Campaign of the Month: June 2014

Battletech : The Farscape Campaign

Episode 15 - The Games People Play

"We had money. We had salvage. We even had a rep (sorta). But it was the games we'd played that got us a contract..."

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————-Spider
Dana (Voice)——————————Hunchback
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk
JP (Pitbull) ——————————-Black Knight
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Crab
Jay (Advocate)—————————Firestarter
Jessie (Slayer)—————————-Jenner

We woke from issues surrounding our experiences in the School of Hard Knocks, with a message from Arlana and JeriCorp; she needed to take a contract. We had originally agreed to her waiting a month, which had just passed, after which she would need to look for another contract to pay her people. She had acquired a short haul contract to Victoria in the Victoria Commonality that was expected to last six weeks. She couldn’t turn it down, but promised to return after the trip to settle our contract talks as an interface JumpShip for the Dingoes.

With more than a month of downtime sorting-out all the issues resulting from the “Sunburst Incident”, we spent much of the time trying to reorganize our assets with the reconstruction of the now named “Brush Wolf”. Assigning the Line Mechs and AeroSpace to it was easy, but it also brought its own set of problems. The freed space in the Dingoes Den’s Mech bays allowed us for the first time, to grant the Dead Man’s Hand a dedicated series of Mech Bays. The real problem, however, was the Brush Wolf’s lack of space for a dedicated Marine squad, as well as the needed technical squads. The construction efforts were made easier because of the already improved life support facilities aboard the Brush Wolf, and even after it was all done, we made money from the equipment we salvaged. We stripped the former lounge areas to build a series of dedicated “infantry” bays sufficient to house two platoons of infantry, and promptly filled them with a marine squad, several squads of dependents, AsTechs and the dedicated Techs for the Line Mechs. The relief in space was quickly pressured again, as we began to acquire more new hires.

Advocate managed to conduct a series of interviews with many of the former crews from the “Hot Booty” and “Hot Rod”, since they were now out of work, and we acquired most of a full crew for the Brush Wolf, including a steward/medic. The crews had a month to learn tehir new vessel before we would need to call upon her for duty once more.

Deciding to keep the Thunderbolt scavenged from the Stargun mercs, because of its potential value once we’d improved it to “Dingo Standards”, we found a buyer for the Archer and Centurian, and using the income from that trade took a large list of vehicles, supplies and equipment in trade, along with a smaller share of cash. In the exchange, we also managed to locate a 250-rated fusion engine that we adapted to upgrade Voice’s Hunchback, giving it improved movement speeds and swapping-out its AC for an experimental “Blazer” to bring the Mech to “Dingo Standards”. In the pile of parts and supplies arriving at the Dingoes Den, Advocate tried to smuggle a req for a motorcycle, but was denied by Paladin’s eager eyes.

In addition to the usual handful of techs, medical paramedics and infantry troopers we managed to recruit, we also found a couple interesting individuals who applied to fill our MRB listed officer positions. The first was Trooper Jessica Burlingame “Slayer”, known among the local underground Mech Dueling League as a tough pilot. She claimed to have heard all the news and wanted to sign-up and serve a tour. Second was Lieutenant JG Dominic Reed, a retired naval engineer, seeking to travel and in need of a job to do so. Lastly, we managed to find a Planetologist; Doctor Carolyn Lamb, a civilian with a skill in pharmacology and knowledge of diseases that seemed very capable.

The last we found, was a battered mercenary infantry command, called “The Last Bastion” of five squads of troops who had recently arrived from a Periphery system; System – Patrician. Apparently a world wracked by civil war and over-run by rogue mercenary bands and worse, its various city-states were divided between loyalties with the regional great powers. The surviving unit included a veteran junior officer Lieutenant JG Jerri Holden and their former patron, Lord Henry Fitzroy. Both troops and officers were valuable additions to our unit, though they brought with them their own collection of dependents.

With only a month to wait on matters, people began their “downtime training regimens”, with everyone following their own personal agendas. Pitbull, in particular, hit the Arcade with regularity, seeking information about any “spare” VR Pods lying around, but found little information to help him at first. Eventually, he was able to find-out the Arcade had once had several smaller “labs”, and that a number of VR Pods went missing along with various “training assets” when the government took control of the facility. Using Lt. Chase as a liaison contact, he was able to find-out that a group led by the mysterious figure, “The Ruler”, were likely a good source of information regarding finding such rare items. He was warned they demanded cash up front and of the “buyer-beware” manner of their activities.

Talking to the local protocol expert, Tech Ishikawa, he learned nothing of note, but speaking with LtSG McGuire gave him the information that “training assets” likely referred to a couple Chameleon training BattleMechs. Also, he intimated that use of such equipment likely required access to large quantities of power, water and other utilities.

Taking a trip down to the New Hedon Municipal Hall with a pair of the admin staff and Advocate, Pitbull began a multiple-day journey through the difficult bureaucracy of New Hedon’s government. Advocate was reminded the last time he’d tried using the hall had led him to winding-up in a tattoo parlor, and so also was not looking forward to the incident. It took the group two days of forms, lines and healthy bribes just to gain access to the city’s utilities network and study its massive snarl of systems. A couple days later, they had determined that the Academy had fallen to the city government right after the Libertines seized the planet; one of their first tasks was to consolidate their utilities into a single multi-acre facility, and they abandoned several smaller facilities in its wake. Looking over the records of the city utilities, they noticed an increase in utilities usage in one of the “abandoned” facilities about a season or two ago… Bingo!

Taking a trip out to the facility, the group scouted the site. Based in a poor, almost slum area of town, the facility was a collection of sewage recycling, electrical transformers and storage warehouses, surrounded by a retaining wall. The gates were guarded by a unit of infantry with a medium transport truck, in local “Lone Star Security” uniforms. It was obvious work was on-going at the facility involving heavy machinery, though sensor ghosts made identifying exactly what the units might be. A quick investigation of the locals revealed the group was believed to be Lone Star Security, and that they had been occupying the facility for months now; no one questioned their motivations; it was not a good idea to get on the wrong side of Lone Star Security…

Pitbull called a general meeting of the command staff, explaining that he’d found the location of the missing VR Pods, but their retrieval would likely result in three possible endings. One, they could inform the local government, which would likely result in them having Lone Star Security retrieve them, or they could inform Lone Star directly, and suspected the result would be the same; they get a pat on the back and a cookie. Two, they assault the facility to seize them, but if the unit was a secret Lone Star training facility, they were in trouble, not to mention it would likely attract too much attention. Third, they could contact the Ruler, and see what they coud do about getting access to the facility.

Taking the Football out on the town, Pitbull, Voice, Glamour and Advocate (noticeably excluding Paladin in the venture), went to visit a small dive bar known to be the hang-out for the contacts from the Ruler. The small, dingy bar proved expensive, and once it was obvious the group had cash, they were approached by a dark, mysterious man who answered their questioned as vaguely as possible. They were able to learn, after more cash, that the group at the facility was not Lone Star Security, but rather a band of rogue mercenaries known as “The Raiders of New Hedon”. For an additional payment, they were assured the items the Dingoes were looking for (Chameleons and a group of VR Pods), were indeed present, and in exchange for a 15 minute window of distraction provided by the Ruler, the Dingoes would have to pay 50% of their salvage. After a quick discussion, they agreed.

The problem quickly became how to access the facility. While it was obvious the Dingoes could boldly assault the place, they needed to do it quietly, and so some other means of accessing he facility needed to be found. It suddenly dawned on the command group that the facility was a utility compound… sewers! Their contact with the Ruler confirmed that sewers were extensive in the city, and accessible to MEchs, but that they were a maze of connecting tunnels and no map was forth-coming. Glamour remembered that they had a contact with the Underground MEch Dueling League; “Slayer”. She likely knew how to get around the city tunnels in her Mech, and so they agreed they would take the place in two days. Their contact offered to give them a more detailed listing of their opposition the following day, and the command staff departed.

With “Slayer” willing to be their guide aboard the borrowed unit’s Jenner (while “Mannequin” was down for repairs), they made their plans. They intended to use their VTOLs to retrieve any of the small units they might salvage (flying fast and hard, and NAP), as well as bring in a small number of Salvage and Recon Squads to secure the site and salvage anything they can find In salvaging for this mission they knew the time limit would be something difficult to overcome. They decided to put their two “travel permit” Meadowlands and the Football in the nearby neighborhood with the remaining salvage squads at the ready. Finally, their contact from the Ruler let them know that their opposition included six Mechs (2 Heavies, 2 Mediums and 2 Lights), a lance of light armor, and a number of infantry squads.

At the last minute, Pitbull convinced a local at the starport that the unit was moving supplies between their DropShips and a warehouse complex on Governor’s Island. Although the initial bluff failed, the heavy bribe convinced him to look the other way, provided the Dingoes didn’y leave the Island facilities, nor caused any trouble. It was also decided to declare the VTOLs were under-going “night training maneuvers” near the targeted utilities complex, and a flight plan was officially registered.

Making their way through the cavernous sewers, the Dingoes broke into the utilities compound along the south wall, exiting from the recycling tanks. As the Dingoes reached the facility on time, word came over local comms nets that a series of explosions had ripped through a couple nearby construction sites, and someone had blown the planetary beacon. The distraction had begun.

Slayer, Advocate and Pitbull moved off to the west around the tank farm, while Paladin, Voice, and Fixer moved off to the east, and Glamour bounced through the recycling tanks and a light woodland that had grown-up in its midst. Glamour took a couple shots at the guards and blew their transport up at the entrance to the main warehouse at the facility, while Fixer and Voice took pot-shots at the parked Striker Light Tanks near a small series of warehouses near the complex center.

Fixer took up a position in the street with a clear view of most everything in the middle, while Voice came around the corner with Paladin. Pitbull “parked” himself near the corner of the warehouse, while Slayer and Advocate moved forward. Running from the warehouse came a Wasp, a Panther and a Dragon. The Wasp took a full shot to the Center Torso from Voice’s experimental “Blazer”, and blew it apart with one shot. The Dragon took some shots and moved slowly into the center of the complex, while the Panther took a withering series of blows, and bounced up onto the complex, away from the warehouse entrance. Another set of Mechs exited the facility, including a Marauder, a Phoenix Hawk and a Wolverine. Paladin closed with the infantry at the gate, flanked by Slayer, and combined they tore apart the guards and blew apart their truck.

Voice moved into the rear of the Dragon, taking apart a Striker Tank in the process, while Fixer continued to snipe. Paladin concentrated on the Marauder, while Advocate bounced up onto the roof next to the Panther and tore off its leg with a swift kick. Glamour moved around to the north of the warehouse, and was confronted by a pair of Scorpion Light Tanks, and a pair of wheeled APCs. She managed to get into the back of the Wolverine, and let loose a full salvo into its rear torsos, chewing through armor.

In a sudden reversal common to the Dingoes, Fixer managed a lucky shot with his large laser, and tore off the head of the Dragon, knocking it over and killing its pilot. The Panther tried a few half-hearted snipes with its torso SRM, before eventually powering-down and abandoning his Mech. Although the APCs disgorged a couple squads of infantry, Glamour blew apart one APC and ravaged the infantry with her flamers. The Marauder took a series of hits from Advocate and Pitbull closed and took off its leg, knocking it over as well. The Wolverine, after taking a couple shots at Advocate, bounced back to the complex wall and tried to withdraw, though Paladin, Slayer and a couple sniper shots from Pitbull failed to stop it, before it bounced off into the surrounding suburban area. The Phoenix Hawk, totally unscathed, bounced off into the eastern suburbs taking a couple shots from Fixer, but evacuated the area as well. Glamour tore apart a Scorpion Tank, and its crew and the other two surviving crews abandoned their vehicles and ran. The remaining APC tried to escape by taking the long way around the complex, but met Fixer and he tore it apart.

The Marauder refused to power-down, and continued to shoot nearby targets, until Voice declared “Dingo Pack Tactics” and everyone closed on the Marauder to finish it off with a brutal series of kicks and close-in weapons attacks. Glamour slipped into the facility, finding eight temporary Mech cubicles, two of which contained a pair of Chameleons. With the minut-long battle over, the VTOLs arrived soon thereafter, and the Meadowlands Prime Movers came, spreading the unit’s techs and infantry throughout the battle site. The group found a hover jeep in Lone Star Security colors and a collection of supplies and ammo, watched over by a pair of female techs. Taking the techs as conscripts (though not trusting them), the unit salvaged all the ammo, and misc supplies (which turned-out to be several tons of bio-fuels, three tons of explosives and thirty-five tons of domestic food).

The techs quickly rigged the Wasp bits into a cargo net on a Sktcrane, while the Panther was strapped under the other, and the units were dispatched back to the starport. A pair of the Cobras were stuffed with as many of the supplies as could be scavenged from the site, along with the jeep and its Techs bundled aboard under guard. Finally, the Chameleons were dropped onto the Meadowlands, though its Tech crews discovered the machines had something wrong with their motivational controls. The vehicles were also quickly dispatched with an infantry sqaud each to keep watch. Finally, the VR Pods were packed aboard the last Cobra along with any remaining TEchs and Infantry, and sent off on the short hop back to the starport. Pibull and Glamour grabbed the Dragon’s legs and the whole unit slipped back into the sewers below the city, trying to make good time back to the starport and their DropShips.

Slipping back to their drop-pads, the unit took stock of their salvage, and techs closely examined both the VR Pods and the Chameleons; they were determined to be missing their software control chips. An integral part of the training routines for both electronics suites, the unique design of the machines made them an integral part of their mechanism, and they could not be bypassed… someone had their means to actually use the things. The captured techs admitted they had been missing since the Raiders had found them, otherwise they would have been piloting them.

NOw the unit needed to negotiate their share of the salvage with “The Ruler”. But the real question, was what were mercenaries doing with explosives and a Lone Star hover jeep…

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