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Author Topic: Renegades  (Read 16318 times)

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #150 on: 13 September 2022, 04:59:24 »
Northern Exposure

T+35
DropShip WCS Aardwulf
Over the Bering Strait
Terra
Republic of the Sphere


The first indication that Leeandra Connors had that anything was going wrong was the alarms ringing throughout the ship. The second was the entire ship rocking under some impact.

Strapped into her BattleMech which was, in turn, strapped into its loading cradle, there was little she could do about any of these matters beyond wait for further instruction. She didn’t have long to wait either; a moment later, the captain’s voice crackled over the communicator. “All units, prepare for emergency drop.” She couldn’t help but tense at the sound, noting the urgency in his tone.

That was all she had time for as well; a moment later, her Arctic Wolf II shuddered as it was moved to the launch bay. And then, with only the slightest of warnings, it was released, plummeting from the ship towards the earth below.

Once she was outside she had no more idea of what was going on than before. She fell into a night sky, with gusts of snow around her BattleMech serving to only further confuse the situation. Through all of that, she could make out bits and pieces; the flare of DropShip engines, the flash of weapons and the odd distant explosion.

Sensors told her about her position and those of the rest of her Star, but that was about it. The communications were a mess, with numerous voices calling out for orders or to simply ask what was going on. That is not going to help, she grunted to herself as she closed the channel, simply focusing on what was going on around her and trying to keep her Binary together.

She fired her jump jets, slowing her BattleMech as it approached the surface, fighting both gravity and the wind. The Arctic Wolf came down less gracefully than she would have liked, scrambling for purchase on snow-covered rock. Fighting her machine every step of the way, Leeandra managed to keep it upright and functional against everything else before gaining its footing. “All units, report in,” she shouted, doing her best to stay calm in the face of an unknown situation.

A series of replies came in from her star; two reports of minor damage from the drop, but otherwise all clear. After that, however, was silence. “Star Commander Cliff Wallace, report,” she snapped, but again got nothing.

“We lost contact with him coming down,” a voice replied back.

Freebirth, she mentally snapped. “All units, form up on me. We need to find the other survivors.”

-----

From the cockpit of their Awesome, Jarrie Scire watched the situation unfold. The Wolf DropShips had flown straight into the Roughriders’ anti-air defenses, and were now paying the price for their brazen move. Several ships had already gone down, while others were hit and being forced to jettison their payloads across the Alaskan wilderness. Those Wolves that had made it down were scattered, disorganised and ripe for the taking.

“All units, on me,” they ordered, pushing their BattleMech forward. The lumbering machine trudged through the snow, its sheer bulk enough to simply ignore the weather and conditions around it. Other BattleMechs and tanks formed up around them, advancing in a grim march. You bastards killed a lot of good people in Australia, Jarrie considered. Time to even the score.

Sensors identified several enemy BattleMechs ahead, moving slowly and likely still disorganized after their chaotic drop. Jarrie was not going to give them a chance either as they continued their advance. Lining up a Mad Cat in their sights, they let loose a volley of fire at the Wolf machine. For an instant, night turned into day as the Awesome’s three heavy PPCs let loose terrific energies, slamming into their target. A wave of heat rolled into the cockpit, Jarrie simply shrugging it off as the Awesome’s cooling system, as well as the freezing air around them quickly dissipated it.

Before the Mad Cat could do anything else, other members of Jarrie’s unit added their own fire to the mix. The Wolf OmniMech simply collapsed under the fire, while the other ‘Mechs around it did their best to rally. A Crossbow replied first, sending a scattering of long-range missiles at the Awesome. Jarrie all but shrugged off the impacts, continuing to advance on the Wolf force.

The Crossbow reeled as a Catapult and Challenger tank assaulted it with Gauss and missile fire, pummeling the heavy OmniMech. As it stumbled, a Man O’ War stepped up to respond with autocannon fire, shots striking the Awesome’s side. The shots did little more than lightly worry the armour, Jarrie all but ignoring it as they continued to push forwards.

They opened fire, letting another volley of PPCs loose on the barrel-chested OmniMech. The shots slammed into its hull, tearing away three tons of armour in a single assault. While wounded, the Wolf OmniMech managed to retain its footing, as if in defiance of their advance. More autocannon and laser fire came back in reply, scoring into the Awesome’s hull, shaking the ‘Mech, but not doing enough to stop its advance.

A Gauss rifle round slammed into the Catapult, smashing apart one of its boxy missile launchers. Other shots tore into the Roughriders’ lines, punishing their ranks but doing little to stop them. “Keep pushing,” Jarrie simply ordered. “Run these bastards down.”

Another triple PPC volley bored into the Man O’ War, tearing through the last of its torso armour before devouring the components within. As it staggered back, the Clan ‘Mech replied with a desperate volley of fire, its shots tearing into the Awesome’s hull. Jarrie spared the damage display only the slightest of glances before continuing their advance.

The Man O’ War was not so lucky, being speared through its ruined chest by another volley of fire. Reeling from the attack, it managed a half-step before collapsing back into the snow.

As it went down, a Warwolf stepped up, opening fire on Jarrie’s advancing BattleMech. A Gauss rifle shot slammed into the Awesome’s side, smashing through the last of the armour before shattering a heat sink inside. Jarrie’s response was to simply continue their advance, rippling off another volley of PPC fire at the next available target.

Doesn’t matter if we live or die, they considered. Just how many of those freaks we take down with us.

-----

About the only good sign Leenadra had seen since her Binary touched down was finding Star Commander Griff Heller. His Elementals had been scattered in the emergency drop, but he had managed to pull together two Points of troops so far. Now his Rache suits were riding on her OmniMechs as they advanced through the snowy night.

“I have something,” Ed called out over the command channel, his usual flippancy replaced with a certain urgency. “Fragmentary Wolf signals, bearing three-three-zero.”

“Better than nothing,” she replied. “Lead the way.” She had no idea where the rest of the Cluster were, let alone the rest of Beta Galaxy after their emergency drop. Supposedly, the rest of Theta Galaxy were also out there, but she had no found no trace of them either.

Their advance was slower than she liked. As capable as BattleMechs were, the combination of the broken, rocky terrain and the lack of visibility was still enough to hamper their advance, especially given how few of her Binary were equipped with jump jets. As tempting as it was for her to take those that were jump capable and push ahead, the risk of further separating their units was too great.

After what felt like ages, Ed reported contacts ahead. A moment later, her display began to light up with contacts, both friendlies and unknown. And whoever they are, they need our help, she immediately assessed.

“Bloodseekers!” she called out over her command channel. “Run these freebirths down!”

Putting caution aside, she pushed her Arctic Wolf II forwards towards the ongoing battle, the rest of her Binary in her wake. Their targets, while aware of her presence, were also still engaged, making them slow to respond. Members of her unit opened up around her, their shots tearing into the enemy lines.

She locked a Challenger tank into the center of her sights, waiting only a moment before getting a lock-on tone. Squeezing the trigger, she sent four flights of Streak SRMs flying at the enemy tank. The missiles peppered its hull, shattering armour as well as pummeling its treads.

Damaged but by no means disabled, the Challenger bought around its turret to track her. Leenadra violently jinked her ‘Mech to the right as it opened up, desperate to avoid the tank’s devastating fire. A Gauss rifle round went wide, while a cluster of smaller shots peppered her Arctic Wolf’s hull. Seeing only minimal damage, she pushed onward.

As soon has her missiles had recycled, she unleashed a second volley at the damaged Challenger. This flight captalised on the first, tearing into the already damaged armour and slamming into its structure. As she continued to move, the tank didn’t turn its turret to follow her, suggesting that it had been damaged. Lucky break. Between the damaged turret and treads, it wouldn’t be going anywhere, leaving her free to seek other prey.

She fired her jump jets, vaulting over the enemy line while getting a better look at the situation. A group of BattleMechs and heavy tanks were bearing down on a Wolf force, pushing them hard. Two of the Wolf ‘Mechs were already down, while the others were not faring well under the assault. Time to even things up a little.

No sooner had she landed then Leeandra had broken into a run, looking for her next target. A damaged Catapult provided that opportunity, its wounded flank open to her. Another volley of missiles took advantage of its wounds, sending it staggering and wavering on its bird-like legs.

Leenadra had little time to celebrate her success, as her Arctic Wolf was rocked by a series of hits that reverberated through the cockpit. Glancing around she saw the source of the assault, a Mantuffel tank that was tracking her with its turret-mounted autocannon. Not willing to give it a second shot, she took off again, putting the Catapult between it and her.

Another pair of BattleMechs came into her sights. One was a blocky Awesome, the lumbering machine standing over the husk of a downed Gargoyle. The second was the slender form of a Warwolf, battered but still standing. Is that…

“So good of you to join us, Star Captain,” crackled a voice over her communicator. She immediately knew who it was. Lucius Radick, she all but spat. Acting like he had the situation in hand as well. Would not even spare a thank you if his life depended on it.

She said nothing in reply, instead focusing her attention on the Awesome, her goal as much about saving her fellow officer as it was proving that she was the better warrior. A flight of SRMs battered the assault BattleMech’s side and rear, but seemed to do little other then lightly annoy it.

In response, the Awesome turned to face her, opening fire with its trio of particle cannons. One of them hit home, all but vaporising the Arctic Wolf’s right arm. Thrown by the sudden loss of mass, Leeandra had to fight the controls to keep her BattleMech upright.

Lucius took the opportunity to open up on the Awesome, a combination of Gauss rifle and missiles hitting the assault ‘Mech. However, that only seemed to further annoy it.

Pushing her BattleMech, Leeandra moved to loop around her opponent and keep them on the back foot. Instead an alarm interrupted her focus for a moment followed by the impacts of a flight of missiles. Glancing back, she could see the Catapult behind her, the damaged but still standing.

Do these guys ever give up? she asked as she turned around to unleash another volley on it in reply. Only half of her missiles achieved locks, doing little more than peppering its undamaged side. Glancing around she could see members of both binaries tangled up in the enemy forces; from what she could gather, whoever these enemies were did not seem concerned about the damage they were taking, only what they could dish out.

“This is Star Colonel Don Cooper to all units,” the voice crackled over the command channel; clearly authoritative despite all the interference. “Disengage and pull back to grid Echo-Five.”

“Star Colonel,” Leeandra shot back. “We are engaged with enemy forces. We can take them.” There was an anger to her tone, born both of the frustration of what had happened and her eagerness to release it.

Neg, Star Captain,” he growled. “We must regroup. The Khan is missing.”

Anything she would have said back to that died in her throat. The best she could manage was a weak “Aff.”
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #151 on: 13 September 2022, 05:04:59 »
T+36
Rally Point Beta, outside of Anchorage, Alaska
Terra
Republic of the Sphere


The rally point had turned out to be little more than an old warehouse complex where the Cluster had managed to come together with some degree of coherence. As she approached, Leandra was getting a good idea of the losses that the Cluster had suffered so far. While her Binary had lost a single ‘Mech, so far there had been no trace of Star Commander Cliff Wallace and he had to be assumed dead. Every other ‘Mech, her own included, had some degree of damage.

Even then, she knew that they had gotten off better then others. The Nineteenth Wolf Striker had suffered severe losses already to the point that it might no longer be combat effective. The Eleventh were simply missing.

“This is Star Colonel Don Cooper,” the voice of their commander cut over the command channel. “I need status reports of your units immediately.”

Without even thinking, Leeandra collected what she could from her Binary and sent off a summary. Save for the missing Star Commander Cliff Wallace, most of it was armour damage and ammunition expenditure. Her own missing arm was about the worst of it. And then all she could do was wait.

She took the chance to breathe for a moment. We really did not need this right now, she considered as she rubbed her face tiredly before taking a swing from her water bottle. Beta Galaxy had been leading the Wolf assault since the moment they had touched down, scoring an impressive string of victories over the Republic. But all that pressure was taking a toll.

Leeandra could not begin to think when was the last time she got a full night’s sleep. Her unit were constantly on the move and constantly engaged. Even if they had not been forced into this confrontation, she imagined that they would have been fighting as soon as they touched down anyway.

The shaved side of her head itched. She wanted to scratch it, but her neurohelmet was in the way. I have not even had a chance to shave it recently, she considered. It is probably a scruffy mess by now.

Then she chortled. At least I saved Lucius’ posterior this time. Maybe that will shut him up. It felt petty, but right now she would take that. Given the present situation, she did no have much else.

A signal from her communicator snapped her out of her train of thoughts. Answering the message, her heads-up display lit up with the faces of Don Cooper, Lucius Radick and the Thirteenth’s other Star Captains. Leeandra couldn’t help but notice the absence of Ken Fetladral, and that Griff Heller was taking his place. Another sign of just how bad their losses were.

“As of this moment, Khan Alaric Ward is missing,” the Star Colonel began. “We do not know if he is dead, but so far, none of us have been able to raise him. As such, we must assume the worst.” He paused, letting the words sink in.

“But this is not the end of our campaign,” he continued, an angry note in his voice. “The Khan would not want us to give up. He would not want us to roll over to a bunch of dezgra mercenaries, not when the stakes are so high. He would want us to continue to fight to claim Terra for the Clan, so that we, the children of Kerensky, could claim our destiny as the ilClan.”

“If our Khan is dead, then let not his death be in vain. We will avenge his loss, as we avenged those of us who fell on the battlefields of Vietnam. We shall find those who sought to stop us, and visit our own vengeance upon them.” He paused a moment.
“Are you with me, quiaff?”

The enthusiastic round of affs in reply said more than anything else could.

-----

After their earlier withdrawal, the Wolves had regrouped and then surged with a renewed ferocity. The Roughriders had their backs quite literally to the wall. And yet, Jarrie Scire did not care. They stood their ground, their Awesome seemingly immobile in the face of the oncoming force. Despite their scope being filled with hostile contacts, they were not afraid.

They hammered the trigger, unleashing a trio of PPC shots at an incoming target. Three brilliant blue bolts slammed into an oncoming Vulture, sending the bird-like BattleMech reeling. As it staggered back, a flight of LRMs further pummeled it, sending it crashing down into the snow.

No sooner had it collapsed then a Warwolf took its place, the lupine BattleMech pushing forwards. Missiles slammed into the Awesome’s hull, followed by a shot from a Gauss rifle that slammed into the arm. Despite the punishment, the Battlemech remained standing.

After sparing only the briefest glance to the damage display, they responded with a volley of their own, giving back better then they got. While one of the PPCs went wide, the other two slammed into the Wolf BattleMech. More missiles sailed towards it as well, only to be swatted out of the sky by its laser anti-missile system.

Around them, other Roughriders were engaged with the Wolf forces. A Warhammer savaged a Puma with PPC fire. A Savage Coyote carved up a Mantueffel with its lasers. Battle Armour ran around the conflict on both sides, seeking opportunities to exploit. While the Roughriders were still standing, there was no misunderstanding the situation. They were being pushed back, and had nowhere to run.

Explosions wreathed the Mad Cat III next to them as it was savaged by a swarm of missiles. One of them must have struck its ammunition, as a moment later, a larger explosion tore through its side, sending one weapon arm flying off into the night while the rest of the BattleMech crashed to the ground.

Nearby, Jarrie could see the likely attacker, a one-armed Arctic Wolf II. Gotta be the same one I met earlier, they considered. Can’t be too many of those with the Wolves, and even less with one arm. They took a half-step backwards, pivoting the Awesome as the Arctic Wolf advanced, at the same time keeping an eye on the Warwolf. So let’s see what you got.

As expected, the Arctic Wolf charged forwards, bounding towards the Awesome. A warning tone told Jarrie of a weapons lock, moments before a swarm of missiles pummeled into their armour. The assault ‘Mech rocked under the impacts, with Jarrie gritting their teeth as they did their best to ride out the attack.

A moment later, the Awesome shook again as a Gauss rifle shot slammed into its knee. “Guess your honour only goes so far,” they grunted as they glanced at the Warwolf. “Or maybe I just don’t deserve it.”

The Arctic Wolf tried to duck to one side, its MechWarrior looking for an opening in the Roughriders’ lines that they could better exploit. “No you don’t,” Jarrie snapped, taking as quick a sidestep with the Awesome as it could manage. Realising what they were doing, the Arctic Wolf locked them up for another volley in order to clear the roadblock that it presented.

More missiles slammed into the Awesome, eating into its already degraded armour. Several red lights went off on the system board, but Jarrie simply ignored then as they returned fire. The trio of heavy PPCs lashed out at the Clan BattleMech with dramatic effect. Two of them smashed into one leg, all but destroying the limb. The third slammed into its side, helping to drive it down.

A shot from the Warwolf rocked the Awesome, smashing through the left arm and snapping the metal bones within. Missiles followed through, further eroding already depleted armor. Ignoring the damage, Jarrie twisted to face their attacker as their ‘Mech continued to advance, heading towards the downed Artic Wolf.

Another trio of PPCs lit up the night as they lashed out at the offending Warwolf. Two of them struck home, scorching its armour but failing to slow it down. The return fire punctured through the Awesome’s side, setting off more warning alarms, but Jarrie continued to ignore them. Not like I have anywhere to go now anyway. A glance at their tactical display showed the situation being repeated across the members of their company that were still active. They were damaged, and were literally backed into a wall.

The Warwolf readied itself for another volley, only to be instead struck from the side by a burst of laser fire. Around it, other Wolf ‘Mechs were coming under attack from the flanks, splitting their attention between the Roughriders and this new force emerging from the darkness. A group of camouflaged BattleMechs and other units were only barely visible as they emerged from the darkness, sowing confusion among the Wolf ranks.

Using the chance, Jarrie again pummeled the Warwolf with the Awesome’s arsenal. The slender Wolf ‘Mech wilted, one of its missile launchers evaporating under the fire. Despite the confusion, its pilot managed to give back as good as they gave, with a Gauss shot penetrating the Awesome’s side, crushing one of its PPCs.

“Command to all units,” the Colonel’s gruff voice came over the command channel. “We have an opening. Pull back now.”

“Roger that,” Jarrie scowled as they managed to wheel around their damaged BattleMech, while signaling for the rest of their force to do the same. Pulling back, they stepped past the hulks of several BattleMechs, both Wolf and Roughrider alike. However, one was enough to give them pause; the Arctic Wolf that they had disabled earlier.

Stopping a moment, Jarrie twisted the controls, the Awesome smashing its blocky foot into the downed BattleMech’s side. What was left of its flank collapsed as the impact drove through the already damaged structure. “And that’s for the good men you bastards killed in Sydney,” Jarrie simply added as they turned away.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #152 on: 13 September 2022, 05:06:42 »
Log #37

Bianka Messier: I suppose that was about as good as we could have hoped for, all things considered.

Erzhan Fletcher: One of Beta’s Clusters was destroyed, the others were bled.

Messier: Don’t get me wrong; we are wearing them down. Beta must be running on empty by now, and they have to be deep into reserves. But at the same time, the loss rate is still favouring them.

Keyhan Beziz: And their leadership is still functional.

Messier: Damned Alaric Ward. The man has more lives then a cat.

Fletcher: He is Clan; he did not get to where he is today without having the skills to fight for and take it, after all.

Beziz: He’s easily the most effective Wolf leader since Ulric Kerensky. Low bar to clear, I know, but it has to be said.

Messier: Oh, I do agree, and I hate him for it. But at the same time…

Fletcher: Yes?

Messier: It reminds me, of all things, of my great-grandmother. I read her journals, and one thing stood out about them. She should have been dead many, many times over.

Beziz: So what are you saying?

Messier: Dumb luck is always going to be a factor, one that we can never account for.

Fletcher: Aff. What do we do now?

Messier: Now we need to consider our options.

[pause]

Beziz: Out of curiosity, what happened to your great-grandmother?

Messier: She retired and lived to be ninety-five.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #153 on: 13 September 2022, 05:09:12 »
Dancing on the Grave

T+35
Unity City, North America
Terra
Republic of the Sphere


Lucius Radick took a deep breath as he looked around him. Massive towers soared overhead, many of them still battered from damage suffered nearly four centuries ago. Others were wholly or partially collapsed, left where they had fallen with no effort to restore them or clean them up. And all of them were empty, little more than shells of a long-lost past.

Despite all that, he could not help but feel humbled.

“Think about it,” he spoke out loud. “We are here, on sacred Terra, standing at the heart of the Star League. For generations, Clan warriors have dreamed of this moment. But we have made this happen.”

Aff,” Leeandra Connors replied with a nod. She had managed to escape the brutal destruction of her Arctic Wolf surprisingly unharmed, almost frustratingly so. Save for a few field dressings, she looked no worse for the wear. “It is impressive. And I did not ever think I would see this.”

And even then, he did not feel the need to hold that over her as a way to score cheap points in their ongoing rivalry. This moment, he had realised, was far bigger than the pair of them.

“Just think,” he continued, “had you not chosen to join us, you would not be here for this moment in this sacred place.”

Aff,” she repeated. “I would still be a Lyran lap-dog living off table scraps.” The distaste crawled into her voice as she spoke. “No, this was the best decision I ever made.”

“But now here you are,” he continued. “On the precipice of the greatest moment in the history of our Clan. Of all Clans, if not all humanity. Soon Terra will be ours, and all this-” he gestured to the ruins about them, “-we will rebuild this, and restore it to its true purpose. Not an empty tomb, but the seat of power for a reborn Star League.”

Leeandra looked around some more, taking in her surroundings, thoughts clearly running through her head. “Aff,” she finally managed.

“Something on your mind?” Lucius enquired.

“Just what you said,” Leeandra responded. “You are right. I am here because I chose to leave my Clan and take a risk on my future. But-“

“But?”

She took a deep breath before continuing. “I cannot forget that when I did that, there was a ristar who was eager to support me. They ensured that I would not only have a place in the Clan touman, but in a prestigious unit in their best Galaxy.”

“I saw the potential that you had, and all that you could bring to our Clan.”

“And yet you remind me of it now, of all times,” she continued, “now that we are both of equal rank and in a situation where either one of us could have to take command of the Cluster in an emergency.”

“Which you must admit is a very real possibility,” Lucius noted. “Not that I want any harm to come to our Star Colonel, but there is every chance he could be incapacitated or killed in action. That has happened a lot so far.”

Aff,” she noted. “So then what do you want?”

“I have no idea what you mean,” Lucius responded with all the sincerity he could muster.

“Well, should such happen, the choices would be myself, you, Alvin Ward, Griff Heller and Gary,” she commented as she held up her hand. “Assuming no further losses, of course.”

“Of course,” he agreed.

“Gary is a replacement plucked from Iota with no Bloodname and only an outside shot at one at best,” she continued, counting off her fingers. “Griff is already a field promotion, and furthermore is from a minor Bloodhouse that nobody cares about.” She sighed before she continued. “So hypothetically that would leave yourself, me and Alvin.”

“Now I know I have marks against me,” she admitted. “I am a former Exile which means that I’m not as much a part of the system. The other members of the Connors Bloodhouse acknowledge my existence, but that is about it. Plus I recently lost my ‘Mech, which does not look good. Conversely, the pair of you are a Radick and a Ward, respectively; the two most powerful Bloodhouses within the Clan, both of which would be glad to see one of theirs became the leader of a prestigious frontline Cluster.”

“I suppose you could see it that way,” Lucius finally admitted.

“Now the Ward Bloodhouse is presently ascendant,” she added, “largely on the back of our Khan and his bringing us to this point. Which means that there would be more than a little push to put Alvin in command.”

“A logical connection.”

“So then,” Leeandra continued, “It would be beneficial to you to have my support should such a promotion be required. And in turn, doing so would be beneficial towards me.”

“I did not say that at all.”

“You did not need to,” she finished. “But I do understand what you are saying.”

“I thought you would,” Lucius finished.

Aff,” she nodded as she looked around the ruined city once again.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #154 on: 13 September 2022, 05:15:55 »
Guest Chapter by KayEmm

Greenwall

T+38
Outside Frankfurt, Germany
Terra
Republic of the Sphere


After two weeks, the sheer magic of being on Terra was beginning to wear off.

As much as Kia Malthus had at first embraced the moment, she was now feeling a lot less excited. That exhilaration of setting foot on sacred Terra’s soil (both metaphorically when her Jade Phoenix had stepped out of the DropShip and then literally later) had been replaced with the grinding realities of war. The ongoing battles around Geneva, Paris and Normandy made it clear that Terra was not going to fall easily.

Not that Delta Galaxy were going to see either. Instead, the unit had been largely held in reserve, before being dispatched to Germany to deal with pockets of Republic troops in the region. To Kia’s mind, the idea felt more like punishment than any chance to gain glory in battle. Although that is probably just me, she mentally added. This is important. Do not lose focus.

“Trinary command to all units,” she announced over the command channel, using an update as a way to clear her mind. “Status?”

The result was a cascade of negatives. “I have not seen any yellow Pack Hunters yet,” Star Commander Max Klien added, a joking tone in his voice.

“Watch it,” Vic Roshak shot back, his snarl clearly aggravated.

“Just keep your eyes open, all of you,” Kia simply finished, shooting down what would have probably become another argument, even if she did agree with Klein. The yellow Pack Hunter had bedevilled her Trinary outside Geneva, proving to be remarkably effective at hit-and-run attacks while facing a far superior force. Even more irritatingly, it had escaped with much of its force due to a well-timed artillery barrage.

A sidewards glance told her little else beyond the feeling that Vic’s Turkina somehow managed to look as discontent as he was.

“Contact,” a voice called out over the channel. “Bearing oh-three-five. Appears to be heavy armor.”

Aff,” Kia replied, just a hint of eagerness in her voice at the thought of a real battle. “All units, rotate to oh-three-five and prepare for contact.” The OmniMechs around her began to turn, but for the moment kept formation with her heavy Star.

“Probe Star, take the lead,” she ordered. “Be our eyes.” Five of those ‘Mechs peeled away, advancing towards the enemy line. Within moments, a flood of data came back to her Jade Phoenix, identifying enemy units. Manticore, Puma, Demolisher, Burke... older models. But still dangerous.

But we are Jade Falcon.

“All units, engage!” She shouted out as she opened up her throttle, advancing towards the enemy line. Around her, members of her Trinary opened up with long-range weapons, shots flying at the Republican lines. They responded in kind, their fire perhaps less focused or accurate, but no less deadly for it.

She picked one tank out of the enemy line; a hulking Demolisher II in the centre of a formation. The massive tank was capable of devastating fire at close ranges. However, she was not going to give it the chance.

Kia opened up with all her weapons on the enemy tank while remaining well out of its own reach. Her particle cannons lashed out with a pair of searing blue beams, flaying armor from its hull. More dramatic was her Gauss rifle as it unleashed a storm of metal shards that shredded through its flank, including one of its treads.

While she may have been beyond the Demolisher’s reach, there were others who were capable of responding. A Burke tank opened fire with its own trio of PPCs; one of which went wide, while the other two took armor from her leg and side. The Jade Phoenix rocked under the impacts, but it was scarcely enough to slow her down.

A moment later, the Burke was speared with a quartet of beams from Vic’s Turkina. The shots melted through its turret armor before slagging one of the particle cannons. At the same time, Steyr’s Flamberge leaped past her, unleashing a torrent of missiles onto a Republican Manticore.

Ahead of her, the Demolisher II was trying to close, only to be hampered by its damaged treads. Kia wasn’t going to give it a chance to do more, carefully keeping herself outside the range of its cannons as she unleashed another volley. PPC and Gauss fire that drilled through the damaged armor and then ate away at its interior; moments later, black smoke began to billow forth from its wounds.

With the tank either disabled or grievously wounded, she turned her attention to other prey. A Patton tank pushed towards her, cranking around its turret. Firing her jump jets in response, Kia took to the air as a Gauss rifle shot from the Patton few through the space she had occupied a moment before. Keeping her sights on the enemy tank, she unloaded on it in reply, with shots pummelling its armour.

As he landed, Kia saw Max’s Hierofalcon leap overhead, its laser tearing into the enemy lines. As it began to descend, a single PPC shot struck the ‘Mech on its side, causing it to twist in the air against the impact.

Glancing around, Kia could immediately see the source of the attack. A group of BattleMechs approaching from the flank, having likely waited until her Trinary were committed before engaging. And at their head was a bright yellow Pack Hunter.

In spite of herself, Kia couldn’t help but smile a little. Terra had suddenly become a lot more interesting.

-----

From the cockpit of his Pack Hunter II, Tariku Noab Adani had watched the battle unfold entirely as expected. The Falcons had committed to their assault on the 110th, pushing hard against the wall of heavy tanks. Now it was his turn to strike back.

The shot at the Hierofalcon had been a dramatic announcement of his presence, but it was not the only one. In moments, the rest of Sunstorm surged onto the battlefield, lead by a wedge of BattleMechs. Hovercraft followed in their wake, using the presence of those ‘Mechs to mask their own approaches as they sought gaps in the enemy line that they could exploit.

He found his first target, a Falcon Black Hawk that had been on the edge of their formation. Pushing towards the slower, heavier ‘Mech, he snapped off a series of quick shots at it. His PPC struck home, spearing into it’s side, while his medium lasers added their own scars to its limbs. Moments later, Santos’ Legionnaire added its own PPC fire to the assault, further threatening the enemy ‘Mech.

Damaged but still standing, the Falcon OmniMech did its best to retaliate by unleashing a volley of laser fire in his direction. Most of the volley went wide, with only a single laser scoring armor from his Pack Hunter’s side. Tariku was already in motion, putting distance between him and his target as it tried to give chase.
Which was exactly what he wanted.

A squad of Simian battle armor troopers leaped at the Black Hawk, securing themselves onto its hull. Tariku knew what was coming next as the troopers went to work, placing satchel charges into its exposed actuators. “Thanks for the opening,” Naja Beniko called out over the communicator, her voice clear over the noise of her suit and the ‘Mech it was attached to. “We got this.”

Pushing past the burning hulk of a Puma tank, Tariku sought out his next opponent. The wounded Hierofalcon came into sight, again in flight; while already damaged, he also knew that chasing it would be difficult at best due to its extreme mobility. Even then, the fire being directed at it made it abundantly clear that the Falcon MechWarrior had plenty to deal with already.

Taking a glance at his tactical display, he could see how the situation was unfolding. Sunstorm’s units were now in among both the 110th and the Falcon forces, bolstering the former and disrupting the latter. Seeing an opening, he pushed the throttle open all the way, sprinting in a broad arc around the Falcon forces as he eyed a particular group of icons on his display. Along the way, he took opportunity shots at whatever targets presented themselves, aiming as much to do damage as to spread confusion among their ranks.

Taking a sharp turn, he bought his sights to bear on a new target, a Falcon Night Gyr that was presently engaged with friendly tanks. Using its distraction to his advantage, he fired a shot into the heavy ‘Mech’s flank, one that clearly punched through its armour and hit something within. It staggered, only to be further battered by a wave of missile fire from his allies. Despite the assault, the Falcon ‘Mech remained standing, but he could tell that the MechWarrior within was threatened by his arrival.

As if to confirm his suspicion, the Night Gyr fired its jump jets, doing its best to break out of his line of fire. Rather than turn its weapons on him, it continued its assault on the tanks it was already facing. A traditionalist sticking to zellbrigen, Tariku asked himself as he spun his ‘Mech around to follow. Or something else…

The answer came when a pair of PPC shots flew past his BattleMech, both coming perilously close to striking home. Their source became clear a moment later as a massive shape landed in front of him; the half-bird, half-humanoid form of a Jade Phoenix.

“Republic Knight,” a woman’s voice called out. “We fought once before outside Geneva. Let us pick up where we left off.”

Tariku didn’t bother with a reply. Instead, he broke into a run, trying to put as much distance between him and his opponent as possible. It weighs three times as much as I do, and carries three times the firepower, he grimly noted. There is no way I can take it alone.

But I am not alone.

He took a run back towards his own forces, looking around for other members of Sunstorm. That has to be their commander. If I can take her out, then that will go a long way towards-

He violently swerved the controls, twisting at the last moment as the Jade Phoenix landed in his path. Where did it come from? He had not expected something so large to be that mobile, a miscalculation that he now worried he might not live to regret.

-----

Kia was excited. There was no other word for it.

While she would never doubt the idea that the Clans produced the greatest warriors in the Inner Sphere, there were still those that were considered to be genuine challenges. Among them were the Republic’s Knights; a warrior order that represented the very pinnacle of their armed forces. Every Knight was an elite warrior, the best of the best.

And now she was fighting one.

The Knight in the Pack Hunter was grossly outmatched, and it was clear that they knew it. Her Jade Phoenix weighed nearly three times as much a it did, and had a corresponding imbalance of firepower as well. However, to their credit, they were doing their best to use what few advantages they had. They were trying to evade her or even flank, her, a process made harder by the mobility of her own OmniMech.

The Pack Hunter jumped away again, the light BattleMech glowing red hot on her thermal display. It lashed out with its PPC, the shot searing armor from her leg, damaging it but doing little to slow her down. At the same time, its heat spiked even further, the result of constant movement and weapons fire. She replied with her own weapons, both PPCs leaping out to strike at the swift moving enemy. One went wide, while the second struck its left arm, all but obliterating the limb.

At the same time, a Manticore tank opened fire at her, its PPC smashing armor off her Jade Phoenix’s hull. Without a second thought she opened upon it with her HAG, the weapon unleashing a storm of metal on the enemy tank. Shots tore though its hull, finding gaps in the armor before eating into the components within. She must have hit something inside it, as flames leaped from the tank’s rear.

Taking advantage of her distraction, the Pack Hunter tried to leap around her and into her side. She responded in kind, using her jump jets to vault past several ruined tanks, twisting to follow the smaller ‘Mech. More fire leaped between the pair of them, with both combatants going wide of the mark.

And yet, as she came down, Kia couldn’t help but smile.

A flight of Cardinal transports buzzed overhead, looping around to the rear of the Republic lines. As they swooped down, they disgorged their payload of Elementals behind the enemy forces. “Engaging, Star Captain,” Pierce Icaza reported, the sounds of battle clear over the communicator. “We have them.”

Which leaves just one thing to deal with. Kia charged forwards, twisting to follow the Pack Hunter as it tried to pull back towards its own lines. She opened fire with both of her PPCs, one of the weapons striking a near fatal blow. The weapon tore into the Pack Hunter’s side, tearing apart the PPC while sending the right arm spinning way. Unbalanced by the damage, the enemy ‘Mech staggered but managed to remain standing.

“You fought well,” Kia announced. “But the battle is lost. Withdraw from the battlefield and preserve the lives of your men.” The enemy Knight must have known the extent of the situation. His ‘Mech was disarmed, both literally and figuratively, while the rest of his force were now caught between her Trinary and Pierce’s Elementals.

And then the Pack Hunter leaped away, its flight unbalanced by the damage it had suffered, yet the MechWarrior managed it well.

Kia gave a small smile before returning her command channel. “All units,” she ordered. “Finish them.”
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

Deadborder

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #155 on: 09 November 2022, 03:50:09 »
Guest Chapter by KayEmm

Interlude - Archive 001 – 07/06/3075

Jackson King: Nina, Jackson. Good to see you both.

Morgan Blackstone: You’re looking well.

Nina Raymond: I’m going to be charitable and assume that wasn’t directed to me.

Blackstone: Uh, yeah.

King: So take it that we’re all here for a reason and that this isn’t just a social chat.

Raymond: You know what this is about.

Blackstone: It is. I was thinking about how to handle our little find.

King: Beyond the fact that it’s not going to divide easily, you mean.

Raymond: And that right now is not a good time to be flaunting such matters.

Blackstone: Right. Between the hunters and our beloved employers, we all have a lot on our plates without drawing more attention to ourselves.

Raymond: Speak for yourself, Morgan. Leave me out of whatever issues you have with them. They’ve been pretty damned good to me, all things considered.

King: Likewise.

Blackstone: My mistake. But regardless, I suspect we all feel that this is something we’d be better off with them not knowing about.

King: You would be right there.

Raymond: I suppose so.

King: So what are you suggesting?

Blackstone: We hide it in a place that we can all agree on. Then, when all this is over, whoever among us is still standing can claim it.

Raymond: Sure, that’s a real generous offer to make to the woman with a terminal disease. Go to hell, Blackstone.

King: She has a point. What if none of us make it out of this alive? This is a dangerous profession and we live in dangerous times. We could all die tomorrow, and then what?

Blackstone: Fine. How about this then; we all have heirs, seconds and people we can trust. We keep them in the loop, and them alone.

Raymond: Enough people to know, not enough people to leak.

Blackstone: Exactly.

King: That does seem like a reasonable compromise to me.

Raymond: I suppose so. If nothing else, it means my boys and their families will be looked after.

Blackstone: So it’s agreed then.

King: I guess so. See you when this is all over.

Raymond: Or in hell, whichever comes first.
« Last Edit: 09 November 2022, 04:14:32 by Deadborder »
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

Deadborder

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #156 on: 09 November 2022, 03:51:59 »
Guest Chapter by KayEmm

Interlude - Living in the Shed

“So gals,” Jessie Raymond commented as she adjusted her guitar for the dozenth time, “are we ready to give this all a try?”

“Um, are you sure we should be doing this?” Mia Chen asked, looking up from her own instrument.

“What do you mean?” Jessie replied.

“I mean...” Mia nervously fidgeted. “Aren’t you supposed to be training or something?”

“It’ll be fine,” Jessie managed, even if her own tone was less then convincing.

“Yeah, but,” Kura Natna continued, not even looking at her drums, “what if someone hears us?”

Jessie looked around. “This here storage is designed to hold ammo and fuel and junk like that,” she explained. “It’s meant to protect against accidents and fire and whatever else. Nobody’s gonna hear us.”

“Uh, but,” Mia stammered, “what if your mom, um, I mean, Major Raymond finds out?”

Jessie all but groaned in frustration. “She ain’t gonna find out. Nobody knows about this.”

“You sure?” Kura asked.

“Positive,” she nodded. “Nobody, remember? We bought all the instruments ourselves with our money. We moved them in ourselves on our time. Nobody knows about this.” There was a hint of frustration creeping into her voice. “And there ain’t a single band that got famous by worrying if their mom was going to find out.”

“Well I guess,” Mia admitted.

“Come on, gals, this is us,” Jessie continued. “We’re gonna be awesome at this.”

She turned around, as much about her determination to get started as to cut off anything Mia or Kura might have said. Instead, she adjusted her microphone to get ready.

The clatter of the door opening cut her off before she could start. A single figure was standing there, glaring at her.

Connie Raymond. Her mother and commanding officer.

“Jessica Raymond,” Connie snarled. “What the hell do you think you are doing?”

Anything that Jessie might have said died in her throat.

Connie simply marched into the room, grabbing her by the wrist. “I have told you about this,” she continued as she dragged Jessie away. Behind her, both Mia and Kura seemed to shrink back, hoping that they would be able to escape Connie’s wrath. “You are supposed to be training right now. Not wasting your life on this crap.”

Jessie wanted to say something, but she couldn’t. As she was dragged off, she couldn’t help but notice a single figure present, the only witness to what had happened outside of her band. Her brother Ronnie, wearing the most satisfied smirk that she had ever seen.
« Last Edit: 09 November 2022, 04:14:42 by Deadborder »
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

Deadborder

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #157 on: 09 November 2022, 03:55:28 »
Guest Chapter by KayEmm

Interlude - Gathering Intel

Maroo
Gillfillan’s Gold
Rim Territories
3 March, 3149


Like seemingly everything else on Gillfillan’s Gold, the Maroo spaceport could be best described as ‘functional’. Its most prominent feature was the seemingly endless sea of reinforced ferrocrete that ships took off from and landed on, but that was not the sum total of its existence. It was, in turn, surrounded by a shoal of bland, pre-fabricated building that served as everything from control facilities and hangars to warehouses and offices.

The section that served as the Iron Knights’ compound was outwardly no different from the others, save for its proximity to their pair of DropShips. Save for the temporary signs with their insignia and having their own patrols supporting dropport security, there was little to indicate that they were there. Unless someone happened to be present when they were loading a BattleMech or the like, they could go on unnoticed.

Kaitlyn Farris knocked on the door of an office block, one that was outside of the numbers on the side, identical to every other one around it. There was a pause before a simple “enter” came in reply. There was no request for her to identify herself, nor any hesitation in letting her in.

The interior of the office had started out as plain as its exterior, but its sole inhabitant had redecorated it to suit their purposes. A tattered, ancient map of the Inner Sphere covered one wall, while around it were all manner of other charts depicting constellations, phases of various configurations of moons, orbital diagrams as well as a number of other ones that she couldn’t begin to figure out. The room’s small kitchen and sink area was cluttered with all manner of vials and bottles, each one of them hand-labelled. Another shelf held a collection of candles, as if to simply prove a point.

But what caught Kait’s eye the most was the table in the middle of the room. While it was just a simple, flat-pack piece that had come with the office, its top was now adorned with print-outs from the intelligence they’d received from their employer, depicting battleROM stills of the force they would be facing. What took her was the way the papers were laid out; arranged into five points, as if to form a pentagon or a star. That they had a small talisman weighing each down suggested the latter.

“What are you doing?” Kait asked.

“Getting to know our enemy,” Iulia Dragan replied as she casually looked over a bottle from her collection, swishing around the dark liquid within.

Kait simply nodded. The information they had on the White Death pirate band painted a familiar story, one that hit close to home for her. Once mercenaries, they had fallen hard and resorted to piracy, and now were raiding worlds across the Rim Territories. The intelligence they’d been provided painted as good a picture of them as possible, but Kait knew that was not what Iulia had meant. “Anything so far?”

“Death is not just a name for them,” Iulia offered as she walked over to the table. “They act to embrace it. They paint their faces with skulls, and paint their ‘Mechs its color. But most of all, they are living on a world that is going to kill them as surely as our weapons would.”

“What do you know about their world?” Kait asked. According to their employer, the White Death operated out of Wingzar, a world that was simply marked as ‘dead’ on most charts.

Iulia nodded, heading across the room to pick up a weighty, leather-bound tome. Kait had seen this book before, and knew it to be some relic that was prized by her friend. It had proven to be an invaluable source of information, but only to Iulia herself. Nobody else, not even Kait, had been permitted to even look inside it.

She opened the book and flipped through several pages, before settling on one she was after. “Wingzar, the poisoned world,” she began, reading each word carefully.

“Wingzar is poisoned. The air is poisoned. The land is poisoned. The water is poisoned. The plants, the animals, all life there is poisoned.”

“White death blankets the world. The bones of trees grasp at a dead sky. The waters are brown with sickness. Those creatures that still dwell there both thrive on and die of the poison; they absorb from all they eat and touch, letting it devour them from within, the sickness evident in the rot on their skins. Those that survive are strong, and pass on that strength to their progeny so that they too may thrive, then wither and die.”

“Man has not been so lucky. He first came to the world before the time of the Star League, and found it to be both rich and poor. Much wealth abounded in the form of valuable minerals, but the water and all life there was tainted with poison. It was only with the aid of machines that they were able to tame the world, using them to give them clean water to drink and to grow their crops.”

“But once he tamed the world, man became greedy. His machines pulled its wealth from its heart, but poisoned the earth, the water and the sky. Man did not care, for he became rich off its bounty, and his machines meant that he could continue to live in the hell that he had made. For centuries, man continued, building more and more machines to sustain him.”

“But it could not last forever. After the Shark died and the Rim Worlds fell, Wingzar was left alone. Man had his wealth, but when the ships stopped coming, nobody could buy it. He had poisoned the land so it would not give him food, and he could not eat the pretty rocks he pulled from the earth. One by one, the machines spluttered and died, slowly choking life from the world. The poisons that had always been there mixed with the ones man had unleashed, killing him. We know not when the last man died, only that he was gone a century before we ever set foot there.”

“Today it is an empty place. Man’s past remains; the empty cities and factories, the mines and machines still litter the world, but nothing dwells there. The world offers nothing for anyone save for a lingering death.”

Kait paused a moment in consideration. “Sounds... lovely,” she managed, and then paused as something else from the text sank in. “Wait, the shark?”

“The name ‘Amaris’ is not used anywhere within Cartea Morților,” Iulia explained. Kait suspected there was a good reason why, but she also knew she would never get an answer.

“Do you think we can handle the White Death?” she continued.

“As said, they have tried to make death their own,” Iulia considered. “And their leader it’s lord. But, they do not command it. It is a power too strong for them to command.”

“That sounds like a positive assessment to me,” Kait nodded.

Iulia closed her tome, carefully putting it down before she spoke again. “So then what is bothering you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You would not be coming to me while I was working otherwise,” Iulia stated. “You would wait until I was done like you always have.”

“I, uh, I dreamed about the mountain again last night,” she finally admitted, fidgeting with the end of her scarf as she did.

“I see.”

“It was... vivid,” she continued. “It felt so real, like I was there again. The sights, the sounds, the blood, all of it.” She paused as more thoughts ran through her mind. “I mean, it was a pretty... intense experience after all, and I nearly died and...”

Iulia furrowed her brow in thought. “It was a key point where the universe turned,” she finally spoke. “Ripples from that moment will continue to spread.”

“So what do you think?”

“Hm,” she went over to her collection of bottles, picking one out from the rack, before handing it to Kait. “Drink a sip of this before bed,” she offered. “And maybe consider finding a good psychiatrist.”

“That... is not the answer I expected from you,” she admitted, with an ever so slight chuckle.

“I’m just a regular space witch,” Iulia replied. “Even I do not know everything.”
« Last Edit: 09 November 2022, 04:14:51 by Deadborder »
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #158 on: 09 November 2022, 04:16:44 »
Guest Chapter by Zogster

Interlude - Living Large

Outside Andressa
Thraxa
Anti-Spinward Periphery
23 March 3149


The Red Reavers’ command lance strode across the empty tarmac of a massive spaceport. It was unoccupied, save for their own DropShip and the crews busy loading it. Peering out through the cockpit of her hulking Gunslinger, Violetta Vujic spotted the motorcade rolling out to meet them. She smirked behind her neurohelmet and opened up a line to the DropShip.

“How’s loading going, boys?” she said, the eagerness evident in her voice.

“We’ll be done by the time you get our pay,” came the gruff reply followed by a low chuckle.

“Copy that,” Violetta replied. She thumbed her communicator over to her lance’s channel. “Alright boys, time to give them a show.” She received a chorus of confirmations in reply.
The Gunslinger came to a halt as the motorcade pulled to a stop. The BattleMech’s bulk towered over the official cars, casting a long shadow over them. Down on the tarmac, an ageing man nervously stepped out and craned his neck to look up at Violetta.

“Is it done?” he asked into a communicator, mustering as much courage as the situation allowed.

Violetta switched over to the Gunslinger’s external speakers, letting her voice boom out over the spaceport. “Done. We hunted down the bandits to a man. Didn’t let a single one get away. Your people are safe from them.”

The man on the tarmac visibly sagged in relief. “Thank you, thank you…” He muttered half to himself. “They had been preying on our planet for years.”

“All in a day’s work,” Violetta replied. “So let’s talk about our payment.”

“Ah…” He paused, swallowing hard and steeling himself as he faced down the towering ‘Mech. “First… we know the bandits had been raiding our stores for a long time. They must have had plenty of our supplies still…”

“Shame that,” Violetta replied, all too casually. “Seems like they knew we were coming. Must have panicked or something, ‘cause by the time we got there the storehouses were up in flames.” She almost wish her Gunslinger could shrug nonchalantly, but she made do.

“But without their stores…” the man faltered. “We were relying on them to make up your unit’s payment.”

“Not my problem.”

“But without those stores –“

“Here’s what’s going to happen,” she said, cutting him off. “You’re going to pay us what we agreed. Or.” She paused for effect as the other three BattleMechs shifted forwards, casting long shadows over the motorcade. “We head off world and we tell everyone how your world welches on its contracts. And the next time a group of bandits, raiders, pirates or whatever descends on your puny little planet, nobody is going to come and save you.” She let her words sink in for a moment before adding “And we take what we’re owed.”

Silence rang out over the field, loud and oppressive. The man on the ground looked up, trying to see into the cockpit, trying to make out just who this was making demands, demands that he simply could not refuse.

“So. Where’s our money?”

-----

With the DropShip’s doors sealed, Violetta clambered out of her Gunslinger’s cockpit. She pulled off her neurohelmet and tossed out her hair before handing it to a scrawny man with a scratchy beard waiting for her. “How’d loading go, Karloff?” she asked him.

“Everything’s packed and ready to go,” he replied, adding a low chuckle. “We got all the supplies the bandits, uh, torched.” His eyes glinted as he glanced over at the Calliope already strapped into position for takeoff.

“Good work,” she said, clapping him on the shoulder. “Prep the ship for departure. I want to be out of here before anyone on the ground gets suspicious.”

“Look what I found,” boomed out a deep voice from the DropShip bay’s floor. Violetta left Karloff and rapidly shimmied her way down a ladder to see what the commotion was. Jackson, her staunchest supporter, towered over the gathering crowd. Violetta pushed through just as he hoisted up a scruffy teenager.

“Little brat was digging around in our supplies. Our ‘reclaimed’ supplies,” Jackson explained.

The kid kicked at the air, his feet well off the ground, as he struggled to get out of Jackson’s iron grip. “Let me go! You’ll be sorry when I tell everyone what you’ve done.”

“Then we don’t let you tell anyone,” Violetta said, smirking at the boy. “Throw him in the brig,” she told Jackson, before turning to the room. “And get this boat in the air.”

“No! You can’t do this!” the boy called out from Jackson’s grip.

Violetta leaned in, smiling broadly. “Just did. Welcome to the Reavers, kid. You’re going to have an adventure.”
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



How to Draw MegaMek Icons the Deadborder Way. Over 9000 so far. Determination or madness?

 

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