Campaign of the Month: June 2014

Battletech : The Farscape Campaign

Episode 84 - The Typhon Affair

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

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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

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Episode 82b - Inside the Debris Ring

“Salvage of a lifetime. You meant the ship. I meant Clara.”

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 14th, 3022 : Kigamboni System, Federated Suns : Having avoided the AeroFighters scouting the debris field, the Iron Dingoes chose to work towards the signal they’d detected fairly close to their present location. Using “The Freedom of the Stars” and “Dingoes’ Den” as their base, they proceeded into the nearest debris point with their captured CBR-34 Cobra-Class Courier (Gunship), now manned by personnel from their foremost marine group, Shiv’s Star Talons (6th).

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Deeper and Deeper

Almost immediately, the vessel took shrapnel damage along its nose, damaging avionics and controls. They pushed on, triangulating the last radio signal, and discovered a typical asteroid point along with another Particle Field. They closed on the next clump, finding an Ice Field and another asteroid field. In the Ice Field, they uncovered a Standard (5-ton) Cargo Container of advanced robotics, and another cargo pod of “trade lasers”, namely AER-9 Laser Rifles, before taking a sharp piece of debris to the gunship’s nose. They recalled the crew before moving on the radio signal deeper in the clump.

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Closing on the Prize

July 15th, 3022 : Moving the gunship and Dingoes Den through the asteroid debris, to “sneak up” on whatever might be generating the radio signal, the Den took a sharp strike of an unexploded missile to the nose, but they continued, and discovered something new…. the almost intact carcass of a Vigilant Corvette.

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Ever Vigilant

Close examination of the hull proved that its nose and aft were fairly damaged, and the jump core likely too damaged for activation. The hull had numerous holes from debris scattered all along its 6-o’clock axis, the signal was coming from the lower part of the core, near what used to be engineering.

The gunship sidled up close to the remnants of the docking hangars, noting heavy damage throughout that section, including a massive hole in one side, along the 12-o’clock axis. Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” and Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” took the lead of the boarding squad of marines, jumping across from the gunship to the warship hull with tether as their only safety.

The group accessed one of the airlocks manually, and discovered that there was indeed vacuum beyond. The hangar decks were a mess, with Decks 10-14 open to space, its equipment useless, and the remnants of three S-7A Space Buses scattered across their bays. The fourth vehicle was missing. Exploration revealed bulkheads had been sealed, and that there was air pressure between Decks 6-9 and Decks 15-18, though portions of the connecting decks were obviously exposed to vacuum. The group decided to call-in the salvage groups, and moved The Freedom into the field to facilitate further operations. Though the Freedom took some debris across her Nose and Right Side, it maneuvered close to the hull of the Vigilant.

July 16th, 3022 : Initial survey work determined ready access into the lower levels through an airlock they managed to activate. The salvage group’s quick survey revealed several key items of salvage, and estimated about seven to eight days (minimum) to get everything locked-down and moved into the cargo holds on the Den. It was decided that while the techs and and salvagers did this task, the Freedom and her gunship would continue to explore the remaining debris clumps, avoiding the last noted spot where radio signals were detected as originating from.

July 17th, 3022 : Over the next few days, the group moved from clump to clump, carefully mapping and surveying the various clumps. They found the radioactive remnants of another Bonaventure, and a radioactive cargo container, left to float in space.

July 18th – July 22nd, 3022 : During their search of one of the asteroid fields, between bouts of space madness, they uncovered a cargo container of Aqua Skis, another 100-ton tank of volatile liquids, and another cargo container of Riot Shields (somewhat damaged, 25% loss). The gunship also took a hard strike to its Nose, critically damaging weapons systems, and forcing emergency repairs and a short day. By the 22nd, the asteroid clumps were completely explored, except for the final spot where the radio signal had been identified. The salvage operations still had a couple days to go, so the Freedom waited patiently in the last clump until they were done.

July 23rd – 24th, 3022 : Waiting patiently, the group looked over the salvage operations findings. They included the following :

- A heavily damaged computer core, that had basic intelligence for assisting in repairs and monitoring activities. Unfortunately, internal sensors and monitors had been down for some time, and it kept trying to reset itself. It was determined the damage was too extensive, and Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” gave authorization to disable it, and recover any components salvageable.

- An intact NAC/10, and 200 rounds (20 tons) of ammunition for same. Spare parts from another cannon were also retrieved, along with 40 more rounds of ammunition.

- An intact long-range shuttle, similar to a KR-61 Class Long-Range Shuttle, but older, and suffering from some hull damage. The vessel had apparently been sucked into the nearby field during the initial explosion of the hangar bay, as no pilots or passengers were recovered.

- A well-supplied medical bay, including six life support bays, fitted for hyperbaric oxygenation and/or chill support. Similar to those found on a traditional MASH, complete with an assistant computer. While two of the units were inoperable, with repairs they too could be made useful again. In addition, a pair of “Medical Assistance Robots” were recovered, though they needed extremely delicate programming to bring back online.

- A functioning workshop CADCAM (from Deck 9 – Stores ), with the means of producing simple tools and special purpose parts, with proper computer blueprints. Effectively a 3-D Printer for industrial purposes, it was a little bit of an unknown quantity, a limited supply of raw materials and modular parts were also recovered.

- Interchangeable modular parts and processor cores for up to three robot drones, which could be used to construct new drones.

- Functional fuel cells and accumulators to rig solar panels, along with numerous portable photvoltaic kits that could be assembled into a large emergency solar sail, capable of charging a Jumpdrive at 1/30th normal speed. Also, salvaged from the engineering section, were various thermal/electric generators.

- A single hostile environment suit, similar to a Defiance Industries Heavy Environment Suit.

- A variety of small arms, notably standard Capellan Longrifles and SMGs.

- 9000m of fiber-optic cabling, suitable for jacking into engineering and hostile environment suits and computer cores.

- 1000 liters of drinkable water in ice form.

- Survival food stores capable of feeding 250 crew for 24 months (750 tons of boring, disgusting 0-G survival rations).

- 60 tons of tanked oxygen and air, easily salvaged and safely stored.

- A variety of salvageable sensor nodes, magnetic nozzle assemblies and hull plating from the damaged shuttles.

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Pulling the Trigger

July 25th, 3022 : The bulk of the salvage was stored in the cargo bay aboard the Freedom, an operation which occupied a full day. By days end, the group maneuvered into the asteroid field closest to the last unknown radio signal, before sweeping into the area, identifying it as a large comet husk; essentially a massive ice asteroid several kilometers across. As the gunboat and Dngoes Den closed on the site, long-range radar triggered several objects moving fast into the debris field; the pirates were back.

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Round Two

The “Dingoes’ Den” deployed both if her AeroFighters, piloted by Lieutenant SG Eric Balmer “Tinman” in his EGL-R6 Eagle and Trooper Trixie Charmosa “Pixie” in her SYD-21 Seydlitz. Together, the trio moved slowly away from “The Freedom of the Stars”, which remained in the asteroid field, playing possum. The captured CBR-34 Cobra-Class Courier (Gunship), with its marines moved to flank the incoming ships.

The approaching vessels included a pair of Corsairs and their accompanying Achilles-Class DropShip. All three opened fire on the approaching vessels, targeting the Dingoes Den, and doing light damage on its LS.

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Round Three

Realizing the incoming vessel’s single weak-point was its flanks, the units maneuvered to try and flank her. The gunboat faced away, using its LRMs for long-range fire to stay out of danger for now. Both the Den and the Dingoes AeroFighters opened on the closest Corsair, doing multiple strikes along its Left Wing, eventually shattering its armor and destroying its entire left side. Both Corsair’s opened on the Eagle, but beyond a couple heat sinks and a critical to its laser, Tim Man came away better than his Corsair kill did.

It did seem odd, however, that the Achilles wasn’t firing its ballistic or missile weapons, only using energy weapons in the fight…

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Round Four

In a surprise move, the command group ordered the Freedom to use its trump card; they fired the AR-10, launching a White Shark at the pirate’s Achilles, striking it firmly along the Left Wing.

The Den turned to fire on the remaining Corsair, staying in the Achilles blind side. Tin Man changed tactics, working on the Achilles, doing a solid critical to one of its AC/20s.

The Achilles managed multiple strikes on Trixie, blowing through her armor and damaging her internal structure. She immediately turned and made her way out of the field as quickly as possible.

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Round Five

While Trixie fled the field, the AR-10 launched another White Shark, that firmly struck the Achilles in the Aft. The Dingoes Den also managed a broadside into the pirate DropShip, along its Aft and LS. Tin Man followed suit. The Gunboat opened on the remaining Corsair, doing superficial damage.

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Round Six

All pirate forces were in full retreat, taking glancing blows, before leaving the field entirely. The Dingoes had won the fight.

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Fall Back

The unit began to move back towards the comet husk, gathering Trixie and her venting AeroFighter back for repairs, before moving back into position to begin the assault.

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Episode 82 - Inside the Debris Ring

“Every treasure is guarded by dragons. That’s how you can tell it’s valuable.”

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

May 2nd, 3022 : Kigamboni System, Federated Suns : The crew aboard “The Freedom of the Stars” deployed their sails, charging their jump coils, while they traded communiques with their companions on “The Iron Vagabond”. After the 8.5 days of charging, the rest of the unit jumped out to continue on their way to System – Redfield.

May 10th, 3022 : Alone, Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” and Space Master Eric Severin began to confer on their next steps. It was decided to deploy one-half of their marines (led by LtJG Jayson “Jace” Stratton ), on an ST-46 Class Shuttle along with a couple of techs to assist as salvagers, if need be. The ship jumped directly outside the Kigamboni L5 Debris Field, the site of the famous Battle of Kigamboni, without further incident. They deployed their solar sail and recharged the jump coils, before taking any other actions beyond ranged sensor runs.

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L5 Debris Field of Kigamboni Prime

Spending a day studying the Debris Field, they were able to identify certain “Debris Clumps”, consisting of various sorts of materials that would require closer study to search and identify. Such study was, however, not without risk, as it entailed moving into each Debris Point, and spending some time with active sensors to catalogue the key factors of the area, usually several kilometers across. Heat sensors were somewhat useful, but radar was useless, and only very fast-moving objects (1-G or faster) could be detected on motion sensors. It also risked collisions with random debris. Such searches would also take hours at a time, spreading the search of this field over weeks or possibly months of time.

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Investigation begins.

Moving into the field, the Freedom sidled close to the nearest one, and deployed its marine-laden shuttle, which moved directly into the point and began sweeps. The first Point was revealed to be a Particle Field (Yellow Tags), with randomly charged metallic debris that could prove to be a deadly risk to explorers. The one next to it proved to be a Radiation Point (Red Tags), which might have some salvage, but had its own risks. The next two investigated proved to be Ice Points (Blue Tags), or fields of frozen ice, some of which was liberally infused with carbon, to make large chinks of “soda ice”.

First_Contact.JPG

First Contact

May 20th, 3022 : Starting early, the group moved the shuttle into the next Debris Point, and immediately found radio noise coming from within. The shuttle encountered shrapnel moving fast and hard, doing some damage to its left wing (taking out a heat sink), and doing some damage to its controls. Nonetheless, they managed to search the field enough to identify the ruins of the tail section of a Black Lion 1 Battlecruiser. The Freedom, however, noticed a pair of markers move rapidly into the fringe of the Debris Field, and rapidly accelerate behind the nearby explored Points, where they disappeared from sensors. It was decided to recall the shuttle, effect repairs, and prepare to abandon the field, if needed.

May 21st, 3022 : Repairs were effected by salvaging parts from the other shuttle, and the crew began a series of active pings to try and identify the source of the radio signals. It was determined they needed to “triangulate” the signal by hitting other Debris Points in the field.

May 22nd, 3022 : Continuing to explore the last Point, they found the front-half of the battlecruiser in the next one over, and found its name still intact on the nose, the “Changsha”. The shuttle found little else of value, though it took another slow strike to its Left Wing from random debris.

May 23rd, 3022 : Moving on to the next collection of Debris Points, the group found a series of common nickel-iron fields that might have some value to miners, but was beyond their ability to exploit, and moved on. They also detected another Radiation Point, and two Particle Points. Among the one field, they recovered a damaged ST-46 Class Shuttle that had been struck by a catastrophic attack at some point many years ago. It took a day, but they scrounged it from the field and loaded it aboard the Freedom.

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The Gunship Salvagers

June 1st, 3022 : Moving to the distant debris points, closest to the planet, they found an anomaly. They uncovered another Particle Point, and a fused lump that might have once been a chunk of a WarShip or JumpShip, but was now useless as salvage short of dragging it into a refit yard.

June 2nd, 3022 : In the last Debris Point, they salvaged a lost Standard (5-ton) Cargo Container that turned out to be stuffed with Atmospheric FIlters for Jump- and DropShips (worth 50,000 Cs per ton). They soon encountered the relatively intact Sensor Array from a DropShip (worth roughly 35,000 Cs). While salvaging this unit, they ran directly into a KR-61 Class Long-Range Shuttle, backed by an armed CBR-34 Cobra-Class Courier (Gunship). The group demanded the immediate surrender of the mercenary shuttle to the salvagers, owing to the fact that they claimed this field as their own salvage right.

LtJG Jayson “Jace” Stratton quickly sized the situation, and determined they couldn’t have a large team of marines aboard the shuttle, and “surrendered”, offering the shuttle to dock and take control of the mercenary vessel. The shuttle maneuvered for docking, and once securely attached to the passenger compartment door, began boarding operations; only to be counter-boarded and subdued in under ten seconds by Jace’s team, the lead Midnight Squad. The unit’s heavy weapons and superior armor quickly overcame the pirates, with only a minor injury from one trooper, and led to the shuttle pilot’s immediate surrender.

Quickly interrogating him, they discovered (Critical success!) that there was only another marine squad aboard the Gunship, and securing the survivors (three pirates and the pilot), were contacted by the Gunship, who were wondering about what was taking so long. Reporting “Uh, negative, negative. We have, uh, a reactor leak here, uh, now. Give us a few minutes to lock it down. Uh, large leak, very dangerous…”, the pirates gave the go ahead. Once secured, they left their pilot and techs behind to man the old shuttle, and forced the pirate pilot to maneuver them in the new shuttle, and dock with the Gunship.

The following boarding action was another quick ten second raid resulting in “Hans Too Tall” banging his head (again) during the operation, but capturing three of the pirates and the pilot of the Gunship. As well as the Gunship itself. The group spent the next couple days securing both vessels, and conducting repairs, finding the Gunship_ in good condition, just lacking one PPC.

June 4th, 3022 : The unit deployed aboard the Cobra-Class Gunship, finding it to be everything they might have hoped as an encounter and search craft; heavily armed and armored, good sensors and plenty of room to deploy and store salvage. Searching the Debris Point, they continued to find various bits of salvage, hinting as to why the “Gunship Salvagers” had been in the site. They found another container of DropShip Air Filters (worth 50,000 Cs per ton), and a container of Energy Cores (worth 90,000 Cs per ton). Suddenly, the pilot went mad, suffering a breakdown caused by Space Madness. The group declared it a day, and returned to the Freedom.

June 5th, 3022 : Not an hour into the next search, the pilot once again suffered a breakdown, claiming the ship was haunted. The group decided they needed some R&R, and returned to the Freedom for a few days of rest.

June 8th, 3022 : Continuing the search in the Point, the group was warned to be watchful. Ship’s Master Severin warned them that “…something just isn’t feeling right…”. The search found a 100-ton tank of volatile chemicals and another 100-ton tank of rocket fuel for missiles, which they didn’t dare salvage. Another DropShip Sensor Array was salvaged (worth 60,000 Cs), and nothing but random shrapnel, lost bodies from the various ships, and useless debris.

June 10th, 3022 : After a couple days of fruitless searching, it was decided to call off the search. Paranoia was starting to affect the crew, and so the group pulled out of the Debris Field, made for a safe position about 100 kms out of the field and conducting simple maintenance and repairs, while the marines familiarized themselves with their new ship. The group would await the return of the rest of their forces before returning to the field.

July 6th, 3022 : Contact was made with the returning crew aboard “The Iron Vagabond”, and they were informed of the Freedom’s position and recent activities. While the JumpShip charged, the “Dingoes’ Den” burned for the L-5 Point.

July 10th, 3022 : Upon arrival, the Dingoes Den took control of the Gunship for the present search, relieving the Midnight Squads so the better-armed Shiv’s Talons could take over guarding the Gunship. The unit would also deploy with a shuttle of salvage squads, to facilitate further salvage efforts. Along with the Command Council, the crew interrogated the civilian pirates from the Gunship Salvagers, and learned of some of the local traditions and myths (including the Debris Ghost, that apparently ate entire shuttles…).

July 12th, 3022 : The first Debris Clump searched revealed another Particle Point, an Ice Water Point, and a typical nickel-iron cluster of asteroids.

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Secrets Revealed

July 13th. 3022 : The next Debris Clump revealed a successful triangulation of the first radio signals, and a second set of signals as well, in the next couple of clumps. In this last clump, they found a wealth of riches; the front hull of the “Bengbu”, a twisted hulk of a Vigilant Corvette hull, which had a damaged JumpShip Sensor Array (worth 38,000 Cs) floating nearby, as well as a Transponder Core from a damaged merchant ship, the Buccaneer-Class DropShip “Aiko”. The pilot of the Gunship once more suffered a breakdown, and they called it a day.

July 14th, 3022, returning to the Debris Clump_, now rested, the shuttle took a hard strike of shrapnel moving fast, damaging its Nose, but still able to continue its efforts. The remnants of another JumpShip Sensor Array (worth 36,000 Cs) was recovered in three ragged pieces, along with the shuttle pilot suffering a breakdown once more. The final contact was made with the radio signals from the first site, pin -pointing its exact Point, and calling it a day, the group suddenly noticed something fast and quick moving into the Debris Field.

Second_Contact.JPG

Second Contact

The two AeroFighters had returned, this time identified by the Dingoes’ Den as a pair of Corsairs. The pair circled through the Debris Field, staying out of weapons range, but pinging their sensors actively. The ships quickly slipped back out of the field and slipped off sensors. The local pirates had obviously been made aware of the mercenary’s intrusion…

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Episode 81 - Redfield or Bust!

“Someplace where there isn’t any trouble… do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or train. It’s far, far away… behind the moon… beyond the rain.”

[singing] “Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

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

April 8th, 3022 : Following an intense “thought-busting” session involving the entire Command Group, the Iron Dingoes decided on a plan to slip onto System – Redfield quietly and search for lost caches on the storehouse world.

LtSG Massimo De Luca “Advocate” arranged for some Inferno rounds to be bought through the local military suppliers, and as the unit was still under contract, found the task easy to get a shipment of 30 tons of the missiles.

The group then broke into small teams, intent on doing some research at the local Saso University regarding possible storehouse sites on Redfield. The group chose to take a week and do the best job they could, putting the most experienced researchers, namely Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” with his own team of Tech Caitlin Haverlein and Research Assistant Teresa Ruvin to do most of the ground work, while Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” and Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” used their personal interests in Star League History to assist.

April 15th, 3022 : The group got back together to discuss their findings. Redfield was located mid-way through the usual passage to both the Taurian Concordat and Magistracy of Canopus, making it a great reason to establish the planet as a Star League storehouse. While there were numerous “tank graveyards” and similar sites located throughout the desert regions of the planet, they had managed to identify three notable military sites of interest on Redfield.

  • Naval Ammunition Depot Hawkwood : A staging area for the entire Reunification War effort, Hawkwood covered a massive series of bunkers and three separate ammunition production facilities. Noted as the “…largest depot…” formerly in the Confederation. Today the site was used in desert training for troops, ammunition renovation, intermodal container repair and range scrap metal processing. It was still an active site.
  • Tenpenny Arsenal : Tenpenny was an R&D site for the Confederation regarding munitions and demolitions, until the Reunification War, when the site was converted into a bomb and artillery shell production facility, as well as the Capellan Army Munition Command center. At its height, it employed over 20,000 personnel. By the end of the Star League, in 2760, the facility specialized in sensor development. nuclear munitions, and missiles. Today, the facility was still an active site that developed small arms munitions for the Federated Suns, and was not nearly as important as it used to be.
  • Thurinigia Factory : Established about 300 kms south-west of Reaver’s Crossing, the facility built diesel engines, mining and harvesting equipment, and wind electrical production machinery. The famous (now obsolete) Korvin KRV-2 “Fast Tank” was developed at the site, and was used during the Reunification War with great success. A variant of the model built by New Hessen Armorworks, the facility also built the ubiquitous LRM/SRM/AC Carriers* in great numbers.

When the facility fell to the Federated Suns in 2762, its was re-tooled to produce parts for the Goblin Infantry Support Tank which was shipped to System – New Syrtis. Given the large quantity of “tank graveyards” located on the world, the site was eventually phased out and its equipment shipped to that world for security reasons. The remaining facilities remained a repair depot for front-line forces, but as the war intensified and local stores of viable tanks and APCs dwindled, the site was further stripped and abandoned in time for the 3rd Succession Wars. Today, the site is a scrapyard of abandoned tanks and ruined engines remaining from its days as a repair yard. It is not considered active.

Pitbull, however, examined the data and noticed one other factor, a site known only as the “Memorial Plains” Graveyard. According to the data, the site was officially once a Star League diplomatic property, where its war dead without families or next of kin were sent for disposal. Noted as an isolated region in the far southern hemisphere, it is an eerie series of tens of thousands of graves. He assumed this last location was the perfect site for something similar to the Promise City Cache found on System – Claybrooke.

As an aside, they also found the site of the Battle of Kigamboni, where a Capellan naval squadron had backed a failed coup on the capital at System – New Syrtis. The group decided they would confer with Space Master Eric Severin, and see if he had any advice in finding the location or any debris trails that might hint at a lost DropShip or something, especially since they were passing through the site. Considering themselves prepared, the unit gathered aboard their DropShips and began the slow burn back to the jump-point, following a quick check-in with Captain Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” and her troops on maneuvers.

April 18th, 3022 : Arlana Jericho reported in her contract hauling 600 tons of small arms and munitions to System – Redfield, which would be the just cause they needed to head to that system, and land at the starport. The remainder of the unit docked with “The Iron Vagabond”, ensured their cargoes were secure and jumped-out.

April 19th, 3022 : Hobson : The jump in-system to Hobson was problematic. The Drive Coil on “The Freedom of the Stars” was damaged on the jump, and required several hours until the JumpShip was sufficiently repaired to allow it to accept a charge. This would delay them for a day or so, but they had sufficient parts aboard to effect repairs. Later that day, they were able to deploy the sail and begin charging the coils.

Hobson proved to be a typical G2 star (Yellow Main) with a standard Terran world. It was a light industrial world with 10 million population, exporting foodstuffs, machine tools and ores, it imported heavy manufactured goods like machinery and arms.

April 26th, 3022 : Cumberland : The unit jumped into Cumberland, without event. Cumberland, known during its time as a Capellan world as Xeikya XUan VII, or “Bright-Shining Star Warrior”, was a light Blue A0 binary star with fifteen planetary bodies and a high population Terran planet with no notable seasons. Indeed, the planet had nearly a billion inhabitants that joined the Federated Suns without conquest under the promise they could administer internal affairs without higher involvement in their political decisions. Under the steady rule of the planetary corporation Cumberland Corporation, the system has managed to maintain its population for the last 100 years following an almost communist philosophy in its state-run factories and farms.

The standard of living on Cumberland, however, is extremely high, with profits going back to the state workers, where everyone is a voting party member and have the opportunity to remove their leadership without resorting to revolution. Extremely progressive, the state government pays its taxes and provides troops to the March Militias, but generally goes on about their own business, and its citizens lead fairly comfortable lives. Due to the harsh nature of their colony, (a highly terra-formed rock-ball) the main planet of Cumberland imports substantial amounts of luxury foodstuffs (mostly from nearby Hobson ), along with textiles, petroleum, chemicals and industrial metals and aircraft. The planet exports small arms, factory and farming equipment, and general goods and tools.

May 2nd, 3022 : Kigamboni : Jumping into Kigamboni without incident, the unit encountered a beacon at the jump-point, warning about debris in-system from undocumented pirate attacks. Unlike nearby Robsart, where nearly two-hundred warships had engaged in a two-week-long battle for the system, Kigamboni was famous for the failed coup attempt of the Varney family against the AFFS for control of New Syrtis.

In late 2565, the Battle of Kigamboni included a squadron of several Capellan WarShips that followed the Varney family into Kigamboni and were slaughtered by a superior force of Federated Suns naval ships. The battle had been fought at various points across the system as the local forces hunted the last surviving Battlecruiser from the squadron, the Black Lion Class-1 “Kunming” across the system, allowing its JumpShip fleet (and their precious troop carriers) to be captured by Federated Suns commandos.

Rumor had it, that while the fleet’s two battlecruisers, four corvettes and numerous support vessels had been annihilated, Federated Suns forces had been engaged in a hunt across the system for months following the fleet’s defeat, for elements from the fight that had eluded them. There were areas in the L5 (LaGrange Point) of the main planet of the system that one simply did not go into, because of warning markers and uncharted debris. And , of course, pirates.

An M0 star, Kigamboni was a small and temperate world with 75% surface water and very industrialized. Its 100 million population were technically employees of the General Nucleonics Corporation, a planetary mega-corporation that exported cybernetic components and perfumes (primarily “Shuneapple Oil” ), and imported rare metals (such as Iridium), but were fairly self-sufficient in most other respects. The planetary government, although controlled by the corporation, is also the company’s Board of Directors, and that every citizen of the world is issued a non-transferable Voting Stock Certificate on their 18th natal day. Thus everyone is a voter and determines the next leadership of both the company and their planet. Voting Shares are not Stock Shares, but leadership of the board is determined by Voting Shares, ensuring no single individual can overtly control their positions in planetary leadership. It also makes for interesting elections…

Both JumpShips deployed their sails, and began making inquiries about local conditions. It was quickly discovered that there was a piracy problem in-system (of course), but the group planned to detach “The Freedom of the Stars” under both Space Master Eric Severin and Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” in an effort to search for any possible salvage from the Battle of Kigamboni. The days passed quickly, and “The Iron Vagabond” jumped out-system, leaving the scientists behind to begin their search.

May 10th, 3022 : Carmacks : A G2/M0 Yellow/Red Binary system, Carmacks (known as “U’Tzui” under Capellan rule), is a typical terra-formed world with hotter than normal temperatures in the middle and higher latitudes. Technology remains low on the world, and was always a violent world that can boast the majority of its higher technology to trade with Cumberland Corporation. The planet imports agricultural equipment, vehicles, small arms and tools, and exports food, industrial and power metals, low-tech factory line equipment and petroleum. The planet’s 20,000,000 inhabitants are woefully ignorant of most modern technological matters, but survive well enough through simple mineral extraction and farming. The majority are fairly sheep-like in their attitude.

The planet was also the route survivors from Kigamboni attempted to flee, but were caught at the jump-point and annihilated or captured by AFFS reinforcements.

The unit’s days passed without incident, and they jumped out-system.

May 18th, 3022 : Wappingers : An M0/M0 Binary system, Wappingers was a Terran world with no seasons and two moons. Anciently settled by indigenous folk from North America, the planet quickly came into prominence as an agricultural land-of plenty, and its vast fertile fields easily adapted to Terran crops and livestock. Today, the planet houses 55 million bucolic farmers and ranchers exporting simple foodstuffs, textiles, industrial metals and chemicals, while importing vehicles, small arms, aircraft, factory equipment and general tools. Trade is, however, restricted by high planetary tariffs, which protect locally developed industries. Corruption in the local planetary government is well-documented and crime in the packed urban centers is rife. Some 20% of the population are unemployed and are termed “The Forgotten” by most traders, as they live through petty theft and other crimes.

The unit waited out their time, and jumped out-system.

May 26th, 3022 : System – Redfield : Jumping into Redfield, the unit allowed Arlana Jericho to make her contacts and prepare for the “shipment” to Redfield of 600 tons of munitions. The plan was for the “Dingoes’ Den”, divested of its “excess” vehicles and supplies into the cargo holds of the Iron Vagabond, to make its way to the planet, fake a distress and land at the suspected cache site of “Memorial Plains”, claiming a crash and need for repairs. The “Crimson Sands” would be dispatched separately under the aegis of seeking some R&R at the old SLDF sites outside of Reaver’s Crossing. Consisting of two squads of marines from “Shiv’s Talons” and a pair of salvage squads, the unit would proceed via transport to the Thuringia Factory site, investigate it, and then report their findings in. Once the accident was reported, they would dispatch the “Brush Wolf” to effect repairs, and together haul anything they might find on the site back to the JumpShip.

May 27th, 3022 : Taking a day to transfer and stow various excess cargo, the unit prepped the Crimson Sands for flight and docked it with an open ring. Crews were transferred, and the unit began its burn in-system to Redfield.

May 30th, 3022 : The Dingoes’ Den maneuvered for orbit, deployed their communication satellite, Intelsat “Predator’s Eye” over the site, and began their drop. It went horribly wrong. During last minute landing, the shear on their DropShip burned through something in one of the landing struts, and the resulting cascade forced the vessel to make a “light” crash-landing near their target site. It crushed some of the landing gear, and destroyed one of the cargo bay entry doors, but was otherwise intact, due to the skills of their pilot, Commander Darryn Thane. The ship called in their mayday, but starport admins refused to acknowledge it. The unit then took a dozen pics of the crash site, and sent them over their coms satellite, resulting in the starport authorities acknowledging the incident. Refusing assistance, the unit asked for the Brush Wolf to get landing authorization to pick-up a new door and various landing gear parts, and then sub-orbital hop back to their landing site for repairs. They were authorized, while Arlana Jericho made arrangements for the delay in delivery of her shipment.

The Crimson Sands landed without incident, and LtJG Trooper Shiv handily managed to get through the bureaucracy of starport authority. The group immediately made their way to the Thuriniga Factory site, travelling aboard their modified Packrat LRPV.

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The Thuringia Factory Site

The site proved to be a scrapyard of abandoned tanks and engines left over from its days as a repair yard. Among the ruins, a handful of civilians were apparently making their living from the ruins, scavenging parts and engines along with scrap iron and industrial armor plate for sale to local military buyers. These dozen mechanics and their dependents quickly confronted the intruders, boasting second-hand military rifles and a mix of tools. Shiv tried to reason with them to gain access to the site for a search, but eventually wound-up offering them cash and new rifles (namely the HG-762 “Holy Grail” Assault Rifles employed by the techs) for them to go away. He upped the offer to include a permanent position among the Iron Dingoes tech teams (800 Cs per month, plus medical and dental and housing…), though the prospect of life in some forgotten corner of the Periphery was a little iffy. They agreed to take a couple days to think about it, accepting the cash and guns, and would return in three days after they had spent some time talking amongst themselves about the prospects.

With several days to search, the group settled in and made camp, scouting the surrounding complex and inventorying collection of tanks. They counted around 200 Korvin KRV-2 “Fast Tanks”, about a hundred Scorpion Light Tanks, two dozen each of LRM-Carriers/SRM-Carriers and fifty Merkava MBTs. All tanks were inoperable and mostly just rusting hulks, though some salvage was probably possible if they had more time on items such as armor plate and heavy tank parts. The complex proper would have to wait a day.

May 31st, 3022 : The Brush Wolf began its burn in-system to the starport, while the group at the Memorial Plains site began to search the vast fields of graves for any anomaly, using their helicopters to cover as much ground as possible. Eventually, the group discovered the maintenance compound, a series of semi-underground bunkers that had once held munitions, but were then converted into a maintenance facility which had further been stripped of technical equipment and was now wind-blown and abandoned. The group noted that one unusually large and robust bunker was marked off with rusted razor-wire and radiation markings warning-off intruders. Checks proved the site was radioactive, and so the group ensured they were well-equipped with their best protective equipment before proceeding.

Heading through the fence-line, it was apparent that no one had visited the site in hundreds of years. Approaching the main bunker doors revealed steadily rising radiation levels, that peaked just outside the main door. Unremarkable ferro-creete and foam steel, the vault-like opening had only a single hand-plate at shoulder-level with a simple card-slot below it. Having thought ahead, the group took their two SLDF access cards (recovered on System – Gollere ) and inserting the Class-IV Government Administration ID Card, heard the familiar whirring and activation sounds of the mechanical locks, watched as the Mech-sized door opened to reveal an airlock chamber. The group entered the airlock, and activated the next door, sealing themselves off while it purged, and noting the sudden end of radioactive contamination. As the inner door opened, they saw a long tunnel travelling off deep underground, with 50-ton alcoves along both sides the whole way down. Each alcove held various crates of supplies and weapons, as well as several large military vehicles.

All the crates were marked as being part of the SLDF-SRS-17342. It included numerous government items essential to re-establishing a government control, some strategic supplies, surplus combat armor and small arms, and obsolete vehicles bound for the local House military. It included the following :

- 500 tons of SLDF procurement records : Crates and crates of paperwork, memory sticks and other debris like datafilm and microfiche from various SLDF government agencies.

- 100 tons (80 per ton – 2500Cs each) of SLDF Field Armor Kits : Including helmet, fatigues, cargo jacket and combat boots.

- 10 tons (95 per ton – 8000Cs each) of Mauser 960 Assault Systems.

- 20 tons (320 per ton – 250Cs each) of Type-65 “Blue Lotus” Desktop Computers.

- 40 tons (5000 per ton – 150Cs each) of H-3 Horizon “Blue Lotus” Compads.

- 50 Ignis Infantry Support Tanks

- 50 (20 tons each) Heavy Military Transports.

- 100 tons of JumpShip weld records. Crates and more crates of repair records on various WarShips and JumpShips.

- 100 tons (200 people for one day per ton – 3000Cs each) of vacuum-packed survival rations.

- 100 tons (1000Cs per ton) of vacuum-packed wheat, corn, soy, oats, rice and sorghum; all traditional SL “Colonial Seeds”.

- 100 tons (50,000Cs per ton) of DropShip parts – Deckplates, atmospheric filters, and fusion conduits.

- 100 tons (4000 units per ton – 10Cs each) of older, but servicable medical kits.

- 100 tons (3000Cs per ton) industrial and strategic metals (Vanadium, Titanium, Chromium, etc) valuable for establishing factory and industrial efforts.

- 10 tons (2500 per ton – 50Cs each) of Heavy-Duty Military Rechargers.

- One (1) 90-ton Mobile Military Fusion Generator (500 kwh) mounted on a trailer and meant to establish a working field base.

The group began planning what they could take, and settled on salvaging everything (including the immense piles of crated records), except the military transports and twenty of the Ignis IFVs. That was all the space they had available on the Dingoes Den and the Brush Wolf. Salvage efforts would be fairly straightforward, however, since the items were all mothballed and secure, so they could effect their efforts in fairly short order.

Over at the Thuringia Factory, the salvagers began poking around the ruined factory complex itself, and among the heaps of rusting parts and engines, they found an anomaly; there was an elevator in one corner that led down to a sub-level, but was blocked by heavy debris. Carefully cutting a trooper-sized hole in the elevator floor, they rigged a drop-line and Shiv dropped a squad of troopers into the sub-level. It revealed a massive storage area below the main floor, with wreckage and rusted parts everywhere, but the true gem was in one corner of the basement lay a piled collection of sixty (60) mothballed 250-Rated Magna Fusion Engines, of the type used in the Korvin KRV-2 Tank. Each weihged 12 tons and was worth roughly 200,000 Cs each, or perhaps 2.4 million Cs for the lot if they dumped them all on the open market.

June 2nd, 3022 : The Brush Wolf landed without ceremony at the starport, and arranged for their parts to be delivered to the DropShip, while they made plans for the original “delivery” of munitions. Loading operation would take the majority of the day. They contacted the Crimson Sands and handed over the bonus money for hiring the new techs, as well as the cash for parts from the salvagers. Shiv took the cash and made arrangements for the final hiring of the unit.

June 3rd, 3022 : The Brush Wolf made its sub-orbital drop over to the “Memorial Plains” site, rendezvousing with their companions and preparing to load more salvaged goods and vehicles. Repairs to the Dingoes Den were completed.

Shiv made the offer to hire the civilians, telling them that their DropShip would pick them up in a week’s time at Reaver’s Crossing starport, and to pack up and meet them there. The civilians agreed, taking the cash and heading-out to the city to make their final emigration arrangements.

June 6th, 3022 : The unit finished loading the salvage from “Memorial Plains”, and both DropShips burned to the jump-point taking their time.

June 9th, 3022 : Docking with the Iron Vagabond, both DropShips began unloading operations, stuffing as much of the cargo as they could into her cavernous holds.

June 12th, 3022 : Finished with loading operations, the unit then transferred the actual munitions shipment to the Dingoes Den, and burned back a day later to Redfield.

June 16th, 3022 : Landing at the starport in Reaver’s Crossing, the DIngoes Den made final arrangements for their munitions delivery, and began unloading operations. Meanwhile, the group dispatched their two Planetlifter Air Transports with the rest of their salvage crews, and began salvaging the facility at Thuringia. On-site, they also found sufficient tools and equipment to build a Mobile Vehicle Repair Bay, along with two Loadmaster Exoskeletons. Salvage went quickly, as they were light loads and the trip was only 300 kms back and forth. After a day of work, they welcomed the new techs aboard their DropShip, and secured their loads for another burn out-system.

June 20th, 3022 : Having finally finished all their activities in-system, the group spent a day shuffling supplies and cargo how they wanted it, and after re-stowing the Crimson Sands, made their jump back towards Kigamboni and New Syrtis.

June 21st, 3022 : Jumping into Wappingers, the group deployed the “The Iron Vagabond”‘s solar sail, and settled in for an 8-day charge. The Command Group proposed to Arlana Jericho that she purchase some of their recent acquisitions, at discount, to ensure she made a good profit, and the unit received some ready cash to make payrolls and short-term purchases. Settling on 12,000,000 Cs for most (50) of the salvaged Fusion engines, as well as twenty (20) tons of the H-3 Horizon “Blue Lotus” Compads. Immediately, the unit set aside (for members not present) and paid-out a 2-Month’s bonus to all its members.

June 28th, 3022 : The unit jumped without incident into Carmacks.

July 6th, 3022 : The unit jumped back into Kigamboni, waiting the 8.5 days to charge their jump coil. They contacted “The Freedom of the Stars” and learned that the unit had been relatively busy during their stay in system…

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Episode 80 - (Not so) Hot in the City

“Please, oh please, oh, do not let me fall,
You’re all mine and I love you best of all,
And you must be my man, or I’ll have no man at all,
There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

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

April 7th, 3022 : Jumping into the Horsham system, the group contacted the local recharging station, and began trading between the unit and the local trade stations. They immediately sold off their looted reactor-grade uranium, and spent the next week organizing their now assimilated scientists and techs from the raid. Once secure, the unit began plans to return to System – New Syrtis.

April 14th, 3022 : Unit jumped into Robsart. The unit noted that the “…largest naval battle of the Reunification War…” occurred in Robsart,

April 21st, 3022 : Unit jumps into Deifenbaker.

April 28th, 3022 : Unit jumps into Merope.

May 5th, 3022 : Unit jumps into System – New Syrtis, and immediately reports in success in their mission. The Command Council is ordered to report directly to the Capellan March Militia command group in the system capital, Saso. The group decided to take the “Star Talon” and the “Pandora’s Box”, and made their way planet-bound.

May 9th, 3022 : Local news nets announced the meeting of three major Houses; Draconis Combine, Capellan Confederation and Free World’s League, were meeting together in some secret location (believed to be Terra), to sign some sort of peace proposal as a counter-balance to the 3020 FedCom Accords alliance between the Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth.

As the DropShips underwent customs inspections, they were met at the main ramps by a military convoy seeking to take the unit’s leadership and their “package” for debriefing. Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin”, Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull”, LtSG Massimo De Luca “Advocate”, and Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour” went with the transports, ordering all troops to remain on-station at the DropShips until further notice. The four were escorted, with their various assistants, into an APC and taken through the city proper, and then the windows blackened. It seemed like they made it across the nearby glacier and into a tunnel, and down a long, subterranean road. EVentually, the unit seemed to come to a stop, and they found themselves in a large underground complex of some sort; likely the deep complex of the Regional Military Headquarters under Heaven’s Top, the largest mountain near the city.

The group was ushered into a meeting room, and after being given refreshments, met with their contact, Colonel Simon Sortek. He was soon joined by several techs and a couple senior officers who examined “The Package” for its content and value. They gave the okay and verified its authenticity. Immediately, another handful of senior officers arrived, including one VIP; Duke Michael Hasek-Davion. He thanked the group for their actions, and mentioned how proud he was of their sacrifices. After shaking their hands and more flowery words, the officers left the room, leaving the group with Colonel Simon Sortek.

Negotiations began immediately, with the group wanting to have the unit let go from their contract early, but they were refused. Instead, the Colonel wanted them to supply a raiding force of infantry and armor and proceed against the local militia in three separate raids on important facilities, as though they were bandits. False ammo would be supplied and the specific targets wouldn’t know they were being specifically targeted until after the raids had been conducted. It was hoped, that the next few months of training would “season” the defenders to “out-of-the-box” thinking that raiders and pirates were known for.

Paladin chose Captain Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” and her infantry and armor to do the task, bolstered by several marine squads from * “The Cerberus Command”, to bring the total up to a full fifty (50) squads required by their contract. Since Fionna and her crews had specialized in this terrain and raiding Lt. Colonel Carla “Razor” Chestines forces many years ago. It seemed a good match. To assist them, they were assigned the unit’s Mobile Command Post, as well as Captain Jessa Dajus-Marik “Dragonfly” to help run intel for them. In the end, Glamour also chose to stay with the unit, running aerial recon with her and her wingman in their LAMs.

The unit was released to prepare for their activities, and Paladin gave everyone a three-day shore leave, and the unit broke into various small groups to fulfill their own agendas. They called-in the remaining DropShips from the jumppoint, to retrieve salvage and get their units organized.

Glamour spent a little time in the the local spas and shopping, taking Advocate with her. She spent the rest of the time going over intel reports and maps and making plans. Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” visited the local university in Saso, and made plans to do a formal reading of his paper (submitted earlier during the unit;s first stop on New Syrtis ) on the third day. Pitbull and Advocate had words with the recruiter, getting an update on his efforts. Captain Mitchell Kitsune “Wraith”, Lieutenant SG Michael Anderson “Fixer” and MechWarrior Evan Lars “Caboose” paid a visit to the Johnstone Industries showroom, looking at their support weapons. Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” and Trooper Bodrick Thompson “Blaster” visited the local university, the former looking for information on Star League studies, and the latter researching explosives and demolitions (something he was particularly interested in).

The recruitment reports showed Lt. Daniel Bernard, their merc recruiter, had managed to round-up a half-dozen (6) Line Engineers and thirty-three (33) Machinists willing to relocate to the unit’s landholds. He had also managed to find 4 regular techs, 2 armor crews, a scout, a pair of dispossessed Mech pilots and a dispossessed Aero pilot. These people would be bringing whatever families they might have as dependents and had basic tools for their hired tasks.

Wraith and his crew examined the M56 “Smartgun”s on display and first looked at buying seven, but were able to get enough scrip from Advocate to buy a total of twenty-one (21). While Fixer and Caboose worked on finalizing the purchase, Wraith was distracted by a dusty display on one wall showing the numerous industries that Johnstone Industries were once involved in. He noted they once worked on various infantry support industries, from basic uniforms to infantry guns and support weapons. It included numerous industrial sites scattered across the planet, but the one that caught his eye, was under the Propper title that sold basic BDUs, support equipment and infantry armor to the Star League. He noted where these locations were, though they were listed as having been heavily destroyed in orbital bombardment.

Advocate and Pitbull spent a couple days looking through * “The Scrapyard”, and tried to trade some of their salvaged and unwanted Mechs for some units that fit their raiding profiles. Eventually they managed to get a hold of a pair of QKD-4G Quickdraws for their salvage, though they also found a line on an Ostscout and three Phoenix Hawks.

Learning about the possible salvage site for the Propper factory, Paladin organized a “raid party”, deciding to spend another week on-planet before heading out to System – Redfield.

May 14th, 3022 : The raiding group left the starport and made their way into the northern wastes, where they would rendezvous with their own DropShips and use them as a base for their raids.

The other DropShips were finally present, and the group sent Wraith, Fixer and Templar out to the ruined site with a Cobra Transport VTOL, two sqauds of marines and a pair of salvage squads. The group found the site easily, and a quick examination revealed the only thing of value was a heavily damaged clothing processing facility, though it was once highly automated and produced three lines of military uniforms; a line of standard infantry/armor/aircrew BDUs with an arctic overshell (7% intact); an (MCPS) “Multi-Climate Protection System” in Woodland camo, Water- and flame-resistant jacket and trousers (4% intact); and an (ECWS) “Extreme Cold Weather System” : in Arctic camo Cold Weather “Cobra” Jacket and Trousers, and Extreme Cold Weather Parka. (8% intact). The lines did have a certain C-Bill value attached, but were abandoned because they didn’t really seem worth trying to put back in production given it was cheaper to produce them through the civilian markets.

The group then decided to salvage the lot of them, but amounting to 300-tons each, it would need some time to accomplish, so a steady stream of techs ran the equipment every night from the ruin site down to the DropShips with their numerous VTOls, taking three days of steady work to accomplish. The goods were bound for long-term storage on “The Iron Vagabond” until the unit managed to make it back to their landholds and decide what to do with them.

During this time, the group also began plans to formally organize the * Pirates of the Blood Asteroids. Paladin was informed about the idea, and rubber-stamped it though with some reservations.

Recognizing the unit had the equipment, but needed the Propper blueprints to properly use the manufacturing equipment. Templar and Advocate visited the showroom again, and while Advocate distracted the salesman, Templar tried to access the shop’s computers. He quickly determined the information was not at the showroom, but likely in the deep storage archives in Johnstone Industries HQ building in the heart of Saso.

May 17th, 3022 : Plans were being made to make the trip to Redfield, searching for a possibly lost storage facility or something else that Pitbull was certain might be found. They spent a day “thought-busting” on ideas of how to get there, and called it a night.

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Episode 79b : The Boys From Sangria

“He was nothing but a sadist, really. A sadist with an MD and a PHD. Well, some people would say the perfect definition of a scientist.”

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

January 21st, 3022 : Caverns under Brightwater Base.

About twenty (20) seconds into the fight, with several of the defender units destroyed, and the assaulting Mechs of * “The Dead Man’s Hand” had been pummeled by the defending Crusader and Victor before they were destroyed.

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Several units exchanged fire shredding armor. Major “Veruca” Louise Salt managed to get in a couple good shots on the back Enforcer, knocking it over. During the fall against the cavern wall, the Mech critically snapped off its right arm. MechWarrior Dominic Haugustus “Pockets” was able to get a critical shot on the Griffon, breaching its leg, flooding it, and forcing it to flounder submerged into the pool.

The Sentinel that moved forward into the rubble where the Crusader once stood, managed to pierce the shredded armor of MechWarrior Ela Rose‘s LT, critically damaging her engine shielding. She also took a swift kick to the leg, knocking her over, but she remained undaunted. The Wolverine took a solid kick to the LLeg, suffering Foot and Lower Actuator damages, but fell over on the Mech’s Head, knocking the pilot unconscious.

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Trooper Cooper Hawkes stumbled trying to get out of the pool, as did Pockets, and the Griffin powered-down, unable to stand.

Trooper Farah Dulac – “Blade” tore all the armor off the _Wolverine_’s CT, and Ela scattered her fire, critically destroying its AC/10 and destroying its entire LLeg. The Wolverine collapsed, out of the fight. Ela took a round of counter-fire, critically puncturing its CT armor, damaging her Gyro and Engine Shielding, and destroying a Heat Sink. She then fell over, taking a critical shot to her PPC and had her Left Arm completely snapped off. She did, however, remain awake and angry. She also got her third kill of the fight.

Trooper Paul Wang hit the Enforcer CT, critically damaging its Gyro and tearing most of its Fusion Engine shielding off, and the blast knocked the Mech over onto its left side.

Veruca and MechWarrior Katie Starling both opened up on the Enforcer down the tunnel, striking it multiple times, including once in the Head, knocking the previously untouched Enforcer over. The Enforcer managed to get off a couple shots first, hitting Veruca and bowling her over.

The closest Sentinel took a shot from Master Trooper Dale Taylor “Solitaire”, destroying its AC/5 Ultra, and MechWarrior Patrick Clooney “Shredder” followed up with several shots that breached the Mech’s armor in multiple locations. The Sentinel hit Katie with a few ineffective shots, and she responded with a swift kick to its RLeg.

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The lead Mechs in ruins, Major “Veruca” Louise Salt demanded the surrender of the defending units, and with most of their lead Mechs down and removed from combat, they quickly agreed, surrendering the field to the Dead Man’s Hand. They had captured a Victor fairly intact, and the remnants of the ammo-explosion-slain Crusader. The unit demanded the Mechs power-down, and helped drag the Griffin out of the pool, before turning to their own units and getting them to safety.

With Veruca and __Ela_ critically damaged, they left them behind to watch the battle site, while the rest of the unit under the aegis of MechWarrior Katie Starling proceeded down the tunnels to secure the entrance to Brightwater Base. The unit called-in their infantry to begin their trip to make the drop on the base interior, and approached the armroed gate at the entrance.

Consisting of a small 60m wide area before the armored gate and two guard towers with a pair of MGs on their ball turrets, the gate was heavily defended against infantry, but not terribly dangerous to BattleMechs. Katie approached the main gate, and as the turrets turned towards her, opened with her loudspeakers, demanding the surrender of the base’s garrison. The roar of the nearby waterfall was the only sound in response.

Unable to see beyond the massive wall built from scrap hull plating, concrete and native stone, they waited patiently for another minute. Again they demanded the surrender of the base garrison. Just the waterfall again.

Trooper Paul Wang moved forward, banging on the gate and calling for someone to respond. Nothing but the rain. Even the turrets seemed quiet and unresponsive. Katie moved forward, and proceeded to tear and kick the gate down, taking it apart in 10 seconds flat. Beyond, they saw Brightwater Base for the first time.

New_Eden.jpg

Perched along a river ravine with two bridges crossing its depths, the Mech bay to their right next to the large waterfall coursing down from the mountain, and the drop-pad away to the left. Infantry barracks were placed along and into the cliff wall to the left, while the central bridge led to the underground fastness of the base storage, HQ and motor pool. Away down the ravine, led dangerous footpaths carved into the cliffs, and along these routes could be seen the remnants of infantry working their way back into the jungle beyond the ravine.

The Mechs waited patiently, watching the last of the garrison slip away, and eventually were joined by the Command and 3rd infantry platoons brought in to secure the facility. Facing no immediate threats, Captain Jerri Holden quickly spread the infantry through the base and began scouting the base facilities. The two VTOLs were released to return to Corazón Airfield to gather the unit’s techs and salvage squads to effect repairs and get the unit to safety. Several hours later, the unit was joined by their techs and the salvage operation began in earnest.

January 22nd, 3022 : With the base seemingly secure, Veruca dispatched the “WIld Bunch” lance of the unit’s Mechs (led by Master Trooper Dale Taylor “Solitaire” ) to Tuadann with Varsha Arkadjian, to secure her position as local war-chief, and fulfill their promise. With the techs busy salvaging guarded by their infantry, the Mechs took turns keeping watch, while the unit took some down-time. Salvage operations were expected to last about two days, after which, the surrendered mercenaries would be released to head back south out of the jungle towards San Isabel, their “employers”.

Salvage operations went well, considering the lack of heavy equipment, but eventually they had managed to get their Mechs armor covered sufficient to move them out of the jungles down-river, dragging the parts from the Crusader and the Victor out of the caves for pick-up. The remaining technicians managed to get the mercs mobile and moving.

January 24th, 3022 : Initial reports about the base were concluded, and salvage operations of the base itself commenced, snatching various supplies, an advanced military comms system, and two noted anomalies. The first, was the armored wall and gate. They were built from rusted and scavenged armor and hull plating from a DropShip or JumpShip of some sort. Its exact origins were unknown. Second, the fuel tank at the drop-pad was false. Apparently, the tank was actually wood-covered steel of recent manufacture, and hid both a monitoring post and an anti-aircraft gun (a twin-barreled AC/2) that could be deployed from the post. Actual fueling facilities were in a hard tank burrowed into the cliff face below the station.

Suspecting something like a “secret door” might be found inside the air station, techs soon found a hidden shaft and winch elevator leading deep under the base ravine…Command platoon took the lead of the investigation, and entered the tunnels leading deep under the base. The elevator was capable of hauling a single Standard (5-ton) Cargo Container and an operator.

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Quickly dropping into the tunnels below the complex, they discovered a “mustering area” once formerly some sort of mining area. Numerous tools and empty cargo containers were here, along with a ventilation shaft connection in the ceiling. Two tunnels led from this area, one to several raw mining tunnels, while the other led straight for about 100m to a pit. Troopers stared in horror and awe as they looked down to see about a dozen near corpses moaning and clawing at the pit’s sides, trying to climb out and attack the intruders. Covered in some sort of blue-glowing gel, the techs present quickly identified it as radioactive waste. Furthermore, the lead tech remembered something similar having once been encountered by the Iron Dingoes, during the unit’s encounter of The “Shadow Station”, in 3017 during their Contract – “Operation : Overlord”. Identifying the cobalt blue gel as “Deathpaste”, and the “zombie” effect on the people in the pit as likely Neo-Ghoul, the group arranged to hack up some of the cargo containers and form a makeshift bridge to cross the pit safely.

After an hour of work, they managed to cross over, finding a mobile ramp along one side of the passage beyond, hinting that the group that worked here had not left by the “front door”. To the left was a short tunnel leading to an iron-bar sealed prison (empty), and to the right a couple more mining tunnels with ventilation shafts. Directly ahead, was a shaft with a lift leading further down into the complex.

Travelling deeper into the complex, the infantry posted a pair of squads at the shaft’s base, and discovered a corridor leading both right and left. Taking the right corridor, they found a metal “accordion” door along the right wall, and beyond this a well-reinforced chamber with access to heavy power conduits and a large quantity of unknown communications equipment, that was later identified as a powerful ECM suite meant for installation in a permanent location.

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Further down the corridor, they encountered the first evidence they were in a lab; a large Rejuvination Suite with a large computer core, surgical equipment and a central tank of green-glowing fluid. Inside the tank was a red-headed woman… probably a clone. She remained unresponsive, but the unit paramedics thought she seemed stable and alive. They were unable to identify what the computer core connected to the machinery did, beyond storing a large amount of data files. The walls around the chamber contained a large number of plants and other bio-samples. A thick power cable ran south through the wall along the same path as the ventilation shafts in the room. The computer ran a statement when first accessed :

“You will fight to the last soldier, and when you die, I will call upon your damned souls to rise and speak horrible curses at the enemy.”

Taking the tunnel leading deeper in, they found another metal door and a massive chamber holding more bio-samples and four separate Rejuvination Suites, all empty, but recently used. This was a fully-stocked lab for biology work and study. Beyond another metal door, they found a straight-cut chamber jammed with computer banks of local manufacture and another ceiling vent. The computer files in this room seemed to be filled with extremely sophisticated profiles of plant, animal and human DNA. Most of this was from local sources.

The tunnel to the north (or left) led to a series of store rooms and residences for a complete scientific team. One room in particular, was extremely plush and spoke of whomever had led the local science team. There were no obvious exits, and signs that the residents had left suddenly and with little warning.

The facility explored, the infantry called-down the unit techs, and it was determined that the group had the ability to salvage the entire operation, though it would take time. The active cloning tank, in particular, would be very difficult to move, but the salvage techs could likely hook-up a mobile generator and make a special trip in getting the unit out and safely stored at Castle Corazón.

January 25th, 3022 : Finishing the salvage operation in the base above, the unit began stripping the hidden science lab, and lastly moved “Scarlet Jade”’s tank, before salvaging the power generators and communication systems in the caves HQ. They also put the neo-ghouls out of their misery, shooting each one and burning the bodies. No one wanted to touch the radioactive corpses… Towards the end of the day, the unit placed several tons of explosives all around the cave entrances and ravine walls, and once units were safely out of the range, detonated the lot, blowing the facility into history. Although the lower caves remained mostly intact, Brightwater Base was gone.

January 26th, 3022 : The unit gathered at Tuadann, and bid farewell to Varsha Arkadjian, ensuring she was securely in charge over the local tribe and council. The unit then slogged the two-day journey back down the Rio Tashent, eventually reaching Castle Corazon for the night, and ensuring things were well-organized.

January 28th, 3022 : The rest of the unit passed through the northern portion of the jungle, reaching * Landhold : Garrison around mid-day, and settled in for proper maintenance of their Mechs. Veruca and Lord (LtSG) Henry “Fitzy” Fitzroy began discussing their options, and arranged to finalize a contract with Baron Kenton Sarne‘s representative the following day. They chose to pass on the local government contract, since they really didn’t have the trained infantry to fulfill it without re-arranging everything.

January 29th, 3022 : Early that morning MechWarrior Patrick Clooney “Shredder” was wracking his brain over the statement he’d seen on the reports… and as the resident SLDF hobby specialist, was best-qualified to know something. Later, he was searching his books collected on the subjects, when he found it… he informed Veruca of his findings first thing.

There it was, in the historical treatise on the fall of the Star League. The last formal words of history’s greatest monster to his troops when Terra fell.

“You will fight to the last soldier, and when you die, I will call upon your damned souls to rise and speak horrible curses at the enemy.”Stephan Amaris, First Lord of the Inner Sphere.

History’s greatest monster, might be a clone…

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Episode 79a : The Boys From Sangria

“I’m dead in the water
Still looking for ya
I’m dead in the water
Can’t you see, can’t you see?”

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
Steve (Oddball) -———————— Warhammer

January 2nd, 3022 : * Landhold : Garrison, Garcia District, Republic of Sangria : As the scouting mission in Castle Corazón drew to a close, Lord (LtSG) Henry “Fitzy” Fitzroy began going over potential contracts for * “The Dead Man’s Hand” during their “Hiring Season”. In addition to a small contract for another company of infantry, similar in most purposes to Contract – Operation : “Show-and-Tell”, there was a continuing effort by House Davion to recruit a sizable Mech force to hold the peace in System – Csomad. They also caught a lead on an offer by someone claiming to represent Baron Kenton Sarne, though he would only offer the contract in person, on-planet. When Fitzy seemed interested, he took a shuttle and planned to arrive in Ciudad Garcia as soon as possible.

January 5th, 3022 : Major “Veruca” Louise Salt was contacted later in the day from * “The Dingoes’ Fangs” Field Ops in San Marcos, Senior Tech Catherine “Piper” Walker. She reported in that her unit had uncovered the whereabouts of the Frontier-Class Air Transport, “Nairobi” they had been tasked to find. It had been sitting in a hangar for the past year, unused and practically abandoned. However, reports in the capital of another similar craft operating led her to dicover another “Frontier” Heavy Lift VTOL operating under the name of “Tiber”. This vessel was found to be shipping large quantities of fuel (through dismountable fuel tanks in her cargo), roughly 12 tons of water and foodstuffs (enough food to feed roughly a company or more of infantry for a month), and five tons of unclassified “Agricultural Equipment”. This vessel often travelled with infantry from San Isabel, taking them back from R&R and training in San Marcos.

The odd thing about the flight, was that it was conducted every month, and upon arrival at San Isabel, several days later, would again load the same supplies and personnel, and return to San Marcos about another week later. Again and again, this vessel repeated the mission back and forth. Always bringing supplies somewhere, but never dropping anything off beyond a handful of troopers wearing San Isabel uniforms. She requested a new mandate, since that seemed to fulfill her original request, but had no one else to ask for orders. Major Salt told them to finish their contract in San Marcos, and quietly relocate to San Isabel, get access to the national government in the same way, and await further orders. Just gather intel on flight patterns and other similar matters.

January 7th, 3022 : Word came over a news broadcast from RCN Television, reporting that the industrial fires in San Succi had continued to devastate the city, and had burned-out what was left in the area. This meant that the Indumil industrial complex they had raided was now a smoking ruin, along with much of the industrial strength of the nation’s heartland. Only the power plants and Indumil factory in the northern provinces, as well as other smaller complexes remained. The automotive industry in the nation was obliterated, along with many agricultural supporting industries. The water treatment plant and some other factories, such as the Bavaria Beer and Nutresa Group plants on the outskirts of the city remained intact, however. General Pierre Garza was still in control of the city and trying to put it back together, though the military government faced continuing pressure from marauder bands and gangs trying to take control of key industries and supplies.

January 8th, 3022 : Reports came from the 11th Infantry Militia Platoon “Tunnel Rats”, * “The Cerberus Command”. They had captured a young infiltrator trying to get into Corazón Airfield. MechWarrior Dominic Haugustus “Pockets” was sent along with Fitzy to interrogate the young man, since Pockets spoke fluent Spanish. They also brought a supply of Dingo Spit.

The flight via Karnov UR Transport was uneventful, and landing at Corazón Airfield, they discovered a young man, barely twelve, who had been trying to infiltrate the base. A local native of the Corazón Jungle, they managed to coax him into revealing he was from Tuadann, and had been seeking some token of proof he could be accepted as a warrior in his tribe. Apparently, stealing from the “metal men” was considered a mark of high skill. Seeing this as an opportunity to possibly recruit the skilled jungle fighters of the southern jungles, they managed to get the boy, one Cassius, agree to lead them to his village, several days away in the depths of the jungles.

Bringing several hundred kilos of supplies (most as gifts) with them, a pair of squads from the 2nd Platoon, “Star’s Reach Militia” were dispatched and led by LtJG Paula “Kaliente” Perez along with Fitzy and Pockets. They presented a Deadwood Special “Longhorn” Hunting Rifle to the boy, as his trophy, and planned to present another to this mystical war-chief, Honzo Arkadjian. They then proceeded into the jungles, and quickly became dependent on his skills.

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Several days passed, and the unit travelled along the Rio Tashent, while Cassius related the horrors of the jungles, namely the “Fangclaws” or Nexu, but also the “SwarmTeeth” (packs of native water rats that swarm their prey), and the “JumpLegs” (an oddly-shaped monkey-like creature, with impressively long limbs to swing and leap through the trees). The unit grew fond of the child, nick-naming him “Little Brother”, a name he took to well.

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January 14th, 3022 : Out of communication with headquarters due to the jungle, the unit reached Tuadann, and despite some suspicion, were welcomed into the central chief’s hut with open arms. Cassius explained how he had claimed his coup on the “Metal Men”, and that he had brought them here for trade. The group presented their gifts (soaps, jerky, metal utensils and the “Longhorn”), and the chief offered salt and a feast was quickly held. Amidst the revelry and music and feasting odd dishes, the group asked a few questions about the village and its people, but the chief seemed good at avoiding questions and giving misleading answers. They also noticed the quiet and unassuming Varsha Arkadjian sitting just behind the chief, watching their every move, but in the festivities.

Eventually the group mentioned the skill of the clan’s warriors, and the chief boasted “…even the best of you could not defeat my least warrior…” pointing at his daughter. In fairness, the group challenged the chief’s daughter to a sniper duel, offering an equally capable female warrior, Scout Abigail Breslin “Winter”, the Shadow Recruit of Kaliente. The party moved outside, and a pack of nearby JumpLegs were chosen as targets. The shooting went fairly evenly at first, but eventually, Varsha managed to take the lead during the “moving targets” portion of the duel, and the unit accepted their loss with grace. Fitzy asked after Varsha, sna speaking quickly with her, learned that she was promised in marriage to a trader, and that “…my dowry bring peace to the Tribe of the Corazón…”.

While the drinking entered full swing, Kaliente and Senior Trooper Yineth Trujillo slipped away from the feast, and tried to see if they could scout-out the village. They wandered the community, and eventually noticed something odd about the way the main hall was laid-out. Entering inside, they found one door (a metal-reinforced door!) guarded by one warrior. Kaliente slipped over to the soldier and distracted him for a little while, allowing Trooper Trujillo to slip through the door quickly and enter the darkened room behind. Turning-on her flashlight, she found a small room filled with a very advanced communications suite, of a type she couldn’t recognize. Noting the channel it was set to, she quickly looked around for anything else, but then left the room and quietly slipped back out. “Bored now…” stated Kaliente, and walked away from the soldier mid-necking. The pair then re-joined the crowd and settled in.

Eventually, Kaliente decided to visit with Cassius, finding him deep in his cups. Openly confronting him with about Varsha, and exactly what the marriage was about. He drunkenly responded “…you know, with Kassler, Proust’s man.” Proust, it turned out, was indeed a “Metal Man”, and he and his “…lived in those caves over there along the river… =HIC= …soon, with Proust, the Warchief will control all the Villages in the jungle… For the Tribe!”. He closed his comments with an odd motion of his hands, like a Catholic Cross, and the odd statement of “…the Tribe…”.Further questioning about this resulted in nothing new, but Kaliente acknowledged that many in the tribe used the statement and motion.

January 15th, 3022 : As the party wound-down, the group were given an old empty warehouse to bed down in, and settled in for the night, posting guards. Once sufficient time had passed, Kaliente woke Winter, and the pair slipped out to the river (barely avoiding patrols), and wandered a couple miles until they spotted a massive cave in the side of the wall along the river; obviously the base they were looking for. They managed to sneak back into camp (again barely), and went over to report their findings to Fitzy. Meanwhile, the comms officer noticed a snap-burst communique headed orbital on the channel noted by Kaliente’s foray into the Chief’s Hall.

Just after the pair returned, Varsha Arkadjian woke Fitzy from his sleep, and surprised him by having slipped through his pickets. She verified the truth about her being promised in marriage to one of the “Metal Men” that lived in the base behind the caves, and that it was an effort of her father to both remove her daughter as a “weak” leader of her people, and to get their support in taking over the entire Corazón Jungle. She asked the unit to smuggle her out tonight, and she promised to guide the group on a fast route back to their airfield, as well as promise her people’s support once the conflict was over. She claimed she had control of most of the young male warriors. The elder council, however, would not accept her as a chief as long as her father had control of the “Metal Men”.

The group grabbed their supplies and equipment and bugged-out, quietly and without incident, heading along deep jungle trails no one else would know about. Moving quickly, the group made good time, and within three days were back in range of the Corazón Airfield, calling for an immediate evac by VTOL, and to get the unit’s Mechs ready for combat. They learned that Major Salt was holding-off negotiations with the agent sent by Baron Sarne, and that they had until the end of the month to make a decision or the offer of a contract would lapse.

January 19th, 3022 : Following a quick flight back to * Landhold : Garrison, the unit promptly boarded their Mechs and received a quick update on the situation. Aerial recon of the area targetted revealed that the site was buried deep in the valley behind the caves, and that a powerful ECM field and anti-aircraft guns covering all approaches. Further research revealed the site to likely be Brightwater Base, a rumored military fort but never actually visited by anyone. The unit slowly made their way down the Rio Tashent, with Varsha riding in the rumble-seat with Major Salt.

Waiting for the call, would be two platoons of infantry; the Command “The Last Bastion” and 3rd “Black Tower Militia” Platoons to be flown in once the unit got close enough. Aboard the DMHs Cobra Transport VTOL and Karnov UR Transport they were prepared for a drop into the base once the Mechs had made their way inside through the caves. They would be escorted by all four of the unit’s Warrior H-7 Attack Helicopters.

January 21st, 3022 : After a couple of quick days travel with only a few hours spent in their cockpits to rest here and there, the group approached Tuadann. Sensors picked-up the comms burst from the village as they passed it, but the unit didn’t stop, rather moving along towards the cave seen earlier. Finding the cave and entering inside, they detected a large pool of water within, and several caves leading deeper inside. Sensor echoes were hideous and distorted everything, but the unit’s OTT-7J Ostscout and similarly equipped OTL-4D Ostsol picked-up motion activity deep within the caves and moving quickly their way.

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The unit had some difficulty at first, unused to submerging completely in water and moving through as fast as they could. Several units stumbled and had difficulty getting across the pool to the other shore, and nearly a minute was lost getting across from the cave entrance.

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As Major “Veruca” Louise Salt and MechWarrior Katie Starling led the way across the entrance pool, they just managed to get to the shore with their STK-3F Stalkers when a Crusader and an Enforcer poked out of the exit cave and began exchanging fire with the intruders.

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As the crowded beach began to fill, with a Griffin and a second Enforcer joingin in the fray, shots began to disrupt the defenders, with Veruca and MechWarrior Ela Rose in her BNC-3E Banshee laying down severe damage on the Crusader. The Crusader charged Ela’s Banshee, knocking it over on its back, but Ela’s counter-strike punched through the Crusader’s RT, critically damaging its ammo reserves and blowing the Mech apart. Veruca and the Griffin exchanged kicks. Behind the crowds in the tunnel, came a looming Victor in a familiar paint scheme; Dominique “Domino” Harvey was back.

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Ela tripped passing through the rubble of the fallen Crusader, falling over once more. MechWarrior Jena Malone “Rocket” stumbled passing by the slower Stalker driven by Starling, knocking both over and damaging the Stalker’s LT in a crippling critical that flooded half its weapons, forcing it to limit it’s attacks. Trooper Hendricks MacKracken – “The Iron Duke” and Ela both shot at the Victor, now clearly in the main cave, and both struck with their weapons, including a pair of critical hits to the Mech’s Head! (Ela’s PPC got the kill).

Both Enforcers fired on Ela’s Banshee, and other fire rocked her Mech, forcing her to stumble over. Veruca got a lucky shot into the newly appeared Wolverine damaging its Head. She followed-up with a swift kick into the other leg of the Griffin. Other fire was exchanged, but it looked like a tough fight indeed, with anyone the winner at this point.

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Things were getting hot.

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Episode 78 - Operation : "Blue Harvest"

“You can’t expect to reap a harvest that you’re not willing to plant.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Highlander
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Catapult
Dana (Blaster) -————————-Warhammer
Jay (Advocate)—————————Flashman
Chris (Caboose)————————-Thug
Ken (Templar) -————————- Crockett
Scott (Moxie) -————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank

April, 1st, 3022 : System – Corodiz : April Fool’s Day : The unit jumped into the L-1 trojan point of the main planet, between the binary stars central gravity and the planet itself. A risky effort indeed, but worth the challenge presented, because it gave them a four-hour 2-G burn to the planet’s surface, rather than a four-day leisurely stroll from the Zenith.

“The Freedom of the Stars” jumped in and quickly shuffled away from the “landing”, its small size allowing little to no signature, and it promptly found the pirate point seemed secure. “The Iron Vagabond” jumped in with no difficulty, and moved away from her “landing”. Several minutes later, the other merc’s jumpship, The Redwood Empire jumped in, and quickly reported a failure of their navigation computers. Repairs were expected to take at least 3 days, and they requested assistance, which was quickly offered to ensure recovery of their systems. The six DropShips then launched, and moved out at a hardy 2-G burn for the planet of Corodiz.

Quickly gaining orbit, the units were not met by any orbital AeroSpace defenses, and entered the next phase of the mission. The “Green Tiger’s” landed their Union-Class DropShip “Rat Trap” a couple hours out of the capital, deployed and moved towards their targets at the starport. The “Latinikon’s” Leopard-Class DropShip “Baloo” would hold their assault Mechs as a reserve to drop directly on the starport itself.

After the units at the starport became engaged with a mix of infantry and armor from the Capellan base, the Dingoes landed their DropShips “Brush Wolf” and “Pandora’s Box”, who would deploy their forces to move on the mining site at Sandblast; the Mechs to seize the facility, and the armor and infantry to hold it. Their other DropShips, “Dingoes’ Den” and “Star Talon” would drop on the mining site’s own landing pads, conduct salvage operations while the marines secured the underground administration and barracks of the mine site.

Landing operations went undisputed, while the unit’s Eagle and Seydlitz of the Interceptor Lance conducted a recon of the mining site. Reports placed a large force of Mechs moving to the mining site from the nearby south-west mountains. As the unit moved on Sandblast, they began to identify the units as a mixed company (likely the local planetary milita), and a lance of regular military Mechs along with a single unknown unit. Hard ECM was covering the separate lance’s approach.

A lone military Union-Class DropShip lay on the landing field, marked with both the regular Liao symbols for its navy, but also with an unknown CMS symbol below it. The independent lance proved to be a Thunderbolt and three Vindicator’s, along with what the group felt was an example of the RVN-1X Raven, all marked with badges that were believed to be the Death Commandos; the elite special forces of the Capellan Confederation. The rest of the defenders were seemingly indeed a large company of planetary militia, consisting of a lance of UrbanMechs, a lance of a single Vindicator and three Valkyries, another of three Javelins, and a fourth of a Spider and two Jenners.

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The units began moving towards each other. Command lance chose to take the Death Commandos on directly, while the Fire Support Lance headed off the vastly quicker Valkyries, Jenners and Spider. The Assault Lance split their targets, half holding the flank against the slower UrbanMechs, while the rest supported the Fire Support avacne with their long-range laser and PPC fire._

The command lance took a couple opening shots, with some damage to the Thunderbolt and lead Vindicator. Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” got off a lucky shot and tore the head off the Raven with his AC/10. Some long-range PPC and LRM fire from the defenders, but nothing spectacular.

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Templar opened the next round of fire with a magical shot on the Thunderbolt that tore into its LA and blew its MG ammo reserves, critically blowing the Mech apart. Captain Mitchell Kitsune “Wraith” also concentrated on the lead Vindicator, and tore apart its LT, blowing its LRM ammo reserves and destroying the Mech.

Lieutenant SG Michael Anderson “Fixer” activated his experimental “Volley Fire” module, and concentrating all his LRMs on a Valkyrie, disintegrating it where it stood. Trooper Mycroft Holmes “Oddball” got close and personal with the Jenners, tearing one apart with another ammo critical.

The defenders got off a few shots, but nothing compared to the withering fire the they had sustained from the Iron Dingoes initial barrages. The Jenners and Spider had been cut-off from their flanking maneuver to support the UrbanMechs, and began a full retreat to support the surviving Valkyries.

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The UrbanMechs immediately went into full retreat, slowly jumping and plodding away with the older, overgrown spoor piles as cover.

Fixer got off a lucky Head shot to one Valkyrie rattling the pilot, while MechWarrior Jessica Burlingame “Slayer” blew another Valkyrie’s LA completely off with a lucky critical. MechWarrior Evan Lars “Caboose” critically wounded one Javelin by destroying several of its jump jets, while MechWarrior Faith Whinyates snapped the arm off the Valkyrie lance’s Vindicator.

The Command Lance continued to pepper the remaining Death Commando Vindicators with heavy fire, and eventually Templar got through the armor of one to shatter its engine shielding, and the whole Mech went up in a mini-supernova, slagging the area around it.

Return fire was sporadic, and although the armor on some of the attacker Mechs was shredding and exposed, the planetary militia was definitely losing and in full retreat.

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The Command Lance continued to concentrate fire on the sole remaining Death Commando Vindicator, with Templar tearing off its RL, forcing it to fall on its RT. Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” opened-up on the prone Mech with everything he could, and tore it to pieces on the ground.

Oddball and Wraith both opened on the remaining Vindicator, but it stayed intact, though on the ground.

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The surviving planetary Militia offered the field to the Iron Dingoes, and retreated from the field, with Paladin’s demand to let them go. Unable to flee the field, the militia VIndicator surrendered. The mining complex of Sandblast was open to the unit.

The Dingoes’ Den and Star Talon were called in, and landed at the site, though Dingoes Den had difficulty in landing, with some damage to its undercarriage. The Line Infantry hit the field, supported by their armor, ensuring the ground level of the complex was secure. The unit’s marines immediately spread through the facility, secured the elevators into the complex, and began a methodical search of the facility for the data core they needed. Local defenses were insignificant, with only a handful of corporate security troopers who quickly surrendered. The facility proved to be engaged in repair work, and sections were under-going improvements.

Meanwhile, the remaining Mechs approached the grounded DropShip, which identified itself as the Liao Navy DropShip “Xīng Hu”. It refused to surrender itself for the Dingoes, even though Pitbull promised to tear it open, knowing that in truth, such an action would likely mean the ship remained grounded and its cargo damaged.

Soon enough, Templar and Fixer were notified of its location and they left their Mechs to drop into the facility and work on the computer system and its database. The computer system was an advanced system for such a rudimentary outpost, and very new. It called itself CARL. The two began hacking it to dismantle its protections and ensure it was the core they were looking for.

Unable to get the DropShip to open, and fearing the damage of a direct assault, the group took some time to interrogate some of the local administrative staff. Advocate slipped out of his Mech and quickly learned that CMS was a civilian “Think Tank” called the “Capellan Mechworks Section”, that were assigned studying the data the local planetary militia was gaining from its study of the performance of the experimental RVN-1X Raven. The DropShip was a military cargo-conversion model of a Union, with space for passengers (the scientific crew) and cargo, along with four Mech cubicles in the lower bay for the Mechs they might study.

Word came from their companions at the starport, that the assault had gone better than expected (likely because the planetary militia had been at the mine site, and not the capital), and they were engaged in salvage operations, and loading their assault Mechs on the Leopard. They would retreat to their Union for loading when they had the “all-clear” from the Iron Dingoes.

Since they couldn’t get in with direct force, the unit decided to activate * “The Werewolves”, using their unique Battle Armor – Tornado PA stealth armor to stay behind and sneak aboard the DropShip once the Dingoes had left. The group mustered, while Fixer and Templar cracked CARL, disabled its defenses and detached the core from the computer system,, something that took several hours. The unit loaded salvage from the field, including the pair of Type-S “Seeker” Mining Shuttles on-site, one loaded with two (2) tons of reactor-grade uranium ore (worth 1,000,000 Cs per ton on the open market), and three (3) Mining Robots found in one of the nearby storage sheds. Meanwhile, the two groups of the Werewolves deployed under cover of the falling darkness to the nearby spoor piles and quietly waited.

With the core intact, the unit loaded their Mechs and marines, and once the DropShips lifted-off, retreated their Line Mechs, Infantry and Armor back to the drop-point some two hours away. Still the Werewolves waited.

Two hours later, the unit made it back to the drop-point, loaded quickly and secured for lift-off, notifying their allies in the capital they were going active, and the remaining mercenaries lifted-off the planet, rendezvoused with their other DropShips, and began a slow 1-G burn back to the Jump-Point.

With activity proceeding back towards normal, about an hour after the mercenary DropShips abandoned the planet’s atmosphere, the Werewolves went into action. They quietly made their way towards the main ramp that had been opened, silenced the pair of Death Commando guards at the hatch, and split-up into the DropShip, with the primary group headed to the bridge, and the others headed to engineering. They overwhelmed the remaining handful of guards and their suits allowed them to shrug off anything the remaining Death Commando guards had to offer as resistance. Taking control of the ship, they sealed it off and “convinced” the bridge crew to claw for orbit and rendezvous with the fleet at a hardy 2-G burn.

The whole group gathered together at the L-1 pirate point, and began readying themselves for the remaining days they would need to charge their jump engines. They deployed their AeroFighters on stand-by, but nothing raised its head to find them. They also interrogated their prisoners, the CMS team led by Executive Scientist Edmund Fowler, , informing them that they would be coming with the DIngoes. AS hostages, prisoners or employees remained unknown at this time… The unit did, however, have a large working knowledge of the Raven’s systems, and their relatively un-encrypted data included sufficient blueprints and information that they had a good second copy of the data they were sent to retrieve.

April 7th, 3022 : Mission data secured, the group abandoned the “Xīng Hu”, but not before disabling the ship’s gunnery computers and navigation systems. The group then docked their marines and jumped out-system to Horsham

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Episode 77 - Nevermore

“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.”

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

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

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