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Author Topic: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style  (Read 843 times)

JA Baker

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Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« on: 22 November 2020, 20:25:56 »
One of the more unusual units to emerge from the crucible that was the Clan Invasion, the single lance sized Dead Man's Hand has thus far managed to avoid the limelight so many units seek in order to drum up business, and instead let their actions speak for them.

The exact circumstances surrounding their formation on Tamar remains somewhat unclear, mostly due to the loss of records with the fall of the planet to the invaders. What is known is that the four mercenaries took part in a Morality Inspection on behalf of the LCAF, which is believed to be the first time they met. They were still in the process of being debriefed when Clan Wolf hit the world, and formed an ad-hoc unit to, in the words of their commander, the enigmatic MechWarror known only as Joker, "to keep a promis".

What followed has been called one of the greatest acts of misdirection in modern military history: Bobbie Kelso allowed herself to be captured by Clan forces, feeding them just enough information to let them jump to the wrong conclusions. Then, while they were out of position, Joker, Jay Aung and Emilio Scilicorn raided the spaceport, rescuing Kelso and capturing a DropShip loaded with supplies before boosting for orbit. It wasn't until they linked up with a JumpShip hiding in the outer system that it became clear that they had a number of civilians with them, including several who had been rescued during the Morality Inspection.

They would vanish for several months, eventually popping up in the Kowloon system, where they would leave the civilians, then vanish again. By the time they eventually surfaced on Arc Royal, they had taken the opportunity to retrofit their BattleMechs with captured Clan weapons and equipment, Joker herself taking a Loki OmniMech as her personal ride. Selling much of the remaining equipment, they took the opportunity to officially register with the Mercenary Review Board shortly before it was replaced with the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission.

Unlike many units of a similar size, the Dead Man's Hand specialise in recovery and extraction missions, making several trips behind Clan lines to recover people or objects, including several notable works of art considered National Treasures by the Lyran state. Despite this, the unit is known to shun publicity, often allowing others to take public credit for their work, solong as they get paid. The unit is known to operate a laxed chain of command, with missions selected by common concent of the four MechWarrors, and it is only in combat that Joker has been known to assert her position as unit commander, even if she holds no official rank.

Unusually, despite the fact that their DropShip is capable of holding an entire company, and there is no shortage of people who'd be more than willing to fill those empty slots, Dead Man's Hand remains a single lance. When asked, they state that they know and trust one another, having seen and done things no one else has.

Exactly what they mean by that remains unknown.

Joker, Loki "Ace of Spaces"
Jay Aung, ARC-5R Archer "Ace of Clubs"
Emilio Scilicorn, WVR-7H Wolverine II "Eight of Spades"
Roberta 'Bobbie' Kelso, SHD-2H (C) Shadow Hawk "Eight of Clubs"

Dane 'Double Dealer' Wolf, Union C class DropShip Ante Up
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Dragon Cat

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #1 on: 23 November 2020, 06:58:09 »
Nice little unit would make an interesting story pulling the wool over wolf eyes
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

JA Baker

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Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #2 on: 24 November 2020, 22:24:27 »
Unit History, Part 2:

In 3057 saw Dead Man's Hand take a garrison contract on Sweet Water, an almost forgotten planet in the Coventry Province of the Lyran Commonwealth. Part of their contract involved helping to train and equip the local militia, and they made use of their connections to see that they received the best quality equipment and supplies that their budget would allow.

During their time on Sweet Water, Joker would become romantically linked with a local, a man named Alex Kobe. Unfortunately, any happiness they had would end tragically when pirates attacked, having gotten word of the arms shipments and thinking that a single Lance of Mercenaries would be of little concern. Kobe died when his farm was attacked in an attempt to draw the militia out, the pirates setting fire to his family home and gunning down anyone who tried to flee.

The Pirates had sort a reaction, and that was exactly what they got.

Speaking afterwards, the rest of the unit would comment upon how outwardly calm Joker had seemed upon hearing of Kobe's death, how she had simply told them to get ready for a nighttime operation. Her actions once battle was joined were anything but calm, as she methodically and ruthlessly hunted down every pirate she could. When dawn came the next day, more than two dozen pirate 'Mechs lay scattered, burnt-out wrecks across the field of battle, each and every one its pilots funeral pyre.

Only a handful of pirates would make it back to their ships and escape her wrath.

When word got out of what had happened, an official investigation by the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission was called for, but oddly enough never happened, despite clear evidence that Dead Man's Hand, and Joker in particular, had broken the law by refusing the surrender of several pirates.

This would not be the last time that the MRBC would be remarkable lightheaded in their dealings with Dead Man's Hand.

3059 saw the unit taking part in Operation BULLDOG, the international mission to drive Clan Smoke Jaguar from the Inner Sphere and ultimate destroy it. Seeing little direct combat, Dead Man's Hand returned to their previous job of venturing far behind Clan lines, recovering ISF and O5P agents from occupied world ahead of the Star League Defence Force. They also captured a number of high ranking collaborators wanted by the Draconis Combine, many of whom would be executed for their treason.

This work paid well, but seemed to rub the members of the unit, especially Joker, the wrong way, and they left SLDF employ, and the Combine, as soon as their contract allowed.

Sensing that another war wasn't far off, in 3061, Dead Man's Hand took a contract in the Aurigan Coalition, travelling by way of Outreach, where it is rumoured that Joker had a private meeting with Jamie Wolf, the content of which remain unknown.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


JA Baker

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Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #3 on: 03 December 2020, 22:09:29 »
Dead Man's Hand would spend most of the 3060's in the Aurigan Coalition. Officially, they acted as a roving "Red Team", training local troops in tactics that had proven effective against the Clans.

Unofficial, they conducted a number of investigations into reports of corruption and graft that had proven impossible for government agencies. Essentially given free reign to conduct as many "Morality Inspections" as they deemed necessary, they struck Aea, Qaizi and Katinka, possibly stopping a Taurian Invasion of the Spinward sector. This made them few friends in the Concordat, and an official complaint was lodged with the MRBC, but it was quickly and quietly rejected.

Next came a pirate hunting expedition into the Rimward Frontier, a contested area of space boarded by the Coalition, the Capellan Confederation, the Free Worlds League and the Magistacy of Canopus. A number of outlaw gangs were hunted down and eliminated by Dead Man's Hand during this time, their actions actually earning them an official reprimand from the MRBC for unnecessary violence, even against pirates, the only time that the Commission ever took action against them.

Having collected numerous bounties, and freeing hundreds of slaves, Dead Man's Hand returned to Coromodir VI to official close out their contract with the Aurigan Coalition late in 3066. They were offered very generous terms to remain, including a Landhold. These were all turned down, but the Mercenaries left on good terms, returning to the Inner Sphere at the beginning of 3067.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Dragon Cat

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #4 on: 04 December 2020, 10:21:32 »
Now I've read your other thread this thread is even more interesting
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

JA Baker

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Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #5 on: 10 January 2021, 18:41:45 »
The beginning of the Jihad would find the members of Dead Man's Hand still making their way to Outreach in search of a new contract. Tracking their exact party through the early years of the conflict is practically impossible, as even they admitted that they often didn't know what planet they were on. What is clear is that they were considered hostile by the Word of Blake, who issued standing orders to engage on sight any member of the unit.

Fighting a number of running battles around the Word of Blake Protectorate, Dead Man's Hand would engage in a number of hit-and-run attacks against seemingly random targets, always keeping one step ahead of the Word. Unfortunately, not all of their missions would be a success, and they had several close calls before finally being able to escape into territory still under the control of the Draconis Combine.

Unfortunately, they stumbled into the middle of the conflict between forces loyal to Coordinator Hohiro Kurita and the Kokuryu-Kai, or Black Dragon Society. The rebels sort to employ Dead Man's Hand as headhunters, apparently forgetting their disgust at what their actions had wrought during Operation BULLDOG. Not wanting to be drawn into another civil war, and still needing time to recover after their sojourn in the Protectorate, the mercenaries declined the offer, only to find themselves targeted by both sides, forcing them to run.

Like much of the units actions during the Jihad, it is not clear exactly what happened before the crossed into Lyran space, but at some point, Emilio Scilicorn was killed in action.

Worn down by several years of near constant combat, the survivors managed to make their way back to Arc Royal for rest and refit. Unfortunately, their relief was short lived, as a Word agent managed to smuggle a bomb aboard their DropShip. The resulting exploration killed the crew and Bobbie Kelso, while Jay Aung was left crippled.

Joker, who had been attending a meeting with Khan Phelan Kell to discuss what has only been alluded to as 'personal matters', was completely unharmed, but was none the less emotionally broken by the attack.
« Last Edit: 10 January 2021, 19:53:10 by JA Baker »
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


mikecj

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #6 on: 10 January 2021, 18:52:31 »
The End?
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Daryk

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #7 on: 10 January 2021, 19:08:03 »
It sounds like there were at least some survivors, so I doubt that.

JA Baker

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #8 on: 10 January 2021, 19:16:16 »
I have more planed for Joker. That's just the end of this particular part.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Daryk

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #9 on: 10 January 2021, 19:20:04 »
Hooray?  Glad to hear Joker at least survived.  Sad for the others...

JA Baker

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Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #10 on: 11 January 2021, 09:52:34 »
Joker would vanish from public records for a time, no doubt living under either an assumed identity or perhaps even her original birth name. All that is known is that she wouldn't resurface until 3073, serving as a MechWarror in Snord's Irregulars. Several times, Natasha Snord would offer her a command position, only to be turned down every time, Joker stating that she wasn't ready to be responsible for the lives of others again.

3075 would see Joker part ways with the Irregulars, becoming a independent Mercenary, taking temporary contracts with a number of smaller units over the next two years. Eventually she would fall in with two fellow independents, Marko 'Neon' Kelevra and Emily 'Mustang' Brikowski. They, along with a Nova Cat MechWarror named Ezra, would reform Dead Man's Hand, with Kelevra taking the call-sign Ace of Dimomds, Brikowski Eight of Dimomds and Ezra Eight of Hearts. Joker would use the money that her original unit had saved to purchase a Leppard class DropShip and rename it the All In.

This second incarnation of the Dead Man's Hand would take part in the Invasion of the Word of Blake Protectorate, but would not be involved in Operation SCOUR, instead concentrating on hunting down and bringing in a number of high value bounties placed on senior Word of Blake officers and Collaborators. While Joker had previously baulked at such work, knowing that most of the people she apprehended would face execution for their crimes, her experiences during the Jihad, and the loss of her original team, had left her somewhat jaded and distant.

Gone was the happy-go-lucky woman who had seen her team as a replacement for the family she never had, leaving in her place a cold, hardened veteran only interested in seeing the mission through.

Perhaps the only indication that the Joker of old wasn't truly gone was the fact that she use her share of the units earnings to pay for Jay Aung to undergo reconstructive surgery and receive the most advanced prosthetics available, allowing him to regain some semblance of his former life.

The period of chaos following the fall of the Protectorate would see Dead Man's Hand in action across several worlds, bringing dozens of wanted criminals to justice. However, eventually a general armistice was issued, and work dried up. While the rest of the unit accepted commissions with the newly formed Republic Armed Forces, Joker declined and left the newly born Republic.

Joker would travel back to Arc Royal, but spend less than a day on the planet before leaving again.

Just where she travelled to remains unknown: some say she returned to Sweet Water or the Aurigan Coalition, while others insist that she returned to her unknown world of birth. There are many theories, but no evidence to support any of them. The simple truth is that she vanished into the endless sea of humanity.

In the years that followed, many would claim to have found her, a few even to have killed her, looking to cash in on an anonymous bounty that had been placed on her head. But none could ever provide proof to back up their words.

Her ultimate fate remains unknown.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


mikecj

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #11 on: 11 January 2021, 13:14:26 »
"If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire: The Joker."

No, not that one... no, not the Dancing one either...
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Dragon Cat

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #12 on: 11 January 2021, 14:52:16 »
Interesting that she went back to Arc Royal the world that she met Phelan Kell on I'm sure that was an interesting conversation
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

Daryk

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #13 on: 11 January 2021, 17:55:42 »
Hmmm... if Joker kept her callsign, I have to wonder... what was the fifth callsign?  And who had it?  ???

JA Baker

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #14 on: 11 January 2021, 19:58:56 »
Hmmm... if Joker kept her callsign, I have to wonder... what was the fifth callsign?  And who had it?  ???
Joker retained her "Ace of Spades" callsign, so the only available alternative for a replacement would be "Ace of Hearts".

Traditionally, a Dead Man's Hand is Aces over Eights, allegedly the cards held by Wild Bill Hickok when he was shot and killed. Exactly what cards make up a Dead Man's Hand is debated, but usually agreed to be Ace of Spades, Ace of Clubs, Eight of Spades and Eight of Clubs.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Daryk

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Re: Dead Man's Hand: Mercenaries with style
« Reply #15 on: 11 January 2021, 20:06:42 »
Right, which is why I asked, since the other three call signs all seemed to invert the suits...  The fifth card has always been in dispute (since it didn't matter to the rank of the hand).  All we really know is that it wasn't an Ace or an Eight (or a Joker)...