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Author Topic: To Stand before the Archon...  (Read 5371 times)

Cannonshop

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To Stand before the Archon...
« on: 10 November 2019, 17:20:34 »
(in a sideline of a sideline, another bubble in the multiverse...)

October 22, 3057, Private apartments, The Triad, Tharkad...

The right honorable Archon-Princess Victoria Patricia Steiner-Davion, Lady of Tharkad visited a guest.  "Elizabeth, you're sick." she says, "Kate knows it, mom knew it, I know it-half the military planners on Tharkad know it."

"It gets what you need." the younger woman-really still just a girl, paced glassy-eyed, waiting for the cocktail of pain killers and antiseizure medications to take effect.  "we've got production up forty six percent at six major contractors, ammunition and weapons are arriving at the front lines instead of being diverted to criminals now.  Your brother Karl's unit sent a thank-you letter to my people on Kowloon for the deliveries."

"True...but I can't let you flout the law like this, lizzie-you're too young to-"

"I'm old enough, hell, based on what I have, I'm damn near middle aged.  I can't serve on the front lines, that's barred to me, but I can damned sure lean on my dad's employees to make sure we're filling bodybags with Clanners instead of Lyran boys and girls not THAT much older than me."

"that's not the problem and you know it, Liz.  You shot a man in cold blood, on camera, and broadcast it."

"He was selling to the black market, your highness." Elizabeth told her calmly, her dark eyes as emotionless as a shark, "He was embezzling, he was also abusing his position, and pushed my world to the edge of open rebellion.  shooting him was the right call, bullet to the head and in public, so everyone, without a doubt, would understand that he wasn't about to get away with it.  There is..there can be, no limit, no hesitation, no means too far gone against the Clans.  Nothing is too extreme when in opposition to genocidal evil.  I think your father might agree."

"My mother would not." Victoria said, "and my mother sits Regent over the entire Federated Commonwealth."

"She lets me continue." Elizabeth stated, "Obviously my service is valuable enough, and temporary enough to stomach letting me do what must be done." 

"Liz..."

"Highness, you're a good person.  so is your brother Karl, heck, I kind of suspect your younger brother Peter got a bad deal over that mess on the Drac border.  I know where my soul is going when I die, and I know both how and why I'm damned, but if i can help stop a greater evil, at least I'll burn knowing I made a difference."

"The treatment isn't working, is it?" Victoria asked.

"no. and it won't. They tried it generations ago, it didn't work then, it won't work now-I have limited time, Highness. I need to get back to work while I'm still able, while I still have my brain, a lot of work to make sure my people never need someone like me again."

"I'll...I'll talk to Mother about letting you leave Tharkad."

"Thank you for your help."

half an hour ago, Victoria had watched as Duchess Elizabeth Ngo of Kowloon, swore her allegiance to the Federated Commonwealth, and then collapsed before the throne in a violent seizure that left a bloody smear on the floor of the Estates General.




I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

Daryk

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #1 on: 10 November 2019, 19:47:58 »
More Ngo-verse!  :o  :thumbsup:

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #2 on: 11 November 2019, 10:42:02 »
More Ngo-verse!  :o  :thumbsup:

This one's a little difference, kind of stealing other ideas.

The Steiner-Davion children:

Victoria; Female, oldest Daughter of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner-Davion. (female Victor, obviously) Victoria is a compassionate, intelligent, Strategically gifted individual, and heir-apparent to her parents realm, she chafes at being held back to conduct affairs of state while her brothers are fighting to preserve not only the realm, but the whole of the Inner Sphere.  This is not to say Victoria's a social general, far from it-she led the forces that relieved Coventry, and proved herself able to marshal forces and lead them into battle, however, her mother, the Regent Melissa Steiner-Davion, keeps her on a short leash with regards to military matters, it's fine for Victoria to come up with the plans, but Melissa often insists, both as mother and as her temporary superior, that she delegate the execution of those plans to others.  Victoria's rumoured relationship with Hohiro Kurita (the Heir of the Draconis Combine) remains mostly a rumour in 3057, though her friendship with Omi Kurita is well documented.

Charlemagne "Karl" Morgan Steiner-Davion: oldest son, second child.  Karl is an at best Average 'mechwarrior, but he's an outstanding battlefield tactician.  his ambitious nature is served by his successes as a field commander on the Clan front.  Karl is a very good soldier and an inspiring leader.  For as long as there's a war, he is content to serve, but he has ambitions to Lead the Federated Commonwealth himself someday.

Peter Steiner-Davion: Third child, second son, the black-sheep of the family.  As a fresh young officer, he was lured into an ill-advised action against the Draconis Combine, from which he barely escaped with only the threat of being cashiered from the AFFC.  Peter's 'punishment' has been to coordinate with the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery as a Military Liaison under the restored Star League, he is suspected of being involved in a relationship with Omi Kurita, a rumour that both realms have been very careful to preserve unofficially, while officially denying the link.

Yvonne Steiner-Davion: youngest of the Steiner-Davions, diplomatically gifted, a social chameleon who maybe trusts others a bit too much.  Yvonne has no speaking parts in this story yet.

The Ngos:

Elizabeth Anne Ngo: Duchess of Kowloon, embarrassment to much of the Estates General in the Lyran Commonwealth State.  Ruthless, sometimes derided as psychotic, or psychopathic, she is the inheritor of the largest non-Comstar industrial tooling company in the Federated Commonwealth, with assets and contracts that are valued at several times the value of her family's landhold of Kowloon itself.  Her tested intelligence is somewhere past the point where AFFC's Dept. of Education can safely test, and she will be dead by the age of forty of a syndrome that nobody has been able to successfully treat in eight hundred years.  Technically she is an incredibly minor duchess, a 'rabbit skinner noble' of a world with a history of popular uprisings and difficult governance.  Since assuming her Ducal hold at the age of fourteen in 3052, duchess Ngo has been building an over-sized militia, flaunting many of the conventions and not a few laws while doing so, however few in the Estates General or the AFFC can argue with her results-piracy along the Mainstreet-to-Melissia corridor has dropped by over 89% since 3052, with MTM units seeing a massive influx of trained infantry, armor, and aerospace personnel in spite of a lack of proper, approved, training facilities.  Readiness ratings for the Melissia Theater units have improved by over fifty percent.  This has allowed Regular rated forces to be moved to counter probes and thrusts by the Clans.  Duchess Ngo is medically barred from AFFC service or most military education, and is often seen as something of a comical figure by Nobles closer to the core.  She is relatively unknown outside of the Federated Commonwealth.
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

Daryk

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #3 on: 11 November 2019, 11:05:18 »
Cool, thanks for the extra detail!  :thumbsup:

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #4 on: 11 November 2019, 14:01:09 »
3058, Kowloon, Lyran State of the Federated Commonwealth...

Duchess Ngo's 'ducal residence' would be an unendurable humiliation to most of her peers.  Victoria found the Kowloonese Duchess's two story split level house in the middle of a middle-to-working-class neighborhood in the suburbs of the planetary capital to be 'quaint'.  Having no room for the massive bodyguard force to set up on the quiet cul-de-sac was clearly something Liz chose by intent.

The 'old' Ducal residence, a structure dating back to when Kowloon was occupied by the Rim Worlds Republic, had been converted to the grounds of a university-there were no barracks there, either, just dorms and libraries with classrooms stocked by the best academics Ngo Industries could recruit, teaching exotic subjects like Economics, business, and engineering.

"Next time, I'm going to summon you to Tharkad for this." Victoria stated.

"Your majesty has that prerogative.  Want some ijero?"  Liz asked, offering a glass pitcher filled with a reddish fruit drink laced with ice-cubes.  "It's good for the circulation and a local favorite."

"Sure you don't have anything stronger?" Victoria asked.

"Nah, this is strong enough, no alcohol though, I'm trying to keep my thinking clear."

"sure."  Victoria accepted a glass, and Liz poured the drinks.  There was a slight fruity smell, like a mix of cherry and cinammon.  Victoria took a careful sip, and was pleased at the sweetness...right before being reminded why Kowloonese 'cooking' was considered something of a dare among the troops.

It snuck up, but then, it BURNED.

"What brings the Archon to my little corner of the Commonwealth, your Majesty?" Liz asked. "Have some of the bread, it damps the burn."

"hohhh...hhh..hot. Ohdeargod..." Victoria held up a finger in warning, and set the glass on the countertop, noting that it was simply polished granite, rather than the stain-resistant polylamellors currently in style on Tharkad.  "Your Militia. I need them."

Liz sighed, "Your majesty, how many?"

"HOw many can you send, how many can you train?" Victoria asked, "I need all of them."

"Which one?" Elizabeth didn't argue, she simply asked, as though 'yes' were simply assumed, "And how long do I have to mobilize?"

but her question made Victoria look up from the bread as she sliced it.  "which one?"

"I've got a ground forces militia, we're already tithing most of the units as they come on line." Liz explained, "and there's the Coast Guard, which I am guessing is the one you're really here to...retain.  I don't think you've got enough transport dedicated to wet-naval units to support them, but...I could be wrong."

"I said all of them. I meant it." Victoria told her.  "I know you've been working on the transport problem."

"Oh...the yards at boojum..."

"Yes. Those.  a little hound told me you've been hiding a lot of military hardware in your local...what is it, 'maritime police agency'?  Aerospace craft, dropships...and jump ships.  I need them-as many as you have, as many as you can find."

"Your Majesty is well informed-the Coasties don't answer directly to me, they report to the planetary assembly."  Liz said it like the standard boilerplate it was.  Victoria was having none of it.

"So tell the legislature to uphold their obligations, Liz, this is serious.  We're working on hitting the Clans back and we need the additional tonnage."

"I didn't say you wouldn't get them, Majesty. I know where my duty lies, I need a timeframe for how long you are going to give me to mobilize them, establish logistics to support them, adjust budgets to deal with the deployment, and how much training budget I get for making up losses."

this stopped whatever it was Victoria was going to say, and instead, "you expect losses?"

"During the Star League's civil war, Kowloon supplied the 171st Volunteer Regiment, the Coast Guard was tasked with transport, supply, and support." Elizabeth explained, "We took 300% losses during that war, meaning for every man sent, we had to replace him three times.  very few survived the march on Elbar, much less Terra.  You're planning to strike the Clans directly using my people, I know for a fact we're going to lose men. I need to know how much to put into replacing those men from day one, so I can work up a projection of how many more we'll need."  she reached over to a stack of cookbooks, and brought out a leatherbound diary packed with loose, fragile pages, the spidery hand that wrote those pages had been dead and gone for more than two centuries.

"I won't waste them." Victoria told her.

"You don't control what the enemy does." Liz stated, "I hand my men to you, and some will die. we need the Coasties, we need them for a variety of reasons, you need them for one, and they will suffer casualties.  I need to have mechanisms in place to replace those losses and to have replacements in the pipeline to your front lines, I'd appreciate if we got a bit of priority on useful information once it begins, so that the troops following can make use of lessons learned."

"I'm not hearing 'no'."

"Of course not." Liz stated, "I told you last year on Tharkad-extremism in opposition to evil is no vice, moderation in opposition to evil is no virtue.  The book-the one Kell wrote, and the book by their founder? that's pure evil, it can't be allowed any more than a razorblade in a melon, it must be opposed without hesitation...but that doesn't mean being stupid about it.  My university is fine for teaching soft subjects, but we need a proper Academy here."

"Tit for tat?"

"It serves the Realm, your purposes, and mine." Elizabeth stated, "DMI gets facilities and a pool of good recruits, we get a financial draw that isn't tied to my businesses, the Realm gets an academy on the peripheral edge, above the truce line but in a place undesirable to our enemies. win-win-win."

"You're still barred to enlistment." Victoria stated, "I will make certain you can't get into there."

"I'm fine with that." Liz told her, "I serve where I CAN, and do what I must for the realm, as a loyal vassal to my liege."

"How many regiments can you form right now?" Victoria asked.

"More than I can reasonably transport." Elizabeth answered, "of the ones that can reasonably be expected to deploy...say...in the next thirty to ninety days? zero Battlemech regiments-we have about a battalion that  is marginally competent, but I can send you five regiments of infantry and two tank regiments immediately, plus a regimental-equivalent aerospace force with organic jumpship transport.  give me six months, and I can have a light division for you."

Victoria almost choked on her toast.  "That many??"

"Kowloon has a population of one billion, at two percent of the gross domestic product pre-taxes devoted to the defense budget, and keeping in mind our limitations as far as qualified 'mech trainers, we can support an armed force, using 3025 standard technologies, of twenty one conventional divisions, not including wet-naval forces or space craft. we can only deploy five regiments of that unless or until I get the licensing for the necessary shipyards and vessel designs-remember, I can't pirate designs by my major customers at Alarion or Galax."

"but...how-"

"standardization." Liz stated, "Efficiencies of scale, and mass-production. once you know what needs to go in, you can project how many come out.  I'd appreciate it if you don't strip us down to the point of not having sufficient hands to do the work, but in six months time, I can give you a deployable division. Faster if you can find me a source of 'mechwarriors."

"but not pilots."

"Pilots we got." Liz stated, "Dropship, jumpship navigators, fighter and small craft, those are easy.  we don't have 'mechwarriors and we don't have the ability to train or field the new battle-suit technologies, but I have a license deal with Defiance for the Patton along with a few other designs and some bright kids who have ideas on what else can be mounted on that platform..."

"You have a year, Duchess Ngo." Victoria told her, "from today. one year. I want that division.  You will get your school."

"As you command." Liz stated, "More?" she offered the decanter.

"Please...it's...unique. have you considered exporting it?"




I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

Dave Talley

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #5 on: 11 November 2019, 15:52:44 »
oooojhh
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

Because while the other Great Houses of the Star League thought they were playing chess, House Cameron was playing Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker the entire time.
JA Baker

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #6 on: 11 November 2019, 17:18:42 »
 :) nice story!  I am looking forward to more.

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #7 on: 11 November 2019, 23:54:25 »
Da Nang Spaceport, Kowloon, 3061

There are no parades today.  The reunified Star League has successfully 'refused' the Clan invasion vote, driving the Smoke Jaguars out of the Draconis Combine entirely, and defeating the combined might of the Clans of Kerensky at Huntress.

But there are no parades scheduled for today.  Tomorrow, perhaps. 

Today, there are the dead.  Elizabeth walked along the ferrocrete tarmac, as honor-guards and stevedores unloaded the profit from her venture with the Archon Princess.

each pallet was engineered, designed to interlock.  Each pallet holds a stack of boxes-Two meters by one meter by one meter. 

Many of those boxes are empty, but each one is given the appropriate respect, brought out of the dropship's hold, taken from the cargo rack, checked and verified, and then packaged with the Flag of the Federated Commonwealth.

Thousands of them, representing sons, and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sent to fight in a foreign war, brought home at their own expense in defiance of the common practice of virtually every Great House, because families deserve the right to get their lost ones back.

Elizabeth came here, every day, since the boxes started coming home, because she ordered them to go, rammed it through the elected legislature she worked so hard before to build up.

Across the facility, twelve months ago, living men and women were loading onto ships, some of those people were here,  in these boxes.

Tomorrow, the living survivors would be arriving.  Liz sighed as she laid a hand on the lid of a casket bound for Ia Drang province.  Tomorrow, there will be parades.

She nods to a Chaplain's Mate, and continues to oversee the unloading of her people's remains.
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #8 on: 12 November 2019, 00:48:01 »
In this setting, Operation: Serpent went off much like it did in the prime timeline.  The major differences being that Lyran State casualties were a lot higher thanks to there being less political wrangling about commitments and objectives, and Karl did not have the same 'gift' for strategy that prime-timeline Victor did.  AFFC forces under his command achieved their objectives-but at a gruelling cost as Karl Steiner-Davion employed mass battle attacks instead of equally effective, but more subtle means.

In the end, the forces that proceeded to Serpent were the survivors of a campaign rooted in attrition.  When they hit the Clans, it was with that kind of mentality, absorbing tens of thousands of losses, casualties in the range of five to one, but as observed by one Khan, "They lose five men for every warrior they defeat-but they bring six men for every warrior we field..."

Famous elite units did better than this, of course, but THIS time, Serpent had a much longer 'tail', thanks to a constant replenishment of men and materiel brought by ships slammed together at shipyards from Melissia to Kaumberg, and with those supplies, came fresh troops from Arluna, and Kowloon, Mississaugua, Main Street, New Capetown, and hundreds of other worlds, to fill in the holes where men and women died.

For their part, the Clans never faced industrial war before, and their records, the records of their founders, only examined this in the context of a distant past, before Battlemechs even. Psychologically, the Clans, especially in the Homeworlds, were unprepared for an enemy who just keeps coming, sometimes overwhelming defenders with weight of bodies, a swarm of army-ants taking down an ox.

at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.   The cost to the Clans was almost as horrific, but in some ways, it was far, far worse.  Ideals like 'Glory' and 'Honor' were ground into the mud by the boots of a counter-invader who did not stop, did not pause, did not retreat or hesitate.  Killing one brought three more.

the darkest revelation, for the assembled Khans, came with a statement during the brief negotiation prior to the actual trial of refusal.

"Two percent of our industrial output. less than that of our available, trained manpower."  Karl Steiner-Davion boasted, "You're running out of ammunition, we have more on the way, you're struggling to repair your units, we have spares and replacements at-will...this far from our home. think very carefully about that, because I don't want you to accept the offer Focht is making.  We can drown you without bringing out any of the really interesting toys."


in the end, pragmatic leadership prevailed, and the Grand Council of the Clans of Kerensky chose a limited trial of refusal, over Marshall Steiner-Davion's offer of a trial of annihilation.

Historians will argue whether the choice of accepting a Trial of Refusal with negotiated terms was truly in anyone's best interest.  they can argue those points until the stars burn out.  what is, in this universe, is that only Elite-rated units were allowed to take part in the actual trial.

Thus, the result was largely the same as it was/would be in the prime timeline.
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

mikecj

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #9 on: 12 November 2019, 01:10:56 »
Very nice.  Send a bullet, not a man... or both...
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.

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #10 on: 12 November 2019, 12:39:03 »
Star League Council meeting, Tukayyiid, December 11, 3064...

"..we need to discuss limits on naval building programs."  First Lord Sun Tzu Liao pronounced firmly, "Your own program was certainly important to the victory over the Clans, Victoria, but why have you not reduced it in light of our peace?  your naval expansion is only matched by  that of the Mariks!"

"What naval expansion?" Victoria asked sweetly, eyeing the other assembled lords of the Star League, "The Lyran Commonwealth Navy's force structure is within treaty guidelines, we have yet to begin construction of Cruiser level assets above three hundred fifty thousand tons volume, every state in attendance has a greater number of higher end capital ships than we do, even counting the salvage from Operations Bulldog and Serpent."

"It's your so-called 'coast guard', Vicky.  it makes them nervous." Hohiro Kurita observed, "Frankly, were relations worse between our realms, it would make me nervous."

"The Coast Guard is a reserve formation, mostly civilian in function, and it isn't even under direct administration by the Federated Commonwealth!" she scoffed, "We provide partial funding and certification, but it's paid for by member worlds directly.  Mein gott, gentlemen, lady, the bulk of the vessels are merchant classes!"

"Ahmmm..." Sun Tzu wave a hand over his panel, and a decidedly NOT civilian vessel appeared.  "Case in point, the Groves Engineering Sampan class, short ranged jump drive, older technology, loosely based on the pre-dreadnought type 51,  but she's packing as many capital missiles as a proper corvette..." he waves again, the image shifts, "The ACME engineering 'Zerstoren' light corvette, I think you even sent a few of these with our forces to the Clan Homeworlds...and both Alarion and Galax are turning out at least two Fox class vessels every six months."

"They are civilian patrol vessels. The Zerstoren class is a rough analogue to the Free Worlds League's Zechetinu class."

"I don't have a problem with them, if you were cranking out equivalents to the Atreus I might.  But we're all concerned about this naval expansion for one reason."  Thomas Marik noted, "They're in civilian hands.  these are capital grade weapons of war in the hands of a loosely organized civilian agency with little to no direct oversight. have I surmised the First Lord's position on this sufficiently?"

"aptly." Sun Tzu stated.  "your yards are turning out capital-grade weapons with little to no oversight.  We want to maintain this armistice, but the largest producer and user of these ships, is one of your lower nobles, a woman without so much as a day in uniformed service...and she's known to be...unstable?"

Elizabeth Ngo appears on the holotable at a gesture from Liao, as she looked in 3054, condemning the vote to accept the Wolf Exiles. the recording freezes. 

"You need to put a leash on your pet psychotic before she does something to provoke another conflict."

"And what would the First Lord suggest?" Victoria asked.

"Nationalize her assets?  possibly force her into medical treatment? Intelligence suggests she has a truly titanic addiction to narcotics, hardly someone safe to be leaving dangerous weapons to."

"I won't do that." Victoria said it firmly, "I refuse to do that to a citizen of my realm, Liz is a vital asset to the ongoing support of operations against Clan Jade Falcon, and she was critical in developing and designing the logistics network that allowed most of you to bring victory home to your peoples.  I know about her...weaknesses and her strengths."

"you could always draft her and that impromptu navy she's building." Thomas suggested, "being placed under military discipline and oversight would be a sufficient curb on any rogue impulses by my lights."

Kurita nodded, while Sun Tzu looked thoughtful.  "the Star League must maintain a front of unity." he said, "Until the Clans are evicted from Star League territory.  Draft them all, place some at the disposal of the reformed SLDF's naval branch under...it's Beresick, isn't it?" He looked to Primus with a raised eyebrow.

Victoria felt the room slipping out of her hands.  I hate to do this, but I'm starting to think they deserve her. "fine, I will draft the order when I return to Tharkad."

Later that week, while in transit to Tharkad, news of the Jade Falcon incursion reached the Archon-Princess.  severe blows sent to strike a number of Lyran worlds had been turned back on the attackers, and while the Falcons landed on Kowloon, they  lost a warship and the survivors were being detained.

The AFFC garrison commander's report noted that Liz had been involved in the fighting, using a damn submarine to lure the Falcons' warship close, then nuclear missiles to bring it down over one of the oceans.  "she was even wounded..?"

Victoria penned the order herself.

"TO: Ngo, Elizabeth Anne, Duchess of Kowloon
FROM: Steiner-Davion, Victoria, Archon-Princess of the Federated Commonwealth
RE:
Due to exigencies of national emergency, under the Universal Conscription Act and by my authority as Archon Princess, you are hereby summoned to Donegal to be inducted into AFFC/Naval service at the rank of Rear Admiral of the Coast Guards. I will be waiting for you there.  To be exceedingly clear here, this is a political appointment, but I fully expect you to observe the Laws of War and the Regulations of the Armed Services.  DO NOT embarrass me. Bring a contingent of the 171st and your 1st and 2nd Squadrons, they're drafted too.

Victoria Steiner-Davion."




I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

croaker

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #11 on: 12 November 2019, 17:06:19 »
Oh dear. Lizzie is not going to be happy about this. Oh, she'll go, but she'll bitch and moan all the way.

Daryk

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #12 on: 12 November 2019, 18:26:31 »
As long as a nuke isn't part of her bitching and moaning, Victoria won't mind, I suspect...

Smegish

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #13 on: 12 November 2019, 22:21:57 »
Well, now I see what you wanted the budget warship for.

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #14 on: 13 November 2019, 00:00:12 »
Donegal, 35 days later...

Elizabeth Ngo was younger, by a considerable margin, than Victoria, or even Yvonne.
she somehow managed to look older than the Archon Princess herself.  the cane didn't help, or the tracery of scars on one side of her face.  "Reporting as directed, Highness."  The woman with her was unfamiliar, dressed out in a black-and dark-blue uniform topped by a white cap, like Liz.  The 'dress uniform' of Kowloon's Coast Guard Militia, there was a crest on both uniforms, showing a black-and-white aquatic animal.  Orcinus Orca.  the Killer whale

"You made it at all, that's a start.  why the Leutnant's bars, Liz, I told you-"

"I'm not qualified." Elizabeth stated blandly, "She is, this is Commodore Alicia Li, my...the closest thing to normal organizational doctrine is, she's my CNO, I brought her along as someone who actually is qualified."

"Qualified?" Victoria asked, "I don't remember seeing you before."

"I have." Karl's voice boomed from just to Victoria's left.  "Bona-fides here, she extracted my unit off Tamar during the Wolf invasion.  That was a dropship and you were AFFC."

"It was 3052 and I was serving my five." Li said, "Marshall, sir."

Victoria hadn't really wanted Karl here, but he was here.

Liz leaned on her cane a little harder, "Pics don't do you justice, sir." she says.

"Li, you're qualified, why is your duchess out of uniform?"  Victoria asked, seizing control of the situation.

"Your highness, Elizabeth is qualifed as a politician, she's an excellent boss, what she isn't, is properly or adequately trained as an officer-and that's in spite of the efforts of both myself, and Colonel Mosovich.  I wouldn't rate her higher than O-2 in the field, though she's got O-6 qualifications in staff work...though I admit, I was shocked when she passed the Nuclear Ordnance Technician courses and she'd be a decent Gunner's Mate three."

"Three??"

"YOu missed the first shot over the Western sea, if you hadn't had a couple spares, you'd be sunk and we'd be occupied." Li said primly.

"Snitches get stitches, Commodore. I know where the needle and thread are." Elizabeth growled.  "They weren't supposed to know about that until-"

"I think they're both out of uniform." Karl suggested, "Unless you're really planning to make this a 'thing', Vicky."

"It's a thing, and I'm making it.  She can't serve in the AFFC's regular forces thanks to her medical, but a new service doesn't have that feature-no laws restricting service in a wet-naval service, with aerospace and land components."

"And she's still out of uniform." Karl said with a wide grin.  "You mentioned that, and now I see it.  Leutnant's bars? with a Fleet Captain as her adjutant? completely wrong."

"I'm not field-qualified, and Li has already outlined the gaps in my capability." Liz said smoothly.

"and the Archon Princess is having none of it.  Li, did you bring-?"

"Right here." Li pulled a leatherette case from her uniform's pocket. 

"Give."  Victoria extended a hand.  Li complied.

"Which way is up on these?"

"two legs down, one up. it was based on 20th century north american ranks." Li explained, "We found the system simpler to apply than Lyran or Fedcom regular ranks, and since the agency was technically civilian..."

"I think it's distinctive enough, though it's going to get looks from the other Star League component commands." Karl said it confidently.

Victoria referenced Li's rank pins, then the Leutnant's bars on Elizabeth's collar, before replacing said Leutnant's bars with one star on each. "Like so?"

"yes Highness." Li said helpfully.

"You said she has the 'office' part of officer down cold?"

"Absolutely cold." Li said assuredly, "There are Nagelring knockers who can't draft reports half as clear as Elizabeth can, and she gets things MOVING."

"Good enough.  Formally then... the Coast Guard is a supplement to the Inspector-General, Logistics, and Provost departments in peacetime, I expect to see many reports cross my desk...or Karl's desk at Mount Asgard.  Now, I do require your operating regulations and structure to be codified for the executive order that is being filed, Li.  I assume that's why Liz brought you."

"Aye ma'am."

"get to it, submit order of battle and TO&E documents to Marshall Karl Steiner-Davion as my regent here in the Lyran state.  Elizabeth, I want your proposal for expanding Coast Guard operational range across the entire Federated Commonwealth, that's manpower, equipment and budgets, along with a plan to finance it that doesn't rupture the economy.  you have three weeks to put together a team to examine the regional needs, requirements and an over-all budget with a viable plan for implementation-I want a focus on anti-piracy, search-and-rescue, and customs enforcement, keep in mind it will be examined also by our allies in the Star League as part of a proposal looking past the end of the Clan crisis."

"YOu want me to plan something that big?" Liz scoffed.

"You think big. I want to use that. make your layout something that can be shaped to size as needed without breaking it."









I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

Daryk

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #15 on: 13 November 2019, 05:25:03 »
Heh... Sun Tzu has NO idea what he's created...

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #16 on: 13 November 2019, 10:42:22 »
Broken Wheel zone, Federated Suns portion of the Federated Commonwealth, October 19, 3065...

Commander Bianh Vu Dao tugged her uniform jacket tight over her skinsuit, checked her shore-gear one more time.  Coast Guard B-14, the KCGS James Qua had been detailed to survey the piracy problem on the peripheral edge of the Federated Suns state.  Her reports were nearly complete, because the root problems were already well documented.

Too many abandoned systems between inhabited ones, too little money, and the inhabited systems were in a state of nearly permanent economic crisis.

"We're being hailed by the dirtyfeet, mum." Radioman 1st Class Rhodes 633 announced.

"Watch the rockjack slang, Rhodey." she warned, "These people are notoriously sensitive to implied insults."

Cutter 14 was a Sampan class, more heavily armed than most of the combat dropships in the area, and far more durable than any civilian standard jumpship, but no match for a dedicated defense force of fighters on her own.  worse still, the Tender for her Patrol of four cutters was at least a fifteen light year jump away, and aside from a dropship with fighters, virtually helpless.

The AFFC Claymore class assault dropship on screen, was locally crewed by the nephew of a planetary noble.  On her report to Admiral Ngo, she reminded herself to mention the need to do something about the rampant nepotism in the local defenses.

The two ships reached a point where an umbilical can be extended from the personnel locks, and she watched as the AFFC crewmen struggled with this most basic operation.  "They're either used to just linking on collars, or they only leave the ship when she's grounded."  Streeter 43, her XO, noted.

"They're dirtyfeet. cut 'm a break, you'd have the same problem changing a tyre on one gee." Rhodes noted.

"Engines and thrusters on that dropper are running hot, like she's short coolant, and I'm picking up H2O and oxy traces from some of the hatches, looks like they need a couple weeks in the yard, or to not treat their seals like crap."

"Streeter, take two Bosun's mates and help your hosts get their damn umbilical erected." Bianh finally snapped, "We don't have all Finagling day."

"Problems, mum?"

"I'm wondering how in the name of Chuck these guys can do customs inspections, much less health-and-safety." Bianh finally voiced her feelings, "They're not prepared for deep space duty in the slightest.  I'm also wondering what I did wrong to get tasked to help these guys become at least remotely competent.  Weren't the Feddies a major naval power at some point?"

"they're not jacks, they're not even Belters, Mum." Rhodes reminded her.  "The Feddies don't have the talent pool we do for the Guard, or the traditions."

"We can fix that...there we go."  the lights came up green. the inflatable airlock-to-airlock umbilical corridor was operational.  "Let's go meet our counterparts."

I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

croaker

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #17 on: 13 November 2019, 12:44:06 »
I'm really liking this so far. Trying to actually build something instead of everyone smashing away... that's a good feeling.

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #18 on: 13 November 2019, 13:53:10 »
New Avalon, same time...

'...so answer a bet for me, Admiral."  General Peter Steiner-Davion of the SLDF dropped into the only comfortable chair in Elizabeth's office.

she sighed.  "If I must, General, though You might get better answers from Commodore Li."  she didn't even look up from the reports on her desk.

"How did a world like Kowloon, end up with so many trained jumpship navigators and enough pilots to staff that oversize militia you were hiding, and why did you hide it in a police agency?"  he wasn't being hostile, but the question, in Elizabeth's opinion, was rude, something only to be tolerated because of his superior rank in the joint command.

she looked up, "Li told you to mind your own business." she stated.

The third child of the Steiner-Davion family nodded.  "She did, followed by a string of that bastardized Viet more than half of your people speak when they don't think we're watching."

"She was within her rights, and I won't be to tell you...but it's not really a big secret or a big mystery, you should be able to find out from public sources."  Elizabeth reached into her desk, and produced a pack of cigarettes and a row of pill bottles.

"Could you give me a summary that doesn't violate some obscure secret?" he pressed.

"Cabinet on the left, bring out the square bottle with the reddish-brown clear-and two glasses. if I'm going to give you a history class, I want a drink, and I've decided to stop drinking alone." she answered, "by the way, how's the Fiancee? you two made the beast of two backs yet?"

he turned dark crimson, but passed the bottle and the glasses to the desk.  Liz uncapped it, and poured, his expression telling her all she needed to know.  She gave him a thumbs-up, "Good work soldier...see, public sources...kowloon's history, early colonial expansion, and the war with the Rim Worlds.  We have them because we have a population that doesn't live their lives at the bottom of a gravity well, it's dead ass simple-more than half the materials Ngo industries uses, are pulled from asteroid belts, cometary halo, and so on.  who do you think mines that stuff, prospects for it, and would need their own, non-military, non-draft-vulnerable, jumpships, hmm?"

"I...I don't follow."

"Everyone else disposed of their 'primitive' jumpships." Liz explained, "because just about everyone preferred to abandon space travel and asteroid mining for planetary surfaces where things like pregnancy are kept normal by nice, earthlike gravity...but Kowloon's not exactly the safest place, right? and remember we were a first-wave colony caused by a stellar accident that dumped the original colonists in a binary system with broken ships-it was adapt or die time, diggit? this was before marsden, or McKenna, old Terran Alliance days-and my ancestors had a lot of reasons not to want to associate with the communists, or to trust a 'united earth government' that betrayed the Israelis and allowed the Sabra Genocides.  some of those ships were crewed by Sol-Belters who were sympathetic, where do you think they went?"

"Oh..okay...how does that work out though-Kowloon was under Rim Worlds domination for three hundred years."

"Kowloon was occupied.  How in hell do you think we kept our cultural identity? everyone focused on the planet." Liz laughed, and took a handful of pills, slammed them, and followed it with a chaser of distilled alcohol.  "we were able to resist the ****** rimjobs for so long, because they couldn't ever quite get ahold of us all. they couldn't even effectively cut us off, and they couldn't erase our history or our culture, because they couldn't find it."

"and you still have a population of these...belters-"

"Rockjacks." Liz told him, "The proper term is Rockjacks.  yeah, we have them.  There are Belter and Rockjack concentrations in most of the inner sphere, we just happen to have kept in touch with ours, and they keep in touch with each other by whatever arcane means they came up with.  They're not everyone in the Guard, but they're the trainers, teachers, and leaders in the Guard, especially in the Blackwater squadrons.  Li served in the LCAF back in the day, Fourth war, diggit? and she served with the extraction force at Tamar, trying to get my brother out, but it was dirtyfeet bureaucrats who slowed her down so he died there-she made orbital insertion six hours after he was gone."

"Oh...I'm..."

"she brought his body home." Liz told him, "Li's good people, smart, and if she says something isn't your business, it likely isn't. everything I know about running a military is either her, or Mosovich teaching me.  Dad was a gloryhound. Battles can be won by gloryhounds, but it takes details and preparation to win wars."

he regarded her, then scoffed.  "Submariner badge, nuclear technician trained, gunnery medal with cluster and kill mark.  You're something of a glory hound yourself." he sipped his drink, and winced. "dear god what is this?"

"Vodka and ijero juice." she tells him, "The spice gives it a decent burn."

"I guess...you used a nuclear armed submarine to kill a Clan Warship."

"correction, I used a concentrated attack from above employing fighter craft and kinetic impactors, along with a lot of psychology, an open ocean, and five nuclear missiles from a submarine to kill one warship." Liz stated, "Details.  it wasn't heroic, it was pragmatic, and I initially refused the medal."

"Kinetic Impactors?"

"Strap a fusion propulsion unit to a rock with a simple guidance system and a cheap computer buried near the center, start it burning into the system at three gees on a course, in this case, a course that will drag it across the ionosphere at escape velocity.  repeat a few dozen times, and give it a fighter escort when it's good and ****** fast. They had to come in low to use Orbom, and I challenged their warship jockey specifically on ground you can't land a 'mech on, because it's under two kilometers of salty, mineral-rich seawater, and to shake a 'mech all i'd have to do, is crash-dive the boat. they detected the impactors late, but it was covering fire that he didn't dare try to surface out of, so he hugged the Troposphere, which made ranging his ass from one hundred meters depth a breeze-My leg and my arm got ****** up because of the overpressure from his crash-it turned a twelve thousand tons of nuclear sub into an aircraft for about forty seconds and knocked my ass out for thirty minutes.  the crew of my boat won that engagement and kept us alive, I was bleeding in sick-bay with a hairline fracture in my skull and a severe concussion...and don't tell the Clanners, but that sub was barely able to make port, and completely beyond repair-we used the remains of it for raw materials for the next generation of models."

"what about these...kinetic impactors?" he asked.

"Plenty of room to cut power and turn them around." Liz explained, "that much high-quality ore is not something you waste, and neither are that many shuttle-grade engines...but I had a good read on how the Clanners would react, how to lure them to a predictable location, and what the orbitals look like, thanks to Alicia Li and Bianh Vu Dao, and the Clanners were like everybody else-they focused on the planet, instead of the system."  she topped her drink off and offered him another.  Peter accepted gingerly.  "See, everyone forgets things-things like, if a Pirate can't land, he can't raid, if he can't leave after a raid, he can't get money for what he took.  once I removed my father's...'regent', I kept this in mind, especially in the context of the invaders. as big as I grew our ground force militia, it was nothing compared to what I spent wooing the Rockjacks and expanding the Coast Guard.  my submarine was a relic hidden away by ancestors that lost the invasion by the Rim Worlds Republic, we rebuilt it, but part of the reason we couldn't salvage the goddam thing, is that the steels were too ancient after sitting in a dry bunker off Golden Lake for five hundred years. the only reason we had nuclear cores, was that it was too damn expensive for the Rimjobs to remove and replace every municipal power-plant on the planet with fusion units or solar, and we kept the technology for Uranium Enrichment for 'civil infrastructure'."

Peter shook his head, "marvelous." he said, "i'm not sure I believe all of that, but marvelous."

Liz gave him a smirk, "I do lay it down thick, don't I? Here..." she reached behind her, and pulled a few slim volumes from her media shelf, "Light reading, General.  Tran Truk Ngo's war-diary from the Amaris conflict, a couple of condensed histories of Kowloon, and the Coventry Military Academy's chapter on my homeworld...light reading."

he laughed, but he took the volumes.  "Will you need these back?"

"I've got the original of my ancestor's war diaries, the others are books I have hardcopy of.  Enjoy it, but not so much your lady-love feels abandoned, hey?"
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #19 on: 13 November 2019, 14:08:15 »
Ijero-literally "Kowloon Cherry" named by an early colonist surveyor originating from japan.  The Ijero has a taste somewhere between plum, and Oh-my-gawd-it's-hot, with a scoville rating suitable for the removal of varnish.  The Ijero is an excellent source of digestible Magnesium and Potassium, while it concentrates heavier metals in the hull of the seed, particularly Manganese and lead.  it was one of teh first native plants the colonists found to be safe to eat, and is considered a dietary staple, mainly due to the juice, flesh, and leaves of the plant being relatively free of the omnipresent dangerous toxicity of the planet's native biome.  The plant itself is a "Runner-vine' analogue similar to Southwestern Live Oak native to the desert southwestern areas of the North American continent.  Leaves are boiled for tea, then used to strain heavy metals out of unfiltered waters, and stands of Ijero tend to mark 'safe to drink' springs and other areas.  the wood is intensely poisonous and loaded with oxides of metals including Iridium, and Strontium.

Adaptation and dietary habits have permitted the Kowloonese to survive their world, even to the point of having a measurable tolerance for pollutants that other populations in human space lack.  The trade off for this, is a measurably shorter lifespan for natives of Kowloon, with an average age of death of just over Sixty years of age.  Immigrants are encouraged to obtain filtration systems before arrival, or to stick to Urban areas served by municipal filtration plants.  The levels on average won't kill you quickly, but sustained living on the planet, will reduce your projected lifespan.
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

DOC_Agren

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #20 on: 13 November 2019, 14:12:17 »
very interesting

Does the Star League Council, understand what and who Elizabeth Ngo, and they thought drafting her would make it safer...    ;D :D
"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!"

Daryk

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #21 on: 13 November 2019, 21:41:27 »
Peter at least has the sense to listen...

JA Baker

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #22 on: 14 November 2019, 06:30:32 »
Quick question: how exactly is Ngo pronounced?

Because in my head I read it as "No-Go", but I'm pretty sure that's wrong.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
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qc mech3

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #23 on: 14 November 2019, 08:25:59 »
If it's like Nguyen (a common name in our Vietnamese communities) the ''g'' is silent. It would sound as ''No''.

JA Baker

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #24 on: 14 November 2019, 09:19:27 »
If it's like Nguyen (a common name in our Vietnamese communities) the ''g'' is silent. It would sound as ''No''.
So, if she was to get a medical degree or PhD, she'd be.... Dr. No?





I'll see myself out...
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030

Requested: One Mark V ECM unit, 1,000 meters of Fullerene cable, one low-yield nuclear warhead.
Purpose: Surprise party for foreign dignitary.
AFFS Special Operations requisition form

Cannonshop

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #25 on: 14 November 2019, 16:02:46 »
The ripples continue...

Newell Colony, joint colonization area between the Taurian Concordat, and the Magistracy of Canopus, December 11, 3065...

Commander Anh Cu'ong smiled to her host.  "I really think your system of Colonial Marshalls shows sincere promise, you guys are the best I've seen since being sent this way.  I'm sure the Admiral will recommend support from the Star League's council, or at least, some joint operations.  You guys get it."

Marshall Tinsley gaped at her, "you're not serious?" he asked, "I've got a handful of officers and we're using hand-me-down gear with shortages, covering hundreds of worlds..."

"Yeah, but you get what the job is." she emphasized, "People like us, you and me, we're here to serve the public.  Your Officer on Watchmeade, he impressed me a lot, using his 'mech to help repair public buildings-not just fighting, but serving their public.  I really think we can work together on this piracy problem, solve it, fix things so that it's just...better out here. I'm sure Admiral Ngo will agree-your guys are here to serve the public, not some gray-face bureaucrat or inbred lord.  MY people, we dig that idea."

"So...you'll help?" he asked.

"****** yes we're going to help you!  now about how long ago did the raiders hit you, and what's their average time between attacks?"

he expressed some confusion, so Anh broke out her knowledge.  "it takes a Scout class about a week to recharge her drive in a system like this, with a maximum range of thirty lights in a sphere, and those guys, they weren't geared up with PLS equipment, so we can assume either a functional station, or habitable planet is their base... it has to be close enough to somewhere they can sell your folks, so that means trade of some kind, legit money flowing in, diggit?"

"I dig that, we have some suspect areas, but I can't leave my post..."

"That's why we're here.  I'm commanding a patrol of four Cutters, we can conduct the search along a four axis rotation, reduce things quick with survey data and jump-ranges.  We find them, your guys do the pinch, sound good?"

"and you don't want pay or loyalty or-"

"This is my job, Marshal, the Coast Guard's primary duty is law enforcement and public service, since this isn't our jurisdiction, we help you, your people make the collar.  The only 'exchange' I need, is everything you can give me about these ****** slavers, and maybe you can intercede with your Judiciary types to get us warrants of recognition so we can serve you better."

he looked her over suspiciously, "WHY? why are you offering this?"

"because it's what I do, it's why I joined the Guard, it's why I spent the two years of space training to transition from brown-water fleet to black-water.  We go after criminals and we work with local authority to do so, because it's the calling, right?  My family, they're half Elldees, half jewish, I came up through the Guard's OCB-that's the bureau formed to fight organized crime.  going after slavers? that's like my heritage.  I'd do it for free if I had the gear, but I get to be paid."

"We've heard stories about Kowloon..." he said.  "Impalements..."

"Hey, that's OUR law at home, here, it's YOUR law that carries weight.  I'm no homicidal maniac with an orbital gun, you have a problem, we're here to help solve it, but it has to solve your way or it's just subbing one problem for another.  we'll help you find these guys, we'll help you take them down, but in the end phase, it's YOUR home, your rules, your rights, and your laws, and we are duty and oath bound to respect those-I mean, my buddy Eileen, her patrol's currently training to work with the Cappellans on similar issues, and their system is about eighteen billlion times more ****** up than I think you can even imagine, but we can't impose our rules on them, and I won't impose them on you-we're here to help, beginning, middle, and end, we're helping because my duchess wants us to, because we want to, and because it's the right thing to do."

He sighed, "Loxley, get the files." he coughed a little as the respirator next to his bed hummed.  his deputy nodded and left the hospital room.

"We're going to help make this right for your folks." Anh said firmly, "You just gotta get healthy again."
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

DOC_Agren

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #26 on: 14 November 2019, 18:48:57 »
Wait, did she get Coast Guard nationalized or transferred to the Star League????
"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!"

Daryk

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #27 on: 14 November 2019, 22:09:51 »
A Commander with 4 Cutters?  I'd think she'd more likely be a Commodore with a flotilla like that in that time and place...

Liam's Ghost

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #28 on: 14 November 2019, 22:19:05 »
Unleashing an organization on the entire inner sphere that cares about the people it's sworn to protect rather than perpetuating centuries old pissing contests? Blasphemous!

Next there'll be human decency, Davions and Taurians living together, mass hysteria!
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Daryk

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Re: To Stand before the Archon...
« Reply #29 on: 14 November 2019, 22:23:26 »
Mass hysteria indeed!  :D