Register Register

Author Topic: Part of the Creature Feature Marathon  (Read 2389 times)

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Part of the Creature Feature Marathon
« on: 19 July 2011, 18:13:30 »
Here's another fun one. Or, it's supposed to be.

Sadly, no art. But, enjoy, none-the-less.

Yes, it was played out, and I'll have rules up soon.

Attached is the full version in Word for those who won't/can't frequent the forums often.

« Last Edit: 19 July 2011, 18:22:25 by Daemion »
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Counting Coupe
« Reply #1 on: 19 July 2011, 18:16:15 »
Furry Fury

Kumaon Barony Estates
New India
Lyran Alliance
6 May 3064


     "Gentlemen!"
     Al and Casey were greeted warmly upon entering the room. A large, well lit chamber, it was decorated with hunting trophies. Exotic animals, whole or partial, stood or hung between the large windows.  Next to an unlit hearth crowned with medals and statuettes sat a couple of chairs and a small table.
     The man who greeted them in his accented baritone was already standing. Save for the closely combed short hair and finely trimmed mustache, he didn't quite look the hunter Casey imagined. He was dressed in blue jeans and a monochrome sky blue button-up shirt which matched Al's, and not the stereotypical khaki shorts and shirt. His golden eyes were bright with excitement while he strode to shake the two mercenary's hands.
     "Are they all here?" he asked. "Did you bring them?"
     "Uh, well-" Casey replied, but the host interrupted.
     "Come! Show me."
     He was out of the room before anyone could say anything. Al and Casey followed him.
     Outside the manor, in a well-manicured garden, three BattleMechs stood in a line. They passed Al's gray and navy blue Warhammer and Casey's blue and tan Griffin. At the foot of an orange and tan Wasp they met Jerry Nguyen, the third 'Mech pilot for the mission. In spite of the assemblage, the host wasn't very pleased.
     "Where are the other two? I specifically asked that you all come."
     "Look," Casey said. "I was trying to tell you. Jenn and Tryan are currently on other assignments and couldn't come on such short notice."
     "I see," the host said with resignation. "I was just hoping to see the skull. Something that rare and large one has to experience in person. However, this, too, is quite a sight. Those are the teeth, yes?"
     He pointed to the three, large, pointed teeth. Each was capped and dangling from a 'Mech shoulder by strong wire cable. It gave each machine a comical, menacing aura.
     All three mercs nodded.
     "Excellent," their host said. He went silent a moment, looking the artifacts over. "I imagine acquiring such trophies was not easy."
     "Well -" Casey started to say.
     "Come! It is time we discussed business."
     With a wave, Jerry remained behind. Al and Casey followed their host back into the mansion. This time, they entered a study decked with shelves and books. Going to his desk, the host pulled a datapad out from a drawer and activated it. While he talked, he thumbed the screen, going through files and images.
     "Long ago, my father took me to Hunter's Paradise. So enamored with it was he that he began the long process of assembling an exploration force to find another world like it. While he did explore the periphery in his lifetime, he never found one. I inherited his dream. Not long ago, I found a world with a rather unique prey."
     Finding the page he wanted, he laid the tablet down and slid it across the desk. Both mercs leaned over to get a better look.
     In the photo stood an Asian man wearing a pseudomilitary outfit. Next to him, hanging from a cable, was a huge bear-like creature. For its size it didn't look particularly vicious. It had the brightest lavender fur Casey had ever seen, contrasting against a huge white patch covering its belly and chin.
     "Almost looks like a giant Care-Bear," Al said. "Just needs an emblem on its belly and a heart stamped on its butt. Which one's this, Plain Bear?"
     The host ignored Al's comment. "The problem is that there are other, larger, more dangerous creatures there. If I'm to go back, I need a 'Mech equipped bodyguard. You've hunted and defeated a unique creature. I hope you appreciate my offer."
     Casey and Al exchanged glances.
     "I always wanted to go on a hunting safari once in my life," Al said.
     "Might not be as exciting as you think," Casey said. "But, it sounds like easy money."
     It didn't seem a bad deal. However, Casey didn't like the fact that the only thing to salvage would be more animal trophies. Nothing of real value.
     "It's a babysitting job," he said quietly to Al. "I know the Legion won't be into this, and I can't think of any reason to include anyone else."
     "Well, if that photo's right, those things are over two meters. We'll at least want Bailey's squad. So, are you up for it? I'm going, one way or another."
     Al didn't look directly into Casey's face, but his blue eyes had a determined, excited look. Al was serious. That decided Casey's action. As much as he wanted to pass, he didn't want to be caught away from his friend. Interesting things happened around Al, and Casey never regretted participating.
     "All right, Baron Corbett," he said. "You have yourself a security force. We'll want to make a detour before heading toward your 'special planet'. We need to do some convincing to fill out the roster, so I can't guarantee anything more than two BattleMechs for sure."
« Last Edit: 30 July 2012, 18:29:43 by Daemion »
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Part of the Creature Feature Marathon
« Reply #2 on: 19 July 2011, 18:21:30 »
Northern Continent
Chu World
Lyran Alliance Periphery
12 June 3064


     "I have another large heat signature," Mary Bailey said. "Want me to check it out?"
     Casey watched a four-legged dear like creature scamper off into the jungle. All he saw was merely a derived infrared smudge with a colored outline projected on his HUD.
     Out past his Griffin's bubble-like canopy, the world was obscured by leaves. Like deformed, light blue scales, they clustered together, then slid up and around while his 'Mech stepped past the nearest tree. The light blue leaves vanished and were quickly replaced by reddish orange leaves that looked more like mittens. A purple vine slid up over the ferro glass, catching on the antenna array before snapping under the applied forward momentum of fiftyfive metric tons.
     The whole jungle was like this. The whole world was like this. Casey had heard spacer tales as a kid about worlds with local fauna and flora that didn't fit the terraformed norm. He grew up on a near-earth like world, and could only imagine what he might find in deep space.  To see it in person was something he never quite expected and still had trouble getting used to.
     Al had equated it to 'stepping into a cartoon'.
     The woods had gotten progressively thicker as they followed Corbett's directions toward his hunting ground from their clear landing site. Casey quietly thanked the long dead, bright, intelligent engineers of the fabled Star League for coming up with an intuitive HUD system. Without projections, Casey couldn't imagine doing anything in such dense vegetation.
     With his HUD, he saw outlines of trees, the four members of the Bouncer squad, Al's Warhammer and Corbett's six-legged, seven ton Forrest Trekker. Heat signatures surrounded them on all sides. Birds fluttered from branches, escaping his Griffin. Creatures of various sizes ran for cover, some pausing to catch sight of pursuit.
     "Looks like a deer, to me." Casey recognized the Marik lilt of Samwise Longfeather, one of Bailey's squad. He didn't sound too worried, this being the fifth encounter with anything remotely the size of the bear shown to them all in the photo.
     "We are still another day or so from the grounds where we'll find the prey I'm here to hunt," said Baron Corbett over the general frequency. Baron James Bradley Corbett didn't sound worried. "We will not find them this far out."
     "You're sure?" Bailey sounded doubtful.
     "Absolutely."
     Casey's Griffin topped a rise. It's head poked through a low set of leaves and he had a brief glimpse of the jungle around him. High above, the pale blue sky peaked through yet another canopy of leaves. Large branches connected to huge ancient trees, their massive gnarled trunks varying in color from burgundy to bright orange. Not a brown hue in sight. Shadows were getting deeper, what little of the sky he could see darkening as the sun set off to the west, to his right.
     "We make camp here," Corbett said.


     Against his better judgment, Casey dismounted with Al. Only Bailey and Trooper Jason Flint took up perimeter guard while Corbett cooked dinner over an open fire.
     "I thought we were along to protect against big monsters," Casey said while waiting for chow.
     "Yeah, Jungle Jim," an unsuited Longfeather said. Using a nickname Al had coined, he imitated Al's mock outback drawl. Al used it in jest when trying to explain a famous fictional Terran hunter to everyone. His knowledge had earned Corbett's respect and favor.
     Trooper Longfeather used it sarcastically before resuming his normal Marik lilt. "The biggest thing I've seen today was a bird."   
     The other unsuited trooper, George Smith smiled and ribbed him.
     Corbett didn't look so amused. He answered flatly without once turning away from the boiling stew. "The dangerous creatures are found deep in the jungle. We will get close to that territory before the hunt is done. Before then, we should be safe."
     "So, why 'Chu World'?" Al asked from his spot next to Casey near the fire.
     "You heard me tell how my father built capital to fund expeditions to find the next Hunter's Paradise. Well, he finally did it with the help of a business partner."
     "The guy in the photo you showed us," Al said.
     "Almost. The man you saw is Ryuji Watanabe. Just as I inherited my father's dream, he inherited his family's side of the enterprise. When we found this world, he named it after the creature you saw in the photo."
     "Why isn't he with us now?" Casey asked.
     "He can't come. Our last expedition met with disaster in the deep jungle."
     "A large, dangerous creature," Longfeather said, solemn.
     "Yes."
     "My apologies."
     Al suddenly went stiff, his gaze distant. Casey's gut twisted with apprehension. In spite of Al's reluctance to admit anything, Casey had come to recognize the look and what it generally signified.
     Something was coming.
     "Guys," Bailey said quietly. "I'm tracking a pair of thermal signatures. They're big and coming fast."
     Everyone went quiet, alert.
     "Where?" Corbett asked.
     "The trees," she said, pointing the suit's gun barrel overhead.
     Everyone save Al looked skyward. In the flickering, shifting light of the fire, the lavender leaves of the tree they were under waved. Casey felt a slight breeze. Nothing else moved. The heat of the fire throbbed slowly in the unsteady air. A log cracked from heat, sending sparks flying.
     Suddenly, a shrill howl pierced the night, joined by a second. Unseen branches and leaves rustled high above, displaced by heavy falling objects. One was going to land right on him.
     He was still trying to mentally match the howl when he realized he was about to be crushed. Before Casey could react, a hand wrapped around his arm. He was dragged aside so hard his arm was almost disconnected.
     Two large bodies of bright colored fur landed heavily in the camp. Pinkish pads and blue furry feet slammed into the ground, missing Casey by inches.
     While his legs kicked about wildly in an attempt to get up, the hand around his arm yanked Casey upright and a second one steadied him under his armpit. He had barely caught his balance when the hand on his arm vanished and a new one forced him to duck.
     A furry appendage whipped out from the blue and white ball in front of him. Black claws, glistening in the firelight, flew over his skull. Casey felt a rush of air over his scalp.
     His heart was just starting to race. He was still trying to cement his footing. His mind barely registered all that had happened in those few brief, hectic seconds, when the hands left him. Casey was pushed aside, barely managing to keep his feet.
     Al moved around him, taking up a defensive stance in front of the giant fur ball, ducking a second swipe from another paw.
     The creature stood up. It was tall, its shoulders squaring out another head above Al. Deceptively cute, orange, gem-like eyes stared down from a huge, round, fuzzy head. A tiny white muzzle, accented by a hot pink nose, revealed large bucked-teeth. Except for its floppy ears, it looked like a giant teddy bear, complete with painted symbol on its expansive white belly.
     "No way," Al muttered.
     The bear studied him then howled a high-pitched, warbling croon. It reminded Casey of a night owl's haunting cry, or the scream of an angry young child.
     Eyes wide, Al twisted around, grabbed Casey's arm, and tugged him aside. Casey heard a loud crack behind him. A large bullet passed by close enough that he heard the puff of air that buffeted his cheek. Warm goo landed all over him when the bear's neck exploded. Red blossomed on its white fur before it toppled to the ground.
     The pink partner wrestled with Bailey nearby. It muttered something, sounding like Casey's long dead pet cat. People swore the feline tried to talk. On good days, it could practically bitch someone out. The bear sounded throatier, not as raspy, and its call was interspersed with whistles.
     Looking at its partner, its purple eyes widened. Breaking away from Bailey, it ran, disappearing into the colorful undergrowth of the jungle floor.
     "I'm coming guys!" Flint's suit burst into the clearing a heartbeat too late. With a growl, he activated his jets. Flying through the brush, he chased the remaining bear.
     "Hold," Corbett bellowed. "I have it."
     Without looking up from his scope, Corbett swung his rifle around, steadied and fired. After the gun's loud report, Casey heard a giant thump when something heavy hit the ground.
     Corbett lowered his gun. "It'll take two power suits to carry the carcasses. If you'd be so kind as to retrieve the one in the woods. We need to put them in the freezer to preserve them."
     "I thought you said they normally don't range this far out," Smith shouted accusingly.
     "Not that I recall," Corbett replied calmly. "It's possible the DropShip attracted them, this time."
     Al knelt by the fallen blue bear. His hand reached out to touch the colors painted on its belly fur. Casey stepped up behind him, keeping his distance.
     "Now, why would it do that," Al murmured.
     Observing the mark, Casey saw a definite pattern. It wasn't just a random stain smeared on a wild animal. He saw a symbol, composed of definite shapes.
     "What do you think it means?" Al muttered.
     "I don't know. But, I suddenly have a bad feeling about this."
     "Corbett," Longfeather said. "These things edible?"
« Last Edit: 30 July 2012, 18:45:29 by Daemion »
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Counting Coupe
« Reply #3 on: 19 July 2011, 18:25:51 »
13 June 3064

     Supper finished uneasily before everyone agreed upon a sleep schedule. The two MechWarriors alternated watch through the night along with a rotation of BattleArmor troopers.
     Nothing more happened. No new creatures came.
     Once morning arrived, Corbett made breakfast while Casey was on watch. He dismounted for chow after Al finally climbed aboard his Warhammer. As he ate, he brought up the condition of the mission.
     "So, that's it. We got a couple of the bears you came here for. We're done now?"
     "No. I'm not here for just any Chu." Corbett paused while he loaded gear into a side compartment on the six-legger. "Ryuji and I spotted what we expect is a rare color of Chu before we were chased out of the jungle by large creatures. Before Ryuji was crippled. It's not quantity I'm after. There's room in the freezer for one more. I intend it to be that rare one." He loaded the last of the cooking equipment. A quick glance at Casey's plate acted as a reminder to hurry up. "No. The mission is far from over. My prize waits, deeper in the jungle."

* * *


     Clearings were visible through the Griffin's bubble canopy, looking like depressions in the tree tops. From his vantage point on a hill, one clearing revealed another slope covered with colorful huts made from the plants in the surrounding jungle.
     Their construction wasn't random. Each hut was made from a particular color of wood, and thatched with a complementing color of roof leaves. Doors were accented with off-color frames. Windows were covered over with matching hides. No single hut matched its neighbors.   
     Casey stared at the scene on his panoramic monitor. Using his zoom feature, he hovered his reticule over the Chu villagers. Beyond color, they were indistinguishable from the pair that attacked the camp. Everyone went about their daily tasks. Some chipped away at stones. Others cleaned hides. Food cooked over a fire, watched over by a dedicated sentinel. They talked with each other, gesturing.
     "My God. Al, they're sentient."
     Makings of a primitive community. Casey easily imagined each one as a dark-skinned human, loosely dressed in colorful furs. Like the huts, few pelts matched, each borrowing from a different part of the color wheel. Only green was absent. In the surrounding vegetation, they blended in.
     All accept one. One Chu stood out starkly from the bright surroundings. It didn't have any white belly fur to break its solid monochrome of pure black. Compared to the others, it was one of a kind.
     "There it is," Corbett said, his hushed voice loud in the mike. "That is my target."
     "What do we do?" Casey asked Al, secure on a private channel.
     "Are you sure you want to make your kill now?" Bailey asked on the open frequency. "It'll be dark soon, and something tells me we'll want to beat a hasty retreat."
     "Very observant," Corbett said. "We're about a kilometer away, now. This is a good place to make camp. We'll want a 'Mech guard at all times tonight."
     Al answered Casey, his voice cutting in over Corbett's "We do what we came for, Case. We protect him while he makes his kill. You want first watch?"

* * *


     To hide the fire, Corbett used an old tent style from the ancient cultures on Terra. It was a conical shape, with a hole on top for the smoke, erected on the far side of the hill away from the village. Al called it a teepee.
     While Casey was mounted, no attack came. A few locals wandered close, but turned away at the last minute. No sign of the large creatures Corbett spoke of. By the time he curled up in the teepee, Casey had dismissed the tales as exaggeration.
     He awoke in the twilight before dawn to the sound of breaking branches, rustling leaves, and the vibrations of large, heavy footsteps.
     Sitting up, he started to warn the others, but was shushed into silence. The others were already awake. Corbett, radiobox in hand, grabbed the speaker and flipped a switch.
     "Mr. Cad'ver, is that you?" He asked quietly.
     Casey didn't hear the tell-tale metal scrapes or impacts associated with BattleMechs. Whatever it was, it wasn't Al. The confirmation over the speakers was barely audible.
     "I haven't moved," Al said. "Something is in the woods. It's bipedal and taller than a 'Mech. Whatever it is, it's very warm. So, not a reptile."
     "Is it coming this way?"
     "No. But, you guys might want to be ready to scramble."
     "Understood. We'll maintain radio silence."
     Nobody said anything. The four tent occupants settled down to wait. As the light in the hole above got brighter, the unseen heavy footfalls and noises gradually vanished.
     Finally, Al radioed in. "It's gone. Doesn't seem to be coming back."
     "I confirm that," Bailey radioed. "James and I will maintain perimeter. Save us some breakfast."

« Last Edit: 30 July 2012, 18:59:11 by Daemion »
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Counting Coupe
« Reply #4 on: 19 July 2011, 18:32:09 »
     Casey was surprised to still see calm activity in the Chu village in the early morning. Corbett wanted to be within a quarter kilometer of the village before setting up his shot. It would facilitate a fast ingress and egress to extricate the trophy.
     There was no way the Chus couldn't hear or see the giant BattleMechs idling on the distant hill, metal heads poking out of the leaves on the lower trees. Casey expected the place to be abandoned, or the villagers buttoned up. From his vantage point, staring over colorful canopies between the giant leafy pillars of old giant trees, he instead found an armed camp.
     Chus went about their daily routine. However, they carried spears, bolos, bows and slings or had them close to hand. There were also random piles of giant stones and logs and something resembling netting. The siege munitions were out of place, with no engines in sight. The huts were too small to hide catapults, and sensors didn't indicate any concealed pits.
     As bizarre as their preparation seemed, they were expecting a fight. Casey recalled the giant that passed their camp earlier that morning. They certainly weren't afraid. Casey couldn't tell the females from males, but cubs trotted and played around the adults. Non-combatants had not been whisked away to safety. The Chu had been alerted to something big in the area, and it appeared they had a strategy for fighting wild giants.
     They were confident, and that worried Casey.
     "Corbett," Al said. "Watch your twelve o'clock high. Thermal has a pair of Chu in the trees sixty meters down hill."
     "Understood, Mr. Cad'ver. I'm setting up for my shot. Please retain radio silence so I can concentrate."
     Al's Warhammer stood only thirty meters to the left of Casey's Griffin. Between them, perched in a tree and decked in wild camo, Corbett aimed his gun. Below him, glaring tan, the Bouncer BattleArmor squad made a visible perimeter.
     The mission was on, and Casey laid aside any worries he had. Whatever came next couldn't be avoided. Time for worry, hope and prayer was long past. Time now to concentrate.
     Seconds turned into minutes. The only motion was from the camp and the surrounding jungle. Corbett's shot wasn't ready. In the camp, the special black Chu had not appeared. Whether it was indoors or out hunting was debatable. All anyone could do was wait.
     Finally, in a brief flurry of hasty ceremony, Corbett's mark appeared, stepping out of a hut. Too many fuzzy heads got in the way of a clean shot as warriors gathered and lined up to receive blessings. That was what Casey imagined the ceremony to be.
     Once the blessings were finished, all Chu made a wide circle and sat while the mark prepared to speak. With external sounds cut off, Casey didn't hear the shot. Instead, sensors beeped and the HUD displayed a projectile trajectory just as red blood spurted from the target's chest.
     In spite of the high tech warnings, Casey still flinched.
     He imagined the dead silence of the jungle during the following two infinitesimal seconds while the black Chu fell to the ground. Electronic humming and intermittent beeps drowned out the cries he saw in open mouths. Yet, they weren't loud enough to drown out the bear calls from the night before, imaginatively multiplied into a chorus in Casey's mind.
     Corbett's calm, cold voice invaded Casey's moment of sympathy. "Target is down. Let's go get what we came for."
     "Roger," Al replied. "Bailey, accompany him. Casey and I will provide ranged support."
     The village had already sprung into action. Healers and well-wishers gathered around the fallen. Warriors, weapons in hand, gathered and started gesturing and pointing.
     Casey imagined their frustration and confusion. Were they under attack, and if so, from what direction? Many spears and fuzzy fingers waved toward Casey. They had a fair guess.
     Corbett dropped from his tree and started running downhill, followed by the four Bouncers. The mike activated. Before anyone said anything, a loud horn trumpeted briefly in the background.
     "That horn call came from overhead," Corbett said. "I hear more in the distance."
     He left his mike activated long enough for Casey to hear the horn he saw aired at the heart of the village. It was a long, low howl that carried through the woods, joined shortly by a distant chorus of echoes. The notes in each echo were slightly off.
     His hackles rose. He recognized answering calls.
     "Great job, Jungle Jim!" Longfeeather sounded equally agitated and amused. "Not only are you after a tribal leader, but you brought us within spitting distance of a whole bunch of clans."
     "We need to hustle before a whole furry army descends on us," Bailey added.
     Before anyone could comment further, the two picket warriors dropped to the ground, their mouths wide open. Casey mentally added the howl that still haunted him. They wove and bounded through the underbrush with frightening speed.
     The Bouncers rushed to put themselves between Corbett and the Chu threat. Corbett paused long enough to raise his rifle and wound a purple one. Fire jetted out from each BattleArmor, trying to engulf the two bears. In spite of injury the purple one avoided the two flames thrown in its direction, coming away with only singed, smoking fur. It's pretty yellow partner wasn't so lucky.
     Head engulfed, it staggered away, flailing. An armored battle fist flew crosswise across its jaw, whipping its head around sharply. Dropping heavily to the ground, it quit moving.
     The purple Chu turned and ran, dropping its spear to clutch its bleeding wound.
     "Let it go," Corbett said.
     He continued his race through the underbrush. The Bouncers resumed their defensive formation.
     Casey tore his gaze away from the spectacle when Al's marker started to move on his HUD. The Warhammer all but disappeared into the leaves. Suspended shoulder boxes and a HUD-drawn outline were its only indicators. It waded through the trees, heading forward and slightly to the right.
     "Al! Where are you going?"
     "Take a look at that war party."
     Casey saw a party of seven Chu racing from the village in Corbett's direction. They moved with purpose, disappearing into the woods. He tracked their progress via their thermal signatures.
     "I doubt the Bouncers can protect Corbett from all of them. I'm gonna swing around this giant tree. Try to intercept them and drive them off."
     "Need my help?"
     "No. Keep our exit covered."
     Seconds ticked by. The two ground forces slowly converged. Their HUD-painted forms momentarily acquired color through gaps in the leaves. Before either side was close enough to engage, the Warhammer rushed in from the right, charging as best as the trees allowed.    
     Only one in the Chu war party halted. The rest were undeterred.
     "Careful, Al," Casey warned. "Looks like they're used to fighting giants. They may have something planned."
     While Casey spoke, lasers lit jungle. Two Chu were eviscerated. Some managed to survive, though injured. One was missing a leg. One was missing an arm. One took a beam, but nothing flew away. Casey winced, imagining the huge burn.
     What was left that could move continued to race toward Corbett and retinue. It was as if they knew who had murdered their leader. They were out for blood.
     Casey noticed that the scared Chu hadn't moved. He suddenly realized why his eyes were drawn to it. Thermal signature brightening drastically, it started to grow. In seconds, a red furry head poked through a matching canopy of leaves. Sparkling gold eyes glared at the Warhammer. Its mouth opened and its howling war cry faintly pierced Casey's soundproofed cockpit.
     "Not again," he quietly whined. Louder, he almost sang a warning. "Al!"
     "I see it."
     "They can grow! Take no chances!"
     "No worries."
     During the Chu's transformation, the Warhammer marched forward, swinging around the war party. It was still dangerously close to the new threat. The giant pursued. Once close, it raised a fist to strike. Before the fuzzy hand came down, eight energy beams dissected the air and burned through fur. Two Enhanced Range Medium Lasers and four Small Lasers lanced into the Chu's white chest. ER PPCs cut wide. One sliced away an arm. The other burst muscle in a leg.
     Casey had wasted no time when watching the giant grow. His own ER PPC beam and flight of missiles tore through the leaves to burn more fur and flesh. How damaging the shots truly were was a mystery. Casey had no idea how many, if any, lethal wounds he or Al scored.
     Someone's shots were effective enough that the oversized red bear went down. After it crashed into a trunk, it slumped and didn't move. Its thermal signature dimmed slowly and it started to shrink in the next few seconds.
     The other rampaging Chus took notice. They halted. Casey half expected them to grow as well. To his surprise, they ran away, turning their backs on Al and the Bouncers.
     "I guess not all of 'em can do that," Al said.
     "Let's snag that red one," a Flint said. "Something like that needs to be studied."
     "Just be sure you have enough hands free for my prize," Corbett said. "That takes top priority."
     Two armored troopers made a quick detour, rocketing through the forest to pick up the shrunken giant before returning to formation.
     "Crap. It's still alive."
     As Casey watched, his eyes were drawn to two new large thermal signatures approaching from either side of the village.
     "Guys," he said. "We have more giants inbound. Al, I have no shot to the one on the right, but I can get the one on the left from my position."
     "I'm on it."
     The Warhammer, its thermals now brighter than any Chu, raced to the right, passing the fleeing war party. It moved to intercept a giant masked by a large ancient tree. Casey sought out the partner. His reticule passed by a ballistic trace connecting Corbett's rifle with the fallen red morpher. The two errant armored troopers jetted back to his position carrying the limp form.
     Finding his target, Casey triggered his weapons. Seconds passed while they reloaded and recharged, the targeting systems using that time to work out an effective solution. The new types of targets proved to be inscrutable enemies, even for the highly adept electronics. Missiles exploded harmlessly around the giant Chu and the beam simply singed thick orange fur. Was the giant Chu fur that effective, or had too many leaves been in the way?
     Al fared better. His light show back lit the trunk hiding that exchange from Casey. The Chu went down and slowly vanished.
     Casey sighed in frustration.
     "Crap," Al said. "Hurry up, Corbett. They're trying to move the body, and a huge group of giants is almost here. Some of them look huge!"
     "What? Stop them! Don't let it get away!"
     "Right," Al answered, bemused.
     "What-" Corbett blustered. "What are you doing!"
     "I should have thought of this earlier," Bailey said.
     An armored trooper wrapped its left arm around Corbett's waist and hoisted him off his feet. Carrying him like an irate parent would a misbehaving child, the trooper rocketed into the air. The others followed.
     "Casey. Cover my back," Al said.
     Al had raced dangerously close to Casey's target, putting his 'Mech between it and the Bouncers. However, the Warhammer wasn't tracking the orange super-Chu. Instead, its guns pointed across the village to six new thermal signatures hidden by the same large tree that masked the first giant's approach.
     Al hadn't joked about their size. Two stood head and shoulders above the others. They looked faster, too, but stuck with the pack.
     Solution set, Casey hoped his weapons would do more than burn orange fur this time. His target pulled a stone from a corded hide belt, reached back and flung it. The boulder sailed through the air and hit the ground just shy of the Warhammer's right ankle. Then the Chu curled over when the Griffin's PPC punched into its chest, and toppled under buffeting explosions from twenty LRMs.
     More boulders flew across the village from out of the forest. The Warhammer jinked with each one. Half missed. The others glanced harmlessly off its hull to crash in the trees far behind. Al replied with paired particle beams and a quartet of lasers. A giant went down.
     In the next ten seconds, forces converged on the heart of the Chu village. Al marched his 'Mech steadily up the hill and into the open circle between the huts. He took a circuitous route, walking into the path of those carrying their black comrade. Startled, they turned and fled right into Bailey's Bouncers, descending from the sky.
     Gently set onto the ground, Corbett took a couple steps, lifted his gun and fired rapidly, killing two of the bearers and finishing the trophy. His first shot must not have killed it, which explained to Casey why the Chu were hauling it away in the face of a massacre.
     Al finished his march, intercepting an extremely large, pink Chu that charged at him. The battered war party rushed into the clearing, brandishing their weapons. The Bouncers turned to deal with them. Casey saw a giant snafu forming.
     "Corbett! Get on and I'll get you out of here," Al said. "Bailey can handle the trophy."
     The hunter complied, running toward the Warhammer's planted feet while PPCs and lasers superheated the air above him. However, in spite of the Bouncers's best efforts, two Chus raced up to him and swung their spears. Corbett's instincts spared him from the first thrust. The second clocked him. He crumpled limply to the ground.
     The Chus's single-minded determination left them open to be pummeled by four angry, augmented soldiers.
     Then the pink giant assaulted Al's Warhammer, a harnessed boulder flailing over its head, ignoring the laser burns. With a powerful downswing, the boulder almost nailed the 'Mech square across its hooded visor. Advanced computers running the machine's every motion anticipated this and the 'Mech ducked to the right. The motion spared the cockpit, but it wasn't enough to deflect the blow completely. The Wireframe overlay on Casey's HUD tinted the left breast yellow from damage.
     Al returned the favor with a savage kick to the shin. Bone snapped and the large pink bear that once toward over his 'Mech dropped heavily to the ground. Pain contorted its cute face.
     "One of you grab Corbett," Bailey ordered her Bouncers. "Leave the red carcass here."
     The two troopers hauling the shrunken giant dropped their load. One grabbed Corbett while Bailey and another hoisted the black Chu between them. All four rocketed from the hill with their loads. Al raced after them.
     None of the small Chus followed, but four of the remaining giants gave chase. Al had thinned the herd with some of his shots. Behind them, however, yet more large signatures converged on the little village.
     Casey watched trees rise into the air slightly before vanishing beside two of the four pursuers. They were arming themselves with clubs. The other two paused, stooping over to pick up unseen objects.
     Boulders flew up from the leaves and vanished back into the canopy near the Bouncers and Warhammer. The troopers easily evaded the rocks. The left shoulder light on Al's 'Mech got squashed.
     Charging in, the two armed Chu held their makeshift clubs high. Al and Casey cut them down before they could swing.
     The Bouncers landed at the bottom of Casey's hill in their next brief rocket flight. Kicking in his jets, Casey sailed over the trees to land just behind them. The two remaining giant Chus didn't seem to care. They kept scrounging and lobbing rocks as they chased after the Warhammer. Their rocks fell wide, short and overlong, the 'Mech predicting each one's trajectory and steering out of harm's way.
     With its internal heat marginally high, the seventy ton BattleMech got a speed boost from special myomers. Ground opened up between it and the Chus. Al raced past Casey's position, following the Bouncers over the hill.
     Time to leave.
     Casey turned his Griffin around, about to activate his jets. Spotting the body of the yellow Chu, second victim of the battle, he paused. With a few deft control-stick maneuvers and a punched button, his 'Mech picked up the limp, burnt form.
     In spite of what he had seen, this had been a safari hunt. Corbett had the only trophies, each one his kill. This trophy belonged to Bailey and her Bouncers, but at least they would have something from such a bizarre and memorable occasion.
     The Griffin swayed violently. Two boulders sailed by, crashing harmlessly through the trees. While the Chus hadn't come any closer, they still threw rocks.
     Casey kicked on his jets and sailed over the hill.

« Last Edit: 30 July 2012, 19:24:40 by Daemion »
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Counting Coupe
« Reply #5 on: 19 July 2011, 18:37:52 »
     That night, Casey had first watch. Even though no longer followed, nobody wanted to take any chances. External pick-ups on max gain, he listened to conversation around the campfire. He still wasn't sure how he felt on the whole adventure and wanted to gauge the mood in the crowd.
     "So, Al," Bailey said. "Longfeather and the other Bouncers convinced me we should take a trophy from the body Casey brought back. However, I want you to have first pick. You ran heavy interference for us today. We owe you our lives. It's too bad we couldn't bring the red one with us, and I don't think it's fair that you can't take something away from all this."
     Remaining silent, Al stared into the fire. Casey guessed he was uneasy about the concept. Those Chu were effectively people. Could he justify taking an ear or finger or something from a dead human soldier?
     "So, what do you say?"
     Al didn't answer right away. Finally, he asked, "What prompted you?"   
     "Something about honoring fallen warriors."
     "We fought warriors today," Longfeather added.
     "Scalps," Corbett said, absently. "Longfeather. A primitive name if I ever heard one."
     "Native North American Indian," Al clarified.
     "That's right," Longfeather said, appreciatively. "My father's family can trace its lineage to the Sauk tribe near the Mississippi River."
     "Explains the primitive idea."
     "But, the sentiment is a good one," Al said. "My dad once told me he believed in eating what he killed. At the time, he was joking about why he never joined the military or became a hired assassin. I never practiced it exactly, but the concept of respecting something I destroyed stuck." He looked at Bailey. "What parts were you planning on taking?"
     "The boys all want a paw to cap and hang from their battle armor."
     "A lucky Chu's foot," Corbett muttered. "Interesting."
     "I was fancying a cape made from the yellow back fur, from the legs to the ears."
     Al returned to staring at the fire. After a while he muttered, "Chu fur is pretty soft. Would make a great liner for the command couch." More silence. "What about the rest?"
     "Most of it is burnt and unsightly. Can't really justify using it."
     "Leave the skeleton and the belly fur for me, and any paw you decide not to take. Casey and I will divvy it up. He should have something from this adventure, too."
     "You can do better than that," Corbett said. "White fur? A yellow paw? How about something to really remember this adventure by? I'll let you take anything you want from one of the two other Chu in my freezer."
     "Really?" Al sounded dubious.
     "Sure. You faced down that blue one. Fancy moves, I might add. By doing so, you distracted it long enough to let me kill it and save us all. That, and I'm sure the Bouncers couldn't have kept me safe all on their own. I owe you my life twice over. You really deserve something to remember these events by. Something to match the place."
     "I see. Okay."
     "Now. I do know a thing or two about primitive cultures. Funny you should bring up eating your kill and not wasting things. In some cultures, it was a tradition that a warrior honor a fallen foe by eating a particular organ. Want to really honor this primitive warrior in a fashion he might appreciate? Let me fire up the grill and we can feast on Chu tonight."
     "Wait," Bailey said, horrified. "I thought you said we can't eat them."
     "I said no such thing. I told you we can't metabolize their proteins. They're not poisonous. We just can't expect to survive off Chu meat alone. Believe me, I know."
     "Like eating grass," Al quipped.
     "Yes. I warn, you'll have a mild case of diarrhea, but the taste is something you'll never experience again."
     "Okay. You're on," Bailey said. "We feast to honored foes."
     "To honored foes," Samwise Longfeather said, echoed by Corbett and Al.
   
* * *

     Casey waited impatiently. Everyone else had eaten, and it was Al's turn to take watch. Bailey and Longfeather were already finished suiting up. However, before they left the fire, Al said something that caught everyone's attention.
     "What was that?" Longfeather asked.
     "Oh, I just was noting why some Chu can grow. That giant lizard's IR didn't match the thing that scouted our camp this morning. It was a big Chu. I noticed the thermals matched the ones we fought. I just remembered."
     "Yes," Corbett said. "A defense mechanism."
     "Well," Sam said to Bailey. "That's proof even more."
     "Proof of what?" Corbett sounded defensive.
     "That you knew. You knew they were sentient. Some of us even think you knew they grew. Was it the black one that attacked and crippled your friend? Is that why you dragged us out here, Jungle Jim?"
     "What?" Corbett sounded surprised. "No! I admit that I knew they were tool users. When Ryuji and I spotted the black Chu, it was in a hunting party. That's when we knew. But, that was the very moment we were set upon by a Snufflupagus, like the one you scared off today."
     "Fitting name," Al muttered.
     Hearing the name immediately summoned the memory of the elephant-nozed giant reptile. It had come to investigate the carnage, and the mercs had rushed right into it. Its tough scales proved no match for particle beams and a giant metal fist to the face.
     The name worked.
     Corbett's gaze went distant. "Ryuji and I expected we might meet something that large on any world we investigated. We had eleven well-trained, heavily-armed men. It took everything to bring that monster down. Some machinery got left behind. It's still out here, someplace. Swallowed up by the jungle along with the Snuffle's body. We couldn't carry away such a prize with our hauler destroyed. Only the bodies of our wounded and dead."
     Silence drifted over the camp, broken only by the crack of a burning log. Nobody moved. Casey's impatience vanished in the wake of grim sadness.
     "No," Corbett said. "I had no idea that they could grow. But, now I do. Every time I come to this world, it reveals a little more of its secrets to me. I'll have to come back. I must catch one."
     "So much for the prime directive," All quipped.
     Nobody else commented. Casey didn't know the reference and made a mental note to ask. Corbett ignored him.
     "I'll be planning another expedition. A bigger one. We've barely scratched the surface on what this world has to offer. Imagine the wonders we could find the deeper we go. Can I count on your services again?"
     "Sorry, Corbett," Al said, "but, I'll pass."
     "Oh? How come?"
     "Do you want an honest answer?"
     "I am quite curious. Just look at what we accomplished today. We discovered one of this world's secrets, and came away with our lives. We walked right into a village of warriors and grabbed our prize. We did that! You. Me. All of us."
     "Counting Coup," Sam muttered.
     "Loosely, yes. You struck me as an explorer, Mr. Cad'ver. How can you refuse such an opportunity?"
     "It was an adventure," Al said. "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I appreciate you bringing us out here. But, I can't condone what you've done and plan to do."
     Corbett stared at Al a moment. Finally, he smirked. "Your hypocrisy amuses me Mister Cad'ver. Here you were participating in taking scalps and consuming a sentient being, but you can't condone my hunting them down? You came along willingly and killed your fair share."
     "He was just saving your but," Bailey shouted. "That's what he was hired to do! Doesn't mean he has to like it. You can count the Bouncers out, too."
     "The truth did come out a little late," Al said. "You didn't tell us everything from the start. It's one thing to participate in ignorance. I was given lemons and I made lemonade. The gifts were heartfelt. Who was I to refuse? But, to go in knowing is something else. I'm not like you. I can't in good conscience tag along, knowing what you have planned. I might even sabotage your operation if I did. You don't want that, do you? And, I believe in the quality of my work. So, no. I'm not coming."
     The people at the camp went their separate ways, changing shift. Casey felt pride well up in him. He had't been too keen on the trophy thing, but hearing it spelled out, he understood. The line where morality applied regarding merely humans or all sentients was a matter of perspective, but Al and Casey were of the same mind on the issue.
     Once Al was situated, he opened up a private line between his Griffin and the Warhammer. "You could do it, you know. Come along, sabotage his expedition, and stop all this."
     "I could," Al answered. "But there's too many things that could go wrong. Besides, to paraphrase a proverb, 'hang not with an evil man, lest ye become like him'. I told him what I thought. That'll have to be good enough."
     Casey closed the line. Pulling off his neurohelmet, he locked his 'Mech in stand-by mode. It was time to go have some Chu.
     "In honor a fellow warrior," he muttered.

   
« Last Edit: 30 July 2012, 19:42:56 by Daemion »
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Part of the Creature Feature Marathon
« Reply #6 on: 19 July 2011, 18:41:13 »
The Creature Feature Marathon continues when an Sea Fox merchant catches wind of a lucrative hunting planet. He mounts an expedition to find it. Can the unsuspecting Clan Warriors win the day against a massive Chu assault?

Find out in Furry Fury II: Like a Fox.

Only on Syfy!

It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Part of the Creature Feature Marathon
« Reply #7 on: 19 July 2011, 18:50:59 »
Director's Commentary:

Interesting little known fact - Jim Corbett was a famous tiger hunter in India. Hence the choice of New India for his descendant's estates.

The concept of Chu as cute growing creatures stems from the Chu chu creatures established in the game Xenogears. Following the Xenogear narrative, one wonders what the Chu planet would have been like if humans hadn't crash-landed and colonized.

The Chu of this story are significantly larger, but retain the potential Guardian mutation and wide coloration of their conceptual parents.

It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Part of the Creature Feature Marathon
« Reply #8 on: 10 October 2011, 19:34:45 »
For the Curious: The game pieces that we played the game with are posted in the minis forums.
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4269
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Re: Part of the Creature Feature Marathon
« Reply #9 on: 04 August 2012, 14:30:42 »
Rules!

Here are the rules that my friends and I used to game out this dramatization.

It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics