“Lighthouses are not just stone, brick, metal, and glass. There’s a human story at every lighthouse; that’s the story I want to tell.”
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
-————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank
February 18th, 3023 : Recognizing the unit was likely remaining in cantonments until the end of the year, the entire group was paid-out in advance to the end of December.
With the knowledge of the location of Blue Rock Candy Mountain being in their grasp, the unit began organizing a team to search the valley and seek the rumored facility somewhere within. A salvage squad, a selection of specialists (geologist, computers, engineering, etc.) were gathered, and a pair of squads from the 7th (Mechanized) Militia, the “Coldhearts” were gathered under the aegis of Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” to board the “Crimson Sands”, while Captain Erika Hartmann “Glamour” with her PHX-HK2 Phoenix Hawk LAM and her wingman Trooper Adam Bernhardt in his STG-A1 Stinger LAM were to cover their approach.
Meanwhile, Doctor Max Helmut “Moxie” and his assistant Research Assistant Teresa Ruvin took a working vacation in Islas Brasilera trying to capture some Deepwater Crabs and investigate their natural water filtration abilities. He also felt it was a good time to begin introducing himself as a potential “friend”. He also planned to try and get a licensing agreement for the San Isabel corporation, _ARTech_’s controversial software program, intending to study it and see about its ability to simulate an AI.
20th February, 3023 : During the final stage of prepping for the unit’s investigation of Blue Rock Candy Mountain, Glamour was busy doing a final check on her LAM, when Lady Morrigan “Mechanika” Fields paid her a visit. She convinced Glamour to take her on a “trip” in her LAM, and seduced her high above the clouds some hours later. It remains unknown why she has taken an interest in the head of intelligence services in the Iron Dingoes…
21st February, 3023 : The exploration group gathered to the Crimson Sands, and made a rapid orbital insertion and drop into the snow-swept valley. The unit deployed, and began testing various equipment to see if they could find anything of note. A large “magnetic anomaly” seemed to dominate the valley, the very thing that attracted them in the first place, but the commo specialist also noted that there was “…some odd noises on the radio, in the ultra-high frequency bands…” Something was obviously here, just exactly where remained unknown, due to a heavy ECM field. After some hours in the cold, they began positing potential power sources; any local power sources had to geo-thermal, they concluded, making them difficult to identify. Recognizing the only feature of note was the tall, sharp mountain, they began searching its base, and half-buried under centuries of snow and battlefield debris, they found a 6m-wide entry corridor dropping steeply (10 degrees) into the base beneath the rocky spire.
One squad of troopers descended, along with the specialists, while the rest secured the DropShuttle. Passing deep under the ground through a metal alloy tunnel for around 1000m, the group eventually found an overhead door at the end, lit by softly glowing blue lights. Along the right side was a small metal panel with a card slot beneath it. The electronics spec worked hard on it, hacking the panel successfully and opening the door completely, and revealing a vehicle garage beyond. A pair of hover APCs sat along the right wall, and beyond lay a large hover tank, quickly identified by both Pitbull and Glamour as a Watchdog Secuirty Robot, something they were infinitely familiar with during their experiences at Depot 519 in System – Dunkelheim.
Approaching cautiously, the group noticed a pair of “mouse robots”, small repair devices equipped with extension claws and tools, in the process of repairing the Watchdog, as though it were trying to get it working once more. They quickly moved from the robot and through a similar overhead door along the left (north) wall, bringing in parts to work on the robot. The troopers were ordered to quickly surround the pair of robots, and subdue them, which they did with great humor. At the height of their victory, a sudden movement was noted as the Watchdog’s upper turret assembly began to move and take in the intruders.
The troopers grabbed for their weapons, and the thought of the robot using its paired small lasers to cut them all to pieces began to whelm up, but just then, Glamour noted that the laser assembly was still in pieces… something had disabled it, and the robots were busy trying to get it armed. The robot swiveled its camera around, and a spooky artificial voice demanded “Intruders! Identify yourselves!”. Assuring the troopers and techs they were safe for the moment, the computer tech and Glamour began investigating the robot, and discovered it was being remotely controlled; the artificial AI had been disabled and wiped in the past. The pair disabled it further, cutting its remote access and effectively killing the machine.
Searching the chamber and the open parts bay next to it, they found nothing else of note, save a smaller man-sized door leading off east. While the techs fiddled with opening the door, the unit found the APCs maintained and fueled, and sent one off with a trooper to quickly get the next squad. Eventually they managed to get eh door open, but it halted shortly thereafter, leaving a small gap open beneath. The techs filled it with debris from the vehicle bay, to brace it open, and looked beyond to see a long corridor heading off into the darkness, with a pair of doors on either side, about 10m down.
Slipping under the door, the troopers entered the corridor, hugging the walls, while Pitbull and Glamour took the lead. The door on the left was hacked open to reveal a MASH-equipped sickbay, complete with a large off-line robotic doctor’s assistant along the right wall. The door to the left was also hacked to reveal a security station, complete with a pair of prison cells. An armory rack along the left wall was empty, and a search of the central desk revealed a hidden red magnetic card with an unknown symbol of a tall mountain with rays shooting from it; everyone noted how similar it was to the Blue Mountain Mining Company badge… Perhaps that company knows more than they have ever let known…
Continuing down the central corridor, the group found another pair of doors, and using the card were able to directly access the right one. Beyond was a large room with hardened desks and computer banks, and along the far (south) wall as a large glowing hologram, of what appeared to be the local valley. Pitbull stared into the room, activating his IR, when a blinding flash of light shot out of the darkness at him, hitting him, though his “Diplomatic Armor” managed to absorb most of it. Staggered back, he bolted into the room, taking up a position near the left wall, where a large separate computer desk was located. Immediately, before the troopers could react, Glamour called out to Pitbull to provide covering fire, while she ran for the far wall, and as he took a few shots in the general direction of the shooter, she ran into the far corner with a little bit of cover while the shooter sniped at her. Most shots seemed to be ineffective against it, however.
With the two providing flanking fire, they opened up into the general location of the shooter with multiple shots, while it continued to pump laser fire on Glamour, hitting her severely several times. Finally, a solid blast from Glamour took the shooter squarely in its torso, and in a shower of blue sparks blew the shooter to pieces, before she slipped to floor badly wounded and nearly unconscious. Examination of the shooter reveled it to be some sort of light tracked robot, with a man-like upper torso and integral weapons systems. The machine had obviously been some sort of security robot, though of a design and manufacture never seen before.
The room was a central command center, with access to the station’s various systems. Each station controlled a specific function of the station; engineering, life support, computers, administration, and security. From this room, the robot seemed to have been observing the group as they made their way into the base, and it seemed had been closing doors partway to restrict their movements. In one corner of the room were several sonic rifle, probably taken from the security office. The techs quickly began accessing the station systems, and the engineer quickly identified that approximately half an hour ago, someone has turned the thermal regulations for the station into overload, and that in about two hours, the station would literally turn into a volcano… Computers reported that the facility seemed to be some sort of data node; its primary purpose had been to keep a data node with valuable data active and powered, but it was a sealed system accessible only with direct connection to the node itself. The most likely position of this valuable core was probably in engineering, across the hall.
Entering the room across the hall, they indeed found engineering. A large room holding another pair of mouse bots (immobile and powered down), various life support equipment and the monitoring equipment for the thermal generator. The main generator itself was behind a heavy door at the back, sealed by a large door and a 10-digit keypad, which was impregnable in the amount of time they had to explore. In one corner of the vault, they found a sealed computer monitoring station, and quickly surmised it held the core they were after, with the computer tech accessing its locks and eventually pulling out the large core itself.
Meanwhile, the troopers and Pitbull quickly searched the rest of the complex. Further down the corridor, they found several empty personnel quarters and a common area with little of note beyond being empty of supplies.
The salvage squad was ordered into the outer area, to take whatever spare parts seemed valuable, while the troopers were headed in-bound on the first APC. Following standard Dingo Pack Tactics, they looted the mouse robots, a store of parts they loaded into the other APC, and even stayed long enough to cut the computer core of the Watchdog off the vehicle’s turret, before abandoning the facility. Making for the DropShuttle, they loaded everything on-board, and lifted off with minutes to spare, watching as the mountain valley below them became flooded with a sudden gout of flaming hot magma. Blue Rock Candy Mountain was no more…
Returning and reporting on their finds, they arranged sending the computer core up to “The Freedom of the Stars” where their computer/cryptography lab was, in hops they might crack it and access whatever valuable data lay within. Glamour was sent immediately into orbit to “The Factory” and slated for an operation and some time in the Rejuvination Suites.
February 22nd, 3023 : The Taurian data core was dispatched to The Factory, for later secure shipment to the Freedom at the Zenith jump-point.
Also, one of the unit’s unassigned scouts was dispatched to The Independent Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina with a Skulker Wheeled Scout Tank. He was ordered to investigate the rumors of “pirate ruins” on the island of Santa Catalina.
February 23rd, 3023 : Word quickly spread in the unit that a special interest news broadcast was being displayed on RCN Television, regarding the Iron Dingoes. Many of the unit gathered around their holovids to watch that night.
The program, a re-broadcast from The Federative Republic of San Marcos’s own national holostation, LRG (Logotipo_da_Rede_Globo), proceeded to ask Who are the Iron Dingoes?. It started with an apparent fluff piece about the recent fascination the president of San Marcos, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had for a recent rising star in the San Marcos entertainment scene, one Junior Tech Selena Demarkos. Apparently, she was being linked with the president in an unofficial “consort” status, and her rising fame in the music world was getting her noticed. During the interview, the reporter commented on her past association with the Iron Dingoes, having arrived in-system with them many years ago, when they first arrived from System – Heroditus. She claimed they had helped her family leave for a new life, and that they had since found independence on Terramatrix, but that she still had friends in the Dingoes.
The report then went on to give a quick history of the Dingoes on Terramatrix, outlining their recent troubles in San Succi, as well as the mysterious Battle of Auron Lake (complete with amateur footage of both fights), the lastter of which the San Isabel government still classified as a “Mercenary dispute”, and none of their business. Miss Demarkos managed to charm her way through the interview, and it ended with a discussion regarding her recent hit single “Falling Down”, which featured DropShip footage doing a Mech drop on some foreign planet.
Advocate immediately contacted Senior Tech April O’Neil and made arrangements to run Iron Dingoes recruiting holovids (using their old “In the Dingoes!” footage from years ago) to start running on that network…
February 25th, 3023 : After a couple days of quiet, the unit was contacted by their two Jump-Ships at the Zenith, that something interesting had happened; The Lighthouse had arrived in-system!
The unit immediately saw this as an opportunity to get rid of their two Leopard-Class DropShips and acquire a Leopard CV-Class, plus a handful of new AeroFighters to round-out the unit’s roster. They equipped various salvage aboard the two DropShips (including some salvaged Mechs), as well as loading-up their DropShuttle and began the long 10-day burn out to the tradeship.
The rest of the day, other JumpShips began jumping in-system following the Lighthouse on its circuit around the Periphery.
February 26th-29th, 3023 : The unit began making contacts to find a buyer, and found someone willing to trade for a Leopard CV-Class DropShip almost right away. Named the “Revolver”, they were able to get the ship in trade from a broker for the captured “Inferno” filled with a lance of Mechs (their two Quickdraws, an Ostroc, and their Nighthawk ). Various sub-space deals were brokered across the system, and the unit knew they would be able to sell their other Leopard-Class DropShip for a tidy 112,000,000 Cs by the end of the week, paid in cash and trade certificates, which were as good as cash to key planetary brokers.
March 6th, 3023 : Late in the evening, the unit’s DropShips and DropShuttles arrived at The Lighthouse, and found a swirling chaos of shuttles, DropShips and JumpShips all doing business. Lighthouse control seemed to have the area well in hand, and after a few hours, managed to get several docking points rented the next day for trading.
March 7th, 3023 : “The Iron Vagabond” made a successful jump near the trade-ship, and also joined in the chaos. The unit spent a day making contacts, aware that the tradeship would leave in about a week or so.
March 8th, 3023 : Among teh things the unit managed to purchase, were various electronics and salvaged Heads from Mechs, but were unable to find a Head for the Victor, nor a Gyro for the Grasshopper. They acquired a pair of near-mint TRB-D36 Thunderbirds, as well as sufficent suits and arms to assemble a hundred Iron Dingoes “Voidstar” Marine Combat Field Kits. They also found 400 “Chill Cans”, sufficient to equip all their StarGuard Marine forces with the valuable stealth technology.
FIxer was unable to find any fusion engines suitable for his change-over modifications for the P-Hawks, but he did find enough equipment to assemble a complete “Weapons Lab” from the equipment he already had set aside for the task, intending ti install it on “The Factory”, and begin manufacture of some prototype Needle Laser : “The Hatpin”s for the Line units.
They lastly found a second-hand Partisan Heavy Tank in need of repair work, but would allow them to complete their defensive artillery unit, as well as a single Maxim Hover Transport for their Blood Pirate unit.
After various personal projects and selling-off large quantities of stored and salvaged goods, the unit took their new DropShip and items, and began the slow burn back to Terramatrix. The Vagabond took-up a secure location near the unit’s other two JumpShips in-system, “The Freedom of the Stars”, and “The Den Mother”.
March 16th, 3023 As the unit arrived back to their landhold in Garrison, they received word that The Lighthouse had left the jump-point, and that the fleet following along with them had begun to disperse.
March 17th, 3023 : By early morning, the unit calculated their expenses and existing roster of cash, and began paying out various tasks they had planned, such as constructing a new grade school in Garrison, the new Fusion Plant in the town, as well as financing a new water treatment facility next to their munitions plant, Iron Dog Munitions. The unit also set aside some money for their planned “Info Salvage” Operation, taking all the salvaged paperwork they had found on System – Redfield, and beginning to pick their way through it, looking for possible clues in their LosTech hunting agenda, called “Project Info Salvage”.
Now, the unit could begin looking forward to the upcoming task of marrying-off their boss…