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Author Topic: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II  (Read 8227 times)

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #150 on: 12 October 2018, 09:11:29 »
Ipos cursed in High Dominus.  He knew the Word’s ROM operatives in this region had been tasked with higher priority targets than the Grand Duchess or her hardscrabble Outback Legions.  Still how had their spies not known that Peter Steiner-Davion had returned? 

His disappearance was one of the great unsolved mysteries in the Inner Sphere.  An heir of the mighty Federated Commonwealth had just disappeared within a week.  Most Mu analysts he had consulted assumed that either Katherine or Victor had him killed after Katherine’s own near assassination on Solaris VII {ROM and MIM knew about the second attempt but few others did.  Not even Victor who failed to read the follow up report just giving it to (his/Emma’s Mentat *cough) Curatis to review} but it didn’t fit based on their behavior afterwards.

This dramatically changed his objective but at the same time didn’t; one more life sacrificed to the greater good was a small price to pay for the enlightenment of Mankind.  “It is a pleasure to meet you First Prince Peter.  Destiny surely calls at me to see ‘The Black Prince’ at the beginning and end of my service to Blessed Blake’s Order.”

“What are you talking about?”
“I just barely missed your father’s cockpit when my unit attacked New Avalon so many years ago.  I’ve only gotten faster since then, courtesy of the Order.”
“Well I’m not my father and I highly doubt it old man.”


Ipos paged through the command interface linked to his mech’s communications package.  Pulling an entire Level III that had already gotten past the river toward his position.  “This one might still be saved; I want him alive if possible.  Kill the girl, she’ll be nothing but a menace.”

Adept Vetrik formerly of the Davion Lights Guards watched the Highcrest River turn into a fine mist behind his Stygians and Regulators as they raced toward the Precentor Commander.  A squadron of attack helicopters were following far behind but the mist and his hovercraft’s high speeds and evasive maneuvers interfered with their thermal targeting sights. 

Pockets of steam from laser misses and eruptions from cannon or missile fire interrupted the glass smooth surface of the water ahead of them.  Occasionally one of the hovercraft would fire back but the helo’s aerobatics and speed made things difficult. 

Hitting another fast mover while traveling at a high rate of speed is much like hitting one bullet with another.  Still there were a few hits on either side but none seemed willing to waste all their ammo on fruitless engagements.  They were there for when his tanks had to slow down and engage other targets in formation then they would strike.  Being a hover-tank squadron commander was all about accepting risk and still heading into it at reckless speed.

So when the helicopter squadron broke off before he reached his objective at the bridge he was suspicious.  His drive came in over their internal net, “They are disengaging Adept.  Do we continue?”

Vetrik watched the helicopters fly away from his command optics in disbelief, “Yes, the Precentor gave us an order.  Continue at flank speed to the target.”

They continued on for a short while before seeing a flash from the sky as a squadron of Drake Jump Bombers passed overhead after letting their deadly cargoes fly before banking off.  Each one dropping a quartet of bombs that broke apart in mid-air before dispersing a dozen smaller bombs.  Vetrik watched in slow motion as they flitted in the air like seeds on the wind before exploding near the ground and ripping into his Stygian’s hover-skirts and armor.  His hovercraft were fast but it was still nothing near even conventional fighter-bombers.

All of the Blakist hovertanks were mauled by the cluster bombs some worse than others.  He watched as a Regulator floated on the water for a moment before capsizing and submerging itself with only the bottom of its torn skirts breaking the surface.  His own engine whined as it struggled to maintain pressure underneath the torn skirts.   

The ground effect that gave the tank its potent maneuverability had been lost in an instant.  Now it was effectively a sitting target where once it had been in command of its battlespace.  He slaved the pair of MML-7 launchers in the turret to his optics and saw an insectoid and worse Clan Tech Donar Attack Helicopter coming in for the kill with friends. There was nothing he could do as they took apart his tanks at their leisure, yet he fired the impotent missiles defiantly till the end.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #151 on: 25 October 2018, 13:16:39 »
Author insert -  Going to make this project my NaNoWriMo goal so expect more updates and a rapid race to Terra by Thanksgiving.  The story is coming to an end but there are still a lot of pages left to write.

***********

Captain Devlin Stone ducked behind the ragged corner as a flash of light from a Blakist laser filled the dark airless corridor with an invisible but very real laser.  His armor heated up near his left pec before the cooling system dumped the excess heat into the radiator pack behind him.  A layer of the inky black Harjel analog found on Lackland (future Warships made or upgraded at the secret Traussian Yards would be just as protected from hull breaches as Clan upgraded ones) solidified within moments maintaining the integrity of the vacuum capable suit currently hanging onto a Warship fuselage. 

The fuselage rocked as another missile from the Federation fleet impacted the Blakist Warship several dozen meters away opening a new assault route for another team.  His Armored Marines had their battle claws and magnetic boots attaching them to the fuselage, once attached the Voidseer Battle Armor were as tough as mites to dislodge from the frame.  This ship and its flotilla were dead sticking in an orbit that would ultimately cause them to crash into Minette within hours.  The whole formation was currently in the planet's shadow. 

Devlin looked back and could see projected dots where the 5th Fleet was against the dark planet.  Closer though was an AK-46 Assault Transport, its sharp delta winged shape was “hovering” above only held by tethers to the fuselage while providing structure and top cover for the marines below.  It's signaling lights blinking softly while the harsh white flood light tied to its belly turret searched the area for a counterattack force in multiple spectra. 

A platoon of the bright white and gold suited 148th Chirikof Espatiers currently tasked to Captain Stone's squad waited patiently four meters edgeward.  They had just zipped down from the tether before engaging the magnetic boots of their vacuum armor stabilizing themselves with their maneuvering jets.  Their visor and rifle lights as well as a blinking signaler was illuminating a small circle around their position. 

Battle damage had degraded the Blakist crew's ability to scuttle the ship much to Devlin's and his fellow marines delight.  The fuselage was rent with great gashes that looked out to open space and it's dangers.  He was currently near one on the dead ship hoping to provide the 278th Fleet Support Group a chance to rescue the vessel for the Federated Suns.  “We have contact!  I want a shield up front.”

Another Voidseer unit came forward carrying a thick square of Battlemech armor its battle claws completely concealing the user while a fiber optic camera tied to his visor allowed him to look past the metal.  The shield blocked half a corridor providing cover from the deadly support laser in the hall ahead while allowing the Marines Armored and not a chance to fire back.

“No time to wait, if they blow the engineering room charges we are all paste.”

The 148th troops fell in, nodded in understanding lining up behind their Armored counterparts.  “Move as one, double time”

The shield-bearer adjusted his heading 'downward' before engaging the jets on his pack till he found purchase on the grate.  Devlin's Marines followed immediately behind searching for targets for their magshot rifles with their advanced sensors.  There were plenty to choose from, a group of the Manei Domini's Tau Zombies, cyborg super-soldiers the size of mythical ogres wearing vacuum armor, joined by Zero-G modified Achileus Battle Armor, and lightly equipped members of the ship's crew willing to die in a final stand against the Commonwealth.  All dressed in sterile white against the exposed rainbow of the conduit.

The Ship's crew fell easily as small Gauss slugs crashed through their space suits with ease.  Their blood erupted from the holes forming a red mist in the corridor, their bodies floating listlessly from their tether harnesses.  The Achileus' armor was up to the challenge taking the combined fire of a whole Armored Marine squad to bring down. 

The Voidseer's heavy armor was solid but not unbreakable nor was the Harjel capable of sealing every breach.  Two of Stone's squad were dropped almost immediately, one had taken a laser blast to the helmet charring the armor but turned the trooper's brain into an awful steam that mercifully was contained.  The other suffered multiple simultaneous blasts that caused heat stroke before succumbing to laser burns. 

A Tau Zombie fully engaged his armor's thrust pack accelerating him at inhuman rates slamming the shield at such a high velocity ultimate resulting in a crash that crushed both troopers even given their more solid structure.

Now his squad was exposed, Devlin reacted to prevent the remaining Tau Zombie from wholesale slaughtering the more vulnerable 148th troopers.  He engaged his thrust pack crashing into the giant cyborg before him before a Capellan man-portable plasma cannon could be readied.  A plasma cannon that would have cooked the Espatiers in their armor.

The claws of Devlin's Battle armor were grappling the massive servo hands of the Zombie's vacuum armor.  The cybernetically enhanced strength of the Blakist shock trooper matching the augmented exoskeleton that held a large man made of flesh and bone rather than wires and myomer weave. 

Captain Stone's training kicked in, crush the trooper in his armor, the thruster pack pressed the Zombie into an armored bulkhead through torn pipes and tattered wires.  Devlin's armor crashed in the force of impact even displaced evenly across his body still caused his breath to be knocked out of him. 

Captain Stone's training kicked in, crush the trooper in his armor, the thruster pack pressed the Zombie into an armored bulkhead through torn pipes and tattered wires.  Devlin's armor crashed in the force of impact even displaced evenly across his body still caused his breath to be knocked out of him. 

The Blakist trooper flipped his visor open revealing a ghoulish face repaired with myomer and plastics complete with metal teeth and a milky white cybernetic eye.  The trooper had a big grin on his mouth, the impact that would have crushed the most sturdy of men hardly affected the monster within.  In fact Devlin had handed his foe the leverage he needed.  The Zombie's drew his legs up before pushing the Voidseer, a 1500kg Battle Armor, into a mass of wires and pipes before “charging” Devlin with a powerful tackle that cracked bone. 

Captain Stone's vision went blurry for a moment while the integral MedKit in his suit delivered a powerful cocktail of drugs that numbed the pain and staved off shock.  He could see his vitals racing and nearing a dangerous level for active combat.  The Zombie used its suit's grapple gun to tether one of the Voidseer's upper arms to the Warship's structure wrapping the strong cable around the suit and effectively immobilizing the armor.  Devlin reacted fast turning towards the grapple and taking up the slack with an agile “bootleg reverse/flip dive” to its anchor.

Devlin's armor didn't have fine control in combat mode something he would need to dislodge the anchor by any means, other than completely tearing the Warship plate.  Devlin went on the defensive his lone arm and some skillful thruster work allowed him to dodge the Zombie's follow up flying charge although he was still to close.

The suit servos strained to break the grapple, its operator hoping that the cable was flawed in some way but it held firm, “Damn, this is gonna hurt.”  The Zombie clambered on and drew back an armored fist, restraining the integral sub-machine gun on his left side while hammered through the armor into the damaged flesh below.  The concussion caused the wind to once more leave Devlin's lungs. 

The twisted face of his foe was still snarling at him through the polarized helmet glass.  His own armored cover was still intact despite the best efforts of cybernetic muscles to tear it away.  From his perspective Devlin could see a sharp piece of warped steel where the warship's fuselage had been damaged.  He pushed the Zombie off, the suit's leg strength sufficient to break his foe's iron hold, and the monster drifted uncontrollably into the spike.  Upon impact crimson fluid formed globules in free-fall as the Blakist cyborg was injured, not dead likely but slowed surely.

Devlin turned around aimed his elbow mounted gun at the anchor.  Paused he braced his suit against the recoil before firing, the silent 9mm rounds weakened it enough that he could break the rod and take control of the cable between the wicked servo arms.  He pushed hard against the plate feeling the reinforced fuselage flexing under his immense force before positioning himself behind the skewed enemy who tried to pull their way off the spike.  The marine didn't let him escape though threading the heavy metal cable around the neck dam of the Zombie's vacuum armor before twisting and pulling with all his augmented strength. 

His own injured body fought against him but adrenaline persevered and Devlin was rewarded with a satisfying slackening of the line as he decapitated his enemy.  The monster's carotid's still pumped blood that was quickly turned to a red snow that covered the Voidseer's armor.  The Zombie's head was still within the helmet and it floated in midair, rotating slowly in the emptiness of the corridor.  The sight of that almost caused Devlin to vomit into his helmet but his training and a dose of an anti-vomit drug saving him the real threat of suffocating on his own bile.

“Move to engineering squad.  I need a moment.”

The vacuum armored marines in blue and gold continued forward cautiously watching the kill-zones as they approached the Athena's engineering bay.  Silent lasers and Magshots finished off the remaining Blakist skeleton crew but the ship was too heavily damaged to salvage.  The survivors gathered their fallen dead and departed the doomed ship.  The A-47s departed returning to their home ships with their crews.  This naval battle had been one but they were still all prepared for the big one.
« Last Edit: 26 October 2018, 06:18:21 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #152 on: 26 October 2018, 06:22:11 »
Peter Steiner-Davion watched as the 46th Shadow Division made their way through the mist. Eerie bone white wraiths that could only be seen clearly in infrared, and some of them not even then as they were utilizing the Capellan's trademark Stealth Armor to jam sensors.  The absence of signal still allowed his troops to pinpoint enemies.  It was something they had planned during the preparation phase for the impending battles with the Ice Hellions.  Current intel suggested they were equipped with more ECM gear than the average clanner much like the Blakists so provisions were made to mitigate that advantage.

His reinforcements were coming but not fast enough, Peter tapped several icons on his strategic view-screen before returning to the live feed on the other side of his cockpit's armored cowling.  There were too many other things to deal with then command responsibility, “Rubicon Company, they will not pass that's an order.  Hold firm and watch for armored infantry, sensors keep flickering so they are out there.”

Green indicator lights from his company confirmed the orders and the local Battlenet was given priority in the queue.  The augmented overlay showed all of his mechs with one bullet and three shields out of the normal five.  Friendly indicators that showed his allies were running with low ammo and compromised armor. 

A Tan and Gold Penetrator stood in the middle of the bridge still in good condition for being heavily engaged, it's ammo independence was something Peter had been banking on in the impeding skirmish.  He watched in horror as dozens of missiles corkscrewed out of the mist from the bridge, the Mech's anti-missile system engaged taking out a few but most impacted with bright orange flashes against the dark blue night.  The Penetrator fell over pockmarked with craters, the pilot's vitals flat-lined as unseen battle armor weapons tore into the cockpit armor.

“Damn, they probably disabled our charges too.  Blakist bastards.”

Peter was tempted to blow the bridge now. He could be wrong, with a single button press he could eliminate the threat and moderately slow the 46th's advance but if he was right it wouldn't matter.  He decided against it but brought a Prowler tank with no ammo forward to use it's active probe to provide some warning against Battle Armor.

“Form up.  On my order we charge.  Draw the battle armor to you and destroy them before they demine the bridge.”

Several, “Aye Sirs,” joined in.  Where the First Prince went others followed.  If a Davion Warrior Prince gave the order to fight the legions of hell on their home turf the AFFS would follow.  'Semper agens deincepts' “Always boldly forward” was the motto of the Outback Legion and plaques adorned with those words were in the Grand Duchess' mansion two hundred kilometers away, as well as every Outback Legion Headquarters for hundreds of light years. 

Peter's Battlemaster was first on the bridge being relatively undamaged by the previous assaults and fine tuned for this manner of brawling.  The unexpected advance of the Legionaires caught the Blakist Battle Armor by surprise and several disappeared as invisible coherent light and high energy particles from the Battlemaster turned them to ash.  A Centurion, Rifleman, and Enforcer III followed close behind their commander each one raking the bridge with a harsh bellow of autocannon rounds where the Prowler's Beagle probe sensed enemy units. 

Soon they were out of contacts, the sudden violence scarcely giving the enemy Phalanx units time to launch their second volley of missiles most of which arced away from their intended targets.  Cavalier Battle Armor came forward to check the charges while Prince Peter and the Legionaries stepped toward the Manei Domini Battlemechs advancing on their position.

Peter knew that Ipos would not disengage, he meant to die on this planet and Peter was willing to give him the opportunity.  He realized his hands were tightly clenching the Battlemaster's controls, the same ones his father had used before him with a rare chance to use against the same foe. 

A small picture of Hanse Davion was recessed in the cockpit, the moment captured was the signing of the FedCom Accords more than 45 years ago.  The Hanse then was a spitting image of Peter now vibrant red hair with just a little graying from a life filled with tragedy, turmoil, adventure, romance, and a greater opportunity in front of him with the past forgotten.  He wondered why Yvonne had picked it out and placed it in the cockpit but figured it out in that instant.  “Thank you sister.  That is exactly what I needed.”

The battle was hard fought, the BattleROMs of the unit's engaged would be used in the future at every Federated Suns academy as a textbook example of a fade action.  The Legionaries and Shadow Division clashed with a a ferocity rarely seen outside of the DCMS or Smoke Jaguars.  The battle was costly but skillful maneuvering, air power, artillery, and a healthy bit of luck enabled the Legionaries to carry the day. 

By the time Renegade Squadron arrived 'The Black Prince' was the last Battlemech standing.  It's jagged jet black frame stepping on the broken Precentor's Avatar.  The head and pilot of which had been removed by a blast from the clan tech ERPPC that was still glowing red hot in her thermal sights. 

Yvonne could see the mech had been ravaged in the fight against Ipos' unit but her brother had emerged victorious.  “Way to go Peter.  Renegades we are not needed here; Time for more HK ops.  Anyone that needs ammo RTB.”

Two of the gunships the Warrior V and a Yellow Jacket broke off and returned to their supply base.  The four Donar and Hawk Moths continued hunting down damaged enemies and supporting the scattered calls for firepower from lighter mechanized infantry units. 

Legionnaire Armored Infantry didn't approach fallen Blakist mechs instead calling down artillery to blast them to pieces and neutralize any booby traps.  Musketeer hover-tanks raced up and down the river engaging in search and destroy missions against damaged Blakist units.  The 46th's dropships had been crippled by conventional fighter-bombers or aerospace fighters that were engaging in clean up from the orbital battle that had just concluded.  They self-destructed rather than risk capture by Yvonne's forces.

Two days later Peter and Yvonne had recovered from injuries sustained in the battle and a clearer picture of their operational status was visible on the holotable before them.  Yvonne paused rubbing her eyes before looking toward Peter who was standing just a little bit taller than she remembered.  “You killed the Lion of Destiny himself Peter.  Way to live up to the family motto.”

“Audacity, Bravery, Destiny.  I remember.  Dad never let us forget it, but I guess you knew more about that then I.”

“I guess I do.  I'm sorry you didn't get to know him as well as you ought to Peter.  He always thought there would be plenty of time right up until there was no more.  It continues to pain me that Arthur didn't get a chance to put his ideals to the test before things went so wrong.”


Peter looked at the picture of his family taken last week, “I think I understand him a lot better now than I ever have.  Thank you Yvonne, everything that happened two nights ago was your doing.”

“I can't take credit for that Peter.  That was all you; maybe there was a little bit of dad in that old Battlemaster.  I heard a rumor once that Katherine tried to talk to the dead in Grandmom's Warhammer and Galen's Crusader when she was feeling down.  Maybe she was on to something or perhaps she just needed some alone time to figure herself out.”

“Katrina's Warhammer did have a certain way to it when I piloted it the few times at Nagelring, very different than the one I piloted for the Brotherhood.  The techs claimed it was haunted but I think it was just old SLDF components she replaced during her time in exile that were acting up.  Old mechs have a mind of their own, the ancient DI computers were too smart for their own good.”

“There are a lot of things we don't know about Katrina or Katherine for that matter.”  Yvonne desperately wanted to change the subject, her relationship with her elder sister was complicated but simpler without the burden of FTL communications.  Katherine was on the other side of the universe, there were more pressing concerns on this side.  “Looks like we made it through damaged but unbowed Peter.  Thanks to you morale is at an all time high.  We defeated a Shadow Division but soon we have to kill a Clan.”

Peter queued up their briefing notes for today, “Two weeks till D-day.  That's a long time Yvonne.”

“It will be gone in a flash.  We still have so much work to do and the Blakists made it that much harder.  I doubt we'll make the window despite our best efforts.”

“Then we had better get to work.”
  The holotable fired through a series of false color images and technical readouts taken from a MIIO SIGINT station burrowed into an asteroid in the Crofton asteroid belt. “The Hellions don't know their time draws near.”

“I hope you're right Peter because if they do it might be the end for us.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #153 on: 29 October 2018, 17:26:49 »
OP:ICEBLOCK

08/14/3069 Location – HS Moore's Honor, Crofton Zenith Point, Hellion Hegemony

Star Commodore Vanko Izotov watched the holographic representation of his patrol area from the CIC which was kept cool to maintain focus in its crew.  The straps of his chair held him tight even in free-fall there was no threat but the Clan crewmen were always ready to thrust toward a KF anomaly.  The multicolored holo-display the only color in an otherwise drab gray facility, his subordinate crew were logged into their visor displays. 

The Essex II destroyer Moore's Honor and Fredasa corvette HS Whelp warships along with a trio of dropships were tasked with maintaining the blockade that Khan Drake had imposed on the Crofton system.  A Waypoint KF Recharge Station hosted another binary of gunships and marines to augment the defenses.  The HPG whiteout drew prey right to them as they occupied one of the most prolific factory worlds in the Federated Suns.  Unsuspecting merchants jumped in and before they could jump back the Hellions would be upon them.  While the communication issues limited the Khan's ability to control his subordinates it provided an excellent edge that the Hellions exploited mercilessly.

“Commodore, we are picking up a KF anomaly nearby.  Looks like something big.”

Vanko smiled but no one saw it as they were absorbed into their work, a tone signalling the ten fighter pilots and two stars of Elemental Marines to stand by, “Perhaps another Monolith has fallen into our net.”

“We will know soon enough Commodore.  The Crofton Crescent and Whelp have put their fighters on alert and are vectoring toward us.”

The Essex destroyer continued burning silently toward the anomaly, an artifact of the KF FTL drive that enabled mankind to colonize the stars.  The sensor operator picked up more contacts, “Sir, we have a dozen incoming contacts.”

“Stravag FedRats.  Yeomen Bryan, Send a burst transmission to the Cage's Pride telling them we are under attack.” 

Commodore Vanko triggered the overhead address, “All Hands, Battle Stations.  The Fifth Fleet is upon us.  Battle Stations.  Evacuate nonessential areas, launch all fighters, and deploy the gunships.”

The Klaxons rang throughout the destroyer as compartments were closed off and evacuated of their atmosphere and personnel.  Hellion crewmen donned their armored spacesuits and Elemental Marines prepared to either board gunships or defend their home vessel.  Their modified Salamander battle armor locking them into position with brutal claws and powerful heavy machine guns.

Aboard the Intruder-DG Outback Renegade Yvonne Steiner-Davion and her command staff waited on the bridge while the Avalon FCS Victor Steiner-Davion completed its FTL transit.  While not sharing her sister's debilitating condition Yvonne still didn't enjoy the sensation.  She would have never made it through aerospace fighter school which suited her just fine. 

Upon exiting the transit Yvonne had to brace herself for a few moments while the dizziness receded.  “Status Report Captain.”

Captain Oberon, a slim boned spacer whose gold dyed hair blended with the Fleet uniform he was wearing triggered the release from their Warship collar, the holographic 3d display in the middle of the bridge flickered on while digesting the recently reactivated sensors. “Looks like two smaller Warships and a trio of dropships heading our way.”

“Well that's lucky, didn't want the Potemkin or McKenna hitting us before we get into formation.”


“Aye Your Grace.  Captain Roth and Admiral Vincent are already firing on the destroyer.  Our guns are warming up for fighter and missile defense.”

Yvonne pulled up a split feed from the Outback Renegade's sensors, the Victor Steiner-Davion and Zodiac Gemini were sending lethal munitions streaking toward the Hellion Essex.  The rest of the flotilla formed a protective shield of picket gunships, fighters, and flak around the Outback Legion's dropships.  The Warships wouldn't stand a chance against the VSD but they could seriously damage the actual reconquest of Crofton.

Khan Xander Drake of the Hellions stood on the Bastion space station CSDF Klondike's gravity deck.  The station was currently in a polar orbit around the planet where it could easily pass across almost any point on the globe with little adjustment.  His pallor was pale, body fit, and hair platinum blonde, the boyish good looks fading ever so slightly with age and marred by a few scars from a life as a Clan Elemental, a tough life but one with intense focus and drive. 

He was looking at the live feed from the space station's pressurized bay where his Sassanid dropship Coup de Grace was being completely re-hauled.  An urgent message came in from the McKenna Battleship Cage's Pride, the Hellions Flagship.  “Khan Drake we are under attack.  The Commonwealth's Fifth Fleet will be at Crofton within a week.”

“We expected this, pull the Nadir and Belt patrols to prepare for battle.”

“Aff, my Khan.”


He pulled up a picture of the Grand Duchess that was likely leading the battle group, “What took you so long?  We were growing impatient.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #154 on: 30 October 2018, 08:13:23 »
Still feel it's unreal how Hellions are competent leadership.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #155 on: 30 October 2018, 09:47:18 »
Still feel it's unreal how Hellions are competent leadership.

I actually think it is unreal that the main fiction always counted the Khans as such madmen.  Any leader especially in a military group needs to Charisma, Competence, and Courage.  Lincoln Osis, Asa Taney, and Ian Hawker made smart plays, they just made more and worse dumb ones.

------

08/20/3069 Location – Marcus, Crofton, Hellion OZ

Isis Marik and Kitsune Kurita(-Steiner-Davion) were looking out from their third floor apartment window at the bright stars above.  The streets below were abandoned and a dreadful silence filled the inky dark of the once bustling capital city.  “I don't like this Kitsune”

Kitsune turned and caught some of the soft light from an emergency light in the apartment.  Isis was still impressed with his features that hinted at what would be a very handsome young man in just a few years.  The Hellions had forced every child through their sibko program and had marked him as a high potential individual.  Of course Isis knew that from the beginning and trusted that his Aunt or at least the AFFC would liberate Crofton before he was drafted into the Hellion Touman.

“I know.  The AFFC must have finally showed up to liberate Crofton.  I wish I could fight the Hellions just like Dad fought the Falcons.”

“Your father was a good man Kitsune, not just a good solider.  I'm sure you will make him proud with whatever you do but you still have time to decide.  You don't have to be a soldier.”


Kit's room was dominated by a poster of a Warhammer standing over a charred wreckage with steam rising from its PPC barrels.  Another was a Hellion recruitment poster with a face on Black Lanner and Hellion Battlemech standing in profile against their logo, “I want to be one.”

“I know.  Just reminding you that I will always be concerned about you.”

Kitsune gave her a hug, Isis had always been there for him.  Had even risked her life for him on multiple occasions.  Isis heard her nearly 14 month old baby cry from the other room, “I have to go to Jade. Don’t stay close to the window and keep your eyes open Kit.”

“Good night Isis.  I hope Fabian comes back soon.  I don't think it is a good idea for him to working late tonight.”

“Me too Kitsune.  I've hardly seen him the Hellions have been working his team ragged for the past two months.  I hope this conflict ends and things go back to normal quickly.  Things were so much better before.”

Break_

08/21/3069 Location – Overlord-XN Chophouse, Crofton

Major Quentin “Woodsman” Brekker was tightly strapped into his modified Berserker Battlemech sealed with Harjel and equipped with Clan tech while armed for Zero-G combat.  His Mech unit was the only one of its type in the Commonwealth Fleet not the Ground Corps though they certainly could do some damage there too.  Through the armored visplate that took up his cockpit he could see the rest of his command lance, two Axmen and a Nightsky.  Their primal brutal forms illuminated in a faint red light from the dropship’s bay.  His own HUD contained a countdown ticking the seconds down to their drop time.  A minute before the time arrived the dropship’s bay opened looking out at the massive battle occurring around them.

Hellion Aerospace fighters were heavily engaged and with the Avalon FCS Hanse Davion’s screen launchers active they were leaving the lone Chophouse and its gunships heading toward their destination, the Bastion space station CSDF Klondike. “Hang in there Choppers.  It’s about to get bumpy.”

The Drop Officer came online, a solid male voice that was always free with a pep talk.  “Major, time for you to bail we’ll give you a push out the door in five.  Don’t miss.”

“Never have Dave.  Drinks on you later?”

“They’ll be cold by the time you get back.”
“They’d better be.”


The Berserker was shoved rudely out the door the twenty four Mechs of the Commonwealth Choppers and a group of the 144th Marines in their A-47 battle taxis vectored just behind the Chophouse and a pair of Upgraded Avenger Assault dropships.  The Avengers opened their bays dispersing a screen of chaff and bombs that would soften the opposition for the immediate follow on forces.  The Chophouse provided all-aspect coverage against the Hellion Aerospace fighters that would overwhelm the mechs.  Hostile and friendly missiles flew all around them some being shot down by the Chopper’s Anti-Missile systems before impacting creating mushrooming but silent explosions.

The group kept a tight formation behind the Avengers which broke off, the Chophouse reversed and vectored away from the station pulling fighters along with it.  Quentin inserted his mouth guard and primed the airbag as the surface of the Bastion space station consumed his whole view-screen.  The HUD counted down the seconds to impact and he readied the Waldo that controlled his hatchet bearing arm rearing back the seven ton piece of reinforced steel. 

Swinging it moments before impact the Berserker struck the thick armor of the station the resulting bounce jarred its pilot but the hatchet held firm.  This Berserker’s jump jet controls were optimized for Zero-G maneuvering and they slowly oriented him perpendicular to the sphere.  He looked back at the desperate fleet battle going on while Outback Legion dropships initiated their terminal burns to liberate Crofton from the Hellions.  The rest of the Choppers, mostly Hatchmentand Nightskies with a few Axmen mixed in for the missile support oriented themselves as well.  All were barely touching the armored skin of the space station propelled mostly by their jump jets and oriented by their internal gyroscopes. 

The squadron of A-47 assault craft hovered above the sphere nearby below the engagement angles of the stations impressive anti-aerospace firepower.  Puffs of Armored Marines disembarked onto the cratered surface.  “Major Brekker to Captain Stone.”

“Captain Stone here.”
“Your guys look like you need a ride.  Hop on.”


Captain Devlin Stone maneuvered his Voidseer suit attaching to the magnetic grapple points on the Berserker, “Roger that.  We’re secure. Now let’s take back Klondike.”
« Last Edit: 30 October 2018, 10:41:50 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #156 on: 01 November 2018, 09:09:11 »
Khan Xander Drake watched the naval battle unfold from the command center inside the Klondike.  The battle was a slow motion duel at extreme range with long periods of waiting.  The sturdy Avalon cruisers and their escorts would be spending their time maneuvering against the Hellion Fleet now that their dropships were burning out of Marcus’ noon sky.  A deadly slow motion dance that would take several days to fully play out.  Eventually his clan would win and then it was all over for the Grand Duchess’ relief forces.  With her death or capture as well as the industry that the Hellions took with them from the Homeworlds or had acquired along the way his Clan would be unstoppable in this area of space.

Five minutes ago the BattleSat had been attacked by a short squadron of dropships using heavy jamming and escorted by a Binary of enemy fighters.  The chief technician also said the Commonwealth fleet had attempted to hack the Klondike’s vital systems remotely but the clan upgrades over the past months quickly shut down their effort.  As it was now things were settling in his control area and engineers were preparing to repair the damaged sections of the station now that the enemy forces had veered off.

One of the station Technicians looked up from his console toward the central dais where Xander floated in his slate gray jumpsuit and a well worn arctic camouflage jacket with the collar up against the chill air inside the station, “My Khan you should look at this.”

“Put it on the screen.”


A live image of the Crofton below was replaced by a video taken from one of the engineering pods showing two dozen Mechs with wickedly curved hatchets puffing along the surface of the station.  One of them fired upon the pod and the video cut out.  Xander’s shock was audible and visible to all his subordinates, all were equally puzzled.  The units and tactics on display beyond anything a Clan had seen before. “Are those Battlemechs on the station’s surface?”

“Aff Khan Drake, they were jamming the sensors, we did not detect them till the repair team was dispatched.”


What a bold move.  Perhaps the first of many, if so this shall be an interesting battle worthy of the Remembrance.” He pushed off toward the exit and tagged the mic inside his hat, “Red Alert, Begin evacuation and un-docking procedures.”

He exited the command room and floated toward the marine station nearby. The hallway was blaring with the Red Alert he had just engaged. After cycling the door he saw his zero-g modified gray and red Salamander Battle Armor secured and waiting in the locker unit lit with an eerie blue light from the overhead units. 

Xander pushed himself to the cage and entered the unit engaging the hasty startup procedure.  The Battle Armor’s highly engineered rear sections knitted themselves back together before engaging the seals that made the unit air tight as well as radiation and fire resistant, the air mixture slowly adjusting to maintain oxygen while reducing loss to the environment. 

Khan Drake tested the haptic interface gloves that controlled the claws touching each one to the armor’s “palm” and did a quick system check for the heavy rotary style machine gun mounted over his shoulder.  The unit pushed itself against the wall clearing its cage before the maneuver unit reoriented him toward the door.  The Salamander’s electromagnetic grapple points engaged locking it to the station’s deck. Drake engaged the unit’s Augmented Reality overlay causing a ghostly reticle to appear while the outside of the screen provided critical data to its operator, “All Marine Points on me.”

Elsewhere Captain Devlin Stone was still clinging to the front of the Berserker’s torso as they slowly floated toward their objective area.  Several minutes had elapsed since they shot the engineering pod and nothing happened.  The area around the BattleSat was clear and the dropships had pulled all the Aerospace fighters away.  Now the Hellions were likely tasking them with supporting the ground offensive currently underway.  The ECM suites in each of the Choppers must have blocked their own signatures as the point defense weapon systems that could engage them had not fired upon the units that were fighting outside their element.

Their target area loomed large in front of them, this section of the exterior would provide the fastest approach to the command center.  It was also opposite the enclosed repair bay that could hold a Clan assault dropship with the potential firepower to overwhelm even two companies of battlemechs.  “Ready the can openers.”

The Choppers continued their silent vigil over Devlin Stone’s company of 144th Marines as they disengaged from their carrier units.  They had rehearsed this maneuver dozens of times over Galax at the Gravidrome.  There were two airlocks nearby leading down parallel corridors to the command center each potentially holding a group of Marines.  The objectives were simple, secure the space station and clear it of any Hellion forces.  However it was harder to assault an undamaged space station than one crippled by the heavy weapons capitol ships carried.  Even the smallest of those weapons rent great holes in the armor of a Mjolnir, one of the most thickly armored vessels known to man, that were easier to get through.

The 144th waited just outside the blast range of their charge, their guns at the ready, “Charges primed Captain”
“Blast ‘em”


Captain Stone and Commander Brekker watched as the soundless explosions tore the airlocks off their hinges.  Marines from the seconds stick grappled the stray doors and tethered them to an exterior coupling for later ease of repair.  Devlin triggered his pack to push forward and “dive” into the airlock behind the Pointman Voidseer unit initially equipped with a pair of heavy interlocking shields instead of weapons. 

The combined momentum of the two units crashed into the interior airlock door buckling it and they dove right into a hail of machine gun fire from Hellion Salamanders.  The noiseless puffs were very real and shards from the shield filled the volume between the suits.  The Pointman held the line long enough for the rest of the force to enter and take defensive positions before pulling to the side himself. 

“Hostiles! Sweep and Engage!”
« Last Edit: 01 November 2018, 10:34:31 by AlphaMirage »

mikecj

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #157 on: 03 November 2018, 21:52:55 »
Nice!  Thanks for sharing!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #158 on: 04 November 2018, 12:31:11 »
Khan Xander Drake felt the cold steel of the space station's metal walls flexing as his suit impacted them.  A computer controlled auto-injector in his trauma kit dosed him with drugs specially engineered for his Elemental Phenotype to blunt the pain but he was going to feel it later.  His enemy was not so lucky however, the unit's helmet had been sheared off by the powerful Battle Claws of the Salamander Armor.  The soldier's blood forming dark red globules that escaped from the claws before splashing into the walls.

No matter how many he dropped though the Commonwealth Marines were steadily gaining ground.  Their marines were more experienced and battle hardened then the initial Watch reports let on.  However their numbers were not as many as predicted which was fortunate his Clan would have had greater difficulty if they had another of their LCTs in play.

Regardless without additional support from friendly naval assets or ground units, all of whom were currently engaged, they would lose this station and with it the high ground and rapid response capability it represented.  The strategic value of the Klondike could upset the balance of power on the ground.  The Hellions would do better to prevent its recapture.

“Marine Points carry the wounded and move to the escape pods.  Keep engaging them, we have to buy time.  Coup de Grace begin to separate and head to the rally point.”

Multiple green lights flickered as the unit commander's acknowledged their Khan's orders.  He needed every Trueborn Warrior he could maintain.  Any casualties were nigh irreplaceable; recent Hellion pilot sibkos had not been large enough to sustain the attrition they had experienced the past five years.  Even the lesser Flurry units were struggling to fill their ranks.  That was even with the capture of Nova Cat and Smoke Jaguar creches before the Hellions escaped the Homeworlds.  The AFFC units in the Outback had been initially taken by surprise by his Clan's tactics but they would adapt or die and their numbers still surpassed his clans.  Only Crofton had the capabilities to sustain his offensives momentum and Hellion policy was to always to sustain a tempo that no others could, standing still was deatah.

Khan Drake's Point and two others held the secondary command center against the encroaching Commonwealth forces, the primary station had been disconnected from the vital control circuit.  Noiseless weapons fire punched holes into the superstructure of the station and spreading shards of metal that floating in free-fall in their wake.  Xander carefully tapped one of the keyboards in the command station with the Salamander's claws.  A countdown timer appeared on his AR interface as alarms began lighting up throughout the station, “Time to drop the ball”

Captain Devlin Stone looked around him as the metal shards that were previously floating freely were now settling on the “ceiling.”  “Brekker what's going on outside?”

“Captain, the station's chemical thrusters are fully engaged, it's orbit is decaying.  We already called the Chophouse back.  Recommend you and your men evac.”


“Not if I can still stop it.  Can you get a group of engineers from the dropship to the engineering deck?”
“I'll ask but that might be a suicide mission Captain.”
“We are not going to lose this station Commander. Understand?”
“Aye sir.  We will move to open a hole for an EVA from the Chophouse.”
“All Marine squads on me.  We need to rush the Secondary Command Room.  These Clanners might be crazy enough to drop the station with them still inside and we can't risk that.”


The 144th's Voidseer suits shifted their magnetic holds to the “ceiling” with a little help from their thruster packs now that they oriented toward the gravity they could move easily.  Captain Stone's unit was getting closer to their target but were under fire from the remaining Hellion Marines and the station's own automated defense guns.  The small automatic shotguns were not sufficient to threaten an Armored Marine alone but they damaged external sensor feeds, absorbed ammo from their weapon systems, and in mass chipped away at armor.

Each door they had to break through or turret they needed to disable was more time till the station hit atmo and began to break apart with them inside. 

The drop officer from the Chophouse came in over the BattleNet, “Captain Stone, a Hellion Sassanid just detached and began it's reentry burn.  Recommend you get moving ASAP.”

“No we are going to retake the station.  ICEBLOCK needs all the advantages it can get.  We can do this.”


Khan Xander Drake watched the clock that was steadily counting down.  The Salamander equipped Marines made the enemy pay in blood and time for every meter they took but both were running out for either side.  They were nearing the danger zone where the station's escape pods would no longer work and with the Coup de Grace gone those were the only way off for his Hellions that wasn't an enemy dropship.

He pressed forward holding the line and buying time for his wounded Elementals to evacuate.  Each escape pod could only hold one Elemental in armor rather than six passengers due to the suit's mass and available fuel.  The AR feed crossed off the nearby pods and the pool was gradually decreasing as they ejected and burned toward Crofton's surface.

As Stone cleared a corridor after dealing with one of the dual shotgun armed turrets he came upon a lone Salamander colored differently than the others.  This one was patterned more intricately the swirls of color moving in an aesthetically pleasing way so unlike the bland mono or dual-color of the the other Hellions.  Before he could lift the empty mag-shot in his arm to defend himself the suit was upon him, a surprisingly swift leap for such a large unit.  The Salamander impacted and dug its foot claws into the station's wall lashing out with the myomer enhanced claws on its bulky arms in an attempt to crush his helmet.  The hardened metal claws leaving deep razor sharp trails in the armored bulkhead behind him.

Stone discarded the Magshot, the heavy rifle clattered toward the "ceiling" as the station was still accelerating in that direction.  He raised his own claws, the Voidseer's myomer muscles being an equal match to a Salamander. The Hellion grappled them as well neither side wanting to give the other an opening to exploit.  Unlike the Voidseer though the Salamander retained the foot claws rather than just being magnetic boots. The operator of this suit attempted to use them to break the clinch, the suit's saurian foot kicked toward Devlin's Suit and grabbed onto the front plate of his armor the foot claws crunched and bent the Voidseer's armor.  The initial impact almost caused the suit to go into a spiral that would likely result in his death but Devlin had been top of his class in Freefall Fighting at the Gravidrome and maintained control.

The one advantage a Voidseer had over the Salamander was a stronger thruster pack; the Salamander being adapted from ground combat to its current role as opposed to purpose built for the task at hand.  Devlin triggered the over-thrust mode and because the Salamander was not as securely attached to the “floor” the Marine overcame the Hellion Khan smashing the enemy fighter through a wall, wires and cooling pipes snapped as they broke through the conduit.  The Salamander detached and regained control while maintaining the clinch.

A rattling voice came in over the local waves, every Zero-G spacesuit had a broad spectrum communicator with a short range for private conversation, “Well fought Freeborn but you are running out of time.  If we keep fighting then we burn together or you can save this station and your allies.”
“How do you know my allies won't figure out a way to save the station while I kill you Khan Drake?”


The armored face-plate of the Salamander opened to reveal a pale man with even paler hair, “So you figured it out, smart Spheroid.  Well you can help them because I am going to give you the access code to abort the de-orbit.  That would take less time than attempting to hack or create an engineering bypass yes?.”
“What do you get out of it?”
“Hegira off the station.  The fight may begin up here but it will not end until we are down there.”
Stone was sweating he had never seen a Clan Khan up close before but was pleased it wasn't some cyborg monstrosity, just a Warrior on the other side of the battle. “I accept”
“Bargained well and done then”

“Give me the code.”

A chime triggered in Devlin's AR set a short text transmission from an unknown sender with a ten character abort code.

“Well there you have it now let go.  I have an escape pod to reach.”
“What if I choose to continue now that I have what I need?”
“I can change the code at will until I leave.  So you want me off as quickly as possible if you are to have a chance to rescue this station's orbit.”
“How do I know you won't change it?”
“You have to take my honorable word Captain.  Now I would hurry.  I do not fear death but there is more Glory to be won in future battles even if I go out in a grand fashion in a few moments.”


Devlin released the Salamander's claws expecting another swipe meant to decapitate him but instead the Hellion's Khan went to the escape pod.  “See you on the ground, Captain Stone.”

mikecj

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #159 on: 05 November 2018, 03:35:56 »
Now that's behavior I expect from a warrior khan.
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #160 on: 06 November 2018, 15:05:06 »
14:48 Overlord Dropship FSS The Black Prince, Bethsbath Bay, Annesland, Crofton

“Two Minutes, Hot Landing, Black Dogs”

First Prince Peter Steiner-Davion was strapped into his repaired and revamped Battlemaster waiting for the doors to open.  He could feel the power of the dropship’s thrusters beneath him and heard the landing legs as they deployed.  The mech was online but still in administrative lockdown to prevent the weight from shifting while the spheroid dropship attempted to land safely, unexpected shifts could potentially result in a catastrophic reentry. 

Visible in the red light of the Mech Bay were the rest of Black Dog Battalion, the only survivors of the 1st Outback Legion HCT’s Four Battalions.  Most were in the new Roughneck Battlemech that was exclusive to the Legion, it was heavily armed, armored, and reliable but sluggish; designed for low cost and easy maintenance mainly to combat less sophisticated threats than a Clan Omnimech. 

Nevertheless Peter and his commanders would have to make do, the only things that could barely match the Hellions in capability were old Phoenix Hawks and the newer Wolf Traps.  Both were severely lacking in firepower compared to the Omnimechs fielded by their enemy as well as the StarCorps’ Omnis manufactured on world.

The one minute countdown timer appeared in Peter’s HUD projected onto the visor of his ultralight neurohelmet.  The helmet equipped with bleeding edge electronics that provided much better situational awareness than the older models he was accustomed to as a Paladin of Randis.  The armored cowling covered the cockpit ferroglaz and the Battlemaster’s internal projectors took over taking in data from multiple sensors built into the Mech’s armor to give him the best picture of the battlefield.  “Thirty seconds”

The Dropship’s bay doors opened up and revealed a massive ongoing battle, the thrusters kicked up dust and debris from below as the ramp lowered.  “Ten seconds” The Admin Lock was released giving Peter full control of his Battlemech. “Move Out!”

The Black Dogs disembarked and the Wolf Traps immediately began firing their missiles at long range toward the swift moving Omnimechs.  They advanced steadily into the melee, the Hellion Mechs were using a wheeling maneuver similar to a Cantabrian Circle.  Each Mech Star would fire their long range missiles at extreme range while on the move at one enemy unit.  Then they would continue moving out of engagement range of that target and loose another volley at a different one.  The mass of missiles being fired by the Hellion, Hankyo, and Koshi Mechs were enough to stagger the heaviest Battlemechs.  The tactic required lots of space, incredibly agility, practice, and coordination between Clan Mechwarriors.  It was utterly unClanlike, more like tactics used by the DCMS’ Light Amphigean Groups, but devastatingly effective and difficult to counter.

Peter watched as thirty missiles streaked out of the rainy sky across the glistening ferrocrete badlands toward his mech.  A dozen of them hit scattered across his battlemech.  His own LRM rack fired in response but the missiles fell short, falling behind a tailing Hankyo.  The rest of the attack force continued to press against the Hellion Cluster but they maintained distance and discipline with their light mechs using the wider arc left unprotected by the dropships to their advantage.  “If we go forward we’ll be surrounded and potentially cut off.  Black Prince, Where is our air cover?”

“Delayed Top Dog, Two Clusters from the Hellion’s Delta Galaxy have bottled up the Eight at their landing zone.  It’s a slugfest there, they haven’t been able to deploy the Sixty Second Bomber Squadron.”  The Hellion’s Delta and Gamma Galaxies were atypical of the fast moving and hard hitting Hellion unit in their Alpha and Beta Galaxies that fought in packs.  Intelligence had observed them using more common Clan tactics and heavier units that were anathema to the fleet footed Mechwarriors. 

“Damn, we’ll have to make it work.  Keep advancing toward the objective, engage if they get too close.  See if we can press them against the terrain.”

The Black Dogs continued their advance under fire, their day one objective was to secure the Annesland South Rail Marshaling Yard.  That yard needed to be captured if the Legion was to have any chance of making it to Farrah, StarCorps’ fortress of a factory city nearly 100 kilometers away.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #161 on: 08 November 2018, 12:30:41 »
09/21/3069 12:58 Location – Red Palace, Crimson, Canopus IV, Magistracy of Canopus

Magestrix Emma Centrella maintained her outer composure although swirling emotions were eating her up inside.  Two days ago the Baron destroyer WOBS Light of Faith and the 41st Shadow Division arrived at a pirate jump point without forewarning.  On-board the Warship was the Word of Blake's Master and he didn’t make social calls.

A Level III of the 41st Shadow Division arrived at the Palace Grounds after parading their bleached bone combat units through the city in escort of a DBF 540 Luxury SUV flanked by Chevalier Tanks and Phalanx Armored Infantry.  The remainder of their unit was stand by nearby at Thistledown Starport under the watchful eyes of the rest of RIH and the First Canopian Cuirassiers.  Increasing her own Palace Guard would have made her look fearful so Emma left it at the normal Augmented Company under Jason’s Command.  If there was going to be a fight better for most of it to be away from Crimson. 

The red and gold units of Raventhir’s Iron Hand stopped most of the combat units from entering the Palace Courtyard proper but allowed the Armored Infantry to pass.  Colonel Jason Raventhir showing remarkable restraint under her explicit orders after one of the Manei Domini pointed a Guillotine’s lasers at his Yu Huang threatening to fire unless he moved aside.

Emma stood alone at the end of the circle that surrounding the Palace Gardens a sign of respect to the passenger of the SUV approaching her.  Her attire was fabulous, scarlet robes, black curly hair filled with a variety of jeweled combs, and her boots while not typically visible under the folds fashionable and functional.  Most callers had to walk into the Throne Room but instead she met him.  RIH Amazon and the Shadow Phalanx Armored Infantry watched each other warily as the vehicle came to a stop. 

A blonde woman in her early thirties exited the white vehicle on the opposite side she was dressed in a normal fashion for a high level secretary, normal everything except the cybernetic spring legs below her black pencil skirt.  She was followed by three well-dressed men in charcoal gray suits, each one of them an obvious cyborg who moved with a oiled grace.

One of the bodyguards opened the passenger door revealing a white robed figure with his hood up.  The man stood and turned toward Emma, the burning red cybernetic eye and scarred visage that struck fear into the hearts of many did not phase her. 

“Thomas, it has been a while.  You should call more often.  I see you still haven't upgraded, unfortunate that Blessed Order didn't see fit to take you to my Mother's people after your incident.”

One of the bodyguards shouted, “You shall address The Master with respect!” motioned to backhand her but she stood firm and Thomas raised one of his hands, reconstructed with myomer and polished metal after his near death experience at the hands of his cousin, motioning him to halt.  The bodyguard paused, “But.”

“This woman is no threat to me Jonah.  Magestrix, you know why I am here so why isn’t who I seek in front of me?”
“I’m afraid I have grown too fond of him and no longer wish to hand him over to you.”


The reconstructed face of Thomas Marik still showed plenty of raw human emotion despite his robotic cadence and appearance.  A quick glimpse of rage was replaced with a superficial calm, “That is regrettable Emma.  I had hoped you would prove more accommodating considering what is at stake.”

“You are here in person Thomas.  Which means you are losing.  Seems I have more at stake by continuing to be a silent partner to your Word of Blake. 

Your own family is at war with itself and your brother is losing to your sisters.  My son in law has turned his armies against you to save himself, my daughter has recaptured Kali Liao, and Shraplen’s Junta is running out of steam and soldiers.  I know you are pulling everyone back to Sol, you don’t have the time or people to punish the Magistracy for my decisions. 

You’ve lost, you just can’t admit it yet.  Why don’t you leave Arthur out of it?  Head on back to Mars and wait for Photon or Alys to finish you off.”


“The Word of Blake is not done yet Emma.  The worse is yet to come, we gave them their chances to see Blake’s Wisdom.  I will give you one more chance, hand over Arthur Steiner-Davion and I will spare Canopus my wrath.”

Emma held her ground knowing what the answer might bring, “No.”

Thomas Marik’s reached out one of his myomer hands faster than Emma thought possible for a nearly eighty year old man.  He lifted her with the superhuman strength in both of his cybernetic arms.  Emma attempted to break the hold but he was too strong and there was no fleshy weakness for her to exploit remaining in him.  “You are going to tell me where he is or I am going to turn Crimson to cinders!”

Emma managed a quick shallow breath, “Can’t take the hint huh.  Hands off!”  She drew a Nova Laser Pistol from her robes and fired it, melting one of his arms at the elbow before firing the second shot at the other one.  She rolled away behind an Iron Hand Amazon discarding the pistol in the process, the laser clattered into a nearby fountain and steamed as it flash boiled the water. 

The Manei Domini bodyguards gathered the armless Master shielding him initially with their subdermal armored bodies while the Armored Infantry engaged one another.  They fired back but loaded Thomas Marik into the SUV while Emma sprinted away discarding the cumbersome robes to reveal a black cat-suit fitted with armor plates and sneak systems. 

The 540 gunned it passing between the Battlemechs currently firing on one another just outside the Palace Grounds quickly joined by the Chevaliers.

Just as she about to clear the courtyard and get to her Lao Hu concealed nearby Emma was tackled from behind.  The secretary had caught up to her, wicked looking claws sprouting from one of her hands.  “You need a manicure girl.  Those look dangerous.”

She attempted to drive one of the clawed fingers into the Emma’s eye but the attack was reversed into a kimura hold.  However she noticed the fine stranded myomer musculature just under the woman’s torn blouse. The pale almost real looking synthetic skin disguised it well but the truth was obvious to the knowing eye; and this was a Canopian modification, it was too pretty for the normal Blake chrome-docs.  The attacker was immobilized but Emma couldn’t remain or eliminate the threat like this, she would have to get more creative.

The woman broke the kimura and Emma slid across the salmon concrete on the back plate of her armor unable to complete the roll to remain standing.  The attacker was on her in a moment her spring legs giving her a long leap and fast ground speed.  She raised her claws to end the wounded woman but was met with a rising dagger into the soft flesh of her neck.  Dark red blood flowed across the ivory blouse, Emma pulled the dagger out and thrust it into her opponent’s throat.  The cyborg clutched at the knife, unable to grip and extract it due to the exposed claws, she went pale with shock and laid still as her breath and life’s blood slipped away.

Emma clutched at her side which had been slashed in the melee as she continued on toward her Battlemech, “No matter how much of you is metal; you’re still human and that means you can die.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #162 on: 08 November 2018, 14:34:15 »
Woah, epic update!!
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #163 on: 08 November 2018, 18:27:58 »
Magestrix Emma Centrella put her Lao Hu's throttle to full power pushing through the smoke filled streets of Crimson. Her heavy battlemech caused major damage to the streets in its wake and sometimes she had to push through a building to evade the Shadow Division units hunting her.  A Blakist Icarus II got in her way, the latest in a long line of ancient designs given new teeth by the Word of Blake and the Free World's League's Military-Industrial Complex. 

It was firing fragmentation missiles at a Crimson Civil Guard unit, the mechanized infantry were armed with heavy weapons but outclassed.  Emma put the cross-hairs of the Kali Yama Big Bore Autocannon over the fragile Icarus, the Lao Hu shuttered as the cannon fired a 203mm shell that smashed through the smaller mech.  The Icarus collapsed to the ground in a heap and Emma stepped over it as the CCG unit let out a cheer before swarming the enemy mech to ensure the pilot was dead, there were no prisoners to be taken today.   

She had hoped to spare Crimson a Mech battle within its limits but it was not to be.  Already Colonel Raventhir had fallen, his Yu Huang held off Precentor Uriel's personal command long enough to evacuate the University of Canopus before the Blakists razed it.  Now she endeavored to buy time for the emergency services to do their jobs and draw attention to herself.

Emma boldly pressed forward had no fear for the Magistracy of Canopus' government it was already widely distributed.  The Word of Blake would have to tie down many units they didn't have to cause it any lasting harm. They could kill her but her daughters and the Magistracy of Canopus would live on.  Hadji Doru was dealing with their other threat, the MHAF, aboard a Warship that could match the Light of Faith.  He or Naomi would return even if the Blakist's captured this world to rescue Erdé and Arthur.

The streets of Crimsons were ablaze, the Canopian Curiassiers had been forced out of the Starport and were pulling Shadow units into less populated or already evacuated sectors of the city.  The Iron Hand had been nearly annihilated but the survivors reorganizing around their Magestrix fighting and dying to give her the best chance of escape or victory however slight or brief.  Blakist ECM broadcast from the WOBS Light of Faith overhead interrupted communication between units and led to many instances of friendly fire in the low visibility environment.

The Canopians were outclassed by the 41st's Elite Mechwarriors and their advanced Battlemechs but knew the terrain better and had infantry to set up ambushes that slowed their enemy.  Thomas had already been lifted off-world and it would be costly but she hoped to kill Precentor Uriel and cut short his reign of terror.  Reports of his modified Dragon Fire still filled her Battlenet although responding units were quickly silenced.

The Lao Hu moved to link up with a friendly tank squad in the sector.  As she cleared the building beyond the Mech took a volley of fire from a group of Purifier Adaptive suits assisting a soot covered Sarissa 3M and a pair of Firebee 4Ls engaging a group of Iron Hand tanks.  The armor was on fire, inferno gel blackening the license built Po tanks.  They must have been freshly ambushed and had been unable to call for help, their sacrifice gave Emma a fighting chance.

Emma fired her Big Bore cannon at the Sarissa the blow knocking the fifty ton combat mech right off its feet, the impact cracked pavement.  The pilot attempted to regain control but she must have hit the gyro as the unit moved like a punch drunk boxer attempting to climb the ropes to a standing position again as it tried to use a nearby building. 

A laser pulse cut across one of the Firebee's torsos leaving behind a white hot streak that rapidly cooled before being struck with a group of long range missiles.  Sixteen inferno gel filled missiles and a pair of large lasers were fired her way.  Some of the missiles impacted spreading their incendiary cargo.  Flames filled the lower portion of her view-screen but fire wouldn't damage her mech it didn't mean that she appreciated it however. 

The Magestrix felt the temperature rise but she was prepared for it.  Her bodysuit had cooling tubes built in and a chill sensation tickled parts of her torso and limbs.  Her Mech's heat level rose into the yellow warning zone, if she kept pushing her mech and didn't evade the Firebee's missiles she was going to be roasted alive in her cockpit.

Her autocannon cycled another round into the chamber, the Firebees had been surprised by her sudden appearance and unfortunately not taken proper evasive action.  She pressed down the firing trigger and felt the familiar recoil, another solid hit turned the light mech into scrap metal but not before its laser and more missiles found their target, despite the burning gel the Mech's heat levels dropped to normal levels.  The other Firebee jumped away but Emma caught it in midair with the cannon.  The wreckage clumsily fell out of sky landing on a parking garage and scattering the cars that had been parked on its top deck.  It skidded to a halt in a burning building before exploding as the missile ammo was set off by the flames.  “Children shouldn't play with fire.”

The downed Sarissa struggled to find it's footing as the still burning Lao Hu stepped forward crushing the stricken mech's cockpit underfoot.  A Dragon Fire stepped out from the smoke, the squat ugly mech was one of the deadliest in the Inner Sphere.  The carapace was a light charcoal gray, like burned bone.  “I guess you're Uriel”

mikecj

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #164 on: 08 November 2018, 21:58:41 »
Tommy came out into the light???  Wow!
There are no fish in my pond.
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snakespinner

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #165 on: 09 November 2018, 01:19:25 »
Tommy your armless. :thumbsup:
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Sharpnel

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #166 on: 09 November 2018, 05:24:54 »
So, this will be how Emma dies, I guess.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #167 on: 09 November 2018, 09:16:23 »
Magestrix Emma Centrella's Lao Hu and Precentor Uriel's Dragon Fire stood down the street from one another, the flames of war burned around them consuming Crimson block by block.  The Crimson City Fire Brigade was busy evacuating the citizenry and just let the buildings burn.  The remains of a Iron Hand tank unit still burned, secondary ammunition explosions blasted out the CASE protected doors of their Manticores.

Emma stood over the crushed remains of the Sarissa having kicked its cockpit in and followed through into the building beyond.  She extricated the Lao Hu's foot from the concrete and squared off against the 41st Shadow Division's Commander.  Quickly glancing at her local Battlenet beacons she was looking for additional Iron Hand or Blakist units inbound.  The display was filled with transient ghost contacts ECM interference broadcast from the Light of Faith

“Damn, those Blake Bastards”

She wasn't able to discern the truth and had to assume the worse, she was alone and Uriel had more forces incoming to cut off her escape.  Her ammunition levels and armor were critical, the AC/20 and LRM-15 flashed yellow in the upper right hand corner of her teal and gold neurohelmet's face-plate.  If she ran out all she had was a laser, not enough for any but the lightest foes.

The Magestrix struggled, she had a perfect opportunity to strike another blow at Thomas Marik's twisted Word of Blake.  The sight of him armless and filled with rage after she escaped his grasp brought a smile to her face.  She might not make it out of Crimson but he would always remember that moment at least until his impending demise.  The Dragon Fire began to walk forward, a magnesium bright flash of his Gauss rifle firing in her direction. 

The agile Lao Hu managed to evade the projectile which smashed into the building behind her creating a 2 meter wide hole in the concrete.  She fired off the last volley of missiles and saw the LRM-15's status turn a deathly gray in her HUD.  A dozen missiles and her laser struck true splashing the enemy Battlemech but the weapons just tickled its thick hide, the Dragon Fire shrugged the damage off and kept advancing, slowly, methodically, with the intent to kill her.

The problem was that she had to get past Uriel to reach the rally point and hoped to link up with the remaining Iron Hand units in the city and fight their way clear. 
“Let's dance Wobbie.” 
She pushed the Lao Hu to the limit running toward the Battlemech spitting Gauss rounds and white hot Plasma death her way.  The Liao built cavalry mech charged to close the distance, Emma needed to bring her big gun and its final two rounds into play staying far away and trying to circle would be death. 

She had been pushing her luck today but thus far it had gone in her favor, “Fortune favors the Bold” was her Mech start up phrase.  She caught herself prayed that her luck would hold at least for the next few minutes, after that it was all up to the Goddess.  The Lao Hu pressed forward leaving giant foot prints in the ash covered ground, the AC/20 roared once causing the Dragon Fire to roll to the side but it maintained its footing.  It fired again crumbling the left leg that had already been damaged earlier in the battle, Uriel wasn't able to maintain his standing engagement posture dropping to a knee with a crash as Emma's Lao Hu passed. 

The Mech stood back up as she disengaged, the Dragon Fire's arms flipped and fired behind the unit.  Emma's mech took the hits and kept moving toward the rally point.  She needed to get a new mech, her Grasshopper was located beneath the Athena Compound where the Senior Colonels of the MAF and remaining Canopian Curaissers were fighting for their lives.

Her battered mech entered the square, the center of which had a grand statue of Athena Nike standing tall over the square, the winged goddess raising her golden spear in victory and crowned with laurels.  The spear was darkened and the statue had been damaged by battle but still her spear was in hand facing defiantly across the Bay of Altay toward the original Canopian capital city of Delphi. 

One of the Senior Colonels piloting a heavily damaged Phoenix Hawk reached out to her via point to point, “Magestrix, you still live think the goddess.”

“No you can thank Fortuna today, assuming we are lucky enough to make it to sundown.”
“The Forty First Shadow Division is withdrawing Magestrix.  We are victorious.”
“I fear not Vela.  They still have a warship in orbit and we don’t have any more fighters to scramble.”


Almost as if the Light of Faith had been listening in to the exchange a warning came in from the planetary Early Warning RADAR. “Multiple nuclear missile strike incoming, three minutes”

A countdown timer appeared in the lower right hand corner of her faceplate.  Panic spread throughout the survivors, “We can make it to the bunker!”
“No we can’t.  Even if we could, it cannot survive a pair of direct blasts and The Master knows that.”
“What do we do Emma?!”
“Make peace with yourself.”


Magestrix Emma Centrella put the Canopian national anthem, Prevail through Grace, on the local battlenet and opened the cockpit hatch.  Clambering out with her neurohelmet in hand she shook her hair loose, sat down legs dangling from the top of her Mech, and looked out across the Bay rather than at the burning city soon to be reduced to ruin from above, just like her it was helpless against the dark forces working against it. 

The haunting melody of the anthem was so unlike the bright and cheerful people that inhabited its realm; composed in the dark days of the “Reunification” War that saw the Magistracy oppressed for refusing to join the Star League.  It reminded the Canopian people that their freedoms were hard won and fragile, always in danger of slipping away and being lost once more.  Even though their battles during that War were fought “by the rules” the Magistracy never fully recovered, its once glittering cities turned gray and pirates came out of the dark to prey upon its people. 

It was Emma’s life’s work to never allow such a thing to happen again and she had done her best.  She was not about to allow the Word of Blake’s Master the satisfaction of her compliance at the cost of her conscience.  She was her own Master and answered to none.

Reaching into the pocket of her suit she pulled out a picture of her, Nicholas, and their four children as teenagers taken not far from where she now sat.  The once cerulean skies were now filled with black smoke, the sapphire waters of Altay slick with gray ash, but she was still smiling.  “Goodbye loves, I pray I don’t see you all for a long time.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #168 on: 09 November 2018, 09:28:22 »
Epic entry, AlphaMirage.  You should make a fan novel/book of all your enties.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #169 on: 09 November 2018, 10:52:59 »
Epic entry, AlphaMirage.  You should make a fan novel/book of all your enties.

When it's all done I'll release a PDF of my draft, had to skip lots of potentially interesting character stories to get through.  This portion is just heavy on the combat which is boring to write, but literally the Universe is at War everywhere.

Final entry on the Canopians for a little while, Curatis will be next then back to Peter, Yvonne, and the Hellions

09/21/3069 15:47 Location – Acropolis Park, New Pindus Mountain Range, Canopus IV, Magistracy of Canopus

Arthur Steiner-Davion’s Thug Battlemech continued its trek through Acropolis Park, a restored wilderness area beyond Delphi that was once heavily mined for gems.  Emma had ordered him to take Erdé out of Delphi using his newly upgraded mech during a phone call he had received early this morning but not to tell her why.  She had also explained something of the situation to him, all he knew was a Blakist Warship was overhead, The Word of Blake’s Master was looking for him, and Emma would do her best to ensure he didn’t get either of them.

Of course Erdé had protested when they headed out this morning.  She had a busy day scheduled and he had to get very creative when she asked for reasons before she finally acquiesced and adjusting her calendar.  It had been a beautiful day until around one pm when he started to receive updates from a battle going on in Crimson across the Bay of Altay, just to his comm-unit however; he isolated his girlfriend from the reports of a pitched battle going on and the far odds her mother was facing within it. 

He kept pushing forward but now they were far above the mountains of Acropolis Park and Erdé’s small seat behind him had access to her own screen with a clear view across the bay.  Arthur silently cursed himself.  They should have kept to the lower passes but he had told her they were going sight-seeing and there was nothing but gray stone and scrubby trees down there. “Arthur there’s smoke rising from across the Bay!  Crimson is burning!”

It took all his will to keep the lie going, “I’m sure it’s just a wildfire, they will get it under control Erdé.”

Besteria!  Arthur what is going on?  Stop lying to me!  You’ve been acting strange all day.”

Just then missile alert triggered for Crimson and since it was an emergency announcement from MAF High Command right to the DI it bypassed his communication quarantine.  “Multiple nuclear missile strike incoming, three minutes.”  A countdown clock appeared on every screen.

She was struck silent for a whole minute and Arthur struggled to contain his own fears.  Emma said the Warship might use its 35 centimeter capital lasers to damage the city but she hadn’t anticipated a multiple nuclear missile strike. 

Erdé clawed at the console even as Arthur disengaged the external comm array with an operator lock.  Such a thing was unnecessary as the DI computer was engaging its nuclear protective posture overriding any commands Arthur could give to the contrary that might endanger the unit or himself.  The Thug crouched to protect itself and its bulky arms moved to shield the cockpit from high speed debris. 

The armored cowling that was engaged in a combat situation dropped covering the ferroglaz and putting the interior cockpit into a red light condition as most external sensor feeds pulled in on powered down to protect themselves from EMP.  Critical systems moved to standby mode and shut down leaving only the reactor, basic sensors, and gyro operational.  A basic camera dome showing a high rez image of what was going on outside was projected it on the main view-screen.

She unbuckled herself and shifted towards him unable to fully stand in the cramped cockpit, glistening tears in her eyes, “No!  I have to talk to my mother!”
Arthur removed his Neurohelmet, turning his command chair around, and pulled her sobbing body to him.  He cradled her head in his shoulder to ensure she didn’t see what was about to happen. “You can’t.  Even if I knew where she was, or if she still lived, and could reactivate the comm array I wouldn’t.  The Word of Blake might track the signal and that would put us both in danger.  Your mother told me to keep you safe and intend to carry out her final order. 

I’m sorry Erdé.”


Even though Arthur had closed his eyes and wasn’t looking at the screen he saw bright white flashes (Six Peacemaker 500 kiloton nuclear weapons, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7Z-mmu7f2E) fill the cockpit and held tighter while trying to cover her eyes.  Long moments passed before her voice came out with a squeak, “What are we going to do now Arthur?”

He wiped her eyes with his handkerchief and turned around, the Thug’s systems were coming back online, the armored cowling lifted up to empty bright blue skies filled with a half dozen white mushroom clouds, “Make sure her sacrifice was worth it and it doesn’t happen again.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #170 on: 09 November 2018, 11:33:20 »
Man. The Master wanted Arthur bad!!
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
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"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants

mikecj

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #171 on: 09 November 2018, 21:12:44 »
If someone ripped my arms off, I'd probably nuke them too...
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Third Transfer, Katherine pt II
« Reply #172 on: 12 November 2018, 08:29:55 »
If someone ripped my arms off, I'd probably nuke them too...

She simply melted his arms off, gosh its not like he could feel it.

----------

10/17/3069 Location – Ishtar’s Treasures, Samantha City, Taurus, Taurian Concordat

Ishtar’s Treasures occupied a quiet corner in an upscale part of Samantha, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the center of town, the relatively plain exterior would go without notice but was immaculately crafted. The store was popular with Taurian Military, Industrial, and Government Elites who regularly shopped for more exotic and expensive blends from Isthar and other planets in the Concordat of which there was no small variety or advice from its proprietor. 

Little did they know that while Agent Curatis’ home-world (Wildwood) did have excellent wines, it was in the Magistracy of Canopus; not the Hyades Cluster like he said.  If they know they would have been far more guarded, but they were foolish to think they would stand a chance against the AFFC.  Blindsiding a Commonwealth already at war and getting their early victories gave them too much hope.  Yvonne was not her sister or brother but nor was timid enough to allow that transgression to stand.  Not while their cousin George Hasek, Duke of New Syrtis, could theoretically seize the Federated Suns at the first sign of weakness from either sister.

The current Director of Taurian Naval Intelligence, the third one this quarter, was currently in the store browsing with expert guidance from its humble yet well-dressed proprietor.  He was entertaining Precentor Anjelica Mauve of the Blakist 22nd Division in four days and wanted something that would make an impression on the influential woman. 

Precentor Mauve wielded massive influence over the Protector but was oily and seemed to amuse herself by playing the Concordat’s Elites against one another for her own.  Curatis thought he had seen the dark skinned woman before he features certainly marked her as Canopian but couldn’t place her.  She even used similar methods to a MIM Officer but not to the ends that the Magistracy valued.  He had to move cautiously to eliminate her lest ROM find out.

The Word’s malign influence of which she more symptom than cause had forced many officers and nobles to defect to the breakaway Calderon Protectorate and flee the Junta.  Others silently watched and waited, torn between their patriotic duty to the Calderon family and their long standing ancestral grievances against the Federated Suns and its Davion dynasty. 

The Protector’s mercurial style, paranoia, and the resulting high turnover for senior staff was bad for continued sensible government but good for the intelligence collection and expensive foodstuffs market, both of which Curatis excelled at. 

He held a bottle of Ishtar Gold, 3003, balancing the bottle between his hands, “This is an excellent vintage Julian.  Nice bite, exquisite with fish.  I am certain she will be pleased with your fine taste.”

The slight man took the bottle carefully from Curatis rolling the chilled clear glass bottle in his hands.  “You wouldn’t happen to know of a fishmonger worth his salt in this city Liam.  I haven’t had a good selection since New Vallis.”

‘Liam’ went back behind the desk leaving the TMI Director fondling the bottle of Ishtar Gold, he returned with a business card.  “I have heard great things about this fellow.  Though I haven’t tried his wares in person yet, a bit too high priced for me.”

“Consider yourself invited Liam, you may even run the whole agenda I had to get rid of my butler recently.  Since my transfer to Taurus I haven’t had much time to meet new people outside work.  It would be a bore to have nothing but stuffed shirts at my dinner party.”

Curatis knew about the butler, ROM picked him up last week.  The investigators would assume that he was responsible for some of the compromised operatives in the TMI. However, Curatis had compromised his controller shortly after accepting this assignment and took his place.  MIM Officers running Mask agents was surprisingly common, the purges of the Liao family having mortally compromised its ability.  Normally they knew it was happening though, something that in this hazardous territory could not be allowed to happen.

Liam carefully thought through his options, an invitation to the highest echelons of the Concordat Intelligence community and a chance at Anjelica Mauve was too good to be true.  It could be a trap though, the Precentor expecting that the Mask would send another agent into the household to further compromise it now that their agent in place was uncovered.  “I would be honored to help you Mr. Bisset.  I humbly accept your invitation.  Why don’t you come into the back and we talk about it.”
“Thank you Mr. Durand.”


Liam opened the door to the rear office and showed his now guest to the rich leather chair on the other side of the desk.  He walked through the store returning the Ishtar Gold to its cooler and flipped the sign of his establishment.  “Closed for Business but always Open for Opportunity.”

 

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