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Author Topic: Emerald and Gold  (Read 18200 times)

Motsognir

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #60 on: 23 August 2018, 01:16:16 »
Great Drunkninja.

But I agree with Snakespinner.
I am looking forward to finding out just what Roax’s Assault ‘Mech was, and other mystery units were.

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #61 on: 23 August 2018, 01:27:39 »
Gotta leave you hanging wanting more! :p

snakespinner

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #62 on: 24 August 2018, 02:41:17 »
Evil authors. :brew: :beer:
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.

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #63 on: 25 August 2018, 17:05:19 »
Chapter 16
Vixen, Lost World
Ruins of Star League Era City
July 23 3022


   Women and children.  That's what the Privateers found on Vixen.  Following their sudden surrender, the pirates sought to parley with their would be conquerors.  Now, under the protective guns of battlemechs, Alex was in a room with people who he realized were desperate.  You could cut the tension with a knife as tempers flared and tears were shed.  Currently , the man who had lead the infantry against the mercenary battlemechs, held his wife as she wept openly while pushing the pirates tenuous position.

   “You have to take us with you.  You can't leave us here to die.”  The man the others called “Sarge” gently passed his wife off to a friend and stood up to his monstrous height of 6'7”.   “I swear I'll continue to cause trouble for anyone who steps foot on this world until my dying breath if you don't help us.”  Anger flushed the large mans face. A female voice chimed in from the large gathering of people.  “This isn't our fault!  We had no choice, they forced us!”  A chorus of agreements followed.

   Alex tried to rub the stress from his temples and closed his eyes for a moment to forget the room full of press ganged castaways.  It was one thing to kill an enemy who was faceless inside another battlemech, it was completely different to have to tell women and children he couldn't help them and then leave them to die.  “And I keep trying to tell you that it's beyond my ability to take you with me.  I have one dropship and that is already filled with my personnel and materials.  From what you tell me, there are hundreds of you!  I am sorry, but it's not possible.”  Captain Bishop was a capable mechwarrior, but when it came to dealing with people, the man felt clueless.

   “You're just like William.  You condemn us to a slow death.”  A different person cried out and pointed at the seated mercenary Captain.  Alex could see the wild, frantic fear in the strangers eyes.  Like a person drowning.  The problem with having killed the pirates leader and their second in command, was that there wasn't a particular person the Privateer could accept a formal surrender from and complete his contractual obligations.  The leaderless people were too afraid to see past their nose and understand that they would be taken care of under Magistracy Law due to their unique circumstances.  The exception being those already fingered as Roax' press-gangers that had been thrown into the Ascending Night' brig.

   Before Alexander could try and retort, yet another voice joined the verbal battle.  This time however, instead of shouting over others, a man stepped forward and made his way to the table Alex had hoped to be a place of negotiation.  Like everyone else the Captain had seen from the marooned population, the man, who appeared well over twice Alexanders age, wore odd, time eaten clothing.  His in particular stood out; a set of coveralls with the insignia of the long lost Star League on the right breast pocket.  He looked down at the Captain, but decided to sit as he spoke.  “You won't change our minds about wanting to leave with you, the fear of being left stranded is far too great.  I would like to speak for our people , if certain personalities here would allow it.”  The mans eyes looked up at the monster of a man who had just recently been threatening violence on the Privateers benefactor.

   Both men exchanged a long, hard stare at each other before Sarge turned and shouted at the crowd.  “Alright everyone, out.  We're going to take care of this for you.”  He took greater care when telling his wife they needed privacy.  “It's ok my love, go with them.  Trust us to handle this.”  The bull of a man gave the woman a hug and once all others had been ushered out of the room he turned and addressed the older man.  “I'm staying Chris.  Don't sell us short.”  He crossed his arms and took up a stance behind his colleagues chair. 

   The older man took a deep breath and returned his eyes to Alex.  “My name is Christopher Hytuli.  I'm the lead technician among our people and I would like to bargain for our freedom.”  He stopped Alex' immediate response with a raised hand.  “I know what you would repeat and say, but hear me out.  Between the salvage you have taken from your first fight with Roax' men and then what you have to claim from the streets when you killed the pirate, plus counting the units you fielded and knowing personally your dropship to be a Union-class, I would say your ship is indeed going to be full.  What you are not accounting for because you don't know about it yet due to the stalemate in negotiations, is the resources and other assets you could gain by helping us.”  The tech shared another look with Sarge.  “For example, we have two dropships and another battlemech at our disposal.”  The bigger man exhaled sharply, showing his disapproval but his wayward glance towards the door told Alex that he was trying to think of his friends and familys wellbeing. 

   “I also know that the chances of there being open berths on your rendezvous Jumpship is very likely, as the most commonly used in the Innersphere is the Invader, which has three berths.”  Alexander was surprised at Hytuli' assessment of the situation and continued to listen as he could tell this mans intelligence was that of no ordinary person.  “Roax was a successful pirate, albeit a terrible person.  We have money to pay for passage, but we need help being recognized as more than criminals if we are to escape our prison world.  Captain Bishop, after losing those who could operate our Jumpship, we've been stuck on this world for over ten years.  Only by scavenging this frozen city have we been able to survive this long.  People have started families here.  Please, negotiate our passage on your ship and I promise you compensation.”

   Alexander let what the castaway was saying sink in.  He felt for these people, those that had been used by a tyrant.  The young leader found himself thinking of the logistical problems.  There we a lot of them.  Most of all he would have to convince the Captain of the Kelly's Triumph to accept money from refugees to transport them to a population center.  Alex felt the weight falling onto his shoulders.  Looking at both men in front of him the Captain of Bishops Privateers conceded to the fact he could not turn his back on these people and finally said “I cannot promise you anything but I will do my best and try.”

   A new life filled Hytuli' eyes.  “And that Captain is all I can really ask for.”


*   *   *

   Alexander understood now why Captain Schmitz had not detected the two dropships when he had scanned the ancient city for the pirates base of operations.  Over ten years prior both ships had landed in a massive concrete basin that was once a Star League era reservoir.  Water would come down from the mountains in the spring and flood the basin with fresh water and recede during the fall.  The presence of the massive spheroid vessels however upset the water levels that  encroached seasonally and caused a huge sheet of ice to form over the top of the reservoir that eventually hid both ships.  It was currently winter season so both ships were accessible within the great cavern made of concrete and ice.  It was a spectacle Alex would remember until the end of his days.

   Hytuli led Alex into the bowels of one of the two dropships, this one being a Union.  It looked a little worse for wear but the tech assured the Captain that it still functioned.  He had also spent the better portion of of the afternoon answering the Privateers questions.  Making their way into the main hangar of the dropship, Hytuli was currently explaining the mystery mechs to Alex.  “Roax had hired me on the Lyran world of Romulus, my home planet, to help fix his battlemechs.  I was young and stupid back then, but knew how to tinker.  I had no idea what I was signing on for.”  The older man stopped at a electrical panel, opened it and pulled down a large lever.  Lights began to come to life in the cavernous belly of the ship and as its contents became visible Alex suddenly felt weak in the knees.  “I was taught to fix these machines by someone that was around my age, but far from stable minded.  The first one you encountered is called a Wyvern.”  Christopher followed the Captain' eyes upwards to the battlemech still in the hangar.  “The one your people are currently loading up is called a Crockett, that was Roax' ride and a scary piece of kit.”  The last lights mounted on the assault machines gantry turned on.  “The hovercraft is called a Zephyr.  It makes for an amazing scout.  This one...” Hytuli motioned to the monster that was sleeping in front of them.  “This was William' wife's ride before she passed away a few years back.  It's known as an Emperor.  The whole lot was Star League era machines.  I have no idea why someone would hand this equipment over...”  The tech stopped talking and looked at Alex, who had gone ghostly pale.  “Captain, are you alright?”

   Taking a few steps forward Alex reached out and put his right hand on the cold, composite material of the Emperor' foot.  A shiver shot up through the mans spine as he felt the smooth armor beneath his touch.  “Mr. Hytuli, do any of your remaining people know how to fly these dropships?”  The young mans voice was subdued and distant.  “Only enough for a skeleton crew for one of them.  If we have to, we can leave the Mule.”  Alex considered that and looked upwards at the massive machine of war.  “Perhaps my crew can stretch to pilot the Mule.”  His mind raced with possibilities.  “I have a question Mr. Hytuli.  If by some miracle I pull this off for you and those marooned here, would you join me and my Privateers?  I'm going to need someone who knows how to fix the two battlemechs we salvaged.”

   It only lasted for a moment, but Alex caught the look of infinite sadness that crossed the technicians face before he buried his emotions once more.  “Captain Bishop, I am sure we have much to discuss if you save us.  There may be those among our ranks that would choose the mercenary life over what ever awaits on the world that will take us in.  However, for me to accept that offer, I would need a lot more from you than just a simple jaunt across the stars.”

   The reply caught Alex off guard.  “What would it take to convince you?”  There was a long pause before Christopher replied.

   “You would have to promise to help me bury my family.”


*   *   *

Magistracy of Canopus
Thraxa
Capital City Spaceport
December 9 3022


   Liuetenant Wilik Fore extended his hand and grasped Captain Bishops hand tightly.  “It's good to see you again my friend, though I am still surprised it is so soon.”  The mans sharp eyes stared out at the tarmac in a reminiscent way of their last meeting almost a year ago.  Alex followed his eyes to the stream of refugees exiting the Mule-Class dropship.  “I hadn't intended to return so soon either, but it seems life has a funny way of sweeping you off your feet and leading you on adventures.”  He looked back to the Thraxian Officer.  “Thank you for taking them in.  I still can't imagine what horror their life has been up until this moment.” 

   Wilik Fore shrugged and motioned for Alex to follow him.  “It's not every day a friend of the people show up and offer a rebuilding military Star League era technology.”  The Lieutenant pointed towards the Zephyr hovercraft now parked some distance away from the dropship.  “Besides, its Magistracy law to help those oppressed by others and give them a fair chance at life.  It was mighty fine of you to bring them here at your own expense.  It must have cost you a small fortune.”  Alex cast a quick glance at his friend as they walked into the small bar the spaceport offered to new arrivals.

   “Funny you say that Wilik.”  Alex couldn't help but let a growing smile raise his cheeks.  “Long story short, my people may have inherited a Jumpship.”  The young Captain looked out the large glass windows that made up the small bars walls and up towards the sky as if looking at the ship called Typheus.  “What? Wow... Is this why your people call you Lucky?”  The Thraxian slapped Alex on the back.  “First drink is on you my friend!”

   Alex let his eyes stay locked on the sky for a few moments.  He didn't feel so much lucky as he did responsible for the lives that now looked to him for a future. 


*   *   *

   Making it through the crowd the man pulled his rags tighter around him as if for warmth.  The journey away from the cursed planet had been long, but he knew his new path had just begun.  Adept Harris took one final look back at the dropship the refugees had finished exiting and gave a message that no one else could hear.

   “Peace of Blake be with you mercenaries.  I will be seeing you again soon.”
« Last Edit: 26 August 2018, 00:05:46 by Drunkninja »

snakespinner

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #64 on: 25 August 2018, 18:40:03 »
A Crockett, Emporer and a Wyvern, plus 2 dropships.
Now that's a good way to build your unit. :thumbsup:
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.

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #65 on: 25 August 2018, 18:48:07 »
It's an origin story.  Everyone can't be Wolf's Dragoons and start with 5 regiments lol  I'm enjoying the ride of mustering these guys up.  Lots of more fun to come.  And a few twists along the way.

DOC_Agren

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #66 on: 25 August 2018, 20:15:15 »
 ???
Quote
.  “Long story short, my people may have inherited a Jumpship.”  The young Captain looked out the large glass windows that made up the small bars walls and up towards the sky as if looking at the ship called Typheus.  “What?
Did I miss this or forget???
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #67 on: 25 August 2018, 20:19:49 »
The derelict ship that was silent at the jump point.  It was the pirates, but they lost the ability to pilot it.  During the journey to return to civilization, many decided to become mercenaries instead of starting a regular life on a new world.  The ship was adopted into the unit along with the people who came with it.

Dave Talley

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #68 on: 25 August 2018, 20:25:36 »
now just need to get some parts and some crew and go pick it up
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

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

DOC_Agren

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #69 on: 25 August 2018, 21:32:13 »
The derelict ship that was silent at the jump point.  It was the pirates, but they lost the ability to pilot it.  During the journey to return to civilization, many decided to become mercenaries instead of starting a regular life on a new world.  The ship was adopted into the unit along with the people who came with it.
So how were the pirates getting around?  or have they been stuck for the 10 years?
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #70 on: 25 August 2018, 21:35:51 »
They were marooned on Vixen for over 10 years without proper crew to use their Jumpship.

Motsognir

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #71 on: 25 August 2018, 23:28:52 »
Drunkninja, I’m pretty sure an Invader JumpShip only has three DropShip Collars, not four. However, the truly ancient Liberty Class JumpShip, and the somewhat less old but just as unlikely, Royalty Class JumpShip, both have four docking collars and look like larger Invaders.

Just a thought. Otherwise great stuff, keep it coming. 

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #72 on: 25 August 2018, 23:35:04 »
Gah! You're right! I'll fix it when I'm in front of a computer. Thank you!

Intermittent_Coherence

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #73 on: 29 August 2018, 09:31:35 »
Upon leaving Thraxa the Privateers were short on mechwarriors for the machines they gained from that world.  A Loose TO&E at the point would have looked like

Whitworth - Light Damage - CO Alexander "Lucky" Bishop - 4/4 Regular
Panther - Light Damage - XO Martha "Peg Leg" McKay - 4/5 Regular
Jenner - Engine Damage - Liam Grant - 4/5 Regular
Blackjack - Repaired - Brian Swanky - 5/6 Green
Trebuchet - Light Damage - Zephyr Tenneson - 5/6 Green

Vindicator - Gyro and Engine Damage
Cicada - Engine and Leg Damage
Hermes - Gyro Damage
Wolverine - Head Damage
Centurion - Leg Damage
Warhammer - Leg Damage

Other Assets would be things like 2x Prime Movers, Union Dropship Ascending Night  and some equipment, armor and munitions left over.  Did this up from memory and looking at my old game write ups but I think it's mostly accurate.
Didn't you also down a Stinger right after the Warhammer? Should have head damage or something as well.
Between it, the Hermes, the Jenner and the Cicada, you've got enough for a recon/skirmish lance.

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #74 on: 29 August 2018, 13:02:22 »
If I remember that game (it was sooooo long ago now) I vaguely remember that Stinger being cored on paper.  During writing I wanted to make its death a little flashy.  Maybe I didn't detail the scene quite enough to describe it was truly destroyed.  The Hermes and Cicada will be out of action for a bit.  The resources to repair their damages at the moment were still out of reach.  We're getting there though..... a full company mustered may be on the horizon...or perhaps total destruction.....who knows...catch it all on the next episode of Emerald (Dragon) and (Ball) Gold (Z)!!!!!!!!!

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #75 on: 29 August 2018, 20:55:34 »
Chapter 17
Magistracy of Canopus
Thraxa, Nadir Jump Point
Jumpship Typheus
December 31 3022


   Alex sat alone in the small conference room on board the jumpship Typheus.  Multiple noteputers lay open in front of him showing data pertaining to his growing units financial status.   Displayed on his primary computer screen was a manifest detailing all the men and material at the disposal of his unit, Bishops Privateers.  The Captain at the moment was feeling a little overwhelmed with the growth rate at which he was expanding and decided that next time he made planet fall he needed to hire someone to take care of his book keeping.  That is if maintenance costs didn't make them destitute first.

   Following the conclusion of the VixenCorp contract, Alex had budgeted enough money to pay his people and be able to afford light refits to his machinery if the mission ended up being a slug fest.  What he hadn't accounted for was having to hire crews for multiple space faring craft and feed a large amount of refugees turned mercenary.  The expenses for his unit had sky rocketed and he quickly realized he was in over his head. 

   The door to the room opened and, looking up from his work, Alex saw the first people he had asked to join him in a meeting had arrived.  Martha walked in, a rare luxury in outer space thanks to the small grav deck aboard the jumpship, and was quickly followed by Christopher Hytuli.  The two seemed deep in a conversation about the current state of McKay' Wolverine' cockpit and almost didn't notice their Captain.  Clearing his throat, Alex brought both of their attentions to him.  “Good of you to join me.  Take a seat.”  Looking at his chronometer, he added “The others should be joining us soon.”

   As if on queue, more people filed into the small conference room and took their seats.  Joining the others were Captain Schimtz from the Ascending Night, Sergeant Anders Olsen, the giant of a man from the rescued castaways, Master technician Cole Warren and a new face, Sergeant Melissa Muller, a woman who had been in charge of maintaining William Roax' tanks.  Alex waited for everyone to settle in before speaking, and made eye contact with all to ensure their attention.

   “I wanted all of you together to discuss a few matters at hand and the direction the unit will be taking onward.”  The young Captain raked fingers back through his black, messy hair as was becoming a habit when he was nervous about talking to people.  “I'll be blunt.  With the current size the unit has attained in material, we will not be able sustain effective upkeep unless we procure more lucrative contracts.”  A redundant statement, but a useful contrast for the risk he was about to put forward.  “That being said, it has come to my attention thanks to our new members, that we are not yet able to look for more work.  There is something we must do for our growing family.”  Alex gave Hytuli a meaningful look.

   “What could be so important as to risk the units well being, Major?”  Lieutenant McKay asked the question he knew that would be and should be asked.  He valued Martha above all others and honestly didn't know how far he would have come without her.  “When we chose to rescue those marooned on Vixen, we only saved half of those who were controlled by Roax.  The other half were left aboard a station in a dead system.”  Alex let those words sink in for those who were not aware of the pirates base of operations.

   To better explain, Sergeant Olsen spoke up.  “Who ever endorsed Roax to cause trouble on the Draconis/Lyran boarder offered up a few locations that he could use as covert locations to strike from with impunity.”  Anders drew a mock diagram on the table with his finger.  “It seems a clerical error must have revealed a possible location near the Magistracy/Free Worlds border.  When William decided to cut and run, he made for those coordinates and we migrated away from his shadow sponsor to an entirely new part of the sphere.  When we finally arrived, we did indeed find something.  There was an ancient Star League supply depot built on an asteroid.  It was empty, but all of its life support systems were functional, so that is where we settled down.”

   Finishing the tale, Alex chimed back in.  “There are people, friends and family, that may need our help there.  I know the odds of these people being alive are very small, but I can't ignore that they may be.”  He nodded towards Christopher.  “I owe it to those who joined our ranks.  Besides that, I am informed that the rest of Roax' assets are located there.  Nothing much in the way of battlemechs, but Sergeant Muller tells me there should be at least a company's worth of light tanks.  This is something we should not ignore, despite the obvious risks of jumping into an unpopulated system.”

   “What of the star base itself, Major?  That's some fancy set up to just gut and leave behind.”  Cole still appeared shocked about the facts he had just learned, but as always the mans inquisitive nature didn't stop.  “We will be playing that by ear.  People do not tend to travel these systems, as we have recently been reminded, because of the dangers.  If it is still in a condition to be utilized, then precautions will be designed to avoid being trapped due to any reason.”  Alex took a deep breathe and forged onward.  “Once we leave that system, we will then head to the Bass system.  There, we will deliver any surviving refugees from the station and look for work.  If we find none, then we will move on towards Canopus IV to possibly liquidate some of our bloated assets, produce funds and hopefully find work.”

   “Last but not least, after discussing this in some depth with Christopher and Cole, I have decided we will not be fielding the Emperor battlemech.”  Everyone except both technicians suddenly appeared confused.  “The machine will be the beginnings of a unit protocol named Omega.  Since we cannot hope to maintain this sort of lostech for any number of engagements, I have decided that it will be only used if our dropships ever become in danger.  The same goes for any other lostech machines we may find or repair, such as the Crockett.  Are there any questions?”

   Many questions followed.

*   *   *

   Adept Harris exited the HPG facility and walked along the nicely kept paths that wrapped around the building.  It was good to be back in civilization and despite the Free Worlds League being a very long journey from his home, the man was content to know he was once again free.  The report he had written up pertaining to The Missing Jolly Roger was now on its way to his overseers and he was once again on his way towards his destiny. 

   Reaching the end of the cobble path, Harris met with a tall man wearing an out of style trench coat.  He casually smoked a thick cigarette and acknowledged the Adept as he approached.  “You get me my money?”  The mans voice was slurred and rough.  Harris nodded and continued walking , the large mercenary fell in beside him  “You will receive half now and half when we are finished.”  As the bigger man laughed his approval, the ComStar acolyte nodded in agreement to the excitement.

   It was time to claim his prize.

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #76 on: 08 September 2018, 18:04:41 »
A note about this chapter.  I admit to having a lot of trouble figuring out how to write it.  Sorry for the delay.


Chapter 18
Magistracy of Canopus
Dead System
Black Site, Sailor's Refuge
March 19 3023


   It was a tragedy, pure and simple.  Anyone who had ever said “It's a pirates life for me” did not consider the potential disasters that could befall them.  The smell of death permeated every inch of the forgotten star base.  The source being multitudes of bodies locked in their final pose of agony either from starving to death or suicide.  Alex walked the halls of the tomb and what he saw hardened another piece of his soul into cold steel.

   As he approached a pair of infantrymen, one of them rose to their feet as the other zipped up a child that appeared to have been killed by their mother before she had taken her own life.  Alex recognized Sergeant Olsen once he turned and addressed the Captain with a salute.  “Sir, we've run out of body bags.  Permission to cannibalize field tents to continue clean up.”  He saw the restraint in the mans eyes to hold back the raw emotions he knew he must of been feeling.  “Permission granted... and Anders.  I am truly sorry.”  The Sergeant nodded and walked off to find his make shift supplies.

   Walking past the other soldier, Alex noticed that the man now leaned over both bags and held them while sobbing “I am so sorry” into the black, sterile plastic.  Were they once this man's family?  The thought sent a tremor through the mercenaries being.  All because of a tyrants greed.  The universe was a brutal place, ruled by merciless people and every single day it seemed to want to remind Alexander of those very facts.

   Continuing his tour, Captain Bishop stopped again.  This time in front of an old Star League wall insignia that had been vandalized by graffiti.  The words “Freedom is Dead” were painted roughly across the Cameron Star burst in a bright orange.  The image reminded Alex of what Christopher had explained to him about the hidden supply depot.  From what the pirates had gathered from the still operational computers in the facility when they had first arrived, they learned the depot dated back to the days of the Reunification War.  It had at one time served as a secure location that was a part of the Marik supply lines that were used to conquer the Magistracy.  The Free Worlds League' involvement in that war still soured the hearts of Alexander' countrymen.  The hatred from that defeat still lingered in the Magistracy' people.

   A shadow entered the young mans mind.  My father was from the Free Worlds League.  Alexander' thoughts never had a chance to mature into anything else as the door to his left hissed open and two infantry passed by carrying a body bag.  In the room beyond he could see the person he was looking for.  Alex approached a teary eyed Christopher Hytuli who stood in front of a computer console and seemed only half focused on the task before him.  Coming up beside the technician Captain Bishop allowed the man a moment to take notice of his presence so he could compose himself.  Seeing his now commanding officer next to him, Hytuli quickly wiped one hand across his face and cleared his throat.

   “It looks like all the hardware is still here Captain Bishop.  From the Scorpion tanks, anti-personnel equipment, to the pieces of that Griffin-2N I told you about.” The techs fingers danced quickly across the consoles key screen.  “It's all in disrepair as one would imagine being the case, but it's here.”  Hytuli' eyes looked up from the screen and into the wide expanse of the supply depot' warehouse.

   “Thank you, Chris” Alex said as he placed a single hand on the techs shoulder.  “You're a man of your word.”  Before being able to offer his condolences, Alexander' communicator came to life with a message.
   
   “Alex! Get to your mech on the double!”  It was Martha McKays voice and she sounded frantic.  “We have two incoming Leopard dropships.  Could be pirates, or worse.”  Bishop' mind suddenly raced at the news.  He looked at Hytuli and the man replied with a look of surprise on his face as to say -I don't know who it could be-.  Turning abruptly the leader of Bishop's Privateers started at full run towards the mech hangar.

*   *   *

   After escaping that blasted planet Vixen Adept Harris had traveled to the Free Worlds League and, tapping into long forgotten funds, had purchased his plan back into the good graces of ComStar.
   Following a reinforced lance of mechs' out of the mercenaries Leopard-class dropships, the Adept double checked the sensors on the rust bucket of an Orion he had bought for too many C-Bills.  “The destination isn't too far from here.  I've given you the coordinates.  Move out.” Harris said, a grin cracking his normally emotionless face.
   A rough voice crackled over the comms in response to the order.  “This is a lot of hardware to just take for a stroll on some space rock Harris.  Your money better be good.” The man sounded suspicious, his age and lack of patience bleeding into his comment.
   “Simple guard duty and a walk in the park my good Captain.  You're here as insurance, that is all.  You'll get the rest of your money after the all clear is sounded. On my word.”  And I'll have my prize, Harris thought to himself.


*   *   *

   The asteroids surface was comparable to hellscape.  Its terrain was pitted with huge craters, jagged ravines and debris fields that no sane pilot would want to navigate.  Alexander marched his Warhammer into the airless void and his mercenary band followed and did the same.  “I repeat, get any capable marines onto the Ascending Night and make a burn towards their jumpship.  No one leaves this system Schmitz!”  Captain Bishop' voice  was hoarse from barking orders.  The moment enemy forces had been detected the proverbial shit had hit the fan.

   “Sir, with all due respect, the Ares conv...”  The spacer was cut short by his enraged superior officer.  “We're not in the Innersphere, Captain!  These pirates forfeit everything the moment they touched ground.  Now get Sergeant Olsen, make the team and go!”  There was a short pause before a weak “Yes Sir” followed.

   Alexander switched channels to a direct line with Martha.  “Lieutenant, sitrep.”  The females familiar voice chimed in and began briefing him on the current situation.  “Captain, the coordinates of their Leopard' have been given to our dropships and they are prepping to engage.  On ground thus far we have confirmed a reinforced lance of mixed mediums and heavies with a light asset.  The asteroids surface is interfering with exact Ids.  This will be a tough fight, Sir.”  Alex cursed under his breath.  “We will push them back.  This facility is too important to lose.”

   During transit to the black site known as Sailor's Refuge, the young mercenary had time to contemplate the significance of controlling an off the map location.  Weighing the dangers against the idea and advantages for it, Alex had decided to wait and see the depot for himself.  Despite the horror discovered within, the Captain had concluded that the Star League facility would make for a very useful base of operation for his growing mercenary unit.  None of that would matter however, if they were to lose it before settling in.

   Opening the channel to his forces, Captain Bishop declared “All units, use the terrain to your advantage.  Focus fire and bring these pirates down.  Each mech under their arse' is ours to keep once we blow it out from underneath them!  Protect your family and protect your home!  To war!”  There was a chorus of cheers over the comms as the mercenaries pushed forward and found protective cover from the caldera that surrounded the ancient structure.


*   *   *

   Alexander watched as the enemy Orion crushed the life out of mechwarrior Zephyr' prone Trebuchet.  It's massive foot crashed down through the wreckage caused by an earlier ammo explosion and through the shielding of the mechs fusion reactor.  Relief washed over him as the mech simply died a silent death instead of erupting into a ball of crimson that would have consumed his friend.  Alex brought one of his two potent PPCs to bare against the deadly foe and fired, sending charged particles across the hellscape and into the bulwark he couldn't seem to break.  The void of space claimed more armor from the Orion' thick leg plates, but it still wasn't enough.  The mercenary throttled his Warhammer away from the dismembered Vulcan he had finally brought low and began to close distance with the enemy juggernaut.

   “You're going to pay for this.”  The young man muttered between gritted teeth.  A quick glance at his HUD told a tale that was better left unsung.  The Privateers thus far had been ravaged by the superior force and his people were now hanging on by sheer tenacity.  The loss of Tenneson' mech was a sever blow, but the brawl that was unfolding couldn't be helped as long ranged weapons were becoming scarce.

   A sudden battle cry over took Alexander' ears and he recognized the voice of Kendall Mathers, his Centurion' pilot.  “Crusader down! I repeat Crusader down!  Put my foot right through his face!”  That was good news.  That enemy in particular had caused havoc for his people with its long range support and had devoured tons upon tons of armor from their machines.  Another voice echoed his, stress very evident  in its tone.  “Then help me with the damned Pheonix Hawk!”

   Before Alex could register the call for aid was coming from Grant in his over heating Jenner, his world seemed to slow down as something happened he would remember for the rest of his days.  No one on the ground had noticed the growing shadow as the damaged Leopard fell from the sky, drawn down by the massive planetoids gravity.  The impact caught the combatants nearly unaware, the massive hull  of the craft sundering ground as it met the surface of the asteroid.  The ensuing shock wave blasted a wave of dust and debris outwards from the crash site, which in turn ate distance as it spread out towards the battlefield.  Alexander managed to keep his heavy Wahammer up right and on its feet, but Martha McKay was not so lucky.  Her Wolverine was knocked prone by the brutal onslaught and Alex noticed right away she was dangerously close to the enemy Orion

   The pirate didn't let the opportunity slip by.  Alexander could hear his heart beat in his ears as he watched the heavy machine turn and let loose with its autocannon into his fallen friend.  There was a brilliant flash of light as the Wolverine' short range missile ammo suddenly erupted and Lieutenant Martha McKay' screams were cut short by the concussive explosions that followed.

*   *   *

   They had won, but at what cost.  The Captain of Bishops Privateers sat alone in the warehouse of military weapons that were his prize for trading the life of his best friend.  Cold metal cut against his flesh as he squeezed the only clue he had to who the people were that had attacked his unit.  Looking down at the chained medallion that bore the insignia of ComStar, Alexander Bishop saw an adversary for his strength and hate.



For all that's following this, bare with me.  The next chapter is an important one and I hope I write it well.  Thanks for reading!

DOC_Agren

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #77 on: 11 September 2018, 15:18:13 »
3023 Comstar mech use...  I would almost wonder if it was a setup
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

chongobongo

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #78 on: 11 September 2018, 15:52:26 »
Sad to see one of the founding members go , but still a good read . Keep at , really enjoying it .

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #79 on: 11 September 2018, 22:12:25 »
Chapter 19
Bass, Magistracy of Canopus
June 10 3023

   Dust kicked up into the air as the jeep bounced along the countryside road.  The tan colored vehicle blended in with the dull landscape as it neared its destination.  The trip had felt longer than normal, Alexander lacking his regular travelling companion, now dead and her ghost already haunting him.  In her stead, silently sitting in the passenger side seat was Christopher Hytuli, a man that as time went on, seemed more and more a person the Captain could confide in.

   The two stopped at an old gate that blocked off entry into the massive plot of land that they intended to visit.  A rusty sign hung heavy on its front that stated “Private Property.  No Trespassing”.  Chains and multiple locks kept the entrance to the land hold securely shut from anyone driving through.  “I guess we walk.”  Alex said and parked the jeep on one side of the road.  “Doesn't look like they want any visitors.  You really think this is a good idea?”  Hytuli seemed nervous, his eyes locked onto the expanse that lay barred before them.  “Feel free to stay here and play guard dog if you'd like, but I'm going.”  The mercenaries determination was very evident in his matter of fact tone.

   The technician gave a shrug and hopped out of the jeep.  “I guess I've survived worse.  Lets do this.”  Alex followed suit and jumped onto the road side.  Climbing over the unwelcoming fence, they both started down the road once again on foot and towards the unknown coordinates the orphans uncle had left in his care.

   It was about an hours walk before the pair drew near their destination.  As they closed with the coordinates, they began to feel the familiar rhythmic tremors caused by the heavy foot falls of a battlemech.  The tree line had grown thicker along the sides of the dirt road and hid what ever machine was near by.  Hytuli started to fidget with the loose fitting cover-alls he always seemed to wear.  “So, you're sure this is something you want to do Captain?”  The mans eyes scanned the treeline, desperate to find the source of his concern.  “I mean, couldn't we send a courier or something to try and set up a meeting?”  Alex ignored his friend and continued to walk in silence, marching toward the answers he sought.

   A turn in their path led the mercenaries to the location that matched the address that was acquired from Eric' hidden archive.  At the end of the road the property opened up into a large farm style homestead surrounded by trees.  It only took a moment to find the source of the ground tremors, as both men could see a large, armless mech modified with an odd harness system pulling what appeared to be a massive boulder of ore into a large structure that stood not far from a conventional styled farm house.  The weird machine was much too large to be any chassis of agro or forestry mech, but then again the Periphery always had its secrets and surprises.

   The two approached the house, but before they reached the door to knock, an old man exited the front holding a large slug thrower and leveled it at the mercenaries.  “This is private property! Who the hell are you and you got two seconds before I start putting holes in ya!”  Alex and Hytuli both immediately raised their hands into the air.  “Sorry for the intrusion, but I was hoping you could help me.”  Staring at the stranger in front of him, Captain Bishop was almost positive it was the forth mystery person from the photographs he had found on Thraxa.  “Like hell, get outta here!”  The old man walked closer towards the two men with his gun raised, then he stopped suddenly and looked as if he had seen a ghost.  Stammering out “Just who the hell are you?”

   Slowly Alex reached down to his pocket and slipped out the photograph, holding it up so the man could see.  “My name is Alexander Bishop.  I'm trying to find this man and ask him if he knew my parents.”  The Captain tried to ignore the foot falls of the large mech as it approached, but the tension of the moment made him second guess what he was doing.  That is, until he watched the old man slowly lower the gun, his face having gone ashen white.  “Of all the gods above and devils below... I can't believe it.”  The strangers hands visibly began to tremble.  “This is a trick, do you have any proof of who you are?”  Again Alex slowly reached into his jacket and pulled out his mother's ring and let it dangle on its chain.  “I have this.  My uncle said it belonged to my mother.  In my back pack I have a brown leather flight jacket that belonged to my father.  That's all I have”.

   Seconds dragged on as the mech stopped only a dozen or so feet away from the encounter.  Breaking the silence, its external speakers boomed.  “Pa, is everything ok?”  The old man motioned for the pilot to come down out of the mech and then asked the pair “Nobody followed you here, right?”  Alexander looked at Hytuli and then back to the stranger.  “Not as far as I could tell.  Our vehicle was left behind at the gate though.”  The fusion reactor of the large mech died and its cockpit hatch opened revealing a younger man wearing a cooling vest. 

   “You two fella's want to come inside then?  Seems we have some things to talk about.”  The old man looked down the road where Alex had come from and then turned and walked back towards his house.  Both Privateers followed him inside the front door and as they took off their army boots heard the man call out “Sarah, we have guests.  Put on some coffee.” 

   Being led into the home, Alexander was offered a seat on a comfortable sofa in a well kept living area.  Family pictures decorated the walls and antique china sat in hand made cabinet sets.  The smell of homemade soup attacked the senses and soon the aroma of coffee followed.  The old man sat down in what Alex guessed to be his favorite chair and rest the slug thrower against its arm.  “Now then, if what you say is true, you know that I'm in that photo ya got there.  Mind if I see that jacket of yours?”  Alex unshouldered his backpack and pulled out the old leather jacket and, hesitating a moment, handed it over.  The man closely inspected it, especially taking his time when running fingers over the spot where the unit patch had been torn away.
   
        “I guess I should introduce myself.  My name's Henry.  That young fella...”  He motioned to the pilot who had just joined them. “...is my son Malcolm.”  As if on queue an older woman carrying a tray with hot coffee walked into the living room and offered drinks.  “This here is my wife Sarah.”  Henry carefully accepted a coffee from his wife.  “What is it you're looking to find out exactly.  Its been over twenty years since I had anything to do with your parents.”  Alex accepted the drink and blew on it before taking a sip.  “This is Christopher.”  He motioned to the technician and with all introductions out of the way took a deep breath and forged onward.  “All I have are these few objects and pictures and a whole lot of questions.  I want to know who they were.  I don't even know their names...”  The young mans voice trailed off as he pleaded with the stranger.

   Henry left the statement hanging in the air a moment as he tasted the thick coffee, closed his eyes and settled back into his chair.  “Your fathers name was Philip.  A great man.  The photo you have there is from our glory days of being the command lance for a mercenary unit called the Devils Wake.”  The old man smiled to himself as he thought back to another time.  “We were a gutsy lot with a pretty wild assortment of machinery.  Your father piloted a battlemech called a Lancelot.  One hell of a mechwarrior with courage like no other.”

   “Your mothers name was Imani.  What a gorgeous woman she was.  Never met such a beauty in my whole life, well mind you except for Sarah here.”  The old man gave a wink and a grin at his wife who had sat down to join them.  “Your dad fell head over heels for your mom, but I can't say I blame him.  Besides beautiful, she was a strong soul.”  Alex saw a pained look cross Henry' face.  “After those two met, there was no separating them.”

   “How did they meet?” Alexander hung on to ever word the old man was saying.

   “The Devil' use to take all sort of missions others would refuse.  Our tech and guts were our selling point.  The whole lot of us were Leaguer'.  At one point we were hunting some nasty pirates out here on the fringe of the Magistracy.  Well, it was more like towards the deep Periphery.  Anyway, at one point things went sour and the four of us ya see in your photo there got separated from our battalion.  Bad luck have it we stumbled onto the no goods base and their guard where they were holding all the good folk prisoner.  After some nasty fighting we saved the lot of them, your mother included.”  Henry pulled out a small chain he wore and showed Alex and Christopher the Canopus Cluster award he wore.  “We won some medals that day.”  The old man laughed as he continued to remember.

   “Henry... how did my parents die?”  Alex tried to keep the emotion from his voice but failed.  The old merc took a deep breath and explained to the orphan what he had always wondered about.  “Well, you see lad that some folks didn't like to see a Canopian marry a Leaguer.  That old hatred goes pretty deep.  Worse still, when they heard about little you, some horrible people did some horrible things.  The hospital where you were born was blown up.  I thought you dead all these years.”

   Alexander tried to process the information, but he was having trouble.  “I don't understand.  Why was it such a big deal for a man from the Free Worlds League to marry a woman from the Magistracy?”

   The old man looked Alexander dead in the eye.  “You're aunt Tamara didn't approve of her much younger sister and her fraternizing with foreigners.  You see son, your mother was Imani Centrella.”

DOC_Agren

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #80 on: 11 September 2018, 22:25:46 »
Well that I didn't see coming he is a Centrella
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Motsognir

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #81 on: 11 September 2018, 23:14:20 »
Heh, nice twist! Keep it coming Drunkninja.

snakespinner

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #82 on: 12 September 2018, 01:49:45 »
And here I thought the Centrella's would have sex I mean fraternise with anybody. >:D
Interesting twist. :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: 12 September 2018, 01:51:42 by snakespinner »
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.

Sharpnel

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #83 on: 12 September 2018, 02:03:01 »
NM
Consigliere Trygg Bender, KGC-01BL King Crab, The Blazer Mafia
Takehiro 'Taco' Uchimiya, VND-1R Vindicator 'Taco', Crimson Oasis Trading Company
Tai-i Shizuko Lofgren, Third Infantry Company, Oniwaka

The Honor of Men cannot be bound by the words of Fools - Marco Hietala
"Of what use is a dream, if not a blueprint for courageous action" -Adam West
It's an Omni, so I can build it into whatever I please - JHB
"Life is too short to be living someone else's dream" - Hugh Hefner

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #84 on: 22 September 2018, 17:34:49 »
An update is coming soon guys!  Had to paint up all the new units for the battles that will determine how the story goes.  I've officially run out of battle material.  Keep an eye out!

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #85 on: 25 September 2018, 20:07:02 »
Chapter 20
Bass, Magistracy of Canopus
June 10 3023


   “What?”  It wasn't Alexander who spoke, but Hytuli.  “What do you mean his mother was Imani Centrella.  That would make him a royal.”  The Privateer tech looked at his friend.  “I mean, I've been stranded on a rock for a long time but that can't be right.  There was never any whispers about a Magistracy civil war or succession problems.  Hell, I've barely heard about Imani Centrella for that matter.” 

   A brief silence followed the Lyrans awkward outburst before Henry, still looking at Alex, continued.  “History is written by the victors.  There may well have been a war.  Sure as hell we were gearing up for one as things got tense in the shadows.  Before things came to a boiling point though, we lost Phillip and Imani to that bomb.  Your uncle Eric decided to save a lot of lives instead of fighting for the dead.”  The old mercenary held a steady gaze at young Alex.  “Revenge wasn't worth starting a war over, so we all decided to disappear and move on with our lives.  All be it with broken hearts.”

   Alexander remained quiet for another moment before speaking.  The overwhelming facts bombarding his thought process like a warship from orbit.  Finally, regaining some semblance of speech he said “That's a lot to take in.  I never imagined my parents would be people like that.” He paused and then continued.  “Something still doesn't sit right with me though.  I've spent my whole life thus far within the Magistracy.  I'm no politician but I have some understanding how succession works.  Even if my mother sought the throne she would have to be voted into power by the Central Committee.  With being much younger than Tamara and not very well known, I don't understand how she would contend.  There's more to this than a displeasure with foreigners.”

   Henry stared Alexander up and down, taking in everything about the young man that was sat across from him, a mask of seriousness blanketing his face.  Suddenly, after a crucial moment the retired mercenary laughed.  “You certainly are your parents child.  There's no doubt about that.  The people from both your bloodlines always seemed too smart for their own good.”  The old man motioned his hand at Christopher, thumbing in his direction.  “You trust this fellow or should we carry on this discussion in private?”  Alex looked at his friend and then back to the mechwarrior.  “I'd like to think with my life.”  Henry nodded.  “Very well. There's no doubt in my mind that you're who you say you are.  I could swear there's two ghosts sat right in front of me as I look at you.”

   “Here's the thing.  When we were out runnin' round in the Deep Periphery and found your mother, we found something else.  Now, I'm not going to tell you what we found, but I'm damned sure it's still there as I haven't seen it on any new broadcasts.  You might be your parents son, but they didn't raise you.  Take my word for it though, Imani had a strong claim to being Magestrix because of what she could bring to the table.”  Henry took a long drink from his coffee, savoring the taste.  “Even if Tamara lived out her full rule as the leader of the realm, she had her eye on wanting Kyalla to take her place.  With her younger sisters age and all, she threatened the chances of that as well.”

   “Now then, I got some questions of my own.  How in the Devils name did you come to find all this out, being dead and all?”  Alex took his turn to speak and explained.  “Well, my Uncle Eric only made a few appearances in my life.  One was to rescue me from an orphanage and set me up with my own home and schooling.  The other was to will me some of his belongings.”

   Henry frowned.  “So old Eric is dead then.  That's too bad.  I missed him.”  Alex nodded.  “Yeah, he's gone.  He willed me his estate and some wealth.  Among all of his possessions I found storage locations for his Whitworth and Panther battlemechs.  That's how I was able to start a mercenary unit.”  Captain Bishop paused as he couldn't help notice the funny smirk Henry now wore on his face.  “What?”

   “You telling me he gave you two of our worst mechs'?”  The old timer laughed again.  “I'm sorry son, it's just funny.  Those two machines were our training wheels for the new guys.  The fellas Eric wanted to train...”  Henry trailed off.  “That sly old coot.  Even when dying he couldn't but be the clever ass he always was.  Alex son, your uncle was a genius.”  Seeing the expression on Alexanders face, he added.  “Mind you, it might have seemed like he abandoned you but your uncle never did anything without reason.  Sounds like old Eric took the smart route and tossed you out on your own to save your ass as well as his.  Maybe even all of ours.”

   “That would explain a lot.”  Alex reflected.  “Eric basically left me with a riddle that eventually let me find a database hidden inside of his Whitworth.  A map that led me to you and potentially others was among the wealth of information, along with more riddles.”  Captain Bishop took a deep breath.  “It all makes some sort of sense now.  Thank you, Henry.” 

   The older man had come to look a little sour.  “Despite the nature of the information, I feel comfortable sharing it with you.  Although I find myself upset with your uncle, as he wasn't suppose to leave any trails to the rest of us when we parted ways.  He must have taken some sort of stock in you as a person and decided it was worth the risk.”  Henry Rush took another sip of his coffee and then stroked his chin in thought.  “Perhaps if you proved yourself competent he wanted to give you an opportunity to choose your own path concerning the fate of your parents.  That sounds like something Eric would do.”  The last living member the Devils Wake command lance leaned toward Alex meaningfully.  “Which begs the question, what do you want to do with that information young man?”

   The three others in the living room hung on to every word both men were saying, the tale a complex and twisting story.  Silence hung in the air as the leader of the Privateers attempted to form some sort of satisfactory answer.  “If what you say is true and Tamara Centrella had my parents murdered, then their killer is beyond my reach for she is dead.  If her daughter Kyalla is innocent of this affair, then there isn't much I can do but move forward.  My mercenary unit Bishops Privateers has become my family and my bond is now with them.  I do not see a need to cause suffering for the Canopian people by revealing who I am and starting a war for the sake of the dead.”

   Henry slowly nodded and finished his coffee.  Placing the cup down on an end table he smiled at the young Captain.  “I feel son, your parents would be proud of you.  Though here we sit speaking of secrets woven inside secrets, you choose the higher moral ground and let those innocent remain untouched by our woes.  I understand that you may feel detached from any sort of duty to the Magistracys people, but I feel honor bound to your parents to say something.  Despite you following the sell swords path, I want you to remember one thing.  Your name is Alexander Bishop-Centrella and your mother died for her people.  Never forget that in your blood, they are your people as well.”

   Alex nodded his head.  “That I can swear and promise to respect.”  The intense moment was suddenly broken by Henry clapping his hands together and laughing.  “Splendid!  Well then, I'd like for you and your friend here to stay for a while, even if it's just for a few days, and share stories with us of your own exploits and perhaps I could share some of mine.  It's been a while since we've had visitors.  I'd also enjoy to see if my son takes a liking to your unit and their standards.”

   “Dad?”  Malcolm looked at his father questioning.  “Oh hush, you know you've always wanted to test your mettle.  If you find these lads to your liking you might as well join them and go on your own adventures.  I say it's about darn time to show the universe the sort of mechwarrior my son turned out to be!”

   Hytuli once again injected himself into the conversation.  “Speaking of which sir, I'm curious.  What sort of mech is that outside?  I've seen many in my day but that one is surprisingly alien to me.”  A broad grin crossed the old mans face.  “That out there is a family heirloom.  Mah draggin' goon.  She's pretty old but a relic from some darker times.  My family has kept her in fighting trim though and have passed on her secrets down through the years.  You won't be finding many parts for her though, most are extinct, but there's a few bits and pieces left here with us that should ensure my son would get some use out of er' on a battlefield.”  Henry looked at his son Malcolm with pride on his face.  “Her designation is Dragoon.  And she belongs to mah son here.” 

   The old man looked back at Alex.  “While we're on the topic, your uncle piloted something called a Thug.  If you ever see it, you'll understand why I laughed when you said he gave you a Whitworth!

Motsognir

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #86 on: 25 September 2018, 22:23:10 »
Great story, Drunkninja. Alex might be taking the high road, but I wonder for just how long he will get away with it.

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #87 on: 25 September 2018, 22:35:38 »
For me this has turned into a long term project.  Basically a units origin story first and then where ever their feet takes them!  If there's one thing we know about the Innersphere it's that good things never last.

snakespinner

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #88 on: 26 September 2018, 02:14:17 »
The uncle having a Thug. Now that would be an interesting addition to the unit.
A Dragoon, that's the old rwr mech, nice. :thumbsup:
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.

Drunkninja

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Re: Emerald and Gold
« Reply #89 on: 26 September 2018, 15:16:26 »
Chapter 21
Canopus IV, Magistracy of Canopus
Crimson City
October 24 3023



   In other news the Merchant Jumpship Silver Star has gone missing!  Not having arrived at her destination the ship is now suspect for being the target of pirate attack or worse, a misjump.  As always folks, your ears is our mouth!  Make sure to call in and let us know any news you might find important!

   News Network The Eagle Now!
   Bayindar, Free Worlds League


   Canopus IV, the heart world of the Magistracy of Canopus.  Capital world of the Periphery state and seat of power for its Magestrix Kyalla Centrella.  This was the place to be if you were a person who wanted to rub elbows outside the Successor States of the Innersphere.  With a respectable industry base and a night life like no other, who would want to be anywhere else?

   Alexander Bishop could not wait to leave.
   
   Out of necessity he had brought his growing mercenary unit Bishop's Privateers here aboard their newly aquired Jumpship Typheus.  Despite his rolling successes in contracts and outrageous luck in acquiring equipment he had no business finding, the butchers bill was coming due.

   Almost all of his Battlemechs were broken.

   The late night streets of Crimson were alive with people and their revels.  Alex made his way through the crowds and stopped in front of a large building with a neon sign he was told to look for.  Staring up for a moment he watched the lights flicker in a pattern to simulate a woman taking off her blouse and winking at the people below.

   "Here we go I guess." Bishop said under his breath to no one in particular and pushed his way past a pair of bouncers.  The inside of the night club was vibrating from loud music that the local youth apparently loved while the patrons were being assaulted by strobe lasers that eerily reminded Alex of a battlefield.

   Elbowing his way past a topless woman promising him a good time, Alexander began his search for the man he was suppose to meet.  The Captain decided fighting enemies trying to kill him were much easier opponents than the trade workers local to the area.

   After twenty minutes of defending himself from more naked women than he had seen in his entire adult life, Alexander finally found his contact.  Sitting in a private booth overlooking the main stage area, a woman in each of his arms, was one of his two senior Techs Christopher Hytuli.

   After burying his wife not that many months ago, despite her being dead for years, Hytuli had found solace in one of the Magistracy' main industries.  The Pleasure Circus.  Already proving to be an invaluable asset to Bishop' Privateers Alexander turned a blind eye to his indulgences.

   Tonight was pushing it.

   "Captain Bishop!" Hytuli yelled over the music, a broad grin dancing on his face.  It was obvious the man was already drunk.

   Alex took a seat on an overstuffed bench near the three and leaned in before shouting "This had better be good." Then looking at the two girls continued "Can we at least talk in private?"  The tech was thirty five years older than his commanding officer but only insubordinate while intoxicated.

   "Bah, these beauties can celebrate the good news with us Captain!" If it was possible the mans grin grew wider. "I found it!"

   "Found what?" Bishop inquired as he politely declined the advances of the woman on Hytuli' right arm. He hated games and this was rapidly fraying his patience.  Despite being a very young leader Alex prided himself on his professionalism.

   "Captain, I found a cockpit assembly for the old bucket." The tech cheered and the two sex workers joined in, bouncing and laughing.  Immediately Alex knew what his friend was talking about.  His inner eye could see the battle taking place in the ruined city.  The moment his second in command had killed the Bandit King Raux with a large laser strike to the head followed up by explosive short range missiles that had blown out the Crocketts cockpit.

   Alex drew himself away from the battlefield and back to the present.  Since Vixen and Hytuli leveraging his services so Alex would save the castaways that were marooned on that world, he could not deny the mans worth.  Despite the techs current behavior he had potentially outdone himself yet again.

   "Where is it Christopher?  I can't be wasting time here and you know it.  I have mouths to feed and we have an agenda to keep."  Alex again refused the advances of the woman near him as she tried to whisper something in his ear. He noticed that her eyes then stole a look behind him and a small frown flattened her lips.  Turning around Alexander looked up to make eye contact with a woman dressed in a Magistracy Armed Forces uniform.  Noticing the silver pips on her cuffs Captain Bishop slowly rose to his feet and saluted a fellow mechwarrior.

   The woman returned a crisp salute. "Are you Captain Alexander Bishop of Bishop's Privateers?" The soldier remained at parade rest and seemed unphased by any of the going ons in the surrounding bar. 

   This situation seemed odd as Bishop was wearing civilian clothing.  How did she even guess who he was?  "I am." He simply replied, knowing not to waste time with questions.  Alex would know very soon what this was about.  His mind briefly raced back to his meeting with Henry Rush on Bass.

   The woman stiffened her stance.  "You are to come with me."  Hard blue eyes stared directly at Captain Bishop.  "By order of Magestrix Centrella."  With that the soldier smartly turned and exited the balcony without waiting for Alexander to answer.

   Glancing back down at Hytuli, Alex saw the man looking stunned and trying to rise to his feet.  "Stay here." Was all he said to his tech before following the Armed Forces member off the balcony.

*   *   *

   There had been an armored car waiting outside the peeler bar.  Standing next to it, rear passenger door held open, was the same Magistracy soldier.  “After you, Captain Bishop” the woman calmly said as she motioned inside the vehicle with a single movement of her hand. 

   Alex settled into the vehicle.  The driver he noted also wore the clothing of the Magistracy Armed Forces and had an additional shoulder insignia of “MP” on their arm.  A military helmet with visor hid the persons sex.  Once the female soldier had taken her place in the front passenger side the armored car started to move.

   Remaining silent for a moment, Bishop waited for some clue to why he had been collected in such a manner.  When none came he cleared his throat and decided to finally get some answers.

   “You clearly know who I am.  Might I inquire to who you are?”  His question was aimed at the steely eyed Magistracy mechwarrior, but it was the MP who replied.  “The fiery spirited one that collected you is Lance Corporal Williams” the now clearly female driver stated.  “I'm her lowly body guard First Ranker Lopez.”  The MP raised her hand in an informal wave directed at the back seat.

   The Corporal shot an icy stare at her subordinate.  “Show some restraint and professionalism First Ranker or I'll have you busted down to Volunteer again.”  The armored car hit a rather deep pot hole bouncing all inside.  The Lance Corporal turned back to face Captain Bishop.  “We are apart of the Magistracy Support Corps.  As it is our duty to manage mercenary activity within our sovereign borders, we are your chosen ride to bring you to the Magestrix upon her orders.”

   Alex pondered on that for a moment before carefully replying “My unit currently has no contract with Canopus.” The armored car made a turn towards what looked to be a military installation.  “Even if the Privateers did, wouldn't it be your commanding officers that I should be meeting with, not with the Magestrix herself?” The mercenary leader started to become tense.  There's no way they know.  Hell, I only found out.

   “That is not for me to answer.  I am loyal to Canopus and not dare question our rulers wishes.” The Corporal turned away from Alex and fell silent once more.

   Bishop leaned back in his seat.  This whole thing stank of more than just a military meeting.  Alarms went off in his minds eye as he realized it was possibly something much worse.  Politics.

*   *   *

   The security detail for the complex Alex was being led through was tight.  After multiple body searches, questions and ID checks he was certainly convinced that he was indeed being taken to see someone important.

   There hadn't been much more conversation between him and his two Canopian escorts despite the side long glances First Ranker Lopez kept giving him.  There was something odd about her smile.  It wasn't exactly reassuring, but somehow it relieved his tension.  After disembarking the armored car she had removed her helmet.  Alexander had been surprised by the long red hair, pale complexion and green eyes her gear had kept hidden.  Not exactly what he expected out of a military woman.   Then again, Alex had never spent time on Canopus IV.  Perhaps it was acceptable due to the Matriarchy.

   “Here we are” Lance Corporal Williams flatly stated.  She handed identification to the two armed guards that stood watch at a pair of heavy set doors made of polished mahogany.  “Be on your best behavior Captain Bishop.  Do not get within five paces of the Magestrix or you will be shot.  We will remain outside and wait for your return.”

   The two sentries opened the door for Alex and as he went inside he couldn't help notice the playful wink that Lopez gave him as he passed by. 

   Walking into the next room was like entering into another world.  You would have never known it was at the heart of a military installation.  A stone strewn path meandered away from the door into a vast, enclosed garden.  The sound of a babbling stream was mixed with the chirping of birds that were hidden somewhere in lush undergrowth.

   Alex followed the trail until he came to a small grove of large ferns.  At its center lounging on a comfortable looking, padded bench was Kyalla Centrella.  Laying on her side casually, the Magestrix gently swayed a green fern through the air in front of her.  The movements drew attention to her like-colored, silken green dress.  Its material clinging to her shape a little too closely.

   “Ah, Captain Alexander Bishop.  What a pleasure to meet you.” Kyalla' words were thick like honey.  After a moments pause she raised grey eyes to assess the man before her, starting from his feet and slowly returning to Alex' face.  “I must admit, you out do the description I was provided with.”

   Unable to stop himself, Alex fidgeted under the powerful gaze of the Magestrix.  “This is an unexpected honor Lady Centrella, but I have to admit, I do not understand why I am here.”  The young man took a deep breath to try and calm his nerves.  It was one thing to lead a mercenary unit.  It was something completely different to be collected off the street in the middle of the night and find yourself in a meeting with the leader of a Periphery State.  This was a potentially dangerous situation.  Alexander knew he had to proceed with great caution.

   Lady Centrella seemed amused, a feline smile curled on her perfectly shaped face. “It's not often a citizen of my realm goes from being a washed out student of war to a powerful military leader.  Call me impressed.”  Kyalla' smile widened.  Slowly she leaned forward to lay the fern gently on the ground in front of her and in doing so exposed much of her bare, mocha skin to Alex.

   Citizen of my realm.

   The Magestrix rose to her feet and walked a few paces towards the mercenary leader, whom for the moment seemed hypnotized by her deliberate movements.  “I'm also informed you wear the colors of my Magistracy.  Your people honor our flag by painting your machines of war to resemble those of my House.  Is that true?”

   Kyalla now stood a mere six paces away from Alex.

   Our flag.

   Choosing his next words very carefully, the Captain proceeded.  “The Magistracy is my home.  I am proud to wear the colors of my birth place.”

   Five paces.  Four paces. Three paces.  Alex caught his breath and widened his eyes as Kyalla Centrella closed the distance between herself and him.  Fear gripped him briefly as he remembered Corporal Williams warning.  The bullet never came however, as the Magestrix laid a soft palm to the mercenary leaders cheek.

   “Are you my ally Alexander?” Kyalla' eyes soft, searching.  She left the question hanging in the air before turning away and walking toward a large frond.  Her fingers gently ran along its edge as if she were caressing a loved one.

   “Since your campaign on Thraxa I've had eyes on you.  It is important as a leader to know the people who aid in your nations victories.  It wasn't until you traded military hardware for the freedom of human lives  however, that I knew you to be a man of good character.”  She turned facing him again, her expression painted with innocence and adoration.

   “I wish to repay your kindness with generosity.  Perhaps one day we may continue this cycle and in turn you may pay me with loyalty.”  She quickly raised a hand to silence Alexander' next comment.  “For now I offer you a gift.  You came to Canopus IV in search of parts and people.  Though I cannot give you everything you seek, you will find that after your visit here my quartermaster will be a little more open to your needs.”

   Befuddled, Alexander clumsily bowed.  “Thank you Magestrix Centrella.  You are very kind.”

   Once more Kyalla approached Alex but this time the periphery leader placed a kiss on his left cheek.  “You will also be rewarded with a chance to serve our House directly.  I hope some day you may receive the full potential of my kindness.  For now, I bid you farewell.”  Turning, Magestrix Kyalla Centrella moved gracefully back to the bench, hips swaying seductively as she did so, and took a seat.

   Stealing one more glance at the beautiful leader of the Magistracy of Canopus, Alexander Bishop also turned and took his leave.  Upon reaching the other side of the door way he couldn't help but swear under his breath.

*   *   *

   The agent emerged from a thick stand of greenery.  His expression calm and calculating.  “What do you think My Lady.  Is this mercenary what you expected him to be?”  Reaching into the breast pocket of his nondescript jacket the man retrieved a handkerchief.  He casually wiped away moisture that had fallen on him from the large plants and also beads of sweat.

   Kyalla Centrella' eyes watched the exit to her garden sanctuary. She gathered her thoughts together of the meeting that had just taken place.  “He is young and inexperienced when it comes to dealing with people.  He will be easy to manipulate.  We must gain his trust and in doing so we will gain his power.”

   Standing up the Magestrix stepped on the fern she had used as a tool earlier.  “He has a Jumpship and multiple dropships.  From the material request forms you've shown me this boy potentially owns a reinforced company of Battlemechs.”  Her sharp eyes looked at her subordinate, cunning and determined.

   “Deploy the asset.  He seemed nervous, even fearful, while here.  Nervous men have secrets.  I want to know everything there is to know about this Captain Alexander Bishop and his Privateers.”

   “As you wish Magestrix.”  The bald agent bowed, turned and left.  Behind his calm demeanor a panic began to rise.  There is no mistaking it.  That is their child.