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Author Topic: Renegades  (Read 15038 times)


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Re: Renegades
« Reply #60 on: 03 August 2021, 03:23:06 »
Renegades Chapter I: Outside, looking in

Origin Story

I was there for the first meeting of the Renegades. I suppose in many ways I should have foreseen how it would all end.

Irisz Mayari had put out feelers and pulled in her first picks; Kari Moreno, Isabella de Luca, Lanie King and Terry McKinnon. Those four had been easy enough to pull in. They were all friends, having met through the trade or past generations who were also in the trade; family alliances had always made for a big part of the industry, even if it was rarely acknowledged. Certainly there was an air of expectation among them, a feeling that this was something big. De Luca acknowledged as much with her joke that this was more than just another attempt to start a book club.

Conversely, Blackrock’s arrival did not sit well with them. Everybody in the room knew who she was and had likely used her services in past, but I don’t think anyone actually trusted her, especially not King. Magyari made her case for why she had bought Blackrock in, citing both her connections and influence, as well as the fact that she would have stumbled into this sooner or later anyway. While everyone agreed, I could see that they were not entirely happy with the deal.

Ryback’s arrival then threw them off even more. He outlined who he was and what he was doing (while still being vague about the specifics) and his involvement with all this. He also was very clear about what he wanted and was trying to do. Magyari then gave everyone the chance to back out. Nobody took the opportunity. The idea of a future ruled by the Falcons or Wolves clearly had their attention.

Having made his case, Ryback then introduced his own ally, Alexis Fairchild. That got people’s attention, one way or another. There was more than a little concern as to who she was and her connection to him, not the least of which was that it amounted to an outsider joining what was otherwise a circle of friends on the recommendation of another outsider. De Luca put it bluntly when she asked Fairchild what she would be bringing to the table beyond her looks.

(Looking back at it, I have to wonder if this is one of the reasons why Magyari wanted de Luca onboard. She speaks her mind, for good or for ill, and doesn’t hold back.)

To her credit, Fairchild was abundantly clear in her response, saying that she had spent the last five years fighting both cells of a terror network as well as the Wolf Empire. When King asked what sort of terrorists they were, Fairchild’s response was blunt. “Blakists.” That definitely got everyone’s attention. Blackrock certainly looked surprised at that revelation, and perhaps annoyed that somebody had managed to hide it from her. I admit that I didn’t see that coming either.

With introductions done, Magyari and Ryback moved to the next order of business: building their alliance. The pair of them called for nominations of other potential members of this group, as well as those allies that could be helpful in supporting their future plans. Magyari went first, nominating Viggo Ackestorm, one of the members of her unit. She cited his connection to anti-Clan groups in the Dominion as a clear asset to the group, and his dislike of the Clans in general as a reason to trust him.

Moreno spoke up next, suggesting her second in command, Damien Hawkins. She pointed out his financial and administrative skills, which could be useful to any future sharing of resources, moving of assets and so on. She also said that she knew his loyalty would be beyond reproach, giving the group another person they could trust.

Citing Hawkins, Magyari then suggested one of her own allies, Cameron Clarke. Both Ryback and Fairchild expressed concern at the idea of bringing a Clan warrior into the mix, but Magyari offered fair reasoning. First of all, he would only be an ally and not a member of the inner circle, and certainly not privy to what was going on, which did seem to ease their concerns. Secondly, she cited his own considerable network of information and willingness to deal in it as being a useful asset, as well as giving them a reliable supplier.

(Naturally this made me curious as to what Fairchild’s specific problem with the Clans was.)

This prompted de Luca to put forward her own nomination in the form of Leonid Stanislav. She pointed out that he was the commander of his own unit, which would give them another ally and a considerable expansion to the group’s numbers and reach. She added with a caveat that Stanislav needed to be a member of their inner circle, saying that he wouldn’t be happy with being on the outside. Ryback definitely needed to think it through before he offered his approval.

King spoke up next, suggesting Lana Kostov as an ally or possibly another inner circle member. She cited both Kostov’s commanding a long-lasted mercenary unit and her connections with former RAF members and familiarity with their operations and procedures as good reasons why, which both Magyari and Ryback approved of. Personally I suspected King wanted Kostov there to be another member of this group who would keep things above board and clean.

De Luca then added another suggestion; Taphault van Nurdlehammer, a member of her unit who possessed both considerable technical skills as well as good organizational ones. She threw out the idea of having him work with Hawkins to create a supply network across units to aid in the sharing of resources and the like. Moreno was completely on board with the idea.

Having remained largely silent until that point, Blackrock then put forward her own suggestion, Tony Jaros. This was not well received, with those present pointing out that he was a criminal, a thug, a former Capellan ally and anything but subtle. Blackrock agreed to all of these points, but then countered to point out that not only did Jaros have considerable contacts across the former Republic’s underworld, but that he also had a strong hatred of the Capellans. Surprisingly, Ryback agreed with her, something that nobody saw coming. I suspect that Blackrock was among them.

With that out of the way, McKinnon put forward his own suggestion, being Ronnie Raymond Jr. At that point, all Magyari could do was glare back at him. To his credit, McKinnon put up a good case, citing the degree that Raymond had changed over the last two years, and how he considered him to be a friend as well as a member of his unit. Ryback agreed, and Magyari had to concede the point, even if there was clearly some understandable reluctance on her part.

We were now in the first stages of building an army. I don’t think that anyone could have predicted where it would go from there.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #61 on: 03 August 2021, 03:29:43 »
Guest chapter by KayEmm

Bacon Plans

When Lanie King had suggested that she, Kari Moreno and Isabella de Luca should meet to quietly discuss a few things, she’d hoped for something discrete and low-key. Which made her wonder what had gone wrong as the three of them sat in the middle of Tharonjas’ in the middle of a busy lunchtime.

“So do I want bacon, bacon, bacon or bacon?” Isabella asked as she looked over the menu.

“I think the question is how do you want your bacon?” Kari replied, similarly deep in thought.

Lanie sighed and looked around again, taking in the ‘tiki party crashed into a Mesoamerican temple and exploded’ decor, before turning back to her menu. The problem wasn’t that this had happened, the problem was that this sort of thing always happened when Isabella was involved. It made her really wonder why Irisz had chosen to bring her onboard in the first case.

You know Irisz can trust her, Lanie reminded herself. And you know that you can trust her as well, despite how she may act. She shot a small smile at Isabella. “So what are you looking at?”

“I was thinking of Zin’rokk the Steak Destroyer,” Isabella offered. “A steak wrapped in bacon, wrapped in cheese, wrapped in bacon. It sounds fantastic.”
“Nice,” Kari smiled in approval.

“I can hear your arteries hardening,” Lanie added.

“I’m a mercenary MechWarrior,” Isabella shot back. “I chose a life where I got shot at for money. Death by bacon is one of the better ways to go in this line of work.”
She shook her head and picked up her own menu, pretending to study it. “So death by bacon aside, how do we feel about this?”

“Well the décor is a bit gaudy, but I do like the food,” Kari replied.

“I can’t tell if you’re being serious or stupid,” Isabella smirked. “Nice.”

“I meant about this whole… thing,” she continued. “Irisz putting together her own little army at the behest of some shady employer.”

“I can imagine you have some concerns,” Isabella admitted. “Given your family’s past with dubious employers.”

“That’s a fair way to put it,” Lanie sighed. “I trust Irisz, bit not him.”

“Which is fair,” Kari said. “He’s clearly running his own agenda that we’re not a part of, and chose Irisz to be a part of it. At the same time, he also allowed her to make a first pick of who would be in it, which tells me a lot.”

“How so?” she asked.

“Irisz has a reputation for being a straight shooter,” Kari explained. “So look at the people she chose to start with. You, me, Isabella, Terry McKinnon and Blackrock. Like her, we’re all on the ethical, honest side of the mercenary trade; fair dealings, being upfront, vetting our recruits to weed out the bad apples and so on.”

“Kari, that’s about the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me,” Isabella smirked. “And that includes my two exes.”

“You have a point there. I mean, I’m happy with Terry McKinnon being a part of this,”
Lanie continued. “Like you said, he’s a good guy by the standards of our trade.”

“Yeah, he’s a good pick,” Isabella agreed. “Even if Irisz is a little biased there.”

“Are those two ever going to make it official?” Kari asked. “It’s been... a while.”

“Years,” Lanie nodded. “But I’d imagine that it gets complicated when you get to the issue of children and inheritance and all.”

“I suppose so,” Kari nodded. “Irisz has no children as yet and Terry isn’t heir to the Marauders.”

“But it’s a dangerous line of work and all,” Lanie replied. “Damien’s kids are a long way from inheriting command, and if anything happened to him would the unit then go to Terry?”

“Difficult,” Isabella noted. “Not that I’m privy to the McKinnon line of inheritance, but I can see the issue there.”  She paused. “Still, the pair of them can’t keep putting it off forever. And I’m not just saying that because I know I’d be one of her first picks for bridesmaid and that Kari would be another.”

“You think?”

“Really, Kari,” Isabella rolled her eyes. “Though you’d be a super challenge as you’d need a dress that covers all your tats.”

“You’d think that Irisz would be all for it,” Lanie continued. “What with her father being MIA for... how long now?”

“Since just before Fortress Republic, which was...” Isabella paused. “Christ, how long ago?”

“Yeah,” Kari nodded. “That being said, did you see the look she gave Terry when he suggested bringing in Raymond?”

“Ooh, the one-eyed death stare,” Isabella put a hand over one eye, narrowing the other. “Sends shivers up my spine.”

“I’m sure he had a good reason,” Lanie considered. “He’s been in Terry’s lance for what, a year and a half now? Maybe he’s changed a lot since then.”

“It’s a long time in this line of work,” Kari agreed. “During that time he and Terry have had to work together and rely on each other on the battlefield. That can tell you a lot about a person.”

“True, true,” Isabella nodded. “For all we know, Raymond could have changed immensely since then.”

“Not having his mother looming over him would make a world of difference,” Lanie noted. “I don’t want to pass judgement, but after all I heard about Connie Raymond, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for Ronnie.”

“Oh yeah, she was nuts,” Isabella agreed. “Like, wow, nuts.”

“Speaking of, how’s Jessie doing?” Kari asked.

“Well, she makes you seem like the most outward person in the universe, Kari,” Isabella shot back. “But seriously, that girl’s doing a lot better for herself now that she’s not in such a batcrap insane environment.”

“Which brings me back to Ronnie,” Lanie noted. “If Jessie can improve then so can he. And maybe that’s why Terry put him forward, a way to help him grow further.”

“Makes sense to me,” Kari nodded.

“Agreed. So then what do you think about Fairchild?" Lanie asked.

“I know what you think about her,” Isabella replied as she took a sip of her drink.

“What do you mean by that?”

“You were so obviously gawping at her,” Isabella explained.

“I was not.”

“You totally were,” Isabella continued. “What would your wife think?”

“I didn’t see the big deal,” Kari offered.

“Yeah, well you’re weird, Kari,” Isabella shot back. “No offence.”

Lanie took a deep breath before continuing, trying to figure ways to steer things back on-track. “I mean, what do you think about her as a member of this group? She was bought in by Ryback and we don’t exactly have a lot to go on.”

“Well, she hates Blakists and Clanners, so that’s a good start,” Isabella noted.

“I have to wonder about that,” Kari admitted. “I mean, as much as we like the idea that she’s been fighting secret Blakists, it does seem to be a bit of a reach. It’s been seventy years since the Jihad, after all.”

“I want to agree,” Lanie nodded. “And yet, we still don’t know who caused the Blackout.”

“Secret Blakists,” Isabella nodded. “Makes perfect sense.”

“She didn’t speak much, though,” Lanie continued. “Mostly she seemed to be sizing us all up, as if she was trying to figure out what was going on with us and what were our stakes in all this.”

“Or she could have just been feeling overwhelmed being a stranger in a room full of strangers,” Kari offered.

“Speaking from experience?” Isabella asked.

“A bit,” Kari admitted. “She’s quiet, she’s pretty intense and she uses her words carefully. I feel that she’s being honest with us though. I mean, really, what would she have to gain from coming to us with such a claim otherwise?”

“This is true,” Lanie nodded. “I suppose ‘fighting secret Blakists’ is a story that’s just so out there that it has to be true. You wouldn’t try to use it as a cover after all.”

“I just want to know what she’s bringing,” Kari continued. “Ryback trusts her and she’s clearly got battlefield experience, but I want to know more about her if I’m going to be working or fighting alongside her.”

“She supposedly commands her own small unit,” Isabella suggested. “I’ll lean on some of my people and see what they come up with.”

“Tell you what though,” Kari added, “even Blackrock seemed to be surprised to see her.”

“Ugh,” Lanie managed. “Speaking of people I have questions about.”

“Lanie King doesn’t like the stodgy infobroker with a questionable past,” Isabella laughed.

“In other breaking news, fire is hot.”

“I mean it, though,” Lanie explained. “Blackrock is not the most... forward of people. You know what I mean.”

“You don’t like her being here,” Kari noted.

“I do not,” Lanie nodded. “I’m not saying that she has her own agenda here, but at the same time, I just don’t like the idea of putting our trust in her.”

“Pfft, everyone in this group has their own agenda,” Isabella replied dismissively.

“Blackrock is just more open about it.”

“She knows things you don’t and wants you to know it,” Kari added.

Lanie sighed. “I just don’t trust her, that’s all,” she admitted. “I see the logic behind bringing her in for her resources and contacts and the like, but that doesn’t mean that I want to work with her any more than we have to.”

“Maybe that’s your job,” Kari offered. “You tell us when we’re doing the wrong thing.”

“Didn’t think of that,” Isabella admitted.

“I... I suppose so,” Lanie considered. “I’ve been trying to rescue the Tigers from the mistakes that my forebears made. I just don’t want to then charge straight back down that path.”

“Which means you’re going to have second thoughts about things that most of us would leap at,” Isabella said.

“And a voice of reason like that would definitely helped me,” Kari added with a warm smile. “So thank you.”

“Thanks,” Lanie sighed.

Isabella leaned back in her seat. “We can work with Blackrock, but don’t trust her one inch. And if she asks us for a favour or the like, then we sure as hell say no to her. Which you know I’ll have no problem with.”

“Speaking of the people who we don’t trust and don’t know about,” Kari continued.
“Ryback. He’s at least half of the reason why this group came together.”

“Obvious spy,” Lanie replied.

“Agreed there,” Isabella nodded. “He’s not even trying to hide it, which then makes me wonder why.”

“I was thinking about that as well,” Kari nodded. “I think he might be working for the Republic.”

“What makes you say that?” Lanie asked.

“It's...” she absent-mindedly drew a circle on the table with her finger. “It’s hard to say, really, but two things come to mind.”

“Shoot,” Isabella nodded.

“First, the timing is right,” she explained. “The walls have come down and everything is up in the air. If he is with the Republic, then this is the time for him to act.”

“This is true,” Lanie agreed.

“And who knows what’s been going on behind the walls for... however long it’s been,” Isabella continued. “He probably has plenty of reasons to be acting now of all times.”

“Which brings me to my second reason,” Kari continued. “Assume he was Republic and was stuck outside the walls for all these years. He’d have been living off whatever assets he could scrounge up or find, and that would include essentially hiring mercs to do his work for him.”

“Point two to Kari,” Isabella agreed.

“If he was LIC or whatever else, he wouldn’t need to be so obvious,” Lanie noted. “He could hide behind fronts or other assets and we'd never need to see him. But like this, at this time? He might be out of options.”

“Which makes me wonder what it took to get Irisz on board,” Kari continued. “She wouldn’t have gone into this lightly.”

“Well, between us...” Isabella leaned in. “Kari might know this but anyway here we go.”

Kari nodded as Lanie glanced between the pair of them. “What are you saying here?”

“Magyari’s unit worked for the Coalition during the Jihad,” Kari explained.

“And some of that is still kind of not in the unit’s records,” Isabella added. “Makes you wonder.”

“Oh, right,” Lanie noted. “I can see why you wouldn’t talk about that.”

“I didn’t want to make it awkward for you,” Kari admitted. “Given your family history and all.”

“It's fine,” Lanie nodded. “I understand fully.”

“So with that being said,” Isabella leaned back, resuming her more casual stance. “I’m not saying anything for certain, but maybe he knows something about what happened back then.”

“It would explain a lot.”

“Besides, it fits with Fairchild, who remember was his pick,” she continued. “After all, killing secret Blakists is what the Republic does.”

“At least he has nice hair,” Kari spoke up.

“Well that’s a weird thing for you to say,” Isabella shook her head. “Then again, it’s you, Kari. I should expect that.”

“It was just something I noticed, that’s all,” she shrugged. “Maybe it’s a point of vanity on his side, but he clearly looks after his hair.”

“I suppose it fits,” Isabella admitted. “Two gorgeous redheads means that our little conspiracy has a high standard for hair care. Three if you count the fake redhead.”

“You’re too kind,” Kari blushed a little.

“You gotta stop selling yourself so short, Kari,” Isabella nagged. “Seriously.”

“Changing the topic, I wonder what ‘Mech Alexis pilots,” Kari considered.

“No, good question,” Isabella nodded. “You can tell a lot about a person by their ‘Mech.”

“What do you mean?” Lanie asked.

“Well, look at Kari,” Isabella noted. “She pilots a Black Knight, which is famous for taking a lot of damage and keeping on going. And Kari, you decided to keep your family unit going after most people would have given up. Determination and not dying and all that.”

“You have me there,” Kari admitted, absent-mindedly rubbing the black sun tattoo on the back of her wrist.

“Now Lanie, you pilot a Cataphract,” Isabella continued. “It gets the job done and is reliable, if unexciting and far from flashy. Which is a good way to describe how you operate.”

“Thanks, I think,” Lanie managed. “So what does your Warhammer mean?”

“I pilot a heavy ‘Mech made in the Inner Sphere,” she shrugged. “Doesn’t work all the time.”

“So how about an Archer?” Kari continued.

“Hm...” Isabella smirked. “You’re reliable but not flashy. You do one thing but you do it well and you’ve been at it forever.”

“An entirely accurate description of Damien, my second,” Kari admitted.

“So what about a Phoenix Hawk?” Lanie continued. “Since Terry pilots one.”

“Flashy, maybe a bit show-offy, good at what you do, probably also stodgy as all hell,” Isabella laughed. “So a fair match for Terry.”

“There’s a P-Hawk pilot in the Suns who matches that description as well,” Kari added.

“See?” She laughed. “I’m always right.”

“What does Leonid pilot?” Kari asked. “Since you wanted him in the team and all.”

Marauder,” she replied. “Which means that not only is he the boss, but he’s either a big hero or the obvious bad guy.”

“Does either fit?”

“Potentially both,” she shrugged.

“And you wanted him in this group,” Lanie noted.

“He’s a character,” Isabella admitted.

“Now I wonder what Ryback pilots,” Kari continued.

“You think he’s a MechWarrior?” Isabella asked.

“He clearly is,” Lanie nodded. “You can tell these things. He was a spook in a room full of MechWarriors, and yet fit in perfectly there. There was a certain ease and comfort to him while he was talking and interacting.”

“That’s because he’s a spy, Lanie,” Isabella noted.

“It felt... natural,” she countered. “Like he was this comfortable with us not because he was pulling some sort of act, but because he was among other MechWarriors. I’m not saying that it’s his primary focus or where he was trained first, but more that it’s a part of his life.”

“I spose that makes sense,” Isabella admitted. “What about Blackrock?”

“No idea,” Lanie shook her head. “If she is a MechWarrior she doesn’t let it show.”

“If she is one, she totally stole her ‘Mech,” Isabella added.

“Agreed there,” Kari nodded.

“You mentioned Leonid being either the hero or the villain,” Lanie interjected. “I don’t know him that well; we’ve really only interacted at that ‘friend of a friend’ level.”

“So you’re asking me to qualify my answer a bit,” Isabella continued.

“Thanks,” Lanie nodded.

“Well this is going to be a total shock coming from me,” Isabella chortled, “but he’s a real character.”

“I’d never have guessed,” Lanie dryly replied.

“I know, right?” Isabella laughed. “Okay, honestly, it’s as I pitched. His family unit and mine have history that goes back as far as the Arano civil war. The first Krymzon Guards and the first Hammers fought alongside each other”

“I sense a ‘but’ coming,” Kari continued.

Isabella took a deep breath, an uncharacteristic hesitation in her voice. “Our family history is… complicated. Call it decades of mutual favours owed and paid, deals done and whatever else. And no, before you ask, I couldn’t tell you where he’s from.” From her tone, it wasn’t clear if that was because of some pact between them, or simply because she didn’t know.

“But despite that you trust him,” Kari finished.

“With my life,” she nodded.

“So then what’s he like as a person?”

Isabella let out an exasperated sigh. “Loud. Boisterous. Speaks big. Acts tough. Maybe brags a bit too much. And then behind that, he’s as sharp as anything. If you buy into what he’s saying, then you’re basically letting him win.”

“I see what you mean about him being either the hero or the villain,” Lanie agreed. “But do you think he can work with our group beyond just you?”

“I think so,” Isabella managed. “And yes, before you ask, a part of the reason why I wanted him in on this was because I knew that it would be better to have him on the inside than out.”

“You sound a touch reluctant there,” Lanie observed.

“Our relationship is complicated,” Isabella admitted.

“All your relationships are complicated,” Kari noted. “That’s why you’ve been divorced twice.”

“Touché, Kari,” she managed. “But yes, I’d trust him with my life.”

“Which we need more of in this,” Lanie agreed. “Open honesty would be nice, but at the very least somebody who you know you can rely on is good.”

“It is an odd balance of things,” Lanie sighed. “Not optimal, but it will do.”

“I’ll take majority that we can trust,” Isabella finished. “So to summarise, Ryback is a spook and a MechWarrior, but he has nice hair. Blackrock shouldn’t be trusted at all but is still super useful. And Fairchild is super-intense, has been killing secret Blakists and has big boobs.”

Lanie sighed. “Thanks for that, Isabella.”

“Anytime,” she nodded. “So are we ordering or what?”
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 #62 on: 17 August 2021, 04:48:15 »

The instant Alexis was back in her motel room, she audibly sighed, slumping against the closed door. So close, she considered, and yet so very far away. She felt like yelling out in frustration, or at the very least, kicking the rubbish bin across the room in a petty act of release. Instead, she stayed calm, measuring up her options, considering where to go from here. No matter which way I look at it, there is no good solution, she considered. Rather it's a matter of deciding what's the least worst option.

A knock at the door grabbed her attention, Alexis spinning around to peer through the tiny peep-hole at whatever might lie on the other side. What she saw was a tall, almost imposing man in a coat and dark glasses, one that she instantly recognised and knew well, but at the same time, was not going to trust until she was sure all was clear.

“Bad day on the moon?” a voice came from the other side. His voice, the one she knew so clearly.

The passphrase matched to the one she'd arranged in advance. All clear, I've come as you asked. Anything else and she would have been ready for trouble. As it was, this was one of the few people in the galaxy she could actually trust. Stepping back, Alexis opened the door and let him in.

Up close, there was no mistaking the man; short dark hair and a handsome face that had become prematurely lined and worn, clearly accustomed to a permanent scowl. Hands in his pockets at all times, save for the briefest moment to remove his glasses, showing the dark eyes beneath. "So how bad is it, Alexis?" He asked as soon as the door was shut.

This was Nate, her second in command, confident and more than a few other things, and one of the few that she knew she could trust completely. "Well," she offered, “Ryback’s leaning entirely on his allies, which include a dubious broker and a Sea Fox merchant.” There was a clear hint of anger in her voice at that last part. “And his plan amounts to ‘run from the future’.”

“And here’s the ‘but’ coming,” Nate simply stated, his voice calm.

“But he’s right,” she admitted, slumping as she did. “He’s planning for what happens next, and he needs these people to do it. And that’s what we signed on for.”

Nate nodded. “Because he gave us what we needed.”

“He did,” she admitted. “Which allowed us to be here and not still toiling away for the Fat Man, or...”

"It's a poser," Note nodded. "Damned if we do, damned if we don't.”

"I know," she sighed, "But I don't want this to be like Estrella Mortis, where I made what I thought was the right decisions for all the wrong reasons, and ended up doing exactly what he wanted." She looked Nate in the eye. "I want to do this for us, Nate. Not him."

Exasperated, she turned around, trying not to let the conflict show on her face. Instead, she felt Nate's hands on her shoulders. Cold, dead and artificial, they should have been disquieting at least. Instead, she found them warm and supportive, as she had so many times in past.

"I know you made the right decision, Alexis," he simply finished. "And I will support you, no matter what happens."
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #63 on: 17 August 2021, 04:50:16 »
From the personal journal of Gillian Blackrock

I should have seen some of this coming. Ryback had been on my radar for some time now, and I had my suspicions about him that did eventually prove to be correct. That being said, I had never been able to pull everything together into one nice, neat package before now.

Even then, I did not see this next step coming. While I know that he had been working with various mercenaries, clearly using them for his own ends, I had not expected him to do something so big as to build an alliance. However, in a strange way, his choice of ally plays well to my own needs.

Irisz Magyari’s men have used my services in past, which has in turn allowed me to gather intel on them. This relationship reached its peak with the Hindmarsh incident. Both Magyari and I had reasons to want Stein’s little plan to come to an end, and so we supported each other to those ends. I provided her with the information she needed to bring down Stein’s forces, and she in turn opened the way for me to take care of him personally. We have a good working relationship; her unit provides me with work and I in turn harvest information, one way or another.

When Magyari invited me to a meeting, I assumed that she was looking for information regarding a forthcoming contract or threat. What I didn’t expect was to walk in on several of her mercenary allies, nor did I expect Ryback to be there. His presence put me in an uncomfortable situation, one that I was not ready for, which is rare enough in and of itself. It was one where I genuinely had no control over the situation and did not know what to expect.

But yet, as the situation unfolded, I could see this turn into an opportunity. This alliance represents the chance to expand my network of allies, proving them with what they need while also gaining what I want from them. I have no illusion that both Ryback and Magyari are fully aware of my, shall I say, less than fully honourable intent and, as such, are going to be careful to limit how much access they give me. This is a limitation I understand and can live with, but at the same time, I know they brought me in for a reason.

Of course, I also have to now wonder how much Ryback knows about my past. While I don’t expect it to be too much of an issue (unless Jacob Bannson suddenly comes back from wherever he’s been hiding for the last decade and a half) I also feel the need for caution around him no less.

The other reactions were as I expected. McKinnon and de Luca were accepting of my presence, even with some apprehension on the former’s part, given that both have used my services in past. King clearly did not like my being there, a bias clearly born of her own desire to keep a clean nose while avoiding the mistakes that her forbears made.

On the other hand, Fairchild annoys me. I know nothing at all about her or her unit, nor do I know the exact nature of her connection to Ryback. The few things she spilled about her past were intriguing in and of themselves, almost as if they were being used as bait. I want to find out more, but at the same time, I’m concerned that doing such might draw unwanted attention from Ryback or whatever assets she might have in play. And being honest here, anyone who goes around hunting secret Blakists clearly has to have some way of locating their hidden prey.

Each of the members of this little group put forward their own suggestions for allies. I’ll have to look into each of them, but I feel that there are a lot of interesting leads in among them, although again I will need to be careful around looking into Cameron Clarke. In his case, the term ‘shark’ is more than just a reference to his Clan’s old name.

Finally, there is the matter of Tony Jaros. I was legitimate in my claim that he could be useful to the group as a whole, but at the same time, having somebody who is loyal to me personally rather than the group as a whole could be very useful. I don’t expect the others to trust him at all, but I do expect that they will find uses for him.

All in all, this is going to be a very interesting and rewarding experience.
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #64 on: 17 August 2021, 04:56:46 »
Audio Log File #76701-Rho

Irisz Magyari: Well, say it.

Terry McKinnon: Say what?

Magyari: We’ve been together for six or so years now and known each other longer than that. I can tell you want to say something.

McKinnon: Me? What would I have to say about your insane plan?

Magyari: Aha, I knew it.

McKinnon: Let’s see, at the behest of a spook who works for a doomed cause you built an alliance consisting of your boyfriend, your three best friends and an infobroker who nobody trusts or even vaguely likes.

Magyari: Well when you put it like that, it sounds like there’s something about it that bothers you.

McKinnon: Why would you ever think that?

Magyari: [laughs] See, there’s the man I love speaking.

McKinnon: Okay, you have me there.

Magyari: And I appreciate the candor.

McKinnon: I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have my reservations about all of this. But at the same time, I see your reasoning here and why you chose to do what you did. If I was in your place, I probably would have done the same thing as well.

Magyari: We live in uncertain times. I want to be ready for what comes next.

McKinnon: I’ll say now that I kind of knew about Ryback, but I still didn’t know exactly what he was up to.

Magyari: Dare I ask?

McKinnon: Hoo boy, where to start.

Magyari: Try me.

McKinnon: My family’s unit has some suspect holes in its history that I haven’t been made privilege to so far. Perils of being a love-child and all that. But they involve ComStar, so I figure it’s a fair bet that the Republic knows what they are anyway.

Magyari: So you think Damien knows what happened there?

McKinnon: Maybe. Or maybe he’s just in the dark as I am, but won’t admit it. Either way, the family line of mercenary McKinnons goes back to the First Succession War, so there’s bound to be a pile of skeletons in the closet. And I’m far from the first bastard in the line. And a guy like Ryback circling around that is to be expected.

Magyari: Better him then Blackrock, I suppose.

McKinnon: Oh yeah. I mean, I don’t like her, but I understand why you bought her in.

Magyari: Speaking of…

McKinnon: Yeah, I figured you’d be annoyed about me bringing in Ronnie. I had reasons, trust me.

Magyari: Go on.

McKinnon: He’s been my second for two years now. In that time he’s matured and grown a lot as a person. Trust me, he’s not the man you knew before.

Magyari: In short, you want to give him a chance.

McKinnon: And I think you should too. After all, you gave Jessie a shot and that worked out for both of you.

Magyari: Different circumstances and you know it. Jessie made her own choice to leave. Ronnie had to wait until his mother’s insanity up and slapped him in the face.

McKinnon: And trust me, he regrets it.

Magyari: Fair. Consider my own personal biases being at play here.

McKinnon: Entirely fair and understandable. I was born in the Combine, after all. That sort of thing is baked into the culture.

Magyari: [laughs] And yet you still haven’t committed ritual suicide even once in your life. You’re the worst Combine citizen ever.

McKinnon: I’ll try harder next time.

Magyari: Fair. But for now, no more business. This is supposed to be a dinner date, after all.

McKinnon: Are you attempting to be romantic or simply dodging the issue?

Magyari: Why not both?
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #65 on: 23 August 2021, 03:52:15 »
From the personal journal of Irisz Magyari

Somebody once told me that the only way to truly know somebody is to fight them. So in order to get to know my newfound legion of renegades, I thought I’d do the next best thing.

The truth is, I don’t know what lot of them are capable of at all. Sure, I know them as friends, or allies and fellow mercenaries, but I haven’t seen a lot of them in action in the field. This is especially true in two cases. Blackrock had only just outed herself as a trained MechWarrior, something that I had no idea about at all, and so I wanted to see what she was capable of. And Fairchild is a complete mystery to me. She’s not been abundantly forthcoming about her past, but then again, Rybak hasn’t exactly been willing to volunteer information about her otherwise.

So I decided to get a slightly more hands-on approach to measuring their skills. You can read all the reports and summaries that you can, but nothing compares to actual battlefield experience for seeing what somebody is truly capable of. With that in mind, I set up a simulator battle with twelve of us acting as a makeshift company. This was both aimed at seeing what each of us could do as well as seeing how we’d gel as a group if needs be. After all, most of us haven’t ever fought alongside each other before.

The OpFor I created was based on Lucius Radick’s Binary that we faced on Keystone and Ashburton. I chose it both because I felt it would provide a challenge, as well as because I figured we might as well practice fighting the Wolves as I suspect that will be happening a lot in our future. This provided me with my first surprise; Fairchild also recognised the force we were up against. Of course, now I need to figure out how.

It went well for us. We won the day, with the Wolf force retreating after half their force were crippled or destroyed. And while we’d had our own losses, if the battle had persisted it would have likely continued to favour us as we had the advantage of numbers. With that being said, there was more than a little bit of luck on our side. In the first exchange of fire, Kari managed to effectively knock ‘Lucius’ out of the battle when she destroyed the Warwolf’s gauss rifle, leaving their leader without his biggest weapon. There were a few other cases of fluke hits that favoured us, something I’d be reluctant to rely on.

So for the sake of completion, here’s my thoughts on how everyone did. I’m just going down the list of how they were ordered in my ad-hoc company here; no favouritism involved.

Me: Well, it’s me. I know how I perform. I used this battle as a trial run for a new loadout for my Mad Cat Mk IV that did pretty well for me on the battlefield. While yes, I took a lot of damage, I also managed to give back far better than I got.

Alexis Fairchild: The biggest unknown in the battle, I put her in my lance as much for complementary BattleMech abilities as to see what she was capable of. The result? I could best describe her as being relentless. She poured fire on her opponents, and didn’t stop until they were wreckage. And while she took plenty of it in return, that didn’t seem to bother her. While her Mad Cat was operational at the end of the battle, it also was badly damaged. Oh, and it jumps. Didn’t see that coming.

Kari Moreno: Clantech energy weapons and a targeting computer are a powerful combination, but Kari is also clearly a skilled marksman in her own right. She laid down a constant barrage of accurate long-range fire at the enemy that whittled them down while seemingly shrugging off whatever she took in return. At the end of the day her Black Knight was badly battered, but was still moving under its own power. I gather that happens to her a lot.

Damien Hawkins: Kari’s second was largely unknown to me; I’d only met him in passing previously. I could best describe Damien’s performance as ‘workmanlike’; a constant barrage of LRMs that relentlessly hammered his targets. While he often focused fire with Kari, he also lay down some very accurate indirect fire that doubtless surprised the enemy. He spent much of the battle in in formation with her, both covering her rear while supporting her attack, something that is apparently SOP for the pair of them.

Lana Kotovski: Lana clearly knew how to pick her fights. Piloting the heaviest ‘Mech on the field, she drew a lot of fire. However, for the most part, she rolled with it, using cover and careful bracket fire to manage her heat and keep going despite all that was thrown at her. She also kept a cool head throughout, even though her ‘Mech suffered several headshots during the battle. Her performance may not have been as spectacular as some, but she also walked away with more of a ‘Mech than a few others.

Isabella de Luca: This simulator battle was a terrible assessment of her skills. Rather than fighting like she realistically would, Isabella chose to deliberately glory-hog and make herself a target so she could score more ‘points’. So when her Warhammer was destroyed, I really wasn’t that surprised. On the other hand, she did a great job of distracting the enemy, so I should give her that, I guess.

Leonid Stanislav: I had no idea what to expect from Leonid, but even then he managed to surprise me. Early in the battle he managed to breach the reactor shielding on an otherwise fresh Lobo with a sliver from his Silver Bullet Gauss. This would set the standard for the rest of the engagement; him standing back, quietly laying down an accurate barrage of murderous long-range fire that seemed to have an uncanny ability to find the weak spots on enemy ‘Mechs. When I asked him about it after the battle he simply laughed it off.

Lanie King: I feel a bit bad for Lanie. Her performance wasn’t bad, just very mediocre compared to everyone else. She did a great job of flanking the enemy, easily cutting through the broken terrain on their side before coming in while they were distracted. And her plasma fire did a great job of worrying an enemy force that were carefully juggling their heat. However, she also was disabled once the enemy got tired of her antics and chose to deal with the annoyance.

Terry McKinnon: Terry decided that he was going to be the world’s most annoying thing. He used his Phoenix Hawk’s jump jets to get into the rear of their formation and break it up early on, causing the OpFor’s advance to fragment as a number of them decided to chase him instead of deal with the threat in front of them. He didn’t do much actual damage, but at the same time was key to our winning the day.

Viggo Ackerstrom: One of my own, so I expected how he would perform. He didn’t disappoint either, helping to support King in her flanking attack and engaging in mobile harassment of the enemy. His golden moment came when he managed to shiv a Blood Reaper that she’d already overheated, cracking open its shielding and forcing a shutdown. Unfortunately, he didn’t last too much longer than King once the Wolves got sick of him.

Ronnie Raymond Jr.: Handing out a ‘most improved’ award almost seems childish, but I feel that Ronnie deserved it. The last two years he’s spent under Terry’s guidance have clearly done him a lot of good in terms of both his piloting skills and his approach. Moving with Lanie and Viggo, he helped them flank the enemy while making sensible use of his Griffin’s mobility and cover. Several Wolf ‘Mechs ended up with backs full of SRMs thanks to him, but he also was careful not to push his luck; when his partners went down, he pulled back and regrouped. And while his ‘Mech was badly damaged, it also was still operational at the end of the battle.

Gillian Blackrock: Early in the battle her Havoc suffered severe reactor shielding damage, forcing her to withdraw. And that’s about it, really. She didn’t contribute much to the battle, so it’s really hard to get a measure on her skill. And while she’d readily admitted that she wasn’t an experienced MechWarrior, I feel like I still expected more from her.

So there you have it. I got a fair assessment of everyone except Isabella and Blackrock. In the former case, I know she can do better, both from first-hand experience and the simple fact that she’s still alive. In the latter, I have to wonder if she was as bad as claimed, was under-representing her abilities or was just unlucky. On a similar note, I’m not sure how I feel about Leonid; were all those hits of his just flukes or are his marksman skills really that good?

I want to do some more cross-training to see how our various units perform, but I also don’t want to push things too far too fast. Regardless, this was a very interesting introduction.
« Last Edit: 24 August 2021, 01:06:04 by Deadborder »
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #66 on: 23 August 2021, 03:53:08 »
Pirates Raid Obrenovac

Dateline Obrenovac, INN

Many assumed that the return of Obrenovac to the Magistracy's control after decades of independence would bring peace and stability to the world. In this last month, those assumptions were proven to be dangerously wrong.

The world was targeted by a pirate band identifying themselves as the Steel Tygers. After a daring landing on the 3rd of June, the attackers quickly disembarked from their ships to strike at their objectives. Based on their movements, Planetary Guard Colonel Zlato Hirstov deduced that they were likely headed for Split, a frequent target of prior pirate attacks, and moved his forces to intercept.

Unfortunately for Colonel Hirstov, this proved to be a feint on the part of the Steel Tygers. The band instead bypassed the guard and hit a number of targets in the Sarajevo district. Over the course of their five-day rampage, the Tygers stole vital water purification equipment, mining equipment, processed ore, food and other goods. They then moved to occupy the resort town of Tirana, using the population as human shields while engaging in a looting spree.

While aware of the situation, Hirstov’s ability to respond to the crisis was hampered by the Planetary Guard’s lack of mobility, preventing the rapid redeployment of forces. While several small skirmishes did occur between guard scouts and the attackers, the Steel Tygers were able to retreat off-world without significant losses.

“While regrettable, we must face certain realities,” Colonel Hirstov said in a prepared statement. “The Tygers have proven to be more adaptable than expected, and our own ability to respond is limited by the resources that we have at hand. Their escape is not due to any fault on the part of my men, but rather the lack of mobility that has handicapped our forces for years, a fact that our leaders have been aware of, but refused to address.”

“When we signed away our freedom to the Canopians, we expected to get something in return,” said parliamentary opposition leader Edvard Zock. “They were supposed to protect us from precisely this sort of thing happening. Instead we gave up our independence and got nothing in return.”
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #67 on: 23 August 2021, 03:54:13 »
From the personal journal of Zaki Toto

Back in the Periphery. I started here, but I’m still not sure how I feel about coming back here after all these years. I really don’t like the reasons why we’re here either. Even without Connie Raymond, our reputation is toxic thanks to her.
I just got the final handover with the employer. These colonists are genuine and certainly mean well enough, and who knows; they might actually be able to make it. Even if they did have to dig deep into their reserves to pay us.

The contract was simple enough. MMM (EDITOR’S NOTE: Majesty Metals and Manufacturing) had jumped their claim and driven them off a very promising site, taking it for their own. The colonists naturally wanted it back as they’d already put a lot of work and their own money into it, which is where we came in. And to be honest, I thought that it would be a good way to test the Bushrangers on a live opponent.

Fortunately, MMM hadn’t hired any mercs of their own to bolster their defences. A lance of Quasits supported by light armour and some infantry wasn’t going to match up to a lance of real ‘Mechs, let alone my mixed company. After taking several losses for no gain, the MMM force quickly decided that they weren’t getting paid enough for this and chose to abandon the site. Their commander negotiated a surrender by communicator and we let them go.

Even allowing for the quality of the opponents we were facing, I feel that the Bushrangers did well. We were coordinated and effective, picking out priority targets and quickly eliminating them with focused fire. No glory hounding, no stepping on each other’s toes or anything like that. Plus I don’t think any of those guys were ready to face Battle Armour; they’re still rare enough out here, which should work well for us. It definitely helps that most of the unit have been working together for years before now. This was our first real outing as a force in this new name and form, and it was definitely successful.

In many ways this contract also dispelled some of my lingering fears. I picked what would become the Bushrangers out of the wreckage of the Roughnecks, taking most of the survivors with me. I wanted to be sure that there would be no lingering loyalty left to Connie Raymond, which was why I left both Big Ron and Ronnie behind. At the time I was surprised when nobody disagreed with me on that call, but the more I think about it, the more sense it made that everyone would be with me. When I look back at it, I can’t help but feel a little blind to just how insane that witch was. Or maybe she just hid it well.

(That being said, it’s been a year and I still don’t know who the father of Gonzalez’s kid is. She won’t say, and I’m worried that my best guess will turn out to be right. In which case, this could all bite me in the arse).

We’ll take a look at how the final balance of things come out, but I think that we could even have an eye to expansion in future. The local market is one where there’s plenty to pick from but the real issue is finding the actual quality hires in among the rest of the mess. The other big issue will be transport, of course; out here it’s even harder to find a ship, which is kind of ironic given that I offloaded one of the ones I inherited. On the other hand, I feel bad for whoever bought that rustbucket, so maybe it all works out.

Regardless, the Bushrangers are back in business. It feels good.
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #68 on: 23 August 2021, 03:55:27 »
After Action Report: St Robert

To: Tai-sa Godo Suzuhara, 651st New Samarkand Tank Regiment
From: Tai-i Chester Wilton
Subject: Supply Depot A371 Raid


As requested, here is my summary of the 16th July raid on Supply Depot A371. I will attempt to describe the events as best I can.

First movement was detected at 0432 hours with the tripping of a perimeter alarm. The attackers had apparently used the Danforth River to shield their movements and avoid most of our sensor network. The spearhead of the assault consisted of a single lance of BattleMechs, a Black Knight, Ostsol, Sun Cobra and a fourth design that we were not able to positively identify. These were supported by a squad of Sea Fox battle Armour, further supporting my theory on their approach.

The attackers wasted no time in closing with the supply depot, doing their best to use the facility itself as cover. While I rallied my men to defend it, I was reluctant to engage as the enemy BattleMechs had taken to shielding themselves with the supplies; as such, I was concerned that not only would a stray shot rob the Dragon’s arm of valuable material, but there was also the risk of triggering an explosion with catastrophic results.

Conversely, the enemy had no such concerns and used their weapons freely to push back against my unit. None the less, they employed precise fire, disabling or eliminating a number of vehicles including my Bulldog. Their initial tactic proved to be more of a delay than anything else, as they were soon joined by conventional hover units, Battle Armour and infantry who assisted them in forcing my unit back. Despite their valiant efforts, especially that of gunsho Kim Hyuang who attempted to ram one of the BattleMechs with their Scimitar Mk II hovertank, we were forced to retreat.

As soon as the attackers had secured the site, they began loading our supplies into a series of hover transports. This was no indiscriminate looting, however; rather they were deliberately targeting certain items. Once they had loaded as much as they could, the enemy put what was left to the torch and retreated.

While I had opportunities to observe them, I regret that I was unable to identify the unit that these raiders had come from. They all wore standard camouflage and carried no markings save for the hated sword and sunburst of the Federated Suns.
In my actions, I have failed you, the regiment and the Dragon. I await your orders and an opportunity to atone for my failures.
« Last Edit: 23 August 2021, 04:44:01 by Deadborder »
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #69 on: 31 August 2021, 04:47:40 »
Guest character by Zogster

Wynter DeVires

Position/Rank: Kommandant
Affiliation/Unit: Lyran Commonwealth/Twenty-sixth Arcturan Guards
Birth Year: 3108

The DeVires family had long held a position of rank and power in Arcturan society; even as the world’s population and significance had dwindled over time, the simple prestige of a noble family hailing from the Lyran Commonwealth’s original capitol had given them considerable influence. Members of the family had served with the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces across centuries of conflict, usually serving in command positions bought about through their standing. Many of their members had been a part of the Arcturan Guards due to the brigade’s long-standing connection to their homeworld.

Wynter DeVires was no exception to the family’s traditions. The oldest child of their line, it was expected that she would continue their history of service, an ideal that she gladly embraced. While her family’s standing within Lyran society would be enough to ensure her success, she proved to be a capable MechWarrior in her own right during her training at the Nagelring. At the same time, she also fully embraced the more social side of the academy’s culture, building her own network of allies and contacts.

Her first assignment would almost prove to be her last. Her heritage and connections saw her win a place as a junior officer within the Arcturan Guards, stationed on their homeworld. In 3128, she would be thrown into combat when the world was invaded by Clan Wolf. The invaders proved to be too much for the defenders, and Wynter was among those forced to retreat from the world. The loss of both her homeworld, as well as the seeming humiliation of being driven from the Commonwealth’s original capitol, caused her to develop a hatred of all things Clan.

In the aftermath of the defeat, Wynter was reassigned to a billet in the prestigious Twentieth Arcturan Guards on Tharkad. There she immersed herself in the more social side of the LCAF, building up a network of allies among Tharkan society. In among them, Wynter was able to find more than a few nobles and others of power or influence who also stung over the loss of Arcturus, and sought to reclaim the world. Her hatred of the Clans also won her some allies, including more than a few who were wary of the Lyran’s supposed allies, Clan Wolf-in-Exile. Many felt that the Exiles had too much independence, and that the state needed to reign them in.

Wynter would see action during the next decade as the Twentieth was sporadically rotated to the front lines, engaging in border skirmishes and raids against the Jade Falcons. In each case, she demonstrated her abilities, proving to be a capable officer in her own right rather than simply resting on her social standing to get by. However, she was caught short by Archon Melissa Steiner II’s alliance with the Wolf Clan, seeing such as being inviting disaster to the Commonwealth’s door. The successes of operation HAMMERFALL, as well as Arcturus being reclaimed by the Commonwealth did little to ease her concerns.

She would next see action following the Wolves’ betrayal, but not against them. Rather, her unit would face the Jade Falcons following their surge in the early 3140s, taking part in several clashes before withdrawing to Tharkad. Once there, the unit faced the unthinkable, a direct invasion of the capitol by the forces of two Clans. During the battle, Wynter acquitted herself well, scoring several kills against Clan Wolf forces before her own ‘Mech was disabled. At the end of the day, she was one of the few survivors of the Twentieth, and among those that were folded into the Twenty-sixth Arcturan Guards.

Since then she and the rest of her unit have been on station on the Clan frontier, trying to hold back the seeming inevitable tide of the Falcon forces. While she has seen plenty of action in her own regard, she has been pushing for the unit to take a more direct approach to dealing with the Clan ‘problem’. At the same time, she has shown increasing suspicion of the Exiles, despite the losses they have suffered, feeling that there is something amiss with their supposed allies.

DNF-3S Defiance Faust

Mass: 75 tons
Chassis: Defiant V Endo Steel
Powerplant: Edasich 300 Light Fusion Engine
Cruising Speed: 43 kph (54 kph with TSM)
Maximum Speed: 64 kph (86 kph with TSM)
Jump Jets: None
   Jump Capacity: None
Armour: Durallex Heavy Standard
      2 Defiance 1001 Extended Range Particle Projector Cannons
      1 Defiance Disintegrator LB 10-X
      2 Diverse Optics Extended Range Medium Lasers
      2 Diverse Optics Extended Range Small Lasers
      1 Coventry 90mm SRM-6
      1 Trellshire MiniGun
Comm System: Angst Discom
T&T System: Angst Accuracy

Following a protracted development process that fell afoul of politics and civil war, the Defiance emerged as a successful heavy BattleMech that would go on to become a signature of the Lyran Commonwealth. Inspired by the classic Warhammer, the ‘Mech boasts considerable firepower, although at the cost of an aggressive heat curve.

Wynter DeVires was assigned her current Defiance on her reassignment to the Twenty-sixth Arcturan Guards as a replacement for the BattleMech she lost on Tharkad. As befitting both her rank and social standing, she was given a high priority for a replacement, and received the ‘Mech virtually straight from the factory. Theoretically, it was assigned to her as a command platform that would allow her to stay alive in the thick of battle while commanding her forces.

Despite this intent, on the battlefield, Wynter takes a very aggressive approach, seeking to take the battle to the Commonwealth’s enemies. She pushes her ‘Mech hard, riding its heat curve and usually fighting with its triple-strength myomers active. While risky, especially for a ranking officer, so far this approach has been successful for her.
« Last Edit: 31 August 2021, 04:53:02 by Deadborder »
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #70 on: 31 August 2021, 04:52:44 »
Guest character by KayEmm

Kia Malthus
Position/Rank: Star Captain
Affiliation/Unit: Clan Jade Falcon/Delta Galaxy
Birth Year: 3118

Outwardly, Kia Malthus represents a stereotypical Clan Warrior. Her path was typical; decanted in 3118 to a trueborn sibko, she would be one of the few among them to reach full warrior status. During her training she displayed an exceptional ferocity by Falcon standards, not hesitating to put down any who she saw as a rival by any means needed. Even before her trials, she had faced her fellows in combat, and been responsible for the death of one of them in a duel.

Despite this front, she also developed an oddly close bond with Amera, one of her sibkin. The two were opposites in many ways; Kia being stronger and blunt, while she was small, fast and quick-witted. Outwardly, the pair had each other’s backs and would aid each other against their would-be rivals, ensuring each other’s success. They also would disappear for periods of time, slipping away from their Falconers and not letting anyone in on their secrets.

For Kia, these moments turned into a release valve. Though undiagnosed, she was in the early stages of severe depression. However, showing signs of such in front of her sibkin or trainers would be a weakness that could be used against her. Rather, she chose to hide this side of herself so that she could succeed. Amera was the only person who knew the full story, and acted as a comfort to her sibkin.

The pair of them graduated through their trials as Star Commanders, but would end up being assigned to different units. The early years of their service was in the reconstruction of the Falcons following the Rending, and then the surge into the Lyran Commonwealth. Both Kia and Amera would see actions on numerous worlds, facing opponents from both the LCAF and Clan Wolf-in-Exile. During this stage of her life, she used her aggression and drive as a focus, ensuring that her personal issues did not simply have the opportunity to arise. The peak of this drive came when Delta Galaxy invaded Tharkad; while ultimately unsuccessful in their conquest, Kia scored multiple kills against the Lyran defenders during the battle.

Any feeling of triumph that she might have gained from the battle was cut short with the news that Amera had been killed in action. While as a Clan warrior she was not supposed to mourn and instead celebrate her sibkin’s glory, internally Kia was devastated by what had happened. However, to show her feelings would be seen as a weakness, so instead she kept it buried and feigned the ardent drive shared by her fellows. So convincing was her performance that she was sponsored for a Bloodname, winning it through a series of decisive and one-sided clashes.

The combination of her Bloodname and a promotion ensured that Kia remained at the forefront of the Falcon drive into the Lyran Commonwealth. Her life is one of constant battle, a situation that any Clan warrior would normally revel in, but instead is slowly wearing her down. She maintains a front of the ferocious warrior that she is expected to be no less; if anything, she comes off as arrogant and bragging even by Clan standards, complete with an air of superiority that includes reveling in the failures of others. She has been a strong advocate for direct engagement with the Wolf Empire, even if it is impossible to tell from the outside if that is about her own desire for victory for her Clan, or finding some new enemy to deflect her own issues on to.

As an aside, or possibly even a way to distract herself from her own issues and to give herself a focus, Kia has developed an interest in swordsmanship, both in terms of swordfighting techniques as well as blacksmithing and related areas of forging and crafting a weapon.

Jade Phoenix The Sun Eater

Mass: 85 tons
Chassis: JF 8 Light Endo-Composite
Powerplant: General Systems 340 XL
Cruising Speed: 43 kph
Maximum Speed: 64 kph
Jump Jets: Grandthrust Mk 5 with Partial Wing
   Jump Capacity: 150 meters
Armour: Compound JF Ferro-Fibrous
      2 Type DDS “Kingston” Extended Range Particle Projector Cannons
      1 Type 0 Hyper-Velocity Assault Gun 30
Comm System: JF Integrated
T&T System: Goshawk E-Series

A new design, the Jade Phoenix is a more traditional OmniMech design, as opposed to the more radical Jade Falcon BattleMechs such as the Shrike. While heavily armoured, its most notable feature is its partial wing design that gives it exceptional mobility for its weight. Combined with its ample pod space, the Jade Phoenix is a potent weapon.

Kia Malthus initially piloted a Night Gyr, preferring the OmniMech’s primary configuration; in her hands, it was a lethal weapon, scoring numerous kills against Lyran and Wolf opponents. After her promotion, she was assigned a new Jade Phoenix, choosing the primary configuration for the similarity to her previous configuration. She chose to title the ‘Mech the Sun Eater, a deliberately overly dramatic name that suited her persona.

Typically, Kia will take full advantage of her ‘Mech’s superb mobility to outmaneuver and flank her opponents, be it to strike at a weakness in their forces or to isolate an opponent. This tactic has worked especially well against slower Lyran opponents, and has seen some success against Wolf opponents as well. However, where possible she will try to fight honourably; preferring one-on-one duels and choosing heavier opponents that are a better match for her own ‘Mech.
« Last Edit: 31 August 2021, 06:18:38 by Deadborder »
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #71 on: 31 August 2021, 04:56:53 »
Zeke Isaacs

Position/Rank: Captain
Affiliation/Unit: Mercenary/Stanislav’s Hammers
Birth Year: 3105 (presumed)

Like many of the members of Stanislav’s Hammers, Zeke Isaacs is an enigma. His origins are unknown, both in terms of his homeworld as well as his connection to the rest of the unit, or even where he trained as a MechWarrior. To make matters even more confusing, the one thing that has been discovered about his past has only raised more questions.

Zeke Isaacs has a distant relative; an officer in the DCMS’ Tenth Pesht Regulars. What makes this more confusing is that their last common ancestor is a mercenary warrior who served with the Draconis Combine during the Second Succession War. However, while a genetic link has been found between the two, that fails to explain the actual lineage connecting one to the other. While it does not seem that Zeke himself is aware of this link, it is also likely that he would not divulge any information about it even if he did. Rather, like the rest of his unit’s leadership, there seems to be an unspoken pledge never to explain their past.

One of the current generation of Stanislav’s Hammers, Zeke Isaacs was among those that were with the unit when it reemerged in the Periphery in 3132. At that point he was a junior officer that was noted for his consistent, if unspectacular performance, both as a member of staff and on the battlefield. While he had gained a degree of success in combat with Periphery pirates, militias and other local forces, at the time it was hard to say if that was due to his own abilities or the simple lack of technology and organization often found among his opponents.

When the Hammers relocated to Galatea in 3137 he demonstrated that his victories were legitimately earned as the unit faced off with better equipped and trained opponents. Zeke proved that he was a capable commander in his own right, performing well against the opponents the Hammers faced in the former Republic and other growing conflicts of the time. In 3140 he was promoted to second in command of the unit after the death of his predecessor in combat, a position that he has held since. With the expansion of the Hammers in recent years, including the recruitment of new members who have no connection to the unit’s hidden past, Zeke Isaacs has become vital to the integration of those new recruits into their culture.

Compared to the oft bombastic and seemingly unpredictable Leonid Stanislav, Zeke Isaacs is far more levelheaded and calm, seeming to be the voice of reason compared to his commander. Zeke carries himself with a cool demeanor and measured patience that implies a more sophisticated background. However, as with Leonid’s own behavior, it is not clear how much of this is genuine and how much of it is an act that the pair of them have carefully practiced over the years to fool both enemies and potential employers (and, if such is the case, then why they do it).

Outside of his role as a battlefield commander, Zeke serves an administrative role within the unit, and has begun to take over responsibility for training of new recruits. This includes not only new hires, but also the children of existing members; a factor that is considered important given that the unit and its hereditary members cannot apparently return to their point of origin. As such, maintaining a continuity of culture and tradition is clearly important.

Despite clearly being in step with Leonid Stanislav, Zeke has made it clear that he does not like their ally, Isabella de Luca of the Krymzon Guard. While the relationship between the two units is a long-standing one, this is one case where he feels that they should not be bound by tradition or history. This is less about the alliance however and more that he simply does not like her as a person, probably due to her oft-grating personality. For the moment, however, he remains loyal to the Hammers as a whole and defers to Stanislav’s decisions on the matter.

TDR-10SE Thunderbolt Bad Day

Mass: 65 tons
Chassis: Earthworks TDR IIa Endo Steel
Powerplant: 260 Magna
Cruising Speed: 43 kph
Maximum Speed: 64 kph (86 kph w/MASC)
Jump Jets: Chilton 466
   Jump Capacity: 120 meters
Armour: StarShield A
      1 Fusigon Longtooth Extended Range Particle Projector Cannon
      3 Diverse optics Sunfire Extended Range Medium Lasers
      1 Doombud LRM-10
Comm System: Neil 8000 w/Guardian ECM
T&T System: RCA Instatrac Mark X w/Targeting Computer

Compared to the still unknown origins of Stanislav’s Hammers, the Thunderbolt piloted by Zeke Isaacs has a known, if complicated origin. Built on Tikonov in the last days of the Civil War, it was pressed into service with the CCAF during the Jihad. The ‘Mech would survive that conflict before later falling in battle during the Victoria War. From there, it would pass through several further owners before being salvaged by the Hammers, and given to Isaacs as a part of his promotion.

Zeke quickly took a shine to the new BattleMech and has proven to be adept at its controls. Wherever possible he will take advantage of its surprising mobility for a heavy ‘Mech, such as jumping into an opponent’s flank. Likewise, he is not afraid to push its MASC system to gain an advantage or to throw off an opponent. So far, these tactics have worked well for him, both on his own and at the head of his lance.

For the moment, Zeke seems to be content with his BattleMech. While the Hammers have been able to acquire some newer or more advanced designs, he has shown no interest in upgrading from his Thunderbolt. He has nicknamed the ‘Mech Bad Day for some reason; while his reasoning might seem unclear, compared to the other mysteries circling around him and the rest of his unit, such an oddity is comparatively inconsequential.
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #72 on: 31 August 2021, 04:59:32 »
Ron McDougall

Position/Rank: Instructor
Affiliation/Unit: Galatean Defense League
Birth Year: 3090

Ron McDougall inherited the shattered remains of his family’s mercenary unit following the death of his father. Realising the realities of the situation, he formed an alliance with Connie Raymond that saw the merger of their two commands, culminating in their marriage and the birth of their son, Ronnie Raymond Jr. For the next two and a half decades, Ron would remain a loyal second to Raymond, never suspecting the depths of her obsessions or the lengths that she would eventually go to in order to settle a long-standing feud.

Their relationship fell apart during the battle of Hindmarsh. Realizing that the Roughnecks’ situation had become untenable, Ron ordered a withdrawal, only to have it countermanded by Connie Raymond. Ron was nearly killed when his tank was disabled on the battlefield, with only the timely intervention of his son saving his life. Ironically, Ronnie’s actions had come at the cost of his choosing to abandon his mother instead. Ron survived the battle, a fate not shared with much of the rest of the unit.

Following the effective destruction of Raymond’s Roughnecks, Ron McDougall was deliberately excluded from Zaki Toto’s reformation of the unit due to his past connections to its former leader. Fully accepting the decision and understanding the reasoning, Ron chose to retire from the mercenary life. This would not be a long break, however, as he was soon recruited by the Galatean Defense League to act as an instructor for teaching vehicle crews. While he enjoys this new job and has been quite successful at it, he also holds no illusions about ever returning to action.

Ron’s relationship with his son has strengthened somewhat since the destruction of the Roughnecks and the realization of Connie Raymond’s toxicity. At the same time, he has somewhat reconciled with Jessie Packard, his stepdaughter; while their relationship is still distant, it is far less strained then it was in past.

Banh Khanh Phi

Position/Rank: Sao-wei
Affiliation/Unit: Capellan Confederation/First Liao Guards
Birth Year: 3120

Born into a working-class family, Banh Khanh Phi joined the CCAF as a way to both serve his nation and improve his circumstances. His background made it easy to ‘lose’ him in the system, while his loyalty was quietly confirmed by the Maskirovka, making him a candidate for the Hidden Lion program. Training as a battle armour trooper, he showed a lot of promise both for his strength and skill, as well as his willingness to accept the risks involved with the role.

While not a part of the initial forces deployed during Operation GREAT FLOOD, he would instead be rotated into the First Liao Guards to make up losses as they stabilized the reclaimed worlds in the former Republic. During Operation CELESTIAL REWARD, he saw action against Federated Suns opponents on a number of worlds. His quick thinking saw him claim several victories against enemy armour and BattleMechs, even though he risked injury or even death along the way.

While a firm believer in the idea that the Confederation should conquer Terra and claim its destiny as the rightful leaders of all humanity, he has expressed reservations about the approach being taken towards that goal. Recently, he has become a vocal opponent of the Unity alliance with the Draconis Combine, feeling that the Confederation does not need their help while also expressing a strong distrust towards their own goals and motives.

While outwardly his loyalty to the Confederation would seem unquestioned, there are a few irregularities in his past that have so far gone seemingly unnoticed. While the most likely answer is that he is in fact a Maskirovka plant intended to keep an eye on the unit, there is also the possibility that he might be working for someone else.

Guest character by Zogster

Deep Zimmerman

Position/Rank: Adept
Affiliation/Unit: ComStar
Birth Year: 3105 (estimated)

Even as ComStar’s light rapidly fades, there are still those that remain loyal to the organization for whatever reason. Many do such because they have nothing else in their lives, while others hold out some hope that a miracle may yet occur that will see the restoration of the HPG network.

Deep Zimmerman seems to fall into none of these categories, despite his apparent background. Like many within the order, his family had served with ComStar for generations, and it was clear that he would follow in their footsteps. While technologically literate, his focus was more on business and administrative matters, which saw him take on an administrative role in one of the Order’s Lyran Commonwealth stations. Never overly ambitious or skilled, he quickly settled into a functional middle management role where his only notable achievement was helping with administrative matters that came from the Lyran Commonwealth’s 3137 bailout of the organization.

It is only at deeper analysis that a number of holes begin to appear in his story. Records about his past were purportedly lost as a result of collateral damage from a core meltdown during Grey Monday; an event that, while entirely plausible, is also very convenient. As a result, everything that is known about his background is, in fact, something that he has said himself and has to be taken at face value. As a result, Deep Zimmerman could very well be an agent for someone else and pushing some unknowable agenda. Or he could simply be exactly what he seems to be; a middling bureaucrat of no consequence.

Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #73 on: 21 September 2021, 07:49:22 »
Guest chapter by Zogster

Pilot Hit

The massive bay doors ground open, exposing the 'Mech bay to the elements beyond. A cold gust of wind blasted into the cavernous interior of Ur, the Star of Sumer’s Union-class DropShip. Almost immediately, the ponderous tread of BattleMechs rang out as a quartet of the massive creations thudded onboard.

Katarina Morrison impatiently pressed herself to the railing of an upper-level catwalk. They had just broken radio silence upon recovering their command lance, and she looked out to confirm what she had heard. There in the lead was Gilgamesh, the commander’s BattleMaster. Its canopy was frosted over from the howling blizzard outside, but that only served to throw the jagged hole at its centre into sharp relief.

“Archon’s beard,” she muttered to herself as her ward joined her.

“Is she…” began Jakub Day at her side, before nervously falling silent.

Katarina shook her head. “No. She’d have to be okay to pilot it in manually, but…” She laid a hand on the young man’s shoulder, before falling silent.

A piercing call of “Medic!” rang out over the hubbub of the ‘Mech bay. The BattleMaster had maneuvered into position, and was now slowly opening its shattered canopy. Katarina surged forward to assess what had happened.

Lana Kotovski sat in the cockpit, shivering despite the ‘Mech’s heated interior. Her face was ashen, but Katarina and Jakub found their eyes drawn to the jagged shard jutting out of her thigh. One of Lana’s hands fell from the controls to clutch at the wound, where her pilot suit was already stained red.

Katarina’s eyes darted from Lana’s face to her wound, silent for long seconds. It was all she could do to blurt out, “What happened?”

The younger woman smiled back at her, seemingly unconcerned by the injury. “We did good. Intercepted the enemy force and drove them back. Sealed the pass, too.” She nodded to Jakub as he joined Katarina at her side. “They’re going to have to loop around the long way. Should give the locals at least a day to evacuate.”
Jakub took her hand gently, as much for his own relief as hers, and softly said “You’re going to be okay.”

Before anyone could respond, there was a loud call of “Coming through!” The pair separated and let their diminutive doctor push past to see Lana. They stepped back onto the catwalk, joining the Star of Sumer’s chief technician by the BattleMaster’s shoulder.

“What happened?” Jakub asked, more than a note of fear in his voice.

“Autocannon shell burst against the cockpit,” he bluntly replied. “Canopy took the brunt of it, should have held.” He shook his head as assessed the damage.

“It’s not supposed to shatter like that,” Jakub stated.

The technician merely shrugged. “Could have been anything. Incomplete repair job, structural defect that went unnoticed…”

Or just that accursed ‘Mech, Katarina thought. Somehow, she imagined the others were echoing her sentiment.

At that point the unit’s chief medical officer stepped out of the cockpit. She wiped her hands on her pant legs, staining them red. “Well, there’s good news and bad news,” she started, looking over the small assembly before her. “Cockpit shard’s punctured through her femoral artery and nailed her right to the command couch. Where it is, it’s keeping her from bleeding out.”

“And that’s the bad news,” Katarina asked hopefully.

“No, that’s the good news. The actual bad news is that we can’t get her out of the ‘Mech without pulling it, and then we’ll lose her before we get her to the med bay.” She chewed on her bottom lip, the worry evident in her voice.

Katarina and Jakub looked at each other nervously. Both of them somehow knew this day would come, but at the same time they were desperately hoping not to see it. Katarina turned to the medic and asked “There must be something you can do.”

“Not in these cramped conditions,” she said. A quick glance up at the towering mechanic’s grim face confirmed her worst fears.

“Take out the command couch,” Jakub said suddenly, drawing everyone’s attention.

Katarina blinked at him in surprise, even as the idea germinated in her head. “Right.” She glanced up at the technician. “Disable the ejection system, remove the canopy and extract the command couch and… and carry her to the med bay on that!”

The technician pondered for an agonising second, before nodding. With a gesture he summoned a couple of assistants and got to work on the towering ‘Mech’s shattered canopy.

“You people are crazy,” the doctor said as they stepped away to let the others work. She turned away and started down a hall, bellowing out, “Clear the med bay!”

Jakub and Katarina stepped back, letting the professionals go to work. Once again, she laid a reassuring hand on the young man’s shoulder, telling him “She’s going to be okay.”

“I know, it’s just…” He halted, looking at the impassive form of the towering BattleMaster. Somewhat quietly, he finished by saying “I lost my dad in that ‘Mech.”

“Me too.” Katarina wrapped him up in a brief, if warm hug, before he went on his way. Lost to her own thoughts, she turned back to the ‘Mech, seemingly staring it down.

“She is the best thing that has happened to this unit,” Katarina said under her breath. “And you are not taking her away from us.”
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #74 on: 21 September 2021, 08:07:55 »
Audio Log #76705-Rho

Terry McKinnon: Hey Ron. Good day out?

Ronnie Raymond: More or less. You know, stuff on my mind and all.

McKinnon: Something bothering you? And don’t pretend there isn’t; if one of my lance has something wrong, I should know about it before we get killed or whatever else.

Raymond: I wanted to thank you again for bringing me on with all this. It took a lot for you to trust me given my past and all.

McKinnon: You’ve earned it, Ron. The last two years you’ve shown me that you’re not only a good MechWarrior but that you’re actually a decent guy.

Raymond: You wouldn’t have said that if you’d known me before.

McKinnon: Hey, I was an obnoxious snot myself when I was younger, so it’s no big deal. We all make mistakes. Besides, I know what it’s like to have an awkward relationship with a half-sibling, so there’s that.

Raymond: Hey, Jessie and I kind of talk these days.

McKinnon: Which means you’ve got one up on me and Damien.

Raymond: Yeah, I guess.

McKinnon: It’s like I said; you’ve done well for yourself so far, and I wouldn’t have bought you in if I didn’t think you could handle it, or that you wouldn’t have anything to bring to the table.

Raymond: Still, I figure Irisz must have loved you over that call.

McKinnon: Let’s just say that I was sleeping on the couch that night and leave it at that. [Laughs]

Raymond: That good, huh?

McKinnon: I’m going to call it a calculated risk on my part and leave it at that.

Raymond: Speaking of, I think I have something that might be of interest to you and the group.

McKinnon: Oh? What’s that?

Raymond: Went to have lunch with dad earlier.

McKinnon: How’s he doing?

Raymond: The GDF gig’s keeping him very busy. His having four decades of experience in a tank has made him a hell of an instructor, which has gotten him a lot of work. And he mentioned something interesting that came up on the job.

McKinnon: So what did he find?

Raymond: It’s the Roughriders. They’ve gone.

McKinnon: Well they could have taken a contract or something.

Raymond: That’s the thing; if they did, they didn’t even tell anyone in the GDF about it. Instead they’ve up and vanished without saying where they were going, who had hired them or anything else. Dad said that they cleaned out a lot of their supply stores and reserves too, and were just leaving the Force with enough to keep operating for the moment.

McKinnon: So a top-tier merc unit up and vanishes while leaving the private army they’d built up behind.

Raymond: Yep. Told you it was interesting.

McKinnon: Thanks for that, Ronnie. I think that there are people who should know about this. [Pause] Oh, and can you do me a favour?

Raymond: What’s up?

McKinnon: Try talking to Jessie every now and then. Probably would do the pair of you a world of good.
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #75 on: 21 September 2021, 08:08:55 »
Wanted: The Crow Brothers Gang

Greene, Timbuktu

Let it be known that the government of the Timbuktu Collective has placed a reward for the capture or deaths of the notorious Crow Brothers Gang. This band of pirates have been responsible for attacks throughout the Timbuktu Collective, and are guilty of Piracy, Murder, Assault, Theft, Destruction of Property, Kidnapping, Extortion, Arson and numerous other crimes.

The Crow Brothers are known to be armed and dangerous. The gang is in possession of at least one lance of BattleMechs, as well as at least a company of combat vehicles and two aerospace fighters. Furthermore, they are also known to use conscript infantry in their forces. The Crow Brothers possess at least one DropShip and have access to a JumpShip to enable their raids. At present, the Crow Brothers are believed to have a base of operations on Haggard, although this information is unverified and should be taken with some caution.

Bounties will be paid on confirmation of the destruction of the gang or the elimination of their ability to threaten other worlds. Proof of such destruction, including prisoners, bodies or battleROMs should be presented to the nearest convenient office of the Collective Armed Guards. Payment will be presented on verification of evidence.

Furthermore, individual bounties will be paid on the heads of the leaders of the Crow Brothers; Luke Crow, Jimmy Crow, Zebadiah Crow and Daisy Crow. These four are responsible for the gang’s operations and their elimination is considered to be a priority. All four of them are known to be MechWarriors and should be considered to be extremely dangerous.
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #76 on: 21 September 2021, 08:09:55 »
Guest chapter by Zogster

From the personal journal of Lana Kotovski

When Lanie King approached me with her offer of alliance, I was somewhat dubious regarding the idea. While I do trust her and appreciate her honesty, and the idea of forming an alliance of friendly units had merit, it was the reasoning behind it that bothered me. Working at the behest of an intelligence agent, regardless of his origin, was still a questionable choice. And while I might still believe in the dream of the Republic, there are certain realities that one cannot ignore.

But despite these misgivings, this alliance might work. My first impressions are positive. I’ve seen the mercenary business from both sides, and know enough that not all units or their commanders are the upstanding examples we strive to be. That the people chosen all have positive reputations speak well of the intent behind this idea.

I had been looking into a pirate hunting contract on offer from the Timbuktu Collective. Specifically, they were looking to eliminate the Crow Brothers Gang, a particularly dangerous band that had been menacing their worlds (and the Rim Collection before that) for some years now. By all reports, they are brutal, ruthless and unforgiving, and have gone well beyond the bounds of desperation and necessity that often characterises such groups and are verging into actual cruelty. This I cannot ignore.

While the terms seemed good and I feel that the Star would be capable of handling the pirate force, I still had issues with the contract. The location given for the Crow Brothers was an abandoned system on the fringes of the Collective, but even then that was only a reported location without verification.  What little details I could find on the world were desperately out of date. That could lead to months of searching to find their muster point, which in turn made me dubious as to the offer. As much of a threat as the Crow Brothers represented to the people they targeted, we could end up chasing shadows and accomplishing nothing.

I put this problem to Lanie, and she was understanding of my situation. Clearly she had also passed along my concerns, as I soon was contacted with a resolution to the matter. Antonin Ryback, the instigator of this alliance, provided me with a file loaded with information about the Crow Brothers; their history, their strengths, their tactics and so on. This alone was better than the information that the Collective had offered, but the real prize was in the detail. The file confirmed that they were indeed based on Haggard and came complete with a relatively recent dossier on the world, while also highlighting some likely locations for their base of operations. In short, it was everything I could have asked for.

I do have to wonder just how he came across all this, given just how poorly documented the region is. Certainly, given his past I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the information provided. I earnestly believe that he wants these marauders shut down before they can hurt anyone else. After careful consideration, I returned to the Collective to accept their contract. I even managed to work out a more favourable deal thanks to the intel I had in hand.

I suppose this will be the ultimate test of this alliance. Let us see how this works out.

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #77 on: 04 October 2021, 02:48:45 »

Star Type (Recharge Time): G2V (183 hours)
Position in system: 2 of 8
Time to Jump Point: 9.12 days
Number of Satellites: 2 (Cissor, de la Abbicia)
Surface Gravity: 1.01 g
Atmospheric Pressure: Standard (Breathable)
Equatorial Temperature: 41 C (Arid)
Surface Water: 43%
Highest Native Life: Insects
Recharge Point: None
HPG Class: None
Population: 1,024,000
Socio-Industrial Levels: F-D-C-F-D
Landmasses (Capitol City): Abbey, Co Carlow, Flan, Leinster

The first surveys of Haggard suggested that the world had very little to offer potential colonists. While it did have a breathable atmosphere, that was about the limit of its desirable traits. Nonetheless, the world would be settled and incorporated into the Rim Worlds Republic, managing to even survive the fall of that nation. And while it is no longer represented on most maps, the system is still inhabited by a tenacious lot who stubbornly cling to life.

Haggard II is an arid world, the result of several factors, not the least of which is a minimal axial tilt that results in very little seasonal variation. Its four major continents are separated by shallow, briny seas, while actual fresh surface water is quite rare. Much of the world’s land area is dominated by dry, semi-arid regions that are punctuated by jagged mountain ranges, a result of the world’s last major spike of geological activity.

The world’s native life proved to be just as unpleasant as its environment. Plant life was limited mostly to grasses and fungi, some of which could reach impressive proportions. The animal life, on the other hand, was chiefly dominated by all manner of insects. While much of that amounted to parallels to native Terran species, there also were a number of impressively sized, hard-shelled creatures filling the spaces in the ecosystems usually dominated by ‘higher’ lifeforms on both land and in the oceans.

As a result of this combination of traits, the Rim Worlds Republic were initially disinterested in Haggard. While the world was surveyed and catalogued, there was no real effort made to actually set up any sort of permanent colony for over a century. The planet had little to offer, and the expense of importing water and food was considered to be too great for such a little reward. There was some discussion of setting up a penal colony on the world, but little came of it. Nonetheless, there were persistent rumours of persons being ‘disappeared’ only to be dumped on the world.

No serious consideration was given to actual colonisation until the 27th century, when two different factors came together to make the world more attractive to the Rim Worlds Republic. The first was the development of advanced water purification technologies that would enable the world to support a more significant population. The second was the discovery of considerable reserves of rare radioactives in the central Flan continent, which the Republic was eager to exploit.

By the end of the century, the planet’s population was booming as the Republic set up mining colonies across its surface. These were further bolstered by waves of civilian settlers that were ‘encouraged’ to move to the planet to set up supporting industries, such as agriculture. However, much of the colonisation effort was underwritten by Republican mining companies that wanted to keep a stranglehold over the planet’s population and economy. Consequently, most of the industries set up were under their control, resulting in a company-store-based economy.

Mining efforts stepped up after the ascension of Stephan Amaris to the Rim Worlds presidency as the materials being extracted were used to help fuel his private armies. With little oversight and no real need to restrain themselves, the rampant mining operations on Flan contaminated much of the centre of the continent with toxic and even radioactive runoff. Likewise, working conditions deteriorated as miners were essentially forced into working in dangerous conditions to support both Amaris’ needs and their corporate overlords.

This approach would backfire following the Amaris coup and subsequent invasion of the Republic by Kerensky’s loyalists. The planetary garrison had been stripped of much of its manpower and equipment to support APOTHEOSIS and the related build-up, leaving behind only a skeletal force. When the first SLDF forces touched down on Haggard, Amaris loyalists within the garrison urged their massively outnumbered and outmatched forces to engage the invaders. Instead, those forces turned on their own leaders, quickly deposing the planetary government. In the end, most of the shots fired during the invasion were by the local forces at their own former leadership. When the SLDF entered the capitol city of Nenagh, they were greeted as saviours by the people.

The SLDF set up a provisional government with the aid of those factions that had supported them, but then largely left it to its own devices once they departed for the Hegemony. As the Rim Worlds Republic tore itself apart, that leadership did their best to try and hold the planet together, but suffered several setbacks. Key among them was that its economy had been set up to support mining companies that no longer existed through transport infrastructure that was no longer there. This lead to an economic meltdown, resulting in mass unemployment.

To make matters worse, the Lyran invasion of the Rim Worlds Republic served to further destabilise the region. While Haggard was not directly targeted, the LCAF still raided the world on several occasions, pillaging mineral reserves while further weakening the already struggling government. Left orphaned in the wake of the Rim Worlds collapse, it was all that Haggard’s leaders could do to try and simply keep their world alive. However, their problems were only just beginning.

Compared to many other worlds of the region, Haggard was more amenable to human life. Many of those other worlds sought ways to prevent their own demise, and that included turning on their fellows. Haggard would be raided several times by other former Rim Worlds powers, targeting their water purification technologies and food reserves. The anaemic planetary guard could do little to stop these attacks, serving to at best slow them down; rather the policy became to simply try and limit the damage.

Things would change in 2817 with the arrival of Manos Geredies, a mercenary leader who himself was of Rim Worlds descent. His unit had broken contract with the Lyran Commonwealth in the face of Combine forces, and were now on the run. Seeking a haven, Geredies dropped on Haggard with the remnants of his force, effortlessly steamrolling the planetary guard. Rather than simply taking what he wanted, he instead marched on the capitol and declared himself the Emperor of Haggard at gunpoint. The few who complained were quickly cut down by his BattleMechs.

Only two months later, a raiding force made landfall on Haggard. Rather than the weak defences they expected, they instead faced Geredies and his men, who shattered both their forces and their resolve in a single, bloody battle. Their raid quickly turned into a rout, with many of the raiders simply surrendering after their leaders were killed. Enraged at the idea that anyone else would try to intrude on his ‘empire’, Geredies rounded up those captives that he had taken and had them publicly executed.

As a ruler, he was an unrestrained tyrant, ruling through a combination of terror and brute force. Those that opposed him or spoke out in any way would usually be rounded up and subject to public execution. He gladly indulged in his own excesses, taking what he wanted from the planet and its people while rewarding his own henchmen. He turned the planet’s capitol building into a palace filled with his stolen riches, while also converting its stadium into a gladiatorial arena.

On the other side, his presence provided a degree of protection for the world. Those raiders who tried to strike the world faced stiff resistance from his forces; any survivors from such attacks would be rounded up and given the choice of execution or being press-ganged into his army. As his strength grew, he would even launch raids to other worlds for their resources, or out of retaliation.

His reign would come to a sudden end in 2856 when Geredies, who by that point had become morbidly obese, suffered a heart attack during his birthday banquet. With no clear successor, his henchmen began to fight among themselves for his throne. These powerplays quickly escalated into a full-blown civil war between the claimants, which achieved little but to deplete their forces. After two years, the largest of the factions seized control of their DropShips and simply fled the planet, their ultimate destination unknown. Those remaining continued to fight among themselves, with the conflict eventually burning out due to a simple lack of forces to fight with.

An uneasy peace resulted in the rise of a new planetary government in 2867, building itself from all the remaining factions. Their first task was to take stock of what they had to work with and what assets the world still possessed. The combination of neglect, raiding and the damage wrought by the civil war had damaged much of the world’s water purification capabilities, while the first census taken in decades revealed a substantial population decline. Efforts were taken to rationalise what was left and consolidate resources, a move aimed at preserving life as best as possible.

Ultimately, these moves would do little beyond postponing the inevitable. The last of the large-scale water purification facilities failed at the end of the century, a crisis that lead to the collapse of an ever increasingly weak and ineffectual government. As access to clean water dwindled, crops failed and mass starvation took hold over the world. The population collapsed within a generation, leaving little behind. A cursory ComStar survey in 2950 found empty cities and few signs of human activity, leading to their simply marking the world as ‘dead’ and removing it from maps.

Despite this, Haggard remains inhabited. A small population survives, having been mostly reduced to subsistence farming in isolated homesteads scattered across the more temperate regions of three of the world’s four continents. Very little in the way of actual government exists, although there are some regional councils made up of farmer groups that have come together for mutual protection and aid. Technology has regressed to pre-spaceflight levels, and is largely focused on keeping old machinery, chiefly localised water purification, operational.

The collapse of the planet’s population left its cities largely intact but abandoned as they were no longer viable. Occasionally groups of scavengers will move into them to pick over whatever might be left, but they also serve as havens for bandits and drifters. Conversely, much of Flan is no longer inhabitable, having been contaminated by the toxic and radioactive runoff from the mines.
« Last Edit: 04 October 2021, 02:53:15 by Deadborder »
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #78 on: 04 October 2021, 02:52:53 »
Maskirovka Recording Log 67435-76

Sang-wei Jie-Le Feng: You requested to see me, Sang-shao?

Sang-shao Elliot Liao-Subramanya: Thank you for reporting so promptly, Sang-wei. Please be seated.

Feng: May I ask what this is about?

Liao-Subramanya: As you are doubtless aware, we are at a critical juncture for the future of the Confederation, and indeed the Inner Sphere as a whole. We are poised on the verge of Terra, and we are one of those units at the tip of that spear.

Feng: We stand ready to do enact the Chancellor’s will.

Liao-Subramanya: As is our duty. And it is not our place to question His Celestial Wisdom, is it, Sang-wei?

Feng: [Pause] Of course not, Sang-Shao.

Liao-Subramanya: Key to that future is the Unity alliance with the Draconis Combine. Their drive into the Republic has aided our own.

Feng: We share a common enemy in the Republic.

Liao-Subramanya: Indeed we do. And yet, Sang-wei, I have heard disquieting reports regarding you.

Feng: I- I have no idea what you are talking about, Sang-shao. I remain a loyal daughter of the Confederation.

Liao-Subramanya: And yet, you have been questioning our alliance with the Combine. You have said that they cannot be trusted, and that they will turn on us when they feel we are no longer useful to their goals, or to claim Terra for their own.

Feng: Sang-shao, if you would let me explain-

Liao-Subramanya: The formation of this Alliance was the Chancellor’s decision, Sang-wei. Are you questioning the Celestial Wisdom’s guidance?

Feng: Of course not, Sang-shao. However, if I could be allowed to explain myself.

Liao-Subramanya: Go on.

Feng: While the Capellan people and the Draconis Combine share common enemies in both the Republic and the Davions, we also must not allow ourselves to be blinded by this fact. While I do not question the Chancellor’s formation of this alliance, I do worry that the Combine will turn on us the moment they feel they can gain any advantage.

Liao-Subramanya: I see, Sang-wei.

Feng: My only concern is for the safety of the Confederation and protecting ourselves against such treachery.

Liao-Subramanya: Of course. Given all of that, I have a special duty for you, Sang-wei.

Feng: What is it, Sang-shao?

Liao-Subramanya: The Chancellor has seen that such a risk is possible, and feels that we should be prepared for such a betrayal.

Feng: Of course the Celestial Wisdom has. I should not have questioned his decisions.

Liao-Subramanya: Since you have shown such... passion for the subject, I want you to put together a series of training exercises for the regiment that will prepare it to face the Combine’s forces. Specifically, I want you to focus on those units that are presently active in the region, operating against the Republic. Ensure that our janshi are ready for their equipment, their tactics and anything else.

Feng: Yes, Sang-shao. I will do so immediately.
« Last Edit: 01 November 2021, 22:07:21 by Deadborder »
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #79 on: 04 October 2021, 02:54:46 »
From the personal journal of Zeke Isaacs

It is said that the past is another country. In our case, that is very literal.

Today, my oldest son is now a man. He has lived most of his life away from a home that he only barely remembers, one that his own children will never see. While I have done my best to ensure that he, and my other children, will know our history and our traditions, he will never experience it in person. And as time goes on, the risks of the life we have chosen will ensure that there are less and less of us and more of the alghuraba among our ranks.

When we left our homes nearly twenty years ago, we all accepted that we could not go back. That home, after all, no longer existed, and to return would mean death for all of us. Instead, we put our faith in Leonid Stanislav to ensure our safety. His family have guided ours for generations, both at home and in our interactions with the people of the Inner Sphere. His predecessor opened the way to us, and then others in his family ensured that we would have a way back each time.

The destruction wreaked by the Word and their so-called Jihad was enough to call an end to our experiment. It showed us that further interaction would only invite death. Many feared that sooner or later, somebody would find their way back to our homes, bringing their wars with them. When we took in the almutajawilun a half-decade later, it was a risk, but also a reminder of the threats we faced. And nearly five decades later, that threat would come home to us. And so we left, to live among the people of the Inner Sphere.

I would be lying if I said that I have never once questioned Leonid Stanislav and his decisions, but this most recent incident may have been the worst so far. I know that blood and loyalty are important, and that the relationship between the Stanislav and de Luca families has lasted for generations. I have read the records of the first expedition, and know how Scarlett de Luca and her Krymzon Guards were vital to its success. And I can see how the debt of honour has not only persisted, but also grown over time.

But such a debt should also be measured by one’s worth to honour it, and I would be remiss if I considered Isabella de Luca to be dhu qima by any means. But she is not even remotely worthy of that title. Yes, she has the strength of her predecessors, but that is all. Instead, she is impulsive, hot headed and irresponsible, driven more by her own desires rather than any reason. Leonid seems to have given her his trust, despite the fact that she has not yet done anything to earn it beyond the simple dint of her ancestry. And if that was all, then I would have reason to be upset.

Instead, that relationship has been weaponised by her. She entered into an alliance, one created by an agent of the Republic of the Sphere. Then she chose to bring Leonid into it, a move that he readily accepted. To say that is concerning would be an understatement. We do not know this Republic; it did not exist when we were last in the Inner Sphere, and all we heard from it were second and third hand tales. And by the time we returned, it was gone; hidden behind hisn ghayr maryiyin. Now it seems to be teetering on the edge of collapse. And yet, this is the future that we are being tied to.

Perhaps I am being overly dramatic here, simply seeing the worst possible outcome. I still owe Leonid Stanislav my loyalty, and I do trust him to make the right choices for us; after all, there could simply be something here that I am not seeing.

Regardless, this is meant to be a joyous day. I should focus on that and celebrate the moment rather then dwell on something that might never happen.
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #80 on: 04 October 2021, 02:56:21 »
Friendship, Loyalty, Honesty

There were a number of reasons why this particular bar was one of Gillian Blackrock’s favourite places to do business. Its owners had gone heavily on what was colloquially known as an ‘old world’ aesthetic for the interior fit out, with dark hardwood panels and quiet booths along the walls, accompanied by deliberately dim lighting. This meant that as a whole, it was a good place to do business. Discrete, quiet and easy to hide yourself from prying eyes.

Unfortunately, the person who she was meeting today was the opposite of all those things.

While Blackrock sat up straight in her functional dark suit, quietly nursing a coffee, Isabella de Luca was all but slouched opposite her, wearing a bright red jacket and with a large mug of ale in front of her. If she was doing this purely by chance, then it would have annoyed Blackrock. And if de Luca was doing it on purpose, then she was making an excellent show of being as obnoxious as possible.

“I’ll assume that by now you know about where I’m headed,” she commented, only half looking at Blackrock as she spoke.

“I do, yes,” she replied, keeping her tone nicely neutral and discrete. “Tigress; a world right at the convergence point of the Capellan Confederation, Draconis Combine and Federated Suns, with a Sea Fox enclave right next to that. Historically the home of Laurel’s Legion and also, more recently, the capitol of the Steel Wolves during their effort at empire building.” She listed off the facts like she was reading from a tourist brochure.

“And right on the doorstep of your old stomping grounds.”

That resulted in a pause and the very slightest of twitches on her part. “Please, GB, don’t think I don’t know who your ex-employer was,” Isabella continued, an ever-so-slight smirk creeping into her expression. “And that you know all about the former Prefecture, top to bottom.”

Blackrock was about to speak again, but de Luca raised a finger as if to cut her off. “And no, since I know you’re going to ask, Ponytail didn’t give you up. Nor did Irisz. This is something I found out on my own.”

There was a short sigh. “I admit that you’re better at this then I gave you credit for,” Blackrock finally spoke. “So I can presume you’re after information on your target.”
“Whatever you can give me,” she nodded. “For starters, I know that Laurel's Legion is no longer on-world, having been moved deeper towards Terra.” de Luca tilted her head for a moment in thought. “Last I heard was New Home, but with the speed intel moves at these days that could mean anything. That’s not to discount some sort of planetary guard or the like, and I suspect that the Legion helped whip whatever’s there into shape.”

“I’ll assume that this is some sort of focused objective raid,” Blackrock commented, adjusting her glasses. “If you could give me a list of your targets then that would help a lot.”

“Could do, but I’m sure you can do more than that.” Isabella leaned forward, one hand propping up her chin, an almost eager grin on her face. “Given how much you know.”

Her response was an almost visible flinch of distaste, but at the same time, it sparked something else. “I think I can do better than that.”

“Oh?” Isabella raised a curious brow.

“My associate, Tony Jaros, was also active in the region,” she explained, “and has more than just knowledge. In his time, he built a considerable network of contacts across the worlds of the Prefecture.”

“So I should go to him for help?”

“No,” she shook her head. “Bring him with you. Get him on the ground with your force and he will be more than just another MechWarrior. He can use what – and who -  he knows to your advantage.”

“Interesting,” Isabella nodded. “I can see the bennies of that arrangement right now. He knows people, he hates Cappies and he brings another ‘Mech to the party.” She squinted sideways at Blackrock. “Of course, this also wouldn’t just be a way for you to get out of helping me out here.”

“No,” she bluntly responded. “I’m happy to provide whatever information you need for this operation. But Jaros can give you more than just that. He can allow you to use it to your best advantage.”

“Which means that I’m putting my faith in a criminal who was recommended to me by a dodgy infobroker who could be just trying to cover her tracks and offload a problem.” Isabella grinned. “Sounds like my kind of party.”
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #81 on: 04 October 2021, 02:58:06 »
Guest chapter by KayEmm

Don’t Tell Me the Numbers

Galatea City
Galatean League
4 July 3150

Kari Moreno looked over the contract, carefully studying each and every word in it. She had seen plenty of them before in the seven years since she had taken control of the Dark Suns - far earlier than she had ever wanted to - and each time she felt the need to be thorough in what she did. But this time was different.

Now this wasn’t just about her unit or her family’s legacy.

When she had agreed to Irisz Magyari’s alliance, it had seemed like a logical suggestion. Share information and resources while preparing for a future that seemed worryingly possible. And while she appreciated the support, there was also a part of her that felt like whatever she was doing would have long-reaching consequences for not just her or her unit, but for that alliance as a whole.

She took a deep breath, and looked at it again.

“So your read on it?” Damien spoke up from his seat next to her. She wanted him to look at this before anyone else did so that he could pick over the fine text in detail. Kari knew that as soon as he did, the gears would be spinning in his head, running numbers, projecting outcomes and looking at how things could work out for them. It was something he had done numerous times before, both for her and then her father before her.

That last thought bought a slight shudder. Unconsciously she rubbed the black sun tattoo on the back of her hand before continuing. “While this is a raid, the generous salvage rights make it clear that this is less about stealing supplies than it is stopping the Dracs from having them,” she assessed. “Given that the depots in question are being used to support top-tier DCMS units who are on the front of the conflict, those are also going to be top-tier, high-priority parts.” She paid a moment before she continued. “Probably including a lot of Clantech.”

Her eyes darted over the rest of the document. “The Second New Samarkand Regulars are known to be on-world. While they are only a regular regiment, they’re also the favorites of the Warlord, and get the best supplies. They took substantial losses when they took Tsamma, but have had some time to rebuild. This does mean that any salvage we take from them will again be heavy on the high-end parts and tech.”

“It’s the employer that bothers me,” she finally admitted.

“The Federated Suns,” Damien confirmed.

“Who have not exactly been on a winning streak of late,” Kari continued. “And have had plenty of problems with mercenaries recently as well.”

“Both valid concerns,” Damien noted.

“And while we worked for the Federated Suns a few years ago, a lot of things have changed since then,” she continued.

“Which does bring me to one point,” Damien offered. “Our liaison.”

She looked down at the page again. “Joseph Pietre,” Kari considered. “Wasn’t he our liaison last time?”

“He was,” Damien confirmed. “And he did an excellent job of looking after our payment, distributing salvage and expediting the process. He has an excellent head for numbers and efficient processes.”

“Which coming from you is one hell of a compliment,” Kari smiled. “Okay, now this is looking a lot better.”
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #82 on: 10 October 2021, 05:49:12 »
Damien McKinnon

Position/Rank: Colonel
Affiliation/Unit: Mercenary/McKinnon’s Marauders
Birth Year: 3108

The McKinnon family have been mercenaries for generations, serving in various units going back to the dawn of the Succession Wars. McKinnon’s Marauders, the family unit, has existed for over a century, fighting through a variety of conflicts. Despite numerous setbacks, including being nearly destroyed several times, the unit has persisted and continued to fight. Throughout the years, it has been led by members of the McKinnon family, who have typically commanded the unit from the front, be it by choice or necessity.

Thomas McKinnon commanded the unit through the transition from the peace of the Republic era  to the chaos of the Dark Age. Despite the challenges that represented, he proved to be a steady hand and decisive leader, and helped his unit grow over the years. Among his responsibilities was to continue the unit; while there were other members of the McKinnon family, it was expected that his own child would become the unit’s next commander.

His son, Damien, was born in 3108. Even from a young age he not only understood the responsibility that was expected of him, but willingly embraced it. He drove himself hard to become the best that he could be, both as a MechWarrior and an officer, becoming very competitive in his attitude. He wanted to prove that he was worthy of the position not solely because of his birth, but because he was the best leader that the Marauders would have. This attitude served him well during his academy years, where he would consistently be at the top of his classes.

All this experience would become vital when he took to the field as a part of the Marauders. While his training had been undertaken during the pax republica, by the time he had graduated the HPG blackout had already seen that peace evaporate. His early years would be filled with combat as the Marauders availed themselves of the sudden wealth of contracts available to them. He quickly gained considerable experience in the field, proving that he was every bit as capable as expected.

One incident on Nirasaki in 3136 would prove that his family’s faith in him had been justified. The unit had been hired by the now-independent planetary government to help bolster their defenses against the very real threat of the Draconis Combine. A surprise Combine strike hit the world, aimed both at measuring their defenses while also laying the groundwork for a future invasion. Damien’s company were separated during the initial strike, having been on maneuvers at the time. Keeping a cool head, he used this separation to his advantage, flanking the body of the Combine force to harry them and threaten their supplies. With their operations threatened, the DCMS unit chose to withdraw from the world.

While Damien’s actions proved his ability to lead the unit, those plans would still be disrupted by an unexpected development. 3141 saw a newcomer join the unit; Damien’s previously unknown, illegitimate half-brother, Terry. While Thomas made it clear that Damien was still his heir and that Terry would serve on his own merits, Damien came to see his half-sibling as something of a rival. These feelings only increased as Terry proved to be both a capable MechWarrior and junior officer in his own right.

After Thomas McKinnon stepped down as commander in 3148, Damien took the position that he had been training for all his life. Thus far, his command has been marked by a growth in the unit’s size and capabilities as they prepare for a very uncertain future. His relationship with his half-brother remains somewhat tense, however. While Damien is married and has two children of his own, both of them are still only young teenagers. As such, there are some within the unit who have suggested that Terry should be named as an heir as a precaution against disaster, an idea that Damien is so far opposed to.

AS7-D2 Atlas III Demon’s Head

Mass: 100 tons
Chassis: Foundation 12X Endo Steel
Powerplant: Vlar 300
Cruising Speed: 32 kph
Maximum Speed: 54 kph
Jump Jets: None
   Jump Capacity: None
Armour: Starshield Special Heavy
      1 Type 0 HAG/30
      2 Martell-X Medium Pulse Lasers
      1 StarTek 20 Tube Long Range Streak Launcher
      1 Type IV Streak SRM-6 Launcher
Comm System: Rander Comm-Marshal with Angel ECM Suite
T&T System: Dalban HiRez V with Targeting Computer

Traditionally members of the McKinnon family have lead the Marauders from the frontlines, and Damien, like his father is no exception. In 3120, Thomas McKinnon took an Atlas III as a part of payment for a contract with the Federated Suns, choosing it as his new personal BattleMech. The combination of its firepower, rugged design and electronics made it a solid choice for him to use to lead the unit, and he would continue to operate it for the rest of his career. While the ‘Mech was often in the thick of fighting, it never once failed him.

When he inherited command of the unit, Damien also received his father’s BattleMech to use for himself. While the move was based entirely on practicality (after all, Thomas had no use for an assault BattleMech in a non-combatant advisory role), Damien took it as a further sign of his family’s faith in him and his ‘worthiness’ to command. In many ways, this choice became somewhat validating to him, especially as his half-brother Terry showed no interest in heavier BattleMechs.

While Damien is confident in his abilities and his BattleMech, he also is realistic about both the threats that a battlefield represents as well as the need for his own survival. He will usually be found at the center of a formation, supporting the rest of his unit with accurate fire as well as its extensive electronic warfare capabilities. However, he also will not hesitate to mix it up in close combat if needs be, an option supported by the BattleMech’s sheer weight and thick armour.
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Re: Renegades
« Reply #83 on: 10 October 2021, 05:53:17 »
Guest character by Zogster

Jakub Day

Position/Rank: aga’ush
Affiliation/Unit: Mercenary/Star of Sumer
Birth Year: 3130

The Star of Sumer was born at the end of the Jihad from the merger of three battered mercenary commands. Rather than establishing a traditional mercenary dynasty, the three families that commanded the constituent units chose to create an alliance where they would choose the unit’s leaders from among them. While in theory this allowed for a better sharing of power while avoiding the risk of the sudden loss of an entire family line, it also created a surprisingly complicated political structure within the unit.

Jakub Day is the only child of Gerhardt Day, a former commander of the Star of Sumer. Like the rest of his family, he was essentially born into the unit’s structure, and trained with the aim of one day becoming not only a MechWarrior within its ranks, but also potentially its leader. Unfortunately, Gerhardt would be killed in a catastrophic defeat in 3138 while piloting the unit’s hereditary BattleMaster.

As the unit withdrew into the former Republic to rebuild and reorganize, Jakub would be informally adopted by Katarina Morrison, the daughter of the Star’s new leader. She would help to mentor him, and teach him the skills that he would one day need. As he grew, Jakub’s life would be dominated by change, both internally and externally. Not only did he see the peace of the Republic era vanish into a new age of escalating warfare, but he also watched as the Star of Sumer changed and restructured around him.

The most radical of these changes would come when the unit took in members from the Republican branch of the Kotovski family, the third of its founders. While many were cautious about the presence of newcomers, Jakub was among those who welcomed the new arrivals into the unit. He saw them as a chance for the Star to modernize and reform himself, and soon became a supporter of that group. His support became even more vocal when Lana Kotovski, herself Republican born, became the new commander of the Star of Sumer in 3147 at Katarina’s suggestion.

Due to his being a part of the Day family, Jakub was offered a position as the commander of the Star’s Comet Company, a position that his forefathers had traditionally held. Instead, he turned it down, citing his own lack of experience and a desire to earn his position on his own merits. As a compromise, Jakub was given command of a strike lance within the company, putting him in the decidedly non-traditional position of a MechWarrior answering to a tanker.

While inexperienced, Jakub has so far shown considerable growth in his skills. Quick-witted and tactically minded, he focuses more on supporting his unit as a whole on the field, rather than focusing on personal glory or scoring kills for himself. So far, this approach has served the Star Company, and the unit as a whole, well.

In his very first combat assignment on Romita, Jakub’s strike lance proved to be vital to the Star’s success. The unit was taking part in what was intended to be a routine garrison contract when the world was raided by forces from the Marian Hegemony. Careful maneuvering and quick thinking allowed Jakub’s unit to outflank and outmaneuver a larger Marian force, forcing them to halt their advance to deal with the distraction. This bought time for the rest of the Star to form up and then strike the Marians, inflicting severe losses on their force.

While Jakub knows that he will likely eventually lead the Star of Sumer, he is determined that he will be worthy of the position in his own right. As such, he spends much of his time practicing and learning the skills that he will need for such a position when the day comes. So far, he also has been content to earn that privilege rather than simply accept it as being inevitable.

SHD-7H Shadow Hawk Princess

Mass: 55 tons
Chassis: Earthworks SHD II Endo Steel
Powerplant: Hermes 275 Light
Cruising Speed: 54 kph
Maximum Speed: 86 kph
Jump Jets: Chilton 360
   Jump Capacity: 150 meters
Armour: Maximillian 43
      1 Imperator Code Red LB 10-X Autocannon
      1 Diverse Optics Extended Range Medium Laser
      1 Holly Enhanced LRM-5 launcher
      1 Holly SRM-2 launcher
Comm System: Neil 9000
T&T System: RCA Instatrac Mark XII

The Shadow Hawk known as Princess has been a part of the Star of Sumer’s roster for as long as anyone can remember. Even the origins of the name are unclear; as near as anyone can tell, the BattleMech has always been called that. While the ‘Mech has passed through a number of different owners and positions within the unit, it has had a constant place. When the unit suffered severe losses in 3138, the ‘Mech was put aside for a major rebuild, which saw it upgraded to the modern 7H standard.

For the next decade, the ‘Mech primarily served in a training role for new members of the unit. Jakub Day was among those that trained on it, and he developed something of a liking for the ‘Mech. On his graduation to full-fledged member of the unit, he was offered a heavier or more advanced BattleMech. Rather, he chose to stay with Princess, as he found that it suited the way he fought and operated.

At present, Jakub commands a medium strike lance in Comet Company. As the company is headed up by a heavy tank lance, he usually acts as a mobile support element, helping to protect the flanks of their advances while screening for enemies. In this role the versatility of his ‘Mech comes into its own, especially with the use of such ordinance as smoke missiles. So far, this approach has worked well for both him and his unit.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #84 on: 10 October 2021, 05:59:20 »
Guest character by KayEmm

Kirsten Ravenwater

Position/Rank: Star Captain
Affiliation/Unit: Hell's Horses/Alpha Galaxy
Birth Year: 3125

After long being dismissed as a second-rate power that was largely isolated from the rest of the Inner Sphere, the last decade has seen Clan Hell’s Horses grow in both power and influence. While initially this came through their Golden Ordun alliance with the Jade Falcons, the Clan has since begun to forge its own path. Kirsten Ravenwater is among a new generation of Hell's Horses warriors who will be at the forefront of the Clan’s future, whatever it may be.

While she was decanted in 3125, Kirsten would grow up in the years following the Blackout and the escalating fighting that came along with it. Even in her sibko days, Kirsten was seen as being a ristar by her peers for a variety of reasons. First and foremost was her performance in training exercises, which were not only at the top of her sibko, but also considered to be exceptional overall. Highly competitive and driven, she repeatedly and consistently used her skills to outperform her fellows and earn her Wranglers’ respect during training exercises.

On top of that, Kirsten became something of an outspoken Crusader within her sibko, feeling that for too long the Clan had been isolationist and avoiding conflict. With the Inner Sphere degenerating into war, she felt that the Horses should step forward and claim their destiny. However, her beliefs did not include the Jade Falcons’ perversion of the Mongol doctrine; instead, she felt that such total warfare was abhorrent to the way of the Clans. While still too young to take part in the fighting, she was elated when her Clan surged into the former Wolf Occupation Zone, seeing the move as proof of her convictions.

Her ristar status would be born out following her Trial of Position. Kirsten easily defeated two opponents to reach the rank of Star Commander, and came within a hair’s breadth of taking down a third before her own BattleMech was disabled. None the less, the combination of her performance and her talents had won her no small degree of interest from others within the Clan. She was assigned to a position in the Horses’ prestigious Alpha Galaxy, a clear mark of respect for her abilities.

While she would take part in raids and trials over the next two years, her first major action would come in 3147 when Alpha Galaxy targeted the industrial world of New Oslo. Eager for battle with the Rasalhauge Dominion, Kirsten would acquit herself well on the battlefield. While the warriors of the Fifty-fourth Provisional Garrison Cluster proved to be lacking in skill, their sheer determination made them dangerous. Nonetheless, she was able to destroy or disable a number of enemy ‘Mechs during the battle, while her own came out relatively unscathed. The highlight came in a duel with a Ghost Bear Bruin, where she used a series of carefully-aimed shots to cripple the heavier BattleMech.

In 3148 Kirsten was nominated for the Ravenwater Bloodname, sponsored by a senior member of the Bloodhouse. Despite that backing, every step of the competition was a challenge as she faced older and more experienced opponents. The final round saw her competing against Star Captain Taris, who not only was a veteran of the fighting with the Lyran Commonwealth, but also was far stronger than she was. Taris had fought and won all of his battles unarmed, and won the right to do such in the final round. Reaslising what she was up against, Kirsten chose to fight him in a dense jungle swamp which would limit his mobility and vision. After hours of patiently stalking him, she ambushed him by dropping out of a tree, latching onto him and choking him out while he violently tried to dislodge her. Despite his efforts, she emerged battered, bruised and ultimately victorious.

Now that the Horses have disentangled themselves from their alliance, Kirsten has become among those voices calling for more dramatic action. She still feels that the Horses, as Crusaders, should reach out and strike at Terra and claim their destiny. And if that involves going through their former allies then she welcomes the chance for further combat.

Cauldron Born (Ebon Jaguar) F Firebrand

Mass: 65 tons
Chassis: CSJ Type 65.43 Endo
Powerplant: Consolidated 325 XL Fusion
Cruising Speed: 54 kph
Maximum Speed: 86 kph
Jump Jets: None
   Jump Capacity: None
Armour: Composite A-4 Ferro-Fibrous
      2 Type 22 Extended Range PPCs
      2 Type 6 Series Advanced Tactical Missile Systems
Comm System: Hector CC-22E
T&T System: Integrated Bravo-7 with Targeting Computer

Created by the long-extinct Clan Smoke Jaguar, the Ebon Jaguar (known as the Cauldron Born in the Inner Sphere) would long outlive its creators. In the aftermath of the Clan’s destruction, the BattleMech would continue to serve with both Clan and Inner Sphere forces. While rare, it was prized for its combination of mobility, firepower and durability. The recent reintroduction of the OmniMech into production by Clan Sea Fox has helped to further proliferate the design.

While she would pilot a variety of different BattleMechs during her training and trial, Kirsten was assigned a new Ebon Jaguar on her graduation to frontline service. She took an immediate liking to the ‘Mech which suited her overly aggressive approach to combat. It would serve her well, both in trials against her fellow Horses and combat against their enemies.  Taking advantage of its OmniMech capabilities, she prefers to use the F configuration for dueling or when facing BattleMech-focused forces, but will switch to others (such as the multi-role E configuration) as needed.

Kirsten drives her BattleMech (which she has nicknamed Firebrand) hard, often aggressively riding its heat curve or pushing its mobility to its limits. So far, this approach has worked well for her. While her ‘Mech has taken punishing damage in battle due to her naked aggression, so far it has never once failed her so far. Whether this success will continue remains to be seen.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #85 on: 08 November 2021, 20:42:09 »
Tigress Home Guard

The current Tigress Home Guard is the result of two decades of developments bought on by the HPG Blackout and formation of Fortress Republic. The original Tigress Standing Guard was effectively dismantled when the Steel Wolves took control of the world and made it their capitol in late 3132. The Wolves seized all of the Home Guard’s equipment for their own forces. Those members of the Home Guard that did not support the Wolves (which was the majority of them) were stood down.

When Anastasia Kerensky launched the Steel Wolves campaigns to take Northwind and Terra, she stripped their holdings of almost all their defences to provide troops. Tigress was left effectively undefended, which would be a factor in the world’s choice to be annexed by the Federated Suns in 3135.

In order to protect their holdings, the AFFS attempted to raise a new planetary militia. This force was composed of a mixture of new recruits and members of the Standing Guard who had been effectively dispossessed by the Wolves three years prior. The force was armed with whatever material that could come to hand, leading to an ad-hoc and poorly supported force. Nonetheless, its members remained loyal to their world, with many still hoping for a return of the Republic.

This unit would face its first real challenge in 3145 when the world was invaded by Laurel’s Legion, who were set on reclaiming their ancestral homeworld. Despite the support of Narhal’s Raiders, the planetary militia was defeated by the Capellan force, with the unit suffering substantial losses. The remainder of the force surrendered after their mercenary allies withdrew from the world, unwilling to fight for a lost cause against the energised invaders.

Having reclaimed the world, the Capellan Confederation effectively dismantled the remnants of the planetary militia. The survivors of the force were considered to be politically suspect due to their prior ties to both the Republic and the Federated Suns, and would be detained. Likewise, very little of their remaining equipment was deemed usable, having been built out of whatever was available at the time.

Instead, the Capellans built the new Tigress Home Guard from the ground up. The unit was staffed with citizens of Capellan descent who were deemed to be ‘acceptable’ through Maskirovka screening, and led by an officer corps made up of Capellan officers. The plan was to combine local knowledge and planetary loyalty with experienced officers that would be able to provide direction while also ensuring loyalty to the state. The unit was still forming when Tigress was raided by the Dawn Guard in August of 3146, and as such played very little role in the battle.

Training for the unit was bolstered by the presence of Laurel’s Legion, who would act as both instructors and opposing force for exercises. While beneficial, this cooperation would prove to be a double-edged sword. Laurel’s Legion took to using the Tigress Home Guard as a feeder unit, farming it for replacement personnel and equipment. This would cost the unit several talented officers, hampering its growth.

In 3149, Laurel’s Legion was moved off-world as a part of Operation TIAMAT, leaving the Home Guard as Tigress’ sole defenders. With the world presently at the intersection of the Confederation, the Draconis Combine and the Federated Suns, as well as having a Sea Fox enclave nearby, the Home Guard’s leadership have assumed that their would could be attacked at any time, and have moved it up to an advanced stage of readiness.

Organisation and Equipment
Despite having been built from the ground up in the last five years, the Home Guard have been able to form a cohesive force through their aggressive recruitment. At present, the unit consists of one regiment of armour and two of infantry, augmented by additional forces.

The First Tigress Armoured Regiment forms the core of the Home Guards’ forces. The bulk of the unit is made up of older Capellan designs that can be easily maintained and supported by local industry, such as the Po and Sheriff. Artillery support largely comes in the form of battlefield units such as LRM carriers. Due to the simplicity of the designs it employs, the unit has managed to maintain a high degree of readiness.

The two infantry regiments are mostly made up of conventional foot infantry units, mostly armed with locally built small arms. These are augmented by a smattering of specialty units such as recon teams or minesweepers, and a small number of jump infantry platoons. Furthermore, the force has a detachment of battle armour, again mostly made up of older designs such as the Inner Sphere Standard and Theseus. The regiments each possess a small number of APCs to aid in mobility, and a company of field guns.

While the plan for the unit called for a battalion of BattleMechs to work with conventional forces, supply to frontline forces took priority. As a result, the unit has so far received only a company of BattleMechs, mostly Calliopes and Guns. In order to make up for this shortfall, the unit has recently received a company of Firebee MilitiaMechs.

Likewise, the needs of supplying frontline forces has so far prevented the Home Guard from acquiring any aerospace fighters. Rather, it has been equipped with a full wing of conventional fighters. Training for the unit has so far been lacklustre, with many of the pilots having only minimal flight time. What experience they have has been largely focused on supporting ground forces.

Colours and Insignia
The Tigress Home Guard do not have a standard parade scheme and instead use appropriate local camouflage. The unit’s insignia depicts the Tigress Planetary Crest rendered in Liao green and black.

Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #86 on: 08 November 2021, 20:44:12 »
Audio Log #76709-Rho

Irisz Magyari: You have something for me?

Antonin Rybak: A job, actually.

Magyari: With you employing us directly, I suppose.

Rybak: That would be correct. Consider this our first ‘live’ outing.

Magyari: Interesting. Given that, I would assume that our target is related to the Republic, the Wolves, or both.

Rybak: You would be correct there. There are… assets on Castor that would be useful to us, and we need to extract them. Of course, Castor is right at the point where the Wolf Empire is presently focusing its forces, which makes what we’re planning to do dangerous to say the least.

Magyari: How dangerous are you talking about here?

Rybak: The Wolves hit the world with three clusters from Alpha Galaxy, including the Golden Keshik. And while they have since moved those clusters on, given the world’s location and the force they used to take it, I can only imagine that they are not going to be slack in their defences.

Magyari: The perils of trying to gather intel on a fast-moving situation in an age of no HPGs.

Rybak: Pretty much that. Based on known unit dispositions and recent movements, it’s likely that a Theta Galaxy cluster has been moved to hold the world in the interim while ensuring that their frontline units are still free for whatever they are planning to do next.

Magyari: So Marik-Stewart adoptees equipped with AMSC salvage? That tracks. We’ve faced a Theta Galaxy cluster before.

Rybak: Kalidassa, if I recall; the so-called Ryochicken incident.

Magyari: You’ve done your homework.

Ryback: Let’s just say that one was of particular interest and leave it at that.

Magyari: Fair. So we’d still be looking at a considerable force on-world. Plus we have to consider that the Wolves might be aware of these assets.

Rybak: Which brings me to the plan. We go in with two units; yours and Fairchild’s.

Magyari: Interesting. I’m going to take the worst case scenario and assume that I’m the bait while Fairchild does the dirty work?

Rybak: Well if you want to put it like that…

Magyari: No, I understand fully. My job is to make this look like a spoiling raid or the like to distract from the true objective. I’ve played this game before.

Rybak: If it helps any, I will be there with her force.

Magyari: So clearly this is important enough that you’re willing to stick your own neck out for it. Okay, now I’m convinced.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #87 on: 08 November 2021, 20:45:11 »
Missed Connection I


We just landed a new contract after you departed on yours. Given the lack of HPGs and all the other issues of operational security and such, I figured that the best thing would be to leave you a letter for when you get back here.

I can’t say where we’re going, of course; operational security again. I will say that it is going to be a while, and that it is a high-risk assignment. It's the realities that come with our chosen occupation and all, but even then this is a big risk. You can take what you want from what I said. I can’t make any promises but I will try to bring myself back alive.

And as if that wasn’t enough, apparently Damien negotiated this deal through one of the family’s long list of contacts, so take that how you will. They approached him and he was eager enough to comply, maybe because it was a good deal or simply to show that he’s the boss. I don’t think this is a bad deal, but I also feel a touch concerned that Damien is trying a bit too hard, and could be getting us in over our heads. Or I could be reading too much into all this.

The worst sibling rivalry is when you only just find you have a sibling and they have years of rivalry to catch up on.

(Speaking of, Ronnie’s doing well. Still trying to get him and Jessie to actually talk)

Good news is that our little network was able to cough up some additional intel on who we’re likely to be facing. I would have liked to talk to Kari on the subject, since she’s faced them personally, but what do you know, I missed her too. Timing, right? I shared all that back with Damien, and he took it all on board as well as the intel he got from the employer. I figure that could work out well for us.

I also gathered that you were leaving with Ponytail and friends attached to your force. I’d be very interested to hear how all that goes. Sim battles are one thing, but they are no match for the real thing.

There are a few things I want to tell you, but they are matters best dealt with face to face. So until then, take care of yourself and try to stay alive.

Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #88 on: 08 November 2021, 21:05:05 »
Guest chapter by KayEmm

The People You Meet

Fort Preah
Tsamma, New Samarkand Military District
Draconis Combine
21 September 3150

By design Kari’s Black Knight normally ran hot. Its loadout of entirely Clantech energy weapons created immense amounts of heat when fired, which meant that she had to be very careful when in combat to prevent overheating. At the moment, she was roasting inside the cockpit of her BattleMech as it continued to advance towards the enemy line.

The situation was not helped by the environment around her: Tsamma was a world of humid jungles, which served to further tax her ‘Mech’s cooling system. However, that situation had also been useful to her. She had used the combination of tree cover, humidity and rain to cover the Dark Suns’ approach to their target. The Combine forces hadn’t seen them coming until they were upon them.

That didn’t mean they weren’t going to put up a fight by any means. The Combine forces were well dug-in around their objective, a supply depot that was packed with vital war material, and were not about to give up by any means.

Kari let loose another volley of fire at a Combine Maelstrom, aiming to take out the fast-moving heavy ‘Mech. Two of her lasers clipped its flank, slicing off armor but doing little to actually stop it. As she did, another wave of heat flooded into the cockpit, hitting her with almost physical force.

A moment later, the Maelstrom added to the assault in a more literal sense as it opened up with its own weapons. A PPC smashed into the Black Knight’s flank, while a burst of laser fire seared armor off a leg. Her BattleMech staggered under the sudden loss of two tons of armor, shuddering as she fought it for control. A combination of skill and determination kept the massive machine on its feet, Kari quickly pushing it forward again.

The Maelstrom turned to come around again, clearly intent on bringing down its target. Before it could, the froglike ‘Mech was hammered by two score missiles that sent it sliding across the muddy ground. As it fell, more missiles hammered into it as Damien’s Archer coordinated fire with a pair of Hawk Moth gunships swooping down from above.

Other members of the Dark Suns joined her in her advance, bursting out of the jungle and charging towards the enemy line. On her flank, Komatsu’s Hunchback pushed forwards, the MechWarrior inside barrelling ahead with seemingly little concern for his own safety. “Careful, Sun Three,” she called out. “Stay in formation.”

As if to underscore her point, a laser shot lashed the Hunchback, followed by a flight of missiles that peppered its torso. The source of the assault, a Joust tank, advanced forwards, its treads tearing into the soggy ground. Despite the damage, Komatsu’s BattleMech retained its footing, seemingly unconcerned by the attack.

“I’ve got this, lead,” he called back as he continued his advance. To prove the point, he opened fire with his Hunchback’s autocannon, the weapon unleashing a cloud of shot towards the offending tank. Submunitions peppered its hull with explosions, shaking the vehicle and kicking up a cloud of dirt and debris. The Joust swerved and halted in its advance, if not disabled then clearly wounded in the assault.

Out of the corner of her eye Kari saw the Maelstrom rise again, and quickly spun her Black Knight’s torso to respond. As she did, the Combine ‘Mech spat fire again, but the fall had clearly thrown its aim off. Both of its shots went wide, still searing close enough for Kari to almost feel them.

Her response was a little more blunt, however, with her targeting computer effortlessly compensating for her movement and torso swing. Brilliant laser beams sliced through the rain-filled air before searing armor off the enemy ‘Mech’s torso and side. To the credit of the MechWarrior inside, the Maelstrom managed to remain standing despite the assault that she had unleashed, with nary a shudder in its step. Another pair of missile flights slammed into it, but it continued to advance despite the damage.

A Griffin IIC burst forward to support its ally, launching a pair of missiles back towards Damien’s Archer. The shots struck the blocky BattleMech in the side, rocking it but failing to puncture its thick armour. A moment later, Jack’s Phoenix Hawk leapt overhead, its lasers spitting green darts into the Griffin’s back, causing it to stumble forward. Something inside seemed to have ruptured under the fire, as a cloud of black smoke erupted from its side.

Confident that the situation was under control, Kari turned her attention back to the objective. Before she could go any further, a stream of brilliant blue flames washed over her BattleMech, accompanied by a massive surge of heat. A moment later alarms went off inside the cockpit as the Black Knight’s heat spiked to dangerous levels. Grunting against the oppressive heat, she spun around to face her attacker.

A Rifleman IIC had turned to face her, the ‘Mech’s quartet of weapons levelled at her BattleMech. A quick glance at the range indicator told Kari that she was beyond the effective reach of its heavy lasers, but those weren’t what she was worried about. Its twin plasma weapons could simply disable her ‘Mech by overheating it and forcing it to shut down.

Cursing the heat, Kari stepped backwards while bringing her weapons to bear. Trying to keep her heat under control, she fired only her particle projector cannon, hoping to at least discourage her opponent. The brilliant blue beam leapt out, and slammed straight into the Rifleman’s head. For a moment, the decapitated Kuritan ‘Mech simply stood there before toppling backwards.

Lucky break, she considered. Can’t rely on that going forwards.

As the Rifleman fell, a second heavy ‘Mech stepped forwards. Humanoid in shape, it resembled nothing as much as an outsized suit of samurai armor, complete with massive banners flying from its back and a sword in one hand. She immediately recognised it as a Shiro, an advanced design usually reserved for senior officers. “I think I have eyes on their leader,” she spoke over the command channel.

“I see them,” Komatsu replied as he pushed his Hunchback forwards, stepping over the husk of the wrecked Joust. “I got this.” As he spoke, he opened fire with his autocannon again, the weapon spitting a stream of shells at the Combine BattleMech. The shot hit it square in the side, which should have been a devastating blow.

Instead the Shiro seemingly shrugged it off as if it was nothing. In reply, it let loose a flight of missiles that slammed hard into the Hunchback, enveloping it in flames and debris. The impacts stopped the ‘Mech in its charge, sending it crashing down hard to the ground. Fortunately it was still moving, showing that Komatsu was still alive and that the ‘Mech was still functional if nothing else.

With her Black Knight’s heat beginning to get back under control, Kari turned her attention towards the heavy Combine ‘Mech. With a squeeze of the trigger she was hammered by another wave of heat as her weapons unleashed a searingly bright wave of energy. Shots sliced into the Shiro’s side and arm, but like the Hunchback’s cannon fire, her attacks had surprisingly little effect.

“New contacts,” Kat Stavia’s voice cut into the command channel. “Four approaching from bearing oh-ninety. No IDs.” There was a note of urgency in her tone. “They’re not ours.”

“Which means they’re probably Combine,” Kari concluded. “See if you can confirm them before we engage.”

“Roger that,” Kat concluded.

Keeping one eye on the Shiro, she switched channels. “All units; new targets inbound from oh-ninety. Pivot west and do not fire on newcomers until we have a positive ID.” At the very least, she was going to put the rest of the Combine force between her and the new arrivals to shield her forces.

She bought around the Black Knight, the huge BattleMech lumbering forward as its torso pivoted to continue tracking her opponent as her weapons recharged. As soon as they were ready, she opened fire again, letting loose another volley of lasers at the Shiro. At the same time, it unleashed its own volley of missiles back at her, with her beams disappearing into the exhaust smoke.

Kari’s ‘Mech was rocked under the hammer blow of multiple impacts as nearly two score missiles slammed into it. Warning lights went off across the board as several made their mark on internal systems. Giving the status board only a cursory glance, she continued to wheel the ‘Mech around.

To her side, she could see Komatsu’s Hunchback make it to its feet, only to be pummelled by missile fire from a Combine Avalanche. This time the shots clearly hit something important as the boxy ‘Mech immediately flopped back down into the mud, this time landing a lot harder. “Sun Three, report!” She called out over the command channel.

“Not good,” Komatsu grunted back. “Looks like actuator damage. Not sure if I can get this thing back on its feet.”

Not good at all, Kari told herself. The Shiro was still standing, its armour savaged but far from defeated. Next to it, the Avalanche turned to track her ‘Mech as it cycled its weapons.

Instead, a pair of brilliant blue waves slammed into the Avalanche’s back, toppling the ‘Mech forward. The Shiro’s pilot fired again, but seemed to have been thrown off by the surprise of what happened. This time less than half its missiles hit home, scattering across the Black Knight’s hull.

Kari’s return fire was somewhat more effective, with her lasers focusing on the side that Komatsu had previously assaulted. This time the Shiro shuddered under the assault as her weapons tore through one of its missile launchers as well as the frame of its flank. The Combine ‘Mech stumbled, an act made even more dramatic by its elaborate, armoured design.

And as it wavered, she could see three more ‘Mechs approaching from the flank. A Sun Cobra led them, followed by an Ostsol and another Black Knight. All three of them were in drab green, but wore no apparent markings.

Somehow, Kari suspected they were on her side.


The arrival of the newcomers had taken the fight out of the Combine forces. Wary of their losses, and aware that they were caught between two forces, they had begun to pull back, firing to cover their own retreat. Kari’s last sight of the Shiro had the wounded ‘Mech retreating, its flank savaged by fire. A couple of other Combine ‘Mechs had moved to shield it, confirming her theory that it was the commander.

The Dark Suns had taken advantage of the situation to push onto the base, securing it for their own. As they had done so, the trio of newcomers had also moved in, but had not made any effort to identify themselves so far. As they approached, they were joined by an assortment of battle-armored troopers and several civilian hovertrucks. The Sun Cobra remained at the head of the force, its weapons levelled in a way that suggested wariness and readiness, but not immediate hostile intent.

As they closed she could make out more details. The ‘Mechs looked worn and beaten; functional, but running under field repairs and whatever supplies they could acquire. And while they all wore the same functional drab green scheme, she could make out a common marking; the Federated Suns’ sword and sunburst, picked out in a flat black on their hulls.

She turned her Black Knight to face them, raising its arms. “I am Kari Moreno, leader of the Dark Suns,” she called out over her ‘Mech’s loudspeakers. “We are here on behalf of the Federated Suns. Whoever you are, we share a common enemy and have no quarrel.” She waited nervously for the response.

“Moreno,” the pilot of the Sun Cobra replied. “Let us talk, face to face.”

The last thing I wanted to hear, she considered before dipping over to the command channel. “Options?”

 “I don’t like it, Major,” Damien immediately replied, the concern evident in his voice. She could understand why. “But it is our only way to find out who they are and what they want.”

“Agreed,” Kari sighed. “Senstrom, Hawkins, cover me. Kaustev, sweep the area to make sure the Combine troops aren’t trying to loop around and come back.”

A chorus of affirmatives reached her ears. Behind her, Damien’s Archer and a squad of battle armor approached her ‘Mech, while overhead, VTOLs fanned out to begin their search. With that in mind, Kari began disconnecting herself from her BattleMech’s systems, grabbing a flak vest and sidearm as she went.

As soon as the cockpit hatch was opened, she was greeted with the warm, humid air outside, something that was still a relief from the slowly cooling sauna that the cockpit had become. Keeping a wary eye on the other group of ‘Mechs, she began the long climb down to the ground. Senstrom’s battle armor squad had already formed up around the feet, while Damien’s Archer was lurking nearby.

Well here we go, she told herself.

She walked towards the Sun Cobra, her pace steady but focused. She could see what she presumed to be her opposite number approaching; a rough-looking man with an expression that wasn’t so much angry as it was just perpetually annoyed. Like her, he had come from his BattleMech’s cockpit, taking the same degree of preparation.
Kari stopped just short of him. “Thank you for your assistance,” she began. “Our briefing said there weren’t any other Federated Suns forces on-world.”

“Officially there aren’t,” he replied, his tone factual. “Think of us as an irregular command.”

She nodded. “None the less, your timing was perfect.” Kari had no illusions that their move had been anything other than opportunistic, but she was determined to stay on their good side.

“We seemed to have the same objective,” he explained. “Only you had the numbers to actually make it happen.”

“Then we share both the same goals and objectives,” she offered, a small smile creeping onto her face. “Maybe we would be better cooperating, mister…”

“Ivar Grodenko,” he simply replied.

“Are you the leader of this group?”

“Just their spokesman,” he shook his head. “But I think I can arrange something that would work for both of us.”

Kari nodded back. “Good. Then let’s talk.”

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 #89 on: 14 November 2021, 05:03:58 »
Guest character by Zogster

Katarina Morrison
Position/Rank: nu Banda
Affiliation/Unit: Mercenary/Star of Sumer
Birth Year: 3110

The merging of three different units allowed the Star of Sumer to survive the Jihad and the age of peace that came after it. At the same time, it also bought with it a complicated web of family politics that has become a part of the unit’s culture, for good or for ill.

Katarina Morrison is the daughter of Calvin Morrison, the previous commander of the Star of Sumer and heir to one of the three families that have led the unit. Like many in her family before her she was raised with the expectation that she would become a MechWarrior and eventually an officer or even commander of the unit, despite the age of the Pax Republica in which she grew up. She willingly embraced this plan, proving to be a dutiful student and eager learner.

On graduation from their semi-formal training program she was assigned command of a lance in the unit’s Eye company, a role that was seen as a stepping stone to eventual command. With the waning of the Kotovski family, one of the Star’s three founders, it was seen as being more and more likely that she would one day take control of the unit. Those in charge of the unit predicted that they would remain in an age of low-level skirmishes and relative stability, which would give her time to grow into the role.

Instead, the HPG Blackout upended all of those plans. As war quickly spread across the Republic and then the rest of the Inner Sphere, mercenary units were suddenly in demand to a degree not seen in five decades. Katarina’s first practical experiences would come at the side of her father as she took part in numerous battles in this new age of conflict. She quickly learned the realities of battlefield command, and showed an ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations.

These lessons would be invaluable following the Star of Sumer’s catastrophic defeat in 3138. Gerhardt Day, the commander of the unit, was killed in action, along with the last member of the Kotovski family. Calvin stepped up to commander of the unit, a move that also placed Katarina on the path to one day taking his place with her promotion to the commander of Eye company. Despite their losses, her father had promised to rebuild the unit, and she chose to help in her own way.

Her most important move was to take Jakub Day, Gerhardt’s son, under her wing. While still young, she helped both to train him as a MechWarrior and to teach him the skills that he would one day need, both as an officer and eventually as the leader of the unit. In many ways, she would become something of a surrogate parent to him, helping him to cope with the loss of his father. Under her tutelage, he would develop into a capable junior officer in his own right.

At the same time, she helped to integrate the members of the Addicks Planetary Guard that the Star had recruited into the unit. Key among them was Lana Kotovski, who in addition to being related (albeit distantly) to one of the Star’s founding families, was also a capable officer in her own right. The two did a lot to help rebuilt the unit, as well as to streamline its structure and deal with the complex morass of family politics that had dominated the unit.

In 3147, Calvin Morrison was killed in action. Rather than take control of the unit as expected, Katarina instead offered the position to Lana Kotovski, feeling that the unit needed her ideas and direction more. Lana accepted the position, but kept Katarina as her second. Aside from serving as the commander of Eye company, Katarina has continued to work with both Lana and Jakub, helping to bring the three families closer into alignment then they have been for years

WHM-8R Warhammer Enkidu
Mass: 70 tons
Chassis: Kell Reinforced 270 Endo Steel
Powerplant: Magna 280
Cruising Speed: 43 kph
Maximum Speed: 64 kph
Jump Jets: None
   Jump Capacity: None
Armour: Durallex Heavy
      2 Fusigon Longtooth Extended Range PPCs
      2 Magna Mk IV Extended Range Medium Lasers
      2 Magna Mk VI Extended Range Small Lasers
      2 LFN Linblad Machine Guns
      1 Shannon SH-67 Streak SRM-6 Launcher
Comm System: Barret Party Line-200
T&T System: Wasat Watchdog W100

Katarina Morrison had piloted heavy BattleMechs for most of her career, moving between several different units based on what the unit had at hand at the time. Her current BattleMech, a WHM-8R Warhammer, was purchased near-new during the reorganisation of the unit. Katarina was immediately impressed by its combination of versatility, firepower and durability, and claimed the ‘Mech as her own.

While a company commander within the Star, Katarina prefers to lead her command from the front lines. On the battlefield, she has been known to take withering amounts of enemy fire and yet seemingly shrug it off and bring her BattleMech (and herself) back intact. While it has been severely damaged several times, so far the Warhammer has served her well and kept her alive on the battlefield, becoming a key part of the Star’s forces.

When she turned down the position of unit commander, Katarina also turned down the opportunity to pilot Gilgamesh, the Star’s hereditary BattleMaster. Instead she chose to keep her Warhammer, which she then named Enkidu as a nod of the head towards the commander’s machine. Some within the unit felt that she was tempting fate with the choice of name. Katarina privately agreed with their assessments, but at the same time, refused to reveal the reason for her choice of name.
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?