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Author Topic: Re: The smoking hot dustoff; questions, choices and stories  (Read 1732 times)

Daryk

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In the absence of the forum archive, here's a wall of text from the clean up of my game last year (the code block prevents normal word wrapping, so I've inserted hard returns).  The back story: the PC's unit was a ComStar garrison on the Marik periphery that missed Tukayyid due to an upstream jumpship failure and was caught up in the late 3053 ComStar/WoB handover process.  The Precentor of the station was WoB leaning and thought the ComGuard force should be handed over with the HPG, but the garrison commander disagreed, and called in some Explorer Corps favors to transport the unit off world after their relief by an inbound WoB force (which ended up hot dropping to protect the HPG station, or at least that's the story the press received).

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Campoleone DropPort
0517-0522 Local

     With Croft covering the guards at the gate, Sharpe and the truck mounted the ferrocrete and sped for the ship.  Once they were clear,
Croft backed up until he was out of effective range of the guards' rifles.  While he was doing so, his sensors picked up the first two WoB
‘Mechs approaching at high speed.  The Mercury and Mongoose were closing at maximum speed, and even as he turned to make a break for it, Croft
told himself he could take them if need be.
      The 500 meters to the ship were easily the longest either of the MechWarriors could remember.
The tower at least knew enough to remain silent as the drama played out.  The light WoB ’Mechs reached the gate just as the truck pulled up to
the Full House's ramp, but thankfully turned toward the tower and the local forces gathering there.  A small army of techs greeted the truck
and carefully spotted it where it could be safely chained to the deck.  The long seconds this process took, especially after having to shift
it over half a meter, delayed the closing of the ramp.  Croft and Sharpe stubbornly covered the main ramp while this went on, both determined
to be the last to board.  Hopschnur quickly put an end to that nonsense with a curt order for both to board before the ramp closed.  The
infantry had it covered from inside, and even Twilley had managed to zero in his medium laser past several cargo containers.
As the two ’Mechs boarded, the rest of the WoB force began to arrive at the gate, and turned immediately toward the ship.  The lighter
’Mechs at the tower rallied the local troops and moved to join the main body.
     When the umbilicals in the ’Mech bays connected, Croft and Sharpe heard Mason's voice:
“GENTLEMEN, PLEASE REMAIN IN YOUR COCKPITS AS WE LIFT OFF.  WE'LL CLOSE THE DOORS ON THE WAY UP.  IF WE GET SHOT DOWN, YOU'LL BOTH BE
HOT-DROPPED CLEAR.”
     As soon as her voice cut off the circuit, the maneuver alarm sounded throughout the ship, and everyone aboard could hear the
 engines throttle up.  The bridge, Hopschnur's command post, and the MechWarriors could see the approaching horde as the
ground slowly started to fall away.  As promised, the doors of the ’Mech bays lowered, but the video feed from the bridge showed the
MechWarriors twelve WoB ’Mechs raising their weapons to fire.  For whatever reason, the threatened barrage never came, and the
Full House gained speed as she shot into the sky.
  With engines straining, the packed ship shuddered higher and higher, occassionally buffeted by the winds in Campoleone's
upper atmosphere.  Down in the cargo bay, improperly packed gear was being scattered about in proportion to the haste with
which it had been stowed.  Occassional wails from the civilian passengers echoed in the bay after particularly noisy crashes.
     After what seemed an eternity, the engines throttled back, and something resembling normal gravity returned to the ship.  The
maneuvering alarm was silenced, and Captain Mason announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are clear of Campoloeone's atmosphere,
and there is no apparent pursuit.  Welcome aboard the Full House..."  Whatever else she was trying to say was drowned out by the
ensuing cheering in the cargo bay.
  Twilley sagged in his seat as the ship lifted, both from relief and from the pressure of inertia against him.  He felt the transition
of the vibrations of the tank's motor running as the driver shut it down to the vibration of the ship, as they lifted for parts unknown to him.
     It really didn't matter where they were going.  His tank and his crew were ready for duty.
     As the cheering died away, Top's voice could be heard motivating troopers to get to work cleaning up the mess the hasty launch had
created.  "And get those support weapons turned back in!" he added.
  Meanwhile, an obviously exhausted Adept Thomas was receiving a briefing from Hopschnur in the command jeep.  His responses
seemed limited to nods and head shaking.  A call from the bridge called the attention of both men to a video feed patched down from
the bridge:

Campoleone Live News Feed
Open Broadcast
0530 Hours

     “Good morning, viewers… this is Sophia Comaco, here with breaking news on the Campoleone News Network.
     “Some of you may have noticed a lack of off-world communications this morning.
     “We received this disturbing image from a reliable source just a matter of minutes ago:
     Grainy footage began to roll; at first…night, grey/green/black interleave, the product of a night image intensifier.  It was unclear if the
recording was made by a security camera, or handheld unit.
          Something moved into frame, looking like a man wearing bulky armor, a rifle gripped carelessly in his right fist and a tube carried
over the same shoulder.  The image tracks the new arrival before coming to rest near a massive edifice, a large dish antenna:  the HPG
station’s reception dish.  This realization made the scale clear—the man in armor was no man, but rather a full sized BattleMech, the “rifle”
of moments before now a monstrous weapon.
     “What you are seeing here is a Griffin-class BattleMech belonging to the outgoing garrison-force, the so-called ‘Double Deuce’, now
watch for a moment…”
     The machine stomped blithely toward the unprotected dish and paused for a moment, very briefly.  Suddenly its right arm came up,
leveling the enormous gun clenched in its fist.  The weapon flashed, the pure blast of light blanking out the image for a moment before the
intensifier could compensate.
          Sparks arced outward in a wide spray, silhouetting the ‘Mech for a moment against the destruction it had caused.  The colossal
dish-antenna seemed to sag slightly as the ’Mech moved away, turning slightly almost as if to look over its shoulder.  Its bulbous head
seemed to stare directly at the image-intensifier for a brief moment, and the weapon, still leveled at the waist, quested.  The barrel
was white hot because of the shot, and even at range, steam could be seen to rise from it as rain pattered over the scene.
     The recording ended abruptly, to be replaced by Sophia Comaco returning to the screen, dark eyes flashing concern over what she
just witnessed.
     “Approximately on hour ago, rogue elements of the garrison force willfully and needlessly attacked the hyperpulse generator station they
were sworn to guard.”
     “Unfortunately, that was just the beginning.   Moments later, a building that was reportedly quarters for married personnel exploded
and burst into flame…”
     Footage, in vibrant color this time, shot by a professional news crew, began to roll showing the dormitory formerly occupied
by the single civilians gutted and ablaze.  Flames continued to shoot into the darkened sky, heedless of the rain blanketing the area,
but not of the high winds that swept them into a photogenic frenzy.
     “Our sources state that they are unsure of the total number of casualties that have been caused thus far by the out-of-control security
forces and their unchecked vandalism.  However, one of our crews was able to talk to a trio of young men who happened to get in the way
of a group out enjoying themselves…
     The image changed from a brief close-up of Sophia to what appeared to be a hospital room.
     "I was jus’ doin’ my job,” a sturdy-looking young man claims, wincing against the pain emanating from a heavily bandaged and splinted
arm, visible by a quick pan of the tri-vid camera.  ”Coupla guys come in, dressed like they were, I dunno, ready t’kill, I guess.  You know:
armored vests, helmets, machine-guns.  I try t’escort ‘em out and they go ballistic, sucker-punch me.  Now lookit me!  How’m I gonna
work like this…?”
     The picture transitioned through two more injured restaurant workers before settling on a distraught man and woman, middle-aged,
their gorgeous dinner-clothing stained and soiled.
     “Well, of course we saw those crazy men come into the restaurant ,” the woman stated sternly, her tone leaving no doubt of the
indignity she felt .  “I thought maybe we were all about to be robbed, or held hostage, or I don’t know what.”
     The man—evidently her husband—took up the thread under the glare of his wife.  ““Ah, yes, well…You see, none of knew what was
really going on.  But the wait-staff, you see—La Porto is famous for its service, which is why my wife and I have been coming here for
our anniversary—well, they stepped in to try to get the, the miscreants to leave…”
     The wife cleared her throat.  “And the next thing you know, knives are flashing everywhere.  No, I don’t know who pulled them out
first but I can’t imagine the men with guns would be the innocent ones, would they...?”
     Sophia Comaco faded back into view, her beautiful face gravely furrowed; she gave a little shake of her head in reproach for the
needless acts of cruelty she and her viewers had witnessed thus far.           
     “As many of you will know from the continuing stories detailing the withdrawal of the so-called ‘Double-Deuce’, the force
was slated to officially handover its responsibilities at 0900 this morning in a brief ceremony.
     “As one can see from the recent footage that is certainly not the case.  The vandals got started earlier in the night, shown here in the
montage provided to us by reliable sources…”
     More images cascaded across the screen:
     Footage of a large truck and smaller jeep pulling up in front of a prominent local bar and disgorging several soldiers.  Later, a pair of
soldiers dragging several more of their kind out of a bar, while a well-dressed local argues with a woman holding a briefcase.  The footage
is interspersed with brief snippets of the bar owner alluding gently about a massive fight, police arriving with an ambulance, and a local
holding a bandage to a bleeding head wound as he is helped onto a stretcher, moaning loudly that he had been assaulted by a gang of
military personnel.
     A jeep with the fender markings of the ‘II/II’ pulled away from a known cathouse.
     A film, less grainy than the first set detailing the destruction at the HPG dish, of a military jeep fishtailing in a parking lot
labeled on-screen as ‘HPG Compound’ before speeding off toward the closing gate.  Sparks flew off the undercarriage when the
obviously heavy truck grounded out for a moment.
     A long-range shot of soldiers in armor atop canvas-backed trucks putting bullets into their weapons and racking charging
handles back and forth, clearly loading the weapons.  The image panned out slightly to reveal the large sign reading ‘YOU ARE NOW
ENTERING THE COMSTAR CANTONMENT AREA—AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY’ under magnificently bright lights.
     A BattleMech, a bit blocker than the one shown prior and with a missile launcher on the opposite shoulder, built up to a loping run
on what looks like a DropPort runway.  Excited chatter with subtitles scrolls across the bottom of the screen, detailing the control
tower’s attempts to stop the now-running machine.  A white and orange civilian security cruiser lights not-yet-flashing skidded out when
it approached from a cross-road while the ’Mech continued past before leaping over the four-meter perimeter tall fence.
     “While all of that was happening, reliable reports indicate that the security forces either engineered or manage to cause some type of
spill on a major roadway, which later caused heavy damage to several civilian vehicles and state-property…”
     The rolling montage faded to an interview with an excited citizen.  He waved his arms in circles as what is evidently his car is released
off the back of a tow-truck.  “You see?” he exclaimed.  “You see what those monsters did to my car?!”
     The car was heavily damaged and the camera shifted to record an image of a man in a dark-blue rain-suit with day-glo yellow/reflective-
silver stripes and tabs.  He pulled off his gloves and shrugged.  “Yeah, I was out there; got his car on my rig, don’t I?  Sure, it was kinda
dangerous.  It was raining and all, but I think the road was slicker’n normal, I’ll tell ya; put this poor fellow’s car right into the
guard-rail and that was that.
What’s that?  Sure thing; I heard on the drive back, from Dispatch, y’know?, that they got the whole DropPort Drive shut down now
due to safety concerns…should be a fun commute, I’ll bet…”
     The images receded back to Sophia Comarco’s wonderfully sculpted face under the genial lighting of her studio.  She ruffled papers
for a moment before straightening them out and placing them gently aside.
     “As if the reign of chaos that has overtaken the outgoing security forces is not enough, it seems as if they have taken further steps
towards unchecked vandalism and dangerous acts towards the very people and property they are charged with protecting.  Their actions
overnight have caused an outcry among locals here in the capital, and here is Jose Mindal, live at the front gate to the ComStar base,
with an exclusive interview with Precentor Campoleone himself…”

*     *     *

     A string of vicious cursing could be heard from within the command jeep, followed by a bellowed order from Adept Thomas, "Get me Sharpe!
And Asadi!  NOW!  And secure the Griffin's gun camera footage!"
     The next hour was an unpleasant mix of interrogation and paperwork for Brent, interruppted only by Hopschnur bringing in the report
of a formal bounty being offered for the MechWarrior's arrest.  When it was over, Thomas had at least waived pre-trial confinement.
Not that it meant much aboard the tiny ship.
"Hellespont will have to decide what to do with you.  Now get out," was all the dismissal he received.   Brent passed a similarly downcast
Druon on his way out.

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
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  • Posts: 27413
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: The smoking hot dustoff; questions, choices and stories
« Reply #1 on: 26 November 2011, 11:27:33 »
Just to be clear, I did not intentionally start this thread.  I was responding to a post in General Discussion that requested stories (see the subject line), and my post (by itself) was moved here by the moderators (without context).

EDIT: And in light of that OP's clarification of his request, please delete this thread since it wasn't what he was looking for.
« Last Edit: 26 July 2022, 18:21:59 by Daryk »

 

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