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BattleTech Player Boards => Fan Fiction => Topic started by: Marwynn on 29 December 2012, 15:01:17

Title: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 29 December 2012, 15:01:17
Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
28 August 3027


“Why not?” roared Samsonov, leaping to his feet. “The situation is intolerable! You have heard the evidence! You have seen this craven worm fail to deny anything his rogues have done. I demand that Wolf's Dragoons be immediately placed under my direct orders. I demand that Korsht and Dumont be relieved of their regimental commands. I demand that the criminals, especially the foul Kerensky and the butcher Arbuthnot, who instigated the bloody suppression of the unruly populace on Kawabe, be immediately tried and sentenced to death for their atrocities.”

“You demand nothing of the Coordinator, Warlord.” Takashi's voice was harsh as he glared at Samsonov. “The Dragoons will remain under the independent command of Colonel Wolf.”

Warlord Samsonov's gesticulations stopped, but his expressions grew wilder as Takashi spoke. His colour went from red to purple. "I respectfully remind the Coordinator of his duty to the Combine," Samsonov said in a strangled voice.

"I remind you, Tai-sho, of your duty to me," Takashi said.

Insulted by the use of the lesser title and shamed by the Coordinator's tone of voice, Samsonov turned and raised his hands at the ruler of the Draconis Combine. He took one step forward, in a snarl.

Takashi nodded.

The carved doors far behind them swung open and a single warm hum sounded. Warlord Samsonov fell, the remnant of his head a melted ruin. Servants in hushed footsteps dragged the former Warlord Galedon quickly away.

Jaime Wolf sat, stunned.

As he rose from his seat, the Coordinator spoke as though nothing extraordinary had happened. “I believe I need some fresh air, Colonel Wolf. Please join me on the balcony. The view of the city is superb.”

Wolf followed Takashi through the open doorway, where the cold breeze cut through their clothes. The air made his sudden gasp ache, Luthien's Imperial City was one of the most beautiful places in the Inner Sphere. Takashi stood by, silently proud.

"This was once a swamp, friend Jaime." Takashi began. "Coordinator Sanethia Kurita ordered that the capital be moved from New Samarkand to this swampy world hundreds of years ago. Ostensibly, to challenge the people of the Combine who were becoming softer under the Star League's benevolence." He smiled at the Dragoons commander. "Truly, it was to shorten communication times to the front of a hoped-for war against the Lyran Commonwealth."

"A war that the Star League would never have allowed." Jaime observed.

"Indeed. It would have been disastrous. The entire SLDF plus four member states against the Combine? But, we have been in five major wars against the Lyrans since then. And the shorter command lines have helped prosecute those wars. But in the end, we have this." Takashi raised his head.

"Appearances." Wolf said, nodding. "Coordinator Sanethia soothed the hawks of her time, but pursued a greater good for the Combine. She got what she wanted."

"Well, Siriwan got what she wanted. But enough history, friend." Takashi moved to the balcony, gripping the railing. "I am not against you. I would like to keep your Dragoons under contract with the Combine for... well, forever. But I will not beggar you to do so. You know of the troubles with my son? His military strategies are bearing fruit, yet I often wish it were not so."

"Theodore has made some surprising gains, from what I've heard." Jaime replied, off-balance.

"Yes, and it infuriates the old guard. It infuriates me at times, though I see the need. Four years ago, I planted the seeds for the Ryuken. Earlier this year, the Genyosha. Elite formations. Both with mercenary influences." Takashi confessed. "We want the same things, my son and I. But the method matters."

Jaime Wolf stood silently for a long while, digesting the apology.

"Akuma is Samsonov's creature."

"He has been dealt with."

Another long silence. "What would you have the Dragoons do? For now?"

"Rest. Re-arm. Rebuild."

Takashi turned to him. "Will you seek employment with the Federated Suns?"

"I do not know." Jaime Wolf answered, honestly.

The Coordinator nodded. "Then let me make a pre-emptive offer. Have you heard of Nirasaki?"



======================


(The first part of the scene was stolen from Robert N. Charette's excellent Wolves on the Border, Interlude before Book III, and has been modified.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 29 December 2012, 18:38:52
Bar-b-qued Samsonov.
Just a slight variation, but more interesting. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 29 December 2012, 18:49:53
A Dragoon freehold in Kurita space?  Interesting.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 29 December 2012, 19:30:50
Legion of Vega HQ, Massingham, Marfik
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
11 December 3027



Theodore Kurita, dressed in a clean jumpsuit and freshly showered, looked at one of his new recruits. His unscheduled duel with Fuhito Tetsuhara ran overlong, but he confirmed for himself that Fuhito did have the Tetsuhara touch with a BattleMech. The family's Katana Kat was in good hands with the young man, though he had less of the restraint of his father.

He sat before him now, going over his new company's records and familiarizing himself with the men and women under his command. Theodore filled in the blanks regarding the personalities of the pilots, but he was still observing the young Tetsuhara when Ninyu Kerai burst into his office.

"You're not gonna believe this."

"Ninyu-kun," Theodore said, "please come right in!"

The flame-haired man ignored the jest. He walked up to Theodore's desk and blanked the personnel records. Before either man could say a word, Ninyu jammed a chip into the reader and played a message.

A man, looking much like Fuhito but still different, stared back. "Greetings, Tai-sa Kurita. We met, many years before, when you were young. I am Minobu Tetsuhara, and Lord Kurita has promoted me to the rank of Tai-shu."

Fuhito's mouth fell open.

"I am the new Warlord of the Dieron Military District. Warlord Cherenkoff has been transferred to Pesht, and Warlord Kester Hsiun Chi is taking over the duties of the late Warlord Samsonov in Galedon." Minobu paused and Theodore rose slightly from his chair. "I'm sure you have as many questions as I do. I've sent this message via courier, not HPG, to request your presence on Dieron. The JumpShip that delivered this message is part of a short command circuit I've prepared. I'm enroute now to Dieron myself. Please bring your planning staff along."

Fuhito stood. His emotions warred on his face, from the desolation at being banished to the Legion of Vega, to his sudden promotion, and now to hear of his brother's own promotion the same day. The jealousy and pride, it was too much. He began weeping and laughing and ran out of the room.

The message continued with further formalities, but Theodore paid it no further heed. He looked Ninyu Kerai right in the eyes.

"Remember when I said 'That day may be near' earlier?"

"Yeah."

"I didn't think it'd be today."

"Nope."

"Get Olivares in here." Theodore said, then paused. "I'll need to speak with Tomoe. Call in all the company and battalion commanders too."

"Got it."

"Oh, and Ninyu-kun? Start packing."



======================


(Scene is set after Chapter 20 of Heir to the Dragon by Robert N. Charrette.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Dave Talley on 29 December 2012, 20:50:50
tag

looks real good so far
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 29 December 2012, 21:35:50
"Heir to the Dragon" and "Wolves on the Border" are two of my favourite Battletech books, as well as the first ones I read. You have managed to fuse the two, along with a delicious plot twist.

TAG and locked!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 30 December 2012, 01:38:45
Same with me, gladius. I'll be referencing both while filling in the blanks.

===============================


The Blade and Button, Blackstone City, Menkent
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
1 February 3028


The AFFS trainers weren't that difficult to spot, Ninyu admitted. The Elsies, at least the local ones, were dark-skinned and purse-mouthed. Those from the 4th Lyrans were fairer and sweated more. But the Davions, they were loud.

His red hair fit right in with the locals, it was a popular colour, though his wasn't as sunbleached as some. Still, fitting in didn't take too long. ISF field agents, long embedded in both the 4th Lyrans and on Menkent briefed him efficiently on the local culture. He looked like a local, not from the capital city certainly with his lack of metropolitan charm, but a local nonetheless. He was handy with a wrench, which must be why he found work so easily at the starport.

After work, he headed to the nearest watering hole. A month later, he was a regular, and a bit of a legend after having scored a date with the blonde Feddie consultant. He ambled up to Mira sitting at the bar and flashed a weary grin.

"Give it up, Ralph," Mira laughed as she gulped from her beer. "We know you don't work that hard!"

Laughter erupted nearby, and Ninyu play-acted a broken heart which disappeared as quickly as he quaffed down a bottle that Sherm, the barkeep, had waiting for him.

Ninyu smiled, genuinely. "If only you knew."

Drinks and jokes passed around, and soon more of Mira's friends joined in. Ninyu had gotten to know them pretty well. Enough to know that they had just gotten back from a scouting trip out in the wastes, judging by the sunburnt faces. He warned them to wear sunscreen, but not everyone listened.

Sherm slowed down with the beers. "You fellas look dehydrated already," he said, offering some cool sports drinks instead. "Drink up, it's on the house." They toasted to his health, and drank.

One by one the Davions left, alone or with a local till only Mira and Ninyu remained. "So leftenant," Ninyu began, "got any plans for the rest of the night?"

Mira flashed a grin back. "Thought you'd never ask, Ralphie."

They were both too drunk to drive, but luckily neither had a vehicle. They left the bar using each other as support. A cab was waiting nearby, and Mira flagged it down giddily. She passed out as soon as they got in.

"About time," Ninyu sighed. He looked at the cab driver, suddenly very sober. "What's the score?"

"Nine points," said the driver. "And it looks like it's gonna rain."

Ninyu nodded as the cab sped away.



4th Lyran Regulars Field HQ, 23 km outside Blackstone City, Menkent
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
2 February 3028



The 'drop drugs' as the MechWarriors called it left a bad taste in Theodore Kurita's mouth. It always did. But he admitted it did the trick as he surveyed his 'Mech's systems with clear eyes and a steady stomach. His command lance checked in, followed soon by all his officers. He knew his men were feeling much better this morning than their enemy.

The 4th Lyran Regulars were not happy to see them. Theodore knew they woke to the sound of explosions ripping apart their base, with the news that their officers were dead or hurt, their FedSuns advisors missing, and Kuritan 'Mechs were dropping right on top of them.

It was distasteful to use such tactics. But a message had to be sent. The 4th Lyran Regulars were known to hate the Combine with a passion. They devoted their lives to studying DCMS tactics, and their battle record against the Dragon was impressive. He admired them that, but he couldn't tolerate their successes any longer. Their expertise had to be denied to the Steiners and Davions both.

The quick journey to Dieron didn't include his Revenant, the Orion ON-1K that General Kerensky himself had once used. So Theodore sat in a borrowed 'Mech, leading a borrowed regiment. The Ryuken-ni was well drilled, and they spread out in a supporting pattern to focus down any active threat. Not that there were many.

His command lance featured only Assault 'Mechs and his Atlas AS7-D was, he admitted to himself, a stereotypical Kuritan commander's choice. DCMS officers favoured the 100-tonner as command vehicles for its brute strength and resilience.

Theodore enjoyed the rush of power as the Deathgiver autocannon roared and tore apart a 4th Lyran Commando.Its missile loads exploded even before the autocannon's shells finished punching through, sending flaming debris everywhere and killing the unarmoured infantry around it. The Commando's lancemates fell back then, rushing to join their main strength, leaving their conventional allies behind.

Minobu Tetsuhara had trained the Ryuken-ni to take the initiative and they were pursuing it relentlessly. Their expertise lay in open field warfare--combined arms open field warfare--which the 4th Lyrans never anticipated. The sight of armoured vehicles working alongside a DCMS regiment, with infantry in transports, it must have shattered whatever expectations they had left.

Still, the Regulars managed to amass six companies, just half the regiment, in a short amount of time. It bordered on arrogance to allow them the time to assemble, Ninyu had warned in his blunt way. But Theodore knew it was essential. He had to break the 4th Lyrans completely. Their experience, their history, their pride. He had to trample it underfoot.

Already, the Ryuken warmachines were moving of their own accord, moving to advantageous positions as he surveyed the field. He had made only one change to the plan enroute to Menkent: he ordered complete silence; no banzai-screaming-charges, no blaring of music or reading poetry. There would be silence as they presided over the death of their devoted foe.

He raised the Atlas' right arm in a mocking Lyran fist high up into the air. Sunlight glinted on it ever briefly. The Ryuken, their tanks, their infantry, stood still.

Theodore brought the fist down and all the 'Mechs took one step forward in a thundering boom. Then another. And another, and they advanced as one glistening edge.

Giant gouts of flame erupted along the 4th Lyrans' line as the Ryuken's artillery heralded their charge. Then the Ryuken fired, cutting down the damaged with spears of charged light. Hundreds of missiles flew and fell, and the Ryuken never stopped moving. There were no gaps to exploit in their lines, no misstep, no confusion. It was a dance, both choreographed and spontaneous.

The 4th Lyran Regulars died minutes later.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 30 December 2012, 02:04:39
wow!  nice update!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 30 December 2012, 02:07:32
Thanks!

Last one for tonight, gotta sleep.


==================================


Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
17 March 3028

Takashi bowed in greeting. "You wished to speak with me, Jokan Constance," he said as she returned the bow deeper, as befitted a servant of the ruler.

"I did, Tono. Thank you for taking the time." Constance hesitated a moment. "I am informed that you have not forwarded an invitation to Theodore," she said, going directly to the point.

"That is correct."

"This is an important occasion, Tono. The wedding of Hanse Davion--"

"--Theodore has more important things to worry about." Takashi smiled.

Constance Kurita furrowed her brow at the interruption. As the Keeper of the House Honour she was also the head of the Order of Five Pillars; the civilian intelligence network that kept in check the militaristic Internal Security Force. She knew Theodore was wasting away on Marfik, as he had for the last three years. The punishment was important to Takashi, but that wasn't what he meant.

"He has been... traveling," Constance ventured.

Takashi's smile grew. "Yes, under many different skies." The emphasis was almost comical. Jokan Constance nodded. It was a failure, a massive one, to lose track of the Heir when her purpose was to insure the House's integrity.

She bowed low and started to apologize.

"Come now, Constance. No need for that." Takashi waved her beside him as they walked along the garden's path. "By now, news of Theodore's adventurism should be reaching Hanse and Katrina. Still, what is one to do with such rebellious children?"

"Tono, forgive me, I wasn't aware you and Theodore had..."

"We have not."

"Then..."

Takashi gestured to the gravel pebbles. "I cannot reshape my son anymore than I can change a pebble without turning it into something it is not. But I can mold the situation around him. Mold his appearance to suit my needs. I know my rages against my son have made it as far as Tharkad and New Avalon, perhaps even to the Periphery, hah!"

Takashi shook his head. "So, I will present a different Draconis Combine than what they expect. I show up alone, broadcasting the split within my own House. But then I speak fondly of his recent adventures. I make it seem that it is my idea. That father and son are united. Perhaps the earlier reports were exaggerated. Perhaps, Theodore isn't the headache that he is."

"Hmph! It'll be worth it to rub it in the Fox's face."

Constance breathed in and bowed deeply. "Forgive my arrogance, Tono. I presumed."

"It is your duty." The Coordinator turned, bowed, then walked away.



==================================

(Modified scene, Chapter 21, Heir to the Dragon, by Robert N. Charrette.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 30 December 2012, 02:20:04
Most interesting, please do continue.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: sandstorm on 30 December 2012, 07:57:30
This is both damn nice and at the same time infuriating... Infuriating, since I now have a feeling I need to reread Wolves and Heir, and possiby even Warrior, to fit all the pieces together...

But I guess the Dragon can be Craftier than the Fox...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 30 December 2012, 18:37:11
This is more like what you expect a coordinator to act like. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 31 December 2012, 13:49:20
I'm going to try and limit the Warrior Trilogy influences as best I can. Not a fan. We'll start to diverge even further, but I'll be referencing both of Charrette's work as we go on.


==========================

Governor's Palace, Elusian City, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
3 April 3028


It took a lot to stun Jaime Wolf, but lately all it took was someone with the name 'Kurita'. He shook his head and smiled, "I'm sorry, I must have misheard you. You said your name was?..."

The jolly fat man, dressed in robes of scarlet red and ivory, smiled back. "Chandrasekhar Kurita, your civilian liaison. The Coordinator did say you'd be assigned one, yes?" Without giving the colonel time to answer, he continued. "Call me Chandy, please, mon colonel," the round man said as he inspected Jaime's rather bare bar.

Shaking his shaven head at the poor offerings, Chandrasekhar pulled a battle from his sleeve and poured three glasses. He offered one to Jaime.

"To the Dragon and the Dragoons!" Chandy roared in between gulps from each hand.

Jaime downed his drink in one shot, and regretted it immediately as it burned, pleasantly, down his throat.

"What did I just--"

"--It's a good thing you arrived when you did, mon colonel." Chandy began, without even pretending he was sorry for interrupting. He flashed a few more chips and deposited them in Jaime's empty glass. "Those all need your signature. I've authorized the construction of your corporate headquarters here, and the plans your staff forwarded for the 'Hiring Hall' have been slightly altered. Expanded, really."

Jaime grew flustered, but Chandrasekhar's blue Kurita eyes held him still. This one plays a fool. But he isn't, not one bit, the colonel surmised. He kept a tighter rein on his emotions, which became harder to do with the liquid spreading warmth around his body.

"You'll find them all detailed in the chips. I'm sure they'll meet your standards."

"Why did the Coordinator send you here? A Kurita?" Jaime asked, seeking to re-gain the initiative.

"Well," Chandy began, "there's a small matter of me irritating a few of the worthies at the Luthien Court. It involved a camel, some Lyran mannequins, some of their daughters and sons, and the whole of last October..."

"I... see."

"Regardless, I am here. Oh, and I'm also the representative of the Nirasaki Computer Collective!" Chandy flashed a sleek noteputer. "You're familiar with the Blue Lotus, aren't you? What with your SLDF origins, you should know all about them. Did you know my nephew, well, cousin actually but I'm like an uncle to young Theodore--he pilots General Kerensky's original Orion? Hah, olive drab and everything."

"The what? Really, the original? Wait, 'SLDF origins'?"

Chandy nodded. "Found it on a glob of junk around New Samarkand, flushed before they jumped I imagine. And hmm, well, let's see... a fleet of well-preserved JumpShips. A jump-capable station no less, along with more than five regiments of 'Mechs with their own DropShips and fighters, nearly all SLDF-era designs. Surely you're familiar with the rumours you've done nothing to dispel? Oh and the fact that Natasha Kerensky's... well, a Kerensky. Not too subtle."

"There are many..."

"Of course there are. My gardener's a Kerensky, and related to the General himself!" Chandy refilled his glasses.

"The former planetary governor's a fine fellow, there's a dinner tonight by the way, and everything on the civilian end is neatly tied up. Technically, he's the vice-governor now since you're in charge. But the NCC, they're really interested in talking with your technical people. Nirasaki makes more than just fancy noteputers and comms, you know."

"Why the NCC?"

Chandy smiled. "Good, mon colonel. You see to the heart of it."

Jaime Wolf nodded, taking his chair and plugging in a chip at random into his deskputer. "Matabushi on Hachiman," Jaime said a moment later from memory. "Gorton, Kingsley & Thorpe from Satalice. Luthien Armour Works, of Luthien and every damn place else." Chandy smiled and kept drinking. "Those are the top three electronics, military electronics, manufacturers in the Combine. Not to mention their satellite factories. I hear even the Imperial Institute of Technology on Xinyang's supplying some chips these days."

"Very good, mon colonel." Chandy bowed. "Simply put, they're fuddy duddies."

Wolf couldn't help it, he barked a laugh.

"Hah, indeed, mon colonel. But it's true. They're old, mostly, but they're tied to the Procurement Department in so many disgusting ways. The NCC is mostly a civilian operation, there's some chips and boards we supply of course to the military. But again, this is the Combine. Even the rice farmers sell to the DCMS."

"Point."

"We're less likely to stab in you the back. And you're bound to be running low on the high-end stuff you use. Nirasaki is unique in the Combine in that this world's economy isn't suborned to the military or ignored, but actually allowed to be different. Capitalism thrives here, but greed doesn't hold sway."

"I've heard that most of the people live in communes... and they use work credits as currency."

"Indeed, mon colonel! They're not interested in money, they have what they need but they still sell to the Combine, for a profit of course. It's a very odd arrangement. But now you see the wisdom of the Dragon in offering this world to you."

Jaime Wolf sat back and recollected his suspicions which Chandy was giving him time to do by refilling his own glasses again. Nirasaki sat right next to Dieron, which given his friend Minobu's promotion made a certain sense. Tetsuhara was now one of the most powerful men in the Combine, a friend of the Dragoons, who would always look to their best interests as long as it didn't conflict with the Combine's. The system was close to the Davion border, but raids were not common, and now would be less so with at least one regiment of the Wolf's Dragoons always on world, plus any sundry mercenaries the Dragon saw fit to hire.

That was the grand bargain Takashi offered Jaime: a world of his own, without Combine interference, to limit the cultural contamination mercenaries brought with them. The mercenaries serve the Combine, but when they were on his world to rest and re-arm, or even train, they'd be his to use. The world was his. His only conditions were that none of the mercenaries he allowed on the world would work against the Draconis Combine, including his Dragoons. Over time, the DCMS would rotate regiments to Nirasaki to train with the Dragoons.

Convincing the other colonels hadn't been easy, but without Akuma and Samsonov's rotting influence they had all agreed that the Combine had treated them the fairest. The five solid years had seen many marriages between the civilians of the Dragoons and those on An Ting, and many Combine worlds besides. Despite themselves, the Wolf's Dragoons had put down roots.

The warrior culture does remind me of home... Home.

"Indeed, mon colonel." The fat man said, interrupting his thoughts. "Home."

"Well, Chandy," Jaime tasted the name. "Please set up a meeting between my people and NCC's engineers, but before that happens, I'm going to need a continent."

"How about a moon?"
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 31 December 2012, 16:38:25
Nice!  bringing in Uncle Chandy!!   Looking forward to more!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 31 December 2012, 19:12:20
Now it should really get fun.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 31 December 2012, 19:37:13
Uncle Chandy always makes things interesting ... :))
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 31 December 2012, 20:20:15
Wolf wants a continent and Uncle Chandy overs him a full moon. :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 31 December 2012, 21:13:45
one of the reasons the wolfs wanted Outreach was for the factory and repair facilities that no one knew about. 
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 31 December 2012, 21:57:39
Ryuken Field Headquarters, New Ivaarsen
Draconis March, Federated Suns
3 April 3028


Michi threaded his way through the maze of consoles, machinery, and hanging cables obstructing passage through the hallways. The field headquarters was hastily set up in an abandoned office building in a small town outside the capital.

The Ryuken had received explicit orders from the new Warlord Galedon, Kester Hsiun Chi, to preserve much of the planet's industries and architecture as possible along with the orders to immediately attack Davion worlds. The city was gorgeous to Michi's unsophisticated eyes, even though he'd only seen glimpses of it from reports.

Michi turned into the room that served as the planning centre. A massive holotank from Ryuken-ichi's mobile HQ dominated the space, displaying New Ivaarsen. Tiny red blobs indicated DCMS forces, while yellow dots indicated the remaining strength of the 2nd New Ivaarsen Chasseurs and the planetary militia.

The ISF believed that the 1st New Ivaarsen Chasseurs had been relocated to the Capellan March, leaving the planet's defense to its less experienced brother regiment. Still, Warlord Chi had ordered three 'Mech regiments to land on New Ivaarsen, each with their own armoured vehicle and infantry forces to act as support.

Whatever defense New Ivaarsen's planners thought of mounting didn't account for the DCMS to field conventional troops and being able to keep whatever territory they wanted. The battle for New Ivaarsen was already won.

Around the holotank stood Chu-sa Andrew Sabuto Chou of the Ryuken-ichi, Jerry Akuma's second-in-command. Michi approached him directly and took a moment to inspect the man. The chu-sa had expressed regret with the news that their commanding officer had been 'invited onward', as was proper for any executive officer. He chose to mourn by getting the command staff drunk and occupying a karaoke bar on An Ting for several days.

The normally-reserved man nodded towards Michi, and he bowed and spoke. "The scouts report that the first and third militia battalions have accepted surrender, chu-sa. The 2nd Chasseurs still refuse combat, their commanding officer, Colonel Reginald Stephenson, is still inciting the civilian population to rise up and take arms against us." He slipped a card into the holomap, updating its display. Two yellow blows blinked to green, and the remaining 2nd New Ivaarsen Chasseurs unit scattered further away from Ryuken-ichi.

"Excellent," tai-sa Alfred Tojiro of the 3rd Pesht Regulars ventured. "My regiment is nearby, with the chu-sa's permission we can encircle them between your third battalion and my second." Michi observed the map again, knowing that the 5th Galedon Regulars was much closer.

Chu-sa Chou nodded. "I suggest you bring along the 7th Pesht Armour as well." The tai-sa looked insulted at the suggestion that he needed a tank regiment to defeat a 'Mech battalion. The chu-sa smiled. "There's still a regiment of infantry and two militia battalions shielding the 2nd Chasseurs, tai-sa. I will be bringing my infantry from the southwest as well as my own armoured vehicles.

Mollified, the commander of the 3rd Pesht saluted and moved out of the planning room.

Tai-sa Li Dok To shook his head as the Pesht commander exited. "Too eager to prove himself, that one."

"It's not often the Pesht Regulars get a chance to fight frontline troops, tai-sa," Michi offered, even though he agreed with the sentiment.

"Hai. No one can fault their eagerness for battle."

"Or for salvage of better 'Mechs," Li Dok To said with a smile. Examining the map, he tilted his head to the chu-sa. "I'll keep the 5th Galedon where it is, should they attempt a breakout."

Andrew nodded. "That would be best. Please move your scouts away from the capital city as well, I don't want to spook the Dragon's new subjects."

The tai-sa saluted and left. Michi waited till the door shut behind him. "So, we are staying, chu-sa?"

"Well, the 3rd Pesht are. But yes, New Ivaarsen will be ours in the meantime." Andrew moved to the holotank and flicked a few controls. The view zoomed out of New Ivaarsen into a map of the surrounding star systems. The Draconis Combine's Galedon borders remained a solid red, but several of the golden worlds below it blinked between yellow and red. Some pulsed a steady red already. The border was as bare as the ISF believed, and Warlord Kester Hsiun Chi was making the most of it.

A commtech stood to get the chu-sa's attention. "We have established a link with the tai-sa of the 2nd Chasseurs, sir. Audio only," the tech said, indicating a mic.

"Colonel Stephenson," Andrew said. "Surrender, please."

"Go to hell, snake!" The colonel said, hoarsely. Michi realized he was still in his 'Mech, he could practically hear the heat in the cockpit.

"All in good time, colonel." The chu-sa said good naturedly. "If you're not calling to surrender, then?..."

"Just wanted to let you know that you've been made! New Ivaarsen's always been the guardian gate to Robinson! But we've warned them you're coming, you jump into Robinson and it'll be the last thing you'll do, Snake!"

Michi frowned. Guardian gate? More like stepping stone...

The chu-sa simply smiled. "Your concern for our well-being is touching, colonel, but misplaced. That HPG transmission you sent will not be of any use."

"So this is just a raid-in-force then? You're not going for the the March capital? Hah, gutless cowards."

"You mistake us, sir. Your warning is too late. You see, we attacked Robinson first."


==================================

(Modified scene from Chapter 50, Wolves on the Border by Robert N. Charrette. Greatly modified.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 31 December 2012, 22:43:34
Oops
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: sandstorm on 01 January 2013, 06:45:12
Neat. :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Stormcrow on 01 January 2013, 11:59:53
tagged

Very nice going so far.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 02 January 2013, 15:50:35
Fort Draconis, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
5 April 3028



Yorinaga Kurita sipped his tea, savouring the flavour and aroma. Despite himself, he was quite enjoying the conversation with the new Warlord Dieron. They sat, cross-legged, across each other in a simple room. Shoji panels, dark hardwood, and Dieron's eerie sunlight provided a calm atmosphere. The table they used was a simple one, gleaming in the off-light. An ancient tea set surrounded a single optichip that sat in the middle. Yorinaga ignored it, mastering his curiousity.

Minobu Tetsuhara, the samurai in front of him, smiled as he considered Yorinaga's comment. Their conversation had proceeded beyond the gauging stage to a discussion of mutual interests. Not only were both samurai MechWarriors, but they were heads of two of Takashi Kurita's new military formations. Minobu admired Yorinaga's old-fashioned solutions to the Genyosha's growing pains. He could not wholly apply them to his own Ryuken, especially since he was no longer in effective command of it, but he could pass along some of the suggestions.

Now the discussion had moved towards mercenaries, and Yorinaga felt the coldness in his stomach harden. Tai-shu Tetsuhara pretended not to notice, but Yorinaga knew he could not fool the other.

"It is a strange thing," Minobu observed, "to find one's honour amongst mercenaries."

Yorinaga weighed each word, deciding that the Warlord was making a personal observation and not referencing his failures.

"Indeed I owe much to the Wolf's Dragoons. Even my current position."

Yorinaga harrumphed at the observation, surprising himself at the loss of control. "I owe my position to mercenaries as well. As well as the dishonour over my house."

"The Kell Hounds."

"Hai."

"They have cost you dearly."

"Hai."

"So why continue to give them more?"

Yorinaga's blue Kurita eyes flared. Shame burnt his cheeks moments later, and he broke eye contact. His eyes fell on the optichip in the middle of the table.

Minobu continued. "Your cousin Theodore was here, months ago. He is darkening the Skye region with the Dragon's wings."

"I have heard of his successes," Yorinaga granted after a short pause. "And of your Ryuken-ni's. I've seen reports. His plans are audacious and carefully prepared."

"Colonel Jaime Wolf tells me that 'Teddy the K's luck will run out soon' and I agree." Minobu said, mouth quirking.

Yorinaga was affronted on behalf of his cousin and family. Teddy? The K?

"That is why I've authorized several Dieron Regulars to stagger deep raids across Lyran space," Minobu said. "Soon, some of the Wolf's Dragoons will join in the raiding against the Lyrans, but that won't be for another month at least."

"So ka. You wish the Genyosha to begin raiding as well?" Yorinaga shook his head. "The Genyosha acts only on the Coordinator's word, Warlord."

The Warlord inclined his head. "The Kell Hounds have been unleashed to, well, hound them. So far, young Theodore has managed to not only elude his would-be-hunters but has struck back. I believe your orders from the Coordinator grant you leeway in pursuing the Kell Hounds."

The two samurai looked at each other for a long while. Yorinaga stood and bowed.

"Thank you for the tea, tai-shu."

Minobu bowed. When he looked up, Yorinaga was gone along with the optichip.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 02 January 2013, 20:06:30
Cry Havoc?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 02 January 2013, 23:34:55
City of Jarlton, Hyadei Continent, Ko
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
20 April 3028



The figure shuffled towards him, limping out of the shadows of a darkened hallway. Theodore Kurita hated him instantly, with his ostentatious clothes, squat figure, and lurid eyes. Still, he forced a smile onto his face.

"Duke Aldo Lestrade. Welcome."

The short man bowed, too low. Theodore decided it was an insult and chose to respond with one of his own, thrusting his right hand forward in a handshake instead of returning the bow. The Lyran noble took it in a surprisingly firm grip, oblivious to the offense. He sat without being asked, irking Theodore further.

Seated, he looked more worthy of being the Leader of the Federation of Skye, one of the three major powers that formed the Lyran Commonwealth. Skye was known for its stubbornness in battle and a fierce independent streak. And the duke was currently fanning flames of secession, aided in recent times by Theodore's own successes.

Theodore sat down opposite the Skye noble and assumed a relaxed but alert posture. He would admit it to no one, but it was a posture he saw his father assumed; it conveyed both patience and danger. Lestrade read the body language well and straightened up slightly, as if just suddenly aware he had walked into the lair of a Dragon.

"Your Red Duke conveyed my message?" Lestrade said, oozing charm.

Theodore nodded slightly.

"Yes, good. Of course he did." Lestrade smiled. "That's why you--we--are here, after all."

Theodore cocked his head to one side, his eyes never leaving the politician. He admitted he had less experience than he'd like in dealing with nobles and politicians, which was why he was resorting to stolen lessons from his father. Lestrade squirmed satisfactorily.

"It's quite a risk to come here, with this plan." Theodore observed.

"What's life without a little risk?" The cavalier smile looked flat and uncertain on his face. Theodore laughed.

Lestrade took this as a cue. "The 4th Lyran Regulars. The 3rd Donegal Guards. Both destroyed in your first month of... operations."

Theodore Kurita inclined his head. Both battles were unfair fights, staged with ISF help. He had accomplished what he wanted just with the destruction of those two units, sending half the regiments in the Skye region on alert, chasing rumours of him and the Ryuken-ni. In truth, the Ryuken-san destroyed the Donegal Guards, pretending to be the elder regiment. Warlord Tetsuhara then ordered the Dieron Regulars to pair up and raid as well, hitting abandoned garrison posts in the attempt to capture Theodore.

The truth was he spent half of his time on Dromini IV and on Ko, the two logistics centres of the district.

"Curiously," the duke continued, "none of the units loyal to me were hit."

"Indeed?" Theodore said pleasantly.

"Indeed, my Lord. The 5th Lyran Regulars were bypassed entirely. Their leadership is... sympathetic with Skye's aims."

Theodore nodded, having been briefed by Ninyu on the matter. He bypassed Thorin, the 5th's garrison, because he wanted the 4th Lyrans instead on Menkent.

"The Skye Rangers, as a whole, have been untouched in the subsequent raids." The duke sighed. "The fortunes of war, I suppose."

"You're neglecting your mercenaries."

"Am I? Pardon, my Lord, I put little stock in Steiner hirelings. Richard's Panzer Brigade nearly died with the 4th Lyrans on Menkent. I also know that that the 12th Star Guards have been screaming for reinforcements on New Earth and Corridan IV."

Theodore leaned forward. "It seems we came into some intelligence regarding their defenses. An anonymous source."

Aldo smiled. Theodore felt greasy.

"I put little stock in mercenaries," the duke repeated. "Two of their regiments were to remain on Lyons, but one has lifted off for Corridan IV. They won't arrive for at least a month. Seems your 11th Legion of Vega inflicted enough damage to warrant such drastic measures."

"The Legionnaires can be quite... enthusiastic in battle."

"Quite." The duke sat back, relaxed, a confident grin on his face. "Ten worlds, Lord Kurita. I offer you ten Skye worlds in exchange for your indirect support."

"What kind of support?"

"Why, the same kind you offer Duke Aaron Sandoval."

Theodore pulled back and kept his eyes stern. Warlord Kester Hsiun Chi had wasted little time in exploiting the gaps left by missing AFFS units along the Galedon border. Somehow, Robinson was left under-defended and its rebuilt Robinson Battle Academy, touted to be the equal of any of the Federated Suns' best schools, was blasted to the ground, their training battalion destroyed in the first minutes of fighting. The Draconis March capital world was left in flames, its factories gutted, its infrastructure ruined. The whole of the Draconis March was afire, blaming Hanse Davion for stripping worlds of their defenders. There were rumours that the people were crying out for independence.

Meanwhile, Warlord Galedon had begun garrisoning captured worlds with more borrowed conventional units from the Pesht district. Theodore knew those worlds would be abandoned quickly by the conventional regiments should they come under attack. The whole point was to broaden and deepen the front, and strangle the Federated Suns' shipping capacity. The ISF loaned several DEST units who were capturing whatever JumpShip they could and returning them to Combine space. Trade was drying up, starving the Draconis March.

To a schemer like Aldo Lestrade, it must have looked like the whole situation was a conspiracy. A situation for Duke Sandoval to exploit, to gain further concessions from Hanse Davion, eke out more power, more influence.

Lestrade continued. "I need you to set the Federation of Skye afire. Show the people that the Steiners and their allies are incapable of protecting the people. I'll slowly begin consolidating my forces. I'll feed you troop strengths and deployments, everything you need to outmaneuver them. In return, you leave my worlds and my units alone. I'll need them when the Archon bitch calls to the Fox for help. He'll send his AFFS in, don't you doubt it, Lord Kurita. The Skye Rangers will be a match for their best, but the rest of my forces are not of the same caliber. I know this."

"Would Prince Davion even have troops to spare? Surely, they intend to invade the Capellan Confederation. With the Draconis March in this state, I imagine you'd have more to fear from Lyran units than Davion ones." Theodore stood up.

"What can you give me now?"

The duke withdrew a chip from behind a bejeweled button and placed it on the table. "I'll give you more than Skye worlds, Lord Kurita. That is the index to something called the 'Helm Memory Core'."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 02 January 2013, 23:45:38
 O0  Wow, the scheming Aldo Lestrade!!!  awesome writing!  Looking forward to your next chapter!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 03 January 2013, 01:42:56
 I wonder if Theodore would honor any agreement.
Me i'd stab him in the back as soon as i received the information. :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: sandstorm on 03 January 2013, 02:59:34
I think Theodore and Takashi might be... inclined to offer Aldo to Katrina, who at least is a honourable opponent... :D After exploiting what he has given them, of course...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Silverfish2910 on 03 January 2013, 12:45:03
Why would the Dragoons hit the Lyrans? I thought it was standard MO for them not to hit their previous employer?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 January 2013, 13:40:44
It's a clause in their contract yes. Which, ahem, runs out on April 23, 3028. Then, new contracts, with the Combine, are already signed.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 03 January 2013, 14:48:25
Didn't the Red Duke Riccol get a copy of the Helm Core for helping the GDL of Helm?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 January 2013, 14:49:03
Indeed he did. Machinations are afoot!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 January 2013, 15:50:02
City of Jarlton, Hyadei Continent, Ko
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
20 April 3028



"No," Theodore shook his head, standing up. "Don't sit, Duke Ricol. I don't want you to get slime on your clothes." Theodore said, keeping an eye on the chair Aldo Lestrade had used. The Skye noble had just left, disappearing back into the darkness in his uneven gait. He had nearly ordered his guards to kill him outright, and had been tempted to wrap him in a package, crash Hanse Davion's wedding, and offer him up to Melissa Steiner.

The Red Duke smiled and bowed slightly. Theodore turned and went immediately through the back door, stepping outside under Ko's pleasant evening sky. An armoured hover-limousine waited for him and the Duke of Kaesong followed him in. Guards hopped into the front of the hover-limo. It was larger than standard, an Avanti design taken as spoils in a recent raid. It was meant for an officer that ISF files labelled a 'Social General'.

"It's a complicated game you play, Duke Ricol," said Theodore as the hovercraft rose on silenced air and sped away. Moments later it was followed by other hovercraft, lacking the sleek lines and luxurious furnishings but bristling with 'Mech-killing weapons. The one thing the hover-limo could boast compared to the combat vehicles was its state of the art comm system; he could command a battle in utter luxury.

"It is, indeed, Lord Kurita." Hassid Ricol said, utterly courteous and smooth. "One worth playing, I have found."

"It's astonishing that Aldo suspects nothing," said Theodore.

"Oh don't be quite sure of that, my Lord. He knows us to be Snakes after all, and snakes are treacherous things." Hassid glanced at Theodore. "Be honest, my Lord. Is he a man worth keeping your word to?"

"No," the Heir to the Dragon said. "But I am a man worth keeping my word."

Duke Ricol inclined his head. "But he will betray us, if it's in his best interests."

"Yes, I believe he will," Theodore agreed, rubbing the optichip between his fingers. He tossed it to the Red Duke who smoothly caught the chip and disappeared it into his sleeve. Theodore had been ready to dismiss Ricol as another scheming noble but he recalled the words of his tutors and looked up Ricol's record in the warbooks. The Red Hunter's accomplishments at the helm of a Marauder were legendary, it was a pity he held only a noble title and not a DCMS commission. But now, as the Red Duke, he already had his own forces. One far larger than a duke, or even archduke, would normally have.

Theodore realized he trusted Hassid Ricol less than Aldo Lestrade.

"My courier reports that they are within two jumps of Xinyang," Theodore said. "The Imperial Institute of Technology will surely find a use for your Helm Memory Core."

"It is not mine, Lord," the Red Duke said, his face darkening. "It is a gift from Grayson Carlysle."

"The mercenary you said you've been persuing? Well, Red Hunter, your quarry has yielded promising fruit." Theodore glanced at the duke, who was now idly watching the speeding terrain whip by. "Apart from the incomplete index of the Helm Core, what did you give Duke Lestrade?"

The Red Duke's face was a mask. "Fiction, nothing more. Literally. The Helm Memory Core contained literature, it's not just a technical database. I gave him encrypted fictional works. Children's books."

"So ka." Theodore was unsurprised by the Red Duke's betrayal. His unauthorized sojourn to the Marik world of Helm ended with a surprising revelation about ComStar. The duke's trip back to Combine space had been pre-arranged, routing himself through Port Moseby--the merchant world where Steiner and Kuritan traders haggled and cheated each other--with a pseudo command circuit of his own. The extravagance was what lead to his capture by Ninyu Kerai, who was living the life of a pirate in the Skye region with a few dozen DEST troopers.

The Red Duke was caught red-handed. Fearing death he spun a story that had held up under close investigation. Upon closer investigation, the story fell apart, but with a slickness that befitted an eel he had maneuvered himself into a meeting with Theodore.

Theodore spared a moment to think of his flame-haired friend. He noticed a certain melancholy after Ninyu turned in the Federated Suns advisors for questioning. He had to order Ninyu to carry the Helm Core personally to Xinyang. While it was true that he trusted no one else but him to carry such vital information he also saw the need to pull Ninyu out of the frontlines for a short while. The JumpShips Ninyu had used along the way were scheduled to return to specific points after a certain amount of time, arranging a returning command circuit for himself. The ISF on Xinyang had already been notified, and Theodore was sure a second copy was on its way to the ISF stronghold deep in New Samarkand into the Smiling One's hands. Which was why he had a copy made and sent to his cousin, Constance.

Which brought him back to his current companion. Somehow, Duke Ricol was able to get a hold of Duke Lestrade and quite easily transfer delicate information. The offer was whispered to him only three weeks ago, and Duke Lestrade was already enroute. Theodore wondered what would have happened had the Red Duke slipped back into the Combine had he not be engaged in raiding operations.

The limo swerved, but the internal cab remained steady. The Helm Core must be genuine. He bought himself out of a bad situation. That means he had no intention of turning it in, not unless it benefited him first. And he expects to be rewarded with the same worlds Lestrade was giving up.

He felt the duke's eyes on him, the unguarded stab of hatred and it fell into place. This is an old plan, Theodore decided. Lestrade's offer would have come regardless of the raids because of the impending war Hanse Davion was set on mounting. That means Duke Ricol wants me in the Federation of Skye when Lestrade's machinations all fall apart. He had already made sure everyone knew they had him to thank for the discovery.

The hover-limo slewed to a halt,  the doors opening to the hotel they had taken over. Theodore nodded to the well-paid hotel manager, who rushed towards him as he entered but thought twice as his guards followed him in.

Theodore called for an elevator and admired the hotel lobby. All Duke Ricol had to do was make sure I accepted Lestrade's offer, make the introductions and get out of the way. In fact, he could just as easily have done this behind the scenes. He gains nothing from this but my death. Now, he may gain my death, but if I succeed he rules over new worlds. If I fail, he's in a position to strike at my weakened father.

Theodore sat back, inhaling as his mind felt out the insinuations. Politics and scheming did not fit his mind naturally. He had dedicated his entire life to soldiering, and he believed he was a capable practitioner of the art. Now, he was learning from two of the best and worst.

"Duke Ricol," the Heir to the Dragon promised. "I will remember this."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 03 January 2013, 20:21:07
Duke Ricol, how refreshingly devious.
I wonder what he thought when Theodore said he would remember it.
As the Lyrans already have a copy of the Helm core it looks like Lestrade has really been taken to the cleaners. >:D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 04 January 2013, 00:02:36
Looks like the Red Duke is setting himself and Lestrade to keep Theodore's swordarm sharp.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 January 2013, 00:10:24
I don't even know if it's canon those two schemed together or not (probably not) but I couldn't resist.


====================================

Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
30 April 3028

 

Takashi Kurita strode into the Black Room and the door hissed shut behind him. The closing door signaled the start of the meeting, and no one else would be admitted until the Coordinator left. Vasily Cherenkoff, the only Warlord that would be present for the council meeting, looked questioningly across the table to Subhash Indrahar. The ISF Director smiled politely.

Both moved to stand to make their formal bows, but Takashi waved them down.

"Where are the Wolf's Dragoons now?"

Subhash adjusted the archaic gold-rimmed spectacles he affected then pressed down on the holomap controls. The Draconis Combine glittered in muted red and five lines of different colours, indicating one of the five Dragoons regiments blinked into view.

"Tono, Colonel Wolf is with Alpha and Gamma Regiments. As you know, their contract with us expired one week ago and your new agreements have taken effect. They jumped into a Lyran system precisely on the 23rd of April. Beta, as you know, is on An Ting, but a battalion is rotating amongst nearby worlds. Delta and Epsilon have been set loose in the Draconis March. Warlord Chi is using them as a distraction as the Pesht Regulars consolidate and dig in."

"Excellent!" Takashi smiled. He turned to the Warlord. "Vasily, you must be wondering why I asked you to come to this meeting. But with Pesht far closer than Dieron, I wished to hear from you personally."

Cherenkoff's jowls juddered with pride. "My Lord Kurita, Pesht is in shambles! That old monk took the best transports and regiments with him--"

"--On my orders, Vasily--"

"--Yes, tono, and wisely done," Cherenkoff quickly amended. "The Draconis March conquest wouldn't be half as successful without your wisdom... Err, but all these command circuits used to ferry the mer--Dragoons, the Ryuken, even the Pesht Regulars have thrown Pesht into an uproar. I no longer have the transportation assets necessary to fend off pirate raids, tono. They are getting bolder. But I have greater concerns about Pesht's economy."

Subhash smiled. "Pesht fares no worse or better than the rest of the Combine, tai-shu." The use of the military rank was a subtle reminder of the limits of his responsibilities.

Vasily Cherenkoff was immune to subtlety, and he rumbled on. "Representatives from the Minor Trading Houses nag at me daily, tono. I thought Pesht was quiet, stable, yet the troops are lax, the people restless, and I am actually running out of infantry. Infantry!"

"We need those men, Vasily," Takashi said, smoothly. "I know you can hold Pesht together without them. I have ordered Warlord Chi to share some of the spoils with you, with Pesht. That should offset your traders' concerns."

The Warlord perked up at the mention of loot. "Truly? Thank you, Lord Kurita!"

"It'd be enough to pay for mercenaries as well, to plug up the holes along the Periphery border." The Smiling One observed.

The glee vanished from Cherenkoff's face. He fumed red but held back his words as he remembered Takashi's presence. The Coordinator had ordered the hiring of more mercenaries lately, even asking corporations to hire units to free up DCMS regiments and their transportation assets. It was not wise to speak ill of mercenaries at this time.

Takashi waited patiently for Warlord Pesht to answer. "Yes. Of course, Director. I had the very thought myself--"

"--Ahh!" Subhash interrupted. "Is that why you have been collecting donations from all those citizens? It's an astounding figure, and kept safe in multiple accounts no less. Such fastidiousness."

Cherenkoff's mouth gaped.

"Yes, yes I believe that will do. You can easily hire three, even four regiments with those donations. It's even enough to remunerate Isesaki Shipping for the various express deliveries," of slaves and worse, "delivered to Pesht recently. I believe that will alleviate some of the uproar." Subhash's smile never left his face.

Takashi interjected. "Vasily, I know your honour finds it difficult to tolerate mercenaries. You need not use all of them within your borders. Send them across the Periphery, crush these pirates and if you can, bring their worlds under the Dragon's wings."

Seizing upon the Coordinator's words, the Warlord throttled back to life. "My honour prevents even this, tono. I regret I cannot hire sellswords to defend my district." He bowed low.

"I understand, Vasily." Takashi stood. "We will hire them. With your donations," the Coordinator said with a straight face, "we can use these mercenaries against our hated foes. Vasily, I am truly impressed with your integrity and generosity."



(Modified scene from Chapter 43 of Heir to the Dragon by Robert N. Charrette.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 04 January 2013, 01:02:05
Wow, I'm surprised he wasn't offered the use of the garden.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 04 January 2013, 01:52:20
 O0  Very nice update!  Nice to see Takashi using his own warlord's donations to help the realm!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 04 January 2013, 10:00:53
Another promotion is coming soon.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 January 2013, 12:28:27
Vasily's too well connected to dispose of easily. Also, he's a useful idiot: Ambitious and corrupt, but predictable and unsubtle.

But he is ambitious... After all, he helped start the Ronin War. And the good-cop/bad-cop routine of Takashi and Subhash was a warning.


==============================

Imperial Institute of Technology, Pauchang, Xinyang
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
18 May 3028



Chief Tech Kowalski sighed when he saw Ninyu Kerai sitting in his chair. The office wasn't technically his, yet, but it was the closest to the labs and all his stuff was there. Ninyu, the self-confessed ISF agent, had his feet on his desk and appeared to be sleeping.

"Oh, quit fooling around," Kowalski said, smacking the feet off his desk to place the readouts he was carrying in their appropriate spots.

Ninyu stirred then settled back to his meditative state, a smirk forming on his lips as Kowalski's annoyed sounds reverberated in the humble room. "So, what's up, doc?"

"My blood pressure, Ninyu-kun. And I am not a doctor, I'm a tech."

Ninyu opened an eye at him, taking in the white lab robes, the research cap, slightly askew, and a cup of hot tea. "You're one odd tech, then, doc." He held up a hand. "What progress have you made?"

Feeling harassed this early in the day, the chief tech slumped into a guest chair. "With the Helm Core? Plenty and not enough. I'm as much a scientist as anyone in the days of lostech. Now, that tech isn't so lost anymore and I find that I am." The hot tea burnt his tongue. "It's a good thing, Theodore-sama moved us here to Xinyang, to IIT. If I had to recreate the research myself, I'd go mad." His cap drooped at the last word, making Ninyu laugh.

"It's not funny," he said, blowing on his cup. "This institute is barely worthy of the name these days. The records they were able to recover from Halstead Station were enough to jumpstart a few projects, but Hanse Davion took the bulk of it to form the NAIS."

"Just half of it, actually." Ninyu corrected. "And the other half's been slowly making its way here over the last 14 years--"

"--Emphasis on the 14 years, Ninyu-kun. I still don't buy that, by the way."

"What?" Ninyu asked, stirring.

"The whole 'it was the plan all along to let Hanse Davion take the manuals and do the hard work of researching for us to steal' thing. Subhash Indrahar wasn't even the Director of the ISF then, was he?"

Ninyu nodded. "It's probably a convenient lie, but it has worked out to be true. We don't get as much as we want, chief tech, but we get enough."

"But we still spend months piecing their research together." His cap drifted down again and he re-set it on his head. "What we're doing now is happening much faster. Thanks to your 'data specialists' we were able to cross-index the whole thing into something resembling referenced works."

Kowalski stood up. "You want project updates, hmm?" He grabbed a reader. "Agro-Proj-11 is coming along nicely, according to the glorified farmers in the AgriSciences wing. They're working almost hand-in-hand with the Water Purification projects, which we may have practical results from soon. Anyway, with just the new planting patterns, we can increase yields by as much as 2.1% this year alone."

"That's a lot of rice."

"Hopefully." Kowalski thumbed a button on the reader. "The Material Engineering wing is dumbfounded by the research materials. They were the cutting edge of Star League science, so I'm re-allocating them to some more practical matters. Neo-steel alloys and ceramet weaves for civilian use. Endo-steel and ferro-fibrous materials for military use. Guess which gets the bulk of the research?" He shook his head. "The Brotherhood's medical experts are devouring everything they can. It's actually the most productive sector of our research, Brother Albrecht tells me that fifteen new medicines are ready for trials now which will cure a variety of common ailments. We can even sell them to the Free Worlds League, or even the Capellan Confederation... if they're still around next year."

Ninyu shrugged at his comment and pulled out a canteen to sip from.

"Hmm. And the surgical procedures look promising as well, once we've rebuilt the sonic-scalpels and grow some of the modified leeches and such." He took a long quaff from the cup, the tea now at a pleasant temperature. "The Helm Core contains more than just technical matters, well I mean, more than just the hard sciences."

"Economics, again, Kowalski-kun?" Ninyu fidgeted for a ration bar he hid away on his person. "The Coordinator isn't interested in such things."

"Isn't he?" Kowalski asked, leaning forward. "He's already ordered some minor reforms that are bearing fruit. By the buddha, the eta work less than 12 hours a day now on Luthien and are paid more!"

"It's a fatigue-relieving measure. The factories have been working non-stop," Ninyu said, gnawing on the bar. "Plus it means there are two shifts now instead of one-and-a-half."

"Fine. Explain why so many monopolies have been broken apart. With public funding for competitors--"

"That's the Order of Five Pillars. Monopolies, as you know, are not allowed within the Combine, cooperation is encouraged, however," Ninyu said repeating a rote line, "and it has always been the O5P's pleasure to invest in the foundational industries of our economy."

"That's not my point, Ninyu-kun. The mutant-mathematicians, those economists, are saying that the Combine's economy will actually grow this year. Despite the chaos of all the command circuits. Despite the coming war. There's more than just specs here. There are economic theories written by Hegemony experts that could shed some light on so many things."

Ninyu relented. "What are you asking for?"

"Schools! Business schools!" Kowalski jolted upright. "Our traders are the joke of the Sphere. Our dukes of industry focus on maintaining power. Accounting, Economics, we don't teach these in our schools at all. Not to boys at least, they're womanly things. And then we don't allow the women to lead businesses or use these skills."

"You should speak with Tomoe-san."

Kowalski nodded, it was the most he had gotten from Ninyu on the matter over several weeks of nagging.

"BattleTechnology," he said, changing the subject. "That's trickier, they're built on nearly all the other advances, thankfully since we're putting the bulk of our research behind new and deadlier guns, we're indirectly helping other research. In fact, it's more efficient to focus on the underlying stuff first before making sharper knives."

The chief tech's eyes drifted to the sheathed katana laying on a side table. It was a mini-discovery regarding mining and medical technologies that allowed for the miniaturization of power-cells and efficient, curved vibro-blades. The vibro-katana was born a short time later, and Ninyu Kerai claimed the first prototype for himself and ordered the specs sent to New Samarkand immediately. The hilt had a powercell that could power a blazer rifle through several battles and the sheathe was an excellent insulator. It had a convenient side-effect of being far quieter than normal, cord-limited, vibro-blades.

"So, no possibility of refitting the Swords of Light to the SLDF's Royals' specs yet?" Ninyu asked, half-jokingly referring to the now-legendary Royals who fielded equipment that exceeded the capabilities of even the rest of the well-equipped Star League Defense Force.

"Mmm, no. We don't even know how we can build the tools we need to make the tools used to create some of these things. I fear that these double-strength heatsinks might never be in sufficient numbers in the Combine. Polymers, blah."

"I don't suppose you can build a WarShip or two?"

"Maybe in a decade or two, Ninyu-kun. Not to be rude, but when are you leaving? I thought you were only going to be here for a few days then--"

"--That's not your concern, tech." Ninyu's face darkened and his body tensed.

A far cry from the Smiling One, Kowalski thought privately.

"Can I at least sit in my own chair?"

"No."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 04 January 2013, 21:26:49
Brilliant! Nice nod to the scene in the book ("What do I know about rice?"), and also good background for the Combine, and how it's economy works.

Keep going, this is great! O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 04 January 2013, 23:35:25
Nice sidebar ti the on-military advances
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 05 January 2013, 01:14:27
"Can I at least sit in my own chair?"

"No."


 ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 05 January 2013, 15:52:40
Very good update, I am almost wanting to pull for the Kuritas.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 January 2013, 01:16:45
Bannockburn Bogs, Outside New Glasgow, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
20 May 3028



Dechan Fraser didn't wait for the crosshairs to glow gold as he drew a long pull from his Armstrong J11 autocannon. His Shadow Hawk, painted in the colour of old blood, pounded its feet against the loamy marsh as streams of shells spat towards the blue-gold 'Mechs of the 1st Royal Guards.

Neither the Wolf's Dragoons nor the DCMS expected the Archon's bodyguards to be garrisoning Skye. It did make sense to move the well-equipped unit close to the frontlines. But the unit was also the home of many politically approved officers, and that meant they couldn't be risked too frivously. Dechan had wondered what made them decide to place the 'Pride of Donegal' on the Federation of Skye's capital, whoever 'they' may be.

Now, he was wondering how to keep the damned Elsies from closing in.

The desperate double-burst chewed through his already diminishing ammo, but he was rewarded with a thermal bloom in his HUD overlay. The Commando he had targeted staggered back with an engine hit. He'd be exposed to more long ranged fire if he closed in, so the pilot wisely pulled back. Skye's unpredictable weather had clouded the marshes with thick banks of fog, laced with enough minerals in the tainted water to make sensors nearly worthless.

Which was why he had stumbled onto a full Royal Guards lance in a simple perimeter patrol. The Commando was the first to withdraw.

Wish his friends would follow, Dechan thought, acquiring a lock on one of the new Hatchetman designs they had been warned about. How is the most advanced thing in the last hundred years a 'Mech that's carrying a big, metal axe?

A Griffin to his rear right wasn't as impressed, or perplexed, at the new 'Mech design as the pilot welcomed it with a blast from its Fusigon PPC. The stream of particles swept fog aside in a steaming, coruscating path to slam at the Hatchetman's autocannon.

Whatever cannon it was, Dechan's warbook ticked it damaged as he loosed a stream of shells and a flight of his long range missiles. The pilot of the new 'Mech had never been in combat in one before in the Hatchetman, Dechan could tell by the way its body language changed. In one moment it moved smoothly, steadily. The next, it jerked and hesitated, unaware of just how to respond like it did now as the shells and missiles slammed into it.

Confused or damaged, the 'Mech staggered under the assault and crashed to the ground, bleeding oil and smoke.

"What the hell?--" Dechan shouted as the Hatchetman's neck burst into flames then its head lifted off completely. He tagged the location on his map, then focused on moving.

The paired Griffins, Steiner-variants, to its side ignored the fallen 'Mech as they struggled to close in, desperate to bring their laser array into play. Their missile launchers, thankfully downgraded to LRM-5 packs like his own SHD-2H, spat smoke that corkscrewed above drifting banks of fog.

Dirt and fire geysered around Dechan as they angled away at full speed, a few missiles fragments impacting on their armour. Only the Commando was fast enough to eventually close in, but the 55-tonners were evenly matched in speed but not in long-range firepower. And the Dragoons were more than willing to keep the range extended to their advantage.

Wary of overheating the PPC, the Dragoon Griffin loosed a flight of missiles at the closest GRF-1S that simply absorbed the damage on its chest without bothering to evade. The smoke had barely cleared from its armoured chest when a ball of lightning smashed into its torso.

Dechan turned his 'Mech's head to confirm, then motioned for his wingman to slow and turn.

A second, third, and fourth ball of lightning sped towards the GRF-1S's mangled chest, laying it bare for a combined flight of forty missiles. The Lyran pilot ejected as the missiles hammered deep, gutting the gold-and-blue 'Mech. Captain Fraser ordered a Hover APC forward to capture the MechWarrior.

The remaining Steiner Griffin spat coherent light from its large laser, carving a steaming furrow into the marshground as four Manticore Heavy Tanks rumbled forward. Unlike the Dragoon 'Mechs that seemed to have bathed in blood, the Manticores were charcoal grey. House Kurita's dragon-on-red-disk was prominent on the tanks' turrets.

The Parti-Kill Heavy Cannons belched again, accelerating particles in a contained burst of energy that blasted the remaining GRF-1S's retreating back apart. Even at the great distance, with the fog devouring noises, Dechan heard the gyroscope shatter and die as the lightning fed on it. The Royal Guards' Griffin had no choice but to slam into the muddy earth face first.

Dechan waited for an ejection that didn't come before ordering another APC forward to secure that MechWarrior.

"Company, head back to camp," Dechan ordered over the comms, broadcasting in the company's band. He waited until the other nine 'warriors, he had lost two in the last few days, acknowledged.

When they ran into the Royal Guards lance he ordered the company's two other lances to break apart and flank. Instead they ran into their own difficulties. The 1st Royal Guards had no compunctions in using armour or vehicles as well, and they posed difficulties against his company's recon 'Mechs. They disengaged with nothing lost but armour and ammo, and Dechan was thankful for that.

Turning his 'Mech to the Ryuken-san tanks, he bent his Shadow Hawk forward at the waist. The tanks turned their turrets to the side then dipped their cannons down, returning the bow. They trudged on, continuing to the firebase the Ryuken-san established. He sent the lead Manticore the latest map scans he and his recon company had made of the area, and the tank commander returned the favour with updated map readouts of the rear. He shared it with Hersch, who was scanning the horizon for IR blips in his Griffin. Wordlessly, the Dragoon pilot took point.

Dechan turned his attention towards his own SHD-2H as he moved to follow. The brief firefight cost him most of his autocannon ammunition, half his LRMs, and several tons of armour.

So much for being gutless wonders, Dechan harrumphed. I read they were urban specialists. The warbook neglected to mention they were pretty alright in everything else.

He glanced at the sub-system display. One heatsink was blinking between green and yellow and his 'Mechs' feet were registering higher-than-normal heat build-up, right up to their shins in fact.

On a hunch, Dechan flicked his view over to infrared and watched Hersch plod away in his Griffin. The torso, and especially the PPC, were still glowing hot, but the heat map on its legs was the same colour as the ground. He stopped completely, switching to the magnetic anomaly scan, which was worthless in the bog. It picked up the GRF-1N's torso and waist well enough, but scattered at the legs.

"Hey, Hersch. Did anyone ever tell you you had nice legs?"
 

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 07 January 2013, 03:50:27
Was the Lyran unit the 1st Lyran Guards or the 1st Royal Guards.
Whoever they were not to good. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 07 January 2013, 06:57:16
Are you calling out a lyran Mech lance that ran into a Dragoon company with tank support?  ???

As for Lestrade, i'll never understand those Skye idiots.
What do they hope to accomplish with secession?
Katrina should just give them what they want, full independance. Let the Dragon solve the "Free Skye problem" for her.
The survivors will be all too happy about seeing Steiner forces forever after.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 January 2013, 14:31:46
Thanks for catching that, snakespinner.

Technically, the 1st Royal Guards ran into a demi-lance: the SHD-2H and GRF-1N plus some APCs and Infantry. The Manticores came in a bit late to the fight, on their way to some other fight.
 
==================================

Wolf's Dragoons Alpha Field Headquarters, Bannockburn Bogs, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
22 May 3028


Natasha Kerensky walked in on Jaime Wolf peering into the holotank trying to divine victory from a ball of light instead of crystal. The raid was already a week old and Skye's weather was not cooperating with either side, the strain of setbacks showed on his face. They were bogged down, by the bogs and marshes, but also by the fervor of their opponents.

She had petitioned to attack the Sanglamore Academy with her company to split up the Lyrans, but Jaime had denied her three times already. The teachers and students had showed remarkable restraint, and Jaime explained that he didn't want to fight an unnecessary battle.

If Jaime sensed her presence he didn't show it, and she was content to wait. Part of the reason she enjoyed commanding the Black Widows was that they were just as patient as she was: meaning as patient as they had to be to secure the kill. She'd play Jaime's game, if it was a game.

She was not doing it to spend a few silent minutes alone with him.

"Tasha," the colonel said quietly after several moments. "Come look at this. Tell me what you see."

Natasha obliged, studying the surface of Skye as she stepped in closer beside him. Markers identified battalion positions and troop strengths. She stated the obvious. "The Skye militia's still not deploying."

Jaime nodded. "I've filtered in some plains-clothes recon teams. Word is, the militia's all for the foreigners--that's us and the Lyran regiments--killing each other so long as we don't come near their cities. It looks like they're sitting this one out." He turned his head towards her, waiting for more observations.

She saw what he wanted her to see immediately. She was going to play the game. She wasn't doing to extend the time they were by each other.

"And it looks like our pet snakes are doing well for themselves," she said mockingly of the Ryuken-san. "Did they pack their lunches?"

Jaime snorted. "They're doing better than we did against the 24th Lyrans. You remember them?"

"Oh yeah. Hesperus II." Natasha watched his face.

"Ten years and still one of the worst defeats we've ever suffered. The ISF rated them Green because of all the newbies they've taken in since. They don't fight like greenies."

"Well, what's one more thing the ISF has gotten wrong about this mission?" She jerked a thumb at the three Lyran 'Mech regiments on planet, instead of the one and highly unlikely two regiments the ISF believed. "But that's not what you're talking about, is it?"

The colonel shook his head and tapped into a console. "Fraser's company ran into more of the 1st Royal Guards here, and the Ryuken-san confirmed more contacts further south." Natasha nodded.

"That leaves these highways," she pointed to a string of narrow roads to the east, "either heavily defended or totally ignored."

"I need you," Jaime said, "and your company for a mission."

Her heart did not skip. "I'm," she corrected, "We're yours."




Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 January 2013, 14:51:52
Express Lane 67, Bannockburn Highway, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
22 May 3028


Natasha was in one of her moods as she sped her Warhammer at top speed along the highway. The ferrocrete roads were reinforced to take 'Mech footstomps, but were narrow enough that only a single 'Mech could trod on the single lanes. Natasha couldn't decide if that was poor or smart planning. She was mildly glad for the lack of civilian traffic, she had half-a-mind to stamp down on something and didn't need the trouble that would bring her.

The Black Widows were attuned to her moods and stayed silent, at least on the general comms. The company's heavier 'Mechs trodded on the highway, with the swifter ones churning dirt on either side, screening and scouting. She could see the telltales of private laser comms webbing between her force and she yammered into the general band. "Shut it, hens," and continued on fuming.

Natasha blew out the breath she didn't know she was holding and brought up the map again. They were heading south on the Bannockburn Express highway, with New Glasgow on the north east. The Ryuken-san were south of the capital city, she was now near their right flank. They're doing a decent job of bloodying the 24th Lyrans, she grudgingly admitted.

Alpha was on her right, and beyond them, Gamma facing off the reinforcing 17th Donegal Guards. Colonel Wilhemina Korsht had to split her time sending the 17th Donegal away and rotating a battalion to worry the 1st Royal Guards's flank. She was the only one having an easy time against their opponents because unlike the rest, the ISF did not underestimate the 17th Donegal's capabilities.

What lay in front of her was what Jaime believed to be the 1st Royals' command compound. The highway snaked beside the bogs that gave it its name, then curved east then further south to the smaller city of New London. The 1st Royal Guards were stationed, for political reasons she was sure, away from the capital city but close enough via highway. An extension was under construction when the Royals had moved in, it was being built underground to overcome the nasty winter weather and unreasonable springs Skye was infamous for. The snow had melted the day the Dragoons came, and the locals didn't seem eager to help the Archon's bodyguards in any way.

It was a gamble that they remained unaware of it.

A telltale blinked.

"What is it?"

"We have company up ahead, looks like Ryuken."

Natasha grit her teeth and focused her optics on the grey 'Mechs up ahead and on their left. Three stood in the open, two Grand Dragons and a Catapult CPLT-K2 her warbook helpfully provided. A Crusader stood beneath the shade of a massive tree. It raised a hand in greeting.

She had half a heartbeat of warning before the hand fell down in a chop. As one, the dark grey 'Mechs swiveled and fired at the advancing Black Widows. Most of them focused fire on her, slamming missiles, shells, and coherent light at the Warhammer.

The cockpit was a dissonant hell of alarms and strobing lights. Natasha tasted blood as her 70-ton 'Mech crashed down, hurling her against the restraints and straining her neck. The neurohelmet absorbed the whiplash but she felt reality dimming.

The Black Widows responded right away, opening fire on the Ryuken 'Mechs. Fire discipline saw two of the visible grey 'Mechs fall and the company staggered forward to surround the traitors. An Archer, its two torso launcher bays open, reached forward to drag the fallen Warhammer back as two other heavies stepped in front, absorbing the hits meant for the unresponsive 'Mech.

She was cut in several places, Natasha could feel the warmth of her blood gushing from her forehead and leg. The alarms finally went silent, restraining themselves to steady beeping, and she became aware of a voice laughing.

"Payback, it seems, is a lot like you, Natasha," Fadre Singh said as the roar of battle washed over her and pulled her into darkness.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 07 January 2013, 14:59:19
Those who abandon the Unity will go down in darkness...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 07 January 2013, 19:33:34
Hmm, am I seeing a little Jamie/Natasha shipping? O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 07 January 2013, 20:03:14
Fadre Singh, wasn't he the Dragoon who was thrown out for disobeying orders.
Well Natasha does need a lesson in humility once in a while. :D O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 07 January 2013, 20:37:38
Fadre Singh, wasn't he the Dragoon who was thrown out for disobeying orders.
Well Natasha does need a lesson in humility once in a while. :D O0

Yeah, he also ratted out the Dragoon's escape plan to ComStar. And since the 'Goons aren't running from the DCMS, I wonder how this will play out?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 January 2013, 22:29:04
Fort Draconis, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
24 May 3028



A pale glow on the horizon marked the coming dawn, and colours began to appear to Minobu's night-sensitive eyes. Another morning on Dieron, another day worrying. It had almost been a month since the Dragoons' contract had ended with the Draconis Combine, almost a month since a new set of agreements took effect. He shuddered at the memory of Samsonov's petty, cruel nature and at the damage he could have inflicted on the Combine had he fumbled relations with the mercenaries.

As the light grew, he could make out individual men and women far below in the streets of Draconisia, colloquially known as Snaketown both for the snaking shape of the city as it tried to nestle itself in the valleys between two mountain ranges, and for the other reason as well. It had long been the Kuritan stronghold on the planet, and much of the DCMS's administrative buildings stretched from one end of Snaketown to the next.

Already, the morning was beckoning men and women out of their homes and into vehicles, and soon the rooftop would not be a quiet place of reflection.

He turned to his side, expecting a young man that wasn't there.

Laughing at his old age, he descended the stairs into his office below.

His morning tea was perfectly brewed, and Minobu began his morning contemplating its flavour and its effect on his body. He dressed simply and spoke quietly, instilling a sense of peace in Fort Draconis that he suspected Vasily Cherenkoff did not cultivate. The servants flinched at the slightest of missteps. Officials cowered when he walked by.

It was hard to explain. They were not DCMS. Not samurai. He could not expect the same from those who had not been tempered with the same edge.

That was why he began placing retired 'warriors in small places of responsibility. He valued the decisiveness they possessed, and could not bear to look on them as they sat on the streets, idle and listless.

Today was a meeting day, a planning review session with his staff. Or, rather, with Vasily Cherenkoff's staff. The Coordinator had been kind to send in replacements, but he would put too much strain on the pride of a brittle few if he were to replace the staff fully. Warlords came and went, but the bureaucracy had to file seven forms in triplicate first. Minobu enjoyed the joke, and repeated every time he met with his staff. They were supposed to be DCMS, but were what he imagined Lyran Social Generals would be if they were given day jobs.

A short, rotund man waddled towards him. The swish of his robes was rhythmic and Minobu turned just as his secretary huffed to a stop. "Good morning, Minobu-sama," Rory Xi bowed, "I'm sorry to interrupt you, but there's an urgent message that the--"

"--ISF?--" Minobu provided.

"--yes, them, they said you'd understand, Minobu-sama. Just came via HPG, I hear."

The two stared wordlessly at each other for several seconds. Minobu tilted his head.

"Oh yes, the message!" Rory exclaimed, then pulled a polysheet out and couldn't decide to hand it to the tai-shu or read it. He settled on reading it as Minobu didn't move to take the readout.

"It's a haiku, how clever..."

Minobu cleared his throat, startling the secretary.

"Wolf is on the loose
Black Widow has spun her last
the Skye is falling.
"

Rory scrunched his nose. "It doesn't even rhyme."

Minobu Tetsuhara pushed the small man out of the way as he ran to his office.


(Scene modified from Wolves on the Border, Robert N. Charrette, Chapter 53.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 07 January 2013, 22:35:11
Hmmm.... Drac Social Generals...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Death by Zeus on 08 January 2013, 03:42:25
 @p? It doesn't even rhyme  [metalhealth] oy  #P
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 08 January 2013, 17:06:13
11th Legion of Vega Headquarters, Fedkirk Coast, Lyons
Federation of Skye, Draconis Combine
7 June 3028


Fuhito Tetsuhara was drinking from his coffee cup when Theodore Kurita strode into the 12th Star Guards' former headquarters, cleanly shaven. He spat the lukewarm liquid out, turning his head to the side at the last moment as he saw the tai-sa's face. The mustache he had affected, apparently for the last few years, was gone. His hair was still long, but it had been trimmed as well. The glint of confidence was still in his eyes.

"That bad, Fuhito-san?"[/i] asked Theodore.

"Not at all, Theodore-sama. You look... respectable." He stammered.

Theodore glanced at him and laughed. He was still chuckling as he motioned with his chin, indicating the map Fuhito was studying.

"We've got some excitement on the left flank," Fuhito reported. "Nothing the Eleventh Armour can't handle, tai-sa."

The colonel nodded at him as he studied it for himself. Fuhito often wondered how a tai-sa, a colonel, the minimum rank for regimental command was in charge of the Legion of Vega and in direct command of the 11th Legion of Vega. By the ancient SLDF's reckoning, the three 'Mech regiments formed a brigade. Each had their own armour and infantry regiments, who, unlike the Legions, were not dumping grounds for problematic MechWarriors. No, problematic tankers and infantrymen were executed.

Fuhito then wondered if the same solution could be applied to 'warriors, but Theodore Kurita spoke, interrupting his chain of thought.

"How was the campaign on Ryde, Fuhito-san?"

"Slightly boring, Theodore-sama." Fuhito's face had disappointment written on it. "We brought in the infantry and armour from Benjamin as you ordered, but not even those armed outposts proved challenging."

"And how did the Benjamites fare?"

"Well," Fuhito smiled, "not well at all. They didn't seem to believe all the chemically sealed gear was necessary, but even in spring the tainted snows fell. We left them there, grumbling." The young tai-i smiled. "You heard of our good fortune? Three JumpShips and a dozen DropShips were waiting in the system and on world, ready to pickup an annual shipment of chemicals. They were taken without a struggle to Kimball, ready for the factories there."

He was proud of it, even if it was unintended. The boost to the Dieron district would be substantial. Ryde's chemical industry would lead to more medicine, more ammo, more of everything they needed to prosecute the war.

The holomap flickered, absorbing new details fed in from the units in the field. The armour company had driven off the remnants from the 12th Star Guards' 3rd Regiment poking at their perimeter. The Star Guards' 7th Regiment had moved off world, heading to Corridan IV to support their brother regiment, originally, on Corridan IV.

Fuhito smiled at the memory of the initial strike more than two months ago. The 12th Star Guards were worthy opponents, and he felt unease as low-grade mercenaries were hired to choke the Star Guards on Corridan IV. The grinding battles would render the Star Guards as observers in the coming war.

Duty before honour. He was learning its meaning every day, and he looked to Theodore to guide him.

"Theodore-sama," Fuhito ventured in a whisper. "Do you miss commanding the Ryuken-ni?"

"Not at all," the young Kurita said smoothly. "I belong with the Legion." Fuhito tested the words and found them to be true.

"Tai-sa!" The comm tech shouted from across the room. There was dread in her voice, and Theodore moved swiftly to her console. "Air patrol is reporting several carrier DropShips on final approach. They're grounding at the Fedkirk Fire Chain and seem to be linking up with the remaining 12th Star Guards."

Fuhito gaped as the images cleared on a red-and-black triangle with a hound's head in the middle.

"The Kell Hounds," Tai-sa Kurita said. "Finally."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 08 January 2013, 22:55:00
Not a lot of love for Natasha huh? Was worried there'd be an outcry of some sort.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 08 January 2013, 23:17:17
She was one character i don't mind going.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 09 January 2013, 09:18:36
I was expecting her to miraculously escape, leaving a trail of broken foemen in her wake. *shrug* but its your fic, and shows that no one is immortal, not even fan favourites.

So, are we to finally see the Wolves and the Hounds face off against one another? O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 09 January 2013, 13:17:42
Not a lot of love for Natasha huh? Was worried there'd be an outcry of some sort.

Prolly cause we're talking Natasha Kerensky here.
She isn't dead until we've seen the corpse, poked it with a glowing iron, burned it to ashes, and spread those ashes though half a dozen solar systems...  :D

That said, is she dead? That part could easily be read as unconscious and rescued by her company. As a Whammy should be able to survive a salvo from those four Mechs.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 09 January 2013, 14:34:38
This should be interesting
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 09 January 2013, 16:14:38
Even assuming she's dead...

It's better than "Jump jet to the face!!!"
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 09 January 2013, 19:08:14
Even assuming she's dead...

It's better than "Jump jet to the face!!!"
True!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 09 January 2013, 23:50:52
Definitely better then getting killed by a made up, never before used move. Honestly I could see them going thru their list of old characters to be killed because...no real reason, just can't let them die of old age, they get to Natasha and someone screams "WAIT?? I have a brilliant idea for how to knock her off."
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 10 January 2013, 00:08:38
I did kinda leave that hanging didn't I? Hmm...   O:-) But I promise, no jump-jet flambe deaths.

Oh and the Hounds and Wolves will tangle. But not just yet, in 3028 they're still rebuilding from battalion-size. They'd have 2 tops.

The old unit books were remarkably detailed.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Chaeronea on 10 January 2013, 05:17:22
I've got to admit that my first thought was that Natasha had been knocked out from being tossed around in the cockpit or flashback from the neurohelmet, rather than being killed. Well, whatever, I'm not the one writing the story. Although I did find the hint of shippiness between Jaime and Natasha rather interesting...

And the Widow being attacked by Mechs with Kurita paintjobs, even though the Dragoons are still on relatively good terns withe the Dragon.. gee, who do we know who has a habit of pulling false-flag ops on mercenary units they think has something they want? <raises eyebrow>   
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 10 January 2013, 16:40:50
Bannockburn Bogs, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
7 June 3028


The blue-and-gold Archer charged with its missile hatches open, streaming smoke behind it as Jaime Wolf raised the 'Mech's fists and loosed blue coherent light. Another blue-and-gold Archer staggered as the beams drilled into its already blackened right torso. The 1st Royal Guards retained their parade camo that shared the same colours as his personal 'Mech, and it infuriated him. The fact that they hadn't swapped to proper camo told Jaime that this was a point of pride for the regiment, facing off against his Dragoons. Sure were there to intimidate the locals, fly the flag, or other such rubbish, but once combat began it was a matter of moments to repaint a 'Mech, especially in the downtime.

A part of his mind filed it away for further use, the rest of him conned his 'Mech. The ARC-2W steadied its gait, angling slightly to give the SRM flight he loosed an optimal angle. The four warheads all slammed into the ruined Lyran's right torso, detonating the missiles stored there. In a flash, all that remained of the Steiner Archer standing was its left leg, planted down as the pilot tried to swivel.

Wolf paid it no mind. He was already pushing forward, for the next kill.

His command lance trailed after him, blasting apart opportunists trying to flank his 'Mech. Jaime knew he shouldn't have done this, charging in like a fool, jeopardizing their whole mission, all for revenge. It had been two weeks since the news, and he believed he could act steadily. So he planned, studied, and waited.

The 1st Royal Guards were good. Not great, Jaime measured, but disciplined and organized. He knew of the Lyran propensity for promoting based on social standing instead of actual capability, with many nobles purchasing ranks to have a fancy military uniform to wear at even fancier parties. The 1st Royals may be full of social climbing 'warriors, but they were 'warriors.

They fell back against his sudden rush, pulling back the heavier elements first and harassing with the Lights. It was an effective delaying tactic, re-consolidating and re-adjusting in lances or in pairs to overlap fire on exposed foes. It wouldn't work.

The armoured vehicles darting at his feet sported red-on-black, and stymied the lighter Lyran 'Mechs. If they slowed, the heavier 'Mechs behind Jaime re-taught the lesson all Light 'Mech pilots are taught: Speed is Life. A Jenner, possibly salvaged from a DCMS assault years ago, ended its service to the LCAF by exploding into fragments. A red-and-black Warhammer had burrowed its two particle cannon into its rear torso--the sudden engine breach forced the fusion core into contact with cold air and expanded violently.

"Hovercraft, move ahead and worry those heavies at the backfield till we get there. Don't let them get comfortable." Jaime sent the order, the first one he'd made in ten minutes.

The lighter 'Mechs melted away from him, chasing away the hovercraft so that the heavier 'Mechs could concentrate on them. Three more died as the rest of Alpha's 1st Company opened fire, having waited until the Lights sped away at direct lines away from them. By the time the Lights arrived, the hovercraft were speeding off and turning around for a renewed charge through the heavies.

Jaime approved of the Ryuken commander's aggression. He intended to use the borrowed company as a reserve force, but they had instead acted as screeners. They had trained the Ryuken well.

Maybe too well...

Jaime didn't focus on the thought, instead setting his crosshairs to a waiting Zeus. His Archer loosed a single flight of long range missiles, startling the Lyran who was being raked by the Kuritan hovercraft. The missiles fell in quick succession, ruining the autocannon that provided much of its sustained medium range capabilities.

The 80-ton Assault 'Mech turned to Wolf, loosing its own missiles from its right arm. Jaime side-stepped the laser lock and dove under the missiles but walked right into the azure beam from the Zeus's left arm. Half a ton of ablative ceramics and diamond-woven metals evaporated across his Archer's chest. The hit didn't penetrate, but it heated up the 'Mech.

His company was closing in, firing at middling ranges but seeking their targets. The Lyrans' Lights, tangled in their chase of the swifter hovercraft, formed into a lance as the grey vehicles left them behind. A scout lance from another company engaged them, forcing the Lyrans to dogfight. The Heavies, unsupported, still managed to form a staggered line even as the Ryuken craft zipped between them at full speed, raking them with autocannon fire. A fresh Atlas stumbled under the thunder of heavy autocannon. The Ryuken company used Scarborough Manufacturers' designs, and three of the hovercraft were Saladins, one for each lance.

The Saladin crews were coordinating fire, targeting the same 'Mech instead of spreading the damage around. By the Atlas's thermal bloom and staggering, Jaime judged it a wise choice.

He circled the Zeus to his left, angling closer, and loosed one then two flights of missiles. More than one clumped into its cockpit and the 80-tonner was suddenly unsteady on its feet. It shed flaming shards as it crashed down. Jaime felt the impact but moved on to another target. His command lance stayed close, blasting apart anything Jaime didn't engage.

Jaime Wolf was on the hunt.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 10 January 2013, 17:54:24

Express Lane 67, Bannockburn Highway, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
7 June 3028



Dechan Fraser tracked on foot.

Colonel Wolf ordered him to take his recon company and scour the ambush site. The place where the Black Widow Company died. He had been standing around for an hour; the 1st Royal Guards didn't leave much behind to study. He identified armour shards, coolant leaks, and even spatters of blood. But he couldn't find anything useful.

He knew the Black Widows went down with a fight. The highway seemed like it intersected hell at the ambush point, and he could imagine the heat that blasted apart the trees and scoured the grounds for hundreds of metres around. There wasn't much to recover. It had been more than two weeks, and finally the Lyran's defense had only just wavered.

He had petitioned to be sent here right away, once they lost contact. The Dragoons' intel weenies suspected ECM to cover up the 1st Royal Guards managing to link with the 24th Lyrans that were facing off the Ryuken-san.

A Ryuken scouting force then reported heavy 'Mech traffic from both Lyran regiments, forcing Alpha and the Ryuken-san to fall back north, away from the city. The same scouts reported seeing the dead Black Widows. They were caught in a counter-offensive, it seemed.

Dechan's shoulders stooped as he remembered hearing that message, but he listened to his company's regular update hoping for something. Nothing new, nothing interesting.

Even the lance he sent to literally kick down the abandoned base for clues found only pristine hangars. When the 1st Royal Guards' base had been abandoned following the ambush, the tunnel the Black Widows thought to use in their sneak attack had been collapsed.

He walked on the highway, stepping over gashes that tore at the ferrocrete.

He couldn't understand what weapons made those marks. Dechan bent down and examined a ring embedded in the ferrocrete and flashed his light on it. Etched numbers glowed, serial keys, under the light. The sun was setting on the horizon and his time was nearly up.

Dechan unlatched his noteputer and scanned. The part belonged to a Crusader's left knee housing. Dragoon records were immaculately kept, so he tied in a search request through his nearby waiting Shadow Hawk and back to base. It would take a while to mate a handheld with a BattleMech with an administrative terminal, so he looked around even as the sun was setting.

The noteputer beeped minutes later, and Dechan started, having almost forgotten the query. He had been following the gouges that now seemed to be the result of a 'Mech being dragged across it. He stood at where the gouging ended, a spider-webbed crater.

Dechan glanced at the screen and fumed. Serial number unknown. No record for Kal-Ind #681NF-XXX in system. That's bloody useless... wait Kallon Industries? Dechan ran further queries as he clambered up to his SHD-2H, banging his elbows in his rush to secure himself. The Kuritans don't have a lot of the heavies the rest of the Sphere likes to throw around, but they do have enough of them for Luthien Armour Works to set up parts factories.

He patted the console, remembering how useless he felt until the replacement electronics shipped from another LAW compound. In the five years we've been working for the Combine, I'm not sure a disc from a leg actuator would have lasted more than a month in active use. Definitely not a 'Mech from the Black Widows... So who around here is sporting original replacement parts?

"Captain!" His comms shouted at him. "Captain Fraser, are you there?"

Dechan flicked a toggle. "I'm here, who's this?"

"This is Chu-i Robert Williams, you trained me in--"

"--in recon," Dechan remembered. "What's wrong, why are you on my freq--"

"--Why are you attack us, Captain Fraser?"

Dechan's throat dried. "We're not attacking you. Repeat, Wolf's Dragoons is friendly--"

"--tell that to your Heavy company! They're saying they blame us for Natasha Kerensky's death! That we didn't support--" Static washed out the rest. Dechan knew from experience that the squealing and static wash was from heavy energy weaponry.

"Williams." Dechan's hands manipulated the comm panel. "Chu-i Williams! Respond!"

"Captain!" Lt. Hersch called on another line. "We've got company... looks like Ryuken 'Mechs... they're firing!" Missiles arced down on Hersch's Griffin, half blasting apart tree branches or gouging the ground. But the 55-ton 'Mech was covered in flames.

Dechan Fraser frantically secured himself on the command couch. He flicked the command channel as soon as he set the neurohelmet on. "Company! Fall back! Do no engage, run and evade back to base!"

The Shadow Hawk rumbled to life as streams of autocannon fire from a grey Rifleman stitched fire up is right arm to his shoulder. Dechan used the momentum to pitch back at full speed, his 55-ton 'Mech's feet crunching down on the paltry evidence left.

He didn't waste breath trying to communicate with the Ryuken, though a part of his mind was wondering about the 'Mech that continued to stream shells at him.

Another burst connected, rocking him against his restraints and yellowing his rear armour over the autocannon's feeding systems. He focused on evading and coordinating the retreat.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 10 January 2013, 21:43:26
Wow!  It will be interesting to see if they figure out who really is behind the attacking mechs!  >:D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 10 January 2013, 21:49:28
Treachery. It really destroys allied cohesion.
Wonder how many enemies the Dragoons have who would want to do this. >:D O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: VhenRa on 11 January 2013, 04:52:19
What should be a headache is... some units of the LCAF by 3028 were already reforming into FedSuns Style RCTs IIRC.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 11 January 2013, 12:02:48
That fight against the Royals up there sure looks like they have a Lightning Company.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 January 2013, 13:40:35
Fedkirk Fire Chains, Fedkirk Continent, Lyons
Federation of Skye, Draconis Combine
8 June 3028


Theodore rushed the Revenant to the gap in the line, his command lance at his side, blasting the Kell Hounds' swift 'Mechs that dared to push through. Two fell while another two darted back and Theodore once again restrained his Legion from pushing forward.

Instead, he re-deployed them to expand the gap as he split the remnants of the light company into two halves sheltering behind outcrops and trees. The Hounds retreated, returning to their main force. Theodore saw the dug-in infantry and hull-down tanks against the setting sun that would have smashed the Legionnaires if they gave chase.

The 11th Legion of Vega once wouldn't have listened to him. They'd have rushed forward, get cut apart and out-maneuvered as they broke as much of the enemy's 'Mechs as they could. He spent the last few years teaching them a better way, and they were listening.

"Buso-senshi!" He called on the local command frequency. "Stay apart, let them dash forward between you then attack from behind. The 1132nd armour company is waiting to pick off any that get through. Do not advance. Chu-i Chalmers, company command is yours."

"Hai, Theodore-sama!"

Theodore saluted with the Revenant's right arm and stalked off. Tourneville's Vindicator stuck by him distressingly close by while the other two 'Mechs took the lead and the rear, enveloping him in a clever protective formation. Ever since he returned to the Legion after leaving so suddenly, Tourneville had redoubled his blatant spying efforts. The bodyguarding is new, Theodore observed as the command lance's armour and mechanized infantry caught up, stretching outwards in a screen. At least Tourneville's listening to my lessons, he noted, grudgingly approving the formation.

At one time, it would have infuriated him. But meeting with Minobu Tetsuhara had taught him many things, more than just being a samurai; he learned empathy and humility. Tourneville's doing his duty to the Coordinator. But he's showing loyalty to me by being so protective. Theodore sighed as the ON1-K's heatsinks lowered the 'Mech's waste heat to comfortable levels, cycling his air scrubbers as he did so. His loyalties wouldn't be split if I wasn't so... at odds with my father. I'm not just another warrior.

He took a moment to analyze the reports the Irian Orator-5K was compiling from numerous sources. The Kell Hounds had arrived with two 'Mech battalions to reinforce the 12th Star Guards who were down to a battalion-and-a-half of functional 'Mechs. That put them slightly above the 11th Legion of Vega's full regiment. Theodore called up the latest conventional casualties, noting that the 12th Star Guards' armour was vastly depleted, down to two battalions. The Kell Hounds only had armed transports for their infantry. The Legion came with full armour and infantry regiments, and they were at 70% effectiveness.

Theodore held the numerical advantage, but the mercenaries' 'Mechs were heavier overall. The Kell Hounds relied on an almost Kuritan approach, with an array of 'Mechs wheeling and dashing like Light Cavalry, screening their Heavies. In the DCMS's case, the Heavy 'Mechs were mostly Dragons. The Hounds brought heavier firepower to bear, and the 12th Star Guards were more than willing to coordinate with them.

The Eleventh was still a Legion of Vega. That meant they got whatever 'Mechs the 'warriors owned and the 'Mechs no one else in the DCMS wanted. When he first arrived, that meant broken-down Lights and a surprising amount of Mediums which traditional DCMS thinking still considered a poor compromise of speed and firepower.

He called up Sho-sa Tetsuhara, recently promoted due to the loss of Third Battalion's CO and XO in the opening firefight. "Sho-sa, any chance of breaking through?"

"Tai-sa," Fuhito responded out-of-breath but eerily calm as he seemed to be when conning a 'Mech. "These Hounds fight like devils! We've broken through three times now but they've redeployed quickly."

Theodore called up the map where he sent Third Battalion; it was a ridged area formed from the tectonic pressures of the inner continent. Plenty of open ground and lead right to the mercenaries' supply lines. It pulled the excess 'Mechs from the combined mercenaries and allowed him to bring up the Eleventh's armour and infantry to stall their assault.

"How's the opposition faring?"

"Two companies, tai-sa. But we've downed a company in total. Those choppers you brought in, deadly." A high-energy burst cut off the rest of Fuhito's report. "Unless they reinforce, we'll break through yet."

Tai-sa Kurita nodded. "Excellent. No reports of units breaking off from the front lately." Theodore cut off of the command line. Third Battalion was down nearly two lances themselves.

Fuhito still had numerical superiority. The landscape was not friendly to ground vehicles or infantry, and Theodore dispatched a battalion of combat VTOLs to aid Third Battalion. The mercenaries had to reinforce their admittedly better-equipped forces with frontline troops. That meant either advancing their infantry and remaining armour into his prepared guns, or sitting it out. They had chosen to advance.

If Fuhito succeeded in making off or destroying the supplies, the mercenaries would be further weakened. If he failed to do so, he still would have drawn off enemy 'Mechs from their assault or reserves. A lesser victory, but still one in the short term.

His trudging came to a stop at another gap, this time purposefully laid open. A nearly full Medium company trade energy blasts at range, both sides behind ample cover. The gaps, three that Theodore could see, invited the mercenaries to close in. Two were full of 12th Star Guards 'Mechs who should've known better than to trust a safe path against the Eleventh Armour. The third was being pressed by hovercraft and Kell Hounds Light 'Mechs, with tracked vehicles following behind.

Theodore rotated the Revenant's torso, tracking the lead Wolfhound and sent a stream of shells from his KaliYama autocannon. The WLF-1 pilot hadn't counted on heavier 'Mechs and faltered as Tourneville hurled a blast of particles at its legs. The combined attack set the Light 'Mech off balance and it crashed in a deep gouge to the ground.

A Legionnaire Dervish twisted and launched Infernos on the downed 'Mech then returned its attention to the still advancing force. The mercenary 'warrior saw no choice but to eject as the gel began immolating the Light 'Mech.

Theodore watched this with part of his attention but kept an eye on the advance. The Lights were not meant to push through but rather act as a distraction for the combat tanks rumbling behind them. Apart from the Wolfhound no other mercenary 'Mech was down, though many sported new molten wounds.

He opened a line to his command centre and fed his sensors in. "Is that all of them?"

"Hai, tai-sa!" An analyst replied.

"Begin bombardment," Theodore said, clicking off the line.

They knew the Kell Hounds and 12th Star Guards didn't have more than a regiment of vehicles between them, a third of which were infantry fighting vehicles. The two battalions were all accounted for. All dug-in.

The Long Tom shells arrived less than a minute later, landing like fists of angry angels battering the earth. The Legionnaires were calling in the strikes, using artillery drills that the DCMS rarely applied.

Theodore watched, satisfied, as the Kell Hounds began retreating. It was a blindspot for the elite mercenaries; they put infantry to great use but unlike the Dragoons didn't integrate vehicles. They were left under the 12th Star Guards' command, and he saw the weakness in that arrangement and chiseled at it.

His Orator-5K lit up with reports of retreating armour, pulling away as scattered shells fell amongst them. The mercenary 'Mechs were evaporating as well, and Theodore opened a line to Fuhito.

"Sho-sa? How goes it."

"Snuck a lance through and sent half the VTOLs to cover them." Fuhito said, voice energized but steely. "Used an old Dragoons trick."

"Good work, Sho-sa Tetsuhara." Theodore was impressed. "Order them to destroy what they can, you have twenty minutes until they reach you. If they continue their advance--"

Warnings and klaxons interrupted Theodore as fire fell from the sky. Blasts of lasers, shells, and missiles fell and rocked the Legionnaires. Theodore angled up and loosed a fight of missiles just to distract the aerospace fighters. They flew on, assured of their invincibility as the Legion 'Mechs were ripped apart.

Bombs fell, wracking the land further. One landed directly on Tourneville's Vindicator and the 'Mech blinked off the lance feed. More fell around Theodore, who blazed away with his lasers as he struggled to bring the KaliYama in line.

The klaxons blended into one urgent wail, and a threat indicator blinked that an O/P 2500 TGFD had acquired a lock.

Theodore turned the Revenant towards the incoming Stuka which flew in low. His reticule glowed gold and he stitched fire on its nose and wings with the booming Class 10 autocannon as his missiles spattered its canopy and tail. The lasers burnt deep rents on its right wing, melting the already shredded armour as the Stuka returned fire.

Four azure beams slammed into the Revenant as missiles corkscrewed towards him.

Theodore felt his 'Mech falling as the impact warning sounded. He slammed the eject and blacked out as the ground erupted.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 11 January 2013, 14:15:44
Wow, everyones having a bad day.

Did anyone lese visualize Fraser "There was a mighty battle..."
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 11 January 2013, 19:29:07
No plan survives contact.
Well Theodore learned that or at least the headache will teach him some more humility. }:) ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 January 2013, 19:54:58
Legion Fallback Point, Fedkirk Continent, Lyons
Federation of Skye, Draconis Combine
8 June 3028


Sho-sa Esau Olivares roared in his cockpit just as his Victor's Pontiac 100 autocannon thundered into the nearest mercenary. He no longer cared what it was in front of him, but he held on to his rage. He was still in command, of himself and of the unit.

It's what Sama woulda wanted. Theodore had made him second-in-command of the unit itself, and Olivares' heart still thudded with pride at that. That made him the boss now.

The enemy 'Mech fell apart and he moved in, stepping on its head.

He blamed himself. Theodore put him in charge of the battle line; 11th's First Battalion with two battalions of tanks and PBIs each. But the aerospace fighters were too much and he ordered the retreat when Theodore's signal cut off. If it weren't for the tai-sa's prudence in acquiring some devoting some of the vehicles to anti-air, they would simply have been wiped out.

Sama trusted me. Damned bloody mercs!

His Victor speared a tank with twin ruby streams, ruining its tracks as four missiles wrecked it in a single blast. Burning infantrymen tumbled out of the wreck, but Olivares paid it no head. He had retreated to the tai-sa's preset fallback point. Hours before, Olivares joked that Sama was being too cautious.

Now he thanked him for his foresight. Olivares studied everything Theodore, Sama, said. He knew he wasn't the smartest, but he also knew what worked, and Sama's stuff always worked.

When he has the right intel! Olivares punched a random surface on his cockpit. The stations across the world were under their control, he was overseeing them for Sama. They reported nothing until the Kell Hounds' DropShips came shooting across the horizon. Someone's lying, and they gonna pay, Esau promised as he rejoined his lance.

He handed off artillery control to company commanders. Sama had brought in a support regiment from Dieron, the battalion of VTOLs, a battalion of recovery and support vehicles, and the artillery battalion. Esau Olivares figured since he loved using artillery so much it was only good to share, like Sama would.

The 12th Star Guards had little to no vehicles left, and the Kell Hounds were saving up their infantry. So the artillery went into keeping the heaviest 'Mechs at bay as he drew back his forces to cover them against fighters.

Olivares could do the math. There were two fighter carriers up there, Vengeances his warbook suggested, that stayed in orbit. That meant that not only were the stations not working right, or honestly, but so was aerospace traffic control.

The 12th Star Guards were pulling back to mass another charge. Olivares nodded proudly as a company commander called in a fire mission. The artillery blasted the assembling 'Mechs, felling two before they scattered back even further.

He listened to everything Sama said about tactics, but nothing covered aerospace defense. So he asked for help, stunning the other officers. They drew up this arrangement, and they started calling him Esau-sama to which her yelled back, "There's only one Sama here and he's not here!"

Esau drew the line and waited for the dawn.


=============================
Fedkirk Fire Chains, Fedkirk Continent, Lyons
Federation of Skye, Draconis Combine
8 June 3028


Fuhito speared a Kell Hounds Ostroc with Katana Kat's PPC, shredding armour in a thundering blast. The Heavy 'Mech backed off, its weapons still out of range and not willing to take the hits. With it gone, he linked up with the lance he dispatched to smash the supply depots.

The VTOLs he had sent as cover for the lance zipped above them, unrelenting in their peppering of the Ostroc with missiles and shells. It returned to its comrades, bleeding flames and smoke form its torn body.

He ordered the VTOLs to dart away, using the enemy's focus on them to reshift his lines. The Kell Hounds knew how to fight. Once the Legion retreated they backed off and worked to cut off Fuhito from the rest of his regiment. It would have worked had it not been for Tai-sa Kurita's gifts: he returned to the Legion with a battalion of combat VTOLs, artillery, and support vehicles, all trained on Dieron.

Coordinating with them had been smooth, but the conventional regiment knew how to operate with each other. He had set loose Tai-i Jane Sherman, the VTOL commander, to delay the Hounds. She surprised him by coordinating artillery strikes on the 'Mechs she slowed down with their raking attacks.

It didn't last long, Sho-sa Olivares needed the artillery to cover his own retreat and to buy time to re-form their defense. Tai-sa Kurita's battle plan would work, even the possibility of a retreat was his idea.

Still, Fuhito mused, What I'd give for more artillery.

So Fuhito maneuvered his battalion, wheeling and dashing as the Kell Hounds had in the morning, seeking an opening, all the while moving south and west. The further away the Kell Hounds chased them, the farther they'd be from the main battle line.

The mercenaries' heavier 'Mechs were working against them. Their Lights had been damaged in their high-speed maneuvers earlier in the battle, and they were not giving up their chance to crush a third of the 11th Legion's 'Mechs. Still the distance grew and Fuhito ordered a continued march instead of their planned rest.

"Sho-sa?" The feminine voice inquired on a private link.

"We keep moving, Sherman-san. Please dispatch scouts further ahead, we are leaving the Kell Hounds behind."

"Hai!" The link died and a company of the VTOLs split outwards. They soon outdistanced his own scouts and his comms board indicated the VTOLs were speaking with their 'Mech counterparts, coordinating and communicating.

The tai-sa would approve, Fuhito nodded. He imagined he would've raged and wailed at the loss of Theodore Kurita. Instead he felt the burden of command and a coldness. He heard the Wolf's Dragoons had taken to calling his brother Minobu 'Iron Man'. Not because he lacked passion, but of his unbending resolve.

Fuhito knew he lacked that. The Tetsuhara hara. Now, he had an inkling of what it felt like and his memories finally began catching up to his experience. The strength flowed calmly from within, and it was enough to do what he needed to.

The Kell Hounds had not given up their pursuit, breaking off faster elements to pull out ahead in another angle. They'd try to harry the force towards the hilly terrain near the coast, slow them down while the Lights pinned them in place. Tai-sa Kurita warned him of that, and made Fuhito identify passes that the battalion could swiftly move through.

Theodore-sama also pointed out that the Kell Hounds aerospace forces might still make an appearance. Fuhito shivered inwardly at the memory.

He rotated the air-watch duties from third company to his former command, second company. Tai-sa Kurita thought that while all samurai must remain vigilant it was prudent to rotate those duties. The mind is a blade, and the blade can dull with improper use. His father had said that to Theodore, and the tai-sa repeated that to him. He had heard the words, but now he understood.

The horizon lit up with the rising sun, and Fuhito smiled. The night passes--

A beep interrupted his thoughts, the comm panel requested his attention on a civilian frequency. The planet was being inundated with the video transmission, he moved it to his main HUD, watching in a window.

"To the DCMS on Lyons, know this! Last night we killed your Heir, Theodore Kurita! Surrender or flee!"

The image was of a ruin of a man, a Kuritan MechWarrior judging by the tattered coolant vest and boots. It zoomed in on the gore, to a flexi-printout of Tai-sa Theodore Kurita in the same outfit holding Tomoe by the waist. Both were smiling,spattered by blood.

"We would have preferred to take him alive, but he resisted. We'll kill all of you Snakes if you don't leave." The image dissolved to the 12th Star Guards' logo then blanked.

Fuhito smiled, despite himself. Resisted? Right to the end, he would have fought. He did. He slowed Katana Kat and passed orders. He didn't wait for confirmation, he ordered with full knowledge of his unit's obedience. The lances peeled away from their approach and re-assembled facing the direction they came from in three arrowheads.

The VTOLs swung about then and fell behind hills and trees, masking their approach. Tai-i Sherman had created two pincers from her battalion, knowing what he need from her without being told.

The Kell Hounds, now a reinforced battalion, tracked the VTOLs. Thinking it another delaying strike, they slowed and deployed to chase them off.

They saw Third Battalion's charge too late.

"For the Dragon!"


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 11 January 2013, 23:15:55
Natasha and Theodore dead, the Dragon and Wolf are suffering horrendously for this. I have to wonder what big names have bit the dust on the Lyran side? Perhaps one of the Kell brothers. Then again nothing can make up for the death of Theodore, Takashi's only son and heir.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 January 2013, 23:47:30
*cough*

I can't kill Theodore. Yet.  ;)

================================

Fedkirk Fire Chains, Fedkirk Continent, Lyons
Federation of Skye, Draconis Combine
8 June 3028


Theodore woke with hands grabbing at his restraints as he tried to open his eyes. His head was ringing and he couldn't hear the coughing that wracked his body and caused sharp prods of pain all over.

His eyes finally snapped open as he felt a prick on his neck. The coldness that spread warmed set everything in focus. He looked at a burning sky and realized he was hanging upside down as a 'Mech's arm ripped free and fell.

Ben Tourneville was busy cutting his mangled restraints. Blood covered his face, but he had staunched the flow. Theodore reached out, rubbing Tourneville's head and mussing his hair.

The spy looked up at him, confused. "Theodore-sama! You're awake!"

Theodore nodded, his head rocking back and forth slowly. He wore a MechWarrior Cooling Suit, a new gift from his cousin Constance, and it featured a limited ability to inject its wearer with stims and life-saving drugs. Whatever it gave me isn't aiding my judgement. Theodore reflected and he patted Tourneville on the cheek.

He fell, upside down, into Tourneville's arms. The other man was grievously injured, his right shoulder scorched, and yet he didn't complain. Theodore noted that.

"They are coming, tai-sa!" Tourneville said in fierce whisper. "We must go." Theodore wobbled to his feet, leaving Tourneville to ransack his command chair's supplies. He returned with a Nakjima laser pistol and some battery clips, rations, water, and a flexi-printout of Theodore and Tomoe.

"Hold on to that, for me, will you Ben?" Theodore said, depositing the supplies into his suit.

Ben didn't argue with him, stuffing the picture into his cooling vest. Theodore saw it was blasted in several places, the toxic coolant mixing with his blood. Tourneville saw Theodore looking and shook his head, grabbing his elbow and ushered the young Kurita on. "The useless Legion has retreated, tai-sa. They didn't even check to see if you still lived. We are behind enemy lines."

As they moved, the stims in his system awakened more and more of his brain. "Comms?"

"None, tai-sa. We are fortunate that the eager sellswords rushed forward, they may not even know they brought you down."

Theodore stopped and looked back. Revenant laid on its back, as if basking on a beach. It's right torso was shredded, the autocannon a drooping ruin. He turned and saw the series of gouges the Stuka left on the ground as it landed on its wing, tearing it off, bounced and landed on its nose and broke apart as it whirled.

The STU-K5's cockpit was still burning.

They limped past and Theodore realized his left knee wasn't cooperating, dragging behind him. Tourneville moved to that side, taking on his weight without a word, pistols in each hand.

"Hide, Lord!" He urged, and Theodore stood confused.

Tourneville pushed him underneath the Stuka's shorn wing, into the pit it carved. It pinged as it cooled. There was room only for one. Still groggy, Theodore heard the rumbling of the tank when it moved past Revenant.

Ben Tourneville stood in the open and raised both laser pistols. Theodore forced himself to watch as Tourneville, the thorn at his side for years and years, screamed and charged. The light from the pistols seared his eyes, but the tank's spotlight burst in the first shot and the the communications antenna melted in three shots.

The tank, an armed transport Theodore saw as his eyes adjusted, disgorged its cargo of infantry but Ben was ready for them. He dropped the spent pistols and hurled two grenades. One exploded harmless on the tank's hull, the other right in the midst of a debarking squad. Theodore saw Tourneville duck as heavy machine gun fire from the transport chewed through the air above him. Lying prone, he snapped off shots at the platoon swarming out.

For seconds no bullet could touch him. A grenade fell at his location and he tossed it away, another fell and exploded before he could move. The troopers, 12th Star Guards judging by their uniforms, surrounded the upturned Ben. The pistols hummed twice more, cutting down two troopers.

The rest of the squad opened fire, riddling the corpse with bullets and laser scorches.

Theodore saw all this.

An officer, or the tank driver, came up with a fistful of printouts and a flashlight. Theodore ducked low and strained to hear.

"You malf-ups!" The man with the light screamed. "How are we going to identify him now? Back in the--"

"--Hey eltee!" A trooper shouted, picking something up from the ground near Tourneville.

"That's him, isn't it?"

The lieutenant snatched the picture and examined it under the light. It showed Theodore Kurita, wearing the standard DCMS cooling vest, sitting with Tomoe wearing the same. "Now she's a beaute!" The lieutenant said, passing the image around.

"Boys, we just nailed us Teddy the K! Theodore Kurita himself!" The platoon shouted, their dead forgotten in the moment. "Get a body bag! We're taking this back to HQ, the comms are busted."

Theodore waited as the platoon clambered back in, collecting the dead. The transport reversed and disappeared, leaving him cold and furious.

He waited, knowing that to move would risk capture. Sure enough, a team of techs drove up in a half-track and began examining the Kuritan wrecks.

Theodore banished the pain from his body, stopping it from affecting his mind but using it to fuel his senses. He fed in fear as well, he had no use for it. Against the flickering pyres he was the shadow. Even if the techs were alert they wouldn't have seen him. The first two died beside each other, not knowing he was right behind them.

The third and fourth he shot, not trusting to surprise with his damaged knee. The Nakjima's hum wasn't loud enough to be heard over the half-track's engine. He checked the techs for supplies, donned the jumpsuit of the one he shot in the head, and took the half-track.

The vehicle was still rumbling northwards when dawn came.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 14 January 2013, 12:32:28
Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
14 June 3028



He found Takashi Kurita at his balcony overlooking the city.

Subhash Indrahar sighed and bent down, grasping the note that Takashi kept in his grip. Despite his efforts to control the flow of information, somehow the news found its way to the Coordinator. He had hoped to deliver it himself. Takashi's own doctors, performing a routine physical for the upcoming journey to Terra for Hanse Davion's wedding, had identified warning signs that could lead to a severe stroke. He was to undergo treatment in two days, Subhash returned from New Samarkand to oversee it personally.

He stared at Takashi's face, tortured and mourning. One of the most powerful men in all of humanity... died alone.

The Smiling One had withheld the news about Theodore's death before it could be confirmed, before he could alert the doctors. But he had been outmaneuvered. It had been presented when his attentions had been weakest, focused on unraveling the sudden turn of events on the Steiner border. Not just with Theodore, but on Skye, and in Tamar.

A figure darkened the doorway, dressed in the Otomo's traditional uniform. He wore a trim of gold that was the privilege of the Kurita family.

Subhash was no longer smiling as he closed his friend's eyes and stood.

For several eternities, the Director of the ISF contemplated the man that stood in front of him. Shadows within shadows, Subhash judged and ordered his mind.

Subhash started to speak, but the figure stiffened. Almost regally. His line of attack was turned aside, deflected with an efficiency of movement.

"Coordinator," he said, smiling with a placating bow.

He strode into the balcony, not even glancing at his predecessor's corpse. His eyes were fixed on the Imperial City, glowing like a jewel underneath the swirling dark clouds of Luthien.

Marcus Kurita looked up into the stars and laughed.



END OF BOOK ONE

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Stormcrow on 14 January 2013, 12:41:31
It looks like we may have a Drac Civil War brewing and right before Hanse's wedding, too
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 14 January 2013, 18:27:37
Things could not get worse for Theodore.
Or could they? >:D }:)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 15 January 2013, 08:03:47
Marcus... no challenge for Galahad
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 15 January 2013, 11:22:52
Right now I am willing to cover up to 3 to 1 on Theodore.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 15 January 2013, 13:27:36
Marcus... no challenge for Galahad

Might wanna rethink that.
Without the Dragoons, Takashi and the "Death-to-Mercs-order" the Suns/Combine front will look completely different.
The Dracs might even wage a real war, instead of the personal feud we got in canon.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 15 January 2013, 15:14:57
Marcus is a nice character to play with... because we know very little of him apart from the fact that he's a schemer.

And apparently a pretty good one. Though the novels don't say it, I think he lacks military expertise. Takashi had that. Theodore does, but he's overbold.

We have capable people on the borders. But what can they do against a Kurita v Kurita fight?

And now, for a very long Prologue for Book Two!

===================================

BOOK TWO
PROLOGUE

Lugh Overlord-class DropShip, Fedkirk Fire Chains, Lyons
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
17 June 3028



Morgan Kell sat beside her as the instruments slowly stilled one at a time. His eyes burned, his body ached, and the gnawing pit in his chest thudded painfully.

A week, only a week... Morgan squeezed her hand gently. The doctors said it could be months before she woke up, if her organs didn't fail... Another telltale beeped then silenced itself.

He closed his eyes and thought back. They had pushed the Legion back at severe cost. She was supposed to chase the harassers away and rejoin the main force. Instead, the Snake battalion turned around and charged them. He didn't know who to blame, the 12th Star Guards for their crude broadcast, or the Legionnaires for their bloodlust.

It had been a week since he rushed to her broken Wolverine and gently tore open the cockpit, mangled by a PPC blast. He stayed by her when he could spare the time, wanting to be there when her eyes opened again.

But she wouldn't wake. There was no life left in her hands, so he held on tighter. Some time in the last few days, as the casualties mounted, he imagined that his hands were her lifeline. Her way back.

Her pulse is so weak.

He gripped her furiously then, fighting the urge to shake her awake, to yell at her to come back. Morgan opened his mouth, but a shrill note sounded instead of his voice. All the lights stilled into lines and urgent alarms.

Salome Ward was dead.

The gnawing in his chest engulfed him. They found him on the floor, in the corner of her room, days, hours, minutes later, he couldn't tell. He rifled through the many memories he had with her--There weren't enough. There should have been a lifetime's worth.

Cat Wilson shook him.

Is he yelling? Morgan wondered, hearing the sounds but not the words.

One word made it through. Morgan knew it meant something, something important.

Genyosha.

It didn't matter anymore.

Cat Wilson, tears in his eyes, slapped him. It did nothing. Cat heaved him to a chair, securing him as familiar klaxons wailed in the background.

Moments passed. He imagined he was roaring at the loss. He felt heavy. Heavier. He couldn't breathe!

Good, Morgan thought, gasping for air. I'll be with her soon...


===================================


11th Legion of Vega Field Headquarters, Fedkirk Fire Chains, Lyons
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
17 June 3028



Yorinaga Kurita waited quietly as the reports from the Genyosha's aerospace fighters came in. He was pleased at the full aero-regiment they fielded. When the fighter wing arrived a month ago, he had sent one reply back to the DCA: When will the rest arrive?

The Kurokaze, the Black Wind, had a full wing of thirty six fighters, the best the Draconis Combine Admiralty had. It quickly grew to two Wings thanks to his visit with Warlord Dieron. And the Black Wind grew to a full aero-regiment, a rarity in the Draconis Combine, when another Wing was freed from somewhere in the Benjamin District.

He did not require the best fighter pilots. Only the most willing, and the Kurokaze had very eager pilots. They battered the mercenary fighters in orbit, chasing away the too-confident Vengeance fighter carriers in the first minutes of engagement.

Yorinaga let them go, ordering the fighters to punch through the atmosphere to avenge his nephew. The Lyons' HPG had broadcasted the mercenary's footage for nearly a week now. The news may have already made its way to Dieron. He would have to do something about that disrespect.

The systems blurred with an update: The Kell Hounds were leaving. Yorinaga let them go too, focusing on his duty. The other mercenaries, the 12th Star Guards, were still defiant. He ordered a battalion to drop in their headquarters.

He passed silent orders and disconnected from the command feed as the hangar doors opened. Yorinaga ran one final check of the jump pack attached to his Warhammer and then stepped clear of the DropShip.

Below him, the tatters of the 11th Legion of Vega ringed their stronghold. They hurled shells, missiles, and light at any and all-comers.

Smoke rose from the compound, pyres of fallen 'warriors in their 'Mechs and fighters. As he triggered the jump pack, his systems finally plugged him into the local command net. Surprisingly, it was still operational and in good order. No panicked cries, no shouts of celebration.

A battalion of the 12th Star Guards were pulling away. He had chosen to drop in their path, and soon an avalanche of 'Mechs joined him. Without requiring orders, the Genyosha 'warriors arrayed themselves into the formation Yorinaga wanted, leading with the heavy Rasalhague company.

The battle was over in minutes.

A telltale glowed on his comm panel.

"Welcome to Lyons, uncle," said Theodore Kurita.



===================================


New Ivaarsen
Draconis March, Federated Suns
17 June 3028



Hanse Davion stood on the shoulder of his BattleMaster, aware that eyes and cameras were on him.

He didn't participate in the fighting, at least not as a combatant. But he did command from the helm of his BattleMaster, the comm suites were upgraded just for that purpose; an expense that could've paid for a whole lance of 'Mechs.

It's good to be the Prince.

Below, citizens cheered at him. They gushed out of the villages and the cities that the Dragon had left untouched. In fact, the Dragon had only destroyed planetary defenses and New Ivaarsen's war-making industries. Hanse found it curious at first until he familiarized himself with Kester Hsiun Chi, the Warlord of the Galedon Military District that now swelled to nearly engulf Robinson itself.

He had a wedding to plan. An invasion to finalize. But the Dragon roared and he had no choice but to respond with garrison forces at the heart of the Federated Suns, stripping his borders and straining his JumpShips even further.

Communications with the Lyran Commonwealth was becoming trickier. JumpShips had been disappearing in the Skye Region, supposedly seized by pirates but pressed into Combine service. The same was happening all along the Draconis March, wreaking havoc at an already weakened economy and a frightened and angry populace.

An economy he weakened to prosecute the war against the Capellan Confederation. A people he abandoned to conquer the weak Capellan Confederation.

He waved one last time then made his way back to the BattleMaster's cockpit. The DCMS on the planet were just conventional units, and he had a hunch that most of the units had unfortunate loyalties to Grieg Samsonov, Galedon's previous--and less dangerous--Warlord. The Ryuken and other Regulars had lifted off, leaving the troops to their own.

Hanse admired the ruthlessness the Kuritans displayed even if he detested the means. The soldiers would be worth more dead than alive to Takashi--Hanse sensed his hand in this, if nothing more than just as a delaying tactic. Once the AFFS arrived the DCMS troops scattered, if there were any left.

From local reports, the DCMS had been standing down their presence ever since they came in to smash the 'Mech garrison. They assumed the Kuritans were slowly lifting off their force, since DropShips still arrived periodically. They had made no demands, no moves to secure more territory.

The only recent intel they had involved the seizing of construction equipment. Lots of drilling and excavating tools. But that had been a month ago, and the last DCMS DropShips arrived a week after that.

Hanse stared at the map of possible Kuritan locations. A flyover found new roads, some abandoned bases, and no sign of any Kuritans.

The overwhelming force he brought to bear on New Ivaarsen was unspent. He allowed Ardan Sortek to see the sites himself, but Hanse was planning to leave tomorrow at the latest.

He raised the BattleMaster's right hand in a wave then closed it in a Steiner fist.

Where the hell is the Dragon?


===================================


Imperial Institute of Technology, Pauchang, Xinyang
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
17 June 3028



Chief Researcher Kowalski kicked the treads and immediately regretted it. The light tank sat undisturbed as he hopped around on one foot.

He took a far more critical look at the Tanegashima in front of him. It was an unremarkable, 35-ton vehicle, built on a frame Bulldog Enterprises had dug out of their storage spaces. It was squat, compact, and was one of the few new tank designs in the Inner Sphere that would use fusion engines.

His scientists had all proposed using hydrogen fuel-cells, but Kowalski knew the DCMS's Procurement Department would never bite. It was an additional complication to the already entangled logistics lines they had established--a fusion engine, while costly, had the advantage of being built using standard components.

Spares and tools would be plentiful, and they had to be. Theodore-sama's plan called for more warmachines. More capable warmachines.

Still, he succumbed to a compromise. The Tanegashima would be designed with a modular engine bay, increasing the cost slightly. The same frame would be able to use a fuel-cell or fusion engine, even an electric battery-powered one. In the end, it was an economist that convinced him the wisdom of this, that the DCMS's budget was separate from an individual planet's militia. The militia's salaries and equipment were paid for by their homeworld even when the DCMS sees fit to take a few regiments along.

The economists said that wealthier planets could afford the fusion engines, while the others could make do with fuel-cells without too much effort. Some would even rush at the chance to use fusion engines, even if it'd be more practical to use fuel-cells. And with that demand, technical expertise would rise on many worlds in the Combine. Meaning more factories, more jobs, and more tech. It would lay the groundwork for the rest of the new combat vehicles.

Kowalski harrumphed at the thought. The only reason he needed was that it was a good warmachine for Theodore-sama.

He glanced at the turret, recently redesigned to accept the Lord's Light PPC instead of the Part-Kill Heavy Cannon the engineers originally installed. It had a longer barrel, and it cost more, but the Lord's Light was one of the most common weapons in the Draconis Combine and was supplied at a discount.

Alshain Weapons were positively drooling to get a chance to look at the Extended Range PPC's specs. Not that they'll be able to make one anytime soon.

Still, the tank was fast, carried a respectable weapon, and could be churned out by next year.

Chief Researcher Kowalski nodded to the engineers as he limped his way back to his office, continuing to ignore the buzzing of the scientists that had been harassing him all that time.


===================================


Downtown, New Bonhom, Carse
Tamar Pact, Lyran Commonwealth
17 June 3028


Ninyu Kerai stopped and examined the hawker's wares before turning away, shaking his head.

He followed the aroma of cooking and lined up to buy. The vendor seemed to be doing brisk business even in the off-hours, and Ninyu had plenty of time to choose from the menu and fish out the correct change in hard currency.

The Cold Cycle on Carse was just turning down, and people were enjoying the sunlight from the system's two stars as they took a mid-afternoon snack break. Despite living this close to the Combine, despite being targeted in raids and invasions, the people were happy. Almost unafraid.

The people ate, lightly bundled in cold-weather clothing. They were living freely.

He took a seat beside some similarly dressed fellows and bit down on the polish sausage he ordered. He made it a point to try out the local street cuisine, it paid to know what to eat and what everyone else did.

Ninyu ate as he watched the people.

A pair of police officers drifted by, each ordering the polish sausage as well and continued on their patrol. The citizens didn't fear them. A janitor sat beside a well-dressed lawyer, chatting about their plans once the Cold Cycle winds down completely. A man spoke on his comm using his native tongue, japanese, and the people didn't bat an eye. He looked like a local, and Combine traders were not unknown on Carse in any case.

Soldiers, officers by their bearing, amiably disparaged each other's choice in condiments. One spoke with a non-local accent, but both wore the 23rd Arcturan Guards' patch on their shoulders.

Ninyu stood, moving closer to the officers as he deposited his garbage. He chewed and smiled gratefully at the owner and cook of the stand, who asked him how his meal was.

The food became tasteless as an unpatriotic thought blossomed deep in his mind. The proprietor handed him a mint and he banished the thought, smiling at the friendly woman.

Checking his ring-chrono and pretending to be late he nodded to some familiar looking faces, people he had briefly spoken with in the last few days, and moved on.

He was two blocks away when the explosions shook the streets.



===================================


Sevren Interstellar StarPort, New Cartis, Sevren
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
17 June 3028



At first, Warlord Ivan Sorenson resented the plans Takashi Kurita appended to his orders to raid the Tamar Pact. The plans were copies of those submitted by Theodore Kurita, the revolutionary upstart, when he was stationed in Rasalhague.

Warlord Sorenson viewed himself as a samurai, and he was utterly devoted to the Coordinator. He only worried that Theodore's corrupting influence was begin to affect Takashi's resolve.

Still, he did his duty and studied young Theodore's plans.

It called for aerospace supremacy. Sevren would be garrisoned by the 8th Donegal Guards according to ISF reports, but the world lacked a local aerospace presence. The plan called for two Achilles Assault DropShips and two Leopard-CVs; he increased that to three Achilles and used a Vengeance to dominate the planet from orbit.

They arrived the day after the 8th Donegal Guards jumped out.

The nadir recharge station was quickly occupied with marines. For weeks, incoming DropShips were ambushed on the way to the planet, but not before the marines--DEST trained--seized the JumpShips.

Since they made planetfall, the Warlord oversaw the stripping of Sevren's industries and the shattering of its economy. The planet had borrowed heavily to pay for the cleaning of the nuclear fallout following the Kuritan's previous occupation. The debts were to be paid in refined ores and heavy equipment Sevren specialized in. Now the factories and mines that made those were stripped of all useful equipment. Their shipments seized, their places of business burnt down.

He left the farmers unmolested, taking only enough to send as a tribute to Luthien.

Now he stood, staring at the night sky, waiting for the 8th Donegal Guards to return from their raid. They would find their new homeworld prepared against them.

Grudgingly, Ivan allowed that Theodore had some good ideas.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 15 January 2013, 18:30:11
Theodore and Yorinaga united. Marcus Kurita is in for interesting times ahead. Its good to see Warlord Sorenson coming around to Theodore's idea and he has taken the first step to being fully devoted to his soon to be new Coordinator. The seizure of jumpships is worrying though as other Lords might escalate and Hanse 's task-force in the Draconis March could cause quite a few problems for the DCMS if he decides to counterattack.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 16 January 2013, 00:24:43
Hmmm, wheels within wheels
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 16 January 2013, 02:11:10
Everybody will start seizing jumpships soon.
I don't know if that was a good idea for Theodore.
Time will tell.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 16 January 2013, 14:24:05
Somebody is going to pay
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 16 January 2013, 15:18:51
that is going to be bad soooo bad.... i mean who is going to do more damage the Widow or the Wolf?  soooo can not wait for more
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 16 January 2013, 17:00:13
Heh ... knew 'Tasha was too damned stubborn and contrary to die this early. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mighty midget on 16 January 2013, 19:29:12
Very well played, I was wondering where the Widows had gone.  This story is fantastic, please keep it going.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 16 January 2013, 23:30:18
Repost.

=====================================
BOOK TWO

Cyclops Incorporated Warehouses, New London, Skye
Isle of Skye, Federation of Skye
3 July 3028


Dechan Fraser lit a cigarette, sending a signal to those keeping an eye on him. To his fellow employees of Cyclops Incorporated, Dechan was Smitts, a talented LoaderMech driver from the Federated Suns. He smoked because they smoked, and they took their fifteen minutes in groups because the local union said to, the nightshift deserved the same breaks after all.

He told them a crude joke, one he heard from another Captain of the Wolf's Dragoons, and they laughed. They were good people; crude sometimes, but hardworking.

"I tell ya, Smitts," Ogden, another LoaderMech driver said, "if these malfing Royals don't get off Skye soon me and you are gonna find plenty of work driving a different kind of 'Mech."

The group laughed and one shook his head. "Yeah, AgroMechs!" Good-natured punches were thrown around. "Them Royals been doing nothing but beat feet for a month. Tearing up our crops, from what I hear, running the hell away from the Wolves and the Dragons."

Dechan joined in with the cursing of the 1st Royal Guards. He didn't have to act much.

"Don't even know why the Puppies," the Skye locals' term for the Wolf's Dragoons," even bothered to stay. They cut them Royals down to a third their size, and they hound 'em every day."

"I heard blasts from my apartment," Dechan volunteered. He lived on the north side of New London, a low-rent, high-crime area. "But it coulda been those stupid kids again."

"Nah," Ogden said, "heard it was the Snakes. Finally caught up with their pets, hah!"

The group chuckled at that, each pulling from their own cigarettes. Dechan took a pull then blew the smoke upwards. He saw shadowed forms running on the rooftops, silent as the night.

The plan called for witnesses. It was a last ditch effort from Colonel Wolf himself. The original plan was to break as many "non-Skye" 'Mech units as possible then lift, a harder-hitting raid that the Wolf's Dragoons excelled at. They didn't expect the 1st Royal Guards to have expanded into an almost AFFS-style formation. They still lacked the regiments that would've turned them into an RCT, but they acted like one. If the Skye planetary militia had been willing, their operation here would have been a swift failure.

As it was, it was more than a month overdue. The Black Widows' head-hunting mission was to signal the start of their final push.

Colonel Wolf chose to stay, sending the unit's DropShips into orbit to form a secure comm-network. Casualties were mounting, and only old Iron Man's foresight in sending along more supplies with the original task force had allowed them to stay this long.

Dechan knew that the reason the DropShips went into orbit was to interdict any ships that tried to get off the planet. He was still searching for her, and her company.

The blast came as an utter surprise to Dechan, knocking him flat on the ground as a fireball rose in the distance. Security personnel ran out, weapons bared only to be cut down from the roofs.

Disoriented, Dechan fought off one of his co-worker's attempts to pull him to his feet. Remembering the plan, he pointed and yelled, "LOKI!" before allowing himself to be dragged away.

There were rumours, unsubstantiated of course, that Cyclops Inc. was in Duke Lestrade's pocket. That they, and other manufacturers had been supplying warmachines for a private army. Dechan had been working the night and graveyard shifts to cover the extra shifts at the plant, and the materiel was going somewhere.

The suspicions of guilt made the lie believable in the heat of the moment. Employees scattered, security personnel took cover, and the agents blasted away. A transport came, unloading more black-clad people, who began hopping into waiting Drillson Hover Tanks. A lance, a company, and then two companies eventually came online.

When the heavy machine guns started firing the overwhelmed security, armed with a slug-thrower and poorly-paid courage, ran.

Dechan hid behind his LoaderMech and clambered up when the shooting finally stopped. He cranked the LoaderMech to its top speed of 32 kph, which was more than sufficient in the warehouses, and stopped in front of a ferro-crete warehouse. No one he worked with knew what was inside, only that it stored stuff from the New Earth Trading Corporation, Cyclops Incorporated's sometime business partner, sometimes rival.

The doors couldn't withstand the 'Mech's strength for long, and Dechan tore it off and cast it aside.

Black-clad figures swarmed around him. Dechan was half-convinced that they were Loki operatives, their weapons, their mannerisms, even the audible words had a germanic tilt to it. He knew it was all for show, he was working with Draconis Elite Strike Teams 5, 7, and 13.

Slowly, figures stumbled out of the dusty hole. His searchlights blinded them, but the eight, nine, ten figures stood unafraid. Almost defiant.

A redheaded figure, manacled and gagged stumbled out as the tenth. She looked fiercely at everyone.

Dechan clambered down from the LoaderMech and walked towards her, vibroknife whining-hot in his hand. She stared at him as he cut the manacles free.

"Good to see you again, Captain."

Natasha Kerensky ripped the gag off her mouth. "Dechan, shut the **** up and get us out of here."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 16 January 2013, 23:57:29
Somebody has a blood feud coming
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 17 January 2013, 02:13:31
All I can say is if I was the one behind that little ambush, soon as I found out Natasha was free I would be eating the business end of my own pistol, better that then what she would do.  >:(
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Siden Pryde on 17 January 2013, 02:46:40
Good stuff.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 17 January 2013, 03:03:55
Sweet Natasha getting on Dechan's better side. :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 17 January 2013, 11:33:02
Legion of Vega Base, Fedkirk Coast, Lyons
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
3 July 3028



Theodore raised the Marauder's left arm and sent a burst of lightning from it. The Magna Hellstar PPCs were one of the few things that got better, not worse, in the centuries since the Star League's fall. It still massed seven tons like nearly all particle cannon, but it was more compact and was still the most durable. He still preferred the long barrel of the Lord's Light, especially since the ionic disturbance the Hellstars caused greater comms interference.

But it really almost looks like I'm hurling lightning, Theodore confessed, and I like that.

The Commando rode the blow on its right shoulder, re-balancing itself quickly as it darted away.

Theodore kept his advance steady at 42 kph. His uncle--a distant relative, really--suggested he kept his advance steady at the helm of the Marauder. Its unique ball-join design allowed it greater flexibility and faster traverse-times for its arms, but that advantage was greatly lost when it ran at its maximum 64 kph. Then, the arms focused on steadying, not tracking.

He triggered the right arm's Hellstar, catching the fleeing Commando on the same shoulder and blasting off its arm in a fountain of sparks. It thrashed as the pilot tried to adjust the sudden hit and loss of balance from its missing arm. The smooth motion of the arms made tracking the Light 'Mech, even though it ran away at an optimal angle, easy and almost natural.

Not bad, Theodore appreciated the pilot's skill in keeping the Light 'Mech on its feet and still moving. He waited a few more seconds then triggered his third main weapon.

Missiles spat from the top of the Marauder, arcing up then down at its target. The shorn right torso ripped apart from the inside as the missiles found its wounds. The Light 'Mech pilot ejected as the Commando erupted in spurts of flaming debris.

The Shigunga LRM10 pack replaced the autocannon or heavy laser turret most Marauders carried. The Genyosha's custom variant, tentatively called the MAD-3K, did away with the bothersome ring assembly completely and installed the launcher in the big gun's place.

Heat was still an issue even with additional heatsinks, and Theodore thanked his cousin Constance once again for the cooling suit he wore. The MAD-3K had to alternatively fire its PPCs with the missile system unless the pilot wanted to cook himself and his ammunition. Coupled with Yorinaga's advice, the 'Mech was able to sustain an advance and maintain his heat.

He had advanced for a solid five minutes straight, blasting away at Light 'Mechs coming at him like a traditional DCMS regiment commander would. His lancemates, Mediums and Heavies as well, maintained formation during the advance.

Theodore noted his location and blew out his breath. Yorinaga had asked him to judge the distance a traditional DCMS Light-Heavy force could advance in the same time a Medium-Heavy force could. He placed the traditional force right where he was standing now, and the Medium-Heavy force several minutes behind.

So ka. The great Theodore Kurita, revolutionary warrior still thinks like a hidebound samurai...

The simulation finally ended when a Warhammer speared a Javelin at extreme range with both PPCs.

Two Light lances against one Medium-Heavy lance, and all the Lights are down. Theodore ruminated on that as he disconnected his coolant suit from the cockpit and debarked the simulator pod.

Chief Research Kowalski had sent a regiment's worth of simulation pods, all networked with small, portable computers that had a complete library of scenarios and specifications. The Legion's and Genyosha's techs were fighting for space to use the 'lostech' computers. None of the hangar bays could accommodate the entire regiment's equipment, so he split them up into three battalion bays and spent as much sim-time as the rest of his 'warriors.

He approached Yorinaga Kurita who clambered out of his simulator with both grace and gravity.

Without saying a word, the older Kurita asked a question.

"It's just as you said, Yorinaga-san." When he got no response, Theodore continued. "I still have a bias towards lighter 'Mechs."

"As you should," Yorinaga said. "We are samurai. Light cavalry is our heritage, and centuries of DCMS battle experience has proven this approach."

"And yet... it isn't enough. Our enemies change." Yorinaga's nod propelled Theodore to continue, his pride sore from the sudden role reversal to student again. "The Davions and their Regimental Combat Teams, supposedly three regiments of combat vehicles, five of infantry, and more fighters and artillery. We thought they were trying to rekindle the SLDF formations."

"No," Yorinaga said, clearing a node of computer stations of its techs with a pass of his steely gaze. "It is a response to the Fox's enemies. Both we and the Confederation use Light 'Mechs, the difference is that we choose to do so and the CCAF uses whatever it can."

Theodore stood, contemplating the claim. It was an unpopular theory within the DCMS, but it felt right. "The tanks counter our speed, the infantry can hold ground and ambush Light 'Mechs easily enough that try to outflank. Artillery and aerospace are just superior counters to any attempts at punching through any lines."

"You are thinking like yourself," Yorinaga chastised. "Think otherwise."

Theodore shook his head as Yorinaga turned away. "Traditional DCMS commanders would ignore the tanks and infantry, send his outnumbered forces against them, meeting strength for strength. Outnumbered, outmassed..."

"The Fox has designed weapons that can kill us. He seeks to forge it first against the Confederation--do not ask me why, but I know he does. Then he'll use those weapons against us."

Yorinaga left him with those words, calling up the simulation results on a nearby terminal.

"You did well," Yorinaga said, "for a beginner."

The praise stung.

"I wasn't there to show off my skills--"

"--Clearly--"

"--As you said," Theodore grit his teeth, "I have no experience in an actual Heavy unit."

"So, you still believe using heavier 'Mechs is the solution?"

Theodore borrowed a look from his father, his 'dangerously clever' stance. "No. But it is a solution."

Yorinaga bowed. "My 'warriors will help."

Theodore nodded once in thanks. The Genyosha was heavier than most DCMS regiments, yet it maintained the advantage of mobility. Like the Kell Hounds did. With the salvage from the 12th Star Guards' now-dead 3rd Regiment, and a battalion of Kell Hounds 'Mechs, the 11th Legion of Vega had, for once, a choice in which 'Mechs to field.

And for once, being burdened with more 'warriors than 'Mechs was proving to be a blessing. He had lost many 'warriors against the mercenaries, and the inability to concentrate his force or solidify a line haunted him throughout the battle.

A commotion sent techs scattering, a man dressed in combat armour, came barreling through the techs and analysts studying the machines. Fuhito Tetsuhara ran up and saluted Yorinaga then bowed to Theodore, greatly out of breath.

Theodore smiled, Probably another message from his brother. Still, not bad for a supposedly-recuperating MechWarrior to make the run from the command station to here. He motioned for Fuhito to catch his breath and stole a glance at Yorinaga. The young Tetsuhara lacked the poise and restraint Yorinaga favoured in his Genyosha but he knew for a fact that Fuhito turned him down when he was offered a spot.

Theodore couldn't resist a smugness about that, very few would turn down a transfer from the Legions of Vega. Fewer still would turn a transfer to the elite Genyosha, the Coordinator's own.

Fuhito finally caught his breath. His eyes conveyed the message first.

"Tai-sa, I'm sorry. Your father is dead."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 17 January 2013, 14:17:00
The King is dead, long live the king
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 17 January 2013, 14:47:40
In Orbit, Skye
Isle of Skye, Federation of Skye
4 July 3028



Captain William Cameron handed his boss a mug of coffee.

Normally, Colonel Jaime Wolf would have made it himself. But Natasha Kerensky was prowling near the drinks, and he saw how little the two spoke to each other. The 'mug' was really a bulb with a convenient handle, otherwise the hot coffee would float as freely as he did.

They had lifted off on-time, that is, on Colonel Wolf's time. Not the original plan's timetable. He still wanted to clarify with the colonel which of the raids around Skye the Wolf's Dragoons was supposed to take credit for, and which ones to ignore.

Duke Lestrade had said he wanted a firestorm, and Cameron admitted Theodore Kurita had given him one. He counted no less than five Dieron Regulars, plus the Ryuken, plus assorted mercenaries, that rampaged through the Federation of Skye. The Duke wasted no time in launching protests and massive tirades against anyone in charge. For once, people paid attention to the man many called 'the imp'. He made everyone pay attention when he declared the Federation of Skye's independence three days ago.

William put away the reports, they didn't concern the matter at hand.

"The evacuation is proceeding on schedule, all 'ships reporting green from liftoff," he whispered. Cameron found that he'd miss Skye's beauty, something about it resonated with him.

He pulled out a pad and brought up the Ryuken reports, to focus his mind from pointless musings. All five Ryuken regiments had relocated to the Dieron Military District from Galedon, to Dieron itself, with the Dragoons on nearby Nirasaki. They wasted no time upon arriving, launching straight into several raids in Wolf's Dragoons colours.

From what William could pull together from the tight-mouthed DEST, the Ryuken ran roughshod along with the remaining Dragoons across the Draconis March. In their wake, DCMS Regulars had staged their own raids.

The Draconis March was panicking before Alpha and Gamma landed on Skye, William surmised. They ought to be hysterical by now...

He adjusted the weight of his comm unit resting on his shoulder. From it, a continuous stream of information, reports and more reports, buzzed in his ears through his headset.

Cameron bent in closer and whispered to Colonel Wolf's ear. "All 'Mech carriers report ready, colonel."

Jaime nodded once then turned to him and said, out loud, "The word is go."

Cameron flicked through various channels, this time tied into the Overlord's comm arrays and not his Cyclops' Tacticon B-2000. The order was given and the 'Mech carriers rotated and began launching. BattleMechs carefully loaded just hours ago, now fell from orbit ensconced in cocoons that would see them safe to the planet's surface.

"Didn't we just leave this part?" Natasha Kerensky asked loudly.

Colonel Wolf ignored her, his eyes focused on the holomap.

The assets they had left on the surface were still feeding them intel, and the colonel was running simulation after simulation in his mind and on the systems before him.

Cameron stayed close by, and bent down to whisper again. "Captain Fraser reports that two companies of the 1st Royal Guards have passed his lance. Another company passed just west of his location."

Wolf nodded. "The remaining battalion," he said to himself and Cameron fed in the headings into the holomap. Instantly, Wolf switched to one of the hovering plans which mimicked the 1st Royal Guards' approach almost perfectly. Three other plans hovered nearby, linked by webs of light.

He informed the colonel of the progress of the orbital drop, and Wolf updated his plans once more. They were on target, so the colonel was just playing with possibilities.

"You're wondering why." Jaime Wolf said.

"Yessir," William replied without missing a beat. The colonel had a way to read his mind.

"Duke Lestrade," the colonel began, "is a traitor. Sooner or later, he'll turn on--the Combine." William knew he was about to say 'us'. Their exchanged glance confirmed it.

"Is that why the Iron Man sent the DEST ahead?"

"No, they came after us."

Cameron's eyes widened at the news. Everyone assumed they were there to prepare for the attack. Sabotage the militia that never showed up, or some other covert action.

The colonel stole a glance at Natasha and William knew. They were sent as soon as Minobu Tetsuhara had heard of her loss.

"Gamma Regiment is fully deployed, Colonel," William said as he updated the holomap and entered their coordinates. It matched the plan's timing.

Jaime Wolf turned to the map and nodded, then looked at him. "We're not here to raid, William." Wolf punched a button that zoomed out to the live view of the planet below.

"We're here to build a House."



==================================


(I have to stop ending on these one-liners...)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 17 January 2013, 17:41:01
Lord Wolf? Very cool ... or maybe Director-General Kerensky? 8)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 17 January 2013, 23:49:41
Heh, well not quite. House Lestrade, actually.

Somebody asked what my sources are:

Heir to the Dragon
Wolves on the Border
The Warrior Trilogy
House Kurita book
House Davion book
House Steiner book
Kell Hounds book
Wolf's Dragoons book
4th Succession War Atlas Vol 1 and 2
War of 3039
Brush Wars
And sarna.net

But primarily the novels.

===========================================

Fort Draconis, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
13 July 3028



Tai-i Michi Noketsuna handed his sensei a cup of tea.

Minobu Tetsuhara, Warlord of the Dieron Military District, took it in an impatient huff. His annoyance at being predictable to young Michi was an affectation. Michi believed Minobu was glad he made it through their "March Campaign" intact. He arrived with the rest of the Wolf's Dragoons and the Ryuken, greatly strengthening the District.

Soon after, he rejoined the tai-shu's staff, deftly pushing aside the politically-appointed lackwits Vasily Cherenkoff had kept around. Along the way he had collected promising individuals that he knew his sensei would need and posted them in a 'temporary advisory council'. The fools were meeting now, by themselves, while the real staff was busy preparing for the day.

The Warlord grunted once more as he sipped the tea, favouring him with a glare.

"You've grown," the old samurai said.

"Hai, in stature and in wisdom, sensei."

"Hmph. Don't call me that."

Michi smiled.

"Well? Have you anything to do other than smile at me?"

"Does the tai-shu wish for his morning report?"

Minobu grunted. "Yes, while it is still morning."

He began with little theatrics, pressing down on the Warlord's desk to bring up a holo-projection. "Colonel Wolf has begun his second attack on Skye, just as planned--"

Minobu waved that away.

"The Eleventh Legion of Vega reports that they are ready to come home." Minobu's eyes glowed with that news and Michi could not restrain a sigh. He had done terrible things to the Federats when he heard the news of Theodore's death, things maybe Minobu would understand. When he learned that the Heir still lived... his shame nearly overpowered his sense of duty.

Later.

"Though Sho-sa Olivares is asking why you're asking for some of their salvage. They'll be pulling back to Ko for now, the conventional regiments replacing them should have made planetfall on Lyons last night."

The Warlord sipped his tea and nodded once.

"Apart from the Dragoons, all the District's forces have returned to their bases or en route. The Fifth Sword of Light's CO, Chu-sa Conti is requesting a meeting. He has, apparently, plans to conquer Quentin. By himself, from the sound of it."

Minobu's head shook once and Michi made a note.

"The last 'warriors have arrived for the 2nd Dieron Regulars. Sho-sho Friedrich Von Galberston sends his thanks for the Ryuken trainers you sent him."

One of the old samurai's eyebrows rose.

"For the Ryuken trainers I asked to vacation on..." he glanced through his notes, "Murchisson. Lovely place, I hear sensei. As long as you don't drink the water."

The old samurai looked pleased. "Tell me what you know of him."

"The sho-sho? Hmm, he graduated from the Sun-Tzu School of Combat but still managed to earn a spot in the 2nd Sword of Light after serving in the 38th Dieron Regulars." The eyebrow had yet to fall, so Michi continued. "His... combined-arms proclivities did not make him popular in the Swords. The Coordi--Takashi Kurita promoted him personally and granted him a new unit, it seems, with the same goals as the Ryuken."

"It is no coincidence the sho-sho was sent here. I asked the Coordinator for him, though I was hoping to use him in the Ryuken." Minobu finished the last of his tea. "No matter. Have the conventional regiments arrived yet?"

Michi flipped through the reports. "They arrived two days ago, in system. The Second Dieron won't be ready anytime soon. Or wouldn't have been, had those vacationers not been helping whipping the unit into shape."

Michi paused. "I'm curious, sensei."

"You often are, you disobedient pup."

"Why five?"

Minobu looked at him incredulously. "Why five? Why not?"

"Why five regiments in total, sensei." Michi stressed the last word.

"Symbolism, naturally. The number five is an integral part of the Combine culture--" Minobu began, mimicking Michi.

I don't sound like that...

"--I don't sound like that." Minobu's face grew stern. "Sensei."

The old samurai stood and faced the window behind him. "It's all that we can permanently support with our transports. The DCA is not impressed with The--the late Theodore's piracy. By long agreement, captured mercantile JumpShips must be returned. Eventually. And his ISF pirates did not capture troop carriers in any case."

"Sensei, we've never returned a single captured JumpShip in hundreds of years."

"I know."

"I've seen the reports, between the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth we must have seized a hundred JumpShips!" Michi did not shy away from proclaiming his own guilt.

"One, two? What matter is that?" Minobu walked around his table. "Ten. Fifty. A hundred. We endanger more than an economy, we endanger human civilization itself. Theodore would not listen to me."

The admission shocked Michi who, while often disobeying Minobu, could never not take his advice.

The silence stretched as the morning grew older. Finally, he spoke. "Tai-shu, what do we do now?"

"We will wait, Michi-kun. We will wait for the storm no one else believes is coming, for the war Theodore has stirred."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 18 January 2013, 00:17:18
Hmm, has young Coordinator Theodore overreached himself? Without the decades of seasoning as his fathers deputy, will he be as impressive ITTL than as in the original?

It'll be fun finding out. :)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 18 January 2013, 02:55:03
Building a house, I always thought it was more fun to demolish a house. >:D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 18 January 2013, 05:06:48
Thats a lot of ships
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 18 January 2013, 15:20:37
The premise of this fanfic is fanwishing (namely mine) and watching it all go horribly wrong. And right, in some regards.

What fun is absolute victory anyway?


=========================================


200km South of New Derry, Eire Continent, Galtor III
Draconis March, Federated Suns
14 July 3028



Hirushi Shotugama stood his Panther on a crest overlooking watershed land. Galtor III's pastoral beauty was understated, and the Warlord felt a twinge of guilt at the destruction his troop's passage would wreak on the farmland.

'The harvester feels no remorse for the wheat', Hirushi reminded himself.

The Warlord of the Benjamin District zoomed in on patches of overturned earth, analyzing the evidence of a Ryuken force that raided the planet. The farmers had yet to tend those grounds, to plant their crops anew. Hirushi knew that the Ryuken had seeded their own crops, squads of ISF operatives were left behind on every world they raided.

It was those same ISF operatives that guided them to this spot, these open farmlands. Two mercenary battalions were garrisoned nearby, the heaviest and most cohesive of the purely mercenary garrison force on world.

The land was ideal: low, rolling hills, shallow rivers and clear ground, perfect for the Heavy 'Mechs of his 17th Benjamin Regulars.

They advanced now, in a reverse-wedge of battalions churning fertile dark soil with their metal legs, and Hirushi moved to join the trailing battalion. His PNT-9R was the only Light 'Mech in the unit, though his command lance featured Medium designs and kept pace with his trot.

The 17th Benjamin eschewed the use of vehicles, and his officers plainly refused to incorporate them in their planning. He had been inclined to agree, but the Ryuken's success depended greatly on their use, and he saw a great flaw in their composition.

He did not insist on further combat forces, not wanting to convey distrust at the 17th Benjamin's fighting capabilities. They didn't view themselves as samurai like many other DCMS regiments, displaying an almost Lyran-veneration for Heavy 'Mechs instead. Thunderbolts, Crusaders, Catapults, and Orions formed the bulk of the forces, with a smattering of Warhammers, Marauders, and Grand Dragons and Quickdraws as fast responders. A handful of Assault 'Mechs and a few Mediums rounded out the force.

So, as his personal guard, he recruited a battalion each of Attack VTOLs and hovercraft. They swarmed ahead of the regiment now, chasing away scouts and keeping an eye on their flanks. A company of Manticore Heavy Tanks guarded each flank, with another company following in his command lance's wake.

The lighter craft acted as scouts, something the 17th Benjamin grudgingly agreed was a necessity. Bringing their foes to combat had always been the prime concern for a Heavy force, and the hovercraft and VTOLs could also herd or pin down units. The Manticores were not even questioned, their reputation as combat vehicles made their presence tolerable.

It was the DCMS's heaviest regiment, one of the most stubborn, and Hirushi was grateful for these small concessions. In time, he knew, this will be how the DCMS will fight.

Reports began filtering from his command headquarters. He had routed all communications to a Cyclops BattleMech he didn't have any intention of using, tied into a Daimyo command vehicle. It was an efficient system, only requiring an upgraded comm suite for the PNT-9R he favoured.

He listened now to the updated reports his staff forwarded to him, his map updating with each burst of information. The mercenaries had sortied from their bases, and his light craft were calling out targets and numbers.

The swarm of hovercraft parted in coordinated units, allowing the on-rushing mercenaries to be surrounded. The crews exercised fire-discipline, raking their targets only once before moving on. Above, Hirushi could see the VTOLs rain missiles on still unseen targets while the ones armed with light autocannon began streaming fire across the horizon.

To some of the 17th Benjamin's surprise, he was sure, a handful of the larger VTOLs spat lightning at the mercenaries. The Parti-Kill heavy cannon, the same ones used on the Manticore hurled shells of energy that hit with the same force as any PPC. The first kills went to these heavy attack VTOLs.

Then the mercenary battalions surged, scattering his hovercraft. They had orders to disengage and harry the backfield once the 17th Benjamin was in range. They did so without any urging from him, and Warlord Shotugama made a note to commend the battalion for their discipline.

In the open field, two mercenary battalions faced two of his on a front 500 metres wide. The First and Third, equipped with some of the swifter Heavy 'Mechs in the regiment began angling away from each other. Hirushi saw the Grand Dragons carve armour with particle blasts, edging away at angles as Quickdraws and Lancelots seared the mercenaries with coherent light. A lone Kuritan Champion unleashed a burst of shells, piercing a wounded Trebuchet's chest. The Medium 'Mech crumpled to the ground as its pilot ejected.

He signaled for the two Manticore companies on the flanks to advance ahead of even the swift Heavies who were now blasting at the mercenaries' flanks. Their orders were to ignore the enemy 'Mechs until they were in position.

Hirushi's plan was simple, and as with most combat, range was the factor. They had grounded their DropShips, three of which were ancient Fortress-class DropShips, well within bombardment range. With the VTOLs in the air, the mercenaries would've have been shelled with impunity as they retreated.

But the Kuritan force was still debarking, proving to be a tempting target. Hirushi gambled on it, trusting on the mercenaries' expectations of a standard DCMS Light 'Mech force. If the mercenaries had acted swiftly enough, they could have challenged the debarking Lights and pushed them back to their DropShips instead of risking shelling and pursuit.

They could have held off a Light regiment long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

The VTOLs and hovercraft dealt with whatever scouts they could have rushed to the front, and the headlong charge, the only act Hirushi left the mercenaries, was now being deflected. The Heavy 'Mechs blunted that easily enough, and the risk of being flanked by the heavy cavalry 'Mechs forced the two battalions to turn to their sides.

Warlord Shotugama watched as the First and Third battalions steadily fired and spread left and right as they made room for his battalion, comprised of the heaviest in the regiment. One 17th Benjamin Orion crashed to the ground, its head split by lightning. A Crusader went up in a crashing boom as a full mercenary lance pounded it with fire.

His Panther's Lord's Light PPC ripped an Enforcer's right arm off at the shoulder, leaving the joint sparking in ionic wash and shredded circuits. A flight of missiles gorged on its chest and it fell in smoke and fire. Incredibly, its gyro ripped free of its chest and spun away to land at his Panther's feet.

Hirushi ordered the VTOLs forward, to support the hovercraft who were reporting another two mercenary battalions with vehicular support several minutes away. They sped off, clearing the skies, as Hirushi blasted a Blackjack, bewildered by the onrushing 'Mechs. It took the hit to its chest, but it kept blazing away with its autocannon then its medium lasers. Hirushi didn't see what became of it.

Then, they were amongst the mercenaries.

A hulking Atlas working with a Victor riddled a mercenary Awesome with heavy shells. Chunks of armour exploded off its torso as the shells battered its 80-ton frame, the roar of two Class-20 autocannons enough to overpower the cacophony. Short-ranged missiles flew in from both Assaults, seeking the massive openings the shells blasted apart as spears of light gouged deep. The Awesome pilot ejected as its thermal reading bloomed on Hirushi's scanners.

Two mercenary Hunchbacks thundered forward, one sporting its own massive Class-20 autocannon on its shoulder, the other an array of medium lasers and missile packs. They each took one of the fallen Awesome's side, blasting at the Assault 'Mechs.

Hirushi, ignored by the Mediums, darted to the HBK-4G's rear and targeted the Hunchback's signature weapon. The shells inside the autocannon detonated, hurling the 50-ton 'Mech to the ground. Its engine shut down moments later, saving the pilot's life from the Atlas that had been ready to slam its fist at the fallen 'Mech's head.

The other Hunchback alpha-striked the Victor melting a ton of armour across its chest as missiles fired blindly forward. The Assault 'Mech used its left arm as a shield from the dozen missiles and swiveled its right arm underneath. The blast from the Pontiac 100 shrivelled the stout 'Mech's head-armour before the shells burst through.

Hirushi waved the warrior forward as his comm-panel glowed: the two Manticore companies were in position at the rear to the now faltering mercenaries. He granted them leave to fire even as the third Manticore company brought up their rear and massacred any the 17th Dieron did not outright destroy.

Reports from the light craft sought his attention, and Warlord Shotugama allowed the rush to overtake him. The battle clamoured for longer than he predicted, but not longer than he expected.

The first battle was over in less than two minutes.

Warlord Shotugama arrayed his forces and prepared for the next.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 18 January 2013, 16:03:21
man the snakes are going to find the SL facilaty on Galor.... that sucks
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 18 January 2013, 16:08:16
The Helm Core matters more than the books anyway.  Besides Turning Points: Galtor puts those battles in 3025-ish.  Wonder if that occurred in this time line?  <Shucks, looked up Galtor as Cawest was replying>
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 18 January 2013, 16:10:22
man the snakes are going to find the SL facilaty on Galor.... that sucks

I thought that was found in 3025? Wasn't it part of a ploy to lure DCMS regiments to Galtor?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 18 January 2013, 16:29:03
I thought that was found in 3025? Wasn't it part of a ploy to lure DCMS regiments to Galtor?

i use to have the book, but it was a fake site to set an ambush till the local unit found a SL site that was real.... the date of the find i dont remember.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 18 January 2013, 16:35:03
In any case, this was written with the assumption that it had been found already as part of the incident that lead the 17th Benjamin there in the first place, in 3025. That incident lead to Syovo Yorioshi's removal as Warlord and to Shotugama's rise in his place.

So his first real military action is removing the stain from the 17th Benjamin's honour.

I believe the operation was called "Operation Muffet"...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 18 January 2013, 17:53:32
Massingham, Marfik
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
15 July 3028



Tomoe playfully swatted the young Hohiro Kurita as the child ran past, gleefully chasing a ball that had gotten away from him. Servants trailed behind, bowing in apology for the racket the 5 year-old was making.

She waved them away and sat down at her terminal, one hand on her pregnant bulge.

Technically, she was on extended independent duty, observing something with the locals on Marfik. In reality, she was on maternity leave, waiting to bear her second child, far away from spies and informants.

Tomoe thought back to Theodore's message, coming weeks after the news from Lyons was broadcast. She knew he didn't die, she knew his body well enough to not mistake it for someone else's. But she lived with the lie.

Not for the first time she thought of the repulsive Ben Tourneville. The man who sneered at her and spread rumours that she earned her post on her back or on her knees. The man who undermined her authority. The man who spied on Theodore for the Coordinator.

The man who gave his life so that my husband and the father of my children could live. Tomoe felt her baby kick. Thanks, Ben, you bastard.

Theodore's rush to Dieron then to Steiner space left her behind on Marfik, alone with her son and their few servants. Unaccustomed to being idle, she had reached out to the Order of Five Pillars and expanded the line of communications that threaded the Dieron district to the Federation of Skye and all the way to Xinyang. It was a fragile web, but it passed information away from the eyes of ComStar. Or the ISF's.

While the ISF was efficient in all the military matters of espionage, they were far less adept at grasping civilian matters. Manipulating commerce was beyond their reach, anything beyond stealing or stabbing was beyond their reach as far as Tomoe was concerned. That was one of the reasons why the Order of the Five Pillars stepped into the shadows.

Not all threats to the Combine were that obvious.

The Dieron network was meant to subvert the regimental commanders of the district, to bring them over to Theodore's side and use their forces in meaningful actions. But the useless Cherenkoff was moved to the Pesht district and Minobu Testuhara stepped in. In the months since, the Dieron Regulars had stepped up their raiding, and the Wolf's Dragoons were brought in along with the Warlord's new Ryuken.

And none of the forces were idle. If they weren't crossing the Davion or Steiner borders they had been training. If not training then supervising the creation of defensive fieldworks. Fortifications meant to be manned by 'Mechs and vehicles alike.

Tomoe called up several O5P reports. The Order pays for any Combine citizen in the district willing to test themselves in the Dieron District Gymnasium, and recruitment was up. Very few were qualified to be MechWarriors, and Minobu Tetsuhara had granted leave to use 'Mech simulators for those hopefuls who didn't possess their own BattleMechs. The Warlord then set-up more recruiting stations around the District for those wishing to enlist as infantry or tank crewmen.

They were taken to training camps spread throughout the district. An intense three month course would see them through basic and some advanced training. Then they were shipped to a garrison to further their skills. The first graduates of these ad-hoc camps were long-serving soldiers who had served years with little to no formal training. They passed the standards the Dragoons and the Ryuken set for their own troops.

She had modified the arrangement a bit, depositing would-be MechWarriors on Dieron but giving them relevant pilot training first. At least, to those they screened to have the best natural talent. Her superiors agreed with the change, and expanded it with formal training for the very best. They began screening throughout the Draconis Combine, not from the nobility like most DCMS MechWarriors, but the commoners.

It was impressive. Ordinary Combine citizens had the potential to be the equal of many elite Kuritan nobles. And there were much more of them.

Seventeen, Tomoe read incredulously from the results of their initial training, have the potential to surpass Yorinaga Kurita. Thirty-three may reach his skill level...

The first groups would be ready in four years, she promised Theodore, as they graduated from the Combine's own academies with cleansed backgrounds to pass ISF scrutiny.

Hohiro hollered in the background, sending items crashing. A soft chiding noise sounded, and she knew Zeshin had the young boy well in hand. The old monk told her that Theodore was much the same, out of his mother's sight.

She heard her son pleading. "But Zeshin! I've already my Dictum reading!"

"Oh," the fat monk replied, "well reading never hurt anyone. Come, come!"

Tomoe laughed as silence descended on their home. She was moving on to the next report when someone knocked on her door.

To get that far meant their visitor got past the security perimeter and the door guards. Still, she gripped the Nakjima laser pistol hidden underneath the desk and drew it.

Servants, Order-trained in combat, opened the door after scanning the figure.

She waited heartbeats before she heard her son's scream. Reflexes kicked in, and she dashed to the room with her laser pistol in a two-handed grip. Her son screamed again.

"Ninyu-oji!" Hohiro shouted, grabbing hold of the man's leg. "What did you bring me?" the young child asked, eyes instantly on the package the ISF agent brought.

He looked at Tomoe, pistol drawn, and slowly drew out a toy Banshee 'Mech. He held it out for the boy to take. "It transforms into an aerospace fighter!"

The young boy whooped and ran off, and Tomoe put the pistol down.

"Well, oji-chan," Tomoe said, smirking, "what did you bring me?"

Ninyu Kerai rolled his eyes as he unwrapped the package. He pulled out a box, matte black, and set it on the table.

"I don't suppose," Ninyu asked, "you'd be interested in making cheaper long-distance calls?"


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 18 January 2013, 19:46:20
A Banshee to ASF?  What a great 'Uncle'.

So how do you say Baby Bell in Japanese?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 18 January 2013, 20:54:16
A Black Box, thats it, thats all he brought Tomoe. I'd rather have the Banshee Transformer, it's way cooler.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: VhenRa on 18 January 2013, 21:13:00
In any case, this was written with the assumption that it had been found already as part of the incident that lead the 17th Benjamin there in the first place, in 3025. That incident lead to Syovo Yorioshi's removal as Warlord and to Shotugama's rise in his place.

So his first real military action is removing the stain from the 17th Benjamin's honour.

I believe the operation was called "Operation Muffet"...

Yes, Galtor was in 3025. If you had read the original Galtor campaign sourcebook. It notes that Hanse got disinterested in the campaign halfway through and went off to fight the Cappies. He then started acting erratically and then focused again on the Combine. So that pins Galtor occuring at the same time as the "The Sword and the Dagger". Which is in 3025.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 19 January 2013, 10:51:27
Downtown New Glasgow, Skye
Isle of Skye, Federation of Skye
16 July 3028



Dechan Fraser shook Jasper Hickam's hand. The chu-sa was the Ryuken-san's commanding officer, the only female commander, and the only reason why their two forces hadn't devolved to shooting each other more than a month ago.

He had spent plenty of time with her unit before then, and the close relationship between his company and several of the Ryuken-san's recon elements made the 'friendly fire' incident utterly ridiculous.

Dechan fished in his vest for his mini-noteputer, and nodded to a table. Once Skye had declared its independence, supposedly due to LCAF incompetence, the invaders of Skye were welcomed in to their cities. They weren't cheered as liberators, but they weren't being shot at either, which was alright with Dechan.

Almost two weeks since the Wolf's Dragoons "abandoned" the Ryuken to their fate on Skye. The battered Lyran regiments, outmatched by experience and in planning, surrendered rather than be annihilated as two, mostly intact, Dragoons regiments fell on them.

Today was Day Thirteen of the Draconis Combine 'occupation'. Dechan ordered a rootbeer float from the waitress, and a curious Jasper Hickam ordered the same.

"So, Jazz," Dechan used the chu-sa's callsign, "any progress on the salvage?"

"Not much, no." Jasper mixed the odd drink slowly and took a sip from a thick straw. Her eyebrows shot up, then she closed her eyes.

Dechan waited patiently until the Ryuken officer remembered where she was.

"Uhh, that is, no progress yet in identifying the parts from the 24th Lyran Guards." She coughed. "Mostly original parts on the 'Dragoons' 'Mechs that killed Chu-i Williams and his lance, at least the ones that looked like them."

She took another pull. "And, yes, I checked--for the fifth time--the Ryuken-san does not have a Rifleman in its stocks. We were never issued one."

Dechan raised his hands. "I know, I know. I think I have that one solved." He handed her the noteputer.

A still of a black-and-red Rifleman began playing, unleashing streams of shells and light. The clip ended and another one played, this time from a 'Mech's perspective--Jasper could tell--and it showed a Rifleman in Ryuken grey firing.

The few seconds was enough for a lifelong MechWarrior. They were the same machine. Different pilots, but the same Rifleman.

"That," Dechan began as the first clip played again, "Is Gentleman Johnny's ride." The second clip played. "And so is that, in a different colour."

"It fits," she said, her float forgotten. "Most of the forces that attacked us were confirmed kills, by us."

Dechan nodded. "Someone, out there, grabbed the salvage before we could. We both assumed it was the Elsies, but what if it wasn't?"

Jasper leaned back into the cushioned seat. "Dechan-kun, we have Lyran officers swearing up and down that it was their idea."

"Yeah, and none of them can provide specifics. They're Lyran officers. Lyrans."

Jasper studied the flatvid clips again. "So, when you invited me for a night out, you meant to go on the hunt."

Dechan stopped himself from saying Why else would I ask you out? and managed to look sheepish instead.

"So ka." Jasper squared herself, and Dechan noticed how she managed to keep her dark hair so long and silky as it fell on her shoulders. She noticed his attention and held it as she dipped into her vest and pulled out a chip. She plugged it in the noteputer and handed it back to Dechan.

"Fadre Singh. I pulled up what records we had of him, though there was clearly some tampering." The noteputer flickered to a personnel file with a lot of corrupted data. "From what we could tell, he apparently died soon after Warlord Samsonov was replaced by Minobu-sama." She was about to call him 'Iron Man', the Dragoons' nickname for Warlord Dieron, and both their mouths quirked.

"He's here," Dechan confirmed. "Probably in the city now that we've trashed the countryside."

"And what a glorious trashing it was, I'm sure!" Jasper put on a mostly fake angry face. "Being used as bait does not sit well with me, Captain. Oh wait, it's Major Fraser now isn't it? You and the Black Widow both got promotions."

Dechan opened his mouth, but Jasper talked over him. "I'm sure the invitation to that celebration was lot in the mail."

"There was no time for one--"

"--Perfect!"

Jasper took the noteputer from him and stuffed it into the handbag she carried. If he hadn't known she was a Kuritan officer, a deadly MechWarrior, she'd have been just another pretty woman on the streets of New Glasgow.

On an afternoon out with her... boyfriend.

She beckoned and Dechan followed.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 19 January 2013, 11:38:38
She shoots, she scores
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 19 January 2013, 17:58:05
They should just get a hotel room.
Oh, i forgot it's business. ::) O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: YingJanshi on 20 January 2013, 04:25:24
TAG
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 21 January 2013, 14:17:13
DCMS Logistics Base 19, Outside Jarlton City, Ko
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
30 July 3028



Theodore leaned back in his chair, savouring one of the few quiet minutes his office has had since their return.

Reports littered his desk. Updates from the Genyosha training dominated the pile, as did analyses provided by the regimental commanders on their recent actions. A few were politely worded demands to be returned to the front, all addressed to Warlord Tetsuhara. He was still believed dead, and it surprised him that very few DCMS regiments went off-mission to carry out some wanton act.

Theodore was grateful for that. He didn't want innocent blood on his hands. More innocent blood.

An island of chips dominated the middle of his desk. They were hand-delivered to his office by couriers from his father while he had been away. He had only watched the first one, and Theodore grimaced at the holo-image of his father lecturing him of his duty to produce a legitimate heir. His second child was due in a few weeks, and he had robbed his father of the relief of his first child's Hohiro's existence.

His mind wouldn't let him rest, so he focused on the silence. The quiet hum of his desk-terminal, the creaking of his leather chair, and the rustling of flexi-prints as the room's air conditioning kicked in.

The terminal beeped, betraying him and his stolen rest. He opened a bleary eye and read the subject line.

Breathing out slowly, he sat up and opened the report. It was from one of the commercial JumpShips they had seized in the Federation of Skye and he resisted a smile. He was still proud of that subterfuge, and he knew Warlord Tetsuhara disapproved of his seizing JumpShips.

Tomoe had been instrumental in deceiving the tai-shu as well as most of his allies. They had seized far less than they had claimed, not even the ISF had that many agents or DEST to spare, nor the DCA and O5P that many 'prize' crews.

Most of the ships they managed to take he kept in deep-space, as a reserve. Some were hauling cargo from recently conquered Skye worlds, but they would be where he needed them in a few month's time. The rest of his supposed pirate fleet were fabrications, courtesy of the Order of Five Pillars.

Thinking of Tomoe pained him slightly, he had much to be thankful in her, and he repaid her trust with worry and fear. He would set it right. After.

Still, the lie was enough to provoke a reaction. Complaints from the minor houses--traders, merchants, manufacturers--flooded the Combine, most of which were actual complaints. The rest were just filler noise from minor houses compromised by the O5P. Everytime a Lyran or FedSuns official brought up actual proof that most of the stolen JumpShips never existed, their media accused them of coverups and incompetence.

He had chuckled as he watched those news reports.

A few ships he replaced fully with new crews. They plied the stars as normal voiders, passing along information and spreading fear with news of attacks. That was another lie he'd have to pay for someday, but it was necessary: the DCMS did not snap to attention under his command, even when he 'lived'. Only Dieron behaved how he wanted, and that was due to his partnership with Minobu Tetsuhara. So he had to fabricate confusion, spread lies even amongst his commanders. That way, not even Davion or Steiner spies would be able to tell the truth.

'All war is deception', Theodore quoted to himself. But I don't think Sun-Tzu meant lying to your own troops.

Theodore refocused on the terminal in front of him.

The crew was commandeered by one Hauptmann-Kommandant Kathleen Heany, the 4th Skye Rangers' commanding officer. The rank piqued his interest, in other LCAF line regiments the CO rated a colonel or leutnant-colonel, if not outright generals like the DCMS used. He made a note to look into the Heany's personnel file later as he read on, curious how a low-ranked officer could be placed in charge of an elite unit.

The crew was in the Ryde system, the 4th Skye Rangers' garrison, and were pressed to carry two cargo DropShips and joined a flotilla heading to Skye. A flotilla large enough to transport the 4th Skye and enough conventional regiments for a Davion-style RCT. From the system's chatter, three Unions had landed on Ryde, leaving that border world protected by just three mercenary companies.

The report had been forwarded to the Ryuken-san and to the Wolf's Dragoons regiments who were just about now getting "pushed off" Skye, ending the Combine's "occupation".

He closed the report and updated Ryde's standing in his plans. Duke Lestrade had promised that most of the Skye Rangers wouldn't be deployed against the Combine, and he had delivered so far. Several more regiments had already pulled back to the core of Skye, and more would continue to flow from across the Commonwealth, Lestrade promised him through the slippery Hassid Ricol.

Lestrade, still sitting pretty on Summer, had pulled back every regiment loyal to him. More than half were being converted, or at least trained, as an RCT. Their FedSuns advisors had all been left behind, leaving them vulnerable for ISF teams to either kill or capture.

Theodore tapped commands into the terminal and a holo of the Federation of Skye border glowed in his dark, windowless office.

Lestrade had offered him ten worlds, and he had seized twelve. Now, those dozen worlds held nothing but tank and infantry regiments, mostly from Pesht. That had been one of the few things Vasily Cherenkoff was still sending away. The Coordinator--Takashi--had stripped inner worlds of their garrisons as well, urging them all to the front.

Theodore sent them to hold those worlds, to hold until they died. He gave them orders to dig in, prepare for a long, grueling war, but Theodore knew he was asking them to die for worlds they didn't care about. Worlds I don't care about.

Now, save for a few planets, the Dieron district's border was stripped of 'Mechs. The one common theme from the pieces the ISF has been able to gather was bypassing heavily guarded border worlds and striking command and distribution centres that were usually lightly defended. They passed it along to Warlord Rasalhague, but Theodore didn't know how Sorenson would respond.

Seems to like my plans well enough, the stone-faced codger, Theodore thought wryly.

It was all a gamble. One that Warlord Tetsuhara agreed with. And now they waited. But he had more than the coming war to plan.

The knock at his door reminded him of the meeting he had supposedly been resting for.

He stood, checked his reflection, and walked out of the office as the electronics hummed off.


==========================================

Theodore Kurita walked into the room of officers non-chalantly, greeting the assembled regimental commanders with a smile. Some he knew personally, most only through communications and reports. He meandered through the group, inquiring about recent challenges the commanders faced regarding their units.

One, he congratulated on his recent wedding. Another, on her solemn promotion after the previous CO's death.

The officers, chu-sa, sho-sho, and tai-sa from the Dieron and Benjamin districts stood stunned, their drinks and conversations forgotten as the man they believed dead minutes ago walked amongst them.

Theodore invited them to sit as he stood near the head of the meeting table. They scrambled as Theodore sat, beginning the meeting. Armed guards closed the room's doors, sealing it audibly to the shock of some. That was the protocol when the Coordinator met with his council, no one could enter or leave while the Coordinator sat in conference.

"I have asked you here today to discuss our future."

They gaped at him. Some of the more stolid samurai simply stared. One, reflexively, made the sign of the cross.

"My father," he paused slightly, "did not believe a war is coming. At first. He tasked Warlod Kester Hsiun Chi to take command of the Galedon district and probe the Draconis March. As you know, the Wolf's Dragoons and the Ryuken had stood down in the months prior, due to the Warlord Grieg Samsonov's schemes." He let those words hang in the air for a moment. "What Warlord Chi found was a skeleton defense force, and he probed deeper and found little resistance even on Robinson itself."

Nodding to the clump of Benjamin Regulars commanders, he continued. "Warlord Shotugama was then encouraged to do the same, and found garrisons missing, bases full of barely-trained militia where crack regiments were housed."

"My father... we disagreed on what this meant. He believed that the Fox was maneuvering again, re-enacting the shell games of previous years. Then," Theodore paused and nodded at the Dieron Regulars present, "we struck Skye and recovered AFFS officers training Lyran regiments. And we recovered enough fragments to piece together what the Fox had in store for the Capellan Confederation."

Many of the officers relaxed. "In his wisdom, my father ordered Warlord Sorenson to raid the Tamar Pact region. The tai-shu found built-up stores of supplies, Lyran units from the inner Commonwealth and its Periphery border, and command centres ready for an invasion of Rasalhague."

Few of the officers reacted to this. Warlord Sorenson had distributed his findings independently of the Coordinator's office.

"The Fox seeks to keep us occupied with Lyrans while he massacres the Capellans," an officer voiced.

"Hai. We have no true numbers of the Steiner invasion force, but it is massive and well-supplied." Theodore breathed in. "Which is why I'm asking all of you to ignore the orders from Luthien."

They knew that was coming, still the officers tensed.

"We have sown chaos along both borders," Theodore nodded to the Dieron commanders, "and plans to attack us will be delayed--but the Lyrans will still come. We will let them."

"Theodore-sama," a Benjamin officer began, using the safest form of address, "you are telling us to allow the Lyrans to attack?"

He nodded. "Dieron is well-defended. Benjamin is less exposed on that front. Our brother regiments can hold back the Lyrans for a while, and something tells me Skye will be too busy to worry us in the short-term. I need your forces for something else."

The officers exchanged glances. Some eyed rivals, others sought a comrade's gaze, and the rest just looked bewildered. Theodore let them speculate for a few moments, keeping them uncertain. He wished it wasn't necessary, but the officers weren't his. Not officially.

"Warlords Tetsuhara and Shotugama have approved the plan, and Warlord Chi will be acting in support of it."

He knew they were doing the math. Three of the five Warlords.

"We will strike at the capital swiftly!" The words reverberated in the room as a man stood up and shouted.

"Hai, we will, chu-sa," Theodore nodded to the outspoken man. "Tharkad will not see us coming."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 21 January 2013, 14:56:07
Wow!   O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 21 January 2013, 15:01:51
Oops, guess who's coming to dinner?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 22 January 2013, 02:15:29
I hope the Lyrans can cater for so many uninvited guests.
Gate crashers of the 31st century. >:D ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 January 2013, 12:27:09
ComStar First Circuit Compound, Hilton Head Island, Terra
Sol System, ComStar Protectorate
20 August 3028



Marcus Kurita allowed a ComStar acolyte to lead them to one of the long tables set up to ring the room in a hexagonal pattern. He saw that the head table sat on a dais directly opposite the table reserved for House Liao, and the Chancellor was already seated and alternatively glaring and smiling at those around him. To the Liao's right, with their table at an angle, the House Marik delegation sat opposite the table reserved for House Steiner's nobles.

They would be seated to the right of the Steiners, to the Liao's left. facing House Davion's nobles.

He took his seat with a smile for the curious lesser nobles in the middle of the room. Minobu Tetsuhara slipped into the seat to his left while Vasily Cherenkoff conquered the one to his right, leaving the rest of the delegation to fight for seats closest to him.

"Curious tradition, is it not, tai-shu?" Marcus asked Minobu.

"Tono?"

"Passing under the crossed swords."

"Ahh," Minobu nodded. "yes, tono. It seemed odd for Hanse Davion to invite swords to hang over his and his new wife's heads."

Vasily barged in. "It's supposed to be good luck. And that pat on the bum with the flat of the blade was supposed to be even more good luck in bearing many children!"

Marcus laughed lightly. Even Tetsuhara smiled.

Hanse and Melissa's arrival cut off any further discussions as applause riddled the air. Marcus saw the older man lead his bride to the dais then gently lifted her over the steps. Melissa took the centremost seat while Hanse sat at her left. Morgan Hasek-Davion and a woman he couldn't recall the name of, Melissa's close friend, sat on her right. The wedding party filled out both wings of the table, and some of the entourage sat in the Davion or Steiner long tables.

Acolytes efficiently passed through the room, seemingly filling glasses with champagne or another drink. Marcus assumed it was a non-alcoholic beverage, and that the ComStar acolytes were matching the place-setting names with a memorized list.

Arrogant to blithely show you know so much...

Marcus held up his hand as the ComStar acolytes approached and ordered the cider for his table. The acolytes hesitated only a fraction of a second before filling their glasses.

The acolytes disappeared quickly and Morgan Hasek-Davion stood and raised his glass.

"I would like you to join me in a toast to the Prince and the Princess." The boy beamed like a puppy towards its newlywed owners. "May your love be greater each day than the last, yet not as great as in the day to come, and may anyone who causes you harm have the skies fall on them!"

The Kurita delegation drank as one. They each placed their glasses down on the table at the same time, their synchronization causing heads to turn. The simple act of turning away alcohol delivered the message: stay alert. A lifetime of military service did the rest.

At least, it did for the DCMS officers. The civilian nobles he allowed to tag along, like the new Archduke Hassid Ricol who was a capable MechWarrior but lacked the discipline and wrinkled the uniformity he had hoped to present. The Archduke was ordering more cider until finally the acolytes just left three bottles on their table.

Marcus saw Hassid Ricol's smile. The cider bottles were solid, heavy glass. Is Ricol gathering makeshift weapons? Marcus asked himself as the Archduke now requested more braziers be placed behind them. The heavy metal spires let off a soft glow and would make for excellent clubs.

He decided Hassid Ricol was worth keeping an eye on as the acolytes returned.

The salad that arrived in front of him was a curious affair. His years as Warlord of the Rasalhague Military District broadened his tastes, and a traditional 'swedenese' cucumber salad with seaweed was one of his favourites. Even the seasoning was just right.

Marcus restrained himself from gorging on the salad even as Vasily to his right seemingly inhaled the arugula-spinach blend. The fat man blanched, and for a moment Marcus feared Warlord Pesht would embarrass him further by choking. Instead, he showed the now empty bowl to Marcus. It had the crest of Dieron on it, Vasily's homeworld.

Marcus ate slightly faster, no longer tasting the salad, and found the crest of Rasalhague underneath the greens. Now the note he read earlier made sense, that the dishes would be cleaned and given as gifts to each one to remember the celebration.

"Quentin," Minobu observed. That was the world where he had first met the Wolf's Dragoons.

Not very subtle, but very effective. He caught the Fox glancing at him and Marcus raised a fork in a cheery salute.

The main dish arrived, and Marcus eyed the fish he had been given. He hated fish. Inside, it seemed to have been filled with a sort of ground beef. Since the table waited on him to eat, he sliced in and tasted it. It was beef, but cooked inside a fish with herbs and flavours he couldn't identify.

Lyons waited for him underneath the dish.

He stomach hardened. He knew Hanse was watching him again, so Marcus held the Fox's gaze until the Davion broke it off to pay attention to his wife.

"Misery," Tetsuhara offered and Marcus raised an eyebrow at the world. "The Ryuken's garrison, tono." Minobu left a lot unsaid, and Marcus perceived the weight of it.

There is some guilt there. A heaviness to his duty.

To his right, Vasily nibbled on the ribs of some Terran animal, with Pesht leaking out from under the gravy. Marcus scanned the crowds as the meal winded down and people began reacting to the worlds on their plates. He noted with curiosity that some of the Davion nobles from the Capellan March were looking particularly green.

Cake arrived as each Kuritan reflected on their main dishes. Marcus could tell each world shaped those men, even Vasily was silent as he gazed on a world crest Marcus couldn't identify.

He didn't need to see that the last plate would have Luthien on it. Marcus returned his attention to the newlywed.

Melissa lifted a small piece of the cake toward Hanse, her eyes glinting with mischief. "Husband, in honour of our marriage, in addition to this cake, I give to you a regiment of BattleMechs and the means to support them in perpetuity."

Hanse smiled as he finished the cake and Marcus measured the man. He was confident, and it would have been to a fault had the Fox not often succeeded when he should've failed. Marcus knew that Warlord Tetsuhara was greatly in-tune with his chi, something he had been unable to master himself. He watched Minobu's face and felt the horror he was hiding.

What monstrous thing could the Fox do at his own wedding? No... could Theodore have been right?

"I thank you for the gift, beloved," began the Prince of the Federated Suns. "Wife, in honour of our marriage, in addition to this morsel, I give you a vast prize..." Hanse removed the doily from the plate that held the slice of cake. lifting it into the air.

"I give you the Capellan Confederation!"

The room shuddered to silence. Marcus saw horror writ on the eyes of the unguarded. He felt, rather than saw, the fury of Maximilian Liao, edging close to insanity. He felt the pride of the Davion delegation from across the room. The reluctant satisfaction of the Steiners to his left. Janos Marik's eyes were on his consort, furious at her unconcealed attraction for the Fox.

And he felt the fury of the Dragon inside of him. Fury at his own blindness, to miss what a whelp like Theodore had seen and shouted. His schemes would be ash by the day's end.

He stood abruptly, holding his glass in his right hand. The movement startled even Maximilian Liao, who was gripping his dinner plate with both hands and already on his feet. His delegation remained seated, but each held their glasses as well.

Good.

"Congratulations, Hanse! I'm sure you'll refit that BattleMech regiment with all the autocannon you can spare." The MechWarriors in the party chuckled lightly at that. The Davion affinity for the autocannon was well-known and often joked about.

Hanse smiled thinly and returned the toast, desperately wanting to turn his eyes back to Chancellor Liao. Marcus would not allow it.

"And congratulations to you, Mrs. Melissa Davion. Steiner-Davion, excuse me." He pretended to laugh and the lesser nobles echoed it. "I'm sure the death and suffering of millions and millions is how you wanted to commemorate the beginning of your life with your beloved."

The Steiner and Davion delegations got on their feet. Max Liao and Janos Marik both stood as well but his Kapteyn allies' delegations remain seated, all their glasses now raised. Melissa's face crumpled.

"To the newlyweds!" Marcus Kurita, Coordinator of the Draconis Combine, shouted as he poured out the drink. "May they reap what they sow!"



(Scene modified from Michael Stackpole's Warrior: Riposte, Chapter 40)


==================================

Yes, Hanse really did hold up a dish with the CapCon on it during his wedding. I kept it in, it seems... right.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 22 January 2013, 19:18:54
Hanse: "And the liberation of billions and billions more from insane, tyranical rule shall make those terrible sacrafices worth it."
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 22 January 2013, 22:08:46
Time to see if Marcus has what it takes...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Dave Talley on 22 January 2013, 22:25:11


aww
was waiting for Teddy to walk in on the ceremony :-)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 January 2013, 22:29:33
That was actually in the first copy, I changed it.  ^-^

Broadcasting a civil war would seem... detrimental.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 23 January 2013, 15:04:54
LCAF Headquarters, Tamar
Tamar Pact, Lyran Commonwealth
20 August 3028



General Nondi Steiner sat silently, staring at her battlecomputer as reports came in of successful jumps into Operation Götterdämmerung's target systems.

Just a month ago she had full confidence that all twenty-three star systems of the original plan could be hit, even with Theodore Kurita's raids and Aldo Lestrade's treachery. She had wanted to invade the newly 'independent' Federation of Skye immediately, but the Kuritists--she preferred the old term--began hitting deep inside the Tamar Pact. She had to draw down the plan to just eighteen systems.

The raids removed most of the surprise Götterdämmerung relied on. The build-up was difficult enough to hide, but impossible when DCMS regiments landed on those worlds to raid. Faced with a choice between remaining hidden and allowing the Lyrans to suffer, or fight to push off the DCMS, her soldiers made the choice she would have had.

It might cost us the war, damn it all... and Theodore still killed five regiments.

Then, like thunder, Warlord Sorenson roused himself last month and struck three key worlds, bypassing her own patrols and garrisons in the process.

Sevren was a spent husk, factories of military value were stripped for transport or destroyed. The Kuritists took what they wanted, gutting the heavy civilian industries that supplied the entire region. This, after three years of backbreaking radioactive clean-up from the Kuritists' previous stay. The garrisoning 8th Donegal Guards were away, raiding the Combine for once, and died in an ambush on their burn home.

Sevren will be a charity case for decades, was Nondi's unkind thought. She could spare no forces to defend it.

Twycross and Sudeten were hit at the same time. Factory worlds that she left defended by mercenaries after mobilizing their garrisons to the front. Assorted Rasalhague Regulars stole the entire month's shipment from Twycross and ravaged the transportation and distribution networks. The first message from Twycross requested heavy equipment made on Sevren, gear that was now being stamped out in Kuritist space instead.

But it was the 7th Sword of Light's strike on Sudeten that worried her. For once, the Kuritists displayed some intelligence beyond brute attacks. Trellshire Heavy Industries, with facilities on both Sudeten and Twycross, was clearly the target. The Twycross plant's lines were damaged, but its supporting facilities were less well-defended and would take a year to rebuild.

Sudeten's factories were gutted. The Sword of Light outmatched the two mercenary regiments on-world, forcing both to retreat off-world. The personnel were spared, thank the Lord, but the factories were just as empty as the husks on Sevren.

Trellshire Heavy Industries had borrowed heavily in the previous years, banking on the upswing in production and investing in expanded lines and a clearer supply network.

Even if the Archon intervened one, or both, sites would be shut down. My supplies will last well into the middle of next year, but the supply lines will come all the way from Donegal and Tharkad now.

Three deep cuts, right at the manufacturing centres, had cut off the legs of Götterdämmerung. It left her one choice.

She pressed down a button. "Lily, forward my recommendations to the Archon: high priority."

"It's all or nothing."
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 24 January 2013, 14:56:17

Dangalobee Fields, Ohio Content, Harvest,
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
27 August 3028



Tai-sho Kent Gerber rotated his Phoenix Hawk's torso and aimed the Harmon Large Laser backwards at the advancing 1st Lyran Regulars, pouring azure light at the lead 'Mech. The molten wound blossomed on the Javelin's chest and it staggered as the laser cut and melted half a ton of armour.

The Javelin had the same maximum foot-speed as his PXH-1 but its pilot couldn't bring its short-ranged arsenal to bear so long as he stayed ahead. The commanding officer of the 5th Amphigean Light Assault Group intended to do so and poured on more speed the Lyran pilot wouldn't be expecting. It gave him the space to observe and command.

His first battalion swarmed over the hills, utterly at ease in the dance of light cavalry. Working in pairs, one 'Mech would slow down and blast away at range while the other moved ahead at an angle to secure a firing spot. The first would then move past and force the pursuers to choose. The second was already angled to move away himself, wasting no time or energy in turning around.

The pairs weren't set, and the maneuvering meant that his 'warriors changed partners often, but, so far, Tai-sho Gerber was not impressed with the Lyrans and their 'Lightning Companies'.

The mercenaries he had been shepherding were re-enacting the maneuvers on a larger scale, with his battalions screening the three regiments, and he spent less than a month with them.

If Warlord Sorenson hadn't sent those reports, I may never have trained with these mercenaries...

His comm panel beeped, a direct link to Chu-sa Robert Xi, his XO leading second battalion. "They fight like Federats, tai-sho," the electronics warbled the laugh. "At least, they're trying."

Kent nodded to himself as he stopped and fired his main weapon again at the Javelin now bearing down on him. His 'Mechs thundered away, hurling staggered blasts of light and particles backwards, teasing the Lyrans forward.

"Davion-trained Elsies, have they no pride?"


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 24 January 2013, 15:27:33
Padua Flats, Basiliano
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
28 August 3028


Lloyd McGavin whooped as he whipped his Panther around. The 'Mech had been refitted according to the Amphigean-style, with higher-performance actuators and a heavier engine to push the 'Mech's speed up. The bewildered 'warriors of the 24th Arcturan Guards were shocked as he sped away from them at almost 100 kph--the standard PNT-9R had a maximum footspeed of 65 kph.

The speed came at a cost, one the Amphigean Light Assault Groups and his Night Stalkers paid gladly. It often meant the removal of secondary weapons or jump capability. Modified Panthers like his removed both the jump-jets and the SRM pack to install two more heatsinks and a medium laser, and an engine that meant he could now walk at the same speed Panthers usually ran.

He poured on more speed now, thankful that the modifications retained the PNT- series' ability to lean forward and sprint. Tai-sa McGavin smiled as the so-called Lightning Companies slowed and gave up pursuit. He had detached a reinforced company of his own to blunt the Lightning Company 'Mechs' advance, even as his 1st Night Stalkers wheeled around in battalions to alternatively strike at the 24th or 25th Arcturan Guards' main strengths.

His scouts reported that the Blackhearts and their Heavy 'Mechs were even further behind.

Tai-sa McGavin twisted back and let loose with the Lord's Light PPC, severing a Vulcan's right leg at the knee. It crashed forward at full speed, headfirst.

His old wounds made themselves known, protesting at the treatment, reminding him why the DCMS had considered him medically incapable of conning a 'Mech. He showed them how wrong they were eight years ago, and he had no wish to prove them right today.

The Night Stalkers melted before the Lightning Company, but it was his 'Mechs hurling bolts.

"That's enough," the tai-sa said. "Rejoin your battalions but be ready for my call!"

They had the advantage but the Steiners were not fools, they were shrewd traders and were trading away hits on armour for something.

He swiftly ordered his battalions to disengage.

Right now, he regretted turning down the battalion of hovercraft and VTOLs that Scarborough Manufacturers offered him. The Night Stalkers were about restoring pride in old 'warriors and instilling it in new ones. Vehicles would have tainted that. Even if, he admitted to himself, it would make this a lot easier.

His men, his 'warriors, were his priority. And he let arrogance endanger them.

Plenty of arrogance to go around. The tai-sa paused. What made the Lyrans think they could best the DCMS in Light 'Mech tactics? We've been using it against them for centuries!


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 24 January 2013, 15:34:40
Buson Bay, Weingarten
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
30 August 3028


A week ago, he had been standing in front of a hall urging his students, and he still thought of them as such till they were transferred out, not to take any rash actions. It was the fifth and largest meeting yet, and he had been forced to make room in the capital city of Buson Bay for the entire 1st Sun Zhang Cadre's 'Mechs as most had petitioned to attend and change his mind.

They claimed he was the rightful Coordinator.

Sho-sho Isoroku Kurita reminded them that he had forsworn the Chrysanthemum Throne just before Takashi's death. He would not go back on his word, and he had sworn to serve the rightful Coordinator.

He couldn't tell them the rightful Coordinator lived. Unrestrained now by his father's caution, Theodore had sent him a message before leaving on a secret mission, with warnings and a request. A request to re-think the way the Sun Zhang trained and fought.

Isoroku agreed with Theodore's aims, but he knew his students had already been hardened to any way of war other than what they had been taught. Instead, he chose to honour that request in a different way.

The latest batch from the graduation earlier this year he had personally squired to instructor-officers of the same mind as he: tactics and doctrine weren't the problem, a Kuritan MechWarrior was trained to the highest levels in all forms but were told there was only one honourable path.

So he, and handfuls of teacher-conspirators, begun glorifying long term victories. Leonizing those 'warriors that fell in service to the Combine instead of their own egos. It was easier to destruct what the Academy forged when they were new to life in the DCMS. He sought to make them humble, and rewarded selflessness.

It was a way for him to preserve the soul of the samurai without compromising by wholly embracing combined-arms. If a warrior didn't know, did not believe, he was superior, he would not be a superior warrior. In time, he knew Theodore would learn the truth of it.

He could not fault the students for their passionate pleas. If they hadn't petitioned him for a meeting, the three battalions would be spread across the planet, and second battalion would have been killed outright when the 15th Lyran Regulars dropped at their base yesterday.

Isoroku lead them now, by example.

He dressed in the battle-garb of the DCMS footsoldier, tan clamshell armour and a headset instead of a helmet, in the middle of a bunker. Comm techs and analysts worked quietly around him, coordinating the militia regiments' reports with his 'Mechs actions as they sortied out of the city, pushing the 1st Lyran Regulars farther away with each charge.

He nodded and the comm techs passed orders to begin falling back. The day's fighting was done, and his student-'warriors were learning the lesson first-hand.

Theodore has it wrong. It is not 'Duty before Honour'. It is 'Duty AND Honour'. There is honour in doing one's duty. He will see. And I will teach him.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 24 January 2013, 21:32:17
New Glasgow, Skye
Isle of Skye, Federation of Skye
2 September 3028



Dechan pulled up the collar on his coat, stuffing his hands in fingerless gloves into his pockets. Skye's summer had been blistering, but short, and autumn had set in a month ago. New Glasgow's streets had been drowned in the colour of falling leaves, but now it was the just stark grey of any modern Inner Sphere city.

He caught his reflection in the glazed windows of boutiques, looking for all the world like a trendy local with his long hair--short at the sides--and unkempt beard. There were at least three other people on the streets sporting the same look.

I look like an out-of-work tridshow extra... he lamented as he moved on casually.

Weeks on Skye had turned up precious few leads for him to follow, but there were still leads. He had to lay low once the 4th Skye Guards arrived and he heard a few of the 'heroes' claim they had chased the Wolf's Dragoons away to impress the local girls. Dechan laughed at their faces and tore up the bar fighting them.

He wasn't bitter at being left behind. Independent duties like this were a sign of trust. It was just he expected more from a promotion to major. My own battalion, a small fleet for independent ops, maybe a JumpShip... All were within the Dragoons' means.

Instead he had been given a cover identity while the Dragoons adopted more war orphans into their ranks and left on schedule. He had a small team, spread throughout the planet, and working menial jobs just to get close to places where they could observe people coming and going.

They were all certain Fadre Singh was still on Skye, in New Glasglow.

He was trailing someone who fit Singh's profile well. The face was covered with a beard, like his, and the hair was a different colour. But MechWarriors had a certain walk, a balanced swagger that came from hours conning multi-ton monsters.

This man, pretending to be a civilian, walked like a 'warrior.

Dechan strutted, like the rest dressed like him. It seemed to be a uniform, a statement of some kind. It was called being a 'loster', and it involved saying that the Star League had it better a lot. The more obnoxious ones claimed they knew of announced re-discoveries before it became common knowledge.

Though he'd admit it to no one, he chose the look because he liked how unlike him it made him look.

He was someone else in these clothes and he didn't walk like a 'warrior.

Dechan was three metres from the man when he suddenly turned and looked him. He walked on by, smiling, his eyes hidden by large sunglasses. A trid camera was embedded in it, and passed information to his mini-noteputer. A facial recognition software analyzed the face and came up with a complicated 'maybe'.

He stopped to talk with some fellow losters, pouring over a printout of some complicated schematic for water desalinization or maybe it was art. He made some quiet, passionate remarks which the other two disagreed with, and the man-that-could-be-Fadre-Singh walked past.

The man stopped in an alley, glanced back at him, and went in.

Dechan ignored his loster brothers and walked back the way he came. Weeks in the city gave him a pretty good feel for its layout, and that alley should open up to a T intersection. One of the entrances was a block the way he came, and as he rounded a corner a sleek black vehicle entered the alleyway.

He dashed in behind it and tagged its trunk with a round, see-through plastic film. It was Dragoons tech, ran on solar or ambient light, and gave off a specific signal that he could track with his sunglasses.

Dechan moved across the street and saw the man enter just as it drove away. He couldn't be sure, but someone inside sounded unhappy.

His scooter was waiting for him where he parked it, and there was a flock of losters admiring its authentic parts. It was another gift from the Dragoons, although why Jaime Wolf would have one he hadn't been able to figure out.

There was no need for him to tail the vehicle, it left a trace in the air he easily followed. He'd wait a while, look through his maps, and follow it via another route.

It was clear though that the black vehicle wasn't trying to evade tails, just dodging through areas with the least amount of traffic cams and businesses. Dechan knew some of the routes, they were the ones he took sometimes.

After an hour, not bad through downtown traffic, Dechan finally made his way to the black vehicle's destination.

Major Dechan Fraser peeked from behind a corner at the New Glasgow ComStar Compound.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 24 January 2013, 22:41:39
This'll be interesting...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: David CGB on 25 January 2013, 04:00:50
This'll be interesting...
yes it will
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 25 January 2013, 04:10:58
Fadre Singh and Comstar.
What a combination.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 25 January 2013, 06:58:41
So this time around, the Dragoons might be feuding with ComStar instead of the Dragon ... }:)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 January 2013, 16:41:18
120 km South of Tara City, New Lanark continent, Northwind
Draconis March, Federated Suns
5 September 3028



Michi Noketsuna missed his ancient Ostroc.

Not that he didn't appreciate his sensei's gift: he was piloting a new variant of the Grand Dragon, newly-built, and had spent the last month acquainting himself with it. It was a variant proposed by the late Coordinator, an alternative to Takashi Kurita's original specifications.

He just missed the uncertainty his odd, egg-shaped 'Mech represented on the battlefield. Dragons, even Grand Dragons, were so numerous within the DCMS that the Bureau of Substitution often awarded veterans ownership of these 'Mechs. On any given world, a company or battalion of privately-owned Dragons reinforced the local militia, along with assorted Panthers and Jenners.

But the Ostroc was rarely seen outside of garrison formations. And that bit of uncertainty it created in his opponents' minds was an advantage he enjoyed.

Not that this DRG-1K won't be a surprise, Michi noted as maintained the 54 kph march along with the rest of the Ryuken-go.

Tai-sa Sullivan had emphasized supreme precision in his warriors, and their piloting was superb. They flowed over the landscape with each step properly weighted for movement or firing. Each 'Mech reflected their pilots' body language as well, to a greater degree than normal. Only the Genyosha piloted their 'Mechs in the same fashion.

Unlike the Genyosha, the Ryuken-go embraced combined arms whole-heartedly, not reluctantly. The tanks were expected to be as skilled as their bipedal comrades, within the limitations of treads and air-skirts, and the infantry as disciplined as the MechWarriors.

Too bad it has yet to filter down to the additional regiments Minobu-sensei attached to us. The Ryuken-go spent the previous month familiarizing itself with its new conventional support, just as he spent it with his new 'Mech, and ran the tank crews ragged right till word of Hanse's wedding toast came.

Both the Ryuken-go and the Wolf's Dragoons' Delta Regiment were equipped with more tanks and infantry than even they normally used. Warlord Dieron hoped it was enough to counter the training the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT had, and had given his 'student' Michi the responsibility of observing tactics, on both sides.

Which made him Colonel Kathleen Dumont's liaison to Tai-sa Sullivan, and vice versa. In case of conflicting ideas, they deferred to him, being the Warlord's direct representative. Michi had a sneaking suspicion he was being humoured, or at least tested.

Able Battalion lead the formation. Known as the Landsknechts, the Heavy battalion was acting as both bait and trap for the 5th Deneb's Light 'Mechs. Battalions of combat tanks flanked the Landsknechts, screening hordes of swifter tanks and hovercraft. The Ryuken split their battalions as well, manning the edges and the rear.

Michi marched in the middle, just behind Able and at the front with Ryuken-go's first battalion. More regiments followed in their wake.

Far ahead, the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry broke away and re-formed, Northwind's mists cloaking their departure.

A report from Baker Battalion minutes later explained why the 5th Deneb broke off their harassment. Baker, known as the Spectres, fought past a tank battalion and smashed several supply depots. They slipped away and fought again through the same tank battalion to smash a different set of buildings before withdrawing.

From the captured comms traffic, the 5th Deneb were convinced another Wolf's Dragoons regiment was on world and loose in their rear areas.

That would make me run back home too, Michi admitted.

The Deneb Light Cavalry's ordered retreat was something Col. Dumont was unwilling to let go and the massive formation surged ahead.

Michi opened the link with Sederasu of Ryuken-go. His Cyclops' Tacticon computer and powerful comms suite, he could easily coordinate the two 'Mech regiments' communications.

"Any word from Charlie Battalion?" Michi asked, referring to Delta Regiment's third and ill-performing battalion.

"None yet," Tai-i Sederasu replied. "Must not be finished with the sake we brought along."

Michi held his tongue. He had spoken with Charlie's commander and knew of the private pain that drove him to drink. So far, he had been unsuccessful in drawing the man out further.

Tai-sa Sullivan spared him the need to respond. "Second, Third Battalions, move ahead and engage. Hovercraft! Forward!"

Their flanks broke off, leaving the Landsknechts and their walls of combat tanks behind. Michi didn't approve of the surge forward, they hadn't placed adequate screeners ahead to warn of any flanking manuevers.

He brought up his concerns, privately, with each colonel. They both pretended to listen, thanking him for his suggestions, then ignored his advice. He was about to try again when Second battalion, full of lighter and swifter 'Mechs, reported that their hovertanks had run into a line of combat tanks from the 5th Deneb.

Third Battalion reported moments after that the battalion of the Light Cavalry they had been chasing was no more than a company; the fog had hidden their true numbers.

Michi nodded to himself and opened his comms to the general combat frequency.

"Look to your flanks!"

Tai-i Sederasu repeated the command through his network, causing the tanks' turrets to swivel to the left or right as the 'Mechs' torsos did the same.

Michi primed the Lord's Light PPC in his Grand Dragon's right arm and fired into the fog. It smashed apart a great old tree in the distance, but the cannon had tunneled through the mist. Giant shadows danced in the clinging, grey.

And then the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry was upon them.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 January 2013, 18:28:05
Steel Valley, Morandi, Quentin
Draconis March, Federated Suns
6 September 3028



Tai-sho Palmer Conti did not suffer from doubt.

He was the invader, the aggressor. Steel Valley's tall, tightly-packed buildings, the narrow streets, and clang of metal proved that this was the 5th Sword of Light's battlefield.

His new Grand Dragon, a gift from Takashi Kurita to replace his aging DRG-1N, spewed fire from its left arm.The narrow gout of plasma fire cracked the building's windows as he doused it in passing.

There were some attempts at counter-fire, infantry weapons, justifying his attack. Not that he cared. In moments, the office building was bleeding flames and hurling black smoke into the air eagerly.

From the sky, as he was dropping from orbit, the Steel Valley looked like a corrupted wound upon a sickly world. The miasma from its industries blacked or greyed the skies above it, revealing molten brown and blackened steel underneath. It was a prize for the Dragon, but it didn't look it.

He knew then it was his duty to cleanse the world.

Satisfied, he pounded away with his command lance in tow. Their blood-red 'Mechs were soot-stained and scarred from the firings, but the gold Kurita dragon crest still glinted brightly.

The 5th Sword of Light, the Gold Dragons, were meant to be the Coordinator's own bodyguards. They were a check to the stalwart Otomo, and Palmer had spent the last few years defining his regiment further. He let the Otomo focus on urban defense, the Gold Dragon would focus on urban assault.

Modern MechWarriors, even samurai, were wary of cities where even infantry that would be massacred in the open could fell the heaviest of 'Mechs. Roads were not usually built to withstand the passage of 'Mechs, though the Steel Valley's were, and metal and ferro-crete interfered with their advanced sensors.

A 'warrior relied on cunning, instinct, and training to survive in cities.

He rounded a corner, firing his short-ranged weapons before his reticule even registered the target. The 22nd Avalon Hussars' Enforcer shuddered as two jade beams cut into its chest, followed by the eight heavy, short-ranged missiles.

The ambushing ENF-4R pilot reacted even as he lost balance, dragging searing light across the building to its left while the autocannon chewed up the road with high-velocity shells. Oddly enough, the small laser gouged armour on his 'Mech's domed head, raising the heat even as his scrubbers kicked in.

Half a metre to the left and it may have even pierced into the cockpit.

Palmer snarled, slowing down slightly as he trampled the Medium 'Mech. He slammed the Grand Dragon's left heel on the Enforcer's head without slowing.

A red Grasshopper landed on the laser-scarred building, spitting missiles from its head at a retreating tank. The impacts shredded the tank's left treads making it a perfect target for the GHR-5H's laser array. The crew abandoned the tank as green light carved into its front hull, and it sputtered to a stop.

Palmer closed the distance and kicked it, launching the tank backwards to crash into an armoured transport. Davion soldiers were already pouring out of the APC, setting up anti-'Mech weapons when they were crushed. The tank's dying explosion killed the rest.

Behind him, his two other lancemates were finishing killing their own ambushers.

"Gladstone! Open for us another route!" he shouted into the lance's combat channel.

"Hai, tai-sho!" was the reply as a Victor shouldered his way through the lightest-looking building on the street, using its lasers to cut through supports.

"Wu, bring up the rear. Guiterrez, stay on the roofs."

He took one last look at the burning wrecks and sent a blast of particles from his PPC, reducing the debris to molten flinders as he followed in the Assault 'Mech's wake.

All around the Steel Valley, the 22nd Avalon Hussars chased the fires they had set. Hoping to catch them even as they rampaged through apartments and office buildings. They only left the manufactories untouched so far, and the Hussars still had to leave those defended.

The defenders were responding in strength to some areas, but their responses were clumsy compared to the measured brutality of the Sword of Light.

Palmer reflected on what he had read of the 22nd Avalon Hussar's commanding officer, Marshal Timothy Ulso, and what he had learned. Capable, decisive... just outmatched by us in this terrain. He smiled. They were still a dangerous opponent, especially with their expert use of infantry and vehicles.

He had drilled the Gold Dragon to fight everything short of a Star League-era WarShip in urban settings. That training was proving its worth as reports from his second battalion came in. Having split up his fourth battalion into companies to stalk the outskirts, he had kept his second battalion intact at the southern tip, hidden by metalworks.

The 22nd Avalon Hussar battalion that chose to respond were walking into their ambush.

Tai-sho Palmer Conti signalled a halt and chose a new heading, angling south to reach the rear of the Hussars.

All he had to do was march through several kilometres of built-up residences. Houses, condominiums, and even several hospitals.

Palmer Conti primed his flamer.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 25 January 2013, 22:54:07
The 5th SOL still intent on maximum civilian casualties.
I noticed Palmer Conti has a Grand Dragon instead of the Banshee in the original books.
Good choice.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 25 January 2013, 22:59:48
Theres a guy who'd have been just as happy in the Greenhaven Gestapo as on Kentares...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 28 January 2013, 11:37:17
Yeah, I went with the Grand Dragon for symbolism hehe.

Palmer Conti definitely fits the old school 'evil Snake' to a tee.


==================================


Downtown New Glasgow, Skye
Isle of Skye, Federation of Skye
7 September 3028



The roar of a Sternacht heavy pistol reverberated in the dank alley, and Dechan blinked away the after-image of a trenchcoated man firing backwards on a run.

There was little chance of being hit, but the massive gouge against the brick wall to his right from an earlier shot left an impression on him and he clambered back up from all fours.

"He's going through the other side!" Dechan yelled, unnecessarily, providing his target some audio cues to work with.

He communicated to his team via subvocal mics and they had eyes on him even as they stayed in the shadows, running to pen their quarry in. Downtown New Glasgow's neon nightclubs and long shadows meant that the occasional gunfire went mostly unheard or unheeded.

It was a part of life in the Lyran Commonwealth, where middle managers scrounged for dirt against their competitors, superiors, and supposed allies. It meant a healthy business for those with adjustable morals. And that meant these things were expected to happen from time to time.

The bulky, bug-eyed sunglasses Dechan wore during the day were replaced by a yellow visor. It let him see his target well and the approximate positions of his team, all while looking stylish. More Dragoons tech, and more questions for a 'Foster' like him.

He stopped and aimed at the figure's legs as it rounded a corner to the street, stitching molten holes into the sidewalk with his laser pistol. His pulse laser pistol.

The gun wasn't lostech--at least not yet--it was just very, very rare. Colonel Wolf had distributed a case of the guns to his team, two each, with a mini-recharger and spare packs. The case and all of its contents could've bought him his own Assault Lance, instead he strapped one into a concealable holster at the small of his back and kept the other in a quick-draw holster under his forearm.

Dechan followed at a quick jog, trusting the eyes on the street and roof to keep their target in their sights. He glanced to the map icon and it brought up the local area map.

"Blue, Violet, stay on him," he subvocalized. "Red, move to Baker."

Receiving clicks for acknowledgements, Dechan followed his prey along another route. He disappeared his pulse pistol into his coat's sleeve as he walked through a trendy cafe area, his loster outfit giving people instant opinions of him while forgetting all the details.

"Gold, white is doubling back."

Dechan sent a reply through his visor and ducked into a cafe to his right, all smiles, and made his way to the back. He slipped through the kitchen and into the alleyway just as his target slid to a halt and opened fire.

He was in motion before the boom threw the cafe in chaos, blasting apart the door he had just used. He brought up the pulse pistol and fired low, looking to wound, but the target was quick and was already ducking through a side alley.

The bricks shattered apart as he neared the alley's entrance, his target had been listening for his footfalls and timed his shot. The man's balance, presence of mind, and reflexes all pointed to a trained and experienced 'warrior.

The civilians enjoying a night out were now panicking, and he saw people running past each other in the sidewalk behind his prey from behind the corner. The man laughed and ran through the mob to cross to the other side of the street.

A screeching van slammed into him sideways, knocking him down even as the vehicle slowed to a stop.

Dechan ran up, pushing through the now stunned civilians, as Natasha Kerensky emerged from the van.

Slowly, she walked around the front and to the right side where the man lay crumpled on the ground.

Dechan was close enough to hear him cough and mumble.

Natasha laughed. "You know what else is a bitch? Karma."

Her boot slammed into Fadre Singh's head.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 28 January 2013, 16:31:41
Iron Plains, East of Steel Valley, Quentin
Draconis March, Federated Suns
8 September 3028



Tai-sho Hadji Rajpuman struck the fleeing 22nd Avalon Hussars 'Mechs in three raking passes, one for each company of the 36th Dieron Regulars' second battalion. Third battalion was now wheeling about, reforming into a wedge to slash the RCT's tanks from the rear while he held first battalion in reserve, to strike at either force, if necessary.

Tai-sho Palmer Conti of the 5th Sword of Light had assured him it was not.

Palmer's rampage through the Steel Valley region had flushed out the Hussars as they ran out of places to hide. Even now the 22nd Avalon's second battalion was holding off the entire might of the 5th Sword of Light, and they were failing against the Gold Dragon.

He saw the lead tanks falter, forcing those behind them to slam on their brakes or drive around. Hadji was keenly aware he was trying to demoralize an enemy that probably already saw themselves as failing to protect the people of Quentin from the Dragon and the samurai amongst his men saw it as a mercy as they cut down the worn forces. They'd fall in battle, absolving them of some of their failure.

Tai-sho Rajpuman saw it all as a waste. The Swords had promised swift executions to the Hussars that surrender, and not surprisingly there were no takers.

Third battalion's wheeling strikes had done the necessary damage and he ordered them out as his combat tanks entered their engagement range. He paid the Davion tanks no further heed, they'd be dead in moments.

The Hussar battalion fared well against second's passes, losing only a demi-company in 'Mechs. They were in danger of breaking free, so Hadji lowered his neurohelm's visor and pushed his Panther forward as his battalion followed.

A streak of blue heralded his charge as the 22nd Avalon Hussars fought to break free.


=================================================
Aswan, Caph
Draconis March, Federated Suns
8 September 3028



Sho-sho Filbert Robinson never thought he'd be happy leading an advance at the helm of a Charger, but he smiled as his 80-ton 'Mech took one steady step after another. The angular armour was re-shaped to a somewhat japanese style, which Filbert secretly thought was tacky, but it confused his opponents even as they unloaded shell after shell at him.

Damn dirty Davions and their damned dirty autocannon! he thought as more of the samurai-plating was shot off.

He understood the FedSuns' preference for the autocannon; it was reliable, worked anywhere, needed low maintenance, and was just damned satisfying to shoot. But it created a racket and pock-marked armour it didn't penetrate.

Filbert raised his 'Mech's left arm at the nearest militia 'Mech and hurled a stream of particles at it. His sensors showed it to be an ancient Dervish as his crosshairs glowed gold for a solid LRM lock.

Sho-sho Robinson sidestepped away from the concentrated pattering of autocannon fire then unleashed both LRM 15 racks at the staggered Medium, showering it in armour piercing and high explosive missiles. It bent forward, almost bowing, as the engine's shielding cracked and bled heat into the 'Mech.

Sheets of tracer fire gnawed at his front line, shredding and gouging armour in rapid bursts, but still the 10th Pesht Regulars stalked forward. Chu-sa Mortenson's Awesome shook off the patter of autocannon shells as he split his fire against three militia tanks. He had fired his PPC at one of those tanks dead on and his computer told him it could easily take one or two more direct hits from his Lord's Light before penetrating. The chu-sa killed all three, denuding the cacophony in their direction.

The 10th Pesht was unlike most DCMS regiments, the complete reverse of the standard: one Heavy battalion, one Assault battalion, with two companies of Light and Mediums and integrated tank and infantry regiments. They were specialized for urban defense, not open warfare, which would be a cruel thing for the militia commander to discover.

His regiment was trained to take a world and keep it.

The Davion in charge of Aswan city's defense had been trying to lure them in, deeper into the city through the ruins of the dead New Brunnel city. Aswan nestled in the stretches of radioactive-free blocks of the former capital. The militia commander hoped to lure Assaults and Heavies from the open field, where they held the advantage, into the cities.

Sho-sho Robinson shook his head. The Pesht Regulars had very little to do but plan and train, chase off the occasional pirate attack, and train some more. The 10th Pesht worked along a stretch of garrison worlds with cities nuked during the Succession Wars. They trained in those cities, cities much like New Brunnel.

The militia was now pulling back again, sending covering fire as the 'Mechs and tanks worked in concert to cover their retreat.

He would have enjoyed fighting the commander in the ruins of New Brunnel, pitting his training and skill against the Davion's. But his duty was to secure Aswan and seize the Federated Suns' Ministry of Foreign Relations as quickly as possible.

Sho-sho Filbert Robinson ordered his tanks to flank the militia's new position and moved his Lights and Mediums to stiffen their lines. And then he waited.

Moments later, the 10th Pesht Regulars' artillery battalion dug the Caph Planetary Militia's graves in pummeling blasts.

He walked his CGR-1K onto the streets of Aswan minutes later, the banner of House Kurita fluttering in the wind on his 'Mech's back.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 28 January 2013, 16:39:05
Former Dragoon Administrative HQ, Cerant City, An Ting
Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine
10 September 3028



Warming sunlight drenched the central plaza of Cerant. The tall shape of Government House, seat of Kurita planetary authority, glowered at the office complex that was once the Wolf's Dragoons' Administrative Headquarters.

Below, the citizens of Cerant wandered tensely in the duties of day-to-day business. Hawkers cried their wares, vendors sold their food, all under the hated banners of the Federated Suns that hung from all the buildings. Here and there were MPs in uniform, weapons at the ready, keeping an eye on the Civilian Guidance Corps that were in turn intimidating would-be criminals with stern glances. A knot of AFFS officers moved through the thin throng, heading to the former Dragoon administrative building.

Field Marshal Duke Aaron Sandoval lead the group, his hair wrapped in a traditional Sandoval top-knot was still brown despite his age. Not more than a year ago, the Wolf's Dragoons and the Ryuken worked hand-in-hand within this building. He stalked the long halls, passing alcoves, offices, and meeting rooms beyond the lobby. He had chosen to set up his 1st Robinson Rangers here, routing their planetwide communications through the same commnet the Dragoons had seen fit to upgrade.

He had hoped that the Wolf's Dragoons' and Ryuken's quick shift to the Dieron district would leave tantalizing bits of paperwork to analyze. Instead, he discovered first-hand how thorough the Kuritan bureaucracy was. Inefficient and plodding, but thorough.

When Hanse Davion had given him command of the hastily-assembled task force to retake the Draconis March, Aaron knew at that moment that he couldn't waste the regiments in chasing the DCMS across his territories. No, he would make them come to him.

His aides and various hangers-on split off as he entered the meeting room. Courtesy of the Dragoons', the room's holo-emitters had been upgraded. Some tech, however, had thoroughly wiped any data on it.

Duke Sandoval took his seat at the head of the table.

"Ladies, gentlemen, let's begin," he uttered as the assembled officers rose and sat as he did. His bionic legs barely protested at the abrupt manner he chose to move, and any physical discomfort was quickly replaced by the news.

Leftenant-Colonel Gladys Reyes, head of the combined MPs on world, began. "Seven," she said and stared at each man and woman present. "Just seven killed yesterday. Two apparent muggings, three stabbings, and the last two were apparently due to an inability to pay back gambling debts. The yakuza are not very forgiving lendors."

"That's service personnel. Eleven military police were killed in riots on Li Po, caught in a sudden march of protestors. One MP fired her weapon at the crowd killing several civilians--"

"--Shouldn't have been there--" a voice muttered.

"--unarmed civilians. The protest turned into a riot then... we won't be able to bury their remains."

Aaron Sandoval leaned back, exhaling as he took in the news. We took An Ting without a battle, but I'm still burying my boys and girls... He chose to begin each meeting with this news, a sobering reminder.

"That brings the total dead since our occupation two weeks ago to one hundred and thirty three. Civilian deaths are--"

"--Who the **** cares?" Marshal Kenney Graham sputtered. Aaron watched several heads nodded in agreement. Marshal Graham's 41st Avalon Hussars RCT bore more than half of those losses garrisoning the capital of Li Po. Cerant City bore the administrative centers while Li Po the larger starport and the planet's few factories. That meant a high yakuza presence and lower-class citizenry.

Gladys was undeterred. "Civilian deaths are approximately three hundred and twenty."

"That is unacceptable," Duke Sandoval pronounced, frustration tinging his words. "The bloody-handed Snakes didn't kill three hundred and twenty of our civilians, did they? And yet they hit how many worlds?" He stood, the legs thrusting him up faster than he intended. "We've been here less than two weeks, and we've killed more than the Kuritans have in months of operations."

Aaron burned at the comparison. He had struck An Ting in the hopes of cutting off the Galedon District's most likely forward base, or distribution center. Instead, he found a world empty of even the most basic garrison troops. The bulk of the Galedon Military District's forces were on the border, but he couldn't pin down where the rest of Warlord Kester Hsiun Chi's units were. All he knew was that the Warlord had avoided unnecessary civilian deaths.

He glared at Marshal Graham. "Let me be clear: I care!"

The assembled officers didn't shuffle at the pronouncement. No one could claim Aaron Sandoval to be a 'Snake-lover', but he was even less a Snake himself, ready to slaughter out of expediency.

Why can't they understand that were are liberating them?

"Because we're not." Major General Xerxes Davion said. Aaron didn't remember speaking the thoughts out loud and took the time to recollect his thoughts by pinning the much younger with his glare. A distant relation to the main family, Xerxes had the affected thoughtfulness of the more pretentious ones in the ruling line. When he did not wilt under his gaze, Duke Sandoval nodded once and sat.

"We're not here to liberate them. No more than my cousin is liberating the Capellans." He looked around the table, looking for support. "We're conquering these people. For good intentions, yes. For their own good. Even if they can't see it. But we are not liberating them--we're enforcing our own morals on them."

"Spare us the moral relativism, Xerxes," Marshal Graham said, waving the man off. "It's simple: Kuritans are evil, we are not. We are the cure to the Snake's bite and it'll cost lives to save them, that I know for sure. But I won't cry for every damned Snake too stupid to thank us for freeing them."

"Enough."

Leutnant-Colonel Dwight Schaeffer readied his analysis of supplies and stores when the meeting room's doors opened. Armed guards, both within and without, had their weapons trained on the messenger--a man they had seen countless times and even served with--ran in panting.

He held an optichip in hand which he plugged into the holoterminal.

"We--tried--to--send--via--comms," the man said between breaths. "Jammed."

The holovid, recorded from a news reporter's camera by the clarity and fidelity, showed the capital, Li Po, in flames.

'Mechs, in the parade scheme of the 41st Avalon Hussars, were burning the city down as panicked protestors were gunned down or vapourized.

Outside, Field Marshal Duke Aaron Sandoval could hear rage erupting in the streets.



(Scene edited from Chapter 34: Wolves on the Border)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 28 January 2013, 19:16:55
Oh, good grief.  :o
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 28 January 2013, 21:11:06
ComGuards?  Nastier than stomping an HPG on Sarna...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 28 January 2013, 21:46:33
ComGuards?  Nastier than stomping an HPG on Sarna...
That hadn't occurred to me, and suddenly sounds much more reasonable.  O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Chaeronea on 29 January 2013, 06:40:08
Veeeery interesting. At first I thought ComStar was trying false-flag operations just to break relations between Wolf's Dragoons and the Draconis Combine, in order to force the Dragoons to make another supply run so they could try to track their caches. Instead it looks like they've broadened their horizons and are looking to set off wars between all the Successor States. Heck, if the current story about the happenings on An Ting get enough air time in the Lyran Commonwealth it could prejudice more people against the merger with the Federated Suns.

By the way, who's the Primus in this timeline? Is Julian Tiepolo still in charge, or has Myndo Waterly taken over?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 29 January 2013, 13:01:58
Maynnn I can't get away with anything with you guys!...  8)

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 29 January 2013, 15:14:47
Kohler Spaceport, Outside Tara City, Northwind
Draconis March, Federated Suns
12 September 3028



Michi sidestepped the Warhammer's parting shot as it backed out of maximum range of its Donal PPCs. Wishing his Grand Dragon was the standard configuration, to fire long instead of short ranged missiles, was futile. Instead, he sent another blast from his own PPC which the 5th Deneb pilot handily evaded.

He had spent a punishing week keeping the two headstrong commands together, after the thoroughly humiliating ambush by the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry. He had to threaten violence on both the Wolf's Dragoons and the Ryuken to prevent them from pursuing personal grudges.

They had lost more than they should have.

Sederasu had gone down in his Cyclops, the focus of a company of Light 'Mechs was too much for the lightly armed and armoured Command 'Mech. With him went any hopes for a quick and coordinated response as Colonel Dumont's 'Mech was the next target. She survived, but was bound to a MASH bed, still awaiting further treatments.

They had the superior numbers, the experience, the supporting assets but the 5th Deneb ran roughshod over them in mostly Light and Medium 'Mechs. After the devastating pass, the Davion RCT had dispersed on pre-planned vectors and Michi lost all sense of combat cohesion. Two tank battalions died immediately after, isolated, as their 'Mech support broke off to chase swifter targets. His infantry had dug in and were rendered ineffective by the 'Mechs' speed and tactics.

Combined, they had lost a battalion and a half of 'Mechs. So he ordered the retreat. He had spent the last week fending off more ambushes and seeking to retake the initiative. He had failed, until today.

He inhaled the bitter, hot air of his not-so-new Grand Dragon's cockpit and checked in with line-of-sight laser links that his mixed Ryuken-go and elements of Delta's Able Battalion were stopping well out of range of the 5th Deneb's DropShips' guns.

There was no need to push the Davions any further, and Michi dialed up his commpanel's volume again.

The rhythmic wailing, honking, and ululating noise seemed to have always occupied the general bands. Its equivalent in electronic countermeasure noise played in nearly all the other frequencies, even stumping the famed electronics wizards of the Dragoons over the last hour.

He shifted his DRG-1K's torso to the east, watching as a different set of DropShips descended on acitinic plumes.

McCormack's Fusiliers, they identified themselves, of the Northwind Highlanders. Home at last.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 29 January 2013, 17:14:51
Interesting to see not everything is going the Dragon's and Dragoon's way on every front.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 29 January 2013, 17:35:00
Oh it isn't, I just thought you guys might be bored if I outlined each and every battle. Rasalhague is doing better than canon... where they lost 23 worlds outright. It's more of a fight, but they're not winning per se (the Combine, that is).
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 29 January 2013, 23:24:21
Interesting to see the 5th perform without the poisioning
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 30 January 2013, 16:22:25
Forward Command Base, Kirchbach
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
23 September 3028



The command room hummed with calm energy as analysts, officers, and computers processed the incoming reports at a steady, measured stream. The room was built like a gladiatorial arena, with the pit in the middle housing the holotank surrounded by rising rings of men and women standing over terminals. Techs in the pit were adjusting feeds and the emitters, making the glowing map of the Rasalhague Military District flicker.

Cool air pooled into the pit from the higher levels, helping to cool the mass of electronics. Two tables, surfaces to manipulate the holoimage, were raised from the floor and Warlord Ivan Sorenson stood in between, glancing at each section as more updates were being rendered.

ComStar had offered special rates for the Draconis Combine, even special accommodations that allowed field commanders to link directly to the HPG compound to send and receive messages. Updates throughout the Rasalhague district ended up here, on Kirchbach, his chosen command post. He was receiving updates that were no more than four hours old, a feat few thought impossible in modern warfare.

He was standing here, more than a month ago, when the reports of invasion came directly from ComStar acolytes who supposedly took it upon themselves to warn him. In his secret command base.

Ivan knew he had no choice but to avail himself of the Order's generosity, even if he didn't entirely trust them. Instead of sending detailed instructions he gave commands in general. It had the almost impercepitible effect of communicating trust in his commanders, which was the only tolerable outcome of the situation.

He was overwhelmed.

Ordering a district had been beyond his skills as a 'Mech commander, a MechWarrior, but Takashi Kurita had insisted on awarding him the role of Warlord of Rasalhague upon promoting his cousin Marcus Kurita, the previous Warlord Rasalhague, to command the Otomo. Ivan expected to be relieved within the first month of Marcus Kurita ascending to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Yet the only thing that came from Luthien was more materiel and more units from Pesht, for which he was grateful.

Did he keep me in place because he knows he has my loyalty, or because he has my men's loyalty? the Warlord asked, not for the first time, then banished the thought again.

It had been a month since word of the invasion came, and he had been sending out requests to Luthien since. He received no reply other than to perform his duty. The thought of being so reliant on ComStar for these messages and reports sickened him, but he put that thought away as well.

Nearly twenty worlds had been ringed with blue on the holomap a month ago, most in his district, and all targets from the LCAF's sudden-but not surprise-attack. The scale of it dwarfed his own estimates at a dozen worlds, maximum, and he had sent out a report to the entire DCMS regarding his worries.

Somehow, his admission that he did not know how many worlds, or which ones, lent him more credibility. There were reports in the Dieron and Benjamin districts that his warning arrived just days before the invaders did. Thankfully, some listened and prepared.

Still, more than half of those targets were still ringed blue. The other half pulsed blue completely, the DCMS units on those worlds abandoning their posts. He had sent orders forbidding seppuku right away, and ComStar was all too happy to pass that command along.

Another flicker of the holomap and an icon hovered over Harvest. Warlord Sorenson turned to a table and read through the update himself.

Tai-sho Gerber was still molesting the Lyrans as best he could, his own words, and managed to preserve the remnants of the four 'Mech regiments under his command. No word of any more 'bad weather', the code his analysts called the Lyran Lightning Companies.

Using lighter 'Mechs for roles they excelled in, for roles the DCMS used against the Lyrans for centuries, was a natural adaptation, Ivan granted. He wondered why Nondi Steiner chose to deploy them against the foremost Light 'Mech users in an army of Light 'Mech users, the Amphigean Light Assault Groups.

Pride? I can exploit that, Warlord Sorenson thought to himself, trying to train his mind to be more like a general than just a \ 'warrior.

The casualty lists he scanned briefly, focusing instead on the damage Gerber had caused. Of the estimated 40 tank and infantry regiments the invaders brought, less than 20 were still active. The three 'Mech regiments--the 1st and 3rd Lyran Regulars, and the 4th Donegal Guards--had been whittled to more than two battalions each.

Harvest, however, was nearly trampled and ground under. If the Lyrans could be convinced to leave in the next two months they'd have enough time to repair some of the damage to prevent starvation in many surrounding systems. The farmlands of Pesht were too distant, and he lacked the command circuit-like 'tradelanes' Warlord Tetsuhara established for Dieron and Luthien.

Warlord Sorenson straightened up from reading the reports, then watched an urgent update flash through the table's surface.

He held his sigh and disappointment inside.

Tai-sa Mcgavin's Nightstalkers were fleeing Basiliano and were requesting instructions. Massive casualties.

A commtech was already approaching him, pad in the crook of her arm, ready to jot down his orders. The commtechs had taken to rotating the duty between themselves, lest one become too familiar to him and become associated with bad news.

"Route them here," he said. The commtech nodded and walked away, briskly, but he paid her no further attention.

Above him, Basiliano flicked from red-ringed-blue to solid blue.

He was still staring at the holomap when the room shook. Ivan glanced around as the entire building began reverberating. The blast that followed was no longer a surprise, and neither were the screams that sounded from the hallways.

One, two, three explosions rattled the arena. He had forbidden weapons save for swords in the command room, and regretted it now.

If I couldn't trust them with guns, why trust them with my plans?"

"Shikata ga nai," he whispered. It cannot be helped. His men and women heard him, and they drew what weapons they could as the systems were locked down.

Calmly, Warlord Ivan Sorenson ordered an aide to change the holomap to show the crest of House Kurita.

Then he stood under it, in the middle of the pit, drew his two swords and waited as the screams and explosions came closer.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 30 January 2013, 17:07:15
Quote
The four 'Mech regiments--the 1st and 3rd Lyran Regulars, and the 4th Donegal Guards--had been whittled to more than two battalions each.

A regiment is missing.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 30 January 2013, 17:18:09
Thanks, it was just those three. Fixed.


====================================

DCS Kobayashi-maru, Star Lord-class JumpShip
Lyran Commonwealth
1 October 3028



"My son, forgive the drama, but if you are watching this then I am dead.

And I suspect not by your hand.

I am not as blind as you claim I am. I know what you do in Skye, and cannot help but be disappointed in your agreement with that--hah!--snake Lestrade. I will honour no agreements with him.

I have tried to show you the higher calling the Kurita line serves. We are warriors, yes, but we fight with more than just 'Mechs or even armies. We fight with the entirety of the Combine. To expand. To preserve.

It is my hope that one day you can recognize this, this lie we tell our peasants: that we can conquer the Inner Sphere and all of mankind by force of arms. Our goal is to seek this end by whatever means. But that hope is dim now that I hear reports of your exploits.

You will not change...

Your cousin, Constance, has been persistently suggesting reforms to our interpretations of the Dictum Honorium and the Five Pillars.

You, Theodore, are far too radical. You seek change to distance yourself from me, seeing the benefits only while harming what you ought to be protecting. The Draconis Combine is greater than you or I, greater even than House Kurita. If you seek this radical path of reform, you will destroy our essence while gold-plating the shell.

I have attached the Keeper's ideas to this message, as well as my own changes. Ruminate on them. This is your nation's future. Do not allow your hatred of me, your repulsion of what I stand for, to infect the Combine. You will create your own enemies if you ever become Coordinator.

I am trying to teach you there are multiple roads to the same destination. This is where your skills have failed you, for you are a superb tactician, son, if far too dramatic. You believe success means you are correct, when all it proves is that tactic worked.

I urge you to walk in wisdom.

And the only way to do so is to walk in humility.

Son, you are a vain fool. You preach that duty must come before honour, yet you abandon your own duty as a Kurita. You preach victory at the cost of honour, yet you forget your own honour in attacking Skye and inciting war with the Lyrans. Where is your duty to the people?

Have I not taught you true honour?

I may have failed you, Theodore. And in doing so, I have failed the Combine. I bring our own House down upon us for I have been too lenient. Thrice now I have called back orders to kill you. Do you understand now the depth of my distrust in your capabilities?

I would rather hand Marcus the Combine than have you sit on the throne. At least he has learned to rule rather than just command.

If he ever succeeds in his plots, I suggest you run and hide. You are a Kurita samurai, but you are no Kurita Lord."


The message ended.

Theodore wept.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Dave Talley on 30 January 2013, 18:04:49
OUCH!! That stings
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 30 January 2013, 19:16:32
But in a round about way, wasn't Teddy K responsible for Takashi's death?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 30 January 2013, 21:34:30
Oof.  Tak has a way with words...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 30 January 2013, 22:30:52
 :o talk about a fatherly, pimp slap from  beyond.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 31 January 2013, 02:23:49
A slap, that was more like a solid kick in the nuts.
Excellent work Takashi. >:D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 31 January 2013, 14:53:55
Hephaestus Station, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
12 October 3028


Natasha smiled thinly as Marisha Dandridge engulfed her in a fierce hug.

She returned it with what she felt was sincere strength, but Marisha was too busy fussing about her lost weight and the new, shorter haircut, to notice.

Stop feeling guilty, Tasha. You did nothing. She interrupted Marisha. "How have things been here?"

"Oh, busy!" Marisha deflated somewhat, then urged Natasha beside her as they walked along Hephaestus' primary gravdeck. "I still don't know if Jaime intends to stay here or not, and we still have service members who have families on An Ting we need to move, but Dieron has been busy welcoming us. They've built all the halls already, and our moon bases are coming along well from what I hear." She paused. "I met with the former Planetary Governor, Hehiro Morimoto, now Deputy Governor, and he's done such a great job making our troops feel at home. Has a rather adorable son named Ethan--"

Natasha nodded. "--You said there was something I needed to see?"

Marisha smiled and yanked Natasha along, like an older sister pulling along a rebellious one. The thought rankled Natasha, she was far older and deadlier than this woman. What does Jaime see in her?

They entered an alcove and Marisha pulled out a keypad and a chip. She smiled encouragingly to Natasha then left, sealing the alcove.

A holo-image appeared of Jaime Wolf, and Natasha smiled and then frowned. "Tasha," the message began, "I need you to do something for me. I couldn't say anything while we were on Skye, believe it or not this message travelled with you to Nirasaki."

Natasha stood up straighter. "Takashi Kurita practically gave us Nirasaki, and elevated me to just beneath a Warlord in standing. But we still have a mission. We just have more resources to accomplish that. The mercenaries are mine--ours--until the Combine needs them, and Minobu assures me they're still being held in reserve."

She nodded to the image. "When you and your Black Widow Battalion are up for it, I need to you to take one of the mercenary regiments to Outreach. Bring an expeditionary team, techs and engineers. We're going to need what's buried there."

A strange sensation passed through Natasha and she realized she had been taking notes. It was in a shorthand, she could read it, but couldn't remember learning it. The memory of where she learned it slipped through her thoughts. Odd, that she was also memorizing Jaime's message even as she wrote it down.

Natasha listened intently as Jaime Wolf's message continued. "Oh, and I should mention... I'm giving Dechan the responsibility to train the three remaining mercenary regiments." Jaime paused. "They're not... up to our standards, but we need to get them ready. Outreach is just the first step. We need to help keep the Dragon whole for now." Natasha's frown turned into a smile.

Natasha left the alcove grinning, her eyes glistening.

"Marisha!" she said to the startled woman waiting outside. "So tell me," she said looping her arm around the other woman's, "what can two lovely ladies do to get in trouble here?"

She laughed, wiping tears from her eyes, as Marisha Dandridge dragged her to the shuttle bay.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 31 January 2013, 22:18:11
The Manchurian Star Colonel?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 01 February 2013, 02:06:56
The Manchurian Star Colonel?
She DID spend some time in enemy hands ... Enough time to program her? There's not much use of brainwashing in BT, but it does exist ...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 01 February 2013, 12:21:18
FNNS Whistleblower, Scout-class JumpShip, Breed
Draconis March, Federated Suns
14 October 3028



"This is Malina Adavari of the Federated News Network. Good evening.

We lead tonight's news with an update of the ongoing war with a disturbing report from the Draconis Combine Prefecture capital world of An Ting, where footage of a war atrocity perpetrated by Duke Aaron Sandoval's forces has just arrived to our desk. I warn you, this footage is disturbing to watch.

This the capital city of Li Po, on the world of An Ting which, as a Prefecture capital, makes it a world of commerce and war in the Draconis Combine. The DCMS has numerous bases on world, most recently housing the famed Wolf's Dragoons that have apparently signed on for an extended contract with House Kurita.

This busy world, this bustling city, was conquered by Field Marshal Duke Aaron Sandoval's task force in recent months. Prince Hanse Davion assembled the task force from numerous RCTs deployed in the interior and Periphery borders, an unpopular decision as it has stripped the defenses on a wide swathe of worlds. Not only that, but the growing economic crisis at home reached a fevered pitch as the numerous regiments were hauled to the Draconis March.

With the Draconis Combine's illegal seizing of commercial JumpShips, which government officials are still claiming to be untrue despite the evidence, this latest military endeavour has already seen several planets' economies plummet. Starvation is a very likely reality for many of our fellow citizens, not because of laziness or calamity, but by the imposed hardship of this entire war.

We have confirmed that Duke Sandoval was ordered to reclaim the Draconis March worlds seized by the DCMS earlier this year, during the so-called "Summer Raids" which saw the DCMS rip the Lyran-territory of Skye apart--forcing its leader to announce their independence--even while Combine troops from the Galedon and Benjamin districts spilled over to seize undefended worlds.

These worlds, officially still "in contest" according to our sources within the AFFS are nevertheless garrisoned by troops from the Combine's heartland. Duke Sandoval choice to ignore the plight of these people, his own people, and sought to strike at the 'forward' DCMS base.

I'm joined now by Mr. Faulkner, a retired AFFS veteran and our senior military analyst. Mr. Faulkner?"

A blonde man, grizzled features but wrapped in a middle-class suit, smiled. "Thank you, Ms. Adavari. An Ting, as our viewers may know, has been the launching point for many a raid or invasion into the Draconis March. It's a port, a world of commerce, and frankly, that means the DCMS can seize its own citizens' vessels for use. This works out well since often they're only needed for a week or two, so the effect is minimal.

An Ting also has numerous bases, command centres really, embedded into the cities and mountains. It's just a reality in the Draconis Combine, nearly every world has been hardened for this purpose. So striking at it, seizing it, makes sense strategically."

Malina shook her head. "But Mr. Faulkner, this attack by the--"

"--It looks the 41st Avalon Hussars--"

"--by the 41st Avalon Hussars is not against a hardened command bunker. These look like civilians, and there that's a Ho-Lee Hot Tea building, I had a chance to visit one a few years ago. It's a place for young students to gather..."

The old man nodded his head. "Yes, it does look like, from the footage at least, that the 41st Avalon are attacking civilians. But! But! I hasten to point out that this video was transmitted via HPG. Someone with the resources to pay for such an expensive transmission would have the resources to edit out the cause of this attack."

"Really, Mr. Faulkner, are we to believe--"

"--We're to believe more than just what we're presented, Ms. Adavari. Combine citizens aren't like you or I. They'd be more than willing to die by the thousands to stop a FedSun 'Mech. The ISF has no compunction about attacking while they're amongst civilians, we're not even sure they are civilians."

"Perhaps, Mr. Faulkner. But that doesn't explain the wanton destruction of civilian property. I'm sure those buildings weren't attacking those 'Mechs and yet they were gutted by heavy autocannon and the people inside were roasted alive--"

"Malina! You can't be feeling sorry for these damned Snakes, can you?"

"They are people, innocent people, Mr. Faulkner."

"There are no innocent Snakes." The old man stood, removed the lapel mic, and walked away. The anchorman pressed into her ear then nodded.

"We continue this evening with a look at the Draconis Combine's borders. For weeks now, the Combine has been sending out, in the open, friendly and polite reminders about the new worlds under its domain. We received news yesterday that a handful of the seized JumpShips have also been released back to their owners, provided that they immediately begin transporting the urgent materials needed by the newly conquered worlds.

This blatant publicity stunt however has the added benefit of producing results as the economies of those worlds are stabilizing. Trade for food, water, and medical supplies is open on all these systems and many are exporting what they can to nearby planets.

The latest message was sent from New Ivaarsen, the planet where a few short months ago, Prince Hanse Davion 'liberated' at great expense from no Kurita soldiers.

We still have no current word from Robinson where the forces of Warlord Kester Hsiun Chi invaded two weeks ago. Attempts to contact the Robinson HPG have all failed, suggesting damage to the HPG itself."

The camera switched and Malinda swiveled in her chair. "Moving on to other news, worries of a ComStar 'blackout' are still worrying the markets despite the savage victories our forces have won in the Capellan Federation. The diaspora of fleeing Capellans and refugees have flooded all trade routes, making military action difficult in those regions.

We do have news that the CCAF has managed to retake the planet of Northwind. With the Dieron district left mostly unengaged by our Lyran allies, there are rumours from refugee vessels that both Caph and Quentin have fallen. Caph is the new home of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, a trade centre, and the gateway to the Lyran Commonwealth. Quentin, of course, is a factory-world, churning out warmachines that the AFFS relies on. With word of Marduk's conquest at the onset of the war, and now with the siege at Robinson, this leaves the Draconis March bereft of any 'Mech production facilties--at least those of the caliber of Independence Weaponry and Norse BattleMech Works.

The Lyran Commonwealth has already responded by stepping up production on Hesperus II and replacement shipments are already arriving to our forces on the Capellan front. This generosity, of course, is made possible by the training of many LCAF officers in our military institutions and academies, explaining the successes the LCAF has managed against the Draconis Combine's Rasalhague district.

Though unconfirmed, the surprise conquest of almost twenty worlds has spurred on the LCAF leadership to push for more planets. However, there are further unconfirmed reports that several of the Tamar region's factory worlds were heavily hit, cutting off their own supply sources. We have confirmed in previous reports that Sudeten, another factory-world, was greatly damaged, and the border world of Sevren, neighbouring the world of Tamar itself, has been gutted. For more on those worlds, please see our special report on Tamar.

Now, on to the Capellan front where our sources say the war is proceeding better than expected..."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 01 February 2013, 15:47:51
Kobayashi-maru, 22 light years from Tharkad
District of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
15 October 3028



Jaime Wolf prowled across the gravdeck into the meeting room unhindered. Sentries stood at regular intervals, observing him along the way, but they made no move to obstruct him.

The doors opened from the inside, armed guards waved him in with scanning batons that doubled as stunsticks. He was nodded through, with a smile, and Jaime found it hard not to return it. His time amongst the Kuritans had changed him, even their polite demeanours were becoming natural for him.

He nodded back, curtly, and strode to the centre of the room. He was one of the last officers to arrive, the rest had formed into groups discussing details and trivia except for a pair that sat on Theodore Kurita's left and right sides.

Tai-sho Goshi Tengwan was bent towards Theodore, whispering a last-minute plea to divert the armada to Luthien. The young Kurita had resisted the man's arguments for two months, but Jaime noted a slackening in his defenses over the last two weeks. He could tell it wasn't Theodore wavering from his audacious invasion plan, just a retreat which the Sworder saw as a weakness to exploit and renewed his campaign.

Yorinaga Kurita kept an eye on the Sworder general, but spared a moment to nod at him as Jaime took his seat beside the Genyosha commander. His arrival quieted Tai-sho Tengwan and Theodore even smiled at the release of pressure and noise.

"I've been reviewing your readiness reports, Colonel Wolf," Theodore said in a low voice, "and I am impressed. The Battle for Skye was long and grueling, yet your Alpha Regiment is at nearly full-strength."

Jaime nodded. "We bring a small cadre with every regiment. MechWarriors all. They move up should we need any replacement pilots. The 'Waiting List' it's called. A month of salvage ops and restful duty did the rest."

"So ka, though I'm surprised the rapid transit to join our small fleet here did not take its toll."

"We Dragoons are used to long-distance treks, tono." Theodore couldn't completely hide his reaction, but he smiled and nodded politely enough.

Yorinaga stepped into the conversation. "Forgive my nephew, Colonel Wolf. He's merely frustrated that his own 11th Legion of Vega took the entire journey to adjust to their heavier 'Mechs."

"Not even the 1st Genyosha recovered as quickly from the initial attacks," Theodore reminded his 'uncle'.

"First... Genyosha?" Jaime leaned in and looked at Yorinaga. He had dueled the man, in sims, seven times since joining the armada. He lost handily each time. "There's more of you?"

The Sworder harrumphed and swallowed some tea.

"We have one of the greatest concentrations of 'warriors in the DCMS here," Theodore responded. "It was only natural to start selecting the best. We have some 'spare' MechWarriors as well, in informal training units that we've moved up to fill in the gap." He nodded to a man speaking with some Benjamin Regulars officers. "Narimasa Asano leads the 2nd Genyosha though they are not yet at the same quality as their brother regiment, and will be supporting the 1st's battalions."

"I am pleased with their progress, though their sudden transfers may have disrupted some units," Yorinaga paused briefly and the Sworder swallowed more tea, "the upcoming invasion will be their first real test. Takashi-sama had always intended the Genyosha to grow. Once seasoned, both regiments will train the third regiment. I hope to season the three in raiding before expanding further. In two years' time, I hope to raise the Genyosha's strength to that of the Ryuken."

That stunned Jaime. Not only were the two Kuritas assured of their invasion and their survival, they had plans to grow an elite unit to six regiments. He knew for a fact that the DCMS had better individual MechWarriors, on average, than any other Great House military but that counted for little in the grand scheme of things. Especially when they engaged in traditional, wasteful, tactics. Now, those individual samurai were becoming part of the grand scheme and weren't being spent like cheap autocannon shells.

"Does that mean the 11th Legion's apprenticeship is at an end?" Jaime asked, covering for his shock.

"Hai," Yorinaga said. "They will do."

Theodore's mouth quirked as the newly-minted Tai-sa Esau Olivares sat down to the Tai-sho Tengwan's right and slapped the Sworder on the back as he was drinking his tea.

"We'll do more than do, tono-sama," the red-haired man chuckled. "Just you wait."

Jaime smiled at the loud man, thankful that he wasn't the brashest one among the stoic and precise Kuritan officers. There was a very distinct un-japanese way about him, even the way Esau said japanese words didn't sound quite right. Jaime wasn't even sure if 'tono-sama' was a proper form of address.

Asano sat beside the new tai-sa with a younger man introduced only as Akira who sat just behind him, in the ring of tables surrounding the main one meant for aides and assistants.

The other officers broke off their conversations and took their seats.

Theodore stood and the briefing began.

"Operation CONTAGION is proceeding as planned," Theodore Kurita explained. "I have received reports from our spies that we face no more than two LCAF line regiments and possibly three more mercenary regiments on Tharkad itself. This includes the bodyguard regiment, the 2nd Royal Guards. However, more than fifty conventional vehicle regiments, and potentially a hundred infantry regiments can be massed against us. Most of which have their own combat and support vehicles."

"We have debated and fine-tuned the Operation's first stage. But we have done so on a faulty premise." There were gasps, which to the Kuritans were like loud shouts of denial. "We have 'Mech superiority, there is no doubt. But we have a third of their conventional assets. How many can each of our regiments can destroy before they're drowned in a flood? A thousand riflemen will shoot apart an Atlas given enough time. And Tharkad has conventional air and wet navy assets as well."

Theodore raised his chin slightly and gripped his hands behind his back. "We will not conquer Tharkad."

When there were no objections, Theodore clarified. "We will smash it. The primary objective remains unchanged, we must capture Archon Katrina Steiner. We do so, then we can force an end to the war, dictate terms even to the Fox."

Heads nodded. Jaime Wolf eyed Theodore warily. "But we cannot leave Tharkad's industries intact. You've heard that we captured two regiments of their new tanks, these Pattons and Rommels, courtesy of the Wolf's Dragoons. The Lyran Commonwealth designed these new tanks to use fusion engines built on Tharkad itself. There are thousands of these tanks in the LCAF and a few hundred in the AFFS."

Theodore let the statement hang again. Fusion engines were still rare everywhere else in the Inner Sphere, and to mass-produce them, for vehicles no less, was a grand statement. "We'll take what equipment we can, but the objective there is to stop the flow of fusion engines. Permanently."

"The next target, at least of lasting consequence, will be the Nagelring. I initially left off the school from our target list, and I'm re-deploying the 2nd Dieron Regulars," Theodore nodded to Sho-sho Filbert Galberston, "to raze the school to the ground and destroy their training battatlion."

Jaime followed Theodore's nod. He had heard that Minobu Tetsuhara had dispatched Ryuken trainers to the new 2nd Dieron Regulars. Their commanding officer, this Sho-sho Galberston, had already been trying to teach combined-arms tactics to his unit. The Ryuken trainers had come along, keeping the new troops from becoming too unsteady, but they had spoken to him of their surprise in the 2nd Dieron's willingness to use Dragoon-inspired tactics.

I thought the Ryuken were a miracle in the tradition-bound DCMS. But now a Regular unit?

"The military targets remain unchanged. The assault portion of CONTAGION will begin after the infiltration is completed. We are on the clock now, the jump is in three days' time."

Jaime fidgeted uncomfortably at that. He did not like relying on sabotage to accomplish a task. And risking exposure by sending the, Jaime admitted to himself, space ninjas ahead of time complicated matters. Even now, 'merchant' JumpShps were travelling to Tharkad, having broken off from the armada at various points. The plan, he had been told, was to take on transport jobs to Tharkad itself. DropShips, also heading to Tharkad, took other JumpShips. Both were infested with ISF agents, DEST groups, and DCA marines.

Some were on Tharkad now, distributing themselves on the numerous freighters and transports heading to the capital. They were in the recharging stations, the refit and repair yards in orbit over Tharkad, even in the capital city itself. Some had been there for months.

CONTAGION is an apt name for the Operation, Jaime agreed. The Lyrans will never be free of it. It goes too deep.

"The 5th Irece Irregulars will jump in first and secure Tharkad AeroSpace Group's yards. Several DropShips have just finished their trials and will be seized by our crews. They'll hold those yards as they sit close to the L1 pirate point we'll be using."

Jaime eyed Tai-sa Alice Tran, a decorated AeroSpace and BattleMech pilot. The 5th Irece Irregulars were a Land-Air-'Mech regiment, one of the few left in the Inner Sphere. Technically, they were a DCA unit and specialized in boarding actions, held in reserve and were rotated to Dieron earlier this year. They were out of practice, but one of the requests Takashi had made of him was to provide updated tactics and training for the unit. Especially their marine contingent. It was left unsaid how the Wolf's Dragoons would have this expertise to pass on.

A wise man, Takashi, Jaime thought as he eyed Theodore. The man-who-would-be-Coordinator stared back at him, as if feeling the comparison.

"Then, we will proceed under fighter cover to the planet. Here is where the assault differs." Theodore continued after a short pause, and called up Tharkad to hover above the table. "We're still proceeding with orbital assaults for our primary targets, but the DropShips will remain in orbit and in formation. Even an Overlord or a Union is a fearsome platform if it's in formation and supported. We won't have local aerospace superiority for long, and grounded DropShips are sitting targets."

"They'll drop in force once an objective is secured. And of course, our conventional regiments can't all be wrapped in cocoons so our armour and infantry transports will ground. They will blast-off, immediately after unloading."

Jaime Wolf nodded. "Tracking the incoming and outgoing DropShips will also throw the Lyrans into confusion, even if we have to bring our fuel and store 'ships with us, the added confusion might be worth it."

Theodore motioned for him to continue. "We split all the DropShips into two equal forces, each covering the direct aerospace above the objectives. We'll be grounding the conventional transports to support most of the objectives, but we'll have to redeploy."

Narimasa Asano took up the thought. "So we land more DropShips than what we're unloading, break up their defenses. A shell game."

The DCA commodore, Sho-sho Amrinder Ravi, in charge of naval operations, leaned in. "It will be costly, and timing will be crucial. We will need to act before the 'Mech regiments actually call for help."

There were murmurs at that. Kuritan commanders did not like asking for support or help.

Theodore smiled. "I will make sure that the requests will be timely." And with that pronouncement, the Kurita officers knew they were under orders to ask for support when it was advantageous to do so. He felt Theodore's authority ripple through those seated with him.

Jaime volunteered another thought. "We can also do the same for our reserve 'Mechs." Heads turned towards him. "There's no way we can hold off the entire planet with just a dozen 'Mech regiments. Re-deploying our reserves, lending some 'Mech weight to the vehicle transports, will let us strike the secondary and tertiary targets too, without relying on the success of the primary forces." Feeling the eyes on him, Jaime Wolf straightened his posture.

"One battalion from each of the two reserve regiments, rotating drop duties, maybe a few companies of LAMs?" He raised an eyebrow at Tai-sa Tran who nodded. "And we'll have the means to wage a war against the flood of tanks. Specifically, we need to stop them from grouping up."

"I admit, Colonel Wolf," Theodore said after a few seconds, "that level of tactical coordination is beyond me. I know you had intended on being on the ground, but may I ask you to reconsider? Take command of the supporting elements." Theodore bowed slightly towards him and held it.

Without thinking, Jaime Wolf stood and bowed as to a superior.

"Thank you, Tai-sho Wolf."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 02 February 2013, 00:02:41
Jaime's gone native.  So does this advance the Dragoon's mission?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 02 February 2013, 08:49:23
The Combine has the most Clanlike culture in the Inner Sphere. I'm positing that it's a comfort to the Clanners still in the Dragoons. The familiarity is both good and bad: non-nobles are treated harshly but even the lowest in the Combine has it better than well-off freebirths.

There's an unconcious belief that only a warrior culture can beat another. Plus under Takashi even the eta's lives improved.

The Combine is what the Clans could have been, could stand to be a bit freer perhaps, but its struggles with modernization and its culture embodies the secret hopes of the Clanners. Which is why I didn't want Misery to happen, preserve the old farts that would've died.

As for Jaime... well we'll see.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 02 February 2013, 11:30:01
Very interesting story so far.

Has Jaime (and the Clan Dragoons?) gone native, are they setting the Combine up for a "Welcome to Clan Wolf!" party, or does the combine really just feel a bit like home?????
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 02 February 2013, 20:35:33
I look at it as... "Believe it or not, the crazy Kuritans have been the most hospitable ones in the entire Inner Sphere other than the Davions. There's no point in going around again, so maybe this is a great opportunity to do what Kerlin Ward wanted us to."

Without the acrimonious Battle of Misery, the Wolf's Dragoons have the chance to prep the Successor States... but they may feel that invasion is imminent and letting the FS+LC win isn't the best route. After all, they cut their contract with the LC short after 2 years.

I think the Dragoons have this in-grained belief that Warriors really should be at the top, so it feels like home here, but of course the people at the bottom need to be treated better. Their exposure to Minobu, to Michi, and of course Takashi and later Theodore, would give them some hope that things can change. That's what Takashi was doing, after all. In canon he introduces the Pillar Reforms in 3034, I just moved that a couple of years ahead.

So it's part prejudice, part justification, and part distrust of the Fox.

The Wolf's Dragoons, and Jaime Wolf, are not "turning japanese" as the song goes. Theodore was just giving him an effective rank there, stating in front of everyone that he is a general in the task force at least.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 03 February 2013, 01:04:18
Yeah but helping the Drac's gut the LC's industrial base isn't going to help prepare the IS for the Clans or put in Katrina in any mood to help the Combine or listen to Wolf, which again is detrimental to the Dragoons mission.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 February 2013, 01:08:42
*whistles innocently*

(Sorry, was just finishing watching Tron: Legacy again. Anyway, the Dragoons have the capability to help rebuild everything lost. Not saying that they will, but a fusion-engine plant and some 'Mech factories aren't difficult to reproduce for them. Not if they've made up their mind that they're going to help. Question is, did they?

What would you do as Jaime Wolf, fighting just another war when you know a much larger one needs to be fought? What would a military commander do first?

Sorry for being coy folks, I intend to write this through 3049 at the very least.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 03 February 2013, 02:08:29
It seems like Teddy is going back to 1st SW tactics and he doesn't expect retaliation in kind.  That's...disappointing.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sharpnel on 03 February 2013, 02:31:38
I didn't see a mention of nukes in his battle plan, so I doubt 1SW tactics are in effect. However, he does seem to want to deny the Elsies the mean to produce war machines. This is an effective strategem and has been since WW2. Den the enmey the means to produce and you can shorten a war at the very least or end it altogether.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 03 February 2013, 03:05:49
Interesting to see not everything is going the Dragon's and Dragoon's way on every front.

It isn't?

You wanna be careful there Marwynn, you're heading straight for the same trap so many are accusing Stackpole of, its just going too well for the Combine.
If it would be that easy, the Succession Wars would have been long over.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 03 February 2013, 03:51:38
I didn't see a mention of nukes in his battle plan, so I doubt 1SW tactics are in effect. However, he does seem to want to deny the Elsies the mean to produce war machines. This is an effective strategem and has been since WW2. Den the enmey the means to produce and you can shorten a war at the very least or end it altogether.
What he meant was that since the end of the Second Succession War, attacking factories and the like have been taboo: since they can't be replaced, emphasis is on capturing them intact. In the 1st and 2nd SWs, they followed your advice ... and ended up smashing each other's production capability, as well as their ability to repair them (helped along by ComStar, of course) ... which is how they wound up with lostech in the first place.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 03 February 2013, 04:30:21
Gladius is correct.  Teddy is signalling that he's just fine with AFFS forces hitting Al Na'ir and destroying the Atlas line there.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: aceraptor on 03 February 2013, 04:32:00
What he meant was that since the end of the Second Succession War, attacking factories and the like have been taboo: since they can't be replaced, emphasis is on capturing them intact. In the 1st and 2nd SWs, they followed your advice ... and ended up smashing each other's production capability, as well as their ability to repair them (helped along by ComStar, of course) ... which is how they wound up with lostech in the first place.

Exactly, and this is liable to start ANOTHER round of factory and infrastructure smashing that may well spiral out of control like in SW1 and 2.

Hell, really, what can the Dracs do if Hanse and Katrina starts deep penetration raids designed to
destroy factories at all costs even if it means suiciding dropships into them if they get pissed off enough by the attack on Tharkad.

And the Dracs have less industry it can afford to lose compared to the LC and the FS.

And well. The only one that would benefit from such a spiral would be Com*.

(Though I AM biased due to my dislike/hate of DC/CC and want the FC to crush them)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 February 2013, 09:38:30
Thanks so much for the feedback and discussion fellas, it is appreciated.

I... can't answer them directly, but I'm aware of what it looks like. That the Combine has suddenly gone Draconis SMASH! on the nascent FedCom.

There is truth to that:

1) Without the Dragoons occupying the Galedon forces, the vastly unprotected front is ripe for conquest. Ditto for Benjamin, which seized Marduk at this time canonically by fighting the planet's militia. That's right, a factory world protected just by militia.

2) Skye actually went independent here and stopped about 3-5 attacks from the first wave of Götterdämmerung into Dieron.

3) The lack of Dragoons-focus of Takashi allowed him to probe his ancient enemy, the Lyrans, and it seems they're pretty built up. So he authorized heavier attacks just before... well, you know. This leaves the Rasalhague district forces wary of an attack instead of being completely flatfooted.

Now, the Lyran-Draconis front is the only real active invasion planned by the two, its success has been mitigated somewhat by Theodore's antics in Skye and Warlord Sorenson's raids. But the picture in Rasalhague is that the Combine isn't suddenly surprised by the attack, nor is the DCMS somehow outclassed by a couple of Lightning Companies which I found ludicrous.  But they're still losing, it's just more of a fight.

Though unposted so-far, Rasalhague's conquest is proceeding nearly by canon standards. The second wave was released earlier, pre-empting any DCMS counter-attacks. Also, Warlord Sorenson, having been mostly micromanaging the defense, is... not present.

I'll correct that, with a clearer picture of Rasalhague.

As for the main plot. Three things:

1) Who benefits from the smashing and grabbing of factories?

2) Does Warlord Sorenson actually know about the Tamar worlds being attacked other than Sevren?

3) Theodore's plans for Tharkad was to seize the capital, mostly intact, and act as sort of a magnet for the LCAF. A hostage world. Now he's wisened up (slightly) to the fact that he can't hold it. So he devolves to the same tactics that he sees employed elsewhere, by his DCMS no less (apparently).


(Jaime Wolf, having participated in raiding and dismantling part of Quentin's Independence Weaponry at the start of his contract with the Combine--Wolves on the Border--doesn't really consider it a 'big thing'. And his perspective on that is skewed because of his background, it's wasteful but it's not going to be completely lost. For everyone else, this is shocking behaviour. It may not be completely true, but that's how I'm portraying it.)


(EDIT: Also, I should point out that the reason, in canon, why the Lyran offensive ground down was due to fatigue. Lyran troops began making mistakes, and bolstered by their much-easier-than-hoped-for victories, began to not use combined arms tactics.

So imagine an invasion where they're hard-pressed and combined-arms is paying off? Imagine where the second wave is released earlier, cutting down on the fatigue the initial forces felt. Now, the value of combined-arms has been drilled into them. The victory hasn't gotten in their heads so much. Sure, the Lightning Companies aren't wowing the DCMS, but they're still getting the job done as are the tanks and even infantry.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 03 February 2013, 10:05:38
Ok, lets see how it plays out  :)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: chaosxtreme on 03 February 2013, 18:04:47
Exactly, and this is liable to start ANOTHER round of factory and infrastructure smashing that may well spiral out of control like in SW1 and 2.

Hell, really, what can the Dracs do if Hanse and Katrina starts deep penetration raids designed to
destroy factories at all costs even if it means suiciding dropships into them if they get pissed off enough by the attack on Tharkad.

And the Dracs have less industry it can afford to lose compared to the LC and the FS.

And well. The only one that would benefit from such a spiral would be Com*.

(Though I AM biased due to my dislike/hate of DC/CC and want the FC to crush them)

Except that it didn't. Remember in the OTL 4th Succession War the Capellan's A) Targeted Kathil and B) Burned the factory's on Styk's to the ground rather then let them fall.

No one said "Oh well then let's go all out then."

Potential for a planned counter attack to do the same? certainly but that will take time.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 03 February 2013, 19:21:40
A.)  The Capellans targeted EASILY REPLACABLE power transmitters, not the actual factories.  (They also failed completely)

B.)  They owned the Styk factories at the time of destruction.  They didn't go raiding into enemy territory to smash something.

Analogy Fail.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 04 February 2013, 01:51:08
Actually they went after the geothermal powerplants, which weren't Lostech in any way, just hideously expensive to rebuild. After all Max wanted to use the yards for himself after he'd beaten the evil Fedrats...
The microwave transmitters were used by Morgan to give them a very warm Welcome!  ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 04 February 2013, 12:51:45
I think maybe we should let the skald finish reciting the saga before we criticise the telling of it.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 February 2013, 14:40:37
The Royal Court, Tharkad City, Tharkad
Protectorate of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
18 October 3028



Two massive Griffin BattleMechs flanked the throne of the Witch.

Frederick Steiner barely stopped as the doors swung open, a luxuriant fur-cape flowed behind him as he strode purposefully forward. The court had been dismissed but still handfuls of petty nobles and hangers-on clumped in small groups to gape and gawk at him.

Outside, Tharkad City burned.

Soldiers marched in two columns behind him, steely-eyed and armed. They smelled of smoke, ashes, and the blood of the 2nd Royal Guards that died at the footsteps to the Triad, the centre of Lyran government and authority.

Frederick couldn't help but smile as he stopped in front of Archon Katrina Steiner. To her side, the gallivanting noble-turned-mercenary Morgan Kell stood, disgust writ plainly on his face.

His soldiers ringed the throne, pointing their weapons directly at the Archon--the Witch--even as the two golden Griffins levelled their particle cannon at him. At this range, it would have killed Katrina, Morgan, and himself along with most of the people in the room with a single shot.

It was the first thing he'd change once he took the throne.

"It's a night for murder and treason," Archon Katrina Steiner whispered. "Congratulations, Frederick, you've succeeded where Aldo Lestrade and Alessandro himself failed."

He bowed mockingly. "My thanks," he said smiling. "Get off my throne."

She stood and descended, step by step, to face him on the floor.

"Not that it matters," the Witch said, "but what excuse will you be using?"

He laughed at her face. "You don't see it, do you? You really, truly, don't see it!"

Katrina Steiner didn't flinch and Frederick shook his head at her. "You sold your own daughter to the Fox, for a stronger realm. And what did he ask you to do? Invade the Draconis Combine so the DCMS won't snap his nation's back as he invades the Confederation."

Fredrick walked past her, taking slow steps towards the Throne as he spoke. "All for a better Lyran future!"

"I made the bargain, yes."

"And now the Federation of Skye calls itself a separate nation, Tamar is being gutted while you hopelessly try to pretend to be Federats against the Dragon. In case it missed your attention, dear Katrina, we didn't distract the DCMS at all! The Drac March is wide open. Caph, Fomalhaut, Quentin, and Northwind are all the Dragon's now. We're cut off from your allies."

Morgan Kell bristled at Katrina's side, but kept silent. Frederick eyed the elite, no legendary, MechWarrior. He was hollow now, a shadow, perhaps an echo of the talent that was. Why Katrina felt pity for the man and let his ridiculous Kell Hounds rebuild here, Frederick couldn't imagine.

"The Fox gambled. He risked it all, and lost. They are starving in the Federated Suns because of his war, did you know that? And you allied with him, this madman, and gave him your only daughter." Frederick Steiner stopped in front of the throne.

"You failed us all, Katrina. The Lyran Commonwealth is about to dissolve because of you. I will re-unite our nation and lead it."

Katrina listened passively at his speech, one he had practiced in his mind for years. Even the lackwit courtiers were nodding at some of his words. He nodded at his men, and two stepped forward to stand beside the former-Archon who seemed in shock.

Morgan Kell growled as manacles were brought forward for Katrina gold-plated and bejeweled. The man carrying it stopped, as if hearing a distant sound.

Soon they all heard it. A siren wailed in the city, an air-raid, an air-invasion, was happening.

That's impossible! We've already invaded, there are no LCAF units rotating to Tharkad!...

Everyone gazed at the high windows, hoping for a view of the siren's cause. Even the symphony of gunfire beyond the palace slowed.

The Witch moved suddenly, her years of training and service never too far from her courtly, graceful movements. Frederick grimaced as he reached for his weapon, but the soldier's pistol was already in her hands and she fired one shot.

Frederick Steiner's vision exploded into blood and pain. He slumped against the throne, his vision blurred by shock but still he could see the silver streaks through the windows.

Dozens of DropShips were descending on Tharkad City.

Gunfire, laserfire, shouts and screams lullabied him to darkness. He felt the twin giants move, felt their fists smashing into the floor.

Then all was black.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: gladius on 04 February 2013, 18:27:22
Saved by the Snake ... :o
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 04 February 2013, 18:47:59
Wonder who Watterly will get now?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 February 2013, 23:22:17
Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
18 October 3028



"---then I see no reason not to move the command post closer to the front. The Lyran front." The Coordinator said and Subhash Indrahar bowed and smiled.

Vasily Cherenkoff, the only other man seated in the meeting was nodding gravely as if it were the sagest of all plans. Marcus Kurita spoke over him, and Subhash didn't have to withhold smiling, as he already was, at Warlord Pesht's strangled squeak.

"Irurzun will prove to be an efficient location," Marcus pronounced.

"Forgive me, tono, but Irurzun's in the Benjamin district. They're lightly engaged, at best, compared to Rasalhague," Subhash reminded the Coordinator, knowing he was playing a part for Marcus to make another-seemingly-wise pronouncement.

"I'm aware, Director." The planet glowed on the floating holomap. "Irurzun lies on the tradelane established by Tai-shu Tetsuhara, so news from the Dieron front will hit us almost as fast as from an HPG." Left unsaid were unwanted hearers of any news. "And from it I can oversee the Davion front as well."

"It practically is on the Davion front, tono." The cohesive outburst from Tai-shu Cherenkoff threatened to surprise Subhash. He held on tightly to his emotions and sent a small burst of confidence to the usually-useless Warlord. "Would it not be more prudent to relocate closer to the Lyran front, tono? Alshain would make an effective command post."

Subhash's eyes narrowed. Rasalhague was Marcus Kurita's powerbase. Or was. With rumours of an uprising backed by heavy 'Mechs, the Rasalhague Military District was too volatile for the Coordinator to safely command from.

Yet unspoken was a challenge. Would Marcus Kurita continue to ignore his former district's woes or face it head-on as was expected from a warrior lord?

His scrutiny of Warlord Pesht elicited a smile from the larger man, and Subhash Indrahar adjusted his precautions regarding the man. The ISF had been unable to trace Cherenkoff's links to the district. It ran directly to Rasalhague, not just through Marcus Kurita as he previously believed.

What binds these two together?

"Alshain would make a fine command post," the Coordinator said politely, "but while it is on the Steiner front it is far too distant to the Davion one."

"Tok Do," Subhash said suddenly.

The other two seemed surprised he was still in the room. Marcus raised an eyebrow and lifted two fingers, an affectation--supposedly--of Shiro Kurita's.

"Tok Do," he repeated, "is on the Dieron tradelane on the leg from Benjamin to Luthien. It supplies the Buckminster Prefecture now, transporting through the tradelanes is faster these days, and more trade routes link it to Rubigen and then to Alshain. If we apply Tai-shu Tetsuhara's tradelane system into the Rasalhague district, for these two prefecture capitals at least, we'll have a centralized command and communications area."

Marcus Kurita stared at him for several moments, fury banked behind a veneer of thoughtfulness.

"See to it."

And with that, Subhash Indrahar stood and bowed. He knew when he was dismissed.

The Black Room was no longer sealed for these meetings, there hardly was any reason to with most of the Warlords busy on their own fronts. Subhash exited through the general entrance, disappearing into a false wall and rocketed upwards via a tubed-lift.

The lift stopped in between floors, in between walls, and with practiced ease he crawled, leapt, and slid to the other Black Room. His Black Room.

Three of his agents were gripping their weapons even as they listened in on mundane chatter. Guards, servants, officers, nobles, and even the birds flying over. All were being watched.

A young woman, dressed in servants' garb, walked up to him and handed him a note. They didn't stand on formality in his Black Room.

The note was nothing more than two long alpha-numeric strings. Mentally, he applied several ciphers even as he made his way to a secure terminal. What he entered didn't match the string at all--most of it was junk, to throw off anyone like the Order of Five Pillars, from deciphering its meaning--and waited as the terminal verified it truly was him.

Takashi Kurita's autopsy file had been updated with links to other areas of investigation.

The crumpled printout in Takashi's hand was a mystery he had yet to unravel. Marcus Kurita did not deliver the message, as he initially supposed. It was a secure flexiprint medium, anyone who handled it left their fingerprints and small bits of DNA or whatever gloves they were wearing. It was formulated to melt through the most common attempts at disguising fingerprints.

The printout held only two sets of fingerprints, one was his late friend's, the other was the murderer's. An unwitting murderer, perhaps, but it was unlikely. A legitimate message would have more than just one other set of fingerprints.

The terminal flashed bits of data he didn't understand but he forced himself to read through it instead of just reading the conclusion. He tried to instill that need into his agents, but only Ninyu Kerai truly saw the value in doing so. It took longer, but a working knowledge of chemistry and biology was essential for a field agent.

Poison.

Genetically marked and triggered neurotoxin. A modified, natural neurotoxin discovered on Terra centuries ago. That alone meant nothing, the ISF could (and perhaps did) recreate the neurotoxin without need of an actual sample.

But this modified one was specifically targeted to Kurita DNA. If Marcus had handled it, he'd have suffered a stroke as well.

Curious. Who wields a subtle weapon so brazenly?

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 05 February 2013, 00:48:43
Yes, who indeed?  :-\
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 05 February 2013, 02:57:43
Who would want to kill such a lovable character like Takashi. ::)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 05 February 2013, 10:30:18
Snow Fire II would have been a bad idea...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 February 2013, 11:39:14
Mount Wotan, Tharkad
Protectorate of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
18 October 3028


Mount Wotan jutted into the sky. Rough and jagged, stark and bitter, the mountain was home to Asgard, the headquarters of the entire Steiner military.

Tai-sho Goshi Tengwan knew his duty.

Asgard was unassailable. A massive spire, a tower, was flanked by four smaller ones; each was heavily armed and even more heavily armoured. He knew that, because he was about to order a third fuel-air explosive bomb at it.

So far, the fort's exterior was burnt and cracked. It was built to withstand orbital bombardments from WarShips of a bygone era--the primitive FAEs he used were literally just scratching the diamond-filament paint it used.

The countdown in his HUD reached the detonation point and a fighter at low-speed zipped overhead and dropped a parachuting sphere. In moments it dispersed its fuel payload and detonated.

The thermobaric blast rocked the mountain, threatening an avalanche from its snow-topped peaks. Even at a distance, Tai-sho Tengwan felt the concussion as it reached his cockpit. His 2nd Sword of Light were unfazed, row upon row of 'Mechs waiting patiently for the walls to fall down.

He didn't have the heart to tell them it wouldn't.

His Atlas's right arm chopped down and the blood-red 'Mechs suddenly dispersed. It had been less than a minute since the bomb detonated and already the towers were firing. At this distance, the black horns of the fort were sprouting needles, glistening silver that budded fire on their tips.

He was moving along with his troops as the artillery barrage fell on their positions. His artillery would respond in kind--having repositioned earlier--and the needles would retract lest a lucky hit would find an opening. And then he would repeat the process again.

Asgard was protected even from EMP blasts created by nuclear weapons. The only flaw of its impregnable defense was that it was impregnable even to its own forces. His engineers had cut the few lines they could, and the rest of the DCMS had been destroying any military comms station it came across.

And so he battered against the walls to keep the Lyran generals from coordinating much, though he knew it had little effect. There were underground cable lines that ran across the planet that he would never be able to cut, and other means of secure communications. It just made things slightly more difficult. Perhaps, even just inconvenient.

But he was needed here. His and the 2nd Sword's duty was to take on the enemy's strongest point; it was also his duty to be seen. Behind him, another pair of DropShips disgorged more 'Mechs and tanks in full view of the fortifications.

That damned mercenary even has me fooled. There should be three regiments here instead of just mine.

He crested a hill and zoomed again on Mount Wotan's horned fortress.

In the distance, blossoms of fire sprouted on the blackened towers of Asgard.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 February 2013, 11:44:07
Tharkad City Outskirts, Tharkad
Protectorate of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
18 October 3028


The Revenant bent forward as an azure beam carved a molten line on its right shoulder, compensating for the explosive loss of armour without losing its stride.

The Kell Hounds' Wolfhound sped away as the 75-ton 'Mech angled the cannon above its right hip and fired. The rush of particles slammed into the mercenary machine, crumbling armour and burrowing deep into its right leg. Its gait was thrown off by the hit, but the pilot was experienced and recovered his balance even though Theodore Kurita read hesitation in the pilot's body language.

His Orion ON1-K couldn't be restored to its original specifications, not with Kurita parts. Colonel--Tai-Sho--Wolf offered the use of his techs and spares, even as he stood in awe of General Kerensky's warmachine. He had refused it, for now; he'd devoted what little spare time he had to familiarizing himself with the Genyosha techs' work. Transplanting a Lord's Light PPC for the ruined and half-melted KaliYama Class 10 Autocannon was not a straightforward job--even after reassembling most of the torso.

The furnace-blast of heat into his cockpit was the price he paid for ammunition-independence for his main weapon. Still, he was thankful for it, as the additional heatsinks installed kept his 'Mech running cooler than it normally did.

The olive-drab 'Mech stomped forward, unhindered, cresting a wave of Heavy 'Mechs pushing against the mercenaries.

Five mercenary regiments, plus the Kell Hounds... Theodore repeated to himself. That alone matched half his strength. And four LCAF regiments. Split into at least three camps. He shook his head.

His contingencies, his subtle planning, his Operation never accounted for a civil war. Or a coup-d'etat.

And I, in my impeccable timing, ended their squabbling and united them against me. He laughed silently in his cockpt. The Archon should give me a medal.

His 11th Legion of Vega rumbled forwards, cohesive and a mob at the same time. The Genyosha instructors had done much to press in the finer points of Heavy 'Mech maneuvers to his motley band, but this was their first true test. Why did I think a Planetary Invasion was the best time to test out new tactics?

On the Legion's right, the Genyosha's 1st and 2nd Regiments marched in orderly lines. They were beating back two mercenary regiments who had been fighting each other less than a day ago. At a glance, Theodore could see the elder Kurita's mind in spreading out his forces. The two regiments, Theodore couldn't believe he was witnessing a battle of nearly ten 'Mech regiments, were steadily pushing the mercenaries away, curving them further south and away from the Kell Hounds.

On the his left, the Wolf's Dragoons tore into their opponents, their shared mercenary heritage notwithstanding. Tai-sho Wolf deftly handled the regiment's command through his aide, a Cameron no less. Alpha had a mercenary battalion in its jaws as its new tanks pressed forward and kept the other two battalions away.

A Kerensky and a Cameron... with more than enough spare parts for rare SLDF 'Mechs. I wonder where they came from? Theodore thought sarcastically. His father was prone to musing about the Dragoons' origins, but Theodore didn't care.

What danger would Kerensky's descendants ever pose to the Inner Sphere?

The Kell Hounds seized the higher ground and abandoned it as his Legion closed in. They had been fleeing since he dropped from orbit into the Triad itself, expecting to fight right into the teeth of the 2nd Royal Guards. Instead, he found the 10th Lyran Guards presiding over the Archon's bodyguard regiment's wrecks, fighting hard as the Kell Hounds assaulted the Royal Court.

Both recovered someone from the throneroom. Theodore was only interested in one, and his instincts lead him to pursue the Hounds.

The black-and-red tanks were new to the Kell Hounds who always preferred infantry over combat tanks. More than two regiments of tanks blocked their advance, but he pressed on as his Legionnaires called in artillery strikes to roll forward of their position.

He fired the particle cannon again, slamming the elongated bolt through a Rommel's turret. The tank whirred in circles as smoke leaked out from the wound. It exploded moments later as the ammunition finally cooked off, but Theodore was already firing his long-ranged missiles overhead as Hounds' aerospace fighters returned.

A lighter fighter turned aside, letting the LRMs pass beneath it even as the missiles looped around. He had been watching the skies; the last time he faced the fighters he nearly died and lost the battle. The fighter's wings shredded in fire and smoke and it flipped and slammed into the ground.

He had ordered Olivares to train the Legionnaires in proper air defense protocols and it paid off now as two battalions sent fire upwards, breaking apart the formations and dispersing the attack.

A cheer went up in the general comms frequency as the red-and-black fighters zipped away.

The cheer became cries as the Kell Hounds 'Mechs turned about and charged downhill. Theodore trusted Tai-sa Olivares to respond, and he listened as the man's gruff orders set the Legion to receive the charge.

He was still smiling proudly when the 4th Skye Rangers and 10th Lyran Guards appeared behind the Kell Hounds.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Dave Talley on 06 February 2013, 12:53:46
a smiling Kurita??

thats never a good sign, whats behind the Lyrans? Natasha?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 06 February 2013, 17:26:15
I thought the Dracs had already killed off the Kell Hounds in this story?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 February 2013, 17:27:59
Never trust a smiling Snake... Or any Snake for that matter.

And Natasha's back on Dieron, so they're safe on that front.

Arvanna, nope, just bloodied them bad. They lifted off at the start of Book II when the Genyosha arrived. The 12th Star Guards were the mercs that got beat up badly.

They've spent the last few months in transit and rebuilding.

=======================================================
In Orbit, Tharkad
Protectorate of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
18 October 3028



Tai-sho Jaime Wolf nodded to his Kuritan aide as she finished her concise report. He hadn't had time to foster a working relationship with the DCMS team he had inherited along with the temporary rank. Tai-i Amanda Benson managed a bow in micro-g then turned away to manage her group.

Jaime knew she was ISF through-and-through, even the slight japanese accent she affected had a prepared sleekness to it. She stayed close by, respectfully distant.

William Cameron hovered right beside him, talking into his headset, filtering battlefield reports. The captain said nothing to him and Jaime knew that meant all was more or less proceeding as planned.

He swiveled to the holo of Tharkad hovering in the middle of the command centre. Red arrows were clumped into two groups, his two aerospace formations, spread out above half the planet.

He was reviewing more reports when William bent towards his ear. "General," the captain began, unwilling to address him by a lesser rank now that Theodore had granted him a DCMS rank, "the 4th Skye and the 10th Lyrans have linked up and are blocking the Kell Hounds' retreat."

"Show me, tai-i," Jaime said, pointedly using the Kuritan name for his rank.

Without missing a beat, William Cameron bent at the waist and whispered "Hai!" He tapped into his forearm-noteputer.

The high-altitude view was in realtime, and he saw the three regiments arrayed as edges on a triangle. He had dropped Alpha Regiment along with the Genyosha to secure the other points of the Triad and saw footage of the 10th Lyran Guards fighting the Kell Hounds just hours before.

The mercenary regiment slowed, and a caravan of vehicles became clear as the dust they raised settled. The scanners picked up broadcasts but they were heavily encoded. Suddenly, the triangle split and the two Lyran regiments moved to the Hounds' flanks.

"Tai-i! Send the Vixens," Wolf ordered calmly.

"You," he pointed to his cheeky aide, "warn Alpha--"

"--Already done--"

"---and call in the Cats."

His subordinates nodded and split off to each side of the command centre, leaving him to watch the ever-changing ground situation. He manually ordered another set of drops for the reserve regiment--the 2nd Dieron had accomplished their mission without much difficulty, everyone was out fighting in Tharkad City when they arrived, and they needed to be lifted off.

When Jaime Wolf requested several companies of Land-Air-'Mechs he assumed he was requesting aerocompanies--a half-dozen hybrids. Instead, the 5th Irece Irregulars donated a full 'Mech battalion, thirty-six LAMs, each company in their own converted Union-class DropShips.

The Vixens, the 5th Irece's third battalion, specialized in rapid entry attacks. Within seconds of receiving his orders, the DropShips began launching LAMs. They formed up and eased into Tharkad's atmosphere without delay. He suspected they raided far more often than they claimed, no amount of drilling could keep a unit that sharp.

A quartet of Leopard-class DropShips followed in their wake. The Cats were another independent DCA formation of heavily--very heavily--modified Leopards. They eschewed their aerospace fighter bays for heavier guns and armour. They carried more than just 'Mechs in their bellies too.

He waited as the minutes ticked by and as the Lyrans turned back to face the advancing Kuritans. The convoy of vehicles were bolstered by a lance of Light 'Mechs from each unit and began moving away.

Jaime turned to his Kuritan aide and she nodded, acknowledging that she had been feeding the Vixens the convoy's coordinates.

"Should I warn the... Coordinator?" William asked as he drifted closer.

"Why?" Tai-sho Wolf asked. "It's his plan."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 06 February 2013, 23:34:29
Funny Cameron, funny
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 February 2013, 13:18:56
Tharkad
Protectorate of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
18 October 3028



Two thousand tons of battle steel-composite, engines, and guns hurtled above Hauptmann-Kommandant Kathleen Heany. The Leopard's stately flight, along with three more, all in a loose V-formation, drowned the battlefield in roars.

The explosions they seeded on the ground seemed like whispers in comparison, even as the DropShips' guns strafed the 'Mech regiments.

She shook her head at the sheer numbers around her even as she tracked the Leopard with her Atlas's torso. Her command lance had the same idea, and soon the rest of the 4th Skye Rangers tracked the heavily-armed DropShip coming for them.

Kathleen was proud of her regiment's reaction. Unlike the Kell Hounds that just ran away from the DropShips, her Rangers would stand-and-deliver.

The 100-ton Assault 'Mech loosed a flight of 20 missiles, and it was soon joined by dozens more flights from the surrounding 'Mechs. Then streaks of autocannon shells and particle bolts rose into the air, slamming into the smoking prow of the Leopard. Kathleen could make out the tiger-stripes the DropShip painted on its hull amidst the dozens of explosions exploding on its hull.

It staggered and then began bursting apart.

Kathleen Heany watched in horror as the ship rocked from internal explosions, more than a few of her regiment's attacks burned through the obviously-thickened armour. Liquid fire was now pouring from its many wounds and its 'Mech bay doors were dropping metal spheres on the ground where they exploded in fireballs.

Hauptmann-Kommandant Heany realized too late why the Kell Hounds in front of her didn't try to bring the DropShip down.

 
=======================================================


Leutnant-Colonel Hans Lowe was screaming every curse he knew as the 4th Skye Rangers brought the Leopard crashing down amongst themselves.

The crash jarred him in his command couch; a few of the 10th Lyran Guards' lighter 'Mechs were sprawled on the ground. More than a third reported light armour loss and minor malfunctions thanks to the volcano of molten debris.

He scanned his unit quickly, then Colonel Frederick Steiner's allies, noting that less than a third were not moving.

Pity that idiot Heany lead from the front. If she commanded from the back like any inept social officer should, she'd be roasting right now and not her men. It was an unkind thought, but the journey to Tharkad from Skye and Summer had been torturous enough without her presence.

"Gene," he said, flicking the command channel. "Bring your battalion forward, I want the heaviest first. Mae, your battalion's 'Mechs have the most hands. Help our friends. Gabbie, with me."

The chorus of yessirs bolstered his confidence as the 10th Lyran Guards sprang into smooth action. Whatever momentum Morgan Kell wanted from a sudden charge was lost.

It was a foolish plan to begin with, why would Kell even think of it? He squelched the rumours of the man's unstable state after clashing with the 11th Legion of Vega before. Vengeance? Is that it? he asked as he tapped into the shared command comms circuit. The Kell Hounds suffered lightly from the strafing and were eager to charge into the Dragon's--and Dragoons'--teeth.

He was about to interrupt when a frantic voice broke through. "They're coming in again!"

The Leopards were back, and with the night-amplification he could see they were hurt. Debris was falling from their bellies.

"Why are they circling?" he asked without meaning to.

Morgan Kell responded. "I don't know."

One of the mercenary commanders on the flank screamed, "Mines! They're dropping mines!"

"Break out!" Morgan Kell yelled. "Back to the Archon!"

Leutnant-Colonel Hans Lowe repeated the order to his regiment even as the first artillery strikes pounded the hill.

He knew they'd never make it in time.


=======================================================


The black-and-blue Phoenix Hawk LAM leapt incredibly long distances in its Air-'Mech mode, and Tai-i Katalina Molonov rejoiced in it.

It took a special kind of pilot to conn a fighter or a 'Mech well. It took a better kind to pilot both, and a superior one to handle a machine that could be both at the same time.

The fighter-jet-with-legs hopped with bursts from its thruster jumpjets, easily keeping pace with convoy. Hers was one of the heaviest LAMs in the Vixens, and they couldn't take on both the company of 'Mech and tank escorts without severe damage and loss. LAMs were practically lostech, and she wasn't going to throw her company away to capture some convoy.

She settled the LAM down and fired her large laser at a waiting Griffin, already overheating from the run and firing its particle cannon. It backed away, just as a Stinger LAM landed on its left flank and blasted at it with green lasers. The pilot, overwhelmed and overheating, ran.

The rest of her lance repeated the pattern, and the 55-ton 'Mech was quickly isolated. That made room for another lance to carve at the convoy's defenses.

Katalina saw her commpanel light up again, the gaijin general had more orders for her. She ignored it once more. Whatever frivolous objective he had for her unit wasn't worth the loss of any one of her pilots.

Another light from her commpanel came through the emergency channels. "I repeat! Grab the armoured car now and leave, aerospace fighters are incom---" A warning alarm interrupted the rest of the message.

Black-and-red streaks fell from the sky, belching smoke and light from their wings. Tai-i Molonov felt the freezing night air on her face as her precious Land-Air-'Mech exploded underneath her.


=======================================================


Sergeant Roy Gladstone took out his marker pen and drew a line across four shorter marks. They weren't kill-counts, he wasn't a glory-seeking MechWarrior. Just a tank commander.

And he was counting the number of drops he had made in the last six hours.  It was almost unheard of to reposition 'Mechs using DropShips, let alone tanks in battalion or heavier strengths.

He had spent most of that time strapped in the belly of a DropShip as techs quick-sprayed his tank and reset his IFF.

As his Manticore Heavy Tank rumbled down the ramp, he had to pretend that he was the 11th Legion of Vega's armoured regiment again. Like he was before he had to be the 2nd Sword of Light's reinforcements as some Benjamin Regulars unit.

He didn't care.

Tai-sho Wolf even had him confused, and the battle so far had just been him and his crew playing cards as they drove around the countryside. This was going to be more of the same, he was sure.

The tank in front of him suddenly stopped and Lester, his driver, cursed as he stopped too. Roy popped the scanners up, looking beyond what the lead tank saw.

It was a small mountain, or a large hill, according to his maps. But it looked like a volcano with the flames spewing from--

"--Dear Buddha, is--was that a DropShip?"

His commtech, Sal, nodded his head. "One of ours, apparently."

Overhead, his scanners were warning him of incoming hostile fighters bearing down on them and their DropShip. He swerved the Manticore's turret up, waited for the targeting system to lock, and fired.

"Gents," Sergeant Gladstone said. "Welcome to Tharkad."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 07 February 2013, 14:52:34
Interesting shell game
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 February 2013, 15:02:00
Always imagined Jaime Wolf to be a bit of a showman...


========================================================

Tharkad City Outskirts, Tharkad
Protectorate of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
19 October 3028



Theodore Kurita watched at a distance as his combat vehicles sent a storm of PPC and missile fire at the Lyran fighters.

More than a few had a wing, or a control surface, badly mauled. They crashed all around, though one Lucifer slammed into a transport. The explosion killed a tank and infantry regiment that had yet to debark and damaged the other two that it landed with. Still they swarmed above him, raining death so that their comrades could break from his trap.

The twilight was limned by the fires of nearly irreplaceable machines. Rows of tanks and APCs were roving about, trying to steer away from the strafing runs ruining their comrades. He had not more fighters to send against them, but the Lyrans were already climbing high and burning away.

He knew he had crossed the line.

For decades now, the Inner Sphere had fought wars of maneuver. Complicated tactical dances that saw little in the way of damage and death amongst the Great Houses, and only unleashing true violence against pirates and bandits. For centuries, JumpShips had been sacrosanct, DropShips were left untouched lest humanity as a whole lose the stars in their fighting.

Even war factories were left standing, successful raiders taking only spare parts or copying specs and equipment. Always there was an intent to slow production, to save it against the day when the factory could be taken whole.

Theodore had lost two DropShips in the space of an hour, and another two were no longer functional. He had captured, like a pirate, a few dozen JumpShips and DropShips. Even now, one of the few naval yards left in the Inner Sphere was being wrecked.

He crossed that line deliberately, focusing all of that damage against the most industrious realm.

It was a warning, an unsubtle one. And he knew it had been heeded.

Archon Katrina Steiner stared at him from a panel. It was a repeat of the broadcast sent just as the fighters dove in.

"To the military commander of the DCMS forces on my world, I demand your surrender. I have recalled LCAF regiments nearby to Tharkad and they have just now jumped in-system."

She blazed triumphantly.

"I demand you withdraw immediately. Victory is not within your grasp this day."

The message continued on in the same fashion, and Victor tuned it out. His commanders were all linked to him, waiting for his orders.

Another of his DropShips exploded in the distance, hurtling massive chunks of burning metal at the tanks caught near it.

"We're leaving."

He sighed. He had one card left to play.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 February 2013, 15:13:25
LIC Headquarters, Beneath Mount Wotan, Tharkad
Protectorate of Donegal, Lyran Commonwealth
19 October 3028


Archon Katrina Steiner sat, sipping a cool glass of water. Her hair still smelled of smoke, her ears rang from the mad dash away from the Royal Court, and her heart was still beating strongly.

They had made it to an underground supply tunnel after the Kuritan LAMs descended on the convoy were wiped out. The train took her quickly to Asgard, where the 2nd Sword of Light and apparently another two 'Mech regiments still battered uselessly against its walls.

If that Snake general only knew how much he outnumbered our forces... Was it stupid to bluff like that?

A hauptmann approached and bowed. "We've received a response... from---well," he cut off then as the flatvid started playing.

She knew what the cockpit of a 'Mech looked like, and something tickled at the back of her mind at its layout. The man seated on the command couch wore a Kuritan mechwarrior combat suit--one of the few things that had technologically improved during the Succession Wars. The neurohelm he wore had its faceplate lowered.

The faceplate rose and the man spoke.

"Archon Katrina Steiner, I am Coordinator Theodore Kurita. There will be no surrender."

He smiled. Katrina felt no warmth from the dead man's grin. "I hold your starports, your bases--what your traitors left of them--and your factories. I hold your city, and your world hostage, Archon."

"As I was unable to attend your daughter's wedding, and since we've accidentally killed the double pretending to be your daughter at the Palace, I offer you a gift." The image dissolved before Katrina could gasp.

It was a control room running under emergency power.

Horror began edging out shock.

"This is Tharkad City's underground fusion plant. Heavy fighting, with the troops from the Federation of Skye and the LCAF, damaged several of the coolant systems. Our techs have repaired what they can, but it is still overheating."

Theodore returned to view. "Here is my wedding gift to your family: I will give you time to repair the damage you have caused in exchange for the cessation of all hostile actions against the Draconis Combine. You can stop your people from being killed, Katrina, if you stop killing my people."

Archon Katrina Steiner sat back, and started when a medtech touched her hand. She had crushed the glass in her hands without feeling it.

The gaggle of officers watching her looked as helpless as she felt.

"Send word to General Nondi Steiner: Operation Götterdämmerung is cancelled. Hold position." She blew out a breath. "And forward it to that--Coordinator."

"Archon, we have to send armed escorts with the engineers."

"Why?"

"Theodore Kurita broadcasted your message and his reply. The people are fleeing Tharkad City."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: LightGuard on 07 February 2013, 16:35:37
[Insert: Orson-Welles-Clapping.gif]

Magnificent. One daring assault and the Fourth Succession War as we know it has been turned into a rout, putting the Lyrans on ice and leaving the Federated Suns bereft of support. Is Operation Rat still progressing or has that stalled as well due to forces being redeployed to retake worlds lost to the DCMS assaults on the Draconis March?

Bravo!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 07 February 2013, 16:57:08
Excellent, Theodore just turned the war around. At least if Katrina decides to abide by her agreement.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 07 February 2013, 23:35:23
Gloves off, the damage he's doing to the Realm is back to 1st Succession War standards.  Its time to break out the nukes & flatten Luthien, and Pesht, and New Samarkand...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 08 February 2013, 10:09:58
I'll be detailing Operation Rat in an upcoming string of stuff.

This marks the end of Book Two by the way.

Oh, and perhaps I was unclear, but Theodore didn't do much damage to Tharkad. I wrote Asgard as some sorta impenetrable Castle Brian-ish fort and had the 2nd Sword dance around it.

Tharkad City was already like that when he got there... Apart from the Nagelring, and some light pillaging and accidental killing of Jeanna, very little of what happened on Tharkad is Theodore's fault.

Now, how much they'll blame on him and how much he'll claim is something else.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 08 February 2013, 11:17:09
Gloves off, the damage he's doing to the Realm is back to 1st Succession War standards.  Its time to break out the nukes & flatten Luthien, and Pesht, and New Samarkand...

I highly doubt it. Liao didn't nuke New Avalon, New Syrtis, and Robinson in a last blaze of glory despite being the craziest of the Succession Lords and suffering far worse damage than Steiner has.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 08 February 2013, 12:37:29
I highly doubt it. Liao didn't nuke New Avalon, New Syrtis, and Robinson in a last blaze of glory despite being the craziest of the Succession Lords and suffering far worse damage than Steiner has.

Davion didn't set out to deliberately destroy factories either.  Davion played by the established rules during the 4th War.  Teddy-boy isn't.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 08 February 2013, 13:06:12
At the very least they're would already be some manner of retaliation going on for the stolen jumpships.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: chaosxtreme on 09 February 2013, 11:38:48
At the very least they're would already be some manner of retaliation going on for the stolen jumpships.

Logistics.

Thing is the Lyran's are already invading and interfering with the grand offensive for Jumpship raiding would be counterproductive. Especially if the LIC thinks captured jship's will be put to use in those border system trade route's they are about to lay into.

As for the Federated Sun's their transport capacity is being directed towards smashing the Capellan Confederation flat.

Everything else the Fed's had as far as military transport  on the Draconis front was probably committed(this is in my opinion) when Sandoval launched his spoiling attack. Now is he probably seizing every merchant jumpship in the system's he attacks, sure. But that is not the same as launching specific attack's against the jumpship route's of the combine.

Now once the war settles down into a period of raid and reprisal's the Lyrans and Fed Sun's are more than likely to begin targeting Draconis Shipping route's in earnest but it is not strange that in my opinion that it hasn't already happened when both military's were focused on getting their invasion's put together which includes not just the multi-system invasion force's but logistic supply train's to support them as they moved forward.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 09 February 2013, 13:44:20
Davion didn't set out to deliberately destroy factories either.  Davion played by the established rules during the 4th War.  Teddy-boy isn't.
No, Davion didn't play by the (unspoken) established rules. The rules were; you do raiding not multi-regimental planetary invasions and every House for itself. Davion ignored those rules by allying with the Lyrans and then again broke those rules by launching multi-regimental invasions. If you're going to complain about breaking the rules than don't nit pick the ones you like and the ones you don't but either accept them all or realize that there is no 'fair' in war and do anything and everything you think you can get away with.

Yes and Teddy didn't damage the fusion reactor under his own capital city like the Steiners just did. Nor did Teddy try to kidnap and install an imposter as the head of another Successor State the way Lia did. Nor is Steiner or Davion looking at their nation crumbling around them the way Liao did. Maybe you didn't notice the part about the Steiners and Davions telling people that most of those supposed stolen jumpships never even existed and those that did are being released gradually. Your 'righteous anger' is very misplaced in this war as Davion(Comstar?) was the one that attacked civilians and Steiner(coup attempt) were the ones that damaged the fusion reactor under their own city dooming their own civilians while Kurita technicians tried to fix it .The Inner Sphere doesn't like to throw around nukes, at most the Steiners and Davions will begin seizing jumpships the same way Kurita did. If by some bout of stupidity and insanity, any of the Successor Lords begin throwing around nukes than nobody wins, not Steiner, not Kurita, and not Davion. All that will be left is a radioactive pile of ash.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 09 February 2013, 15:03:08
There wasn't any rules for planetary invasions with multiple RCTs, unspoken or not.
It was more that by the end of the 3rd SW, nobody but the Fox thought it could still be done!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 09 February 2013, 17:04:32
No, Davion didn't play by the (unspoken) established rules. The rules were; you do raiding not multi-regimental planetary invasions and every House for itself

The rules are "nobody destroys factories".  Teddy explicitly stated his goal was to destroy factories.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 09 February 2013, 18:13:43
The rules are "nobody destroys factories".  Teddy explicitly stated his goal was to destroy factories.

If the rules aren't working change the rules.
Ted needed to make the embryonic FedCom stop and think again rather than continue attacks on the combine, he can't count on his kapteyn allies to do much in the way of help and he can't  assume that the capcon will continue to be the main effort target.
Harm my nation and this is what I will do to you is a fairly clear message.
Even when the capcon was cut in half they didn't reach for the nukes.

Marwynn, more of the tale please!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: chaosxtreme on 09 February 2013, 18:30:45
If the rules aren't working change the rules.
Ted needed to make the embryonic FedCom stop and think again rather than continue attacks on the combine, he can't count on his kapteyn allies to do much in the way of help and he can't  assume that the capcon will continue to be the main effort target.
Harm my nation and this is what I will do to you is a fairly clear message.
Even when the capcon was cut in half they didn't reach for the nukes.

Marwynn, more of the tale please!


Though this does bring up a good question. Since the Fed Sun's is still all in on the Capellan's not much is likely to change there except possibly the Free Tikinov Republic maybe(it could still go as canon easily).

But Theodore's success might lead to a change in the up until then half-hearted operation dagger(? not sure if that was acctually the name it has been a while since I have read handbook house marik) of Janos Marik if nothing else the detente with Skye leaves a significant portion of the FWL border friendly. Not that I am trying to divert the author to that front as I am enjoying the actions of the Dragon.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sandslice on 09 February 2013, 19:25:53
The rules are "nobody destroys factories".  Teddy explicitly stated his goal was to destroy factories.

Consider the reason for the rules, and the Third Succession War context in which they operated.  You took factories intact if possible because you needed what production you could get out of them.  Right now, Kurita has the keys to lostech, and they have Wolf's Dragoons and their Clan-based knowledge of that lostech; and they have a plan for rebuilding the economic infrastructure needed to exploit that.

The rules were pragmatic.  With the cards the Combine is holding in its dragon-claw, tossing the rules is pragmatic.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Davout73 on 09 February 2013, 19:40:18
No, Davion didn't play by the (unspoken) established rules. The rules were; you do raiding not multi-regimental planetary invasions and every House for itself.

Actually,the ability to launch and sustain multi regiment invasions fell off, more often than not units would be rotated in and out of a battle.  Sevren and Galtor III are good examples of this.

Quote
Davion ignored those rules by allying with the Lyrans and then again broke those rules by launching multi-regimental invasions.


Again, not rules.  The inability of other successor states to do such things led to their falling out of use, and given what the Fed Suns had to do to pull it off, and some fiat on the combine border, it still could have gone much differently.

Dav
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 09 February 2013, 20:31:19
The rules were pragmatic.  With the cards the Combine is holding in its dragon-claw, tossing the rules is pragmatic.

And thus they have invited a return to the days of smashing factories.  Or is the Combine magically immune to a Davion raiding force blowing up the Al Na'ir production center?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 09 February 2013, 20:35:49
And thus they have invited a return to the days of smashing factories.  Or is the Combine magically immune to a Davion raiding force blowing up the Al Na'ir production center?

Consider the reason for the rules, and the Third Succession War context in which they operated.  You took factories intact if possible because you needed what production you could get out of them.  Right now, Kurita has the keys to lostech, and they have Wolf's Dragoons and their Clan-based knowledge of that lostech; and they have a plan for rebuilding the economic infrastructure needed to exploit that.

The rules were pragmatic.  With the cards the Combine is holding in its dragon-claw, tossing the rules is pragmatic.

Assuming that sandslice has correctly interpreted Marwynns story thus far then yes the combine is immune to the long term effect of Davion having a picnic that gets out of hand on Al'Nair.

Marwynn - more story please.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 09 February 2013, 21:29:11

Assuming that sandslice has correctly interpreted Marwynns story thus far then yes the combine is immune to the long term effect of Davion having a picnic that gets out of hand on Al'Nair.

Yes just as I'm sure Natasha has a hidden transport fleet up her sleeve so she can completely loot Outreach before anyone notices.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 09 February 2013, 22:32:35
Loot Outreach?

Yes. And no.

========================================================
Somewhere


Warlord Ivan Sorenson stood with all the dignity he could muster.

He wore a simple Kuritan infantryman's tans-and-clamshell battle uniform, his empty daisho sheathes still slapped his hip when he turned. His arms were bound together above him, a myomer-chain controlling the slack.

He was allowed to wander his cell when he was alone. But Ivan wasn't alone.

There were three voices in the room. All spoke in a curious cant that he couldn't place. The dialect was definitely swedenese, but it seemed wrong. He was a Rasalhaguian and he knew his people, but he had never heard these accents before.

They spoke of the Tyr, the oft-hoped-for armed force that would liberate them from House Kurita's choking grip. They spoke, but lacked the true fire.

He knew it, because he had been burned by that same fire years ago when he saved Takashi Kurita's life. He'd known it later as Warlord of Rasalhague, personally leading purges that even the ISF did not know about.

He heard all this because he couldn't see. Not since they took his eyes.

The door opened.

The fourth man, the one Ivan feared, stepped in. The man never spoke. But Ivan could hear the forceful gestures from the sound of the fourth man's uniform. The materials snapped, suggesting a tight-fitting formal dress, the slight clink of medals meant it was a uniform, but not one worn in the field.

He could smell the fourth man, his sweat, his breath, and the smell of the leather boots. They jangled.

He knew three uniforms that fit his observations. The first was that of an AFFS Marshal, but he dismissed that immediately. The man didn't walk like a military man, but dressed as one. The second was that of a group of mercenaries that descended from the Star League Defense Force.

It seemed even less likely, but they had massacred several long-standing mercenaries that claimed that heritage. The third was a half-remembered memory of the formal dress of the Guards of Rasalhague.

That seemed to be the conclusion he was to derive, from the forced swedenese, to the 'slips' the three sometimes shared when they were at the edge of his hearing.

The fourth man walked up to him and punched him in the stomach.

It didn't hurt.

Ivan Sorenson smiled.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 09 February 2013, 22:34:35
LCAF Headquarters, Tamar
Tamar Pact, Lyran Commonwealth
22 October 3028



General Nondi Steiner drank her coffee in one swig. It had gone cold an hour earlier, but she didn't care.

Katrina... why?

An HPG message had been relayed from Tharkad at great expense and came in just hours ago. The capital was aflame. Bursts of local news reports claimed that the attack was by units dressed up as the 10th Lyran Guards. Later reports then clarified that by stating that, somehow, the DCMS had dressed up a regiment as the 10th Lyrans.

Nevermind that Duke Frederick had been on planet for two weeks before the attack, Nondi flexed her fists to get her blood circulating again.

The HPG burst's penultimate vid was of Theodore Kurita himself, answering the Archon's challenge and broadcasting his own callous demands. General Steiner knew that the LIC had edited that footage, that slightly manic gleam, that raised voice, it was the same thing the lesser news corporations did to foreign leaders.

Nondi wondered what was cut. Theodore recorded that message while conning a 'Mech, and there were telltales and charts that were not properly edited. Only another 'warrior could tell. There were no mentions at all of earlier fighting, and Theodore just brought up the damaged power plant without preamble.

Sloppy. Is that how desperate they were?

She shook her head and listened again to Katrina Steiner outlining the terms of her surrender. She called it a 'truce'.

Nondi listened very carefully to Archon Katrina Steiner's words.

"To my forces currently on Draconis Combine territory, I order you to cease all offensive operations. Hold position." The coldness in the Archon's eyes was not computer-enhanced.

She nodded to herself, drank the dregs from her mug and walked to the flatscreen displaying Operation Götterdämmerung's objectives. Initially, more than 55 worlds were targeted. Before Theodore Kurita's actions on Skye, she was hopeful for 50.

Nondi consoled herself at the 43 worlds she was able to take in two months' time. The second wave had smashed through the retreating DCMS regiments and whatever defenses they'd planned merely held off the inevitable. She reigned in further attempts to smash the Kuritans, instead consolidating and digging in. Then, she probed and prodded, and in one move she took Satalice, Skandia, and Alshain.

Her forces were retreating from Alshain, their DropShips laden with that world's factories' machinery. Satalice's Panther factory was already churning out spare parts for Lyran 'Mechs, and Skandia was a depot world with fresh stores for the DCMS.

Theodore hastened my plans, reduced its scope, Nondi mused as she stared at the map, but my troops are far better rested.

Nondi tapped on the flatvid, calling up the invasion of Gunzburg. The DCMS had heeded the missing-Warlord Sorenson's warnings. They dug in, drilled their militia, and waited. She scanned the reports, looking for the sections she highlighted earlier.

A from an armour regiment was able to encircle and defeat a whole battalion with his company's tanks and the support of a 'Mech lance. The Kuritan tanks were left unsupported by infantry which had dug trenches for some inexplicable reason. The DCMS Light 'Mechs were then late in responding, and were pinned down by a Lightning Company force.

More and more of the actions popped up. It all said the same thing: "I can't believe this actually works!"

Nondi felt the same. The AFFS-style of warfare was still new to her army, and it had many detractors in the LCAF. But now, after this rampant success, her troops were flush with victory and knew that combined-arms actions were not the future of combat, but the reality of war today.

That was an advantage she had over the DCMS.

They'll come for Radstadt and Satalice first. Unless they're Theodore's boys, they'll get beaten back. As long as our supplies hold, we'll hold.

General Nondi Steiner laughed to herself, shocking the aides and officers quietly working at their terminals. She called up the latest logistics reports and smiled.

"Thank you, Teddy," she said, finally, sensing eyes on her.

Your bloody terms just handed us your worlds for good.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 09 February 2013, 22:50:38
Seems Nondi noticed the flaw in the agreement, no demand for the Lyrans to withdraw from where they already were, now all of the follow up wave troops can be used to hold what's been taken. Though I imagine Teddy should be thinking about what to do about his Uncle and the throne now that the Lyrans won;t be advancing anymore?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sandslice on 09 February 2013, 23:00:10
And thus they have invited a return to the days of smashing factories.  Or is the Combine magically immune to a Davion raiding force blowing up the Al Na'ir production center?

They'd in a far better position to recover from such a thing - not quite immunity, but a definite advantage.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 10 February 2013, 00:00:13
Nice Haul for the Lyrans though I fear it may spell bad news for the Davions. Kurita is going to look to even the scales by taking more bites out of the Draconis March while the bulk of the AFFS is knee deep in Cappies. Then again with the Bulk of the LCAF garrisoning and fortifying the newly expanded Tamar Region it opens up options for Marik if he ever decides to get off his lazy ass.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 10 February 2013, 02:35:31
The Dracs should  be neck deep in a succession crisis already, that Theodore and his Uncle have kept focused on external threats this long is stretching believability already.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: James Tanaga on 10 February 2013, 02:59:23
Not necessarily. Frederick Steiner, from what I remember, refused to initiate a coup in otl and both actually worked together in fighting the Draconis Combine because he cared too much about the Lyran realm to take advantage. Again, from what I remember, he had a large number of troops loyal to him on Tharkad throughout the war. If he wanted to, he could have removed Katrina. The fact he didn't is telling.

Now, when the fighting is over? There I agree with you. There is only enough room for one Coordinator after all.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 10 February 2013, 05:36:45
I agree ted needs focus on the mission win the war then clean house.

Meanwhile "SOMEWHERE" well done sir.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 February 2013, 01:10:25
Thanks Wolflord!

Freddie greatly shamed himself and requested a suicide mission to stop Theodore Kurita's Operation Contagion. I chose to ignore Alessandro Steiner (or did I?) in this telling, choosing instead Lestrade to push Freddie forward.

And he would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for those meddling Kuritans!

The DCMS is playing the hokey-pokey across the Draconis March (put your regiment in, put your regiment out)... So the gains are not quite what you'd expect an unhindered DCMS to be.

And all of that is happening before they even hear word that Teddy the K's alive.


=======================================================
The Fox's Den, New Avalon
Crucis March, Federated Suns
31 October 3028



The cool, stale air of the underground command centre hid the nervous sweat of the men and women who spent the last three months coordinating the war. They were beyond weary, Hanse Davion saw.

He had begun rotating in a new crew a month ago, just a week after the Combine's sudden strikes on Northwind, Quentin, Caph, and Fomalhaut. By then, the second wave had been committed and he couldn't--no, he wouldn't--turn them around. Instead, he gambled on the third wave being enough to halt them.

Only the the Dieron forces weren't where they were supposed to be.

Hanse ran a hand through his hair as he recalled all he could of Warlord Minobu Tetsuhara. He was, as Quintus Allard put it, "the kind of samurai we fear--a competent one".

Northwind and Caph were still under enemy control, and Fomalhaut embroiled in a guerrilla war, but it was Quentin that revealed the Warlord's mind to him. The 5th Sword of Light's rampage shattered units and public morale--all indications pointed the bloodshed to be the 5th Sword's Palmer Conti's addition to the main plan--but the assault crippled that world's very productive factories.

And with just one world, the Warlord drew away three worlds' worth of defenders and transports. He called up a report he'd read three times already. The Kuritans took everything that wasn't bolted down, and slagged half of what they didn't take. Now my crews have to remove the good along with the bad and fix everything again.

The rebuilding efforts were constantly stymied by ISF sleeper agents. A bomb, a spray of gunfire, even some fires, and work was delayed for hours or days. It was a resource sink, a deadly distraction, and he had no recourse but to do as he was doing.

He recalled Quintus' wise words. "We have stop thinking of chivalry when we think of honourable samurai. Distraction and deception are built-in to the way of the warrior. If we mistake a feint for a strike, that's our fault. That's the Kurita samurai's mindset."

Hanse snorted at that. He had been used to fighting preening warriors too concerned of their own status that he had grossly under-estimated the Dragon's resolve. And his realm was paying for his arrogance.

He felt his heartbeat rise at that.

Behind him, a map of the Federated Suns dominated several massive vidscreens, and the Draconis March was bleeding red from its borders. The Combine had surged forward, taken worlds that--if he was honest--were worthless to him and to the realm as a whole without so much as a fight.

Worse was that the Combine's attacks were often followed by much-needed shipments of food, water supplies, even water purification plants from the Water Pure corporation from Skye: something he had been unable to arrange. That rankled.

The core of his belief was that the worlds of the Capellan Confederation and the Draconis Combine were better off under his rule. Yet his own agents reported sporadic parades thrown in the Dracs' honour on many worlds that had long suffered raids from the Combine.

Have I let things go so out of hand that my people are welcoming the DCMS?

His counter-attacks had been swift, but indecisive. The Kuritans melted away from him, choosing to withdraw back across to their borders even when they had the advantage. They left behind food stations, better roadways, field hospitals still staffed with Brotherhood physicians, and functional water purification devices that fed cities clean water from local, tainted, reserves.

No matter how badly the Combine had acted throughout history, no matter how justified he felt, he couldn't shed the thought of Snakes providing his people with clean drinking water while he waged a personal war.

His worlds were his again, but he let most of them remain surrounded in red as a reminder. This was how far the Draconis Combine got without severe resistance. If the Lyrans hadn't distracted and surprised the DCMS, Hanse wasn't honestly certain if there would have been a Draconis March left.

But why pull back? Marcus Kurita has shown himself to be a shrewd Coordinator thus far, why pull back when you have the advantage?

Hanse leaned back into his chair and closed his eyes. They watered from the hours spent staring at flatvids and holoprojections. When he opened them again, his chair had swivelled to the main displays.

He saw An Ting shining golden on the most distant vidscreen, surrounded by a smattering of glowing yellow-red spheres. Duke Aaron Sandoval, despite the supposed massacre, didn't waver from the plan. It wasn't his plan, but the duke's own, and it was paying off.

Word had leaked that Sandoval had ignored his orders, orders that had him garrisoning worlds that the Warlord Kester Hsiun Chi's forces later raided-in-force. Now, the Duke of the Draconis March and the Warlord of Galedon traded Combine and Draconis March worlds like duelists trading blows.

Benjamin had swallowed and retained Marduk and a group of industrialized planets. He had no forces to worry them, and his agents reported that trade with worlds within the Benjamin district had already begun.

The third wave's forces would secure the Dieron front, that Hanse knew. The Wolf's Dragoons and Ryuken had already reinforced some CCAF regiments, stalling half of the second wave targets in Tikonov. But they couldn't hold without severe damage, and the CCAF regiments--unused to the coordination or even the DCMS's strict discipline--had wavered.

He had to call up a few more mercenaries to do it, but the second wave was only a month overdue.

I can still do it. I can still smash the Confederation forever, even if I have to stop for a few years, even a decade, if I go on they will never be able to rebuild.

He was close. But he knew he wouldn't send the fourth wave in. Not while the Dragon had free reign across his border. With the third and fourth waves he could push the Dragon back and still hold on to his gains. It would strain his realm's economy past the breaking point, but he would hold.

So deep was he in his thoughts that he didn't notice Quintus Allard until the man rested a hand on his shoulder. He started, smiled up, then saw the expression on the other man's face.

"Melissa has left for Tharkad."

Hanse nodded and returned to his work.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 February 2013, 12:00:34
Interlude: War Within a War

Busan, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
12 December 3028



Theodore Kurita cradled his baby daughter in his arms, cooing at her as Omi alternated between drooling and smiling. Tomoe, his wife, rested her head on his right shoulder, breathing in the serenity of the moment. Even young Hohiro running around and shedding kitchen utensils as an old monk chased and chastised after him only added to the moment.

The moment couldn't last, but Theodore knew he'd hold on to that memory for as long as they lived.

He had made so many mistakes these last few years, but in his hands were one of the few things he had gotten right. He bent over and kissed Tomoe on her forehead, then kissed Omi's who grasped at his face with sticky fingers.

Tok Do's lush jungles were vastly different from the desert world of Marfik, but they had to move. He never intended for his family to stay on the border world, but with the call to Dieron he had no choice but to leave his-then pregnant wife.

If Ninyu hadn't insisted on moving off-world... He kissed Omi again before handing her off to a waiting nurse. The hour Marcus Kurita learned of his survival, ISF operatives on Marfik struck several of their supposed-safehouses. If Ninyu hadn't been there... my family wouldn't be here.

He turned to Ninyu Kerai, lounging on the floor against a wall, teaching his son Hohiro how to grip the kitchen knife properly in two hands. The red-haired man glanced up, sensing his gaze. Theodore nodded, and the three of them left the children behind to their caretakers. On his way out, he patted Zeshin on the back, smiling. The old monk frowned back, as if saying "Even you weren't this much trouble."

They retired to a small, padded room, and tea had already been set before them. Gruffly, Ninyu poured himself a cup and flung its contents into a steel cylinder. It was another gift from Xinyang's Imperial Institute of Technology, probably the most sensitive portable liquid scanner in the Inner Sphere. Ninyu wasn't taking anything for granted, though he used the cylinder as a thermos from time to time.

When the cylinder's readouts indicated green, Theodore and Tomoe sipped their already poured tea. Ninyu swigged the tester's contents into his mouth, then refilled it.

It was an act, even when it was just the three of them, Ninyu--normally calm and unobtrusive--chose to be abrupt so that he could be as blunt as necessary.

"The Smiling One has betrayed you," Ninyu said without preamble. "That's what you think."

"Yes."

"You're dead wrong," Ninyu said. He took another gulp of the hot tea. "Tono," he added.

Tomoe tensed beside him but stayed silent. She owed her children's lives to this man, and she didn't feel right contradicting him. It was his instincts that got them off Marfik.

Theodore didn't respond to the blatant disrespect, he was past that now. "Then who sent the ISF against my family?"

"Marcus."

"You and I know, Ninyu-kun, that the ISF rarely acts without Subhash Indrahar's consent."

Ninyu waved that away and sat down. "The ISF is as monolithic as the Draconis Combine, tono. Which is to say not at all. The director has only gotten good at taking credit for what he wants and sweeping failures under the rug. Six feed under the rug, in most cases."

Theodore responded patiently, to his wife and his friend's surprise he noted. "What proof do you have?"

The ISF operative swept his right arm in a grand gesture. "This was to be the Coordinator's--Marcus Kurita's--residence here on Tok Do. He cancelled the plans to move the command post here when he got the HPG burst from Tharkad. But all of this was delivered after that, built and furnished." Ninyu walked closer to the pair. "And the command and communications equipment is fresh from New Samarkand, I checked. We have updated operational codes for all DCMS regiments--Theodore-sama this is now a DCMS High Command post."

"And you're saying we have Subhash Indrahar to thank for that?"

"Yes. Of course."

Theodore shook his head. "The Smiling One has always--always--placed the Combine above the interests of the Kurita family. He has countered my father more times than I can recall, and I remember several times where he engineered my father and I to a confrontation." He held up a hand. "Not that we needed much encouragement."

The Coordinator rose and walked to a transparisteel window. "No, Subhash is no ally. At least, not just my ally." He turned to the other two in the room. "I've harmed the Draconis Combine by not coming forward immediately. I risk civil war because of it. Even my actions on Skye, and on Tharkad, may have grander repercussions that I have not fully weighed. In fact, I know I didn't weigh them. There's rebellion in Rasalhague, uncertainty in the Pesht district, open war in Galedon, and Benjamin and Dieron have been ordered to stand down their offensives. We've hurt the Davions and now they're coming for us."

Theodore looked his wife and his friend in the eyes. "All this can be laid at my feet. I am the rightful successor, Subhash knows this. He also knows that Marcus did well enough in his few months, not interfering with his Warlords but supporting them as they prosecuted the war."

"You honestly believe Marcus recalled the DCMS so they'd fight for him, against you?"

"Yes," Theodore nodded, "and they would."

They stared back at him, incredulous. "Consider my reputation: a regimental officer rotated out to the dregs of the DCMS, a flamboyant woman-chaser, a radical tactical revolutionary using gaijin tactics. I can count on Dieron and most of Benjamin. But Galedon clings to the old samurai ways, as does Pesht. Rasalhague... well they're not much of a concern at the moment, are they?"

When neither Tomoe or Ninyu contradicted him, Theodore nodded.

"There will be a civil war. But it won't be fought on Luthien."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 11 February 2013, 21:30:39
Civil war with no Black dragons in sight.
Let the fun begin. >:D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 12 February 2013, 12:38:12
Technically, they're still all Black Dragons at this point...  ;)


========================================

The Dragon's Lair, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
23 December 3028



"Rasalhague is not our concern right now." Theodore said, letting his words echo.

The massive command bunker was dominated by a raised holotank in the middle, ringed by staff that spent their days analyzing and projecting. Each section was built redundantly, with the layers of the rings a spectrum of all the DCMS's administrative requirements. It was ISF by design, each section could be sealed off and require massive breaching charges to bring down. There were multiple escape routes as well, all known to Theodore. He set his cool gaze on the assembled regimental officers.

The faces that stared back at him wrestled with that statement. The Lyrans, lead by a woman, with an army commanded by a woman, gouged a chunk out of the Rasalhague district. On those worlds, non-stop reports of 'liberation festivities' continued, punctuated by ISF bombings and massacres of the parades.

Many of the officers gathered before him wanted to punish the Lyrans, push them out completely. But there would be plenty enough time that, Theodore had made sure Katrina would keep her word.

Even now, Tharkad wrestled with the remnants of his Operation Contagion. Dozens and dozens of teams were sabotaging all attempts at recovery. The factories weren't gutted as he hoped, but they were entering their second month of delays. Coupled with the unexpected downturns in the Tamar Pact region's output, which Theodore had Ninyu look into, the Lyran warmachine was stalled.

"Right now, Marcus Kurita is ordering individual regiments to withdraw from the Draconis March. Withdraw even past our own border worlds." He paused and looked at the stretch of regimental commanders to his right. "The Fox is no fool. He gambled on us to be too surprised to strike at his exposed back, and he lost that bet. But as we sit here, the An Ting Prefecture is under assault and garrison forces all across Galedon and Benjamin are being hard-pressed."

"The Coordinator---" a man began, then choked down what he was saying.

"Yes, I'm aware of what Marcus Kurita promised those who disobey him." They all were. Three Galedon Regulars regiments refused orders. All three commanders received messages informing them of the sudden accidental deaths of their entire families. They were dismissed on 'compassionate grounds' to be allowed to grieve properly.

Since then, no regiment had refused orders from High Command.

He looked to the commanders to his left. "The Lyrans are not our concern at the moment. I made sure of it." Heads nodded at that, they needed the small reminder.

"Tono," a Pesht commander began. "Forgive me, but Co--Marcus Kurita's plans have worked. Duke Sandoval is now surrounded on all sides, and the last reports we received were of his forces withdrawing across the border."

Heads nodded at this, warily. "He also reinforced Marduk and garrisoned several worlds, cutting off the forces advancing on our borders' supplies."

Another commander, from Dieron this time, interrupted. "He does so at the cost of all our gains! He allows the Federats on our worlds when we could've fought them on theirs!" An open hand slammed on the table. "Warlord Tetsuhara conferred with Warlords Chi and Shotugama, agreeing on an overall plan."

Theodore nodded for the sho-sho to stand and continue as he sat back down.

"The first attacks were to come from Galedon, then the troops would disappear. Draw whatever reserves the AFFS had. We used Pesht troops--" he paused and raised his chin at the Pesht commander, "--your own garrison troops, to hold those worlds. They were to dig in, hoard their supplies, and hold. We from Dieron were to strike next, cut off the bridge of worlds that linked the Suns from the Commonwealth. This would draw more attention, so Warlord Tetsuhara held most of his forces in reserve to respond. Then Benjamin would be free to seize territory, mostly unopposed."

The sho-sho nodded then took his seat again.

"It wasn't that coordinated," Theodore began, shocking the officers, "I was there when Tai-shu Tetsuhara drafted the plan. We couldn't know for certain what the AFFS had waiting. Galedon acted first, out of Tai-shu Chi's need to secure accurate intelligence." And make use of the Wolf's Dragoons and Ryuken while he had them.

"But the plan was to fight on Davion worlds, to spare ours, and to expand our territory."

Theodore rose again and this time the massive holotank they sat in projected an image of the Draconis Combine's border with the Federated Suns. A few months ago, the Suns' worlds bled red. Now there were rays piercing into the Dragon's realm.

"Instead, we fight to protect our homes. We lure the AFFS into traps, cut them off, deprive them of supplies, when our own forces are undamaged. Our own supplies deep and well distributed."

He looked at the commanders in the eyes and held them in his blue gaze. "These are not the actions of a confident warrior. Even if he succeeds, all he has done is secure a handful of worlds at great damage to ours. These are not the actions of a wise leader."

The men and women agreed, one by one. Some nodded, others straightened up, and a few resonated with clear chi. He reached out to the last, letting them feel his confidence.

"You are all part of Marcus Kurita's 'second line' of defenders," Theodore said, dismissively. "I order you, as your rightful Coordinator, to leave those posts to their planetary militias and attack!"

Two dozen pairs of feet slammed to the ground as each side of the table stood and then bowed.

"Hai, Coordinator!"

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Death by Zeus on 12 February 2013, 23:52:24
Blood and Ashes.......somebody gonna be hurtin' real soon!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 13 February 2013, 02:26:46
Orders from 2 different coordinators.
Marcus will be assisting many families onwards very soon.
Personally it would be a good time for an extended vacation whilst both sides kill each other off. ::)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 14 February 2013, 10:58:50
Busan, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
24 December 3028



Archduke Hassid Ricol swept into the dark room, his red cape trailing in a dashing wave behind him.

Theodore was impressed. The man had just spent weeks traveling from the edge of the Dieron district had just landed, but he looked energetic. Even vibrant.

The clammy, humid atmosphere of Tok Do left him uncomfortable in anything but the lightest of robes. Still, comfort wasn't a samurai goal, so he wore a soldier's tans instead. He looked like an upstart peasant compared to the Red Duke in his finery.

"You sent for me, tono," the older man said smoothly. It wasn't a question.

He considered staring down the man, but the Red Duke was known as the Red Hunter before and had the steel of a MechWarrior running through him. At best, all he'd accomplish would be to turn the man he believed to be a traitor into one.

I am not my father.

Instead, Theodore smiled. "Indeed I did, archduke. Please have a seat." The man slid into the chair opposite him. "How are things in the new Lyons Prefecture?"

Ricol nodded once, as if confirming something to himself. "Well, my Lord. The reality of life within the Combine for the new citizens is slowly sinking in, but I've kept a feather touch," the archduke smiled at him, "as you recommended, and so far civil disruptions throughout the dozen former Skye worlds are minimal."

Theodore felt the slight emphasis on the number of worlds he had taken. Aldo Lestrade had offered him ten only and he took two more; of the dozen that now made up the erstwhile Lyons Prefecture, not all were the worlds the Duke of Summer had been willing to sacrifice. Theodore took the worlds that mattered to the Dieron district and the Combine as a whole, and would remain unapologetic for doing so.

The chemicals alone from Corridan IV and Ryde were boosting the economies of various worlds, including those two planets. Already, Luthien Armour Works had signed a dozen deals with various Ryde and Corridan IV corporations, allowing them to supply the various parts, armour, and ammo factories in the Dieron district with the higher-grade chemicals and heavy metals locally. The civilian corporations had more than fifty new contracts already. Even in war, the Combine's economy was growing at a rate that attracted Marik investors.

And Archduke Ricol had a hand in all of the deals, Theodore knew. Military commanders could sometimes become wealthy after retiring if they favoured contracts from one supplier over another. But civilian governors were expected to become wealthy while they served; their personal prosperity was seen as the indicator for their worlds' wealth.

The slight rebuke was not proper for an archduke to his Coordinator. Theodore showed no outward signs, but he focused his chi and shaped a slight dread around him. Ricol was not versed in the control of chi, but he reacted just the same.

"We--we have allowed trade with other Skye worlds, minimizing any further disruption." The archduke gulped then continued. "And the announced return of those JumpShips pressed into service have had a positive effect." The voice was tight, but in control.

The pointed question of where the rest of his supposed pirate fleet was hung in the air, but it was betrayed by Ricol's own nervousness. And I'll ignore your own private fleet for now, archduke. Clever, to use them as a communications link with you and Lestrade.

Theodore slackened the chi around him, as if allowing air to breeze again. The archduke relaxed slightly, but visibly. "Skondia is proving to be very popular with investors, tonot," the red-garbed man said, deflecting attention from his state. Theodore could taste some anger behind his words. "I hear your 'uncle' Chandrasekhar has invested some of the Wolf's Dragoons' fortunes into a mining corporation on that world."

That was a not-too-subtle secret, but a secret nonetheless.

He nodded. "Yes, he has." Along with increasing security force strengths with 'hard' and 'soft' assets. "Uncle Chandy's investments always pay off." Theodore sipped his cool tea, signalling for the archduke to do the same. "Metals of the Earth is also investing heavily on Skondia. How did you convince the planet's resistance to give up bombing their own mines?"

The revelation of another, much deeper, secret didn't startle Hassid Ricol. The man is ice, wrapped in flame.

"Duke Lestrade, or Grand Duke Lestrade as he's known now." He finished taking another sip then continued. "Somehow, he convinced the miners that we would be making weapons to keep fighting the Lyrans," the pause was meant as a question which Theodore ignored, "and it would be better if they were properly trained on Summer to fight. For Skye's independence. If that's what they truly wanted. Most have returned from training, washed out I suppose, and have gone back to the mines."

So ka. The 'Grand Duke' is training guerillas. Wise. Why tell me?

"What is the Grand Duke's mind on the... Tharkad Truce?"

"He said that if you had, and these are his words, 'killed the bitch' he would've sworn fealty to you!" The archduke laughed refinedly.

And stab me in the back as soon as I turned away. Theodore's smile grew cold.  "With nobles like that sworn to me, what need have I of Hanse Davion?"

Archduke Hassid Ricol dipped his head. "Tono, I shall always stand behind you."

"I know you will, Archduke Ricol. I need you to send a message for me to the Grand Duke."



END INTERLUDE
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 14 February 2013, 15:30:56
Yes behind you, with a dagger in hand.  ::)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 14 February 2013, 16:35:23
BOOK THREE


Yori MechWorks Factory Zero, Al Na'ir
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
14 February 3029



Marshal George Powell stepped his brand-new Cataphract over the sun-baked ground, playing the childish game of avoiding cracks with a Heavy 'Mech.

The spiderwebbing on the ground was dangerous at sunrise and sunset, when the surface cooled and the thin gases that clung near the ground sank into the cracks. A misstep could see the ground crumble away, even swallow up entire 'Mechs. A route that looked sound and stable could turn into a death trap.

Sounds familiar...

It didn't matter, he had to be seen by his troops. That was the reason why he was at the conn of a prototype Capellan 'Mech instead of back in his command DropShip. The 1st Crucis Lancers, the entire Crucis Lancers, had been lifted off Tikonov as soon as resistance fell apart.

There had been no time to rearm, refit, and rest on the planet. They had to do what they could en route.

Marshal Powell stepped sideways to avoid a stretch of ground that his sensors said was slightly unstable, and then moved on. The night amplification circuits were having a difficult time peering through the 'fog', the clouds of gases that on Al Na'ir passed for an atmosphere.

He avoided thinking about the state of the JumpShips that hauled the Crucis Lancers to the heart of Dieron's worlds before finally being forced back to the border worlds they had left alone.

The Third Wave of Operation Rat, meant to carve out more of the Capellan Confederation, had been redirected into the Draconis Combine at the last moment. They pushed ahead, chasing fleeing DCMS regiments and ran headlong into the Combine counterattack courtesy of Theodore Kurita.

They didn't watch their step. He wouldn't make the same mistake.

Al Na'ir, one of the few sources of the indomitable Atlas BattleMech in the Inner Sphere, had been bypassed. It was more important to chase and defeat their garrisons, who had inexplicably retreated off-world, than it was to secure the planet.

Marshal Powell didn't claim to know the mind of Hanse Davion, his Prince, but he saw the desperation behind the plan.

Capturing a factory paled in comparison to smashing apart DCMS regiments. Factories could only produce so many replacement parts and assemble 'Mechs in a given amount of time. Yori MechWorks' assembly plant was just over the horizon, a massive, sprawling mountain of metal with five separate pads for DropShips.

The scale astounded him.

A MechWarrior all his life, he never knew the difficulty between assembling a 'Mech and manufacturing its parts. It was more than just the materials used, it required skill and delicate, careful work to bind a BattleMech whole. It was easier to build all the limbs of an Atlas than it was to attach it to a 'Mech in a functional way. It had to be done in a precise manner that he barely understood.

Like all 'warriors, he assumed that just because the techs could repair it in the field making a 'Mech was easy enough to do in a factory. One of his aides had remarked on that before being corrected by an advisor. An unskilled worker could greatly reduce the degree of motion a 'Mech would have, while talented artisans could craft a 'Mech that could surpass its technical limitations. He had been surprised when the advisor called up the Kuritan's mass-produced Panther series--generations of AFFS MechWarriors studied its technical readout, knowing that they'd face it on the field at least once in their career, and nearly all were surprised by its increased footspeed, its agility, even its cooling.

The Kuritans had mastered crafting the Panther to an art form. Nothing produced in the Inner Sphere today had that same quality.

Yori MechWorks had managed the same for the much heavier Atlas. A Yori-made Atlas didn't move faster, but moved smoother. Its armour was built to the original SLDF-specifications and improved to the point where penetrating into the vulnerable insides required stripping off nearly all armour.

It was an art that was being remastered elsewhere, for other 'Mechs. But here, under the shadow of Yori MechWorks, it was the minimum standard.

Suddenly, he felt awkward piloting a 'Mech that, by all accounts, was a factory-assembled FrankenMech: built from the most common components available to the diminished CCAF.

Shapes moved at the base of the clockwork mountain, sending streams of particles or tracer shells at his forces. The Dragons and Grand Dragons didn't benefit from the same level of quality construction; Luthien Armor Works preferred quantity and it showed. And for that, he thanked whatever god the Kuritans prayed to as he responded with his cannons.

The Ceres Arms Smasher PPC hurled smaller streams of particles instead of the Grand Dragons' coherent beam, but it tore through the lead 60-ton 'Mech's front torso all the same. Moments later, a burst from his SarLon MaxiCannon gnawed through the molten spot, blasting apart shards and digging into the skeleton beneath.

Seconds later, his warbook informed him that the Kuritan's Eagle Eye SY10-10 targeting system was no longer firing off the guiding lasers for the missile system. The heat bloomed around the 60-tonner, and it didn't raise its main weapon again, angling away to allow the 'Mechs behind it a clear firing lane.

His tanks were no use in these nightly raids. But his artillery was, and they started falling on the defenders. He had orchestrated these attacks for a week now, forcing them to choose between meeting them in the open and have artillery fall on them or fall back to the safety of the guns.

There weren't enough 'Mechs to defend Yori MechWorks. The irony was not lost on anyone present. So instead of rushing into the teeth of the garrison and the factory's turrets, he isolated a section and pushed against it. Multiple prongs of attack would spread the defenders thin, and one of them would get through and mangle the static defenses.

Three days ago, he personally lead the charge that disabled the plant's remaining artillery pieces and carved out the defenses of the same section he was assaulting now.

"Sir!"

He turned up the commpanel's volume. "This is Powell, go."

"Sir, we have reports of fires inside the facility! The northeast quadrant's melting from the inside!"

He grit his teeth as missiles chewed on the ground around him, making any movement more treacherous. He responded with a wide burst from the MaxiCannon, catching a Panther across its knees, as he threw his 'Mech's advance backwards. The Light 'Mech wobbled but continued on, its steps sure even at a run.

The 35-ton 'Mech responded with a burst from its Lord's Light PPC, leaving his comms in static for several seconds.

"Say again, HQ. Repeat!"

"Hangars open! Hangars open!"

Marshal Powell stopped the 'Mech and set his view on the widening maw of what was an impenetrable wall moments before. It was lit from within in orange. Smoke couldn't disguise their forms.

Atlases.

The two lances emerging from the plant was more than enough to smash his detachment into ruin, and his MechWarriors knew it. They began to withdraw, in good order, even as the Atlas pilots charged at full speed, heedless of the danger. There was no point in diverting fire at them, and his hasty call for artillery support wouldn't blunt that advance.

"More Atlases sortieing all across the perimeter. Estimate---" a crunch of static rendered the rest of the message unintelligble. "I repeat, a battalion of Atlases have sortied from the main Yori MechWorks plant."

Marshal Powell grunted as he turned his Cataphract around and pounded away at full speed. He flicked on the combat command channel.

"Retreat."

Behind him, the Assault 'Mechs pounded forward as smaller vehicles swarmed beneath them. The hovercraft threw up dust as they darted between the 'Mechs, but they soon outdistanced them.

It wasn't enough.

The hulking mass of pipes, mounds of equipment, vats, power generators, and cooling stacks erupted outwards like a volcano cracking its top.

In one sudden clap, the fleeing defenders and workers were swallowed by flame and smoke.

The 1st Crucis Lancers were close enough to be rattled by the explosion, but their 'Mechs reported only the lightest damage.

Marshal George Powell stood staring at the rising mushroom cloud from the facility. An urgent note sounded in his cockpit and seconds later he finally paid attention to it. Drills from his youth as a squire to the Jackson MechWarrior family of New Avalon suddenly animated his bones.

On the external speakers, he shouted "Move! Move! Move!" as his fingers danced on the command consoles.

His 'Mech was already doing most of the work, but it was important to be sure that the air filters and heatsinks wouldn't recycle improperly. He sent the commands via line-of-sight-laser to the 'Mechs around him, urging them to do the same. He knew they were, but it was his duty to make sure.

There was no point in taking chances with nuclear fallout.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 14 February 2013, 16:54:01
Holy Shit  :o
The Destruction of Yori MechWorks dwarfs the damage done to the Tharkad factory by an order of magnitude... and it was done by a nuke.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 14 February 2013, 20:24:55
I think ROM has been busy again.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 14 February 2013, 21:16:41
ROM's never really idle... but did they do this?

And the Yori facility isn't all of it, I don't think I mentioned that up there. There's an asteroid where the bulk of the parts are made, the factory on the planet was bent towards assembling the parts, making the smaller stuff, and shipping it.

The asteroid's still intact. For now. /cue evil laughter
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 14 February 2013, 21:58:12
What evil plans do you have for that poor asteroid Marwynn. >:D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 16 February 2013, 14:36:29
Nagano, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
17 February 3028



Jaime Wolf walked out of the lift as the doors opened, followed by Majors Dechan Frasher and Natasha Kerensky, to his left and right, half a second behind him. The doors nearly closed on the scientists and technicians that they were escorting--all of whom stopped at the sight of the gaping, empty maw before them.

General Wolf, his field promotion had been ratified by the other colonels in absentia, strode to the Warlord of the Dieron Military District and hugged his friend. The stoic Kuritan aides all suddenly found the massive cavern's ill-lit walls and floors captivating.

Minobu Tetsuhara, shocked by the act even after living with his rash younger brother Fuhito all his life and all his years amongst the Dragoons returned the gesture timidly at first then patted his friend on the back.

"Tai-sho Wolf, it is good to see you again."

"You as well, Tai-shu Tetsuhara."

Dechan Fraser had drifted a step closer and bowed-to-superior to the Warlord then shook the samurai's proffered hand. Natasha Kerensky raised her chin in an non-overly-hostile manner and crossed her arms. Her eyes were alert and dangerous.

Jaime stepped beside his friend and peered into the shadows behind the Kurita group. His scientists and engineers eyed their Kuritan counterparts, headed by a man dressed in a tech's overalls and a scientist's labcoat.

He smiled warmly at a few of Tetsuhara's officers, having worked with a few of them over the last six years. They smiled back, politely, some offering congratulations on the 'Far Raid' as it had come to be known. Then they began pestering Major Fraser with questions. The man was paying for his crimes of being too competent at training new soldiers, many of the Dieron Regulars in the district had been petitioning to undergo the 'Dragoon Crucible': a one-month training session against the major's independent battatlion.

In moments, the Warlord's DCMS retinue had surrounded Dechan and Jaime was thankful they sought the younger man instead of him. Even several hundred metres below ground, with limited light and space, the Kuritans had brought paperwork. The Draconis Combine's bureaucracy was more fearsome than its military.

The rest of the group devolved into the popular gossip of the last few months; following Theodore taking control of the Davion front, the Combine media had been flooded with information about his secret wife, his Executive Officer Tomoe Sakade, and their hidden family. There had been all sorts of speculation and stories coming out from former comrades, many of whom were now saying they had known all along and kept it secret.

The news was allowed to spread to the lower classes, sparking romantic ideas of falling in love with nobility. Tomoe's own background was humble, a commoner whose determination saw her graduate from the exclusive Wisdom of the Dragon school on Luthien--an academy usually reserved for nobility.

Suddenly, recruiters were sifting through the lower Kuritan classes for willing and able pilots.

The two children, young Hohiro and baby Omi, had become instant stars. The Dragoons scientists were not immune to the popular culture and began swapping their favourite stories of the kids. Jaime admitted to himself that the young Hohiro's antics were endearing; they reminded him of his brother.

Minobu bent to whisper to and walked him to the side. "The Black Widow was thorough?"

Jaime nodded. "Yes. We've taken the parts we needed on Outreach and destroyed the rest. It wasn't a lot."

"Can the mercenaries hold?"

"I believe so. Whose idea was it to begin hiring mercenary tank and infantry regiments?"

"Coordinator Theodore's."

"Ahh. In any case, there seems to be a large number of them all-of-a-sudden. Mostly with Capellan equipment."

"So ka."

"I can't promise those mercs will hold against the AFFS's crack regiments, or RCTs now, but they'll give anyone else a black eye," Jaime said.

"That's all we need," Minobu confirmed. "If they can hold on Outreach, it will serve well as a central base. Otherwise, preserving their numbers is essential. We'll need them soon, regardless."

General Wolf nodded towards Dechan. "Major Fraser's made that clear. It's a shame destroying all that equipment, though Minobu..."

"Outreach is... out of our reach, for the conceivable future," Minobu said sagely and Jaime couldn't argue. "The possibility that Hanse Davion could use it for his own ends was too great a risk."

Jaime sighed at that. And so it has been for the last few hundred years. Destroy the tools of war or be destroyed.

An aide, gaudily dressed, approached Minobu and whispered and gesticulated. The elder samurai nodded once and the aide spurted off to talk animatedly on his wristcomm.

Without warning, and robbing much of the dramatic tension, massive floodlights exploded above them, blasting away the darkness. The MechWarriors amongst the group instinctively looked away from the lights, protecting their vision and allowing it to adjust, while the rest swerved their heads to get a better look and were blinded for several seconds.

As the civilians stumbled around, half-blind, Minobu smiled. "How familiar are you with ancient history? With he latter days of General Kerensky?" Minobu Tetsuhara began, addressing the Dragoons. Natasha snorted but Dechan shook his head.

"The latter days of General Kerensky--in the Inner Sphere--specifically?" the Warlord elaborated.

"'Half-heard rumours and half-read records', mostly, tai-shu," Major Fraser offered. The phrase hinted at his Periphery origins.

"Nirasaki was a Hegemony world once," the Warlord began, "and was home to the Nirasaki Computers Collective, the ancestors of the modern-day Blue Heron. They built more than commpads and noteputers back then, the NCC was primarily responsible for the fabled Space Defense Systems--computerized defense warmachines that coordinated robotic WarShips and other assets in a fearsome manner. It cost the SLDF greatly to take SDS-protected worlds."

Jaime smiled and listened. It was a rough overview of the truth as he knew it.

"The key to General Kerensky's liberation of the Hegemony lay within NCC's headquarters, which lay in a rubble thanks to the Usurper's troops. After the war, the Draconis Combine offered to help rebuild many of the shattered industries on Hegemony worlds."

The Warlord beckoned them to walk with him, and Jaime fell alongside.

"Nirasaki was one of the most heavily damaged ones--its shattered infrastructure could no longer support the population. In return, and in thanks, the people of Nirasaki granted the Combine the use of its moons. Both Nagano and Okinawa are laden with resources, and Okinawa is perfectly suited to serve as a naval base. That was destroyed in the Second Succession War."

"Nagano's facilities," the Warlord paused and tapped his foot for emphasis, "was not. Rebuilding from the mess Amaris left was a grand undertaking, but both the Amaris Empire and the SLDF needed new sources of supplies."

"This moon, the lesser one, produced 'Mechs. The Dragoon Heavy 'Mech, in fact."

A few eyes darted to the Wolf's Dragoon contingent, noting the thin association with the name. Jaime felt the conspiracies weaving around their minds. What if the Wolf's Dragoons aren't descendants of Kerensky? What if they're descendants of Amaris?! He smiled at the Kuritans who shifted away.

"We don't have the time or the resources to churn out the advanced composites and materials for the AEM-01," said the jumpsuited, labcoat wearing man. "But we do have a Star League--well, Terran Hegemony--factory here. And we could use your help rebuilding it..." The man said hopefully.

General Wolf turned towards the man, and Minobu introduced him. "This is Chief Researcher Kowalski, formerly of Theodore Kurita's 11th Legion of Vega and now head of the Imperial Institute of Technology."

"I'm just a tech," the older man mumbled.

"A pleasure, Chief Researcher," Jaime said shaking the man's hand. "This is all very impressive. But they look like assembly equipment, not manufacturing equipment, to me."

Kowalski examined him, and Jaime felt the re-evaluation from a very organized mind.

"You're right, tai-sho. This is just an assembly plant. Krupp Stellar Technologies was relying on more locally sourced components to assemble the Dragoon. With the equipment you--ahh--recovered, well we have all the pieces now we just need help putting it back together."

"That's useless."

All eyes turned to Natasha Kerensky who had climbed up on the nearest machine and had been peering inside.

"What's the use of assembling 'Mechs you don't have the parts for? Or are you telling me you have another moon that makes parts?"

Jaime couldn't help but want to smile even as he was frustrated at her.

"Who says we need more parts?" Minobu asked. He held up a hand, cutting off the Black Widow's haughty retort. "Do you know how many components Gorton, Kingsley and Thorpe produce for the Panther? Or Luthien Armor Works for the Jenner and Dragons? This assembly facility will let us turn spare parts into whole 'Mechs."

"Kuritan 'Mechs," Natasha said dismissively.

"And nearly any other standard SLDF 'Mech," the chief researcher added. He said, shrugging, "I don't know how well the DCMS would like Griffins and Shadow Hawks but we can rebuild them here. And piece new ones together if we had the parts."

"But hey," Kowalski smiled up at the red-head, "if you're volunteering to make us new part factories too, I wouldn't complain one bit, sweetness."

The Black Widow leapt down and rolled on the floor and without stopping, rose and walked to the stunned Kowalski. She stood in front of him, bent close and smiled. "I like you."

"I like me too," was the chief researcher's sudden reply sent shocked laughter rippling through the group.

"Your agreement with Takashi Kurita will be upheld by Coordinator Theodore," Minobu said over the laughing. "A fourth of the output will belong to the Dragoons, for their own use, or for sale to mercenaries." Minobu eyed the Dragoon contingent. "I can't promise you a regiment a year, or even a battalion for that matter. I can't even promise you what model of 'Mech you'll get. Some runs may be nothing but Wasps and Stingers. This is the reality of the Inner Sphere today; we make do with what parts are on hand. I've delivered lances of Panthers to regiments that had requisitioned Assaults."

"With your help, we can do more---"

Suddenly, their comms started ringing one by one. Jaime looked Minobu in the eye as they heard the flow of conversations.

An aide walked up to Minobu and bowed. "Emergency HPG burst from Tok Do. Coordinator Theodore Kurita survived an assassination attack from Marcus Kurita." The man paused, tears welled in his eyes.

"His family, however, did not."



=======================================================


(Happy Family Day to my fellow Canadians... I know poor timing.)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 16 February 2013, 15:19:10
With all the love Theodore's family has been getting form the Realm, Marcus may well have just signed his own death warrant. I'm not sure if Theodore planned this or not but if they really are dead, I don't think I would have been able to sacrifice my entire family for the state.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 16 February 2013, 16:14:09
Oops.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: wolfgar on 16 February 2013, 17:09:24
With all the love Theodore's family has been getting form the Realm, Marcus may well have just signed his own death warrant. I'm not sure if Theodore planned this or not but if they really are dead, I don't think I would have been able to sacrifice my entire family for the state.
  i agree. In one move he surpassed amaris as the most hated man in the galaxy. And if it was me i would be sure to take my time and make sure it hurt, a lot. You dont mess with my family
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 16 February 2013, 19:15:59
How did they know it was Marcus.
The Kurita's are very good at covering their assassins tracks.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Redshirt on 16 February 2013, 22:44:07
I... didn't see that one coming...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sharpnel on 17 February 2013, 03:05:41
How did they know it was Marcus.
The Kurita's are very good at covering their assassins tracks.
Who else would it be? There's a dynastic war of succession a-brewin'
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Alexander Knight on 17 February 2013, 03:07:08
Who else would it be? There's a dynastic war of succession a-brewin'

Comstar, of course.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 17 February 2013, 05:40:44
Wolverines? Blakists?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 17 February 2013, 09:26:33
Well, there's a certain bit of bias there. The dynastic dust-up is so far a cold-war. Marcus' heavy-handedness is easily translated into brutality, and it's easy to lay the blame on him.

But as you know, there are others who are... unhappy with Theodore. Did he survive by luck or by design?

I've also edited the previous post. Fixed some errors, smoothed things out a bit more.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 19 February 2013, 17:27:07
Busan, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
27 February 3029



Ninyu Kerai screamed and tackled Theodore Kurita, grabbing the blade edge-on with his bare hands as he wrestled the man to the ground.

Whatever serenity the garden had offered was shattered as the young Coordinator fought him with the strength of one who had nothing left to lose.

No one could hear them. Theodore had ordered his manse to be emptied and no one could refuse him solitude.

Ninyu knew why today was special. It wasn't the first time Theodore had asked to be left alone. But today was--is--Hohiro's birthday. Ninyu had already bought him a present, another extravagant Steiner toy.

The Coordinator shifted his weight, trying to apply pressure to free the blade. Ninyu's face soured into a smile.

Theodore was an excellent MechWarrior, superior even to his father who was a renowned 'warrior. But Ninyu was an ISF agent, and that meant he spent more time outside of a 'Mech than in one, especially since the war started. He twisted and heard a snap, and Ninyu broke the Coordinator's wrist.

The blade fell and Ninyu turned around, picked his friend up and punched him in the face.

"DUTY!"

Another punch. "BEFORE!"

A final one. "HONOUR!"

The Coordinator was a fighter. Ninyu refused to think it was Theodore being weak. There was hate in Theodore's eyes, anger, and Ninyu felt the unsettling blue-eyed gaze of the Kuritas reach inside him and grip his heart. The energy didn't leave the young Kurita's frame, but once again Theodore the warrior was in command.

Ninyu nodded then reached into his uniform's pouches and began dressing his wounds, wrapping and biting the gauze with his own teeth. Theodore glared back at him, his left arm craddling his broken right. It had only just healed. Theodore's face showed the marks of his fists, Ninyu didn't hold back, and stood waiting for his judgement.

They stared at each other for long moments, dripping blood onto the scattered pebbles even as Tok Do's skies suddenly turned dark above the transparisteel ceiling. Lightning flashed, but high winds began tearing the building storm away. Thunder rumbled farther and farther away.

"Report."

"Hai, tono." Ninyu bowed. "Tai-shu Shotugama reports the successful recapture of Marduk."

The Coordinator nodded.

"The 6th Benjamin Regulars broke themselves upon the defenders, the 8th Crucis Lancers RCT this time."

Theodore understood. The 6th Benjamin had been the traditionalists of the Benjamin Regulars and had openly ridiculed Theodore's tactics and thinking.Now, they supported Marcus Kurita. Warlord Shotugama had seen fit to assign them the prestige of retaking a world he had already conquered and secured before being called to withdraw.

Light 'Mechs... unsupported Light 'Mechs against an entire Regimental Combat Team. At least they went out like samurai...

Theodore ordered the Warlord to retake the world; after the disaster on Al Na'ir, Marduk changed from a primary objective to a vital one.

"Supporting regiments, the Warlord's own 9th and the Wolf's Dragoons' Beta Regiment flanked and routed the Lancers," Ninyu continued. "They left behind a lot of tanks."

"And the factories?" Theodore asked, gritting his teeth from the pain.

He's having difficulty controlling his chi... Not good.

"Light damage in the fighting, the Lancers didn't have time to sabotage the factory. There were no signs of a nuke. But there is some better news."

Theodore raised an imperious eyebrow.

"The 8th Crucis were not expecting to be pushed off Marduk, in fact they were waiting for reinforcements. Their backup's supplies was already on-world: parts, ammo, even full 'Mechs. Davion 'Mechs, but still, it's usable."

The Coordinator nodded, moving to dismiss him but Ninyu interrupted. "That's not all, tono. This time, the factory workers didn't have time to lockdown their computers. We have lostech specifications for a new generation of Wolverines and Griffins. We can't make them yet, but Kowalski was forwarded a copy. The files include plans for upgrading the existing machines to make the new--old--stuff." Ninyu smiled thinly.

"It'll take years, but it's less with these specs. Tono."

Theodore breathed out, smoothing the waves of pain Ninyu didn't realize had been emanating from the Coordinator's core. He nodded to him and turned to walk out of the indoor garden; his manner indicated that Ninyu was to follow.

Past the door, Brotherhood physicians were waiting and gently looked over the Coordinator's wounds.

Another monk looked him over and he felt Theodore's gaze on him again. There was hate and gratitude.

They would never speak of it again.


=================================================


"Seven regiments. Dead."

The Coordinator sighed, reclining in a simple office chair in a room so unlike the japanese trappings of the manse. It looked like a new middle-manager's office, lacking the awards and personal touches. Theodore Kurita hadn't minded; his true office was a blackened ruin.

The generic room gave him a sense of proportion. It also limited the number of people who could see him at any given time; and at any given time, one of those people was his friend Ninyu who sulked in the corner.

"We weren't the Fox's primary targets and yet he's killed seven of our regiments?" He knew his voice sounded wooden, overly emphasized to generate some emotion in its sound. Otherwise, his voice would be hollow.

"Yep."

Theodore blew out a frustrated breath.

"Hey, on the bright side, they mostly belong to Marcus--"

"They're mine," Theodore said calmly. "All of them. Are. Mine."

"Do they know that?"

Theodore rubbed his temples with his left hand. I malfing hate you. But you're right.

"Well," Ninyu stirred himself from the corner, "we've destroyed about what? Four regiments' worth of AFFS 'Mechs?"

"And?"

"Tonnage-wise, we come out on top." Ninyu shrugged. "And it's not like they're going to get any replacement parts in the Draconis March anytime soon."

Theodore brought up the damaged and lost lists from all along the front. The DCMS heavily favoured Light 'Mechs as it gave them the tactical and strategic advantage. The Procurement Department encouraged this because maintaining a Light 'Mech lance was nearly the same as maintaining even a lower-end Heavy like the Dragon. The Combine dedicated so much of its economy to providing for its military that it couldn't handle the stress of supporting more or heavier troops.

It was the reason why so many 'Mechs were gifted to veterans; the owners either already had the means or would gain their own means of supporting 'Mechs. It shifted the burden from the DCMS to individual owners and the individual 'warriors would then join militias or dojos and be supported by the people directly.

He was humble enough to admit that the reason the AFFS counter-attack was blunted on many worlds was thanks to these retired 'warriors who were teaching the next generation of 'warriors in their own machines.

They lacked the discipline of a DCMS line regiment, but they fought just as hard. He didn't count their losses amongst the seven dead regiments. He brought up a report Tomoe had provided for him, forcing her memory away as he focused on the numbers.

"I don't see any other way."

Ninyu sniffed in the corner. "So what are you waiting for?"

"For you to grow a respectable bone in your body!"

"No one has time for that," Ninyu said waving it away.

Sighing. "Then bring in the Pillarines. Nicely."

The red-haired man stood on his feet then bowed, perfectly, then left. Theodore shook his head as he called up the files attached to a message from his father so long ago.

The robed Pillarines walked in minutes later, figurative feathers undoubtedly ruffled by the grinning Kerai who took his spot in the corner with dramatic poise. Takashi's 'Pillar Reforms' was a lengthy document, and projected by holo to the air made it only slightly more legible.

Theodore's eyes widened as he looked past the words at the face of the Keeper of the House Honor who bowed.

Constance Kurita, daughter of Marcus, rose from her bow and smiled sadly. "Coordinator, we grieve for your loss, but we are glad to see you well, tono."

Theodore rounded the small desk suddenly and hugged his cousin. She hugged him back, fiercely.

"I am so, so, so sorry Theodore!" she said, crying into his shoulder.

Theodore gripped her tightly, broken arm forgotten, and wept.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 19 February 2013, 22:32:49
so what are you thinking as the wolf TO&E?  with out them losing so much on Misery that is a lot of stuff they could get.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 20 February 2013, 00:39:13
The Dragoons are at 65% at the moment. Being elite means you get used up fast.

The next update should give a bit more specifics. But without Misery the Dragoons aren't losing their expertise. Even that 65% is material losses only. Far fewer deaths.

As a hint, reread Yorinaga's comment during the journey to Tharkad.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 20 February 2013, 17:32:47
Governor's Palace, Elusian City, Nirasaki
Dieron Miltiary District, Draconis Combine
28 February 3029



Water cascaded outside the office's windows, blurring the city's lights on the two men sitting by the desk. Chandrasekhar Kurita was not unused to late nights, though Jaime Wolf knew it was probably for different reasons the man had stayed up.

If the rumours are true. And he was learning just how difficult it was to judge which was truth when it came to Kuritas.

The larger man finished sipping his warm tea, the practical choice of drink a sign of just how seriously he was taking his duties. Especially since after the man's own network confirmed the horrible news two weeks ago. Jaime didn't have a lot of time to talk with Theodore about his family during the journey to Tharkad; they spoke of military matters, training, logistics, and spent more than a few hours talking 'Mech. In fact, Theodore had kept his family secret even to him; but he knew they existed through his own sources.

What surprised him were the HPG messages, sent in the clear, from his regimental commanders. The news about Theodore's family's death hit them almost the same time, even though they were more than two jumps away.

ComStar's being too generous with spreading news like this... Jaime thought then put that thought aside, into a corner of his mind he reserved for puzzles. Lately, he had added more thoughts tagged 'ComStar' than he would've liked.

The surprise was that some of his Dragoons expressed outrage at the deaths. Of course, a mother and two children being gunned down was an outrage, but for some it seemed personal. Of course, the Kuritans they had recruited had been furious--to the point of berserking at the enemy, any enemy.

Thank God or Buddha or Takashi's Ghost that Teddy kept a firm grip on the DCMS after that. Well, his half of the DCMS. I wonder if it was really him, or his officers stepping in? Jaime shook his head as he too drank his tea, nursing the aroma and temperature just how he liked it. He blamed Minobu for allowing Michi Noketsuna to teach his assistants how to brew tea properly: as if he wasn't facing enough criticism for being a Snake-lover.

He looked to the fat man, lost in his own thoughts, until summoned back by Jaime's gaze. The man's blue Kurita eyes were still pained; he had sent gifts to Tok Do for Hohiro's sixth birthday and there had been no way to recall the shipment.

"Your thoughts, Chandy?" Jaime sipped his cup again as Chandrasekhar shook himself awake. "About the defectors?"

"My thoughts are worthless, mon general," Chandy smiled unhappily. "But I can tell you what Theodore will think: allies and spies, all of them, at once."

"So we can expect no relief from those troops?"

"Unlikely. They haven't been denounced by Marcus Kurita yet, which is rather wise of him."

Jaime nodded.

"If Marcus had ranted and raved about the defections, and taken the actions he had warned would happen to any 'traitors', the regiments would have been welcomed. They could have shared in the mourning with their Coordinator, and he with them."

"But isn't not taking an action a sign of weakness?"

"How so?"

Jaime sat up straighter. "It undermines his authority, his rule is based off fear--"

"--He is a Kurita, you know--" Chandarsekhar said, laughing.

"--so if he isn't following-up on his threats, what power does he have over the rest of the DCMS?"

"Mon general," Chandy stood up and refilled his own teacup, "he already has followed-up on his threats." More than a dozen regimental commanders' families had been mysteriously killed since Theodore's return. "His orders are that any actions taken by DCMS regiments he does not personally approve beforehand are considered treason." The Kurita's voice lowered. "And you know what the penalty is."

"He creates... mistrust. He's outwardly claiming that they are acting under his behalf, knowing that Teddy--uhh, Theodore--has no choice. He can't refuse those coming to him. He can't take them fully into his confidence either."

"A masterstroke. There are also regiments that sided with Marcus Kurita before knowing Theodore lived; they cling to the old samurai ways, in direct opposition to Theodore. How does he handle those who are loyal both to him and the old ways? It's a wonderful, wonderful trap."

Chandrasekhar sat back down. "In truth, I believe most are sincere about being loyal to Theodore. Some are obvious plants. In this way, Marcus removes unsteady elements from his forces and positions loyal ones closer to Theodore."

"And why does Theodore allow it?" Jaime Wolf leaned in. "Why not just turn those troops around and land on Luthien. Prove your loyalties that way."

"It would shatter the DCMS. Almost completely, probably forever." When Jaime shook his head to pursue his frustration, Chandrasekhar Kurita raised a hand and a mask of seriousness fell on his face. "You do not think in terms of dynasty, General Wolf. You do not think as a House Lord does: in decades, centuries. In the rulership of billions. This is not the last war. Theodore's counterstroke is this: he's sparing a third of the DCMS."

The rain hid his office's breathtaking view of the city, allowing only muddled promises of lights and shapes. Jaime Wolf drank his tea and nodded. "He's saving the regiments for whoever wins."

"No, mon general. Theodore is saving the Draconis Combine."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 20 February 2013, 19:06:20
This is getting better and better. The coming of the Clans will wreak even more havoc though.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 20 February 2013, 19:39:23
when the Clans show up things will certainly get interesting for Dragoons as they won't be sitting all safe and secure on the other side of the Is from the front lines. When the Crusaders learn they've changed sides it'll be a race to see which Clan gets to annihilate the traitors, they may not bring nukes but the party that comes to where ever they set up shop in the Combine is going to make the Wobby force that curb stomped Outreach look like  recon detachment.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 20 February 2013, 21:45:14
when the Clans show up things will certainly get interesting for Dragoons as they won't be sitting all safe and secure on the other side of the Is from the front lines. When the Crusaders learn they've changed sides it'll be a race to see which Clan gets to annihilate the traitors, they may not bring nukes but the party that comes to where ever they set up shop in the Combine is going to make the Wobby force that curb stomped Outreach look like  recon detachment.

With a SDS system would make them go hmmmm.  I don't  know how they well be able to hide the Clan tech but who knows
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 21 February 2013, 04:19:24
The Dragoons didn't have a SDS at Outreach I don't see them being able to cobble one together with what Natasha managed to grab from there.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 February 2013, 17:47:06
Yep, no SDS from Outreach or anytime soon for that matter. I added that part because I was reading Liberation of Terra Volume 2, and it talked about Nirasaki a bit more.

As for the Clans... well, let's wait for what 3029 brings, shall we?


=========================================

Earthwerks Limited Factory Alpha, Tikograd
Tikonov Commonality, Capellan Confederation
12 March 3029



Major Natasha Kerensky sidestepped the stream of autocannon fire and ducked behind a reinforced wall outcropping, allowing the spray of shells to pass around her 70-ton 'Mech and trusting in the thick metal between her and hostile fire. Immediately, her targeting system tracked the origin to a pair of Blackjacks engaging them from extreme range.

She stepped out and zoomed in to the two 'Mechs then saw clouds of dust rising behind them; long barrels poked from the haze, swiveling and firing. Natasha swapped to infrared: A Rifleman and an Archer were riding herd amongst the tanks, partially hidden by dust.

It was a miracle it took the 8th Crucis Lancers this long to check on their factory defenders, and Natasha had made good use of the time. Mentally, she thanked Dechan Fraser; it was his plan to bait the 8th Crucis with his battalion, pretending to be the Black Widows to raid the Ceres Metal plant on another continent after pretending to raid the Earthwerks plant first.

The continent hopping had been hard on his DropShips, but Dechan and his 'Black Dragons' managed to draw off the 8th Crucis Lancers for hours. And still 'recover' some spare parts from the Ceres Metals factories. She had only gotten word that he had to lift off or be surrounded an hour ago, and the 8th Crucis Lancers RCT had managed to return.

Well, most of them... Natasha thought, glancing at the recon satellite's footage.

She loosed a stream of particles from her 'Mech's right arm, blasting away chunks of armour from the lead Blackjack then ducked back behind the stationary shield. The rest of the Black Widow Battalion were hugging the tattered barricades surrounding the factories as well, buying time for the techs inside.

All this effort for a FrankenMech's specs... Natasha pursed her lips. She didn't like the complexity of it all; spare parts from Marik and Liao space were going to be shipped to Dieron, then to Nirasaki's moon where the Cataphracts would be assembled. Then, they'd go through the Highlanders on Northwind then back to the CCAF. The Combine would keep a small amount, for sure, FrankenMech or no.

I guess Teddy the K doesn't want to start exporting Dragons any time soon, Natasha thought. She admitted to no one how impressed she was at how quickly the assembly plant started churning out replacement 'Mechs. Buddha knows the DCMS needs it...

Even with the threat of being surrounded by an entire RCT, she was enjoying herself. On the field, she was her again, not the confusing woman she had become outside the cockpit.

She tapped on her commpanel, typing in a sequence, then called up Gentleman Johnny.

"Pack it up, Johnny! We're leaving."

Captain John Clavell was supervising and helping with the loading of their loaned Overlord-class DropShip, the Webmaster, with his recon company's 'Mechs. They literally cut or ripped off what they could from inside and hauled them into waiting containers, which the 'Mechs with hands carried into the waiting DropShip.

He responded with a smile that came through the electronic distortion. "Just packing lunch, boss. How long?"

Her techs copied then destroyed the Cataphract CTF-1X's specs from the factory's systems and were helping in packing the delicate instruments. The specifications were more than just a list of which of the parts from other 'Mechs went where, but also the complex instructions on how to bind them together. A talented tech could follow the instructions and assemble a 'Mech in a decade; which explained why some 'factories' churned out handfuls of new 'Mechs a year with a staff of hundreds.

Natasha peered out from her shield and fired at the closest target without a lock. "Now," she said simply, and began walking backwards to an empty shield jutting from the ground like a giant's tooth. A PPC blast exploded on its surface just as she stepped in behind it. She listened to the reports pouring in, nodding in confidence as Captain Takira Ikeda coordinated the retreat.

"Hurry it up, Johnny," Major Kerensky said before flicking over to her second company commander. "Tak, what's the word on our surprises?"

"They're--" static washed the words out. "They're set, and already firing."

"Good. Now hustle!"

Around her, the Black Widows ran, walked, or leapt to the cover of the shields. It was no surprise that a company called 'Earthwerks' would have actual fieldworks large enough for 'Mechs to hide behind, but her Widows took to them quickly enough despite having no experience using them.

She repeated the dance several times, falling back even as the tanks surged ahead. Natasha speared a VTOL that drifted to close, spotting for his comrades with long range missiles. The violent explosion of so much armour threw the craft into a tailspin, crashing on the advancing Lancers. The VTOLs kept a more respectable distance then, but the LRMs were now pouring in.

That was quick, Natasha admitted to herself. She assumed it would take more than the minute she budgeted before the Davion commander would switch to missiles; as long as she made herself and her 'Mechs visible, she was counting on the Lancers to live by the Davion stereotypical love for autocannon and direct fire.

It didn't matter, the bulk of her battalion was loaded up and she, as always, would be the last to leave. When the next wave of missiles arced over, she ordered a general retreat, leaving the missiles to crash in their wake.

The Lancers' 'Mechs pursued, right into the minefields the Black Widows had left behind. With the shields blocking a straight advance, mining and channelling the Lancers had been simple.

Natasha smiled as she stepped aboard the Webmaster and its ramp closed behind her.

They lifted as soon as she secured her Warhammer into its gantry and she joined in the celebratory cheering on the common band, even under thrust and the roar of the Overlord's engines.

The roar grew louder for several moments and Natasha's smile became curious. It didn't grow louder, the comms are down. Why-- she began to ask herself when the commpanel lit back up. Surprise replaced the cheering in the five seconds of silence as the comm units rebooted.

Then she heard another sound. A warning blinking on her forward panel. Horrified, Natasha brought her 'Mech back up to full power and plugged herself into the DropShip's sensors, blanking out the nervous chatter.

Below, beyond the blinding silver tail, a mushroom cloud was rising into the sunset.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sandslice on 22 February 2013, 18:21:46
Mmmm... another factory simply nuked.  Toasty.  O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 22 February 2013, 18:42:04
Teddy K's take and burn the rest approach is going to be a !@#$@#$.  Wonder what will happen to the DC's military industrial complex in reply from the LC/FS forces?  More please!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 22 February 2013, 18:54:37
Law on Luthien is the next to get nuked. >:D :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 22 February 2013, 22:15:47
Yes cause getting all of the IS to start nuking each other's factories will prepare them for the Clans, or in this Au will the Combine and Dragoons be able to fend them off all on their own?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 February 2013, 23:34:36
That presumes that this was intentional. At least, by the Dragoons or the Kuritans.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 23 February 2013, 00:52:57
That presumes that this was intentional. At least, by the Dragoons or the Kuritans.

Appearences can be deceiving, and lead to incorrect assumptions.

The FedCom tries to take a Drac factory, and it goes boom. Now, the 'Goons (employees of the Dracs) do a snatch&grab on a FedCom factory, and it goes boom once they are safely out of range.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where this is going.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 23 February 2013, 04:53:40
I spy with my little eye something beginning with C......... ?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: SulliMike23 on 23 February 2013, 14:53:26
Ooh...the Inner Sphere is gonna be in an uproar when news of this Nuke spreads.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 23 February 2013, 15:34:34
The same uproar that when news of the last nuke spread.

Teddy and Hanse will need to talk to each other to figure out what the hell is going on since there's nukes flying that neither approved of. I'm sure at first they'll want to blame the other but they're both smart men and will make the connection that someone is nuking factories and framing 'me' for it. After realising that you're being framed, it becomes a lot more believable that the other guy is being framed as well.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 23 February 2013, 18:45:50
But what happens if it is not Comstar.
What if it is rogue elements within the Combine. [brew] [cheers]
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 23 February 2013, 18:47:56
What happens if it is rogue elements within the FWL............ Oh, right, forget I mentioned it  ???
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: VhenRa on 23 February 2013, 20:50:33
What happens if it is rogue elements within the FWL............ Oh, right, forget I mentioned it  ???

Rogue Elements of the FWL? Isn't that Blakist Speak for Followers of Blake? I see we have a Word Sympathiser here... off with his head.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Headshot on 24 February 2013, 04:40:04
What happens if it is rogue elements within the FWL............ Oh, right, forget I mentioned it  ???

Good one! *snicker*





ps:
VhenRa, there's no Word (yet), but this is the League, at least half of them are "rogue" by some standards...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 February 2013, 15:22:45
=========================================================
Across the Inner Sphere
18 March 3028



"We have breaking news: In apparent retaliation for the nuclear attack on a 'Mech factory on Al Na'ir, the Draconis Combine is claiming to have detonated a nuclear weapon on Tikonov, which Federated Suns forces captured late last year. Tikonov is one of the few heavily industrialized worlds of the Capellan Confederation, which could point to a breaking down of the so-called Kapteyn Accords which see the Draconis Combine, Capellan Confederation, and the Free Worlds League in an alliance against the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth. The statement comes from Luthien itself. This is the second use of a nuclear device in as many months and has halted most active operations from nearly all combatants as the Inner Sphere watches the spectre of the nuclear annihilation rise again---"

"I'm not surprised at all, Diane. Whether it was Marcus or Theodore, a Kurita ordered it. Have we forgotten just how brutal they were during the First Succession War? Do you honestly not see them not reciprocating? No, a Kurita was behind this. Doesn't matter which one--"

"There is no reason for the League stay in this alliance!--I disagree, this was a great step forward--When will we talk about Andurien again?--What is the Captain-General---Terra!--The time is right for us to--"

"Karma. The Crucis Lancers' cowardly nuclear strike on Yori 'Mech Works' assembly plant on Al Na'ir, which killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians, was repaid last week. The Wolf's Dragoons were tasked to retake the factory from the Davions and withstood hours of siege. Unable to break the Dragoon's stalwart defense, and unwilling to lose yet another factory, the Davions launched a tactical nuclear weapon at the facility. Fortunately, the Wolf's Dragoons were able to evacuate just before the weapon detonated. The 8th Crucis Lancers has been wiped out by their own leaders' incompetent and cowardly attack."

"Absolutely nothing happened last week on Tikonov."



===========================


Redacted. For now.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 26 February 2013, 17:13:04
Gymnasium 26, Kalena Valley, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
22 March 3029

 

The small tank fought to get purchase on the pebbled ground, its treads whirling until it bit down to the dirt. It rocketed forward, hurling dust and debris behind it as its turret swung to the horizon. Three other tanks nearby were only a few seconds behind the first, and their turrets were already aimed in the same direction.

Michi saw this and approved the tank crews' response time. They hailed from all over the Dieron district, ferried to the capital by the Order of Five Pillars to be trained to fight by the DCMS. The abbreviated boot camp was actually an improvement over what normal DCMS infantrymen received before Minobu Tetsuhara implemented the new training programs.

Dieron itself rotated out a few regiments of well-trained infantry and tanks every few months.

This would be the first batch to use the Tanegashima Light Tanks. Fusion engines... on tanks. Lavish.

He moved to another terminal and watched the tank lance's 'enemies' for the exercise pound forward. The captured Hatchetman in its lead was a new design as well, wielding a massive axe in its wake. The exercise was meant to prepare the tank crews against Federated Suns--and Lyran--'Mechs.

The four tanks fired as one--a mistake, Michi thought, even as three of the shots found their mark. Staggering fire control was essential for the vehicles as they couldn't afford to rely on their armour against 'Mechs in a stand-up fight.

He shook his head and a young chu-i raised an eyebrow at him.

"They're maintaining the same speed and vector," he clarified for the younger officer.

"I don't understand," the officer came forward. "Is it not wise to maintain formation?"

"Hai," Michi said, then smiled. "It's also wise to not be an easy target."

The Hatchetman spat a ragged line at the tanks, its autocannon's paint-rounds virtually mangling the lead tank's treads. It slewed to a stop as the three other tanks swerved away. The 45-ton 'Mech closed in and brought down its axe to lightly ding the tank's crew compartment.

The simulators recorded it as a kill, and the 'Mech moved on, flashing its low-powered lasers at the zooming Tanegashimas which were now facing missile fire from a Valkyrie and a Commando. Two more tanks were disabled; the fourth one broke off and stayed as far away as it could and hurled lightning bolts from afar.

Gymnasium 26's control room lights flicked, and the simulation was over. The last flight of missiles from the Dervish tore apart the tank's Lord's Light PPC, its one remaining weapon, ending the simulation. Training sessions in the gymnasiums were one part simulation, one part field-exercise. It required using the actual warmachines in the field, even on Dieron's limited open spaces, and it worked out a lot of the things that training left unmanaged.

Like tactics.

"Chu-i... Faldmer. What should the tank commander have done differently?" Michi asked, in his most subtlest imitation of his sensei.

The young woman snapped into attention then considered her words. He appreciated that, many simply opened their mouths and hoped their brilliance would reveal itself.

Finally, she spoke. "The Tanegashima's high speed and fast-track turret leads one to believe it is best used for in-fighting---even with a PPC as its only weapon," she added quickly. "The last tank was too far to do much good, but still within range of LRMs. So, the best use would have been in charging the enemy and maintaining medium range after that. Break up into pairs to peel off the lighter 'Mechs."

Michi nodded. "When are they scheduled next?" he asked, bringing up his wristputer.

Chu-i Faldmer, a recent graduate herself of Proserpina University, checked a terminal for the details. "They are due back tomorrow along with the two other lances of their company; Gym 33 at 1100 hours sho-sa."

"Good," he said tapping it into his calendar. "Brief the company and prepare them for the next exercise. I'll be observing," he said, leaving behind the suddenly overburdened young woman.

So that's what that feels like... Michi thought, smiling inwardly as he tapped out a report for his sensei. From the look in her eyes he knew she had already begun preparing a lecture, hoping she could impart some tactical wisdom. If this works out, we'll have another officer worth their rank.

His comm vibrated and he read the message.

Michi Noketsuna ran.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 26 February 2013, 17:22:55
Fort Draconis, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
22 March 3029



"The Capellan Confederation is attacking us," Michi said again, still unbelieving.

Tai-shu Minobu Tetsuhara nodded, still dazed as he was.

"Are they stupid?"

"No."

"Then why?" Michi turned to his mentor. "Surely, they can't blame us for--"

"--Of course, they can. They already have," Minobu said, thrusting his chin out at the display.

Radar tracks had identified them immediately; two 'Mech regiments' worth of transports jumped at a pirate point a half hour ago and started burning towards Dieron as soon as they detached from their JumpShips.

They had enough fighter cover to overwhelm the bolstered aerospace patrol at the pirate point. It was only the Capellans' aerospace fighter silhouettes that identified them as CCAF.

Michi tapped at the console and read the reports he called up. "Still no comm contact. They are still coming in at 2.5Gs. What do we do?" The flatscreen blinked, updating the numbers and estimated DropShip-classes.

"We welcome them as foolhardy allies until we know more," the Warlord said, turning to a waiting aide that brought reports for him to glance through. "You were right, sho-sa," Minobu announced for everyone's benefit. "Those JumpShips are Combine merchant vessels. The Confederation seized them."

Michi bowed, and felt curious eyes re-evaluating him. He felt nothing but sadness. The seeds of Theodore Kurita's actions are blossoming...

The Tai-shu nodded, then spared a moment to walk around the war room to speak with various officers, steadying them and absorbing a clearer picture of his forces.

All around, the men and women stood straighter, moved more carefully, as Minobu Tetsuhara's calm extended from him. His sensei's eyes fell on him, and Michi knew he had been summoned.

He approached, bringing up his wristputer.

"I want the trainees ready. You were at the Gymnasiums, do we have any officers we can entrust to command them?" asked Warlord Dieron.

"Hai, we have a few that can be trusted," Michi said, thinking of the young chu-i earlier. "You want them to liaise with the 5th Sword of Light?"

Minobu nodded. "Make it clear that the liaisons answer to me directly."

Michi bowed and called up Chu-i Faldmer from his comm. He explained the situation as briefly as he could, and field-promoted her to tai-i--and waited for the listening Minobu Tetsuhara to nod in agreement--and take command of the various trainees.

He was thankful for Minobu's foresight; the 5th Sword of Light were brutal samurai, and Tai-sho Palmer Conti would have sent the trainees to their deaths needlessly. The Sworders returned with a third of their conventional assets and demanded immediate replacements. Minobu had been sure Tai-sho Conti would have sided with Marcus Kurita over Theodore, and maybe he did. But so far, the despicable warrior had obeyed the Warlord in everything.

We differ in one regard; we'd gladly send them to their deaths, but not without need. Is that enough? Michi felt a shiver and knew his sensei's eyes were on him.

Michi moved in closer. "Sensei, what happens when--if we discover they are no longer allies?"

Minobu Tetsuhara's eyes glinted hard. "Then we kill them all and send their headless corpses to Sian."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: wolfgar on 26 February 2013, 17:46:56
I like this guy. Kill them all, the gods will surely know their own.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 26 February 2013, 18:39:50
This is certainly one out of left field, one has to wonder if this is a Comstar False Flag op like the Death Commando attack on the NAIS in canon?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: SulliMike23 on 26 February 2013, 19:17:33
Ok, this is a shock...the Capellans attacking the Draconis Combine? How long has it been since THAT happened?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 26 February 2013, 19:28:13
1st SW I'll bet.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 26 February 2013, 19:51:30
My money it's not the Capellans, if they're selling Cataphract parts to the Combine why would they attack the?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 27 February 2013, 02:30:04
The Capellans needed Tikonov badly.
Teaching the DC a lesson will be interesting as the Cappies love their nukes.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 27 February 2013, 23:14:18
Why not Zoidberg?  ^-^


=========================================================


Li Po, An Ting
Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine
23 March 3028



Kester Hsiun Chi stood solemnly in the shadow of a burnt out skyscraper. The tower of plasteel and ferroglass had crumpled and melted under the guns of the 41st Avalon Hussars. Now it was a twisted monument, diffracting the setting sun.

The buildings in the area, one of the many hubs of Li Po, were just as wrecked; shattered roads lead to groves of burnt husks. He had strode on the streets of many dead cities, dead worlds, in service to the Combine. The Inner Sphere was littered with them; tomb worlds, he called them.

But this was fresh devastation. Not much more than six months old.

Silently, the Warlord of the Galedon Military District prayed for forgiveness to whomever was listening. He had taken a chance, and in the grand scheme of things, Kester knew he won more for the Dragon than he lost. But not even An Ting's heavy rainfalls could wash away the blood that had been baked on the streets in one night of bloodletting.

This was precisely what Takashi Kurita insisted I avoid when he set me loose. He offered up a prayer, he realized he did so a lot these days, for the soul of the departed Coordinator.

One of the guards he brought along coughed discreetly, and Kester gathered his thoughts.

His visitor was swathed in shadow. Grey ash clung to his massive armoured form, obscuring him from the limited light of the streets.

"What have you found?" Kester asked, quietly.

"You're not gonna like it," the man said with a hidden smile. His breathing was audible, and the Warlord could detect the slight ping of filters. The voice was electronic. Impersonal. Cold.

"I find very little to like about this already," Kester said, raising a hand at the devastation.

"Oh? You Kuritans do it often enough; figured you must get a kick out of--"

"--Enough."

The man shifted. Kester was sure it was a man beyond the shadows. He didn't particularly care, but he hated mysteries.

"It was the 41st Avalon Hussars," the man said.

Kester sighed. Nodding to himself, he began to speak.

"And, it wasn't the 41st Avalon Hussars," the man continued.

The Warlord was not in the mood to be toyed with. He glared into the dark.

"Graham checks out. He didn't order the attack, no one in the chain of command did."

"But the pilots were from the 41st Hussars?" Kester said unbelievingly.

"The pilots of the two 'Mechs that were brought down and recovered. At least, pieces of them did..." the sound cut off suddenly, and Kester could feel... laughter from the other man.

Warlord Galedon digested the news then looked up suddenly. Somehow, he knew was looking the other man in the eyes. "What of the other attacks?" An Ting was only the first world to suffer the Suns' spite; civilian centres on neighbouring systems were also attacked, though not as completely as Li Po. A fifth of the capital city had burned in one night.

"That part of the investigation will have to wait," the man said, shifting in the shadows. Kester made out a hint of green before the figure faded out from view. "There is the matter of the contract."

Kester nodded. The man had been hired to pursue Marshal Kenney Graham, the commanding officer of the 41st Avalon Hussars, the one blamed for the razing of Li Po.

A soft duffel bag fell in front of Kester.

"I've taken my fee for the legwork," the man said. "Now, we re-negotiate."

Warlord Galedon suddenly stepped forward, listening intently for the scraping of the man's metal boots as he took a step backwards. He smiled inwardly when he heard it. "You wouldn't re-negotiate unless you already had a lead."

"No, I wouldn't."

"Tell me and you can keep the whole fee."

"Tempting. But no."

The Warlord sneered into the shadows. "What does the new contract entail?"

"Travel. Lots of travel."

"Timeline?"

"I can't say."

"Won't? Or can't?"

"Yes."

"Where would you--" the Warlord whirled suddenly as battlefield instincts kicked in. The autorifle fire killed two of his most visible bodyguards before he could warn them, but the three hidden in the ruins returned fire right away.

His Nakjima laser service pistol was out of its holster and firing at the nearest blasts, even as he ducked into cover. The laser light seared his eyes, but long years of campaigning accustomed him to it. That, and he was expecting the sudden glare.

The attackers didn't. The afterimages left in his eyes showed small forms, tightly clothed or just thin, caught by surprise. His bodyguards caught two turning around to flee, hurling them to the broken ground with pulses of coherent light.

Warlord Chi turned and felt his visitor had disappeared.

He heard a sudden gasp above him and saw, by the fading sunlight, the glint of a long blade's tip portruding from a young woman's belly. She had a heavy pistol aimed down at him that fell from her twitching grasp. Her mouth gargled open and she slid from the weapon that ended her.

Scavengers... just starving children... Shame and rage burned him then.

The visitor flicked his arm and the blades retracted into his vambrace, a splash of red on ashen green.

Finally, he looked up and inclined his head.

"That one wasn't free," the man said, dangling the duffel bag in his other hand. "Now. The contract?"

Kester Hsiun Chi checked the charge then holstered his pistol.

"Where will you go?"

"Not far at all, Warlord. In fact you'd be very familiar with it."

Kester raised an eyebrow.

The armoured man sighed and shouldered the duffel bag.

"Pesht."



Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 27 February 2013, 23:47:53
And no disintegrations
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 March 2013, 00:20:02
Honestly, I didn't see the resemblance until you pointed it out... Huh.

Busy week, hence the scarce updates. More incoming tomorrow.

======================================

South of Aldinga City, Mateo Continent, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
24 March 3028



The Vindicator flexed its knees as it fell on the hilltop on a gout of flame. It speared a nearby Panther painted blood-red with a stream of particles before lifting off again, leaving the lighter 'Mech stumbling.

The Sword of Light pilot didn't bother chasing after the Vindicator, flights of indirectly fired missiles were already falling on his position. Behind it, two Grand Dragons loosed their own missile flights at the diminishing lock on the Medium 'Mech as they worked their way up the hill.

Further behind, another Panther lay prone, its armoured legs shorn off by mines. The three other Sword of Light 'Mechs sported leg damage as well, making the literal uphill battle even more brutal.

The swarm of long range missiles battered the remaining Panther but it kept its footing even at the catastrophic loss of armour. The two Heavy 'Mechs waited until the lighter one steadied, and one Grand Dragon raised an arm, ordering the damaged Light to crest the hill.

Or threatening him with a particle cannon blast, Tai-sho Palmer Conti couldn't tell. Nor did he care, as he enhanced the zoom on his HUD. The Panther pilot screamed and lit up his own jumpjets to land beyond his line of sight.

Moments later, the two 60-ton 'Mechs crested the hilltop and charged down.

Palmer waited a few seconds then saw the explosion's shockwave.

Another minefield... he thought, slamming his fist down on the command couch's armrest. These damned Capellans won't stand and fight! The more Palmer thought about it, the more he preferred fighting Steiners or Davions. They had the dignity or the skill to fight head-to-head.

But here, in the foothills around Aldinga, he couldn't bring the full force of the 5th Sword of Light to bear. They outranged him and weren't ashamed of it; they mined and ambushed gleefully; they fought like murderers.

In two days the 5th Sword of Light's numerical advantage had been whittled down. Now, he had numerical parity with Kincade's Rangers, a regiment Palmer had never heard of before. It gnawed at him that a regular regiment was battering one of the Combine's elite, but there was little he could do.

The city of Aldinga, on the northernmost Mateo continent, was hemmed in by three mountain ranges, and their foothills were the city's outskirts. From the sky, the city looked like an infection of steel and and charcoal, grasping out to the mountains.

Like the Steel Valley on Quentin... Palmer remembered, briefly smelling the memory of ashen air.

The Rangers never fought fair, always mining their advances with Thunder munitions, ready to spew Infernos at overheating 'Mechs with suicidal infantry, and always willing to retreat. He scorned them two days ago when he lead the sortie to break their seige.

It took the loss of two companies of 'Mechs within an hour of fruitless charges before he pulled back. And he lost another company on the retreat.

Salvage operations were impossible. Even if the downed 'Mechs were recoverable, they were rigged with explosives or other, more subtle, forms of sabotage. And for once, the civilians were turning to him for protection when random Capellan soldiers started to appear in Aldinga's streets, firing randomly at herds of factory workers.

Palmer zoomed out and grunted in frustration. The shame of his failure would require seppuku soon if he did not snatch victory.

If only-- his commpanel beeped, demanding his attention.

He maneuvered his 'Mech to direct line-of-sight to the regiment's mobile headquarters. The laserlink was established and his HUD image showed Minobu Testuhara, Warlord Dieron.

"Tai-sho. Progress?"

Palmer didn't allow the Warlord's terseness to bother him. In truth, he admired Warlord Tetsuhara for his adherence to the samurai way. He just hated the man, but he hated a lot of people, so that was nothing special.

"None," he answered truthfully. "Though I have a scheme."

The Warlord tilted his head slightly, inquisitively.

"Kincade's Rangers grounded their supply DropShip in the Caleriz valley. It runs between the west and south mountain ranges," he elaborated. He could see Minobu calling up the valley on his headquarters' holomap.

"Will you attempt a combat drop?

Palmer smiled. He remembered that he also admired Minobu's keen tactical sense. I'll miss that when he's dead...

"I wanted to, tai-shu. But the Capellans have brought plenty of anti-air and we have seen little of their aerospace fighters since they arrived."

Minobu nodded.

"No," Palmer said resignedly, "I have another plan. The valley is actually part of a minor fault line, and there has been extensive mining in that area. A small team can infiltrate and destroy, or even capture that DropShip."

The Warlord's eyes widened in surprise, then he dipped his head, one samurai to another; the admission that he couldn't accomplish his objectives conventionally cost him some honour. But Minobu wasn't judging him for it.

Perhaps I'll name one of my bastards after him...

"How are things proceeding there?" Palmer asked, genuinely concerned.

"Well enough, Tai-sho Conti. Here, the terrain does not favour the Capellans as much as it does them there."

Palmer bowed in appreciation and the Warlord severed the link.

"I will miss that samurai..." he whispered.

He tapped into the commpanel, dialing into the civilian network. Moments passed and an electronically distorted voice answered.

Palmer sighed. "This is Gold. Proceed."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 03 March 2013, 00:32:51
So if its the Cappies, they are sure able to handle the 5th Sword.  Nice to see where the loyalty of Tai-Sho Palmer lays at.  Looking forward to more updates!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 03 March 2013, 01:05:31
Teach the Snakes to sell that lostech to the Cappies :D I can see Palmer if he lives hunting down the folks who decided giving the Thunder LRM tech to the Confederation.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 March 2013, 09:34:58
Yeah, the "classic Capellan" doctrine seems to punish the "classic Sworder" doctrine quite well.

And that's my headcanon getting in the way; the CCAF is the sole user of Thunder LRMs, but the munitions do get captured and passed around.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 03 March 2013, 20:52:09
It is enjoyable to see the 5th SOL getting creamed by Capellans. ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Dave Talley on 03 March 2013, 20:54:33
even better, nobody Cappies
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 March 2013, 16:25:15
I've re-written this no less than six times already. I may do so again, but the effect will be the same.

Sorry for the delay.

======================================

Fort Draconis, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
25 March 3028



Minobu sat, nursing a cup of cooling tea in his hands, as he watched the recon drones' feeds.

The automated machines had been a fact of war for a thousand years, but in the last five hundred they had been too conspicuous to be used except against the most primitive of opponents. His current opponents were not primitive. But neither did they expect such simple machines.

Mentally, he commended Tai-sho Conti for deploying these drones. He is a problem-solver that prefers the most direct solutions. Minobu appreciated that the man was flexible enough to adjust. His only worry was that the man's honour would overshadow his sense of duty; so far, it had not.

The drones flew at night, close by the mountains, riding the updrafts like birds though with far keener eyes.

This sole advantage, even a night-time one, was why the 5th Sword of Light had yet to be routed. Try as he might, Warlord Tetsuhara could not help but be galled at that; Capellans had long been the military joke of the Inner Sphere, and yet one of the Combine's flagship regiments had been unable to grapple with such a minor unit that the ISF brief he had on hand hand't been updated in a decade.

I will make my displeasure known-- Minobu thought then caught himself. He barked out a laugh, startling his aides who had taken the opportunity to rest after a long day at the consoles. 'Make my displeasure known'... when did I start thinking this way?

Amused at his mind's choice of words, he almost didn't catch the brief spurt of light at the Kincade Rangers' supply base.

He called up the feed to fill the whole wall.

Moments passed, and he realized it was just a cargo truck's lights. The amplification circuits in the drones were sensitive, they had to be. A yawning tech bowed at him, already moving to make adjustments to the feed and resetting the views.

Unashamedly, Michi Noketsuna appeared at his side and placed a tray of food in front of him. Dinner had been three hours ago, but the meal facing him was freshly cooked.

He glared at his 'student', downed his tea in one boorish gulp, and picked the apple on the tray, ignoring the steamed fish and rice.

Minobu glanced up at the younger man and flashed a grin as he bit down on the apple. The tai-i, no--the sho-sa--Minobu reminded himself, sighed long-sufferingly and handed off the tray to a passing tech.

"How are the trainees faring?" Minobu asked, in between bites of the apple.

"Not well, sensei," the imp was no longer ashamed of calling him that. "The Capellans do love their long-range missiles--"

"--Which outrange our beloved particle projectile cannon--"

"--which leaves the new tanks horribly outmatched. Even the lightest minefield can disable a Tanegashima, and a flight with standard warheads can crush a tank easily enough; still, most of our losses so far have been due to tread damage not direct battle damage," Michi said, sliding down to sit beside him.

"They are frustrated," Minobu observed.

"Hai, they were trained to fight in the open like the tanks were meant to. And they are, but minefields were as not something we trained them for. At least not to this extent. The combat VTOLs are ineffective as well, thanks to the ridiculous amounts of light autocannon they wield... That leaves our 'Mechs exposed."

"I expect that oversight to be fixed for the next batch of trainees."

Michi dipped his head. "Once we figure out how, yes sensei."

Minobu gnawed on the apple core, letting his student fume for a moment. "Out with it, whelp."

"Theodore-sama's tactics are failing us!" Michi said in a harsh whisper.

The Warlord stilled himself then gave the slightest nod for the young man to continue.

"He preached combined arms; fine, we've learned the same from the Wolf's Dragoons. And yet those lessons are useless against a force we outnumber? One comprised mostly of battered 'Mechs and some infantry!"

Minobu thrust his chin forward at the recon feeds on the Mateo continent. "Do you expect the traditional ways to fare any better? There goes one of our best, and they flounder against the CCAF."

"No, sensei. But I feel that..." Michi trailed off, looking away uncomfortably.

"You did not learn any restraint from me, imp. Out with it."

Michi turned to him, frustration in his eyes. "What if what the men say is true? That we are weakening ourselves by relying on other warriors--" the young man held up a hand, "--that our lesser emphasis on BattleMechs has left our MechWarriors... well, lesser."

"The Genyosha," Minobu volunteered.

Michi bowed thankfully. "They have armour, they have infantry, even artillery. But they are superlative MechWarriors first." The sho-sa leaned back in his seat. "Even the Wolf's Dragoons would have trouble, lesser trouble since they have more jumpjet-equipped 'Mechs, but their doctrine would leave their conventional assets exposed or underused."

"Settle your nerves, whelp. I have meditated much on this and have come to the same conclusions as you."

Minobu tried not to smile as Michi's eyes watered and the younger man bowed.

It takes courage, and a certain... diregard, to approach a superior with this. You are bold, young Michi.

"The Ryuken are fine counters to the Davions, even the Steiners," Warlord Tetsuhara began, "but they are not a model for the entire DCMS. Takashi Kurita was wise to form the Genyosha and the Ryuken, both as shields and swords."

He rose from his seat, stretching as he placed his hands behind his back. "Most of the DCMS cannot follow in the Ryuken's path. They are too... integrated. I trained them to be, we built them to be." He rounded on his pupil. "However, I believe any of the Ryuken could meet and best these Rangers or Highlanders in whatever terrain they'd choose."

"I do as well, sensei," Michi added.

"Hmph. Well, it was also our mistake in exposing the Dieron Regulars to much of the Dragoons' doctrines." Minobu paused for a moment. "Ideally, I would request that a battalion of the Genyosha be transferred to the Dieron district and rove about, training what regiments it could. But the Coordinator has need of his elite troops."

Michi looked up at him. "Why did Takashi-sama create two similar but fundamentally opposing schools?"

Minobu had meditated on that question himself, surprised at the young man's keenness. "What purpose does making Hetzers serve, sho-sa, when you can build Hunchbacks?" He smiled down at the young officer, assuring him it was no trick question.

"You can have a battalion of Hetzers," Sho-sa Noketsuna ventured, "before even one Hunchback is built."

Minobu nodded solemnly.

"Successor Lords are not like us, Michi," Minobu said slowly. "Especially, a Kurita Lord. The Dragon looks at more than just the present." Minobu glanced at the drones' displays. "Takashi-sama knew a war was coming, maybe not as part of the Fox's wedding plans, but war was inevitable."

"And the Ryuken... are shields too, not just swords," Michi responded slowly to his sensei's relief. "They were meant to guard the Draconis Combine until the Genyosha could flourish--with the samurai ideal perfected."

"Close. We selected MechWarriors who didn't consider themselves samurai for entrance to the Ryuken," Minobu confessed, "and we had a large pool to choose from. And combined arms is easier to teach than... excellence."

"Then we can't let the Dragoons, and the Ryuken, influence the DCMS any further," Michi said dejectedly.

"Iie, that is not for us to decide. Coordinator Theodore is not his father," Minobu said, wondering himself if that was praise or condemnation.

Michi nodded and flicked off a switch. A barely audible hum disappeared and Minobu glared approvingly at his pupil; he didn't think to activate the white-noise generator himself, but the young man had the presence of mind to do so.

"One battle at a time, sho-sa."

Michi smiled, stood and bowed, returning to making his rounds leaving him to wrestle with the confessions. He had not voiced them until now, not even to himself.

Minobu Tetsuhara realized that he now had a plan. When this is over, I must go see the Coordinator---

The flatvid wall suddenly flared as the Kincade Ranger's base defenders opened fire at barely-visible shadows. They were chased away in minutes, fleeing back to the mine entrances they had used to sneak in. Large shadows waited for them there.

Minobu ordered the image zoomed in, spotting red BattleMechs pouring out from the larger caverns. Suddenly, the defenders were routed; thinking they were dealing only with commandos they rain headlong into the waiting guns of a 5th Sword of Light force.

The Warlord smiled as his staff cheered at the reversal.

He signalled to a commtech to dial him in with the tai-sho and frowned as the man took several minutes to track down the Sworder. When the audio link was established, Minobu instantly knew why.

Tai-sho Conti wore a neurohelm with the visor up, and answered him respectfully. "Hai, tai-shu!"

"Bold, tai-sho. Congratulations," Minobu said as the last defenders fell. The Sword of Light 'Mechs numbered less than a company but the ambush and their no mean skill shattered the unprepared Capellan defenders in a hurry. "Not so formidable without their mines, are they?"

Palmer Conti laughed. "No, Warlord, apparently not. We will hop this freighter to the middle of Aldinga, far away from their lines."

Warlord Tetsuhara nodded. "Bring some of their 'Mechs if you can, some seem to be using advanced comms--" a burst of static cut the connection briefly. Minobu glanced at his commteam who were working frantically on their terminals.

When Palmer's image returned all traces of congeniality were gone.

"--splosives! Underneath us! To the mountains! To the mount---!"

The connection died again, leaving a zoomed-in image of the DropShip quaking as the ground beneath it shifted. A lance of Kuritan 'Mechs were already sprawled on the ground, being swallowed by rattling cracks.

Minobu watched in horror as the the frantic DropShip crew lit up its engines cold. The furious power of the engines had only blackened the solid ground when it landed; now it tunnelled through the chunks of earth falling away.

For a moment, it looked like the freighter would escape. Then two of the Mule's engines burst and the DropShip fought a losing battle against gravity and sank into the tomb it carved. The sinkhole became a gaping crater as fusion-hot air expanded beneath, igniting trapped gases and melting whatever supports remained.

The freighter, The Lady's Blessings, lowered itself slowly below as the supply base fell all around it.

Minobu turned his attention to the fleeing 5th Sword of Light force, relieved to see that most had made it to the safety of the mountains and were threading their way through the mountain passes. Unbelievably, some were exchanging weapons fire with Capellan infantry even as both were fleeing. He clearly saw Palmer Conti's Grand Dragon stomp on a few infantrymen, not wasting the effort to return fire.

A tai-i motioned to get his attention then flashed the image of a satellite overhead, zoomed in on the crater. Somehow the freighter had grounded far beneath the valley, into the hollow veins dug out centuries ago. It rested, almost level, snaking fires along its hull.

It sat in the eye of a subterranean firestorm.

"They're almost a kilometer below the surface now, tai-shu," Michi said at his side, unbelievingly. "They're on the fault itself, not just the fault line..."

Minobu moved towards the wall then stopped.

The explosion was catastrophic.

The Warlord of the Dieron Military District stood and watched as the flames spread through the continent's veins like a disease.

It burned and rotted the flesh of the rocks.

In moments it reached Aldinga, the city that spanned half a continent, and the fire split the city in two as factories and power plants bled into the scar of the fault line; the Aldinga Line, had been the city's landmark.

People built tenements, restaurants, hotels, and even hospitals on it. It was safe; Mateo had long ago ceased any tectonic activity.

The firestorm bled out from the middle of the city but it didn't matter; the fault line widened into a chasm.

Seventeen minutes later the city of Aldinga had been swallowed whole.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 04 March 2013, 16:57:08
Oops! That'll get the pilots licence revoked.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 04 March 2013, 22:22:34
I think its time to end the Kincade Rangers.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 05 March 2013, 01:25:49
 O0  Wow!  I am really wondering if the DC actually believes that its the CC that is on planet.  If it's the CC, wow you have made them the most competent and combat effective group!   more please!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 05 March 2013, 03:37:41
OOPS! :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Redshirt on 05 March 2013, 09:27:59
IIRC, The Kincade Rangers are the Death Commandos Lite of the CCAF...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Dave Talley on 05 March 2013, 10:16:33
Oops! That'll get the pilots licence revoked.

if they can find any of his ashes that is
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 March 2013, 12:10:20
Busan, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
17 April 3028



Constance walked in on her cousin sitting silently on a bench. The garden was completely indoors, yet the architects of the mansion made it feel as if it was open to the outside world.

She allowed herself a small smile, remembering the last time she saw Theodore like this; only then, it was as a child who pouted at the 'Mech assigned to him. Now, he was her liege lord and rightful head of House Kurita.

I liked him better with the mustache, she admitted to herself, remembering the wild young man Theodore had been, not the old man he was becoming.

"We lost seven more JumpShips last week," Theodore said silently.

Constance opened her mouth then closed it, nodding. The retaliation for last year's piracy was hurting the Combine till now; even after the civilian 'ships taken were returned, Combine traders were coming under attack.

"It's down from the previous week," she offered weakly.

Theodore stifled a laugh, coughing slightly. "Only because we haven't got the final numbers yet. I will have to reciprocate. Soon."

She bowed. "As you think best, Coord--"

"--Best?!" Theodore barked. "I've been doing what I think is best! And where has it gotten us?" He surged to his feet. "I don't need to be placated, I need the truth."

The Keeper of the House Honour raised her chin. "Then, reciprocating is the wrong move. Take back what is yours, tono."

Theodore narrowed his eyes then nodded. He walked to the side of the garden, kicking the pebbles underfoot. Constance smiled grimly at the petulance.

Her eyes fell on a handful of toys scattered about. Zeshin, the old monk that had raised Theodore, used this garden as Hohiro's play area. No one had the heart to pick the toys up and left them where the young boy had discarded them weeks ago.

She didn't have the chance to meet Theodore's son, or newborn daughter. Constance had worked hard to keep the child, Theodore's whole family, secret from Takashi. She succeeded in that, robbing a grandfather of the delight that grandchildren brought, robbing Takashi of the relief that would have come from knowing his family line was secure.

But she couldn't keep them safe from her own father. She had failed worse than any Keeper before her.

She had to set it right; that was why she was here.

Theodore stood, staring at a beautiful wooden wall, caked by fingerprints of coloured clay. He smiled briefly, and Constance's heart broke a little further.

"Have we thanked the Captain-General yet for his aid?"

"Hai, tono," Constance said, bowing. "It was conveyed to me that they remain committed allies." And are more than willing to smash the Capellan Confederation between us and the Federated Suns, she didn't add.

"Were they really Capellans?" Theodore asked, turning his head slightly towards her, unwilling to break eye contact with the wall.

Constance opened her mouth then shut it again, hating herself for doing so. She had pieced together the Kincade's Rangers last few months, from the years spent languishing on the world of Repulse, to the discreet 'Mech shipments the unit received before boarding transports that took them to Dieron.

There was no doubt.

"Yes, tono, we have verified them to be Capellans. Kincade's Rangers belonged to the Tikonov Reserves branch of the CCAF." She took several steps closer. "Stirling's Fusiliers is part of the Northwind Highlanders. Was."

"And yet?" Theodore asked, and Constance was thankful her cousin's keen mind hadn't been dulled by tragedy.

"And yet," she began, "my sources claim that Kincade's Rangers left Repulse, on the Confederation's Periphery border, weeks before the nuclear attack on Tikonov."

The Coordinator looked her in the eyes and she reflexively gulped. His eyes, Kurita blue, were like ice.

"What does that mean? That they were going to betray us and Tikonov proved a convenient excuse?" Theodore's voice was dismissive, but his eyes showed he was considering it.

"Iie," Constance said, shaking her head. "It proves that the Capellans were desperate enough to strip their Periphery border."

Theodore nodded. "Ridzik."

Constance bowed slightly, more to hide her awe at her cousin's analytical mind.

"Both the Highlanders and the Rangers were inconvenient units, more loyal to the Chancellor than to the Senior Military Coordinator," Theodore smiled grimly at the title, "in Tikonov."

"May I ask why the need to verify, tono?"

"I need to know who to kill," Theodore said simply.

Constance bowed again, more slowly this time, communicating hesitance. Theodore smiled at the gesture, shaking his head to tell her that she could speak freely.

"Can you afford to retaliate, tono?"

"How can I not?" To his credit, Theodore didn't speak with anger or outrage.

"What would attacking the Confederation yield?" Constance stepped closer to the Coordinator. "It's only the threat of the Federated Suns and the units in Dieron's loyalty to you that have kept the DCMS in check. If you order a strike, even restricting it to military targets," Constance paused slightly, waiting for Theodore's nod, "the rest of the DCMS would simply surge and invade the Confederation on their own."

Theodore looked at her and laughed.

It was a while before he regained his breath. "Forgive me, cousin, but you are no soldier. War and warriors are not that simple," Theodore said, wiping tears from his eyes. "Sumi," he apologized again, "but while there is a danger of unauthorized attacks against the Confederation, there's a small matter of the AFFS as you said."

Theodore moved to another bench and sat down. "No, I don't believe our soldiers would leave the Combine undefended to exact revenge. You misunderstand us."

Constance, cheeks slightly burnt, sat beside her cousin. "How so?"

"Can you imagine a situation when the Coordinator wouldn't respond to this in some fashion?" He turned to her. "Warriors, samurai, engage in these unauthorized acts only when they believe it is necessary and their superiors don't. All true warriors of the Dragon will know we face the greatest danger first; and that is not the Capellans."

The Keeper of the House Honour nodded then rested her head on the Coordinator's shoulder.

Theodore smiled grimly. "In the proper time, the Dragon will exact its revenge on Pavel Ridzik, and perhaps the Confederation. But today, and even tomorrow, we fight the Suns."

They stayed still for long moments, taking comfort in family. Constance straightened herself and looked at her cousin.

"There is a rumour that the Chancellor is willing to send an emissary to speak with you," she began, watching for his reaction. "He is not happy with m--Marcus claiming to have detonated the nuclear weapon on Tikonov; it's only caused more problems for the Chancellor even without the AFFS gorging on his realm."

"Odd that the shipments continue to Nirasaki," Theodore observed. "They're in that much need for those horrid FrankenMechs?"

Constance enjoyed her cousin's 'Mech-snobbery. "Yes, they are in need of Cataphracts since its prime factory was destroyed. We will have to begin sourcing other components locally..." Theodore raised a hand, graciously, allowing her to take command of the details.

I wonder how he'll like our own FrankenMech?...

"This emissary is already en route," Theodore stated.

Constance nodded. "A command circuit was prepared for the emissary straight from Sian," she said, piquing the Coordinator's curiosity.

She smiled at her cousin. "Candace Liao's shuttle is on final approach."



Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 06 March 2013, 13:13:37
a 70ton mech is a 70ton mech, even if it is made up of spare parts.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 06 March 2013, 13:38:44
Someone tell Justin the weddings off! Or are we about to get a new chancellor?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 March 2013, 17:56:19
Well this (http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,27544.0.html) 70-tonner uses two AC/5s... so...

Wolflord: Why not both?  :D Kidding, kidding.

Or am I?

============================

Lestrade Palace, Summer
Isle of Skye, Federation of Skye
23 April 3028



Grand Duke Lestrade scoffed.

"Three worlds?" The small man let out a shrill laugh. "Marcus Kurita has only retaken three worlds?"

Hassid Ricol shrugged his shoulders, rolling it as a tiger. "That he managed to retake even one is a miracle. The people of Rasalhague have gone without direct Kuritan control for months since Warlord Sorenson's disappearance--"

"--And neither Coordinator has seen fit to send in a replacement?"

Archduke Ricol hated being interrupted, but he smiled at his 'ally'. "No, they have not."

"What does that mean?"

"It means both Kuritas know they are not in control of the Rasalhague district," Hassid said, knowing that the 'Imp', as he called the grand duke, had already arrived at the same conclusion. "Very few of the Rasalhague Regulars are responding to either's call to pull back," he offered, "and it's unlikely any of those units will be fully trusted."

Aldo Lestrade stood and limped towards his large office's windows. "I never did thank you for telling me that Theodore was taking a dozen worlds from me," the grand duke said, "not the ten I originally offered." The smaller man turned and bowed at the hip towards him, and Ricol fought down a disgusted smirk. "Thank you."

Stiffly, he returned the gesture.

"Glengarry," the grand duke said with a shake of his head. "I have lost all the worlds--either to the Steiners or to you, dear Archduke--north of Glengarry. What do you say to that?"

Ricol smiled inwardly. How like the Imp to try to lower my defenses with unexpected thanks only to attack soon after.

"I would say you are welcome, grand duke," Ricol said with a smile. The Virginia Shire had the deepest ties with the Lyran Commonwealth, economic ties to either the Combine or the Tamar Pact, and the nobles to show it. They were the most untrustworthy of his whole, crumbling endeavour.

The Red Duke stepped forward. "You now have a solid front, pivoting around Glengarry. The Lyrans are free to strike the Combine worlds there, and the DCMS are already planning raids into Tamar."

Truth. The DCMS is always planning to attack, but not necessarily to act.

Lestrade nodded, visualizing the map. "And I have your assurance that the DCMS will begin raiding into Tamar should reinforcements come from Tamar or Rasalhague?"

And break the Tharkad Truce? Ricol thought incredulously. "Of course," he said, bowing.

The grand duke exhaled. "And is there anything you can do about your Marik allies? They gnaw at my worlds like hungry, indecisive children!"

"Those are... unsanctioned attacks, I'm assured."

"Hmph."

Ricol took another step forward. "But the attacks have slowed recently, have they not?"

The imp nodded once at him and Ricol let the grand duke stew under his shadow. The now 'free' Federation of Skye was a third of what it was when it formed. A dozen worlds had simply ignored the then-Duke's proclamation. A handful 'fell' to Lyran regiments, conventional regiments, that rotated in to their new garrison posts.

The league of scheming nobles Lestrade under his sway dwindled as the war progressed. More than half left the moment news of the Tharkad Truce hit, some taking their worlds, some biding their time to betray Lestrade. Ricol admitted he half-expected Lestrade to turn into a mini-Amaris.

He's followed the Usurper's playbook well enough... Ricol judged, thinking of the captains of Lyran industry and commerce Lestrade had cultivated investments from. The only way for those Lyran business paragons could recoup their losses was if Lestrade won somehow.

Ricol couldn't understand what made them think that the Imp had a chance in the first place. He must have another backer...

"Yes."

The word was so unexpected that Ricol almost quirked an eyebrow, but he mastered his surprise.

"Tell the Coordinator my answer is 'yes'."

Archduke Hassid Ricol bowed and stepped backwards, his holographic image fading from the grand duke's office.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 07 March 2013, 03:02:57
Comparing the Imp to Amaris.
No way he's to short. ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 07 March 2013, 16:55:20
Busan, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
24 April 3028



The Coordinator laughed.

Yorinaga was pleased. The sound was not tinged with bitterness as it had beenin the last few weeks. It was a far cry from his cousin's usual exuberant self, but it was a welcome sound.

The dinner was informal; and that meant for Kuritans and Capellans both that they didn't wear as many medals on their uniforms as they otherwise would. He studied their Capellan guests, noting how stiffly they held themselves even as they smiled.

He studied the party, missing the presence of Constance Kurita who had orchestrated this meeting in the first place. But part of her duties were to be seen only when necessary. The various DCMS officers to his right were well-mannered; even the junior ones from the Legions of Vega.

The row of Capellans were not promising prospects for conversations. After the first two days, Yorinaga found no use for them, even in idle chatter.

It was the traitor that held his interest; Justin Allard--now Justin Xiang--a Davion that now served Maximilian Liao made him worth studying. He found it odd that Justin and Theodore had gotten along so well, more than the Coordinator did with Candace Liao.

"... no, no, Coordinator," Justin was saying, "that wasn't added for effect later. Hanse Davion really did have a light positioned to reflect on the plate he was holding." The table laughed again.

"I believe he missed his calling as a street performer..." Justin finished, sipping his wine.

Theodore sighed as he let his laughter end. "I wish I could've seen it myself; a bit too busy being dead at the time..."

Candace leaned in. "How did that happen, exactly? We've only seen the Steiner recordings--everyone has seen them." Yorinaga watched the Capellan heir closely; her light manner concealed much.

"Yes, please tell us, Coordinator," Justin prodded.

The Coordinator nodded and took a sip of his own cup and looked the man in the eye. "A spy," Theodore pronounced. Justin's face stilled, Yorinaga saw, then loosened as the Coordinator spoke on.

"A spy from my father was part of my Command Lance," Theodore admitted, pausing. "Ben Tourneville. He dragged me out of my Orion and fought off a foot patrol. They tore his body apart, but they found a picture I asked him to carry for me." Theodore gulped down the rest of his cup. "It was of me and Tomoe. They assumed I was he."

"So they weren't lying..." Candace whispered.

"No," Yorinaga said, jumping into the conversation to give his cousin time, "they even had me fooled until I was in orbit and had to change my plans!" he said lightly, forcing levity. It was a cultural quirk the two shared, and they all laughed.

He saw Justin nod towards Theodore who grimly nodded back and Yorinaga understood; both had been forced away by their fathers and forged their own paths; both were labelled traitors by their own people, Theodore less so--and succeeded despite it all.

Far too alike, those two...

"The war has taken many away from us," Candace observed as servants came to take away their plates. Yorinaga approved Candace taking charge of the conversation; she wasn't about to toast the fallen which would only sour moods. She turned in her seat more fully to Theodore instead.

"Tell me, Coordinator, what should we do now?"

There was no obsequience in her question, another thing Yorinaga approved of. Candace was being politic; she was the presumptive heir while Theodore was the legitimate ruler of a Great House. He saw that the subtlety was lost on some of the House Warriors sitting on their side of the table while his fellow samurai expected nothing less from a foreign woman but to lean on his directives.

"That depends," Theodore said after a few moments, staring at Justin and Candace alternatingly. "Do you still believe Hanse Davion is done? That he is content with what he's gouged?"

The couple shared a look.

"I did," Justin admitted. "But not after reviewing what you've provided us."

Candace shook her head. "I never believed the Fox would be satisfied with anything but the entirety of the Confederation; boast or no boast, he means to rule us all."

"Then you must give me Pavel Ridzik."

Several fists clenched and a few of the House Warriors made as if to move. Unwise, even to telegraph it. The Otomo plaintively refused to leave less than five of their number present with the Coordinator at any given time since the Capellans arrived.

They wore lacquered armour now, though Yorinaga knew they had wore forearm-lasers and swiftly became experts in their use. All one needed to do was raise a hand and he could easily burn a hole in each of the Capellans sitting down at the table without harming the other guests.

The House Warriors divined danger from the bodyguards' stillness, and their shallow umbrage dissipated.

"Ridzik," Justin began, "commands much of the units' loyalties in Tikonov."

"Precisely."

Candace nodded. "But who would we put in his place?"

Theodore held her gaze for a moment then dragged it to Justin. "Here is a loyal man whom your father trusts. Can you honestly say he will do worse than Ridzik?"

Yorinaga leaned back, sensing the Keeper's touch in the request. He watched the Capellan heir, who showed no surprise, as she edged slightly forward.

"How?"

"Mercenaries," Yorinaga said.

"And DEST," the Coordinator offered. Yorinaga watched as Justin was ignored, sitting back at the realization that his future was being planned out in front of him.

"You have... more mercenaries?" Candace asked.

Theodore only nodded.

"I believe I'll need to send a message to my father," Candace said, rising.

The door to the dining room swung open, one Otomo preceeding a man who wilted under the measuring gazes of the other Otomo already in the room; they took nothing for granted.

The commtech scurried forward under the entire room's gaze.

"Wow, great service..." Justin Xiang joked.

The young man walked towards the head of the table, bent, then whispered to the Coordinator's ear.

Slowly, Theodore nodded, then rose, startling the commtech aside. The Coordinator looked at his Capellan guests one by one and Yorinaga readied himself. What fresh treachery now?

"The Federated Suns has renewed its invasion into the Capellan Confederation," the Coordinator announced. "They have struck at three worlds, attacking the HPGs in an attempt to keep their actions hidden. They failed."

Theodore smiled. "ComStar has Excluded the Federated Suns from the rest of the HPG network."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: qc mech3 on 07 March 2013, 20:50:02
How convenient  ;)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mighty midget on 07 March 2013, 21:29:44
I'm just wondering who will put all the dots together.  Will it be Jaime, Uncle Chandy, Theodore or Hanse?  And once the real threat, Comstar, is recognized who's kicking the door in first?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: VhenRa on 08 March 2013, 13:27:38
Did Comstar ever wonder what would happen if they cut someone off from the HPG network... and then said power had infantry storm every HPG in their territory, have spies and covert operatives attack and attempt to destroy HPGs in every other realm and have their troops hit the HPGs of every border system they could?

IE: The "If I can't have HPGs, you aren't having them either."
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 08 March 2013, 13:53:10
I'd presume they'd have a plan for it but not have practiced for it. It'd be a mixture of their paranoia and superiority: "We have to protect our technology even though no one would dare attack us!"
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mikecj on 08 March 2013, 15:19:38
Yup, I'm sure there is a ROM operative or team ready to destroy the HPG in order to save it.   ComStar has to have learned form Apotheosis.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 08 March 2013, 17:19:19
Borsan city, Bergen continent, Hun Ho
Oshika Prefecture, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine
26 April 3029



"It was a simple question," he confessed to the rest of his commanders. "Is it my fault that he's prickly?"

The commband broke into general laughter. Brigham Rutledge had led his 17th Galedon Regulars to hell, more hell, and back to hell again since Warlord Samsonov had been replaced. And he had been glad to do it.

It had taken a toll on his unit, mostly morale fraying at the edges at the demands of Kester Hsiun Chi's mobile campaigns in the Draconis March. It was the hectic retaking of the Galedon worlds Duke Sandoval had grabbed, instead of meeting them head-on, that inflicted the heaviest damage on the unit. That, and hitting the retaken Davion worlds again. He had forgotten just who owned which planet now, and wanted nothing more than to rest his unit.

The Warlord had agreed and rotated them to Hun Ho; a tropical paradise of a world, if you ignore the dangerous fauna. It had given him and his staff the opportunity to rebuild his regiment from the purely Light 'Mech force into something a bit better rounded than the average DCMS regiment; a combination of battlefield salvage and new production from the LexaTech plants on-world.

"Sho-sho?" asked his newest battalion commander, Sho-sa Martha Shannon, "Is this really happening?"

Brigham inhaled before answering, breathing in the scent of warm electronics, sweat, and the fresh filters in his air scrubbers. "Hai."

The commband diminished as his senior officers begged off, focusing on their individual responsibilities as he kept an ear out. His new Orion had been refitted by the LexaTech engineers as a gift; they assured him it was the variant Coordinator Theodore Kurita himself preferred.

A lot of good a PPC is going to do me in the jungle, Rutledge thought. I should've kept the autocannon, damn the ammo...

The 75-ton 'Mech came from the Free Worlds League; it had been waiting for him when his regiment arrived weeks ago and he had spent the journey pouring over the ON1-K's technical manual. He stood it on a small outcropping of rock that jutted out from the jungle surrounding the city, flicking through magnetic anomaly detection and electronic signature scans. So far, all he'd manage to get were differently-tinted tropical vistas.

The waves lazily slapped the shores just to his side. Somewhere out there, in the thick of the jungle, his foes were hunting.

A Thunderbolt to his right raised its arm, its pilot tight-beaming him the trajectory and opened a commlink. "Sho-sho, infantry reports a company approaching from this direction; nothing heavier than 35-tons."

"Very well, chu-i. Check on our support," Rutledge commanded, leaving the man to double-check the tanks and other infantry waiting in ambush. He chose Chu-i Daniel Sakamoto to be his 'bodyguard' but had come to rely on him for the man's impeccable attention to detail. Now, he acted as a filter, and it was a necessity once the 17th Galedons embraced the use of combined-arms.

He knew that his unit's TO&E had yet to be officially updated; they'd be listed as a standard Light DCMS regiment. At best, they were expected to have two companies of Dragons and Quickdraws, some infantry, no armour, and little aerospace. He had done his best in maintaining that illusion.

Something signalled at the back of his mind and Brigham spared a moment to focus on it, ignoring the text reports flashing through his HUD.

Lightning--Lightning Companies. The Lyran adaptation of Light 'Mechs for headhunting and other light cavalry roles. Brigham shook his head. He didn't know why he came up with this ruse, baiting his foe with a 'hidden' command post. It had worked well against the AFFS who initially weren't used to Kuritans using vehicles or infantry properly.

He made a mental note to examine his thinking later; it wasn't proper to enact a plan without knowing his reasons why he chose that plan. One fight at time, he thought, holding back berating himself. I've been fighting too long, reacting...

The trees shivered.

Sulking monsters registered on the MAD pickups, and Sho-sho Rutledge fired on instinct. The Lord's Light PPC hurled particles towards the closest shadow, bursting trees and hanging leaves in its path into ash and steam.

It struck the white-and-grey Panther dead centre, simultaneously gouging out and exploding armour, stopping the Light 'Mech's advance.

First blood is mine, Brigham thought, and with it, the responsibility for this entire mess. He triggered his long-range missiles just as the solid tone sounded, exploding off more armour across its entire body. The pilot, stunned or on poor ground, crashed backwards as its comrades surged forward.

Sho-sho Rutledge pulled his Orion into reverse, allowing the return fire to splash across the limited cover as he retreated. His command lance waited a few moments, ensuring good cold-locks, then fired, ripping apart a 'Mech each in their opening salvo. Two Jenners and a salvaged Valkyrie crumbled under the Heavy 'Mechs' fire.

Then it was the tanks. Running with internal combustion engines, hidden by the jungle, the Light 'Mechs were well within their cruder weapons' engagement range when first blood was drawn. Two SRM Carriers downed a Panther each, leaving very little of the foamed-aluminum skeletons to crash on the ground.

Sho-sho Rutledge swung his Orion around the outcropping and pierced a leaping Spider with twin azure beams before slamming four short-range missiles into its wobbling form mid-air.

He saw the unit's emblem on the Spider's chest, a dragon encircling a planet, burn at the touch of his laser. It landed in front of him and he walked his 75-ton 'Mech calmly forward and snapped it out and ripping the SDR-5V's left leg off. The 4th Pesht Regulars 'Mech vibrated at the force of the hit, slamming down with a heavy crunch on the soft jungle floor.

Brigham stared at the limb; half of House Kurita's crest was still painted on it, shorn in two by his kick.

The Light 'Mech powered down as the remnants of his company fell to infantry SRMs.

Sho-sho Brigham Rutledge shook his head, stepped the Orion forward and crushed the Spider's head under his 'Mech's heel.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 08 March 2013, 21:54:27
Wiping out HPG's would really destroy Comstar's financial viability, and reason for existence.
Nice plan. >:D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 March 2013, 12:03:04
120 km West of Borsan city, Bergen continent, Hun Ho
Oshika Prefecture, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine
26 April 3029



Vladimir Krect sputtered.

"YES! I am sure 'I have the right planet', traitor!" he yelled into his neurohelmet, slamming a fist into his commpanel to close the link.

He fumed silently, waiting for a response from his analysts. They didn't disappoint, not with his XO and several ISF agents watching over their shoulders. In less than a minute, the command post of the 17th Galedon Regulars--another Light Cavalry Regiment--had been triangulated. Apparently, they still used standard DCMS encryption.

He couldn't fault them that; who would expect a brother DCMS regiment to attack?

Third battalion's second company was close and he tapped out his commands to be sent, securely, through his still-orbiting Overlord-class command ship. He had the advantage over the entirety of the 17th Galedon's main force in mobility and mass, and Vladimir knew just how to use it, even in the jungles of Hun Ho.

Warlord Cherenkoff will be pleased... he'll finally have a military victory to give to the Coordinator, Vladimir thought, smiling at the potential rewards. Not only could he increase in military rank, there have been recent vacancies amongst the nobles in Pesht.

The thought of a noble title was enough to motivate him to suffer the world's humidity. Not even his 'Mech's scrubbers could fully filter out the jungle's dank air, and his 'Mech was having difficulty transferring heat into the moist air.

His Quickdraw vibrated as he began stomping forwards again, the rest of his command company followed closely. It was an extravagance that he wielded a full company to protect him, a company of his heaviest 'Mechs at that. But his 4th Pesht were well-drilled and the lighter 'Mechs could and did pin down forces that his command company could take advantage of, and he preferred being in the thick of the fight.

Sho-sho Krect tuned into his company's commband, a smile growing on his face as he heard his men boasting. They had none of the reluctance he feared would surface when they engaged another DCMS regiment; but the 17th Galedon Regulars were hardly their brothers anymore.

Not since they chose to follow the rebellious Warlords who had propped up a fake Theodore.

The valley was nothing more than a cleft in the ground, wide enough for four 'Mechs to keep a standard formation across. After stomping through the jungle, and on its indigenous inhabitants, the sight of clear open space was enticing.

He ordered a short rest, to cool off the pilots and their 'Mechs. The valley could offer some cooling possibilities, from what he could see. There were 'Mech-ankle-deep puddles of water that could still absorb waste heat.

Vladimir shook his head, cautious of just how much sweat he was shaking off with the motion. He turned up the feeds from his scouts, focusing on their reports to keep his mind from the stifling, clinging warmth.

"Take the sides," he ordered calmly, keeping a hold on to discipline. The clear ground would have allowed them to advance faster, but would have trapped them if ambushed; no matter how unlikely that was.

The skies rumbled, and he looked up suddenly only to glance at falling rain. His 'warriors sighed in relief, the rain would carry away heat no matter how humid the air was. They moved on, enjoying the now slower trod through the jungle north to their waypoint.

Vladimir was still listening in on his scouts' reports when the first artillery strikes fell.

A Grand Dragon, navigating a small, rushing stream expanded outwards in a ball of flaming metal as the heavy shell struck the 'Mech full on, penetrated, and exploded inside. Another smashed down a Griffin, ripping its right arm free as it fell on an angle. Smaller explosions rocked his company, already hemmed in by jungle at nearly every angle.

Some jumped into the valley to escape, allowing them to move swiftly enough to escape the rolling barrage. The shells were still falling when Sho-sho Krect's targeting system warned him of enemy contacts. His HUD painted the targets and instinctively he raised his Quickdraw's chest upwards to give his missiles the greatest chance of striking the incoming fighters.

Only, the fighters flew right past them, zooming away as they came overhead. His Dynatec 2180 couldn't even give him a partial lock.

He zoomed in, seeing the fighters eject fuel canisters as they soared upwards. The Dynatec ticked several canisters red. It took him seconds to realize what he was looking at.

"Scatter!" he yelled into the commband just as the bombs broke apart in mid-air. His company's overheated 'Mechs were slow to respond, the ones in the valley now dealing with sucking mud with every step.

Still angled up, Vladimir saw the spray of opaque gel mix in with the rain drops slowly turn orange.

The Quickdraw disobeyed him. The myomer bundles were not responding properly under the sudden heat and he fought to stay conscious as the blanket of fire engulfed his 'Mech and the surrounding area. The 60-ton 'Mech crashed down, jarring his head against the restraints.

He tasted blood. Somehow, he fell on his back, smothering the gel that clung there. The orange rain fell on his canopy as his fusion engine shut down.

They set fire to the rain...

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 March 2013, 16:45:48
Imperial Institute of Technology, Pauchang, Xinyang
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
26 April 3029



Kowalski sighed as he read his name on his new office door. Somehow, he had become 'Senior Chief Researcher' even though he was fairly sure there weren't even any Chief Researchers yet.

Unless my staff decided to promote themselves--wouldn't put it past them, actually, he grumbled mentally as he juggled the noteputers, optichips, and scathing-hot tea to open the door. His old office, close to the labs, was too useful real estate to be used by an administrator.

He saw the pragmatism of breaking down the walls to expand a smaller lab, but it stung that he was no longer considered 'one of the boys'. A whole life dedicated to making 'Mechs work and the fortune of being assigned to the 11th Legion of Vega had landed him this job, and while he tried to focus on 'Mech improvements for Theodore Kurita's sake, he found that he spent more time absorbing the scientific and engineering textbooks.

And, Buddha help him, economics texts.

It's been a year, he realized suddenly as he saw the date blink repeatedly on his state of the art desk; it had an embedded terminal onto the touch-controlled surface, even a holoprojector that could allow him to manipulate schematics in realspace. One by one, he plugged in the optichips into the numerous slots and called up his work for today.

There was a light knock on his door and a woman stepped in, her own hot tea in her hand and a carefully balanced set of optichips and pads.

He smiled up at his blonde assistant. At least she makes for a more efficient assistant than Ninyu-kun was supposed to be, even if she is a little... absent? Kowalski shoved the thought from his mind, he had a lot of backed-up datawork since his trip to Nirasaki and her attention to detail made the catching-up process a breeze.

He tried not to watch her walk towards his desk, but he noticed something in her body language.

She's a MechWarrior. How odd. Didn't notice that till now...

"Ohayo, Marie!" he said cheerfully. "Any word from the deckers?" he asked, using the nickname the data technicians had appropriated for themselves.

Delving into the Helm core was difficult work, and he had to assemble a special set of people to find the data they needed; index or no index. He had no idea where their nickname came from, or if he did he couldn't think of it at that moment.

"Oh-hi-you," Marie said with a smile.

That was their little ritual; the woman had horrible japanese, which was understandable for a low-class worker that Marie obviously was. He had no idea how Ninyu-kun found her, only that the two knew each other from somewhere else.

A lowborn MechWarrior... Yakuza?

It didn't matter to him, and she continued. "The deckers send their regards, as always, and said something about 'frames' which I didn't fully understand. In any case, they've finished fragmenting the data which is somehow supposed to speed up searching even more," Marie said as she sat down, arranging her own set of optichips neatly on her edge of the desk.

"Hmph, well make sure to send them my 'regards' as well and remind them about their animated avatars having to conform to the Order of Five Pillars' standards, hmm?"

Marie's smile strained a bit at the mention of the O5P, but laughed lightly back. The deckers had done a magnificent job in un-collapsing the Helm Core's contents; it could now be traversed virtually with any holoprojector in the Institute. It meant that researchers who normally wouldn't come into contact with each other were able to converse, also virtually, even though their areas of research were only intertwined by the slimmest of threads.

Accessing the Core left a datatrail unique to each researcher, and the protocols required the use of an avatar to maintain secrecy.

And that meant the users wanted personalized avatars which the deckers were more than willing to furnish; at a price. Some were just odd, but a few were more than risque and earned Kowalski a few visits from O5P Adepts who frowned at him continuously.

More and more, he was finding that collaboration was the key in unlocking the Helm Core's secrets; that a holistic approach was the most effective, rather than specialization.

If only the samurai would listen...

"The harvest on several worlds have improved, according to our calculations, but the prices haven't come down. On some planets, it actually went up," Marie was saying.

"Talk to the--"

"--I spoke with the economists," she continued saying and he nodded, "and they said it's simply due to the high demand. Especially with the displaced populations following the Federats' invasions."

"Wonderful. And there's nothing we can do?"

"No, the information is already out there and the farmers are taking advantage of it. But we won't see as big an impact as we'd hoped, not with transportation still being harassed."

"Harassed? What a nice name for piracy," Kowalski said. "And on that note..." he lead.

Marie tapped on the desk and activated her first optichip. "At Theo--the Coordinator's suggestion, we have begun dealing directly with the various aerospace manufacturers instead of going through the Procurement Department." Marie tilted her head. "There's been some luck there."

Kowalski perked up at the news. He had been too busy with his own pet projects to keep track of all the communications. His enthusiasm drew another smile from his assistant.

"Dharma Hyperspace, on Schuyler, has been making Scout-class JumpShips since..." she paused to scan through the file that was projecting above the desk, "well, for a long time. With some technical assistance, and some breathing room between them and the Draconis Combine Admiralty, they could expand to a second slip by the end of the year."

Kowalski nodded; the Scout-class was the smallest JumpShip the Inner Sphere could still make and was useful for both exploration for its light maintenance requirements, and recon since its jump signature was harder to detect.

I hope we can keep the DCA off their backs long enough. Why can't they see they're running the economy ragged? The thought brought him up short. Help me, I'm turning into one of them...

"Wonderful," he said instead, sipping his too-hot tea. "What did Dharma say about our training program?"

"They're all for it, provided..."

"Provided they get first pick at the interns we send them. Fine, but impose a limit. We want to spread around the knowledge after all, not make them more profit. Also, we want to rotate--"

"Trainees, yes. Hands-on experience. They've agreed to that," Marie nodded and added a note to her files. "Stellar Trek, on Chatham, is also on-board with your proposal," she continued.

When he showed no signs of remembering, Marie shook her head. "The Monolith-class JumpShips?"

The Senior Chief Research shrugged and sipped his tea.

"Stellar Trek has been unable to solve most of the Monolith's production problems; the parts are plentiful, but from scattered factories, and assembly is over-complicated... So, you suggested consolidating their supply chain for them."

"I did?" Kowalski asked. "I did!" he said, finally remembering. "Did they choose a system?"

Marie nodded. "As much as consolidating everything on Togura appealed to their heritage, they agreed that Aix-la-Chapelle would be perfect. Diplan 'MechYards has already established plenty of heavy industries, plus I believe your aim was to give our planetary engineers a project of their own?"

"They need something to do other than designing new air filters for Kessel," Kowalski murmured.

Aix-la-Chapelle was very much like the proverbial dragon's lair; it had all the wealth they needed hidden in a very dangerous place. They couldn't grow their own food, not even orbitally. Togura, on the other hand, had been mined out of all its easily accessible ores; it had been cheaper to relocate factories to far-off worlds that could make specialized parts from local resources. But that left them too vulnerable to shipping woes and its rising costs over the centuries.

A consolidated parts factory with a dedicated shipping line of parts from Aix-la-Chapelle to Chatham, with food shipped in from nearby Kilmarnock--one of the farming worlds that were producing a surplus--back to Aix-la-Chapelle would provide transportation relief across three districts.

And, Kowalski hoped, speed up Monolith construction times even if the astronomical costs remained mostly the same.

"It would be good to test them, give them a challenge. I suspect living in hazardous environments will become a booming industry," he added quietly.

His assistant chastised him with a look. "We also promised to upgrade the system's recharge stations on a loan that we'll repay from a cut of the fees," she went on, scrolling through the details, "but they want first pick at our graduating class. At least those involved in JumpShips somehow," Marie quickly added.

"Wonderful," he said genuinely. "We'll have all of this ready in what? Five years?"

"If we start right now--"

The emergency sirens began wailing in the distance. Kowalski shot straight out of his desk to his now decent view of Pauchang.

It was in flames.

An explosion, closer to the Institute's grounds but still far away, rattled the city. He knew that area. The 2nd Legion of Vega use that for their infantry-- Another blast interrupted his thoughts, farther off but much larger. It was a 'Mech hangar he had ordered built for the garrison's patrols.

My students are supposed to be there now, getting hands-on experience... Another blast drowned that neighbourhood in smoke.

He looked to Marie who was already on her comms, speaking frantically in broken japanese. His desk was shorting out; he spilt his tea on his high-tech desk.

Slowly, Kowalski turned back to his window.

The Imperial Institute of Technology had been the target of spies, saboteurs, and more spies since the Helm Core's recovery. Its defenses were the highest the ISF (and the O5P) could provide, and the walls around the compound rose as the windows shuttered close by armoured curtains.

Turrets rose from the gardens and greens of the grounds, each with an independent ammo supply or power source. A few sported the prototype anti-missile systems the weaponeers had manage to cobble together. They had horrible accuracy, but could shoot down some missiles.

"Federats?" Marie asked, almost calmly. Almost hopefully.

"I don't--" he began to say then stopped as black-clad foot soldiers spewed from various holes in the wall. "Well, there goes the ISF!" he said, somewhat relieved.

"Never thought I'd be happy they'd be around," he said to calm his assistant.

She smiled weakly and walked beside him to the office's windows. "We should probably move away--"

The black-clad soldiers opened fire.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 11 March 2013, 16:53:12
Deckers! ROFL  O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Death by Zeus on 11 March 2013, 23:35:29
Dharma.......Hyperspace?  Not so sure I'd like to use their jumpships.  ;)  God only knows where you'd end up, maybe not even him!  :)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 12 March 2013, 01:54:54
It looks like research into the Helm core has been slowed down.
I wonder who would do that.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 12 March 2013, 11:34:53
Sorry about the slower updates, fellas.

I had a lot of this written out but as I edit them for posting, I've made some changes that ripple through. I've tossed out an entire Book's worth of stuff, invalidated by the changes. Of course, most are just plot points "Dechan gets involved in a love triangle" sorta thing.

I've edited the previous post. We'll have a few more Dragon Civil War stuff then... the 'main story'.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 12 March 2013, 16:04:18
Sorry about the slower updates, fellas.

I had a lot of this written out but as I edit them for posting, I've made some changes that ripple through. I've tossed out an entire Book's worth of stuff, invalidated by the changes. Of course, most are just plot points "Dechan gets involved in a love triangle" sorta thing.

I've edited the previous post. We'll have a few more Dragon Civil War stuff then... the 'main story'.

Good, I'm all for less kissing and more killing.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 13 March 2013, 13:50:29
Ajax_Wolf, in that case...

=================================

The Jade Palace, Pauchang, Xinyang
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
26 April 3029



Tai-sho Michael Heise rolled off the bed when he heard the explosion. His bedmates didn't stir, still too tired from the previous night; he let them be as he scrambled to piece together his uniform.

More explosions rocked the city, but an experienced ear told him the detonations were farther away. No point in aggravating the 'resting' soldiers, Michael surmised. Or the ukiyo owners. They have to live here after this is done.

It surprised him that he felt no surprise at all. The last few months had been like waiting for a blade to fall; it was a soldier's lot to wait, he'd learned, but he wasn't a simple soldier anymore.

Finally, he managed to pull on his scruffed plasteel boots, stomping down on the floor to fit them in place before securing them. He managed to wake the occupants of his rented bed, who glanced at him warily.

"I've paid."

They smiled back and wished him all the luck as they drifted back to sleep. Michael forgot about them as he walked out the room, checking the charge in his laspistol.

He lost his slug-thrower on Vega and had managed to secure a blazer pistol to replace it; the dual-barreled handgun could fire both at the same time, pouring more damage on the same target in a quick blast--as long as he had the power.

Somehow, he inspired the rest of his 2nd Legion of Vega to adopt the blazer pistols. It was probably the only standard weapon his Legionnaires used.

Sho-sho Gavriel Maldonado, battalion commander for the 3rd Benjamin Regulars, lucky at mahjong, stumbled out of the room beside his. Half-dressed, half-smiling, he moved to wave at Michael.

His head disappeared as two concentrated beams of light burned through. Heise cursed, fumbling in his pockets before finding a pair of combat goggles and placing them on his head, blinking away the beams' afterimages.

Two more officers, whose names he couldn't remember, stumbled out. He speared each with a single shot as soon as their doors were closed.

One had, conveniently, been carrying a bandolier of power packs and Heise quickly strapped it on.

Heise calmly shot down three lesser officers who had stumbled across his path, replacing the power pack without breaking stride.

Another explosion, closer--one of his Legion's guard posts he imagined, hurled debris and smoke across the street as he made his way to his vehicle. One of the Palace's servers, an unremarkable young woman, entered the vehicle as well.

His years commanding the 2nd Legion of Vega had given him plenty of contact with the ISF. The last thing he wanted was to be placed on Xinyang, protecting academics, while the Davions rampaged across the Combine.

Xinyang was a restful world; with a large supply of clean water made it useful as a stopping point. The DCMS had long used it to rotate battalions off the frontlines, especially ones that had seen heavy combat, to recuperate in Xinyang's hospitals.

That meant a heavy ISF presence. Xinyang was where frontline units were debriefed, to piece together the enemy's strategy or misinterpret it totally, as was Heise's experience. It also allowed for ISF agents to be inserted into damaged units as replacements.

At any given moment, there were two regiments' worth of 'Mechs and their 'warriors stationed here. Plus the garrison; since the new year, that had been the 2nd Legion of Vega's duty.

But Theodore Kurita ordered and he obeyed. The Coordinator said he needed someone he could trust and Michael agreed.

Heise blew out a breath, drawing the eye of his ISF passenger. He started his armoured car and drove off without a word.

The Heir-Designate, and now the Coordinator... nothing but a spoiled noble, Heise groused, dredging up old, buried complaints. It was part of the reason why he reached out to his old ISF contacts, agents that had rotated in and out of the Legions under his command.

Very few were enamoured with Theodore Kurita's antics, fewer still wanted anything to do with him thanks to the Legions' improved reputation by association.

But some listened. And he listened in turn.

The woman busied herself on a noteputer, a Blue Lotus, Heise observed. She paid him little attention while he drove, and he was trying hard not to run over a random panicked citizen or hit the scattered debris on the streets.

He swerved to avoid a young man bleeding in the street, slowing down enough to toss him a small field-medpack.

His passenger gazed at him curiously and Heise ignored her.

No need for someone to bleed out because of this. Why don't the people in charge get that? Kill those that need to be killed.

Heise pulled in to the reinforced 'Mech garage that served as one of his patrols' posts. Inside, a lance of 'Mechs waited silently.

He left the car running, allowing the ISF agent/operative/spy, he didn't know what to call her, to take the wheel. She handed him an optichip pulled from her noteputer and Heise shoved it into the cooling vest waiting for him. He stripped down, quickly, then clambered up his new 'Mech.

The Marauder was a mainstay of the modern battlefield, and somehow the mercenary Wolf's Dragoons had managed to uprate the chassis to Assault specifications. The Marauder II he had spent the last months familiarizing himself with was a prototype, one model among many that had been distributed to gather feedback.

I'll be sure to forward my report to the Dragoons... he thought coldly.

Its massive, armoured form suited his preferred style; the rapid cavalry tactics were for those who couldn't take a hit. Standing your ground, meting out fire as you absorbed it yourself, that was where 'warriors were needed.

The fusion engine had already been activated, but safeguards banked most of its power. The maintenance mode meant he only had to wait several minutes for a proper start-up instead of the ten or fifteen a cold-start would have required.

He slid into the Marauder II's command couch, securing himself against the new synthleather seat and lowering the lightweight neurohelm to his cooling vest's padded shoulders.

He inserted his personal key, a memory chip containing his presets and behaviour for the onboard computers to pattern themselves against. It soon asked him for verification.

"Pax Draconis," he muttered as he felt the 100-ton 'Mech come to life through his plasteel boots.

In moments, the garage's heavy hangar doors slid open and Tai-sho Michael Heise was ready to lead the 2nd Legion of Vega to defeat.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 13 March 2013, 16:27:52
Snakes killing Snakes, about time the love fest came to an end  O0 Seems like the Kurita's even  want to steal the FWL's title for infighting.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 14 March 2013, 02:19:09
Now that's an idea. A FWL version of the DC. :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 14 March 2013, 11:31:31
Pauchang, Xinyang
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
26 April 3029



The hideous 'Mech stepped onto the street again, cannons in its torsos blazing rapidly. Almost casually, it raised its left arm and burned a hole in his 'Mech's chest, and he let the wound fill with molten armour as his crosshairs turned gold.

Sho-sho Jonathan Pershing snapped forward his Charger's left arm, returning fire with the Lord's Light PPC. The backpedalling Heavy 'Mech, his warbook pegged it as a Chokuto CKT-01, took the hit just under the bubble-canopy of the cockpit. Forks of energy still played on the 'Mech as he triggered two of his medium lasers to scorch the retreating 'Mech.

They both had hit with all of their attacks, but he had come out slightly on top. The range was too long for accurate medium laser hits, but short enough to make using his twin long-range missile racks pointless.

He backed off as well, allowing the rest of his command lance to advance and force out the Legionnaire. Jonathan put the thought of the ugly 'Mech out of his mind as he focused on the latest reports from his commanders. His 9th Rasalhague Regulars were trained in urban war; in fact, they excelled at it. He had the utmost confidence of success; the 2nd Legion of Vega commander had allowed nearly five of his companies to be torn apart piecemeal at the cost of less than two of his.

How long have I dreamed of fighting the DCMS? he laughed bitterly to himself. Now, I kill DCMS at the command of the Coordinator...

Sho-sho Pershing rarely entertained such thoughts, especially in the field. The Rasalhague Regulars were riddled with ISF; it was only the patronage of then-Warlord Marcus Kurita that allowed a few Rasalhaguians, loyal ones, to remain in positions of power. Loyal to Rasalhague first, and Marcus second.

He stamped the CGR-1K forward again, following his bodyguards forward and walked pass the wreck of the Chokuto. A well-placed fist had punched through the canopy completely, killing the brave pilot inside.

Jonathan was impressed; he'd heard that the Legionnaires were nothing but the dregs of the DCMS, that they'd break as soon as they were hit.

Instead, despite the bombs, the sneak attacks, and their horrible orders, the Legionnaires had fought bitterly. Night was falling fast, and the 2nd Legion of Vega had the advantage of knowing the city better than his 9th Rasalhague did. He would have to retreat till morning, and retake all the gains his regiment had made tonight.

They even have newer equipment than we do, he observed. Even if it is a FrankenMech... He typed a command to retrieve the 'Mech quickly for testing; they'd encounter more of Theodore Kurita's foreign 'Mechs soon enough.

He'd heard rumours that the Warlords of Dieron, Benjamin, and Galedon were conspiring; that the real Theodore was dead and a double, a security decoy, had been planted in his place. It was a logical assumption; there was just too long a gap between Theodore's death and his return.

Not that Jonathan cared. He had to pretend to, for the sake of the other regimental commanders loyal to Marcus, but whether he was the real Theodore or not, he would die. Or Marcus would die. But that would leave Rasalhague under the command of a Kurita that didn't care about its people.

What kind of man allows his betrothed to be executed? Jonathan sneered. That was what made him hate Theodore, and Takashi, all the more. The callousness.

A horrendous roar blanked out his thoughts as the Charger before him vibrated. It crashed to the ground, armour still exploding outwards, as two Hetzers swerved into an intersection. He moved to follow them, stepping over his lancemate and walked right into another pair of Hetzers following the first pair.

Militia, Jonathan estimated, as he triggered all five of his medium lasers and melted through the lead Hetzer's front armour. The ammunition exploded, shoving its partner tank to its side as its death cracked the concrete and shattered storefronts.

A third Charger followed behind him, spewing missiles from its chest at each of the first pair of wheeled tanks. The militia drivers had plenty of courage but little experience; the street they chose was long, with little hope of cover. A fourth Charger, the last of his lance, speared the tank on its side with a rushing stream of particles. It died slowly, cooking its trapped crew as the shells lit up one by one.

The last Charger dragged itself to its feet, the armour on its torso utterly shredded in many places. Wordlessly, another took point and they proceeded to their objective. Privately, he checked in on Chu-i Walters; he was Rasalhaguian and one of the many he had nurtured throughout their careers.

"Just a little banged up, sho-sho. I will be fine, domo," the young man said between shallow breaths.

Jonathan nodded knowingly. Pride was effective armour; he had learned that with the DCMS. "Good," he replied. "Stay behind me and watch my six."

"Hai!" the chu-i acknowledged, his ego somewhat healed by being entrusted to guard his commanding officer. Jonathan just wanted to keep a close eye on the young 'warrior who whispered in wonder about the Tyr.

They stomped through abandoned streets for minutes, passing checkpoints and hastily set-up repair bays. He chose to delay and allow field techs to strap on armour patches on Chu-i Walter's Charger.

At least it'd stop the first shots from hitting his vitals, Sho-sho Pershing mused as he rifled through the latest reports. Finding nothing worth his attention, he brought up a map of Pauchang as his lance meandered their way to their waypoint.
Xinyang was home to one of the largest ISF presences outside New Samarkand, or Rasalhague. Pauchang city was home to numerous 'Mech garages and spare parts factories, unlike the capital Nanyang which functioned as a trade and admin hub. One of the largest military hospitals in the Inner Sphere was only a few kilometres from the spaceport they landed in.

But recently, Pauchang was home to another remarkable landmark. The Imperial Institute of Technology had a massive campus; it dominated the city's ancient downtown district once, and was even larger underneath. Most of it was still under renovation, but Sho-sho Pershing was still awed.

He checked in on the two other lances shadowing his movements, screening them from rear attacks as he relied on his scouts to screen his advance. He walked his Assault 'Mech right to the torn gates of the Institute, past blackened turrets and fallen men and machines.

Theodore--at least the real one--knew what he was doing, Jonathan thought, nodding as he tied into the local comms. The buildings weathered direct 'Mech-grade fire, though only in the rebuilt areas. The rest smouldered.

A pack of Legionnaires, who somehow couldn't command the cohesiveness a DCMS unit should display instinctively, rose from behind tattered buildings. His console warned him of several hostile target locks; he had disabled the strident warning that there was a strong possibility of friendly fire long ago, a detail he had overlooked preparing for the attack.

This was the largest group of the 2nd Legion of Vega that still remained. Sho-sho Pershing sighed. Those men deserved a better commander.

He flicked on his mic. "I am Sho-sho Jonathan Pershing of the 9th Rasalhague Regulars! Who is in command here?" he said in his most mocking Kuritan samurai impression.

No one ever gets the joke...

"I am!" a voice answered, just as full of false bravado. "Tai-sho Michael Heise of the 2nd Legion of Vega!" There was a dramatic pause as a Marauder II strode forward. "This is where we shout about our accomplishments, I think."

"True," Jonathan said, stepping forward. "But neither of us are really samurai, are we?"

Eight flights of missiles streaked towards the exposed Marauder II, smashing pristine armour in thudding waves. The Legionnaires fired back at him, well out of range, even as he moved to close with the 100-ton 'Mech. Jonathan trusted his command lance to screen him as he dealt with the traitorous commander personally. The rushing Legionnaires soon felt the sting of his encroaching flanking lances. In moments they were too busy to bother with him.

Wobbling, the Marauder II rose to meet him. Tai-sho Heise had wisely used one arm to shield the cockpit from the missiles, leaving the left arm mangled. The head section wasn't left untouched, his systems reported that the tai-sho's comms were down thanks to the missile salvo.

Calmly, his warbook began warning him of an irregularity with the MAD-4A. He ignored it, choosing to ripple-fire his medium lasers across the 100-ton 'Mech's blasted body. The Marauder II responded in kind, firing four yellow beams against his five azure ones. Armour evaporated in puffs as the lasers dispersed their fire across wide areas.

The turret above the 100-ton 'Mech swiveled at him; then the Marauder II's autocannon growled.

The Marauder II MAD-4A introduced by the Wolf's Dragoons almost twenty years ago was an all-energy model. The Marauder II Jonathan faced was not. The storm of heavy autocannon shells punched through the Charger's centre torso, gouging out the plates weakened by an earlier hit from a large laser.

The shells burrowed relentlessly, puncturing and smashing through Charger's fusion engine shielding. Cold air met fusion-hot plasma.

The Charger did not disintegrate in a ball of expanding, white-hot plasma. It merely came apart at extremely high velocity as the air expanded outwards severely.

Sho-sho Jonathan Pershing's body was never found.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 14 March 2013, 13:44:48
Can I have some more, PLEASE, sir?  O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 15 March 2013, 03:41:19
At least he knows now about the difference between Marauders.
Will not help him much. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 15 March 2013, 14:46:12
Imperial Institute of Technology, Xinyang
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
27 April 3029



"Is it just me, or does that Marauder II look like it has ears?"

"Those missile launchers?"

"Yeah. Did those come from a
Catapult?"

"A Marauder and a Catapult? That'd make it a MAD-CPLT?"

"A
Cat-rauder?"

"How about--"


"How about you both shut up?" Marie asked, exhausted. "Keep an eye on the perimeter, not the Legionnaires," she told the two techs who had watch duty.

Despite not having any rank other than the Senior Chief Researcher's assistant, the two furiously whispered "Hai!" and left the comms open. Just in time, as the perimeter she established started their regular reports.

Her boss smiled at her appreciatively, his one remaining eye twinkling with amusement at how she was able to boss around everyone, even the soldiers. Everyone but a tai-sa from the 2nd Legion of Vega had caved to her rational insistences, and even that officer compromised with her.

She had kept them all supplied and safe.

It's more than I owe Ralph--

"--Ninyu!" she breathed out, correcting herself.

Kowalski looked at her with a knowing smile. "Miss the gloomy redhead, huh? Yeah we could use his help here, but you're doing great for us!" he said, raising a cup. "Plus, you make better tea!" he said, taking a slow sip.

She smiled back, trying not to be insulted, and more than a little angry for the slip. They had been under siege for only a day and she was rattled.

Marie, as she thought of herself now, lived a careful, quiet life that began only several months ago. One day, she was wilting under the ISF interrogators' questioning, the next, she was walking outside in civilian clothes with the man she once thought she could love.

Only he turned out to be an ISF agent. Way to pick 'em, M--Marie!" she exhaled again, furious at the mental slip and channeling it towards Ninyu Kerai. I wanna shoot him in the head and hold him and hit him then kiss him and...

Marie grit her teeth then sat back down at her terminal, typing furiously to finish a few reports. Work went on, and she needed to finalize the drafts for the proposals and check in later with the project managers to see how they were coping. This far underround, some of the researchers and engineers thought the attack was nothing more than an elaborate joke.

She had already made a note to make mandatory day visits to the city, at least once a month. Once it was secure again. The people here were losing touch with reality.

Marie smiled at that, frustrated tears forming.

The Dharma Hyperspace draft was done. She sent it to the fact checkers, in the relatively untouched administrative wing, and leaned back.

Her stomach grumbled; apart from the half-eaten wrap and the discarded pack of instant-edamame, she hadn't had any food in her for hours.

Her boss was reading her mind again. "Can you see if they managed to make some lasagna today? Thanks!"

She laughed, leaving their drab bunker of an emergency office into a ferrocrete-hallway. Marie stomped down, taking turns automatically as she made her way to the floor's small kitchen.

A wall of sound hit her as she opened the door, followed by a captivating smell. Lasagna... with fresh pesto, or whatever that smells like pesto. She moved towards the smell, ignoring the people who should be working who were watching the news.

The lasagna was green, except for the tomato sauce which was a weird pink. A small note, in english, beneath it said 'Courtesy of the AgriSciences Wing'. The fact that two of the three trays were empty meant that the food was good, or her people were starving.

My people? she asked herself. She looked around, and a few returned her gaze, many were paying full attention to the flatvid. Those that returned her look gave her warm smiles. She couldn't tell, since the Kuritans were so polite, but she felt they were mostly being genuine.

She finally heard what the news reporter was saying; nothing at all.

"Again, we would like to assure all our viewers that the cowardly attacks against the Dragon are being perpetrated by Federated Suns forces. These are known as 'false-flag' operations and are meant to sow confusion; only the Fox has miscalculated!" the newsman laughed, nervously. "Who could imagine the Dragon fighting itself?"

Marie scooped up two large cuts of the odd, still steaming-hot, lasagna on two plates and backed out of the room. She decided to clear her throat and put on a stern look, and the crowd finally realized she was there and scrambled to return to their labs or offices.

Can't blame them for wanting to hear word of what's going on... but we're on the clock! she added only half-jokingly. It worried her that she cared about this job; whether it was all part of an ISF plot or if she truly cared.

The thought stopped her in her tracks. She was carrying food to the head of the Combine's research efforts into the Helm Memory Core. The fighting was dying down on Xinyang, and Ninyu wasn't coming back for her, not after this.

I have to make my own way out, she thought looking around.

Marie returned to her office long minutes later. She laughed at her boss' frown as he bit down on the now-cold lasagna.

The fire alarm rang just on time.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: pensiveswetness on 15 March 2013, 17:29:09
ok... im confused. is there a civil war occuring within the DCMS?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sandslice on 15 March 2013, 18:32:09
ok... im confused. is there a civil war occuring within the DCMS?
Yes, between forces loyal to Marcus and Theodore.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: SulliMike23 on 15 March 2013, 19:35:53
A Mad Cat? A Marauder in the same likeness of a Mad Cat?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 15 March 2013, 19:51:31
My bad. There's a design challenge in the fan battlemech section asking for Marauder II variants. That was just a joke at the start.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 19 March 2013, 14:25:41
enjoying this...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 19 March 2013, 20:49:37
Thank you, Notsonoble.

=================================
122 km south west of New Gotham City, Irurzun
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
28 April 3029



Isoroku Kurita coughed up blood.

The hovercar's fuel was leaking. He could smell the faint, ozone-burnt smell of exposed electronics. He could feel his blood dripping onto the car's ceiling below him.

His calloused hands found the restraint's release, and he slid down and righted himself. Isoroku paused long enough to tear off a piece of his uniform to use as a head bandage then raised his laspistol as he opened the door.

Isoroku turned back quickly and snagging a weapon and wore it on his back. He turned to the still night. The landscape was torn apart, rocks upturned, jutting jaggedly from what should have been grassland, with broken stones half his size strewn about.

He kept a hand on the door, using it as cover, as he left the overturned hovercar hopping immediately to cover. He looked back; the car's shredded skirt and fractured fans explained the situation to Isoroku, far quicker than his groggy memory would explain it to him.

"Mine," he said, sputtering blood and coughing. Sinking to one knee, he looked around. He couldn't have been unconscious for longer than a few minutes; the fuel tank was still leaking alcohol.

He checked his wrist-comm, confirming that it had automatically begun sending a distress signal the moment he passed out.

Silently, he laughed, taking care not to induce another coughing fit as he moved away from the dwindling embers around his vehicle.

In his 'humility', he had been functioning as his own driver. To show 'faith' in his students, he went without a bodyguard; entrusting them with his safety.

I've been proven wrong three times tonight, Isoroku thought, leaping from cover to cover gingerly.

He had spent the last few years recuperating from his last battlefield injury and an improvised explosive device--a battle-grade mine would have killed him outright--undid most of the healing in one blast.

The IEDs were not new to him.

Irurzun had the distinction of once being a beautiful planet until it was discovered in the last few years of being rich in minerals. The Combine's voracious war industries moved in soon after, and the landscape was torn apart.

There were protests nightly and explosives were as common as rice in some parts of Irurzun.

And now, with the worries of the destruction of factories, new parts plants were springing up. There was talk of even building an orbiting smelter or mill.

Coordinator Theodore Kurita had promoted him to Tai-sho and given him the Irurzun Prefecture to command; he was to train troops and supervise the dissemination of supplies. It was an important post, critical to the war, to both wars, but it bound him further to the 1st Sun Zhang Cadre that refused to leave his side.

"I should be thankful," he wheezed, "but I just want to strangle Theod--" A sound brought his mind to focus, it had been drifting.

Footsteps. Pebbles gently falling. The snap of hands gripping small weapons. He could taste it in the wind, half-blind and almost-deaf as he was.

I didn't want any of this. Isoroku sighed, pining for the monastery he left behind. He admitted it to no one, but it was young Theodore's actions that convinced him to return to active service.

Slowly, he edged along the ground, conscious of the blood dripping from his head and body. Quickly, Isoroku sprang from cover and saw silhouettes.

He shot the first one in the head.

The thrum of the Nakjima's beam blinded his attackers, giving him the briefest view of the men and women coming for him.

Isoroku killed the second one with a shot to her throat, igniting her turtleneck's fabrics as the beam cut through and severed her spine. Her rifle fell from her hands and he dashed to grab it as his attackers fired.

He felt, rather than heard, the shots hit all around him and he worried for his hearing.

First! he recounted to himself, I was not being humble. I was being proud; displaying arrogance in thinking I could do all that was expected of me.

Blindly, Isoroku fired the rifle overhead as he took cover. The weapon had little recoil and it took a few moments for him to realize why. He tossed the Sonic Stunner away; he reasoned his opponents were not amateurish enough to not carry protection for their ears.

And he was in no mood to be non-lethal.

Smoothly, he drew the second weapon from his back.

Second! I was a fool to blatantly trust my students. They're easily manipulated and are still inexperienced! he berated as he ran to cover, Nakjima blazing holes into the night air. One shadow toppled away, clutching their shoulder as he fell to the ground.

He relied on instincts now. The laspistol was reliable, deadly, and continued to blind his already diminished vision with each shot. The pain was gone, but that was of little matter, he had hurt worse than this.

Snow fell on his cheek. Soon, it would blanket his battlefield and hide it away under a cloud of white.

He vowed not to be taken alive.

His attackers were flanking him, and Isoroku dove to one side as the rocks he had been leaning against vibrated under sonic assault. The broken landscape proved difficult to traverse, even for 'Mechs, but it was all that kept him from captivity. Or worse.

Third! I knew! I knew they'd come for me--

Another attacker appeared before him, but was relying on a comrade to guide her in the dark. His katana whistled, separating her head from the rest of her body. She, at least, carried grenades; stun or smoke, he didn't care as he primed and threw them in his attackers' direction.

Isoroku turned away, almost grinning, and ran into the Sonic Stunner shot. He staggered, a splitting headache took away the last of his vision as he sank to his knees.

The man looked triumphant until he saw Isoroku Kurita's eyes; deceptively calm and Kurita blue.

Isoroku raised his laspistol to his head as the man fired the sonic stunner again.
 



Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Stormcrow on 20 March 2013, 00:55:23
A Mad Cat? A Marauder in the same likeness of a Mad Cat?
Sure, why not? And you can do it with old school tech, too

http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,27927.0.html
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 20 March 2013, 15:24:13
The Dragon's Lair, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
28 April 3029



Theodore Kurita strode into his command bunker, the centre of his half of the Combine's military, wearing standard DCMS tans. He received commpads from waiting aides, signing several and asking direct questions for the rest before sending them back to re-adjust or re-think.

The Coordinator paused at each terminal and holotank along the way as he descended the rings, each with dedicated planning teams exchanging words as he questioned and emboldened his officers.

Finally, he reached the central holotank, grasping another set of commpads from the officers he dismissed earlier. Theodore approved their work and signed off on them, and in turn they gave him looks mixed of astonishment, fear, and pride.

Justin Xiang envied him that.

The young leader of the Draconis Combine had the charisma, the talent, and the wisdom to lead. To be fair to himself, he acknowledged that he could instill loyalty to soldiers under his command. But that would be the extent of it. He could never lead a military nor a nation.

Candace noticed it too. Even in all her frippery, she had a keen mind and clearer eyes. Already she had distanced herself from him, they stood opposite each other instead of side-by-side as they had been during the rushed journey over. She smiled at Theodore as he dipped his head to her.

Justin Xiang hated him for that.

The Capellan Confederation hovered above them. The Combine's merchant navy didn't posses the most stellar of reputations, but they all dutifully provided the Draconis Combine Admiralty with their most up-to-date charts. Justin wondered if those captains even knew they were doing so.

The map showed star charts and projected the flow of JumpShips; accurate enough to plan an invasion or, in this case, to counter one.

"The Fox has planned this far in advance," Justin said, intruding on the quiet conversation Theodore was sharing with his Candace. It was quiet enough that he could be forgiven for interrupting. "The Interdiction is having no appreciable effect--"

"--Not with this wave," the Coordinator replied, without turning his head. He continued speaking with a low voice for a short while until Candace laughed, then he turned to face Justin. "There'd be no need to coordinate the first strike. The CCAF is wisely holding back, concentrating their reserves to pounce on the next wave. Even maybe push into the Suns."

"The CCAF won't do that," Justin said dismissively. The House Warriors' expressions soured just as they were admiring Theodore's basic observations. "They've been charged with protecting Capellan soil," he said, recovering quickly. "They won't exceed that until the Chancellor says otherwise," he added placating the prickly MechWarriors.

Did... did Theodore maneuver me into that? he pondered as they convened underneath the holomap.

"Before we begin," the Coordinator said with a hint of a smile, "I have some welcome news." Smoothly, Theodore brought the massive holomap down to more manageable dimensions then panned west to the Confederation with a gesture. "The Captain-General has managed to remove a few more garrison units from your shared borders. They will be participating in several offensives against the Lyrans. Major Calstan here, our FWLM liaison," Theodore said nodding to a man leading a trio of out-of-place FWLM officers, "will outline those operations briefly for us. Major?"

"Thank you, Coordinator," Major Calstan said, bowing. "As you all know, the Lyran Commonwealth has stripped most of its Periphery and deep-world garrisons to provide the troops necessary to invade Rasalhague--the Rasalhague District," he said, clearing his throat. "Most of them are still stuck there, now trying to fend off DCMS counter-atttacks."

Justin approved of the major's tact. It was Marcus Kurita's forces that were retaking the Rasalhague worlds one by one. Nevermind that the Tharkad Truce was months ago and whatever damage the Kuritans inflicted would be repaired by now by dug-in troops.

"Coupled with the troubles at Skye, the LCAF has limited resources to defend against incursions. We're stripping the border with the Federation of Skye, under the Coordinator's assurance that we will not be attacked by Grand Duke Lestrade's forces. The units will be shifted to strike deep into the Bolan Province," the major indicated several worlds on the reduced holomap and played out the transportation routes. "We've removed further regiments from the Capellan border as well. Some, to support the attack, others to form nodal defense task forces."

Justin nodded at Major Calstan whose expression hardened when their eyes met, but softened as Theodore stepped forward and dipped his head slightly. He returned amongst the token League delegation, proud and relieved.

"This gives us an opportunity, my friends," Theodore said to the Capellans, but mostly to Candace.

"For a counter-attack at the Federated Suns?" Justin asked, taking a step closer to the holomap.

"I was thinking of a more domestic operation," Theodore confessed. "It seems inappropriate to use mercenaries to secure you the Tikonov Commonality and the rank of Senior Military Coordinator," Theodore said plainly.

Candace nodded and spared him a cold, calculating look. "He will need the legitimacy of some of those long-serving units."

Justin forced himself to smile and bow. 'He'?! Is that all I am to this-- he clamped down on the thoughts, the anger, and nodded. To the Capellans and Draconians it must have seemed the ideal solution: remove a troublesome military commander with someone more loyal, with troops with known loyalties. Mercenaries, no matter how professional, were still mercenaries.

"What of the mercs?"

Yorinaga Kurita stepped forward to the holomap, panning to the north and east of the Confederation with gestures in the air. He highlighted several worlds, cutting off the Federated Suns' Terran corridor completely.

"They will be part of a task force that will re-take these worlds and hold them. Northwind, I suggest, remain a Capellan-held world for obvious reasons," the old samurai said.

Theodore stepped in. "Once they've been secured, garrison regiments will move in and the mercenaries will be freed to raid further south in force. The Ryuken will be in command, alternatively lending support to CCAF units or striking supply lines."

"Why the sudden change?" Justin asked, hating himself for doing so.

"As I said," Theodore said humbly, "it would be best that you were seen at the head of a Capellan force instead of one filled with Kuritan mercenaries--"

"--Do you think so little of the Capellan people?"

"No, friend Justin," Theodore said quietly. "I think the Capellan people have the right to see--"

"--See what? A civil war? Because that's what it will look like. That's what it'll be!"

Candace Liao bristled at his words, but Justin didn't care.

"All they'll see is a bunch of Cappies fighting Ridzik's bunch of Cappies to place me, a foreigner, in command!" He wasn't shouting. But he wasn't talking calmly either.

Theodore's face remained impassive as he took a step back. For a moment, he thought he won the argument until Candace Liao stepped into view.

"You're right, Justin. You are right, thank you," she said then turned to the gathered warriors.

Justin beamed triumphantly. He opened his mouth to speak but Candace spoke on.

"I recall that Shiro Kurita's brother, Urizen, was the first and only Gunji-no-Kanrei: Warlord of the Armies. It is a fine example," she said, dipping her head to the Kuritans, "so I will assume the post of Senior Military Coordinator for the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces."
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 20 March 2013, 15:31:57
And Justin is toast  :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 20 March 2013, 15:40:12
Ninja'd by Wolflord
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 21 March 2013, 02:48:29
Justin put both feet in, right up to the knees.
How is he going to hobble his way out of this. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 21 March 2013, 16:55:56
Busan, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
28 April 3029



"That was... cold."

"Had to be done," Theodore said. "You heard our officers complaining about putting a Davion in charge--"

"--I meant what you did to Candace," the Keeper of the House Honour said, stepping from the shadows. "You used her."

Theodore laughed without a sound. "We're all using each other, cousin. It's what the Great Houses do."

"So ka."

Theodore felt Ninyu Kerai roll his eyes. "No comment, oh flame-haired one?" Theodore asked, pouring himself a drink.

"Only that you were laying it on pretty thick," Ninyu admitted, snatching the glass from Theodore's hand and drinking the amber liquid in one gulp.

Theodore smiled as Ninyu coughed. "Apple juice?" he asked incredulously then snatched the bottle from Theodore and refilled the glass.

"That is cold," the ISF agent said as he downed the second glass.

The Coordinator poured himself another drink, shaking his head as he offered it to Constance. She accepted demurely and he poured the rest into his glass and sat. The mansion had many indoor gardens to gather in, but Theodore preferred this one. His son's toys still littered it.

His two advisors sat to his side; Ninyu cross-legged, Constance on her knees, careful to stay below him.

"Tomoe's favourite," Theodore began. "She drank a bottle a day, when she could. The servants thought we both drank it, so they've been bringing it out every morning... since."

He took a sip. "I hate apple juice."

"Hohiro hated it too," Ninyu volunteered. "When I was visiting them on Marfik, he complained to me; he said, it made Tomoe gassy--"

"--Hahahaha!--" Theodore laughed, choking.

"He managed to steal half of the bottles and hide them around the house, the garden, and so on," Ninyu said shaking his head in amusement. "I taught him how to sneak about and showed him better places to hide. Zeshin would sit down on a couch and crack a bottle or three"

Theodore nodded, still laughing, in thanks. He finished his glass and rolled it in his hands.

The doors to the garden slid open, and Yorinaga Kurita strode forward, careful of where to place his steps. He bowed deeply to Theodore, Constance, then nodded to Ninyu who waved back cheerfully. Yorinaga's frown stiffened.

"The Capellans have retired for the night, tono," the samurai said. "I placed guards around Justin Xiang, as you ordered."

Constance looked at him then, and Theodore shrugged.

"You are right, Keeper," he said. "It was heartless of me to prey on Candace's naivete as much as Justin is." He held up a hand to forestall her argument, knowing full well how much he was emulating Takashi. "Yes, I know you still believe him to be a Davion spy without proof. I do not agree. But I did still listen to your wisdom, didn't I, cousin?"

"Hai, tono," she replied meekly as she bowed.

It was Theodore's turn to roll his eyes.

Constance blew out a breath. "Fine, Theodore. If you believe he isn't a spy, then why follow my advice?"

"Because it seemed wise."

"And?"

"And what do I owe Justin Xiang? I confided in you two that I sense a kindred spirit with him; I do not know why. He is a traitor to the Federated Suns and somehow has managed to find his way to the top in the Confederation." He looked at both in the eyes. "Which Kurita would be comfortable around a traitor?"

Ninyu was listening and nodding as he deftly pulled out a flask and filled his glass. Theodore held out his and was rewarded with a splash of clear, aromatic liquid. Yorinaga humbly accepted a glass, sampling it with careful sips while Constance still worked on her first apple juice.

"And?"

"And Candace Liao needs to be friendly with the Draconis Combine. To me," the Coordinator said, tasting his drink. "We couldn't get Janos Marik on board if it was Justin Xiang heading up the CCAF in Tikonov."

Yorinaga nodded. "Either because Xiang is too competent, or because he shares the same fears as you all do."

"Then he is wise--"

"--or has wise advisors--"

"--but you are leaving Candace Liao exposed."

"Actually," Ninyu said between gulps, "it is pretty isolated. It is a wonder that Pavel Ridzik hasn't used this opportunity to break away, what with a border with Skye..."

Theodore paused to consider that. "And what of the treacherous duke?"

"Lestrade? Still short and ugly--"

"--the other treacherous duke. Michael Hasek?"

"All the Capellans are telling us is that they're holding him. Apparently, the Chancellor changed his mind at the last moment and stopped your friend Justin from Samsonov-ing him."

Theodore chuckled. "Wise."

"I think Mad Max just wanted to torture Hasek," Ninyu admitted with a shrug.

Constance leaned forward. "What are you planning, cousin?"

"We can help Candace retake Tikonov, even form one solid front against the Federated Suns. But the Fox has gouged out most of the Sarna Commonality, and not even the Interdiction will slow that down."

"And that would leave two Capellan states," Constance said, nodding.

"No one wants that, it'll just get confusing," Ninyu added.

"So we offer a trade. An ultimatum, really."

Theodore looked at both of his advisors, his friends. "The Capellans will return Michael Hasek, alive, in exchange for the worlds taken from the Capellan Confederation."

Ninyu sputtered. "Haha, there's no way--"

"--Exactly."

Constance frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Hanse Davion cannot admit Michael Hasek is a traitor. That would undermine the Capellan March and the Hasek family. He cannot back down either; this 4th Succession War is his after all. So he'll do two things; either negotiate which worlds he'll keep, or he'll let Michael Hasek die on Sian."

"Or he could launch an attack to retake the fool and sack Sian in the process," Ninyu said. "He is the Fox you know."

"Why?" Constance asked. "What would it get us?"

"Plenty," Theodore confided. "We can secure Tikonov, and it is in our best interests to make sure that it exports materiel to us and the first treacherous duke next, and then to the dying Confederation."

"What is it about dukes anyway?" Ninyu asked in a whisper.

"They have so much power, but not enough," Constance answered knowingly.

Theodore tried not to crack a grin as the two smiled at each other before each remembered the organizations they represented. They looked away, awkwardly.

Yorinaga was kneeling quietly, considering his words.

The samurai raised his head. "The Captain-General has agreed to your plan?" Yorinaga asked as the other two exchanged looks.

"Plan?" they asked at the same time.

"The Capellan Confederation is doomed. But it can still be of service. The Combine and the League both need a secure bridge, and we will both assist in rebuilding the Tikonov Commonality, sundered as it is from the rest of the Confederation."

Theodore stood. "Janos Marik has even agreed to haul parts from Tikonov to the rest of the Confederation; right now, much of the Sarna Commonality is compromised and we can expect the Fox to swallow the rest.

"That would leave him with a border to the Free Worlds League... an undefended border," Constance said slowly.

"Undefended?" Ninyu asked. "Janos Marik doesn't have that kinda power to order all the FWLM regiments around; he called in a lot of favours to pull in garrison troops one jump back, at most."

Constance's eyes fumed, but she didn't direct them at him.

"It would have been foolish to do so, after all, we made that request after the renewed invasion," Yorinaga provided, soothing the Keeper.

"In reality," Theodore continued, "the Fox only has two real options: admit Hasek is a traitor and let him die, or say nothing and let him die. Either will undermine morale. A rescue attempt is unlikely to succeed; I would assume that if the Fox could do that he would have eliminated Max Liao a long time ago. In the unlikely event that Hanse gives up the worlds his men and women have died taking, even just some of it, the AFFS will be disillusioned."

"So the Fox will just continue his assault," Ninyu intuited.

Constance nodded too, then glanced at Theodore, and he shared a bit of his plans to her, a glimpse with his chi. She didn't recoil.

The Capellans are mortally wounded. We need them, still. With Marik arms, Kuritan training, they can maintain a dangerous front to bleed the Federated Suns even as we keep their best worlds for ourselves.

Candace responded, sharing her emotions. Millions have died. Millions more will?

Theodore dipped his head. The briefest of moments passed during their exchange.

"And then Duke Hasek will die?" Yorinaga was asking.

"Iie," Theodore said, shaking his head. "Then he'll escape."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 22 March 2013, 03:30:18
Now thats is an interesting move.
Use Michael Hasek-Davion, then release him.
Your outfoxing the fox there. ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 March 2013, 13:12:46
Heh, if it works.  ;)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 March 2013, 15:13:31
A return to the original "quick punch" style.

Also, if you have the time and inclination, I'd like some feedback. Constructive if possible, I'd like to improve.

Will be AFK this weekend so I leave these two entries till monday!

=================================

The Dragon's Lair, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
29 April 3029



Tai-sa Narimasa Asano blew out a breath before knocking on the door. He heard a muffled, affirmative sound, and he slid the door open.

Coordinator Theodore Kurita sat rigid behind his desk, pouring over flexiprints and orbited by holograms. Lord Yorinaga sat opposite him, rending order out of the chaos pouring in. News from all across the Combine arrived late last night and the two had little rest since.

The DCMS was killing its own; not an unheard of practice, rebels popped up from time to time. What was shocking was the sheer scale of the attacks. Everywhere close to the Pesht district was struck and units considered loyal gleefully murdered Coordinator Theodore's troops.

It did not make for a pleasant night.

"I need you to leave," Theodore Kurita said to him.

What have I-- Narimasa thought as he began to bow.

"Not like that," the Coordinator said, frustrated. "I need you to go to Xinyang. The 2nd Legion of Vega will rip apart that planet trying to defend it. I want you to--" Theodore began but was interrupted by a commcall, he motioned for Yorinaga to step in.

The older Kurita continued the brief. "Take the 2nd Genyosha and all supporting regiments, and bring along your apprentices as well," Yorinaga said, referencing the veteran pilots they had taken from other commands.

Anywhere else in the DCMS, the veterans could be the top performers, even the unit champion; amongst the Genyosha they were the rawest of recruits.

The Coordinator turned away, focusing on the conversation and Yorinaga stood and walked to the other end of the office. "The 9th Rasalhague Regulars attacked Xinyang two--well, three--days ago. We don't know how," Lord Yorinaga said, indicating that they should sit. "We do know that the 2nd Legion of Vega managed to fight them. Casualties are high."

Narimasa bent forward, awkward while seated, but Yorinaga was not finished.

"You won't be staying on Xinyang," Tai-sho Kurita clarified. "Help the Legion, but you're there to evacuate the Imperial Institute of Technology. There was a fire, followed by an attack soon after emergency responders arrived. We don't know all the details, but the Senior Researcher's assistant was lost or taken, and she knows much about the research in the Institute."

The Coordinator joined them, his commcall done. He stood above the two men, listening to their words. "We're pressing your apprentices into service, tai-sa. They'll stay and defend IIT. You'll be escorting some of the scientists to Dover. There, you'll wait."

Narimasa stood and bowed. He heard the silent warning; 'Until I need you to strike at Luthien.'

The Coordinator glanced at him then tilted his head slightly. Then he turned to his 'uncle'. "That was Ninyu. He's confirmed what the ComStar acolytes have claimed; that these reports were only sent last night, despite being days late."

Yorinaga leaned back. "Then why didn't ComStar alert us?"

"Why would they?" Asano blurted out before remembering his place.

Theodore Kurita pierced him with his blue gaze for several minutes, then finally nodded.

"Yes. Why would they?"


=================================

Busan, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
29 April 3029



Candace Liao laughed lightly as Constance Kurita finished her story. "...and that's the only reason I know why Theodore grew the mustache in the first place!"

They enjoyed the warmth of the memory, walking around the arboretum, under the filtered sunlight of Tok Do. Justin followed in smouldering silence at a distance, sulking in the shadows while the two kept to the light.

"Will you have all that you need?" the Keeper asked.

The heiress to the Capellan Confederation frowned slightly then dipped her head. "More, actually." She turned to smile. "Three mercenary regiments trained by the Wolf's Dragoons? Five CCAF regiments? Yes, I believe that's enough to secure the ouster of one Pavel Ridzik."

"And you believe you have your father's blessing in this?" Constance asked, lightly.

"Why would he have reason to doubt me?"

"It's just that this Ridzik has had the chance to grab power for himself, and hasn't. Ousting him would seem aggressive."

Candace laughed. "It's positively tame compared to what my father has planned for him for years. He is no loyal servant," she said loud enough to carry back to Justin whose mood darkened.

"I know you only have some time left before you're cooped up again aboard ship, so I'll leave you to enjoy this," the Kurita said, bowing. Candace watched her retreat as she retained her bow, seeing her silent servants trail after her, pouring out of the indoor glade. Her retinue materialized in one moment before they fully disappeared.

Justin Xiang stormed forward and spun her around. Their kiss was hot, desperate, and fierce.

She pushed him away, but not too far. "They'll be watching."

"No, I've been sweeping this place. There are no bugs," he assured her just as a cricket scratched in the distance. They both laughed. "Plenty of those bugs, though."

They kissed again, gentler this time.

"What have you found?" she asked, breathlessly.

"That the ISF have a sense of humour," he replied. Quickly he recounted his attempts at breaking out of his room, only to find bits and pieces of his clothes strewn in his path leading him back to his room. Always by another way.

"Also, more than one servant has made a pass at me," Justin admitted to her, sheepishly.

"Did you get any information from her?" Candace asked.

"No. Not even afterwards."

"Hmm," Candace said, tasting his lips again. She held him closer. "Do you still think this is the only way?"

"I'm sure of it. Duke Michael Hasek wasn't lying about those troop strengths like your father accused him; someone close to your father was altering the numbers so it looked like--"

"--Hush, just hush," she said. "I've heard it before."

"Then?" he asked, slowing working his way down from behind her ear to her shoulder.

"We make the trade."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 March 2013, 09:35:39
Hmm, so apparently Ardan Sortek doesn't become the Prince's Champion until the 3030s. I'd rather not alter that. So I've elected to snip that branch off completely.

I'm looking at the stuff now and he doesn't figure that prominently in it. I really need to know more about the FedSuns, little things like that creep up on me. 
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 March 2013, 11:36:31
Scratch previous. I just removed the whole "Prince's Champion" thing. He's just the Davion Heavy Guards commander.

=================================

Bronze-6 Highway, Errai
Draconis March, Federated Suns
6 May 3029



Dechan Fraser sidestepped the heavy slugs, allowing them to burst the building behind him as he snapped off a shot from his Shadow Hawk's forearm . Another roar followed his evasive maneuver, but the second shot was poorly aimed and the stream of heavy autocannon fire gnawed only on more ferrocrete.

Major Fraser dashed towards the source of the attacks, thrusting his 'Mech's other arm forward to punch through a building's face. He triggered the wrist-mounted flamer, exploding flames out of the building as the glass cracked, burst, and melted.

Damned PBIs! How did they get field guns into an office building?

Quickly, he moved away as the platoon's ammunition began cooking off. The building erupted moments later, pelting the area with chunks of flaming 'crete and rebar.

Dechan had already forgotten about the now-dead platoon, signalling to the rest of his command lance to press forward.

Errai's mountains and heavy, tall trees hemmed the planet's cities. From orbit, it looked like nature was fighting civilization, stemming the ferrocrete and plasteel tide with stone, bark, and green.

He had wondered why the Kuritans had left the Davion planet untouched for centuries; a standard burn from the jump points took only two days. With Errai's heavy industries and natural resources, coupled with a lack of a 'Mech garrison, Dechan believed Errai should have been a Combine world long ago.

Then he arrived and began wondering why the Kuritans even bothered to raid.

The forests were thick. Too thick for a 'Mech to pass through without scraping a tree, which were too massive to be easily brushed aside, even by an Atlas. His independent battalion, which was not named the Black Dragons as the Black Widows insisted, didn't have an Atlas to clear a path for them, or many Assaults for that matter.

And the cities were no less cramped, though with glades of plasteel and ferrocrete instead of hardened trees. He watched his turn, almost crashing into a tall glass tower; he could see rain inside the vertical farm. It was an industrious solution to the lack of available farmland on the planet. What little space that could be carved from the forests went to living space. What mountains could be hollowed out housed the industry. It made Errai a distributed world, growing only along the lines humanity spread on the planet. Each city was an island hemmed in by stone or woods, with the thinnest of paths joining them.

His command lance signalled their readiness, and Dechan waited to move into position. The one advantage of being so distributed was that it made conquering so efficient; his battalion had split up into two-lance strong formations, backed up by infantry, and took four smaller cities or towns on their own. That left him and his command lance to hop, sometimes literally, across the cityscapes.

Most of the citizens had fled quickly, deep underground, once it became known that the Wolf's Dragoons were attacking. The similarity to Dieron and its people was not lost on Fraser; the former Hegemony worlds had industrious and careful people, no matter which Great House ruled over them.

Dechan shook his head. 'I promise not to nuke you'...

The same nodal design that made defending simple made invading doubly difficult, threading, as ground forces had to, along built-up highways or tunnels that were also lined with residences and lesser businesses.

All, he found, was built to a distressingly fortified quality.

The rest of his lance leapt into view, one 'Mech after the other. Hersch's Griffin was caked with dust as his own 'Mech was, but the other two's machines were nearly pristine save for the scratches of man-portable anti-armour weapons. The militia's dogged defense was easily bypassed most of the time, so his MechWarriors did very little to seek them out.

Dechan's heart quickened as he recalled how easily he could have been killed by an ambush, and vowed to enforce tighter discipline. He hated having to do so, but if it would save his MechWarriors' lives then he was willing to be the jerk that made their service difficult.

Hersch's Griffin leapt to take the lead, its pilot giving him a friendly wave at the apex of his fusion-powered jump, and landed on a parking tower more than a hundred metres away. He followed quickly in his modified Shadow Hawk, covering the lower ground, as he trusted the other pair to stay together and move forward.

Dechan focused on the leap, trusting to the two extra Pitban LFT-50 jumpjets installed in his 'Mech's side torsos to carry him an extra 53 metres to the roof of an abandoned hospital. He kept an eye out on the readouts, watching for a telltale to flicker red failure. So far, they had remained a steady green, and he diverted his attention to his scanners as Hersch made his next leap.

To his left and rear, the two Heavy 'Mechs continued their ungraceful leaps, electing to jump simultaneously. Siobhan and Niore, both new Dragoons, but were experts in Heavy 'Mechs with years of mercenary service. He had to fight hard to have them in his command, and was planning on having them lead their own Heavy lances soon enough.

Under General Wolf's orders, he had to train his battalion to fight like a regiment because they would be, and soon.

What's the rush? Dechan asked sarcastically. It's not like we've pissed off two-and-a-half Great Houses or anything...

Hersch's particle cannon flashed, disintegrating a militia vehicle--likely a scout--and leaving flaming flinders. The recon vehicle had been lightly armoured at best, and most of the Fusigon PPC's power had drilled into the hardened ferrocrete street instead.

Dechan took the next leap, flexing his 'Mech's knees to absorb the impact upon landing. He needed to give his wingman time to cool off; firing a PPC after a jump was a quick way to court engine shutdown. Major Fraser commended the lieutenant on his gunnery, while cycling through his sensors.

Errai had no dedicated 'Mech defenders. But it worked just as well as a re-supply point so there was always a surplus of broken 'Mechs on-world, which the Kuritans try to seize on occasion. This time though, there were retired veterans, or transferring pilots, that were on-world when his force landed.

They jumped into the least damaged 'Mechs and made occupying the world difficult. Not impossible. Difficult. Made more so by the fact that General Wolf was acting of his own accord and not under Kuritan orders.

The heat steadily rose in his cockpit, and Dechan caved to temptation and allowed his cockpit scrubbers to cycle in the cool, mountain air. They were leapfrogging towards Bronze-6, a mining 'town', under assault by the irregular militia. It was one of the first nodes he had secured and had already lift off two shipments of processed ores and was feeding two adjacent 'towns' which in turn fed the fourth, Maltex-Prime, that was still capable of producing 'Mech components; just not full 'Mechs.

Bronze-6 was both above and below them; the high-rise buildings they were on let them see the crater that Bronze-6 filled at the foothills of a mountain. The highest stacks of Bronze-6 were far above them, but most of the town was below.

No sooner than Dechan leapt to the widening expressway did the planet's adhoc defenders sprouted into view. A Victor barred his path, and at a glance Major Fraser knew the pilot was no mere veteran.

"Wolf's Dragoons! Stand down!" the electronic voice warbled from his commpanel.

"Not gonna happen, militiaman," Dechan responded as politely as he was willing. He counted three 'Mechs along with the Victor, meaning that the fate of Errai would be decided by two companies. If he or the enemy commander fell then so would the rest of their force.

He laughed at that; just a jump away two or three regiments were squaring off against an equal number, losing companies of 'Mechs, to grab worthless stretches of empty land. Here, those statistic casualties decided the entire world's fate.

"Why don't you power down and we grant you safe conduct off this rock?"

"Negative. Is this Major Fraser?"

Dechan sighed. "Yes, it is."

"I thought so," the enemy commander said. "I've studied some of your work, especially on Skye..."

Dechan's eyes widened as his commpanel flashed a private laslink request and he read the security string associated with it. The link was quickly established, and Dechan stared into a worn face of a still-young officer.

"I am Ardan Sortek. Take me to your leaders."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 March 2013, 17:02:31
Hephaestus Station, In orbit around Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
19 May 3029



Ardan stood to one side of the room, carefully contemplating the map on his noteputer. He paid no attention to the gravdeck's spin; focusing instead on the worlds blinking in front of him.

The First Prince had assumed that the Kuritans would be just as he eager as he was in setting aside their fight in order to pursue more pressing matters. It took Ardan weeks of travel to realize that Hanse Davion wanted the DCMS to turn its attention to the Lyran troops occupying much of the Rasalhague district.

It took him a few more weeks to process that; it was fair that the First Prince require that his allies fight the fight they promised, but it was delusional to hope that the Kuritans would see it the same way. Rasalhague, after all, was Marcus Kurita's problem. Theodore Kurita, the other Coordinator, had focused most of his attention to the Federated Suns and they suffered for it.

The callousness of it he was yet unprepared to handle.

The map bled red over the golden glow of the Federated Suns' northern border. Several of the planets were circled red with a yellow centre, signifying a planet under invasion, but Ardan knew that to be comforting lies. The lull was not a peace, or even much of a pause; The Kuritans launched their invasion--there was no other word for it--less than two weeks after ComStar's Interdiction.

What he was looking at now was an updated estimate that had been distributed across the FAX network. With the HPGs silent but for any grave calamity, nuclear or natural, the black boxes were the only means of staying in touch. The First Prince had reacted quickly, but Theodore Kurita had planned the attacks. It had all his hallmarks, according to the analysts.

"Yeah, he is a tricky one, that Teddy the K," Ardan's companion said with a smile. Major Dechan Fraser calmly sipped his burnt coffee.

Ardan chuckled. "I suppose reading military secrets aloud isn't the wisest of things to do."

"Only if it's in the presence of the enemy, sir. And today, I am that."

"Why didn't you Dragoons sign up with us again?" he asked abruptly.

"Colonel Wolf," Dechan said, shrugging.

"You mean General Wolf?"

"Before he was just the first colonel among colonels, but that Teddy the K gave him a DCMS commission so--"

"--I didn't hear about that," Ardan said, leaning forward.

"Oh," Dechan said sipping more of the horrid coffee. "Well you didn't hear it from me. So I guess we're even."

Ardan nodded, leaning back against the wall. He wasn't stupid. The noteputer was biometrically locked to him, and any information it had was horribly out of date compared to what the DCMS had. ComStar's HPGs were fully functional and they offered the DCMS discounts for high-priority messages.

There're even rumours that many of the Class B facilities were in line for an upgrade, following some healthy donations... Why is the Order so biased towards the Combine?

The door slid open and two living legends walked in. General Jaime Wolf and Major Natasha Kerensky nodded to the seated Dechan Fraser and speared him with suspicious looks.

General Wolf walked up to him and shook his hand, guiding him physically, but gently, to a seat.

"Colonel Sortek," Jaime Wolf said. "Welcome to the Dragoons' home."

Ardan sat, taken aback by that proclamation. It was subtle and while he was not unused to it he did not expect it from the mercenary commander. Wolf meant more than the station, he meant the system itself. He dipped his head in thanks, choosing to smile and let the three officers do the talking. It didn't work.

"So," Ardan said. "Nice place." He was sure Dechan hid a smile by sipping more of his coffee.

"You wanted to speak with me?" General Wolf asked.

"No--and yes," Colonel Sortek admitted. "I meant to speak with you and your... paymasters."

"I'm afraid Warlord Tetsuhara is too busy to join us for this meeting, even remotely," Jaime Wolf said with a straight face. "And, frankly, you wouldn't be speaking with him but with the ISF."

Ardan nodded knowingly.

"Out with it, old man," the Black Widow said, dripping venom and boredom. His eyebrows rose at her, but the other two seemed to have flinched. Natasha Keresnky leaned forward, showing off her cleavage in an attempt to distract him further. "What do you want?"

"Peace."

"A piece of what?" she asked back, wickedly.

"Peace between the Suns and the Combine. I'm here on the First Prince's orders--"

"--so you say--"

"--to secure peace between the Draconis Combine and the Federated Suns in lieu of the nuclear attack on Yori. Cooler heads may yet prevail--"

"--too late," the Black Widow interrupted. "You've probably not heard, but the Dragon's roared again." She smiled dangerously at him, and Ardan's heart beat faster. "You won't have to worry about having a Draconis March to protect soon..."

Ardan leaned back in his seat, eyes locked on Natasha but allowing his peripheral vision to catch General Wolf. Whatever discomfort he and Major Fraser showed earlier had been replaced with a watchfulness he would associate with an animal waiting to pounce. He smiled inwardly, addressing the general even though he maintained eye contact with the Black Widow.

"Then we'll have new worlds to conquer. Or re-conquer."

The false bravado worked. "What are you proposing to our paymasters, colonel?" General Wolf asked with all the severity a senior officer could command.

"Worlds."

"They already have yours," the Black Widow reminded him. "And taking more by the day."

"Which they'll retake the following day," Major Fraser interjected. The young man nodded at him and Ardan continued.

It took him almost the entire trip to Errai to understand what the First Prince wanted him to do, and the core of his being recoiled at it. Even fragmented as the Combine was, it was mauling the Federated Suns. But it would not be sustainable. Either the First Prince will give up his hopes of conquering the Confederation and retake his worlds and punish the DCMS, even years in the making, it would still leave the Combine battered.

"First Prince Hanse Davion is proposing a cease fire between the AFFS and DCMS and any associated mercenaries. The Federated Suns will not attack the Draconis Combine, even on some of the worlds they now occupy that belong to the Federated Suns, unless the DCMS attacks first."

He typed on his noteputer, sending the list of worlds to the room's databanks. In the corner, a flatvid highlighted those worlds.

Ardan Sortek's gut was ice stone. He left unsaid the implications; Hanse was giving Theodore Kurita the time to get his House in order, hoping for a damaging civil war, while balancing it with the promise of retaking the Rasalhague district at the Lyrans' expense. In turn, the Fox expected to be allowed to consolidate his gains in the Confederation.

The three officers didn't share any looks, and only waited.

"It only formalizes the pledge to not use any weapons of mass destruction against any target, military or otherwise," Ardan added.

Seconds passed until a holographic image shimmered into view and Ardan Sortek pulled back from the table. He stood and bowed in what he was trained was a respectable manner

Coordinator Theodore Kurita nodded politely.

"Tell the Fox the Dragon accepts his bargain."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 25 March 2013, 17:39:05
hrmm... So Theo's convinced the Fox to leave him alone while he deals with Markus. Will he take it this time?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 25 March 2013, 19:54:42
Hmmm, so left hand doesn't know what the right is doing while the mouth is babbling and the right foot kicked a bee hive?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 March 2013, 22:11:57
And the left foot's run off...

I'm trying to build in a "fog of war" here. Not sure if it's working or I'm just confusing you all hehe.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 25 March 2013, 22:23:56
When factories start going up in nuclear clouds and you know you didn't do it along with your centers of research coming under attack, tossed on top of a very uncivil, civil war Teddy should be looking for a way to quiet at least one front down.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sandslice on 25 March 2013, 23:07:50
And the left foot's run off...

I'm trying to build in a "fog of war" here. Not sure if it's working or I'm just confusing you all hehe.
The point of a fog of war is to be confusing.  Carry on!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 26 March 2013, 03:05:48
The fog is where the "monsters" come from - good story more please.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 26 March 2013, 16:12:13
Well, here you go! More fog!

=================================

Unity Palace, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
22 May 3029



Count Kahei Tsuki bowed again, and Coordinator Marcus Kurita hated him for it. To not return the gesture would be a sign, and it would be misinterpreted and cascade beyond his control.

So he nodded his head slightly, the barest minimum required for politeness, and was rewarded with a further relaxing of the Count's shoulders.

The Chrysanthemum Throne he sat on was not meant for comfort. It was a blessing and a curse; he had no choice but to focus to pay attention and sitting on it gave him authority, legitimacy. His rule wasn't old enough for him to be able to dispose of the trappings of power.

But it did force him to give even the meanest of his duties his full attention.

The count was the hereditary CEO of Sparkling Spirits, a water purification concern from the Galedon district. It astonished Marcus how little the DCMS cared for clean water; in dire times they engaged in water raids just as every House did, but more often than not it was to steal components for purifying plants rather than making off with 'ships full of potable water.

The DCMS viewed it as a minor concern, on the same level as food and medicine. Necessary, but not top priority. Very few understood just how much fresh water was necessary for the factories to churn out weapons, armour, and ammunition.

And that meant the quivering shell in front of him had connections to all of the Draconis Combine's heavy industries. And all it took was offering the man and his company something Theodore Kurita acquired; Water Pure Industries of Corridan IV, formerly of Skye. Their water purification technologies were well beyond Sparkling Spirits' capabilities, and with a generous loan, the count had promised to expand the facilities in the water-poor Pesht district.

With the equipment from Tamar, Pesht may yet become more than just a parched backwater... Marcus allowed a small smile to grace his lips, encouraging the fool to prattle on about his family's continued dedication. He shifted his glance to Subhash Indrahar who nodded then smiled himself.

The count mumbled into silence.

"We are quite aware of the Tsuki family's contributions to Combine society, count," the Smiling One said. "And grateful are we all for the fresh water you provide."

Count Tsuki bowed. The rest of the diminished court looked on, waiting for the twist that would send the count's head away from the rest of his body. Marcus sniffed inwardly at that; he had only executed one countess in such a manner, and she deserved it.

"How fare the repairs on Yori and Dieron?" Marcus asked, gently.

Count Tsuki paled. "D-Dieron? Ahh, w-well, tono--"

"--Good, good," Marcus interrupted, taking the stammering as a status report. "I was surprised how quickly your company was able to respond across the breadth of the Combine, count."

"W-we had several, that is, before the, uhh, attack?" the count coughed then wiped his forehead. "There were contracts, signed years ago--"

"--How fortunate," Marcus observed.

Count Tsuki bowed again and Subhash Indrahar stepped forward, angling the CEO away. Nominally, infiltrating a civilian corporation would be the Order of Five Pillars' duty. But they had chosen Theodore over him. Marcus knew from secret Combine histories how dangerous expanding the ISF's role could be, but he had little choice.

The Smiling One dragged the sweating one away and Marcus rose and dismissed his court.

Vasily Cherenkoff woke up from whatever perverse dream he had concocted and followed in his wake. They slipped into the hallways with a pair of Otomo in tow.

"The Director tells me your plan was a success."

Vasily preened. "Hai, tono, the attack on the Institute provided excellent cover for the extraction. We have copies of the Helm Core, fully indexed ones, as well as all the research."

"And distribution?" he asked as they swung into an empty corridor then disappeared behind a hologram.

"We've split them up according to your orders." Marcus raised an eyebrow and Vasily quickly pulled out a noteputer. "Asgard has received the economics texts. Matabushi on Avon has been forwarded everything tagged 'aerospace' by IIT," Vasily said, scrolling through the list. Wakazashi, Tomori, and Stellar Trek on Chatham have been given a copy of the aerospace index as well as the front pages of any related research papers."

"Good. Their collusion with Theodore will come at a price," Marcus promised, "and make certain they understand that they can repay either in money, materiel, or blood."

Vasily nodded, gulping dramatically. "The various research materials have also been distributed; Prosperina, the GMA on Matsuida, even the Sun Zhang MechWarrior Academy is keen on any BattleMech research--"

"--Deny the SZMA," Marcus said abruptly. "Their focus should be only on training MechWarriors, not research." He paused for a moment, slowing their descent. "Pass on any biological research, medicines, stress points, anything MechWarrior-related," he added with a wave of his hand.

Warlord Cherenkoff huffed after the Coordinator, typing it in his noteputer. Marcus allowed him the charade; he discovered long ago that Cherenkoff had a memory as good as any computer core.

The Black Room sealed shut behind them, and he took his sit at its head. Director Subhash Indrahar rose briefly and sat after he did, a smile on his face. Warlord Pesht sat down briskly, still typing away.

"Director," he began, "congratulations on your agents' success. I'm sure you'll find the unedited research materials to be of use on New Samarkand."

Subhash Indrahar bowed, but before he could speak, Marcus continued. "But I'm disappointed." That pronouncement resonated in the room. "Destroying half of IIT was not necessary just so your agents could make good their escape!"

"My agents were not responsible for the fire, tono," Subhash Indrahar replied, still smiling. "Their field reports, and the other agents who helped secure their release, place their escape just before the initial attack. As you know, the fire from the research levels came a day afterwards."

"And it was not one of your agents' contingencies?"

"No, tono. They were under specific instructions not to damage any of the research."

"Do you agents know if there were any backups of the research?" Vasily interjected.

Subhash shook his head. "The backups were destroyed in the fighting, though the primary copy was deep within the main building. It may be inaccessible or damaged. However, one agent reported that prior to the attack, the data had been 'fragmented' to distribute the materials to each wing." The ISF Director polished his glasses. "No data has been destroyed, but they have been rendered inaccessible. It could be that we possess the full consolidated copy of the core and all research materials."

Marcus Kurita leaned back, stroking his chin. "What else?"

Subhash inclined his head. "As you know, Xinyang is a central supply world. That means yakuza. Though unverified at this time, there is a possibility that some of the fragments may have been copied and are now being traded in the shadows. Several prototypes were also lost. Not destroyed; but missing."

Marcus allowed his mind to follow the repercussions; at best, he'd lose his bargaining chip against Combine corporations. At worst, the data could be altered, sold off to the corporations who would rush to create things they barely understood, crippling progress or destroying whole industries.

"Purge them."

Vasily blanched at the order, but Subhash merely nodded.

"Warlord Pesht, how is our campaign proceeding?"

"Well, tono. Two more worlds have been retaken from the cowardly Lyrans, though at great cost--"

"--I care not," Marcus said. "Theodore. How is our campaign against Theodore?"

Vasily braced himself. "We lost Xinyang, to the Genyosha it seems though Yorinaga Kurita's 'Mech was not observed amongst the forces. Likely, he stayed in a command ship," Warlord Cherenkoff said, tapping out commands to bring a holomap to life above them. "Our first wave achieved total surprise, though the success rate for the primary objectives is only 66% it is above the 50% we projected initially."

"And why are you pleased at this failure rate?"

"Because, tono," Vasily said proudly, "the false Coordinator's troops weren't there! They had run off somewhere else," the Warlord said dismissively.

Subhash Indrahar's smile thinned.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 26 March 2013, 20:57:00
of course they weren't
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: afterthought53 on 26 March 2013, 22:32:12
What game is the Smiling One playing. I think he's on Theodore's side, but one can never truly know with him.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 27 March 2013, 12:10:27
What game is the Smiling One playing. I think he's on Theodore's side, but one can never truly know with him.
I get the feeling he's on his own side...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 29 March 2013, 15:18:46
Kinda quiet?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 01 April 2013, 13:32:17
Sorry, needed to take a bit of a break.

=================================
The Dragon's Lair, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
27 May 3029



"Tell me again how this isn't treachery," Theodore Kurita asked his friend.

Ninyu Kerai huffed. "Because they were obeying your orders."

"But they weren't my orders."

"They didn't know that."

Theodore swallowed the curse escaping his lips and breathed slowly for several seconds. Tok Do was his father's choice as a 'forward' command post, though he knew that Takashi was greatly favouring Irurzun to focus mostly on the Davions. The DCMS had moved several heavens and several earths to upgrade the command infrastructure and build the Dragon's Lair, along with expanding a deal with ComStar for swifter and more secure communications.

It was almost as capable as the High Command's bunker on Luthien, but better staffed with capable people instead of politically necessary appointees. And yet, somehow, no one in his command staff could tell him why the units he believed a jump away from the Federated Suns border was in actuality two or three jumps inside Davion space, occupying worlds he had ordered abandoned.

In one report they were where they should be, and in another, even the troops he had isolated from the rest of the DCMS for their unknown leanings had been rushed forward. In the next update, his Warlords had managed to wage a successful invasion.

And destroyed the groundwork he was building for future operations.

Whatever the AFFS was expecting in the lull, it wasn't this blitzkrieg... Theodore thought clearly, now that almost a week had passed since the surprising report. There had been no point in hiding his rage, the entire Lair's staff had known.

They've been walking around expecting to be executed, when in reality this is my failure.

"Not your fault," Ninyu said, displaying his knack for reading his mind.

"Then whose?"

"Simple," Ninyu said, raising the cowboy hat he had acquired somewhere from his eyes. "The ones who sent the orders."

"And who sent the orders?"

"No idea," the ISF agent said, letting the cowboy hat fall over his eyes again as he stretched on the couch. Theodore grit his teeth and leaned back in his own office chair. Normally, he'd push further, but Ninyu had been on edge since the news from Xinyang. Mentally, he made a note to ask his cousin Constance why would that be.

He stood, taking a moment to stretch his muscles and thought back to the unlikely message from Ardan Sortek. I was expecting an ultimatum, a threat, not another Tharkad Truce. He laughed at the comparison. Did the Fox hope for me to overextend and deal with domestic troubles? If so, he doesn't understand the Draconis Combine or its soldiers. Victory, and conquest, is everything.

He tapped on his desk and drew the latest, clean, field reports. Then he typed in Ninyu's codes and unlocked the unsanitized versions. He was being credited for the 'lightning war' that saw dozens of worlds conquered. Some would have to be surrendered back to the Davions, easily explained away as strikes rather than outright target worlds. But most would remain his.

He purged the unlocked reports, bringing up another set of reports from his Bureau of Substitution and copied them to his noteputer.

Theodore had gaped when career bureaucrats pleaded to him for help; the vast Combine bureaucracy was engaged in its own version of the civil war, and it threatened to bog everyone down with pointless minutiae.

He chuckled, walking out of his office, remembering the war stories: the battle of Form 7-C and Form 7C, fought during the Great Memorandum War of 3028; the Loophole Battle over remuneration for private transportation costs, and on it went for hours.

But he listened as patiently as he could as Coordinator and gave ordinary MechWarriors, ones without samurai heritage, and ordinary soldiers orders to support his loyal bureaucrats.

That meant most of the Combine's ministries were his, without O5P or ISF aid, and that made his cousin and his friend unhappy. He smiled proudly at that.

Theodore let his friend work out a plan; Ninyu needed the stillness, and closed the door to his own office to pace the upper ring of the command room. The men and women tried not to flinch as they saw him, and he settled for nodding graciously in their direction instead of smiling; he tried that yesterday, and three people panicked and fainted.

He walked towards the railing and stared at the massive holomap projection occupying the centre of the spacious room. The border worlds of the Dieron Military District occupied the top third while the Capellan Confederation's Tikonov and Sarna Commonalities, as well as the Draconis March border worlds, filled the rest.

He could see the glowing, empty arrows indicating a regiment withdrawing to one of the worlds Hanse Davion ceded to him. Several green arrows sprouted from the Capellan Confederation, converging on one target. Theodore checked the time on his ringchrono, nodding to himself as he scoured the rest of the map.

Two red arrows with wolf heads were returning to Nirasaki after striking into the Federated Suns. Even the Wolf's Dragoons had disobeyed his orders, or was at least unfaithful to his intent. Theodore couldn't summon the vitriol to rant against the mercenaries; if it hadn't been for their excursions the truce wouldn't exist.

But they did time their attack quite well, using the other mercenaries as cover, Theodore noted as he eyed the reports from the cobbled-together mercenaries his father had hired. He had restricted them to two objectives, vastly outnumbering the AFFS formations on those worlds, and planned the same overwhelming advantages for them in their follow-up targets.

After that, they were under the Capellans' direction.

Theodore shook his head. Technically, they were Candace Liao's right now; ComStar had verified the transfer of contract ownership just a day before the assaults a week ago. But they operated with Kuritan support, planning, and intelligence.

He hoped that would be enough to maintain the truce. The Coordinator scanned the map one last time and brought out his obsidian noteputer.

'New worlds, new lords.' The quote made sense to him when he was younger, but he didn't understand its importance till now. The power of House Kurita was in its people, who venerated the military. By raising up warriors to the nobility, rewarding them for service, he bound them tighter to himself.

Theodore leaned against the railing and studied his staff's annotations to the Bureau of Substitution's suggestions; he had instructed his staff to raise as many commoners, worthy commoners, as possible.

Hours later, the scheduled update ticked in.

Tikonov blinked on the holomap. Its solid yellow circle was now ringed with green.

The Coordinator nodded to himself and returned to his office. The Otomo followed silently in his wake.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 02 April 2013, 12:12:32
12 kms west of Water Pure Industries' Liberty Plant, Freedom
Virginia Shire, Lyran Commonwealth
29 May 3029



The Zeus staggered under the weight of fire even as its autocannon blared and its heavy laser burned. The Assault 'Mech had dashed forward from the rest of its comrades, hoping to catch the much slower Panthers in a pincer.

Instead, it withered under repeated cuts from a lance of Jenners, melting furrows in its heavy armour with each raking pass.

Sho-sho Tatyana Sobiroff watched in the distance as the Lyran 'Mech crumpled to the ground. She angled her Trebuchet's torso to watch a second Zeus barrel through her lance of Panthers. The Armstrong J-11 Class 5 Autocannon settled on her right shoulder and she loosed careful bursts against the Zeus, chipping away at its already glowing chest.

Her attack was the signal the Panthers were waiting for, and they scattered, firing their PPCs even as she triggered hers. The second Zeus didn't die as gracefully as the first, its nearly-full ammo bins cascaded explosions that chased the fleeing Light 'Mechs.

These aren't the Lyrans we're looking for, she thought, somewhat disappointed.

She nodded to herself as her 'Mech rejoined the rest of her command lance, which she had sent rushing forward in anticipation. Tatyana allowed herself a moment to micromanage, glancing at the Jenners that were already swinging wide and checking on the Panthers' heat and armour situation.

Chikusho! she swore. That damned Lyran went down fighting, she noted, half-admiringly. Even in an ambush they can hurt us. She watched, carefully silent, as the Panther lance's commander re-arranged their formation to shield the more heavily damaged. She sent a coded transmission of approval.

The Wolverine to her right was piloted by Tai-i Rio Sullivan, her company's combat commander. He was already firing at a charging Thunderbolt, the imported WVR-6M's large laser flash-melting half a ton of armour on the uncaring 65-tonner's chest. A Grand Dragon beside the tai-i loosed its missiles, arcing them overhead, even as it hurled a stream of particles to smash the same molten area.

Tatyana left them to it, focusing on the rushing Victor beside the the Lyran Thunderbolt, hurling shells and particles at the gangly Assault. The Lancelot to her left followed with its own energy barrage. They crossed and moved to pincer the much heavier 'Mech; Sho-sho Sobiroff chose to face the VTR-9B's right side; dangerous as it put her closer, but still not in range, to its Class 20 Autocannon.

In the distance, she could see still heavier, and still slower 'Mechs pushing forward. Tatyana stole a glance at her readouts; the tectonics were giving her ancient systems a workout, but it estimated almost 750 tons of 'Mech were heading their way.

The Victor was dead, only its pilot didn't know it yet, as the Lancelot closed in, firing a crippling array of energy weapons. She hurled more lightning and rain from hers, gouging out secondary weapons before both she and her wingman peeled away.

Panthers, relocating far behind them and waiting for the maneuver fired as one, blasting through whatever protection was left on the 80-tonner's torso. The Assault 'Mech died without firing a shot.

The Thunderbolt was still firing as it went down, carving the Grand Dragon's left arm in a concentrated blast from its lasers before the pack of Jenners dashed past its exposed rear.

She swerved away and slowed slightly, opening up the 22nd Dieron Regulars' combat channel. "Good work," she said honestly. "Scatter and fade, this mission is done." She listened in as Tai-i Sullivan reined in her command company, making mental notes for his efficiency. The Bureau of Substitution had already pegged him for a promotion; this would be his last raid as a company commander and she was proud of him.

Tatyana looked up at the compressed 360-band, watching the lumbering Lyran Assault 'Mechs and the dust they raised with their passing. Sweating, though her TBT-7K was well-cooled, she sipped from her canteen, letting her mouth absorb the moisture as she flicked through the rest of her regiment's reports.

Slowly, the knot in her stomach began unwinding as more and more of the companies reported in. Objectives achieved. Light damage, she repeated over and over, thankfully. She had given the DCMS 30 years of service and battle-losses had never been an easy thing for her to accept.

Her command staff filled her in on the whole situation, and she could taste their disapproval for the "Old Lady" and her need to conn a 'Mech. She laughed, lightly so that her mic wouldn't pick it up, and remembered the dry briefings about how historically significant the planet was for the Outer Reaches Rebellion, and how agriculturally significant it was for the entire Freedom Theatre and the reconquered Virginia Shire, formerly of the independent Federation of Skye.

Tatyana paid little attention to ancient history, but she did find it interesting that it was Water Pure Industries' executives--from the conquered Corridan IV and Ryde--that proposed to raid their own Liberty Plant. The machines her 22nd Dieron had managed to take would ramp up parts production, allowing the Combine-Water Pure Industries to meet the flood of demand for more purification tools.

All they had to do was stab their former co-workers in the back.

Business is business... Or Lyrans will be Lyrans, she shook her head as she crested a hill to watch her companies' progress.

Her strategies and tactics were standard DCMS Light Cavalry, though she chose to split apart her Jenner and Panther 'Mechs into lances instead of companies.

"...and loading operations are almost complete, since the last company hauling the parts arrived more than thirty minutes ago--"

"I was held up," Sho-sho Sobiroff said, a little defensively. She didn't want to battle the Lyran heavies, but she needed to be in place just in case the Lyrans responded quickly. The Lightning Companies were effective enough without a proper, focused defense. To be honest, she wanted to test herself against those Light 'Mechs and their pilots.

Tatyana took one longing look at her 360-band and sighed. They faced militia, cobbled-together as a regiment, not a full Regimental Combat Team. And still, vastly better equipped than her regiment.

"HQ, send the report," Tatyana ordered. "Make it clear that we encountered no RCT elements here."

Where is the damned LCAF?


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 02 April 2013, 12:54:51
Fort Draconis, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
30 May 3029



"Where the hell are they?" Michi Noketsuma fumed.

He had set his terminal to wake him once the reports from the spoiling attacks were received; the priority burst arrived in the middle of the night, waking him from some rare, restful sleep.

The reports were both good and bad. All the attacks were successful, all the objectives completed. But the true purpose, to find and pin down Lyran RCTs, went unfulfilled. So far there had been nothing for the raiders to spoil since no one could find their targets.

His sensei had given him leave to plan the attacks, and he engineered them in such a way that they were more than the titanic clashes of 'Mech regiments kill each other. It was a return to the raids-in-force of only a few years ago.

Securing or damaging industries, stealing non-essential parts. Michi sat back down in his seat. Even the Freedom raid won't hurt much, he assured himself, mentally replaying the projections his new staff had created to soothe his worries. They believe me to be frightened of the Elsies, he laughed silently. They're right. We hurt them any more and they'll go after us, Truce or no.

He glanced back longingly to his empty bed, then returned to his terminal.

Morning was already old when he left his office, and the short walk to the meeting room was not pleasant. Fort Draconis was no longer under emergency mode, officially. But the crumbling of an entire continent was not something so easily handled. Warlord Tetsuhara delegated most of the tasks of the war to him and his staff, focusing instead on rescue and salvage operations. That one continent supplied a third of the district, though the Warlord still reviewed war plans every morning, his attention was--rightly or wrongly--working with the district's nobles to limit the damage.

It was a heroic effort, though it crossed the official boundaries of his office, he was admired for the genuine care he displayed.

In contrast, Michi knew he wasn't living up to his sensei's hopes for him. The Dragoons had slipped their leashes, striking out in major raids of their own, which while technically legal still meant that they needed to have been informed. Out of courtesy.

It rankled, but not as much as the attacks 'failures'.

Tai-shu Minobu Tetsuhara had aged a decade over the last few weeks. He was sitting at the head of the oval table, savouring the taste of his tea and the few minutes of quiet he had interrupted.

He nodded, and sat down in silence, hoping not to intrude further.

"Spit it out, Michi," his teacher said, gently.

"I've failed."

"Oh?"

Michi breathed out, annoyed and comforted at the familiar exchange. He opened his mouth but Minobu interrupted.

"You didn't find the Lyrans."

"We found some Lyrans," he added.

"Just not the ones ravaging our dear ally's fiefdom?" Minobu asked, sipping his tea. "Nor the ones raiding the Lyons Prefecture?"

Michi remained silent and still.

"When did you last sleep, Michi?"

"Last night."

"Hmm, for how long?"

"Ahh--" he began, then yawned when he realized his sensei was doing the same. "Not long enough."

"A night's rest would have done more for you than staying up all night and pouring over reports, Michi. I thought you knew that--"

"--I didn't just go over them, again... sensei" he added, realizing that he had cut off Minobu. "I think I know where they are."

Minobu took several more sips of his tea, and Michi strained. It was a lesson, he knew, and he was grateful and infuriated at the same time. Finally, Minobu's head dipped once.

"Skye."

Minobu laughed. "Of course they're in Skye!"

"No, sensei. On Skye. At least part of the forces. General Nondi Steiner sent a third of the troops from Rasalhague down here, and they're more than enough."

The Warlord waved away the reports. "Why Skye? And why not just end Lestrade's reign?"

"Because they already have. Lestrade's reports to us no longer match reality, haven't been matching up for weeks. The Federation of Skye is almost wholly fully re-integrated into the Commonwealth," Michi said slowly. He itched to plug in his stacks of optichips but he waited.

His trust in his sensei's intuition was rewarded by a smile, a nod, then a grimace.

"I've... neglected my duties. It's been there for months now..."

"Hai," Michi agreed without blame. He could almost feel Minobu Tetsuhara's anger at himself. "But at least they still believe we don't know that. The last raids should be proof of that."

Warlord Dieron glared at him, and Michi wilted slightly until Minobu nodded.

"What of the reports that Rasalhague has been emptied? That two-thirds of Nondi Steiner's task force have left?" Minobu leaned in closer to him. "Where is the other third?"


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 03 April 2013, 01:14:28
Now the game is afoot. Very nice indeed.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 April 2013, 13:03:38
Yep, lotsa big moves incoming!

============================

Lestrade Palace, Summer
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
4 June 3029



Grand Duke Aldo Lestrade quivered despite the heat. He stood as straight as he could, eyes burning hatred for the man seated in his office, and gently pressed down on the cane with his thumb.

The nobleman gleefully ignored him, pawing through his personal files like a preening cat. Aldo gripped his cane tightly, and the armed guards in the room didn't react.

I'm not a threat, am I? Grand Duke Lestrade thought mockingly.

"Frederick is dead, you know," Ryan Steiner said moments later. "The Kuritans took his body, who knows why--well, I thought at least, that they'd drop off his corpse to you and build some sort of memorial. Freddie," the man said, laughing, "became quite a popular figure here, didn't he?"

"A hero, to some," Aldo offered.

Ryan Steiner guffawed. "To whom? The sheep and cattle that dare dream to be your pawns?" He stood suddenly, shaking his head and walked from behind Aldo's desk. Contemptuously, he raised one hand and made a dismissive motion, and the guards--as one--turned away and left.

Aldo felt his rage boil over, but Ryan interrupted him with a laugh. "You shouldn't have crossed Alessandro," Ryan said with a pitying shake of his head.

"Is that so?"

"Quite." Ryan leaned back against the desk, breathing in. "He would have disposed of you. Of both of you, once you were no longer necessary. But that would have been years from now... Plenty of time to--"

"--to stab him in the back, later?" Aldo offered. "I've waited long enough--"

"--For?" Ryan asked, mockingly sincere. "For your chance to grab a third of the Commonwealth?" asked the young man.

"No."

"So it really was a gambit, wasn't it? Sending poor Freddie all the way to Tharkad? All or nothing." Ryan paused. "Interesting. Are you dying?"

"Aren't we all?" Aldo asked, with a smile. He moved in closer to a stuffed chair and lowered himself, breathing out in relief. "Why?"

Ryan smiled. "You've spent decades planning, even conniving with Snakes, and you threw it all away on a dice throw."

Aldo sat up straighter, resting his hands on the cane in front of him. The memories of Tharkad and the strike that could've handed him, and Frederick, the Commonwealth played in front of his eyes.

Then he barked out a laugh. "I would have gotten away with it too--"

"--if it weren't for those meddling Kuritans, yes," Ryan said, nodding as he moved directly in front of him. "Point, grand duke," the young nobleman added with a smile.

Insufferable--

"So, how will you do it?" he asked instead of voicing his thoughts.

"Hmm?"

"Betray Alessandro?"

Ryan Steiner laughed, and Aldo hated him all the more for his light, airy manner. "I already have."

Aldo sat, patiently, but affected a confused look.

"I told Katrina, the *****, that I had a change of heart. I confessed, you see, and provided mother and daughter both with information. They'll drag Alessandro away in chains!" Ryan laughed.

"Skye will be free again," Aldo said after the young man finished being amused.

Ryan Steiner nodded, stood, and burned a hole into Grand Duke Aldo Lestrade's forehead. "Yes, and it'll be mine too."

The body toppled to one side, the cane falling the other way. Ryan Steiner kicked the blinking cane away, shattering the crystal head against the wall. Seconds later, the room's holo-systems responded to the unintentional command and stopped recording.

The palace's systems stored the holo-recording according to protocol; burying it in the databanks save for one copy, heavily encrypted and forwarded to a courier. A DropShip left within the hour from the newly liberated capital of the Federation of Skye.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 04 April 2013, 07:31:53
Nice to see the trash taking itself out for once.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 April 2013, 09:33:48
Kangzhuang Forest, 23 km southwest of Kallontown (Yang-ku), Nanking
Tikonov Commonality, Capellan Confederation
4 June 3029



Kathleen Heany growled as the Marauder II loosed missiles at her.

Marauders shouldn't have missiles! she raged as she rode out the impacts. Her 'Mech was far from fresh, but the warheads merely mangled more armour.

Suddenly, she missed the old, battered Atlas that had been stripped from her when she was 'awarded' a new Banshee for her participation on Tharkad. The BNC-3S had greater overall` firepower than her Atlas, but the 100-tonner could at least respond against long range missile bombardment.

Instead of firing back, she dashed forward again, only for her foe to waddle back on its bird-legs, staying beyond the effective edge of PPC fire. Colonel-Kaptain Heany resisted the urge to blast the 100-tonner, knowing better than to raise her 'Mech's waste heat unnecessarily.

The rest of her command company had no such restrictions, and returned fire with their own missiles. The Marauder II was suddenly wreathed in fire and smoke, cascading shards of armour as it retreated further into the forest. But the Capellan had been distracted long enough to allow her to move in closer, and she sent two streams of charged particles to slam its side, burning through composites and foamed aluminum and wrecking the missile launcher there.

She slowed down, waiting for the rest of her company to catch up and maintain the line. Those Dai Da Chi bastards might still be around here somewhere, she reminded herself, stealing another glance at her damage readout. An hour earlier, a minute-long skirmish savaged her, her command lance, and the tanks she had trudging along before the Warrior House 'Mechs ran off into the forest.

They caught her unprepared. Worse, they caught her cowed, waiting for approval from her Davion 'advisors'.

Then she trudged against wave after wave of ambushes launched by a backwater regiment. A backwater garrison fielding top-of-the-line Assault 'Mechs, she noted.

Without knowing it, she growled again.

Kathleen thrust her 'Mech's fist triumphantly into the air and charged, bringing the rest of the 4th Skye Rangers forward.

It was hardly her regiment any longer. The unit's loyalties to Skye, and to Aldo Lestrade, made its situation after the Tharkad Truce shaky at best. But, out of her own volition, she had come to defend the Archon against the Kuritans. That she was a mere Hauptmann-Kommandant then, and somehow in charge of the elite 4th Skye Rangers, spoke in her favour.

Archon Katrina had been grateful, but it was Melissa Steiner-Davion that granted her the 'Mech, the rank, and the chance to redeem herself.

And all it cost me was my unit's soul, she thought as the regiment advanced in careful coordination with the conventional assets now tied to her command. She had done her best to discard the tankers and infantry before Duke Lestrade's ploys, but they found their way back.

We're not even a regiment, we're an RCT...

The leading edge of the advance staggered as the tanks blew out treads and she punched her fists together in frustration. Her 'Mechs now had no choice but to move up, as they'd been drilled to, to cover for the tanks and their crews and their infantry, right into the minefield.

She saw it all play out again and again. Her frustrations hemmed her in, and she was powerless to respond.

Even as she thought it, thick streams of missiles poured from beyond line of sight, smashing down on the 'Mechs; hidden by trees and hills, the Capellan tanks were already situation for ambush. They saw only glimpses of the Capellans, mostly their muzzle flashes and missile streaks.

Her first reaction was to order an artillery strike. She thought it was generous of her to allow infantry to even fire their guns, but the Davion advisors she had been saddled with had looked at her as if she were a dim child. Fresh from their academies, they had suggestions that had failed one after the other.

Sending in the infantry didn't work, snipers and worse waited for them in the bush. Her Davion advisors then recommended VTOLs or aerospace strikes, only to uncover hidden anti-air assets.

She opened the link back to her command vehicle again. "So," she asked slowly, "Artillery?"

"There is a chance that a barrage will cause a fire and lose us the entire forest, and cut us off--"

"--There's a 100% chance that we'll get cut apart piecemeal because you're afraid of fire!--"

"Your tanks and infantry won't survive if you send them through a fire, colonel-kaptain--"

"--And neither will the Capellans," she shouted back. "Order the damned strikes!"


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 April 2013, 16:17:28
The Dragon's Lair, Tok Do
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
6 June 3029



Yorinaga Kuria straightened as the Coordinator walked in to the room, eyes blazing.

"He can't just disappear!" Theodore was shouting behind him to the train of officers. "Go! Look again!" shouted the Coordinator, scattering them.

Yorinaga shook his head. "What is Ninyu Kerai?"

"Wrong question," Theodore said curtly. "It's 'where'. 'Where is Ninyu Kerai?'"

Yorinaga stood silently and waited. Finally, Theodore relented. "He is a friend."

"Yes."

"He is a 'warrior."

"Indeed."

"He is... ISF."

The older Kurita nodded. "So why are you surprised at his sudden disappearance?"

"Because he didn't clear it with me!" Theodore said, slamming a fist down on the obsidian table. The hardwood was unperturbed by the impact.

"Did you not name him the rightful head of the ISF?" Yorinaga asked, pressing in. "Did you not give him leave to do as he saw fit?"

"Are you saying that was a mistake?" Theodore asked coldly.

"Iie," Yorinaga said with a shake of his head. "Merely a lesson; you have said more than once that we are your shitenno, loyal retainers. There is no higher praise." The Coordinator looked up and held his gaze. They had done away with most of the formalities, unless observed by others, and spoke like close friends did. Yorinaga appreciated that.

"Tono, you gave him rank, an objective, and free reign..."

Theodore sighed, nodded and said, "You're right. He did this on purpose. Disappearing during a meeting..."

Yorinaga smiled at that; the flame-headed operative finished his briefing, bowed, and disappeared as the lights came back on. The Coordinator had thrown the entire Lair into chaos trying to dig out his ISF Director to no avail. Though he knew he didn't show it, he appreciated a little theatricality every now and then.

The Coordinator looked at him and nodded once, firmly. He bowed, and tapped on his commpad, authorizing the cargo DropShips to lift off. The materiel they carried was needed, greatly needed, elsewhere.

"I believe it was your turn?" Theodore asked casually as he tried to resume the morning brief.

Yorinaga dipped his head once then called in the rest of the officers that were present for the morning briefing. He waited patiently, loading his optichips into the briefing room's systems and nodded to the officers returning from their search.

Once all were seated, he began. In broad strokes he outlined the sudden strikes launched by General Nondi Steiner's troops from Skye into the Tikonov Commmonality; he covered nothing new, only adding that it was Warlord Dieron and his assistant that uncovered the potential of this attack and warned their Capellan allies. The truce with the Davions prohibited direct support, for now, and there were no mercenaries left to send them.

Then he moved on to the final item in his brief, conscious of just what he was proposing. The stain of dishonour, of failure, was still with him. He wrestled with it but he knew he had no choice but to present it.

My swords are still on Luthien... Maybe when... he stopped, breathed, then continued.

"The 2nd Genyosha have not encountered any resistance on Dover, and Tai-sa Asano is taking the time to review defenses for the factories there. He's appended more to his original report on the Xinyang situation, tono, which I believe is worth reviewing."

The Coordinator nodded, and Yorinaga continued, clicking on the commpad to move to the next holo-slide. "Tai-sho Michael Heise is incompetent," he said bluntly. "Or a coward. His orders restrained the 2nd Legion of Vega time and again when they could have taken the fight to the enemy. His Legion is now down to a battalion of heavily damaged 'Mechs, and while there is plentiful salvage, he lost many 'warriors."

"Don't get it, Tono Sama," Esau Olivares blurted out. "Mikey knows how to fight in cities. Damned dirty dastard he is," the tai-sa said appreciatively then began digging through the field reports. "Don't make sense, Tono Sama... here!" the large man said, thrusting a finger at an overhead recreation of an action. "He tells this bunch to pull back, take different roads, but all that'll do is let the fast-movers pick them off!"

The recreation moved along, describing exactly what Tai-sa Olivares said. "Mikey knows this, Tono Sama. Taught it to me, and I passed it along to the new lot."

Yorinaga nodded in thanks to the commander of the 11th Legion of Vega. Bluntly put, but effective. I sought to lead the Coordinator to the same conclusion... He watched as Theodore considered the words.

"We have a traitor then, in command of Xinyang's garrison," the Coordinator pronounced. "If my ISF Director were here I'd command an immediate strike," he added in a lighter tone. Yorinaga chose to laugh, and so did the rest of the officers except for Olivares.

Confused, Olivares looked around then pointed up. "He never left, Tono Sama."

A muffled string of expletives heralded Ninyu Kerai's re-appearance, descending on a thin rope. "Way to go, Esau," Ninyu said sarcastically.

Oblivously, Esau said, "Thanks!" and looked about proudly. The other officers found the obsidian hardwood table suddenly quite interesting.

Theodore Kurita's fist slammed down on the table again, startling them all. Before he could speak, Yorinaga came forward and bowed.

"Forgive me, tono, but this was my idea."

The Coordinator's blazing eyes banked into a steady boiling gaze.

Ninyu stepped past him and tossed a few items to the table. Theodore's eyes widened, his fury momentary displaced. They were personal, stored in his office here and in the residence.

"This... demonstration should prove that we can no longer remain on Tok Do. Your residence is compromised, and the Lair is not without its faults. For your safety, Coordinator, I beg you: relocate your command post!" Yorinaga said, falling on his knees. The other officers knelt quickly, Esau going down first and even touching his forehead all the way to the floor.

Ninyu Kerai remained standing, and Yorinaga could almost see the man smirking.

"Very well. I see now that your promotion was well deserved, Director," Theodore said through gritted teeth, moments later. His voice turned to him. "And you, conspirator. You have time to plan this? Clearly you have too little to do."

"Tono?" Yorinaga said, raising his head slightly.

"Rise. All of you: rise!" The Coordinator commanded. He looked each one in the eyes, then walked out of the room. They followed, silently, Yorinaga at the head.

They marched out, trailing after the Coordinator, flanked by Otomo as they made their way to the pit of the arena that served as the centre of the Dragon's Lair. The massive holomap was still blinking the sudden blue arrows striking into the Capellan Confederation, launched from the newly reconquered Federation of Skye. It flickered, replaced by the Kurita crest.

Soon, they all stood underneath it, and Theodore's face was recreated above them as well. His voice was amplified when he spoke.

"In our history, there has only ever been one other a Coordinator has trusted with the affairs of the military," Theodore boomed. Yorinaga held his breath. "That was Urizen Kurita, brother of my ancestor, Shiro Kurita, founder of the Draconis Combine."

Theodore looked around the room, letting the gathered analysts and officers stand and gape at him. They were too disciplined to start whispering, but Yorinaga could hear them strain forward to hear everything.

"Today, I present to you the second Gunji-no-Kanrei, Yorinaga Kurita!"


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 04 April 2013, 16:26:40
Still loving it  O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Sandslice on 04 April 2013, 16:35:58
Just for quick reference, shitennou doesn't mean "loyal retainers" - that's youjinbou (often seen as yojimbo.)  Shitennou (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/四天王) is, literally, "four heavenly kings," and is often used for the four strongest members of a group.

For example, the Four Fiends in Final Fantasy IV (Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, and Rubicante,) or the various Elite Fours in Pokemon, are called shitennou in Japanese.

Tasty stuff here!  :)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 04 April 2013, 19:32:54
Glad to hear, Wolflord! Thanks Sandslice. I used the term without thinking about it, it appears in Heir to the Dragon as well and Teddy uses it to refer to his inner circle so I assumed that's what it meant.  O0

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 10 April 2013, 00:23:54
Very nice, when does the Coordinator go home?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 April 2013, 10:26:36
My apologies, all. Busy, busy, busy.

===============================

Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
29 June 3029



Coordinator Marcus Kurita gripped the bannister of the balcony, staring up at the Black Pearl's night sky.

More than a year ago he ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne, unexpectedly. Not that he minded. His plans for removing Takashi, and his legitimate heirs, were only a few years away from bearing fruit.

Fate merely accelerated my destiny, he thought then, before sensing the trap. Before realizing there were strings that bound him

The Imperial City looked much like it did that night, the hot summer day giving way to a humid night. In the dying sun he could make out the new factories, the new plants he had commissioned--the nobility and industry leaders be damned. Those plants were still operating, but with a fresh new shift of workers instead of the overworked few.

Their children went to better schools and their neighbourhoods were surrounded by networks of clinics, hospices, and DCMS recruitment centres disguised as public recreation buildings. He had hoped to bypass the nobility that so straddled the Combine's military that the DCMS now buckled under their proud strain.

Under his reign, Luthien's population had grown, its workers better fed, rested, and paid. He understood the value of a happy worker, even if others had not. Even the air was cleaner and the government responded more smoothly.

Marcus laughed to himself. These fools at court think me some hidebound traditionalist and Theodore a radical; I've never heard the whelp discuss reform on this scale. Pity. The last thought surprised him, it was magnanimous and he wasn't feeling particularly generous at the moment.

He scanned the cityscape again. The Luthien night life had always been enjoyable, but now it was a night-long party, filled with better-paid workers looking to spend their hard-earned ryu. The money drifted from the factory owners' hands to the workers to the citizens, and Marcus was glad for it.

He knew he wouldn't be remembered for that. Tonight, they were celebrating.

His backers, almost all wealthy industrialists who inherited their positions, were absorbing the Combine's money and holding tightly to it; using it to influence every level of the Combine's bloated bureaucracy. Even the DCMS's Procurement Department was riddled with them. It had sickened him, and he was the most privileged of them all, and he worked hard to curtail their influence.

They rebelled against him, and championed Theodore who they hated.

All of this is revenge, Marcus realized. He spent his year, bloody as it had been, doing his best not to fight Theodore but the people who felt they owned him. His reforms, radical and fair, were spreading. It would topple more than one corporation, and he smiled at the fates of some of his 'allies'.

Or did I do it because I knew this day would come? he asked as he glanced up at the night sky one last time.

There were new stars. They were falling.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 April 2013, 10:53:02
Sanethia Kurita Parade Ground, Imperial Palace, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
30 June 3029



Tai-sho Goshi Tengwan advanced his 'Mech slowly.

Luthien had been abandoned by all except the regiment in front of him. He knew they'd be here, and he was both proud and sorrowful. He had begged the true Coordinator and his new Gunji-no-Kanrei for this.

It was time.

He strode calmly towards the centre of the parade ground, pausing at each of the four fallen 'Mechs. There had been four duels so far, one from each rank: from MechWarrior, to Lance Commander, Company Commander, and Battalion Commander.

Both sides won two duels. The fifth would decide.

It was his turn.

He stood proudly in the middle of the Sanethia Kurita Parade Ground and began recounting his family history then his personal achievements for all to hear. His Atlas, painted flat red, bore the steel dragon of the 2nd Sword of Light proudly. Far behind him, his regiment stood, arrayed and organized for battle.

It wasn't his favoured 'Mech, but Goshi bowed to Theodore Kurita's wishes that he pilot the best, the sturdiest, Assault 'Mech into combat since Tharkad. If his Lord had commanded it, he would have gladly gone to battle naked.

Goshi then began to recount his and the 2nd Sword's actions on Tharkad, laying siege to Mount Wotan. He made it sound more epic than what it really was--a shellgame of epic proportions--but it drew a reaction.

When he finished, another 'warrior stepped forward. The 'warrior matched him boast for boast; he spoke for longer but with less accomplishments. The last one of note were the devastating strikes in the Tamar Pact.

Tai-sho Moshiu Yodetobo of the 7th Sword of Light stood before him, ahead of his regiment. His Atlas was flat-red save for the golden death's head. Goshi nodded; it was in remembrance for the 5th Sword of Light, the Gold Dragons, lost to Capellan trickery.

He himself painted his Atlas's shoulders with the names, in katakana, of the lost samurai in gold ink. He bore their deaths on his shoulders, Yodetobo wore their deaths.

They stood, the midday sun not fully obscured by the dark clouds spewed from distant factories. The gate to the Imperial Palace was to his right, and the guardhouses and the walls were all primed and ready to repel his regiment should they attack.

They wouldn't. Not until he gave the word.

Both moved at the same time; Goshi triggered the twin heavy lasers and ripple-fired his missiles as he angled 45 degrees away from Yodetobo's golden-headed Atlas. He perceived the slightest bit of hesitation in his opponent's movements, knowing he was unsure of what to make of the two azure beams carving deeply into his 'Mech's chest as a shortened-flight of missiles hammered at him.

Missiles coughed towards him, and Goshi spread his 'Mech's limbs wide. A lifetime of experience told him that the FarFire LRM 20 preferred to group its salvo and had a tendency to track extended parts of a 'Mech at a run. Even a slow run as his Atlas could muster.

Armour shattered off his arms and legs, not enough to worry about, and fighting through the heat Goshi triggered the twin large lasers again. He watched in satisfaction as another ton of armour melted at his weapons' touch.

He twisted his Atlas's torso to the right, keeping its mirror-image foe in sight, then wrenched and pedalled on his controls. His modified Atlas responded, digging in its feet to cut its inertia then began taking massive steps backwards.

The second wave of missiles were better aimed, smashing him fully in the chest and was strong enough to throw Goshi against his harnesses. He triggered his own missiles then both large lasers again, hitting with only one beam as the missiles bit deep into the other Atlas' shoulder.

Incensed at his retreat--it was a deliberate insult--Tai-sho Yodetobo charged forward. He continued walking backwards, smashing and melting armour at leisure and taking far less damage in return. Eventually, the 7th Sword of Light Atlas closed the distance and triggered its massive Deathgiver cannon.

Goshi was waiting for it, throwing his 'Mech forward, angled away again, and caught only a few of the heavy shells. The short-range missiles and lasers tracked him better, smashing more armour in cascades. His panel blinked yellow and red in most areas.

His 'Mech was threatening shutdown but he fired, finally piercing the golden-head Atlas's chest with two thick azure beams. Foamed aluminum bled out of the molten wounds, Goshi knew he burned through just by the way the smoke wafted and the metal dripped.

Then he fired his Deathgiver while the lasers were still burning. The Class-20 Autocannon roared and punched through what little remained of the Atlas's torso. Over the roar, he could hear the massive 'Mech dying as its engine shutdown from overheat.

Tai-sho Yodetobo snarled openly on the commbands, hurling invectives and insults as his 'Mech crashed down. Goshi smiled, slamming down on the override again, and breathed in the cockpit's oven-hot air.

Finally, Yodetobo regained control of his 'Mech and stood it on its feet, steadying itself with a step back, and then bent forward. Slowly, Tai-sho Goshi Tengwan bent his own Atlas forward, bowing, accepting the surrender.

Tai-sho Goshi Tengwan began to order the defeated 7th Sword of Light to stand down.

The golden-head Atlas charged.

Goshi fired, triggering both lasers that burned into the 'Mech's shoulders but the Atlas continued on. It gripped his Atlas as the two titans clashed and clanged, rushing its smashed chest against his.

The 7th Sword of Light Atlas exploded.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 April 2013, 16:19:15
Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
1 July 3029



Marcus Kurita's head rolled on the floor, the blood spurting as the rest of his body remained kneeling below the dais.

Theodore sat back down on the Chrysanthemum Throne, bloodied katana still in his right hand. His uncle had offered him his head.

So he took it.

He knew Marcus expected to be offered the use of a garden, but Theodore didn't think; he acted. Theodore took a moment and decided he was at peace with himself.

The head rolled further, forcing nobles to shuffle away while keeping their eyes on their new Coordinator. The blade slowly dripped blood as he gazed over the members of the court.

His court.

The Coordinator of the Draconis Combine dipped his head.

An official called a name with a military rank. A soldier strode forward, untroubled by the corpse and knelt in the blood before him. Theodore stood and raised him to the nobility, and did so again for another fourteen. They would rule worlds, Federated Suns worlds, in his name and they in turn would raise officers--already chosen by the Bureau of Substitution--to serve them. With each tap of the blade, he secured the loyalty of victorious troops.

Inwardly, he wondered at the non-japanese tradition of raising soldiers this way then put the thought away. The new nobles stood to the side, erect and stained with blood.

"Samuel Botterfield!" the official pronounced.

The court parted again, shocked murmurs and strangled cries of outrage escaped their lips. The hereditary CEO of Luthien Armor Works, the most prolific and powerful Combine manufacturer, was a thin, reedy man, dressed in the finest silks. He strode forward, confidence in his steps but humility on his face.

The Botterfields had never been given a noble title, despite their service. LAW's size alone would require a rank just below that of Coordinator. The man stumbled a little, the congealed blood slimed his soft shoes' soles, but he made his way below Theodore and bowed deeply.

"For your service to your Coordinator," Theodore said, "I give you a choice."

"A choice, tono?" Samuel asked assuredly.

The Coordinator dipped his head. "A blade or a bullet?"

The members of the court fell silent. Several of the 'warriors in the crowd tensed.

Samuel Botterfield, a man in his 60s but with the vigour of a man half his age, sunk to his knees.

"W-Why?" he asked, trembling.

"Conspiracy against the throne," Theodore said simply. "Shall I list your crimes then?" he added as the CEO was struck silent.

"On five worlds, DCMS forces protecting your facilities were attacked by Marcus Kurita's or Vasily Cherenkoff's forces. You had sent word to each factory to betray their defenders. The blood of three regiments of soldiers, of MechWarriors, are on your hands. Stand!" he shouted as the man collapsed in on himself.

Theodore waited until the man quivered to his feet, then continued. "Factories in the Dieron, Benjamin, and Galedon districts were not only late in delivering spare parts, the parts were sabotaged. Again, by your orders. Men and women died. Battles were lost against the Federated Suns."

"But I..." the CEO said, pleadingly.

The Coordinator nodded. "Yes, you gave us intelligence. If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have known Cherenkoff would betray his Coordinator and flee to Rasalhague. We seized Luthien because of that."

"But I ask you this: How did you know if you weren't part of the conspiracy?"

Theodore nodded to the official again, an elderly man aghast at the display. He did his duty. "Andromeda Fuyerton! Marquess Cynthia Evans!"

There were shouts of outrage and denial, and the court exploded away from the two women called, creating islands of people as the two CEOs were surrounded by their retinue. Theodore held his hand to stop the Otomo as his new nobles marched and broke up the retinues and dragged the two women kicking and screaming before him. They bowed and returned to their places.

The Marquess was old. She inherited her role decades ago, even before Theodore's grandfather's time. She looked at him with venom through rheumy eyes. Wakazashi Enterprises had been hers for so long that her own children had died waiting to take her place.

Mangon Aeronautics' CEO was younger, more interested in corporate maneuverings than delivering a capable product; the Sholagar fighter design claimed the life of an uncle Theodore couldn't remember, and she knew the round-wing design was unstable and sold it to the DCMS nonetheless. That was the least of her crimes.

"I offer you two the same choice: blade or bullet?"

Cynthia Evans took one step closer. "Blade--" she said and Theodore slashed her stomach suddenly with his katana. He was careful to avoid the spinal column and vital organs as he sliced it open.

She fell to her knees and then to her side as she fought to keep her insides in. She made no noise, and Theodore admired her for that.

The two older CEOs stayed silent, and Theodore decided to clean his blade and sheathed it.

He turned his back towards them and the Otomo seized the two and they disappeared behind swiftly closed doors.

The Coordinator of the Draconis Combine looked at the stunned members of his court, holding their attention for several minutes. He then stepped down from the dais, dismissing them. They scattered quickly, making their way out of the throne room, through the Royal Hall, and out into the courtyard.

Two red splatters greeted them on the steps, their fine clothes soaked red. The nobles hurried out, running, slipping and sliding on the gruesome remains of two of the most powerful people in the Combine.

Theodore watched this from a commpad as he walked along the halls of Unity Palace. Ninyu Kerai, beside him throughout the entire affair, walked to his right.

He looked Theodore in the eyes. "Subtle," the ISF Director said.

Theodore ignored the reproach. "Take me to your predecessor."

"You can't throw him out the window, you know?"

"Because he's in a dungeon deep below?" Theodore asked, anticipating the joke.

"No, because he'll kill any Otomo that try and probably one or both of us before we get him. He'll probably escape too."

Theodore stopped, pulling his retinue short as he glared at his friend. "Just--take me to him."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 April 2013, 16:24:17
"Personal violence is not the way of the Coordinator. Our destiny requires us to work through others. This assassin must meet justice, not vengeance. It is best for the Combine." - Takashi Kurita, Heir to the Dragon (Prologue)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 11 April 2013, 16:39:02
 O0  A good way to for TK to clean house in the combine!  keep it up
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: mighty midget on 11 April 2013, 18:09:12
Yep, definitely worth the wait.  Thanks for sharing your brain.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 15 April 2013, 13:37:29
Thanks gents.

By the way, I sometimes write a lot of fluff for 'Mechs and other designs. Some won't ever be included in the story, but they do fill out the universe some more.

Keep in mind that these are written with another point of view, someone trying to be objective but who may not necessarily know it all.

Here's the Hunchback HBK-4K (http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,28591.0.html) that has some tidbits. But prolly won't make it in due to its munchy-ness.

====================================
Wolfsden, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
3 July 3029



"It's a boring name."

"The men came up with it--"

"--Really? 'Fraser's Rangers' was the best they could come up with?" Natasha Kerensky said with a shake of her head. "I liked the 'Black Dragons' more..."

Dechan sighed. "We've been in the Combine for how long now? And you don't know that name's taken?"

The redheaded major turned to face him. "No, I didn't... A Kuritan regiment calls themselves the 'Black Dragons'? Congrats, your bunch got off the hook for being the most unimaginative unit in the Sphere!"

Dechan simply sighed and drank from his cup. Natasha took his silence as victory and turned inward again, almost brooding. He tensed, without knowing it, and began flipping through the notes of the brief on his noteputer.

"Tsk, tsk," the Black Widow said, her eyes closed as she leaned back into her chair. "Let Willie do his job..."

The door opened before Dechan could respond. Colonel Shostokovitch walked in to the briefing room, eyes glazed from a late night. He stumbled in, then took a few awkward steps back to the door to fiddle with the light panel. He set it to a dim glow, waved at them both, then found a pool of darkness to sleep in.

Colonel Dumont stepped in moments later, paused at the door, then adjusted the lights to standard brightness. It didn't matter, Andrei Shostokovitch was already fully asleep.

Dechan returned the Col. Dumont's nod. Natasha to his right simply put her feet up on desk in front of her and put on a pair of sunglasses. Delta's commander ignored the Black Widow, and slid into a chair and quietly nursed a steaming cup.

William Cameron walked in, dimmed the lights then waved a stick at the shut windows. The glass turned translucent, letting in the cool natural light that Nirasaki was blessed with. Captain Cameron's shoulder was still weighed down with a heavy-duty comm, but he also adopted the Kuritan wrist-wrapped noteputers. He had one on each forearm now, alternating between the two to choreograph the briefing room's systems.

The room was more of a small theatre, with raised rows of desks and chairs angled towards the front of the room. Flatvids and holoprojectors blinked to life, outlining their topic. Colonel Shostokovitch roused himself awake and blinked wearily at the shining lights.

"Thank you for attending this briefing," William began the mandatory meeting without the least bit of sarcasm, "I hope to be brief. Please ask your questions at any time."

"When's breakfast?" Andrei Shostokovitch asked.

"Two hours ago, at oh-five-hundred, colonel. Now, Tikonov," the young captain said as the Capellan Confederation loomed in the flatvids behind him. "Specifically, the Tikonov Commonality. Reports are in from Kuritan sources, and ours confirm it, that General Nondi Steiner has emptied two-thirds of her forces from the Rasalhague district. These were then divided into three task forces: one moved into secure the 'Federation of Skye' worlds; another moved along the Lyran/Combine border to head off any potential DCMS raids; and the last acted as a mobile reserve for the first task force then launched a supporting invasion of the Confederation."

Arrows and unit names flickered on the screens and outlined the Lyrans' attacks. Dechan followed it as closely as he could, pulling out individual records from his noteputer of units and all the details William was glossing over.

"The attack, however unexpected, proved timely," William continued. "Senior Military Coordinator Pavel Ridzik had been wary of the CCAF reserves called up to rendezvous with Candace Liao and Justin Xiang on Tikonov. When the planet fell, thanks mostly to Kuritan interference, Ridzik gathered his loyal troops on Elgin. As a result, it created a vacuum in the middle of the Commonality that the Lyrans happily filled. We have Ridzik and his most-likely-disloyal CCAF troops on one side, the Lyrans in the middle, and the, well, true Capellans on the other side, bordered by mercenaries who are staving off Davion raids for now."

"It's like some malfed-up Spheroid sandwich," Natasha observed, feet still up, sun glasses still on.

"Guess who gets to be the special sauce?" Dechan asked, and William nodded.

"The Combine's 'truce' with the Federated Suns doesn't extend to their allies like the Lyrans. So, we can hit them, and General Wolf plans to," the captain said, triggering the windows to darken again and the holoprojector to light up.

"Ningpo and Alderbaran, two hubs of transport and trade. As you can imagine, it proved to be tempting targets to the LCAF. Beta and Delta will be taking those worlds back for our paymaster's allies." Colonel Kathleen Dumont nodded once, but Colonel Shostokovitch pumped his fists into the air.

"Finally! Beta's been ready for weeks!"

"As the general well knows. The Black Widow Battalion will follow both and engage in headhunting of Lyran officers. The Fraser's Rangers?" William asked Dechan, and he nodded curtly, cheeks flushing. "Fraser's Rangers will follow the supply trail, all the way back to Skye."

The Wolf's Dragoons officers nodded their understanding, and Captain Cameron began a more detailed--a much more detailed--view of the Lyrans' attacks. Dechan sensed Jaime Wolf's hands in this part of the briefing. Cameron went over unit compositions, new observed tactics, new machines, and potential weaknesses. All of the data had been compiled by Beta and Delta's staffs, and the two colonels merely absorbed the overview.

He leaned back and glanced sidelong at Natasha, seeing her eyes from the side staring unblinkingly at the flatscreen.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: drakensis on 16 April 2013, 01:42:52
If the windows became opaque then that would mean that they are not admitting light.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 16 April 2013, 08:55:25
If the windows became opaque then that would mean that they are not admitting light.

/facepalm

Thanks!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Dave Talley on 16 April 2013, 09:03:51
well they could be opaque and still allow light, just be unable to see thru them

but his correction to translucent is better
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 16 April 2013, 16:46:20
Manega Mountain Range, Lestrade Continent, Summer
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
18 July 3029



Sho-sho Friedrich Von Galberston decided he liked Colonel Isadora Alvarez.

He didn't know what to expect. The Free Worlds League had been fighting itself mostly for the last few decades, and what the ISF had gathered on the 18th Marik Militia was not flattering. That was understandable, the ISF wouldn't paint a unit that took part in a rebellion in anything close to a favourable light. Unless they had succeeded. And of course, a female commanding officer would simply draw more disdain.

But the woman has guts, he admitted.

He lit up his Guillotine's jump jets, eager to see ahead as his regiment meandered across the broken terrain. The Heavy 'Mech rose ungainly on streams of plasma, the roaring echoed by other jump-jet capable 'Mechs. The rest of the 2nd Dieron Regulars were disciplined, using jump jets only to cover the advance. He admitted that he just wanted a better look.

The 18th Marik Militia were falling upon the Lyrans, literally. Three gleaming-purple Overlord-class DropShips hovered over the mountains, far in the distance, as the 18th hurled themselves to the ground, riding smaller jets of plasma to safety. The Lyrans, a mixed force of the remnants of the 13th Donegal Guards and various mercenary units, were scrambling. Some rushed forward, under the DropShips' guns, for a chance to bring down a 'Mech. Others pulled back, away from the falling purple 'Mechs, in orderly or scattered formations.

The rest simply stood and delivered.

She had simply told him that they'd perform a drop onto the enemy, and he left it at that. He didn't imagine she'd try a hover-drop; only the SLDF had performed those regularly and in battlefield conditions.

His 2nd Dieron was making good speed, despite choosing to use the mountain chains to travel over. Summer, the world more than deserved its name Friedrich found as he tapped on his 'Mech's ambient-heat reading, was a world of plains and mountains that divided them. It reminded him of Dieron, which seemed fitting, but the people had flocked to the plains here to build their plants and cities. The Dieronese carved mountains to make their cities and built factories on where the resources were.

And instead of boring through kilometres of mountains, and stumble upon any rich mineral veins, the people of Summer depended on DropShips 'hopping' from one city to another. It made sneaking in their regiments that much easier, he thought, spying another grey egg descending to one of the planet's ten major spaceports.

The lack of a surface-based transportation network, like roads or trains, also meant that redeploying units--such as in case of an attack--meant using DropShips. And that was easily countered with fighters.

I must remember to thank Kanrei Yorinaga for lending me this aero-regiment. I wonder if can keep it? he mused as one of the Marik Overlords began to rise again. He looked at the trail of devastation it had left in its fusion-powered wake; kilometres of rocky ground blasted as it shed its 'Mechs. The other two Overlords drew their own lines, forming a blazing triangle.

It would return to orbit, parking itself alongside the fighter carriers for protection, and be ready to land again if necessary. Sho-sho Von Galberston raised a gun arm in salute of the DropShip crew's skills, and his regiment followed suit. Seconds later, the rising Overlord's landing lights, visible despite the glare, blinked in response.

If they were trying to impress, they succeeded. Hover drops! he shook his head at the thought, straining his neck at the heavy neurohelmet. I have to try that someday, he promised, then turned his attention to the various readouts and reports flooding his Heavy 'Mech.

With the air and space theirs, only the ground mattered. He lit up his jump jets again, placing himself 112 metres forward on clear ground. He landed with the Guillotine's knees flexed and already running. The 17th Skye Rangers were based on nearby Curitiba, Summer's capital, and his scouts confirmed they were on the move.

He hoped to head them off. Are they coming to help? he wondered then laughed. Of course they are! But which side?

The 17th Skye Rangers had been Grand Duke Aldo Lestrade's garrison unit for years; according to the ISF brief the unit didn't act unless the 'Imp' gave the word. Which was why he had proposed smashing the 13th Donegal Guards instead; trapping the regiment between his sudden advance and the 18th Marik's 'ambush'.

Friedrich felt the crump of his artillery firing. He had dearly wanted heavy-lift VTOLs to carry the tanks and the tubes over the mountains and lob shells at their leisure at either Lyran force, but there were none to be had. He made another mental note to request some; combined-arms was all well and good, but only 'Mechs could fight on any surface. The tracked combat vehicles tried to keep pace, but he had to divert them to smoother-going mountain passes. Instead of directly supporting his force, they were on independent duty, covering the passes the Rangers might take.

He was still thundering along as the shells arced above and landed deep inside the Marik-drawn triangle. He kept an eye on the tenuous link the 18th Marik had established with his artillery commander, having his targeting system project the coordinates. The last thing he wanted was a 'friendly-fire' incident with artillery.

The 2nd Dieron Regulars slowed as they reached their waypoints, and Sho-sho Von Galberston allowed his battalion commanders to position their 'Mechs. The transport VTOLs set down where they could, disgorging platoons of heavy infantry, and lifting off again to spot the incoming Rangers.

He stood his 'Mech in the midst of his force and surveyed it with pride.

Sho-sho Von Galberston was still smiling when a Marik Overlord exploded.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 19 April 2013, 12:04:10
Unity Palace, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
30 July 3029



Chandrasekhar Kurita smiled gratefully as an attendant began fanning him with what appeared to be a large peacock feather. The breeze was welcome; Luthien was humid at the best of times but he had long ago acclimated to it. Mentally, at least. His body, however, had chosen to forget the lessons his time at Court had imparted.

Theodore had seemed to be more of a traditionalist than most; the industrial-grade environment control system built into Unity Palace was set to dehumidify the air and cool it slightly. Even Takashi had bowed to the need for air conditioning.

He glanced at the floor and nodded in approval.

"What is it, 'Uncle'?" Theodore Kurita asked distractedly. The Coordinator stood alongside him, no formal Court had been called today. Or any day since the first. The Coordinator was busying himself with a noteputer, idly going through his agenda.

"Oh, just remembering."

"Hmm?"

"Your father once threatened to gut me right here, unless I could give him a good reason not to."

Theodore stilled but forced a smile. "And what did you tell him?"

"He wouldn't get my blood out of the floor, not without coating the beautiful, beautiful hardwood with something else than varnish," Chandrasekhar said, fondly. "Glad he saw to it; otherwise you'd have to rip up the floors, I'd imagine--"

"--Chandy--"

"--or install some drains," Chandrasekhar finished, his voice hardening. It was the harshest tone he had ever taken with his younger cousin, who now ruled their Great House and the Draconis Combine.

The Coordinator turned dangerously towards him and he returned the gesture blandly. Finally, Theodore caved with a shake of his head.

"You have no one around here to tell you when you malf something up," Chandy said with a hint of a smile. "I will do that for you, my dear nephew."

Theodore shook his head again. "That's not why I asked you to come back to Luthien. I need someone I can trust--"

"--Ooh!--"

"--to run the Combine's economy--"

"--Aww!--"

"--and advise me, personally, and privately, on other matters."

"Very well, I accept!" Chandrasekhar pronounced and snapped his fingers to the side. A servant appeared with a cool drink and placed it in his outstretched hand. She scurried away quickly. "What is my new title, dear nephew?" he asked after raising a toast.

"Director of the Interior--"

"--oh come now! Director of the Interior? I sound like a Capellan feng-shui geomancer!" Chandy said with a shake of his head. "Pick something else."

Exasperated, Theodore blew out a breath. "What if I pick someone else?"

"Might be for the best, actually," he said seriously. "Dreary Yorinaga's already your Chief Warlord or something, and Ninyu Kerai might as well be an adoptive Kurita from what I hear. There are other families, merchant families, that have proper scions..."

"That's your advice? Hire someone else?" Theodore asked, flabbergasted.

Chandrasekhar Kurita turned fully towards his cousin and bowed. "You killed a lot of people. Industrialists. Wealthy ones, with connections. They. Are. Afraid."

"They should be!" Theodore yelled, hurling the noteputer away. "Do you know what they've done?"

"Yes. And so does the rest of the Combine."

Theodore Kurita took a step back, as if physically hit.

"Whatever economic gains we made with those reforms your father and your predecessor passed pale in comparison to the depression we'll face. Soon. You publicly executed CEOs from the oldest corporations within the Combine, even after centuries of our interference in their affairs. And then you gutted their executives--sometimes literally--as punishment," Chandrasekhar paused, sipping his sweating drink, "and you did it all publicly. Shaming them. It's a miracle our economy isn't in a freefall with the panic you and your silly sword have caused. Tono."

"Get out."

"No."

Theodore's face flushed angrily at him, then he paused. The Otomo, five in all, did not take one step to obey. They stood, silently, and would need to be ordered directly. It was the harshest form of protest the Otomo would take.

Chandrasekhar watched this, coolly, as he sipped his drink. The Coordinator's rage dissipated with every breath, and slowly he made his way to the Chrysanthemum Throne. He sat and stared at the floor.

My poor, rash cousin...

"What position will you take?" Theodore asked, minutes later.

The hint of a plea almost broke Chandrasekhar's heart. "Keizai-no-Seishi."

The Coordinator looked up. "Chief Delegate of the Economy?"

"It sounds better in japanese, I admit. And I'll need to form an Executive Board. Maybe the High Board?"

"You just said--"

"--I know, but I trust them less than you. But I'm not comfortable in the light, dear nephew. You'll need to find a replacement in a year or five."

Theodore dipped his head once.

Chandrasekhar Kurita, Keizai-no-Seishi, bowed deeply and held it for a long time.

He looked up, clinked the ice in the now empty glass, and winked at his cousin. "Oh... someone should tell General Wolf."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 19 April 2013, 13:25:56
Wolfsden, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
30 July 3029



"That's not what I wanted to hear," Jaime Wolf admitted.

Dechan nodded. He had finished delivering his report, in private, to the general almost an hour ago and both had been silent since. The older man had aged with every word he spoke, but his eyes never dulled.

"It's not what I wanted to find," Dechan confessed.

"Where is she now?"

Major Fraser shook his head. Wolf held up a hand and tapped a query into his terminal. "She's still in a planning session. She'll be in it all afternoon."

Dechan wrestled with the question, and all he managed to get out was one word. "How?"

"Fast."

He nodded, stood, and opened the door. Anton Shadd walked in, looking properly grim and saluted.

"My team's ready, general."

"I want her alive."

"Yes sir."

"Are you sure she hasn't done anything else?"

"Sir, we can't be--" Dechan stepped in but Wolf cut him off.

"--How sure are you that she can't hurt us?"

"Not fully, sir," Anton said, almost apologetically. "She has full access..."

General Wolf sighed and leaned forward. "Dechan, go with them. I want her alive."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Major Fraser checked the stungun's setting, feeling its weight as he deposited it inside a stack of boxes. He would walk into the briefing room first, his presence would draw less suspicion than a member of the Seventh Kommando, no matter how well-disguised.

He was just bearing lunch for friends, so he pushed the doors aside with a knock and a smile.

Natasha Kerensky's head perked up at the smell. She almost smiled then sensed the danger. Her heavy pistol was out in a moment, and Fraser pulled the stungun, dropped the lunch, scattering shawarma and pizza on the floor, as he dove for cover.

Major Kerensky held her fire, but their movements panicked everyone else in the room. Civilians and commtechs scattered away, dashing backwards to the walls or ducking like him.

"What are you doing, Dechan?" Natasha asked, her voice steady.

"Put the gun down, Natasha!" he yelled. "We're--"

The loud boom tore a chunk of the plasteel desk and deafened him.

"We?" the Black Widow asked, scattering chairs aside and taking cover from the windows. "Who's 'we'?"

Dechan hefted the stungun from the holster to his hand, and judged his chances. His cover, fake wood and commercial-grade plasteel, wouldn't stop any of the Black Widow's bullets. For a moment, he was thankful for Shadd's men: they hadn't charged in, stunguns blazing. Then he wondered if it was because they weren't worried about his safety. Whether that meant they trusted him or didn't value him, he couldn't decide.

"Natasha!--"

"It wasn't me!" the Black Widow yelled. "Whatever it was, it wasn't me!"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Boom. The ferrocrete wall cratered above him.

"Don't bullshit me, Dechan," the Black Widow warned.

"Natasha!" another voice yelled, from within the room. Marisha Dandridge stood slowly from the group huddling in the corner. "Natasha," she pleaded, "put the gun down. Whatever it is, it'll be okay."

"Marisha! Stay where you are!" Dechan yelled.

"Tasha, it's okay. It's okay..." Marisha kept saying, advancing slowly towards the Black Widow.

Dechan flicked the screen on his stungun, bent it over the table, and watched as Natasha glared at the camera mounted on its barrel. Then, she looked at the woman slowly walking towards her, both hands up. She let her pistol sway as Marisha stepped closer.

He aimed right at her and squeezed the trigger.

Marisha Dandridge crumpled into a heap.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: pensiveswetness on 19 April 2013, 13:55:25
Marisha Dandridge= who is she? the name rings old bells but i cant recall exactly who she is, though i suppose in this AU, she isnt a good guy...
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 19 April 2013, 14:04:38
Marisha Dandridge= who is she? the name rings old bells but i cant recall exactly who she is, though i suppose in this AU, she isnt a good guy...

Jamie's 2nd wife
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 19 April 2013, 17:00:40
Also, the mother of his children (in canon).
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 19 April 2013, 18:37:49
 :o I'm more curious about what Natasha is imagining Dechan came in there to get her for?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 19 April 2013, 19:25:44
The Black Widow saying it wasn't me, priceless. ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 20 April 2013, 05:39:56
Also, the mother of his children (in canon).

Except for Mckenzie iirc ?

Natasha taking pot-shots at Dechan suggests that she has been up to SOMETHING unless minor discipline issues are being dealt with somewhat more summarily than in canon.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 April 2013, 10:49:18
Quite right.

Speaking of Mackenzie...

=================================
Wolfsden, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
31 July 3029



Jaime Wolf read the first page of the report for the fifth time. The words made sense, but didn't go beyond his eyes. Nothing he focused on made any sense.

He read the words for the sixth time, saying each word out loud. Finally, he gave up and leaned into his chair to stretch. He hadn't moved in hours, and his eyes teared from the strain of staring at the terminal during all that time.

Dechan Fraser entered his office without knocking, and he felt the younger man's hesitation to see his commanding officer with tears in his eyes. Jaime didn't wipe these tears away, he hadn't begun to cry at all.

"You wanted to see me, sir?" the major asked, closing the door behind him.

"Fraser, yes. Come, sit," he said, more roughly than he intended. "Tell me what you make of this report," Jaime said, turning the screen to Dechan.

He sat for a few minutes while Dechan scanned the report. Finally, the major looked up and shrugged. "Just like you predicted, general. Hanse Davion has prevailed upon Blackwell Industries to give up the Marauder II lines on New Valencia. It says here that most of the equipment was lifted off and its on its way here, or rather, Nagano."

Jaime nodded, face impassive, but inside he was thankful. I haven't completely lost it...

"Though there is some indication that the First Prince only did so due to the DropShips arriving, possibly to dismantle the line," Dechan continued. "But I don't buy it. Even if they are communicating without HPGs, as everyone seems to think they're doing, the replacement equipment they brought from New Avalon required months to haul."

Major Fraser shook his head. "I disagree on the two possibilities offered by the analyst, general. I don't believe the seizing of the New Valencia factory was triggered directly by abandoning it. Nor do I believe Hanse Davion had already ordered it taken, and that the equipment got out in the nick of time."

Jaime, impressed, asked "Why?" and poured himself a glass of water and offered one to Dechan, who took it.

"It sets a dangerous precedent. The Federated Suns is just as militant as the Draconis Combine, but its economy is far more open. They deal openly with every nation, even the Confederation and Combine. With their economy as it is, and with ComStar's 'Exclusion' still in place, seizing one factory line for more 'Mechs to replace Quentin or Marduk doesn't make sense."

Dechan paused and sipped, considering his next words. "I don't believe Hanse Davion did this at all. Shipping parts from New Avalon also doesn't make sense."

Jaime nodded for the major to continue, digesting the man's insight.

"New Valencia is three jumps away from the Combine border. Four jumps with the one-jump gap both sides are sticking to, amazingly enough. That's still not that far for the DCMS to strike it." Dechan finished his glass then poured more water into it. "The Blackwell facilitiy there's partnered with General Motors, right sir?"

When Jaime nodded, the young man continued. "Kathil. It's the only other reliable source of equipment for a Marauder line, and I doubt Hanse Davion moved thousands of tons of equipment in the hopes of replacing lost ones. No, someone was planning an expansion after seizing the plant in the first place."

"Who?"

"I don't know, sir."

General Wolf nodded. Impressed, though concerned at the intuitive leaps the major made, he was still mostly impressed. It feels right. And so does this...

"Thank you, major. That was most helpful. Please stay a moment, I want you to meet someone."

The major nodded at him and Jaime turned to his comm. "Lt. Darnell Winningham report to my office at once," he said, trusting the commtechs to relay the order through properly.

The young officer entered minutes later, obviously having run most of the way to the general's makeshift office. He saluted crisply and stood at ease at Jaime's command.

Jaime Wolf rose, pressed down on a button that sealed the room tightly. An echo, a buzz, at the edge of hearing murmured around them; the white noise generator affecting biological and electronic spying tools.

"Major Dechan Fraser, I'd like you to meet my son, Mackenzie Wolf. Mackenzie, this is your new commanding officer."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 22 April 2013, 11:54:38
Way to keep us hanging there, but I want to know what was up with the shoot up?  ;)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Ajax_Wolf on 22 April 2013, 13:57:15
Quote
The major nodded at him and Jaime turned to his comm. "Lt. Darnell Winningham report to my office at once," he said, trusting the commtechs to relay the order through properly.

The young captain entered minutes later, obviously having run most of the way to the general's makeshift office. He saluted crisply and stood at ease at Jaime's command.

Damn, the Dragoons promote quick. Who says nepotism isn't useful?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 April 2013, 14:07:01
Haha, thanks for catching that!  O0

I had him as a Captain initially, but it looks like he got promoted to that (canonically) only after joining the Black Widow Battalion. So, he's a lieutenant.

And I do love to tease.  ^-^
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 23 April 2013, 03:20:53
Next post he'll be a General. :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 23 April 2013, 10:25:52
Oh maybe not this post...


==============================================

Wolfsden, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
1 August 3029



Lt. Anton Shadd coughed up blood and dust as he woke.

His ears were still ringing, but he could feel the little impacts of debris still falling all around. Training served and saved him then, and he ran to cover just as streaks slammed into where he fell. He fired his blazer pistol, tracing the shots back to their source, then Anton dove behind a wall and kept running.

The Wolfsden was meant to be a separate, civilian facility for the Wolf's Dragoons. It wouldn't tower over the mercenary halls that were only just filling with veterans from shattered units across the Sphere. Just the first of hopefully many mercenary headquarters, although built with a unique design and some structural reinforcements for emergencies

No one had expected this.

He had a few moments to think as the gunners sent controlled bursts along his path. The angle of the weapons fire meant a VTOL or a WiGE, firing through the torn open corner of the building, but the grade of weapons meant it was a civilian or a primary transport model. If 'Mech-grade anti-personnel weapons were trained on him, no amount of training could've saved him.

Anton took a look behind at what had been the brig.

The demo charges had been placed outside, shaped to funnel their explosions inwards. It allowed for teams to burst right in, cut the plasteel cage apart, and steal their prize. The second detonation was meant to handle their response teams, and had knocked him out.

He noted it all down on his commlink, typing it in and bursting it up the chain. As the head of a Seventh Kommando Platoon he had few superiors and all needed to know what he was seeing.

The VTOL flew overhead, scattering the haze of smoke and dust away as it landed on the roof. The gunners had given up hunting for him and he resisted the urge to take potshots at them. The Karnov was used by everyone, the tilt-rotor design was known to be sturdy and easy to maintain. That wouldn't narrow down their list of attackers.

He could feel firefights deeper within the Wolfsden, and Anton scrabbled towards a hidden weapons locker and tapped in the release codes. He holstered the blazer pistol and took up a laser carbine and a strap of various grenades.

There weren't a lot of bodies, and he was slightly thankful that the attack came at midnight when most of the civilians were well away. Only a skeleton guard was present; even the general had headed home for the night. Their attackers had planned well, hoping to overwhelm the security as they made their way to their exfil point on the roof.

Anton admired the simplicity of it all, and would have wagered their attackers would've mowed over even Dragoon infantry guards. Tonight's security team, however, were all from Seventh Kommando.

He saw the first dead as he entered the lobby. Swathed in featureless black armour, the visor was shattered by a heavy caliber bullet. The assault team had planned to face light infantry weapons, and had suited up for mobility. Two more had paid the price for that decision, and Anton stepped over them quickly as he traced the firefight to the stairs.

The spiral staircases, gleaming white just minutes ago, were now blackened and torn as the Seventh Kommando's firepower tore apart the attackers. Anton counted a full platoon making their way up.

His team had to give ground to delay the attackers, but another black-clad squad was making their way down from the roof. They did the wise thing and got off the third floor, sniping at both groups behind the only heavy cover in the open area that formed the heart of the Wolfsden.

The attackers had settled in, whittling down the ferro-crete with precise shots. Anton killed two with a burst from his carbine then hurled a stun grenade amongst them. He ducked back into hiding, watching how their attackers responded.

They recovered quickly, leaving the dead behind, and taking up the stunned, who they protected and dragged along, as they continued up the stairs.

He glimpsed their prize blazing away with her heavy pistol until the momentum carried her up.

Anton let them go. He leaned against an information kiosk, oddly untouched in the firefight, and tapped again into his commlink. The dead bodies would be trapped, he knew, and he needed to alert the less aware.

The assault was long finished by the time medics had arrived to tend to him. The fantastic Dragoon medtechs had trauma equipment that could handle the worst of today's battlefields, and Anton waited patiently for the foam to fill up his ears to protect and begin repairing his eardrums.

He accepted a cup of water and obeyed as a medtech ordered him to sit as they ran scans on him. Anton let them fuss over him but he waved them off as the lobby doors opened.

LT. Anton Shadd saluted as General Wolf arrived and held it until it was returned, right when Jaime Wolf was right on him.

He tapped his ears when the general began to speak, and the older man nodded his understanding. Jaime took the commlink from Anton's hands and typed.

'Report.'

Anton erased the message then typed, 'No fatalities. Some injured. We killed eleven. Natasha has escaped.'

Jaime digested the short messages then returned the link.

'Well done.'

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: LightGuard on 23 April 2013, 10:55:27
Wait, what?  ???

I'm now officially confused and anticipating more. Until more arrives, I need to reread the story and see if I can pick up some more clues.

The other explanation is that the author is evil... }:)
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 23 April 2013, 11:04:18
Here's a spoiler, of sorts. Of course, it could be a red herring or I am just that evil.

Clue: Fadre Singh

Well, maybe that's not much of a clue...

What happened to him after all this time? They went through a great deal of trouble to recapture him.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 23 April 2013, 17:57:30
Something smells fishy about this.
Oh, the red herring that's been sitting in the sun for a day ::).
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: wolfgar on 23 April 2013, 18:08:06
my gods what a plant
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Stormcrow on 24 April 2013, 00:47:59
It's a Dragoon version of Justin Allard. It's easy to see.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 24 April 2013, 02:26:34
Question is who is it they're infiltrating her in with? Com Star perhaps?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 24 April 2013, 12:13:48
Salonis Grass Ocean, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
3 August 3029



Two shafts of gold light burned the spaces where the Warhammer was and should have been.

The 70-ton 'Mech shuffled to the right as a third bar of light burned into the ground, tracing its new vector. Grass burned, the ground cracked, and dirt foamed into glass as the beam wasted itself. The Warhammer, never ceasing its graceful motions, set its barrel-arms to the last attacker, hurling two blinding blue-white streams at it.

A Panther, hunched over a small hill, staggered as its armour was torn away by charged particles. The twin PPC blasts burrowed deep, making a ruin of the complex components underneath.

It was the second time Yorinaga Kurita had fired his weapons. It was also the second 'Mech he had killed.

He veered the Warhammer left even as he swung his torso hard right, knowing just how the turn and the swing would affect his 'Mech's footfalls. He took pleasure in these little acts of precision, melding multiple motions into one. He avoided the patches of fire that littered the plains, the grass ocean as the locals called it. Set off by errant laser-fire, the waving blue-green grasses were not prone to wildfires. But heavy lasers incinerated 'Mech armour at its touch and easily set off large patches of grass to burn.
 
His two remaining opponents sped off, using the light haze of smoke for cover and moving much more swiftly than standard Panthers could. Fuhito Tetsuhara had demonstrated to him, quite ably, how to maintain a higher running speed on a Panther: something Yorinaga was only vaguely familiar with. Yet these 1st Amphigean Light Assault Group variants were moving much faster than Fuhito could.

Silently, he commended them on their tactics. They gave all signs of panicking but he could tell a timed maneuver when he saw one, and the two Panthers blazed with their large lasers again.

Yorinaga evaded the shots before they were made. It struck him that sacrificing the hitting power and range of a PPC for the extra footspeed seemed unnecessary. Speed and agility are not the same, and mobility is a matter of perspective, he thought, exhaling. He tried to impart that lesson to his headstrong cousin and was only partly successful.

Yorinaga killed the Amphigean Panther on his left, the more distant one, with a single blast to its right hip. The Light 'Mech's entire leg tore away, and it crashed headfirst into Thessalonika's punished soil. Its engine shut-down on its own. The closer, more daring, Panther angled away again but he had already maneuvered the Warhammer into its path.

Two red beams lashed out, melting the armour over the 35-tonner's heart as a half-dozen warheads slammed into it. The mangled gyroscope betrayed the pilot and it collapsed onto its knees, skidding to a stop just metres before him.

Yorinaga peered into the Light 'Mech's cockpit and saw a sudden flash. He shook his head sadly as the 'Mech crumpled, it engines automatically dampening, as dead now as its pilot.

Solemnly, Yorinaga strode the Heavy 'Mech back towards the centre of the field. The broken remnants of the 1st Amphigean Light Assault Group watched on, in silence, at his approach. A battalion of the 1st Genyosha matched them across the expanse.

In the middle, the Amphigean commander's wrecked Grasshopper smouldered. The duel, or duels, lasted three minutes according to Yorinaga's chronometer, and he realized he had indulged his opponents overly.

He stood beside the wreck and faced the remnants. "Buso-senshi!" he called to them, using Theodore Kurita's term. "Your officers have fought bravely, and they have won you a chance to restore your honour! Join me against the ronin and your honour will be restored and you will once again serve the Dragon!"

The threat indicators all lit up at once, streaming makes and models of targeting systems trying desperately to lock on to his Warhammer. He silenced the warnings and kept his 'Mech still.

The Genyosha battalion behind him moved at once. The heaviest 'Mechs of the 1st Amphigean remnants were the lightest amongst the Genyosha, and what expertise the Amphigeans possessed as light cavalry paled against the consummate MechWarriors' gunnery.

Yorinaga watched the battle unfold before him, noticing that of the two remaining battalions of the 1st Amphigeans one had remained behind. Their targeting systems had not tried to lock on to him, but neither did they power down their 'Mechs.

Their pride is intact, Yorinaga surmised. Good. The Dragon has no need for self-defeated 'warriors.

The thought struck him and his face burned with shame.

The last of the ronin died as he made his way to the 1st Amphigean Light Assault Group. The battalion knelt in the dirt, and Kanrei Yorinaga walked amongst them, converse with each warrior over comms. He measured each.

Yorinaga's commpanel blinked and the priority call interrupted his conversation.

"Kanrei, multiple DropShip contacts! Our fighters are enaged in near-orbit!"

"Show me."

The feed was delayed, the fighter's systems it was streamed from couldn't spare the bandwidth. Not when enemy electronic warfare systems were present. It was struck, several times, by things Yorinaga couldn't see. It flipped and loosed a stream of shells at a Union-class DropShip.

The last image the fighter sent showed the Union's weapon turrets blasting it apart. A black and red triangle was visible on its side, the hound's head clearly visible.



Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: drakensis on 25 April 2013, 02:05:54
Quote
Yorinaga watched the battle unfold before him, noticing that only a third of the two remaining battalions the 1st Amphigeans possessed, one had remained behind.
This sentence is unclear. Do you mean that 1/3rd of the LAG did not fight?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 25 April 2013, 07:27:10
This sentence is unclear. Do you mean that 1/3rd of the LAG did not fight?

Thanks! Fixed now.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 30 April 2013, 12:15:18
237 km southwest of Tyrsis City, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



Chu-sa Akira Brahe loosed a flight of short-ranged missiles at the Wolfhound, chasing the smoking corkscrews with red flashes from each of his medium lasers. The Light 'Mech staggered as its armour evapourated at the lasers' touch, then recoiled as the warheads gouged deeply into its legs.

Akira rode out the heat pouring from his 'Mech's Vlar 300 fusion engine, pushing forward to stay on the WLF-1's rear left arc as its pilot scrambled away.

The mercenary's lancemate had already paid the price for trying to ambush him in his 'isolated' Orion, but one tightly grouped salvo of long-ranged missiles and autocannon fire ended that plan, and that Griffin, quickly. Now, the remaining swifter Wolfhound found itself hounded at close quarters and unable to bring its lasers into play.

Chu-sa Brahe pivoted the 75-ton 'Mech and followed the WLF-1's maneuver even before the Kell Hound begun it, remaining untouchable by any of its lasers as he slashed its legs again with bursts of red light. Another flight of missiles slammed into the now-tattered legs and the Wolfhound took a step and left its right foot stuck in the muddied and trampled grassland.

It came to a sudden jarring crash and Akira was already slowing down. He waited, weapons levelled at the back of the 35-tonner's head, until his thermal readouts showed the engine shutting down. The Kell Hound pilot emerged, bloodied but breathing, and Akira offered her a salute even as a Genyosha infantry squad arrived on a Hover APC to secure her.

Akira shook his head at the mercenaries' foolishness. The Kell Hounds had rebuilt themselves to a full regiment and seemed to have lost none of their fighting edge, yet they had dispersed their strength across all of Thessalonika.

As if this farmworld has much worth defending... Akira thought. He tapped commands to the rest of his company, ordering them to remain hidden, relayed via line-of-sight lasers along a series of hovering drones. His ploy of being a lost and defenseless Genyosha pilot hadn't yielded much fruit till the mercenary patrol decided to engage him.

He read through his scouts' reports, relayed across the same drone network, and found no company of Kell Hounds ready to avenge their comrades.

Pity. This skirmish is the heaviest fighting I've heard of yet, and it lasted little more than a minute-- A high priority message interrupted his thinking.

It was nothing more than a series of waypoints, preceded by a priority level, and Chu-sa Brahe immediately opened his command channel.

"Akira's Avengers, assemble!" he yelled, feeling pride that the elite Rasalhaguian pilots had chosen that name for his company. "The Hounds have slipped their leashes," he announced, sharing with them the waypoints he received.

Quietly, as the company of Heavy and Medium 'Mechs followed, he tapped a query and sent it along the network using another path with a different ID.

The response was nearly instantaneous.

Akira Brahe smiled.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 30 April 2013, 13:30:20
Tyrsis City, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



Mira tried to relax as she sat in front of Morgan Kell. She was familiar with the noble-turned-mercenary from her time in Lyran space. Even the lowliest FedSuns farmer had some inkling of what the Kell Hounds were.

She didn't know who the young man beside him was. He didn't wear a well-cut Kell Hounds uniform, or a uniform for that matter. He had the eyes of an idealist and the face of a 'warrior, and held himself in a relaxed but thoughtful manner.

Morgan Kell had no interest in introducing the other mercenary--yes, she was sure he was--and merely continued debriefing her. Harshly. It had been the third such debriefing and it had only been a day.

Even the ISF weren't this annoying--well, they were worse.

"How can you be sure?" Colonel Kell was asking. "How can you be sure you are not being used?"

"I can't," she answered honestly. And coldly.

It had no effect on Kell, but the younger mercenary nodded his head at her and leaned in towards the nobleman. "Colonel, perhaps we should let--"

"--Yes, you're quite right, captain," the older man interrupted, his eyes flashing a warning to her even as she stood.

The young mercenary spoke softly. "Leftenant DeVries," he said rising and opening the door to the stale office, "this is Mr. Roberts from the DMI."

Mira rose and saluted. The DMI, or Department of Military Intelligence, was the intelligence arm of the AFFS. Not quite as well-known as the ISF, but Mira believed, much more effective. Despite the civilian title, 'Roberts' was an officer.

They don't trust each other... the thought struck her as 'Roberts' returned her salute.

"Leftenant, if you'll come with me, we'll need to go over a few details for your trip back to Federated space--"

"--What?" she asked, stopping at the doorway. "Back to the Suns?"

"Yes, is there a problem?--"

"--Yes, there is a problem!" She didn't mean to yell. "I have actionable intelligence, right friggin' now, that'll help. Now that you broke the stupid Truce in the first place--"

"--We didn't."

Mira turned and faced the young mercenary. Colonel Kell was looking away.

"We didn't," he repeated. "The Kuritans broke it first."

Leftenant DeVries nodded. "Those raids into Skye?"

"No," Morgan Kell said. "The reactor..."

"No one has died, at least not yet," the younger man said after a moment. "Tharkad City's been abandoned, the radiation is not that bad. Not much worse than some dead cities you'll fight across on a hundred worlds. But then again, those are dead cities."

Mira breathed in and nodded towards the optichips scattered on the table in front of Kell. "That has stuff that can help--"

"--I know," he said and extended his hand. "I'm Grayson Death Carlyle, we found the Helm Core."

Leftenant DeVries shook the hand and then her head. "No, I mean there's more than just the Helm Core in there. I copied all of the Imperial Institute's research, and the Combine has more still-radioactive 'dead cities' than any other Successor State." She looked them in the eyes. "I know, I helped collate it. I also know the production schedules for the Combine's top manufacturers, and when and how far along they are in upgrading," Mira said, turning back to the DMI officer. "All of which will be wasted as we try to haul ass back to the Suns."

Grayson walked closer to her side and asked, "Why did you go to Thessalonika?"

Mira smiled. "It wasn't for the pastoral scenery, captain. There's a museum here, and they have more than what's on display. We need to catch up."

The two mercenary commanders nodded, one eagerly, the other wearily.

"You're not here for me, are you?" Mira asked, shocked at the words pouring from her mouth.

"Not just you, leftenant," Colonel Kell answered. "Not just you."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 02 May 2013, 13:58:47
uh-oh
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 03 May 2013, 15:58:15
Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



"Get away from the window!"

"But mo-om! There are gaijin mercs in the street!" the boy said half-pleadingly.

"Dinner," his mom replied, in a soft and sweet tone. He gulped and immediately closed the window, ran to a mirror to see how dirty he was, and drew some water to clean up.

"Coming!" he yelled as he wiped his face and hands on his clothes.

He ran to their dinner table, smelling the miso soup and roasted Pesht buffalo and all thoughts of fancy mercenaries were gone. His mom, the all-knowing, smiled beatifically at him. He learned that word from the priests here, but he didn't think it meant the same to them as it did to him.

He was in trouble.

He resisted the urge to apologize, unsure which of his numerous hidden activities had been uncovered, and instead bowed down to mouth a prayer he barely understood. When his mom finally reached for a bowl seconds after he finished praying, he went immediately for the buffalo.

"I spoke with Herbert's mother today," she said in between careful sips.

Uh-oh.

"Silly woman can't seem to remember that you slept over her house for all of last week..." his mom said, taking out a slender knife to filet the buffalo steak. His eyes widened at how smoothly and thinly she cut. "Or maybe she was just confused, because it seemed Herbert had slept over our house instead."

She laughed and suddenly the hot food wasn't as comforting. "Maybe I'm the one who's losing it, raising a boy who can bend and warp space and time will do that--"

"--I'm sorry," he said with his mouth full of food. He swallowed, sweat beading on his forehead as he choked and had to chew. "I'm sorry, mom," he said finally.

"Sorry that you were caught. Where did you three go?"

"Three?"

"You, Herbert, and Mai. You know, that girl you like?" she said in the most even of tones.

His heart clamped and the sweat froze on his face. She knows everything! What is she, ISF?

"Well?" his mom asked after a short while. "What's with the silence?"

Experience told him there were three legitimate avenues to pursue: one, he could pretend to be indignant and angry at his feelings being mocked but that wouldn't deflect the suspicion; two, he could fess up; three, he could deny everything.

"Mom--"

"--Try again," she said, slicing a very thin strip from a filet with a single flick.

"We took the bus to Tyrsis and stayed in the city," he confessed. "Mai wanted to see the big city," he said, somewhat sadly. He had been to really big cities, cities that looked like it covered their entire world. "And Herbert's really into tech so we went to the museum."

"How were the clubs?" his mom asked, continuing to eat efficiently.

He shivered. "They were... okay."

"And those two boys you hurt?"

"Mom, they weren't 'boys' they were older than me..."

How did she... I have to find out how she finds out.

"And you were showing off for Mai."

He twirled his steak knife and fork in his hands. "A little bit."

"And if those boys hurt you? More than they did?" Despite it all, he was still surprised. "What kind of mother would I be if I didn't notice you wearing long-sleeves in this heat? Did you have it looked at."

He shook his head. "It didn't look so bad."

"Oh, were you accepted by the Brotherhood already? I didn't know my son was a doctor now!"

He sighed and pushed his plate away. Slowly, he pulled the sports jersey over his head to reveal his bruised arms, bandages strategically placed to keep blood in.

"Mai's handiwork?"

"No," he said, no longer hungry. "Herbie's. She, she was kissing another guy at the club while I got these..."

"And why were you getting these?" his mom asked, pulling out the first aid kit from under the table. It had been resting on her lap all this time, and he didn't notice. She smirked at his realization.

He wasn't going to cry. "They didn't like my eyes," he mumbled. "They called me... they called me 'Hohiro', trying to look like a Kurita. They didn't like my fists either," he added smirking.

Surprisingly, his mom laughed and looked slightly proud before she hardened and began dressing his wounds. "Herbert did a good job," she said finally. "I'll make him a buffalo pot pie, he likes that doesn't he?"

He laughed. "He likes everything, mom."

She took his chin into her right hand and held it firmly. "He is a true friend, Franklin."

"I know, mom. I know."

She nodded and returned to her work. Soon, he was bound more tightly and smelled more medicine-y.

"If the... if the mercenaries win and take this planet, are we going to become Elsies, mom?"

"Oh my, no," she said laughing and so did he.

They both stopped when a heavy hand knocked on their door.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Death by Zeus on 03 May 2013, 23:43:47
Little does Franklin know, but mom is ISF!  Dundunduhnnnnnn  ;D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 May 2013, 16:21:45
3km outside Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



Major Scott Bradley sat impatiently in his new Griffin's cockpit.

His old 'Mech was in pieces, shattered by the Northwind Highlanders who had returned, against orders, and held their homeworld against all comers. Conning the Steiner-model GRF-1S was a smooth experience.

It still smells wrong... no centuries' worth of sweat, abrasive cleansers, and boiled blood. Is there such a thing as a new 'Mech smell? he wondered as he patrolled outside the village. His command lance followed in a loose formation, each one alert and bored, as the infantrymen paraded in the village.

Two had their cockpit doors open, letting in the cooler air despite the trace scents of manure from at least seven different species. A small group of overgrown sheep, with elongated necks, trundled by, utterly unperturbed by the presence of 'Mechs.

Major Bradley nodded knowingly. He conned AgriMechs growing up, and so did a lot of the 'warriors of his generation.

The new generation will be fighting in new 'Mechs, trained in academies instead of farms and forts... I don't like it, he admitted.

The recon drones' feeds cycled in his HUD as infantry scouts reported in regularly, creating a cycle of refreshing voices and vids. He had scattered the scouts beyond the grazing areas near the village and put the drones on patrol several kilometres away. The unending grasslands should give him and his forces plenty of warning time.

Not that he'd need it. His intel weenies assured him no transmissions had been sent.

The village didn't so much as bat an eye when they had showed up; he had been warned that the planet was swedenese, Rasalhaguian, and that meant a much more independent-minded populace. With a lot more guns than swords.
He didn't need the warning, but it helped the ones who had grown up in cities. Ranchers had to deal with predators and many couldn't afford to miss a single shot. They thought he was crazy ordering his battalion's first company to spit and watch the various AgriMechs operating well outside the village.

The AgriMechs would have machine guns at least, he knew. Even this deep in the Combine they'd still have pirate raids, and a dozen machine guns will chew through a ton-and-a-half of armour, he recalled. One or two AgriMechs working together could kill a lot of infantry. He knew that from experience as well.

So far, the liveliest exchange his troopers had to deal with involved getting out of the way of yelling locals. He stopped briefly on a hill, zooming into the village's centre. An island of heavy infantry stood in the village square, gawking at the constant parade of animals on otherwise modern-looking streets.

He spied a few steakhouses that made his stomach grumble in complaint from the rations the Kell Hounds used.

Maybe I can get some of the boys to order us some takeout--

"--Genyosha!
interrupted his commpanel and Scott jumped in his seat. "Genyosha! Incoming from South-South-East, twelve at Point 01605,", the scout repeated more usefully.

"Contact! Genyosha company incoming from North-West, approaching Waypoint Charlie now--"

"More Genyosha, heading fast towards first company, coming in from the east. They're fir--"
the last transmission was cut short and Major Bradley spared a glance at the commpanel while he brought up the map: it read 'communication terminated at source'.

Damn.

He studied the map further. Damn, he repeated. They slipped past the drones--

Garbled cries for help overloaded the comms and Scott flicked through the channels to see who were broadcasting. He zoomed back in to the centre of the village, seeing his black-clad troopers dead on the ground as muzzle flashes erupted from nearby windows. The platoon was already dead, and he cut their comms out of the loop.

His gut told him those were civilians. Kuritan infantry favour laser rifles, he reminded himself, because everyone else they fight uses heavier armour.

Scott brought the map back up and swore. He had wrapped third company and his command lance around the village, on the off-chance he'd need more 'Mechs to intimidate the villagers. He'd scattered first company to cover a group of ranchers, and placed second in a pocket the Genyosha were ignoring.

Without a word to his lance, he ran towards the overwhelmed first company who were already transmitting retreat codes.

He was kilometres away when the village caught on fire.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 May 2013, 16:29:16
Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029


"Mom-please-mom-please-mom-mom-we-have-to-go-please-mom..." the boy repeated, tugging on a corpse.

Franklin knelt beside the body and placed his hands on the little boy's shoulders. The boy turned and buried his face full of tears against his chest, crushing him with desperate strength in a hug. He picked the younger boy up and ran.

"Dylan," he said, remembering the boy's name. "We'll be safe, okay, Dylan? We'll be safe," he repeated into his ears as he ran through the smoke. Buildings had crumpled as the fires ate through their supports; it didn't take long. Trees were a nuisance on Thessalonika--they grew fast, took up space that could be used for grazing, and produced no fruit--so most of the homes and buildings were made of wood.

He ignored the distant reports of gunfire, muffled by the smoke. He ignored the blood spatters and the bits of people. He ignored his fear and trusted in his feet as he ran and ran and ran.

Franklin rapped on the basement door of one of the few ferrocrete buildings in the village. It opened before he could finish and he was annoyed at the breach of protocol, his protocol, but still darted into the general store's basement. The roaring died instantly as the metal door clanked close.

Dylan was already asleep in his arms; half his age, the boy couldn't process the events. Franklin knew he wasn't processing it as well.

He deposited the boy into a bed filled with other children weeping in their sleep. There were too few. They woke from time to time, and they desperately followed him and clung to him despite the many adults walking around.

He ripped off a name-tag sticker and scribbled the boy's full name--he remembered now--and stuck it on his shirt. He didn't want to admit it, but in case the building fell and they'd be all killed, at least the kids wouldn't be buried in unmarked graves. He wrote 'Dylan Moller' in his notebook, under the list of healthy kids, and did his rounds, checking on the few that were awake and those that were hurt.

They all knew him. He was the japanese kid with blue eyes, which even in the 31st century wasn't as common despite a millenium of mixed marriages. Franklin read up on it. He wanted to know why they hated him.

Finally, after checking on baby Joska, he ran to find his mom coordinating the mess. He ran up, tears in his face and kissed his mother on the cheek and hugged her fiercely until she complained about being unable to breathe. She kissed him back on the forehead, her eyes tired and teary, but proud, and she hugged back.

"Kathy... Kathy, sorry to interrupt but we need you..." a man dressed in bloody clothes said. "It's Oleg..."

His mother nodded, kissed him again on the forehead and picked up a medkit and followed. Franklin crawled into his mother's still-warm chair and rested.

She stopped trying to stop me... is that good? he asked himself, drained. He dug into his pockets and found little of the candies and snacks he had stashed so he slowly made his way to the boxes in the far corner and re-stocked. He gave them to the kids he ran into, sometimes the adults too, and they all needed that extra bit of sugar or comfort as they ran back.

Laden again with sweets and treats, he grabbed another one from the box and tore into the wrapper with his teeth. He had a few bottles of water on him too, and he refilled them from the tap. They'd easily drink the entire stock of bottled water in a few days, so he thought it'd be wise to use tap water while they could.

He was filling the last bottle when warm arms hugged him from behind.

"Oh, Frankie!" the girl sobbed as she buried her face into his unshorn hair. It tickled.

"Mai!" he said, blushing, peeling off the girl's arms one by one. He couldn't explain it, all of a sudden, Mai liked him. He'd been trying for months and then just hours ago, seeing him bring little Iro in, the girl was acting like he was her boyfriend. It felt good. And it felt wrong too.

"Mai," he repeated, "what happened to Lars and Vincent? I can't find them--"

"--they died," she said offhandedly. "Look at you, all dirty," she said, suddenly armed with a moist towel and wiping his face. Even his mom didn't care about that, not now.

Franklin grabbed the towel and hurled it into the sink. "How did they die?"

"I don't know!" Mai yelled at him, frustrated. "They just did!"

"Where were you?" he asked, knowing it was an unfair question. Knowing the answer,

"I was helping..."

"With?" Franklin asked, his stomach turning to ice.

"Sorting the supplies..."

Jiro, he thought as all warmth drained from him. She was flirting with Jiro, even now, even after all that she's doing with me. The kissing, the hugs... She let the kids die. He knew that wasn't fair, not completely, but it wasn't untrue either.

His blue eyes flashed and he stared into hers. Mai stepped away from him. Guilt, anger, shame played across her pretty face and she ran away.

Franklin doubted he'll see her again.

Looking around, nodding to the few who made eye contact, he made his way to the door and reminded the old man beside it to only open it after he finished the pattern fully. Once again the old man agreed, and they both knew he'd open the door if anyone knocked.

The door opened, creaking all the while, as the dying village's roars filled his ears again.

Franklin ran into the flames and shadows.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 06 May 2013, 16:40:23
This Franklin I like; I'm assuming he is Franklin Sakamoto and not some other Franklin?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 08 May 2013, 10:49:24
He is that Franklin, though not Sakamoto.

=================================

THE BATTLE FOR THERMI


Catalanta Grazing Grounds, 19 km west of Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



Akira smiled as the mercenaries fled. They trampled swathes of greensward in their retreat and Chu-sa Brahe ordered his 'Mechs to follow the Kell Hounds exactly.

There's only one reason why they'd take those routes... he concluded, angling his Orion to follow the fleeing 'Mechs.

A black-and-red Phoenix Hawk parted the grass before him in his escape, the blades reaching up almost to the 45-ton 'Mech's hips where they hadn't been chewed apart by hungry cattle.

The dark-grey 'Mechs obeyed and fell in; Akira watched as they spaced themselves properly, splitting up into lances and pairs of lances in a staggered column. He nodded, pleased at their reaction. It allowed for the quickest movement while ensuring that no single 'Mech could be ambushed in isolation.

Satisfied, he swapped to MAD sensors, highlighting the clumps of ferrous mines along other paths: more convenient paths, he found as his Heavy 'Mech began stamping down on sucking mud. A Thunderbolt followed him, keeping to his five o'clock some distance away, and had its machine guns cycling in anticipation for an infantry ambush.

The rest of the company began mapping the mines as they continued to hound the mercenaries, automatically sharing their scans in bursts as the Genyosha pilots cycled between the multitude of sensors each of their 'Mechs possessed.

Akira didn't know what to make of the improved sensor and comms protocols, but the Kanrei had ordered them installed without consulting him or anyone else.

Automatically sharing sensor feeds felt like cheating. What's next? Sharing telemetry? he asked himself jokingly.

Regardless, he kept one eye on the shared feed and the other for the satellite feed. Very few commanders used spysats anymore; they weren't exactly stealthy, despite the name, and a measly small laser could burn out enough of its electronics from the surface. But this one hadn't been swatted with a desultory laser blast; it wasn't a spysat, at least not for the military.

Free range beef was Thessalonika's main export, and the Combine relied on its cattle to feed a dozen systems. Raiders were a constant threat. And so was cattle raiding. Observation satellites had been upgraded for centuries until they were very overt military satellites for mostly-civilian use.

The Kell Hounds had ignored that. Akira Brahe smiled again. Today would be a good day.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Starstone Run, 12 km west of Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



Scott Bradley wished it was already tomorrow.

The columns of black smoke pouring from the village was visible for kilometres, especially without high winds or anything else in the way. He watched Thermi burn even as he ran to save his unit.

There were no answers from any of the infantry platoons except one; it was a garbled explanation about rescuing their friends.

God help me, I let them go... The thought still gnawed at him. He could've detached a demi-lance to rein in the troopers, but he hadn't. I'll need them all, and more, against these Snakes...

He could still see the black trails climbing like a stairway in his compressed viewband. Scott flicked that off, switching to a split rear-screen view the younger pilots preferred, as his command lance and third company waited behind the only solid cover for kilometres around. Stone crests and waves splashed up from the muddy ground; part flash-heated crystal, part stone, the dull-grey formations would stop a few 'Mech weapons. He needed the advantage.

The seismic readings were clear on his panels. A company of Genyosha were heading east, right into them, following his company's line of retreat. Exactly. It took careful reading of the sensors, and a few minutes for his 'Mech's computers to process, but it was true.

Why are they avoiding the...

Major Bradley flicked first company's command channel on. "Captain, make best speed to my location now. Pour it on," he added, cutting the link.

He had re-arranged first company to suit his tastes. After Morgan Kell effectively dissolved the Kell Hounds years ago he went solo. He did good for his men and women, even though they lacked the Kell Hounds' tech staff they had their own pride. Their own reputations. It didn't stop him from signing right up as soon as the Kell Hounds reformed, taking his mercenary battatlion with him and making it the Hounds' Third Battalion.

They didn't fight like Kell Hounds. Not fully. Colonel Kell fought with 'Mechs and men, ignoring combat vehicles and aerospace as main combatants. The Genyosha embraced all arms of warfare, and he hated the lack of his own combat vehicles to chase away the ones killing the rest of his infantry outside the village.

He did have a few tanks, however. Newly-built, straight from Tharkad. Scott called them up now and zoomed in on the map before him. He tapped into the commpanel even as he spoke.

"Fire mission," he began, "this is Three Actual. Begin."


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Catalanta Grazing Grounds, 15 km west of Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



There was no warning.

In one moment, the trampled ground clung to his 'Mech's feet. In another, it disintegrated as the artillery shells exploded.

Akira rode out the blast as best he could, letting the five-point harness keep him in place as he focused on staying standing. The rest of the company was scattering, drifting close to the minefields.

Not that it would matter if the long tom shell scored a direct hit.

A nearby blast sheared armour from all over his 'Mech's left side from sheer explosive force and Akira fought to stay moving. The sucking mud proved useful, for once, holding the Orion down. If he fell, the mud wouldn't let him stand, not without 'Mech-sized hands.

Another fell closeby, unearthing a patch of mines that scattered in his path. They didn't explode.

Chu-sa Brahe glanced at the satellite feed, overlaid with the 'minefields' they had detected. At least three in his company had drifted over or near them without setting them off.

Chikusho! he thought, slamming his fist into an armrest before returning to wrestle with the conn. They're not mines! They're sensors!

The company's damage readouts were blinking yellow and orange throughout, with two 'Mechs already dead black.

He had no choice.

Akira Brahe flicked on the comms. "Fall back!"


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Starstone Run, 12 km west of Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
4 August 3029



Scott had warned his men.

Most were new recruits, veterans of the LCAF, but had never fought the Genyosha in battle. That company their artillery had chased off hadfriends. His last company was still too far away, not close enough to help.

His men said they didn't need their help. They were just two companies against their two, plus his command lance. Now, those same men violated comms protocol to contact third company and urge them to get to where they were faster.

The Starstone formations, named after a meteor shower that had pounded the earth and spat up molten crystal-stone, were sturdy. They were rough, heavy, and treacherous to navigate on foot, 'Mech or not. A hill could take the heaviest of combat vehicles while another would crumble if you leaned on it.

They might as well not have been there.

A quarter of his two companies were now dead. And all because they got too confident. All because his men found seismic sensors embedded beneath by the locals to track the free-roaming cattle. He beat back one company with that trick, and he'll lose two, maybe his entire battatlion in exchange.

When the Genyosha came it was as if a tide pouring over the terrain to crash at them. They receded only to strike again and reveal those they killed.

Major Bradley fired his last missiles at the grey Panther that carved more than half-a-ton of armour from his left leg. The scintillating energies locked and froze his exposed actuators. None were destroyed nor were they operating properly now. Helpfully, the damage readout blinked yellow for him.

Fires blossomed on the Panther's back and it lurched satisfactorily. He poured blazing lines at it with his medium lasers, watching as the already hot-running 'Mech bloomed into near shutdown as its engine shielding melted.

A massive shadow parted the burning blades of grass to his right.

Major Bradley's heart skipped a beat as the Warhammer thudded into view. His Griffin managed to lock on, and Scott sighed thankfully, triggering his large laser to flash-melt half a ton across the Heavy's chest even as he strained to backpedal. He'd rather deal with the PPCs than with the array of lasers and missiles the WHM-6K sported.

It obliged him as two fists of lightning slammed into his 'Mech and he fought to stay upright.

I miss that damned Fusigon! he admitted, wanting to retaliate in kind. They had only made contact 157 seconds ago, his battlecomputer told him, as he lost the fight with gravity and crashed down to a pillar of crystal-stone.

The impact drove blackness into his eyes and blood into his mouth.

The Warhammer faded back as well, parting a burning curtain of grass as it stepped back.

Major Scott Bradley stayed alive long enough to trigger the retreat order.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 09 May 2013, 03:43:42
I thought Bradley piloted a Cyclops originally, but i could be wrong, especially since i'm sober. ;D O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 09 May 2013, 09:06:41
You may be right, I cut out Bradley's scenes on Tharkad (I think) and they were stomped there. They were on Northwind too, got mangled by the Highlanders.

I just had him written down as having a new 'Mech and decided on the GRF-1S!  :))
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 09 May 2013, 14:56:37
Unity Palace, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
7 August 3029



Theodore closed his Kanrei's report on the Rasalhague campaign and stood to stretch.

The Kell Hounds... what did they want on Thessalonika? He moved to call Ninyu on the comm, forgetting that the new ISF Director had begged leave to return to New Samarkand.

Theodore sighed as he thought of the long journey. The Internal Security Force had taken the former capital over centuries ago and ruled it like was their own. No Coordinator had commented on it, publicly, but in the private family diaries that were passed along Theodore recalled more than one expressing concern.

His ancestors had abandoned most of New Samarkand's populace to their fates when Sanethia made Luthien the new capital. Many families that had supported Shiro Kurita spread across throughout the Combine, sometimes failing, but usually carving out their own fiefdoms of civilian rule.

He circled his desk and sat to admire the glowing hologram of a map of the Draconis Combine. Though two-dimensional instead of the haphazard three-dimensional web it was in reality, the Prefectures and Districts that arranged the Combine was a bureaucratic necessity. It was the Minor Houses that ruled clusters of stars, and they didn't respect the imaginary lines drawn on the map.

Shiro Kurita needed only their allegiance, a tithe, and their adherence to his rule. Beyond that, every Coordinator since then had left the Minor Houses alone.

His grandfather didn't. Hohiro Kurita--Hohiro Kurita the first, he amended--had sought to play the Minor Houses against each other like his father had done with his Warlords. His grandfather had been less successful; the Minor Houses were embroiled in their petty games until they were disturbed and forced to band together.

Theodore had long suspected that it was the Minor Houses, not Rasalhaguian rebels, that had assassinated his grandfather. Or pulled enough strings to allow it to happen.

It was a hidden world just beneath the canopy of wars of giant robots. And it was a far more dangerous world.

Jasmine Kurita was at his door.

"Mother!" he said, startled.

"It is good to see you, my son," Jasmine Kurita said slowly, with a touch of reproach. He had not visited as often as he should have. She walked towards him, gracefully dismissing the Otomo with serene glances. She stopped, turned and offered her arm, which Theodore took automatically. "Walk with your poor mother, will you?"

Theodore obeyed, automatically, but graciously. They walked along in silence, passing the many halls and rooms until they reached the empty throne room. Court had not resumed even after Chandrasekhar Kurita insisted. Theodore was too busy to deal with them and their petty intrigues.

His mother's features already chastised him for that thought and he bowed and tapped his mother's hand gently.

"Your father had no use for the Court," she said. "For many years after your grandfather's assassination, the Luthien Court was nothing more than pageantry. Until a series of incidents, you were too young to remember, forced an internal war. A Minor House, Sapienza, was found dealing with the Federated Suns."

"Aren't all the Minor Houses doing so?" Theodore asked, slightly confused but mostly being polite.

Jasmine smiled. "Of course; no matter what the O5P says, my son, it's hard to close off the borders completely. It does lead to a problem with taxation though."

Theodore raised an eyebrow.

"How do you mark down something you bought from Federated or Lyran merchants? How do you account for the sales you've made to them in exchange? House Sapienza wasn't brought down because they dealt with traders from the Suns, your father Takashi took steps because their books showed they weren't paying their taxes fully."

"Are you saying I should have the Minor Houses audited? It sounds appealing but I'm already... unpopular with them at the moment."

Jasmine Kurita shook her gently. Theodore found himself becoming defensive, knowing the thorns hidden by the 'Flower of the Realm' were about to prick and wound him. He thought he was beyond that now.

"I tell you the truth, my son: House Sapienza did nothing the other Minor Houses didn't; they were fastidious in their record-keeping and their businesses were profitable; they paid their taxes in full; and they were still destroyed."

With that, and a kiss on the cheek, his mother left him standing in the echoing throne room.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Stormcrow on 09 May 2013, 15:59:55
Pour l'encouragement des autres. Sometimes an example has to be made, so that the rest begin to toe the line
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 14 May 2013, 14:00:56
Elusian City, Nirasaki
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
12 August 3029



Natasha Kerensky hated waiting.

Warriors knew the value of patience. She was patient. She hated waiting. It was directionless, serving no purpose than to allow someone else to do something. Patience was an act of self-control; waiting was what people did who had nothing else better to do.

That was ending now.

It had been too long since her 'rescue' from the Wolfsden. General, and Planetary Chairman, Jaime Wolf had locked the planet down completely. Not even sub-orbital hops on small craft were permitted.

And it didn't seem to bother these mercenaries one bit, she noted. It took her a few days, but she had lived with mercenaries of one type or another for decades now, seeing the best and the worst. There was no doubt these men had been mercenaries; whether they still were was another question.

Wolf's Dragoons had hunted for her in all that time. It was a sight to see. All the combat vehicles soaring in the air, trudging through the streets, bored-looking footsoldiers meandering, and the unflappable Niraskians unfazed by it all. On other Kuritan worlds the populace would cower in their homes but it was summer on Nirasaki and the city of Elusian were more than eager to forget the mild winter and spring and start enjoying the sunshine.

She felt bad for the troopers who were failing to intimidate the locals.

Natasha watched them from above, leaning against a mirrored window made out of ferro-glass or some other transparent battle-grade material. She could barely feel the sunlight pressed up against it.

Her door swished open and heavy footsteps immediately stopped then backed away. Natasha smiled as she slowly turned around, revealing her almost-naked form to the young man she knew would arrive with her food.

Slowly, but not too slowly, she walked forward and took the cart with her meal and smiled at the young man. "When I said I you could make me breakfast last night, this wasn't what I meant..." she teased, enjoying the man's discomfort and awkwardness as he mumbled and backed away, closing the door behind him.

Too bad, she thought. In more ways than one. She pulled the cart to her breakfast table and helped herself.

None of the others engaged with her, and she was content to leave them alone. It took a few days, but she had been given permission to wander their sealed-off floor. Natasha thought it was a hotel but was faintly surprised to find out it was executive living quarters; Combine executives and up-and-comers were expected to work really long days, she found. There were other floors like this throughout the building, and, Natasha supposed, all of the other skyscrapers around.

It made sending a message that much more difficult.

Her door opened again and her smirk died before fully forming. She had never seen the man who walked in before now. He was robed and faint, silver threading wove equations around the outer cloak.

Surprised momentarily, she went back to her breakfast and he sat down at her table.

"Natasha, of the Kerensky Bloodname," he began. "We must speak."


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dechan Fraser hated waiting.

He didn't distinguish between patience and waiting. It was simple inaction that frustrated him. He needed to do something, anything, other than wait.

"MechWarriors," his companion said. "You're all alike."

Dechan turned to the Seventh Kommando officer. "Oh?"

Anton Shadd adjusting his seating position. "Can't stand not being in control of everything. Bet you get fidgety sitting in DropShips too."

"Aren't you a MechWarrior too?" Dechan asked.

"I can pilot a 'Mech, any 'Mech," Anton replied proudly. "But I'm no MechWarrior. I can wait."

"So can I," Dechan said defiantly. "Just not well."

"Hah!" Anton said then turned over and closed his eyes again.

Dechan shook his head. He had no problems with operational patience; Skye had taught him the value of ambushes and timed maneuvers. But it was an active sort of waiting.

I'm just sitting here hoping she's not dead or off-world... Dechan thought until it dawned on him. Hope... I don't wanna hope. I want to do.

He took another look at the van's various readouts, satisfied he hadn't missed anything important. Then he holstered his weapon and stepped outside.

Dechan stared into the barrel of a heavy pistol.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"How did you?--"

"--That's how you introduced yourself, to me, the first time," the man said slowly. "I still don't understand what a 'Bloodname' is... But wherever you're really from, it's just another name for family. More than a few worlds actually call their surnames 'bloodnames'. Did you know that? You're not special, I'm afraid."

Natasha shook her head, her meal forgotten.

"Eat," he said. She did. He waited until Natasha finished. "I was afraid this would happen," he paused. "Too much time between--too little contact with your handler... How is she by the way? Nevermind, nevermind," he said waving the question away.

Natasha leaned back, somehow recognizing the man's voice. Or his tone.

"What's with the robe?" she asked, startling the man.

"Good, very good!" he said, amused. "I prefer a Tharkad-cut suit, myself, but this is how I must be."

The man stood, pleased with himself and took some bottled water hidden in the tray. "Drink," he said, offering one to her and taking a gulp from his own. "It will help," he promised.

Natasha nodded as she sipped the water. She tasted nothing but a slight plastic-tang.

"The robes, yes, the robes," the man said excitedly. "ComStar has been a publicly traded corporation for years now. Decades." He leaned in conspirationally. "It's true they have a monopoly on interstellar communications, but they're not a monolithic entity," he said pointing the tip of the bottle at her to make his point.

She stared blankly at him.

"Oh why do I bother? You'll hardly remember me. Pretty women rarely do," he said quietly. "Let's get the fun started, shall we?" he said, stepping closer as he began to remove his robes.

Natasha broke his arms without standing up.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Anton Shadd snapped the woman's neck before Dechan could register his blur of movement. Instinctively, Dechan ducked, and the heavy pistol roared and its slug flattened itself against the van's 'Mech-grade armour.

The Seventh Kommando, dressed in a business suit just like him, shook his head slowly.

"MechWarriors," Dechan heard him say despite the ringing in his ears. It didn't disorient him as much, like other 'Mech jockeys he had hearing implants installed. BattleMechs were notoriously loud, and their weapons were even louder. The Kommando looked surprised at how quickly he recovered then outraged as Dechan pushed him behind a ferro-crete column as heavy slugs and burning light slammed into the van.

They both returned fire with their blazerpistols, scouring their attackers' cover with burn marks.

He was already on his comms, requesting back-up, when the building above them shuddered. He glanced up, seeing a glittering shower of broken glass begin to fall as smoke poured up into the mild sky.

A body landed on a groundcar. Then another, on the sidewalk.

The two Wolf's Dragoons looked at each other then nodded. "Natasha," they said at once.

Dechan brought his comm closer. "Be advised, intel checked out. We have found the Black Widow."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 14 May 2013, 14:37:38
*waits with baited breath for next installment*
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 14 May 2013, 15:16:42
 ;D  wow nice update!  can't wait to read the next update!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: pensiveswetness on 14 May 2013, 16:29:56
make this into a gosh darn fan film! i wanna SEE Nasty break those arms LOL
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 14 May 2013, 16:57:57
Sorry for the wait. There might be some delay after this update though.

================================================
Thermi Village, Thessalonika
Rasalhague Military District, Draconis Combine
15 August 3029



"I'm very sorry about your mother."

Franklin nodded automatically. He had heard the same thing from countless people since her funeral. It was on the holovid; she was the Hero of Thermi Village. Franklin waited for more sad words, knowing they weren't really for him or his mom, but for the people. They needed to cope.

"I knew her before you were born."

Franklin stopped nodding and turned around. The man was dressed in a simple DCMS uniform, black instead of the tans he was used to seeing, and he wore gloves despite the heat outside. The red hair and ghost of a smile on his face was very much at odds with the rest of him.

The man extended a hand. "Your mother and I used to work together."

He eyed the hand warily, then took it in a firm handshake. His mother had taught him how, and he squeezed a little harder at her memory. Franklin turned fully towards the odd man, turning aside from the window. He had spent the last few weeks here, in this hospital, watching each and every one of the few people he and his mom had saved recover.

They thought he was being heroic. He was just doing what his mother would want him to do.

He began to mouth a reply, but realized he didn't know what to say. He usually nodded solemnly when someone said a few words, but no one else had approached him like this.

"Franklin, isn't it? Have you eaten, Franklin?"

He thought about lying but knew that the man could tell, so he shook his head and followed when the man gestured. They walked in silence, passing overworked nurses and moaning patients to the commissary. The field hospital had a functional air conditioner, but it was just as overworked as the personnel and barely kept out the heat. The short walk to the commissary, under the open harvest sun, left him sweating.

The red-haired man didn't show any signs of feeling the heat.

"You're a MechWarrior," he said suddenly.

The man smiled back at him. "Sometimes."

The answer was confusing as the commissary was comforting, and Franklin fell in line and quickly gathered his meal. The cooler air and being removed from direct sunlight was soothing. He ate quickly.

The man sat with his own tray and pushed it towards him when he finished, keeping a momo in one hand. The man nodded once at him and he dug into the food once more, keeping an eye on the man as he peeled the fruit with a knife. A very sharp knife.

"I wanted to be a MechWarrior," Franklin said, fully sated. "My mom said I'd be great at it, that it 'runs in the family', but I always thought she'd been Dispossessed. Are you here to collect her 'Mech? Because I've never seen it."

He was rambling, he knew. The food, the coolness, and his weariness were dulling his mind. He fought to clear it.

"Who are you?"

"Franklin, I'm here to help you."

He laughed out loud at that. "Help?" he asked, bursting into tears of laughter. "Where were you weeks ago?" He knew he was drawing stares. He was always drawing stares. For his blue eyes. For his dead mother. And now, for laughing too loudly.

Franklin found he didn't care anymore.

"Who are you? What do you want?" he asked again more loudly.

"I am Ninyu Kerai, Director of the Internal Security Force," the man replied just as loudly. The commissary stilled and then emptied in under five seconds. Franklin sat bolt upright, his mind sifting through the few images he could recall from Luthien. The ISF were secretive, but their Directors were Sphere-wide celebrities.

How--how did I miss that? Mom would be so... The expectation of disapproval was too much for him. I'll never--she'll never correct me, teach me... His eyes began to water and he hated that the man, the ISF Director, would think he made him scared. Scared enough to cry.

"I know you miss her," Ninyu said instead.

"Who wouldn't miss their mom?" he asked.

"I wouldn't. I don't," the Director confessed. "I don't really know much about her. She died when I was young. The ISF took me in, raised me. 'The ISF is father, the ISF is mother' some said. Never bought it myself."

Franklin nodded, letting his tears fall. His mom taught him that. If he had to cry, then he better cry like a man, not a child. It was a harsh thing. But he still missed her.

And he didn't fear this man any longer.

"Are you going to turn me into an agent?"

"Nope. Unless you want to become one, later."

"Then what?" he asked, frustated.

"Franklin. You may have lost your mother, but your biological father is still alive. I'd like to take you to meet him."

"Where?"

"Luthien."

He shook his head. "I can't--I can't leave those people. They need me."

"And you need your father."

"Who is he anyway? Some noble? Some military man?"

"Yes."

Franklin blew out his nose on the napkin. "I want assurances."

"Assurances?"

"That those people would be looked after--"

"--They're being treated right now--"

"--After. I'm not the only one who lost their mom," he said, remembering Dylan, "or family. Or everything they've ever known. Assure me."

Ninyu Kerai stood and he stared into his eyes. With nothing left but his life, Franklin stared back.

"Fine!" the Director said. "It is genetic," he added in a whisper.

Franklin nodded and checked his pockets. Other than a change of clothes in his cot, everything he owned was already on him.

"I'm ready," Franklin said.

"You didn't say what assurances."

"You'd know better."

"Hmm. You know, I was going to look after them anyway."

Franklin snorted as they stepped outside again. "No, you weren't."

"No, I wasn't."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 15 May 2013, 03:31:53
Franklin is going to give the ISF and Ninyu in particular,nightmares. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 15 May 2013, 15:24:05
Okay, I lied a bit...

Hey, remember that stuff with Michael Hasek-Davion?


===================================


The Fox's Den, New Syrtis
Capellan March, Federated Suns
28 August 3029



Hanse Davion appreciated the sunlight.

Moving his field headquarters from New Avalon to New Syrtis--in its tropical equator--allowed him the luxury. It also cut down on communications lag from the only front that still mattered.

Yesterday, ComStar had finally ended the Federated Suns' Exclusion from the HPG network citing 'humanitarian' concerns. Expert timing, he thought wearily. The food riots on a dozen worlds had become extremely violent in the last few weeks. It made for excellent footage, and was the leading news story on INN.

Soon, the entire Inner Sphere would know the Federated Suns was starving.

All thanks to ComStar's humanitarianism. Hanse raised a glass at that, saluting one flatvid running the same report.

Quintus Allard broke his reverie with a polite cough. He turned, a mostly-sincere smile on his face. "Water?"

The Intelligence Minister shook his head and seated himself. Hanse sat up straighter and turned to the unassuming man.

"What is it?"

The spymaster's brow furrowed. "Remember when I said Michael Hasek-Davion wasn't dead?"

Hanse nodded.

"I was right."

Smoothly, Quintus revealed an optichip and plugged it into the terminal before Hanse. The flatvid displays all winked out, replaced with the sneering, hateful visage of the Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation.

"Greetings, Hanse. As you know, we captured your Duke Michael Hasek-Davion in a daring raid on the very world you now use to orchestrate the unjust war against my people. He was tried and found guilty of war crimes against the Confederation, but in the hope of peace I have stayed his execution. Three times now I have contacted your embassies and three times I have been ignored. Do you care so little for one of your own nobles? Is this the Fox's cunning? I offer him to you, in the interests of peace. In exchange, you must withdraw your invading forces from my realm. Life for life. Peace for all. This is the fourth and final time I will make this offer. End communication!"

The First Prince stood slowly as Max Liao's message played. He turned to Quintus, mouth agape. "He is completely mad, isn't he?"

"Quite. But he is functional, it seems."

"Have we no word from your so-source?"

"None, Highness."

"I should mention that we retrieved this message from a merchantman ferrying supplies to our troops. It was not transmitted via HPG, as useless as that would've been until yesterday, and so he may be telling the truth in trying to communicate with us." Hanse glared at him. "But I doubt it."

The First Prince put the glass down and leaned heavily on his desk. "You're telling me this message has already spread? And will spread faster now that the HPGs are back up?"

"Yes, Highness."

"Why?" Hanse asked, staring into the frozen image of the Chancellor. "Why the ultimatum?"

Quintus coughed. "Michael Hasek-Davion was not... well-loved by the people of this March, but he is well connected with the lower nobles and the businessmen of this part of the realm--"

"--Yes, I know," Hanse said, nodding to the pile of optichips in the corner. Each came from one of Duke Michael's allies, bringing to him their petty matters and stridently demanding his personal attention.

"Indeed," the spymaster said. "But the strain on the realm has given these men and women greater clout. We cannot nationalize more of their transports, already we've had to return many JumpShips to their rightful owners--"

"--Delaying this war ever further. Sarna!" Hanse said, unintentionally shouting. "Sarna, was ours this time last year. Now, the Capellans have retaken half of it! Tikonov now has to deal with the Mariks who were not content striking the Steiners! The only one not giving me any problems are the damned Draconians!"

Quintus Allard withstood the barrage with dignity and Hanse felt very small for it. He looked apologetically at his minister who simply shook his head with a sad smile.

"Highness, the Capellans have rallied. With Justin at Tikonov they have been able to form pockets of resistance, somehow able to strike at the most inopportune times."

Hanse nodded, then cleared the image of Max Liao from his flatvids. "It's not your son's fault, Quintus. This Candace Liao is the one who is calling the shots, and she seems to have a good strategic head on her."

"Or she's getting help from Tai-shu Tetsuhara..." Quintus said.

"I won't rule it out, Quintus," Hanse said taking a sip of the lukewarm water. "But Tetsuhara is many jumps away and is busy rebuilding his tattered Regulars. Just because he's surprised us... Anyway." He looked quizzically at the spymaster. "What are the current estimates of the DCMS' strengths?"

"Worse than us," Quintus said truthfully. "But Theodore, or this new Warlord of Warlords--"

"--Deputy of Military Affairs--"

"--Seems vested in maintaining a low tempo of operations. Apart from rotating out garrison forces, the DCMS seems content to rebuild. And retake Rasalhague, of course."

"Of course," Hanse agreed. His allies' contribution to the war was still paying dividends. "They must be exhausted as we are."

"The Lyrans have also managed to recover one of the trainers we lent the LCAF," Quintus said evenly. "She confirmed much of what we assumed--somehow she had been given access to the Imperial Institute of Technology--"

"--What? No, Quintus, that's on Xinyang. An ISF stronghold as you well know. She's a plant."

The spymaster shook his head. "Respectfully, Highness, her intel has checked out. Though the Kell Hounds lost their primary targets on Thessalonika in Rasalhague, they and the Gray Death Legion--"

"--The ones who recovered the Star League core?"

"--Yes, Highness. They were able to strike deep into Pesht. We're only getting the reports now, but the raids confirmed that much of the Combine's heartland is under-protected. They didn't cause much infrastructural damage, though the Hounds managed to recover some key equipment taken from somewhere in Tamar."

Hanse leaned into his chair and nodded to himself. "So it was the Kuritans who gutted the Tamar Pact. How did they do it?"

Quintus Allard bought time by pouring himself a glass of water, then shrugged. "We still don't know. We know that the regiments used to take that equipment was somewhere else."

"It's an elaborate shell-game then? Does that mean our estimates are wrong? That the DCMS isn't teetering on the edge with 56% of its pre-war strength?"

Quintus took another sip. "Honestly, Highness? We don't have the resources to check. They're scarcely doing better than us, in any case. Mysterious 'ghost' regiments or no."

"Hmm," Hanse said mulling over a star map. "And they're still maintaining the truce. Which is good," he quickly added. "We can't afford another front."

"Yes, Highness. How do you wish to respond to the Chancellor's demand?"

He looked into his spymasters eyes and smiled the smile that gave him his nickname.

"I'll offer him a trade."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: misterpants on 15 May 2013, 15:45:18
Oh yeah, I'd forgotten Tormano got nabbed in the 4th SW in canon. Pity he wasn't worth anything to Max there.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: lowrolling on 15 May 2013, 19:13:51
Now things are going to get even more interesting with Natasha back and wondering about "The Blood".
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 22 May 2013, 12:05:31
Sorry, all. Busy week.


==============================


The Coordinator's Office, Unity Palace, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
8 September 3029



"I told you it was unwise to under-estimate Maximilian Liao," Ninyu said gravely.

Theodore raised an eyebrow. "When?"

"When you weren't paying attention."

The Coordinator shook his head. "Is that it, then?" he asked, looking into the eyes of his midnight council. The Senior Chief Researcher of IIT blinked slowly at him. The Keeper of the House Honour was lost in her own thoughts. The Kanrei looked displeased. Only his 'uncle, returned his look, and with a smile.

He woke them all when he received the HPG burst more than half an hour before. Unlike them, he was still in this office when news from Sian came.

"The Federats have no choice, tono," Kowalski said. "Kearny-Fuchida Yare was almost single-handedly keeping the Fox's fleets whole. Speaking of--"

Theodore raised a hand, swishing a cup of tea with the other. "Later, I promise. Short-term and long-term impacts?"

Kowalski yawned then raised his hand. "I think, based on the documented wear-and-tear of our own JumpShips, that they have till the end of the year before things start breaking down. Others would know better, but is that enough time to snap the Confederation's back?"

Yorinaga shook his head. "Iie," he said then paused for several moments. "Their delayed fifth and sixth waves were... restrained. Tono, I would be wary of placing too much hope into the Suns' economy crashing, their military faltering..." The Kanrei looked around slowly. "A third of his fleet has been drawn down and re-arranged across our border. For months."

"Are you saying the Fox saw this coming?" Ninyu asked. Theodore nodded then looked at Constance, his cousin.

She demured, then coughed. "More like a quarter of the Davion fleet, Kanrei. The remainder are Lyran vessels. They have the largest merchant fleet in the Inner Sphere, by far. And no, if they knew it was coming, the Death Commandos would be... dead."

Theodore appreciated the slightly pun then looked at his council again.

Chandrasekhar leaned back into his chair, his smile dissipating. Theodore saw the revolutions and revisions of his mind. Even better, the others saw it too.

The Coordinator then glanced at his friend, seated on his desk instead of on the chairs. Ninyu shrugged. "We figured as much as well. The Fox has been rotating his JumpShips for some time. As impressive as the Death Commando operation was, it's not the mortal wound they were hoping for."

"Still, an impressive operation," Theodore observed.

"Hai," Chandy agreed. "And it will at least slow down the civilian fleet's repairs as well. That is, until the solar collectors are attached to the shipyards..."

All heads turned to the grinning fat man. "Lyran-made, already delivered, I'm told. I'm surprised it took them this long to install these things," he said, turning to the yawning Kowalski. "How long should it take, Kowalski-kun?"

"What? To power the shipyards? They'd need, oh hmm, I suppose they'd have gotten around that." Kowalski stood to think. "And they'd get around that too. Hmm. I'd say a month."

Theodore leaned back into his chair, trying hard not to be disappointed. "Chikusho," he whispered, failing, and turned to Ninyu. "How likely is it that our friend Max is over-estimating," Theodore emphasized, "the effects of this?"

"He's probably throwing a parade," Ninyu admitted. "And whatever shock he had hoped it would cause would be magnified, at least, with the Interdiction over. But that just means the Fox will be able to respond just as swiftly."

"Then the Confederation won't be prepared for a counter-strike," Yorinaga mused.

"He probably thinks we think that too..." Kowalski blurted out then wilted as the eyes of the most powerful people in the Combine focused on him.

Theodore smiled at him, wearily but appreciatively. "Go on..."

The gruff man scratched his head. "Well, the uhh Fox, probably thinks we're going to be as lax as the Confederation will be about this 'deadly blow'. Since he's not in that bad a position, apparently, he'll go for the throat." He looked around warily. "And since he has Lyran JumpShips and his have been getting repaired for the last few months along our border, then, well, he might try something too."

"A Davion break a truce?" Constance asked.

"I don't see it," Theodore said and shook his head as Kowalski deflated. He smiled again at the crestfallen researcher. "I think you're right about the AFFS stepping up their attacks in the Confederation, and that he will expect us to let our guard down. But his response would be to prepare for an invasion. We are the treacherous Snakes, after all."

"And he couldn't afford another war, either," Chandrasekhar observed. The ambiguity of that wearied Theodore.

The Coordinator stood slowly. "Director, Kanrei, I wish to make it seem that we are preparing for an invasion across the Draconis March. But make it look like we're trying to hide it." Ninyu and Yorinaga exchanged nods.

"Uncle Chandy," Theodore said, regretting it as the fat man's smile grew, "Provide the Keeper with a list of the Lyran trading houses and corporations lending their JumpShips. No good deed will go unpunished," he added for his cousin. She smiled and rose, taking Chandrasekhar by the arm.

Theodore looked at Kowalski, seeing the chief tech of the Legion of Vega and the senior administrator of the research and rebuilding efforts in one. He bowed slightly to him. "Please rise, Kowalski-kun," he said softly. The others quickly stood around them.

"For your insight Reginald Kowalski, I name you Dai-Sensei. All matters of research and development, civilian and military, are under your control." Theodore smiled genuinely at him.

"Now, before you all leave, I believe Uncle Chandy has something to say."

Chandrasekhar grabbed the smaller Kowalski and hugged him joyously then left him to the congratulations of his peers as he moved to the middle of the office. The holoprojector hummed to life, filling Theodore's office with graphs, charts, and numbers.
 
"Lady and gentlemen," Chandrasekhar began with a smile. "The Draconis Combine is bankrupt."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: LightGuard on 23 May 2013, 10:26:46
*Record screech*

Wait, what?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 23 May 2013, 10:42:20
Part Deux, sorry about that.

==============================

The Coordinator's Office, Unity Palace, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
8 September 3029



"A little melodramatic, Uncle," Theodore chastised as he sat back down. He tapped onto his desk and lowered the holograms' brightness for everyone.

"Forgive me, tono. The Combine isn't broke. Yet. But it will be," Chandrasekhar pronounced. "Rasalhague was the most prosperous of our districts, and that was due to the unsanctioned, but somehow taxed, trading with the Lyrans. Port Moseby, as you know, is the official unofficial port of entry between the Combine and Commonwealth. But Rasalhague has always been open."

Dai-Sensei Kowalski raised his hand, confused. "So, wait. What?"

Chandrasekhar smiled at him. "I think you are looking for 'why', sensei. Why invade from the Tamar Pact into the Rasalhague Military District?"

"They're Lyrans," Ninyu said with a shrug. "Armed merchants want to control the supply and the demand, it's nothing new--"

"--True, but also not. Tamar was doing quite well with the--I'm taking from the expressions of both the Keeper and the Director--not-so-secret trading. Many of the Minor Houses of Tamar have been steadily climbing the Lyran social ladder for decades, despite our constant raiding and general disagreeability."

"So why?" It was Lord Yorinaga that asked. Chandy swallowed involuntarily then continued.

"Much of the support for the war, and indeed Hanse Davion, seems to have sprung from the Donegal Province, at least those facing the Periphery."

"More petty nobles and upstart corporations?" Kowalski asked genuinely.

Chandy had to laugh. "Hah! Indeed!" He turned to face his 'nephew'. "It's a massive hostile takeover, tono. Tamar had grown dependent on the cheaper goods and resources Rasalhague exported. With those cut off, and I suppose with much of Tamar's heavy industries gutted, the local nobles have been taken down several pegs."

The Coordinator leaned forward. "Shrewd the Lyrans may be at times, but this is beyond that. Ruthless," Theodore added. Chandrasekhar could taste the uncertainty there.

"There are... rumours," Constance Kurita volunteered. "Rumours that General Nondi Steiner's popular support is dwindling as much of the same people that backed her are now backing away from her."

"It's left her subordinates exposed," was all Ninyu Kerai offered in return. The two exchanged silent nods.

Chandrasekhar coughed. "I don't believe that these Periphery nobles, as it were, wanted just to take their peers down. It's clear from Lord Yorinaga's reports that Rasalhague is remarkably well-preserved, and its LCAF garrison forces are both fresh and freshly equipped. These supplies did not come from Tamar."

The Coordinator blew out a breath. "Defense contracts?" he asked. "Are you telling me that a bunch of renegade Lyran nobles engineered a war to take over some defense contracts? A debacle?"

Chandrasekhar shook his head. "Oh my, no, dear nephew. They weren't counting on failing. In fact, were it not for your Far Raid into Tharkad, it's very likely most of Rasalhague would be in Lyran hands. But this undertaking was planned in such a way as to damage a major rival."

"Trellshire," Kowalski said to himself.

"Precisely!" Chandy beamed. "Trellshire Heavy Industries, maker of loud and heavy things that make louder and heavier things were the prime targets. Their social status is pitiful now, especially since their loans are being called in. They are having to re-negotiate with far higher rates, promising chunks of the corporation if they default. And they will."

Theodore raised his hand, not to speak but to interrupt. "Uncle Chandy, really?" the Coordinator asked. "Trellshire," he repeated, turning to Dai-Sensei Kowalski. "What do you know of it?"

Kowalski tilted his head to the right before speaking. "Only that it's their equipment, mostly, that we've found in the new Pesht plants."

The Coordinator shook his head. "First, I was told that it was Marcus and Cherenkoff who plotted to steal those factories. Somehow. Now you're telling me they colluded with Lyran nobles on the other side of the Sphere? Preposterous."

"And yet, here we are," Chandrasekhar said evenly. "If not Marcus and Cherenkoff, then surely their backers. Oh face it, nephew, this 'isolationism' is really more 'protectionism' than anything and it benefits only those on top. The ones already in control," Chandy whispered. "Is it so unimaginable that dukes from two nations--hungry, hungry dukes--would seek to better themselves at the cost of their betters?"

The council sat silent at that, as Chandy knew they would. Each one could tell a story about a duke that had over-reached.

"I'll look into it at once," the ISF Director announced earning him a swift glare from the Keeper.

"No, you won't," Theodore said. "You'll be too busy planning to not invade the Federated Suns." The look the Coordinator gave ended the Director's protests. He stood slowly. "Keeper, I'm adding to your duties. Root out this conspiracy, cousin."

Constance Kurita bowed demurely. Chandrasekhar could tell she dearly wanted to smile at the chastened ISF Director but didn't.

The Coordinator then turned back to him and nodded

"Now, the Combine's economy is not well. Not at all. The number one concern is the lack of available shipping. Though we received an infusion of freighters last year, the stress of these tradelanes and all of your command circuits have cost the Draconis Combine greatly. I know it's necessary to keep one of the Fox's eyes on us," he nodded to the Director and Kanrei, "but I would hope to do so without excessive JumpShip use. Ours have been just as heavily used as the Suns', and their fleet was in better shape to start off with."

Chandrasekhar stepped back, nodding to the newly promoted Dai-Sensei. Kowalski stood and gave a little wave as he faced the council.

"We're throwing everything we can at the Chatham and Dover yards. So far, we've managed to bring one slip online at each system. But that took almost all of our available spare parts for the other slips. Pray that nothing breaks..." he said, coughing. "That said, that means, running with full shifts, that we can overhaul and refit the JumpShips on the Dieron tradelanes. They're doing this now--have been for a while--but we're just stepping it up. An Invader-class will take slightly more than two weeks provided we're just replacing non-critical parts. If there's something wrong with the KF drive itself... well, each one I'm told is a unique case. But it won't be two weeks. Star Lords... well those might take a few months without drive repairs."

Kowalski relaxed as he spoke. Chandrasekhar detected a sliver of confidence flowing from the Coordinator to the man and approved.

"We convinced Stellar Trek to begin constructing a new line for Monoliths on Aix-la-Chapelle. A new line," Kowalski emphasized. "Most of the equipment on Togura will remain, and we're slowly converting that into another refit yard. By the end of the year, we'll have a lot of slips that can service those stationed on the border."

"So relief is coming," Theodore concluded with a nod.

"Hai, tono," Kowalski added. "But it won't come quickly enough. Not with, umm, your plans..."

Chandrasekhar smiled at the Dai-Sensei who took his seat again.

"And now, before my nephew tells us of the war we must fight, I will tell you what we cannot afford."
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 23 May 2013, 16:50:17
Somewhere


The first thing Michi noticed was that the wind was roaring in his ears. Which was confusing, because the fans in a DropShip were never that loud. The second thing Michi noticed was the pressure on his chest.

His eyes were heavy. Opening one took too much effort. He briefly saw lights, some blinking, before his right eye shut itself and he fell away. Twin pricks into his arm and leg poured liquid fire into his veins, turning into electricity as it coursed through him. Michi woke up screaming, fully awake, strapped into the conn of a falling 'Mech.

The HUD was full of warnings and numbers, the commpanel to his right was fully lit-up, and Michi fell back on his Sun Zhang training and levelled the Phoenix Hawk with bursts from its integral jump jets, pedaling each set of jump jets.

His heartbeat was all he could hear as he slammed his feet down on the pedals, opening the jump jets up to full. The six Pitban 9000s spiked the heat in the cockpit, but Michi didn't notice it. Instead, he slammed a fist into the commpanel, activating multiple lines at once.

"They're all falling--What's happ--have incomin--" squawked out of the external speakers. Michi reseated the neurohelm on his head, strapping it tightly as he worked his panels. He toggled through the rest of his company, the command company his sensei had gifted him with, and saw them hurtling unpowered through the air.

He checked his instruments again. I've just dropped... T plus 32 seconds... He flicked on the combat channel, silencing all traffic.

"This is Chu-sa Noketsuna, Abort the drop! I repeat, abort the drop!"

"Chu-sa, this is Tai-sho Innocent! Explain yourself--"

"--Abort now, we've been drugged," Michi wanted to slap his forehead. "The drop-drugs we were given, they're laced with something. I was out," a wave of nausea passed, "but my combat suit pumped me with adrenaline."

There was a pause. "And your company?"

Michi sucked in the hot-air, pressing down again on the pedals. "Several--most--have their own suits."

Another pause. "The drop is aborted. We are maintaining orbit, chu-sa."

"How bad is it, tai-sho?" Michi asked, knowing that the man was sealed in a drop cocoon as he was a minute ago. It was fortunate he could reach the 11th Benjamin Regulars' commander. Kuritan tai-sho often preferred to drop first, ostensibly to display their courage, but statistically it was also the safest slot.

"Bad, chu-sa. They are pulling us back in. I did not take the medicine," the tai-sho added matter-of-factly.

And I won't again, Michi promised.

"But we are being engaged. Fighters."

When the tai-sho didn't elaborate, Michi turned his attention to the program he had been running. The MechWarrior Cooling Suit, or the Combat Suit as Kuritans called them, were a full-body cooling vest with protective qualities. They had several automated functions as well, and injecting adrenaline to unconscious pilots was one of them. He was tapping into those functions now, overriding their timers and waking up his pilots.

The seven pilots with combat suits were waking.

The four were already well below him. He had planned to use the rest of his company to close with the four, straighten them and force an ejection.

But there was not enough time.

They would fall on Skye soon.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 23 May 2013, 17:17:47
Damn someone slipped them one heck of a mickey and not for a "hey did you see who you woke up with?" joke either.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 23 May 2013, 17:32:05
Bannockburn Bogs, Outside New Glasgow, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
12 September 3029



Dechan tuned out the frantic combat channel and focused on getting his men and women out from the drop pods. The Kuritan commander, ridiculously named Innocent IV, had declared the orbital drop aborted.

That meant even his battalion had to comply, even if they weren't drugged.

"They're going to let them die," Dechan said to himself. "Damn it, I like Michi."

"I like him too," the Black Widow replied. "See you down there!"

Dechan's eyes widened but he knew it was too late. Natasha's DropShips would already be punching through the atmosphere; they weren't prepped for an orbital drop. He cursed as he began tapping into the commpanel.

"Captain, this is Major Fraser," he blurted as soon as the links were open, "Open the bay doors, we're dropping!"

"Yessir!" was all he got, and Dechan felt his cocoon begin slowly moving into the drop position again. His active HUD was replaced with a countdown, and soon his outside links were severed. He left the confusing vector displays of the near-orbit battle behind. The EM interference could cause the cocoons to malfunction; it was a slight risk, but no one wanted to assume it.

Isolated, frustrated, and afraid, Major Fraser watched as the countdown blinked and felt for the interface with Skye's atmosphere.

The cocoon peeled itself away and his instruments were alive again as they re-established their links. He brought up a request for Chu-sa Noketsuna's location and burst his Shadow Hawk's jump jets for several seconds, vectoring towards the chu-sa.

"Hold off on your jets, boys and girls," he ordered. "I want a fast drop." His company commanders complied, trusting that a HALO was the best option against an alert enemy.

"Hersch," his executive officer, "try to get in touch with the Iron Man's apprentice--"

"--Already got him on the line, linking now."

"Major, didn't know you'd be dropping in."

Dechan smiled, his eyes dancing through multiple readouts. A 'thank you' and a 'scolding' in one, punny, sentence. How very Kuritan.

"You know me," Major Fraser replied, "can't let Natasha have all the fun."

"Oh no she didn't." There was a high-pitched whine, someone fired a PPC near Michi as the whine turned into static. "--what 'reserve' means?"

"You want to ask her that?"

"No." A loud thud. "She frightens me."

Dechan guffawed as they entered their burn phase; his entire battalion, spread out from the fall, began burning their jump jets and packs. He was laughing until his SHD-2H's feet touched ground. Skye's loamy groundscape welcomed him and his battalion by squelching.

He checked in with his company commanders, all veterans of the first Skye attack more than a year ago. They arranged their forces into the staggered formation he trained them to take, and they were underway. Dechan was proud of his battalion; they had already made a name for themselves, even if their official name kept changing.

"I think I see them--sweet, merciful crap! Did that Fortress land on those Lyrans?!"

Dechan powered up a hill and zoomed in. The Black Widows' new Fortress-class DropShip had landed on the remains of several smouldering wrecks. The red-and-black 'Mechs were already out, and more and more tanks were rolling down the ramps, firing as they went.

Two Unions had disgorged their 'Mech cargo as well but had grounded farther away.

He marked their locations on his map and paused. Nicely done, he admitted. The Unions were the top prongs of a Y, with the bottom being his advance and the middle their artillery-wielding DropShip. It was a rough Y-shape, but it covered the traversable ground. In the swamps of Skye, that meant everything that wasn't completely blocked off.

His battalion pushed forward, and Dechan joined in, as they reinforced Michi Noketsuna's deprecated company. They were gathered around four dead Kuritan 'Mechs and refused to budge.

The Lyrans were cut down between them and the Black Widows at their backs. The rest died to the Fortress' gun.

Dechan bent his Shadow Hawk low and scooped mud into one hand. He flicked open a channel to the Black Widow, surely smug in her victory.

"Hey Tasha, let's get dirty," he said and flung the mud at her Warhammer.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Taron Storm on 23 May 2013, 18:37:02
It's getting more interesting and then you throw the

 >:D MUD WRESTLING WITH THE WIDOW  >:D

at us.  I can't wait to see the end of this fight.

 ;D ;D ;D

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 24 May 2013, 05:15:20
Mud Wrestling.
How much lower can the Wolves go.
Much lower hopefully. >:D O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 28 May 2013, 12:23:28
Not that kind of 'dirty'...


======================================

Bannockburn Bogs, Outside New Glasgow, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
13 September 3029



Natasha growled as the particle stream slammed into her 'Mech, flash-boiling mud and armour alike in a wash of lightning.

She grit her teeth as the impact jarred her against the restraints. The damage panel blinked, the left torso outline turning yellow even as the heat indicator rose. Natasha sent one, then two, PPC bolts back in response, carving molten blossoms on the Zeus now charging forward, its missiles arcing overhead.

The Black Widow cursed silently. Dechan's "mud bath" had cloaked them from almost all sensors. But it still meant that multi-ton titans covered in mud were tramping around in the swamp; a good pair of eyes and ears with comms could call in their location. Which was why they had split up.

There was no other way to survive. Not against the RCTs massed on Skye.

She stepped the Warhammer back, teasing the over-eager Lyran into range, flinging another bolt as she roasted in the heat her cyclers couldn't pump out. The streaking particles slammed into the Zeus' own PPC, stripping its shielding before blasting the cannon apart in a crackling explosion.

The Lyran staggered as the feedback coursed through the Assault 'Mech, and Natasha shivered despite the sweat covering her; the pilot was dead or dying.

Behind the Zeus, its lancemates plodded forward, all eager to avenge. Two Steiner-variant Banshees waded through, their own particle cannon charged and ready to be fired. Behind them, a BattleMaster--a Steiner variant too--began angling its missile packs upwards.

"Stravag!" she cursed, pulling her 'Mech further into the dense cover of the swamp. She tapped into the commpanel, aborting the ambush, and ordered the lance with her to pound away to their waypoint.

Assault 'Mechs, slow at the best of times, were even worse in the bog. Still, the BattleMaster plodded quickly enough so that its long-range missiles were just at extreme range.

Warning klaxons sounded as the BLR-1S achieved a lock and fired.

What did the pilot care? Lyrans never pay for their own ammo, Natasha thought, fuming, as the LRMs arced into her 70-ton 'Mech. More and more of the mud was blasted off, but the warheads tore into her armour and that worried her more.

The Spider in front of her took her by surprise, and she dragged two green lines against its chest as it rose up on fusion flames. A Commando raked her rear with flashes of its laser before a short-ranged missile strike homed into her rear centre torso, shoving her forward.

Roaring, she turned towards the Commando and closed the distance, turning at just the last minute to place the Warhammer's right foot and most of its 70-tons on the COM-2D's hip. The Light 'Mech buckled under the weight as its hips snapped, but Natasha was already moving to her next target: a Wolfhound.

It poured coruscating lights against her 'Mech's chest, bursting through the left torso and flash-boiling the foamed-aluminum underneath. She triggered her lasers in response, rocking under the explosive melting of her armour. More than half the lasers malfunctioned, just as she dipped the Warhammer forward and charged again.

The impact of a BattleMech against another BattleMech half its mass reverberated in the swamp. The WLF-1 was sprawled on the ground even as Natasha fought to stay upright. The Lyran stirred.

Calmly, she set her crosshairs over the Light 'Mech's stylized head and triggered her missiles and lasers again. The pilot was out of the fight, even if he survived.

The Black Widow turned around to the heavy stomps of two massive Banshees crashing through the trees, hurling lightning to chase her away. The Spider returned, soaring overhead, and strafed her even as she ran.

"Tasha!" her commpanel squeaked. "Lightning Companies, all over your area, watch--"

"--No shit, Dechan."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 30 May 2013, 10:22:32
I sense the beheading of another minor Kuritan noble soon.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 30 May 2013, 17:54:12
Bannockburn Bogs, Outside New Glasgow, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
13 September 3029



Michi breathed in the smell of cooking electronics and drying sweat.

"Sumimasen, tai-sho," he said, a hint of the obsequious young officer he was once sneaking in. "Interference. Please repeat." He hated the sound of his own voice.

"Chu-sa Noketsuna, I give you and your detachment leave to engage the enemy at your leisure," the distant commander repeated. "Die as samurai," Tai-sho Innocent added then cut the link.

He didn't say "If you can," but Michi heard it anyway.

He waited several moments before moving. His Phoenix Hawk, battle-scarred and mud-covered, trudged down from the small hill he used to rise above the swamp's unsettling EM interference. The grey afternoon flattened the landscape, dangerously so for the unwary. He had nearly tripped several times as the shadows and lack thereof confused his senses.

The PXH-1 stumbled and slid down the rest of the way, Michi not caring if the 'Mech landed head first and ended him.

No! a voice in him recoiled, pumping him full of shame that ignited into anger. "No," he repeated in a snarl and spread the 45-ton 'Mech's legs apart and allowed the controls to sense his balance.

Balance. I need balance, he reminded himself as he rejoined his company. His seven samurai.

They stood, stoic, sporting horrendous scars and wounds across their metallic forms. Some found the time, and the patience, to stylize their mud camouflage, going so far as to transplant moss, weeds, and shrubs. If Michi didn't know better, he'd have sworn the Griffin just in front of him was a golem of mud and earth.

"The tai-sho congratulates us for our actions," he broadcasted truthfully. "He has ordered us to continue this to its natural end."

His seven didn't move their 'Mechs. One by one they sent a trickle, a small pulse-bit, aimed perfectly at his 'Mech's receiver. Each acknowledged. Each understood what the commander of the 11th Benjamin Regulars, and the mission coordinator, wanted--expected--of them.

Michi sought balance and gripped it for a few moments of clarity. These men and women were his hope for the Combine's future. He looked at them now, recalling how they identified each from all over the Draconis Combine.

The Genyosha cultivated the classic samurai tenets in their warriors, even in those they trained. The Ryuken encouraged a new interpretation on the bushido code, emphasizing the Combine's honour above their own. Traditionalists praised the former and disparaged the other, forgetting, or merely ignoring, their common root: Takashi Kurita.

He and his sensei had seen the problem. Takashi had hoped to form a sword and a shield as the Inner Sphere began to recover from the depths of the Succession Wars. But the two were ideologically opposed, and would polarize the warriors and nobles of the Combine.

A careful Coordinator like Takashi could have maneuvered through it all, and maybe bind the DCMS into both a modern and traditional force.

Theodore, the radical, was prepared to modernize the DCMS completely. Tradition be damned.

Michi knew it wasn't always so. He had spent some time with the delightfully uncouth Esau Olivares of the 11th Legion of Vega. Busosenshi, he recalled in approval. That restored the Legion's pride and morale and was being quickly adopted everywhere. But after the raids into Skye, the Far Raid into Tharkad, Theodore changed.

The Coordinator was making every effort to distance himself away from tradition. Just when the people clung to it for the comfort of their shared purpose. The comfort that their lives and suffering added to their ancestors' efforts; all spent for the Combine's destiny. And their leader was throwing it all aside.

The Combine's borders were strong. But the foundations were cracking.

These seven were his answer to the problem Takashi left behind. He scoured the Bureau of Substitution's records to find these MechWarriors: common-born; educated anywhere but the Sun Zhang MechWarrior Academy; and with blackmarks on their records for what Minobu Tetsuhara implied was 'the crime of creative thought'. The gunji-no-kanrei had given his approval as well, suggesting several he had an eye on for the Genyosha but couldn't acquire for one reason or another.

They were honing the skills the Genyosha required, in exacting measure. They were learning Ryuken tactics from the Ryuken's own teachers. And somewhere in between they'd find their own way.

That was his hope.

He glanced up, hoping to spot the flotilla in orbit.

I should have expected this-- his commpanel beeped and he quickly read the burst of text sent his way.

Michi flashed an order to his seven and watched as they moved back, almost melting, into the swamp. He tapped a response then followed.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bannockburn Bogs, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
13 September 3029



They emerged as one, firing at four different targets.

Michi flung the Phoenix Hawk's arms forward, triggering the Harmon medium lasers at the tattered Valkyrie in front of him. He added in the machine guns a moment later, knowing they were well out of range. The M100s were not meant to be anti-'Mech weapons, but they still growled ferociously.

Compared to the high-pitched whine of the green lasers, they sounded satisfying. His partner, piloting a cantankerous old Gladiator, poured its own medium lasers into the 35-ton 'Mech, then guided in short-range missiles into the molten holes they carved. The pilot did all of this without stopping, and walked forward to deliver a snap-kick to the VLK-QA's right knee.

It crumpled into the ground, just seconds after coming under attack.

The others had chosen more resilient targets, wounding each severely but leaving them still functional. A Victor stumbled into his view, its right arm demanding attention as he stamped down on his jump jets. The Lyran pilot was waiting for it, but so were his attackers, and the pair marched closer and fired again. By the time Michi landed, unharmed, the VTR-9B was down on one knee, its massive Pontiac 100 autocannon shoved into the loam for balance.

He turned aside just as a Panther shoved its left fist into the Victor's helmed head. Michi scanned for the signal, muffled by electronic warfare signals and muted by the swamp, and sped forward.

Natasha Keresnky was standing on a hill, her Warhammer's arms blazing as particles slammed into a glowing-hot Banshee. Michi stepped over the remains of several Lighter 'Mechs, as well as the BNC-3S's twin; its head missing and only blackened shards left for its neck.

He added his large against the remaining 95-tonner. The monster staggered under the explosive vapourization of its armour, almost two tons melting or blasting away, but the pilot rolled with the damage and triggered a burst from the autocannon.

The shells gnawed through the Black Widow's remaining torso armour. Michi could see the small explosions inside the 70-tonner's torso. The Banshee fired again as it waded forward, the autocannon dying with a grinding, choking sound as the ammo feeds jammed. But it was enough, the Warhammer jerked and struggled but Michi could see its heat blooming.

It stopped in front of the fallen Warhammer and raised its fist.

Michi poured more laser fire onto the BNC-3S, and it finally noticed him as the Assault 'Mech's right arm fell on its own, severed by the lasers through its rent armour. Warning klaxons sounded and he glanced at his heatsinks; they still showed green.

The cooling suit kept him alive for this long, but the wave of heat was fresh and the Phoenix Hawk wasn't running as cool as it should. Michi staggered as he neared the 95-ton monster. It turned, mangled, burnt, and mad, and charged.

Michi straightened the PXH-1's arms and held down the trigger for the machine guns, overheating them like the rest of his 'Mech.

The monster came on.

His lasers recycled and Michi slammed every override he could find and fired everything again as he pulled the eject.

Nothing happened.

Chu-sa Michi Noketsuna watched as the Banshee's fist slammed into the cockpit.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 31 May 2013, 09:47:57
Drugged and sabotaged, talk about a shitty way to go.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 05 June 2013, 10:23:46
Lyran Field HQ, Bannockburn Bogs, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
15 September 3029



Kathleen Heany hated mud. It squelched underneath the colonel-kaptain's boots as she stomped towards the field command centre. The ugly prefab building was hidden well enough, but that meant the entire base had to be concealed in the same way.

They had already lost their first two field bases to the Kuritans' artillery--she shook her head at the thought--before relocating here, at the edge of the swamp.

Colonel-Kaptain Heany stomped into HQ, taking the time to clean her plasteel boots before entering further in.

The guards saluted her smartly, and she returned it without flourishing. She had been a traitor when they got here, leader of the treacherous 4th Skye Rangers. Now, she was the woman who outfought Natasha Kerensky and brought her in.. Even the FedSuns' advisors treated her with greater respect. Or greater fear.

General Nondi Steiner waved her closer as she neared the the holomap table. The social appointees to the general's left and right squirmed out of the way.

"Colonel," General Steiner said, "how are your troops faring?"

"Well, general," Kathleen replied. "We've established the perimeter as you ordered, but I've kept a company of my lighter 'Mechs in reserve," she added, nodding to the AFFS advisors who nodded back, "from each battalion. They'll alternate between backfield and scouting duties."

General Steiner smiled. "Excellent! We can use your input here, colonel," the older officer continued, and pointed out the situation. The others around the holomap table had watched their exchange, knowing it was for their benefit.

"...and we can hope, if this Innocent remains skittish, that we can encircle these independent battalions before they breakout. As was your initial plan, I believe," the general finished.

She nodded, playing the role of the dutiful and serious officer. "Yes, general."

"And I believe," Nondi continued, "that you had a plan to deal with these new Kuritan artillery craft?"

"Yes, general," she repeated, turning to face the rest of the group. Other, more senior officers smiled at her acidly. More serious, combat officers watched passively. She nodded to them all.

"Our analysts here," she began, stressing the word, "confirm that the Kuritan artillery is coming from small craft. Spheroid small craft."

The officers looked around, allies and enemies in their social game casting imprecations with brief glances. That piece of information was closely guarded; not everyone knew it. Kathleen smiled inwardly. I'm enjoying this too much. Focus.

"The designs are not very aerodynamic, of course. When they ground, they remain grounded until our forces start closing in or the counter-battery fire gets too close. For this operation, I'll need your infantry."

They paid attention to her again. She was known as a student of the old school, so they were instantly suspicious. The Davions, just on her peripheral vision, were watching her very closely.

Finally, she tapped into the air and displayed her plans. Kathleen could feel the general's approval; she had kept her audience unbalanced and had proceeded to the planning stage smoothly. That was half the battle when it came to Lyran strategy sessions.

"The remnants of the Black Widows and this unidentified Wolf's Dragoons battalion are here and here," she said, highlighting their locations. "They are well within the swamp now. But a concentrated push by the 17th Donegal here," she tapped and lit up an arrow, "with supporting armour and artillery here and here will force the Dragoons to move."

"Or, they'll rush forward. You've left too large a gap between your elements!"

Kathleen Heany savoured the moment. It was a Davion that spoke, walking into the trap her fellow Lyrans had seen and avoided.

Kathleen Heany smiled.

"Major... Barley?" she asked. The man had been with them for months, and he coloured at the question.

She spoke slowly. "That's the point."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 06 June 2013, 05:08:14
Heany actually remembering that they had infantry in the army, amazing.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 06 June 2013, 10:51:22
Haven't the dragoons seen that trap already?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 June 2013, 11:32:39
11th Benjamin Regulars Field Headquarters, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
15 September 3029



Tai-sho Innocent IV hated the man standing before him. He knew, as one of the few tolerated openly Catholic officers in the DCMS, that he had two duties: one, to the Coordinator, whom the Lord God placed above him as his ruler; two, to represent his faith in the best possible way at all possible times.

He knew he was failing both now.

His Nakjima laser pistol felt so light on his hip. It would be nothing to draw it and melt this fool's face off-- he throttled that line of thought, knowing it would begin to show in his eyes.

The man had stopped talking in his near-mocking tones, and he needed to respond. Calmly, the tai-sho searched his memory for the slithery words just spoken

He grunted. "Michi Noketsuna is known, even to my men."

The devil snorted. "And what of it?"

"They will not carry this out," he continued, ignoring the disrespect. "They may very well kill you for trying."

Oh, he doesn't like that at all, the tai-sho observed as the hateful, and hate-filled, man's face contorted.

"You are here just as a technical observer. For the new machines," he explained calmly. "Try this. Attempt to harm the Warlord Dieron's--"

"--Hmmph!--"

"--Warlord Tetsuhara's own representative and these men will rip you apart. And I will not stop them," he added, standing and glaring.

The man left and Tai-sho Innocent closed the door behind him. He felt for the rosary he carried in his pocket, thumbing a bead.

He prayed in silence.


-------------------------------------------------------------------

The swamp's stench leaked in through the air conditioning. Tai-sho Innocent brought the cup of coffee closer to his mouth and took a sip, breathing it in instead of the rotting mulch.

The 11th Benjamin's field headquarters was a standard-issue DCMS prefab with minimal everything save for electronics. The tai-sho took a quick look around, seeing his men and women using new equipment. There was a time that the Field HQ would be warm from the too-many machines packed too-closely together.

Now they were fewer machines, less people, and too much space. He tried not to think about his regiment's mauling against the Davions, the helplessness he felt fighting a coordinated RCT. The men and women who died under his command. The smell of their deaths.

Overcooking electronics probably blocked out the smells from other deployments, he thought, taking another sip, flushing the memories away.

The analyst at the holomap signalled for his attention, and he walked closer. The holomap was one of the few good things, in his opinion, about working closely with the Dragoons.

Can't believe this came from Nirasaki... I may need to buy one of those fancy comms, he reminded himself. The holomap's resolution was incredible--all thanks to a command, control, and communications server monitoring all the signals coming in--and gave him more than enough detail to command a battle.

Not that I've been doing much battling.

The Bannockburn Bogs were represented in astounding clarity, a hyper-realism brought on by enhanced techniques, he was told, and saw the predicament right away.

"We are not close enough to respond." It wasn't a question.

"Iie," his second in command respond. Chu-sa Malone squared his jaw. "We have been skirmishing with these Lightning Companies here," he marked a location, "and here as well."

"They want us to stay away, Rico?"

"Hai, tai-sho."

"How very nice for them," he said with a smile. "Assemble our troops."

"Hai, tai-sho!" his second replied enthusiastically.

He nodded back with a smile, feeling a dark presence. The devil was watching him from the corner.

"Will we relieve the Dragoons, tai-sho?" his second asked as he ordered several commtechs to rouse their battalions.

"No, my friend," Tai-sho Innocent said, pitching his voice farther and hating himself for it. "Not at all."


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 06 June 2013, 13:14:22
Heany's folks bagged Natasha?  :o
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 06 June 2013, 13:17:40
Heany's folks bagged Natasha?  :o

That was actually her piloting the BNC-3S kicking butt and taking names.

In a previous update I showed her stomping around the Tikonov Commonality in one. She knocked out Natasha's Warhammer and didn't quite kill Michi.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 06 June 2013, 17:30:30
Well poor Natasha is really getting the rough end of the stick of late, one would start to wonder if Wolf picked the right time and place to settle down and become a house unit?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: cawest on 09 June 2013, 23:55:12
I just wonder when they will have time (and money) to start upgrading there tech
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 10 June 2013, 12:15:11
Southern Bannockburn Bogs, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
15 September 3029



Dechan wilted as he pulled the trigger. It had been easy, sitting in a peaceful Nirasaki office, to authorize the 'upgrade' and replace the Armstrong J11 with a Lord's Light PPC. It was the latest model too, the 3030 series, built with some recovered Star League tech to make it that much more reliable. The techs had convinced him to try it out; they could always switch it back, they promised.

The particles slammed into the Archer's jutting centre torso, leaving behind a molten, shredded blossom as the sparks died.

Major Fraser half-wished it would malfunction already, so he'd have an excuse not to use it. Skye had changed its mind midway through the morning; it was promising to be a misty, miserable gray day that turned into a fog-banishing heat before noon. It was broiling outside, steaming the swamp, and his cockpit's cyclers were just substituting hot air for slightly less warm air.

The rush of heat was a physical slap to his body, and Dechan flicked the coolant flush just a little to expel the heated liquids into the sweltering swampland. The coolant pod affixed to the PPC was half-empty, but its refrigerated reserve kept him and his 'Mech operational.

A Wolverine to his right stepped forward and drew a tattered line across the ARC-2S's chest with its autocannon. Dechan nodded to himself and watched as the Heavy back up, and thumbed the Lord's Light again. It struck the Archer low, on its legs, but it was enough to convince it to withdraw.

It left the Commando that lead the push smouldering in the afternoon sky. The rest of the Lyran company disentangled themselves from his, and he let them go, knowing they had too much heat in the 'Mechs and not enough ammo. One signal, and his 'Mechs began a staggered retreat back under tree shade.

He heard the company's air cyclers popping to filter in the smelly, but cool, swamp air. Without being ordered to, two 'Mechs took up watch positions as the rest of the company breathed.

His commpanel wouldn't let him rest. "Major! Major, come in!", his executive officer said.

"This is Fraser. Go ahead, Hersch."

"The Snakes are on the move, sir." There was a wash of static. "All we know is they're not moving to help us."

"When was that a possibility?" he asked.

"Heh. Copy that, sir."

Major Fraser cursed and felt the strain of the last few days' operations. He had little time to plan, less sleep, and even less ammunition. The man he had come to save might not see tomorrow, and the woman he had rescued twice now was missing again.

"What's the word from Third?" Dechan asked as he belatedly brought in the rest of his commanders.

"Third company's been busy, they've split into scouting elements and brought us this." The map readout beeped. His exec was as efficient as ever. "Looks like the Elsies want us to rush through here and here," two waypoints blinked on his map. "Five kroner says we have artillery inbound once those tanks here," several squares lit up, "and here, manage to get themselves unstuck."

"No deal." Dechan laughed and examined the readout, letting his lance commanders manage the reinforced company. "They really want us to punch through these points," he said after a while.

"Yessir, and they're being pushy about it!" There was a pause and several bursts of static. Dechan moved his 'Mech to stand on a hill and linked the rest of the officers into the net. "More Myrmidons--I swear there was a buy one get a dozen sale or something--"

"--Stop whinin'," Gentleman Johnny interrupted. The outspoken Black Widow officer had been crucial in his battered Rifleman in keeping them safe. "I'll trade you those 'dons for these War Hogs--" The rest was garbled by a high-piercing whine and bursts of autocannon shells.

"All right, all right." Dechan took a sip of his electrolyte mixture. "The Elsies want us to dance on their floor," he tapped on the map and sent it to the rest. "But I don't like the music they're playing."

The officers laughed and Dechan began drawing up a plan.


Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 10 June 2013, 19:12:11
11th Benjamin Regulars Field Headquarters, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
15 September 3029



Tai-sho Innocent sighed deeply as he read the message.

It was a sterile notice of the passing of such a passionate and clever young man. Michi Noketsuna had to die, of course. That had been explained to him even before Warlord Dieron authorized the plan. Still, he would have rather given the samurai the death he deserved rather than the assassination by that devil of a rat.

He crossed himself then mumbled a few words. Even now he couldn't summon the sincerity to pray for the Warlord's apprentice. He had murder in his heart and plans in his mind, but those had to wait as the 11th Benjamin's scouts reported in.

The tai-sho listened intently; he had trained his staff to handle communications and reports, not filtering it himself like some DCMS regimental commanders often did. The 'Mechs' maneuvering he left to Chu-sa Malone who lead from the front.

Stomping around in a Panther or a Phoenix Hawk no longer had the same appeal as it did decades ago. Instead, he remained behind and maneuvered blobs of light projected into the air. But he could still feel the heat in the soles of his feet, the tang of overheating electronics and sweat.

He preferred the stench of the swamp and the steady hum of the air conditioners.

One side of the HQ was intent on their actions; the other half kept an eye on their mercenaries and the Lyrans hellbent on encircling them. Tai-sho Innocent paid little outward attention to the latter, but the noteputer he held in his hand relayed all of the Dragoons' movements. And requests.

A new request blinked red at him, and he finally thumbed the scanner to the noteputer's side to read it.

It was to the point and clever. That Fraser is wasted as a mercenary... he mused as he signed off on it, then tapped onto the noteputer some more.

A commtech approached and he accepted the headset with a smile, handing him the noteputer in exchange. "Chu-sa Malone, report please."

His exec was slightly out of breath, but he came through clearly. "A little hot, Innocent-sama, but our forward elements took care of the few Lyran scouts. You were right, tai-sho, they stripped the infantry from our path."

"Very good," he said, ignoring the mixture of doubt and praise from his second. "You should know, the Dragoons are up to something."

"What?"

"I don't know," the tai-sho admitted freely. "But they requested the use of our LongFangs."

There was a pause. "Innocent-sama, I was relying on those--"

He held up a hand, as if the chu-sa was in front of him. "--I know, my friend, I know. I have ordered the ready LongFang squadron to respond directly to Major Fraser's orders. The reserve squadron should be online by now," he said then looked at an aide who dipped his head respectfully. "You are familiar with Chu-i Desmond, yes?"

"Hai, tai-sho."

"Good. He's been briefed with your plans," he added, looking at the aide who bowed again. "Are you ready?"

"Hai, tai-sho!"

"Then, Godspeed."


-----------------------------------------------------------------
Central Bannockburn Bogs, Skye
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
15 September 3029



Chu-sa Rico Malone flicked the channel closed. His 40-ton Vulcan was more than capable of intelligently reading his gestures to link and unlink him from any channel, but Rico preferred the sureness a switch offered. Even if he had to use his tongue.

"Baka-mono," he whispered as he flicked open the command channel.

"Buso-senshi!," he said, half-mockingly. There were few true samurai in the Eleventh's ranks. The rest had learned to pretend along to advance this far. Like him. "El Papa has given the word. And the word is go."

With that, the company commanders surged ahead, disappearing into the thick expanse of trees and brush under the now setting sun. Skye's unseasonable heat made today possible; their infantry had been able to surprise and gut, literally, the few scouts keeping an eye on them. Even if there were any living and alert Lyrans it wouldn't have helped them.

He hoped there were.

They were charging west, right into the rear of a Lyran battalion. It would, indirectly, let off some pressure the mercenaries were under. And they would last just long enough for him to get his mission accomplished.

The Bannockburn Bogs were a series of smaller swamps, each with their own personality. A muddy river ran like a long scar through it, exposed in many areas as jutting, moss-covered rocks. It was too ungainly for transportation and was often overgrown.

The Lyrans ignored it; their heavier 'Mechs would sink or simply couldn't squeeze through. He, and every Light 'Mech commander the DCMS raised, craved it as soon as they saw it.

Quickly, he tapped into his commpanel and sent a terse order to Chu-i Desmond and waited for a response. It came mere heartbeats later but it was long enough to set him on edge.

He joined his order amongst the tide, watching as the force made up of a company from each battalion, spread out above the rent in the ground as the rest of the regiment fell in. His VL-2T was among the heaviest 'Mechs in the regiment; there were a few Phoenix Hawks and one Chameleon they had recently salvaged. The rest were Lights.

Rico admitted again that El Papa, the somewhat derisive nickname the men had given to their beloved tai-sho had good ideas. Good, practical ideas. If he wasn't catholic--openly catholic--Rico knew the tai-sho would have been given an informal brigade command. Or even Prefecture command. He lacked the connections to become a tai-shu, something Rico actively fostered.

His Light Cavalry tactics were something else Rico paid close attention to, and the old man took it as a compliment. It was only the old man's consistency that granted him this much consideration. The tai-sho told him once, "Victory covers over a multitude of sins."

Rico was hoping that was true for him.

Above, he could hear the small craft's roars as they touched down.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 June 2013, 10:45:15
Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
16 September 3029



Minobu slashed the black-clad man's throat and spun low to allow a whirring blade to pass overhead.

He cut off that man's sword-arm and deftly took the falling short sword in his free hand.

A step, a twist, and another black-clad head spun away from its body. Minobu raised the shorter sword to parry, drawing molten sparks as he tested his strength with his remaining attacker's.

His hara was stronger. He left the last man with the short blade in his temple, sizzling, as he dashed towards the throne room.

Without thought he slew two more black-clad men fighting the Otomo and leapt at a third intent on eviscerating the gunji-no-kanrei, removing both of the man's hands in two strokes.

Yorinaga Kurita was bleeding badly, but not as badly as the fallen foes at his feet. He nodded in thanks and stepped back to bind his wounds as the remaining attackers weighed their chances. The Kanrei stood protectively over another Kurita.

Minobu Tetsuhara, Warlord of the Dieron Military District, flicked his blade to the side, clearing the blood in a straight line and stood ready.

As one, the attackers sheathed their blades. Into their chests. They fell backwards, their blood steaming.

Minobu reversed the grip on his blade, having lost his saya in his mad dash here. He moved towards the sobbing form of Chandrasekhar Kurita and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.

The large Kurita's bald pate nodded and stood to face him. Minobu saw that the man had cauterized wounds through his slashed and burnt robes; it was red when it wasn't black.

Minobu knelt in a pool of spreading red across Theodore Kurita. The Coordinator grasped his burnt wounds but his eyes were on his cousin. A young boy was kneeling as well, confused and shaken at Theodore's side. Jasmine Kurita clutched the boy fiercely.

Constance Kurita lay on the floor, her eyes unblinking. Ninyu Kerai lay some distance away, breathing, one hand to his stomach, another grasping a shuriken.

The Physicians of the Dragon appeared quickly, their yellow robes like flames upon all the red on the floor. They saw to the Coordinator first, sparing several to see to the Director, the gunji-no-kanrei and the remaining Otomo. The little boy stood and followed the Brotherhood physicians, unsure of what to do.

He nodded towards the young boy, extending him a sliver of chi to soothe him. Minobu realized that the young boy's eyes were blue and smiled as the Kurita child responded. The young Kurita scanned the area quickly and settled his blue eyes on him. Then he nodded.

Minobu bowed. When he straightened, the Coordinator and his son were away.

Yorinaga Kurita walked to his side, his wounds quickly and expertly bound. He had refused any mind-altering medication, and smelled vaguely of antiseptics and alcohol. When he spoke, Minobu startled. The samurai was weeping.

"She wanted to be here," Yorinaga said, struggling. "She wanted to see Theodore's face light up when he met his son. That was all."

The Warlord nodded. "So this is the war we must fight."

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: pensiveswetness on 11 June 2013, 11:46:28
clearly i need to glue you to your comp...  :)) MOAR intrigue please.

soo... maybe I'm stupid, but who's behind this coop attempt?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 11 June 2013, 13:13:02
My money is on the black dragons or the wolverines or Loki.

Now back to the keyboard  [whipit]
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 11 June 2013, 18:15:31
Loki agents would have blown them selves up to complete the mission not play the part of the Judean People's Front's Elite Suicide Squad from The Life of Brian.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 11 June 2013, 18:37:00
Loki agents would have blown them selves up to complete the mission not play the part of the Judean People's Front's Elite Suicide Squad from The Life of Brian.

Always look on the bright side of life. Maybe they did complete the mission?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Arvanna on 11 June 2013, 19:02:22
Good point my money is one ROM since it seems to be adding to the growing chaos enveloping the Successor States. SHame about Constance, I always rather liked her, alas another stabilizing force on Theodore gone.  :'(
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 12 June 2013, 03:28:16
My money is on the Judean People's Front Elite Suicide Squad if not it seems like an internal hit.
Nekekami or rogue ISF. :D
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Notsonoble on 12 June 2013, 16:28:13
At this rate, Theo'll be crazier than Max Liao.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 12 June 2013, 16:37:21
Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
16 September 3029



Theodore read by candelight. His son, his son, was asleep in his grandmother's arms. Curiosity lost out to the numbing fatigue of the last few hours. He knew his mother wake at the slightest of his motions; for all of her slow breathing Theodore knew she couldn't sleep.

He knew this because he was his mother's son.

The leatherbound journal was so unlike Constance, Theodore mused. She loved the new, the high-tech, always showing off the latest Blue Lotus comm... he remembered as he turned the page. There were no secret insights within these pages, just his cousin's essence.

Jasmine Kurita looked up as he chuckled, a quizzical look in her eye.

Theodore turned the book around. "Her handwriting was always atrocious."

His mother smiled and nodded, sparing a moment to look at her grandson before closing her eyes again. He felt a stab of regret. His feuding with his father had robbed her of enjoying their grandchildren. He knew she longed for young feet to stomp around the gardens and halls again.

But his feud with his father was more important.

The regret was old and familiar and so was the unanswered question of whether his father would have treated him better if Takashi met Hohiro. He knew his father's heart would've melted at Omi.

A thought struck him. They are with him, now, if...

Theodore leaned back and closed the book, breathing softly. He slid the book across his cousin's desk and startled as the surface started to break apart. A faint light glowed from within as the desk unravelled.

The Coordinator stood slowly and picked up a glowing prism from within. It had a clear liquid and smelled faintly of...

"Rice?" he asked, waking the other two in the room. Theodore laughed loudly, sinking back down to the chair in tears. He straightened to explain to his confused family but he broke apart and cried again. His laughter no longer had sound, his tears didn't sting.

When he caught his breath, he held up the liquid again. "Make-up remover," he said. "I thought--I thought it was a secret Order data crystal!" he added and continued laughing.

"She never liked the formality," he explained slowly, after the laughter had gone out of him. The desk had been custom-made for her. Constance was proud of it, even in her brief letters to him, and now he knew why.
"The traditional dresses and the even more traditional make-up. It was always Tharkad-chic with her growing up." He sniffed and looked around the glowing desk's innards. "Make-up. A pack of cigarettes. Hah, and that shampoo she liked."

Theodore's face crumpled and he wept one last time.




END OF BOOK THREE
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 12 June 2013, 19:15:58
Hmmm.... Nice ending!  So will there be more to the story?
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 13 June 2013, 09:41:05
Thanks!

There will be more to the story. I wrote this primarily as an exercise and a "fanwishing-gone-wrong" AU because I was bored during the Christmas holidays.

Now, I want to actually improve my writing. I'll also be following the BattleCorps' style guidelines  (no more "Assault 'Mechs" but "assault 'Mechs" and such) though I like the old-style epigraphs.

But yes, there'll be more! Thanks for reading guys, and I do welcome feedback.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Black Mist on 13 June 2013, 11:07:24
Thanks!

There will be more to the story. I wrote this primarily as an exercise and a "fanwishing-gone-wrong" AU because I was bored during the Christmas holidays.

Now, I want to actually improve my writing. I'll also be following the BattleCorps' style guidelines  (no more "Assault 'Mechs" but "assault 'Mechs" and such) though I like the old-style epigraphs.

But yes, there'll be more! Thanks for reading guys, and I do welcome feedback.

If this was fanwishing, I can't wait to see your refined style. There are so many artists on this forum, and you sir are one of them.
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 13 June 2013, 12:17:54
More please!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 14 June 2013, 03:32:18
Fanwishing, now that's a good idea. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 18 June 2013, 17:00:34
BOOK FOUR


=======================================

Hasek Interstellar Starport, Saso, New Syrtis
Capellan March, Federated Suns
26 December 3029



The DropShip fell with controlled grace. Its drive plume flared silver-hot underneath it, sublimating the slower-falling snow into steaming fog as it arced across the sky.

Morgan shivered.

Snow fell on Saso frequently, and the fog was a constant at the starport. Not even the tarmac could shunt the heat of a DropShip's fusion torches fully into the steam turbines that powered the starport. Morgan knew that the DropShip's short passage through the atmosphere had created fist-sized chunks of hail to fall throughout its drop in the atmosphere.

It was just one of the reasons his father had demanded an upgraded flight control system from the University of Saso; New Syrtis was a March capital and heavy traffic plus its orbit prevented static transit lanes for the starport. So it rotated through several sets depending on the time of year, and Hasek Interstellar worked very hard not to disrupt local air travel or create hailstorms that could smash city blocks.

It was a dance. Done well, it meant Saso and all of New Syrtis operated properly and even thrived. A single mistake meant a swathe of the city would be peppered with falling ice.

The drifting fog muted the pinging of the rapidly cooling DropShip's skin, but it wasn't enough to hide the groundcar that was heading towards them now, away from the terminal.

Morgan glanced to his right; Hanse Davion stood like the sovereign he was, untouched by the cold, glaring brightly at the vehicle. There were only a few other men with him, all wrapped in the warmest cold-weather gear the AFFS could provide. Not that it was necessary; Morgan found the starport's tarmac to be almost warm. It would stay that way for hours still.

Armed, dangerous men exited the car first and one nonchalantly dragged out their passenger.

Duke Michael Hasek-Davion sneered at the man, then at the Fox.

Morgan stepped forward. "Welcome home, father," he said. The duke spared him a glance before squaring his shoulders and stared at Hanse Davion.

"When's my execution?"

The First Prince smiled. "No execution. Unfortunately," he continued, "your health will prevent you from resuming your duties."

Morgan watched his father's face. He expected a glint of his custom cleverness, a barbed retort, or even plain stubbornness. He saw nothing.

"Very well."

"You remember, Quintus?" Hanse asked as the spymaster stepped forward.

"Of course," Michael said, smiling. "Like father, like son, I suppose. Well done."

Quintus Allard nodded once.

"Is it true then? Does the Free Worlds League and Draconis Combine hold Tikonov?"

"It's not," Morgan said. His father nodded without looking at him.

"Very well."

Morgan Hasek-Davion, Duke of New Syrtis and Lord of the Capellan March stood aside as his father walked past. Michael stopped by his side, a brief pause, then continued on.

Morgan stayed on the tarmac until the snow had covered it again.

Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 18 June 2013, 17:01:31
Unity Palace, Imperial City, Luthien
Pesht Military District, Draconis Combine
29 December 3029



"He was allergic to Vegan wool."

"What?" Theodore asked.

Jasmine Kurita put the steaming teapot down and sat gently.  "Your father. Vegan wool made him itchy and more irritable than usual."

Theodore took a cup. "I've never heard of Vegan wool, I spent some time there--"

"--I know, my son." Jasmine paused. "I think he hoped you shared the same allergy. I don't think even the ISF dared to intentionally expose you to an allergen."

The Coordinator coughed as he sipped the tea. "Hah, did he want me to be that miserable?"

"As miserable as you made him, sometimes."

Theodore sighed. "I regret that--"

"--Anyway," Jasmine interrupted. "Vegan wool. Somehow, in his youth, your father chased a Davion spy into a warehouse. I believe it was when he was stationed on Dieron... The man had fooled him, the ISF agents, and everyone else. But your grandfather visited."

He leaned in closer, listening intently to his mother. "And?"

"Hohiro Kurita, the first," she added softly, "saw right through the man. Or so the story goes. The man was the scion of a Minor House, one of the many your grandfather had purged. He turned to the Davions for security."

"Security?"

"From what your father told me, and it wasn't all of it, this young man was a DCMS tai-sa already. Full of promise. Then Hohiro the first culled the Minor Houses. The ISF spared him; he was utterly devoted to your father." Theodore watched his mother as she warmed her hands on the teacup. "He--your father--knew his father spoke the truth."

"And?" Theodore repeated.

"And this young, devoted man fled. Jumped right through several shoji panels to make good his escape. The Smiling One's predecessor was injured trying to stop him."

"I've never heard of this before--" Theodore began then grew silent at his mother's expression.

"Somehow, your father knew where he'd hide. He chased him from the hiding spot into the warehouse and that was where he discovered he had this allergy." Jasmine quieted and began drinking her tea. Moments passed in silence as mother and son enjoyed the garden's sunlight.

"And the spy got away?" Theodore asked after a while.

"Mm? Oh no, your father said he cut him into several pieces."

Theodore laughed quietly. "Mother," he said smiling, "why tell me this?"

"That was when he changed. I'm told." At his inquisitive look, she added. "Subhash Indrahar. They were friends, like you and Ninyu. He told me years later when he--well, that's not why I told you this story."

"And why did you, mother?"

Jasmine grimaced. "Because your father lied. There was a body cut up into very small pieces. But it wasn't the traitor." She looked into his eyes and held it. "Because that traitor saved your father's life several times. Your father felt he owed him his life, and had hoped to turn him into a double agent."

"My father?" Theodore asked, bewildered. "He would've had him tortured for all that he knew."

"Much had changed by the time you were born, son. And before you ask again, it was because he was already a double agent, feeding the Davions mostly false intelligence."

"The ISF?" he asked, earning him a reproachful look. Theodore realized how easily he fell into the role of the quizzical young son with his mother around. He bowed his head.

"No, not the ISF. The Order of Five Pillars is more closely intertwined with the nobility than the ISF is with the military. Their task is to see that proper rule is maintained." She paused and he listened. After another long pause, she continued. "This relationship has only become stronger in the last few years."

"Who was he?" Theodore asked after sensing enough time had passed.

"You've met him," Jasmine said. "Remember the night your grandfather was killed..."

"--No--"

"--He was the assassin. Your father gave him a new identity, a new face, and kept him by his side. Not even your grandfather could see through that."

Theodore put the cold tea away, his hands shaking. He broke from the trance his mother wove and looked around the room. His mind pulled back to an odd shadow. Franklin is listening, he thought sadly. Theodore looked to his mother, and she met his eyes evenly. And she knew he was.

"Come," the Coordinator ordered.

Reluctantly, the boy, now better fed but still thin, like he, strode forward and sat down by his side.

"Do you understand the story?" he asked.

The boy nodded, and with a nod from Theodore, he began mumbling an explanation. "They were friends. Takashi knew he was loyal, but had to please his father so... Then he kept him by his side. But he found out?" Franklin asked, trailing away.

"'Found out'?" Theodore repeated, trusting his intuition. He repeated the question to his mother.

Jasmine poured herself a new cup and leaned forward. "The Draconis Combine is dying a slow death. Hohiro, the first, made some unwise decisions. Did you know that the Lyrans predicted our economy should have collapsed before 3015? It was only your father that averted it." She took a long sip. "She was going to tell you, herself, that night..." Jasmine added.

"What did my father do?"

"Why do you think your father has worked so hard to look so hardline, so... traditional?"

"Mother--" Theodore began, but quieted as her eyes flashed. "Appearances. I knew he never truly adopted the traditions fully, picking and choosing as suited him."

"The question was 'Why?'"

Theodore sighed and shook his head. Franklin spoke up. "To please the other traditionalists, right?"

Jasmine beamed and nodded. "Most of those are in the military, and, especially, in the ISF. But your father will be known as 'Takashi the Reformer'. Explain."

"His economic policies," Theodore provided for his son. "Greater freedoms. Actual competition." Theodore saw it now, but his son didn't know the Combine as he did. "The rich people, the nobles, the industrialists, they're far wealthier than the richest commoner. But it's nothing compared to what merchants in other realms can earn. Too much of what we produce, the military consumes." He turned to his mother. "Mother, you don't mean Takashi was in league with the industrialists?--"

"Hush." Jasmine took a sip. "How would that benefit the realm?"

Theodore shook his head. "It wouldn't. His reforms weakened them."

"But some would get stronger," Franklin volunteered. The two older Kuritas looked at him. "There were new merchants, in the places where we lived. They were causing trouble. They sold cheaper and better stuff than what old people were used to buying."

Theodore smiled at his son.

"The Combine's policies were untenable," Jasmine said. "Takashi knew that. We employ an army of people to build things and another army to break them apart. We conquer to strip worlds of its resources just to survive."

"Money?" Theodore asked frustratedly. "This is the Dragon's 'yellow bird'?"

"No, my son. You forget your heritage," Jasmine admonished. "Destiny. If House Kurita is to rule all of humanity, how should the people live under that rule? Like our people do now, on the edge of starvation with no fulfillment in their tasks?"

The Coordinator fell silent and listened to the rustling of the garden. Finally, he looked at his mother. "What has the Order of Five Pillars done?"

Jasmine Kurita smiled at him. "Finally, you ask the right question."



Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Shadow_Wraith on 18 June 2013, 18:34:34
Nice update!  Looking forward to see what happens in FS, now that Michael Hasek is back.  Nice to read on how, Theodore is learning about his father.  Keep it up!
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: snakespinner on 19 June 2013, 03:33:53
Alright, what has Monty Python and the Order of Five Pillars done. O0
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Wolflord on 19 June 2013, 10:18:22
Whatever it was no one expected it
Title: Re: The Wolves and the Dragons (AU)
Post by: Marwynn on 19 June 2013, 16:16:08
Enga, 223 km west of Harstad City, Svarstaad
Tamar Pact, Lyran Commonwealth
29 December 3029



Corporal Surato Evans made the leap from the second story office window to the rubble piled against the wall below him; half falling, half rolling. Tucking his shoulder in as he landed, Surato slammed his gloved left hand into the ground to steady himself as he kept his Magna laser rifle nestled close to him with his right.

He scuttled into cover and looked up just as the smoking Lyran craft came apart and smashed the spot he had made his home over the last three days.

"Chikusho," he whispered. My rations were in there, he thought mournfully as he ran from the flaming debris cascading down the office building.

Surato stopped to catch his breath, scanning the skies for more of the Lyran birds. His jingasa, the 'war hat' he had been issued was askew again, and he spared a moment to straighten it like he was trained to long ago. Not that it would stop a bullet or a laser. But it did keep the rain out and kept him warm at night. Stuffed with a towel or rag it made for a fine pillow too.

Corporal Evans peered from the alley into the street his squad 'occupied'. He hated having to split the squad into five two-man teams, especially since he was already a man short and had to go alone. But his troopers hadn't complained about holing up in well appointed offices to call out targets for the trio of autocannon the rest of the platoon wielded in the few, taller buildings deeper inside the town.

He could hear them calling out over the comm, and a stream of light erupted from a blue-and-white building that still gleamed. Surato dashed across the street, calling out to the pair lucky enough to have been assigned a three-story bistro packed with food and good couches.

"Go-cho! Got tired of the single life?" Jimenez asked.

The japanese ranks weren't official, not yet, and Surato was unsure why it mattered. But his squad were already calling themselves hojuhei and heishi and walked around a little straighter when they did.

"Thanks, heishi," he said with a smile as he ducked in. The smell of roasting chicken hit him first and his stomach growled. Separated by a block and he had been reduced to freeze-dried leftovers and the two here ate like Lyrans.

Jimenez ran to the kitchen and came back with a plate full of steaming rice and chicken and Surato forgot all about the falling VTOL and dug in. He even used a spoon and fork.

The private, heishi, waited until he was halfway done with the plate before speaking. "So, are we pushing forward, go-cho?" she asked conversationally.

Surato shook his head and pantomimed drinking water. The private ran back to the kitchen with two glasses of water, one clinking with ice. He smiled and drank, his plate already utterly clean.

"No, Jimenez, probably not. Too bad," he added with a wink, "you have to tough it out here a while longer."

"Hai, go-cho!" she said, taking it as an order. She re-adjusted her jingasa as well. None of the war hats fit properly.

"More activity!" a voice called up from the stairs in japanese. "Get back up here!"

Jimenez waited for him to nod before dashing back up. He followed her up as soon as he got used to the added weight, carrying both glasses up the stairs. He handed the full one to the hojuhei waiting for them.

"Another pair, incoming, and they're not alone, go-cho. Looks like crawlers and wheels," Ko said, handing him the binox.

Surato didn't need to look, but he did so anyway. "Call it in," he quickly said, stubbornly in english. The crawlers were tanks, on treads, armed with heavy lasers, missiles, and a lot of machine guns. They were meant for rushing entrenched infantry in the open field. The wheels were a pair of heavy APCs armed with a trio of machine guns and could easily haul two or three foot platoons. Each.

There was no question which way they were heading. The town's roads had been systematically blocked; there was only one way in or out and it was littered with dead Lyrans and their machines.

Surato sighed.

Those APCs were why one in every four troopers were issued the 'Dragonspit'; a boxy tube that fired a single Inferno missile. The burning gel would find all the gaps on a surface and pour right in, killing the warmachine and its cargo. If it hit. And if the warhead deployed properly.

Once, Surato didn't think he'd have the heart to do that to another infantryman. Now, he wished he had grabbed another when the things were being handed out.

Corporal Evans unlatched the tube from his backpack and tossed it to Jimenez. She caught it with a grin and hid in the corner.

Ko finished talking and gave him a thumbs up. "They're calling in reinforcements, go-cho. Sano-san says maybe ten minutes."

Chikusho... we'd be in tiny, bloody pieces in five! he thought. Instead of saying it, he nodded and looked around.

"How are you with that?" the corporal asked, nodding to the grenade launcher leaning against the wall.

"I don't know," Ko responded. "I used it to beat the brains out of an Elsie, go-cho," the recruit finally responded in english. Surato nodded, suddenly aware that the wooden stock was dyed a familiar colour.

"Take that, and all its ammo with you. I want you there," Corporal Evans pointed across the street. The building in front of them had a park in front. Natural cover. "Heishi Jimenez will have to wait until they're close before she can fire," he said, louder than he needed to. "After she kills the lead, the second will spill its cargo out. They're Elsies, so they'll charge into that park, take cover, and fire into this building."

He had to explain that. Hojuhei, recruits, were little more than fanatics sometimes and would've charged the building after spraying the windows with useless fire. He couldn't blame them, they were trained that way.

"Wait until you see them taking cover."

"Then?"

He tried not to sigh. "Then, use that thing," he pointed to the grenade launcher in Ko's hands, "then use that thing," he pointed to the Magna laser rifle. "When you run out, you make your way across the rooftops back to HQ." Surato stressed every word and looked for a spark of understanding.

"Hai, go-cho!" Ko saluted. The corporal nodded once, and the hojuhei ran off.

He didn't see the spark.

"Can't save them all," Jimenez said to the wall. She was kneeling perfectly still, totally hidden by the wall. She'd fire through the window above and in front of her and waited silently for his word.

Surato nodded and placed the binox on a windowsill. He unstrapped his comm, flipped it, and pulled out a cord he plugged into the binox. He had to adjust the binox's angle with some clutter, but it did the trick. He unspoolled the cord as far as he could and began re-arranging the furniture to protect his spot at the top of the stairs.

As he knelt down, he called on the three other pairs of his squad. He laid out his plan.

Like the town there was only one way in. Both were through him.


--------------------------------------------------------------


Hojuhei Pavel Ko sprinted the distance as quickly as he could. By the time he made it to the exact spot he was ordered to, he was sweating. Physical conditioning in the DCMS's infantry services was more about being tough than being fit.

He marveled at how physical the older soldiers were. And then he understood why they were the older soldiers.

Jimenez had been helping him by letting him do the heavy lifting. Or so she claimed.

It had been glorious taking this city. The rest called it a town but it was a city to him. Small, perhaps, but he helped take it for the Dragon. It was the destiny of the Dragon to rule over all of human space, and he helped.

The rest were just too humble to show it. He understood that.

Ko settled on one knee and readied the grenade launcher. Its stock was still crusty from the Elsie he took it from, and he checked the weapon out as best he could. He kept below the lip of the roof. Ko knew he didn't know many things, but the go-cho ordered him to stay hidden until the Elsies charged.

Pavel carefully set the three drums full of grenades at his side.

He was shivering by the time he heard the APCs rumbling forward.


--------------------------------------------------------------

"They've stopped."

"What?"

"They've stopped," he repeated.

"I heard you. Go-cho." Jimenez said, annoyed. "How far?"

Surato twisted a dial on the comm, and the binox whirred to zoom out the image. "Too far."

He heard it just in time and slammed the button for the general combat comm. "VTOLs!" he said just as the pair of choppers zoomed through the urban canyon, using the three-storey buildings as cover. They were hoping the guns couldn't deflect down enough to target them.

They were right. If they had been closer, the gun crews wouldn't have been able to shoot them. As they were, they were at the right angle for rotor hits.

"Trying to use us as shields?" Jimenez asked just as Corporal Evans came to the same conclusion. "Hah," was all she said and focused on the wall in front of her.

Far away, shells began to hammer restaurants, office buildings, warehouses, and parking garages. The roof of the bistro fell in on one corner as a burst shot through to the street below.

A horrible screeching sound echoed from deeper into the town. The lead autocannon had been firing mostly tracer rounds, scaring the Lyran pilots with the streams of fire. One flew right into where the flak guns were aimed at and died in the air.

Surato grit his teeth as the VTOL crashed into the ground, its rotors breaking themselves on the cobbled ferro-crete road. The other Elsie pilot lost his cool and pulled up.

Corporal Evans could almost hear the orders the gunnery sergeant was giving. Or had already given. There was one burp of noise and the muted whirring died. Seconds later, he felt the explosion as that VTOL crashed.

He tried very hard not to remember just how many infantrymen each one of those carried.

"They're--" he began then zoomed in again. "They're moving. Out."

"What?"

"Debarking," he said but thought Chikusho! as four platoons of heavy infantry poured out of the APCs. "They're going door-to-door," he said then repeated on the general combat channel.

His plan, such as it was, no longer applied. Most of the squad responded to his abort.


--------------------------------------------------------------

Pavel looked at the blinking comm again and tapped on the 3C button: Cannot currently comply. He placed it back down on the ground.

He had watched the fireworks, exposed to the open sky. And he wet himself.

The three autocannon his platoon were given, BattleMechs wielded those and called them "Light". He'd never seen one in combat before, and he knew heavier, more terrifying weapons existed. The Class 2 and Class 5 autocannons had torn through enti