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Author Topic: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III (Complete, Comments welcome)  (Read 43881 times)


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09/28/3069 07:41 Location – WOBS Light of Faith (Baron Destroyer), Aspropirgos Zenith Point, Free Worlds League

Thomas Marik, The Master of the Word of Blake, woke to the phantom pain in his arms again, the fifth time in the past twenty hours since their installation.  The long surgery taxed his eighty year old body but was necessary to fix the damage that Magestrix Emma Centrella wrought.

He cautiously moved them feeling the fine myomer tendons constrict and acclimating himself to the haptic and temperature sensors on the metallic chassis, slowly touching each fingertip to the thumb in turn.  Sensing that it was cold without having to check the multiple streams of AR data that scrolled across his one cybernetic eye.  Since the arms were a newer model they would require an embarrassing week long adjustment period to use with proper dexterity.

Thomas undid himself from the restraints that kept him from drifting in free-fall.  The pieces of him that were flesh or bone ached in the empty cold of his quarters. Their number had decreased over the years but the impure weakness of this fleshy vessel could not be completely redone yet.  Perhaps one day soon he could fully ascend this limited existence.

The old man clumsily pulled himself to the command center past the quarters of his entourage.  A small portion of the old Thomas Marik was missing the secretary that had served many purposes over the years.  With her death another piece of the old man died and The Master was strengthened.  The fact that it was Emma that killed her enraged him more.  Six Santa Anas nuclear missiles on her capital wasn't enough to cleanse that wrenched woman and repay her treachery.

The holotank came to life showing a grand projection of the Inner Sphere in a 3d image. The high tech device was tied to the mobile HPG added to centuries old vessel during recommissioning.  When the HPGs started going malfunctioning it had been isolated to protect the valuable command system. 

Now the latest details were filled in by a think tank housed aboard rather than updated from The Word of Blake's ROM network.  All of their data was hopelessly out of date, transferred by courier jumpships from across the corners of the Inner Sphere.  Discrete details were vague but trends could be predicted and it wasn't looking good for his Order.

Emma's words came back to his mind; as much as he wanted to dismiss them.  The two of them had collaborated for slightly more than a decade.  She was the only one with a working knowledge of the Word that was close to equaling his own.  There was even a rumor that she was the mysterious Master of the Word of Blake which he felt she planted to needle him.

Her competence and discretion was why he had trusted her to fulfill his most sensitive task.  He needed an heir, a disciple, one with regal bearing, and a certain skill set or the Word of Blake would die with him and the apostate COMSTAR cronies would reassert themselves. 

Prince Arthur Steiner-Davion was the ideal candidate, not only was he well educated but he had a gift of oratory, handsome features, was a battle proven warrior, and clever as well.  He had suggested to his double, the now Thomas Halas, that he should begin negotiations to marry the boy to his bastard daughter, Isis.  The man chose differently sending her to Sun-Tzu Liao to secure his border and attempt to control the inexperienced Chancellor.  Old Thomas still wondered what happened to Isis, she had fled to Luthien years ago then disappeared to parts unknown.

Sun-Tzu proved himself unreliable Thomas Halas' attempts to use the woman as leverage failed, both had underestimated the man's cunning.  He had seen through their deceptions and kept Isis away even using her to start a war to reclaim his Aunt's worlds.  When she departed Emma was right there with a better offer; her own vivacious daughter Naomi.  The Canopian Princess had proven more adept at playing to her husband's grandiose aspirations.

Even her oldest daughter had been a pawn, Danai was meant to marry Arthur's late brother, Victor Steiner-Davion, making her most powerful mother-in-law in the Inner Sphere to a noted mama's boy.  The MAF sent their fiery Warrior Princess and a crack MAF battalion as well as a large exploitation team on a long military journey, the only periphery realm to do so.  Sun-Tzu thought it expedient to use an allies' military instead of his own but Emma got the better hand of the matter although her gambit failed with both Victor and Danai's deaths. 

Now her youngest daughter was likely with Arthur playing to his chivalric ideals like a harp.  Arthur would never follow Thomas now that he had killed his potential mother-in-law with nuclear hellfire no matter how noble his intentions.  “Damn that Canopian bitch!”
She had been right, all of his deputies and allies were lacking and The Word of Blake’s power was ebbing uncontrollably.  His vision of a Clan free Inner Sphere united under The Word of Blake had been shattered and his pawns had thought to play their own game.  A game they were no properly equipped to play.

They were to be the shock troops sent on a suicide mission against the Clan Homeworlds that would finally rid the universe of Kerensky's dreadful spawn.  Those that sought to take Terra with a religious zeal only matched by the Word of Blake's devotion to its protection at all costs.  Their numbers not large enough to bring down the Federated Commonwealth, such a feat was audacious even under the best of circumstances.  Without the mighty Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery anchoring the Kapetyn Compact an uncoordinated and embattled Free World's League and The Trinity Alliance couldn't do it even with massive assistance from The Word of Blake.

He brought up his deputies latest reports, looking at them with dismay.

Gibson in the League lit up and above appeared a tri-vid picture of The Master's most loyal disciple Apollyon.  The cyborg was overseeing the relocation of the Word's assets there to the Protectorate with half the Shadow Divisions and the FWLS Santorini's Battle Group to protect against commerce raiders or spoiler attacks by rebel Free Worlders. His Manei Domini while competent were too few and threw themselves recklessly into battle just as they had been trained.  Already the remaining half dozen divisions were being broken up and deployed at the battalion (III) level to augment the regular WOBM forces and provide “incentive” for the Militia.

Cavanaugh II, in the Lyran Bolan Theater was next, Cameron St Jamais' weary face projected above it.  The First Army of Blake was currently based there but battered themselves against Reinhardt Steiner's Steel Wall of an LCAF.  The First had made progress while their enemy was engaged with the now Jade Wolves but couldn't hold Son Hoa or Rahne or make progress toward more crucial objectives.  Their position rapidly worsening as their supply lines were constantly under attack by General Photon Brett-Marik's Army of True Patriots.

In the Tikonov Republic and greater Free Worlds League, the undermanned Second Army were running out of options as they were harried from all angles.  Precentor Douglas Firborg, the sixth Commander of that Army this year was folding under the constant pressure.  The Third Army was scattered throughout the Capellan Confederation and under pressure.  Precentor Xiang Han was pulling back to regroup with the Second Army and ensure the supply lines to the Blakist Protectorate (All worlds within a single jump to Terra) secured by the Fourth Army remained open to the First and Second Armies.

Next was the Commonwealth's Terran March, St Jamais' ill-advised relationship to and support of Kali Liao had backfired spectacularly.  The unpredictable woman's face loomed large, it was heavily tattooed, lean, but she could have been attractive if she weren't so crazy.  Her Thuggee death cult was more a danger to their allies than their enemies.  She was currently engaged in a bloody and ultimately fruitless battle against her cousins, the Allard-Liaos, and was being hounded by her sister-in-law, Naomi Centrella-Liao.  Eventually she would calm down and come under the sway of her big brother again.  Right now she was a murderous cyclone that was lashing out at everything and everyone with equal abandon.

The latest reports to come in were from the Circinus where Precentor Calvin McIntyre's Black Warriors were fighting the Commonwealth backed Hegemony in a brutal no holds barred conflict, ascended pirate kingdom versus ascended pirate kingdom.  Caesar Julius O'Reilly was winning his realm supported by the Commonwealth's vast military industry and deep pockets.  Incredulous reports even stated that Clan machines were showing up in the Legions and that the Caesar himself rode a powerful Dire Wolf Omnimech into battle. 

No amount of League or Word support could reverse the Federation's inevitable defeat and without the Canopian's ruthlessly efficient Ebon Magistrate to bolster them once more his undisciplined Black Warriors were being taken apart piecemeal by Julius' Legions.  It was unfortunate, Calvin had been a promising candidate to be The Master's protege but lacked the necessary discipline and bearing Thomas was looking for in a successor.

ROM's Alexander Kernoff was recuperating on New Earth after being injured in an assassination attempt orchestrated by the TNGB, the Tikonov Republic's secret service combined the best training and worst ethical oversight of the Commonwealth's clandestine services in one agency.  His ROM operatives were being uncovered at an alarming rate by MIIO and the LIC's Molehunters.  Their biggest success, the support of the traditionalist militant Black Dragon Society that destabilized the Draconis Combine with the goal of using it to attack the Commonwealth on three fronts was being undone. Franklin Sakamoto and his half-brother Minoru Nova Cat were getting closer to finding their brother and comatose father, both of whom were in ROM's custody.  When either Franklin or Minoru brought the Combine's Warlords to heel or the sword the Draconis Combine would roar again and not in the Word's favor.

Odessa in the Lyran Commonwealth lit up next, Gregory Zwick and the bulk of the Blakist Fleet were tied up at the shipyards of The Ruins of Gabriel in that system or the Titan Yards around Sol. Harried by Warships throughout the Inner Sphere with heavy casualties among the difficult to replace ships they were barely holding on against the Commonwealth's Third Fleet.  The constant need to repair cost them precious momentum while they limped back to the shipyard as they were unable to deploy the few mobile repair yards they possessed because everywhere was hostile space.

The detente between the six Inner Sphere Clans freed up more Hell’s Horses and Wolf assets that would otherwise be guarding the Ghost Bear border.  Jade Wolf vessels were moving to reinforce Reinhardt Steiner’s defense of the Bolan Theater while Wolves secured major worlds with Hell's Horses' support.

Worse yet the HPG network on which the Word of Blake’s reputation and prosperity depended were still down after nearly a year.  Sabotaged by unknown entities and the best technologists in the Inner Sphere couldn't discern the root issue.  Without communication all The Master's plans had gone to hell as his deputies improvised and made moves on their own initiative rather than wait for coordination with their peers.
He pulled up a list of remaining assets paging through the names of units that might have already been defeated or were en route to Terra.  He switching the view to the library of Blakist covert programs greenlit or were awaiting his authorization.  The Word of Blake had lost the hearts and minds but they could still win the war. 


He carefully typed a command into a console that would be added to the outgoing queue taking time to ensure his fingers responded to his thoughts properly.  Six Santa Anas on Crimson would just be the beginning.  The Word of Blake had thousands of weapons of mass destruction originally destined to annihilate every soul in the Kerensky Cluster on standby.  Some were flashier than others but they all did the same thing in the end. 

This was the final chapter prophesied.  He had hoped to unite the Inner Sphere under nobler goals but its inherent wickedness denied them a future of golden prosperity under a Star League ruled under Blake's Will. 

They would only have pain until they saw the light.  Blake's Word would cleanse them of their folly one way or another.

His enemies would have to accept that the price of victory would be steep and they would bear it on their minds, bodies, and souls just as The Master had.

David CGB

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #1 on: 19 November 2018, 02:28:01 »
very nice, wondering what will come
Federated Suns fan forever, Ghost Bear Fan since 1992, and as a Ghost Bear David Bekker star captain (in an Alt TL Loremaster)


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #2 on: 19 November 2018, 09:29:01 »
very nice, wondering what will come

Bad things


11/07/3069 08:19 Location – ONI Mischief Night, Aea Zenith Point, Taurian Concordat

Deep within the bowels of the Seeker was the “Black Chamber” where the hyperspace transmitter/receiver was kept under observation at all times.  ONI Signals Operator Timothy Colorado paged through todays transmissions, incoming and outgoing, the latest incoming was unexpected.  He checked the codes again, and once more for certainty.  “Red Gold, that can’t be right.  Jane take a look at this, make sure I’m not dreaming.”

Jane Fontaine looked over the print out from the K-6 Black Box, the machine was built into the Seeker, the armored casing complete with a kill switch that would detonate sixteen kilograms of Pentaglycerine that would shatter the immensely expensive and highly sensitive piece of equipment, “Let me see that codebook.”

He pushed the metal bound binder toward her and it floated end over end until she grabbed it.  She paged through the recognized signals.  “You’re not dreaming but that doesn’t mean this makes any sense.  We need the Major.”

“Already paged him.”

ONI Major Terrance Vuri was not pleased to be woken up during his off shift, he arrived in the black chamber in a fury.  “What the hell?  I just need started some rack time.  What’s so damn important?”

“Sir, we have a high priority transmission from an unconventional station on four channels.”
“What do you mean unconventional? Speak up Timmy!”
“Sir, the transmission is coming from Victor Steiner-Davion’s old station using his personal priority codes.”
“That’s not possible!  The Camelot and its black box was decommissioned by the Archon-Princess years ago and even if it was active no one would have access to those codes.”

Jane opened the codebook to the sequence used, “It’s an older code sir but it checks out.  It was never removed perhaps in error since the codes were never used.”
“What does it say?”

She held up a thin strip of paper taking a moment to be certain she decipher it correctly, “Shortform:  it says that Taurus is about to be hit with an Asteroid on the Twentieth.  That the Asteroid was put in motion by The Word of Blake as a KEI weapon.  Additionally Grover Shraplen and his inner circle were killed in a coup.”

“That is what it says sir.”
“Where would they get that kind of tech?  It’s a major escalation if true.”
“Don’t know sir.  It’s your call whether you want to inform the Admiral or not.  I think we should check it out just to find out who transmitted this message assuming they survive.”

“I don’t know if we will be able to make it to Taurus before the Twentieth.  We are just beginning to recharge the cores now and can’t leave the other jumpships without escorts this deep into enemy territory.”

Terrance put his hand to his forehead, this was just too bizarre.  They were so close to Regis’ Roost and the Concordat Cageworks for these kinds of detours, the Admiral was going to be just as confused.

“I will talk to the Admiral right away.”

12/05/3069 11:32 Location – TDF Asteroid Defense Base 7, Taurus, Taurian Concordat

Rabid Fox Team 456 waited while two of their number prepared a heavy electric cutter to breach the airlock.  One man held the device in a harness and had an extra shield covering his helmet while the other had the large power pack it drew upon and assisted when it was in use.  Warning signs indicated the station was in quarantine and that meant the Rabid Foxes had to breach the door; the TDF didn’t exactly give the DMI access codes to their bases. 

Their C-7 Forced Entry Transport was docked inside the hanger of a cored out asteroid defense base dating back to just past the Reunification War several centuries ago but the inside was renovated less than five years ago according to records and was well maintained. 

Two massive 55 centimeter capital lasers and dozens of smaller lasers for defense had been installed to protect Taurus from further Davion aggressions.  Karmic perhaps that a Federated Suns cruiser task force was now leading search and rescue operations rather than destroying the last cage-works capable of making a warship in the periphery. 

The Foxes had taken their time coming in, frequently attempting to hail the TDF defenders on multiple frequencies but all they received was dead air.  Their scanners determined that the nuclear fission reactor at the core of the station was still active and intact, surface features showed no signs of external damage, the weapons did track automatically but didn’t engage without a human in the loop.  This team and four others were working their way through the bases to determine why they didn’t fire on the asteroid that hit Taurus slightly more than two weeks ago killing almost all of its nearly four billion inhabitants.

“Almost ready Sergeant.”
“Helmets on, we are under full hazard protocol, don’t know if the station is in quarantine for a reason but have to assume that it is.  Buddy checks on seals.  Everyone check your rad tags and chemical sensors.  Maui get your biologicals kit ready, I want samples for analysis if we find anything off inside.”

The Rabid Foxes donned their full vacuum armor and engaged the over pressure in their compartment to keep suspected airborne contaminants out.
“Lock us out El Tee”

The C-7 was based on the S-7 Orbit to Orbit transport and had two cargo compartments to handle the frequent empty space transfers of material.  The commandoes were currently in the smaller air-locked compartment isolated from the main body and follow on crews.  The light on the large bay doors that separated them went red indicating complete isolation in the event of a contamination.

“Don’t do anything stupid Sergeant, if you find hostiles or acute hazards fall back.  Can’t trust anything these days.”
“Roger El Tee”

“Crush it”

The two commandoes maneuvered the cutting jaws into position and used them to break through the military grade armor protecting the airlock with a crashing noise only softened by the built in audio filters in his helmet.  The gap widened and the over pressure filled the antechamber.  The Rabid Foxes carefully entered the jagged hole in the airlock.  One of their number deploying an airtight membrane to seal the door behind them.  “One more to go.”

The ‘chewy’ walked forward slowly followed by his ‘sparky’, “I hope so, this thing is damn heavy.  We don’t want to carry it around all day.”
“Her Majesty’s Department of Military Intelligence made it as light as possible Greg.”

He hefted the device to the second door, “Yeah?  Really feeling the love in my lumbars Katrina.  Ready when you are Sarge.”

Sergeant Palisade looked toward the sealed gap behind him, its installer gave him a thumbs up, indicated that no over-pressure was making it through.  “Go”

The noise was much louder in the smaller antechamber than it was in the C-7 but the audio filters helped.  Rabid Foxes deployed an auxiliary membrane to keep the area somewhat clean of additional contamination.  Bright white lights illuminated the large cargo bay that tied into the hanger complex, idled industrial exoskeletons waited in their charging cradles, but the place was abandoned except for a cleaning drone that worked its way through the racks of supplies and a variety of overhead transports.  “Well at least no one is shooting at us.”

“I hope it stays that way corporal but if it doesn’t draw your side-arm.  I still have a suspicion that this might be a trap.  Greg and Doug commandeer one of those overhead rail transports.”

The two of them found a working sled out, unencumbered themselves by strapping the unit to one of the sides, drew their sidearms, and pushed it into position.  The railway was attached to a series of similar ones that lined up with five stories of wide corridors, each capable of housing a buckets and two men abreast or a heavy exoskeleton on either side.  Transporting bulky goods in fractional gravity was hard and the only way to do it economically was an overhead bucket system like this.  Individuals could hitch a ride on a self-propelled handle or sled to traverse the station rapidly, “We’re ready”

“Alright team we have to reach the command bunker.  Smith, Jones, you two stay here and watch our ride out.  The rest of you with me.  We’re going to tie this sled to another one.  Keep an eye out for signs pointing to the command bunker and then we’ll figure out what is going on.”

The Rabid Foxes held onto the handles and about a hundred meters before they came upon the corpse of a TDF soldier floating in the hallway.  The dead man was facing away from them and putrid.  The Foxes stopped their sled and Sergeant Palisade looked at the dead man. He was lucky they had taken the anti-vomit medication before coming here or else he might be choking on his own puke.  He motioned to the medic that was coming to examine the corpse. “Maui, I don’t need your biologics kit to tell me what this man died of.”

“What is it Sarge?”

“I’ve seen this before, on Indicass in Sixty Two.


This base was nerve gassed, probably only hours before the asteroid was sent toward Taurus.  Since it has been two weeks the agent is probably inert now but we still need to keep biologics out. 

We are a morgue detail now Four Fifty-Six, so you can holster your sidearm. 

Jenkins, tell the Commander to bring in a Chaplain and another shot of Ex-V (no vomit medication).  We might be here for a while.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #3 on: 20 November 2018, 07:36:00 »
10/30/3069 Location – Colonial Square, Marcus, Crofton, Federated Commonwealth

Colonial Square was filled with Red and Gold banners emblazoned with the Federated Commonwealth crest all the way down the main avenue where a Battlemech lance of the 1st Outback Legion stood guard.  The tall flag pole in front of Marcus' capital house was currently vacant but a group of AFFC soldiers in dress uniforms were standing nearby. 

The newly repaired and repainted BattlemasterBlack Prince” stood off to the side with other AFFC and former Hellion mechs, each one locked in a salute as Peter Steiner-Davion ascended the stage.  He looked like Hanse Davion had been reborn and the clock turned back to when he was in his prime.  Short red hair catching the breeze, spurs gently clanging on the steps behind him, the rest of his green and gold uniform neat and pressed.  A large AFFC flag was raised up the flagpole replacing the one the Hellions removed during their occupation of the planet.

The citizens in the square let out an audible gasp as he settled in front of the podium for his first public appearance in more than a decade.  They had been expecting Yvonne to make the address today. 

A collective calm enveloped the square as everyone held their breaths all were watching the vidscreens and listening closely to the speaker trucks strategically set up to ensure everyone heard what was said today.  This was the first public appearance of any Steiner-Davion Prince since Arthur's ill-fated address to the people of Robinson years ago and that incident had started two wars.

Yvonne followed him up the stairs holding the hand of her young niece Victoria.  Her sister-in-law Daphne was carrying her son, Jacob, in her arms.  The toddler could walk but they didn't want him to trip in front of the cameras as he might hurt himself.  Both stood behind Peter just out of frame for close in shots, everything had been rehearsed over and over again for the past three days.

Yvonne choose not to wear her formal AFFC uniform for the occasion instead choosing an appropriate yet understated outfit fit for a Grand Duchess.  She had provided Daphne an outfit suitable for a Princess-Consort from her collection which far outshined her own selection.  She had protested but Yvonne was adamant that today's event would be about them not her even though she had a large part to play. 

Even with more than a year knowing the truth, she still hadn't processed the fact that the washed up Mechwarrior she married in the Far Looker colonies was actually a Prince; and that meant the little orphan girl he married was a Princess just like the stories.  However the stories had not prepared her for the horrors she had seen on Minette and she prayed every night that they were strong enough to bear the responsibility he had avoided for so long.  A part of her mind still tried to convince her to run back to Randis with her children far away from the pain and suffering in the Inner Sphere but she wouldn't leave Peter and he had chosen to make a stand here in the Commonwealth.

The cameras zoomed in on Peter's face as he cleared his throat, “Greetings people of Crofton and the Federated Commonwealth.  For those of you who haven't realized who I am I will reintroduce myself.  I am Peter Steiner-Davion, Prince, Husband, and Father:
Son of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner;
Brother to the late Archon-Prince Victor;
Late Prince Arthur;”
Peter looked toward his sister who nodded slightly, “Yvonne, Grand Duchess of the Federation Outback,
and Katherine,
Archon-Princess of the Federated Commonwealth."

Murmuring broke out among the crowd, everyone wondering whether Katherine knew her brother was back, “You may be wondering what I have been doing for the past fourteen years.  Many dismissed me as dead and in a way I was.  I wandered throughout the Inner Sphere in disguise shirking my responsibility to my family and realm because I was weak and fearful. 

During my travels I learned many things and grew wiser in the way that any man does.  I found love, married, was happy, sad, lived the anonymous life of a normal man far from here.  Till one day I realized it was all a lie; that when I left the Commonwealth I left a part of myself behind in it.  A part that I was afraid of; with good reason but not reason enough to hide from or cower before it and I came back because I needed to.

Because you all needed me to.

All of you know we live in a dark time, the Hellions occupied this world till less than ten days ago.  Just as my brother came to Coventry to fight the Falcons and save the Commonwealth.  I have come to Crofton with the same goal.

Citizens, enemies assail us from every direction including within, but like all hard times these will pass. 

The cyclic nature of conflict in the Inner Sphere is regrettable but I believe is not inevitable.  The four century long circle of conflict must be broken so that my children and yours can live in an era where we build the future, not destroy the present, or stoke past grudges long after the people who feuded are dead.  An era that they only hear about in the stories we grudgingly tell them before they go to bed, as our parents did before us.  Such an age has never existed but that doesn't mean it cannot...or that we should not start on the path to make it.

It will not be an easy task, and I can't do it alone so I implore you to stand with me against the forces of chaos that warp everything we hold dear before our very eyes.  Together we will overcome these grave challenges piece by piece.  Each one of us can contribute something to this noble endeavor and each action will build on the other.  Today marks the first step of many in the right direction. 

With that I ask that Khan Xander Drake of the Hellions step forth.”

Khan Drake marched across the square with the dismounted but still armed Warriors of the Swift Kill Keshik still in their urban camouflage battledress, they had refused parade attire, such things were beneath proper Warriors.  As he passed the military policemen that kept the jeering crowd at bay Xander noticed a little boy with black hair and blue eyes staring at him.

He had seen eyes like that once before in a vid that was now lost to his memory, he couldn't place the face or time.  The lad locked gazes with him, a young boy perhaps 12 in a staring match with the much larger Elemental Khan.  A struggle between fury and sadness evident beneath the steel blue gaze.  The eyes of someone that had experienced much loss in his short life.  A blonde woman in her mid-30s with a young girl in her arms, most likely the boy's guardian.  As the Warriors passed she looked increasingly concerned at her child who kept looking but didn't intervene to stop him. 

The exchange almost caused Xander abandon the agreed upon plan and figure out who the mystery lad was as he was overcome with curiosity.  However he maintained control and continued but noted the lad would be a fine Warrior someday.  Any child with enough courage to stare down a Clan Khan had a bright future ahead of them.  The only regret was that he probably wouldn't serve in the Hellions' Touman.

The Swift Kill Keshik was escorted then isolated before the stage standing tall even as the crowd called for “Death to Pirates.”  When Khan Xander Drake, SaKhan Conner Rood, or Loremaster Amelia Wallace turned they quieted down, each of them whispered, “chalcas cowards,” under their breaths.

Peter ceded the stage to Yvonne and hugged his daughter before standing again, “Khan Drake, your Hellions invaded my sovereign territory.  An offense that would normally have you branded as pirates and forced to stand in front of a firing squad...or under a gallows. 

However, you did the Outback a noble service by ridding us of the Pirate Scourges and acquitted yourselves with honor and courage under fire while following the formal rules of war.  In light of your service as unwitting as it was, and despite your violent incursion I am willing to grant you and your Clan clemency and land-holds in exchange for an oath of service to the Grand Duke of Minette, March Lord of the Outback, as per the Compact that currently sits before us.  Do you accept my conditions?”

The crowd was awed then booed, the Hellions had been a light touch occupation force but they had killed possibly thousands of AFFC soldiers during their invasion and such actions were felt to require consequence.  The fact that the Grand Duchess extended them not only landholds but forgave them put them on edge.  Crofton military police kept a vigilant eye on the crowd although some of their number lost friends and family during the occupation and would have welcomed the chance to fight clanners man-to-man rather than in machines that bested everything that opposed them.  Concern about the crowd's reaction was one of the reasons Khan Drake had demanded that they still be allowed to carry weapons during this gathering.  The other was that they refused to surrender them.  Warriors by nature were never far from their weapons. 

Khan Drake looked around at his deputies as much as this was prearranged it didn't make it easier for the proud Trueborn Warrior to admit.  He would be forced to accept that he was defeated by a freeborn spheroid.  At least his Clan would survive and with that the Hellions' legacy would continue.  Perhaps he would get a chance to fight Katherine, who was until recently a secret member of the hated Wolf Clan, in the inevitable Civil War between the Steiner-Davion sibkin.  Then it would all be worth it and the Hellions would be poised to leap on Terra in its wake. 

The SaKhan and Loremaster nodded to him, “I will accept your generous offer and fair conditions Grand Duchess Steiner-Davion and with it end the state of war between the Hellions and Federated Commonwealth.”

Yvonne stepped down from the podium and was followed closely by the Outback Legion's new Supreme Commander, Marshal Jamie Francis, and Peter who took positions on either side of Yvonne.  The Hellions' SaKhan and Loremaster mirrored their spheroid counterparts while Yvonne and Xander signed their names to the paper and tied their fates together for better or worse.  Peter hadn't liked this plan but he knew that the alternatives were less desirable.  He needed the Hellions, they needed the Commonwealth, and neither would win in a fight to the death.

Later that night Peter and Yvonne were up at the command table looking over their situation.  The Black Box on ONI Sly Fox was keeping them up to date on the Taurian campaign which was currently the largest operation in the Outback's Area of Concern.  George Hasek's Capellan Marchers were still engaged in SOVERIGN JUSTICE but it was winding down and Tancred Sandoval had deployed to the Combine in order to support stop Black Dragon raids on his worlds which indirectly aided Franklin Sakamoto’s still embattled forces.

“George is your best bet Peter.  His Fusiliers are the most battle hardened command in the AFFC by now.  The bulls are being pushed back and beyond the border now's the time to move before he gets any ambitions toward New Avalon.  He's been too busy defending New Sytis to assert Morgan's claim to the Title of First Prince to the Privy Council.”

“He's no fan of Katherine sure but how am I going to convince him to aid me.  He has everything he needs now and is at the top of his game, he bombarded Sian and once more the St Ives Commonality is independent.”

“You have a couple of weeks to figure it out, the VSD has a few more days till everything is fixed and then it can slow roll to New Syrtis until you come up with something.  I'll stay here and take care of Daphne, the kids, and the Hellions.”

“I like how you separated the two.”
“Just wait until I spend some time alone with Vicky.  Things will never be the same again.”
“Please don't mess my kids up.”

She gave him a sly smile, “I won't, promise”

“I'm sorry I wasn't there for you Yvonne.  There are a lot of things I would change given another chance.”

“How many chances do you need Peter?  You already came back, there's nothing but forward now.  Don't lose sight of that because you feel guilty that you didn't play with your kid sister.  I'm thirty now it's all in the past.  Anyway it’s getting late we should go to bed.”

“Alright goodnight sister.  Keep away from the Khan for at least a night, you need to pace yourself, personal experience.”

Yvonne looked over her shoulder at him incredulous, giving him the best teen girl impression she could muster, “First Gross.  Second, Just because you are starting to act like a First Prince now doesn’t make you Dad. I'll do what and whomever I damn well please as often as I please.  I have plenty of experience too and I'm nowhere near my limit.”

She playfully slammed the door, Peter shook his head and noticed a dark figure scrambling into the open window.  He blinked his eyes and looked again, the shape disappeared but he reached under the table to draw the Serrak pistol concealed in a secret compartment below, holding it close to his chest.  “Who's there?”

A crackly adolescent boy's voice was behind him, “Apologies Ojisan for needing to sneak.”

Peter turned around raising the pistol but saw no one, then he looked down and saw a boy wearing a dark blue suit with a balaclava covering his face, a lock of black hair peeked through as he was bowing.  Shortly followed by soulful steely blue eyes that were looking up towards him.  The pistol was still at the ready this could be a trick, “What the hell kid I could of shot you!  Who are you anyway?  Where's your parents?”

“I am Kitsune Kurita, son of Victor and Omiko.  Can you tell me about my father?”

The pistol clattered to the floor.


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #4 on: 20 November 2018, 09:12:56 »
 :)) Wow, what a way to end the chapter!!  Keep it up!

Dave Talley

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #5 on: 20 November 2018, 11:06:25 »
and a metric ton of crap is about to hit the fan
Resident Smartass since 1998
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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #6 on: 20 November 2018, 16:10:36 »
The hidden secert has come out of the box and katty is not going to very happy with the fox on this one very much. I think Iris is going to have a fit that she gets dragged into this also.


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #7 on: 20 November 2018, 17:27:29 »
11/16/3069 17:17 Location – Niflheim, Dagda, Federated Commonwealth

The world of Dagda in the Federated Commonwealth was sometimes used as a stopover point for bold jump-ships looking to shave their transit times by recharging at its red dwarf star.  Those that merely passed through remained unaware of its secrets.  This so called dead world was anything but these days.

Dagda was similar to Gallery but lacked the rich ore and gemstone deposits of that world lacking as it was a massive moon to churn the inside of the planet.  This lack of easily extracted minerals caused colonists to abandon it during the 29th Century.  The LIC had almost completed an installation in secret here during that time but it too was abandoned with the rest of the colony.

The unnamed and incomplete facility was never occupied and faded from memory until an LIC archivist presented records of it to Archon Katrina Steiner shortly after her ascension.  The Archon sent an expedition to investigate it for Lostech but found nothing of interest at the 'abandoned mine'. 

The expedition leader reported that it had been incredibly difficult to find, especially from orbit.  Any signs of construction had been intentionally obfuscated and the persistent rain and fog removed all surface traces over the centuries.  Ultimately Katrina choose not to utilize the abandoned facility and buried any record of its existence deep in her personal files.  Files that passed to her sister following her death.

Then Princess Katherine was browsing through said files while she was recovering on Gallery.  She recommissioned the facility in secret, financing its completion with money siphoned from the traitor Ryan Steiner’s Free Skye.  Niflheim was finally completed shortly before her own ascension to the Archonship.  Its purpose was to serve as a redoubt should Tharkad have a real chance of falling to enemy powers.

Its existence would have been shared with Peter if he became Archon and she returned to being only Duchess of New Avalon.  Later she expanded the secretly Wolf built Tamar-Tharkad HPG Trunk to the installation for the same reason.

Archon-Princess Katherine Steiner-Davion walked through the drab labyrinth of concrete corridors burrowing deep into the rock. She looked ill, her once golden hair was a dull straw, the little skin that showed from her hooded blue and silver robes had not seen sun for months, and her constitution was weakened by stress, lack of appetite, and fitful sleep.

Her imagination had been running wild of late.  She was a fey queen deep within her unassailable fortress guarded by illusions, chilling fog, and snarling wolves. Lucid nightmares and lurid hallucinations haunted and hunted her wherever she went.  The result of a hex that must have been placed on her.  A portion of her mind whispered that it was just the lack of medication and stimulation but that part spoke only lies and half-truths and she dismissed its concerns without delay.

The realm was under attack it all started with a battle that shattered a city of ice.  The fey queen aided a warrior prince as he valiantly fought to reclaim his homeland from the talons of a great bird.  Then white knights wielding broadswords battered themselves against an iron wall warded by giant golems whose fists shattered stone and that spit fire capable of melting the strongest steel.

Noble beasts flocked to her banner standing against a great eagle, rampaging bull, evil sorceress, and two dragons.  The battle would turn in their favor and then her king would lead his grand host to victory in a final battle that would shake the whole of creation.  Emerging victorious to reclaim the shimmering jewel that was his destiny.  With it her part would be done, her king would be hers alone, and their children would grow into wise and noble rulers, continuing an unbroken and unbreakable dynasty that would rule the new golden kingdom for eternity.

Lost as she was in her mind Katherine eventually found her way back to the third of the facility that was occupied by people.  Wolf Tau Elementals patrolled the halls more out of boredom than the need for security, their heavy footfalls echoing through the narrow corridors. They practiced in full armor in the lower levels where there was nothing they could damage except some ancient concrete and rough stone but only carried their Mauser rifles up here.

Their Mechwarrior brethren went out on maneuvers every day, frequently taking Katherine's sons with them.  Wolf Instructors kept Alaric and Siegfried busy with their Warrior training and Morgan spent most of her time either studying in her room, exercising, eating, or with Katherine.  She was growing restless and moody without friends which broke Katherine's heart during her more lucid moments.  At least when they were traveling she could spend time with other girls; here there was nobody she could freely talk to except her mother and brothers.

Wolf Scientists and ONI Technicians moved with purpose throughout the eight floor.  COMSTAR had traced the root fault of the Whiteout to the Tharkad-Tamar HPG Trunk Line that Katherine had the Wolves install during her reign. She had forgotten that there was an HPG of the same make at this facility prior to her arrival three months ago.  Once she realized that it had never been used and thus might not be afflicted by whatever had thrown the faster than light network into chaos she called in Scientists from both Wolf Clans and ONI's Sigma Section on Tharkad.  They were precisely tearing the machine's hardware apart and looking through the software line by line, comparing it to quarantined samples from other HPGs of Clan and COMSTAR manufacture.

The Federated Commonwealth was ostensibly allied with COMSTAR but she didn't trust them enough to let them in on her parallel research project.  Their radical splinter faction, The Word of Blake, was her current foe and she didn't want to fix the HPGs and possibly allow them to coordinate their forces or be forced to leave for Tharkad before the Valhalla was completely repaired.  The chaos in the HPG network was currently working in the Commonwealth's favor.

Katherine eventually snapped out of her fugue state in time to hear Alaric running and shouting at her. “Come with me.”

“What is it Al?”
“No questions, come on.”

He grabbed her hand and walked her to the small mess hall they used as a family dining room which was currently dark.  It's lights were motion sensitive so Katherine didn't think anything of it.  As she entered the lights turned on revealing Siegfried and Morgan who were both wearing messy aprons behind the table and her favorite meal laid out before them with a messily iced small cake with big letters spelling out, Happy Birthday Mom

All three shouted, “Surprise!”

She was taken aback; lately she hadn't been paying attention to the date on top of the reports.  Everything had been rolling together since she was underground or in a Warship seasons and light never changed.  Katherine had totally forgotten that today was her birthday.  “You made all this?”
“Al and I had help but Morgan did the whole cake by herself.”
“I'm sorry its a little messy.  I need more practice icing.  It was supposed to be a German chocolate cake but I had to make some substitutions because we don't have anything fresh.  I'm not sure how it will taste but I hope you like it.”

“I'm sure it will taste great dear. 

I...I don't know what to say.

Thank You”

The four of them joined in on a group hug, “We wanted to make you something else but..”

“No, it's fine, I have everything I could ever want right here.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #8 on: 22 November 2018, 03:05:14 »
Interesting facility.
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
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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #9 on: 26 November 2018, 17:16:32 »
11/15/3069 23:17 Location - Dormuth, Marik, Free Worlds League

Colonel Alys Hampton’s (Russett-Marik) recently repaired Apollo 2R blazed out of the night sky just outside the Marik planetary capital Dormouth.  The city was under blackout conditions although there were some messages being displayed in IR in support of her Resistance defying the Blakist or “Loyalist” forces that occupied the world.  She had only been on this world a few times in her entire life despite it bearing a portion of her last name.  Always to visit her cousin Corrine who was now currently serving as an unwilling puppet/prisoner as Captain-General on Atreus. 

Her mother, Kristen, had left to be a mercenary while her uncle, Corrine’s Father, Paul remained to eventually rise up as the Minister of Intelligence despite his lack of good sense.  Now Paul had launched a coup which displaced the competent Thomas Halas for him not being Marik enough in a signature Marik move.

He had sent assassins to kill her of both League and Word vintage which made it personal so she returned the favor.  Now she was invading his world with her Krushers supported by a hodgepodge of Galatean mercs known as the AMC (Allied Mercenary Command) paid for by the Commonwealth, disaffected FWLM remnants (The Ragamuffin Regiment) that had flocked to her banner and been recently refitted at Irian, the whole 12th Atrean Dragoons commanded by her husband now Colonel Christian Hampton, and the 1st Federated Suns Armored Cavalry which had been ground down and rebuilt from the ground up twice in as many years.

“Colonel left flank is folding”
“Roger, moving now.”

The Krushers originally a heavy battalion were a much smaller unit than she had at the beginning of the conflict but were still a battle hardened reinforced company that was now used to reinforce the AMC or Ragamuffins.  The 12th Dragoons and 1st ArmCav knew what they were doing and were in good hands under Colonel Hampton and General Zibler.  The Krushers moved quickly through the darkness to find a group of “Rags” heavily engaged against a lance of upteched Goliath Battlemechs. 

The 4 quadruped assaults were pressing slowly toward the company, composed of older medium designs, tracers from autocannon shells, streaks of manmade lightning, and missiles rained down as they neared one another.  However the Goliaths despite their spindly appearance were built tough and even though they payload was lesser the sheer mass of armor and stable firing platform was breaking the inexperienced Ragamuffins.  “Of course it had to be Goliaths, god I hate those things.”

The Krushers were a mostly heavyweight company with a lot of the character of the Lyran state they had long contracted themselves out to.  It was part of what made them so durable and their long service history made them the naturals to liaise with the Commonwealth’s invasion of the Free Worlds League despite the possible blowback of treachery when her cousin Photon and her began their resistance to their uncles.

Alys’ jump jets lit up the night as her battlemech catapulted into the air and onto a nearby rise followed by those of Falconers,Penetrators, Uziels, and Griffins all painted dark purple and gray with a black stripe over their upper arm actuators.

“Get Krushing!”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #10 on: 27 November 2018, 17:20:38 »
11/28/3069 Location - Army of True Patriots HQ, Son Hoa, Federated Commonwealth

General Photon Brett(-Marik)’s Supernova dodged a volley of fire from a Blakist Titan only to be caught by a a strafing Shiva Omnifighter.  The pulse lasers worked their way up his armor like the claws of a wild animal and the shock of the heavy autocannon nearly toppled him in the melee.  “Where’s my Air Cover!”

Two Oni Aerofighters in the colors of the Nova Cat’s Alpha Galaxy burned out of the sky their bellies still cherry hot from reentry to engage the vulnerable Shiva.  The much larger and less maneuverable craft was easy pickings for the battle hardened Nova Cat Aeropilots.  The Shiva was torn up by the Oni’s guns and missiles and lost control for three seconds before crashing into a StarCorps Security Warhammer at high speed transforming both into a debris field with a grand screeching of metal.  The impact happened in slow motion for Photon but was instantaneous.  “That one was lucky, will not happen again General.”

“Sure didn’t feel lucky Star Commodore.  Make sure it doesn’t”

Both Onis boosted back to orbit with a deafening sonic boom that echoed across the field.  The survivors of Clan Nova Cat’s Transcendence Naval Star were supported by Archon-Princess Katherine’s former flagship, the Du Shi Wang Battleship CWS Blood Moon, in engaging a Blakist Task Force led by the Agamemnon cruiser FWLS Hippolyta that sought to deal the death blow to Photon’s rebel army. 

Air Cover was lacking as the Thera Supercarrier ATPS Thessaly and its air arm that Photon brought across the border months ago was being finished and fitted at the Port Sydney Cageworks around Alarion, the only one large enough to handle the massive carrier outside of the Clipperton yards where it was stolen from, with components originally meant for the Mjolnir Battlecruiser FCS Sveltalfheim.  The gargantuan Mjolnir having been lost in a desperate defense earlier this year, the refit process would take nearly six months, a long time when you have a good portion of the Eagle’s Aerie gunning for you.

Photon returned his focus to the Blakist Titan he was facing down, the Assault Battlemech slightly outweighed his own but what mattered what was under the hood and who was in control.  Photon’s black hair was damp against the headband of his neurohelmet as he toggled an Alpha strike of six Clantech ER Large Lasers packing 50% more firepower than the fearsome Awesome he was used to.  “Why do you always have to be such a hothead Photon?”

The six lasers cut deep into the enemy Titan neatly bisecting the already damaged Battlemech, the enemy’s heavy PPC caused critical damage to the Supernova’s right leg actuators and the missiles only made it worse when the reactor engaged the safety overrides and shut the reactor down.  Photon’s mech collapsed in the mud, instantly baking it with the excess heat from the lasers.  The Titan tumbled as the pilot attempted to keep it upright but failed.  The mighty battlemech fell with a grand crash that shattered the left arm that had attempted to slow its descent.

The heat in Photon’s cockpit was unbearable and he popped the top access hatch to prevent parbaking himself.  Outside the battle raged on; both sides completely oblivious that his mech was downed distracted as they were by their own battles.  A squad of StarCorps Security Defender Conventional fighters flew over and dropped their ordnance on a Blakist Armor Company currently engaging their fellow StarCorps Security Armor.  The impact of their 30 HE bombs could be felt through the downed Supernova.  Two of the fighters crashed shortly after while another was trailing smoke after the exchange.

His mech was torn up but could still fight it just needed time to cool down.  He removed his neurohelmet and left the Mech in low power mode, secured the hatch, and walked across the back of the Supernova carefully avoiding the red hot radiator panels.  Upon reaching the edge he hopped off the steaming mech and into the formerly muddy ground around his mech.  Now the ground was steaming but dry and he set off for the downed Titan a hundred meters away. 

While walking he drew the Hawk Eagle pistol he kept in a shoulder harness.  Boldly walking through the middle of the carnage unprotected except by an armored cooling vest as missiles darkened the sky around his little zone of control.  He approached the fallen Battlemech quickly keeping low to avoid detection from its pilot who likely thought himself safe for now in his disabled Battlemech.  The Blakists had launched a surprise attack on his army while they were refitting with the goal to slaughter them and probably level the StarCorps factory in the process so he wasn’t feeling in a merciful mood. 

Photon worked his way up the handholds techs use to inspect mech components in the field keeping his body against the now browned white paint of the WOMB Mech.  He stopped when he saw a logo, a shimmering silver shield emblazoned with a yellow orb surrounded by a black octagon, unlike any WOBM logo he had ever seen.  “What the hell is that?”

He noted it for future reference it was not likely the last they would see of that symbol.  He reached the main cockpit and placed a small demo charge of C8 where the access hatch’s latches were located.  He slide down on the other side of the Titan’s cockpit and triggered the detonator which let off a muffled blast that left the hatch unsecured.  “If you have a gun toss it up or I’m rolling a micro-grenade down there!”

A revolver was tossed outside of the cockpit and Photon kicked it away, “Come on up.”

The Mechwarrior cleared the hatch hands visible to Photon who was leaning against the Titan’s armored cowling.  “You’re making a mistake.”

“Am I now because as I recall you attacked me and I’m winning.”
“You won’t win, Sol belongs to the True Believers of the Blessed Order.  No army can take it though all have tried.”

Photon watched from his vantage point as the Nova Cats arrived to support the StarCorps Security Forces and rout the attacking Blakists, “As I recall one army did and they won't stop till they get a second chance.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #11 on: 29 November 2018, 14:37:07 »
This is the overview that I made for Part III.  I'll fill in the blanks in time just not in time for NaNoWriMo

Propaganda Video Series (super short stories to add flavor)
"Big Ygg" and the Browncoats (TRG)
Birds of a Feather, Thessaly Reborn in Port Sydney
Walking the Halls of the Valhalla once more
Task Force FORGE, The Rhino, and The Iron Wall of Caledonia
Photon Brett-Marik and the 2nd SLDF
Adam Steiner of Somerset
From New Syrtis to Sian and back again with the Fusiliers
The Dominion of Damocles, Ghost Bears friend or foe?
Portrait of Destruction, The Bull weeps and rages

The Sol Protectorate, Blake Rebranded
The War on Terror - Disaster on Donegal
The War on Terror - St Ives under Siege
The War on Terror - Caught on Carver V
The War on Terror - Nukes on Novaya Zemlya
The War on Terror - Doughboys of Dobson

Story Seeds
The Lost Ones
Arthur and the Morrigan (Bismark reborn)
The Cousin's War (Naomi CL and Kai AL vs Kali Liao) on Highspire
Sun-Tzu and Kuan-Yin, a second life for Liao?

Skye, Sol, and the Sword / Third times the charm
White on White for Wolverines, Ghost Bears and COMSTAR come to blows
Regulans vs Robots, The Battle of Gibson
Return of the Queen
Desperate Times and foolish half-measures / Cameron St Jamais loses his cool
A Challenger to the Crown, Peter and George on New Avalon
Clearing the Air, HPGs online
Iron and Ice, Turncoats on Tharkad
Black Warriors vs The Ebon Magistrate, Rival Cyborgs Showdown
Photon Bridges the Gap / Terrible News from Tamarind
Meeting in the Middle, Katherine, Peter, and Yvonne on Asta
A Coalition of Common Cause puts pressure on the Protectorate
Operation:  KALEIDOSCOPE, Popping the bubble
Sins of the Solar Empire / Battle for Sol / Operation:  BLACKLIGHT
The Price of Victory


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #12 on: 30 November 2018, 04:32:44 »
Now that's an interesting outline!
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 Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #13 on: 03 December 2018, 09:06:05 »
11/01/3069 02:17 Location – Governor’s Mansion, Crofton, Federation Outback

Peter Steiner-Davion sat on a bench with his coat collar up against the slight chill while Kitsune Kurita was under a muted red woolen AFFC blanket.  They both needed some fresh air after an emotionally trying couple of hours.

“I still find this all so hard to believe kid.  However it is too outrageous to be fabricated, I’m certain it could be proven easily enough.  I thought Katherine used rumors of your existence to antagonize James Sandoval.  Not that he needed much provocation after Arthur’s assassination.”

“No its fine I am unfortunately used to being used that way.  The Imperial Palace rumors always had me as the child of Isis Marik and Sun-Tzu Liao as protection from conspirators.  Yet that still wasn’t enough to save my mother from the Black Dragons.  I am blessed that Isis is still with me.”

“Wait you mean Isis Marik is here on Crofton?”
“Yes.  She will be furious when I return home.  She doesn’t like that I still sneak around and keep up the training routine that my uncle taught me.”
“Coordinator Sakamoto?”

“Yes, Franklin Sakamoto is currently the de facto Coordinator on New Samarkand although he still has to get the Warlords to stop fighting each other to recognize him as such.  It’s all very fragmented with the HPGs down but we can listen in on the DCMS’ Black Box transmission although it takes a while to break the cyphers.”

“Uncle Franklin is a good and honorable man, he would make a fine Coordinator.”
“That’s what a lot of the analysts think.  We still don’t know what happened to your Uncle and Grandfather though we are looking into it.  I’m sorry we can’t really help we have our own problems.”
“I understand.  It’s enough that I actually got to meet you.  I never got to know what my father was like outside of the stories my mother told me.  I couldn’t let this chance to actually meet you and Yvonne in person pass by.”

Just at that moment Grand Duchess Yvonne and Khan Xander Drake both in robes walked together across the courtyard to the kitchens from their quarters.  Yvonne having thought the courtyard abandoned looked toward the bench and her brother with embarrassment.  She put her head up defiant and walked faster.  Xander looked at the kid in the moonlight recognizing him as the one that stared him down yesterday morning.  He stopped and attempted to say something before Yvonne grabbed his arm and pulled him behind her.

“I think we should let this opportunity to know you Aunt better pass by Kit.”
“Why is she with the Hellions’ Khan?”
“She has taken a page out of our sister’s approach to diplomacy with the Clans.”
“I think I understand.”
“I hope so kid.  I don’t have time to explain it to you.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #14 on: 03 December 2018, 17:08:39 »
“Big Ygg” and the Browncoats

"This is Svetlana Petrova with the Commonwealth News Service here today with the Commonwealth’s Third Fleet Commander. Admiral Hai Shing Vietchi of Yangtze, it is my great pleasure to welcome you on my program today.”

The camera panned to a lanky elder spacer of south-east Asian ancestry with ruddy skin and close cut graying black hair.  The right breast of his blue and gold dress uniform was filled with ribbons of different colors, “Thank you Mrs Petrova.  While I am ever humble and focused on my responsibilities your viewers are just as important to me as they are to you.  We both wouldn’t have a job without them.  Don’t you agree?”

The screen switches to a blonde woman in her late 20s wearing neat red dress, “Indeed Admiral Vietchi, they are the thing that makes the Federated Commonwealth and its member states as great as they truly are.  What would you like to talk with us about today?”

“Well this upcoming year is the tenth year of service for the Yggdrasil.  It’s a big deal to have a Warship this capable and busy holding on for that long.  The fact that it has spent almost its life in the Third Fleet supporting the Republican Guards is my great honor.”

“The Commonwealth Fleet is regionally based why leave such a vessel in one place region for so long isn’t the point that these ships can move around?”

“That is in fact the point, the Admiralty had long wanted to have a Mjolrnir Battlecruiser in each Fleet Zone to anchor a Battle Group.  The Fylgia is the only other one in service at this time and it is too busy protecting the McKenna Shipyards against assault.  This leaves only the Yggdrasil to do the heavy lifting in the Commonwealth Fleet against aggressors.  The Clan Naval Stars have been a godsend but we should not rely on others to protect us if it can be done ourselves. 

With the valiant last stand of the Sveltalfheim earlier this year such a goal will be delayed for at least three more years.  The fact that the Valhalla could be repaired after it was heavily damaged in the Battle over Tharkad is fortunate and its imminent reactivation timely considering latest developments. 

No the Yggdrasil has been based here because the Third Fleet is the Gateway to the Galaxy.  We are the bridge between the Federated Commonwealth member states and the Archon-Princess knows that.  She has wisely provided every resource we need to maintain our edge against aggressors.”

“Speaking of aggressors, the Word of Blake has formed a protectorate around Sol by conquest of nearby worlds in the Third Fleet’s AO.  What is the course of action to deal with this enemy action?”

“We very much know of the latest development of the Sol Protectorate and I assure you and the citizens of the Commonwealth that we are doing everything we can to contain the threat posed by it.  The AFFC and CFC are ever ready to leap into battle to protect them and by extension our Commonwealth.”


Birds of a Feather, Thessaly Reborn in Port Sydney

A K-1M Shuttle approached the bustling Port Sydney yards from the planet below.  A patrolling Eagle frigate vectored to intercept them, “Attention Papa Papa November One this is the ATPS Leodegrance.  This is a restricted zone transmit your authorization codes immediately or we will intercept”
“We are the Patriot Press team.  Transmitting our codes now.”

A few tense moments passed while the film crew inside the shuttle hoped their codes would still be honored or else the best case was they would be boarded and arrested for trespassing.  Worse case they would be shot down for trespassing.  “Your codes clear Papa Papa November One.  Match our course and speed.  Standby for pilot transfer.”

A collective inhale filled the cramped cabin of the K-1M shuttle as it vectored toward a floating scrapyard that was bustling with Workships.  The K-1M PPN-1 docked with the Kay and allowed their shipyard pilot on board.  The young man had an unusually tan complexion and was wearing a Lyran Gold ANA (Alarion Naval Academy) patch, a soft cover hat with a microphone, and the purple and gray uniform of the FWLN as well as the standard FLWN sidearm, a Sea Eagle needler, on a shoulder harness.

“Hi everyone.  Glad you could make it all the way from Son Hoa.  I’m Flight Officer Kevin Carren and I’ll be your pilot today.  I will make sure you get some goods shots to take back to the front and I’ll be happy to answer your questions to the best of my ability, I’ve spent the last five years in this system.”

“That’s why we’re here today FO Carren.  Pleasure to meet you.  We didn’t expect an Alarion grad to be our pilot.”

“All the Mari spacers are busy, so you’ll have to settle for an Elsie.  Hope you’re not too disappointed.  Currently we are all on rotating pilot duty as part of the Emergency Transfer of Personnel Compact leaving the actual FWLS spacers to do the real work and get more experience with their vessels. 

This is your fight first, we are just helping.  The Admiralty felt that having FedCom Fleet Officers run Free Worlds League vessels would be bad optics considering the Federated Commonwealth and its allies are at war with the Federal Government of the Free Worlds League.  We will however support Photon and Alys’ efforts to bring about a swift conclusion to the conflict as it is in both of our best interests.”

The leader of the press team handed Kevin a note, “Thank you.  We forwarded a request to the First Fleet’s Press Office and got approval to visit the following sectors.”

The man checked his gauntlet note-puter and saw that the codes checked out, “Alright you’re in for a treat.  I’ll be sure to get you some close-ups.”  He knocked on the crew cabin and strapped into the Flight Leader’s chair displacing the previous pilot who took up a position in the jump seat.  He took a moment to plot a course on the scrolling chart before he even put his hands on the sticks.  “Leodegrance One this is Pilot Kay Six, requesting approval to undock Hardball Papa Papa November One from the mothership, forwarding course to Port Sydney STC now.”

A few minutes passed while the course was going through and the shuttle went into its regular operating mode, “Roger Pilot Kay Six, Course authorized and clamps released.  Leodegrance will return to patrol route.”

The K-1M was detached from the warship and turned like a top before it engaged its main thruster a safe distance from the Kay.  Its nose was pointed just slightly off a large RADAR contact and Kevin accelerated rapidly before slowing down after reaching his drift course and returning the shuttle to freefall.  “We will be approaching Salvage field Dvagar in ten minutes.”

The camera crew zoomed in on the scattered debris, mostly large pieces of shattered hull.  One of the pieces rotated alternating between the burnt Purple Eagle of the FWLN and the interior hull section which caught the white light of Alarion’s sun in a glint.  “That hull section used to belong to the Agamemnon FWLS Aineas.  The main section of the wreck and that of the Zec II FWLS Opilione is five points dorsal, three port off the bow.”

The camera pod panned to see the wrecks, the cruiser and corvette had gotten on the bad side of the Crimson Pack Naval Star (Blood Drinker, Victoria Ward, Bloody Fang, Nature’s Wrath, and Trailblazer).  The Agamennon took down both Wolf ships lost in the conflict (Nature’s Wrath and Trailblazer) before the Blood Drinker’s cannons shattered its power plant.

A shadow passed over the vessel as the cruiser CWS Victoria Ward passed between them and Alarion’s sun on patrol.  It was followed with several thousand kilometers of safe distance by the destroyer CJW Emerald Tornado which was just getting out of the yard after several months of repair to fix the heavy damaged sustained above Hesperus II, a battle it just barely managed to survive before limping to Alarion.  Its Star Commodore, the harvested Snow Raven Tanya, is now widely regarded as the top naval strategist in the Jade Wolves Fleet.  She is also rumored to have refused command of a more powerful Aegis cruiser because the Emerald Tornado “speaks” to her in her dreams.

Kevin aptly maneuvered the K-1 shuttle through the debris field currently being harvested by numerous manned and unmanned work ships.  The vessels engaged in a carefully coordinated dance to avoid one another as they salvaged the bones of the broken vessels to repair the ships in the yards.  The Port Sydney Yard's tempo was unlike anything its admittedly short history.

Once they cleared the debris field they were greeted with another sight, the main construction cageworks of the facility optimized for the construction and servicing of the breathtakingly large Mjolnir Battleships.  Two equally large vessels were enveloped in their own temporary cageworks.

“Those are the wrecks of the Thera Supercarrier FWLS Delos and the Mjolrnir FCWS Sveltalfheim.  The Gargantuan and Black Bart Supertugs are tasked with making sure they stay in that position.  That one in the middle is the Thessaly, you'll notice the fleet of work ships shuttling between the two of them.  The Port Sydney Yards are the most capable in the Inner Sphere, Senior Architect Kraus Richter estimates they can fully complete the Thessaly in six months.  Not bad for something that was basically bones when it got here.”

“That's a bold statement FO Carren.  The Clipperton yards have a long history of turning out some of the finest voidcraft in the Inner Sphere.”

“Yeah but thanks to the Archon-Princess we have the most secure supply chain.  Those Yards needed the Word of Blake's help to get established.  Katherine ordered a complete re-engineering of the Mjolrnir, got it done in four months, and the Yggdrasil's frame was laid within three without COMSTAR's assistance.  In fact COMSTAR initially embargoed her so the massive engines were built on Tharkad instead and shipped here.”

“We mean no offense FO Carren just pride.”
“Of course.  I'll take you closer but we still have to keep distant, don't want the Fighters on watch to start gunning for us.”
“You have fighters on watch.”
“Twenty four seven.  Can't be too careful.  An errant small craft can cause an awful lot of damage to an unarmored Warship.”

The K-1M shuttle passed nearby the Cageworks dwarfed by their massive volume.  The solar panels of the struts that supported the workers caught Alarion's light and shined.  They looked like the bones of a massive whale in the void as they enveloped the Supercarrier which was currently armored only on its stern.  Small craft and custom dropships of all sizes and configurations shuttled parts and personnel from the two wrecks that flanked the Thessaly.

“That's amazing”
“You should see it in action.  Scary ship, glad this one is on our side.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #15 on: 04 December 2018, 17:27:33 »
12/08/3069 17:39 Location – MCS Diana Centrella, Canopus IV, Magistracy of Canopus

The Samarkand Block II Carrier Diana Centrella positioned itself above the Bay of Altay.  Time and the tides had removed the ash from its surface but the city of Crimson was just ruins on its western side.  Senior General Hadji Doru had returned from fighting Word of Blake and Marian invaders only to find the capital city in ruins and his friend almost certainly dead.  “Are we getting any communication from the Iron Hand?”

The 'Bridge Bunnies' as Hadji called them looked dismayed and depressed.  They all felt like it was their fault that Canopus had been attacked despite him telling them there was nothing they could have done.  That if they hadn’t left it might have been them too or the other planets in the Magistracy would have suffered.  This empire was no stranger to conflict but they certainly didn’t like it which was perhaps a good thing, “No Sir”

“I’m sorry Emma.  How about the Velvet Glove?”

Velvet Glove, the codename for the Canopian Central Committee the body that managed most of the government business for the Magistracy and would be responsible for deciding on a new Magestrix now that the current one was deceased, “They confirm that Erdé and Adonis were not in the city at the time.  They also warned us that the Blakist left some agents behind when they left.”

Hadji Doru was pleased at that news, “Well there is still a chance then.” 
He withdrew a thin, flexible, and encrypted datacard from his uniform and inserted it into the console, “Send out a search party to this area.  Assuming it’s not compromised Emma would have directed them here if she knew what was coming.”

“Dispatching an ARC Team to those coordinates immediately.”

Meanwhile somewhere in the vast snowy forests of Acropolis Park Arthur wrapped Erdé in a blanket.  Both were huddled in front of the electric heater of their bubble tent.  “And here I thought I would never need that survival training from the Academy.  Good to know I still remember most of it.”

“It so cold.  How much longer?”
“You know I can't know that.  I don't even carry around a radio anymore since we just evaded that Blakist patrol last week.”
“Will winter be worse with the...”
“I don't know, I haven't spent a winter on this planet.  What was it like before?”
  Arthur was trying to keep up Erdé's spirits which was even harder than keeping her body warm and fed.

“We went ice skating on the pond near the palace.”  She shuttered remembering that that place didn't exist anymore.  “Danai always wanted to be a figure skater, she was so graceful.  Naomi tried to trip Newton up but he got smart to her schemes and they squabbled horribly.” 

She shifted in the winter coat they had taken from an alpine cabin when it first started to get cold.  Spending nearly two months on the run in winter would be tough enough, evading Blakists while dealing with the loss of your mother was tougher, and Erdé had that and more to deal with.  “Dad was actually pretty good at it, he and mom just flowed so perfectly together when they did anything.  Then we would have a snowball fight.  Danai and I would team up against Naomi and Newton.”

“Who won?”
“We all had a good time so I guess we all did.  Then we had hot cocoa.  What about you?”

“Well it was just me and Yvonne on New Avalon most of the time.  It always seems like it was winter on Tharkad for Victor or that's what his HPGs sounded like.  I think he was just really moody and needed to spend some time in the sun on Tatyana.  Peter or Katherine traveled between the two realms but Katherine hated traveling because it made her sick.  We were always the little ones, whenever either of them was in residence at Castle Davion we badgered them constantly.”

Arthur grabbed one of the sturdy ski poles they had taken and gave an en guard, “Peter taught me how to fence initially and Yvonne learned from me.  Katherine was a bad influence on Yvonne and gave her the mischievous streak that I think she still has today.  I least I hope she still has it.  I would hate to see her get all serious like our sister did.  I'll ask her if I ever see her again which I hope I will. 

She loved playing tricks on people and then it was just a race to see who could outdo the other.  Those poor castle staff, Dad loved it, he thought it was good training for the both of us.”

That brought a smile to Erdé's face which was the intended goal and it made Arthur feel warmer inside than even the heater and soup on top of it had.
"I'm glad you're here with me Arthur."
"Me too Erdé, there's no one else I'd trust you be trapped with."

Five kilometers away a Teal and Green KC-61 Blackbird landed in a rocky clearing, a platoon of troopers from the Magistracy's elite Active Response Corps exited wearing winter combat gear and carrying bone white Ebony laser rifles skied off the passenger ramp taking positions around their ride in and ride out of her.  Their leader's red hair streaked with gray poked out between her balaclava and starlight goggles, “Let's hit the slopes WILDCATs.  They are around here somewhere.  Time to bring our people out of the cold”
“Yes Major Grey”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #16 on: 05 December 2018, 08:49:31 »
Felicity Grey checked the time display in the lower portion of her goggles '19:00' she called for a pause and heard the rest of her squad stop their skis and ready their rifles.  The MIM Major signaled to the nearest squad leader who moved forward keeping close, “A Ghost is following us Sergeant.  I've heard something in the woods for an hour now.  They're not the only ones with augmentations.”
“Should we withdraw Major?  Don’t want to lead the enemy to our quarry.”
“No, if we are going to give our objectives a chance we have to get rid of this Ghost.  They've been lucky and good to have evaded it for so long.  I hate these cyber monsters and I don't want to let it have a chance at us while we exfil.  We'll have to set a trap for it.  I've already called in a Crow for backup.  She'll be along in fifteen.”

The Sergeant nodded, the two separated and he signaled to the squad, “Squad we're heading to that ridge up there.  Should give us a good view of the valley and be a solid landing zone for when the Major picks up the package.”

Adept Ghost Misha watched this happen through the augmented vision of her Omnipresence helmet while crouched on a branch.  She was torn between the two options and was frustrated that her prey had evaded her for a month despite her best efforts.  Always arriving a day behind Arthur Steiner-Davion and Erdé Centrella and incapable of calling in backup now for risk of exposing her presence to the KC-61 'Blackbird' Covert Insertion Craft the ARC team used to get here.

The Magistracy of Canopus and Word of Blake had enjoyed a brisk technology transfer for a decade and she couldn't know if the Canopians had compromised the ciphers that protected her transmissions during that time.  What she did know is that they knew everything about what made her cybernetics tick having been responsible for initially installing them.  Misha cradled the suppressed DMR, she had a hundred rounds and only thirty two targets in the field.  The numbers were in her favor, it would be easy to remove them.  However, if she followed them they might lead her to her true prey; then she could inform the others.  She followed Major Grey’s platoon carefully stalking them through the dark snowy forest.

Fifteen minutes later Grey called for a stop and checked her wrist mounted Comm-pad, “They're nearby.  Should be maybe a few dozen meters eastward through these trees.” 

The ARC team cautiously worked their way through the evergreens making a lot of noise in the process.  The noise appeared closer than it should to the Ghost who looked around.  She recognized a lithe figure walking out from under a nearby holly tree wearing snow shoes, a white sneak suit with a distinctive Black Bird patch on her right breast, and wielding a weapon that looked like a double barreled shotgun.  Before she could raise her DMR the Blazer quietly turned parts of her and the tree into char.  The figure blended back into the forest, “You've been exorcised Grey.  Crow Sixteen returning to over watch.”

“Appreciate it Amilee.”  Felicity and her team returned to the trail and she consulted her goggles’ tracking signal again.

“Keep your eyes peeled and ears open team.  We got rid of one Ghost but there might be others.  This tracker doesn’t tell me everything.”

Arthur woke up to footsteps crunching through the snow near the bubble tent which was concealed within a snowdrift.  Their main entrance consisted of woven evergreen boughs and was capped with snow whenever either of them exited to keep the heat in.  He could feel in his arms that Erdé’s soft breathing was uninterrupted.  She didn’t have the same enhancements that the Canopians had added to him during his reconstruction.  Enhancements that had saved his life and by extension hers more than once in the past couple of months.

Carefully he untangled himself from her and silently drew the MAL 67 Revolver he kept within arm’s reach from its holster.  He checked its chambers to make sure he still had five shots loaded and was satisfied that it was.  Wrapping one arm around Erdé and holding the pistol in the other he just waited they had evaded detection for a month in these woods.  This wasn’t the first night something was prowling outside.

The footsteps got closer and he grasped Erdé tighter, enough to wake her up but before she could say anything his hand was over her mouth.  She tensed but snaked out her arm to get the knife they kept nearby then Arthur removed his hand.  Through his reconstructed jaw he heard a women’s voice, “Arthur, this is Major Felicity Grey of ARC Team Wildcat.”

“How do you know my name Felicity?”

Erdé was confused, Arthur was talking to no one.  She whispered “Who are you talking to?”
“I think it’s the person outside.”
“How is she talking to you?”
“Some kind of cyberware that Emma conveniently forgot to tell me about.”

“Yes that’s correct Arthur, short range transmitter built into your reconstructed mandible.  I found you via a tracking device given to me by General Hadji Doru, ultraviolet secret stuff but I was almost the ARC Director.  Highest respect for your concealment.  We would have walked right past this snowdrift and still almost did even with the tracker.”

“She told me they took the tracking device out.”
“Maybe the obvious one.  This one is special, it’s baked into your cyberware.  We found the Ghost that was hunting you via it as well.”

“I have the same cyberware that the Manei Domini do?”
“Yes, long story kid.  The other search parties are still running them around in circles but it won’t last forever so I would appreciate some hustle.  I would feel a lot more comfortable on the Diana Centrella than in these woods.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #17 on: 05 December 2018, 09:49:40 »
Arthur Steiner-Davion (Adonis Valentine) and Erdé Centrella were warm, clean, and well-fed for the first time in two months.  The harrowing experience finally come to an end with their escape to the Samarkand MCS Diana Centrella.  Senior General Hadji Doru sat across from them in the classified briefing room debriefing them and updating the couple on recent events.  “I’m sorry this happened Erdé.  Your mother was a remarkable woman and her loss will bring much grief to the Magistracy.”
“I want to bring grief to the Word of Blake General.  They killed my mother and scores of innocents with those nukes.  They should pay.”

“I assure you that we will inflict plenty of grief upon them princess.  The Magistracy is not quite as helpless as they thought we were.  Even I didn’t know of its true capabilities.  Emma left me with a few interesting documents hidden on a navigation satellite prior to her death.

I’m setting a course for the Ebon Magistrate’s home world of Tetski.  You both should be safe there for now.”

Arthur looked confused, “I thought the Ebon Magistrate was a part of MIM; why does it have a home world?  Besides Tetski is a dead system, the Taurians destroyed it nearly two centuries ago.”

General Doru, a former Taurian, winced at the thought of the violence that has kept the Concordat down and without allies for most of its history, “Dead things have an unfortunate habit of coming back to life these days, Prince Arthur.”
“So that was among the documents?”
“Yes, Commander Valentine.  I’m certain you have questions.  Emma left a letter for you among the cache of documents explaining everything and apologizing.  You can of course share it with the princess if you like but it was addressed to you only.”
“Apologizing for what?  She saved my life.”
“I don’t know, it was on the headline.  I imagine it relates to the unfortunate incident that has befallen us.  I am quite thankful that both of you are still alive and free despite all odds, it would have been difficult to have lost either of you and Emma in such a short period of time.  Feel free to explore the carrier while we are in transit.  It should take us about a month to reach our destination.”

01/18/3070 18:58 Location – Switchback Station, Tetski, Ebon Magistrate

Arthur and Erdé disembarked from their KR-61C Shuttle to the busy Capitol space station that was orbiting the vibrant and very alive Tetski.  “This is amazing.  All of this was just hidden for nearly a century.”

Their guide an enigmatic man named Sten responded, “Discretion is the better part of valor, Major Centrella.  Our leadership has tried to keep as low a profile as possible.  Your mother was the first Magestrix that our Elders thought was worth revealing ourselves too. 

It took us most of that century just to remediate and rebuild even with our Star League tech.   That stuff doesn’t work miracles if you don’t have people or the means to support them first.  Repopulating it took longer although we did have the Selaj and those settlers that abandoned the Rim Colonies during the First and Second Wars.”

“Star League tech?  What are you?”
“You’ve dealt with the Clans before right?”
“Yes, Smoke Jaguars on Harminous.  Why?”

They cleared the landing areas and saw the vast central chamber where a tensed banner hung, on it was a terran Wolverine’s face with crossed scratches.  “We were the Wolverines.”

Dave Talley

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #18 on: 05 December 2018, 11:58:33 »
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

Because while the other Great Houses of the Star League thought they were playing chess, House Cameron was playing Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker the entire time.
JA Baker


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #19 on: 05 December 2018, 13:43:56 »

Yeah you knew that was coming eventually.  I was struck by inspiration so I made another entry for today.

11/10/3069 Location – Glorious Heritage University, Memorial City, Capella, Capellan Confederation

Naomi Centrella-Liao and Kai Allard-Liao could not be more different people from one another on almost every level.  The Canopian princess had married the Confederation’s Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao two years ago and Kai was the famed son of his aunt and now dead separatist leader Candace Liao and the traitor Justin Allard yet they shared a common purpose, stop Kali Liao and her Thugees.  They did not however share a common vision on how to accomplish that goal or much like one another.

Kai slammed his fist on the holotable in front of them, the jade green and white uniform of his St Ives Armored Cavalry blending into one of the jungle images captured on Highspire, “The St Ives Lancers can handle this. Woman. 
We fought the Wolf Clan on Strana Mechdy and won.”

Naomi had gracefully picked up her cup of tea before the impact and calmly poised in the red, black, and gold uniform of The Red Lancers that neatly complimented her complexion and hair while looking militant, “You merely drew Vladimir Ward's Binary Kai, and his Wolves are more powerful than ever before because of your failure. 

Lest you forget The Red Lancers won their Great Refusal challenge against the Mandrills and my sister died fighting alongside Victor Steiner-Davion in his final stand against the Smoke Jaguars.  Neither of those clans have reared their ugly heads again. 

The Chancellor has insisted that I take the lead in bringing Kali to justice.”

“Khan Ward was saved from ruin by a conniving woman, just like Sun-Tzu.  His Wolves would have never recovered from the Great Refusal without Katherine.  Phelan’s Pack would have absorbed them eventually.  Now the whole Inner Sphere is in flames because of their meddling.

Justice!  He’s just going to pat her head, locking her up in a cushy prison to be let out next time he needs her.  We won’t be fooled again, Kali Liao will be stopped permanently or we will die trying.  This is a family matter leave it to me.”

“By marriage I am part of this family now.  Sun-Tzu and Kuan-Yin have much to settle between themselves during this time and thus we are jointly responsible for dealing with this pressing issue.  If you have doubt of my Lancers’ ability to accomplish the task I would gladly demonstrate it.”

“Is that a threat Naomi?”
“A promise Kai.  Kali will be brought in by The Red Lancers and she will be securely locked away until her trial.  She will pay for her crimes but not in a FedCom kangaroo court or murdered on the battlefield.”

She carefully put the cup of tea back on the table, “The House of Scions is already organizing the Tribunal.”

Kai put the latest holophotos and damage reports from the St Ives Compact on the holotable, paging through them as he talked, “There is no lack of evidence Sang-shao Centrella.  Her crimes are quite obvious in the spilled blood of St Ives’ citizens and the ruins her Warrior Houses left in their wake.  My people demand justice.”

“An odd turn of phrase Jiang-Jun Allard.  Considering how often you were absent from or on the wrong side of these same people.  That you would take such ownership of them.”
“Are you doubting my resolve?”

“I am doubting your ability to properly understand the gravity of the situation at hand.  This is not merely some small raid on Highspire we are talking about.  We are planning the capture of a dangerous war criminal in charge of an interstellar terrorist organization with ties to an Inner Sphere spanning threat with the very real probability that she will use weapons of mass destruction against us. 

Who also happens to be my sister-in-law and your cousin. 

She will be brought to justice, but we have to be on the same page or her allies will take the chance to drive a bigger wedge between the Compact and Confederation than currently exists and there will be no peace to be had between us.”

“If Sun-Tzu wanted peace he should not have started the St Ives War.  Why should I expect him to have changed?”

“That’s what the problem with you is Kai Allard-Liao.  You never change!  Twenty years have passed since the invasion and you’ve had opportunities to grow beyond it but you still want to jump into Yen-Lo Wang and rush into battle like you have something to prove. 

I don’t know what your issue is but I know that Sun-Tzu does want peace with St Ives and to start on a path that will lead to harmony between the Trinity allies and St Ives, a harmony that leads through the Celestial Wisdom.  The fact that he is even entertaining this is a major breakthrough.

You speak truth about Kali and my husband but she has gone too far now and he means to properly bring her in one last time.  The only reason we are even still talking about this instead of me doing it is because the St Ives Armored Cavalry stopped the Duke of New Syrtis before he went too far.  In defiance of your orders as its Commanding General no less, but honoring Candace’s long held commitment that the Confederation and its allies should remain independent rather than existing as a vassal of the Federated Commonwealth.

A commitment that Kuan-Yin recently reasserted to Sun-Tzu, perhaps you should talk to your sister more often.  The CCAF does not want to continue the fight without the SIAC and we both want an end to Kali’s Thugees and the Taurian Junta.  We only have the strength to deal with one of these at a time though so we are starting with Kali.  This is your chance to show that we can work together against a common foe.”

Kai looked at the holoimages taken by the Rabid Fox commandos his grandfather borrowed from the Commonwealth’s Intelligence Secretariat through careful manipulations.
 His grandson Quintus Allard-Liao and Kai's youngest brother was still bootstrapping the St Ives Ministry of Information (StIMI ;D) to combat ROM threats to the Compact. 

He saw the order of battle included both St Ives Lancers units as well as Naomi’s Red Lancers and her father Nicholas’ mercenary command, Ramile’s Raiders.  An odd turn since her grandfather had sworn the Raiders would never work for the Capellans due to issues with its then Chancellor yet Naomi was married to his grandson, the current Chancellor.  Additionally the whole of the Death's Commandos would be joining them against the Thugees, rebel Warrior House Lu Sann, and the 48th Shadow Division who according to reports were massing on world.

“I’ll do it but I don’t like it.”
“The feeling is mutual.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #20 on: 06 December 2018, 08:22:08 »
12/05/3069 Location – Mahakali Temple, Chu-li Mountain Range, Highspire, Kali's Dominion

Goddess Kali (Liao) looked at the scratched up drone messenger before her, the long jade colored carbon fiber reinforced nails on her left hand had killed more than a few disappointments in their time.  Her House Masters refused to send her more bodies instead substituting these automatons to deliver bad news which while expensive were not as satisfying to destroy.  She took the opportunity to randomly execute messengers even those that were bearing good news on principle, just like mother had done.

“How dare my brother betray me?  After all I did for him!”  She rapidly listed the things that she did that she thought was positive for her brother since their mother was killed which took about an hour.  Her rant was momentarily interrupted by her five month old son's hungry cries.  She opened her robe, parted her raven black hair, carefully cradled the baby around her nails to her pale breast, and continued ranting as the boy fed.

It ended with her Thugees' latest attacks that had killed Duchess Kym Sorenson-Hasek, nearly killed her youngest son Cyrus who was commanding the Capellan March's Pleiades Campaign against the TDF, and put Cassandra Allard-Liao in the hospital.  Kym's death had forced the Duke of New Syrtis to leave Sian before he could accomplish his goal of dominating the Capellan Confederation. 

The same Naomi that was apparently allied with her number one hated foe, Kai Allard-Liao.  He was the worst spawn of her murderous aunt, a gifted Mechwarrior, known Commonwealth pawn, and by extension mortal enemy of the Capellan Confederation.  “The same Kai that Duke Hasek had intended to be his puppet Chancellor and they call me mad!  I saved your life Naomi and this is how you repay me!  Traitors all!”

She patted the baby’s back as he drifted back to sleep, he voice losing most of its madness and instead was motherly, “You will grow up to be a better Chancellor than my brother, Agni.  Strong enough to control all of the universe.”

Kali rose from her pillows still holding the baby and walked out to the balcony of her palace.  The Banners of her Warrior Houses (White Tiger, Rakshasa, and Lu Sann) flapped in the tropical breeze atop the newly constructed permacrete pillars.  Battlemechs and tanks of the Jade Guard standing tall just outside the walls of the fortified temple palace she lived in.  She breathed deep of the rainforest and watched as the monsoon clouds came across the ocean.  "It will be raining blood by the time I am through."


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #21 on: 07 December 2018, 08:50:04 »
Portrait of Destruction, the Bull Weeps and Rages

The Commonwealth's Fourth Fleet has concluded an investigation of interstellar implications.  They have proven without a doubt that the Word of Blake used an asteroid outfitted and accelerated by the mining ship Erinyes to destroy Taurus, killing nearly all of its four billion inhabitants. The Word of Blake disabled the asteroid based defense units with UrbStryc-A from the same Wei stockpile used during the St Ives War's Black May attacks.  Additionally they have uncovered proof that prior to the incident the Taurian people overthrew Grover Shraplen's Junta with the intention of making the rebel Erik Martens-Calderon Protector of the Concordat.

The Word of Blake had already evacuated all of their HPGs in Taurian space but there are reports of vandalism of the compounds as well as attacks on citizens that had dealings with the Blakists.  Their intentions are very clear, they knew this would happen and possibly engineered it by using Protector Shraplen's TDF as pawns. 

The Federated Sun’s New Avalon government and that of the Tikonov Republic has called for an immediate cease fire with the Trinity Alliance powers to deal with the Blakist Menace.  Outback based jumpships until recently tied down by the Hellion Invasion are already rushing to the border to offer aid to the Taurian Concordat worlds most affected by the latest war between the two powers.

Grand Duchess Yvonne Steiner-Davion, whose area of responsibility borders the Taurian Concordat, has offered to host talks with Erik Martens and his regent Cham Kilthrong on the Concordat world of Charleston, currently occupied by Commonwealth Forces.


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #22 on: 07 December 2018, 10:33:26 »
11/16/3069 Location – Marcus, Crofton, Federation Outback

Grand Duchess Yvonne Steiner-Davion and Kitsune Kurita walked through the city of Marcus.  A city that had been mostly untouched by the Hellions’ invasion of the planet as it didn’t have any strategic assets they could use.  The city was bright today in celebration of the Archon-Princess’ birthday and merely the closest cause for celebration to hit a planet that was liberated and increasingly on the upswing.  Kitsune had been sneaking out to see them but it was becoming difficult to keep it a secret from 'his mother”'and he found himself getting accused of all kinds of nefarious activity.

Yvonne adjusted her tan fleece lined AFFC Air Cav jacket and PBMA scarf against the chill wind.  Kitsune was keeping the fast pace she was setting, she wanted to get to their destination and out of the cold, “Oba, I was thinking of applying to Point Barrow (Military Academy).”

She coughed more out of nervousness than her cold, “What?”
“I want to go to Point Barrow.”
“You’re not just saying that because you want to impress me are you?”
“No I mean it.”
“Why there instead of The Nagelring, NAIS, or TSVD?”
“Well I don’t speak German or Russian well. PBMA is the toughest academy in FedSuns space.  Captain Stone beat the Hellions’ Khan, an Elemental, in battle armor twice.  You kept your helicopter in the air while injured, with a wounded co-pilot, landed it safely, and were flying again the next day.”

She unconsciously grabbed her upper thigh, which been injured and never quite healed correctly under the Point Barrow’s heavy gravity during her time there, it still ached even after all these years.  “Why do you want to stay in the Federated Suns?  Franklin Sakamoto has a good chance of being the new Coordinator of the Combine you could go home.  He loves you like a son or so Peter told me.”

“The Draconis Combine stopped being my home long ago.  Isis, I mean Sarah is happy here and I don’t want to leave her and go back to Luthien.  The Warlords would never accept the son of Victor and Omiko Kurita.  The Draconis Combine has seen too much war, I don’t want to start another one over something I can’t change and didn’t choose.  You, Peter, and everyone else in the Federation accepted me without reservation.”

Yvonne looked at a picture of Katherine, Vladimir, and their three children that was hanging from a banner attached to a nearby government building wishing her happy birthday.  “I have some experience accepting family’s secrets.  As for the greater Federation, I wouldn’t put it past some people to reject you on principle, but I guess you’re right.  I can’t speak German well anymore either.  I’m better at Russian.”
“Why did you learn to speak Russian?  Tikonov is far away from here.”

She tensed up, berating herself for revealing too much, “It’s a long story; and I don’t want to talk about it right now with you.”

Kitsune paused for a second thinking about what that might mean, “I’m sorry.  We’re close by where I need to go.”
“Aren’t you in sixth grade?  Don’t you have school?”
“My school hasn’t restarted classes yet.  The Hellions ordered the schools to teach a different curricula.  Regular classes will probably start again come New Years.  Which is just awful because that means I’ll have to start summer break late.  Mister Denot promised he would take me to Des Arc with him when he goes to commission a new water purification plant for the colony there.  Now I’ll just be stuck with Jade and all she does is cry.”
“She’s a baby.  You don’t have to act like one.”
“You don’t know what it’s like.  You were the youngest.”
  Yvonne had never had to deal with a baby in her life until Peter’s wife Daphne had her son and Yvonne’s fourth (that she knew about) nephew Jacob while they were on Minette together.
“I do now.  It won’t last forever and you need to be a strong big brother for her.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without Arthur.”
“Fine.  I’m sorry about your brother Yvonne.  He was killed by the same people that killed my mother.  I wish someone would have caught them sooner.  It might have saved her.”

They stopped at an upscale row house, with ornate fountains in front of it.  A sign reading ‘The Denots’ was outside.  “You’re lucky you still have a mother that loves you, Ian.  Now let’s go talk to her and get you out of trouble.”
"I might be in even more trouble now."
"It was your choice she made it clear."

The two of them walked up to the door and rang the bell, a young blonde woman in an apron answered, “Ian. Grand Duchess!  What’s going on?  He didn’t take anything from you did he?  I’m so sorry.”

“Mrs Denot, I can assure you that Ian has not taken anything from me or anyone that was not freely given.  He has been volunteering his services as my guide while I am in Marcus.”

“Why didn’t you just tell me that Ian?”
“I thought you would be upset.”
“I am.  Get to your room mister!  We are going to talk about this later.”

‘Ian’ ran up the stairs.  “I’m so sorry about that Grand Duchess.  Where are my manners?  Would you like to come in?”

“Perhaps at a later, more convenient time.  I understand you are quite busy and would not like to intrude.  I am certain we could speak for hours on end.”
“Without a doubt.  Goodbye Grand Duchess, thank you for everything.”
“You too, Mrs. Denot.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #23 on: 09 December 2018, 19:38:46 »
Walking the Halls of the Valhalla once more

The KR-61 Shuttle came into view of the massive Mjolrnir Battleship FCWS Valhalla cradled within the even larger arms of the Newgrange Yardship CWS Den Mother, one of only three such known vessels in the Inner Sphere (The CDS Karen Nagasawa and CGB Jeremiah Bourjon being the others).  One of the CNS photographers strapped into the shuttle's passenger compartment looked at the sight in amazement, “I never thought I would have been happy to see a Clan Wolf ship around Marsden.”
“Yeah a lot of things have changed within the past two years.  Couldn't have brought the Valhalla back online without their assistance.  The Clans despite their initial conflict have shed a lot of blood on our behalf.”
“They can always grow more.”
“Maybe they already have been, its been nearly twenty years since they started Revival you'd think they would have built up knowing some might be lost in the Inner Sphere.”
“I don't think they looked that far ahead.  They thought the whole Inner Sphere would be easy prey.”
“We sure showed them.”

The Shuttle docked to the Newgrange and the reporters walked past a large number of Aeropilot phenotype workers.  The Aeropilot phenotype were rarely seen in Clan space and had never been seen outside Clan space.  Their guide a technician named Griger ensured they didn't stop any of the Den Mother's crew for an interview. “They have work to do.  The Valhalla was heavily damaged and we still have not fixed some major components.”
“It did go nose to nose with a whole Blakist battlegroup and live.”
“In true Warrior fashion Roland.  It has been the Den Mother's honor to bring the Valhalla back into the fight.”

The recording team boarded the Valhalla where a coalition crew containing Wolves of all varieties, Hell's Horses, and Commonwealth Spacers were bringing the systems online.  Each wore a different uniform but moved with uniform purpose.  The Captain Damien Berok joined them during their tour, the man had been the first and had been selected to be the second commander of the Valhalla.  His backup assignment, the Mjolrnir Sveltalfheim, had been damaged beyond repair in the defense of Alarion from the Blakist Fleet.  “Captain Berok, how does it feel to walk the halls of Valhalla once more?”

“It is a sobering feeling.  I've lost a lot of spacers in combat over the past two years aboard the Valhalla and Sveltalfheim.  I feel as though I am cursed, First this vessel had one battle in it, parts of the the Svelte are now being used to finish the Marik Thessaly.  It is not how I predicted my career would progress, as a one hit wonder.”
“You saved the Port Sydney yards and Tharkad from Blakist Warships though, surely that counts for something.”
“It does but its a tough burden to bear Roland.  Especially considering the news of the attack on Taurus.   The Commonwealth's Fleet is ever ready to guard the worlds under her protection.  We will put an end to the Blakist Threat before they can do more damage.”
“Based on reports from the front the Word of Blake has changed its name to the Sol Protectorate.”
“A great irony, if the Word of Blake wanted to protect Sol."

The ice planet of Tharkad came into position as the Den Mother and Valhalla cleared the moon of Marsden.
“They shouldn't have attacked us,”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #24 on: 09 December 2018, 23:09:28 »
TASK FORCE:  FORGE, The Rhino, and the Iron Wall of Caledonia

“This is Mira Tymbrook of the Commonwealth News Service here on Caledonia.  Now the home base of Task Force Forge under the command of General of the Armies Reinhardt “Rhino” Steiner, which has thus far managed to contain the Free Worlds League and Blakist threat.”

Mira walked through the well-tended gardens of a park, a group of battlemechs from the 11th Lyran Guards.  They stopped at a gathered group of senior LAAF officers, one of which was significantly younger than the others.  Reinhardt Steiner made for an impressive military poster boy during his appointment ceremony but had grown into a hard charging soldier since then.  He was still handsome but his brown hair was streaked with gray and the lines of his face made him look twenty years older than his 38 years.

“General Steiner, Mira Tymbrook of CNS.”
“Hello Ms Tymbrook.”
“When I heard about the Iron Wall of Caledonia.  I didn't expect it to be an actual wall.”
“It's very real, this edifice behind us is the Fourth Royal Guards Memorial.  That is however not the wall you heard about.”
“What is?”

“Let me show you.”
  The Generals did a crisp right turn and walked parallel to the wall. Names were etched into the steel, members of the Fourth Royal Guards, a storied command that was destroyed more than 200 years ago during one of the darkest times for the Commonwealth.  A time that Reinhardt and the rest of the AFFC were determined would never happen again.

They cleared the actual memorial and walked a little past it, this wall was a grotesque motley of colors, some graffiti had been spray painted across the mostly purple and white metal. “This is the Iron Wall of Caledonia that you heard about.  I am building it from the scrapped remains of Battlemechs that Forge has destroyed during the past year.”
“An interesting construct General.  What motivated you to build this wall so near the hallowed memorial of the Fourth Royal Guards?”
“This is a reminder just as the Fourth's final stand is of the strength of the Commonwealth's people.  The longer this war continues the bigger it grows.  I want Paul Marik to be able to see it from Atreus and realize just how much he has misjudged the Federated Commonwealth.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #25 on: 11 December 2018, 17:28:42 »
01/28/3070 Location – Fort Verdun, Simpson Desert, Free Worlds League

Commanding General Photon Brett-Marik’s Supernova Battlemech walked through the forest that surrounded Fort Verdun.  While it was standard procedure to remove forests around SLDF forts during its time Verdun had fallen into disrepair during the past four centuries and reverted to the nearby Count’s control.  It still had good road and rail access, orbital communications capabilities, and support facilities.  The planet was within resupply range of Tamarind and striking distance of Paradise and Loyalty, a perfect forward base for his Army.

By now everyone had heard about what the Word of Blake had done to Taurus and their Militia was crumbling all across the Inner Sphere.  Deserters and defectors were regularly captured and executed which only spurred more attempts. Precentor Martial Cameron St Jamais was running out of time and territory to keep the AFFC from crushing the Sol Protectorate in a war he started. 

Parallel to that conflict was the cousins Alys and Photon who were leading insurrections against Paul Marik aided by the whole Duchies of Oriente, Andurian, and Regulus to stop the League from destroying itself.  Time was of the essence but his forces were tired and the tempo of battle was wearing on the True Patriots and their Nova Cat allies.  Without the timely intervention of the Commonwealth “allied” Council Clans and their Warships they would have been annihilated on Son Hoa slightly more than a month ago.

Photon’s Supernova walked through the hardened gate of the Fort Verdun.  His lance entered the compound under the watchful eyes of Beta Galaxy Omnimechs and then parked their mechs in the assigned area.

The Commanding General stepped out of the hanger into a throng of Nova Cats from the Beta and Lambda Galaxies and Transcendence Naval Star under saKhan Hirohoto Katayama.  The Cats were joined by Diamond Shark's Rho Spina Galaxy, Hell's Horses' Iota Galaxy, and the Potemkins Kraken and Steel Shield.  The Sharks and Horses were shamed into aiding the 2nd SLDF due to their role (perceived or proven) in The Blinding Eye conspiracy.  They mostly kept to themselves and didn't consort with their abjured brethren unless it was necessary to accomplish the mission.

The Clanners were joined by dignitaries from the 151st Eridani Dark Horse Regiment, Free World's League's Duchy of Tamarind, Abbey District, and what was being called the “Anti-Spinward Allies.”  These worlds had been long neglected by the Atrean government and plagued by pirates.  The Circinus pirates were sponsored by the Blakists and the Marians, an ascended pirate kingdom and FedCom vassal, who were now only allowed to operate with Archon-Princess Katherine's approval.  Approval she promised to revoke if they went beyond the Circinus Federation during their current campaign.

The Dark Horse Commander General Charles Antonescue saluted Photon, the two men had fought alongside one another since the Black Dragon's betrayal that started this fateful war nearly three years ago.  “Everything is ready.”

Photon returned the salute, “Lets finish this.”

General Brett ascended the ancient battlements, one of the few portions that were maintained during the centuries, “The Word of Blake claimed that they would unite us under their banner on Tharkad three years ago and they have. 

They have united us against them in a war that has wrought nothing but misery throughout the Inner Sphere for nearly three years. 

A war that threatens to turn us back to the dark ages of the Second Succession War, that has brought old terrors back and filled our minds with new ones. 
With one goal, Subjugation or Annihilation under their twisted Master's Will. 
Now we stand united against their reign of terror. 

Canopus nuked from above

Taurus annihilated by an asteroid strike

Hundreds assassinated from the shadows

Empires in flames as citizens take up arms against one another

These are not the actions of Leaders or Unifiers.  They are the actions of cowards.”

The Diamond Sharks and Hell's Horses were appalled at the dezgra behavior of the Blakists, they had been on the far side of the Commonwealth and were mostly isolated from its news services.  Nukes were particularly sensitive as the history of the not-named Clan was burned into their minds during sibko.

“Cowards that now flee to Terra thinking we will not pursue them. 
That dare to call themselves Sol's Protectors. 
They are wrong. 
We will go to Terra, and we will liberate it from the new Usurper just as the SLDF did in the past.”

A large SLDF Banner was raised behind Photon with a black bar along one side.  “Because we are all still the SLDF.”


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #26 on: 11 December 2018, 20:35:15 »
That was awesome update, AlphaMirage!
"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 Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #27 on: 12 December 2018, 18:16:20 »
Wow how to pull them all together in one army
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #28 on: 13 December 2018, 13:07:40 »
Wow how to pull them all together in one army

Yeah that is going to be the tricky part, fortunately he still has half the FWL to contend with while he thinks about it

-----  Bringing back some old Characters (From Katherine, pt I and Tales of the Mercs Unleashed)

01/19/3070 Location – 198th MMC Mobile Hospital, Highspire, Kali's Dominion

“Dr Bhola!  Critical case.”  Major Seraphina Bhola changed her gloves, she could keep her hands clean but her apron and scrubs were covered in the blood of at least three dozen Trinity soldiers. Even during Black May on Nashuar she had not seen so many casualties.  “Thirteen straight hours of surgery and they still kept coming.”

The medics pulled the latest casualty into her dual bed operating theater her assistants closed the previous patient and wiped her face.  A Canopian Fusilier had a barbed bamboo spike in his thigh, the edges of the puncture were rapidly becoming necrotic due to a poison.  The squad medic had sedated, medicated, and tourniqueted the soldier likely saving his life but the leg was beyond saving.  It would have to be amputated before it went septic.  “More Punji sticks.  They might as well call me bone-saw Bhola now.  This is a butcher's work not doctor's.”

With the casualty treated Dr Bhola vomited bile into a bucket.  Colonel Valera Tyla walked into the operating theater and kneeled down to hand her a damp paper towel, “You're off the line for twelve hours Sera, report back at Sixteen Hundred.  Get some rest and take care of yourself.  We already don't have enough doctors on planet and we're the Magistracy of Canopus.”

“Obrigado Coronel.”

Major Bhola shed her soiled scrubs placing them in the 'autoclave or incinerate' pile of the locker room.  Spent a long time in the shower enjoying the cooling water as it washed away all the sweat.  She dressed in the issued uniform, with no rank insignia or unit patches, put on a pistol belt, her helmet, and kept a gas mask handy.

She walked out of the building into the torrential downpour of Highspire’s monsoon season.  The Canopian Fusiliers’ engineers had constructed a series of covered elevated paths to transit the base camp but they spent just as much time maintaining them as the watch towers and fences.  The Thugees, most of whom were native to the planet, regularly used the rain as cover to launch attacks or plant traps in the compound.

Sera watched as one of the 'Mudskipper' tracked engineering vehicles tried to haul a damaged Vindicator back to the repair bay.  A platoon of infantry was escorting the vehicle while it struggled to move across the mud.  Still weary she walked back to the barracks which were behind heavy gabions to protect from weapons fire while allowing drainage. 

The walls also dampened the sound of artillery firing into the jungle from both the Eastern (3rd Fusiliers) and Western (4th Fusiliers) firebases set up to support the MAF, CCAF, and SIAC forces advancing on the Mahakali Fortified Temple compound.  If the rains were not so persistent the guns of the St Ives and Red Lancers could be heard and seen as well.  They fired day and night breaking up strongpoints that Kali and her Word of Blake allies had built into the surrounding jungle as they were uncovered.

07:45 Location – 16 kilometers to Mahakali, “River of Blood”, Highspire

Major Derrance “Hook” Thoms, CO of the 401st Strike Battalion of the 4th Canopian Fusiliers, walked below the rain slick decks of the MCS Blue Nile.  The armored barge was not only heavy armed but it along with the MCS White Nile were part of his unconventional unit.  Known as 'The Crocodiles,' an Augmented Battalion with gunboats instead of tanks in support of infantry.

Major Thomas was an oddity among the MAF and most Inner Sphere militaries because he had actually engaged in a riverine campaign on Nashuar during the St Ives War.  A campaign that resulted in him suffering burns and then famously refusing the treatment to fix them, thus ending his modeling career.  His famous quote to STARS magazine was, “We should not hide the scars of war.  It is an ugly business that everyone needs to see but no one wishes to.”

The barges were the quarters for his “Frogmen” when they were not on patrol with their gunboats.  Their Commander, and his XO, CMD Tanjila Haloi, caught up with him, her black bodysuit tight against her form and brown hair braided and kept short enough to fit inside her Asterion’s helmet.  “What’s new Major?”
“Today is the day Commander.  We’re taking Oni Island.  Just came in from Control.”
“Gonna be a tough fight.”
“Sure is”
“My men will be ready.”
“I had no doubts.”

The two of them walked into the map room where a holographic topographic display of the island was suspending in mid-air.  On it there were multiple red chevrons where Warrior House Rakshasa had set up defensive positions.  The Thugees were using the rocky island as a redoubt from which they could raid the nearby lowlands and support their fellows in the field. 

Air and Hoverborne attacks from the inexperienced 4th Canopian Fusiliers and battle weary 2nd St Ives Lancers had thus far failed to dislodge them.  The assault boats and battle armored infantry of the 401st had only recently arrived on-planet but their capabilities and experience fit the mission profile.


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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #29 on: 14 December 2018, 09:06:29 »
The Monsoon season was weakening over the Chu-Li Mountains, months of constant rain would soon yield to sweltering tropical temperatures.  The Thugees and the Cappelan-Canopian task force knew that this would dramatically change the battle they had been fighting against one another.  The blockade of Highspire means that it is only a matter of time until the Kali Liao's forces ran out of something critical to her battle effort.  It was now a tug of war to see which side would yield first.

The Elite 2nd Canopian Cuirassiers and Green 4th Canopian Fusiliers were the final reserve forces allotted to the operation.  They had been rushed from their garrison posts on Magestrix Naomi Centrella's orders.  The war had sapped the CCAF and SIAC of manpower and equipment while the Magistracy was currently in a more secure position. 

Jiang-Jun Kai Allard-Liao's St Ives Armored Cavalry forces had taken the brunt of Kali's aggression but caused immense casualties among the fanatics.  The motivation of which was likely that his mother (Candace) killed her mother (Romano) but no one was certain.  Kali believes she is an immortal goddess after all, she was not known for thinking like a normal person.

12:00 'Oni Island', Highspire

Major Thoms looked out from deck of the Muana Kea DM15 at Oni Island, his black BDUs were damp under his armored jacket but it was still an improvement from when he arrived.  Through the mist he could see the extinct volcano was a fortress just through his binoculars.  The heavy rains had filled the lake obscuring defensive constructs that might piece even his armored gunboat's hulls.  The 36 Gunboats and two large barges of his 401st would make for an impressive sight in clear weather.  Currently they were more of a navigational hazard to one another and their captains relied on a variety of signals that would not be intercepted by the Thugees.

Derrance checked his watch '12:00,' “Comms, get me Firebase Navarone”
“Aye, Aye Sir.”

Meanwhile at Firebase Navarone, SIAC Sang-Wei Sean Jun of the 2nd St Ives Sentinels, 214th Siege Battalion, looked out over his dozen guns from the portable watch tower.  A chirp alerted him that a message was incoming from the command van, “The Crocodiles are in position Sang-Wei Jun.”
“Roger that, all personnel prepare for enduring fire.  Blast shields down.  Ammo handlers get in position for resupply.”

The crew of Long Tom, 'Duke of Waddington,' rotated the gun into position and elevated the tip of the mighty howitzer toward their target.  Its artillery pit was big enough to be a small pond but had sufficient drainage that it was merely a muddy mess for the 14 men that worked the gun carriage itself, another 15 prepped the huge artillery shells for loading.  Sao-Wei William Chun dropped the blast shield of his green helmet and adjusted his armored vest.  He communicated to his subordinates via intricate gestures, signaling that the bombardment was about to begin.

Back on the Muana Kea, Major Thoms took another reading with the laser rangefinder attached to the main gun turret.  “Fire for Effect”

There was a brief delay before artillery shells began to batter the island with high explosives.  “Good range Navarone, keep it up” He returned the main signal to his FO who would coordinate fire while he commanding his flotilla and supporting units.  “All Callsigns this is Major Thoms, raise the flags and advance to your objectives.  Shore support stand-by for action”

Oni Island came alive, hover-tanks and fast attack craft swarmed from hardened positions built into the island’s base.  The first to engage the enemy were the dozen super-heavy Crocodile River Monitors in the lead, each of whom sported more firepower and armor than an Assault Mech.  The shotgun rounds of their LBX autocannons filled the air.  The rounds damaged the hoverskirts and hydrofoils of their attackers which slowed them; making them easy prey for the two Gauss Rifles mounted in a bow turret.  The first wave went down quickly against the guns.  Two of the Monitors were taking on water but most were only lightly damaged, their Anti-Missile systems having reduced the incoming fire sufficiently.  “Good first round for us, let’s see what you have planned next Ghat.”