Campaign of the Month: June 2014

Battletech : The Farscape Campaign

Episode 89 - The Lighthouse

“Lighthouses are not just stone, brick, metal, and glass. There’s a human story at every lighthouse; that’s the story I want to tell.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

February 18th, 3023 : Recognizing the unit was likely remaining in cantonments until the end of the year, the entire group was paid-out in advance to the end of December.

With the knowledge of the location of Blue Rock Candy Mountain being in their grasp, the unit began organizing a team to search the valley and seek the rumored facility somewhere within. A salvage squad, a selection of specialists (geologist, computers, engineering, etc.) were gathered, and a pair of squads from the 7th (Mechanized) Militia, the “Coldhearts” were gathered under the aegis of Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” to board the “Crimson Sands”, while Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour” with her PHX-HK2 Phoenix Hawk LAM and her wingman Trooper Adam Bernhardt in his STG-A1 Stinger LAM were to cover their approach.

Meanwhile, Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” and his assistant Research Assistant Teresa Ruvin took a working vacation in Islas Brasilera trying to capture some Deepwater Crabs and investigate their natural water filtration abilities. He also felt it was a good time to begin introducing himself as a potential “friend”. He also planned to try and get a licensing agreement for the San Isabel corporation, _ARTech_’s controversial software program, intending to study it and see about its ability to simulate an AI.

20th February, 3023 : During the final stage of prepping for the unit’s investigation of Blue Rock Candy Mountain, Glamour was busy doing a final check on her LAM, when Lady Morrigan “Mechanika” Fields paid her a visit. She convinced Glamour to take her on a “trip” in her LAM, and seduced her high above the clouds some hours later. It remains unknown why she has taken an interest in the head of intelligence services in the Iron Dingoes

21st February, 3023 : The exploration group gathered to the Crimson Sands, and made a rapid orbital insertion and drop into the snow-swept valley. The unit deployed, and began testing various equipment to see if they could find anything of note. A large “magnetic anomaly” seemed to dominate the valley, the very thing that attracted them in the first place, but the commo specialist also noted that there was “…some odd noises on the radio, in the ultra-high frequency bands…” Something was obviously here, just exactly where remained unknown, due to a heavy ECM field. After some hours in the cold, they began positing potential power sources; any local power sources had to geo-thermal, they concluded, making them difficult to identify. Recognizing the only feature of note was the tall, sharp mountain, they began searching its base, and half-buried under centuries of snow and battlefield debris, they found a 6m-wide entry corridor dropping steeply (10 degrees) into the base beneath the rocky spire.

One squad of troopers descended, along with the specialists, while the rest secured the DropShuttle. Passing deep under the ground through a metal alloy tunnel for around 1000m, the group eventually found an overhead door at the end, lit by softly glowing blue lights. Along the right side was a small metal panel with a card slot beneath it. The electronics spec worked hard on it, hacking the panel successfully and opening the door completely, and revealing a vehicle garage beyond. A pair of hover APCs sat along the right wall, and beyond lay a large hover tank, quickly identified by both Pitbull and Glamour as a Watchdog Secuirty Robot, something they were infinitely familiar with during their experiences at Depot 519 in System – Dunkelheim.

Approaching cautiously, the group noticed a pair of “mouse robots”, small repair devices equipped with extension claws and tools, in the process of repairing the Watchdog, as though it were trying to get it working once more. They quickly moved from the robot and through a similar overhead door along the left (north) wall, bringing in parts to work on the robot. The troopers were ordered to quickly surround the pair of robots, and subdue them, which they did with great humor. At the height of their victory, a sudden movement was noted as the Watchdog’s upper turret assembly began to move and take in the intruders.

The troopers grabbed for their weapons, and the thought of the robot using its paired small lasers to cut them all to pieces began to whelm up, but just then, Glamour noted that the laser assembly was still in pieces… something had disabled it, and the robots were busy trying to get it armed. The robot swiveled its camera around, and a spooky artificial voice demanded “Intruders! Identify yourselves!”. Assuring the troopers and techs they were safe for the moment, the computer tech and Glamour began investigating the robot, and discovered it was being remotely controlled; the artificial AI had been disabled and wiped in the past. The pair disabled it further, cutting its remote access and effectively killing the machine.

Searching the chamber and the open parts bay next to it, they found nothing else of note, save a smaller man-sized door leading off east. While the techs fiddled with opening the door, the unit found the APCs maintained and fueled, and sent one off with a trooper to quickly get the next squad. Eventually they managed to get eh door open, but it halted shortly thereafter, leaving a small gap open beneath. The techs filled it with debris from the vehicle bay, to brace it open, and looked beyond to see a long corridor heading off into the darkness, with a pair of doors on either side, about 10m down.

Slipping under the door, the troopers entered the corridor, hugging the walls, while Pitbull and Glamour took the lead. The door on the left was hacked open to reveal a MASH-equipped sickbay, complete with a large off-line robotic doctor’s assistant along the right wall. The door to the left was also hacked to reveal a security station, complete with a pair of prison cells. An armory rack along the left wall was empty, and a search of the central desk revealed a hidden red magnetic card with an unknown symbol of a tall mountain with rays shooting from it; everyone noted how similar it was to the Blue Mountain Mining Company badge… Perhaps that company knows more than they have ever let known…

Blue_Rock_Candy_Mountain_Logo.jpg

Continuing down the central corridor, the group found another pair of doors, and using the card were able to directly access the right one. Beyond was a large room with hardened desks and computer banks, and along the far (south) wall as a large glowing hologram, of what appeared to be the local valley. Pitbull stared into the room, activating his IR, when a blinding flash of light shot out of the darkness at him, hitting him, though his “Diplomatic Armor” managed to absorb most of it. Staggered back, he bolted into the room, taking up a position near the left wall, where a large separate computer desk was located. Immediately, before the troopers could react, Glamour called out to Pitbull to provide covering fire, while she ran for the far wall, and as he took a few shots in the general direction of the shooter, she ran into the far corner with a little bit of cover while the shooter sniped at her. Most shots seemed to be ineffective against it, however.

With the two providing flanking fire, they opened up into the general location of the shooter with multiple shots, while it continued to pump laser fire on Glamour, hitting her severely several times. Finally, a solid blast from Glamour took the shooter squarely in its torso, and in a shower of blue sparks blew the shooter to pieces, before she slipped to floor badly wounded and nearly unconscious. Examination of the shooter reveled it to be some sort of light tracked robot, with a man-like upper torso and integral weapons systems. The machine had obviously been some sort of security robot, though of a design and manufacture never seen before.

The room was a central command center, with access to the station’s various systems. Each station controlled a specific function of the station; engineering, life support, computers, administration, and security. From this room, the robot seemed to have been observing the group as they made their way into the base, and it seemed had been closing doors partway to restrict their movements. In one corner of the room were several sonic rifle, probably taken from the security office. The techs quickly began accessing the station systems, and the engineer quickly identified that approximately half an hour ago, someone has turned the thermal regulations for the station into overload, and that in about two hours, the station would literally turn into a volcano… Computers reported that the facility seemed to be some sort of data node; its primary purpose had been to keep a data node with valuable data active and powered, but it was a sealed system accessible only with direct connection to the node itself. The most likely position of this valuable core was probably in engineering, across the hall.

Entering the room across the hall, they indeed found engineering. A large room holding another pair of mouse bots (immobile and powered down), various life support equipment and the monitoring equipment for the thermal generator. The main generator itself was behind a heavy door at the back, sealed by a large door and a 10-digit keypad, which was impregnable in the amount of time they had to explore. In one corner of the vault, they found a sealed computer monitoring station, and quickly surmised it held the core they were after, with the computer tech accessing its locks and eventually pulling out the large core itself.

Meanwhile, the troopers and Pitbull quickly searched the rest of the complex. Further down the corridor, they found several empty personnel quarters and a common area with little of note beyond being empty of supplies.

The salvage squad was ordered into the outer area, to take whatever spare parts seemed valuable, while the troopers were headed in-bound on the first APC. Following standard Dingo Pack Tactics, they looted the mouse robots, a store of parts they loaded into the other APC, and even stayed long enough to cut the computer core of the Watchdog off the vehicle’s turret, before abandoning the facility. Making for the DropShuttle, they loaded everything on-board, and lifted off with minutes to spare, watching as the mountain valley below them became flooded with a sudden gout of flaming hot magma. Blue Rock Candy Mountain was no more…

Returning and reporting on their finds, they arranged sending the computer core up to “The Freedom of the Stars” where their computer/cryptography lab was, in hops they might crack it and access whatever valuable data lay within. Glamour was sent immediately into orbit to “The Factory” and slated for an operation and some time in the Rejuvination Suites.

February 22nd, 3023 : The Taurian data core was dispatched to The Factory, for later secure shipment to the Freedom at the Zenith jump-point.

Also, one of the unit’s unassigned scouts was dispatched to The Independent Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina with a Skulker Wheeled Scout Tank. He was ordered to investigate the rumors of “pirate ruins” on the island of Santa Catalina.

February 23rd, 3023 : Word quickly spread in the unit that a special interest news broadcast was being displayed on RCN Television, regarding the Iron Dingoes. Many of the unit gathered around their holovids to watch that night.

The program, a re-broadcast from The Federative Republic of San Marcos’s own national holostation, LRG (Logotipo_da_Rede_Globo), proceeded to ask Who are the Iron Dingoes?. It started with an apparent fluff piece about the recent fascination the president of San Marcos, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had for a recent rising star in the San Marcos entertainment scene, one Junior Tech Selena Demarkos. Apparently, she was being linked with the president in an unofficial “consort” status, and her rising fame in the music world was getting her noticed. During the interview, the reporter commented on her past association with the Iron Dingoes, having arrived in-system with them many years ago, when they first arrived from System – Heroditus. She claimed they had helped her family leave for a new life, and that they had since found independence on Terramatrix, but that she still had friends in the Dingoes.

The report then went on to give a quick history of the Dingoes on Terramatrix, outlining their recent troubles in San Succi, as well as the mysterious Battle of Auron Lake (complete with amateur footage of both fights), the lastter of which the San Isabel government still classified as a “Mercenary dispute”, and none of their business. Miss Demarkos managed to charm her way through the interview, and it ended with a discussion regarding her recent hit single “Falling Down”, which featured DropShip footage doing a Mech drop on some foreign planet.

Advocate immediately contacted Senior Tech April O’Neil and made arrangements to run Iron Dingoes recruiting holovids (using their old “In the Dingoes!” footage from years ago) to start running on that network…

February 25th, 3023 : After a couple days of quiet, the unit was contacted by their two Jump-Ships at the Zenith, that something interesting had happened; The Lighthouse had arrived in-system!

The unit immediately saw this as an opportunity to get rid of their two Leopard-Class DropShips and acquire a Leopard CV-Class, plus a handful of new AeroFighters to round-out the unit’s roster. They equipped various salvage aboard the two DropShips (including some salvaged Mechs), as well as loading-up their DropShuttle and began the long 10-day burn out to the tradeship.

The rest of the day, other JumpShips began jumping in-system following the Lighthouse on its circuit around the Periphery.

February 26th-29th, 3023 : The unit began making contacts to find a buyer, and found someone willing to trade for a Leopard CV-Class DropShip almost right away. Named the “Revolver”, they were able to get the ship in trade from a broker for the captured “Inferno” filled with a lance of Mechs (their two Quickdraws, an Ostroc, and their Nighthawk ). Various sub-space deals were brokered across the system, and the unit knew they would be able to sell their other Leopard-Class DropShip for a tidy 112,000,000 Cs by the end of the week, paid in cash and trade certificates, which were as good as cash to key planetary brokers.

March 6th, 3023 : Late in the evening, the unit’s DropShips and DropShuttles arrived at The Lighthouse, and found a swirling chaos of shuttles, DropShips and JumpShips all doing business. Lighthouse control seemed to have the area well in hand, and after a few hours, managed to get several docking points rented the next day for trading.

March 7th, 3023 : “The Iron Vagabond” made a successful jump near the trade-ship, and also joined in the chaos. The unit spent a day making contacts, aware that the tradeship would leave in about a week or so.

March 8th, 3023 : Among teh things the unit managed to purchase, were various electronics and salvaged Heads from Mechs, but were unable to find a Head for the Victor, nor a Gyro for the Grasshopper. They acquired a pair of near-mint TRB-D36 Thunderbirds, as well as sufficent suits and arms to assemble a hundred Iron Dingoes “Voidstar” Marine Combat Field Kits. They also found 400 “Chill Cans”, sufficient to equip all their StarGuard Marine forces with the valuable stealth technology.

FIxer was unable to find any fusion engines suitable for his change-over modifications for the P-Hawks, but he did find enough equipment to assemble a complete “Weapons Lab” from the equipment he already had set aside for the task, intending ti install it on “The Factory”, and begin manufacture of some prototype Needle Laser : “The Hatpin”s for the Line units.

They lastly found a second-hand Partisan Heavy Tank in need of repair work, but would allow them to complete their defensive artillery unit, as well as a single Maxim Hover Transport for their Blood Pirate unit.

After various personal projects and selling-off large quantities of stored and salvaged goods, the unit took their new DropShip and items, and began the slow burn back to Terramatrix. The Vagabond took-up a secure location near the unit’s other two JumpShips in-system, “The Freedom of the Stars”, and “The Den Mother”.

March 16th, 3023 As the unit arrived back to their landhold in Garrison, they received word that The Lighthouse had left the jump-point, and that the fleet following along with them had begun to disperse.

March 17th, 3023 : By early morning, the unit calculated their expenses and existing roster of cash, and began paying out various tasks they had planned, such as constructing a new grade school in Garrison, the new Fusion Plant in the town, as well as financing a new water treatment facility next to their munitions plant, Iron Dog Munitions. The unit also set aside some money for their planned “Info Salvage” Operation, taking all the salvaged paperwork they had found on System – Redfield, and beginning to pick their way through it, looking for possible clues in their LosTech hunting agenda, called “Project Info Salvage”.

Now, the unit could begin looking forward to the upcoming task of marrying-off their boss…

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Episode 88 - The Devil Wears Steampunk

“Wearin’ her perfume, Chanel No. 5
Got to be the finest girl alive
She walks real cool, catches everybody’s eye
She’s got such good lovin’ that they can’t say goodbye
Not too skinny, she’s not too fat
She’s a real humdinger and I like it like that”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

Feb 8th, 3023 : Following several days of rest and recuperation back at * Landhold : Garrison, the unit began to take stock of their position and recently salvaged assets. As Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” reported to his office in the barracks that morning, he discovered a box of cigars and a card congradulating him on his impending nuptuals… He turned around, and shared them with all his command and administration staff during the day.

The unit met and began discussing their plans, and quickly relegated the captured “Spearhead” to * “The Cerberus Command”, intending to use it to haul the large force of unit infantry wherever they might need at a moment’s notice. The vessel was “hopped” quickly over to Corazón Airfield successfully, and placed on reserve duty until a full crew could be arranged to fly the vessel. A squad of marines were assigned to the ship to protect it from casual intrusion.

The two Leopard’s were detached from service and flown into a close orbit beside “The Factory”. The plan was to either trade or sell both “Inferno” and “Star Warrior” for cash to meet payroll, and trade for a Leopard CV-Class DropShip, since the unit felt they were still sorely lacking in that area of expertise, and needed the dedicated AeroSpace force to cover future Line operations.

The “Relentless” was planned to become the Iron Dingoes primary transport, combining both the technical aspects housed in the “Dingoes’ Den” and Mech forces of the “Brush Wolf” into one unit. The unit recognized this would be both expensive and take time, but since they were planning on taking a few months of down-time for themselves, this was considered okay. The plan was to convert the “Dingoes’ Den” back into its original form, and slip it into the unit’s secret force known as the * Pirates of the Blood Asteroids. The ship would simply disappear from its unit TO&E, and be placed in Castle Corazón once that unit was activated. Exactly what would happen with the Brush Wolf remained open for discussion, but handing the vessel over to * The Fold Fiends was a distinct possibility.

Finally, there was a discussion regarding the salvaged NAC-10 and it ammo. One possibility was to build a massive planetary defense turret on the artillery hill near Corazón Airfield, though such a structure would be both expensive and immensely difficult (though challenging as an engineering project).

Feb 10th, 3023 : The unit began to set aside various trade goods and supplies for distribution and sale, most through Arlana Jericho and her trade company offering a healthy 20% commission. In addition, the unit distributed a ton of H-3 Horizon “Blue Lotus” Compads (making them a standard tool in all basic Iron Dingoes technical and infantry kits) to all members of the unit, and gave AEP-7 Laser Pistols to all its officers (primarily its infantry).

The unit also officially transferred their flag over to the newly captured Daimyo HQ 67-K, intending to have the Sultan Mobile Command Post employed by whichever military unit placed under contract (eventually the Fold Fiends ). The present Command Van used by the Dead Man’s Hand would be transferred elsewhere, upon their return. The command vehicle needed to be carefully wiped and reset with Dingoes own codes and programs, and Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” was given leave to crack the system for a couple days prior to the unit’s techs setting up their own systems.

The unit was also contacted by Ambassador Inara Serra, who informed the unit that, for now, matters with The Oriental Republic of San Isabel were touchy, but that the entire “Battle of Auron Lake” was being considered a dispute between mercenaries, primarily because damage to civilians and property were minimal, and the unit had left as quickly as they’d arrived. Should they ever again be found in San Isabel territory, however…

Feb 11th, 3023 : Various personal activities began by numerous members of the unit.

Most notably, however, was the promise to begin construction of a new school for the colonists, and 1,000,000Cs were set aside as a promissory note to Grupo Odinsa for construction. That sum ensured the construction company would survey for a site, and present plans, though the facility would still cost another 2,500,000Cs to be completed, and take around 18 months once the contract is settled.

Also of note, Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” and Trooper Bodrick Thompson “Blaster” took the Marten Scout VTOL out of Iron Dog Airfield to the Blue Mountain Mining Company HQ in Ojos de Deos to the west in the edges of the Blue Mountains. Given their importance locally, they quickly met with Elton Suarez, the company president, and after some small talk (and discovering that neither Dingoes officer spoke either Spanish or French), began seeking information regarding the company’s mining surveys. While he did have several, he suggested that Taurus Majoris Mining might have their own rather extensive surveys available for sale in their small departmental office in Ciudad Garcia.

The pair then wandered down into Ojos de Deos, specifically looking for a rougher miner’s bar. They found “The Rocky Bar”, which seemed to fit the bill, and after slipping inside (both in their “low-key” diplomatic armored trench-coats and small arms) quickly tracked down the scummiest-looking individual who was not a miner. Sitting at his table, he seemed to know very little about “Blue Rock Mountain”, ignoring Pitbull’s gun until money hit the table. Suddenly “Me might know a leetle…”. Identifying himself as “Chico”, he promised to have someone meet with them tomorrow. While Pitbull sat back and enjoyed the evening of carousing, Master discovered that one of the local serving girls, a young girl wearing a crucifix and named “Lolita” needed some help with her “…schoolwork…”, and after recognizing he was going to Hell anyways, followed after her to her quarters… Their helicopter pilot was informed to return the following evening to get them.

Feb 12th, 3023 : Lieutenant SG Michael Anderson “Fixer” began looking for fusion engines to mod the unit’s PXH-1 Phoenix Hawks.

The pair in Ojos de Deos met with “Chaz”, someone who seemed to be in command, and to know both who the pair were, and have a better understanding of the southern border region of the Blue Mountains. He described that no one ever really went into the region, because of the height an rugged nature of the mountains, particularly because of the snowy winds. He did say that myth held there was a place known as “Blue Rock Candy Mountain” in that region, close to the border between no-man’s-land and the southern Sangrian territory.

Passing him some C_Bills, they left on good terms, and then took the helicopter to Ciudad Garcia, where they went to the TMM offices, where they quickly met with the local representative from the company. He listened to what they wanted, and demanded a price of 50,000Cs for a copy of their data on the region, though their readings of the southern territory were cursory, due to its ruggedness and general inaccessibility. Arranging a courier to come to the city with the cash, the pair returned to Garrison, and began getting ready for the survey work to come. Before night fell, the unit had the data disk in hand, and began sorting through it, dispatching Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour” in her LAM to do some cursory work in the edge of the Zamora Mountains.

Feb 13th, 3023 : The two Leopard-Class DropShips were dispatched from Iron Dog Airfield for their holding positions near “The Factory”. They were formally offered for sale on this date.

Feb 15th, 3023 : Templar finally hacked the Daimyo, learning basic information regarding the mercenaries planned assault through the Corazón Jungle and into The District of Garcia. It seemed the unit alone was being targeted by the assault, unlike previous invasion efforts. All forces they had encountered were mercenaries, though there had been other regular armed forces from San Isabel in nearby communities, and providing support services to the units. The vehicle was then turned over to the regular techs for a computer wipe and reprogramming.

Also, the unit began to examine all the combined data between the unit’s TMM survey reports and Glamour’s recent exploration data in her PHX-HK2 Phoenix Hawk LAM. They realized the best individual the unit had that could identify what they might be looking for was Captain Vesna Clamp. Contacting “The Factory”, they were informed he was presently on a cargo run to The Free-City of Von Doom’s Downport, and would be available in about two days.

Feb 17th, 3023 : Eléna (De La Vega) Serrate arrived at Garrison via helicopter, and went over the unit’s plans for the arrival of Lady Heather Jemmas. She spent a great deal of time working things out with Tech Rima Fakih. Paladin spent most of the day brooding, though he did come up with a list of his own ideas regarding the wedding ceremony. He was surprisingly accepting of the event.

Captain Klamp arrived via his K-1 Class Dropshuttle, the “Glass Throne”. He visited the fortress while his crew spent some time at the local pubs, and quickly sorted the data. He identified one major “anomaly”, a strange mountain in a lonesome valley that gave off some odd magnetic readings. Glamour was quickly dispatched to the site, and came back with interesting information. She identified the approaches to the mountain were filled with em data, that she could best identify as wreckage from hundreds of vehicles and possibly Mechs… they seemed to have found Blue Rock Candy Mountain. At some point in the coming weeks, a survey team would be dispatched and the site examined closer for salvage or access to a hidden facility, if possible.

That night, as the “Betty” began its final approach to Terramatrix, the unit’s command staff “Prepared the Wedding Sack”, by sneaking into Paladin’s quarters, and kidnapping him for a bachelor party at The Lucky Lady. All had a good time, though the command staff ensured Paladin wouldn’t really remember much…

Feb 18th, 3023 : Tech Rima Fakih slipped into Paladin’s quarters to wake him for the important day, and found him hung-over, covered in some sort of gel and lipstick, and reeking of alcohol, smoke and something best not examined too closely. She spent the next half-hour getting him dressed and somewhat awake, and dragged him down to the Hover Limo “Elite” for the quick jaunt over to Iron Dog Airfield, to meet his potential bride. And the returning crew, of course.

They watched the Betty settle into her assigned blasted ferrocrete pad, and eventually open its main rear ramp. After several local airfield techs hurried aboard to get a report on the DropShip’s status and needs, the group gathered at the to await the passengers. First off the ship was Commander Warrick “Mister” Christie, along with his recently hired crew. After thanking Paladin for the opportunity, he introduced his crew (though no one really remembers their names, and Paladin seemed to think they looked very professional…). As he left, he leaned in close to the Colonel, and whispered “…and, Good Luck, Sir…”.

An hour passed. Paladin’s crew tried to get him more sober. Next to leave the ship, was a large helicopter of a style unfamiliar to the unit. Obviously a heavy combat vehicle, the thing was carefully led down the ramp to the ground, and a woman in a formal military suit slowly moved around the vehicle, checking its condition and general status.

The next to leave was Captain Frank Elgyn and his crew, who approached Paladin, informing him of their official return, and handing over a series of trade paperwork to Fakih listing cargo and passengers from his mission to System – Tequila Beach. He informed Paladin that his “bride” was probably going to take her time, and hinted that she was “…quite an adventure…”_. He also stated that the Lady had a large amount of “baggage” that required off-loading. Pitbull called in one of the Line’s salvage crews to report to the airfield for a “mission”. Elgyn moved off, and conferred with techs from the ship and airfield, while his crew scattered on leave.

Eventually, the woman examining the helicopter turned the vessel over to an obvious tech crew, and slowly made her way over to the gathered unit, followed closely by a similarly clad woman. She approached the group, singling out Paladin, and ignoring everyone else, turning towards Elgyn and whispering something that brought a smile to her lips, but seemed to make him embarrassed. She then turned back to the group, stopping a few arms-lengths away from Paladin.

She looked him over. He smiled wanly, and then said “Good Morning!”, and proceeded to smack a small newt fly out of the air in front of her, muttering “Stupid insects…”, realizing her growing quizzical look from a raised eyebrow, and suddenly seemed unsure of what to do. She looked him over once more, and after a Sniff, asked “Colonel Ruxbundy? You seem to be what I remember…”. She introduced her maid, Lady Morrigan “Mechanika” Fields, and had a case of paperwork handed over to Paladin, which Fakih accepted. Lady Heather suddenly seemed bored with the group, and looked back over at the helicopter as the techs unfolded its rotors and seemed to run it through a checklist.

Advocate introduced himself, and Lady Heather questioned who he was, and what position he had, but seemed unimpressed with his description, eventually ignoring him.

Eventually, the salvage crew arrived and began to unload her “baggage”, which included the expected collection of clothing, but had several tons of ammunition (SRMs, MGs) and what must be spare parts. Once everything was loaded, she turned to the group, and queried “Shall we?”, promptly entering the limo and slipped into the far seat. The couple made one-sided small talk, and she asked after her quarters, stating that she wanted to discuss the contracts once she had some time to “freshen-up”. She was met in the fortress by Eléna (De La Vega) Serrate and many of the rest of the unit, though Glamour obviously remained absent. She slipped away chatting with Eléna, suddenly packed with charm, and trailed by her shadow, Lady Fields.

Paladin and his aide, Fakih slipped into the main meeting room, and began to look over the papers Lady Heather had given them. Advocate was consulted, and together (especially with Fakih’s examination) picked them apart. They appeared to be a fairly straight-forward contract, offering the resources of The Barony of Horn for primary trade with Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” as a Sword of the Realm, in exchange for the hand of his daughter in marriage. This allowed for technology and personnel exchanges, and was to be in effect for as long as the marriage was maintained. Advocate seemed unable to believe the honest straight-forward nature of the contract, and spent the rest of the night poring over it looking for loop-holes or anything else that seemed out of the ordinary (he rolled a critical failure on his Negotiation roll)…

After several hours of anxious waiting and debate over the contract, Lady Heather finally arrived, and commanded everyone to leave to discuss matters with her betrothed. She excluded Tech Fakih, but not her own maid. She asked if the contracts met with his approval, and he agreed, in principle.

“Good. I have a couple of provisions, however. One – When we are married, I will be responsible for the household, and you can do whatever it is mercenaries do, practicing your soldiery and earning whatever you can for your troops. And when we have children, and there will be children, I will raise them, teach them and train them, while you will ensure they can defend themselves and all they will one day hold…”

“Agreed. And two?”, asked Paladin.

“Two…” continued Lady Heather, “…two…” Suddenly she moved forward and embraced Paladin, and proceeded to make out with him.

Suddenly, still pushing him against the table while she leaned on him, she broke-off the embrace, and quickly grasped his privates with her left hand. “Two, is that while we are married, as your wife, I own THIS. They are mine, and mine alone. I understand that you might have your mistresses and flings…”, glancing quickly over his shoulder at a shocked Fakih, “…and I understand this. I will likely have my own. But you will never cuckold them in public, you will keep it discreet, and I will know who they are so that social graces might be maintained at all times. And if you ever have any children outside of our marriage…” she squeezed particularly harder at this point, eliciting a squirm and sharp intake of Paladin’s breath… “… I swear I will take what is MINE!” She then kissed him hard once more, breaking off once more with a glance and a smirk at a shocked, open-mouthed and speechless Fakih, before slipping out of his grasp and moving away from him allowing him to stand away from the table.

“I think I understand now, why my father wanted this union. You have power and wealth, but you are also still just a man. Men are weak and like helicopters… you grab the “joystick” hard enough and you can make it go wherever you want… We can sign the contracts at the wedding, and I will be busy with preparations over the next few days. I must admit, introducing me to Lady Serrate was a nice touch. She certainly understands matters, and will help this go smoothly. Oh, and I want a squadron of helicopters to command. Until next… Best Betrothed…" And with a hand lightly across his right arm, swept from the room.

Paladin gathered himself together, and turned to see a still speechless Fakih staring at the door with an equally stunned look on her face. “What in the Hells was that?… I’m not… She thinks… that we’re… Gah!” sputtered Fakih.

Feb 21st, 3023 : Over the next couple days, word came from the private barracks of Lady Heather along with a stream of orders for clothing, food and other important “party favors”, along with various congratulations from the socially important members of local society, namely its CEOs from The Industrialist’s League, and other politically important people.

Unable to find any hidden agendas in the contracts, they asked for the advice of Ambassador Inara Serra for the social implications of the contract. She came to the fortress, and began to sort through the papers, detailing what she understood about the contract. She seemed to understand the social protocols regarding the contract especially well (35 on a Administration roll!).

She related that, as she understood the situation, the Barony of Horn was established as a resource colony to supply the capital of Tharn and the Baron Jemmas of Horn holds his title and position in supplying these goods to the capital and its governing body, the Mangai. What the contract does, is tie the Barony and the Iron Dingoes to a mutually beneficial agreement, but that bypasses the planet’s own governing and trade laws. This is likely only possible because the Baron’s primary heir is still unmarried, and Lady Heather’s position as well down the lines of inheritance ensures that he has other ties outside the planet’s own nobility. It also ensures his grandchildren through Lady Heather will not be in conflict with his other heirs over territorial rights, as they will be off-world. The last thing of note, is that it ties a powerful military force that he can call upon, through a “personnel exchange” to defend his holdings from a vengeful planetary or other force.

She concluded, that it was actually a good opportunity for trade and access to manpower ( The Barony of Horn‘s population of 50,000 versus * Landhold : Garrison’s population of roughly 5000. ) that they didn’t really possess at the moment. The Barony had a potential to be a very valuable ally in the long-run, plus, she stated with a smirking, smoldering look at Paladin, the Baron’s daughter was a prize herself.

Later that night, Paladin was informed of the arrival of an old contact from their early years on Terramatrix, “Big” John Stone, with whom he’d had a memorable game of poker once over New Years ( 3018-19 )… He congratulated Paladin on his coming marriage, having heard about it through the gossip venues in Ciudad Garcia, where he owned a small local transport company, Bertling Logistics, a (mostly) small package delivery company, that also conducted some heavy lift operations with Mercado Industrial Group within Ciudad Garcia and had recently begun modernizing its transport fleet of light utility transports.

He then asked if Paladin were attending “The Game”. Further inquiries made Paladin call down Advocate to his office, where the three discussed the details around the “Game”. It seemed, Stone related, that a billionaire named Douglas SInclair was offering an opportunity to “win” his ancestral home, Sierra Madre Casino & Villa, in exchange for every participant interested paying a direct fee of 2,000,000Cs in Cash, with the winner of the “Game”, getting land and all its assets with Douglas keeping the cash.

When asked why Sinclair was doing this, Stone did mention that he was “…something of an eccentric…”, plus it was a means of getting a large quantity of cash very quickly with no strings attached. Advocate and Paladin began discussing the matter, and concluded that they were interested. Stone explained that all you had to do was show-up at the casino in The Independent Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina with the cash, and entry was assured. The “…last man standing…” would win the whole thing…

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Episode 87d - "...Or, Home is where the War is..."

“Once you start thinking about it in a mercenary frame of mind, then you’re finished. You’re a joke, because there are too many mercenaries out there already.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

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Episode 87c - "...Or, Home is where the War is..."

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

February 1st, 3023 : Abandoned research station at Lake Aurin, Northern San Isabel : During the attack on the research facility, * “The Iron Dingoes” had cleared away scattered forces trying to defend the facility and its grounded mercenary DropShips. While a reinforced company of mercenary SRM infantry protected the barracks, only a wounded Grasshopper and a battered Panther remained of the defending forces, meanwhile the Dingoes still had sixteen Mechs on the field in various stages of capability.

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In the seconds before the reinforcing lance approached the battlefield, a pair of EGL-R6 Eagles appeared flying low and fast along NAP. They strafed the central cluster of three Mechs; Trooper Mycroft Holmes “Oddball” and Trooper Bodrick Thompson “Blaster” in their WHM-6R Warhammers taking the brunt of the damage. Oddball took a shot to the Head and another blowing through his CT armor to critically strike him and damage his gyro. Both he and Blaster fell over, taking more damage.

In response, they managed to get in a couple hits, but the AeroFighters quickly moved out of the area, having expended a great deal of fuel to support this defense.

The arrival of the new company of Mechs brought a change to the battlefield order. Now effectively defending the battlefield, * “The Iron Dingoes” quickly tried to maneuver for a better position to defend against the intruders.

The new unit entered the field, consisting of a good mix of styles; a Vindicator, a Scorpion_, a Griffin and an Ostscout; a Cyclops, a Victor, an Awesome and an Atlas; a Zeus_, a Phoenix Hawk and a pair of Thunderbolts. All bore mercenary markings, and appeared to be from the same mercenary unit, The Alpha Dogs.

Oddball struggled to rise, falling over and knocking himself unconscious. Mechwarrior Parish “Priest” and Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” opened up on the wounded Grasshopper, with Pitbull critically blowing its gyro apart, knocking it over and out of the fight. MechWarrior Robert Stuart “Prince” and Lieutenant SG Michael Anderson “Fixer” opened on the Panther, while Fixer took it apart with all seven of his Medium Lasers striking.

As the Alphas advanced across the field at full speed, Pitbull declared the Victor to be primary, and it took the brunt of multiple PPC strikes from Pitbull, Paladin, Slayer and Blaster, but remained moving. All approaching units identified Paladin’s Mech as the commander and tried to concentrate fire on him. In the midst of this crossfire, a strong ECM
field went up from the command Daimyo HQ 67-K, blanketing the area behind the DropShips in silence.

Oddball suddenly awoke, and groggily attempted to stand, but once more stumbled and fell over, knocking himself unconscious once more.

The advancing heavy units pushed out of their tree cover, and moved into very close proximity to the Dingoes heavy and support lances, exchanging close ranged fire. The Victor continued to take withering fire from the Dingoes, but remained in the fight. Pitbull fired on the Cyclops, critically destroying its AC/20. Paladin and Wraith fired on the Vindicator, and it took criticals to its engine and gyro, and a single ML to its Head.

Pitbull also called in the supporting scouts to remove the ECM field. Both Trooper Teresa Agnes and Trooper Thomas O’Brien interpreted this to mean they should fire on the unit, and slipped away from it to snipe with their Large Lasers, striking the turret.

The attacking units struck back with multiple hits, though the AC/20 strike on Wratih , which knocked him over, and the long-range AC/20 strike on Templar were the most notable.

On the western side of the fight, the Phoenix Hawk, and one of the Thunderbolts exchanged fire with the LAM.

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The Alphas continued to approach, and combat intensified. Shots were scattered, but with several assaults on both sides, the damage was brutal on both sides. Fixer’s strike on the Victor damaged its gyro, and Prince followed up with numerous criticals to the Victor’s SRMs and engine. Templar’s final strike on the Victor blew its LA off, and pierced the Victor’s SRM ammo bins, blowing the Mech apart.

Faith got in another lucky shot, piercing the Scorpion’s _Right Torso in a lucky shot, blowing its ammo bins apart, and knocking the Mech to the ground in pieces.

Before blowing apart, the Victor got a lucky hit on the Crokett’s Head, doing serious damage to Templer, though again he managed to stay awake.

Getting too close to the Thunderbolt, the LAM missed its kick, and took a Large Laser from the nearby Phoenix Hawk.

The next reinforcing unit arrived along the western edge of the field, with four (4) Scorpion Light Tanks, a pair of Manticore Heavy Tanks and a pair of Pike Support Tanks. Behind them were a dozen Wheeled APCs and several Light Utility Transports, all carrying infantry squads. Along the north-western edge of the field, a lance of lights also appeared; three (3) Locust and an Ostscout Mech.

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While the light lance approached through the forests, flanking the battle, the tanks moved swiftly and directly along the runway, firing at whichever target presented itself to their PPCs and Autocannons. The APCs seemed to be moving into position to deploy their infantry units. Along that edge, the LAM took several shots on one of the Locusts, but very little otherwise happened, beyond the fight getting closer to the main fight.

The battle in the forest’s edge got intense, despite the lack of the Victor and Scorpion. Among the fire, Faith got in another Head shot, this time on the Atlas, and it was followed-up by Fixer firing a Volley Fire shot of all his Medium Lasers into the cockpit on the same Mech blowing its Head clean off. Also, the Awesome took a Gauss Rifle shot from Pitbull, also taking its Head clean off in a single blow.

Fixer, Templar and Paladin all took some heavy response fire, but remained standing and in the fight.

The fight for the DropShips was still going strongly on both sides…

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Episode 87b - "...or, Home is where the War is..."

“Laddie whack fall the laddie, laddie whack fall the day.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

February 1st, 3023 : Outside the abandoned research station at Lake Aurin, Northern San Isabel : Having blown through the pickets at Rubineia, the units advanced on Lake Aurin, while its faster scout units moved to flank and hit the site on the eastern edge. The attackers knew there were reinforcements slowly following along behind them, but that they were a couple minutes behind. If the Iron Dingoes were quick, they could eliminate the units as they came to reinforce the fields defenses.

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The scout units quickly moved to seize the wooded areas in the northern portion of the map, while the slower units lumbered along behind.

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The lead units quickly identified the three DropShips on the tarmac of the airfield; the “Inferno”, the “Star Warrior”, and the much larger “Spearhead”. Defending them were three Archers and a single Longbow. A reinforced company of infantry held a series of barracks along the eastern corner of the tarmac.

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As the first units began to move further into the field, they noticed the infantry were unresponsive, while the defending Mechs remained stationary, taking a couple shots on the attacking Phoenix Hawk LAM buzzing around to flank them, with one medium laser registering a hit.

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Trying to place the DropShips behind them to make clear shots on the attacking Mechs, two Archers split from the group heading north-west, while the Longbow and other Archer moved east around the fueling buildings. Long-range shots intensified, with LRMs and PPCs beginning to be exchanged.

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The scouting forces moved to quickly intercept the advancing defenders, forcing them to disadvantage their LRMs. On the western front, there was very little fire, as the attackers cooled themselves down and moved into position through their jump jets.

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The heavy units of the Iron Dingoes began to close on the combat, and immediately made their presence known through long range strikes with their PPCs. Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” blew off the left arm of one Archer with a lucky ERPulseLL shot, while MechWarrior Faith Whinyatess PPC got it reeling with a lucky shot to the Head.

The unit concentrated fire on the one eastern Archer (identified by the moniker “Jade” ), but it responded by hitting Mechwarrior Parish “Priest” in the Head with a Medium Laser. The other Archer got off another lucky shot on Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour”‘s LAM, with another Medium Laser. The SRM-armed infantry nearest the LAM opened up as well, one platoon sprinkling rocket fire all across the _LAM’s_ armor.

In a furious Dingo Pack Tactics moment, “Jade” Archer suffered several melee strikes across its torso (four separate hits), and Glamour, floating at just the right height, kicked the head off the Longbow, taking the local lance’s leader out of the picture.

It was also noted, that the two “Scout cars” parked outside the research center were both Skulker Wheeled Scout Tanks and the command vehicle was a rare Daimyo HQ 67-K; all noted as being of Kurita-origin.

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The western front was quickly destabilizing, as the Archers were over-run by the scout Mechs, leaping over the DropShips, and as they retreated, they took various fire.

The LAM, now damaged, began to swoop out of the conflict zone, while the attackers heavy units closed to increase their fire even more. One Archer exploded in a furious fireball when Faith blew apart its ammo bins. Its companion (identified as “Wolf” ) took serious damage from multiple strikes, ravaging and destroying its LT.

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The first of the reinforcements arrived, a Dragon, a Panther, a Grasshopper and a Goliath, all Kurita-standard units.

The unit began opening scattered fire on the Goliath, until Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” touched off the ammo in its LT, blowing the Mech apart in a spectacular fashion. The solo Archer by the western barracks took ranged fire, taking a lucky CT critical, damaging most of its engine shielding and gyro.

The Dragon and Panther fired on the stationary Crockett of Templar, hitting him once in the Head and LT.

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The two isolated Archers were finally taken apart by concentrated fire; the western one shot in the Head by LtSG Massimo De Luca “Advocate”, and Wolf by multiple fire, though eventually with Faith getting the killing shot. The Dragon also took lethal fire, when Pitbull removed its Head in a perfect Guass Rfile_ shot. Trooper Bodrick Thompson “Blaster” removed the Right Torso from the exposed Panther on the building. Captain Mitchell Kitsune “Wraith” did severe damage to the Grasshopper, critically destroying 2/3 of its heat shielding.

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In the end of the first couple minutes of combat, the attackers had removed nearly two complete lances of heavy Mechs, and were able to identify that another lance of Mechs were following along close behind them, while a reinforced company of tanks and Mechs moved in from the east, likely to arrive in about another minute. For now, they were holding their own…

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Episode 87a - ...or, home is where the War is...

“Why does anyone lie? Cuz we’re scared? Or crazy? Or just mean?… There’s a million reasons why a person lies… But sometimes, you tell a lie so big… that it changes your whole life… Lie’s so big… it makes you think…”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

January 29th, 3023 : As the day drew to a close, the Council broached two final issues; contact with their potential allies in the Corazón Jungle, and how to wage a quick and effective campaign against the San Isabel military faction planning on invading The District of Garcia.

Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” thought on the latter subject, and after careful study of the situation and the maps available to him, suggested that the primary foe were essentially mercenaries like themselves, and such troops were carefully tied to their base of operations. For off-world mercenaries, that meant the bulk of their technical support and supplies were likely near or in their off-world transport. The simple means of neutralizing the invaders, was likely to find and seize their DropShips.

To assist in this and future efforts, it would be vital to ally with the Corazón troopers, and “…yoke their strength…”. Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” volunteered for the job, since he also had a personal scientific interest in the region, and seemed to have some essential diplomatic skills for the job. Plus, he was not a MechWarrior, and the unit needed to begin preparations to move south towards the border with their Mechs to counter the threat as soon as possible. Moxie left that night via the Marten VTOL kept there, along with one of his trusted aides and some personal equipment, planning to visit Tuadann and the war chief Varsha Arkadjian, to enlist her aid. He also came with a promise from the Council to provide 50,000Cs of consumable supplies (mainly salt, kerosene, and munitions) each month to the troopers for their use as scouts and irregulars within the Corazón Jungle, or along its borders.

The unit’s two unassigned scouts, hired while on System – New Syrtis, were deployed via Cobra Transport VTOL to the southern border of the Corazón Jungle, with the mandate to find the mercenary DropShips, and report back ASAP. Each was equipped with a Air Skimmer “Vulture” and a LT-68 Man-Pack Transceiver (Satellite Comms) from * “The Scrapyard”, and given a timetable of three days, before the Iron Dingoes Line Mechs would be in a position to counter-assault into northern border district of The Oriental Republic of San Isabel.

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Moxie’s trip into the jungle was uneventful, following the Rio Tashent along its slow steady pace south, until he reached Tuadann, and landed in the clearing assigned for VTOL contact with the locals. He quickly learned one basic item; they didn’t generally speak English… He eventually, however, managed to get across his intent to speak with their chief Varsha, and spoke with her, convincing her of the value the Iron Dingoes supplies could bring, and ensure he wasn’t asking more of them than to operate as “…Federal Militia…”, essentially doing what they normally did, but keeping an eye on foreign troop movements, and reporting them back to the Iron Dingoes. With the diplomatic mission a success, a large feast was called, and Moxie managed to avoid the worst of the food and drink, eventually being given a hut for his own use during the stay. He was also introduced to a young maiden to keep him company for the night… which he grudgingly accepted….

January 30th, 3023 : Moxie awoke in the morning, and after a quick exploration of the village, he found the main orbital transmitter left behind by the San Isabel military, and gained permission to contact the DIngoes in * Landhold : Garrison that the plan was in motion, and Varsha had dispatched several squads to watch the southern borders. They had been given the main military communications frequencies employed by the Dingoes, though their use was limited to access to either satellite comms or proximity to one of the few microwave transmitters high in the western mountains. He then began exploring the local area further and looking for Nexu spoor.

The Iron Dingoes began readying their Mechs. As their Line Infantry and Armor were at least a month behind them, and bringing unseasoned infantry along on the trip was impractical, they organized some skeleton crews from their existing DropShips, supplemented with some younger “DIngo Cub Scouts” techs to follow along after the location was secure. These forces would be travelling to the site via the “Crimson Sands” and the unit’s two Orkan-Class Space Planes. Each skeleton crew would be accompanied by a single marine squad from both the 1st and the 10th Marines Platoons, to ensure they remained safe during boarding operations. As such, four teams were formed to seize any potential DropShips, one on each Orkan and two on the Crimson Sands.

By mid-afternoon, the entire Line Mechforce (all four lances) deployed from their DropShips and immediately set south into the Corazón Jungle to slog along the Rio Tashent. A long, hot journey awaited them.

February 1st, 3023 : Two days into the trip south (just after midnight), MechWarrior Faith Whinyates received word via her satellite comms that “The Factory” had been successfully moved into orbit via “The Iron Vagabond”. Within hours, Ambassador Inara Serra had been able to meet with the government’s leadership of San Isabel, and was apparently in closed talks with them…

Later that day, word also came to the Dingoes making their way south, that one of their scouts searching for the DropShips had found something, reporting “…three beached whales…” were located at the old research station on Lake Aurin. Positioned in the center of the northern district, reports from both scouts revealed large concentrations of infantry/armor and air fighters flanking the border (east and west of their planned approach), along with a pair of Mech lances stationed in villages between them. Along the far west was a hospital and a mixed force of mercenary Mechs, motorized infantry and air fighters. Lake Aurin itself had at least a lance of Mechs, and another was positioned at a town to the south. Rumor placed at least one lance of AeroFighters somewhere in the area. In addition, a small force of infantry were positioned to protect the landed DropShips; a single Condor and two Leopards.

Examining the maps, Paladin decided to cross the border at the village of Rubineia, and made their way across the southern section of the border, intending to cross the Rio Parana, and push through any resistance directly towards Lake Aurin. The MEchs spread out to flank the village, with the heavier Mechs avoiding the deeper water, making their way through the swampy western portion of the river, while the jump-capable Mechs moved to flank across the wider portion of the river to the east, to make their way through the scattered forests.

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As the heavier Mechs made their way through the swamps and the lighter Mechs jumped the river, four Mechs made their way from a hardened bunker in the village’s center; a Rifleman, a Griffin, a Wolverine and a Valkyrie; a good-sized medium lance. Using the buildings as cover, they approached the main unit, obviously intent on trying to slow the advancing forces.

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Units began to snipe at long ranges, while the Valkyrie jumped closer to identify the advancing units. The Griffin took a couple long-range PPC shots, while the defenders scattered fire across all forward Mechs in response. Lieutenant SG Michael Anderson “Fixer”, having activated his Volley Fire module earlier, fired all his Medium Lasers on the Valkyrie, hitting with all seven that proceeded to core the medium Mech, blowing it apart. The Griffin took several shots from Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” (a PPC and a Gauss cannon), including a couple criticals in its CT, damaging its Gyro, Engine and a Jump Jet. Lastly, Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour” flanked the Rifleman, hitting with both her Large Lasers into its CT®.

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The defenders began to pull back into the dubious protection of the village, while the flanking lighter units from both the Striker Lance, Grounder and Glamour (in her PHX-HK2 Phoenix Hawk LAM ) and her companion were ordered to pull back and continue past the village, scouting the way ahead of the rest of the unit. It was hoped this might give them a tactical edge in the eventual fight at Lake Aurin.

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Concentrated fire on the Griffin from all the forward units took its toll, and devastated the machine, though it got off a gasping PPC shot and scattered missiles from its LRM-10 before its shattered CT was destroyed, collapsing the Mech. Trooper Mycroft Holmes “Oddball” got the kill.

The defending Rifleman immediately offered to stand-down, having been reduced to 50% of its unit strength, granting the Dingoes unrestricted passage through the village area. The Dingoes accepted, and proceeded to move forward along the roads, south towards Lake Aurin

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Episode 86 - There's no place like home...

“Well, I – I think that it – it wasn’t enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em – and it’s that – if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett

29th October, 3022 : The fleet rendezvoused at the jump-point, and began docking procedures to “The Iron Vagabond”, while Pitbull and Advocate returned to Joshua’s Station, along with Captain Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” and “Pandora’s Box”.

30th October, 3022 : Pitbull and _Advocate tried to go through customs, but were stopped by an officer who noted the unit had left dock without a customs officer aboard… After discussions about following proper protocol, and appropriate grafts, the pair were allowed access to the station, provided they followed protocol in the future, and filed an appropriate flight plan before leaving the station again.

Returning to Crazy Achmed (or his cousin, Achmed ), they discussed the availability of the CBR-34 Cobra-Class Courier (Gunship) since it wasn’t very widely publicized where this delightful vessel was manufactured. He made some inquiries and informed them in a couple days that in System – Drellesarr, there was a private manufacturing shipyard that built the vessels, usually for pirates, but sometimes for other governments and buyers. While he could get some in time, it was in the Dingoes interests_ to look into the matter closer to home. He was able to get them one (on the cheap), which they purchased, and could pick-up en-route back to their home system.

The pair also spent some time over the next couple days recruiting “a couple” DropShip pilots and engineers to fill-out the crews they would likely need for “Azrael’s Dagger”.

4th November, 3022 : Plans complete, and Fionna’s commercial JumpShip secured, the group burned back to the jump-point, and made ready to leave the system. They had a customs official aboard this time…

11th November, 3022 : Returning to the jump-point, the group docked and made final prep to jump out-system. They planned to follow the same route they took severla years ago when first travelling to Dumassas, and were familiar with the systems ahead of them.

12th November, 3022 : New Ganymede System : Arriving at the Zenith charging station, the unit remembered the system being mostly under the control of Taurus Majoris Mining (builders of “The Factory” ). They deployed sails and jumped out-system 7 days later.

19th November, 3022 : Atreus Prime System : An agricultural world.

26th November, 3022 : Centavido System : An abandoned and dead world, the Nadir station is a ruin, but secretly active and used to monitor traffic through the system.

3rd December, 3022 : Amber System : An abandoned colony world. Long (9 day charge from an M6 sun).

12th December, 3022 : Grossbach System : Light industrial system around an F1 star.

19th December, 3022 : Norman’s World System : Typical colony world.

25th December, 3022 : Christmas Day! : Organo System : An important colony world with good agriculture and light industry, word quickly spread that the local government had uncovered a production facility locally that built advanced (Star League quality) hovercraft, particularly the popular “Maultier” Hover APC. Rumours persisted that the facility was in prime condition and the government was already producing the APCs for its line forces.

January 1st, 3023 : New Year’s Day! : Althea’s Choice System : Typical colony world.

January 8th, 3023 : System – Ganulph : The system where the unit fought the Star Talon pirates, was quiet, though the well-picked debris field from the loss of the merchant JumpShip was viewed from a distance.

January 15th, 3023 : Home! : System – Dumassas : Returning to their home system, and seeing the familiar sight of “The Factory”, the unit breathed a sigh of relief. They immediately contacted the station management, and speaking directly with Station Master Haro Lothrain, caught up on a brief over-view of the local situation. The unit transferred “Azrael’s Dagger” to the construction yard for repairs, though had to delay until the present construction cycle was complete in 7 days ( January 22nd ). Plans were also made to rebuild the interior of “The Freedom of the Stars” and repair her hull from asteroid damage. Following that, the station might be undergoing some drastic change in purposes…

The “Beltstrikers” were officially transferred to Azrael’s Dagger as boarding marines, and equipped with M56 “Smartgun”s, and several other transfers and equipment upgrades were engaged across the board.

January 16th, 3023 : Aboard The Factory, the unit convened a council amid their old digs and took some time to familiarize themselves again with their most valuable asset. They convinced Lothrain that the change of venue would be worthwhile and, frankly, safer in the long-term for the station, explaining the transfer of Azrael’s Dagger and several other assets to his nominal control. He agreed to the jump, and the date of January 31st was selected as the planned “Jump Date”. Transfers of personnel and equipment was slated to last 3 days.

January 19th, 3023 : The unit loaded their DropShips enmasse, and began the 10-day burn back to Terramatrix.

January 29th, 3023 : Reaching planetary orbit, the unit deployed Intelsat “Predator’s Eye” and landed in their rough starport at Iron Dog Airfield in * Landhold : Garrison. The group quickly headed to their duty stations and began more transfers of equipment from the DropShip cargo bays to the armories of the Mech base, and began equipping their troopers on-planet with the new Iron Dingoes Infantry Field Kit (3023) standard. The substantial colonists were immediately evacuated from their transports and shelters placed under construction, while everyone regained their “land-legs”. MercTown grew very quickly overnight, and they were settled-in over the next couple days as plans for something more substantial were made.

Meanwhile, the unit met with “Jolly” Roger, leader of * The Fold Fiends, who was technically the senior officer on-planet. He filled the command council of everything that had occurred while they’d been away, from the new contract for * “The Dead Man’s Hand”, to the whole Brightwater Base Incident, and their new potential allies in the Corazón Jungle. They also learned of the great successes the unit had in recruiting infantry, and of Fort Boomerang located near Corazón Airfield.

The Council discussed The Oriental Republic of San Isabel, realizing that there was not a government conspiracy to attack the Iron Dingoes, but rather there was likely a faction of the military trying to take over The District of Garcia for their own purposes. They figured it had led back to the suborning of The First Fire, when they had initially changed tactics and invaded the district some years ago, and that Brightwater Base was another attempt to begin plans to invade the district. An intelligence report from Senior Tech Catherine “Piper” Walker supported that yet another (THIRD!) attempt was underway, with mercenary Mech pilots gathering along the southern border, under the pretense of “defensive maneuvers”. Studying the reports led Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” to conclude it was a definite attack, with supporting elements of regular infantry, armor and even air force. That the unit needed to do something soon was evident, mostly because the unit was traditionally better at attack and could mitigate any damage from their own lands in such an effort.

The Council spoke with Colonel Adam Ocelot “Black Panther” about activating the nation’s two mothballed submarines, and he promised to try and get what little crews remained together again, or at least find skilled crews, though it would take time.

It was also suggested to employ the “Elektra” as a fuel-hauler from the future interdiction port of “The Factory”, and based on simple math, the The Factory – BioDiesel Refinery would easily fulfill the requirements of Solaro Oil Company, possibly to the point that they might actually have some degree of local power in The Industrialist’s League. Plans were made to figure out the logistics of the whole situation. It was also suggested by Senior Tech Boden Thrace that the facility could expand into the unused portion of the manufacturing facility on “The Factory”, if they could acquire some hydrogen fuel refining equipment, as there was no regular refinery for DropShip and JumpShip fuels anywhere in the system. He was given the go-ahead to gather information, and pricing.

The Council also spoke with Mayor Albertina Diego about the San Isabel intelligence reports, laying all the facts as they understood them before her. She and her officials agreed with the findings, and deferred to whatever actions the Iron Dingoes felt were needed. She plainly told them she was a civilian and didn’t know much about such things, and promised that she would do whatever was needed on the political front while they dealt with the military matters. She did state that they would need to deal with the matter using their own substantial forces, as local military forces were spread thin just keeping the borders secure.

Mayor Albertina Diego also mentioned that there was a political opportunity presenting itself. She detailed the small island nation of The Independent Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, and how it represented an important airfield, close enough to Sangria that it could be tempting to invasion by The Federative Republic of San Marcos. Traditionally, the island nation had been Sangiran territory, but had slipped into independence because of its relative uselessness. It had, over the years become something of a tourist trap, and the airport was expanded to land even the largest civilian liners. With the relative weakness of Sangria, the small island nation was now attractive to anyone who wanted to use it as a jumping-off point to invade.

The present leader of the nation Antonio John Diaz, who was a close, personal friend of the Mayor, had expressed an interest in having “foreign troops” allied to Sangria defending the airfield, believing that if there were enough of them, the force would dissuade all but a major invasion force, particularly if they could hold the airfield long enough to bring reinforcements. In exchange, he would bring his island nation behind the future of Garcia’s development as a nation, and Mayor Diego felt he might be a good potential recruit for district governor, or possibly “president” in the coming years…

The Council suggested sending about a company of infantry, choosing LtSG Trooper Shiv “The Knife” to lead a collection of regular (newly recruited) infantry troopers along with his own 6th Marines Platoon as garrison forces. It was agreed their contract would be an open-ended garrison contract, and that Shiv and his troops would be regularly transferred out with replacements from time to time. These troops would also be equipped with twelve (12) of the unit’s newly acquired Ignis Infantry Support Tanks.

The Council also suggested that Indumil be given an opportunity to be granted government funding for a new factory on * Landhold : Garrison lands. In exchange for a quarter of the future profits, the Iron Dingoes would provide the trained personnel for the lines, the Lines themselves, along with the blueprints for the future goods. The government would build the facility for another quarter of the profits. Indumil jumped at the chance, and the government secured the loans against their reserves, hiring Grupo Odinsa to begin immediate construction on a site picked-out by the Dingoes own engineers and suggested by Master Tech Alejandro Pardo. Construction would take months, but was considered a positive move for the local economy and seemed to reassure the many colonists.

Things were definitely in motion, and the coming weeks would determine much…

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Episode 85 - The Daughters of Atlas

“An abyss cannot be crossed in two steps."

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

August 31st, 3022 : System – New Syrtis, Zenith Jump-Point : The fleet gathered and prepared, they jumped out-system to Merope successfully.

Merope : Originally passed through back in February 28th, 3022, on their way to fulfill their Contract – Operation “Blue Harvest”, the Iron Dingoes were somewhat familiar with this system. The group detached both “Brush Wolf” and “Dingoes’ Den” for the four-day burn to the planet, where they planned to do some research on the planetoid “Jackson’s Folly”.

September 5th, 3022 : Managing to wriggle their way through the local bureaucratic red tape, the group scattered to various personal tasks.

Caboose did a little Streetwise hunting, and discovered in a local starport bar about Jackson’s Folly disappearing some weeks back. Apparently there was a large hyperpulse generated in the same general area as the asteroid, but then it was never seen again. The casual rumor was that it was eaten by some sort of hyper-space-dwelling dragon. The asteroid was once a very profitable power metal (uranium, plutonium, etc.) mining site, but had fallen into decline with the ease of such metals being shipped in from Merope’s trojans.

Templar found a series of references to the Typhon as being possibly one of the mysterious Cartel-Class IceShips, from the Ryan Cartel. The math worked out as this being the potential asteroid smuggler, though exactly why remained a little bit of a mystery.

Several days later, the group gathered to compare their notes, and discussed exactly where this Iceship might have gone. Careful combing of their data hinted that Karl Lotjonen had long had interests in the operation of the military and government in his homeworld, System – Taurus, and the so-called Serphim had activity in that system as well. The group studied the specs on the Iceship, and quickly realized that such a vessle was likely the source of his operations right now, and that there was no way in which they could track the thing if they chose to take backwater systems. Taurus was declared the likely target, and plans were made to travel in that direction.

13th September, 3022 : Returning to the jump-point and docking with their jumpship, the group prepared for a couple quick jumps back to Flannegan’s Nebula.

14th September, 3022 : Diefenbaker System : Jump successful.

21st September, 3022 : Midal System : Jump successful.

28th September, 3022 : Flannegan’s Nebula, System – Taurus : Contacting the local jump-station, the fleet was able to parley their previous work with the national government into passage back to Joshua’s Station. Getting a Taurian customs officer on their dropship “Dingoes’ Den” they began the long passage through the asteroids and debris-choked system to Joshua’s Station.

6th October, 3022 : Arrival at the Station, they managed to gain a docking point and quickly pushed through customs. They quickly visited Pitbull’s local contact, Crazy Achmed (or his cousin… it’s hard to tell), and tried to find out if there were clandestine attempts by the Serphim to gather supplies. They also discovered their lawsuits against Pirates of the Blood Asteroid were a loss. They also looked-up the Taurian Armor Works, discovering they had been hit by Lotjonen and the nuclear weapon used against them had likely been the reason he was wanted for crimes against humanity. TAW claimed nothing was lost in the attack… but a nuke can cover a lot of missing items…

The group spent a couple days in personal R&R.

8th October, 3022 : Achmed (or his cousin Achmed ) returned the message, with a “Theoretcial Discussion” regarding a pair of Danais-Class DropShips that were “formerly” owned by Five Rings Shipping. Apparently the pair were still in operation (under differnt names), sometimes gathering general military supplies and personnel for transit somewhere within the system. Achmed was offered the groups collection of illegal narcotics for knowledge of when one of the ships might rendezvous with the station, and were informed the ship was due on the 18th…

The command council gathered to plan their next steps, and activated * “The Werewolves”, both the line squad and their companions the Loup-Garou, along with a pair of the Trojan Horses regular marine squads. These troops were gathered and began running practice missions for the capture of the “Elektra”.

During the next ten days, the Dingoes hired a skeleton crew for the Elektra, a rather shady pilot and some engineers, but Advocate was assured they could do the job with little concern. Moxie hired a vet, intending to use the woman in breeding “Guard” Nexu. Pitbull also tracked down a pair of second-hand Neuro-Helmet Crackers for their techs.

18th October, 3022 : The Elektra was noted as docking at a cargo bay on Joshua’s Station, and the Werewolves and select marines were activated, and waited to deploy from the Dingoes’ Den.

19th October, 3022 : With a flight plan declared to local customs, the Werewolves and their marine escorts deployed along the station’s exterior, quietly slipping on-board the DropShip before it un-docked and moved off into the system, away from the main shipping lanes. A couple hours later, the squads swarmed through the DropShip and quickly subdued the mostly civilian crew (along with a squad of ex-military Seraphim marines). There were no losses among the boarders. The ship was quickly rendezvoused with by Dingoes Den, and the ship surrendered utterly to Iron Dingoes control. A quick series of interrogations revealed the civilian crew to be willing to work for the Dingoes, and they quickly gave up their navigational co-ordinates, as well as docking procedures for the asteroid of Jackson’s Folly.

Umbra_Station.jpg

23rd October, 3022 : Using the Elektra as a trojan horse, the Werewolves and their assistants in the 1st and 6th marines platoons prepared to board the asteroid. Approaching with the Dingoes Den in shadow, the DropShip hailed the asteroid, and then moved in for docking.

A very sharp and brutal fight ensued, with the assaulting Dingoes forces encountering stiff resistance. They did, however, have 2-1 odds and vastly superior firepower, sustaining serious casualties (initially 55% casualties, reduced to 25% due to armor strength and immediate medical care), but taking the asteroid base in record time. Searching the facility took the better part of two days, as Dingoes tech teams were escorted through the cavernous mining station in search of salvage and enemy forces. Eventually a final group of engineers surrendered, having tried to hide in a forgotten corner of the station. BY late 25th October, the station was in Iron Dingoes hands.

Among the salvage recovered, were three TIG-15 “Tigress” Close Patrol Craft (Gunship)s, and numerous munitions and a handful of techs and engineers that passed basic interrogation. Locked in a chamber off the main hangars, was the real prize, and the reason Lotjonen had probably attacked the Taurian Armor Works, a first-run HCT-3F Hatchetman.

26th October, 3022 : Salvage in tow, the Elektra was placed under Dingoes control, and taken back to the jump-point. Meanwhile, since they had an extra DropShip, Captain Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” was ordered to detach and return to Joshua’s Station where she would take a commercial JumpShip to return to System – Dumassas. Meanwhile, Pitbull and Advocate returned to the station via KR-61 Class Long-Range Shuttle to arrange various supplies and hire the commercial JumpShip.

The Iron Dingoes were returning home…

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Episode 84 - The Typhon Affair

“Sometimes we expect more from others, because we would be willing to do that much for them.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

August 18th to 24th, 3022 : The unit checked in with their contracted recruiter, who reported having secured a total of 63 combat personnel, 20 techs, 7 administrators, 7 more line engineers (13 total), and 54 more machinists (87 total) willing to transport to System – Dumassas for work. He had also recruited a “Road Construction Crew” of 2 squads of civil engineers, having personal tools, but no heavy machinery, and an “Insertion Specialist”, Trooper Victoria “Tori” Wu. Lt. Daniel Bernard then took his bonus and pay, and claimed he had a line on another contract he was looking forward to filling, wishing them well.

Captain Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” had apparently paid-out a bonus to all her troops for their contract on New Syrtis, with each of them receiving a gold brick, two bottles of some sort of purple brandy, and a box of cigars. Rumors had she also took several military police motorcycles and four hover APCs from the same customs depot at the starport; since none of the items “officially” existed, they were easy to make disappear. It was also rumored the items in question were slated for the personal use of Duke Michael Hasek-Davion, and that he was “concerned” about their disappearance.

It became obvious they needed to hire some sort of DropShip transport, settling on locating a Condor-Class vessel for their large number of personnel moving to Dumassas. Sending out feelers, they spent a couple days looking for one, eventually hiring a battered civilian Condor owned by RCW Express, a private transport company. Plans were made to transfer all their hired personnel and their families and belongings to the DropShip, about two days prior to their evacuation from System – New Syrtis. They paid up-front for the trip, offering 600,000 Cs in cash.

LtSG Massimo De Luca “Advocate” traded the unit’s recently recovered mineral wealth for parts and armor to repair the damage caused during their conflict in the debris fields, setting aside these materials until they could effect repairs at “The Factory” in Dumassas. He also had Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” hunt down some “Chill Cans” or stealth modules for the units Marine Combat Armor, but they proved both expensive and rare, only able to acquire 90 of the units for their premier marine platoons (1st and 6th), and some for their own personal use and * “The Werewolves”. He also purchased more Marine Combat Suit – “Voidsuit”s, but found them both expensive and restrictive to acquire. Lastly, he acquired over a hundred M56 “Smartgun”s for use of their infantry and marines as a support weapon, especially since they had proven so valuable during their recent boarding actions.

Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” and Trooper Bodrick Thompson “Blaster” spent several days at the University of Saso; the former working on doing a follow-up dissertation on “AIs and Robotic Control Systems”, while the latter worked on studying more information on nuclear demolition charges, something he wanted to improve on from his previous experiences in the Debris Field. Although not as well received as his first dissertation, Moxie was successful in his attempt, while Blaster found a whole section of the university library dedicated to various demo charges, complete with diagrams and basic blueprints. He spent his time copying these relics for himself.

August 25th, 3022 : As the unit drew its R&R to a close, Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” took Templar with him to sign-off their transport papers off-world and out-system. Leaving the central governmental complex, the pair took their transport headed to the starport, when it hit a pedestrian. Leaving the bus to investigate, Templar looked over the victim, providing first aid while Paladin tried to give him some room and control the watchers. Templar very quickly learned that the victim was not just injured from the bus, but that someone had scooped his insides out and stuffed a “hot” nuclear demolitions charge in his bowels!

Not sure how to proceed, he contacted Blaster via communique. Explaining he needed help, Blaster reminded him he was busy learning how to disarm nuclear demolitions charges. “Good News! So am I!” replied Templar. Assisted by Blaster_, he was able to begin disarming the device, while +Paladin urged the driver to contact local emergency services and inform them there was a nuclear bomb. He dispersed the gathered on-lookers with a few shots in the air, and cleared the local streets. As time ticked down, Templar succeeded in disarming the device as it jostled out of the victim, rolling into the street.

Soon thereafter, emergency services arrived, and took over the scene, offering to take the pair to the local hospital, but they declined, saying they had their own medical techs at the starport. They immediately returned to their DropShips, and sought medical assistance, burning their clothes and getting hosed down. Notifying their security troops to keep a closer eye on matters, they doubled sweeps, and summoned all available members of the Council for an emergency meeting.

At first, the thought was that this was not a casual encounter, and that maybe someone had targeted Paladin and the Iron Dingoes. They ordered an emergency search of all DropShips in the fleet, spending several hours doing so, searching basic quarters with detectors for any other such devices. They also realized that maybe someone from the recently recruited techs and troopers might be involved, so they spoke with Captain Roger Wiggins from their hired DropShip, asking if they could do a security sweep of his ship. At first reluctant and demanding to know why, they explained they had security concerns, and convinced him to allow their troopers to sweep the ship, but not his personal crew’s quarters. Several more hours later, they had found nothing.

Unable to access the victim, though new reports on the incident reported that he was critical though stable, and under heavy guard, the group did a little digging to discover he was an independent news reporter on-planet trying to sell several stories to local media outlets. Nothing else could be garnered, since the police likely already had his apartment under observation, and it would prove difficult to get any information about what his investigations had exactly been about.

As darkness settled on the city, another explosion rocked Saso. Targeting the main governmental complex (the one Paladin had recently returned from) with excessive damage across the surrounding blocks would have destroyed any trace of the bomb’s origins in the explosion, making further investigation of both local security cams and radiation traces impossible. The Dingoes had taken too long to stop the next explosion.

Local security had locked-down the starport and the city in general, allowing no one to either leave or enter the city until the emergency had been sorted-out. Local communications were restricted, but the Dingoes were able to access their own network, and slipped into various remote archives for research on their problem.

Moxie, however, recognized something. Medically, the victim could not have walked very far without coersion, and he suspected the victim had been forced to walk via a cybernetic implant or something similar. Knowing he couldn’t have gone far, he did a sweep in city archives via the local news net of hospitals, eventually expanding the search to include any medical facilities in the area. He found one, a medical sanitorium converted to a medical museum, that had been closed for several days. Its owner and a security guard had been missing for the same period, and further investigation revealed that so had a pair of beverage delivery techs whose route lay nearby.

The group decided to activate the Loup Garou squad of * “The Werewolves”, since they could slip out of the starport undetected in their Battle Armor – Tornado PAs, and use them to scout and secure the perimeter of the facility, while the Council used a couple select specialists to infiltrate the facility and see if they could acquire a couple demolitions nukes and whatever else they might find. Keeping the matter internally, would restrict the knowledge of both the op and whatever they might find. If they sent in other personnel, knowledge would leak into the general Dingoes unit. The group was agreed to include Advocate as leader, Moxie (convinced because there might be unique cybernetics to salvage) as medical, Blaster for his technical expertise on demo-nukes, and both Templar and Caboose as guns. Glamour argued vehemently against the op, saying the gain was not greater than the potential loss, and Paladin let the group go with a promise to get out quickly and limit exposure. Blaster and Templar acquired a couple radiation-proof crates to hold the (theoretically) pair of warheads remaining (two more missing persons = two warheads). Taking “Nerf”, their personal Type 74 “Buffalo” Hover Truck, the council loaded themselves and their equipment, and dispatched the Loup Garou ahead to secure the site.

Advocate managed to convince the starport security detail he had to run a couple “…important documents…” prior to their filed evacuation from the starport in the morning, and were able to leave the drop-zone with the provision they return in three hours, or he would have to report them. The group made their way through the nearly deserted streets in the dead of night quickly, finding the wooded medical complex, surrounded by a park and protected by a high ornamental iron fence. Loup Garou reported they had silenced a small band of thugs working their way around the complex woodlands, and that otherwise the facility seemed quiet and unprotected.

Disabling the electronic and mechanical locks on the main gate, the group slipped into the complex, taking “Nerf” around back towards where a staff parking area was located. Finding several parking stalls, alongside a garage, and being the lot was below the regular ground in a low dip behind the facility, making it out of sight from the rest of the complex. Parking in one of the stalls near a back door into the central complex, the group investigated the garage, finding a pair of military jeeps. Taking the central steering wheels, they disabled the vehicles for anyone to try and make a quick exit. Entering th lowest level of the main complex, the group entered a kitchen.

Obviously used regularly, the group quietly entered what seemed to be a workshop for repairs beyond, and found a pair of techs in radiation suits operating on someone, in an effort to stuff another nuke charge in his abdomen. One tech was quickly dispatched before he could raise his weapon, and the other, recognizing his imminent doom, attempted to activate the nuke, but fell under the concentrated fire of the group, before he could do anything. Blaster quickly searched the device, securing it against immediate detonation, and quickly searched the remaining rooms, finding another device in a disposal room with a medical waste burner. The group secured both devices, while Templar dressed in one of the tech’s suits and slipped from the facility to retrieve the crates. Moxie quietly removed a complex-seeming cybernetic implant on the base victim’s skull, that seemed to control motor functions, and noted a remote camera system was located on the victim’s left shoulder, taking that as well.

Templar ensured he was secure, raised his hood to identify himself to the Loup Garou around the complex, then started dragging in transfer crates, while Blaster directed the others in loading and securing the devices. Leaving them in the workshop, the group headed up into the main complex, ignoring both wings of the building, and moving up higher into the third level, where the main offices should be located. They found a living area that looked well-used by about a dozen people for nearly a week, strewn with food containers and other debris. Moving further into the level, they found a central board-room, with four thugs playing cards around a large table.

The resulting combat was brief and brutal. Templar and Caboose took serious damage from both standard auto-rifles and the sonic rifle used by the leader. The terrorists finally went down under sustained burst fire, and the Dingoes scoured the room taking weapons and tens of thousands in hard cash from the corpses.

Among the paperwork on the table, they found various documents relating to something called “Project Eagle-Strike”, as well as holo pics of both the New Syrtis Shipyards, and one vessel in particular on that site. An odd vessel no one could identify (it was either really old or really new), labelled The Typhon?. This vessel seemed massive, and was surrounded by debris and engineers in space suits, as though it were engaged in salvage work, or something similar. One of the important factors, was reference to something called “Umbra Station”, that “…it was ready…”, and that the group should finish their operation, and remove all evidence of their activities with select strikes on the central archive complex and the University of Saso.

The_Typhon__2_.jpg

The “Typhon”?

Other paperwork identified the group as belonging to a terrorist group called the “Provolutionists”, a group that believed superiority in status was enforced through militant and violent action. There were well-known links connecting the Provolutionists as a splinter organization of “The Principii” out of the Concordat; an organization not supported by the latter, but still with contacts between both, as they were attempting the same goal. Provolutionists felt that sudden change was a good thing, if it forced modern “failing” methods to retreat. Whatever Eagle-Strike was, it hinted at violent attempts to free Davion control of ancient Concordat worlds and systems, such as the Pleiades Cluster.

Gathering the holo-disks, holo-pics and other documents, the group slipped back downstairs, and quickly loaded the crates with the demolition cores onto their transport, along with the unconscious Templar and other wounded personnel. They informed Loup-Garou of mission complete, and slipped out of the complex, re-locking the gates before making their way quickly back through deserted streets to the starport. At the check-point, the group feigned drunkeness, passing over the “proper paperwork” (one of their dwindling bottles of rare ancient irish-bonded whiskey) to the gate guards, saying “…we finished with our papers in good time… hic ". The guards let them through, and the group returned to the DropShips. About an hour or two later, the Loup Garou returned successfully and the DropShips locked themselves down and began prepping for launch.

August 26th, 3022 : With the new day, the Dingoes were able to secure their passage off-world, based solely on their contract completion, and paperwork filed weeks prior that gave them passage off-world on this day. All DropShips lifted-off successfully, while their hired civilian Condor managed its own lift-off and agreed to rendezvous with them at the jump-point.

Over the next few days, while in transit, the group learned that police had traced the bombing to the Provolutionists, and that they had been eliminated in what appeared to be a " …drug-deal gone wrong…". The city was returning to normal operations, and the lock-downs were ending.

August 30th, 3022 : The fleet arrived and rendezvoused at their JumpShips, and prepped for jump out-system. They were required to wait an extra day for the arrival of their hired DropShip, as the vessel was slow in reaching the Zenith. The fleet took advantage of the time to re-stow cargo and secure all their increasingly large loads.

SUgust 31st, 3022 : The RCW Express Condor arrived, docked with “The Iron Vagabond”, and the fleet jumped out-system, bound for Merope.

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Episode 83 - Dagger Fall

“Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Flashman
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

July 25th, 3022 : L5 Debris Field – Clump 23, Kigamboni System, Federated Suns : Returning to “The Freedom of the Stars” and the “Dingoes’ Den”, the unit docked their gunship and pair of aerofighters for repairs. Taking an hour to revise their plans, they slowly moved back to the debris point with the comet husk, and boarded a pair of squads along with Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” and Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” on the gunship, escorted by Lieutenant SG Eric Balmer “Tinman” in his EGL-R6 Eagle.

The pair of aeroships moved into the debris point, identifying a cloud of debris around the comet husk, as well as the gutted remnants of a Buccaneer-Class DropShip. A slow fly-by of the husk revealed an obvious hangar bay (sealed), which the gunship approached. Finding a small personnel airlock along one side of the hangar bay doors, the marines slipped over to it, while Pitbull and Templar spent some time examining it for booby-traps. Close study revealed it was trapped where its explosive bolts would activate, blowing the entire airlock into vacuum. Assisted by the marine squad’s technician, they deactivated it, and began moving the squads through the airlock into the comet base.

Beyond the airlock was a corridor that slipped around a large open hangar bay, visible through numerous large portholes. Eventually the corridor entered a control room with massive bay windows over-looking the hangar bay and main airlocks, and containing monitoring equipment, access to the bay itself, and a simple data control center, with access to the central core. Simple data access was allowed, giving a general status update of key locations also with computer access; Control Room, Habitat, Medical and Storage.

Examination of the computer core began, with Templar requesting (but denied) guards, and the two squads spread through the base looking for information or inhabitants. It was discovered that at least two hours previously, the base had been abandoned, from access to the hangar bay doors, and Templar found a buried code deep in the computer’s programming, that was counting-down. The third and forth marine squads were requested, and the gunship moved out to the Den to gather them, while the search continued.

Careful searching revealed several dormitories, capable of housing up to 300 personnel, though only about 20 of the 0-G bunks were being used regularly. Life support was salvaged from the nearby Buccaneer, as was the equipment for Medical and the Kitchens. A large Exo-Ball court was found in the Habitat area, and the Control Room was revealed to have hidden surveillance at all key locations (airlocks, bulkheads, important rooms). Deep beyond the core, near the kitchens, they found a large Stores area, with a direct cargo access along a separate corridor and airlock to the outside. In one back room, easily locked from the outside, they found a collection of civilian corpses, somewhat well-to-do, based on their clothing, each executed. It was agreed they were likely hostages, eliminated when the pirates abandoned their base.

Meanwhile, examination of the computer files revealed that it was tied to the main system’s power; and in all their searches, they had never found a central fusion core. Close attention to the hangar bays, however, revealed that in addition to literally a good gigaton of refined hydrogen fuel stored in numerous tanks along the walls, was an ice refining station and a large heat source – likely the fusion core. The new marine squads arrived, and began helping in the search, and one of the new marine techs was sent down to examine the modules. In addition to the large (630-ton) fusion engine mounted along the bottom of the bay, was an unidentifiable module. He identified it as nuclear demolition charge, powered by the main reactor…

Trooper Bodrick Thompson “Blaster” volunteered to look at the device, and accompanied the pair of tech squads that were travelling to the facility. Meanwhile, Templar noted that the facility count-down gave the unit approximately 8 hours, and his attempts at programming might be able to allow him to stop the clock, but there was a concern that if that should happen, it might activate the demolitions charge. They decided to wait for Blaster, since he had the skills to conduct a proper examination of the device.

The marine crews quickly searched through the large collection of containers in the Stores, noting several 0-G cargo handling devices were present, though energy charges on the devices limited their efforts to hauling twelve crates. Search of the Stores began, and led to them finding numerous sorts of things, from copper and gold ore, to basic electronics to combat cybernetics and a small agribot. Key cargoes were identified, and slowly moved down the tunnel access corridor, while the Dingoes Den was moved into position near the cargo airlock.

Blaster agreed with the tech’s assessment, and quickly determined the device would go off if it lost power, or the clock ever stopped for whatever reasons. Recognizing the device was going to blow, regardless of their efforts, Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” gave the unit 6 hours to clear and salvage the base, and then move out of the nearby debris point to a safe location and let the device destroy all evidence of the pirate’s efforts.

The techs and marines quickly began salvaging operations, and once they had exhausted the fuel cells on their handling equipment, locked everything down and promptly abandoned the base themselves. All vessels moved carefully from their debris points and slowly moved to a safe distance. The detonation was spectacular, with the comet husk crumbling in on itself in a massive explosion and EMP pulse.

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July 26th, 3022 : The group slowly made their way back to the remnants of the Vigilant Corvette and began a quick survey of the site, thinking it might have been kept as a fall-back site for the pirates, but cursory examinations revealed that wasn’t the case. The pirates and their shuttle were well-hidden in the field… somewhere. The decision was then made to evacuate the Dingoes’ Den and her crews back towards the planet of Kigamboni, hoping to encounter the trail of the shuttle, but leaving the Freedom hidden in the field, along with the Gunship, and see if they were still hidden in the field.

The Den quickly accelerated towards the planet, and after some hours, began to pick-up a fast-moving object making its way towards the debris clump, on an intercept course. The Den began to decelerate, and turn around, but the fast-moving object turned-out to be “Azrael’s Dagger” moving at maximum thrust. With no way to intercept or meet the ship at the debris clump, it was all in the hands of the Freedom and her crew.

A couple hours into the wait in the clump, the Freedom picked-up a sharp communications burst from a nearby debris point. Though coded and garbled, the crew knew what it meant, and carefully loaded their gunship with a reinforced marine squad and moved towards the site. Although it took a sharp strike to its left wing upon entering the debris point, they found a lone S-7A Class Bus at the site, promptly boarded and swarmed the bus in the debris point, capturing it with only one casualty ( Hans-Too-Tall… again… ). Taking possession of the bus, the marines prepared for the arrival of the Achilles, and it too soon arrived, almost screeching to a halt outside the debris clump. It sent a hurried command to dock in its port small craft bay, and the bus left the field at maximum thrust, it’s trojans aboard her.

The docking was wobbly, but successful, and the reinforced marine squad stormed aboard the Achilles. A desperate assault began, with the reinforced and tougher marine squad from the Dingoes against the crew and typical marines squad of the defenders. Initially even, it quickly turned against the pirates, when the Dingoes marines managed to get their M56 “Smartgun”s into play, and the entire pirate crew of the “Azrael’s Dagger” died to the last man. The vessel was under Dingoes control.

Several hours later, the Den arrived and sent additional techs and medics to look after the casualties. Among the cargo aboard the Star Bus was a small portable data comp, with the in-system pirate contacts and activities, along with a reference to several other “major assets” of the pirates. It hinted that the pirates were one branch of an organization known as “The Principii”, a pro-Taurian militant group of terrorists. Most importantly, it was rumored that the Principii were led by Karl Lotjonen, who was wanted by the Taurian government for terrorism.

A skeleton crew was supplied over to the Azrael’s Dagger from the Den, to get the vessel to the jump-point, where it would be locked into a docking collar until it could be turned over to a new captain… likely Commander Warrick “Mister” Christie and his crew he was gathering in System – Tequila Beach. The pair of DropShips then moved towards the jump-point at a casual speed, taking several days, while the Freedom moved to a safe distance from the debris clump, and prepared to jump back to a rendezvous in Cumberland with Content Not Found: iron-vagabond.

July 29th, 3022 : The Dingoes Den and Azrael’s Dagger both docked with the Iron Vagabond, and spent the better part of the day transferring cargo and personnel.

July 30th, 3022 : Both the Freedom and Vagabond jumped into Cumberland System, deployed their sails and began charging operations.

August 6th, 3022 : Hobson System : Both ships jumped in-system without incident. They both deployed sails and began charging operations. Seven days later, they jumped out-system.

August 13th, 3022 : System – New Syrtis : Jumping in-system, the group couldn’t contact their people deployed on New Syrtis, left behind to fulfill their obligations under Contract – Operation “Blue Harvest”. Having two days left in the contract, the group gathered aboard their DropShips, the “Brush Wolf” and the “Dingoes’ Den”, and made the casual 4-day burn towards the planet.

August 17th, 3022 : Landing at Saso starport, the landed DropShips made contact with their counter-parts the “Pandora’s Box” and the “Star Talon”, their local commander Captain Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” and their Federated Suns liaison officers.

It became apparent that Captain Lord had strongly employed “Dingo Pack Tactics” during their mission, and might have over-stepped their bounds. She had apparently chosen to strike several basic suppliers (with the fake guns supplied for their activities) and using their vehicles slipped into all her targets under the contract without incident, taking control of all the facilities with ease. She then advanced up the supply chain, raiding several other facilities along the supply chain until she and her people had actually taken control of the starport and its warehouses at the final point, allowing their DropShips to land and begin “loading” operations, uncontested by local defenses. That several tons of whiskey, cigars and other goods had gone missing from the customs building was being overlooked in exchange for the Dingoes keeping the security breaches quiet. The contract was paid-out and the Dingoes dismissed from service. It was further decided to take some time-off for all the troops, to enjoy some R&R for several days.

Plans were then discussed in approaching the Pleiades Cluster, in search of Lotjonen at his facility, marked in their data as something known as “Jackson’s Folly”. It was further decided to keep the matter silent, and not inform the government, especially since they would likely lose salvage rights to Azrael’s Dagger and any other ships or items they might salvage from teh facility in question. Things would develop into a Black Op, but this time, they would have access to the entire Line Troops for the operations…

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