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Author Topic: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III  (Read 26373 times)

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #150 on: 28 March 2019, 22:29:00 »
Colonel Heinricht Volgenrut's Crusader 7W fired his brace of MML-7s at short range the missiles found their target and illuminated the inside of the Castle Brian's walls with orange explosions and black smoke.  The missiles made quick work of a damaged Changeling Omnimech.  The Colonel fired the other arm at the hunched over Gauntlet currently engaged with a group of Armored Infantry.  The long range missiles blasted the side of the battlemech that had adopted common parts with many other Clan Omnimechs. 

The explosives found the inside of the Battlemechs leg making it easier prey for the infantry to deal with.  “All forces rally on the Rattler.  We'll make them pay for Thorin before taking it all to Tamar.”

The damaged blue and red Brotherhood battlemechs began to head into the caldera of the extinct volcano where the Rattler continued to keep Aerospace fighters and the Warship away.  In hot pursuit were the close combat configurations of the White Wolves and Alptraum omnimechs while the speedy skirmishers disengaged.

Star Colonel Katherine Fox was hiding within her foul weather cover atop her cockpit's armored canopy.  The gray green camo cloak not only hid her light gray suit but shielded her thermal signature while the night vision scope was peaking out.  Her own mech was still concealed as the damaged Brotherhood units began to pass by. 

None of them had an active probe so she was still safe from detection even as she heard them crashing through the gully.  Her own position was slightly elevated and having jumped into the woods there was no outside sign of her presence.  “Guess its time to go inside.”

She opened the armored hatch that lead into the unit, removing the cloak, unzipping her jumpsuit and pulling it down to her waist before putting the cooling vest on.  Katherine put on her now off-white and battered neurohelmet and powered the Stealth up to standby.  The unit powered up and her DI computer gave her options for electronic obfuscation a neat trick courtesy of VALA, the ONI supercomputer. “Phoenix Hawk, Beowulf, Cobra, Vindicator.  How about a Bloodhound?”

The DI computer engaged a series of programs that would mimic the electronic signatures of the Marik counter-guerrilla mech popular with the Word of Blake, one that was very similar to her own but being concealed in the woods had its advantages.  Colonel Volgenrut himself came in over the radio, she could see that he was nearby but just needed him to be a little closer.  Katherine could not believe her good fortune.  She was way behind enemy lines and now Heinricht was within combat range. “Unknown contact; Identify yourself.”

The Star Colonel hit several switches that would modulate her voice for radio transmission and looked over the database compiled from known Brotherhood or Blakist members.  She engaged her IFF LOKI had the best electronics in the Federated Commonwealth.  “This is Kommandant Nikki Coalei, one of the robes gave me this Bloodhound after my mech was disabled.”

“Why weren't you in the Fortress Coalei?”
“This is not a close combat machine; and it took some battle damage earlier.  I just got it online to take out the incoming Dogfaces.”
“If you find Katherine make sure to send her to hell for me.”


Katherine smiled and looked at her nails, they were grimy she would have to fix that ASAP.  Besides this was amusing.  “We both know she won't be in the lead.  She's probably hiding in her dropship doing her nails while a Loki officer is on the front-lines in her mech.”

“You're probably right it would be to much to ask.  The rearguard is holding them currently but they will be here soon.”

Katherine made sure her mic was off and realized that the Colonel's Crusader was nearby and heavily damaged, perfect prey. “You don't say.”
“Good hunting Nikki.  Break off to head toward the Rattler after a short skirmish run.  We will need some quick mechs to protect our flanks.”
“Affirmative Colonel.”


Volgenrut's damaged Crusader turned its back to her and continued toward the Rattler along the well-trodden path.  Katherine's Stealth stood up, it was unlikely Volgenrut was looking behind him as his mech limped away from her mostly undamaged Battlemech.  She highlighted the Crusader and the DI computer provided an arc to jump onto the rear of the heavy mech.  Katherine ensured that her straps were tight, this was going to be a ride.  “Well here goes nothing.”

Katherine triggered the jump jets the Stealth leapt into the air atop super heated air that caused steam to rise up from the damp woods that it passed over before crashing down on the Crusader with a crash.  The Stealth's heavy footpads tore into the rear armor of the heavier mech taking damage in the process but Katherine stuck the landing stabilizing herself with the Battlemechs hands. 

The hostile mech went up in flames as the inferno missiles exploded and took the rest of the ammunition with them.  Heinricht launched into the sky as his mech ejected him to protect him from the explosions but not from the enemy.  Katherine's Watchdog CEWS system located the unconscious man.  She moved right next to him before gingerly picking him up from the muddy ground with the cold unfeeling steel of the Loki SpecOps mech.

Colonel Heinricht woke up in the hands of a hostile mech held fast but not crushingly tight.  His neurohelmet had come off during the ejection and his hair was wet with sweat and the constant gray drizzle.  The hostile mech turned on its IR spotlights illuminating him in a faint red glow. “Just crush me you Loki bastard.  I'm not telling you anything.”

The cockpit canopy opened to reveal Katherine's off-white uniform in the sharp light.  “You have no idea how tempted I am to do just that Obersh.”

“You bitch!  You ruined everything.  The Wolves, Loki; is there no end to your treachery to the Commonwealth?”


“Is it so wrong that I would prefer peace to constant warfare?  Your people never left REVIVAL behind.  This is a new age one that doesn't need people like you anymore.”

Colonel Heinricht looked at her through his cybernetic eyes while clenching his myomer prosthetic fist.  “Peace on our knees while the Clans take over the Inner Sphere.  Seems like it needs us more than ever.”

Katherine drew the pistol from her cooling vest and fired three shots into the helpless target, 1 in the head to in the chest just like the Bodians and Packmasters had taught her.  “I disagree. 

I don't have the luxury of leaving people like you alive anymore.  Not enough time to settle my own business as it is.  I want to make it very clear what happens to my enemies if they come after me or mine.”


The limp body dropped from the hands of Katherine's battlemech, before the canopy closed and sealed again before the armored shroud came into position.  The Stealth withdrew from the Caldera, the White Wolves and Loki mechwarriors had the enemy surrounded waiting like a pack of Wolves to finish off a wounded animal.  Once Katherine cleared the Castle Brian's communications damping field she sent out a burst transmission to tell everyone she was still alive and to give the final orders of the campaign. “Give the Rattler a WARG (Wide Area Rocket-Guided) Moonshot.  Standby for follow up.”

“Authentication approved White Wolf.  Moonshot sending one to the Rattler's coordinates; impact in five mikes.”


60 kilometers away the Citadel (a modified Triumph) Siege (Drop)Ship FCDS Moonshot lifted a blue and white WARG missile into firing position through one of the four armored top doors.  Two for each of the cruise missiles in use by the LCAF TARG (CM/50) and WARG (CM/120).  The cradle moved perpendicular to the dropship's fuselage holding a missile that weighed the same as a Manticore heavy tank but turned the nose west like it was just a stick.  To the east there was nothing but charred grass from the missiles' back blast.  The small wildfire that this unit caused were worth it to the troops on the other side, through not the the ones directly in the blast area.

The dropship's crew safe within the confines of their CIC secured the blast doors that would deflect the small amount of thrust that would go over them in a few minutes.  “Blast doors are secure Captain, external cameras confirm.  We are green for release.”

The Captain pressed the button and the interior of the dropship was filled with a roar, even dampened by the insulation it still required secondary hearing protection for the crew.  A countdown timer appeared in the CIC.  “Three minutes to impact.”

Inside the Caldera the White Wolves and Loki commandos cordoned off the damaged hostiles but stayed out of the range of the incoming cruise missile.  A quick flash and massive explosion that echoed off the caldera's walls was all it took to mortally wound the Rattler and completely sweep away the remaining Brotherhood mechs and tanks.  The mobile fortress shuttered as ammunition cooked off and its tortured internal structure collapsed under the strain.

Katherine's Stealth watched the scene unfold from her position on the cliffs through her multiple sensor feeds.  The Rattler was on fire and had stopped moving after receiving a direct hit from the Cruise Missile after several failed bombing runs, they would have used the missiles on it sooner but there were many targets that needed Moonshot's attention. 

“Good fire Moonshot. 

All forces don't bother with salvage just pack up.  I want to lift off by daybreak."


Katherine looked at the timetable for KALEIDOSCOPE, she was already behind schedule to deal with this detour.  Her forces were needed on Muphrid.  "We have other places to be. 
And not enough time.”
« Last Edit: 29 May 2020, 07:38:25 by AlphaMirage »

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #151 on: 29 March 2019, 09:01:57 »
Nice.
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.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #152 on: 29 March 2019, 21:06:33 »
10/18/3070 15:17 Location – Outside Zanzibar, Tamarind, Free Worlds League

The Painted Desert Ducal Estate spread out as far as Duchess Therese Marik could see.  Which was much further than normal as she was astride her mottled brown Tabiranth.  The large feline rode low to the desert sands which still inspired her after all these years.  She put her hand out as a jet black Atreus Fighting Hawk landed on her leather gauntlet with a Dune Lizard in its talons.

“Good girl.  Now give it to mother.”  The Duchess placed the kill within her bag the creature was terribly messy on the move and needed to learn who was in control.  She stroked the creature's feathers while urging the Tabi forward, the feathered creature hissed at her.  “You can wait Afaen.”

The Duchess rode back to the stables and dismounted hanging the line of the Tabi's harness to the newly hired lean light brown skinned Stablemaster in a neat tan uniform despite his messy workplace.  Therese fed the Dune Lizard to Afaen then sent her up into the Aerie of her menagerie.

The young man turned to face her after ensuring that the Tabiranth's door was secure.  Therese was still struck by how handsome all the Exituri on her staff were.  It was the present fashion for League nobles to have Exituri as employees in their household (or their sons to keep them as concubines) just because they were so attractive.  Must be something in the little water on Shiloh.  Her eldest son sought the attentions of an Exituri woman in Khe Shang.  Jamila was quite lovely and cultured for a desert girl Therese hoped she would perhaps be visiting again when he returned. 

If only she were 50 years younger..but then again her husband was a handsome rogue (with a big 'cannon' for an artillery officer) as well and worth the look on her father Jano's face and the resulting disinheritance.

“Samuel, where is Jeremy?”
“Marshal Brett is in the solarium with your son.”
“Ah good Reggie is back.”
“Yes Count Reginald has returned from Khe Shang with Jamila Al'Algorab.  Their shuttle arrived while you were out in the desert.  I hope you had a good afternoon on the sands Ma'am.”
“I did thank you.  Treat Lyla with an extra set of ribs tonight she did good today.”
“Of course your grace.”

“Say I don't believe I have ever asked you.  How do Shiloh's deserts compare to our own?”
“It is less windy here...and far more colorful than my home village.  The Bhagavad-Gita tells us that austere terrain makes for a genial spirit.”
“I believe the same thing.  There is beauty in the struggle and the desert suffers no fools.”


The man walked the Duchess out to look at the setting sun.  “Truly, you should see the deserts of the Arkab worlds.  There are none like them in the whole of the Inner Sphere but their inhabitants frequently to gaudy for Exituri tastes.  They appreciate a fine blade though as do I.” 

Samuel presented a tanto style dagger within a tan scabbard with intricate bead-work on it to the Duchess, “This was given to me as part of my wife's dowry last year.”

Therese unsheathed the dagger it was intricate and inlaid with glowing gold script in the setting sun.  The Duchess figured it was some passage from the Qua'ran.  “I had no idea your wife was an Azami.”

“Yes, my desert rose.  Nafisa.”

Therese returned the dagger to the Stablemaster, “I'm sure she is waiting for you already.  Have a good evening Samuel.”
“You as well Ma'am”


Samuel returned to his quarters to be greeted by his wife, he lifted the headscarf to kiss her closely running his fingers through her black hair.  “My love, you seem troubled.”

“I just received the reading passage of The Word.  We are to go tonight.”
“How unfortunate.  I was beginning to like our mistress but fortunately she likes me more.  This will be a simple assignment Nafisa.  With his mother, brother, and father dead the Photon will be distracted and give our faithful a chance to kill him once and for all.”
“It's not for lack of trying Samuel. ROM just wasn't good enough.  Damn those Cat's Eyes!  They have killed many of our agents and stymied our efforts to find his wife and son for The Prophet Thomas.”


Samuel unsheathed his dagger.  “Well we will hurt him in a different way.  I promise they won't feel or realize a thing until my knife is in their hearts.  Pack everything up we'll be long gone before the others find out.  I will ensure that Jamila rejoins us as well.  She is suspect I would hate to kill her.”

Everything had been packed already, just like when they were training for this operation on Shiloh.  “Do make sure she I would hate to leave my sister behind with the Kafir.”
“Meet me at the shuttle in fifteen minutes.  I assume you have already told the others.”
“They know the code-words.  With the deaths of the Bretts our operation here is complete.”


Fifteen minutes later Samuel and Jamila walked toward the slate gray KR-61 Aerodyne Shuttle where a group of four people were gathered, the other Exituri that were on Duchess Marik's staff.  Each had already changed into a white outfit with an exotic red script across the back of the shirt for men or along the dress' shoulder for women.  Their old blood stained clothes were piled nearby.  Two of them still carried the short barreled Shredder heavy needler rifles on slings while the other two just had the hand worked knives that all Exituri carried.

Both Samuel and Jamila stripped off their own blood stained outfits and washed themselves using a basin of water nearby.  Wiping the blood off with one towel before drying themselves with another before putting on a similar outfit as the others over naked brown skin, just visible from the running lights of the shuttle.  They both attached their knives to belts and walked forward to join the others.

Nafisa looked toward her sister, “Jamila, what blessed timing you have.  Surely it is Blake's Will that you bring our escape craft to us in our eve of need.  I hope you will not mourn your late 'beloved'”

“The fact that he took after his late father was unfortunate sister but I do not mourn him.  I did send him off during a moment of intense estasy however.”
“You are a twisted one sister but you always were.”

Samuel looked toward the others before tossing a flare into the clothes pile.  “The Third Transfer is successful.  The Prophet has ascended his mortal coil thus our victory is inevitable.  We all will live in a blessed age.”

The estate burst into flames as the time delay incendiaries detonated and lighting up the desert as well as burning the dead bodies of people and animals alike.  “Blake's Blessings upon your dead Kafir.”

He walked toward the shuttle and the others followed him, “To those of us that believe.  Let us continue to be the instrument of Blake's Wrath."
« Last Edit: 29 March 2019, 21:11:56 by AlphaMirage »

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #153 on: 30 March 2019, 10:49:50 »
I'm guessing among the Exituri there is an "Old Man of the Mountain" whose forces are now pledged to the Master.
"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!"

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #154 on: 30 March 2019, 16:39:39 »
11/01/3070 Location – Shiloh, Free Worlds League

The powerful Aegis Cruiser SLS Olympus Mons formerly the FWLN Olympic along with the Impavido destroyer SLS Tamarind (formerly the Janos Marik) and Zechitenu II corvette SLS Wild Rabbit (formerly the Tirana) loomed large over the arid windswept world of Shiloh. 

They were on the night side of the planet presently and saw no city lights, it was as if the world were abandoned.  The Exituri that were native to this world were supposed to be luddites but that hadn't stopped their number from swelling the ranks of the Word of Blake, the most advanced terrorist organization in the Inner Sphere.

SLDF Commanding General Photon Brett(-Marik) stood on the bridge of the Cruiser his handsome face war-weary and filled with grief.  Two weeks ago he was willing to take his battlegroup to Terra itself and blast the whole damn planet into oblivion rather than follow the plan.  Only his wife Samantha talked him out of it, “Think of Anthony,” she pleaded and he did. 

He always did and he hated himself for missing so much of his son's life fighting, even if it was for a righteous cause.  It wasn't fair for any of them but he couldn't stop; not yet, not while the Word of Blake could come back and harm even more people.  They had engulfed the entire Inner Sphere in war for years, killed millions of innocents, dozens of worlds had become tombs.  This whole epoch would be a dark shadow cast upon all of history but soon it would pass.

A quiet voice behind him caught his attention, “General Brett.”
Photon turned to face the Olympus Mons' Captain, a lean man with salt and pepper hair wearing the SLDF (Star League Defense Fleet) working blues that were otherwise the same as Photon's greens.  “Yes Captain Onero.”
“Your dropship is ready sir.  Our orbital survey has a large number of outposts in the desert but there are no concentrated forces we can find.  Looks like lots of mech and vehicle tracks across the dunes.”
“Makes sense, this world is water poor.  Any Exituri would have to concentrate on the available water.  Keep an eye out for any tricks up here Captain.  I am trusting you with my wife and son's life.”
“It is a great honor General.  Godspeed down there.”

Photon looked at the planet once more, dead and dark.  “There is no God down there Captain.  Just darkness.”
“Be the light then Photon.  Can't be the first time you've heard that.”
“It's not.  I wasn't always like this.”
  Photon took a seat looking facing the Captain who remained standing, “Made bad choices that I regret now, but seemed like the right idea at the time.”
“Duncan and the Andurians?”
“Yes.  To much bloodshed in this family and we can't seem to stop.”
“There always the future.  Corrine is already rolling it back.”
“I'm still not certain what is the best course although I appreciate her efforts.  If I find Uncle Paul or Thomas, the real Thomas, assuming either of them still live I can't make any promises.”
“I understand General.  No one would judge you harshly considering what they have done.”
“I would.”
  Photon stood back up and faced the man, “Apologies but I must take my leave Captain.  Though I appreciate your company.”
The Captain snapped a salute which was returned by Photon, “Of course sir.  You need anything, we'll be there.”

Photon Brett(-Marik) worked his way down the corridors of the Aegis cruiser toward the small craft bay.  His dropship the Excalibur SLS Aleksandr Kerensky had already detached but didn't have the excess passenger capacity of the Olympus Mons.  Inside the cargo bay was an already prepped white and purple S-7 Space to Space transfer vessel as well as his still beautiful wife Samantha and 15 year old son Anthony Brett. 

His son had grown into a fine young man while Photon was fighting the Word of Blake and its allies and despite his polite personality there was still a hunt of resentment that his father wasn't there for him but was there for others.  His wife still had the radiant beauty she always had though sadness at the latest circumstances.  She was close to her in-laws and their murder was just as painful as it was for her husband.

“Do you have to go down?”
“You know I have to Sam.  I've never asked anything of my soldiers that I would not suffer myself.  Some of them have been with me since the Long March (Wolcott).  I won't leave them now.”
“Why not?  You keep leaving me.”


Photon pulled her close and kissed her.  She initially resistant, their partings were always harsh despite their number but when he returned it was unbridled joy that almost made up for it.  “I'm sorry Samantha.  I truly am love but we're so close; please just be patient.  I will return to you as I have always done.”
“Be sure you do.”


Anthony was nearly as tall as his father now with the same strong dashing Brett features of his grandfather and father.  The young noblewomen of Atreus had better watch out. “Tony, son I'm sorry to leave you again.  Take care of your mother.”
“She's tough.  She's still married to you after all we've been through.”
“True, I can't say I've made a bad choice with both of you except leaving.  When this is done so am I.”
“Come back safe dad.  Watch your six, there's no Nova Cats to bail you out this time.”
“I will.”
  He embraced the young man patting him on the back, “Love you son.”
“Love you dad.”
  The teenager had a cadet badge of the Alarion Naval School (a feeder school for the Academy) on his black uniform, “Next time I'm going down with you.  I can gun a dropship.”
“I think not Anthony, but you'll be great when its your time.”


The rest of the staff from the Excalibur that was rotating on leave to the roomier Warships had boarded the S-7 and everyone was evacuated from the bay before the doors opened and the non-aerodynamic unit headed out into the black toward a massive spheroid dropship, one of the eleven assigned to this operation.

Photon boarded the vessel through the docking port and saluted the Captain before heading straight to the Mech Bay in order to board his Nova Cat A.  Photon strapped his cooling vest on and activated the mech in low-power mode, the Mech was still restrained in its carrying cradle. 

A timer showing the remaining time to drop appeared, 10 minutes.  Photon hand a picture of his family (including parents and brother) attached to one of the status displays, ammo feed, he never used a mech with ammo if he could help it.  He dropped the visor of his neurohelmet, “Like it wasn't personal enough on Wolcott Blakists.  You Exituri want a demon behind the controls, well you'll get Uriel Domei.

And we both won't like it.”
« Last Edit: 30 March 2019, 17:09:11 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #155 on: 03 April 2019, 19:15:24 »
11/01/3070 07:49 Location – Outside Randersville, Shiloh, Free Worlds League

The Excalibur SLS Aleksandr Kerensky was coming down near the small city of Randersville sprawled across the northern shore of Blessed Lake, roughly the size of Lake Superior and draining from the polar mountains.  The area surrounding it was green with canals cutting through the crop fields and barrier woodlands that fed the Exituri and their livestock.  The only color on the planet were these verdant snakes of water.  The canals were the result of an inter-generational project to support the planet's inhabitants which had rapidly multiplied within the past twenty years.

Photon Brett(-Marik) watched the timer as it counted down to zero.  He could feel the rumbling of the Kerensky's thrusters and heard the landing gear come into position.  The Mech Bay only had one exit door and it opened to a farmer's field.  The cradle released and control was engaged for his mech which was in the point position.  “Moving out.”

The olive drab Nova Cat Omnimech stepped out the door onto the deep black humus of the field sinking into the rich soil.  A soil so unlike the rest of the windswept hardpan that comprised much of the planet's surface.  The Mech Company completely disembarked before the vehicle battalions.  “Control, We are on mission.”

The Excalibur contained the long range communications array, ELINT gear, and controllers that would coordinate the 11 dropship task force over this wide area via the SLS Olympus Mons above.  “Roger, General.  Watch it out there.  It's to quiet.  We've not picking up any signals.”

Photon dropped back into the middle letting the recon lance take point while his battle lance sat in the middle with the fire support and skirmish units behind.  His Nova Cat twisted to face the right side of the column, two mechs faced right and two left.  “Well I'm sure they know we're here.”

Within one of the barrier forests a camouflaged group of The Pure watched the enemy dropship unloading.  Their field commander Jemadar Arjun was using a field telephone to fix in allied forces on the incoming enemies.  Three of the advanced (clan tech) Imperator Ultra 10 field guns were hidden under netting with men nearby to reattach them to their prime movers. 

An enemy Bloodhound neared their position but was being actively targeted by the gun crews until it was within optimal range, less than 360 meters.  The Mech would be death to infantry if it saw them but was moving carefully, smartly expecting an ambush.  It came within range and six shots rang out from the woods as the autocannons double fired.  The guns ripped the right leg off and a follow up volley finished the then helpless mech.

“Hostiles, in the woods!”

Force Commander Karol Javor of Alpha Squad, 1st Armored Infantry Regiment SLDF ducked into an irrigation ditch just in time to avoid a Thumper mortar explosion.  His squad had just been working their way through the field when the world exploded all around him.  “Damn Eckzies!”

He looked around to see the rest of his drab colored squad. He turned on his external speaker and pointing toward them with his battle claw.  “Men; we're going to follow these ditches.  Keep your heads down until we find something worth shooting.”

The troopers dipped their heads and they headed toward the field guns that were engaging their Mechs and supporting vehicles.  Alpha worked their way through the ditches occasionally having to crawl their battle armor through muddy water in order to keep concealed to protect themselves from the heavy weapons until they got into range.

The squad came upon one of the windbreak hedges that was concealing field guns, the mud that covered their armor allowed them to creep closely to one of the concealed firing positions.  Javor pointed toward them and a dozen short range missiles fired into the hedge, explosions from the shoulder mounted launchers splintered trees, blasted metal, and maimed meat.  “Skočte do ohně!”

The Longinus' missile pack little more than a slightly armored tube detached and crashed into the dark earth behind their position at the same time the Armored Infantry took off into the woods.  Alpha Squad crashed down into heavy small arms fire, however the Exituri's rifle bullets pinged harmlessly off the advanced armor composite that protected the SLDF infantry.  Their arm mounted machine guns' roared, firing hundreds of bullets which ripping into the Exituri.  One of the camouflaged troopers fired a single shot rocket launcher at Karol's suit, the unguided missile corkscrewed but was fired true and impacted.  The suits armor held but the trooper inside grunted as the blast knocked the Longinus to its knees but did not meaningfully halt his advance into the woods.

The fierce firefight ended with a bloody blackened field, the irrigation ditches were filled with blood from SLDF and Exituri fighters and wreckage from combat vehicles and battlemechs.  Javor removed his helmet after they were certain there were no snipers hidden nearby.  His short black hair was wet with sweat and stuck to the sides of his face over the soft cushioned helmet. 

Two of his fellow Longinii troopers brought forward a young man wearing a well made camouflage uniform with Mitznefet (floppy aka turban) helmet cover and veil that broke up his painted face.  “We managed to capture and disarm this one Force Commander.  The others fought to the death, this fella tried to commit suicide but we stopped him.”

Karol kept his distance, “Has he been scanned?”
“Yes, sir.  No cybernetics or explosives.  He's just one hundred percent sixteen year old human with a bad attitude.”
“Impure!”
  The young man said.  “No machine parts needed to fight the enemy.  The Prophet provides all.  Take them with your bare hands if necessary but never give them anything.”

“He keeps talking about this Prophet fellow too.  We've got nothing on intel for these guys.  They aren't to fond of anthropologists showing up and asking questions.”

“Sixteen?”
“Yes, sir most of the fighters here are under twenty, young, dumb, full of, well you know.  No women.  Well that we've found; It got a little messy out there once the missiles and bombs started dropping.”

“Unsurprising.  The Exituri are old school.”
“Even our women are better fighters than your men. Infidel.  You're weak, you will only find death here.  Our people are strong, our blood pure.”

“Tape his mouth and get him the hell out of here; and to the Lohegrin officer.  He might have something useful in that twisted mind of his.”
“Yes sir.”


The troopers picked up the teen who shouted something in the Exituri tongue, an obscure dialogue of Sanskrit.  It sounded mad, menacing to Karol Javor. “What is wrong with these people?”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #156 on: 04 April 2019, 10:25:28 »
12/05/3070 08:48 Location – Prophet's Palace, Shiloh

The Prophet's Palace the Blood's main stronghold on Shiloh was deep in the equatorial desert region of the world.  The mercury regularly topped 55°C outside on the salt flats but it was a dry heat and with the wind it was like standing in a blast furnace.  Within the Palace was Blessed Father Vorkalth, the near sixty year old man still looked in his prime, the result of careful breeding within his Order.  His dark hair and beard cascaded over saffron yellow robes.

Within the HPG holo-chamber was a brown skinned women in a white and gold combat uniform, Shadow Primus Naamah.  “Primus. How goes the battle?”

“Poorly, I have activated our contingency plans Precentor.  Only your front still holds the barbarians away.”
“I will hold it for as long as possible Primus.  I need resupply for the Pure Blooded but New Dallas has not responded.”
“Yes it has fallen.  Your Blood brothers with it.”
“How?  The world was abandoned except for our order, none knew of it.”
“Someone knew.  The Blackhearts and Trinity Forces under Naomi Centrella have claimed it.  The Prophet activated the remote destruction of its factories however unlike on Highspire.”
“Damn that women.  Highspire now New Dallas.  What was she doing there?”
“The Order took her brother there after capturing him on Galatea.  He didn't make it off-world but she did.”
“General Brett has three Warships overhead so I am unable to withdraw my position Primus.  Let my Pure Bloods augment the final defense of Blessed Terra.”
“No keep him and his warships aiming at Shiloh.  If you can kill him do so.  We need all the time we can get to bring the Caspars and other drone forces online en mass.”
“It will be done Primus.  The Prophet and Blake's Will be done”


12/15/3070 Location – Kuris Gate, Shiloh

General Photon Brett(-Marik) dismounted from his Supernova scrambling down the chain ladder from his kneeling Omni.  The wrecks of the villages' defense force were still on fire behind him, simple but effective tanks and mechs that fell quickly to his elite SLDF.  This village was tucked into a small valley that sheltered it from the blast furnace on the other side of the mountains.  Here it was humid, local geothermal springs kept the valley filled with fog and green plants.

He kept his rifle carbine at the ready although the village was declared safe by his supporting forces.  Clearing out this mountain range was difficult, each valley brought new challenges but the same horrors.  Photon was reaching the main gate where many dead men and some women were being stacked up to be burned.  So many young people killed to service the delusions of The Prophet.

Photon walked toward the town's community center the main streets still had blood kept damp by the humid air but the smell was dampened by the heavy air tinged with a bit of sulfur.  Heavily armed SLDF infantry were keeping a close eye on the village's women and children in the main square while others still patrolled and pulled out weapons (everything from rifles to knives and clubs) from the houses.  Each of them had been stripped of their face concealing veils and knives almost all of them were under 22 and either with child or had a child with them.  Their hair was covered in scarves and their eyes were watching the troopers with disdain, they spoke softly in Exituri to one another.

A young man wearing a Captain's rank insignia on his beret but a lieutenant's bar on his sweat soaked tan uniform jogged forward.  “General Brett.  Brevet Captain Cullen Anderson.”

“What happened to Captain Monica Ohalle?”

He looked over his shoulder at the prisoners, “One of those bitches cut her throat out.”
“Did she have a reason?”
“Well we are at war with the whole population here on Shiloh.”
“Sorry to hear that Captain.  My unit is spending the night here before moving out to the next valley.  Where is your command post?”


Cullen pointed toward the largest building in the town.  “Over there in the Community Center.  We've locked it down and set up our heavy weapons nearby in case they send raiders.  I've got two gun trucks pointed at the square...for security. 

Our medics are there too keeping the injured Eckzies sedated and outside for your intel people to question when they show up.  Doubt you'll get much out of them though.  They didn't go down easy.”


Photon and his Mechwarriors walked up to the Command Post under the watchful eyes of the Ibex guntrucks in SLDF colors.  As per protocol there were no salutes to the General, the Exituri had proven adept headhunters and Photon had lost many good officers to their raiders and snipers during the past two months.  After dropping his overnight pack in the barracks Photon went out to the hospital tent.  The tan tent cover was set up in a small walled off courtyard that served many purposes to the village, bride showcase, food distribution center, and execution yard being among the most common as far as the SLDF was able to determine.  The sand was red with blood and seven conscious but wounded SLDF were lying in their cots while the medics checked on their status.  Three injured Exituri teenagers, two boys and a girl, were handcuffed to their cots and sedated a guard was sitting in a folding chair nearby with his Hawk Eagle pistol out.

General Brett neared the injured, all three were near the same age as his son.  “They look so peaceful.”

“Yeah well wait till they wake up.  That bastard tried to charge me with an E-tool cause his rifle jammed.  The other two got concussed but were hiding with their weapons when my squad broke into their house.  Their mother is the one that killed Captain Ohalle before Anderson got her. 

Oldest woman we've found in the village not even thirty with five kids based on things we found inside the home.  These two were the only ones in the house however.”
“She can't be more than thirteen, her brother is my son's age.”
“Yeah, twisted ******.  I'd take Clanners any day over these SOBs.  Their child soldiers at least try to fight honorably and don't breed like rabbits.  Doc says the sedation doesn't last as long on these folks so they need to be watched. 

I hate fighting these guys I'd love to have soldiers this perfect.  Still die if you shoot 'em enough, just harder to tell what enough is.  You ever fight an Elemental General?”

“No but I've seen them fight.  Even the smallest ones are dangerous.”  A sudden realization sprung into his head, “No.”

“What is it General?”
“We need to get off this planet.

They were breeding an army, not to fight us, at least at first.  No the Blakists wanted to destroy the Clans.  It's been twenty years since REVIVAL this planet is filled with people younger than that.  The Word's food aid and infrastructure programs weren't meant as charity.  It is maintenance for an army unlike any other in the Inner Sphere.  They apprenticed their people out to make them self-sufficient in skills for when they would be needed.

St Jamais just jumped the gun on Tharkad and probably saved the Inner Sphere in the process. 

They just didn't have the Iron Wombs to do it so they used the Exituri as breeders and their children trained as soldiers from birth.  Given purpose by this Prophet character that we've been looking for but he's not on this planet. 

The Prophet Thomas; my uncle Thomas Marik, he's on Terra and I have unfinished business with him.  I'll make sure that when he 'dies' this time, I see his body. 

This is all by design.  We shouldn't be here, all of these people were fated to die already; but not yet, not by me.  They're bleeding us dry so we don't have anything left once we get to Terra.  This army is stuck on Shiloh but we've not and we need to get out now.”


He looked back toward the injured teenagers, “I'm taking a few with me though.  I want to know what the Word did to them; and if they knew that they were being born to die.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #157 on: 05 April 2019, 23:00:09 »
To Erdé Centrella, Duchess of Luxen – Luxen HPG, MoC / Received 12/22/70

From Naomi Centrella-Liao, Magestrix of Canopus – Sian HPG, CC / Sent 12/18/70


Erdé

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that our brother died while a prisoner of the Word of Blake.  Their deaths will not be in vain; this war has cost us dearly but Mother and they would have wanted us to carry on their noble spirit.

I will be bringing their bodies back to Canopus by mid February. 

I hope you will be there to see off our heroes and help me commemorate them in the Memorial Garden currently being built over the ruins of the Athena Complex.

Stay strong little sister.
Love,
Nae


12/18/3070 Location – Forbidden City, Sian, Capellan Confederation (Trinity Alliance)

The surroundings of the Forbidden City of Sian was filled with activity, the parade Guards of four different states filled the Boulevard of Balance leading to the Gates.  In the lead was the grim faced Taurian VI Corps in snappy brass and burgundy dress uniforms marching in tight formation.  Each wore a black brassard on their right arm in remembrance of Taurus.  They were led by the superbly macho Supreme Marshal Cham Kilthrong and straight backed fifteen year old Erik Calderon, future Protector of the Taurian Concordat, both of whom were astride tall, proud, charcoal black Pinard Percheron horses.

Following them were the complete St Ives Janissary Corps wearing a red Zouave style parade uniform and carrying functional black powder muskets with fixed bayonets that shone in the mid-day sun.  Their Premier Kuan-Yin (Allard-)Liao followed behind in a coach looking as elegant as her mother Candace, with her black hair up in gold pins and wearing a fine green silk robe.

Next in line were the 2nd Raventhir Cuirassiers in their sleek fashionably modern black dress uniforms with just a hint of turquoise and teal to liven them up.  The unit was the newest in the entire Magistracy Armed Forces and was usually depleted to the point of being little more than a paper tiger as it was poached to fill holes in other regiments.  However Magestrix Naomi Centrella chose them to represent her; they had a bright future ahead of them under the Trinity Treaty just like all of them.

In the rear was the Red Lancers, the elite Regiment of the Trinity States, wearing Xin Sheng inspired scale armor and carrying spears with green flags wrapped around them that flew in the breeze.  While their number had waned dramatically over the past year with the battles of Highspire and secret struggle for New Dallas they had no shortage of combat hardened veterans willing to replace their number.  In a chariot behind them was Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao in rich saffron yellow robes, his wife Magestrix Naomi Centrella wearing scandalously cut red robes, and their nearly 3 year old daughter Ilse in black.

The four (five technically) dignitaries entered the Forbidden City and stood before a mixed collection of courtiers and nobles from each of their states that had been selected to attend this great gathering.  A pavilion was set up atop the stairs with an excellent view of those assembled.  The Dynasty Guard closed ranks their forms making for an imposing sight of shields and swords. 

Chancellor Liao stepped forward to see the nobles lucky enough to get a front row seat to the accords, his sharp features had been accentuated by the best image consultants in the MoC and made him look even more in command than usual.  “Brothers and Sisters, I am thrilled to have you as guests in my home.  It is my great honor to be the first to sign the Trinity Alliance Treaty on this day.  These past years have been filled with regret, grief, and disharmony for all of us.  Let this one act be the first to bring balance back to our Inner Sphere.

May we prosper together in the future always,”
  He lifted the Blue Jade seal of the Celestial Wisdom and inked the treaty with the mandate of the Celestial Throne and his signature in strong calligraphy, “and together.  May our Thousand World Coalition last for a thousand years.”

Each of the other dignitaries did the same joining together finally and formally into the Trinity Alliance.  When all was done great banners unfurled from the walls of the Forbidden City and fireworks rang out from its battlements over the clear night sky.
« Last Edit: 05 April 2019, 23:02:50 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #158 on: 08 April 2019, 17:28:55 »
12/22/3070 05:41 Location – SLS Aleksandr Kerensky, Outbound from Shiloh, Free Worlds League

Cadet Anthony Brett(-Marik) worked his way through the mostly empty bays of his father's command dropship.  The Excalibur's vast transport capacity was not being fully by the forces sent with his father to Shiloh, half of it was abandoned but that meant there was more space in the barracks per person.  All three medical centers were staffed though.  One of them was being used to house their dozen Exituri POWs in the quarantine chambers.  As he approached the medical bay one of the on-duty guards stopped him, he had a Sea Eagle needler pistol attached to chest rig of his blue uniform and a stun baton on his belt.  “Halt Cadet.”

Anthony saluted the man, “Sergeant.”

“Open the tote for inspection.”
  Anthony opened up the insulated tote he was carrying the Exituri's meals in.  Each was a clear shatterproof plastic dish with a spork made of a similar material but tinted a bright color so it would be harder to conceal.  The food inside wasn't appetizing but it was filling and provided complete nutrition if you ate it three times a day. However, the prisoners were given two portions in order to keep them fatigued and provide incentive for cooperation. 

As most of the POWs were teenage boys they were voracious and needed to be separated after the first three days to prevent fights inside the shared cells over the rations.  They wouldn't die or suffer long term harm but they wouldn't be comfortable and able to keep fighting by the time they reached a proper detention center if they didn't start talking.  They still weren't cooperating though and it had been nearly a week since they lifted off-world.

“Why do you always look?  Like there is anybody here that was going to let them go.”
“Its the military discipline and order save your life.  We follow rules here Cadet.  Keep your wits about you; these Eckzies are sneaky and dangerous.”
“They're the same age as me.  How dangerous could they be.”
“Well you are on your way to becoming a Gunner's Mate, capable of launching a missile that will blow an Atlas into scrap metal from a thousand kilometers away.  They're tough troopers, you read the battle reports your father submitted you know what they are capable of given a chance.  Don't give them that chance.”
“Aye Sergeant.”


Anthony was badged into the controlled area, ever since the boys had been separated there was less need for guards to be present in the corridor itself.  Cameras were recording but the Exituri had been stripped of anything that could be truly hazardous.  They had settled down after the first two days as they adjusted to a life in captivity on a spaceship before the boys started getting hungry and violent.  Anthony thought back to the first time he had lifted off to see his father post Battle of Irece on Luthien.  It was scary and strange but he got used to it and joined the Alarion Naval School to start his military career during his Exile.

His first stop was at the cell of one of the two girls that was captured, Lieutenant Olivia Whitechapel guessed she was probably 13 during her initial physical taken while all of them were still sedated and safe.  Anthony knocked on the door to ensure that she was not using the facilities at the time.  A knock came back and he opened the visor slot to see the girl standing on the square in the middle of the room, the square was added initially as a security precaution to check on the prisoner safely.   

Unlike the boys the girls were taken into captivity with some of their actual clothes, there were no SLDF issue scrubs that would fit the lanky 13 and 15 year old girls.  The rations were the right serving size for their age and weight so neither of the girls would really suffer from the deprivation of their detention.  That was intentional on their part Samantha Brett protested the whole thing but even though as a civilian she had no command responsibility her husband, General Photon, and the security team compromised.

The girl had her eyes averted from the visor without the headscarves of their regular clothes Anthony could actually see her curly black hair and cute face.  For a moment she looked toward him and smiled, she was the only one that actually gave Anthony a positive response most gave him no response at all.  She had told him her name but nothing more in Standard and that was far more than any of the other prisoners had done even to the LIC Lohegrin interrogator that was seconded to his father by the Archon, no one but the Exituri knew how to speak Gita so they started out as hard subjects only made tougher by conditioning and distrust.

Cadet Brett put the still warm ration container into the airlock style slot which would seal the other side until he secured the slot on his side.  Then it would wait five minutes before opening, a holdover from the infectious disease ward also proved to be a very secure system with only a few problems.  With that done he closed the door and locked the bright chrome bolt ring with a basic padlock before moving on, the extra bit of security was added yesterday after on of the boys had found a way to breach his ration's tray.  Security was still baffled by how that happened but it was repaired and extra locks added to prevent a repeat offense.

With his meal delivery responsibilities complete he waited until all the containers were returned to their compartments and retrieved them.  He carefully inspected them for damage or missing components before returning them to his tote.  Anthony knocked on Priya's cell once more, he left a dried dark purple Tamarind tart date smuggled in from his personal stash into her compartment before securing it again.  He opened the visor plate to see her light up at the unexpected treat.  Anthony held up three fingers to the slot, “Priya, I'll be back in a three hours.  I know you can understand Standard even if you only speak Gita.  Please talk to me.”

She shook her head negative and mimed a cut across her neck, “No.  Who will hurt you?”

The girl looked to the cell that was adjacent to her own that held the other captive girl and down the line.  “They are locked up they can't hurt you.”

She looked down and still shook her head.  “What if I could get you out?”
With that shed looked back up at him with bright brown eyes and a positive response, “I can't do that though.  I can't even buzz out on my own.”
Priya gave him a pouty look. Turned her back to him taking her treat back to her cot to face away.  “I'm still coming back Priya.  Even if you aren't going to talk to me, we're both stuck here together.”

With that he picked up his tote and was buzzed out of the isolation ward.  Sergeant Towne checked the bag again to ensure everything was complete before sending Anthony on his way back to the mess and to his duty station.

Anthony worked his way outside to one of the most advanced gunnery stations in any dropship made by the Inner Sphere.  Combined with the Clan technology from Katherine's relationship with the Wolves Seimer Data Tron had begun making the Excalibur EX-10 which integrated the sub-capital weapons that were now becoming more widespread in larger vessels as well as Harjel and a complete array of upgraded Clan-spec weapon systems.  With the loss of their primary assembly facility during the most recent Battle of Tharkad the SLS Aleksandr Kerensky was one of five in the Inner Sphere.  The LCAF dropped the design from support and “donated” all five of the orphaned dropships to the SLDF, Photon had ordered three of the partially assembled ones to serve as spare parts when anything broke on the Aleksandr Kerensky or its sister ship the Anastasious Focht.

The rough features of Gunnery Sergeant Jack “Cheese” Colby were waiting for him standing next to a sphere with a holographic HUD and status screens for one of the Excalbur's heavy gun batteries.  Anthony saluted the man, who had served as one of the “Bearcats”, The FWLM Expedition to the Battle of Irece, his father's first major engagement and among the largest naval engagements in Inner Sphere history and the largest deployment of the FLWM outside of League space.

“Gunny Colby!” who returned the saluted, “Cadet Brett.  You know what this is right?”

“Yes Gunny, the sighting sphere for the twin Tamar Astroworks Sub-Cap Laser Mark ones in Battery three.  Combined they pack the punch of a super-heavy autocannon at more than seven hundred kilometers.  Far beyond the effective range of most enemies short of a Warship.”

“And if we see a Warship what do we do.”
“Run like hell or;  Full Thrust Forward!  Nose to the Grinder, balls to the walls.”

“That's good Cadet.  I love your spirit.  Can't wait for you to get your Rainbows (Multicolored Star, Wings for Ship's Crew).”

“Thank You Gunny.”

“Alright now get to work.  This thing needs to get serviced and you are much smaller than me.  You have been studying your tech manuals right.”

Anthony grabbed a small tool pouch in it, activated the safety interlock and opened the access port under the sphere. “Roger Gunny.”

Gunny was crouching behind him with a laser pointer.  “Alright now start with that one right there.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #159 on: 09 April 2019, 16:31:59 »
INN News Report – OPERATION: KALEIDESCOPE
02/18/3071
The Allied Forces of the Free World’s League, Lyran Alliance, Federated Suns, Draconis Combine, and Clan Council press toward Terra.  Their objective, deal the final blow to the enemy responsible for the widest spanning conflict since the Second Succession War, The Word of Blake and their allies the Traitor COMGUARDS.

The Press Agents for the FCF and DCA report that Sol Protectorate SDS systems severely damaged the attacking forces.  This damage comes in the form of the near-complete destruction of the Yggdrasil and Fylgia Battle Groups and the crippling of the DCS Yamato and FCS Seth Marsden’s.  Only the reborn Valhalla remains of the major Capital ships. 

Both Clan Council Task Forces and the SLDF remain operational having encountered less opposition around their prospective targets.  Currently they are undergoing repairs in order to meet a surely ambitious timetable and give the Blakists less time to strengthen their defenses around Terra. 

At this critical Phase the Commanding General of the SLDF Photon Brett-Marik, Khans of the Council Clans, the Hellions’ Khan Xander Drake, Shogun Franklin Sakamoto, Archon Katherine Steiner, First Prince Peter Steiner-Davion and their sister Grand Duchess Yvonne are at an undisclosed location planning the next step.  Each is contesting systems within 1 jump of humanity’s home-world, the end is nigh for the Sol Protectorate but one question remains. 

At what cost?

-------------------

02/18/3071 09:58 Location – Asta, Draconis Combine

(Archon) Star Colonel Katherine Fox (Steiner) and Khan Vladimir Ward stood within the observation deck of the WIS Dire Wolf looking at a projected image of the lush yellows that currently covered the temperate planet of Asta.  “Looks like harvest season.”

“It seems a pleasant world far nicer than Tamar but not as Weingarten.” 


He leaned in to kiss her, “Your presence improves it however. I understand you have not been feeling well lately.  What is eating at you?”

“Yes, its just this is the last step.”  She activated the haptic controls of the fingerless datagloves she was wearing and panned the camera back up to see the ravaged Warships that currently orbited this serene place.  IFFs popped up followed by a picture in picture of the vessel.  Avalon Cruiser FCS Victor Steiner-Davion, Aegis Cruiser SLS Olympus Mons, Merchant Carrack Transport SLS Nebula, and Kaga Carrier DCS Kaga.  A squadron of the new and nimble DCA's Sai Omnifighter wove through the allied Warships practicing their combat approaches on the imposing vessels.

Her body language was guarded but Vladimir knew that there was something deeper but was trying to come up with a more polite way of asking her.  “After this is Terra.  I'm just nervous.”

“You sure it has nothing to do with your Trothkin?”


Katherine clenched her hands nervously, it was one of things she was worried about but not the main one, it would satisfy her husband however and possibly end his inquiry before he figured out there was something more.  “Neither of them have talked to me.  I am not certain how to take that.  I will not know their disposition until I am in the same room it seems.”

“Have you attempted to open comms to them?”

Katherine turned to face him gesturing wildly before calming herself.  “And why should I?  Peter and Yvonne that need to explain themselves, not me.”

“You know that I am on your side Katherine.  You do not need to explain your reasons to me.  I am certain they are well reasoned based on your experiences.  My sibkin and I had contentions relationships with one another.  None of them made it off Arc-Royal when the Word of Blake attacked.  They chose their company poorly,”
Vlad gently grabbed Katherine's hand putting it against her light gray combat uniform, “unlike me.”

Katherine lifted the hand to caress the injury that Vlad had on his face tracing its rough contours before kissing him, pushing herself deep into the golden mane that capped off his leather jacket.  “and I am two for two on my own choices.”

They were stopped however as a young Imperial Wolf spacer opened the door to the Observation Deck.  Both gave him a death glare that made him turn paler, “Apologies Khan Ward, Colonel Fox.  The others are waiting for you in the shuttle bay.”  The man closed the door before Katherine could throw something at him or Vlad could throttle him. 

Katherine walked over to the door ensuring that it was locked from the inside before pushing Vlad into the built in bench and opening his jacket.  “There are other shuttles.”

Vlad roughly grabbed her hips and pulled her closer, “I will even wait for a return trip.

Meanwhile in the Shuttle Bay all the Khans including Hellions Khan Xander Drake were waiting in the ready room.  The 1.9m tall blonde Elemental was eye to eye with the brown haired ilKhan Santin West whom he had just met, “No hard feelings about Asa Taney Khan Drake?”

“None ilKhan.  He was a wild card even among the Hellions.  He lost his trial and his life doing what he believed was necessary.  I had alternative plans.”
“I would not have expected the Hellions would have selected an Elemental as their Khan.”


Khan Drake idly flipped a heavy coin, the Ebon Keshik having taken his knife.  “Neither did they.  It worked out magnificently however.”

The Crewman they dispatched to find Khan Ward and Colonel Fox returned and looked pale even to Xander Drake who was almost ghost like from spending so much time in his Battle Armor.  “I found them; on the observation deck.  They did not look like they were in a hurry.”

Xander flipped his coin high in the air, “Well if Katherine has even half the stamina of her little sister.  I think we should head down now, my shuttle is prepped already.  Otherwise we could be here for a while.”  Most of the other Khans looked at him in the queerest fashion but he didn't seem perturbed.  "What I enjoy mingling with the locals.  You should try it sometime.  Works out great for Khans West and Ward."

He grabbed the gold coin mid-air.  “I will buy the first round of PPCs when we hit ground-side.  I doubt they take Kerenskies down there and we have time.  Those Snakes better have some Bourbon.”
« Last Edit: 09 April 2019, 16:59:58 by AlphaMirage »

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #160 on: 10 April 2019, 07:27:33 »
That's great story entry.  I so want collect them all and put them in a pod so i can read at work as a book.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #161 on: 10 April 2019, 16:47:17 »
That's great story entry.  I so want collect them all and put them in a pod so i can read at work as a book.

Thanks Wrangler

02/18/3071 17:12 Location – Shining Column Resort, Baldero, Draconis Combine

First Prince Peter Steiner-Davion watched the broad open desert before him from atop the main conference room in this resort.  Guards in DCMS uniforms watched the perimeter with towed heavy weapons and combat vehicles at the ready.  Shogun Sakamoto had taken every precaution for his guests, Asta had been deemed safe but that didn't mean anything in this war.  Colonel Stone was out on maneuvers with the Khans of the Hell's Horses and Nova Cats in Asta's deep canyons.  This planet would serve as a good training ground for their eventual assault on Mars' Mariner Valley, it was not planned that way but it was fortuitous.

A frustrated feminine voice came from behind, “Where is she?”  Peter turned to see his little sister Yvonne sitting cross-legged on the couch with her fiery red hair in a bun.  Before her was a ream of plans for OPERATION:BLACKLIGHT, the assault on Sol.  It had only been given to the Federated Suns and Tikonov Republic forces on world this morning by the Dire Wolf which had jumped into a pirate point off Asta's moon Arrowhena.  “I don't know.”  Peter walked over to pour another glass of sparkling water from the bar top he was leaning against.  “You know her, she'll arrive fashionably late just like she always does.”

Yvonne stood up and stormed over to the window, “It's been six hours!  I'm so pissed with her right now.”

Peter calmly drank from his glass and pushed over the half sandwich he ordered from the resort's cafeteria.  “You just need something to eat sis.  Maybe she wanted to give us some time to look over the plans.”

She stared at him but he gave no reaction except smug confidence as she took the plate away and then surprise as she snatched the glass right out of his hand taking both back to the table. “Then why tell us to be here at Eleven?”

“Well Katherine didn't send the meeting invite.  That was Photon.  He probably didn't clear it with her people.”

“But the other Khans showed up.  The Commanding General has the personal comm-code to the ilKhan himself!  Damn Clanners.  Why can't Santin West just order her to show up?”

“Cause Vladimir might not take to kindly to another man ordering his wife around, he has a history of killing Khans.  Not to mention Katherine herself, she is still the Archon and a Wolf Star Colonel, no one would dare attempt to boss her around.  She kicked off this whole war by being obstinate and good thing for us too.  If the Word of Blake had time to complete their grand plans it would have been disastrous. 

Technically Photon couldn't even order her to do anything.  The Lyran Alliance is the only power to ratify the withdrawal from the Star League.  The Trinity Alliance and COMSTAR were kicked out, Corrine Marik's League is technically on probation.”
 

Peter reached blindly under the bar top and pulled out a glass before pouring himself another drink.  Not alcohol, he had sworn that more than a decade ago; but if there was ever a cheat day it would be today based on what was to come.

Peter adjusted the brim of his desert hat and saw a convoy of blue armored vehicles approaching on the road at high speed.  He grabbed a set of binoculars from the bar top, all of them were bearing the Imperial Wolf insignia on the hoods with one alteration, the Wolf was White instead of Gold.  “Big sister will be here soon 'Von.”

Yvonne finished her sandwich so fast she almost choked and Peter fast walked over to her to ensure she was okay.  Both of them knew that today was going to be the day and had gone over the events dozens of times over the years.  Neither of them had seen Katherine in person for nearly four years and a lot had happened in that time.  “You ready Peter?”

The convoy approached within the perimeter and Shogun Sakamoto's Black and Gold Clad Kin Masuko bodyguard were obvious from Peter's position at the window and more visible with his optics.  The Shogun walked up to one of the middle vehicles under the watchful eyes of the White Wolf's bodyguards.  One of them opened the back door to one of the armored cars and Katherine stepped down the steep stairs with the merely token aid of Vladimir Ward.  His sister looked harsh in the dappled light, fitted outfit martial, her hair was ash white, and her pale skin marked with scars that she hadn't bothered to hide under makeup today. 

His binoculars' caught the light wrong and Katherine looked up right into the reflection. 

Her piercing iron blue eyes froze him in place. 

Recovering he put the binoculars away, “I sure hope so Yvonne.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #162 on: 10 April 2019, 19:51:05 »
Peter stood in front of the conference room with Yvonne standing behind him as a black suited Franklin Sakamoto entered the door, behind him was their sister, Katherine.  She looked toward him but maintained a careful distance studying him from his desert tan combat boots all the way up the khaki AFFC uniform with the Sword and Sunburst rank insignia of The First Prince of New Avalon.  He did the same from her low heeled boots to the three red Stars on her lapel that marked her as a Wolf Star Colonel, The Wolf Watch branch insignia (A peaked Wolf's Ear), and the 'Fox' Bloodname next to her first name. “Hello Brother.  You're looking surprising vital for a previously dead man.” 

She looked past him toward Yvonne, “Little sister, pleasure as always.  This isn't a social call however so I hope you don't expect a hug.”

Peter could feel the tension between the two of them but they both knew this was going to happen.  The sisterly bond between Katherine and Yvonne had always been tight but time and current events had apparently severed it.  Yvonne knew that keeping Peter's return secret would have consequences with their sister but she took the risk anyway.

“That's unnecessary Katherine.  Von did what she thought was necessary.  We didn't want to make this difficult.”

She narrowed her eyes on him, “Well it's difficult Peter whether you wanted to make it so or not.  Your sudden return has caused a great deal of strife in my life and forced me to make choices I otherwise wouldn't have had to make in order to protect myself.”

“I'm not a danger to you.”
“Really?  Tell that to all the people affected during the Battle of Tharkad last year.  If you hadn't come back the Word of Blake wouldn't have made an example of them.”


Yvonne stepped forward, “That's not fair Katherine.  Peter had nothing to do with that.”

Katherine did the same coming within arm's length of her siblings.  “He did though.  If he hadn't been crowned First Prince I wouldn't have needed to come out of hiding and endanger my family.  My children almost died fighting the Word of Blake in Tharkad City.  I lost too many friends there and I didn't have many to start with.”

Shogun Sakamoto interposed himself between the trio to ensure this didn't go into a full blown fight.  His Draconis Combine couldn't deal with the Word of Blake alone and if the Federated Commonwealth slipped into Civil War the Clan Council wouldn't have the strength to take Terra.  “We should live in the present Steiner-Davions.  Let the past lie for your lost brothers' sakes please.  The future of the Inner Sphere might very well depend on what happens on Asta in the next few weeks.”

“Very well Franklin.  I would like to speak with my brother alone.”

Peter glanced at Franklin who took the non-verbal cue and left the room.  “You too Yvonne.”

Yvonne couldn't hide her concern.  Katherine was dangerous, she had seen her fight before, and she had killed people with her bare hands in the past.  “But?”

“No.  We'll be fine.  Right Archon?”

“Yes First Prince.”


Yvonne slinked away face pleading with Peter once more only to be dismissed with a wave.  He locked the door behind her from the inside from his handheld controller.  “There.  Doors locked Katherine.  You can speak even more freely.”

She slapped him hand across his face, the stone in her wedding ring was down and Peter came away with a bloody scratch and she with a marred diamond.  Peter rubbed his face coming back with blood in his palm, “That was much harder than when Yvonne did it.”

“And with greater cause.  What the hell Peter?  You ****** everything up.  Why couldn't you just stay dead?”

“I had to come back.  I couldn't stay on Randis forever, even as a Paladin.  I have a duty to fulfill.”
“Oh so you felt guilt at abandoning your poor sisters.  How about Arthur and Victor?  You shouldn't be First Prince.”
“And yet here I am wearing the Sword and Sunburst, Archon.”


Katherine sat down in one of the chairs.  “Well I must give you compliments for how you handled George Hasek Peter.  Couldn't have done it better myself.”
Peter sat down across from her, “What are you talking about?”
She was looking down at her nails making sure they weren't damaged by the slap, “His little accident on Talon.  Beautiful work, I read the report.”

“It was an accident.  Not everyone is as bloodthirsty as you seem to be.”

“Well then they are fools.  If someone tries to kill me I don't let them have another chance.”
“How do I know you weren't behind it.”
“George's death or your attempted assassination in the Cathedral?”
“That was Top Secret, MIIO only.”
“I hear things.  Besides I never use the same person twice.”
  With that Katherine revealed her deepest darkest secret so absentmindedly. Didn't even realize it until the words slipped her lips.  She looked over at Peter who was only barely stopping himself from leaping over the table onto her.
“You Bitch!  You didn't.”
“******”
« Last Edit: 10 April 2019, 19:56:51 by AlphaMirage »

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #163 on: 11 April 2019, 07:06:14 »
I guess this won't be warm and fuzzy family reunion.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #164 on: 12 April 2019, 17:23:40 »
Katherine dropped under the table as Peter leapt over it crashing into the chair she had previously occupied.  “I can explain!”

He had recovered with the Warrior's grace that befitted his status as First Prince while Katherine stood up on the defense where she always seemed to do better.  Both of them were now accomplished veterans on the Battlefield and she had known Peter had taken their Mother's assassination particularly hard.  “Really because I would love to hear why you hired an assassin to kill our Mother?”

“I didn't hire him. Ryan Steiner did.  That much was true.  It would have remained secret too if he hadn't attempted to assassinate me on Solaris to protect himself.  I only arranged payment.”

“Well I hope your blood money brought you solace then sister because I won't forget this.  There will be consequences.  I came here with the intent to try to reconcile with you but you just sunk it and innocent people will pay the price.”


Katherine looked hard at him, they were Fire and Ice to one another now.  The Red haired First Prince of the Federated Suns and the Ice Queen of Tharkad.  “We have no idea how many innocent people will pay and have paid that price; but we both know Melissa wasn't one of them. 

She was going to ruin my life because she hated Katrina and I reminded her to much of our Grandmother.  Our own Mother intended to lock me up on Gallery forever in order to steal my lover.  I am only what she made me, an enemy, but she underestimated how far I'd go.  Well I can't have limits Peter.  I do whatever it takes because everything else is a worse outcome for me and my sister.

She tried to do the same for you.  How many times did she visit you in boarding school? You were right there the entire time after she abandoned Yvonne and Arthur on the other side of the universe.  Hanse visited me but Melissa couldn't be bothered to leave the Triad.  Which is now only ashes. 

You were always just not as special as Victor, Peter.

The only person she cared for was herself and Victor died trying to run away from what she wanted him to be.  That's why I helped Ryan Steiner kill her and then when he tried to kill me I eliminated his entire organization. 

You might recognize two of them, The Cartier brothers of Lyons.  The people that screwed you over and killed Linette.”


Peter was torn between anger and sorrow with that mention, tears spilled over the wound that Katherine gave him leading to a thin slick of watery blood down his cheek.  “You were working with them too?  You're not helping your case here Katherine.  How did you know about Linette?  You were on Gallery when that happened.”

“I am the Archon, Peter and have been for a really long time; with not intent of leaving. 
I read your DG profile and AWOL report, of course. 

A Prince going missing while a Kurita ship is in system would of course draw suspicion and I hated the always so perfect Omiko.  Victor wouldn't stop talking about her.

Well now they're both dead so I don't have to worry about it anymore.”

“So are Galen Cox and your Alistair.  Was this all just an act Katherine from the beginning?”


Katherine clutched her abdomen as if someone suddenly kicked right in the gut, “You couldn't know about that unless the Canopians told you.”

“They didn't tell me anything.  So I was right? 

I was brought back to our final parting on Gallery while looking at the original Katherine's signature on Fletcher's Ares Convention Memorial.  I jogged my memory and you tried to copy everything about her, right down to your hair until recently. 

You were going to be the new Katherine Steiner, peace in our time, founder of a lasting Dynasty, giving grand speeches before the Estates General and everything.  How did you end up like this?  Why break the Commonwealth and sell out to the Wolves?”


Katherine caressed the embossed Imperial Wolf logo of her uniform, “Sell out?  My Commonwealth is stronger than ever with the Clans, the Word of Blake and FWLM threw their whole might at us but never got beyond Caledonia and Bolan because of The Wolves.  My realm would have folded without them we owe them everything.

The Council and Commonwealth's arrangement is a mutually beneficial one similar to the one our little sister's got her Vassal Khan to sign in the Accords.”


Katherine stomped forward and Peter backpedaled, “You know why that is; because I trained her! 
I was always there for her when she needed me and she still hid you from me. 
For what reason!  I wasn't going to kill you.

I didn't want this title!

You abandoned us! and cursed me with it! 

So yes I do hate you because of that!

and you can hate me too for Melissa.

You helped ruin my life, almost killed our sister, your absence let our enemies kill our little brother, and drove our older one mad.  So mad he ran right into the jaws of the Smoke Jaguars so he would forget about it.

We don't have to be friends Peter; but I'm also not going to roll over and let you take everything I've built away from me. 

And if you try.  I will fight you but I won't step foot on New Avalon. 

Not that they would let me.  You can have the Suns but I will get Terra and hold Tharkad till my dying breath, if only to spite Mother.


Katherine looked past him to the digital clock behind them, “Now unlock the door.  I have somewhere more important to be.”

Peter opened the door and watched as Katherine pushed past a startled group of the resort's staff.  He brushed his cheek and his palm came back red.  The First Prince was at a lack of what to do about this situation. 

He could tell Yvonne about Katherine but what would that accomplish?  She still loved her sister but was afraid for him; had been as soon as he came back into her life and ruined it too.

The truth would shatter everything for no gain, not that Yvonne much cared for Melissa.  He couldn't do that to her though.  Put her through the pain again.   He could spare a sliver of Yvonne and Katherine's feelings even if it gnawed at him.  Breath deep, calm down, let the painful shameful past lie there.

“Dammit!  I ****** that up.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #165 on: 15 April 2019, 16:24:01 »
Author Foreword - Wow the Fan Fic forums have been going crazy lately.  Went from 1st to 12th in a weekend.

02/19/3071 Location – Shining Column Resort, Asta, Draconis Combine

Yvonne was following her sister through the halls until they found an isolated place.  She had been avoiding her intentionally but she was just as persistent as her sister. “Katherine please talk to me.”

“Stop bothering me Yvonne.  I want to get this over with and then we both split up again, permanently.”


Yvonne stepped in front of Katherine bodily blocking her passage, “No!  Something is wrong.

You've been spending too much time under a neurohelmet.  Its messing with your mind and you're not acting like yourself.”


Katherine made a weak attempt to pass her sister but she continued to block the door, “How do you know this isn't just the real me?”

“I refuse to believe that; and the fact that you do scares me.  I know you better than you know. 

This war doesn't need to be the end.  I want you to make it off Terra alive because I love you.

You wanted us all together before, but now you just want to be alone.  It's not right and I'm not going to give up on you.”

“Well if you think or thought that woman is the real me.  Why didn't you tell me about Peter when he showed up?”

“I made a mistake.”
“I'll say.”
“Not about that.”


Tears came to Yvonne's eyes and Katherine couldn't help but pause.  “I lost someone I loved because I overreacted. 

I didn't want to be wrong but I still think I was. 

I killed Nikolai! Because I thought you would ask him to kill Peter and I couldn't let that happen.  This family has lost enough people, but of course you probably already knew that.”


Katherine was dumbstruck and tears started down her cheek as well, “I didn't know.  When he left my service he was gone.  Anything that needed to be said was sent in your letters.  He didn't send me reports unless I specifically requested them.  I knew you were as safe as you could be so I needed to focus on myself.”

“But why did he say all of those terrible things before he went over the cliff.  I didn't even pull the trigger. 

I don't believe you.  You had to have known he was gone.  He was your agent.  You sent him to control me.”

“What?  No!  I did no such thing, everything Nikolai did was for you by him.  I just gave him whatever he needed to do his job; because I couldn't be there for you on the other side of the Inner Sphere.

He was crazy about you ever since he met you the first time.  He volunteered for the assignment.  I trusted him and thought you did too.  What did he say on the cliff?  When you had him at gunpoint?”

“He said that you would of course want to know Peter had returned and that you would order him or someone else to kill them.  Then he said Goodbye Sunshine before going over the edge.”


Katherine and Yvonne embraced in tears, “I'm so sorry 'Von.  He told you all of those things because he knew that if you had pulled a gun on him you intended to use it.  He didn't want you to do that.  Kill him to save Peter.  He was trying to protect you.  None of us wanted you to have to kill anyone like that.”

“But I did it again.  I killed George through the Hellions.  Amanda will never know her father because of me.”
“Did you tell Peter?”
“No.  I don't want him to know, its why I used the Hellions.”
“You have to tell him or it will get worse with the Haseks.  Angela has already begun trying to tear Peter down according to what I've heard through my network.”
“We can find someone else to blame, but Peter has to know the truth sooner rather than later.”
“He'll hate me even if I did it to protect him.”
“He will realize that none of us are innocent little sister.  We all have painful secrets but the truth is a price we have to pay to get along with one another.”

The two of them spent a long moment just in silence, “I'm lifting off for New Avalon tonight Katherine.  I have been promoted to designated survivor.  Promise me you will come back from Terra.”

“You know I can't make that promise.”

“If you can't make it for me make it for your children.  You want to come back for them right?  It was always your dream to have a happy family.  Can't do that if they're orphans.”

“Did both you and Morgana read my diaries?  I must use a better code.  I promise I am not going to Terra to die but I can't promise I'll come back.  Blake might still have the final Word.”

snakespinner

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #166 on: 15 April 2019, 20:04:50 »
Women discussing who they murdered.
They get so emotional about it.
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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Growing up is optional.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #167 on: 15 April 2019, 22:45:00 »
Women discussing who they murdered.
They get so emotional about it.

To be fair no head of a Successor State maintained their power by charm alone.  They are all still military aristocrats where rivalries and vendettas run deep with blood and some can feel more sentimental about it than others.

The Grand Kurultai

03/01/3070 Location – Shining Column Resort, Asta, Draconis Combine

ilKhan Santin West stood in front of the massive quartz column Shining Column resort was named after giving the final briefing to the senior commanders.  The massive forum comfortably seated the Galaxy Commanders/Admirals and Star Colonels/Commodores of the Clans with their Khans up front.  Rather than partitioned into their own blocks ilKhan West made the seating assignments and forced the Warriors to sit next to others that they would never have interacted with before.  This glorious battle could have all the Clans acting as one and they needed to realize that there was plenty of Glory to be shared and that each Clan had a crucial part of play that leveraged their strengths.

The Elemental exuded his huge strength of charisma in the middle.  “In ten days some of us will embark on the most ambitious operation since Klondike.  Each of you and those you lead will be immortalized for their courage under fire and for the final reclamation of Terra for the SLDF in Exile.  Our Great Father took our ancestors away from the Inner Sphere because he feared what they might do with this vast power.  He was afraid that the SLDF would be used once more to subjugate the Inner Sphere.

Instead we will liberate it.   

They know we are coming and have had a decade to prepare their defense.

We always knew we would return and have had nearly three hundred years to prepare our attack.

This is the battle we were made for Warriors.  When we jump back into Sol's system we will no longer be Exiles. 

We will be home.”


The whole Forum erupted with a shout of “Seyla!”
« Last Edit: 16 April 2019, 09:28:28 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #168 on: 19 April 2019, 14:26:42 »
Fans I could use some help writing this next section, the final chapter before the Liberation of Terra launches.

I am planning on doing a Great Ordeal of Battles headed by ilKhan West with every Clan member participating that will be part of the invasion force nearly 300,000 strong (assuming a cluster is 2 Mech Trinaries, a Vehicle Trinary, Elemental Binary, and Aerospace Binary + Tech support).  There are a couple of ways I can do this but I'm not sure which one is more thematically appropriate.
First person view from a tripping and tipsy Katherine on the ground
The grand third person view from the narrator above
Or ilKhan Santin West's Vision quest.

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #169 on: 19 April 2019, 15:17:47 »
First choice would be 3rd person. Second would be Khan West.
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mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #170 on: 19 April 2019, 18:11:38 »
I'd mix. The narrator in the main with vignettes from Kitty & Westy to deeper dive specific events.
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Icerose20

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #171 on: 19 April 2019, 19:07:40 »
So about one million, asumming 3 support personnel for every combatant, seems a little low.  So am I missing something?  Like the rest of Inner Sphere joining in on Earth? 

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #172 on: 19 April 2019, 20:26:33 »
The Clans are just the Vanguard.  FedCom and SLDF forces (Some DCMS but mostly FWLM and AMC) are following right behind

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #173 on: 22 April 2019, 18:09:01 »
The Great Chronicle of Battle

03/01/3070 22:00 Location – Baldero Desert, Asta, Draconis Combine

Katherine’s tanned lithe form stepped out of the transport dressed in very skimpy for her tribal looking clothes supported by the toned bare arms of Vladimir Ward who was dressed similarly to the throng of other people present on the dim orange moonlit sands of the Baldero desert.  Firewood was still being stacked up but some were burning across the sands sending ash and sparks into the starry sky.

“I think I may have had too much sake.”

He supported her as she haltingly took some steps on the sand, “Franklin and Photon were laying the cups down hard.”

“How do they do it?  They don't weigh anything.  They are all sinewy muscle...like snakes.”
“I think Franklin was sneaking it into his bonzai.  Photon couldn't cut it.  He will live to try another day but will regret last night.”


Her drunk self did a serpentine motion with her free hand, “Those snakes are sneaky.  Why did they get me drunk?”

“You did that to yourself.”
“Why did you let me get drunk?  I won't be any fun at this Chronicle...Festival...thing.”
“The Chronicle of Battle.  You'll be fine.”

“Will there be dancing?”
“Aff.”
“Will you be my partner?”
“Always.”
“I love dancing with you.”

The man held her firm although she almost stumbled in the sand as she attempted a piroutte, “Same.”

The pair walked into the vast desert currently lit only by the orange glow of bonfires and torches. Slender trails of smoke and sparks worked their way high into the thick air of this world.  On the other side of the desert ilKhan Santin West sat next to Akira Tormark, the young man treated as Shogun Sakamoto's adopted little brother, after Franklin had taken to the teenager while in a Black Dragon Prison Camp on Luthien. 

He was intensely focused and open to learning more about the Nova Cat's Visions after hearing about them from the late Minoru Kurita/Nova Cat and Khan West.  Since New Kyoto the young man followed the Khan asking questions that he had pondered while in captivity about the Clans themselves.  Akira had been born the year of REVIVAL and knew no Inner Sphere without the Clans but he still had questions and wasn't shy about asking them.  Khan West answered them, it was his responsibility to the Shogun to be the bridge between the Nova Cats and their partner clans with the rest of the Inner Sphere.

Akira held a severed cybernetic finger taken from a Manei Domini Ghost that he had slain on Dieron before the cyborg could call down an artillery barrage on an Ashigaru ACR that would have wiped them out.  Both of them were sitting very close to one of the many fires burning, this one in the Nova Cat section so it was much less raucous than the other clans.  Firelight flickered across his dark skin and brought sweat which was channeled by his cornrow braids.  “What do see when you look into the fires Santin-san?”

ilKhan West was holding a small bony plate from the Kyotan Armor Bear they had slain on New Kyoto months ago.  Santin was sitting on the cloak made of its fur while Akira sat on a simple tatami mat to protect his feet from the heated sand.  “Always something different Akira-san.  Though rarely useful.  Frequently it makes sense only after reflection.”

“What did you see before DRAGONSLAYER?”

“Two Hounds on the flanks of a Dragon, teeth bared at their charge. 
Crows picking at corpses.
Rivers of blood so vast that they could be seen from orbit.”

“Did it live up to your expectation?”
“I remember being a man your age ankle deep in a bloody marsh after my Point killed a platoon of Ashigaru rifles.  Seeing the Battlemechs burning black smoke across the clean blue sky,  Sinking my suit's jagged claws into the enemy to reclaim the Glory of the Clans after Wolcott.”

“I remember it similarly; one of my sharpest memories even though I was a toddler.  My father was at Kado-Guchi in the family's Shadow Hawk two-K.  He was killed by Elementals.  They took his mech's legs out.  So he opened the cockpit,”
Akira shifted to standing on one leg and thumbed out a short measure of the worn but meticulously tended Katana reflecting the firelight, “and charged at them with this very sword.  One of them hit him with a backhand from their claw.  Cracked his skull and snapped his neck killing him instantly.  Then they moved on.” 

Akira returned the sword to its sheath and returned to his seated position to pour a cup of warm sake heated by the nearby flames, “I never did find out whether it was Jaguars or Cats that killed him, both were operating in the area.

I cheered when BULLDOG and SERPENT returned, they had slain the Smoke Jaguars but my cheer disappeared when they chose to save the Nova Cats.  I cheered for the Ghost Bears on Irece, only to have them beaten back by the League Expeditionary Force.  The Black Dragons almost recruited me to their cause but they sought to bring back the old ways that caused the DCMS to lose to the Clans and AFFC.  We needed to change so that the Combine would never again need the aid of outsiders but not that way.  That way leads to only darkness and defeat.  You have similar vision for your own kind, quiaff?”

“Aff, one of the reasons I find such kinship with such disparate characters as Khans Ward and Cobb.  The Wolves and Hell's Horses were both beaten down but adapted.  All of the Clans currently in the Inner Sphere have been forced to change far more rapidly than we could accomplish alone.  The Word of Blake just catalyzed the process it was inevitable as soon as we came to the Inner Sphere.”


The drums began to beat in the distance, the sound carried by speaker trucks borrowed from Shogun Sakamoto's Civilian Guidance Corps.  The Oathmaster of Ceremonies, (Loremaster) Isaac Clarke of the Diamond Sharks, began the roll call of the Clans that preceded ever Chronicle of Battle.  Twenty drum beats followed by a quick sentence uttered by a member of that Clan.  Almost all of whom were present in some capacity due to the Harvesting that occurred in the wake of the Great Refusal and Refusal War when the Invading Clans opening their touman to outsiders to rebuild provided a major relief valve for troublemakers in the Homeworlds.  Many of these troublemakers either died or learned fast during the Clan Campaigns in the Inner Sphere.

“Now we will see what the fire will show us this evening.”  ilKhan West looked skyward at Asta's two moons and a meteor shower that bathed the desert in intermittent shooting stars.  He closed his eyes to focus his breath and his sense of touch to find his vineers laid out before him, feeling each in turn admiring their textures and remembering what he had done to be worthy of the token from a fallen foe. 

A Kunai taken from a Black Dragon Shinobi
Shard of a shattered belly plate of a Kyotan Armor Bear
A unit patch taken from a fallen Northwind Highlander's Cooling Vest
The codex of Colomb DesCastris, Smoke Jaguar Tau Galaxy
Piece of armor from “The Claws” of a Ghost Bear Executioner
The hood of a ghille suit taken from a Word of Blake sniper.

Each of these battles had taught him something important and he continued to survive because he listened and changed.  There was one battle left so none of it needed to be taken with him.  He was listening if the universe was willing to give him one last bit of wisdom.  As he fed the vineers into his little fire he communed with it under the stars. 

The Meteor shower wasn't intense but it felt that way to Santin.  He saw himself in a dark place under fire, only a single sliver of light shone in a crevice but it was being covered by a black moss.  Looking down he saw his hands in his suit under an orange and alien sky.  The light was saved but disappeared into a cave as dark liquid rose up around him and try as he might he could not escape it as it flooded over him.  Everything went black.

Waking up he saw a graceful white fox with two tails.  All around him was a ring of flames, the middle burnt coals as white as the fox spirit.  A spectral being of shadow walked through it without harm materializing into a man with a burned face, hair as black as night, and eyes that reflected the fires around them.  “You should not be here go back to where you came from.”  He could feel the flames like he was being baked inside his suit.  He snapped awake as the last drum beat sounded, the one for the 'Not-Named' Clan.

Akira looked over to him, the whole experience took only a half hour in real time but felt like days inside the dream realm.  “What did you see?”

“I am not certain Akira.  I will need to reflect on it.”
“Would you like a drink to ease your mind?”
  The man pointed to his large heirloom sake bottle hanging on its little metal frame, “I brought plenty to share.”
“I could use it.”  The young man carefully poured out some of the liquid into the fine ceramic cup, “Thank you Akira-san.”
« Last Edit: 22 April 2019, 18:34:17 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #174 on: 24 April 2019, 21:50:49 »
Beware the Ides of March

03/14/3070 20:00 Location – CJW Emerald Talon, Asta Zenith Point, Draconis Combine

Jade Falcon (Wolves) Khan Marthe Pryde sat across from her Snow Raven Counterpart Lynn McKenna both had bid themselves and their commands to take the lead in the fateful Battle for Sol (OPERATION:BLACKLIGHT).  Each had 3 mixed Clan Naval Stars, the vast majority of the remaining Clans' Warships, under their command.  The final reserve Binary was commanded by Diamond Shark's Khan Barbara Senett with each of the invading Clans holding one of their Warships in reserve to serve as their Flagship once ground operations began.  By morning GMT Terra Time they would be jumping into the Outer Solar System and beginning their attack.

The Raven held up a glass of wine that had traveled all the way from the Homeworlds during her clan's Exodus, “Khan Pryde once more we fight alongside one another.  Just like Lum.”

Marthe clinked the glass together, “Just like Lum.  Taking down some upstarts that have it out for us old Warbirds.”

Lynn finished the glass of wine in single gulp, before pouring herself another.  “And we shall tear them asunder, just like the Perigard Zalman, and rest of the Snake Fleet.  If only I could see Brett Andrews face just before he died aboard that Leviathan Prime.  He rode that ship right into Xian and got exactly what was coming to him.”

The two of them spent another two hours before returning to their command vessels.  Khan McKenna's command dropship, the captured (from the Steel Vipers) Mercer dropship CSR Ouroboros, passed through the crowded Zenith point where 30 Warships and more than a hundred Dropships were jockeying into position for the Final Jump into the Sol system in less than seven hours.  Hundreds of Aerospace fighters were out practicing for the operations they would be doing one last time in friendly space before Blakists began shooting back.

03/15/3070 07:00 Location – “The Black Cathedral”, Mars, Sol

Primus Naamah of the Word of the Blake sat within the Caspar II's command center, known as “The Black Cathedral” for its massive HPG transmission and power cooling towers, they knew the Clan were coming but weren't sure when.  The complex is located near the Mariner Valley and is the primary transmission node for Shadow Oracle “Thomas Marik” aka Artificial Intelligence Erebus, the root controller of the Caspar II SDS system.  The computing complex is located within an underground installation warded by the Fidelis and the rest of The Blood.

A sing-songy ping broke her daydreaming, a smoky voice spoke into her cybernetic earpiece, like telepathy.  “They're here Naamah.”  The holotank in the middle of the room came to life. Naamah stood and walked up to the display her white and gold uniform brushing past the colorful displays that filled a room reminiscent of a third gen Warship of which the SPF had two, the recently completed Harbinger Caspar II Battlecruisers (modified Feng Huangs) KT and Tamerlane.  Two regions of space were blown up in the display, presently they only had low resolution images until Erebus could bring the astrographic units into position to identify the Fleet compositions in greater detail.  Two locations around the equatorial region of Uranus' orbit at a non-standard jump point with a clean shot to Saturn.  Each Fleet would be upon the shipyards there within a week. 

Naamah communicated via cyber-telepathy with the AI several hundred kilometers away deep in a bunker by itself.
“Well it took them long enough.  We've been waiting for nearly two hundred years to get our revenge and here they come.  Send in the Caspar interceptors around Titan Erebus.  Take them out with extreme prejudice.”

“With pleasure Naamah. 
However, Precentors Beresick and Zwick will protest.”

“Let them grumble, there will be more soon.  If they get in your drone's way however; ensure they have an unfortunate miscommunication. 
Don't bother to protect the yards.  The Ebon Magistrate has reclaimed the Sharpe Yards and we still have the Trinity sites.  However make them think we still want them.”

“Certainly Primus.  What are you going to do?


Naamah looked at the matte black polish on her nails, they could use freshening up.  “My nails.
They'll come here eventually looking for the Master and then I'll finish them off personally with my bare hands if I must though I prefer nuclear fire.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #175 on: 28 April 2019, 22:51:31 »
03/18/3070 18:00 Location – En route to Titan Orbital Yards

Star Admiral Olvin Rippon held firm in the foot restraints keeping tall even in microgravity as he faced Loremaster Amanda Wallace in the mission command center of the McKenna Battleship White Death.  The bright light of the holotank behind her illuminated the scars he had earned in sibko, fighting the DCMS, and as a pirate before being “recruited” by the Hellions.  Both of them along with the rest of the crew were dressed in light gray spacesuits with matte black articulated armor panels that linked into their acceleration chairs.  Their hard helmets were off but attached to the harness the umbilical air supply masks were on along with their soft head covers with headset audio.  “Loremaster you are certain Khan McKenna isn't trying to get us all killed?”

“We all die eventually but we will go down fighting.  The Hellions strike first; it is our way Jaguar.  Even if it weren't that is our orders from the Snow Queen.

We get to fire the first shots of the Battle of Terra and what devastating shots they will be.”

“Yes Loremaster, it is a great honor.  Are there any surprises your Watch units have identified?”

“No the ONI observers and my Watch ships have only confirmed what we already knew.  At least one of those hive super-carriers are in play another is with the task force attacking Khan Pryde's Fleet.  There are likely more aboard the command ship of the approaching task force and within the holds of the approaching dropships.  Some will certainly have nuclear weapons under-slung, ones that will crack even a McKenna's thick armor. 

The Fort Verdun got lucky, we have to be good.”
“We are the best the Inner Sphere has ever seen.”


The Hellion's Loremaster a mousy woman with a look capable of boring to a man's very soul looked behind her at the mission clock, 15 minutes till they were in range.  “You have ten minutes until you have to make good on that boast.  I will manage the smaller vessels and greater picture from here. You only need concern yourself with the White Death herself.”

“I will be gentle.”
“We shall see whether she likes that Olvin.”
“Aff Loremaster.”
“See you on the other side Ripper.”
“Ay, Ay”


Olvin exited the armored shell of the MCC and took the transport “elevator” (more like a cable car when not under thrust) back to his bridge four hundred meters away in the 1.4 kilometer long vessel.  He passed the damage control and marine stations near the Bridge and saw the black carapace forms of Salamander Marines and the sleek Ailette exoskeletons of the Damage Control crew sat against the frame of the Battleship safe against the extreme accelerations that were likely to occur.  They made a slight salute to the Admiral as he floated into the Bridge and the door sealed behind him and with it went the last of the atmosphere in this hull section.

Aboard the bridge Star Admiral Olvin Rippon donned his helmet and took to his Captain's Chair and waited for the command interface keyboards to come into position at his fingertips.  His visor filled with AR displays and the rest of his section commanders came into full battle protocol.  The Central Holotank filled with multiple contacts from the incoming SPF Task Force, the engagement arcs of their fleet escorts filled the screen along.  “Weps.  Bring the main batteries online.”

“Ay Sir.  HNPPC capacitors charging.”  The lights blacked out for a moment while the reactor spun up to provide power for the massive particle beams.  “All secondary batteries coming online in two minutes.”

“Launch fighters.  Then bring us into optimal firing pattern, two points off prow.”


One hundred Hellion Aerospace fighters supported by Twenty AWACS, EW, and Small Gunships deployed from the ventral and dorsal surfaces firing out past the six dropship collars.  They were joined by the escort carrier and assault dropships, pair of Aegis Cruisers and Destroyers of the Hellions' White Death Naval Star.  The screen filled with orange as the dozen SPF Warships and fifty dropships launched their own fighter craft.  Hundreds of Hive class drone fighters, cutting edge Spectral Manei Domini, and Elite Sol Defense Force fighters headed toward one of the incoming Clan Fleets.

Ripper watched as the engagement arc rolled over with fighters and a pair of Tiamat PWS cleared the range for his main guns.  He flicked the switch to give full control of the batteries to his gunners.  He could see them zoomed in on his AR sight  He recalled a fleeting memory of his first kill in the Inner Sphere in Olderman Pass on Richmond, none were spared, this would be the same.  “Fire.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #176 on: 29 April 2019, 07:37:23 »
This is getting gooooood
"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

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #177 on: 29 April 2019, 17:12:20 »
This is getting gooooood

Appreciate it Wrangler

Naval TOO

Initial Attack Fleets

WARBIRD
Aegis HS Asa Taney and HS Chaos Sailor
Lola III HS Impaler
and HS Radiant
McKenna HS White Death

Cameron CSR Blizzard
Aegis CSE White Terror
Lola III CSR Spur
Congress CSR Magpie
McKenna CSR James McKenna

Aegis CSR Black Justice
Whirlwind CSR William Adams and CSR Drake
Cameron CSR Ice Storm
Nightlord CSR Snow Raven


RAPTOR
Sovetskii Soyuz CJW Hawker
Aegis CJW Janice Hazen and CJW Hawk Eye

Nightlord CJW Emerald Talon
Zechentinu II SLS Wild Rabbit (SLDF)

Texas WIS Nicholas Kerensky
Cameron CJW Turkina’s Pride and WIS Bloody Fang
Liberators WIS Jerome Winston
Aegis SLS Olympus Mons (SLDF)


Du Shi Wang Blood Moon
Black Lions WIS Stealthy Kill, WIS Blood Drinker, CJW Jade Aerie, and CJW White Aerie


Remaining Clan Warships

Ghost Bear Lunar Attack Binary
Leviathan CGB Leviathan, the last of its kind
Cameron CGB Dieron’s Run

Lola III CGB Blizzard and CGB Icepick
Fredasa CGB Black Ghost

Nightlord Ursa Major
Black Lion CGB Bear’s Den
York CGB Ursa Minor
Essex CGB White Fang and CGB White Claw

Hellion Venus Attack Star
York HS Pack Leader
Essex HS Moore’s Honor
Lola III HS Cold Hunter
Fredasa HS Swift Bait and HS Hellion’s Pride


Diamond Shark Titan Occupation Star
Nightlord CDS Terror of the Deep
Sovetskii Soyuz CDS Nagasawa
Aegis CDS Bloodlust
Essex CDS Sharon
Lola III CDS Predator

Hell’s Horses Martian Attack Star
Cameron CHH Sleipnir
Congress CHH Bucephalus
 Lola IIIs CHH Black Knight, CHH Red Knight, and CHH Gold Knight


Nova Cat Martian Attack Star
York SLS Anna Rosse
Black Lion SLS Severen Leroux
Lola IIIs SLS Growler, SLS Ranger,
and SLS Hunter

Clan Wolf Terran Attack Tri
Dire Wolf WIS Dire Wolf
Carrack Carrier WIS Night Warrior
Cameron WIS Ulric Kerensky

Clan Jade Falcon(Wolf) Terran Attack Star
Congress CJW Peregrine (Green Lantern) and CJW Kerensky’s Pride
Carrack Carrier CJW Ironhold Avenger
Whirlwind CJW Emerald Tornado

Support Units
Hellion Tri
Potemkins Coterie, Hellmouth (formerly CSJ Osis’ Pride)
Carrack Factory Ship Maker

Diamond Shark Support Binary
Potemkins Titanic, Poseidon, Tsunami, Red Tide, and Kraken

Carrack Star Swimmer, Bloodletter, and Devourer
Volga Bold Venture and Speculator

Snow Raven Support Star
Potemkins CSR Eden Rose, CSR Bonaventure, CSR Rook, CSR Treachery, and CSR Wild Swan
Volga CSR Scavenger and CSR Tenacity

Hell’s Horses Support
Potemkins CHH Steel Shield, CHH Armageddon, and CHH Blood Horse
Volga Factory Ship CHH Vulcan
Carrack CHH Golden Clydesdale

Nova Cat Support Star
Carrack SLS Nebula, SLS Far Star, SLS Blessed Rite, SLS Glory Road, and SLS Pathfinder

Wolf/Falcon Support
Potemkin WIS Full Moon
Volga WIS Provider

SPF Fleet
Farragut Righteous Justice
Baron Light of Faith, Light of Hope, Light of Glory
Carson Sword of Enlightenment and Sword of Promise
Essex Deliverance, Despiser, Dawning Horizon, Deathblow, Death by Degrees
Black Lion Blake’s Strength, Blake's Will, Blake's Justice
Naga Celestial Threads and Enlightened Direction

Aegis Herald of Truth, Herald of Justice, Herald of Honor
Suffren Conrad Toyama, Raymond Karpov, Andrea Marteen, Dwight Kurstin, Gregori Hartford, Kari Marshal, Hollings York, Adrienne Sims, Yin Takami, Allen Rusenstein, Julian Tiepolo, Myndo Waterly
Dante Salvation, Bordeaux, Divine Inferno, Necess Kurita, Jeanette Marik, Paradise Lost
York Focht’s Revenge
Thera Dark Phoenix (formerly the Delphi) and Decaying Orbit (formerly the Corinth)
Vincent Alacrity, Determination, Blade of Divinity, Blade of Holiness, Blade of Righteousness, Blake's Redemption, Liberty, Insufferable
Lola III Guarded Knowledge, End of Wisdom, Faith's End, Tale of Ages, Holy Shroud

Caspar Task Forces
Harbinger (Feng Huang II+) KT
Aegis Rampage, Ravage, Rend, Rupture
Quixote Broken Arrow and Fletch
Carrack Carriers Dark Wing and White Wing

Harbinger (Feng Huang II+) Tamerlane
Aegis Cyclops, Centaur, Catoblepas, Chupacabra
Quixote Plunging Shot and Parthian Shot
Carrack Carriers Divine Wind and Starkeeper

SLDF Fleet
Thera SLS Fort Verdun
Eagle SLS Battle of Tukayyid
Impavido SLS Tamarind

AFFC Third Fleet / Task Force - SUNBURST
Avalon Victor Steiner-Davion, Hanse Davion, Melissa Davion, Arthur Steiner-Davion
Eclipse (Fox CV) Donegal, Skye
Fox Fox, Illustrious, Intrepid, Invincible, Indominable
Mjolnir Valhalla
Zodiac (Robinson) Leo, Libra, Scorpio
« Last Edit: 08 August 2019, 09:39:06 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #178 on: 04 May 2019, 13:49:25 »
03/19/3070 Location – Octopus Dropship CDS Benthic, Outside Saturn's Orbit, Sol

Star Captain Artie waited while his dropship was preparing to grapple to crippled CJW Hawker and tow it back to the Titan Yards.  His crew's eyes glued to the display monitors in the middle, Artie was running the massive Merlin interplanetary drive like a pro via his fine touch joystick.  “little bit more.”  Finally the Octopus' arms reached out to grapple the massive Sovetskii Soyuz.  “Capture.”

Artie turned to look at the fine young features of the visiting Jade Wolf Star Commodore, Erik Buckenburger, formerly in command of the Hawker.  “Well Star Commodore it is a good thing your fleet was already heading in the right direction.  Just need to adjust course and we will be at the Titan Yards in three days.  Just enough time to miss anything interesting.”

“I appreciate the assist Star Captain as well as the better accommodations for my men than life boats stranded in the black.”
“Finest services that money can buy.”

The Jade Wolf laughed followed by the rest of the crew, “I think not.  I have been on the Titanic.”
“Well its not in system just yet Erik, but I will submit a transfer request on your behalf for when she does arrive.”
“I would not appreciate that Captain.  As much as it would be a pleasure we are here for duty and destiny. I would just be happy with a Visigoth and a Titan berth.”
“I am certain your Khan will accommodate you Commodore.”
  They passed the remains of the battle that crippled the Hawker, the Octopus' guns had to fire to prevent being hit by large pieces of debris.  “I am certain there will be openings.”

The dropship and its warship floated past the shattered remains of the Texas battleship WIS Nicholas Kerensky which had drawn the highest amount of ire from the KT's robotic drone fleet taking a total of 10 Alamos, 5 Santa Anas, and a pair of Peacemakers during the battle as well as a kamikaze attack by the doomed Aegis Rapture to put down and break its back for good.  Part of the Aegis' fin floated by.  “Damn what do the Caspars have against Kerensky?”

The Liberator Jerome Winston was cored stem to stern by a Peacemaker 500kt nuclear weapon after weathering the guns and missiles of the hostile task force.  A pair of Elephant dropships were herding it into a holding pattern with the other large warship pieces for later salvage operations.

03/22/3070 Location – Titan Orbital Assembly Yards, Titan, Sol

The graceful rings of Saturn filled the view screen of the Benthic.  Erik was enraptured by the image, “Its beautiful, I can understand why they built the yards here.”

Artie floated near him pointing out several of the space stations.  “Well the volatiles port was here long before the yards.”  A bloated Aqueduct cargo drosphip broke through the orange smog gas clouds below before drifting toward one of the massive terminals.  “We are currently orbiting the largest gas station in the Solar System.”

Other Diamond Shark and Clan salvage teams were coming in from the battle zones, the twisted remains of the McKenna CSR James McKenna took the Gargantuan super-heavy tug FCS Gargantuan on loan from the McKenna Yards around Galax in the Federated Suns to move.  Even then “the ship strong enough to lift Mjolrnir” was aided by a Star of smaller dropships. 

The Titan Yards were filled with activity, the Diamond Sharks were still in the process of clearing the orbiting space stations, automated transport dropships, and groundside 'dredges' of hostile troops or influence.  The Benthic followed the established pattern to its holding area.  “Thought they would be done by now.”

“As did I.  Not very promising for our side.”


Diamond Shark saKhan Alan Hawker came in on the radio from the CDS Bloodlust.  “All stranded spacer crews are to report to Titan Terminal Alpha.  You are to receive arms and support our clearing operations for the asset.”

“Looks like you might get that Visigoth after all Captain Buckenburger.”


The Jade Wolf looked toward the moon below.  “Well lets get back into the action.”

03/21/3070 Location – Dredge Alpha Five-Eight, Kraken Mare, Titan, Sol

Nova Colonel Aurele Horn of the Diamond Sharks 21st Strike Cluster stood on the decks of the massive Titan Gas dredge A-58.  Before her was one of the smoggy oceans of hydrocarbons that would serve as a great asset to the Diamond Sharks in the future.  An undine suit matching her own came up beside her.  “Nova Colonel.  We have hostiles incoming.  Vektors and Stygians based on the RADAR.”

“Merfolk get the lead out.  We have incoming Shadows.”


The dark forms of the Vektors attack helicopters and Stygians missile tanks came out of the smog flying low over the hydrocarbon sea carrying a full compliment of battle armor outside of their jagged RADAR absorbent forms.  The attackers launched massive volleys of missile fire against the dredge's defenders which answered in kind.  The sharp edges of Djinn and Tengus fell from the sky landing hard on the deck plates before firing at the Shark's Armored Infantry.  Diamond Shark Elementals fired back and rushed to deal with the hostiles.

Three hours later the Bloody Jaw Jack remained over the Dredge.

03/22/3070 Location – CDS Terror of the Deep, above Titan, Sol

Khan Barbara Sennet had expected to clean out and clear Titan in only three days but her Sharks had found heavier resistance among the many platforms of the Yards.  The constantly changing automated systems and unfinished hulls of jump vessels hid fanatical Blakist defenders well-supplied for continued resistance.  She could just blast everything to ruin but that would make her Clan look weak and be very costly.  The Sharks had bid for Titan because it was the largest most advanced shipyard in the Solar System and they wanted to keep it intact to use it at a later date.  The SPM used that against her at every turn forcing her forces to make difficult choices about collateral damage.

Loremaster Isaac Clark walked into the command room and passed her a noteputer.  “Khan Senett, here are the latest reports from my Watch agents.  As you can see we are close to securing all of the Yard's assets with only minor damage.”

“Good work Isaac, I knew those stranded spacers would make this faster.”
“Yes, they were grateful for a chance to continue the fight after their Warships were destroyed.  It added another third to our forces here.  There is still scattered pockets of resistance on the surface but we think the Blakists won't be able to continue to launch attacks on the Dredges soon.”


A red alert and sudden movement knocked the two of them down and pinned them against the padded wall.  “Hostile missile launch from one of the mining rigs.”

Outside three Megiddo SDS Multiple Capital Missile Launch units concealed within automated mining dropships launched ten Killer Whale missiles at the Nightlord Terror of the Deep, Aegis Bloodlust, and Sovetskii Soyuz Nagasawa.  The Nightlord took a Peacemaker nuclear missile to the broadside breaking the back of the Shark's flagship and killing most of its crew. 

The Bloodlust and Nagasawa were severely damaged by the surprise attack losing control and crashing through parts of the Titan Yard's orbital stations.  Salvage dropships immediately leapt into action preventing the space debris from causing a runaway Kessler incident while the two remaining destroyers eliminated similar platforms to ensure they would not pose a risk.
« Last Edit: 08 August 2019, 09:40:22 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #179 on: 07 May 2019, 18:03:59 »
03/27/3070 Location – Aboard the WOBS Orbital Decay, Interstellar Space, Outer Cordon, Sol

The white clad, small, pale, and scarred form of Precentor Martial Cameron St Jamais was arguing furiously with the eerily calm Primus Naamah on Mars via the holotank. “I warned you this would happen.  Now the Clans are here knocking at your door.”

The woman shook her head at the Precentor Martial’s absurdity, “And I told you.  You are an idiot and your incompetence at keeping them at bay is tantamount to Treason.  Failure has consequences.”

“How dare you speak to me that way?  I started this war.  I have been the Master’s faithful aide for decades before you.”


A predator smile came over Naamah’s face. “Yet I am Primus, frail.  By order of our Ascended Master Thomas Marik himself.  You may have started this war but your failure at running it has caused the ruin of our Blessed Order and brought the Clans to Terra.

Gregory please show the former Precentor Martial the door.”


The sharp black jumpsuit of Precentor Naval Gregory Zwick darkened the door, the man looked every bit the ideal spacer and had served for decades in the ComGuards Fleet before 'defecting' to the Word of Blake.  “What are you doing here Precentor Zwick?  This is my ship!”

The Word of Blake’s Chief Admiral floated into the door, followed by a squad of Marine adepts from the Purifying Light Special Aerospace Division in Black and Gold Nighthawk suits.  “Not anymore.”

The SAD troops restrained the flailing St Jamais in a carry board and floated him out of the command center.  “I had hoped the Ghost Bears would join the initial attack wave.  The drones were meant for a Leviathan.  The Hellion McKenna was heavily upgraded on Galax it’s nearly impregnable to missile and aerospace fighter attack.”

“I too expected them but they must have lost their trial to take the lead.  Do what you can Gregory, Admiral Beresick still has the other Thera to handle them when they come.  You will however get a chance to kill the final McKenna in the Inner Sphere.  That is quite the honor for your legacy.”


He reached into his pocket to retrieve a picture of his wife Melissa and he somewhere in the Mediterranean.  “Well I have some others that are worthwhile as well.”

Returning the photo to his pocket he sat down in the Fleet Commander’s chair and changed the command codes.  The symbol of ROM’s Purifying Light replaced the WOBM Broadsword previously on the screen.  “Among them the Suffren Spear Thrust.”

---------

Jade Falcon Khan Marthe Pryde sat in the command room of her Nightlord Battleship, The Emerald Talon, she and the dozen chief officers that she would be giving orders to have already donned their combat spacesuit helmets and depressurized the massive ship.  “Khan Pryde we have the dozen Suffren destroyers and the Righteous Justice heading toward our main formation at high speed.”

“They broke with the main battle line?”
“Aff.  Accelerating at flank speed nose on in a delta formation.  They will be within the destroyer’s range in four minutes.  Past them and behind us in seven.”
“Accelerate bringing our broadside batteries online and in arc.  I don’t want them to have a clean shot on the thrusters.  This ship needs to make it to Terra and we will not fall for another corner gambit.” 


The Old Warbird held on tight as the lateral gees of their side thrusters twisted the massive ship faster.  “I’ve read your book Zwick.  What the hell are you planning?”

The Clan Armada had already been lining up broadside expecting to engage the Blakist Fleet like they already had.  Most of the vessels were still damaged from the previous engagement but repairing that damage would take months even with the Titan Yards and they had only days without them. 

The McKenna Battleship White Death was lined up in the middle with the Snow Raven covering its aft and the Emerald Talon its nose.  The three vessels had all accelerated their maneuvering to bring the broadsides into play.  The Farragut was making a straight line approach for the McKenna’s midship and the center of the Armada with a squad of Blakist Suffren destroyers focused on the Nightlords.  In front of them were the remaining destroyers and cruisers anchored by the heavily damaged Du Shi Wang Battleship Blood Moon lined nose to nose with the Farragut Super Battleship.

Time Table
-3 Minutes – Suffren Spear forces launch missiles, Gauss rounds and unleash NPPC fire on the Blood Moon and Aegis Cruisers (Olympus Mons, Black Justice, Janice Hazen, Asa Taney, and Chaos Sailor).  The Blood Moon’s full nose battery fires at the Righteous Justice along with the White Death’s Broadside.  The Blood Moon receives the same in reply, a heavy gauss round knocks one of the Frontal PPC batteries out of commission.  Tele-operated and Bearings-only missiles hidden in the sensor shadow of so many ships rain down on the Aegis heavy cruisers, some are hit by clan NL or interceptor missiles. 

The Janice Hazen and Chaos Sailor take an Alamo and Peacemaker Nuke a piece and begin drifting but rip into the Farragut and its escorts.  The Olympus Mons loses its right side broadside due to overwhelming missile fire and nearly gets its nose ripped off.  The Asa Taney and Black Justice manage to avoid serious damage but maul the Suffrens Conrad Toyama and Yin Takami with their autocannons.

-2 Minutes – The remaining Suffren forces coalesce on their targets 5 a piece for the Nightlords, the Farragut maintains its course firing at the Blood Moon.  The heavy weapons fire severely compromises the already damaged nose of Battleship killing the Wolf Clan’s Fleet Commander.  His XO takes command and attempts to turn away from the incoming Blakist fleet to protect his vulnerable nose. 

Dropships, Aerospace Fighters, and Small Craft deploy to fill the new gaps in formation.  The Suffrens fire on the Nightlords but even with their immense firepower barely make a dent in the mountain of armor plating on the Clan Battleships.  The destroyers and remaining cruisers fire on the incoming ships disabling the Suffrens Julien Tiepolo and Adrienne Sims. 

The remaining Blakist task force accelerates to get into engagement range but the damaged ships, Orbital Decay, Sword of Enlightenment, Blake’s Justice, Jeanette Marik, and Necess Kurita hang back.

Farragut Righteous Justice now turning at close range to the White Death takes multiple direct NPPC hits but disables the White Death’s thrusters with a close range Peacemaker missile.  Other capital missiles impact throughout the massive vessel tearing into critical systems with cannons, gauss slugs, and PPC fire.

-1 Minutes – The Righteous Justice and White Death exchange withering broadsides at close range.  The opposite broadside of the RJ deals the coup de grace to the Blood Moon destroying its engine, KF drive, and thrusters but takes heavy damage from the battle line.  Nose and Aft guns tear through the already damaged HS Impaler and obliterate the SLS Wild Rabbit.

Blakist Small Craft and Dropships continue to burn hard in order to match velocity with the Clan Armada as the Nightlord’s secondary batteries engage them.  The Suffrens fire again at the Nightlords dealing damage but not cracking the thick fuselage yet.  The Snow Raven cripples the Gregory Hartford while The Emerald Talon heavily damages the Myndo Waterly.

0 Minute – The White Death and Righteous Justice continue their deadly close range dance of death.  The Farragut’s broadside takes the full might of all 12 remaining HNPPCs and returns with 6 NAC/40s, HNPPCs, HGauss, and 9 Killer Whales to the McKenna gutting both heavy battleships.  Dropships and Fighters weave between the heavy flak of the remaining Fleet escorts supported by the remaining Nightlords.

+1 Minute – Still burning off the initial velocity the small craft head to the Nightlord’s off side while the remaining Suffrens deploy chaff screens while shooting their aft cannons as they attempt to 'power slide' with their huge thrusters to go perpendicular and catch the enemy in a crossfire.  The Blakist task force is at Extreme range bracket firing their long range autocannons and missiles toward the Clan ships who reply in kind.

+2 Minute – The crippled Aegis Olympus Mons explodes after an out of control Achilles dropship crashes into one of its ammo magazines.

At zero relative velocity the small craft that overshot the Clan force continue to push the performance of their dropships and boarding craft to the max.  The Suffren Conrad Toyama takes damage to its thrusters from the Snow Raven as well as scattered damaged on the left side. 

The danger of cross-fire severely limits the Clan Warships ability to deal with hostile dropships and fighters between the front and rear battle lines.  They only have the smaller more precise anti-fighter defenses and their own flight teams.  The ship's crew must focus on the incoming hostile Warships and leave it to the fighter jocks.

Four Kraken missiles impact the Black Lion Jade Aerie followed by multiple smaller missiles and Blakist Aerospace fighters swirl around the damaged battlecruisers.  Its sister ship, the White Aerie, takes heavy damage from a bombing run by pair of Avenger assault dropships and squad of Aeshna drone aerospace fighters.

+3 Minute – ROM-SAD C-77A (NL-42s) Boarding Craft use the debris cloud from the Righteous Justice and White Death for cover sneaking into the afts of The Emerald Talon and Snow Raven.  The Talon and Snow Raven finish off the heavily damaged Suffrens Conrad Toyama and Raymond Karpov.  The two ships begin to turn nose on to the Blakist attack in order to catch the middle of the ball between their powerful broadsides.  Hundreds of Hive, Spectral, and SPF fighters swarm the battleground and begin to overwhelm the Snow Raven, Wolf, Hellion, and Jade Falcon Aerospace corps.

The Orbital Decay and its escorts break away from the interception vector apparently quitting the field.  The Suffrens move at Flank speed “perpendicular” to the Clan Armada but maintaining the outward velocity.  The HS Asa Taney breaks formation turns and moves at Flank speed to the Aegis WOBS Herald of Honor which does the same, both ships are heavily damaged but evenly matched.

+8 Minutes – Khan McKenna felt overwhelmed by this attack force, her fleet had not come in with sufficient intel or willing to use nukes and Khan Senett had paid for it with her life along with hundreds of other spacers. 

The loss of the last McKenna to the last Farragut had been a heavy one to bear.  The Asa Taney and Herald of Honor blasted themselves into oblivion and the White Aerie was drifting now that enemy fighters had destroyed her engines.  Her sister ship took a pair of Santa Anas fired from Pocket Warships in the enemy line and began drifting. 

She drew a vector toward the Orbital Decay and its escort group.  “No one outfights a McKenna in the black.  Chase down that carrier with the rest of our people.”
“You want us to leave Khan Pryde behind.”
“Yes, that old Raptor can take care of herself.  I am going to kill this Blakist Precentor Naval.”
“Aff Khan McKenna.”


Aboard The Emerald Talon, Khan Pryde was in dismay as the last of her heavy Jade Wolf ships were taken out by enemy fighters, fighters that were now returning home.  All the remained under her command was the heavily damaged HS Radiant, CJW Turkina's Pride, a Binary of dropships, and two Clusters of Fighters.  The enemy was heavily damaged however, seven Suffrens, an Aegis, Black Lion, Farragut, and Three Lola IIIs flatlined along with hundreds of Aerospace fighters and dozens of Dropships.  She watched as the Snow Raven, Black Justice, Magpie, and Blizzard broke formation with their dropships and fighters.  Marthe opened a line to Lynn, “Khan McKenna what the hell are you doing?”

“I not going to let Precentor Zwick escape.”
“You are crazy woman.  Your Star is broken, head to the rally point and wait for the next wave.”
“I still have the Snow Raven's fighters Khan Pryde.”
“That is not going to be enough for a Thera even depleted like it is.  He's baiting you, your ships can't keep pace with his formation.”
“His formation was damaged by the Yggdrasil.  We can catch him.”
“Dammit Lynn come back now!  Unless you want to die.”


An alert blared over the ship's intranet, 'Hostile boarding action underway.  Maintain security shelter.'  Khan Pryde toggled the ship's internal sensors to see a burned out section of a bay door.  A squad of Asura and Tengu Armored Infantry came in from the still orange hole.  They were followed by Nighthawk armored Marines with the distinctive crested helmet of the Word of Blake's Special Aerospace Division.  A six man squad was carrying a large metal case of some kind.  “******!  Galaxy Commander Icaza deal with these intruders immediately.”

“Aff Khan Pryde.  My Marines are already on the move.”


Galaxy Commander Ken Icaza's Elementals were using their suits jump jets to cruise toward the breach area.  The long corridors were already evacuated and the Falcon Elementals carried proximity beacons that would open the security doors as they neared them.  The frame numbers went by quickly and his Point impacted a bulkhead to arrest their velocity and turn to a door into one of the Trinary sized Mechbays of The Emerald Talon.  First response troops were already firing on the gathering forces but the Tengus held up heavy shields to protect their lightly armored squadmates while Asuras, Se'irim, and Longinus suits fired missiles at the Falcons.  “Points Bee-Seven, Five, and One on me.”

“Aff.”


The Fifteen Elementals worked their way along the catwalk using whatever they could for cover from the Blakist attackers.  A Falcon Nova A came to life in its cradle.  “Evasive maneuvers!”  The Mech was still confined although it attempted to fire toward the Elemental Marines but instead fired its weapons at a Summoner on the other side of the Mech Bay.  A squad of Asura suits detached from the main body.  “Don't let them get to the cradle or door releases! Khan Pryde, I am requesting a continual hard roll to dislodge and immobilize the attackers.”

“Confirmed.  Countdown triggered.”
  The maneuver lights went on moments before The Emerald Talon began its roll.  The Blakists had nothing to grab onto and were knocked to the ground by the sudden acceleration.  “We might have more ticks, requesting external scan of this frame.”

“A Visigoth Point will be on station in two minutes Ken.  Hold on until then.”

The Elementals claw dug deep into the Talon's fuselage as he attempted to deal with the hard roll.  It was something they had trained for but it still was not something the Elemental's large frame was well adapted for.  The Blakists dug their own claws into the hull plate, if they detached and attempted to jump jet it would end up with them smacked against the deck and vulnerable.  They still traded pot shots with one another with their arm mounted weapons, missiles, gauss slugs, and lasers blackened and pockmarked the interior of this bay. 

“GC Icaza this is Visigoth Blue-Four.  There are a dozen LAMs hanging on for dear life along with three more boarding craft.  We are going deal with them.”  With the Point of Visigoths overhead a pair of Waneta and Pwwka LAMs transformed back into Aerospace fighters and burned toward the interlopers.

GC Icaza went through a simulated burn in his mind.  “Men, on three we burn, two seconds, slam on the deck hurry to the case.”
Ken remembered he was in Trinary Five's Bay, the Nova was in the first cradle in the series.  “Launch command, activate cell five one on my mark, then close it immediately.”
“Aff GC Icaza.”


The Elementals did a quick burn and impacted the deck hard absorbing the shock with their armor.  The Blakists fired their weapons at them as they rushed to the mysterious case.  One of the Elementals put his battle claw through the Nighthawk suit and used the dying man as cover against a Longinus' King David Gauss Rifle.  “Get that case to the Nova!  Now!”

Another crashed into the Tengu shield-bearer exposing his lightly armored ROM commandos to an increasing number of Falcon Marines.  Three were engaged in a grappling match with the Asuras that sought to release their immobilized Nova and open the doors to let the LAMs inside the armor where they could easily kill all the Marines.  The Elemental carrying the case had his jump jets on full burn and aimed right for the Elemental Couplings. “Launch now!”

The Nova was thrown out of the Nightlord and into the dogfight with the Falcon and Spectral fighters.  The Elias Tactical Nuclear Mine in the case detonated and obliterated the Nova but did little to the Nightlord.  Additional Falcon fighters cleared out the rest of the SAD boarding team.

Khan Pryde watched helplessly as the Snow Raven succumbed to the fate that her own vessel had just narrowly avoided.  The nuclear effect was completely contained in the heavily armored fuselage of the Snow Raven.  The vessel looked fine on the outside but everyone inside was dead, gone up in nuclear fire.  Furious at the loss of their Khan the Snow Ravens continued the attack on the Orbital Decay's battlegroup but Zwick won this round at the cost of the Blake's Justice.

Marthe monitored the Orbital Decay's route and the ongoing SAR and Termination efforts by her remaining ships.  “Khan Pryde it Looks like he is heading back to Mars.”
“Yes but we've done our part for now.  Comms, send the HPG to activate the second wave. 
I will avenge you Lynn, old friend.
Zwick's days are numbered.”
« Last Edit: 07 May 2019, 18:20:53 by AlphaMirage »