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Author Topic: Who Goes There?  (Read 45942 times)

Daryk

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #240 on: 06 July 2020, 06:12:02 »
Another excellent and timeless story!  :thumbsup:

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #241 on: 06 July 2020, 22:34:01 »
Just had a good time getting caught up. Just one question: which SCP was the inspiration for that story?
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #242 on: 07 July 2020, 05:33:24 »
Just had a good time getting caught up. Just one question: which SCP was the inspiration for that story?
It wasn't any specific SCP, but more the concept of people trying to manipulate something they didn't understand and could never control.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


SulliMike23

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #243 on: 08 July 2020, 15:37:19 »
Nicely handled. Sounds like Iridium is the BTech equivalent of Wakanda.

JA Baker

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Who Goes There?
« Reply #244 on: 13 July 2020, 17:42:36 »
I predict that most of you are going to get the inspiration for this wrong. The correct answer will be at the end.

Last Stand

We were on...God, I can't even remember the name of the damn planet!

We'd started up on Thule, helping to train the locals to defend themselves against pirates when the Clans hit us like fright train. When the Ghost Bears landed, we had a reinforced company; by the time we managed to get to the DropShip and pull out, we had a single Lance and a handful of pilots who'd managed to get away after punching out.

Everything went to shit after that. Nobody had expected anything like that to come knocking, least, not anyone this side of Outreach. Traitorous wankers. So we found ourselves swept up in a general retreat, getting plugged into other units to fill holes and try and hold ground. But every time we tried to hold a planet, the Bears or the Wolves would come and wreck our plans, and the lucky ones would drag what was left of the defenders back onto the DropShip and pull back to the next system.

Don't get me wrong: we fought as hard as we could, made the bastards pay for every step they took, but we were out-gunned, out-classed and out-manoeuvred at every turn. And we weren't even line units, but rather a grab-bag of mercenaries, militia and even a few bandits that had come running in from the Periphery like their tails were on fire. We all got swept up and given the choice between being left behind on whatever world they found us, or effectively signing up with the KungsArmé "for the duration". I was an owner-operator, and it had be made clear that they'd simply take my 'Mech and give it to someone else, so I didn't really have much choice: I took my forty Krona and followed orders, even if I didn't understand a word of that crazy mixture of Japanese, German and something else the locals used.

And so it went, planet to planet, ignominious defeat after inhomogeneous defeat. I stopped paying attention to the little details, like the name of the unit I was, on paper at least, assigned to, who my Lance mates were, the name of the planet we were dropping on. It would all change by the end, as they pushed us back, world by world, as inevitable and unstoppable as the coming dawn. You'd see someone at breakfast, and by lunch they were gone, either dead, missing or taken prisoner...Oh, I'm sorry: Bondsman. Wouldn't want to offend anyone, now would we?

So, you get jaded, learn not to make too many close friends, and live out of a duffle bag you could stow in your cockpit, because they couldn't even guarantee what ships would be left to pick up any survivors. It was no life to live, but it was pretty clear that we were seen as more than expendable, least in comparison to regular units. We were bodies to throw at the enemy in a desperate bid to buy time, cause a distraction, do something.

Case in point, the bridge.

Like I said, I can't remember the name of the planet we were on, let alone where on it we were running for our lives through. All I remember is the one bridge that spanned a wide, deep valley with a fast-flowing river at the bottom. Valley was over a kilometre wide, walls far to steep to climb down, and this bridge was the only crossing for something like a hundred kilometres in either direction. Only reason they hadn't blown it yet was because we were escorting some VIP or another to the supposed safety of the mountains beyond. Wolves were on us like their namesakes, hounding us the entire way, nipping at our heals. It was clear to all of us that they were playing with us, as they had more than enough firepower to bring us down, but apparently they didn't want to risk the VIP getting hurt, so they tried to grind us down until the Mobile HQ had no choice but to surrender.

Or we made them surrender in a bid to save our own skins. And don't think we didn't consider it.

Well, we come to this bridge: really impressive looking, probably Star League era work. Two rail line ran across it, but it was rated to hold BattleMechs, even if we did do a number on the tracks as we crossed over, one after the other. We had practically no ammo left, and those that did have any were guarding it jealously, which meant that me and my old Javelin were shit out of luck. To make matters worse, the PPC blast that had taken the left arm off at the shoulder had fried all the active and passive sensors, leaving my reliant on the Mk.1 Eyeballs that the Good Lord had seen fit to issue me with.

What's that got to do with anything?

Well, when you're riding a half crippled, literally and figuratively unarmed 'Mech you won't hand over to the refit crews because you know you'll never see her again, you don't exactly get the best assignments. Hence, I found myself playing Tail-End Charlie, standing guard at the edge of the forest that stopped about half a klick shy of the bridge. And let me tell you, there's nothing quite like the feeling of being left out to dry with a full trinary of Wolves hunting you, especially when it's highly likely that the first sign of them is when your personal view of the universe goes white, and you find yourself shaking hands with Saint Peter.

Much to my surprise, it wasn't a horde of screaming Clanners I saw making it way along the forest trail, but a badly damaged Axman. And I do mean badly: half the armour looked to have been hastily replaced, the metal unpainted but covered in soot and scorch marks where it wasn't torn or half melted. Smoke rose from the wreckage of the autocannon, and it's left arm hung limply at its side. It was so badly burnt and busted up, that it wasn't even possible to tell at a glance which unit it had once belonged to, and my IFF was shot to hell and back.

Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that the Clanners despise physical attacks, I probably would have called it in as an enemy scout.

The Axman stopped, maybe a hundred metres away, the pilot obviously surveying the bridge and the valley below. It the turned to look at me, and gestured towards the bridge with its still functioning arm, the hatchet that gave it its name almost gleaming in the late afternoon sun. Well, I didn't need telling twice, and coaxing as much speed as I could out of my Javelin, I made my way across the bridge to the supposed safety of the far bank, then turned to watch the Axman cross behind me. Only it stopped half way, turned... and waited.

Not that it had long to wait, as maybe two minutes later, a Fenris appeared at the tree line, followed closely by a Koshi, a pair of Pumas and five of those Elementals they use as infantry. Not exactly a standard unit, but it's hard to think about the enemies TO&E when you're running for your life.

I was a good kilometre away, and not even Clan weapons can hit quite that far out, not with any accuracy, anyway, but the Axman was just within the extreme range of some of their weapons. But, while any sensible pilot would order everyone to just dog-pile the enemy, a Clanner's got to prove that their honour out honours the honourable honour of their honourable comrade, so the Koshi advanced first.

Everyone knows the story of Kai Allard-Liao and his defence of the Great Gash on Twycross, and I'm not trying to take anything away from what he did, because it was absolutely amazing and worthy of praise, but I do wish more people knew the story of the Axman that held that bridge.

The Koshi advanced, tentatively at first. Even back then, we could still hurt the Clanners, given the opportunity, and this particular Wolf wasn't going to just rush into close range with a 'Mech known for its devastating close-range punch. But it soon became apparent that the Axman was down to just it's namesake hatchet for defence, even it if was apparently ignoring the damage it was taking from the lighter' Mech.

Instead, the Axman simply raised its remaining remaining weapon high.

I don't know if they were deliberately trying to provoke them or not, but it worked: the Koshi sprinted forward, evidently trying to get in close to finish their adversary off quickly. For its part, the Axman stood its ground, only adjusting its stance a little to hold its weapon at the ready. Any sensible pilot would have kept the range open, especially give the fact that the Axman was completely exposed with nowhere to go but forwards or back. But nothing stops a Clanner from thinking straight quite like questioning their honour, so it just charged right on in, eventually getting too close.

The hatchet fell once, severing the Koshi's right arm, then swung again, crippling one of its legs. It tried to fight back, but few Clanners are any good up-close; their tech advantage encourages them to keep the range open, which also allows their more advanced targeting and tracking systems to work at their optimum level. You get in close enough, and the scales start to shift in your favour. Only problem is surviving long enough to actually get in close.

The Axman archived this by goading the Wolf in, taunting it by its defiance.

What happened next is something I know I'll remember for the rest of my life: the Axman kicked the Koshi. And I don't mean like a kick to the shin or something. No, leaning back, it razed its right foot to damn near 90-degrees and hit the smaller, unbalanced 'Mechs square in the chest. The Koshi stumbled backwards, the pilot obviously as shocked as I was... only I wasn't standing on a narrow bridge, several hundred meters above a fast-flowing river. They tried to take a step back, only to discover that there wasn't as much bridge behind them as they first thought.

Gravity did the rest.

The Koshi fell, the pilot having the sense to hit the chicken-switch and ride their command couch out of the valley, arcing up an back over the forest as the parachute started to deploy.

This caused the Elementals to come bounding in, firing their SRM's as the let throughout the air. But they were still too far out, and even their advanced targeting systems have their limits, as the rockets corkscrewed off at random, most falling into the river far below. The Axman ignored them, until they got into range. The hatchet swung right to left, cutting an Elemental clean into, then a backhand sent a second tumbling helplessly into the river. The third was crushed when a massive foot came crashing down upon it, leaving just two than survived to latch onto the Axman's already damaged torso.

My ears rang as the flat of the blade was slammed into the Axman's chest one... twice... three times, and the mangled remains of the Elementals fell to the tracks.

I guess that the Wolves decided "to hell with honour!", because all three of the surviving scouts opened up, unleashing a torrent of particle streams towards the Axman, which responded by sprinting towards them, hatchet at the ready.

No, I didn't stay to watch. Partly out of fear of being on the receiving end of their anger once they got across the bridge... and partly because I didn't want to see the bravest MechWarrior I had ever seen die. So I turned and pushed my throttle as hard as I dared, making my way along the winding mountain pass towards the waiting DropShip. I made it safely: the Wolves never caught up with us, that unknown, unnamed, but not forgotten pilot buying us the time we needed to get off planet.

I don't know if the Clans understand the concept of fear, but I like to think that that Axman taught it to at least a few of them.

The End

Yes, Skurge stood alone at Gjallerbru, but that is most likely inspired by the legend of an unknown Viking warrior, who held off the entire English army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, slaying forty of them with his axe before he fell.

That was my
true inspiration.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


nerd

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #245 on: 13 July 2020, 23:25:28 »
Nice. Also, Horatius at the bridge would be another inspiration for a solitary MechWarrior against the odds.
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Siden Pryde

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #246 on: 13 July 2020, 23:48:02 »
Nice.  :thumbsup: That Axman pilot needs to be a "Notable Pilot" in a TRO.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #247 on: 14 July 2020, 01:34:28 »
Solitary axe armed Rhalsaguian mech guarding a bridge against more numerous foe? However given the set up, I doubt the fatal blow came from underneath the bridge this time.
Shoot first, laugh later.

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #248 on: 14 July 2020, 11:34:26 »
However given the set up, I doubt the fatal blow came from underneath the bridge this time.
I don't know: float an Urbi down the river and fire straight-up...
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
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PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #249 on: 14 July 2020, 15:44:19 »
Pilot must be of English heritage though, they have a talent for such slayings.
Shoot first, laugh later.

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #250 on: 14 July 2020, 16:27:13 »
Pilot must be of English heritage though, they have a talent for such slayings.
But you agree that an Urbi is the equivalent of a half-barrel?
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
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JA Baker

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Who Goes There?
« Reply #251 on: 14 July 2020, 17:17:33 »
Something a little different than most of the others

Atomic Annie

The Department of Special Projects and Resources.

But you your last kroner you haven't heard of us. Few people have, and that's kind of by design.

We're buried deep, deep into the labyrinthine bureaucracy of the LCAF, to the point that I doubt many people would know where to look. And I'm not saying that we're in the "what the Archon doesn't know won't hurt them" camp, but rather well, despite the rather cloak and dagger sounding name, we deal with... things that don't really fit anywhere else. We're a junk-draw for the military, collecting all the stray projects and personnel that don't really fit anywhere else, but are too potentially useful to throw away.

If you really want to find one of our offices, look towards the back of a major military bases. Really far back, past the shooting range, the motor-pool, the sewage reclamation plant and the wooded area where young officers with a little too much blue blood in their balls go to screw agreeable young women, and you'll find a collection of small, nondescript buildings.

That's us.

In many ways, we're a clearing house, a place to try and see if something or someone has any possible use before they're officially decided surpluses to requirements. But we also play home to a few people who, well, they're useful, but you need to know how to handle them.

We had this one guy, Eddie. Complete ****** to everyone, just seemed to rub every one the wrong way, and didn't seem to care. Kind of guy who'd kill the morale of a unit buy walking in the door, the kind voted "most likely to be killed by 'friendly fire'" in basic. Nobody liked Eddie, and under most circumstances, he would have been booted out of the army so fast his head would spin. But he had a gift: show him a page of numbers, devoid of any context, and he'd see any discrepancies, same as you or I would read a kids book. Savant, I believe the word is. No sign of any developmental disorders, just a natural gift to see order in apparent chaos. So, Eddie found a home at the DSPR, and was occasionally loaned out to the Quartermaster Corps or the JAG when they needed someone to make sense of something they couldn't decipher. He was definitely what we'd call a 'Resource', and a surprisingly useful one at that.

My specific job was 'Asset Management', which is a posh way of saying that I was tasked with keeping tabs on some of the more... unpredictable people assigned to the DSPR.

Case in point, Annie, last name official redacted to the point where even the Leutnant-Kaptain claimed not to know for sure. Office gossip was that she was the illegitimate daughter of some planetary Duke from some planet you've probably never heard of, who was sent away to try and avoid a scandal. And Annie was smart, as in, off-the-freaking-charts smart. Unfortunately, she knew it and took every opportunity to prove it. She was also a kleptomaniac and a pyromaniac, meaning that she'd often steal seemingly innocuous things, then use them to assemble bombs or incendiary devices for little more than shits and giggles.

Lohegrin and Loki had both made plays for Annie, but while her father was doing his best to pretend she didn't exist, he did apparently have someone keeping an eye on her, and they had enough clout to keep LIC away from her. But, after the last in a long string of run-in with the law, Annie had been given a choice between prison or the military, and chose to sign-up.

It didn't take all that long for her file to fall into our laps, with orders to find some way to put her once-in-a-generation intellect and natural gift for making things go Boom! to good, or at least productive, use.

And this is where I came in: all the psych reports said she desperately wanted some kind of family, so I was assigned to be her 'big brother', and to try and keep her more destructive tenancies, if not contained, at least focused. As such they sent us to The Farm, an old ranch in the back-ass of beyond on... yeah, I'm not telling you that. Place was massive, around 10,000 square kilometres, mostly grass and shrub, but there was a low mountain range that cus across one corner. Nearest 'town' was a five hour drive, each way, and that was little more than a few shops, a gas station and a pub. You wanted anything more cosmopolitan, you needed to hop a shuttle for a sub-orbital to the nearest city, far side of the mountains, near the coast.

In short, it was the perfect place for a juvenile delinquent to indulge her every mischievous impulse without drawing any unwanted attention.

Annie loved it! She had a dozen or so laboratories, set up in old barns and storehouses, where she could concoct all kinds of surprises. Everything she did was carefully monitored and recorded, the ingredients and processes she used to turn everyday items in to potentially deadly IED's being passed on to, well, it was best not to ask. Occasionally we'd receive a request for her input on a specific problem, something that needed to be removed from the universe with the minimum amount of fuss and in a manner that could in no way be traced back to the Commonwealth. Annie loved these little problems, almost as much as she loved the gifts from, well, places no Lyran citizen ever officially went, that she was sent in gratitude for her assistance.

I swear, her bedroom was a diplomatic incident waiting to happen, should the wrong person ever see it.

Most of my time was spent making sure she looked after herself: Annie had the habit of getting so fixated on a problem that the rest of the world just faded into the background. I'd have to remind her to eat, sleep and even bathe on occasion, but the truth is, I actually liked the job. For all her tendencies to look down at you when you asked her to explain something that was sooooo obvious to her, and try and set fire to my hair if I wasn't careful, she was actually a somewhat lonely, insecure little girl once you got past her defences.

Once a month, we'd go into the city so she could spend at least a little time being a teenager; she was only fifteen when she was sent to us, so I dutifully followed her around shops as she looked at clothing, makeup and countless other little things that seemed to be important to her. And I made sure everything was paid for, LCAF and LIC having set aside a significant expense account to keep her entertained and out of trouble.

So we'd shop, eat junk food and maybe go see a movie, trying our best to act like we couldn't see the close protection detail assigned to keep an eye on her. I knew that they had orders to kill her if it looked like she was in danger of capture, and I'm sure she'd worked it out, but it wasn't something we'd ever discussed. A big part of my job was, after all, protecting Annie from the wider universe as much as it was protecting it from her, and it was something that I took seriously.

Annie was an attractive young lady, speaking subjectively, with her long blind hair and blue eyes a stark contrast to her otherwise obviously Asian heritage. Not Japanese, thankfully, that much was clear, but it was unmistakable that a significant number of her ancestors originated in the Southeast Asian sector of Old Terra. This made her stand-out amongst the predominantly European looking locals, and gained more than a little attention from the local teenage population. My mission brief was to keep her safe, stable and productive, so I made sure she got a contraceptive implant and had access to condoms, then provided a shoulder to cry on if a young man she'd been interested in never called the very carefully routed and monitored phone we gave her.

Not exactly what I joined the military for, but I still like to think of it as protecting and serving the people of the Commonwealth.

And yes, part of that included keeping Annie from indulging in her more... homicidal impulses. More than one young man will live out their lives never knowing that I saved them from being turned into a rapidly expanding cloud of pink mist with a well-timed mug of coco and a cinnamon bun. I did, however, ensure that, should any of them ever find themselves in uniform, they'd find themselves assigned more than the expected amount of unpleasant duties.

So, one day, just after she turned eighteen, Annie comes to me with a very worrying smile on her face. Tells me she's working on something... special, something she wants to keep off the books until she's sure it'll work. This was enough to sound alarm bells from there to Tharkad, but she'd been behaving herself, so I agreed to temporarily disable the monitoring equipment in one of the outlying labs. I did keep an eye on the equipment and supplies she requested, but it was nothing out of the ordinary: some household cleaning products, a few tools that could be found in almost any workshop across the Inner Sphere, and a catering size tin of instant coffee.

That had me worried: Annie and caffeine were a bad combination, but she promised me that it was an ingredient in her 'project', not for drinking.

Two months go by, and Headquarters were starting to ask questions, but Annie eventually announced that she was ready for a test.

Now, The Farm was chosen because it was big and isolated enough that the 'locals' probably wouldn't even notice the occasional explosion, planned or otherwise, but Annie still insisted that we find the most isolated corner we could, and have all non-essential staff take the weekend off. We were used to indulging her little idiosyncrasies by then, so we cleared out everyone but the security staff, then took a little VTOL out to an old, long abandoned gravel pit that Annie decided would suit her needs. I watched as she placed a package, no larger than a backpack, in the middle of the pit, connecting it by hard-wire to a receiver on the lip. Then we made our way to a hidden bunker about twenty kilometres away, landed the VTOL, and gave the standby order.

Grinning like a maniac, Annie pressed the detonator.

Even twenty kilometres away, and in a re-enforced bunker, I was thrown from my feet by the shock-wave as it rippled out from the gravel pit. Pulling myself to my feet, I looked out to see the unmistakable sight of a mushroom cloud rising up high into the air. Terrified, I looked at the small collection of sensors built into the Bunker, and while they showed both the seismic and atmospheric shock waves, as well as the thermal pulse, there was zero fallout and no detectable EMP.

"Just 15 kilotons? Far below my projections." Annie stood, looking over her notebook, "Next time, we use the Expresso grade beans."

The End
« Last Edit: 15 July 2020, 04:39:44 by JA Baker »
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #252 on: 14 July 2020, 17:23:10 »
hahahahahahahahhaahahhaahahahhaha!!

Annie is so CUTE!!
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JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #253 on: 14 July 2020, 17:52:51 »
hahahahahahahahhaahahhaahahahhaha!!

Annie is so CUTE!!
Thought you'd like her  ^-^
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


georgiaboy

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #254 on: 14 July 2020, 18:26:33 »
Hmmm, back in the day


5 lb tin can of Navy Coffee, would get a ride on a KC135 to the North Pole or futher.


2 5 lb Tin's got me, would get a ride on a FB-111


was offered a nuke for a 25 lb Tin.
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JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #255 on: 14 July 2020, 18:42:17 »
was offered a nuke for a 25 lb Tin.
Sounds like a fair trade to me...
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


wolfcannon

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #256 on: 15 July 2020, 00:57:56 »
Mein Gott!!!!
Daniels Avenger                Clan Coyote
General Jennifer Daniels    Galaxy Commander Jim Skyes
                                        Omicron Galaxy
Clan Wolf in Exile
328th Assault Cluster(the Lion Hearted)
Star Captain James Sword

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #257 on: 15 July 2020, 01:38:26 »
When you mentioned coffe I got the mental picture of Agatha (from Girl Genius) drinking it for the first time. Well this was a bit more destructive.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #258 on: 15 July 2020, 03:54:58 »
When you mentioned coffe I got the mental picture of Agatha (from Girl Genius) drinking it for the first time. Well this was a bit more destructive.

I was wondering if Annie is Agatha´s reincarnation or something.
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Artifex

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #259 on: 15 July 2020, 04:15:52 »
Hmm, sounds to me that Annie would be an excellent companion for Liz Ngo from Cannonshops universe.  >:D

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #260 on: 15 July 2020, 04:37:28 »
Hmm, sounds to me that Annie would be an excellent companion for Liz Ngo from Cannonshops universe.  >:D
Annie is essentially a less depressing Liz with the serial number filed off, right down to the hints that she's an illegitimate member of the Ngo family. I didn't ask Cannonshop (I usually seek permission to play with other peoples toys), because I wanted it to be a surprise.

He seems to be happy with the results.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #261 on: 15 July 2020, 10:45:30 »
Annie is essentially a less depressing Liz with the serial number filed off, right down to the hints that she's an illegitimate member of the Ngo family. I didn't ask Cannonshop (I usually seek permission to play with other peoples toys), because I wanted it to be a surprise.

He seems to be happy with the results.

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georgiaboy

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  • Posts: 302
Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #262 on: 15 July 2020, 11:49:44 »
And with Liz's Father being away in service and estranged from his Wife, he most likely Dipped his Wick several times when the crew parties got out of hand. With his rank and noble stature, the other woman may have been of similar class and wanted the child hidden to lessen the  chance of a scandal.
"Constructive critism is never a bad comment"
-Me

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

JA Baker

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  • Posts: 1575
  • Dreamer Of Dreams
Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #263 on: 15 July 2020, 12:34:40 »
Permission Granted.
It's often easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.
« Last Edit: 15 July 2020, 15:09:30 by JA Baker »
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


cklammer

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #264 on: 18 July 2020, 13:39:19 »
It is all in the ingredients ...  >:D

nerd

  • Captain
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  • Posts: 1975
  • Nunc Partus-Ready Now
    • Traveller Adventures
Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #265 on: 18 July 2020, 14:45:28 »
That one got me to laugh.

Quote
"Just 15 kilotons? Far below my projections." Annie stood, looking over her notebook, "Next time, we use the Expresso grade beans."
Comedic gold.
M. T. Thompson
Don of the Starslayer Mafia
Member of the AFFS High Command

croaker

  • Warrant Officer
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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #266 on: 18 July 2020, 19:55:45 »
Something a little different than most of the others

Atomic Annie

"Just 15 kilotons? Far below my projections." Annie stood, looking over her notebook, "Next time, we use the Expresso grade beans."

The End

"Next time... decaf."

JA Baker

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  • Posts: 1575
  • Dreamer Of Dreams
Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #267 on: 18 July 2020, 20:04:04 »
"Next time... decaf."
You deliberately aiming for a damp squib?
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


jonen c

  • Corporal
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  • Posts: 94
Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #268 on: 18 July 2020, 20:27:43 »
You deliberately aiming for a damp squib?
Nae, gonna try and make it collapse into degenerate matter.

Gonna need an offworld test site, don't tool around with exotic states of matter on an inhabited planet you want to stay inhabitable.

JA Baker

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  • Posts: 1575
  • Dreamer Of Dreams
Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #269 on: 22 July 2020, 17:45:14 »
Credit to Kargan3033 for the kernel of this particular plot-bunny

Genius Loci

What do you mean, my accent's wrong?

I don't sound...?

O Dduw annwyl! Never try that ever again!

What's wrong? Well, for one thing, that's the worst attempt at a Metis accent I've ever heard. Second, I'm from Triton, you ass! And yeah, there's a difference. How you like if I call you a Pomang, Tumang?

You alls think Metis is all there is to the outer system: yous stop caring once you past Titan. Well, big news, Mr ComStar Man: there probably more of us than there is of yous, but you never find us all. No inyalowda ever find a Belta that no want be found. No, you think Belt and beyond, you think Metis, and we let you. Metis think they speak fo alls beltalowda, and wes let them, because wes no wants to speak to yous. But receive this: Metis was settled by Afrikaans, and Triton by the Welsh, boyo. Deall fi?

So yeah, I can speak Terran Standard just fine, and if it's a choice between that, and your attempt at 'Belta Talk', which, by the way, would get you shived in the spine and left to bleed-out on Metis, I'll stick to your language, to pochuye ke?

Okay, so now we've gotten that out of the way, you wanted to know what I was doing, floating around in an old escape pod?

Short answer? Neptune Mothball Yards.

Cameron never picked it clean, the Fat Man never picked it clean, Big General never picked it clean, and you Robes haven't picked it clean. Lotta ships still out there, full of all kinds of useful parts, just waiting to be found, if you know where to look. And I'm not talking anything obvious, like weapons, jump-cores or transit drives. No, those got taken long, long time ago. But inyalowda not think like Belta, not see what we see. You look at all those ships, and you see stripped down hulks, not even worth sending to the breakers yards.

But Belta? We see CO2 scrubbers, water purification systems, airlock seals, fiberoptic cables, hull plating and a hundred other possibilities. All things you think easier and cheaper to build new, with your factories at the bottom of a gravity well. But, to someone born out here? More than worth a little hard-work to recover. So, you stake a claim, make sure you stay away from the Last Spartan, grab your tool-kit and go exploring.

Six of us went poking for parts on the Shinano, old Hegemony carrier, as was. She had been in better condition than most, having been overlooked by previous salvage operations. Still, she was a big ship, even after colliding with another ship, the Sulaco, at some point. But that happens a lot, now nobody is keeping an eye on them. More than once, we've had to launch an emergency mission to prevent a Kessler Cascade from turning Neptune into a no-go zone. More than one ship's been 'nudged' into a decaying orbit; far better they burn-up than rain down upon us.

So we latch on, list long as your arm of parts wanted, either use or trade. Breaching easy, if you know how, and we split into two teams of three. None us green, but all Belta know, safety first, especially on ship you don't know. Especially on derelict. My team, led by Boss Man, we head for the CIC, looking for terminals we can strip out, use on transports, replace parts you won't sell us unless we tell you how many ships we have, and where they are.

You Dirtyfoots all the same, expecting Beltas to follow your rules, bow and scrape, and all the rest. But do you ever bother to learn our customs? Certainly not you, who thinks they speak Belta because they visited a brothel just of Metis docks one time. So, tell me: why should we trust you, when you can't be bothered to know us?

CIC already picked, so we head for Damage Control, always good place to look, when we got a call from the other team, wanting to know if any of us were out their way, down in the primary power distribution room. We responded that no, we weren't, and they then asked if anyone else was working the claim.

Most people don't cary what you'd call a 'weapon' in the traditional sense while on salvage ops, but one thing you learn fast in space is that quite often the definition of what is and isn't a weapon is more a matter of intent. We were all carrying tools that could kill, especially in a vacuum, so we weren't exactly unarmed. But still, there are rules, even when it comes to dealing with claim-jumpers: sometimes, maybe not everyone get the news, or think you talking 'bout different ship. More than one ship have same or similar names, so honest mistake can and do happen. So, before you start busting someone's faceplate with a pry-bar, you try and confirm their intentions, ya read me?

Synnwyr cyffredin yn unig ydyw.

But, you can't just go stumbling around a derelict looking for someone, especially if you don't even know where to start. So Boss Man sets his radio to all-frequency, and sends out a standard greeting/challenge to anyone within range.

Nothing. Just the ethereal sound of Neptune, just letting you know she's still there.

Boss Man, he figured that the others just got spooked by shadows: trying to get around on an unfamiliar ship, well, even the most experienced mind can play tricks on you. Also, it's not exactly unheard-of for junk to go floating around. Once say an old jumpsuit, floating along a corridor because of the faintest puff of air. It's enough to make you fill your reclamation pouch with the lights on and somewhere you know. But on a derelict? You'd be surprised at what you can think you've seen.

So we get to Damage Control, and the place is a mess.

And I'm not talking about "someone did a piss-poor job removing components" kind of mess. No, this wasn't the work of a rational mind. Someone, or something, had literally ripped the consoles apart, then slammed them into other equipment. Glass and broken components hung in the air in a, we'll, it was almost beautiful, truth be told. Certainly wasn't battle damage, and no salvage crew worth a damn would leave a mess like that. Too much risk of damaging equipment that you might want to go back for another time, and that's not to mention the risk of snagging something and getting a suit puncher. No, even the greenest of dirtyfoot salvage crews would do a better job.

Other team calls back: power distribution room had likewise been trashed, only this time, there's what looked like carbon scorching from laser fire.

Now, you're probably expecting me to say we turned and ran, but that's inyalowda thinking. Beltalowda knows from birth that life not fair, that they most likely die young, and not quick or clean. Cymaint yw bywyd. We no frighten so easy, we no panic: Boss Man asks how old it look. Not easy thing to tell, in vacuum, but there are ways, if you know what to look for. Word come back it looks old, so they told to move on to environmental control.

We move on to the cargo hold; not expecting to find anything beyond some control panels. Cameron always like the best toys, so even secondary systems are better than most can dream of, and a computer built to hold and organise cargo manifests is always useful.

But that's when we find it: DropShuttle, worst shape I've ever seen anything that wasn't laying at the bottom of an impact crater. Thing looked like it had been for a pass through the clouds of Venus, then landed in the middle of an Io volcano. Never fly again, that for sure, going by the structural damage. Weird thing was, there were no markings, even on the parts that didn't look like they'd taken a vacation in hell. And I mean nothing: no registration number, no rescue directions, nothing. It was just plain, unpainted metal. Certainly got our attention, as even pirates, and yeah, we get them in the Belt too, keep at least some markings. Only people who don't are you dirtyfeet, when you don't want anyone knowing what you're doing. And even then, you at least paint it something innocuous, like drab olive or pure white.

Nobody goes for unpainted metal. Nobody.

Well, we had to have a look, see what the big deal was, right?

Main airlock was a bust: frame was bent and twisted, actually melted in places, either by heat or corrosives. Same went for the secondary and emergency hatches, but someone had taken a cutting torch to the flight-deck window. Not an easy job, given what they're made of, but nothing's indestructible. Enough time, heat and power, and you can cut through anything. Inside looked worse than Damage Control, if that's possible. Looked like there'd been a fire, and a bad one at that. No spacer, even a dirtyfoot, wants to face fire in zero-g, where it moves like a liquid, following the airflow. That's why Beltas always respond to reports of a ship on fire: nobody should die that way.

Well, things weren't looking good for us by that point: somebody had evidently vented a not inconsiderable amount of frustration on the Shinano, and it didn't look like we'd find any easy pickings that day. So, Boss decides to call it quits, head back home and rethink everything. Come back later with a bigger, better equipped team.

Only, when we try to raise the others on the radio, nothing. Not even Radio Neptune. No big deal: metal blocks radio waves pretty well, so we pulled up the deck-plan and worked out the quickest way to environmental control, figuring that we may as well help the others on the way out.

Path takes us past the power distribution room, and Boss decided to have a look for himself. Room was untouched. Pristine. Looked ready for a visit by some dirtyfoot Admiral. No wrecked equipment, and certainly no laser burns. We double checked the compartment number, then have a look either side, just in case the others got confused. Still no damage, and our schematic clearly had the right compartment listed.

It was about then that we started to realise that something wasn't right.

Somewhat apprehensively, we continued on to environmental by the most obvious rout, but saw no sign of the other team. More attempts to contact them over the radio yielded the same result as before. And I ain't afraid to admit that, by that point, even I was starting to get a little rattled, so I was more than happy when the Boss gave word to pull back to the airlock we breached, to see if the others were there.

We backtracked our rout precisely, only this time, when we pass power destitution, it was as ripped apart as we'd been told, complete with laser burns. And there was no way in this 'verse that anyone could do that kind of damage in the time between our first visit and our return. We checked the compartment numbers again, and like before, they matched our plans.

Now, I know what you're thinking: stupid Beltas got turned around, can't read a deck-plan. Don't try and deny it, ffrind, it's written all over your face. You must be crap at cards.

Well, I tell you this: I completed my apprenticeship at just 15 standards, and have spent more than ten years working more ships and stations than you've probably seen. Beltalowda learn to read from operations manuals, to count from pressure gages and flow monitors. I could navigate a ship before I could walk, so don't you try and tell me we just got lost like some saesneg fresh off the boat from down-well. So, Boss gives the word: Double-time, and we didn't need telling twice. But, even a Belta can only move so fast in a vacuum, especially with just his suite lights to navigate by. I tell you, those passageways started to feel real tight real quickly, os daliwch fy drifft. About half way back to the airlock, we find a jammed hatch. No big deal: just pop the access panel, cut the hydraulic lines and make with the pry-bar.

Spacer 101.

Only, when we open it, we find the others, about ready to claw their way out through the bulkheads. We ask, "Beth yw'r uffern?", and they claimed that they'd been stuck there since just after we split up. Never even made it to power destitution, certainly never as far as environmental, and, on top of that, haven't been able to reach anyone over the radio. Boss asks about their earlier reports, and they just look at him blankly.

Yeah, kind of like you're looking at me now.

None of us wanted to remain on the ship much past that, all things being as they were, so we all start moving, quick as we can. Only, the ship, she not helping none. Hatches that had been open on the way in were now locked, while corridors we'd tagged on the way in seemed to lead in the wrong direction, take us to places we'd been, or should have been on a whole other deck. Even Boss Man starting to sound scared, especially after we found ourselves back in the cargo bay. Well, it was then that someone, I didn't catch who, had a bright idea: open one of the cargo hatches and make our way back to the waiting transport along the hull. Which was actually a decent plan, until we realised something we hadn't the last time we'd been there.

That old DropShuttle we'd found before? The one that looked like the Devil's piñata? That was our DropShuttle, only there weren't no sign of the two crew-members we'd left behind to keep an eye on it.

We lost our shit. I'll admit it: only so much someone can be expected to take before they crack like a poorly maintained pressure seal. We'd all been growing increasingly on-edge for a while, and that was more than enough to trip us over the edge. It was every man for himself, and I'd spotted a row of escape pods just the other side of the hatch. Thankfully, they were still there when I went back. I yelled to the others, struggling to be heard over the screaming and the recriminations, then I jumped into the first one and hit the chicken switch, praying that it would still work.

And, well, I'm here, right?

Only, from what you said, I'm maybe the only one who made it out alive. So now, if you don't mind, I'll be heading home, letting the families of the others know what happened. The... I got a cosine who's bosun on a freighter. He can probably get me as far as Rochegelée, and then I'll see what I can do from there. Because I want to put as many lightyears between myself and the Shinano as possible.

You want my advice? Send over a few thruster pods and drop her into Neptune, before whatever's over there starts to spread.

The End
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


 

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