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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-27 11:37pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Council of the Damned
Raider’s Roost, Tortuga Prime
Tortuga Dominion
June 12, 3026


Twenty hard men sat around the massive table, but the galleries were quiet today; empty and without the backing of their bands, the pirates at the table were . . . off-kilter and subdued. The only light within the hall came from scores of blazing torches, marking the roof with soot and mixing the smell of ash and smoke with the sweat—and fear—exuded by these Lords of the Damned of Tortuga.

Each man at the table commanded his own JumpShip (some had several JumpShips), and with it his own band of raiders and pirates. Most had only ill-armed foot at their disposal, but a dozen of the pirate captains commanded ‘Mechs and tanks and fighters in addition to the expendable scum of the universe who comprised their boarding crews. Each had proven himself in the fires of combat and come out the far side—sometimes with victory and booty, other times extracting only a handful of men and his ship. But each was also a survivor in the most cutthroat game of all—life in the Tortuga Dominion.

Even with twenty captains at the table, it was more than half empty; for the majority of the captains and their pirate crews had joined forces with the new Pirate King who stood at their head: the man known to them only as Meurtrier Renard; an obvious pseudonym meaning the Fox’s Murderer. Although he allowed these assembled captains to address him as Lord Renard.

“Bring out the bitch!” Renard bellowed as he slammed his goblet of gold down upon the table, spilling some of the strong drink upon wood stained with grease, drink, and other less savory fluids.

Several captains looked down, away from the door which opened, and Paula Trevaline, known as Lady Death, the former ruler of the Tortuga Dominions and Queen of the Pirates was dragged into the chamber festooned in chains. Her long red hair was filthy, as were her clothes, and the stench that came from being denied a bath in her cell hung over the room—but her grey eyes never left the figure of Renard and hate was conveyed in that glare.

She was forced down on her knees to one side of the table, and Renard grunted as he stood. “Lady Death . . . you grace us with your presence,” and he laughed. “Have you reconsidered my offer?”

“I serve no one,” she hissed. “And I will see you dead, interloper.”

Renard nodded. “An event which well might come to pass, my dear; but not by your hands. Lords of the Damned! Three times have I brought her before me; three times have I offered to release her from captivity should she swear allegiance to me,” he paused and he smiled at Trevaline again. “Three times has she refused. Her company lies dead, her ships are mine—her throne is mine. She no longer has your allegiance—that is mine as well. You bear witness, Lords of the Damned.”

One by one, each pirate captain at the table muttered aye, or nodded his head, and Lord Reynard smiled again. “Even they desert you, Lady Death—there is no honor amongst these thieves and buccaneers. Take her outside,” he ordered the guards, “and kill her.”

“You might want to reconsider that, mate,” one gravelly voice rose from the table and Reynard looked down the long table in surprise.

“Lord Shrike, I had not expected you to come to her defense. Why would I reconsider such?”

“Because we follow a code here on Tortuga, Lord Reynard—a code that many others deride and dismiss, but it is our laws. And by our code, one cannot simply kill in cold blood a Lord or a Lady who has earned a seat at this table by right of pillage—such a sentence can only be passed down by the Council of the Damned in assembly voting. Not even the King of Tortuga can bypass the code.”

“Then we shall call this vote—by your code, Lord Shrike. Guards!”

Two dozen men armed with blazers filed into the galleries and took aim at the table below. But Shrike stood and he shook his head. “We haven’t a Quorum, Lord Reynard. Three-quarters of the Lords of the Damned must sit at this table to hand out a sentence of death—we have not half.”

“I hold the proxy of the men who follow me in the Badlands. I vote aye,” Reynard said, his face flushing.

“So sorry, mate, but we acknowledge no proxies in the code,” Lord Shrike replied with a grin as he twisted a strand of his greasy beard.

“I can have all of you shot,” Reynard mused.

“Aye, you can. But as you say, Lord Reynard, your men are by and large in the Badlands—and we have ours here in Raider’s Roost. You would not survive us long.”

“No. No, I might not at that. And so what do you suggest, Lord Shrike?”

“Hold her in captivity until the quorum can be settled, Lord Reynard—and then we can discuss why you have returned here to Tortuga. Could it be that you have need of our companies after all? Could it be that you are willing to ask those of us who remain for our help?”

“Ask? No. I will offer any man here who is willing to fight a share of our booty, however. We have shipped vast sums back here to Tortuga, plunder taken from Davion and Calderon alike. I think that perhaps it was you good captains who were planning to beg me to let you join my forces.”

“Ah,” mused Lord Shrike. “Some were planning on groveling towards you—some of us were not. What say you, Lord Reynard? Shall you return Lady Death to her cell and lead more men on raids against the Bull and the Fox?”

Reynard stood there for several minutes and then he made a slight nod of his head. “Return Lady Death to her cell; guards I have no further need of you.” He sat at the head of the table. “And now let us discuss how many of you wish to beg me to allow you a share of the treasure, lads.”

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

“He will have you killed, Captain,” muttered the old pirate as he limped alongside Lord Shrike through the streets of the city later that afternoon.

“He may,” the Pirate Lord answered with a chuckle. “But my company is the strongest here on Tortuga—and his strength is far, far away at the moment. And I fear that his plans will stir up the Fox and the Bull such as we have not seen in three generations . . . no, John, we will not be joining with Reynard on his mission to provoke war. Ready the ships, though, and the crews. Make certain our armory is well-stocked—he may lead Tortuga to glory, or he may be the reason it is burnt to the ground. But either way, the Company of the Damned will survive. Heard from your man within the donjon?”

“Aye, and I have the guard schedule and a surplus key as well.”

“Good. Then after Reynard lifts this afternoon to return to his war, let us free Lady Death and find a safe port until this storm passes us by.”

John frowned and he shook his head. “Don’t you be underestimating him, Captain—he came out here a year ago with two companies of ‘Mechs, and now he’s King and has scrounged enough to field two regiments. Three if all of the other companies join him. I would dearly love to know where he is getting them from.”

“Aye, wouldn’t we all? Still, as long as those ‘Mechs are in the Badlands and we are here on Tortuga, I think we are safe,” Shrike laughed. “As safe as any Captain of the Damned can be in a place where promotion comes through assassination.”

The pirate and his companion stopped at the crest of a road looking down over the spaceport and Shrike frowned one more time. “Of course, I am even more curious as to what he did for the robes that has those penny-pinchers build an HPG station all the way out here. When will they be finished?”

“A week, two at the outside, my sources say.”

“All of this coming together at once, John Preston—it is an ill wind I fear that threatens to blow our way. Make ready, for we leave as soon as retrieve our Queen . . . she will have orders for us, I am certain.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-28 11:26am
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Sith Acolyte
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Joined: 2004-05-17 03:14pm
Posts: 6047
Location: Richmond, Virginia: The Capitol of Treason
Fucking Wobblies.



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Chronological Incontinence: Time warps around the poster. The thread topic winks out of existence and reappears in 1d10 posts.

Out of Context Theatre, this week starring Broomstick.
-'It's amazing what you can pack into a human rectum.'

Fiction!: The Final War (Bolo/Lovecraft) (Ch 7 9/15/11), Living (D&D, Complete)Image

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-28 02:15pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Chapter Three

Challenge Systems Corporate Headquarters
Matam, Panpour
Federated Suns
August 8, 3026


“Mister Beck? Mister Beck?”

Oliver Beck, the chief executive officer of Challenge Systems, stopped and turned around towards the security guard rushing towards him. “Yes?” he asked irritably. It had been a long day, and he was eager to get home to his wife and kids and a home-cooked meal after spending the last four weeks in transit and meetings on New Syrtis. But at least CS-M-327 was on schedule for completion—and it looked as though CS-M-328 would be finished ahead of schedule. That should net him and his people a sizeable bonus from the AFFS if he managed to get both Monoliths delivered and through trials over the next year.

The troubles along the border had him worried . . . Panpour was only two jumps from no less than four Concordat worlds—each of which had a sizeable garrison. And yet, despite the importance of his shipyards to the AFFS, the only garrison consisted of local planetary militia. Duke Michael had been apologetic when Oliver raised the issue again with him, but Panpour lay within the Crucis March, not his Capellan March . . . which meant that he could not garrison the planet or provide additional aerospace forces to protect the Yard.

Oliver sighed. Until three weeks ago, they had been assigned the 1st Battalion of 39th Avalon Hussars—but since the Taurians were claiming that the 39th had killed the heir to their throne, First Prince Hanse had withdrawn them . . . to avoid ‘provoking’ the Taurians; and their replacements had not arrived. The CEO snorted. Right. Like we are the ones provoking them. Damn bulls need a matador to teach them what’s what, he thought to himself. No, instead, the AFFS just leaves his people—and those working for Jalastar Aerospace, the premier manufacturer of light-weight aerospace fighters in the Federated Suns—hanging in the wind.

Accordingly, he had ordered security ramped up on the Yards and the industrial facilities on the planetary surface—the spaceport as well. And if Challenge Systems didn’t have ‘Mechs in their security forces, their personnel were all veterans of the AFFS and lavishly equipped with the latest in armored vehicles, personal body armor, and small arms. And in space, Jalastar’s test-flight squadron was keeping a close watch over the Yards as well—a responsibility that their CEO Hammond Lorne took seriously.

“Sir,” the guard said as he approached. “We have your car prepped in the underground garage, not out front.”

Oliver frowned. “The garage? You think I am in danger here, in front my own building?”

“Can’t be sure, Sir. But we are taking no precautions—you limo is on sub-level two.”

“Corporal, my limo is right outside that door,” Oliver protested, pointing to the vehicle waiting on the side of the street.

“That is the decoy, Sir.”

Oliver sighed, but these were the men he trusted to keep him and his family safe. “Fine,” he snapped and he headed for the elevator. The doors slid open and he stepped inside and punched the button for sub-level two in the underground parking garage.

The light within the button came to life, and the CEO caught a whiff of a sharp, acrid smell just micro-seconds before the shaped charge explosive hidden within the panel detonated, tearing him and the elevator to pieces.


Jalastar Aerospace Assembly Facility
Matam, Panpour
Federated Suns
August 8, 3026


Hammond Lorne nodded at his supervisor as the latest production of the venerable Sparrowhawk light aerospace fighter was rolled out onto the tarmac. “This the last of the special order for New Syrtis?”

“Yes, sir. Eighteen brand-spanking new birds—they are scheduled to ship out tomorrow and we put the finishing touches on this one first thing this morning. Duke Michael will have no complaints about our quality of work, here.”

“Good,” agreed Hammond as he looked over the lean predator lines of the fighter interceptor. Keeping the Duke of New Syrtis happy, and the Duke of Robinson happy, and the First Prince of the Federated Suns happy was part and parcel of his job description—almost as much as turning a profit for his investors. “They have all flown?”

“Yes, sir. We don’t send out any fighter until she makes her maiden flight—you know that.”

Hammond grunted. It was standard operating procedure for Jalastar, but sometimes people had been known to cut corners—not on his watch, but there had been incidents in the past. “We ferrying them to the space-port?”

“No, sir. They are going to get loaded on that,” he said pointed at the freight train Hammond had assumed was here to deliver components, “and delivered that way.”

The CEO frowned. “Well, that’s odd. Chartering a train has to cost more than the fuel to fly them seventy kilometers.”

The supervisor shrugged. “We got word this morning from the spaceport that the ferry flight was cancelled and alternate transport would be pro-“

The supervisor’s words were cut off as the train’s whistle blew and it back up on the siding less than thirty meters away—and then one of the boxcars exploded.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-28 03:50pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Here is a sneak peak of a vessel coming up in chapters ahead: the Goliath-class Guardship. She's an early (Circa 3000) concept of a pocket WarShip based upon a Behemoth-class DropShip . . . with certain modifications.

Enjoy!

Goliath

Overview:
On June 17, 3004, a Taurian Defense Force anti-pirate expedition exited jump at the Zenith point of the long-abandoned Serenity system. A former colony of the Concordat during the Star League era, Serenity was evacuated in final years of the 28th Century as its failing water purificiation systems were unable to meet the demands of the population. Ever since the colony was abandoned, the Concordat has made irregular patrol sweeps through the system to discourage squatters, looters, and pirates.

This particular patrol consisted of two TDF Merchant class JumpShips carrying a converted Union class fighter carrier with twelve aerospace fighters and a pair of Intruder class transports filled with two companies of Taurian Marines supported by a maniple of six light armored vehicles and four more aerospace fighters.

To the surprise of the Taurians (and the horror of a band of pirates), the TDF expedition emerged to find the jump point occupied by a pirate Invader alongside its prize, a Star Lord. Although both sides were not prepared for the confrontation, the majority of the pirates were busy looting their prize and abusing its passengers, leaving only a handful of their complement ready to repel boarders. Thirty minutes later, the Taurian Marines had captured both JumpShips and the four DropShips attached to their collars, with less than a dozen Taurian casualties. One hundred and sixty four pirates were either killed in action or captured, and those who had been captured were executed by firing squad three weeks later by the Governor of Dicallus.

The pirate vessels and its prizes were seized by the Concordat over the objections of the surviving crew of the Star Lord and its two DropShips, both of them Behemoth class. The crew appealed the Admirality's decision to the Protector, but since the ships and crews were Davion in origin, he refused to hear the appeal. The survivors were returned to Federated Suns space aboard the next neutral freighter, but the ships themselves were taken into Concordat Naval Service as prizes.

The Star Lord alone would have made the Taurian Marines and pilots rich, but the addition of two Behemoths made them wealthy beyond all dreams of avarice. Prior to this, no Behemoth class DropShips were available to anyone in the Concordat; not to the government nor to any corporation.

But the ships presented a problem. Few Concordat worlds had the facilities to unload such a stupendous amount of cargo, especially from ships that were unable to land! For sixteen weeks, the pair sat in orbit above Taurus while the Protector and his ministers debated what exactly should be done with the cargo vessels.

Olivia DeHaviland, a civilian consultant to the Concordat Navy and a close personal friend of Protector Thomas's wife, made a bold and radical suggestion during a private dinner with the the Protector and his family: refit and rebuild the two Behemoths into dedicated guard-ships to protect the jump-point into the Hyades Nebula.

An incredulous Thomas asked her how exactly that could be accomplished, and Olivia answered him. Everything the Concordat Navy needed for the task it already had in abundance. Conventional weapons and armor, computer systems, targeting and tracking systems; all of these could be retrofitted into the ample cargo space of the Behemoths, turning the lumbering giants into deadly predators.

After listening to her for half an hour, Thomas nodded in agreement; but then he posed another question: weren't the cargo ships simply be too fragile and unable to generate a militiarily significant amount of thrust?

Olivia smiled and took out a pen from her jacket pocket. To the horror of her best friend, she began to draw the outlines of two ships on the pristine white table cloth. One was the egg-shaped behemoth, fat and lumbering and thin-skinned. The second was much leaner, bristling with an array of weapons.

She told the Protector that if he approved the project, she intended to remove three-quarters of the mass from the Behemoths--but retain their engines, fuel tankage, and structural supports. The massive reduction in weight would greatly increase available thrust; and with the internal structure of a ship four times as massive, the Navy could simply layer on hundreds of tons of additional armor plating!

The following morning, Protector Thomas signed the executive order instructing the Navy to place DeHaviland in command of the overhaul and gave her free reign to rebuild the two cargo ships into men of war.

Capabilities:
Refit and overhaul of the first of two ships began at the Samantha orbital shipyards on January 4th, 3005. Pressure suited work-crews labored around the clock as they mutilated the hull of the former Behemoth class freighters. The flare of welding and cutting torches continued around the clock as DeHaviland supervised the effort.

Per her instructions, the engines were left intact, as was the central core of the ship and the upper four decks. Care was taken to prevent damage to the support struts as ton after ton of metal and composite were cut away and hauled off for scrap. Six months later, the bare skeleton was finally naked. Production was set back as engineers and technications were forced to move the fuel bunkers and run new fuel-lines and control circuits. Three additional decks were added beneath the upper section along with additional computer support, fire control systems, and power relays. Then the real work began. A host of weaponry arrived on site and crews began work to install turrets, each of which required its own power runs, control leads, sensor cables, and magazine feeds. Scores of heavily armored magazines were welded and bolted into place against the main beams that formerly supported thousands of tons of cargo.

Over all of this activity, new hull plates began to appear. Eventually some four hundred and five tons of high density armor plating would be added to the hull. Working from stern to bow, the construction teams sealed the hull and pressured the compartments inside. Electricians and mechanics and plumbers and hundreds of other specialists began to rewire the ship, installing redundant computer and fire control systems. Internal air locks were fitted, allowing the ships to fight without bleeding air if the hull were holed in combat, while emergency batteries were laid beneath insulated floor panels in the corridors.

True to her promise to Thomas, Olivia DeHaviland created the most heavily armed DropShips ever to sail from a shipyard. The final weapons configuration consisted of two PPCs, two AC-10s, two Large Lasers, three AC-5s, three SRM-6s, three Medium Lasers, two AC-20s, ten Small Lasers, and ten Machine-guns mounted in each of the vessel's six firing arcs. In addition, another dozen LRM-20 launchers were fitted to the bow and forward-left/forward-right arcs (two batteries of two launchers in each location). machine-guns were emplaced in sixty-six turrets spaced across the hull. Indeed, each the nose and fore-quarters arcs each generated enough firepower to kill almost any DropShip in existence with a single massive salvo at point blank-range. In addition, more than six hundred heat sinks were installed to shed the immense waste heat generated by the weapons array and the engines.

Two small craft bays were installed on deck seven, one with four aerospace fighters and the second capable of deploying two small craft (or gunships). Quarters for twelve officers, twenty-one crewmen, thirty-nine gunners, thirty Marines, and eighteen shuttle and fighter pilots and techs were fitted, along with life support systems, waste recyclers, air purifiers, and sufficient stores of food and water to last for a deployment of up to three hundred and sixty days duration. Twenty escape pods were attached to launch pits spaced across the manned sections of hull, their hatches sealed and their ejection charges primed.

On 17 March, 3006, the Taurian Concordat Boat Goliath was formally commissioned into service and sailed under her own power from the shipyard dock to a finishing dock some two hundred kilometers distant. Work began on TCB Titan even before Goliath finished fitting out her personnel quarters and minor repairs were conducted on items that the crew had found incomplete or unsatisfactory.

Five weeks later, TCB Goliath underwent her acceptance trials, stunning the assembled officers of the Navy. At maximum power, the former Behemoth class ship managed to acheive SIX gravities (6-g's) of acceleration, and maintained that thrust for four straight hours! Afterwards, the crew grimly told reporters that the experience was like riding an unbroken horse for the same length of time, but there was considerable pride in the voices and faces caught on camera. Weapon trials were equally impressive, with only one significant glitch. The massive array of weaponry overloaded the central fire control computer fifteen minutes into the exercise. A three week refit replaced the centralized system with six independent fire control computers (one for each arc) that linked to a seventh master computer on the bridge. Fire Direction Control was decentralized as well, reducing information flow and bandwidth useage. The second weapons trial was passed with flying colors.

On June 6, 3006, TCB Goliath was accepted for active-duty service and assigned to the defense squadron at Gateway Point, the sole jump-point into the Hyades Nebula. She was joined eleven months later by her sister ship TCB Titan.

Battle History:
As yet untested in combat, the crews of the two Goliath class guardships hope that they are never called into battle; not because of cowardice or fear on their parts, but because it would mean that the Concordat would be threatened with extinction. As unlikely as an invasion of the Hyades may be, the Concordat Navy will remain on station at Gateway to defend the realm, led by Goliath and Titan.

Variants:
Unable to produce the Behemoth, the Concordat Navy cannot construct additional Goliath class guardships. Neither vessel has been in service long enough for any major modifications to have been made to the design. Rumor has it, however, that Protector Thomas is attempting to acquire additional Behemoths for conversion; sources close to the Protector claim that he wants to eventually field sixteen of these ships, with eight to defend the Hyades Nebula (and the core Taurian systems within her walls), as well as a pair stationed at Sterope, Pinard, Perdition, and New Vandenberg.

Notable Vessels & Crews:

TCB Goliath (SDC-01; [System Defense Craft-01])
TCB Titan (SDC-02)

Deployment:
Like the Behemoth on which they are based, the Goliaths are not streamlined for atmospheric operations. Despite the reduction in mass, these ships still require two docking collars, just like their predecessors, making it unlikely that the Concordat Navy will deploy these ships away from Gateway Point. Entrusted with the defense of core worlds of the Concordat, TCB Goliath and TCB Titan are certain to come as a terrible surprise to anyone attempting to invade the Hyades.

Code:
                    AeroTech 2 Vessel Technical Readout
                                  VALIDATED

Class/Model/Name:  TCB Goliath
Tech:              Inner Sphere / 3000
Vessel Type:       Spheroid DropShip
Rules:             Level 1, Standard design
Rules Set:         AeroTech2

Mass:              25,000 tons
Length:            275 meters
Power Plant:       Standard
Safe Thrust:       8
Maximum Thrust:    12
Armor Type:        Standard
Armament:         
   12 LRM 20
   12 PPC
   12 Autocannon/10
   12 Large Laser
   18 Autocannon/5
   18 SRM 6
   18 Medium Laser
   12 Autocannon/20
   60 Small Laser
   60 Machine Gun
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class/Model/Name:  TCB Goliath
Mass:              25,000 tons

Equipment:                                                            Mass 
Power Plant, Drive & Control:                                       13,000.00
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 8
      Maximum Thrust: 12
Structural Integrity: 120                                            6,000.00
Total Heat Sinks:    612 Single                                        315.00
Fuel & Fuel Pumps:                                                     612.00
Bridge, Controls, Radar, Computer & Attitude Thrusters:                188.00
Fire Control Computers:                                                258.00
Food & Water:  (360 days supply)                                       216.00
Armor Type:  Standard  (5,340 total armor pts)                         405.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Fore:                              1,374
   Left/Right Sides:               1,374/1,374
   Aft:                               1,218

Cargo:
   Bay 1:  Fighters (4) with 4 doors                                   600.00
   Bay 2:  Small Craft (2) with 2 doors                                400.00
   Bay 3:  Cargo (1) with 2 doors                                      296.00

Escape Pods:  20 (7 tons each)                                         140.00

Crew and Passengers:
     12 Officers (12 minimum)                                          120.00
     21 Crew (0 minimum)                                               147.00
     39 Gunners (39 minimum)                                           273.00
     30 Marines                                                        150.00
     18 Bay Personnel                                                     .00
Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 LRM 20(120 rounds)       Nose     2(24)  2(24)  2(24)     --   12     40.00
2 LRM 20(120 rounds)       Nose     2(24)  2(24)  2(24)     --   12     40.00
2 PPC                      Nose     2(20)  2(20)     --     --   20     14.00
2 Autocannon/10(120 rounds)Nose     2(20)  2(20)     --     --    6     36.00
2 Large Laser              Nose     2(16)  2(16)     --     --   16     10.00
3 Autocannon/5(180 rounds) Nose     2(15)  2(15)     --     --    3     33.00
3 SRM 6(120 rounds)        Nose     2(24)     --     --     --   12     17.00
3 Medium Laser             Nose     2(15)     --     --     --    9      3.00
2 Autocannon/20(80 rounds) Nose     4(40)     --     --     --   14     44.00
10 Small Laser             Nose     3(30)     --     --     --   10      5.00
10 Machine Gun(400 rounds) Nose     2(20)     --     --     --    0      7.00

2 LRM 20(120 rounds)       FL/R     2(24)  2(24)  2(24)     --   24     80.00
2 LRM 20(120 rounds)       FL/R     2(24)  2(24)  2(24)     --   24     80.00
2 PPC                      FL/R     2(20)  2(20)     --     --   40     28.00
2 Autocannon/10(120 rounds)FL/R     2(20)  2(20)     --     --   12     72.00
2 Large Laser              FL/R     2(16)  2(16)     --     --   32     20.00
3 Autocannon/5(180 rounds) FL/R     2(15)  2(15)     --     --    6     66.00
3 SRM 6(120 rounds)        FL/R     2(24)     --     --     --   24     34.00
3 Medium Laser             FL/R     2(15)     --     --     --   18      6.00
2 Autocannon/20(80 rounds) FL/R     4(40)     --     --     --   28     88.00
10 Small Laser             FL/R     3(30)     --     --     --   20     10.00
10 Machine Gun(400 rounds) FL/R     2(20)     --     --     --    0     14.00

2 PPC                      AL/R     2(20)  2(20)     --     --   40     28.00
2 Autocannon/10(120 rounds)AL/R     2(20)  2(20)     --     --   12     72.00
2 Large Laser              AL/R     2(16)  2(16)     --     --   32     20.00
3 Autocannon/5(180 rounds) AL/R     2(15)  2(15)     --     --    6     66.00
3 SRM 6(120 rounds)        AL/R     2(24)     --     --     --   24     34.00
3 Medium Laser             AL/R     2(15)     --     --     --   18      6.00
2 Autocannon/20(80 rounds) AL/R     4(40)     --     --     --   28     88.00
10 Small Laser             AL/R     3(30)     --     --     --   20     10.00
10 Machine Gun(400 rounds) AL/R     2(20)     --     --     --    0     14.00

2 PPC                      Aft      2(20)  2(20)     --     --   20     14.00
2 Autocannon/10(120 rounds)Aft      2(20)  2(20)     --     --    6     36.00
2 Large Laser              Aft      2(16)  2(16)     --     --   16     10.00
3 Autocannon/5(180 rounds) Aft      2(15)  2(15)     --     --    3     33.00
3 SRM 6(120 rounds)        Aft      2(24)     --     --     --   12     17.00
3 Medium Laser             Aft      2(15)     --     --     --    9      3.00
2 Autocannon/20(80 rounds) Aft      4(40)     --     --     --   14     44.00
10 Small Laser             Aft      3(30)     --     --     --   10      5.00
10 Machine Gun(400 rounds) Aft      2(20)     --     --     --    0      7.00

1 Lot Spare Parts (2.00%)                                              500.00
18 Bay Personnel Quarters                                              126.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                              Heat: 612      25,000.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        1,621,995,200 C-Bills
Battle Value:      36,634
Cost per BV:       44,275.68
Weapon Value:      34,878 (Ratio = .95)
Damage Factors:    SRV = 1,232;  MRV = 412;  LRV = 40;  ERV = 0
Maintenance:       Maintenance Point Value (MPV) = 689,522
                   (603,288 Structure, 71,000 Life Support, 15,234 Weapons)
                   Support Points (SP) = 82,380  (12% of MPV)
BattleForce2:      MP: 8,  Armor/Structure: 89 / 89
                   Damage PB/M/L: 45/19/5,  Overheat: 0
                   Class: DL;  Point Value: 366
                   Specials: sph, if

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-29 05:43pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Wexworth Memorial Spaceport
Riverhurst, Diefenbaker
Federated Suns
August 10, 3026


Marie Davion-Hasek smiled as she shook hands with the delegation of local leaders and militia commanders. This was her seventh visit to Diefenbaker in the twenty plus years she had been married to Michael Hasek, and she knew the gentlemen she greeted well.

“Welcome back, Your Grace,” the mayor of Riverhurst said. “We’ve picked up the pieces from the Taurian attack back in March, but there are still some victims who would like to meet with you—and the survivor family of the victims.”

“Later, Charles,” another man said harshly. “What I want to know is when the AFFS is going to get off the pot and show those damned Bulls who is in charge out here? Dirty bastards think they have the right to attack our worlds. Our worlds! That and the wave of bombings coming from the traitors who want to turn Diefenbaker back over to the Bulls. It’s past time we cracked down on them all—hard.”

“Daniel,” she said as she shook her head. “The First Prince will make that decision—Duke Michael cannot invade the Taurians on his own; it would leave our border with the Capellans defenseless.”

“With all due respect, madame, he may not have a choice much longer. You people on New Syrtis—and that damn Hanse Davion on New Avalon—don’t seem to realize just how frightened our people here are. There is a large segment of Diefenbaker that still considers us as invaders and occupiers—they want to return to the Concordat. There have been riots between the factions the past two months and people have been killed. This is getting out of hand—we need troops and we need them now.”

“I understand, Daniel,” Marie said calmly as she tried to smooth the feathers of the agitated leader. “And so does Michael. That is why he sent me out here to try and calm the wat-“

The supersonic CRACK arrived a split-second after the bullet that struck Marie Hasek-Davion in the head created a fountain of blood and brains over the tarmac, as well as the clothing of those who had greeted her.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-29 06:27pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Munitions Storage Point #4
Port Sheridan, New Vallis
Taurian Concordat
August 11, 3026


Master Sergeant Greg Villanova frowned as the heavily loaded forklift spun around one stack of crates and came to a halt. “Slow that thing down!” he bellowed.

The driver lifted one hand and waved and Villanova sighed. Damn conscripts, he thought as he lifted his clipboard and began to check off the receipt of the latest delivery of mortar shells. Confirming each crate number against his manifest, he finally looked up and pointed towards the interior of the building. “Slow and easy, num-nuts, or I’ll have your ass running with a sixty-kilo ruck all bloody night!”

The fork-lift driver nodded and he proceeded onwards at a slower clip in the massive depths of the munitions bunker.

Villanova walked over to a chain-link door that partitioned the bunker, tossed the clipboard on his desk and sat down, running his hands over his itching scalp, before he lifted a cup of cold coffee and took a swig.

The door opened again and an ordnance specialist came rushing in as the NCO looked up.

“We’ve got a problem, Master Sergeant,” he said crisply. “Those idiots in the 47th didn’t remove the detonators on the excess ordnance they returned this morning.”

Villanova snapped up to his feet. “You’ve got to be shitting me!”

“Wish I was; I just ran a spot check on one of the cases of grenades—and each one is live.”

“Where are they stored?” He asked between curses he as bolted back out the door.

“Section Three,” the specialist answered and Villanova groaned. That idiot forklift driver was delivering the mortar shells to section three.

Then the ground heaved.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-29 07:02pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
General Headquarters, Taurus Defense Force
Mount Santiago Defense Complex, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
August 13, 3026


“Saboteurs! It is damned Davion saboteurs!” shouted Grover Shraplen after Marshal O’Conner finished her report, and the woman frowned.

“We don’t know why the Munitions Bunker lit off, Duke Shraplen—all we know at the moment is that it did detonate and caused a great deal of damage and loss of life.”

Thomas’s friend and advisor snorted. “You think it an accident, perhaps? If you believe that, then I have an armaments factory on Ishtar to sell you! Marshal O’Conner, I do not believe in coincidence. Neither should the uniformed head of the Taurian Defense Force—these raids and attacks have continued on nearly every one of the outer worlds. Every one outside of the Hyades. We have seen a spike in violence, shootings and bombings that are clearly the product of instigators from abroad. And now, in the heart of one of our most vital military installations, one of our secure ordnance sites is hit and we have at least five hundred confirmed dead! This is no mere coincidence, Marshal O’Conner, General Grenadine. This is the prelude to a Davion invasion. Pre-invasion sabotage of our defenses, assassination of the men and women charged with defending our borders, and attempting to dilute our strength through these raids. They are hoping beyond hope we take their bait and disperse the TDF, so that their RCTs roll right over us!”

“That is all supposition!” Janice O’Conner snapped as she stood. “My Lord,” she said turning back to the Protector sitting at the end of the table, “let us investigate this and find out what really happened on New Vallis.”

Thomas looked up and his eyes were narrow and angry. Janice swallowed as she could feel the anger radiating off of the Protector. “I have seen the reports Grover provided, Marshal O’Conner. The Davions are moving troops—Hanse Davion would not do that without a reason. And these raids and attacks have become unbearable. This, this . . . incident on New Vallis is the final straw.”

“Sir,” Janice O’Conner begged, “accidents happen when you handle explosives—even the best trained people have momentary lapses that can have horrible consequences. New Vallis might have been that. We have only just begun picking through what’s left there.”

“An accident now? Now? No, Marshal, the timing is too coincidental for my tastes.” Thomas stood. “I am calling all reservists to active duty throughout the Concordat—a total force mobilization of all assets. Admiral Rains,” he said to the commander of the Taurian Concordat Navy, “inform all corporations and conglomerates and the Far Seekers as well that pursuant to the Concordat Defense Act of 2842 I am hereby activating all of the Category A reserve JumpShips to military command.” He paused and looked down at his hands.

After several moments he looked back up and his eyes were hard, like pieces of flint. “Once the reserves have been mobilized, Marshal, once the ships have arrived at their marshalling points, Admiral, then I intend to authorize Case Gold. And I need remind no one in this room, we have never signed the Ares Conventions—I’ll be damned if let Hanse Davion roll over my Concordat without a fight, even if that means I have to nuke his ass on New Avalon to do it. Get it done, ladies, gentlemen—I want the transports underway no later than sixty days from today.”

Everyone stood as Thomas walked to the door and exited, Grover Shraplen in his wake. Henri Jouett cleared his throat. “And what exactly is Case Gold?”

Janice O’Conner shook her head. “The invasion plans for New Syrtis. Under Case Gold, we hit the March capital with ten regiments and decapitate their leadership. May God have mercy on our souls.”

Henri blinked. “Decapitate their leadership? Easier said than done, especially with military assets.”

“True, which is why I need to send orders to our special ops teams—can TOSIOI get a sniper team on planet?”

Henri paused. “Marshal, perhaps we should give the Protector time to . . .”

“We have our orders, Henri. And while they are not the ones I think we should be following, the Defense Force will obey them. Can your people get my snipers in position to eliminate Hasek-Davion and his military commanders?”

The chief of Taurian intelligence sighed and he nodded. “I can.”

“Then let’s get cracking, people.”

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-29 09:35pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
The Dragon’s Lair
Imperial City, Luthien
Draconis Combine
August 13, 3026


The briefing officer completed his presentation and the lights slowly grew in illumination. He bowed and quickly left the two men in the room alone. “Your thoughts?” Takashi Kurita, the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine asked softly.

Subhash Indrahar frowned as he considered the holographic map projections and he stroked one long strand of his white mustache. “Intriguing, Lord Kurita . . . this information is most intriguing. It bears certain . . . possibilities which should be explored.”

The Coordinator snorted. “Agreed. But if it is true, our window of opportunity is very narrow—how best to exploit this for the Combine?”

The Director of the Internal Security Force—the name being a misnomer, although Internal Security was a large part of Indrahar’s duties, these days he spent nearly as much time on external threats—paused and he adjusted the controls for the holographic display. It switched from the Taurian-Federated Suns border to the line between House Davion and the Draconis Combine.

“What are the most valuable worlds along that border, my Lord?” Indrahar asked.

Takashi frowned and then he nodded. “Quentin and Marduk.”

“Precisely, my Lord Kurita; at the present time, the 22nd Avalon Hussars RCT is garrisoning Quentin, and the 1st Chisholm’s Raiders RCT are assigned to Marduk—although they may soon return to Breed, if my sources are correct. But I must warn you, my Lord, Gregor Samasov will not care for this idea—Vasily’s and Hirushi’s units from Dieron and Benjamin will garner the glory and claim those worlds and their factories for the Dragon. He strains enough at his leash as it is. His hatred for Minobu Tetsuhara and through him Wolf’s Dragoons has grown exponentially in the years since Tetsuhara snubbed him. He is planning something—I know it, but what . . . that I do not yet know.”

“It is a simple matter, Subhash; I will order the Dragoons and the Ryuken to move to Barlowe’s Folly and Al Na’ir, removing them both from his command and his influence. And if he cares to dispute that order, I shall appoint a new Warlord of Galedon and order Samasov to plead his forgiveness with the short blade.”

Subhash Indrahar bowed his head. “As my Lord Kurita commands,” he said, but then paused once more. “The Dragoons and Ryuken should take those two worlds easily—but what then? A general offensive along the length of the border?”

Takashi stared at the map and then he shook his head again. “Iie. This . . . border dispute between the Fox and the Bull may become nothing more than the threat of a storm—let us not get too deeply committed at this stage, Subhash. Besides,” and Takashi smiled broadly. “Did I tell you that the Taurian ambassador to Luthien made me a very . . . intriguing offer yesterday? To use your turn of the phrase.”

Indrahar inclined his head. “You did not, my Lord.”

“He inquired as to what I thought would be a fair price to release the Dragoon’s Contract—I gave him no answer, but offer Thomas authorized was quite . . . generous.”

The head of the ISF turned his head back towards the map. “Once they assist the Ryuken to take Quentin and Marduk, then if the Dragoon’s accept that contract they will have to traverse the whole of the Federated Suns en route to Taurus.”

“Ah, but here is the intriguing part; the contract we discussed was not only to garrison the Taurian worlds, but for the Dragoons to rip a path through the Federated Suns, moving from world to world and striking at high-value targets; akin to Archibald McCarron’s Long March back in 3022 and 3023.”

Now Subhash Indrahar whistled and he stroked his mustache again, considering the map. “The problem lies in that McCarron did not stray too far from Capellan territory and always had an option to retreat. Would Colonel Wolf even consider such?”

“He has not yet been asked—the Ambassador only wanted to know if I would consider releasing the Dragoon’s early. But does not any commander seek to prove that he is better than another man, especially a man like Archibald McCarron? Wolf may not accept this offer, but his pride and vanity might well push him towards doing so. It would be a feat unparalled in the annals of war, after all.”

Indrahar nodded and he traced off a route of systems on his screen, a line appearing on the hologram. “Raman, Exeter, Robinson, DeWitt, Kestrel, Streator, Freisland, Talcott, Kathil, Novaya Zemlya, Stein's Folly, Wappingers, Narellan, Jaipur, Mandaree, and Flintoft would leave him one jump shy of entering the Concordat at either Mithron or New Vallis. That is three more systems than McCarron hit during his March; and farther away from any safe harbour through much of it. Even if he manages to jump once every two weeks, which is not by any means certain, it will take him eight months to fight his way across.”

“Pride, vanity, and competiveness are such pleasant virtues when negotiating with a mercenary commander like Jaime Wolf,” Takashi mused.

“He would need substantial supplies from us to make the voyage,” added Indrahar.

“Indeed. He would. I want you to take a command circuit out to An Ting and meet with Tetsuhara and Wolf—discuss our plans for Marduk and Quentin . . . and take both of the Night Stalkers regiments with you. I will station them in Galedon to cover any gaps their departure makes in Gregor’s defenses. And Subhash?”

“My Lord?”

“Make certain to appeal to Jaime’s vanity when you broach the Taurian Ambassador’s offer. I will break the news to Gregor myself. If he gives you any trouble, dispose of him.”

"Hai, my Lord Kurita."

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-30 02:59pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Wolf’s Dragoons Field Headquarters
Chou’s Port, An Ting
Draconis Combine
August 19, 3026


“You have got to be shitting me, Colonel,” J. Elliot Jamison said bluntly, his eyes wide. “Takashi Kurita has agreed to end our contract early if we take on this . . . this . . . forlorn hope of a’marching through the dead center of the Federated Suns on the order of Taurians?”

“He has Elliot,” Jamie Wolf said softly. And then the Colonel sighed deeply. “Look, we all know that our relations with our current employer are souring—and fast. Yeah, some of them like Minobu Tetsuhara are good and honorable men. Then we have folks like Gregor Samsonov . . . I do not have to tell any of you that he means us no good. Takashi . . .,” Jamie shook his head. “He is just another Successor Lord and if the security of his nation means sacrificing a bunch of mercs like us, he will do it in a second. That said, I think that Samsonov is overstepping his authority here—and the fact that Takashi sent Indrahar out here to brief me and have a little chat with the Warlord goes far in proving that.”

He stood and looked at the collection of men and women who sat at this table today. Major Kelly Yukinov, his second-in-command of Alpha Regiment. William Cameron, his communications officer and unofficial bodyguard. Andrei Shostokovitch, the CO of Beta Regiment. Wilhelmina Korsht, who was not only the CO of Gamma Regiment, but the second-in-command of the entire Dragoons—and had been ever since the death of Joshua. Kathleen Dumont, the commander of Delta Regiment, who sat beside Baxter Arbuthnot, the head of Epsilon. Zeta Battalion’s J. Elliot Jamison, Jason Caromody who commanded the Dragoon’s Aerospace assets, Natasha Kerensky the commander of the renowned Black Widow Company, Hansen Brubaker of the Special Recon Group, Griffith Nikitich, the CO of the Seventh Kommando, and last, but not least, Stanford Blake, the head of Wolfnet Intelligence.

Thirteen men and women, including himself, and Jamie smiled. Others might think that thirteen was an unlucky number, but it had brought the Dragoons a great deal of luck—far more good than bad. And every single last one of the assembled men and women were from the Homeworlds. They had been born in the Homeworlds.

“We are experts at forlorn hopes, Elliot,” he said with a shake of his head. “Hell, our entire expedition was nothing but a forlorn hope.”

Wilhelmina frowned. “Perhaps, but we were a forlorn hope, with a purpose; with a mission to accomplish. What is the purpose in taking this contract? Working for the Taurians of all people? How do we further our mission in this?”

“Mina, Mina, Mina,” Natasha Kerensky chuckled. “What is the purpose in taking any contract? We haven’t had a mission since we stopped sending reports back to the Homeworlds, after all. Except for a vague statement of ‘prepare the Inner Sphere for our coming’ without us having any clue of when they are coming. Archimedes might have been able to move the world with a long enough lever, but we don’t have that lever yet—and these people aren’t ready to for us to even start to prepare them for what is to come.”

She shook her head. “But back to the purpose of taking this contract: we are mercenaries. Sell-swords. Lucre-warriors. Soldiers of fortune. With all of the good and bad connotations of that, Mina. Thomas Calderon is offering one hell of contract—and if we don’t take a good hard look at it, what will other people say? Will they ask if we have lost our edge? If we are afraid of taking on high-risk, high-reward contracts?”

No one at the table said a word in answer, but Jamie bared his teeth in a broad grin that Natasha returned. “They would be stupid to think that, but they tend to be stupid a lot of the time. Thomas is offering us 100% command rights, 100% salvage rights, and he is giving us free reign to select our own targets—military targets. He has offered a blank check to purchase supplies, munitions, fuel, spare parts, replacement ‘Mechs even before we leave the Combine. And the compensation package? We’ve had better—but not often. Twenty-five percent in advance with the remaining three-quarters held in escrow by ComStar. And he included an escape clause that provides us with a means of getting out of the contract after hitting eight targets in the Federated Suns by forfeiting two-thirds of the escrow amount. What other contract can you think of that we get paid 50% to not accomplish the mission, on top of the supplies he is buying and 100% of salvage? People, that’s a lot of lucre.”

“Second. We have ignored the Periphery states for too long. If our people are coming, then we need to assess what they can bring to the fight. How better than to do it in Taurian service? Once we get to the Concordat, our contract calls for us to defend the Taurian worlds, if the war is still ongoing, or to train existing Taurian formations while garrisoning their worlds—which will also give us a chance to evaluate their industrial might AND their military capabilities. After all, a good five percent of our own machines were originally made in Taurian factories . . . that alone tells me we aren’t getting the full story here in the Inner Sphere, just distortions based on ‘the Periphery are uncivilized, primitive, and backward’ ideas fostered by ComStar.”

“Third. We are talking about a contract that make Xenophon look like a piker in the annals of warfare!” and here Natasha’s eyes begin to shine. “By Kerensky’s Seed, we have a chance to perform an operation that will make everyone sit up and take note of the Dragoons . . . again! Crossing the entire width of a Successor State, of the Federated Suns, fighting off any and all challengers as we go, taking their own supplies and munitions and ‘Mechs for our own, and doing so with honor? This is what we live for. This is what we are born and trained for!”

“Fourth. As the Colonel says, things are getting iffy here in the Combine. Yeah, sure, getting us out of Samsonov’s District means he isn’t going to screw with us—but seriously? Do you of think that Vasily Cherenkoff is any better? Or Hirushi Shotugama? There are good and honorable people here, but there are just too many differences between how we wage war and how they act. They will try to isolate us and make us dependent upon them in order to drive us into the DCMS as a house unit—or feed us into the fire and see us destroyed piece by piece with third-rate garbage for supplies and parts. This is our chance to end this contract on honorable terms—three years ahead of schedule. Do any of you think we have a chance of spending three more years here without all of this boiling up to a head? I don’t.”

“Fifth. Someone is orchestrating these events out on the Taurian Rim. I don’t think Hanse Davion is pushing them this hard—he knows how difficult conquering the Concordat would be. And despite what the propaganda says about Thomas Calderon, he isn’t crazy enough to start a war on his own—not without being pushed back to the edge of the cliff, at least in his own mind. If we take this contract, it gives us a good chance to discover who is pulling the strings out there, who is deliberately attempting to destabilize both the Concordat and the Suns. Because frankly, if the balloon does go up, Takashi and Maximillian Liao will use it as an excuse to settle old scores. The Federated Suns will be in a three-front war, and that might be enough to break them.”

Silence hovered over the table again as Natasha Kerensky finished, and Stanford nodded. “She’s right on those last two points at least, Colonel. And we are too far away to probe into this FUBAR situation. And I must admit, gathering more intelligence on the Concordat would be helpful—as would having a base of operations on the opposite side of the Inner Sphere from where the Invasion will eventually come.”

One by one, the Regimental Commanders nodded their agreement, even Wilhelmina. Jamie took stock of the officers at the table and then he rapped his knuckles against the wood. “Kelly?”

“Sir, I am just damned worried about the whole mess. The Taurians never signed the Ares Conventions—what if they go 1st or 2nd War on us and pull out the nukes? We could get tarred pretty damn badly if we are on their side if that happens.”

“Agreed. Which is why if we do this—IF—I will insist that Thomas include an escape clause that states if the Taurian Concordat uses nuclear weapons, our contract is null and void—and that I will immediately contact Hanse Davion, inform him that my contract is now broken, and that I am offering the Dragoons in service to the Federated Suns for operations against the Taurians.”

“Damn,” whispered Baxter Arbuthnot. “If he isn’t completely insane that should keep on the straight and narrow—but we have seen in the past how insane these Successor Lords can behave. Remember Anton?”

Natasha’s face set into stone and her eyes grew cold. “Thomas would do well to remember what happened to Anton in response. Everyone would.”

“My Regimental Commanders are in agreement—any objections?”

No one spoke for several seconds, but finally J. Elliot nodded. “Hell if it wouldn’t make for capstone to our careers, Colonel. I must admit that going down in history appeals to my vanity.”

“It does to all of us, Elliot,” Jamie answered with a grin. “Very well. I will contact Thomas via HPG and provided that he accepts my rider, we will sign his contract. In the meantime, we have two assaults to carry out with Minobu Tetsuhara’s Ryuken before we can depart. I want warning orders for all commands and civilians issued immediately, with the first planning session to start at 1400 hours this afternoon. Stanford, pull all of our intelligence on Quentin and Marduk—I don’t know what other units Takashi is putting into the pot, so everyone count on just our units and the Ryuken. For now, plan on Alpha and Gamma, plus three Ryuken Regiments at Quentin, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, and two Ryuken at Marduk. We will discuss how to distribute the auxiliary formations later today. Dismissed.”

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-30 05:59pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
First Circuit of ComStar
Hilton Head Island, North America
Terra
August 20, 3026


“So far, Nicolas, HARBINGER has proceeded exactly as you predicted. That worries me,” Julian Tiepolo said sternly to the man in charge of ROM. “Nothing in this universe goes according to plan. I trust that you has the assets in place to correct for probable deviations?”

Nicholas Cassnew swallowed heavily and he nodded. “I would like to claim that we anticipated all the events that have so far taken place, but much of our success to date has been based on serendipity. This offer that Thomas made to Jamie Wolf, for example, I would be lying if I said that I had expected that, Primus.”

Julian snorted and he considered the map of the systems along the Taurian Rim. “I am worried about our exposure—is it time to shut down your Tortuga operation?”

“Shut it down? Now? When it is still serving our interests?” snapped Precentor Dieron. “Our agent there has united the pirates of Tortuga and for a pittance in cost we have mobilized three regiments of ‘Mechs and infantry that are sowing chaos along the entire border.”

“We have not succeeded in fully uniting them, Myndo,” answered Nicholas. “There are st-,”

“You will address me by the title I have earned, Precentor ROM!” she said in a voice dripping with acid. “This holy chamber is not to be trivialized by informality.”

Nicholas exchanged a glance at the Primus who sighed and then nodded. Myndo had always been touchy about protocol.

“My apologies, Precentor Dieron,” he replied. “As I was saying, our agent has not managed to fully unite the pirates of Tortuga—one captain in particular has managed to evade two assassination attempts and free Paula Trevaline from captivity before he fled the Dominion.”

Myndo snorted. “He has less than two companies at his beck and call, and Lady Death has nothing. Her forces were either destroyed or deserted her. Primus, if you value my advice, step up the attacks from the Tortuga contingent—expand them. Bath the Outback and the Taurian colonies in fear and terror and you will see their leaders having to respond.”

“Primus, we have already stoked the fires . . . and now agents in the employ of Michael Hasek and Maximillian Liao are furthering the tensions. Not to mention ROM operatives scattered throughout the Concordat and the Suns—Demi-Precentor Taurus reports that Grover Shraplen has fallen in line nicely and that Thomas has authorized the TDF to carry out their Case Gold.”

“And what is Case Gold, Precentor ROM?” asked the Primus as he sat.

“They are going to kill Michael Hasek and the senior AFFS military commanders of the Capellan March . . . in conjunction with an invasion of New Syrtis designed to utterly destroy that worlds military and industrial capability.”

Myndo laughed. “And Wolf is attacking from the other direction at the same time! My sources in the Combine believe that Takashi will launch an attack into the Federated Suns as well just before he releases the Dragoons . . . and if we can convince Maximillian Liao that it is in his interests to join in the fun and games? Perhaps we can end this Federated Commonwealth nonsense before it ever starts, and put paid to that insolent NAIS as well.”

“We are getting ahead of ourselves . . . Myndo,” the Primus answered, deliberately using her familiar name. Her face flushed, but she said nothing to her superior, and Julian nodded. “It would be good if we managed to arrange that, but so far the border tensions have not resulted in serious operations; they have yet to be more than a flea-bite on Hanse Davion’s butt cheek.” He considered for a moment as silence hung over the nearly empty chamber, but at last he nodded. “Instruct our agent in Tortuga to execute a second series of raids, Nicholas—and as Myndo so succinctly put it, their purpose will be cause fear and terror in the people. Unleash the pirates to conduct their utmost atrocities.”

“In the meantime, we will continue prodding both Davion and Calderon towards war . . . until this Case Gold goes into effect and the Dragoons invade the Suns. Between them, those two incidents will force Hanse Davion to respond. Escalate the activities, but make certain our agents know that they are to point the finger of blame at others . . . Hasek or Liao, I do not care which. Have we anyone close to Michael Hasek?”

Precentor ROM smiled. “We do, and he has his ear.”

“Well, let us see if he can convince Hasek to act without waiting for New Avalon to make up its mind. If a war has already started, Hanse Davion will be loath to simply end it without a victory; his pride will be his downfall here. If the blood of Federated Suns troops has already been spilt, and there are Taurian invaders on his worlds, he must respond. Press him, escalate the operations, but above all else, Precentor ROM, maintain our deniability. And ensure that a second agent is in place if it becomes necessary to decapitate the Tortuga pirates of their new found leadership.”

Nicholas bowed. “Of course, Primus.”

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-30 10:37pm
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The Palace of the First Prince
Avalon City, New Avalon
Federated Suns
August 20, 3026


“I am ashamed to say that I never really knew her well, Quintus,” Hanse said softly as he gazed out the windows that overlooked the immaculate greenery that surrounded the Palace. “Ian was closer to her than I . . . and she was almost twelve years my elder. I was very young when she left New Avalon for the last time . . . oh, we talked, we wrote, but I never really knew her.”

He took a sip of whiskey.

“Why did Michael wait ten days to inform me?” he asked, but neither Quintus Allard nor Ardan Sortek mistook the softness of his tone for weakness. Both heard the anger, the sheer rage, which was welling up inside their liege.

“Officially, he wanted her body returned to her home on New Syrtis before releasing the announcement—actually he needed the time to issue his own orders to the units in the Capellan March.”

Hanse took another sip and he nodded. “I have already heard from Winston Ashley and Stephen—the Assault Guards and 1st Armored Cavalry have both received orders to redeploy to Carmichael and Lothair on the Taurian borders. They wanted my confirmation before moving, gentlemen. Are there other units moving that I should know about?”

Ardan Sortek cleared his throat. “The 39th Avalon Hussars is being moved back to Warren, the Illician Lancers are en route to Bromhead and Midale, two regiments each, the 15th Deneb is moving to Warren, the 3rd Ceti Hussars to Carmichael, and the Capellan Dragoons to Lothair. Plus, he is calling home the 5th, 6th, and 8th Syrtis Fusiliers to New Syrtis.”

“The only units he is not moving in the edge-ward half of the Capellan March are the 1st Albion Training Cadre and the three March Militia formations,” added Quintus.

“He’s stripping the Altair, New Syrtis, Sirdar, and Warren PDZs,” Hanse muttered.

“Not exactly. He’s played this very smart, my Prince,” said Ardan with a grimace. “He’s concentrating his regiments right at the border—and at New Syrtis itself—but all four PDZs still retain their regiments. And with the exception of the 5th and 6th Fusiliers, he hasn’t touched the PDZs on the coreward side of the March.”

“I should recall every last one of them to their duty posts,” the First Prince of the Federated Suns said, then he took another sip the very expensive Glengarry Reserve he was drinking. “But with the increase in incidents, I would be crucified by my own people for trying it, eh, Quintus?”

“Nothing quite so drastic, my Prince.”

“Ardan, what are the troops here on New Avalon saying?”

The commander of the Davion Heavy Guards RCT glanced at Quintus and then he took a deep breath. “Frankly, sire, they are asking why we are not already moving fresh troops into the area. Michael’s people has made a circus of each incident in the Capellan Marches—and it doesn’t help that the Darren Wright has been screaming bloody murder over the raids in Islamabad either. People are dead, our people are dead, and the troops can’t understand why we aren’t doing anything about it.”

Hanse took another sip and he nodded. “This is not the war I wanted, gentlemen. But it appears to be the war that I have. I want orders moving out to Marshal Horne—all Operation Galahad units are to begin embarkation for Taygeta immediately. When are General Armstrong and the Eridani scheduled to arrive at Caldwell, Montour, and Verdigreis? That should help to calm down Count Wright.”

“Presuming that they kept their schedule, my Prince, the Light Horse will be in position by next week,” Ardan answered.

“And alert both the Heavy Guards and 1st Guards. Ardan, I want you to take over command out there—I will inform every Regimental and RCT commander myself so that there is no ‘mistake’ in passing the orders from New Syrtis.”

“And once I get there?”

“Hopefully, Thomas and I will be able to cool things off—I think that perhaps it is time he and I had a little chat. If by some miracle there is not an actual war being waged at the moment you arrive, I want you to cool things down, Ardan. But understand me,” and the Fox’s voice dropped low. “Understand me, if we are in a fight by the time you arrive . . . I expect you to teach Thomas—and Michael—the folly of provoking me. If that means that the Taurians have to lose a few more systems, then so be it.”

Hanse lifted his glass to his lips once again, but he said nothing else. And after a long silence, both Quintus and Ardan bowed and withdrew from his office.


Last edited by masterarminas on 2012-10-01 02:10pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-09-30 11:15pm
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Fuckin' damn Myndo. Fuckin' Comstar. They decided to be A Power, and it fucked the InnerSphere for generations.



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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-01 02:11pm
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HPG Station Taurus
Samantha City, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Capitaine Olivia Suchet shook her head as the expensive ground-car screeched to a halt just outside the perimeter of Taurian Guards who surrounded the ComStar facility. As usual, the robes had not allowed her security detail to enter the compound—only a handful of the Secret Service assigned to keep the Protector safe were allowed within. Her troops were here in case anyone inside pressed their panic button, however—and if that happened ComStar rules and regulations would fly out the window and she would take control of the Station.

But for the moment, she was more concerned with events outside the facility. Grover Shraplen had not waited for the limo to come to a complete halt before he had swung open the door and tried to dismount—and she smiled as he nearly fell on his face from the forward momentum he had failed to compensate for. The politician recovered however and quickly moved towards the entrance where two of her troopers stepped in his path, their bayoneted rifles held at port-arm.

“Clear me a path, you imbeciles! Have you no idea who I am?” he roared, but the Guardsmen did not move.

Olivia walked over to stand beside him. “Sir,” she barked as she snapped to attention. “We are quite aware of who you are—what is your purpose here?”

Grover’s face turned a fiery red as he spun around and pointed a finger in her face. “Thomas needs my advice if he is going to speak face-to-face with that hell-spawn Davion!” he spat. “I am one of his most trusted advisors, and you will allow me entry, or I will have you broken from service! Broken!”

The commander of the Guards infantry just glared back at Grover and she reached down and unbuttoned the flap on her holster, and drew the revolver with her left hand—the barrel stopped just a few millimeters shy of the left eye of the Duke of MacLeod’s Land. “If the Protector had desired your presence, you would have been summoned, Your Grace,” she said as she thumbed back the hammer. “We have strict instructions from the Marshal of the Armies to allow no one to pass this perimeter—regardless of their rank or station. You, Sir, are not within my chain of command. You are not an officer of the Taurian Defense Force, nor do you have to the power to break even the least of my people. And if you do not withdraw to your vehicle immediately, Sir, then I will consider you a threat to the person of the Protector and will, regretfully, resort to lethal force against you.”

“How dare you!” Grover exploded. “It is the machinations of Davion sympathizers that are keeping me from giving Thomas my good advice—you act today against the people of this Concordat!”

“Back your fat ass up now, Sir, or so help me God, I will gun you down here and now,” Olivia said flatly.

For a moment, Grover Shraplen looked at her defiantly, but then his shoulders slumped and he took two steps back. Olivia placed her thumb on the hammer and slowly pulled on the trigger, lowering it back into its resting place. “Return to your vehicle, Your Grace—the Protector will be exiting the building in a short while. Corporal Henriquez! Guide His Grace’s vehicle to a designated parking area.”

Grover Shraplen glared at her, and she could see the message in his eyes that this was not over, but Olivia holstered her sidearm and secured the flap before standing at parade rest. Bring it on, fat boy, she thought to herself, as she stared back at the powerful politician. And for the second time that morning, it was Grover who looked away, and he returned to his vehicle.

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

Thomas Calderon, Protector of the Taurian Concordat waited while the ComStar technicians finished making the adjustments for a real-time HPG transmission between Taurus and New Avalon. He had been . . . surprised when Adrian Lorenzo, the Demi-Precentor of Taurus, informed him that Hanse Davion has personally requested—and paid for—the service. At first, he had been inclined to dismiss the request; after all, it was Hanse Davion who had started this entire mess to begin with.

But, his wife Katherine and Marshal O’Conner and Henri Jouett had convinced him to at least hear what Hanse Davion had to say. After all, Thomas himself had a prisoner from Charleston, a prisoner who claimed that the Federated Suns was not behind the escalation of this crisis. Thomas snorted. He didn’t believe the man—he didn’t want to believe the man—but his story had not changed even under chemical interrogation. Because if it wasn’t the Davions, Thomas admitted to himself, then the Concordat had another enemy—an enemy he didn’t know about. And that meant that he, Thomas Calderon, Protector of the Taurian Concordat, had failed his people; failed his son. And the Fox was moving troops; Grover’s information made that crystal clear—and Henri had confirmed it.

Still, there are a nagging voice in his head, a small quiet whispering voice, that spoke of how Davion worlds had also been hit—and asked Thomas what he would do if their roles were reversed. Would he not move troops to the crisis point himself? He had already done that by moving the TDF forward to the border, and calling up his own reserves—what made Hanse Davion so very different from him? And these claims that it was Taurian formations and special operatives who had sown such chaos on the far side of the border—Thomas knew they were lies. Untruths, at least, because it could be that they were both being played. But could he trust Hanse? Could he, Thomas Calderon, trust a Davion Prince when that Prince claimed no responsibility for the attacks on Taurian worlds? For the attacks which had killed Edward.

Grover said it was Davion himself who was attacking his own people—to give him a casus belli against the Taurians. But even if that was true, even if Hanse Davion was that ruthless, that pragmatic . . . would he kill his own sister? A half-sister, true, the bastard child of his father, but his sister still the same. For all that he himself demonized the Davions and all their works, that action—at the least—was far out of the known character of the man who ruled the Suns. He knew that, and it ate at him as that persistent voice droned on and on and on in his head about turning back before he sealed the fate of his people and unleashed Armageddon upon them.

He shook himself, and he drew in a deep breath. Not since Nicoletta Calderon had last spoken with John Davion in the wake of the dissolution of the Star League had a Protector and a First Prince spoken face-to-face, even holographically as he would today. Edward . . . Thomas winced as he heart broke again when he thought of his eldest son . . . Edward had campaigned for four long years that Thomas should start talking with New Avalon. Communicating Taurian concerns and discussing the issues between their peoples. His son had believed—with all his heart and soul—that Thomas could be the man who at last buried the long hatred between the Taurian people and the House of Davion. Not an alliance, not even a compact between states, but he had argued that Thomas should at least start a dialogue and through that exchange of information begin the long process of seeking a permanent peaceful resolution to the many issues that lay between the Concordat and the Suns.

Edward had a vision, not a prophetic seeing of the future, but an ideal that if his father and Hanse Davion could talk, then perhaps they could lift the embargos, establish trade of manufactured goods and resources, exchange knowledge, and—maybe, one day—with the passing of time see the possibility of reuniting the lost worlds with their homeland. Without a war.

Thomas choked back his grief—Edward had been the one who pushed him to be better than he was. But Edward was now cold in the grave, the victim of . . . well, that was the question, was it not?

Adrian Lorenzo cleared his throat. “Protector Thomas, the connection is ready to be established—if you could stand there, my Lord?” He asked pointing at a small marked square on the floor of the chamber.

Thomas nodded and he stepped forward, until he stood in the center of the designated area.

The lights in the chamber began to dim, fading away to a half-light. And then, a rainbow pattern of light appeared and coalesced into the image of man—a tall, strong man, with close-cropped hair and a strong jaw. A man, whose worry lines mirrored Thomas’s own.

“You must be Thomas Calderon,” the image said.

Thomas nodded, and he licked his dry lips. “And though you lack cloven hoofs and a pointed tail, I would presume you are Hanse Davion.” The corners of the mouth of the image twitched in amusement and Thomas half-smiled despite himself. So the Devil Davion has a sense of humor after all. “You asked for this meeting, Hanse—may I call you Hanse?”

“Certainly—if I might address you as Thomas.”

The Protector nodded again and Hanse sighed. “It is not easy for either of us to put aside the long history of our peoples, is it? Thomas, I do not want a war with Taurus—not today, not tomorrow, not in a decade, or even a century. Taurus is not my enemy, and none of the forces under my command have attacked you.”

“And yet, we have battle-ROMs of your ‘Mechs—the 39th Avalon Hussars, rampaging through Concordat space, Hanse. They killed my son. They killed my people. And yet here you are, claiming that you are not the one responsible—tell me this then . . . who is?”

Hanse nodded. “On our side, we have battle-ROMs of our own, showing your Pleiades Lancers and Hussars attacking our worlds—a dozen in all, killing my people. And you claim no responsibility for such actions as well, do you not?”

“My Lancers and Hussars remain on their duty stations—not one Taurian has crossed the border to conduct these attacks.”

“So, we have an impasse. We both claim that we are not responsible; but how to make the other believe what we say is the truth?”

“Trusting Davions is not something which comes naturally to my people, Hanse,” Thomas chuckled. “And trusting Taurians is probably not in your vocabulary either, I would imagine.”

“No. No, it is not. Thomas,” and Hanse grew grim. “I will not lie to you today—there are some among my people who think that this conflict is inevitable. Who want a war with Taurus. Who desire your industry and your worlds. And with this crisis escalating, we must work together to end these series of incidents before they become a conflagration neither of us can afford.”

“It is the same here. I have advisors who are strident in that you have orchestrated all of this—not for nothing do you have the nickname of the Fox, Hanse. Some even believe that you ordered the death of your own sister as an excuse for war.”

“I did not. I would not do such a thing—ever,” Hanse answered with iron-clad control of his body, but Thomas recognized the anger that the words had provoked in his eyes.

“Perhaps not,” the Protector mused. “So how do you suggest we slow down this crisis—resolve it to our mutual satisfaction?”

“If I have not ordered the AFFS to start these actions—and I have not—and if you have not ordered the TDF to carry out the attacks against my worlds—and you have said you have not—then some third party is attempting to provoke the two of us into a conflict. For what end? I do not know, unless they mean to tie my hands with a decades long fight amongst the worlds of Taurus.”

“Yet, you are moving more troops to the border. My generals and spies tell me that soon—within a few months at the latest—you will have more forces concentrated from Bromhead to Verdigreis than the Federated Suns has posted there since the start of the Reunification Wars.”

“I am moving troops to keep the peace, Thomas. You have also activated your reserves—many of my advisors believe that you are gathering yourself to strike.”

“Yes, to keep the peace on my side, Hanse. We are both fully alert, and soon we will both have enough troops in place that any fight will become a bloodbath—but if these attacks and incidents do not end, I will have no choice but to defend my realm.”

Hanse nodded. “Agreed. And if you force my hand in this, Thomas . . . the Concordat will cease to exist as a sovereign state. Whether it takes me a year, or ten, or twenty, I promise you this war will be our last . . . if you make me cross your border.”

“Threats?”

“Facts. I do not want this war, Thomas . . . but neither will I shirk my duties as First Prince if you attack us.”

Thomas looked down and he fought against the anger raging up within him as the voice within his soul screamed at him not to push, not to fall into the trap before him. And he looked back up. “I have a survivor of one of the attacks—a survivor from Charleston. He has told my interrogators many . . . interesting things, Hanse.”

“Really? I was unaware of that—we have captured none.”

“What makes his testimony so interesting is that he claims to be a pirate—from Tortuga. Not a member of the AFFS. And his cockpit was wired with command detonated explosives—explosives that malfunctioned when his ‘Mech was damaged. Some of my advisors consider the prisoner to be a plant—an effort to draw off our attention from the real threat you pose to us.”

“Tortuga? I had not thought they have the strength of arms—or the unity—to carry out such an operation.”

“Nor did I. I-I . . .,” Thomas paused. “I do not know what to believe anymore, Hanse Davion. But I have dispatched a force to investigate the pirate’s base of operations in the Badlands—what you call the Pirate’s Haven. They should be arriving within two weeks time.”

Hanse nodded again. “I was informed of that troop movement—by my spies. They had thought that perhaps you were trying to outflank my forces along the border. Your investigators are mercenaries, are they not?”

“They are. I could not spare a force of Regulars with the Fox poised on my own borders.”

“Then what do you propose that we do, Thomas?”

“Keep our forces in place—we both have enough that it will be a blood-bath if we strike the other. Give my expedition time to find out the truth of the matter—and I will give you our prisoner. Perhaps your interrogators can recover information mine has failed to reveal. Along with a copy of his entire confessional, of course.”

Thomas shook his head. “I am doing this, Hanse Davion, for my son Edward, who died in service to the Concordat. My heart cries out to deal you the most savage blow I can muster and send him an honor-guard to Valhalla worthy of my great ancestors,” the Protector slumped. “But Edward would not want that. For his memory, for his service, I will give you a chance to prove that you are not responsible. I will give my expedition time to unearth the truth of my prisoners statements. And I will hold back those on my side of the border who desire nothing less than to ignite that conflagration you fear.”

Hanse stared at Thomas, at the tear crawling down his cheek from his sole remaining organic eye and he slowly nodded. “I am sending a man to the Taurian border whom I trust with my life, Thomas. Ardan Sortek. He will control my people—I swear it.”

Thomas nodded, and he wiped his face. “Then I would suggest, we both get back to work and figure out a way to end this,” he paused and then he nodded again. “Perhaps we should speak more often? A regular basis of communication—to keep things on an even keel. I will, of course, pay for the next such session.”

“I think we can do that,” said the Fox. “For now, Thomas Calderon, good-bye.”

“And god-speed, Hanse Davion,” Thomas whispered as the image flickered out and died, the lights in the chamber brightening. Edward, he told the spirit of his son, I may not have been able to do what you wanted while you were alive, but if God is willing, maybe I can do so in memorial to your death. A stronger, truer memorial than any built of granite or bronze. A memorial we will call Edward’s Peace. Rest well, my son. And if God is listening to you, beg him to make it so.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-01 06:28pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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Sanctum of the Primus
Hilton Head Island, North America
Terra
August 22, 3026


Nicholas Cassnew was admitted to the private quarters of the Primus by two dour-faced guardians—although technically ROM personnel, these men answered only to the leader of ComStar itself, and not Nicholas. And he shivered slightly as walked inside to be the bearer of bad news.

Julian sat in front of the blazing fireplace, dressed no longer in the pristine white robes of his office, but instead in a pair of worn slacks and a thick wool sweater, worn over a warm shirt. He even wore slippers upon his feet. The Primus did not rise to greet his guest, but only inclined his head slight as he sat down a china cup of hot tea.

“You should work on your poker face—Myndo and the others would pick up on your distress immediately, Nicholas. I take it that Murphy has struck?”

“He has, Primus,” Precentor ROM answered and he sat down on the table a miniature holo-graphic projector and played the full content of the discussion between Thomas and Hanse. Julian nodded.

“I take it that Thomas has sent a change in orders to Jamie Wolf, then?”

“He has—but the message has been relayed only as far as Terra. I put a hold upon it until I could speak with you.”

Julian snorted. “Delivering other people’s mail is our number one priority, Nicholas! I am shocked, shocked I say, that you would delay such an important transmission. What are Thomas’s instructions?”

“Wolf is to make his way across the Federated Suns once his contract with Kurita expires—but he is not to institute offensive operations until and unless he receives further orders en route.”

“Any particular system these instructions were transmitted to . . . or did Thomas just send them to the Dragoons?”

“Well . . . actually, they are addressed to the Jamie Wolf, but no system designation was given, other than the Draconis Combine.”

“Well, clearly we must fufill our obligation to deliver this message immediately! Instruct the night watch at HPG Alpha to transmit it to Galedon V, to the attention of the DCMS Office of Mercenary Liaison, with a secondary attention line of Wolf’s Dragoons . . . and a subject line of ‘Contract Terms of Employment, Taurian Concordat’; that should take care of things.”

“Galedon V? Haven’t the Dragoons moved?”

“Ah, have they? I do not believe that ComStar has yet been notified of such a transfer . . . or have we?”

Nicholas grinned. “Come to think of it, Primus, I do not believe we have.”

“Yes, it will go to Galedon, where the DCMS mercenary liaison will forward it to the Dragoons, will he not? Why the idea that Gregor Samsonov would dare to tamper with or sideline such a transmission upon being informed of it . . . beggars the imagination.”

“I will see to it immediately, Primus,” Nicholas said, as he began to turn away, but the raised hand of the Primus stopped him.

“All in good time, Nicholas. Have a seat, if you will.”

Carefully, the Precentor ROM sat down across from the Primus and he waited while Julian composed his thoughts.

“If neither Hanse Davion nor Thomas Calderon is going to act stupidly on their own, then it is time we brought certain . . . other assets to bear. Your man who has the ear of Michael Hasek—can he convince Duke Michael to act without orders from New Avalon? Or even against those orders?”

“He just might, Primus—but the Fox sent a personal message to each and every commander on the border or moving towards it, informing them that absent a Taurian assault, they are to stand on the defensive and not to cross the border.”

“Absent a Taurian assault, you say?” Julian laughed. “How is Grover Shraplen shaping up—has he received our shipment of ‘Mechs yet?”

“Indeed he has—two full Taurian battalions worth, with more on the way.”

“And Grover is most assuredly a Taurian, is he not?”

“He is, Primus,” Nicholas replied.

“Have Demi-Precentor Taurus . . . inspire Grover to take independent action—for the good of the Concordat, of course. And prime your agent on New Syrtis to prod Michael into action when the time comes. And once we do that, Nicholas, I want to shut down our operations slowly and carefully—leave no threads that can be traced back to us. Too many other players have their irons in the fire now, and the blaze is ready to catch. It would be a pity to carry this off and get burnt instead of escaping cleanly.”

“I will see to it, Primus.”

“Good. That expedition to Pirate’s Haven worries me, Nicholas—your agent there is a loose cannon. Remember the last time we used pirates for such an enterprise?”

“The Jolly Roger affair, Primus; yes, I remember it well.”

“I do not want a repeat of that ending, Nicholas. It would not please me one iota.”

“I . . . understand, Primus. At the moment, our agent is out of communication—there are no HPG stations in the Pirate’s Haven, but he should be moving before the Taurians arrive . . . if he has experienced no delays.”

“Myndo’s opinion aside, I want the Tortuga side of this operation terminated—with prejudice if necessary.”

Julian paused and he stood, and then moved over to stand before and admire a painting that hung on one wall. “Tell me, Nicholas, what do you think of this work?”

Nicholas also stood and he walked over to join the Primus. The painting was an oil work, an old one, dating back to just after the end of the Reunification Wars. It showed a Concordat warship fighting alone against a Star League Fleet.

“I am hardly qualified to judge the quality of the painting, Primus, but it certainly looks magnificent.”

“Yes. How do you think Hanse Davion will react when Quintus Allard discovers, though the agency of his own spies, that the Concordat still possesses a WarShip?”

Nicholas started. “The New Vandenberg? She’s not operational, and quite frankly, a single Vincent-class Corvette with no operational capital weapons is not a threat to the Federated Suns. The AFFS could destroy her with a single regiment of aerospace fighters.“

“You are mistaken, Nicholas. TCS New Vandenberg is not a Vincent-class Corvette—she is a Concordat-class Frigate. One that has been hidden in the Hyades since the end of the Star League, her damage too extensive to repair immediately after that conflict. And once the Concordat's industrial base shrank, they were unable to effect those repairs in the past. But today? No, as of today, Thomas has committed much of his industry to this task over the past decade and he has managed to acheive the impossible. Against all odds, she has been returned to service. Not as a hanger queen—she has been mostly restored and rebuilt and is ready to resume normal operations. Having tested her capital weaponry in the depths of the Nebula. Said operations will include supporting the TDF when they invade the Federated Suns.”

Nicholas raised an eyebrow. “Primus, that is not . . .”

True? Nicholas, the truth does not matter. Not when we are attempting to keep Hanse Davion from acquiring yet more power and infuence. Not knowing what we know, what will Hanse Davion do when his trusted Intelligence Minister receives information from his own spies on Taurus on our version of the New Vandenberg?”

Nicholas frowned and he shook his head. “He cannot let Thomas keep a WarShip—not one that powerful. It could tilt the balance of power along the entire Taurian Rim.”

“Indeed,” the Primus bent down and picked up a data-storage drive. “Here are the 'official’ Taurian documents that needs to be transmitted to Taurus. Make certain they find their into the hands of Quintus Allard’s spies. And never forget, Nicholas, our quiver has many, many arrows—sometimes it is best to use catspaws, at other times it better to rely upon human nature. And upon hearing that the Taurians have a WarShip, human nature means that Hanse Davion will have to either try to destroy it—or take it. Either option will give us the war we want.”

“It will be done, Primus.”

“Good. Now run along, Nicholas—you have a long night ahead of you.”

Nicholas bowed to the Primus again, and he backed out of the Sanctum . . . leaving the Primus of ComStar smiling at the painting hanging upon his wall.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-01 07:58pm
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Motherfucking hell. There are no words in any of the InnerSphere languages for how fucked up Comstar is.



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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-03 06:58pm
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Chapter Four

TDF Planetary HQ
Mt. Pleasant, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Sean was not in a good mood to begin with; the expedition had been stranded here on Althea’s Choice for the past three weeks. Well, two to be honest since his DropShips had touched down on the pad. They had been here, sitting on their ass, because Big Sky (the Tramp-class JumpShip used by the Roughneck Cavalry) had blown a helium seal after jumping into this system. Vivian Hall had sworn up and down that she had checked the seals before leaving Taurus, and sure enough the unit which had given way was one of the replacements just fitted two months ago, before the expedition had ever departed.

Thankfully, the containment systems had prevented the loss of two-thirds of the helium cooling medium for the jump core—but the seal still had to be replaced and the helium pressure restored to normal operating levels. Vivian had two complete replacement seals in her spare parts storage and sufficient tanks of pressurized helium to replace the lost gasses—but it would take time. Even with the crews of the other JumpShips pitching in to lend a hand, it would a minimum of two weeks. And since the repairs would take at least two weeks, Sean and company had disembarked and spent seven days in transit to Althea’s Choice, giving the cooped up troopers a chance to get on the ground and blow off some steam.

But those two weeks of repairs had dragged on to three, with Sean’s blood pressure rising the entire time. He had seriously considered leaving Big Sky behind and continuing on without her . . . but that would mean leaving behind the DropShip Open Range which carried his supplies, spare parts, munitions, and gear for repairing his units. Not to mention his Tactical Operations Team and their gear, along with his Intelligence Section. Adding to Sean’s frustrations, it turned out that the local TDF battalion charged with defending Althea’s Choice had ‘redeployed’ to Organo in anticipation of offensive action along the Davion border. Leaving behind only two squadrons from Armored Command (one armored cavalry and one light cavalry) and a dozen battalions of Infantry to defend the system.

If Althea’s Choice had possessed an HPG station, Sean would have transmitted a blistering indictment of the officer who had made that decision back to Thomas and the High Command—but the remote Taurian world lacked one. To add even more insult to injury, the TDF officer in command of Althea’s Choice now that the 1st Taurian Fusiliers had abandoned their post, Colonel Jean-Claude Talbot, was one of those who were unaware of Sean’s actual position within the TDF. And he was quite familiar with the cover story of Sean’s Courts-Martial a dozen years ago. Sean had the codes from TOSIOI that would convince the man that Roughneck was working for Thomas, but he just didn’t trust that Talbot would keep his mouth shut after the fact. So, he had to endure the not-so-subtle insults and petty aggravations Talbot had arranged for he and his men.

All of which combined together to make the midnight order to report to the HQ Compound even more irritating.

Sean stormed inside the structure, past the two troopers standing post on the door and he placed his hands on his hips—and deliberately did not salute. “You wanted to see me?”

Talbot looked up from the plotting display and he nodded sourly. “Looks as if your mercenaries will come in handy, Walker—the 39th is back.”

Sean walked over to the plot and he stared down at the display for a moment. Two Overlords, four Unions, three Leopards, and a pair of Mules were burning for orbital insertion—without asking he reached down and zoomed the display out to reveal their JumpShips sitting at a pirate point: a Star Lord, an Invader, and a Merchant.

“We have . . .” he paused and calculated quickly in his head, “forty-five minutes before they hit atmosphere?”

“Forty-seven, Sir,” answered a tech.

“They are broadcasting no friendly IFF, Walker, and they have not responded to our hails. Now, I want your mercenaries standing to for deployment—and I want your fighters to intercept them.”

“No.”

“NO?”

“No,” Sean said quietly as he shook his head and turned back to face the titular commander of the garrison. “I have twenty fighters here, the other dozen under Commodore Hall are at the Nadir Point. That force hasn’t deployed fighters yet, but they might have up to twenty-six. Furthermore, these raiders to date have tried their best to avoid hitting heavy opposition—the 1st Taurian, which is supposed to be here, Talbot, has just eight fighters. If I send mine up now, they will know that hell of lot more than single TDF battalion is waiting on the ready for them. No, we are going to let them land and then give them a drubbing they soon won’t forget. If we launch now, they might get spooked and we won't get this chance again.”

“You are under my command at the moment, Walker!” Talbot shouted. “If you will not follow my orders, I will place you under arrest!”

Sean glared at the furious officer standing in front of him and then he turned to face the garrison’s Intelligence Officer. "Madam, a day may sink or save a realm," he quoted and pointed at the work-station. “Reference that code, Capitaine.”

“What is this nonsense?” asked Talbot. “Poetry readings, Walker? Now? Have you gone mad?”

“Uh, Sir?” the Intelligence Capitaine said as he looked up from the screen. “You might want to take a look at this.” He paused and lifted his gaze to Sean. “And the counter-challenge, Monsieur Walker?”

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield,” Sean answered. And the officer nodded as Talbot rushed over to the console.

“Code accepted and confirmed, Sir.”

Talbot read the log entry for that specific TOSIOI code and he blanched, before looking back up at Walker. “But they put you on trial!”

“Yeah. Some days it sucks to be me, Talbot. Listen up!” he bellowed. “By the authority of the Protector, I, Lieutenant-Colonel Sean Walker am hereby assuming command of the Althea’s Choice garrison. Despite what you have heard, I am on a long-term assignment to TOSIOI, detached from the TDF at the direction of the Protector himself. You!” he barked, pointing towards the senior NCO, “sound the general alert and broadcast to the civilian population that they are to immediately seek shelter. Is that line connected to the outside?” he asked another Tech.

“Yes, Sir.”

Sean picked up the phone and he dialed the Roughnecks duty office.

Talbot’s mouth worked, but he finally managed to get his tongue loose enough to speak. “I still outrank you!”

“Not with that code, you don’t—obey my instructions, or I will have you placed under arrest,” Sean answered with turning around. “Reverend, Roughneck,” he said into the phone, “Full alert, this is not a drill. Get ‘em up, hostiles hitting atmosphere in forty.” And then he hung up the phone.

“Get it through you head, right now, Talbot,” he barked. “I am in command now—if anyone here has a problem with that, get over it. Now, what are you deployments?”

The TDF officer just stared at Sean and he frowned. He rapped his knuckles on the table. “Jean-Claude, do I need to officially relieve you?”

Talbot flushed and he shook his head. “The 44th Light Cavalry is posted here, sixteen kilometers north-west of . . .”

And even within the confines of the thick walls of the command bunker, Sean could hear the invasion sirens start to wail faintly.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-04 05:22am
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I do believe that this is going to be one of the "deviations" that Comstar was trying so hard to avoid.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-04 11:07pm
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2nd Tortuga Raiders
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Lord Redjack (known to ComStar, the Federated Suns, and his mother alike as Damien Courtney, back in the days he had been a respectable member of society) chuckled as his BattleMaster chewed up the terrain, throwing rich clumps of sod behind him with every step. In the distance, he could see the upper reaches of Mt. Pleasant—an isolated spur of granite that was oddly off-kilter here in the fertile river valley. It wasn’t much of a mountain, measuring just 803 meters above sea level, but here in the wide valley it was certainly imposing.

The city of Mt. Pleasant, the capital of Althea’s Choice, was built at the base of that errant peak. He had half-considered landing directly in the center of the capital—but Redjack was no knave among the Lords of Tortuga, he was an experienced commander of a dozen raids and expeditions. Even without their ‘Mechs, he was expecting that the Althea Garrison would put up a fight—and his DropShips were vulnerable during landing operations. Tankers and infantry who would not run—and while the Taurians were dumb farmers for the most part, they had courage a-plenty—combined with the firepower of their vehicles might have just crippled a few ships. And Redjack wasn’t about to risk those ships, not even on Lord Renard’s command.

Hell, if the Taurian ‘Mechs had been here, he wouldn’t have touched this world—for Redjack remembered well all the horrors of a long-ago pirate raid against a Concordat world from which he barely escaped with his neck intact. He had been a bit surprised that the Taurians had not yet started sending their conventional fighters and VTOLs against him, but then again, according to Renard, they had only eight of the first and just eighteen of the second. Whereas he commanded seven full companies of the Pirate Bands of Tortuga, ranging in size from a standard company to a full battalion strong each. And, of course, his ‘Mechs and vehicles and fighters were painted in the colors of the 39th Avalon Hussars, while his foot soldiers wore Davion uniforms.

How, exactly, Renard had managed to procure so many ‘Mechs, that so very closely matched what the 39th was comprised of, remained a mystery. But to Redjack, it didn’t matter. Soon enough, the Fox and the Bull would be embroiled in their own war, and then a new state would be formed in the Outback. A state ruled from Tortuga. And for all that Renard had engineered this, he was only mortal. Redjack would be the King who ruled over a pirate domain encompassing sixty worlds. Renard had only done him a favor by removing Lady Death and Lord Shrike as potential competitors.

Just ahead, the rolling floor of the valley rose and then sharply fell on the far side—and Redjack frowned as his lead Firestarter suddenly exploded. “Look’s like they came out of their holes boys,” he broadcast. “They are only tread-heads and infantry—forward! We burn this city tonight!”

“Lord Redjack!” another voice, wild with panic emerged onto the command circuit. “They have ‘Mechs—to the east and the south as well . . . ‘MECHS!”

Damien Courtney, Lord Redjack, pushed his BattleMaster into a run and reached the top of the ridge . . . and sure enough, he saw the Taurian tanks waiting below, dug in deep, their accursed infantry filling in the gaps in bunkers and pillboxes. And emerging from the woods on his flanks, there were at least a Regiment’s worth of BattleMechs—a Regiment led by sixteen pitch-black Stalkers adorned only with a blood-red gothic cross on their great bulbous nose.

Schiesse,” Redjack muttered, even as his missile alert began to scream and thirty-two LRM launchers snapped open in the distance—and thirty hundred twenty missiles screamed into flight all aimed at him. As they swept up towards the heavens and then slowly made their parabolic turn towards the ground, his radio sputtered static, and then began broadcasting a chorus of voices chanting in Latin . . . they were giving him the Last Rites. Those Jesuit bastards of the Black Templars were giving him the Last Rites.

Oh, I hate Taurians, he thought.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-05 12:34am
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Roughneck Command
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


“To your left, Roughneck, danger close!” Bulldog yelled out over the radio, and Sean twisted his Thunderbolt’s torso around to face the Hatchetman that had jumped into melee range. The sweat of his brow instantly evaporated as the heat in the cockpit suddenly spiked—Sean’s thumb pressing the firing stud that unleashed three emerald beams from the torso mounted Diverse Optics Type 18 medium lasers, along with the full-throated roar of six solid-fuel rocket motors igniting in sequence as the Holly SRM launcher mounted just beneath the triple lasers snapped open and belched forth its lethal flight. Two lasers and five SRMs drove home and shattered armor on his opponent. He did not fire the arm mounted triple Voelkers 200 machine-guns, no . . . instead Sean took a step forward and swung his ‘Mech’s left arm, connecting squarely with the jaw of the pirate Hatchetman, while his right arm (along with the massive Sunglow large laser it carried) absorbed the force of that lethal hatchet the enemy carried.

And then the Thunderbolt staggered and Sean fought to keep his machine upright—the Hatchetman had fired its Defiance Killer Type T autocannon, the stream of shells slamming into the torso of Sean’s Thud. But the mercenary managed to keep his ‘Mech upright, and he grinned as he saw Mantis step her Typhon behind the Quickdraw and her SRM-pack snapped open. Between the two heavies, the medium-weight Hatchetman died before delivering another blow, although one of his lasers did manage to score the right arm of Sean’s T-bolt, leaving precious little armor there.

“Thanks for the assist, Mantis,” he said as he caught his breath.

Helena “Mantis” Madison laughed. “Don’t mention it—you haven’t signed the paychecks yet, so I can’t let you just die on us.”

Sean shook his head and he took one hand off the throttle long enough to wipe away the fresh sheen of sweat that was dripping down into his eyes. He flexed his hand and then put it back on the throttle and he pressed it forward to the stops. “Roughnecks! Follow me!” he barked.

But most of the Roughnecks and Red Scorpions were already ahead of him. Only his own company (Firestorm Company) was in formation around him and the eleven other MechWarriors moved out. Sergent Julia “Hunter” Kidd’s Warhammer spat cyan particle bolts from her right arm, and a stream of autocannon shells from her left as they moved up the slope towards the enemy. Bulldog’s Archer belched clouds of LRMs, along with Lieutenant Natalie “Stalker” Mitchser’s Crusader. Two Typhons (one belonging to Mantis and the second to MechWarrior Virginia “Goose” Rand) advanced as well, adding their own LRMs and PPC bolts into the carnage. And then there were the three Thunderbolt-Ts piloted by Sean, Tabitha “Witch” Vickers, and Jasper “Jumper” Moreau.

Jennifer “Shadow” Calderon’s Lance had already gone on ahead with her Dragon, the Tomahawks of Sergeant Victoria “Scotty” Scott and Franklin “Rabbit” Banner, and the four-legged Scorpion piloted by Kristen “Midnight” Becket. Sean laughed. He might not have any assault-weight machines, but by God, he had an assault company plain and simple. He kicked the Thud into high gear and tore up the ridge to where the pirates were starting to buckle under the Templar’s assault.

Sixteen Stalkers—85-tons each of death and destruction—were certainly enough to cause to that. Never mind that Sean had to admit to himself that the warriors in those cockpits were at least the equal of any of this boys and girls. And probably a damn sight better.

One of those Stalkers was fighting three pirates—a Griffin, a Shadow Hawk, and a Valkyrie, and Sean shook his head. “Firestorm Command, Grifter, Firestorm Two, Shade, Firestorm Three Val Kill Me,” he broadcast, and settled his targeting reticule atop the Griffin. A buzzing tone sounded his ear and Sean squeezed the firing trigger, sending fifteen LRMs down-range from his Delta Dart launcher, along with a golden beam from the Sunglow.

His shots were not alone, and a hail of missiles, laser beams large and medium, PPC bolts, and autocannon shells engulfed the pirates in a holocaust that those ‘Mechs simply could not withstand.

“Damn you, Sean Walker!” Capitan-Padre Raphael Navarro swore. “Do you not know the Eighth Commandment? Thou Shalt Not Steal My Kill; thus Sayeth the Lord Thy God!”

“Forgive me, Padre, for I have sinned against thee—but then again, there are more of them, and these aren’t quite yet surrounding your penitent ass.”

The Jesuit chuckled. “Say three Hail Mary’s and call me in the morning, my Son. Templars! Let us sort the righteous from the pagan—Onward, Soldiers of God!”

“Roughnecks! Red Scorpions! Pursue!” bellowed Sean into his radio as well as the morale of the pirates broke. “Major Faulkner, are your Wild Geese in position?”

“Aye, we are lad—and your 44th Light Cavalry Squadron is here with us. Never thought I would be leading a charge against grounded DropShips, though.”

“Just remember we split the profits if you can take them, Donal.”

“Oh, I’ll take ‘em, Sean, me boy—if it costs me every one of your Taurian cavalry to do it.”

Roughneck shook his head. “Get cracking, they are heading back your way and I don’t want them escaping us.”

“On it, lad.”

And here we go again, Sean thought, as another wave of heat passed over him as he squeezed the trigger, shooting the pirate ‘Mechs in the back as they ran.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-05 05:20am
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So odds are good that Sean is going to have a pretty good idea who the attackers really are once this is all said and done, and he's on a planet without an HPG, and thus no way to actually tell anyone about it without sending someone to a planet with an HPG... and even then Comstar might not the message get out.

Now this is something of a pickle :twisted:

Quote:
Oh, I hate Taurians, he thought.


And for some reason, this line alone had me chuckling like a fool. Keep it coming, man!

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-05 11:02am
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Location: Richmond, Virginia: The Capitol of Treason
Cheekiest religious zealots ever. I approve.



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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-05 01:21pm
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JumpShip Sheridan
Proximity Point AC-4, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


“The DropShips report they are under attack, Ma'am! More Taurians have emerged from the forests and are engaging them!”

Ziva Meir shook her head. Redjack was dead and his forces were running—running! Pirate scum, the ComStar acolyte thought as she silently cursed her ROM superiors who had assigned her to this cluster-fuck in the first place. Still, her orders were extremely explicit on what would now have to happen.

“Commander Meacham,” she said to the commander of the Star Lord-class JumpShip. “Bring the batteries on-line and prepare to jump out of system. And power up the comm dish to transmit new instructions to the planet". Like her, Meacham and his crew were all members of ComStar tasked with supporting HARBINGER, and she had no doubt that he would follow his orders—unlike the pirates aboard the remaining two craft.

She entered code into her console—a long complicated alpha-numeric code—and then she lifted the plastic cover over a controller and inserted a key she wore around her neck.

“STATUS CHANGE!” a warrant officer barked out. “New arrival . . . Quetzalcoatl-class JumpShip with Taurian IFF—they are launching fighters and shuttles! Three minutes to weapons range.”

“Drive charged, ma’am,” the Captain reported. “Coordinates set.”

Ziva nodded and she turned the key. “Initiate jump,” she ordered as both of the pirate ships suddenly exploded.


Roughneck Command
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Sean grinned as the Centurion he was fighting suddenly collapsed, it’s right leg shattered by the impact of a dozen missiles and a blazing golden beam of coherent light. The pirate fell on his back, and unluckily for him, a protruding boulder smashed through the weak rear armor over his missile magazine—the explosion ripped apart the ‘Mech sending debris flying through the air. But then his alarms began to sound and Sean pivoted the Thunderbolt on his right leg as autocannon shells tracked across his left hip.

A Marauder! He gritted his teeth as the infamous heavy ‘Mech raised its two weapon pods, and twin cyan bolts streaked across the intervening distance—both impacted on the torso of his Thud, and he fought to stay upright as more than a ton of armor melted away under the raw energy delivered.

The heat sinks of the pirate Marauder glowed white-hot, but the pirate didn’t seem to care as he triggered his medium lasers as well and this time Sean went down, a warning siren sounding that his left torso was penetrated—and one of the Diverse Optic Type 18 Medium Lasers mounted there went off-line with damage.

Thirty long-range missiles fell like rain from heavens atop of the Marauder, cratering its armor in a dozen places, but it remained on its feet and carefully adjusted the weapon pods to converge on Sean’s cockpit. Well, shit, Sean thought.

That was when the cockpit of the pirate ‘Mech suddenly exploded.

“What the . . .” Sean asked as levered the heavy BattleMech back to its feet.

“Boss?” Bulldog asked in disbelief.

“God acts in strange ways, it is true, but this?” chimed in Raphael Navarro.

Every last surviving pirate ‘Mech came to a halt or fell to the ground, as each suffered an explosion in their cockpit at the same exact moment.

And then an eye-tearing glare erupted in the distance from the grounded DropShips.


Faulkner’s Lance
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


The pirates had left their armor and infantry behind to guard the DropShips, but the Wild Geese were far better at this than these scum, Donal thought as he fired both Tronel III large lasers of his Ostsol into the flank of a Von Luckner heavy tank. He didn’t penetrate the armor, but two road wheels shattered and the track snapped in half, and Donal pushed his fast heavy skirmisher into a full run to avoid the return fire from the AC-20 and sixteen SRMs! Thankfully, the big gun missed, but nine SRMs rattled Donal in his cockpit as they slammed into the armor of his ‘Mech and exploded.

While the Wild Geese were dealing with the security teams, the 44th Light Cavalry Squadron—and their infantry—were swarming over the DropShips just a kilometer away. One of Donal’s mercenaries soared past him on thundering jump jets—and the Von Luckner crew desperately tried to slew the turret as they saw what he was doing. 45-tons of Phoenix Hawk came crashing down atop of the 75-ton tank and the turret crumpled. The top hatch cycled open, but Donal’s man wasn’t having any of that! He pointed his left arm at the hatch and the inferno gel of the flamer which had replaced his machine-guns poured into the gap, burning the crew inside alive.

Donal smiled. While there were a handful of pirate vehicles left, for the most part this Von Luckner had been their final gasp. “Geese! Let’s take those ‘Ships!”

But at that moment, one of the two Mules suddenly bulged outwards, and an unholy glare erupted from between the seams of suddenly parted armor panels. The actinic flare of the tactical nuclear device almost blinded Donal before cockpit windows darkened, but he could still feel the burn on his face—his ‘Mech suddenly shut down as the EMP burst raced outwards, and then the shock wave knocked the Ostsol over, amid the roar of winds and fire.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-06 02:14pm
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Field Headquarters, Eridani Light Horse
Hale’s Port, Montour
Federated Suns
August 22, 3026


“And would you care to explain to me why I should not just have you shot?” General Nathan Armstrong asked the prisoner standing before him.

“Shooting people without speaking to them first, prevents the receipt of vital information, mate . . . ah, General, Sir,” Lord Shrike answered with a slight bow towards the FedSuns mercenary.

Nathan bared his teeth in a grim smile. “So then let us talk.”

“So you can shoot me afterwards? I was born at night, but not last night. And really are these chains so absolutely necessary?” the pirate asked holding up his manacled hands. “You have taken away me weapons.”

“The chains stay . . . Lamar Solis.”

Shrike shrugged. “I do not use that name any longer—I am Lord Shrike.”

“The Butcher-Bird,” Nathan said flatly.

And Shrike grinned. “It is tradition, mate. Just like if you want to be a real pirate lord, you have to wear a flashy hat,” he said pointing towards the flamboyant, wide-brimmed, feathered headpiece that had been taken from him.

“What guarantees do you want?”

“Look, mate, if you know the name from my past life, you know that I am a wanted man across the Draconis and Capellan Marches—the Outworlds Alliance as well. And a good portion of the Crucis March, too. But you are not a law enforcement officer—you are a mercenary in the service of Hanse Davion. I give you my information, and you let me leave, giving me safe passage back to my JumpShip and let me skedaddle on out a’here in one piece, safe as a babe in her mother’s arms.”

“Just let a pirate go?”

“There’s pirates and then there are pirates. For example, I might be a swashbuckler who takes a cargo every now and then,” and Shrike grinned, “even raids a few worlds, but doesn’t the Fox do the same to his foes? But I am no instigator of atrocities nor of massacres, mate. And I had nothing to do with the scoundrel who is provoking this war between Hanse and the Taurians.”

Nathan leaned forward, and his eyes glinted. “If you have any information, then I will decide what to do with you after you give it up.”

“That is not going to happen, General, sir. We get a deal and then you get the information—including where this black-hearted bandit is striking next; with orders to his men to deal as much civilian death and destruction as they can. No deal, and it be on your head the wailing of the widows.”

“What’s to stop me from promising you the sun and the moon, and then clapping you in irons the moment you tell me?”

“Irons have already been clapped, mate,” Shrike answered as he raised his arms again and chuckled. “And there be a reason I came to you and not the local authorities, or the Uruk-hai on Pierce—you are a man of honor. You are a man who lives by his given word because he knows that everything in this universe can be taken away, except that. Give me your word, General Nathan Armstrong, of the Eridani Light Horse, sworn in oath with your own hand resting upon that flag that once served the Star Lord himself, and I’ll give ye what I know in return.”

Both men stared at each other and finally Nathan nodded. “All right. I give you my word that you will be released and given safe-conduct.”

Shrike smiled again. “In that case, would ye mind removing these? They chafe my delicate skin.”

Nathan jerked his head and the guard walked over and unlocked the manacles and took them away, as Shrike rubbed his wrists.

“The one behind this whole scheme is Meurtrier Renard—not his birth-name, of course. If your French is rusty that translates to . . .”

“The Fox’s Murderer,” interjected Nathan.

“Jolly good, old man. You are more learned than I thought. Renard managed to unite many of the pirates of Tortuga behind him—and he brought several score of ‘Mechs with him. Right now, he and his followers have three Regiments at their disposal. One is hitting Althea’s Choice today—the other two, under Renard’s direct command are striking at Basantapur on the tenth of September. If’in you hurry, you might be able to get there before him.”

“Basantapur?”

“Aye, Basantapur. Home of Basantapur Fine Metals, and good metals and composites alike they make indeed. They own that mining operation that the Suns runs on Colorado, but it is on Basantapur where they process all that germanium destined for Panpour. Renard means to sack those refineries and steal the processed ore on hand—which would put the Federated Suns in a bind for the next decade or so having no germanium to build their Kearny-Fuchida drive cores with, now wouldn’t it?”

Shrike shrugged. “That is the most valuable part of what Basantapur produces, but they also make internal skeletal structures from ‘Mechs produced on New Avalon and Wernke. Never mind that Renard is hitting them with two Regiments, made up to appear like the Pleiades Hussars and Pleiades Lancers, or the little fact that he is planning a massacre of those Hindus the likes of which we haven’t seen since Kentares.”

Nathan released a deep breath and he nodded and started to rise, but Shrike raised one hand. “Mate, I don’t know who Renard really is, but this I know—he is a Capellan. Now, I’ve asked meself this time and again since he started his scheme . . . does he really think that by provoking a war between the Fox an’ the Bull that he is going to be able to carve out his own Empire from the Outback? That Hanse Davion won’t slap his three Regiments silly?”

“No, he has to have another purpose—he hides his accent well, but he was born speaking that jibber-jabber they do across the border in Sian. Mad Max, now he might well relish starting such a war and taking advantage of both of ye. Might’en he?”

“And just what are you getting out of all of this Lord Shrike?” Nathan asked as he stood, and the pirate did as well.

“Ah, mate. You are cleaning out the devil’s den on Tortuga of me competitors, for which I am most grateful. And the Lady that I serve, this will put her shapely arse back on the Dominion’s Throne, with crews a-loyal only to her—and to me. I don’t care one whit for the Federated Suns, nor for the Taurians, but my own realm, aye, mate, that I care for. I have not the force of arms to put paid to Renard meself—ye and your mates do, General, sir. And for that end, I’d make a deal with the devil himself. And so, I think, would you.”

Lord Shrike picked up his hat and he placed on his head at a jaunty angle. “And if our business is done, mate, then I’ll be a-taking my leave.” He turned to go, and then he sighed and turned back to Nathan. “A favor, I would beg of thee, General, sir, before I go off into night.”

“What is it?”

“I want to send a transmission to me dear old mother, back on Numenor. Let her know that I be alive and well, and that she still has a son, if you would permit me?”

“Guards, escort Lord Shrike to the HPG terminal, and then to the spaceport. And put him aboard his DropShip and get him the hell off this world.”

“You are a good and honorable man, Nathan Armstrong. I be much obliged to you for the courtesy.”

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

Shrike stepped into the recording booth, isolated from the outside word, and he punched in a complicated code in the machinery. A screen came to life and the face of Acolyte appeared.

“Sigma-Theta-Seven-Three-Four-Omega-Tau-One-Three-Nine-Alpha-Gamma-Six-Four-Seven-Two-Five-Eight. Authenticate,” Shrike said.

The Acolyte looked down at his screen and he nodded to himself. “Secure for priority transmission, Demi-Precentor Solis.”

“Lord Shrike, you idiot—do not let those other words pass your lips again. Record for transmission to Precentor ROM. Charles, I’ve cleaned up your mess. Next time you want to pull a stunt like this, kindly go have intercourse with a dead horse. Renard will cease being a problem very shortly, and I have diverted attention towards another source, away from ROM. If you need anything else, don’t ask. You almost blew my cover over this one, and if you do so again, I swear to Blake that I will find you and make you regret it. Returning to Tortuga.”

“Send it,” he ordered the white-faced Acolyte. Shrike sighed and shook his head. “It’s code, you moron. Send it.”

Shrike picked up his hat and put it back on his head. “And there is a message in the queue for my mother on Numenor, along with a transfer of funds—she gets it immediately, or I will be back. And if I have to come back, I will fillet you, mate. Alive.”

And with that, Lord Shrike, pirate-captain of Tortuga, and agent of ROM walked out of the booth and was escorted away to space port.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-17 10:30pm
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White Mage
White Mage
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Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17541
Location: Tahalshia Manor
Ok, even if he's ROM, I still like Lord Shrike



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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: Edward's War PostPosted: 2012-10-17 10:33pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
This one is on hold at the moment, I will try to get back to it. Sorry, but the last chapter I wrote (and didn't post) I just hated and deleted, and since then my muse (for this story) has evaporated. I will try to return in the future, but for now, it is on hold.

MA

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