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Author Topic: Untold Tales of Guts and Galaxies  (Read 2777 times)


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Untold Tales of Guts and Galaxies
« on: 28 January 2011, 00:11:24 »
Disgrace of Mercy

Blood Plains
Boques, York
Kerensky Cluster, Clan Space
15 September 3066

Hot, salty beads of sweat poured down Star Captain Trip Keller's face through his neurohelmet. Inside the cockpit of a massive Blood Kite assault-class BattleMech, Trip felt invincible. More foreboding and formidable than tanks, humanoid BattleMechs had been the ultimate war machine for nearly 600 years. Although BattleMechs had dominated the battlefields for the better half of a thousand years, newer BattleMechs like his Blood Kite outclassed most BattleMechs built before it. Powered by a fusion engine, BattleMechs had seemingly limitless power and carried an assortment of deadly weapons no other tank could match.

It was for that reason MechWarriors like Trip had a tendency to sweat so heavily inside their cockpits. The same fusion engine that powered most of a BattleMech's systems also gave power to the laser weapons Trip had been using so heavily this hot afternoon. The engine produced waste heat that had to be vented out by heat sinks or else risk engine shutdown and possibly even burn the MechWarrior alive inside the cockpit. The afternoon sun provided no remorse either for the Blood Spirits engaged in battle on the Blood Plains today. Although the Blood Plains were made up of rolling, copper red rocky dunes, it was given its name simply for the purpose of personalizing Clan Blood Spirit's holdings on the capital world in the York system.

Perched on one such rocky dune, Trip's tan and red Blood Kite watched vigilantly over the plains like a stoic idol built to ward off hostile spirits. More than a dozen other 'Mechs and vehicles in the same colors were scattered behind Trip's Blood Kite - they were the rest of his trinary. They were among the best of Clan Blood Spirit. Here today they would face the best of Clan Star Adder, their hated rivals. For many months the Star Adders had mercilessly engaged the Blood Spirits on the Spirit fortress of York. The Star Adders had forced their way on to the Blood Spirit homeworld and the Spirits seemed unable to stop them from taking more of it every day.

It was more than Trip Keller could stand. Like every other Blood Spirit on York, he shared his Clan's hatred for Star Adders. Their presence here was an affront to all Blood Spirits. He would drive his enemy from his homeworld or he would die trying. His death meant nothing at all. For every Blood Spirit that died there would be another one to take his or her place. Until all Blood Spirits had been killed or they achieved their victory over the Star Adders. The Blood Spirit fanaticism was unmatched by any other Clan. The Star Adders had greater numbers and cutting edge technology, but the Blood Spirits had the home turf advantage.

Out in the distance he thought he saw movement. Although barely visible to human eyes, his trained warrior instinct told him that he found the enemy. The day's fighting was far from over. The blurry images of his cockpit viewport suddenly magnified to give him a clear view of his enemy. With the miracle of enhanced imaging neurocircuitry embedded underneath his skin, Trip could see things the average MechWarrior could not. It was a huge advantage over the MechWarriors that did not have enhanced imaging implants. There was the small drawback of a health risk for such a huge battlefield advantage. Trip Keller likely would suffer extensive damage to his nervous system resulting in premature comatosis or death before the age of thirty. Thirty seemed so far away. At the age of twenty-two, Trip felt he had lived a full life. He had recently won himself a bloodname, which had secured his genetic legacy's survival after he was gone. There was no life other than the life of a Blood Spirit, the life of a warrior. His Clan's honor meant more to him than his life. One who lived must live for the good of the Clan. Without the Clan life had no meaning.

Trip studied the image displayed on his screen. Five monstrous BattleMechs made their way painstakingly closer to Trip's position. They knew he was here too. There was no doubt in his mind that these were Star Adders. The lead 'Mech was a Star Adder favorite: a Blood Asp OmniMech. Two of the other 'Mechs he noticed were also used extensively by Clan Star Adder: a Warhammer IIC and a Marauder IIC. The other two 'Mechs he could make out were a Dire Wolf and a Turkina. All assault 'Mechs, as if the Star Adders had anything lighter to spare. All were also painted in Clan Star Adder black and navy blue. Behind them came another star painted in similar colors.

"Got you." He hissed, throttling his 'Mech forward. The rest of his trinary followed suit, except for the vehicles, which took longer to mobilize. Trip hated the idea of having vehicles in his trinary, but this was the trinary he was given. There were no other BattleMechs available for him to replace a vehicle star. The vehicles also provided firepower that he would need against the Star Adders' heavier forces.

Thankfully, the other star in his unit was not made up of vehicles. His third star was made up of three points Siren ProtoMechs as well as two medium-sized BattleMechs. Trip himself was not a fan of the ProtoMechs, but with the only other choice being more vehicles he had stuck with ProtoMechs as the lesser of two evils. With BattleMech industries being so resource intensive, Can Blood Spirit had been venturing into the possibility of replacing their 'Mech forces with cheaper ProtoMechs. ProtoMechs were smaller than BattleMechs, but much more durable than battlearmor. And like battlearmor, ProtoMechs could be mass produced much more easily than BattleMechs. As much as Trip wanted his Clan to survive, he refused to acknowledge that his Clan could continue on without real MechWarriors. He believed the Clan could only survive on the strength of MechWarriors alone. And for that, the Clan would have to find some way of acquiring more BattleMechs, preferably newer ones.

With less than 900 meters separating the two forces, he brought his 'Mech to a stop, momentarily allowing the rest of his unit catch up with him. Trip called out to his enemy on a general communication frequency.

"I am Star Captain Trip Keller of the Thirty Seventh Red Assault Cluster, Charlie Trinary. It is my wish to do battle with warriors but all I have is you." He taunted.

The enemy trinary came to a halt. The Blood Asp making up the center of the enemy formation took a step forward. After many long moments, the enemy commander's harsh response came back.

"I am Star Colonel Carlos Truscott of the 10th Armored Cavalry Squadron. If you truly are the warriors you think you are, you will face my command trinary now on the field of honor. If not, you will vanish before us like the blood spurts you are."

Trip grinded his teeth. The Star Adder had insulted him and his Clan. He would make this Carlos Truscott pay for his audacity. His 85-ton 'Mech charged forward at his command. Bringing the targeting reticule to rest over the shape of the Blood Asp, he fired with the large laser that made up the center of his BattleMech's frame. A beam of coherent green light stabbed at the Blood Asp, striking dead-center. He followed up his attack with another large laser, spitting verdant energy from the Blood Kite's "mouth". This one struck the Blood Asp just below its "beak".

Molten droplets of armor fell to the ground. Trip's assault had done little to damage the enemy 'Mech. The Blood Asp would take much more punishment before it fell. As soon as Trip had opened fire, the rest of his unit charged the Star Adder line, bringing up their long-range weapons and firing with them. Gauss rifle slugs, missile contrails, and laser beams shot out from the Blood Sprit line and chiseled away at the Star Adders. Surprisingly, the Star Adders did not fire back until all of the Blood Spirit forces, including the slow-moving tanks had a chance to fire. That would be their last mistake.

Their first was ever coming to York at all.
« Last Edit: 13 December 2016, 14:27:27 by Batman »


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Re: Untold Tales of Guts and Galaxies
« Reply #1 on: 28 January 2011, 00:17:07 »
Point Commander Suzanne was able to close the distance faster than the other Blood Spirits. Her Siren was made for speed. Though tiny in comparison to the Star Adder BattleMechs, her ProtoMech was large enough to be a threat for battlearmor. Unlike her partner, Point Commander Sullivan, Suzanne enjoyed the feel of a ProtoMech better than a fighter. The action was on the ground. Any chance to be near the combat was worth any trade at all. Suzanne was a true Blood Spirit.

Sullivan's distaste for ProtoMechs was no secret. It was a well-known fact that he had flushed out of pilot training and was given one final opportunity to test as a ProtoMechWarrior. What was ironic was that Sullivan was better suited to controlling ProtoMechs than AeroSpace fighters. While pilot phenotypes were desired for AeroSpace fighters, they were a requirement for ProtoMechs. Any resemblance between the two war machines ended there. Flying required someone who could handle the powerful G-forces that pilots would inevitably feel. ProtoMechs were built for a slightly more rugged individual who could use the ProtoMech equipment as an extension of their body. For all intents and purposes, the ProtoMech was a much larger battlesuit. 

Suzanne stopped just in front of the hunched over shape of a huge Cauldron-Born. The Star Adder OmniMech had to hunch down further to look directly at her. The OmniMech seemed to sneer as it rose back to full height and walked away, but not before dropping off its deadly cargo. Five armored troopers hung from the Cauldron-Born's infantry mounts. There was a single loud thump as the Elementals jumped nearly fifteen meters onto the ground. She only heard one sound, but she could clearly see she was surrounded by five armored infantrymen. These Elementals were trained to work together as a single cohesive unit. One could say each member of the unit read the minds of their other four compatriots simultaneously. Suzanne began to breathe heavily. She felt an almost erotic pleasure in facing an enemy so formidable. She would exact far more pleasure from killing them. She closed her eyes and licked her lips lingeringly, anticipating the taste of their blood.

She raised both her arms, commanding the Siren to do the same, pointing each one at an Elemental. "Fire short-range missiles." She commanded her ProtoMech. Using a combination of enhanced imaging interface from her implants and voice command software that had been researched in the days of the old Star League, the Siren's sophisticated components would obey formal commands given by her. Before any of the Star Adder Elementals had time to react, the Siren's arms spat an explosive warhead in each direction. Both Elementals caught the explosive force of the missiles in their chests, falling flat on their bottoms. As the other three armored infantrymen aimed their lasers at her ProtoMech, they came under fire from the rest of Suzanne's point, not far behind her.

The Elemental to her right recovered first. As the armored trooper sat back up he fired off a shot with both of his short-range missiles. The missile pounded against her Siren faster than Suzanne could respond. Quickly, she dodged left before before the Star Adder could attack again. Its small laser was aimed directly at the spot she had been moments before. The second Elemental had gotten back to its feet by now. Turning to its left, it tried to track her as she darted past the enemy infantryman. The genetically engineered Star Adder launched a pair of missiles. The missiles arced toward her fleeing ProtoMech. They detonated upon impact with a massive BattleMech leg. A bird-legged Mad Dog stepped backward into the missile to avoid a shower of missiles from a Gamma Star Morrigu battletank. Seizing the opportunity, Suzanne took cover behind the Star Adder 'Mech, peeping out from the back of its leg just long enough to fire with her left arm missile launcher. The impact of the explosion knocked the Elemental back to the ground once again. At that moment the Mad Dog charge back toward the Morrigu, firing off its large and medium pulse lasers.

The ProtoMech's sensors brought her attention away from the front to deal with a threat from behind. The first Elemental she had targeted was trying to outflank her. Using the suit's jump jets, the armored trooper grabbed her right shoulder from behind with its razor-sharp cutting claw. The Star Adder Elemental pointed its laser at the Siren's. Suzanne turned her head slightly to see the muzzle of the Adder's small laser tapping her faceplate. Suddenly, she lunged forward, catching the trooper off guard, throwing him forward and onto the hard ground. Even in mid-throw, the Star Adder's laser was always pointed at her. Just as the Elemental hit the floor, it fired with its laser, melting off the last of the Siren's torso armor. Just in time, Suzanne was able to aim both her missile launchers at her downed opponent and fire the missiles. The resulting missile explosions forever silenced her opponent. Suzanne basked in euphoria as she claimed her first kill. She wanted more. She licked her lips hungrily as she shook off her satisfaction and targeted the other Elemental she had been dancing with.
« Last Edit: 13 December 2016, 14:31:23 by Batman »


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Re: Untold Tales of Guts and Galaxies
« Reply #2 on: 28 January 2011, 00:33:20 »
Carlos Truscott pressed hard against his throttle, bringing his Blood Asp to a crouching position. The Blood Asp's grazed the floor just as a stream of autocannon shells passed overhead, barely missing him and the Warhammer IIC behind him. The barrel-chested BattleMech's arms ended in giant heavy laser ports that spewed indigo-violet beams of bright light at the Blood Spirit Kingfisher responsible for the autocannon assault. The heavy large lasers concentrated their energy on the Kingfisher's armored chest plates, turning them into molten rivers of hot metal. Pulling against the throttle again, Carlos brought his Blood Asp back to a stand. He quickly pulled the trigger for both of the Blood Asp's arm pod-mounted large heavy lasers, adding to the Warhammer's vicious attack. The lasers cored through the Kingfisher's thick armor. Despite such tremendous damage, the Kingfisher still stood. The Kingfisher's reputation for survivability was legendary among the Clans and with the Inner Sphere armies that had faced it in battle.

Carlos started his 'Mech moving again. Staying in one place was a death wish in combat. Especially with the Blood Spirits' utter disregard for the Clan rules of engagement. Those same rules of engagement had been violated in the first salvo when a Blood Kite, Kingfisher, and a Burke tank had concentrated their firepower on his Blood Asp. MechWarrior Scott in his Warhammer IIC had never seen such a flagrant violation of Clan honor. This would be his first battle against the Blood Spirits. Scott and Hermann both piloted newer conventional BattleMechs. The orders for them to serve in Star Colonel Truscott's cluster came directly from Khan N'Buta himself. Both were freebirth MechWarriors, but both had proven themselves in past battles. Since the objective on York was to add insult to the Blood Spirit's injury, Khan N'Buta wanted to use as many second-line 'Mechs and second-line warriors as possible. Despite their status in the Clan, even a trueborn like Carlos Truscott could admire their courage and tenacity. They had earned their place at his side on the battlefield.

The Blood Asp dodged a stream of azure light from one of the Burke's  triple PPC mounts. As it did, it stepped on the remains of the Morrigu that had tangled with Arno's Mad Dog earlier. Arno had smothered the tank in its final moments with a blanket of missiles at long-range. Arno had been careless, however, to let a Von Luckner tank creep up from behind him as he proceeded to crush a Demolisher's turret with his Mad Dog's feet. The Von Luckner had popped the Mad Dog's cockpit canopy from behind with a massive class-20 autocannon shell, killing him instantly. That same Von Luckner was trying to flank him on his left, corralling him back to the guns of the Blood Kite and the Kingfisher. With less than 500 meters separating him from the Von Luckner coming ever closer and the Blood Asp's heat level rising, Carlos had to make a decision. As much as he hated to waste ammunition of vehicles, even Carlos Truscott knew their inferior capabilities could be put to effective use given the right commander. He switched the targeting system for his lasers to his main guns.

The Blood Asp's two shoulder-mounted heavy weapon turret pods came to life. Each pod housed a massive Gauss rifle. Carlos aimed his 'Mech's crosshair on the advancing battletank. The gold icon on his screen turned red, signaling for him to pull the trigger. The moment he did, the Gauss rifles propelled giant metal bullets at high-speed at the Von Luckner. The silvery slugs slammed into the Von Luckner's turret and left tread. The impact spun the turret around 180 degrees, while the second slug smashed the Von Luckner's tread gear into scrap. The tread crumpled inward and the battletank stopped dead in its tracks. With one less threat to worry about, Carlos turned his focus back to the Blood Kite and the Kingfisher. The Blood Kite had stopped firing at him. Scott's Warhammer was surrounded by a thick cloud of smoke. The Blood Kite poured its missiles onto the Warhammer while the Kingfisher sprayed it with its autocannon rounds. The Burke that Carlos had seen earlier parked far away atop a rocky dune, raining its missiles and particle cannons onto Scott's 'Mech. But his 'Mech refused to fall, responding to the Kingfisher with his armament of lasers. Carlos imagined the heat level in Scott's 'Mech must have reached unbearable levels. Carlos remembered Scott was a Star Adder first and a freebirth second.

The Blood Asp swivelled about the waist, bringing its weapons into line with the Blood Kite. Before Carlos could fire any of his weapons, a black and blue Summoner hopped in front of his 'Mech, blocking his view of the Blood Kite. The Summoner soaked up the Blood Kite's next assault while piercing through the Kingfisher's armor with its paired large heavy lasers. As the Kingfisher launched a flight of short-range missiles, the Summoner's on-board anti-missile system locked on to the incoming missiles. A rapid-fire machine gun linked to the anti-missile system's targeting system spewed a constant stream of bullets at the warheads, detonating them harmlessly in the air before they could reach the Summoner. That probably irked the Blood Kite's pilot. The Blood Kite attacked the Summoner with its central large laser. The Summoner flinched slightly, but kept its weapons trained on the Kingfisher.

Carlos moved his Blood Asp closer to the firefight with the Blood Kite. The deadly assault 'Mech passed by the broken carcasses of ProtoMechs and Elementals scattered over the battlefield. Carlos Truscott had brought a full star of twenty five Elementals with him for close-range support. Of that only about a dozen remained. He counted fifteen Blood Spirit ProtoMechs, now down to only six. Carlos had noticed one Blood Spirit ProtoMech pilot that had really torn through his Elemental forces almost single-handedly. That pilot had earned his admiration for inflicting such grievous losses on his men. It seemed both Clans were just evenly matched in terms of firepower and skill. Carlos began to wonder if this battle was worth the damage sustained on both sides. More importantly, he wondered who would turn out the victor of this fight.

The Blood Kite/Kingfisher team continued their assault on the Summoner and Warhammer. The Burke positioned far away had ripped the Warhammer's right arm off with a triple punch from its PPCs. Dillon had lost one of his large lasers and almost all of his armor. His 'Mech was on its knees, but its weapons were pointed straight at the Kingfisher in front of it. Carlos fired with both medium lasers mounted underneath each large laser. The two beams concentrated on the Kingfisher's center. The 90-ton 'Mech instantly staggered. The sudden loss of balance told Carlos he had hit a gyro. The zombie 'Mech was on its last legs. But it still was not out of the fight yet. The Kingfisher spat a verdant lance from its large laser, slicing off a chunk of the Warhammer's left shoulder. The Kingfisher's ultra autocannon belched two rounds of depleted uranium at Scott's 'Mech. One round hammered the hip joint, rendering it useless. The second round barely missed, flying harmlessly through the gap between the Warhammer's left leg and left torso. With the Warhammer's mobility crippled, it would be less of a threat to the enemy now and a liability for the Star Adders. With the aid of its Hermes targeting computer, the Warhammer's quintet of medium pulse lasers shaved the Kingfisher from inside and out. Such a beautiful act of defiance and a refusal to die brought a smile to Star Colonel Truscott's face. Finally, the Kingfisher fell down, laying at the feet of Scott's Warhammer IIC.

A savage blast of blue lightning devoured the right side of the Warhammer IIC. Structural support and connected myomer bundles melted and snapped off the right torso and shoulder. Without its right side exposed from the loss of an arm, the Burke had decided to capitalize on Scott's predicament. A swarm of long-range missiles bathed Scott's 'Mech in fire and smoke. The 80-ton war machine staggered to the left. Amazingly, Scott recorrected his 'Mech's footing with a wider stance. His 'Mech refused to go down. Surrounded by the remains of a Crimson Langur and a Stooping Hawk, Star Commander Renard Hutchinson's armless Cauldron-Born took note of the Burke and his comrade's Warhammer. With no remaining weapons but a devastating heavy ultra autocannon, Renard turned his gun on the Burke's position. The Cauldron-Born lumbered over to the enemy tank, bringing his autocannon on line. Even as he did, Carlos knew the Burke would not stand a chance at such close quarters under such a massive assault. Carlos took aim with his twin heavy lasers and targeted the Blood Kite, now moving away from the shape of the Summoner, but never keeping its weapons off the heavy OmniMech. He pulled the trigger.

Two thick lances of purple energy bit through the air. One of the heavy lasers missed too far to the right, but one managed to shave off nearly a ton of armor from the Blood Kite's right shoulder. The Blood Kite still did not stop firing at the Summoner, slowing down to reposition itself just out of its weapons arc. Carlos switched to Gauss rifles and fired again. Both rounds slammed into the Blood Kite's chest, rocking the BattleMech around. The Blood Kite stopped firing at the Summoner. It turned about the waist until it faced the Blood Asp directly. Remember me? We were dancing earlier. Yes, I finally got your attention you bastard. Carlos gritted his teeth. Now that he had the Blood Kite's attention he could keep it out of the bulk of the fighting. Carlos had seen its pilot was a sharpened veteran. At the controls of such a large BattleMech the Blood Spirits would begin to eat away at his smaller forces before coming back for his assault star. By keeping this MechWarrior occupied, he denied the Blood Spirits their largest 'Mech still standing. The Star Adders, on the other hand, still had the Dire Wolf that Korey piloted. That same Dire Wolf was wrecking the hell out of a Blood Spirit Awesome. The Blood Kite extended its left arm. A burst of emerald light sliced through the armor on the Blood Asp's left torso. Black and blue-painted armor turned to silver gobs of liquid, dripping into a giant puddle on the ground.

He side-stepped the Blood Asp to the left. Even as he did, the Blood Kite fired with its two other large lasers, missing him wide. The Blood Kite quickly recorrected it aim and fired with a spread of LRMs. Forty five missiles came spiralling in at the Blood Asp's position. The Blood Asp shook violently, but Carlos was at the helm. He kept his 90-ton machine standing upright. His damage display showed his armor still holding, but he could not take much more of that sustained firepower. In addition to surviving Carlos also had to make sure the Blood Kite did not survive. That would prove to be a problem since the Blood Kite itself had a reputation for being as much a zombie as the Kingfisher. Add to that fact a skilled Blood Spirit at its controls and Carlos had a tough time on his hands. The Blood Asp's Gauss rifles came alive once again. This time Carlos delivered a one-two punch to the Blood Spirit 'Mech. The first hit the dusty red 'Mech in its chest. The second round missed overhead as the Blood Kite bent at the knees, following up with a counter attack of its own. A dozen short-range missiles flew out at the Blood Asp. Three blasted holes into its right torso. Another three caught the 'Mech's right arm, and still two more slammed in to the Gauss rifle on the right shoulder. The weapon was not in any immediate danger, but Carlos would not be too happy if the Gauss rifle were to take a critical hit. The resulting internal explosion would be unpleasant.

He cursed as the Blood Asp suddenly lost its balance in some loose, rocky ground. He regained his balance in the middle of his stride, changing the OmniMech's direction until he had quarter circled the enemy. Mindful of his heat level, Carlos waited for the fusion engine to cool down some. When it did, he lit up the Blood Kite once again with his heavy lasers. The Blood Spirit 'Mech shuddered as more of its armor plating liquefied. Carlos was very close now to breaching the Blood Kite's armor in any location, but none had yet been punctured. The damage to his own Blood Asp was beginning to take its toll as well. Carlos had weathered attacks from all sides since the battle had begun. A casual glance of his damage display screen confirmed that the Blood Asp's right arm's endo steel frame was exposed and the majority of the armor covering the heavy laser pod had been stripped by that last missile attack. Never losing sight of its target, the Blood Spirit 'Mech countered with its large lasers, this time only with the two interior lasers. Keeping his OmniMech as far away as possible, Carlos kept moving. Two lances of green light sliced through the air on his right, but never connected.

The Blood Asp continued to circle the Blood Kite. The Blood Kite turned in place, following his Blood Asp with its weapons, but neither 'Mech fired. They waited for the other MechWarrior to make the first move.
« Last Edit: 13 December 2016, 14:53:29 by Batman »


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Re: Untold Tales of Guts and Galaxies
« Reply #3 on: 28 January 2011, 00:43:09 »
Trip Keller could not believe the Star Adders were holding. The Thirty Seventh threw everything they had at them, yet they refused to retreat. Six of his ten vehicles had been destroyed, as well as ten ProtoMechs and four 'Mechs of seven. Blood Spirit losses were severe, but he had exacted similar losses on the Star Adders. Point Commander Suzanne had made short work of more than half of their Elementals. The Adders had lost a Mad Dog, a Stormcrow, and seriously damaged a Marauder IIC and a Warhammer IIC. An Adder Turkina had weathered concentrated fire. It still stood, but Trip would destroy the Turkina next - or better yet, he would take it as isorla. The only obstacle was this damned Blood Asp that refused to go down. A veteran pilot was at its controls, Trip was certain of that. Maybe even Star Colonel Carlos Truscott himself. It made sense for him to pilot a top-of-the-line Star Adder OmniMech, and an assault-class to boot. Trip would enjoy tearing the Blood Asp apart. If only he could.

The rising heat inside his cockpit prevented him from firing with all three of his large lasers again. He would stick to his three SRM launchers. He was not worried about burning his flesh off and baking inside his 'Mech. As an experienced MechWarrior, he knew his cockpit heat was an indicator of the BattleMech's internal heat. The fusion reactor must be approaching its critical level. His heat display registered the internal heat at 682 Kelvins. That is hot. Trip slowly reversed the throttle, taking care not to tax his engine's output too much. The Blood Kite began to back track. He kept his eyes focused on the Blood Asp trying to circle him. If he exposed his backside, the Star Adder would likely strike, ripping in to his thinner rear armor. Trip would not allow that. It would be hard to keep the Blood Asp from continuing to move around. Trip just wanted to keep the Adder within his 120-degree forward firing arc. He would not dare use his jump jets, or else risk a reactor shutdown. Neither would he fire. His heat display read 673 Kelvins now. The heat sinks were doing their job, but they would be busy for a while. He could fire with one of his SRM launchers, but then he would have to wait much longer for his heat to drop again. The Star Adder was holding his fire and Trip saw no reason to agitate him until he could get his weapons back on line. He gripped the joystick and switched his weapons to the large lasers and lanced at the heat display again. 665 Kelvins . He was gambling that he could wait for his heat to drop to 500 Kelvins before using a large laser again. He would only be able to use one. But he would still be able to follow up with all of his SRM launchers and stay below 700 Kelvins. If he had to use more than that he could always slap the override shutdown button that would cancel the Blood Kite's automatic reactor shutdown.

The Star Adder Summoner he had seen earlier backed up into his path. It did not engage him, it was returning fire to a Blood Spirit Patton. Trip smiled. Good, that Star Adder would not shoot while one of his men is in front of him. The Summoner stood still, firing with its heavy lasers. As long as it stood directly in front of him, Trip had all the time he would need for his heat level to sink. A smile crawled across his face. Trip examined the enemy Summoner. It was just over 200 meters away - well within the range of any of his weapons. The Blood Asp was just a few meters behind it. The big 'Mech took time to change its direction to walk around the Summoner. Trip would also walk around the Summoner, keeping it between him and his opponent until the time to strike was at hand. 640 Kelvins. The Summoner lost its footing as a flight of missile peppered it. Only five missiles, but with so much of its frontal armor missing, the missiles quickly went to work tearing it apart from the inside. The Patton's turret moved up slightly and then coughed smoke as it ejected a round from its autocannon. The heavy bullet smashed the Summoner's belly. Smoke and fire shot out from the Summoner's abdomen as the 70-ton OmniMech's gyro broke into pieces. The Star Adder 'Mech gave in to gravity. The Summoner dropped to its knees with a thud, then it crashed backward to the floor. Trip cried in dismay. His heat level was still at 638 Kelvins. "Neg! I need more time!" But he would have no more time.

Sensing his disposition, the Star Adder OmniMech - now in clear view - opened fire on his Blood Kite. The Kite shuddered from the dual impact of the Blood Asp's Gauss rifle pair. It was now or never. Trip yanked his BattleMech's controls and kept the beast steady. He quickly lined up the Blood Asp with his 'Mech's left arm and pulled the trigger controlling his large laser there. The bright green knife stabbed the Blood Asp under its right shoulder. It was the most vulnerable spot Trip could fire at on such short notice. He hoped the arm would give out and the large laser there would fall to the ground. It did not. Trip's heat level shot up and the air inside the cockpit became much thinner. He rectified the situation by breathing heavily through clenched teeth. He could tolerate the heat, the Blood Kite could not. His heat was in the red zone. He cursed as a hypnotic, digitized female voice began to talk to him. "Internal heat exceeding 700 Kelvins."

"I know that, blast you!" He shouted back for all the good it would do him.

The BattleMech's computer seemed to respond to him. "Reactor critical. Shutdown imminent."

"The hell it is." He spat, tightening his grip on the joystick. There was a long pause. The only sound for many long seconds was the sound of missiles and autocannons being discharged outside. Then he felt his 'Mech start to die.

"Shutdown sequence initiated."

"Neg!" He protested, slapping the circular, bright green override button on his console. "I am in command here!"

The Blood Kite agreed with him. "Shutdown sequence overridden."

The Blood Kite's joints began to melt. The heat sinks were unable to vent enough of the heat in time. Trip felt his BattleMech's systems begin to fail. The machine refused to respond to every one of his controls. Trip slammed his left fist against the computer as the Blood Kite became slower and slower. Before he could lose his short temper he remembered that he had one last card to play. It was not much, but it was better than dying in a defenseless, immobile target. "Computer," he commanded, "reroute all power to fire control and weapon systems."

The computer responded to his voiceprint. "Acknowledged."

His Blood Kite stopped dead in the water. Large panels in the Blood Kite's rear armor slid open, spilling ordnance on the ground. Trip could not take the risk that his heat might accidentally ignite his ammunition and explode in combat. CASE was supposed to protect his 'Mech from just such a fate, but it was far from perfect. He had a feeling he would no longer be needing his missiles anyway. Thankfully, while the panels were open some of the heat escaped to the colder atmosphere outside. It was not much, but Trip was willing to try anything at this point. His 'Mech shuddered. The Blood Asp continued pouring Gauss rifles into the Blood Kite. The Star Adder's Gauss rifles would generate little heat, but laser weapons required output energy by the fusion reactor inside every BattleMech.

Trip aimed with the Kite's left arm large laser again. He lined up the laser's sights over the Blood Asp's cockpit. He closed his eyes as he depressed the trigger. The Blood Asp turned slightly. Trip howled in fury. It was too late. The laser beam connected with the Blood Asp's Gauss rifle pod. The laser burned away at the armor for the pod. One by one, the Blood Kite's systems began to fail. There was a sudden explosion where the laser had just hit. The Blood Asp's shoulder pod belched fire and smoke, followed by bright blue sparks. The explosion continued all the way down to the Blood Asp's lower torso, rocking the 'Mech like a rag doll. The Blood Asp's entire right side came off and dropped to the floor with a thud. The 90-ton assault 'Mech pitched forward and crashed to the ground. The Blood Kite's computer had one final message to say before shutting off the fusion reactor.

"Shutting down."

Trip could not believe what he saw. He had scored a lucky hit. As his cockpit became dark he allowed himself a smile of satisfaction. The Blood Spirit conquers all. Trip Keller buried his face in his knees as he curled himself up. That was way too close.

A voice in his neurohelmet brought him back to reality.

"Star Captain Trip Keller?"

"Y-yes?" He asked, unable to identify the voice.

"This is Star Colonel Carlos Truscott." The reply came back. "I am the Blood Asp pilot."

Trip hesitated. Am? He meant was. Or at least he should have. He brought his head up and looked out the window.

Standing before him was an armless, shoulderless, black and blue Blood Asp missing the right half of its upper body. Aside from that, the OmniMech still stood and could still move. Trip was certain the Gauss rifle explosion would have killed the pilot. He refused to believe he had failed to kill this Carlos Truscott.

"Neg!" He shouted.

"That was an excellent maneuver. You caught me by surprise, but it was still not enough". His opponent praised. Tears of frustration poured down Tripâ's face. He rested his head against his console. The Star Adder continued. "You all fought well, but the Star Adder claims victory. Your unit was outclassed to begin with, I am amazed you got this far. I am afraid I must have a word with your Star Colonel. Where is the remainder of the Thirty Seventh?"

Trip shook his head. He had been disgraced in battle. He would not be able to live with himself now. Truscott grew impatient.

"I ask you, Star Captain, where is the rest of your cluster?"

"Dead!" Trip shouted. Finally regaining his composure he added, "this is all that remains of the Thirty Seventh. We have been engaged since the morning."

There was a long pause as Carlos Truscott considered what Trip Keller was telling him.

"I see." He finally said. "Let your Clan know you served them well. You fought valiantly, and I must commend one of your ProtoMech pilots. If that warrior is an unblood, then someone from your Clan must give that warrior a nomination. You have all fought well today. For that I shall leave you with your honor. I will grant you mercy."

Trip fell his insides freeze. Mercy!? He did not want mercy. He wanted to die an honorable death or else claim victory. There could be no middle ground. He frantically pleaded with the Star Adder.

"Star Colonel Truscott, I beg you. Please kill me. Give me my honor."

The Blood Asp turned. The remaining Star Adder 'Mechs formed up with it. Trip cried out after his enemy. But Carlos Truscott had since severed the connection, only to leave some parting advice. "There is no honor in senseless death, Trip Keller. Especially when you are a bloodnamed warrior with much to still experience. Accept this gift and go far with it. If you still wish to die at my hands in ten years, you will know where to find me."

Exhausted beyond all measure, Trip sobbed over his console. He had been cheated. He could not live with the disgrace of mercy. Trip would pay for his failure to his Clan. But he swore that somehow, Carlos Truscott would pay for disgracing Trip Keller.
« Last Edit: 13 December 2016, 15:23:06 by Batman »


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Re: Untold Tales of Guts and Galaxies
« Reply #4 on: 28 January 2011, 00:47:14 »

Velvet Beach, Hamilton
Donegal Province
Lyran Alliance
11 February 3058

The sweet sound of the sea was enough to lull them to sleep. Grayson and Europa had spent the entire night on Velvet Beach. Europa had asked Grayson to come to the beach for the evening. She had prepared a picnic dinner for two. As Grayson was about to leave though, she grabbed him by the leg and asked him to stay. Grayson could not refuse her perfect blue eyes. He stayed the night with her. Something had been bothering her. Europa Palmas had been Grayson’s friend for years. Because their fathers travelled around so much, Grayson and Europa found common ground quickly. They discovered that the both loved pirates and the intrigue surrounding pirates. Velvet Beach was where they had first devised their adventure game. Grayson and Europa were the Pirate Twins – heroes of the Inner Sphere, bane of the Clans, and hated by everyone. Over time their friendship grew into something more. Grayson and Europa fell in love. Though Grayson was fourteen and Europa was just twelve, their love was one of maturity and responsibility. One day – Grayson hoped – he would marry Europa and take her away from this world. They would leave everything behind and start anew. In the fleeting moments of the sunset he had promised Europa that he would marry her when they were old enough.

It was now dawn, and the sky was pink from the morning sun just starting to rise. Grayson held onto the warm body laying on his bare chest. With his right hand he gently stroked her long dark hair with his fingers. She wore a yellow dress with light blue embroidery.  Grayson watched the waves slowly creep towards them every time they crashed against the beach. From the corner of his eye he spotted a white crab. He carefully reached for the strange creature with his left arm, taking care not to wake up the sleeping beauty on his right. He grabbed the tiny crab between his index finger and thumb, making sure not to expose any part of himself to the crab’s pinchers. Though they were tiny, Grayson knew they could be painful if they managed to connect.

Europa stirred, and seconds later her blue eyes were locked with Grayson’s. He smiled, hoping she would return the expression. She tried, but it was not her usual smile. She reached for the crab in Grayson’s hand, taking the animal gently in her palm. She leaned slightly to her right side, releasing the crab back onto the beach. Without delay, the little crustacean ran quickly towards a small hole in the sand, disappearing from sight. Grayson gave Europa a blank expression. This time she was able to smile, but it was not the same.

“Gray,” she finally said, breaking the silence of the morning, “we have to talk.”

“Now’s as good a time as any.” He replied. She had been awfully quiet the day before. She was not her usual spontaneous self. Something was wrong and he knew it.

She sat up, crossing her legs so she could sit straight. Grayson forced himself to get into a sitting position so he was facing her. He bent his legs, wrapping his arms around his knees as he listened to the girl he loved.

“I don’t know how to say this, Gray.” She looked down, not wanting to look him in the face. It became clear to Grayson that she was trying to hide tears. Grayson shifted so he was on his knees. He leaned forward, putting his arms around her shoulders. When she finally looked him in the eyes, Grayson could see that they were watery.

“Just say it, Europa. Say it in any way you know how.” He encouraged.

She nodded.

“We’re moving, Gray.” The words hit Grayson like an assault ‘Mech. What did she mean ‘we’re moving’? Was it to another city, another county, or another continent? Where was she moving to, and how soon? She could see he was confused. Europa put her hands around Grayson’s wrists. “Away from this planet. I think we’re going by the end of the week. We don’t know where we’re going, daddy just wants to leave.”

Grayson still could not believe it. “Wait a minute, Europa, why? Why are you going?”

She shook her head in frustration. “Daddy doesn’t want to stay. He says  it’s too dangerous if we stay here. He thinks the Clans are going to come here.”

“No, Europa. That’s silly.” He said grabbing her by the shoulders. He forced her to look him in the eyes as he continued. “My dad’s a MechWarrior, the best there ever was. He says we beat the Clans before and we can do it again. There’s no need to be afraid anymore. We can fight them.”

Grayson’s father, Alan, was indeed a formidable MechWarrior. Alan came from a respected family and was something of a nobleman himself, but his place was on the battlefield rather than the ballroom. Alan graduated in the top percentile at the Sanglamore Military Academy in 3038. He served with the Skye Rangers during the War of 3039 before taking his leave from the AFFC in 3043. He was called up once in 3051 as a reserve during the Clan Invasion but saw little combat. Grayson looked up to his father. He even wanted to be a MechWarrior when he grew up – just like his father.  Grayson was already proficient in the use of his father’s family-owned Zeus. Grayson also had a younger sister, whom he took in the cockpit of his Zeus when their mother was not watching. She did not believe a battlefield was a woman’s place, though Alan secretly encouraged all his children to become familiar with BattleMechs. One time Grayson even took Europa for a ride in the Zeus. Coming from a business family, Europa was particularly mystified by the magic of the BattleMech. Grayson dreamed of riding into action in his father’s Zeus one day and freeing all the people captured by the Clans. He wanted so badly to be Europa’s knight in an 80-ton suit of armor. 

“Gray, don’t you see? My daddy doesn’t think we can beat the Clans. And it’s only a matter of time before your father has to go fight them again. We’re going to be split apart either way.” Her head fell against her chest. Her perfect hair covered her face while she sobbed.

He pulled her close to him so her face was against his chest as it had been all night. Her sobbing died down as she held on to Grayson for support. Grayson did not know what they would do. He pleaded for this to be some kind of nightmare, but he could not escape his harsh reality no matter how much he wanted to. He pulled her up until they were face to face.

“Swear with me.” He said softly.

Confused, she raised an eyebrow.

“Swear with me, that we’ll be the Pirate Twins again. No matter how far we are, no matter where we go, one day we’ll see each other again and we can be the Pirate Twins.” He said.

She paused for a moment. Then she nodded her agreement. Then added, “I swear it.”

Grayson smiled, pressing his lips against hers. For the first time that day, Europa smiled too. The two young lovers went back to relaxing at the beach. Europa laid her head against Grayson’s chest, while he stroked her hair with one hand and her neck with his other hand. He would worry about Europa’s departure plans later, right now they had the rest of the day to spend at the beach. Unknown to either of them, Europa’s father left with his family that same night. Grayson was never able to say goodbye to his special friend. The loss of his only friend broke Grayson’s heart. Life had lost its meaning to him from then on. Even while he studied to become a MechWarrior, Grayson Steiner always felt a part of his life was missing.


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Re: Untold Tales of Guts and Galaxies
« Reply #5 on: 28 January 2011, 21:20:59 »
Along Came A Spider

Turner Station, Caph
Chaos March
27 December 3067

Heather Elizabeth stretched out her arms and neck as she reclined against a concrete pillar, giving all the men in the company a perfect view of her athletic body in tight black leather and jeans. At least six men stopped what they were doing just to get a look. As usual, the only one who did not seem to care was Captain Brian Spencer. Not five meters away from her, Spencer was more concerned with ripping open a metal crate with a crowbar. The handsome man kept his shaggy red hair in a ponytail draped over his shoulder. Like all of Spencer's Spiders, he wore a black leather jacket with a red hourglass prominently displayed on the back and tight black jeans. It was the standard uniform of Spencer's Spiders. Heather preferred loose tank tops, but the tight leather and jeans framed her shape quite nicely. She wore a short leather jacket that exposed her midriff so all the guys could see. She liked to flaunt it. Men wished they could be the one with the blond beauty.

Spencer howled his success as the crate popped open. Reaching carefully inside, he let his crowbar fall beside him. Moments later, he gripped a bottle of vodka. Spencer had discovered the crate inside the Turner Station control room. Centuries ago, Turner Station had been an unloading point for freight trains carrying supplies over Caph. Caph was once an industrial center in the Inner Sphere. No less than three factions battled for control of Caph over the centuries, which eventually led to the destruction of nearly ninety-nine percent of all manmade structures on the world. Turner Station could have been among those statistics, but in the years before the FedCom Civil War, Caph was an important industrial world once again. It was possible that this station was over 300 years old. On the other hand it was possible that it was no more than a decade old. The area around Turner Station had become a warehouse district and a munitions factory.  Both were built after the Fourth Succession War. Whoever was the last one in the station had left behind a crate full of good booze.

Spencer grabbed the crowbar once again. A slight tap against the neck of the bottle shattered the glass over the floor. Spencer reached inside his jacket with one hand, revealing a small glass. Eagerly, he poured the contents of the bottle into his glass, filling it to the brim before turning it upside down, rinsing the glass once. He poured the alcohol again until three quarters of the glass was full. Happily, he rose the glass to his face, again turning it upside down just above his open mouth. Spencer drank every last drop of the alcohol, wiping his soaking wet stubble with the back of his fist. He held the bottle by its base while he put his glass back in his jacket. Heather shook her head in disgust, drawing Spencer's attention.

"What?" He asked

She rolled her eyes. "You keep a glass in your jacket?"

He shrugged his shoulders visibly. "So?"

She crossed her arms as she leaned against the pillar. She was not even looking at him anymore. "That's sick."

"How's that sick?" He asked with sincerity.

"It's sick." She said firmly.

He snorted in disgust as he hopped on to the rusted train tracks in front of Turner Station. Off to his right an abandoned coal car had rusted so much it was a part of the tracks. Only a few scant meters away, a monstrous black JagerMech cast its shadow over the car. Beside the JagerMech stood the hunched-over silhouette of Spencer's BattleMech - a captured Clan Viper. The black Viper looked more like some bird of prey with claws than a serpent. At 75 tons, the Viper was the heaviest 'Mech in the unit. The unit was Spencer's Spiders, a company of twelve 'Mechs and MechWarriors for hire. Brian Spencer would certainly admit his inspiration for the unit came from Natasha Kerensky's Black Widow Company. All the 'Mechs were painted black with red accents - including a black widow insignia that marked the unit as Spencer's Spiders. Spencer had named his Viper the Widower, just as Natasha Kerensky nicknamed her 'Mech the Widowmaker. Spencer had a crush on Natasha the Clanner when he was young. Even when Natasha had been revealed to be a Clan spy he still admired her. She had defined the MechWarrior career and Spencer wanted to be as successful as her.

Spencer's Spiders had come to the Chaos March nearly seven years ago in search of contracts. With their poor reputation it would be difficult to find employment anywhere else. Numerous factions existed in the Chaos March, all seeking to gain an advantage over the other. Mercenaries could usually find prospects in the Chaos March if nowhere else. Although things had started to cool down some in the Chaos March recently, the biggest employer in the March - the Word of Blake - was hiring merc units in legions without regard for their history. A few months earlier, Spencer's Spiders landed a contract with the Word of Blake on Caph. The Blakists had occupied Caph at the request of the local planetary government in 3064, but the Lyran Alliance had other ideas. The Alliance hired the Devil's Advocates to support the Lyran militia during the height of instability in the Chaos March. All factions on Caph had been neutralized by the Word of Blake Militia, but the Advocates were trapped on-planet. According to Spencer's Word of Blake liaison, the Advocates were wanted for war crimes and were mounting a devastating guerilla campaign against the inhabitants of the world, fading back to hostile environments every time they struck. The Word wanted Spencer's Spiders to root out the Advocates by any means possible.

Rather than chase the Advocates and look for them like idiots - risking the possibility of being isolated and picked apart by the Advocates - Spencer devised a plan to bring them out into the open. Actually the plan was really Heather's, but Spencer gave it his seal of approval. Juicy spare parts and ammunition from the nearby ammunition plant was moved closer to a dangerous canyon that the Advocates liked to use as an escape route. Spencer also asked the local Word of Blake Precentor to remove his forces from the vicinity of Turner Station to other areas where they were needed. Spencer had to convince the Precentor that he could defend Turner Station without any assistance with just his twelve 'Mechs. The Devil's Advocates had to know that Turner Station's defenses had been cut in half with the arrival of Spencer's Spiders. It would be too tempting a target to pass up, but the Advocates would also have to know that it was a trap. Spencer hoped the Advocates would take the bait. He had wanted to throw down with the Devil's Advocates since he had first come to this God-forsaken planet.

Grabbing hold of the handlebars that led up the Widower's cockpit, Spencer climbed the Viper's built-in ladder to the open bubble that revealed the extravagant interior of the Viper. Still clutching the broken bottle in his left hand, Spencer gripped a handle on the side of the bubble, pulling him inside and sealing the cockpit canopy. With an upper torso built like a jet aircraft, the Viper was built close to the ground, giving it a small silhouette and low radar profile. Spencer fastened himself to his Viper's command couch as he downed the last of his vodka and began the startup procedure for the Viper's fusion reactor that would bring the 'Mech to life. He donned his neurohelmet, feeding his sense of balance into the Widower's gyro stabilizer. After running the security checks and turning each system on, Spencer checked his HUD for any active contacts. His computer identified one: a light BattleMech registering Spencer's Spiders' IFF code.

The Vixen closed in on Spencer's position at its maximum speed of 150 kilometers per hour. Moments later, the computer picked up a Baboon and a Commando arriving from different vectors. All 'Mechs were designated Spencer's Spiders units. At Spencer's will, the Widower came to life. The bird-like 'Mech stepped over an aging hovertruck, approaching the humanoid Vixen. The speedy Vixen displaced a mass of only 30 tons - less than half of the mass of Spencer's Viper. The Vixen carried a single large pulse laser as its main gun, back by a pair of medium lasers and a quartet of machine guns. The Vixen was a superior scout 'Mech, carrying the firepower of an Inner Sphere 'Mech twenty tons heavier, while still being able to run circles around some of the fastest Inner Sphere 'Mechs. Of course, the Vixen was not a 'Mech produced in the Inner Sphere. Like his Viper, the Vixen was a Clan 'Mech. The Spiders had captured five pristine Clan 'Mechs during an adventure to the Clan border of the Periphery. More by luck than by skill, the Spiders had been able to appropriate the Clan 'Mechs for themselves before the Clanners had a chance to kill them.

Spencer's commlink came alive with a greeting from the Vixen's pilot. "Recluse to Widower."

"What have you got for me, Peet?" Spencer asked, feeling the daze he normally got from alcohol.

Lieutenant Randolph Peet replied, "I might have found the main group, or it could just be a diversion. I made positive ID on one Cicada. No sign of any other hostiles."

"You didn't engage?" Spencer asked  without hiding the aggravation in his voice.

"He couldn't." Heather's voice interrupted the link. Her Goshawk was just now arriving from behind Spencer's Viper. "Not unless we wanted to lose a 'Mech. The Advocates were setting him up. Cicadas never travel alone, and they never get seen unless their pilots want them to. While Peet was watching that Cicada there were two other 'Mechs waiting for him to get closer. He did the smart thing."

Spencer mentally cursed foul obscenities at Heather Elizabeth. She thought she was so smart. Spencer was a career MechWarrior. The only career Heather had before Spencer picked her up was probably as a pleasure consultant - if even that. Spencer had studied all the great moves ever used by Natasha Kerensky, and she was the best MechWarrior that ever lived - hands down.

"Well where did you last see them?" He asked Peet. Only now were the rest of Spencer's Spiders arriving. Only twelve 'Mechs of varying sizes and design. Other mercenary units might be bigger, but Spencer's Spiders never backed away from a job.

"I can show you, Sir." Peet responded, sounding uneasy.

"Then by all means, don't keep us waiting." The Devil's Advocates had found their web, now it was time for the Spiders to see what they had caught.
« Last Edit: 13 December 2016, 16:56:53 by Batman »