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Author Topic: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving) (Inactive)  (Read 18856 times)


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03/20/3060 | Rhea Reformer Station, Talbot, Tanis System

Claude Goulet looked at the saturnine gas giant Talbot through the vidscreen carefully mounted on the inside of the fuselage. The planet's sickly atmosphere churned in an eternal struggle to regulate its heat. A victim of entropy like all things in the universe.

Dancing above Talbot's largest moon Rhea was their destination, a ramshackle space station mining rich volatiles erupting from it's icy volcanoes. A fleet of shuttle-craft mined Talbot itself diving into its atmosphere to collect atmosphere before bringing it here to be separated into components. All of it was very over his head but as a Marine he had a greater understanding of tech than a normal Clan Warrior.

He felt Technician 4th Class Juliet who sat back to back on the bench within dimly lit passenger compartment. Her quiet voice piped in over the faint ethereal music playing in his headphones, “Star Commander, do we have to go aboard that station? It looks like it is held together with foil.”

“Well Juliet, since you are checking your suit and seals every five minutes. I think you will be fine even if it falls apart. Unless of course you damaged the gaskets from overuse.”

She breathed deep of the sweaty passenger compartment. Not thinking about damaging the seals by incessantly checking them, “Can that happen!?”
“In rare cases. Your suit is not exactly top of the line Technician.”

“How can you be so calm Star Commander? We are about to go aboard an enemy station.”
“I have boarded stations where I knew I would be fired upon. We are on a trade mission so there should be little reason for concern. Evan and I are here if things get hot. Aff Evan?”

The Point Commander yelled from his seat closer to the exit hatch, “Aff!
Juliet, calm down or you are going to be watching this ship instead of me. Quiaff?”

Claude could feel or rather not feel the young technician finally stop fidgeting. That sort of behavior was unprofessional even for a novice. He held his own helmet, carbon black with red accents and an empty space once belonging to a unit emblem. Thinking over how he came to end up on this endeavor.

Things had been mostly normal for him and the others two months ago but that changed on Shadow when they made the decision that would affect the balance of power within their Clan. Most of the passengers were Technicians just out of apprenticeship, half conned into coming along. Evan was a junior Patrolman that had never been off-world before but had trained in space ops under him over the past two months. The only people that knew their true objective were Claude and the pilots.

A man's voice from the flight deck broke into his personal reflection. “Star Commander Goulet. Is your team ready?”

He opened an intercom channel with his fellow Star Commanders on the flight deck. Having all three Commanders of their 'task force' on the same vessel was terribly risky. However, Nina Tanaga and Joseph Kline were the only shuttle pilots in their small rogue group. They left behind the Merchant XO of their Type 96 Elephant with orders to return to Foster with the crew if anything went wrong.

Star Commander Goulet called out to the other seven passengers who all responded in the positive, their replies echoed in the enclosed space. “Aff, away team is ready.”

“Good we dock in ten. Act natural everyone.”

Claude closed the channel, “Evan is that Avenger stashed?”

“Aff Star Commander, It is hidden in Engineering. I will mark it after security checks the ship.”

The wedge shaped ST-46C fired its reaction control thrusters in a carefully orchestrated ballet orienting itself toward the expansive shuttle bay of the orbiting station. A spheroid C-1 and cylindrical S-7C orbit-to-orbit shuttle were grouped tightly on the approach toward the large shared bay. Light markers mounted next to the bay doors provided visual information to the incoming pilots, pitch, velocity, attitude. A radio beacon gave them a positive beep when they were on target and screeched if they deviated.

Star Commander N. Tanaga watched as SC J. Kline carefully kept their grouping. She was used to piloting much larger dropships than the fighter jock so she was just there to support him on final approach. He was used to the responsive controls of his Sabutai aided by a neurohelmet and FIC rather than manual operation. Despite that he mostly managed to keep their distance from an ancient S-7C with an even more sluggish drive and poorly maintained RCS. They drifted within twenty meters at one point evoking the Ice Miner shouting something in Tani at them via the radio before Nina silenced him. “So much for their legendary professionalism Nina.”
“These are among the best spacers in Clanspace Joseph. They live it. Space is everything to them in a way few could understand. This will not be a wasted trip. Our Kindraa are depending on us.”

“They would probably shoot us if they knew what we were about to do. Should we return and have failed there will be Reavings.”

“A greater incentive to come back with our prizes or die trying. The Fire Mandrills cannot endure more Reavings. When we return we can potentially change the whole clan for the better with Khan Carrol. This might be our only chance to get away with it.”

“I agree” With that the bay doors closed and all three shuttles watched and waited for the pressure to return. He keyed the microphone built into his Rook suit's helmet. “Attention all crew. We are now aboard the Station. Keep to the script with the Dark Caste and we will be fine.”

Once pressure returned the large airlock leading into the station opened broad, large enough to pass a light vehicle through. A trio of suited Harvesters walked out, each had 'Security' stenciled on their breastplates and helmets in both Tani and Standard. Their leader, identified by his bright red helmet waved a light torch at the familiar ships the crew disembarked and security inspected them and allowed their crews to connect gas transfer or slurry lines before heading into the station.

Finally they addressed the newcomer, “Mas-71, open your hatches and submit to inspection.”

The KR-61's side hatch and rear cargo ramp opened whisper-quiet on their well maintained servos. Three security people waited down the ramp. The smell of hydrazine and noise of air exchangers filled the bay. “I'm Security Chief Cobie. Who's the Commander here?”

SC Nina Tanaga stepped forward, the Harvester looked her over admiring her new Rook piloting suit. The dark green and red suit was far nicer than anything he had seen in this system before. In fact it was still rare even among the Snow Ravens yet both she and SC Kline had one.
“You have an invitation from Newgrange but that will only get you as far as this bay now.” The Security Chief eyed them over, “You need something more to go through that door.”

Nina couldn't hide her irritation, “Excuse me Chief Cobie but we were told by our Newgrange contact that all we needed to come aboard this station is an invitation. Since when did those conditions change? We spent less than two weeks in transit.”

She looked toward Claude then back at Cobie, “Seems rather fast to change such a long standing tradition.”

Cobie and his associates looked at the large Marine and smaller Patrolman in their Combat Space Suits, “I can turn you back right now stranger.”

SC Joseph Kline piped in, the Kline Kindraa often served as intermediaries between feuding factions so this was a natural extension, “Chief, let me show you what we have brought for your station.”

Joseph walked up the ramp followed closely by the Chief who left his guards to watch the rest of the crew. The cargo bay was neat and brightly lit far more so than the passenger compartment just on the other side of an airlock and stacked with large metal boxes marked by alphanumeric codes. He opened one of them with a release of fog, within it were packages of red meat marked with the Merchant emblem of Clan Smoke Jaguar on a bed of dry ice. “Where did you get this?”

“We took it from a Jaguar station defended only by a Point of Elementals. All that was left of the garrison on Londerholm.

There's two more lockers of meat, this whole cargo hold is filled with the pillaged Jaguar luxuries. All of it can belong to this Station if you let us through.”

The Security Chief's eyes were wide with greed and envy, a diet of processed semi-solids could be replaced for a short time with real meat rather than the bland flavorless textured plant protein. His Station could have trade goods for years with sixteen tons of isorla from a dying Clan. Black market goods completely safe from tracking by Watch authorities.

Chief Colbie pulled out his seal and stamped all of them with the station's emblem, “Consider yourselves my personal guests. I do have to impose a small task for your crew however, especially the big guy. I will certainly make it worth your while. A recommendation to the Superintendent will go a long way to aiding whatever you came here to do.”

“I suppose this must be something dire if you need outside assistance from strangers.”

Colbie looked uncomfortable and mildly ashamed, “Yes, Concerning Jaguars actually. A shuttle load arrived two weeks ago with an invitation from Newgrange just as you did. However, they smuggled weapons past my security. They refuse to leave and give us no reason to do so besides their weapon violation and piercing queries in the Canteen. Otherwise they have been well behaved and paid for services rendered.

Do you think you might be able to deal with them? My people are afraid to do so.”

“I think we can handle it. However, I am going to ask you something rather uncomfortable. Follow me.”

SC Kline and Chief Colbie returned after a few minutes with a long reflective silver weapon bag that Kline placed into Evan's hands. The young man was wide-eyed and confused because he knew what was inside. “What are you doing?”
“The Chief says its fine. We might need it to deal with a problem of theirs.”

“What kind of problem needs this?”
Kline said nothing but exchanged a look with the young Patrolman. “If the Chief is okay with it I guess I am too.”

Ten minutes later Point Commander Faye Freelander sat in the Canteen of Rhea Station watching the main door surrounded by her fellow Jaguars. Her gray jumpsuit was open exposing the black tank top with the Smoke Jaguar insignia printed on it and holstered pistol underneath. She could not understand why for all the cold empty quiet space outside this station was so unbearably hot, crowded, and noisy.

A dusky skinned and well built man floated in and drew her attention. She knew almost everyone on the station that had passed through during the past two weeks of their nearly three month long mission to look for Khan Lincoln Osis' supposed subversion. She couldn't tell whether he was armed but expected that he wasn't no one was armed on this station except her people. Their firearms were her team's sole advantage over the safety obsessed spacers.

They were not subtle in urging her team on, but without more intel her team wouldn't be able to make it on the Tanite worlds. These worlds where were they thought they could find more data about Dark Caste subversion of Smoke Jaguar before issuing a report to her Khan. For now they were unwelcome guests but not enemies.

The strange man was followed by two other strangers, one a clean cut young man with a silver bag and the other a blonde apparently right out of sibko. The couple took some food packages out of the table and placed them in the heater while the larger man floated over to her table and grabbed onto one of the handholds. “Hail strangers, what brings you here?”

“We are here on business.”
“What a coincidence. I am also on business. What business brings Smoke Jaguar Warriors to this station?”
“Confidential business, I cannot speak further of it.”
“So be it. Are you aware that Huntress is under siege by the Second Star League as we speak.”

The Swords were in an uproar at hearing that their capital was being attacked by spheroid surats. “You lie! Prove it!”

The man reached into his pocket and pulled out his comm-pad, a short video played showing bright white COMSTAR Warship with Mt Szabo and Lootera below. “That can't be!
The Khan wouldn't have allowed it.
The Council wouldn't have allowed it!
We have to go back!
Everyone pack up now, send an HPG to confirm these rumors and catch a ride on a Cobra Jumpship toward the Cluster.”

As she was un-clipping herself the man reached forward and pulled her pistol out of her holster. The young man at the other table had an automatic shotgun leveled on the rest. “Neg, Claude Goulet challenges Faye Freelander for possession of her command.”
The Jaguar tensed before throwing all her weight and might into a fearsome jumping palm strike, “Un-augmented here now!”

The Mandrill Elemental lifted his chin and bit down preventing a nose break instead his teeth and jaw audibly cracked. He lost the pistol and began flipping before catching a strap with his right foot. Claude reached out grabbing the smaller Jaguar Warrior's jumpsuit with his right arm. Before he could hit her with the left she grappled it locking her legs around his free leg and began striking his kidneys and liver while protecting herself from rear elbow strikes. Claude exhaled with each strike tensing his muscles to protect vitals.

Reaching down to break her hold resulted in elbows to the back of his head. Claude was surprised that Faye was trained in dirty unarmed fighting in free-fall he normally had an advantage in this arena over grounders. He reached up toward the handholds on the ceiling suspending himself like a brachiating monkey reaching toward branches. His legs wrapped around her waist and pulling her off the floor before putting a huge hand around her throat. Off the floor she was defenseless against his superior upper body strength. He stopped when she passed out before causing permanent harm. The blonde immediately began to resuscitate her.

Faye woke up on the Canteen's table with a period of intermittent coughing and deep breaths. The blonde teenager was there, with her pistol pointed. The young man still had his shotgun on the rest of her unit who were being disarmed by Station Security. “Welcome to Clan Fire Mandrill Faye. I am MedTech Sera, your savior. Claude did a number on you. You're lucky he did not kill you.”

Her voice came through weak after her choke out, “You do not know what you have done freeborn surat. IlKhan Osis will hear about this.”
“That seems unlikely. Figure your Swords were sent out on your own and not expected to return. Lincoln probably even forgot about you already. Not that your Clan will be around for much longer. Think of yourself as a trendsetter.”

She lifted herself tentatively, “We have an important mission.”
Sera kept a neutral expression though looked interested at Faye's chest, “So do we, though I don't know all the details. Suppose we are equal now.”
“You still have my gun pointed toward me.”
“So I do. I'd really like that holster of yours Point Commander. This..doesn't fit in any of my pockets. Come on get up.” Sera turned her around taking the jumpsuit down and stripped the holster rig from the former Point Commander. “Bondcords will come soon. So don't you worry about accessories.”

Star Commanders Kline and Tanaga stood in front of Station Superintendent Hogan a wiry spacer of about fifty though lack of gravity made aging different between spacers and grounders. He was strapped in before a viewscreen that showed the present view of Rhea from the station. “You have done me a great favor by getting rid of those intrusive Jaguars. What does Clan Fire Mandrill need from my people?”

Nina Tanaga's brown eyes glittered in the reflection of the lights, “This task is not sanctioned by the Clan. Its more of a personal mission of incredibly risk.

How would you and your people like to be an ally of the next Khan?”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #1 on: 06 August 2020, 12:43:26 »
03/08/3059 | Black Mesa, Dagda, Pentagon Worlds
Five dark blue mechs jumped through the thin air landing on dark basalt. The exhaust of their jump jets blew away debris with Burrock markings. Star Captain Seth Irons kept his eyes glued to the Active Probe readout on his Neurohelmet. His Nova S panned looking for Burrocks and their Dark Caste allies in Black Mesa's rugged terrain. Three Points of Elementals hung on to their Omnimechs. The pair of Incubus mechs on point poked their pulse laser 'rifles' into narrow canyons.

“They are here somewhere. Elementals disembark and provide close cover. Watch for traps.”

Elemental boots cushioned by their boots landed on the rocky terrain and began searching likely hiding places for Bandits. Tense silence was broken by loud explosions that echoed off a nearby ridge. An Incubus leg flew high in the air crashing nearby and almost taking out an Elemental before it came to a stop sparking over the rocks.

Seth turned toward the location just in time to see a Wyvern IIC kick in the cockpit of the stricken Incubus. At its feet was a collection of heavy infantry wearing mismatched uniforms but brand new weapons and armor.


More infantry climbed over the edge of their pits before readying their weapons for combat. Three more mechs appeared from the void atop a flare of jump jets to clear the pit. Seth's eyes got big when he saw the boxy form of a Hunchback IIC. “Oh hell.”

His starmates took a moment to collect themselves but launched into evasive maneuvers. Two Huntsmen narrowly avoiding a double burst from the Hunchback that could have crippled the mechs in the opening volley. If it weren't for the polarized camera feed project on his cockpit the muzzle flare of the Devastator Double X's muzzle flash would be blinding.

Seth fired his six heavy lasers, invisible pulses of coherent light melted most of the Hunchback's armor plating and the exposed elements turned cherry hot. Despite the massive cooling system built into this unit he could feel the temperature rise in the cockpit. Both Huntsman took fire from the shoulder mounted rocket launchers of Dark Caste Bandits. The Wyvern IIC's missiles blasted into one and the gun of a Clint IIC hit the other. Shattered and slagged armor plates fell from the combatants.

The Huntsmen fired back aided by the remaining Incubus who chose the more nimble Clint IIC as its target. All three fired their 14.7mm machine guns at the Bandits inflicting casualties on the heavily armored but still fragile infantry combatants caught in the open. Adder Elementals launched their shoulder mounted missiles at the Wyvern threatening to topple it but the pilot kept his feet. Cries of pain and explosions filled the air along with hot lead and burning lances of light.

At this range Seth could hear the Hunchback reload its autocannons, “Bring it Bug!” He jumped away figuring that the Burrock had marked him for destruction after having almost all the armor stripped off his mech. His instincts were right and the Hunchback turned to face him at close range striding over the blackened earth beneath the skeletal form.

Another roar was let out over the battlefield, the Hunchback struck true with three of the four shots the final one whizzing past the Nova's low slung but wide form. The armor display went from green to red in an instant and two of the brand new heavy lasers on his left arm were crumpled from the impact, their thermal fins shattered and the power supply burned out after their final volley. Seth's heavy lasers cut the arms off the enemy mech and bit deep into its legs but it still had a final shot in its magazines.

The Nova was blown off its feet by the impact and a laser had pierced the center damaging the gyro. It took all damage from its fall on its right arm. Now grounded he was in the worst possible position to take on the Hunchback. This Burrock stood firm while the battle raged on behind him between the forces roughly equal to one another.

Seth grunted as he struggled to stand the mech up against pivoting the arms up and getting its feet under it the Nova stood shakily against the Hunchback. The cockpit temperature rose and Seth felt the cooling built into his jumpsuit increase circulation. It would be cooler running now that two of the six heavy lasers were offline but all four machine guns were active.

Finally the Burrock fired its final round obliterating the Nova but the remaining four lasers and machine guns chewed up the cockpit and core utterly killing the Dark Caste conspirator. Seth ejected into the thin mesa air thick with missiles. He landed wrong breaking his left hand and giving himself severe abrasions on the unforgiving stone.

The Star Captain reached down to his survival kit and found the respirator attached to a four hour breathing bottle. The hypoxia was already settling in and it was either death or glory now. Seth needed one of those Dark Caste LSSUs and a chance to exfil. He opened panels in his chair to reveal a matte black Gauss SMG, two extra mags, and cylindrical 'satchel' battery for it beneath.

A large explosion sounded behind him and he saw the Incubus' machine gun ammo cook off throwing shrapnel nearly a hundred meters away. Elementals were fighting hard against the Dark Caste crawling up from their pits and firing inferno SRMs to fry the operators inside their suits. The hollow thump of satchel charges sounded above followed by Seth feeling the rumble of a rock slide. Part of a cliff fell down taking a damaged Wyvern and Huntsman off the mountain.

Dust and smoke from the fires covered the eerily quiet battlefield that moments ago was filled with the crack of rifle fire and whir of missiles. The remaining Huntsman punched its way out from the scree before returning to fight the Clint that had avoided the landslide. Some Elementals had survived as well they charged the dazed Bandits, closing into melee with their battle claws and preventing further inferno SRM fire.

The mechs closed fighting at close range, Seth scrambled over the debris field toward the sound of rifle fire. He saw one of the Bandits charge an Elemental, the man was stopped by the huge claw punching into him but detonated a suicide vest tied to his LSSU. The explosion threw up rocky debris that clattered around him and burst eardrums but left nothing behind but a crater.

With a burst eardrum and concussion Seth fell down coddling his SMG in his arms but kept it pointed at the enemy. Three ran by fleeing a combat scarred Elemental suit that bounded behind them. He fired on them, hypersonic metal darts punched through their body armor dropping them immediately. The Elemental walked over to him, he could see its markings now, those of Clan Burrock. He fired upon it but the darts bounced off as it closed, he loaded another magazine, then another, finally it lifted him up with its claw taking a moment to inspect him. “You need a breather Star Captain and I need to get off this planet. Take me as your bondsman and we both live otherwise we die together.”
“You conspired with the Dark Caste.”
“Neg. I came here on my own. I told your Watch where to find this place but my suit is not as swift as your mech once was.”
“What about Hannah?”
“The other pilot, she will not make it off this mountain. More of my people are due to arrive any minute. I could just let you die but we can retrieve your BattleROM and record what is about to happen. You will be the sole survivor of a force that was double crossed and we can tell the truth. Eliminating more conspirators while saving your life and career.”
“Bargained Well and Done Burrock.”

03/10/3059 Location – Aegis CSA Ares' Might, in orbit around Dagda
Star Captain Seth Irons' hand had been splinted, his ears still rung however and there were numerous abrasions and cuts he gained after 2 days of SERE on the Black Mesa while dodging Dark Caste until he found a Star Adder unit. Next to him was a dark skinned Burrock, “This is Bowie Opriq, my bondsman, formerly of Clan Burrock's 15th Rapier.”

The pair stood before a tribunal of Star Adder officers one each from Epsilon and Delta Galaxy as well as the Keeper assigned to the Ares' Might. “You informed us that you have intelligence pertaining to the Dark Caste conspiracy among Clan Burrock. Particularly concerning the Black Mesa Bandits.”
“Aff, Bowie and I captured what really happened there. Please play it now.”

The room darkened and the display came alive showing the hunt, ambush, and final double cross of Clan Burrock against Mechwarrior Hannah's Huntsman through the Elementals' sensors. After sending a message that they surrendered the four slaughtered the remaining Dark Caste.

During the fight her mech was damaged extensively and would be unable to make the trip down. She powered it down accepting a ride from the Burrocks but was cut down outside her mech. They then pushed the damaged machine into a defile to hide it and moved on. They abandoned the Bandits along with Bowie and Seth to die of exposure.

“Thank you for bringing this to us Star Captain. You are to be transferred to Sheridan along with your Bondsman for evaluation, hospitalization, and debriefing. We will handle these dezgra Bandits with utmost haste in order to make it clear what we do with conspirators. Dismissed.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #2 on: 07 August 2020, 05:56:40 »


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #3 on: 08 August 2020, 00:49:53 »
04/18/3059 Location – Brim Zenith Station, Brim, Kerensky Cluster
Bowie Opriq was escorted under heavy guard along with his fellow Burrocks from their transfer ships, mostly older Lions whose corridors were far too small for the Elementals. He had been debriefed, authenticated, and interrogated on and off for almost a month by Adder Watch. They were justified in taking their time; Bandit Conspirators were still being found out, civilian processing centers came under attack by raiders, and large numbers of star-lift assets needed to be brought in to ensure security and complete the Absorption. Tough to run away if you can’t breathe outside your prison cell.

Brim Station was massive, most Clan recharge stations were on the Pentagon facing worlds of the Cluster due to the large volume of Merchant and Warrior traffic coming from enclaves on either side of the Shroud. His threat analysis was in overdrive surprisingly he hadn’t worn it out by now. He could see lower Caste paying close attention to him and the others as they passed likely Watch assets from the Sharks or Ravens that frequented these stations.

The Cloud Cobra enclave loomed large in front of them. That Clan had been allies to the Burrocks and were to the Adders. It was a neutral ground to continue sifting through the stories that each Burrock had about their clans dealing with Bandits throughout the Deep Periphery. Bowie was separated from the others and a Cobra agent joined the Adder Elemental assigned to him. Both led him to a small room with table and three chairs. “Ah more interrogation I see. When does the torture start? I grow weary of just talking.”

Both snakes looked at him incredulously, the Cobra started, “Well he did ask for it, Kren.”
“Do you think we need to torture you Bowie? Cause I can maybe work out some aggression.” He looked over at the Cobra Watch agent longingly, “if Carver leaves the camera off a little longer.”

The Watch agent nodded and Kren cracked his knuckles. He was a large specimen for Star Adder who never put much time or effort into their Elemental lines. At ‘only’ 190cm and 130 Kilos (an MMA super-heavyweight) he was equivalent to most Marine Elemental blood-lineages, Ravens and Hellions ran a little smaller, but puny to True Elemental Armored Infantry. The Burrock average was 210cm and 160 Kilos (Big NFL Offensive Lineman) which was middling, around Coyote and Mandrill size, compared to the giants of Clan Hell’s Horses and Ghost Bear who repeatedly split the events in the Martial Olympiad.

“Give me your best shot Snake.”

The Adder Elemental delivered a punishing hook to the abdomen the force of which thumped off the wall. Bowie tensed his muscles dampening the powerful blow then relaxed and sat down on the bare chair, “That’s good. I’m satisfied now. Just wanted to make you earn it.”

He breathed deep taking a moment to satisfied with his circumstances, “I miss that.”

Kren was surprised that Bowie hadn’t bothered to protect himself and sat down without incident despite being unfettered, “You miss being punched?”

“I miss being around my Elemental brothers and sisters. Wrestling, boxing, drinking, the whole thing.

My Point was completely wiped out.”

Carver sat down and bid the reluctant Kren who sensed something off to do the same. Kren waited until it became uncomfortable then proceeded to take a seat. The Cobra turned on the video camera which beeped and began blinking red, “Yes, that is what the initial reports stated among other things. It was one of the easier things for the Adders to verify. What happened at 'Boomtown Station' the day you were abducted?”

“It was a regular day walking the hills, a wildfire had just gone through and exposed a vein of titanium. A mining survey team was sent out conducting soundings to survey the area that thus far we had not needed to exploit. One of the bombs went off and our Geologist received unusual readings, something man-made where there was no record of Brian Caches. He reported it to command and we were awaiting heavier equipment and more people to investigate it. This was five cycles before the Adders arrived.”
“Why was a Point of front line Warriors assigned to guard the team?”
“Bandit activity had recently increased nearby. Two survey teams had gone missing in other places nearby. A Ranger team sent to find them found no trace, it was as if they were never there. My Point was on world already and was tasked with the assignment.”
“Why your unit? Why not a Solahma squad?”
“My Point Commander Sean was involved in a low level contraband operation. Earned some credits on the side selling Artisan tchotchkes to lower caste without paying the import duties. A Merchant complained to his Factor and it got to Star Commander Brandon. Sean was embarrassed and Brandon assigned us to this detail as punishment in order to keep our codices clean when he chose not to refuse.

It was supposed to be a temporary hardship operation, ten cycles out and then we would be sent toward Albion for a normal rotation. It was except for the still located about 4 klicks North of our camp.”

Kren gave him a sour look at the admission of the second round of dezgra activity. “Don't give me that look Elemental. You do it too and if you don't then someone on your Star does and nobody talks about it.”
Carver tapped his stylus on the Noteputer, “Interesting, none of this was in the report.”
“My mind was a little fuzzy. Couple of weeks off-world and those drugs going through my system cleared up some things in my memory.”

The Watch Operative tapped something on the noteputer and after reading the Burrocks initial bloodwork showing a cocktail of pharmaceuticals. Their names meant nothing to him but most were in some way related to sedation and some of the more interesting ones had been abandoned by SLIC (Star League Intelligence Command) prior to the Exodus. “Seems reasonable to me, this interview was primarily for fidelity purposes; but if you have new information please continue Elemental Opriq.”

“So the night I was abducted, Quiaff?”
“Well I was drunk. I remember that...strangely, or was I for whatever reason my memory is a little hazy but I recall there was no alarm. The Bandits arrived using Sneak Suits to get past the perimeter sensors. We had good sensors too which meant they were really good Sneak Suits.

I tried to fight them off, two came for me, I recall breaking the nose of one and broke my knuckle hitting the helmet of the other. They were intensely strong, almost Elemental level but much smaller like regular Warriors no bigger than you Carver, no offense.”

The Cobra didn't seem to mind being called small most of his Clan was even smaller to fit with their more Aerospace focused Touman and space colonies. “None taken, please continue.”

“Well I am certain I killed one of them, I remember seeing a dead body at my feet and blood on my hands. Then I blacked out, they dosed me with something, something really strong, and I was out.”

Carver continued to run his stylus over the noteputer while Bowie talked doubled checking previous minutes and Kren kept a close eye on the Elemental. “There were trace amounts of a Carfentanil analog in your initial blood work. It is a very powerful, fast acting, but rapidly metabolizing sedative often used on Elementals so that is a reasonable assumption. What do you remember next?”

“I remember a drill. Fast high pitched, could smell something burning. I was restrained with thick irons anchored to a cold damp stone wall. Hewn stone not concrete, like a mine shaft.

I woke to screaming, one of the technicians that were part of the group was restrained in a chair while a surgeon was putting something in his head. Something chrome, an implant of some kind, it was dark, motion, five people, three armed, two unarmed plus the Surgeon.
The name Juergens comes to my mind I don't remember who said it.”
“Juergens you are certain?”
“Aff, does it mean anything to you.”
“It was a Widowmaker blood-name. Do you remember anything about insignia? Did they have a uniform?”
“No, one of my captors had a tattoo of a spider web tattoo sleeve down her left arm. Its one of the common Bandit motifs we learn in Sibko. I paid it no mind at the time.”

The agent moved his stylus across the tablet tapping rapidly on icons a writing out in exquisite script. “Tell me more about her? Is she Juergens?”
“No I never saw Juergens. I remember hearing it but my head was restrained, I couldn't look over to see who it referenced or who said it.”

“Very curious. I will have to see if the Adders collected any DNA from the Black Mesa Bandits to compare to Widowmaker bloodnames. How about a break?”

The trio called for a break allowing Bowie to collect his thoughts and Carver sent Kren out to get lunch. Carver left when he returned to send out an HPG. Bowie put down his fork having the whole hour to leisurely chow down on his lunch “I really like the food you guys have. Its hard to find good falafel on Dagda not a lot of halal food there, or food in general unless you go to the gray markets.”

Carver was still eating his shawarma, “Your codex specifies no Cloister affiliation. Are you a Qarani or Ka'ani?”

“No I am not one of your faithful that needs a special diet. Are you?”
“I love shawarma and ambas but I am a Rossei.”

“Born Nova Cat but ended up in the Clouds.”
“True Warriors are strong in Mind, Body, and Spirit. I choose to believe what I do because I derive strength from it and the brotherhood of our friends.”
“Speaking of friends; what has happened to Star Captain Irons? I thought we would be on the same vessel.”
“The Star Captain has come down with a blood infection. He is stable and convalescing aboard the Black Adder heading toward Sheridan along with other injured Warriors and Burrock isorla.”

“Good, I would hate all my labor to have been in vain.”
Bowie placed his hands back on the tabletop showing the three strands of his bond-cord the only fetter that he decided didn't need to be broken yet.

“I have made a query of Kael Pershaw's people regarding Widowmakers on Dagda.”
“All the way to the Loremaster of the Clans. Impressive.”
“No I have never seen the man. Though I hear he is something awful to behold and likes to keep it that way.”

“Now what did the Dark Caste do to you? And how did you escape? The more descriptive the better, I can bring in a Doctor to interpret what you experienced and then explain it to you at our next meeting.”

Bowie began unbuttoning his BDU jacket. “Can I get some whiskey first? Its going to be painful to relive that week.”

“Whiskey after. I need to see your pain and record it for my own records.”
“I would rather let Kren punch me a dozen times with dusters.”

“That is why he has them. If its difficult we can try hypnosis it might be easier on your mind. We cannot let your return to Warrior status if you are damaged.”

Bowie lifted his shirt and showed off a tapestry of surgical tattoos and scars, “You underestimate how hardy Burrock Elementals are. We never break from pain.”

A single tear came down his eye catching the overhead light, “but I was damn close.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #4 on: 08 August 2020, 23:04:43 »
05/18/3059 Location – Central Military Academy, Truscott, Sheridan
Star Captain Seth Iron's left hand had been amputated. He was given the option of medical retirement as a Academy Trainer or reassignment as a Keeper; but chose to stay in the field, install a prosthetic hand, and heal. The Star Adders had lost many Warriors, more than anticipated and that was with 60% of the Burrock Touman surrendering. They needed everyone they could get ASAP.

An alarm buzzed from his hand which now had a Commpad and his Codex installed. The matte metal shape was eye level and willed the thumb to move. After a moment it did so and he painstakingly focused on the prosthetic touching it slowly to each finger in turn. Perspiration came down as he concentrated on it outside under Sheridan's harsh sun and humid summers. He did seven more then made a fist, knife hand, salute, and other forms that required greater connection.

Lost in his focus he didn't see a woman walk up from the side to meet him in the botanical garden he was standing within. “There was not a nicer looking one, Seth?”

Now interrupted the hand went back to its programmed rest state, slightly bent wrist, and curled fingers. He looked toward the interrupting young woman. She wore the Star Adder summer uniform, dark blue Bermuda trousers trimmed with red and a short sleeved white shirts with a gold stripe.

“Gabriela. I was almost done, you broke my focus. This one is quicker to learn and I am eager to get back into the field. I can wear a glove if the need arises. ”
“You need to be able to use it if someone interrupts your concentration and not looking at it. Otherwise they will not be let you pilot an Omnimech again. Quiaff?”

He moved over to a fountain leaned on the stone and placed the hand on it. A dull sense of pressure came into his mind from the phantom limb, “Aff, it has been a month. The doctors say it will take three till my dexterity returns. You should be on the training field. The Touman needs more Star Captains.”

She followed him over and placed her hand on the warm metal form. His touch was dulled but he could feel the pressure on the top of his hand. “I see no reason to put myself in the sights of a Headhunter yet.

I have been assigned as your pilot for an upcoming training exercise. Would you like some food?”

“Aff, you are going to be in my lecture in two hours anyhow. What exercise?”

Both walked away towards the Bayfront district. Gabriela held his prosthetic providing stimulus to Seth's brain. Ultimately he willed it to bend into hers but the pressure was too much; she yelped in pain pulling it away and began massaging it. “Sorry, please accept lunch as my Surkai.”
“I accept your Surkai. I suppose it was too much to ask of you yet.”

They sat down at a seafood restaurant, from their position on the upper deck there was an impressive view of Valiant Bay surrounding Truscott. Sheridan's sun was setting and the cloud was filled with warm tones reflecting on the white caps below. “Control is never to much to ask...but I sometimes lose it around you. Tell me more about this exercise. I had not heard about before you told me.”

“Training Peacekeepers. The Underground is still too strong. Our intel was wrong.”
“I thought the Steel Vipers' Auxiliaries had them in hand.”

“There was another attack.”
She opened the note-puter held under her arm placed it on the table and clicked a link for a video shared over the chatter-web. A large factory complex was still smoking after a major fire with teams of Laborers and Technicians spraying it down with water.

“A big one on the Dagda Industrialplex. Bandits made off with almost a Cluster of Glass Spiders as well as spare parts, ammo, and the Overlord tasked with transporting them off-world. Four hundred were killed or missing and the star-port sabotaged.

They want to make sure you stay sharp. I hear rumors of a new command as soon as you are whole.”

Seth placed the prosthetic hand under his chin trying to improve his proprioception with the device and willed it to move, “We lost a lot of Star Colonels to Headhunters during the Absorption. Not many Second Gens make it to that rank before becoming Solahma.”

“Not many second gens are blooded. You were Ristar once. Perhaps you will earn your own Cluster.”

The fish fry lunch arrived and smelled magnificent courtesy of a variety of spices from the Adder colonies. “My opponents in a Trial of Position will have something to say about it.”

Seth concentrated on his left hand trying to grip the fork in it. It failed to respond and fell from his grip. Instead he was forced to cut and use the fork separately. “Savashri! This dead weight is not helping.”
She smiled at him, “Keep at it. Maybe stick to kebabs for little while longer.”
“My own cluster...that would be something.”
“I never met a more deserving Warrior.”

Back at the Central Military Academy, Star Captain Seth Irons' stood before a crowded auditorium principally of Star Adder and Steel Viper Star Commanders and Mechwarriors from Sheridan and New Kent. His prosthetic hand was held in the folds of his jacket while the laser pointer was in the other. A holomap of the Inner Sphere popped into existence and after that the Occupation Zones of the Invading Clans were highlighted. “This is our enemy. They will not rest while we are still active and I expect that they will counter-attack for the failed Operation – REVIVAL.”

A Viper shouted out from the gallery, “It would not have happened if we had invaded instead of the Jade Falcons.”

“You had your chance on Tukayyid Viper. We read all the reports. It was a sad performance that I would expect any Adder Sibko to surpass.” He looked down at the computer console in order to queue up another holomap. The AAR report of the Steel Viper portion of the Battle of Tukayyid resolved on the screen.

“You did not even face a force equal to the other clans! Yet you were soundly defeated and that defeat resulted in an excellent Warrior Khan resigning her post in shame. The Wolves rightly showed you all up because they pay attention. Now if you would please sit down and listen for once.”

The Vipers were in an uproar at their dressing down. Shouts of “Grievance!” arose from their throat that were canceled out by those of the Adders and near fist fights broke out between the Snake 'Allies.' The crack of a Seth's pistol broke through the chaos and created a small ventilation hole in the roof.

“Silence! If you want to fight take it outside! This is place to learn how to be better Soldiers. If you cannot sit through it and potentially learn something you are free to leave.” The audacity of the action kept the crowd spellbound. They returned to their seats without further incident and the pistol returned to his holster. Once more the Inner Sphere appeared around Seth.

“Now as I was saying before. I expect the Inner Sphere to launch counter-attack by the end of the year or early next. The Truce still has time remaining but they have almost a decade to rebuild their Toumans.”

“How would they find the Homeworlds Star Captain? We are nearly a thousand light years from the Coreward Draconis Combine.”

A wire frame model of a Merchant Jumpship in COMSTAR markings came into view. “Exhibit number one. The Outbound Light appeared above Huntress eleven years ago breaking our isolation. We launched REVIVAL to stave off potential Inner Sphere aggression while retaining his edge.

That failed miserably and the latest reports from the Invasion Corridors show that the Inner Sphere is increasingly capable of defending themselves. Our few advantages are eroding and if the political environment changes with the Great Houses they will attack us.

Starting with the Invasion Corridors. I expect the Smoke Jaguars will fall first.”

Gabriela yelled out, “What makes you so certain Star Captain?”

A world popped into view followed by a simulated cannonade toward the surface, “The city of Edo on Turtle Bay was destroyed by the Essex destroyer CSJ Sabre Cat. This followed by other Smoke Jaguar failings, particularly on Luthien and Wolcott. Cultural studies and our old records of the Draconis Combine will not allow this dishonorable action to go unpunished. As soon as they have the might they will attack.

The other candidate would be Clan Jade Falcon for their failings on Twycross, with the Somerset Strikers, Incursion toward Coventry, and Red Corsair but I give it a fifty percent confidence unless Archon Katherine Steiner ascends to First Lordship of the Second Star League.”

Katherine Steiner's picture gathered via open sources by the Diamond Shark Watch on Twycross appeared above. The Steel Vipers mulled over fantastic possibilities. Their Homeworld rival taken out by Spheroids particularly such a frail non-Warrior like this Archon. It would be such sweet irony for the Falcons to finally eat the crow they so rightly deserved.

“So they will come for Huntress.”
“Yes, like I said I expect they already have plans and the rest of this lecture will be how we might profit from it.”

Meanwhile on Luthien the capital of the Draconis Combine First Prince Victor Steiner-Davion continued his convalesce from the failed assassination of himself and Princess Omiko Kurita. Deep within the Imperial Palace he sat gingerly. Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht, Coordinator Theodore Kurita, and ISF Director Subhash Indrahar assembled for the final briefings for OPERATION: SERPENT just as the opening waves of BIRD DOG launched.

An unexplained chill went down his spine, “So it has begun. Next stop, Huntress”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #5 on: 13 August 2020, 13:07:58 »
08/14/3059 Location - Star Adder Proving Grounds, Sheridan, 170 kilometers NNW Truscott

Star Captain Seth Irons and Star Commander Gabriela walked side by side in the misty pre-dawn hour. Their objectives were the mechs mounted on transporters that were now bogged down in mud from a rainy evening and being painstakingly unloaded and armed by SAPG Techs. Yesterday everything was moved into the Circle of Equals for his Trial of Position. At stake was command of the 17th Cavaliers of Delta Galaxy and rank of Star Colonel.

To win the trial Seth needed to defeat an equal force led by Star Captain Bryza Meytani, the senior officer of the 17th Cavaliers who had also recently returned to active duty following injuries sustained during the Burrock Absorption. Delta's Keeper has decreed the cut-down as 2 Omnimechs as both Command and Rank were at stake, so he needed a partner and one had bid herself straight to the Keeper without bothering to consult him.

Seth carried the handle of a hard shell that contained his neurohelmet safely locked in his cybernetic hand. “Gabriela, why insist on being my partner? This is a live fire Trial against hardened veterans.”

She tied her braid back enough to allow the neuro-helmet in her pack to sync properly, “You would do the same if it were me, quiaff?”
A muffled 'aff' came from his mouth, “Do you think I am not capable of doing it?” Seth attempted to say something but was interrupted, “You think I might get hurt!”

He looked away then she grabbed his arm twisting him to face her even though they could barely make each other out in the darkness. “I may be ten years your junior, but I am not some sibko girl! I am a Star Adder Warrior.”

They walked faster toward the transporters. Opening her arms to balance on the plank of wood laid over a previously dry creek bed that now ran with muddy water. Seth was slower to cross the plank being both older and less nimble than the young woman ahead of him. He could still hear here talking but couldn’t make out the words. She was talking to herself thinking he was listening. By the time he caught up with her she was saying, “We had a life, yet we make that choice and all those sacrifices to be Warriors. We learned to care about something other than war. I chose to fight for our Clan because I am good at it. I tested top of my class in creche, I could have been a Scientist just like your parents are.”

She looked over to him before returning to their objective their mechs just ahead of them, “Maybe you choose because as a Second Gen you strove to succeed where your parents had 'failed.’

You earned your Bloodname by nomination. I heard it was because the Irons' Bloodhouse could not take the risk of losing a generation of Mechwarriors against your Guillotine in a Melee.”

Seth smiled remembering that day and the pride of his geneparents. By design all Trueborn Warriors never knew their geneparents or their vatborn 'children.' A delay of no less than fifteen years was in place after a Warrior’s death except in strange circumstances. He knew some Trues read their geneparents' codices in creche. Those entries were more about what they did, not how they felt about it. His lectures were available on the chatterweb, his 'children' might learn something about him someday from those. Just as he had honed his fighting skills with his father before Tathis Sibko so might he mold their minds before they went through the same thing.

He came back to himself after spending an idle moment daydreaming about what the next generation would look like. He missed something that Gabriela had said, “Why do you insist on being Star Colonel of a Front-line cluster? Do you think being in a provisional one beneath you?

I wish you could just stay on Sheridan with me and Kappa. You looked happy as an Academy Trainer. More so then when you visited my Sibko as a Ristar of the Fifth Assault fighting for REVIVAL.”

They were now at the feet of their Omnimechs, his Sidewinder and her Linebacker had just been put in the upright position after being carried on their backs from Truscott. “Now you sound like a schoolgirl. I do not want to be given something Gabriela.

I have been offered command of Clusters in Mu and Rho but the Star Adders need me on the front line. We are entering dangerous times. Better to fight our foes as far away from Sheridan, and you as possible. Quiaff? Let me go first into the fray. I can still visit during rotations.”

She removed her neurohelmet from the pack and handed it to her Tech, “or I could join you. When we win this trial there is an option for promotion and reassignment to replace the newly promoted Colonel. You said the Adder’s need more Star Captains, so I worked it out with Delta's Keeper.”

Seth tried to protest, “I am front line quality Star Captain Irons. The Wolves came to Sheridan during their Harvest. They Trialed my Star for 'training maneuvers against spheroid opponents' after hearing I wanted a Linebacker. They promised me one if I joined them, instead I won one from its bewildered Star Captain; who was sent packing to Strana Mechdy empty handed.

We are in this now. I do not want to hear anything more from you unless it is combat commands, Quiaff?”

She accepted the technician's final check of her cooling suit and neuro-helmet before ascending the ladder towards the low-slung cockpit. Gabriela closed the hatch, lowered the blast shields over the cockpit, and began powering up her machine.

An Adder MechTech was still waiting while Seth watched all this happen, “You picked a feisty freeborn as a partner today. Um...Star Captain I need to conduct final checks on your cooling suit and neuro-helmet, Keeper's orders.”

Seth turned towards the man and released the hard case that stored his neuro-helmet to the tech who also ensured there was nothing amiss with the cooling system and that everything was according to bid with the helmet. “Everything is in order Star Captain, reactor is on standby, all ordnance loaded. Good luck sir.” The SAPG techs waited until he was in the cockpit before removing the ladder and returning to the task of winching the now much lighter mech transporters toward the road. Gabriela and he would have to walk through the mud toward the agreed upon Circle of Equals eleven kilometers away. “Keeper Ajete, we are en route to the Circle of Equals. ETA ten mikes.”
“With plenty of time to spare Star Captain Irons. Star Captain Meytani is on standby. The Trial will begin as soon as you enter the Circle.”

Gabriela fell behind while she had greater land speed her Linebacker lacked the jump jets of his Sidewinder. Sometimes she needed to make a detour to bypass particularly treacherous terrain and ford swollen rivers that he could simply boost over. This discouraged Seth, her mech was an excellent design in open areas but without jets close or broken terrain would disadvantage her. “The Circle of Equals is on higher ground. It should be drier.”

Her voice was hard she seemed annoyed by his concern, “Star Captain Irons, this is my home field. I know what to expect of the terrain up there and a few things they will not be expecting. Stay focused on your part. I will do mine”

The perimeter of the four-square kilometer Circle of Equals appeared on his HUD as a ghostly wall just as the dawning sun began to crest the horizon to their west. Within moments of entering the area Delta Galaxy Keeper Ajete was monitoring it from the SAPG central bunker and declared the start of the trial.

Roughly four kilometers away a Summoner and Hellbringer powered up and began to maneuver to the southern grid where their enemy lie. They ensured over-watch of one another and spaced themselves 500 meters apart. The lasers and autocannons on their arms swayed with each stride helping the omni-gyro balance the heavy mechs but they could be made level immediately if needed.

Zell was expected but not required in Adder trials. Smart positioning was key, exposing yourself was deemed a reckless action. As was trusting your foe to be honorable. Even the prideful Jade Falcons were known to seek pragmatism at times in pursuit of victory. Adder trials often had two mechs working together to allow more complex tactics than those required of Lone Aces so common in other clans and force the Warriors to pay attention to their situation while offering plenty of chances for individual Glory.

The combatants saw each other approach through the trees. Seth called out the Summoner piloted by Star Captain Meytani trusting in his superior firepower and endurance over the enemy's maneuverability. Gabriela faced the Hellbringer, her opponent carried slightly more weapons but was slower and with slightly less endurance.

Both sides opened with their long-range missile racks, 55 missiles flew into the sky followed by deadly lances of light and electric blue arcs of man-made lighting from PPCs. Each missile exploded mid-air covering the battlefield with a veil of thick white smoke against the damp conifers. A magnesium bright muzzle flash erupted from the right arm of Seth’s Sidewinder followed by the whorl of a Gauss projectile cutting through the gathering smoke. He could see the high velocity round impact the Summoner dead center and the associated armor plates deforming and shattering.

The Star Captain celebrated in his cockpit, “First blood Meytani. I have been a Warrior since before you were in Sibko. Glad someone pays attention to my lectures on concealment at least.” He triggered something with his left hand that created a series of simulated pulses in his HUD from the active probe mounted high on his right torso and engaged ghost target mode on his ECM creating a series of electronic signals that would confuse the Hawkeye 62 system of Meytani's Summoner.

Above the battlefield the crew of an Anhur VTOL watched the battle progress capturing footage for later analysis at the CMA. From their bird's eye view they could see the four mechs break into two separate duels putting the smoke and trees between them while remaining close enough for the Star Captains to use their jump jets and come to the aid of their Star Commanders if necessary.

Gabriela pushed her white blue Linebacker to the max catapulting it toward rocky ground that provided some camouflage. She came to an halt wheeling around to aim her large pulse laser and ten pack of missiles toward the menacing Hellbringer surrounded by smoke swirling in the mountain breeze. The lasers struck true damaging its right arm and her intended target the pair of lasers mounted beneath it. More smoke billowed forth ruining the aim of his auto-cannon, a double tap of 40mm shells went high blasting shards of stone that clattered on the top of her mech. One of the two lasers hit her machine on the right arm damaging the armor that protected her triple medium pulses. She wanted to draw the Hellbringer toward the stones and cut it to pieces there with her hidden quartet of heavy small lasers.

On the other side of the forest the blue grey Summoner launched another volley of smoke followed by its PPC toward the Sidewinder. Both PPCs impacted and the sudden discharge of energy slagged torso armor on both Warriors. This was followed up by a series of small explosions from the paired ten pack missiles that scattered low sending up clods of dirt and gravel that barely reached ankle height of the war machine. His Gauss rifle missed the mark instead splintered trees in an almost 300 meter line of woods behind Bryza. Her voice came in over the radio, taunting him despite the damage sustained by her mech. “Are you losing your touch old man?”

After several minutes of failing to goad her enemy into close terrain and cursing the fact that Adder Hellbringers have 25% more armor than those of other Clans Gabriela had to go on the offensive or risk losing out in the long range sniper duel between the two mechs. She dodged missiles fired in her direction but took a laser to her mech's head in the process.

The blast melted away most of the armor damaging the life support just below her cockpit. Emergency beacons squealed but were silenced. She triggered the explosive bolts to free the shell which dropped to the ground with a thump and vented the warm air. Now in an open canopy she could feel the cool mountain breeze that smelled of white phosphorous smoke mixed with rain and wildflowers.

Her enemy took the full brunt of four pulse lasers that cut deep red hot slices of armor off the top and staggered the machine. Its pilot maintained control and readied another volley as she ran off to the cannon side bringing her out of arc with its main firepower contained in the other arm that barely hung on by the myomer. She let everything go at once, four pulses and four heavy lasers cut the right torso apart and went deep into the core. The damage sustained was to much for the reactor to bear and it shut down venting plasma into the atmosphere.

Seth watched the Summoner he had been maneuvering against for the past several minutes switch targets firing off a canister shot of grenade sized sub-munitions at something hidden from him by smoke. He finished the enemy off with a solid double tap of the Gauss rifle and PPC that knocked the Summoner off its feet and destroyed its gyro so it would not rise again.

When the smoke cleared he could see a motionless Linebacker and the fallen Hellbringer less than sixty meters away. “Gabriela, we did it!”

In the Anhur orbiting the battlezone the SAPG technicians reported that the Trial was over with Seth Iron's victorious. Both the Sidewinder and Linebacker were standing but they could not believe what they were about to witness. The Sidewinder walked over toward the Linebacker then proceeded to fire a Gauss rifle into the downed Hellbringer's head and crush the fallen Summoner's beneath its feet. “Keeper we have a situation.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #6 on: 13 August 2020, 16:52:31 »
Okay, what the ****** was that killing off defeated foes?!  :o


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #7 on: 14 August 2020, 09:42:16 »
08/16/3059 Location – Justice Annex, Fort Absalom, Truscott City, Sheridan

Star Captain Seth Irons wore a fresh black eye and multiple bruises just barely concealed beneath his blue gray duty uniform along with all the scars that come with a violent but long life. He stood in the middle of a sparsely furnished chamber. Opposite him were three benches, one high and the others lower but just above his eye level. The doors on both sides were blocked by a pair of Adder Patrolmen.

They didn’t seem that threatening compared to others he had seen. However, freeborn Elementals with weighted gloves, bad attitudes, and worse assignments were a very real threat as evidenced by the black eye. He had learned over the past two days his Bloodname was no protection for him in the stockade especially among those that knew who he was and why he was here.

There was motion behind the bench and the door opened to reveal a mature male Warrior not much older than himself wearing the formal uniform of Clan Star Adder. He wore the rank insignia of an Inquisitor, what passed for lawyers among the Clans, and the Meytani Blood Seal replaced that of the Cluster on his brooch. He took his position behind the right-side bench.

Another man entered closer in age but also an Inquisitor except with the Irons Blood Seal. Seth’s eyes were drawn to him recognizing the man from his past. Not that it was surprising. He knew almost every Irons of note whether they liked it or not. The signs of recognition and incredulity were apparent. Not that he intended to hide them.

He muttered something under his breath and the Patrolmen behind him shoved him, “What was that? Speak up slug.”

The Irons Advocate waved him off, “Its fine Patrolman. I can guess what he was saying.

Been a long time Seth. You never make our meetings.”

“You never wait for when I get around to it Michael. Why am I not surprised Sparrow sent you to be my Advocate?”

“I am the best Inquisitor in our Bloodhouse. Having plenty of practice because of you.”

He lifted a cybernetic arm over the bench looking down at Seth’s left hand with a burn scarred visage, “Seems you have one of your own now. About time you faced consequence for your actions. You should be grateful I deigned to appear, but Perot insisted that I speak in your defense.”

One of the Patrolmen shouted out from behind the bench, “All rise for the Loremaster!”

Loremaster Dagmar Lahiri ascended the steps looking small but hiding great energy for man nearly sixty. He had a distinguished codex, was one of the youngest Keepers, first Aerospace pilot to command a Galaxy, walking right off the battlefield at the request of the Khan to become Loremaster. The man had distinguished himself in all manners of Adder society earning respect for his fair judgment and cunning intellect.

Seth once more was taken by surprise he had expected an inquiry followed by a speedy Grievance and Refusal. The Loremaster being here meant something else was afoot. Dagmar sat down followed by the Inquisitors while the Patrolmen returned to their ready postures.

He activated the holo-projecter hidden in the ceiling to show the Sidewinder’s BattleROM as the Trial played out at triple speed to its fateful climax in silence. The display lingered like a phantom above him in the display cube showing the last moments of Bryza Meytani before her life was snuffed out by his Omnimech's feet.

“Star Captain Seth Irons you stand accused of the dishonorable executions of Star Captain Bryza Meytani and Star Commander Kurt Daniels. Both formerly of Delta Galaxy’s Seventeenth Cavaliers Cluster in a Trial of Position regarding command of said Cluster and the rank of Star Colonel on the Star Adder Proving Grounds two days ago.

Meytani Inquisitor Cyril has demanded the right to Reave your legacy and lineage from the Irons Bloodhouse. Do you have anything to say in your defense before I ask your Advocate to speak on your behalf?”

“May I speak freely sir.”
“Stay on topic.”
“I would like to dismiss my Advocate.”

Inquisitor Michael hardly moved but Seth could see him grimace, “Inquisitor Michael is known as a fair arbiter of The Martial Code. On what grounds do you seek his dismissal?”

“He covets my bloodname. I am the one that injured him in the Trial of Refusal he issued to my Bloodright. Then I piloted his former Stormcrow in the REVIVAL trials with the Fifth Assault.”

With that Michael stood posed to leap over the bench, Patrolmen on both sides readied to intervene. “Savashri! You damn Freeborn! Can you not see that I am trying to help you?

You never think of anything but your own Glory and that is why Gabriela and the others are dead! Just like your former commands. Yet Star Killer Seth Irons always lives. No one looks back to see the mess that is your Codex and I’m sick of it. What will it take to end you?”

He turned to the Loremaster and adjusted himself, “If it pleases the Loremaster I will accept my client’s dismissal.”

Dagmar pondering it a moment, “Motion dismissed. Inquisitor Michael please stay for the remaining proceedings. Perhaps Star Captain Irons will retract his request. Now back to your defense Star Captain.”

“I would like the BattleROM to be wound back approximately three minutes from this moment with audio enabled. I will determine the mark.”

An unseen technician returned the display cube to moments before the Summoner was mortally wounded. Both machines had multiple armor breaches and critical damage. A well-placed strike could have easily ensured a double kill leaving the fate of the trial in the hands of their partners currently fighting it out nearby.

Seth’s voice came in over the radio, “Star Captain I am offering you hegira. Power down your weapons.”

The voice of a dead woman came in eerily clear, “Neg, all it will take is one more shot.”

Seconds later the Summoner made an unexpected turn firing its autocannon towards an unseen target. The turn put it in an excellent position for Seth’s weapons to punch through its core and immobilize it with a solid gyro kill. It crashed back into the dirt unable to keep itself vertical. The smoke clears revealing the Linebacker standing motionless next to a face down Hellbringer venting steam.

An exuberant Seth came in over the radio, “Gabriela we did it!”

A slight pause followed, “Star Commander do you read me?”

The Sidewinder walked toward the Linebacker with an increasingly anxious Seth still talking on the radio, “Speak to me woman. This is not the time for a silent treatment.”

Once the Sidewinder reached the Linebacker the cockpit camera captured what remained of the Star Commander shredded beyond recognition by an LBX cluster munition at close range. Star Commander Daniels didn’t see the Sidewinder aiming the Gauss round that would punch through his mech’s head.

Star Captain Meytani though, she saw the foot coming down on her because she attempted to block with the Summoner's arms but was to slow. The tech shut the projector off just as the cockpit glass crushed.

“As you heard I offered Bryza hegira before she broke Zell to headhunt Star Commander Gabriela, possibly knowing that her cockpit was compromised. She chose to fire cluster munitions at my partner rather than me even though I was the easier target and she could have disabled my mech in the process.

It is possible that I was too hasty with Kurt. Though he may have conspired with her there is no way she had a clear idea of how damaged Gabriela's Linebacker was without hearing it over comms. I will seek Surkai with the Daniels Bloodhouse only if it is proven he was not complicit in the murder.

However, Bryza was still an active target. She failed to shut her mech down and cede the trial when grounded. She could have shot me in the back given the opportunity and still won the Trial.”

The Meytani Inquisitor spoke up, “Slander! Bryza was an honorable Warrior of Clan Star Adder. These accusations impugn her legacy as surely as you have ended it. The Meytani Bloodhouse will not forgot what you have done. You will face justice for the crimes you have committed Star Captain Irons.”

Dagmar looked over to Michael, “Any more words Inquisitor?”

“I have spoken my peace Loremaster and offer no further comment in the defense of my client. The Irons Bloodhouse will support whatever judgment you impose on the Star Captain.”

“You are dismissed Inquisitors. Star Captain Irons and I will discuss his judgment in private and announce it by hour's end.”
Both Inquisitors saluted and walked out the doors opened by the Patrolmen. Loremaster Lahiri signaled to the Patrolmen who left leaving the two Warriors alone in a darkened room.

Brother Jim

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #8 on: 14 August 2020, 12:58:32 »
Tagged !!   :thumbsup:


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #9 on: 14 August 2020, 17:21:39 »
Figured I would put these up here as well for the original and IS vision of this AU which is already an astonishing 500+ pages. Enjoy if you haven't read them before.

Katherine, pt 1, White Wolf of Ragnarok (

Katherine, pt 2, The Third Transfer (

Katherine, pt 3, The Price of Glory (


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #10 on: 15 August 2020, 08:23:53 »
Loremaster Dagmar Lahiri stood up from his bench and nimbly dismounted it in a way no man nearly sixty should be capable of. He stood about Seth's shoulder height and launched a fierce punch right to his solar plexis that doubled the Mechwarrior over with coughing fits. “Look me in the eye Warrior!”

Star Captain Irons collected himself taking a step back and leaning slightly to look the smaller Aerofighter Pilot in the eye. “Better. I hope you understand the situation that you put me in.”

Seth tried to resist the urge to cough or stand tall once more, “I do not know that I do Loremaster. Please enlighten me.”

“You killed two Bloodnamed officers during a routine Trial, while we are at war with the Burrock Underground. That would be treasonous enough.”

Lahiri stalked the room while Seth remained in place, “in normal times I would have let the Meytani Reave you without any further consideration.

However, we are not in normal times and you will be spared only because we need everybody. The Burrocks are proving harder to digest than we projected. I cannot afford to lose more combat hardened officers even rogues like yourself.”

The Loremaster returned to the bench leaning against it and opening up his comm-pad, “That Trial even resulted in the death of a Star Commander on the short list for reassignment. The only thing that could have stopped her transfer to Delta was the thing that did.”

“I was not made aware that there were already plans to move Gabriela to Delta.”

“Why would you? You are not her commanding officer. GC Turgidston had threatened to Refuse orders to take her away from Kappa but not if she volunteered. She already had a slot lined up and requested to compete as your partner to make it an official Trial. Her service history is not nearly as checkered as your own.”

He paused after typing something out the pad, “We need more officers like her in the Touman. Smart, players. Now I must tell GC Talasko that he is down three more officers! And I cannot send him the fourth he needs due to political reasons lest I have three bloodhouses feuding like a bunch of Kindraa.

He will have to source replacements and bring in more Mechwarriors from the Provisionals or questionable Burrocks to fill out his Clusters.

Things are about to get much more dangerous here in the homeworlds, because you are right.”

Seth gave the man a confused look, “About what?”

A verdant world with two continents separated by a shallow green ocean appeared in the holoprojector at the command of the Loremaster's pad. “Do you recognize this world Star Captain?”

“Huntress, quiaff?”
“Aff. How would you defend it?”
“How would I defend it? Against whom?”
“The Inner Sphere.”

A queer sense of deja vu and bad omens filled his mind, “I still do not follow sir.”
“You have done whole lectures about the threat the Inner Sphere might pose to the Homeworlds. Don't tell me you are left mute now that you have a captive audience of something other than star eyed Sibkin.”

Seth passed his hand through the immaterial sphere, “It was all theory crafting Loremaster. Wargames, lessons for the Academy Sibko and Kappa. Just like my father taught me.”

“Now it is real...imagine yourself as ilKhan Lincoln Osis, hulking, stupid but cunning Elemental that he is. How would you defend Huntress?”

“Does the Inner Sphere have Warships?”

“Assume they do. How would you stop them?”

“Huntress claims to have an SDS. It dates to the Mongoose Absorption, has never been used, and is likely moldering and in poor repair. Fighters would be scattered on bases groundside and reserved for destroying dropships. Whatever Warships I have in system would be kept in reserve to check the Spheroid vessels. Using nuclear weapons if I must against their largest vessel to inspire fear if nothing else.”

Lahiri imagined such a scenario. No Clan had used nukes since the Not-Named destroyed Dehra Dun and the Snow Raven's genetic repository in their early history. The Smoke Jaguars and Jade Falcons might be the least likely to use them proud as they were. Nuclear weapons were dezgra better to let their clan die gloriously then live with the shame of such a deed. “You think Osis might use nukes?”

“If they have them it would be foolish not to. Though that is not saying much for Lincoln. Regardless I think even the Jaguars would use nukes if truly pressed. It would be a lesser dishonor than losing one's capital to chalcas.”

“What about on the ground?”
“How many are there on both sides?”
“Unknown, presume three Galaxies bid against one of the FedCom's RCTs, and another in kind of Great House military.”

“They would send some of their best units to ensure it was done right. The Free World’s League and Capellan Confederation would likely not however, neither were affected by REVIVAL. League politics would prevent it and the Liaos have historically kept their best units close. A tradition which continues according to the Dragoon reports.”

“You have read all of the Dragoon reports.”

“My father was a Scientist specializing in military analysis. He could not cut it as a Warrior but kept the interests of one as a Watch Adjutant. I memorized the reports in creche and refreshed myself each rotation through Central.”

“Now back to the ground.”

“I cannot predict how that will happen. The Jaguars have too wide a range of Star Colonels and Galaxy Commanders. Some are cautious, others reckless, and their actions will be dictated by the Spheroid attackers unless we can maintain air cover which the Jaguars likely will not be able to accomplish. I suppose the Spheroids would aim for the military factories on world but whether they do so for capture or destruction I cannot tell.”

“Now to political theory. How could this attack be interpreted by the Grand Council?”

“As long as the Inner Sphere comes with the clear objective of Annihilating the Jaguar, I think they will do so unmolested in fact there may be enthusiastic support from some clans for their demise. It will not be done without significant cost however a wounded or cornered animal is the most dangerous kind and the Jaguars would be both on Huntress.”

Seth turned toward a table hidden away and drained a water bottle, “How do you know they are coming?”

The Loremaster with a wave caused the globe of Huntress to disappear, “We have been cultivating a relationship with their Merchants since the beginning of REVIVAL. They meet their impossible quotas if they are short avoiding punishment, and in return we get information from the Occupation Zone.

They have told us that there is hushed talk of a general withdrawal and mention of almost completely unguarded Enclaves. Our Watch is looking into both inquiries but we must be prepared for your scenario to come to pass.”

Seth leaned against the bench looking at the digital clock display suspended above them in the holocube it read, 17:58. “This has all been very interesting but what is to happen to me.”

“I am going to give you what you Star Captain.”
Loremaster Lahiri watched the display change to 17:59, “and then take it all away. I can think of no more just punishment than that. Though there will be calls for Grievance because of it.”

04/22/3060 Location – Star Adder District, Katayusha City, Strana Mechty

Khan Cassius N'Buta stood before his Keshik most of its Warriors looked haggard and far above their average age of 32. The man was tall and thin with furrowed brows that suited those of an aging Patrician of the late Star League. For fifty-six years he had served his Clan with pride accomplishing much during his thirty year tenure as Khan.

His brilliant political maneuvering had made the Star Adders the premier power in the homeworlds. The Burrock Absorption had not gone to plan initially but Bandits were once more a low level threat courtesy of the 'reformed' Burrocks that now helped rebuild and expand his Touman. The loose alliance with the Steel Vipers and Cloud Cobras had yet to solidly but that was mostly due to Khans Steiner and Zalman having disagreements and grudges with one another not anything the Adders did.

The past year had been a massive learning experience for the Snake Alliance and it didn't presently seem to be slowing down. First Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, Princess Danai Centrella, and the other notables of the Spheroid task force were guests of Khan Vladimir Ward. All were presently enjoying a prestigious dinner at the Wolves' Enclave of Golden Mountain. He had called for a Trial of Refusal against OPERATION:REVIVAL itself and in the process would complete the de-facto Annihilation of Clan Smoke Jaguar begun months ago. IlKhan Lincoln Osis had plead his case but failed to convince the Grand Council that the Jaguars were worth saving. His final Binary would face the Prince tomorrow in the Bloody Basin.

Cassius faced his Cluster sized Keshik's Star Commanders and Captains most of them were aged Ristars that his Loremaster promoted for temporary duty. Their predecessors, younger very promising Warriors, had been reassigned to man vacant posts in Alpha and Beta Galaxy while the Provisionals and Burrocks filled out the other three Front line Galaxies. “The First Free World Guards have bid a company against the cutdown of a Binary for their portion of the Trial of Refusal. Who seeks this bid?”

All raised their hands which was hardly a surprise. “Any bids below the cutdown?”
Star Captain Seth Irons raised his hand, “I bid eight Points. My Nova with only a Triplet of its Elementals using the new Corona suits.”

The other Officers looked at him like he was mad. Clan Omnimechs were quite capable of taking down two to one odds in the open. However, the heavy weight Free World Guards had chosen the marshlands near the Perium Swamp as the Circle of Equals terrain that favored endurance and firepower over range and mobility. The Corona Battle Armor had only just come out of testing and no Warrior Elemental or Mech had used it in a Trial yet, certainly not one of this magnitude.

The Khan was completely calm, “Ambitious bid Star Captain very far below the cut-down but not impossible. Is anyone willing to match this bid?”

No hands were raised, taking worse than two to one odds in that terrain was reckless.
“Star Captain you win the right of commanding this Trial. Make the Star Adders proud tomorrow.

Keshik Kuraltai dismissed.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #11 on: 15 August 2020, 10:59:38 »
Super tag
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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #12 on: 15 August 2020, 23:50:07 »
04/22/3060 Location – Circe IV, Pentagon Worlds

Star Commander Claude Goulet waited in his seat aboard the militarized S-7AC 'Scarab' gunship piloted by Tanite Harvesters. It was indistinguishable from the normal versions that plied star systems through the Inner Sphere and Clanspace servicing orbital infrastructure. The Scarab class however was equipped with heavier armor, retracted in its nose was a pair of large pulse lasers and anti-missile systems while smaller lasers were mounted on sponsons and electronic warfare gear operated by a Tech behind the flight deck. If they got close enough there would be no chance a transmission would reach the Jump Points and alert the rest of the forces in system.

Presently they were approaching the mothballed Mongoose Fleet's caretaker station orbiting a Neptunian Ice Giant at the far end of the Circe system. Faint transponder beacons appeared on the RADAR display attached to the broken vessels for navigational purposes. Blue white Circe IV (Clarke) grew larger on their view-screens and if one zoomed in they could see the station's lights pulsing faintly against the black velvet of space.

Faye Freelander, Jaguar abthaka, had transmitted her high level clearance codes but there was no guarantee of cooperation once they breached the station. The Mandrills were here to steal vessels from the Cache without the Council or even their own Clan knowing about it. Today the Grand Council had more important things to worry about then a distress signal from a space station that may or may not go through.

Former Jaguar's Sword Point Commander Faye Freelander and Harvester Squad Leader Konrad headed up their own 'Chalk' of seven troopers. He was with the same Marines he had under his command since Shadow. They had seen him through the Feud started aboard the CFM Rancor that resulted in 'unscheduled live fire exercises' and 'training accidents' between the Mick and Goulet troops embarked. He couldn't return without allies capable of overturning the Grievance between the two Bloodhouses instead going AWOL with the CFMDS Mastodon to protect himself.

The pilots' voice rang over the intercom, “Five minutes to go Star Commander. Still nothing suspicious from the Jaguars.”

“Aff, all Chalks arm up.” The sounds of compact Gauss SMGs being racked filled the cabin and the guns were attached by carabiner straps attached to D-hooks on the side. Each Marine carried a pulse laser pistol on a thigh rig, a sheathed 'buster' forced entry tool on the vest, two retractable grapnels attached to high tensile wire and wire cuffs hung from their belts. Three magazines, an LSSU, and two extra power packs filled their pockets. All of them held onto their handles as the gunship maneuvered toward the docking bay.

Konrad looked immensely satisfied, the shiny new weapons contrasted with their worn out space suits. “This is way better than we normal get. Can we keep these after we done Star Commander?”

“Aff, extras from the Rancor's arsenal. The Micks don't need them anymore.”

The other Harvesters nodded their heads, “Nice, you fine, Mandrill Marine man. Happy you come to us for aid.

Now we steal things, yeah?”

The cabin lights dimmed and went red activating the shoulder and gauntlet mounted lights of the suits. Each trooper dropped their armored visors covering everything but a narrow slot for the eyes and adding extra protection to the neck dam. Claude looked at the time display in his HUD, “Yeah, Two minutes. Form up.” He clicked the weapon selector to burst fire, “Weapons hot.”

The Mandrills stood in the lead with Jaguars behind and Harvesters in the back. The gunship had its port hatch attached to the station and the light was still red while the docking bay re-pressurized. When the light blinked green the hatch was opened from the flight deck and Claude Goulet and his heavily armed strike team burst into the bay to very confused but unarmed Jaguar Technicians 'stalking' (a particular form of tactical walking when using magnetic boots) with weapons ready.

He triggered the speakers, “Stay where you are!” before returning to the radio, “Faye keep moving to your objective. Konrad put them in the Scarab and hold this bay.”

Two “affs” came over the radio and one of the bolder Techs ran toward the alarm and was put down with a silent three round burst. His blood sprayed out forming crimson globules in space.

He wheeled around at each of the techs in turn, “I am serious! No one move! Hands up!” The remaining two Techs complied and were secured in the Scarab before the Harvesters took up defensive positions behind parts of the station. Mandrills and Jaguars split up and pried open the thin metal doors leading into the station.

The walls of the station were thin it was after all not a combat installation instead it was overseen by a Scientist. As they stalked about the alarm blared and the lights went out, “Faye was that you?”

“Neg, Claude. There are lots of cameras here. The Station Controller probably activated them.”

Emergency bulkheads sealed in the corridor. They weren't difficult to bypass but took time, time that could be better spent securing their objectives. “Savashri Scientist!”

At the controls Station Controller Viken watched the intruders with interest while he suited up and holstered his Gauss pistol. They were under attack and while the colors were those of fellow Jaguars since they had the Sword's command codes, a team was painted up like Mandrills particularly their elite 23rd Air Assault, and more from an unidentified third party attacking his station, none of this was easy to explain.

One of his cellmates called out from console on the other side of the large station. “One of their teams are approaching my laboratory. We are being jammed so my techs are purging the datacores. The others will have to rely on our off-station backups.”

“Ensure everything is lost Jan. We can't take chances and will have to activate the security team.”

“They are not ready yet! You don't know what they will do.”

“We cannot allow these interlopers to uncover what we have done here. I will issue the order now. Meet me in the Armory. Go outside if you must to avoid them.”

“Aff Controller.”

Viken opened up another intranet channel on the other side was a large man already in his own Combat Space Suit. He saw the thin form of Viken in the video phone, “Arsenal, activate and arm the security team.”

With a nod Arsenal triggered the wake up procedure for his clone soldiers. They were in the spacer barracks arrangement known as a 'Bat Cave' where their individual sleeping bags were suspended from the 'ceiling.' Slowly the halo visors attached to their heads powered down, something was injected into their necks, and then the speakers emitted a shrill frequency that was inaudible to the older Scientist who had been removed from the field in disgrace prior to REVIVAL.

The twenty troopers woke, tearing themselves out of their bags with strangely long arms almost a throwback to humanity's primate ancestry. Each was already dressed in a Combat Space Suit. Arsenal stood before them, “Wake up!”

He triggered something on his gauntlet computer that opened the door into the armory. “Gather your weapons!”

Each of the troopers grabbed onto the straps built into the walls and swung themselves into the armory triggering their magnetic boots, readying their clantech Mausers, and doffing their helmets. After a quick buddy check they all stood before him with rifles shouldered. “We have intruders. Your orders are to kill them by whatever means.”

The troopers broke into teams of five and nimbly moved via overhand straps with their Mausers strapped into cargo netting on their vests.

Faye Freelander waited while her Pointman tried to pry open the latest of their bulkheads. They had not encountered any armed resistance yet or seen anybody at all really. The CFMDS Mastodon, Star Commander Kline's Point of Batus, and another Scarab gunship filled with Harvesters was coming in from the other side of the planet having been informed of their situation. Kline's two Batus stood ready to intercept any small craft that might escape the net with their rocket pods and lasers.

Something was off about this station but she couldn't put her finger on it. With a grunt the Jaguar opened the door but his helmet was struck with a laser rifle which burned away a large portion of the visor which did its job. If it wasn't there, well the gore would be contained in the helmet but it would never come clean. The Jaguar detached the red hot piece of metal before it damaged the suit.

“Contact! Fall back!” The Swords were experts in CQB but they were operating at a tactical disadvantage having no explosives. This was supposed to be a lightly guarded installation capable of only token resistance and likely to fold quickly. Now they had Mausers, grenades, and body armor.

“Claude, Konrad we are taking fire.”

Claude Goulet took cover around a corner as an under-barrel grenade burst into flechettes that shredded the structure. He used his gauntlet bore-scope to look around at the strange fighters on the other side. They seemed to fire from impossible angles with their long arms. He hadn't seen much of their bodies yet. “Same here. Konrad sitrep?”

Ten of the strange Marines pinned down the Harvesters. Their laser rifles burned some of the Scarab's armor and Harvesters had taken injuries from the grenades which we more effective in the open terrain. One of the flank mounted small pulse lasers activated on the gunship and cut the soldier down.

Gauss darts put small holes in the armor behind the unknown security team that ducked and hid around corners before aiming their heavy laser rifles at the light infantry. “The bay is still secure for now...”

“Hang in there Konrad, reinforcements are on the way. They are going to grapple across. We don't want to open the bay doors and depressurize the sector. Use the airlock to let them in.”

Konrad looked over at the airlock built into the bay door. There wasn't much cover there but he looked at the empty cargo boxes secured to the deck. “I'm going in one. Suppressive fire on my mark.”

“That crazy boss man.”
Each of them loaded a new magazine, “We with you. On your mark.”

The other four Harvesters stood up and fired off rapid bursts of their Gauss SMGs toward the bad guys while Konrad floated toward the open containers and hid himself in one. He threw a grapnel that found purchase on a bar near his target location and triggered the recoil action that slowly pulled him across the open airlock. The lasers struck the thick metal but slagged it rather than the man inside. By the time he cycled the airlock and let more troopers in they had the security team on the run.

Claude was in a difficult position still pinned down and wishing he had a PA(L) rather than a CSS. Through quick hand gestures he transferred the plan to the rest of his team. Each nodded in turn, three troops opened up on the targets while the other two hung onto each other with the lead man having his head in the crotch of the other. They pushed off the wall and were given another push by the trio with their free hands.

Evan and he went feet first toward the enemy distracted by the enfilade. As they neared the opposite wall they split and magnetized the boots attaching themselves to the wall taking the shock with their knees. Before they settled they went full auto in the midst of the enemy. The Gauss darts punched through the CSSs and embedded themselves in the backplate. They were followed by the other trio who could not move as quickly as they needed to swing themselves off the straps. Within thirty seconds their enemies were floating dead in the station and they were back on mission prying through the bulkheads in a darkened space station full of surprises.

Faye Freelander dodged the vibroblade bayonet of a security trooper it was so close she could hear it zing past her but if she hadn't bent back she would have lost her head. The slash had been thrown hastily from the heavy rifle and caused the man to spin himself. With both hands on the rifle he had trouble finding straps to anchor himself even with his strangely shaped boot. It was not a solid form with a 'tread' of magnets like her own but had two 'toes' like the Jika-Tabi worn by some DCMS ashigaru infantry and many spacers.

She drew the buster tool on her breastplate and readied it while holding on to one of the straps. With perfect timing and a solid three point hold she slammed the axe head into the man's visor shattering it and cleaving into his head. The bayonet came with a thrust that she barely avoid by shifting her core to the side. It cut through the station structure like it wasn't even there and she deactivated it from the off-side lest she injure herself on a dead man's bayonet and never hear the end of it.

Globules of blood floated between them and splattered themselves on her visor whose water resistant coating shed them bouncing them off until they found the station walls. She looked down and saw that her suit was damaged and showed pale skin and red underneath she hadn't completely avoid the blade but it was only a graze. One of the other Jaguars looked at her still holding the axe in her hand with a dead man's gun in the other. “I am injured but I will be fine.” She released the tool and unpacked one of the many patches carried on all space suits removing its adhesive backing before placing it over the hole.

They continued on to their objective with the additional manpower and special tools of the Harvesters they made short work of the flimsy barricades put in their way.

Outside Star Commander Joseph Kline noticed a docking bay open. His fighter was cockpit 'down' relative to the station with the armored cowling already in place, “Guys I have movement out here.”

A KR-61 Shuttle burned out at flank speed. “We got a runner. Collie you are with me. Intercept and destroy.”

He issued a tight beam broadcast to the shuttle as the Batu B's changed trajectories and gave chase. “Unidentified shuttle This is Star Commander Joseph Kline of Clan Fire Mandrill. Return to the station or face destruction. You have thirty seconds to alter trajectory before we fire.”

Thirty seconds elapsed putting the shuttle dangerously close to escaping the jamming. 160 Rockets and a dozen laser pulses made short work of the target before they could call for help.

Claude arrived at what the markings indicated was the command center. A single man sat restrained in the chair but the other consoles were vacant. He aimed the seized Mauser at the target, “Check it out Evan.”

Former Patrolman now Marine Evan circled wide keeping his SMG leveled at the man who wore no insignia or nameplate on his suit. A Gauss Pistol was in his hands with a single hole in the visor right in the 'T.'

“He's dead sir. Self-inflicted.” Claude crept close and confirmed the shot before securing the Gauss pistol and holster onto his webbing. He looked around at the blinking consoles, “Where are the others? Must be six consoles here. There's only three techs in the docking bay.”

Faye came in over the radio she had been exploring the 'lower decks' after securing engineering. The Harvesters were already on cleanup of the twenty combatants while the Mastodon docked. “Star Commander you should come take a look at this.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #13 on: 16 August 2020, 01:08:37 »
Wow. Nice fight scenes. So, we are seeing the Society revealed early, huh. Can't wait to see what happens next.


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #14 on: 16 August 2020, 07:12:56 »
Oh. The society? Well that's a interesting twist. I forgot about those guys.
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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #15 on: 16 August 2020, 19:32:45 »
Wow. Nice fight scenes. So, we are seeing the Society revealed early, huh. Can't wait to see what happens next.

We already saw a bit of them in the Dagda entry. They will continue to play a critical role in this story just like they did in canon but smarter this time.

Claude Goulet stood on the bridge with the rest of his team suddenly on alert with the Jaguar calling in concerned. “What is it Faye?”

The Jaguar synced her helmet's POV to the Battlenet maintained by the Scarabs. What Claude saw in her camera was carnage. All space stations had 'storm shelters' to protect crew in the event of a solar storm, micrometeorite swarm, or enemy action anything else could be handled by small lasers mounted in strategic points on the fuselage. Within the one Faye was looking into she saw no few than a dozen men, or the parts of them, and multiple hole punctures leaking water globules from the radiation insulation tanks.

Claude was trying to figure out what did these people in, “Its not lasers so not the Marines. Grenades?”

Faye's POV panned around, putting her fingers in one of the leaking holes to find a clean round edge. “It's too clean. This was a heavy rifle of some kind.”

One of the Jaguars was looking around and signaled her to come over toward a crunched portion of the superstructure. Claude's blood went cold as he saw the distinctive pattern of an Elemental's battle claw crumbling the station's walls. “We have a rogue Elemental suit.”

She lifted her Mauser into the field of view. “If there is an Elemental on the loose I would feel a lot better with some heavier weapons.”
“Neg, Faye get your people up here.”

Claude tried to turn on one of the vacant consoles but was met with a lock-screen and routines that flashed epitaphs at him. “They locked the cameras down we need eyes on this station.” He whirled his finger the tactical sign for form up and follow and the Mandrills fell in now very alert to the new danger. The team immediately went into motion heading toward the shuttle bay.

“All teams drop whatever you are doing and return to the docking bay. Konrad pick three splicers (Harvester slang for Hackers) to come up here and help Faye get me eyes. I also need a rock launcher and two shields capable of taking a burst from a heavy machine gun. We are going hunting.

Kline he might be outside do a frame by frame search with your fighters.

Nina abort docking maneuver if this Elemental gets on-board its over for your people.”

Kline's Batu was running low on fuel (reaction mass technically) but Claude needed him outside. He bellied up to his Wingman who transferred the ammonia before slowly heading back to the Mastodon. The second Scarab joined him but kept its distance. The gunship was much larger than his aerospace fighter and not quite as nimble as the Viper interceptor, it did however have an active probe that might find their target faster especially if he was hiding behind protrusions on the fuselage.

The RCS jets on his Batu fired as he approached within twenty meters of the habitat station. This was a dangerous distance, an Elemental suit configured for Space Ops could easily make the jump to board his fighter to rip off the cockpit or use the machine gun to punch through the few soft spots on all fighters.

He engaged the tight beam RADAR and pointed it toward the station engaging in a sweep. Elemental's ceramic carbide armor reflected it differently than the normal ferro-aluminum used to protect stations from the normal hazards of their environment. The task was still like finding a needle on a piece of metal you needed to feel it out without getting pricked. Each 'slice' of the station was marked with the interior frame number to make servicing the antennae and surface components easier.

Three hundred meters away on the other side of the station the Scarab Gunship maintained a standoff distance of fifty meters. Behind the flight deck a dedicated crewman manned the active probe searching the station on all frequencies. Its weapons were fully extended and moved with the cockpit gunner's helmet just like that of a Donar attack helicopter but about six times larger. The gunner and sensor operator detected a thruster pack engaging.“We have him Claude. Section B, Frame five, compartment twelve.” The Gunship turned but was not fast enough to catch the Elemental before he entered an out of sight maintenance airlock.

Claude shouldered a tube while Evan and Kosha carried the makeshift shields cut from heavy boxes on the docks by the Harvesters' hydraulic cutter-spreader 'jaws'. Each of the Mandrills shed their lighter weapons and carried the heavy Mausers that would have a limited effect on the battlesuit. They looked towards the alphanumeric markings in their own compartment, the enemy location was relatively close they might reach him before the airlock cycled. “Kline get over there. We will try to pin and push him out.”

“Aff, RCS engaged.”
Outside J. Kline simply slowed himself and waited for the right frame to come into view from the rotating station and altered his attitude to reach the coordinates. The Gunship adjusted its own position giving the fighter plenty of room to maneuver around them.

Inside the Mandrills split into two groups holding the corridor next to the airlock each located at a right angle to the other. The Elemental had just reentered and was being suppressed by the under-barrel grenades and high power lances of the Mausers (which unlike the original was an ER laser rifle rather than a pulsed variety) but the power packs were running low. The makeshift shields had protected them from some machine gun bursts but the Elemental had more ammo than they had armor. Two Mandrills had been injured already and withdrawn.

Behind the Elemental Claude saw the outline of the airlock that Arsenal had used to reenter.

“Can you cut through the station hull? Just around the Airlock.”

“Aff, stand clear.”

Joseph adjusted his targeting module to create a circle and fired its seven pulse lasers and over twenty seconds had breached the lightweight armor. Inside the station Claude and the others braced themselves as the air vented. Emergency bulkheads closed to prevent more atmosphere from being lost to space. The Elemental suit was solidly locked onto the ground looking towards him. He shouldered the recoil-less rifle and fired a solid slug that silently adhered to the damaged breastplate. The Elemental didn't move but Claude was sure he was laughing about how ineffectual the weapon was...

Right until the high powered rocket booster activated and blew him off his feet and out the hole into empty space where he was cut to shreds by precision guided pulse lasers. A rock launcher was not a weapon but was a tool used by naval salvage crews to move heavy objects. In this case a one ton Elemental suit and its operator.

Joseph came in over the radio, his fighter was positioned in line with the hole and he could see the CSS of Claude. He turned and tipped his wings before disappearing from sight, “Nice lay up Claude. See you soon.”

“This is Goulet, the rogue Elemental has been dealt with. I still want all salvage crews to operate in trios and keep your helmets on. I want a report on what we are dealing with in an hour.
Mastodon you should be clear to dock after picking up Kline.
Scarab two can we get a ride? Bulkheads are sealed for a reason this time.”

Scarab two slowly moved toward their location 'dropping' a remotely operated STABO cable for the final twenty meters. The cable's 'top' thruster pack slowly entered the station and the Mandrills hooked onto the line using their suit harness and were gently pulled aboard.


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #16 on: 17 August 2020, 07:07:51 »
An hour later Star Commanders Claude Goulet, Nina Tanaga, and Joseph Kline were joining by Superior Derek Regner in the small Wardroom of their Type 96 Elephant dropship. The Superior was a lifelong spacer and while they had grown to understand his behavior, he was a bit off to those that grew up with ground beneath their feet and a sky above. They had picked him up along with the other Newts aboard Newgrange City and put the veteran Engineer in charge of salvage operations.

He looked around and only saw three faces, “Where is the Jaguar?”
“She is interrogating the Laborers we captured during the raid. We need to know what happened in that station.”

Derek zipped up his OD jumpsuit covering the black undershirt with the SLS Shanghai logo. “I am afraid I cannot help you there. The station's computers are locked down harder than a cloistered nun. My people couldn't recover anything useful from the erased drivers either. We did find something interesting in one of the compartments though.”

He broadcast something from his gauntlet comm-pad to the holo-projector set up in the table. An Iron Womb marked with alphanumeric code and an unknown logo. “This I've seen before in a Merchant report from WP 531. Makes me wonder what they are doing here and who they might really be.”

Claude put his hand on the laser pistol he always carried with him, “Something to do with those weird Marines?”

“Not sure you will ever verify that, but it seems plausible. Where they got the Iron Wombs and Mausers from is a mystery. If they have our tech it had to come from somewhere.”

Nina put another image up from Claude's gun-camera of the strange Marines, “and they have made improvements too. I wish we had a Scientist that could interpret this. We'll have to settle for Sera and Zack's analysis because I cannot send a cadaver to our own people. Too many questions will be asked, and we are not authorized to be here in the first place...”

Another image appeared of the dead man in the control room that was now aboard the Mastodon. “Once everyone is patched up, we need to find out who this guy might be.”

Derek once more took the lead changing the holo-image over to the RADAR globe of their surrounding area. “Indeed...if this is a Bandit operation then the only thing that might be keeping the station from broadcasting a signal is our jamming. I recommend we keep it active until Joseph and Collie deal with any comm satellites nearby.

I can erase the cores something could be waiting in a low-level system to be sent to the array.”

Joseph was still in his flight suit with the Aerofighter neuro-helmet attached to his rig already, “Satellite hunting.” Derek piped in before he could continue, “We will send a gunship to provide sensor support and fuel as necessary.” Joseph walked out less than eager to accomplish this very boring but necessary duty that all pilots had to engage in.

“Meanwhile I have my people searching the station for any salvageable tech or supplies. The Mastodon should deorbit that station before we begin the recovery operations.”

The two remaining officers looked at him with confusion, they had intended to use the station as a habitat during the operation even though their dropship could support the 110-man crew (30 Mandrills, 5 Jaguars, 20 Newts, and 55 Harvesters) and dozen smaller craft (10 Shuttles, 2 Omnifighters) for months without resupply. “Don't worry. This isn’t the first time I have looted a naval cache. Making things look like accidents is something of a specialty for me. Once we are done here it shouldn't warrant any further investigation by the Ravens and we can work in peace.”

Nina as Warrior in command of the ship couldn’t argue with the logic and agreed that the crew wouldn’t want to work in a habitat that carried strange experiments inside. Who knew what those scientists were working on? “I agree, do you think three days will be enough to fill the hold?”

“Aff, it will be enough to move aeroponics, tools, spare parts, volatiles, and other consumables from the station to here, likely a week to set them up inside. There definitely have been modifications to this station over the years and it likely carries some interesting objects aboard but that is all we need for extended operations. Salvaging any scientific equipment will take longer.”

“Tell the Harvesters to not touch any scientific apparatus. Better to let that stuff burn up then we worry about what it might be. Video and images will have to do. I will take some Techs from the Mastodon over when we have embarked the necessary cargo to chronicle our findings and covertly report them to the Watch when we come back in.”

“As you wish Commander. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to suit up and head over to the station.”

Derek walked out leaving Nina and Claude in the darkened wardroom. “This isn’t what we expected Claude. Sorry about putting you in danger.”

“I am a Marine Nina. Its what I am trained to do. Those Scientists were not expecting a Marine raiding party, or we surely would have lost the station or more men. Only ten out of the twenty-five were injured with no fatalities. I would consider that a miracle any day.

Something is strange though. They had to know who Faye was or at least had some idea for us to get this close with her codes. The ilKhan gave her a mission to find out the rot in the Jaguars but how many others are there. Clanspace has more than a hundred worlds, most have something on or around them and that is not even counting the outliers like Newgrange. There could be dozens of these installations hidden right under our noses and they could be multiplying.”

Two days later deep beneath the oceans on the world of Fasa, Scientist-Controller Calloway was just starting to watch the delayed broadcast of the Great Refusal that had happened ‘yesterday’ (Terran Standard Day was also used on spacecraft and underwater installations) on Strana Mechty. A call came in from the planetary HPG and he tapped the videophone, “Sir, Viken has failed to report in for two days according to Circe Primary.”

“Those savage Apes probably got to him this time. Serves him right, he choose to job for outsiders. Denise tell Primary that he is to ensure that the station is remotely de-orbited and inform him that he is in charge now. Is there any other business?”
“Neg, Sir.”
“Good, I hear this Great Refusal ends quite properly and would not like to be interrupted.”
He queued the video up on his display and poured himself a drink. “Don’t spoil it for me, Denise.”

“Aff, Sir. Enjoy.”
“I shall. Let the End begin.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #17 on: 19 August 2020, 21:32:22 »
The Great Refusal
Blood Spirit - Khan Schmitt is killed by the 1st Genyosha
Fire Mandrill – Red Lancers Win | Hell's Horses – Drakon's Win
Ice Hellion/Nova Cat – Khan Asa Taney and both Nova Cat Khans dead, despite that Nova Cat win
Jade Falcon – Falcons Win | Star Adder – Adders Win
Wolves – Wolves draw with the 1st St Ives Lancers

04/23/3060 Location – Perium Swamp, Strana Mechty

Force Commander Karin Orloff stood in the open cockpit enjoying the salt air while looking out with binoculars toward the Star Adder side of the 3 square kilometer Circle of Equals. Seven mechs in dark blue assembled across the way with unusual Elementals being dropped off by an Anhur transport which quickly departed leaving a trail of turboprop exhaust on the water. Beneath her Battlemaster K3 the ground was spongy and wet and the flanks were covered by an estuary and swamp. It was a perfect place to fight the more mobile Clan mechs and she was profoundly proud of her cunning.

Her XO Captain Rolau in the now clan teched out Avatar called in over the radio, “I only recognize a few of those mechs Commander. Maybe they are throwing some new stuff at us to screw the bid up. One of them looks like a big Vulture.”

“I think that's Star Captain Irons. It's that one or the big one with the missiles. Those Elementals are curious. We have no idea of what they are capable of. I suppose that's fair we are throwing some new stuff at them too.”
She dropped down into the cockpit and powered up her machine ensuring the C3 link was established between the Avatars and Catapult. “Careful team, we don't know how these Clanners fight. They could be smarter than the Jaguars we faced so far.”

“Not many could be dumber Force Commander.”
“Ain't that the truth. Guardsmen ready yourselves.”

On the other side Star Captain Seth Irons was well rested in his Sidewinder and armed with the best information on the ground having conducted a recon flight during the night. He opened a radio link to the Hellbringer B and Stormcrow I, “I know the Khan ordered you to come here in case we get into trouble but you are to not engage unless we call for you. Quiaff?”

“Aff Star Captain. We will walk wide around the pond but remain in the Circle,”
The Hellbringer twisted toward the estuary that made up their right flank, “We will honor your bid but defend ourselves if we must.”

On the other side Karin's Battlemaster powered up at the appointed time. She was watching the new Elementals named 'Coronas' in the Batchall board the possibly Adder Mad Cat replacement called a 'Sidewinder.' She hadn't fought many clanners but this was the first time she had seen the Elementals use handholds to board their Omnimechs instead of jumping and grabbing on. “Looks like they don't have jets. Should be a piece of cake to deal with just stay out of range.”

The Apollo walked forward, “It's why we've got these missiles Commander.”

The Adders split into three groups;
a Loki and Ryoken went to the right flank walking slowly around the estuary and treading the Circle of Equals.
One of the Adders the biggest one of them dubbed a 'Blood Asp' strode confidently into the marshland. The assault mech creating a wake when it entered small tidal pools and kept its missile racks clear of debris while its legs were hidden below the brackish brown water. The other one dubbed 'Black Python' jumped into a pool creating a cascading wave as the heavy mech crashed into the water.
In the rear line the Thor, Sidewinder, and Night Gyr jumped into the swamp with their Coronas hanging on by a heavy battle claw.

“Force Commander who are going for? There's three target groups.”
“Split into Lance sized formations. I want C3 in each group to pour the missiles down on them. We are playing to win don't worry about Zell. They probably won't.”
“Aye sir. Moving to engage.”

Captain Rolau's Avatar pushed through the marsh he could see all three adders use their jump jets to bypass the trees. A trick that only the Phoenix Hawk in his lance could match. His machine kept pace with the Orion 'War Drummer.' The War Drummer was a standard 1K active since the late 29th Century only mildly updated with an LBX cannon but piloted by the Baron of Trinidad. Baron Spyros was a decorated War Hero looking for one last bit of excitement before retirement.

A mostly new Hercules was slightly ahead of them the white of its paint taking on a brownish wash as it strode through the calf high water. The Phoenix Hawk was keeping pace with it while searching for the enemy who was no longer jumping over the canopies. They hadn't taken recon assets not expecting their Clan enemy engaging in any subterfuge. “Do you think they mined the swamp Captain?”
“No. I think they are trying to lure us into close range Baron.”
“That doesn't seem like a good plan on their part. Throwing away all the advantages of their long range weapons.”

They continued pushing through the swamp and got into a very densely wooded and deep water glade. The Hercules stepped into it submerged up to its waist in the murky water. It was struck with something from three different locations as the Coronas came out from behind the trees. Fifteen total pulses were fired from their shoulder mounted cannons. Most hit melting away sections of armor and creating steam plumes as the lasers flash boiled the soaked swampland.

The Hercules collapsed into the water under the combined assault that matched an Alpha Strike of the much feared Black Hawk. “Sir, Kontos is down. I'm going to try and take one of these Points out.”

About 200 meters away the Avatar and Orion pushed through the swamp. “No, wait for us. The others are probably nearby.” Captain Rolau and Lord Spyros moved up to aid their comrades and engage the Star Adder Star Captain.
Karin Orloff almost felt wrong going after the Adder Assault and Heavy mechs with her whole heavy lance. The Catapult and Apollo found their firing positions opening their missile bay doors to reveal the majority of the company's long range missiles. Her C3 links weren't strong with Captain Rolau but he was quite capable of fighting on his own she still had the other Avatar that was presently leading the left flank lance toward the other two Adder Mechwarriors.

Once they were in missile range the two fire support units opened fire each was aiming for a different mech. They were surprised to find their Artemis IV guidance package jammed and both mechs had a pair of AMS guns. Their computer guided flechettes ripped apart the very expensive missiles in mid-air as easily as shooting birds out of the sky. The shattered remains landed like so many pebbles on the water.

“They have ECM and AMS. Since when do clanners use their pod tonnage on defense?”
“Maybe its the standard way these Adders operate or Seth Irons knows our preferences and outfitted his mechs with a hard counter.”
Secretly she seethed the C3 network was one of the best counters to clan advantages and as long as they stayed inside its protective bubble her strategy was in jeopardy.

Karin aimed at the Blood Asp and launched a lightning bolt and pair of laser lance toward the assault mech. Her mech warmed and there was faint steam rising from where the water hit the arms. “Fine we will do it the hard way.” The Tempest fired at the Black Python but missed causing the almond shaped Gauss round to embed itself a tree half a kilometer away. Their opponents didn't miss though, 2 heavy pulse lasers melted armor on the tempest while Karin's Battlemaster had a chunk taken out of the right leg by the Blood Asp's Gauss rifle and a smattering of missile impacts that dented the heavy armor.

Captain Rolau came on the radio, “Commander! We need help.” A pair of loud explosions rang out over the swamp causing birds to stir and climb to safety as the Night Gyr double tapped the Avatar with its Devastator XX cannon. The Captain's lance was heavily outgunned in the swamp with heavy lasers and PPCs along with dozens of short range missiles. She could see the damage mount on their battlenet when she took a moment to receive an update from the master computer.

“Samara take Malcolms and help Rolau. Leave Dolens and McCloud.” The Avatar and Wolverine on the left flank cut back and headed toward the swamp leaving behind a Warhammer 7M and Hunchback 4N to check the enemy flankers that stalked the perimeter but had yet to engage in fact they showed no eagerness to engage at all and had managed to keep just out of weapons range as if to goad the Inner Sphere forces from their supporting arms.

“I am not going to let some Clanner show me up.” She fired again and landed solid blows on the Blood Asp that caused it to stagger under the weight of the energy shot into it. The standard plate melted away steam gathered where the plates landed but the assault mech fired back as if nothing was amiss. The second round of missiles was even less successful than the first but were using less expensive ammo. To her surprise the Blood Asp launched a volley of smoke missiles that burst behind the lead mechs insulating the commands and forcing the missile mechs to advance into the water or wait for it to disperse.

The Black Python continued hammering on the lighter Tempest that continued to jump toward the enemy accepting the degraded accuracy of its own weapons to bypass the marshland it was forced to operate within. With the second volley she noticed that it was using its leg mounted heat sinks to pump the marsh water into its cooling system and maintain the energy barrage toward her ally. Her own mech was warming up dramatically with the waste heat from her energy weapons. She would be sweating profusely by now if the DCMS hadn't given her one of their COMSTAR made Mechwarrior combat suits.

Back in the swamp, Captain Rolau waited for the next round to engage the Avatar Bulldog and War Drummer were back to back waiting for the Star Adders to return. Their mechs were seriously damaged, the Phoenix Hawk's reactor was flooded and its Mechwarrior was waiting for rescue. The Hercules was stripped to the bones by constant laser fire and its legs had been flooded out. Its Mechwarrior had chosen to power down and not risk catastrophic damage.

They had given the Adders a good licking though they weren't expecting his clan tech large lasers and that had caused damage to Seth Iron's Sidewinder but not enough to down him for good. War Drummer was hit almost everywhere but nothing critical had been injured yet. A few rounds of LBX10 canister shot had done a number on the Corona suits. They packed immense and surprisingly long range firepower but their armor and mobility were not as good as the normal Toad. There were no casualties but the armor had gone deeper in the woods avoiding the old machine which despite its low tech was piloted by an amazing Mechwarrior.

Samara's Avatar became green on his C3 link along with a Wolverine 6M. “We're almost to your location Captain. Where are the enemy?”
“Unknown, our sensors are being jammed. I think they are playing with us. I'm almost through on most of my torsos and already had to dump a ton of ammo in the swamp.”
“Why are they toying with us?”
“We are new here. They want to see how we react.”
“Either that or they are redeploying the Coronas and moving into a position on the Force Commander.”
“Also probable.”

The other two mechs broke through the trees to link up with their comrades. Star Captain Seth Irons gave the go signal and jumped his mechs from their locations just out of sight. The Coronas released their grip rolling on the soft ground right at the feet of the enemy. Three Clan Mechs engaged the wounded Guards at close range, the Summoners's two heavy lasers ripping through the Wolverine's (which is called a Groundhog to the clans who dare not speak of the not-named) left side cutting it to the bone but the old machine fired back at the damaged Summoner. The old large laser found its mark and damaged the heat sinks built into the heavy laser disabling it.

Seth's Sidewinder unloaded everything at the damaged Avatar sinking two bolts of man-made lighting that crackled at close range followed by two dozen short range missiles. Stubby warheads tore into the Hermes 280XL engine cracking the engine shielding and shutting down the mech. The Night Gyr split its fire using the Autocannon against Mechwarrior Samara's Avatar causing shock waves to thump into the Elementals piloting the Coronas on the ground. A dozen streak missiles found weak spots in the old mech and led to its shutdown due to combat damage, Baron Spyros' swan song would not be a death knell.

The League would not go without dropping a few of their own though, Star Captain Iron's Sidewinder suffered critical engine damage from the Avatars' Streak and Medium Range missiles. One of War Drummer's LBX sub-munitions found the autocannon ammo in the Night Gyr. The Elementals only had seconds to take cover from the uncontrolled explosion that blasted a line of trees 20 meters deep behind the mech. The Summoner and Coronas finished off the Avatar D before refocusing on the center line.

Back in the Center the Blood Asp and Black Python walked over the fallen Tempest the rounded crest on its head just visible over the waterline with the rest being face down in the mud. A Guards' Apollo was slumped over as a smoking ruin having taking a concentrated attack from the Adder machines. Smoke missiles exploded ahead of the Adder's measured advance.

Karin Orloff was in retreat as the mechs pushed her back almost to the start position. The Blood Asp had severely damaged her Battlemaster and continued to move despite taking intense damage. Its pilot alternated between smoke and explosives to foul her shots. A Battlemaster may be a fast assault but in the muck her mobility was compromised. There were only so many places she could reach and he often predicted well preparing his position in advance. The Black Python was damaged but it was scattered missile damage besides the lucky hit on the cockpit cowling. Half her company was down in the woods and while they had taken two with them there were others that were edging closer and forcing the command closer toward the deeper sections of the marsh where they could pin the force down against the agreed upon Circle of Equals with no chance of breaking out.

Four mechs might be able to stand against three but not five Clan mechs. She keyed in a broadcast on the open frequency. “Star Captain Irons, I yield.” The Adder mechs powered down lowering their weapons, “Well fought Force Commander Orloff. There is no honor lost on this field today for your unit or its Warriors. We will begin recovery operations at once.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #18 on: 19 August 2020, 21:55:51 »
I like it. Well thought fight on both sides. Using opponents preconceptions against them to lever an advantage, the use of terrain, the overall competing strategies, and the tactics in each fight. The omnimechs on each side will show their value in the speed of repairs, and ability to return to battle. And the precise application of force allowed the saving of much in the aftermath. Bravo.


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #19 on: 19 August 2020, 22:43:45 »
Nicely written, AlphaMirage.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #20 on: 22 August 2020, 07:45:12 »
Thanks Guys. It was a fun combat to write out as well.


The CFMDS Mastodon's engines flared ultraviolet on the far side of Circe IV. Its reinforced nose cone was grappled onto the habitat about ten times as massive and more than forty the volume. Beyond them the blue green ice giant looming large over the Mongoose Naval Cache and its tiny scrappers that thought themselves big.

Star Commander Nina Tanaga was suited up and strapped in along with the crew withstanding 4 gees of thrust and the rapid warming of the spheroid vessel. After a ten minute computer controlled burn the dropship/station construct was drifting towards a decaying orbit. Nose mounted RCS rockets activated creating separation between the two constructs.

Structural members in the station were deformed and shattered after the rough push. Most orbital constructs were amazingly fragile and a 15 kiloton dropship pushing at 4 gees was enough to crush them. They could have reduced the burn rate if they wanted to push it into a better orbit but since it was a one way trip that wasn't a concern.

The nose view-screen still showed nothing but crushed metal. “Kline, Regnar sitrep.”
Regnar had seen this as a useful training exercise for pushing their target warships toward a pirate point that regularly appeared in the orbit of Circe IV. They would be using those old jump drives there to return them to Newgrange for most of the repairs. “Good separation Tanaga. Caretaker Station's orbit is slowly decaying. When you turn, the thrust plume should speed up the process.”
“Aff. Waiting for distance before flipping.”

Slowly the station drifted away to its doom, Nina noticed a broad range flash transmission from the Snow Raven's Circe Orbital Control. A text message appeared on the emergency monitor. Attention! Circe IV Caretaker Station suffered critical reactor breach. All hands lost. Remote de-orbit engaged. Do not approach. Await further instruction.

“Derek are you receiving this?”
“Aff, but I do not understand it.”

Kline joined the channel, “I say we not argue with it. The Scientist's allies must have triggered the de-orbit and might not be able to tell it was us.”

“Particularly since we did it on the dark side. I wonder if they know we took out their comm sats?”

“They thought their message went through. If they look now they will see the station's orbit decaying. Maybe we got lucky.”
“We did say it was going to take a lot of luck for this to happen Joseph thus far its held. Return to the Mastodon and secure yourselves for a turn and burn.”

The small crafted returned and secured themselves to the deck before the Mastodon turned and burned away at 1 gee. Portions of the station broke away as hyper-accelerated hydrogen impacted it at fractions of light speed. Now that normal thrust had returned the crew relaxed and began moving around the vessel conducting their assigned duties for the two hours of normal gravity they would enjoy each 12 hour cycle for the foreseeable future.

In one of the former vehicle bays Claude and Faye stood within a nine meter circle spray painted on the deck. Surrounding them were boxes of supplies strapped down to the deck with webbing. The atmosphere was steamy as both were watched by a few Harvesters enjoying the spectacle of competent Warriors fighting. Their fellow Tanites were brutally suppressed by the Cloud Cobras and allowed no weapons but still had some. They had no formal Warrior training beyond brawling otherwise they would have pushed Faye's unit out sooner. Claude had trained them in basic gun drills since Rhea, the Caretaker station fight was their first real one. They were happy to stay junkers rather than Marines despite bragging rights.

Faye was clad in shorts and bandeau beneath the padded vest that showed midriff but protected ribs while enabling her full range of motion. She was the only one that could take Claude in one on one and their matches improved his sometimes dour mood. Not as much as the shared shower after, but that was just Marines and a bonus for her trouble.

With the padded helmet and vest on she readied a synthetic staff roughly shoulder height in her hands. These or smaller clubs were the preferred weapons of the Clan Patrol caste and fighting with them or using Savate were popular sports for Marines. Claude faced her donning his own helmet but wore no pads over his pale muscled torso. No one had felt sun on skin in months and there was no tanning booth aboard.

She put the staff out, “Es tu pret?”
He matched the measure his longer arms but shorter club gave them equal reach but freed his off hand while she had to use both of hers. Male Elemental versus Female Mechwarrior was almost the worst pairing but they managed to even it up. “Ou, commence.”

Faye opened with a series of rapid thrusts that put him on the backfoot as he tried to enter she withdrew before firing out again. He tried to grab the staff but she entered instead putting it under his arm and throwing him to the side before coming down with a strong vertical strike. He rolled out and the staff rapped off the deck and back into her hands. The second time he caught it flinging her to the side but she completed an aerial cartwheel while hanging onto the staff and upon landing tried a sweep to his legs.

They went back to circling each other at measure, “That was new.”
“I have many tricks.”

Both worked out their strategies Claude tried to close and use his off hand to grapple and weapon to parry as he was unable to close without getting hit in the hands. Faye kept distance using her smaller size, agility, and longer weapon to evade his grasp and strike low while guarding high. The Harvesters watched with keen interest as she used the staff to initiate a clinch and compromised the taller and heavier Elemental's fighting stance by holding his head down with both arms before striking at his body with her knees. “Where'd she learn how to fight like that?”
“Don't tell the others but I heard the Jaguars talking about her being held at a Pillarine Convent in the Occupation Zone for a few years. Sounds like some kind of Cobra Cloister with nothing but women like her inside.”
“We've got to get to this Inner Sphere.”

Their match ended with Claude victorious via a club assisted shoulder lock and tap out by her. She rolled the offended shoulder that was sore now but would be relaxed after a hot shower and tender attentions. “That was new.”
“I learned it from Evan. You are not the only one with tricks Faye.”

They entered the shower bay together, “Scoundrel. You have been holding out on me. Here I thought you were just a brute”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #21 on: 22 August 2020, 12:19:31 »
That was interesting! 
"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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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #22 on: 22 August 2020, 17:44:44 »
I enjoyed it, thanks!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #23 on: 23 August 2020, 21:40:39 »
03/28/3060 04:15 Jaguar Genetic Repository, Huntress

The Jaguar Genetic Repository was brightly illuminated and surrounded by a high chain link fence topped with razor wire and warded by bollards. Rolling sounds of artillery cascaded through the city as a convoy of six light vehicles rolled on the darkened streets of Lootera the dull white glow of illumination rounds showed passing glimpses of spray painted over Smoke Jaguar markings. As the lead vehicle came within sight a pair of 12th Armored Grenadiers in SLDF OD uniforms and recently bandaged injuries pointed assault rifles at them while a gun truck aimed its heavy machine gun at the arriving convoy.

Seeing the security force the convoy stopped a short distance from the gate and two small women in MMC insignia on their OD fatigues hopped out. They wore helmets and flak vests but carried no weapons. A grenadier approached them with a flashlight and recognized the one with a Commander's gold edged diamond on her helmet, “Commander Dias, why aren't you driving clearly marked trucks. There are Smoke Jaguars ten klicks from here. Can't you hear them?”

“Sorry Sarge, we didn't want to mark them. Command told us some Smoke Jaguar Elementals got into the city. We wanted them to let us by if they weren't looking close enough.”

The Grenadier turned to his companion who lifted the gate and the machine gun returned to its upright position. “I hadn't heard that but we will maintain vigilance. Hurry up we got wounded inside.”

“That's why we are here after all.”
Commander Dias turned to return to the passenger seat of the truck smiling as the six vehicles of her convoy entered the complex. Walking wounded assisted in unloading the supplies carried within while her people went to work treated the soldiers injured in the Jaguar's hyper aggressive counter attack. Cots were set up under tents or inside the repository and sterile operating theaters established in one of the larger rooms.

A small squad of soldiers in SLDF OD fatigues waited on the rooftops nearby watching the convoy enter with keen interest. Their leader lifted their left hand and pointed toward the west. The commandos descended the wall with just their hands though there were lengths of rope over their shoulders. Each carried a silenced pistol and knife as they approached the fence unseen by any of the hastily installed sensors or otherwise occupied (by unloading supplies) walking wounded guards.

They sprinted past cots with sleeping soldiers in them within easy reach of their rifles toward their objective. Once inside they holstered or concealed their weapons each wore the name and particular ID of a soldier taken from the missing list. Their features resembled the likely dead troopers but were otherwise average.

As they walked through the massive structure they kept close watch on the happenings within, most of the capable soldiers were in the field fighting off the Jaguar counter-attack and the wounded were located in the first layer of rooms. Deep within the structure there were only a few things of interest, the main repository itself, Huntress' central datacore, and the rooms where the Scientist prisoners were being held in a secured room.

The repository was already damaged but one of them readied a thermobaric demo charge from her backpack in its center while another was extracting blood samples and placing them in a cryocanister. They moved on to the central datacore where they hacked in and siphoned off petabytes of sensitive data into a portable DNA computer before leaving something extra behind. The operative keyed in a command line and the system began overwriting and erasing portions of itself, she whispered “That Niops tech is working like a charm. Now comes the hard part.”

A pair of blue helmeted COMGUARD troopers stood watch on the Jaguar Scientists captured during the initial attack at the beginning of the month. ROM had gotten many of them to talk and they had some interesting tales but some were proving difficult to break. Three SLDF soldiers came walking toward them, they seemed oddly familiar but neither could place them. “We're here to relieve you.”

One of the troopers checked his watch, “We still have an hour.”
The commando reached down and fired the silenced pistol at arms length from the hip, six rounds later the Comguardsmen were dead. “We could have waited Force Leader. They are on the same side.”
“We both know that's not true Lance Corporal. These guardsmen were the best of worse choices. We have an hour to exfil let's move.”

The Commandos used the dead men's keys to open the padlock holding the thirty prisoners inside what seemed to be a conference room. The Force Leader stepped forward still brandishing his pistol. “You have two choices, come with us or die. Decide quickly.”

An hour later the complex went into lock-down after a large explosion from within the building. Commander Dias' medics were not permitted to leave their assigned rooms while the walking wounded went room by room in search of their missing prisoners and the culprits behind the sabotage that had caused serious damage to the building. Two blue helmets were dead from gunshot wounds from a Nambu pistol only issued to the DCMS. All DCMS personnel on sight had to surrender their pistols and magazines for inspection but none were found to have been fired recently.

When the SLDF finally got around to analyzing the Jaguar datacores they found the complete Census records wiped out no one could be certain how many Jaguars had gone missing during the Annihilation as even the records on Strana Mechty were wiped out and unrecoverable. It is as if they had never existed except for material stored in the Clan's Central Repository that was on a separate system.

A year later on Gambilon a Condor Dropship unloaded their secret cargo of personnel and materiel looted by MIM's covert operations teams in Clanspace. Seven intact protomechs, their pilots, dozens of Scientists and Technicians as well as Elementals, and a variety of weapons that went 'missing' were loaded into a single research facility along with Iron Wombs and most of the Jaguar's digital blood-heritages. They were greeted by a dour woman wearing a lab coat and opal handled laser pistol, “I am Dr Selaj and you all now belong to me. Welcome to the Rim Jaguars. Do enjoy your stay.”

04/28/3060 CFMDS Mastodon, Mongoose Ghost Fleet, Circe IV

The Mastodon's Wardroom was crowded with the officers from each group who were using their two hours of gee time to solidify their next moves in the space that was rapidly becoming their home. Small murals were painted on the wall and tiny nick-knacks had been added since they took control of the ship. MedTechs Sera and Zack joined them from the infirmary which was now overstuffed with recently installed equipment salvaged from the Jaguar habitat. A Type 96 Tug's infirmary was well appointed and over-sized for their current crew so there was space in the morgue for the specimens.

Zack the Chief MedTech (equivalent to a PA, MDs are of the Scientist Caste) switched the camera to POV and looked at the head scientist a pale man with multiple tattoos and a single round to the head that had over-penetrated but still killed him. “We have identified this man as a Jaguar Trueborn of the Furst Bloodhouse based on his DNA. However, with the loss of Huntress and destruction of the Jaguar Census records we cannot positively ID him. What we can tell is that he washed out early from Warrior training.”

Faye addressed the man, “How can you tell?”
“Several reasons, his bone and muscle density were low. Not just because of time in zero gee but because he never underwent strenuous physical training that occurs past Creche. We can also tell this by his clean X-rays and the lack of scarring. I have seen your Warriors' scars plenty to tell that this would be unusual if he had lasted longer.”
“So he was a wimp and retrained as a Scientist?”
“Aff. We might have gotten more data from the Elemental but with the destruction of his body by Joseph's lasers in space that is not possible. These tattoos do not seem to inform me of anything else. I will take pictures in case we find another with similar patters. Perhaps they are affiliation marks.”

Nina took her turn, “Anything from what was left of the Techs.”
“Neg, except that they were freeborn. Again with the destruction of the Census I cannot tell you more.”
She looked over to the Jaguar, “Faye seems like there was rot at the core of your Clan.”
“Aff, unfortunately we might never know the extent and the conspirators have already scattered beyond our grasp.”

Claude spoke to Zack, “What about those Marines?”
“I was just about to get to them Star Commander.”
He panned over to another table where a pale hairless man with long muscular arms and feet complete with extended toes. “These guys are retreads with some very advanced genetic engineering in their DNA. We also analyzed their blood well what was left of it after your people got through with them. They have increased radiation tolerance,” he pointed the camera to get a close look at the unusual limbs, “these physiological adaptations in addition to a modified version of the EPAS1 gene common among Belter and Sherpa populations and several other traits primarily found in Diamond Shark Elementals.”

Claude looked to Nina, “So that confirms our suspicions the Jaguars were not working alone. This is a multi-clan threat now,”
he shook his head, “but no one will believe us.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #24 on: 24 August 2020, 09:09:01 »
nope, no one will want to believe you cause, their god Nikky, has produced a perfect society. The Military Tech is the Best of the peoples they are in contact with, so no reason to advance further.
"Constructive critism is never a bad comment"

"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
- Socrates


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #25 on: 24 August 2020, 19:29:34 »
05/08/3060 Location – Brim Nadir Point

Congress frigate CSV Snake Leader its Carrier strike dropship and Noruff assault dropship plotted an intercept on the Carrack transport SLS Perilous Vision and Lola III destroyer SLS Faithful of Clan Nova Cat. The two Warships were charging at the Cloud Cobra controlled recharge station with a Star of Nova Cat Merchant Jumpships carrying Civilians. “This is Star Captain Calvin Tamm of the CSV Snake Leader. We issue a Trial of Possession from the forces under protection by the SLS Faithful and bid our attached force of two Binaries of Fighters, the Snake Leader, and Noruff Nome Mercer.”

A Cloud Cobra warship boosted away from the station, its flattened decks heavily laden with Aerospace fighters. “Star Captain Calvin Tamm of CSV Snake Leader this is the Star Commodore Faith Hobbes of the York CCS The Protector. Cease your aggressive interception of our station immediately.

Our Rossei brothers and sisters aboard the SLS Faithful and its jumpships are under the protection of Clan Cloud Cobra and you are in violation of the Grand Council's edict. We will launch all fighters if you continue. Do not test us Viper. Our dedication is harder than your Steel.”

Calvin Tamm adjusted course coming within close RADAR contact of the York and its Star of readied fighters. “The Khan will hear of this Commodore.”
“As will ours Captain.”

05/18/3060 Location – Tathis City, Tathis

Seth “Star Killer” Irons walked through the sunken arcology of Tathis City, a city built underground to protect its inhabitants from the bitter cold and gritty snow outside. His new black uniform had three gold bars and red Daggerstar marking him as a Star Adder (Star) Colonel. Diamond Shark Patrol ambled through the walkways looking out at the green space in the city center. Seth stopped for a moment to enjoy a beer watching Shark civilians spend their breaks breathing in warm fresh air rather than refinery soot. “I swore I would never return to this world. Well played Loremaster, a fitting almost poetic punishment. Doomed to be my own tormentor in service of the Clan.”

The alarm on his comm-pad rung and he took one last look at the pleasant surroundings he wasn't likely to see again for a while before picking up his duffel. Within the arcology a series of trams and funiculars transported workers from their residences to the refineries that provided a third of the Diamond Sharks rare earth metals. His Star Adders maintained a smaller one at the Greypeak that provided half of their own supply with the rest coming from the Pentagon Worlds. He caught up with the car and held on to slim moving platform that zoomed through tunnels toward the surface. The formal Adder uniform contrasted with the insulted orange coveralls and helmets of refinery Laborers.

He arrived at Diamond Shark Manufacturing Plant Twelve built underground and taking up a large portion of the Western Section of the Arcology with a group of workers. Two armed Diamond Shark Patrol officers stood at the gate scanning the codices of each worker before allowing them entry. He waited his turn and presented his printed orders, “Wait for your escort Star Colonel. He will take you to the receiving center where you can sign for your Desperado.”

Seth waited and watched the workers enter, MP12 was one of the Diamond Sharks best export factories churning out Desperados (Thug IIC) by the Binary each month. His escort, a Laborer Foreman, arrived to walk him through the factory floor where bare endo steel frames constructed in the space station that orbited Tathis' moon Tael were outfitted by hundreds of workers. “You will be very pleased with our product Star Colonel, yours is the first batch with the new Kingston ERPPCs.”

He looked over the catwalk to see Technicians installing the power supplies and cables to a partially assembled unit already outfitted with its dual Pattern J6cs. “Cloud Cobra scientists score another win for your Snake Alliance. It cost the Sharks a great deal to get those plans but it was worth every bit according to our Techs.”

“Yes, they do fine work. I just got reassigned out of a Sidewinder.”
“A fine machine that your Adders beat us to. Khan Sennet is more interested in selling second line units  while absorbing the Nova Cat holdings than anything new at the moment. I hear she is making contacts among the SLDF now, you know since they are here already. To bad about Victor he seemed like a good Warrior, not smart but good. I even cried a bit during Vlad's eulogy.”

The walk continued a bit longer until they reached the end of the line where a Desperado stood menacingly. Its hunched shoulders and giant hands with the round directing cones of the Kingston PPCs sprouting from the forearms. Four great steel cylinders marked 'Low Temperature Cooling Oil, 100L' were collected in a cart at its feet. “It uses all that coolant.”

“Aff, Star Colonel. Kingstons run hotter than the normal Kinslaughters. You have twenty freezers aboard. Even if you Alpha the cockpit will only heat up a little bit especially on this cold planet. Well I will leave you to the Mech Techs keep it pointed away from us will ya.”

“No guarantees.”
The Foreman whistled as he walked away from the Mechwarrior. Seth was greeted by three Adder Mechtechs and given a brief rundown of the operation of his Battlemech. His new command, The 983rd Adder Sentinels of Omicron Galaxy, were based in the remote and partially abandoned Sibko base where he received his own Mechwarrior training.

This assignment was his exile for the crimes he committed on Sheridan. He had been granted a stay of execution but no more chances for Glory. Khan N'Buta had been impressed enough with his performance at the Great Refusal to assign him a Desperado a second line Battlemech of impressive power but not an Omni of any kind in a formation likely to see battle.

Even as he went through the start-up procedures for the assault mech which stood erect and collected its arms close he knew this would only lead to a long life of future obscurity. He opened the cockpit and yelled down to the Mech Techs, “There is no ammo in the bins!”
“Neg Star Colonel. Do you feel like you need some because none has been assigned?”
“I am only fighting with two thirds of a mech.”
“You will not be doing any fighting for a while Star Colonel. You should get moving,”
the Tech consulted his noteputer which displayed a RADAR weather map of the planet's North-East, “If you leave now you might miss the Black Blizzard coming our way. Storm Season.”
“I know what the date is! Not the first Black Blizzard I had to walk through.”
“Aff Sir, meet you there next week when we do our regular supply run with the dropshuttle. We will bring ammo.”
The Techs saluted and got back to packing up their equipment.

Seth Irons activated the climate controls of his black bodysuit providing heat rather than taking it away. The Arcology gate opened, wild wind blew out gray snow mixed with volcanic pumice and factory soot. The outside temperature dropped to -30*C and the Desperado stepped out into the swirling gray mass leaving great tracks that were blown away as swiftly as they formed to leave no trace behind.


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #26 on: 26 August 2020, 22:19:03 »
05/03/3060 Mongoose Ghost Fleet, Circe IV

The CFMDS Mastodon and its accompanying shuttles had spent the past week laying out navigational satellites and mapping the debris fields. Circe IV didn't have rings now but it did when the Mongoose Fleet was cached here by the victorious but bloodied Smoke Jaguars. Most of the numerous Aegis cruisers had been taken out by the Jade Falcons to supplement their fleet or by the Jaguars to recover from the massive losses of the climatic naval battle of Circe that dwarfed any since.

It dodged the shattered hull and associated debris field of the CMS Huisman, a Black Lion battlecruiser and former pride of the Shadow Naval Star, now a rotating wreck stripped of anything of value and doomed to ultimately impact its fleet-mate, the CMS Cameron battlecruiser CMS Franklin, presently spinning end on end thousands of kilometers distant. The Mongoose Flagship CMS Quicksilver Mongoose as taken to Strana Mechdy as a trophy. That battleship was in the process of being recommissioned as CWS Blood Moon by Clan Wolf to replace the McKenna CWS Werewolf defected to the Inner Sphere prior to the Refusal War that gutted the toumans of the Wolves and Jade Falcons.

A mighty Monsoon Battleship, the SLS Painkiller, drifted lifelessly at the core of the debris field. That ship was a relic dating back to the Pentagon Civil War and once belonging to the vast Spacer communities that existed in the Circe system before they were eliminated by the Cloud Cobras. It had long been stripped of anything of military value but was the prize promised to the Newts. Both factions were eager to reclaim their heritage and use it like they had the Newgrange (thus 'Newt') SLS Shanghai once it was repaired preferable with some of the weapons that might still be of use.

They approached their target the spinning Essex more than four times larger than their dropship and forty times as heavy. The four massive three gun turrets dominated the profile but not as much as the breach in the hull where its thinly armored ammunition bay had taken a Naval PPC from the Jaguar Flagship CSJ Obsidian shortly before the battleship's grand destruction. Nina Tanaga watched the target with great interest and along with the Newt Derek Regnar was plotting the complex interception course that needed precise timing to catch the spin. “Tincan Three and Five confirm RADAR intercept. We will need a little stability before the Mastodon can safely latch on.”

The T-3 “Tincan” Dropshuttles were a variant of the popular K-1C Spheroid dropshuttle used primarily in orbital construction functioning as a many time smaller Type 96 Tug (15kilotons vs 200 tons). They mounted the largest engines of any small craft but had very little in the way of endurance, an acceptable trade-off for their dependent operation.

Within the T-3's the minimal Newt crews positioned themselves on opposite sides of the ship latching on like lampreys with their 'jaws' clamping down into the neutron battered armor plating and into the superstructure before firing their jets in unison. The momentum imparted took most of the spin out of the former CMS Rondeau and allowed the much larger Elephant to safely latch on and take the rest out. Nina had her eyes glued on the instrument panel, “We have zero relative spin. Good job crew, this was the hard one. Kline you are free to go out and provide an external inspection with the fighter.”

“Aff, Nina. Launching now.”
The two Omnifighters gently drifted out of their bays and verified what the sensors told them. “No sign of habitation despite the spin. All bay doors and escape tubes are open. I can see into the ship. Why are we taking this one again?”

“We are taking it because it has no dropship collars and that made it less valuable to the other Clans. The Vincent Thirty Nine Van Vilet and Lola Three Muraca are here for the same reason. If we can get the Rondeau operational those smaller ships should be easy. The biggest challenge will be the Painkiller.”

Derek looked over the red light of the Flight Deck reflecting off his helmet's visitor, “My people will be more than happy to help there.”

“Right now we need to do an inspection. See what's broken and then I can send for more workers and parts from Newgrange City.”
He un-clipped his belt and pushed out but was stopped by Nina, “Let Claude and his Marines check first. We were getting anomalous readings from within and the ship was spinning rapidly.”

“Probably a rogue meteor, Circe Four attracts them.”
“Let Claude check first.”
“I you insist Star Commander. I will head to the Galley and assemble the techs for a briefing.”
“Thank You Superior.”
The Newt floated away and pulled himself down a ladder well. “You are good to go Claude.”

Claude Goulet, Faye Freelander, and their eight other Marines were suited up and waiting in one of the T-3's evacuated small craft bays. He waved to the camera where the Harvester in charge of the doors watched, “Open it up!”
“Aff, Star Commander.”

The door slid open without a noise. Claude's Marines engaged their CSS's Thruster packs and jumped out into the void toward the ship 'above'. “Nina we are outside.”

“Roger that Claude. Watch out for debris.”
Clan CSS's had improved sensors and Claude could see shards of Ferro-Aluminium in his HUD. The thrusters automatically avoided any large pieces that might penetrate the armor while smaller pieces bounced off. They set down with a thump and attached themselves with a pair of picks tethered to their suit.

“Aff, boots on hull. Activating magnets.” The magnetic boots activated anchoring them to the ship as they stalked toward one of the open small craft bays. Claude waved to Kline's Batus floating several meters away. “Infil team approaching target zone.”

The Marines floated into one of the four open small craft bays. They activated their lights and saw that debris had scoured the inside. Last time this ship was pressurized was 2868 almost two hundred years ago they figured some damage would occur. However, Star League era tech was nigh indestructible and this armor even neutron battered as it was could withstand micro-meteors.

Most of the kit was salvage related with only a pulse laser pistol, picks, and buster for self-defense. Unlike the flimsy interior pressure doors of the Caretaker station the airlocks that led out into the small craft bay were reinforced and required heavier equipment to open.

Claude readied the heavy hydraulic cutter while one of the Mandrills attached the thick power feed to a backpack sized hydrazine fueled Auxiliary Power Unit. He jammed the jaws against the airlock, “breaching now.” Its' jaws cut into the armored doors deforming them enough to spread them with the same tool in reverse and allow entry. The tool and attached power unit required its own turn to pass through the gap. Faye patched the hole with plastic while he set about opening the much lighter interior door. The exertion was immense and he could feel sweat being wicked into his soft-cap under the helmet.

“We are inside.” He signaled something to one of the marines, “Leaving behind a relay now. Signal check.”

Kline's voice came over the radio, “Read you five by five.”

They looked around to see the old SLDF markings in their lights. It was unnerving to see parts of the old ship that were beyond their illumination. Nothing but dark void awaited them in either direction with recessed handholds blocked by broken grates.

“Faye you check aft. We will go bow. I will leave the cutter here but take the APU.”

She gave a thumbs up, “Aff. We have our own. I hope Derek's map is up to date. The one Nina found on Shadow was dated even when before it was written down by the Mongooses.”

“Roger. Mandrills head out.”

The Fire Mandrills cautiously worked their way through the derelict examining every corridor for something or someone that might still be on the ship. Everything had been retired in good order but there were signs of severe damage and sabotage that might have post-dated the Mongoose Absorption. Everything was eerie on the ghost ship particularly in their dim suit lights. While in the lead Evan saw a spacesuit drifting along and shot at it with the pulse laser pistol until the power pack in its grip was spent. Upon further inspection they found it was empty but bore the insignia of a dead clan upon it burned through with one of the laser strikes.

Claude patted the young man on the shoulder, “Just nerves Evan. I would have done the same. Probably got loose from one of the lockers.”

The Marines found their objective, the CIC of the Rondeau, which was sealed off with armored doors slightly ajar. “We can probably force this. Assemble the bar. I want two men on it.”


Three Marines slotted the pieces of a large salvage bar into each other giving them a nearly 2.5 meter long lever and slightly augmented myomer strength of their suits forced the doors open. If the reactor is the heart of the ship and the KF drive its soul then the CIC was the mind. The Athena-2 battle computer within was capable of running the ship with only a skeleton crew of 25 less than a 10% its usual complement. It could also be used to coordinate ground attacks though the Mandrills rarely field forces greater than Trinary strength in Trials as each Kindraa typically only had a short Galaxy of Warriors at their disposal.

The Snow Ravens had since introduced a gen 3 version but the Mandrills had no intention of installing it. Bartering with them for such a powerful piece of technology would reveal that the Mandrills were interested in an Essex without telling the Grand Council. There could be calls for an Absorption if not outright Annihilation of the Mandrills. The Burrock Absorption last year and subsequent Adder and Viper crackdown on Dark Caste had chilled rebellious tendencies for a time.

An unforeseen complication was waiting for them in the CIC however, Claude hovered toward a sphere anchored by heavy cables to the 'top' and 'bottom' of the compartment. There was writing and radioactive warnings on it, 'Type 21 Thermonuclear Vacuum Mine, Serial#JGY-58901.'

He calmly spoke despite feeling sheer terror, “Derek, you wouldn't happen to know any disarm codes for a Mongoose Nuclear Mine?”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #27 on: 02 September 2020, 13:05:08 »
Claude anchored himself to the CIC deck plates and detached the basic toolkit attached to the CSS thigh pouch. “Mastodon I am opening a video feed. If this type twenty-one mine is active I need to disarm it.”

Derek Regnar and Nina Tanaga were in a flurry recalling the light T-3 tugs and boarding party. Evan along with the other Mandrill Marines were still in the CIC and refused the recall. As Claude looked around the titanium sphere before him he saw the others waiting. “What are you doing? Leave! That's an order!

This mine might only destroy the ship. The Mastodon could still make it.”

“Claude, You don't know how to disarm a Nuclear Mine.”
“Aff, but I have armed them. Get out!”
The Marines lingered for a moment more before dropping their tools and jetting away on their thrusters. “How's that technical readout coming Derek?”

The Newt's voice came in even despite the potential threat, living in the unforgiving expanse of space gave one a certain elevated sense of true risk. “I found one but it dates back to the Star League. I cannot find any record of Mongoose having nuclear mines in their inventory.”
“Well they are just full of surprises then. There's no external sign that indicates whether it is armed or not. The ones I use have a blinking light. Blinking Red is dead. Steady Green is great.”

He turned off the gauntlet lights instead using the ones on his helmet to inspect the sphere just larger than a medicine ball. “Let's find this access panel.” He found and used the small screwdriver to remove the panel revealing a mess of circuit boards and small wires. “I'm in.”

There should be a panel that looks like this, a picture appeared in the lower right corner of his HUD. “You need to carefully remove it and desolder the wires. That should disengage the trigger sequence.”

“Aff, searching now.”
Claude probed the circuit boards and found the target one gently lifting it and desoldering the wires to disable the centuries old Thermonuclear trigger. He breathed a sigh of relief with the circuit board floating in mid-air. “That wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be Derek.”
“You are lucky, it might be dead. We will secure the device and dispose of it later.”

Claude thought about that, “Can you reprogram the trigger?”
Nina Tanaga's voice came in over the radio, “What do you want? To put it in your room! No way! Let the Newts dispose of it.”
Joseph Kline joined in, “I think we should hear him out Nina. Why do you want a pet nuke Claude?”
“It might be useful later.”
He began cutting the steel cables that suspended the device in the middle of the compartment, “A surprise that no one expects us to possess. Can you recondition the mine Derek?”
“I can't but we can certainly find someone in Newgrange City...Although Security obviously won't let you bring it aboard.

It will have to be done in a station or one of these Warship hulks when we are done. Preferably a disposable one. These devices can be touchy.”

“Mastodon Flight Ops, I request a shuttle to re-position this mine somewhere safer.”
“En route to your nearest airlock Star Commander Goulet.”

A month later Star Commander Claude Goulet was once more wearing his CSS and seated in a S-7C shuttle near the L4 point of Circe IV. The view-screen was dominated by the white egg shaped Behemoth dropship freighter NCS Wusong. A folded jump-capable Cagework (Space Drydock) station the NCS Roland Tusker was being pushed away from the Free Guilds Tramp FGS Croupierre by a trio of T-3 Tugs. Claude looked over to Derek Regnar with surprise.

“Derek, I had expected some support from Newgrange. but you didn't tell me the Wusong was coming. Isn't that one of the core habitat modules of Newgrange City?”

“Aff, Star Commander. The Elders want the Painkiller operational so they sent a large contingent of workers to aid us in getting it jump capable when we are done with the smaller ships. We will honor the initial bargain we made with you. Your ships go first in the Yard. It will take us longer to prepare the Painkiller.”

The S-7C docked in one of the Behemoth's twenty four small craft bays. When the light turned green Superior Derek Regnar and Star Commander Claude Goulet exited into a busy dock surrounded by exoskeleton wearing Laborers and Techs, one of the large versions lifting a two ton cargo container. More were following him into the hull of an S-7C. Most of the small craft in this bay were of that type and Claude could see most were ready to launch. “How many people work here?”

“The Wusong can support sixteen hundred individuals with minimal imports. There are about nineteen on staff now but some will transfer to the Cagework once it is in position under my supervision. Between the Mastodon, Cagework, and Wusong there are about twenty one hundred individuals and forty eight small craft.

By my estimates we can get your three Warships jump capable and heading toward Newgrange by year end. Weapon outfitting, armor repairs, your requested adjustments, and final shakedowns will take most of next year. By the time the Muraca leaves the Painkiller should be ready to fill it.”

Claude and Derek walked through the corridors and found them mostly empty. Despite having a large crew contingent most of the crew were away working. They would return to the normal 12 hour spacer shift once they settled in. The walls were well decorated with murals and other pieces of art that gave it a feel much like any other Clan enclave block housing just one that was capable of surviving in space more with minimal imports.

Derek entered the Bridge of the Wusong and was to Claude's surprise saluted by the shorter black haired female Captain. The two embraced for a moment and said something in Cantonese that Claude couldn't understand despite learning some during his time with the Newts.
“Star Commander this is my cousin Captain Valley Regnar. Captain of the Wusong this year.”

“Just Val please. Pleasure to meet you Star Commander Goulet. We will be seeing a lot of each other for the next several months. Perhaps longer if you come to Newgrange City and oversee the operation. Welcome aboard. Derek will show you to your cabin after the tour.

Now Superior I have to get back to work. Thank you for the initial plans, the Comm's Room is all yours until the Cagework is deployed.”

“Thank you Captain.”

Derek and Claude continued their tour during which time he attempted to memorized the kilometers of corridors that cut throughout the ship. There were massive hydroponic gardens, fish tanks, relatively spacious cabins, well equipped infirmary, large rec area with multiple bays for racquet sports and handball both popular sports with Spacers, a Sauna/Spa/Bathhouse, and a massive galley that smelled of spiced vegetables and pan fried fish.

The two of them sat down to filling meal in a room that could seat four hundred. “This is an impressive ship. The Mastodon was the nicest accommodations I had ever been on.”
“Definitely helps the overcrowding when you are only using half the slots. Filling the rest with stuff salvaged from a Scientist's habitat definitely helped. They were weird but had some nice stuff.

It gets crowded and much louder when everyone is here but at least the air exchanges are top notch. The Elders want you to train our security team while you are here. There should be enough weapons salvaged from the Caretaker station.

The Cloud Cobras have extended Newgrange and the Tanite Worlds a great deal of freedom but with the Burrocks gone and Adders strengthening their hold on the Homeworlds they fear they will make some examples of the Dark Caste.

Newgrange City cannot escape its system but we think the Painkiller and our own forces will be enough to secure it against future aggression. You are building your Clan's future. We Mongooses intend to do the same.”


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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #28 on: 02 September 2020, 21:27:29 »
Interesting weaving of the story!  Thank you, still trucking with this fan story!
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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"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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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #29 on: 04 September 2020, 00:20:51 »
07/18/3060 Location – Eden, Pentagon Worlds

Star Colonel Zigfried Ravenwater hung out the side door of his Anhur VTOL as it veered away from the black smoke rising from the former W-5 Factory complex. The Wolf factory had been traded to the Hell's Horses earlier this year as part of the ongoing 'contracting' of the Hell's Horses to the Wolves. It had been led to nothing but trouble since and had only just started producing again after retooling at Wolf expense to make the workhorse Pouncer instead of the scout Phantom; which was phased out by Khan Ward for political reasons.

The Star Colonel slung his Mauser (IIC) over the shoulder where it rested gently on his heavy armor jacket and hopped out before the Anhur touched tarmac. Laborers from the nearby fire service wearing silvered fire-fighting suits followed him and ran towards the flames desperately trying to save as much as they could of the factory. Hell’s Horses Patrolmen in heavy armor with gas masks on stood guard over the helipad or were in the process of clearing the complex of hostiles and inspecting it for sabotage.

Zig ordered the guards to aid the Patrolmen and walked toward the command post where a sleek Ares Light Tank was parked. The vehicle was covered in mud and sticks that blended in perfectly with its forest camouflage. Warriors inside popped the hatches and saluted him before returning to their duties. Within the command post was a young Tank Warrior whose Nova was assigned to this sector’s security but who had been out on patrol when the attack came. “Nova Captain Murphy. This is the third attack this year.”

He turned and looked up at the imposing Elemental before him. “Aff, Sir. We are already searching them out. We got here as soon as we heard the call from the local Patrol. The Dee-Forty Comm-sat was jammed from a ground station so we were not able to respond faster.”

The Nova Captain shifted his SMG to the other shoulder in order to key the remote, “Earlier this morning this facility was attacked by a Star of Hovertanks,” The video screen in the Command Post came on and displayed security footage from one of the damaged turrets that surrounded the complex added after the first attack. Ten fast hovertanks come into view and fired on the security teams using tear gas missiles from a turret mounted launcher and the 5cm laser next to it.

“These tanks are either Harriers from a Brian Cache or new construction based on them. They are fast and powerful with a rear mounted flamer that is responsible for much of the structural damage and the wildfire out front. We can tell that these tanks were armed with the old intermediate weapons developed during the Golden Century based on initial BDA.

The Bandits swept through damaging the heavy weapon turrets and disabling the Patrol’s machine gun emplacements.”
The mysterious OD painted tanks broke off and were followed by smaller hover vehicles that slowed down and opened their roofs to deploy squads of troops equipped with jump capable PALs which proceeded to clear the concrete and earthwork wall surrounding the factory. “and were followed by these six transports which are obviously based on the Maultier.”

Nova Captain Murphy zoomed in on one of the hostile troops taking in the detail of the PAL (Power Armor Light) obviously based on the Nighthawk used by SLDF Special Forces and still in use by some Clan Watch Special Groups principally within the Hell's Horses and Steel Vipers with large infantry forces.

The video then went inside the complex where the PAL troops engaged the Hell's Horse Security Team in close range combat including hand to hand. The lightly equipped Security force was cut down and the gates opened allowing the tanks, transports, and 4 BFFL Heavy Hovertrucks with their attached flatbed sleds access.

Murphy stopped the video again zooming in on one of the PAL troopers with spiderweb styled decoration on their suit along with the glyph for the Bandit group known as The Shamblers. “Same people, better equipment than past attacks. They were using Nine-Sixty Mausers with frag and inferno grenades.”

“We will find them and hunt them down. What did they take this time?”

The video returned with the PAL troops standing upon the flatbed hover sleds now loaded down with equipment. “Eight unarmed Pouncers, crates of Small Arms, Ammo, Power Packs, and Explosives for my unit. There are some missing Laborers and Techs, so they were likely kidnapped if not traitors.”

“Thank You Nova Captain. I will get a Rhino Star and some heavier units assigned to this facility. Clearly fortifications and weapons emplacements are not going to be enough if they keep upping their forces we will have to do the same. I will join you in the field after we are assured the complex is secure.”

“Aff Star Colonel, The Command Post is yours.”
The Nova Captain grabbed his helmet from the table and walked out. Moments later the Ares powered up and sped off in the direction of ‘The Minotaur Shatters’. A vast and tangled marshland created in the wake of a Warship’s (The SLS Minotaur) orbital bombardment during the Pentagon Civil War. Magnus took a moment to rewind the video back towards one of the PAL troopers as they stabbed one of his Patrolmen with the Mauser’s bayonet.

He slammed his fist down denting the desk, “How many times do we have to squash you bugs?”

The Star Colonel called in his cards to get the heavier equipment from the depot at Petrograd Bay. He was currently the highest-ranking Warrior on the planet that was once one of the most productive Pentagon worlds and a major asset to the four Clans that shared it.

That had changed in the past year as the Smoke Jaguar enclaves on world were rapidly seized by the Horses, Wolves, and Falcons with their few Warriors and many Civilians sent toward the Inner Sphere or relocated to the Kerensky Cluster. Whole enclaves became ghost towns overnight as the three Hell’s Horses Potemkin Troop Cruisers started down the Exodus road from Eden with their drop collars and cargo bays fully loaded. The strain of it all in the same year was so significant that it was causing the whole carefully balanced economy of Clanspace to sputter and die out in some parts.

While the Warriors were away the Bandits came out to prey upon and scavenge the bones of the weak. Last year had been rough with the Burrock Absorption but this year was shaping up to be just as active despite the 40th Mechanized and Horse Patrol raiding Dark Caste settlements shutting down illegal mines and blowing up their equipment. More just appeared as if by magic or treachery and they were no closer to finding the smugglers.

Zigfried carried his weapon at the ready as he surveyed the battle damage. Widowmaker styled graffiti had been painted on the walls of the factory complex insulting 'The Pony Boys.' He could still catch a whiff of the CS gas used to disable his soldiers even after hours of exposure to the elements. It would be expensive to equip the whole Patrol force with gas masks but this time it was only an irritant next time it could be something more potent.

He ascended the ramparts of the earthen wall that the Combat Engineers had erected and thought of what it would take to disable another hovertank strike. The factory was built in the middle of a vast open field with a small portion of it paved over with Ferrocrete for dropships to land and takeoff without putting a giant crater in the ground with their thrusters.

Angled steel obstacles might help but now they had battlemechs and it would be difficult to range them with the fixed weapon emplacements already installed. One of the double Flak Fives (LBX5) was completely melted away from laser fire and that was the best weapon to use against a hovertank. It wasn't a popular one with Mechwarriors that always got first pick of equipment and his factory particularly since it had been damaged several times would be low on the list of priorities for Khan Fletcher.

As far as the eye could see the grass was blackened by the ongoing wildfire caused by the hovertanks and he felt a grim sense of emptiness. “Chaos is the currency of ambition. Choose your paths wisely my Khans or we will end broken. Seyla”