“My name is Legion; for we are many. "
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
Feb 12th, 3021 : Just prior to jumping out-system, Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” decided to attach his secret project, Chip 10987, to his neurohelmet, The Fisher King’s Neurohelmet in an effort to finally stabilize “Cortana”’s matrix. Following a period of several minutes, the Chip finally activated with a drop of water and assimilated the circuitry of the helmet, spreading along its neural pathways and waiting… for something… Tech Brandis Turgan was then ordered to turn his attentions towards Data Core – Decimator 397…
Delaying a couple days to secure a cargo of a civilian DropShip seeking access to Gollere, and the arrival of some last minute supplies, the unit cycled its crews through their station at the jump-point, “The Factory”, and waited.
Feb 15th, 3021 : The fleet of three JumpShips ( “The Freedom of the Stars”, “The Den Mother” and “The Iron Vagabond” ) then left System – Dumassas, and jumped out to System – Gollere, it’s Line units in tow.
Once comms and sensors cleared, they were hailed by a single Merchant-Class JumpShip, “The Cormorant” out of New Syrtis. After being assured the unit were mercs hired by local governmental forces, the JumpShip crew revealed they had been hauling a Mule-Class DropShip with cargo, and a Condor-Class DropShip with tourists out of System – Malagrotta. Both DropShips had burned in-system and reached orbit, but after the Mule landed, the Condor suddenly cut off communications and rode for higher orbit, before disappearing. Many suspected pirates.
February 18th, 3021 : The unit then escorted their paid-fare civilian passenger ship in-system, and after ensuring it landed at the planetary capital, began maneuvering to land at their intended target of the Barony of Horn, for their Contract – Operation “Steampunk Shuffle”. Several hours later, the fleet of DropShips began dropping on the area near the capital of Horn, a small, provincial town of several thousand citizens, and occupied its landing area with their five DropShips. “Brush Wolf” landed last, deploying its Intelsat “Predator’s Eye” above their drop-zone. They activated a PING to try and get a lock on any SLDF sites, but ionization interfered too greatly with their efforts to get any proper readings, due to the system’s binary electrical signals.
With the fleet landed in full, it impressed the “slack-jawed yokels” with a great deal of awe and wonder. The town was “…quaint…” as one member put it, being a former administrative center that had been rebuilt when the local colony was begun. The Fortress of Horn was a town of nearly 4000 citizens, protected by an earthen rampart, topped by a wall of fieldstone and brick. The local militia was a citizen-soldier force of about a battalion of musket-armed troopers, supplemented by the Baron’s own “Knights” and “Squires” who employed composite armor and advanced weapons (sometimes laser rifles) from out-system export or lovingly maintained from ancient times. The town itself was composed of residences, shops and industrial efforts, and the center of the colony’s future.
The unit were met at the landing strip by a caravan of advanced-looking wheeled APCs, as well as a modified hover APC used as a “limo” by the Baron. Many of the command staff joined Sir McNabb and were shuttled to a meeting with the Baron. Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour” remained behind to fly her PHX-HK2 Phoenix Hawk LAM in circles around the capital to take a series of navigational readings and map out the terrain. This display also frightened and amazed many locals.
Eventually the unit met with Baron Jemmas of Horn, discovering that his palace was once an important planetary armory, complete with underground parkade filled with various military vehicles and other important equipment. The Baron himself was well-armed, and all his bodyguards were equipped with advanced ceramic armor and laser rifles. After local cuisine tasting and many pleasant discussions about space travel, something which the good Baron expressed an interest in, referring to it as “…similar to bedding a wench for the first time, I presume…”.
The Baron explained the difficulties he and his citizens had been facing of late, including the arrival of these so-called “Gold Legion Raiders”. He explained the colony had lost four of its north-western villages, showing the unit on an ancient map the local area, and he feared more were to be attacked in short order. The group noticed numerous interesting additional marks on the map, and were informed the map had been found in their archives back when the colony was first founded.
The attacks were then described. First numbering a dozen strong-seeming warriors in golden-glowing armor, they had steadily grown in number, until the last raid in “Bear” had been with nearly 30 or forty of the yellow-armored troopers were being seen. In addition to their being seemingly impervious to common small arms fire, they moved with an efficient determination, ignoring most attacks until they had overwhelmed resistance, whereupon they looted everything of value including young, capable citizens. He said one survivor of the last raid was available to interview, having seen the destruction first hand. Any other needs could be discussed with their Liaison officer, Apprentice Synod, Garth Ammon. The Baron agreed that he needed to pay the unit to do this quickly, employing all his colony’s reserves and future production for a year or two, lest there be no colony in a year’s time. He excused himself then, and left the unit to themselves.
Escorted to the meeting with the lone survivor from the raid on Bear, the unit met Soldier Willum. In bandages, he related how the two dozen golden-armored troopers he had seen, swarmed from the morning mists, and methodically spat laser fire and launched grenades against any who opposed them. He related how one brave Knight armed with a laser rifle managed to get a critical shot on one, that set the armored giant smoking in a shower of sparks, but that he soon drew the attention of the other three members of the invader’s squad, and died quickly. He himself, was knocked unconscious by a grenade explosion near him, and awoke, wounded and alive well after the attackers had passed.
He was interrogated by the unit, relating there had been around two dozen troopers, acting in groups of four, about half with the “fire lasers” on their shoulders, the rest wielding laser rifles with grenade launchers. He also mentioned seeing two troopers towards the back, not engaging in combat, and seeming to direct the attackers. Their strange armor was bulky and seemed impervious to any small arms attacks, save the one he mentioned. Indeed, the armor was full-length combat armor, covering the whole body, all limbs and even their heads, the latter with a large bright amber plate of glass or something that reflected a bright, red light. Completing their interview, they were excused and requested access to the town’s libraries and archives, to perhaps find more information. They were granted a handful of passes, and the unit took their leave, promising to begin their hunt once they had determined the raider’s location.
The unit consulted with Glamour, and expanded her flights to include the marked regions they had noted on the map in the Baron’s possession. These included an area noted as “Shelter Ruins”, about 40 km west of Horn, and another spot labelled “Aquan Labs”, about 60 kms north along the coast. The unit also reviewed their understanding of the attacks, determining they must have come from the north-west, and planned to begin their actual scouting towards that direction when the contract finally began. Meanwhile, a pair of marine platoons (supplemented with a couple light transports for travel) were dispatched to each location (“Aquan Labs” and “Shelter Ruins”), to begin a little scouting work, while the unit’s Force Recon and Senior Scout “Scammer” Firdaaz were dispatched into the north-west “Computer Core” location to begin their own investigations. Meanwhile, select members of the unit were going to do some rooting around in the local archives and college library.
The 1st and 8th Marine Platoons travelled north along the coast and spent a couple days poking around the ruins there. They reported finding a “hot zone” (also marked on the map), over a spot where about a dozen large buildings were positioned, now only flattened and scattered ruins. The site had been hit by a dedicated, small tactical form of nuke, containing damage to a small area.
The 6th and 9th Marine Platoons were dispatched north-west, and quickly scouted the area, finding about a hundred shelters, each on the surface, a solid block of stone and concrete evenly spaced around a narrow valley. Each covered a large internal shelter, meant to house perhaps a dozen people for some time, with sleeping rooms, a common room and support facilities each internally powered and supplied. Most were open and looted, some the lairs of small creatures, while a handful remained under power, but they were also looted and abandoned. Nothing of note was found in the area.
Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” and Trooper Evan Lars “Caboose” spent a couple days accessing the town’s college library. In their search, they managed to find stacks worthless books, but under one large collection, Moxie found a rare technical manual detailing how to theoretically decompile an AI. He managed to take a record of the entire manual, and down-load it to his own datapad, for future study. Used as a bookmark, he also found an orange security card with a silver stripe, labelled Stage III, Robotic Technician". Caboose found porn.
Trooper Pol Baca “Templar” and Lieutenant SG Michael Anderson “Fixer” went to the town archives, finding stacks of tax records, sales and trade orders, and large numbers of documents. Under the pile, they found a single blueprint of the Baron’s own palace, from back when it was a minor armory in the SLDF. It displayed a private power source that seemed to be the town’s primary source of power. The lower levels seemed extensive, and appeared to hold (or once held) more than expected.
February 21st, 3021 : The north-western force reported in to reveal the area was a deep swamp. A morass of thick mists, swamp forests and deep pools, it had few places that anyone would want to settle in. Even the pathway, formerly a paved road that led into the area petered-out and led nowhere noticeable.
Expecting there might be something more extensive, and since the radiation counts around the Aquan Labs were dangerous to their suited crews, the unit dispatched Captain Mitchell Kitsune “Wraith”, LtSG Massimo De Luca “Advocate”, and MechWarrior Robert Stuart “Prince” led by Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” in their Mechs to rendezvous with the marines and search the ruins. Passing north along the coast, through Mucktown, a prosperous trade and fishing port of about a thousand citizens with a company of militia. They approached the ruins of the Labs, but about 2km south of the ruins, Pitbull’s Beagle Active Probe picked-up a noticeable blip that turned-out to be a cavern along the coast. The marines were called-in, and entered the cave, finding a lair of some large bird-like predator, that was quickly slain. It’s quill attacks from its tail proved ineffectual against the hardened marine combat armor.
Beyond this was a stairwell dropping deep under the ground, with a small design carved into each stone step, depicting a pair of crossed oriental swords, that Pitbull identified as being marks of the “SAMURAI” logo, a marine exploration and research company from House Kurita. Eventually the stairwell led to a large elevator room, lined in lustrous metal. When the marines brought their tech forward to investigate it, a strong ECM field went up, sealing all communications and bringing silence to the unit. Several minutes passed.
Eventually, the marines evacuated the cave, reporting a strong electrical field that had activated after they entered the room, and that had they not been wearing their marine combat armor, they’d likely all have died… The tech reported finding an access slot where some sort of security card might be inserted to gain access, but they couldn’t determine the type. The unit pulled-out, deciding to explore further once their contract was complete.
The unit then brought their Mechs along the coast, with an intent to find something out into the ocean near the cave. Eventually, they managed to find a deep EM signal, about 1km out to sea (Depth 10), and after some discussion on how to proceed, decided to call off further exploration as well, until the unit had acquired a proper deep-water salvage team or some sort of submersible. Pitbull ordered the unit’s DropShuttle to leave, rendezvous with the Iron Vagabond and return to Dumassas to find something (salvage crew, or submersible) they might use. The unit then scouted the ruins, finding nothing beyond melted plastic and ferrocrete, and moved off along the road leading to the west. They passed through an ancient, ruined farming village, and eventually found an abandoned Large Agricultural Robot at the road’s end, by the forest. The unit called in their salvage squads, who quickly determined that the unit’s pair of Planetlifter Air Transports might be able to do something. They then watched over the salvage operations for a few hours, and then returned back to the Fortress of Horn.
February 22nd, 3021 : Glamour expanded her search patterns, to include the swamps to the north-west, and did a quick search over the massive ground-burst nuke site to the south. The southern blast seemed to have been against a large underground bunker, that was absolutely destroyed, its surface now a cratered morass of melted steel and ferrocrete. Nothing exceptional was found to the north-west, although a large plateau seemed to rise out of the swampy region, covered in rock and trees, though still a muddy mess to cross and pass through.
Moxie and Templar reported their findings, including Moxie turning in the card he had found, though he was instructed to hold onto it until further notice. He found-out about the robotic agribot, and spent the next few days looking it over and assessing the damages, along with the salvage squads.
The north-west Force Recon further reported the swamps were unremarkable, though the findings of Glamour’s mapping proved correct; a raised region could be located that, while muddy and swampy, proved to have a strong foundation around the area labelled “Computer Core” on their map. The whole unit agreed, this was likely the spot they needed to visit.
February 28th, 3021 : After several days of downtime, the unit gathered their resources, examined their scouting reports, and prepared their advance into the swamps. They looked over the roughly 1 km raised area mapped by Glamour’s Phoenix Hawk LAM, and noted a section of rocky defiles and on the eastern approaches, as well as a large open water lake to the north. The unit made plans on their approach, and left as the clock struck midnight, officially now under contract.
March 1st, 3021 : Passing through the farmlands along the main trade road north-west, they scouted the village of Fort Attison, finding it to have recently (within a couple days) to have been attacked. The former town of 1200 citizens had been defended by an earthen rampart and nearly a company of infantry, but was now a smoking ruin, haunted by handfuls of civilians. The armor units of the Line scouted along the edge of Death Lake, and Moxie took advantage of this detour to investigate why it was called Death Lake, by taking samples. During this experiment, a massive “Garfish” tried to eat him. On the shore, while taking a sample. His guards captured the specimen, and it was tagged and stored in the back of the Maxim Hover Transport he was riding in, for future study. Now they knew why it was called “Death Lake”.
The unit continued on , from where the road slowly dissipated, past the ruins of Deerld, the first community victimized by the Legion of Gold, and off into the swamps… Tensions began to rise…