Campaign of the Month: June 2014

Battletech : The Farscape Campaign

Episode 9 - The Stumble Raid
"We'd made the jump for Pilpala, and other than a quick skirmish as we approached the upper atmosphere, it went without incident. We landed into the teeth of a full dust storm and our quiet was shattered by the unexpected..."

Roll Call———————————Mechs

Dale (Paladin)————————Spider
Lee (Pockets) ————————-Ostscout
Dana (Voice)—————————-Jenner (Mod)
Bruce (Glamour)———————Phoenix Hawk
JP (Pitbull) —————————-Black Knight
Greg (Fixer)——————————Crab
Ralph (Wraith)—————————Wolverine
Jay (-)———————————Firestarter

The jump into Pilpala was without incident, and the Jump-point remained open and clear, without even a military JumpShip present. We gathered into our ships, many of Lord’s dependents taking temporary quarters on the “Vagabond”, and began the five-day burn to Pilpala’s dusty surface.

A couple days later, we drew attention, and the planet’s starport tried to get us to identify ourselves. After a brief discussion, we tried to claim we were “experiencing technical difficulties”, but the garrison wouldn’t hear it. They warned us that continued transit along our present course would declare us hostile and we were warned to back away. We tried the “silence card”, and communications stopped.

About a day later, four heavy AeroFighters intercepted our course, and tried to strafe us, while identifying our numbers and mass. The strafing caused considerable damage to their lead fighters, a pair of Stingrays, and the Aeros pulled away and fled back to the planet, following a heavy barrage from the Pandora’s Box. Both DropShips took superficial damage, but we had gained superiority enough to hit the upper atmoshpere and begin our planned drop on the abandoned survey sites south of the Orion Prison Complex.

Dust storms obscured the site, but our sensors could see enough to identify the location on-planet, and both Beka and Captain Thane set-down perfectly. The Survey base still had several drop-pads, and a large concrete pad intended for aerodynes, the latter strewn with rubble and the ruined hangars of whatever craft had been stationed here once. Off to one side was a large hill.

Since our bays were crowded with supplies, vehicles and spare parts, we could only deploy the “ready lances” of the main Dingo force, and even that with difficulty. We broke into our component pair-teams, and scattered across the area around the DropShips. Pockets, hoping to use his superior sensors on the Ostscout, headed for the hill and nearly tripped over a small radar dome retracted into the surface of the hill… He and Paladin proceeded to attack it and destroyed the thing in short order. Immediately, a distant wail of an air-raid siren warbled over the blowing sands of the storm, and the units closer to the concrete pad noticed a pair of towers rise out of the ground and begin opening fire. Also, the ground in several of the ruined hangars opened and a pair of Sabre lances popped out of the ground, turning and opening fire on Glamour and Voice. Fixer and Pitbull moved forward a little, though Pitbull held off approaching until he was sure of the situation. Wraith and Trooper De Luca moved up and supported Glamour and Voice in attacking the light Sabre AeroFighters that milled about on the ground firing at anything they could.

In the far SE corner, another pair of hangar floors opened to disgorge a Stinger and a Phoenix Hawk, both oddly shaped; Pockets guessed they might be LAMs, and Glamour managed not to drool on her consoles enough to verify they were likely LAMs. This pair jumped around towards the center of the south side, near the larger ruined hangars, each big enough to once hold small craft, warily keeping an eye on things.

Soon, a pair of bays opened to disgorge a pair of 75-ton Eagles, while Paladin and Pockets lept to the attack, with Pockets wielding the ruined Kintaro arm he’d taken from the battlefield in Deadwood, screaming “Eat Kintaro!” over his coms. Pitbull and Fixer advanced and attacked the Eagles, as well. Thus freed, Pockets and Paladin destroyed the closest tower in short order with many well-placed weapons and melee attacks. The LAMs slowly began moving across the concrete pad, speeding directly to assist the Sabres, as two of the Aeros were quickly destroyed.

Again, another pair of bays opened to disgorge a Stingray lance, between the Sabres and Eagles. Voice and Glamour moved to attack the LAMs, as Wraith and Trooper De Luca took their position around the Sabres. Paladin and Pockets skipped in the trail of the LAMs, flanking them and getting into a brief scuffle around their LAM targets. Voice took a couple serious blows from the closest tower and a PPC shot from one of the Stingrays, before he started to pull away from the fight, back to the DropShips. Glamour took the leg off the Stinger LAM with a swift kick, and its pilot quickly powered-down and surrendered.

The last of the Sabres destroyed, Wraith and Trooper De Luca began chipping away on the Stingrays, quickly turning one into scrap. Meanwhile, Fixer and Pitbull began using their relative mobility to stray away from the main arc of the Eagle’s powerful weapons, chipping away and destroying one of the fighters. The last Eagle put up a serious fight, taking multiple shots off its nose, but eventually Fixer and Pitbull bludgeoned the pilot into unconcsiousness and tore off one of its wings. Paladin and Pockets pulled away from the remaining LAM, as Glamour and its pilot exchanged blows, with the LAM piot getting in some good shots, but taking few in return. When coms went down, and only the LAM remained intact, its pilot surrendered to “…superior forces of House Liao, requesting for the Honors of War”… The Stumble Raid was over.

The surviving bits of AeroFighters were quickly salvaged, with tech crews slipping from the Dingoes Den, and wearing their Light Horse Infantry Field Dress, which possessed filter masks and allowed them to accomplish the task within the hour (assisted by several of the Mechs). Due to lack of space, the salvaged AeroFighters were strapped down all over the place, and the techs then tried to access the Reserve Lance and its pilots pulled their Mechs out onto the tarmac to assist after another 30 minutes. Pockets investigated a subdued EM signature he’d detected earlier near the small craft hanagars, and found it to be a retracted control tower. He destroyed it quickly, while Pitbull moved over to the remaining tower and blew it to pieces with his PPCs from a safe distance.

The pilot of the last Eagle to go down was quickly brought into the Dingoes Den, and strapped into a medical bay under guard, since he was badly wounded and unconscious. The pilot of the LAM, identified as Captain Barbara James, was questioned closely by Pitbull, while the Stinger LAM pilot was pulled from his wreck and placed under interrogation in the Den by Trooper De Luca. Pitbull found Captain James (Callsign : “Sunset”) to be friendly (considering the circumstances) and willingly told basic information about the base that lay under the concrete pad. She confirmed that the Captain in the Den’s med bay was leader of the Marik 405th AeroFighter Wing, assigned to this planet as a garrison from the Marik Periphery Aero Fleet.

The former Stinger LAM pilot was more amenable to interrogation, begging for his life. He verified the facility was home to the Marik 405th AeroFighter Wing (the “Shahir Lions”), under Major Pavel Altukhov. The base was reported to have “several squads” of infantry, and included a pair of MP squads, assigned to keep an eye on “…all the new conscripts we picked-up from the recent war…”. Further inquiries identified them to be technical personnel from the 3rd Marik Milita; no one important, but mostly AsTechs and a few minor specialists from that disbanded unit. When Wraith learned about them being Techs, he started trying to find if his missing sister was among them, but Sunset couldn’t remember meeting her; especially since they’d only been there a few months and other than her assigned crew, they were kept from becoming friendly with the regulars and the pilots. Wraith started asking everyone if they knew his sister.

Several of the damaged Mechs (Paladin, Voice, Wraith and De Luca) were assigned to emergency repairs in the DropShip Mech bays, while access remained open, and the Reserve Lance was called on to lead a “commando” excursion into the lower base facility. At first, preps were made for Wraith, Paladin, Voice and De Luca to accompany the Reserves into the lower facility, however everyone realized that Captain Lord had still not deployed her troops… When Paladin contacted her to accompany their Mechs into the base, it became obvious protocol had been forgotten; no one had included Captain Lord in any discussions (as previously promised), and her troops remained locked-out of the command channels and unaware of what exactly was going on…

Captain Lord was requested to send some squads to help “take the base”, and after a little tense thought, she agreed, dispatching four of her recon squads to assist the group in raiding the base. Verification from the Stinger LAM pilot seemed to agree that a little over 300 personnel were present; mostly technical crews, support infantry personnel and pilots for the AeroFighter Wing. Pitbull tried to blow open one of the hangar doors, but all it revealed was a pit 120m deep leading into some sort of heavy airlock. Conferring with the Stinger LAM pilot, the group learned that near each door should be a command panel to operate the equipment, so long as you didn’t blow it apart first.

Several of the tech crews were called out of the Den to try and hack the systems, and following that success, Pitbull, Gunman, Shredder and Baroness dropped down hangar access points in all four corners of the concrete landing pad. Each pit proved to be an airlock chamber meant to keep the poisonous atmosphere of Pilpala from the base interior. Each Mech was accompanied by a squad of the recon troops and a member of the Dingoes dismounted from their Mechs acting as leaders. The tech squads operated the elevators, and lowered the impromtu units into the lower bay under the concrete pad.

The elevators opened to reveal a massive 500m launch bay, scattered with clusters of techs guarded by a handful of MPs, and with Aerospace cubicles lining both north and south walls, broken only by a pair of small craft bays in the south center. The central portion of the bay was watched over by a raised Flight Deck Control platform, with a few techs monitoring consoles and staring in horror as four Mechs and several squads of armed men entered their domain. Demands for the members of the Marik 405th AeroFighter Wing to surrender and hit the ground, resulted in small clusters of guards breaking for a tunnel in the far north-west corner, while the techs on the Control Platform and any others on the bay floor, clumped together and surrendered. Taking control of the bay, the Dingoes noticed another pair of tunnels in the west end leading somewhere.

The unit identified who was in charge of the Flight Deck, a Captain Stratford, and asked a few questions about the base. They learned that the northwest corridor led to “The Armory”, where the tools were kept locked-up and the MPs had a small cache of weapons and ammo stored. To the direct west were the crew barracks, and to the southwest lay the command control room. He also warned that Captain “Red Hand” Hack was responsible for the MPs, and that he was not to be trifled with. Contact over the limited coms channels available, led to a conversation with Captain “Red Hand”, and ended… poorly… The Dingoes agreed that assaulting the place wouldn’t net much, and so they began rounding up all the techs (not yet identifying themselves as members of the 13th Provisional). It was decided to assault the defenses around the Crew Barracks and find any other techs who might be in their rooms.

The recon squads rounded the techs into a single group, watching over them around the Flight Control platform with a pair of Mechs (Pitbull and Baroness), while Shredder and Gunman watched over the entrance to the Armory, ensuring the MPs didn’t try something. The four recon squads along with their Dingo leaders, finally made a direct assault into the crew barracks, encountering two pockets of resistance. The first was near the entrance, where a squad of infantry had barricaded the “Ready Room” against assault, but the Snow Dusters quickly took the site, revealing a small holotank with plans for the entire system under display. Voice quickly seized the data core and tucked it into his pack. The second difficult site was just past the main common room, where a medical suite was located. Taking the site with limited casualties, the Dingoes managed to find a Medtech squad preforming triage, including a full surgeon, a pair of general medtechs, and a pair of lab technicians. The facility was well-equipped with supplies, including three full medical theatres. Once the injured infantry were treated, the medtechs were captured and taken to assist in aiding the Snow Dusters wounded, eventually declaring them conscripts and hustling them to join the support techs in the hangar.

With the majority of the techs under Dingo guns, they were hustled into several MT-1B Light Crawlers, NBC-sealed troop transports found on the base, and driven up to the Dingoes Den under guard. The single Class-113 Coolant Truck (known as “The Crash Wagon”) was seized, as were a pair of mothballed Eagle AeroFighters located near the Recon bays. Lastly, a single K1-Dropshuttle and a pair of UR Karnovs were located in the small craft bays; the Dropshuttle was identified as the “Crimson Sands” and its pilot, Lt. Dara Gideon was standing nearby. Pitbull began negotiations to add her and the ship to the unit roster, and after a quarter-hour of discussions, she agreed. Wraith approached Gideon (as he had most everyone at the base), and showed her a picture of his sister, and she recognized her! Gideon said she had met the girl in the laundry at the Orion Prison, since she often ran supplies from Circle City and to the prison… Wraith immediately hit upon a cunning plan…

Episode 8b - Duel at Deadwood
"With the assault on Old Town in full swing, it never dawned on us we might have finally attracted the worst possible attention, until we all heard the command 'Razorstrike' come over the general coms..."

Roll Call————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)———————Spider
Dana (Voice)————————-Jenner (Mod)
Lee (Pockets) ————————-Ostscout
Bruce (Glamour)——————-Phoenix Hawk
Greg (Fixer)—————————Crab
JP (Pitbull) —————————Black Knight
Ralph (Wraith)—————————Wolverine
Jay (XXX)————————Copper (SecurityMech)
Andrew (Baroness)————Copper (SecurityMech)

The call came from Paladin to close ranks and take out the towers guarding the gate to Old Town. Paladin and Wraith bounced back off the wall, their opportunity lost, and dropped next to the east tower, while Pitbull, Fixer, Pockets and Glamour closed on the west one. Voice tried to get into a good position away from the autocannon bunkers on the military tower that had popped-up, and started opening fire on anyone who presented themselves. Shredder and Gunman entered the central park in New Town, keeping over-watch, while Valentine disengaged, her Mech nearly trashed. The Sheriff and his deputies began to pull back, leaving the Shadow Hawk and Hermes to try and get out on their own, though they positioned themselves to provide long-range covering fire. The Shadow Hawk stood at the wall’s base, and positioned itself behind a tall building, while the Hermes failed an attempt to stand, and fell back over again, and just sniped at Glamour until she slipped out of its LOS.

As we concentrated on the towers, Valentine called-out there were several heat plumes moving through the forests east of town; BattleMechs were incoming. Pockets tried to get a reading, though all he could identify was that four heavy Mechs were moving quickly in-bound. First the west tower fell followed quickly by the east, after about ten seconds of withering fire from the Dingoes. Pitbull started pulling back into New Town, and ran into two SecurityMechs moving ahead of a large mob of people from the Low Town riots. The two MEchs were local foundry units splashed with red Xs; a usual symbol of revolution. He contacted them and demanded to know their intentions; they responded they were here to join the Dingoes in looting the town… He informed them to get out of his way, follow him out or meet his little PPCs; they closed ranks with him and slipped away to the west part of town. Voice reported the local Coms had apparently called-out one single phrase RAZORSTRIKE, and called out the base might be planning something.

Meanwhile, the Shadow Hawk managed to make the Old Town wall, but was surrounded by Fixer, Glamour, Pockets, Wraith and Paladin, while Voice stepped next to the Hermes. The gang rape on the Shadow Hawk failed, and he bounced across into a main street, covered by the Wyvern and Griffin. The smaller Mechs moved into the bulk of the military base; Voice tore apart the Hermes, critically damaging its engine shielding again, and trashing its Gyro, removing it from the fight. Voice then slipped back down into New Town along with the rest of the Dingoes, in an effort to escape the town before the heavies arrived.

The Dingoes quickly ran off towards the western side of Deadwood, skirting Low Town and making for the landing site, 2 kms southwest. Their own Dropship, the Dingoes Den hot-dropped on the rendezvous site, while the rioting mobs swarmed into the upper areas of Old Town. Several Cobra VTOLs from the Dingoes and Snow Dusters swooped low along the streets, moving towards the foundries, to attempt a rescue of the Snow Dusters dependents in the confusion. By the time the Dingoes had all left Deadwood, their VTOLs were at the foundries loading people, and the lance of Mechs, identified as a Rifleman, Archer, Crusader and Warhammer began to try and disperse the rioting mobs in Old Town. The Duel was over.

The pair of Dropships were joined by an LR shuttle, which was quickly boarded by Milo Carsebloom, his lawyers and a ton of machine dies for his precious Long Tom cannons and LMGs. The shuttle quickly left the landing site, while the Dropships awaited the return of the VTOLs from Deadwood. Precious minutes later, the VTOLs appeared and landed near the Dropships, releasing their cargoes of people from the foundries. A sudden reunion of people separated by war and slavery ensued, with everyone sorting themselves into family groups and friendships once more. Due to time constrictions, the group quickly sorted themselves out, several units scattering into the forests with fond farewells to Fionna and her people. Captain Lords remaining Snow Dusters quickly boarded “Pandora’s Box” with its armor and hover transports. Several tech crews were organized and dispatched to the Dingoes Den, to assist in repair work on the Dingoes Mechs. The two SecurityMechs were given over to Captain Lord, due to lack of space on the Dingoes Den. Also, Recruit John H Morgan, the conscripted Locust pilot from the Consolidated Foods raid, was released and left to flee back to Deadwood and find his own way in the world once more. With the VTOLs finally stowed and all the Mechs boarded and secured, the Dingoes lifted from Claybrooke, looking forward to a long trip to the Nadir Point ahead of them.

Twenty-One days of burn-time awaited the PCs, to rendezvous with their Jumpship, a commercial Tramp called the Iron Vagabond ( * Jumpship – “The Iron Vagabond” ), that had been paid for by Milo Carsebloom to take them out-system. The group of Dropships were joined by the “Star Mistress”, Milo Carsebloom’s hired Dropship, which had also “rescued” Voice’s Coms satellite “Predator’s Eye” from orbit. During the long burn to the Nadir jumppoint, the unit effected repairs in the Dingoes Den; a difficult proposition in its crowded status, but time was on their side. The two new pilots, “Baroness” and Massimo were introduced to the group, and it was discovered Baroness was an heir from the Lyran Commonwealth, while Massimo was a bureaucrat on the run from the Marik military. Both had been prisoners in the foundries, but had seized the SecurityMechs when the mobs rioted, and were willing to take service with the Dingoes for the time being. Baroness hinted she might need a hand gaining access to her orbital manufacturing plant in Lyran Space, and this was left as a possible action in the future.

After a couple weeks of gambling, carousing and watching the techs work hard to bring the Mechs back up to specs, Baroness was assigned the spare Hermes (formerly piloted by Fixer) and Massimo was assigned the spare Firestarter (formerly piloted by Wraith). Dale finally had her beloved Commando “Hank” secretly repaired, and she was seen spending several nights alone with her beloved companion after hugging both Glamour and Fixer for their work.

Voice, Paladin and Fixer made contact with their “ride”, the Vagabond, talking to Arlana Jericho, the Executive Secretary of “JeriCorp”, the company that controlled the Vagabond. It was clear that the Dingoes trip to Pilpala was paid for by Carsebloom, but that the Dingoes needed to go somewhere after that. They discussed possibly heading to Galatea, the Mercenary Star in Lyran Space, but they knew they didnt have the cash for that far. Astrokazy and Herotitus in the Periphery were closer, and known as lesser hiring halls for mercenaries, but Herotitus was the best choice; only six (6) jumps away, and positioned in the Capellan Marches, a region of unclaimed Periphery between five Houses (Free World’s League, Capellan Confederation, Federated Sun, Magistracy of Canopus and Taurian Concordat space). It seemed perfect. They offered Arlana’s company 10 tons of medical supplies (valued at around 500,000 Cs), for transport to Herotitus following their actions in Pilpala, which she readily agreed to. Trasnfer of the goods would occur once everyone was docked at the jump-point.

A further discussion reminded the group that the captain of the “Outback Irregulars” had once been a treasure hunter… Pitbull talked to Valentine at some length, while Voice, Fixer and Wraith sacked his former quarters. They found a collection of antiques and cash in a secured wall safe, but nothing else of note. Pitbull was reminded that while it was said Brigadier Magdan Zane had all the information regarding his treasure hunting in his head, it seemed impossible that he could have known everything… Valentine expanded by saying when she was hired-on, that he had the Dropship and the Mechs already, and that he simply hired a couple of new warriors and techs, some crew for the tanks, as well as some crew for the Dropship…

A week later, the Iron Vagabond appeared, positioned by itself away from the two other JumpShips at the Nadir point. An aging commercial hauler, it was well-armed with laser weaponry(?), which was odd, but had also been modified to carry four DropShips as well as a substantial amount of cargo. The three DropShips docked with the vessel, and the units spent a day sorting things out once more, as well as transferring their goods to JeriCorp’s cargo holds. Milo bid his farewells, taking his shuttle over to one of the other JumpShips, separating himself from the Dingoes, but being reminded that there might come a day when their paths might cross once more.

With everything sorted-out, the Vagabond gave the all clear and jumped out-system to Pilpala…

Episode 8a - Duel at Deadwood
"Deadwood was a major mining and trade town, and the center of Colonel Chestine's power in the Northern Territories. It's factories, however, were horrific slave complexes, and Captain Lord wanted the place freed in a bad way..."

Roll Call————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)———Spider
Dana (Voice)————-Jenner (Mod)
Lee (Pockets) ——————-Ostscout
Bruce (Glamour)———Phoenix Hawk
Greg (Fixer)—————Crab
JP (Pitbull) ——————-Black Knight
Ralph (Wraith)———————Wolverine

We returned to Fort Anton without incident, our convoy of Mechs, vehicles and squads of technicans arrived amid the blank stares of Zeddy and his team. Later that night, in a blaze of exhaust plasma, our new Dropship landed in the ruins of Antonopolis nearby. Zeddy and Fionna Lord began long talks that ran until late into the next morning.

Over the next few weeks, we began to assemble our newest salvaged Mechs, and removing many of the existing units autocannons with lasers, extra armor and heat sinks. We rebuilt the Black Knight and Sentinel, and then moved units around to accomodate our pilots better. In the end, we actually had a couple functioning reserve Mechs with no pilots, and still had plenty of stores for future operations.

While our tech crews were kept busy, Ruxbundy met with both Zeddy and Fionna Lord. Zeddy informed the unit that the word was out about the Dingoes working with the Snow Dusters, and that they were searching the area near Deadwood and the Black Hills for our base with all of their reserves. He had been talking with his crew, and they wanted off this rock, before Chestine and her hounds sacked the place. Given his loyalty over the past months, we didn’t hesitate to accept their services. He revealed his ties to the Andurien resistance, who had been using his facility as a supply dump, and opened his stock of light arms and ammunition, as well as a small supply of medical goods to the unit.

Captain Lord spoke at length with Captain Ruxbundy, and admitted that the base was likely dated in its existence. He offered the supplies Zeddy had revealed to arm whatever resistance groups she might have contact with, which she quickly did. She slao admitted her intentions to leave the system as quickly as possible following the raid on Deadwood. She said she “…had a way to get off-planet…”, though she remained vague as to its origins, and asked if she could accompany the Dingoes on their transport out-system. She offered several squads of techs that she knew would likely be rescued from the foundries who might be willing to work for the Dingoes, as well as the services of her numerous dependents as AsTechs when they sacked the town. Ruxbundy asked if the group agreed in the Snow Dusters working with the Dingoes, and they agreed it would be helpful.

It was also agreed that the attack on Deadwood should commence about a month from now, and the contact Milo had with his waiting Dropship was activated, with the group rendezvous to be at the railhead 2kms from Deadwood. Fionna’s troop began to become very busy, and a week later, most of them left along with several other groups to “…secure their transport…”. A single group was left to keep contact with us and provide recon services on the trip into Deadwood.

When the time came, we began the trip across the wilderness, and several days later, arrived near the valley that held Deadwood. Coming from the south, we approached through tree-cover to about a kilometer away from the edge of town. There was some sort of riot in progress along the western side of town, in Low Town. Gunfire and blazing firestorms hinted that Captain Lord’s “diversion” was well underway. We slipped from the woods and approached across the open fields to the main gate of Deadwood and its guard towers.

Immeadiately upon entering the open, the two garrisoned Mech lances began to move; one from New Town and the other from the upper section of Old Town. The massive spire built against the far cliffs of Deadwood Canyon known as “Star Wolf Command”, gleamed and hinted at its origins as a Star League marvel. It was doubtless riddled with numerous caverns and vaults, but we had no intention of looting the place or even getting too close.

The Mech lances skirted among the buildings and shops of New Town, presenting few targets of opportunity, and within a minute, we began to concentrate fire on the guard towers taking limited harassing fire from their LRMs. The units stayed close to the edge of town, and we split into two groups; the heavies of Valentine, Solitaire, Pitbull, Pockets, Glamour and Voice sweeping west and straight to the towers, while the lighter half of Gunman, Shredder, Paladin, Wraith and Fixer swept east to flank the defenders. The first tower fell quickly, but twin booms from Starwolf identified Sniper artillery pieces taking shots into pre-plotted locations in the open fields south of town.

The Dingoes finished-off the second tower quickly and swept into the suburbs of New Town, with the bulk of the defenders sniping and pulling back slowly. When we had entered the town about 30 secs later, the Snipers went silent, and we faced only the remaining two towers guarding Old Town and the Mechs themselves. The Kintaro tried to slip away out of New Town, but its lack of jumpjets forced it into isolation from its companions, and the heavy half of the Dingoes swarmed it with their pack tactics and tore into it with heavy weapons fire. Glamour got the “kill” shot of an ammunition explosion, destroying the Mech, though she took heavy missile fire in return. The Shadow Hawk slowly jumped back through New Town, dogged by the eastern half of the Dingoes, though it finally made the relative safety of the Old Town walls.

Turning from the ruins of the Kintaro, Pitbull sniped at the lead Mech, the Wyvern of Sheriff Harrison Wilson, a noted “ace” pilot. In response, he took a full barrage of missile fire and a large laser, knocking him back onto the pavement and temporarily out of commission. Glamour spent precious time cooling her Mech from her massive assault on the Kintaro. Valentine also approached the gate, but took a withering series of shots from the Griffin, Wyvern and towers when she exposed herself. Voice slipped along the western edge of town, and managed to reach the base of the wall relatively intact. Paladin, Fixer and Wraith flanked the towers along the east, also managing to reach the base of the Old Town wall fairly undamaged. Everyone took sniping attacks on the inner towers, but they remained fairly active and laid-down damaging shots with their LMGs and heavy LRMs.

With the Dingoes finally in position, the lighter units leapt onto the walls with their jumpjets; Voice slipped behind the Hermes and blew it over, nearly knocking it from the wall, and making it take critical gyro and engine damage. The Locust and Stinger tried to assist their fallen comrade, but the Hermes took even more fire from Glamour below the walls, while Pitbull and Valentine moved down the center of the suburbs sniping and positioning themselves for an assault on the towers and Sheriff Wilson’s Wyvern. The Locust skidded in the town center, tripping and falling into the decorative pool, but managing to right itself with a little damage. Wraith leapt next to the Shadow Hawk with his Wolverine and knocked it over the wall’s edge with a solid body blow, betraying his skill in personal hand-to-hand combat. Paladin jumped next to the Valkyrie, doing some damage with his lasers. Shredder, Gunman and Fixer sniped and moved into position to assist the heavies on their attack up the ramp and wall.

Voice suddenly heard the report of autocannon fire come from the massive bulk of the Star Wolf Military Base, when over the coms chatter came word of the Snow Duster’s ride; Vivaldi’s “Winter” began playing over all standard channels. The rusted hull of an ancient Intruder-Class Dropship appeared, hot-dropping and firing madly into the landing zone 2 kms away, to clear it of security troops. Fionna Lord’s recon troops gave the “all-clear” signal, and began to move from the Low Town riots, preparing for an assault up the ramp into the Old Town foundries. The Duel at Deadwood had just begun…

Episode 7b - Dude, Where's my Dropship?
"The fight was progressing well enough, until the appearance of the second lance. A Black Knight and a Sentinel were something to fear... but we never expected what Eden's Promise *really* was..."

Roll Call————————-Mechs

Dale(Capt. Ruxbundy)———Spider
Dana(Lt. Charles)————-Jenner (Mod)
Lee(Dominic) ——————-Ostscout
Bruce(Erica Hartman)———Phoenix Hawk
Greg(Michael Anderson)——Hermes A

With Lord’s escorting hover recon storming into the hangar bay of the dropship, the remaining active Galleon moved out of its position in the woods, covered by Shredder and Lord’s two Pegasus Tanks. Gunfire could be heard coming over the coms, but it was light and quickly died-off. Shredder moved to cover the bay door, followed by the Galleon, and some of the infantry from the trenches around the ship. The two Pegasus pulled away somewhat, using their SRMs to destroy the Galleon, while Shredder evaporated the infantry on one side, and his brother Gunman tore into the others, scattering all resistance near the Dropship itself.

Glamour and Voice continued their sweep into the western hills, herding the Stingers, with Glamour destroying one Stinger on a hilltop and forcing the other to bounce back into the northern woods as they followed. They encountered a Thorn coming out of the woods, and Voice cut it to pieces, knocking it to the ground. For the next minute or so, he slipped around it and after several quick shots, kicked it into destruction, blowing its CASE and ammo stores.

Skirting the woods behind the quarry and next to the river, Paladin, Fixer and Wraith sniped across the river to strike against the Panther, finally ravaging it enough to knock it down. The Assassin continued to leap around, joining the retreating Stinger in the woods, and eventually making it to the eastern hills, where they made a few small shots, but eventually fled from the battlefield into the woods on the eastern edge of the valley.

With the fall of the Panther, all forces concentrated on the Sentinel, getting several good hits in, until the Black Knight made it to the edge of the woods and opened up on Paladin. Pockets and Pitbull combined their attacks to tear apart the damaged Sentinel, while Voice closed across the ruined Thorn, and Glamour tried to cool down. The Black Knight opened up another round against Paladin, missing with several of its shots, while it closed walking into the river. All the units of the Dingoes closed and opened up on the Black Knight, while Shredder and Gunman ensured the Dropship was captured and no loose infantry tried to enter up its ramps. The Black Knight took serious withering fire, and was knocked into the river, its breached torsoes flooding and in a cloud of steam, shut down. The commnander of the Mech, refusing to surrender, shot himself before being captured with a single statement before he died : “For their Honor!” BLAM. That single shot was followed by a chorus of howls and cheers from the Dropship, as Lord’s crew declared victory with the lead pilot’s surrender to the Dingoes command.

The Dingoes quickly tried to get control of the site, as techs from the camp began to flee the area. One group tried to rally and capture the remaining inactive lance of Galleons, but were quickly chased away by the arrival of Shredder. Some light jeeps evacuated into the eastern woods, but the majority were kept in the camp by the arrival of Gunman and Lord’s tanks. Pockets and Voice went on over-watch, sweeping the area for any other signals, while Wraith, Glamour and Voice headed to the Dropship to see about its disposition. Pitbull and Paladin tried to sweep the camp, while Lord’s reserve transport crews arrived, using their tech teams to evaluate the camp and its contents. Pitbull captured the Sentinel pilot, one Valentina Masterson, who was a little beligerent, but submitted to the boys with guns.

Pitbull negotiated a truce with the tech teams, discovering they were mostly local AsTechs hired to facilitate the excavation of the minehead. They were allowed to keep their personal transports, excavation vehicles, and complete their hired tasks, where-upon they were promised the freedom to leave. The Dropship, the “Velvet Glove” (a Seeker-Class) was surrendered to the unit formally, and they met its lead pilot, Captain Thane, who explained much of the reasons for the mercenary “Outback Irregulars” being here, as their secretly being treasure hunters. It further became obvious, much of the mining equipment they had accumulated was captured materiel stolen from the several mining camps recently hit in the Northern Territories…

Using Lord’s tech crews, Fixer and Pockets began salvaging all the Galleons and the ruined BattleMechs. It was determined the Black Knight was mostly intact, the Sentinel and one of the Thorns were fairly repairable, while the other Thorn, Panther and Stinger were in pieces. The pair of Skycranes were easily salvaged, and moved into the Dropship. About twelve hours of anxious salvaging later, the site was under control, with the unit’s captured materiel moved into the “Glove”.

Wraith and Voice went in search of an EM field identified by Pockets about 2 kms off on a hill to the north. They discovered an ancient microwave transceiver, and salvaged the site using Fixer’s skills, and traced its connection back to the quarry/mine site. It was determined that the site would take about 2-3 days of work, so the unit settled in for a wait, using the Dropship as a repair facility, and taking parts and supplies from the reserves they’d brought along on the Meadowlands carriers.

After a few days of anxious waiting, the site was excavated and the AsTech crews were dismissed, taking their tools and equipment along with them. Pitbull spoke at length with a handful of mercenary tech crews formerly serving with the “Irregulars”, who seemed willing to be hired, providing a half-dozen Green tech crews to the unit support crews.

The Dingoes investigated the site to find a large Mech-sized entrance, dropping in a reinforced tunnel to a large alloyed door bearing a Cameron star of the Star League and the words, “51st Light Horse” below and “Eden’s Promise” above. An active hard-wired electronics lock along one side was investigated by Fixer, and after several hours, he was able to break its codes, determining it required a “Class 3 – SL Support ID Card”, though where someone might find such an item remained unknown. The door opened with a horrible screeching and the sound of ancient servos in movement. It revealed a series of activating lights, marching off into a vast and pristine vault of containers, canisters, and large bulky objects and vehicles. Eden’s Promise was a Star League Strategic Vault for the 51st Light Horse and its attendant RCT

Following the oddly dust-free passages between the supplies and equipment, they came to a central lit area where a computer console rigged with power cables led off into the roof, and was over-looked by a single olive-drab CRB-27 Crab. Accessing the computer, it became obvious it was a simple inventory data core, detailing the entire contents of the cache, which gave a print-out as follows:

- Class I Items for Storage -

Administrative Materials – 100 tons
Administrative Records – 72 tons
Construction Materials – 128 tons
Electronic Components – 14 tons
Medical Supplies – 15 tons
Soft Goods – 320 tons

- Class II Items for Storage -

BattleMechs – 50 tons
Combat Vehicles – 430 tons
Missile Ammunition Reserves – 110 tons
Portable Fusion Generators – 20 tons
PPC Loads – 210 tons
Repair Facility Equipment – 110 tons
Spare BattleMech Components – 125 tons
Spare Vehicle Components – 110 tons
Standard Foot Infantry Kits – 30 tons
Standard Jump Infantry Kits – 5 tons
Support Vehicles – 550 tons

- Class III Items for Storage -

Fibre-Optic Communication Lines – 10,000 tons
RCT Emergency Rations Reserves (20 Days) – 1200 tons
SL-V84 Fusion Engines – 2760 tons
Special Food Storage – 20 tons
Strategic Metals – 100 tons

Using the database, the unit was able to bring in their tech crews and identify the entire contents of the cache easily, though it took a good day to sort through its contents. They were able to salvage several vehicles, spare parts, infantry equipment, PPCs and ammunition, as well as a complete repair facility including its machine tools and a large supply of strategic metals for manufacturing essential high tech dies and tools. The Crab was easily salvaged, swapping-out its “black boxes” and using a spare neurohelmet from the unit’s dwindling stores, though it contained a minor mystery in the form of a bloody helmet despite its pristine appearance. They also salvaged a pair of “Patron” LoaderMechs. The cache finally included a vast stock of fibre-optic cabling (enough to equip a planet), stocks of combat survival rations, and a massive stock of Dropship fusion cores.

Every nook and cranny of the Dropship, and even the unit BattleMechs were laden down with salvaged supplies. The vehicle bays were crammed tight with support vehicles and stacks of other goods. With the tech crews secured aboard the Dropship, along with Lord’s recon troops to “keep an eye on things”, it began preparing for a quick sub-orbital hop to Fort Anton, while the PCs moved their large convoy of laden vehicles and Mechs back overland to rendezvous with the group in a week…

Episode 7a - Dude, Where's my Dropship?
"Following the Agriplex raid, we investigated the isolated ravine our mystery satellite had been communicating with in the utter north... seemed the SLDF garrison had been doing something before they left the planet, and we were gonna find out what..."

Roll Call————————-Mechs

Dale(Capt. Ruxbundy)——-—Spider
Dana(Lt. Charles)—————-Jenner (Mod)
Bruce(Erica Hartman)——-—Phoenix Hawk
Greg(Michael Anderson)——Hermes A
Lee (Hagustus)—————Ostscout
JP (Jokukad) ————————-Wolverine

We spent a couple weeks more, rebuilding our Mechs and actually managed to strip down two of the tanks for parts, while we traded the Pegasus to Captain Lord and her crew for about 10 tons of armor patches… it seemed she had tons of the stuff, which hinted how good her scavengers were, since a week later the thing was up and running perfectly. We had enough after that, to rebuild both the Stinger and Locust we had in the “Dead Man’s Hand” Revserve Unit, and prepped the Clooney Brothers to act as support pilots. The Commando remained unrepairable at this time, but we also got the Wolverine working again. There was a discussion as to who should pilot it, and the Lieutenant gave up his claim to keep the peace.

Recognizing we needed manpower if we were to salvage anything, we approached Captain Lord, and offered to “hire” some of her crews to pilot our captured Meadowlands Carriers; with their modular container tanks removed, they made very nice 40-ton flatbeds, and we could haul away even a battered medium Mech in need. She agreed, but demanded she send protection, since they were her crew and she was not going to put them in undue danger. We agreed.

With our equipment repaired and our team in fine condition, we set-out, the convoy consisting of our nine Mechs, the three Meadowlands Carriers, the Dusters’ two Pegasus tanks and two units of Lord’s scouts. We took about a week, and a warm spell actually melted the deepening snow enough to make good time. Lords’ troops talked to some of the locals, with whom they had good standings, and they told us the site we were headed to was an ancient mine known as “Eden’s Promise”. Noone knew much about it, other than it had been abandoned for hundreds of years.

As we approached, Pockets picked-up a seriously hot signal, hinting at a large fusion engine; it seemed there was a dropship ahead. Lords’ scouts slipped off to recon the site, and came back with good and bad news; someone had beaten us to the site. There was a Seeker-Class Dropship, dug-in with infantry along the east side of a series of low hills. Behind it, lay a pair of large VTOLs, with tech teams moving around them doing maintenance. To the west were numerous piles of rubble, with a pair of Stingers doing something, while an Assassin and a Panther looked on. In the middle of the rubble piles was a huge tent and a pair of Galleon Light Tank lances. In the center, a large rubble pile was undergoing excavation against the central hill, and next to it was a large, sprawling camp filled with various light and heavy civilian transports and about a hundred people moving around. The scouts reported another lance of Mechs off to the north, behind the hills and a couple minutes away.

Approaching through the woods and under cover of a ridge, we sent Lords’ units to sweep around to the side, allowing them to find a better path through the forests. We hopped over the ridge and watched the anthill turn-over. The techs working on the VTOLs scattered, half heading into the Dropship for cover. A lance of the Galleons began to move, and slowly crawled towards the Dropship. The remaining lance proved to be abandoned, and not operational. The Mechs began pulling back onto the hills, and seemed reluctant to engage our forces.

Primary was called on the Panther, and though it took some withering fire, it managed to slip off to the eastern hill, guarded by the Assassin. Pit Bull and Pockets followed, pressing the advantage. The Stingers bounced off to the west, and began circling around the back side of the central hill, harried by Voice and Glamour. Wraith and Fixer tried to deal with the infantry dug-in around the Dropship, but their defensive works proved substantial. The armor moved to engage the Mechs near the Dropship, but were not very effective. The Clooney Brothers held back, sniping at the tanks, but when it became obvious the Dropship wasn’t going to fire on anyone, they closed and began providing supporting fire against the infantry and tanks. Eventually one of the tanks was destroyed to massed fire. Paladin bounced after the Panther, making one or two good hits, but it proved to have a capable pilot.

The Dusters finally entered the main battlefield, and held for about half-a-minute, until they understood the situation. The “Mystery Mechs” moved out of the forest to reveal themselves as a lance of unknown Star League vintage mecha; two Thorns, a Sentinel and a massive Black Knight! Captain Lord sent her two tanks in to assault the armor, quickly freeing Fixer and Wraith the join in the attack against the Panther and Assassin. The Thorns tried to assist in evacuating the Panther, but this allowed the Dingoes to get in behind one, knock it over and take it out of the fight. The Stingers began to slip further to the flanks, while the Black Knight and its “bodyguard” ran into the central forest behind the hill, keeping it out of the fight for a few seconds while it closed with the battle.

As the Dingoes gathered and began to mass fire, and the defenders formed up on the edge of the forest, Lord managed to take out two other tanks, and began concentrating on the last, while her swoop gang swarmed up the ramps and into the Dropship hangar bay. The Battle for Eden’s Promise had really begun…

Episode 6 - Field Rations, Again?
"We were down for repairs and it took a couple more weeks for our wounded personnel to recover... by then, we were ready to eat our boots. When Captain Lord offered to take us on a raid of a nearby Consolidated Foods facility we jumped at the chance..."

Roll Call————————-Mechs

Dale(Capt. Ruxbundy)———Spider
Dana(Lt. Charles)————-Hermes 2
Bruce(Erica Hartman)———Phoenix Hawk
Greg(Michael Anderson)——Hermes A
JP (Jokukad) ——————-Jenner

It took a couple days, but the Dingoes managed to haul all our booty back to the Fort, despite a worsening weather and the staggering steps of the Stinger we’d captured. About a day later, the “Old Sawbones” showed-up in a battered hover jeep with a nurse (his daughter, I think). Captain Lord led him to the med-bay and he went straight to work. Several days of hard work later he had everyone in recovery mode, and gave them all passing bills of health. Captain Lord had some supplies loaded into his truck and he left just as suddenly, with hardly a word or two towards us. I know Erica spent some time watching him work and asking questions, but otherwise, they left just as suddenly as they arrived.

Over the next couple weeks, we did maintenance, stripping down both Stingers to repair our mainline units. The Lieutenant spent several days hacking the satellite he’d found, eventually getting control of the thing (called the “New Dawn”, though when he did, it sent a communication to several locations on the planet before he could command it to stop: one was to an unknown location somewhere in the north, while the other was to “Starwolf Base”… we suspected the military base in Deadwood. He and Hartman spent most of their remaining spare time trying to convert the coordinates to something we could understand. Eventually they had a location about a week away in the harshest mountain terrain on the planet. Whatever it was, someone had made sure it was isolated.

We were thinking about a trip to Deadwood for supplies, when Jokukad approached Captain Lord, asking about food. She suggested joining them on a raid of a nearby Agriplex. She admitted the location was well-protected, but the pay-off would more than make up for it, and having our BattleMechs take the facility would save lives. Detailing the location, we managed to identify a way to approach it quietly, and avoid the radar of the control tower until we were near the south entrance. The solar arrays were identified as a potential target, as was the communication tower. She warned us about a small garrison of corporate security, and that the silos and barracks were protected by MG turrets (which was why her group were loath to attack it in the past). She also warned us that patrols often took a few days rest at the facility for maintenance and some R&R; especially in the worsening weather hitting the Northern Territories.

Jokukad had a lengthy discussion with Milo Carsebloom, following the Captain’s revelation that he had mentioned Milo had some sort of plan to leave the planet with a Dropship and Jumpship waiting. He eventually agreed to give the contact information, in return for his BPOs of the LMG and Long Tom, and some of the gold to pay for transit off-planet.

Mitch and a couple others took “The Football” out for a spin to check the facility out on their own, finding it pretty much how Captain Lord described it. We spent a couple more weeks doing maintenance and managed to get some supplies from the Snow Dusters, while our crew recovered their injuries. Even though Captain Ruxbundy wasn’t completely healed, he wanted the raid to go forward sooner, rather than later, and we made final preparations to hit the complex.

The trip to the agriplex took most of a day, especially since the snow was at 6’-deep and rising, but we managed to get to the perimeter undetected. Erica noticed the control tower was displaying flags showing something had landed at the airstrip about a km away. We moved to surround the facility, noticing a lance of hover armor (typical patrol of a Pegasus, a Harrasser and a pair of Scimitars), along with two Locusts near the barracks. A pair of security squads were walking the perimeter, and three of the massive Meadowlands-Class Grain Carriers were in the compound, one being filled with grain from the silos.

Erica and Alder opened on the control tower, blowing off the communications array as a welcome. Erica and Anderson moved to the front gate, The Lieutenant flanked to the west, while Mitch and the Captain flanked east. Erica blocked the gate, and the hover tanks were forced to mass together , unable to leave the compound, while the one piloted Grain Carrier spun out of control and was abandoned. They fired heavy barrages of SRMs at Mitch and Anderson as he approached, trying to retreat around the hangar. The Captain bounced into the main compound, taking fire from the security squads that were pouring from the barracks, and one of the Locusts, while the Lieutenant ran into the compound and took a couple swings at the turrets on the grain silos, attracting the other Locust’s attention.

Erica and Mitch concentrated on the armor, taking out the Pegasus and the Harrasser, while Anderson retreated to recover, followed by one of the Scimitars. The Lieutenant started to work on the Locust and the security squads, while the Captain pulled out of the compound followed by the other Locust and one of the Scimitars. In a catastrophic fluke, one of the MG turrets hit the Lieutenant with a penetrating shot that struck his AC ammo bins, setting-off an explosion that destroyed his Mech, though he ejected safely. Erica closed and eliminated the Scimitar and the group began scattering the security forces. The Captain broke back into the compound, and took-out the MG turret over the barracks. Mitch closed and began removing the other turrets on the silos, while the remaining pilots destroyed the remaining tank in a fiery explosion. The group then rallied, as one Locust sprinted off into the distant snow fields, but the other was shot and surrounded, and forced to surrender.

With the destruction of the last turret and security forces, the Snow Dusters swarmed into the compound, securing the remaining vehicles and set about salvaging the three immobile hover tanks. The control tower sealed its doors, and refused contact, while the Grain Carriers were filled with grain, and the Snow Dusters set about repairing the skirts on all the tanks from the parts stores in the hangar. Jokukad began negotiations with the facility mechanic, one Grant Brown, who willingly signed-up for a promise of a bonus equal to a month’s wage, bringing his own tools and a couple “nephews” as AsTechs. In addition to hundreds of tons of meats, fruit and vegetables, the Snow Dusters found eight “Loadmaster Exoskeletons” in the warehouses, and after using them to assist in loading operations, gathered them together and loaded them on those Mechs that were able to. The captured pilot, Corporal John H Morgan, was interrogated, and he revealed that a LR shuttle was visiting the complex with people from the capital, though he knew nothing more.

Supplies gathered, the combined group moved off into the blowing snow, to return to Fort Anton, with a degree of fellowship not seen before between them all.

Episode 5 - The Great Train Robbery
"The snows had gone from a light dusting to 4'-deep and growing when the call came that "The Torpedoe" was going to be in Profit Pass in eight hours. We broke camp and made haste; but, we'd never counted on Kate and Leopold being there ahead of us..."

Roll Call————————-Mechs

Dale(Capt. Ruxbundy)———Spider
Dana(Lt. Charles)————-Hermes 2
Lee(Dominic) ——————-Ostscout
Bruce(Erica Hartman)———Phoenix Hawk
Greg(Michael Anderson)——Hermes A
Dylan (Wiebe)—————Jenner
Lyle -—————- Firestarter

We had maybe a week of downtime to do maintenance work on our Mechs, and work on the fort’s power plant whenever we had a second. The lieutenant was still hacking the satellite he’d found in orbit, and Erika was just about ready to claw-out Captain Lord’s eyes (I really don’t get what’s going on between those two). Our newest “bondsman” “Wild” Bill died in his sleep suddenly; although several people pointed fingers, he was old and it wasn’t surprising to most. “The Lady” Simpson gave a fond farewell, kissing the Captain rather fondly, and left aboard several Karnov VTOLs that arrived one morning to haul her, her Mech and her salvage back to the starport. The Lieutenant finally cracked the outer codes on the satellite to reveal it was forgotten coms satellite, in tight stationary orbit… then he began to see if he could give it some orders…

Then the call came; the “Torpedoe” was leaving Deadwood and would be reaching Profit Pass in about 8 hours. Problem was, snow had begun to swirl, and it was getting treacherous out there even for a Mech. We sent off our lead four “fast” Mechs, to stage the ambush site, while the rest of us slowly made our way north to the rendezvous.

Profit Pass was the south end of a twisted canyon reaching north to mining country, and it opened into a valley that gently spread south into the main circuit of the rails. The twisty stretches, we’d hoped, would slow it enough to get the ambush in place. It worked. We laid a couple debris fields across the tracks just after the bridge with some well placed shots with out lasers, and powered-down to wait for the right moment.

Dominic’s passives told us about four light hover armor units moving towards the pass, long before the train.They made for the rails, and after crossing the bridge, slowed and stared at the rubble across the tracks. A short burst of coded info went up from the lead tank; a Pegasus flanked by its Harrasser “guard” and a pair of Scimitars. The Lieutenant squelched the signal with his Hermes IIs coms and we sprung the trap. 30 seconds later, the lead tanks were smoldering ruins and the Scimitar’s had slipped back to cover the approaching train.

The train was a marvel of engineering, fusion engines chromed and even the passenger cars were vintage pieces, gilt and wood polished. Behind these, were a series of boxcars, flatcars laden with bulk ores, and the smoldering turrets of some gun emplacements. They opened up on us as they approached, but with the final twist of track and the angles of the hills, they couldn’t get any clear shots on us. Flanking the train, were a pair of Stingers, and they scrambled on either side of the tracks to cover the slowing train.

Janto’s Jenner came under heavy SRM fire, taking a couple shots to the head, and then one of the Stingers popped him as well, and that knocked him unconscious and out of the rest of the fight. Our slower Mechs began to arrive and as they approached the train, detected a pair of new Mechs appear across the valley; a Firestarter and an Ostscout. They traded a couple shots with us, but when our other lance arrived from up the valley, they quickly took off with the surviving hover tanks and abandoned the train. One Stinger escaped with them, but another took critical damage to its gyro and engines, and the pilot shut-down and abandoned the Mech next to the train.

The Dingos surrounded the train, watching as it shed a few dozen infantry, that all fled from the train and scattered into the Pass. Several members dismounted their Mechs, while Dominic and a couple others started pulling doors from the boxcars and looting the contents. Among them were several tons of munitions (small arms and ammunition), some special ammo for the two Long Toms and a couple crates marked “Machine Parts”, that proved to be crates of gold bullion. Jackpot!
While Erika checked on Janto’s status, and Mitch and Slaine searched through the passenger cars for Mr. Carsebloom, but only found a dozen or so who were his employees, herding them out into the snow near the bridge and the engineer’s station. Evidence was found in one car that he had been there recently, but a thorough search reveled nothing.

We’re not too sure what happened, but the Captain went into the main engine to get a manifest, and shortly after a scuffle occurred between him and a body-pistol-armed Mr. Carsebloom, who had been hiding in the forward cabin. Both were injured and rendered unconscious in the struggle, and the engineer was utterly in fear for his life, so we never got anything out of him. Now down two Mech pilots with a third in need salvaging, we called on the Dead Man’s Hand to arrive in “The Football”, our hover truck, and have them get all the Mechs home. We distributed the arms and munitions we found, and when the reserve lance arrived, got them all into Mechs and fled the scene, taking Mr. Carsebloom and his two lawyers with us back to Fort Anton.

With our damage and all the loot we were hauling back (including an SRM Jeep found on one of the flatcars, the two Long Toms minus their flatcar carriages, the two AC5s taken from their turrets, and various other supplies taken from the train cars), it would take a couple days of slow travel through the deepening snows to get home, so we sent Mitch on ahead with our wounded to see if Captain Lord knew a surgeon or could get help for our patients. It was a successful raid, though, really, it didn’t quite feel like it…

Episode 4 - Enemy of my Enemy
"The "Real" Panther Gang was well known as the primary force of bandits in the Northern Territories. At least, that was until we showed up..."

Roll Call————————-Mechs

Dale(Capt. Ruxbundy)———Spider
Dana(Lt. Charles)————-Hermes 2
Lee(Dominic) -—————Ostscout
Bruce(Erica Hartman)———Phoenix Hawk
Greg(Michael Anderson)——Hermes A

We’d been doing maintenance and other work on our Mechs for a couple weeks in the relative peace and tranquility of Fort Anton, when the “Panther Strike” Gang showed up. They went on demanding entrance, which Zeddy, our resident landlord, refused at our request. Fionna and her troop refused to help us, stating “Not our fight”, though they seemed concerned about the outcome of it. When the bandits found out we were present, their leader went apoleptic. Demanded our heads and our Mechs, and other things. He called us out, and said he’d take us down in the local ruins of Antonopolis. We suspected a trap, but we didn’t have much choice. We needed that Wolverine… We all agreed that it was to be our target of opportunity.

They had brought a Firestarter and a Stinger as support, but the Wolverine and Commando were fairly new to us. Also with them was a Locust, and based on its coloring and battle scars, was likely the same one that eluded us in the Panther Strike Mine. They also had a Valkyrie with them, and this one turned-out to be piloted by a noblewoman by the name of “Lady” Anna Simpson, late of the Federated Suns. When we arrived, she immediately challenged Captain Ruxbundy to a duel in his Spider, which he accepted. A collection of hover trucks showed-up too, filled with drunken locals seeking to get in a little bounty and salvage.

As Capt. Ruxbundy and the noble opened on each other, we moved into position. Lt. Charles and Dominic moved forward, and started trading blows with the Wolverine and his “bodyguard” in the Commando, while the rest scattered and began taking shots at the targets of opportunity on the far flank, namely the Stinger and Firestarter. They scattered a few ranging shots at the support Mechs, and managed to chase them away from the flanks, while Charles and Dominic began to take withering fire from the Commando and Wolverine. Erica engaged the Firestarter and Stinger, and then pulled back to range long distance fire on the command group, as they had taken a position in some hills near the village.

Ruxbundy and the “Lady” traded blows, while they ranged across the map, and the Spider used its superior mobility to its advantage. Erica pinned down the command group with her Phoenix Hawk, while Charles took a few devastating hits that breached his engine shielding and he began to form a fall-back move. Meanwhile, Kampho, Michael and Mitch managed to take down the Firestarter and chase the Stinger back into the cluster of trees around the hills the command group were working in. The Stinger took a devastating shot that blew away its right arm, and with severe damage to its armor, it shut-down and surrendered.

By this point, Charles was dodging around the woods, and finally saw his chance to pull away from the fight and flee across the battlefield away from the Wolverine. The Locust took a couple lucky shots and then it attempted to slip away into the nearby forest, being pursued by Dominic for a about half a minute, until he abandoned it and returned to the main fight. The group, now concentrating on the Commando and Wolverine as originally planned, managed to blow apart both right and left torso on the Commando, forcing its surrender, and all that was left was the main duel and the Wolverine.

Ruxbundy was doing well, until he closed in for an attempt to take out “Lady” Simpson; his attempt failed, with him falling over and taking severe actuator damage to his legs. He admitted defeat, as the gang surrounded the Wolverine, blowing one leg clear off on a lucky shot. The group offered surrender terms and stopped attacking the remaining Mech, and finally managed to convince “Wild” Bill Neibling to surrender himself.

The party convinced “Lady” Simpson to accept the damaged Firestarter instead of the easily repairable Spider, and offered her to spend the night in Fort Anton. Although the pilot of the Firestarter had escaped, and the Stinger pilot refused to work with us, (claiming “You’ll get yours, yet!” as he left)the group managed to secure a new bondsman, Dale Taylor, pilot of the Commando, as well as the services of “Wild” Bill Neibling as the lance leader of the “Cattlemen Society”. Combined with the two battered Stingers piloted by the Clooney Brothers (one from this fight and the other from the previous Panther Strike Mine raid), the group now had a seriously damaged lance of questionable loyalty added to their organization.

“Wild” Bill proved to be a wealth of information about Deadwood, and freely shared what he knew with Capt. Ruxbundy. The Thumpers seemed impressed at the savvy of the group, and although Fionna Lord and her Snow Dusters didn’t say much, they did seem to hold the “Iron Dingos” in higher esteem than before. All that was left now, was repair work and waiting for the notice of Milo Carsebloom’s train leaving Deadwood for New Denver… with all the extra mouths around, we needed some serious influx of cash, or we might have a mutiny on our hands.

Episode 3 - Looking For Group
"They called it "The Moathouse", but "Mudhouse" was more like it. Fort Anton was a relic of the Star League, and insignificant to their way of thinking; to us it was a palace, though the existing residents thought so too..."

Roll Call:

Dale(Capt. Ruxbundy)———Spider
Dana(Lt. Charles)————-Hermes 2
Dominic(Lee) -—————Ostscout
Bruce(Erica Hartman)———Phoenix Hawk
Greg(Michael Anderson)——Hermes A

While the mechanics (Mr. Anderson & Erica) salvaged and repaired our Battlemechs, we sent Charles and Dominic out to scout Fort Anton.

After several days in the former Bolton Gang’s mine, Dominic reports back with news that Fort Anton is a neutral location controlled by the Thumpers, an armed infantry group.

Packing up we collect the Portable Gantry and the rest of the salvageable Mechs, we headed to Fort Anton. Unmolested the company arrived at the Fort finding an old Star League base! As the gate screeched open we noticed the lack of repair, defenses and communication dish’s. Inside we found a small company named “Snow Dusters” containing 5 squads of riflemen with 3 transports and a Pegasus, named Lily, under the command of Fionna Lord. After chatting up and getting to know the leader of the Thumpers, Zeddy, we offered to help fix up the place.

After some radiation warnings the mechanics suited up and went down for a look, but to our dismay finding nothing but a cleaned out hulk with a offline Fusion generator. With ease and knowledge Erica quickly points out a secret door leading to an active power supply and the source to the radiation. Following it for quite a ways we find three unguarded chambers, a communication lab, an electronic workshop, and a power plant that is powered by an orb that leaks massive amounts of radiation. Finding out the generator is hitting its half life, we gathered some tools and supplies from the rooms and head back to the base to look at getting the fusion generator back online.

During this excursion underground Fiona offered us a Bounty to kill the Leaders of the town of Deadwood to which our Mr. Ruxbundy said “We will look into it.” Sending Dominic out on a scout run, our esteemed leader Michael eagerly went out to stretch his (Battlemech’s) legs and found about the local ‘defenses’ that everyone knows about, a minefield! Losing his balance after activating one he face-plants into the ground, barely missing more mines…

Episode 2 - The Black Hills
"We should have known a tiny village in the middle of nowhere meant trouble. That it was named after some dead Terran general was lost to us at the time... at least until we found out that militia had killed him in a lop-sided fight..."

Roll Call & Mech:

Dominic(Lee) -——————-Ostscout
Bruce(Erica Hartman)———-Phoenix Hawk
Greg(Michael Anderson)——Hermes A
Dale(Michael Ruxbundy)——Spider
Dana(Charles)————————Hermes 2

Later that evening after traveling quite a distance the company stumbled upon the town of Custer. The newly appointed commander Ruxbundy decided to leave the Mechs and venture into the town on foot. The hill-billy town of Custer barely holds on to a stocked general store, service station, cafe, hotel and a marshal’s office. After visiting the Deadbull hotel the crew realized all the occupants were well armed ne’er-do-wellers. After visiting the Gibbon’s cafe however (which serves the most delectable foods ever) we found out about the local bandits, The Panthers. After some (careful) negotiations by Alberto, we enlisted the cafe owners <<the>> to close up shop and head out with us. Managing to acquire a local map and some must needed supplies from the general store we returned to the Mechs and continued forth following the map

Along the way to Fort Anton, the “supposed” Panther base, our scout, Dominic, found a rogue EM signature. Mitch proceeded on foot to recon the unknown signature. He quickly found several ground sensors watching an entrance to the abandoned mine. Commander Ruxbundy considered his options and sent the jump capable Mech’s to circle around for an ambush. Sending in the Hermes and a Firestarter to draw the 4 Mechs and 4 tanks to them, the ambush proceeded according to plan. Finding a lone enemy Firestarter, Erica and Dominc proceeded to bash its legs with kicks and a hockey stick(a felled tree). Fighting to the last breath the leader continued to try and attack while his cohorts fell exploding and surrendering one by one <<the>>. After surveying the damage to our Mechs we found a field repair facility to repair our damaged BattleMechs.

Thus ends this Kicktastic Mining Adventure


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