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Author Topic: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III  (Read 4612 times)

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #90 on: 26 January 2019, 02:43:44 »
Vlad will laugh his butt off when they arrive after besting some Blakies.
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.

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #91 on: 26 January 2019, 09:08:54 »
I just picture this event to the kids, the greatest Battletech Center experience EVER.  ;D
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #92 on: 27 January 2019, 22:49:25 »
Morgana was paying close attention to Griffin’s sensor and comm feeds.  Her brothers were doing their best to engage the enemies but they were hopelessly outnumbered and outclassed.  As none of the three had a cooling vest there was a hard physical limit to how far they could push their machines beyond their own inexperience.

Al and Sig had spent more time in Sims and trainers being raised primarily in a Clan Creche but they were focused on engaging the enem.  However, their mech was only capable of so much and retreat was not an option.  Her mind was in hyper-focus and was drew to one particular thing on her HUD, “TAG.”  Both ‘Stiletto’ and ‘Bailiff’ had one of the targeting lasers on their mechs; and if the Wolves had an artillery star nearby; and if she could get word to one of the Hades units they might be able to turn the tide with Arrow IVs.

“This is crazy”
Morgana activated the gray stealth armor on Stiletto and looked up.  She had to reach her foot far down in order to activate the jump jets as she was still a girl, not a gangly preteen yet.  The Griffin jetted into the air reaching its apogee and landing on a nearby concrete building.  The sudden impact of a formerly airborne fifty-five ton war machine caused the roof to bow slightly.
“Please hold, please.”
The jarring impact threatened her balance but she had completed the jump although stiletto took a stutter step upon landing to maintain balance. 

The Raijin and Firefly followed her to the roof tops but the Raijin chose its landing zone poorly and crashed through the building which would momentarily stop it.  At least until the emu like mech broke or shot itself free.  The lightweight Firefly landed gracefully and pointed its lasers her way.  They fired but the double jump and Stiletto’s stealth systems caused the burning rays to miss.

Mechwarrior Winchester Wolf of the Theta Galaxy’s 2nd Wolf Combat Support Cluster looked down at the evacuation route from the city.  He turned back to his Growler (Sensor Operator) in the back seat upon spotting the 2 Level IIs that were stopping a Dire Wolf and drab gray Griffin from reaching friendly lines.  The Dire Wolf was in the middle of an intense firefight so he chose not to open up a point to point microwave transmission with it but aimed his antenna to the Griffin which had the letters ‘KSDS’ written on the unit.

“KSDS, Hades four, cursitrep”
A young girl’s voice came in over the radio catching the Wolf Mechwarrior by surprise.  She spoke slowly but fluidly in Clan battle language, “Cursitrep imorun, re Afour arty stri stat haf clu haf hotag”

Winchester understood clearly what this girl was requesting.  Although he didn’t know why she was operating a battlemech; who was in the other one; or who she was.  Nor did he care about anything other than she was not a Blakist.  He relayed their position to the Nagas a few kilometers away and notified strike command to send quick moving local reinforcements and that he might need more guns on target than just the Nagas.

He did not move to aid them however.  Hades Four's  position was chosen specifically for him to provide LOS comms that could reach Asgard and provide a local bubble against the powerful EW signals being broadcast from the Tharkad HPG.  Signals that the WIS Dire Wolf was going to take care of that as soon as it was in the proper orbit.  Once he received confirmation from the Naga Star he transmitted the targeting packages to the embattled mechs.

Morgana allowed herself a momentary sigh of relief but it quickly turned to panic when she realized that they were still dghting a difficult battle against seasoned ComGuards until help came.  ‘Bailiff’ was attempting to backpedal as the enemy drew closer.  The assault mech was cracking pavement with each foot fall but the enemy Mechs would find a way to box them in to the urban canyons. That would force Sig and Al to fight the tanks and Armored Infantry at close range which was already long odds.  The heavy MRM racks of the Tokugawas launched clusters of missiles some of them were shot down by the paired AMSes but enough hit to cause the Omnimech to take a momentary knee in order to avoid toppling.  The MML racks of the Chevalier and Striker tanks joined in and the Dire Wolf was looking increasingly worse for wear after only the initial exchange.  “Sig, Arrows are incoming.  Prepare to TAG.”

“Just got the targeting package from the Hades.  Death from above indeed.”


Less than five kilometers away a Star of Naga Artillery Omnimechs in an isolated valley let loose a volley of ten Arrow IV artillery missiles.  The missiles arced high reaching their target altitude leaving a trail of smoke against the white snow capped peaks that surrounded them. 

Half of them dove back down and deployed sub-munitions tearing up armor and damaging the tires of the wheeled tanks.  The other half aimed the sensors in their nose cone ground-ward before finding the TAG laser emanating from below the Dire Wolf's UAC/20.  Five missiles crashed into one of the Tokugawa tanks blowing the turret off and tearing open the right side while finding ammunition.  The damage resulted in the massive wheels flying up to where Morgana was on the roof and flattened some of the large tires of a Chevalier and Striker.

The artillery caused the tanks to break off as quickly as possible, the damaged Chevalier and Striker moved slowly but the Mechs remained.  The Raijin crashed through the building it had been trapped in kicking through the damaged brick wall.  Armored Infantry seriously injured by the cluster munitions were dragged by their fellow ComGuards into buildings for cover. 

Morgana could see the Lightray attempting to flank her brothers and while she still had the Firefly in front of her that was the bigger threat.  “Alright let's try this.”  She stood still and attempted to track the fast moving target with assistance from the targeting computer and the pulse limiter.  Keeping the stealth armor on would help protect her but it would cost her some of her weaponry if she wanted to keep cool without a vest.

The arm mounted pulse laser fired and cut a large number of armor plates off the Lightray.  It attempted to fire back but the stealth armor scrambled the targeting solution.  The stationary Firefly was hit hard shearing off the left torso and arm.  The remains toppled over before crashing through the building it had been standing on.  Em could see that the Dire Wolf had fired its heavy cannon her way while shooting the pulse lasers at the Hoplite.  Lasers had done some damage but it was scattered and manageable for even the inexperienced pilot.

The boys were in trouble Sig hadn't kept the mech standing under fire and she needed to do something fast or it would be over even faster.  The ComGuards didn't know it was only a couple of creche boys piloting the Dire Wolf and considering they had tried to kill them earlier didn't seem to care.  Both the Hoplite and Raijin were bearing down hard on the lone mech even if the tanks and armored infantry were negated for now.  Hades Four sent Morgana another fire mission from the Nagas.  All homing this time.  “Stiletto was made for the backstab.  Time to let her do her thing.”

'Stiletto' jumped behind the Hoplite and Raijin that were closing on the fallen Dire Wolf.  She TAGged the less mobile Hoplite and watched as the machine exploded after being struck with nearly a dozen Arrow missiles.  The hostile mechs fired back at Morgana's mech; at close range her stealth armor was not as effective but better she take some damage than hostiles kill 'her brothers'.  The damage from the hostiles was to much for Morgana and Stiletto causing both of them to drop to the asphalt with a crash.

Friendly contacts showed up on medium range scanners, Ice Ferret, Mist Lynx, and Stealth Battlemechs tasked with quick response.  Some of the fast heavy Linebackers would be close behind to bully anything heftier then these strike mechs could handle. 

Armored Infantry would normally swarm any fallen mech but with artillery nearby they were not going out on a suicide run.  The Raijin and Lightray were not willing to die this day preferring self-preservation to executing the fallen Wolves.  The Lightray ripped down a wall to rescue the Firefly.  All three mechs retreated to cover their damaged tanks.

Em was dazed by the fall, the harness wasn't small enough to hold her securely and she had hit her head and arms before the mech face-planted into the ground.  She could taste metal in her mouth.  She must have bitten her tongue.  As her vision cleared all she could see was cracked asphalt, obviously damaged armor on the cockpit's cowling, and spider-webbing in the clear plasteel of her viewscreen.

Sig's voice came in over the radio, “Em, are you alright? Talk to me.”
“Thank God.”


She climbed back into the seat holding onto the harness to bring herself into a position where she could barely operate the controls with her injured arm.  “I think I'm alright Sig.  Although I wouldn't want to look at myself in a mirror right now.  I hit my head and arms bad, I'm sure I am a mess.”
“You will manage sis.  Can you get up?”
“Let's find out.  I'm trying to operate this thing with a spinning head while hanging on the seat straps with a bruised arm.”
  She attempted to rise but was not able to reach her feet although Stiletto propped to her knees.
“Al took a heavy hit too.  He is punch drunk right now.  I think his hard head protected him but his band was crushed.  I see a Stealth on the scanners.  He can pull you up.  I don't have hands on this thing.”
“Where are you Sig?”
“I'm right behind your downed mech sis.  Your proximity sensors and vidcams must have taken a hit.  There's still Armored Infantry nearby.  If they want you, they will have to got through me.”
“Thanks Sig.”
“We are all getting out of here together or not at all.”


Elsewhere the two operators {'Growler' (Test-up Tech) and Mechwarrior (a Freeborn Warrior)} of Hades One looked out over the Tharkad HPG's Antennae farm.  They had snuck in via a narrow valley under radio silence disguised from COMSTAR sensors.  With their ROM operatives and ComGuard in the field they didn't leave many behind to watch the HPG.  For the past several dozen minutes they had taken extensive range and survey data to update the LIC maps that Alicia had ordered made after the first modern Battle of Tharkad three years ago.

The Hades Battlemech is a relatively obscure variant of the popular and long serving Hellbringer Omnimech equipped with electronic warfare gear and advanced communications systems.  Originally it had been invented and first deployed by the Jade Falcon's Blinding Eye scientist conspiracy in a bid to assassinate Khan Vlad Ward.  This was the first time the True Wolves had used it in combat because Vlad personally didn't like it considering he almost died that day.

Hades One maintained its silent vigil a safe distance from the COMSTAR facility, the Hades' microwave transmitter angled up to the WIS Dire Wolf.  “Dire Wolf, Hades One, confirm signal strength.”

“Signal confirmed Hades One.  You are a dim light in this electronic fog but we have a clean signal.”

“Aff, transmitting targeting data now.”


In a polar orbit high above Tharkad WIS Dire Wolf, the flagship of Clan Wolf rolled to present its broadside guns to the surface.  While the Sovetskii Soyuz had been a destroyer leader primarily known for its large cargo bay in Star League service Khan Ward and Katherine both agreed that some improvements needed to be made.  In the chrysalis of the Tamar Yards it morphed into a battle-cruiser nearly as capable as the Tharkad FCS Seth Marsden but crewed with angry Wolves rather than cold calculated Commonwealth spacers.

The Growler of Hades One watched the AR feed as the guns moved into position.  A time display appeared, ToT (Time on Target), “Solnes, prepare for impact.  Thirty seconds.”

The Hades crouched on a quiet, wind swept, and rocky ridge but it was going to get loud.  Both operators turned their heads to the sky to see the incoming shells, tracking them before the wrath of the gods themselves come down from the sky and the Tharkad HPG compound was blown to high heaven.  The blast wave threatened to knock the Hades down but its heavy duty gyro managed to keep it upright although rubble cracked some armor plates.

The sky itself seemed to be stilled after witnessing the violence but it was quickly filled with fighters piloted by Wolves on the hunt
« Last Edit: 27 January 2019, 23:16:36 by AlphaMirage »

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #93 on: 28 January 2019, 21:28:04 »
Reach out, reach out and touch someone, reach out and just rain hellfire
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #94 on: 29 January 2019, 08:53:41 »
Here comes the rain again, dropping on ComStar like bad memory...

Well written fight!  I can't imagine people, never mind kids driving mechs without cooling outfits.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #95 on: 30 January 2019, 18:12:27 »
06/05/3070 15:58 Location – Asgard Bunker W65-14, Mount Wotan Military Reservation, Tharkad

While Asgard is widely considering a unitary place (a misjudgment intentionally forwarded by media) by civilians the reality is quite different.  The complex sprawls out in all directions for dozens of kilometers with multiple surface connections, heavy weapons bunkers with interlocking fields of fire, artillery bases with pre-positioned firing coordinates, an underground hanger large enough to deploy aerodyne dropships, barracks, warehouses, utilities, and other reinforced positions capable of housing and maintaining a full RCT if necessary all capable of withstanding any reasonable NBC attack or warship bombardment.  All of the facilities were connected by rail, small vehicle, and Mech sized tunnels throughout the Mount Wotan Military Reservation.  It is the closest thing to a Castle Brian made by someone other than the Star League. 

The traitor COMSTAR’s 66th Division was still occupying the city and were attempting to find weak points to engage Asgard.  With a whole Division closing on the two reinforced Clusters that were in the city it was continuing to be a tough fight.  Wolf patrols regularly found and engaged ComGuards as they attempted to breach the facility.  The harsh geography of the Jotunn range negated their superior numbers and heavy vehicle corps but they were driven by revenge now in addition to their prior motivation.

Star Captain Katherine Wolf limped her Shadow ‘Kat’ through the gray concrete tunnel painted with multiple alphanumeric designations and symbols. This way would lead her to one of the many subterranean Mech Bays that were part of Asgard.  Behind her was Khan Vladimir Ward’s Gargoyle and a Kit Fox piloted by the remaining survivor of their initial star.  They lost two Mechwarriors, lured into an ambush by ComGuards’ Demolisher tanks supported by unarmored infantry.  The Trio turned the corner and after a short walk arrived within a cavernous Mech Bay passing an outgoing Nova of Theta’s 13th Wolf Regulars. 

Katherine maneuvered her Shadow Cat into its repair dock next to the Barghest she had used earlier today during her first deployment.  She looked down at a tech as he activated the dock and closed the gantries around the Omnimech.  When it was complete she powered down the unit, disconnected her cooling hoses and neurohelmet before opening the cockpit.  The Tech took the small elevator attached to the gantry up to meet her on the catwalk.  “Any problems that need addressing Star Captain?”

She removed her sweatband and rubbed her forehead mussing her shoulder length blonde hair in the process.  Despite her shorts and only wearing a torso wrap under the fitted cooling vest with rank insignia and her name on it she was still sweating heavily even after being out of battle for nearly an hour. “It’s getting too hot in there.  Might need a coolant flush and a service on the cockpit climate control.  Also Jump Jet Three may have been knocked out of alignment.  Double check that for me.  Otherwise repair and rearm as usual.”

“Aff Star Captain.  Noted in the log.  We will get to it right away.”
  He handed her a towel to wipe the sweat off her.  She did so on the short elevator trip down to the worn concrete floor and tossed the towel into a metal bin for washing.  Ordnance techs appeared with four pre-loaded magazines for her weapons.  They were followed by armorers with a block of armor plates and the tools to install them. 

She took a moment to walk over to the adjacent mech bay in order to look at her Barghest, the old girl was beat up but she would be repaired in time.  That was par for the course, when Katherine needed to fight in a Battlemech it was normally as a last resort against overwhelming odds and she did not relish it.

It crushed her to lose Katrina’s Warhammer and Galen’s Crusader to the Blakists after they overran the Triad.  If either of those mechs took the field under ComGuard’s colors she would kill their pilots herself.  'Stiletto' was relatively safe it had explosive safeguards against unauthorized users that would crack the reactor if it was operated by anyone other than her.

Satisfied that things were progressing normally she walked through the bay hyper vigilant against moving Mechs and Tanks.  An Aurochs heavy transport drove by with a lowboy trailer filled with a Star of Armored Elementals hanging onto the heavy steel rail.  A full Star of Elementals was something that every Mechwarrior feared with good reason.  She had no sympathy for whoever their victims were going to be.

Katherine looked around for Vlad but he had likely been pulled into a briefing by either Galaxy Commander Senders or Vickers.  She was surprised to see that neither LIC Director Alicia Savinson nor her aide in the 1st Royal Guards General Austin Graves were here to see her.  They were very busy and she would simply catch up with them after getting some water, a shower, and snack.

After getting water and a shower Katherine redressed in the Wolf Empire’s casual attire, gold tank top with blue pants, gray boots, watch cap, and pistol belt.  She walked through Asgard’s utilitarian corridors past Wolves and Lyrans to the command center chewing on a spicy chicken wrap taken from the nearest mess hall.  She finished the snack and deposited the wrapped in a waste bin right inside the command center. 

Upon arriving she found the tan skinned and curly brown haired Star Colonel Clara Waters, commander of the 15th Wolf Regulars of Tau Galaxy.  Both of them had spent far too much time together on Dagda during Katherine's protective exile.  Clara had spent her time on Tharkad in Tropicana City grateful for a break in the routine that had driven Katherine madder and the 15th to boredom. “Star Captain Wolf or Archon Steiner?”

“Star Captain Wolf works fine for now.  Clara, do you know where the kids are?”


Her face got dark and she looked toward Katherine's holstered M&G service pistol, “I don't know.  No one does.”

Katherine took a moment to collect herself before shouting so loud that the Wolf and TSDF controllers looked toward the two of them. “What do you mean no one knows!”

“Can we take this somewhere else Katherine?”
“Nein!  Where are my children?”
 

Katherine looked around at the analysts, “Where's Alicia?”

The Wolf Force Protection Infantry Squad (“The Guard Dogs”) eyed the two Warriors with continued interest moving slowly to diffuse a potentially hazardous engagement in the middle of a war. “Director Savinson's convoy did not make it out of the Triad.  We have to assume her LIC teams and her were all killed by ComGuard commandos before they could escape.  They certainly would not let themselves be captured alive.

I don't know where the kids are.  Front line observation teams still have Wolves straggling back to friendly lines after shaking the Sixty-Sixth.  Its possible they did make it out but were lost in the confusion and instead diverted to some other location in Asgard. 

I briefed them personally last night.  If they are alive and capable of moving they will get here.  However they might have to move under cover of night into the foothills.  Additional Watch assets are already deployed to search them out.”

“The Blakists are landing by dusk.  The city will be swarming with Manei Domini by midnight.  I'm going back out there right away.”


Clara grabbed her main arm before she stormed off, “Katherine wait.”
“Get you hands off me right now Clara.”
“I'm pulling rank Star Captain.  Wait.
 
You will get yourself killed.  Give me a little bit more time to figure this out.  We just got long range comms back online.”

“You can't pull rank on me.  I am the Archon and still Duchess of Tharkad!  This is my planet, I will do as I please!” 
“Give me an hour.  I will go out with you in my Grendel at the end of it but wait.  Please.”

Katherine stared at her fellow Wolf Warrior who returned it without blinking, “You have an hour only because my Shadow Cat needs a leg actuator repaired.” 
She set her watch, “Go.”

At Bunker E25-10 Two damaged Mechs without Wolf insignia but broadcasting friendly IFF (1st Royal Guards) walked into the bunker guided in by techs.  The pair powered down their machines as the repair gantries came into position.  To the technicians' surprise a trio of battered and bloodied crechies were in the cockpits of the two Battlemechs.  “MedTech!”

The Cluster Aid Station MedTechs cleaned them up, properly bandaged their wounds, treated Alaric for a concussion, and splinted Morgana's broken arm.  All three had lost some teeth in the battle but they were baby teeth soon to leave so no real harm done.  They were young so they would heal quickly.  Worse injuries happened on playgrounds in Sibko all the time.  Their personal codexes were registered into the found category of missing personnel and the update immediately went to Katherine and Clara's comm-pads while they were suiting up to head out into the city with a search party.

LIC Operatives were dispatched to debrief and escort the children across Asgard to Alpha Galaxy's position.  Katherine departed with her Barghest in a Hunting Binary knowing that at least her kids were safe now and even more determined to make sure it stayed that way.  Upon her return she went to one of the staff offices to receive an update on the impending Blakist invasion and catch a few hours of rest. 

When she walked into the office, Morgana was sitting in one of the chairs with her broken arm in a splint and still wearing the blood stained clothes from earlier.  She hadn't bothered to report to her quarters to pick up a new outfit. 

Katherine was enthused and rushed over to her, “Morgana!  You're safe!  How did you get out?”

“I took Stiletto.”

Katherine looked deflated at the mention of her mech.  HER DNA locked Mech, “Damn”
She held her codex charm in her good hand, “Mom.  We need to talk.”

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #96 on: 30 January 2019, 18:56:58 »
gee Morgana, are you wondering why your DNA and Mom's are the same?
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #97 on: 31 January 2019, 08:30:25 »
I think that scientist called it a "retread" when Brian Cameron asked about Maeve Wolf.
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 #98 on: 01 February 2019, 16:16:05 »
Short Detour, might do a limited run fanfic of this (after I'm done Price of Victory of course, and maybe Ian Davion, Golden Lion) but for all those curious about Arthur and Erde they learn this on Tetski (well some of it)

Secret History of the Wolverines

Exodus 2823-2829
Trish Ebon was dispatched with the SLS Bismark to escape Kerensky’s annihilation at the hands of the other clans.  They fled to the Tanite Worlds aboard the Texas SLS Bismark and Volga SLS Saratoga (formerly the Conchlin) escorting some other jumpships. saKhan Ebon intended to wait out the conflict while Hallis headed rim ward toward the Inner Sphere.  During this time on the Tanites the Wolverines reactivated the former Samarkand Block I SLS Beijing and a Riga destroyer (renaming it the SLS Pentagon Run) crippled and recovered by Clan Cloud Cobra during the Battle of Pentagon Run.  The Quixote that would later be recovered by the Society was mothballed due to lack of crew but the captured Potemkin became the CCS Wisdom of the Ages.

Khan Trish Ebon’s shadowy hand inflamed the Merchant caste revolution that led to the absorption of Clan Widowmaker.  During that time Clan Wolf itself was on the verge of destruction but survived.  However the Trial resulted in the near-death of Jerome Winston, death of Cal Jorgensson, and ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky enacting double vengeance on those responsible for the Wolverine’s destruction.  The unknown artillery barrage on Roche originated from Wolverine sponsored Dark Caste.

Resettlement 2830-2900
Trish Ebon had adopted the title Chief Magistrate rather than Khan upon settling down and attempted to leave the Wolverines’ past behind on the Tanite worlds.  Realizing that it was only a matter of time before the other Clans expanded again and discovered these Worlds.  The Wolverines left for the Inner Sphere after collecting as many Dark Caste as they could support and transport to rebuild their number but left behind a good number of well-trained technicians and security team. 

Heading back to the sphere the Wolverines landed on the agricultural world Paran in the Chainelaine Isles in 2830 to found the city of Ubis a mirror of one on the nearby planet of Vannes which was also held by the Wolverines during this time.  This city and other settlements throughout the Chainelaines immediately became major ports of call in the previously backwater cluster.  In 2840 a plague local to the planet of Syrstart overwhelmed the Star League medical staff and killed Chief Magistrate Trish Ebon.

Her husband Colonel Henry Buckler and the Wolverines remained in the Chainelane Isles with the Star League Expeditionary Brigade members that had settled in the cluster after losing contact with Terra during the Amaris Crisis. However, they relocated their enclave to a less hazardous area abandoning some of their advanced Star League era equipment rather than risk decontaminating it.

Recon expeditions were sent out to the Inner Sphere but only found the Second Succession War in high gear.  The Wolverines decided to wait it out while building their population and production up.  In 2860 the refitted Avatar cruiser SLS Pioneer was reaching the end of its lifespan, Chief Magistrate Roger Callahan bartered with the Paran SDF to take control of the vessel and overhauled the machine (renaming it the SLS Gulo) in the Brekke repair yard (a former RWR facility).  In 2870 a small scouting team returned from the Kerensky cluster bearing news of Omnimechs, Clan Smoke Jaguar absorbing the Mongoose Clan, and Elementals both armored and unarmored.

Return to the Sphere 2901-2965
Despite the Third Succession War and their growing power in the Isles as the dominant “Peacekeeping” force a group of Wolverines led by the bold and charismatic Sasha Ebon overthrew Chief Magistrate Roger Callahan in a bloody coup.  She focused the energies of her followers on returning to the Inner Sphere and began a major overhaul of the dropships and jump-ships brought with them as well as aggressive recruiting of additional Warriors and the complete implementation of their advanced components (clan intermediate weapons).  With five Warships (the Texas SLS Bismark, Volga SLS Saratoga, Avatar SLS Gulo, Samarkand SLS Beijing, and Riga SLS Pentagon Run), a dozen jumpships, dozens of dropships, and a full regiment of Battlemechs with support under her command they set out to the former Rim Worlds Republic’s Finmark Province.

Upon arriving in the Finmark province the Wolverines earned the nickname “Green Ghosts” by the pirates and Rim Worlds Remnant forces for their old SLDF paintjob and Sasha “Spooky” Ebon’s personal crest.  Under Sasha Ebon’s command they ‘pacified’ hostile forces and gathered resources and intelligence from the Lyran Commonwealth through cutouts disguised as lostech prospectors.  With the COMSTAR Explorer Corps’ formation the Blessed Order’s ships passed through the Chainlaines and the Wolverines realized they needed a new hiding place and began searching for opportunities.  Sasha Ebon gave new orders to a group of Wolverine warriors loaned to the Oberon Confederation that they should investigate the Galactic South for opportunity.

The Wolverines were hired as guards by Johann O’Rielly during his prospecting expedition to Alphard the man would eventually go on to form the Marian Hegemony.  More Wolverines were hired on by O’Rielly but it became clear that this new Pirate Kingdom left much to be desired and was an unreliable partner.  By this time Sasha’s daughter Amelia began negotiations with Magestrix Celeste Centrella of the Magistracy of Canopus.  The Magistracy had been a long standing and familiar trading partner for the Wolverines at the time (because they didn’t ask questions but always had needs).  During this time Sasha Ebon died and with it a large amount of enthusiasm within the Warrior caste.  Rather than accept the title Chief Magistrate Amelia handed it and thus the responsibility of maintaining the Wolverines over to the Lorekeeper Elder Council rather than risk another firebrand revolutionary taking command of the clan.

The Wolverines traded with the Canopians under their Green Ghosts pirate brand although their unit designation marked them as members of the 35th or 31st Royal CAAN Regiments that had been deployed in the area in the past.  The long abandoned world of Tetski, once one of the Magistracy’s most industrious before being infected with a genetically engineered plague, had recovered sufficiently for recolonization and Celese offered it up in exchange for technological and military aid from the Green Ghosts. 

However Celeste died during the transfer period leaving Tamara Centrella Magestrix and in the dark of her mother’s agreement.  The Wolverines jumped at this lapse of command and settled Tetski.  Some of their technical experts went out to the nearby independent world of Detroit and other Magistracy planets to help bootstrap industry on fledgling colonies.  Some Warriors returned to Mercenary work hiring on primarily with the Capellan Confederation and Free Worlds League.  Others chose not to settle down and joined with the growing Far Looker movement during this time, which was supported in part by dividends paid out to them by the Lorekeeper Council.

The Modern Century 2965-3070
Until 3004 the Wolverines were establishing themselves within the Magistracy of Canopus and greater Inner Sphere using MoC connections.  However in 3004 a group of them intercepted Katrina Steiner in disguise as the Red Corsair.  Sensing opportunity they allowed the young woman to join their band and possibly turn her into a future asset.  Wolverine “pirates” increased their activity along the Commonwealth’s border areas conducting recon in force operations against Alessandro Steiner before reporting that the interior worlds were lightly defended to their paymasters on Atreus through Selaj contacts.

With the Wolf Dragoons arrival in 3005, the Lorekeeper Council went into overdrive finalizing the establishment of a covert organization equaling COMSTAR’s ROM in reach.  These agents were tasked with confirming suspicions that the hated Wolf Clan and others might soon be returning.  Eventually the agents made contact with the Dragoons and began passing information to them in exchange for greater access to the mysterious and powerful “deep periphery” faction.  Once they got a look at the Widowmaker Warships on New Valencia they knew the Dragoons were from the Kerensky Cluster. 

Wolverine Warriors joined with the CCAF to combat the Wolves and test their mettle after so long without fighting another Clan.  Later the Elder Council approved more Mercenary activity among the Warriors to gain valuable experience fighting alongside the Inner Sphere forces and to prepare themselves for the impending invasion they felt was near.  Wolverines fought on both sides of the Marik Civil War and engaged the Capellan Confederation during the Andurian Succession alongside the MAF and Defenders but grew weary of hiding.

Wolverines in the Royal Guard fought off the Big MAC counterattack on Canopus and saw the passion and skill of the young Emma Centrella, heir to the Magestrix.  When she left Canopus and Luxen after almost being assassinated by her mother she fled to Hardcore.  On that planet she gathered allies and the Wolverines revealed themselves to her and promised to help her overthrow her mother.  If she would support them, they would support her wherever her ambition took her.  Carefully the Wolverine spread themselves throughout the MOC but especially in MIM where their secrets were safe and long history of remaining under the RADAR was welcomed by the Magestrix.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #99 on: 02 February 2019, 02:29:33 »
06/05/3070 Location – Asgard Complex, Tharkad, Wolf Empire

“Mom.  We need to talk.” 

Duchess/ Archon/ Princess/ Archon-Princess Regent Katherine/ Katrina/ Morgan Morgan/ Elizabeth Steiner-Davion/ Wolf/ White's world fell apart around her with that statement.  If she could will herself to be anyone else in the entire universe she would be there.  Kat had spent sleepless nights worrying about when 'her daughter' Morgana found out that she was actually her clone.  There was a faint and ultimately foolish hope that she never would have to reveal that secret, which was top three of her many terrible ones.  She cursed herself for not revealing it earlier in a more controlled environment preferably someone that would have given the girl the space to leave rather than being in this claustrophobic and dangerous place. 

This was poor timing of the worst type, Blakist Shadow Divisions were landing several hundred kilometers away, right now preparing to commit atrocities of the worst type.  The ComGuards 66th Division continued to fight across the planet.  Morgana had already narrowly avoided death at their hands not once but at least three times just today.  Not only that but her close friend and confidant LIC Director Alicia Savinson had sacrificed herself to ensure that even happened so there was no one she could talk to beforehand and she was running out of reliable allies.

She attempted to defuse the situation if Morgana was talking she could potentially steer the conversation to other topics.  “Why do you think I did it?”
Her daughter stood tall and made her mother seem small in comparison.  “That's cheap, I know this game.  Why did you make me? And why didn't you tell me?”

“I suppose I did teach you after all.  I promise there was nothing sinister in mind for you Morgana.  We both know that the Clans can clone tissue for replacements it just takes time so they use cybernetic prosthesis instead to get back into the fight.  So you're certainly not spares.  I didn't tell you because I had hoped you be older when we have this conversation.”

“That's not a good answer and you know it.  Tell me the truth!  You had to special request the Wolf Scientists make a retread and you weren't Loremaster when I was decanted so you couldn't do it by fiat.  Why?  Did Katya or Vladimir know?”

“You are not a true retread Morgana,”
  Katherine fingered her own codex, “some adjustments were made, improvements really, but your ninety-nine percent the same.  Katya didn't know she was busy right up until the day I killed her.  I did send a special request to the Homeworlds actually, right to the Wolf Enclave on Strana Mechdy.” 

She moved over to the desk and picked up a picture of Katherine and Vladimir on Tamar during her first 'working vacation' as a Wolf. “As for Vlad, your father doesn't pay attention to those sorts of things.  Alaric and Siegfried are regular trueborn he assumed you were as well merely with a greater resemblance to me.”

“Vladimir isn't my father!  Hanse Davion is.”

“And what a Daughter of the Fox you would be.  Possessing so much potential without the hindrances and injustices I suffered as a youth.  You have everything I do, did, and more.  Hanse would have been proud of you.”

“You created me for your own vanity.  Disgusting.  What kind of legacy is that?”


Since it was her office she had numerous pictures within it.  This was a raw moment she didn't mind using them as props and distractions.  Kat put down the picture of her and Vlad instead choosing one of the family, all five Steiner-Davion siblings, Hanse, Melissa, and Katrina. “Every parent leaves a legacy in the form of their children.”

She put the frame down but hammered her fist on the table while crying.  “Well I can't have any!  Divine judgment on a cursed soul stillborn my son, stole my chance to have natural children forever, and killed the love of my life in rapid succession.

Do you know how angry that made me? 

As much as I love Yvonne she is my sister not my daughter though I sometimes treated her as such because I feared that was all I could leave behind.

No I was afraid of being forgotten.  Without a legacy to call my own.  Is that so wrong?   

I could never let it go?
No, not while I had a glimmer of a chance.
I'd sacrifice anything.
Have sacrificed so much.
Just to create you and your brothers.
You were not Vanity.  You were Redemption and Revenge against cruel Fate.”

“Redemption?”
“You know I can't tell you everything.  If you don't well I'm not telling you anyway.  Its all in the past and everyone involved is dead as of today.  Well except me.”

“Alicia?”
“Yes, like the big sister or mother I never had.  I wouldn't trust just anyone with your safety.  It saddens me greatly that she is gone.  She deserved a better life than the one she lived, but it was nevertheless the one she chose.  My greatest fear is losing control of my choices.  Vlad and I are going to Terra together but after that I don't know what my options will be.”

“What about me?”
“I'm choosing to fight for you and you brothers to have a choice Morgana.  Different choices than I was offered when I was your age.”


Morgana put her codex back onto her necklace. “You should have told me.  We'll talk about this later.”
“Goodnight Morgana.”


The girl walked out of the room leaving Katherine alone with her swirling emotions.  She opened the desk and pulled out her meds.  Meds that Morgana wouldn't have to take because of the efforts of her re-engineering of herself.  Ones that were increasingly incapable of managing her Dobrowski Depression-A.  Every hour under a neurohelmet cost her precious mental energy and made her condition worsen.  She needed to get to Terra with Vlad before she burned out. 

It was so close.  All she needed was a little more time.

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #100 on: 02 February 2019, 04:21:11 »
I'm kind of surprised that the little girl didn't pimp slap her 'Mom'
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #101 on: 03 February 2019, 00:52:47 »
I'm kind of surprised that the little girl didn't pimp slap her 'Mom'

Well both of them do have more pressing issues.  Morgana's not going to be able to pull that daring escape off this time with a broken arm.

---------

06/05/3070 22:47 Location – 14 kilometers above Elizabeth Island, Tharkad, Wolf Empire

Specter Precentor Eligos was deafened from the air rushing past his Djinn Battle Armor as it fell through the nighttime sky.  His squad was surrounded by Aerospace Fighters, Mechs, Armored Infantry, and Mercenary Paratroopers.  He monitored the altimeter in his face-plate and could see his target survey grid in the AR data-link despite the base and associated military town being under blackout conditions.  Non-partial wing equipped units deployed drag chutes and flared their jump jets to slow themselves for a hard landing. 

“All air units break off from escort.  Head to target.” 

The fighter wing and company of LAMs in the 50th Shadow Division broke off streaking toward the responding Aerofighters.  Their target was TSDF (Tharkad Self-Defense Force) Cape Crescent, the largest airbase of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.  The Djinn Armored Infantry and Partial Wing equipped Battlemechs righted themselves and quietly began their final descent. 

TSDF conventional fighters roared past them toward the bulk of the attack force while the Aerofighters engaged one another overhead.  The ground battery was firing flak into the sky but the LAMs swooped down to engage their gun crews with machine like precision rapidly silencing the guns before taking to the skies once more.  The Land Air Mechs surprised and terrified the defenders spreading terror and confusion in their wake just like they planned.

As he neared the base Eligos saw the TSDF fighters preparing an elephant walk off the runway.  Likely heading toward his Hell Knight's dropships, the conventional bombers would cause massive damage and deny this planet's righteous judgment.  “Mechs, Engage the fighters.  Djinns with me.”

“Roger that Precentor.”


The Hell Knights tore into the unprepared aircraft some of the kills were followed by the bombs on their external hard-points detonating in dramatic explosions.  Shrapnel and chips of broken ferrocrete bounced off the Djinn's armor each one would have killed an unarmored soldier.  Each of the 24 Djinns in the attack force carried a cratering charge in place of a Light TAG.  Eligos readied the charge and jumped over a burning Steinadler strike plane into a TSDF infantry squad.  The foot soldiers were surprised but managed to fire their rifles at the armored trooper, the bullets were ineffective however against the advanced armor that protected the cyborg warrior.  They were quickly cut down by the Djinn's machine gun and the panicked cries of the ground crews filled the air as they didn't stop. 

Triad, Tharkad City

Precentor Dag Kesselrig couldn't help but being intimated by the Manei Domini Wraith Precentor Naamah of the 49th Shadow Division (Naamah's Nightwalkers).  She wasn't outwardly terrifying like some of them, as a matter of fact she was quite attractive by any measure, tan skin, pretty face, and excellent carriage worthy of any Duchess in the Inner Sphere.  Her whole image was one of a consummate and high class predator aristocrat.  She ascended the steps in her white and gold combat uniform, wearing a light combat harness while carrying a Kopis sword and Sunbeam laser pistol on her stylish belt and a modified Ebony laser rifle in a sling over her shoulder.  She sat on the Iron Throne of Tharkad like she belonged there although she put the rifle beside her rather than sit on it.

She controlled the Throne room with such ease even the monstrous Tau Zombie Infantry moved out of her way in deference.  What Dag didn't know was that she had been doing that for years, most recently as Precentor Anjelica Mauve of the Blakist 22nd Division, the woman who convinced Grover Shraplen to turn over his realm to the Blakists and waste his soldiers against the Federated Suns ultimately resulting in the deaths of billions.  However Naamah (originally Nera Artemev) was a member of the Ebon Magistrate and was originally supposed to be Emma Centrella's top woman in the conspiracy.  She was still the top woman and even though The Master had turned on The Magestrix her loyalty was with the order first and against the Clans, particularly the Wolf Clan.

Gone were the Imperial Wolf banners (burned) and the Steiner Gauntlet (melted down and reforged) instead they replaced with the Broadsword of the Word of Blake and Banners bearing the Sol Protectorate's sign.  “Oh this will be such fun.  Places everyone.”

A pair of the Grim Reaper Battlemechs walked behind her taking up the vacant positions of the Archon's Griffins.  The broadcast light turned green signaling that it was being transmitted by the Triad's own comm arrays since the Tharkad HPG complex had been destroyed earlier today. “This is Precentor Naamah of the Forty Ninth Shadow Division of the Word of Blake. 

Are you watching Katherine?  Because I have a question to ask. 

Are you satisfied hiding under your mountain while I sit upon your throne? 

Why don't you come out and say hello to your guests. And if you don't well...we're going to start killing people and burning cities and we're not going to stop until you make us.  So choose wisely.

By the way your little Warship above doesn't scare me. 
See you on the battlefield White Wolf.”

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #102 on: 03 February 2019, 14:52:42 »
Someone asking for serious bitch slap.  Eesh Evil lady.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #103 on: 03 February 2019, 17:21:05 »
Someone asking for serious bitch slap.  Eesh Evil lady.

Hating on the lady that owns it.  Well Katherine did bombard one of Blessed Blake's Beacons with a warship, A CLAN ONE NO LESS.  BTW I'm imagining her as Anella from Killjoys.

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

06/06/3070 Outside Weibetel

The shattered remains of TAG's Aesira Orbital Yards had fallen like a million shooting stars into the atmosphere this morning over the spring countryside around the industrial city of Weibetal.  Haborym's Legion was burning Mako City and Tatyana Trans-Oceanic's Shipyards to the ground while seeking out and destroying the Luftenberg TSDF Elizabeth Steiner's carrier battle group.  Eligos' Hell Knights were supporting and 'encouraging' their “frail” mercenaries and regular Militia engaged all across the world spreading the TSDF thin and particularly removing the WIS Dire Wolf Warship.  Naamah's XO Dantalion was baiting Wolves with the 66th ComGuards Division a task for which he was well-suited.

Naamah's Nightwalkers Division fought within a cloud of poison gas through the industrial park.  The Guards sought to stop them from attacking TharHes' main factory and had set up ambushes uncovered by aerial flybys and ghost recon agents over the area last night.  However, a pre-dawn bombing run by captured Roubvogel bombers that deployed the nerve agents forced out Armored Infantry and tank crews not capable of resisting the chemical agent for an extended period, ones that were unable to resist died terribly.

Naamah was secure in her light gray Black Hawk KU not that the nerve agent would affect her.  Her Manei Domini's cybernetic and biological augmentation made her immune to this particular agent but it was incredibly lethal to “frails.”  It was a nice change of pace to be in a cockpit above a battleground after so long undercover.  She watched as a mixed Company of Armored infantry, wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and the cybernetically enhanced Tau Zombies forward of her own Demi-Company.  They found nothing more than tanks turned tombs and corpses of unfortunate Royal Guardsmen in the warehouses and rail yards surrounding the city.

Captain Alexander Carlye, CO of the Gray Death Company and Baron of Glengarry (currently occupied by ComGuards deployed to deal with the Skye Revolt)  watched as the front lines of the Nightwalkers walked right into his trap from his Linebacker Omnimech.  The Blakist Armored Infantry, Tau Zombies, and vehicles were immune to the nerve agent that had cost him many allies today.  Fortunately he had more, the GDC was completely outfitted with Clan tech courtesy of Katherine's Wolves, mostly mismatched cast offs but better than anything money could buy. 

He fingered the command detonator.  Fortunately he wasn't afraid of fire like his mother had been.  Alex hit the button setting off fougasses and incendiary mines that would make quick work of the infantry, armored or otherwise. 

“Burn you bastards.”  The flames leapt high into the sky and set off tank cars of POL (Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants) that were strategically positioned across the front.  He had been ordered to hold TharHes at all costs but he was going to get an ear-full from Tharkad Petrochem after this.  It was only warehouses, that's why they had insurance. 

“That's for mom.”

Right out a nightmare, the Battlemechs of the Nightwalkers stepped out of the fire followed by the slightly charred but otherwise unharmed support troops, the sharp angles of the Demon Armored Infantry was grimly back-lit by the fire.  Alex's jaw dropped, “Not even hellfire itself can stop them.  All units engage at will!”



Later that day, The Thera Supercarrier SLS Fort Verdun and its escorts {Whirlwind CJW Emerald Tornado and Eagle SLS Battle of Tukayyid (formerly the Leodegrance)} jumped to Tharkad's Zenith Point only to find the Pinto WOBS Syrstary and Blakist Invasion Armada it was protecting. 

Admiral Dubravka watched as the enemy began to maneuver toward his own trio of Warships.  The Emerald Tornado was already flaring toward the hostile.  His bridge crew looked toward him, “There's an armada at the Zenith Point Admiral!  What do we do?”

He pointed toward the Blakist dropships already moving into defensive positions.  Juhan pulled the switch that activated General Quarters.  Calmly informing them clearly even over the Klaxons and flashing lights, “Get to your battle stations.”

Aboard the Pinto WOBS Syrstart Precentor Raziel did the same, except for one thing.  The dropship collar on her Corvette had been taken up by a special Mammoth dropship (codename:  Marilith) that nearly massed a third of her tiny vessel.  The WOBDS Hornet's Nest came right from the hidden world of Obeedah along with a trio of similar vessels (total of 4) all destined for the Sol Protectorate.  She sent a message to Tharkad, “I am opening the Hive Precentor Naamah.  You prepare for hostiles.”

The WOBDS Hornet's Next opened recessed doors that soon swarmed with dozens of “bug eyed” Aerospace fighters and Small craft;

with no one aboard.
« Last Edit: 03 February 2019, 17:28:23 by AlphaMirage »

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #104 on: 03 February 2019, 18:03:25 »
Unleash the drones! (plays flight of the Valkyries)
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #105 on: 04 February 2019, 15:43:58 »
Star Captain Eli Nova rushed to his Aerofighter after donning his flight suit.  His heavy neurohelmet was tethered to the chest harness and banged into the walls along with the pilot through the tight corridors. The SLS Fort Verdun was beginning evasive maneuvers as hostile fighters sortied their way which made the normally routine freefall transit particularly difficult.  A side-slip crashed him, his Nova Cat Trinary (Callsigns “Crimson, Gold, and Blue”), and the DCA Squadron (Callsign “Sakura”) that shared this fighter ready bay into the metal walls with a crash. 

Both wings had been drilled well over Alarion however, the pilots found handholds holding fast until the maneuver finished complete with colorful Clan and Kurita curses.  He gritted his teeth as the gees pulled against him but found the next handhold and climbed toward the hatch.  “If you think I am angry now.  Wait till I get to my fighter, Dezgra Surats”

He pulled his way into the hatch, a narrow cell with a single ladder going down either way, Eli cycled the airlock, and dropped into the Aerofighter Cell.  The prep crew had already fueled and loaded ordnance onto his Tatsu before moving on to the next fighters in the deployment schedule.  The pressure door that led to the launch tunnel blinked red. 

Eli clambered into the Tatsu Aerofighter his fingers danced across the consoles powering up the fine-tuned Kurita war machine.  He triggered the pressure tight ferroglaz canopy which locked into position as the atmospheric mix began to change inside the cockpit.  It was followed by an armored canopy that would actually protect the cockpit from hostile fire.  Set up was complete when he put the armored neurohelmet on and synced it to the Tatsu's DI computer and local BattleNet.  “Gold One online, all callsigns report in.”

The remaining 29 callsigns of his Trinary blinked green.  “The Nova Cats are ready to launch Flight Ops.  On your signal.”

“Roger that Top Cat, Engaging Minimum Takeoff Distance, transfer flight controls.”

Eli and the other Nova Cats momentarily surrendered their flight controls to SLS Fort Verdun's Flight Ops Command Officer.  The pressure door blinked yellow while the fighter cell's atmosphere was evacuated.  When it turned green the electromagnetic catapult sled that the Tatsu was mounted on moved was pulled onto the main launch tunnel.  The 36 fighters of Fighter Ready Bay 1-3 were maneuvered into position dangerously close but this was a battlezone after all.  “Prepare for powered release.”

Eli grabbed bars welded into his cockpit for carrier launch, “Fire when ready.”

The capacitors of the SLS Fort Verdun charged up and dumped all their energy into accelerating the 70 ton Aerofighter with another five tons of ordnance hanging off it into the void.  It was something they didn't prepare this Nova Cat for in flight school initially his 10 test launches above Alarion didn't make it any easier.  The battleship gray eventually led to an opening in the Thera's hull to the deep black beyond.  This tube would be protected by heavy armor plates unless it was in use but was always kept in vacuum.  The rest of his flight followed closely behind, “You have flight control.  Happy hunting.”

The Nova Cats and DCA were tasked to one of the Silverfish C2BM Small Craft (Callsign:  “Quicksilver”) that was tracking nearly an equal number of Aerofighters to the Thera's Two Regiments of Fighters many of which were unknown designs.  One of the DCA Pilots said something over the local BattleNet, “There is no way the Blakist have that many pilots.”

“They have Terra, they could have whole armies of them.  Good thing they brought one for us to practice on.  All callsigns stick with your wingman and engage at Quicksilver's discretion.”

Eli turned his Tatsu A Omnifighter around the unknown Blakist fighter, the gees of the maneuver pushed him to the breaking point but it was barely enough for this flattened fractal of a “Scarab” Aerofighter.  He fired the 2 cERPPC and 8 cMPL missing with the big guns but tearing into the fuselage of the enemy craft when a pair of Shade Spectral Omnifighters came out of nowhere on his six.  They fought smart and impossibly fast, no human even an Aerospace pheno could survive the tight vectors and absurd acceleration these units could manage.

Even with a multi-national collection of veteran fighter pilots it was the assault dropships and particularly the Emerald Tornado that were getting the most kills just by sheer throwweight, barracuda missiles in particular streaked through the school of fighters.  However, most of the escort dropships had been taken down by heavy weight unknown fighters and Spectral Striga fighters piloted by the much feared Manei Domini.  These new threats were not clearly marked and only painted in primer, something experimental and incredibly dangerous.  Each seemed to easily kill three friendlies before dying itself often throwing itself onto a collision course with a larger craft.  These units could pull off maneuvers that even the Spectrals could not.

On the Command Deck Admiral Dubravka sat in the CIC and looked at the sensors feeds everyone was wearing their lightweight emergency pressure suits with their lightweight helmets clipped onto the harness.  The Syrstart and her pocket warship flotilla were protecting a Mammoth dropship, “That's our target right there.  I don't care about the Corvette or jumpships.  We need to kill that thing and quick.  Get us within gun range.”

“Admiral are you certain?”
“Never been surer in my life, order Star Commodore Tanya and Captain Turner to engage the Jumpship flotilla.  This thing can take a few hits and if that's all they've got none of those bastards has an under-slung Alamo.  This Warship can take a Corvette and some dropships.”


“Aye sir.  All power to engines.  Gunnery crews are preparing a solid firing solution.”

Tanya and Turner broke off from escort duty to harass the Jumpships which fled rather than face a pair of Warships leaving the invasion force behind.  The Srystart and its fellow space combatants moved to engage the mighty Supercarrier. 

The prow mounted Heavy Ngauss rifles smashed through enemy dropships while the naval autocannons fired on both sides to finish off any that escaped the prow guns.  The up-gunned assault corvette Syrstart was not to go quietly and was equipped with both sub-capital and capital weapons that tore into the recently completed Thera.  The fighter battle drew closer to the carrier as the Hornet's Next began evasive maneuvers but even the sluggish Thera was fast enough to catch the fleeing command ship in time.

The Syrstart attempted to ram the Fort Verdun but the Supercarrier rolled and engaged an emergency burn to barely evade the more agile corvette.  After a withering point blank broadside the vessel was shattered and broke apart.  Some of the damaged pieces hit the aft of the carrier and leaving great gashes in the armor.   Pieces of the ancient warship bled molecular hydrogen and ammonia from their damaged components forming a faint cloud around the pieces that caught the dim light of Tharkad’s sun as it drifted away in the Fort Verdun's thrust wake.

A Heavy NGauss round speared through the WOBDS Hornet’s Nest causing critical damage to the bloated sphere.  Mystery fighters swarmed to protect their carrier dropship throwing themselves against heavy fighter defense batteries with no concern for their own safety even kamikazing it if the opportunity presented itself.  The escort Warships, normally responsible for dealing with a massed fighter attack, had left it exposed but were rapidly redirecting to deal with the threat.  Both were firing their Barracuda and Piranha anti-fighter missiles and flak cannons from long range into the combat zone while closing rapidly. 

The “bait ball” was overwhelming the unseasoned Thera as well as the hull defense tank crews.  The drone strafing runs cut into vital systems and overloaded damage control crews but their numbers were rapidly decreasing as the Aerospace fighters were markedly more capable when they could pin the agile fighters against the carrier’s precision guns.  The WOBDS Hornet’s Nest was finished off with a massed volley of canon fire.

The hull of the SLS Fort Verdun was scarred but no critical systems were damaged when it launched the SAR craft, salvage teams, and Marine assault shuttles toward the Tharkad Zenith Point’s Recharge Station after the main battle.  Admiral Juhan Dubravka was alone in his office as he looked over the casualty and damage reports.  He received a transmission for the WIS Dire Wolf about the grim current state of the Lyran Capital including video of The Triad itself engulfed in flames.  “So much for a victory cruise.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #106 on: 06 February 2019, 18:46:48 »
06/11/3070 Location – Outside Cold Creek, Tharkad

Precentor Naamah was against the clock now, Four Clan Galaxies and a Wolf Naval Star had jumped into the Zenith point of Tharkad yesterday.  Her Shadow Divisions had suffered serious damage but had done significant harm to the Lyran capital world destroying many important facilities and cities by chemical or thermal means.  They had also killing thousands of people, possibly tens of thousands, but likely not hundreds.  However, she didn't have time to count what little was left of the bodies after dropping bombs on evacuation shelters.  The victims had faced their judgment for supporting the Clan Empire rather than seeing the Light of Blake.  The Shadows figured the Lyrans would come up with a number by the time they reached Terra or died trying. 

The SLS Fort Verdun had killed the WOBDS Hornet's Nest but the warship had taken plenty of hits in the process and the dropship had transmitted program updates to the Naga Enlightened Direction before it was destroyed.  Program updates that would make the other three hives more effective, possibly enough to kill the Fort Verdun in a rematch or take down one of the two remaining Ghost Bear Leviathans, possibly all three or at least that had been the plan.

Now it was finally time to finish up things here before the SLDF got in on the fun.  Dantalion had done an excellent job baiting Vlad's Golden Keshik Warriors while Naamah drew Katherine's White Keshik to Cold Creek.  Both commands had been harried all week and with reinforcements from the remnants of the other Shadow Divisions, the 49th was at full strength while the Wolves were running low on ammo and heavily damaged after suicide raids on their underground and supposedly hidden supply depots by MD Zombies and Banshees.

Naamah's Black Hawk-KU stalked through the urban center with support, Cold Creek was not the largest city on Tharkad but it sprawled widely.  Cities favored the defender; normally that required the removal of the city but the Odessa stockpile of tactical nukes had already been cleared out or were in use so she had to do it the hard way.

The complete destruction of heavy industry on the Lyran Capital was almost complete, it would take them years to recover from the damage even with Clan assistance and other Shadow Divisions were attempting to deal with that particularly vexing issue.  They had needed more time to build up in order to overpower the Clans but Demona Aziz and her protege Cameron St Jamais had ruined it just like Emma warned The Master.  The Taurians had failed to achieve the necessary objectives to remain in the Order's good graces and paid for it with four billion plus of their lives.

Katherine waited in her Barghest, the machine had been heavily damaged in the past week of fighting and was running around with only half the normal armor load.  The Wolves were running out of armor and ammunition after the Manei Domini destroyed two of Asgard's largest combat depots armed with far better intelligence than had been anticipated.  The constant attacks against the TSDF had also taken a toll forcing the Wolves despite their declining numbers to spread themselves thin and fight to the death in some cases against the fanatical cyborg Shadow Divisions in order to protect non-combatants and critical infrastructure. 

Finally with the Wolves fully committed to the field and their numbers rapidly decreasing the Shadow Divisions relented against Asgard's interlocking fortifications that were protecting her children.  Four more Galaxies were en route and the Fort Verdun's Battlegroup was decelerating after a fast burn to Tharkad in order to relieve the Dire Wolf that had been keep a pair of Warships at a safe distance solo for a week.  Already advance scouts confirmed the suspicion that this was the last day of operations for the Shadow Divisions before they departed aboard their dropships.  They were willing to fight to the death but smart enough not to, at least not today.

Remote sensors flickered on her view-screen, they were coming her way.  The rest of the Binary was nearby, some were concealed underground but the Fenrirs began moving to the surface.  Their heavy firepower and armor had turned the tide on more than one occasion and although TharHes of Weibetal was lost there were other factories for the heavy hitting Battle Armor.  A low profile Bushwhacker walked next to Katherine's Barghest, the ugly unit that had served as a building block for her own machine had previously served in the TSDF but its pilot hadn't made it to his mech in time for a surprise raid so it went to a Wolf instead.  “Let's get them Star Captain.”

Concealed within their own stealth systems the White Wolves 1st Strike Binary moved to engage the enemy.  Katherine waited for a pair of Bollas to turn the corner before hitting them broadside with her ultra 203mm Autocannon and heavy large lasers.  The sudden surge of waste heat overwhelmed Katherine even though she had anticipated and prepared for it by cooling her vest more beforehand.  Even with her skimpy clothes under the cooling jacket she was sweating heavily, Dark Wolf was a completely different kind of beast than her normal ride although both were Barghests they were optimized for different tasks.  The Blakist tanks seemed to pause before exploding, one from the sheer mass of autocannon rounds thrown its way and the other from the huge gaping holes that found hot-loaded missiles.

Naamah watched as the lead tanks exploded and saw the White Wolves come around the corner to engage her level ii in close combat.  “Finally some action.”  She toggled her Plasma Rifle and Enhanced PPC and opened up on the enemies focusing primarily on a Hunchback C.  That mech would be a major problem in this built up terrain with his ultra heavy autocannon.  The pair of quad pack short range missiles filled with inferno gel combined with the white hot plasma heated the machine up until the ammo cooked off and blew the mech in half.  The pilot must have been KOed by the ammo explosion and Naamah closed and kicked in his cockpit while continuing to engage his Starmates.  The Plasma rifle fired again and cooked a Fenris operator like a baked potato.

The melee got more involved and Katherine saw her target, Naamah's Black Hawk KU.  “You're dead bitch.”

She fired the heavy lasers one scored a direct hit on the enemy mech but the combination of Inferno gel and plasma caused her mech to critically overheat and shut down despite her best efforts to keep it online at this critical moment.  Fortunately her autocannon's ammo was empty or it might have cooked off and really screwed Katherine up.  Naamah closed in on the helpless mech, “Time to finish you off White Wolf.”

Her starmates however had a different plan and a lucky shot from a Hollander II's Gauss rifle cut through the Black Hawk KU's arm at the shoulder and sent the weapon that would have executed Katherine crashing through a nearby office building.  “Another time then.”

The Black Hawk jumped away and the Shadow Division disengaged to rendezvous with the dropship that would be taking them off-world.  Living to fight another day.

The Aegis Herald of Truth and Naga Enlightened Direction Warships began a fast burn gaining velocity by using Marsden's gravity to escape the Dire Wolf and Fort Verdun while the Shadow Division dropships accelerated rapidly eventually meeting up before approaching a non-standard jump point near Frigg, a Saturn sized planet in the Tharkad system while transferring as much material as possible to the Warships.  They scuttling Dropships they didn't have collars for into the gas giant before warping away.

Back on Tharkad, Katherine kneeled in the ashes of the Triad tears running down and making channels in the ash on her face.  Tharkad City and Olympia had been heavily damaged during the Blakist occupation along with almost every other metropolitan area on-world.  Casualty counts were still coming in but they were staggering as thermobaric, chemical, and biological weapons were used against civilian evacuation shelters.  Those that scattered had been hunted unless they had protection, mines, IEDs, floods from breached dams, and persistent NBC agents had been left behind were made worse by the sheer damage to bridges and other infrastructure. 

The Defense Fleet was in flames or on the bottom of the ocean. The TSDF ground forces devastated, 1st Royal Guards suffered half casualties, and the Wolves were about the same.  Every major factory had suffered damage some of it irreparable, the Aesir Orbital Yards and Tatyana Trans-Oceanic's Shipyards of Mako City were complete losses. 

The whole planet was in ruins and suddenly felt more like a tomb.

Ashes flowed between Katherine's hands before blowing in the wind, smoke still blocked some of the summer sun, “And its all my fault.”
« Last Edit: 06 February 2019, 20:10:23 by AlphaMirage »

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #107 on: 07 February 2019, 09:50:10 »
Sounds like the Wolves need to hunting, their going be hunting Woobies.  Murderers need to pay.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #108 on: 07 February 2019, 11:46:37 »
Khan Vladimir Ward walked through the ashes of the Triad toward a sobbing Katherine, her hair was filled with ash, and she looked a pitiable sight.  His gray jacket was covered in it as well and so much was kicked up it almost caused him to choke but he did not want to ruin the moment.  The Khan's heart hurt as much as his body after the Battle of Tharkad and it felt worse to see his wife in this condition.  It felt odder to think of her as such but the sensation had grown on him over the years. 

He attempted to emphasize with her; if someone burned Arcadia he would surely grieve at the loss after finding vengeance.  With her it was different; she seemed diminished at some core level that he couldn't comprehend despite his best efforts.  They were just too different this way.

Admiral Juhan Dubravka, Captain Alexander Carlyle and SaKhan Marielle Raddick were in orbit already.  Vengeance was waiting and so was Terra but it could wait a few moments more for the grief.  He put a hand gently on her shoulder causing her to draw back, “I am truly sorry for Tharkad Katherine.  On behalf of all the Clans, the Word of Blake will answer for this grave crime and all the others they have committed.”

“Why did they do it?  What were they going to gain from this slaughter?  Innocents bombed, cities burned, the whole planet is in ruins for no reason but to terrorize.  Well it worked, I'm afraid Vlad.  So very afraid of what we will we find on Terra.  Are we strong enough to win?”

“I cannot know Katherine, this is not like any war I have experienced.  No one in the current age has.  This is why the Clans have a Warrior caste; to spare innocents from this kind of horror.  Not even the Jaguars or Vipers were this brutal.  The Mongooses were Annihilated for far less. 

We have to go its not safe here.”

“This is, was my home.  If I can't feel safe here where can I?”


He knelt down in front of her, “Warriors must always be ready to fight for their homes.  It is their first duty without which they are due to fail.  We fought hard.  If we were not here especially the Dire Wolf how many others might have died?”

“If we weren't here they wouldn't have been attacked.”


Vlad couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity even in the midst of so much destruction, “That did not stop them all the other times they attacked us.  Tharkad is a very valuable world, one I would bid the whole of the Wolf Touman to take were it an option.  You were wise to make it a hard target but even the hardest of targets can be worn down in time especially if you don't want to use it afterwards.

You have not been in the Dixie or Skye Provinces during your entire reign as Archon, yet they were attacked and occupied for the majority of this conflict.”



She raised her head blue eyes catching gray from everywhere but the gold ring on Vladimir's finger, which brought a faint smile but it was quickly replaced with melancholy again.   “Well where can we go?”

“I think you should go to Donegal with Admiral Dubravka's SLIC Officer and take the kids.  The Fort Verdun has salvaged some components from the mystery vessel and fighters they want investigated.  He says they have the best facilities for the task there.  It will give you some time to deal with this and get better medical attention than the Dire Wolf can currently offer.  The Avalanche is already waiting for you.”

“Where are you going?”
“I'm going to Glengarry with Baron Carlyle, Marielle, and the others.  He has offered to give us a base of operations to deal with the problems in the Isle of Skye alongside Generals Steiner and Brett until we formulate the next step.  The Word of Blake is running out of places to run too, we'll catch them all I swear.”


Katherine hugged him so hard he almost toppled over but caught himself before he got even dirtier, “Thank You Vlad.  For everything.  I couldn't have done any of this without you.”

He returned the embrace, “We both got here because of one other.  I am not going to take the credit.”

Vladimir helped Katherine up from the ground, “Since when?”
“People can change Katherine.  Wouldn’t have had a reason to without your influence.

Walk with me a bit.  Tell me what it used to be so we can rebuild it together after this is done. 

This my home too after all.”


06/21/3070 Location – Wytheville Star Harbor, Donegal

The Union-X WIS Avalanche landed under cover from fighters attached to the air wing of the Eclipse Carrier FCS Donegal currently in the lead of a Commonwealth Warship flotilla.  The Sovetskii Soyuz CDS Nagasawa was also in system guarding the heavy Potemkin Troop Cruisers of the Diamond Sharks and Hell's Horses that were bringing in supplies and personnel from the Chainelaines and Csesztreg Collection to support the Clan offensive against the Word of Blake and their so called “Sol Protectorate.”  The massive vessels were loaded to the gills and attempting to skirt the active Ghost Bear-Skye-Wobbie Front through a previously Blakist free corridor.  The lone Wolf Potemkin WIS Full Moon had been given that assignment, however that wouldn't stop enterprising Diamond Shark Merchants from conducting business with one of the wealthiest worlds in the Inner Sphere.

Katherine and SLIC (former ONI) Major Varitz were greeted on the tarmac by some VIPs.

“Adam.  Rachel.” Katherine ran over to her cousin and former confidant who embraced her, “I'm sorry to hear about Tharkad Katherine, it must have been awful.”  His wife Rachel Steiner waited quietly till they were done.

“It was, I heard Donegal got attacked as well.”
“Yeah it was relatively minor fortunately, a few acts of sabotage and a bit of combat that we just missed.  They damaged the Carrack Carrier Bloodletter and Fox Ian McQuiston but the Fleet Academy and Clan techs are working on them currently.

With the Nagasawa holding here for a little while I'm certain they won't try anything too bold, especially considering the Hell's Horses and Jade Wolves gathering around Arcturus to take Odessa.  One of my fellow ONI operatives bugged the Demi-Precentor that summoned the Shadow Division to there.  They are going to make sure that threat is removed with extreme prejudice.”


Katherine looked at the other character, Diamond Shark Loremaster Semi Kalasa, someone she did not like but could work with.  “Semi.”
“Katherine”
“Where's Barbara?”
“On her way to Alshain; as the only Council Clan that has not attacked the Ghost Bears she is attempting to calm Khan Kabrinsky or at least direct her anger to the proper location.  She is bringing the Whiteout fix as a sign of good faith.  You know those Elementals, they're pretty hard-headed.”
 “What about the others?”
“Loremasters or the Khans?”
“The Clan Loremasters were summoned to Arcturus in order to consult with Chandraskar Kurita at the request of Nova Cat Loremaster Vozka.  He has apparently gathered some interesting intelligence on his own concerning our current foes that he would like to share in person.  We will be more careful this time.  Nox caught us all by surprise we will not be fooled again. 

The Khans well; they need to stop fighting one another first, then I suppose they can come to an arrangement.  I will be riding with Loremasters Fletcher and Pryde.  The Nagasawa's Captain has her orders, she's not going anywhere soon.  I however have to depart soon in order to meet them at the Jump Point.  Perhaps I will see you again in the near-future Katherine, Rachel, and Adam.”


They watched as the Loremaster departed complete to get an urgent message from one of her Watch Agents.  “I don’t like her Katherine.”
KSD:  “I agree Rachel.  Those Diamond Sharks are tricky to deal with and currently are keeping very remote ties.  We unfortunately have more pressing matters however.”


The trio looked toward the SLDF C-1 Dropshuttle that was swarming with ONI operatives and Fleet Master at Arms.  Rachel opened up her canvas bag to pull out a tablet computer.
“Yes, I understand my former classmate is overseeing the loading of some particularly interesting pieces of salvage.”
“Rachel, you went to the University of Washington?”
“Yes, for my doctorate in Computer Science.  I’m not just a pretty face Adam.  In fact UW is actually the primary ONI recruitment and training area nowadays.
“I had no idea you had a doctorate though.  It’s not like you display the Diploma.”
She kissed her husband, “It’s been hanging in my office for years now dear.  You just never look up to see it.”
“Let’s get moving before I embarrass myself further in front of the Archon.”
“You think that’s bad.  Did you ever tell Rachel about the time…”


“We’re not talking about that Katherine.  Ignore anything the Archon says to disparage my character Rachel.  She has it out for me despite everything I’ve done for her.”

Adam turned and walked toward the convoy of black SUVs and Fleet Security Vehicles.  Rachel whispered something to Katherine behind his back and she whispered something back.  She came back with a mischievous smile, “Really?”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #109 on: 07 February 2019, 18:53:30 »
06/27/3070 11:57 Location - AMS-NH, Belfast Anchorage, Donegal

Morgana looked wistfully at outside the window of the Alistair Marsden Steiner Naval Hospital, it was a calm place, clear blue sky with puffy clouds, Dunkirk Sound lapped on the cliffs, many boats cruised in and out of the Anchorage.  Some were ferrying the stream of casualties from Tharkad arriving for rehabilitation from the starport across the Sound.  AMS-NH had sent their two Dove class medical dropships to Tharkad on the same merchant jumpship that her mother and brothers had arrived from along with relief supplies for the capital drawn from the Belfast Anchorage and Simon Kelswa Orbital Yard above.

Relief hadn't come soon enough for some of her lost friends when the Shadow Divisions attacked civilian evacuation shelters.  Here she was again in a strange place surrounded by stranger people adrift without a solid anchor.  Like a boat thrashed in a storm that lost its ability to control heading.  She had not spoken to her mother since Tharkad; it felt petty but she had kept at least one dire secret from her. That she existed because her mother loved herself so much that she wanted to bless the Inner Sphere with another version, there was no other explanation.

A maybe 17 or 18 year old hospital volunteer easily identified by her colorful scrubs with a bright contrasting Anne Grenwall, LNA walked fast before stopping at seeing the girl looking out the window.  “Miss.  The doctor is ready for you.  Please follow me.”

They had a bit of a way to go so decide to talk rather than listen in to the beeps of equipment and moans of injured people.  “How did you break your arm?  Climbing trees? Jumping into a shallow pond?”
“My Mech fell over in Tharkad City.”

Morgana watched the young woman light up with curiosity, “Why were you in a mech?”
“I was fighting the ComGuards with my brothers.”
“But you're nine Miss White.  What are you doing in a battle?  Let alone in a mech.  I didn't think they made equipment that small.”
“They don't.”
  She attempted to lift her arm to emphasize her point but the stiff cast restricted her movement, “I didn't really have a choice because the battle came to me.  I was lucky to get out with just a broken arm.”

“You're very brave I could never do that.”
“Brave, Dumb, different sides, same coin.  Maybe I'll get some made and give them to my brothers on their decant day.  They might get a kick out of that.”
  She then cursed herself for using Clan Terms, its not her fault, she lived on Tamar until she was three with an adoptive Clan Technician before Katherine came to collect her and then preceded to hide her away.

“You're a clan kid too.  That's so weird, what's it like?  A bunch of us took leave from school part time to volunteer in order to help the war effort ever since the Clan Reclamation.  I've been doing it for three years, when this is all over I might not even need to go to nursing school I've learned so much. 

Everyone had to pitch in the Donegal Guards drafted the Junior MRTC (Militia Recruitment and Training Command) to fill gaps after fighting so hard for so long.  I guess that just seems normal to you since the Clan Sibko goes right to the Warrior Caste at the end.”


Mercifully Morgana and Anne finally reached their destination before the girl could pester her further, The physician took another scan to confirm that her arm was whole once more. 

“This is a bizarre visit, I'm not used to seeing nine year old girls that are not my granddaughter in my office, especially one with a battle injury.  Doesn't change most things, just makes them smaller.  Your arm has healed rapidly Miss White, you say you broke it three weeks ago which is about right for someone your age.  I would like you to keep it in a sling for another week and avoid strenuous activity for at least two more weeks and it should be completely healed.”

“Should I send for Anne?  The front desk noted that you checked yourself in and don't have a next of kin listed on-world just a blank number.”
“Please just get the cast off me and discharge me.  I have a ferry waiting to Seattle.”
“I can't let you just wander around the grounds unsupervised.”
“I fought a Battlemech against the ComGuards.  I can figure out how to get back to where I need to go.”
“You're a spunky one, kid.  It's not as if you can cause any harm or come to any here.  There are dozens of people that can help and watch out for you.  I have more patients I need to see and Anne has her own tasks when she stops gossiping with the nurses.”


Morgana walked through the hospital, it was lunchtime and she was hungry.  There was no food on the ferry and she had eaten her breakfast bars after stowing away on the ferry this morning desperate to get some time alone to think.  She attracted many stares but moved with purpose, outside observers merely assumed she had gone to bathroom and was rejoining her guardian shortly, rather than that she had run away. 

Katherine was busy with her own issues, Morgana knew she was depressed about what happened on Tharkad and she should be, she painted a big target on herself and to many innocent people paid for it with their lives.  Her brothers were being regaled by tales of Valor against Jade Falcons by the retired General of the Armies Adam Steiner.  She was used to being alone, couldn't even trust her own mother anymore.  She hated her so much.

Morgana walked past a woman roughly her mother's age with a high grade cybernetic arm only noticeable to a trained eye, a portion of her side was still covered in bandages under her shirt likely the result of a burn or other terrible trauma that had resulted in the amputation or destruction of said arm.  She would have been pretty but had been seriously injured in one of the many battles during the last three years or more, the injuries hadn't dampened the innate way that Mechwarriors walked.  She paused and as Morgana passed her the unknown woman called out to her, “Morgan Elizabeth White, stop right there.”

The girl paused and snapped back in a parade reverse, hissing “How do you know my name?”

“I would know that face and walk anywhere.  Even after all these years.”

Morgana got close to her, “Who are you?”
“You mother never told you about me.”
“Depends.  Whats your name soldier?”
“That's a very Katherine move.  Well little girl, I'm Isadora Agravaine, Hauptmann General of the LAAF, formerly of the Second Bolan Grenadiers Heavy Combat Team.  Before that I was Katherine's best friend, roommate, and many other things.

You look just like she did when I met her for the first time on move in day of Tesseraburg Women's Academy.  It's uncanny.”

“She never mentioned you.”
“Well I hope she kept our picture at least.  Perhaps you've seen it, horse, mountains in the background, your mother red from sunburn while trying to hide it under a big hat.”


“I've seen it, she keeps it next to the picture of her and Galen on her desk.”

“Well at least she didn't forget about me then, even if we stopped talking after Tamar.  Your mother is a very difficult friend Morgan, unfortunately I was too good of one.  Why don't we talk over lunch?  You look like you have questions that I might have answers too.  As long as you answer a few of mine.”
“Can I start with how you got wounded?”
“Blakists on Bolan itself in service to Reinhardt Steiner's Iron Wall.  Well the first time at least, cost me my arm and husband.  These burns are from a Forty Third Shadow raid on Mesa Verde.  How did you break your arm.”
“Sixty Sixth ComGuards.  Stiletto tipped over, I got em though.”
“That's great.  Say Morgan do you get terrible migraines after piloting a battlemech?”
“No.  Why?”
“Well your mother does.  Count yourself lucky it might have skipped a generation.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #110 on: 08 February 2019, 22:47:33 »
07/04/3070 Location – Michael Cameron Computing Complex, University of Washington, Seattle, Donegal

The Commonwealth’s Office of Naval Intelligence had paid for and maintained a special classified supercomputer complex within the University of Donegal.  The University was Sphere-famous for its demanding computer science and electronics engineering research programs that were head and shoulders above even the vaulted halls of NAIS.

VALA, the computer within had required a vast investment of resources, it had a dedicated power plant, networking connections equal in complexity to those of a major planet, and cooled itself and that power plant with water drawn from the bottom of Belfast Sound.  The facility could take a direct nuclear blast and was EMP shielded by not only the water above but specially designed construction.  It was a very profitable project for Nashan Diversified and Duchess Doons contributed her own money whenever funding from Tharkad had been lacking for short periods in order to maintain her company’s edge.

The whole complex had taken almost 30 years, several dozen lives (lost due to probably Holy Shroud agents in addition to real accidents), a Fleet of Warships worth of Kroner, and countless man-hours to build with lostech recovered from the Helm memory core improved by visiting clan Scientists and new research projects undertaken on-site. 

The program only had uneven financing during the height of Operation-REVIVAL but that quickly leveled out when Katherine became Archon.  It was the kind of high impact long term investment that Katherine the Economist had sought to leverage in an attempt to separate her from her more martial parents and siblings.  It was about to really earn its keep.

Katherine and Rachel Steiner walked through the halls with SLIC Major Daniel Varitz and the Complex’s fastidious Director Dr. Ha Wei Shannon.  They met with Adam Steiner in the classified briefing area.  The door closed behind them and the holographic icon of the Complex was emitted from the table.  “You have brought me something very interesting Major Varitz.  Thank you, Katherine has not given me any puzzles worth VALAs time in quite a while.  You didn’t even call about dealing with the Whiteout.”

“Yes well when you finally distribute the systems engineering schematics of the Durendal destroyers and Kaiser Battlecruisers.  As well as finally compiling the requested data for the expansion and recreation of the Sea Wolf complex and Camelot Command.  I’ll give you and VALA enough work to last until long after you retire.  As you might be able to tell I’ve had other things on my mind lately.”

“Yes well speaking of the Camelot Command.  The task at hand has ties back to that facility.”


A holographic cube was projected above the table containing the all-aspects sensor readout of a SLDF Fighter and its pilot during the latest Battle of Tharkad.  Eventually the pilot was overcome and his craft was rendered combat ineffective due to damage but his black box survived.  “As you can see from this recording the unknown fighters are capable of moving in ways that no human can survive because they are actually advanced drones.  Not even cyborgs like the ‘Manei Domini’.”

Another recording played overlapping with the most extreme maneuvers recording in battle that normal well-trained human pilots, Clan Aerospace phenotype, Manei Domini cyborgs, and finally these unknown drones were capable of performing.  “As you can see there is nearly a thirty percent increase in responsiveness with these new units over the Manei Domini.  By isolating a portion of the operating matrix we were able to see from one drone’s point of view and caught of glimpse of the on-board machine intelligence at work.”

The all-aspect sensor readout showed that the system could not only simultaneously track thirty discrete targets through space but it appeared to learn from them in the process.  “This is a very advanced and robust artificial intelligence.  The only previous examples we found of anything like these were of the Mark Thirty-Nine Voidseeker fighters in the Dark Nebula.  However, we don’t have recordings from Commander Katiara Kylie or Franklin Sakamoto’s fighters to compare their behavior against these new units. 

It’s only because I’ve gotten reconstructed data from derelict units courtesy of Loremaster Pryde in the past that we can even begin to understand the program's architecture.  I want you all to look at the bottom of this screen.”


The hologram zoomed in on an ID strip at the bottom of the augmented view, ‘Mk 50 SDS, Scarab #587AOD’

“I’m afraid there are many more of these devices out there and they are getting smarter each time we fight them.  They might even have ground units that will perform similarly on the Protectorate worlds, in fact I expect they do.”

Adam Steiner stepped up to the table and accessed a simulated reconstruction of the Battle tracking the drone vessel’s “vision” and guidance to its drones moved before them. “I remember Camelot Command.  Those old rickety fighters still gave Franklin and Katiara trouble despite their age and lack of maintenance.  These units are brand new and if what you say is true then even the best Clan fighters can’t hope to match their performance.  Even at this current stage. 

We have to move quickly before they can manufacture more capable ones and win every battle with them if we are to have a chance.  If they can build these units in numbers quickly it won’t matter how many fighters and warships we have.  The Blakists will have absolute space supremacy.”


Katherine’s face was grim in the reflected light of the reconstructed orbital battle, “Well then it’s fortunate that we are already on the warpath then thanks to you and Rachel.  I didn’t think Khan Sennett would come around to seeing things our way quite so quickly.  Everything will be in place shortly thanks to those Sea Fox Potemkins.”

“Yeah well wait till you get the transport bill Katherine.  Anyway I would like to inform you that I am not going to go back to Somerset at least not yet.  I hope to return but I'm not going to miss the greatest conflict since the Amaris Crisis.  Reinhardt still has a lot to learn and I can assure you that I am still quite capable both in the map room and within a Battlemech.  The Somerset Strikers are coming out of retirement for this battle full stop.”

“Well then we need to get moving.  Director Shannon do you think VALA can come up with a way to degrade the drones?”

“I’m certain that it can.  It might take time and more, preferably complete, samples however to discern a weakness that we might be able to exploit.  If I could get a complete datacore from one of the command units that would vastly speed up the understanding of their links and thus potential vulnerabilities just like we figured out for the Clan Warships. 

I understand that a fleet is gathering around Arcturus heading toward something called the Ruins of Gabriel, allegedly a naval facility of some sort.  Can you inform them of my findings?”


Katherine turned her back on the hologram to face Director Shannon, “I’ll do you one better.  Sigma Section and the Wolves Watch has fixed the Whiteout and are already distributing it from the HPG on-world.  Tharkad’s was unfortunately lost during the opening moments of the battle.  Arcturus’ position as a First Circuit world will certainly speed its distribution at least to the Spinward Commonwealth. 

Major Varitz can you take the lead on this operation and liaise with the Director post-operation with any findings from the Odessa?”

“Certainly Archon, I'll send this along to Admiral Dubravka and head to Arcturus on the next shuttle off-world.”


Major Varitz stayed behind to ask questions about the drones that might save the spacers trouble in the upcoming operation while Katherine, Adam, and Rachel walked out of the supercomputer's complex and to a less classified area.  ONI Security personnel watched them the entire way with weapons ready in case of emergency.

“Adam, Rachel, can you head to New Samarkand on my behalf? 

I will likely have to deal with my brother and sister before we attack the Protectorate. Shogun Sakamoto is in charge of the Combine now.  We will need his help if this operation is to be a success.  I don't know if even the might of the AFFC will be sufficient to both keep the Blakists out of the rear lines and fight them on the front ones.  I'll admit the Tharkad attack has me very scared about this whole thing.

I can arrange a command circuit and broad range Black Box transmission in the open capable of reaching into Nova Cat space but after that it’s on your people and Franklin.”

“We have it under control for now.  Once we get inside the bubble who knows.  Franklin probably already has troops on the move trying to punch through the Protectorate before your brother gets within range with the Lancers.  He knows the score, the Blakists already nearly ruined his realm.”


Rachel and he paused at the intersection heading toward the high speed hover ferry which would take them to Starport where their Conquistador drop-ship was waiting, “It will be nice to see Franklin again despite the current crisis.  The Somerset Strikers are heading to New Samarkand.  We'll link up with you afterwards.”

“Make sure you get a datacard with the HPG Whiteout update on it.  Its going to take a while to bring the system online even if we had the parts.  Better to start from as many places as possible.  The Nova Cats will be well-positioned to begin repairs of the Combine's HPGs even without COMSTAR.  Safe travels.  I will inform the Belfast Anchorage to begin stringing together a command circuit by the time you reach the Nadir.”

“Katherine, be careful; you are only mortal after all.  We don't need them getting a win before we launch.”

“Thanks for your concern Rachel.  Keep yourselves out of trouble, you're heading into mostly unknown territory in the Combine.  Don't let the Dragons bite.”


The two of them departed before Katherine was joined once more by her Diplomatic Guard bodyguards led by the tall, soft spoken, and very competent Captain Aiden Byrne.  Katherine did miss Krauser but that beast of a man had retired years ago to Adelaide with a generous retirement gift courtesy of the Archon-Princess.  He had actually turned down a larger one, Katherine would have made him a Baron if he asked for it but he was humble to the end. 

With the Wolf Touman following their Khan to Glengarry the LIC was back in the much coveted Praetorian Guard assignment.  Dark sunglasses and suits concealed arms and intent despite the warm late summer season on Donegal.  “Madainn Mahat Aiden.”

“Cad e an de-sceal Katherine?”

Katherine looked at the man with feigned annoyance, “You know I don't know much Gaelic Aiden.  I only speak four languages plus some creative cursing.  You'll understand if I stop here.”

“Ay.  Where are we headed Archon?”

“I need to talk to a particular doctor.  Take me to the Nashan Pharmaceuticals lab in Queen Anne.  Then we will head back to the Donegal Grand.  The Spirit of Seattle is still secure, yes?”

“That it is Archon, they just checked in.  I trained some of the lads from Donegal Grand watching it right now me-self, off-duty of course.  We already have the car ready for ya.  I'll call ahead to this lab and make sure its all clear.”


Katherine was escorted to the waiting convoy of MRAP style armored vehicles painted Blue and Silver, the armored vehicle was far cry from her limo but it would help protect her from Blakist attack, at least until reinforcements came, “Did I miss anything while I was down there Aiden?”

“Well some of the boys caught your daughter making a run for it.  She's a tricky lass to follow too according to John.  You must have taught her right, she almost marked him a few times while heading through the city she did.  John's no amateur, straight ghillie he is, no one escapes him when he's on your tracks. 

Morgana stowed aboard one of the ferries headed toward AMS-NH with a group of Tharkadians and checked herself in to the hospital there for some reason.  Any of my medics could have done the job and taken the little cast off. 

Anyway I answered the phone and gave her permission to stay.  I told them to keep an eye on 'er but not to infer.  Seems harmless enough, little youthful rebellion is good sometimes for a kid.  You should talk to her about it when you see her next.”

“She won't listen to me.”

“ 'fraid I can't help you there Katherine.  Only got a son myself. 

Good lad.  Wants to be a soldier just like his dear old dad. 

His mum works at the hospital.  I called her recently just to check in on your little girl, covertly of course.  Morgana is talking to some wounded female general that's been there awhile right now.  We can pick 'er up on the way back from Queen Anne if you'd like, or I'll get John to bring her back in the fan-car.”

“I think its better she get it out of her system now.  Tell John to bring her back before nightfall in the hover.”

“Aye, Archon.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #111 on: 08 February 2019, 23:21:47 »
20:58 Location – The Donegal Grand Hotel, Belfast, Donegal

With so many displaced Tharkad VIPs on world the Donegal Grand Hotel was hopping with haute couture.  There were no parties however, which would have been seen as very tasteless anyway considering recent events, instead the ballroom was housing lesser nobles in the nicest cots that the LAAF could buy.

High atop the brightly lit tower Archon Katherine Steiner had three floors reserved for her retinue with a helicopter always on the pad and heavily armed guards (Hotel Security and Diplomatic Guard) watching every access point to the floors.  They were also keeping eyes on and guard near the vehicles at all times.  The lenticular windows had a spectacular view high above every feature in Belfast and made sniping impossible even if you could get atop the Nashan Computers Tower. 

On the table she had a new experimental prescription for her Dobrowski Depression-A.  The medicine had been freshly synthesized today in the lab.  The medicine had been altered just enough that it might get her through this crisis with nothing but hope and dreams for what would happen afterwards.  Her headaches and condition had been worsening by the day.  The intensive campaign on Tharkad combined with the horror and stress of the events that transpired there were wearing her down faster than ever before. 

Every little bit counted these days, there was to much was at stake for her to succumb to her personal demons while real ones still lived.  She was a monster sure but there were worse ones out there.  Katherine had seen them up close and there was no mistaking them for anything remotely human anymore.  At least she tried to look the part of an angel if one with a broken wing and cast out of heaven for sin.

She looked down at the glass of brandy in her hands and couldn't remember how many she had today.  It wasn't good to mix the medication with libation but that had never stopped her before.  Sometimes she felt it was the only thing that kept her sane at all when she was overcome with stress and weakened.  Just drown out the voices and come through on the other side with an easier to explain reason for a headache.

A knock on her door caught her attention. Katherine placed the glass down on the antiquely styled wooden table and put the pill bottle into the pockets of her white cotton robe.  “Come in.”

Morgana walked in she must have just arrived because she hadn't bothered to clean herself up from earlier and still had her arm in a sling although the cast was gone.  The two of them had hardly spoken the past few weeks and Katherine couldn't blame her.  Despite her best efforts she wasn't going to be winning awards for being the best Mother in the Inner Sphere anytime soon or probably ever.  “What happened to your cast dear?”

“I got it taken off today.”
“That's good Morgana.  I remember when I broke my hand, at Sister Jocelyn's as a girl after a metal teapot fell on it.  I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to write letters to dad while it healed up and was crushed.  I got good enough with my left to keep them coming.  Little victories.”

“Little victories.
Mom, I'm sorry I was so mad at you.  Can you forgive me?”


Katherine leaned over the kiss the girl on the forehead being certain to hold the pocket with the pills in it so they didn't rattle and produce uncomfortable questions from her daughter.  “Of course I can.  You're my daughter.  I'll love you and your brothers forever even if you hate me at times.  I can't claim to be a great mother but I certainly try my best.  I hope you can see that. 

Can we talk?”

“What about?”


Katherine sat down in the chair keeping more than arm's length from her brandy so as to not distract herself from the gravity of the matter and patted the seat next to her which Morgana filled.  “I'm going to a place where I don't want you or your brothers to follow.  It is going to be very dangerous; greater than anything we've face together, and I don't know if or when I will return. 

To be honest I'm glad you found out although I would have preferred to have told you myself at some later time.  It would have hurt me deeply had you not known before something happened to me.  I've been very lucky, but this is a war and I am a Warrior if a reluctant one but still mortal. 

I didn't want any of this to happen but spent the better part of my life preparing for it anyway.  You three are going to stay on Donegal.  It is as safe as it can be these days and there are enough trustworthy people to watch you and if the worst were to happen to Vlad or I...arrangements have already been made.”


Morgana understood but still was crying as was Katherine at the finality of that sentence, “Will you write?”

Katherine hugged her gingerly avoiding the still sore arm in a sling, “With the HPGs soon to be back online.  I'll do it with both hands as often as possible.”

“When do you have to leave?”
“Soon.”
  She hugged her deeper while shielding the bottle as if to reassure herself that this was the right course of action but resigned herself to walk it till the end if necessary, “too soon.”

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #112 on: 09 February 2019, 07:57:59 »
Nice update, thanks
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"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.

AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #113 on: 10 February 2019, 18:08:21 »
07/14/3070 08:45 Location – Castle Kamakura, New Samarkand, Draconis Combine

Shogun Franklin Sakamoto sat calmly in seiza along with Tara Catseye (Nova Cat Watch) looking out over Kamakura's garden receiving an update on his very sensitive problem.  The Nova Cats had tracked the Black Dragon and Order of Five Pillars operative Mara Selencia and her son; their son, even if he hadn't told the Cats he was certain they inferred it and thus understood his urgency.  The woman was last seen on the provincial capital of Oshiko but her trail got thin afterwards.  Not gone but harder to follow and filled with red herrings, black dragons, or perhaps yellow birds. The Cat's eye didn't know when they would find her but would continue looking.  There were many places she could hide and her conspiracy had many agents that could assist her but the Nova Cats were relentless and well-resourced. 

He gave the woman additional instructions and asked that she report back to him monthly, the Nova Cat woman politely bowed and exited only to be replaced by a young man, one of the Palace Pages.  The man got to his knees and bowed deeply rather than meet the Shogun's eyes, "Shogun Sakamoto-heiko, the Steiners are waiting in the Dawn room.”

Franklin stood while holding his daishi, the original Kurita family sword was lost on Dieron so another had to be made to start a new Dynasty, the Sakamoto Shogunate,  “You were supposed to inform me the moment they arrived.”
“Apologies, but you told us that the Nova Cat was priority this morning.  We did not wish to offend you or your guests by interrupting.  If we erred I will atone.”
“Run across the garden only once.”
  The garden of course referred to the rock garden which could be walked safely but running would be mildly painful with bare feet.
“Hai.  Thank you.”

He dismissed the young man with a gesture who rapidly disappeared down the side corridor that led the garden.  The Shogun closed the sliding door which looked like ornate paper but was in fact a bullet resistant cloth.  Franklin Sakamoto watched as four of his new bodyguard unit, the Kin Masuko (Golden Masks) drawn from commandos in the Hanko resistance, stood and reset their swords around the hakamas.  Many of these soldiers had been trained directly by Franklin or under another that he had trained thus he knew what they were capable of and they understood what he expected.  Their black tunics and trousers were atop a gold colored hakama when inside the castle, but they wore ballistic armor, gold and red colored zunari kabuto helmets, and wielded regular DCMS weapons outside the castle.

Franklin walked through the Castle, it was not a massive building but was intricately crafted and filled with secret passageways due to its history as an ISF fortress and classy prison for people that could not just be eliminated for some reason.  Servants retreated to their rooms on their knees with heads touching the tatami floors as the Shogun walked past with his guards.  He walked across the castle and one of the guards opened the door to the Dawn room allowing Franklin to step in before closing it behind him.

Adam and Rachel Steiner were wearing kimonos properly which was a pleasant surprise.  Rachel even had her shoulder length brown hair up.  Franklin had never seen her grow it out during their time together but it looked nice.  Both stood from their low chairs and bowed slightly though not as deep as the Combine courtiers would have liked for gai-jin visitors meeting with their Shogun.  “It has been a long time friends.”

Adam reached out and shook Franklin's hand, “Too long Franklin.”
“I am sorry I missed the wedding Adam and Rachel.  I believe I was desperately fighting Black Dragons on Luthien during that happy event.  Who knows what might have happened if I left the Combine to fight the Falcons alongside both of you once again.”


Rachel hugged him, “Our invitation to Somerset still stands Shogun Sakamoto.”
“If it were not so far away I would happily make it my first foreign trip as Shogun.”


Adam pointed to the kanji and Chrysanthemum crest on Franklin's black kimono, “Why Shogun rather than Coordinator Franklin?”

“You know I never wanted to be Coordinator Adam.  Tried everything I could to get out of it but the Draconis Combine needs strong guidance and deep wisdom to rebuild.  I will try to finally finish what my father started and reform its darker impulses.  This way I can do that and never need to be called Coordinator. I don't feel worthy of the title.

On lighter terms I was happy to learn that you survived and were coming this way courtesy of the Black Boxes.  The HPGs being down have made it difficult to keep up with current events even inside the Combine.  We've had have precious little information outside of it since Katherine locked the Lyran Black Box Network down.”


Rachel presented a data-card with the ONI logo on it pulled from a pocket in her kimono, “We have already begun disseminating the update to the HPG system.  This upgrade will bring the system back online but it might take a while and require the capture of the First Circuit in order to ensure it gets everywhere. 

The Nova Cats are already working on it in the Irece Prefecture.  As far as we know the Ghost Bears have directed their efforts only against COMSTAR rather than annihilating their abjured kin next door.”


“Domo Arigato Rachel.  That puts my mind at ease, though it remains troubled.  I understand that Katherine has dispatched you to New Samarkand.  Does she have a plan?”

“It's unfortunately a work in progress but we have a good starting point.  The Blakists are getting bolder and more destructive each passing day Tharkad has been devastated with major casualties like Luthien was. 

The Clans are moving on Terra and Photon is nearing Kalidasa.  We don't know enough about the current state of the Sol Protectorate's worlds yet.  That's all we have so far. 

Have Peter or Yvonne sent a representative yet?”

“I have not received anyone from New Avalon yet, not even a Black Box promise for one.  Tancred was intending to come according to secondhand sources but was drawn back by increasing Blakist activity near Robinson.  I think they don't want us to come together and fear the Shadows have killed their courier. 

My people are still clearing out Black Dragons in our midst.  The DCMS only has a few trusted regiments to spare on the Dieron front.  I need a few more months to ensure the loyalty of my forces before I would send them on an offensive against the Sol Protectorate.  I understand you have no lack of equipment and require Warriors but we don't need more insider attacks especially if things get difficult.”

“We'll send a black box message back to Reinhardt then.  Photon Brett-Marik and he are due to meet up soon according to their latest battle reports.  Can you send a trusted officer to coordinate with the others?”

“I have just the right bright young officer I can trust with this sort of assignment.  Akira!”


One of the Kin Masuko a young man hardly 20 walked in.  This man had a mixed and exotic complexion, braided brown hair, possessing a warrior's grace, and lean strong body.  The door was closed the door behind him by unseen agents before he bowed to those assembled.  “You called for me Shogun-heiko.”

“Yes. Akira, I am loaning you to the Somerset Strikers until I order you otherwise. You are to serve as my representative in the fight against the Word of Blake until I myself can join you.  Choose eleven mechwarriors from among those on New Samarkand to go with you.”


He bowed to Franklin, “I am honored to serve as your agent Shogun.”
Akira adjusting and facing Adam and Rachel Steiner.  “I am Akira Tormark, at your service.”
“You are dismissed Akira.  Find your Warriors and begin preparations.”
“Hai, Shogun.  I will have selected them by nightfall and ready to depart by the morning.”


The man opened the door which was closed again from the other side.  “He is an ambitious and excellent battlefield officer, he needs a little polishing but you will be pleased with his performance.

Adam, Rachel.  I do hope you can stay a few days while the Command Circuit comes back into alignment.”


Adam drank from a cup of tea poured from the fine tea kettle next to them.  “Our timetables are a moving target.  However, there is no real rush for the Strikers to return before the Army of True Patriots or Iron Wall link up, we're just a small part in a bigger plan. 

We had hoped that New Avalon and Tikonov would have sent someone by now so we could make personal contact.  It would make our jobs on the other side much easier if the Federated Suns were in the fight as well.”


“They took a major beating at the hands of the Trinity states and Blakists early on.  I don't know Peter well but if he is anything like Hanse or Victor the Federated Suns is in good hands.  He will send someone eventually and I will be happy to act as intermediary if Katherine doesn't wish to face him personally.  There will be plenty of battle in our near future without another civil war between Steiner-Davions.”

“Well I do know something about him Franklin, but I hope you're right because I didn't have as much confidence in him at Nagelring when he was student of mine.”

“Say you said Glengarry right Adam?”
“Yes, why?”

Franklin Sakamoto nodded to him and Rachel, “Its in my bag Shogun.  You don't really want to open a bottle of hundred year old scotch before lunch do you?”

“Now that I think about I'm terribly famished friend.  Perhaps we should get lunch early.”

Rachel perked up, “That's a plan I can get behind.”
« Last Edit: 10 February 2019, 19:12:48 by AlphaMirage »

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #114 on: 10 February 2019, 19:04:58 »
 ;D ;D ;D  Nice little interlude.
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"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.

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #115 on: 11 February 2019, 16:05:47 »
indeed!
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #116 on: 11 February 2019, 18:28:10 »
Riding the Wave

07/18/3070 Location – Donegal Nadir Station Green Jenny, Donegal, Federated Commonwealth

Katherine was strapped down in the foam couch of the Avalanche's common area watching the view-screen from the command deck as the very small Union-X FCDS Avalanche approached the unfathomably large CDS Titanic.  The Mjolnir Battleships were nearly equal but dense while the Potemkin looked like a bloated space whale with dropship size barnacles clinging to it.  While the Wolves now had a Potemkin (WIS Full Moon) Katherine had never seen nor been aboard it. 

This particular vessel was loaded down with Clan dropships from the farthest ends of their former Occupation Zones, Warriors of all types and support personnel to ensure they could keep in the fight.  Its cargo hold was filled with enough equipment to possibly give them a chance against the Sol Protectorate on its home turf. 

All the guns in the world meant nothing if there was no one to wield them.  The Council Clans had emptied their sibkos and front lined solahma and freeborn Warriors and Technicians, filling gaps with raw recruits if necessary bringing their Touman's to an unsustainable level.  All potential candidates were given a Trial of Position to participate in the coming battle that would shake the very rotten core of the Inner Sphere.

Soon enough the Potemkin filled the view screen and their docking collar was just barely visible.  The nose target indicator appeared to give the pilot more information about his velocity and heading. A data link from the Titanic informed him of just how to maneuver and eventually the dropship was completely relative to the Potemkin which extended the docking boom and pulled the pitifully small vessel into its berth.  The Diamond Shark controller for this docking ring came over the intercom, The Ship's Captain Star Admiral Robert Clarke “Welcome to the Titanic Archon.  Feel free to come aboard.”

She looked toward Aiden, “Well how can I turn down that invitation?”
The man looked right back, “Sure the Archon of the Commonwealth on-board a mobile Clan base heading toward a war-zone.  What could possibly go wrong?”
“Precisely.  Let's see whats in there.”
“Very well Archon.”


Katherine and a pair of bodyguards went to the main airlock deck meeting a few off-duty Avalanche crew who were also waiting.  All except Katherine were wearing their light gray jumpsuits with blue accents and silver unit insignia, Katherine had her blonde hair in a bun but was wearing a stylish blue jumpsuit (fashion jumpsuit, not utility) with soft boots.  They had a few more days until both cores of the Titanic were charged and then they would jump toward Aur and the Succor class Jumpship Tender SLS Refuge {one of four modified (Relief, Succor, and Safe Harbor) Leviathan Jumpships that had been in the COMSTAR reserve but re-engineered as part of the 2nd SLDF.  Two of which were at Delavan, one around Tamarind, and the final one around Marik at the fall of the Star League.  It has only one docking collar, large fuel stores, passenger berths, a KF battery, and recharge equipment} built to provide charging for a pair of other jump cores, The complete trip to Caledonia would take slightly more than two weeks of double jumping and interplanetary transit assuming everything went as planned. 

Katherine could have created a command circuit but she didn't want to push her TDS to the limit when so many other things were falling apart.  She could use the two weeks for the situation to develop and with the Titanic's weapons and its escort the Essex destroyer Marseilles there was little chance the Blakists would attack their convoy particularly since a Clan fleet was heading to Odessa to destroy their naval yard there.

The Commonwealth spacers cycled through the airlock built into the docking collar.  Cold ammonia piped in from the outside of the accordion like collar was providing hydrogen and cooling for the Avalanche while it was docked greatly limiting the two biggest strains on the life support.  The spacers cycled the airlock and entered Diamond Shark territory for the first time.  There was a long soft fabric lined tunnel that led to a central hub.

 A Point of Armored Elemental Masters of Arms (Naval MPs) was watching over the wheel that provided ring access, their magnetic boots and battle claws allowed them to cling to the walls and 'ceiling.'

They floated through a portal ring which blinked red, one of the MoAs came to the 'ground' with a crash and pointed his battle claw at her Chief Bodyguard,  “No weapons aboard the Titanic.”

Aiden handed over his laser pistol, “Apologies, force of habit.”
The Elemental held the laser pistol gently in his battle claw, “Anyone else?”
Katherine's spacers looked around, “Neg.  Point Leader.”

“Good move along.  Update your comm-pads and keep your ID handy.  This is a big ship and we do not want to look for you if you get lost, and someone will stop you in you wander somewhere you don't belong.  Your dropship is currently on ring three, berth five.  The Promenade is five decks up, we will take your Kerenskies but not your attiude so keep out of trouble.”


Katherine and crew worked their way 'up,' the Potemkin was not under thrust thus there was no gravity anywhere except on one of the four massive gravity rings.  No expense had been spared when the Diamond Sharks retrofitted this vessel in the old Brekke Shipyards in the Chainelaine Islands and it showed.  Although the corridors were utilitarian they were well-maintained and had minor artistic touches; new painted murals, pleasant fabric in rooms, and intricate designs cut into the plastic covers that protecting the pipes and wires that fed this beast of a ship. 

This vessel was designed to impress, for Merchants first, War second.  The Titanic and its sister vessels were to be the foundation of a massive trade group that the Diamond Sharks were attempting to build in the Inner Sphere.  Already the Sea Fox Trading Company was deploying to Free Worlds League space in order to take over their HPGs at the request of Captain-General Corrine Marik.  Her own Wolf Logistics firm would finally have some worthwhile competition that would make them more efficient, Simon Gallagher would need to up his game.

Finally they encountered 'The Promenade Decks.'  This massive pair of gravity deck connected by two regular ones had upscale berths, a gym, saloon, salon, spa, casino, movie theater, battle simulators, sports rooms, and even a high class restaurant with its own dedicated aquaponics system.  It provided accommodations and facilities that rivaled any Magistracy pleasure liner.  Aiden whistled, “Now this is traveling Archon.  Who would have thought traveling Clan could ever be nice.  I thought they were all about function.”

“This provides the intended function Aiden.  This vessel is a Merchant vessel first, not a combat one although it still has plenty of firepower.  Khan Sennet is looking to impress prospective trading partners.  I dare say she accomplished her objective.  Let's check it out.  I'm very particular about my seafood, lets see if a Diamond Shark knows how to cook us some fish.”


08/01/3070 Location – New Edinburg, Caledonia, Federated Commonwealth

The Union-X FCDS Avalanche landed amongst an Armada of similar vessels, most were AFFC but a few were SLDF or FWLM.  A convoy of MRAP vehicles worked their way through the maze of dropships to find them on the edge.  The ramp lowed and Katherine walked down her ash blonde hair in a braid long enough to reach her pistol in its chest harness followed by her bodyguards.  She stopped with a little swish of her blue and gold combat uniform before a man with a proud look and prominent facial scar, he saluted her and she returned it.  “General Reinhardt, I like your scar.  How did you get it?”

“Believe or not I fell in the shower and broke the glass divider.”
“I wouldn't tell the ladies that.”
“Of course, I mean I killed a Manei Domini Banshee with my bare hands before it could detonate a nuclear device in order to save an orphanage.”
“What about the puppies from the attached dog shelter?”
“Saved them too.  So innocent and adorable.”
“I hope you received a medal for your valor then.”
“Still waiting on the paperwork Archon.”
“I'll be sure to put it at the top of my list General.”
“You wouldn't happen to know a lady then?  Tough to meet people when you are saving the Commonwealth all your waking hours.”


Katherine put her hand on her chin in thought, “I could help you there but it didn't work out well for my previous General of the Armies.  She's a sweet girl though.  I could give you her number if your interested, I'm certain she would be.”

“The troops are ready for inspection if you'd like Katherine.”
“I would like that, something about a man in uniform.  Especially if I designed them.  Let's go General Steiner.”

mikecj

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #117 on: 12 February 2019, 07:24:40 »
 ;D ;D ;D ;D  Funny.
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.

Wrangler

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #118 on: 12 February 2019, 17:30:33 »
Clever entry, AlphaMirage!
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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AlphaMirage

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Re: The Price of Victory, Katherine pt III
« Reply #119 on: 13 February 2019, 18:03:18 »
;D ;D ;D ;D  Funny.

Clever entry, AlphaMirage!

Thanks, This story may be a tragedy but that doesn't mean it lacks levity

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Photon Bridges the Gap

08/11/3070 08:47 Location – Yonei, New Kyoto, Federated Commonwealth

Photon Brett(-Marik)’s dropship, the Outpost (seized from the Hell’s Horses after the Blinding Eye Incident and “gifted” to the SLDF) SLS Golden Eagle, landed at the spacious and scenic spaceport outside New Kyoto’s second city.  A steady breeze blew the smell of fragrant flowers reminding him of those in Unity Palace on Luthien.  It was a nice change of pace from active battlefields. 

His Army of True Patriots had worked their way inward from the periphery bordering portions of the Free Worlds League in pursuit of the Word of Blake.  He had only a few weeks of R&R on Marik during the whole year to spend time with his family and coordinate the final push with his cousins Corrine and Alys.  There would be more time when this was through, but none to waste now, especially if what Katherine had transmitted was true.

There were four other vessels present on the tarmac, the LC-GotA Reinhardt Steiner's Fortress Enduring Valor, the Archon's Union-X Avalanche; a black and gold Kami (Holds 12 BM, 2 LV, 6 ASF with 500 tons of supplies) DCMS dropship Photon couldn't read the Kanji but was told the vessel was named Ageless, and Adam Steiner's (well the AFFC's but he borrows it regularly) Conquistador Somerset Striker.

A small convoy of buses and cars began approaching from the nearby bunker headed toward them.  He looked over to his subordinate co-commanders, Clan Nova Cat's saKhan Hiro(hoto) Katayama and the Eridani Light Horse's Brevet General Charles Antonescue, “Better than the welcome we've gotten at some places right?”

saKhan Katayama adjusted his new duty uniform, recently arrived from the Irece Prefecture and cut like those of the DCMS.  The Nova Cats had been adopting more DCMS trappings recently as their sibkos rushed over their traditions to deal with their seemingly endless recent crises. 

Finally under Shogun Sakamoto they were receiving enough support.  Khan West's strong relationship with Commanding General Brett had him championing them in the remaining Second Star League organizations.  The 2SL had been primarily supported by the FWL and Draconis Combine rather than the FedCom, until very recently when Katherine could use their help.  The Nova Cats as core members of the SLDF were on the ascent within the Inner Sphere despite their Clan origins. “There is always a chance things get interesting Generals.”

General Antonescue couldn't help but shake his head at the Clanner.  He was getting too old for this, “I can stand to be bored for a few weeks Hiro.  Especially if its here, maybe throw in some geishas and I'm set.  We still got back pay coming, right Photon?”

"If we can live through this you might be able to get your planet from Corrine General."


Photon watched as a snow white Edasich EM-890 Limo stopped before their ramp.  A group of well dressed LIC Diplomatic Guardsmen exited and eyed the three men and the soldiers behind them.  The sunglasses they were wearing reflected the whole image in relief.  All but one stood at attention, he opened the doors to the sedan.

The first out was a man in his early thirties with salt and pepper hair and a scar across his forehead wearing the blue and white formal uniform of the LCAF exited first.  He was followed by a gorgeous woman in her late thirties wearing a fine blue flower print kimono with her ash blonde hair in a neat bun.  She would be recognizable anywhere in the Inner Sphere that had Tri-Vid access but it was the first time Photon had seen her in person.  “Archon Steiner, pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure is all mine General Brett and honored guests.  Welcome to New Kyoto
However, don't let the tranquil appearance fool you this is very much the front line.  Why don't you join me?”


The Nova Cat looked at Reinhardt, despite everything he had done the other General of the Armies Steiner was the better known one, “Where's Adam?”
Katherine looked to Reinhardt, “Adam Steiner will be joining us shortly.  We received the first reports from Odessa just before you arrived.  The Potemkin Blood Horse was critically damaged in the battle.  Fortunately Odessa has a Naval Yard, unfortunately it is damaged and too small.  The Council will have to make do with one fewer Potemkin so some plans need to change.  He's better at that than I am.”

saKhan Katayama walked up to him uncomfortable close, “What are you better at?”
Reinhardt leaned in coming face to face with the saKhan.  Reinhardt had cut his teeth fighting Clan and Combine Mechwarriors.  Nova Cats were thus the worst combination possible, “Let's just say you don't want to get in The Rhino's way, kittyama.”

Katherine crossed her arms and yelled at both of them in the same tone she used with her own sons when they were acting up, “We don't have time for your posturing boys.  Get in the car.  Adam will join us when he is able.” 

Both men separated but kept their eyes on one another.  She looked at Photon, “Is he always like this General?”

“Afraid so Archon.  One of the best damn Mechwarriors I've ever seen in action though.  I would have been killed several times over if it wasn't for Hiro and his instincts.”
“I wonder if they mixed him with some Mongoose or Widowmaker.”

“You would know better than I Katherine.  Where's your husband?”

“My husband is on Glengarry, attempting to cajole the other Council Khans into meeting.  The upcoming operations will require their concerted efforts.”
“He wants to be ilKhan, you mean.”

“Someone has to be.  Why can't it be Vladimir?  However, the other Khans are as hard to herd as,”
she looked toward the saKhan and her General of the Armies staring at one another, “well cats.”
« Last Edit: 13 February 2019, 19:50:08 by AlphaMirage »

 

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