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Author Topic: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project  (Read 837 times)

Red Pins

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A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« on: 26 January 2020, 03:15:30 »
So, working on a new project, and because the timeline didn't fill a full page, I needed something to fill it.  So I decided on a little sidebar fluff piece, something short, relevant, and to set the tone for the rest of the project.  So, the introductory piece will show the first diplomatic meeting between the representative of ComStar (billing themselves a religious order fleeing persecution!) and the 'representatives' of Clan Zombie Python of the New Clans.

Think psychotics in diplomat's clothing.  Spoiler, since its late and time for bed; The welcoming party is one Galaxy Commander and a bunch of dressed-up farmers, and the airstrip is a trap with a nuke buried under it.  There are also remote-controlled A-P machine gun turrets and buried tank turrets with heavy mortars surrounding it, and cell-missile launchers (more homebrew tech) with a mix of Thunder mines, LRMs, and inferno SRM launchers if they decide to just wipe out the Interdictor and everybody aboard without releasing all that radiation into the atmosphere.

Comments and opinions welcome.

A DEVIL’S BARGAIN

(Sidebar A)

  The overcast sky hung low over the rural farmlands of Valhalla, with nothing but the echoing sound of DropShips in the distance to hint at the news that the New Clans had finally been discovered.

  “Do you think they suspect?”

  Angus didn’t take his eyes from the far end of the runway, watching though the overcast and light rain for the first glimpse of the new arrivals.  “No,” he said.

  “Good.”

  The silence stretched on, the rain beginning to clear somewhat as the landing lights on the massive runway suddenly came to life and the Doppler sound of engines began to fade in the distance.

  Reaching into his poncho, Angus was unsurprised when the small radio speaker forestalled his question with a status report.

  “Crater bombs are armed, mortars and turrets on standby.  Lawn darts incoming.”

  He grunted.  The DropShip in orbit operating as orbital traffic control had warned them the visitors appeared heavily armed, nor was it surprising they had the resources to provide an ASF escort into what may turn out to be hostile airspace.

  Clenching the squelch button twice, he turned back to the runway.

  The high-speed pass of an unrecognizable ASF at what must be maximum burn broke the monotonous cloud cover drawing the attention of both men for several seconds before disappearing once again.

  “Looks new.  White to black livery?”

  The low rumble of the sonic boom covered the sound of the rest of the welcoming party coming up behind him.

  “Medium to Heavy.  Interceptor, mostly lasers, centerline PPC by the look of it,” came the excited voice from behind him.

  A second ASF making a pass almost directly above them was gone in seconds, giving them a good glimpse of the glowing afterburners before seeming to turn off one side to throw off any ground fire.

  Angus scowled, making his own assessment.  “Veterans, probably Elite pilots.  Good equipment, well maintained.”

  The hammer of the sonic boom was far louder.  The tension seemed to rise slightly as the incoming DropShip finally descended under the cloud cover.  Somebody just had to give a low wolf whistle.

  Glistening while fading to dirty black.  Laser ports, barrels, and huge missile racks unmasked.  The pilot seemed uncharacteristically clumsy, giving a slight bob before correcting – but the bright flares of Jump Jets clearly marked the squad of Battlearmor dropping just short of the runway.

  Snatching at the radio again, he lifted the neck of the poncho slightly and turned to speak clearly into the handset.

  “Battlearmor on the apron.  Scratch and cover.”

  Dropping the handset, he turned to leave for the converted bunker on the side of the runway.  The Word had lived up to their reputation so far.  Time to prove the Pythons were worth of their own among the New Clans.

  The clicking of the radio was a welcome sound as the rest of the party began to follow.  The sharp cracks of the mortar’s A-P rounds drowned out the sound of smoke rounds concealing the scouts and denying them the chance to secure the airfield.

(Side bar B)

  The howl and shake of re-entry into Valhalla’s atmosphere was a welcome break to the monotony of the trip, heralding a long-awaited return to the open sky and fresh air soldiers and spacers always looked forward to.  In contrast, the short flight to the landing field was simply more of the same.

  “Do you think they suspect?”

  Berith glanced at the ground commander of his security team at the console beside him and shook his head.  “Unlikely.  These are one of the poorest groups of these ‘New Clans’.  Barely any weapons and trained personnel to go around.”

  He shook his head again, turning back to the screens and controls in front of him.

  “This is diplomacy.  The only ones that are going to have any fun are the locals, getting to see what front-line equipment looks like.  I’ll be lucky if they serve anything recognizable at the banquet welcoming us to the planet,” he said in resigned amusement.

  “Blake Flight, peel off.”

  The calm order of the Captain of the Blake’s Rage brought a rustle as the rest of the greeting party that didn’t have the Blessing of Blake’s enhanced hearing brought headsets up to listen in.

  “ETA in five.  Apron Team, stand by.”

  These heretics couldn’t do more than make faces at the Rage, but the 49th Shadow Division had a reputation to uphold and the prospect of a change of scenery was good for morale.  Seeing the cascade of video begin as the Rusalka ASF make a recon pass he stared at the screen, not trying to catch all of it, but noting the above Mach-1 fighter added an extra bob-and-weave intended to throw off ground fire and visually scan for pursuit or targets of opportunity on the ground.  Seconds later his wingman uploaded the same stream of imagery with the same maneuver.

  Sophisticated filters highlighted terrain features of interest, buildings, suspected weapons, and...  Sheep? Caught off-guard and frightened by the sonic booms of the escort flight.

  “Commencing final approach, crew, strap in.”

  They were committed, now.  Clearly the bridge crew shared his assessment of the risks here, choosing to ignore any irregularities as the rising howl of the Rage‘s engines made clear their agreement.  Manipulating the keyboard set into the console he began idly searching the surrounding area.  The patched but well-maintained airstrip was only the first question.  Why here?  Where were the supports every well-designed facility needed?  Where were the bars, the hotels, the people?  Other than a group of twenty or thirty people and what looked to be a pre-cast bunker and control tower, there was nothing here.

  The small, tell-tale change in cabin pressure was as good as the sudden drop to alert the Servants of Blake around him – Holy Blake, let me serve you in battle, again! – that the first of the apron security teams had dropped, relying on the Battlearmor’s Jump Jets to get them to the ground safely.

  Another waste of time – but the personnel behind the frightening visage of the 


*Edit - No, Berith looks unaugmented.  Sarna doesn't have anything, anyway, and I don't have minions and masters, so unless somebody can tell me its fixed.
« Last Edit: 24 March 2020, 17:17:40 by Red Pins »
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
Now with MORE GROGNARD!  ...I think I'm done.  I've played long enough to earn a pension, fer cryin' out loud!  IlClan and out in <REDACTED>!
Glitter - the herpes of the craft supply world.

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« Reply #1 on: 26 January 2020, 18:03:28 »
Interesting and did we loose something at the very end?
"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!"

Red Pins

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Re: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« Reply #2 on: 26 January 2020, 23:04:59 »
Nah, I just haven't finished typing it.  There's maybe as much again in handwritten stuff.  About what you'd expect, psychos in a locked ammo bunker with BA on one side and a low-power nuclear weapon on the other, before they agree to "The Devil's Bargain" and work together in the Cluster.  No kissing, though.
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
Now with MORE GROGNARD!  ...I think I'm done.  I've played long enough to earn a pension, fer cryin' out loud!  IlClan and out in <REDACTED>!
Glitter - the herpes of the craft supply world.

DOC_Agren

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Re: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« Reply #3 on: 27 January 2020, 13:28:23 »
 :thumbsup:
I just wanted to be sure
"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!"

Red Pins

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Re: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« Reply #4 on: 27 January 2020, 17:47:59 »
Um.  Actually quite a bit more.  Quiet day at work today.
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
Now with MORE GROGNARD!  ...I think I'm done.  I've played long enough to earn a pension, fer cryin' out loud!  IlClan and out in <REDACTED>!
Glitter - the herpes of the craft supply world.

Red Pins

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Re: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« Reply #5 on: 02 February 2020, 18:44:19 »
The typical laundry list of, "Why can't he finish it?", applies here again.  Good news; the story is done.  Bad news; finding time to type it is hard.  And it might not be done, since I'm enjoying humming the Imperial March and cackling under my breath as I write.  I'm trying to come up with a good ending for it, if I do continue it.  Probably just after the two sides come to some agreement, maybe as Primus Steiner-Davion demands a dog-and-pony show before they accept each other as allies to confirm what they both bring to the table.

Anyway, the fruit of 25 minutes of typing.  Another twelve pages of double-spaced handwritten PITA typing to go.

*Edit - This thing breaks so many rules of good grammar, its almost enjoyable for just that reason alone.  It honestly makes even some of the more horrid MW:DA books look good.  I might fix it someday, if only so I can hold my head up among fans.


  Another waste of time – but the personnel behind the frightening visage of the battlearmor on perimeter watch would be glad of the opportunity to escape the confining DropShip, and the habits of survivors trained in a harsh school would help keep them alive in the next fight.  Selecting a view from the exterior cameras to observe the dropped security team, he noted the well-executed landing, rapid spread to avoid presenting an attractive artillery target – and sparks in mid-air above them.  The sight brought him instantly to attention and he reached for the headset racked neatly on one side, but the second of the three security teams were already jumping to starboard as the crew were focused on their tasks.

  “Smoke, smoke, smoke!”  “Mortar fire from 216!’”

  The Rage had passed the half-way point on the runway seconds before they could respond, and the high-pitched roar of the engines never faltered.  Coincidence? Or Overconfidence?  Slipping the headset on, his world narrowed to the professional, clipped voices of the crew and security teams.

  “Casualties?”

  “None, smoke and Anti-Personnel.  Minor damage.”

  Berith leaned back, considering, as the Starboard Security team prepared themselves.  1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 7.. 8.. 9..  He made it to 22 before the terse voices of the veteran BA troops began reporting the same attacks.

  “Abort the Port Security team, Captain.”, he said thoughtfully.  “Where’s the greeting party?”

  “Moving into the bunker along the Port side of the runway, Precentor."  He nodded.

  Running away?  He shook his head.  The fearsome reputation mentioned in the derelict’s database would never support such behavior.  Avoiding the possibility of friendly fire, rather.

  As the Fury rolled to a stop, he racked the headset again, watching the rear camera for the smoke to fade.  It didn’t.  Rather, the Djinn broke through the low-hanging smoke in mid-air to observe and report over the console speakers.

  “Fury, it’s a trap.  I see buried turrets coming up beside the runway - they look like buried tank turrets.”

  The remaining Djinn must have been in communication with their leader, as they undertook the same maneuver.  “Fury, there are some kind of pop-up missile turret further out past the turrets.”

  “Roger, Starboard, what type?”

  “Looks like a mix, SRM close up and centered around the AP turrets, LRMs further back with the heavy weapons..  No reloading method seen, I think these are single-shot.”

  Berith listened to the bridge crew for a moment, beginning the landing checklist to shut down the DropShip.  Trap or not, without the assistance of a friendly ground crew, the Fury would find it difficult to maneuver on the narrow runway.

*-edit: "next fish" becomes "next fight".  ugh. And missing ".
« Last Edit: 25 March 2020, 02:02:48 by Red Pins »
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
Now with MORE GROGNARD!  ...I think I'm done.  I've played long enough to earn a pension, fer cryin' out loud!  IlClan and out in <REDACTED>!
Glitter - the herpes of the craft supply world.

Red Pins

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Re: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« Reply #6 on: 25 March 2020, 01:42:38 »
Fixed a couple small items.  I'm so bored, I'll be typing tomorrow.
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
Now with MORE GROGNARD!  ...I think I'm done.  I've played long enough to earn a pension, fer cryin' out loud!  IlClan and out in <REDACTED>!
Glitter - the herpes of the craft supply world.

Red Pins

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Re: A Devil's Bargain - sidebar fiction from a new project
« Reply #7 on: 29 March 2020, 01:47:46 »
  He leaned back again to consider his options.  Staying put and waiting was cowardly – out.  Leaving with completing the mission – out.  The Rage was helpless, unable to even turn around on the narrow runway without help.

  Surrender – out.  The Pythons had prepared for a massacre of whoever landed on this runway, but except for the welcoming party entering the bunker and the trap surrounding them, nothing moved according to Blake Flight, now recalled to their carrier.

  Negotiate?  With who?  For what?  He mulled the possibilities over in his mind.  The decision had to be made promptly, or stalemate – in their favor – would ensue.  His decision made, he tilted the seat fully upright and came to his feet.

  “Negotiating team, prepare to disembark.”

(Sidebar C)

  Coming down the personnel deck of the DropShip on the near side of the runway to return the brisk salutes of the small security team a small party of diplomats, bodyguards, and advisors followed a tall man in what had to be a formal uniform, complete with robe.  Half-way across the apron a pair of the Blakist Battlearmor caught up and passed the greeting party, clearly moving to inspect the bunker.  The remainder of the apron security teams took their time, walking out of the smoke that was now dissipating to board the DropShip.

  Angus nodded to the man next to the wall screen.  The exterior cameras had caught their movement but there was no need to see more, and the screen blanked as the false wall began to come down, hiding the monitors and thick glassed window with the heavy-looking steel door.

  At least the Blakists were prompt, Angus thought.  The passive hostility of Valhalla’s landing fields gave those uncertain of themselves enough time to realize just how much trouble they were in.  It said something about the man walking confidently towards the bunker to have responded so quickly.

  Men standing along the wall to watch the monitor began to move to collect some of the fragrant stew and stale bread from the small galley behind him to join their friends at the tables that filled the inside of the bunker.  Most of them were studiously paying strict attention to their meals when the first of the two Batlearmored troopers opened the heavy door to the bunker, scanning the room of scowling faces looking up from the tables before moving out of the doorway to allow the greeting party to enter.

  Keeping his gaze on the plate before him and taking another bite, he nonetheless noticed the sudden tension as the first of the robed figures entered the bunker.  The tableau stretched for another few seconds as the strangers entered the bunker, the heavy steel door closing with a heavy thud, before one of the robed figures ventured, “Mind if we warm ourselves up a bit before venturing out again?”

  A rough chorus of grunts and murmured assent seemed to lessen the tension among the greeting party.

  “Quite the welcome you folk have.  I take it this is an ambush and your other assets are kept dispersed until you need them?”
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
Now with MORE GROGNARD!  ...I think I'm done.  I've played long enough to earn a pension, fer cryin' out loud!  IlClan and out in <REDACTED>!
Glitter - the herpes of the craft supply world.

 

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