Author Topic: Golden Lion AU Supplemental  (Read 13362 times)

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #90 on: 25 November 2023, 22:56:42 »
Bright blue trams slid through Alba’s steep crowded streets. A city built on a series of descending ridges fanning out to the forested Rakusian Hills. Acrid pillars of black smoke wavered in the wind above the camps on the outskirts into town. Rowhouses clung to the outside of the ridge. Brilliant lights caused the snow to sparkle in technicolor as we passed.

Acrid smoke was replaced with a rich aroma rising from the small bakery as Gunther and I walked through empty streets coated in a thin layer of snow. He consulted the notes he had taken from the ‘phone book’ used to find Florence Bakker, the first name on Kyros’ list.
“Forty Seven Konig Strauss. This is the place, Kate.”

Crechies, ‘Children’ played in the snow outside the bakery. A woman watched the children and us from the shelter of a canopy. We walked toward her as she shouted something inside in German, “Morning you two. How can Florence’s bakehouse help you?”

“The phone book said this place has great mincemeat pie.”


She chuckled, “Had perhaps.” Her hand reached out to catch flurries as the children dashed back into the warm shop, “Certainly would be the season for one, if we had the ingredients.”

“What is mincemeat pie?”
I said to no one in particular.

“Delicious,” She looked me up and down, was my outfit so astounding, or my demeanor so strange, that it attracted undue attention from these people.

“You don’t look like you’re from around here. Did you get stuck here when the Adders arrived?”
“I am Kate.”
I paused, dealing with these freeborn was so uncomfortable, “I was not here when the Adders arrived.”

“Helga.
So, they brought you here?”
She paused. Her voice dipped. “That’s somehow worse. Come on in. Out of the cold.”

Out of the cold indeed, the bakery was sweltering, I carefully undid my coat but kept the Mak under its buckle.  The store’s interior was crowded with cots and sleeping bags festooned with stuffed animals and other colorful characters. Children clustered around another women reading a book to them in German, her sing-songey voice mesmerizing to the children. Large white sacks of flour leaned against the counter and every wall.  Helga got behind the darkened ‘cash register’ and stood with pen and paper in hand. “We’ve got customers mom.”

A gray haired woman with muscles developed over a lifetime of hard labor leaned out from the baking room. Stainless steel racks and other workers behind her held or worked flat and round breads in various stages of completion. Strange mechanical sounds and what I presume was cursing came out from behind her. “Paying ones?”

“Do you have money Kate?”
“Yes.”
“Paying ones!”
Helga shouted back at her over the din of bakery machines.
“Fantastic, put her down for a free holiday pie then.” The woman disappeared as something crashed in the work area but reappeared looming over a young man who looked at her and the rolling pin she held with dread.

“A holiday pie?”

“It’s a joke, unfortunately.
We can barely pay the bribes to the local Malthus chapter to secure flour and shortening so there’s no pie filling to be found in Alba. Not that many people could afford it even if it were.

Superintendent Callows only has a skeleton crew at the pulp plant and ‘Star Colonel’ Radick relocated half of Antares City here ‘for security’ with little more than the clothes on their back just as winter arrived. Everyone is out in the woods cutting down timber for shelter and firewood.”


She shook her head, “But I can’t blame you for any of that, and you’re our first paying customer today. What would you like?”

‘What did I want? I should have thought about this more. There were no other details in Kyros’ notes about how Mrs Bakker or her family were related to COMSTAR.

Callows though, he was on the list, how did he relate to this Pulp Plant?’


I looked over to Gunther who had been staring at some rolls on the rack, “Whatever he wants.”
“For real!”
He paused for a moment before looking upon the others, “That could get expensive.”

“I have the money.”


Helga leaned in whispering something as Gunther selected trays from the rack, “You shouldn’t advertise that. You’re probably a pretty tough chick doing what you do,”

‘What is it that they think I do? Everyone treats me very strangely in this city. Is my disguise flawed in some fashion?’

“ but if you go into some shady parts dressed like that and flashing cash, you’re likely to get mugged. So be careful.”
“I can take care of myself.”
“I’d like to believe you, but times are tough right now. People might think you’re an easy mark or make the wrong assumptions.”


Through the jacket and dress I could feel the stiletto dagger and Mak Compact. ‘They would be gravely mistaken.’

“Thank you for the warning.”

Gunther selected several trays of bread which were neatly packaged. I paid the 400 Kroner, and he wrote down an address for delivery to ‘the house’ by ‘their boy,’ seemingly the one in the back.  All of which was written down neatly on the receipt. “Thank you for your business and generosity Kate. Feel free to stay for a cup of tea if you’d like. We’re friendly here,” she looked back at a shotgun leaning just behind the counter, “particularly if you pay.”

“No. Thank you.”
“Suit yourself.”


I felt a tug on my dress, looked down to see a little blonde girl hanging onto the hem grasping a piece of paper in the other. “I like your dress lady. You look pretty.
I made you a picture because you were nice to that boy.”

Helga leaned over the counter, “Anka, please don’t pester our customers.”
Anka placed the paper in my hand and skipped back to the others. “She’s really a nice kid.”

“It is fine,”
I unfolded the paper to a crayon drawing of Gunter, myself, and the snow outside. “I was a little girl once.”


We walked back outside into the frost iron gray skies, a warm horn shaped ‘croissant’ wrapped up in my hand. Gunther had already inhaled his, “Thanks Kate. That was strangely generous.”

“Well, I have clothes now, so I do not need as much money.”

“Did you… not have clothes before?”
He said confused as he brushed crumbs from his jacket.
“Of course, I had clothes. What a strange question.”
“I thought the Clans didn’t use money. Why did they give you so much?”

“I asked for it.”

“Would they give me money?”

“You would have to do something to earn it. Like you are now. I wish to go to this Pulp Plant. Can you take me there?”


He halted, “Dressed like that? And Why?”
“Is there something wrong with these clothes? As for why…”


‘Why? Because I am on a secret mission to find COMSTAR and get off this blasted rock!'

“Just take me there.”
“We are going to have to go through some rough patches on the way. Nashan CorpSec has set up their own little shantytown, slash encampment, then blocked the tramway and bridge leading to it.”


‘All the more reason I should look into the facility.’
“I am used to dealing with dangerous people Gunther. Will you take me there, or not?”
“You have the thousand, right?”

We slipped into an alley, and I pulled out the wallet, the faces of numerous Archons peered out from their colorful paper and polymer prisons. “Damn, you must be really good at what you do.”

“I am.”
“Alright I will take you there as agreed.”
He eyed the ‘croissant’ in my hands, “are you going to eat that while it’s still warm?”

“I do not eat bread if I have another option.”
I handed it him and he ripped the package open and devoured it as quickly as the first.

He brushed off more crumbs, “One of those, trying to keep in good form I guess.”

“Always.”
“I guess it is appreciated.”


‘Not as much as I would like.’
“By some.”

“It is going to be a long walk. We have to go across town and cannot take the Tram.”
“I have to break these boots in somehow.”
“Alright. Let’s be off then.”



I should have chosen different boots, walking up and down Alba’s hilly streets in these civilian ones was excruciating. We passed large crowds protesting Star Colonel’s Radick’s treatment of the people of Antares. Patrol MRAPs with remote machine guns on top had pushed out into Midtown. Patrolmen and Islander Mountain troops waited with Riot Shields on the ground, batons out, and pistols on their hip.

Behind and looking over them were Elementals in Aketon armor and full helmets. Each carried a stout longstaff capable of sweeping over the shields and deep into a pressing crowd as well as an Avenger Automatic Shotgun over their back. Wherever they looked, the crowd calmed down.

“Those big guys scare me. They’re not human.”
“The Elementals? That is part of their job. They are however very human. Just larger than normal.”
“In all ways?”


‘What other ways did he think they were?’
“I do not understand.”

“Forget it.”
“I already have.”


Most of the day passed as we navigated the narrow and overburdened hive city of Alba. Suspicious characters clustered around drum fires looked our way but then away as I paid attention to them. The Mak found its way into one of my coat pockets while Gunther was distracted by a blonde woman wearing furs and little else in one of the windows. Others like her stared at me with distain, speaking in a strange language that was probably not German.

Gunther grew increasingly nervous as the short day passed to night. “We should probably get out of here Kate. You can come back tomorrow.”
“You just want me to pay you again.”
“I want to live long enough to spend it. We wandered into the wrong neighborhood.”


Three men appeared from one of the alleyways. Their leader looked like some of the Ghost Bears I had seen, although augmented with a knuckleduster.  “You should listen to the kid Kate. You’ll find nothing but trouble round here.”

He got close enough that I could smell his rotten breath and gripped the purse strap. “I haven’t seen you around before. Are you new girl? Because you really should’ve known better.”

A shout rose from behind me as Gunther dodged the man that had sought to grab him and knocked over one of the fire barrels. I leaned in concealing my hand as it reached into my pocket to find the curve of my stiletto’s hilt.

The blade came up in a wide arc burying itself into the pale flesh of his neck. Crimson bubbled out from the wound. His hands reflexively reached upward to pull the blade out before shock set in and he collapsed.

My hand reached into the pocket again as I got off the ‘X.’ Three shots, two center of mass, one headshot on the two other assailants just as I had practiced hundreds of times since creche.

They dropped as the hollow points mushroomed within them for maximum effect from the tiny 7.65mm bullets.

I walked over to the first man whose nerveless fingers had dropped my blade into the white snow. His eyes were narrowing, a mortal wound to the neck, but I had one more in the chamber.

“I do not feel like leaving with any rounds left in my magazine.”

One more shot, right between the eyes. The Mak’s bolt locked open, steam rose from the barrel and blood pooling in the snow. Gunther watched me clean the stiletto with a handkerchief then reload and charged my pistol. As I stepped toward him, he dashed away into the darkened alleyways.

As night settled upon Alba it grew bone-chillingly cold, “Very well. I can do it myself.”

I retraced my steps; it was easy enough to return to Alba’s Triad since it was the highest point along the ridge. No one talked to me during the walk through the ‘shady’ part of town or even in midtown, but I had my hands in my pockets and on my weapons the entire time. I should have brought more than two magazines.

The ‘rose gold’ commpad rang as I reached Midtown, I opened it up to see ‘Restricted’ appear on the caller ID. “Katya are you done playing dress up in the city? Curfew is in thirty minutes.”
“I am a Star Captain of Clan Star Adder’s Touman. Your curfew means nothing to me Sheriff.”
“This is not a discussion. I am sending a truck to pick you up.”
“I have to make a stop first.”
“It will be faster if you have a ride.”


I could feel the cold permeating through my coat, and finally caught a glimpse of it in a streetlight. Crimson splotches marred its previously white exterior. “I got blood on my coat.”
There was a pause, “It is not my blood.”
On the other end the Sheriff paused as well, “I will send the truck with another coat then.”

“Very well, I am at the Midtown,”
There was another letter spray-painted beside the shelter, “Tramp? stop.”

Jason chuckled into the phone, “A Patrolman will pick you up in five minutes. I am allowing him to take you one other place, then you must return.”

“You drive a hard bargain, Jason.”
“You live up to your reputation, Katya.”


An unmarked GP-L truck pulled up at the tram stop with my scarlet coat, “You should have worn this one initially Star Captain Kerensky.”
“I did not intend to get blood on my new coat Patrolman.”
“Sheriff said you have one other stop. Where are we going?”


In the commotion my purse had gotten hopelessly messed up, my IFAK, extra magazines, snacks, and other miscellaneous goods were all jumbled. I found the receipt in one of the side pockets, along with Anka’s picture. “This is the address.”
“A Bakery receipt? But you do not eat bread.”
“Do I tell you how to do your job Patrolman?”
“All the time Star Captain Kerensky, with all due respect.”


‘How dare he! Just because I am not in uniform.’
“Acknowledged, so Patrolman drive me to this address.”

“Aff Star Captain.”


Gunther’s address was easy to find, St Clair’s House for Orphans, was a large structure with grandiose architecture, but evidently poor upkeep. I put an envelope containing the 1,000 Kroner promised and Gunther’s name on it when there was no response from the main door despite the presence of an Adder Patrolman beside me. “There. I have fulfilled my rede. You may take me back now.”

The streets were expectantly empty, the hotel lobby strangely more so. I tapped the bell to summon the desk clerk and requested my coat be cleaned of blood. Nervously he assured me that his staff would ‘do their best.’


High above them I looked out toward the brightly lit Pulp Plant from my balcony. A short glass of vodka pinned Anka’s picture down on the railing. “I was a little girl once, when Clan Star Adder invaded my planet, so I understand.
I want to leave too.”

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #91 on: 26 November 2023, 03:24:03 »
Well, that could have gone worse.

Quote
“Do I tell you how to do your job Patrolman?”
“All the time Star Captain Kerensky, with all due respect.”

Sometimes you just have to blurt out the truth to the higher ups.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Gorgon

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #92 on: 26 November 2023, 06:49:25 »
If she lives long enough, Katya will get the hang of things in the Sphere, eventually.


Good stuff, Alpha, really good stuff.
Jude Melancon lives!

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #93 on: 26 November 2023, 21:28:37 »
Appreciate the comments, hang in tight we will be restarting Hidden Hope soon.

Threats Diversified
12/04/3051 Antares, Contested World
The outskirts of Alba were a disordered mess of white tents covered in grimy gray snow, black smoke rising from chimneys cobbled together from scrap metal, and few more permanent structures although many were in some stage of construction. A concrete quay jutted out into slow moving canal waters. Tied up beside it there was a flat-topped barge stacked high with trees that were being pulled down and slowly processed by work crews laboring in wintry weather.

They looked up as a Hellfire, 2 Threshers, and another pair of Battle Cobras walked upstream beside the railway easement. Katya watched her Mech’s step as broad stumps stood just barely above the snowfall, the first victims of Alba’s displaced and desperate, and a hazard to even the mighty Battlemech. Their silence was telling, a momentary glance up then returning to their task.

Nashan Corporate Security barred their path and the tramways route across the bridge to the industrial zone. Their Arachnid (30 ton, 5/8 MP) heavy wheeled tanks topped with Scorpion turrets looked imposing and could outfight the Sheriff’s men but stood no chance against even a Battle Cobra. The vehicles and personnel manning the barricade with their submachine guns made no action that could be seen as aggressive, but it was clear that the Arachnids were operating based on the warmth and diesel exhaust coming off them.

In the lead the Hellfire spoke through its PA, “I am Star Captain Katya Kerensky of the Thirty-Seventh Strikers. You are hereby ordered to disperse.”

Katya looked down at their leader who held up a frequency and his radio. She tuned her own to it. “Star Captain, with all due respect. We were ordered by the Star Colonel to ensure that Nashan’s Alba Industrial Zone was secured and put into standdown.”

“Then why is it still operating?”
“If we shut it down completely it would take months to restart. Alba’s district heating and half the region’s water treatment runs through the facility. We can only drop it to a hot stop.”
“I wish to speak with Superintendent Callows.”
“Did you have to bring Battlemechs and Power Armor?”
“Do you have a problem with my methods?”
“No Ma’am, its just that there are hazardous materials and low pipes on-site. It might be dangerous.”

“We will be careful. Now let us through.”
“If you insist. I will radio ahead and guide you in. Watch your heads.”


Nashan Diversified’s Industrial Zone was a foggy, white-washed maze of industrial processes, mixing basins, pipelines, above ground tank farms, and sheet metal warehouses. The Nashan CorpSec truck guided them through pathways clear of overhead obstructions. There was a warren of less accessible ones, numerous tunnels, and to much materiel piled into every corner. An entire army could get lost in this complex and it seemed possible that is exactly what happened.

Her sensors could barely differentiate anything within it due to the mass of metal and thermal flux. Some areas were completely devoid of snow others buried in it. Katya switched to the closed network that her Mechanized ‘Echo Force Recon’ suits were tied into. “Lighthouse Actual, can you pick anything up with your Active Probe?”

“Neg Star Captain, there is too much clutter.”

Of course, there was too much clutter, there was no better camouflage for someone quiet than a busy background. “Keep looking.”
“Aff.”


The truck settled in a broad parking lot beside a large colorful building with many windowns bearing a logo of Nashan Diversified Industries. One of the largest interstellar companies in the Lyran Commonwealth, with its own private army. “This is the place Star Captain; the Superintendent will be out soon. I will be on station, at your disposal.”

“Very well,”
She switched back to the local Battlenet, “All Echos detach, short sweep, establish a perimeter around us. Battle Cobras remain online, Threshers switch to low power mode, I am going to speak with the local Merchant Factor.”

“Aff Star Captain Kerensky.”


Three Points of Echo Armored Infantry gracefully landed on precise puffs from their jump jets. Sensor masts and sophisticated multispectral cameras established a complete view of the local environment. Even still there were reports of the facility interfering with the complex identification algorithms picking up false positives to the point where the Elementals inside disabled them.

Blocky Threshers took a knee watching either direction with their own sensors with similar results. Battle Cobras equipped with AP Gauss Rifles and Improved SRMs stood on lookout, their backs against the building, Antares’ sun peered over their left side barely rising above the tank farms through the fog.

Her Hellfire crouched at her command its slender fighter like fuselage rested softly on the pavement. She donned her burgundy beret over a neural band and communicator that would still give her limited control over her Hellfire from the outside. A ‘slick’ Mauser 960 Carbine (without the heavy stock, grenade launcher, and vibro-bayonet) fell over her back before carefully descending the built in ladder to avoid knocking her drop leg holster on the Mech’s armored skin.

Two middle aged men waited for her to walk toward them; one was Alba CorpSec Chief Hauke Withers who wore an armored vest and M&G Service Automatic atop a light gray uniform. The other was Superintendent Callows, a lean faced bureaucrat in a gray suit and heavy tweed coat.

He extended his hand, she did nothing in reply until her withdrew it. “Star Captain Kerensky, I am Superintendent Arnold Callows. What can Nashan’s Alba site do for you today?”

“I am here to conduct an audit of the facility’s security situation.”
“I would like to personally assure you that Mister Withers is quite the professional. He has thirty years of service to the company.”


Withers spoke up, “I have a good relationship with the new Sheriff as well Star Captain. He has generously given us permission to keep things operational here during the ‘transition.’”

Katya paced about turning and looking around her, “Perhaps yet we continue to suffer attacks from COMSTAR’s Two-Twenty-Second Division. I am looking to root them out.”

“We have been entirely transparent with Star Colonel Radick.”
“Yes, yet he has tasked me with finding them and given me a wide latitude to do so. Thus, I am looking everywhere he has not. Which are most places.”


Both men paused before Callows spoke, “How may we help you then?”
“I want a tour of this facility.”
She turned to Hauke, “You said you were at my disposal. I want a tour. Show me everything.”

Arnold and Hauke turned to one another and communicated with a look, “Very well, it may take a few hours.”

“I have nothing but time.”

The armored passenger door on the truck opened with a groin, “Hop in then.”
A private message appeared on her gauntlet computer from one of her star-mates, ‘This is a bad idea Katya. You will end up like Kyros.’
‘It will be fine.’


They rode off toward the reservoir dam that held back Lake Alba from which the town was named. The city had been the work settlement and company town during the dam’s construction but had reached critical mass and eventually became an industrial center due to its portage terminal enabling ore and timber resources easy access to Antares City via the waterway. Eventually a railroad diverted the upstream flow of ore but not its mining waste and that part of the city had been abandoned in favor of expansion into the foothills and the development of the waterworks.

Four large tanks marked with acute hazard warnings ‘Respiratory Hazard’ and ‘Chlorine Gas under pressure’ sat around a massive containment pit. Katya looked at the windsock dancing in the wind, it currently pointed toward the City. “These tanks contain enough gas to harm the city if they were all damaged and the wind was right. Particularly since there are so many refugees setting up within our exclusion zone.

This pit should contain the hazard, but we’ve expanded the tanks beyond their designed volume and there are other smaller tanks that draw from these or are filled with hypochlorite, caustic, or sulfur compounds for the pulp plant that don’t have as much containment. We don’t normally operate with them quite so full, but you caught us after a top off.

Part of my team’s job is to keep people from messing with them, for everyone’s safety. It only takes a few moments or bad handling to potentially cause a catastrophe.”

“You have giant tanks of toxic gases just standing right here, near a population center.
Why not bury them?”

“You haven’t been to many industrial sites I bet. Beneath us is solid rock, we can’t bury them. We wouldn’t be able to expand or service them if we did.”

“I want a complete map of this facility, noting its various hazards and support infrastructure.”
“The Superintendent can get you one.”


Icy fog dissipated through the day revealing even more of the industrial complex to Katya. It was a place of bright light and deep shadow, easy to get lost if you were unfamiliar with its layout. Hauke stated there were only a few hundred personnel on site to keep the machines within safety parameters and the perimeter reasonably secure.

They pulled up to the control building where her unit had maintained its vigil just as the sun crested over the hills and shone brightly upon the windows. Katya hopped out, standing at the door, and looked up at the windows. “There is so much glare on these windows. Does it not cause disruption.”

“It is a passive heating method, Nashan Diversified has long been a proponent of energy efficiency. Lenticular slates keep the glare to a minimum. Superintendent Callows is waiting for you in his office on the third floor. I unfortunately must return to the security checkpoint; we are rotating shifts. He can guide you out when you are finished.”

“Do what you must Hauke.”

Hauke drove off back toward the bridge, Katya waited for one of the Echo Battle Suits to come near here, “Lighthouse Actual, was there any peculiar movement while I was gone?”
“Some sensor ghosts, more false positives, our equipment is still struggling to resolve the environment. We could not calibrate it properly.”
“You have some of the best equipment the Touman can provide. Could they be selectively spoofing us?”
“We would not be able to discern that in this environment Star Captain.”
“Presume they are then. Keep trying for a steady baseline. We will be departing soon.”
“Aff.”


Despite these supposed lenticular plates Superintendent Callows office was blinding as Antares’ sun settled right above the ridge and into Katya’s eye. “Can you close the shades?”

Arnold fumbling with the shades left them partially open but hopelessly tangled. “I’m sorry Star Captain, my secretary normally handles this. I don’t spend much time in my office nowadays. Your map is on the desk.” He walked over to a coat rack, “I just need to get my coat and we can head out.”


On the other side of the parking lot, two light gray ghosts buried deep within a catwalk crouched under a thermal cloak surrounded by industrial equipment. A shrouded barrel with a long suppressor rested on a cloth draped over a metal railing. “Six Fifteen Meters, check,” the dial on the scope clicked two more, “add two, adjusting for deflection and windage.”

“Confirmed shooter.”
A thin strand of fiber lifted from them to a microwave emitter disguised as a vent and pointed toward the Triad, “Demi-Precentor, we have Katya in our sights. Are we clear to engage?”

Within the City Clerk's Office Helena Greco looked out toward the Pulp Plant. Sheriff Jason stood on the opposite side of the desk leafing through the latest reports about the city’s condition while she took a call. She nodded and adjusted her own office blinds, “That sounds great dear. I’ll see you soon.”

“Take her. Everyone else is ready.”
“Roger.”


A 8.6mm round lanced out of the barrel corkscrewing with the rifling grooves as cut through icy air and punched through the triple glazed windows and beyond.

“She’s down.”
“I cannot confirm the hit.”
“You gave it your best shot.”
The thermal blanket was pulled up to reveal a pair of humanoid PA(L) suits carrying heavy laser rifles. “Time to move.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #94 on: 27 November 2023, 12:28:35 »
Katya’s eyes snapped open, a hand rose to her throbbing head, bells rang from her left ear and blood trickling from her it and her face. This room was an office of some kind, “Where am I?”

She looked around and saw the Nashan Diversified Seal on the folder lying beside her. “What happened?” Sounds of battle surrounded her along with glass breaking from explosive overpressure and full powered Battlemechs on the march. “What happened!”
There was no response, she reached up to her ear where the radio headset ‘had’ been. Only her palm came away bloody. It was missing and her eardrum must have been damaged. The only thing that could do that and throw off her headset and hat, would be a near miss by a high-powered rifle.

A high-powered rifle. How dare they resort to such measures!
The dezgra cowards!

She flipped onto her belly and drew her sidearm. There was no sign of other combatants, or Superintendent Callows, not that she could hear anything but battle outside and a sharp ringing in her left ear. Her first attempt to rise was cut short by a sudden dizzy spell, her legs wobbly, arms weak, she crashed back into the fine wool carpet as blood dribbled onto it from where glass had cut her face. “Come on! You are not hurt that badly.”

On her left thigh the LSSU beeped frantically as its’ horizontal alert triggered a casualty message to the local Battlenet. “I am not a casualty yet! Stupid machine.”

Katya rose to a plank getting her knees under her to crawl toward her headset, only to find it broken. A large explosion lit up the room as the ammunition from one of the Battle Cobras erupted from the CASE doors taking half the mech with it. Powerful enough to shatter windows spiderwebbed with small arms fire with a sudden blast of pressure and heat. She ducked her head as safety glass landed around her. “Hold your fire idiots! You will get us all killed.”

A sudden crunch landed behind her; Katya pointed her sidearm at Lighthouse Three. He kept his back toward her scanning the horizon with his machine gun arm out and battle claw open for recovering her possible dead or unconscious body. Instead, he found her bleeding, laid out on a fine rug surrounded by broken glass. “It is a relief to see you still alive Star Captain. When you failed to respond we assumed the worst.”
“What is going on?”
“We are under attack by a Level two of Sneak Suit and PAL equipped Infantry. They caught us by surprise with armor piercing weapons, then faded away into the industrial zone. Watchtowers two and four are injured but our LSSUs are keeping us in the fight.”


Her head leaned toward him the Echos were capable of almost 360-degree vision through their multispectral cameras. It was nearly impossible to catch them off-guard, but COMSTAR had managed to do so. “They tried to shoot me in the head, busted my eardrum, I fell and hit it instead.”

“If I can get you to it. Can you still pilot your Omnimech?”


There was hesitation before her reply. “Aff.”
“Good because we have detected the seismic waves of incoming Battlemechs.”

“You always have to be the bearer of bad news.”
“It is our job.”


Another attempt at standing left her unsteady even holding onto the Echo’s pack. “You will have to carry me down. I cannot keep my balance. I just need some time.”

“You have sustained a bad head injury. Perhaps we should withdraw.”
“Not without a fight.”
“You are the Star Captain.”
“I am.
Which is why you are going to delete jumping off this building with me in your arms and carrying me to my mech from your datacache as soon as it happens.”
“Acknowledged.”
“I just need to do one thing first.”
“What is that?”


Katya reached down to pick up her beret and Mauser from the floor stuffing the hat under her epaulet, gripping the other tightly with one arm while hanging onto the pauldron with the other. “Pick me up now.”

The Echo’s claw closed as both arms raised her up, within two short hops she was close enough to activate the keypad override to open her cockpit and begin startup procedures. She was still unsteady but the neurohelmet was a two-way interface and her Hellfire’s DI computer was well-used. It stood up without issue even as the 222nd’s demi-company of Battlemechs cleared the tank farm. They looked cobbled together from other chassis and carried mech sized melee weapons in their hands, like they were some ancient Terran Gladiators.

“Red Star, I only want sure shots. COMSTAR drew us here on purpose.”

Her weapon reticle appeared over a solvent tank verifying that her the weapons including her Heavy Lasers had completed their powerup cycles. Something was off. “They want us to miss.”

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #95 on: 28 November 2023, 01:11:17 »
This is going to be an equivalent of a firefight in a phonebooth in a tanerite factory.
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #96 on: 28 November 2023, 17:45:25 »
A stray shot from Katya’s heavy laser sliced clean through a massive steam pipe within the co-generation facility as her opponent shifted its slender limbs at just the right moment. White vapor condensed and froze again falling like flurries upon the battlespace as the Star Adders kept the COMGuards and their blunt hatchets at bay.

Red Three ducked a hatchet blow the whole Star having done as much training in defensive physical tactics as possible following the Somerset Striker’s close quarters battle with them. Like the Strikers the 222nd chose the field of battle to suit their own interests, keeping tight to their marks, and rotating targets to leverage their slight advantage in numbers for temporary 2 on 1s.

Echo Force Recon suits scrambled amongst their legs machine guns suppressing PA(L) suits hiding among concrete pillars and behind corrugated metal walls. Despite the sophisticated sensors there was to much clutter, escaped steam blotted out the thermals while metal interfered with RADAR.

A rolling door opened to reveal six units of heavy battle armor hunched under a pair of triple pack missile tubes. They fired off a volley, half streaking toward the Echo Suits and the rest toward the nearest Thresher.

Immense overpressure from the concussive (MC) warhead knocked a complete Point down, like they had been laid flat by an artillery shell. Some didn’t rise as their CLSS units reported multiple pressure traumas through the Battlenet summoning the CASEVAC Anhur unit from Ouroboros. Even through the suit’s protective exoskeleton and Aketon base armor was not enough to protect them from the offensive.

Others burst across the Thresher momentarily disrupting the pilot’s ability to defend themselves from the incoming pair of ‘Hatchetmen.’ One of them dug deep into the Clan Battlemech’s shoulder but its pilot crumbled its leg driving it to the ground as far as its hatchet blade would allow.

Katya was face to face with a humanoid monstrosity of a Charger SA5, its Kali-Yama Big Bore thundered and struck true, the impact chattered her teeth as she struggled to maintain control of her smaller mech. She was under pressure, giving ground where she could, and attempting to redirect the mace built into its stump hand where she could not.

Her heavy lasers created deep gashes in its thick carapace, but her heat capacity was low, and she needed to keep some mobility. Ice melted and the melt created a fog around them just as quickly. The Hellfire attempting to vent its heat to the environment and keep the volatile lasers and its own myomers within safety parameters.

The mace came for her again, she redirected it into the warehouse they were standing beside which crumbled and shook from the impact. Shouts from the Force Recon Points called for backup as they fired at the newly arrived heavy suits with their machine guns to limited effect. Another of COMSTAR’s unpleasant surprises. She looked down at their tagged target four’o’clock low from her position, “Switch targets, Echo Points go for leg attacks on the Charger. I will suppress these new suits.”

Green mark acknowledged the request, as the suits jumped forward her own mech backpedaled and turned to take aim at the warehouse. The machines had stepped forward, close to a pallet of drums marked ‘flammable liquid.’ In her left arm a volatile mix of gelled fuel was pushed forward and touched to an electric arc, a tongue of flame reached out and set the barrels and others around them alight. A pair of heavy lasers cut deep into the enemy suits causing them to withdraw from the hazard.

Another autocannon salvo rocked her Hellfire causing it to slip on a slick puddle of meltwater. Recon Suits leapt up and dug their battle claws deep into the Charger’s thighs, their heavy machine guns flashed, punching armor piercing slugs into the musculature and fragile components within. They dropped off using their claws like savage predators to rip armor and myomer from the mech.

Some of the damage stuck as Katya noticed the Mech adapt its stance, humanoid machines still moved like people most of them time, and she had seen plenty of leg injuries in Sibko. “Good Effect Echo.”

The momentum was shifting as the COMGuard’s infantry ran low on anti-armor ammunition. Their mechs were still in the fight but even 2 to 1 they were on average slightly lighter compared to the 240 tons of Katya’s Star plus Armored Infantry. To draw out the chase the COMGuards juked and leapt through the industrial complex daring the Adders to fire upon them.

More pipes were bent or burst spraying forth geysers of pressurized water or standing ponds that made the already slick concrete and stone more so. Battlemechs worked their way through the facility snapping power lines and horizontal pipes as they did. The Force Recon suits searched elsewhere for infantry or power suits.

Red Star was cautious with their fire but explosions from the COMGuard’s missiles still caused tank failures and collapsed two small warehouses onto their Adder Mechs. Running gunfights between the Echo Armored Infantry and COMGuards punched holes in barrels, stray lasers fire set pools of liquids alight to burn with technicolor smoke into an iron gray sky.

Alarms rang out throughout the complex as the on-site personnel tried their best to avoid combat while managing multiple crises of their own. Sheriff Jason and his Deputies as well as Ambulances, Fire Apparatus, and HazMat Trucks were already in route after their crews broke into the idled stations within Alba. Freezing refugees fled to higher ground from the exclusion zone clogging the snow filled streets to stay clear of any accident.

COMSTAR was faster and more mobile than her own machines. Still Katya tried her best to engage them despite her Omnimech being to heavy to jump onto rooftops without breaking them. The heavily damaged Charger kept moving forward, sliding occasionally into industrial facilities, and leaving a dent in their walls. Where it could it pummeled warehouses with its Mace to knock them into her path, anything to keep her jumping and inaccurate with the heavy lasers so she would hesitate to use them for fear of stray fire unleashing a new catastrophe.

Her enemy was canny, and she made a mistake. The Hellfire slipped on ice, crashing into a mass of thick pipes that it could not escape from. Katya strained at her controls but her arms and thus lasers were bound fast, there was no space for her jump jets to light either. Even if she could break free it could result in an uncontrolled jump and make things worse. She had seen it happen during training before and the Cadet was never the same again after their injury.

It took everything for her to not smash the multifunction displays before her. Instead, she hammered her fist onto the ferroglaz.

“They got away from me.”
Red Two responded, “What happened Star Captain Kerensky?”
“My mech is entrapped Henry. I need someone to cut or pull me out.”
“Roger that, Chief Withers and the other Civilians have requested permission to lead the response and tend to our wounded. They wish to contain the hazards before they grow.”
“Granted but keep an eye on him. His absence was too convenient.”
“Aff. Also, Callows is missing, but his car is still here.”
“Our focus is on containing these hazards and treating our wounded. I will radio the Sheriff to deal with missing persons.”
“Aff.
Katya, it might take a while for the rescue crew to reach you.”


Katya undid the straps on her neurohelmet, leaned back, looked to the side, then opened a small drawer with a shrink wrapped Kanpan cracker and bottle of ‘Red Cholach' Nutrient Solution in it.

“Understood. Star Captain Kerensky on standby.”
She looked in the rear-view mirror to see the matted mess of bloody blonde hair on her left side, ensured the radio transmit button was off, then sighed, “Good thing I did not get any earrings. Although maybe I will dye it.”

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #97 on: 29 November 2023, 01:18:08 »
Well, that could have gone much worse for the city. If not for the learning experience that was Adam Steiner, the Adder binary would have been wiped out. And I see that experiencing civilisation is starting to have a corrupting effect on Katya.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Gorgon

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #98 on: 29 November 2023, 17:22:28 »
I hope the Adder Watch is good enough to release carefully selected footage of that fight before ComStar does. If not, this will be a lesson in public relations and controlling the narrative.

Either way, strong showing from Katya. Piloting a Mech and winning after getting shot in the head? That ridiculously harsh Clanner training is finally paying off!
Jude Melancon lives!

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #99 on: 30 November 2023, 09:21:38 »
Assumption in Alba
12/10/3051


A thaw had settled over the Rakusian Hills, meltwater ran down the cobbles to the storm drain. Katya’s boots clicked on the tiled mosaic that somehow had withstood the mass of her Hellfire which crouched alongside its companions in Red Star. Steam rose from the coffee within her Commonwealth Grand Interstellar branded mug as she watched the clear blue skies over the city. “This is much better than Irdmach Instant.”

The distinctive whine of an Anhur’s ducted fans came closer. She finished her drink and placed the mug upon the solid bottom of an overturned ration box. One of the dozens gathered along with ammunition crates beside the small airmobile container, all waiting for return trip to the Starport in Antares City. This VTOL was not of the Utility type however, it was a Command Gunship, escorted by a Point of wasp-like Donar attack VTOLs, which meant it was Star Colonel Radick’s.

Upon landing the Donars idled their rotors keeping enough distance between her and them to only mist her with an icy spray of water. Star Colonel Marcos Radick disembarked along with the 37th’s Coregn, Star Commander Hecate (of an AeroWarrior bloodline), Ranking Watch Officer (RWO) Kenji, and Star Commander Valence, of the other Adder firebase in control of the small town of Trifecta to the North of Ouroboros.

Katya saluted the guests, “Greetings Colonel and Commanders, welcome to Alba. Can I interest you in a cup of coffee before we proceed?”
Valence spoke first much to Marcos’ irritation, “Stuff it Captain Kerensky! You have been sitting up here for a week while the Two-Twenty-Second has assaulted my Nova. I lost three MechWarriors and a decad of Elementals in that time. Why have they not been destroyed?”

“I do not see how I can be responsible for your failures Val. As the others can attest my Star required repairs,”
she stared at the Colonel and his Coregn, “that were not immediately forthcoming.”

Hecate bristled at the accusation, “You sat on your damage assessments for two days Captain.”

Sheriff Jason appeared, with his own mug and wiping his face of breakfast crumbs with a napkin. He discarded it into a spent mortar case and saluted,  “Colonel, Captain Kerensky’s Star was essential in providing aid to the locals to prevent a larger catastrophe. It took emergency services most of the first night to put out the fires caused by COMSTAR’s ambush and most of the second to contain everything else.”

Marcos waited for a moment, “The concerns of these civilians are irrelevant to me Sheriff. Our mission is to destroy the opposition forces then subdue the population until occupation and assimilation teams can be sent forward. Katya has been negligent in fulfilling that mission. I have given you a long leash as well, do not make me regret it.”

“Respectfully I disagree, my men have found the populace much more accepting of our control post-Ambush than previous. COMSTAR has lost the good will of Alba’s people following their dezgra actions. There has not been a demonstration or riot in the past five days,”
He looked toward Valence and added emphasis, “although I still hear rumblings about their fellow citizen’s mistreatment in other sectors.”

Valence and Jason stared down the other, technically equivalent in rank the Sheriff was nevertheless a Freeborn Elemental and the other while Trueborn had mostly scraped by riding on the coattails of the Ristar Marcos. “How I run things in my sector is none of your concern Sheriff.”

“How I run things in my sector is of concern to you though Commander. If you keep it up, you will lose your head the same way my predecessor did.”


“Is that a threat?”
“A warning.” Jason stood full erect over the smaller MechWarriors and used his hands for emphasis. “If I wanted to kill you, I would challenge you to a Grievance right now and curbstomp you into this beautiful tile.”

Katya spoke up rather than let the conversation continue to be about her rather than with her,
“Both of you stand down!” They separated at the command. She stepped forward within the larger man’s reach, “If you have a problem with my methods Colonel Radick, state it clearly. I am a big girl; I can take criticism.”

“You let the enemy escape.”
“I prevented the needless death of civilians, which would have fed right into their opposition to us, saving our own Warriors’ lives in the process.”
“I think you have gone soft Katya. Which is a disappointment. I thought better of you.”
“I never thought that much of you Marcos, but if it were possible, I think less of you now.
You are unworthy of your Position. I would do a better job.”


Marcos leaned into her. He removed his own burgundy beret with the three gold bars of an Adder Star Colonel on it and tossed it onto a nearby ammo crate. “Then prove it.”

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #100 on: 30 November 2023, 11:48:51 »
Clanners and their mating rituals. Or is this administrative procedure?
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #101 on: 01 December 2023, 20:56:30 »
Clanners and their mating rituals. Or is this administrative procedure?

You can trial for all kinds of positions if you know what I mean.

--

Spectators gathered in Alba’s City Square where a nine-meter Circle of Equals had been chalked into the street as bid in Katya’s batchall for her Trial of Position to take Marcos’ Rank as Star Colonel. Even though the temperature ranged in the single digits she had removed her outerwear stripping down to gray BDU pants and tank top. The Patrol and Pilots standing in front of the helicopters recognized the stance she took with the borrowed patrol baton; left arm extended, baton down to the side, as one not commonly trained by MechWarriors. Instead, it was from Espatier CQB, the Warrior branch containing the purest fighters within the Clans, proficient with everything from Unarmed Combatives to Naval Gunnery.

Use of a weapon was a bid condition to equalize the Star Captain against an opponent who possessed every conceivable physical advantage, being taller, heavier, and younger than his opponent. Star Colonel Marcos Radick stood opposite her bare-chested, unarmed, and in a boxing ready stance. Jason occupied the center as the mutually agreed Trial Oathmaster, staff in hand blocking the way. Their terms were defeat, not death despite the palpable animosity between the combatants, on this surface it would be easy to go too far.

As Jason’s staff lifted Marcos lunged forward only to have his lightning fast punches ducked as Katya’s baton hit low at the outside of his knee and thigh breaking his stance in the process. He recovered rolling out to avoid a kick aimed at his head before attempting to sweep her legs. She stayed in motion executing a break fall only to rise in a more defensive version of her initial stance blading herself to him with the baton behind her.

“You have been training.”

She twirled the baton and shifted her stance to baton forward eyes fixed on his limbs, “As is our purpose, Marcos. Perhaps you have been getting to comfortable in your place.
You need a shakeup.”

“Is that why you want it then?”


Katya twirled the baton before her, then feigned an attack to which Marcos responded attempting to parry the blow, “Is that what you think?”

He floated around looking for an opening in her defenses but was met with stinging strikes to his arms in the process. “Why else would you?”

“Maybe I am just looking for where I am supposed to be.”

His weighted shifted forward a slight bit, fists clenched, “Keep looking then.”

He stepped forward with a full-body backfist, Katya shifted to the side putting her off-hand into the baton as it slammed into his bicep and upper arm. She ducked under releasing the momentum into a strike that could be heard across the square, then pulled away as Marcos groaned in pain and fell forward to his knees.

The man stood up, face grimacing in pain at the powerful strike, his right arm hung lower than before. “Is that all you can do Katya, counterattack? Come on strike a blow.”

Katya’s icy blue eyes narrowed; she had said the exact same thing to Adam Steiner months ago. She dropped the baton holding it with a loose grip, “You are not worthy.”

“You need to be brought down to earth Katya, there is only room for one Ristar here.”
He inched forward then lashed out. Katya dodged or blocked it with her off-hand unleashing a flurry of precise blows each one taking a bite out of her opponent’s strength. Marcos switched to grappling, bulling her down to the stone, and knocking the wind from her lungs as the baton rattled away.

She gasped as he shifted to a full mount, looming over her as her blonde hair splayed out onto the concrete. “I had a feeling this might happen.”
“Here I thought I was so good at hiding it.
The only way you were going to get me in this position, is this way you know.”
“I was not interested.”

Her hips shifted beneath him as she adjusted position, “Pity, I have experience.”
“Do you yield?”
“I can handle a little rough and tumble play Marcos. I am feeling pretty comfortable.”

“Defiant to the end.”


His arm pulled back going for a knockout blow, Katya shifted at the last moment. His fist smashing into the stone tile breaking both. He howled in pain as she bridged and recovered her lost weapon, pouncing on him and bringing her full weight onto it and his neck.

Marcos struggled against the assault, but the result was swift.
Jason kicked her off him, she rolled and was about to strike him before he intercepted her with the staff tossing her high into the air and outside the Circle of Equals. She landed rough, at the feet of the Coregn before standing up to stare at the shocked woman before realizing what happened.

“MedTech!” Marcos coughed and spasmed as Jason leaned over him rendering the combat first aid that all Elementals learned in Creche. One of the Pilots rushed to his side with her helicopter’s medkit.

Hecate came to her senses just as Katya’s head cleared. Her face flushed with shame, “Marcos told me to do it Star Colonel.”

“You are forgiven.”
Katya went toward her hat and jacket clipping the three gold bars of a Star Colonel’s onto it leaving behind the two she had carried since the REVIVAL skirmishes against Nova Fox. She redressed but her limbs were still icy cold except where the bruises burned.  “By the way, thank you for the accessories.”

The Coregn paused, her tone confused and uncertain, ‘um’
“You are welcome.” She said with a forced smile.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #102 on: 02 December 2023, 03:57:42 »
Did she crush his throat or smash vertebra? Her education by Adam is certainly helping her, but I have a slight feeling that what Adam learned from her will have more influence on the grand picture.
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #103 on: 05 December 2023, 00:26:50 »
Wolf Dragoons Timeline
2973 – Natasha is born to a Wolf Sibko on Strana Mechdy
2980 – Jaime Wolf is born to the Merchant Brigid
2981 – Joshua Wolf is born to the Merchant Brigid
3000 – The Dragoon Compromise is voted upon by the Clans, to gather information for an eventual return to the Inner Sphere
3001-3003 – As part of the Dragoon Compromise Natasha, Jaime, and Joshua test into command of the expedition. They train alongside the former Goliath Scorpion Heartvenom Cluster in SLDF drill and prepare.
3004 – The Dragoon’s leave the Clan Homeworlds down the Exodus Road.
3005 – The Dragoons arrive around Delos IV in the Federated Suns and enter the employ of First Prince Ian Davion (the First)
3006 – Mackenzie Wolf is born to Jaime Wolf and his wife Ellen, the leading edge of the First Gens

3007 – Joshua Wolf signs an exclusive service contract with a very small company named Blackwell Industries of New Valencia. The exact reason for this is unknown but there is some suspicion that it involves an affair between him and the company’s VP of Sales.

3010-12 – The Wolf’s Dragoons enter the employ of Chancellor Maximillian Liao
3013 – Maeve Wolf is decanted aboard Hephaestus Station as part of the Dragoon’s Iron Womb ‘benchmarking’ process.

Duchess Candace Liao attempts to seduce Jaime Wolf rather than be married off to Duke Anton Marik. She is rejected but attempts to seduce Joshua, is rejected again, then tries other Dragoon regimental commanders who also reject her. There are at least two attempts on Jaime and Joshua’s lives following these events and a sudden degradation in their relationship with the Strategios.

3014 – Maximillian Liao exchanges the Wolf’s Dragoons contract with Anton Marik, the Dragoons find themselves embroiled in the latest Marik Civil War and serve admirably.

3015 – Joshua Wolf is killed along with many of the Dragoon civilians (including Ellen and Mack’s younger siblings) by Anton Marik on New Delos after the Dragoons refused to break themselves down into smaller units that would be sent against Janos Marik’s loyalists.

Natasha Kerensky completes the revenge against Anton Marik and adopts the persona of ‘The Black Widow.’ Wolf’s Dragoons enter the employ of Captain-General Janos Marik.

Ranna Kerensky’s zygote is fertilized but remains in cryo-storage on Hephaestus Station.

3019 – The Wolf’s Dragoons participate in the 13th Battle of Hesperus II and are narrowly defeated by Lyran reinforcements of elite mercenary commands to protect the planet. This battle leaves them depleted and forces a resupply run to their caches along the Exodus Road.

While at their waystation ilKhan Kerlin Ward tells the Wolf’s Dragoons to prepare for the arrival of the Clans and requests they wait a decade before attempting a return voyage.

3020-23 – Wolf’s Dragoons enter the employ of Archon Katrina Steiner with a shorter retainer than their traditional 5-year contacts.

3023-27 – Wolf’s Dragoons enter the employ of Coordinator Takashi Kurita. Their most noteworthy actions during this period are the training of the Ryuken Regiments which were trained in Dragoon tactics.

Political entanglements with regional overlord’s power struggles as well as the Draconis Combine’s attempt to ‘company store’ them degrade their working relationship with the DCMS.

Mid-3027 – Hephaestus Station is seized by the DCA under false flags while orbiting An Ting, as retribution for supposed ‘breaches of contract.’ COMSTAR also declares the unit ‘outlaw’ and freezes their assets while forbidding them to transmit HPG messages.

3028 – Dragoon 7th Kommando SpecOps executes a mission against An Ting’s HPG complex to send a coded message to the scattered Dragoons. ‘Join us in Misery.’

In the confusion they also interdict Hephaestus Station and execute its ‘scram’ orders deorbiting it into the largest DCMS base on world at Boupeig. The noncombatants on board are shuttled toward the Federated Suns border in disguise while the Warriors draw DCMS attention.

The Battle of Misery happens and the Dragoons and Ryuken are bled white from the ensuing combat forcing major consolidation on both sides. The Dragoons however have an ace in the hole, or so they thought.

3029 – The depleted Wolf’s Dragoons are ambushed along the Exodus Road by Clan Mongoose. They escape but take additional losses, effectively rendering them unable to conduct operations.

3030 – Wolf’s Dragoons are granted a landhold on Outreach by First Prince Hanse Davion at their request. Natasha Kerensky and her Black Widow Battalion take the lead and establish the Dragoon Training Cadre at Tetsuhara Proving Grounds.

Ranna Kerensky is born to Maeve Wolf, as the first child to be born on Outreach.

3031 – Jaime Wolf, 51, marries Marisha Dandridge, 24, This causes more drama with Mack, 25, who grows increasingly distant with his father, threatens to quit the Dragoons, and goes AWOL for most of the year. Maeve, 18, has more pressing concerns and appreciates the help.

3032 – Wolf’s Dragoons open a hiring hall within Harlech on Outreach. Challenging Galatea and the COMSTAR backed MRB to be the ‘Mercenary Star’ in the increasingly unsettled Inner Sphere

3033 – Rachel Wolf is born to Marisha and Jaime

3035 – Joshua Wolf (The Second) is born to Marisha and Jaime

3036 – The first stages of the Capellan Civil War begin between Candace and Romano Liao.

3037 – Outreach’s Hiring Hall exceeds Galatea in the number of and value for contacts signed for the first time in history due to its proximity to the Capellan Confederation and its ongoing instability.

3039 – Prince Ian Davion (The Second) trains with the Wolf’s Dragoons as part of his Grand Tour around the Inner Sphere.

3041 – Jaime Wolf reveals the Dragoons origins to First Prince Hanse Davion and becomes the Duke of Quentin, in charge of Independence Weaponry, in addition to the Dragoon’s landhold on Outreach.

MacKenzie Wolf is put in charge of the Wolfsbane Company of the Wolf’s Dragoons, which begins operations in the Magistracy of Canopus. He marries Katarina (Kat) while drunk and ‘marriage’ is quite binding under Canopian law. Fortunately, they like each other’s sober selves as much as their drunken ones did.

3043 – Jaime Wolf steps aside from command of the Wolf’s Dragoons to personally oversee his Duchy on Quentin.

3044 – Hanse Davion retires and elevates his son Ian Davion (the Second) to First Prince.
Alpin Wolf is born to Mack and Kat.

3045 – Blackwell Heavy Industries opens a brand new factory complex on Outreach for the personal use of Wolf’s Dragoons.

3048 – Natasha Kerensky dies of natural causes on Outreach
3049 – The Allied Mercenary Command is founded as a joint association of The Kell Hounds, Wolf’s Dragoons, Eridani Light Horse, and Northwind Highlanders.
3050 – Shauna Wolf is born to Mack and Kat
3051 – The Clans finally invade, striking first at the Lyran Commonwealth.
3052 – Wolf’s Dragoons and their Allies fight the war they have been preparing for almost a decade to win.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #104 on: 05 December 2023, 01:15:34 »
I presume Dragoon warships were lost in Mongoose ambush?
Were members of AMC also briefed of the coming Clans?
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #105 on: 06 December 2023, 19:34:25 »
I presume Dragoon warships were lost in Mongoose ambush?
Were members of AMC also briefed of the coming Clans?

All questions that will be answered in due time. There is actually a mention of Dragoon Warships in Golden Lion Part I as being part of the reason COMSTAR restarted its Dante production.

Until then here is the service profile of Diana Pryde (and an attached pic courtesy of DALL-E, since she criminally doesn't have one)

Codex
Clan - Steel Viper
Given Name - Diana
Birthday - April 8, 3030 (Terran Harmonized Time)
Present Age - 21 TSY
Birthmother - Scientist (Biologics Group) Peri, then age 19 TSY
Genefather - MechWarrior Aidan, formerly of Clan Jade Falcon, deceased 3027
Homeworld - Tokasha, Kerensky Cluster
Service Occupation - Watch Officer
Warrior Skills - MechWarrrior (one kill ToP, trained in Hellbringer, Thresher, Conjurer, Goshawk, and Incubus), PA(L) Infantry (Nighthawk XXXII, General Small Arms/Combatives, Demolitions, Marksmanship/Archery), Watch Officer (87/100 Mental Skills Assessment, high Biology, low Engineering, 92/100 Practical, high Alertness/Tracking, low Technology)

Life Summary
Scientist Peri was assigned to a remote wilderness station within the hostile jungles of Tokasha when she gave birth to Diana. Her daughter trained early in wilderness and survival skills from the local Ranger detachment when possible. Due to the remoteness of this facility they rarely received visitors and Peri refused to rotate out of it and onto a different station. Enduring this difficult environment and training alongside her mother and the Rangers during her youth prepared Diana for Freeborn Sibko 527 on Ironhold starting in 3038.

On Ironhold she performed admirably as part of an experimental all-female MechWarrior cadet pool that consisted of the freeborn daughters of the Scientist Caste (copying the more common single sex Pilot/Espatier Trueborn Creche). This experiment was short lived due to inter-personal issues from such diverging life experiences and capabilities that escalated into larger, and more frequent fights then normal among cadets, and eight unfortunate 'accidents' that resulted in the death of a Cadet (and shame on their Trainer by the Cadet's parents). The remaining 40 cadets were merged with an already existing co-ed sibko that had just seen its original female cadets fail to place in an intermediate Trial of Position. Within the more 'normal' Sibko environment a higher than average number of them (4) were given the right to undertake a Trial of Position in Clan Steel Viper.

Diana executed a single kill within her Trial of Position and had most of a second one before her gyro suffered critical damage immobilizing her mech. She was fast-tracked into the Clan Steel Viper Watch after achieving this due to her freeborn status as well as scores on other assessments that might be more useful in that role, such as small arms and wilderness skills. While on New Kent Diana was certified on additional Battlemechs and trained in Special skills by the Heartvenom Cluster. With her brief Watch training complete she embarked on the Volga SLS Ganges where she was kept up to date on the occupation of the Hanseatic League and Chainelaine Islands through INTELSTAR and certified with Nighthawk XXXII PA(L) suits. Landing in Ingvolstand she was assigned her team and given a month to practice with them before being shipped out to Elissa as part of 165th Phalanx, Psi Galaxy, Clan Steel Viper.

<Codex Corrupted>

Wrangler

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #106 on: 10 December 2023, 21:01:00 »
Was the picture generated to look cartoonish?  Its very strange looking if it not.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #107 on: 10 December 2023, 21:09:13 »
Was the picture generated to look cartoonish?  Its very strange looking if it not.

There were many that were much worse. I had to use the very minimal description of the character (and Aidan and Marthe) as the prompt and did request it make something realistic. It just gave me a very long necked person.

Wrangler

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #108 on: 11 December 2023, 21:00:23 »
There were many that were much worse. I had to use the very minimal description of the character (and Aidan and Marthe) as the prompt and did request it make something realistic. It just gave me a very long necked person.
I've gotten good at editing, i could lower her head little bit.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #109 on: 06 January 2024, 18:27:39 »
REVIVAL Logistics
Prepared by INTER-LOGI for ilKhan Lincoln Osis, The Clan’s Oathmasters, and Council of Khans


ilKhan and others as requested our Quartermasters and Technical staff have prepared a representative report on what will be required to prosecute REVIVAL battleplans from us. Based on our current disposition this should provide additional guidance to our esteemed Galaxy and Cluster Commanders.

As per tradition the Galaxy is comprised of 5 Clusters with additional supporting assets at our depot locations on onboard the factory ships and combat transports we are currently outfitting. To ensure our Warriors perform at their highest potential spare battle machines (roughly a third more) are available that can be utilized depending on mission objectives or while Technicians are servicing battle damage or during general maintenance. Their Omnipods, if undamaged, can be moved rapidly to a new machine and the Warrior returned to battle after a short respite while limiting the need for replacement weaponry.

To format our Composite Galaxy we weighted roughly 50% of the Touman be set aside for occupation duties, 10% will be in the Heavy Cluster format, and the remaining 40% in our standard configuration. It is likely that Galaxy Commanders and Clan Touman Leadership will reallocate personnel and equipment where it is required for mission or supply purposes. We are bulking out and deploying our supply chains with enough flexibility but require a model to emulate for planning purposes.
   
Our standard Mechs selected are the 60-ton chassis (Mad Dog/Hellbringer/Hellfire/Thresher) as they sit at the median mass. Visigoth and Goth Aerospace fighters as our multirole fighters were selected for Aerospace baseline. As our C-class AFVs, supporting Infantry, the SRX robots, and supply chain will be the largest draw on manpower and ammunition we intend for supply depots to be deployed principally to support conventional forces. These depots will be ‘pushed’ to as needed to other combat arms to ‘pull’ from.

Omni-pods, spare weapons, and other supplies will be stocked at the Binary/Trinary level with the Star Commander/Captain and their Coregn responsible for ensuring their force remains supplied through via the ‘pull’ mechanism.

Star Colonels and their Coregn will be responsible for depot level maintenance and collating supply or personnel requisitions for INTER-LOGI to fulfill for their whole Cluster. Additionally, they will act as Administration officials for conquered territories until relieved by designated replacements before being allowed to continue their principal mission.

Galaxy Commanders are responsible for interfacing with Fleet and other Touman Leadership as well as planning and execution of strategic operations as dictated by their Khans. Each Galaxy Commander is assigned a large staff and command vessel equipped with an HPG to better coordinate activities among Clan, Caste, Unit (Galaxy, Fleet Reserve, Watch), and Organizational (INTELSTAR, INTER-LOGI) lines.

Composite Galaxy (with spares)
25 Battlemechs, 20 Aerospace/Conventional Fighters, 50 Armored Fighting Vehicles, 12 VTOLs, 60 Technical Support Vehicles (TSV, Heavy Repair/Recovery Vehicles, 10 and 30 ton GP Trucks, Ambulances), 30 Non-Combat Exoskeletons, 136 Elemental Suits, 91 Elementals, 19 MechWarriors, 15 Aerospace Pilots, 55 AFV Crew, 18 VTOL Crew, 470 Infantry {60% (282) Mechanized, 10% (47) Jump, 30% (141) Motorized}, 270 Technicians, 150 Miscellaneous Support (Artisan, Merchant, Scientist, Laborer)
 
Combined Mass without Passengers– 8,702
Total Passenger Burden (Standard 5-Cube Quarters) – 5,440
Combat Operator Burden (S5CQ) – 3,340 tons borne by Combat Dropship Corps.
Technical/Support Burden (S5CQ) – 2,100 tons borne by Warship Fleets/Depot Corps.

HRLF (Hydrogen Rich Liquid Fuel, Ammonia or Methanol) Fuel Required to Fill All Tanks – 850Kg per M-Class Drone, 10 Tons per Fighter and the HRRV TSV, 250Kg per 10 Infantry Decad (per operation) to fill Jump Packs and Vehicle Tanks
Other technical vehicles operate on battery power and recharged via idling fusion machines or generator sets when those are unavailable.

Ammunition Baseline – 80 tons for Gauss Rifle, 30 tons for Arrow IV TacMissiles, 120 tons for LRM, 60 tons for Sniper Artillery, 30 tons for Thumper Artillery, 60 tons for SRM, 30 tons for Anti-Missile System, 60 tons for Ultra Autocannon, 30 tons for both Cluster and Solid LBX AC, 30 tons for other Autocannons, 5 tons for Vehicular Grenades, 5 tons for Infantry Grenades

Daily Sustainment Requirements – 6 Tons of Sundries {3% clothing replacement, food rations, health and hygiene supplies} plus 11 tons of Water for all uses when local water cannot be cleaned and used. If possible, water is to be cleaned and recycled to reduce cargo burden.

Recharging kits are included at Decad/Fire Team level for power cells and linked to vehicle, local, or Cluster base infrastructure.


INTER-LOGI Meal-Ready-to-Eat Options – Served in one large bag containing the chemical heater, entrée retort pouch, smaller rice or similar carb ration (like a kanpan cracker) pouch, utensils, soup or supplemental shake mix, dried fruit, and tea, instant coffee, or juice powder.
Heavy citrus presence prevents scurvy while underway and has been found to maintain morale.

Male Elementals are issued 5 MREs, Female Elementals 4, Baseline Male is 3, Most Females typically eat only 2 although they are issued 3 in the field.

(AA-YY)
Lemon Herb Salmon, Kung Pao Prawn, Garlic Shrimp over Pasta, Teriyaki Glazed Skewers, Shrimp Risotto, Shrimp Jjigae, Quinoa and Chicken Bowl, Lime Salmon Tacos with Corn Tortilla, Blackened Catfish over Pasta, Jumpin’ Jambalaya (JJ), Goliath Gumbo (GG), Ginger Teriyaki Whitefish, Lemon Dill Fish with Couscous, Spiced Lentil Stew, Spicy Vegetable Bowl, Basil Chili Lime Stir-Fry Fish, or Shrimp with Lo Mein noodles, Pepper Lime Salmon Bowl, Fish Karahi, Sweet and Sour Shrimp Lo Mein, Shrimp and Rice Bowl, Orzo and Prawns, Prawn Pad Thai, Power Veggie Bowl, Spicy Sesame Tuna

Ration ZZ – Fortified Chocolate Emergency Ration

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #110 on: 10 February 2024, 13:00:30 »
The Clan Merchant Caste – Wielder of the Carrot…and Stick
Two-hundred years of Kerensky’s Clan history were marked by major epoch shaping events and each time the Merchant Caste has been there to restore an uneasy equilibrium. What is lost on the common outside observer is that the Clans are the Warrior Caste and to a lesser extent the Scientists that make them, while everyone else is part of The Clans.

Clan Enclaves are ‘controlled’ by the Warrior Caste in a modern form of medieval serfdom, but they are run by the Merchant Caste ‘under supervision’ of these Warriors. A Clan Khan (or more typically the Loremaster or SaKhan) is given constant updates on what their territory ‘can’ make, and it is up to the Merchants to make what the Clan leadership ‘wants.’ They can even ‘recommend’ targets for Warriors to initiate Trials of Possession against to hasten the process, a mutually beneficial cycle.

When there are no easy Trials of Possession or Warriors had other ambitions, the Merchants were given a wide breadth to accomplish what the Clan Leadership expected of them. Failure to do so will result in at least a demotion if not some more severe punishment depending on the Clan and conditions. They had three means to accomplish this, automation, coercion, or artificial competition.

Automation is widely used in Clan Enclaves, dumb free-standing, or roving robots and cybernetic (in the original sense) systems are regular tools for Merchants as they free up limited human resources for other needs. Each Enclave collects import and export data, ensures standards and measures are accurate, then reports it to planetary Merchant SaFactors and ultimately to the Clan Council. Using these tools Merchants can fully realize their supply chain or resource risks, minimize deficits, and exploit surplus for trade with other Clans and manage investment and human resources for optimal ROI. Workers are regularly monitored while on the job and these measurements used for ergonomic, productivity, or corrective reasons.

If administrative corrective measures (mostly collective punishment and social control) failed or civilians misbehave Enclave leadership activated ‘Alternative Measures.’ The most coercive of these are The Patrol, a Warrior subcaste outside the Touman reporting to a Sheriff, composed entirely of freeborns, and with the mission of policing civilians. Patrol Officers were normally The Shield of an Enclave protecting it from Dark Caste, responding to disasters, or defending valuable or sensitive infrastructure and facilities.

They were also The Stick, a lesser of three evils, authorized to use violence on an unruly Enclave for their own good. If the Sheriff failed to handle the problem a local Touman Commander would send in the Tanks and Battlemechs for a show of force and possibly many civilians could die in the process. That was still preferable to The Watch deploying Agents into an Enclave who could enact a very visible and painful or a silent but terrifying ‘remediation.’

Since the early days of the Clans and their near-complete abolition of circulating money (internal accounting is different) the Merchants struggled with finding ways to improve ‘productivity.’ A civilian in the Clans has a Grade in one of 25 levels, each of these Grades has the same pay in POGS (Purchase of Goods and Services). Even the lowest grade civilian is allotted two meals from work canteens, a small provision of essential goods, and a place to stay in the dormitory as long as they report to work. Increasing Grades allow for a wider range of privileges, superior living conditions, and goods to be purchased from the published Merchant Catalog and delivered to their residence.

However, there were only a limited number of slots for each Grade within a Clan and competition was tanking their birthrate as population grew. Even though Iron Wombs existed they were resource intensive and the provision of the Scientist Caste who were not willing to compromise their ongoing research project (Trueborn Warriors) for common workers. Scientist-Generals told the Merchant Factors they were lucky to even get their rejects who were preferentially reassigned to Scientist run closed Enclaves that like Touman garrisons a drain on economic activity.

Merchants therefore had to find a way to expand the population and economy, a particularly important need in preparation for REVIVAL which occurred after the almost apocalyptic destruction of the Wolf War. The consolidation and expansion of their factories and population in the post War period and during this time was heavily reliant on Automation, and the Artisan Caste.

While a long time subcaste within the Merchants the Artisan Caste rose to prominence during this time. The Artisan’s Limited List, formerly a secret known only to high ranking Merchant, was first published at the end of every regular Merchant Catalog of Goods during this period. The subcaste rapidly expanded as demand soared in the peaceful aftermath of the Wolf War. This was due to a strange correlation of factors, factories needed to be rebuilt and expanded while inter-Clan competition (and thus waste) was at a record low as the Toumans were rebuilt. This short period of time generated a massive excess of materials that could be quickly turned into other goods than military equipment.

This List was dangled in front of workers like a Carrot, driving them to record levels of output for a chance of reward, and as an incentive for women to have kids as she was rewarded for each child born. In a war-torn world with less than seven clothing color options (right after the War it was only one, gray) and little ornamentation those with something from ‘The List’ stood out even more prominently. ‘The List’ constantly changed as small production runs were completed using whatever material was at hand and requests came in through the ChatterWeb. Prestige pieces were traded for a static Grade and some regular workers even turned down promotions for a chance to pick from the options despite that not making economic sense.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #111 on: 10 February 2024, 13:36:06 »
How to achieve a lot with little.
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #112 on: 10 February 2024, 22:13:03 »
The Clan Scientist Caste, closed to all but possibilities.
Within the ‘restricted’ archives of the Clan Scientist Caste there are many books on religion. A notable absence however is the Book of Genesis because they refuse to acknowledge that mankind’s original sin might have been caused by eating the fruit of the tree of wisdom. They don’t read these to learn lessons on humility or morality however, but as Inspiration.

Clan Scientists can heal almost any disease, achieve medical miracles, create life within their Iron Wombs, terraform a dead world into a utopia, channel the power of stars, and even rip reality itself apart. Nature itself submits to their will.

Like the Gods themselves!

Only they can be trusted with the most capital and technologically intensive projects within Clan society that enable the entire thing to exist. Cageworks, HPGs, satellites, medicine, semiconductors, and nuclear power plants of all shapes and sizes are all oversee by them or Technicians which they educate. Trueborn Warriors might see themselves as the leaders of the Clans, but the Scientists created them, raised them, oversee their pedigrees, and selected them for traits that would allow them to succeed in Warrior training.

Nearly half of every creche of Trueborn are found unworthy and removed from the selection process prior to their sixth year. The Scientist Caste is thus self-perpetuating, repurposing those unfit for Warrior service elsewhere to form a complete parallel society complete with the unofficial but acknowledged distribution of Labnames. Although possessing many groundside facilities most of their orbital facilities are closed enclaves.

This choice of orbital habitats was pragmatic as asteroid mining is mostly an automated affair and since Scientists require many exotic and mundane minerals of a specific purity that cannot be trusted to Merchants. They are however also easy to ‘isolate’ protecting the secrets within and dangers that might escape, a particularly keen worry after the Scorpion Plague. This has lead to an uncomfortable number of covert Watch actions resulting from ‘unforeseen consequences’ generated by their experiments where ‘compromised’ habitat were pushed into the atmosphere of a gas giant or starward to contain a hazard.

The Watch was originally a means of controlling the Scientists but considering many of their number originated from within that Caste that mission has changed. During REVIVAL preparations Watch Agents morphed into Special Forces operators and masters of irregular warfare, roving troubleshooters handling delicate work where a well placed knife or bullet was needed rather than a Battlemech. They are the best equipped, trained, and most augmented Warriors of The Clans, highly adaptable and authorized to draw from prototype or unusual equipment made by Scientist Workshops. Their reputation is such that there are many ChatterWeb stories regarding their supposed superhuman capabilities, or speculating on what manner of gear the Scientists have stockpiled in their workshops.

What is publicly known is that only the Armaments Branch can deploy The Clan’s nuclear arsenal as such weapons require constant maintenance and higher authorization than almost any other. There are also mutterings that they possess a weapon named Astradhari capable of killing everything on a planet. Also an unconfirmed story testifies that the Scientists destroyed a planet, for science, and have in their possession mass drivers capable of subliminal acceleration or lasers that can vaporize an atmosphere powered by stars themselves. Less groundshattering was the revelation of the SXR robotic battlemechs which while fighting alongside the Touman are still technically classified as prototypes and thus within the Scientist’s purview.

More important but less flashy is the Genetics branch, whose purview includes the Iron Wombs and Genebanks related to them along with most of the biological or medical research conducted by the Clans, even those unrelated to Genetics. They have overseen a complete transformation of the Medical System since the Wolf War. Once uncommon MedTechs and advanced medical gadgets such as robotic surgeons have became almost expected. This sudden expansion of medical care improved life expectancy and general quality of life throughout civilian society and within the Touman which combined with other upgrades led to record levels of productivity and high morale.

Vaccinations capability was also expanded as biologics teams gathered samples from COMSTAR and Colonial isorla. Doses were dispensed protecting against ‘exotic’ diseases from the Inner Sphere while reducing the chance of pestilence spreading in the colonies. While the Touman might have dealt with any organized resistance to their rule MedTechs and systematic upgrades in health and hygiene within the colonies eased the occupation of primitive worlds.

Space Branch is responsible for all manners space, forging germanium and other exotic minerals into KF-cores for War and Jumpships, manufacturing Hyperpulse Generator components, dropships, space stations, and other void constructs, while overseeing the robotic gathering of resources from moons and asteroids. They are also responsible for the fields of science related to space. These include exploring new systems and surveying them and other inhabited planets for minerals or unusual phenomena. Space Branch and the Merchant Caste have a cordial relationship with one another regularly trading survey data of planetary mineral resources for the goods required for Closed Enclaves on behalf of the Scientist Caste.

Conventional Sciences branch oversee semiconductor fabs, robotics facilities, chemical plants, telecommunication systems or other megaprojects, and construct nuclear power plants along with other precision crafted artifacts, such as Gyros beside highly trained and well-compensated Technicians. Within this umbrella is most of the basic and mostly safe research conducted by the Scientists. These Scientists are more likely to live within their own sections of 'open' enclaves containing regular civilians than their counterparts within Armaments, Space, or Genetics. They are, like the Humanities, more likely to be drawn from particularly astute freeborns than more prestigious or restrictive branches.

Of a lesser status but no less important is the Humanities branch which runs the Census, approves breeding/marriage requests, incorporates colonial territory, and runs every school and training camp within Clan territory. They are the most common type of Scientist to interact with the other Castes as there is much overlap in responsibility between them. During the preparation for REVIVAL the Humanities were expanded along with everything else. This unfortunately led to a reduction in quality and standards. Any shortfalls were forecast to be solved either by Darwinism or later remedial instruction just as long as the Khans got the troops they wanted when they needed them.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #113 on: 11 February 2024, 04:38:35 »
Just how much control do Khans really have over the scientist caste? Because it looks to me like the goals of the OTL Society were largely met here.
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Golden Lion AU Supplemental
« Reply #114 on: 11 February 2024, 08:13:33 »
The closed Scientist enclaves are still few in number compared to the number residing within the Touman and civilian population. Also why would you stop someone from doing what you want them too? The Khan's want more Trueborn Warriors, Warships, HPGs, Jump-Capable Space Stations segments, and powerful weapons that fight their wars.The Scientist Caste merely delivered as requested.