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Author Topic: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States  (Read 6921 times)

AlphaMirage

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(Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« on: 18 June 2021, 00:04:54 »
Chapter 1 - The Expo

06/18/3046 Location – Masamori, Hachiman, Draconis Combine

The Floating City glowed brightly in neon light reflected off the Yamato River and the Expo Center's mirrored glass. Each side connected by brightly painted charter boats with red lanterns hanging off the gunwales. A storm rolled in ensuring that even more of the particularly brisk business was behind closed doors tonight much to the dismay of the establishments further from the docks.

Far above them within the Sen'nendai Hotel's penthouse Theodore Kurita, Gunji-no-Kanrei of the DCMS, shot up in his bed disturbing his wife Tomoe's graceful curls but importantly her rest. She propped herself up. “What is it Theodore?”

Theodore stood up opening the blinds to look out over the electric city of the Draconis Combine. “I had a terrible dream. That the NAIS had invented a heat sink with double the current capacity at no additional weight.”

Tomoe sighed, getting up to stand beside her husband to look out over the light show dancing across the skyscrapers. “What a relief that would be. I wouldn't have to pilot my Crusader topless.”

“You could buy a cooling vest if you wanted.”


She pulled him close. “Maybe I don't want to...Now back to bed.”

06/19/3046

Chandrasekhar Kurita sat in a comfortable chair within one of the many conference rooms that looked out over the expo center's floor. Coordinator Takashi Kurita's reforms and deal with COMSTAR had transformed the Draconis Combine into a major export power and they were looking for customers for all the overcapacity with the scale-down of the COMGUARDs. With all Successor States within reach of the Combine's vast borders their biggest hurdle was a bad reputation and a lack of jumpships due to COMSTAR's sphere wide increase in collar rates for their affiliated lines.

The First Universal Export Expo, sponsored by his company, Hachiman-Taro Enterprises, had drawn visitors from as far away as the Magistracy of Canopus.

A gruff voice spoke behind him. “Chairman Kurita, The Floating City Syndicate would like to place a formal grievance regarding Ambassadrix Aurea Centrella.”

He turned the chair to face a handsome fit middle aged man with mirrored sunglasses, a sharp suit, and slick hair. “Is Watanabe upset she brought a pleasure circus with her?”

“He does not appreciate competition. You promised him exclusive access in return for our concessions.”

“They came in a 'diplomatic pouch' so there is nothing I can do about them. I think they should get together and compare notes. Or fight it out. Bedroom, boardroom, battlefield I don't care.

He has plenty of business with so many VIPs in the city. I steer them to his establishments as agreed. Tell Watanabe that if Dawn Circus was not here I doubt his people would make it through the week. Turnout has been much higher than expected with the expected exception of the Federated Suns.”

“I will do so promptly. Expect more messages until they depart.”

“As long as they are actual messages not 'messages' as agreed.”
The Yakuza enforcer tensed slightly, “Next time call me Fujio. I have a phone, and more appointments. Please send in Sharrell on your way out.”

A dark skinned young woman appeared wearing the standard office lady uniform found in any of the dozen large corporations within Masamori itself. “You asked for me sir.”

“Have Ahmed and his people arrived yet?”


She consulted her noteputer. “I'm afraid they have been slightly delayed due to traffic.”

Chandrasekhar's stomach grumbled, he couldn't wait for the Azami financiers to show up, that meant a lamb lunch. “Then I'm going to need a snack and some tea.”

The woman bowed meekly. “Right away sir. I will inform you when they are nearby.”

“Much appreciated.”


As she closed the door he stood up to look out over the expo floor. New companies outnumbered and outproduced the old Zaibatsus that held sway since the Von Rohrs. From the commotion surrounding him he could see Theodore and Tomoe walking about pressing the flesh and learning what the new Combine was capable of.

“The future is looking bright for the Draconis Combine. Yet we should remain vigilant.”

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion, Red Oni AU) Warring States
« Reply #1 on: 18 June 2021, 08:22:59 »
Is this different AU from the Golden Lion AU? Ian Davion one?

Nice start though!
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AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #2 on: 18 June 2021, 18:51:31 »
Is this different AU from the Golden Lion AU? Ian Davion one?

Nice start though!

Same AU, different Successor State



Chandreskar and his aides sat on one side of the table clad in tailored dark suits or in Chandrasekar’s case a loose kimono. Five Azami men dressed in elaborately embroidered and richly dyed kaftans sat on the other side of a hardwood table inlaid with precious metals and ivory handcrafted by the finest artisans on Highspire.
“Ahmed Ahlan wa sahlan. I trust your journey from Markab was fruitful.”

“The needs of our people have been met, for now.”
“Splendid. Coffee?”


A brass coffee service made its way around the table filling each of the rich china cups with a half cup as the traditional greeting required. This was followed by platters of steaming couscous, aromatic lamb, grilled flatbreads, and the finest produce grown in vertical farms scattered through Masamori. After dinner the group moved to a different room to talk business.

“We appreciate your hospitality Chairman however this will not sway The Bank of Markab’s judgement that we have not diversified enough to secure our reserves. Our Chief thinks our capital will be more secure outside of the manufacturing sector. Based on our current forecasts H.T.E. and other companies particularly in this sector will run out of working capital by year’s end.”

The Azami weren’t wrong. If he hadn’t gotten a new infusion of capital and a break in his raw material costs from New Samarkand Metals, he would have been forced to lay off a third of his staff and shutter half his factories just as they were coming online.

“I assure you that the present challenges will not cripple our ability to make payments on our outstanding liabilities.

The COMGUARDs sudden dissolution and COMSTAR’s recent ‘adjustments’ to their cost of their HPG and Jumpship services have vexed every interstellar corporation since last year.

You will not find a more secure place for your capital than Hachiman-Taro Enterprises. We are actively managing the difficulties. I recently lobbied the Coordinator to allow the Outworld’s Alliance Trade Guilds into Combine space without harassment by the Port Authority. That was no trivial matter and it’s something that only someone with my respectability could accomplish.”

“The Director doesn’t believe you Chandreskar. We are here to audit the books for you and many of the new firms we have helped bankroll over the past thirty years since we were allowed to operate. Many of them have abused our trust and damaged our joint ventures souring the whole enterprise.”

“An enterprise that I was instrumental in advocating.”

“Because the normal banks would not loan you money after your first failed venture. Our Caliphate’s Sovereign Wealth is not something you can use on a whim. You have a long leash and have a record of trustworthiness. However, our patience is finite as are our funds and both are diminishing at an unsustainable pace.

This expo of yours had better lead to more sales abroad for your affiliated enterprises.”

“It already has.”


Chandreskar tapped his fingers on the table. “Now if I may interest you. I understand you want to move away from manufacturing in the Combine; however Doering Electronics and Hachiman-Taro have reached a tentative agreement to buy Galileo Instruments of New Oslo. We are looking for a bank to facilitate the exchange which will come with a banking license in the Republic and Commonwealth.”

Ahmed stopped for a moment and conferred in rapid fire Arabic with his fellows. Chandreskar listened in having learned the Azami’s language early on when he started doing business with them and that was just smart. A presence for the Bank of Markab so close to Dar-es-Salaam, the center of the Islamic faith in the Lyran Commonwealth and thus a major growth market for a Sharia bank, could be very lucrative.

They broke out from the huddle and settled back in their chairs with the coffee cups still in front of them. “We will of course need to confer with Doering and have everything clearly defined in writing. The Bank of Markab appreciates you extending this offer to us and looks forward to our continued partnership.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #3 on: 19 June 2021, 18:37:36 »
Theodore, Tomoe and Minoru Kurita watched the Ibuki Robotics demonstration in one of the darkened chambers in the Expo Center. Myomer actuated robots with attached Kendogu armor covering their sensor laden heads conducted a slow motion duel with one another to the accompaniment of live classical Japanese music. As the music reached crescendo the robots engaged one another furiously until a shinai broke under the strain to the crowd's applause. The robots paused, bowed to one another and their helmeted controllers appeared from the darkened corners and each performer including the robots bowed to the audience.

His son tugged at his suit. “May I speak with the engineers, father.”

He signaled the engineers who paused packing up. “Certainly Minoru.”

As the crowd dispersed Minoru stepped forward to talk to the operators avoiding the cleaning drone sweeping the floor of debris. Operators who removed the consoles mounted on their harnesses to show his son in greater detail.

Tomoe remained at his side watching her son put on a set of data-gloves and neural band. “These past couple of days have been very good for him. I've never seen him so happy.”

The young boy was filled with questions and the engineers answered each to his satisfaction. The operators placed the control console on a bench. With only rudimentary instruction and some coaching one of the drones came 'alive.' It began to execute a perfect karate kata under Minoru's control to the surprise of the Ibuki engineers.

“He's very smart. If he weren't the future Coordinator's son he would've excelled in COMSTAR. I remember how excited he was to depart with the Precentor.”

Minoru's drone was joined by the other one in a paired kata as he laughed and tried to trip up the other operator. One of the robot's helmets fell off exposing the flimsy but ominous looking mask atop an off-white plastic head.

“It was not easy for me to convince him to return. I still worry about him. He spent almost three years in Fortress Dieron. Who knows what they did to him there.”

“He's still young whatever they did we can undo.”
Minoru looked over to him with pride answered by his parent's nods.

“We are his parents and I want each of my children to be at their best.”

---

Yoshi-Town, the blue collar and dock district of Masamori, was buzzing with activity. Silent Kei vans delivered produce and fish all day to bustling and boisterous open air markets always lit with strings of bright lights. These lights were omnipresent illuminating streets, little more than alleys, that existed in constant shadow of tenements, warehouses, and workshops. No police operated here but patrols of Yakuza toting staves and brass knuckles kept the peace among the population in exchange for gifts.

Two young women wearing shorts and brightly dyed Haori style jackets with Mindstar Entertainment's logo on them walked through the tangled streets. They spoke a strange language to the locals who kept their eyes on them and distance.

“I cannot believe you made me miss the shuttle Juliana. We are in so much trouble.”

“We had to work last night. How did they expect us to wake up, get ready, and reach the expo center in time? I didn't get done until almost four.”

“Its why they have the shuttle. The Ring-mistress is probably going to make us work tonight now. I need a break. My muscles can only take so much.”


She stopped in the middle of the street while looking at the pamphlet. “Why is this metro station so hard to find!?”

A smooth man's voice interrupted them. “Apologies. I couldn't help but overhear that you seem to be in a bit of distress.”

Both women looked over to a man leaning against a Matabushi Mach V sports car. They noticed he appeared to be in his mid-20s with a tailored suit, fedora, and just a hint of a colorful tattoo under an open collar. He tossed his cigarette into a nearby drain.

They looked at each other. “You speak Portuguese?”
“Among other languages. I travel a lot for business, lots of time on a dropship with not enough to do.”


The women walked closer with Juliana flirtily joining him against the car. “What kind of business do you do? Mister?”

“Sakamoto.

Franklin Sakamoto.

I work for Isesaki Shipping on the Unity Kwaidan. Its a small freighter so we spend a lot of time on Hachiman. Electronics shipping is good business to have.”


Caskata got on the other side drawing his attention. “Must be very good business to have such a nice car.”

“We've had a good year. Its a pity I can't take it with me when I'm traveling.”

“So you must know Masamori pretty well. Can you give us a ride?”

“Well you're certainly not making it to Expo Center now via metro. Unfortunately I only have two seats.”


He looked at both women in turn until Caskata slightly opened her jacket to show off her bustier and more. “One of you ladies will have to sit on my lap.”

They both pushed up against him and whispered. “It's no problem Mister Sakamoto. We're used to it.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #4 on: 21 June 2021, 18:16:49 »
The uniformed Valet stood behind his booth as a Matabushi Mach V pulled up to the Expo Center to his astonishment. A fellow valet pushed forward but his efforts were resisted. “I'll get this one Hiro. You go take a break.”

Two sets of long legs belonging to gorgeous giggling half-dressed women exited through its wing doors. “No, I can wait Gin.”

They were followed by a tall hafu man with a serious demeanor and just visible irezumi tattoos under his collar. He walked over to the other side pointed, said something in a language he didn't understand, received some kind of card from the women (if you've ever been to Vegas you know which type), and watched them depart while putting the card into his suit pocket. “On second thought...”

Gin stopped in his tracks as the man looked at them. “Know what I think I need some water.” He pushed Hiro forward.  “All yours.”

The intimidating man reached inside his jacket to remove a cigarette from a metallic case inside. “You got a light kid?”

Hiro nervously flicked the electric lighter which buzzed softly as an arc of electricity jumped between the contacts. “Thanks”

Puffs of white smoke erupted from the slim cigarette. “I know I'm not allowed to smoke inside.”

He looked across the river toward an unlit Floating City. During the day it looked like any group of commercial buildings with restaurants and more inside rather than a neon Babylon. “Figured I would get it out of the way.”

Sparks continued erupting from the lighter in his hand. “Sir, Are you here for the Expo? If so I'll need to see your ticket.”

Reaching out with his left hand Hiro noticed a prosthetic where he was missing part of his left pinkie which flicked the lighter closed. Afterwards he pulled an Expo badge out of his back pocket. 'Franklin Sakamoto' with a picture and 'Isesaki Shipping' logo printed in holographic ink underneath along with the Expo info. “Welcome to the First Universal Export Expo...”

Franklin held out his hand and Hiro stuttered before going silent. “Give me the valet ticket and point toward the garage.”

“I'm afraid...”
Franklin stared at him and handed him some Yen.

“Don't be afraid of me kid. I'm safe unless you do something to piss me off. Like waste my time.”

Without another word Franklin pulled a valet ticket book from Hiro's vest. The young man pointed toward the garage. “Thanks for the light.”

Wing doors closed and the car flew down the road before drifted into the underground parking garage. Its lights came on as the light changed until Franklin found a suitable spot among the other high value cars under supervision of their drivers while the bosses worked above. The muscle watched him carefully as he headed toward the elevator.

A familiar voice echoed off the concrete parking garage. “You got a lot of balls showing yourself round here Yoshi Yak.”

Franklin turned around snapping the expanding baton secreted in his coat. A middle-aged man in an open shirt but well tailored jacket stood in the center of a group of younger ones.

“I'm here on Isesaki business Fujio. Not looking for a fight this time.”

Fujio nonchalantly neared holding the bokken out toward Franklin's car which was surrounded by punks. A red Mach V idled in front of it. “You parked in my spot Franklin.”

With a smooth motion Franklin returning the collapsed baton to his jacket. “Since your car blocked me in I guess you'll have to find another.” Franklin turned at the incoming elevator chime. “Besides it's a company car.”

One of the punks leaned against it and leapt away with a scream of pain that echoed off the concrete following by Franklin's laughter in the elevator. “and it's electric.”

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #5 on: 22 June 2021, 06:35:38 »
I forgot how cyberpunk the Floating City was.  I love that setting for BattleTech.

I'm curious how this story thread hooks up with from Ian Davion story, since it set in June.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #6 on: 22 June 2021, 19:30:27 »
I forgot how cyberpunk the Floating City was.  I love that setting for BattleTech.

I'm curious how this story thread hooks up with from Ian Davion story, since it set in June.

Amusingly I misread my end to Golden Lion. This story takes place in 3046 slightly more than a year after Golden Lion concludes. Sorry for any confusion. Already edited everything

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #7 on: 22 June 2021, 20:48:00 »
Franklin's trip up the sluggish elevator was accompanied by an irritating melodic noise that could have been music if it wasn't seemingly running at x5 speed on repeat. He exited to a mercifully quiet atrium surrounded by sunlight filtered through tinted glass.

Outside the riverfront bustled with people enjoying lunch and fresh air. Docked yachts flew flags of no fewer than a dozen megacorps. Each was operating as an expansion to the Expo's conference rooms while offering even greater privacy. Exhausted salary-men and office ladies fanned themselves in the atrium whispering to one another with sly smiles and coy gestures.

“Yoshi Yak. Over here!”

He looked toward the shouting security officer. From the pin on his suit's lapel he was a member of a Yakuza group known more for cybercrime than street toughs like the Yoshi warehouse types. One of many that had their Ghost Regiment contributions disappear from DCMS rolls and go 'private' over the past year.

“Weapons check.” Franklin placed his baton, keys, commpad, and cigarette case in the tray before passing through the metal detector. Nothing was detected but he was still patted down. His gilded cigarette case was locked away while the officer filled out a digital claim check. The officer saw him looking at the case. “No smoking in the Expo Center.”

The security officer held up the tubular expanding baton. “What's this?”

“Lighter?”

“Very funny Mister Sakamoto. No weapons either unless you are security.”


Looking out over the expo center he saw gray clad DCMS soldiers guarding 'sensitive items' and Yakuza 'private contractors' removing 'trouble makers.' “I feel safer already.”

His comm-pad beeped with the wireless drop of the claim check. “We do what we can. Now get moving.”

Franklin wandered the Expo Center where exhibitions consumed every possible square meter. Even the entrance lobby had been given over to tables for lesser manufacturers who paid handsomely for their prime position. With Takashi's reforms Luthien Armor Works no longer had the iron grip of the Combine's defense sector and the old Zaibatsus had to compete in a way they were not accustomed.

He found himself draw to the Ibuki Robotics/Osaka Heavy Metrics exhibition with two scale mocks ups of very different looking battlemechs loomed over the space like the bodies of metal dinosaurs. Industrial Exoskeletons, plastic Androids, and smaller drones existed in their shadows illuminated by their own internal lighting.

With a frightful noise the angular monstrosities animated. One squeezed its hands crushing some unseen object and the other moved its arms as if in mid-stride. The display awed the onlookers although Franklin was more impressed by the armament the systems seemed to carry.

A smiling salesmen appeared beside him having used the noise of the animated mechs to disguise his footfall. “Sir, Are you interested in hearing more about out Komodo and Kyudo battlemechs?”

“As a matter of fact I am. I like their look.”


The Komodo had a sloped predatory look with three laser barrels behind each hand. It evoked the Crusader 3K's ascetics quite well while the Kyudo had 20 missile tubes over its left shoulder and a large barreled PPC for a right arm.

The salesmen gleamed at the comment. “We put a lot of work into them. Approvals are necessary however before I continue.”

A DCMS guard took notice of the pair. Franklin sent Isesaki Shipping's approval documents from the DCMS Procurement Department on world to the salesmen. In turn he gave Franklin access to the technical specs and options. While scrolling through them Franklin had a few questions. “I'll take one of each. When can I pick them up and finalize payment?”

“Standard ninety day net Mister Sakamoto. You intend to pick them up. From the Factory?”

“It's only one jump away and I have my own dropship with a pair of cubes. Although it is presently undergoing an overhaul.”

“Of course sir. While you are here could I interest you in an upgrade your mech bays?”

This comment caught him by surprise Mech Bays were fairly standardized throughout the Inner Sphere. “What do you mean an upgrade?”
“We can partially automate it at a minor increase in upkeep. For basic repairs and maintenance only. Frees up techs for more advanced tasks.”
“Give me a quote.”


Franklin's eyes grew wide at the quote. His bozos (Bosozuko) were somewhat capable as Mechtechs but some robots would be a nice addition. “Does this include labor?”
“Yes sir.”
“I'll take it on the condition that the Kwaidon receives a single trip contract for electrical components imported from Hachiman to Togura.”

“I will have to discuss that with our shipping department but I am certain your dropship is capable of supplying our needs in order to secure the sale.”
The salesmen bowed, “Pleasure doing business with you,” then returned to work the crowd.

Finally Franklin ended up at his final destination, Isesaki Shipping's shareholder conference where he would represent the Kuroi-Ryu syndicate. Armed Hachiman-Taro Enterprises 'blue-coats' checked everyone under the careful eyes of DCMS Security Officers because the Gunji-no-Kanrei would be there for at least a portion of the meeting. Franklin caught sight of a middle aged red haired man behind them and scowled.

The Security Officers flagged him for additional screening due to his behavior and pulled him into a side room.
“What's your problem Mister Sakamoto?”
“Just thinking about some bad fish.”


Tai-I Ninyu Kerai Indrahar, adopted son of Subhash Indrahar, Chief of the ISF, observed the interaction behind the one way mirror stroking his ginger goatee. "I want a full background check on this Franklin Sakamoto and someone to keep an eye on him."

DOC_Agren

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #8 on: 26 June 2021, 09:44:09 »
interesting..
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AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #9 on: 26 June 2021, 23:50:25 »
Chapter 2 - Bosos

Sounds of snoring filled the air, blackout curtains kept out Hachiman's afternoon sun. A lava lamp undulated slowly in a room half-lit with a neon orange light. Beside one of the youths a comm-pad buzzed. The vibration woke the nearby boy who groggily looked toward the lock screen displaying the latest Hachi holo-idol. He blinked the crud out of his eyes and opened the interface. “What is it Franklin?”

Franklin Sakamoto looked out over the river from a balcony smoking the cigarette that had been denied him for the past hours of meetings and ISF interrogation.

“Jerri I will be entertaining company tonight. Any chance you can make the place presentable and prep the kitchen with a list I give you?”

“Depends on how long you give us.”
“You have three hours. I would also appreciate a ride from the Expo Center.”


Jerri looked at the clock and his activity roused the others from their bed rolls. “Traffic is going to be impossible. Didn't you take that Isesaki car this morning?”

A red Mach V exited the garage not even bothering to stop for pedestrians. Only through fast reflexes did a man pull another out of the way. On a nearby balcony Franklin watched a pair of rough looking 'salary men' observing him. “I did but I figure you can find someone willing to take it for a joy ride to the body shop and another to pick up me up in the tender.”

Murmuring started as Jerri looked over the now waking crowd who looked at him gesturing at them in their own secret code which transmitted the basic idea. “I don't think that is going to be a problem. Where do you expect us to go for the evening?”

“Well I would avoid the normal places you layabouts frequent. If you spend to much time in the cyber cafes and not studying you'll end up my minions forever. The Kwaidon's berths are empty and the galley is full. It will put you closer to work tomorrow morning.”

“If by closer you mean there.”


Franklin finished the cigarette and rubbed it into the built in ash trays on the balcony. “Exactly what I mean. Everyone starts moving boxes, pushing cable, and splicing wires. Been doing it all my life.”

“I am sending Tim and Arrow out to you.

Based on the comm-pad it will take an hour and some for them to reach you.”


Bright neon lights began to power up as the sun lowered and shadows of buildings grew. Ferry boats dispatched from berths on opposite bank disembarked the 'welcoming committee' near the Expo Center. Beautiful people advertising the temptations of the world beyond. Already corporate yachts were clearing the piers heading toward The Floating City.

“That's fine the view is good.”

He looked at the motionless salary-men whose eyes were hidden by the sun reflecting from their mirror-shades. “and I'm not in a hurry to go anywhere alone.”

His fingers flew across the touch screen. “Transmitting the shopping list now. Tell Jen to put it on my tab.”



A beat up heavy duty Osaka Heavy Metrics 6000 truck with four rear and two front wheels a faded Isesaki Shipping logo on its doors pulled into the rapidly emptying parking garage barely making the clearance. Arrow's slim form opened the passenger side door looking toward Franklin in dismay. “What happened to it?”

Clatters echoed off the walls as a side view mirror fell to the concrete surface. Franklin looked toward his work crew rather than the battered mess of a car his palm was resting on. Neon purple spray paint marred its sleek clearcoat and velvety black colorcoat. “Fujio's people I guess. It's why Isesaki keeps insurance on it.”

Arrow's shoulders slumped and his face held the agony of broken promise. “I can't pick up girls in this.”

Even though it was shadowed by the overhead lights Franklin's sly smile was visible. “That's not true I picked up two this morning. I'll let you borrow it for a night when its fixed.”

“Sure. We are going to have to work on your...”

All three held their breath as Franklin came up with the best word. Arrow was not much to look at, another youth raised by his noteputer. Franklin brushed his suit and handed him the keys.

“Presentation, however.

I'll give you some pointers.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #10 on: 27 June 2021, 14:34:06 »
Laughter filled the bare apartment as one of the women caught a shrimp tossed by Franklin's spatula. Their cheery host had donned a costume of double breasted white jacket and bright red hat. His female guests couldn't help but think of it a parody on the DCA officer uniform or vice versa.

“Good catch Cas.”

A less made up Caskata blushed as Franklin refilled Juliana's sake cup from the bottle warming on the far edge of the griddle. Upon receiving her drink she looked over the griddle overflowing with sizzling vegetables, rice, and prime cuts of fish. All fresh from the market and expertly sliced and spiced by the skillful hands and sharp knives of Franklin Sakamoto.  “Why does your kitchen have such a large griddle?”

The spatula pointed over to the loft overlook and a smaller door set into the wall. “One of the rooms here is given over to a bunkhouse for some of my interns. You can not imagine how much these guys can eat in a day. We needed a large kitchen or they would just eat microwaved garbage all day.”

They looked at each other and a picture of six young men engaged in some kind of martial art with Franklin standing behind them like a coach or big brother. “We have brothers on Herotitus. My brother Val claimed he could eat a whole side of beef at the family barbecue one time.”

She took a sip of warmed sake inhaling all its rich aromas. “He didn't make it past a kilo before he started getting the sweats.”

All laughed. “That sounds lovely.” He looked slightly sorrowful as if some great tragedy hid behind his otherwise jovial exterior. “I wish I had such memories.”

Franklin took a long squirt from the bottle of sake attached to his belt. “The Kwaidon has been my life other than my time on Philadelphia to earn my DCPA Engineering certificate.”

Caskata and Juliana picked up on his woe and looked at him with a sense of quiet knowing. The inhabitants of the Draconis Rift and Rim Reaches near the Magistracy of Canopus were often victims of pirates and every world had at least a few serious raids every decade or so.

He flipped all his food and with a precise strike perfectly separated an egg onto the black metal surface without causing a splash. His guests clapped at the performance which cheered him slightly. “Where'd you learn how to do this?”

“On Philadelphia. Needed a job to pay for my technical training, didn't have a lot savings or family to draw on so chose a local Teppanyaki restaurant. Occasionally moonlighting at other places.

Cooking for the crew and passengers was one of my first jobs aboard the ship. I got good enough that our passengers started to tip me.”


His smiled returned, “After all I am not bad looking and have skilled hands.” Their smiles seemed to agree.

With everything complete he plated their portions and sat down adjacent to their side of the table. A tall red hat sat on the stool next to him. “So you're an engineer?”

“Not just any engineer. Chief Engineer Franklin Sakamoto. Certified on Unity, Dragonstar, K-one, and Raba
(Mule) power-plants and their associated systems. As well as an Industrial-mech Operator and Chief Tech, those were electives at PTI.”

“That must be very exciting.”


Franklin shrugged, “You see the inside of one dropship or spaceport and you've basically seen every other one. I try to spice it up with some murals from local artists on the textile barriers. Our passengers really appreciate that when I see them.”

They devoured their portions. “That was great. We didn't get to eat all day.”

She refilled the cup from the nearby bottle. “When we're working we don't have enough time for more than one meal.”

“You ladies have the inverse of my situation. When a dropship is on the ground my work load drops dramatically.”

“We appreciate all the hard work of your brother engineers while we are underway.”

“Happy to do so.”


Their comm-pads rang out in the latest pop hit. Caskata picked hers up and answered in a familiar tone, “Yes auntie.” She nodded as woman's voice could be hear on the other end and panned the comm-pad over her surroundings.

Juliana waved at the camera as it passed her. "As you can see we are fine and dressed.” Once again she nodded and hung up with a “ciao.”

“Sorry Franklin we have to make it back for curfew tonight. Thanks for being so nice to us.”


Both of them looked downtrodden. “Masamori hasn't been the most welcoming place on our cruise thus far.”

“It will settle down when the Expo ends. Any competition is unwelcome. Times have been tough lately. I'll change and take you back to the circus. Have to check in on something work related.”


The Kwaidan's OHM 6k tender truck rolled up to the Dawn Circus' perimeter under the careful eye of their security team. A large amusement park had been set up for family friendly entertainment. Only late night performances were age restricted. 'Other' amusements were under tents behind a secondary checkpoint with the dropship powering a small village reserved for the performers' private quarters over their month long residency.

Caskata and Juliana hopped out of the truck lingering near the driver's window. “Thanks for a nice evening Franklin. Hope we didn't destroy the illusion of the pleasure circuses for you.”

He pulled his fingers over his lips. “Your secret identities as a bunch of randy ranch-hands from Herotitus are safe with me. I'll be sure to stop by when you are working.”

“We are eager to see just how skilled those hands are.”

“You will not be disappointed. Ciao ladies.”

“Ciao Mister Sakamoto.”



Franklin drove across the bustling spaceport careful to avoid Industrialmechs and heavy transport heading out to air and spacecraft which intermittently roared overhead. Blinding light played off warehouses as a Mammoth dropship descended at the largest drop pad in this area beside those of the LAW facilities on New Samarkand. CMS Kwaidan loomed larger as he approached nearly the same size as a small apartment block.

Before reaching it he turned into one of the many nondescript Isesaki Shipping warehouses that occupied a prime position near the ferrocrete landing surfaces. Two Powerman IndustrialMechs were set up on the gantries with a group of techs clambering over them with welders and other tools. Sparks flew off armor plating and showered two Sherpa armored trucks and their trailers equipped with a Medium Ergonomic Unit container. Franklin rushed over to the gantry.

“Hey! Watch your sparks. There's ammo in there.”

Above him the welding stopped. One of them slid down the ladder and undid his jumpsuit showing off his irezumi tattoos. “Don't worry Franklin. We haven't loaded it yet.”

“Still be careful. We spent a lot of money preparing for this heist. Captain Fedstadt would notice the budget was gone if he was here. If we lose it there will be hell to pay.”

“When you get your share you can take the Kwaidan off the market for a little while and play around with your Canopian call-girls for another month or so.”

“So is everything ready for tomorrow Shan?”

“You tell me."
Shan gestured toward the up-armored Powermen and their customized equipment.

"After all you are the expert.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #11 on: 29 June 2021, 22:41:19 »
Chapter 3 - The Heist

06/19/3046 Location – Yoshi-Town, Hachiman, Draconis Combine

Drip
Drip
Drip


The ferroglaz view screen was dark and damp as Franklin Sakamoto lay supine inside his Powerman waiting for a signal as warm summer rains poured over him. Waiting for action was arduous so he practiced his defensive strikes and listened to 'classical,' at least to his Bosos, music. He leaned up to drink from the hydration pack mounted overhead. “The classics are such for a reason.”

Through his headset he heard Yugon, his driver. “Looks like more traffic Franklin. Are you sure we can still accomplish the mission?”

“It will settle once shift change finishes. Like it always does.”


A cryptic message came over his comm-pad. “Our agents are in position to take control of the dropshuttles.”

“Are you certain the DCA can't intercept?”


He tapped on the mech's control yoke although the padding of his data-gloves made no sound. “They won't want to move that Masamune (Achilles) above us or scramble fighters as long as the Gunji-no-Kanrei is in town. In case this is a feint by Isoroku. If they change their mind. We get forced down and probably executed.”

“What's your opinion on the whole dispute?”

“I have none.

Isoroku, Takashi, Theodore.

They'll all the same as any Oyabun or Warlord. Only as good as the people following them will deal with. I'm content as long as I have my brothers, the Kwaidon, and a healthy bank account.”

“It will be healthy after we are done.”


With a chance to steal four VOX 330 Supercharged Extralight Engine it would be. Each was worth almost ten million Ryu to the right buyer and he already had those lined up. More importantly it would be a set back to the Jirigawa syndicate muscling into Yoshi-town.

Two hours later, Roars of spacecraft previously drowned out by cars filled the urban canyons adjacent to the spaceport. “Your bosozuko report that traffic has eased.”

A flick of a switch activated the Omni 175 fusion engine at the heart of his Powerman. The power plant, typically used in the speedy Panther LAG variant, was more powerful than most IndustrialMechs were designed to handle but the frame was a hardy one. It had taken his small gang cell almost a month to modify and install it for just this mission.

Through Franklin's IR capable goggles he could see his partners PowerMan start and received a quick diagnostic read out from its DI computer. He cinched the neural band under his soft cap. “Looking green across the board Shan.”

Shan's Tikonovian accent had still not left him despite living on Hachiman for most of the past year. “Time to get up and going Franklin.”

Both Powerman IndustrialMechs came alive on the flatbeds. Each removed a mech sized rifle concealed within its armored box. With a smooth motion the massive hands worked an over-sized bolt as water dripped from its barrel. “Now we're just waiting on Yugone.”

The lead Sherpa armored truck revved its diesel engine spewing black exhaust from the stacks on either side of the cab. Kabuki masked Shatei soldiers detached the flatbed from it and hitched it to the second truck. Finally they took up positions behind the armored containers on both flatbeds and readied their sub-machine guns.


Four gangsters sat under their only protection at the gatehouse, a flimsy tarp awning held up with bamboo poles. “I hate summer in this place. Monsoons all the time.”

One of them perked up at the sound of a heavy engine. “What's that sound?”

A group of youths on motorbikes with colorful lights onboard passed at high speed as the traffic continued to abate. Their eyes drawn toward the colorful lights they didn't see the darkened truck speeding toward them until it was too late. It's dozer blade smashed into their barriers pushing them aside to allow a second truck entry.

Rattles of sub-machine guns rang out over the street causing the youths to rush away from the gunfire.

Franklin and Shan rushed forward into the breach stepping over the wreckage. They kicked down small guard towers like sand castles sending Jiri soldiers falling to the pavement.

Jumping over barriers a Firebee, darkly angled like a mechanical insect, caught their attention as it arrived to provide support to the embattled soldiers. It was their peer in weight and agility but carried more firepower. “Looks like they brought some souvenirs back from the Confederation.”

“So it does.”
Franklin aimed the lightweight 57mm auto-cannon at the intervening mech. “We should give them some love courtesy of the FedSuns.”

Both machines opened fire sending forth bursts of high explosive filled shells that stitched the wall behind the Firebee. Brass cartridges fell to the tarmac creating small impacts on the ground. Its pilot saw this as an opportunity to finally see some action.

Its deadly large laser exchanged fire at range while the pilots used containers as cover. The Firebee jumped between them to ruin fire solutions and close into the effective range of its SRMs.

Trusting his battlemech against the apparent unworthiness of the up-gunned IndustrialMechs the pilot got cocky. Their armor held firm against the onslaught. After frantic minutes of maneuvering and untold collateral damage the Firebee took a hit to its gyro grounding it.

Enhanced with triple strength myomer Franklin's Loadermech delivered a powerful push kick to the fallen mech as it struggled to rise and bring its laser into play. The impact shattered armor and sent its downed form flying across the tarmac and into a concrete pillar.

That impact was not the loudest noise at that moment. His team had planted demolition charges that weakened the exterior walls. Sheet metal bent under the pressure of the bulldozer blade ultimately yielding with a horrid screech. Yakuza soldiers exchanged fire with heavier machine guns mounted on their trucks.

Dull thuds from the IndustrialMech's rifles scattered the Jiri soldiers until the weapon ran dry. They used the machine's rear hoist to hold the autocannon in place and free their hands. Hands that reached into their left torso's cargo compartment for a fresh magazine of Anti-Personnel ammo.

With a rough click the magazine was set in the well by the skilled puppeteers using their datagloves for the fine movements. A pair of discarded magazines fell to the ground as the rifles rose once more to spread death downrange.

Minutes and three more magazines later the Sherpas and Shantai soldiers returned to see the carnage wrought by the LoaderMech's handheld weapon. Both Loadermechs had run dry or had the lightweight auto-cannons damaged by weapons fire from Jiri Wasps and Urbanmechs. Their secondary weapons, SRM-2s, shaped like disks connected by something resembling a knuckleduster, filled both hands.

Shan's voice came over the intercom as Yakuza soldiers filled the armored trucks. “We will only have machine guns soon enough.”

Franklin saw more Jiri soldiers arriving via light vehicles that flew over the rain slick streets. These were equipped with only the barest of heavy weapons, machine guns and grenade launchers. A threat but not a major one unlike that lance of light mechs who the Jiri Wakagashira had thought were enough protection for their warehouse.

“That's fine we won't need these much longer. Quick we'll take one of those reactors off your truck so you can maintain speed.”

“Every bit counts.”


Both Sherpas took up position behind the LoaderMechs as Franklin and Shan swiveled their cockpit chairs behind them to look at the controls and display for the lift hoist built into the LoaderMech's back.

The supercharged VOX 330XLs came inside a cage protecting them during shipping. This also made it easier for LoaderMechs and gantry cranes to maneuver the heavy constructs. Franklin identified the distinctive markings of the manufacturer, Tanadi Power Systems, and its rating to ensure they had taken the correct container. There were no take-backs in the underground.

Their lift hoists strained under the mass but pulled the cage into position. With the massive reactor on its back the Powerman looked like a field worker pulling sacks of grain over their shoulders.

“We'll see whether they will shoot us in the back and risk hitting these valuable reactors Franklin.”

“I suppose we will Shan. Everyone to the shuttles now!”


Jiri Shantai harried them with small arms as the Sherpas and their trailers put the pedal to the metal. Tires screeched as they drifted into turns.

Yugon cut the turn so tight the trailer almost tipped over and only the fast reflexes of Franklin slapping it back down stopped the vehicle from ruining their getaway. He and Shan struggled to maintain control on the slick pavement with their unbalanced loads. Both Powermen shot missiles behind them to keep the enemies at bay but their eyes were ever forward.

Warehouse canyons opened up to the slick black tarmac of the Astroplex. Four Hana (K-1) dropshuttles waited for them with their cargo ramps lowered to the ground. More ground troops waited for their arrival opening fire on their pursuers at long range with tripod mounted machine guns.

Finally the Jiri soldiers broke off the attack outmatched as Franklin and Shan unlimbered the reactors. The trucks drove right up into the ramp as the Mechs handheld guns were retrieved by industrial exoskeletons and stowed. LoaderMechs carefully loaded and secured the reactors before crawling into the cargo bay just as more Jiri mechs began to run at them.

Minutes later the Hana dropshuttles took off into the iron gray clouds on columns of white hot plasma. Franklin looked out of the engineering console's viewpoint. Gray clouds yielded to blue skies. The curve of Hachiman became apparent and they yawed toward their destination.

“Its good to be back on top.”

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #12 on: 29 June 2021, 22:58:12 »
Now that's a heist!

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #13 on: 30 June 2021, 00:35:33 »
If it was done by a military unit, it would be called a raid.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #14 on: 30 June 2021, 09:52:46 »
I would call that high stakes raid, considering Franky's dad in town.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
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DOC_Agren

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #15 on: 30 June 2021, 12:22:00 »
I would call that high stakes raid, considering Franky's dad in town.
Does he know that?
"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!"

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #16 on: 30 June 2021, 13:28:28 »
I don't think either of them knows. But anyway, Coordinator's presence would drive security services into frenzy, a pitched battle within the city would certainly get noticed.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #17 on: 30 June 2021, 14:57:35 »
This timeline is bit different.  So it's hard to say if Franklin is aware who his father is. I don't think he does.  He has to be really young, he 27 years old.   He's in late 30s by the Clans and Somerset Strikers formed.  Wither or not he was same as he was in the faus-cartoon / propaganda film is another thing.  We know he unites with his father by time the Black Dragons try assassinate him.

This timeline...i don't know. Only AlphaMirage can know to be certain.  I just hope we see more mech action.  The build up killing me.  :D
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #18 on: 30 June 2021, 17:01:56 »
Draconis Combine Internal Security Force Record
Given Name - Franklin Sakamoto
No known Aliases
Affiliation - Kuroi-Ryu (Black Dragon) Syndicate
Associates - Shan Ryken (Former Capellan Servitor presently Indentured to Isesaki Shipping, assigned to Kwaidon)
Huyen Shi (Reformed prisoner, sentenced to hard labor for Grand Theft Aerospace, Matsuda Maritimes, Served with 7th Ghost. Now works for Isesaki Shipping)
Jeroen Frestadt, Captain of Unity Freighter Kwaidon
Born – August 18, 3019 Terran Harmonized Time
POB -  Amphigean Aquaculture Site #428, Ohio, Harvest, Rasalhague Military District
Mother – Sara Nishimira | Maternal Status - Indentured AA, Inc | Father – Unknown
Hair – Black | Eyes – Brown | Ethnic – Hafu | Height – 180cm | Weight – 76.2Kg (as of 3043)

Certifications
DCPA Dropship Engineering Mate | Chief Engineer- Dropship <10-kiloton | IndustrialMech, All
Exoskeletons, All | Free Trader, Sponsor - Isesaki Shipping | Orbital Salvage
DCA Shuttle Pilot, All
DCMS Medium Class Battlemech Pilot / Jump Certified | Tech Level III | Specialist - Armorer

Notable History
3025 - Joins crew of Unity Freighter Kwaidon
3026 – Mother dies in LCAF attack on Harvest. Adopted by Captain Rentaro Sakamoto of the Kwaidon
3035 – Attends Engineering Program at Philadelphia Technical Institute
3036 – Arrested for D&D, petty larceny, and vandalism of a shrine. Sentenced to flogging and service
3037 – Graduates from PTI 18/387. Attached to Raba Freighter Rusalka under Captain Rabika
3039 – Certified Engineering Mate
3040 – Returns to Unity Freighter Kwaidon, now Free Trader, Isesaki Shipping
3041 – Arrested for B&E on Irian, Aggravated Battery on Second Chance, released on bail
3042 - Suspected for murder on Hall, warrant still active. Rentaro Sakamoto retires to Proserpina
3043 – Enlists in 7th Ghost. Training Tour on Matsuida. Engaged Federated Suns in raids along the border with BMD
3044 – Deploys to Capellan Theater
3045 – Returns to Kwaidon after 2 years Tour of Duty. Certified Chief Engineer at Hachiman Technical Institute

blacktigeractual

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #19 on: 30 June 2021, 18:32:22 »
Wait...Uncle Chandy and Franklin? Yes, please!
The thing about Marauders is this, the big bad MAD was never unseen, reseen or whatever. We were always there.

I want to build something REAL....I want to bring our people out of the DARK AGES while there's something to save.
Elizabeth Ngo

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #20 on: 30 June 2021, 19:15:53 »
Wait...Uncle Chandy and Franklin? Yes, please!

And more to come.

Draconis Combine Port Authority Findings
06/20/3046 Yoshitune Spaceport, Hachiman, Galedon Military District

At 01:45 Local Time, 4 Hana Dropshuttles, registered to Yoshimatsu Chemicals, were hijacked on the tarmac while preparing to load a regular shipment of chemicals to Srinagar. Their security teams were attacked by masked men using CS irritant gas and bludgeons. Once incapacitated they were tied up and left in a nearby warehouse.

These hijackers utilized the approved take off window and course but deviated due to 'mechanical difficulties' halfway through before dropping off tracking RADARs. Based on ballistic projections DCPA Security Teams were dispatched to find the missing vessels and if possible apprehend the attackers. After seven hours PAST agents located them, finding them empty and smelling of ammonia and bleach.

During this time there was a live fire engagement between the Jirigawa Syndicate and unknown attackers, certainly in league with the hijackers, in the warehouse district. An unknown quantity of material was removed from the warehouse, likely to the dropshuttles. PAST is however finding them, “less than cooperative.” (sic)

ISF Planetary Commander Thomas Yoriake has been notified but has determined it an internal feud between Yakuza Clans. The investigation file will remain open to be followed up on after the Expo attendees depart. Masamori Metro Police have been put on high alert for retaliatory engagements between rival syndicates. Security around the Expo Center is still deemed acceptable until the Gunji-no-Kanrei departs on the 25th.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #21 on: 02 July 2021, 22:36:56 »
Chapter 4 – Performances
06/26/3046 Location – Masamori, Hachiman
Muraski's bronze shark fin styled towers clustered near the Hachiman Taro factory complex on the banks of the River Yamato. From the western bank it appeared as if a great sea beast had risen from the, substantially less polluted than usual, waters. Although the expo was still ongoing the city was returning to its normal bustling self as 'enhanced' security measures began expiring. VIPs, such Gunji-no-Kanrei Theodore Kurita and family, were departing to the greater Combine with the best impression of Hachiman possible.

Kagura Cabaret occupied a wide street frontage within the 'Neon Arcade' neighborhood. A less exploitative but no less exciting option for Masamori's novelty seeking residents than the 'Floating City' that sprawled across the opposite river bank. Its proximity to well compensated workers given an unusually lenient work allotment (by Combine standards) had seen it explode in popularity. This popularity had not gone unnoticed.

Nor had the pale skinned women in a high cut red and gold qipao style dress sitting alone at the bar. Presently she sipped a bright blue cocktail, one she had brought with her own Ryu. It was but one in a long line of drinks lining the bar top in front of her. Each was courtesy of 'interested' men and women all been rebuffed by this mysterious apprentice Renkatsu judging by her silver nose ring. So many had accumulated that she had begun re-gifting them to others bold enough to approach. This had unfortunately not had the intended effect.

A young man, richly dressed beyond his rather low class accent, boldly occupied the seat next to her at the bar. His face was red with flush and he had apparently been dared into the interaction. She kept her eye on one of the five private boxes overlooking the dining hall and stage.

One presently concealed with a gold curtain thin enough that shadows sometimes appeared on the opposite side. Occasionally they were even flirty, as if one were looking through a women's dressing screen. Cleverly deployed props drew catcalls, laughter, and groans from the mixed crowd. Factory supervisors, office managers, and off duty private security (HTE Security, not Yaks) all shared drinks and food side by side sharing in their world's prosperity, one that was unique in the Draconis Combine.

Her prospective suitor noticed her intentional ignorance of his existence. “Excuse me miss”

She nodded slightly and gestured toward the beverages. “Oh. Would you like a drink?

I have many options. Surely you have a taste for at least one.”

“I was interested in something more refreshing.”
His drunken hands lingered to close to the slit in her skirt.

He shouted in pain as a Jitte, concealed under her fan, struck him hard across the knuckles. A pair of HTE security guards, unofficial bouncers for beers, stood up from a nearby table their tonfas beating across their palms. One of the lively barmaids signaled them off with a gesture yet they remained standing just in case.

The drunk looked at his bruised hand as the Renkatsu removed a bottle of plum wine, imported from the Capellan colonies, from its ice bucket. She pushed it toward him with her jitte, an elegant type of sai often used by police and women unable or willing to carry blades.

“You should put some ice on that. Its going to sting.”

The man loomed over her comically threatening to punch her with his off-hand as the primary one was damaged. “Bitch! Whore! Do you know who I am?”

“Thankfully no.”

She glanced at the security guards who proceeded to drag the lout out. Hopefully tossing him into a puddle outside, or the marshes.

Her attention was once more focused on her target in the box above. This seat was the only one with an uninterrupted view through the smoke gathering above the dining hall as it filled out in preparation for tonight's show.

Uchida Kinuko, Chief Sales Rep for Ibuki Robotics, was waiting for someone.

Hopefully someone that could give her some answers.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #22 on: 05 July 2021, 10:09:45 »
The renkatsu watched a man enter Kinuko's booth. Based on body language this was her anticipated companion and she offered him a seat which he graciously accepted. From this distance she could only see enough to identify generalities. Feathered black hair with red locks and multi-layered dark clothes with unique colors, embroideries, and printed symbols.

“A Neo-Kei host young enough to be your son. Very naughty.”

A Bunraku puppet show with a lion puppet in tall grass, First Prince Ian Davion. Beneath it, within the tall grass, was a rat named Takashi. This rat popped up and chased the lion about the stage with shrieks and squeals from the proud beast.

Kinuko whispered careful not to allow to much conversation to be overheard by their neighbors or servers. “Bastard. The deal was only for two units.”

Franklin sipped his sake which required finesse for one as made up as he. A richly decorated cane leaned against the partition. The rich umami smell of freshly plated food on the table drew his attention more than the stage performance. “An MEU can hold two Shinobi engines. We captured both.”

Laughter erupted from the crowd as the puppet lion retreated off stage. As the stage disappeared through a trap door women dressed in colorful clothes wielding Bo staves appeared. They engaged in acrobatic martial arts routine accompanied by frenzied sound of traditional Japanese instruments. Taiko drums and wooden clappers accentuated mie poses, staff aided leaps, and daring use of aerial silks. A spellbound crowd clapped as performers conducted stunts seen on holovids.

She peered at a strange woman at the bar who had not turned to watch the stage show. He took notice of her as well.

“That woman has been looking at me for most of the evening.”
“Want me to bring her up here after the show? You, me, her, no extra cost.”
“I doubt that's her intention. She could be working with the competition.”
“Jirigawa, Bertoli, Osaka, there are a number of valid options. Did she approach you at the expo?”
“Not that I can remember, but she might be working for another,”

“I will deal with her when we are done.”


He slipped a tablet noteputer to her from inside his vest. Upon the screen was a fairly normal shipping request. However the payment was far higher than normal market rate for that particular cargo. “Sign here to authorize payment for a cargo of 'electrical goods' to be sent to Togura, and settle this order I made with IRM last week.”

From her white blouse's breast pocket a stylus appeared. Franklin watched her movements carefully as she signed her name on the form. “I will ensure our special cargo reaches Solaris to settle your debts with the Bertolis, Mrs Uchida. All evidence of our affair will be buried as agreed.”

“Your threats of blackmail had no power over me. My husband has done more to embarrass me in public.”

“Whatever you say Kinuko-san. I'd keep off Solaris for a while for your own continued security. Although Hussars working the Solaris Circus will be very impressive for the next few years.”

“I've had enough. You got your payment I will suffer your company long enough to not draw additional suspicion by this girl.”


Franklin's hand worked its way under the table to settle on the woman's skirt. “I will miss our special business relationship.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #23 on: 05 July 2021, 20:42:54 »
The cabaret's evening show went into intermission after a modern dance by the troupe's stars. At the bar the mysterious renkatsu was drawn into the performance more to judge it rather than be entertained. After the curtain closed the renkatsu looked again toward Kinunko's booth. She let out an angry sigh but did her best to keep it under her breath. “Where did he go?”

She was torn between options as minutes passed and he failed to reappear. White smoke billowed out from the other side of the curtain filling the room with haze.

“Enjoying the show miss?”

A well dressed bartender she did not recognize appeared before her. He like most Combine citizens, including her, was a hafu with black hair. Unlike them he had bright blue eyes as did she. Her initial shock passed quickly as she had insisted no one bother her unless signaled. The man bowed slightly. “I'm sorry to surprise you. I just took over from the upstairs bar. Name's Jan.”

Jan picked up the warming bottle of plum wine and inspected it carefully. “This is a particularly fine vintage from Gan Singh. It should be under ice.”
“Its ice bucket was used for alternative purposes.”
“So I heard. May I consider it a donation to the staff then?”


She waved her hands across the other drinks cluttering the bartop as well. “Fine. Get rid of these too while you are there.”

He diligently bused the drinks she had refused. Emptying each in turn before handing one of the bar girls the plum wine in an ice bucket with a 'for later' look. She seemed enchanted and disappeared into the back. “You seem to be rather popular. Come here often?”

“No, I had intended to meet my master here but he got tied up in Expo business.”
“Your master?”
Jan peered at the newly acquired nose ring with a knowing eye that unnerved her for some reason. He returned to wiping and rinsing out the glasses. “Are you from Hachiman? I can't seem to place your accent. Two Moons?”

She momentarily forgot her training. Had she lost her Niwa accent already? It had been less than two months. “I'm afraid I don't know of that place.”

“Its a fine village from what I hear. One of the pillars of the greater Masamori community.”


The renkatsu maintained an appropriate poise despite the inner fire of embarrassment that burned inside her at being made so easily. She peered back at the box to see that Kinuko had made her escape while this bartender wasted her time. “I am afraid I must leave Jan.”

Her shoulder was grabbed in such a way to make it difficult to hit his hand with her jitte. “Let me call you a cab. I don't know how many of these drinks you actually consumed.”

With a forceful step she broke free of his grasp although he exited from behind the bar to pursue her. The action roused the partially drunk HTE security guards from their twilight time. “I will be quite alright.”

Three men broke down the door from the main parlor and looked over the dining hall. A forth man, Fujio Jirigawa, strode between them dressed in a sharp suit with sunglasses on. His bokken held over his shoulder while the others were armed with shorter hanbo straight clubs.

He pulled the sunglasses down and saw Franklin and the renkatsu next to one another. “Get them!”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #24 on: 07 July 2021, 21:21:37 »
Bassy throat singing of a beast of a man filled the bar from its brightly lit stage. His long queue braid and full beard thrashed to the rock beat of a karaoke machine. Partying youths dressed in riotously contrasted harajuku fashions followed the beat, mesmerized by the exotic outsider. They cheered as two svelte waifs were lifted aloft with arms accustomed to the coarse labor of a stevedore.

Loud beeping pushed above the music. He regrettably lowered the disappointed girls to the floor before flipping the commpad open.

“Get the car! There's a situation.”

Shan Ryken shook his head to the disappointment of his audience. He exited the noisy room and its screechy impersonations of the latest pop idol hit. “Your MILF contact tied you to the bed situation? Or your back's against the wall kind?”

Franklin Sakamoto parried a hanbo thrust with his cane. The Jiri kept coming and forced Franklin to drop his cane. He exhaled sharply, digging deep to sprawl out. This barely allowed him to keep his feet. Upon rising he barely dodged a punch meant for his head. One was followed up with more forcing his back to the stage wall.

The Jiri kept coming, Franklin ducked and weaved returning a few with his own bare knuckles. His foe smashed his fist against the wall just as the wind of the blow passed by Franklin's right ear. A sharp cry of pain was met with Franklin bracing himself against the stage. From his secure position his legs pistoned out kicking the rival Yak away.

His target landed on a recently vacated wooden table. Glasses and plates flew back crashing into the floor. He scrambled to his feet disrupting the fog that covered the floor. Sounds of brawling overcame the house music. Smells of spilled beer and tang of fog juice filled the club.

“Definitely the latter.”

Nearby the renkatsu did whatever she could to avoid being cornered and captured by Yakuza trying to cut off her avenues of escape. She used her off hand to bat items at them they used their hanbo staves to block most of it. The floor filled with broken crockery and an abysmal stew of half eaten dinners. They tried to disarm her of the hurtful club she carried and used well.

Breath came quickly as Franklin scrambled across the fog laden floor dodging and sometimes pushing customers in the way. Jirigawas exercised restraint as he did, merely pushing people out of the way in pursuit of their objective. He looked around the gaily lit club keen to find 'Renny'.

Customers yelled 'MiPS' as they made their way to the exits to escape the brawl. He could hear her ki-ai shouts over the crowd. As he pushed through the crowd his opponent found his feet again. A swift smack to the man's head made him reconsider as she crumbled in the debris.

Someone pulled the fire alarm on their way out. Klaxons assaulted the ears of those dwindling number of those inside. The renkatsu's agility and wardrobe failed her as her skirt caught on a table. Fujio passed his bokken over her head pinning her arms at the waist. One of his goons pried the jitte out of her right hand kicking the hateful instrument away.

The four of them were all that remained in the club. The lights only illuminated the figures while the rest of the trashed dining room was dark.
“We got your girl. Now where's my cargo?”

His illuminated cane cast ghoulish shadows and red light over Franklin's face.
“She is a fine specimen of a renkatsu, but is she forty million Ryu good?”

The renkatsu struggled against Fujio but he was much stronger than her and had mechanical leverage. “I don't even know this bastard!”
“Yeah, that's a common thing I hear from Frankie's girls.”


Fujio's teeth gleamed white in the limelight, a shark on the hunt. “He's just a handsome little mystery isn't he?"

He pulled her hard enough to lift her off her feet. “Now the cargo, or we take this broad and you with us to Ukiyo. I know a good sadist that can make you talk.”

Franklin's eyes found the fallen Jiri's hanbo lying on the floor. Fujio's 'batmen' neared him from either flank trying to keep to the shadows. “I don't even know her name. Though I appreciate her feistiness.”
“That never stopped you before. Well why don't we get a name out of you then.”


He pulled her back into a rising knee eliciting a cry of pain from the woman. Franklin drew closer to the unseen club. She whispered something under her breath. Fujio leaned closer to her. “Go on let it out.”

She bit down on a lone earring pulling it and a piece of flesh from the gangster's ear. Surprised and in pain Fujio loosened the grip on his weapon. After slipping his bokken she drove her palm right into his solar plexus. Fujio stumbled backward tripped over a table and doubled over in pain.

Since he was down she closed the distance spat the earring at him. It was followed by a rising strike to the head with his own bokken. Fujio collapsed groaning in agony at the impact.

“My name is Miya, you ass.” She kicked the weapon across the floor.

Franklin took advantage of the distraction to reach the second club. Quick forceful strikes and the defeat of their boss caused a rout. Both Jiri 'batmen' fled as the sirens of the Ministry of Public Security blared uncomfortably close. A horn honked outside 'stage right.' He looked around finding himself the last man standing in the dining hall.

“I guess Miya had her own exit strategy, like a true professional.”

Shan was helmeted outside in a matte black Nissan 3SS super-cycle. Franklin put his own helmet on as the open canopy three wheeled low rider burned rubber. Its small size and large engine allowed them to bypass MiPS barriers that prevented motor vehicles from entering the streets.
“Did kinky Kinunko set you up?”

The bronze towers of Murasaki lit up in a vivid lighting display. Bright colors reflected off the River Yamato and onto the vibrant riverfront districts. “I don't think so. She authorized the payment before everything went to hell. If I hadn't been covering her retreat I might have escaped Fujio and his men.”

While driving Shan noticed Franklin was zoned out or entranced by the show. He let it linger while they sped down the highway. Yoshitune Spaceport loomed ahead as they left behind the bronze towers of Masamori. Magnesium bright flares of outgoing dropships arced toward space like shooting stars passing over the drab industrial space.

Both kept an eye out for any tails as their 3SS rolled into a small warehouse near the marsh.
“So what kept you?”
“A woman.”


“Isn't it always.”
“I felt a connection to her, unlike anything I've ever felt before. I'm not sure but I feel like she felt it too.”


Their 3SS parked against freshly relabeled shipping container belonging to 'Ibuki Robotics and Manufacturing.'
“You say that about every girl you fall for.”
“I'm not lying, but Miya is different. I'm not sure how.”


They disembarked to one of the smaller compartments inside the warehouse. Futons, rice cookers, Shiwasa 42s assault rifle, and a hibachi grill all neatly laid out for use. Everything the Black Dragons needed while they waited out the Jirigawas.

Both men removed their helmets and went through debriefing with their partners, Wugone and Huyen Shi.
“Well keep your head in the game till we are off-world and the checks clear Franklin. I'd really appreciate you buying out my indenture. The next twenty years would be hell otherwise.”

Franklin settled down at the hibachi picking up one of the kabobs left warming upon it. “I resent that statement. I've worked for Isesaki for almost twenty years.”
Shan sat down across from him pouring himself a cup of green tea. “I'm not saying the Confederation is that much of an improvement. Especially considering the circumstances I left behind.”

His partner rested his hand of the larger man's shoulder. “Don't worry Shan. The Jirigawas would be just as willing to flay your flesh as the O'Doug'n Bratva.”
He shook his head causing the queue to bob about like a pendulum. “You need to work on your motivational speeches rather than your game buddy.”

As he departed toward the futons Franklin turned once more to the seated Shan. “Nah, I have my Priorities.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #25 on: 08 July 2021, 17:47:40 »
Chapter 5 – White Tiger
08/17/3002 Location – Kyushu, Kagoshima, Draconis Combine

Two women watched a pair of young boys playing 'swords' in the grove from their perch. Behind them a bamboo forest and placid cloud touched mountains overlooked quiet Sapo Town. Best known as a resort for those escaping 'Black' Luthien's overbearing palace life and rampant pollution.

From the other side a handmaid walked as quickly as proper through the grove and up the pagoda's stairs. She took a respectful place before her voice squeaked over the women's cheering their children on. “Apologies. Honored Lady Kareena. I bear a missive from High Command.”

She opened the offered message, read it quickly, and strove to hold back tears. Jasmine Isu was immediately there to comfort her sister-in-law. Its messenger quietly departed before they finished.

An eerie silence settled over the two boys in their fantastical world. Concerned the younger one looked up at the pagoda. “They aren't there anymore.”

The other boy craned his neck looking at the now empty balcony from the looming bamboo stalks. “Is it lunch time already?”
His bamboo pole angled toward the ground from its chudan-no-kamae 'middle guard' position. “Wouldn't they have shouted Isoroku?”

They puzzled the mystery as their 'swords' became walking sticks. “We should see what's going on Theodore. Race you up the steps!”

Both of them rushed through the bamboo. Theodore started one step behind and his older cousin's lead rose to three. “That's not fair! You have longer legs than me.”

They flew up the stairs until they arrived breathless and laughing where their mothers sat on the mats. Kareena's face held only the slightest of tears. Isoroku's attitude darkened as he dropped the stick and slide next to his mother to wipe her tear. “What's wrong?”

Jasmine embraced her nephew and son in the comforting folds of her yukata. “I'm sorry boys. We just heard Miyamoto died on Alexandria.”

Isoroku made his own attempt to look strong but his aunt's empathy was stronger than his boyish courage. He brushed away tears and put on his bravest voice. “Did he die fighting?”

“He did nephew. Murakami took down five (Skye) Rangers before it fell.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #26 on: 09 July 2021, 01:43:45 »
04/18/3026
The city of Farow Junction was empty of all but rats scurrying through the toxic sewer below. Above them Murakami stalked its AFFS prey with a pair of damaged Panthers. A gold fan spread out across its back from shoulder to shoulder marking its pilot as a graduate of the Pagoda for Imperial (Staff) Officers.
“Go above and scout. We will hold this street.”
“Hai Tai-I!”


Both Panthers pulled their arms in and leapt above landing as softly as their mass allowed on the crumbling buildings of Farow's Junction. He looked down at the battered Ki-Rin (Myrmidon) tank and mechanized Ashigaru at his feet. Like all DCMS Mechwarriors he looked down on lesser bushi. Unlike them he respected their unique abilities and felt utilizing more weapons a sound tactic. His time at PIO had given him great respect for their efficiencies.

While the Panthers looked ahead he took in the worn ambiance of a fallen city. As much a victim of war as fallen AFFS Ashigaru bravely daring to combat the 5th Sword of Light even through dishonorable means. “Reminds me of New Samarkand. Train as you fight yes.”

Busosenshi Kyu shouted through the radio. “Kintaro, making a run for it!”

Upon hearing that the Ki-Rin moved into high gear rolling over flattened shards of gray Tiger and Striker UDB tanks. Murakami ran close behind its lumbering autocannon bobbing with each stride. “Flush it out! Don't lose visual.”

Sword of Light bushi pushed deeper into the city. A Panther disappeared into rubble as the Urban Defense Brigade detonated mines mounted on the ceiling of a low apartment block. The light mech crashed through floors before its broken limbless form was trapped in the basement.

Busosenshi Ayin's stern voice came over the Battlenet. “They got Kyu with a trap. Damn those FedRats.”

No sooner than he said that were fougasses detonated as the Ki-Rin passed over them. Directional explosives angled perfectly to overbalance its turret and tip the armored vehicle. The 40 ton tank was thrown into an already shattered storefront. With its crew concussed and treads wrecked it was little more than salvage.

“They are drawing us in Tai-I. Should we break off the pursuit?”

Oiled asphalt made the mech almost loose control. Isoroku reached his hand out to anchor the machine in order to keep its feet. “No. I won't let even one of these FedRats Mechs escape this city.

Sho-So Conti ordered it captured by day's end. As long as one remains our unit's honor is at stake.”
“Understood sir. It fell into a similar slick. You should be able to catch it if you run now.”


Isoroku pushed the control yoke forward his eyes on the targeting reticle within his neurohelmet's visor. “Then that is what I shall do.”

Murakami ran unsteadily over the oil while UDB irregulars tossed incendiaries into it before returning to their sheltering structures. Isoroku pushed through the heat. His cooling vest strained to keep his core cool as torrents of sweat poured down his back and onto the polymer and steel seat that held him firm.

His mech cleared the corner and into a cloud of short range missiles from the Kintaro and its infantry. A thunderous roar echoed off the concrete canyons. The green mech fell knees first before the rest of it crashed through the glass front of a shopping mall. Murakami stood opposite, its Tomodruzu cannon, the namesake for the Hunchback, still smoking from the killing blow.

Additional units from the Galedon Regulars followed up on the Sword of Light's vanguard. Since enemy mechs and heavy armor were no longer a threat lesser Ashigaru infantry and armored combat vehicles were assigned the ignoble task of clearing out guerrillas. Murakami needed to be rearmed before he could return to battle so there was time for some 'dismounted recon.'

 Inside the shopping mall Isoroku, Nakayima laser pistol in hand, walked behind a platoon of helmeted Ashigaru carefully picking through broken glass. Below him these shards reflected oranges and reds of a setting sun. Behind him the Kintaro was still warm but lifeless. Power had been cut before they attacked the city so the mall was quiet. Steel gates lowered over the storefronts in a meager attempt to secure their goods.

Ayin tapped him on the shoulder. “Tai-I. The Physicians report that Kyu has been rescued and is en route to the MASH.”

Ashigaru continued their clearing patrol as the two Mechwarriors found themselves in a darkened Occidental Exports department store. Isoroku and Ayin holstered their pistols sensing no threat within. He held out a brightly printed dress, the label he recognized as one of the golden world designers popular in the Federated Suns. An exotic good only found within the markets of Hachiman where counterfeits and occasionally the real thing, smuggled under DCPA eyes, filled its street markets.

“This would look wonderful on Kanoko. I shall bring them to her in every color when I return. Along with outfits for our daughter.”
“Her due date must be coming soon.”


The men moved through the silent department store. Its escalator turned to stairs and electronics department dark the promise of loot already drawing patrolling soldiers who filled their packs and pockets with goods. Unlike them Isoroku used his flashlight to find the baby section adding outfits to the designer dresses. “Within a month. I hope to be there when our daughter is born.

If I cannot though I pray she doesn't hold it against me. I was very clear that my service to the Dragon was non-negotiable before we wed.”
“Wasn't it arranged? I understand that would be clearly stated beforehand.”


Finally both men took a trip to the soda fountain of the store's snack bar. “That is true. However, ours was not arranged as both my parents were dead beforehand.”

Isoroku's face narrowed in anger quickly followed by sorrow and then back to its original grim configuration. This grimness softened however as he talked of his wife. “I met her on the campus of the University of Ashio. I got lost. Asked her for directions,” he paused to finish off his soda, “then her number.”

06/08/3026 Markab, Contested World

The sun beat down on the 5th Sword of Light's camp in the shadow of their dropships. Orderly quonset huts faced broad avenues of compacted sand patrolled by Arkab Legionaries clad in their flowing desert robes assault rifles on their shoulders, armored vests across their chest, and jet black goggles over the eyes.

Tai-I Isoroku lay in the nicest office accommodations this oven of a world could offer. His head looming over reports detailing the poor supply situation the Sword of Light found itself in on this desolate dustball.

A young woman entered the door her tan duster having taken on a saffron brown tint from the storm outside. Some sand followed her into the 'mud-room' where she took her duster off hanging it next to the DCMS issue sand coat already there.

She bowed meekly mindful of the dust that followed her in. “Apologies Tai-I. May I have a drink?”

“Of course Acolyte Sarah.” A chilled pitcher of water and metal cup were extended to her. “I appreciate the Order's insistence on sending a person along with mail. We don't get many new faces out here.”

Sarah drank the cup quickly and filled it again mindful of Isoroku's potential judgment. Finding none she drank another. “With good reason. This is not what I would call a choice assignment. I do my duty to the Order however, as you do to your Coordinator.”

“Duty before comfort.”
A silvered bag with the COMSTAR emblem on it was placed on the desk. “These will do much to ease the former with the latter.”  In return Isoroku handed her another for outgoing multi-media messages to be couriered to the HPG as broadcasts were likely to be intercepted.

“COMSTAR is as usual your humble servant Tai-I Kurita.” With that she departed into the dun haze gathering outside.

He looked at the bag and back to his work. Ozawa had been a big loss but it was going to take a bigger win to hold Markab. As company XO it was his job to make sure they could fight well but the desert suffered no fools. “Duty before comfort.”

Instead of following his own mantra Isoroku opened the bag and found a message to him from his sister-in-law Ayame on Ashio. He read it once, then twice his determined countenance, that of a Kurita Samurai, faded to that of a broken man. One who reached down to remove the bottle of contraband tequila from the unit safe. He used it to fill his mug trying to drink his sorrows away.

The note fell to the dusty floor, 'Isoroku it is with my most sincere sorrow to report that my sister, your wife Kanoko, and infant daughter have died. We await your presence for the final ceremonies.

I am so very sorry for your loss. Ayame'

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #27 on: 09 July 2021, 08:06:55 »
Eesh, that tough
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #28 on: 10 July 2021, 01:53:55 »
08/01/3046 Location – Taragi Kurita Clan Reserve, Deolali, Hachiman, Draconis Combine

Chandreskar Kurita moaned in relief as he lay face down on the table eyes closed. Two young women used every part of their feet to massage his portly back. They stabilized themselves on twisted rope tied to the ornate woodwork of the ceiling above.

A sharp snap and clapping rang out from the range below his balcony. Finished with their work Chandrasekhar lifted his head, threw his legs over the side of the table, and stretched his arms.

He looked over to the women clad in saris. An acceptable compromise from their normal (lack of) garments made at Tomoe Sakade's 'request.' One that had nothing to do with very real and graphic promises of physical torment.

“That was fantastic ladies. Spend to much time looking down at my desk. Feel free to take a break.”

They donned their colorful sandals and gathered a number of other small objects. “Will we see you at the bath house later?”

The cool sake next him was smooth and refreshing. “I wouldn't miss it for anything.”

As they left he donned an indigo Yukata only loosely tying it over his gut enough to cover his fundoshi. He leaned over the rail to see a teen boy and middle aged man wearing hakama and kimonos folded down to reveal lean muscle on their left side.

Mitchell watched carefully as the boy calmly drew the bamboo Daikyu to his ear. “That's it Minoru. Breath, maintain a firm composure, and the arrow will find its target.”

Minoru released the arrow which flexed and twisted mid-air until its iron point found its straw target. Three additional arrows were tucked in a quiver tied to his obi. The Kurita Clan's personal Kyudo format known as 'Fortuitous Five in Flight,' 5 arrows, 25cm target, 25 meters distant. Mitchell's own children, Minoru's fourth cousins, Akane and Hideyoshi took their own shots as their father watched each exchange.

Hideyoshi and Akane each had three arrows strike their targets. Breaking the tie required a 'sudden death' bonus round. Minoru and Mitchell sat in seiza until they finished...

Eight arrows later and Akane was victorious. Her brother reacted calmly at the disappointment and they bowed to each other. “Well done. Until another time.”

“Do they do this all the time?”
“Competition breeds excellence. This seemed safer than Iaido.”


They racked their bows as the siblings departed to continue other studies. Chandrasekhar ambled down the stairs. Mercifully it revealed less of his form than feared based on noise occasionally heard from the balcony. He looked over at the targets. “Only two hits? I expected more from Theodore's son.”

Mitchell adjusted the Yumi and arrows along the back wall. “It took me seven months before I hit two targets.”

“Well you're not what the Clan calls a Kensai Kami Mitchell.”

“That's rich coming from you Chandrasekhar.”


Chandreskar drummed his pot belly. “I trained in Sumo. It is a honorable art.”

“You spent all your time in the sauna.”
“And the Geisha teahouse, the bar.”
He put his hand to his chin. “There was a really good brothel near my stable in Takaoguchi.” A broad smile filled his face. “Ah. Fond memories.”

“I've never seen you with a top-knot, Uncle Chandy.”


A deep laughter echoed through the wooden building. “And you won't Minoru. To much trouble. You are here after all among the non-Bushi Kuritas.”

With everything in order Mitchell turned his back to the door. “Not that you can't of course. I've seen your kempo.”
“My mother taught me.”

“Yes, of course. Someone we both rightfully respect.”
“The word you are looking for Mitch is fear.”


Minoru rose to his feet as a figure loomed in the entrance. “Uncle Isoroku! I didn't know you were going to be here.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #29 on: 11 July 2021, 21:29:30 »
Interlude – DCMS Threat Assessment 3046

Compiled by Tancred Sandoval, MI7
Fort Ballycastle, Lexington, Federated Suns

For reference to First Prince Ian Rennard Davion


Prelude
Although I have remained as objective as possible while compiling this report from agencies and allies I cannot stress enough that the biggest threat to the Federated Suns is also it's oldest. This is not merely my father speaking but personal experience and the debriefing of AFFS and LCAF personnel who have engaged it lately. The Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery has only increased in threat while the Capellan Conflict rightfully drew on our attention and resources.

While Theodore Kuritia may have stopped at Capella DCMS governors still control a number of important CC worlds. Tormano's military cannot and the Atrean Parliament will not be enough to remove them. At the same time reaching out and striking them will invite a devastating counter-attack of which we are still ill-prepared to negate. Through Takashi and Theodore's reforms of government and Isoroku's experimentation and leadership on the battlefield we are over-matched in most every aspect, except allies, for now.

Key Personalities
Isoroku Kurita, Warlord of the Galedon Military District

We are truly unlucky to have two individuals that embody the Combine's ideals of a Samurai Warrior in our time. Isoroku Kurita and his White Tiger Battalion have served in every brigade within the DCMS across the entire realm. While his cousin redeemed the Legion of Vega from inside most of Isoroku's achievements have been externally facing. He has fought every possible enemy to the Combine from Ronin and Pirates to Skye and Robinson Rangers and the 10th Lyran and Assault Guards, serving both staff and combat command roles.

Each individual Mechwarrior and Pilot are selected from the cream of the crop of the Draconis Combine's reborn Kensai Kami (Sword Spirit) program, restarted by Isoroku himself from fragments of notes about the Draconis Warriors that beat SLDF Gunslingers during The Secret War. His Tigers serve as test pilots for units such as the Shinobi and Mauler. Despite this they show the kind of coordination between combat arms that even our Regimental Combat Teams envy.

Theodore Kurita, Gunji-no-Kanrei
The Deputy of Military Affairs' combat record has proven the inverse of his more threatening cousin. He is indeed perhaps the most dangerous one. According to our best sources he has only participated in several raids. His actions have been more internally facing and all the more impactful for it. Theodore has cracked the whip inside the DCMS' and Draconis Combine's various agencies shaking them up by either by cashiering out or granting 'The Honor of Wakizashi' to recalcitrant bureaucrats.

It was his idea to offer the DCMS to Romano's forces preserving her realm until it finally fell under the weight of both Theodore's betrayal and Tormano's Jie Fang Legion. We are fairly certain that COMSTAR had provided all the mechs for purchase, at a discount, to the Yakuza and other undesirables. They were then trained under Theodore's own reformed Legions of Vega until they were deployed to support the CCAF.

New and Emerging Threats
In just the past five years the DCMS has introduced a dozen new Mech designs from LAW and other suppliers. Using Isoroku's test pilots and raids against our forces these mechs improve quickly and rapidly hit serial production without growing pains like our own procurement cycle. The Perilous (Penetrator) mechs are being rapidly replaced by new Rakshasas as its development cycle took too long. Although it was not a waste per say that program was an ill omen that I hope will not linger long.

The DCMS has spent a lot of resources lately to modernize their armor specifically using the new Ferro-Fibrous armor composite to improve protection for vehicles and their crews. The Ki-Rin (Myrmidon), Bulldog, and Tokugawa tanks are just as potent as anything in the AFFS' aging inventory of armored fighting vehicles.

Ashigaru infantry have seen an increase in lethality with new acquisitions from smaller firms just breaking into the DCMS procurement cycle. Additionally there is concerning evidence that DEST teams are experimenting with PA(L) armors similar to the legendary Nighthawk XXI instead of their normal infiltration suits on high risk mission.

Now the Ghost Regiments are falling apart. That makes them more dangerous.

Conclusion
We must always remember that one cannot leash a snake.

Or lose focus and miss the Scorpion.