,” came the voice of Point Commander Vala, one of the Sulla pilots. “Ten o’clock, multiple ‘mechs, computer is chewing on ID.”

“Alpha Star, break off by points,” Star Captain Jodan Leroux stated. “Loiter here while I make a pass, Alpha Two on me, breaking left.”

With a turn of the flight yoke, the Visigoth went rotating left and began a banking turn that also sent it downward toward the ground below. As it dropped it rolled back into a straight line and then accelerated.

The two Visigoths went flying in a straight line over the enemy position. As they passed, they spotted a full Star, five OmniMechs, in the snow below. Among them the outlines of a Timber Wolf and an Executioner were visible.

“Enemy Star identified,” Star Captain Jodan Leroux said. “Time to go Bear hunting, Alphas two through five will engage. The rest of you orbit the area, there could be others.”

It was zellbrigen in OmniFighter vs OmniMech style. If each pilot did their job well, they would return to base with a ‘mech kill.

Using his computer system, Star Captain Jodan Leroux “tagged” each of the OmniMechs with a number, one through five. That told each of his pilots which target was theirs. The five OmniFighters, two Visigoths, two Jagatais and a Turk, began their attack.

“Ghost Bear Star, this is Star Captain Jodan Leroux of the Fourth Wolf Lancers,” Jodan said into an open channel. “You being here on our soil is an affront to my Clan and I mean to end you, five of my fighters will engage you in honorable combat to the death surats, which is more than you deserve.”

The Star Captain’s Visigoth came around in a hard banking roll and then climbed at an angle of more than forty degrees. The Visigoth regained altitude and approached the Star before its pilot nosed the fighter back down and lined up his crosshairs on the target. A large humanoid but boxy Executioner, perhaps the leader of the Star, was his.

Jodan hit a selector switch, changing the ammo type for the LB-X autocannon in his fighter’s nose to slug shot. It would have more punch and more damage against the assault-class OmniMech.

As the Visigoth bore in, he could see the OmniMechs moving, scattering, turrets and torsos were beginning to twist and angle upwards in anticipation of the attack. But the OmniFighters were coming in from multiple directions. Jodan’s aim was almost thrown off by the sudden flare of laser and missile fire as the Executioner spotted the threat and fired at him. A salvo of missiles flew past, possibly ATM missiles as the Visigoth’s computer finally identified the Executioner as being of the E variant.

As he approached, Jodan opened fire. His autocannon belched a stream of shells that started up the snow, up the ‘mech’s leg and seemed to shatter its right arm. Multiple solid state lasers lanced out and melted armor in similar places, wrecking yet more of that arm. The two wing-mounted Streak SRM systems tried to calculate a lock but only the launcher in Jodan’s left wing succeeded in doing so. Four missiles jetted out and struck the ‘mech from torso to toe.

The Visigoth began to nose up and over, completing its pass and gaining altitude. As it did so, Jodan looked back and inspected the situation.

It looked like one OmniMech was down already. Or at least dead…the machine was upright but no longer functional, smoke rose from the Summoner’s destroyed cockpit. The fighters had all completed passes and were climbing up and away. The rest of the OmniMechs were still firing away at them.

As they banked around for another pass, the Wolf fighters suffered their first loss. One of the ‘mechs, a Mad Dog, fired a full salvo of long range missiles that seemed to smother a Jagatai in small explosions. The Jagatai suddenly rolled over, apparently out of control, and crashed in a fiery explosion. It all happened before Jodan could even react.

He didn’t let it faze him. Instead he rolled back onto the attack and made another run on the Executioner….

Approximately four minutes later it was all over. All five OmniMechs were down (technically…the Summoner was still standing like a dead smoldering statue). Jodan had lost two fighters in the attack, both Jagatai OmniFighters and neither pilot had ejected. Amazingly his own Visigoth was untouched. The rest of the attacking fighters had taken damage and expended valuable ammo and fuel. Once the two Jagatai fighters had been lost, two more of Alpha’s fighters, a second Turk and a Visigoth, had been permitted to challenge those two offending OmniMechs and continue their destruction.

It was hard to tell if any of the Ghost Bear warriors were alive. Even if they were, there wasn’t much Jodan could do for them. There wasn’t much point in doing anything else here. His Star needed to regain altitude and continue their sweep for as long as they could. They had been tremendously successful thus far….

Jodan’s thoughts were interrupted by a sudden declaration.

“Radar contact, ten, repeat ten bogies, coming in high and fast, no friendly IFF, range 5 miles, 4 miles.”

The report came from Alpha Nine. One of the Sulla pilots circling the battlefield.

A sensation like horror swept over Jodan.

Another pilot practically shouted, almost unnecessarily, for the horrific thought was already going through Jodan’s mind.

“Fighters coming down, now!”

They were being dived on. The incoming fighters had evaded radar detection until they were practically on top of Alpha Star.

“Alpha Star, climb, climb, issue individual challenges and engage!”

It was simplistic orders, shrouded in a touch of desperation.

Star Captain Jodan Leroux turned his Visigoth toward the sky and climbed fast.  He felt the G-forces shove him back into the cockpit chair and felt the blood try to drain away from his head. But he needed to gain altitude. For a pilot in a dogfight altitude was life and here he was skimming the polar surface.

As the radar image cleared up, so did the IDs on their attacks. The incoming fighters were two Kirghizs, two Jengizs, 2 Batus, 2 Sullas and 2 Avars.

The Kirghiz and Jengiz OmniFighters were at the moment the most terrifying. They were relatively slow fighters that would struggle in a turn fight. But they weren’t in a turn fight, they were in a dive.

“Wolf pilots, this is Star Commander Yarin Snuka, I hope you saved some of that fight for us.”

There was nothing more, a single sentence, it was enough. Jodan could tell that two of the fighters, the Avars, were holding altitude, all remaining eight fighters were diving on the eight Wolf fighters.

Jodan rolled his Visigoth toward his attacker. He was staring at a Batu that was coming down at him. Before he could even blink, the Batu fired. A gauss rifle slug passed him by, then a second. Jodan didn’t get the opportunity to shoot, the Batu raced past like a bullet, passing him on his left side.

Jodan was fortunate, the rest of his Star was not. The incredible forward firepower of the Kirghiz and Jengiz OmniFighters had shredded three of his fighters in a single pass. All it took was to breach an engine or destroy a wing, and suddenly the flying war machines were falling flaming death traps. One of the destroyed fighters, a Turk, blew up from a fuel or ammunition explosion.

The Wolf Star Captain couldn’t think about that now. He rolled the Visigoth over and began a vertical turn that touched the sky and then came around back down. The Batu had already banked over on its left wing and was coming back. Jodan had the presence of mind to switch his LB-X autocannon to cluster rounds before lining up the shot and firing.

The LB-X cluster shot blast actually missed the Batu entirely, but the Streak SRMs had better luck, all eight missiles soared out of their launchers and smacked little holes and punch marks all over the Batu’s left wing. In a blink of an eye the Batu inverted and nosed toward the sky, flying over and past the Visigoth as it rolled after its target.

The Batu was faster, the nimble interceptor managed to briefly get a deflection shot on Jodan’s fighter and the pilot fired. Another gauss rifle slug missed, but two medium lasers cut ragged lines across the Visigoth’s left wing. As the Visigoth rolled left toward the attacker, the Batu flashed past under it. Jodan quickly stood the Visigoth on its right wing and turned while also diving slightly to gain some speed.

As the Batu came around again this time, Jodan managed to get his nose on the incoming fighter. He flipped a selector switch and fired all of the Visigoth’s lasers. The three nose-mounted extended range medium lasers tore into the Batu’s nose and fuselage. It began to trail smoke as it rolled away to his right. The Visigoth began a slow but steady right roll, keeping the Batu in front of it. Jodan used the HUD’s capabilities, which projected a marker indicating where he should shoot for a deflection shot. He put his crosshairs on that point and fired the LB-X autocannon.

This time the shotgun blast of cluster rounds scattered all over the Batu’s airframe. The smoking began to get worse until the Batu’s engine seemed to cough and die. Jodan knew it was over when he saw a cockpit seat rocket free of the dying fighter.

As Jodan turned away from the kill, his brief elation was decked when he saw the overall situation. Although both Jengiz and the Batu were destroyed, the remaining Wolf fighters were getting pounded. Jodan saw his wingman, Tomal, break up. An Avar, released from holding after the loss of the two Jengiz fighters, was firing lasers into his Visigoth until the fighter just seemed to fly apart at the seams. There was no sign of an ejection.

One of Jodan’s Sullas was in a tight dogfight with a Bear Sulla, but the Bear Sulla had suddenly turned skyward, rolled, and then come back down onto the Wolf pilot. The Sulla fired a PPC, which looked like a lightning bolt crossing the sky. It struck the Wolf pilot’s tail and the Sulla began to burn and break up.

Despite their relative sluggishness, both Kirghiz fighters were still flying and it looked like one of them had downed another Visigoth in Jodan’s star. He could see it falling, trailing smoke, obviously on a collision course with the ground below.

One of the Kirghiz fighters turned toward him. They were now both free of opponents and it looked like this Ghost Bear pilot had him in mind. Jodan idly wondered if this was the Star Commander, but he pushed that out of his mind. He couldn’t think about the risks, or the potential to die. He had faced combat from his Trial of Position and the possibility of death at every turn. He knew from experience that a divided mind was a dead one. He had to focus everything he had on somehow bringing down this Kirghiz. Then and only then could he perhaps help out the rest of his Star and bring his badly bloodied command back to the airfield.

The Kirghiz OmniFighter had a lot of devastating forward firepower. But it was relatively sluggish in atmospheric combat. To offset that, two SRM launchers and an ER Small Laser were facing aft. But the threat of those weapons was not enough to prevent a pilot from daring to slip into a Kirghiz’s six-oclock “kill slot” where weak armor and exposed engines stood the greatest chance of bringing down the 100 ton flying machine that carried enough firepower to cripple a dropship.

As the Kirghiz began to turn toward the Visigoth, Jodan climbed and accelerated. Pushing the throttle forward, he raced for the sky, soaring past the Kirghiz before he throttled back, inverted and turned the nose toward the ground. The high G-roll carried him through a loop toward the Kirghiz. As Jodan brought his inverted fighter “right side up” he found himself just below and behind the Kirghiz.

The Kirghiz responded with that rear-facing weaponry. The small laser lanced out, and actually managed to singe the Visigoth’s nose. One of the rear-facing SRM launchers came to life. Six missiles soared free of their launchers and impacted against the Visigoth’s airframe, left wing, and one actually spiraled into the tail. Despite the shaking and the sound of explosions, Jodan worked to maintain control. He fired everything he had. The LB-X autocannon’s cluster blast pummeled the Kirghiz’s underside and tail. His lasers sliced the covering over what was probably the fighter’s left rear landing gear. Amazingly against such a target at this range, the Streak SRM launchers did not achieve a lock and didn’t fire.

The Kirghiz suddenly rolled right and down, banking away at what felt like a snail’s pace compared to the speeds that Jodan was used to in his Visigoth. He immediately rolled right and inverted to follow as the Kirghiz went into a dive.

Getting back into the kill slot, Jodan fired again, this time his LB-X autocannon mostly missed, only a single piece of the cluster shot struck the Kirghiz just forward of its engines. But both Streak SRM launchers got a lock and shot eight spiraling short range missiles into the heavy fighter.

If the damage was having any effect, Jodan couldn’t tell. He could see damage but the fighter was still intact. The Kirghiz turned its dive into a spiraling one, which Jodan thought was a strange maneuver. He began to copy the Kirghiz’s spiraling dive, which grew deeper. The dive started as a twenty degree dive, then it became thirty, then forty. The G-forces began to add up and both fighters were picking up speed. At the same time the Kirghiz was still spiraling and so it occasionally disappeared beneath the Visigoth’s nose.

Then suddenly…the Kirghiz wasn’t there anymore. Jodan looked around in confusion and rolled his Visigoth to get a good look “under” his nose, but the Kirghiz wasn’t there. It had suddenly behind him.

Jodan looked back at the rounded nose of this heavy fighter and his mind clicked with the revelation that the Kirghiz had just throttled back and used flaps and everything else at its disposal to slow down. Amid the chaotic tumbling, Jodan had picked up speed without realizing how bad the problem was, until he had overshot the target.

“Clever Bear,” was Star Captain Jodan Leroux’s last words.

The Kirghiz opened fire, spitting two Gauss Rifle slugs, two large lasers, and an LB-X autocannon shot downward at the Visigoth. One of the Gauss Rifle slugs struck home, sheering off most of the Visigoth’s left wing. The LB-X autocannon blast struck the forward fuselage, including the cockpit, breaching it and opening it to the atmosphere. One of the large lasers also hit, and ripped into the fighter’s tail, slicing one of the tail fins clean off.

As the Kirghiz pulled up, the Visigoth continued downward. Star Captain Jodan Leroux was no longer among the living when his smoking, burning Visigoth slammed into the ground at terminal velocity. The crash site burned barely eight miles from the wreckage of those five OmniMechs.

One by one the Clan Wolf fighters were shot down. The Bears didn’t get off clean; they lost four of their own in the fight. But the initial dive and suddenness of their attack had given them an incredible advantage and they had seized it. Slower fighters like the Jengiz had not lasted long in the turning dogfight that followed, but they had done their job, pummeling their opponents in the initial exchange. Ultimately just two Wolf fighters, a Sulla and a Visigoth, both damaged and barely flyable, would survive. They requested hegira and the remaining six Bear fighters let them go.  The two groups of fighters broke away from each other and turned toward home.

The battle for Rasalhague was far from over, but already the snow and ice of the polar region was littered with the smoking and charred remains of Clan war machines that had fallen out of the sky.
« Last Edit: 21 June 2014, 11:09:33 by Alan Grant »


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Re: Clan Dogfight! (A Clan Wolf/Rasalhague Dominion story)
« Reply #1 on: 21 June 2014, 18:08:18 »
Good ASF battle. O0
Is the Battletech-Merc site still limited to players.
I remember before they had some great unit write ups and after action reports, then they closed the door.
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

Alan Grant

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Re: Clan Dogfight! (A Clan Wolf/Rasalhague Dominion story)
« Reply #2 on: 21 June 2014, 20:28:02 »
I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "limited to players" so I'll go with a general explanation of how BTM works. Individual Merc and Clan units form and write together to complete merc style contracts for employers across the Inner Sphere and periphery. They use a combo of individual posts (like the above, which was one of mine) and joint-posts where they collaborate. Everything is done via a forum system, with each unit getting IC and OOC forums. The units get paid in C-Bills for Word Count of writing completed in a contract and use that to buy more equipment of all kinds (there are also rules that allow units to pick up specific tons of "salvage" and even a Black Market purchase mechanism for stuff you can't usually buy). The Clan "Mod" variation of the game uses the same underlying system but allows for Clan Touman play. For example the Growling Bears are a Rasalhague Dominion unit of between Trinary and Cluster size and is striving to eventually become a full Cluster. Along the way, in addition to combat/Trials the unit members are working on things like earning Bloodnames and other "Clan warrior" life goals.

So its not for individuals per se, it is a group effort. But some groups/units are very individual-centric, allowing players to build a sub-unit within the overall unit of their own liking, including TO&E, characters, equipment, etc. In units like that writing/C-Bills earned basically go toward your individual sub-unit's "warchest".

Battletech-Mercenaries is fun in that its not limited to just being in a cockpit (like MWO), or playing MegaMek. You can take all the cultural complexities of the Battletech universe out for a spin like in fan fiction but are also contributing to the shaping of a Battletech alternate universe. Plus having Word Count objectives and deadlines serves as a nice motivator to get you writing, especially if there is a particular machine (mech, vee, ASF, etc) that you really want and so you write to earn enough C-Bills to get that new toy.

I hope somewhere in there I managed to answer your question. If you have anymore questions don't hesitate to PM me. Glad you enjoyed the story.
« Last Edit: 21 June 2014, 20:34:12 by Alan Grant »