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Author Topic: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled  (Read 15497 times)

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB Ch9
« Reply #60 on: 06 August 2021, 21:18:17 »
Chapter 9 - Dinner with the Prince
09/05/3046 Location – Masamori, Hachiman

Isoroku Kurita observed a brightly lit ferry cross the placid river from this meeting room. Its wake caught subdued hues of a scarlet sunset and distorted the reflection of Murasaki's brilliant lights. The bright thrust plume of an aerodyne Beacon (Buccaneer) dropship appeared above the ocean heading far beyond this world with its valuable cargo. Likely heading to one of the gargantuan space stations operating at Hachiman's jump points.

On the streets below traffic picked up as workers engaged in their commute back to apartments throughout the city. A passenger train roared across the Sen'nendai Bridge to Sebunshisutāzu, named for the Seven Bridges connecting the Metro area. Bobbing green lights highlighted a fleet of fishing boats departing for their nightly labors.

He leaned heavily on the ivory headed cane he borrowed from Chandrasekhar flexing his leg under the dark gray hakama. Isoroku rolled his hand across the injured area on his upper thigh. “Couple centimeters to the right and life would have lost some joy.”

A wounded expression came across the hardened shadows of his face. His free hand clenched the amulet under his coat. “Not that I intended to use it for that purpose any time soon.”

Behind him a low voice with a sinister tone spoke. “We could always find an alternative arrangement to help you heal Tai-Shu Kurita.”

“Good Evening Ninyu-san. I believe my current arrangement will suffice for a few more weeks before I continue my tour. How are things at the (ISF) Academy?”

“Not as interesting as Masamori.”


Isoroku set his cane into the rich blue carpet as the windows turned into a bronze mirror. Ninyu Kerai Indrahar's reflected form stood slightly behind him. Lurid red hair, scarred visage, dark wardrobe, and toothy smile, an infernal vision only lacking horns. “Any progress tracing the attackers?”
“Negative Tai-Shu. Literal Ghosts.”
“Then I suppose I am haunted until I exorcise this curse.”

“I will do whatever I can to aid your efforts.”


In the mirror Isoroku saw a black suited aide waiting next to the door. “We both know you are no priest.”
“I revel in the last rites.”

“Whoever they are we will find them and bleed them white.

Just as they tried to do to me.”

“With pleasure Tai-Shu.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 9a
« Reply #61 on: 06 August 2021, 23:42:48 »
Miya waited in the corridor adorned with a block prints of life on the ocean, or at least a romanticized version of it. Vibrant shades of color were carefully layered atop one another with a master's skill.

“Admiring the artwork Miya-san?”

She looked over to Isoroku and another man standing beside him, roughly the same age but unknown to her.  Her bow was rushed and she almost lost control of the long sleeves of her deep maroon furisode adorned with gold leaf brocade and fine embroideries. The obi binding her waist fought against any change in 'proper' ladylike posture.

“Isoroku-denka how long have you been there?”

He nodded to her in response as did the other man. “Only a moment. I didn't want to rush you as you seemed to be enjoying yourself. The restaurant is open till midnight and its hardly nineteen hundred.”

The other man chimed in. His dark foreboding intonation and Glasgow smile chilled her blood. “Bar's open till two. I will take my leave Tai-Shu Kurita. Enjoy your evening.”

“Good luck with your hunt Ninyu.”


Ninyu bowed deeply and disappeared around the corner.

“Apologies for the brief business interruption. I am honored you deigned to accept my invitation.”

With a gesture he led her on in the opposite direction toward the most expensive and elite restaurant in Masamori. Even hobbled she could move faster than Isoroku's stuttering steps.

Are you well?”

“Thanks to you I will heal. It's not my first major injury though it was my closest brush with death outside of a battle with the Davions.”


They walked through Sen'nendai Hotel's richly decorated interior featuring textured tropical hardwoods, principally from Togura, water block prints, tapestries, and remarkably beautiful ink paintings. Plush carpet muffled most of the noise. All external windows had turned to opaque mirrors reflecting the decorated walls while also scrambling targeting solutions on anyone inside, three new skyscrapers were joining the school of sharks that loomed over the River Yamato.

“You look as though you are about to debut Miya-san.”

Blush came to her cheeks at the compliment. Renting and fitting the kimono from the Canopians would cost her a year's worth of specialty pay. Only her 'cut'-rate ticket to Hachiman had cost more, but that debt wasn't only any official ledger.

“Thank you sir. But I'm just a country girl from Kirei Na Niwa.”

“It lives up to its name from what I've seen.”
His look dipped noticeably as his wife came to his mind while he looked at the young woman before him .

An ornate sign adorned a balcony held up by five decorative pillars adorned with long streamers reflecting an autumnal theme. The hotel's grand staircase, delicate chandeliers, and mosaic floor accented a cavernous lobby.
Waiting for them at the entrance was an older man. He stumbled through scripted words then bowed deeply, “Tai-Shu Isoroku-sama. I am the owner of Chuka Shinkai, Genya Liao. It is my great pleasure to serve you and your guest this evening.”

Incredulous Miya spoke out of curiosity despite expectations of silence. “Liao?”

“A distant relation, all Great Houses have hundreds of members.

Chancellor Maximilian only trusted family with his food. I was his personal chef throughout his reign...”
A sudden and mildly disturbing smile came to his face, “until I emigrated to Hachiman”

Their table was laid out in a normal fashion with actual seats. Miya breathed a sigh of relief until she saw the menu. Isoroku helped her into the seat ensuring the ornate bow on her gold and brown obi adorned with autumnal patterns wasn't crushed in the process.

They sat at an elevated area behind a beaded curtain while musicians performed live on a stage across the dining hall with table separated by paper walls. A ceramic bottle with Cantonese calligraphy, pitcher of water, and selection of cups occupied the far side along with two handwritten menus.

“Fifteen courses!”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Ch9b
« Reply #62 on: 08 August 2021, 00:12:45 »
Miya put a hand to her stomach held captive by the wide rigid belt. “What kind of restaurant is this?”

She held the menu out. “There are no prices.”
“People that dine in these establishments don't care about the price. You choose what you like when the server comes by. Chandrasekhar-san gave me some recommendations. Apparently he is a regular.”


Isoroku placed a pair of cups on the table, uncapped the bottle, which hovered over the cup. “Baiju?”
Her nod was the answer so he poured and lifted the cup. “Kanpai.”

The funky fruit taste of the spirit brought back memories of friends in the forest. “Baiju? We always called it Batchu when we made it.”
“Maximilian was apparently quite fond of it.”


He struggled to follow it and put the bottle off to the side, “I'm not certain it will take off in Combine space, but Hachiman is a strange place. I would not want to insult Genya. It is apparently a symbol of hospitality.

Their first course arrived and much to her relief the course was merely a morsel. If all of them were such she might be able to make it to the end. “It's why I sought to come here. There was no more opportunity there for me.

I want to be a BattleMech Pilot.”


Her head lowered, “but only the Ghosts would sponsor me for training despite my potential. Now that they test women.”

“So you joined the MMK?”


She nodded and tried her best to eat the next two morsels, artistically decorated sashimi and pan fried pieces of pork belly, as gracefully as possible without her draping sleeves getting dirty. The server brought a small sake bottle which Miya used to fill now empty cups with the clear spirit.

“I have been very impressed with the MMK's professionalism and have doubled the district's contribution to its growth. Including an authorization for a larger SecurityMech service now seeking recruits.”

The light in her eyes and pause of the hand were not subtle as more courses arrived and old ones were removed. “Really?”
“A final deal was signed with Commissioner Marangoz yesterday.
Sun-Tzu School of Combat was already looking for a new location. Nashik already serves as a major training ground from the DCMS and Hachiman is growing in importance.”


Isoroku looked up at the ornate chandelier poised above the dining hall. “If only the bright lights and big buildings weren't so overwhelming.”

“I miss long nights in glades looking at the stars and milky way.”
“I can sponsor you for the training?”


He paused for a moment, “Although that's not really enough.”
“What else would you like?

Giving you more work however higher status doesn't seem an adequate reward for your selflessness.”
“I didn't even know who I was saving.”


Miya paused, pushing the plate away as her stomach pressed against her belt at the 13th course. “It was my duty. I don't need a greater reward.”

Something stirred in Isoroku drawing a worrying look from Miya. “and yet I'm going to give you one because it is mine.”

Leaning back Isoroku quaffed the contents of his cup. “If you don't have a preference than I suppose it will be Warlord's choice.”
“That sounds dangerous.”
“No more so than anything else you've done so far.”


Miya thought to herself. 'If only that were true.'

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #63 on: 08 August 2021, 06:43:21 »
She honorable woman facing many opportunities.  She also humble, must gut.  Where honor is. 
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB Ch9c
« Reply #64 on: 09 August 2021, 21:25:09 »
The lights dimmed further as the paper screens separating tables were reeled up. Curtains opened to reveal a blonde man with a powdered face and wig dressed in a LCAF style uniform with a sash so long it was more a curtain. He ‘tripped’ over it as he walked across stage to the microphone. His overly accented voice emphasized perceived pain. “I haffe received ein injury in service to zee Commonwealth!”

A Draconian woman in a blonde wig and sparkling blue dress appeared from the main entrance. In her hands was a large reflective foil medal that caught the light magnificently. “Antonio for your valiant service to zee Lyran Commonwealth I present zis medal.” She pinned it on the sash to much laughter from the crowd.

He clacked his heels together and bowed to the woman. “Thank you, Archon. See you at the next party.”

As she made her departure he picked up and knotted the excess material to form a caricature of the hakama. The hilt of some kind of sword could finally be seen on his belt as he did so and he blundered about walking like a samurai with exaggerated ways under the lights to much amusement. Above him the house lights followed until he swayed to one of the tables where a young man was dining alone.

Miya blushed at the sight of the handsome man below his curly dirty blonde hair, black military cut uniform fitted well over lean muscles, and rapier all seemed exotic and enticing. Dashing Davions, inspired by the present First Prince Ian Davion, were a frequent hero in what little romantic literature existed in the Combine. The distribution of which was as subversive as it was scandalous and treated as FedSuns propaganda by the ISF. Whoever this man is was certainly cultivating that image and it captivated her so much she didn't notice Isoroku standing at the railing to see what had drawn her rapt attention.

'Antonio' squared up to the man although his already dense faux accent become nearly incomprehensible to a comedic degree. “You stranger Auf der Haut!”

The young man looked at him curiously. “I'm afraid I don't have a hat on inside, Sir. That would be rude.”

Around them the guests waited in anticipation for what happened next. “Nor will you have a head.”

A rubber chicken was attached to the sword hilt in Antonio's scabbard. As he drew it a a speaker inside squawked as the diners laughed at the buffoonish Steiner. He drank the last of his small cup. “I'm good I just ate.”

Suddenly the performer dropped the act handing the rubber chicken to a nearby server. Clapping at the black clad stranger, “I would like to thank the Honorable Percival Filington for playing along with my opening skit and being a good sport all around.
On behalf of our host Master Liao I would like to thank you all for dining with us today and invite you to stay, drink and laugh heartily along with my troupe this evening.”


Miya was speechless and blushing as the young man stood up and clapped the clown on the back as he returned to the revelries. “Filington, the planetary chairman's son?”

Isoroku was slow to catch the keen interest his guest had shown in the young man but he noticed it now. Miya was either flush with sake or blushing at the handsome young man that now wandered about greeting dignitaries and conducting lighthearted business. He subtly signaled to Percival while she wasn't looking.

Percival appeared in their booth to the surprise of Miya who quickly downed her drink. “Isoroku, good to see you out in the real world. I would have though Chandrasekhar would be here until I saw Ninyu. I know they don't really get along.”

He looked at the man's ivory topped cane, “A handsome cane. Intend to keep it?”

“I borrowed it from Chandrasekhar. As such I would be sooner without. It would not do well for the Warlord of the Galedon District be hobbled by such things.”

“Capital, I'm certain you will recover and be stronger than ever,”
he gave him a playful jab, “if such were possible.”

His hand palm out gestured to Miya who was attempting to conceal her unease, poorly. “I am well on my way to recovery thanks to this young lady. Constable Miya Kibo this is the Honorable Percival Filington, son of the Earl of Hachiman.”

Quickly he ducked in to take her hand. “I am charmed to meet such a brave and beautiful woman. You can call me Percy.”

Isoroku's form loomed large behind the slender form of Percy. “Now I am afraid I must retire for the evening. These old bones need their rest. I hope you enjoyed our time together Miss Kibo I certainly did. Inform the maitre de when you wish to return and he will signal the car waiting downstairs.”

As Isoroku departed and Percy took his place Miya was torn between a torrent of emotion. Percival was not only handsome but interesting and they spoke of all manner of topics more comfortable to her experience than the political machinations of Warlords and the Kurita Clan that managed them. Horseback riding, archery, dance, detailed adventures into Hachiman's vast wilderness that filled her heart with yearning for her home-world and the now disbanded or dead Ginzu Clan she left behind in order to escape a Daimyo's wrath. His trepidation at being deployed to help put down a Ghost Regiment Mutiny in the Capellan Colonies was so human and unlike any noble she had previously encountered.

There were more esoteric discussions as well. What was beyond the periphery? What might be the bright future of Hachiman, the wealthiest and most liberated world in the Combine. A stirring pride in Draconis Combine's people and their accomplishments. Percival's idealism heartened her, if every planet in the Combine had empowered leader like this she could actually believe the propaganda the ISF spread throughout the Combine and count her own experience as an aberrations.

This whirlwind ended with a slow flyby along the river through Masamori, Percival manned the controls with her tightly bound in the co-pilot seat. The quaint low buildings and dim streetlights of the Headwater's district looked like stars from below while the great bronze towers of Murasaki gleamed with brilliant multicolored splendor. A dropship burned out over the Shakudo Sea,

Percy spoke through the intercom over the roar of rotors above, he looked over to her with a smile. “I have taken to calling these shooting stars because of the fusion engines inside and the arcs they must travel on,” she returned the smile at the terrible joke told in earnest innocence.

En route to Stormhaven, they passed over the green lights of fisherman clustered around their catch. The vacation houses of wealthy merchants lined the shores along the way, many of them had a yacht or seaplane in the larger centralized marina they used to reach Murasaki when necessary. Most used holography to work remotely within the calm resort town of Varner or merely used the business center within for networking and meetings.

Stormhaven loomed over the ocean cliffs erected in an S shape conforming to the rocky pinnacle it occupied that jutted out into the sea. Their helicopter landing within one of the courtyards and she saw little of the inside of the building on the way to their destination.


Two days later, Miya arrived at the Kobun with an unusual amount of pep and clothes they hadn't seen her in before. Reika and the other Constables looked at her with great curiosity as she hummed up to Inspector Genju's office where she took her normal place at a desk piled high with the paperwork that had accumulated over her one scheduled day off per week. She took out the stamp pad and started her work only for Reika to come in and sit across from her.

Miya kept her eyes low. “Shouldn't you be on patrol?”
Reika crossed her arms and leaned back in the chair. “I'm taking my break early.”
“Suit yourself.”
“So how'd it go?”

Miya voice was low almost a whisper as she looked around. “Isoroku-denka and dinner was very nice.”

The small sound of the stamp pressing down was the only one in the office. “That doesn't seem like the whole story Miya-chan.”

She pressed the stamp down into the report still careful to avoid direct eye contact with Reika. “He said he would get me into the SecurityMech Pilot program.”

“That's great. You always said you have high potential. But I still feel like you are leaving something out. I stopped by your apartment yesterday and Mrs Sato said you hadn't returned yet. So where were you?”

“Sleeping...”


Reika sat with her hand under her chin, “Sure you were.”

"Not with Isoroku."

"Then somebody else?"
"Maybe"

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB Ch10
« Reply #65 on: 10 August 2021, 20:17:03 »
Interlude
09/26/3046
Miya reclined to look up at the milky way streaming across the nighttime sky for the first time in almost a year since she left Kirei na Niwa. Her hammock creaked as she shifted in its ropes suspended from her battlemech's kneeling leg. A fire crackled next to her creating a pool of orange light on the jungle floor wisps of smoke rising to the sky. Faint sounds and smells of the engineering camp filtered through great tropical hardwoods of Nashik's interior joining the croaking frogs and ever-blooming flowers.
She rolled over to pick up a sheathed tomahawk.

“Oyasumi Nasai Sanjin.” Her arms closed on the implement, “Keep an eye out for jaguars.”

Among the dancing firelight an angular mechanical construct knelt in a jungle grove, head slightly bowed to the ground, missiles and arm weapons behind protective doors. Shooting stars illuminated the dark blue sky.

Chapter 10 – Golden Horde
10/20/3046

A Beacon liner's thermal shielding burned cherry hot as it slowed to merely supersonic in Hachiman's atmosphere. Heavy flaps slowed it further until it was slow enough to deploy landing gear safely. Twenty people sat in their fold out seats listening to the mechanical noises within the aerodyne dropship. One of them yelled over the roar outside. “These aerodynes are a lot quieter than spheroids Franklin.”
“Safer too. Pity they can only make them so big.”


Outside the Beacon threw up white smoke as its wheels met pavement. Three drag chutes billowed behind it like an impossibly fast samurai's silken Horo bearing Isesaki Shipping's logo. Magnesium brake drums went incandescent on thirty two wheels as they slowed the 3,500 ton dropship over the two kilometer long landing strip.

Inside the passenger cabins the caution lights dimmed as the PA crackled to life. “Welcome to Yoshitune Spaceport Hachiman  All passengers stay in your cabins and prepare for final processing.”

Three Port Authority Security Team (PAST) members entered the cabin with their scratched metal TEPs at the ready. Identity papers and luggage manifests were presented in turn to the khaki uniformed officials. “Anything to declare Mister Sakamoto?”
“Its good to be back. Other than that I've transferred the details of my manifest to the Port Authority on approach.”


One of them double checked his folio. “Two custom LoaderMechs, a Komodo, and Kyudo. All authorized through Ibuki and Isesaki. Three additional MEUs. All will be bound and sealed until you transfer them to an appropriate holding area.”

Franklin handed them a piece of printed transparent plastic. A Tanadi Enforcement Pad scanned holographic seals and writing before beeping in affirmation. “We expect it there by nightfall and will inspect it tomorrow evening.
Watch yourself Yak. Hachiman has had enough of your kind.”


With that the trio departed to continue checking the passengers occupying the 'upper deck.' The spartan light gray covered corridors had become comfortable over the past fifteen days. Franklin squinted as his eyes and skin saw their first natural light in months. Hachiman's weak sun rose above the cerulean ocean casting shadows across the informal industrial wasteland of Yoshitune.

The arriving crew were greeted on the tarmac by those they left behind. Hugs and tears were exchanged over Arrow's loss suffered around Togura. Two Sherpa Armored Trucks idled at the ramp their gas hungry engines belching black smoke. 'WildCat' Loadermech feet clanged on the thick deckplates dragging the Heavy Ergonomic Containers marked with 'Ibuki Robotics' out of the cargo bay.

His apprentices and Isesaki Stevedores clambered about in Exoskeletons loading the Sherpas and heavy transports. Franklin crouched in the bed of a Masamori Mechanical Services duallie with a radio over his shoulder. He tasted the first Heiwa cigarette in months, spacecraft couldn't remove harsh odors and flammables were hazards. In spite of that he still couldn't quit making do with gum where needed. “How I've missed you.”

A great crash caught his attention as one of the HEUs dropped into a Sherpa's trailer harder than it should. He pulled the transmitter forward straining the cord. “Tuyen, Shan, be careful with that!”
“It's a battlemech Chief. It won't break.”
“And industrial robots, really expensive ones. You probably bent the stakes.”
“I'll iron them out later.”
“Damn right. Pity I can't put it on your indenture any longer. Sherpas follow me to the new place.”


Behind the wheel sat Franklin with three of his 'bozos' occupying the rest. A mast mounted yellow hazard light blinked above them and each of the three vehicles moved slowly under Port Authority command. A Tall Nabori style banner mounted into the third wheel fluttered in the sea breeze made it visible to taxiing dropships, WorkMechs, and support vehicles while marking the height of an HEU.

Heavy cargo transports rumbled past them their suspension straining under the weight of their cargos. Plastic and metal containers bore logos for Hachiman Taro Enterprises, Tanadi Computers, Matabushi, and a dozen other Zaibatsu that made their homes on Hachiman. Arcane symbols and painted lines in a rainbow of colors divided the ferrocrete into safe and hazardous corridors.

An older man waited outside the MMS 'Vert' ('vertical' garage for Work and Battlemechs) waving frantically. Esper and Jerri peered over his shoulder as the duallie pulled over, allowing the Sherpas to back into the garage. “Who's that?”
“He's a friend. You guys help the others get those containers vertical and open.”


The door closed solidly as Franklin walked over the bearded man. His apprentices took their time until a glance hastened them inside. “What's going on Ray?”
“I need a favor Frankie.”


Franklin looked Ray over, the barkeeper was a lifer in this informal community. His weathered face made him look older than the 40 standard years he was. “How did you find out I was here?”
“I know people.”
“These people probably should have kept it to themselves but what do you need?”
“Money, a new crew has come in, raised the rent, and caused more trouble then usual.”


A spent cigarette was thrown to the ground and put out by Franklin's work boots. “Fujio?”
“No I haven't seen him in more than a month. Heard he got on the wrong side of the Oyabun.”
“Serves the snake right.”
“A Hun named Khadan is carving up territory in Yoshitune in their name now. He's rough and ruthless.”
“Does he have any mechs?”
“A couple of MODs, for the cages. So far.”


Within the open bay the HEUs were being erected and opened to reveal two brand new Battlemechs. Both squat and industrial looking machines bristling with armament.

“Seems like Khadan and I are going to be having problems real soon. The Black Dragons are here to stay in Yoshitune.”

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #66 on: 10 August 2021, 21:36:00 »
I'm confused. Won't the year be 3047, if had been a year. Where ever she ended up?
"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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AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #67 on: 11 August 2021, 04:29:28 »
I'm confused. Won't the year be 3047, if had been a year. Where ever she ended up?

She made planetfall in early spring of 3046. She had only just arrived in Nashik, Hachiman's tropical continent, to undergo training


AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Ch10a
« Reply #69 on: 31 August 2021, 15:07:14 »
05/17/3044

A cyclonic ‘Dzud’ blizzard whipped across SaKhalin’s cold and dry equatorial grasslands. Fresh snow covered any sign of color in a smothering blanket of dazzling white. Bone white Battlemechs of 7th Ghost, and defectors from Warrior House Fujita, trudged through the storm bowing into the raging storm. Windblown snow covered their tracks almost as soon as the Battlemech lifted its foot to expose dark purple grass.

“Sakamoto, report.”

A skeletal Vulcan ranged slightly ahead of the main formation along with a Phoenix Hawk. Inside its cockpit Franklin Sakamoto looked out at whiteout conditions. Flurries reflecting their running lights of their Battlemechs. He hammered at the sensor display which was returning static.

“Tawagoto no Ichibu Battlemech. Damn those robes and their spare parts, utterly worthless both.”

His running lights reflection and his sensors failing under the harsh conditions made him feel more confined than any prison he found himself in.

“I got nothing. Either this storm and rocks below are running my scanners, or we are being jammed.”

“We have no active nav beacons and our scanners are failing. I am calling a halt until the weather clears.”


Each of the eight mechs waited while receiving intermittent and faint meteorological broadcasts in the open from orbiting DCA dropships. Snow piled high against the war machine’s legs gathering to the knee on the windward side.

Franklin tapped his built-in water ‘cooler/heater’ that ran on a similar heat exchange system to his cooling vest. The excess heat of his reactor made him sleepy after such a long deployment. Latest weather reports revealed that the storm would blow over within the hour.

“Tai-I. I think the rebels might have given us the slip. There is no way we can track them across the snow now to wherever they are hiding.”

A Fujita Thunder went to full power its Kali Yama Big Bore chambered one of its monstrous shells. One that punched right through the Tai-I’s Warhammer with a report that would have echoed off the mountains were it not for the raging storm outside. Hoses and debris were strewn before it like a man gutted.

“Whoever said they were hiding.”

Mechwarrior Sakamoto spilled piping hot water across his belly as he jumped away creating icy patches where his jump jet exhaust melted snow. Ghosts scrambled for distance from the short-ranged guns of the Thunder and Hunchback losing cohesion for self-preservation. Low caliber autocannon shells from the Dragon, Shadow Hawk, and Vulcan spat forth pouring orange fire into the bitter whiteness at minimum range. At close range and in low visibility their effects muted compared to the Kali Yamas that thundered and knocked over the Dragon.

A Firebee loomed large in Franklin’s rear view, its Starcutter laser allowed the slightly slower machine to keep pace with the lightly armed and armored Vulcan. Franklin was in full retreat jumping to places just barely seen at the end of his night vision trusting his instincts and DI computer. Each blast of the laser stripped away precious armor and the jumping process began to gather enough heat to make the ground slippery upon landing complicating an already impossible process.

His gyro had taken a heat making the already vulnerable mech even more so. Franklin looked around to see distinctive stone cairns peeking out above the whiteness. Behind him was a dark void filled with wild wind currents. “A river valley. So be it.”

Within the Firebee Khadan Yu watched as the Vulcan leapt away at close range. He aimed right for the center torso and watched as the Yakuza Mech broke apart in midair. Its parts fell beneath the range of the spotlight held in his Mech’s off-hand. “No way he survived that. Even if he did, he'd freeze before reaching friendlies.

Kill confirmed.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 10b
« Reply #70 on: 31 August 2021, 17:14:55 »
Two young men dressed in thick woolen coats walked across the silent blanket using metal snowshoes. Each carried a shouldered bolt rifle, long handled shovel, and pack frame supporting half of an auger assembly. Behind them three long necked and Llamas with blackened eyes and something that looked like a blindfold carried their tent, camp stove, and other heavy backcountry necessities. Above them the sky was clear and bright blue.

SaKhalin’s weak orange dwarf sun shone dimly. Its heat raising the temperature slightly above freezing for the first time in four days. Through their bone goggles they took in the vast openness of this river valley.

“That was some storm last night Shan.”

One of them held the matte gray ruggedized DCMS ‘surplus’ long-range radio. Its long antenna whipped about as they walked along. “At least they was kind enough to give us some advance warning. Even if they weren’t aware of it.”

“Its about the only good thing they have done for us so far.”


Pieces of metal stuck out above the snow like the stone markers placed to mark the river’s edges under deep snow for the mountain nomads. “They paid us well for our supplies last week. Its why we are out here during storm season.

Looks like something crashed into the river.”

“I guess we should investigate.

Bringing back some scrap from our fishing trip would go a long way for mom and dad.”


They stopped short of the partially buried wreckage. “I doubt the animals can pack it out. It looks heavy and we didn’t bring anything to cut it with.”

“Well then I guess we should get digging. Maybe there is something more valuable below the snow.”


Before they began the Llamas were unburdened and given their daily fodder. Oats imported from Kaifeng giving the beasts enough strength to push through the snow and into the sweet violet vetch grass below.

Within ten minutes their shove hit something hard, digging around it to find a Battlemech’s head half buried in the river ice. “Not quite what I was expecting to find in the river this morning.”

More snow was cleared away until they found the hatch which was frozen shut beneath the ice line. The younger looked to his elder brother. “Half stick?”

“It will definitely wake the Mechwarrior up if it doesn’t break the ice around them.”


He nodded and climbed back out to retrieve their small ice auger setting it up next to the cockpit hatch with the black dragon on red circle emblem of the DCMS. The younger one paused his efforts. “You think it’s a woman? I hear they pilot mechs topless in the Combine.”

“You spend to much time at the bar. Get back to work. I’ll go prepare the charge.”


The hole was prepped and filled with a stone cylinder the same diameter of their dynamite sticks. Carefully the elder brother placed the charge meant to break up frozen rivers or set off controlled avalanches into the opaque white ice. He tied an extended fuse on the stick while his little brother departed with the auger to wrangle their pack animals for the impending explosion.

“Don’t take this wrong Mechwarrior. We are doing you a favor. Even if it doesn’t look that way.”



Franklin woke in a cold sweat rising from his bedroll at the commotion going on beneath his apartment as the Bozos blew something up in one of their video games. A spark leapt from his lighter to find a cigarette retrieved from the crumbled-up box on his nightstand, next to a loaded pistol, by shaking fingers.

He opened the door and yelled down at the gathered teens illuminated by the flashing colors from their computer screens. “Turn that down! Im trying to get some sleep here.”

Blinds were lifted looking out over Yoshitune’s roaming night market, its stalls and trucks illuminated under bright and colorful lights. “Damn kids.”

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #71 on: 01 September 2021, 00:18:53 »
I could have gotten away with some sleep, if not for you meddling kids!
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB Ch11
« Reply #72 on: 01 July 2022, 21:47:24 »
Chapter 11- Tale of the Minnow
11/22/3046
The Hachiman Technical Institute founded by Hugai Kurita was created as a concept modular city occupying a prime position on the River Yamato’s western bank. Although it started small the legacy buildings were added to until the whole complex sprawled all the way to Yoshitune starport. Hachiman Taro Electronics had been formed from HTI’s working group and eventually the company’s prosperity was reinvested into the Technical Institute. HTI’s campus was expanded upon until it being completely relocated in 3038 toward the more tranquil and less developed Headwaters (Hachi-Machiya) district of Masamori City. Its junior academy was open to any candidate with the appropriate testing scores (which would be given upon request no more than thrice a year and came with a full day’s meal and two nights board) regardless of former caste or immigration status.

Within one of the subdued buildings on campus a young teen boy in a black Gakuran uniform leaned over a stainless-steel workbench. Oscilloscopes and other instruments danced in front of him casting their pale green light onto his loupes. His hands nimbly and carefully cut wires leading to various black boxes or soldered contacts onto motherboards. White acrid smoke rose from his tools wisping around a computer screensaver showing a teenage girl and older woman posing next to a verdant hillside bright with pink sakura blossoms.

Another boy leaned over to his left side just inside his peripheral vision. “Who’s the babe Minnow?”
“My sister, Omiko. She probably knows six ways to stop your heart in two strokes. Haoku”
“You know I hate that name.”

“You think I like being called Minnow Dereck?”

Dereck pulled up a chair and attempted to upset the carefully ordered clutter on Minoru’s desk earning him a feigned slap. “Touché, She’s out of my league anyway.”
“Definitely and almost five years older than us.”

“What are you working on anyway? A new robot?”

Minoru paused his labors, unlocked the noteputer, and let his friend scroll through the recently approved research abstract. “You are trying to use a neurohelmet to directly control one of those Ibuki Robotics Kendo bots? To do what?”

“I want to try to teach it more natural movement. So, it becomes like a little mech with more accurate movements than you’d get with an exoskeleton’s neuroband.”
“Sounds expensive, you’d probably need an exceptional MechWarrior and Martial Artist to make it happen.”

“Fortunately, we live in the Draconis Combine and have an abundance of both. Its only expensive once, but I have the full support of Chandreskar-sama. He wants to use them for hazardous tasks and to improved exoskeleton control systems.”

The other man picked through one of the boxes of miscellaneous electrical gear housed above the benches. “While selling more HTE produced hardware.”
“Which will need to be refined by trained engineers here in Masamori. Or you know runners-up”
“Being fifth out of six hundred isn’t bad. Competition is fierce. Speaking of which, finals at
Denshi shi no kami no kyūden. (Palace of the Electronic Death God) tonight.

You didn’t forget right?”

His voice cracked before he could cough and muscle through with a bassy, “I did not”

Both boys pulled out and tied their matching 'Tōkon' (Fighting Spirit) Hachimaki headbands before embarking on cleaning up the lab and departing to Neon Arcade all the while talking strategy with their classmates.

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #73 on: 02 July 2022, 19:38:34 »
Lordy, I love that this has resumed.  Your writing so good.
"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

Iron Grenadier

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Warring States
« Reply #74 on: 03 July 2022, 06:57:06 »
Lordy, I love that this has resumed.  Your writing so good.

Agreed!

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 11b
« Reply #75 on: 04 July 2022, 12:01:30 »
Lordy, I love that this has resumed.  Your writing so good.
Agreed!

I really appreciate that

---

Minoru stepped off the tram into a kaleidoscope of bright neon lights, ‘creative’ cuisine from the night market’s food stalls, and competing sounds of aspiring idols, kei bands, and their fans performing in each of the five plazas on top rate gear only available on Hachiman.  Denshi shi no kami no kyūden. (Palace of the Electronic Death God) loomed over the neighborhood. Towering seven stories tall the peaks of the Shiro (castle) like structure reached seven stories up making it visible even through the haphazardly dangling banners and lights bringing attention to the stalls, smaller shops, arcades, bars, and karaoke clubs frequently by the crowd of fellow young people flowing through it.

The school badges on their uniforms and Dereck’s gaijin height brought attention to the crew as they pressed through the crowd finding space to make it to registration on time. A girl about his age, dressed as a Miko, bumped her way to walk beside them with her basket of flowers.

“Hey Hachi!
Buy a pretty flower from a pretty girl. Twenty yen. Almost out for tonight.”

Her smiled beamed as she demurely reached into the partially filled basket. “Going to need something else to do for the evening.”

He reached into his breast pocket a pulled out a 20 Ryu bill. His grandfather’s face glowed on the polymer bill under a nearby black light. “How about quit bothering me. I’ll take the whole lot.”

She took the money and put it in between the folds of her top revealing slightly more about what was or rather wasn’t underneath. “Twenty Ryu will get you a whole lot more than that, if you’re interested.”

“I’m not. Just quit bothering me. I am trying to focus.” She pushed the basket into his hand, “Here’s your flowers.”

Minoru whispered under his breath but turned to face her as they were met with a wall of people watching an acrobat perform. “I will keep one and you will leave me alone.”

The girl pulled out the finest Tsubaki flower placing it daintily in his jacket pocket. “If you change your mind…” As the wall began to disperse, she drifted into one of the smaller shop entryways a well painted sign hung above ‘Kokoro’s Flowers’ displaying a classic painting of a field bursting with vibrant flowers. “I’ll be here”

As they cleared the way through MMK 'MiPS', HTE 'Blues', and the 'Candy Stripers' of the ISF patrolling the plazas surrounding the venue Dereck leaned down, “You just gave a flower girl a hundred times what she asked and didn’t get anything for it.

What’s wrong with you?”

“She was bothering me,” as they entered the wraparound holo-tank E-Sports Arena at the heart of Denshi shi no kami no kyūden the Hachiman Technical Institute’s Tiger Sharks saw their opponents.

The rough looking crew of Isesaki Shipping’s Scoundrels right off a van from Yoshi Town.
Tanadi Computers' Templars hid behind mirrored glasses reflecting the lurid glow of their computers through peaked fingers
Their rival Murasaki Central’s Stormbreakers wore matching polo jerseys and brought their own cheer section which extorted them from the arena's bleachers.

Minoru stared down Hiro, son of one of the leading finance firms across the river and the Stormbreakers’ Team Captain.
“I don’t need the money.
I just want the competition.

Because I am a Kurita.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 11c
« Reply #76 on: 04 July 2022, 20:27:42 »
Monsters and spirits appeared out of the Aether moving with inhuman grace as tall and monstrous in mid-air as if they were summoned from a nightmare. The crowd roared in approval as ‘Fighting Spirits’ threw forth brilliant bolts of energy or their claws tore at each other spreading inhumanely colored blood over the technicolor battlefield

Far above the cheering crowd and the pit like computer circle where a purple clad referee held aloft a branded Gunpai fan like those of sumo matches. As the first round of matches were completed, he pointed toward the winners and incremented marks on the fan.

Five men sat around a table a sake bottle and remnants of their dinner laid in the middle. A DCMS “Back in my day there were no video game leagues. We played cards. Now Hachiman has the largest consumer electronics market in the entire Draconis Combine and beyond.”

Franklin Sakamoto juggled a deck of flowery hand painted hanafuda cards between his hands while his sculpted cane leaned against the chair facing the darkened mirrors looking over toward Murasaki’s bronze shark fin buildings. “Isn’t the Department of Indoctrination supporting Stormhaven Entertainment Sho-Sa Fujiwara? That’s why you’re here right?
Aren’t those Shujin manning the booth downstairs yours.”

A white gloved hand slammed the sake cup upside down onto the table. “Yes! For recruitment.”

He leaned forward as Franklin paused his juggling as the officer leaned forward ever eying the wakizashi at his side. “Ever since the Ghost Regiments were disbanded…apparently, we are low on personnel to police the colonies’ rampant violence…from former Ghosts.”

Franklin returned his cards to the worn lacquered wooden box, the last gift from his late mother, with a flourish before it disappeared into his inside pocket. “Maybe you should increase the pay then.”

“It is their responsibility to defend the Draconis Combine!”

Fujiwara’s breath was hot on his face as Franklin serenely grasped the gnarled end of his hanbo. “I joined because the Gunji-no Kanrei asked real nicely…and the DCMS paid off the rest of my indenture to Isesaki.”

He gestured to the DMCS officer who returned to stand beside his chair. “And I’ll tell you it was no small sum. Technical school is expensive.” Franklin reclined, unbuttoning his jacket pulling out a 500 Ryu bill onto the table handing it to waitress right before she arrived with the table’s bills. “Now I just get rich moving cargo throughout the Combine.”

“Parasite.”
“Pay your own bill then Fujiwara. No skin off my marked back, but I feel it is my patriotic duty to offer dinner as a gift for one who has served so honorably.”

Sho-Sa Fujiwara curled his middle finger in and expanded his hand toward Franklin, the Azami equivalent of another middle finger gesture that the DCMS’s dominant one lacked. Franklin responded by showing the partial pinkie on his left hand to his back as he stormed downstairs.
“Glad we had this chat.”

Across the table one of the salarimen looked through the menu for something additional to add as his treat. “Another pitcher of beer will be enough.” They looked out as another match ended with a gory ‘Fatality!’ “Glad this youth entertainment venue has booze.”

“I tell you what though. I expected some team moms here, something interesting to look at.”

His team was sitting on the bench while the Tiger Sharks and Stormbreakers took the mandated rest period before the tie-breaker match. His team had won a quick victory over the Templars, “Makes sense that’s all you guys did while we in orbit.”

One of his companions pointed at the team waiting in the winds for the next round against the winner of this match, “Which Scoundrel is yours?”

Once more he leaned back, “All of them.”

“All of them?
You’re joking right?”

“Nope, I’m a spacer.” They might not be his children, but he was proud of his little brothers.
Almost more than anything else he wanted to keep them safe and make them successful.

Except then he caught sight of the blood red headed man below from the convention gripping the cane in his hand, the one with a concealed blade of razor sharp ceramic.
 Almost more than anything.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 11d
« Reply #77 on: 06 July 2022, 07:58:05 »
The five players of the HTI Tiger Sharks huddled together under the Arena’s purple and red lights. “What are we going to do to beat them Minoru?”

Minoru Kurita nodded slightly, “I have an idea, but I need to get Yamanaki in a one v one.”
“Which champion are you going to use?”
“Ru.”

His friends incredulous looks told the whole story. Large promo posters for ‘Fighting Spirit’ featuring the vampy mermaid with impossibly long flowing hair, claws, and little else were posted every where online. Her claws looked fearsome however she was one of the smallest and weakest but fastest of the 25 playable Champions in the game inspired by the classic Book of Five Rings and a liberal lifting of mythic creatures. A character almost never played competitively despite prominently featuring in ads because of her sultry voice, svelte character model (what little you could see of it through her hair), and provocative animation set.

“Seriously, what are you going to do with her. Distract him with your character’s looks?”
“Just trust me.”
“Fine, but if you wanted eye candy. You already had a chance with a cute girl in real life…and turned it down for this.”
“I will have plenty of other opportunities Dereck.”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re a Kurita. You just need to bandy about that big name of yours.”
“There are thousands of us so I’m hardly exceptional in that regard. My cousin’s entire job is attempting to keep track of them all.” Minoru leaned back, holding his shoulders high as he stretched his hands before the next round, and stared down the calm and collected Hiro Yamaneki across the pit. “But I’ve got my hands and a game winning smile.”

Dereck smiled back showing a big gap as he cracked his calloused knuckled. Results of a misspent youth. Minoru looked out toward the crowd and saw Ninyu-sama keeping a close tab on him within the shadows although he couldn’t hide his artificially red hair. It was almost to the parody point of some of the Fire champions.
A familiar looking man stood beside the Isesaki Scoundrels, intently listening to one of the players, wildcards that had smashed the Tanadi Templar’s streak. He seemed familiar in some way. Maybe they met at a different event?

The referee’s gunpai fan ticked down, “Two-minute warning. All players return to your rigs.”

Minoru walked back to the rig putting the goggles over his head, put his hands on the optimized fight controllers, and rolled the movement ball to Rusalka. The random map assignment shuffled through the fifteen different tournament options settling on Costal Desert. His VR goggles filled with sky and ocean blue as his character spawned just where he wanted her to. From the first person view he looked down to see Ru’s talons flexing in expectation.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 11e
« Reply #78 on: 20 July 2022, 00:21:06 »
Within the massive holotank mounted above them petite Rusalka stood over the mauled remains of a great Oni, her white hair covered in its ichor as its immense Tetsubo club embedded itself in the virtual soil nearby. A brilliant light fired outward from a totem marking its capture.

“What an upset by Minoru and the Tiger Sharks!
With that final capture they move on to tonight’s final round against the Isesaki Scoundrels. Which will start in ten minutes.”


Dereck and Minoru’s friends high fived him as Hiro Yamaneki scowled at him and the Stormbreakers crew retreated to their now silent cheer section. A tall, handsome man with unruly blonde hair separated himself from the crowd and stood before the team with a pair of burly bodyguards behind him who were eying the nearby Scoundrel’s Team Owner. The other man brushed the shoulders of his immaculately tailored suit jacket when he noticed their attention. Their attention then was drawn momentarily to another man further away with almost clownishly red hair.

“That was an impressive play young man, lagging out your opponent and disguising your movements under that demoness’ mane.
Apologies, I don’t believe we have been formally introduced although I know you have been on-world for several months with Chandreskar. However, he and I operate in very different circles.”
He bowed deep to Minoru who returned as appropriate, his cologne cutting through the spiced Quillar roasting outside. “I am Percival, son of Daimyo Rex Filington, owner of Stormhaven Entertainment, and it is a pleasure to meet you Minoru-san.”

Percival sighed and looked down at his comm-pad to the rapid-fire messages populating ‘Fighting Spirits’ forums. “Unfortunately, it’s something we will have to patch in the next update. My devs wasted so much time animating that character and most of the model is hidden. What a waste of time and resources.”

“The animation rigs and assets are used for…other games and media or so I’ve heard…”

“Other games and media…”
He brushed the stubble clustering at his chin before his eyes lit up with a surprisingly exaggerated response. “Ah! I will bring that up at our next staff meeting.”

Ninyu Kerai Indrahar appeared out of his native shadows with neither party knowing until he was already upon. His trademark hushed tones sounding like veiled threats even if unintended. “Apologies, Percival, and Minoru. I’m afraid there is a potential security situation that I must attend to.
I will update you immediately if I hear anything.”


Percival’s bodyguards closed around him at the mention of any threat their hands closing on unseen weapons. “Is there a threat to us Ninyu-san?”

“Improbable. However, there has been an uptick in Yakuza violence and corporate sabotage lately,”
Ninyu looked over his shoulder at Franklin Sakamoto and his Scoundrels, “and not just in the normal places.
You have the Powders and MMK on hand in case something happens,”
he nodded to them, “so enjoy your games Minoru-kun.”

Ninyu passed close by Franklin who the older man didn’t seem to notice or care about and departed out the back followed closely by ISF ‘candy stripers’ clutching their blocky Wakizashi 0-12s.

“Aniki! You okay? You look stressed.” Franklin looked down as Jerri’s fist gently socked him out of his stare-down with a closed door and empty corner.

He relaxed his white-knuckle grip on the ornate hanbo with its concealed cargo, “I’m fine.
Just need a smoke break.”


The young man made a stylized gesture of lighting a cigarette and then tossed it toward the Tiger Sharks with a slight ‘bang’ effect. “Well don’t take to long I want you to watch us show that Minoru kid whose MVP of this tournament.”

His brown hair tousled gently as he pointed to himself with both thumbs, “Me Jerri.”

The rest of the Scoundrels gave him a quick jab as they huddled up for the next round.
“Yeah, right. We always carry you mid-game. Esper has better moves than you.”
“Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t play games.”
“Hey, I’m a closer. Just like Frankie.”
“Whatever you say Jerri. Get to your rig. We’ll see you when we finish up. This should be quick.”
“Beers will be on us when we get back to the place as thanks for staking us.”
“It was a lot of fun to show up those Templar nerds. I think Esper distracted them.”
“I’m wearing the same shirt as you.”
“But so much better now than six months ago.”
“Creep!”


Franklin Sakamoto withdrew to the underground garage one of the comfortable industrial spaces devoid of anything but idle machinery waiting for their operators. The only noise that of outside traffic and thrumming elevator machinery.

His electric lighter sparked brightly as smoke drifted lazily in the sterile fluorescent lighting. He squatted down against cool, damp concrete walls and stared at the Isesaki Shipping van he had borrowed from the spaceport terminal. No passengers or new cargo were due for shipping out or had arrived in weeks, maintenance was deferred, and his other business had dried up due to Khadan’s gang while their boss was conveniently off-world.

“Ninyu, it seems you are my harbinger of hardship.” He pulled the short sword out of his sword cane, its matte gray construction seeming to absorb all the light around him.
“One of these days. I will get my opportunity.”

A pair of loud bumps drew Franklin’s attention from his hiding place. He sheathed the sword with an affirmative cling and extinguished his still fresh cigarette under glossy black shoes. Leaning out slightly he saw a man from each step out dressed in ill-fitted gray suits, blue hued sunglasses, and hiding most of a Roryrex’s bulk under their jackets.

“Nidoto jigoku o kuso”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 12
« Reply #79 on: 21 July 2022, 22:00:25 »
Chapter 12 – Black Lights and Crimson Nights

White cloth and reflective panels on the player’s uniforms glowed under the black lights of the Arena floor encapsulating the volume with technicolor. Fans bobbed their heads to the symphonic electronic music of the house DJ while the competitors took a break between bouts. Jerri felt a tap on the shoulder breaking his focus on a cute blue haired girl in the audience with glow sticks in her braids. It was Franklin with a sweaty forehead, dust everywhere else, smelling of fresh tobacco and motor oil while appearing to have a humpback and heavy shoulder pads under his jacket.

“You missed us crushing the Tiger Sharks. Hey, your jacket’s all dusty. What were you doing out there for so long?”
His other hand clutched something under his jacket and its wasn’t his cane, that was slung into his belt like the scabbard it was.
“We’re leaving, tell the others.”

Jerri leaned in close, “We can’t leave. It’s finals.”
Franklin leaned in closer until he almost touched the teen’s forehead. “We are, tell the others to leave via the side.”
“Not the van?”


He didn't bother to say a word, “That bad huh? Even here?”
“I think they are waiting for something. Gives us time to get out of the line of fire.”
“What about the others?”
“Backup is on the way for them. Tuyen will pick you up.”
“What are you going to do?”


This close Jerri could see Franklin had the backup kit hidden under their van already over his shoulders. “Not get shot.”
“Sounds like a good plan.”
“Ay, Implementation is a bitch though.”


Jerri called for a team huddle and the Scoundrels looked toward Franklin before calmly walking toward the restrooms near the side exit. “Hurry up kids.” He looked down at his inward facing analog gold watch before looking up at the arena clock looming over him. “Time’s running out.”

Franklin had his back to the bleachers facing the entrance closest to the garage right hand still under his coat. One of the Tiger Sharks appeared beside him his jersey unique in that it had a brightly colored minnow patch put ahead of the leaping shark. “Mister Sakamoto, are you related to General Samson Sakamoto, the hero of Xhosha VII?”

“Not by blood. His drunken ner’do’well great grandson adopted me as I was apparently the closest thing he had to a legitimate kid.”

Franklin furrowed his brow at the statement, “Kinda sad to say that out loud, thanks kid. Why are you asking?”
“I find Hugai Kurita, the twenty-eighth Coordinator, rather fascinating. So much so that I enrolled in HTI.”
“Well, that’s mildly disturbing kid. I’d keep a close eye on your older sister if you have one then. Don’t need another Necess and COMSTAR problems.”


The mention of COMSTAR provoked a curious response in the young man. One that Franklin felt a need to investigate further

Later

When there wasn’t a hit squad rounding the corner

Like there was

Now

“Yoku watashi o fakku”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 12a
« Reply #80 on: 01 August 2022, 13:17:27 »
Four Roryrexs roared in the arena in the hands of a dozen masked men. Sparks flew from the damaged scoreboard, holotank, and gaming rigs as the audience screamed in terror. The referee threw downs his gunpai, drew a wakizashi, and charged into withering gunfire, dropping out of sight under the black light.

Three men brandished their matte black pistols toward stunned, standing audience members. “Tishina! Ostavaysya tam! Ruki vverkh!"

The spectators looked at them in confusion before the gunmen switched to heavily accented, guttural Japanese. “Silence!
Stay there!
Hands up!”


Discordant house music still played through the damaged speakers as the gunmen looked toward Franklin and Minoru. “You, step away from the boy, and you won’t get hurt.
and get your arm out of the jacket! ”


Minoru stood nearer to Franklin, accidently nudging his shoulder into the hard bump on the older man’s back. Franklin heard him whisper, “What does he have back here?”

“What about the boy?”
“You should be more worried about yourself.
Hand him over!”


Three guns pointed his way while others scanned the bleachers for those seeking to die heroes.

“I won’t ask again.”

“You want to see my arms vory? Sure.”


Franklin revealed a firearm shaped like the matchlock Tanegashima of yore, relics that still saw use by collectors and rural peasants, but of a twelve gauge bore, modified choke, and pump action nature. The shotgun boomed six times, four gunmen fell under the onslaught, the rest took cover behind hostages or concealed themselves in the gaming pit.

Percival’s bodyguards fired their magnum Sternsnatch hand cannons behind them as they evacuated their principal shouting angrily to their partners outside through radio.

Scant moments of silence were punctuated by MMK sirens outside. Seconds later the whole space devolved into chaos. Franklin used his left arm and a violent circle to push Minoru into the shallow void beneath the bleachers shielding themselves from the panicked press of the crowd and Vory’s bullets.

Innocent blood trickled down on them from the gunshot victims above, Franklin stripped off his ragged dusty jacket revealing the armored vest attached to his back like a turtle’s shell. Minoru shouted as he held his ears whose drums had been blown out by a half-dozen close-range twelve gauges. “You could have warned me.”

Minoru had to exaggerate his lip movement, “No time.”

“How bout before. You bastard!”

“Apologies, Minoru-kun. I was preoccupied with preventing our potential imminent deaths.”
By the time he finished speaking Franklin shrugged loose the plate carrier, donning it and its loops of brightly colored shotshells over his stained shirt. Franklin felt warm liquid on his face and slick black hair as he fed shells into the ravenous maw of the Rift LiMS (Limited Marine Special) Gun. Steady exchanges of automatic gunfire filled the arena as hitmen cut their way through the crowd while trading shots with the DCMS’s anemic Nambu pistols, ones more suited to a Commissar’s work or decoration than as a Soldier's weapon.

“We need to move kid,” Franklin pulled out a set of ear plugs for Minoru, “or it won’t be only your hearing that’s lost.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 12b
« Reply #81 on: 02 August 2022, 23:10:03 »
Minoru splashed through pools of water rippling under the assault of the fire alarm, punctuated with shotgun blasts and the rat tat of machine pistols. Water dribbled into Franklin’s eyes through parts in his gelled hair from the sprinklers above. His grip slipped on his shotgun’s textured stock blinking drops away, as dilute streams of red dripped onto gray linoleum tiles. Minoru could see the tapestry of brightly colored irezumi around the armored vest through his white silk shirt.

“Someone just had to pull the fire alarm on their way out. This was finally my chance to smoke inside this place.”

“Why aren’t we leaving?”
Minoru looked around at the bare light gray walls and epoxy floors streaked with the sighs of carts and stains of spilled food. Burnt meat and other smells of a rapidly abandoned kitchen filled the air. “This is just the kitchen and utilities area.”

“Nothing is stopping you trying to escape on your own kid. You’re just a tagalong to me.
You may have noticed they hesitate to shoot at you. Which is good, I’ve only got one vest.”

Franklin leaned out and fired another blast down the hall, one answered by a pained cry downrange. “Only winged him, damn.”

Another round from the vest was rammed its way into the magazine. “Besides I have everything needed to buy time for the MMK.”

Franklin checked his watch, “Eight o clock, busiest traffic hour round here due to the underage curfew. Only made worse by this whole situation. I give them four more minutes before they are going to have to withdraw or get in a shootout with the cops.”

“Why aren’t they shooting?”
“Probably aren’t sure where you are and don’t want to risk hitting you.
These Bratva are rank amateurs. No subtlety or finesse.
 
If you want to kidnap a teenage boy, you always go for the honeytrap.
Hire some cute girl to flirt your mark into the backroom, A little passion to sell it and get you to drop your guard and pants. Then lights out, drugged or mugged.
Clean, fast, consistent.
 
What’s your poison?
Miko? Maid? Babysitter? Lolita? Gyaru? Schoolgirl? They have some cute uniforms across the river. Don’t let those Stormbreakers or Templars get you down, you crushed em’ in the Arena.

I don’t see you as a leather fan, but it’s always the brainy ones, particularly the girls. Spike your hair and get a motorcycle. You’d clean up at HTI.

I sure did.”

“That’s a weird question to ask in this situation don’t you think?”
“Gotta fill that time kid. Make them think we aren’t paying attention to them.
I’ll go first. Big fan of denim.
Tight jeans, short open jackets.
Those ranch girls get me every time.”
“I haven’t had a lot of experience or thought about it.”
“What did you spend your puberty in a monastery or something?
I’ll admit I don’t know how that works for royalty.”


Fortress Dieron was co-ed, but he was always busy with something other than his fellow acolytes. A mixed blessing considering how that worked out for him. “Something like that.”

“Well enjoy it while you can. Never know what’s going to happen next.”


A masked vory burst through one of the side doors charging Franklin with a Shaska saber gleaming under the lights above. Franklin turned toward the noise, almost muzzling Minoru. “Get down!”

The kid wasn’t quick enough but fell to the sodden ground in a crash. Franklin caught the sword blade on the gun-barrel, reversed it to use the curvy goose neck stock to pull the swordsman’s knee upward and off-balance. Unable to defend himself Franklin shoved him into the wall with a firm crack of wood and steel. He could smell the man’s rancid breath and felt spittle as he screamed expletives in Russian at him as both strained to control their weapons.

“Cover me kid.”

Franklin dropped the shotgun next to Minoru’s waiting hands. His hands wrapped around his enemy’s tattooed neck locking him tight, throwing him over his hip and onto the unyielding concrete floor, then slashing his tanto across the bastard’s neck in a single motion. Blood poured out as the gunmen flopped like a fish holding his neck before the blade went through his sunglasses and into his eye. “Dosvedanya”

Franklin wiped the blade off on the man’s shirt before sheathing it. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”

Minoru stood up and returned the shotgun to its proper owner as exchanges of automatic gunfire picked up in tempo and intensity. “Sounds like SAT is here. They sure took their sweet time.” Franklin started to unload his shotgun returning each shell to an appropriate loop.

“You have a permit for that right?”
“Busting my balls after saving your life. Kid, I’ve got one of almost every kind of permit the Draconis Combine issues.”


Franklin kicked the shotgun, knife, and vest out into the corridor as the SAT stormed the building. The sprinkler system and fire alarms had been disabled leaving everything soaked. He rifled through the pockets of the dead vory, found a silver flask, and pack of smokes.
“Where did you learn how to do that?”

“If you lived my life, you’d pick up some things along the way.”
He sat down leaned against a wall, lit one of the crumpled cigarettes. “Like larceny, smoking,” an offer to share the vodka inside or a cigarette was politely refused, “drinking, and many, many forms of lechery.”

The MMK SAT ‘Storm’ team charged forward under cover of broad armored shields, thick body armor, and submachine guns clearing each corridor along the way. Two of their members pressed Franklin firmly into the wall as a third wrenched his arms back as they cuffed him. Their squad medic check out the dead vory, cuffed the corpse, and moved on to Minoru who they simply zip-tied to their vests.

“Ease off officers. I’m the one that called it in."
"Sure you were. A Yak calling the cops, can you believe this guy?"

"I know my rights.
I want my phone call, and your badge numbers.”


AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 12c
« Reply #82 on: 04 August 2022, 20:20:24 »
Despite the filthy Yamato River outside the bathhouse within its brightly colored tiles gleamed intermittently under flickering lights. A graying bare-chested man strode through puddles thick with flies. Flies which settled on wrinkled skin covered in crude, but recognizable tattoos earned on Brazen Heart. Still home to tens of millions of Maximilian, Romano, and Tormano Liao’s prisoners and billions more bones. He slammed open thin steel doors to the room beyond which housed two large wooden soaking tubs and benches built into the wall. A young man covered in more refined, colorful tattoos of various animal spirits waited for him already.

“Franklin, long time no see.”
“Well, we’ve both been quite busy. Relax and talk while the water’s still warm.”
“Show me yours first. Nothing hidden between us.”
“You don’t trust me? Is it because I survived a gunfight with your guys just two hours ago?”

Franklin stood up revealing no concealed weapons or anything on or about his person.

“Hardly looks like you were touched.”
“You should have trained your gang better rather than use that money on your pipe.”


Grigori eased himself into the vacant tub beside Franklin’s.

“You weren’t supposed to be there you know.”
“With a gun, you mean. I wasn’t supposed to be there with a gun.”

“We tried to lure him away, but Minnow didn’t take the bait.”

“You knew I would be there. Your Vory should have stayed in your allotted turf.”
“Collecting rent from dives and food courts while roughing up tenements?
We were offered a Leviathan with papers in exchange for the boy.”

“A Leviathan hasn’t been seen in the Inner Sphere since the First War. The salvage price alone for one is a billion and a half, functional in excess of two. Registration another hundred million, easy.”


Franklin flicked a match across the wooden tub to light a cigarette. “Can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted myself. Who do you know that deals in high end Lostech?”

The long silence between them was broken by Grigori lighting his pipe as Franklin extinguished his cigarette in the water, “Khadan.”

“He’s got Sarna under his thumb, and hundreds of Ghosts in his corner, with Battlemechs.
Even the Jie Fang Legion doesn’t go against him, and they took on the Thuggees.
Yet you expect us to be happy with your scraps!”

“We have rules here in Masamori. Ones made very clear when you arrived. Stay in your territory, conduct your business, and don’t stir up the cops.”

“Rules are the first casualty of war! You can pretend you don’t see but I’ve been here before.

Tanadi and Hachiman Taro idling lines, reducing hours ‘for the holidays.’ The wealthiest world in the Combine circling the drain because someone pissed off COMSTAR.
When Takashi dies, and he’s got one foot in the grave already. 

It’s going to be a bloodbath where sharks like me gorge on this city's bloated corpse.”


Grigori’s eyes bugged as Franklin pulled a tanto from beneath the water and drove it into his neck. Gushing crimson blood frothed by his struggles in soapy water.

“You might not be wrong about that Grigori.”

Franklin finished the task ahead of him, wiping his blade on a nearby towel once done. Red on White always reminded him of the DCMS’ formal uniforms with good reason. He dressed in a fresh suit, apologized for the mess to the staff and stepped out into the night with his grim package. Grigori’s still warm pipe splashed in the Yamato as Franklin paused to watch it drift away, joining the rest of Masamori's flotsam as the tide ebbed.

“However, you broke our rules so you must accept the consequences.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) HHB 12d
« Reply #83 on: 04 August 2022, 23:20:01 »
Hachiman Taro Enterprises Complex, Yoshitune Starport District, Hachiman

Chandreskar Kurita looked out at Murasaki’s shark fin office buildings across the River from the Starport and his primary factory. A steaming cup of coffee occupied one hand and a handsome ivory cane the other. Minoru flinched as a black robed Physician of the Dragon examined his bandaged chest and head. “What’s the prognosis Brother Ayumu?”

“He’ll be hearing bells for a few more days but likely no permanent damage.”

The physician packed up his medical bag loaded with everything from mystical totems, 3d holographic scanners, and herbal teas or poultices. “Truly fortune guides this one Chandreskar-sama. He escaped a very dangerous situation with only scrapes and bruises.”
“I could sure use some of that secret fortune Minoru, if you’re willing to share.”

Minoru returned his black kimono to decency. “I had help. As for the secrets of my fortune perhaps later Oji-sama.”

Ayumu placed a satchet of herbs and amber bottle onto the richly polished desk. “Your weekly supplements Chairman.”
“That will be all Ayumu. You are dismissed.”

He bowed deeply to both men before quietly departing the office.

Automatic shades darkened and shielded the chamber from laser microphones and direct observation. The viewscreen was replaced with the feed from Chandreskar’s computer of a kaleidoscope collage of female models in the nude on a white sandy beach. The Chairman hastily dropped his coffee onto the floor before hammering on his keyboard to put it to a more neutral screen showing his company logo. “I am truly sorry about that son. Thought I had it on the right feed. How embarrassing.”

Minoru rubbed his eyes, “Must we do this right now? I haven’t slept all night.”

“I am afraid that we must Minoru. Your family was quite…upset…concerned that they had to hear about yesterday’s attack via INN rather than directly from you. Especially Omiko-chan, your father has Shin Yodama on a dropship already.”

“Because that’s all we need.”
Ninyu Indrahar slammed open the door following closely by Percival Filington. He was still in his field uniform, a vibro-katana on his back, and machine pistol on his belt. “Another nine fingered freak in Masamori. You can’t walk two blocks in this city without finding one of their fronts.”

Percival spoke up resting his hand on the rapier at his hip. “Not every business in Masamori is a Yakuza front Ninyu-san. Some are legitimate enterprises with ambitions to serve the Dragon.”

“And your naivete is why we find ourselves in this position Lord Filington. I strongly protested Theodore’s incorporation of the Ghost Regiments.”
Ninyu poured himself a drink from the crystal decanter on the backbar, downing it quickly. “I figured something like this was inevitable.”

Minoru walked toward the glass attempting to peer through the darkness. “What was the security situation that drew you away Ninyu-sama?”

“A commando raid on Yamato Arsenal. Stealth suited perpetrators stole a prototype Stealth VTOL, one of the armored suits that attacked Isoroku during the summer, then abducted or assassinated key individuals before sabotaging the lab. No casualties on their side, too many on ours.
 
Sore wa subete mechakuchadesu.”

“MI-Six?”
“On Hachiman! Hell no. I don’t know who it was, but they are good. Death Commando good.”
“Tormano?”

“Probably not. Our Capellan colonies are pumping plenty of poison into the Combine without him.
We should amputate them. Who knows what they will do next?”


Chandreskar tapped his cane on the tiled floor emitting a hollow sound. “It seems they have decided Minoru-kun is not off the table. HTE Corporate Security can ensure he is safe on HTI’s Campus or here as best we can. I can extend it further, but it will be difficult as I don’t have enough officers.
It might be that he needs to be evacuated.”
“I refuse to be evacuated, I chose to come here, and I won’t leave until I am ready. I have already done so before.”


Ninyu strode forward to stare down Chairman Kurita. “Do you truly think that your corporate security could match my ISF? No, I will assign my best men to his protection.”

Percival interrupted them, “Your people have a certain…reputation Deputy Director Indrahar. They don’t blend in here anymore since the reforms.”

“And see what that has gotten you Percy! A looming gang war in your city.”

“The MMK Superintendent has informed me that the responsible party has been punished and will no longer be a problem.”


A chuckle erupted from Chandreskar. “That’s one way of saying the heads of their Capos have been delivered to Headquarters. Along with apology letters and restitution money from the other families.”

Minoru executed a speedy about face toward the other men. “Wait! Their heads!
What happens to the rest of them?”

“I’ve been told they turn the rest to chum.”

“Appalling business, but reduce, reuse, recycle as they say.” He poured his own drink from the decanter. “Nothing goes to waste on Hachiman.”
Percy let the amber liquid linger on his palette. “Oh, this is very good, smooth. Glengarry Reserve, thirty-six?”
“On point as usual Percy.”


Once more Minoru spoke up. “Percival makes a good point. Would the MMK provide an appropriate bodyguard detail?” Percival choked on his whiskey at the mention of his people being responsible for Minoru Kurita’s protection.
 
“It’s a large force. Surely there is someone who can keep a low profile, possesses local knowledge, and the appropriate skills.”

Ninyu Indrahar lingered behind Percival Filington’s shoulder, like a twisted shadow.
“I think it is as you say Percival.
A splendid idea.

One I fully support.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled Ch13
« Reply #84 on: 08 August 2022, 09:30:12 »
Chapter 13 – The Girl Rebel
04/19/3041 | Hanamachi District above Dark Earth City, Kirei Na Niwa, Draconis Combine

The ‘Beautiful Garden’ Hanamachi district lived up to its name smelling of wildflowers, incense, and soap from colorful Okiya and Ochaya sprouting from its rich soil. Squat hills raised over the plains planted with trees chosen to bloom or fade throughout the year creating a vibrant tapestry above the capital. Lanterns outside each was being extinguished as the night went on and women (and some men) working within ceased their labors.

Faint light from one held by a girl pierced the dark paper screens of the garden teahouse. Rocks moved under the girl’s sandals creating a great sound in the quiet of early morning. She whispered through the screen. “Kano-chan?”

She heard nothing so raised to a sweet faint voice trying not to draw any more attention to herself, “Are you there, Kanoka? Okasama sent me to find you.”

A paper door quietly opened to an empty room used for tea ceremony, “It’s time to sleep,” She looked around to see burned down candles, the charcoals in the brazier were still warm, but the iron teakettle was off its stand, contents spilled on the tatami mats hastily covered with a cloth.

Looking about she couldn’t find any trace of the other girl…or the client that was supposed to be here. “Come on Onee-san, I’m tired. Where are you?” She gently touched the kettle to ensure it was still cool, it was but it was also sticky. Her hand came away red, with blood, she had only enough time to let out a shriek before she passed out from the sight of it.


Kanoka fought her gut which was telling her to redline the stolen car as fast and far as the gas tank would take her. She had only a few hours to make her escape before Shugo (Sheriff) Takeuchi Souta received a call from Okasama about his missing ‘bride.’ The latest in a succession of desperate young women who tragically perished when they grew old or boring. Her only chance was to make it to the forest, survive with the money she had stolen from Daichi long enough to….

To what!

Panic overcame her practiced calm making her lose control of the car and herself. The car rumbled through the gravel shoulder coming to rest on an embankment just before a field. Lights from some vehicle shone in the distance but she turned her own off.

How was she going to escape him?

He was the Sheriff she was just a girl bonded to the Okiya since she was six by her abusive adopted family. One that saw her as a burden holding their own children back. She didn’t know how to live in the wilderness or anybody that would shelter fugitives from the ruthless lawman.

Would she just have to sell herself to someone else instead?

The very thought of it made her sick. She tumbled out the door tearing her kimono on the stones, threw up what little food she had this evening, and leaned against the embankment brushing away what remained of her makeup. Her stolen car was trashed and Kanoka collapsed on the ground crying as lights drew nearer.

Sounds of car doors opening, and weapon’s rattling caught her attention, but she didn’t look up. It was all over; she was caught by Souta’s Shugodai (deputies).

She heard a man’s voice above her, “Now what have we got here? You’re a little young to be driving by yourself this late at night Maiko. Especially in such a nice car. Who’d you steal it from?”

“Tamura Daichi”


Another voice whispered, “He’s a minor executive at Amphigean, Genzo-san.”

She knew that name ceased her crying for now and faced him still on her hands and knees, “The rebel Ito Genzo?”
“The very same.”
“Please sir, I need your help.
If Shugo Takeuchi catches me, it’s all over. This was my last chance to escape him.”


A long pause came over the assembled before they murmured among themselves
“Bringing her is going to put a lot of heat on us. You must think of the others.
I don’t think it’s a good idea boss. She’ll crack within a week of the wilderness.
She can barely stand. She’ll slow us down; we can’t chance it.
What does she have but a pretty face?”


“She has her freedom, and that’s the most important thing. What is your name?”
“Kanoka.”
“Surname?”
“Not anymore. I was abandoned…twice.”
“Then you won’t mind changing it, or miss your old life?”
“No!”
“Know that I can’t promise anything but that we will not abandon you if you can keep up.
Now hurry! We must escape before the Shugodai arrive.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #85 on: 09 August 2022, 19:55:16 »
10/29/3042 Newton, Kirei Na Niwa
Two DMCS soldiers rested their rifles against rough metal chairs while zippering their gray ‘wind-breaker’ jackets. Both sat beneath a flickering yellow light above a pole gate adjacent to Kinkakuji Manufacturing’s worker tenements. A weak electric heater glowed between them providing scant relief from the chill wind racing through the Needles.
“Looks like another storm tonight, Kinju.”
“Seems like it Haijie. Why did we have to piss off the Sho-Sa, today of all days?
We could be in barracks while Hotaru and Kujia froze their asses off out here tonight.”

“You are the one that got drunk and stole his car.”
“You were also drunk. I’m not sure it wasn’t even your idea.”
“I wasn’t the one in the driver’s seat.”


Kinju slammed his palm on his helmet, “Baka! You conned me into it!”
“But you fell for it.”
Haijie rattled a vacuum flask on the chair leg, “Tea?”
“I got thrashed.
Yet you offer tea?”

Kinju snatched the flask from his companion. “I’m taking it all.
You can freeze.”


A young woman appeared from the alleyways and started toward them, “If you need a little warmth Heishi, maybe I can be of assistance.”

Both men snapped up as her face came into the light. She meekly held a lunch tin before her as the conservative dress and her short hair blew in the wind.
“Halt!
It’s just past curfew, Yujo aren’t allowed to solicit outdoors, and even if we were tempted…”
Both men looked toward one another and then back to the girl. “It would be a dereliction of duty to engage while on watch. So go back to wherever you came from. Writing you up for curfew violation will just be tedious. I’d rather sit in the cold.”

“Thank you, Sirs. That is very generous.”
She looked down and fiddled with a cheap lighter, “Can a girl at least get a light? Mine isn’t working with the wind.”
Kinju’s shoulders slumped at the tediousness of it all. “Fine. come over here girl.
We can’t leave our posts. Rebels might be about.”

The DCMS issue electric lighter burned cherry hot at her touch. It rapidly cooled before returning to the trooper’s pocket. “Rebels here? Are they dangerous?”
“A full Ashigaru battalion is here just to protect Kinkakuji. You have nothing to worry about.”

She leaned down to caress his chest with her left hand, “That seems like a lot of guys. The kind of thing that girls like me do worry about.”
“I’m sure you’ll handle it just fine.”


Her grip tightened on his harness as a steel claw clutched in her right drove itself through his neck. Blood sprayed onto the gravel as she launched herself on the seated man before doing the same. Both clutched at their necks before expiring. Certain they were now dead she righted their chairs making it seem as if nothing were amiss. More faces appeared from the shadows of the buildings nearby.

Genzo’s stern but approving face was first to materialize made her feel at ease. “They have a Battalion inside Sir.”

“Underestimating us as usual. Good work Taigasu.”

 
She rifled through their vests taking the lighter, a rifle, and spare magazines from the fallen sentry.
“I guess you’re right Heishi Kinju. I did handle it fine.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #86 on: 10 August 2022, 00:10:00 »
11/27/3046
“Of course, it has tiger stripe camouflage on it.”
Miya chuckled as she stood at the foot of ‘a’…
no ‘her’ Tora (Tiger), the six-meter tall Battlemech stood head to canopy of the jungle of Nashik. Its autocannon arm and missile rack prominent. The cockpit shielding, like all DCMS mechs made after 3030, appeared as a Samurai’s mempo, in this case, that of a tiger’s fangs. Its secondary armament included front and rear facing medium lasers (on everything but light mechs).

“Now if only I could get the money to buy a proper cooling vest from the Canopians.”

She looked down at her lean torso, bare except for a skimpy bandeau wrapped around it. Everything below was DCMS issue gray fatigue pants and jungle boots.  “At least there’ll be no tan lines when I get back, and I can see those abs poking through. Who would of, thought I had the money to get fat in Masamori. Must be Mrs. Sato and Reika’s doing.”

A thought popped into her head, whether Percival Filington might like her paler, like a proper lady.
Too late for that Lord Filington. I stopped being a proper lady long ago, and you didn’t seem to mind. “That’s just nonsense anyway. He probably is already engaged to some Noblewoman.
Just an opportunity fling, nothing more. You know how it is. All to well.”


She shook her head, hair bobbling slightly at the action, digging dirty nails into palms calloused from so many pull-ups on palm bark. “Concentrate on the mission.
Rebels in the hills need to be taken out.
The scenarios these guys come up with.”


Miya muttered darkly to herself as she climbed the chain ladder to the cockpit, “No wonder Genzo’s gang knee-capped so many Wasps in our time. This mech would be hopeless, but if that is what the Tai-I wants, then so be it. I’m just a Constable that used be a Criminal rather than a Concubine.”

Her Tora powered up and regrouped with the others. Their Lance Commander delivered the final briefing with intel gathered from a Boomerang flyby. “The enemy has deployed Bulldogs in emplaced positions. Kibo you are on the right flank, Sanchu on the left.”

It was a wise move, Sanchu’s Sanjin and her Tora’s cluster munitions could disable the vehicles from their vulnerable flanks while the Kyudo and Ronin would take a more substantial beating up front. Her instincts told her to stick to cover, without Jump Jets the forest and undergrowth snarled her mech’s limbs and required every ounce of its enhanced myomers to keep pace with most of her lance-mates.
“Keep up Kibo.”
“I should have taken the left flank Tai-i. I keep getting snarled in the woods. Sanchu would have had an easier time of it, and I could have used that pass to speed ahead and strike from the rear.”


The Tai-I’s Ronin loomed large in the center of the formation ahead of all others. He was already releasing reduced PPC bolts toward the Bulldogs on the hilltop. Even she could see that return fire was not forthcoming from the machines and that was weird, the trainers hadn’t tried that before.
“What do you know of warfare Constable?
I ordered you on the right flank.
Are you second guessing my orders?
Follow them and keep up…or you will be left behind.
We have no time for a woman’s games.”


Small explosions erupted from the jungle floor as she stepped over them. Leftover mines, the DCMS Engineers must have been sloppy with cleanup last year. Drone Bulldogs opened fire with light autocannons first stitching low energy but clearly marked patterns into the center line, followed shortly by smoke missiles, and finally ‘safe to armor’ (there were always some idiots who thought laser resistant glasses were uncomfortable) lasers.

Miya lagged wishing desperately for a mech sized machete to clear away tangling vines holding fast to thick trees. By the time she reached the objective the battle was functionally over with her three Lancemates contributing overwhelmingly to a successful mission and now was time for a debriefing.

Before that Miya threw on a tank top and jacket over her belt and sheathed knife. Miya looked in the mirror to see the sun burn, busted lip, and scratches she had accumulated with the DCMS training cadre. “I belong here as a MechWarrior. I survived everything they threw at me.” She slammed her fist at the unbreakable mirror hung in her latrine.

Other women had started but she was the last one left. “But I know when I am not wanted!”

Sho-Sa Suzuji Yuto stood before the projector while the six cadets sat on folding chairs. An electric fan creaked softly providing little relief for the stifling humidity and tropical heat of Nashik’s jungles. Sunlight filtered in through the thinly woven shelter. “Excellent work gentlemen. We got those rebels.”

A voice from the back spoke firmly toward her ‘superiors.’ “If there were really rebels in the hills. They wouldn’t bother using tanks. Mechs already can’t get through dense forest without the aid of jump jets. They would also use water and have advance recon elements in place along with booby traps, decoys, and mines.”

“And you know this how Constable.”


She bolted upward and walked forward into the light of the projector. “Because I read the damn manual!”

Miya pointed toward the cocky looking man up front, “and Tai-I Isuki doesn’t! Otherwise, he wouldn’t have ordered me to take my non-jumping Mech through the forest.”

Miya turned on her heels and leaned menacingly toward the Sho-Sa. “With the explicit purpose of slowing me down so I wouldn’t be able to contribute to our…

No!

His victory even though it was a stupid plan.
If there were actual people in those tanks, he’d be dead or piloting a broken mech by now.
Not looking at me with that Kuso kui niyaniya.”


Isuki Kai stood up and slapped her across the face, “Hiretsuna meinu, I will not sit idly while my honor is questioned by a policewoman who is only here because she slept with Tai-Shu Isoroku, and who knows how many others.”

He felt a pressure near his groin and looked down to see Miya’s knife uncomfortably close. “Keep going Isuki. Maybe you will use one of your brains to make the right choice and shut the hell up.”
“Yuto, are you going to sit there while she threatens me like this?”
“Break it up you two!”


She pushed off the Tai-I and held the knife sheath away from her before making a big show of the sheathing. “I’m out! Packing my stuff and taking the next shuttle back to Yoshitune.

I never had much respect for the DCMS but if this is the best they can do.
I’ll take my chances with the Ghosts.”


Kai closed toward her, “You are going to quit just like that?
I always knew you were going to fold because you are a coward.”
“Anata o fakku! Tai-I, you talk real big for a guy that just had my knife to his balls.”


Bright sunlight penetrated the tent through the open fold, Miya looked back at the assembled ‘dirty half-dozen’ the last whittling of more than sixty cadets after two months.
“Oh, by the way idiots.
I didn’t sleep with Isoroku Kurita.
I saved his life,

and

You can bet he will hear about this.”


Despite their tans each man blanched in fear, an expression of dread that put a smile on her face all the way to the shuttle-port.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled Ch14
« Reply #87 on: 11 August 2022, 21:50:27 »
Chapter 14 –Three Strikes
11/29/3046

A DCMS shuttle arrived at a Yoshitune Starport enveloped in a greasy fog so thick it muted Miya’s bootsteps as she walked across the tarmac. She crossed her arms and shivered at the shocking change in temperature. “You just had to quit the jungle when winter showed up here in Masamori.”

Miya pushed into a clutch of Yoshi’s gathered around the steam vents fed from the district’s heating like Jingu penguins under the watchful eyes of Port Authority guards. The Yoshis shuffled in slow motion to avoid loitering charges from the DCPA moaning about their plight. Money was drying up, so Masamori’s factories were idling capacity and laying people off. With less product to ship the Starport was not far behind. Ocean trade kept the dockyards active for now at least. The gangs were getting antsy as there wasn’t as much Mizo Shubai (‘Water Trade’) to skim from and everyone was on edge.

Miya wrapped her thin jacket tight about her looking for some relief from the cold, her stomach was not far behind. In a race verse hunger and chill she choose clothes shopping first. She browsed the local secondhand store browsing aisles of DCMS surplus clothes and helmets, soiled jumpsuits, high visibility vests, ‘exotic’ outfits, and even found some like new MMK uniforms. Occasionally something fell into her shopping basket and upon further consideration was returned to the shelf. A gaudily dressed, matronly saleswoman with too much costume jewelry appeared from the back.
“Can I help you miss?”
“Hopefully you can help these uniform manufacturers Ma’am.
Lately quality control seems to be slipping.”
“When it falls off the back of a truck, sometimes it gets ‘damaged.’ You wouldn’t issue these uniforms to our brave boys that put everything on the line to protect us?”
“No, we wouldn’t want that would we? The best among us deserves the best we can give them.”
“Oh, and the backlog of processing so many brave soldiers.”
She chuckled, “Sometimes things get ordered upon enlistment and don’t make it to them before they quit. So, they end up here.”
“Lucky you.”


Both women found their way to the register and Miya presented her card. The wrong beep sounded twice, “Miss, I am sorry, but it seems the bank has put a hold on your account.”

Miya clutched the card in her right hand till it turned red.
“That can’t be right! I should have two months of back pay in there.”

She shoved the card into her purse and clutched the warm clothes in despair. “I can’t be in arrears. I had plenty of…enough money in there before I deployed and no expenses.
There must be some mistake! What will I do?”

“I suggest calling them or stopping at the nearby branch office.
Maybe it’s probably something easily fixed. I will hold onto these until your return.”


Miya bowed slightly to the woman before rushing out the door into the cold morning light. The local branch of Murasaki Mercantile bank was once a grand white brick building but like Yoshitune was covered in grime and only kept clear of vagrants by local Yakuza toughs. Four of them sat on the steps bats in their laps. They stood initially keeping their distance but looked her up and down as they drew near.
“Looking good, soldier girl.”
“Soldier girl?”
“You got the hat, right?”
He leaned forward to snatch the DCMS garrison cap off her. Silky black hair fell in waves now that it was freed. “Want a chance to ride this Panther?”
“That’s a little small for my liking. I’ll pass.”

His companions erupted into laughter. One of them slapped him on the back. “Soldier girl has your number, Kaiyo.”
“We like you Soldier girl.”
“I’m honored.”
She ran her hands through the hair to put it into some bit of order. “Keep the hat.”
“Oh Kaiyo, maybe she warm to you already. She’s giving you presents.”

He folded the hat up and put it to his nose. Inhaling deeply and making peculiar contortions. “Smells like roses.”

When she was safe in the revolving door, she looked back at the toughs playing ‘keep away from Kaiyo’ with her hat. “It’s obviously lilac you cretins.”

She breathed deep as she passed through the metal detector and waited calmly until a teller opened. They exchanged the standard greetings.
“Pardon but there seems to be a problem with my account. The balance should be positive, but I can’t use my card.”

“Sounds serious, lets see.”
The teller typed a few keys before pointing toward a terminal, Miya complied with the ID requests and heard the reassuring tones of acceptance. “Well, the good news is that your account is still quite positive ma’am. However, you need to speak with the branch manager and fill out some paperwork as there are some discrepancies. Afterwards your funds should be immediately available.”
“What kind of discrepancies?”
“I am unfamiliar with this code.”
The teller pointed toward the stairs. “The manager is presently free, and he can explain it to you faster than I can find it in our system.”

An armed guard opened the door to the Branch Manager’s office for her. A middle aged man sat below an ink painting so broad it took up most of the back wall. He stood up and pulled a chair out for her at a side table creaking with reams of yellowing paperwork and half-emptied inkwells of a half dozen colors.
“Please sit Miss Kibo. I have some paperwork for you to fill out.”

She accepted the chair as a runner arrived with a sheaf of papers in a manila envelope. “Let me first apologize, we attempted to contact you last month about this, but your phone was off.”
“I was deployed overseas with the DCMS.”
“Aren’t you a policewoman though?”
“I was selected for MechWarrior training.”
She attempted to swallow to little avail. “What seems to be the problem with my account?”
“Well, it is not necessarily a problem. You see a large sum of Ryu was wired to your account from the Kurita Family Trust last month. Unfortunately, we need your chop on these papers to make the transfer official.”
“How large was this transfer?”


The manager peeled away the Manila cover to reveal her account balance.
“ONE MILLION RYU!”

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #88 on: 12 August 2022, 00:26:25 »
Good things happening to good people?! What is this world coming to?!
Shoot first, laugh later.

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #89 on: 12 August 2022, 05:52:24 »
Interesting, I wonder what will become this Cop turn MechWarrior
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