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Author Topic: AU: Der Tag (The Day)  (Read 47568 times)

beachhead1985

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  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #390 on: 03 October 2019, 00:55:34 »
Blazer
- 7kg
-The Blazer makes a good weapon for mobilization-only troops for a few reasons;
*It's an Energy weapon and thus; can have it's power-packs recharged easily
*It's a laser and thus marksmanship training is easy.
*It's one of the better-anti-armour weapons in the game for a general-issue weapon, with decent range too.
*It's not fully-automatic; therefor the entire squad won't be blasting through their power-packs in the first 3 seconds of a fire-fight.
-Now; the Blazer is far from cheap (2190 CB in MW1) and it's relatively high-tech. But providing these weapons as the basic rifle of the Mobilization-only units gives them an equalizer against better-protected enemies (especially massing fire) that they would not have otherwise. Another side-benefit is that Blazers are AVAILABLE. Every Successor State, plus at least the Taurians and Magistracy will have been cranking out production runs of these weapons for much of the succession wars. As late as TF: Serpent; the Blazer was still considered a high-end infantry weapon and we know this because it's was the DEST troopers used in their Kage armour. These are DEFINATELY NOT the LosTech-quality Zeiss-Lorraine Blazers the SLDF regulars have.

Uzi
-4kg (SLDF Version)
-220m Effective Range
-10x25mm/30 round box magazine
-I wanted a weapon for my support troops which they could easily fire from a standing, sitting or kneeling position. Something, which; in a pinch they could fire-one-handed, even if not very well. It needed to be cheap and easy to use. The Uzi is rather heavy in any version and an SLDF version in 10mm Auto would only be heavier. While it may not be the most reliable weapon; it is easy to use, which was key here. Another good thing about the Uzi? It's not a demanding weapon to produce.

Needler Rifle
-1kg
-40m max range
-20 shots capacity
-Needler rifles were a natural choice for several reasons; light weight, cheap to produce and feed, easy to use and excellant at providing protective fire up-close. These are copies of the M&G model and so can fire full-auto or burst. I'm not sure how easy or hard it would be to actually *make* needlers.

Sniper Rifle
-Figure the sniper rifles in the mobilization-only units would vary widely in practice based on what is available. Overall; the Canton Worlds are a firearms culture; so good hunting rifles are not only available, but they are ubiqitous in a wide variety of types and ammunition. Figure this could be anything from a stock ATOW Sniper rifle, to a laser or gyrojet to an M&G 150. "Can I use my own gun, Sergeant?" "Actually; we prefer that. Do you reload?". Some of these rifles would be made locally; they might even be custom-made. But many will be imports and some quite old. The good thing is being able to rely on the least-regulated aspect of the weapons market, after shotguns, but before air-rifles.

Battle Rifle
-4.4kg
-600+M
-7.92 Mauser/20 and 30-round box magazines
-I am picturing something very much like an H&K G3A3, complete with bipod, scope and telescoping stock. But in the same 7.92 Mauser ammo as the Mg42s for commonality's sake. I wanted a serious rifle for when and where it would be needed. The G3 isn't a really *difficult* weapon to produce, but I still figure that in order to get a decently accurate, reliable rifle you can fire in short bursts when you need to; munfacture would be more demanding than most of the other small arms.

VG5
-4.6kg
-300m
-7.62x39mm/30-round common assault-rifle magazine
-I picked the VG5 because I needed a back-alley bike-shop take on an assault rifle. I figure if you are *not actually* looking at the Red Army bearing down on you in 1945; that higher manufacturing standards would really improve these. The Mobilization-Only forces aren't *that much* of a last-ditch force and they benefit from decades of planning and preparation in their equipment and training. Figure that ICOM has been building these through cottage industries for as much as 20 years or more by 3099. I went with the 7.62x39mm M43 round, because I KNOW that Kalashnikovs will still be in use and production in more than a thousand years and I wanted ammo-commonality. I picture AKs being cranked out on and off everywhere from time to time and use by almost any low-level force from Pirates to regular house troops.

UBGL
-2.3kg
-350m
-40x46mm NLV
-an underbarrel grenade launcher is an easy way to add a lot of flexibility and utility to a given small unit's firepower. I picture this unit like an M203, with a swing-out barrel able to be set to swing out to either side and able to be fitted to any of the Mobilization-Only unit's standard long guns. I figure they would mainly have HEDP rounds, but there are many other types of rounds they might find useful in a given situation. This is; like with the Blazers, a *good* spot to spend more money.

Mg42
-11kg (SLDF Version, light role)
-800m (light Role)
-7.92 Mauser/50 round semi-disintegrating-link belts
-For a GPMG; I wanted first of all; a real GPMG and second; I wanted something that would be cheap and easy to build and aquire in order to save money better spent on ammunition and spare barrels. Using an Mg42; they are going to eat a lot of both. I see the Mobilization-Only rifle Platoon as a life-support system for it's support weapons; as the whole organization is as well. So the "rifle squads" are just as much if not more Machinegun Squads. As the Mobilization-Only units are principally defensive in nature; this seemed a good call to make. Also; we save time training troops on the personal weapons in order to spend more time on the support weapons. Figure this weapon resembles more the Mg3KWS seen below, but in 7.92 Mauser. Now what *about* that ammo? I see it resembling in performance and specifications; an AP-version of the S.S. Patrone round from WWI; a high velocity 194gr projectile optimized for long-range fire. In practice; my Mobilization-only platoons can fit their guns to tripods and dial them in with colimator sights and engage targets directly out to 2500m. I know from personal experience that this is doable with modern GPMGs not benefitting from a round like the 7.92x57mm 194gr S.S. Patrone. The standard ammo would be a ball-tracer mix for training and an API-Tracer mix for war stocks. The Battle rifles use the same rounds. In Battle tech terms; these weapons would do 1 damage out to 3 hexes against battlefield units like mechs and tanks, capable vs infantry to farther out and the 2500m indirect-fire range is something I'd role-play and use in fiction.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/01/06/bundeswehr-mg3kws-upgrade-program/

Support Machine Gun
-40kg
-From what is written in various books; this is the Battletech Equivalent of an M2HB .50 MG. We'll be needing those. They will make a nice complement to the Mg42s. No gas-operated guns for my MG teams. This is how serious people kit out their dirtbag militias when they expect to use them. I'd expect a Mobilization-Only Company to put their SupMGs in a commanding position with a lot of ammo and either scuttle them, die in place or fight off the bad guys. Once in place; I'd not expect them to be moving too much, but they would have packframes to do it with in a pinch.

SRM Launcher
-10kg (launcher only)
-The standard pre-MW3 BT Infantry SRM launcher. Basically an SRM2 launcher with people doing the training and loading of the weapon.They will have standard APHE rounds and Infernos at the very least. These are the Rifle Platoon's anti-armour weapons. In place of LAWs, they carry SRM packs to reload these guys. Figure the gunners would fire off 2-3 packs before the whole platoon would be pulling back to redistribute ammunition as needed or they would be dumping off a platoon's worth of SRMs with these guys before an ambush or hasty or deliberate defence.

MANPADS
-24kg
-Battletech has not yet given us a really good MANPADS system. What I picture is something like what Backblast has in GI Joe . So it's heavy; probably has to be assembled in place; you would not want to move far with the main unit and three missiles. The monopod would be okay for static use; but in broken terrain; you'd want to re-position it and be more flexible with aiming. This is a semi-automatic command-to-line-of-sight system; using radar guidance. Which is both good and bad. Good; because you do not need a heat signature to fire. Bad because you need to keep the target in LOS to hit it. In Battletech where most weapons fire is resolves across a 6-second turn, this hardly matters, but in real life; airborne targets are very fleeting making positioning this system where it can get good LOS and being able to track the launcher rapidly to keep it are key. Three missiles; three shots before reloading; figure on one reload of three missiles in the gun team for a total of six missiles per launcher basic load. Again; this suits the kind of over-matched defensive operations I forsee for the Mobilization-only units. And yes; it's not much to cover a company.

-For battle field effects; I'd be basing those on how I rework the portable AA Mk.1 and Mk.2 weapons. longer range than an SRM though with less damage and maybe an AP roll.

Heavy Recoilless Rifle
-60kg
-I have no idea how I am supposed to picture the Heavy Recoilless rifle from TRO 3026. It's 60kg and has three shots, I can see that much and the rest is clearly game-balanced. I'm not sure how to handle this one. When I designed the SLDF heavy Recoilless rifles; I based those on WOMBATs; 120mm British jobs, but SF-ed em up with a rotary chamber to ape the extra shots in 3026. i figure it must be some kind of gravity-actuated rotary system like a revolver; and so a davis or burney recoil system. Could not do that with the American Kumoskit system.

-What I see here though is a longer-range anti-armour weapon in place of field guns. The down side to recoilless rifles is that you CAN NOT hide them once they fire. I'll know more when I get into my weapon revision project someday.

Heavy Flamer
-35kg (SLDF version)
-The existence of the flamethrower proves that at some point in history someone had to have said; "I'd just love to set those people over there on fire; but I am just not close enough to do the job myself."
-3 heat, 1 damage +1d6 vs infantry.
-used in defensive choke points and during counter-attacks and asset-denial operations.

Medium Mortar
-50kg
-https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=51934.msg1520887#msg1520887
-Basically THE firepower of the Mobilization-only company. It's Mortar Platoon. This is what makes these operations work, if they work at all.

Ablative/Flak Suit
-The only people in a Mobilization-only company who are *issued* body armour are the Sappers. They have the key roles in asset-denial and counter-attacks and so; they need it most. Too bad they only muster as a squad.

Long-Range Personal Communicator
-25km range
-30 channels
-monitor 6 channels at once
-zipsqueal
-Plug ins for range-finder binos and small video cameras (no trivid capability)
-1kg
-Geeze i wish I had one.

Basic Field Communications Kit
-50km range
-40 channels
-monitor 15 channels at once
-trivid camera
-dish antenna accessory for laser/microwave
-radio rebroadcast capable
-Can hook up two LRPCs for an additional 6 channels each for monitoring
-5kg Manpack

Level I Field Communications Kit
-100km range
-60 channels
-monitor 30 at once
-digital recorder
-all other capabilities of the basic kit
-accepts remote senors (up to 30 of any type)
-10kg portable

Med Kit
-Contains basic medical supplies; dressings, tourniquets, bandages, plasma, blood expander, ect. Medics carry two in order to have more supplies on hand. Also includes a folding stretcher.

Field Surgery Kit
-more complex medical tools and supplies for more serious wounds. Carried by the senior medic. Assuming that slot in the ORBAT is filled by a person. In real life; these things are never perfect and a unit rarely resembled it's Order of Battle in detail.

Otter Forward Support Vehicle and Otter Pup Follow-On Unit
-I'll detail these a lot more eventually. In short; an ultalight, amphibious tracked support vehicle. Imagine if a BV206 and an M29C Weasel had a baby. They can mount weapons, but extra weapons for these purposes are not normally supplied to Mobilization-only units. In practice these help move the Company's Support weapons around and haul ammunition, other supplies and wounded. Mobilization-only units may use these assets for mobility, but always fight dismounted. They simply aren't trained or equipped for anything else.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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The McKenna File
« Reply #391 on: 31 October 2019, 19:38:30 »
The McKenna File


This Document is rated: 4C

The following is a transcription of a verbal message dated as received at the Geneva HPG on 9 August 3095; it was verigraphed at the Wyatt HPG on 5 May 3095 and recovered from the personal offices of Devlin Stone, on Terra. Analysis indicates that it was transcribed and verigraphed directly from a previously-recorded video message, with an added text salutation at the beginning of the file. It was likely recorded in a single take, from memory, by a person with excellent recall. The diction, cadence and tone are all a very good match for the noted General of Stone’s Coalition (retired); Belle Lee, when contrasted with various recordings dated from no later than 3084, as well as interviews with former associates.

It is the assessment of this office that this document is highly likely (Rated 4; 80%+ chance that this document is authentic) to be what it looks like; biographical data of Lord Protector McKenna, compiled by Lee and delivered to Stone no later than August the 10th, 3095. While there is every chance that it could have been planted for SLDF troops to find; to what end remains a mystery. Likewise; while the chain of evidence is far from ideal, the source is fairly reliable (C; we have reasonable confidence in the field forensics procedures in place at this time and their execution in this instance. Given the content, we rate it unlikely that the document was planted as misinformation or propaganda or was tampered with in any way. Overall 65% source reliability).




Devlin

Don’t ask me for anymore favours. And stop trying to put the band back together.

-Belle


*Deep breath and sigh*

We believe that Steven McKenna was born on or about 3036 on one of the heavier-G worlds in The Capellan Confederation. But that’s mainly guesswork; at the end of the day; neither I, nor any of my contacts could find out for certain and I burned a lot of good people trying to find out, hoping it would matter somehow. At this stage, I seriously doubt it does. He appears to have no meaningful national loyalty outside his little hermit kingdom (despite the anomalously good relations the 3rd League enjoyed with the Confederation, today) and given what we know of the state of medical technology in the 3rd League; he is unlikely to drop dead anytime soon of natural causes.

*116 second pause*

He worked as a scout for the local garrison as a teenager. Sometime in 3051; he purportedly discovered a Lostech cache or had a key role in finding it. That’s his legend, anyways. But, for all we know; he lived in the cache and traded it later. Frankly; in that region of space, in that kind of environment, any accessible records are a miracle. In any event; the idea that he just got lucky seems remote. As a reward or in trade or to get rid of him; the Capellan government gave him a grant that he used to travel to Belmont in the Lyran half of the old FedCom and undergo formalized training.

The Belmont facility was, in essence; a private military academy set up by some retired mercenaries as a source of steady income in 3031. They taught a variety of subjects, but exactly how well and what seems to have varied from year to year, according to old SOF back-issues. What is known is that being below the truce line; Clan Jade Falcon invaded the planet on 29 November, 3053 and the AFFC did not have the resources to retake the world, relative to its importance to the Commonwealth, overall. Belmont is still occupied by the Falcons, today.

McKenna, along with surviving students and faculty took part in a guerilla campaign over the course of the next few months, before eventually being rescued through a raid by some of the faculty’s old contacts. These retreated off-world, with the surviving guerillas in tow where they made it back to Arc Royale. Again; conjecture, but it looks like this active mercenary unit already had a contract lined up with the Explorer Corps and following their freelancing to save their old buddies; they needed some more bodies and equipment to make good.

*22 second pause, sigh. *

Remember that this was back in 3054; way before Trent giving us the Clan Homeworlds; back then we were still looking for them and ComStar’s Explorer Corps was a huge part of that. Not telling you how to suck eggs, but last I saw you; your memory from before the war was still touch and go.

Originally; the Corps consisted of mainly ComStar personnel and a few contractors, but after Tukayyid; they couldn’t spare much in the way of bonafide ComGuards to provide the muscle and escort, so they were hiring mercs like crazy. These were good contracts in some ways; high risk, but also very high pay. If you made it back, you could count on plenty of cash, connections in the right places and normally a bump to your Dragoon Rating; back when that was still a big deal.

What the old Corps records indicate is that the expedition that “Karlson’s Kompanie” were escorting started missing regular HPG check-ins after their last one in September, 3055.

From here things get extremely tenuous. Now, I’m tapping into friendly Watch sources, who are doing handshake deals with their counterparts in other Clans for details. No matter what though; we’ll probably never know what happened next for sure, because, full disclosure; the contacts were not very good to start with and I am sure they kept back more than they gave me.

I’m going Cats to Sharks to Horses here; but the gist is that it was the Horses who jumped McKenna’s unit and the Explorer Corps detachment they were supposed to be protecting. I have no idea what happened to the rest of them; those records have a disciplinary seal on them dating to Malavai Fletcher and whoever was feeding us this stuff couldn’t override even an old Khanate prohibition, wouldn’t or lied about it.

Between our own ComStar records and the MRBC reports we have almost a full roster of everyone who should have been there. McKenna is the only one who is ever heard from again, so far as we know and we have record of him next, not even as a bondsman; but a full-fledged *MechWarrior*. He’s hunting bandits with some ad-hoc dezga outfit scrapped together and hurled off into the deep dark, but he’s there; multiple missions and he always has that ‘Mech of his that shouldn’t be a thing.

*48 second pause*

It’s just a theory, but let’s be real here; after all that’s happened, you wouldn’t be coming to me now; after all this time, if you didn’t have a lot of respect for my mind.

And also no other good options. I still hear things and I know that the 3rd League is something like the pool filter of the galaxy; you’re pumping resources into it, but they’re reliably skimming off most of them.

So, I’ll reinforce; this is built on nothing; it’s just one wild-ass theory among many, but my gut-reaction is that the only way this happens is that there is something similar to what Phelan went through going on here. I’m saying that possibly; our McKenna is the real McCoy, so to speak. What I mean is that he’s got DNA linking him to the Terran McKennas. James, Norm; the whole deal. I have exactly nothing to back that up; we’d need a DNA sample ourselves to confirm it. But it fits the facts and there is some degree of precedence though what Phelan experienced.

But this timeline is unreal; it’s like the Horses shoot his mech out from under him, take one look at him; give him the crash course in the Hell’s Horses way of war and put him back in the saddle in a disposable outfit, with hardly any indoctrination. He certainly shows none of the behavioural markers common to repatriated Bondsmen.

Then the last records I could get out of my Watch contacts have him on a mission hunting down some Dark Caste in 3056.

I’ll pause here and sum up what we’re looking at, from my perspective.

I ran some of this work through my people during the war, but you told me to drop it, so I did; I told you it was a mistake, but I did it anyways. Victor agreed with me, if you recall. But this is the first time I’ve had a chance to actually get all this data in front of me all at once. I purged everything I had collected at the time, as you ordered and I never even read most of it. I’m sure you had your reasons and I’ve always trusted you…But Jesus, Dev…

*deep breath, 16 second pause*

Anyways…

Looking at this, I’m forced to ask myself what this guy really is? Not who, but what. Who the hell made him this way? Why is he *like* this, after what he goes through and how do we live in a universe where this guy goes through this stuff and then ends up where he does? It’s enough to make you believe in karma.

I remember something I read once from some old Terran warlord; “You must have sinned greatly, or else God would not have sent me.” Devlin; what the hell did we do so wrong to deserve this creature?

*20 seond pause*

The people who go through this stuff; they tend not to learn from it and apply it like we see here. They have trauma; they put their lives on hold to deal with it or it kills them. Or they write a book. But yet we have exactly the right or wrong guy (I’m still not sure) going through just the right or wrong experiences to give him all the right or wrong tools he needs for the person he becomes later on; in the situation he finds himself in.

It’s eerie.

McKenna’s like this piece that just gets moved around the board, or his life is like a flow chart where every option is a box that reads; “THIS is going to SUCK; so, try and learn from it.” Winters just has to be something special to live with this guy. I know first-hand he was just a treat to work with during the Jihad and his people weren’t much better. I swear he either picks them like that or influences them. We know he puts his mark on his troops as a whole, somehow.

And I have only the vaguest notions of what he started out as, in a personal sense.

This is a guy who starts out in a dirtbag militia; pretty helpful if you’re going to have a career working closely with those kinds of outfits and later; and he does. Combat experience? We don’t know. My gut, just from meeting the guy says; “Child Soldier”, but with everything else he has going on, whose to say? If there was anything, it was pirates; which is always a hoot and a half. Which, again; fits what we see later on.

Next he goes to Belmont; Bam: Basic MechWarrior and Infantry, OCS program; plus, we’re pretty sure a broad familiarity with other arms. I doubted it, but looking at what the place was offering in ’47 and some interviews; plus, what we see from McKenna later and he definitely has formal training in soup-to-nuts combined arms and most of it had to have come from his tenure at Belmont. Don’t ask him to march in step; but he can make air, ground and artillery work together. The only way I can explain the naval stuff is that his backwater Cappie Militia has and probably had some blue and brown navy assets and he might have worked with them as a scout and seen how they operated. I know they do Naval gunfire support; just like we saw first-hand from SOG on Terra, near the end.

I know I’m jumping all over the place here, but I need to get this out before the spawn wake up; so I’m fitting this in between the cows and the kids. Sue me; you get what you pay for.

Then, they get hit by the Falcons and; pow: guerilla experience and from what we gather; expertise. It’s only around half a year, but I’ve seen people get more from less. I can only guess some of the surviving faculty had actually done those awful bloody tours before themselves and already knew the nuts and bolts, because as these things go; they were incredibly successful. And not just in that they lived to be rescued; they actually did some real damage.

It’s a footnote in the Clan War, but it’s pretty easy to find; you may not remember, but there was this copycat tri-vid series that came out after Somerset Strikers?  Loved that show. Anyways; based on a true story; just like the ‘Strikers, but not as popular and it turns out this was that group. Crazy. I watched the re-runs all the time.

That kinda crap is about all the war stuff I can handle anymore, but I re-watched it with my kids and I think there’s even a McKenna-analog in some of the episodes. It’s hard to tell; but I think it’s that wild girl with her own little band they run into half-way through the second season? Again; I’m assuming your swiss-cheesed brain remembers this…anyways it turns out they thought she was a grease-stain from day 1; but here she is putting heads on sticks and they do the whole; “We have to be better than they are"-thing?

The details are all scrambled, but I checked and two of the original staff and one student who didn’t join up with the mercs afterwards are actually on the show as technical advisors and guest-stars (they get rescued at the end of season 3; I’d never let my kids watch something that didn’t have a happy ending. Anything else is too real for me). There’s this weird change in tone that happens on and off throughout the series; where you kinda get a look behind the curtain of this primetime family action-drama and they slip something past the censors and writers and the details get really authentic for a scene or just a line. Know where that picks up? Yeah. Middle of the second season.

Her mannerisms; how she talks and what she says---her tactics---she pilots a Firestarter; which is the same type of mech that we know McKenna brought out with him in 54, when they got rescued. She even does that thing Mckenna does where he’s this awkward guy in a group, but he’s totally different in front of the group. If you can find it (of course you can find it; you’re the Boss now); watch those episodes with your back to the player; it gave me flashbacks. She’s in episodes S02E7-S03E16 when they kill her off after she does this redemption story arc. The local net has fan sites and forums for the show and it seems that the character wasn’t popular after they had her change in Season 3. But the girl doing the role actually got an award, a small one; but only one of two the show ever got, for her acting in Season 2. If you want to really creep yourself out; go read the boards and fan sites. Cult-following doesn’t begin to describe it and she’s got a whole other fanbase just for her character in that show. It’s called; “Knives in the Night” if you can find it. It’s really not that bad if you’re worried about; you know…

But yeah; I think there may be something to that theory because the creator interviews make a big deal of how the characters are all based-on or composites of real people who went through the actual events…

*26 second pause*

So, they get rescued and he slides right into more conventional merc work; so, he gets that bedrock experience of doing the more normal job to go right alongside the basic MechWarrior skills he’s picked up and the boy-guerilla-stuff. Again; patterns already in place: excellent gunner, poor to middling pilot. The MRB wogs that assessed him write him up as a better jumper than a walker. Yeah; one of those and that tracks with what we saw of him in the war. Which basically puts to the bed the theory that the guy who goes into the Periphery is literally a different person from the one who comes back; no *way* the Clans would ever pass a pilot that bad.

He works with the Corps. Picks up who knows what kind of esoteric information about lost worlds, connections; working in the Periphery, ect. Then the Horses get him and we start living with white space in the narrative again; but the Hell’s Horses aren’t just the only Clan that emphasizes Tanks and Infantry; they also use them pretty damn well. The BattleROMs from Strana Mechty and Victor’s refusal over the invasion bear that out fairly well, even if they eventually lost. So here; we figure he picks up more basic tank-mech-infantry cooperation training and experience. This is the first time we see him in any records with that damn Marauder II and he’s assigned to hunt bandits in a pre-emptively disgraced outfit filled with Solahma and various other misfits and rejects. Which is about the only part of his experiences as a Bondsman that makes any sense whatsoever. It’s somewhat inconsistent with the rest of the narrative, but more in line with the kinds of work spheroid bondsmen tend to get in the Clans. The temptation is to either toss the first half of the story or look at the second part of his Clan experience as a cover.

I make the assumption that the Horses are actually pretty good at this hunting-Dark Caste-thing, because you only pick up good anti-partisan tactics one of two ways; you learn them from past masters or you figure it out the hard way. And McKenna seems to have this stuff down pat in a “grab them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow”-sort of way from very early on. I’m not saying that they weren’t rebuilding this outfit from the ground up every time they came back from the deep dark, but what I got from my Watch contacts, if anything; suggest the opposite. I’ll note here that I doubt it’s generally known within the Clans that McKenna even *has* a Clan background. Figure the Nova Cats and the Sharks at least know something and it explains how the so-called 3rd League manages to get on so well with the Horses when almost no-one else does. Given what else we’ve seen of the guy personally; Clan culture might even have been a useful social mechanism for him to get along with. So, I wouldn’t just assume that this guy who comes off as fundamentally broken as a human being could never have made it there on merit.

*9 second pause, yawn*

Next thing we know; he’s jumping into Kuritan space with everything he needs to get started: people, gear; a JumpShip, dropships and after he sells the Union-C; he has cash. But it never feels like he’s starting a merc unit and those Clanners, even the dark Caste; they stay with him till they die or learn how to retire. I know mercs, Dev and this “Studies and Observations Group” he sets up doesn’t feel right from day 1. We look at the SLDFiE as this abomination of an army with a nation attached from pretty early-on in the war. But even SOG basically looks like that in embryo right out of the gate. They have a little of everything; a large raft of camp followers who start providing fresh bodies pretty quickly and they start developing their industrial arm pretty fast too.

From here on, their war record isn’t all that hard to follow, but there are some inconsistences I’ll get to later.

What really sticks out is that despite clearly being known of by at least people in what’s left of the old Mercenary Review Board at this time and the MRBC; these guys are never, ever bonded and yet they still not only get consistent work, but they manage to get it without the kinds of contracts that un-bonded mercs normally have to settle for. It’s hard, nasty duty; yeah. But no one ever tries to company-store these guys or press-gang them. Nobody ever makes any noise officially or unofficially about the Clan-aspect of the outfit and their contracts are consistently well-paying, with good to great perks. That alone is highly inconsistent. They have some truly bizarre riders on those contracts too.

I have some evidence that someone in either MRB or MRBC, or both was feeding them breadcrumbs, but it goes nowhere solid.

From here, we get into their actual war record and the less said; the better. But I will say that it makes a kind of sense to stay un-bonded if this is how you want to run things, because even the MRB would have shut these guys down in the first year otherwise.

Right in the door at Galatea; this guy should never have been allowed in charge of anything. For various reasons; and the personality issues don’t even make my top five. The merc business, as we know from personal experience is very much an environment where money talks as they say. But without some trade safeguards there isn’t much to choose between mercs and pirates and the un-bonded crowd usually lean towards pirates skirting legitimacy. Thus; I agree with what you’ve done with the trade post-war.

But to prove my point; here comes McKenna, walking in like the pocket Wolf’s Dragoons from right out of Clan Space. Has a damn dropship to sell and it should have been like; “Who is this guy? You’re from where? These people are who? Your business model is what???” This is only a few years after the Red Corsair for crying out loud!

*Recording stops. Restarts*

So much for finishing this in one go; had to make breakfast for the kids, since I woke them up.

But yeah; Red Corsair. A few years later and people accept The Raging Horde pretty easily with a jacked up noble acting as their agent, but this is earlier and gets almost no press at the time. You’d figure it would have been worth at least an article in Soldier of Fortune? New Merc Unit on the block formed from people from this Clan we’ve only barely heard of? Nada. Zip. Zilch.

He should have ongoing issues with his people; their background, his leadership. Nothing ever comes up. They say that really good leaders need to be flawed for people to relate to them; perfect angels are so unknowable that only sycophants ever really feel loyalty towards them and even that’s debatable. Mckenna would never be mistaken for perfect and; I totally agree with you and David: he’s clearly got some serious issues that go way beyond being “flawed”. Trauma? Learning disability? Some sort of disorder? I was pretty sure he was just sociopathic for a while, but I’m not certain he isn’t some kind of idiot-savant for warfare.

Certain forms of autism could explain many of his behaviours and quirks and from my research (read; I asked around some families in town) sometimes; the kids pick up all sorts of funny interests that they pursue to the exclusion of all else. Some of them, yeah; are like the stereotyped cliché idiot savants. I’m kinda big fish here, so I have more latitude than you might expect; but I visited one family and their son can not take care of himself; he can just about get more food in his mouth than on him. But their entire home is covered floor to ceiling in some of the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen. He just sits there on their back porch; flapping one hand and painting with the other. Then he switches and uses the other hand when it gets tired. When he isn’t painting, he’s reading about art or flipping through his reader looking at different paintings. I know you’re not much for culture, but David…

*Gasp, 92 second pause*

Sorry, Devlin. I know how hard it is; I went through the same thing with my grandmother. Whatever’s passed between us; always know that you two have my deepest, most sincere sympathies.

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #392 on: 31 October 2019, 19:38:50 »
*deep breath, 34 second pause*

Short version; this kid can barely go to the bathroom by himself and he’s mastered a dozen different styles of painting. I could go on about him for hours, it’s unreal; his family actually supplements their income by selling his art, sometimes. He doesn’t care because he has a literally photographic memory and everything he creates; he remembers forever, he can even reproduce it nearly perfectly if he feels like it and sometimes, he gets stuck in loops and just does the same thing over and over for days. But he doesn’t know his sibling’s names anymore since they moved out and can’t recognize his own sister unless she bleaches her hair blond and she hasn’t been blond since she was 12. 15 years ago.

I went on the GlobalNet and got into some forums for these conditions (there are thousands of variations of autism and they’re still only general guides) and when it comes up; the interest can be anything. Parents come online to get sympathy because their daughter won’t talk about anything except animal taxonomy from dawn till dusk, another has an eight-year old who knows every make of ground car ever made by sight and at a glance; another is into knots but doesn’t speak or let himself be touched; his parents have him knitting all day long to keep him from pulling the threads out of his clothes.

I know it’s hard to put that together with the reality of the New Model Army, the Draconis campaign or especially his stuff in North America at the end. But…

I placed a few discrete inquiries online and to a university with a pediatric psychology department (don’t ask for the name; you won’t find me like that). And it’s not impossible for an autistic kid to have savantism for military things. It would be more likely for them to be more into ‘Mechs or lasers specifically; even myomer bundles. But sometimes their interests are a bit broader and lots of autistic people are functional enough you’d never know they had any issues. Some iron everything out on their own before they leave school. McKenna clearly never has, but he’s also clearly on the higher-functioning-end. Arguably.

It sounds like a hack, but autism, plus military leadership? Sounds like making your quirk not having a quirk, so to speak. No one came right out and gave me a for-sure no and it’s just another theory, but it would explain a lot. But if you’re looking for a silver bullet for this one, you’ll probably need something else. Not quite what you’re used to from me, I know. But I’m not really who I was anymore. I get obsessive about things and I want answers…

*53 second pause, sigh, 13 second pause*

Had this guy been enough on the right radars, there was a time when it might have been practical to either have him killed or subvert his unit out of his control, but maybe not; Condorcet…

Damn, how I hate that pig of a man.

Condorcet is another possibility, but I’m not sure how much to really attribute to him. If for no other reason than that the super-spy rabbit hole has no bottom and once you start attributing things to him, you never know where to stop.

Getting much on Condorcet before or during the war was basically impossible; the guy was old-school ROM and secular way before it was cool and got away with it from what little we do know. Now? Good luck. You probably know more than I do; but last I heard was that he hadn’t been heard from in years and might have settled down with that red-haired WOB chickee he used to spar with on and off during the war, if you can believe that.

I think a good place to put the sanity filter, as concerns Condorcet; is to simply ask what he knew and when he knew it.

It’s possible that McKenna and company were on his radar from their brief detention in Kurita space (maybe he’s what got them out?) and he protected and groomed his guy and his command from the get-go for the Star League Army he knew would one-day be needed to drive back the Clans and defend the Inner Sphere. How deep do you want to get into conspiracy-theory land? Because I have one contact who’s obsessed with an old Star League cloning program he thinks existed and the Clans based their eugenics program off of. He has this wild theory that McKenna is some kind of super-soldier held in suspended animation and Condorcet is an original Belter SLDF officer who stole a ship and left the Clan Homeworlds when he didn’t like what he saw Nicky doing there; came back and started looking for the freezer to thaw McKenna out of to rebuild the real Star League.

So; you see there are lots of reasons I don’t care to pick up the vid-phone, so to speak, and get in touch with my old network again.

At a minimum; we know Condorcet was aware of SOG back in the day and somehow convinced the right people---whoever the right people were back then---that this was the right unit and leader to build the new SLDF on. Clearly no face-to-face interview was required.

And yes; that horrifies me as much as it does you and it’s also basically our entire issue with the SLDFiE in a nutshell. Yes; *our* issue. I’m still on your side, Devlin. Just because I’m no longer willing to be your soldier and I’d rather have a life, doesn’t mean that I’ve changed my mind about what we fought for and against and why; the ideals we built the Republic for and the philosophy we want for the Inner Sphere.

*27 second pause, sniffing, laboured breathing*

Certainly some of SOG’s contracts are easier to explain if you have a super-spy guardian angel greasing palms and pulling strings to prevent investigations from progressing and keep the right people happy and/or checking their doors at night.

I think a reasonable compromise is that Condorcet somehow became aware of SOG years before the New Model Army program got started and probably eased their path at least somewhat. The rest could have been simple word of mouth. The people around McKenna are no slouches, either. I am certain that several of his inner circle could possibly have managed the kind of extortion here and there that would be needed to make their war record play out as it did. All the time? That beggars belief. Toss in a rouge ROM operative with a messiah complex and things seem more reasonable.

What I am not willing to do is to just sail this one on pure luck and human vice and stupidity. Not in this case. From a distance that seems plausible, but when you go case by case…regular Merc units are lucky to even survive these kinds of contracts. They rarely pay out, because they normally lose. SOG wins time after time and they do it fast and it sticks. They do that by employing a level ruthlessness normally absent outside war crimes trials.

Would McKenna be convicted? Probably. But I can count at least fourteen separate incidents that should have put McKenna and his band on an MRBC or ComStar Tribunal by themselves.

I discount luck completely. Forget luck. I’m lucky; you’re lucky. McKenna pissed off Murphy just by being born and he’s been paying for it ever since. If you look at his personal record, it’s a series of “what are the odds?” events that he’s able to mitigate, somehow. You find a Star League Cache and the best the locals can do when you hand them the keys is a pocket full of cash and a kind word? At a minimum he should have gotten his Capellan Citizenship; but no. He gets the boot.

You get the shot every kid in the Inner Sphere dreams about and the Clans invade the planet? It’s above the truce line, but still.

Your merc unit gets swallowed up by the deep dark never to be seen again? Everyone you know dead or basically enslaved and only you get out with a band of combat-rejects and pirates?

All their contracts are filled with mission-creep, bad karma and things that just should not have happened. McKenna or his people manage to get them out of it, but it usually means heavy casualties. The unit’s medical bills for just the first four years are unbelievable.

People wind up on Zaniah III for a fraction of the blood this guy has on his hands and “it could have been worse” is about the nicest thing I can say about any of it, along with “It shouldn’t have happened.”

*19 second pause, sigh*

I tell you though, Devlin…I look at the reporting I have on some of those incidents…contracts…ops…The ones where I honestly don’t think I’d have handled it as well don’t bother me very much; because, seriously? What are the chances things would ever go that way?

It’s the ones where I think I’d have done the exact same thing---or tried to---that McKenna did. Those keep me up at night.

My honour.

It’s not something I think a lot of, or talk about. We all did bad things in the war…but I can still look at myself in the mirror in the morning and I value that. You know that’s part of why I had to go, right? I honestly didn’t have the stones (no pun intended) to go through with what we all saw was needed to make our dream a reality. And I couldn’t tell you that until right now…

And then I think about just throwing it all away for so much less because I’m in some god-awful situation---that I signed on the dotted line for---and there’s no way out and my people are dying...And I probably couldn’t have made it work anyways; but I’d still have tried…

I don’t sleep all that much, Dev. I don’t have to tell you what helps with that, do I? And I’m sorry again. I’m sorry for a lot of things.

I’m rambling now.

Hell, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t have collective years of experience fighting guerillas; I was one. Maybe this is normal? Maybe that’s part of why we hate this guy so much? God forgive me though; I actually feel bad for these people reading the reporting…

I wouldn’t bother re-reading any of the reporting you have on the SOG contracts yourself. Even if you have something new. If you’re looking for insight; I say this as a someone who cared a lot about you once, Devlin; save yourself the nightmares. I don’t know about you, but I’ve made a lot of progress these past few years. This project has set me back; I hope you realize that and understand why I can never do anything like this for you, again. I think it actually cost me a bit more of my soul, in fact. So, thanks for that.

But I was always your person for all this crap; strategy, tactics, intelligence, organization. Take my word for it; look elsewhere. I know you’ve already read it anyways, just don’t do that thing you do where you pour over it endlessly until it’s burned into your mind. Please. You forget that you didn’t live it sometimes; I remember that; talking you down.

*30 second pause*

So yeah; McKenna gets the job running the cadre for the New Model Army. Which is where a bad situation gets orders of magnitude worse.

I didn’t learn a single new damn thing about that whole mess that we didn’t already know.

There’s money, people and resources all in vast quantities that just start to *go away* in the 60s without anyone noticing. Maybe even before? We know that Dwight was heavily involved in the materiel and material sides of things and that basically everything that makes the SLDFiE what it is has McKenna’s fingerprints all over it.

After that; there are some interviews. I didn’t get squat out of them. The ComStar woman who was part of the reviewing party right before the Jihad is still alive. The only one who still is. If you care; that story about getting the news while on parade is true.

She…actually thinks he is the devil. Literally; The Antichrist. Or the second coming of Nicholas Kerensky in her case; being One Star, reformed now.

And then there’s the war; and by their works, ye shall know them. God; I have skipped my mom and I am becoming my Grandmother…

Anyway; at that point I am actually reading and hearing my own words, literally. I might have been able to add something if I had yours or Victor’s notes; anyone else really. But que sera, I’m sure you will add your own conclusions anyways; you always did.

So, you’re only getting my perspective, really. But you wouldn’t have come to me if that wasn’t what you wanted. Or you would have sent more along through the dead-drops, at any rate. I hope this is useful anyways.

Good Luck, Devlin. I fear you’re going to need it someday. I shudder to think of that army out there in the dark with that man in charge of it. But better you than my kids. It’s hard to explain how deeply I believe in the Republic and what you’re working towards when I won’t fight for it anymore. But that’s how it is. Selfish as it is; my war is over. For as petty as it seems in retrospect, I’m glad things worked out how they did; because it’s given me the chance to have a life outside of war.

For what it’s worth, I can’t imagine any way we could have done things differently.

Goodbye, Devlin.

Belle.


Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

marauder648

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #393 on: 07 November 2019, 02:29:49 »
Verrrrrrrry interesting and DAMN well written! But so many questions asked with few answers, you tease us good Sir!
Ghost Bears: Cute and cuddly. Until you remember its a BLOODY BEAR!

beachhead1985

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  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #394 on: 07 November 2019, 19:47:29 »
Verrrrrrrry interesting and DAMN well written! But so many questions asked with few answers, you tease us good Sir!


I wasn't super-happy with the profile/character sketch I did of McKenna earlier. Okay; great, here is something written however long after a guy benefitting from the full gamut of late first-league medical tech finally dies.

That is of limited value compared to something written by a contemporary with top-flight skills and access during the era our story takes place in.

I think I came across with a little bit more of really *why* or what it is that bothers "Stone and The Gang" about McKenna from very early on. Looking back, I kinda feel like I just laid out this situation with no because-why to explain it, just because it needed to be there and so it was. I hate that kind of story-telling. I've said before how I wanted to make a character markedly different from the common mould we see in so many of the protagonists in BT and I think I did that, but failed to explain just why those others are going to have this reaction to him that inevitably leads to war.

I chose Belle Lee as my vehicle for this for a few reasons; for one there has to be a reason why she ups-stakes shortly after the Jihad and just walks away from the republic, essentially cutting ties with Stone and The Gang just when things are looking good. She's not very well flushed-out, overall and I have never seen the whys explained to me. So I made *some* whys, but Belle is a complex woman and there are many reasons for doing what she did; it wasn't something she just came to: there were multiple contributing factors. The Belle we see is Stone's military gal-Friday in the Jihad and the (great?)Grandmother of our first Dark Age Protagonist in Stackpole's Dark Age into fiction from way back when.

The Belle in Der Tag is less a mechanism in the background and more of a human being. She is not a central character by any stretch, but *my* Devlin Stone won't ever have been happy with taking no for an answer on her walking away. He's mysterious, but he's human as well. So while he fits well with the trope of never explaining himself to anyone; he still knows he needs friend and allies. Losing Belle as both things hurt him and he feels that more and more all the time. I thought about how I feel about the friends I've lost in various ways; how I think: "Man, I wish he were here to talk to about this..." and I put that into my Devlin Stone. But Belle cannot ever come back to that life.

What started this was that basic salutation;

"Devlin, Stop trying to put the band back together. -Belle"

Man, that fit somehow. Then; Bam! Of course Devlin goes to Belle to learn about McKenna.

Then, I made this whole template for how Belle would talk and how that would look like in text. I actually really enjoyed writing it. When you read it; you should imagine that she actually talks like this, with the little asides, digressions and verbal parenthesis. And even as a serious-damaged war-vet, mom and farmer, she is still fascinated by things she learns about the world around her. It fit like a glove to have her fascinated by the life of a severely autistic boy in the community she lives in; a place that knows her, but keeps her secret out of respect and admiration; because Belle Lee is not only famous and cool, but a truly great person. Where Stone is Batman; Belle is Superman with more scars.

I hope for all the questions about McKenna, there were still some answers to be had.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

 

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