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Author Topic: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap  (Read 5689 times)

Liam's Ghost

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And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« on: 08 December 2019, 03:27:37 »
SLS Zughoffer Weir
Star System ECR 482
Mid Periphery
Circa 2827


Trisha Ebon did her best to keep her expression impassive. "You came a very long way just to be turned down," she said to the man who had just been ushered into her conference room. "Didn't your Precentor Travis send our response before you rushed out here?"

"He did," the man identifying himself as Primus Conrad Toyama replied. "And yet here I am. I'm sure you can imagine the shear resources it took to get me here so quickly, as well as pick up your trail."

"Yes, yes," Trisha agreed. "The Department of Communications is doing very well for itself, I'm sure." Obviously well enough to rush across the Inner Sphere in a matter of a month, with enough resources to narrow down their probable path, and flood that area with enough scout jumpships to actually find them again.

"Not that well," Conrad said. "That's actually my point. This trip threw the Order into a mess to pull off, re-tasking dozens of ships and handing out massive amounts of hard currency to private vessels in the hopes of getting you and me together in the same room. Because I thought it was that important that you hear what I had to say."

Dozens of ships he said, not the hundreds Trisha assumed it would have taken to find them again once they'd parted ways with Travis. She could only wonder how. Space was enormous, and they'd made five jumps since then among thousands of star systems. Had it just been luck, had something given them away, or did this Toyama have some trick he wasn't talking about?

But she did her best not to look surprised. "You really believe your pitch is going to be any better?" She asked. "We know what's going on in the Inner Sphere. What already happened, what's going to happen. The houses tried to destroy themselves, and based on what we learned from the people we pulled out of there, they're about to do it again. Then there's you, Primus. You and your 'order'. Precentor Travis spoke quite highly of you and Jerome Blake. Disturbingly so. I don't think any of us is interested in trading one cult of personality for another."

Conrad sighed. "I can imagine. The Order... what was the Department of Communications, it had to change in order to survive the mess the Inner Sphere is in, to hopefully still be standing when all the screaming has stopped and we can start rebuilding. We had to make... some hard choices about what we would become. I'm still not entirely certain all of it was for the better."

It was a surprising admission, certainly nothing Trisha would have expected to hear from Nicolas Kerensky. "If you really think that, then why would you think we'd ever want to go back to the Inner Sphere, especially under your thumb?"

"Not under my thumb," Conrad insisted. "Never under my thumb, or anybody in the Order. I don't want you to trust us, or anybody else. The reason I want you is precisely because you aren't beholden to Comstar, the Hegemony remnant, or any of the other political or social entities in the Inner Sphere or beyond it. And you've already had a taste of what corruption of a demagogue's vision leads to, and a very good reason to want to stay hidden. You are, quite literally, the only people I can possibly hope to trust with this secret. Who hopefully won't abuse it and doom the entire human race, like Richard Cameron tried to."

Richard Cameron? Hegemony Remnant? "What are you talking about?"

Conrad Toyama produced a dossier from somewhere within his robes. "We call it the Entity..."
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!

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #1 on: 08 December 2019, 03:31:39 »
author: So here we go again, only... uh... three years later? Sorry 'bout that.

Also, book II is still on hiatus, since most of the material rattling around in my head centers outside the Republic. Also it's narratively appealing to keep what's going on behind the wall under wraps for now. Book III will focus primarily on Lyran space for the time being.
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!

worktroll

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #2 on: 08 December 2019, 04:38:10 »
The sheer insane joy of parts 1 and 2 justify any wait, given you're picking it up again. Woot!

For those who want to catch up in tablet/phone compatible forms

Hope you like the cover. It was ... right.

* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Cannonshop

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #3 on: 08 December 2019, 05:39:36 »
about bleeping time, Liam.
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

Daryk

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #4 on: 08 December 2019, 08:31:42 »
It's back! WOO!  :thumbsup:

DOC_Agren

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #5 on: 08 December 2019, 22:04:11 »
1 ping only
"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!"

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #6 on: 09 December 2019, 01:37:37 »
Bay 73, Bandon Station
C2499-9392, anti-spinward of Zebeneschamali
Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
January 24, 3146


She didn't look like all that much more than a kilometer and a half long mass of twisted metal. Something that had been worked over for hours by colossal titans with equally colossal hammers, which Commander Amrit supposed was pretty accurate.

"Her commander was responsible for executing almost the entire complement of the SLS Greyhound for the crime of putting up a fight," Admiral Morgan explained. "So when the SLDF caught up with her, they weren't inclined to go easy."

The derelict occupying the docking bay was, as Commander Amrit had learned, the battleship Tadeo Amaris, built by the Rim Worlds Republic before the fall of the Star League, and just one of the secrets hidden away at this naval base Commander Amrit and the rest of the Minnesota Freehold had called home all these years, secrets completely unknown to them until ghosts of the lost Terran Hegemony had shown up.

"I can't imagine what you hope to accomplish with this wreck," Commander Amrit responded. "She's not moving anywhere under her own power. I doubt she's got a single tight compartment on her." The Hegemony commander had been happy to share history with Amrit, and even show him around some parts of the station that the Freehold had been locked out of, but he was tight lipped on exactly what they were doing right now.

"You'd be surprised," Admiral Mogan said. "The salvage crews got her here. Engineering spaces will still hold air, even if the transit drive is slag. The important part is that the jump core and LF battery are still sound. She'll have to charge from shore power, but she'll still jump. That's all we need her to do."

"Then what happens?" Commander Amrit couldn't help but want to press for more.

"Even if all goes well," Admiral Morgan said, "not much. Not for a while yet."

Vague as usual. "Okay, then why this ship? You've got two of your own, and this base is huge, I'm sure there's others." Sadly, Amrit and the rest of the Freehold knew precious little about what Bandon Station actually contained. The automated systems had only allowed them access to a small portion of the facility, and were unrelentingly deadly about keeping them out of the rest. The first people who came here to establish the Freehold had found drydocks, parts storage, and a partially dismantled Farragut class battleship, so the intent of the facility was pretty clear.

Admiral Morgan smiled. "How's the fishing today?" he asked with a slight chuckle. "Yeah, there's other ships here. A whole lot of them, actually. More than we could take with us back when we left, since we had to focus on moving civilians. Don't worry, you'll get to see what the Hegemony stashed here."

The Hegemony, not the Star League. Admiral Morgan was always clear on that. Bandon Station was a Hegemony base, specifically established outside of the SLDF chain of command to store military hardware off the books. Just in case the Star League went sour and the Hegemony had to protect itself. Commander Amrits ancestors had been Blakists (moderate ones but Blakists still) who'd found sanctuary with the Freehold when the Jihad ended, so he knew just how many of the Star League's secrets had become Blakist weapons. The fact that the Hegemony had worked so hard to keep Bandon Station off the League's radar is probably the only reason it'd still remained hidden.

"Okay, so you have other options, why this one?" he pressed just a little bit more.

"One other option," Admiral Morgan replied. "I'm not using my ships, and I doubt you'd let me use your carrier. So it's either this or the Majestic, and if I've gotta spend a ship to send a message, I'd rather it were one of Amaris' tubs..." Morgan looked over, honestly surprised. "And you really don't know what I'm talking about, do you?"

"I don't..." but the pieces started to click together. The Tadeo Amaris had a lithium fusion battery, so did Amrit's own ship, the Corinth. Presumably so did Morgan's ships, and this Majestic. "You're going to super-jump the Amaris to... send a message?"

Admiral Morgan sighed. "I shouldn't be surprised, Dad always was big on 'need-to-know'. But yeah, exactly that. Literally, a message just to say we've secured the site and they can start sending equipment. Nobody told you apparently, but you can probably guess there's a lot of space between here and home."

"How much?" Commander Amrit asked. He didn't know the math first hand, but the collected literature among jump engineers said you might be able to squeeze as much as a thousand light years out of a jump by overcharging it with the lithium fusion battery, creating a "super jump", as coined during the Jihad. But exactly how was a tricky prospect that maybe only the Word of Blake had figured out, and there was no way to do so without also frying the drive. "If it's worth super-jumping one way, then either whatever they send won't arrive for months, maybe a year, or you're willing to burn out ships super jumping the other way."

Admiral Morgan nodded. "That would be the conventional wisdom, yes."

His tone was unmistakable. "But it would be wrong, I take it?"

Admiral Morgan smiled again. "That would be telling. Come on, let's go for a walk. Manifest says there's an Imperator a couple bays down. I always wanted to see one of those up close."
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #7 on: 09 December 2019, 05:21:45 »
Is this going to be back and forth with flashbacks?  ???

I'm good either way...  :thumbsup:

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #8 on: 09 December 2019, 09:39:41 »
looks interesting

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #9 on: 10 December 2019, 05:27:39 »
David Morgan didn't need to remember his father's disapproving face to acknowledge he didn't have a knack for intelligence work, and he certainly didn't have the finesse for diplomatic work. Indeed, the closest thing to a joint operation with a friendly power he'd conducted had almost gotten him and his crew thrown into a Kowloonese prison ("I meant well" doesn't even count in periods of extreme emergency, it turns out). 

And the mission here was supposed to be fairly simple. Secure the station. Verify the cache was still intact, wait for reinforcements. None of the briefings said to expect anybody, or at least nobody friendly. Squatters, scavengers, but not the Freehold. And apparently, nobody had told them either.

This has to be Dad's fault, he decided. His father, Allister Morgan, had been directing the Hegemony's passive intelligence efforts in the Inner Sphere since the League fell and the Hegemony retreated to the Bastion. Not only did he have to know about the Freehold setting up here, he was the only one who could have told them to. But he was on the wrong side of the Fortress right now, and not only had he never bothered to mention it to the folks back home, he clearly didn't share it with anybody else either.

"So you know about us," Commander Amrit said as the passed into a lift, which began a slow decent. "I mean, the Freehold, what it's doing in the Inner Sphere." he almost seemed hesitant to say it. "The... umm..."

"The Alien God, yeah." David responded. "I didn't personally find out until I got this particular set of brass on my collar, but yes. I've been briefed on it." Calling the existence of terrifying incomprehensible alien intelligence a state secret didn't quite have the right impact, but David knew there were only a few in the Hegemony who actually did know about it.

"Then where were you?" Amrit asked. "If you have these resources. If you have people in the Inner Sphere watching..."

There was a degree of desperation in Amrit's voice that David made a mental note of. "How bad is the situation?"

Amrit sighed. "I... I don't know. I wasn't cleared for the specifics of how this whole thing works. I just know there's some sort of containment system, and it needs to be supplied with bismuth, huge amounts of bismuth. We have a whole network set up to supply it, or I guess we inherited one after the League fell. Literally hundreds of outposts extracting the stuff, hundreds of ships. Independents, Free Stars, some merchant cartels, who move the stuff towards Terra in exchange for an extra fee and steady work. But with the Fortress up, we haven't been able to get any of it to Terra in ten years. I don't know what they had stored up in reserve, what backup plans they might have, but I do know if the containment system goes, so does everything else."

What he said matched David's own briefing in broad strokes, but there was more doom in Amrit's words than the tactical and strategic analysis of the Hegemony's own scientists and military leaders. David wondered if that was intentional. If you don't give them hope that they can fight back, maybe they work all the harder to make sure they don't have to. The only problem was when they inevitably have to fight, they've already decided they're going to lose.

"We didn't always have these resources," David said. "When Kerensky decided to abandon us, we couldn't protect the Hegemony. We didn't have the troops or the ships, or even enough people willing to stand and fight. The only thing we could do was to get as many people as we could out of the line of fire." Saying 'we' was a little deceptive. David himself had been a bitter young man with blood on his hands who'd only gotten a spot in the Bastion due to who his father was. Certainly nobody who'd had a say in anything, even his own fate. He used to resent his father for that, before he got older and started to understand what his father had lost, what he was risking by staying behind, and what he refused to lose. Then he found all new reasons to resent him.

"Fine," Commander Amrit conceded. "You couldn't then. So why now?"

"Now we can do something," David replied. Or at least now the Hegemony had the will to do something. Somewhere along the way, the old guard that had led them away from the Inner Sphere had decided the mess they'd fled wasn't their problem anymore. It took centuries before those attitudes started to shift again, and even that...

Another thing to pin on Dad. Did you know what they were going to do with it, you son of a bitch?

He pushed away that line of thought. Better not to dwell on it right now. The madmen who'd let that happen weren't in power anymore.

Amrit remained silent as the lift came to a stop and opened up, but he seemed unsure of himself. Finally, as they crossed into another observation gallery, he spoke. "What are you going to do?"

David looked out the gallery window at the massive, vaguely arrowhead shaped vessel in the drydock beyond. "We're taking it back," he said. "All of it. Every world that flew the Hegemony banner, and this time we're never letting them go."
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!

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #10 on: 10 December 2019, 05:28:41 »
Author: Today's post was a little late. I'm shooting for having a writing session every day (therapist's orders, actually) after which I watch stuff on Crunchyroll. Unfortunately I did things in a wrong order and ended up binging the first third of Yuru Camp (positively relaxing by the way) before realizing that I hadn't written anything yet.

Is this going to be back and forth with flashbacks?  ???

I'm good either way...  :thumbsup:

I don't really plan more flashbacks (but sometimes the writing goes that way, y'know?). The first part is basically a prologue.
« Last Edit: 10 December 2019, 05:32:18 by Liam's Ghost »
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #11 on: 10 December 2019, 05:45:48 »
Works for me!  :thumbsup:

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #12 on: 11 December 2019, 01:53:23 »
Command Center
THS Ninurta


The ships, neatly docked together in groups of four, like rafts made of hundreds of thousands of tons of warship, looked positively tiny in the vast storage bay of the station's lowest levels, where the oldest and "least vital" assets were mothballed and stored.

Vigilant class corvettes, sixteen rows worth anchored to either side of the bay to keep the microgravity environment from making an absolute mess. Around nine million tons of military hardware in this bay alone.

Or, Captain Rogers supposed, a bit less than that actually. The equipment on this level was unloaded and unfueled, packed in tight to save space while in long term storage. Pulling them out and reactivating them was going to be a pain for whoever got that job. The bigger ships would be easier. The fifteen battleships and five battlecruisers at the top level were each supposed to have individual bays, with fuel and munitions stored close by where the station's automated systems could purge the neutral atmosphere of the bay, perform checks, fill the tanks and magazines, and have them ready in a matter of days. Midsized ships, about a hundred cruisers and frigates and half again that many destroyers, were somewhere in between. Not quite the sardine can levels of storage found on the lower levels, but nowhere near "ready reserve".

"I kills it with my battleships" he said to himself with a smile. "The old country certainly had its priorities."

The station had its own data feeds, and was providing them freely, as it was designed to do. But this particular feed Captain Rogers was seeing was coming from one of their own survey teams. Half a regiment's worth of marines and ship's crew were slowly but systematically moving through the massive facility, visually matching what was physically in its many storage bays and depots with what the manifests the station provided said was supposed to be there. They'd always planned to do this, even before they realized the station had picked up squatters, but with the real possibility of tampering or theft, it became all the more important, and potentially more risky.

Admiral Morgan's orders had been clear on that latter point. "If you encounter anybody, take them alive if practical, but your first priority is your own safety. If they resist, you put them down."

"My count is sixty four," the sergeant in command of the team sweeping the bay stated. "You concur?"

"We concur," Lieutenant Emily 9GN9993 ('Nines') agreed. She looked over to her commander. "So far everything's coming up right."

Captain Rogers nodded. The other teams, as well as the Admiral's own impromptu survey with the Freehold representative was coming up with the same results. "The big stuff is harder to get away with. If we see shrinkage, I'm betting we see it in the munitions and supply stores. Which are also going to be the biggest pain to count."

"We could leave it for the salvage crews," Nines suggested, mostly facetiously. All the two carriers of Morgan's group could really accomplish was a count. It would take a lot more manpower and equipment to start pulling these ships and materials out and making proper use of them. That would be up to the yard ships, factory modules, and shear manpower that followed the Director General to the Inner Sphere the slow way.

"Nope," Captain Rogers replied. "Inventory is our job. Why do you think Admiral Morgan brought the extra rum?"

Nines chuckled briefly. "We really going to give all this hardware away?" she asked.

"Sell it," Captain Rogers corrected her. "At least some of it. Making friends and having local sources of supply is going to make this operation a whole lot easier. A couple-few dozen obsolete warships are a small price to pay for not having to fight everybody at once." 
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #13 on: 11 December 2019, 05:35:01 »
Heh... not "not fight everbody"... "not...fight everybody at once"...  ;D

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #14 on: 12 December 2019, 21:15:55 »
Bandon Station

"An invasion?" Commander Amrit was incredulous. "How is throwing the Inner Sphere into even deeper chaos supposed to help?"

David had two answers for that, but he chose the more diplomatic one. "Bringing the territories around Terra under stable leadership is pretty much the only thing that can help," he said. "The Republic fell apart, its territories are contested by virtually every power in the Inner Sphere. The Fortress is the only thing keeping a foreign power from landing on Terra itself. What happens then? If you're right, and the containment system is going to fail, what are the Wolves, Falcons, or Capellans going to do to stop it?"

Commander Amrit didn't seem to have an answer for that, so David pressed his advantage. "Even if they don't dismiss your entire group as crazy lunatics, even if you get them to accept there's a ticking alien time bomb on Terra, do you really think they're going to leave it at that? 'Sure, we'll just accept this is a cataclysmic threat only you know how to handle. We won't try to stick our noses in it. We won't try to ineptly tamper with it for our own selfish aims. We won't try to weaponize it to act out petty grudges and kill entire civilizations'."

David took a breath, feeling the beginnings of a stress headache behind his eyes. ******, dad. "You need people helping you who know what the consequences of failure are. Not people who need to be convinced, or who might turn on you because of who your ancestors were. Or who think they're smart enough to figure out how to use this nightmare to their advantage."

"And to start out, you're going to conquer dozens of worlds?" Commander Amrit still sounded skeptical and a bit defiant. "People had tried that before. The houses aren't just going to give up their territories. The people aren't just going to accept their new overlords. Your talking another Succession War."

"Our press is calling it a liberation war," David agreed. "But yeah. It's going to be a war, and a lot of people are going to die before its over. And it's still everybody's best hope to prevent something far worse."

Commander Amrit was silent again. "You know, I'm not native to the Freehold. My family were adoptees. My grandfather was a Blakist who fought during the Jihad and took shelter with the Freehold afterward. He believed in what the Blakists had been trying to do. To his dying day he insisted that, sure, they'd gone too far at times, but he was certain their cause was just. Right now, what your saying reminds me a lot of him."

For once, the doubts didn't immediately make David think of his own father, but that walking collection of electronics the Director General kept as a pet. Berith and his followers had taken refuge in the Bastion after the Jihad, during the administration of Director General Adams. The common whisper was that Adams had given them refuge in exchange for them handling Operation Flame (an atrocity for which he and the people who supported it should have been executed, in David's rather minority opinion). When David had earned his current rank, though, and learned about the alien entity on Terra, he'd also learned Berith's state was a bit more nuanced.

During the war, Berith had made contact with David's father, a man who despised him and who he'd tried to kill on numerous occasions. Berith handed over critical information on a Blakist research site experimenting with one of the alien entities, trying to weaponize it. That allowed the Hegemony's covert unit the opportunity to eliminate the site before it went out of control. Berith's action may have saved countless lives and earned him an amnesty, and for all his monstrous actions, he was also the most vehement about making sure the entity in containment on Terra could never escape.

"The war against extinction makes strange bedfellows," he said.
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #15 on: 13 December 2019, 05:32:38 »
Strange bedfellows indeed!  ^-^

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #16 on: 13 December 2019, 05:45:12 »
Oooh, shiny!
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #17 on: 15 December 2019, 01:22:42 »
Fort Redemption
Oort Cloud, Brank System
Rim Territories


"Your Director General Adams didn't exactly write us a blank check," Berith explained. "What he gave us was war materials, not manufacturing or research capabilities. Nothing we'd be able to reproduce on our own, given how few of us there were. The bioweapons were black boxes. Sealed containers with a particularly energetic anti-tampering system. The same system was also designed to burn them out after a set period, so that we couldn't use them against you or anybody but his desired target."

"It was your target, too," Elena Demnes, a minister of the Terran Hegemony who'd travelled to this isolated base on the edge of the Periphery, pointed out.

"It's no end of amusing the way you Terrans are so defensive about the whole thing. 'It wasn't my idea. I wasn't responsible. You're the monster, not us.' None of you protested all that hard when Adams gave us the task, and none of you are crying now that it's done. Certainly none of you were interested in Hanse's much more humane option. What's a billion or so innocent enemies compared to the few thousand you might have lost invading the homeworlds conventionally?" Berith laughed mockingly. "In terms of raw numbers, it's not even close to the most atrocious thing my brethren and I have done. And the reward? End the homeworld threat? The scales balance rather nicely, especially when you can point the finger at me."

"Did you ask me here to mock me?" Minister Demnes demanded.

"Not at all," Berith replied. "You wanted to know when we'd be ready to move, so some context was necessary. Everything we've built here took time. Even getting established had been a trick. Director General Adams wasn't all that worried about us going rogue with the WarShips he gave us. The Caspar-Domini interface was its own failsafe, the strain would render the user braindead, or just dead, within a year. If we ran, we might find somewhere to hide, but we'd all be dead before we could do anything. He didn't realize I had a way around that."

"Even so," he continued, "we had to start from scratch. Dig in at an old naval base, sell what we could for resources, draw from what caches we could still access. What friends we still had. What friends we could make without tipping our hand."

"You have the White Hands." Minister Demnes protested.

Berith laughed again. "The White Hands are intelligence operatives. They perform small operations. Discrete ones, or selectively public to generate the appropriate affect. And Hanse doesn't trust them. That's the difference between him and Adams. Adams assumed we were a weapon he could aim and control, that he had all the bases covered. Hanse knows we're useful, but he never trusted us. You should see the room he gave me on the flagship. This is not a job where an agent walks up to him and shivs him. We wouldn't get close. It's going to require more force. Catch him in an isolated position on the battlefield, or ambush his flagship with enough firepower to ensure he dies with it before the escorts destroy us. It's not just resources, it's timing. You want to know when we're ready to move? I don't have an answer. We'll have our ships ready for action within the month. I'm activating ground assets who can do the job if we catch him on the ground, but the opportunity? That all depends on how this war goes, and where Hanse goes."

"So I have to take your commitment on faith?" Minister Demnes asked. "You just got done telling me that Director General Davion doesn't trust you and Director General Adams shouldn't have trusted you. Why should I trust you?"

"That's a question you should have asked yourself before you asked me to assassinate Hanse Davion." Berith said. "For what it's worth, I'll tell you this. There are things in this world that nobody should have. Some people though, they can't accept that, they figure they can handle it. For Director General Adams, it was Project 21B, and I suppose me. For Hanse Davion, I'm pretty sure it's what's on Terra. I think he might honestly be the best hope the Inner Sphere might have at not perpetually tearing itself apart, but if killing him keeps that thing on Terra from getting lose, it's still a fair trade."
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #18 on: 15 December 2019, 06:02:57 »
Director General Davion?  Did I miss something?  ???

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #19 on: 15 December 2019, 06:17:51 »
THS Anshar
Furthest outskirts of the Hood System
Lyran Commonwealth


Jumping into the Hood system was a tricky prospect for two reasons. First was the need to actually see what was going on. Second was the desire to not be seen while doing it. Normally, if one wanted to pass through a system without being seen, you picked a point far enough out of the way that nobody could possibly see you, or you used a ship that made as small of a jump signature as possible. Or you just didn't, picking instead any of the numerous stars that didn't have any people there in the first place.

The Anshar didn't have any of those normal options. The whole point was to see what was going on here, which ruled out keeping their distance or picking another star, and over eight hundred thousand tons of assault carrier tended to make an unavoidably big "splash" on entry. They had some advantages. The Anshar and the rest of her sisters were loaded with ridiculously powerful and sensitive sensor and tracking systems, which meant they could afford to hang around further out than a typical vessel could and still see and listen in on everything they needed to. It's what let them observe the Melissia system for weeks undetected, until all hell had broken loose and they'd jumped into the fray between the Jade Falcons and this first wave of a new invasion by Clan Star Adder.

Unfortunately, this wasn't Melissia. The Hood system was one of the worlds in the Quarantine Zone, the region of the Commonwealth that had been hit by Arluna Flu. Though the Hegemony's information on the Zone's current status was full of holes, even if the locals had gotten things sorted out, a lot of the infrastructure put into place to prevent almost exactly what the Anshar was doing was likely still in place. Warning satellites, passive tracking stations, maybe even active patrols. 

Still, this was what they did, this was one of the things the Anshar's crew had trained for. And they had their orders. Commodore Riese needed them to keep an eye out for these new clan invaders, to get an idea just how widespread this invasion was.

"Sail is deployed," comms reported. "Charging cycle is underway."

Captain Emily Garson nodded her understanding. They'd come out of their jump well beyond the proximity limit, followed by a short burn that would put them on a path that would eventually intersect the limit, in a few months. Ideally, anybody who saw the jump flash would still be too far away to have picked up the burn of their transit drive, so by the time they were able to respond, the Anshar wouldn't be where they were expecting, but still close enough to pick them up when they jumped in.

Ideally, at least. "Thinker," Captain Garson ordered to the cybernetically augmented girl that practically lived in the ship's computer core. "You and the sensor teams had better be paying damn good attention. The patrol boats the locals use have damn small emergence waves, and intel says their navigators are scary good. I don't want a nuke armed lunatic sneaking up on us." Part of running silent, like the Anshar was doing now, meant no active sensor emissions, which included the fire control of the ship's point defense system. At short range, they'd have no chance of bringing it up in time to repel a snap missile strike.

Hopefully, even if they were detected, it wouldn't come to that, though. If detected by the locals, their orders were to take no hostile action unless fired upon. They were to talk first. Who they were, why they were here, info on the invaders encountered at Melissia. And if the invaders showed up, they were to render whatever assistance they could in repelling them. Not just as good samaritans. The reports of what Arluna Flu did to people were terrifying, and their interrogations of the prisoners taken at the battle of Melissia suggested the invaders knew absolutely nothing about it. It was a recipe for disaster if they came blundering in to spread it all over again.

"Emergence waves detected," the sensor officer reported. "Two of them, zenith point."

"Jump signature is most consistent with Fredasa class corvettes," Thinker offered over the comms. "Based on all available information, we have to assume these are part of the Star Adder invasion force."

"Of course they are," Captain Garson said with a sigh. "I'll do you one better, they're here because of us."

"I concur" Thinker replied. "Two small corvettes are insufficient to be conducting a planetary invasion. It is almost certain they were dispatched to locate the unknown force they faced at Melissia. Likely other ships will be probing other worlds."

"Worry about the ones in front of us, Thinker," Captain Garson said. Thinker, and the other Deep Thinkers assigned to the various ships of the fleet, did love to speculate.

"If we stick to silent running," Thinker suggested, "It's highly likely we will be able to remain here undetected until they move on. If we are detected, it's likely one of the hostile ships will jump out to report our position."

"They aren't trying to be stealthy," Captain Garson said, lost in thought. "The locals know they're there, which means they'll respond. Two corvettes against whatever patrol ships can get here quickly. It'll be a mess. Worse, even if they kill both the ships before they can run, the Star Adders will know something happened. They'll come back in force. Let's give them something else to look for."

"Shouldn't remaining concealed and continuing our mission be more heavily weighted?" Thinker asked.

"That's why they don't make you girls captain," Captain Garson said. "Detach the jump sail. Sensors, weapons, go to full active. Helm, get me an intercept course at two gravities and execute." Their jump core and the LF battery were dry just getting here. If they wanted to engage, they'd have to either close the old fashioned way, or bring the party to them. "Comms, the first patrol boat that turns up, I want our 'we come in peace' message ready to beam to them as soon as their sensors clear."

"You're hoping if you engage them here, they'll focus their attention here, and give Commodore Riese's group a chance to get through, correct?"

"Good girl," Captain Garson acknowledged. Commodore Riese had not only her ship, but a whole convoy of captured vessels, prisoners, materials, and priceless intelligence under her care. She wasn't using inhabited systems to transit, but with an enemy this aggressive, every edge would help.
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!

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #20 on: 15 December 2019, 06:18:19 »
Director General Davion?  Did I miss something?  ???

If you didn't know about Director General Hanse Davion, I'd say so.  :P
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #21 on: 15 December 2019, 06:58:26 »
Do you, by chance, have a link handy so I can catch up?

Cannonshop

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #22 on: 15 December 2019, 10:38:06 »
THS Anshar
Furthest outskirts of the Hood System
Lyran Commonwealth


Jumping into the Hood system was a tricky prospect for two reasons. First was the need to actually see what was going on. Second was the desire to not be seen while doing it. Normally, if one wanted to pass through a system without being seen, you picked a point far enough out of the way that nobody could possibly see you, or you used a ship that made as small of a jump signature as possible. Or you just didn't, picking instead any of the numerous stars that didn't have any people there in the first place.

The Anshar didn't have any of those normal options. The whole point was to see what was going on here, which ruled out keeping their distance or picking another star, and over eight hundred thousand tons of assault carrier tended to make an unavoidably big "splash" on entry. They had some advantages. The Anshar and the rest of her sisters were loaded with ridiculously powerful and sensitive sensor and tracking systems, which meant they could afford to hang around further out than a typical vessel could and still see and listen in on everything they needed to. It's what let them observe the Melissia system for weeks undetected, until all hell had broken loose and they'd jumped into the fray between the Jade Falcons and this first wave of a new invasion by Clan Star Adder.

Unfortunately, this wasn't Melissia. The Hood system was one of the worlds in the Quarantine Zone, the region of the Commonwealth that had been hit by Arluna Flu. Though the Hegemony's information on the Zone's current status was full of holes, even if the locals had gotten things sorted out, a lot of the infrastructure put into place to prevent almost exactly what the Anshar was doing was likely still in place. Warning satellites, passive tracking stations, maybe even active patrols. 

Still, this was what they did, this was one of the things the Anshar's crew had trained for. And they had their orders. Commodore Riese needed them to keep an eye out for these new clan invaders, to get an idea just how widespread this invasion was.

"Sail is deployed," comms reported. "Charging cycle is underway."

Captain Emily Garson nodded her understanding. They'd come out of their jump well beyond the proximity limit, followed by a short burn that would put them on a path that would eventually intersect the limit, in a few months. Ideally, anybody who saw the jump flash would still be too far away to have picked up the burn of their transit drive, so by the time they were able to respond, the Anshar wouldn't be where they were expecting, but still close enough to pick them up when they jumped in.

Ideally, at least. "Thinker," Captain Garson ordered to the cybernetically augmented girl that practically lived in the ship's computer core. "You and the sensor teams had better be paying damn good attention. The patrol boats the locals use have damn small emergence waves, and intel says their navigators are scary good. I don't want a nuke armed lunatic sneaking up on us." Part of running silent, like the Anshar was doing now, meant no active sensor emissions, which included the fire control of the ship's point defense system. At short range, they'd have no chance of bringing it up in time to repel a snap missile strike.

Hopefully, even if they were detected, it wouldn't come to that, though. If detected by the locals, their orders were to take no hostile action unless fired upon. They were to talk first. Who they were, why they were here, info on the invaders encountered at Melissia. And if the invaders showed up, they were to render whatever assistance they could in repelling them. Not just as good samaritans. The reports of what Arluna Flu did to people were terrifying, and their interrogations of the prisoners taken at the battle of Melissia suggested the invaders knew absolutely nothing about it. It was a recipe for disaster if they came blundering in to spread it all over again.

"Emergence waves detected," the sensor officer reported. "Two of them, zenith point."

"Jump signature is most consistent with Fredasa class corvettes," Thinker offered over the comms. "Based on all available information, we have to assume these are part of the Star Adder invasion force."

"Of course they are," Captain Garson said with a sigh. "I'll do you one better, they're here because of us."

"I concur" Thinker replied. "Two small corvettes are insufficient to be conducting a planetary invasion. It is almost certain they were dispatched to locate the unknown force they faced at Melissia. Likely other ships will be probing other worlds."

"Worry about the ones in front of us, Thinker," Captain Garson said. Thinker, and the other Deep Thinkers assigned to the various ships of the fleet, did love to speculate.

"If we stick to silent running," Thinker suggested, "It's highly likely we will be able to remain here undetected until they move on. If we are detected, it's likely one of the hostile ships will jump out to report our position."

"They aren't trying to be stealthy," Captain Garson said, lost in thought. "The locals know they're there, which means they'll respond. Two corvettes against whatever patrol ships can get here quickly. It'll be a mess. Worse, even if they kill both the ships before they can run, the Star Adders will know something happened. They'll come back in force. Let's give them something else to look for."

"Shouldn't remaining concealed and continuing our mission be more heavily weighted?" Thinker asked.

"That's why they don't make you girls captain," Captain Garson said. "Detach the jump sail. Sensors, weapons, go to full active. Helm, get me an intercept course at two gravities and execute." Their jump core and the LF battery were dry just getting here. If they wanted to engage, they'd have to either close the old fashioned way, or bring the party to them. "Comms, the first patrol boat that turns up, I want our 'we come in peace' message ready to beam to them as soon as their sensors clear."

"You're hoping if you engage them here, they'll focus their attention here, and give Commodore Riese's group a chance to get through, correct?"

"Good girl," Captain Garson acknowledged. Commodore Riese had not only her ship, but a whole convoy of captured vessels, prisoners, materials, and priceless intelligence under her care. She wasn't using inhabited systems to transit, but with an enemy this aggressive, every edge would help.

THIS could end up being messy.
I beats the Urbie to death with my CHARGER!!!

mikecj

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #23 on: 15 December 2019, 16:12:08 »
TAGd.  Nice little fight shaping up.
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

BATTLEMASTER

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #24 on: 16 December 2019, 09:49:18 »
Here's the beginning for those who are wondering:

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=42501.0
BATTLEMASTER
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"You better stand back, I'm not sure how loud this thing can get!"
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Daryk

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #25 on: 16 December 2019, 18:25:42 »
Thanks for the link... I obviously missed it when it was first posted...

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #26 on: 16 December 2019, 23:49:05 »
Author: Today's update will be delayed on account of space being... like... really big. I have to work out some of the maths better.
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #27 on: 17 December 2019, 05:39:05 »
No worries... good luck with the math!  :thumbsup:

Liam's Ghost

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Re: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #28 on: 18 December 2019, 05:07:02 »

Orbital Command Station Sirius
Polar orbit of Hood VII


The invaders had shown up over an hour ago. A pair of Fredasa class corvettes materializing at the zenith point, casually identifying themselves as the Coyote Supercluster WarShips Stalker and Tracker. They'd refused any demands to state their business or accept boarders, instead executing a short burn that dropped them a thousand kilometers below the proximity limit before launching their fighters.

The Zenith receiving station had already scrambled its own fighter complement, but ever since the Wolf and Jade Falcon invasions, the LCAF had been stripping equipment and personnel from unengaged regions wherever they could, trying to replace losses and plug gaps in their lines. The under strength wing was simply over matched when the clan fighters swarmed them, sweeping the space around the station to make way for the boarding operation that followed. Station personnel held out for nearly an hour against the boarding forces (who fortunately seemed intent on taking the station intact), but the outcome was never really in doubt.

For whatever reason, however, the attackers hadn't moved since, apparently content with taking the station. Commodore Nicholas Devon didn't particularly mind the respite, even if he didn't trust it.

"I wonder what the difference between a Supercluster and a Clan is," he mused as he studied the tactical map projected on the holotable. Tharkad had taken half of his forces and most of his heaviest weapons, but they still had the sensor network established across the system, tied together with a few of their remaining, still reliable FAX systems. So at least what little data they got was timely.

"Scouts from the Clan Homeworlds would be my guess," Captain Fielding, his adjutant, suggested, sounding like he was trying very hard not to sound afraid. Not that Commodore Devon could blame him. The Commonwealth was on the brink of collapse. Hell, the entire Inner Sphere was falling apart. A new invasion from the Clan Homeworlds might very well be enough to push it over the edge.

"Sure," Commodore Devon agreed. "But not a clan, a supercluster. Our imaging says there's a Star Adder logo right next to the Coyote one. Sounds like the Star Adders absorbed the others, but they're still keeping some distinction. Just tradition, or are there still divides between them? Whether they're unified or just pretending to be may be the deciding factor."

He glanced over to his adjutant and the other officers in the command center, acknowledging the worry on their faces. "If this is a new invasion, then this won't be the last battle. Anything we can learn now is something others won't have to figure out the hard way."

As for a response... well that was a tricky one. Commodore Devon had four jump-capable gunboats he could call on, plus a couple squadrons of assault dropships and two additional wings of fighters parked on jumpships for use as response craft. It was a formidable force, maybe enough to repel the two enemy WarShips if he committed them immediately, but it'd be a costly battle, and could strip their defenses bare for a second wave. Losing the Zenith station was an annoyance, but as long as the enemy wasn't taking any other actions, it was better to wait for an opportune moment.

Captain Fielding's computer dinged for his attention. "WarSat Z92 is picking up another emergence wave," the captain said. "Adding it to the plot."

Commodore Devon saw the contact pop up on the holotable, about ten astronomical units from the zenith point and about two and a half from the closest of their outer perimeter of early warning satellites. "Makes it about twenty minutes old," he mused as he studied the data feed of the emergence wave intensity. "Odd, a Soyuz, but not clan spec." You could tell if you knew how to look. The old Star League had built the Sovettski Soyuz to easily accept additional docking collars, if the need arose. Because of KF physics, this gave the jump core a distinctly intense signature, not nearly as much as actually mounting those extra collars (like clan variants did), but enough to tell it from anything else in its size range.

"Get our closest telescopics aimed at it," he ordered. "Let's see if we can get some more information." It felt like the enemy's plan was coming into focus. Bait the system defenses into responding against the smaller threats while the bigger one lurked in ambush to swoop in after they were committed. It would require faster than light communications to pull off, but there was no guarantee that the enemy's HPGs were as crippled as the ones in the Inner Sphere. "If we have to, we might be able to take him out without his friends even realizing it."
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: And I Feel Fine: Book III: Thunderclap
« Reply #29 on: 18 December 2019, 05:47:39 »
The math sounds reasonable...  :thumbsup: