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Author Topic: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic  (Read 59292 times)

Dave Talley

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #450 on: 28 February 2020, 10:14:12 »
Smith could always use Akira's Orion 😝
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snakespinner

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #451 on: 28 February 2020, 18:18:22 »
I wonder if there is enough left of Yorinaga's Warhammer to rebuild for Smith to pilot. >:D
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Greatclub

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #452 on: 29 February 2020, 03:14:46 »
as factory new Lvl.2 mechs are years away.

They're making WLF-2 now. Which aren't the biggest investment of L2 (Just 10 DHS and the ER large) but at least the sinks are new production.

You can do a lot with just DHS. Heat-hogs like Pheonix Hawks become alpha-boats. Replace autocannons with all the lasers and not melt yourself.

paulobrito

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #453 on: 29 February 2020, 04:43:07 »
One 'Mech that benefits a lot from DHS is the classic Archer.

drakensis

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #454 on: 29 February 2020, 05:54:16 »
The following Omake has been deemed canonical by Chris O'Farrell:


The cockpit had cooled as she watched the street and waited for the DCMS to come at them again.

If there was a way out, Michelle Stengovich was sure she and the other cadets would have just kept running.

The day before they’d been so proud of being chosen to face the expected attack. Of being treated as if they were one step closer to the coveted accolade of Mechwarrior, of the envious looks from classmates and under-classmen who were being evacuated. Convinced that they’d avenge the Sakhara cadets that these same Combine warriors had torn apart.

Everything she’d been taught, particularly the parts she hadn’t really believed…

It was true. Battle, real battle did change everything.

Because until now, she’d only ever thought she was afraid. Now…

Now she knew.

And it shamed…

The sudden pulse of data across her HUD dragged the NAIS cadet out of her funk. A ‘Mech was moving. Out of sight, so far, but her family’s Blackjack had excellent sensors, better than average. Not as good as some of the things she’d heard whispered about, but enough that her father’s tales had more than once hinged on those extra seconds of warning.

“Here they come again,” she breathed, knowing that what was left of Rumble Battalion could hear her. She tried not to let her fear show, tried to sound confident. “Can anyone see it?”

“It’s the Marauder,” James Bixby reported from his Firestarter.

Michelle nodded, then remembered that of course, he couldn’t see her. Stupid. What was she thinking?

Davud Kudo spoke up before she could rectify her mistake. “And the others?”

“I… I don’t think so.”

She could hear… practically feel… the other cadets shifting. Her fingers were tight around the control sticks. Too tight.

The shadowy shape was in sight, emerging from the smoke like a ghost. Long limbed, arms like clubs, a long barrel rising up like a scorpion’s tail.

The Marauder.

In the darkness she couldn’t make out markings with her eyes, but the Blackjack told her what she needed to know, not caring one whit for the frailties of the successor to its long tradition of Stengovich pilots. The heavy ‘Mech was damaged, plates of armor on either flank had been ruptured.

If there was any chance, any chance at all of taking on (she didn’t dare even hope to take it out) the ‘mech that was half-again the size of the largest of their little force, then Michelle couldn’t let that weakness go to waste.

The targeting reticle seemed to drift lazily across the HUD as her heart thundered. The Marauder was moving fast… too fast, and she was too slow.

But finally it reached the rents to the right of the cockpit and Michelle’s fingers closed just that tiniest degree, not shaking the stick with over reaction but using just enough force to trigger her autocannon.

The streamers of tracer hurtled down-range, almost surprising her. But she hadn’t taken her target by surprise and the Marauder snapped around instantly, the Mechwarrior inside reacting on what she could only guess were long-honed reflexes and dropped his right shoulder, the light rounds of the Blackjack’s twin autocannon gouging at intact plates.

Michelle was still cursing herself for missing as the Marauder’s weapons shifted with deadly intent. She was dead!

But… it didn’t fire. Two PPCs, two lasers and… huh, that wasn’t an autocannon up top. But the bolts of coherent light and the particle beams that she thought would tear through her battered armor didn’t came.

What lashed at her instead was a man’s voice: “Hold your fire, cadet!” He was loud, he was angry… and he was on the general tactical frequency? “I’m friendly!”

Michelle had to reach aside to switch her transmitter to the tactical frequency – the Blackjack’s comms hadn’t lasted the centuries as well as it’s sensors. She swallowed as she did so. Had she… she hadn’t interrogated the Marauder’s transponder. She’d…

When you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me, the grating voice of an instructor savaged at what was left of her self-esteem.

“Identify,” she managed, somehow unable to manage more than that. At least, she thought distantly she didn’t sound as if she was on the brink of crying. Before putting her hand back on the control stick she pinged the ‘Mech and the HUD lit up with data.

“This is Knight Twelve, First Prince’s Company.”

The data matched. She’d fired on a friendly. She was a coward and an incompetent.

Taking a deep breath, off mike, Michelle brought the Blackjack’s arms down slowly and stood it. At least she could face her sins with dignity. No use making excuses. She’d blown it, and she was lucky she hadn’t killed the officer in the Marauder.

HA! Killed him? Who are you now? A mocking voice seemed to be on her shoulder. ‘The next Natasha Kerensky?’ You weren’t even the slightest threat to him – if he hadn’t had the mercy to check his target the way you should have, he’d have torn you and your family’s ‘Mech apart. He moves that thing like it’s twenty tons lighter than it actually is.

“Oh,” she said when she was sure she would finish saying the words. “Apologies, sir. There was an enemy Marauder down there and -” The excuse came to her lips and she hated herself for it. She knew better than this.

Fortunately, the man didn’t seem interested in hearing her disgrace herself. “We killed it and the lance it was with,” he cut her off, moving the Marauder closer. The rest of the lance moved forwards tentatively, perhaps only half believing that this was a friendly ‘Mech, the first they’d seen since the shooting died down. “I need a SITREP. Who is in charge here?”

She paused and swallowed, taking the brief opportunity to try to keep calm. Report. She could report, couldn’t she? “No one, sir.” Certainly not her. “We – our six ‘Mechs – are the only ones who made it this far, to my knowledge, out of Rumble and we have no officers left, sir.”

“Very well.” He was startlingly calm, she thought. “How did you all end up here?”

That question dragged her back into the hell of those moments. She was grateful that Davud took the moment to speak up, to recount Doctor Banzai’s shouted orders, the scramble to get away, the sudden barrage of missiles that had blotted out two ‘Mechs almost between heartbeats, killing their Mechwarriors before they had the slightest chance of ejecting.

Davud started to falter as he reached the point where they’d fled into what turned out to be a trap, a cul-de-sac that they were surrounded by with no way out but back into the teeth of the heavy lance that had pinned them here. “I... I thought we were finished. I know we should have tried to counterattack Sir, but -”

“No.” The officer’s disagreement was a startling surprise. There was something odd about his accent, Michelle couldn’t place it. Not a New Avalon native, certainly. “Holding in cover was absolutely the right call, cadet - you people did good.”

What? Michelle blinked. Had she.., had she heard that? They’d broken, run and hid from the battle. And he was PRAISING that decision?

“If nothing else, you’re staying alive pinned a full enemy unit in place keeping you contained and out of the battle.” Then his voice sharpened. “Cadets, you said that Lieutenant Hall was destroyed by missile fire... from the north?”

Miguel Raji answered from his Jenner. “Affirmative, sir. From about a block north of here.” That was more of an estimation than Michelle had felt confident making. But now that she thought about it, not just reacting… yes, that sounded possible. Her ‘Mechs sensors hadn’t picked up the ‘Mechs up but from the range and angle. “They were shooting high-low with indirect LRM fire - damn accurate fire too. We never saw the ‘Mechs, but the volume was incredible, it blew Lieutenant Hall to pieces but a minute after we got in cover, the missiles stopped coming. We couldn’t really tell what was going on through that jamming and the fire coming in from the east keeping us pinned, but I saw seismic shifts that might have been them moving off to the west?”

The tentative question hung in the air for a long moment, then the officer audibly changed the channel sharply, cutting them off.

Crap. Miguel had done well, Michelle thought. He’d picked up more detail than she had out of that mess. But they had obviously fallen short of whatever credit they’d been given for holing up here, something that presumably made sense in whatever understanding of the battle the Marauder mechwarrior had.

How could anyone keep this chaos straight?

She shook herself. Experience, probably. God knows how much action the older mechwarrior must have had. It was hard to guess age from a voice, but he was obviously far removed from the… the fumbling performance that they’d managed.

“Sir?” James asked plaintively, when the silence grew too much. “We’re ready to move out for the CMS rally.”

That had been the last orders, hadn’t they? And it made sense. Get back somewhere the ‘Mechs could be reloaded… where they could regroup.

The older man re-entered the channel, mercifully not reprimanding James for pestering an officer who clearly had more important things to do than to pat them on the heads and reassure them. “Cadets,” he said, voice lower than before… more purposeful. “Lowest to highest, give me your combat states.”

The familiarity of that demand gave Michelle a sense of normality. Of course! There might be other Combine stragglers, he’d want to know what state the little group was in before taking them through the wartorn streets of their campus. “Rumble-14,” she managed, looking at the displays. “Armor state six, fifty percent ammo remaining.”

She heard the others chiming in and somehow the recounting was reassuring. They all had armor, still. Enough for a few hits, at least. Ammo to fight back with. Sure, they were mostly lights, but… The ‘Mechs were holding up. Better than the Mechwarriors had.

“Cadets, I know your last orders were to get to the rally point, but we have a situation.”

Michelle stiffened. Situation?

“Prince Davion is heading for Mallory Park in pursuit of the enemy CO, Yorinaga Kurita. Odds are about even, but those LRM boats that blasted you? I’m pretty sure he is sneaking them into the northern side of the park to make sure this fight ends with the First Prince blown to pieces as soon as he’s in position.”

“The Swordsworn are tied up finishing off the rest of the enemy force,” the officer continued, voice steady. Trying not to alarm them even though his words were hardly reassuring? “They won’t be in a position to help until this is over, one way or the other. Our heavy reinforcements won’t get here in time either which makes us the only force that might be able to find and flush this ambush before its sprung.”

The man paused and when he spoke again, everything he seemed to have been holding back spilled out: “People; this is the turning point. This the focus of this entire campaign. Right here, right now. Yorinaga Kurita has fought his way across the Federated Suns sacrificing everything for this singular moment in history. Perhaps the most singularly deadly Mechwarrior in the entire Inner Sphere and one of the Combine’s greatest regimental leaders in command of a fanatical bodyguard who will do whatever it takes to help him complete his mission is waiting for our Prince to walk into his trap right now, I shit you not!”

A cold chill went down her spine. Hanse Davion, the First Prince… She knew he was out there, of course - and this was one of the Prince’s own company. But… he was going to face Yorinaga Kurita. The man who’d killed Prince Ian? Back when Michelle was just a child? Where else could he go… and the damned snake was using the Prince’s own honour to draw him into a trap!

Her ‘Mech seemed to shift beneath her. The old, faithful Blackjack that had carried so many of her ancestors to fight for House Davion. It was ready, it was responding to the call for battle.

But… could she…?

Dare she?

“None of you are Guardsmen. Hell, I don’t even technically have the command authority to order you to do a damn thing. But...”

The Mechwarrior in the Marauder paused. “I’m asking anyway.”

“The liege we swore our oaths to is in mortal danger and the future of the entire Inner Sphere is going to pivot entirely based upon what we do in the next ten minutes. I’m going in - but that’s my job.” It was, Michelle thought with a wry cynicism that surprised her, very clearly more than just his job. Hanse Davion was obviously more than his superior: but who else would the First Prince have recruited for his company on a night like this than trusted friends. “It’s not a job for cadets - and no-one from Hanse on down would deny you have all done your duty. So... well, I’m just going to leave it at that. You can head for the CMS now - the path should be clear if you just head East for a bit - and follow your orders. Or, you can come with me.”

The offer, the request… the plea… hung in the air.

“But understand if you come with me, you’re no longer cadets. Come with me and you’re coming because you’ve made a choice... as MechWarriors.”

Mechwarriors.

What we came here be. What we were raised to be, what we were trained to be.

What, Michelle thought, I failed to be. But… maybe what I can be. If I try again.

She wasn’t the first to speak. Justin Taylor – poor Justin who’d had far too many jokes at sharing a name with the infamous traitor – spoke fastest and proudest of them all: “Rumble-15, good to go Sir!”

The others were a tangle after him and Michelle could practically see their ‘Mechs straighten as they welcomed the mission, the purpose.

The chance to take hold of their fates and be more than frightened children in a battle they didn’t understand.

“Rumble-14,” Michelle Stengovich said with a determination that she would have never have imagined, when the Marauder first loped out of the smoke. “Ready.”
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Kwic

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #455 on: 29 February 2020, 16:53:18 »
From a certain perspective he didn’t graduate as a Mechwarrior alone.  He led a half company (Pappa) of cadets through graduation to full Mechwarrior status.

They weren’t from his original academy but they did join up with him as Pappa company.

I’m sure Chris will have some sort of awards / graduation ceremony planned.

Great addition drak

My only problem with the storey is that I’ve read it a few times and reread the whole thing from start and now I have to wait for chris to post more.  Damn readers reading faster than writers write. 

Red Pins

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #456 on: 01 March 2020, 00:47:08 »
Nice work, Drac.  By the way, still waiting for YOUR next project.

My only problem with the storey is that I’ve read it a few times and reread the whole thing from start and now I have to wait for chris to post more.  Damn readers reading faster than writers write. 

Tell me about it - I found the new chapter at1:30 at night, it was after 2 before I finished the story and caught up with the comments on SB.
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croaker

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #457 on: 01 March 2020, 01:28:56 »
Definitely glad to see this return. And great addition Drak!

truetanker

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #458 on: 01 March 2020, 03:25:17 »
I can see Smith getting command of Pappas Lance...

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Red Pins

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #459 on: 01 March 2020, 10:27:23 »
I lean more to the notion this is Smith's cutoff for being an active mechwarrior and transferring back to some nameless desk after being added to the nobility.

I keep hoping he gets promoted to command of the periphery and March and the story continuing, but that's me.
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Lone-Wolf

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #460 on: 01 March 2020, 12:08:50 »
That was a nailbiting update.

I think when he wakes up he will have Kym, Yvonne and Melissa all staring down at him with coldness.
Then it will begin with how he could abandon Hanse, running off on his own, taking illegaly command of cadets (insubordination, right?), adressing them as mechwarriors and last but not least blowing up his own mech.
And of course threatening him with a court martial.

And then Morgan will push a wheelchair with a grinning Hanse into his point of view who clears him of all charges and all will have a grin on their faces.

And for the humor part:
Can you imagine that Smith would be a Jane Smith? Then it wouldnt be Papa lance, but Mommy lance.

Vehrec

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #461 on: 01 March 2020, 22:22:50 »
Smith's first sight when he wakes up will be the medic who just administered the stimulant asking him if he can feel his legs and to rate his pain for triage.  He'll get the good painkillers shortly after, but first they'll want to know on a scale of one to ten, how bad the pain is and *where* it is.
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DOC_Agren

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #462 on: 04 March 2020, 22:54:31 »
 :thumbsup: :clap: :beer: :rockon:

Thank you for more of Mr. Smith wonderful trip
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cklammer

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #463 on: 05 March 2020, 04:21:24 »
Amazing update  :)

worktroll

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #464 on: 05 March 2020, 04:49:39 »
You know, I doubt Smith will be leading combat teams after this. Bad luck, those grooving on the "adventures of Pappa company".

I reckon Hanse sent Smith to Sakahara so he could get the necessary "cult of the 'Mechwarrior" chops, and to erase the "REMF" stench. Well, consider this done. Well and truly. Ain't no-one going to disagree because he's a greenhorn nebbish no more.

No, reckon there's a better use for Smith. Operation Shroud-Ripper. Yup, the pre-emptive destruction of the Word of Blake, before it surfaces (CornStar is just enjoyable collateral damage.)

And you think Helm was a prize? How about the Hidden Worlds? We know they know about the Ruins of Gabriel ...

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Sir Chaos

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #465 on: 05 March 2020, 06:17:31 »
You know, I doubt Smith will be leading combat teams after this. Bad luck, those grooving on the "adventures of Pappa company".

I reckon Hanse sent Smith to Sakahara so he could get the necessary "cult of the 'Mechwarrior" chops, and to erase the "REMF" stench. Well, consider this done. Well and truly. Ain't no-one going to disagree because he's a greenhorn nebbish no more.

No, reckon there's a better use for Smith. Operation Shroud-Ripper. Yup, the pre-emptive destruction of the Word of Blake, before it surfaces (CornStar is just enjoyable collateral damage.)

And you think Helm was a prize? How about the Hidden Worlds? We know they know about the Ruins of Gabriel ...

W.

I wonder if he had a copy of the MekHQ suite of programs on what went to the BT universe with him. The Hidden Worlds are on the MekHQ map... at least the coordinates should be close enough to find the right star.

For that matter, if Helm had SLDF star maps, from before ComStar made their changes, and somewhere in Smith´s materials there are the original names of the Hidden Worlds (or he remembers them), that could be enough to find them...
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DoctorMonkey

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #466 on: 05 March 2020, 06:24:02 »
I wonder if he had a copy of the MekHQ suite of programs on what went to the BT universe with him. The Hidden Worlds are on the MekHQ map... at least the coordinates should be close enough to find the right star.

For that matter, if Helm had SLDF star maps, from before ComStar made their changes, and somewhere in Smith´s materials there are the original names of the Hidden Worlds (or he remembers them), that could be enough to find them...


But do you raid them, invade them or just organise massive orbital bombardment with meteor/comet projectiles from deep space?
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Kwic

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #467 on: 05 March 2020, 09:43:47 »
John’s shocks, ejection and loss of consciousness enable chris to inject an additional round of clarity or an update patch. Anything that chris May have forgotten or that was just recently added after the initial story started.  Hbs game. bull shark. Dobrev. Camelot command. Hidden worlds. Luyten and Ross stations. ComStar warship recovery sites. Niops nighthawks. Additional wob details etc.  Can be added in as a memory while John is as out.

Either way.  I eagerly look forward to the next instalment.


paulobrito

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #468 on: 05 March 2020, 09:49:55 »
About the HBS game - Chris reported that Smith 'departed' while the game is still in kickstart phase - so, no more updates from that front.

Sir Chaos

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #469 on: 05 March 2020, 10:55:59 »

But do you raid them, invade them or just organise massive orbital bombardment with meteor/comet projectiles from deep space?

Depends on the world. The Ruins of Gabriel are a fleet base, right? That would be worth capturing, and since it´s within FC territory, they could actually keep it. The others - the cybernetics center, the bioweapons research - are better off nuked to hell and back.
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drakensis

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #470 on: 05 March 2020, 15:42:49 »
Nice work, Drac.  By the way, still waiting for YOUR next project.
Thanks.

Well, no promises. I have something in planning but many a project has failed to get past that step.
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cklammer

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #471 on: 06 March 2020, 03:04:50 »
@drakensis: you could alway continue one of your older tales like StotU, B&B, D&D or Centurion  ;D

Less initial planning that way.

Also "Victorian Age" or "Along Came a Spider" come to mind.

Personally, I am rooting for "Centurion": whenever I re-reading that one I running my Motörhead playlist ...

Red Pins

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #472 on: 06 March 2020, 18:03:00 »
My plans for this is almost done, but I don't know how realistic it really is.
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Atarlost

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #473 on: 07 March 2020, 02:39:05 »
@drakensis: you could alway continue one of your older tales like StotU, B&B, D&D or Centurion  ;D

Less initial planning that way.

Also "Victorian Age" or "Along Came a Spider" come to mind.

Not Along Came a Spider.  He finished that one and any sequel would have to break everything that made the denouement satisfying. 

drakensis

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #474 on: 07 March 2020, 03:55:07 »
@drakensis: you could alway continue one of your older tales like StotU, B&B, D&D or Centurion  ;D

Less initial planning that way.

Also "Victorian Age" or "Along Came a Spider" come to mind.

Personally, I am rooting for "Centurion": whenever I re-reading that one I running my Motörhead playlist ...
We're getting a bit off topic here but I suppose there isn't a 'What Drakensis oughta finish thread'.

I will merely comment that you didn't mention one of my other unfinished BT fics...
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Chris OFarrell

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #475 on: 07 March 2020, 05:26:54 »
We're getting a bit off topic here but I suppose there isn't a 'What Drakensis oughta finish thread'.

VICTORIAN AGE!!!!!111oneone
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-Baron Stepan Von Strang

Sharpnel

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #476 on: 07 March 2020, 08:13:31 »
We're getting a bit off topic here but I suppose there isn't a 'What Drakensis oughta finish thread'.

I will merely comment that you didn't mention one of my other unfinished BT fics...
What about Star Adder Symphony?
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Red Pins

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #477 on: 08 March 2020, 02:24:10 »
Okay, a few qualifiers.  No, its not my thread.  If Drakensis can do it, so can I!  It was fun - easy for me to write, and at 3 pages, the right length, too.  Feel free to ignore it.  And I can always delete it if Chris doesn't approve.  Win - Win!

GOLDEN PEBBLES

Sitting in one of the dozens of comfortable offices in the Palace of the Federated Suns, Melissa was unhappy with the state of things as she considered the reams of reports littering the top of the broad conference table, roughly sorted into categories; Urgent, Secret, and the smallest of all, Personal.  Days had passed since the DEST assault, and the damage to the working areas occupied by the fanatic troops was nearly repaired, but she had chosen one of the smaller, unoccupied spares far enough from the repair work to provide peace and quiet with enough space to organize herself for the task ahead of her.

The décor of the tastefully wood-paneled room was similar to her husband’s day office, with raised platforms placing subtle emphasis on the large conference table with the practical wheeled office chairs and smooth hardwood flooring she preferred.  A small kitchen laid out in bright white tile flooring and cabinets offset the lounge area with its ubiquitous dark leather furniture and low tables, the en suite bathroom serving both the office and adjoining suite for important guests working in the palace.

But no hidden servant’s passages, she thought dryly.  A less scandalous method for her morning commute, certainly.

Placing her hands on the small swell of her belly and beginning to rub gently as she began to swing back and forth on her chair idly, she considered her own response to the situation.  Military retribution, she knew, was in the capable hands of Hanse and her mother, preparing to bring the 4th War to a successful conclusion with the recapture of the Commonwealth’s lost worlds and the landslide victory over House Liao.  Her own contribution would be overshadowed by the victories yet to be won, if LACTIC lived up to its expectations.

Beginning to swivel more violently, she brought her hands back to the armrests and narrowed her eyes in thought.  Up to this point, her claim to an equal partnership with her new husband had been conditional on her brood mare status, carrying the heir to the Steiner and Davion dynasties.  And that, in her opinion, has to end, the sooner the better.

Yorinaga Kurita had dared to attack her family, her friends, and she knew the arrogant son-of-a-bitch had never even considered the risk of infuriating the future Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth.  If she was to ever show her independence and inspire the pride of her subjects, both old and new, then she would have to deliver a stinging reprisal of her own.

Getting up and grabbing her mug from its place to walk on sock feet to the small but well-stocked kitchen for the morning’s second cup of her favorite hot chocolate – coffee had been politely but firmly denied by the horde of pediatricians - she stopped to lean against the wall and sip her drink as she considered the table again.  House Steiner traditionally trained its heirs in both the military and economic tradition of the most industrialized nation in the Inner Sphere.  In wide-ranging conversations with her mother, Hanse, and Arden, Hanse and Arden had shown a willingness to hum along with the chorus while she and her mother had discussed the intricacies of manipulating the growing trade between their realms.  If military force was best left to others, that left only her extensive education on trade and economics to fall back on.

  Hanse’s best economic initiative, the NAIS, had provided a stunning return on investment, but had been hamstrung by Kurita’s deliberate attempt to destroy as much of the campus as possible.  The spate of contract negotiations between NAIS and the eager corporations in both halves of the Federated Commonwealth had been the high point of her official activities so far, and she began to consider how to leverage that involvement.

The NAIS was a key piece of several puzzles, she realized.

Takashi had approved the attack because the NAIS was a significant strategic threat to the Combine, and his Kepteyn ally had agreed to the point of supplying the Genyosha with samples of their priceless ECM gear in the middle of a war for survival.

They were right to be wary, she decided, walking back to the table, returning the mug to the clear spot at its edge.  Then she smiled.  But they have no idea how badly this failure will haunt them.

She and Hanse had discussed how with the reintroduction of modern water purification technology alone, several of the worlds severely damaged in the Succession Wars could begin to reverse the long decline and become productive once more.  She sat once again and taking the mug in hand pulled out another of the rolling desk chairs with a foot until it faced her before putting her feet on the seat and leaning back with a sigh of relief.  Reports had so far confirmed her suspicions.  The physical sciences and cadets of CMS had largely borne the brunt of Kurita’s attack, with minor damage to the light industrial areas surrounding the campus.

Reaching out and putting the mug back on the table, her hands resumed their gentle massage, her mind filling with half-finished thoughts as she considered the unfamiliar trade routes now being routed through the conquered territories.  Those routes were tangled, losing the crisp, clear efficiency of more established traditional routes, avoiding abandoned systems in favor of those whose value benefitted the Commonwealth and Suns as a whole…

Abandoned systems…  She sat up, dropping her feet from the chair as her intuition sharpened on the prospect. Undefended worlds, that might be made prosperous again with the advances in water purification and the information of the Helm data core.  Systems that would reduce travel time, provide resources, noble landholds, defensive depth in the most critical areas…  And logistic hubs providing invasion routes with greater access to the Combine’s rear areas, stretching an already strained supply net, demanding more resources to secure their borders on both sides of the Terran corridor.  Perfect!

I’m going to need some help moving files and searching the secure database, she realized.  Then she smiled wolfishly.  Fortunately, she knew where to find some idle hands that could help her find what she was looking for.

*         *         *

“Should I be concerned?” asked Hanse.

“No,” admitted Quintus.  “But she’s brought in a steady stream of logistic experts, military advisors, and professors from NAIS to work with her for days now, and just smiles and says the wait will be worth the investment.”

“I expect she’s right, then.”

He nodded.  Since moving into one of the confidential offices on the Davion family floor, Melissa’s personal staff had ballooned, clearly oriented to the growing mercantile and strategic concerns of the corridor between the two allied realms.

“Then – let’s see what happens.  ‘Golden Pebbles’.  Is that a codename or operational name?”

He was saved from answering as Melissa burst into the room with her customary energy and several leather-bound books that looked vaguely familiar under her arm, directing a bright smile at her husband, who went immediately to her.

Then the three of them took their places at the head of the table while Melissa handed out the books and sat watching them begin to examine the contents.

“’Golden Pebbles’”, she began with a wolfish smile.  “Operates on a simple concept; ‘She who has the gold, makes the rules’.”

“Analysts have identified seven previously abandoned worlds near what they expect the final borders with the Combine will look like – all seven will require a significant investment of resources, primarily in construction materials and the expertise of the NAIS.  Along the ‘Northern’ border with the Commonweath, Glenlivet, Bushmill, Talisker, and Kingtribel…”

Reading the…  Prospectus? - Headed simply, ‘Glenlivet’, Quintus was taken aback, unfamiliar with most of the technical jargon of the documents.  Skipping ahead to the next tab simply brought him to another stack of financial documents presumably doing the same thing, and he skipped to the final tab hoping the summary would be something easier to understand.

“…show the most promise, with Killbourn, Okaya and Goldlure along the ‘Southern’ border.  None of these worlds suffered military action, simply becoming economically undesirable due to cost and environmental factors.  Factors the NAIS and Helm core can mitigate or compensate for.  I’ve lost you, haven’t I?” she asked teasingly.

Grimacing and closing the book in front of him, Quintus tapped his chest in acknowledgement, Hanse immediately following suit.  He felt a twinge of unease as Melissa smiled

“Most of these worlds provided raw materials.  Now, they can provide invasion routes.  These documents,” she said, indicating the books, “are the first official step to offering investments on these planets to investors, in effect publicly financing the military operations to garrison and develop those resources.”

“My God,” murmured Hanse.  “You’re making war pay for itself!”

“A lesson in economics Takashi won’t soon forget, I hope,” said Melissa coldly. “In the meantime, we have time to send Scouts to ensure there haven’t been significant changes before releasing these documents publicly.  Coordinate with Simon, if you don’t have the resources you need.”

He nodded.  Although the number of Scout-class Jumpships were limited, they were designed for operations like these.

“Good,” Melissa said, with that unnerving smile.  “A fitting revenge for the NAIS and House Steiner.  And me.”
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Sharpnel

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #478 on: 08 March 2020, 04:38:15 »
I like Fruity Pebbles (cereal), but this wasn't bad.
« Last Edit: 08 March 2020, 04:46:06 by Sharpnel »
Consigliere Trygg Bender, KGC-01BL King Crab, The Blazer Mafia
Takehiro 'Taco' Uchimiya, VND-1R Vindicator 'Taco', Crimson Oasis Trading Company
Tai-i Shizuko Lofgren, Third Infantry Company, Oniwaka
Sergeant Franz Staudegger, T-12A1 Tiger, 42nd Avalon Hussars
"Of what use is a dream, if not a blueprint for courageous action" -Adam West
It's an Omni, so I can build it into whatever I please - JHB
"Life is too short to be living someone else's dream" - Hugh Hefner

pete879

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #479 on: 08 March 2020, 05:11:54 »
Nice piece. I hope Chris keeps it.

I always found that Melissa was not enough covered in canon and underappreciated. Also I think the FedCom didn't put enough emphasis on domestic growth. This addresses both.

 

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