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Author Topic: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)  (Read 7453 times)

Trace Coburn

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Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« on: 31 August 2013, 00:48:42 »
[[Posted 29-04-2008, 19:53:51]]


3052, August, Coventry...

Elizabeth Ngo sat in the anteroom with a dozen others, waiting...

The Cadre officer finally came back with a stack of files.  He read off names, and faces brightened, or sank into deep anguish.  She waited.

The others filed out behind an NCO.  Elizabeth was entirely alone, they even took an asthmatic boy named Lester, and a Dullard named Hines - though both of them were older than she by several years.

"What about me?" she asked.

The Officer looked up, "Ngo, right? your daddy's MIA?" he asked.

She nodded. 

"Unsuitable for Service-you failed the Physical...hell, girl, you should have KNOWN you'd fail it, what with your seizures." He told her.

"They're medically controlled." she replied, "Besides, look at my other scores-the academics, the Tactical Proficiency Exam!" she stood up, defiantly.  The AFFC recruitment officer looked at her pityingly,  "You Need people who can think, who will fight!" Dimly, she hoped she didn't sound as desperate as she felt.

He shook his head.  "I'm sorry, Miss Ngo, I really am... but even if we could swing the waiver for your age, and even if we could swing the waiver for your medical, you're still not getting in because it's AFFC policy NOT to depopulate whole families.  As a 'sole surviving member' of your particular family, my hands are tied.  We Can't let you in."  he sighed heavily, "Go home, okay? go home, be a good administrator, work in the civilian side if you want to help the war effort."
« Last Edit: 31 August 2013, 00:53:14 by Trace Coburn »

Trace Coburn

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #1 on: 31 August 2013, 00:49:19 »
[[Posted 30-04-2008, 20:27:33]]


Coventry Spaceport...

Liz was silent all the way to the 'port.  It wasn't her usual titanic sulk, either.  She seemed, to Mike Breland, to be whistfully in her own world.  Mike hated it when she did that-it meant, inevitably, that she was planning to do something that would anger her pa-parents.  But the boss, he's dead....  Breland had served the Ngos for thirty years.  He'd been there to help Elizabeth clean up the mess when the coroners came to collect her mother,  He'd handled the inevitable press questions and handled the bribes that it took to keep the suicide out of the papers.

"Mister Breland."  Liz suddenly spoke.  Her serving man looked up, meeting her eyes, "Obtain passage to Outreach.  I wish to hire some mercenaries."

"Ma'am, you could do that over HPG-" he started.

She shook her head, "I will hire them in person, Mister Breland, and try to find express tickets."

"Yes ma'am." he said, "Shall I obtain some different clothing for you? I believe black is not in fashion on Outreach this time of year..."

"No.  Black is always in style, Mister Breland, and I have no desire for garish colours." she said, as their vehicle rolled to a stop in the VIP parking area. 

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #2 on: 31 August 2013, 00:49:47 »
[[Posted 01-05-2008, 08:02:53]]


Grange Hall, Vin Drin Lap Village, Golden Lake area, Kowloon, 3053/01/04...

"...taxes are killing us, and when the Taxes aren't killing us, the ****** Pirates are."  Charles Vanh waited for Brennert to finish his ranting.   Stevens popped up at the back of the room, and Charles saw him make a sign-language 'P'.

"Um, Tom, hate to bring this up now-you're gon' have to cut this ranting short, the Provincial Polizei is on their way."  Charles said.  the room swelled in comments and muttering, Charles waved his prosthetic hand, "Calm, people, they're still at the bottom of the hill, it won't do any good at all if folk get stamped rushing the doors, and we've still got a decision to make."

He banged his metal claw on the podium, "ORDER... There's a motion on the table to boycott the Keiglund Feed and Stock store, in protest over the Provincial surtax on Farming.  To save time, this is a voice vote.  All in favour say 'aye'."

Most of the gathered Golden Valley farmers shouted 'Aye' in varying levels of enthusiasm.

"Opposed?" Charles asked.

The nays were scattered.

"So moved.  We're not getting to the other matter on the agenda, given that Condit's men are coming up the access road, so this meeting is adjourned.  Get out of here before they arrest you all, and god-bless."  Charles said.

People filed out as Charles stepped down off the podium. Dammit, Evvie's not here again...  he deliberately picked up his hat and pulled his coat on as the rest of the members evaporated.  Oh well...  he frowned.  "David, come down, it's time to go son."

Eight-year-old David Vanh half-tumbled down the stairs.  "Daddy, there's Battlemechs comin' up the road!" he said.

"I know, son...where's your ma?" Charles asked.

"Mommy's in the potty with Eddie." David said.

"okay, well, get on out to the truck and wait there-" he gave the boy his keys, "We'll be along in a shake."

Dao Vanh was waiting outside the men's room.  "Charlie, is it true?"

Charles nodded, "It is-apparently the right to peaceable assembly isn't a right after all..." Charles said darkly, "EDDIE! Hurry Up Boy."  he added, shouting through the closed door.

"Evvie didn't come up." Dao said.

"I know.  I don't know that I entirely blame her for it, though- the way some of 'em treated her when she got back..." Charles said.

The floor of the building vibrated in a walking rhythm.  "I guess I get to talk to the Polizei again." Charles added.

"Not another stay in Jail, Charlie-we still have calving to do." Dao admonished, "you be Polite."

"I'll be nice, hon, I won't provoke 'em, okay?" Charles said, "David's got the keys to the truck, you take Eddie, and if I don't meet you there, you go ahead on home, and call Li's office."

"Alicia Li can't get you out of jail ALL the time.  You mind your manners." Dao insisted, and gave him a kiss, "I'll wait for you."

Charles walked out of the building, and into the bright, sun-like light of the 'mech's spotlight.

"You're out after Curfew!" a voice called out.  Charles squinted into the gloom at the 'mechs feet.  An aging APC was parked there, idling, and he could make out dim shapes around it.

"I was on my way home and the boy had to use the bathroom." Charles lied.

"We were told there was an unauthorized gathering here!"  a man strode into the light.  It was Hans Kreidner.

"No Gathering, Hans, go ahead 'n take a look around-just me and the wife an' kids." Charles told him, "Though I suppose if there WAS, it'd be on thursdays, as you damn well know."  He folded his good arm across his prosthetic, and tapped the metal claw to his elbow, "Besides, if we DID have a meeting, do you REALLY think we'd do it this ****** close to town, in a building you're sure to find us in, when we've got all of Minsky's Folly to hide in?"

Kreidner looked doubtful, uncertain.  "Listen, Charlie, I gotta do my job. The Regent put Gossmann in charge, and Gossmann doesn't want you farmers making trouble out here."

"No Trouble, Hans...hell, with the new directive, what kind of trouble could a bunch of pissed-off farmers DO?" Charles asked.

"Well...I don't know and can't say-but you probably best stay away from the Grange hall for a while." Kreidner warned, "There's folks saying your bunch are planning some kind of protest..."

Charles rolled his eyes, "Hans, what if we did?  Here's how it would shake out-a bunch of farmers shouting, eventually even if you don't interfere, they're gon' start beating on each other over property lines, rustling, disagreements about tractors even.  a few broken bones if you don't do nothin', and if you do? well, a few fewer farmers and your boss gets to foreclose on their leases." he shook his head, "Not my thing, you get it?" he dropped his arms, showing off the semi-functional hook, "I did my fighting on the Front.  I'm home to just live quiet."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #3 on: 31 August 2013, 00:50:16 »
[[Posted 01-05-2008, 21:15:50]]


Mosovich Farm, February 19, 3053...

"...and you will call me Hauptmann Mosovich, Mister Kepplinger, I'm still in the recall zone and my comission remains active until the First of next year."  Evelyn Mosovich was a picture of horror, at least, face on, and Gregor Kepplinger flinched from it, a feature that was rather more useful than use-less negotiating with him.  "Now, currently, I AM on a medical leave of absence, pending formal release-of-service. this does NOT grant you, or your Leige the Baron, rights to trespass on private property that is NOT part of the certified land-grant held by your friend the Baron."

Gregor swallowed hard, "But your father-"

"My father is dead, and from the wording of this, and the conditions I found when I got back, I believe I have significant grounds for prosecution, Mister Kepplinger- prosecution for fraud, prosecution for breach-of-contract, and in a Commonwealth Court to boot.  Somehow, I think a decorated veteran of the Clan front is going to get more of a hearing than the washout son of a third-rate Mercenary, don't you?"  she stood, arms akimbo, on the steps of the old Farmhouse, "particularly since, unlike flesh-and-blood, MY eyes record what I see, and I made DAMN sure I kept copies in a safe place."

"the contract is legal-" he started to whine.

"NO, it isn't, and we both KNOW it isn't...and you may inform Baron Kittredge that I've already filed the necessary papers, via a respected law-firm, and if that doesn't work, I can and have secured AFFC Judge-Advocate assistance on this matter, both to determine the legality of the contracts in the first place, and whether the party of the Second part, your sponsor the Baron, fulfilled his legal obligations under them if they WERE legitimate-which they are, according to Judge-Advocate-General's office, NOT.  You will remove your presence, and your non-real properties from my land, and you have fourteen days to comply, after which,  I will be unable to stop the next phase of legal proceedings, which will impound your equipment until a Tribunal can be convened under the National Soldier's Rights Act of Thirty-Forty-Seven, paragraph two, section forty one, relating to misuse and abuse of military personnel by civilian mercantile interests and local governments."

"The...what?" He was dumbfounded.

Evelyn's face was mostly myomers, implanted during frantic life-saving surgery in a military disaster.  The net effect was that she could eat, her remaining flesh was protected from random infections, and she had to use a Vox to speak.  It didn't give her the ability to make facial expressions.  Gregor was certain,  however, that the tall, angry woman was smiling a nasty, angry smile somewhere inside. 

Evelyn could tell.  "One of the acts passed before everything went all to shit, was a law protecting the real properties of soldiers on deployment, as well as protecting them from injuries caused by con-men exploiting their families.  It was noticed at AFFC high command that a lot of soldiers who came home from the war in '39 came home to massive, illegal credit contracts or no homes at all.  If you feel you must blame someone for the law being there, blame Archon Melissa, if you failed to notice it, you might consider that under that law, I can turn around and seize Everything you own as punitive damages, and I can demand enforcement from the FedCom Government, up to and including requesting armed forces personnel and equipment be used to assert and enforce the law.  That tin-can Locust of the Baron's is no match, and if we take it to the mat, based on the surveys I've got, I can very well claim it as part of my compensation if I so choose-Fraud is a serious crime."

"You wouldn't..." he almost whispered.

Evelyn nodded, "correct on that-I wouldn't, but I will if you and your boss try to push the issue." she inclined her head, "My father was too sick to know what he was doing-this is an established fact, and invalidates any contracts or loans he may have signed while he was non-compos-mentis.  As his sole heir, I have a vested interest in this property, as his Inheritor and Executor, I have the power to handle or discharge his debts.  I also am now the sole proprietor of this land, you and your crew of miscreants, have no standing here, except that of trespassers.  You will remove your machinery from my property, and be glad that I don't demand material reimbursement for the damage you've already done."

"This isn't over-I'll have you know, the Baron has the ear of the Regent!" Gregor barked impotently.

Evelyn reached out, almost casually, and shoved the man into the porch-post with a grip of iron.  Her expressionless, deathlike, face loomed under its cloak of carefully combed black hair, he could see himself reflected in the tearless pits of her military-medical-issue artificial eyes.  "Very well, tell the regent, go ahead.  The land here was granted by  the Duke to my grandfather, and the grant was confirmed in perpetuity by the Archon.  My title here holds precedent over the Regent's favourites, and believe you me, I have more than just the law available to enforce it."  she put him down in the yard, "In the mean-time, Get off my land."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #4 on: 31 August 2013, 01:02:35 »
[[Posted 01-05-2008, 21:41:33]]


Outreach, March 1, 3053...

Liz spent her first week on Outreach not hiring mercenaries. Mike was pleased at this-even as a teen, she was more focused on the family's business than...okay, let's face it, she's more focused than her daddy ever was.

She accepted a tour of the Blackwell works just on the edge of Harlech.  "..so I understand there's been a problem with your order?" she asked, "What can Ngo Industries do to help?"

He followed her as she was led into the factory's huge foundries, Liz asked specific questions about what the customers wanted, and Mike spent his time writing down their answers. 

"So...let's take a look at the unit in question..."

The party proceeded to a nanopolishing mill station.  Liz looked it over carefully, and asked yet more questions, redirecting when the answers started getting "Proprietary".

"Okay, so what you're saying is, the machine worked perfectly, but it is not what you're needing?" she finally asked.  The Tech-boss for the production line looked a bit nervous, but nodded.

"Ah, well...if you give Michael here the specifications for what you DO need, I am sure the company can fabricate the RIGHT equipment for the job, instead of a half-ass jury-rig, and naturally, firm non-disclosures will apply at each stage." she said flatly,

"But...you can not salvage what never existed before!" the Tech-boss said.

"We don't." Lizzy said it bluntly, and Michael's heart nearly stopped.

"You...don't?  I don't understand-" the tech man said.

"I'm going to give you OUR little secret.  Ngo Industries doesn't salvage-and-repair machinery anymore-there's none to salvage, most of the time.  We're a Manufacturer.  it's a trade secret that I am entrusting Blackwell with." she said it grimly.  "We haven't 'salvaged' a piece of industrial equipment since the late twenty-ninth century.  This mill is new-production, but we keep the old-year series markings and dataplates both as a homage to the past, and as insulation-if it's 'foundtech', then nobody comes snooping to see if they can steal our processes."  She said it almost robotically.  Michael felt an urge to strangle her for letting it slip-but stopped himself with the knowledge that she IS the boss.

The 'Tech actually smiled at this.  "I kind of figured that." he said, "The metallurgy's too new and there isn't enough wear in the deep spots, we had a betting pool about it."

Liz laid a finger to the side of her nose, "As long as it stays off the airwaves, and you don't go blabbing to someone else, I think we can deal...now, what's it worth to you?"

The tech shrugged, "I don't get to make those decisions, it's the bosses, and the customers..."

"If by the Customers, you mean the Wolf's Dragoons, well, their record for discretion is pretty solid, but I'll want to be involved in the negotiations in order to be certain that proprietary rights of Ngo Industries are protected, and to insure that the product we deliver IS to the correct specifications."  she folded her arms, "I may also have a minor job to cement the relationship."

"you're due for your five pretty soon, aren't you?" the Tech asked.

Liz rolled her eyes, "Medically Unfit for AFFC service, which means a government job or a waiver." she said, "That's all separate from the business here."

"Right...well, let's go to the office and see what comes down...you sure you can build it?" he asked.

"If it can be built, we will build it, that's what we do." she said, "although hiding the fact that we built it could be...interesting."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #5 on: 31 August 2013, 01:03:14 »
[[Posted 02-05-2008, 07:32:34]]


Groves Industries Plant 4, Nha Tranh, Kowloon, 3053/03/05...

"...short overtime pay? hell, they cut hours off."  Jin Quhon and a small crowd of workers were discussing things in the break room, "what about you, Gordy?"

Gordon Mason sighed, "Damn Union rep told me, in not so many words, to go ****** myself on the grievance." he said, "We need new representation."

"I heard the Union President was spending a lot of time out of the office, with Stoney." Tom Feng was from the southwestern district.  "Not just him.  You guys noticed the cars our so-called 'business reps' drive around in?"

nodding spread around the room.  "War rationing, guys. maybe we need to make sacrifices for the war effort."  Chie Munyang said.  Her voice was small and high, fitting for her petite size.

"War rations my ass.  I took a look at our pension shares." Dao Cu'ong sat on the mini-fridge, "according to the contract, and based on my timeclock reciepts, the share-values on the exchange, and my accountant, there should be better than sixty thousand Kroner worth-guess how much is in there?"

"Um...sixty thousand?" Tom hazarded, it was sarcasm.  He'd looked too.

"Try fifteen." Dao said, "I've got ten years company-time and fifteen union-time, and my gods-damn share value is fifteen thou.  That's a ****** quarter of what's supposed to be in there."

"Denny's retiring next month, what's he got?" Jin asked curiously.

"Fifteen." Dao said, "He ain't gonna live long on that retirement...and he's supposed to be vested for over a quarter-million."

"We gotta do something."  Chie said.

"Well, the curfew means no unapproved meetings of large groups, so a wildcat strike's out, and the union's in bed with the upper management..." Tom ticked off, "So we can't rely on THEM to address it."

"We can always vote 'em out." Dao said.

"and put WHO in?" Jin asked, "It's not like there's a lot of Academy or College-trained labor lawyers outside the guys that're ripping us off."

Dao let a slow breath out.

Chie caught it, and so did Jin.  "You're not serious." Chie said.

Dao looked at her.  "Um. yeah, actually... I know somebody."

Tom perked up, "Dao...don't you have a cousin or something..?"

"Yeah, she even has the same first name 'cause that side of the family lives on the West side of the mountains, but no...I know someone who's qualified, and so do you."

Jin and Chie nodded, and Tom looked even MORE confused.  "Who?"

Dao sighed, "Felton." she said.

"Felton...you mean, that grinning maniac in Propellants?" Tom asked, "Mister blow-up-postboxes bedwetting Felton?"

Dao nodded, "You shouldn't keep holding that against him, he was what, ten?"

"Will he even do it?" Chie asked.

"He will, if enough people ask him to.  He's got a business degree from the Pandora College."  Dao said,  "he just isn't related to Stoney, so he couldn't get a senior management position when he came back from National Service."

"Don't forget how much he LIKES testing explosives!" Chie said, and giggled, "He likes the boom."

Dao nodded, "Felton does like his boom... but he's about our best bet, and his dad's almost ready to retire...and drawing the same pension fund the rest of us are."

"Okay, so now..how do we deal with our crooked union officials? you damn know they won't go out without a fight."  Tom asked.

Dao leaned back, "THAT, I don't know."  she said, "I know that we'd better do it sooner rather than later, though-we might already be too late..."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #6 on: 31 August 2013, 01:04:15 »
  Poster commentary of the time:

Quote from: Nikas Zekeval, 02-05-2008, 07:55:48
Why do I get a feeling a bunch of upper union reps are about to 'fall off the truck'?  #P

Quote from: Nikas Zekeval, 02-05-2008, 11:40:09
My comment comes from Cannonshop's earlier Kowloon stories.  Seems the Coasties have a Darwinian way of dealing with new Officers.  If they shape up, they are fiercely protected by the chiefs.  If they are 'ring knockers', or better at 'polishing up the brass knocker' than their actual jobs their either transfer off, or if stubborn enough 'Fall off the boat' during the first convenient storm.  O:-)

In Liz's reformed army that becomes 'Falling off the truck'.  As in 'He darn fell off the truck and broke his neck.'  Or 'He fell off the truck and was run over by the rest of the convoy, twice'.  #P

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #7 on: 31 August 2013, 01:06:17 »
[[Posted 02-05-2008, 20:35:14]]


Outreach Mercenary Training Center, 3053/05/15...

"...is accredited as a Military academy, but Lady Ngo, you're still technically unfit for military service, any degree here really only counts if you go Mercenary."  the admissions officer said it with a sad look.

Elizabeth shrugged, "It counts, it's accredited as higher education, Captain, and you're the only private contractors that can give me the curriculum I require...remember, my homeworld sits above the truce-line, and on the periphery border-if they aren't prepared, they could become someone's next stepping stone to opening a new front in not very many years from now, and there is ALWAYS a threat of Pirate raids.  If I'm going to administer it, I need to be at least marginally competent in military matters."

"Your medical records kind of block you out for 'mech training..." he said. 

Liz gave him a cold stare, "I'll learn tanks, or infantry then-you don't need to wear a neural-feedback helmet to do THOSE, and maybe someone from a different branch can provide the kind of non-book reactions that a 'mechwarrior usually doesn't come up with on his own."  she gestured out  the windows, "Unlike Some nobles, I'm willing and able to pay my own way through this, I hire you people to teach me what I need, and you get paid by a student more interested in the curriculum, than how attending four years of training under the famous Wolf's Dragoons is gonna look on their resume."

"What makes you think you can cut it here? I see you've been turned down by damn nearly every Academy in the Federated Commonwealth..." he asked.

"Look at the rejections, the terms of them- either it's because I'm an Orphan with no siblings left alive, or it's straight on my medical issues, Captain.  I'm stage-one, most people with what I've got never see stage two, much less reach the lethal stage three in their entire lives.  I've got higher-than-average scores everywhere that really matters with the exception of 'will she suddenly geek out and die on us'-the odds are better that I'll die of old age than have a lethal seizure, but because it's incurable, nobody's willing to take that risk...except me, and possibly you."  Liz said it with the practiced polish of rehearsal, "I've even got a Waiver of responsibility absolving the OMTC of any liability in the event that, under stress or strain, my body should cease functioning in a non-resuscible way due to pre-existing medical conditions."

"So...what are you expecting out of this-assuming we accept your money?" he asked.

"Well... I expect to learn something I can USE beyond 'Hire a good Merc unit', that's the first thing." she said, "While I'm never going to qualify on a 'mech, I DO intend to learn everything I can about how military units function, and how to kill 'mechs when you don't have or can't drive one."  She smiled, "I also intend to learn how to do all those staffer things that nobody my age seems to want to do-I want to know how to keep an army in the field effective, how to handle and produce replacements for losses, how to ensure my men are fed, clothed, and cared for when they are NOT in combat, as well as making sure the men and women fighting for me have everything they need when they are IN combat."

"It sounds like you've got some background in that." he said suspiciously.

"My Father turned Career military when I was a toddler, I grew up listening to his talk with friends while he ignored anything going on back on Kowloon." she said, "As well as ignoring the family firm.  Die Firma is how we pay for things, ergo, it is important.  Home provides the resources and the soldiers, it is important..."

"I see.  WELL, as a Tier Two student-I'm sorry to tell you that Tier One is filled with officers from the Great Houses and Rassalhague, you will be taking about six months off each term-that should keep you in touch with your outside obligations." He said, "and don't start-I'm telling you what I'm authorized to allow if you pass the interview and pre-entrance testing, you already convinced or bribed your way in, but that's where the favouritism stops, Lady Ngo-once you're signed on here you're a Puke until you've proven otherwise. Clear?"

Liz nodded once, "Crystal.  SIR."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #8 on: 31 August 2013, 01:06:49 »
[[Posted 02-05-2008, 21:17:00]]


Bannisterville, Kowloon, 3053/06/19...

"RUN!!!"  The 'mechs stomped right through the square, firing wildly and seemingly randomly.  Selma Palauk could see that these were older machines, well-maintained, and their distinctive marks had been carefully covered.

"Those ain't pirate 'mechs." she told her son, "mark you, as soon's they get what they're here for, they're going to shoot a few more times, then leave, but they ain't Pirates."

Her son looked at her, "What are they then?" he asked.

She hugged the boy close, and carried him down into the disaster cellar.  "Bigots, son." she said, and closed the trapdoor, "Religious, maybe, but bigots.  Probably from hizzonner the Baron."

"Why??" the boy asked.

"Because the Church opposes his new policies, maybe, maybe just 'cause it's fun."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #9 on: 31 August 2013, 01:07:23 »
[[Posted 02-05-2008, 21:37:07]]


Vanh Ranch, 45 KM northeast of Vin Drin Lap, 3053/06/20...

Eddie peeked out over the loft balcony at the new people.  "who're they?" he asked his big brother David.

"Them's Elldee-Esses from Bannisterville.  Daddy says they're Rifujees, an' we gots to keep quiet 'cause god loves you if you take care of Rifujees."  David said.

"Bannisterville...that's a long ways, isn't it?" Eddie asked.

"Just over the Blackridge, afore Tommy left for the Army, he useta ride up there to see a girl." David said.

"Tommy?" Eddie asked.

"Don't talk to mommy about Tommy, it makes her sad.  He was our biggest brother." David said, "He left before you were born."

"Tommy's dead, isn't he?" Eddie asked.

David nodded, "yeah, like Paul last year, 'cept I think Tommy got the bullets instead of the fever."

"Oh.  I miss Paul." Eddie said, "He was nice, he was going to make me a kite..."

"Shh! Daddy's talkin' to the leader of the rifujees." David said urgently.

Eddie went silent.


"...get you about to Fool rock, but I can't take you through the canyons this time of year, Ben.  You're sure it wasn't just a pirate raid?" Charles asked.

"Dead certain-actually, my wife is dead, and I'm certain." the gray haired man said, "They burned the temple, shot the hell out of the school, and lit up most of the buildings in town that the Baron didn't own...and none that he did."  the older man was that quiet Angry that Eddie had already seen in his daddy before.

"what're you going to do when you get there?" Charles asked, sounding tired.

"What Can I do?" the man said, "Selma and two of my kids died in the cellar, they'd have got the rest of them if I hadn't had the older ones out with me looking for strays on the South range.  I can't fight, you know that-not with young ones to care for."

"Ben...I'm sorry about Selma.  She was a good woman." Charles seemed to be thinking-to Eddie, it looked a lot like he was making a hard decision. "You can leave 'em here, and join up with Chung's people, I know some of the Ranchers who'll take 'em on if you want..."

"You're not of the Faith, Charlie.  I appreciate the offer..." Ben started.

"Ben, I may not be of your faith, but there's them who are around here who are, and they'll take your kids in if you want, you know that." Charles said.

"What about you, Charlie?" Ben asked, "Why stay down here?"

"I still believe we can sort this without violence, Ben, or at least, that someone has to stay here and show the bastards they can't make us all run into the hills to be guerillas or burn us out and run us all into town to work for nothin' in enterprises run by the Regent or his Brother-in-law." Charles said, "besides, I'm a cripple, and the work on that end of things needs two good hands."

Ben shook his head, "no, I appreciate the sentiments, but I had a belly full of war, Charlie, I'm taking the kids and we're going to Ia Drang.  I'll leave 'em there with their grandmother if I have to, but nowhere closer to here.  That bunch in the hills is going to get a whole lot more people killed."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #10 on: 31 August 2013, 01:08:07 »
[[Posted 03-05-2008, 07:10:17]]


Ellebsen Gated Residential Community, Nha Tranh, Kowloon, 3053/07/04...

Leutnant Willis of the Planetary Militia walked into the scene, and felt his throat close on its own, trying to keep his breakfast down. He turned around, and staggered back out.  "JESUS!!" he whoofed.  A couple of veteran troopers gave the Militia officer casual looks.  "There's two more in the garage." one of the men said, "Local constable called it in."

Willis just stared at the house.  "How many?" he asked.

"Seven or eight, the neighbours didn't hear anything, but you'd expect that, the owner kept late hours, and frequent visitors."  a Sargeant told him.

Willis nodded, and sat down on the rear gate of his jeep.  "Okay, gimme specifics."

The Sargeant took out his notebook, "Norman Althaufer, age forty,  President of the Machinists' local 571 here in Nha Tranh.  No family thank god, we think the other vics might be union officials of some sort too-although he's known to hang out at the Soi Cowboy, so they might be party guests."

"Well, if he hangs out at the Cowboy, that would explain no family." a younger, female, Korporal commented,  "He wouldn't be into real girls."

"and nobody saw anything?" Willis asked, "Some of that HAD to be noisy as hell..."

"The original call was a noise complaint- loud music at three in the morning." the Sargeant emphasized, "when we got here it was so loud I needed to wear mufflers to get in the door."

"Okay, so first we need to identify the other vics..." Willis felt his composure coming back, "This is a multi, it's true, but why call Militia and not Constables?"

"Um...sir, the main vic is a friend of the Regent's brother in law..." the Korporal said, "We get the call  when it might involve issues of Political importance."

"Shit." Willis huffed.

after a few minutes, he went back in and looked over the scene again.

hacked up...someone had time, and a lot of it.  He reconstructed the scene in his mind.  There was a bowl of pills, a bowl of white powder (both worth more than a year's salary for a Hauptmann, much less a Leutnant), there were bottles of wine-he picked one up and read the label.  Imported.  Expensive tastes.

looking down through the glass table, he could see a head.  Just the head! staring up at him with a dumbfounded expression.

"Drugs... imported booze..." he muttered to himself, and put the wine-bottle down after wiping his prints back off it.

He wandered further in, to the next room.

Both victims here were in a rather odd position.  His imagination took off with the scene though, and it was enough to force a sickened giggle.  He nudged the one on top over, and stepped back.  "Mein Gott..." He recognized the face revealed, athough he normally saw that face without the lipstick and eye-shadow.

"Sargeant!!!" Willis barked,  "This is past our authority, it will have to be investigated by Lohengrin-as a terrorist act."

the Sargeant came in, "What? It's just a local-" he saw the face too.  "Oh, Scheiss..."

Willis nodded, "Secure the scene for now, and contact the AFFC Judge Advocate's office..."  and don't call the ****** press yet... he didn't say.

The thought of the headlines made his brain hurt.  FedCom Official killed attending an Orgy. 

it was enough to make his mind reel.

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #11 on: 31 August 2013, 01:10:08 »
[[Posted 03-05-2008, 08:38:30]]


3053/07/29, Nha Tranh, Planetary Governor's palace...

Regent Condit looked at the images, and the evidence.  "Monstrous." he almost whispered it.  "Bloody Barbarians!" he muttered, he racked the file back together.  "You're sure it wasn't a hate crime?" he asked.

The LIC agent nodded, "Pretty sure.  While there ARE some rather vocal religious groups on-world, the way the victims were killed tells something very interesting."

"What?"  he was fuming inside.

"Other than the Union officials, most of them were killed with a silenced pistol, the mutilation looks staged, possibly to make it LOOK like a hate-crime.  The officials, now, they were cut up while they were alive." he said, "We're treating it as a revenge op, maybe from an organized crime outfit, trying to send a message or punish someone."

"Maybe...or maybe it was those damn Arbeiten themselves!" he snarled.

The LIC man looked at him mildly, "Why so?"

Condit fumed for a few moments, then came to a decision, "Because..." he stopped himself.  Confessing to a crime like that can get you removed and charged!  "Because there is an opposition, you understand." he said, "Their last election was very contentious." 

"Ah... well, we will continue to investigate." the LIC man told him, "You might consider what measures you need to take, if this is the example of how your labour movement operates, you might want to shut it down before it creates a problem."

Condit nodded, "I intend to." he said, "We can not afford to have civil disorders or...or This in wartime, eh?"

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #12 on: 31 August 2013, 01:11:28 »
[[Posted 03-05-2008, 20:34:04]]


LIC Field Office, Nha Tranh, Kowloon, 3053/07/30...

Hartford lit a no-smoke and turned the television down.  "Well, I guess this makes our investigation a mite different than we thought." he said.  Mai Cho looked back at her Station-chief.

"You didn't bring up the financial irregularities with him, then?" she asked.

"Nope, just like I didn't tell him that we were already building a case against his Administration, and I didn't tell him that the Margrave's asked for an in-depth probe into his delivery schedules." Hartford told her.

"Well, I guess that's good-My people on the western side of the mountains tell me that there's a small civil war brewing over there." she said, "Kind of fits the whole pattern, really..."

"Yeah, but Condit's got friends with pull, and he was appointed under Katherine's reign as the stand-in for the Duke-who is now a corpse."  Hartford noted.

"Confirmed?" Cho asked.

"Confirmed-a Loki team raiding the Falcons' backfield in a joint op with DMI found the grave site and confirmed the remains." Hartford said, "I guess they could have waited to do it for a more convenient time..."

"Well, the Daughter should be pliable enough." Cho noted, "Might not even have to kill her to get control of the firm."

"Who said killing her would EVER be on the menu?" Hartford asked, "Hell, after seeing how this bozo runs things, I'm almost inclined to have her contacted and use LIC and Lohengrin to put her in office Now."

"Well...since the Regency is an Archon's appointment, the only way to get Condit off the throne may be to do just that." Cho said, "Though I'm given to understand those ops work better if they don't look forced."

Hartford nodded, "Yeah... there is that.  Dammit, she can't assume office without completing her five..."

"She can't do her five because she can't pass the physical." Cho chimed in.

"Five years' service...maybe there's another, less conventional method?" He mused.

"She is studying on Outreach, if the report's halfway accurate, maybe we can recruit her there..as a field agent." Cho said it blandly, "Her five-year file'd be classified up-and-down, of course..."  she sighed, "Domestic office would be best-a deep cover officer means the agency maintains deniability, and maybe a short-circuit around some of the entrenched types in the Beaurocracy."

"So, do we use normal LIC, or Heimdall contacts?" he asked bluntly.

Cho shrugged, "Whatever works, I'd say."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #13 on: 31 August 2013, 01:12:23 »
[[Posted 04-05-2008, 18:41:13]]


Tier Two quartering, Outreach Mercenary Training Complex, Outreach, 3053/11/21...

Elizabeth had been a "Puke" for five months now, pushed to and past physical and emotional limits by Dragoon Drill-Instructors, upperclassmen, Tier-Ones, and the Staff.  Her reward was posted on the reader display at the end of the hall.

"Son of a bitch, girl, you passed." Leslie Green didn't pull punches-as the daughter of Max Green, and heir-apparent to the Green Machine, Leslie's mercenary cred was one of the most solid among the trainees.

Liz looked at the listing.  "Passed, yah, middle-of-the-low-end." she said, "I managed to overall for the term lower than Schwartz." 

"well, come on-spazzing in the middle of an excercise, I figured you'd be a washout after that." Leslie noted, "Especially considering..."

Liz shook her head, and slowly let her breath out her nose, "I don't wash out." she finally said, "I don't cheat, I don't bribe, and I don't wash out-I just kind of...forgot."

"Forgot the meds that keep you upright and prevent you from being a jumbo vibrator?  That's a hell of a forget, Lizzy." Leslie said, "You're lucky Barnes and Ramirez were there to take over your platoon."

"I already got the lecture, Leslie-Campos made it pretty damn clear..." Elizabeth noted, "your dad send a message?"

"Yeah.  'stay in school and make me proud'.  I think he didn't get that contract with the FedCom." Leslie said, "Yours is still MIA?"

Liz frowned, "AFFC's officially listed him KIA this week.  I'm not sure they're right."

"It's been long enough." Leslie said, "What?" she noticed Liz tapping her fist to her leg.

"They didn't do a DNA check, they just found a grave and some tags.  It could be ANYONE in that grave." Liz said, "The only way to make sure takes too long for a commando raid, and they didn't bring the remains back."

"So?" Leslie asked, "I mean, like you said, it's a raid..."

Liz nodded, "yeah... let me know for sure if your dad's looking for work, Les, I may have a job for him."  She turned from the readerplate, and headed back to her bunk.

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #14 on: 31 August 2013, 01:13:43 »
[[Posted 04-05-2008, 20:48:39]]


Comstar HPG Compound, outside Nha Tranh, Kowloon, 3053/12/22...

"...seen badly governed worlds before, but this shit is Blatant." Adept II Alpha Brenda Macguire commented, "Why don't the Lyrans Do Something now, before it goes spiralling out of control?"

Adept III Alpha Jordan Cross shrugged, and finished refilling the HPG's coolant reservoir with liquid nitrogen.  "Maybe they don't feel there's a problem?" he asked.

"Not a problem..." she rolled her eyes, closed her toolkit,  "If it's not a problem, why are we confined to the compound?  Why are the Com-Guards assigned here restless, nervous, worried?"

Jordan stood up, and dusted off his robes.  "Brenda, the reasons are all there in the history files.  If not for the astrographical position, Kowloon's about as stable as...as the Free Worlds League before Thomas took over."  He smiled, "So, right now, they've got a governor who's scratching old hatreds open and pissing off the natives-pretty soon, those natives are going to be in revolt.  After a few months of rioting, someone will die, and some houses will be burnt, and maybe a couple of hits by bandits, the lyrans will come thundering down, and they'll arrest someone, and the locals will be appeased until some OTHER government official pisses them off.  In the meantime, the provocations are pretty thick just at the moment, and so...we stay in lock-down and stay out of the way."

"A few riots-" she started, and he stopped her. 
"Not a FEW riots.  These people, they have an uprising, there's always a LOT of blood.  Loonies squirrel arms away like a gopher collects seeds-and have since the days when this world was revolting against the Rim Worlds Republic."  He led her back into the bunker-like maintenance control area, "Usually, when they feel like they're being provoked, they'll simmer on it for a while, then explode-and when the explosion happens, they have a habit of going after anyone they see as part of the problem.  Comstar's always stayed out of those affairs, but..."  he started closing breakers, a two-handed task that Brenda ended up assisting him with, "...ugn...the Order has had acolytes injured or even killed-usually because those Acolytes were in the wrong place when someone set off a car-bomb, or a particularly organized group hit an administrative building."

"are things at the, ah...'Car Bomb' stage, then?" she asked.

Jordan nodded, "something like that.  A Couple of months ago, some Union official was chopped up in his house, the Governor's enacted a curfew law, there's also been some rumblings in the Western districts-fertilizer bombs, death threats, barn burnings, shootings.  It's not safe out there, and while Governments know better than to mess with Comstar, to a bunch of rag-ass renegades, an Acolyte or Adept on their own is a tempting hostage."

She swallowed hard, "Has that ever happened?" she braved.

"Nope.  Because we use security measures that prevent it." he told her, "including keeping personnel on-site where they can be protected during high-stress times."

"How long do you expect it to go on?" she asked, "I mean, I was doing some off site teaching at the schools..."

"Oh, until Condit's replaced, I expect, most of the anger seems pretty tightly focused on him, and his cronies." Jordan said casually,  "The Regency is wearing on the local people's pride, he's not been very effective dealing with Pirate raids, and his administrative efforts have been...well, poorly thought out might be a nice way to put it.  Forbidding them to use their native languages in the schools, for instance."

"Ah." she said, "Hence why Principal Soloman was so keen about having an ESL teacher who speaks Viet." she said.

"Yup." Jordan said, "You're from Hanoi, right?"

She nodded, "My grandfather retired there, I grew up there, learned market-speak..."

"I've spent the last ten years of my life on this rock, Terran-Viet is to Kowloon Viet what Flemish is to English." he said.

"oh.  Nobody mentioned that."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #15 on: 31 August 2013, 01:14:40 »
[[Posted 05-05-2008, 15:49:02]]


Vanh Farmstead, Golden Lake region, 3054/01/14...

"...get in the back,and lay down."  David told his little brother, "It's gon' be bad."

Eddie crawled into the back of the truck, and peeked out the tarp.  Mommy was crying, daddy was carrying the wooden-box-Eddie-couldn't-touch.  "What's goin' on?" Eddie asked.

"Bad stuff." David said, "We might not be able to come home for a while-Mommy's got her Hopes-box.."

"But why?" Eddie asked.

"Dunno.  Daddy told me to get you to the truck." David said.

"We goin' on a trip up north, then?" Eddie asked, "Like Rifujees?"

"Maybe." David said uncertainly. 

Mommy put the hopes-chest in the truck, and Eddie saw his daddy go back into the house.  Mommy made the boys get into the jump-seat and fasten their seatbelts.

"What's wrong mommy?" Eddie asked.

"Just keep quiet." She said, "Your father knows what he's doing."

"Where are we going?" David asked.

"East Range, David, won't that be fun?" she said.  Eddie got the feeling mommy didn't mean it was going to be fun, at all.

Daddy came out of the house with a rifle, and his army-clothes.

"We goin' huntin'?" Eddie asked, he liked it when daddy took the boys out to do varmint-shooting.

"Sure, honey, hunting..." Mommy didn't look any happier.

David and Eddie exchanged looks.  There was a thundering crash from the road to town.

"HURRY UP!!" Mommy wasn't calm anymore, and daddy fumbled the key into the ignition.

The truck lurched away from the dooryard, and across the spring planting.

"Is it pirates?" Eddie asked David, as the crash resolved into thumping sounds.

"Dunno." David looked dubious, "I think it's the Baron's men, come to burn the farm." he said, "I hear stuff at school..."

The truck bounded down an old fire-trail, but Eddie squirmed around to look behind them. 

"They're shootin' the house." He said, "Why are they shootin' the house?"

then he lost sight in the summer undergrowth.

"You talked to Evvie?" Mommy asked.

Daddy nodded, "Yeah... she'll come up to the cabin in a few days." he said, "She has room to take Eddie and David in."


Eddie looked at his older brother, "Why are we going to stay at auntie Evelyn's? I thought we was goin' up to the East Range..."

David shussed him, "Don' worry, Eddie."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #16 on: 31 August 2013, 01:15:27 »
[[Posted 05-05-2008, 17:01:37]]


OMTC Campus, Harlech, 3054/03/11

Elizabeth looked at the message, and then looked...up.  "I see." she said, "Well, when you have your little problem sorted out, we can discuss the contract violation this represents."

The Warrior snorted and shrugged, "Whenever you are ready, kitten." he said mockingly,  "Of course, that is presuming you are ever allowed to return here."

She wanted to say something pithy, but she knew it would do no good.  "Very well, I am owed a transcript for the time I've been here." she said, "I presume the office is not entirely closed?"

"It is still open, and they are expecting you." He said. 

Liz kept her posture dignified as she collected her possessions.  Leslie showed up as she finished packing her bag. 

"Hey...you too, huh?" Leslie asked.  Liz noted that she had her own duffel packed.

"Kind of.  I don't understand it, though." Liz confided, "I mean, Me I understand-even with the legal cover, Academies are allergic to liability issues, but you are top-of-the-class in every subject with good reviews on your MOS skills."

"I don't think it's about how well I'm doing in training, anymore than it's about your little geeking episode in August." Leslie said, "I think our 'hosts' are having a little internal organization problem."

"You gonna stick around then?" Liz asked.

"Maybe.  Dad's looking for another facility now that he's got the contract with the FedCom." Leslie said, "I might get in at the NAMA with the scores I racked up here.  What about you?"

Liz folded her message and spindled it.  "Trouble at home, I was going to have to cut this semester short anyway."

"What kinda trouble?" Leslie asked.

"Bad kind.  The kind you need Mercs for." Liz said, "There's this regent in place, and the guy's made a mess of things."  She said, and handed Leslie the off-print.  "That's the summary.  Right as of now, most of the factories are idled with strikes, and I've got solid info that the biggest farming area's turning into a war-zone."

"Insurgency?" Leslie asked, "I would think the AFFC wouldn't stand for that..."

Liz shook her head, "Not insurgency suppression, it's more like Foreclosure enforcement." she said, "Dad loaned the Condits a lot of money, it hasn't been paid, and the guy's trashed my home with how he's spent it."

"Oh...you're gonna need mercs if you're going to go in like that without the Commonwealth's blessing." Leslie said.

"Yup.  Know some good ones who'll work cheap?" Liz asked.

"Well, it just so happens that some of Dad's friends are in town..." Leslie said, "Besides, I think Dad would approve of it-he liked working for your old man in the forties, and Kowloon's a nice little rock-or it was when I was a kid."

The Admissions office was, indeed, open, and they collected their transcripts without incident.  On the curb outside the office, Leslie looked back.  "Too bad." she said.

Liz shrugged, and her ride rolled up.  "Holy shit, you really ARE loaded." Leslie said.

Liz gave a slight head-tilt.  "It's only a replica, you can stop drooling." She said, "It's not like even I could afford the upkeep on an original."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #17 on: 31 August 2013, 01:16:27 »
[[Posted 05-05-2008, 19:16:12]]


Golden Lake district, Kowloon, 3054/04/04...

John Wellesley settled his targeting carat on the house, and waited patiently.  The Storm team hit the door, and entered.  a few minutes later, the lead man on the team came out and signalled.  No Joy.

It was becoming depressingly monotonous-the Militia would move on a tip, hit the residence, and find nobody home.  "Okay, clear it out..." he said over the comms system.  And every time we do this, all we end up with, is more pissed off farmers.  The storm team came out, and got to a safe distance.

He triggered his machine-guns first, to break down the structural integrity so that the building would burn more quickly.  ten...twenty...thirty... playing the 20mm guns over the entire house takes nearly a minute, if you want the burn to stay there while staying intense enough to leave nothing behind.

"Shot." he announced, and fired his Laser.  The dust inside was mostly pulped wood and gypsum-board, it translated the sudden "Instant sunshine" into a fireball that would consume the building without endangering the valuable croplands around it.

Okay, that's the Nghiens we can add to the list of insurgent-sympathizers...  he made a mental note to inform the Baron that another support-cell of the rebels had been deprived of hearth and home.

"Alrighty then, sweep the area, they couldn't have got far before we arrived, I want a trail to follow."  He added over the coms. 

The Sweep teams got into their armed jeeps, and spread out to secure the area.

That's when the first bomb went off- "SON OF A BITCH!!" 

the second squad's truck was a twisted heap almost as soon as it hit the tilled area, and suddenly, his Locust's sensors were screaming threat alerts.

A small handful of contrails drifted lazily upward, and his right leg's damage monitors flashed yellow..then red.

He started off, bringing his weapons to bear on the treeline with no better target than the after-smoke of what had to be manpack SRMs.

He played the last half-minute's worth of machinegun ammunition over the area, knocking down low brush and lighting summer-dried, late-fall foliage.  His supporting infantry troops-the ones that had not been hammered by the missiles, swung around and formed to follow their 'mech into the now-cleared wooded area.


"Dinged his leg with that one-how long you figure before HE figures out we fired 'em on remote?" Chung asked.  Charles Vanh shrugged, "About a minute after his buddies find the remains of the box-launchers, and about ten seconds before we set off the secondary field."

"You guessed right about them hitting Nghien this week." Chung noted, "How'd you do that?"

Charles frowned, "Nghien got into an argument with Bolleford in town last friday.  Bolleford's one of the Baron's special friends. It wasn't too hard to figure out how that would shake out..."  The Locust had just about reached the tree-line, "...and my god these guys are dense-Game, set, match."

He twisted the dial, and the rest of the mines went off, first popping up, their cores mixing as they rose five meters in the air-the mixture would become Pentaglycerine at about the arc-moment of elevation.  The strand of cable connecting them to the bases goes taut, jarring the unstable, undamped, and ridiculously easy to manufacture explosive.  This sets off a powerful chemical reaction, which in turn disperses a secondary fuel directly into the atmosphere in a row of dense clouds, which then are ignited as the reaction peaks.

Two events occur simultanously-in less than one-hunderedth of a second.  First, comes the initial shockwave and wave of heat-for a moment, the atmosphere in the five-acre clearing flashes to over 4000 degrees Celsius, this consumes most of the oxygen and creates a front of now-poisonous air (since it lacks free O2 and contains combinations of nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon that are rather inimical to life) moving at supesonic speeds-the energy from this disperses itself against the valley walls rather abruptly-the second front moves back inward.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  If the Storm Platoon and their 'mech survived the initial blast, they would not survive the secondary shockwave.

"Better than a tac-nuke." Charles said, "I'm kind of glad Nghien decided to make himself a target for these bozos, his place is an ideal killing field."

a dusty mushroom cloud rose over the area.

"Okay, guys, uncover, look alive, they're going to be seriously interested now." Chung announced, "We better get out of here before they call in choppers."

Charles nodded, "If they have anyone around to call for 'em-then again...that cloud's probably visible over the ridge." he nodded to himself, "Definitely visible, I expect they even heard it in Vin Drin Lap."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #18 on: 31 August 2013, 01:17:07 »
[[ Posted 05-05-2008, 19:38:23]]


Dooryard, Mosovich Residence...

"...know you're involved!"  Baron Alexandre Kitteredge Von Golden Lake stood glaring at Dame landholder Evelyn Mosovich.

"Really? and how do you 'know' that, Alex?" she asked, "I'm as surprised as you are by the way the neighbours have failed to respond to your gentle and responsible leadership."  her voice was grating-the Vox needed a tune-up, but Evelyn was damned if she would risk the drive down the mountain to Vin Drin Lap. Still, the sarcasm managed to come through bleedingly well.  "I'd daresay that- oh my! what was that?"

a pillar of scorched smoke rose several tens of kilometers away, and the ground thrummed for an instant. 

Kitteredge looked back.  "A bomb." he almost whispered, "Sweet jesus..."

"I think you have more important things to worry about, than me." Evelyn said, "If I remember rightly, that's the Nghien's place that way, and something that big, why, that's big enough to set the woods going-prevailing winds would put the fires heading toward your place."

"Arrest her." he ordered.

Evelyn crossed her arms, and waited.  The Sargeant didn't move.

"I said, Arrest this bitch!" the Baron almost screamed it.

"He can't." Evelyn said, "See, your authority? it ends up there by the mailbox, and he knows it." she leaned on a post, "Unless you've a writ from the Regent, and a few more goons with empty brainpans, your man can't arrest me here, and he knows it."

"I'm the ****** Baron of these lands." Ketteridge snarled.

Evelyn made a motion, and two white-painted 'mechs stepped out of the trees, flanking her.  Kettridge instantly recognized them-a Shadow Hawk, and a Commando.  "Yes, and your barony ends at my driveway.  On the other hand, I have a contract with the Comstar Compound in Nha Tranh-fresh fruit, and Adept VII Cortini is my house-guest, and his body-guards...and until we've finished negotiating the price of his shipment, and that shipment has been escorted across the mountains to Nha Tranh...well, I suspect your Regent would not appreciate a grumpy Com-Star, nor his bosses."

Ketteridge fumed for a moment, and Evelyn made a shooing gesture.  "Good day to you, Baron." she added, "I've guests. Please feel free to close the gate as you leave."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #19 on: 31 August 2013, 01:18:00 »
[[Posted 05-05-2008, 20:06:55]]


[out of story]

Fun Fact: The Mosovich family hold title dating back to the 3rd Succession War and 'Mechwarrior Hauptmann Peter "The Piledriver" Mosovich's service in the 2nd Donegal Guard.  Between the initial land-grant in 2959, and the "now" of the story, that landhold has been steadily shrinking (it once covered the entire area from the Iron Mountains to the south shores of Golden Lake).  Were it not for legal changes after the Fourth Succession War, Evelyn's remaining family holding would have vanished when her uncle William's Battlemaster was blown apart by Drac forces in the war of '39.  Luckily for her, some of the legal precedents were rescinded or altered by the ascension of Melissa and the legal formation of the Federated Commonwealth-unfortunately, those same factors saw a number of "Lesser sons" of Federated Suns Nobility granted fiefdoms nearby, including much of the former Mosovich land that had been in foreclosure to the Commonwealth Central Bank (mortgaged to repair said ill-fated Battlemaster.)

Hence, her statement "Your Barony ends at my driveway" is, in technical and legal senses, absolutely true.

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #20 on: 31 August 2013, 01:18:43 »
[[Posted 05-05-2008, 20:42:08]]


Inside the Mosovich House, twenty-two minutes later...

"Thank you for the visit." Evelyn said, walking back in, "You can see for yourself the riff-raff have, indeed, moved in."

Adept Cortini shook his head, "I wish you hadn't done that, I could be into serious trouble if it gets out we might be taking sides in this dispute."

Evelyn's laugh was a scratchy record player sound, and she sat down and poured tea.  "Oh, Gordo! you know damn well I'm not directly involved in what's going on out there!"

"You're sending a bunch of refugees with us on the caravan." he pointed out, "I'd almost say that the confrontation outside makes you a participant..."

she folded her hands neatly in her lap.  "Gordy, my involvement in a humanitarian effort doesn't make me a party to the dispute, except maybe in that I'm not helping hide the crimes happening right outside my fence-line..." she sipped the tea.  A small display only visible to her showed it was still too hot for human consumption.  "Careful, the tea's too hot." she said, spitting it back out.

"um...yeah. You know, we could help you do something about that-" he said.

"I can't afford it, Gordy, and if they couldn't talk me into staying in the Loki teams, what makes you think I'll join the Blessed Order?" she shook her head, "I'm WAY damaged goods for that, and everyone knows it."

"You're a fine officer, Evelyn, you were a fine soldier, and are a real leader..." Cortini pointed out, "Not to mention one hell of a negotiator..."

"...and I have people here who need me, Gordy.  You've got your pick of experienced vets to choose from, and that victory on Tukayyid can't be hurting the recruiting any-people LOVE a winner." she said, "On the whole, you really think rebuilding a cripple like Me is as good a bet?"

"Well, at least consider it for me, Ev.  In the mean-time, let's talk routes-I don't want my people running into trouble crossing the mountains..."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #21 on: 31 August 2013, 01:19:39 »
[[Posted 06-05-2008, 05:44:11]]


[out of story]

Historical Note: Adept VII Gordon Cortini will be recalled to Terra in August of 3054.  However, he will not return to Terra, instead continuing on to the FWL world of Gibson, where he will (along with nine other members of his staff and about forty recruits) join the "True" Comstar, pledging his loyalty to the Toyama sect.  His return to Terra will come in 3058.  He will later join the 6th of June movement.

He will die on Skye during the Jihad, crucified by members of the 3rd Battalion, 45th Kowloon Infantry Brigade outside the town of Londonderry after administering the infamous "Field Hospital 26" more commonly referred to as "Camp 26" by Kowloonese and allied veterans.  Leutenant General Evelyn Mosovich (5th Division CIC) will sign his death-warrant, after rejecting his appeal....

But that's twenty-five years from the present story.

[/out of story]

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #22 on: 31 August 2013, 03:06:52 »
[[Posted 06-05-2008, 19:57:22]]


Harlech Hilton, 3054/0429...

Mike brought the messages up from the hotel lobby.  "What are these?" Liz asked.

"HPG messages-from Kowloon.  I think you need to see them for yourself." he said.  Liz noticed a subdued note in his voice-subdued beyond his usual understatement.

"Are the tickets for our new employees secured?" she asked.

He nodded.  "They are, listen, you can watch these on the trip out if you want, it's three months to Kowloon if we don't divert anywhere else..."

She took the recordings from his hand, and put them in her front jacket pocket, "I will.  Bill's settled, bags packed...let's go, and you can brief me on what they contain on the way to the port."

"I'm...not sure that's the best idea." Mister Breland said, "The messages are...personal?" he frowned, looking for a word, "...not normal business." he finally said.

"I'm all-a-tingle." Liz said.

The drive to the 'port was done in near-silence....


Dropship Gloria Outbound, nine hours, forty one minutes later...


Liz slid the first chit into her reader as soon as the shipwide announcement that it was safe to move about the vessel had sounded...and now, she was regretting doing that.

"...Regent's men take what they want..."
"Burned our home..."
"...ran my family off our land..."
"...replaced most of the officers in the militia, the new ones don't seem to care about what's right..."
"..ignore the law..."
"...LET the Pirates take our equipment..."
"...Stood by and did nothing..."
"...don't know if I will ever see my daughter again..."

Liz watched them, until their stories bled together.  a hot, red, core of something burned inside her as she listened to the pleas-most of them recorded weeks or months ago.

"Mister Breland, where are the last three year's financial reports on my estate?" she demanded.

"Quarterlies or annuals, Ma'am?" Breland asked.

"Both." she answered, as a man in workmans' coveralls talked about stolen pensions, missing overtime pay, and doubled shifts.

He brought them over, and handed them to her.  Liz ran those on a separate screen, and blanched.  "Mister Breland, this doesn't line up with the delivery schedules or the reciepts." she said, "Someone is cooking my books."

"Watch the red one next." he told her.

Liz stopped the plea mid-sentence-a little girl asking why her mother was killed.

She slid in the red message.

"Greetings to you, Dame Grafina Ngo.  I am but a humble servant of our blessed order, my name is not important.  What follows would be protected information, were it not for the fact that it directly involves your property, and were it not involving misuse of that property..."
The man speaking was shrouded by a hood, but Liz could faintly pick up the Comstar insignia on the man's robes.

A stream of figures, and destinations, appeared.

"This information was uncovered by accident during routine maintenance of the data-buffer.  It clearly shows...well, I think you get the idea."  the man said.

Elizabeth smelled cinnamon.  "Oh..shit...mike I thinkiforgottotakemymeds..."  everything went sideways and vibrated-and then...

She saw a child, asking "Why" through tears...
She saw a mother with no daughter, asking "Why".
She saw a father holding a dying child, and the father asked "Why"?
She saw thousands of wounded, maimed, innocent people, and they all demanded an answer "Why"?
Then they tore at her with pleas for mercy, pleas for justice, demanding vengeance...
it was agonizing.



Liz warned him-too late, she rocked sideways, and files, discs, and papers splashed across the cabin as she flailed uncontrollably, bouncing from floor to sidewall to ceiling in the low gravity.

He caught her on a rebound, and nearly lost a finger as she began choking  on her own tongue. 

The episode lasted nearly ten minutes, then subsided.

She looked at him with glazed eyes, and spoke clearly.

"Michael, I am going to kill them." she said, "I am going to make Examples."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #23 on: 31 August 2013, 03:08:32 »
[[Posted 06-05-2008, 21:38:48]]


Embarked troop area, Dropship Gloria, twelve hours later...

Liz watched their reactions to the pleas, to the stories, and finally, to the financial data.  She felt a small sting of surprise in that-the Mercenaries were rather droll through the bulk of the presentation, they were, after all, scarred killers who'd seen horrors of their own...

But then, the financial data provided by the unknown Comstar Adept scrolled.

"Son of a bitch..." the man she'd hired to lead them, a former Lyran officer who'd retired into the Trade after '39 was the first one to grasp it.  MacShine shook his bald, wrinkled head, "...embezzlement, selling to pirates..." Liz hadn't caught that-she realized that the date-stamps on the messages from the civilians, matched both raid-dates, and matched some of the "Financial influx" transactions to her Regent's personal accounts.  "Why you need us? this is enough stuff to get your man Condit thrown into a damn dark hole..." he said, looking at her.

Liz waited, "What do the rest of you think?" she asked, finally.

The room buzzed with comments-mostly from the older 'mercs, but a pair of aviators whose nickname was "The Crazy Twins" said it best.  "You don't want to hand this joker to the Commonwealth, do you?" Valerie, (at least, Liz THOUGHT it was Valerie) stated, "You want to get Cappellan on 'im."

Liz nodded, "Precisely." she said, "at this point, the damage he's done, in MY NAME, I don't just want to put him in a fenced country-club for white-collar crimes of embezzlement, or let him plea out to a lesser charge of black-marketeering when he's been committing treason."  she carefully stepped on the grip-strip to the front of the room.  "I intend to punish this.  Everyone who feels some reluctance to the idea of that, you may take your deposits, plus transit time, and catch another ship when we hit the next port, no hard feelings, no black marks."

"How dirty do you want to get?" Alvin Goldstein, a VTOL pilot and the elected commander of the recon lance, asked.

"Dirty.  I intend to do it publicly, I intend to be absolutely clear about it, I intend to send a warning to anyone else who might be thinking of pulling the same thing." she said,  "as I said, I intend to punish them-beginning with the Regent and his closest cronies, it is my intention to be shocking, to create alarm, and most of all, to create fear."

she rested her hands on the podium, "I intend to create fear in the ones I don't kill-I want them to fear me more than, obviously, they fear the Law.  I will do it publicly because those people, the ones who sent those messages, and the ones who for whatever reason could not, they need to see that this will no longer be tolerated-that I will not allow it, ever again."

"So...vidcast the shootings?" Martinez, the Infantry commander, who'd brought his entire company to her door in answer to her ad, asked.

"Yes...and other things." she said, "as for any questions about your own behaviour during this mission, I have lawyers, and they are very, very, expensive.  I will not order you to do anything that is de jure illegal...but a message MUST be sent, and the guilty MUST be made to pay... and you'll all recieve the agreed upon sums, plus bonuses for avoiding civil casualties in the process."

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #24 on: 31 August 2013, 03:08:58 »
[[Posted 07-05-2008, 07:59:58]]


Western Province Coast Guard office, Ben Hoa, Kowloon, 3054/04/29...

"...incidents up and down the river are getting worse, and then, there's this."  Captain Alicia Li of the 2nd Squadron tossed the order-file on the desk, "I didn't hire on for this."

"It's legal, Captain."  Kommandant Federick, the Militia Oversight Liason told her,  "Civil violence and an insurgency are considered legitimate reasons to nationalize civilian constabulary."

"so is this." Li said, and tossed a second envelope on the desk, "I resign."

"You will be replaced." He said.

"Well, you're going to have to replace the crews on the boats, too-the entire Squadron's with me on this.  We're not going to take part in your charade."  She told him, and took off her uniform shirt, leaving only the bra, Federick's eyes goggled as she stripped off the rest of her uniform, and tossed it on the desk.  "Good luck to you-you'll need it." she said.

"You-you can't do this." he finally managed, "JESUS, Alicia, it's an order of Conscription!"

"I believe you will find that I, and most of the other senior chiefs, Can do it, Kommandant, and you ground-squirrel staffers  better get over their sea-sickness, I understand there's wild-fires up fourteen, and this year, you're shorthanded."

She turned, and walked out of the office, managing a mad, shameless dignity in spite of her state of undress.

Federick picked up the phone after the door closed.  "Baron Kitteredge please? Yes, I'll wait..."  he looked up at the windows.  "...sir? Federick here.  Uh-huh...well, that's what I'm calling about-No, congratulations, you're the only law in the Western district as of this morning, the Conscription order worked...well...rather effectively."  he fingered the uniform on the desk, "Li quit, took her whole squadron with her-shouldn't be too hard...yes, of course..."

He tapped a pen on his desk.  "Of course, thank you sir." he hung the phone up, and hit the intercom, "George!"

The buzzer echoed.  No answer.

"George!!" He stood up, "answer me you lazy swine!"  He shoved the door between his office and the main room open.

The Precinct was silent.

Okay, so the coasties quit, there should be at LEAST half a platoon of Militia...

He walked out into the main room, looking at empty desks...

His foot caught something, and he looked down.

This brought a scream to his lips.  His assistant was on the floor, neck broken.  killed? who-

The front windows of the station exploded inward, fist-sized holes blown in the cheap fiberboard and desks flying to the ratchet-hammer sound of light autocannon.

Federick fled out into the open, and nearly tripped over the bodies of his men.  It was shockingly clear now, he realized...Li's little strip-tease kept me distracted...  He rounded the corner of the building, just in time to see the Hydrofoils race by.

They weren't flying the flag of the Federated Commonwealth-they were displaying the old red-and-gold Kowloon Planetary Flag as they sped down the river.

The Coast Guard had joined the revolt.

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #25 on: 31 August 2013, 03:09:26 »
[[Posted 07-05-2008, 19:27:03]]


[Narrator]

In the scale of cosmic conflicts as seen in the mid 3050's, the revolt of a few million peasants on a minor periphery-border-end world of the Lyran half of the Federated Commonwealth is minor.  In fact, it's below minor.  It's below small-potatoes, particularly compared to the gut-wrenching fear inspired by the Clan invasion, which has taken nearly a third of the pre-invasion Lyran state in less than four years.  It is even smaller a matter when compared with the angry invasion of the Federated Commonwealth about to descend from the Free Worlds' League, or the upcoming deep-strike invasion by the Jade Falcons, which will threaten a truly (in Lyran poltical and military terms) important core factory world of Coventry.

Scaled against the Secession by the Lyrans from the FedCom, a minor world like Kowloon, experiencing a local tumult, is truly small potatoes compared to the grand tragedy happening around them.

To the 150 million people who live on Kowloon, the Revolt is a big deal, and the cause is just-for twenty five years, they have endured proxy rule by a Regent appointed by the Federated Commonwealth. 
Fifteen years of that has been an excercise in Misrule, with corruption, meddling by Federal authorities, more corruption, slow disintegration of infrastructure and services, yet more corruption, increased taxes and yet MORE corruption, much of it aided and abetted by "nobles" granted land there under the Regency for the stated purpose of "Stabilizing" the planetary situation for the public good.

Combined with increased bandit activities (thanks to the Clan invasion's drawing units away from holding the barbarians away), the situation on Kowloon is much like a microcosm of the grievances that Lyrans throughout the former Commonwealth felt under the Federated Commonwealth's rule-they are attacked, and the military does nothing, they suffer privation "for the war effort" but that war is far from their homes, involves strangers, and only the permanently crippled return.

Meanwhile, children die of bed-sicknesses due to a lack of basic medicines, infant mortality, and maternal fatality are growing problems, utilities fail regularly due to a lack of spare parts and the diversion of needed resources to support externally-imposed overlords who show, daily, their contempt for the people they were given to rule.

The die is cast...

[/narrator]

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #26 on: 31 August 2013, 03:09:55 »
[[Posted 07-05-2008, 19:44:36]]


Comstar Compound, outside Nha Tranh, 3054/06/02...

Gordon Cortini stepped over a baby-doll left in the hallway, and out into the sunlight.  "Madame Mosovich." he smiled nervously.  Evelyn raised her head a bit, and Gordon noticed that she'd obviously lost quite a bit of the cosmetic plastic from her ruined face.  The Myomers were clearly visible.

"Yeah?" she asked, striding over.

"I have...news, you may greet it with some pleasure, or with some alarm." he said, "Your Duchess, the Grafina Elizabeth Ngo, daughter of George Ang Ngo, is on her way to Kowloon...with soldiers."

Mosovich inclined her head, Gordon really didn't know if she was frowning or not.  "Really? Is she coming to back Condit's boys, or to evict them?" she asked.

"I...ah, I believe she is coming to...yes, to evict." he said, and handed her a message dat.  "It is good news?" he asked.

"yeah. It is...I guess all those people spending their life-savings to send the messages got through after all.  When's she due?" Mosovich asked.

"Um...she left Outreach with Mercenaries around about the end of April.  I would hazard a guess that, since this message originated at Inarcs, she is less than a week away."

"I see..." Evelyn slid the Dat into a reader, and scanned it.  "She says here she's conducting an Audit, hardly what you tell someone you're going to throw in the pokey."

"Well, I have..other sources who assure me it will be quite an audit." Gordon said assuringly.

"This is where you tell me to gather up the widows and orphans, and their stuff, and get 'em out of your nice, orderly compound, isn't it?" Evelyn asked.

"um...well..." he hemmed and hawed.

"Yeah, what I thought.  Okay, Gordy, sure.  I think I know a safe place for them." Evelyn said,  "Though it would have been nice if you Comstar people actually thought more of your traditions of Sanctuary than that."

"Evelyn! We take our policy of Sanctuary VERY seriously, but there are LIMITS-sweet Blake, you have over a thousand people here!" Cortini exclaimed, "We Can't House them All. much less protecting them."

"Yah, okay.  How many Can you shelter?" Evelyn asked craftily.

"Maybe five hundered." Cortini said, "at the most-and if the world is hit by Bandits intent on stealing from the Order..."

"Right..." Evelyn didn't sigh-she couldn't, what came out was just a huff of air.  "I'll take seven hundered, but no splitting families, we'll head south into the Folly-nobody, not even these foreigners, goes in there what doesn't know the way through, you keep up your end, Adept, I'm leaving you only the ones who really can't go-and who can't be separated."

"That's equitable." Cortini agreed.

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #27 on: 31 August 2013, 03:10:22 »
[[Posted 08-05-2008, 07:19:06]]


Nadir Point, Kowloon System, 3054/06/17...

Space, it's big. it's relatively empty.  it's cold.

Discontinuity

okay, so it's not that empty, and the infrared pulse from an emergence wave as the jump point dumps out a kilometer of transport ship into three dimensional reality from nowhere is not exactly cold, either.

This transport, for instance, is a Star Lord class jumpship.  Star Lords are relatively rare machines, the second largest commercial transport jumpship in the Inner Sphere, it carries several dropships.  They're prized vessels by both large corporations, and successor state militaries because of the size and quantity of dropships they can comfortably carry.

This one, for instance, has just released six dropships.  Note the different shapes-dropships are a varied bunch, from the bulky globe of a Mammoth, to the slim, shuttle-like winged needle of a Fury, all can be carried on the vessel's stout docking rings with ease.  Military or civilian, it makes little difference.

These, for instance, include two Buccaneers, an Overlord, a Mule, and two Union class vessels- six dropships, the entire carry capacity of the jump vessel, which has now deployed its beautiful, graceful, and absolutely necessary recharge sail.

Is it a convoy? certainly the Buccaneers and the Mule would be considered civil vessels-though both are often used as military transports even by 'regular' forces.  The three Military vessels strongly argue against this- the Overlord is a battalion-level transport, capable of carrying thirty-six battlemechs securely to a contested drop zone-and that's before adding the fighter compliment, while the Union class, perhaps the second most common type after the (much smaller) Leopard, is a 'mech transport able to handle twelve 'mechs with aerospace fighters in support or escort roles.

The small flotilla spreads out into a pattern that places the weapons-carrying ships firmly ahead of, and to the sides of, the cargo-ship.

It is not a civilian convoy, then... it may be a raid by Pirates (who've been lucky enough to secure the services of such a large jump-ship), or it may be a normal troop-movement of regular AFFC garrison units, or...

Elizabeth Ngo is coming home.

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #28 on: 31 August 2013, 03:10:43 »
[[Posted 08-05-2008, 20:01:37]]


Governor's residence, Nha Tranh...

Gerry Condit  saw the read just as well as any of the local mudpeople did-in his own opinion, his read was superior.  "Scramble the interceptors, and sound the alarm." He ordered.  The audit-threat was, he knew, just a formality-his good friend Cortini had already told him of Elizabeth's intent to arrest him for treason.

"Deploy storm units to defend the city, and prepare all Militia to repel invaders."


Squadron 2...

"They're forming a convoy east, according to the radio traffic, they've spotted inbounds and seem to know where they're going to land for once."  Lt Mai Huyn said.  Alicia Li looked at the maps.  "Okay, Mai, take your patrol northeast and link up with Chung's people,  Hong, Chui, it's time to wake the giant in the west, and we need to neutralize the Airbase at An Lo, I'm going to take the headquarters patrol around the south-tip through the open sea and up the Little Mekong to disrupt the long-range sensor emplacements outside the Capitol."

"That's pretty close to a thousand kilometer trip, ma'am..." Mai noted.

"Then, I've got some sailing to do, and you've got your orders.  See you when it's over." Alicia said, handing each Leutenant a packet of instructions.

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Re: Unsuitable (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #29 on: 31 August 2013, 03:11:05 »
[[Posted 08-05-2008, 21:05:5]]


Smallcraft Bay, Dropship Gloria...

"We're getting close to interception range, everyone knows what they're doing...so, why do I feel so damn nervous?" Liz asked.

The answer was obvious, but everyone had doubts- the task-force hadn't had any real training time together.  She was counting on the Mercenaries to be Professionals, and they HAD worked out the assault plan over the three months of travel.

Mike Breland shrugged, "Could be because this is the first really big project you've had to handle on your own, Ma'am?" he asked.

"It could be that I've ****** up." She reminded him, "and If I ****** up, a lot of people who should  be alive tomorrow are going to be dead as a result."

"Well, let's hope you didn't, as you so saltily put it, ****** up, then." a voice said from behind her.  Liz turned and met the eyes of Martinez.  "I'd hate to think that my life of exile from the Confederation is going to be ended because a little girl listened to my advice, after all-that would be perfect, in a sad way, don't you think?"

Liz sighed.  "You're right, Mister Martinez." she pulled her jacket down to straighten the wrinkles, "I understand you didn't have to continue..?"

Martinez smiled, "Yeah, I got the message at our last port- it seems the Chancellor has issued an Amnesty for people like me, I could go Home...but with what honor?  The Honours of a man who was burned by his traitor station-chief and fled his sentence?" he shook his head, "No... now, if I come back with something to show, able to prove I have value to the State...I think not-breaking-a-contract might be taken into account, and besides, how many disgraced Maskirovka can say they've fought the FedCom recently without endangering the Cappellan people, Hmm?"

"I'm glad you're staying, then." Liz told him, "I'm a bit curious about why you didn't go over to the St. Ives people...I didn't ask that before, but since we're going in..."

Martinez shook his head, "I was Loyal.  Why would I join up with traitors?"  He laughed, "Twenty years in exile is a long time, but I should hope, for my own sake and the pride of my ancestors, that it is not so long that I could crawl to the ones that betrayed me in the first place and beg scraps at their table...anyway, we are now entering interception range, if they scrambled their fighters as soon as we were spotted, so I was coming up to make sure you were in your seat and strapped down for the manuevering phase.  I would NOT like to see my employer's brains dashed against a bulkhead before I've even begun my mission."