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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-26 04:55pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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Chapter Six

“We returned to the Inner Sphere to bring about the reformation of the Star League—in that goal, we have succeeded, although not according to our plans. By posing a threat to their very lives, society, and culture, it is we—the Clans of Kerensky—who have forced the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere to unite in common purpose. How this reformation of the Star League has come to pass is no longer important; that is has must be paramount in our considerations of future actions.”

“There are some amongst you today who call this Second Star League a sham, a fraud, a ploy with which to force the Clans to rethink our purpose. But consider this, my Khans—we have achieved our goal; for the first time since Stefan Amaris murdered Richard Cameron, the vast majority of mankind is now united under a single government. We cannot in good conscience dismiss this formation of this new interstellar government; we cannot in honor fail to recognize that we spurred the Great Houses down this road through our Invasion of their homes.”

“We cannot fail to act against the wishes of the Great Father now that the Star League is once again in existence. To serve the Star League was all that Aleksandyr Kerensky desired, to see peace in his time with our Founders in the SLDF dedicating their lives to keep the peace so that mankind could once again enter a Golden Age.”

“Therefore, I feel that I must inform this Grand Council of Khans that Clan Goliath Scorpion will recognize the legitimacy and primacy of this government, and that our touman will serve the Second Star League now and forever. I bid you farewell, trothkin, and I hope that your reason will win out over your anger; that you will accept this new government as the Great Father General Aleksandyr Kerensky would have done so himself, and that you lay aside thoughts of conquest and building an Empire. I call upon the Wardens among you to put aside your hate, and take your rightful place as the core of the new Star League Defense Force.”

“And should you seek to move against the Second Star League and continue this Invasion, know that the Scorpions will stand as part of the SLDF against you.”

—Nikolai Djerassi, in his final video address to the Grand Council of Khans, Memmingen, 3044


Field Headquarters of the ilKhan
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
December 28, 3043


“Our offensive against Wolf on Tukayyid must be made at the same time that we launch Wave IV,” Nikolai said to the assembled Khans. “To do otherwise, we invite Davion and Kurita to launch a counter-attack against our holdings. Yes, we will stretch ourselves to the very limits, but it is of vital necessity—sacrifices must be made in order to bring this Invasion to fruition.”

“However, Wave IV will be abbreviated, due to the concentration of our forces at Tukayyid. Clan Jade Falcon will hit New Exford, Graceland, Dustball, Koniz, and Bountiful Harvest; the Sharks will seize Esteros and A Place.”

“The Hell's Horses will attack Sudeten, Benfled, Ballynure, and La Grave, with the Snow Ravens taking Graus, and Blair Atholl.”

“Clan Steel Viper will strike at Dompaire, Colmar, Cusset, Montmarault, and Domain; the Ice Hellions will assault Laurent, Biota, and Rastaban.”

“Clan Wolf will drive for Maestu, Kobe, Hyperion, Bessarabia, Perrot, Wheel, and Suk II, while the Coyotes will strike at Karston, Hanfeld, Thun, and Galuzzo.”

“Clan Ghost Bear will seize Satalice, Skandia, Halesowen, and Maule.”

“Clan Star Adder will take Alshain, Marawi, Sternwerde, and Ardoz, as the Cobras assault Sheliak and Tinaca.”

“Clan Blood Spirit will attack Yamarovka, Mualang, and assist the Jaguars on Asgard, if Khan Howell requests their assistance.”

“Clan Smoke Jaguar will strike at Asgard, Cyrenaica, Port Arthur, and Avon, while the Nova Cats hit Tarazed and Kilmamock.”

Nikolai stood at parade rest before the map and he nodded. “These objectives are of high importance, but the most critical is at Tukayyid. Not only will we be operating in advance of our lines, we will be attacking an opponent with operable WarShips of his own—and whose forces will quite possibly be outfitted with Star League technology, possibly even Clan technology. One that might well outnumber us three or more to one.”

“Operation Thunderbolt will include forces from every Clan: the Jade Falcon Gamma Galaxy, the Diamond Shark Alpha Galaxy, elements of the Horse’s Alpha Galaxy and their Alpha Keshik, the Raven 6th Battle Cluster, the 1st and 2nd Viper Guards and the Triasch Keshik, the 7th Attack Cluster and 150th Hellion Lancers, the Wolf Alpha Galaxy reinforced with the Coyotes Golden Keshik and 50th Assault Cluster, the Bears Alpha and Beta Galaxies, the Scorpions Knife Dance Keshik and the entirety of my own Alpha, Beta, and Delta Galaxies, the Adder Command Keshik and elements of their Alpha Galaxy, the Cobras 33rd Battle Cluster, the Spirits 7th Blood Drinkers Cluster, the Jaguar’s Den Keshik and the Jaguar Grenadiers, the Nova Cat Keshik, the Stone Lion Alpha Galaxy, our penal Cluster from the remnants of the Mandrills, and the Ebon Keshik.”

Sixty Clusters will assault Tukayyid, supported by forty WarShips. My Khans,” Nikolai paused, and he shook his head, “my trothkin, this is the single largest assault against one world in the history of the Clans; we will need each and every Warrior we have on hand; we might well wish we had brought more before this battle draws to a close.”

The ilKhan stood. “Thank you, Khan Djerassi for outlining the operation. We will now get into the specifics of landing zones and your individual objectives—these are subject to change depending on how Wolf is deployed, so be ready to adjust your Drop Zones on short notice. Both Wave IV and Operation Thunderbolt will commence in slightly more than two weeks: January 15th, 3044.”

She looked at the somber faces that surrounded her and the ilKhan nodded, and then she smiled. “If we can crush Wolf’s Grand Army on Tukayyid, and break through the defenses on the worlds of Wave IV, we will have finally fought our way through the best which the Inner Sphere can throw against us, my Khans. And we will triumph; we will achieve Victory!”

“Seyla!” the Khans roared.

Yvonne smiled. “Then let’s get down the specifics. While I command the main body, Khan Djerassi will act as my tactical deputy . . .”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-27 08:27pm
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Field Headquarters of the ilKhan; Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
December 28, 3043


“Khan Howell; Khan West, the two of you asked to speak with me privately, quiaff?” asked Yvonne as she shivered in the cold air and sat down next to the roaring fireplace. A cold front had passed over the planetary capital during the long session of the Grand Kurultai earlier today, bringing lightning and heavy rain, and the temperatures had plunged in its wake.

“Aff, ilKhan,” responded Brandon Howell. “As you are aware, the two of us have decided against an assault on Luthien until our reinforcements arrive—which will not be for at least another three months. We have confirmed, however, that House Kurita has heavily reinforced Luthien . . . our interrogations have revealed a minimum of twenty regiments defending it, including all five of their Sword of Light regiments.”

Yvonne nodded. “And if they are not attacked, those units could very well be used for a counter-offensive along your flank,” she mused. “Are you adding Luthien to your Wave IV worlds, quineg?”

“Neg,” the Nova Cat Khan said swiftly. “We do not have the strength, at the moment, to risk Luthien—not against those numbers. But perhaps we do not have to. Khan Howell; it is your plan after all.”

Brandon Howell nodded. “ilKhan, we will be sending elements of our two Clans to Luthien on January 1, but they will not include any of our Clusters. Instead of an invasion, we intend to blockade Luthien from orbit—preventing those regiments massed there from being used against us and isolating the capital of the Draconis Combine.”

“Between our two Clans,” Khan West continued, “we will be able to interdict Luthien with two Black Lion-class battlecruisers, a Congress-class frigate, three Lola III-class destroyers, and two York-class carriers. Rather than picket the jump points, our ships will blockade the planet itself from orbit—with enough fighters and assault DropShips to more than handle what the defenders on the surface can throw at us. Our mission will not be to bombard Luthien—our ship commanders have strict orders against such an action—but will prevent those regiments on the surface from departing and reinforcements from arriving.”

“I presume this is why neither of your Clans could provide any ships for Operation Thunderbolt?” Yvonne asked.

“Aff, ilKhan Hazen,” replied the Jaguar. He glanced at the Nova Cat sitting next to him and he slowly nodded. “We realize that this is . . . unorthodox, but if we can keep those regiments bottled up on their capital, perhaps we can avoid a local counter-attack until our reinforcements arrive in March.”

Yvonne nodded her head slightly. Six months ago, none of her Khans—probably not even Djerassi!—would have suggested this, let alone the Khan of the Smoke Jaguars. But it was not six months ago. “You have my permission,” for what it is worth, she thought, “and my hopes that your efforts are successful.”

She started to rise, but then she saw the faces of the two Khans and lowered herself back down. “Was there something else, quiaff?”

“Aff,” whispered Howell. “We captured two Combine JumpShips just before our assault on Pesht, loaded with cargo ships. ilKhan, they were inbound to the planet with newly produced SLDF weaponry. Of lower quality than the Star League produced, but still just as effective. Our opponents are about to get a significant boost in their capabilities—just as Djerassi warned and we feared.”

“We knew it would happen eventually—and there is nothing we can do but warn our troops to expect stiffer resistance.”

“True, but we thought you want confirmation,” added the Nova Cat.

“You thought correctly. I will see that the information is disseminated throughout the Clans. Is there anything else?”

Marius West nodded. “We have gleaned from our interrogations of Combine military personnel that the House of Kurita might—might—have at least one operational WarShip, a small one.”

“A Samarkand II-class carrier, ilKhan,” Howell chimed in. “We are instituting the naval blockade of Luthien partly in hopes that we can draw it out—if it even exists.”

“Destroy it,” growled Yvonne. “Even if it means you must lift your blockade—if that ships exists, render it extinct.”

“You may rest assured of that, ilKhan Hazen,” chuckled the Khan of the Jaguars.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-28 06:05pm
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CSJS Streaking Mist; Proximity Point L-3
Luthien, Draconis Combine
January 6, 3044


Star Admiral Janice Hoyt, the senior Jaguar naval officer in the Luthien system, frowned at her plot once the display stabilized. Unlike Pesht, there had been no waves of kamikaze attacks here at the pirate point—but the battlecruisers powerful sensors were showing hundreds of icons in orbit over the planet which they had come to blockade. The majority of those blips within the holotank were fighters, but the rest? “What are those?” she whispered.

“Unknown, Star Admiral,” replied Star Captain Paul Knox. “They are smaller than an Avenger and have so far showed no indication of being mobile, other than reaction thrusters. Could they be an aerospace fighter refueling/rearming platform, perhaps?”

Hoyt nodded slowly and she bit her lip. She did not particularly care for Knox—one of the few Jaguars to possess a former Mongoose Bloodname, Knox was well known for his low sense of humor . . . but the man was a capable officer with a keen mind. Which had one of the reasons that the Jaguars of so long ago had allowed his Bloodname to survive; that keen intellect and a reputation for audacity was well-noted in the Knox genetic legacies. “Perhaps,” the Star Admiral whispered. “Any sign of a hostile WarShip?”

“Neg, Star Admiral—and no non-hostile ones besides our own and the Nova Cat vessels within sensor range,” he looked up from his console. “CIC makes it one hundred and eighty aerospace fighters, forty-four DropShips, and one hundred forty-four of those . . . unknowns. Fighters and DropShips are concentrating on this side of the planet, while the unknown contacts are spread out in twelve constellations of twelve, in several interlocking polar orbits. “

“Manufacturing stations?” another Jaguar officer said quietly. “But they seem awfully small for that.”

“And too numerous and large to be part of their satellite net,” whispered another.

“Well, we will discover their true nature soon enough,” Hoyt said in a loud voice. “As small as they are, they cannot be defense stations!” She finished with a chuckle, but she still had an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach—and Star Captain Knox looked worried.

“All ships launch fighters and DropShips—attack plan Zeta-Four, but keep our ships outside of any conceivable engagement range from those platforms.”

The Jaguars bent over their consoles and quickly passed the orders; Streaking Mist shuddered as her four DropShips and twenty OmniFighters detached and accelerated away—her WarShips travelling in their wake.

And the Kurita defenders left orbit to meet them. Her fighters had a slight advantage in numbers (200 vs. 180), but the forty-four defending DropShips outnumbered her fourteen almost four-to-one. Luckily for the Jaguars and the Cats, her WarShips had little problems locking weapons onto the signature and bulk of the enemy DropShips—and no DropShip could withstand capital-scale weapons for long.

The leading edge of the two forces merged and the holotank lit in flashes of laser beams and PPC bolts, autocannon bursts and missile drive plumes, interspersed with sudden, brilliant explosions as fighters and DropShips began to die.

Hoyt walked over to stand beside Paul Knox as he monitored the tactical systems. “Those unknowns are just sitting there, Paul?” she asked.

“Aff, Star Admiral. No fighter launches, and they are not transmitting. Could they be orbital mines?”

She frowned again. “Damned big ones if they are—and mines are almost useless against WarShips unless they . . .” she inhaled deeply.

And Paul Knox nodded. “Unless they have one or more nuclear warheads each,” he answered in an equally quiet voice.

“Power levels?”

“Unknown, Star Admiral—they are jamming our sensors and I cannot get a good read on them. I believe each one has a fusion plant onboard, but penetrating their hash is . . . rather difficult.”

Hoyt activated a secondary holographic projector and brought up a far larger visual image of the spherical objects—barely one hundred meters in diameter, with no engine exhaust ports, one two small craft docking bays . . . and no obvious weapon ports. There were three large cargo bay doors, which could conceal weapons . . . and Hoyt nodded.

“I do not like unknown factors,” she growled. “Instruct Ranger that once we have finished dealing with the Combine fighters and DropShips, she is too close and investigate; the remainder of the Flotillia will stand-off and await her report.”

“Aff, Star Admiral—the Cats might not like it that you are sending in one of their ships as bait,” he added.

“The Cats will follow my orders, whether they like them or not, Star Captain Knox, quiaff?”

“Aff.”

*****************************************************************

The dreadful silent ballet in the depths of space slowly wound down as the thirty-two surviving Combine fighters, with no DropShips remaining, withdrew to the planet to rearm and refuel—and have their armor quickly patched. Fifty-three Clan fighters and just one single, solitary Assault DropShip managed to return to their own motherships, but the path to Luthien was now open . . . except for those strange platforms rotating around the planet like a chain of delicate beads.


*****************************************************************

Star Colonel Cara Devalis sat in her command chair aboard CNCS Ranger as it thrusted slowly towards the orbit. She tried to project an aura of confidence to her crew . . . but she she had an uneasy feeling in her gut about just what those unknown objects were.

“We have entered range of our laser and missile battery, Star Colonel,” he executive officer called out.

“Lock a single battery on the nearest plaform, Tactical; Maneuvering, continue to close at 0.5-g’s . . . let’s see if we can get a better picture of what those things carry.”

“Aff,” several voices answered. Another officer looked up. “Heavy jamming, Star Colonel—sensors are still unable to penetrate their interference . . .” he looked down at his console and his face blanched. “Status change! LIDAR targeting systems are ranging us from all of the bogies in line-of-sight!”

“Weapons free, gunners engage at will!” Cara snarled. “Maneuvering, evasive pattern Theta-Four!”

“MA’AM!” the sensor tech cried. “They are opening fi. . .”

Ranger heaved as seventy-two of the orbital stations locked targeting and tracking systems onto her hull and each fired a single NL-55 Naval Laser. Individually, the lasers were little more than pinpricks to the heavily armored Lola III-class destroyer. But seventy-two of them, fired in a simultaneous salvo, proved far too much for her to handle. Twenty-one missed outright, but the remaining fifty-one struck the Nova Cat ship directly on her nose—and her armored bow flowed and boiled away as the stilettos of light lanced into her. More than two dozen beams penetrated into her internals and before the sensor tech could finish uttering the word 'fire', Rangers forward magazine was breached and her ammunition cooked off.

*****************************************************************

Janice Hoyt came out of her seat as the interlocking defense satellites known to the Draconis Combine as BattleSats eviscerated the Nova Cat destroyer and then a massive internal explosion tore the battered hulk into scattered debris in an eye-tearing explosion.

“Kerensky’s seed,” she whispered even as the glare of the eruption in the holotank died away.

“Star Admiral,” whispered Paul from his station. “It appears each of those stations carries a single NL-55 capital naval laser—they seem to be very vulnerable to our return fire as well. The three platforms Ranger managed to engage before her magazine blew were destroyed with a single shot each.”

“Acknowledged,” she said as she sat back down in her seat. She had the firepower to destroy them—but those platforms also had the firepower to destroy every single one of her ships in return. “New orders—we will institute the blockade outside of their engagement range; deploy our ships to englobe the planet.”

“At that range, with just seven ships, we may not be able to intercept launches from the surface, Star Admiral,” reported Knox.

“Understood—carry out my orders. And fire up the HPG; I need to speak with Khan Howell.”

((Duplicate Post Deleted - LadyT))

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-28 06:23pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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The Dragon’s Lair, Imperial Palace, Imperial City
Luthien, Draconis Combine
January 6, 3044


Takashi Kurita’s lips moved into a rare smile as the image of the Clan WarShip in orbit exploded on the monitor screen. “Your toys appear to be working well, Theodore,” he chuckled. “Well done, my son. It is such a simple, elegant concept—why did we never think of this before?”

“During the Star League, had we built such a system, Father, it would not have mattered, for the Star League had thousands of WarShips at their disposal. And this system is woefully vulnerable to hostile fire—without any protection from aerospace fighters. It would have lasted perhaps five minutes against the SLDF . . . and no one wanted to invest the resources in a system that would be ultimately expendable at the time.”

“True,” the Dragon rumbled as he nodded his agreement. “But these stations are inexpensive enough that we can produce them in quantity—and you, my Gunji-no-Kanrei, you deliberately held back more than one hundred aerospace fighters. To protect our BattleSats?”

Hai, Father. Those Clan WarShips have few fighters left—they are in for a surprise if they try to clear the orbitals with them.”

“And Togura?”

Theodore smiled. “If the Clan WarShips are here, they are not protecting their conquests—she is starting a series of raids against occupied worlds, raids aimed at destroying, or capturing, their JumpShips and supplies. Let’s see how these Jaguars and Nova Cats enjoy that.”

Takashi laughed, and then his smiled faded. He turned back to the monitor. “Still, that ship, as unprepared and unready as she was, she managed to destroy three of our platforms. If they come at us in strength . . .”

“We will hold. The engineers at Luthien Armor Works tell me that they can produce a new BattleSat every week—and we have DropShips on the ground to ferry new platforms aloft and replace those destroyed in orbit. No, Father, the orbitals will hold, unless they bring a many more ships to bear on us—and neither of these Clans has those ships available . . . according to both Wolf and ComStar.”

Takashi nodded. “Good. Soon enough, the Dragon will emerge in his full fury—you, my son, my Shogun, will lead our Armies and cast these invaders from our worlds.”

Theodore bowed. “As the Dragon commands.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-28 08:45pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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Clan Smoke Jaguar Field Headquarters, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
January 6, 3044


“Star Admiral Hoyt,” Brandon Howell said through clenched teeth, “I seem to recall that your missiles are capable of engaging and killing targets are far longer rangers than naval lasers, quiaff?”

“Aff,” the holographic projection of Janice Hoyt answered. She started to say something else, but the Khan interrupted her.

“Then destroy the platforms and institute a close blockade!”

“Begging the Khan’s pardon,” a third voice spoke up, “but it is not that simple, my Khan.”

“And you are?”

“Star Captain Paul Knox, executive officer of Streaking Mist, my Khan.”

The corner of Howell’s mouth twitched and he sternly frowned at the young Jaguar—with the Mongoose Bloodname!—who had spoken up. “Explain.”

“We can fire our capital missiles in bearing-only mode, my Khan, which gives us an engagement range far beyond that in which these defensive platforms can engage us. But there are several difficulties with that approach.”

“First, the missiles will consume their fuel once fired, turning them into ballistic projectiles with no ability to make course corrections. This is will also render the missiles extremely vulnerable to hostile point defense systems. The range at which we would have to launch against these targets—which have maneuvering thrusts and can undertake limited evasive action, combined with the inability of our missiles to maneuver into the targets and the blanket of ECM that our opponents are smothering the orbitals with means that we are looking at around a 3% hit ratio for White Shark- and Killer Whale-class missiles; perhaps around 18-20% if we restrict ourselves to Barracuda-class capital missiles with their more accurate targeting systems. Either way, we will run out of missiles long before we manage to achieve a single hit on every target.”

“Second,” the Jaguar continued, as he ignored the rapidly flushing face of his Khan, “an examination of Rangers engagement showed that the platforms are lightly armored—a single missile will not guarantee us a kill even if it hits, not even a Killer Whale-class which packs the largest warhead of any our capital missiles.”

“Third, the Kuritas pulled back the platforms into a very low orbit after we established our blockade. While this means that fewer platforms can simultaneously target any one of our ships, it allows means that any misses will slam into the planet’s atmosphere—and with that heavy ECM coverage; I cannot ensure that any miss will self-destruct. Which means, my Khan, that possibly as many as two-thirds of our misses, which could be as much as 97% of our total missiles fired, will impact the planetary surface with armed warheads. And that violates the direct orders of ilKhan against indiscriminate planetary bombardment . . . my Khan.”

Brandon Howell bit his tongue and he forced himself to nod. “Well, then, Star Captain Knox . . . what is your recommendation?”

“A fighter strike once we replace our lost birds, my Khan. Naval lasers have little effectiveness against fighters and a single Star might well be able to destroy all of the platforms. However, if the Combine has retained any fighters of their own, we might not be able to accomplish this; in which case we will have to move in and engage the targets with our shipboard weaponry. Our WarShips can destroy the platforms by the dozens, my Khan, but we will take heavy damage if we try to bull through. Perhaps you can make arrangements with the Ravens or Scorpions to use some of their ships in the assault?”

The eyes of the Jaguar Khan grew wide and his jaw worked, but he forced himself visibly to take a deep breath. “Star Admiral Hoyt . . . do you concur?” he asked quietly.

Janice Hoyt slowly nodded. “I do, my Khan.”

“Very well. Maintain your blockade as best you are able—I will scrounge up replacement pilots and fighters from somewhere. But know this, Star Captain Knox; if your plan fails, you will bear my wrath.”

And without another word, Howell cut the transmission.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-29 02:32pm
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Clan Stone Lion Field Headquarters, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
January 6, 3044


Natasha Kerensky walked into her office and she offered the rising officer waiting for her a warm smile. “Aidan, I trust there is not another problem?”

Aidan Pryde chuckled. “Other than eight more Trials of Grievance fought between our Warriors over minor insults and bruised egos, my Khan, there are no problems worthy of being brought to your attention.”

The Black Widow sighed. Damn fools . . . thinking only of their individual honor—even the free-births! She shook her head and crossed over to her desk, only to come to a halt at the sight of the wooden crate sitting in her chair.

“A gift, saKhan?” she asked.

“More like a test, Khan Kerensky,” the former Falcon turned Stone Lion answered. “You did say that the Kommandos needed a larger challenge . . . I provided them a worthy challenge and they rose to the occasion.”

As part of her new Clan, Natasha had formed up a group of Elementals and vehicle crewmen tasked with special operations—a wholly unappreciated endeavor of covert operations amongst the Clans. So far, the Stone Lions Kommando Cluster consisted of just two Trinary of troops—finding Clan troopers with the proper mindset had proven rather . . . discouraging, she thought. Still, they had managed to scrounge up a few, over the objections of other Khans and the ilKhan herself.

Natasha walked over to her chair and lifted the heavy crate, using her survival knife to pry up the nailed down lid and she shook her head again as she gazed upon the six bottles packed in straw within. She began to laugh as she pulled one of the green tinted bottles out and read the label.

“Glenlivet single-malt Scotch, aged thirty-six years! Aidan, you didn’t send the Kommando to raid Nikolai Djerassi’s cellar did you?”

The saKhan laughed. “The Scorpion keeps his cellar more heavily guarded than his field headquarters, my Khan. I thought it might serve as a good graduation exercise for the Kommando—they had orders to get in, grab their objective, and get out . . . without raising the alarm or killing any Scorpion defenders. They did it.”

“So I see,” she answered with a smile as she began to cut away the wax seal holding the cork in place. She laughed again as Aidan lifted a cork-screw; but she put aside the knife and took the utensil. “Nikolai will be furious, you realize. I would not put it past him to seek revenge in kind.”

Aidan shrugged. “He is a Scorpion, my Khan. Besides, we are all departing for Tukayyid on the morrow—he shall not have the time to properly come up with a method of retaliation.”

“True,” Natasha said with a grunt as the cork popped out of the narrow neck of the whiskey bottle. Aidan put two glasses on her desk and she chuckled again. “How did I ever deserve a saKhan like you, Aidan Pryde?”

“You do not,” he answered. “Still, since the Falcons have expressed a desire to rid themselves of me, I might as well make myself useful to you.”

The Khan poured three fingers of the deep, smoky colored whiskey into each of the glasses, then she corked the bottle and lifted one; Aidan took the other. “To victory, my saKhan,” she said.

“I think, after having read your analysis of our opponents, I would rather toast to Survival, my Khan,” as he clinked his glass against hers.

Both took a sip, and Natasha sat down with a groan. “I need a shower,” she said.

“Yes. Yes, you do, my Khan.”

“I see you are giving the touman a break tonight—why?”

“They have far to go yet, my Khan, but they have already united and become one unit faster than I thought possible. We have rough patches, we still have holes in our formations, and they are still as argumentative as any Mandrill ever decanted—but they have drastically improved. I wanted to give them one night to rejoice in being a Warrior before we board ship for Tukayyid.”

Natasha took another swallow of the stout whiskey and she nodded with a shrug. “Your call, Aidan; be sure and keep guards posted on the HQ building though—do not underestimate Nikolai Djerassi, saKhan Pryde. I am heading for the showers and then a meal before I grab some sleep.”

“It will be as you command, my Khan,” Aidan said with a bow as she drained the last of her whiskey and left the office.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-29 05:38pm
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The Steel Palace, Malcheema
Arcturus, Lyran Commonwealth, Federated Commonwealth
January 14, 3044


“Marshal Stephen Davion of the Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth!” the door warden announced loudly.

Melissa Steiner-Davion stood from her seat behind the oak desk and she tried hard to keep her composure as she saw the exhausted, harrowed face of her husband’s cousin. This was not the vibrant, confident man who had set out to raid the Isles a few short months ago. Hanse also rose and Melissa squeezed his hand in support and her husband nodded slightly—clearly Stephen Davion had experienced a rough time.

Quintus Allard, Morgan Hasek-Davion, and Roman Steiner—Melissa’s new General of the Lyran Armies—stood as well in the spacious and ornate office deep within the original Palace of the Archons on the old capital world of Arcturus.

Marshal Davion stopped in front of the desk and bowed low. “Your majesties,” he said simply.

“I thought we had lost you, Stephen,” said Hanse quietly in an effort to break the sudden and oppressive silence that fell over the room. “And the Armored Cavalry as well.”

“You did, my Prince,” his cousin answered with a scowl on his face. “My troops were defeated and taken captive—only the decision of their Khan to release us allowed the return of my fifty-seven survivors . . . without our ‘Mechs, fighters, DropShips, or JumpShips. I will, of course, resign my commission in the wake of this . . . disaster.”

“Absolutely not!” snapped Hanse in reply. “You have had more contact with these Clans than anyone else other in Our service . . . We shall need that perspective, Stephen. And welcome home.”

“It is good to be back, my Prince. Archon,” he said with a bow to Melissa, “I was released for a specific reason, to deliver unto you a message from Khan Nikolas Djerassi of Clan Goliath Scorpion. Star Captain Jason Scott volunteered to accompany me and answer any of your questions—to provide you with living, breathing proof of the sincerity of the Scorpions proposal. He is an ambassador, not a prisoner.”

“Some Ambassador,” Hanse snorted. “Six—six!—of the men I sent aboard that DropShip to take him into custody remain in the hospital!”

“He was willing to be taken into custody, but he was not willing to be shackled like a criminal! And Star Captain Scott did not start that confrontation—he defended himself after your guards slammed a rifle butt into his kidney!” Stephen snarled, and Hanse looked up in surprise.

“Marshal Davion, he is the enemy—remember that.”

Stephen lowered his head and he shook it. “I fought them on Rondane—two-thirds of my Regiment died on Rondane, Prince Davion! And even as a POW taken in combat and subject to being one of their bondsmen, I was never treated like that! Nor were my . . .” Stephen’s voice cracked, and he had to pause and collect himself, “nor were any of my surviving men and women. You didn’t capture that warrior in battle, he came here under a flag of truce to convey a message, and your guards deliberately provoked a confrontation!”

Both of you stop,” Melissa said calmly as she sat. “Why don’t we sit down and find out exactly why these Scorpions released Stephen?”

One by one, the others took their seats and Stephen nodded at the Archon. “Khan Djerassi asked that I bear you a message, Archon Melissa; a message that might put an end to this war. His plan . . .” and Stephen explained to the small group exactly what Nikolai had in mind.

Hanse barked out a laugh. “Of course! Why didn’t I think of this? He just wants us to reform the Star League! Doesn’t he know how the 1st Succession War started in the first place?”

“That was a different time, your Majesty,” Stephen answered softly. “And we have united to fight against the Clans—it might just be possible if you and the Archon threw your weight behind it.”

“And throw away the Federated Commonwealth in the process!” Hanse snapped. “We are this close to reuniting the Inner Sphere under one government already, and you expect us to derail that on the word of this Clan bastard?”

“Hanse,” Melissa said softly as she laid one hand on her husband’s forearm, and he subsided. The Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth turned her stern gaze—so much like that of her mother Katrina, Stephen suddenly realized, on the former prisoner. “Even if this is possible, which I doubt, why would Takashi Kurita bow down to Jaime Wolf?”

“He wouldn’t,” answered Stephen. “Star Captain Scott and I have been discussing this for three weeks now, and he has doubts that Wolf would even accept such a position. But he believes he has an idea who the Lords of the Great Houses would follow, especially if that person held the title of First Lord, but the true power rested with the Council—a Council which must include ComStar to offset the three votes of the Federated Commonwealth.”

Hanse grimaced at the idea and Quintus Allard shook his head, but Melissa just nodded. “And that person would be?”

“You, Archon Steiner-Davion. Thomas Marik and Takashi Kurita know well you are no puppet—you will make your own decisions, even if Hanse disagrees with them. A few years ago, they might not have thought that, but today? They recognize your worth.”

Melissa jerked upright in her chair, a shocked expression on her face. “ME?” she whispered.

“You, Archon Steiner-Davion. Thomas and Takashi will not follow Hanse; Takashi will see the Draconis Combine in ruins before he bows to Jaime Wolf—but you are a horse of a different color. And reforming the League will bring this war to a sudden halt as the Clans find themselves in a philosophical quandary.”

“Philosophy doesn’t win wars, Marshal,” said Quintus Allard. “Soldiers with guns win wars.”

“Even in war, moral power is to physical as three parts out of four.”

“Napoleon Bonaparte,” whispered Hanse. “Still, they will know this is just a ploy.”

“Or is it?” asked Stephen. “We can weld a new Star League out of this mess—and throw all of the Clans into chaos and confusion. And in the process, the Scorpions will come to our side.”

“With two Galaxies,” muttered Morgan Hasek-Davion. “Their WarShips will be appreciated, but their small number of Clusters will mean little overall.”

“Wrong. Khan Djerassi is moving ALL of his Scorpions forward—seven Galaxies of front-line and second line troops, plus another twenty-eight Clusters of Garrison forces. Fifty-seven Clusters of troops, Field Marshal, which he will command at the orders of the First Lord of the Star League.”

And absolute silence hung over the room, as even Hanse Davion blinked.

Fifty-seven Clusters?” gasped Roman Steiner. “Wolf said they are one of the smaller Clans!”

“They are,” Stephen agreed bluntly. “If every Clan brought their full force forward, we could not stand against them! The Bears alone—if they do the same—can field more than one hundred Clusters, both front-line and garrison. Hanse we can stop what the Clans have here now, but what if they do not give up this fight? What if they bring everything they have into the fray?” Stephen shook his head. “At the very least, this plan might buy us time, not to mention a sudden infusion of fresh troops with Clan technology. And they are bringing with them their scientists, their technicians, their merchants, and pre-fabricated factories to produce their own gear. Have you given THAT any thought, Minister Allard?”

No one replied as each of the leaders in the room considered it carefully. Finally, Melissa nodded. “We will have to contact Thomas and Takashi; Candace and the Primus—and Jaime Wolf. And all of this hinges on whether or not Jaime’s Grand Army can defeat their Tukayyid strike force. When does that start?”

Stephen winced. “They are scheduled to jump into the system in . . . three hours and fourteen minutes, your Majesty.”

The Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth nodded firmly and she stood, quickly followed by her husband, his cousin, and their advisors. “In that case, we need to establish contact right away. I will authorize the expenditure for a real-time HPG connection.”

“And if they are assaulting Tukayyid with this much, perhaps we can move the RCTs waiting their next onslaught into an offensive posture,” mused Hanse.

“Those RCTs will be busy,” Stephen said dryly. “Khan Djerassi informed me that they launching Wave IV simultaneously, for the express purpose of stopping you from doing exactly that.”

“No matter,” said Melissa. “It is in the hands of Our brave soldiers now—and Wolf’s. We will concentrate on what we can accomplish—and I believe that I will have a discussion with Star Captain Scott.”

“Just make damn certain you have four centimeters of armored glass between you and him, Archon—he is liable to be just a little bit pissed right now,” Stephen said sourly.

“Ja,” added Roman Steiner. “I read the medical reports—I would rather she spoke to him from the cockpit of a Warhammer.”

"You might be right, General Steiner," agreed Stephen. "You might be right."


Last edited by masterarminas on 2012-07-30 01:30pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-30 12:08am
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Ahhh, I see you are feeding us Falcon fanboys with the Stone Lion SaKhan!



"The 4th Earl of Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."'

SDNW4: The Sultanate of Klavostan

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-30 01:31pm
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I rewrote that last section: I hope this works better.

MA

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-30 09:17pm
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This version is much better, MA. The other was a little too much "Show, don't tell" and got wanky as a result.



"I'm sorry, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that your inability to use the brain evolution granted you is any of my fucking concern."
"You. Stupid. Shit." Victor desperately wished he knew enough Japanese to curse properly. "Davions take alot of killing." -Grave Covenant
Founder of the Cult of Weber

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-31 04:20pm
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The Steel Palace, Malcheema
Arcturus, Lyran Commonwealth, Federated Commonwealth
January 14, 3044


The images of the assembled Lords of the Inner Sphere were silent as Stephen Davion finished reciting Nikolai Djerassi’s message. Silent except for a sudden bark of incredulous laughter from Takashi Kurita.

Jaime Wolf shook his head ruefully. “You need not even begin your protests, Lord Kurita,” he said. “First Lord of the Star League? I well know my limits—and this exceeds them. I am less well-suited to assuming that role than General Kerensky was after the Amaris Coup . . . and none of you would particularly care for how I would deal with political problems.”

“Could such an action even deter the Clans?” mused Candace Liao. “It seems to me that it would only infuriate them—robbing them of the chance to remake the Star League in their own image.”

J. Elliot Jamison snorted. “The die-hard Crusaders will not be deterred in the least—but most of the Clans are not quite so fanatical in orientation. From our intelligence reports, there is an almost equal split between Crusader and Warden factions—and many of the so-called Crusaders are moderate in nature. The Jaguars, the Falcons, the Hellions, the Vipers, and the Spirits will howl if this comes to pass, but the others will at least pause and give the matter some thought. It could take the wind out of their sails, cut them off at the knees, or whatever other metaphor you wish to use. Not to mention that if, if, the Scorpions do change sides and declare for the Star League, it might well lead others to at least consider doing the same. And as for you not being capable as First Lord, Jaime Wolf, I’d wager that the troops at least would follow you—what troops we have left after this battle, that is.”

Thomas Marik shook his head in resignation. “While I have nothing personal against Supreme Commander Wolf, Takashi will never allow him to become First Lord—and we all know it. Jaime Wolf knows that as well, Colonel Jamison. In a similar fashion, neither Takashi or myself can accept Hanse Davion on the throne of the First Lord, just as he—and his people—would never accept Takashi or even Candace. And that leaves . . . Melissa Steiner-Davion and myself as potential candidates.”

“You are forgetting ComStar,” Michael York added quietly. He quickly held up his hand. “I do not want nor do I desire the office; my hands are quite full enough dealing with the problems my predecessors allowed within my organization itself. Not that the Fox or the Archon would accept me—because of the manner in which my predecessors . . . interfered in their realms. Still, the candidate must be acceptable to ComStar as a whole.”

“Agreed,” snapped Hanse, although a scowl was clearly evident upon his face. “Jaime, Takashi, Candace, the Primus, and I are all eliminated . . . which as Lord Marik says leaves us with two choices.”

“One of which is your wife,” barked Takashi. “Although,” and the stern mask of the face of the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine softened and he almost smiled, “it would be worth putting her on the Throne to see you have to jump at her orders for a change.”

The Primus raised his hand. “Would she be willing to abdicate as Archon? The First Lord of the Star League must not be shown as favoring any of the Great Houses, after all—he or she must be scrupulously fair and even-handed.”

And once again silence descended on the gathering, broken only the occasional static of some random HPG interference.

“I have fought for too long to reunite the League,” Thomas Marik at last said. “I will not hand it over to take the reigns of some . . . ceremonial position.”

“Hardly ceremonial,” continued the Primus. “If the Scorpions are speaking the truth when they offer their full strength as part of a restored Star League Defense Force, then the First Lord will command a force greater in size than the current Capellan Confederation Armed Forces. And, as Primus of ComStar, the ComGuards will provide at least half, if not more, of our total forces to the SLDF. Combined with the Scorpions, this First Lord will have a force of arms at his or her command which exceeds that of any single Successor State.”

“Abdicate? I cannot abdicate my rule of the Lyran Commonwealth,” said Melissa. “My eldest son is still a minor—and that would put Ryan Steiner in the seat of Archon, which would be a catastrophe.”

“And Victor is my heir as well,” added Hanse. “But the matter of who will succeed both Melissa and myself can be resolved at a latter date—I believe that all of us here can agree that the power of the First Lord will have to rest on the votes of the High Council.”

“A High Council where your Federated Commonwealth will control three of the five votes, Hanse,” said Thomas with a sour look. “Or three of six if we give ComStar a seat.”

“Or just three of seven if admit the Scorpions as a member state,” mused the Primus, “and give them a vote as well. You did say that they wanted seven worlds in the Lyons Thumb to call their own—as an independent power.”

Hanse frowned. “I do not like giving them seven more of our worlds.”

“Seven Lyran worlds, dear,” said Melissa. And then she smiled. “It would infuriate Ryan would it not?”

“He is a dangerous man,” Takashi warned. “For all that I sneer at your Steiner military prowess, at least many of your kin are honorable—that viper is the exception that proves the rule.”

“So none of us are willing to take the throne—or to see another of number upon it,” added Jaime Wolf. “Yet, if we do this, we must have a First Lord. Otherwise, even those Clans who will be willing to consider stopping this conflict will not be persuaded.”

“There is perhaps another answer,” chimed in Michael. “Precentor Martial Focht, would you accept this role?”

Takashi jerked in surprise—but perhaps no more so than the white-robed masked man standing beside the Primus. Hanse shook his head again. “I will not accept a ComStar precentor or adept, Primus.”

“Not even one that is a cousin to your wife, Hanse Davion? Tell them Focht—the time for secrets is at an end.”

Melissa’s head whipped around at the words of the Primus and her jaw dropped as Focht removed his mask and lowered his hood. “Fredrick? You . . . you . . . you’re dead!”

Anastasius Focht—Fredrick Steiner—shook his head. “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

“But how . . . why . . .” Melissa sputtered in shock.

The Precentor Martial nodded in understanding. “I was a pawn in Lestrade’s schemes, Melissa. Used as a tool in an effort to further his ambitions—he planned on me supplanting your mother and then ruling the Commonwealth behind his puppet. Me. When Theodore Kurita took me prisoner, I asked him not to return me—and that he report my death to Aunt Katrina.”

Michael York smiled. “And since he did not want to ever play at politics again, he served his new masters well—never giving them any information on the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces, but doing what he could to aid Theodore in building his Ghost Regiments. And then, when Primus Waterly desired to expand the ComGuards, Takashi and Theodore gave him to ComStar—and once again, he served without regard for his own status. And he served well in that role.”

Takashi frowned, but then he nodded. “I have no objections to Anastasius Focht on the throne of the First Lord. He will not interfere in the internal workings of my realm—this I know from speaking to him.”

“And I will release him from service to ComStar—freeing him from all vows and oaths he has taken,” added the Primus.

Jaime Wolf chuckled. “Better you than me, Precentor Martial—no objections here.”

Thomas still frowned, but at last he nodded as the Primus glared at him. “I will not vote for him—but neither will I vote against him.”

Hanse still stood by his wife and his face was set stone, but his left hand trembled slightly. Candace nodded her agreement as well. “I know you don’t trust them, Hanse . . . but he is the last remaining choice—and he has my vote,” she said quietly.

“Fine!” snapped Hanse and he jerked his hand out of the grip of his wife. “But we—the High Council—will make the decisions, not this . . . puppet of ComStar.”

“HANSE!” Melissa said in an anger tone. And then she collected herself. “If Fredrick Stein-,” she grimaced, before correcting herself, “Anastasius Focht gives his word, then I for one believe him! But I have not yet heard him answer.”

All eyes fell on Focht where his image stood next to that of the Primus, and he swallowed heavily. “I foreswore all politics—I gave my Oath to God, I would not let myself get used again.”

“Precentor Martial, we are all used in this life,” said Michael York with a smile. “Here is your chance to start a new life—your third life, and in a such a fashion that history will never, ever forget your name.”

Focht’s shoulders slumped and he shook his. “My hubris admits that such an idea is attractive, but I have no children—no heirs.”

Jaime Wolf smiled. “If the Scorpions join us, with their Scientists, they can easily create you an heir, Focht! And you will not even have to get married!” he finished with a laugh. “So I take it that is a yes, quiaff?”

Slowly Focht nodded his head. “If it is the will of the Lords of the Inner Sphere that I take up this burden, than I shall accept it as my . . . karma, my fate, if you will.”

“And seeing that we are agreed in principle, at least,” Michael York said with a smile, “I would suggest that we meet on Terra at a future date to iron out all of the little details. In the meantime, I think Jaime Wolf and his Grand Army have a battle to fight.”

“No, Primus,” Focht said in a suddenly powerful voice. “If we are to do this, best we do it right. Jaime Wolf . . . as First Lord of the Star League Reborn, having been selected for this post by the Lords of the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere in unanimity, will you accept from me a commission as the Commanding General of the Star League Defense Forces?”

Jaime Wolf drew in a deep breath and then he knelt and bowed his head. “Seyla, First Lord. I will.”

“Then go, my Knight, and inform your foes they face no disparate force joined together only in desperation, but that they fight against the Star League Defense Force made anew.”

“Inform the Clans of Kerensky that the Star League once again stands—and it stands in opposition to their Invasion,” Focht finished.


Last edited by masterarminas on 2012-08-01 12:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-31 07:47pm
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FANTASTIC!!!



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Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-07-31 09:41pm
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Scorpion Epsilon Galaxy Field Headquarters, Bodo
Rondane, Chainelaine Isles, Clan Goliath Scorpion Enclave
January 14, 3044


The Ghost Bear officer frowned. “Star Colonel Hardo, we need every bit of production possible . . . yet, your Scorpions are disassembling your factories!”

The Scorpion nodded in pleasure as his Elementals aided in the heavy lifting, right alongside technicians and laborers. The fact that his Warriors were pitching in on the labor, that, as much as the actual work in progress, was probably what the Bear so distressed.

“We have orders from above, Star Captain Kabrinski,” Benjamin Hardo said with a shrug. “Khan Djerassi ordered that we prepare these facilities to be moved—and that is what my men are now doing.”

“But moved where?”

The Scorpion shrugged again. “We have not yet received those orders—or the transports, Star Captain. I would imagine one of our worlds somewhere closer to the front lines; the travel time between here and Memmingen is far less than between Memmingen and the Homeworlds, but is still sufficient to cause a lag in supply delivery.”

“So . . . you are abandoning Rondane?” the Bear asked softly.

“Not to my knowledge,” Benjamin chuckled. “These are all pre-fabricated structures we are taking apart—the more permanent factories we built in the caverns will remain at the least.”

The Bear nodded. It did make sense, after all. In a certain fashion. But then he shook his head. “I cannot believe you managed to get your Warriors to do menial labor.”

“Why not? We, with the sole exception of you, are all Scorpions here. The Clan needs this done—and it is the job of a Warrior to serve his Clan in any capacity. That is something too many of our trothkin have forgotten, Jackson.”

“Hmmmm,” the Bear mused. “Our Clan is a family, but my Warriors would demand a Trial of Refusal and one of Grievance if I were to command them to do such.”

“Short-sighted, quiaff?” Benjamin laughed. “No offense, Jackson, but some Warriors are just too full of themselves, too . . . infatuated with the idea of their superiority that they would see their Clan suffer instead of picking up a shovel and pitching in to get a project complete. And we have our own fair share of those imbeciles—they do not last long among the Scorpions, but each generation has a few.”

“Well, it is your Clan, so I should not complain overly much,” Kabrinski said with a smile. “After all, you are not making me get out there and turn a wrench.”

“Of course not, Star Captain Kabrinski . . . if I were to put you out there, you would be hauling heavy equipment with the rest of my Elementals instead of wasting those muscles extracting bolts!”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-01 02:07pm
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CIKS Victory, Proximity Point J2
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 15, 3044


ilKhan Yvonne Hazen took in a deep breath as the holographic display stabilized and projected the blue-white orb that was her target. Icons in seventeen different colors splashed over the display—but none of them were the harsh crimson of her enemies.

“Where are their ships?” she asked.

“Located them, ilKhan,” a sensor tech cried. “Twenty-two WarShips are holding station out-system—four hours from planetary orbit. Force composition is primarily destroyers and frigates, but I am detecting at least three cruisers and one battlecruiser among them.”

The ship’s commanding officer frowned. “If we go after them . . . they can lead us on a chase throughout the outer system, before jumping away at a proximity point or past the limit.”

“And if we do not give chase?” Yvonne asked.

“Then they can choose when and where to move against us.”

“We have the advantage in numbers—forty vs. twenty-two, quiaff?”

“Aff. Provided that those ships are not outfitted with nuclear tipped anti-ship missiles, we have the advantage here—and we will not know for certain until they come close enough to attack.”

Yvonne frowned. Naval combat was not something she routinely dwelled upon—but she had a Khan who did. “Raise CSRS James McKenna—I want to speak with Khan McKenna.”

The connection was quickly made. “Options?” she asked the Raven Khan standing on the command deck of his flagship.

“One, we ignore them and proceed to orbit with our full force, minus a small flotilla to protect our JumpShips. If they seek battle they will have to come to us. Two, we keep the Fleet concentrated at the proximity point sheltering our JumpShips, with only a handful of ships to support the landings. Three, detach a Task Force to deal with them and set off in pursuit while we retain a second group of WarShips here to protect our JumpShips and a third group to move into orbit to support our landings—that option opens us to defeat in detail should they successfully evade or if they have additional WarShips,” the Raven frowned. “Their numbers are less than what Khan Kerensky claimed . . . they could have additional WarShips in nearby systems waiting to be summoned.”

“You can defeat them, quiaff?”

“Aff, they have nothing heavier than a battlecruiser—our force contains three battleships, ilKhan Hazen.”

“Even if they have shipboard nuclear weapons?”

“If that scenario holds true, our losses will rise sharply—but we can defeat what we know they have in-system at this time—if they have no further reinforcements.”

“I do not like leaving WarShips in the hands of these Scavenger Lords,” Yvonne mused . . . but she finally nodded. “We will remain concentrated and move against their ships only if they come to us.”

“Aff, ilKhan,” the Raven answered. “In that case, I would recommend keeping the bulk of the Combined Fleet here, at the proximity point to provide our transports with protection—we can be in planetary orbit in forty-one minutes if that proves necessary, but the JumpShips will be vulnerable to additional WarShips jumping into the Tukayyid system.”

“Make it so, Khan McKenna,” Yvonne answered. “Inform the Khans we are pro-. . .”

“ilKhan, we are receiving a transmission from the planet—Jaime Wolf is requesting a batchall,” a comm-tech reported.

“Open the channel,” she commanded and the ilKhan of the Clans straightened to her full height as the image of the Wolf traitor shimmered into existence in front of her. And Yvonne stared in shock, because Jaime Wolf wore the same olive-drab uniform that Aleksandyr Kerensky had once worn—the uniform of the Star League Defense Force!

“ilKhan Hazen,” the image said politely, with a slight bow. “I, Jaime Wolf, Commanding General of the Star League Reborn, present in body and blood upon the surface of Tukayyid contest your claim for this world, and for all of the worlds of the Inner Sphere. Your invasion will end here amid blood, sweat, and tears; it will end by the will of my Warriors vying with yours, with victory going to he who has the right.”

“The Star League is dead!” Yvonne barked. “What is this . . . heresy?”

Jaime Wolf smiled a cold, cold smile at the ilKhan. “Yvonne Hazen, you managed to accomplish a deed that Aleksandyr Kerensky could not have done—a deed that generation after generation of War and squabbles and ruined factories failed to carry out. You, and your Clans, have united the Inner Sphere to join together and reform the Star League under First Lord Anastasius Focht. And I have been asked to serve the Star League Reborn as Commanding General.”

Yvonne swallowed and she shook her head. “This is a sham—a ploy! The Lords are using you in an effort to trick us!”

“No tricks, no shams, no ploys, ilKhan of the Clans. The Star League is Reborn and First Lord Focht instructed me to inform you that it stands in opposition to your Invasion. Withdraw now, and we can hammer out a peace—or come against me with your full fury and witness for yourself the unity and power of the Star League Defense Forces under my command.”

The ilKhan stared at the image for a second, then two, and then three before she replied. “We will come and we will destroy you—the Clans of Kerensky shall never allow a false Star League to remain.”

“Then I shall face you with all of the forces at my disposal—a complete order of battle will be transmitted to you, ilKhan Hazen. And I grant unto you command safcon—your landings will be unopposed. Let us settle this on the surface as Warriors.”

“And your WarShips?”

“They will intervene only if you resort to orbital bombardments—and they will do so with full magazines of nuclear-tipped anti-ship missiles at their disposal.” Jaime smiled grimly. “I only regret that you arrived too late to fight ALL of us—a portion of our command has already moved to . . . shall we say a suitable location to begin counterattacks against the worlds you have taken.”

Yvonne’s blood ran cold . . . if the rest of the forces Natasha Kerensky had told her of were on the move, then the Invasion itself would be placed in jeopardy. But, that no longer mattered. She was here, and her enemy—at least in part—was here. And here, on the surface of a world known as Tukayyid, would the decision be made.

“Our WarShips will not conduct orbital bombardments, traitor—we shall indeed settle this matter Warrior to Warrior. Ready yourself for combat, Jaime Wolf, for I am coming.”

“Bargained well and done, ilKhan Hazen. We who are about to die—as well as those who will emerge victorious—await you,” Jaime said with a grinning snarl ferocious enough to fit his Clan’s totem. And the transmission ceased.

“Message to all Khans!” Yvonne barked. “Prepare to ground our Clusters—I want that order of battle analyzed . . . quickly! And targets identified. Do not inform them of this . . . Star League Reborn foolishness.”

The com-tech swallowed heavily. “ilKhan, they already know—all of our Warriors know. Wolf’s transmission was sent to every ship, and they relayed your responses.”

A second com-tech rose as the ilKhan cursed, “I have the Khans on channel two, ilKhan Hazen; they are requesting to speak with you.”

“Which ones?” Yvonne spat.

All of them, my ilKhan.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-01 03:46pm
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And a special surprise for the loyal readers out there . . . Jaime Wolf's Archer!

Code:
Jaime Wolf's Archer

Mass: 70 tons
Tech Base: Clan
Chassis Config: Biped
Rules Level: Tournament Legal
Era: Clan Invasion
Tech Rating/Era Availability: F/X-X-D
Production Year: 3044
Cost: 15,050,723 C-Bills
Battle Value: 2,405

Chassis: Unknown Endo-Steel
Power Plant: Unknown 280 Fusion XL Engine
Walking Speed: 43.2 km/h
Maximum Speed: 64.8 km/h
Jump Jets: None
    Jump Capacity: 0 meters
Armor: Unknown Ferro-Fibrous
Armament:
    2  Large Pulse Lasers
    4  LRM-15s w/ Artemis IV FCS
    2  ER Medium Lasers
    1  Flamer
Manufacturer: Unknown
    Primary Factory: Unknown
Communications System: Unknown
Targeting and Tracking System: Unknown

================================================================================
Equipment           Type                         Rating                   Mass 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Internal Structure: Endo-Steel                   107 points                3.50
    Internal Locations: 3 LA, 2 RA, 1 LL, 1 RL
Engine:             XL Fusion Engine             280                       8.00
    Walking MP: 4
    Running MP: 6
    Jumping MP: 0
Heat Sinks:         Double Heat Sink             11(22)                    1.00
Gyro:               Standard                                               3.00
Cockpit:            Standard                                               3.00
    Actuators:      L: SH+UA+LA+H    R: SH+UA+LA+H
Armor:              Ferro-Fibrous                AV - 211                 11.00
    Armor Locations: 2 LA, 3 RA, 1 LL, 1 RL
    CASE Locations: LT, RT                                                 0.00

                                                      Internal       Armor     
                                                      Structure      Factor     
                                                Head     3            9         
                                        Center Torso     22           30       
                                 Center Torso (rear)                  8         
                                           L/R Torso     15           24       
                                    L/R Torso (rear)                  6         
                                             L/R Arm     11           22       
                                             L/R Leg     15           30       

================================================================================
Equipment                                 Location    Heat    Critical    Mass 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Large Pulse Laser                            RA        10        2         6.00
Large Pulse Laser                            LA        10        2         6.00
2 LRM-15s                                    RT        10        4         7.00
    Artemis IV FCS                           RT        -         2         2.00
2 LRM-15s                                    LT        10        4         7.00
    Artemis IV FCS                           LT        -         2         2.00
2 (R) ER Medium Lasers                       CT        10        2         2.00
Flamer                                       HD        3         1         0.50
@LRM-15 (Artemis) (32)                       RT        -         4         4.00
@LRM-15 (Artemis) (32)                       LT        -         4         4.00
                                            Free Critical Slots: 2

BattleForce Statistics
MV      S (+0)  M (+2)  L (+4)  E (+6)   Wt.   Ov   Armor:      7    Points: 24
4          4       4       4       0      3     3   Structure:  4
Special Abilities: CASE, SRCH, ES, SEAL, SOA, IF 3

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-01 11:29pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
DropShip Knife Dance Alpha, Inbound to Orbit
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 15, 3044


“My Khan, we have finished our analysis,” the old Warrior commanding Nikolai’s HQ staff quietly said over the radio. “Uploading the data now.”

Nikolai smiled—this was another area where the Clans viewed his Scorpions as heretical. Unlike most Khans (Marion Truscott being a noted exception), Nikolai and his predecessor had both arranged for those Warriors to old to serve in the front lines to command separate HQ staffs at the Cluster, Galaxy, and Touman level. Assisted by teams of trained technicians, merchants, and even a handful of scientists, the Warriors sorted through the chaff of all the intelligence reports and provided the Khan with the information he needed—without him having to actually pour over the documents and signals intercepts in question.

The Scorpion whistled as he quickly scrolled through the data and then he frowned. “Knife Dance Actual to Ebony Actual,” he broadcast, “I have the analysis you requested, ilKhan.”

Yvonne’s voice quickly came back over the speaker of Nikolai’s Death Dancer. “Aff. I am tying your broadcast into all the Khans . . . go ahead, Knife Dance Actual.

“All Khans, this is Nikolai Djerassi. Analysis of Wolf’s order of battle indicates that he has deployed approximately six thousand BattleMechs, forty-eight hundred combat vehicles, twenty-eight thousand infantry in light powered armor, three hundred pieces of artillery, and two thousand aerospace fighters. His forces are grouped in three distinct elements—all defending terrain that is rather . . . formidable to assault.”

“The force I am designating as Combat Command Alpha is situated in the Kozice Valley, with nineteen regiments of BattleMechs, twenty-four regiments of armor, forty-eight regiments of infantry, and one hundred artillery pieces. Combat Command Beta is holding defensive positions in the Dinju and Tamo Mountain Ranges, with eighteen regiments of BattleMechs, sixteen regiments of armor, thirty-two regiments of infantry, and one hundred and forty artillery tubes. The final force is located on the Prezno Plains, and while it may lack strong terrain features and fortifications, it is the most mobile and possibly the most dangerous of the three. Combat Command Gamma is located in a position where it can move to reinforce both Alpha and Beta, if we allow it: their forces include eighteen regiments of BattleMechs, four armor regiments, eight infantry regiment, and sixty pieces of artillery.”

“Our forces consist of roughly three thousand OmniMechs, five hundred combat vehicles, six thousand Elementals, and two thousand aerospace fighters. We have quite a fight ahead of us, trothkin. ilKhan, based upon the manner in which Wolf has deployed, I recommend activating contingency Zeta-Two-Three.”

Contingency Zeta called for dividing the Clan attack into three groups of approximately equal size—twenty clusters each, commanded by the ilKhan herself, Nikolai, and Ulric Kerensky, respectively. Zeta-Two-Three specified these possible targets and included information on landing zones and rough objectives—to be filled in by the feverishly working staff aboard Serket as soon as they could upload the information to the Khans.

Approved,” answered the ilKhan. “All Khans implement Zeta-Two-Three. I will command Strike Force Dinju; Khan Kerensky will command the Kozice Valley—Khan Djerassi you will be in charge of the Prezno Plains.

“Aff,” Nikolai answered.

Then on to victory, my trothkin,” said the ilKhan firmly. “Give us victory or give us death!

“Seyla!” nearly a score of voices replied over the speakers, then the transmission ended.

A light began flashing on Nikolai’s console and he grimaced as he activated the radio again. “Yes, Natasha?”

What’s wrong, Nikolai? Don’t you worry none—I will follow your orders, Strike Force Commander, sir. To the letter.

“I will deny ever saying this Natasha,” Nikolai answered calmly, “but I am actually glad to have you at my side on this one—even if it means I also have to command the Mandrill Penal Cluster.”

The Widow laughed. “When this is over, I’ll buy you a Scotch to remember our dead with.

“Buy? Why do you not just pour me my own—I have a case missing, after all.”

And an exquisite tasting liquor it is indeed, Khan Djerassi. Now chin up—the Dragons down there are no pushovers.

The transmission ended and Nikolai shook his head as the DropShip began to plunge into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. His computer dinged as the upload signaled completion and he glanced over the frag order quickly and nodded. “Strike Force Prezno, sending final orders . . . NOW! See you on the ground, trothkin.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-01 11:40pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
And for those folks who simply must have OBs and TO&Es, here is what the situation looks like:

Combat Command A [Kozice Valley]
19 BattleMech Regiments, 24 Armored Regiments, 48 Infantry Regiments, 100 artillery tubes.
Elements:
4th Davion Guards RCT; Davion Heavy Guards RCT; 3rd Crucis Lancers RCT; 7th Crucis Lancers RCT; 1st New Ivaarsen Chasseurs RCT; 6th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT; 1st Kestrel Grenadiers RCT; 1st Kathil Uhlans RCT; Ariana Grenadiers; 1st Confederation Reserve Cavalry; 1st St. Ives Lancers; Justina's Cuirassiers; 1st Kearny Highlanders; Eridani Light Horse (2 Regiments); 12th Vegan Rangers (4 Regiments)

Strike Force Kozice
20 clusters
Elements:
Ghost Bear Alpha and Beta Galaxies, Viper 1st and 2nd Viper Guards, Viper Triasch Cluster, Wolf Alpha Galaxy, Coyote Golden Keshik, Coyote 50th Assault Cluster, Horse’s Alpha Galaxy (elements) and Alpha Keshik

Combat Command B [Dinju/Tamo Mountains]
18 BattleMech Regiments, 16 Armored Regiments, 32 Infantry Regiments, 140 artillery tubes.
Elements:
20th Arcturan Guards RCT; 3rd Donegal Guards RCT; 11th Lyran Guards; 15th Lyran Guards RCT; 1st Lyran Regulars; 4th Skye Rangers RCT; 1st Free World Guards; 1st Marik Militia; 6th Marik Militia; 12th Atrean Dragoons; ComStar First Army (1st, 12th, 66th, 91st, 103rd, 278th Divisions); 1st Kell Hounds; Wolf’s Dragoons (3+ Regiments)

Strike Force Dinju
20 clusters
Elements:
Jade Falcon Gamma Galaxy, Diamond Shark Alpha Galaxy, Hellion 7th Attack Cluster and 150th Hellion Lancers, Raven 6th Battle Cluster, Adder Command Keshik, Adder Alpha Galaxy (elements), Cobra 33rd Battle Cluster, Spirit 7th Blood Drinkers, Jaguar’s Den Keshik, Jaguar Grenadiers, Nova Cat Keshik, Ebon Keshik

Combat Command C [Prezno Plains]
18 BattleMech Regiments, 4 Armored Regiments, 8 Infantry Regiments, 60 artillery tubes.
Elements:
1st Genyosha; 2nd Genyosha; Ryuken (5 Regiments); 1st Night Stalkers; 2nd Night Stalkers; 3rd Prosperina Hussars; 1st Drakon; 1st Kavalleri; 3rd Freemen; ComStar Second Army (9th, 77th, 203rd, 207th, 321st, 323rd Divisions); St. Cyr Heavy Assault Group; Hell’s Black Aces

Strike Force Prezno
20 clusters
Elements:
Scorpion Knife Dance Keshik, Scorpion Alpha, Beta, and Delta Galaxies, Stone Lion Alpha Galaxy, Fire Mandrill Penal Cluster

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 02:07pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Command Trinary, Ebon Keshik, Strike Force Dinju
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 16, 3044


The free-birth surats were dug in deep in the cliffs and steep valleys of the mountains. And what was more, apparently, they had taken the time and effort to honeycomb the granite outcrops with secret passages, weapon bunkers, moats, strong-points, and mini-fortresses designed to shelter BattleMechs and vehicles behind their armored walls! It was maddening, Yvonne thought as yet another barrage of Wolf’s artillery came screaming down.

Her Clusters advanced, and Wolf withdrew—until hidden forces pounced out from these passages into her flanks. And when she turned to deal with them, his main line of resistance pressed back against her front, all the while the rain of artillery just kept coming and coming and coming! Neither side had an advantage in the realm of aerospace fighters—both her fighters and Wolf’s were fighting each other to a standstill, removing aerial bombardment from the equation for each of them. She snorted, not that Wolf needed to rely on bombs and aerial munitions, not with the wealth of artillery he possessed here today! For two days now, she had ground her way up the pass towards the heights, but still had not covered half the total distance to the broad plateau at the summit.

Adder Command Actual to Ebon Actual,” the exhausted voice of Marion Truscott came over her radio.

“Go ahead, Adder Command Actual,” she answered as she brought her Hellbringer II to a halt.

We have discovered how they managed to turn these mountains into a Castle Brian, ilKhan—Thomas Calderon didn’t give Wolf troops, he gave them eight thousand of his combat construction engineers. We have been battering our way through TAURIAN fortifications—fortifications they have been working on for six solid years. Hell, they are still working on it; which is how my Elementals managed to take some alive.

For a moment, Yvonne felt the world spin—the Taurians were working with this False Star League. The Kerensky-damned Taurians! But she made herself square her jaw and she nodded even though no one could see her. “Then like the Star League of old we will break through them—redouble your efforts, Adder Command Actual. Jade Falcon Actual—I am committing your Galaxy to support the Adders on point. Adder Command Actual has tactical command.”

Aff,” Timur Malthus replied and five fresh clusters of elite Jade Falcons began to hurry their pace towards the line of resistance ahead.

The sun was setting and Yvonne realized that her troops needed to rest—forty-eight hours of nearly constant combat and artillery bombardment had taken their toll. “Adder Command Actual, push back the enemy—but do not pursue. We are establishing a perimeter to allow the Warriors some rest to regain their strength.”

Aff,” Marion answered.

Yvonne took a long look at the pass beneath her, twisting and winding its way to the plains where her DropShips had grounded—and at the shattered and broken wrecks of her OmniMechs which littered the ground. The Falcon Galaxy was her final reserve formation—carefully husbanded as the rest of her Clans had taken horrendous casualties against the need for a final push; well, except for the single Cluster of Hellions she had on guard detail around her DropShips. She bit her lip and made the decision to pull out Marion’s Adders and what was left of the Cobras, Ravens, Spirits, and second Hellion Cluster in the morning, and send them back on guard duty—which would let her bring her last untested Cluster into the battle.

No, she shook her head. Not in the morning—I cannot afford to spare Wolf the time to rest either. At midnight; five hours of rest will have to be enough for my trothkin. She shook her head again, to wipe away the fatigue and clicked her radio transmitter to broadcast when the walls of the rocky pass suddenly erupted around her.

*****************************************************************

The detonation reveal four wide and stoutly built tunnels leading into the heart of the mountains as they sundered apart the last meter of untouched stone which had given the shafts camouflage. BattleMechs and powered infantry troopers poured from the mouths, like demons emerging from the Gates of Hell. And the Clan troopers of the Ebon Keshik heard one powerful voice on their radios, spurring the attack on: “Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war; that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial! Forward the Kell Hounds!"

And with that cry, Morgan Kell’s Archer emerged from the tunnel adorned in the red-and-black paint scheme of the Kell Hounds, but with a silver Cameron Star emblazoned on its chest. The missile packs snapped open and sixty missiles (not just a mere forty) slashed out and tore out the heart of one of the Warriors of the Ebon Keshik.

Yvonne twisted her Hellbringer II and locked her targeting systems on the Archer—but static filled the screen and her sensors failed to detect the BattleMech! She cursed, but switched to manual targeting and fired—fully half of her shots went wild as the Archer pivoted on its heel and charged directly towards her, pulse laser fire spitting from its two massive battle fists as it came, blasting and melting away chunks of armor from the ilKhan’s OmniMech . . . and Morgan did not miss. Not with a single weapon.

The ilKhan backed up hurriedly, and she fired again and again, but the Warrior before her danced between her shots and only a few went home—and then he was there, standing directly in front of her OmniMech. And the last sight that Yvonne Hazen, the ilKhan of the Clans of Kerensky, saw was the armored battle-fist descending towards her cockpit.


Last edited by masterarminas on 2012-08-02 02:54pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 02:26pm
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Youngling

Joined: 2010-09-16 02:13am
Posts: 93
Location: Leicester, United Kingdom
Heh. Well, at least the Ilkhan met her end at the hands of a worthy warrior. :twisted:

I see that the "Phantom Mech Effect" is alive and well. Out of interest, are you attributing Kell's invisibility to sensors to the supernatural in this setting? The only satisfactory alternative that has ever been offered is that it is due to some form of Lostech ECM system. In which case, you would have thought that the Clans would have known about it, and beat it by now.



"Only a fool expects rational behaviour from their fellow humans. Why do you expect it from a machine that humans have designed?"

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 02:54pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Field Headquarters, Combat Command A, SLDF Grand Army
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 16, 3044


Jaime Wolf winced as the distant Jade Falcon Dire Wolf flew upwards through the air and landed thirty meters away from the massive explosion—missing both of its legs. “That was no mine, Colonel Montoya,” he whispered.

“Heh,” the Taurian engineer chuckled. “Hell, no. Mines are for pansies, General Wolf,” the Taurian answered. “That is what we Taurians call a 'Mech-smasher. We bored a ten meter deep shaft, two meters in diameter, and packed it with high explosive; then we put an armor plate atop of it with a pressure detonator and covered it with surface soil. Eat twenty tons of HE you Star League bastards!” he yelled at the battle below. “Begging the General’s pardon . . . no offense meant to your troops, General Wolf.”

“None taken, Colonel Montoya. How many of those . . . ‘Mech-smashers, you called them . . . did you place in the pass?”

The Taurian combat engineer laughed again. “Only three hundred.”

“THREE HUNDRED?” gasped Hauptman-General Luther Devries, the commander of the 4th Skye Rangers.

“Would have been more, but you ran out of explosives—bad form, Hauptman-General,” Montoya said as he bit off one end of a cigar and spat it out on the ground.

“RAN OUT OF EXPLOSIVES? We had ten thousand tons stockpiled two weeks ago!”

“Yep, and we used six thousand of those on the ‘Mech-smashers; the other four thousand we used to for other tricks of the trade, Hauptman-General. Now, for a really good defense, you need around fifty thousand tons, General Wolf—if you are taking notes for the future. I mean, I don’t mind smashing these Clan bastard descendents of General Kerensky to red ruin, but if you plan on taking your SLDF into the Concordat, that’s what you are going to be facing on every last fucking one of our worlds. Sir.”

“I am not, and neither is First Lord Focht, Colonel Montoya. We are not going to attempt to bring the Concordat into this Star League by force.”

The Taurian shook his head as he puffed his cigar’s flame into existence, holding a match against the end until it was well and truly lit. “Good,” he answered. “Like I said, I don’t mind you guys quite so much, but we would—and will—still fight you with our last dying breath, General Wolf. I must admit, I was a little taken aback when the Protector sent me out here—I figured he would have had a stroke first before aiding you people in any way, shape, or form.”

“We must all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately,” Jaime quoted as the Falcon advance faltered and then began to withdraw. “You did leave cleared lanes for us to advance, quiaff?”

“Hell, yes. Your ‘Mechs have got a download of the safe paths—stay on the paths, however. Step off of them and you are gonna go boom, General, sir.”

“Communications—pass the word to Colonel Jamison. He may begin his assault at his convenience.”

Jaime raised the field glasses one last time and he smiled as the Clans troops keep heading back down the pass. “And tell Morgan to withdraw his Hounds into the tunnels. We’ve paid for this victory in blood—I do not want to lose him to an accident of fate.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 02:56pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Diverball wrote:
Heh. Well, at least the Ilkhan met her end at the hands of a worthy warrior. :twisted:

I see that the "Phantom Mech Effect" is alive and well. Out of interest, are you attributing Kell's invisibility to sensors to the supernatural in this setting? The only satisfactory alternative that has ever been offered is that it is due to some form of Lostech ECM system. In which case, you would have thought that the Clans would have known about it, and beat it by now.


I don't really care for it, but it is canon. And BT has always had some supernatural aspects associated with parts and portions of the fluff. PM doesn't make Morgan unkillable, but it makes it a lot harder to do.

Master Arminas

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 04:05pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Combat Command A, SLDF Grand Army, Dinju Mountains
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 16, 3044


Led by the forty-five Assault- and Heavy-weight BattleMechs of Zeta Cluster, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Regiments of the Wolf’s Dragoons slammed into the forward ranks of the Jade Falcons, while slightly further down the pass additional explosions heralded the revelation of yet more tunnels, tunnels through which poured the 4th Skye Rangers, 3rd Donegal Guards, the 6th Marik Militia, the 12th Atrean Dragoons, and the 1st and 12th Division of the ComGuards First Army, all elite, well drilled formations.

Reeling under assault from three sides, the Falcons withdrew step by step, pounded by artillery the entire time while Khans Truscott and Malthus attempted to rally the suddenly demoralized Clan Strike Force in the wake of the death of their ilKhan. But the pressure was too much to bear . . . and when Khan Malthus died in the cockpit of his Summoner, the Falcons at last broke. The withdrawal was no longer orderly or planned . . . the Clan advance turned into a rout.

Of the twenty Clusters who started up the Dinju Pass to the heights above, the survivors numbered just barely enough to fill out seven once they sorted out their ranks and restored order amidst their DropShips on the valley floor. There would have been more, but Khan Rood refused to retreat—Khan McFadden as well—and both Khans died along with the their three Clusters (two Hellion and one Spirit); but the sacrifice managed to hold the line long enough for the rest of the survivors to reach their DropShips and formally request hegira.

Jaime Wolf almost refused the request, but his own forces had been mauled in the running battle of nearly three full days up and down the mountainous escarpment. Munitions were running low, the 20th Arcturan Guards, the 11th and 15th Lyran Guards, the 1st Lyran Regulars, the 1st Free World Guards, and the remainder of ComStar's First Army were all reporting with less than three in ten of their ‘Mechs, tanks, and other combat vehicles operational; their infantry had suffered even worse casualties. And even the freshest of Jaime's Regiments had suffered heavy loses in the bitter pursuit down the passes; his most intact formation was at barely fifty percent of strength. The field hospitals—donated to the Grand Army by the Canopians, were filled to overflowing and for all that they did not fight the Clan Warriors in the Dinju Passes, now the Canopian surgeons and nurses fought bitter battles to save lives—not take them. Battles in which all too often they lost, but not always, and not without an epic struggle for life itself.

So it came to pass that Commanding General Jaime Wolf allowed the survivors of Strike Force Dinju to withdraw under the exhausted command of a gravely wounded Marion Truscott. As the medics rushed Truscott into surgery aboard his lifting DropShip, Khan Brandon Howell of the Smoke Jaguars informed the other two Strike Forces of the . . . calamity which had befallen them and their ilKhan.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 06:18pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
The Golden Keshik, Clan Wolf, Strike Force Kozice
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 16, 3044


Free-birth!” one of the Wolf Warriors snarled over the tactical channel. Ulric Kerensky frowned at the outburst, but he agreed completely with the sentiment. Overhead recon flights had spotted the clouds of steam here at the point of the Kozice Valley known as the Devil’s Bath . . . but he and his Warriors had not planned for the hellish environment through which Strike Force Kozice had to pass. There were simply no other ways to go, except through this geological unstable area with its geysers and boiling lakes of mud, and other geothermal oddities. To the west were sheer cliffs, an offshoot of the Tamo Mountains, themselves a spur of the mighty Dinju—to the east was a coastal lowland filled with marshes and fens and thick swamps into which all of this water drained.

“Warrior Erik; do you need assistance?” Ulric asked.

Neg, my Khan. I stumbled into one of these . . . mud pots, but I managed to fall backwards onto solid ground,” the Warrior answered.

Artillery shells came plunging down somewhere in the distance, the sound distorted and warped by the clouds of thick humid steam and smoke. Well, they picked the perfect place for a fight, Ulric thought as he swept through his Timber Wolf’s sensors. Seismometers . . . useless. Thermographics . . . useless. Infrared . . . useless. Visual magnification . . . useless. Magnetic anomaly detectors . . . useless, thanks to the heavy-metal content of the water the Baths continually threw into the air. The Wolf Khan could see less than a hundred meters . . . and that was his best means of detecting anything in this dreadful haze.

Machine-gun slugs suddenly began slamming into his armor and the Khan backed his OmniMech up and fired all four lasers into the camouflaged observation post of Davion infantry that he had come close to stepping on top of. Damn this stravag mist!

Ulric stopped his Timber Wolf as he heard new sounds and he listened carefully and then his eyes went wide. “Hovertanks! All Wolf Warriors stand back to back!” he barked as the first of the Saracens, Scimitars, Saladins, Pegasus, and J Edgars roared out of the steam into point blank range. The comm channels were ablaze as every Cluster in his Strike Force reported that the hovers were in contact—sixteen full regiments of them!

And here in the Devil’s Bath, the steam and mist allowed them to close without suffering losses due to the Clan weapon’s greater range. The heat levels in Ulric’s Timber Wolf spiked as he added to the ambient heat from the geysers with his weapons—and everything in sight became a nightmarish vision of SRM trails, PPC bolts, autocannon and machine-gun tracers, laser beams, and the infernal horrific fountains of inferno gel bursting over his Warriors.

It was two minutes of pure hell as the Clan Warriors shot in all directions—praying that they would not hit their own trothkin shrouded in the blinding steam . . . and then the hovercraft were gone, speeding away in the damp misery of the Devil’s Bath. Not all of them, no; there were several burning hulks around him, clustered around Clan Wolf OmniMechs shattered by their fire and injured Elemental Warriors.

“Get ready,” growled Ulric, and like clockwork, just as they had done for the past thirty-six hours, now the Davion and Capellan BattleMechs appeared, adding their fire to the chaos as the hovercraft swung back around again. Night began to descend over the geysers and mud pits and free-standing pools of acid water, but at last—just three minutes, but it felt to Ulric like three hours—the last of the enemy withdrew again. Leaving more blackened and broken Wolf Warriors in their wake, along with the remains of several of their own BattleMechs.

His radio crackled. “Adder Command Actual to Golden Wolf Actual; respond.”

“Golden Wolf Actual. Glad to hear your voice, Marion—I hope you are having a better time in the mountains.”

Neg, Golden Wolf Actual . . . the ilKhan is down—perhaps even dead. We are suffering a severe counter-attack and may be forced into a re-. . .” the transmission cut off with the clatter of an autocannon and then only static filled the airwaves.

“Adder Command Actual! Come in Adder Command Actual! Strike Force Dinju commanders—any commander, come in. This is Golden Wolf Actual, over.”

For seconds there was only the sound of static and then a stern voice came over the speakers. “Jaguar’s Den Actual, here. Ulric we have a major problem—Adder Command Actual is injured, the ilKhan is down, Jade Falcon Actual is down, and their warriors are breaking! Running, damn them!

The Jaguar sounded furious and Ulric shook his head. “Jaguar’s Den Actual, can you hold?”

Another long pause and then finally, a resigned whisper. “Neg. Strike Force Dinju is routing, Ulric. We might be able to restore order at the DropShips—where we started from two days ago! I am ordering a Code Beta Omicron; maybe we can salvage a half-dozen Clusters from this mess.

Ulric winced. Beta Omicron literally meant ‘bug-out’ and it signified something no Clansman wanted to contemplate—absolute defeat and utter rout by a superior enemy.

“Understood, Jaguar’s Den actual. Golden Wolf Actual, out,” the Wolf Khan whispered as the cycle started once more with the Davion artillery raining down in blind-fire patterns around them.

“Strike Force Kozice!” he barked. “This is Golden Wolf Actual—we are withdrawing from the Devil’s Bath. Repeat, we are withdrawing! Rendezvous point is the Holth Forest in the Upper Valley. Confirm.”

One by one the Ghost Bear Khan, the Horse’s Khan, and the Coyote Khan confirmed the order—all sounded as if they were in a state of shock; each had heard the transmissions between Truscott, Howell, and Kerensky. But the Vipers did not confirm.

Neg, you dezgra coward! The Steel Vipers will not withdraw at the command of a Wolf—we will engage these free-birth and emerge with victory!” saKhan Nicole Hoskins thundered—her Khan having been medivaced earlier with grievous injuries from which Perigard Zalman was not expected to survive.

“You will obey me, saKhan Hoskins!” Ulric shouted into the transmitter, but there was no reply and in the distance fresh explosions erupted as the Vipers ran head long into what must be the main line of resistance. Of course, Ulric thought sourly, that was what he had thought of the previous four defensive lines as well.

He shook his head and then the static on his radio cleared. “Let her get herself and her Warriors killed, Ulric,” Jake Fletcher whispered. “We have lost here. Let us extract what we can, while we can.

The Khan of Clan Wolf nodded in agreement. “Strike Force Kozice, execute our withdrawal—Clan Wolf will assume rear-guard. Wolves, keep your eyes peeled for any Viper survivors . . . plug them into our ranks as they come in,” if they come in, he thought but did not say.

And ponderously, the despondent Clans that comprised this Strike Force turned around and began to march back towards their DropShips.

Duplicate Post Deleted -- Lady T

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 06:41pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Combat Command B, SLDF Grand Army, Kozice Valley
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 16, 3044


Ariana Winston breathed a sigh of relief as her soldiers destroyed the last of the Viper OmniMechs and Elementals that had rushed against her last line of defense. For forty-two hours now, she and her hardened soldiers had slogged on and fought in conditions that were extreme to say the least—and in doing so she had lost over half of her own troops.

But her observation posts, mostly concealed within the sheltering, if sweltering, mist reported the rest of the Clan forces were quickly moving away from her command. She nodded at the officers around her who were just as tired—mentally as well as physically—as she, just as drained of all energy by the oppressive heat of the Baths, and she issued an order she did not want to give. “Hound them all the way back to their DropShips—don’t let up, don’t give them a second to breath—and don’t for the love of God let them realize how weak we are now. They have started running, let’s keep them doing that and not thinking about other ways they can get through the Baths!”

Her officers nodded and Ariana shook her head no as her aide offered her a tepid canteen. If her troops couldn’t get a drink, neither would she.

By dawn, Combat Command B had gone as far as she could push them—and her Clan opponents, the survivors, at least—were blasting back towards orbit. Still, even with more than half of her command dead or wounded, she knew she had gotten off lucky.

As to the Clans? Eleven Vipers, just eleven out of three Clusters survived to lift off-planet. The Bears, Coyotes, Horses, and Wolves left some forty-four percent of their own commands behind forever.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 09:00pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Trinary Command, Knife Dance Keshik, Strike Force Prezno
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 15, 3044


The endless plains of well-watered grass really were not endless, mused Nikolai. To the west, he could see the towering Dinju Range, to the north the Tamo Range, and to the east the escarpment that lead down to the Kozice Valley and to the sea beyond. Wolf had chosen this area—and he must have had a reason, the Scorpion thought as he waited for his trothkin and the Stone Lions to complete their unloading from the DropShips.

No cover here . . . no dense forests or ever-present clouds of steaming mist or jagged protrusions of solid rock, just kilometer after kilometer of the low rolling hills and wind-swept grass from here to the Prezno River Gorge. He has a reason . . . but what?

That’s the last of them,” Natasha Kerensky said over the radio from the cockpit of her Timber Wolf. “Now we can off-load the sup-. . .

“Neg,” interrupted Nikolai, “leave the supplies loaded for now, I have a feeling we are going to be moving the DropShips shortly.”

Moving them?” the Widow questioned and Nikolai could see her right eyebrow arch as if she were standing in front of him.

“Aff, though to where, I am not yet certain . . . ,” Nikolai’s voice trailed off as he sat in the snug command seat of his Death Stalker. “6th, 14th, and 22nd Scorpion Hussars; 1st Lion Strikers,” he ordered. “I want a skirmish line west-to-east, oriented to the north, two kilometers ahead of the main body. Eight-kilometer front. Hold down your speed to that of our slowest OmniMechs—active sensors on maximum sensitivity.”

You think Jaime has an ambush planned for us, then Nikolai?” asked the Khan of the Stone Lions.

“You know him far better than I—what do you think?”

I think we are going to need more scouts, myself; just so we can find all the ambushes, not merely the presence of one or two,” she answered with a laugh.

“Star Colonel Kreek,” Nikolai continued. “I want recon flights circling the main body at twenty-five, fifty, and one hundred kilometers . . . are your carrier DropShips back in orbit?”

Aff, but we have large numbers of hostile fighters taking off and heading for your position—looks like we might be outnumbered,” his aerospace fighter commander answered promptly.

“Striking Claw and Burning Sting Naval Stars have an additional one hundred and eighty fighters aboard—they are now attached to your command.”

My Khan, is that not in violation of the ilKhan’s pledge against naval assets?

“I heard no such pledge, Star Colonel—I heard her agree not to use orbital bombardment. Fighters are not capable of orbital bombardment; now carry out your orders.”

Aff.

“Star Captain Wagner, you are now Star Colonel Wagner and I am putting all three of our Artillery Trinary under your direct command. Out opponents are not liable to concentrate—they are too good for that. Your have loaded a large supply of Arrow IV homing warheads, quiaff?”

Aff, two-thirds of our magazines are homing, my Khan.

“Excellent. saKhan Posavatz, you will command Beta Galaxy on the right flank, I will command Alpha and the Knife Dance Keshik in the center, Khan Kerensky’s Stone Lions on the left. Galaxy Commander Elam, Delta will remain in reserve for now, behind Alpha. I am detaching Alpha’s 8th Scorpion Dragoons and the 3rd Lions Battle Cluster as a protection detail for the DropShips—we may be moving them, so brief your commanders that they need to be able to board ship quickly. Loremaster Tanaga, your Mandrill Cluster will advance with Alpha Galaxy—disobey my orders and I will kill you myself, girl. We move out in fifteen, so get your orders passed quickly, trothkin.”

“Technician Philip?”

Yes, my Khan?” a surprised voice answered.

“I want a dozen munitions carriers and three reloading vehicles attached to the Reserve Artillery—you may well come under fire today. Homing warheads are the priority. Can your Techs carry this out?”

Aff, my Khan!” the Tech proudly answered. “I would ask for volunteers, but all of us would do so—how much time to prepare?

“Fourteen minutes.”

Can do, my Khan.

Nikolai looked out over the empty grasslands again as the first distant contrails of his fighters entering the atmosphere appeared in the distance.

You really are worried, aren’t you?” asked Natasha softly.

“Does it show that much?”

No, but you are.

“Because I know, and you know, and Jaime Wolf knows, he would not have picked this spot for a pitched battle unless there was something here he knows about and I have not seen. I would advise you to keep your eyes open, Khan Kerensky, lest his trap spring shut without warning.”

The Black Widow laughed. “Trapping a tiger is one thing, Nikolai—dealing with up close inside the cage is something entirely different.

But Nikolai did not answer as he gazed out over the empty grasslands before him.

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