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Author Topic: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)  (Read 4474 times)

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #60 on: 23 November 2020, 01:31:20 »
Liquidity Crisis

01/16/3062 Location – Strato Domingo, Kerensky Cluster

The thrusters of Aegis Cruiser CDS Bloodlust burned white hot, its long thermal plume clearing the much larger fleet it was escorting. CDS Sea Fox, one of Clan Diamond Shark's two Newgrange Yardships was pulled out of mothballs and had its jump core repaired to serve once more. A small fleet followed in the wake of the factory ship CDS Poseidon and much smaller Merchant Carrack CDS Star Swimmer. The vessels were massed out with goods bound for Thule from the factories and refineries on-world. Poseidon itself was due to be deployed halfway down the Exodus Road and had received an elevated number of assault and carrier dropships for its protection.

Burning toward them was the Liberator Warship CCS Spirit in the Sky escorting a small fleet of Merchant dropships. It was a regularly scheduled arrival and drew no notice to Star Commodore Nathan Sutherland beyond the proper handling of any other large spacecraft. The Ensign assigned to his comm console yelled out, “Captain, we are being hailed by the Spirit.”
Commodore Sutherland looked down to ensure his uniform was proper for a fellow Captain and of course it was, “Put them on the screen Ensign.”
“Aff, sending it to the main screen now.”


A middle aged man with rugged features wearing a powder blue CSS appeared on the screen causing a mild panic, “Commodore Sutherland, I am Xavier Hill, Captain of the CSS Spirit in the Sky. As such I am issuing a Trial of Possession for the Star Swimmer's cargo. I bid my Liberator to the task.”

Commodore Sutherland paused taking in the suddenness of this event, Tamaron and Strato Domingo had been having challenges lately. Khans Koga and Sennet almost Grievanced each other over Hargel at the last session of the Grand Council. The were talked down by Marthe Pryde of the Jade Falcons and Lynn McKenna of the Snow Ravens who backed it up with a Joint Naval Star of Warships sitting at the Zenith of either system all last year. There was no preparation for this incident. “You are seriously challenging me for the Star Swimmer's cargo? Quineg? That cargo belongs to Clan Ghost Bear and it is under our protection.”

“Then protect it or do not Commodore. There is no more Clan Ghost Bear in the eyes of Khan Koga and yours is the only other Warship in system. If you will not protect it then I will begin sending the boarding parties and loading it into my dropships.”

“The Bloodlust will not allow you to do that Commodore but this will be known and you will suffer for it.”
“Bargained well and done then Commondore.”
“Bargained well and done.”


Commodore Hill disappeared from the screen and the Captain pressed the alarm for general quarters. Klaxons blared out throughout the ship and its escorted vessels. The Aegis was a slow ship but was already far ahead of the others. The Bloodlust and Spirit in the Sky would have to burn off velocity for them to have any chance of capturing a moving cargo or engaging in a meaningful fire exchange. Captain Sutherland triggered the intercom, “Attention all hands this is the Captain speaking. General quarters. Load all guns and missiles standby for additional instructions. Damage control report to your bunkers. Suits on and begin depressurization sequence. Fighters on standby.”

An hour later the two Warships neared the far end of their effective engagement range. Powerful naval lasers lanced out from the Bloodlust but the Liberator was better equipped for this long range utilizing heavy particle cannons that tore into the Aegis' armor plating. The carried momentum brought the Warships closer however as the Spirit could not turn to decelerate without giving Captain Sutherland a good shot at his vulnerable thrusters. The Shark managed to use his skilled crew to 'cross the T' bringing the fearsome Armstrong cannons of its broadside into play against the faster Liberator's bow.

The Spirit in the Sky's heavy particle cannons blazed across space bracketing the Aegis cruiser but these weapons still missed. CDS Sea Fox's immense bulk was behind the Aegis and as it turned the forward aspect of the massive Newgrange was right in line with the Bloodlust's amidships. A poor firing solution by one of the Coyote gunners resulted in damage to the Sea Fox and devolved the Trial into a melee.

Diamond Shark fighters and gunships boosted forward from their Potemkin mothership filling the RADAR screens. This school of fighters burned hot toward the Liberator which turned and burned along with its compliment of dropships back toward the Zenith rather than face them. Commodore Sutherland opened a channel to Loremaster Angus Labrov currently on-world for clarification of his orders.

A while later the message returned and Angus' dark skin and white hair were visible in the message, “Star Commodore you did the right thing. The Ghost Bears trusted us with this cargo and we are not going to let them down. I will elevate this to the Khan lad but send a technical team to assess damage and that will determine the next steps.”

Nathan opened a channel to his tech chief, “Daren what kind of damage are we looking at?”
“Relatively minor all things considered Captain. Everything can be repaired while we are underway.”
“Good, only fix critical systems Chief. The Loremaster wants us to send a tech crew to the Sea Fox and see if she needs anything.”
“Aff Sir. I will have one assembled and en route within a half hour.”


Isle Azul, Strato Domingo

Loremaster Angus Labrov sat next to a noteputer looking out at the churning oceans of Strato Domingo from the other side of the wind. In the distance he could see the stacks of the Hargel refinery and Dominique City through the smog that was mostly naturally occurring on-world. The computer buzzed and he opened it to see a diagram of a very large tuning fork with a big hole in it. CDS Bloodlust's Chief Tech had determined that it was fixable but not on the timelines projected considering other projects in the works.

Projects like the Diamond Sharks relocation to the Chainelaine Isles. That hulk was going to serve as a large space station but that had been the scrapper in him thinking. The scrapper that helped rebuild the Shark's Touman after Tukayyid and who was working closely with the other Khans to allow the Diamond Sharks continued profit and thus viability. Since the Touman had been rebuilt their excess was eagerly brought up by the Coyotes. They should suffer but they also don't need to know his true intentions.

Angus picked up the phone dialing something into the retro style pad, a young woman's voice rang gently on the other side, “Merchant Factor's Office. Aff Loremaster how can I help you?”

“Can you put me on with Lorenzo?”
“Right away sir.”


The voice of a very mature man that sounded every bit as worn as Angus came over the line, “Lorenzo, I want you to draw up plants to embargo the Coyotes bring Louis and Moriz into it with you. It will allow us to idle more factories so we can begin moving them; and show the Coyote's that they can howl as much as they want but we will not be intimidated.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #61 on: 23 November 2020, 22:58:46 »
01/20/3062 Location – Hall of the Ancestors, Tamaron, Kerensky Cluster

Khan Sullivan Koga stalked about her chambers in a fury unseen but certainly noticed by the Laborers that were to clean it up again today. “Dezgra Diamond Sharks! Damn you Labrov. I would shoot you myself. Your Clan has already declared War on me I should return the batchall.” She threw a metal decanter through the window that separating the adjacent room shattering the plate glass into wicked shards that crunched under her boots. Her fury momentarily sated with the destruction of something she collected herself donning her uniform and stepping out into the corridor where the cleaning crew waited silently.

A young man dressed in the Coyote’s formal ‘powdered blues’ with a gauss pistol at his side waited a short distance away. His unit insignia matched no Line Galaxy because he was Watch and their symbol was like that of the ancient terra SAS, a winged dagger on black field. “Marlowe, you had better carry some good information. I have had my share of bad this week.”

“I am afraid I do not OvKhan. SaKhan Clearwater and Loremaster Parker confirm what Merchant Factor Kavindra informed you of yesterday. The Falcons have withdrawn the Clan’s credit, the Sharks have called their debts, and the Ravens will not upgrade the CCS Howling to a Feral Battlecruiser or continue working on the CCS Broken Sea without upfront payment or a change in our situation.”


Sullivan walked briskly through the halls which were decorated with murals pulled from scenes in the Coyote Remembrance. She paused at the one that depicted the Blood Scandal that began the Clan’s death spiral with the death of 2000 traitors and a third of the Clan’s bloodhouses dormant due to the dishonor they represented. “I will not have my Khanship end with this Clan. I want solutions!”

“You know that we are looking for them as well as all threats to the Clan and your leadership of it. Thus far our assets in the lower castes and ranks report that the full impact of these event is not yet understood. We may yet have time to avert this crisis and find avenues to sink political rivals with it.

Commodore Sutherland was not well respected among his peers. It will be easy to sink him after this debacle if you wish.”

“I very much do. Is the Council assembled yet?”

Marlowe looked at his gauntlet comm-pad, “Aff, Scientist General Ricarda has just arrived.”

“Good. You are dismissed Watch Captain.”
The Khan turned around and he was already gone down one of the stairs to continue his work. Skullduggery was chalcas but she created many enemies during her reorganization and needed a proactive and powerful Watch. Without her support the Touman would instantly turn on it for their actions during her reign. Actions that had seen high-ranking Warriors’ ambitions flatline at the feet of her Timber Wolf in a Circle of Equals before they could be realized.

The Coyote Watch learned from their Wolf counterparts. Wolf Loremaster Katya Kerensky’s ways were well respected by Sullivan who felt she was a kindred spirit and deserved the Khanship more than that whelp Vladimir Ward. Now she needed their help more than ever and hoped that they were ready for this great challenge.

Sullivan Koga, Khan of Clan Coyote, burst into the door and strode forward to the head of the holo-table in the situation room. On the sides were the four highest ranking lower castemen in the Clan.

Merchant Factor Kavindra, an overweight woman with a keen mind for numbers and hunger for younger lovers. Khan Koga did not judge her for her looks or company but by results and the woman was a sharp negotiator. She was renowned as the only person to go solo against the five-person Jade Falcon Central Bank Committee. The deal she inked for Khan Steele was so perfect it got the Bank Chairman fired by former ilKhan Elias Critchell for negligence.

Master Technician Onyda, a disgraced Aerospace pilot who rose to Chief Engineer of the CCS Ancestral Home when it was the Coyote’s flagship. His actions and the scars he bore because of them preserved the ancient Texas battleship despite a catastrophic KF drive malfunction. It was his idea to use the ship as a training vessel for Techs and Warriors rather than scrap it.

Senior Laborer Hillard, a wide nosed Elemental and former Foreman of the Coyote Industrial complex on Babylon. He oversaw the historic factory’s dismantling, relocation, reassembly, and activation on Tamaron. As Senior Laborer he now personally led operations for the sprawling San Mateo Industrialplex some hundred kilometers away.

Finally, there was the hawk-eyed freeborn Aerospace egghead Scientist-General Ricarda whose research had led to the Advanced Tactical Missile, the newest weapon in the Coyote’s arsenal. The man also served as Chairman of the prestigious Richard Tchernovkov Polytechnic Academy. Another of his many tasks was coordinating joint research projects with other Clans. Ricarda was easily the most lauded person in this room besides the Khan herself but he undertook his duties with humility for without the Khan’s patronage he would be nothing.

Within the holo-table were the high-rez profiles of SaKhan Ravenna Clearwater, the young Ristar currently on the Pentagon world of Babylon with her Silver Keshik and premiere Delta Galaxy. Loremaster Alan Parker’s wizened face filled another quadrant; the old Warrior managed the Coyote and former Widowmaker Enclaves on Strana Mechty serving as the tempered Voice of his Khan to the Grand Council.

In another of the quadrants was the Kerensky cluster and Pentagon Worlds. Each of the Clans were represented by a color and each world portioned by color based on percentage occupied. The fourth quadrant was left for the Khan to control, presently it was filled with a wireform diagram of the Liberator warship CCS Spirit in the Sky whose Captain was responsible for this latest mess.

Khan Koga settled into her chair and the others followed. “We all know what happened and we cannot change that. We can only look forward and take control of our fates.

I will not have our work undone by this embargo. If you have any pride in this Clan and me, please present any solutions you might have to our shared problem.”


Sullivan released control of the panel to the floor who paused for a moment as they absorbed the Khan’s apparent despair. Ricarda was first to answer, “Khan Koga, we can innovate or engineer our way out of this difficult situation. I understand that it was faster to buy battlemechs from the Sharks to grow the Touman but there are ways we can supplement what we have with older material from the Brian caches.

The Goliath Scorpions believe they have located hidden caches formerly belonging to the Burrocks in Star Adder territory. Your Warriors can take this ground from the Adders who might not even know they are there. My scientists can equip Technicians with the appropriate sensors to find and access them.”


Onyda and Sullivan looked particularly interested, “It is a valid plan OvKhan. I have one as well. This will be difficult for the Warriors to shoulder but you are the proud defenders of this Clan and already willingly sacrifice mightily for our benefit.”

Sullivan urged the Technician the cut the crap and get to the point, “If I can be allotted enough Technicians, we might be able to better automate the San Mateo Industrialplex and increase our domestic productivity.” He looked toward Kavindra and Hillard, “It will require capital investment and buy in from the Laborer Caste and reduce the support we can give the Warriors for a time. Perhaps a year or so till we are finished and two or three until we can increase staffing to sustain the larger touman and machine capacity. However, it will pay dividends, require only domestic resources, and we can cost share or sell the tech to the Hell’s Horses and Goliath Scorpions.”

Hillard agreed with the plan and Kavindra took the floor, “OvKhan presently we are overdrawn on our accounts to the JFCBC. The Sharks and Ravens demand their payments now in violation of the contract terms. However, rather than fight off Labrov’s Loansharks in council or within a Circle of Equals we can use the Hell’s Horses.

Presently the HHS Armageddon is en route to Kirin from the Inner Sphere massed out with refined minerals and components. It will arrive in system sometime next week. If you can convince SaKhan Delaurel and Horse Merchant Factor Sonja that we can provide greater value here on Tamaron; we can settle our debts with the Sharks using its cargo.

There may be enough left over to provide a suitable down payment for the Ravens to continue with the Broken Sea and we can replace these materials when the Morning Star arrives in two months without great disruption. I cannot fix our credit with the Jade Falcons at this time. We have nothing they want at the moment. Our Clan can lean on the Horses to sustain us long enough that the Falcons will see that their embargo was ineffective.”


Onyda broke in at the end, “What of the Howling Merchant Factor?”
“The Kirin Yards are capable of completing the upgrade to a Feral Battlecruiser. The Horses wish to expand their naval touman now that they have a stronghold in the Inner Sphere and regularly transit the Exodus Road.

We have a mothballed SovSoy cruiser around Tranquil that we can barter to them for slip space and resources. I believe Khan Fletcher will gladly broker space and time for another Warship to fight the Ghost Bears in the Inner Sphere. However, the Kirin Yards do not have the capability to forge new KF drives yet and we will need the Ravens for at least that portion of the Broken Sea’s production.”


Khan Koga watched and listened as the Coyote’s lower caste worked their way through hypotheticals. Her council was coming up with ways to maintain the work of their generation and preserve the Clan they held dear. It almost brought a tear to her eye as she swore that the Diamond Sharks would feel her wrath when this was through. Her Clan would not be brought down by debt or despair once more, it would roll over and take abuse from anyone. As the Wolves retreated to the Inner Sphere the Coyote stood poised to take their rightful place at the head of the pack.
« Last Edit: 24 November 2020, 02:10:22 by AlphaMirage »

Wrangler

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #62 on: 24 November 2020, 21:13:18 »
Has the Feral Class Battlecruiser been posted yet?  The story evolving in interesting ways!
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #63 on: 25 November 2020, 02:27:15 »
Has the Feral Class Battlecruiser been posted yet?  The story evolving in interesting ways!

I posted it here https://bg.battletech.com/forums/aerospace/the-other-war-feral-battlecruiser/

Coyote Repossession

Chatterweb Log. Public Terminal.San Mateo City.Tamaron.Kerensky Cluster
Guffaw.SI need to come in Skog almost caught me by the tale. Always checking my watch to see if my time is up.
Fortunate.Sun Sorry to hear about your troubles at work. If you can you get to the Deli for us we can make something happen.
Guffaw.SI will catch the next streetcar to the Deli. Tell OS I will not be long and might have something special for her.
Fortunate.SunFeel free to make it a party. Look forward to seeing you. Do not forget to wear bells.

05/14/3062

Star Commander Rex leapt from the hovering (Union-C) CCDS Silvermoon using his jets to clear the thruster plume and land softly on the rocky beaches of a quarry lake near Delios’ inland sea. His Conjurer’s feet left a deep impression in the gravel quickly trodden over by the rest of his Star. The Silvermoon boosted away after executing a textbook nighttime hover drop of his strike force. Rex activated his mech’s thermal sights turning the bright blue chemical laden water grayscale.

He noticed something peek out from a nearby gully mostly hidden by the steam from the Silvermoon's thruster.

“I saw something two hundred meters north-northwest. We did not bring any probes and this area was supposed to be quiet. Check out it, Hu.”

The Incubus walked forward avoiding the use of jump jets that might reveal their position. Their dropship had been brighter than their jump jets ever could. However, it was gone now and there was no need to draw more attention to their position, the steam had concealed their short drop to the surface. Sharks would be tracking the Union-C as it deployed the slower mechs of Charlie Trinary closer to the primary objective while he could take the secondary with his Star.

Hu’s Incubus peered down through the ravine activating the spotlight attached to its rifle like pulse laser. “Some caves, very small and wet. I see no signs of activity.” The large man shaped mech turned to rejoin the Star. Its spotlight turned off but the element within still glowed as the residual heat faded to darkness in their thermal sights.

“There was something there.”
“Maybe an artifact in the computer Star Commander. How many times has your mech been repaired properly in the past five months?”


All of his Star's machines showed uneven paint jobs from the nearly five month long repossession campaign that Khan Koga called in wake of the Shark's embargo. “Properly, maybe twice. Imperfectly more than a dozen times.”
“Well if you can find a technician ask them about that.”
“Either that or it was something that can wait till morning. We have an objective to achieve.”
“Aff.”
The Star set out to the West seeking to reclaim what was once theirs from the Diamond Sharks.

Within the gully three figures emerged from their hiding holes, all wore dark blue dry suits, their faces covered by a re-breather helmet.  “Do you think they know where the cache is?”
“It seems that way. Either that or they just intend to pick the ruins once more as others have before.”
“We have been through but should inform the others.”
“Aff. The Controller was very direct in that point.”
“He didn’t need to kill Jean-Pierre to prove it though. I miss that fellow.”

Rex’s command worked their way a short distance through the stubby woods. Delios was once home to a variety of artisanal industries clustered around its inland sea. In the 30th Century it was a primarily Coyote colony shared with the Nova Cats. During their decline it was lost to the Diamond Sharks who improved on the Coyote's work to great profit. In the early 3050s Smoke Jaguar Warriors under Leo Showers raided it for raw materials as was their standard tactics. In order to sustain his Touman Khan Lincoln Osis clear cut forests, over harvested fields and fisheries, and strip-mined hillsides in the process turning once idyllic environments into industrial wastelands that were only just beginning to heal.

He looked toward the North where Rebekah's Star was heavily engaged with elements of the 35th Cruiser Cluster around a minor factory town. His command was not as well supplied so they were sent after easier prey among the 79th Strike Cluster that was still badly mauled from fighting against the Steel Vipers on New Kent. This was something the Coyotes could emphasize with as several Coyote Clusters were pushed out over the past year during the Viper's latest offensive. The Khan ordered the planet reclaimed however and so it shall be.

The command paused near a cliff covered in large boulders, “All scopes clear Star Commander. We are certain this is the location we are seeking quiaff?”

Star Commander Rex checked his unit's GPS and confirmed the coordinates, “Aff, Perhaps we were given bad data.”

A Star of Battlemechs stood around confused, “This data came right from the Watch Colonel quiaff? Where is this cache?”

“Maybe there are hiding within it.” Rex looked back at the quarry lake, “or it is below the surface.”

“You think that the entrance to a Cat cache is somewhere under that lake?”
“Aff, what better way to conceal it from detection and infiltration. Our machines have lasers we will not be defenseless.”
“True but none of us have experience with this manner of attack. Perhaps we should wait for specialists.”
“There is no time for specialists. If there is nothing there we will regroup with Charlie and take Belle's Wharf. There is still time for us to catch them.”
“Aff Star Commander. Whatever you say.”


Five mechs waited beside the very cold water that had flooded the quarry and killed several hundred Laborers in 3054 after the Jaguars dug to deep without checking the water table. Before becoming a sand quarry it was a relatively quaint Nova Cat mining town best known for the quality of its semi-precious stones. They had no way of knowing how deep the water was and no map of its bottom from which to navigate. Rex and the others instead activated their inertial navigation units to aid with dead reckoning.

Each Mechwarrior ensured that their cockpit shield was in place and prayed to the Great Father their seals would hold. The Conjurer and its Starmates used their jump jets to dive into the lake creating a load splash and rippling waves that bounced off the opposite shore. Darkness and cold surrounded Rex as he sank into the lake's murky depths. His 'gun light' activated and after a short time he could feel his feet settle onto the muddy bottom.

As the mechs settled on the bottom they looked about, the Horned Owl's 'eyelight' was activated making it look like a cyclopean lighthouse, the Clint II's paired headlights and Griffin II's chest light joined the Incubus' gun light each glowed faintly to illuminate the silty brine.

Before diving they had agreed that anyone who finds something would mark it and find their nearest Starmate to pass it down the line. Communication underwater was limited to the standard hand gestures that any child learns when they pick up their first rifle at the age of 6. Rex consulted his INS and continued on the course he laid for himself.

At the entrance to the cache a group of 'Water Elementals' with seaweed like 'ghille' camouflage propelled themselves through the water. Each of the modified mining suits concealed themselves next to or within the flooded remains of quarry machines and dead Shark mechs. Lights penetrated the depths as the mechs neared but the WE operator saw it in 3D as built in SONAR identified the metal behind that light in sharp relief as well as giving up to date ranges.

A series of sharp clicks emanated from one of the units toward a nearby hydrophone.
“Black Pearl Star is in position to drown some stray dogs Controller.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #64 on: 26 November 2020, 02:37:56 »
Star Commander Rex’s gun-light illuminated about a hundred meters underwater before it was lost to darkness and silt. Thus far there was nothing down here but some rusty old industrial equipment and lots of wet sand.

A bright glint of metal and bright blue paint caught his attention. The rest of his Star spread out carefully walking along the lake bed while searching for this elusive cache’s entrance. Rex neared the wreckage finding the angled hood of a Phantom D Omnimech with a 79th Strike Cluster insignia on its shoulder.

His Conjurer took a knee in order to get a closer look at the face down Diamond Shark. There was a small amount of battle damage on the unit. Delios was a warzone however and the Sharks were engaged in a delaying action to salvage as much as possible before the Coyotes reclaimed the world. “What happened to you Warrior?”

The Battlemech flipped the fallen mech, it crashed into the sand sending another cloud of debris. Massive holes in the armor of its center torso seemed the likely cause of deactivation but it was curiously precise for such intense damage. Either the Warrior was very unlucky or faced a very accurate foe. The cowling protecting the cockpit was breached but there was no mechwarrior inside. “Curious.”

A blinking light caught his attention, the mech's torso twisted underwater to find the Horned Owl whose lights emitted from the cyclopean visage of the humanoid shaped mech. Hand signals from the unit confirmed what he suspected, there were more, a whole Binary of drowned Diamond Shark mechs all in a similar condition. It was time to withdraw and report this unusual situation to command.

Unable to use their jump jets they instead had to slowly walk out of the water watching for whatever killed these Mechwarriors. Magscan, the only Mech based sensor that worked well under water was active looking for anomalies such as a fusion reactor.

Rex watched his step and the screen filling out magnetic anomalies. No active reactors besides those of his Starmates were found. “There has to be an enemy mech around, nothing else could have done that much damage so accurately.”

The farthest reactor signal fell off causing the Star paused waiting for the MagScan to update. A reactor does not just shut down without warning particularly when there are no other Mechs around. “Where did you go Hu?”

Four Mechs clustered together like surrounded soldiers, each machine covered a 90* arc and each other’s back.

Force Commander Brodric ran silent, deep, and dark within his underwater combat armor. If the Rasalhague Amfibiekåren on Constance had this level of tech Clan Ghost Bear wouldn't have made him a refugee. Now he was satisfying his vengeance one dead Warrior at a time and didn't care which Clan they belonged to, they were all the same to him.

These Warriors were bunched up making the approach tricky, but they could not see or move well in this dark water. Their movement stirred up sediment further degrading their LOS. Passive sonar allowed them to ‘hear’ the enemy which the onboard computer parsed together into a near real time display right to the visor.

Rex’s eyes were glued to his sensor display until he saw a dark mass slowly float toward the formation just beyond the light. Once it came into range it looked like bunch of duckweed come unrooted from the lakebed and he relaxed his guard, until it moved against the current and separated into battle armors trailing a kelp like camouflage behind them. “Undines!”

He leveled the pulse laser rifle and fired a rapid high-power burst that cut through the enemy battle armor, but his regular lasers missed the agile swimmers. This went unanswered by a swarm of torpedoes which was unexpected. Rex backed up crashing into Jen's Clint II. The sudden shock caused both machines to lose their footing before crashing into the sandy bank and jarring their rookie Mechwarriors.

The Lamprey's continued their approach as Brodric cursed this Mechwarrior and its pulse laser that had taken the lives of his men. Their sacrifices would be honored when this Mechwarrior joined the others whom this lake had claimed tonight.

He tracked the slow-moving machine dodging laser fire that created a small steam explosion in its wake. His targeting computer used a fast ultrasonic pulse to range in the enemy and finalize the targeting solution for his Lamprey's magnetic mine launcher.

Two mines found their mark drawn as they to the powerful electromagnets surrounding the reactor. Seconds later their explosive charges detonated creating a massive over-pressure crumpling and deforming the Conjurer's armor plates with damage so extensive that water flooded its reactor chamber drowning the nuclear fire within. Rex's Conjurer fell back into the sand dropped by the concussion as much as the power loss.

The gun light continued to shine on Brodric but its laser would no longer carry death to his combat divers. He usedl the massive but precise rents in the core to move about on his claws. Upon reaching the cockpit the Rasalgheti ripped the armored cowling from its mountings.

Within was a young man illuminated by red tactical lighting. He was certainly the youngest he had seen today no older than his own son. There Mechwarrior showed no signs of fear even in his current situation, the Sharks were in a panic attempting to bribe him into spared them. Instead this man, 'Rex' from the helmet was looking him right through the viewpoint.

Rex looked out at the strange Elemental faintly illuminated against the he inky dark waters. Its heavy bulbous helmet had no face but he could see what appeared to be quartz view ports for eyes. The was painted with a black octopus whose tentacles wrapped to the back.

Two heavy battle claws rested on the glaz. He felt another explosion nearby of the same type that had crushed his his conjurer.

He reached for the Avenger auto-shotgun attached to his seat and aimed it through his own cockpit glass, mouthing, “If am going to die I will do it fast and with a gun in my hand,” before pulling the trigger and sending a three round burst of solid tungsten slugs toward his foe.

The shots penetrates but caused little damage against the Lamprey's armor even at this range. Where the slugs punched through however a stream of water followed, Rex fired again but didn't hear it this time deafened as he was after shooting the shotgun in such close quarters.

All it did was speed the flow.

He kept at it until he ran out of air and ammo while the octopus faced water monster watched him.

05/15/3062 Belle's Wharf

The morning sun brought no relief to the Coyotes, Star Commander Rebekah's Star was in no shape for additional combat after fighting the 15th Cruiser. They were replaced by tankers from the Reserve Trinary who completed the final push to acquire the mines nearby.

Worse news was filtering in as dawn illuminated the ruins around her that had traded hands several times over this five month campaign. It was a strategic point due to its shuttleport and Harbor.

Right now she was sipping tea and looking at a smoking wreck of a small cargo ship blocking the harbor just barely visible as the morning mist burned away.

A female SibCadet ran towards her, the young woman's gray fatigues were dirty but the body armor and Gauss SMG on it were clean. Khan Sullivan Koga's Repossession Campaign against the Diamond Sharks had pressed everyone into service. SibCadets regularly supported their Warrior brothers and sisters gaining valuable experience on a real battlefield.

Good performance would allow a 15 year old Cadet like Cara a chance to undergo her Trial of Position ahead of schedule. “Star Commander Rebekah, I was looking for you.”
“What is it Cadet Cara?”


The brown haired teenager paused to catch her breath breathing deep to fill her lungs with the temperate heavy sir of this planet. “I looked for Star Commander Rex at the Cluster Aid Station like you asked but he is nowhere to be found.

Even Star Captain Cyne has no idea where he could be. His Star failed to rendezvous here as planned last night and they have no one to spare for search and rescue.”


The girl looked past her slightly older counterpart toward the situation in the harbor, “not while the harbor is blocked by that wreck. What happened?”

“Mines. Has to be the Sharks. They did not want to fight for it again so they wrecked its value to us and redeployed their force.”
Rebekah walked up a short stairway to the main road where her now perfectly tuned gray jeep was parked on the street. “Come with me Cara. I will talk to Cyne myself.”

Cara strapped herself in easing her SMG over the seat belt and adjusting it to her recently obtained armored vest. Between them were a pair of Mk.39 Pulse Laser Rifles on their charging cradle behind them the back bench seat held enough supplies for a small scout team as well as Rebekah's armored vest. A vest they were all supposed to be wearing now.

The girl looked strangely excited, “Can I drive Becky?”

Rebekah looked over to her put on her helmet and sunglasses, “Not this time. Maybe when you are older.”

Cara glared at her, “But you are only...” The rest of the sentence was lost as Becky hit the supercharger throwing the girl into her seat as they burned rubber down the abandoned seaside roads in search of her brother.
« Last Edit: 26 November 2020, 09:44:06 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #65 on: 02 December 2020, 21:55:32 »
A gray jeep passed a large faded wooden sign 'Belle's Wharf' with multiple bullet holes in it hanging from a chain. The sleepy seaside town but more importantly its strategic harbor was the focus of Coyote operations in the southeastern section of the Inland Sea. Now it was ravaged, quaint houses stacked along the hills ripped apart by weapon fire, glass storefronts destroyed from concussion and banditry over the past five months.

Smoke rose from the slowly sinking supply ship in its harbor. More rose from the east behind them. Fire apparatus, and the quad legged Water Strider pumper mechs sped past the jeep on the wharf road.

Cara watched the surprisingly graceful industrial-mechs pass over them, they were odd designs manufactured like all quadruped industrial-mechs by the Goliath Scorpions; the only clan maintaining specialty forces for different environments to support their Seeker Warrior-Ascetics. “What happened now?”

She turned on the console radio to listen to the civilian dispatcher, “Unidentified forces have launched an incendiary attack on Eastshore. Requesting all emergency response and Warrior reinforcements to secure the area from further damage.”

Rebekah was still keeping an eye on the road ahead dodging the emergency responders while maintaining speed, “More bandits. This world is lousy with them.”
“Why not the Sharks?”
“To messy, they aim for maximum impact on strategic targets. Otherwise they would have to spend resources repairing it.”


Their jeep turned tightly as the road was becoming more filled with debris and equipment nearly tilting over but stayed on two wheels until before it slowed settling down with a thump and continuing to accelerate. Cara, the young Sibcadet breathed deep, “Good thing I had the belt on Becky. I almost went out the side.”

“Not the first time we almost rolled this vehicle.”
The pair continued to speed across the hills watching the smoke rise behind them on their way to headquarters.

At the 202nd Battle Cluster's HQ (Burrock Abtakha) Star Colonel Manali Danforth stood over the holographic map table with his Coregn, the 'Warrior-Adjutant' that oversaw the Cluster's support assets. “Have we managed to identify the attackers Cyne?”

The trueborn Warrior had only retired to serve in the support corps after losing an eye and hand in combat early in his career. The eye was replaced with cybernetics while the hand was vat grown that had taken years of training to fully utilize. “Neg, reports are still coming in from Patrol assets first on the scene. Thus far we have determined that the attackers were four semi-submersible missile boats, did not come within five hundred meters of shore, each launched three or four volleys to ensure ignition before they broke contact.”

“Not even the alert hovers could reach that area in such a short time. Why there? There is nothing strategic worth damaging.”

“If I may speak freely Colonel.”
The nodded, “I think the objective is to terrorize civilians and undermine our credibility by demonstrating that our Warriors cannot protect them. They appear to know we are unable to control the Inland Sea.”

“Then we must find their base and dispatch them Cyne.”
“Or abandon the world Manali, as the Sharks appear to be doing.”


The Star Colonel stood taller, “The Khan will not stand for that. Our Warriors cannot be defeated by a group of Bandits. Pressure on the Sharks is why they are abandoning their enclaves.”

“We have been on world for five months. During that time the Sharks have abandoned thirty percent of their holdings. We have claimed about forty and I think they continue to fight this delaying action while they look for something that they do not want us to discover.”


Manali paused to think, “Another scandal? Like the Burrocks. Or some secret project they lost control of?”

“Unknown. Our Watch assets have been tasked with internal security not recon. Recent Bandit activity has made me reconsider previous actions in a new context. The Sharks have been acting strange recently.”

“I agree, it is something that worries the Khan and is why we must uncover the source of this rot on world and address it properly. The Pentagon insurgencies were surprisingly well resourced we cannot have Delios be another Dagda.”

“Should I task more Patrol assets on protecting the shore and harbor?”
“Aff, impress civilian craft if you must. This Cluster has fought too hard to have our position compromised by Bandit interlopers. I am heading out to the field in order to maintain pressure on the Sharks and maybe find some answers.”
“Your Kingfisher is waiting for you at the depot Colonel.”
“Keep me in the loop Captain Cyne.”


Just as the Commander departed as two young women burst into the HQ tent. Cyne calmly completed his manipulations on the map table which would give direction to the Sheriff's men. As the cyborg raised his head Rebekah couldn't help but notice the artificial heterochromia of his bright blue cybereye and brown regular one. “Commander Rebekah, Cadet Cara. Can I help you?”

Rebekah walked sternly toward the older Warrior, Cyne watched her intently the young hotshot thinking she was bound to screw up or blow up soon enough unless she calmed down. “Where is my trothkin Captain?”

“If I knew where Commander Rex was; he would not be listed as missing in action with the rest of his Star.”
“Are you not looking for him?”
“I have no Patrolmen or salvage crews to spare. All Patrol assets are patrolling the shore looking for those unidentified missile boats, salvage crews are recovering ammo and equipment from the DCS Dawn, and firemen are dealing with the conflagration and unable to assist in search and rescue.

If you would like to receive the task to search for your trothkin’s missing Star I will send you the coordinates where the Silvermoon dropped him. I understand that your Conjurer sustained heavy damage last night so you can use this as your duty rotation for today while the Techs repair it. As Cara has no other tasks at the moment but to aid you, she can join you if she pleases.”


He input the coordinates for last night’s drop into the holotable which panned easterly for about seventy kilometers until it settled on an old gravel quarry. This quarry and many others dotted the rough glacial topography of the Scablands adjacent to the Inland Sea, which was in fact a massive glacial lake left over from Delios’ last ice age. “The Silvermoon dropped him here, our Watch found a set of coordinates that we believe lead to an old Nova Cat cache. He was sent to recon and recover it if possible.”

Cara synced her gauntlet comm-pad to the map table, “That is about an hour drive from here in the jeep. At least the way you drive.”
 
Cyne looked at Rebekah curiously, “You have a vehicle? I was not aware of this and I am responsible for the Cluster’s motor pool.”

Rebekah neared him almost pressing a finger to his chest, “Tell your people not to touch my vehicle Captain. It is registered to Rex and me on Tamaron. We maintain it, I do not need your help, but he does need mine.”

He moved into Cara’s space and she stepped back to give him room, “Then I would hurry Commander. Who knows what could have happened to him?”

Both women turned their backs to exit the tent passing a shocked Patrolman who had stepped away from his post for a moment to smoke. The main camp was buzzing with activity, Patrol officers and Infantry from the Echo Trinary walked around with their hands on their weapons. Mechwarriors and Armor Crews maintained their equipment alongside Technicians under the supervision of Chiefs. Tallasi heavy transports eased their way into camp on their caterpillar tracks loaded down with damaged Mechs and containers of provisions. These were unloaded by Laborers and restocked into Quonsets marked with the Coyote Quartermaster’s logo.

Near one of these Quonsets was the motor pool where five off-duty Laborers stood about admiring Rebekah’s jeep. She shrilled, “Get away from my Jeep you louts!” This caught their attention as did the very athletic blonde wearing civilian clothes under her armored vest that carried a sidearm. “Sorry girlie. Its an older model, they do not make them like this anymore.”
“They never made one like this. Its special, mine, and GET OUT OF MY WAY!

“Whoa there, Warrior.” They started backing away after seeing Cara who still carried her SMG, “We gone you see. Keep on your way.”

Cara was already buckled in by the time Rebekah started the quiet fuel cell engine, “We will do it in a half hour.” She put sunglasses on before peeling out of the camp at high speed scattering a group of Infantry shouting obscenities.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Other War (Katherine-verse AU War of Reaving)
« Reply #66 on: 03 December 2020, 20:27:35 »
Rebekah's jeep left the town of Belle's Wharf behind heading toward the rugged terrain of the Eastern Scablands at reckless speed. Unfortunately, paved roads transitioned to poorly maintained gravel roads about ten minutes out of town. These trails and reports of Bandits in the area forced her to slow the pace in order to avoid falling into a trap.

The Scablands despite their unpleasant name were at one time pleasant to live in. Once home to many Nova Cat enclaves at the turn of the 30th Century living alongside Coyotes and Diamond Sharks. Until the Smoke Jaguars strip-mined and clear cut its forests in a vain effort to sustain their flailing touman during Operation: REVIVAL. Clan Diamond Shark attempted remediation, but landslides and banditry damaged its infrastructure making it increasingly unprofitable and out of reach.

Cara watched empty windows and roof tops when they passed through a quiet abandoned village still flying a ragged flag Nova Cat flag even years after their Abjuration. Its town sign long since fallen leaving only the chains hanging and tinkling in the wind. A flash of movement in a darkened alleyway caught her attention but Rebekah was moving fast enough that she could not confirm it and they quickly passed through the ghost town without incident.

She looked over to Rebekah who was intent on the road ahead dodging potholes and collapsed roadsides, “Should we really be out this far without backup Becky? I know Rex is your trothkin but this seems reckless now.”

“Cold feet Cara, maybe you want to walk back to town?”

The teenager steeled herself at the rebuke. “I am a trueborn Coyote Warrior cadet not some airhead civie. Bandits do not scare me,” she pulled the Gauss SMG tight holding it like a treasured pet against her armor vest, “but we are in uncontrolled territory and not properly equipped to fight off an ambush.”

On a nearby hill three uniformed men sat in a cutout beneath a camouflaged tarp around a small but powerful radio. Each was behind a tri-pod mounted telescope from which they could just barely make out Belle’s Wharf and its surrounding waters almost 40 kilometers away. Equally they could just barely make out Quarry Lake 58 and the rusty bulk carrier a short distance away next to its industrial quay.

“We have motion coming from the West. Coordinates on the scope.”
One of the men peered through the complex scope already shifting into position to track the contact, “Gray soft top civvie four by four Jeep, older model, no markings, tinted glass.”
“No markings?”
“Aff, no markings. Just passed through the old Cat village on the gravel path.”
“Older model, the Coyotes wouldn’t have brought one with them, but they are the only ones occupying Belle’s Wharf now that they sent the Sharks Northward.”
“Its not a Patrol vehicle. We know they use pickups. Should we tell the bike team to intercept?”
“Its probably some Merchant cad looking for some privacy with his girlfriend. Inform the Cell Captain to pause recovery operations until we can confirm their heading. There are a few paths that will lead them past the Lake.”


Rebekah and Cara passed through the dense forest along the decrepit roads heading toward their destination. Spur roads broke off from the main path heading toward nearby quarries and mills. Small cervid like creatures crossed dangerously close to the fast-moving jeep before disappearing into the thick shrubland that was their home. Both Warriors kept a close eye on the embankments for animals and human lying in wait.

Cara’s stomach growled, “We should shoot one of those deer and take it back with us. I am sick of fish.”

“It has taken a while for me to adjust to it as well but that is what is locally available to the Quartermasters. Almost all of Delios’ inhabitants live near and off the Inland Sea.

There is a pistol carbine in the back somewhere. When we find Rex, I will shoot one myself and we will have a feast.”

“I hope you do find him Becky. Cyne did not seem to have much urgency to find his missing Star.”

“He is a failed Warrior, little better than a Merchant now even though he plays at it. Cyne deployed once and it was a dismal failure that cost him his eye, hand, and the respect of his Peers. Even the Colonel is suspect. What the Burrocks were implicated with should have rendered them Annihilated rather than absorbed by the Adders, I do not trust him.”

“Who do you trust?”


Rebekah paused a moment while considering the innocent but important question, “People I can count on.”

They approached the final group of hills leaving the jeep hidden in a nearby stand of brush. Rebekah added an under-barrel grenade launcher to one of the Clan standard Mark 39 ER Laser Rifles, dropping a pair of grenades into her belt pouch along with spare power cells. Cara took the other keeping her compact Gauss SMG on her back. Both wanted to get in fast and get out faster preferable with Rex but if he was gone to at least know what might have killed him. They stuck to the brush careful to avoid sky-lighting themselves to any observers on the other side of the valley.

 Both went prone and crawled the final couple of meters until they saw Quarry Lake 58, there were no signs of battle visible in their scopes nor of any mech movement from their current position. The ground was heavily exposed with only small structures, some piles of debris or gravel, and abandoned machines for cover. Across the way they saw no signs of observation in the rifle scopes across any of the spectra it tracked. Cara whispered, “They would have at least done an aerial survey quiaff?”

“Aff, that is standard protocol, but I think they might have recon birds looking for Sharks and these unknown Bandits. This area is a low priority.”
“But the Watch thought it had a cache.”
“That is what Cyne said yesterday. I searched Rex’s codex backup on the Cluster database; it has no record of this mission or of him even being missing in action. He is still listed as medically inactive.”
“But he got out of the MASH unit last week. How can you do that?”
“He is my trothkin, we share DNA and I am very clever. I do not think even Cyne knows that I could do this. Something is off about this world and I am to find out.”
“You should tell the Watch.”
“I would tell the Khan herself if I can reach her. I want to set up an observation post and wait until nightfall.”


She dangled the keys in front of the girl she was starting to treat like a little sister, “Do you want to drive my Jeep?”

Cara looked both excited and confused, “What? Why? For real.”

“If anyone observed us, they might not know how many people were inside. If you drive up one of the spur roads to one of the other quarries or the Inland Sea and set up the solar panels, they might think you are just some airhead civvie on a joyride to catch some rays and that they can continue whatever they are doing in this area.”

“That is a good plan. How did you get so clever?”
“Coyotes are tricksters in many mythos. Something for you to reflect on while you are getting a tan. Of course, you will have to take off that uniform. Anyone watching you needs to think that you are not a Warrior cadet, or they will get suspicious.”


Cara began loosening the poorly fitted vest for her still maturing body, the fifteen year old needed help getting into and out of her armor as it had to be held on with more straps than Rebekah’s in order for her to move with any comfort, “Aff, you need supplies anyway.”

Both snuck back to the Jeep and after a quick lesson on the advanced features Cara sat in the driver’s seat wearing her tank top undershirt and shorts while the rest of her uniform was rolled up in the back along with both of their armored vests. Instead Rebekah carried gear more appropriate for scouting than combat and also wore civilian clothes swapping out her weapons for Cara’s SMG which was more concealable if she were discovered.

“I will keep the radio handy so if either of us get into trouble we can help each other out. If we are very lucky Cyne might send out Patrol teams looking for us that will draw out the real enemy.”

“Be careful Becky, you do not know what is out there but there is at least one Star of missing Warriors. Try not to join their ranks.”


The Jeep pulled away hesitantly, slipping slightly on the gravel road as the novice driver accustomed herself to its operation. Upon their height the recon team marked the vehicle as departing for the West after about thirty minutes outside the Quarry. Its speed had reduced from the approach and then it turned onto one of the spur roads leading toward a former Nova Cat Merchant’s Villa overlooking the Inland Sea. It traveled up and parked outside, they zoomed in to find a lightly clothed young woman setting up the Solar charger for the jeep and sitting on its hood sunning herself. “Cell Captain Brodric we have ID on the mark from earlier. Confirmed to be a young woman, likely teenager, brunette, sunning herself near the abandoned Villa Roja. Roads are clear all the way to the Wharf.”

“Roger that Overwatch. Central has changed the timetable and urges caution to all Cells. Something big is about to go down today. We will wait till nightfall to continue recovery operations. Maintain your position.”

“Affirmative Cell Captain, Overwatch will maintain position.”
The masked soldier looked toward the other pair, “Brodric wants us to stay here. Anybody have something good to eat? or is it just MREs again tonight.”
“We only have the Salsa chicken left James.”

They shrugged, “Not even hot sauce can make that taste good.”

Elsewhere Clan Coyote Epsilon Galaxy Commander Silas Kufahl looked out over the Inland Sea from Pier Ten of Deep Harbor, one of the larger enclaves on-world and the largest one currently controlled by the Coyotes. He arrived via The Spirit in the Sky with reinforcements two days ago to help end the stalemate between Nu Galaxy and the Diamond Shark’s Omega Galaxy. It had required a personal appeal to Khan Koga herself as she was reluctant to let him leave her supervision. The two had a history of quarreling with one another and he made no secret of his feelings toward her reorganization in the past.

He could not argue with results however and had regained his Galaxy Commander berth fairly in the Circle of Equals returning to his rightful place and bringing his own supporters close for potential action against her should the opportunity arise. Chatter had drawn the attention of the Coyote Watch however and he barely escaped their brutal raid on one of the opposition cells.

His reputation however was preserved no one had seen him at any of these meetings which were often conducted in the Chatterweb using careful phrases to escape filters. It was to close though and there was no real escape for him. He had made to much noise before and was a suspect in any actions against Koga’s reforms that had seen greater power centralized in her and her supporters. There was hope though it would cost him his honor and reputation, but it may save him from the Khan’s firing line.

He watched a dark-skinned young woman wearing abundant jewelry, a short top, tight skirt, and wedged sandals with pinned up hair walk onto the pier. Her slender chain belt was filled with jangling coins and other shiny objects that drew as much attention as her wardrobe and striking makeup. She slowly walked over to stand beside him and also looked out toward the setting sun. “Waiting for someone special Mechwarrior?”

She turned to him batting her eyelashes all the way, “Maybe it’s me.”

Silas looked past her though his gaze was drawn to her makeup and tattoos on the abundant exposed skin, “I am waiting for a man. Move along Surat.”

She mouthed something and feigned anguish, “You did say Surat aff. Not something else”

She leaned in attempting to touch his arm, “Otherwise that would be very rude, there is no need for insults. I am very selective but change my mind frequently. Sure, you are not flexible. Its going to be cold soon.”

He batted her away and felt a prick on his wrist from one of the pins now in her hand; then a cold fear as his nerves failed to respond. His lips were numbing as his heart beat faster in a panic spreading the chemical further faster. “What did you do?” He attempted to shout and draw attention to himself, but she put her hand over his mouth and his muscles refused his commands to throttle her and take the antitoxin she surely must carry.

“I did nothing, this synthetic tetrodotoxin my brother made though will do everything I require. You have roughly seven minutes to live if the previous tests on human subjects are anything to go by.” She pushed into him and he numbly fell over the railing and into the surf, “That is of course if you don’t drown first traitor.”
« Last Edit: Today at 11:52:45 by AlphaMirage »

 

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