Battletech Mercs Unleashed

Katherine, Archon-Princess II

The Seth Marsden Opera House was a majestic piece of Architecture and Engineering, it’s graceful spires reached to the heavens and it’s auditorium was engineered so finely that the performers didn’t even need speakers to reach the back seats with their full power. It hosted the grandest balls in the Inner Sphere outside of perhaps the Royal Palace on the other side of the city. Nobles, Notables, and Officers from across the Federated Commonwealth shook hands and stood on the red carpet to get their pictures taken for the news.

A notable perk for many self-styled “Generals” was the chance to get an invitation to the party and this was the hottest ticket in town this year. Katherine still tried to reward actual experience and put forward any truly exceptional individuals like Adam Steiner, Maria Esteban, and Archer Christifori for what Lyran soldiers should aspire to, but she was content with dishing out small favors to keep members of the Estates General or Privy Council on her good side and reward their loyalty.

The motorcade rolled into the underground parking structure where it would remain as long as Katherine needed them to, this was her party she could come and go as she pleased. The Grand Ballroom was awash in colorful dresses, dark suits, and formal military uniforms from across the Commonwealth, gold, brass, and jewels shimmered under the chandeliers, drink and hor d’erves flowed freely. Undercover Diplomatic Guards kept a close eye on the assembly ensuring that everyone remained safe and removed drunken VIPs before they embarrassed themselves or their Hostess.

The Archon-Princess stood behind a gilded door before being introduced to the gathered crowd. The Master of Ceremonies took his sweet time, Introducing Her Highness Katherine Morgan Steiner-Davion, Duchess of Tharkad and New Avalon, Archon-Princess of the Federated Commonwealth and her escort, Lieutenant-General Adam Steiner, Hero of Somerset and Barcelona. The assembled crowd bowed or curtsied before returning to the revelries, she walked down the red carpeted stairs, and her entourage dispersed into the crowd.

The pair mingled with dignitaries and high ranking officers, two women found their way into the closest orbit. Katherine greeted them, General Steiner I would like to introduce you to the Duchess of Arcturus, Arielle Fyhne, and her daughter Lady Heather. Heather was flirting with the limits of the dress code for this event, her dress hugged her svelte body and its sheer panels were near scandalous. She was every bit the fashionable socialite that the gossip mags made her out to be. She was also about to burst over with excitement and looked toward the Archon-Princess, Yes Lady Heather?

Your Highness, may I be so bold as to ask your escort for a dance?, Katherine moved uncomfortably close to Adam, You may. I shall even let you keep him until the show starts, share him with your friends, take all the pictures you like. He’s under standing orders directly from me to have a good time. I trust you can show him one. Katherine put her hands on the stars on his shoulders, and if he doesn’t smile tell me and I shall take his stars for being such a grave disappointment. With that she gave him a nudge and General Steiner was to his horror mobbed by a flock of young Baronesses that pulled him ever further away.

Duchess Arielle watched the scene, bemused. Thank you for arranging this Katrina, Heather has been talking about Adam Steiner non-stop since she saw “The Heroic Somerset Strikers” as a girl. I thought she would grow out of her infatuation but I fear she has a terminal case of lovesickness. Grabbing a glass of Champagne Katherine looked back at her, You’re welcome Arielle, you have been one of my most ardent supporters and your family has long been an ally of House Steiner.

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Strongpoint

09/14/3065 15:47 Location – 72 km W of Al’Jair, Astrokaszy

Scout Falke of Gurn’s Grenadiers looked over his remote sensor readouts, the Captain said this would be an interesting day in the briefing. It sure was damn hot, he had to borrow a Mechwarrior’s cooling vest to even stay out on auxiliary power for as long as he had. Even with the camouflage shelter his Swift Wind sat under, it was still 47C in the cabin, the small fan mounted on his dashboard just blew coarse sand in his face.

This planet was fucking awful he couldn’t wait for the Titanfellers to kill those damn Jaguars so he could get somewhere nicer. At least the other Mercenaries had been mostly quiet, to bad about Red Skull though, would have been nice if Baron von Hulger had killed them then he could go back to the AC at base.

His sensor console beeped load, big contact, then another. Falke put down the water bottle and turned his chair to face the console, he cycled the sensors and pulled up the transmission controls.

Khaki Station this is Sidewinder, Fourteen Big Walkers heading your way. Awaiting orders.

Sidewinder, maintain long range contact with the Walkers, Station is moving to full alert.

Al’Jair Station

Captain Gurn Holfsted and company went to full alert in an orderly fashion, the heat slowed his tanks but they didn’t need to move very far to get to their fighting positions. The trailers were backed into position and powered up, they were slaved to the central command center. The comm arrays were receiving closer sensor feed-outs that confirmed the scout report and transmitted an alert to Tai’iqih, Top Shot was ready to burn at a moment’s notice. They could make the 140 kilometers that separated them in less than ten minutes when hot and airborne.

The VTOLs were off the ground watching the rear approach to the station and the Guardians stood by at their alternate airfield ready to launch.

Their informants had told them that Mercs Unleashed was going on the Warpath earlier this morning so then it was just the waiting. Captain Holfsted hopped into his Von Luckner, the heat of the day had been extreme enough that the mounting surfaces were covered with burlap so the crew could enter without burning themselves. The heavy tank rumbled to life, the PPC and Gauss Rifle in the turret moved into their active positions and the tank rolled along leaving a large and distinctive tread path.

17:00

Commander Markus Brandt stared out at Al’Jair station the sun framed the wasteland in a harsh light as it started it’s journey to the horizon. His long range tracking RADAR and comms was jammed despite Mina’s best efforts, so he couldn’t know where Alina or Top Shot was, even the C3i signal gain was weak between his mech and the Defiance to his right but it was still active. His telescopic optics and tactical tracking systems picked up the right number of contacts, which was a good sign. At least there weren’t more guns than he had already expected to charge into.

He could feel the sweat pouring out of his forehead into his neurohelmet’s liner, a quick thought entered and quickly left his head.

Were the Grenadiers nervous?

Cause they should be.

All units, this is STATIC actual, engage at will

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Into the Jaws

09/14/3065 07:57 Location – Trojan Dropship Raging Bull, Al’Sur

Markus and Joe both stood on the walkway watching the techs bring everything online, they both could see the sun rising through the open mech bay doors. Major Grey had given the Mercs the remaining tech teams, their duties fulfilled by rebuilding the Ebon Magistrate’s mechs that only Arachne and her sisters could operate. So there were a lot more NAM logos on the backs of jumpsuits then before not that Chief Tech Dolens cared.

They both were unhappy with the recent turn of events, Samira had been handed over as collateral to the scavenger tribe to replace Ravinia and ensure the Locust that was Mercs Unleashed’s restitution showed up. Leon and Ames had both been executed by sword at dawn for their crimes, at least it was a fast death. Joe still hadn’t gotten over Mina’s reveal and Markus wasn’t happy that he was sending Alina into combat against four to one odds.

Morale was low but they needed everyone on their game if this operation was going to successful. There was nothing more for them to do but run right into the Jaws of Death and hope to prevail. Mercs Unleashed needed to defeat the Titanfellers before they showed up on Dainmar Majoris to fight that apocalyptic battle they so wanted. To think that neither of them were even part of the initial group that Major Brekard hated so much.

At least here Grey had given them the option to take the Titanfellers out after they had wasted some portion of themselves against the rogue Jaguar Khan Ash. Jakk, her Combine saKhan was close to waking up, both really hoped it would be worth it and that they too wouldn’t be subjected to the fury of an angry Smoke Jaguar. Even spending what time they had spent with the rogue clan they understood why Grey had tasked them with removing her before she posed a threat to Canopian worlds.

08:14, Raging Bull Ready Room
Markus keyed open his locker, his neurohelmet was clean and polished, ready for action. The paint and logo it previously held were faded but recognizable as the 2nd Robinson Rangers, Two Red Stripes and Black, it was going to need a new paint job soon.

Nearly eight years ago he had deserted, sick of the politics that surrounded the mission, how Katherine had just fed the Sarna March to the League and Confederation throwing it into Chaos, and how the Rangers nurtured their fanatical hatred toward all things Combine. At least Tancred Sandoval would give them a chance, he could re-enlist and serve under him, although the MAF needed him to, he didn’t know if the helmet would look good in teal and gold though.

There was a note on his locker’s door, a woman’s calligraphy all delicate curves and artistic expression. He tucked it into his pocket, she could tell him herself when she came back safely to ground and he came out on the other side.

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RUBICON Briefing

09/14/3065 08:00 Location – Strategic Command Room, Trojan Dropship “Raging Bull”, Al’Sur

Co-Commanders Markus Brandt and Joe Leeson stood at opposite sides of the holo-table. Major Grey, Lieutenant Ilonka, Squad Leader Kunimoto, Lieutenant Commander Post and Captain Blackwell sat in the gallery, the rest of the Mercs Unleashed Lances Leads on the flanks. Markus looked up, Bring it online Lieutenant, the holo-table booted up and provided a topographically accurate map of the Operations Area. Al’Jair and Coolwater were surrounded by a gold glow, Al’Sur and As’Sab were blue, Neo Szabo Red.

Alright people here’s the general plan me or Joe will go over the specifics for your intended part to play afterwards. First, Nathan congratulations on your promotion to lance lead you’ve looked death right the eyes and came back in one piece just as strong. Lance Leads McKinney and Law your forces are with me, Drummond and Alphaios you are with Joe. The plan is relatively straightforward, my company will attack Al’Jair; McKinney you are finally going to get a chance to rip those tanks. A Dark Blue line appeared shimmering the midair with the three letter abbreviations of the task forces mechs, Task Force STATIC

Ironhide punched his fist into his closed hand, About time Commander, I’ll turn them to scrap

Commander Leeson and his quick strike force will wheel around Al’Jair between it and Ni’Keet to attack the Titanfellers preferably around Sleeping Jaguar Oasis, if they don’t find any targets they will collapse back on Al’Jair. Specialist Heron and Chief Engineer Ingress will wait to break camp till the exact last moment to make sure any local informants have the least amount of time to report it to Major Brekard and his unit. We are not trying to keep it a secret I just don’t want to be facing down a company of Battlemechs and two companies of Armor at the same time. As far as Tom knows he still has time to beat on the Jaguars while we enjoy cocktails. A purple line cut between Al’Jair and Ni’Keet arcing towards the Oasis before straightening out to hit Coolwater. Task Force FEATHERWEIGHT

Lieutenants Ilonka and Inderpol as well as the NAM Mechs and Jaguars will stay with the techs to blunt any attempt to exploit a breakout from hovercraft or light mechs. She and Specialist Heron will try to keep my Task Force’s C3 systems online and coordinate with Squad Leader Kunimoto and Flight Lead Wodan.

We are going to borrow the Warawi airfield to make sure the Blue Hawks can carry their full ordnance and still have loiter time, two MULEs will transport field and security teams as well as additional fuel and ammunition. The Boomerangs will also use the field during the operation to watch the terrain for hostiles. Their presence should be low key enough that Top Shot won’t bother them, they have bigger fish to fry. A big T appeared 40km WSW of Al’Jair with an X appearing over Warawi and a series of arcs mirroring proposed search patterns materialized. The holo-table ran through likely arcs of attack for Top Shot from Tai’iqih, most of them veered south before looping back to Al’Jair. The computer estimated that Task Force STATIC would be the primary objective with only a few scenarios involving an attack on FEATHERWEIGHT

Kunimoto and her squad will intercept any Top Shot ground attack attempts and Wodan will support Joe’s task force against the Titanfellers. Markus stepped off and looked up at Alina, Your job is to cripple those fighters, we don’t need them or you blown to pieces we just need them to leave us alone long enough to deal with the Titanfellers and Grenadiers., she nodded and Markus went back to his former position

Lieutenant Commander Post shall remain on high alert with all the tanks. If we really need him there are a couple of possible drop zones near Waypoints Diane or Ruby, but its a lot of loose sand, not great stuff for landing zones. I really hope it doesn’t come to that when we have the mechs to do it.

Once we have routed the Titanfellers and Grenadiers the dropships will do a quick low orbit burn from Al’Sur and take up position near Coolwater assuming it is safe enough. I don’t need artillery raining down on the Rodeo, we still have payments to make on it. Not to mention this ship, we’ve put a lot of money into these and they are our way off-world. Two large circles appeared on the bluffs near Coolwater, based on the Jaguars input those would be the best chance to support the Command’s Dropships.

By my estimates the main assault should be at the Marshaling area around seventeen hundred. Its a long walk but the temperature is supposed to reach sixty-one Celsius today so those tanks will be sitting ducks after baking in the heat . It should also give our techs a chance to get some shut eye en route so they can put us back together overnight. I want to be within striking range of Neo Szabo by this time tomorrow! We leave in one hour.

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Katherine, Archon-Princess

08/17/3065 17:18 Location – Tharkad City, Tharkad, Federated Commonwealth

Katherine Steiner-Davion walked out of her royal apartments, her blue and gold dress was trimmed with furs imported from the Marian Hegemony’s Lothan Province, a diamond and platinum necklace dangling elegantly from her neck, resting delicately on her left wrist was a finely crafted watch, and the Archon-Princess’ circlet twisted into her braided blonde hair.

The first snow of Tharkad City’s winter marked an auspicious day in the Ink District, the opening of the Seth Marsden Opera House’s 200th Gala season. She walked along the hallowed halls of the Royal Palace passing seven centuries of legacy, an entourage of AFFC officers, their escorts, and Honor Guard assigned to her protection followed her.

A collection of cars idled quietly in the underground transport hub of the Royal Palace, she was guided to a snow-white limousine, Lieutenant-General Adam Steiner stood outside it, his dark blue dress uniform was pressed, his many medals and ribbons glimmered under the lights.

“Hello General Steiner, I’m glad that you have decided to join me this evening.

You hardly gave me a choice Archon-Princess, an order is an order.

Is that so? Well then I order you to have fun this evening. The Strategy and Tactics Division will still be there tomorrow… although if it isn’t then that order is even more important.

An aide opened the door for both of them as they took to the streets, with so many VIPs on the move tonight the Tharkad City Polizei had their work cut out for them. Adam sat across from Katherine in the limo’s passenger compartment, Katherine are the rumors true? She stopped looking outside at the waning moon and faced him, Now which rumors would those be? I truthfully don’t know what the Tharkad Tribune has been saying about me the past few days.

You have been spending a lot of time in the Alistair Mountains, great place to hide a secret rendezvous She laughed, Oh is that what they say? I really must spin up a new scandal if they feel its something so banal. I never took you for a gossip Adam perhaps you really have been on Tharkad to long.

Adam looked down, he yearned to get back in the field, reform the Somerset Strikers and reclaim his home-world. He chafed at being a Staff Officer drawing up plans and lecturing to the University of Tharkad’s Military Science students while the Jade Falcons still occupied Lyran worlds especially as the expiration of the Truce of Tukayyid grew ever closer.

I understand you are restless here but you will soon be back in the field I guarantee it. Your work at Asgard has been very helpful. We have never been more prepared for any eventuality that might befall the Commonwealth. One day you will again lead the strike to liberate Somerset and it shall stay that way this time I promise you. The Jade Falcons will be driven out of the Inner Sphere and Annihilated just like the Smoke Jaguars.

Adam looked at her, What of the Wolves? Phelen Ward’s Wolves and the Kell Hounds shall not wait on Arc-Royal forever, Vlad will surely attack them when the Truce expires. We should be giving them what they need to withstand that assault.

An almost imperceptible tell went across Katherine’s eyes, Adam apparently hadn’t noticed it though based on his non-reaction. If Grand Duke Morgan Kell was so upset with my ascension that he took it upon himself to secede then he can take it upon himself to succeed. I have recognized his claim to the A.R.D.C. for now, he will have my help when he recognizes my claim to the Throne of the Federated Commonwealth and stops trying to undermine me.

Royal Guard Battlemechs stood sentry around the Ink District their bright searchlights reflected off the white snow, the skies were empty except for flurries, and the streets were watched like hawks by the Diplomatic Corps. Free Skye is and always would be a threat and they had grown bolder since Katherine had begun cracking down on them. TCP manned roadblocks and patrolled the district in force, whole areas were under curfew but that mattered little everyone was hosting a party tonight.

The Archon-Princess’s motorcade rolled along deserted and spotless streets as a thin layer of snow collected on the sidewalks. They didn’t even slow for the pair of Royal Guard Zeus Battlemechs who parted to let them pass before returning to their posts and blocking the street with 160 tons of Lyran steel.

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Cold as Ice, pt 8
Markus and Mina, pt 2

09/14/3065 04:27 Location – “The Icebox”, Mule Dropship “Rodeo”, Al’Sur

Previous

Markus “Tack” Brandt and Jasmina Ilonka continued their relatively calm conversation, after all she wasn’t sleeping with him; so the betrayal was not as severe between the two of them then say his Co-Commander Joe “Hotfoot” Leeson whom she was.

That is so boring Lieutenant, I expected more sex, drugs, and violence in your story

I’m afraid my prior history with Major Grey is not quite so exciting as my tenure here, now me and Cearra… well there is a a reason I don’t drink Magliss Lime Lightning anymore.

While he was mildly intrigued by that statement, he really didn’t want to get in an uncomfortable tangent about prior relationships, Why didn’t you tell us about your assignment sooner?

I didn’t want it change how you perceived me. I’ve done everything I can to ensure you have the operational picture you need to stay alive and complete the contract. I wanted you to appreciate my work without any preconception that it might influence future work offers from the Magistracy of Canopus on behalf of our mutual frenemy Felicity Grey.

You hardly need my help, this unit’s alumni organization has done an admirable job marketing the unit, not many merc units still deliver solid results over nearly six years. Additionally Mrs Deepwater has commented multiple times on the (cough) “staying power” and (cough) “ferocity” of Ryan Corsair and his “unit” (cough), that was sort of engineered by Felicity to give you guys a reason to stay but that is perhaps the most overt attempt.

I certainly hope that Roger and Nathan can continue the legacy after you and Joe leave. I will admit that I did sent you a diverse list of pre-selected free agents from across the Inner Sphere with the intention for them to stay and enlist in the MAF when they were done here. You are certainly welcome to do so as well, Felicity might even spot you the million c-bills to come in as a Major if you can bring the whole unit in.

It would certainly be a tempting offer, right in character for the Magistracy of Canopus but then again quicksand looked like solid ground till you stepped on it, So Felicity was using us as a Feeder Team?

Not specifically, as far as I know. It’s kind of the Canopian way, the MAF’s Mech force is nearly half prior service mercenaries that got a nice resettlement package and citizenship in exchange for a fixed term of service, most of which brought their mechs and techs with them. Local girls love rugged mercenaries, the MAF has relatively few major enemies except the Marian Legions or perhaps the Red Chasseurs and Syrtis Fusiliers so its mostly hunting pirates or fighting second rate units, casinos and vacations take the rest of the paycheck. Everyone wins.

The Canopian Institute of War has managed to increase the training and screening of dependable Officers and NCOs and the influx of Liao and Taurian tech has finally started to give the Magistracy the hands up it needed to really hit its stride.

Alright fine, I would have preferred to not have so much drama but I don’t think you pose a greater threat to the organization than Felicity Grey does so you’re back, but on a probational period. Please talk to me before you do something crazy next time and speak up, I’m sure between you and Grey there is a volumes of things unsaid that might be of interest to me. Your antics have cost me a lot of sleep and a good portion of my liver’s functionality over the past few days.

Since you’re back now. What do you think of our current situation? I am going to have a lot of things on my mind for the next couple of days so spit it out, I really don’t have time for games and puzzles.

Are you sure Commander? I don’t think you will like what I am about to tell you.

Do I have to put it in a direct order Lieutenant! Spit it out!

You have to give Sergeant Reinholdt and Corporal Hermes to the Scavengers for justice along with Nathan’s chit, the medicine Samira promised them, and make restitution for the people they killed. They have betrayed the rules of Sacred Hospitality by attacking and killing their hosts and by extension have gravely dishonored the unit and hurt our standing with the Emirs, and it needs to be You and Joe that hands them over too with the Emirs present.

Karras and Heron have both made multiple mentions that the Titanfellers radio station has been playing that non-stop and Chief Engineer Ingress pulled his people out of As’Sab into the wire because the local’s attitude changed from suspicion to barely concealed hostility. It was bad enough to the locals that we took in the Jaguars although I think it was a good call Commander.

We have to hurry to because even though I think Lieutenant Commander Post’s armor can fight off the locals it will be a massacre. The only thing that held them back was the mechs, without their very intimidating presence the odds are greatly evened. A wounded mech won’t do either they would see that as weakness and an opportunity.

He actually hadn’t considered that angle, everyone on this planet was armed and very touchy about tradition, You’re right I don’t like that very much. You want me to send two men to their likely very painful deaths, probably detain and disarm their friends to prevent a mutiny, and expend resources to appease the locals?

Yessir, it is the only way to prevent the bloodshed

I appears like he was not getting any sleep tonight, he exited the cell. Hendrick you can release the Lieutenant, I will send a message to Major Grey to collect her. Also do you have an encrypted terminal here?

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Cold as Ice, pt 7
Mina and Markus, pt 1

09/14/3065 03:52 Location – North Ridge, Al’Sur

Markus “Tack” Brandt had removed his cooling vest and was working on his Katas in the moonlight, he struck down imaginary enemies with extreme prejudice; ever since his Guillotine had been refitted with Triple Strength Myomer he had tried to smooth out every motion in his mortal form. Now his Guillotine stood broken in the Raging Bull’s repair bay, the Dragon Fire he would piloting till the end would feel different and he only had seven hours to get used to it before he charged right into the jaws of the Grenadiers at Al’Jair.

His displeasure at Major Grey had mostly dissipated, admittedly some of those imaginary enemies had been her. How dare she lecture him, he was the senior Commander of this unit. If she had just spit it out earlier this whole incident might have been averted, her and Mina should not be his prominent thoughts this night. There were a whole lot of guns pointed at him elsewhere to deal with knives and whispers behind his back.

Fortunately Alina had showed him some of the methods used by the Omniss and by the Outworld’s Aerospace pilots to calm down. He attempted to emphasize with her, as much danger as he faced on the ground in a Battlemech it had to be an order of magnitude worse for an Aerospace pilot. At least his Mech wouldn’t fly off into the cold, dark, airless void of space or crash violently into the ground engulfed in a fireball, well normally. I mean it could happen but there was a reason he liked to walking off dropships and that orbital assault drops were a rare thing for Mechwarriors, unless you were a Death Commando but those Mechwarriors were insane.

He re-centering himself before marching off to the ominous Mule dropship carrying his bag and cooling vest with him. He took a long shower, changed, and grabbed chow at the galley, it was fantastic; no wonder everyone had such good morale, this acquisition was money well spent. He had clearly joined the wrong side of the AFFC so very long ago.

Enough time had passed, he wanted to give Joe and Jasmina enough time to work through their problems and hopefully not kill one another, the unit could ill afford the loss of either of them. He received directions to the brig from one of the Dextran crew and walked through the labyrinth of passageways built into this drop-ship.

Arriving at the brig he saw Hendrick looking at his personal console, the man stood up Good evening Commander, Mr Leeson left about twenty minutes ago, the Captain says I don’t have to cuff the Lieutenant anymore, but its your call, Markus was caught by surprise cuffing her in a cell, he wasn’t happy with her but that seemed like overkill, No I think I can handle myself around Lieutenant Ilonka Hendrick, Hendrick walked over to the center door and knocked on it, Suit yourself Commander but if you get in any trouble hit the door three times hard and fast then close your eyes, she did try to break my nose

Markus entered the small cell, he stepped on a collection of papers, it was unlike Jasmina to leave a mess her small office area was always immaculate. Her eyes were puffy, damn, he really should have talked to Joe before coming here to understand what happened between the two of them.

JL: Hello Commander
MB: Lieutenant, I am going to try to make this as painless as possible. I am disappointed that the situation got this bad, but trust you have good intentions; although I disagree with the actions you have taken of late.
JL: I understand
MB: However I want to clear the record and you to answer my questions truthfully. What is your relationship with Major Felicity Grey?

That is a long story but I will summarize it for you because we have a lot to do, My name is not really Jasmina Ilonka and I wasn’t born on Royal Foxx like it says on my dossier. I was born Maria Mendoza on Logan Prime in the Lothian League, my family’s village was attacked by the Marian Legions and I escaped into the forest with a few others. We survived for about a week before then Lieutenant Grey and her first round of Wildcats rescued us and took us off-world.

Everyone was relocated, I went to school on Vixen, enlisted and went to the Avalanche Justice Academy before Felicity recruited me back into the third iteration of her unit where I did whatever she needed me to.

After you fought in the Xin Sheng Campaign I joined the unit under a false name at the request of Commander Grey. She really wanted a spy in a FedCom employed mercenary unit that could give MIM a clearer picture of what was going on there from a different perspective than say a pleasure circus or diplomatic mission. After I told her about what happened on Zavijava she and Shonsa Kiang Shi Fang contracted your unit to take down Sullivan Bane, he tried to kill me too so I didn’t cry when she got to him first, it is unfortunate that neither of them could find real evidence of what happened to the UrbStyc-A, I pray it was all buried in a landslide with the thuggees so it never sees the light of day again

With her (Shi Fang) death I suppose I am the only other person besides this unit that has managed such a long term relationship with Felicity Grey. Her Wildcats keep getting poached or used as seed units for new ARC teams, I think she is on the sixth iteration of the unit. She is really afraid of being recalled to Headquarters due to her being such a high profile target now. She may be the deputy director of the Active Response Corps but Directrix Elliot can still issue that order and Grey would have to follow it.

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Cold as Ice, pt 6

09/14/3065 02:18 Location – Grey’s Quarters, MIM Baba Yaga, Leeward Valley, 16km N of Al’Sur

Major Felicity Grey shifted and another bolt of pain lanced into her side, three broken ribs, a compound fracture of her right arm, and to many bruises and cuts to count, unfortunately she felt everyone of them. She was fortunate that Dr. Radha Selaj was one of the best in the Magistracy even if she was a bit to enthusiastic about cybernetic prosthetics. It was mostly her work that created Thane, Arachne, and the others but they were at least volunteers with years of experience that knew the risks involved.

Her ongoing experiments with the other MIM, Niopian, and Smoke Jaguar scientists on Selene station were one of the best kept secrets in the Magistracy of Canopus. Felicity had been given a Special Access Pass from her former Commanding Colonel Josephine Le Blanc, whom she was apprenticed to twenty-four years ago. The woman was hardcore and old school, while the Canopian Institute of War expanded its class every year most MAF officers still learned the old fashioned way, on the job and sink or swim, especially with her.

MIM had attempted to gather a more formalized training program at Headquarters but there was too much work to pull more than a few people off their assignments to train rookies in the basics. Not that most of the agents wanted that assignment either, she had joined MIM to fight dirty for the Magistracy on the front lines, not be some lecturer resigned to a quiet life on Palladix.

Now that she was Deputy Director of ARC by default she had a regular pass to some of the Special Access Programs. Including the results of the first round of DREAMWALKER where she learned what they did to Jasmina. If she turned out like the other first round subjects she probably would have killed Dr Selaj and Colonel Le Blanc herself and blown Selene to hell.

It galled her even more now that she had seen what happened when you replaced to much man with machine and twisted it the wrong way. The image of that monster surrounded by carnage smiling as it burned popped into her head, nothing could make that go away she felt it would haunt forever. Despite her fierce patriotism victory seemed hollow if you sold out your humanity in the process.

Her time with the Red Skull prisoners was unproductive thus far, she had ordered Kell to crush that bastard Konstantine’s ugly skull after he crossed the line. It was gruesome but got her point across to the survivors. They could sweat it out with his corpse for a little longer until they told her everything they knew; then she would figure out which of them was unlucky this day.

She had to get out and move its not like she could lie around for any real length of time anyhow. Her aches veered her toward the MedBay, Kell was there getting his myomers reattached, all four of the Ebon Magistrate Mechwarriors were still strapped down with various leads and IVs put into them, their vitals erratic but improving. Dr. Selaj and her aides worked their way through the patients before seeing her.

She turned as Felicity walked towards her, Ah Major, good to see you again, I trust you have been managing your injuries well, the pained look was evident, I am a very bad patient doctor especially when threats loom, Radha looked around, Surely in this most formidable spacecraft you could find a moment to actually take a light day, Felicity raised an eyebrow, Could you?, the other woman looked back at her, they had radical different views on all matter of things but could cooperate when necessary, No I suppose not, I guess that is why we are both at the top of pyramid in our respective professions Major

What is your assessment of the girls Dr. Selaj, it pains me to see them in this state Felicity could barely look at them, they were so lively just days ago now they are trapped inside and no one could help them get out but themselves. Dr Selaj positioned herself off of Grey’s shoulder and looked over her patients’ charts, I believe their bodies will pull through, I can bring them back to consciousness given enough time and the resources at Selene station.

It is their minds that I am most concerned about. It is highly unlikely they will ever be able to interface again, they might not even be able to pilot a Battlemech via a neurohelmet anymore the neuro-feedback trauma is that severe. I can’t be certain. This is unknown territory we are dealing with I’ve had to go back quite far on Feedback Fatigue to find literature on the matter. The case will surely benefit the Magistracy even if they never once more take the field.

Two missions and out, A tragic waste of potential. I wonder what they think of now?

I too wonder. That is why we are here after all, to answer all the questions? I will get you something to manage the pain Major but you really must keep to a light schedule. I don’t want your broken ribs to hit anything important, the bio-scaffolding I put there will take days to begin the healing process and is quite fragile to rough handling.

Felicity walked over to Commander Arachne’s bed while Dr Selaj pulled the appropriate drugs. She appeared to be in a deep sleep despite the overactive brain waves. Was The Magistracy of Canopus so in need of soldiers that we should fight even in our Dreams against Nightmares made real. She really hoped not. the waking world was dangerous and scary enough.

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Cold as Ice, pt 5
Hotfoot Heartbreaker

09/14/3065 03:48 Location – “The Icebox”, Mule Dropship “Rodeo”, Al’Sur

His primary task complete Joe “Hotfoot” Leeson departed the Infirmary and walked up a series of narrow staircases to the Auxiliary Refrigeration Loop because that is where the brig was, “The Icebox” was an apt nickname; indeed as he neared he could feel the chill. The fact that the Rodeo had a brig was curious enough, if someone acted up on an AFFC ship they were just confined to quarters, there wasn’t an actual brig to lock people up in except on Frontier Guard Furies and those were effectively prison ships.

The Master-at-Arms Hendrick was a bear of a man it was amazing that he even fit through some of the narrow access ways with shoulders that broad. The “reception area” led to three different cells but only one was occupied at this time, Captain Baasch ran a tight ship and the men kept out of trouble. Hendrick opened a dark blue locker and sets of cuffs jangled, he pulled out a set. Joe looked at him, Is that really necessary Hendrick?, Hendrick re-locked the locker’s door Captain’s orders Commander, take it up with him, he took the restraints and knocked on the bulkhead before opening up the access port to apply the cuffs to Lieutenant Ilonka.

Joe could feel the trepidation and took a few deep breaths before opening the door. He could hear the locking mechanism close behind him, it was just the two of them now, no secrets. Mina looked up at him from the plain cot she was sitting on, her Brown eyes stared at him, he couldn’t really tell what she was thinking and all of his preparation for the moment evaporated

Lieutenant, why didn’t you tell us you were sent by Grey to spy on us?, Mina’s eyes narrowed in defiance Don’t Lieutenant me Joe! Use my name!

Dammit Mina, answer the question!

I didn’t want you to treat me any differently! I’ve always been Grey’s girl, even in the Academy; people knew. Do you know how that makes me feel? always being in her shadow. You can’t say that wouldn’t have changed the nature of the unit… of our relationship, knowing that I was her understudy for five years.

Why didn’t you tell us about the Nukes on Marius’ Tears?

I wasn’t even aware of it immediately! Arachne put a defeat device on Raging Bull’s sensor and comm feeds that I didn’t find till later. I confronted her about it and she told me what happened when I threatened to take it to you. However it was so successful, The Marians brought that it was the Word of Blake that attacked them and kicked them out, so we tried to keep it quiet, I thought I would have more time to come up with a better explanation.

Why all the reports and secrets? Is Felicity trying to turn us all into cyborgs like Thane or worse?

Thane is dead Joe! He sacrificed himself so Felicity could escape Shervanis; and NO there is no plot to turn you into cyborgs or whatever wild conspiracies you can think up.

Why did Grey send, Joe pointed to her accusingly, You to spy on us Mina?

I’m sorry that you feel so betrayed Joe, I really am… I wanted to tell you but wasn’t sure how you would react or really how to explain it. Spy is perhaps to strong a word, I watched, waited, did my job, and occasionally sent some reports to Felicity. It is not as if she doesn’t trust you, she just thought you might need some help so I volunteered for the job. In fact she has pulled every bit of her personal capital to ensure this mission is a success. If she distrusted or doubted you even a little bit would she have risked so much?

Why didn’t you tell me you were going on the Warawi raid Mina? or that you knew how to operate Blackbird’s Command Console? That wasn’t part of the plan.

I was scared alright! I’ve never been in Battlemech combat before. She seemed sincere, he could see her eyes light up, I got out my old uniform trying to work up the courage but it wasn’t enough. I went to Arachne and Lieutenant Inderpol and then you came and I just had to do it. I didn’t want to lose you…, She trembled a little bit, I love you.

Bullshit! how do I know that wasn’t some con,

Mina looked hurt and began to cry, How can you say that?

Joe was unmoved, I don’t know if I believe you Mina

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Combined Intelligence Assessment, RUBICON

Red Skull HUMINT, Major Felicity Grey

I have the full order of battle on Tai’iqih for the matters most concerning this operation. Top Shot has a spare Lightning, an older model but it is still a flying 203mm Cannon. They also have a Redtail Small Gunship which is unwelcome news.

No doubt they anticipate our attack during this relatively clear weather period after an extended break, so expect all of them to come to aid Captain Holfsted, his Grenadiers, and their local auxiliaries at Al’Jair. There are also local informants that have surely relayed the fact that the camp at As’Sab is being packed up.

My technical intelligence teams took a look at the C3i unit installed in the Assault Pike so we know that the Werker-Henz at Al’Jair can jam those systems in addition to your standard C3 battle networking systems. Blackbird’s command console can protect the system but I am unfortunately unable to operate it.

An extra note of Caution, one of the Red Skull Mechwarriors reports that an ordnance container on the tarmac was marked with the same signs recorded in your unit’s historicals from Zavijava. It was guarded by Alptraum Commandos but I will try to figure out what might be in it from the others. If Jakk wakes up I will send his debriefing along to you.

Top Shot TOO
Stuka (D6), Thunderbird (D36b), Lucifer (R20), Corsair (V14), 3 Lightnings (1 G15, 2 G16D), Redtail (2 A4, 3 ERML)

Jaguars Claws HUMINT, Specialist Cearra Heron

Point Commander Pike has given us a rough table of organization for the Titanfellers, at least the forces that attacked Coolwater. It has been several days so Ash may have destroyed them but Major Brekard had a reinforced battalion of 40 Battlemechs. Mostly heavy-medium with a lights and assaults mixed in. That was before he spent two days fighting the around 25-30 Battlemechs that Ash was capable of fielding. Who knows what he has left, they have also told me what they remember being fielded by Ash; but one step at a time the Titanfellers need to be dealt with first.

The Jaguars cannot guarantee that Ash won’t attack Mercs Unleashed. She is hell bent on rebuilding her clan she might even be willing to sacrifice her SaKhan if she believed it was worth it long term. This Watch Captain is a genuine concern as well, he seemed eager to rid the clan of Jakk based on Mina’s interrogation of Ravinia. I don’t know what Major Grey will want you to do or what Jakk will be able to offer to aid you when he finally wakes up. Nevertheless we at As’Sab will be ready for you when you arrive this morning.

Coolwater Order of Battle
Battlemaster, Crossbow, Komodo, Wolverines, Hercules, Anvil, Thunder, Nightsky, 2 Shadow Hawks, 2 Griffins, 2 Warhammers, Catapult, 2 Dervishes, Starslayer, Clint, Whitworth, Archer, Jackal, Phoenix Hawk, 2 Panthers, 2 Fire Javelins, Lancelot, Thunder Hawk, Zeus, Jenner, Wolf Trap, Stalker, Crusader, Kit Fox B, Howler, Hunchback, 2 Wasps, Valkyrie

Scouting Report, Mechwarrior Keiko Muruyama

The Cicada, Wolf Traps, and Cronus were sent to test Al’Jair’s response, the response was swift and powerful but we mobility hit some of the hovers (Scimitar, Gladius, Harasser) causing them to withdraw. We did get close enough to update the previous reports however courtesy of the Guardian ECM on Scatterbrain’s mech. We counted a combined 20 heavy gun and tank emplacements and observed eight artillery units firing on us but they weren’t able to pin us down. The area is surrounded by Minefields and patrolled by hovercraft. Its not going to be an easy fight Commander but it has to be done.

Observed Units
Behemoth (Headhunter), Ontos (Headhunter), 2 Von Luckner Type II (Gauss), 2 Heavy LRM Trailers, 2 Improved Pikes, 2 Zhukov Type II (2 LGR, 1 SRM6), 2 Scimitar (AC/5, TAG), 2 Gladius, 2 Harasser Rocket Carriers (7 RL15), 4 Dual Ultra 10 Gun Trailers, 3 Warthog Thumper Carriers, 3 Marksman SPAs, 2 Derecho Arrow IV MLRS

Known Units
2 Hawk Moth VTOLs, 2 Warrior H-7s, 2 Guardian Jump Jets

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