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Author Topic: Renegades  (Read 13425 times)

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #120 on: 24 February 2022, 23:51:42 »
Guest character by Zogster

Luke Vasili
Position/Rank:          Knight
Affiliation/Unit:      Republic of the Sphere
Birth Year:         3112

Luke Vasili has had a strange path to Knighthood, especially given that he was functionally cut off from the rest of the Republic for many years. Regardless of circumstances, he is clearly loyal to his nation and a resourceful MechWarrior.

Born in Prefecture VII, Luke came from a Free Worlds League background. During his education, he became acutely aware of the League’s history and how it had been weakened by internal divisions and regional politics, to the point where the Word of Blake were able to effectively take over the nation. This background made him an ardent supporter of the Republic, and the ideals of unity and peace that it stood for.

Luke enlisted with the Republic Armed Forces, a move that was as much out of dedication to the state as it was his desire to earn his citizenship. Qualifying as a MechWarrior, he earned a place in a line unit that was tasked with defending the Republic from external threats.

Instead, the opponents that he wound up facing would come from within. The HPG Blackout led to chaos within the Republic as it erupted into violence. At first, Luke was dealing with pro-League separatists and rebels, but as the Blackout continued those groups became more organised and better equipped. Groups like the Free Eagles and White Hand were one thing, but soon he was fighting the Spirit Cats and members of Bannson’s Raiders, as well as probing attacks from the former Free Worlds states.

However, the greatest challenge would come from the highest reaches of the Republic’s leadership. The Senate Rebellion saw Luke facing off against members of the Republic government, leading Republic troops against their fellows. Despite these threats, he was able to maintain a small, ragtag unit that held their loyalty to the Republic. Rapidly gaining experience on the battlefield, Luke became highly adept at small-unit operations, engaging in skirmishes and hit-and-run operations against larger enemy forces.

Outwardly, Luke and the remnants of his unit were trapped outside of the walls of Fortress Republic when they went up. For the next decade, they would make sporadic appearances across what had formerly been Prefectures VI, VII and VIII, engaged in raids and strikes on a variety of opponents. At first they faced mainly the Marik-Stewart Commonwealth and Spirit Cats, striking both as they fought over several worlds. However, during HAMMERFALL, Luke’s attention switched to Lyran and Wolf forces. In its aftermath, he would again refocus on the Wolf Empire.

Beyond simply attacking what opponents he found, Luke also aided the isolated remnants of Republic forces, or even those who simply still supported the nation. He provided them with weapons, equipment and intelligence, much of which seemed to go well beyond simply what he had come into over the course of his operations. Those forces would in turn engage in actions against the forces occupying their worlds, with Luke often seemingly appearing out of nowhere to support them.

Unfortunately, many of these groups were lost during the disaster of Operation SHOFAR. Luke himself would disappear, only to emerge on Terra where he was promoted to the rank of Knight in recognition of his efforts. However, given some of his past actions, it is entirely possible that this recognition is merely a public face for a completely different position.

Goshawk (Vapor Eagle) 7
Mass:             55 tons
Chassis:          GS-1E Endo Steel
Powerplant:         Fusion 330 Extralight
Cruising Speed:      64 kph
Maximum Speed:    96 kph (130 kph w/MASC, 162 kph w/MASC and Supercharger)
Jump Jets:         None
   Jump Capacity:      None
Armour:         Raven Comp B Ferro-Fiberous
Armament:
      1 Type DDS “Kingston” Extended Range Particle Projector Cannon
      1 Zeta Series-X Plasma Cannon
      10 Series 3c Micro Pulse Lasers
Comm System:         GBX Series Integrated
T&T System:         Type 13e with Targeting Computer

During the course of his RAF service and his later guerilla actions, Luke Vasili piloted a variety of BattleMechs. Initially assigned a Legionnaire, he would later apparently use whatever he had at hand, from a decrepit Wolfhound to a salvaged Wolf Empire Fenris. In each case, he preferred fast-moving BattleMechs that suited his aggressive, hit-and-run combat style.

On several occasions, however, he was sighted piloting a Goshawk 7. An eccentric variant of an already eccentric BattleMech, the origin of the variant is not entirely clear as it matches to no known production model. It was first sighted after the implementation of Fortress Republic, and used in attacks against the various forces occupying that nation’s former worlds, such as those Vasili engaged in.

Following his return to Terra and promotion to Knight, Luke was rewarded with a brand-new Goshawk 7. The BattleMech, which trades its signature jump jets for MASC and a heavier weapons load, suits his aggressive, fast-moving style of combat. While he aggressively pushes the ‘Mech to its limits, it is also clear that he well understands its capabilities and how to best employ them.

Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



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

Deadborder

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #121 on: 24 February 2022, 23:53:34 »
Guest character by KayEmm

Jayce Walkinshaw
Position/Rank:          Captain
Affiliation/Unit:      Mercenary/Red Right Hand
Birth Year:         3115

On the outside, the Red Right Hand seem like any other small mercenary unit. Functional if not spectacular, they are mostly notable for keeping their noses clean and maintaining a good reputation, while managing to survive for over a century through the highest and lowest points of the mercenary trade. Otherwise its most notable engagements came during the Jihad, when the unit worked for the Coalition in fighting the Word of Blake. Likewise, in its aftermath, it saw employment by the fledgling Republic of the Sphere.

Under the surface, the truth is that the unit are much more than they seem. They are adept at unconventional warfare, guerrilla actions, ambushes and other dirty tricks, and perhaps most importantly, covering their tracks. Many members of the unit are trained in a variety of disciplines, allowing them to quickly adapt to changing circumstances.

Jayce Walkinshaw, the current leader of the unit, reflects its dual nature. Outwardly, he is an almost stereotypical ‘cowboy’ mercenary, a swaggering braggart with little love for authority and a habit of self-promotion. Flamboyant and with a long history of affairs behind him, Jayce seems more concerned with his own luxuries than running the unit.

However, under that is an entirely different story. Jayce has carefully crafted an image to present to the world to ensure that he is underestimated and dismissed. In truth, he is a canny commander with a strong ability to read a situation and adapt appropriately, while best using those assets at his disposal. That is not to say that everything he does is an act; he enjoys his pleasures and takes those opportunities when they present themselves. It is more that he knows when to moderate them and when to focus on the real matters at hand.

His path to this position came about largely by accident. Jayce was a war orphan, picked up by the Red Right Hand during a Periphery contract after he was caught sneaking into their encampment to steal supplies. Impressed by his courage and how far he had managed to get through their defenses before being picked up, the members of the unit took him under their wing. Starting out as more of a mascot than anything else, Jayce quickly showed that he had picked up a broad range of skills, while also proving eager to learn more.

Starting out as a scout, Jayce managed to impress the right people with his tenacity and resourcefulness. Like many members of the unit, he cross-trained in a variety of other skills, and proved to have an aptitude for BattleMech combat. This saw him offered a place as a MechWarrior, an opportunity that he jumped at without a moment’s hesitation. Success on the battlefield saw him promoted and bought him to the eyes of the unit’s leadership. He also demonstrated a willingness to do whatever was needed in order to achieve a desired outcome, an element that was key to the unit’s culture.

In 3144, Jin Matsuraga, the then-leader of the unit, was badly injured in combat, and chose to step down from the position. He nominated Jayce as his replacement, citing his rapid growth and adaptability, as well as his clear commitment to continuing their operations and practices. Jayce accepted the responsibility, and was given the clear support of the unit’s other officers.

Under Jayce’s leadership, the Red Right Hand have accepted numerous contracts that have focused on anti-Clan operations. While they have so far been successful, Jayce has been careful to look into his employers, and has begun to find evidence that not all of them were in fact who they claimed to be. Rather, it was possible that they represented another power operating through proxies.

KSC-5X Koschei The Claw
Mass:             65 tons
Chassis:          Earthworks KSC II Endo Steel
Powerplant:         VOX 325 XL
Cruising Speed:      54 kph
Maximum Speed:    86 kph
Jump Jets:         Swingline X-1200
   Jump Capacity:      150 Meters
Armour:         Maximillian 40
Armament:
      1 Diverse Optics Large Pulse Laser
      1 Diverse Optics Medium Pulse Laser
      2 BlazeFire Longshot Extended Range Medium Lasers
Comm System:         Neil 2000 with Guardian ECM
T&T System:         RCA Instatrac Mark IV

An eccentric variant of an already unusual BattleMech, the KSC-5X Koschei abandons the design’s usual focus on heavy ballistic weaponry. Instead, it is focused on melee combat, being armed with a pair of heavy duty claws. While employing these weapons is risky, due to the necessity of closing in to point-blank range with an opponent to use them, the potential damage from them makes it worth it to an adventurous MechWarrior.

The example piloted by Jayce Walkinshaw was captured from Canopian forces during a contract in the former Free Worlds League. The BattleMech would be passed between several MechWarriors over the years, before Jayce chose to take it for his own. He saw the unusual design as being a potential asset, favoring a style of combat that many opponents would not be ready for.

Where possible, Jayce makes use of the unit’s specialties to choose his battlefield and the likely courses of action that the enemy will take. This enables him to ambush his opponents, striking them at point-blank range when they do not expect it. So far, the tactic has been successful for himself and The Claw, his nickname for the BattleMech.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



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

Deadborder

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #122 on: 08 March 2022, 04:22:00 »
Renegades Chapter II: All Good Things

Tell Me Lies

Identity Withheld: Ultimately, the Wolves were the victors. And as victors are wont to do, they write the history. In the case of the Terran campaign, they have constructed a very specific heroic narrative that doesn’t reflect the actual truth of the situation. Not for the Republic, not for the Falcons and especially not for themselves.

Interviewer: And you dispute that story.

IW: I do. After all, I was there. I fought for the Republic and stayed until the bitter end. I saw things that don’t fit with the nice, neat ‘official’ version of the story.

Interviewer: Could you elaborate on that?

IW: Let me start with one of the stories that the Wolves like to howl about the most. They bring up those RAF soldiers who chose to side with them to fight the Falcons a lot, talking about how they were heroes who fought for Terra, to save innocents and so on.

Interviewer: But you don’t agree with that, do you?

IW: I do not.

Interviewer: And how would you characterise the situation?

IW: The Wolves lionised a handful of traitors, putting them on pedestals and treating them as shining beacons that all should aspire to. At the same time, they’ve also been quietly marginalising and denigrating those that chose to stay loyal to the end, painting them as cowards who gave up the will to fight and were willing to risk letting the Falcons win. And again, they’ve selected a handful of cases to highlight in order to paint a very specific picture.

Interviewer: And you don’t agree with that stance, do you?

IW: Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to mythologise some lost cause or the like. We lost and the Republic fell, that much is unquestioned. What I am here to do is tell the truth of that situation, the story that the Wolves have decided they don’t want people to hear.

Interviewer: A truth that is not palatable to the victors.

IW: Exactly. And even then, there were plenty of occasions where the Wolves didn’t take prisoners or deliberately executed those they did. But that doesn’t suit their narrative as much as ‘heroic traitors’ do. I suspect it’s also something that those former Republicans who fought for them are either unaware of or just simply won’t admit to as it would undercut their own self-reassurance that they fought for the ‘good’ cause. Especially given how Damien Redburn died.

Interviewer: I take it that the Wolves’ official story there doesn’t match the reality of the situation.

IW: It does not, like so many other things.

Interviewer: Can you give me any other examples?

IW: Another part of the popular narrative is how the Wolves fought a ‘clean’ and ‘honourable’ campaign when again, the truth was anything but.

Interviewer: Such as?

IW: Saturation artillery bombardment of Hong Kong. Putting hundreds of kilometres of Vietnamese jungle to torch. Poisoning rivers in Mongolia. Or their actions in their invasion of the Republic, like on Shiloh where they left RAF soldiers to die of exposure, or Keid where they deliberately killed the defenders down to the last man. The list goes on. And that doesn’t mention another one of the Wolves’ dirty secrets that they won’t talk about.

Interviewer: Which is?

IW: Do you know why the Wolves never faced any resistance in the areas they took? They used the same method as the Falcons that they claimed to be ‘better’ than and held civilian populations hostage. They wiped out the town of Atitjere in Australia, which was as much an act of retaliation as it was about cowing any possible resistance.

Interviewer: Compliance through terror.

IW: Exactly. It’s easy to claim that there’s no resistance when you’re holding guns to people’s heads. Don’t get me wrong. The Falcons were complete monsters, but the Wolves were no better. They just did a better job of covering their sins.

Interviewer: And you suspect there were other such situations that you never heard about?

IW: Absolutely. Discovering the full truth of what happened on Terra would require a level of investigation comparable to what happened after the fall of the Amaris Empire or the end of the Jihad. But given Terra’s new masters, and what they’ve done since they claimed victory, that’s not going to happen.

Interviewer: What do you mean by that?

IW: Consider this. Both Devlin Stone and Malvina Hazen died of ‘medical complications’ within days of the Wolves’ victory and before the official ceremonies. A mite convenient, wouldn’t you say?
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



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

Deadborder

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #123 on: 08 March 2022, 04:23:13 »
Tripwire

Outside Sydney, Australia
Terra
Republic of the Sphere
1 January 3151


From the cockpit of their Awesome, Jarrie Scire watched as the platoon of Kinnol tanks advanced across the field, their olive-and-red-painted hulls visible in the long grass. The platoon split as they went around a derelict farmhouse before continuing their advance, turrets sweeping left to right as crews watched for any signs of an enemy force.

“OpFor has passed the initial,” they commented over their command channel. “You are clear to engage.”

A quartet of heavy tanks, painted light blue and grey with the horned, fanged skull of Hansen’s Roughriders visible on their hulls, emerged from a nearby stand of trees. The force advanced on their opponents, puffs of blue smoke going off on the hulls of the Kinnols or around them to simulate weapons fire. To their credit, the Kinnol tanks held their ground, grouping up to protect themselves and concentrate fire.

“Good move,” Jarrie muttered. “But not good enough.”

A quartet of Angerona battle armour suits emerged from the farmhouse, ducking to one side of it before opening fire on one of the Kinnols. Several blue splashes decorated its hull before the crew realised what was going on. Once they did, the tank tried backpedalling, while spinning is turret to face the newcomers. In response, the Angeronas moved to keep themselves between the farmhouse and the Kinnol, limiting the amount of fire that could be directed at them.

As the others reacted to the threat, the Roughriders tanks continued to close in. Weapons fire erupted between the two forces, with more red and blue puffs decorating the battlefield. Seeing their situation, the Kinnols were doing their best to regroup and deal with the ambush, while pulling back. None of it was doing anything to slow the Roughriders’ advance.

“Unless...” Jarrie considered, looking over the situation.

As if to confirm their thoughts, a pair of Scapha hovertanks came out of seemingly nowhere, the vehicles moving with blinding speed. They cut around the Roughriders’ advance, simulated weapons fire peppering the rear of the tanks.

Jarrie was about to say something, but they were cut off by a signal from the communications system, one coming in on a priority band. Confident that the battle could handle itself for the moment, they responded to the message. “Captain Scire here.”

“Captain Scire,” the voice came on the other end of the line. A woman’s, its tone was blunt and to the point, one he immediately recognised.

“Knight Messier,” Jarrie replied. “What is it?”

“The tripwire,” she replied. “Hostile vessels have entered the Terran system. We have to assume the worst.”

“That’s what I’m here for,” came the grim-faced reply.

“Recall your units to the Redoubt,” Messier stated. “And be ready to repel invaders.”

“Do we know who it is?”

“Provisional IDs suggest that it is indeed the Wolves.” If she was surprised or disappointed by this turn, she didn’t let it show.

“Thought so,” Scire added. “I want more time with the First NSW, but I suppose that won’t happen now.”

“That is a luxury that none of us have,” Messier finished.

“Understood,” they commented before switching over to the command channel. “All units, this is Hellfire Actual. Exercises are cancelled; repeat, exercises are cancelled. Pull back to Fallback Point PH2756 and await further orders.”

A chorus of affirmatives filled the channel, both from the other Roughriders and the RAF units. “Now’s when we earn our paycheque for real,” Jarrie muttered, shooting a glance at the sky.
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 #124 on: 08 March 2022, 04:24:23 »
From the personal journal of Bianka Messier

So it has come to this. We have confirmation of Wolf Empire ships in the Terran system. As yet, there is no clue as to how they have penetrated the Fortress Republic walls, but at this point, it is academic. Our goal is to protect Terra from their predation. We can worry about the hows and whys of what brought us to this later.

I am not so arrogant to believe that we will win this. Yes, we have been preparing for this eventuality for fifteen years now. We have built up the Terran system’s defences. We have built fortifications and redoubts across Terra itself. We have raised new units, and brought in mercenaries to help train and prepare them. We have run simulations and wargames and so much more.

However, these are not the same Wolves that invaded the Inner Sphere a century ago. They’re not even the shriveled husk of a Clan that clutched to their occupation zone before the Blackout. They are aggressive, resourceful and adaptable, willing to change and do what is needed for victory, not what might seem good or honourable. Their success in turning the people they conquered into their willing soldiers demonstrates that.

The failure of Operation SHOFAR proves all of that.

I have made my own preparations, found my own allies. Keyhan and I have worked together in past, and as much of a risk-taker as he seems, there is no denying his skills. Tariku is an expert at anti-Clan tactics and using their strengths against them. Conversely, Erzhan is as Clan as somebody could be while still being a Republic Citizen, and understands them intimately. Tammy is a charismatic leader and is driven; she won’t admit it, but her hatred for the Falcons, and now the Wolves, is a potent weapon. Finally Luke brings a lot of unconventional skills to the table.

There is one other asset I have to play. I pray that I will not have to use it.

I have ensured that Jacques is safe, as are Yvette and Peter. Likewise, Lorand and his family have been moved for their protection. I wish I could have done more for Bors, but doing such would have been a compromise to my own position and authority; the Republic comes before all else. I also feel that he wouldn’t have accepted my help even if it was offered.

I wonder how his daughter is doing. It’s been over twenty years now since I saw her.
For now, all we can do is prepare. Pray for the best, expect the worst.
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



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

Deadborder

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #125 on: 08 March 2022, 04:26:21 »
Guest chapter by KayEmm

Focus on the Job

Krakow, Poland
Terra
Republic of the Sphere
3 January 3151


Jayce Walkinshaw took a long drag from his cigarette as he leaned on the rooftop ledge. Exhaling, he looked up at the night sky, as if he was searching for something up there.

“You know those things will kill you,” came a voice from behind him.

Jayce looked back to see his second, Tan Yo-Han approach him. “Right now I think I have bigger concerns then lung cancer,” he smirked. “You know, with a Clan force coming down on us any day now and all that.”

“Is that what’s on your mind,” Yo-Han asked. “You usually only light up like this when something’s bothering you.”

“You’d know,” Jayce chuckled. “Naw, I was thinking about other stuff.”

“Like what?” Tan looked around at their compound. “Our men are about as ready to go as they’ll ever be. We’ve been drilling hard with the locals to train them up so that they’ll have some chance against what’s coming. We’ve done recon of the terrain and know where we’re fighting and all that. Between old-growth forests and dense urban areas we’ll have plenty of opportunities to ensure the battles are on our terms.” He shrugged. “Really, at this point I can’t think of anything we might have missed. So if there’s something up, boss, I need to know.”

“It’s not that,” Jayce shook his head. “Just thinking about a girl I used to know and went out with for a while.”

“You’re hopeless, you know that?” Yo-Han chuckled.

“Seriously,” Jayce grinned. “She was hot as all hell. Covered in tattoos too. Nice girl, though.”

“Sounds too good for a creep like you.”

“Probably,” he chuckled. “Didn’t work out between us, though.”

“Likely because you’re you.”

“Naw, we wanted... different things out of the relationship,” he admitted. “Plus I was terrified that her dad was going to kill me if I even looked at her funny.”

“Bad?”

“He was the leader of their family unit,” Jayce admitted, his lit cigarette hanging from his hand. “You know how much of a mess that can be.”

“So in short,” Yo-Han nodded. “We’re about to be in the fight of our lives and you’re still hung up on a girl.”

“Yeah.”

Yo-han threw his hands up in mock despair. “That’s why we broke up, you know.”

“What, and not the complex politics of two senior officers in the same small unit knocking boots?”

“That’s-“ he paused. “Now you’ve got me doing it too.”

Jayce chuckled. “Maybe that was my point, man. I mean, god alone knows I should be crapping my pants with fear here. But if I think about the good stuff instead, then I’m a lot less afraid.”

“So you think about your exes.”

“Yeah.”

Yo-Han grinned. “Well that’ll keep you busy for days. Weeks even.”

“You ass. I should fire you for that. Or at least demote you.”

“If I’m alive when we get through this, sure,” Yo-Han shook his head. “But right now you know you need me.”

“Probably,” Jayce nodded. “Tell you what though, could you imagine it if this works out?” He grinned. “Jayce Walkinshaw, hero of the Republic.”

“Except we never get in the history books,” Yo-Han reminded him. “Something the Red Right Hand prides itself on.”

“I know,” he nodded. “But consider this. The Republic is going to owe us big time.”

“So we collect our pay and head off into the night as rich men,” Yo-Han finished.

“It’s a plan,” Jayce admitted. “And besides, as you said, it’s what we’ve always done.”

“Okay, I’ll give you that,” Yo-Han came over and leaned on the ledge, joining him. “Did you have any idea what you were getting yourself in for when you signed that deal?”

“I was just honouring past traditions,” Jayce admitted. “The secret journals kept by the previous leaders of the Red Right Hand and all that. We have a long history with the Republic. Hell, we have history with them even before they were the Republic.”

“And now here we are.”

“Yeah,” Jayce nodded. “Strange how life works out. Still, I think I’ve got this figured. One way or another, there’s gonna be a lot of need for our services after this is done.”

“So you got a plan?”

“Hell yeah.”

“Care to let us in on it?”

“Well, for starters, I’m gonna ask that girl for a second chance.”

“You really are stupid, you know that?” Yo-Han sighed.

“I guess that’s why you gave me the job,” he simply grinned back in reply.
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 #126 on: 08 March 2022, 04:28:39 »
From the campaign journal of Star Colonel Don Cooper

If you had marched up to my sibko on Czezstreg and told me that one day I would be leading an assault on Terra, I would have likely laughed in your face. While it has always been the dream of every Clan warrior to do such, I do not think anyone ever thought that it would happen. And yet, here we are.

The Thirteenth (EDITOR’S NOTE: Thirteenth Wolf Guards Battle Cluster) made landfall outside of Perth on the Australian continent. As the Galaxy as a whole advanced on the city, we were tasked with securing a number of Republic forward operating bases across the area. These facilities were home to supplies that would be useful to us as well as RAF detachments that would need to be neutralised before our assault could continue.

I assigned Star Captains Lucius Radrick and Leeandra Connors to the task. This was a test of sorts, given their past history of antagonism towards each other to see if the little talking-to that I had given them had sank in. Better that any residual issues surface now than when we are deep into enemy territory and I no longer have the luxury of dealing with the issue.

To make things worse, the force that they faced was one unknown to us; a RAF formation identified as the Redburn Guards. Not only were they one we had no intelligence on, but they were also clearly well-trained, well-equipped and, given the name, well-led.

Apparently, Lucius and Leeandra simply considered this to be an extra challenge, as the pair of them acquitted themselves well. Rather than fighting over objectives, they cooperated to best deal with the situation. The Black Fangs (EDITOR’S NOTE: Trinary Alpha, led by Lucius Radick) led the way, smashing headlong into the Redburn Guards while the Bloodseekers (EDITOR’S NOTE: Trinary Bravo, led by Leeandra Connors) looped around to strike at the enemy flank and cut off their retreat.

The plan worked fantastically. While the Black Fangs dealt with the enemy BattleMech force, the Bloodseekers wreaked havoc on their heavy tanks and other support elements. Leeandra personally accounted for three tank kills and several more immobilised, but the crowning moment had to go to Lucuis who defeated the Republic commander in a duel. While their Trinaries suffered several BattleMechs damaged or disabled, their losses were far less than the RAF units who fell back in disarray. Even then, the Bloodseekers further harried them to wear down their numbers.

So far, it would seem that the pair of them have learned their lesson.
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 #127 on: 08 March 2022, 04:29:52 »
The Battle of Windsor

While the Wolves ultimately took Sydney, the outcome of the battle was far less clear than the one for Perth. There were several times when the Wolves were caught on the back foot or even repulsed by the combination of the unexpected defenses of the Redoubt, as well as the forces that were protecting the city itself.

The Battle of Windsor was a good example. A Trinary from the Fourth Wolf Guards Cluster (Alpha Galaxy) sought to capture the town of Windsor as a part of their moves on the city proper. The move was aimed at isolating the forward base at RAF Richmond, while also severing Republic supply lines. Furthermore, there was supposedly a site of historical significance within the town that the Wolves sought to capture.

Led by Star Captain Douglas Carns, the Wolf force, supported by Elementals, made contact with what were believed to be elements from the First New South Wales Militia. Confident in their superiority, the Wolves advanced towards the Redoubt’s fortifications, only to come under heavy fire. Now they were faced with a combined-arms force from Hansens’s Roughriders, led by Captain Jarrie Scire. Combining accurate long-range fire, artillery and the cover afforded to them by the redoubt’s defenses, the Roughriders repulsed the initial Wolf attack.

Pulling back and taking cover in the bushland, Carns attempted to bait the Roughriders out of cover using long-range fire. This only resulted in a heavy artillery barrage, while light BattleMechs and hovercraft harried their flanks with hit-and-run attacks. The body of the Roughriders force held their ground inside the fortifications and continued their fire.

After Star Commander Roberto was killed by an artillery hit to his Stormwolf’s cockpit, Carns completely changed tack. Ignoring the flanking elements, he pushed his forces into a furious, if not completely reckless, head-on charge into the Roughriders’ forces. While the mercenaries were temporarily taken back by the ferocity of the attack, they quickly rallied and held their ground while recalling their strikers for support.

Only a handful of Wolf BattleMechs reached the Roughriders’ lines, with Carns at their head. This did him little good as he was killed in combat with Scire’s Awesome, robbing the Wolves of their leader. Realising the full depth of their situation, Star Commander Kyle Jones ordered a retreat to preserve his remaining forces.

While the Battle of Windsor was a victory for the Republic, it ultimately did little more than slow the Wolves’ advance on the city. However, it also bought the defenders precious time, while helping to secure supply lines that would be useful in the battle ahead.

-   From Untold tales of Terra, Galatea Free Press

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 #128 on: 08 March 2022, 04:31:25 »
From the campaign journal of Star Colonel Don Cooper

Vietnam. Stravag Vietnam and the stravag Republicans.

We had little idea of what to expect, especially given that Ho Chi Minh City had fallen without much of a fight; we had faced little more than light resistance from militia forces that had scattered in the face of Beta Galaxy’s massed forces. When the Thirteenth was given the task of leading the Clan’s advance through Vietnam, it was an honour. I had no idea how it would turn out.

Lucius and Leeandra went in to the situation convinced that the RAF militia they were facing were a bunch of amateurs; they were not going to be able to inflict any significant harm or even be able to do anything. Instead, they looked at the bottom line. They were trueborn warriors, Bloodnamed and each leading a Trinary of the best their Clan had to offer. What were the defenders going to do? They were a bunch of surats trying to find reverse on old Blakist tanks. They were not a worthy adversary.

The instant the first BattleMech hit a mine and took fire from the jungle, they were off. The pair of them led their Trinaries in pursuit of the Republic forces, despite my explicit orders not to. And not one member of their units disagreed; if anything, they seemed to be eager to prove themselves, all but racing each other to get the first kill. And the rest of my stravag Cluster chased after them, caught up in the excitement.

Instead they led their forces into a textbook ambush. The Republicans had littered the area with mines, pitfalls, traps and other such hazards. And as my warriors struggled to extract themselves, the Republicans came at them from all sides, taking them down with dezgra attacks when they could not defend themselves.

In the end, my men had to be rescued by Delta Galaxy’s forces. The best of the tourman bailed out by a bunch of sibkids piloting Lyran castoffs. Humiliating does not begin to cover it.

None of my officers want to talk about what happened; they are stonewalling me with their silence. I should demote the lot of them for their idiocy and letting good warriors die face down in the muck for their glory, but I cannot afford either to lose their experience or the Trials that would inevitably occur. Instead, I have called up reserves from Iota to make up numbers.

This stravag country can go to hell.

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 #129 on: 08 March 2022, 04:33:15 »
Rush Hour

Outside Hong Kong, China District, Asia
Terra
Republic of the Sphere
T+8


When he first graduated from his sibko, Jean had been convinced that one day he would fight on Terra for the glory of his Clan. As a ristar assigned to a prestigious unit and a brand new OmniMech, it had seemed inevitable to him that not only would he be a part of the campaign, but that he would lead the charge against the defenders.

And after that had all fallen apart, he had been more focused on surviving then anything else. Simply keeping his head above water had become a challenge. Dreams of conquest were just that.

But yet, here he was, walking on the soil of sacred Terra as the Wolves fought for the future of all mankind. So far, Iota Galaxy had been a reserve unit that had not seen action, but nonetheless, Jean was excited at the prospect of fighting for glory, both his own and for his Clan as a whole. When they had been assigned to the assault of Redoubt Hong Kong, he was thrilled at the prospect of seeing battle at last.

His Tundra Wolf marched at the head of his Star, the five BattleMechs keeping a steady pace as they approached the fortified city. While so far, they had no contact with the Republican forces, there was no doubt that they would be well dug in to the city itself. The fortifications discovered around Sydney and other cities had given the Wolves a good idea of what to expect, but even then, the Wolves were wary for more tricks.

“Status report?” He called out over his command channel as he bought his ‘Mech to a halt at the rally point. A chorus of replies came back, each one professional and calm.
“Good,” he finished, a hint of pride in his tone. This command might not have been the one he had expected when he first entered service with the touman, but they were his nonetheless. Switching over to the command channel, he reported in. “Charlie Battle is in position, Star Captain. Awaiting orders.”

“Understood,” the gravelly voice of Star Captain Pietro replied. “My Star will take the lead. Follow in formation.”

He paused a moment. “Star Captain, should Charlie Scout take the lead? We are headed into unknown hostile territory and-“

“You have your orders, Star Commander,” came the growling reply. “I expect you to follow them.”

“Star Captain, all I am saying is-“

“Know your place, Pudding Wolf,” Pietro snapped. “You have my orders. I expect you to follow them, quiaff?”

“Aff,” he replied with a degree of reluctant acceptance.

“What a tool,” one of his Star quietly muttered. Jean let it stand for the moment, even if he did agree. Pietro had only been promoted to Star Captain to replace another officer who had been transferred to Alpha Galaxy. The knowledge that he was the replacement for somebody better then him had not gone over well, leading to him taking out his frustrations on everyone around him while looking for ways to find his own glory.

Nobody liked Pietro, which was fine because he didn’t like anybody.

The Trinary began their advance, with Pietro’s Night Wolf at the head of the force. Ahead of them, through the hilly terrain, lay a series of bunkers and walls similar to those discovered around Sydney, likely packed full of Republican units.

Conformation came with the first long-range missile fire. Several shots peppered the upper body of Pietro’s Night Wolf, the assault ‘Mech shrugging them off. That was soon joined by heavy cannon fire as the Republican tanks tried to focus on bringing the Wolf attackers down or at least slowing their assault. Pietro’s Star opened up in reply, their shots hitting the enemy tanks as much as they did the fortifications they were using for shelter.

“Maintain formation and mark targets,” Jean called out to his Star. Several missiles hit his ‘Mech, with his sensors quickly identifying the source of the attack. A Marksman tank, most of its body concealed behind a sloped concrete barricade. He replied with his own pulse lasers and missiles, the shots hitting both armour and the fortifications protecting it, doing little actual damage.

Pietro’s BattleMech continued its advance, pushing deeper towards the Republican fortifications. “These freeborn whelps lack the courage for a real fight,” he yelled. “Crush them.”

A gauss rifle hit rocked Jean’s BattleMech, staggering it as it advanced. Keeping his footing, he continued to pour fire on the Marksman tank, his lasers slashing more armour from its turret. The Marksman’s crew simply continued to fire, another volley of missiles arcing out and striking at his ‘Mech.

Despite the fevered exchange of fire, something else caught his eyes. A series of small, fast-moving vehicles, darting out from the Republican defenses and weaving in among the ‘Mechs of Pietro’s Command Star. “Star Captain,” he called out over the command channel. “Hoverbikes in your flanks.”

“Shut up, Pudding Wolf,” Pietro snapped. “I can fight my own battles.” His ‘Mech continued to advance, the Hoverbikes scattering as it did. “See what I mean? These cowards cannot-“

He was cut off as the first artillery missile slammed into his BattleMech, tearing huge chunks out of its torso. A second hit even harder, sending it crashing to the ground. Clearly seeing an opportunity, the Republic tanks focused fire onto the downed BattleMech. Within moments, it had been reduced to smoking wreckage under the concentrated assault.

“Pull back!” Jean ordered, figuring that Pietro was either dead or disabled. He squeezed off another volley of fire, the Marksman tank continuing to soak it up as a sign of its own defiance. Not a good start, Jean admitted to himself as his BattleMech backpedaled, the rest of his Star falling into formation with him.

Victory would come, of that he was certain. It was just going to take a lot more work.
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 #130 on: 11 May 2022, 05:00:31 »
Guest chapter by KayEmm

Unit Digest: Red Right Hand

Tariku,

I’m attaching the profile for one of the small units we have working for us in the European theatre. They focus on covert actions, targeted strikes and elimination of valuable targets, and have been invaluable in helping to prepare our forces. I feel that they would complement Sunstorm well in the field, especially given the unfolding situation. And despite how their leader may act, I know that we can rely on them.

-   Bianka

History

The Red Right Hand came into existence following the formation of the Chaos March. While their exact origins are unclear (and were likely deliberately obscured up by its founders to cover their tracks) the unit’s founders possibly included members of a FedCom recon team who were abandoned in the region. The unit spend its early years working out of the Fletcher hiring hall (itself notorious for its poor record-keeping) for various powers across the region. Many of their operations focused on precise raiding aimed at extracting or eliminating specific targets, including false-flag operations.

While many of the mercenaries operating in the Chaos March were destroyed or captured by the Word of Blake, or came under their control, the Red Right Hand were able to remain free agents. During the early years of the Jihad, the unit were still focused on small-scale operations, but later came under control of Chandrasekhar Kurita through one of the many StarCorps subsidiaries. During this period, they were redirected towards specific focused targets in the Word of Blake Protectorate, as well as the Word’s allies. Furthermore, the unit were also involved in key intelligence gathering that would be used during Operation SCOUR.

Following the Jihad, the unit were contracted by the Republic and used in a number of discrete actions, including the capture or elimination of wanted war criminals and other Word allies. They also were involved in actions against the Capellan Confederation and former Free Worlds states aimed at slowing their ability to rearm and wage war. While the Republic stopped utilising the Red Right Hand by the end of the century, a discrete understanding was established to ensure that the unit would be available to renew that relationship should it be needed.

Much of that experience would be lost in 3103 when the unit was badly mauled by Jade Falcon forces on Great X (although it has to be said that inept Lyran leadership was ultimately to blame). The Red Right Hand rebuilt as a more conventional force, but would suffer, as many other units did, through the withering of the mercenary trade in the early 32nd century. It was not until after Gray Monday and a change of leadership that it would come to resemble its earlier self.

The rebuilt Red Right Hand saw action in the crumbling Republic, which brought it to our attention. Through successful negotiations we were able to resume our alliance with the unit, aided by the promise of advanced technology and intelligence. After the creation of Fortress Republic, the Red Right Hand were employed through our intermediaries. Some of their actions included the elimination of threats and assets within the former Republic’s territories in order to prevent them from being captured or used by other parties. These efforts were later refocused towards our enemies in order to disrupt their activities.

Composition

The paper strength of the Red Right Hand does not appear to be overly impressive at first. The unit boasts two lances of BattleMechs, supported by a lance of light vehicles, a battle armor platoon and several small infantry units. What is more important is the way that they are utilised; rather than direct engagements, the Red Right Hand focus more on targeted attacks and ambushes, preferring to avoid stand-up fights. To aid in this, their conventional infantry forces are usually deployed in special use squads, intended for scouting, infiltration, sabotage and the like. The unit’s strength is rounded out by a pair of light aerospace fighters that are tasked with recon and support operations.

Support

The Red Right Hand’s small size has allowed it to maintain a dedicated technical support corps that more than covers their needs. Their support crews include dedicated salvage experts who are skilled both at recovering materials and, where needs be, ensuring that no evidence is left behind. Over the years, the unit has built up a considerable reserve of parts and equipment, both as insurance against repair needs and to use as currency.

The unit possesses two DropShips; the Union-class Aces High and Gazelle-class Two Pair. Both ships are modern and well-maintained; furthermore, both have several sets of fake transponder codes ready if needed.

Colours and Insignia

The insignia of the Red Right Hand depicts a quartet of playing cards, all Aces. The unit has no standard parade scheme, but will paint the upper arms and lower legs of their ‘Mechs and battle armor in alternating red and black. However, the unit will rarely employ any sort of scheme or insignia in the field, and have also been known to disguise themselves as other units to create confusion and cover their tracks.
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 #131 on: 11 May 2022, 05:02:47 »
Interlude - From the Operational Journal of Ash Wednesday

January 7 3146

I feel that I have grossly underestimated Connie Raymond.

When I was given this assignment, the brief was simple. We have past connections to Raymond’s Roughnecks, and we can use them to fulfil our needs. On the surface, it was an open and shut case. Connie Raymond seemed easy enough to manipulate to our ends. Angry, bitter and dwelling on a feud that had been going on for over a century, her emotional state was easy to prod and direct as we needed. And in my role as her scout and broker, I was in the perfect position to do such.

Of course, it was not that easy. As a part of my role I was to help train her kids as officers and potential heirs. Anyone who has read my report will know that I instantly didn’t like them, and that position has not changed at all over the twelve years that I have been on this assignment.

Outwardly, the problem came down to one key fact. Neither of them were ever going to be suitable leaders for the unit, albeit for different reasons. Added to that was the fact that they couldn’t stand each other, the result of their mother’s playing favourites and the resulting deeply competitive rift between them, which amounted to a race to the bottom.

Jessie as never going to be any good as a leader. In fact, she was struggling in her position as a junior officer. Shy, socially awkward and anxious, she was utterly lacking in any leadership ability whatsoever. And while she was a skilled enough MechWarrior in her own right, that didn’t translate into any ability to make decisions on the battlefield.

Ronnie was also never going to be any good as a leader, but for completely different reasons. Self-important, whiny and entitled, he expected to have everything handed to him on a silver platter. While again a capable MechWarrior he lacked the charisma to make anyone want to follow him. He might have actually been a better leader then Jessie, but that’s a case of low bars to clear.

And yet, Connie pushed Jessie to the moon. She was named as heir to the family unit before she ever set foot in a BattleMech. She was given a Clantech assault ‘Mech and command of a lance as soon as she was old enough to pilot it. Naturally, Jessie didn’t get a say in any of this – but I suspect that even if she’d been against the idea, she would have been too timid to oppose her mother in any way.

Ronnie, on the other hand, got a light ‘Mech and command of a recon lance, and that was it. The clear unfavourite of the two, Connie Raymond all but spelled it out to him how little regard she had for him. And while Ron McDougall supported Ronnie in every way he could, that really amounted to very little in Ronnie’s eyes.

So Ronnie became entitled and demanded more. He’d treat Jessie like crap, complaining to her at every opportunity about how unfair things were between the pair of them (but never to his mother, of course). Jessie basically used the only defence mechanism she had which was to lord that favouritism over him; after all, their mother picked her for a reason. As can be imagined, that only made things worse between the pair of them.

I often wondered why Connie was so divisive in the treatment of her children. I think anyone could have seen that Jessie was horribly ill-suited to the position and didn’t really want it, but yet Connie pushed her no less. I had my own theories as to why. Jessie was, after all, the first-born child. On top of that, she was (supposedly) the only child Connie had with her dead first husband, Shane Packard. Conversely, Ronnie seemed to largely exist as a part of the alliance made between her an Ron McDougall when they combined their two units to give him a child and heir, with Connie treating him as a mild inconvenience after that.

But now I am not so sure.

When Jessie left the unit, Connie was livid. After all, her daughter and heir had just walked out on her and taken with her an expensive BattleMech. That would have been betrayal enough, but there was more to it than just that. She was angry because Jessie had in leaving the unit thrown some spanner in the works, done something to derail some plan that she had which went well beyond just pushing her daughter to take her place one day.

It became more obvious when she named Ronnie as her new heir. To be fair, the kid hadn’t done himself many favours with his approach; a combination of pandering to her with pledges of loyalty while putting down Jessie at every opportunity. But Connie’s reaction was full of begrudging acceptance. She didn’t want Ronnie as heir because he never was meant to be there, and putting him there went against whatever plans she had.

(Not that Ronnie would have noticed any of this, mind you)

Which got me to thinking what was so important about Jessie in particular. My first thought was that it went back to Shane Packard; presumably the pair had planned to have more kids before fate intervened. But then that made me look at a few other things.

For context, it needs to be said that Ronnie and Jessie don’t look much like each other, even allowing for the half-siblings thing. Ronnie has his mother’s looks; dark hair, dark eyes and some of her features. Jessie, on the other hand, has fairer skin, blue eyes and red hair. Now that doesn’t match at all to Connie or her family history. And, to be blunt, it doesn’t really match to the few pictures there are of Shane Packard either.

I had long had doubts about Jessie’s parentage. I had never voiced them as there was no need for me to do such, and I would have nothing to gain from doing such. But after Connie’s reaction, a lot of things became clear to me.

I already have my suspicions as to the identity of Jessie’s actual father. They have features that would match and a family history that would likely give a child those looks. And most importantly, Connie would have a lot to gain from having a child with them. I need to run a DNA test to be sure, but I feel confident of the result already.

Jessie, without knowing it, had ruined everything her mother had planned for her, down to the very reason why she existed in the first place.

(It also makes Shane Packard’s death very convenient to the point that I have to wonder)
« Last Edit: 11 May 2022, 08:25:07 by Deadborder »
Author of BattleCorps stories Grand Theft Agro and Zero Signal



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

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Re: Renegades
« Reply #132 on: 11 May 2022, 05:04:56 »
Interlude - Fight and Flight

Lanie King couldn’t help but feel a little intimidated, even if she was making sure not to show it. On the surface, there was no reason to feel that way. After all, she was having a private meeting with one of her allies inside the rented office space that was their shared space. There should have been nothing to worry about at all.

On the other side of it, there was the simple fact that Alexis Fairchild was rather intimidating in and of herself. Large and muscular, she simply looked it in her own right. It did not help that she had a certain energy to her, one that suggested she was about to explode at any moment and was only barely holding herself back. Finally there was the fact that, simply put, Lanie knew next to nothing about her. All she had was the unsubstantiated claims that Alexis and Ryback had made.

Claims that were very hard to back up.

“So tell me what happened on Al Jubalyah,” Alexis simply asked. There was no hint of anger or malice, just a simple question.

“A group of pirates landed on the world only about a week out from when my unit was due to depart,” Lanie answered, sitting up straight and keeping her tone clam and level throughout. “We later found out that they called themselves the Steel Tygers.”

“And what did they want?”

“That was the confusing part of it,” Lanie admitted. “They didn’t go after any targets that would have any real value to them at all. Rather, they roamed the countryside, picking on low-key targets like farms and communications relays.”

“What was the government’s response?”

Lanie considered the answer carefully. “The Council of Mullahs wanted them driven off the planet before they did any real damage. The Tigers were sent after them in support of the planetary guard.”

“Did that provoke a response?”

“Yes,” Lanie began, but immediately countered herself. “Sort of.”

“What do you mean?”

She sighed. “The Steel Tygers didn’t stand and fight, but nor did they simply try to escape as you would have expected from pirates. Rather, they spent days stringing out my men in a series of pointless running battles. All this did was cost them a couple of hovertanks and some damaged BattleMechs, while also seeing them burn off a fortune in smoke missiles before they finally retreated off-world.”

Alexis seemed to be considering something for a moment before she spoke again. “Did they hit any targets besides those you mentioned?”

“Only one, and it didn’t really make any sense to me.”

“How so?”

“I only found out about it after they had left the world,” Lanie admitted. “While we were tied up with then, a small pirate infantry force hit an abandoned homestead in the middle of nowhere. They put the place to the torch and then left.”

“Where was that homestead? This is very important.”

Lanie paused as she tried to remember. “Northwest of Medina.” Alexis looked aside for a moment, clearly concerned. “Is something wrong?”

The other woman took a deep breath before she continued. “Tell nobody about what I am about to say. Not in your unit, not any of our allies or anyone else.”

Now Lanie really was concerned. “What is it?”

“That homestead was used as a base of operations for one of the Blakist cells that I destroyed,” she explained. “There should have been nothing left.”

“But?”

“But if the Steel Tygers knew about it and went back to it, that means two things,” Alexis assessed. “The first is that there was something there worth hitting the world and getting in a fight with your unit for. And the second is that they knew it was there.”

“Which means that the Steel Tygers must have a connection to your Blakists.”

“Exactly.”

All of a sudden she could understand Alexis’ concerns.
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 #133 on: 11 May 2022, 05:08:40 »
Interlude - Playdate

A flight of long-range missiles flew past the Shadow Hawk as it advanced, scattering across the landscape. In response, the blocky BattleMech opened up with its autocannon, loosing a stream of shells at the Goblin tank that had been responsible for the attack. Shots chewed through its armour, fouling the tank’s treads.

Seconds later, a Chameleon joined it, opening fire with its rifle-like large laser. The shot seared through the already damaged armour, eating into the tank’s exposed structure. A moment later, its rear erupted into flames as its missile magazine cooked off, before a second, larger explosion tore the tank apart from within.

“Nice shooting there, Blue Two,” Lanie King commented as she watched the battle unfold on a series of displays. A large holographic table was presently zoomed in on the lance of ‘Mechs, while other monitors showed different views around the battlefield. While everything was simulated, Lanie was still impressed with the level of detail in the virtual environment and the combatants in it.

“Angela’s got a good eye there,” Katarina Morrison added, nodding to the image of the Chameleon. “And some good fire discipline as well.”

“It helps that she’s got a good leader. Jakub really seems to have taken well to this,” Lanie observed as the virtual BattleMechs continued their advance. “I heard about what he did on Haggard.”

“Definitely,” Katarina nodded. “He’s showing a lot of skill already, and a great ability to think on the fly. And probably the most-“ she paused. “On your left, Blue Lead.” On the screen, the Shadow Hawk pivoted and broke into a run just as a stream of tracers streaked past it. “As I was saying, he’s good at supporting others and not just looking out for his own glory.”

“Good traits for a leader,” Lanie added as she watched the simulated Chameleon follow the Shadow Hawk’s lead. The dome-headed BattleMech took a shot with its large laser, singeing armour from a Vedette.

“How’s Angela doing?”

“She’s still learning, and definitely at that stage where she’s excited just to be piloting a ‘Mech,” Lanie admitted. “But I think she’s doing well.” The Chameleon fired its jump jets, vaulting over a line of rubble to take cover behind a ridge. “But I can tell this is what she really wants.”

“But?”

“Well you know how it goes,” Lanie admitted as the lance of BattleMechs continued to move across the simulated landscape, maintaining a close formation. “it’s what she wants, and that’s what counts.”

“Miho’s still not happy about Angela’s choice of profession, is she?” Katarina asked.

Lanie nodded, perhaps a bit reluctantly. “She claims that she will support Angela no matter what she does, but I’ve been married to her long enough to read between the lines. She would have much preferred that Angela was a technician like her, or at the very least, in some other non-combatant position.”

“I can understand her reasoning,” Katarina admitted. “What about Keiko?”

“Oh, Keiko wants to be a technician,” Lanie replied. “Or, at least she does today. Yesterday she wanted to be a MechWarror. Tomorrow she’ll probably want to be a ballerina or something.”

Katarina chuckled. “Kids, right?”

“All things being equal, though, Jakub really seems to be happy with the idea,” Lanie noted. “At least of being MechWarrior.”

“MechWarrior and eventual leader,” Katarina agreed. “It’s a lot of weight on his shoulders, but I think he’s behind the idea. And I’m happy to let him lean into it and take things as they come to make sure he’s ready for the role when the day comes.”

“Which hopefully-“ Lanie stopped, “Good work there, two.” On the screen, the Chameleon stepped back, continuing to use the terrain as cover. “You know what? Jakub’s doing a pretty good job on this exercise so far.”

“Thanks,” Katarina nodded, with no small sense of pride. “He’s a smart kid.”

“Must have had a good teacher then.”

Katarina gave a small smile back. “Angela’s not doing too bad either, given that she’s still learning.”

“She has talent,” Lanie agreed. “And while yes, I know she’s one day going to take my place, I want her to be as ready as possible for that moment.”

“Which hopefully will not be for a long time to come.”

“Gods no,” Lanie chuckled.

On screen the simulated lance continued to move, running and jumping through the broken terrain to make the most of the cover available to them. “Of course, there’s other things you need to think about for a potential leader,” Katarina noted. “So far, Jakub seems to be confident in the role, even if inexperienced.”

“The social part of it,” Lanie nodded. “I know exactly what you mean. They need to be confident as a leader, and be able to get others to follow them.”

“Mm-hm,” Katarina agreed. “I’ve been trying to keep Jakub socialised, both with members of the unit and others his age. The hope is that he’ll be the sort of leader that people want to follow, rather than feel they need to.”

“I know that feeling. I’ve been trying to do the same for Angela,” Lanie noted, indicating at the screen. “And I think this is a great idea, getting the pair of them to work together like this.”

“Definitely,” Katarina smiled. “I think we should do it more often.”

“Getting them to train together, of course,” Lanie smirked. “And to know each other better, because it would be good for both of them, of course.”

“Naturally. Get to know other people their ages, work together, build those important friendships and alliances and the like.”

“And you’re thinking of this from a purely professional point of view,” She continued. “Because anyone would think you were trying to set the pair of them up.” On the displays, Jakub’s simulated Shadow Hawk had loosed a flight of smoke missiles to provide cover for the rest of the lance.

“Never,” Katarina chuckled. “But I am saying that I wouldn’t be entirely against the idea either.”

“Well, when you put it like that,” Lanie admitted. “I think it’d be a good idea for the pair of them to spend more time around each other. And not just in training, of course.”

“Thought so,” Katarina smiled.

“Obviously we’d need to work around our unit deployments and the like, but-“ Lanie cut herself off. “On your left, Blue Two!”

On the screen, Angela’s Chameleon turned, but not quickly enough. A pair of brilliant azure lightning bolts struck the ‘Mech, spearing into its chest, tearing through armour before destroying the delicate systems within. The BattleMech crashed to the ground, while its damage display made it clear that it was out of action.

“Ouch,” was all that Katarina could add as the bulky form of a Warhammer IIC stepped forward, approaching the downed BattleMech.

“Nice shooting there, Jessie,” Irisz Magyari added as she watched the display, before turning back to Lanie. “Sorry.”
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 #134 on: 24 June 2022, 05:29:35 »
Raf Esquarra
Position/Rank:       Captain
Affiliation/Unit:      Republic of the Sphere
Birth Year:         3109

A Terran native, Raf Esquarra grew up with every advantage that the Republic’s Golden Age had to offer. Growing up in a well-to-do family, he had an excellent education where he excelled in mathematics and computer sciences. Despite the opportunities available to him, Raf chose to earn his citizenship through military service in the RAF. There he served as a communications technician, operating in both field and rear-echelon roles.

Following his time in service, Raf went to a prestigious Terran university where he put his skills to work. He developed a keen interest in the use of applied mathematics in encryption and coding, publishing several papers on the subject. Following the Blackout and the formation of Fortress Republic, Raf was approached by the Republic government, offering him the opportunity to work on a number of high-level projects. He eagerly agreed, driven as much by curiosity as his own desire to put his skills to work.

Much of his work went into decrypting encoded data recovered from outside the walls of Fortress Republic, helping the RAF to gain key insights into their enemies. He also worked in decoding data recovered from the destruction of the ComGuards, helping to uncover some of the secrets they had been hiding from the Republic. With the threat of invasion of Terra itself becoming a distinct possibility, he has begun his own pet projects to secure his own work and other materials against falling into hostile hands.

While he has had basic field training, Raf is no soldier and he knows it. While he has engaged in field operations in past, they were usually with heavy escorts and away from the actual fighting.

Guest character by KayEmm

Pierce Icaza
Position/Rank:       Star Captain
Affiliation/Unit:      Clan Jade Falcon/Delta Galaxy
Birth Year:         3125

Created from a mix of a long-standing Icaza bloodline and a captured Cobb one, Pierce Icaza lived up to expectations from the moment he was decanted. One of the largest and strongest member of his Sibko, he excelled in his training, proving to be both adept and resilient in the face of his often harsh and demanding training. He graduated through his trial of position as a Star Commander, a position born as much from his capabilities as his careful planning.

Pierce saw his first combat during the Falcons’ surge into the Lyran Commonwealth. Fighting on numerous worlds, he and his Elemental point would be key to a number of victories over their various enemies. Far from being reckless, he specialised in careful attacks on key targets and staging ambushes from cover. One of his preferred tactics was to pick out slow-moving Lyran assault ‘Mechs and target them for anti-‘Mech or swarm attacks to further isolate them.

Due to his successes, he was nominated for his Bloodname, winning it after a series of battles where he was careful not to kill or excessively harm his opponents. While understanding the central place of BattleMechs in the Jade Falcon tourman, Pierce has been a strong advocate for expanding combined-arms tactics and better integration of conventional units. While the alliance with the Hells’ Horses may be over, he feels that there are lessons to be learned from that Clan.

While the leaders of different trinaries, he often works closely with Star Captain Kia Malthus, with the two supporting each other in the field. He also has developed an interest in swordsmanship from working with her, and has become a regular sparring partner.

Griff Heller
Position/Rank:       Star Commander
Affiliation/Unit:      Clan Wolf/Beta Galaxy
Birth Year:         3123

The Heller Bloodhouse is only a minor one, with only a handful of Bloodnamed warriors among the Clans. That it is split between the Wolves and the Hells’ Horses only serves to further diminish its standing and prestige. Despite these setbacks, Griff Heller is determined to not only excel as a warrior, but to expand the influence of his House.

Decanted in the old Wolf Occupation Zone, Griff was too young to see action during the operation HAMMERFALL invasion of the Marik-Stewart commonwealth. Instead, he would be pressed into service during the invasion of the Lyran Commonwealth, following the formation of the Wolf Empire. While still inexperienced, Griff quickly proved himself in battle against the Lyran forces. Not only was he promoted for his actions, he also was transferred into the prestigious Beta Galaxy despite his relative youth.

In 3147, Griff was nominated for the Heller Bloodname. His success in the competition was as much due to his own skills and training as it was the simple lack of opponents. While he was successful, he also was disappointed to see just how diminished the Heller Bloodhouse had become in terms of numbers and influence. That he was then passed over for promotion in favour of a Bloodnamed warrior from a more prominent Bloodhouse only served to underscore the point.

While Griff is fanatically loyal to the Clan, he also feels frustrated by the complex politics of the Bloodnamed around him. He feels that he is unlikely to go any further due to his Bloodname, which has given him the drive to outperform his rivals on the battlefield. While he drives his Elemental star hard, he also has so far achieved excellent results.
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 #135 on: 24 June 2022, 05:31:12 »
Guest character by KayEmm

Tan Yo-Han
Position/Rank:       Lieutenant
Affiliation/Unit:      Mercenary/Red Right Hand
Birth Year:         3113

Born in the Capellan Confederation, Tan Yo-Han enlisted in the armed forces out of a sense of patriotic duty. Enrolled in the Sarna Martial Academy just before the Blackout, he was a promising student that had been directed towards Battle Armour training due to both his physical prowess and tactical acumen. Many had expected him to go far, but he was not ready for an unexpected twist.

Tan’s father was arrested for having Republic sympathies, casting suspicion over the rest of his family. Fearing for his life, Tan fled the academy and the Confederation as a whole, using the chaos of the Blackout to cover his escape. Initially having no real plan, he eventually settled on choosing to become a mercenary, feeling that it would be the only good way to employ his skills. Making his way to Galatea, Tan worked for several different units as both a conventional infantryman and then later a Battle Armour trooper before being headhunted by the Red Right Hand.

As a member of the unit, Tan’s role is equal parts scout, infiltrator, ambusher and headhunter. His team are often employed to take out certain objectives in discrete operations, often swaying the course of a battle before it has even started. When employed directly against enemy forces, he will try to locate and eliminate key enemy commanders or other high-value assets.

Tan holds no loyalty to the nation of his birth, and has so far displayed no reluctance to act against Capellan targets. He does, however, find it amusingly ironic that he is using a Battle Armour built in the Federated Suns.

Guest character by KayEmm

Naja Beniko
Position/Rank:    Lieutenant
Affiliation/Unit:   Republic of the Sphere
Birth Year:      3113

With her slight build, Naja Beniko does not fit the image usually associated with Battle Armor troopers; in fact, she only barely reached the minimums for a training program. Despite that, she is a capable and canny warrior who’s determination is only matched by her loyalty to the Republic.

Like many, Naja enlisted in the RAF as a way to earn her citizenship. At first, her plan was to simply serve a single tour of duty before turning her interests elsewhere, but fate had other ideas in store. Naja’s training was interrupted by the HPG Blackout, and the subsequent rise of factionalism and infighting within the Republic. As soon as she had graduated, she was fighting to help preserve her home nation from its enemies, both without and within.

Her unit fought in the first and second Jade Falcon invasions of Skye, facing off against the full force of an invading Clan. Seeing the battle from the ground not only made Naja even more determined in her loyalty to her homeland, but also gave her a deep hatred for the Clans. Not only was this aimed at the Jade Falcons for their merciless assault, but also at the Steel Wolves who, despite their assistance, she saw as little more then opportunists who had turned their back on the Republic.

Naja’s unit was among those that were within the Republic when the Fortress walls went up. Understanding the logic of the move, she instead focused herself on training and preparing for what would come next. Her experience and talent saw her selected by Knight Tariku Noab Adani to be a part of a special unit, codenamed Sunstorm, that was trained in anti-Clan tactics.
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 #136 on: 28 July 2022, 01:10:01 »
Guest chapter by Zogster

Interlude - The Epic of Gilgamesh

The darkened ‘Mech bay of the DropShip Ur was eerily silent. While the white noise of the ship’s engines droned on in the background, there was no movement to be heard. All was prepared for tomorrow’s drop, and the crew and MechWarriors were getting their much-needed rest before the frantic activity that it promised.

The stillness was broken by Lana Kotovski, making her way along one of the upper catwalks, dressed only in her brief bed wear. She came to a stop alongside her second-in-command Katarina Morrison, looking strangely out of place in the ship’s industrial hold wearing a plush dressing gown and holding a steaming mug.

“Couldn’t sleep either?” Lana asked.

It took a few moments for Katarina to respond. Eventually she nodded and turned to Lana, a wry smile across her face. “Nerves?”

“Eagerness,” Lana replied. “We’ve got a good plan, a solid estimation of their forces and, if all goes well, the element of surprise.” She shook her head and added, “No, this one’s in the bag.”

Katarina gave a brief chuckle and nodded to her commander. “Sometimes I wish I had your confidence.”

Lana leaned back against a railing, rolling her shoulders and groaning with the stretch. “Hey, second guessing keeps us on our toes. Just don’t let it take over.”
Katarina nodded once more, and they stood in silence for a second. She couldn’t help but let her eyes wander over her commander, settling on the jagged pale scar that marked the woman’s thigh.

“It’s not real, you know,” Lana said, as if reading her thoughts.

“Sorry?” Katarina started, briefly startled.

Lana cocked her head up to the looming form of the BattleMaster behind her. Looking up, Katarina couldn’t help but feel that Gilgamesh was gazing down at her. Watching her. Judging her.

“This curse,” Lana pressed on. “Really, it’s statistics. This ‘Mech has been with the unit longer than any other. It’s also the commander’s ‘Mech, and the heaviest one we field.” She turned around to look up at its impassive cockpit. “All that means it’s going to be targeted more than any other ‘Mech, and with its service record, well, of course it will have gone through more pilots.” She turned once more back to Katarina, favouring her with a smile. “So there’s nothing to worry about.”

Katarina shook her head slightly. “I wish I had your confidence.”

“You’re just paranoid because you’re tired,” Lana told her. “Get some sleep already.”

She chuckled in reply. “Sure thing, boss.” She finished up her drink and stepped past Lana. “I’m sure I’ll feel better in the morning.”

-----

Katarina could feel the perspiration dripping down her face under her neurohelmet. It wasn’t enough that they were in a running firefight, but the terrain had to be hot, wet and humid too. Loose stones crunched under Enkidu’s feet as it stomped through ankle-deep water. The shallows were on the edge of a steamy jungle, peppered with BattleMech-sized boulders that provided excellent cover. For the moment, elements of her own lance and the Star’s command lance were paused in amongst the boulders, readying their attack.

“Report in,” Lana’s voice came over the comms.

“Comet One,” Jakub spoke up. “We’ve got their skirmishers contained. You won’t have any interference.”

“Eye Command, this is Eye Two,” her second reported. “We’ve got them dislodged and retreating. Headed your way.”

“On it,” Katarina replied. She briefly glanced aside to see Lana’s BattleMaster waiting with her. The ‘Mech moved almost imperceptibly, as if nodding its agreement. Tension rose between the two as they saw movement in the trees, then sprang into action.

The enemy’s commander burst from the trees, his Hercules twisting as it advanced. Alongside it, an older Battleaxe strode backwards, still firing into the trees as it went. The BattleMaster and Warhammer stepped out as one, a barrage of blazing blue particle fire springing from their ‘Mechs and scoring across the Hercules’ torso. Even as she felt the heat surge in her cockpit, Katarina knew that the Hercules was suffering, seeing the secondary blue shocks coursing across its body. Beside it, the Battleaxe was punctured from behind by a volley of autocannon and missile fire, collapsing forwards even as its torso fell back in on itself. The ‘Mech was not getting up again.

“All points, concentrate fire!” Lana ordered. Not one to give up, the enemy commander returned fire. Katarina stepped forward, absorbing the brunt of its varied weapons. Numerous impacts rocked her ‘Mech, and she struggled to keep it upright. As one, the arrayed units concentrated their return fire on the Hercules. Short and long range missiles, autocannon and laser fire seared and smashed across the ‘Mech before the BattleMaster and Warhammer let loose another concentrated volley of particle fire, slamming into the Hercules’ torso. It teetered briefly, then crashed backwards into the shallow water, utterly lifeless.

“You alright there?” Lana asked.

“Yeah,” Katarina said between panting breaths. “Okay. More hot than anything.”
The BattleMaster stepped forwards and peered down at the Hercules’ inert form. “I know what you-“

“Star Command, we’ve got a squirrel!” Jakub’s voice broke in over the comms.
“Headed your way.”

Before anyone could respond, the runaway ‘Mech was on them. A Hellspawn burst out of nowhere, with Lana’s BattleMaster almost directly in its path. Without hesitating, it disgorged a swarm of missiles at almost point-blank range. Before she could react, Lana was caught head-on, Gilgamesh’s torso vanishing in a cloud of explosions.

Even as the BattleMaster teetered on the spot, the other assembled ‘Mechs were on it. Missiles, cannon and particle fire flew left and right, some tagging the squirrely machine. Wen’s Nightsky appeared out of nowhere, driving a hatchet into its hip and sending the Hellspawn ploughing side-on into the surf.

A second later, Gilgamesh pitched backwards, crashing unceremoniously into the shallows. Katarina turned, desperately calling over her communicator. “Boss, what happened? Are you there?” Without a reply, she desperately yelled out “Lana?”

-----

“Heatstroke.”

“Heatstroke?” Katarina repeated incredulously.

The Star’s diminutive chief medical officer nodded and repeated “Heatstroke.” She stood in the door to the medical bay, somehow blocking the passage despite her small size. Katarina tried to peer around her, but could only catch a glimpse of her commander stretched out on the medical bay.

“How does that even…” Katarina trailed off, bemused.

“Fluke hit,” the doctor said with a shrug. “Apparently one of the missiles knocked out her ‘Mech’s life support. Of course, it was already running hot from sustained PPC fire, and the sweatbox outside didn’t help.”

“Unbelievable.” Katarina shook her head in dismay. “A hit like that –“

“Was damn lucky,” the doctor replied. “A nudge over, and we would have had a breach like last time. And with her already passed out in the cockpit, she could have easily drowned.”

“Can I –“

“No,” came the blunt answer. “She needs rest. And you need something else to occupy your mind.” Katarina looked at the doctor oddly, who pressed on as if she could read the captain’s thoughts. “I know what you people say about that damned ‘Mech. And it’s rubbish. Just find a way to get over it.”

“Right, you’re right.” Katarina nodded. “Rational heads. I know what to do.”

-----

Jakub and Angela leaned over the holographic display, examining the BattleMechs projected on the table. Angela shuffled around to one side to find where Jakub’s Shadow Hawk stood amongst its lance, opposite a quartet of enemy ‘Mechs picked out in red. The MegaMek tactical simulation had loaded up his last battle, and Angela watched as it generated the rocky seashore from his unit’s collected BattleROMs.

Angela looked up to see him poring over the field, uncharacteristically serious. Unnoticed, she leaned up and poked him in the shoulder. He started briefly, then looked over at her, uttering “What?”

“You really like this, don’t you?” Angela asked.

“Well yeah,” he replied, gesturing to a Warhammer at the jungle’s edge. “It’s the only time I get to push mum around.”

“Mum?” Angela asked with a chuckle.

“Uh…” Jakub flushed red, and gritted his teeth in embarrassment. “Uh, I meant Katarina. Captain Morrison.”

“Sure, let’s go with that,” Angela needled him. She scooched over closer to him to look at the fight on the seashore. “So everything looks good here. Staged a solid ambush, took down the command element. Won the day right here.”

“That’s not the problem.” Jakub tapped a few keys and the ‘Mechs on the board rapidly repositioned. Now his lance was spread in a crescent, flanking the units they were previously facing. “I didn’t box them in enough, and we had a runner. That’s how…” They watched as the battle progressed, and a holographic Hellspawn ran straight into the command element.

“Right. So!” Angela all but grabbed the controls away from him. As Jakub watched, the battle rewound to the point where the two medium lances confronted each other. She keyed in more commands, and as the battle progressed, Jakub’s lance leapt into position, fully encircling the enemy unit. “There you go. Got them boxed in, so no runners.”

“Almost,” came a voice from the darkness of the chamber. Lanie King stepped over to the young pair. “Problem is, they have no escape so they have to make one. Concentrate fire on one of your ‘Mechs, and then punch through to the battle.”

“So what do we do?” Jakub asked the seasoned commander.

“Give them an out,” she replied. She repositioned the ‘Mechs on the board into a crescent formation once more, but this time with an opening heading out away from the battle. “But make it the way you want them to go. Best case they retreat, worst case they take time circling around to the main furball, and you can chase them down.”

“But we don’t take them out,” Angela replied.

“But you take them out of the fight. Remember, you’re not here to make kills, you’re here to win the battle.”

Angela nodded her understanding. “Less conflict, less repairs, everyone goes home safe.”

“And this way Auntie doesn’t get hurt,” Jakub said, half to himself. He was broken out of his reverie by Angela’s raucous laughter. Blinking in surprise, he looked between the two of them and asked “What?”

“Word of advice, don’t let your commanding officer hear you call her ‘Auntie,’” Lanie said, grinning ear to ear.

“Especially where the troops can hear you,” Katarina said, striding into the chamber.

Lanie stepped forward and greeted her with a warm hug. “Hey, what brings you here? Checking on the kids?”

“Nah, needed some advice,” she said.

“Alright,” Lanie nodded. “You two keep at it,” she said to Angela and Jakub, before guiding Katarina out of the room. “So what’s got you?”

“It’s a weird one,” Katarina admitted once they were out of earshot. “I wanted to look up the service history of a BattleMech, before it came into our unit’s possession.”

“This is about that BattleMaster, isn’t it?” Lanie said straight out.

“You know?” Katarina asked, puzzled.

Lanie frowned for a moment, as if trying to figure out just what to say. Eventually she sighed and said “Look, whatever helps you sleep at night.”

Unsure how to take that, Katarina instead pressed on ahead. “I’m thinking there must have been some kind of records, but with the Blackout…”

“I suppose the question is, if there’s any backups,” Lanie replied. “You’d need a lot of storage, and someone really fussy to save what’s frankly, some pretty trivial records.”

The pair looked at each other for a moment, before simultaneously realisation dawned on both their faces.

“Oh no,” Katarina said, visibly sagging. “Not –“

-----

“How can ComStar help you today?” Deep Zimmerman said with unchecked enthusiasm. Katarina was almost taken aback by his forceful cheer. The eeriness of the setting didn’t help.

The ComStar station on Galatea was, back in the day, a massive hub of activity to service the mercenary trade. Of course, nearly twenty years after the HPG blackout, the place had gone from a source of planet-wide frustration to a symbol of lost power, before being all but forgotten by the populace. From the looks of the place, it was all but forgotten by ComStar as well. So far, Katarina had not seen a single soul in the cavernous chambers of the station. Except, of course, for the overly cheerful man who had greeted.

“Hey. Deep,” she began uneasily. Everyone seemed to know Deep, and worryingly enough Deep seemed to know everyone. Opinions ranged from ‘harmless’ to ‘one-man-conspiracy,’ but nobody could deny that he was friendly, helpful and eager to please. How much of that was real was the eternal question.
She realised that Deep was still waiting for her answer, and quickly composed herself. “Yeah. I know it’s a long shot, but I was hoping you had kept archives of BattleMech service records –“

“Of course!” came the enthusiastic reply.

“Wait, you have?” Katarina asked. Honestly, she thought this would be much harder.

“Well, for all BattleMechs in service to MRBC-registered mercenary units that operate out of Galatea, that is,” Deep said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the Inner Sphere. “Can’t have everything.”

“No, that’s… good,” she replied, uncertain if she wanted to go further.

“So what was it you needed?”

“Wanted to have a look at the service history of a particular ‘Mech from our command,” Katarina replied. And convince myself I’m imagining things.

“Ah, Gilgamesh,” Deep said with unbridled enthusiasm. “Let me show you to our archives. Normally I wouldn’t want to leave the front desk unattended, but…” He peered past her at the vast empty chamber. “I’m sure it’ll be fine for today.”

The archives turned out to be a long walk down a vast corridor under great, vaulted ceilings. No doubt in the day they were meant to impress upon visitors the great power and vast reach of ComStar; now it only emphasised just how empty the place was.

Soon enough they came to the archives. It was an odd combination of styles; tables with discrete terminals evoking and old-fashioned reading room, but the long rows of books here were instead towering banks of data storage. Deep swept up to the front desk and started tapping merrily away, mirroring his results on a customer-facing screen.

Okay, this is it, Katarina thought to herself. There’s going to be nothing there. It’s just statistics like Lana said. It’s all in my mind.

“Ah yes, Headcase Larry.” Deep said, smiling broadly.

“Sorry, come again?”

“The band your unit took it from called the BattleMech ‘Headcase Larry.’ After its first pilot, presumably named Larry.”

“Who was a headcase?” Katarina asked, confused.

“No, that was from the habit of having its head shot off.” Deep busied himself going through the files. “Looked like it happened quite a bit.” He perked up once more, beaming at Katarina. “That’s how your unit came across it, right?”

“Right,” she said, weakly. “How about before that?”

“Well, that group found it at the bottom of a thirty meter ravine, after the bridge it was crossing gave out. Freak structural failure I gather. Says here that was its first outing for those owners.”

From then, the facts and stories seemed to blend together. On one occasion, the BattleMaster was known as The Coffin because only dead men got in it; another group called it The Widower for distressingly similar reason. A Lyran noble line who had owned the BattleMech eventually called it The Family Curse after it claimed a dozen eligible pilots within three decades.

“And these aren’t just stories?” Katarina asked, somewhat hopefully.

“Oh, no,” Deep replied. “All in the archives. Set in stone.” He beamed at her once more. “Was there something else?”

-----

What else was there to do? Katarina leaned back on the 'Mechbay’s railing, once again staring into Gilgamesh’s impassive domed cockpit. She could sell it, but then would it just go on killing other pilots. Scrap it? No, it was a perfectly good BattleMech, suspicions be damned. The unit’s first commander, Larissa, had retired from injuries sustained piloting this thing, but at least she made it out alive. If there’s a chance –

“I’m still alive,” came Lana’s cheerful voice from her side, drawing her out of her gloom. “You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“Sorry, it’s…” Katarina sighed. “I don’t know what’s been going through my head.”

“Lanie was worried about you,” her commander said. “Said you were obsessing again?”

“It’s…” Katarina paused. She glanced up at the BattleMaster once more, then turned to her friend. “No, you’re right. I’m making way too big a deal about it.”

Lana stepped up and threw an arm around her shoulder, gently guiding her away from the ‘Mech bay. “Nothing’s going to happen. I’m going to retire when I want to, not when some silly curse decides my time is up.” Katarina looked up at her in surprise, and she just smiled.

“Besides. Gilgamesh is immortal.”
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 #137 on: 28 July 2022, 01:12:32 »
Guest chapter by KayEmm

Interlude - On the Grill

Contrary to popular belief, it did not always rain in Solaris City. There were those days that were just plain dull and overcast, and those rare few that were actually bright and sunny. On those days, the city would explode with activity as its residents took advantage of the opportunity to get outside. The foot traffic on the streets was considerable on those days, offering plentiful opportunities for those who wanted to get lost in a crowd.

Ariel Lamicheck had taken advantage of the opportunity to make their way towards their next meeting. It was a nice change of pace to be able to simply get out and stroll without being soaked to the bone. The evening air, while chilly, was also not entirely unpleasant. As they strolled down the Kobe street, they took in the smells wafting from a row of restaurants, many taking advantage of the opportunity to open their windows and lure in passers-by with the tantalising scents of their offerings.

They picked out one place, a yakitori-ya with streetside dining. Taking their place at one of the outdoor tables, Ariel looked over the menu before ordering an appetising selection for two.

Not to long after they had ordered, Ariel was joined by another figure, a man they did not recognise. Heavyset, their features were dominated by a large nose that managed to be both pockmarked and scarred at the same time. Whatever attributes they bought to this enterprise, Ariel noted, good looks were not one of them. On the other side, they were still casual in their approach, doing nothing to draw attention to themselves as they approached and sat.

“Ariel Lamicheck,” he began.

“I am,” they nodded back in reply. “And you?”

“A friend of a friend of yours,” he replied, scratching his right ear. To most people this would seem a casual, absent-minded gesture. However, it also suggested another person that Ariel had met, one who was missing a portion of their right ear.

“Pleasure to meet you,” Ariel replied as they put several skewers onto the grill. “I went ahead and ordered in advance.”

“Kind of you,” the man replied, his tone suggesting this was a rare pleasantry.

“So what do you have?” Ariel asked.

“A proposition,” he replied. “We share the same feelings regarding our beloved protectors. And your recent efforts have made my own friends very happy.”

“So I’ve gathered,” Ariel commented as they took a bit of octopus. The bite of the wasabi was obvious, adding to the flavor.

“I have the means to help you with your little crusade of defiance,” he continued.

“How so?”

“Supplies,” he grunted as he took a look at some of the side dishes. “Things that are not as common any more as we would like.”

“I see,” Ariel nodded. While the Wolves had allowed the Solaris games to continue, they had also severely restricted the trade in ‘Mech parts and equipment as a way to ensure their control. It also meant that their warriors had as many advantages as possible when they chose to ‘prove’ themselves in the Solaris arenas.

“Here’s something I put together,” he commented as he put a datapad onto the table, then took a scoop of octopus for himself. “mm, that does bite. Tell me what you think.”

Ariel picked up the datapad and looked over it. “You know that with this loadout Skinner will run hotter than the devil’s ******,” they mused.

“That’s one way to put it,” the contact admitted.

“But I do like it,” they continued. “Should I even ask where you got all this from?”

“I know a couple of guys from one of the Free Guilds,” the contact grunted as they turned over one of their skewers. “They racked up considerable debts betting on matches, which gave me some leverage.”

“Mmhmm,” Ariel nodded as they took a bite from one of their skewers.

“Their loss is your gain,” he finished.

Ariel smirked. “I’m in. I’ll take delivery whenever you can, though I think I’ll run stock for my next match regardless. I’ll save this as a surprise for the next Wolf who wants a shot at me.”

“You think that will happen?” the man asked.

That bought a chuckle. “I’m betting on it.”
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 #138 on: 28 July 2022, 01:15:13 »
Interlude - Father’s Day

From above, the ‘Mech bay was a hive of activity. Technical crews crawled over the titanic war machines, working on them as they made them ready for travel. Others were busy packing up parts and other supplies for transport, or engaged in other related activities.

For all that, there was one thing that had caught Irisz Magyari’s eye and brought her up here to the catwalks over the bay. She’d spotted Jessie Packard sitting there, looking down at everything that was going on, which was enough to draw her away from her work.

“Something on your mind?” Irisz asked as she sat down next to her. She knew enough to know that this was where Jessie came when there was something bothering her. It happened a lot.

 “Naw,” Jessie managed, leaning on her crossed arms. Her short sleeves made for an odd contrast; the elaborate and colourful tattoos on her right arm clashed with the mess of burn scars on her left.

“Mm-hm,” Irisz nodded. “Not concerned about the contract or the like?”

“Naw,” Jessie repeated. “I spent my entire life being dragged from one planet to the next. This ain’t too much different.”

“Sure,” Irisz managed. She had her own concerns about the contract, largely because it seemed that her unit was flying into a world of unknowns. However, she suspected that wasn’t what was really on Jessie’s mind right now.

“Jus’ thinkin',” Jessie finally admitted after a long pause. “Y’alls been good to me, you know that. Especially given my past and all.”

Irisz shrugged. “You came to me. I wasn’t going to turn you down because of your past or your family or the like.”

“Yeah, I mean like...” Jessie sighed. “What with my mom being who she was.”

“If I got hung up on family, then I wouldn’t be here now,” Irisz simply admitted. “Honestly, until I met your mother, I had no idea that anyone was continuing to push that family feud. And I don’t blame you at all for being caught up in it. You didn’t get a say in it, after all.”

“Yeah, I mean, my mom was batcrap insane and all that,” Jessie frankly stated.

Irisz didn’t say a thing, but did nod and offer a small smile. “And you don’t need to worry about her any more.”

“I know,” Jessie admitted. “Jus’ hard to push out of my mind sometimes.”

“You really should talk to Ronnie more often,” Irisz suggested. In many ways, he’d been just as much a victim of their mother’s insanity, even if in different ways from his sister. Yet the pair of them still were reluctant to approach the issue, or anything else.

“Probably,” Jessie sighed, then shot a glance at Irisz. “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure,” Irisz smiled.

“What was you dad like?”

That gave Irisz a pause, as she considered the matter. Jessie had never known the man who she thought was her father; he had died when she was only a few months old. On top of that, her relationship with her stepfather had not been the easiest either.

“Bors Magyari was a complicated man,” she finally managed.

“How so?”

“Well, he was really dedicated to the family name and unit,” Irisz explained. “He was the youngest of three, and neither his brother or sister wanted to be mercenaries or inherit the unit or anything else. My grandmother told him that he could do anything else with his life if he wanted to, but instead he wanted to lead the Irregulars. And it wasn’t just out of some obligation to her or the like; it genuinely was what he wanted.”

Jessie nodded as Irisz continued. “Now, I’m not going to say he was the best commander he could have been. His tactical skills were... lacking, and he filled the unit with a lot of dead wood for the simple sake of bulking out numbers. But it was still his passion, and what he really wanted to do with his life. And he genuinely cared for his people.”

Now it was her turn to sigh. “He wasn’t the best father either, and I long ago accepted that. He had a lot of... lady friends, I think is the best way to put it. And after a while, it wasn’t hard for me to figure out what was going on. That was a big part of why he and my mother split up, even if it wasn’t the only one.”
Jessie nodded. “And yer gonna say ‘but’ next,” she added.

“I am,” Irisz confirmed. “Despite his many flaws, he was still a good man. He was honest and forthright in a trade that often fills up with the dishonest and slipshod. And above all else, I know that he genuinely loved me as his daughter, and not just because I was his heir. He extended the same choice to me as his mother did to him; I could inherit the unit, but only if I wanted to.”

“And when I said yes, he did everything he could to support me.”

“That’s good,” Jessie nodded. “My mom didn’t exactly give me a choice in the matter.”

“I know,” Irisz agreed. Everything she’d learned about Connie Raymond made it clear just how little regard she had for her children as people. “And I am so sorry for what happened to you.”

“Not yer fault,” Jessie shrugged. There was another pause before she spoke again. “So, um, what happened to him?”

Irisz considered the question for a moment. Her father’s death was now a known factor among the unit, but even then Irisz still didn’t have all the details and probably never would. “You mean when he left?”

“Yeah.”

“Well,” Irisz took a deep breath before she continued. “It was very sudden. June of ’35, he told me that he had to go to Outreach on personal business. The next thing I knew he’d packed his bags and made me provisional commander of the Irregulars until he returned. Less than a week later he was on a DropShip offworld, with no indication of when he was coming back.”

“And he didn’t,” Jessie concluded.

“He did not,” she confirmed. “The walls of Fortress Republic went up, and Outreach was inside of them. He simply vanished into a black hole, along with everything else behind it. That was the last I heard of him until now”

“I’m sorry.”

“Its okay,” Irisz admitted. “I think that deep down I had long ago accepted that I would never see him again, one way or another. When I got the news, it was less of a shock and more of a confirmation of the inevitable.”

Jessie nodded, then paused again. “Did he say what it was? His business, I mean.”

“No,” Irisz shook her head. “I guess I’ll never know.”

Jessie looked like she was about to say something, then cut herself off. “What about your mom?” She finally asked.

“Oh she’s awesome,” Irisz replied with a chuckle. “I’ll have to introduce you sometime.”

“I’d like that,” Jessie finally smiled.
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 #139 on: 28 July 2022, 01:22:44 »
Interlude - Roman Holiday

Outside of Zadar
Illyria
Free Worlds League
15 January 3151


A stream of missiles leapt from the battered Crusader’s arms, streaking towards Ronnie Raymond’s Griffin. Despite his best efforts, the medium BattleMech took a number of hits across its torso and arms, wavering under the impacts but remaining standing.

Not wasting any time, he shot back with his own PPC, the rifle-like weapon spitting out a stream of brilliant artificial lightning. The bolt speared into the enemy BattleMech’s barrel chest, flaying armour from its torso. Not waiting around to see how badly he had wounded his target, Ronnie fired his jump jets, vaulting back into a stand of trees to gain some cover from his heavier opponent.

The damaged BattleMech pushed forwards, closing in on Ronnie’s BattleMech, despite the damage it had already taken. As it advanced, a shape emerged from around its flank, another ‘Mech leaping into the air on jets of plasma flame. Realising what had just happened, the Crusader turned to face the newcomer, not fully aware of what it was up against.

Terry McKinnon’s Phoenix Hawk leapt over the Crusader, coming down on its far side even as it tried to react to his presence. Taking advantage of the opening, Ronnie opened up on it with his PPC and missiles. The particle cannon again stabbed into the heavier BattleMech, piercing its side and slicing into the fragile systems within. A half-dozen missiles added to the assault, battering the ‘Mech as they sought out gaps in its already-depleted armour.

As it wavered, Terry opened up with his own lasers. Brilliant red beams tore into its flank, eating their way through the armour. As they did, its back blew apart, brilliant flames leaping out from within the BattleMech’s body before the side was torn apart. A moment later, the top of the head blasted open, with the ejector seat sending the MechWarrior soaring away from their doomed machine.

Deprived of control and with its reactor either damaged or shut down, the husk of the Crusader crashed to the ground.

“Dagger lead to control,” Terry called out over the command network. “Target down. Ejection at our location; send in a recovery crew.”

As he received the conformation, he took a moment to glance around at the situation. Several vehicles were strewn across the battlefield, either burning or otherwise disabled. A Stinger and Dervish were jetting away in the distance, both clearly damaged and under fire. “We have a pair of runners,” he added. "Going to try to chase them down.”

Even though the Marian forces had abandoned Illyria in the new year, by accident or design there were still some of their troops left on-world. Those last holdouts were still causing trouble for the Free Worlds forces and their allies, although their numbers were rapidly being worn down.

Terry fired his jump jets again, leaping after the two fleeing BattleMechs. The Dervish had likely seen him coming and let loose two flights of long-range missiles towards his ‘Mech. None of them made their mark, instead cratering the area around him. With none of his own weapons in range, there was little that he could do other than bear with it as he attempted to close. A glance at his display told him that Ronnie was further back, with little chance of catching either ‘Mech.

Abruptly, a trio of beams speared through the Stinger’s torso. The light BattleMech simply ceased to be as its upper half disintegrated in a ball of fusion flame. Glancing around, Terry spotted a sleek aerospace fighter pulling away. “Check that, command. Only one of them is still loose.”

He quickly switched over to a private channel. “Speaking of, how are things going with Leah?”

“Dude, not the time,” Ronnie simply replied.

“That good, huh?”

The Dervish vanished into a copse of trees, the thick growths quickly concealing the BattleMech. “Lost him,” Terry sighed. “See if we can track him from the air or some of our friends can give us a lead.” While not universal by any means, there had been more than a few Illyrians who had stepped forwards to aid the Free Worlds forces during and after the invasion. Terry felt that it was less about any love for the League or its people, and more a dislike for the Hegemony. It was something he could deal with no less.

He flipped open a command channel. “Dagger lead to command,” Terry reported. “Enemy forces have disengaged. One BattleMech still unaccounted for.”

“Roger that,” the voice on the other end reported. “Secure the site. Salvage teams are inbound.”

“Confirmed,” Terry glanced at his status boards, including the members of his lance. Save for some ammunition and armour damage, they had come out of the skirmish more or less unharmed. They’d clearly done a lot better than the Marians out of the engagement. “All units, hold ground for the moment. Oh, and thanks for the assist there, Knife Flight.”

“Not a problem,” Leah’s voice crackled over the communicator. “Oh, and remind Dagger Two about tomorrow night, will you? He’s not going to use this skirmish as an excuse.”

“Will do,” Terry chuckled.

-----

17 January 3151

“You know what’s the single constant of warfare in the thirty-second century?” Terry asked as he and Ronnie walked through the encampment.

“I can think of a number of answers,” Ronnie replied, “but all of them are serious which means that none of them suit you.”

“You got that right.”

“So what is it then?”

Terry gestured around them. “No matter where you go, a Sea Fox will be there.”

“Can’t argue there,” Ronnie admitted. A Sea Fox JumpShip had arrived in-system a week ago, appearing suspiciously soon after the launch of the campaign to take the world. Terry had been privy to some of the discussions between his half-brother (and commander) and some of the other leaders of the League forces, who had tried to figure out the situation. The best they could come up with was that the Clan merchants had somehow gotten wind of Duke Marik’s plan, and had reasoned that regardless of who won, whatever forces were holding the world would need supplies.

Judging from the activity in the encampment, their logic appeared sound. A trio of DropShips acted as the points of a triangle, with numerous tents, stands and displays set up between them. Those were in turn home to a variety of wares, ranging from ration packs and small arms to BattleMechs. In among the crowds, Terry could see members of the Tamarind Regulars they had fought alongside, as well as the occasional soldier or technician from the Caballeros and the Marauders.

“So what are we here for?” Ronnie asked as he looked around. “No offence, but I think your brother would kill you if you made any major purchases without clearing it with him first.”

“No, that’s entirely fair,” Terry admitted. “Mostly I’m here to browse, but it’s also a handy way to gather information and a few other things.”

“What sort of other things?”

“This,” Terry indicated towards a stand in front of them, one that was a lot smaller than the others and, more interestingly, did not seem to be selling weapons.

“Taco Shark?” Ronnie squinted.

“You’ll love it, trust me,” Terry grinned as he approached the counter. “Two Beef IICs with extra chili sauce,” he ordered.

“Seriously?”

“Trust me on this,” he confidently continued as he handed a massively over-stuffed taco to Ronnie.

He eyed it up before taking a bite. “Okay, that’s good,” Ronnie finally admitted.

“Told you,” he nodded as the pair of them slowly walked through the camp, tacos in hand. “So how’d things go with Leah?”

“Um, alright?” Ronnie managed, somewhat noncommittally.

Terry glanced at him. “Seriously? What is it now?”

Ronnie munched on his taco for a moment, clearly lost in thought. “I mean, I dunno. I think she might be too good for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I look at my family history,” Ronnie explained. “And, uh, it’s not fantastic. I mean, my mum was screaming insane and all.”

“Okay, so it’s not that bad,” Terry noted. “Besides, it’s not like she’s going to mess up your dates or something.”

“It’s not just that,” Ronnie continued between bites. “I met my grandfather a couple of times. He basically spent his whole life stewing in resentment, especially after being usurped by his daughter.” He held up a finger between bites. “His dad was a fall-down drunk. And then his mum was so obsessed with vengeance that she sold her unit to the Word and nearly got them all killed.”

“Okay, well...” Terry paused a moment. “What about your father’s side of the family? Your dad seems pretty okay.”

“Yeah, but he also married to my mum for twenty-five years and didn’t realise just how insane she was,” Ronnie countered.

“Yeah, but consider this,” Terry noted. “You recognise all this, and acknowledge it. That makes you  better then them.”

“Really?”

“Trust me,” Terry continued. “Look, my relationship with my half-brother and father isn’t plain sailing either. But I don’t let it get to me.”

“I suppose so,” Ronnie considered. “Damn, but this is a good taco.”

Terry laughed. “Told you.” The pair of them ambled towards one of the DropShips, only for Terry to pause. “Son of a...”

“What now?”

Terry indicated a Sea Fox officer standing by one of the booths, looking trim and immaculate among the crowds. His response was to nod to the pair of them in recognition. “You can’t go anywhere,” Terry considered as he approached the Clan warrior. “Star Captain Cameron Clarke. What brings you out here?”

“Good to see you, Terry McKinnon,” Cameron replied. “And the answer is profit. What else could it be?”

“Well yeah,” he nodded. “This is Ronnie Raymond, my second. Ronnie, this is Cameron Clarke, a pure shark.”

“You flatter me,” Cameron replied. “How have things been here on Illyria?”

“Well, Cameron,” Terry considered, “that depends on how much it’s worth to you.”

Clarke laughed. “And that is what I want to hear. So, let us 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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