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Author Topic: Every Man must be Tempted  (Read 7806 times)

shadowdancer

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Re: Every Man must be Tempted
« Reply #30 on: 23 January 2022, 16:20:15 »
Great story! Thanks.
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Davout73

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Re: Every Man must be Tempted
« Reply #31 on: 14 May 2022, 01:03:07 »
He had been waking up early.  It wasn't usual for him, but since he had returned from Zaniah, he found himself waking up long before the sun rose. 
At first he would lay in bed, trying to will himself back to sleep, but nothing worked, and he would get restless to the point he would wake Molly up, and she would kick him out of bed.
So he started working out again, waking up and going for a run.  At first it wasn't to far, but then distances grew, until he realized the sun had fully risen, and he was a few kilometers away from the Green.
It was an intersection, where five roads came together seemingly at random, until you realized they were logging trails, expanded into roads for the long haulers.  What gave it away were the trees, they were planted too neatly, almost perfect rows and columns.  In another ten or fifteen years, they would be ready for the harvest, and sapling planted in their place, to begin the process again.
At one point there had been some sort of structure at the intersection, but it had long since been destroyed, torn down or possibly surrendering itself to the weather.  All that remained was the concrete foundation and pad, a rectangular piece or ceramacrete that was maybe four by eight meters.  it was elevated enough that you could do some inclined exercises on it, and there was a pipe you could hook your feet under and do some situps and other exercises with.

He was in the middle of a set of situps when he heard the whine of the engine, and he didn't pay too much attention to it until it stopped, the engine turned off, and he heard a door open.  He finished his set and looked up, and saw a taller man, wearing Lyran everydays, leaning against the hood of the vehicle
"Can I help you," he asked, standing up.
"That depends," came the reply, as the man stood easily.  "Are you Colonel Andrew Davout?"
"I could be," he replied.
"My name is Karl Weisz, I'm with Section 20 of the Military Intelligence Division."  The man at the car gave a slight smile.
"Everything is in the reports, Mr. Weisz."
"With all due respect Colonel, it's not.  I was hoping you could fill in some of the blanks for me, for us really.  The periphery attacks, the numbers and systems involved, they are unprecedented sir, and we'd like to try and get some more information, maybe some actionable Intelligence from your point of view."
"Everything I needed to say, I said in my report."
"If you say so, sir."
"I do."
"I understand sir," Weisz replied, but he was already running back to the Green.

He woke up the next morning, it was still dark out.  Kissing Molly on the forehead, tucking JJ back in, he started the coffee machine, then took off.  There were few people awake at this time, those that were were security, and spent the majority of their time looking out as opposed to in, and noone bothered him as he exited the gate and began running again.  An hour or so later, he pulled up short, as he saw Mr. Weisz waiting besides his vehicle, looking at his watch.  He was still trying to figure out what to do, when Mr. Weisz turned and saw him.  By the time Weisz's upraised arm had lowered, he had turned back around, runnning towards the Green.

It went like that for a few days, He would take off running, get to the intersection, find Weisz waiting for him, and would run away.  On the seventh day, when he showed up, neither the vehicle nor Weisz was there.  There was a bag with a bottle of water, a protein bar, and a piece of paper in it.  Opening it, he saw it was a photo, and recognized it immediately, it was a satellite view of the city, with another note attached to it.
"You set the reactor to go critical, to destroy the city and hide what you really did.  Your friend Jacob Lannes stayed behind and held them off. 
I know why, Colonel, and if I were in your cockpit, I would have done the same.  I am not interested in that, I am interested in Barrington, and those supporting him.  If you do not want to talk here, that is fine. Call the numbewr below, tell me when and where, and I will meet you."

* * * * *

"Warrant Greaves," Andrew said after knocking on the door to the Intel chiefs office.  "What can you tell me about Section 20?"
Greaves almost spit out his coffee, set the mug down hard enough that some of what was inside splashed on his desk, and aftewr swallowing then coughing for a few seconds, waved the Colonel in.
"Shut the door sir.  Lock it please."  Andrew came in and obliged the warrant, whjo reached into a desk drawer and pulled out not one, but three different small pieces of electronics.  After turning them all on, he sat back down.
"Section 20 is somewhat of a misnomer.  It's actually Section XX, the number 20 is derived from the Latin numeral X, which is 10, double X being 20."
"How come I've never heard of them?"
"Because you aren't supposed to.  They're intel, but they aren't field agents, counter agents, or anything like that.  They're...data hounds.  Cryptographers, forensic accountants, tea leaf readers.  They sift thru zetabytes of data, and look for patterns, cause and effect actions, make predictive models, educated guesses, and from time to time to time some WAGS as well."
"Are they good at what they do?"
Greaves held his hand out and waggled it back and forth.
"They hit more than they miss.  DCMS troop rotations before the 4th were something they noticed first, before anyone else.  They sifted thru the data and came up with the intel used for the LCAF Deep raid in 2987, and they predicted the Marik Raids in 3006, down to the units involved."
"Did they predict what's going on the periphery now?"
Greaves paused before answering.
"Most of it.  They had a lot of the dots connected, but they didn't see the whole picture.  Given time and distances involved, you are bound to miss somethings, put somethings together too late.  The person running it now, he's a big believer in going back thru the data and trying top fill in the blanks."
"So if someone from Section 20 shows up saying they want to talk to me?"
"It means they've read the tea leaves sir, and they have 90 percent of the story, and they want the other 10%, and they'd rather get that 10% from someone who knows it rather than make something up to fit a narrative."
Andrew nodded to himself for a few seconds.
"How long did you work for them?" he asked Greaves, who took a few moments before responding.
"I didn't sir, I was down the hall and to the left for eight years until I left."
Andrew stood and nodded.
"Appreciate the help, Warrant.  If you would make a discrete inquiry to your friends still in Section 20 I would appreciate it."
"I can try sir," Greaves replied.  He waited until the Colonel had shut the door and left before turning the devices off. 
"What did I miss?" he asked himself, turning his system on, and pulling up his own reports of what had happened.   Eight hours later he was still pouring thru reports, trying to figure out how to put a puzzle together, with no ideas if you had all the correct pieces and no photo for reference.

Thanks for Reading!

Dav   
Kiiro no Torii, a Battletech AU, found here:
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,7316.0.html
Interview with a Mercenary, found here: http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,319.0.html
Every Man Must Be Tempted, a KNT Universe series: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-fiction/every-man-must-be-tempted
"Violence is the last resort of the incompetent, because the competent use it when it could do some good."

Daryk

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Re: Every Man must be Tempted
« Reply #32 on: 14 May 2022, 04:09:29 »
A post!  Hooray!  :thumbsup:

mikecj

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Re: Every Man must be Tempted
« Reply #33 on: 14 May 2022, 15:31:01 »
XX is also double cross :)

But I like where this is going, thanks!
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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Davout73

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Re: Every Man must be Tempted
« Reply #34 on: 15 July 2022, 00:42:14 »
It was a dream.

He knew it was a dream because the sky was too blue, the clouds were to white, everything was crisp and clean, even the air.  He was walking, and he recognized the hills he was going thru, except this time they weren't torn up by the footprints and tracks of retreating vehicles.  There were three columns of smoke ahead, thin tendrils scarring the sky, and he kept walking.
He heard voices behind behind him, loud but indistinct.  He ignored them, and kept walking forward.  His clothes changed, from the off duty uniform the Angels wore, to his mechsuit, which was ripped and torn, pitted with small burns.  The hill was closer.
"Sir, you can't," Sar Major Lannes was standing in front of him, wounded and bloody.
"I have to," he said.
"You don't want to," Lannes repeated, his one good eye blazing.
"I Need to Sar Major," he said, shouldering his friend aside and moving forward. 
He tripped, or was tripped, and fell to his hands and knees, and crawled, kicking at the hand holding him back.  Scrambling forward, he crested the slope of the hill, and cried out in pain.

* * * * *

He sat straight up, shaking, covered in a cold sweat.  He was on the couch, lately he had not been sleeping next to Molly, he was afraid of hurting her, but it had only widened the ever growing gap between them.  People were starting to notice, and the rumbles were heard.  He looked around, making sure he hadn't woken anyone else up, and then stood up, stretching.  It was an hour or so before sunrise, and after checking in on molly and JJ, he went to the bathroom to shave.  After splashing his face with water, he looked into the mirror and stepped back in shock, the bloody face of Jacob Lannes staring back at him.  He blinked hard, and shook his head, and his friends face went away.  Instead of shaving, he went and dressed, went outside, and started running.

* * * * * *

He was bent over, retching again, when he heard the voice.
"Trying to outrun your demons, Colonel?"
He looked up, and saw Karl Weisz standing a few feet away.  He couldn't help it, he smiled.
"Something funny, Colonel?"
"Didn't expect to see you here," Davout said.  standing up and wiping his mouth.  He saw Weisz dig around in the satchel he was carrying, and come out with a bottle of water, which he offered to Davout.
"Thanks," Andrew said, catching it smartly, and downing almost all of it in one go.

They stood quietly for a minute, looking at each other.
"I'll leave you to it, Colonel-"
"Barrington killed my friends," Davout said, interrupting him.
"I know that Colonel," Weisz said after a moment.
"No, you don't understand.  They had surrendered.  They were the rear guard, they held up Barrington's command lance and company, gave the rest of us time to get away, regroup, rearm.  They surrendered.  That was Johnny's last request, he wanted my permission to surrender, and I gave it.  And I don't know why."
"There's rules involved-"
"Only if both sides are playing by the rules.  And Barrington wasn't."
Weisz didn't reply, just nodded in return.
"They surrendered.  Were willing to be dispossessed, taken prisoner, and ransomed.  And I would have paid most anything for them.  Barrington knew that."
"And he killed them after receiving the ransom?"
Andrew looked at him, then looked away for a few moments.
"No, he crucified them before I could even make the offer."
Weisz was staring at him.
"And the bastard left a recording..."

* * * * *

The Leopard was 11th Arcturan.  It had landed at the far end of the field, the crew had come in and joined those at the mess, RUMINT said both the Angels and Lyrans were going to start dropping smaller units in and around where Barrington had retreated too, harrassing him and keeping him pinned in.  One mech, a heavily modified Zeus, walked up to the Drop ship, turned around, and walked in backwards.  A few minutes later, another mech appeared out of the kaserne, a Quickdraw.

"Take it back," Davout said, watching as the Quickdraw got closer.
"Sir," Lannes voice came back, "I say this with the utmost respect, but go screw yourself.  I'm coming with you."
"Why?"
"Because it's the only way you're coming back."
"No."
"Again, go screw yourself Sir.  Your making this to personal."
"And you aren't?"
"I got less than a year to live anyways.  You got a wife, a kid, and a unit to look after."

There was a staring contest between the two men, friends, brothers who had shed blood for each other on numerous battlefields for lord knows why, two powerful wills having an unspoken battle of words.
Davout blinked first, then walked away as the door closed over the Quickdraw.

* * * * *

The rumble shook the control tower, and it took the ATC on duty by surprise.  He checked his comp before looking up at the clouds of exhaust and dust in the distance.
"Rodeo Two Two Six, you are not cleared for takeoff, shut down and return your pad."  He radioed.  Silence answered him.  "Rode Two Two Six, this is Air Con Actual, you are ordered to return-"  he stopped talking, watching the aerodynamic brick of a vehicle rise on plasma flames, then it started to move forward slowly, then faster until it was a speck in the distance.
"All traffic, all traffic, this is Air Con Actual, I have an unauthorized departure, Rodeo Two Two Six bearing approximately zero 45, please confirm if you have visual."
"ATC, this is Reaver Two Six, I am approximately 45 klicks away, I do not see anything heading to sub orbital or orbital on that vector."
"Negative Reaver Two Six, Rodeo Two Two Six was not headed to Orbit, he was approximately 300 meter's height."
"Then he's still flying it, Tower, I've got nothing on my sensors above 500 meter's for 40 clicks."
There was a distinct pause, then "Copy that Reaver Two Six.  I want you to climb to three thousand meters, and start an orbit pattern above the field, keep you sensors trained on the 45 degree axis."
"Copy tower, climbing to three thousand meters, will advicse when we have started our sweeop.
"Affirm, Reaver Two Six."
The officer in the tower put the headset on the table in front of him, then picked up the phone and dialed.
"Kommandant Byrne, this is Hauptmann Pierce, we have an unauthorized departure..."

* * * * *

"Three minutes."  Davout's stomach lurched as the Leopard went up and left and then down and right.  He clicked his microphone in reply while trying to hold what was left in his stomach in.
"Two minutes, one minute to climb."  The dull roar that had been ever present the last thirty minutes increased.
An alarm drowned out the engine, and the the comms came alive.
"We're being lased!"
"LAUNCH!  I HAVE A LAUNCH PORT SIDE REAR, MULTIPLE INBOUND!"
The pilot cursed.
"ALL HANDS BRACE FOR HARD LANDING!"

The dropship was flying to low.  It lacked the aerodynamics to maneuver quickly, and there was only one thing the pilot could do that had any chance of them missing:  He had to generate a miss, and that meant crashing the dropship.  Deliberately.

His head was pounding, his vision blurry, but the sound had died down, that or he was deaf.
"Andrew?  You OK over there?"
Shaking he head to clear it of the cobwebs, he finally keyed his mike.
"Yes, Sar Major. Sit Rep?"
"We took at least two hits.  I can't get a of anyone on the flightdeck to answer.  There's a fire somewhere, but I can't see it."
"How's your mech."
"Five by Five sir."
"Can you release?"
"Yes Sir, you?"
Davout hit a button, and looked out his cockpit.  The clamp over his mechs left shoulder opened up and moved back.  The one over his right just opened up.  It would slow him down, but not stop him.
"Thats affirm.  Lets get this party started Sar Major."  He raised his mechs arms, and toggled the triggers.

* * * * *

Everyone had been on edge since the commando's had come thru and wiped out most of the senior command structure.  When Barrington came back from the field he ranted and raved, put more than a few of their advisors against a wall and pulled the trigger himself.  It didn't help he was seeing things in shadows that weren't there, it was that everyone was seeing thigs ins shadows.  With most of the fields either burned, or the irrigation equipment for the destroyed, food was already getting tight, as well as fresh water.  The last thing anyone expected was a Leopard Dropship flying nape of the earth to come right at them, but in this case, someones paranoia paid ofk as the SAM battery commander had left his sensors on, saw the dropship flying over and launched.
Captain Hollis led a group of soldiers across the tarmac, running as fast as they could.  The dropship had landed upright, one wing had sheared off, and tendrils of smoke and flame had erupted from several cracks and holes on top of the vehicle.  His troops slowed down and spread out as they got closer, behind him a pair of Vedettes were coming at full speed, turrets tracking back and forth.
There was a noise from inside the ship, a loud groaning sound, and then with a loud bang, the door in front of one of the drop capsules exploded of the hinges, went flying over the first group of soldiers and into the second, killing many of them before they realized what happened.  Hollis watched in morbid fascination as a platoon of infantry was reduced to blood, bones and pulp in less than five seconds.
"OPEN FIRE" a voice called out, and the night air was filled with the sound of automatic rifle and laser fire.
"MECHS!" another voice called out.
Hollis dropped the handset he had picked up, and watched as a Quickdraw stepped out, and launched a flight of LRM's at the Vedettes.  Then it turned and seemed to look right at him.  Paralyzed with fear, Hollis could only watch as the SRM's flew out of their launcher towards him and his squad.  His brain saw they were going to land short, but his brain also told him that and explosion and resulting shrapnel would kill him, and he better make himself as small as possible.
Throwing himself to the tarmac, calling out for his platoon to do that same, he watched as the first missile hit the ground, and then realized that there wasn't the usual explosion, but instead a wall of flame headed right towards him.  He had barely registered that the missile were Inferno Rounds, and while he was drawing in breath to warn his soldiers, the flame washed over him, his vehicle and its crew, killing them all.

Pt. 2 to follow in a few days.  feel free to message me if I don't post it.

Thanks for reading,

Dav
Kiiro no Torii, a Battletech AU, found here:
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,7316.0.html
Interview with a Mercenary, found here: http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,319.0.html
Every Man Must Be Tempted, a KNT Universe series: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-fiction/every-man-must-be-tempted
"Violence is the last resort of the incompetent, because the competent use it when it could do some good."

Daryk

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Re: Every Man must be Tempted
« Reply #35 on: 15 July 2022, 06:40:07 »
Being it's going to cost at least a Leopard, they BETTER get Barrington!  :o