“On a night quite unenchanting, when the rain was downward slanting
I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for.
Tipsy and a bit unshaven, in a tone I found quite craven,
Poe was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door.
’Raven’s very tasty,’ thought I, as I tiptoed o’er the floor.
’There is nothing I like more.”
“Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered
In a voice that shrieked and sputtered, his two cents’ worth ‘Nevermore.’
While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up,
Then I crouched and quickly leapt up, pouncing on the feathered bore.
Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore
Only this and not much more.”
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
-————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank
October 21st, 3021 : System – Dumassas : The gentleman identified as Lt. Daniel Bernard, was a head-hunter serving the Davion Military, the AFFS as a contractor. He had stopped in the system having heard about * “The Iron Dingoes” from their recent trips through the border provinces and their registry in System – Armington. He flew immediately to Garrison, and met with Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” and LtSG Massimo De Luca “Advocate” to discuss the offer of a contract.
Negotiations went very well, with the unit almost getting all its desired terms, though they lost-out on top dollar for their fees. In the end, they agreed to the contract, setting the signing for later in the month as they looked over the fine details.
October 29th, 3021 : The unit signed onto Contract – Operation “Blue Harvest”, and began transfer of assets between * “The Dead Man’s Hand” and The Dingoes, while they secured supplies and transport.
November 3rd, 3021 : The work being done on the fusion plant at Castle Corazón came to fruition, with main power coming on-line. The now-released DMH were given reign to explore the Castle with their infantry forces, and see if they couldn’t securely map and identify the lower levels beyond the existing cursory. Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour”]] began making plans to use the existing outer defenses, and received the okay from the Colonel to see about setting them back into use.
December 1st, 3021 : Everything having been re-organized, the unit deployed to its DropShips and clawed into the atmosphere for the long 10-day burn out to the jump-point. They were accompanied by the “Betty”, who were ordered to take “The Den Mother” on a 6-month jaunt along the Periphery on a trade mission.
December 10th, 3021 : Gathering “The Freedom of the Stars” along with “The Iron Vagabond”, the Line’s four DropShips docked, and the unit packed their favorite DropShuttle the “Crimson Sands” into cargo and jumped-out.
System – Armington : The unit jumped in-system, and gave over their contract number through their Liaison officer, Lt. Daniel Bernard. They were quickly given access to the jump-point’s waiting zones, and began learning the details of the Inner Sphere’s happenings.
December 18th, 3021 : Estuan : AN M5IV sub-giant star, with an 8.5 day wait on charging their drives. Apparently there was something of a failed raid by bandits on-planet, being easily taken care of by the local garrison. Its inhabited primary, is a moon located around the 6th planet in the system, a Jovian giant, but the moon remains slowly orbiting its parent world.
Estuan is a typical “Terran” world with minimal axial tilt. Its weather and precipitation are both conducive to agriculture, producing excellent wines, grains and vegetable products. It has a rapidly developing industrial base, as well, developed over the last couple decades. The planet has extensive local militia forces.
December 25th, 3021 : Cohagen : Christmas in Cohagen. A K7V star, with an eight-day charging time. Caught in the throws of a fierce ice-age, that affects most of the planet. Rich deposits of industrial heavy metals (though not to the extent of New Syrtis), dot its surface and even most of its seas (65%) are frozen over. The planet is controlled by almost a single corporate entity, Dupre-Ingersol AGS, who maintain several other operations throughout the constellation.
A troop transfer was on-going in-system, with an Invader-Class JumpShip hauling several Union’s towards the capital at New Syrtis. Christmas was typical, though the entire fleet was invited to a festive series of games in the cargo holds of the Iron Vagabond. Much merriment was had.
January 1st, 3022 : Tentativa : New Years in Tentativa! The homeworld of Anna Simpson “The Lady”, whom the unit had met years past, and also recently troubled by dedicated pirate raids. Tentativa system is a G6V star with eight planets. The primary was the third planet in the system, technically named Tentativa III, a jungle world with extensive, shallow seas. Considerable vulcanism still taints the skies with carbon, and the economy is dominated by plantations using modern technology and agricultural methods. With the planet’s relatively stable seasons, three to four crops can be harvested each standard year. Though its coasts are extensively explored, the thick jungles have prevented all but a handful of extensive exploration missions to the interior of the planet’s five continents.
January 8th, 3022 : Songgang : The M5III/K3V Binary stars of Songgang were first settled as a penal colony. Sand storms frequently scour the planet’s surface along with heat like a blast furnace, giving the main colony of the system the name “Hellgard”. A ringed world, Hellgard has frequent and lengthy sand storms that have high winds, electrical displays and abrasive dust effects. Life support gear is mandatory in the desert regions that cover nearly 92% of the planet’s surface. Free water is found only in isolated oasis and the cooler (+19Cs) regions close to the poles.
Today, the orbital station that once served as a prison transfer point is actually the most important part of the system, even though about 15,000,000 people live on the planet’s surface. The locals are noted as being very unfriendly to visitors.
January 16th, 3022 : Wieppe : The F8V star of this world was conquered during the Reunification Wars after a savage and long siege against the Taurian Concordat. The planet, fifth in the system, remains scarred by the furious bombardment leveled against it during the final assault. Most of the three largest continents, however, were untouched by the war, and remain pristine habitats.
Formally administered by the Federated Suns Department of March Resources, the world produces copious amounts of “star turkey”, which go to supply the military after careful canning. Several large plantation cities and a handful of mines are also found in the economy, but not to the extent of its turkey farms.
January 23rd, 3022 : Anaheim : A G1IV Sub-Giant, the star of this system holds twelve planets in its orbit, the most important of which is the fourth, the planet once called “Beowulf”, but is now known in tourism circles as Sunspot. Anaheim has no seasons, with very congenial weather in all but the highest latitudes. There are three major continents, four minor ones and numerous islands. Several huge mountain ranges cross the continents, with peaks reaching 12kms above sea-level.
Once heavily forested, its timber was quickly harvested, and its vast plains are dotted with urban complexes supporting the planet’s agricultural and mineral exploitation. The warren-like slums under the industrial complexes hide the bitter truth about the world, especially when its poor population rises into riots when conditions become too unbearable. The city’s architecture is massive, heavy-handed and architecturally tasteless.
Its five small moons, ranging from 50kms to 400kms in diameter, are fortified structures holding the remnants of the SLDF attempt to build a series of armories. Four other planets are inhabited in Anaheim, the second and third planets are airless mining complexes with their inhabitants numbering around 1 million each and living in underground refinery complexes. The fifth and sixth planets in Anaheim are thin atmosphere, cold desert worlds with roughly 2-3 milllion on each living in typical dome colonies. These moons and four worlds produce important resources to support the main world’s limited industrial work.
January 30th, 3022 : Keuterville : An M7IV star system, its primary world is an “old” world, rejuvenated through terra-forming projects early in its colonization. Only the temperate and equatorial belts are really habitable in this no-season’s world. The upper latitudes are simply too cold for extensive settlement. Free-standing water consists of lakes and land-locked small seas, and its arid surface is being reclaimed by irrigation projects on a massive scale. Anciently, the planet is famous as the site of the first successful effort by Taurian guerrillas in defeating the forces of the SLDF during the Reunification Wars in 2578.
February 6th, 3022 : Firgrove : A K3V star settled by Terrans early in their colonization efforts of the constellation. While the first planet in the system (Andari I) was developed as a mining colony for its rich deposits of power and industrial metals, the standard climate of Andari II, led to its use as an industrial world. While the planet is fairly weather calm, its northern and southern poles are subject to severe winters.
As a result of indiscriminate and low-tech industrial efforts, the atmosphere is smoggy, there are constant rains, its forests are being destroyed, and the coastal waters and rivers are somewhat poisoned with industrial wastes. It is clear the world is dying, and though some efforts have been made to clear the mess of centuries of indiscriminate pollution, it seems inevitable that the environment is on a slow, steady degradation.
While revolution against the corporate overseers is uncommon, in the hinterlands there is a constant low-grade hatred simmering against the rich industrialists and their killing of the planet and the farmers way of life. Control is only maintained by corporate police forces and in the industrial cities, it is common to be picked up for interrogation for even the slightest infraction.
February 15th, 3022 : System – New Syrtis : Jumping in-system to New Syrtis, they found the Zenith jump-point in turmoil. Dozens of JumpShips were present, with cargo, passengers and military forces gathered in large numbers. It took some time for the unit’s two JumpShips to get clearance for a mooring point, and even longer (amounting to about a day) before they were granted permission to make the four-day burn in-system. Arrangements were made for the unit to engage in rotating shifts of downtime (every trooper and tech getting two days on-planet), and all the DropShips made their way in-system.
February 20th, 3021 : Pitbull and one of the sergeants recruited on System – Outpost, used whatever contacts they could to acquire more PPCs, and were eventually able to purchase five (5) units directly from a Johnstone Industries outlet in the capital.
Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin”, Captain Jessa Dajus-Marik “Dragonfly”, and Commander Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” accompanied their liaison officer, Lt. Daniel Bernard to the military liaison offices of the AFFS, to get the fine points of their contract sorted out. They were informed that the contract was considered active the moment they entered the system,, meaning they had six months from February 15th (August 15th, 3022) to achieve its objectives.
The mission was described as an “Objective Raid” on the border planet Corodiz, in the Capellan Confederation. Supporting the unit would be a pair of mercenary forces, the Latinikons and the Green Tigers; the former a lance of heavy assault Mechs, and the latter a full company of mixed Mechs, each with their own integral transport. The Latinikon’s Leopard-Class DropShip “Baloo”, and the Green Tiger’s Union-Class DropShip “Rat Trap” would be hauled via an independent Merchant-Class JumpShip, the “Redwood Empire”, and would meet the unit in the jumping-off system of Horsham.
The two mercenary forces would provide a distraction for the local garrison forces by attacking the starport and warehouses near the capital city, while the unit would engage in a landing operation near the Ceres Metals mining complex near the equator’s mountain range. They would then proceed to secure the facility and extract the data core holding the technical information the AFFS wanted regarding a new type of high-tech Mech being developed by the Capellan Confederation, known as the RVN-1X Raven. It was stressed that acquisition of this data core and its data, and their return to New Syrtis was the key to their success in the mission.
The unit was then released for their four-day leave on New Syrtis, and spent the next couple days engaged in various private concerns. Of note, Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” published various findings on his study of AIs, and did research on the subject among the libraries’ files. Also, Pitbull and Advocate convinced their (now released) liaison officer, Lt. Bernard to spend the next couple months recruiting new troopers and techs for the Iron Dingoes while on planet, for a promise of 50,000Cs if successful, and 10,000Cs if he was unable to meet their quota. He was specifically to recruit tank crews, scouts, Mech and Aero pilots. They also wanted trained Machinists and Line Engineers, and a new “Insertion Specialist”_ for * “The Werewolves”.
February 24th, 3022 : Rested and relaxed, the unit burned out-system for a rendezvous at the Zenith with their JumpShips. Four days later (February 28th), they docked, transferred cargoes and jumped out-system, bound for System – Corodiz and the Capellan border.
February 28th, 3022 : Merope : One of the stars of the Pleiades Cluster, formerly a _Taurian_stronghold, Merope is a formerly heavily industrialized system with K2V/K2V Binary stars. During the Reunification War, a large force of Star League warships was lost in a three-day battle with Taurian forces, and the following ground battle was very expensive for the SLDF; the 4th SLDF Corp lost 60% of its strength in the invasion. Taurian forces had built extensive bunkers and strongholds among the high deserts of the world, and these proved difficult to discover and destroy. The mysterious appearance and disappearance of the “Ghost Ship of Merope”, and the “New vandenburg White Wings” are believed tied closely to the planet’s SLDF past.
The second planet in the system, Merope is a hostile desert world where stringent survival conditions are required when travelling away from the settlements. The world possesses significant deposits of power metals (thorium and uranium), and over the last fifty years rich finds of irridium, gold, platinum, and silver. There are also extensive deposits industrial metals, however, they have never been extensively exploited. Gems are also an important export, the most valuable being the Merope Opal, a magnificent milky, translucent stone that shimmers with a deep reddish fire in dim light. These stones are worth 2500Cs to 5000Cs per carat, with stones rarely larger than 15-20 carats being found. The world imports manufactured goods.
There are around 1,000,000 inhabitants living in 23 separate settlements, the largest of which is Meros Port. About 100,000 more “colonists” live in the deep deserts, living very independent lives and given to banditry and raiding when they have troubles making ends meet. The citizens tend to use their own planetary currency, gold and silver coins, rather than C-Bills, and their coinage is actually an important export.
Tech levels today tend to be rather low, and imported technology is a valuable trade good for the planet’s precious metals and gems. Once important industries were bombarded into destruction, resulting in large swaths of industrial ruins on the outskirts of the various settlements. To this day, some locals make a solid living scavenging among them for LosTech.
March 8th, 3022 : Deifenbaker : The jump into Deifenbaker proved difficult. “The Iron Vagabond” jumped in-system and reported irregularities with its Drive Controller. At first, this was a major panic issue, because the module constituted a massive expense to replace (50,000,000 Cs!!!), but it might prove difficult to even find one. Techs converged on the JumpShip, and they began examining all her control circuits, eventually finding a series of control circuits had burnt-out. Taking parts from stores, a few hours later the entire JumpShip was able to re-activate her fusion core and deploy her sail for charging with a minimum of delay.
Deifenbaker is a G3V star, with superb climactic conditions and extensive deposits of natural resources. There is a distinct division among citizens of this world, with half supportive of the Federated Suns, and the other half seeking greater independence and ties with their “homeworld” of System – Taurus. Despite these difficulties, the planet continues to export various bulk industrial goods and import luxury foodstuffs, industrial metals, petroleum and chemicals.
In late 2581, when the SLDF resumed the Taurian campaign, their target was the world of Deifenbaker. By December, the final fight occurred at the Battle of Corrigan, where after suffering the destruction of nearly 7 regiments of infantry in assaulting the rough fortress complex built in the hills, the survivors found the remaining defenders had committed suicide; all 400 of them. In 2585, Taurian forces once more converged on the planet with all three of Mitchell Calderon’s elite household Mech units; the Taurian Guard, the Concordat Velites, and the Calderon Red Hand, destroying the entire SLDF 3rd Corp, and bringing their advance into the Taurian interior to a close. Called the Second Battle of Diefenbaker, it also marked the largest Mech to Mech engagement of the entire Reunification War.
March 15th, 3022 : Robsart : Robsart is an F4V star system, with its primary planet of Robsart III still in the primitive stages of development, making it a jungle rain forest world. The planet is a poor agricultural world, and exports grains, meat, furs, textiles, silver and gold and imports any manufactured goods. Nevertheless, nearly 260,000,000 people call this tropical planet home, with only the higher elevations, sub-arctic and polar regions resembling anything close to a cold climate. Nearly 85% of the planet is extensive, shallow seas, with some arms reaching deep into the interior of the five major continents. Lakes, truely impressive river systems and large swampy and jungle regions make up most of the land areas.
When the SLDF’s 3rd Corps advanced against the Taurian provincial capital of Robsart in 2581, they entered the largest naval battle of the entire Reunification War. In a series of engagements lasting over two weeks, 120 Terran warships battled against 100 Taurian vessels. Under the able command of Admiral Janissa Franklin, the SLDF Navy eventually won the day. Despite the loss of over 30 SLDF craft, she and her men destroyed the cream of the Taurian navy. Despite Franklin`s victory, the hundreds of casualties prompted the Admiral to commit a rash act of retribution. Her orbital bombardment of Robsart`s capital killed over 30 thousand civilians and destroyed any Star League hopes of an early peace. The loss of so many non-combatants re-inflamed the Taurian forces and “Vengeance for Robsart!”became their rallying cry.
March 22nd, 3022 : Horsham : Jumping in-system to Horsham, the Dingoes found a typical border world, with heavy defensive forces at the jump-point recharge station. They found waiting for them, a Merchant-Class Jumpship, the “Redwood Empire”, and its two mercenary companies in their DropShips. The Dingoes made contact with both units, and offered their own facilities aboard the Iron Vagabond for the meeting. They accepted, and arrived within hours.
The appearance and professionalism of the Iron Dingoes forces took these two “hard luck” units by surprise. They were given a quick tour, and met in the administrative offices on the “Dingoes’ Den”. Plans were laid-out, with the units using a traditional raiding pirate point near the main world of Corodiz, and then burning in together. Once the mercs had dropped on the starport and ensured the commitment of local defensive forces, the Dingoes could land near the mining facilities located along the equator and seize the mining complex and acquire the data core. Intelligence reflected that the mines had their own “security” element, but such was expected to be light.
Furterh discussion regarding the two merc company’s stauts were deflected by saying they were “…sufficiently equipped and supplied…”, though Pitbull suggested privately that they were likely damaged and in need of taking this contract to get repairs and supplies. Both units refused offers of technical assistance, though they remained friendly, and the matter was dropped. Secretly, most members of the Dingoes command council began seeing an opportunity to acquire Mech pilots and possibly a DropShip or two…
Several days passed while plans were made and the JumpShips charged their drives, meanwhile the group studied intelligence reports on the planet and made final plans…
Having a G2V/K6V binary star, there are 11 planets in the star system. Horsham IV is a gravity-strong world (1.85 Gs), and has atmospheric and climactic conditions ranging from moderate marine to severe desert. Winters are mild, except at the higher latitudes, and summers tend to be very hot. Its seas are land-locked and amount to around only 40% of its surface. The planet government practices careful protection of the planet’s ecology, and has managed to maintain its extensive weather satellite network, and all industry is based in deep underground complexes beneath its widely scattered cities. Recycling technologies are exceedingly widespread.
Industrialized, the world exports manufactured goods of a simple, but robust nature, typical of the Capellan Confederation. Imports include metals, petroleum, chemicals, luxury foodstuffs, and religious works of art. Power metals (especially uranium and thorium) are exceedingly popular as an import. Local culture, however, is something of an enigma, having always remained aloof from Capellan traditions, and were easily assimilated into the Federated Suns when it was conquered in 2953. The locals espouse a non-violent nature, tend towards Buddhism, and despite their philosophical natures are highly technical in nature. In particular, they specialize in the medical sciences, and engineering.
Though hard to force into a warlike stance, the locals have developed an understanding that they must fight to preserve their way of life, and prove to be both ruthless and fierce in combat, seeking the fastest route to peace, whatever the cost. As a result, they have become very anti-Capellan in nature, and have proven very difficult for the Capellan intelligence to find a place amongst them once more.
In 2582, SLDF General Amalthia Kinciad`s first target of the Reunification War was the Horsham system, the site of the last major Taurian naval production center outside of the Hyades Cluster. Forgoing the use of heavy BattleMech contingents to blast her way through, Kincaid collected her five newly formed striker regiments and dropped them by night near the Taurian defense installations. In the heat of the planet`s summer, the strikers proved their worth, capturing not only a score of Taurian industry complexes intact, but also the first live Taurian prisoners for interrogation.
The unit spent the next few days waiting for recharge of their jump engines, and jumped out-system without incident on April 1st…