Battletech Mercs Unleashed

Sand and Dust, pt 5
Mina's luck runs out

09/13/3065 01:08 Location – Mule Dropship “Rodeo”, Al’Sur

Samira, Corporal Hermes and his Squad, the three critically injured Jaguars, and Kat were met with a 6×6 utility vehicle at the pad. They loaded the stretchers up and drove them through one of the smaller access ramps where the Drs. Westcastle and their assistants took over. Samira updated them on any change of condition during the short helicopter ride up here and followed behind. As the injured were prepped for surgery Samira grabbed and spun around Hermes, If they lose Jakk, shoot the girl. She is too much a risk, the Corporal looked stunned, this was completely out of character for Sam. He continued on while she excused herself saying she was getting more supplies before heading back to As’Sab.

01:21

Strike Commander Joe Leeson and Vanguard Commander Markus Brant met with the slightly injured but now Senior Point Leader Pike and Mechwarrior Murayama in the Command Post. Where is Mina Joe? she should be here for this. Mina had still been in his bed when he woke up but he hadn’t seen her since, I don’t know maybe she is talking to one of the other point leaders at the Aid Station? Markus didn’t seem convinced, I don’t like this, she keeps going missing, you and her need to have a serious talk about this. Keying his mic, Gatekeeper this is Tack, find Lieutenant Illonka and bring her to the Command Post right away

Sergeant Leon Reinholdt received the message at the forward aid station where his men were standing guard. Pointing to a pair of his squad, You and You with me, we are looking for the Lieutenant, everyone else stay here and keep watch, the camp was not large but it was in a state of disarray and confusion. Most of the Mechwarriors were out on patrol making sure the Jaguars weren’t followed or on show of force patrols to remind the locals to behave. Leon asked around, Mina was good at not being detected, but one of the techs said she had been seen near the Medic’s tent.

The trio approached the tent that Specialist Samira and Chief Medic Holmes shared, it was easy to spot and marked appropriately with Ares Convention Markings. The forward aid station and command post were on the other side of the base where everyone else was. Leon signaled to the others to fan out and search, he walked in without knocking, she was already in Al’Sur so there should be no harm.

However, he saw a shape still in her bed and rushed over placing his rifle on the ground. Rolling her over, it was Sam, he tried to rouse her but was met with groaning instead. Keying the radio on his shoulder, Nest this is Gatekeeper, patch me in to Rodeo right now!

Mule Class “Rodeo” Bridge

Captain/Ops Director Abram Baasch answered the phone Director this is Gatekeeper, lock down the medical section right now, secure Ravinia’s quarters, and detain Samira. We have a security breach. Abram looked over to his Master at Arms beckoning him to come over, Hendrick, I need you to take three men, secure Ravinia, and detain Specialist Samira then escort her to the brig. I am silently locking down frames F-eight through F-Twelve from here. Use the intercom when you get there and I’ll open it. Try not to worry everyone else and don’t tell Corporal Hermes. Hendrick grabbed three of the brawnier DEXTRAN hands and headed downstairs grabbing matte-black impact armor, cuffs, and clubs from the armory putting them over their yellow jumpsuits. Some of the other crew exchanged quick looks and moved on to their regular duties.

Ravinia’s Quarters, eight minutes before

Ravinia woke with a start, hands covered her mouth and wrapped around her neck, she struggled vainly and her eyes snapped into focus. Lieutenant Jasmina Ilonka was on top of her and mouthing “Don’t scream” Ravi tried to fight but found her right hand was zip tied to the bunk’s rail, not tightly but she was outmatched. She went slack and Mina leaned in menacingly close, I have some questions for you and you are going to give me answers, understand?

Ravinia meekly agreed, Good, good, wouldn’t want to have to use these, Mina grabbed a pair of drugs from a belt pouch that were a common method of suicide when mixed and showed them to her before leaning in again, You mentioned to Alina that I move like the Jaguar Watch Captain right?, a peeped yes escaped Ravi’s lips, she was more terrified now then she was in the scavenger base, That was a curious choice of words, almost like you knew the Jaguar’s Watch Captain. Did you know the Jaguar’s Watch Captain?, Mina was almost cheek to cheek, Ravi’s collar was pulled against her neck, yes, I knew him., Mina’s hair fell down grazing across Ravi’s face, how did you know him Ravi, you are going to have to start talking or this will be much more painful, she felt a crushing pain as Mina began squeezing the life out of her, Alright, Alright, he came to me the day the others were killed, Dillon Nova told me that he would spare me if I did something for him., Mina released some of the serpentine pressure on her but not all, What did you do for him?, Ravi inhaled sharply, He told me to link up with the rebels, that he was going to severely injure Rakeem but he needed him to live long enough to pass a message to the Titanfellers, Mina put some of the pressure back on, What was in this message Ravi?, struggling for breath Ravi could barely speak, the plans for the defense of Coolwater, please stop!, Mina continued the pressure, you’re still leaving something out! hurry up while you still have breath, panicked Ravi breathed the words more than spoke them, he wanted me to get inside the Titanfellers and mark their commander with a tracker so they could kill him, Mina released the pressure again and Ravi coughed, yet here you are, why is that? Rakeem and his men have been captured or killed yet you didn’t., Ravi’s face was red, I couldn’t do it… I hid until I was picked up in the morning by the scavengers., Mina’s face was also red but with rage, do you still have the transmitter Ravi! Why did the Watch Captain betray his SaKhan!

Hendrick and the other three Dextran crew went to Ravinia’s bunk first, Abram had been very explicit about that. It was locked with a master key, one of the others keyed the nearby intercomm, Captain, we need a bridge override for Bunk F-sixteen. The door’s light flashed green and the men charged in to find Samira in full guard position mounting Ravinia with her hands around her throat. Grab her!, Hendrick was first to get in there breaking the choke by striking Sam’s elbows with his club, Ravi coughed and struggled but she was tied up.

Two others grabbed Sam prying her legs off the supine woman. Sam kicked out trying to prevent being taken to ground striking the impact armor hard with her combat boots and unbalancing the attacker but he held firm. The doorman had the cuffs out and shackled her legs, Hendrick rolled her onto her stomach but just dodged taking the back of Sam’s head into his face. Sam/Mina was struggling trying to break the hold but Hendrick grabbed her arms roughly pulling them behind her back eliciting a whine while another cuffed her. They strung a chain between the two sets of cuffs and two men lifted her up. Watch her head, this one’s a fighter. Take her to the brig

Hendrick pulled out his utility knife to cut the wire tie that held Ravinia to the bunk. He handed her off to another to take her to the infirmary to make sure she was alright.

Lieutenant Jasmina Illonka was thoroughly searched and thrown into the Rodeo’s brig, Hendrick locked her cuffs through a ring in the cell sticking her in a tight seiza position to prevent her escaping. She had a lot things to answer too but Hendrick wasn’t going to be the one asking questions his part in this was done.

View
Sand and Dust, pt 4

09/13/3065 00:12 Location – Southeast Perimeter, Mercenary Base, As’Sab, Astrokaszy

Vanguard Commander Markus “Tack” Brant’s Guillotine stepped forward to complete the lance of mechs in the area. Reed Drummon’s Charger and his lance were on patrol somewhere south of him, Cheapshot, how did you miss these guys?
Sorry Tack, they blended in with the indigenous troops we didn’t look at the paint color
Be more cautious in the future, this could have been a problem
Affirmative Commander

Markus dismounted his mech and walked next to Sgt Leon Reinholdt, Sarge, what have you seen? Sgt Reinholdt saluted the Vanguard Commander, Sir, there are twelve heavily armed Sand Cats, could be a whole mechanized company out there. There is just one person standing in front with a rifle behind them, they had planted the white flag and Jaguars’ Claw banner halfway out there, and has been waiting. He took a look through Leon’s rangefinder confirming the flag, Do you think this is a trick? Leon was jumpy but it didn’t seem like it was all the Jaguar’s fault, Vanguard Commander I do think this is a trick but they haven’t moved any in ten minutes

I’m going out there, Markus strode forward, Alright Commander, I’ll have sharpshooters covering you As he walked several hundred meters across the sand, he couldn’t help but feel like a dead man walking. He had to consciously not reach for his sidearm despite his training calling him to do it. Nearing the lone figure he couldn’t help but notice that it was a teenage girl, that she was much smaller than him, but was not afraid even though they were massively over-matched. That terrified him more than anything else.

Konbanwa Yohei, Markus looked crestfallen and triggered his mic, Keiko-chan, please dismount your mech and come here, (sigh) I need a translator.

Mechwarrior Muruyama dismounted and joined the pair translating the speaker’s Japanese for Tack. The Jaguar SaKhan Jakk was incapacitated and in dire need of medical attention, his subordinate Kat, a sixteen year old who had already fought against Jaguars and across the Inner Sphere had taken control of the unit. She spoke rapid fire without a lot of flourish and needed an answer now. Either they would take them as allies and help Jakk and the other wounded or there would be conflict, there was no room for interpretation or negotiation.

Markus fretted over this he didn’t want they were already on thin ice with the locals this would put their security situation at risk. At the same time saving the SaKhan and his people would provide valuable intelligence something he found in short supply despite Mina and Cearra’s best efforts. He didn’t know if he could turn away injured people even if they were his enemies. Hell they hadn’t even fought any Jaguars yet, how could they be his enemy?

He accepted their offer of cooperation on one condition, they would have to unload their weapons when in the camp but didn’t need to surrender them. Kat accepted that offer and yelled something to the others who drove into the perimeter past the confused Mercenaries. Attention all units the Jaguars are going to be here for a little while, I want all Medics and Lifesavers to triage their injured and put any critical cases on the Marten to return to Al’Sur, non-critical cases remain here. Gatekeeper, I want a squad at least of your men to escort them and stand guard to ensure they remain on good behavior. All non-combat personnel report to the armorer to be issued a sidearm in case they don’t.

Tack really hoped he wouldn’t regret that decision.

Elsewhere in the Camp

Samira was woken up by both the commotion and being pushed, she woke with a jolt and saw Jasmina in her tent, Mina what are you doing here? Sam, the Jaguars have arrived and are in the camp, A look of terror passed over her, What happened! are we in danger!?, she felt a small prick as Mina injected her with something, You biiitch, whyyy? Mina caught her head tucking her back in before grabbed the now sedated woman’s uniform and dressing careful to complete the disguise, That is what I’m going to find out

00:31 Helipad, Forward Base

Sergeant Leon Reinholdt, Platoon Medical Specialist Samira Caan, Mechwarrior Keiko Muruyama, and Chief Medic Riley Holmes were working their way through the wounded. The Jaguar troops were quick with details of their injuries, their own people had done an admirable job of initial patching but some wounds can’t be fixed with rags. At least fifty of them had passed during the day but more had lived.

Jakk was in dire condition, he was concussed, ear drums ruptured, high risk of internal injuries, burns over twenty percent of his body, and several jagged shrapnel wounds, Kat maintained a close vigil over him, keeping a close eye on the Merc medics as they worked. He rifle was unloaded as per the terms of the deal but it still worried the medics.

Leon looked over to his platoon medic, Samira I want you to take the Jaguars to Al’Sur, you are the best with Aeromedical operations. Johnny is picking up more supplies right now but he will return shortly with Sandra, Blair, and more supplies to patch up the people here.

Samira nodded, her face covered with a surgical mask and apron stained with blood. She continued her rounds with Riley until Johnny showed up and dropped off more Medics and supplies. The Desert Rats unloaded the supplies and then rapidly loaded the critically injured Jaguars. Kat boarded as well despite Leon attempting to stop her. She gave him a death stare and he stopped dead in his tracks, instead closing the door and slapping the cockpit as the Marten took off banking to the North.

View
Calm before the Storm

09/12/3065 14:18 Location – Mule “Rodeo”, Al’Sur

Lieutenant Commander Adrian Post stood outside the guarded access door to the Mule dropship overlooking Al’Sur looking irritated. Something about sitting in one place in the open for too long was getting to him and the events of the day certainly weren’t helping. Liaison Officer Karras continued her effort to assuage any concerns that Mercs Unleashed wasn’t just a hostile force encamped above them, her schedule was busy meeting with the Emirs, Sgt Reinholdt’s ill manners of killing several scavengers didn’t help things. In fact it was playing on that damn propaganda station just what kind of unit this was and it was making him paranoid.

Squad Leader Alina Kunimoto’s flight suit was soaked with sweat after the walk from the flight line where she had been sitting for 12 hours waiting for something to happen. Paula had taken her seat now and she was going back for some rest. Squad Leader wait a moment, the woman from the scavenger camp has still not been debriefed, she refuses to meet with Lieutenant Ilonka or myself. Can you talk to her? she is in the infirmary and refuses to leave.

Well she has been through a lot so I don’t blame her, I’m sure she feels safe with the Westcastles in the infirmary. I will speak to her after I get a shower and bring some food with me, has she eaten? Adrian was surprised as such an easy interaction perhaps he has misjudged the squad leader. I don’t know, you would have to speak with Dextran, thank you Alina

Infirmary ~24 minutes later

Alina walked out of the canteen and through the bowels of the massive Mule dropship. It looked empty now that most of their equipment was unpacked and she could hear her boots echoing off the cavernous metal walls of the cargo bay. Workers in Dextran Yellow continued the upkeep, several tipped their hats to her as she passed. The ship would be ready for action at a moments notice in case things went south.

She arrived at the infirmary, the Drs had actually hung a shingle outside Drs Richard and Justine Westcastle, frontier physicians and a red cross was painted on the door. She kicked her boot against the compartment door. One of the nurses opened the door, Hello Squad Leader, can I help you? Yes Sarah, I would like to speak with Ravinia, can you let me in? She looked off to the side for a moment before opening the door. Certainly

Alina sat eating at a small nook right off the Westcastles’ office, medical scanners and equipment of all types barely visible through the frosted glass walls. Ravinia had joined her and dug into the noodle bowl, apparently she hadn’t eaten all day. She was an emotional mess, most of her possessions had been in the scavenger camp, or had to be discarded due to blood from her leg injury, so she was stuck wearing scrubs for now.

AK: I heard you haven’t left the infirmary since you arrived Ms LaCroix. Why?
RL: Well it has only been a few hours since I actually showed up here, why is that so strange
AK: Well you could have gotten something to eat yourself before now, Dr Westcastle told me that your leg injury wasn’t that severe, Director Baasch has a bunk set up for you while you are with us that you could have checked out. Leon has a bruised rib from his armor and he went right back to As’Sab
RL: Leon is a soldier, I’m a medic why would I leave? I want to be helpful.
AK: Why won’t you speak to Adrian or Jasmina, Ravinia?
RL: Look I don’t have anything to tell you, Jasmina scares me I don’t know what she is going to do. She reminds me of the Jaguar’s Watch Captain they move in the same way. Adrian is looking for someone to validate his paranoia.
AK: Why don’t you tell me about how you ended up on this planet? Before Ash arrived, with the Jaguars
RL: I volunteered for the Magistracy Development Corps on Royal Foxx after serving as a paramedic in the MAF. I had no idea that this area of Astrokaszy hosted a large Canopian gem mining operation but they sent me and a five others here to improve the local health situation, which was dire.
AK: I didn’t know about gem mines either but continue on
RL: Well on May Sixteenth the Jaguars’ Claws arrived and proceeded to kill the Sheikh in a gruesome manner and took over. Ash originally allowed us to continue but people started disappearing that were the higher ups in the mining operation or viziers in the palace. We initially thought it was the rebels but then their people started disappearing to… Ravinia started breaking up, eyes getting watery
AK: Calm down girl, I know you have been through a lot but this is good, you don’t want to hold it in
RL: Then they came for us, we had been treating any wounded that came to us and the Jaguar Watch caught us two weeks ago. They killed everyone but I wasn’t there at the time, I was helping deliver a baby. Some of the rebels were warned before their allies died and they helped smuggle me out of Jaguar territory… she was barely holding it together and trembling
AK: Come on… Alina reassuringly grabbed the trembling woman
RL: The rebel leader Rakeem, the Jaguars cut off his legs as a warning after torturing him. He was smuggled out but at great cost, ten of his soldiers died stopping the Jaguars. I helped treat him because I was the only one left…
AK: _How did you end up with the scavengers, were they partners to the rebels?
RL: No two days ago the Grenadiers came and attacked the rebels at the Ghost Town. They killed almost everybody and took Rakeem and the others prisoner before leaving. They almost got me too but I hid in the gap between two buildings.

I grabbed a gun and waited, the scavengers came in the morning and I shot at one of them but then the gun jammed, luckily they didn’t shoot back. They took me prisoner because they thought I was their enemy. One of them checked my bags and saw medical supplies in it.

Then they brought your Mechwarrior in and told me to fix him so they could get the reward, I was afraid they would kill me after they did. I just want to go home!

Alina embraced the woman as she cried into her. ‘Poor girl, me to

View
Connecting the Dots, pt 5

09/12/3065 23:17 Location – Mercenary Base, As’Sab, Astrokaszy

Sergeant Leon Reinholdt stood on guard right outside the mercenary tent camp, he put his rifle across his arms before lighting a Timbiqui Black Label cigarette. He put the pack into his armor pocket and heard a feminine voice harshly whisper behind him, Hands on your head Sergeant. Lieutenant Jasmina Ilonka stood behind him. her M3 10mm handgun aimed at his back,
I would salute you Lieutenant, but I don’t want to get shot. Is this going to be my last cigarette?
It depends on how you answer my questions
Do you know what smoking and secrets have in common Lieutenant?
He took a long puff from the cigarette
Once you have your first one you won’t stop until they kill you.
What happened at the scavenger settlement? Nasser told me Corporal Hermes just fired on a man with no provocation.
Just like my report said, one of the scavengers fired at me and I was protecting myself
Bullshit! you can lie to Joe and Markus all you want, they are polite enough to not probe into other people’s business; that’s my job and I can tell something is off with you. What does Ravina have to do with this?
She doesn’t have anything on me, she was imprisoned there, I rescued her.
You didn’t ask why she was imprisoned, maybe the scavengers had good reason to keep her under guard
She is a Magistracy Development Corps medical volunteer she doesn’t pose a threat to anyone
Tell that to the dead scavengers you left in your wake
Leon’s earpiece buzzed, Gatekeeper, this is Nest, we have a dozen small vehicles approaching from the southeast, please respond
Lieutenant if you don’t mind, I have to get to work, you should get back before the Strike Commander wakes up. Don’t want him to get the wrong idea, I don’t know if he could take two betrayals in as many days.
We’ll talk again Sergeant, Jasmina withdrew her pistol and slipped away disappearing between tents and into darkness
Leon removed his hands from his head and keyed his mike, Nest this is Gatekeeper, the rat pack is moving southeast.

The Desert Rats crouched behind sandbags, Bowman’s Locust, Roland’s Cicada_, and Muruyama’s Wolf Trap_ were on site but were holding position and their fire. Leon looked out on the approaching vehicles, Vanguard Commander, we have a dozen Jaguar Claw Sand Cats approaching the base under a white flag. Requesting Guidance.

View
Sand and Dust, pt 3

09/12/3065 01:12 Location – Jaguar’s Den, South of Coolwater, Astrokaszy

SaKhan Jakk woke with a start hands on his rifle immediately, his companion Kat did the same. He threw off the blanket they were sleeping under and looked out from one of the many firing points dug into the hills. Coolwater was burning, Arrow IV missiles from the Derecho MLRSes and shells from Marksman and Warthog Artillery impacted their positions as well. Dust was thrown from the timber frames that supported the serpentine tunnels that wormed through the hillside. Commander Carrett and several guerrillas ran through from their own bunkers. SaKhan the invaders are attacking, they have hit the first minefields and will be upon us shortly.

The group could feel the vibrations from the assault tanks that were firing upon their fellow defenders. Autocannon shells lit up the night air between the forces with green and red tracers as the field guns engaged the Grenadiers heavy armor. Flame Fougasses burst from the hillside engulfing a Marsden IV tank in flames, the flames found the fuel cell and fire burst from the rear of the tank, secondary explosions shook the bunkers beneath. The Jaguars could see the movement of enemy infantry behind the tanks through the smoke and flames.

Top Shot’s Heavy Bombers pummeled a strong-point so hard they took the top of the hill off. Command detonated minefields tore through the treads of a pair of Von Luckner heavy tanks immobilizing the mighty war machines. Light Missile Carriers wheeled up supporting the Grenadier’s Heavy Battle Armor which were taking heavy machine gun fire from a pillbox. A volley of missiles impacted the defenses turning it to dust as the first line was overrun.

Jakk went to the main arterial tunnels in the second line, it was only a matter of time until they found the trapdoors. All Heavy Weapons deploy here! We can’t let them get to the third line and the rest of our supplies. Kat organize the runners we are going to use a lot of ammo here. Commander Carrett take the East Corridor, Commander Helm take the West Corridor, I will hold the center. Point Leader Omen bring the barriers up here, heavy machine guns and grenade launchers deploy here and here. Elementals deploy behind and wait for my signal.

The Jaguar guerrillas took up defensive positions in depth, techs wired up charges to collapse tunnels, and brought forward abundant ammunition to repel the Grenadiers. Jakk stared down the four meter tall tunnel, high powered lights over his shoulders. He could hear deafening fire from the side corridors, he breathed deeply readying his assault rifle behind a massive block of stone. Exhaling he fired as soon as he saw the gunmetal grey shield wall that turned the corner. The whole world exploding in front of him, grenade explosions and machine gun fire tore away the protective shields to reveal the heavy battle armor and heavily armored infantry behind.

The Grenadier’s battle armor fired back with their heavy machine guns tearing away at the stone barriers deployed to provide cover to the lightly armored infantry. Screams of wounded and dying men almost overwhelmed the heavy clack, clack of weapons fire, high caliber bullets whizzed and ricocheted off the stone walls. Jakk triggered the high powered lights momentarily blinding the attackers and allowing his forces to fall back. A burst of machine gun fire blacked them out once more. A pair of rocket launcher crews fired splintering one of the Grenadiers battle armor. A massive crash was followed by another as a second battle armor fell to the armor piercing 14.7mm rounds. One of the infantrymen fired a thermobaric grenade at the clustered Jaguars. The massive whoosh of the explosion was followed by a pressure wave that crashed into the hard stone walls and reverberated through the tunnel crushing men with its immense pressure and setting the area on fire.

Jakk fainted in the wake of the explosion, he came to covered in stone dust and without his weapon, he couldn’t hear anything and felt burned but saw Elemental Omen stepping forward with the rest of his point. His weapons firing to cover the stricken Jaguars. Crawling to all fours Jakk saw the detonator still grasped in the hands of the now dead Yin, although his arm was no longer attached to the torso. He could smell the charred flesh of his comrades and see the gory aftermath in the wake of just one of those grenades.

He felt weak, there was no way he could take another impact like that, he might not even survive this one, Kat ran toward him dragging him to cover by his armor’s harness while firing her weapon. Jakk grabbed Yin’s arm prying the death man’s fingers from the detonator and looked back toward the invading force. Omen’s Elementals had pushed the Grenadiers back but they couldn’t hold against the heavy firepower even with all their advantages. He could see the side corridors were evacuating out of his peripheral vision, blood flowing out of bullet wounds and shrapnel. One of the Elementals fell, the victim of grenade launchers and anti-tank rockets whose explosions he could see and shocks he could fell but not hear.

There was no choice, Jakk pressed the detonator, a series of explosions ripped along the tunnel ceiling and wall supports. Tons of raw stone and concrete fell onto the unsuspecting Grenadiers crushing them under its weight. The Elementals crumbled and were lost in a cloud of dust. The power was interrupted to the second line in the resulting explosion and everything went dark.

View
Behind the Lines, pt 6
Licking Wounds

09/11/3065 04:18 Location – Neo Szabo

The Jaguars Claws limped back to Neo Szabo having retreated in good order. They had lost several mechwarriors but would send out the Anhur VTOL transport to recover them during the day; they should be able to last that long before the Titanfellers captured them. The Shiekh’s former armor battalion rolled forth to cover Prophet’s Pass between Hin’Fadir and Neo Szabo. The Jaguars couldn’t hold Hin’Fadir but it was no friend to outsiders, unlike Coolwater. Ash dropped her Linebacker off with the other mechs in the courtyard of Neo Szabo’s Casbah. A pair of Thunderbolts guarded the gates as the remnants of the attack force parked their Battlemechs outside the city proper.

Ash sat looking out over the purple sky behind the ornate stained glass in her throne room, meditating on her current situation. She heard something behind her and instinctively reached for the knives at her belt, Watch Captain, you have something to report?
Aff, Khan Ash, One of my scouts has confirmed that the rebel leader Rakeem has found a way out of the valley that was not watched.
Didn’t you remove his legs and leave him to die?
Aff, but his men are loyal, they were gone for three days before we confirmed it.
An alarming development, I presume you now have a team watching that route
Aff, no-one will attack from our rear I assure you.
Good I have enough enemies in the front to have another at my back, you are dismissed Watch Captain

She spoke to an empty room, Watch Captain Dillon had already left via his secret passages, Ash wasn’t sure how he had found them but made sure to keep her guard up at all times. Dillon was uncontrollable he had seen and done terrible things in the badlands of Hoard, she could only channel his energies constructively and keep him at arms length.

The Titanfellers had been on planet for six weeks yet in two days they had handily overwhelmed her defenses. She didn’t know enough about this Major Brekard to understand what had taken him so long. Her attempts to understand the people of the Inner Sphere had always failed, the Clans were much simpler. Not only did she have Major Tom to worry about but this additional force had interrupted her SaKhan’s raid on Ni’keet. Damn them! Their foolish blundering might have cost her the best chance to win this fight.

Several hours later

Ash woke as the noon sun peeked over the windows, her sleeping chambers were spartan and one of the smaller bedrooms in the Shiekh’s suite of rooms. The vastness of the main bedroom made her uncomfortable as she had been living on a Broadsword or Lion for years now.

She headed toward the lavish dining area, piled high with luxuries that were waiting to be sold back to the Canopians. The vast table with multiple sitting pillows lie empty, she sat at a smaller one and was served by one of the few servants she had kept after killing his former employer. He was a handsome specimen, bare-chested, muscles lean and strong from a life of manual labor, hard features, and tan skin. He had been lifted from the hellish gem mines by a lusty Canopian overseer who befell an unfortunate fate when Ash purged those that remained loyal to a dead man.

Ruling sapped her, the forward facing persona she projected required vast energy to maintain, and was unnatural behavior for her who had stuck to the shadows for so long. Even the title Khan rang false, Clan Smoke Jaguar was once a mighty force to be feared from the Homeworlds to the Inner Sphere now it’s remnant squatted on a forgotten rock with a force that could only be loosely called a touman and she was possibly the last Trueborn Warrior out of the thousands that had earned the title.

09/11/3065 13:33 Location – “The Tomb”, Jaguar’s Claws Territory

Khan Ash escorted the supplies bound for “The Tomb” with her newly repaired command star (Crossbow IIC, Nova, Stormcrow, Lineholder, and Summoner), a medley of patchwork armor covering the battle damage they had sustained the previous night. The weather had taken a turn for the worse outside the valley but she didn’t want to take any chances with Major Brekard’s Aerofighters.

She was passed by the Anhur Transport which tipped its wings to the Khan as it headed back to Neo Szabo returning Warriors to the fold. They were her most precious resource, a Battlemech without a Mechwarrior was a prize to be taken; not the all powerful king of the battlefield it should be. As long as there were warriors to defend it she would not let the Smoke Jaguar’s die on her watch.

The Star of Omnimechs and their ragtag supply convoy approaching the perimeter of The Tomb, the Star League Cache that was the source of the Jaguar’s newfound power. Ash chafed at the fact that she was forced to mobilize it before her Freeborn training programs had truly begun, putting these Battlemechs in the hands of rookies galled her clan sensibilities. This entire desolate planet could be hers if she just had more time and the Jaguars would roar once more.

Ash saw The Tomb’s garrison (2 Thunderbolts, Crusader, Rifleman, Royal Griffin, several ancient _Chevalier_s, and a Pollux ADA Tank) as they patrolled the sprawling tent city before her. Most of them had been moved toward the marshaling area near Prophet’s Pass for the coming battle. Ancient Battlemechs painted SLDF Drab in various states of repair stood within hastily constructed shelters as teams of techs crawling over them. Some were stripped for parts others brought back to life after centuries of torpor to fight once more.

Ash disembarked from her Linebacker and into the camp, the Gem mines’ laborers and engineers had surprised her with how fast they learned from the Clan and Lyran Techs she had gathered under her banner, Loremaster Vaska had exited his Crusader and strode forward, Greetings Exalted Khan, It is a honor for you to grace our presence. Ash met him in the middle, Greetings to you as well Loremaster, before walking up the ramp that led into the bowels of the mountain, Vaska followed close behind, This is the most important venture in the Jaguars Claws short history Vaska, I am pleased you are handling it with such prowess

Aff Khan progress has been remarkable, to think what we could have accomplished with more time Ash walked down the corridor dodging small transports that once worked the gem mines as they carried armor and ammunition to the supply convoy, The enemy has a way of determining our schedule unfortunately, I too dreamt of our Clan’s glorious rebirth even it must be on such a dismal rock, the roar of the Jaguar shall inspire fear and respect once more.

Vaska walked closer brisk despite his age, Khan what are you plans to deal with the Titanfellers Ash stopped, The plan has not changed, the Titanfellers’ commander is a Dezgra mercenary; his supplies are not limitless; as long as we have warriors we will outlast him and chase him off our world before we take it. Loremaster I want a full report of our supplies here before I leave. I must know how long we can hold before we can press back and liberate our enclave.

She cleared the main tunnel where months ago her SaKhan Jakk had discovered a remarkable find. The young man had grown on her almost as a sibkin, he had gained much wisdom and retained a remarkable courage and ferocity that was inspiring in a Freeborn.

She didn’t really want to admit that if Major Brekard captured him as a hostage she wasn’t sure what would happen. It felt strange to wish that he died a Warrior’s death fighting rather, strange because it didn’t feel right she couldn’t rebuild the clan without people like him.

View
Recon Report 12 September

09/12/3065 17:12 Location – Mercenary Base, As’Sab, Astrokaszy

Vanguard Commander Brandt sat at this field desk, the fan on it was just noise all it did was blow sand and hot air, he took another shot of Robinson Red Reef Rum, the third one in an hour but it was needed. Everyone’s nerves were fried, the unit had to maintain constant patrols without the Ebon Magistrate scouts keeping watch. Hell he hadn’t even seen any Ebon Magistrate since yesterday morning they had just disappeared into the sandstorm, which is just as good, his bottle was running dry.

At least he had spent some time with Alina while his Guillotine was in the repair bay, again, he’d have to be more careful in the future, an Endo-Steel leg might just be a little more valuable to him than a booty call, although there were spares now…

After this mission he would have to seriously mull a few months of R&R somewhere nice, an island bungalow on Crowford’s Delight: he patted down his sand covered uniform, on second thought scratch that; Astrokaszy’s sand and heat had soured him on the beach for now. Ice Cruise on Thraxa or Alpine Hideaway on Vixen, he’d just meet everyone else back on Dainmar Majoris after spending some time away.

The alarm on his wristwatch buzzed and he donned his cooling vest before headed out to the MULE Command Post. The scouts had just returned and he needed to discuss the recon findings with Leeson, Jasmina, and the Lance Leads.

The MULE’s boot tent was filled to capacity, Lance Leads Cheapshot, Ironhide, and Needle along with Vanguard Commander Tack and Strike Commander Hotfoot were joined with Intelligence Officer Lieutenant Ilonka and Signal Officer Heron. Lance Lead Marshal was performing a tech rotation at the time but Ironhide would repeat it to him later.

MB: Alright Joe what did you see at Despair?
JL: Despair is abandoned Markus, the Titanfellers just pulled up stakes, if it wasn’t for that sandstorm there would have been huge holes where their tanks were. Hell the airfield is still mostly there. I reached Waypoint Ruby before Jez and I encountered any Titanfellers. Same stuff that chased us away before, some hovers and Guardians.
They just left it? Markus was incredulous, Didn’t they build it up three days ago?
JL: Yeah they just left it, pulled back to Al’Jair maybe
Signal Officer Heron piped in Well that would explain some of the radio traffic we’ve been picking up but not all of it
MB: Did you see anything new at Al’Jair Joe?
JL: Didn’t get close enough we had the bad luck to run into a patrol then ran for it, we don’t want them to pin us down
Lieutenant Ilonka then interjected Well we do know that Al’Jair is one of the Titanfellers strong-points, if they moved the heavy weapons from Despair there it will be difficult to attack. Top Shot could get involved and that would be bad
Lance Lead Ironhide interjected, Why can’t we just fucking run them over, my Stalker can take on three of their tanks
Now it was Markus’ time to interrupt, Look Gary, A Stuka can bomb strip every piece of armor off your mech and still have time to shoot Hotfoot’s Phoenix Hawk to pieces so lets think of someway to get out of this without going Chapter 11. Major Brekard better not shoot all of Ash’s Royal Battlemechs to hell before we get to her. I don’t know where she got them but ten percent of that stash might still make it worth it for the bottom line
Needle added, Well we should attack those Top Shot bastards then, just roll in there with everything
Hotfoot yelled over the table, Alright look we are going to figure out a way to get this done but I haven’t talked about Warawi and Tai’iqih yet
Retaining control of the discussion Tack ceded the floor to Hotfoot to continue his scouting reports
Roughrider and Red Mist headed out to Warawi and confirmed the town is abandoned, they ran into a group of scavengers that postured aggressively toward them. No doubt they recognized us and had a problem with Reinholdt’s men “liberating” their medic, shooting some of them, and leaving without paying for Nathan’s chit
Ilonka interjected, yeah we are going to have to deal with that eventually, the locals don’t trust us already, that didn’t help matters
Markus added to that, yeah about that Corporal Boker is going to qualify everyone with the M3 68 tonight or tomorrow morning before that sandstorm hits, in case something happens. Hotfoot was steaming and just wanted to get this over I apologize for interrupting you Joe please continue
Tai’iqih is another beast, the Titanfellers’ dropships are heavily armed and there are multiple heavy tanks and gun trailers dug in on the ridges there. Pretty sure they have artillery as well even if they didn’t see any. Air Defenses are thick and they will know we are coming, those Dropship sensors will pick us up with plenty of time to scramble Top Shot. Its a hell of gamble but it might be worth it although we might open up Pandora’s box and invite retaliation in kind.

Retaliation in kind chilled the room, Top Shot would slice right through their rides off planet killing a lot of very valuable if overlooked people as well as trapping them here with a vengeful Titanfellers, Top Shot, and Grenadiers. However much Major Brekard hated them that would send him over the edge and that was unknown and scary territory.

Jasmina Ilonka broke the chilly silence, I wish the Major was here she always had a plan and things worked out fine

Vanguard Commander Brandt added to that statement I hope whatever she is doing in Shervanis is worth it. but we need to move and get this done. I’m open to ideas.

View
Connecting the Dots, pt 4

09/12/3065 00:33 Location – “Scavenger’s Respite”, Astrokaszy

Sergeant Reinholdt was on edge but hiding it well, he had managed to get a few hours of shut eye since his encounter with Ravina. The platoon had dimmed the lights but at least three soldiers maintained watch clustered around the small stove warming tea in clay mugs. The whole settlement was operating in low gear, they were effectively trapped here by the weather as well but were nocturnal by nature. His platoon was in a similar situation but they needed to stay sharp so they still grabbed shut eye. The platoon’s long distance radio was still not picking up anything interesting just static on all channels, they couldn’t tell if it was being jammed or if there wasn’t much going on due to the sandstorm.

Corporal Hermes and two of his squadmates skulked through the settlement back to the garage. The weapons and ammo cans they had spotted earlier were absent from the back seats of the Sand Cats which set him on guard. The vehicle’s hoods were warm, the scavengers had gone out recently. He checked the Ferroglaz visor built into the garage door, the winds were still fierce out there and there was no light. How did they head out with these conditions? Where did they go? We should get back to Leon and tell him right away.

Corporal Ames Hermes roused Sergeant Reinholdt in German, Sarge wake up
Having interrupted a particularly interesting dream Leon was not really in the mood for Ames’ antics What is it Corporal? My turn for watch? Not yet Sarge but its almost oh-one-hundred, the scavengers went out in the sandstorm recently and they took the guns out of the Sand Cats Leon rubbed his eyes and rose to a sitting position, What do you mean? Its blackout conditions out there. I don’t know Sarge but they went somewhere recently, maybe they have a beacon system Alright wake the others we’ll just have to wait this out with our eyes open until Johnny comes back Corporal Hermes woke the others, Leon took a drink out of his third canteen before grabbing his rifle and armor off the collection leaned against the wall nearby.

04:49

A pair of Desert Rat Troopers maintained a watch inside the scavenger’s garage and primary entrance to the settlement. An armed scavenger minder leaned against a wall nearby smoking a cigarette near a fan leading out of the settlement. They watched as the strong winds subsided, there were still strong gusts but the full force gale had subsided momentarily. Radioman Wilhelm managed to get a radiotelegraph message to As’Sab, he received a confirmation, Johnny is on his way Sergeant, He’ll be here within the hour.

05:17

Sergeant Reinholdt racked his mind for a way to rescue Ravina from the scavengers, he hadn’t told the others about his conversation with her last night. He was man to man marked by a scavenger soldier who seemed particularly interested in him. It wasn’t the same one from the corridor which wasn’t a good sign. The man asked something in Arabic to the translator, How is your stomach, Sergeant? that chilled him and he breathed deeply trying to calm himself,It’s fine, thank you for your concern. He called Corporals Hermes and Boker to him and huddled on the far end of the garage behind one of the Sand Cats. He spoke in German to his squad leaders, Something is wrong about this, everyone keep your wits about you. before breaking the huddle and dispersing.

05:28

Leon was running out of time to institute his rescue, he excused himself to head toward the latrine. His shadow followed him but he left the rest of his platoon behind and another scavenger took his place. He entered the latrine and his mark stood outside. He took a leak and washed his face and hands, his blood streaked blue eyes looking into the dirty mirror above the sink.

This wasn’t him, he was about to betray people who had been nothing but kind to him, who had rescued a heavily injured Mechwarrior from the sands of a battlefield, he lied to his own men, to rescue a women he hardly knew. He saw their kids, their wives, they weren’t monsters or nameless soldiers on the opposite side of a field just average men trying to do their best to provide a future on a desperate world. Right now the Marten coming their way had a box of gold coins and another box of desperately needed medicine on-board. But he was still going to do it, God help him, he had to do it.

He lost track of time as several minutes passed, his escort knocked on the door. The door opened and Leon stabbed his combat knife into the unsuspecting man’s neck covering his mouth as he pulled him into the latrine. He rinsed the blood off his hands, grabbed his rifle, closing the door behind him silently, and headed toward the MedBay.

There was a guard near the MedBay door, Leon fired his suppressed rifle three times hitting the man in the head and chest killing him instantly. The door was locked, he pulled out his pistol and fired a burst into the lock before kicking it in. Ravina was handcuffed to the metal bench, Leon smashed the leg that she was secured to. She freed herself and kissed her savior passionately, I knew you would come, we have to go quickly! More will come. Leon embraced her, Hang onto my armor straps Ravina I will get you out of here. Leon keyed his personal radio, All Desert Rats shots fired, free to engage.

Back at the garage Corporal Ames fired at their minder killing him immediately and surprising the indigenous translator who had been conversing with him, Men get that door open, On it, Corporal Corporal Boker’s men took up defensive positions pulling the Sand Cat’s doors out and firing at scavengers as they turned the corner. Corporal Ames’ men were pulling at the garage door’s pulleys to no avail as the alarm blared, Electronic Lock, Hendrick rig up some detcord and get these locks open, Roger, Specialist Hendrick pulled out a length of C8 detcord attached to a adhesive backing placing it along the door in a figure eight pattern. Boker’s rifleman continued their fire as more scavengers fired at them behind outcroppings in the hallway. I’m hit, more rifle shots were fired down the long but winding corridor ricochets sparking the metal that lined the walls.

Women and children screamed as Sergeant Reinholdt fought his way back to the garage. His armor had been hit several times by lucky rifle shots but he fought like a man possessed clearing each room of riflemen before moving on. Ravina clung tightly to his combat harness, Leon could smell her jasmine spice perfume over the cordite of his assault rifle shells, hear her labored breathing behind him synchronize with his own, feel her touch on his shoulders, it was exhilarating. Then he heard a shriek and felt her fall into him, he rolled over to see a scavenger that had somehow escaped his notice. The man raised his rifle but folded as Leon let loose the entire magazine of his TK MP-76 machine pistol into the man’s chest, crimson blood splattering the walls nearby. Ravina where are you hit? Ravina moaned, He got me in the leg Leon, I don’t think I can walk, Leon grabbed her chin looking into her eyes, No you’ve got this, come on I will help you up but you have to be strong, its not much further

Leon lifted Ravina up wrapping her arm around his shoulders while supporting her injured leg with his own, Come on grab the straps, we have to move she complied and Leon’s M3 rifle hung from its sling, he changed his pistol magazine and continued on, only slightly hindered by the woman clinging to him. He got to the final corridor and let loose semi-automatic death to the rifleman firing on his platoon. The thirty three rounds found their marks splashing more blood into the rusted and bullet ridden metal. Hold Fire! Friendlies! Corporal Boker signaled to his men to hold fire and rushed to help the pair. What the hell Sarge!

She’s in shock we need to get to the chopper Hendrick blow the door The detcord blasted a clean hole into the heavy metal door and the Desert Rats bounded toward the approaching Marten. Sergeant Reinholdt fireman’s carried the shocked Ravina placing her gently onto the transport bay’s floor. The bay had a box of gold coins and a box of medicine. Sergeant Reinholdt leaned into the cockpit. Go! Johnny, Go! Juan “Johnny” Markoi looked puzzled But what about the scavengers? Leon leaned in closer, Leave them, they weren’t worthy of our help, Alright Sarge, I hope your right, already got enough people shooting at us. The Marten gained altitude and sped off to the North and As’Sab.

View
Connecting the Dots, pt 3

09/11/3065 17:48 Location – “Scavenger’s Respite”, Astrokaszy

Sergeant Leon Reinholdt and his Desert Rats continued their quiet vigil within the scavenger camp. He had decided to walk around with his translator to meet these people and perhaps gather some more intelligence to bring back to Jasmina for analysis. The line was quiet just alternating between the Titanfellers broadcast and a pirate music station that was just barely comprehensible. The locals appreciated his interest and provided some anecdotal information but none of it really warranted a note in his journal.

He was drawn back to Ravina’s MedBay, she seemed apart from the main scavenger group. She certainly didn’t look like them or carry a weapon. Her chestnut brown hair, blue eyes, and fair complexion were in sharp contrast to the deeply tanned and brown coloration of the natives he had encountered so far. She seemed withdrawn and out of place, something felt amiss about her situation although none of the scavengers seemed to act controlling or intimidating toward her.

Leon dismissed his translator and walked into the med-bay, “Parlaiz vous anglais, RavinaOui, she responded, Dieu Merci, my French is dreadful, didn’t pay attention in primary school, didn’t think I would need it. She walked quickly toward him getting uncomfortably close before whispering, Sergeant, What are you doing here? You could have evacuated with your Mechwarrior and left, why stay? Leon put his rifle down on the wooden workbench before responding, We need information, solid first person information, I think we are being misled. I’m not sure who we can trust… I guess I just needed to get the lay of the land from the people that live in it. Ravina wasn’t buying it, she didn’t even try to conceal her tone, Is that really it? If so why come to me? I’m not from around here, you can clearly tell. Just come out and ask it?

No amount of weaponry could protect him for a women’s intuition, Fine, I know you aren’t from around here. You don’t look, act, or speak like these people, I’ve been around Magistracy citizens long enough to recognize their behaviors. Are you being held here against your will? She nodded pushing her finger to his lips to quiet his final question. They don’t speak English but could be watching, take me with you when you leave, I can be useful He grabbed his rifle off the bench and she gave him a vial of placebos before pushed him out of the MedBay, one of the scavengers was out there waiting with the translator both looked at him strangely. Leon shouldered his rifle and looked right at them, Something I ate, lets get back to the others

View
Behind the Lines, pt 5
Siege of Coolwater

09/11/3065 02:14 Location – East of Coolwater

Major Brekard’s Battlemaster walked with the rest of the assault lance, the Zeus, Thunder Hawk, and a Warhammer had reorganized against the Clantech Stalker, Linebacker, Summoner, and Nova as the tempo of battle slowed due to damage and depletion. The Warhammer limped along, missing an arm, the Stalker’s torso had blown out from a previous ammo explosion, acrid smoke billowing out of the jagged metal. The Summoner and Nova were torn to pieces and the Linebacker and Battlemaster were engaged in a close range duel. The Titanfellers pressed against the Jaguars but they began to withdraw, the assault lance wasn’t able to keep pace so chose not to pursue.

The Badlands were carnage, pieces of Battlemechs littered the field most were charred beyond use. Blasted hulks were motionless bleeding red or green coolant from their destroyed heat sinks. The Titanfellers Salvage crews were busy recovering Mechwarriors trapped in their downed machines and putting out fires while heavy lift vehicles dragged the blasted carapaces to their staging point.

Major Brekard walked his Battlemaster to the staging point, his damage was mostly armor. The War Machine took a knee and Thomas helped Annette to the cockpit ladder before descending himself. He found his XO Weaver, Grenadier Commander Holfsteed, and Top Shot’s Forward Air Controller Laurenz at the command post MULE. Good fighting everyone, whats our current condition look like Commander Holfsteed spoke first You routed the Jaguar’s Battlemech forces but we are dealing with sporadic infantry raids at the salvage teams. I have found likely avenues into their underground fortress and my men stand ready to deal with them on your orders.

Good, Good hold off on that for now. Keep the Warriors suppressing any heavy weapons that make themselves known but priority is on protecting those salvage teams. Weaver have you talked to the Chief Tech? Not yet Major, we have lost several mechs but the Jaguars got the worst of it. Several Mechwarriors were killed during headhunter raids but it is unlikely they will be able to pull that off again. Damn, fine soldiers through and through pull from the reserves at Tai’Iqih when we start getting empty cockpits. How are things in the skies Laurenz?

Skies are clear Major, we are expecting major sandstorms near Tai’iqih tomorrow so Top Shot might not be able to scramble as effectively. Good to hear we are out in the open here, Gurn keep those guns pointed up and out while the Battlemechs get repaired. Has anyone seen Schmidt?

The three other commanders shook their heads, they didn’t know where their intelligence chief was but the Major had a few options. The Derecho MLRSes, Marksman SPAs, and Von Luckners took up firing positions on the ridgeline, their magazines now reloaded. Major Brekard found his LIC liaison in the command tent for that unit, easily spotted by the trio of “Alptraum” Loki Commandos and their distinctive dark blue armor.

Herr Brekard, good to see you made it through the battle in one piece. You have to many people counting on you to die right now.
Yes thank you Karl, do you have your PsyOps units in place, I’d rather not have to blast the village and hills looking for Jaguars.
Yes they are assuming positions now and will begin their broadcasts soon
Good
Do be careful Major, the Jaguars have been sending assassins our way
Major Brekard brandished his TK P-98 pistol, I’m counting on it

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.