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Author Topic: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)  (Read 4017 times)

J-H

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Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« on: 25 February 2020, 22:55:13 »
I was originally going to post this in the Tribble thread for someone else to run with, but I had a long drive, voice to text, and some ideas about how the first few hours would go.

Continuation or prompt updating is not guaranteed or necessarily likely, sorry.  This may already be the longest continuous piece of fiction I've written, unless you count D&D campaign material.


Sian, 5 January 3049
Palace of the Celestial Wisdom


The first thing I noticed was the smell. A faint, vaguely perfume sandalwood's type scent. Honey Rosewood incense, my mind supplied, a favorite for keeping this wing of the palace pleasantly fragrant. That did not make any sense, and as I opened my eyes, things got even stranger. Instead of being at home in a dim room with my alarm clock, I found myself in a very large, ornate room decorated in a style that I would call Japanese or Chinese more than anything else, like a modernized version of the Korean & Chinese historical dramas I’ve seen a few of. I moved to get out of bed, and felt just a little bit off, like my body wasn’t right, but it passed instantly.

I did not feel the need for glasses, and I found that I was wearing silk pajamas instead of my usual boxer briefs. Proceeding to the bathroom, out of habit somehow, I was surprised to find everything spotless, large, and gold plated. One part of my mind said that Donald Trump would approve, and the other part said that it was only fitting for the Palace of the Celestial Wisdom.

Then I looked in the mirror, instead of my face, I saw an Asian kid with reddish-black hair staring back at me. Okay, not a kid, maybe a teenager close to 20? There’s some weird genetics there with a naturally red-headed Asian. [note: Romano described as having red hair somewhere.]

At this point, I think to myself that either this is a really freaky dream, or I just entered a science fiction story or something. There are fancy flush toilets, which I figure out how to operate without too much difficulty, and there are electric lights, so at least it's not Game of Thrones or someplace equally terrible and primitive. And I'm apparently fabulously rich, which usually translates to powerful.

Returning from the bathroom, I find two servants bowing towards me and presenting a couple of choices of clothing for the day. They don't make eye contact or greet me by name, and I'm quick enough on the uptake to realize that this culture is going to be more like what I've seen in some Asian shows. If I'm too familiar with the help, it'll be out of place, and if I'm rich and in a palace, then there's probably Intrigue, backstabbing, and power games instead of sanity. Simply blurting out that I am from somewhere else might get me killed or in serious trouble.

I take another tack, selecting the deep blue colored robes with gold threads embroidering fancy astrological symbols.  It’s not my style, but bright red isn’t what I want to wear today. The servants move to help me put it on, so I mostly just hold still and make my best guess at where to move, although it seems like I've inherited some muscle memory from this body because it doesn't feel unnatural.

So step one, figure out where I am and what the situation is, then step two is to figure out if it's someplace I recognize and what I need to do.

As the servants depart, I call out “Send in my breakfast and a summary of my schedule today.”
Another servant enters almost instantly afterwards, this one with a taller hat. “Your highness,” Seneschal Hong greets me (how do I know that?), “Today is Saturday, so your schedule is mostly un-committed. The daily intelligence briefing is at 9:30 if you wish to attend, and you had mentioned planning an excursion to the lake to drop in on some members of the nobility who planning on having a birthday party. Your sister Kali’s jumpship arrived at the nadir point last night, and so she will return from her trip to Highspire five days from now.”

My blood runs cold.

I've been a BattleTech fan for a long time, and read a number of self insert type stories, but if I'm in one it's on super hard mode. I'm the heir to the throne of the weakest of the successor houses, my sister is a murderous lunatic, and my mother is not much better. The Capellan Confederation is a ruinously oppressive nation that's always teetered on the brink of destruction, being permanently poverty-stricken and with very limited social mobility and property rights keeping it so. Were I somewhere else it, was one of the two Great Houses of Battletech that I would have no problem condemning to invasion, destruction, and reconstruction in the name of a brighter future for Humanity. As Sun- Tzu Liao, I don't have that choice. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.  Gold plated crap.  And that’s when I realize that I’ve had the entire conversation in Mandarin Chinese.  I sure hope I don’t inherit Sun-Tzu’s character flaws, although at least he’s better than many of the other alternatives in the CC.

It’s time to learn more, and leverage what I've got.

“Bring me the updated texts to go with that intelligence briefing, as well as a summary of military production figures for the last year. Also, bring me the scoring information from my last set of ‘Mech-piloting and martial arts skill assessments.” A thought enters my head, and I realized that at least I've got the instincts and some information built-in. “The un-doctored scores, not the ones that were released for public consumption.”

No need to delude myself… but as a high-ranking noble in this society, explaining why I want something, or justifying my actions, is something to avoid.  I’ll have to change how I talk to people, and hopefully Real Sun-Tzu’s instincts will help. 

Breakfast arrives, and with it the documents. It is 3049, and the Clans are coming. The Clans are coming, and I'm in the weakest of the Successor States and the one least likely to be able to do anything about it. Left alone, Sun-Tzu will strategically make himself an object of mockery on Outreach, will alienate most of his potential allies, blow up his chances with Isis Marik and a greater alliance, and will generally not do anything to contribute to the betterment of humanity up until the point when the Word Of Blake throws a snit fit and tries to blow everybody up.

My first thoughts are that I need to make allies. To make allies, I’ll need to have reasons to have cover for my strange behaviors, as Kali might jump on things, and Mom's not much better. Trying to make friends with the Allard-Liao house, the Steiner-Davions, etc. we'll go over about as well as a Firestarter at an ice carving competition. I need to gain personal capabilities, personal power, and position myself to make long-term differences in the Inner Sphere as a whole.

Coupled with that, as a human being, I have a duty to try to improve things in the Capellan Confederation also. Social reform is a must, but I know that once you start opening up a society and adding freedom, it’s very easy for the changes to spin out of control and destroy the government.  I can’t risk being a Gorbachev.

Kali has to go, or at least be contained. I don’t think she ever backstabbed Sun-Tzu, but she’s not someone I want to be associated with in the long term.  She’s a useful threat or deterrent, but she’s a sword with no hilt.  Romano has to be managed, and I have to not alienate Tsen Shang, for although part of me still cares for him, I know that he is ultimately loyal to mad mother. I guess it's like the Targaryens, when a Liao is born a coin is flipped, and there's a chance that they'll be mad. Here's hoping that I can be one of the sane and genius coin flips, instead of following in the footsteps of my grandfather or mother.
I can only change a few things at a time, and any radical shift in personality would be a problem. I think back to what I know, and her Celestial Wisdom will probably believe me if I say that I've had a dream that war is coming, and that I want to prepare. I'll throw out a few verifiable names that I dreamt of: Wolves, Jaguars, Falcons, Bears, and a host of other animals. It's a long game, in that verification won’t come for a long time, but when it does, it’ll earn me a lot of credit as a gifted visionary whose strange ideas can be trusted.

I review the scores, and it appears the Sunny-boy has been a lax student. Middling at best as a MechWarrior, excellent accuracy with small arms, but only fair at unarmed combat. Feeling the lack of muscle mass in his/my arms, I’m not surprised at that. If I am to gain the respect of my peers in Outreach in a year, I'll have to be able to keep up with them. I know with the long fingernails my father sports, the ideal is apparently the noble who never has to lift a hand personally. I will need to forge a new image as some sort of Warrior-Prince hero-leader with some personal glory and fame. The personal capita will help me be more respected and gain the personal loyalty of some followers I can trust.   Driving a ‘Mech sounds fun, but I’m not pleased at the idea of actually going into battle – but I will have to.

The Capellan military is weak as well. Anything we can do to get a tech boost would be helpful. I know of two parties that are currently sitting on freezer production tech. I don't expect, and can't expect help from NAIS, not unless I can get Hanse in a room by himself with me for 30 minutes. Given the history of Operation Doppelganger, the chances of that are vanishingly small. My other choice is on Outreach. Comstar reads the mail, and I don't have time to travel there personally. After finishing meeting, I summon the Seneschal again.

Naming from memory one of the officers of the Red Lancers, who should be on duty, I asked for him to be summoned and comment that my schedule is about to be rearranged to favor more personal training for me. I also tell Hong that I will be sending a message offworld to request a trainer and perhaps technical assistance from Wolf's Dragoons, and for him to bring me anyone who can help encrypt the message for the Dragoons to read.  Do I risk mentioning terms that they’d recognize as Clan?  I could really use a Goliath Scorpion or Nova Cat for their breadth of vision or historical knowledge, but I have no idea if the Dragoons have any septuagenarian abtakha in their ranks.

When the Captain on duty arrives, he greets me with a low bow, as befits my station.  “I had a dream last night that a great war is coming to the Inner Sphere, one even larger than the betrayal 20 years ago. For the good of our house, our people, and the Capellan nation, I must be better than what is reflected in these scores,” waving the papers with the accurate scores in my hand. “If I am to eventually lead our forces in combat, I must be strong and among the best. Take time to think who can best be assigned to me for 2 hours a day of personal training for my body and my combat skills, and then for another 3 hours a day of MechWarrior training.  I don't want a noble of good family who is well spoken and flatters me. I want someone of lower station who can communicate well and is not afraid to speak the truth if it will help me grow better.  Also, forward me a copy of your training materials maneuvering at the lance, company, and battalion levels. I will be deeply insulted if this is not taken seriously, and if I am assigned someone who is safe but incompetent.”

ROB only knows if I’ll actually get someone good out of this.  If the Red Lancers have a veteran NCO who is in bad odor politically, they might send him to me to get him killed or fired.

I am going to have a lot of sweaty, hard days ahead of me training and stuffing my brain full of things while also trying to manage my court appearances, build a coterie of followers who aren’t stupid, fools, or loyal to my mother first, and plotting some sort of political realignment.
« Last Edit: 25 February 2020, 22:57:05 by J-H »

ThePW

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #1 on: 25 February 2020, 23:30:50 »
One Ping Only.

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #2 on: 25 February 2020, 23:43:33 »
Intriguing

snakespinner

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #3 on: 25 February 2020, 23:45:53 »
A Capellan SI, very interesting. :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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wolfcannon

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #4 on: 26 February 2020, 00:23:15 »
“Give me a ping Vasily. One ping only, please“
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David CGB

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #5 on: 26 February 2020, 05:01:23 »
A Capellan SI, very interesting. :thumbsup:
Depending on what happens, very good or very bad
Federated Suns fan forever, Ghost Bear Fan since 1992, and as a Ghost Bear David Bekker star captain (in an Alt TL Loremaster)

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #6 on: 26 February 2020, 10:51:22 »
I'm not very good at writing dialogue, so this may end up being more tell than show.  We'll see.

I've never read a BattleTech sourcebook, although I've played every game except MW1 and MW5.  My knowledge of the lore comes almost exclusively from the novels, and it's been a decade or more since I picked one of those up, so there may be a few errors.  I'm not clear on some of the exact details of how the social castes in the CC work, so there may be some 'errors' or supposition on my part.

It's also going to be a struggle to balance my personal morals with what is necessary to succeed (for whatever value of succeed I settle on) as Sun-Tzu.  Lies will become pretty necessary, murder (in various forms) has to be on the table... and my best guess at a most-useful marriage alliance is not one that I personally find comfortable or attractive.

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #7 on: 27 February 2020, 00:26:12 »

I spend the rest of the day in what is apparently my office, using the primitive computer system and printouts brought to me by a secretary called in by the Senechal. I may be disrupting someone's day off, but I feel a sense of urgency. My progress is somewhat hampered by the fact that I don't feel comfortable writing anything down or keeping any of my future plans in the computer. The Maskirovka does not report to me.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I'll probably do more of the same, devouring and attempting to digest detailed reports of our current capabilities and what's available to me, as well as intelligence estimates. So far everything seems to line up with what I remember from the books and games. I certainly can't go to church here on Sunday. It's odd.  ow has my faith adapted to this? What do theologians say and theorize? I don't think there's anyone around here I can ask.

After looking at my options, I decide to change out my current ‘Mech, a standard Cataphract, for a 2X model. When playing the HBS BattleTech game, I always thought that far too many stock configurations were under-sinked and criminally under-armored. In my position, the extra armor is probably more valuable than a pair of rear-facing lasers. The reduced heat by swapping a large laser in for a PPC will give me more endurance, and will remove the vulnerability of having a PPC minimum range. If we get the chance to uptech, I'll have to revise my choice. If anyone's behind me, well, I'm not planning on charging in the thick of battle by myself. I'll probably have a bodyguard unit to prevent any Mist Lynxes or Firemoths from opening up my back armor.

I think long and hard, trying to remember when a recall order was sent from Clan Wolf. The Invasion started in 3049, and Natasha Kerensky had to have taken several months to cross the Inner Sphere from Outreach all the way to the outer Periphery. I will have to drop some hints to Wolf's Dragoons, but I need their assistance. If we can start production of even some of the refit kits, and get help fixing our factories, they will be much better placed to earn a seat at the table like the Free Worlds League did or will... and present ourselves as an ally instead of as an opponent. I don't feel like I would get along with the Canopians, and what little I know of the Triple Alliance between Canopus, the Taurians, and the Capellan Confederation suggest that it wasn't very helpful.

So I start composing a message:

The Celestial Prince Sun-Tzu Liao, to Colonel Jaime of the Wolf Dragoons:
 I have had a dream of an upcoming conflict, one in which everyone will need to work together to fulfill their duties to protect humanity from an onslaught by groups who make even our relatively constrained social system look enlightened.

I have come to believe that anyone may seek and grasp excellence, not just those who are blessed by a particular circumstance of conception or birth. I understand that you have obligations to the Federated Commonwealth, and do not ask you to forego them. I request that you send someone, or a small group of people, to serve as personal trainers. My individual skill as a warrior is not what it should be, and I must be ready to pass the tests which will come. In my dreams, I learned that it would be good for me to ask for anyone who comes from a group which might be headed by someone named Leroux, Winters, or who may have imbibed a particular venom at one point in search of knowledge of that which was lost. This may mean more to you than it does to me.

Additionally, I would like you to send a representative from Blackwell Industries who has knowledge of your complete technical capabilities to discuss modernizing and rebuilding many of our BattleMech component factories. I believe you have technical data which will prove uniquely valuable for this.

Our hiring representative on Outreach will be authorized to handle whatever reasonable payment you request for these services.  I look forward to conducting any additional negotiations with whoever you send.

Signed this day by my hand, Sun-Tzu Liao, etc. etc.

I think he’ll get the hints.  I hope the phone company doesn’t.  This should get me someone from the Clan homeworlds, and maybe an early shot at some technical assistance.  I have no idea whether or not the Dragoons have anyone of Goliath Scorpion or Nova Cat extraction with them, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  I feel like they might be more helpful.


Sian, 6 January 3049
Palace of the Celestial Wisdom
I wake in the next morning, not nearly as disoriented. The memory of my family seems strangely distant, perhaps under the weight of the memories of another person, or maybe whatever put me here did that. I can only assume that they are safe and well, and that perhaps I'm simply a copy. Either way, there's nothing I can do about it. I don't even have an HPG malfunction to have scientists study like in that other story. And at least I didn't come through as a battleship. Firepower would be nice, but I think I prefer being a human. Or near-human. A little bit of genetic tweaking for enhanced reflexes, speed, and health would be nice. Who knows, maybe that's in the genetics somewhere.  Someone has to have tried it, right?  The wealthy always beta test new medical treatments for the rest of the population.

After breakfast, I emerge from my room to find a Red Lancer sergeant in his 30s, an Asian man with dark hair, waiting outside. He's dressed in what appears to be a military exercise outfit, and is sporting quite the black eye on his left side of his face. Thankfully, he doesn’t look like Ip Man.  Jaime Wolf looking like Sean Connery and Hanse Davion bearing a strong resemblance to William Shatner was quite enough.

After his parade ground salute, I give a slight nod and gesture for him to speak. “Sergeant Xian [pronounced Shan] reporting for duty, sir. I was told that you wanted someone to work with you a couple of hours a day to help you become a better warrior”

I smirk slightly, and respond.  “Yes that's correct. If you are ready, I can change and we can begin now. But first, what happened to the other guy?”

“He got me in the eye with an elbow, but I broke his arm. He'll be on light duty for a number of weeks. There was some competition for this position.”

I smile slightly.  “I'm glad to hear of it. That tells me I'm getting someone who is at least good at fighting, and I'm assuming you know how to teach as well. I will listen to your expertise, even if it means that I have to spend an hour a day hitting a punching bag for a while.  Will you also be working with me on BattleMech piloting?”

Sgt. Xian shuffles his feet at that.  “No, sir the best trainers in the unit are having a simulator competition this morning, and should have a finalist assigned by tomorrow. It will also take a little while to have the sim pods installed at the palace, beyond that I'm not certain of the details.”

I change into exercise clothes – I swear the closet here is the size of two bedrooms back home and contains way too many robes and slippers – and emerge in a few minutes.  “Very well, I place myself under your guidance. Lead the way.”

“Certainly, sir.  There is a training gym 1/2 mile away that I have reserved. Let's run there.”

He turns and immediately breaks into a run, glancing back to see me lurching into motion.  At least Sun Tzu doesn't seem to have asthma - I don't, I mean – but this is going to suck.  Still, his willingness to be slightly rude to me like that speaks well of his courage.  Left, right, left, right, should have had a lighter breakfast.

snakespinner

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #8 on: 27 February 2020, 00:40:11 »
Getting Sun Tzu to run, how evil can you be. :D ;) :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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ckosacranoid

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #9 on: 27 February 2020, 02:14:04 »
This is very different to say the least. Very cool to see a co of the mad house. Would have been even more funny to see of his mom. The interaction with them is going to be fun.

drakensis

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #10 on: 27 February 2020, 04:54:34 »
Romano the paranoid control-freak will probably have Sun-Tzu in for some grovelling and explaining the message before supper. And expect it not to have been held pending delivery to ComStar until she approves.
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consequences

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #11 on: 27 February 2020, 07:21:26 »
Decent odds that she thinks it's her precious baby boy's inner eye coming in and doesn't want to stifle him. Or that she's too distracted looking for treason elsewhere for it to really register. Or that malicious bureaucratic compliance reports it, but no one wants to be the one to hand it to her so it gets circular filed under the authorization of the last guy she executed that day. Or all of the above.

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #12 on: 28 February 2020, 18:28:46 »
Sian, 10 January, 3049
The next few days are exhausting, exciting, and boring, all depending on my perspective. For a science-fiction fan with long-term affection for the BattleTech franchise, it's super neat. But also being someone who is used to all this, and who is slightly embarrassed by the fact that he is not being treated as though he's already awesome at what I’m training to improve in, it's rather boring.

Sun-Tzu apparently did have a history doing some distance-running, so the workouts has not been as completely beat-down out-of-gas exhausting as I thought they might be. Also, one perk of being a prince:   Anytime you want a massage, you get one. It took very little effort to make sure that I was getting a still tasty, although weird to my 21st century American sensibilities, diet, a daily massage, and proper nutrition. I suppose that if I wanted to try to catch up to the Rock and his famous four hours a day of working out in 8000 calories, I'm in the right situation. Somehow I don't think that would be helpful, nor is Sun-Tzu built for that.

Simulator training is focusing primarily on movement to dodge fire, and accurate fire while moving.  It’d be easier with more arm-mounted weapons – and I do remember my lessons from MWO about high-mounted weapons requiring less exposure to use – but the Cataphract is a symbolic ‘Mech, and good enough.

After several days of studying, planning, exercising, and training, what had almost become a routine was disrupted by what was, for me, a massive spike in tension and worry. My parents were coming home. They had been on the other continents of Sian visiting industrial sites, farms, dedicating a new stadium, and all the other things that you would see even Kim Jong-un doing.  Now their dropship is flying back; apparently supersonic airliners aren’t practical compared to a suborbital hop.  Kali arrives tomorrow morning, as well. 

I take a hoverlimo out to the Drop Port to meet them, escorted by several light tanks and a second identical limousine. Security is taken seriously when you're the heir to a star empire. I asked, and it turns out that there's a full company of the Red Lancers on guard at the port to meet my parents, a company on the dropships accompanying their InterContinental Hops, and a fast-medium lance escorting me out as well.

I elect to go ahead and begin the changes somewhat by forgoing the lengthened fingernails and dressing in clothes that allow a little bit more movement than normal. I am very glad I have Sun-Tzu's memories help me handle this.

As my mother Romano walk down the ramp, with her father two steps behind and slightly to her right, I give a long bow with a bent knee. “Welcome home, mother.  I trust that your trip was enjoyable?”

“Yes, it was good to see the productivity and dedication of many of our people, and they were rewarded with my presence and acknowledgement.”

I straighten, and she gives me a slight hug. I hug back to the degree that feels about right, and realize that I'm hugging someone who's a half step removed or so from being a mass murderer.  Maybe?  I know she’s pretty crazy, but I don’t know if she’s actively murdered a lot of people. I wonder what would happen if I snapped her neck right now? Nothing good. Reform by assassination isn't as easy as it seems from the outside.

Romano sweeps past me, and I greet father with a handshake. He has a firm grip, and is still strong. Some people might think of him as just an intelligence analyst nerd, but they forget that he was one of Justin Xiang Allard's partners, and a Maskirovka agent in his own right... Not just some weenie driving a desk. Also, he was attractive enough and smart enough to catch and hold my mother's attention for a couple of decades. She may have gotten with him just as way of getting back at Justin, but he earned her trust and has held it. I really will need to get him on my side.

One of the guards opens the limousine door, and I follow my parents in. I wait until the diversionary dance is done - 3 identical limousines having swapped places in a tunnel on their way out of the DropPort, they now take different routes back to the palace.  Each has similar security.

Romano is sitting and staring out the window, while Tsen Shang is reading some file on his Noteputer.   Here. We. Go.

“I had a dream a few nights ago.  I dreamed of things to come. I don't know all of the details, but I am confident that a great war is about to come on the Inner Sphere, not brought of Davion aggression or Marik perfidy, but by forces from outside.  I... do not certainly know their origins, but in my dreams I saw an emerald falcon, a red wolf, a gray cat, and some type of strange polar bear all attacking. They were strange, alien, worse than the Successor States. An armored knight bearing a sword, and a dragon, both fought against them, but were not enough to hold them back.  And then the Cameron star of the Star League shown forth, and they were pushed back, leaving the knight and the dragon weakened.

I am sure that was coming is powerful enough that it could force Davion and their Steiner puppets, and all the others, to work together to reform the Star  If this happens, we must participate.  I’m sure our neighbors would be happy to see us suffer the same fate as the Taurians and Canopans did a few hundred years ago.  If my vision comes true, someone will need to sit in the First Lord's chair, and Davion is hardly a candidate that anyone else will vote for. The Celestial Wisdom might even be a compromise candidate, even if the First Lordship is only assigned on a rotating basis.  We would need allies and ties outside the confederation, though.

Who knows, we may even have the option who knows, we may even get to heap burning coals in the lap of Hanse Davion by helping him... For a price.

I'm certain enough to war is coming that I have changed my training regimen, and will be spending a great deal of time getting ready to lead our forces in the battle myself. I know that you, mother, are a talented MechWarrior, but you must remain on the throne world to oversee everything. Kali has taken her interests in other directions, and that leaves my duty to you and the Confederation clear.  In so doing, we may earn glory and recognition for the Cappellan people by the rest of the Inner Sphere.

I've also identified some areas where I think our military can be strengthened through better production, and I'm going to try to get some help from some unconventional sources outside of our borders. I may need to call on Maskirovka assets for this. If I have something specific, father, I’ll let you know. I know this is a great deal to take in, and a great deal to ask,” as my mother's green eyes burn like lasers on my face, “But I am the child of a great leader, and I must live up to your example in holding our people together and strengthening the Confederation over the last 20 years. It will take much, much work and time.”

 I pause and wait, an unspoken prompt for questions. My face is set in stone, and my spine is upright. No weakness.

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #13 on: 28 February 2020, 20:36:03 »
Nice update!   Looking forward to the reaction of the Romano and his dad.   Nice to read That he is working on his mech piloting skills!

gladius

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #14 on: 29 February 2020, 00:12:49 »
Fascinating. I started a Sun Tzu SI a few months back, having ‘woken up’ back in the mid ‘40s, and the story picking up on Outreach. It’s nice to see someone else catching that particular plot bunny.

I will say, you’re hammering down hard on that ‘I had a dream’ approach. Like, Mjolnir hammering. I always see that sort of thing to be better used as a foil instead, delicately and precisely, with subtlety. It’s a valid approach, but I’d generally refrain from being so ... blatant.

Anyway, nice start, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #15 on: 29 February 2020, 00:22:35 »
If any place in the IS is likely to take "I had a dream" as a good reason to pursue something, it's the Capellan Confederation.  Now that Sun-Tzu has told his parents, once that's done, he won't have to explain himself to anyone else.  It'll just be "I'm doing this" without a "why."

He's not in a place where he can admit the truth, and any physical evidence would be easily disproven, so... this is what I came up with to run with.

I know exactly what's going to make Romano flip her crap, and I'm not sure how I'll handle it when that time comes... but there are good reasons Sun-TSI is not sharing details of his plans, and why he's considering having her dead sooner rather than later.   She's only 57, so Romano probably has another 20 years of life left unless she meets an unnatural end.  The only reason she died was her case of stupid (killing JXA), and if she does that here, it's a huuuge hit to the plans. 
With a loyal and experienced intel chief as Romano's husband, one who knows she's crazy and tolerates it, he has very few options internal to the CC to handle her.  Plotting with external enemies is equally difficult.  So far I have not found a way forward around that.

I'm totally open to help determining what objections Romano & Tsen-Shang will have to this right now.
I also am concerned that Kali is going to be difficult to write.  I don't have much experience with Crazy.

Cannonshop

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #16 on: 29 February 2020, 10:42:55 »
If any place in the IS is likely to take "I had a dream" as a good reason to pursue something, it's the Capellan Confederation.  Now that Sun-Tzu has told his parents, once that's done, he won't have to explain himself to anyone else.  It'll just be "I'm doing this" without a "why."

He's not in a place where he can admit the truth, and any physical evidence would be easily disproven, so... this is what I came up with to run with.

I know exactly what's going to make Romano flip her crap, and I'm not sure how I'll handle it when that time comes... but there are good reasons Sun-TSI is not sharing details of his plans, and why he's considering having her dead sooner rather than later.   She's only 57, so Romano probably has another 20 years of life left unless she meets an unnatural end.  The only reason she died was her case of stupid (killing JXA), and if she does that here, it's a huuuge hit to the plans. 
With a loyal and experienced intel chief as Romano's husband, one who knows she's crazy and tolerates it, he has very few options internal to the CC to handle her.  Plotting with external enemies is equally difficult.  So far I have not found a way forward around that.

I'm totally open to help determining what objections Romano & Tsen-Shang will have to this right now.
I also am concerned that Kali is going to be difficult to write.  I don't have much experience with Crazy.

It's difficult to write 'Crazy', especially if you'e also trying to avoid writing 'stupid'.

think instead in terms of "what drives Romano's actions" as if those actions are completely rational.  (because she thinks she's completely rational, and she was rational ENOUGH that her own supporters didn't lynch her.)

Might consider that her entire world was shattered when her big sister, the one who was SUPPOSED to be Chancellor, turned traitor.  her purges were driven by existential fear-everything she believed to be true disproven in an instant, she literally WAS in a situation where she could not trust anyone after the Compact seceded.  This will inform her actions later, and then, the fallout from those actions will tend to inform her actions subsequent. 

remember it's not nuts if you really do have enemies you can't see, or if you've done things in a panic that have created a problem you can't easily solve.  (For example, widespread purges screwing up any chance of meaningful progress later, because your subordinates are afraid to tell you the truth-even the loyal ones.)

Come to think on it, you might try taking the tack that Romano isn't crazy at all.  a bad temper, and her judgement wasn't the best when Candy turned on her...but maybe try the angle of 'achingly sane but out of her depth' instead?  she could well be in a position where she can't afford to back off or back down, because doing so might well end up with...undesirable...outcomes.  MAX had the nervous breakdown, Romano may well have been forced into a situation where the only practical survival move was to turn axe-crazy, and when that crisis ended, she couldnt' back out of the axe-crazy act without the whole shaky structure coming down.  (or couldn't back out without, say, dying and letting someone else who's smarter and isn't carrying the same baggage take over.)

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Sir Chaos

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #17 on: 29 February 2020, 10:56:33 »
If any place in the IS is likely to take "I had a dream" as a good reason to pursue something, it's the Capellan Confederation.  Now that Sun-Tzu has told his parents, once that's done, he won't have to explain himself to anyone else.  It'll just be "I'm doing this" without a "why."

He's not in a place where he can admit the truth, and any physical evidence would be easily disproven, so... this is what I came up with to run with.

I know exactly what's going to make Romano flip her crap, and I'm not sure how I'll handle it when that time comes... but there are good reasons Sun-TSI is not sharing details of his plans, and why he's considering having her dead sooner rather than later.   She's only 57, so Romano probably has another 20 years of life left unless she meets an unnatural end.  The only reason she died was her case of stupid (killing JXA), and if she does that here, it's a huuuge hit to the plans. 
With a loyal and experienced intel chief as Romano's husband, one who knows she's crazy and tolerates it, he has very few options internal to the CC to handle her.  Plotting with external enemies is equally difficult.  So far I have not found a way forward around that.

I'm totally open to help determining what objections Romano & Tsen-Shang will have to this right now.
I also am concerned that Kali is going to be difficult to write.  I don't have much experience with Crazy.

You might want to consider Sunny telling Tsen Shang the truth. Or some of it at least.

He´s used to working under (and around) the insane, so he won´t go straight to calling for the guys with the straightjackets if he doesn´t believe the truth.

Either he´ll believe the truth, in which case (due to his position, and his experience in doing his job despite the whims of an insane ruler) he´ll be an invaluable ally to Sunny carrying out his plans.

Or he doesn´t believe the truth, in which case Sunny can probably persuade him that even if he´s wrong, his plans will still strengthen the Confederation, which is always a good thing.

The jackpot for Sunny, of course, would be if the Dragoons decide to trust him based on what he told them, and eventually agree to confirm Sunny´s information to Tsen Shang.
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snakespinner

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #18 on: 29 February 2020, 19:25:07 »
For me Tsen is fanatically loyal to Romano.
If he found out Sunny wasn't the real one he would tell Romano.
The CC is always written as watch your back and not trust anyone.
I would think it would be better to reveal only as much as not to betray his real origins.
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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #19 on: 29 February 2020, 20:12:19 »
For me Tsen is fanatically loyal to Romano.
If he found out Sunny wasn't the real one he would tell Romano.
The CC is always written as watch your back and not trust anyone.
I would think it would be better to reveal only as much as not to betray his real origins.
very much so!!!!
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Maingunnery

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #20 on: 29 February 2020, 21:37:43 »

Hopefully he can use his disturbing dream as a suitable excuse for any altered behavior.
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J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #21 on: 03 March 2020, 23:20:20 »
Mother has a slight smirk on her face. “Perhaps your third eye has opened, as you say.  If you have that power we will find out eventually. You and Kali both seem to be exploring your spiritual talents.  In the meantime, it is good for you to have something to apply yourself to. I was a talented MechWarrior once, before the burdens of the state became too heavy. I do remember enjoying those times.” Her mouth twists slightly, as though she's sucking on a lemon. She probably just remembered Aunt Candace being better than she was. I recall they had a major rivalry. 

“I don't like your talk of allies. When have any of the other Successor States been trustworthy? For you to show them that we are not weak, that we are strong and better... that despite the size of our state, our will and our destiny is greater? That, my son, you may prove for our line. But remember that ruling is not simply about military glory.  Our Confederation is held together by the nobles whom you know, but also by the Maskirovka and the officers of the state who serve me, and through me, my subjects. Although great, I am but one woman. What time do I have for the agricultural output of every province on every planet in every commonality? Those who serve us are necessary, and our wisdom is necessary to guide them. Corruption and the building of personal loyalties within the have long been a threat to our people.”

“Perhaps we can find a battalion somewhere for you to work with and lead, and do some pirate-hunting to gain experience.”  She looks at me sharply.  “If you are stepping forward, you will need to also learn the less glamorous side of being a Liao. Do not chase after your own glory, but let it come to you through serving as you must.”

“Tsen, who is trustworthy to instruct our son in these matters?” She turns to my father – to Tsen Shang.

He smiles. “I have a couple of people in mind that I can assign to teach you many of the basics. After a couple of months, you will sit with me…” He thinks for a moment “Half a day twice a week in my office for as long as you are on Sian.  You can learn more about how we find the traitors and deal with them, and how we keep watch upon our enemies.  If you go towards the Periphery to hunt pirates, you may well find rebels, and you should be equipped to put them down in the name of your family.”

“I have helped your mother much with intelligence and information for the last twenty years, but you should gain a background in it yourself now that you are willing to, I hear, train and study for 10 or 11 hours a day.  This will also help you temper your dreams or visions with good actionable intelligence.  Real information that is sure and not a hazy vision.”

Romano interjects – “Be sure to also not overtax yourself, my son. The stress of ruling can do bad things to one's mind. It did drive your grandfather crazy, along with the many traitors who surrounded him.  Be sure you find something that you enjoy doing aside from your duty.”

There we have it. At some point, I will get a battalion to command - I think that's what Victor has - and in the meantime I get yet more training added to my plate, and will be under the direct eye of the head of the Maskirovka. My life has gotten more difficult, but at the same time, I will be all the better position to do what I want, if I can survive this without a stress breakdown. I'm pretty sure none of the children of the other successor of Lords have anywhere near a large of the task list as I do. Then again, I don't know what their military academies are like. Something to study... I can get access to the files for all of my possible rivals, allies, or partners.

The reward for ambition and the desire to grow and train more is... More training.  They’re not even worried about my dream or the war that comes.  Just, okay, you want to learn more, here's some other stuff you have to learn to temper it. That's a surprisingly normal parental reaction, like something I would do.  Looking back, Sun Tzu did not have heavy involvement from his parents and a child, but they are still his / my parents, and obstacles, and even teachers and mentors.  I want to put them into a box labeled “Bad” but it’s pretty hard to hold that perspective right now.

As for Victor and Hohiro – they are both about to be in harm’s way.  I know they both get out, though.  Surely my presence won’t have a butterfly effect hundreds of light years away.  Even if I tried to warn them, what would they do?  Add more troops, so that they can’t escape as they did before?  Deny them experience with the Clans that will allow them to win later? I will trust that they will do as they did before, and will learn from being respectively decked by Galen Cox and rescued by criminals.    If they don’t get away from the Clans, then… I suppose I will have fewer rivals.  They are the strongest heirs to the two strongest militaries in the Inner Sphere.  They have protagonist perspective from the novels making me want to like them, but their nations will survive either way.  There’s too much risk and uncertainty to change that which is outside my control.

Author's note: I'm not trying to do "hard man making hard decisions" - I really don't think there's a good way to help them without giving things away and preventing the scenarios that allowed for Victor & Hohiro to be rescued in the first place.

Also, does anyone have names for a Clan-origin Dragoon who might be sent?  I don't think this rates a member of the command staff, but maybe someone at the Company command level, or someone semi-retired.  I also need a few Cappellan names for his battalion, so if someone has a player character name you'd like to use, I'll take it.


« Last Edit: 03 March 2020, 23:39:32 by J-H »

drakensis

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #22 on: 04 March 2020, 01:52:57 »
Good job portraying Romano and Tsen as good parents, at least in their own context.

I agree there's not much you can do for Hohiro and Victor at this point.
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Iron Grenadier

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #23 on: 04 March 2020, 06:25:58 »
Also, does anyone have names for a Clan-origin Dragoon who might be sent?  I don't think this rates a member of the command staff, but maybe someone at the Company command level, or someone semi-retired.  I also need a few Cappellan names for his battalion, so if someone has a player character name you'd like to use, I'll take it.[/i]

I think most of the original clan Dragoons are dead by 3049? Someone that might be sent however could be Shelly Brubaker.
https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Shelly_Brubaker


Shadow_Wraith

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #24 on: 05 March 2020, 22:49:04 »
The story update was good!  I liked how his parents were parents and how he knew he has to be very careful in his words and actions.  Looking forward to your next update!   

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #25 on: 09 March 2020, 23:01:24 »
The rest of the day was rather anti-climactic after that. I spent some more time with Romano and Tsen Shang, but jet lag is still real, even if you call it something poetic like “The sun chasing you,” or “Early sunsets, early sunrises.”

Kali arrives the next day, and we did not go to greet her at the DropPort. The moon goes to greet the sun, not the other way around.

I first saw her at an early dinner that evening, a family banquet of sorts. You assume that everyone from the books is super attractive because that's what you would see on TV... And it's not quite always true. Kali's features are little too sharp and harsh to qualify as conventionally beautiful, although she certainly is in good shape. The way she moves reflects some type of martial arts. I'm not sure quite how the Thuggees fight, but I need to find out, and quietly find a way to train against their preferred fighting methods. Still, she seems almost normal except for the occasional flashes of anger in her eyes at any sort of perceived slight. She is spoiled, and definitely treats the servants like furniture.

Surprisingly, she speaks little of what she did on Highspire aside from visiting schools, working with a couple of tutors, and all the other things that you would expect as normal activity. I'm quite certain that she's already building her Thuggee base of power there with the cultists, but obviously she's not advertising it. At this point, she is still setting herself up to become a player... She can't have been at it for more than a couple of years.  I check records later, and verify that she started traveling to Highspire regularly only two years ago. Maybe I can change her. Keep her away from the murderous death cult? But how... and certainly not now, maybe later. I don't know. I don't feel like I can handle crazy very well. Kali is still “off” as a person.  Sun-Tzu may have acquired some of his mastery of emotions while remaining calm and unbothered by her presence.  So I tried not to show it. I maintained a stone face. It's strange not to be able to smile much.

I do not mention my “dream” to Kali. Mentioning it is up to my parents, and I have no desire to bring her in on this.


A week and a half later, I receive a courtesy response from the dragoons, relayed through our Contracting Office on Outreach. Davion is the great enemy, Outreach is in his territory, yet we have an office there for recruiting mercenaries. I make a mental note to see later if Marina Liao is a real person, and to research the Aurigan Reach.  I know they were retcon’ed in, but still....

The Dragoons will be sending a Leopard dropship. The commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Chan, will bring three MechWarriors with him, as well as a senior VP from Blackwell named Johnson. Publicly available biographies of all are attached by our office. With the future of the ‘80s, there is no internet and no LinkedIn.

The short version of it is that Lieutenant Colonel Chan used to be a battalion commander, fought with distinction in the number of conflicts, and is definitely old enough to come from the Clan Homeworlds. The others with him are mixed in ages, and at least one of them is suspected to be a WolfNet operative on the side. I suppose that that's not surprising. Maybe all three of them are. Chan currently is an executive officer with Dragoon Homeworld BattleMech operations, which means that he apparently is involved with training and defense work. He fits the bill – of suitably high status and rank not to offend, but also not a main-line command officer that they would miss if he is gone for a year or two.  Not much on Johnson. I just hope he's read in on their real capabilities.

It's an eight week transit from Outreach to Sian without a command circuit, so it doesn't surprise me that the Dragoons ETA is 9 more weeks. The time passes quickly in training and studying... I am improving substantially in strength, martial arts skills, and as a MechWarrior. By the time they're in-system, I have a mixed company drawn from the Red Lancers and some planetary militia MechWarriors who were slated to go full-time that I'm regularly working with in simulations as a company commander. Yes, company command after less than three months. Let it not be said that nepotism is alive and well in a command economy like the CC.   Itt's a little bit overwhelming at times, having to keep track of 11 others plus myself plus the enemy plus planning... I see why command ‘Mechs exist. Too bad the Battlemaster and cyclops aren't made here. Still, I have good NCOs, and I listen heavily to their advice.

Driving a real BattleMech is quite a trip. It's nothing at all like driving a car, and the sensations from the Neurohelmet -- how do you describe feedback in your brain? When the Cataphract leans, it's like I'm leaning, and I can tell you that some of the control of the arms and legs do come from neural input rather than buttons, levers, switches, and pedals.

My apprenticeship, as it were, with the Maskirovka he is actually more like schoolwork than anything else. There is no way I'm ever going to be running covert agents, and rarely directly spying on people. Accordingly, I'm getting the crash course in data analysis, with a sideline in personal security and dealing with assassins, the latter of which is half-covered by the other combat training I’m sweating through.
As a result, much of my time is spent studying statistics and reports, especially relating to commerce and jump ship usage. As Tsen Shang reminds me, “It was Hanse Davion’s movement of troops and jump ships from months beforehand that enabled his successful invasion.  As long as we know where they can move things too, we know if a big strike is coming.” As a result of this, I learned that many of our foreign agents simply have jobs working in bars in stores near DropPorts, and in some cases even as traffic controllers.  They simply report back what Jumpships  jumped into the system on what date, where they left, where they were going, drop ship counts, etc.  It really reminds me of the Cold War, although of course I can't say that. I suppose the logic is exactly the same.

We have more than a few spies in the St. Ives Compact, and Tsen tells me that they have more than a few spies here as well. I jump on the chance, and focus much in my studies on the SIC. As I expected, I find that their planetary economies have grown disproportionately better than ours, their people are much freer, and individual productivity and quality of life measurements are higher.

Before pointing this out to my father, I spend an extra week and a half doing research to show that it is not just a matter of Davion investments propping up a puppet, but also qualitative differences in governance and individual freedom. “It appears that at Candace's reforms were very effective. Our people are living better there than they are within our borders. Shouldn't we explore doing some of the same things here?”

“Your mother, admit her sister did anything better than her, ever? I know her well, and that is not something she will accept.”

I retort, “But they are our people, and our people can live better as a result of this. If I find a way to make this happen, or even perhaps to bring the compact back under our aegis, would you support these reforms with mother and the bureaucracy?”

Tsen Shang laughs.  “Yes, of course. Many of our traditions, including limiting the size of the upper ranks in the military, greatly hamstring us. The bureaucracy will fall in line on my say-so if such a policy change comes into effect. But do not ever expect a diplomatic reconciliation with the St. Ives Compact. The only way to bring them back will be by force.” 

I leave it at that. Let the idea  stew. Maybe he'll mention it to mother. I have a plan, or at least most of one.

consequences

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #26 on: 10 March 2020, 05:54:22 »
I see the mechwarrior cult has already gotten to you. Why have one of the four flashy mechwarriors be the wolfnet agent instead of a tech or member of the dropship crew?

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #27 on: 10 March 2020, 07:32:10 »
Who says half the tech crew isn't WolfNet, or that the suspected agent is?  SI-Tzu is not operating from complete or necessarily accurate in-universe information sources.  The Mask hasn't done very well at infiltrating WD for obvious reasons, and the letter referencing Nova Cat & Goliath Scorpion bloodnames definitely rates investigation.

Side note:  I still don't see how a single mercenary group, even one as powerful as a couple of RCTs, manages to have an intel service that's so well-respected.  The Clan Watch certainly didn't have that much effectiveness or reach, and intel is one of the areas where institutional knowledge & training is key to success.

consequences

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #28 on: 10 March 2020, 13:33:01 »
Who says half the tech crew isn't WolfNet, or that the suspected agent is?  SI-Tzu is not operating from complete or necessarily accurate in-universe information sources.  The Mask hasn't done very well at infiltrating WD for obvious reasons, and the letter referencing Nova Cat & Goliath Scorpion bloodnames definitely rates investigation.

Side note:  I still don't see how a single mercenary group, even one as powerful as a couple of RCTs, manages to have an intel service that's so well-respected.  The Clan Watch certainly didn't have that much effectiveness or reach, and intel is one of the areas where institutional knowledge & training is key to success.

Reading Comstar's mail is one theory. Pre-existing monitoring apparatus that the Dragoons were given access to is another. Could be a Society operation that at various times could care less if the Dragoons lived or died.

Or there's always the possibility of clan grade interrogation drugs followed by memory blockers if brute force intel gathering is to your taste. Or they just got lucky early and often enough to develop a hilariously overblown reputation when you consider their failure to ever once see a threat coming to their civilians.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #29 on: 10 March 2020, 14:05:42 »
For one thing, the Dragoons were mostly freeborn, meaning they grew up outside the warrior caste and didn´t ingest all that warrior caste bullshit with their figurative mother´s milk.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

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DOC_Agren

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #30 on: 17 March 2020, 06:37:55 »
And until the Star League tech came back avail the Dragoons were the only ones who had it regularly available.  Also having a backdoor key to the HPG network, that Comstar had no clue was available, helps lots, so they had the ability read other people intel data too.

Hope there more to come
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wolfcannon

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #31 on: 17 March 2020, 08:14:28 »
Who says half the tech crew isn't WolfNet, or that the suspected agent is?  SI-Tzu is not operating from complete or necessarily accurate in-universe information sources.  The Mask hasn't done very well at infiltrating WD for obvious reasons, and the letter referencing Nova Cat & Goliath Scorpion bloodnames definitely rates investigation.

Side note:  I still don't see how a single mercenary group, even one as powerful as a couple of RCTs, manages to have an intel service that's so well-respected.  The Clan Watch certainly didn't have that much effectiveness or reach, and intel is one of the areas where institutional knowledge & training is key to success.

Maybe because Wolfnet had the distinction of being able to crack the houses intel via all the SL tech at their disposal.   Remember these guys were freeborn, so the code of the clan warrior, while yes they had to learn, but being freeborn and operating in the Inner Sphere among barbarians they should have had all the bells and whistles that “good” clan warriors abstain from.
Daniels Avenger                Clan Coyote
General Jennifer Daniels    Galaxy Commander Jim Skyes
                                        Omicron Galaxy
Clan Wolf in Exile
328th Assault Cluster(the Lion Hearted)
Star Captain James Sword

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #32 on: 21 March 2020, 08:26:49 »
I'm hoping to get to this again soon.  I'd been writing by doing voice-to-text while driving and then cleaning it up later.  With everything going on, I haven't been driving much lately.

Motsognir

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #33 on: 31 March 2020, 22:20:38 »
I've just finished catching up on your enjoyable story J-H, hope to see more of it. Hopefully, we will see some improvements to the Confederation in the years to come rather than Sun-Tzu just crash and burning/getting assassinated.

idea weenie

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #34 on: 01 April 2020, 20:27:42 »
I am enjoying the story too.  Say 'hi' to Isis for us   :thumbsup:

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #35 on: 02 April 2020, 08:29:54 »
I found myself driving yesterday, so I got another section out.

Sian, April 5, 3049
Beta Continent, CCAF FTX Area Charlie


Two months and one field training exercise later, I'm feeling okay. I am not a great MechWarrior, but I'm not dragging down the Red Lancers in my company either. My accuracy suffers a little bit as part of command, but I can generally stay at mid- to long-range and pound away with my large laser and AC10, or be moving and giving orders. Moving, shooting, giving orders all at once is somewhat harder.  More practice should make the moving and targeting more automatic so that less focus is required.

I have a regular company I'm working with that is “mine,” composed of a light recon lance, a medium trooper lance, and my heavy command lance. MechWarriors are sourced about equally from planetary militia members going full-time and the Red Lancers.  Assault mechs are few and far between. House Liao:  We do more with less!

It's funny; since I know what to look for, it's easy to spot the signs of poverty or lack of resources almost everywhere behind the scenes. Too many replacement parts are being handmade. Maintenance and repairs are slow. Technicians for the militia are under-qualified and learn mainly through apprenticeships. This is normal. This is normal for them on a capital world. It makes me feel better that my goals are not to save the whole Inner Sphere as such, but just to bring the Capellan people up to a better standard of living, and kind of drag everybody else up with us over time.

Red Lancers 'Sun' Company
Recon Lance
Raven (with ECM)
Firestarter
Javelin-10F (4MLas)
Jenner

Command/Heavy Lance
Sun-Tzu, CTF-2X (Llas, AC10, 2 MLas, SRM4, uparmored)
Orion ON1-K
Thunderbolt 5SE
Crab
All have long range firepower closing to medium.  No jumpjets except T-Bolt.

Medium Lance
Vindicator
Vindicator
Wolverine 6K (Laser variant, more armor & endurance at the cost of JJs)
Wyvern


I receive word that Lieutenant Colonel Chan's Leopard has arrived in system, and record and transmit a message to him. I have the benefit of knowing what his lance composition is thanks to our liaison office.

“Colonel Chan, welcome to Sian. I hope your transit has been as swift and pleasant as can be hoped for. You are probably tired of sitting and waiting, so rather than having you land near the palace and go through numerous formalities, I would like to invite you to join me and a company an extended field exercise as our opfor. It'll be a good chance for us to learn more about each other, and specifically evaluate my strengths and weaknesses in a more realistic setting. Since you've only brought one heavy Lance, I'll spot you two lights and two mediums from force to bring you to parity with my command. Map coordinates, Landing codes, etc will be transmitted shortly.”

Half a day later, I received his response. “Your grace, thank you for your consideration. I appreciate your offer. It will be a good trial with which to start our training program. Real combat exposes weaknesses and flaws that will not show up in short simulator battles. I will have our ‘Mechs configured for the standard low power training settings per your message, and we'll see you in 5 days. After finishing a couple of engagements as you have planned, I suggest a few additional scenarios reflecting a less even balanced forces going one way or the other, including ones based on uneven information, simulated air support, and other battlefield complications.”

I lay further bait in my trap with my reply:  “Well bargained and done.”

I really, really want to get a freezer factory and some other technical aid going, but the officers of Wolf's Dragoons are Clan-raised. Winning their respect will make them take me much more seriously. I just have to view this as an investment of time.

Also, it's a hell of a lot of fun. I pretty quickly picked up that the full-on “empathy with the common man and sharing everything alike” thing is not going to fly well in the palace... So yes, we do have nice field gear, including an ultrasonic mosquito repellent and top-tier rations. I made sure everything fits in our cockpits, as I certainly don't want a trailer full of snivel gear following us around and giving away our position in the field.  Still, compared to what I was used to when camping and hiking back home, this is luxury camping combined with ‘Mech piloting.

I assign Colonel Chan my company's Jenner, piloted by a militia pilot with some natural talent and not much experience, and the Javelin, piloted by an older semi-retired MechWarrior. He also gets the Wolverine, not jump capable, and one Vindicator. This is a strategic decision on my part to make sure that he is tied down with at least one non jump capable unit.

I retain the Raven, which still has capabilities that are state secrets and gives me an edge, and the Firestarter, in hopes that I can use the weakness of single heat sinks. I keep the other Vindicator and the Wyvern, giving me some good jump capable firepower. For all with the best ‘Mechs in MechWarrior Online were close in brawlers, the risk aversion, lower rate of fire, and need for maneuver means that most of us are running mixed builds with LRMs. Our long-range is medium range for the Clans, but at least that’s better than short-ranged weapons. Clan OP, please nerf.

Unfortunately, only the Raven and my Cataphract are equipped with triple strength myomers. I pushed for all of our Ravens to be equipped with TSM. It would be very expensive for someone to load lrms with the anti-TSM gas to deal with perhaps one in 40 of our ‘Mechs, and the Ravens already carry plenty of equipment that is slated for destruction if non-recoverable. If I end up taking a battalion or a couple of regiments against the Clans, I want TSM on all of them, so that we can match or exceed their speed and maneuverability.

Dragoon Lance:
Patrick Chan - Thunderbolt TDR-5SE
Crusader 3L
Griffin
Guillotine

All are jump-capable and able to fight at long range, with three of them having additional close-range firepower.
« Last Edit: 03 April 2020, 22:30:21 by J-H »

drakensis

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #36 on: 03 April 2020, 15:03:20 »
I don't follow how you've tied him down with a design that doesn't jump - all four 'Mechs you assigned to Chan customarily have jumpjets. So he's fully jump mobile unless one has been modified not to use them.
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Sir Chaos

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #37 on: 03 April 2020, 15:16:42 »
I don't follow how you've tied him down with a design that doesn't jump - all four 'Mechs you assigned to Chan customarily have jumpjets. So he's fully jump mobile unless one has been modified not to use them.

The Thunderbolt -5S doesn´t have jump jets. Neither does the Crusader, unless it´s the -3L variant.
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J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #38 on: 03 April 2020, 17:17:59 »
I may have my variants confused.  Every regular Thunderbolt (except the one with flamers) has jumpjets, and the base Crusader does too.  The Wolverine, I think, does not.  This is based on my memories from the novels and HBS BT.  The loaner Wolverine is the one with no JJs.

Iron Grenadier

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #39 on: 03 April 2020, 17:32:00 »
You can always use sarna.net to look up all the current battlemechs and more -
https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Category:BattleMechs

The base Thunderbolt and Crusader do not jump.

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #40 on: 03 April 2020, 17:44:11 »
Galen Cox must have been running a variant then, or I'm misremembering.  I'll have to go update things later.

Iron Grenadier

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #41 on: 03 April 2020, 18:06:00 »
Galen Cox must have been running a variant then, or I'm misremembering.  I'll have to go update things later.

He was using the "5M" model that was introduced by the FWL in 3049, and yes that jumps. I think before that he had the baseline "3R" model that doesn't jump.


J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #42 on: 03 April 2020, 22:32:31 »
Thanks everyone.  Post updated:
T-bolts switched to TDR-5SE.  Not sure where it's manufactured, but it was introduced in 2910 and is thus likely widespread.
Wolverine switched to 6K, which is what I'd pick - 2 tons of armor extra and removes the ammo dependence of the mediocre AC/5.
Crusader switched to the 3L.  The 3049 Marik version with the XL is one of those tech retcons, and I just don't want to deal with that issue.

Good?

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #43 on: 30 April 2020, 17:20:57 »
Oddly enough, writing without text to speech is hard.  At 9k words, this is still short, but it's more fiction than I've ever written in one place!
I have a list in my head of some specific scenes I want to hit, so there may be some time jumps.  I feel guilty about that, even though Cannonshop does it all the time and it's fine.  Just me learning.


The area for our training exercise is one that we've been working in for a couple of days. This is important because it means we’ve left plenty of fresh tracks through the canyons, up the hillsides, and in the mud. With near equal forces, and the Dragoons having more jump-jet equipped Mechs than mine, I'm very concerned that we won't be able to outmaneuver them... Thus controlling information is going to be the key to setting up a favorable engagement. Beyond that, I'm simply hoping that we can win or put in a good showing in a mid-range to short range brawl. Whoever can pick off an enemy or two first will probably win.

The entire area is surrounded by forest of light to moderate density, but with most of the trees shorter than a ‘Mech. At the western end is a midsize lake, lying hard against the western side of a small mountain. East of the mountain is a low area of what used to be a flat-topped mesa that has since been cracked and eroded away to form several canyons with small mesas on top.  Paths have been beaten or blown in to get on top of some of the mesas, but not all. There are a couple of small streams running through there that run around the base of the mountain to feed the main lake. If we had an equipment advantage, I would look to exploit it, but couldn't come up with anything for this...

I split my forces into three groups. The jump-equipped group is composed of the Firestarter, The Vindicator, the Wyvern, and the Thunderbolt. I lead a smaller and much higher value target group composed of my TSM cataphract and the Raven. Together, we can outrun anything the Dragoon's are feeling except the Javelin & Jenner. The Raven’s ECM blankets the entire area in a massive static that makes non line-of-sight Communications nearly impossible. Copying from my sort of cousin, I am tapped into seismic sensors.  The other non-jumpjet equipped portion of my lance is composed of the Orion and the Crab, both of which are best more at long range than close up.

My Orion & Crab head up onto one of the western mesas, with the east-facing part of the mountain in range.  The jump-capable lance moves more to the middle, and my small, fast pair is close to the eastern edge.  My assumption is that the Dragoons will make a play for commanding fire from the mountain.

Their Griffin jets up onto the mountain, and starts taking fire from the Orion & Crab, who collectively outgun it substantially.  This is a long range exchange of fire.  The Griffin takes several hits during its initial landing, but after that, stays moving and does a good job jinking and dodging.  After about half a minute, the Dragoon Thunderbolt, Vindicator, and Crusader jump up to join it.  On my end, the Thunderbolt, Wyvern, and Vindicator leap up to join the Orion & Crab, leaving the balance of firepower even.  Armor is sanded off, and the Crab suffers a disabled large laser pretty quickly from an unlucky hit.
My Firestarter stays low, cautiously working its way closer, while I and the Raven sprint through the canyons, moving north and planning to circle west.  Coming near to a junction, we pause and I check seismic...  Paydirt.  I send a signal; the Orion & Crab disengage down a ramp, while the T-Bolt, Wyvern, and Vindicator jump forwards but down into canyon, shielding them from direct fire from the mountain.  The Firestarter joining them just in time for the four of them to meet the opfor  Wolverine, Guillotine, Jenner, & Javelin.  They start firing, while I come around a junction at the far end and alpha-strike the Guillotine’s rear.  Trapped, it and the Wolverine don’t last long.  The Jenner & Javelin jump up and away after searing off half the Raven’s armor.
We then retreat farther away through the canyons, being up 8-6.  Monitoring seismics, I watch the 6 remaining foes cluster together, and cautiously advance across the mesas, using jumpjets to leap across the canyons...moving a bit south of us.  The eight of us set up in a firing line down below, and, knowing where to look, turn the virtual left side of the Jenner to electronic slag when it leaps into view, disabling it.  The odds are eight to five at that point.  Lt. Colonel Chan and his two remaining pilots are flat-out better than I am, and better than most of my Command lance - I can tell by how they move and react - but the Raven degrades their automatic targeting aids enough that we are able to put shots on target about as much as they are.  I'm able to use my Cataphract's extra speed to be "not where they are aiming" a few times when they practice "pop and shoot," and their Javelin is overheated by my Firestarter, then popped while disabled.  Wearing them down over a tense half-hour, the two remaining Dragoon 'Mechs disengage, surrendering the field to us.

I smile inside my neurohelmet.  I did it.  I used ECM, seismics, and communication relays that they did not have, but I was able to pull out a victory.  I suspect it'd break down against a large-scale Clan unit charging through incautiously, but in a battle of equals - I end up with one killed 'Mech, 3 half-disabled 'Mechs, and a lot of armor damage on my side for 6 downed foes.

We rendezvous at the main lake a couple of kilometers away for a post-battle assessment and discussion.  Chan looks satisfied.  His initial comments after greeting me are:  "Good performance.  If we'd been more aggressive initially, you would not have been able to pull off that trick, nor would it have worked if we had air or satellite cover to spot your location.  I was surprised how well you kept track of our location, also."  He raises an eyebrow.

"Lt. Colonel, I simply used all my available options to the best possible extent.  CCAF has long had to make do with lighter forces and cunning on the battlefield versus, say, the weight of metal or high-tech weaponry.  The Red Lancers are not trained to fight as our foes fight, though.  I look forward to learning your experience and your exposure to a wider breadth of combat doctrines and tactics."

It's mid-afternoon, and my Javelin pilot who made the mistake of getting overheated gets dispatched to pick up the pallet of supplies and luggage dropped off with the Dragoon 'Mechs.  By the time he returns, it's suppertime, and I mostly sit back and watch the Mechwarrior talk between the older mechjocks in my unit and the younger Dragoons.  Chan's the only one over the age of 50.

After we're finished eating, I wash my own mess kit and motion for the Lt. Colonel to go for a walk with me along the beach...

Next time:  I have enough self-control to not ask "How's the weather on Strana Mechty?"

idea weenie

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #44 on: 30 April 2020, 18:07:20 »
Washing your own mess kit?  They will realize something is seriously different about you   ;)

David CGB

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #45 on: 30 April 2020, 22:14:27 »
Washing your own mess kit?  They will realize something is seriously different about you   ;)
More likely screaming then realized
Federated Suns fan forever, Ghost Bear Fan since 1992, and as a Ghost Bear David Bekker star captain (in an Alt TL Loremaster)

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #46 on: 30 April 2020, 23:17:26 »
Screaming will begin when social reforms start.

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #47 on: 04 May 2020, 22:58:39 »
It turns out that writing up a 'Mech battle is a lot harder than playing MWO or HBS-BT.  I tried MegaMek a bit and the interface is making it hard to do what I want to do.  I will press on, taking inspiration from Cannonshop's ability to do BattleTech without many, if any, 'Mech battles, and numerous short posts.

...

We walk away from the camp, feet crunching on the pebbles for a little while.  I start.  “I believe you were raised in a culture that values directness, so long as that directness does not criticize the caste system where some are more valued than others.  The Capellan state is also burdened with a caste system, albeit of a different sort – but we normally value indirectness.  I will need to be able to communicate well with others, so I will be speaking in your manner instead of in the flowery and indirect poetry to which both my people and the Draconis Combine prefer to use."

"Comstar is reading everyone’s mail, and my assumption is that most or all codes used for interstellar traffic have been broken.  Messages they can’t decode draw more attention, if they involve noteworthy people or organizations.  You are here, with the people you brought, because I listed off some names associated with visions and spirit quests – names that nobody off Outreach should be aware of.”  I pause and look at him.

“Go on.”

“About four years ago, the Comstar exploration ship Outbound Light jumped into the Huntress system.”  He stiffens.  That’s a name he wasn’t expecting.  “What is the reaction of a powerful, prideful, and vastly outnumbered but individually superior force when they are threatened with discovery – and thus vulnerability – in their own homes?  Can it be anything other than invasion?  Accounting for travel times and logistics, I would expect to see them establishing footholds in the outer periphery, perhaps now.  The Maskirovka simply does not pay much attention to the edge of the far side of the Inner Sphere, but the signs should be clear in a year or less to anyone who is watching."

"My question to you, then, is whether you and the Dragoons are a people who would stand by and watch the people of the Inner Sphere, including the civilians on Outreach, be reduced to caste-bound servants.  Whether you and the Dragoons would prefer that the children of your body be treated as second-class, second-best, because your great-to-the-tenth grandfather happened to be on the right side of a civil war between exiles.  If that is what you wish, then I shall learn a bit of fighting, and that will be the end of this contract.  If you despise the idea of the Smoke Jaguars conquering Sudeten or Coventry, or the Burrocks taking Rasalhague, or the Dragon of the Combine being replaced with the Jade Falcon… then you must decide to act, or in your inaction, allow this to happen. 

"If you need time to think, take it.  We will not be able to speak so freely of these matters within the Palace, though.”

His face is pale.  I hope I don’t cause a heart attack.  “How do you know of these things?  You speak of places I have not been to, Clans I have not thought of, in many years.”

“Does it matter?  I am right, and you know it in your bones.”

I spin on my heel, and walk back towards the camp.  I have no desire to talk about being SI’d or to give a full explanation, and he’s likely got much thinking to do.  Release the butterflies.

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #48 on: 04 May 2020, 23:28:42 »
Nice update

ThePW

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #49 on: 05 May 2020, 00:02:06 »
Nice update

The report to Wolf Actual should be... provoking.

drakensis

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #50 on: 05 May 2020, 01:18:18 »
Some of that information is incorrect, but that might be intentional on Sun-Tzu's part.

I'm specifically referring to Outbound Light's arrival at Huntress, which was in 3048 - so four years before the end of the invasion. From other time-queues, it's currently 3049 or 3050 - shortly before the start.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #51 on: 05 May 2020, 08:29:35 »
That...doesn't make sense.  Maybe that's why I've always had it in my head as 3045.  If it arrives in 3048, and it's a ~ 1 year journey down the Exodus road, then that means the Clans panicked, held their Councils & trials, assigned their corridors, mobilized their units, picked and started conquering their logistics bases in the deep periphery, and started hitting the IS proper all in about an 18 month timespan.  I guess that does feed the ridiculous Clan logistics failures even further.

But yes, that's what I "knew" so SI-fail there.  :( I also don't remember any of the canon Lostech caches in Capellan space, if there even are any.

georgiaboy

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #52 on: 05 May 2020, 12:54:38 »
Hooeee Boi, the SI just dropped a grenade into his hand, pulled the pin and handed him the pin.


The SI got some of the info wrong, the invasion corridor is backwards.


But the Dragoon knows that there is no way that the SI can know any of that information, unless He has been there, or has infiltrated them totally.


Knowing that CS has compromised all communication, he will have to travel to Outreach to give the Information to Jamie.
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Sir Chaos

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #53 on: 05 May 2020, 13:41:00 »
Hooeee Boi, the SI just dropped a grenade into his hand, pulled the pin and handed him the pin.


The SI got some of the info wrong, the invasion corridor is backwards.


But the Dragoon knows that there is no way that the SI can know any of that information, unless He has been there, or has infiltrated them totally.


Knowing that CS has compromised all communication, he will have to travel to Outreach to give the Information to Jamie.

The Dragoon has no way of knowing that Sun-Tzu got it wrong - the Dragoons haven´t had any communication with the Homeworlds since the 3020s. They would not even know that invasiona corridors existed, much less who got which one. So he has to assume that Sunnyboy has somehow infiltrated the Clans, or vice versa.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
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georgiaboy

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #54 on: 05 May 2020, 14:16:01 »
The Dragoon has no way of knowing that Sun-Tzu got it wrong - the Dragoons haven´t had any communication with the Homeworlds since the 3020s. They would not even know that invasiona corridors existed, much less who got which one. So he has to assume that Sunnyboy has somehow infiltrated the Clans, or vice versa.


Ahh but here is something the Dragoon does know.


It is one year travel to and from the Home Worlds.


There is no Spheroid HPG network between the Clans and Sian.


So, how would SI be communicating with his infiltrators?
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Sir Chaos

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #55 on: 05 May 2020, 14:25:56 »

Ahh but here is something the Dragoon does know.


It is one year travel to and from the Home Worlds.


There is no Spheroid HPG network between the Clans and Sian.


So, how would SI be communicating with his infiltrators?

Those infiltrators could have physically travelled to the Inner Sphere. They could be part of the Clans´ advanced scouts (which the Clans did not have, but the Dragoons don´t know that), or of a party sent to look what happened to the Dragoons - which would explain how Sun-Tzu knew the Dragoons were sent by the Clans.
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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #56 on: 05 May 2020, 16:09:09 »
The invasion corridors are deliberately wrong, to the point of including a non-invading Clan.  It's dangerous to be the prophet with all the answers... especially when those answers start being less reliable over time. 

More importantly, there are indications that the Jade Falcons are respected rivals, where the Smoke Jaguars are less respected; the mental picture created is of a despised foe harming an ally, rather than a respected rival.  None of the Clans I listed are ones friendly to the Wolves, and the Wolves weren't mentioned at all.  I don't recall if the Burrocks are Crusaders, but I know they have ties to bandits, so they are a better choice to mention than the Coyotes, Star Adders, Goliath Scorpions, etc.

This does put LtC Chan in a bind.  Most Dragoon MechWarriors at this time are not from the Homeworlds, so even the WolfNet operatives he brought may not be cleared for this discussion.  Sun-TSI mentioned Comstar reading everyone's mail, and then brought up Comstar again right before naming the Clans.  It's really nothing that can't be gleaned by a couple of years of deep-space SIGINT work.  Where there's one jumpship, why not two?
« Last Edit: 05 May 2020, 16:10:51 by J-H »

drakensis

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #57 on: 06 May 2020, 00:06:51 »
That...doesn't make sense.  Maybe that's why I've always had it in my head as 3045.  If it arrives in 3048, and it's a ~ 1 year journey down the Exodus road, then that means the Clans panicked, held their Councils & trials, assigned their corridors, mobilized their units, picked and started conquering their logistics bases in the deep periphery, and started hitting the IS proper all in about an 18 month timespan.  I guess that does feed the ridiculous Clan logistics failures even further.

But yes, that's what I "knew" so SI-fail there.  :( I also don't remember any of the canon Lostech caches in Capellan space, if there even are any.
Outbound Light was captured 27 September 3048. Leo Showers was elected ilKhan on 12 December that year. The trials to decide participation were over and advance parties departed 21 February 3049, with the main forces assembling in June that year and advance parties hitting the periphery from August through to September 3049. Probably they used jumpships and warships with K-F drives to get there in six months.

The Inner Sphere was invaded 7 March 3050, not quite 18 months after the Outbound Light was captured.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

J-H

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #58 on: 25 May 2020, 16:59:43 »
The next week of exercises is quite difficult. I lose a little more often than I win, and I'm sure the Dragoons appreciate the opportunity to get some first-hand experience against a raven and try different techniques. Ravens have been deployed in combat against Davion raids, so it's not like I'm giving away too much. Still, it is an opportunity for them to get some extended practice against ECM. I leverage the EW capabilities for all that they are worth. I think if I had the choice, I'd rather be driving a Battlemaster with a full-time sensor and electronics warfare operator in the backseat. Well, maybe five or ten years from now I'll get that chance.

Aside from after-action reviews, there's not much training going on outside the cockpit. 8-12 hours a day of battle and maneuver is enough to exhaust anyone, and it's not like I really need additional instruction in unaugmented combat. With my size, I don't think I'm ever going to match an Elemental in combat. If everything goes well I shouldn’t be partaking in a individual trials anyway. Ridiculous system.

On the sixth and final evening before our Dropships are due to take us back to the capital, Lieutenant Colonel Chan pulls me aside and we go for another walk.

“I will have to get authorization for anything at all, but you are right. I've seen enough in the last 35 years to be sure that the place I came from should not be replicated here. I would not want my grandsons to grow up to where I grew up, or their children in turn. I know well enough with my role would be there at best at this age. Training the young.” He smiles at that, and I allow a small smile to creep onto my face at his joke.

He stops and stares me in the eyes. “What do you want?”

“I want the Capellan people to be prosperous, happy, and freer than they are. Secure borders, peace, and alliances. The path to achieving all that involves defeating the invaders, and working with others to do so. I understand that you are constrained in your options. In a perfect world, we'd gain access to your underground factories and the ability to copy what you are already doing by hand so that I can deploy with an entire battalion of Dire Wolf Omnimechs.”

Keep going, don’t let him pause and think about that bit of information I just dropped.  No need to mention the stick of disclosure.  “Realistically speaking, and to cut through the haggling, I ask for only three things.”

“First, assistance and training from Blackwell in very rapidly setting up a large factory on one of several worlds under my personal control near the FedCom border.  A factory capable of producing enough double heat sinks to re-equip several regiments per year at the very least. Of all the gaps be closed, heat management is one that produces the greatest return in battle. We can work out the details, but I assume that you do not have the industrial capacity to produce refits for your five regiments of ‘Mechs. The carrot for Blackwell would be a guaranteed share of the production of the factory, to be used first to re-equip your own forces, and then for Wolf’s Dragoons to export or resale as desired. The CCAF can't bring that many regiments or transport capacity to the table, but if we can become a critical supplier for refit kits for the combine or” – and I get a bit quieter for the next few words – “Even the Federated Commonwealth, that produces a lot of goodwill for us.”

“Second, I want you or another team to work with us to train my battalion and multiple other units to fight against Clan tactics, and to help us experiment with how to fight against enemies with Mechs that are cooler, faster, longer-ranged, and tougher than they have any right to be.” “Third, I want copies of portions of your data files on Star League technology. So much has been lost, and Comstar bears part of the blame for this, that I know that we are not performing near our potential when it comes to making jumpships, terraforming equipment, or even parts and tools for factories. I'm not talking military tech necessarily, just things that will improve overall industrial productivity and improve the quality of life for my people. Did you know that on at least a quarter of our planets, we have peasant rice Farmers whose lives are not substantially different from how peasant rice farmers live 1200 years ago? It's simultaneously ridiculous, embarrassing, and heartbreaking.”
 
“I admire Hanse Davion for his pursuit of academic knowledge and rediscovering lost technology. I assume that you have much of this technology somewhere, if only to maintain or provide repairs for anything you left stored somewhere out in the periphery before entering the Inner Sphere.  I believe you have a duty to your fellow man to share it, and of course there’s profit in doing so as well.”

He responds as we continue walking.  “I will consider it. When Colonel Wolf received your message, we had some long staff discussions about what you might be looking for. We purposely did not bring any plans along with us, but the Blackwell team is will be aware of what materials are required so that we can work on potential factory sites.”

If he's not going to mention sharing the same information with the Federated Commonwealth, I'm not going to bring it up. It'll have to happen. Outreach can't very well share information with me without sharing it with them, unless they want to risk some serious consequences from the Federated Commonwealth. I feel that my terms are sufficiently generous that he will realize that yes, I am serious.

I am counting somewhat on the Dragoons being willing to move and oppose the Clans faster than in canon, but hopefully I’ve delivered enough of a kick in the butt that they realize they can’t stay static.

Maingunnery

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #59 on: 25 May 2020, 17:15:26 »

"near the FedCom border"....

That might be a really bad idea, it could become too tempting.
Herb: "Well, now I guess we'll HAVE to print it. Sounds almost like the apocalypse I've been working for...."

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Artifex

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #60 on: 25 May 2020, 18:21:07 »
"near the FedCom border"....

That might be a really bad idea, it could become too tempting.

Well, not necessarily, if this SI manages to entice/entreat/make a deal to the Fed Com properly and timely it'll be a huge boon to have a short line of supply to the most important RCTs to supply with those refit kits.

Dave Talley

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #61 on: 26 May 2020, 00:34:40 »
especially if he takes out mom and grandad
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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

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Re: Hard Mode (A Sun-Tzu SI)
« Reply #62 on: 26 May 2020, 06:14:08 »
"near the FedCom border"....

That might be a really bad idea, it could become too tempting.


Everything is close enough to the Fed Com border to be hit. Barring multi regiment actions in the middle of a major war, almost nothing of note ever was in a historically noteworthy fashion. And shortly the FC will have much more urgently important things to worry about.