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Author Topic: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III  (Read 15920 times)

Icerose20

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #60 on: 07 January 2019, 01:38:56 »
Somewhat interesting its a Elemental that is the reasonable Khan for the (Ice) Hellions, but it does fit my idea of the Elementals.  They are like offensive linemen in Football in that you need to know what your job is and what others in your team is depending on the situation and if one fails, then the entire line fails.  Of course, that isnt how the Clans do it, but it be interesting if thats is how Elementals become warriors if its their 'point' that completes the tasks or not to become a warrior.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #61 on: 07 January 2019, 07:56:23 »
Somewhat interesting its a Elemental that is the reasonable Khan for the (Ice) Hellions, but it does fit my idea of the Elementals.  They are like offensive linemen in Football in that you need to know what your job is and what others in your team is depending on the situation and if one fails, then the entire line fails.  Of course, that isnt how the Clans do it, but it be interesting if thats is how Elementals become warriors if its their 'point' that completes the tasks or not to become a warrior.

I always felt it was the natural state of Elementals to work as a team that is why five of them are a single Point.  Each Warrior is individually very weak compared to a Battlemech they need to work together to defeat one and even then are unlikely to do it on their own.  The Hell's Horses do this best and I think some of their Khans must have been the smartest in the Clans otherwise they wouldn't be around anymore since they lack proper Mech assets and have to make do with tanks.  Elemental Point Leaders learn management and leadership skills that a Mechwarrior would only learn at a Star Captain level.

The Hellions joint training site, the one that forces Free and Trueborns together to work as a a unit, and pack Zell are also traits that make the Hellions particularly dangerous if used properly.  It is really the main sin of Hellions that they act before thinking but that makes them willing to take big chances like leaving the homeworlds for a solo invasion of the Federated Suns.  However, an Elemental can't make dumb decision or he would die early without passing on his genes.

In Star Captain Drake's case he ran an overloaded Supernova Trinary (6 Points of Elementals per Star of Mechs) until becoming Khan thus he had more than a hundred subordinate Warriors plus nearly double that in support staff under his command.  Throw in some vision and an indomitable will to beat the hated Wolves at their own game and you have a force of nature in command of the best kilo for kilo Warriors in the Inner Sphere.  They also happen to own half of the working McKenna battleships in the Inner Sphere, the Snow Ravens have the other one.
« Last Edit: 07 January 2019, 13:10:12 by AlphaMirage »

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #62 on: 07 January 2019, 10:38:26 »
Never struck me that George Hasek would go over the deep end jealously and treason.  The FedCom Civil War where he was injured badly and end results of Capellan Incursion (canon timeline) cause him go rogue but not try for grab big seat. Morgan instilled him unity, loyalty to New Avalon and the FedSuns/FedCom.  Jihad hotspots books did alot off-screen character personality changes that didn't quite fit the protrayal in the novels that gave real feel for them. 

I'd be surprised of George trying do cloak & dagger stuff.

As for Katherine, well...i be seeing FedCom Civil War a comin now.  ;D
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #63 on: 07 January 2019, 12:38:34 »
Never struck me that George Hasek would go over the deep end jealously and treason.  The FedCom Civil War where he was injured badly and end results of Capellan Incursion (canon timeline) cause him go rogue but not try for grab big seat. Morgan instilled him unity, loyalty to New Avalon and the FedSuns/FedCom.  Jihad hotspots books did a lot off-screen character personality changes that didn't quite fit the portrayal in the novels that gave real feel for them. 

I'd be surprised of George trying do cloak & dagger stuff.

As for Katherine, well...i be seeing FedCom Civil War a comin now.  ;D
This is mostly for my own reference.  Not sure how I'm going to end this arc yet but I was thinking a Nicholson scene.

I don't know, if you almost singlehandedly led the victorious defense of the Federated Suns against the forces of the Word of Blake, CCAF, and TDF at the same time.  Upon victory you launched a daring assault at the perpetrators almost dying several times while reaching deep in enemy territory and having had a real chance to kill Sun-Tzu Liao.  Which would have removed the first strong Chancellor in a generation from the dastardly Capellans. The same Sun-Tzu whose assassins almost certainly killed your mother a few months ago on your home planet.  A person with whom you believe (and have some evidence to support) Katherine colluded with early on to secure both of their flimsy executives.

That same Katherine who started a war that devastated the Davion Guards Brigade to claim Yvonne's regency given specifically to her by Victor.  During which time she used a Battlecruiser to bombard New Avalon.  Who might have killed your dad on his way to the Clan homeworlds, possibly killed her own mother, sundered the Federated Commonwealth in her ascension to Archon, may have been responsible for Peter's initial disappearance, likely committed some kind of treason with her relationship to the Wolf Khan Vladimir Ward, and who been using her loyal Stazi agents to silence critics and instill fear in the nobility for nearly a decade.

You might be upset and feel that being First Prince is better suited to you rather than let sit by and let a group of feckless bureaucrats that have never seen the inside of a Mech's cockpit appoint some nobody deserter.  Even if he is Hanse Davion's son. 

Especially if you can blame it on her while securing the First Princedom in the process so you can get back to the real fight.  Which is of course; kill Sun-Tzu in order to save the Federated Suns from further Capellan aggression before he can rebuild the ruins of his Trinity Alliance into something dangerous.

As for Katherine, we'll see soon enough but first we have to deal with the mess on New Avalon.

------------------------

12/22/3069 04:48 Location – Camelot Starport, New Avalon, Federated Commonwealth

First Prince Peter Steiner-Davion sat in an Ironhide truck out on the tarmac in the pre-dawn cold wearing a heavy woolen paletot coat, watch cap, and gloves as gray as the surrounding permacrete.  His features had to be obscured for security reasons wherever he went as it was still very dangerous on New Avalon although nothing had happened thus far.  The Black Box’s network lag meant that if Katherine was near Tharkad, like he and Yvonne suspected, that she would have had time to receive the news of his ascension and transmit orders to her subordinates sometime today which increased the danger level significantly.

The fact that Alexander Drake had a similar body structure to Peter and that his blonde hair could be dyed auburn had proven far more useful than Yvonne’s security team had anticipated.  The Khan was willing to take out an assassin sent by the White Wolf if necessary; in fact he was eager for the challenge if only to alleviate boredom.  The constant shuffling of he and Peter annoyed him because it was to avoid fighting; which was anathema to the high strung Clan Elemental Warrior.

The Cog dropship FCDS Open Frontiers landed behind a berm a kilometer away, Peter could feel the rumble of its exhaust through the truck’s suspension despite it being dampened by a great volume of water pumped over the landing pad.  When the dropship successfully landed it powered down its thrusters to cool while water continued to run over the tarmac and steam rose above it. 

Peter’s Chief of Security Vincent Palo looked back at him.  At this range he could see the AR data feeds being projected onto the lens.  “We’ll give it ten minutes to cool down First Prince.  The bird will be here in thirty.  You’ll be back at Castle Davion with your family by oh six hundred.”
“Thanks Vincent take us close I don’t want to dally in the open.”


The Ironhide rumbled toward the dropship along with a group of Outback Legionnaires in their armed Pintel ATVs.  Peter got out and walked toward where the bay ramps were being lowered.  His boots walked through puddles that gathered in the few lower areas of the otherwise flat surface.  The sound of water flowing and cool air being pulled through the dropship’s thrusters from the well filled the air along with the mist that obscured the modified Trojan dropship on the landing pad.  The dropship’s lights were weakly illuminating the area through the haze but the folding light posts built into the isolation berm were raising themselves to their normal upright positions.  The landing ramp came down after it mostly cleared, his daughter Victoria was the first down and gave her father a great hug.  Daphne was close behind with the almost 12 month old Jacob in her arms wearing a big coat and hat for a baby.  The boy calmed down at the sight of his father. “Dada”

Peter kissed Daphne on the cheek, “Was he any trouble?”
“No more so than Vicky when we traveled from Randis.  At least on the Open Frontier I had better accommodations, and help.”
“Wait till you see Castle Davion Daphne.  You won’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”
“Well then what will I do?  Organize parties?  Gossip with the Ladies of Court?  Sounds dreadful.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to be a Princess.”
“Well I’m still not sure I am ready to be First Prince so I guess we will find out together.”


Vicky pulled on his hand, “We’re going to a castle?”
“Yes we are Vicky.  Very soon in fact.”
“Is it like the stories?”

He looked at her seriously, “Which stories?” There were a lot of stories in the world and not all of them ended happily.  The little girl thought about that for a moment, “Can my room be purple?”
“Absolutely,”
said Peter relieved.

Porters picked up their luggage as an Anhur borrowed from the Hellions flew through the mist.  Its turbofans creating visible whorls in their wake before setting down nearby.  Extra precautions had been taken due to the sensitive nature of his ascension during a declared state of war with the Trinity Alliance and the possibility that Katherine's agents would move against her brother.

Despite the state of war Duke Hasek had withdrawn the forces that had participated in SOVEREIGN JUSTICE to the new border worlds for resupply but they were itching to finish the fight.  The Tikonov Republican Guard and Commonwealth’s Third Fleet had abandoned their Highspire offensive against Kali Liao’s Thugees upon finding that Trinity Alliance Armed Forces deployed en mass on the planet.  They instead prioritized containment of the Sol Protectorate and operations in support of the DCMS units that were dealing with the rapidly dwindling Black Dragons.

Daphne looked at the pair of wicked looking pulse lasers in the chin turret, “Is that really necessary?”
“I hope to God not Daphne, but better safe than sorry.”


Inside was a bare bones cargo compartment with fold down bench seats made of webbing and a squad of Federation Marshals.  The pilot and co-pilot were the Khan’s personal pilots in and out of combat and were armed.  The Marshals helped load their luggage before securing the Royal family.  Each of them were given noise canceling headphones to blunt the sound as the turbofans spun up and launched the VTOL back into the sky.  It banked neatly and began moving at flank speed toward Castle Davion. 

Over the Albion River they were joined by Mantis Scout VTOLs from the 1st Outback Legion.  The choppers were capable of detecting ambushes and providing ECW support to the Anhur raced toward Castle Davion.  Their turrets contained a pair of clan spec Small Pulse Laser easily capable of dispatching unarmored infantry or light vehicles that might pose a threat.  They took a circuitous route through the Grand Avalon Mountains skirting along the edge of the Fox’s Den Military Reservation till they arrived at Castle Davion.

Victoria saw it from afar in the dawn light and her eyes shone with wonder at the sight.  The white and red stone towers of Castle Davion melded into a recent snowfall that sparkled in the sun along with the stained glass windows of the main hall, “It is like the stories.  We’re going to live there?”

“Yes and one day hopefully long in the future you will be First Prince as well.”
“Wow.”
« Last Edit: 07 January 2019, 13:07:52 by AlphaMirage »

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #64 on: 08 January 2019, 15:03:29 »
12/23/3069 06:15 Location – Castle Davion, New Avalon, Federated Commonwealth

“Peter, wake up.”
Peter moved his hand across the warm sheets to bat at his wife Daphne’s nudging arms.  “What is it?”
“Come on.  The Prince is not the one that sleeps in tales.”

He got up in the bed and looked to see his wife still in her sleeping gown standing beside him, “Fine.  I guess I’ve slept enough.”
She leaned down and kissed him, “Sorry about last night dear.  I haven’t seen you in a month.”
He pulled her back onto the bed with a giggle, and kissed her on the rebound, “I’ll trade a groggy morning for a great night with you any time.”
“Vicky will be up at seven.  We still have forty five minutes.”
“Do we now?  Is that long enough?”
“No more talking.  You’re wasting time.”


07:00 Victoria’s Room

“The Dawn Room” had served many purposes during Castle Davion’s history although it was typically used as a child’s bedroom.  Victoria woke up for the first time in the same room that her aunt Yvonne grew up within.  It wasn’t purple yet she was going to pick out which color she wanted with mommy today and someone would paint it later.  She dressed, brushed her hair and teeth, and was outside waiting for her parents by 07:10 she had no idea where anything was yet.  Peter and Daphne holding her little brother were waiting outside, “I’m so hungry”
“Well then follow me.”


She took Peter’s hand as he walked through the maze of corridors past busy staffers that greeted them.  V: “This place is so much bigger than Aunt Yvonne’s.”
P: “About four times as big.  Did you enjoy sleeping in her old room?”
She brushed sleep out of her eye with her other hand, “The sun woke me up early.”
Peter chuckled he had heard the same thing from his sister as a child
D: “You are supposed to wake up at seven.”
V: “Why?”
D: “To eat breakfast together of course.  Then you can explore with Mary.”
V: “Where’s Xander, he’s more fun.”
P: “Xander is probably climbing a cliff or something.”
V: “How did he get so strong?”
D: “He ate his vegetables.”
V: “Gross, I’m going to ask him.”
P: “Go ahead, he’ll probably tell you that if you eat your vegetables you too can leap whole Battlemechs in a single bound when you get older.”
V: “He can do that!”
D: “Peter, Stop confusing the poor girl.  No Xander can’t jump over a Battlemech in a single bound Victoria.”
P: “Not without help at least.  From vegetables.”
Daphne socked Peter in the side with he off-hand which upset Jacob, “That was unnecessary Daphne.  I’ll be bruised for my coronation.”
“Oh you poor dear.”


The Steiner-Davion family found their way to a larger dining room downstairs where a breakfast buffet had been laid out.  Khan Xander Drake was there along with Loremaster Amelia Wallace, the Khan had sweat in his hair.  He had been doing something strenuous this morning already.  Before she could be reined in Victoria walked over to the Khan, “Xander can you jump over a Battlemech in a single bound without your armor?”

Khan Drake thought about it for a moment, stirring his oatmeal,
“How tall of a Battlemech?  Do I get a running start?  At one Gee?  Over? Or just across? 
Perhaps I could try to jump over a prone one or a quadruped.
Amelia we should see.  Do we still have Snow Foxes in inventory?”
“I think there are a few in inventory Khan Drake if you insist on trying.”
“I will tell you Victoria Steiner-Davion when I find out.”


With breakfast finished the Hellions departed possibly to find a Snow Fox and see if Xander could leap over it in a single bound.  The Steiner-Davions went to a bigger room where a Christmas tree had been raised with presents below.  Victoria ran to shake the boxes and her toddler brother Jacob staggered across the room to play with the shiny objects.  “This is wonderful Peter.”
“It’s not quite as grand as the normal one picked fro the Midwinter Ball but we just missed that.  I spent the past week traveling and picked up a few things for you and the kids.  It’s the first time in a long while that I got to use my real name on a check.”


14:00 Office of the First Prince

While Peter Steiner-Davion had been on New Avalon for several days he had only stepped into the castle yesterday with his family.  Castle Davion had not been expecting a new resident and the place was in disarray as neither of his sisters had resided there for nearly four years.  Without a true Davion present it had remained vacant but well cared for.  However, the needs of a tenat required an increase in staff to tend to the people in addition to the building and staff had been busy ensuring that the eighty rooms within were in top notch condition for the new Royal Family. 

Instead he spent the first two days receiving briefings in the Fox’s Den about the current state of the Inner Sphere and stayed in different cities on world for the rest of the week.  His hopping around was to shake loose Katherine’s agents and determine if they had orders to move against him immediately.  To his pleasure she didn’t appear to have anyone on station that meant to do him (or Khan Drake disguised as him) harm and was greeted with admiring crowds throughout the land.  Satisfied he gave the all clear for his family’s arrival yesterday morning.

Peter opened the door of his father’s office, it had been briefly used by Victor but both Katherine and Yvonne had declined to use it for official work while on New Avalon.  With only minor exceptions it had remained the same as it was on June 17th 3052 when his sister walked in to see their father dead.  He pulled down the black cloth that covered a faded oil painting of Hanse Davion circa 3039. 

“It’s been a long time dad.  I’m sorry we didn’t have the best relationship when both of us were alive.  This galaxy’s to big and crazy a place for two men to have a sit down these days.  I know wherever you are you are looking out for us.  I hope you can forgive me for all the bad things I’ve done in the past and appreciate the good that I intend to do in the future. 

You did a great job with Yvonne.  She told me to tell you that she loves you and will be back soon.  I pray I can do the same with Vicky and Jacob.  I’ll take them by your grave sometime soon.”


He looked at his father’s desk, his chair had been replaced due to wear but a replacement that was similar looking had taken its place. One top of the desk he saw a small pot with Mycosia Pseudoflora on top of it.  The flower had been his mother’s favorite and it was also the carrier for the bomb that killed her in 3055.  Peter flashed back to that moment, rage and sorrow in equal measure wanting a chance to take his revenge on who was responsible for her death. 

It was the darkest chapter of his life and he had to leave the room and have his panic attack in the hall.  Talking about it with Yvonne had been hard enough.  He thought he was over it but deep down old Peter was still there; the raging drunk that he had spent the past fifteen years trying to settle down.  He breathed deep and looked around hoping that no one else was around that he might have to explain himself to but he still had to come up with an explanation.

He picked up the phone and called down to the Steward, “Lord Presley, I would like the flowers removed from my father’s desk.”
“Of course First Prince.  I will send someone immediately.”
“Thank you.”
« Last Edit: 11 January 2019, 09:47:07 by AlphaMirage »

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #65 on: 09 January 2019, 04:58:37 »
Now theres a pointed message
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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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Elmoth

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #66 on: 09 January 2019, 07:31:22 »
A bucket of the flowers that killed your mother in the place where your father was killed? Naaaah. Just details. :lol:

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #67 on: 09 January 2019, 11:13:18 »
Elsewhere in the Castle Dalia Green and Laura Avali walked through the halls with their arms full of cloth.  The best friends were in need of a job after graduating secondary school and serving in Castle Davion seemed like an easy one if you could get it.  Its side benefits were many-fold; decent room, ample board, a cute uniform, and adequate pay so it was an enticing offer for young women.  You might even meet a handsome lesser Lord in the process of carrying out your duties.

They were just out of orientation and were gossiping about the other maids in whispers.  The Stewardess, Lady Madeline Presley, kept decent order but most of her staff consisted of women under 22 and Princess Daphne had not straightened them out yet.  Most of the maids had only seen her yesterday morning when she arrived with the rest of her family.

A man and woman ran past them in white battledress uniforms causing the women to drop their bags, “Damn!  Watch where you're going.  Jerk.”
“He was kinda cute.  His face seemed familiar.”

They looked at the circulated pictures of their VIPs given to them during their orientation earlier, “Khan Xander Drake?  Where did you see him before?”
“Remember that video we watched when I told my mom we were watching the tennis finals a couple years ago?”


Dalia blushed, “The Crimson Circus one!?  Could it be him?”
Laura looked back at the Khan running along the rest of the corridor, “He sure looks like it.”
“Didn't one of the Marshals say that he was with the Grand Duchess?”
“Lucky her.  Well there is only one way to be sure.”

Both of them picked up their bags of cloth and went back to work, “You think Lady Madeline will let us work in his room.”
“I don't care if she lets us.  I'm gonna sneak in.  You wanna come?”
“Don't you think that sneaking up on a Clan Khan might be dangerous?”
“Danger.  Excitement.  Same thing. 
I'll knock first if you want to come.”


Dalia looked down at her shoes sheepishly, “Wouldn't be the first time so I'm guess I'm game.  We better stretch first though I don't wanna get hurt.  Remember we have a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks and Lady Madeline will have our heads if we mess up anything about Peter's Coronation.”  They then went back to whispering gossip and following Lady Madeline's orders.

Federation Marshals Willy Tucker and Donny Post were in front of a growing crowd of staff on break including a few fangirls.  Before them was an unusual spectacle; Khan Drake and fellow Hellions attempting to vault a Snow Fox quadruped mech.  It was a comical sight, but some were successful when assisted by a trampoline or poles they landed in a bank of fluffy snow that he ‘requested’ the works crew build from the plowed snow off the Castle grounds so there was a ‘safe’ place to land.
“So Will, is this like a Clan holiday festival or somethin’?”
“Hell if I know Don.  Xander better not break his neck though.  Yvonne would be upset.”
“Why?  We can’t protect him from his own stupidity.”
“I mean we could try…but then we just turn into sparring partners.”
“Yeah fat chance of that.  You heard anything from Doug?”
“He’s getter better.  The breaks weren’t so bad.”
“No one told me Clan Elementals don’t have tapouts till I heard it from ‘im.  There should be a book or somethin’.”
“Would you read it?”
“How many pictures does it got?”


Back in the First Prince's office Peter sat in the guest chair on the other side of his father's desk in contemplation.  One of the castle staff had removed the offending flowers but he was still trying to determine whether it was an error or an omen.  He had paged the Chief of Security and tasked him with double-checking everyone and everything that had touched that room and those of his family.  All the new hires had been triple checked in order to gain clearance to Castle Davion. 

However his sister, a likely culprit, had wielded so much influence over the clandestine services that were doing the checking.  It was in fact why Loremaster Wallace was here despite her reservations when the Khan gives an order you follow it, or challenge them, and she did the former.  Her Watch operatives were in the process of installing an auxiliary, redundant, albeit temporary sensor grid around the Castle Grounds under her primary control. 

A Clan Warrior’s loyalty was not something easily compromised by Katherine’s agents.  Khan Drake made his pledge to a fellow Warrior for his own reason and he honored it.  The fact that the Hellions, and Xander especially, hated the Wolf Clan that his sister belonged to made it more so.  He wasn’t sure why that was and it didn’t matter to him.  It was likely some long held grievance between the two Clans that had never been settled properly.  They were a feuding kind of people which despite their sometimes alien attitudes was the most understandable condition to people of Inner Sphere. 

George Hasek’s albeit warranted hatred of the Confederation was well know and Tancred Sandoval’s Draconis Mach had paid for his lack of vigilance to the DCMS.  The strains of revanchism were manifold among the successor states.  A legacy of the now five Succession Wars they had fought against one another for nearly 300 years.  “It never ends but at least the Clans are honest about it.  Nevertheless I have to try for Vicky and Jacob’s sake.”

Peter stood up and walked to the other side of the desk.  He paused a minute and breathed deep before sitting down in the proper chair of the First Prince of the Federated Suns.  “A new Prince for Christmas.  Someone out there probably asked for it.”

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #68 on: 10 January 2019, 04:42:39 »
nicely written
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 Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #69 on: 11 January 2019, 11:51:52 »
nicely written

Thank you as always Mike.  Had to do some research on coronation rites and modifying it for the Federated Suns.  Don't want to leave you all hanging (and let me fall down board of equally good fan fics) so much though so here's a short chapter explaining some of Peter's background that is otherwise never declared.

Break_

12/23/3069 18:35

The First Family of New Avalon ate dinner in one of the smaller dining rooms in the castle tonight.  Castle staff were working feverishly through the night to prepare for Peter’s Coronation next week.  A now frequent guest, Khan Xander Drake, was covered in bruises but he would heal fast due to clan genetics and access to the medical labs of NAIS. The medical labs that could not believe their luck at having an Elemental in their waiting room.  He resented the attempts of chalcas Scientists to get his permission for testing. “I could not leap over a battlemech in a single bound despite my best efforts.”

Victoria Steiner-Davion looked at him with annoyance, she pushed the cold vegetables on her plate away from her. “Then I am not eating my vegetables!  You lied Dad.”
Daphne looked at her with a mother’s cutting stare, “You will eat your vegetables young lady or we’re not opening any presents tomorrow night or Christmas Day.  I’ll make you to wait till Boxing or Three King’s day if I must.”
“I’m a Princess.”
“And I’m your Mother.  Now finish your plate.”

Mother and Daughter got involved in a starting contest which Victoria eventually lost.  She wanted Christmas presents more than she hated cold vegetables. “If I was ever like that with Mother Superior she would have switched me.”

Peter thought about his past.  His youth had been spent on Tharkad in a boarding school near Rewland faraway but truly very close to The Triad where Victor was being raised by their mother.  That same mother that never visited him once during his time there.  Even Katrina was a rare appearance as she kept a summer cottage in the mountains of Heidelberg.  Daphne never knew her parents and only had the sisters of the orphanage she grew up in for reference.  She did have to help them as she grew older before joining the TDF but didn’t take the lessons learned to heart.  They had to hope for the best and that their kids wouldn’t resent them later in life or feel abandoned by duties elsewhere.

He had felt abandoned by his own parents until he returned to New Avalon as a young man at Bayside Military School in Albion.  Arthur and Hanse visited frequently whilst he was there, his little sister Yvonne thought it was full of ‘gross boys’ and spent more time with Katherine, riding horses or something.  One of the days of his earlier week of exploration was spent walking those grounds once more, reliving happier memories, and meeting the new smiling faces of noble youths with bright futures.  A bright future that he never got to live as he was rotated back to Tharkad to attend The Nagelring rather than his preferred Albion Military Academy.

Back on Tharkad he could never escape his older brother’s shadow. He wasted precious time attempting to emulate someone he could never be, nor understand, and their relationship suffered for it.  Katherine could have stayed on Tharkad and gone to University there.  She loved the planet but neither of them truly forgave their mother.  Her death meant that the relationship could never be repaired and it broke down the last bit of self-control he had.  The pent up anger and resentment flowed freely and ultimately resulting in the deaths of too many innocents on Lyons.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #70 on: 12 January 2019, 23:32:31 »
12/25/3069 02:48 Location – Camelot Starport, New Avalon

The Monarch dropship FCDS Spinward Sovereign burned out of the pre dawn and landed gracefully on the tarmac.  The vessel taxied to the Royal terminal and the jet way was extended.  Grand Duchess Yvonne stepped out in the lead wearing a comfortable dress and her hair in a neat bun, Victoria immediately ran to her and gave her a hug, “Aunt Von.”
She patted her on the head first and returned the hug, “Merry Christmas Vicky.”

Upon seeing Peter and Daphne she curtsied, “Your Royal Majesties.”
“You don’t have to curtsy.  None of this would have happened without you Yvonne.  Thank you for everything.”
“I did nothing, you made the choice Peter.  You didn’t have to go back but I believe it will be the best for all of us.”
“Hopefully that is true.  How was your ride from the Outback?”


Yvonne enthusiastically gestured, “Amazing!  I can see why Kat rides around in one of these all the time.  There was even a spa,” she showed her manicure to Vicky and Daphne, “you can hardly tell I was fighting up until last month.  And my bed was SOO comfortable.”
A black haired man with an equally dark suit was right behind, “I can attest to that.”
“Quiet!  First Prince, this is the Duke of June and CO of the Second Outback Legion, Roger Marsin.  Some of his men will be joining us on world for the upcoming week.  Then he’s going right back to June and taking all his bloody crass manners and roughnecks with him.”

He bowed deeply the Peter and Yvonne both, “Terrible sorry Your Majesties and Your Grace for I have only just come back from the Concordat after two years of fighting Bulls and Blakists.  The garrison talk I am accustomed to is not fit for polite society and I apologize for my bloody crass manners.”
“You served in the Royal Cavaliers during the Regent’s War isn’t that correct Duke Marsin?”
“Yes I did serve under Katherine’s command to save Yvonne and the Federated Suns from the naked ambitions of Bishop Sortek.  I’d rather not talk about that whilst on New Avalon and adopted this thin disguise in case I run into former enemies among the Davion Guards.  You know an awful large amount about me sir.  Why?”
“I had been looking at your service record.  You are an ambitious, tough, and gifted commander.”
“Thank you First Prince.  I only do what I expect out of every loyal AFFC trooper.”


Vicky grabbed her aunt's hand, “Did you bring more presents Aunt Von?”
Yvonne looked at the girl who looked away, “Do you need more presents Vicky?”
The girl was looking back at the mother, “no”
“Well too bad.  I got you and your brother more, but you'll have to wait.”


12/31/3069 02:00  Cathedral of New Avalon

The sacred grounds of the Cathedral of New Avalon were surrounded by Armored Infantry.  The distinctive features of stone gray Hellion Salamanders mimicked those of the inanimate gargoyles looking out from its buttresses their pilots seeing through the blowing snow.  'Crossbones' suits (Grey Death Standard) of the 144th Armored Marines patrolled the perimeter pausing at regular intervals to scan the powder for footsteps and any sign of heat.

Khan Xander Drake and Captain Devlin Stone stood side by side for the first time in front of the sanctuary doors.  Both of them were armored and co-commanded the hand picked guard team that surrounded the Cathedral  “Radio check”

Their subordinates confirmed the call.  There were too many threats against the man currently engaged in a vigil inside the cathedral to take chances.  “Khan Drake, no hard feelings I hope”
Khan Drake was paying close attention to the sensor feeds on his AR faceplate, “About the loss?  There will be grander fights in our near future.”

“So you and Yvonne?”
“I have no long term intentions on her affections Captain Stone.  You coupled with her too quiaff?”
“Aff.”
“No hard feelings then?”
“What about the new guy?”
“Not my concern.  I have more important things to worry about.  You do too.”


Inside the sanctuary Peter Steiner-Davion was kneeling in front of the alter deep in prayer.  He had let the spiritual part of himself atrophy since Victoria had been born as his attentions were drawn in different and desperate directions.  Peter's life had undergone massive upheaval and deeper growth from Penitent at St Marinus to Paladin of Randis and now First Prince of the Federated Suns.  He was grateful to have a few hours alone with himself after being surrounded by so many others for the past months.

He would need everything at his best, soon he would have be only the second man to be Archon-Prince of the Federated Commonwealth, arguably the most powerful mortal in the Inner Sphere.  The mantle was full of peril and influence the lives of hundreds of billions of souls. To do that he needed guidance, divine or otherwise to make the right decisions, and to remember to be humble despite the great power entrusted to him he was only one man. 

He heard a noise, soft boots landing on stone behind him.  “Is nothing sacred to you assassin?”
The First Prince rolled out and evaded a whisper quiet burst of flechettes from his unseen foe.  Peter rose behind one of the pews and looked at the sneak suited assassin who was crouched low holding a M&G M-39 flechette pistol along with a slender non-reflective knife in his hands.  “I don't believe in fairy tales.  Especially the part about the good guy winning in the end.”
“Well this is a place of belief.  So you better learn fast.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #71 on: 13 January 2019, 15:07:12 »
Someone's security detail is going get fired after this.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #72 on: 14 January 2019, 11:53:06 »
The shrine was dark the assassin's sneak suited form was in motion but hesitant the optics that covered his face made him look like a terrifying insect.  He was surrounded and waited for some unseen signal that Peter might issue to summon his guards.
“Did you like my flowers Peter?'
“You put them there!”
“I'll admit to feeling a bit nostalgic.”


The Dancing Joker’s taunt had the intended effect and Peter leapt over the pew out of cover.  The gold trimming on his scarlet robes catching the faint light.  DJ fired his flechette pistol but it jammed and the crushing impact of the tackle caused the knife to clatter along the stone floor tiles out of his reach.  Suddenly he was on the defensive against an enraged man.  The assassin was not familiar with this situation preferring more indirect means of eliminating his quarry.  Indirect means that were too difficult to implement on the aggressive timetable his employer desired.

The assassin ducked and evaded the fearsome assault trying to give himself an opportunity to recover one of his other weapons.  He trapped Peter’s right arm during a cross and hit the pressure point that would numb it temporarily.  Peter merely grabbed DJ’s head with his left and pulled it down into a rising knee rather than stopping.  The impact knocked the assassin back causing him to fall on the granite stairs behind him and Peter was back on the assault by the time DJ recovered from the shock.

With the ever so slight ‘advantage’ of the high ground DJ attempted to evade but there was no place to run, he had his back against the altar.  With a textbook rugby tackle Peter crashed the assassin into the stone altar of the shrine disrupting the red linen cloths laid upon it.  Peter ripped the optics package off the assassin now pressed against unyielding stone and unrelenting rage, the goggles clattered among the other debris. 
Peter was throttling the assassin.  “Who sent you!?”
DJ took a punch that bounced his head off the stone, “Katherine?”
Another, “Sun-Tzu?”
Another, “The Master?”
DJ spit the blood and a few broken teeth from his mouth at Peter, “I’ll ****** kill you right here.  Before God himself if I must.”

Two Armored Infantry rapidly cleared the gap, Captain Stone recovered Peter while the claws of Xander’s Salamander held the assassin in place.  “What the hell Peter?  You’ve got blood all over you.”
“It’s mostly his.”

Xander gripped the assassin with the battle claws each was easily capable of rending the man in two if the pilot wished it.  He turned around and threw the assassin at Peter’s feet.  “Want me to kill him for you, Quiaff?”
“Neg.  Take him to Wallace, I want to find out who he works for.  She will be deeply ashamed that her people failed to catch his infiltration.”
“Aff. I request Surkai on behalf of all Hellions for this lapse in our rede, Prince Steiner-Davion.”
“Granted with no dishonor, Khan Drake.  Take him away.”


Khan Drake was joined by the rest of his Point in transporting the assassin to the waiting ground transport while Captain Stone’s Marines did a through sweep to ensure there were no other assassins lying in wait.  Peter checked himself to ensure there were no wounds, a couple of cuts and splinters but it could have been a lot worse.  With the adrenaline rapidly going out of him Peter felt deflated, “Devlin, I almost lost it there.  I think. No.  I’m almost certain that was the same assassin that killed Melissa.  I just wanted to crush his skull on that altar.  What kind of man wants to do that?”
“I would feel the same way.  Woe be it to your enemies.”
“I don’t want to be a Prince of Blood.  That’s not a legacy I want to leave for Victoria and Jacob.”
“Some people don’t seem to be convinced any other way unfortunately.  We’ll get to the bottom of this and bring the latest employer to justice whoever he, or she is.  You will be a great First Prince Peter.  Now let’s get back to Castle Davion so you can clean up and get that magic hour of shut eye.”



NAAP (New Avalon Associated Press) short in review 01/01/3070
This entire week is filled with banner days throughout New Avalon.  Yesterday was the first full coronation ceremony of a First Prince since the last First Prince Peter Davion in 2931.  First Prince Peter Steiner-Davion was escorted down the seven kilometer Federation Boulevard to the adulation of Federated Suns citizens from all nearby worlds.  While the Blakist threat remains diminished the New Avalon Grenadiers were out in force for security of bystanders and the VIPs.  No hostile incidents were reported to the press but there were many reports of the Gendearme breaking up riotous parties. 

At noon yesterday Peter Steiner-Davion was anointed in the Cathedral of New Avalon before being crowned First Prince of the Federated Suns by His Eminence Pope Constantine XV.  His wife, Daphne, received the title and tiara of Princess-Consort from her husband while Princess Victoria and Prince Jacob watched from the front row while sitting next to their aunt Grand Duchess Yvonne Steiner-Davion.

The First Prince and Princess-Consort then received an Oath of Fealty from the Crucis Council, Duke Tancred Sandoval, Duke George II Hasek, and Grand Duchess Yvonne Steiner-Davion. Representatives from Katrina Steiner-Davion, Archon of Lyran Alliance, and Yuri Lebedev, Prime Minister of the Tikonov Republic, were noticeably absent from the ceremony.  The now First Family was paraded through New Avalon City back to Castle Davion for the reception. 

At the reception rumors flew regarding Tancred’s escort, Countess Devon of Exeter, who bears a resemblance to the Grand Duchess.  Equally socialites were surprised that General “Rough” Roger Marsin, Duke of June, was serving as escort for Yvonne.  Peter announced that Ross McKinnon II, Commander of “The Fox’s Teeth” Company of the 7th Crucis Lancers, accepted his offer to serve as his first Prince’s Champion.

Hellion Watch Report | Eyes Only Grand Duchess Yvonne Steiner-Davion | 02/01/3070
We have figured out how the assassin got into the Cathedral.  During our investigation Watch Operatives sniffed out a clean-up team and followed them into the crypts below, crypts we were not authorized to sweep by order of the NACC.  It resulted in a firefight, my operatives recovered the bodies which we used discern identities and tracked them back to a MIIO Officer with connections to George II.

We only await your authorization to deal with him.
W.

snakespinner

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #73 on: 14 January 2019, 23:49:04 »
George really put all his eggs in the basket. >:D
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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Sharpnel

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #74 on: 15 January 2019, 05:32:17 »
George really put all his eggs in the basket. >:D
Yet, he still left some room for his soon-to-be-detached head.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #75 on: 15 January 2019, 17:34:45 »
George really put all his eggs in the basket. >:D

To be fair, the Dancing Joker had never failed before.  His record was quite impressive but everyone has a bad day (or divine intervention).

------------------

Return of the Queen

Katherine Steiner-Davion watched the external feed on the view-screen within the dimly lit FCDS Princess of Avalon’s cushioned lounge.  Morgan, Siegfried, and Alaric were sound asleep on the couches.  They were excited to return to civilization but Katherine was less enthused.  Her return meant she had to finally deal with hypotheticals that had given her nightmares for years.
What kind of man had Peter become in his absence?  Why hadn’t Yvonne told her about him?
What would they all do now?  Were they coming for her?

She didn’t know any of the answers and without the HPGs online would not clutter the AFFC’s black box network with a nearly six day delayed personal correspondence with her brother or request a jump courier go through the increasingly dangerous Skye and Sol Protectorate region.  The Terran corridor between the Commonwealth states had a real chance of being choked off by the Word of Blake and Skye Rebels.

Katherine watched as the dropship cleared Marsden’s dark side on the way to Tharkad.  She could see the reflections of the solar panels used by the Wolf Newgrange Yardship WIS Den Mother and Mjolrnir Battlecruiser FCS Valhalla in the distance.  She was going to need those vessels sooner rather than later if they were going to blunt the damage of Blakists’ death throes.  Katherine retrieved her silver CommPad from Morgan’s tired hands.  The girl was still clasping it just as she was when she was playing some colorful puzzle game earlier before dozing off.  Her mother closed the game and put speaking to Captain Berok at the top of a long to do list after planet-fall.

01/13/3070 Location – Tricial Steiner Memorial Starport, Tharkad, Lyran Alliance

Katherine Steiner-Davion stepped out of the Royal terminal to see General Ivan Steiner with a black armband over his dress uniform and his wife Countess Jacqueline Brewer, the ever elegant CFO of Defiance Industries.  She hugged both of them, “I’m sorry about your mother Ivan.”

Nondi Steiner had died two months ago while Katherine was in hiding.  People died of old age all the time and her grandaunt had lived to an old age of 88.  She didn’t want to clog AFFC critical comms to send a condolence letter or potentially compromise Niflheim.  Katherine hadn’t written to Ivan or Lisa despite the fact that their mother had been more mother to her than her own. 

“It was her time Katherine.  Mom always considered you one of her own, I always thought of you as another little sister.  Lisa has everything well in control on Gallery.  She has been effectively running the place for the past few years already.”
She pulled an envelope out of her bag and brushed away tears, “Thank you.  Can you give Lisa this for me?”
Ivan took the envelope and put it in one of his pockets, “Of course, we were going to route through Gallery on the way back to Hesperus.  I don’t think we need the Second and Third tagging along.”
“Non-negotiable.  I’m sending the 2nd and 3rd Royal Guards with you.  I don’t want Hesperus to fall and Reinhardt might need the back up on Caledonia.”
“What about you?”

Katherine pointed to three light gray dropships (Union-X, Overlord-C, and Excalibur) with the Wolf Empire emblem on them.  “I have them, with more on the way.  Vladimir should be here by late February.  The Valhalla will be online shortly as well.  With the HPGs still down word won’t spread quickly out of the system and into enemy hands.”
“Be careful Katherine there’s plenty of enemies here already.”
“I always am.”
“You never were.”

She paused a moment as if considering that, “I might have been, once.  Well I have other people to look out for now.”
“Indeed you do.  Goodbye Katherine, keep your eyes open for all our sakes.”
“Safe travels you two.”


The Archon and White Wolves sped to the Triad taking the well established “Giant's Road” near the banks of the partially frozen New Danube River.  Katherine's Barghest was beside the Badger APC that was currently filled with Wolf infantry and her children.  Her eyes were glued to the Watchdog CEWS system out of paranoia. 
There were too many organizations on world with uncertain loyalties.  The majority of the Estates General was dispersed to oversee their vassals in the wake of the HPG Whiteout so there was no fear of a movement by the political class to overthrow her at least until April.  However, the Royal Guards had turned on more than one Archon in the past and it was something that always occupied the back of her mind.

They passed the last of the First Royal Guard's Mechs, Katherine had been ordered them to temporarily take up the Second and Third's garrison of industrial sites throughout Tharkad rather than watch over the Triad like they had for centuries.  The orders had been refused by the Royal Guard's Commander General Mellandra who resigned her commission in protest.  Her Fafnir turned toward Katherine's Barghest as they passed but continued on without further issue. 

The White Wolves took up the Triad Garrison.  Tharkad City was now occupied by the Wolf Empire.  Katherine donned a blue dress with gold accents, her Wolf codex charm hung from a quaint but expensive necklace, the Archon's platinum crown atop platinum blonde hair, and wedding rings given to her by a Wolf Khan on her pale finger.  Imperial Wolf banners (Golden Wolf howling at a blood moon) hung in the Archon's Throne Room rather than those of the Federated Commonwealth.  A Storm Crow and Kit Fox Omnimech loomed over Katherine's shoulders instead of the Griffins of yore. 

The Queen is back.

All hail the Queen.
« Last Edit: 15 January 2019, 17:56:32 by AlphaMirage »

snakespinner

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #76 on: 15 January 2019, 23:16:51 »
Always have a back up I always say. I wonder what George has.
I wonder how the people of the LC react to wolf mechs behind the throne.
In my diary it mentions that civil war is overdue. >:D
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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Growing up is optional.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #77 on: 16 January 2019, 14:35:38 »
01/17/3070 05:55 Location – Fox’s Den, New Avalon, Federated Suns

First Prince Peter and Grand Duchess Yvonne Steiner-Davion walked through the halls of the Fox’s Den past pictures of celebrated military figures that were long dead although their services lived on.  Katherine had a light touch on this place but many were still upset that George Hasek wasn’t in charge.  Despite Peter’s attempts to win them over he was still an unknown quantity and career military men were wary of such things.  At least he wasn’t a damn Wolf in Sheep’s clothing although they didn’t like Yvonne’s pet Clan much either.

A pair of MPs opened the door to the briefing room for them and the pair stepped inside.  Although the chamber could hold dozens of officers and analysts only three gathered around 'The Round Table.'

Prince’s Champion Ross McKinnon II, formerly of the Crucis Lancers until three weeks ago

Federated Suns General of the Armies Tabitha Rennard, formerly of the 1st FedSuns Armored Cavalry.  She replaced Jameston Gaston when he retired rather than be medically discharged due to injuries sustained during the WOBM/CCAF assault on the Tikonov Republic.

“ONI East’s” Director Darren Small, formerly the head of MI-3 before it was incorporated into the Office of Naval Intelligence during Katherine’s reorganization of the Intelligence Services

Director Small triggered something which locked the room down, anything said in here was for the First Prince and his quite cleared guest only.  “What’s the current War Status look like, General?”

She activated the holotank bringing up the Commonwealth’s Central state, The Tikonov Republic, a dark blob expanded out from the Sol System covering all planets within 45 light years of humanity’s home.  “The Republican Guard is still heavily engaged with the SPM (Sol Protectorate Military),” multiple red dots started blinking on the map marking embattled worlds.  “They are enduring but they won’t be able to hold much longer without assistance from New Avalon according to Senior General Valistok and Admiral Vietchi. 

SPM patrols and the current unrest in Skye are preventing my counterpart’s Task Force: FORGE or Alys Hampton’s Loyalist Party from coming to their aid. 

The AFFS has secured Quentin as well as Nirasaki both were only lightly garrisoned and partially abandoned when the Lancers liberated them. You can deal with Shogun Sakamoto when this is done to decide their future, he has more pressing issues at hand as Director Small will inform you later.”
 
“Highspire,”
A bright green world was shown orbiting to emphasize, “remains under naval blockade by Trinity Forces under the command of Magestrix Naomi Centrella-Liao and Jiang-Jun Kai Allard-Liao.”  Both of their pictures flanked the rotating orb, “They have informed the Third Fleet that they are in pursuit of Kali Liao and will honor the earlier cease fire. So there is at least one fewer enemy for us to manage.  With any luck she will bleed the CCAF white and remove another in the future.  Kai and Naomi might even kill each other due to irreconcilable differences either way it works for us.”

The Holomap zoomed out, the Federated Suns was highlighted in a bright golden hue. “The Draconis and Capellan Marchs have settled down, there are no additional reports of Black Dragons or Blakist raiders.  It appears they are either all destroyed or went home to the Protectorate.  However, there are other matters at hand, Director Small please tell them what you figured out yesterday.”

Director Small, a rather plain looking man with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from NAIS before joining MI-3 and being appointed ‘Eastern’ Director of the ONI. “Based on a change of activity in K-Net, aka the Black Boxes, Katherine is back on Tharkad after three years off planet.  The Princess of Avalon’s node is en route to Hesperus likely with Countess Brewer and General Ivan Steiner who had been custodians of the Triad in her absence.  All nodes ‘West’ of Zavijava have changed their encryption protocols and are close circuiting.”

“What do you mean by close circuiting Director?”
“When the K-Net was recovered we knew the network was insecure and had poor range.  It is one of the many reasons the Star League abandoned the project in favor of HPGs.  All black boxes post Thirty Nine maintained the original limited channel selectors of the legacy boxes although they included integral electronic encryption.  The range of the broadcast is tied to the band strength.  It’s the difference between a gentle ripple and a tsunami in apparent magnitude from the origin.

At the highest band broadcasts can reach across the whole of Inner Sphere along the superluminal K-Net although they have an increased chance of disrupting other transmissions, are easily intercepted, and are much shorter in duration.  The lower and middle bands gives operators options in both range or available bandwidth.  You ping at the expected range of your receiver station to reduce the chance of eavesdropping and limit crosstalk.  It’s why static nodes like New Avalon and Kathil have large staffs of analysts.

Katherine has ordered only lower band transmissions that terminate before reaching New Avalon but LA GoA Reinhardt’s Caledonia station reaches out to Tikonov.  Tikonov station can repeat to us but only one side of the transmission.  They were not issued new protocols according to my Central Counterpart.  We would have to decipher them like the DCA transmissions.”


Peter looked at the overlaying concentric circles that appeared surrounding Tharkad, “So Katherine just left Yuri in the dark?”
“That is one way of putting it First Prince.”

“Yvonne, you know Katherine best.  What’s her next move?”


Yvonne didn’t know how to feel about knowing Katherine the best.  She was her big sister and dominant role model most of her life.  She would have done anything for her.
 Up until that fateful morning on Minette when she killed Nikolai.  Who had to have been Katherine’s agent not her boyfriend or the love of her life or so she convinced herself.  The last three years had been some of the most challenging in her life and now she had to finally face the fact that Katherine might really be an enemy.

“If Katherine is back on Tharkad that means a Wolf pack is gathering there soon.  She was hiding to give them space to hunt down Blakists rather than protect her from them.  Now she is going to make a stand and I don’t think she is going to back down Peter.  She has the Valhalla, the Wolves, and she could seize the Thessaly around Alarion, Photon be damned.”
“Do you think she would do that?”
“I don’t know Peter I didn’t know she married into the Wolf Clan either.  I know that nothing good is going to come out of this no matter what happens.”
“That is not very reassuring sister.”
“I’m sorry Peter.  Excuse me, I just need a moment.”


Yvonne bolted out the door.

“Director Small, General Rennard mentioned something about Franklin Sakamoto earlier.”
“Yes First Prince, it took us a while to decipher the DCA transmissions from last month with the transition.  We found an interesting message concerning Dieron that has been crosschecked with TRG deployment schedules.  A major operation was undertaken against Fortress Dieron sometime in November and during that operation Minoru, Hohiro, and Theodore Kurita all died on the planet.  With their deaths Franklin is the sole heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne although we think he may never return to Luthien and would instead remain on New Samarkand.  Our current intel suggests he will be busy for the foreseeable future and the DCMS is not going to be a concern at least this year and possibly next.

SLIC Director Trevana recovered several prominent Blakists during this operation and intended to take them to Tukayyid for interrogation.  No further information is currently available regarding them.  I’m sorry sir.  I can’t fill in all the details.”


Peter looked at the map again, icons marked the current deployments of various commands of the AFFS.
“No it’s quite alright Director, I understand.
General Rennard, Send the Fylgia's Battlegroup to New Hessen to back up the Ygg.  Deploy the Davion Guards in support of the Republicans.”
“They are going to hate that sir.  The two brigades never work together.”
“I don’t care.  You’re the General of the Armies and I’m the First Prince.  Bust their Generals down to Lieutenant for insubordination if you have to.  I will accept challenges in my Battlemaster if they persist.  I will not have rogue soldiers in my AFFS.  We’re in this fight together.”


The FS GoA didn’t bother to conceal her smile, the Guards Brigades had been nothing but trouble under Duke Hasek and while she was not the biggest fan of Peter he did set a solid example for proper military behavior.
“Right away Sir.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #78 on: 16 January 2019, 18:21:11 »
1st Half of 3070 Timeline
01/18 - Skye Rebellion is in full swing, ComGuards deploy to support LA GoA Reinhardt Steiner

Former Black Warrior Fritz Donner explodes on Nox killing Diana Pryde, both Khans of the Exiled Wolves, the saKhans of the Diamond Sharks and Snow Ravens, and Ghost Bear Khan Bjorn Jorgensson.  Deep cover Ebon Magistrate operatives engage in sabotage and assassination operations around the planet easily evading the Bear's Watch.

01/28 - Kali Liao and Kai Allard are killed on Highspire.  Naomi Centrella places the planet under quarantine in order to capture her nephew and attempt to eliminate the remaining Thugees.

02/10 - Wolf Khan Vladimir Ward returns to Tharkad aboard the Dire Wolf with the Wolves' Alpha Galaxy.

The former Exiled Wolf's Potemkin Full Moon provides supplies and heavy star lift capacity to the beleaguered 3rd, 4th, 6th and 11th Donegal Guards.  All the commands suffered heavy damage during a major campaign against the Blakist 45th Shadow and 28th WOBM and the Mercenaries Stealthy Tigers and Martian Curassiers.  The 3rd and 4th absorb their fellows in order to bring them each up to half strength.

The Nicholas Kerensky's Battle group (Ulric Kerensky, Stealthy Kill, Night Warrior, Victoria Ward) reinforces the Crimson Pack Naval Star on Alarion as the Thessaly nears completion in the Port Sydney Yards.

02/14 - Naomi Centrella returns to Sian to report to Sun-Tzu and Kuan-Yin

02//26 - The Ghost Bears under Khan Aletha Kabrinsky and remaining Snow Ravens that were escorting their SaKhan attack Tukayyid in retaliation for the events on Nox believing the Blessed Order to be agents of the hated Wolverines.  The Leviathan II Battleship CGB Great Bear is destroyed by the ComGuards using massed nuclear weapons delivered from pocket warships and Aerospace fighters.

03/02 – Precentor Martial Rachel Drake falls during the Second Battle of Tukayyid killed by Khan Kabrinsky's Alpha Galaxy

03/05 – The Mjolrnir FCS Valhalla is reactivated above Tharkad.  It immediately launches along with the Potemkin WIS Full Moon (and its attached Donegal Guards) to the Skye Province in an attempt to hold the Bears at bay.

03/08 – COMSTAR Primus Gavin Dow dies in the harried evacuation of Tukayyid.

03/11 – Precentor Naval Alain Beresick manages to flee to Orestes aboard his Flagship CSV Invisible Truth.  Precentor ROM Elise MacTaggart had already deployed with ComGuards 'Peacekeepers' to Glengarry.  Both are now the senior members of the much depleted COMSTAR.

03/13 - Photon Brett-Marik's Army of True Patriots launches the two pronged assault on Loyalty and Paradise hoping to stop the Blakist War Machine without destroying the League's future

03/18 - Ebon Magistrate Warships (Morrigan and Hecate) attack Gibson, seize Precentor Vapula and the last high value cargoes due to be transferred to Terra.  Precentor Apollyon dies in the Void after his dropship is destroyed.

03/21 – Regulan forces completely sterilize Gibson with nuclear weapons but find no evidence of previous combat despite the wreckage

04/01 - George Hasek II dies in a dropship 'accident' above Talon after departing from the Kallon Industries plant there on his way back to New Syrtis.  He is survived by his wife, Deborah Palu, and daughter, Amanda Hasek.  George's sister Angela takes over the Capellan March and immediately butts heads with Grand Duchess Yvonne Steiner-Davion regarding worlds on their March borders given to the Outback by Katherine.

04/16 – The Tamar-Tharkad HPG Trunk is reactivated in secret by ONI Sigma Six and Wolf Logistics

04/18 – The Hellions transit to a staging area on Markesan lingering in the Capellan March in a show of force issued by Yvonne.

04/20 – Alys' Hampton's Loyalist Party raise their flag over the Atrean Parliament after a brutal battle.  Corrine Marik is arrested but not charged with conspiracy.  Paul Marik has disappeared and is being hunted by Loyalists.

05/08 – The Thessaly is reactivated and returns to Star League Defense Force service.  It is renamed SLS Fort Verdun at the request of Commanding General Photon Brett-Marik.

05/12 – The Morrigan and Hecate drop dozens of nuclear weapons on Circinus wiping out the Black Warriors and damaging to the MHAF forces that were engaging the pirates on world.  They jump back out without saying a word to the MHAF soldiers.

05/21 – Dag Kesselrig of the COMSTAR 66th Division on Tharkad uncovers the fact that Katherine and the Wolves have secretly fixed the HPGs.  He brings it up to Precentor Tharkad, a fellow Blakist mole.  With the Blessed Order and Blake's Faithful both on the ropes and frozen out of ONI's Black Box network they launch a coup against Katherine along with the 43rd Shadow Division and remaining Word of Blake ships from Odessa (Naga Enlightened Direction, Aegis Herald of Truth, and Pinto Syrstart).  They time their attack poorly however and the Thera SLS Fort Verdun jumps in system to join the Dire Wolf.

06/18 – Forced by the reveal of their fix Katherine orders WolfNet to broadcast the patch to the HPG Whiteout throughout the First Circuit.  The network will take at least two months to fully update but backlogged maintenance limits HPG availability.

The Diamond Sharks seize this opportunity to fill the void in the League left after the Word of Blake has been mostly defeated in that realm.  The Sea Fox Trading Company mobilizes to take control of the League's HPGs with Corrine Marik's blessing while Wolf Logistics races to overhaul those in the Lyran Commonwealth.

snakespinner

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #79 on: 16 January 2019, 18:37:02 »
I wonder if the Hellions will be updating the HPG's in the FS.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #80 on: 18 January 2019, 07:29:38 »
I wonder if the Hellions will be updating the HPG's in the FS.

They unfortunately did not have time to pack those things before the Star Adders attacked Hector

------------

02/10/3070 07:18 Location – Triad, Tharkad, Wolf Empire

Katherine and the recently arrived Vladimir Ward walked past exotic multicolored plants within one of the greenhouses of the Triad complex.  Air blissfully warmed and humidified by the ample steam generated from the modernized nuclear reactor below one of the mountains that ringed the city while just past a few centimeters of glass Tharkad was still tightly gripped by winter’s icy grasp.  The Triad had dozens of tunnels or sky-walks connecting the sprawling estate’s buildings to one another so no one needed to walk across the frozen cobbles.  “The Triad looks different than last time Katherine.”

“When I left, it had been heavily damaged by Cameron St Jamais’ Blakists.  It took them a year and a half to repair all the damage.  I requested some changes be made rather than rebuild as it was.  Partially to confuse people used to the old layout and to make my own impression on the grounds.”

“People like your Trothkin?”
“Yes. Unfortunately, I cannot even count on blood to remain true.  We have more pressing matters at hand than acting on our feud however.  At least for now.”


Vladimir had been off world since the Final Whitting Conference when his marriage to Katherine became public.  He had carried the wedding ring around his neck since a month before that time having only worn it twice in that time.  It was a nice token and he was fond of his 'wife' although it still felt strange.  They had maintained correspondence when they were not in close proximity and had regularly scheduled time together when opportunity presented itself. 

His Wolves and Marthe Pryde's Jade Wolves had fought The Word of Blake the length and breadth of the Commonwealth.  Now the Wolves, Sharks, and Horses were gathering for the final strike on Terra and the fabled endgame of the Crusader Clans.  Tharkad was just the first marshaling area although he was ahead of schedule as he missed Katherine and their children.  “I would like to inspect Tau Galaxy Star Captain.  Make sure they did not turn soft while in Niflheim.  They are still my Wolves and their teeth need to be sharp.”

“Star Colonel Waters has run a tight ship my Khan.  We can hurry there but,” She grabbed his shoulders to pull him into a lingering kiss, “the boys are out on maneuvers near Mount Wotan till late afternoon.”

He roughly pulled her into him kissing and crushing the breath out of her, “It can wait till tomorrow.”

02/19/3070

Nine year old Morgana “Em” White crouched and looked beyond the corner of Government House but saw nothing but serene snow covered cobblestones and sculptures.  A piece of frosty platinum blonde hair was sticking out of her balaclava.  Annoyed she tucked it back in although the snow melted down her neck giving her shivers.  She looked back to the other girls wearing white military style uniforms with pink-purple armbands while carrying a bag of lavender colored snow balls.  Half were Wolf sibkin the rest from the nearby Alera Marsden Girl's School where she had been taking classes desperate for social interaction after a period of long and boring isolation on Dagda.

Despite only being on planet for a little more than a month the other girls voted her team leader for today's event.  Slightly more than a hundred children were engaged in a massive snowball tag battle within the Triad complex ultimately ending with a hot chocolate lunch buffet and dinner later in The Great Hall. Notably her mother, Katherine, would be absent which was a relief she had spent to much time with her on Dagda and needed some time to grow and be herself.  “My brothers are out there somewhere.  We should not have to worry about Marcus or Gia.  Alaric and Sig are the real threat.”

Anne, the most popular of the AMGS girls, whispered, “Could they be working together?”
“No they want to show off and win.  Niki bring the map out again.  Everyone keep an eye and ear out for the others.”

Niki and Em were the oldest wolves in this team the others were one or two years younger.  All Wolf Sibkin had learned basic overland navigation early on via 'field trips' and had given the other girls a crash course.  The 'she-wolves' had taught the AMGS girls a lot the civie girls learned fast but needed to do more PT, as far as the wolves were concerned they got winded to fast.

“The Garden of Archons Em?”
“Sig is probably holding there and sending out teams from a central location waiting for Al or me to come to him.  It will be tough to get to him through that cover.  Al likes to move so he's probably looking for easier targets among the civvies.  He has the largest number of trueborns on his team.”


One of the younger girls tapped the pair on the shoulder whispering, “We spotted five boys nearby.  Looks like Al's team.”
Niki wrapped the map up quietly and Morgana peered over a short wall with binoculars she had taken from the armory earlier when no one was looking.  Five boys in Wolf arctic uniforms wearing gold armbands, Al's squad color.  “That's them all right.  Niki take eight around Government House toward the West Mansion.  Keep low and quiet but move fast.  If I can draw him and give you an opportunity to get him I will.  Otherwise I'm going to keep an eye out for him especially.”
“Aff.”
  Niki pointed to eight other girls and gave them the hand signal to follow her leaving six girls including Em. “Wait till they get real close.  We'll only have one chance to get them out.”

The four Wolf boys crept closer in proper small unit formation for built up environments.  The flankers looked up at the roofs and balconies regularly while the Pointman looked for tracks.  The rules of engagement stated that they were to remain outside except for The Great Hall and on the ground but Clanners were flexible about such things when you could win.  The boy spotted odd tracks in the powder and knelt down, “Smaller boots but deep in the snow.  Looks like the girls concealed their numbers and facing by going in single file.”  He pointed in the opposite direction of the waiting ambushers, “They backtracked this way I think.”
“Em, Quaiff?”
“Aff.”

The larger boy used a small hand mirror to catch the faint sun and send a signal back to some unseen location in the rear line.  “Don't reveal yourselves unless they come this way.  Niki's team can deal with them.”

The four of them grabbed a few golden snowballs from their bags and remained low as they turned their backs to Em's position.  She could see that they each already had three armbands, green, as isorla/trophies from 'Kills.'  That was most of green team for just this group.  They were probably from a creche on icy world of Kandis in the Wolf Empire since they were clearly good at this game. 

As they turned the corner they were pummeled with dozens of lavender colored snowballs.  They were many shouts of Clan curses not suitable for sibkin.  Niki shouted something about telling their Packmaster of their poor behavior.  The four Wolves marched back, their white snow suits covered in lavender dyed snow without their gold armbands which had been taken as trophies.  “You think he is going to come out.”
“He'll come.  This is a challenge he will want to deal with personally; and soon too he's probably hungry by now.”


Al(aric) slowly crept closer to his sister's last known location using snowbanks as cover. He had the best boys with him each had collected a half-dozen armbands personally. Al had ten including the bands of each team leader.  He had already dealt with his brother and most of the civies but she had evaded his patrols thus far.  What she probably didn't know was that they were the last two teams still in play and he only had a dozen hungry, high strung, and anxious boys left on his team.  They were split into four teams of three, he needed to increase the front size to find her and trusted that his trueborn teammates would be good enough to deal with some soft freeborn girls.

He heard shouts from his outlying teams, what he couldn't see was that each outside trio was under attack by almost eight girls.  The center teams were good enough to deal with most of them but not all, Al's team mates had been hit with the lavender purple dye that would wash out but was a silly color for a boy.  Alaric was the last man standing having used a nearby snowbank for cover.  He counted the 'fallen,' one girl was missing.  “Where's Em!”

The snowbank he was using for cover came to life and a lavender snowball was pressed into his balaclava.  “Gotcha!”
“You were there the entire time?”
“Aff.  Didn't you notice no one was throwing snowballs at you?”


He took a moment to remember the past 'engagement' there was lavender stained snow nearby but not anywhere near him.  He spit out the snow and even though the dye was harmless his teeth and face would look purple until he washed them both out.  “That's a dirty trick.”
“I know but purple looks good on you.”
  She took his armband and wrapped it around her belt, “and gold looks good on me.”
Alaric grabbed his final gold snowball and pushed it into her while knocking her back into the snowbank.  “I agree.”
« Last Edit: 18 January 2019, 09:02:25 by AlphaMirage »

Sharpnel

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #81 on: 18 January 2019, 08:46:40 »
So, Alaric is both a sore loser and a cheater.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #82 on: 18 January 2019, 11:26:07 »
So, Alaric is both a sore loser and a cheater.

He's just a 9 year old boy.  He'll get better.

------
The Talon Incident

04/06/3070 10:48 Location – Castle Davion, New Avalon, Federated Suns

Yvonne Steiner-Davion sat in her father’s office in Castle Davion. Peter and the Royal family were currently on El Dorado as part of their initial cruise through the realm.  The past few months had been trying for everyone including her.  The Sol Protectorate continued to launch punitive raids against the Tikonov Republic.  The FCS Fylgia’s Battlegroup and the Davion Guards would take some of the pressure off but the TRG (Tikonov Republican Guards) had already paid a heavy cost.

The TRG was almost running on empty and popular unrest was high among the Republicans.  They didn’t appreciate their planets being used as battlegrounds for the Commonwealth’s war.  Yvonne and Prime Minister Yuri Lebedev were in regular contact, in Russian, with one another via Black Box and that was the only thing that was keeping him from turning from New Avalon back toward Sian and the Trinity Alliance.  Such a thing would be beyond disastrous as his realm had benefitted greatly under their alliance with Katherine in particular.  The return of an advanced vassal to the Trinity Alliance would be a massive gain for Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao that would easily alleviate any lasting harm that SOVEREIGN JUSTICE caused.

“Damn that Sun-Tzu!  Even when he loses he still finds a way to eke out a win.  George should have killed him when he had the chance.”

Loremaster Amelia Wallace opened the door.  The Hellions Loremaster looked utterly unremarkable, like just another rather plain looking gray suited businesswoman but was not to be underestimated.  She put down a select memo from the Fifth Fleet’s HQ around Chirikof.  ‘5FFC Chirikof - Talon 04/01, ROLAND died in apparent dropship accident.  MIIO and ONI are investigating root cause:

“Well done Loremaster Wallace.  Angela Hasek will almost certainly be the next Duchess of New Syrtis.  I’ve already had bad dealings with her in the past over Outback worlds.  She will suspect something is amiss but I’m sure your people got out with no trace. 

When you regroup with saKhan Rood on Gulkana next week tell him to route the Hellions through the Capellan March to Markesan and make sure they are seen.”

“Of course Grand Duchess.  Is that all?”
“For now.  If I have anything else I will send it to you before you are out of the system.”

The Loremaster departed, she had to catch an outbound dropship to regroup with the Hellions’ Warships via command circuit. 

Yvonne opened up an already filled out condolence letter on her computer.  The document was addressed to Deborah Palu and Angela Hasek expressing the Grand Duchess’ personal grief of George’s passing.  A line was also added promising that the First Prince would be willing to personally attend his funeral and honor his service if they desired.  She dated it 04/08 and printed it out, ready to be shipped by courier to New Syrtis in two days’ time.

She was sickened with herself that was something that Katherine had done in the past.  Her sister’s influence and guidance was locked into her mind.  Yvonne didn’t know any other way to deal with a nest of vipers but to become one herself.  If big sister knew what had happened she would be smiling and it filled her with shame.  A shame that she could never atone for she had killed an infant girl’s father and his sister would be out for blood.  If she told Peter it would eat away at him when he had some many other pressing issues better to just leave it unsaid. 

All for the good of the Federated Suns?

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #83 on: 20 January 2019, 21:23:35 »
Clearing the Air
04/16/3070 Location – Triad, Tharkad, Wolf Empire

The Archon's Throne sat at the base of a blued steel gauntlet currently flanked by a pair of imposing Omnimechs, a Kit Fox and Storm Crow, and great tapestries bearing the insignia of the Wolf Empire reached up to the tall pillared ceilings.  Inside the chair sat the gold haired and pale Archon Katherine Steiner-Davion wearing a silvered breastplate over her blue dress.  Beside her in a equally impressive though rougher chair was her husband, the dark and stern looking Vladimir Ward, Khan of Clan Wolf. The Khan wore a golden fleece which left his scarred chest exposed between the brown leather of his vest.  Their three children stood on the outside or between them, Alaric, the shorter but more physical of the two sons stood at his father's right hand, Siegfried, a handsome and tall lad stood between them, and Morgana, a younger mirror of her mother, stood at her left hand.

The photographers got shots from multiple angles of the Royal family not seen on Tharkad since the Final Whitting Conference.  Later a portrait would be painted of the five of them from the high quality pictures taken today to be hung in the Royal Palace. “We have what we need Archon.”  The flamboyant man from Skye based on his accent said before he signaled something to the other people in his production crew.  “Thank you Giovanni.  Please send the proofs to my office when you have them.”

The man bowed followed by the rest of his crew, “Of course Archon.  You will not be disappointed.”
Katherine waved her hand dismissing him and his people from the Throne Room.  The children departed shortly after to attend to their studies leaving their parents to attend to the business of the day.  Scientist-General Bern (Kaviesky) and ONI Director Alexandra Sturm walked into the room, both were accomplished technocrats in the field of Hyperspectral Communications and Cryptography and had been working on a joint project in Niflheim of interstellar importance.

The two bowed to the royal couple, Bern's elaborate eyeglasses had dipped slightly and he adjusted them back onto his nose.  “My Khan.  We have good news concerning the Whiteout.”
“Go on.”
“Archon, ONI and WolfNet loaded a probable fix into the Niflheim HPG before we departed four days ago and sent it up the chain to Tamar.  This morning we received this,” She produced a piece of paper.  “At ONI's Lancashire large comm array.  On this paper is an HPG burst from Tamar addressed to Khan Ward from Loremaster Kerensky.  It was very faint, we don't think COMSTAR would have picked up the transmission.”


Katherine was astonished, “What if they did Scientist-General?”
“Then I would prepare to fight them.”

She looked toward Alexandra, “You said it was faint, why?”
“CLARION CALL reprogrammed the Hyperpulse Generator Network at the lowest machine level.  The transmitter broadcasts the already faint message wildly off-course which means they get lost in galactic background past several dozen AUs.  We can bring the whole network back into alignment but it will take several months, maybe a year, possibly two.  Faster if we take control of the First Circuits.”


Khan Ward pulled at his chin, “A bold plan.  How fast can our allies be brought back to normal Scientist-General?”

“The Tamar-Tharkad Trunk can be functioning normally by the end of the month.  Csesztreg-Sudetan Trunk shortly after.  We might be able to take it all the way up to the Sharks in the Chainelanes by June after our occupation zones are online. The limiting factor is the spares and technicians to bring the transmission equipment back online after a long period of neglect.”


05/08/3070 Alarion Naval Academy, Craiova, Alarion, Lyran Commonwealth
FWLN Rear Admiral Juhan Dubravka stood in front of his assembled crew in the grand Alistair Steiner Memorial Ballroom.  Half were raw ANA cadets while the other half were hardened spacers including Jade Falcons, Exiled Wolves, Nova Cats, DCA, and FLWN pilots all under Photon Brett's SLDF Command.  Admiral Dubravka shuttered while thinking about the last time he had fought the Ghost Bears and now he had to do it again with another international unit.

Juhan tapped his glass calling the room to attention.  “Attention all spacers.  It has been a busy year and I expect we are not going to be bored anytime soon.  As you all know our Commanding General right now is helping secure Marik and chase out the fleeing Word of Blake.  We are winning this fight and we will keep winning it.  The Word of Blake's remaining time as a threat to the whole Inner Sphere is now measured in months.  It is my great pleasure to launch the SLS Fort Verdun and welcome its first official crew,” a logo was projected onto the screen behind him, “the first new crew of the Star League Defense Fleet in centuries.”

A raucous cheer echoed off the walls, “So enjoy your meal tonight for we go off to War tomorrow!”

Outside the door the blue and gold uniformed CFC Masters-at-Arms crossed their arms.  Each already had a dozen zip ties on his belt ready to deal with rowdy spacers, “its gonna be a long night.”

Meanwhile on Tharkad, ComGuard Precentor Dag Kesselrig of the 66th Division of ComGuards confronted his ROM S-2 Demi-Precentor Thomas Valais about a report this morning.  “What do you mean they fixed it?”

“Precentor, my people noticed that there was increased security around the Lancashire Array over the past couple of weeks.  I dispatched a field operative to break in and plant a bug under the eyes of ONI.  The bug was found quickly but we intercepted a snippet of information.  An HPG transmission from Khan Pryde on Sudeten to Khan Ward.  The Commonwealth has fixed the HPGs!  Blake's Blood, they probably caused it in the first place!  To ruin us!”

“Well they were successful.  I want you to head to Odessa Thomas tell them what you know.  I will speak to Precentor Tharkad about our shared problem.”
 
Dag looked out from the building at Tharkad moving into green spring released from winter's icy grasp. “If we don't stop Katherine and the Clans here they will destroy our Blessed Order.  An order that has endured for centuries to prevent mankind from sinking back into barbarianism.  They would be nothing without us!  The ComGuards have shed our blood to save the Inner Sphere from the Clans and yet now we are failing we should be celebrated but now we are the villains. 

The Apostates are merely misguided not lost.  At least not when it comes to something like this.  They will help us; if only to save themselves.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #84 on: 21 January 2019, 08:51:21 »
05/20/3070 Location – Tharkad HPG, 80 kilometers from Tharkad City

Precentor Dag Kesselrig walked through the shiny glass paneled office building of the Tharkad HPG Compound.  From his vantage point he could see the cooling towers of the complex’s nuclear reactor as well as the radio towers, microwave dish, and HPG itself secure in a ferrocrete building that his division protected.  The late Primus Gavin Dow had spent a large quantity of money that he didn’t have over the Whiteout to modernize the compound.  With Terra ‘lost’ to the Word of Blake Primus Dow attempted to turn the secular COMSTAR into another mere interstellar corporation, something that disgusted the Precentor.

Dag took the elevator to the twelfth floor where Precentor Tharkad Idris Kwasi was waiting for him.  As the Commander of the ComGuards on planet the man while new respected Dag’s ability and would always give him an audience when requested especially regarding security.  Precentor Kesselrig’s white cape swished softly as he stopped suddenly.  The glass windows polarized to block light; the Precentor Tharkad’s office already had white noise generators and bug finders in place so he need not fear LIC or ONI interception. “You had something crucial to tell me Precentor?”
“Yes.  Sir, I know your loyalty to this organization is without question but I received disturbing news earlier this week that I awaited confirmation for before bringing it to you.”
“What is it?”


Dag produced a small holographic playback device, he set it on the table and activated it with his CommPad gauntlet.  A short audio recording from Khan James Cobb to Khan Vladimir Ward played, providing an update on his Warriors moving into position to take Terra.  “The Clans have fixed the HPGs.  I even have reason to suspect that they might have intentionally spread the Whiteout virus along our network in a bid destroy COMSTAR and take Terra for themselves.  They knew they had ONI’s Black Boxes but they left us blind and we paid dearly for it.”

“These Clans are our allies.  The Word of Blake attacked Tharkad you were there.”
“Yes I was but the Clans are not ‘our’ allies. They haven’t stopped coveting Terra.  They will get it and the Commonwealth will help them unless we can come together to stop them.  Surely you don’t think those tens of thousands of ComGuards and Tukayyid civilians thought the Bears were allies when they dropped in force and bombarded the planet from orbit do you?  Now the Rasalhague Rump is back in their Dominion and COMSTAR is left without a home.  Unless they join with the Blakists.”
“That’s absurd, I’ve read the reports the Blakists are out of control and have violated the Ares Convention on dozens of occasions that we know about.”
“Conventions are only convenient when you’re winning.  If you were fighting for your very existence wouldn’t you use everything?”
“You’re a Toyama.  I had suspected it but never found any evidence.”

“I am a True Believer not a Toyama but I understand my part in The Master’s plan.  I am merely enlightening you.  When the Clans take Terra and the HPG grid is back online do you think the Successor States are going to just hand all their HPGs back to the Blessed Order?  Why would they if they could run it themselves?  The Hellions are vassals of the First Prince, the Cats are already in the Combine, and Katherine is literally sleeping with the Wolves.  COMSTAR will be nothing but a footnote in history and they will go right back to destroying everything that Jerome Blake sought to protect.”

“What you’re saying is Treason.”
“Is it truly though?  Katherine is a Wolf and proud of it, even now she is flaunting it less than a hundred kilometers from this very spot.  As a Clan Warrior she is the enemy even if she managed to convince everyone else of her benevolence.  I’m already moving against her and if you don’t help me then you are a Traitor to the Blessed Order.”

“This sickens me but you are right Precentor Kesselrig.  My predecessor was a fool to trust the White Witch and it has only become more obvious with each passing day.  I will send out a courier to Precentor Martial Koenigs on Skye and one to Terra.  We can only stop the Clans together and it needs to start soon.”
“I’m glad you saw the light Precentor because dark times are before us.  The very end of Blake’s Order is nearing but we will not go down without a fight.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #85 on: 22 January 2019, 09:11:00 »
Ma Bell wants her monopoly back.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #86 on: 22 January 2019, 18:39:14 »
Iron and Ice, Turncoats on Tharkad

05/28/3070 Location – Nadir Point, Tharkad, Wolf Empire

The Naga Enlightened Direction, Aegis Herald of Truth, and Pinto Syrstart jumped into the system in support of a Blakist Army composed of three depleted Shadow Divisions (the 43rd, 49th, and 50th) and an equal number of mercenaries and regular militia.  Each was battered and far from intact but they all had the same missions, kill Katherine and Vladimir, stop the Clans from claiming Terra, and recover the fix to the HPG Whiteout.  Some of the Militia units were veterans of the first disastrous Battle of Tharkad that had started their Jihad.  They wouldn’t make the same mistakes this time. 

Manei Domini Armored Infantry secured the Olympus recharge station leaving the Syrstart behind to guard the vulnerable flotilla of jumpships from potential enemy assault.  The remaining two Warships were a solid match against the heavily upgraded Sovetskii Soyuz WIS Dire Wolf with its battle hardened Wolf crew and support from the surface.

06/05/3070

Katherine Steiner-Davion woke up before dawn next to her husband Khan Ward, both knew that today was going to be a busy one.  With a much larger Blakist army heading toward Tharkad and without an allied Naval Battlegroup over their heads this would be a very different kind of fight than last time.  She peered through the curtains as Tharkad City and its sister city Olympia were still dark before the sun rose over the peaks and onto a raging New Danube River full of meltwater.  The city had been evacuated over the past week and a full Cluster of Wolves were on 24 hour guard atop the Triad.  Others were dispersed around the mountains in fortified tunnels or camped out in the surrounding sunny countryside.  Their dropships scattered to hide in the vast wilderness of the Bremen continent while remaining on call.

More Wolves were on the way from Alarion but until they arrived the Alpha and Tau Galaxies, 4 Regiments of Tharkad Self-Defense Force, The Nagelring Cadre Battalion, and 1st Royal Guards RCT would have to hold out against the death throes of The Word of Blake.  As Katherine was watching outside she saw explosions and fire within Tharkad City itself near one of the advance Trinaries.  Both of them frantically grabbed their radios, “Star Captain Tarr to Khan Ward, the Sixty Sixth are attacking.  We will hold them as long as we can.”

Katherine threw her radio onto the bed, “Damn those treacherous ComGuards.  I should have had Kesselrig killed years ago.”

A squad of heavily armed and armored Wolf Infantrymen ran into the couple’s bedroom, “My Khan, Star Captain.  We will make sure you get to your mechs.  There have been reports of firefights nearby.”

“Where are my children Point Leader?”
“Director Savinson says they are with her.”
“Give us a minute to get ready.”
“Aff”


Katherine and Vladimir suited up in their Mechwarrior uniforms with their neurohelmets handing by a sling behind them.  Each of them had a pistol attached to their contoured and armored cooling vests and were handed one of the bullpup MP-20 PDWs by the Wolves.  “We are heading out first.  Tell the Director to hold position until we depart.  I want to ensure they have a clear path to Asgard.”
“Aff Star Captain.”
  The squad took up the advance position checking corners and corridors while Katherine and Vlad watched their backs.
“SCOREKEEPER, Point Five-Two is escorting RACHEL and GARM to Mech Bay One.  RACHEL requests DISA maintain position until authorization.  Please confirm.”
“DISA confirms.  Hurry up I don’t like sitting around while the world is blowing up around me.”


On the other side of the Royal Palace LIC Director Alicia Savinson was suited up and stood in the middle of a squad wearing the stealthy Nighthawk PA(L) suits and shouldering a full sized Mauser IIC laser rifle.  It had been a long time since she was in the field but once a commando always a commando.  Morgana, Alaric, and Siegfried only had time to dress in proper clothes after her team woke and moved them to this interior room for their own protection.  Diplomatic Guards wearing heavy armor and Loki Special Operatives in Nighthawk suits watched all access points for the telltale shimmer of mimetic armor.

She activated the external speaker and looked at the three children, “Don’t worry it won’t be long before we can get moving.” Ensuring it was off she keyed up the radio again, “Hans are the convoy vehicles ready yet?”

“Ready when you are Director.”
“Ready when she is you mean?”
“Yes Director.”
“Hold position.  Keep a close eye out for Purifiers or Tornados.  We don’t want anyone to cut us off before we head up the mountain.”


A loud burst caught the attention of the Diplomatic Guards, one of their paint mines had gone off nearby.  A squad of Tornado PA(L)s charged around the corner with their adaptive camo off and armored faceplates up.  They were greeted with Thunderstroke Gauss Rifles fired by the Diplomatic Guards.  The hypersonic steel darts fired from the oversized assault weapon punched deep into the light armor of their enemies and into their operators.  Blakist Mauser 1200 laser systems firing and burning the thick ablative vest each trooper wore creating a smoky mess where it hit.  The Loki Operators leveled their own rifles at the Blakists to put them down with burning coherent light.  “Schiebe!  Wer wurden entdeckt, bewege dicht jetzt.”

The Diplomatic Guardsmen led the way for the Nighthawks clearing corridors and engaging additional traitor ComGuards in gray sneak suits that had closed onto the perimeter overnight.  “Hans get the convoy outside now!  There are hostiles in the perimeter.”

In a nearby subterranean garage the Diplomatic Guard convoy of two Badger APCs and six light tanks (Galleon and Glaive) began to depart.  The lead vehicles, a pair of the heavy glaive tanks cleared the tunnel only to hit anti-tank mines.  They were swarmed by the previously invisible Purifier Armored Infantry which were now a blur of color as their internal systems attempted to keep up the camouflage despite the motion.  “Take the secondary exit!”  The convoy vehicles burned rubber going back to their garage, “DISA, five more minutes.  Purifiers hit the lead vehicles as we were exiting.  We have to reroute.”

In one of the many tunnels under the Triad Alicia Savinson fired a laser beam from her rifle that punched straight through a Tornado operator’s helmet.  The man’s head exploded from the expanding steam and created a gray mess.  Katherine’s daughter was right behind her, her brothers nearby.  Most of the diplomatic guardsmen had fallen already their ablative vests could only take so much laser fire before failing. “Don’t look at that Morgana.”

She turned to her fellow Loki commandos holding up a spread hand to avoid radio chatter, ‘Five more minutes

The Loki Commandos were running out of places to hide as armored infantry and ROM infiltration units drew closer.  Director Savinson looked at her options for exfil with increasing worry.  “Mech Bay One.  Hans pick up us at Mech Bay One.”

No response on her audible.  “Damn we’re being jammed.  Stout, Fisher”
Two Nighthawks turned her way, “Yes, maam.”
“See if you can get a signal out to Hans.  They might not have compromised all the networks yet.”
“Roger.”
The two commandos headed out into the unknown where they were likely already surrounded by enemies.

“Bravo Squad.  I need a distraction from the principles.  Head to the surface and keep near a window.  Draw the Blakist’s attention with as much high explosive as you can muster.  We’ll exfil you with the tanks under fire if we can.  Otherwise shed your skin, find a bolt-hole, and another team will recover you.”

“Diplomatic Guards and Alpha Squad will stay with me.  We’re heading to Mech Bay One and will activate its defenses.  That should give Hans enough time.”

The depleted platoon worked their way to the Archon’s personal Mech Bay.  The few remaining Wolves or LCAF present would be leaving the Triad slightly ahead of schedule after all.  Most had already redeployed to smaller redoubts in the Jotunn Mountains.  All except Katherine and a select few had chosen not to leave until the last minute intending to show their defiance in the face of intimidation.

Near the Mech Bay they saw that a battle had already taken place.  A squad of Wolf technicians and infantry had been killed by Firedrake heavy needlers and grenades defending from attackers coming in.  The sight of mangled remains and smell of burning death caused the nine year olds to wretch.  Alicia stood in front of them letting her rifle hang from its sling, lifting her visor faceplate to show her face, and gesturing, “Eyes on me kids.  Don’t look just keep walking.  John take Delta and clear the Bay.”

The Diplomatic Guards walked into the bay checking high and low for remnant forces.  The Blakists had blasted a hole in the armored doors of Bay One both in and out of and destroyed the automated guns but had continued on.  Alpha was close behind and Alicia was relieved to see that Vlad’s Timber Wolf and Katherine’s Barghest had made it out leaving only a few other mechs that the Archon kept in storage.  Galen Cox’s Crusader, Katrina Steiner’s Warhammer, Katherine’s now clan tech Griffin ‘Stiletto’, and the failed experimental Dire Wolf ‘Bailiff’.

“Thank God they made it out.”

What she wasn’t pleased about was when they looked back at the door they saw a laser tripwire sensor along with a white transmission pack.  “Shit.  Everyone find some cover and prepare for battle.

Hans is coming.”


Alicia flipped a heavy toolbox onto its side and crouched behind it, “He better hurry the hell up.”  She looked at the blinking battery indicator of her weapon’s power pack and found another in the tool box with only a half charge, “Better than nothing.”

Morgana shouted to the Director, “What should we do Alicia?”
“Get high and hide.  Our ride out will be here soon.”


Morgana, Alaric, and Siegfried climbed up the gantries to the Mechwarrior loading level which had been abandoned quickly when the facility had been breached.  Al and Sig walked toward the Bailiff, a dual cockpit refit with updated gear that turned the Dire Wolf into something even more dangerous.  The hatches were left open with the intention of moving it according to the intended schedule.  Morgana looked into the sleek heavily upgraded ‘Stiletto’ and saw one of her mother’s neurohelmets still sitting in the chair.  Below them the kids could hear and see that Alicia and her fellow commandos were in trouble as ComGuards threatened to completely overrun their position.

“Al, Sig, we need to get out of here!  Grab a neuroband, we’ll be safer in the cockpits even if we can’t get them started.”

As no one including the Clans manufactured neurohelmets that could fit a nine year old’s head they found the less functional neurobands used by technicians when a Mechwarrior wasn’t present to move a mech.  Morgana looked at her brother Sig, “We call the Bailiff.  You get Stiletto.”

Morgana opened the hatch to enter into the cockpit, pushing the helmet off to the side, and adjusted the seat as low as it would go.  She knew how to operate a battlemech but had only done so under controlled conditions in a Wasp trainer or simulator.  Taking a moment to orient herself with the controls she activated the canopy shroud and initiated the start up sequence. 

The access pad lit up, she thought about what kind of code her mother would use and figured it might be a date of some importance.  Like a good daughter she would sneak into her mother's room and read through some of her older journals particularly loving the juicy bits of intrigue she found within. 

Her birthday no
Galen's birthday no
Her (and her brothers) decant day no
Day she met dad (ok so he abducted her after almost killing her it worked out in the end) no
“Come on, Come on think.  That's it.”

12163055, the pad lit up green and she could see that Al or Sig must have figured it out as well considering their mech was powering up.  Al probably cracked it with his noteputer running decryption, Clan mechs had terrible standard security protocols despite the Spheroid's best efforts. 

A small port opened up next to access pad, “Secondary pass required before activation.”
“Damn!  Of course mom would have a second check for one of her personal mechs.”


She pressed her codex charm into the device it was similar enough to her mothers that it could fit in.  Whats the worse thing that could happen, it not power up?  To her great surprise the port closed.  The DI computer came online in a voice Morgana was fairly certain was Alicia's.
“Codex DNA match confirmed, Katherine White Wolf. 
Reactor online, sensors online, weapons online, all systems nominal.”


After hearing that Morgana didn't know what to think, “You are going to have some questions to answer when I see you next mom.”

Alicia heard mechs powering up over the incoming fire.  She looked around hoping it wasn't enemy units breaking into the bay.  Her Mauser laser rifle was red hot and running on empty.  Most of Alpha Squad was wounded or down.  Delta was long gone, taken out by a grenade launched by the sneak suited ComGurd infantry down the corridor from her.  She watched as the two mechs clumsily separated themselves from the gantries creating a massive racket and hazard from tumbling superstructure.  The Crusader and Warhammer remained standing although their paint was scuffed by damage from debris.  “Well that's one way of getting out of here.  Kids what the hell are you doing?”

“We got these mechs online grab on.  We'll get out together.”

Alicia looked at the remaining Alpha Squad troopers.  Most were surviving just on their battle drugs and fading fast while the ComGuard Commandos drew closer.  “We're in no condition to travel that way.  We'll get the door for you but we're holding this position.”

One of the Alpha troopers pulled the door override and broke the handle in the process.  “We can get out.  Come on!”

“No kids get out of here.  Now!”
“But...”
“Now!  That's an order.”


The two mechs turned and rumbled out into the concrete tunnel that led to the surface.  Alicia could feel their foot falls get further away and focused her intention nearer.  The Nighthawk rolled across the floor to Delta's former position and retrieved one of the Thunderstroke Gauss Rifles from the fallen to replace her depleted Mauser.  She pulled the charging handle and pointed it at the incoming enemies. 

The hypersonic darts went through their flesh like it wasn't there creating grievous wounds just by proximity but they still kept coming.  Two more Alpha troopers succumbed to their wounds leaving Alicia and part of another to hold the door.  She pulled the pin of her last grenade and tossed it into the hallway filling it with smoke before drawing her antique pearl handled Desert Eagle.  The same one that Melissa Steiner had brought her from Terra so long ago that she had treasured ever since.  It had been her greatest privilege to serve the Steiner family for three generations, from mother to daughter and again.  “Get out safe, as I go into harm.”

Alicia charged into the smoke one last time with her weapon drawn.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #87 on: 24 January 2019, 18:38:11 »
Khan Ward's Timber Wolf D crashed through a row of brownstone rowhomes looking out toward the New Danube River Park.  He had caught the attention of a damaged lance of ComGuards, an Excalibur D1, Grim Reaper, Black Knight, and Spector were attempting to box him in and force him to fight on their terms.  Three of the Mechs leapt over the row-homes using their jump jets and fell right into a trap.  Katherine's lupine Barghest had been hiding behind the buildings with an advanced stealth system active and along with a Scorpion Quad Mech had them dead to rights at close range. 

Their overwhelming firepower hidden behind the buildings and electronic fog.  Katherine's Heavy Gauss Rifle and lasers gutted the Grim Reaper from behind while the Scorpion and Timber Wolf finished off the others.  The ComGuards got some hits in but their accuracy was hampered by the jump and most of their weapons hit nothing but trees and houses.  A point of Wolf Elementals dealt the finishing blow to the unlucky ComGuard pilots leaving their larger brethren to continue fighting the remaining Black Knight.

Khan Ward looked at the attacker through the smoke of his lancemates and across the broken brick and debris he had created with disdain.  Surprise attacks and assassinations were the tactics of dezgra opponents and he wanted to finish the attacker off but heard Katherine over the local Battlenet, “We have to keep moving. Our mechs will outpace and out-range him in a short while.”

“But we can finish the dishonorable dog here and now.”
  He looked at the ammo display in his neurohelmet's HUD to confirm, “I will not retreat, not while I still have ammo.”
“There are other objectives at stake.  We are not retreating Vlad.  The Triad has already been taken.  Tharkad City will follow shortly.  There is only our Cluster against a full Elite Division of ComGuard.  All we can do is damage them and move on to fight elsewhere.”


He looked at the Black Knight in motion before him, memorizing the unit's ID markings.  66-01, Precentor Kesselrig himself was in that machine.  “But he is right here.”

“We need to be at Asgard, for everyone now.”


Vlad steered his Timber Wolf to take maximum cover from the buildings as the Elementals jumped back on, “We move.”  The heavy foot falls of their mechs left tracks in the asphalt as the Black Knight navigated is way through the tangle but was too late to fire on the fleeing Battlemechs as their turned the corner.  A man's voice came in over the non-encrypted channels, “With your tails between your legs.”

The Wolves ran down the Giant's Path toward the nearby Starport, from there they would navigate the treacherous passes toward Mount Wotan and the friendlies that were already moving out from their redoubts to support the evacuation.  COMSTAR Electronic Warfare equipment had jammed the wider Battlenet but the Wolves had deployed a whole Star of Hades EW Mechs in the field to create a bubble and stay in contact with one another.  The natural and man-made topography of Tharkad City made it difficult to coordinate large operations and the choke-points were already spotted in for the bunkers surrounding Asgard.  Such defenses were meant to be used against the Clans rather than to aid them when Katrina and Melissa originally put the defense plans into place.

Elsewhere in the city the Griffin 'Stiletto' and Dire Wolf 'Bailiff' walked down narrow streets attempting to evade ComGuard patrols and reunite with the other Wolves near Asgard.  The nine-year old Steiner-Ward creche had never fought in a battle before but everyone is a beginner once.

Alaric Wolf was in the weapons seat for 'Bailiff' and had spent the ten minutes or so since their escape familiarizing himself with the controls and adjusting the ill-fitting visor.  The control panel was slightly different on this dual cockpit model than the single cockpit simulator or even the half and half Gecko (Chameleon IIC) Trainer.  He accidentally double tapped the big bore autocannon into an upscale shopping center and set a few other buildings on fire with the lasers, “It will be blamed on the bad guys Sig.  We won't get in trouble.”

His brother Siegfried was seated above him in the tandem cockpit and was entirely focused on making sure they didn't fall down or walk into an ambush by monitoring the sensors.  Their sister was operating 'Stiletto' solo but she was functionally helpless to do anything but run away if they got into a major fight and even with the SF-3 400XL engine in the 'Bailiff' that was not an option for the boys, they just weren't fast enough nor could they jump over buildings.

“We are blind in this fog of war Al.”
“Well its not like we can miss Mount Wotan.”
  He pointed toward the snow covered peak several dozen kilometers away from the Starport,  “It is kinda big and we can follow the signs.”
“Not the mountain I am worried about.  The Hades are having a tough time keeping Comms online.  We do not know where the hostiles or friendlies are.”
“Well we are not alone Sig.  Em is watching our back.”
“I would feel a lot better if there were some actual Warriors nearby in case we run into something.”
“We are Clan Warriors.  This is our Trial of Position...just ahead of schedule.  Think of how jealous our Creche-mates on Weingarten will be.  We might be the youngest trueborns to complete our Trial of Position.  I do not think Khan Pryde had any crechies on Coventry and she emptied the sibkos after Refusal.  If I remember correctly the youngest, Lola Isha, was twelve when she deployed and she was Ristar.  Too bad she died on Hesperus Two Marthe apparently was quite fond of her.”
“Youngest Clan Warriors ever.  Hmmm I suppose your right Alaric.  Although we will have cheated by working together.  We will have to drop at least two for it to even count.”

Alaric kept his head on a swivel in case an enemy decided to pay them a visit, “I will see what I can do.”

As they worked their way through the city a white Tessen heavy scout Battlemech was running through the intersection unaware of their presence.  “Enemy!  Shoot Al.”
Alaric was already tracking the battlemech aided by the Bailiff's targeting computer.  He pulled the triggers on his joysticks launching a blistering alpha strike that disintegrated the mech with a pair of 203mm shells and heavy pulse lasers.  The Tessen's weapons fired before it was destroyed but damage was limited and Siegfried was able to maintain control without too much effort.  “One down.  We should keep moving.  He might have had time to radio for help.”

They continued on trudging through the streets of Tharkad City with greater caution now as they neared what should be the first way point to Asgard.  Unfortunately the cost of the Dire Wolf's slow speed finally caught up to them.  A pair of level IIs intercepted them before they could reach Wolf lines including two each of the Chevalier Light, Striker Missile, and Tokugawa Heavy wheeled Tanks, the updated 5C Hoplite (w/ JJ), Raijin, Lightray, and Firefly Mechs, and a squad of Heavy Armored Infantry.

Alaric looked up at his brother, “We are in so much trouble but man is it gonna be fun.”
“You are insane Al.”
“Get moving bro, if we stand here they have the advantage.”

ckosacranoid

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #88 on: 25 January 2019, 17:46:33 »
A trio of 9 year olds running mechs incombat and fighting off the toster worshpers. this is not going to end well at all they are going to die quick or get really lucky. not sure which is going to happen.

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #89 on: 25 January 2019, 19:10:40 »
That certainly interesting entry!  :thumbsup:
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