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Author Topic: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]  (Read 45693 times)

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #90 on: 28 December 2018, 12:56:09 »
Al Seddah Oasis, Astrokaszy
1301 Local Time
14 November, 3053

The Rabigh Marauder drew tremendous fire from the enemy 'mechs for over a minute, even after being knocked to the ground, but ultimately stopped moving when its gyro gave out.  The smoking hulk only had a single limb remaining when it finally laid still, the pilot unable to get any response from his controls.

Simultaneously, the Panther and Banshee closed the hill sheltering the Orion.  The Banshee maneuvered to avoid giving the lighter 'mech a chance to kick him, but the Panther was less wise, and shortly found an Orion foot buried in its left chest, followed by the explosion of its SRM ammunition.  The feedback knocked the pilot out, but the machine miraculously remained on its feet due in part to the CASE protecting the ammunition bin.  When it started moving again and successfully hit the Orion, the Victor took note, and spent a single round on the pounded machine that resulted in its surviving limbs scattering while the ejecting pilot went a fourth direction.

With help from two of the Deuce 'mechs, the Emir pounded the enemy Orion, the Blazer Cannon ultimately finding an ammunition bin in the smaller machine that ripped it in half.  Being an Orion, of course, this didn't stop it from soldiering on with its single remaining Medium Laser.

In the enemy's rear, Simmons was coursing around with the Mongoose, preoccupying the enemy Javelin in a hopeless chase, and distracting the Trebuchet as it maneuvered to avoid attention.  His expertise with the light 'mech's advanced sensor suite paid off repeatedly, resulting in several hits against the Javelin and its mates hiding in cover.

While the center was nearing a climax, the Valkyrie tried to the follow the Vindicator's example on the far right flank, but drew the Victor's attention just long enough to have a leg removed.

Seeing things going south for his force, the Rabigh Emir drove for the enemy Rifleman that had been pouring out a steady stream of effective fire.  Turning toward the incoming assault 'mech, the Rifleman pilot jammed his triggers home, only to be greeted with an alarm from the Ultra Autocannon firing circuit indicating a fault.  His other weapons fired, but that couldn't save him from a well placed back shot from Simmons that touched off a bin of ammunition.  The ejection seat was barely ahead of the expanding fireball, but a chute eventually deployed.

As the planned target of his kick evaporated, the Emir shifted to the left and exchanged kicks with the Orion.  Both 'mechs absorbed the damage easily, and remained standing, but combined weapons fire shortly reduced the lighter 'mech to a pair of legs and an ejection seat.

On the other flank, the Victor had finally noticed the Jagermech and began tearing it apart, starting with the right arm.  After the smoke cleared from the first round, something was clearly wrong with the right shoulder, and the LRM launcher in that arm ceased to function.  With supporting fire from the closing Centurion, the second round removed the right torso entirely, while the third mirrored the damage to the right arm on the left.  The Jagermech ran for its life, trying get out of the massive weapon's range.
« Last Edit: 28 December 2018, 20:25:28 by Daryk »

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #91 on: 28 December 2018, 20:26:27 »
Al Seddah Oasis, Astrokaszy
1302 Local Time
14 November, 3053


The Charger finally rejoined the battle in the center, but too late to save the Orion or Rifleman.  Croft and Preston continued to pour fire into its back, causing sparking and arcing with each shot.

Seeing a perfect opportunity, Simmons ran right behind the Trebuchet, tearing up its back armor and landing a solid kick that stripped the armor on one leg and damaged the hip.  Unfortunately, this put him within the Charger's reach.  Despite having maneuvered to the best of his ability, the Charger landed a devastating kick that removed the Mongoose's left leg.  Eric was able to avoid injury as his 'mech toppled, but the machine itself wasn't so lucky.  Seeing an opportunity for revenge, the Javelin zoomed in and removed the lighter 'mech's other leg with suprisingly accurate weapons fire.

At this point, the Emir and all the Deuce 'mechs turned their full attention to the Charger and managed to knock it down before it could kick the Mongoose again.  The assault 'mech struggled back to its feet to make another attempt, but was put down for good when its engine abruptly gave out.  All the damage the Deuce mechs had been pouring into its back finally destroyed enough electronics that the massive engine just quit.

The Vulcan, Javelin and Trebuchet took this as their cue to pull back, though the Trebuchet was severly hampered by heat and hip damage.  Seeing the stripped leg armor on the Trebuchet, and its position right next to the oasis, Preston walked right up and gave it a push.  The Trebuchet pilot screamed over an open channel as the 'mech toppled into the water in a cloud of steam.  The bare leg twitched and sparked for a brief moment before freezing in place.

While that was happening, Croft jumped next to the Javelin and despite not doing much damage with his weapons, proceeded to rip a leg off the lighter machine in revenge for what it had done to the Mongoose.

Seeing what Preston and Croft were about to do, the Emir finally turned his attention to his principal foe, and took careful aim at the Victor.  His support lance had steadily worn down its armor to the point that when the Blazer Cannon hit bullseye, it removed all the remaining armor and caused a tremendous amount of arcing and sparking in the other 'mechs center torso.  He added insult to injury by putting every single autocannon round in the exact same place.  Still sparking, the Victor toppled over with a destroyed gyro.  The enemy Emir ejected out of spite, seeking to deny Rabigh as much salvage as possible.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #92 on: 28 December 2018, 20:53:24 »
Nowhere of Consequence, Astrokaszy
1300 Local Time
14 November 3053


"Huh.  'Elevated oxygen levels.'  As in, 'elevated risk of combustion?'"  Cameron lifted an eyebrow at Munter.  He raised his voice slightly to address the whole party.  "All right, listen up, and pass the word to everyone who comes down here.  If I catch anyone smoking in or near this compartment, I won't waste my urine putting them out when they ignite.  Secure all flame sources and don't jack around with spark-producing tools until the air in here has a chance to vent."

Relenting, he turned to Herriot.  "Nice job.  Take a close look at the exo, see what you can figure out.  When you're satisfied, head back with Mouser the doc and brief the folks topside on what we have.  You and Aquila are on tech detail for that exo unless the pilots need you on something more urgent.  I want Stojanovic working out a load plan based on six tons of heavy metal plus whatever equipment we can strip out of here.  We won't be able to get the jeep down here so this is going to be an all-hands evolution but there may be ways we can be creatively lazy to reduce the workload."

He turned to Monchenigo.  "Mach, I'm sorry to treat your family legacy casually, but I've got a crawly feeling that says we don't want to be on the ground here a moment longer than necessary.  If you need a few minutes to get holos for the family," which I'm sure you'll be able to share with your great-grandchildren when all this is declassified, he added silently, "take 'em, but we'll need to move with a quickness."

"Okay, people.  Floor's open for input.  None of us alone is as dumb as all of us together, or something like that.  What am I missing?"  He turned in a circle, surveying the rock chamber again.
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #93 on: 28 December 2018, 21:20:16 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1300-1315 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Fletch raised a finger when Cameron made the point about "elevated risk of combustion".  "Uh, sir?  It's not that significant... just on the high side of nor...mal."  Catching the S-2's look, he added, "But roger no smoking!"

Herriot just nodded and moved to the exoskeleton.  Her finger followed a cable from the skeleton to the battery bank before she hit any buttons, so she wasn't surprised when it powered right up.  The safety harness squealed horrendously when she started to open it up, so she stopped.  Turning around, she said, "Yeah, going to need some grease before we move this thing, sir.  All the electricals seem to be just fine though, and I bet the myomer is OK too."

Monchenigo busied himself with some pictures, though he knew it would be at least years, if not decades, before he could show his family.  When he finished and the others had left, he said, "This could be a useful bolt hole if we ever do more operations down this way.  Maybe we could leave the power unit?  I don't see a use for the furnace, though."

Seeing a question starting to form on Cameron's face, he added, "I'm curious as to what the good Major's unit was doing down this way.  He couldn't have kited off too far from whatever they were doing for the SLDF, right?"

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #94 on: 29 December 2018, 08:01:06 »
Cameron grinned humorlessly at Munter.  "Valid, but humor me, please.  I grew up in habs.  High O2 makes me as paranoid as low O2."

He leaned against a wall and folded his arms, making himself momentarily unobtrusive while the rest of the team got on with business.  At Monchenigo's question, he nodded slowly.  "The furnace might be useful if we need to, ah, reformat the gold again.  And yeah.  I've been wondering the same thing.  This would have been a non-trivial time and work investment, even for the League."  He lifted his chin to broadly indicate the chamber and its fittings.  "Did your predecessor's files have anything on the primary project?  I know the Corps looked for a precious metals depository back in '44.  Not to understate this, but it's kind of small for the level of rumors and effort we've seen expended here before."

He furrowed his brow in thought.  "Are there any League-era settlements near us that weren't recolonized after the plague?  One of those might have been support and dependent housing for wherever the Major's unit was based."
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Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #95 on: 29 December 2018, 08:46:15 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1315 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Monchenigo shrugged and said, "Not that I've seen yet.  I got a little excited when I found the bit about this place.  I have a LOT of work to do here.  It won't be a boring three years!"

While Cameron and Alex chatted, Herriot set about disconnecting the nearly empty water bottle and headed up the stairs with it.  With the bottle removed, Cameron spotted an open case of SLDF rations.  It was half empty, leaving six ration pouches in the box.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #96 on: 29 December 2018, 08:52:52 »
Al Seddah Oasis, Astrokaszy
1303-1315 Local Time
14 November, 3053

With the Emir's victorious shout, the Centurion suddenly found itself too far forward to escape from its jump capable foes.  The Vulcan, on the other hand, despite having taken a lucky shot from Jenks that destroyed a jump jet, ran for its life.  The Emir seemed unconcerned about its escape, saying, "Let it go.  They can carry the word of the defeat here today."

He had rather more and different words for the Centurion, and other MechWarriors trapped in effectively immobile machines, but they paled in comparison to what he and the enemy Emir exchanged once the Banshee had climbed the mountain.  The enemy Emir continued to engage the Banshee with his side arm while it climbed, but the sparks off the  'mechs armor didn't slow it in the least.

Simmons was able to break out Arabic spoken by the Emir over the Banshee's external speakers, but even the Mongoose couldn't pick up an unamplified human voice at that range.

"You die facing me, and were a worthy foe.  But it ends here, now."

The response Eric could pick up was another pistol shot that ricocheted off the Banshee's windscreen.

"Discourtesy aside, I grant you a Warrior's death."

The Blazer Cannon flashed out one last time, and there was no pistol shot in return.

The Centurion, Javelin, and Hunchback pilots were relatively quickly talked out of their machines after that, though the Trebuchet pilot took a bit longer as that 'mech's head was underwater.

The Emir's salvage team was called forward, and shortly the field was crawling with technicians and their infantry escorts.  The ejected pilots from both sides were rounded up.  The enemy pilots were mostly well treated, though after a brief fight the Charger pilot was stabbed to death by the Marauder pilot.  Apparently there had been some kind of blood feud.

After the remaining enemy pilots were firmly under guard, the friendly ones eagerly discussed who would pilot what back to Rabigh.  The Marauder pilot claimed the undamaged Centurion, while the Panther pilot opted for the Trebuchet whenever it was mobile again.  That left the Javelin, which the Emir asked Eric if he would be willing to drive back to Rabigh once minimal repairs were made.  He left unsaid that the Mongoose was immobile.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #97 on: 08 January 2019, 21:00:56 »
Nowhere of Consequence, Astrokaszy
1544 Local Time
14 November 3053


With a grateful sigh, Cameron locked the exoskeleton's joints in their travel configuration, powered the machine down, and began unstrapping from the unit.  He accepted a water bottle from Herriot with a grateful nod and downed half of it before disengaging his feet from the loader's leg restraints.

"Stojanovic."  At the sound of her name, the dark, wiry loadmaster turned toward Cameron.  "You happy with the rigging on the loot?"

Jelisaveta Stojanovic rotated her head without rising from her kneeling position beside the last pallet of gold.  Reflections of the cargo bay's overhead lights cast rippling amber bands across her face and forearms.  "I'm not happy about taking on anything this dense.  But I think the cargo nets will keep it contained."  She reached out to crank in one more click of tension on a ratchet buckle.  "I'd feel better if we had crates but..."  She trailed off and gestured eloquently at the vacant desolation beyond the open hatch.

"I hear you.  Trust me, no one who's seen one wants to see another load shift, ever."  Cameron shared a tight smile of solidarity with the Venusian woman.  "Okay."  He killed the water bottle and tossed it into the trash bag tied to the bulkhead.  He contemplated his body armor with a glare and reluctantly pulled on the vest rather than fight the overly-tight radio pouch to retrieve his comm gear.

"SPECTATOR to all units.  We are at phase line HOTEL."  The prearranged code for everything's loaded, let's go.  "Break.  Fox Two-One, SPECTATOR, perimeter status check, over."
« Last Edit: 14 January 2019, 18:15:06 by Tegyrius »
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #98 on: 08 January 2019, 21:09:34 »
Al Seddah Oasis, Astrokaszy
1400 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Within an hour of the last shots being fired, a hasty convoy was organized.  The Charger and limbs of the Panther were loaded aboard the recovery vehicle, and the Emir asked the Deuce to send the Wolverine to escort it, along with what was left of the Jagermech, the escorting Striker and APC with the prisoners.  The Heavy APC that had been part of the salvage escort was remaining on the field as a base of operations for the tech teams.

Croft had easily taken the most damage aside from the Mongoose, and was the logical choice for an early return to the repair bay.  Hopschnur approved the plan when it was relayed to him.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #99 on: 08 January 2019, 21:18:42 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1544 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Cameron had no sooner keyed his microphone than shots rang out outside the ship.  Fortunately, Parker had been wearing his body armor, and quickly brought 006's heavy machine gun to bear, retunring fire.  His ribs hurt, but there was no tell tale stickiness of bleeding.  Score one for body armor.

"Contact!" Parker shouted, keyed mic or no.

Helhake's troops hit the deck and searched for targets.  More fire was coming in from other points around the perimeter.  Stojanovic dove for the ladder further up into the ship.

From the cockpit, Maddox exclaimed into his mic, "The sneaky bastards waited for us to load, we gotta close the hatch!"

Lucky for Cameron, the floor of the cargo bay didn't move immediately.  He figured he had a few seconds at most to countermand the other Adept before it did, though.  The ominous hum of a medium laser told him that at least some of whoever was shooting at them was in front of the ship, where the Ace's wing mounts could target them.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #100 on: 14 January 2019, 18:22:13 »
"Belay that, we're not locking the troops out," Cameron yelled back.  "Feed us targets and we'll collapse the perimeter back on board if we can't see them off."  He glanced at Stojanovic, who was now peering back into the hold.  "Might want to gun up.  That pallet looks like good cover."

Suiting deeds to words, he snatched up his own shotgun and dashed out the cargo bay, finding cover next to Helhake.  "Whadda we got?" he asked, prudently not sticking his head up to check as he clicked off the safety on his weapon.
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #101 on: 14 January 2019, 18:36:04 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1545-1550 Local Time
14 November, 3053

"Still figuring it out, sir!" Helhake shouted over the incoming fire.  Keying his radio, he said, "Mattis, get over here and provide cover for the rest of us!"

The jeep rolled slowly into place, picking up additional troopers as it went.  Shortly, the whole squad had the ship on one side, and the jeep on the other.  Return fire was as sporadic as the incoming, but the occasional hum of a medium laser seemed to be making an impression on the other side of the ship.

A warning klaxon that would normally indicate the floor of the cargo bay was coming up instead warned the troops the rest of the ship was coming DOWN.  Stojanovic halted the fuselage a meter and a half from the deck, then came back down, armed as ordered, and took up position behind the pallet McCann had directed her to use.  She had excellent cover.

As the two forces exchanged fire, popping in and out of cover as necessary, Cameron heard over the radio, "A little help here?  This is Monchenigo, and I'm pinned down in the canyon..."

Ignoring the call for help, Helhake started to direct grenade fire where the enemy was shooting from.  Return fire started to slack somewhat after that.  The veteran squad leader was working from right to left, as the edge of the canyon was the right.

What little Cameron could see of the enemy consisted of flashes of tan robes and gun barrels.  Probably locals, not WoB.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #102 on: 30 January 2019, 20:52:07 »
Cameron cursed, popped up from behind his rock, punched two slugs in the general direction of an enemy muzzle flash, and dropped down as return fire began to spall stone chips next to his face.  "Keep your head down, we're coming to you," he not-quite-yelled into his helmet mic.  "Helhake!  Gimme an element for support!  I'm going for Mach!"

Fox Two's leader responded with an equally-vehement string of profanity.  "Spencaire, Mouser, you're with the S-2.  Everyone else, keep pressure on the left and flush 'em!"

Another slug through the loading gate brought the shotgun back to capacity as Cameron tensed himself to push toward Monchenigo.  Spencaire dashed to his rock, ducking into the leeward side next to him.  "Loading!" she yelled, and, a moment later, "Set!"

"Moving!" Cameron shouted, digging a toe into the rocky ground.

"Move!"  Spencaire leaned out and opened fire.

Cameron tucked his weapon in close and sprinted to the next boulder, ten meters closer to the head of the trail down.  "Set!"

"Moving!"

"Move!"
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #103 on: 30 January 2019, 21:08:14 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1550-1555 Local Time
14 November, 3053

While McCann, Spencaire and Mouser leapfrogged to the canyon, Helhake kept up the pressure on the attacking force.  Fortunately, they didn't seem to have anything heavier than small arms.  With two troopers otherwise tasked, the veteran squad leader ordered Mattis out of the jeep and into action.  The grim driver brought a Mauser out with him, and proceeded to snipe attackers as they showed themselves.  Everybody knew Mattis was a dead shot, but the display was still impressive, no matter how busy they were firing their own weapons.

As Cameron led his support element down the switchbacks and into the canyon, he could see rounds ricocheting off one particular rock.  That had to be Monchenigo's cover.  It was two rocks away from his ancestor's hidey-hole, which was now sealed and looked like any other rock in the canyon.  Whoever was shooting at Monchenigo apparently hadn't noticed the trio coming down the path, as they drew no fire once they were over the lip of the canyon.

At one switchback, Spencaire held up her fist then motioned to Cameron to come closer.  In a low voice, she said, "I think I spotted one of the snipers, sir.  I think we can get 'em from here next time they pop up..."

Spencaire was carrying a Mauser, while Mouser had one of the Intek sniper rifles.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #104 on: 01 February 2019, 13:56:01 »
Cameron hefted his own combat shotgun, chosen with the expectation of having to fight inside a much larger Star League complex, and sighed.  "Yeah.  I guess that means you need them to pop up, right?  That was rhetorical."

Spencaire's thin smile and Mouser's blink told Cameron which of the two understood his intent.  "Never mind."  He keyed up.  "SHOVEL, SPECTATOR.  We're coming to get you.  Hold position and we'll start clearing from the top of the canyon down."

"Okay," he said, addressing his companions again.  "Let me know when you're set and I'll get their attention."  He pointed with his weapon's muzzle.  "Next step is the rock on the right with the big crevice along the top.  After that, the switchback with the red seam running at head level.  I'll keep working my way down to Mach."
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Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #105 on: 01 February 2019, 16:28:04 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1555-1600 Local Time
14 November, 3053

"Roger that, s-" was as far as Spencaire got before her target popped up to take another shot at Monchenigo.  Twin hums and the target falling forward told Cameron both laser rifles had found their marks.  There was some shouting in the peculiar Astrokazian dialect, and the body was dragged back behind the rock.

"Oh ho..." Spencaire said to herself, chambering a grenade.  A faint beep told Cameron the Mauser had found the range, and then there was the sigh of the launcher.  The explosion behind the rock was followed by some very satisfying screams, and more shouting.  Mouser dropped another one that popped up to return fire, and then it sounded like the attackers were starting to withdraw.

"Keep up the pressure, or let 'em go, sir?" Spencaire asked, chambering another grenade.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #106 on: 05 February 2019, 19:03:42 »
"Don't save the ammo, we brought extra for a reason," Cameron decided/ordered without conscious consideration.  A moment's thought while he topped off his shotgun's tube again brought the issue into clearer focus.  "We want them running, not regrouping to hit us in the back as we're boarding the shuttle.  Which reminds me... CROSSBOW, SPECTATOR, status check, over."

While waiting for the shuttle's crew to respond, he leapfrogged his ad hoc team another few dozen meters closer to Monchenigo's position, keeping fire on the opposition to prevent them from maneuvering in return.
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #107 on: 05 February 2019, 19:14:07 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1600-1605 Local Time
14 November, 3053

The grenade launcher sighed again before Spencaire hastily said, "Roger that, sir!  Mouser, stick with the Adept while I keep these guys on the run."

Mouser just nodded, and resumed leap frogging with McCann.  Down in the canyon, Monchenigo noticed the drop in fire aimed at his position, and started working his way toward the path up.

"SPECTATOR, CROSSBOW... looks like they're on the run, but we're keeping up the pressure to make sure, over," came the reply over the radio.

After the last few minutes, the rendezvous with Monchenigo at the base of the path was anti-climactic, heavy breathing on the part of all three notwithstanding.  Spencaire was still providing covering fire from higher up.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #108 on: 11 February 2019, 08:35:56 »
"SPECTATOR copies.  We've linked up with SHOVEL and are headed your way."  Cameron released the PTT switch and looked over at Monchenigo.  "You good?"

"Yes."  The scout looked himself over to make sure, nodded once, and managed a ragged grin.  "It's not something I care to prolong, though."

"Yeah, copy that."  Cameron drew a long breath and nudged Mouser with an elbow.  "Okay.  Back the way we came.  One man moves, two cover."  He switched back to his radio.  "Fox Two-Two, SPECTATOR.  We're moving.  Watch your flanks in case they try to circle on you, over."

Spencaire didn't bother to speak, just double-clicked her mic.  A moment later, another small eruption of rock splinters and an anguished cry from downrange indicated another persuasive near-miss.
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #109 on: 11 February 2019, 18:07:15 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1615-1630 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Leapfrogging back up the path turned out to be a prudent call, as the occasional stray bullet drove home.  As the trio ascended, they could hear the volume of fire dropping.  By the time they rejoined Spencaire, she was down to one grenade left.  With four, they could leapfrog in pairs, and that made getting back to the top much faster.

When they reached the cover of the jeep, Helhake reported, "I think we're about as secure as we're going to be, sir.  There might be a sniper or two left out there, but we can pile in the jeep, drive it into the ship, and secure it after we raise the floor back into the hull."

A bullet ricocheted off the jeep's armored hide, and was answered by a burst from Parker's machine gun and a grenade from one of the other troopers.  Spencaire was busily reloading her launcher with several grenades bummed from someone else.

Helhake continued, "What do you say, sir?"

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #110 on: 24 February 2019, 20:35:51 »
Cameron leaned into his shotgun and punched a full magazine of slugs in the general direction of a pair of hostiles trying to sneak around the flank.  One dropped, but he was still moving energetically when his buddy dragged him into cover; Cameron wasn't sure if a round had connected or if the opposing skirmisher had just fallen over in surprise at a near-miss.

"All aboard," he replied to Helhake, shoving rounds from his swiftly-diminishing reserve through the shotgun's loading gate.  He keyed his mic.  "CROSSBOW, SPECTATOR.  We're loading the jeep and will be coming aboard with haste.  Clear the bay and have the loadmaster stand by to direct hasty cargo tiedown."  A corner of his mouth twitched as he imagined the flight crew's response to securing down a multi-ton armored vehicle with anything like "haste."

"SPECTATOR, CROSSBOW copies," came the reply, overlain with resigned tension.  "Bring it in."

"All right, Delf, count 'em off," Cameron said.  "Mach!  Find a seat!  Parker, don't save the barrel!"

Under an umbrella of suppressive fire, the troopers of Fox-Two fell back on the jeep.  A ricochet whacked Baumann in the back of the helmet and the beefy rifleman stumbled, but stayed upright with Mouser's hand on the drag handle of his armor.  Lasskiy, less fortunate, cried out in surprise and shock as a laser cut a collop from his Achilles tendon.  Helhake cursed and lunged forward, dragging the wounded man into the jeep with McCann's assistance as Spencaire erased the shooter with a grenade salvo.

"All aboard!" Helhake yelled as Groumond swung the heavy hatch shut.  "Mattis!  G--"

The squad leader's command was cut off as Mattis, primed for the order, released the brake.  He'd kept the engine at revs, and 006 leapt forward.  Unsecured in the troop compartment, Cameron and Monchenigo tumbled into the rear bulkhead along with most of Fox-Two.  The driver ignored the chorus of obscenities as he lined up on the shuttle's drop-ramp, lifting off the accelerator and toeing in on the brake as the front wheels made contact with the metal.  The compression reversed itself against the forward bulkhead to more cursing and bruises but a whir of hydraulics indicated Stojanovic had already been poised with a hand over the Close button.

"Via, Mattis," Helhake coughed as he elbowed himself up from the pile.  "Everybody off the bus.  Lasskiy, out of the way.  Everyone else, fall in on Jelly and grab a chain."

Monchenigo pressed himself against the side of the troop compartment as the more heavily-armored infantrymen exited, then assisted Lasskiy out of the hatch.  "Adept?" he said to Cameron as the S-2 moved to join the troopers.  "Ah, is there any chance we can do a low pass over the canyon as we leave?  The exhaust should blow our footprints away..."

"I like it."  Cameron grinned and keyed up again.  "CROSSBOW, when we lift, SHOVEL recommends a low pass over the site to hide the evidence..."
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #111 on: 24 February 2019, 20:57:55 »
Specified Coordinates, Astrokaszy
1630-1640 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Lasskiy was still grumbling about "where the **** did those jerks get a laser rifle?" when the jeep slammed to a halt in the Ace's cargo bay.  Stojanovic was indeed quick with the CLOSE button, but that didn't prevent a few more ricochets from coursing through the bay, a few pinging off the jeep's armor.  The second the hatch sealed, all aboard could hear the engines rev up.  Helhake's order wasn't a second too soon, as the second chain was still being tightened when everyone could feel the ship lift.  Not all the pinging was thermal stress on the hull.

"Roger that, SPECTATOR... hang on!" was the reply Cameron got through his headset.  Troopers continued securing chains to the jeep as the craft rose and turned in a wide arc.  When the last chain was reported secured, Maddox opened the throttles, and everyone aboard could feel the ship dip sickeningly.  The acceleration increased as the nose came back up, flattening everyone against the nearest deck or bulkhead.  After a heart stopping minute, the ship levelled out and normal gravity returned.

Over the ship's internal frequency, everyone could hear, "Stojanovic, double check all those chains and get our passengers secured before we go sub-orbital."

The load master's perfunctory reply was largely ignored by the troops trying to help Lasskiy get situated in the jeep.  It didn't make sense to make the man climb a ladder he'd only have to descend again in a few hours.  The first aid applied to the wound would likely see him through until the Doc could get a proper look at it.

The relatively minor injuries couldn't stop Cameron from calling the mission a success, even if the locals now had a rough idea where the gold had been.  It wasn't there any more.

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #112 on: 27 February 2019, 19:20:20 »
"That," Cameron observed to no one in particular, "is an obscene amount of gold, even in a universe with asteroid mining and two thousand inhabited star systems."

He turned away from the strapped-down load and made his way to where Munter was re-bandaging Lasskiy's leg.  "Hey, Ski.  How's it going?"

Lasskiy tried on a grin.  "Not bad now that I can't feel it, and Doc says I've got at least two weeks of light duty."

"At least," confirmed Munter without looking up.  "That depends entirely on you staying off it.  Even if you can't feel it."

"Right-o, Doc."  Lasskiy leaned back and closed his eyes.  "Wake me up when we're on the deck."

"You'll probably have to carry him off," Munter confided in Cameron and Helhake as they moved away from the already-snoring trooper.  "The primer shot for the quick-heal itches like fire for about eight hours, so I dosed him to keep him asleep through the worst of it."

Helhake unconsciously dug a knuckle along his ribs.  "Yeah, I remember.  Is he gonna be able to return to duty?"

Munter nodded.  "He should.  We may have to splice in a few cee-emma of myomer replacement for the tendon but he'll be as good as new in a couple of months.  If he doesn't aggravate it," he added, glancing back at his patient.

"Yeah, copy that.  We'll make sure he stays off it."  Helhake looked around the cabin, suppressing a facial twitchwhen he spotted Mattis hovering near Spencaire.  "The sooner we're back with a bunch more friendly guns around us, the better I'll feel."

"Yeah.  And do me a favor: pass the word that this op did not happen," Cameron replied in a cautionary tone.  "One local finds out about this and every one of them with a knife and two brain cells will be working on an angle to get it.  I'll have that conversation with the flight crew now..."
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #113 on: 16 March 2019, 12:43:51 »
Landing Field, Rabigh, Astrokaszy
1800 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Given Lasskiy's injuries, Maddox took it relatively easier on the return sub-orbital flight to Rabigh.  By 1800, the ship was back on the deck on the opposite side of the Full House from the "tower".  The ship had passed a full SITREP of the battle at Al Seddah oasis, so spirits were even higher among those who weren't knocked out by pain medication.  Lasskiy was snoring lightly in the back of the jeep, completely unaware of his surroundings.

The pallets of gold were completely covered by tarps, and absolutely zero communications had been passed about them, encrypted or otherwise.  So it was no surprise to Cameron that Adepts Hopschnur and Asadi were waiting as the floor of the cargo bay descended to the tarmac.  Hopschnur levelled an even gaze at his S-2 and asked, "So, how'd it go?"

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #114 on: 24 March 2019, 19:13:42 »
Cameron shuffled through his menu of responses, caught Asasi's millimetric warning head-shake, and selected the professional one.  "Sir.  One WIA, light resistance, no significant property damage, and we secured the objective."

Hopschnur frowned.  "Who's hit, and how bad?"

"Lasskiy took a light-gun to the right Achilles tendon.  It's fixable but Munter has him medicated to keep him from fidgeting and aggravating it."  Cameron anticipated the next question.  "No indications that security was compromised.  From all evidence, it was a random encounter with a local tribe's territorial patrol.  The laser that popped Lasskiy was the only one we saw; everything else was chemical slugthrowers.  No heavy weapons, no 'Mechs or armor."

"And the objective?"

Cameron nodded to Monchenigo, who was not quite hovering on the conversation's periphery.  The Explorer Corps specialist took a deep breath.  "Ah.  The, uh, my map data was correct.  The site wasn't extensive - just large enough for what we brought back.  My, it, was probably purpose-built just for that.  It was well-concealed and I think we closed it up before the local people arrived."  He gestured to the cargo hold.  "If you'll follow me?"

"I wouldn't miss this," Asadi murmured to Cameron as she fell into step beside him.  She waggled her noteputer.  "I checked the price of gold on the major exchanges.  The data's about two months old but it's not usually all that volatile."

"Prepare to do large maths," the S-2 replied in a similarly low tone.  More conversationally: "Mach, how much did that weigh in at?"

With no sign that the revelation had been prepped and rehearsed, Monchenigo grasped a paracord loop at one corner of the first pallet and pulled.  The dusty-green canvas rolled up, revealing the shimmering haul.  "Four hundred eighty bars at twelve-point-five kilos per, six tons even."

"Well."  Hopschnur exhaled slowly.  "Now we have an interesting problem."
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #115 on: 24 March 2019, 22:53:24 »
Landing Field, Rabigh, Astrokaszy
1805 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Quickly replacing the covering, Monchenigo continued.  "Yes sir, even more interesting than that.  Some of the bars still bear the stamp of the Canopian Central Bank from before the Age of War.  Only a relatively small portion, though."

Adept Asadi looked up from her calculations and said, "We should talk this over with Precentor Hong."

Hopschnur shook his head.  "Not on the radio.  It'll have to wait until we dock.  In the mean time, please dig up those 'in extremis' regs again.  I don't think we can safely use any of this stuff while we're here, but it's a long way to Hellespont."

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #116 on: 28 March 2019, 19:14:00 »
Cameron rubbed his chin, feeling the grit and sweat-salt crackle under his fingertips.  "There was also a small smelter.  If we needed to, we could melt down some of it and reformat it into something we could use locally.  Which, ah - now that we've given the Emir what he wanted, what else do we need to do to resupply and lift?"
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #117 on: 29 March 2019, 03:36:26 »
Landing Field, Rabigh, Astrokaszy
1806 Local Time
14 November, 3053

Hopschnur cracked a smile and said, "Get our people back from the battlefield.  The food and tobacco were delivered two hours ago, and Walden has been getting everything packed since.  Unfortunately, Simmons lost both of the Mongoose's legs, so it's going to be a while.  Tomorrow at the earliest, the day after if not.  Croft is on the way back with the first convoy now, and it's slow going. His ETA is after midnight.  We'll send a truck and two jeeps to retrieve the Mongoose back to the oasis with the Emir's convoy."

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #118 on: 29 March 2019, 18:55:31 »
Rabigh, Astrokaszy
Midnight Local Time
15 November, 3053

The convoy arrived around midnight, and fresh crews were quickly put aboard, along with spare legs and other repair parts for the techs in the field.  Hopschnur had negotiated to allow three Deuce vehicles to accompany the returning convoy: a 15-ton truck and two jeeps for security.

The Wolverine went straight into the repair bay.  Acoltye Jiminez looked from the 'mech to Adept Croft and back twice before asking, "What did you DO to her, sir?  That's going to be at least 10 hours of work..."

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #119 on: 30 March 2019, 09:02:29 »
Al Seddah Oasis, Astrokaszy
0700 Local Time
15 November, 3053

The returning convoy prompted a beehive of activity at the oasis, unloading the repair parts and packing the next tranche of salvage for shipment back to Rabigh.  Eric was slightly disappointed to see what remained of his Mongoose fit on a 15-ton truck, but Acolyte Jiminez consoled him with, "Speed was the main consideration, sir.  The heavy truck just can't keep up with the local's beast. And don't sell the 15-tonners short.  They can pull their weight and then some.  Heck, if you were missing just one leg, it could haul you."

The Emir directed the remains of the Marauder and Hunchback be shipped next, and offered to let the Deuce rotate the Phoenix Hawk back for repairs, as long as the Wolverine was ready to return to the field of battle.  Adept Hopschnur again approved the local proposal, still surprised they were showing so much sense.

The Emir intended to accompany the 'mech of his vanquished foe back to Rabigh himself, and was determined to leave the field of battle last.

 

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