Battletech Mercs Unleashed

The Real Red Menace, part VI

09/11/3065 20:08 Location – Shervanis Old City, Astrokaszy

Major Grey and her bodyguard units convoyed across the city, Twin Sabers had done a good job of pulling the Hidden Hand and Alptraum out of position and things were going according to plan. She should have known better.

The lead vehicle blew to pieces and the explosion shook her armored car as small arms fire began pouring out of the buildings around them. We’re under attack all units reverse and redirect, the rear vehicle was blocked in by a six man group that had to be wearing power armor based on their size. That left the whole group vulnerable, Operative Thane came in over the radio, Darkwings engage right flank, clear a path for alternate exfil, Grey could see their Hellkites emerge and begin firing heavy weapons at the hostiles in the buildings and the power armored troopers behind.

Their heavy weapons were deafening as they echoed off the wind-worn grey stone buildings, Lets go Major!, she nodded and followed the point-man as he exited the right side door of the armored car which maneuvered to provide some cover to the light infantry. She fired a few rounds to suppress the windows and took cover as the point-man kicked down the nearest door and triggered a mine, pieces of him were thrown across the armored car behind the unit. Fuck!, Saber Six I need you to blow a wall we need to get out of the kill-zone, Roger Major, take cover, danger close, Grey and her fire team dropped prone and covered their heads, Saber team Six prepped their recoil less rifle with an anti-material round and fired it into the masonry wall creating a hole wide enough to enter.

Move, Move, Darkwing collapse on us we will clear the building and find another way out, Felicity and Saber One cleared the building room by room, they weren’t fighting Alptraum but Word of Blake Militia, Watch for Purifiers, shoot anything that shimmers, flash grenades will dazzle them

Ebon Magistrate Operative Thane and his platoon engaged their targets rapidly and with extreme prejudice, gouts of white hot plasma, armor piercing bullets, and explosives tore into their foes and the environment, small fires burned everywhere, his side only had minor casualties, just one fatality, less than a dozen wounded, Thane torched the remains with plasma. He noticed the mysterious power armored troops had broken the axle of their rear armored car and set it aflame killing everyone inside. He fired another burst from his Ebony Pulse Rifle at a particularly brave soldier in the opposite building before falling back having covered the armored car drivers as they torched their own cars with phosphorous grenades.

Felicity Grey followed three behind as Twin Sabers crept through the building, the Pointman’s Pinard Predator auto-shotgun dealt with any Militia infantryman and doors, his secondary TK-576 sub-machine gun at the ready in its sling across the other shoulder. She keyed her radio, Commander Turner we are blocked in by hostile forces can you get to us?, nothing but static answered, Shit! they are jamming us, we have to move, pointing to a pair of her fire-team, you two find Thane we are going to need to stick close, they nodded and doubled back toward the entry point where the Ebon Magistrate was still engaging stragglers.

Elsewhere in the city
Twin Sabers Commander Turner watched through her range-finding binoculars as another salvo was fired from the Light LRM Carrier. There was no point in being stealthy about this now that she had engaged the whole goddamn city. The fragmentation rockets burst in the sky throwing shards of red hot metal into cluster of Hidden Hand militia, the effects visible in infrared from her popped hatch.

There had been no word from Major Grey in twenty minutes that wasn’t a good sign, she should have been at the rendezvous point by now. That meant that she needed to push toward her location which meant fighting through an armory district thick with enemies while low on ammo.

The dull thuds of her Warthog mortar carriers echoed across the street firing gas shells to disperse the militia as her troops advanced slowly, dealing with any foes that popped up to meet them. A Hetzer assault gun blasted holes in any enemy strong-points they encountered while a pair of Super Scorpion Mark IIs provided cover fire with their auto-cannons, missiles, and machine guns. The Canopian sponsored Army of Virtue militia was nowhere to be seen which was unfortunate but not unexpected.

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Cold as Ice, pt 2

09/14/3065 00:32 Location – “The Icebox”, Mule Dropship “Rodeo”, Al’Sur

Lieutenant Jasmina Ilonka put her hands through the brig door to get cuffed by Hendrick, apparently she was “extremely dangerous” so required these extreme measures for her visitor’s safety. The cold steel closed over her wrists and she was ordered back to her bunk before the door opened. Major Felicity Grey stepped in her arm still in its sling with bruises everywhere,

Mina looked her over I guess it was to much to hope for that you would die in Shervanis Felicity,
Major Grey replied in a condescending tone, That’s not a very nice thing to say Mina. I’m very disappointed in you, four on one you should have made it a little more difficult for them

Mina started at her intently, and where would I have run to? They would just send more, I realized it was over I thought there would have been more time before Leon discovered Samira

Felicity locked eyes with her forcing Mina to avert her eyes, You know Commander Brant thinks that you have become to much of a liability, he doesn’t think you should be on the team anymore, dangling a key in her hand, I could of course convince him otherwise; unless you think Joe will be your champion and do it, grasping the key back in her balled fist, Now what do you think the odds of that are?

Mina reached violently toward Felicity but paused just as abruptly, Why are you here Major; why didn’t you tell us about the gem mines or your suspicion of Chief Idlewood?
Would it have changed anything?_, Major Grey shifted her intonation to be more sing-songy, Now, be a good girl and tell me what you think of my pet project now that you have seen them with and without me?,

Lieutenant Illonka slacked and sat back down on her bunk facing Felicity, This unit falls apart without you, its amazing they made it this far. Tack refuses to take command and issue orders, insisting on building consensus, I fear his indecision may have given enough time to the Titanfellers to defeat Ash and prepare to issue the coup de grace against us.

Hotfoot is quick to react but lacks the confidence to lead effectively he’s already looking for an exit rather than take the responsibility. Adrian’s misogyny and cowardice have poisoned his relationship with the rest of the unit, he should have been fired a long time ago but Markus and Joe appreciate his tactical acumen and loyalty over the years.

Alina resents Commander Brandt for holding the pilots back and not using them properly for fear of endangering her, she wants to help not sit in a grounded Aerofighter all day. At least Joe understands and is willing to let her earn her keep.

Leon is a threat to the unit’s security, he’s unstable and I have suspicions that he killed six workers on Dainmar Majoris but no evidence, additionally he lied about what happened at the scavenger outpost and now the Titanfellers are going to use it to turn the Emirs against us, not that they need much help with Markus taking in the Jaguars.

Felicity looked intrigued, I heard you had Leon at gunpoint in the camp, if the situation would have been different would you have pulled the trigger?

In a cold monotone Mina replied, Without hesitation, I didn’t have enough time to figure out a proper alibi to avoid retaliation from his men. You ordered me to protect the unit from all threats…

Felicity leaned forward from her sitting position, That’s enough, I have what I need
Mina snapped back with tears in her eyes, Why me?

Major Grey got up and grabbed Jasmina’s chin with her left hand, leaning uncomfortably close, I just saw so much potential in you, I’ve taught you almost everything I know. Why didn’t you want Markus or Joe to know about our relationship? Its not like I ordered you to keep it secret. Were you afraid they might compare you to me?
Mina pushed her away, I’m nothing like you Major!

Felicity grabbed her cuffs and pulled them down with impressive strength for her off-hand, But you are sooo close, I’ve been doing this for nearly twenty years, what has it been ten since I came across you on Logan Prime after that Hegemony raid. Lost little Maria, I gave you a second chance in Canopus space. You wanted to help the innocent so they didn’t meet the same fate, noble ideals for a naive little girl. You volunteered for the Dreamwalker Program five years ago and I told you what that meant, it’s not my fault it wasn’t as successful as they would have liked on the first round.

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The Real Red Menace, part V

09/11/3065 18:43 Location – Northern Polar Sea (Alqamar Bahr “Moon Sea”), Shervanis, Astrokaszy

Commander Turner pointed to the rendezvous points for the commandos to be picked up as well as the safe house’s location, if they can get Major Grey to the beach she can be picked up by a mini-sub and smuggled out of the city. If not the Dodo was going to have to fly in and extract the team under fire, it wasn’t a combat vehicle but armor is armor whether it was stealth or not. Twin Sabers would run interference, Tina believed she knew where the Loki Alptraum was hiding but it would take most of her troops to fight their way through the Hidden Hand militia leaving very little in the way of support if something went wrong.

Thane and the Ebon Magistrate prepped their gear, loose robes, and their Hellkite PAs (Prowlers modified to carry heavy weapons instead of magnetic clamps) would conceal their more obvious features but Twin Sabers looked disquieted as they loaded the cyber-commandos. Inside his “coffin” Thane could hear himself being loaded into the water sinking several meters below the calm night sea.

The display built into the top of the Siren’s Song Aquatic Entry System (SSAES) lit up with a small fish eye view from the periscope built into the “foot” of the tube. He pressed his Hellkite’s boots into the pedals in front of him and the engine above his head powered up and began moving him quickly across the three hundred or so meters that separated the mother-ship from the beach beyond. The pedals adjusted his trim and throttle and he noiselessly piloted the craft toward the city. A small 3D audio cue told him when he was nearing an obstacle underwater and eventually he grounded himself on a sand bar near his rendezvous point.

Thane popped the hatch and flooded the compartment with sea water, his kit was fine and he hustled across the twilight beach to the waiting vehicle. The rest of his squad joined him and the van’s suspension lowered noticeably at the addition of nearly three tons of commandos.

19:19 MIM Safehouse

Major Felicity Grey and the fire team of Twin Sabers suited up, things were about to get real hot in the city and they needed to be ready. She donned a Ballistic/Ablative Armor Jacket that weighed heavy on her damaged right shoulder, the pain was intense but bearable, it would all be over soon either way. She wielded a M3 6.8mm Carbine southpaw and a TK MP-76 Machine Pistol was holstered in a reverse cross-draw across her Armor, her pockets and belt pouches were filled with extra magazines and medical supplies. There was no easy way out of the city according to Adam although the Ebon Magistrate had arrived this afternoon to assist in her rescue. This was only their second time in real action and while Commander Arachne had given them high praise Felicity seemed less sure of their high technology preferring more reliable methods.

Ghost Harris noticed the foreigners were acting differently, that was the signal he was looking for. Speaking to no-one, Demi-Precentor, the Witch is here send everyone

19:27 Armory District

Commander Turner and most of Twin Sabers arrived in the area of the Alptraum Command Post. She gave the order and a large truck dropped it’s fake trailer covering revealing its rocket tubes and skewed them onto the target. The Pugio rocket truck fired all ninety rockets in one massive volley, the back-blast did nearly as much damage as the actual impacts ripping masonry apart behind it. Twin Sabers infantry emerged from their unmarked armored cars overturning carts and hiding behind concrete barriers as the Pugio drove away.

Tense moments passed while they watched the heavily damaged structure for any sign of life. Weapons team set up their heavy weapons awaiting return fire and didn’t need to wait long. Sirens blared across the city and a squad of Loki Grenadiers emerged from the ruins firing their mini-PPCs, light machine guns, and Short Range Missiles at Twin Sabers. The Assault Battle Armor’s heavy weapons tore into the meager defenses and vulnerable troopers behind. The Weapons teams poured autocannon shells, rockets, and grenades into the hulking machines as they withdrew to harder cover, sickly yellow smoke filled the streets from hand grenades.

19:58 MIM Safehouse

Major Grey was sandwiched between her fire team of Twin Sabers infantry as Thane and his Ebon Magistrate arrived in armored cars from the beach. Four kilometers of hostile city stood between them and escape.

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The Real Red Menace, part IV
Dodos do fly

09/11/3065 20:43 Location – MIM Baba Yaga (Amur Hull#000), Al’Sur, Astrokaszy

Ebon Magistrate Operative Thane was on watch when he received a flash transmission from Twin Sabers, their authentication codes cleared as ones that Grey would have used.

Immediate assistance required in Shervanis, Major Grey and allies trapped by hostiles

Arachne and the other officers were still delirious, an unfortunate side effect of their sympathetic implants and extensive damage the previous few day, so he was in charge. Not that walking a group of Battlemechs across thousands of kilometers of desert would be easy or subtle.

Kell prepare the Dodo, Full Kit, we are going to Shervanis

In Transit

The Dodo’s sleek lines and low RADAR signature shape caught favorable tailwinds as it sped along at flank speed with a full compliment of Ebon Magistrate Commandos. Thane and the others sat in silence under the red lights in the cargo bay even though most of them could see just fine in the dark. The commandos checked their kit ensuring all power packs and magazines were full before they even got close, you never know when you would need it. Thane and his squad leaders went over detailed maps of the city, memorizing every turn and intersection for potential choke-points and escape routes. The wing in ground effect vehicle’s powerful engines blew great clouds of black sand in its wake. Even at best speed the Dodo wouldn’t make it to the Rendezvous point until nearly Noon with luck it would be fast enough.

Meanwhile in Shervanis’ Old City

Felicity Grey grimaced as she nursed her injuries, she would just have to shoot southpaw since her right wing was busted. The Twin Saber’s Medic Adam attempted to dose her with more painkillers but she refused. Painkillers would make me slow and loopy, both could get me killed, I’ll live, Adam gave up, Suit yourself Major.

The five riflemen had been joined by another squad of troopers, they rotated the watches to ensure all angles were covered as much as possible by fresh eyes. The sporadic gunfire kept everyone on edge but most of it was standard fare for this part of town, just gangsters fighting over territory.

Ghost Harris continued his search through the Old City, there were many non-locals in the district, he could smell it on them, a few entered a beaten up concrete building with a fenced off lot and sun beaten van in the parking lot. Suspicious, Harris found a shadowed balcony and settled in to keep an eye on the area. If his quarry was here surely more would come, his brothers and sisters of the Manei Domini would not come out in daylight yet, unless needed; the Inner Sphere wasn’t ready for them yet.

11:48, Location – OAMT Sabers Crossed, 114 km South of Astrokaszy

Operative Thane and his HELLCAT crew disembarked from the Dodo, the Twin Sabers Commander Turner looked over it impressed. I’m afraid its not for sale Commander, Tina looked at the Ebon Magistrate operatives curiously, they were completely covered despite the relatively pleasant weather, Damn its a fine looking machine, I presume you are Thane, he walked up to her, Yes I am Thane, Where is the Major?, She’s at an old MIM safehouse in Shervanis’ Old City, she’s been hurt but she’s tough to kill, a high speed car crash won’t take her out of the fight, Thane noticed an update on his wrist mounted CommPad, I presume you have some way to get us past the Militia’s checkpoints so we don’t have to shoot our way in, not that we wouldn’t do that if necessary. These plasma rifles and rocket launchers are not for show you know., Tina walked him over to a desert tan tarp and revealed a group of “coffins”, man sized torpedoes, When do we leave?

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Cold as Ice, pt 1

09/14/3065 00:18 Location – “The Icebox”, MULE Dropship Rodeo, Al’Sur

Lieutenant Jasmina Ilonka shivered, when she memorized the schematics for Rodeo she thought it was just some amusing nickname that the brig was called “The Icebox”. NO, IT WAS COLD! What made it worse was that Dextran wouldn’t give her any of her clothes from Raging Bull for fear that she had sewn hidden pockets in them which was only kinda true, all she had was some surplus scrubs (Dr. Justine Westcastle accidentally put 10 instead of 1 for boxes of female scrubs to order) and a lot of anger to keep her warm. LCDR Post had stopped by with the Jaguar Point Commanders Debriefing from earlier, she didn’t even know what time it was but she had nothing better to do than sulk.

Jaguar’s Claws Debriefing Summarized by Cearra Heron, 13 September 08:17

Point Commander Pike reports that the Jaguars’ Claws have located a Star League cache of military equipment including Battlemechs and Combat Vehicles from the 17th Army of the SLDF. He says that Ash has been attempting to bring everything online and train Mechwarriors and Armor Crews to operate it but the Titanfellers interrupted her grand plan. Noted for questions when Jakk awakens.

Point Commander Tashi confirms the suspicion we had about their unit’s origin, apparently Jakk trained, equipped, and led a guerrilla campaign against Smoke Jaguar on Virentofta in the Draconis Combine. The unit found its way to Port Moseby where they met Ash Smoke and Dillon Nova, Jakk’s adopted surname is Dust. Most of the unit carries the same being orphans or “unproductives”; they typically don’t use it preferring their mononyms. No one in the unit has information about how Dillon or Ash arrived at Port Moseby.

Point Commander Helm has given us a brief timeline of events since they sided with Ash last July. The group had seized a Jumpship and jumped across the Lyran hinterlands hitting non-strategic worlds for supplies.

Upon reaching Astrokaszy, Dillon and Jakk were sent out to search for targets, they found one here, Ash killed the Sheikh and locked the valley down. She destroyed two villages with incendiary bombs causing the others to fall in line, Dillon and his men purged “disloyal” elements including some Canopians overseeing gem mines, Jakk began aggressively expanding the security forces, Loremaster Vaska set about rebuilding using the Shiekh’s contacts with former Chief of Station Idlewood. (Mina looked again, former?)

Five months ago they found about about “The Tomb” and Dillon killed a group of people, we guess were Word of Blake who had stolen a powerful Electronic Warfare weapon from an unknown party. Jakk and Dillon fought a Trial of Position to be SaKhan and Jakk won, they don’t detail the Trial or have much information on Dillon, apparently his people were on the other dropship (The Jaguar’s Claws have a Lion and Buccaneer apparently) during their transit from Port Moseby.

Dr Richard Westcastle has informed us that Jakk will pull through but will not be able to take questions for two days while he heals.

Ensign Cearra Heron

Mina looked over it again and again looking for any minor detail, the whole thing didn’t make sense. Draconis Combine Guerrillas that fought against Smoke Jaguars joining together was already straining credulity, If Dillon Nova is/was a Nova Cat that just added a whole new dimension of madness. Who was Ash initially? How did she survive the SLDF’s attempt to kill the Smoke Jaguars? Where did she get her omnis? The Lyran Intelligence Corps intense interest in this operation added to many unknowns into the equation, she really wished the boys hadn’t killed so many of the Headhunters they might have known something. It was maddening, if only she was out there, she’d do anything to find the secrets that eluded her.

A knock at the door broke the recursive loop of information voids. Lieutenant Illonka, you have a visitor

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The Real Red Menace, part III
Boxed in

09/11/3065 15:17 Location – Alptraum Command Post, Armory District, Shervanis, Astrokaszy

Hyrien Krieger hammered his fist over the map of Shervanis laid out before him, it was marked with the last known locations of their prey. How does COTTONTAIL keep escaping! Can no one in this damn city run down this Frau? Dieter, any word yet on our mysterious adversaries? Dieter was looking over a display that was tracking various signals throughout the city, Afraid not Hyrien, they have dropped off the map but we are checking everything that leaves the city. The Alyad Alkhafia (“Hidden Hand”) Militia have been ordered to shoot any who try to run the checkpoints and our gunships will shoot any who make it past. Major Grey’s face has been plastered in all the markets with a handsome reward for any information that leads to her capture shouldn’t be to hard to find a red headed white woman in this city..

Hyrien sat back down in the only chair in their sparse operations center, Don’t count on it, she could just grab an Abaya and blend in. Meanwhile any new reports from the Titanfellers on our other lady problem?

None yet sir, Baron von Hulger has just jumped in system to force the issue, Major Brekard has been playing it too safe for such an important operation, Konstantine will give him a kick to get his ass moving and kill the Pirate Smoke Jaguar Ash. According to Konstantine the Director has called any periphery LIC units, the longer they draw this out the more ruthless the mercenaries, but jumpship availability remains a problem this far from the core, Hyrien popped the top of a beer can, We had better not disappoint the Director or at least have the dignity to die trying rather than live with the failure on Niflheim.

Location – Twin Sabers Safe House, Old City, Shervanis

Felicity laid down on a small cot in the mostly empty building, a few bedrolls, water jugs, crates of ammo, medical supplies, and MREs were its only other decorations. A small light buzzed and occasionally cut out leaving the building in darkness despite it being mid-afternoon. Her injuries earlier that day were starting to catch up to here and the painkillers were wearing off, Adam had been right it fucking hurt. Her right arm was in a sling and she could feel the pins and needles of nerve damage, she had been cleaned up a little but every movement was pained due to the bruises and strains.

The five riflemen looked out of the barred windows being extra vigilant, the Alptraum and Lyran sponsored militia had boxed them in and they couldn’t make it to the dropship a hundred kilometers away until they were dealt with. The Canopian sponsored militia (Jayse Alfadila “Army of Virtue”) couldn’t be trusted they would likely betray them to Loki so that just left Twin Sabers behind enemy lines. Commander Turner had broken her unit up to track down where the Alptraum commandos were based so she could headhunt their commander and protect Grey should they be compromised.

That Night

Ghost Adept Beta Harris found himself in Shervanis’ Old City, the Lyran militia had plastered it’s now abandoned markets with posters of his quarry. The market was dark and quiet the only inhabitants being militia patrols making their rounds with large battery lanterns illuminating circles in bright white light. Harris needed no such illumination his gifts allowed him to see as well in pitch black, blinding light and through the mightiest storms and still hear a pin drop or heartbeat thirty meters away. Moving unseen in his sneak suit he evaded the militia’s amateur patrols.

His mission was simple find the woman that had set back The Word on at least three occasions, not just on Hell’s Paradise or in the Hegemony but she had killed the best Generation One Poltergeist assassin with her bare hands on Herotitus. The failure of the Headhunters to kill her pet mercenaries galled the Demi-Precentor and all of the Hands of the Master were looking to grab her while she was trapped here.

He would find her and then she was doomed, she would never make it off the planet alive.

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Showdown at High Moon

09/13/3065 23:58 Location – 61km North of Warawi, Astrokaszy

The Mercs Unleashed task force heading out over the windswept wastes from their forward base at As’Sab. Leaving behind Lance Lead Donovan Law and a mech company to guard the base in the event their enemies use this as an opportunity to attack. The trip had taken them three hours of walking under the stars, Astrokaszy’s moon, Ghada, shed pale light that reflected off their Battlemech’s canopies and faintly illuminating the black sand, wisps of it blew off the dunes as they moved in radio silence.

Upon arriving their RADARs detected eleven units near the ruins that were their rendezvous point. The Red Skull’s Atlas reflected his persona, it was definitely not stock, and terrifying to behold, its crimson death’s head illuminated by his running lights. Even the lowly locust looked more terrifying due to armor morphs applied to it. Beside the Atlas was a tank that was little more than a Fafnir’s gun put on a Marsden V’s body. Konstantine came on over the radio, I take it by the welcoming committee that you do not have what I seek.

Vanguard Commander “Tack” Brant responded on the same channel, You’re damn right we would never give Grey up and I promised the Jaguars we would help. Very disappointing commander, I’m afraid I will have to kill you now. With that the LRM Carrier launched red flare rounds into the sky, illuminating the area in a blood red hue over black sand. All radio waves began playing this and all combatants went to full power.

Hotfoot’s sensors picked up two bandits burning in from orbit, the warbook figured them to be Lightning G16Ds arriving in forty seconds. Damn, well let’s get this over with

Merc Forces
Niops Crab and Guillotine, Shugenja, Longbow, Stalker, C3 Phoenix Hawk, Hotfoot’s Phoenix Hawk, Tack’s Guillotine, Penetrator, Defiance, Charger, Blackjack

Hostile Forces
Atlas Custom (cERPPC, LPL, AC20, A4), Locust (5 cHMG, 3 SL), Victor (GR, ERLL, 2 cMPLs), Thunderbolt (cGR, LRM15, MLs), Grim Reaper (cLPL, LRM15, SSRM6), Phoenix Hawk (LPL, 2 cMPL), Wolfhound (ERPPC), “Igor” HGR Siege Gun, Armored LRM Carrier, Hetzer Mark II, Light SRM Carrier Mark II, 2 Lightning G16D (2 RAC/5, 2MPL, 2 ERML)

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The Real Red Menace, part II
Twin Sabers and the Skirmish in Shervanis

09/11/3065 11:42 Location – Cinnabar House, Perfume District, Shervanis, Astrokaszy

Major Felicity Grey had stolen a pair of armored vests one for herself and the other for Chief of Station Nathan Idlewood from his dead mercenaries. The two of them took the lesser hallways and secret passages through Cinnabar House firing on the house guard whenever they were encountered, they didn’t encounter anymore of Loki’s heavily armed and armored Alptraum commandos which was good her pistols couldn’t defeat their armor but she knew they were still in the city. You are not going to escape this one alive Major, Felicity reached into his pockets, You better hope I do because I’m going to kill you first, she found the keys for a Delphi Harp SUV (Porsche Macan Turbo for reference) and the emergency gate release switch.

Felicity mule kicked the door and swung Nathan in front as usual, curiously there were no guards but the technicals had pulled out. The pair walked quickly to Nathan’s Scarlet Harp past several lines of luxury autos and more utilitarian vehicles, tossing him into the passenger seat before entering, you might want to find the seat belt, this could get rough, Felicity gunned it, tires squealed, and engines roared as she exited the garage into a hail of gunfire. The bulletproof glass spider-webbed as multiple rounds impacted restricting visibility but the armor and run flat tires held for now. Felicity triggered the gate release, thermite charges burned white hot melting the armored hinges built into the ferrocrete walls. A pair of machine gun armed Pit-Bull trucks blocked the exit and opened up on her but she veered through the gardens tearing them up in the process and spoiling their aim. Reemerging she pushed one of the lighter trucks into the weakened gate, which fell in with a deafening crash.

The Pit-bull made a full rotation and crashed into a building on the opposite side of the street. Felicity peeled off trying to put distance between her and her current enemies. Three armed and fully loaded Pit-bulls pulled out in hot pursuit, Shit! why did you have to hire good troops Nathan, couldn’t be some random locals, Nathan had in fact found the seat belt and didn’t look at all worried, Like I said Major, you aren’t going to make it out of the city alive, every bounty hunter on the planet knows you are here, Felicity made for the Bazaar drifting around a corner and honking the horn, It feels good to know I have so many people looking out for me

The narrower side streets forced the Pitbulls to come at her in single file, she weaved to and fro to throw off their aim and overturn merchant’s carts forcing the trucks to evade or lose speed. Felicity’s Commpad ringed and she put on her earbud, Could really use some help here Tina, the Harp crashed into a stray cart throwing wooden splinters and merchandise into the air, That was not the rendezvous point! Get your boys over here right now, I won’t be able to bring them to you, Trouble Major?, Major Grey tried to refocus on the chase she was currently in, two of the merc trucks were still on her tail and she was running out of narrow road, Nathan we are going to have major trouble if you keep talking so mind your goddamn business!

Felicity looked again ‘Wait two trucks, Fuck!’, the missing Pitbull pulled in front of her and its troops disembarked, she was boxed in. The Harp wasn’t going to be able to survive another crash in its current condition. Major Grey accelerated and crashed into the Pit Bull on the Harp’s passenger side, metal crumpled and some of the luxury SUV’s armored panels warped and tore off in the collision’s aftermath. The Harp flipped and rolled onto its wrecked side and the roof crashed into the stuccoed building across the street.

one hour later

Felicity woke up strapped to a stretcher in the back of a moving vehicle, Good to see you survived your crash Major, let me take a look at your eyes real quick, a Twin Sabers medic shone his light into her eyes, How about Mr Idlewood?, The medic produced a small brown vial with some material in it, We grabbed a sample for analysis but there wasn’t much left of him, Felicity’s bruised faced looked pleased, Good riddance! He shouldn’t have hired such competent troops or he might have lived a slightly longer life. How do I look doc?, The medic produced a small clipboard, Well fortunately you don’t have any neck injuries but your right shoulder was dislocated, might have some nerve damage in that arm, pretty sure you have a concussion, and you are going to be in a lot of pain once the painkillers wear off but not bad for such a severe crash., Yeah well pain means I lived, where is your commander?, The Medic put the chart back at her feet, Commander has us running circles right now while she tries to find the Loki Alptraum, place has gone to hell while you have been out, we had to ditch the marked trucks and go incognito. Your CommPad had to be destroyed, they brought sniffers with them.

three hours later

A sun beaten van pulled into a fenced lot near a plain building in the Old City, sporadic gunfire could be heard nearby, two men in balaclavas and black body armor wielding assault rifles exited the cabin and secured the lot with a chain and padlock before taking up overwatch. Three more men similarly dressed exited the cargo compartment and escorted a hooded woman who moved slowly into the building. The other two men then followed them.

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The Real Red Menace, part I
Something rotten in Shervanis

09/11/3065 08:17 Location – Perfume District, Shervanis, Astrokaszy

Major Felicity Grey left The Zahra, a very expensive, very heavily guarded, and very private hotel typically used by visiting businessmen and well to do people looking for bottom-feeders while on Astrokaszy. Chief Nathan Idlewood sent an armored Delphi Motors Elektra with a driver and armed bodyguard to pick her up for a meeting at the Magistracy Intelligence Ministry’s Cinnabar House. He had been very insistent that she spend the night there but it was soooo boring and she craved excitement. The morning air was crisp, not to hot, and smelled of salt water and exotic fragrances, Felicity breathed it in deep before entering the open car door.

The red sedan wove through narrow streets around colorful jitney’s and drab armed technicals. Small street vendors pouring out of the formal Bazaars selling colorful stones, fragrant oils, and all manner of exotic produce both delicious and odd. Women with brightly colored headscarves followed their dour looking guardians, many of whom had some manner of visible weapon on their person.

The Elektra pulled up to the heavy armored door that warded the Cinnabar House from the streets of Shervanis. Even in the nice districts it was still a lawless and violent place, the estate was girded with grey Ferrocrete walls topped with razor wire, and guards patrolled behind ready to shoot on suspicion. As the door opened Felicity saw the fantastically manicured gardens from which popped a variety of flowers. The House’s bright red stucco contrasted with the grey-blue expanse of the Northern Polar Sea beyond its far gate. As the car pulled into the circle three guards and two servant stepped out of the rotunda, one of whom opened the door for the Major. She stepped out her alabaster skin, bright auburn hair, well-tailored earth tone blouse, blue pants, and grey knee high boots making quite the statement as she handed her hat to the young woman who quickly disappeared. The car drove off toward the underground garage where it would join a fleet of other high priced autos and more utilitarian vehicles.

Chief of Station Nathan Idlewood stepped out after the car departed, his tailored white suit contrasted his heavily tanned skin and brown hair, clearly he was spending to much time on the beach, Bom Dia Major Grey, I hope you enjoyed your hotel. Although it certainly wasn’t as grand as Cinnabar House, you really should stop by more often.

Felicity removed her sunglasses tucking them in the “v” of her blouse, Its too quiet here, I spend most of my time on dropships or in the cities, apologies if you felt offended

Nonsense, we have to much to do to worry about such silly things. Would you like coffee or tea for breakfast?, Nathan opened the door of the rotunda for her and she stepped into a domed reception area were two guards were manning a metal detector.

Felicity entered giving her eyes a moment to adjust, Tea please. A metal detector?, Nathan stepped forward, Standard Protocol I’m afraid, even I have to go through it, he removed a M3 10mm pistol and keys placing them in a tray then handing it to one of the guards, A pistol, you couldn’t have been out there more than four minutes, Felicity walked forward the heels of her boots clicking across the mosaic tiles that formed a compass on the floor, Well Major, Shervanis is a dangerous city, there is no neutral here, she placed a ring of keys with an even larger ring filled with a constellation of tabs in lurid shades of pink, red, and black representing membership in a variety of “exxxotic” clubs throughout Canopian space the guard looked at her in disbelief, I travel by myself frequently, it gets lonely, she un-tucked her blouse removing her M3 Boa Compact Pistol from its holster which joined the bright red Echo Communications CommPad already in the bin, and pulling her hands through her hair before stepping through the metal detector. Her personal effects were returned to her and she re-holstered the pistol smoothing out her blouse before rejoining Nathan.

Felicity and Nathan walked through the magnificent house, colorful tiles and lush carpets lined the floors and the interior walls were wood harvested from the virgin forests of Vixen that reminded her of her childhood house before she moved to Crimson. It was also different from the last time she visited Astrokaszy three years ago seeking the assassin that got closest to killing her.

You have good taste Nathan, this is perhaps one of the finest houses I’ve visited and I’ve been to the Magestrix’s palace in Delphi., Nathan seemed in good spirits, Thank you, it has been an expansive renovation process, the entire house is soundproof and a white noise generator is always active, I’ve added quite a bit to the basement operations room as well, this planet is of increasing interest to the Magistracy I intend to be the best steward it has ever had. My office is just ahead, please follow me

Nathan’s office was impressive, it overlooked the villa’s central garden and had no windows or doors that left a clean line of sight from the exterior. His desk was a rich dark wood, the chairs and couch had fine upholstery. She could see a shield with crossed swords and several trophy fish on the walls and smelled cigars. There was no computer on his desk Nathan was very old fashioned apparently and liked the tactile feel of pen on paper. He pulled the chair facing him out and offered it to Major Grey who accepted it, Such fine manners. I’m flattered really. Do you treat all the ladies like this?, Well I rarely have such a fine specimen like you Major, he rang a bell and the servant girl from before entered with a teapot, her colorful sari swishing as she expertly served breakfast for the pair.

After finishing the servant girl departed, yes that was quite good, now lets get down to business, he clapped his hands and two large brown-skinned men with turbans and beards emerged from the garden balcony guns in hand. The business of making me a very wealthy man with Katrina’s money, Felicity put down the tea cup she was holding onto the desk, Oh my, three big bad men and me in an office together, it is not even my birthday. What if I resist?, Well Felicity the bounty is one hundred million alive, thirty million dead. Why would you cut yourself short like that? These renovations have been quite expensive after all.

The door behind her opened and she saw another pair of men enter, these ones looked different lighter skinned and with heavy combat armor. The first Turbaned man spoke first, Ms Grey please stand with your hands where we can see them and allow my associates to remove your weapon. Felicity stood hands palm out, Major Grey. we can still be civil about this, the Alptraum commando behind her stepped forward “inadvertently” copping a feel while attempting to un-holster the weapon.

As he removed the holster from her back Felicity wheeled back drawing the commando’s sidearm from his holster, double tapping his companion, and pushing him into the desk in front of her. The men on the other side fired but Grey used the commando, desk, and chair for cover expertly dispatching them before the first man she shot hit the floor. She grabbed her ceramic boot knife and stabbed it into her would be disarmer’s kidneys immediately sending him into shock and near term death. Nathan looked horrified clearly not expecting such a turn for the worse, Felicity grabbed a pair of handcuffs and sidearm from the first man she shot, tossing the handcuffs on the desk. Put these on! You are more useful to me alive but that could change quickly.

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The Challenge
Showdown at the Ruins

09/13/3065 11:43 Location – MULE Command Post, Mercenary Base, As’Sab

Nicolette had been assigned to listen to the Titanfeller’s Propaganda Station for any new intelligence, Cearra take a listen to this. Cearra Heron, Signal Officer for Mercs Unleashed switched her active channels.

Welcome to Red Skull Radio, Konstantine is sending a message out to the weaklings at As’Sab. Bring the Red Headed Witch and Snake who thinks he is Jaguar to me at the Ruins North of Warawi at midnight tonight or I will come to you, take them, and kill you all. Now enjoy twelve hours of my Music to Kill Clanners to (seriously click you know you want to \-/). I see you at Midnight, don’t forget. Red Skull signing off.

What the hell is that guy’s problem, I’ll inform the Strike Commander

PS by Grey: You have the option to engage Red Skull at the Ruins or wait until he attacks and likely brings friends. It could be a feint though but this guy is not one for subtlety he apparently piped Audio from his PA while smashing a Jade Falcon mech with his mech’s fists.

Force Estimate
Atlas, Victor, Thunderbolt, Grim Reaper, Phoenix Hawk, Wolfhound, Locust (with 5 HMGs)

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