Legends and Myths Twelve

McKenzie Memorial Hospital Secure Wing
City of Landing
2103hrs (gmt+2) 5 October 3079

  In the waiting area, Colonel Tinney sat with a comm unit to hand as well as a tablet, working as he waited for his travel companion to come back out.  Major Farquharson was inside the wing, visiting with his injured daughter as she was recovering from the capture mission conducted two days prior.

  During the affair, she had attempted to escape the pursuit team and had been brought down by one of the Spectres assigned to capture her.  Never a very big woman, the weight of a power armored trooper tackling her had managed to break several ribs and some internal damage was present as a result.  The trooper who had captured her had been smart to have his camera on and recording… so how the injuries came about were documented…. And an internal review (ordered by McCoy) cleared Trooper Mercer of wrongdoing; the take down was clean.

  But Sean was still upset.  Either more over the injuries or that his daughter was working for the Word was in debate.  And Tinney, knowing the former marine like he did, figured it was about even.  In any event, he was there waiting Sean and still working at the same time… for the slow re-settlement of the Refugees was being handled carefully.  He didn’t want to just put them willy-nilly anywhere but he also didn’t want to segregate them either.

  That Governor Schaller had said she would take as many as wanted to go to Sage was a help… but integration of a society that had been separate of the Inner Sphere for so long had to be done carefully- and in places were minimal strife was possible.  And any location on world with former Clansmen would be difficult.

On a good day.

The amount of work involved over the last 72 hours had been far more complicated than expected… but the effort, he was pretty sure, would be worth it.  It had already borne fruit, with the groups that had gone to Forbes already working on some of the manufacturing issues at the old SLDF munitions plants there, as well as other manufacturing sites.  It wasn’t known if the problems would be solved but at least they had manuals for some of these machines.

  Looking over some of the notes from the other commanders within the Lancers, support for taking them in was positive- though Kassing was warning this was going to bite us in the ass.  And Tinney didn’t disagree with that assessment.  But it was the right thing to do… and sometimes the right thing was hard.

  And many times, painful.

The door opened from the Secure wing and Sean stepped out, stone faced.  Tinney lifted an eyebrow.  “Sean?”

  The highlander looked back at his friend and CO.  “Lad… I think be needing tha’ drink about now…”  He said quietly, his face still a mask of forced calm.

  The Colonel put away his comm unit as he stood.  “I know just the place…” He said as one of the security troopers outside the waiting room raised a comm to summon the transport.  “Twenty minutes…”

Reserve Hangar 19
Drexel Field at Phoenix Lancers Main Compound
Auburn Mountains, Continent of Cromwell
2304hrs (GMT +2) 05 October 3079

  In what amounted to the Back 40 of the main Lancer compound sat a handful of hangars.  Some mech-sized, the rest large vehicle hangars.  One in particular actually was a disused conventional fighter hangar which had been turned into something else…. And something out of time.

  RH-19 had been turned into a VERY Old Fashioned Pilots lounge, like something out of an old trivid shows.  A pool table, a bar with a small kitchen, easy chairs, a poker table… even a few video games to the side.  The place was set up as a spot to relax for the Mech and Fighter pilots stationed here at the main facility, a place to unwind or commiserate in the company of your mates.  There were two standing rules here that no one defied- the first was no used of ranks here… All business stayed outside the door and the second- if you broke it, you were fixing or buying brand new.

  Which could get expensive- the last fistfight in here broke the super ancient antique Juke Box loaned to the place by Major McCormack.  After nearly dying by her hand, the mech pilots who broke it had a hell of a time finding a replacement; and boy was it pricy…  So, the Second Rule was one everyone was aware of.

  Right now, that very device was playing music within the club as Tinney, Sean, the newly arrived Hollister (who sent for from the main building) and McCoy sat at the poker table.  Everyone had a drink, be-it a beer or a large tumbler of scotch.  Cigars were lit and the group listened to Sean as he discussed his meeting his daughter at the hospital and their conversation…

  “… Saying the lass was a tiny remorseful is actually an accurate statement,” Sean said as he took a sip of his scotch.  “She’s nae sorry she did as she did… just sorry that poor tech had poor timin’.” A sigh. “She really is her mother’s daughter.”

  Hollister shook his head.  “I am sorry your child did as she did and betrayed your trust…  I can only imagine the personal pain.  What will happen next?  I know were it to happen among us, the offender would be tried and punishment administered rather quickly.  Perhaps within the hour of judgement being rendered.”

  McCoy answered before Sean could.  “Well, for one, it depends on who the judge is…” He said around his cigar.  “Then it depends on the severity.  Considering she was caught with Blakists and actively aiding their efforts, its pretty cut and dried for charges- Treason and Aiding/Abetting a Terrorist Organization.  Punishment is usually a firing squad.  If they get a trial.”

  Tinney looked at McCoy even as Sean glared at him.  “Dude!” he exclaimed.

  McCoy looked back at the Lancer CO.  “Well, its true…” He replied.  “Trin got dispensation cause she’s family…”  Turning to look at the slightly Irate Sean, he continued.  “I’ll have you know I made a point to tell the team she was bring back alive… for that very reason.”

  Sean bristled a bit.  “Five broken ribs and busted jaw…” was the growled response.  “Obviously nae in one piece…”  The Highlander rose in his seat a bit, which earned him a hand on his shoulder from Tinney.

  “Sean… you damn well know getting hit by powered armor at a full run is not gentle.  He could have shot her… and as it is, she did shoot one of them,” Tinney said in a calm tone.  “I reviewed the inquiry- it was clean.  And I interviewed Mercer face to face last night.  He stowed his guns so he didn’t accidentally kill her and his body-cam footage shows him stowing his weapons.  McCoy and his troops made a point to bring her in… alive.”

  Looking over to Hollister, he continued.  “As for punishment, I’m still reviewing things.  I know what Planetary Laws have to say… and I know I have leeway.  I am going to go by the book on this as much as I can.  Best way to be fair…”

Hollister nodded.  “That is the best way to go about it,” He allowed.  “For us, it would be your option or exile.  Is that a possibility?”

Tinney shrugged as Sean calmed down.  “I’m still pondering that.  I’m even thinking about some of the Clan ways of resolving it though I need to read up on those.  It’s a different time around here….”

 He then picked up his beer.  “Different subject,“ He commented after a sip.  “Mister Hollister…  how are your people settling?  I know its only been a few days but are there any needs not being met right now?”

  Hollister shook his head.  “John, the last reports I received was that that all groups are settling in fine.  The bulk of our civilians are at that Outpost Castle on Sage and our fighting arms are stationed in the fours spots you recommended.  That small depot near that desert field is perfect for the group assigned there.  The rest are adjusting to their quarters here and elsewhere.  Once your medical goes over everyone, I believe the plan is to assist homesteading?”

  A nod.  “Yes…,” Tinney replied.  “I want to be sure everyone adjusts alright to being planet side again and having both your folks along with local residents being on the same page for when settlements happen.  There is going to be conflict but if it can be mitigated through planning, I want that.”  A pull from his beer.  “News of your return will be hitting various news networks elsewhere soon enough.  Your first appearance was almost two weeks ago…  Other than that opportunist groups that tried at the field, I expect the first fortune seekers sometime in the next week or so.

 And the first Clan force within a week to ten days after that.”

  McCoy blew out a bunch of cigar smoke.  “That why you got them spread around?”

  A nod.  “yes… makes any attempt at them that much harder to succeed in toto; Security in system and on planet for each enclave will be beefed.  And if one’s targets are not in one spot, achieving all of them is that much harder.”  A shake of the head.  “Good thing most of the Regiment is here at this point…  Trying to do this with conventional alone would be damn hard enough. Its also why the bulk of the non-combatants are at that Castle- safest place for them until better situations can be had.”

  Hollister lifted an eyebrow.  “How long do you expect before fortune seekers and hunters come looking for us?”

  “Six months to a year…” Tinney replied as he sipped his beer.  “Eighteen months outside.  Depending on how the Clans hear of you, any attempt will be a competition for the right to kill you… or it might be a joint operation.  I’m not sure.  No matter what… I expect fanatical devotion to their effort by them.  And that can be an advantage…”

Hollister was puzzled.  “How?”

A grim smile.  “Fanatics have issues thinking outside the box… or being creative with tactics.  And the more Crusader the clan coming calling, the easier to predict course of actions… My opinion of course.” Tinney replied.  “Not all of them are dumb- they have learned some very bloody lessons since being stopped at Tukayyid.  Several bloody lessons… as well as teaming with the Inner Sphere to hunt Blakists.  The bastards messed with them too… and Stone managed a deal of some kind.  I don’t know particulars- all I know is they helped retake Terra.  So, if any come here, it will be rough and it will be special.”

A nod.  “I see… so six months maybe?” Hollister asked.

“Unfortunately, yes…” Was Tinney’s reply.  “For Clans at least.  Others…  by Christmas.  Fortune Hunters and all that are everywhere…. And I can almost guarantee someone will try.  The who is the question.”

Hollister sighed.  “You are full of good news…”

McCoy chuckled.  “Would you prefer he NOT tell you?”

“No… no I would not.”

“Then don’t worry about it,” McCoy replied.  “Anyone comes for you, we kick ‘em in the teeth and send ‘em packing…  Its what the Lancers do.”

“Aye,” Sean added.  “It is what we do.”

Phoenix Lancer Command Compound Operations Center
Auburn Mountains, Continent of Cromwell
0630hr (GMT+2) 25 December 3079

It had been a long two months since the majority of the Returned (as the official commentary called the Wolverine survivors) had arrived and most were now settled.  For the most part, the Centaurus populace accepted the refugees with open arms.  There had a been a few incidents- mostly from some of the former Clansmen that also resided on planet.

  For those, a heavy effort was made to educate and diffuse tensions.  What helped was the fairly complete records and histories on the warship databanks; these went a long way in helping lower the heat between the Not Named and the former clansmen.  A complete copy of the Wolverine version of the Remembrance and its similarities to other Clan versions…  helped in some cases.  And made it worse in others…  In extreme cases, even the Colonel stepped in… and offered Trial of Grievances to parties.  Shocked a few people when he did that- especially when he answered one of the few Elementals’ (a former Wolf) challenge, offering to go Un-Augmented.

  But it got the point across to all of them (even the Elemental who the Colonel knocked out (and broke his hand in the process)) and peace settled in.

Indeed, there was much in the way of peaceful interaction between the Returned and residents.  Both had much to teach the other and as near as it could be determined, it was working out well.  Old industrial plants were rehabilitated and some re-started, with beneficiaries being everyone.

As word trickled out of the system into the universe, messages of support came back from the Prince Regent of the Federated Suns (who was informed at the Camelot Summit on New Avalon back in October.  Other leaders deemed trusted enough were advised of the Returned and deals made to get needed equipment for their assets- most notably restocks for the Capital Ship missiles and Naval Autocannon ammunition for the Warships of the Returned were nearly empty.  And deals were made- both for deployments and for Information Exchanges.

But the fears of the wrong people learning this info were justified…. As the Escaped Blakist forces slowly passed the word on what had arrived in system.  No warships could be spared- but expendable assets could… and were.

So, it was a bored System Sensors Tech who discovered it first.  Inbound craft with no IFF sensed by the Deep Space Sensor platforms.  And far closer to the planet than liked…

“El-Tee…”  A sensor technician, Senior Sergeant Will Bailey, called out to the Officer In Charge.  “Sir..  Come take a look at this…”

  The Lieutenant, Carlos Rodriguez, ambled over and looked.  Blinking once, he reached out and tapped a key on the panel which transferred the imagery to the large master screen on the wall.  “Let’s get a better…. Ah shit.” He breathed as the screen expansion confirmed what he thought he saw.  “Inbound Raid…  Good catch, Will.”

  Bailey nodded as he started tapping on the console keyboard in front of him.  “Thanks sir…  I though so but I wanted to be sure.  Holly, hit the Alert…”

  Specialist Holly Douglas, who had drawn the Holiday Duty with two others, blinked twice.  “On it,” She replied and immediately began sending out warning alerts.

The Lieutenant studied the screen and the projected tracks came up on it, Bailey adding them immediately as a soft klaxon began to sound.

Within three minutes, the rest of the Duty Section started arriving even as Rodriguez’s comm began to chime.  Glancing at it, the LT answered.  “Aerospace Control…”  A pause then a reply.  “Sir, DSS reports a four Dropship formation inbound.  No IFF… though Drive Signatures initially identify as two Leopard, one Union and a Condor class.  No Aerospace assets noted at this time…”
Another pause.  “Plus Fives are launching and-“ Another pause.  “Still refining track.  But it appears eastern Cromwell and all of Sage is within the window.”

A much longer pause.  “AS soon as its locked down further, get the warnings out.  Bravo First Battalion’s in the que… Understood. ” Hanging up, he muttered “And a merry Christmas to you, too…”

Observations and thoughts- Ukraine shenanigans going on now…

Real World shit…

By now, everyone knows the Russians have started their movement into South Eastern Ukraine with their nonsense claims on those regions and Ukraine in general.  Right now, it’s the two south eastern provinces… and there is a ton of questions galore about what comes next.

From the perspective of holding what you take, the 190k+ troops he allegedly has available will have its work cut out for them if he tries to go for the whole of the country.  Its really not enough to do so and keep it- technology and weapons are far different now than when the area was claimed/held all those years ago.

In theory, some folks think he has enough to GET to the Polish Border.  I disagree for several reasons- notable among them being a march to the Ukie/Polish Border requires the Ukie Military to collapse fully and the population not being willing to fight.

Just no way- and I will explain

While I do not think the Ukranians can stop an invasion, I also do not believe they will collapse.  This is home ground, this their lands… and there is NO LOVE for the Russians.  Among my friends I talk about this with, at least two think the Ukie Troops will collapse like a house of cards under the onslaught. I agree that they are outclassed on the Firepower and Aviation fronts…  But there is a level of “Oh you Think So” that will be prevalent among them.  No one gives them a chance in hell among the talking heads…  and as a former grunt, I can tell you the one thing that will fire them up… being told no one thinks they can do shit.

They are gonna know they can’t stop them…. But then, they also know if they make them bleed bad enough, it may give subsequent resistance a chance to stop them… or even push ‘em back a bit.

  Remember, taking ground is one thing… but to claim it, you gotta hold it.

On the second point, the population being willing/not willing to fight…

Any push past the River Dnieper runs the risk of being an overextension… 190k is a large number of forces… but at this point, they would be going into far more hostile territory past that point.  You gotta remember, the Soviet Union did a whole resettlement thing with pushing Russians *into* their border countries while pushing *OUT* natives.  It happened to a degree in the Baltic States and it happened in Ukraine too- though mostly on the eastern side of the country and not as a whole…  And that area it was done in, is on the Eastern Side of the Dnieper River.

  Think on that a minute…

It is this built in Russian population, (which was planted years ago…)  that is helping to serve as a basis for Vlad claims of protecting the Russian Speaking folks there… and his manufactured (somewhat) stories of oppression of Russian Speaking Peoples for a partial justification.

 Dude… this was all set up YEARS ago, though I don’t think Russia ever expected to not be controlling that area when it was done.  And the Russians are not the only ones guilty of it.  The Germans did it too under Adolf… and well, I won’t discuss the shenanigans the US did with our native peoples. 

But yeah…  Eastern Third of Ukraine has partial support in place among the residents.  It’s a big part of how he managed Crimea and almost managed Donbass; the Ukrainians managed to stop him on that last part… but it was a bit closer than one might think.  To think they might have the same support past that river is crazy talk.

There are numerous geopolitical maps out there that key in on the predominate language of an area… and in the Eastern Third, Russian is a pretty common thing for speaking.  And many who do also claim kinship with Russia versus Ukraine.

Once you get past the Dnieper, this paradigm changes the other way…  And folks are more pro-government (within reason).  Add in a large number of veterans in their populous and trained persons were WERE military at one point, the prospect of Native Resistance goes up.  And Effective Native Resistance at that.

  One of the more neutral news sites I read had an article where several veterans of their military were interviewed, with an emphasis on their thoughts with the Russia situation.  Almost universally, the vets indicated they’d go back in to the Army to fight if able or pick up weapons at home and resist if not.  As one put it…  “Why wouldn’t I shoot Russians?  This is my home, not theirs… and how often can one mix business with pleasure?”  (no lie- the sentiment was stated (my words are wrong but they do relay the content of what was said))

And I am pretty sure they weren’t the only ones.

So any push past that river…. Will have more to worry about than just Government Forces.  And 190k troops…. Is not enough to make a push and secure what was taken.  Its just not…  especially in areas where the population just isn’t that into you (At a minimum.)…

ALL that said, its my thoughts that Vlad will likely go after the eastern Third as early as the Weekend, depending on how this “peacekeeper” force he’s sending into the Provinces goes…  Past the Eastern Third, he is going to need far more troops than he has, for the reasons stated.

What About Nato, you ask?  Can’t/Won’t they get involved?

Well, that’s complicated, as you might expect.  And not just on a political level.

Anything NATO has within the area (with the exception of the Poles!!) is simply not capable of slowing down an invasion.  The Polish Army is very capable, and they have a large reserve.  But mobilization takes time…. And if the end goal is Poland too, they are going to be hard pressed.  They have the manpower- it’s the airpower they need help with and Air can/will complicate response.  In theory…

Force-wise, NATO can’t stop him from doing much were he to go for all Ukraine because World War politics….and if he tried to go for Poland, we can hurt him.  Bad….  But NATO isn’t going to be able to contribute much in Ground Troops cause of the across the board Drawdowns of land forces.

But what about Reforger?

Sure… what about it?  We can send all the manpower we want… but we do NOT have POMCUS available in Germany anymore.  Haven’t for a few years, actually.

  What CAN be done is making it expensive, manpower and equipment wise…. Through the use of Tactical Air and SpecWar in their hit/run/sabotage roles as well as guerilla/partisan activity

 Though from an Air Perspective, there may not be enough available to even do more than contest air.  The assets simply are not there outside of what the Poles have as well as rushed over US assets.  We cannot get enough in the area fast enough to do MORE than that- though the longer it takes for Vlad to move, the more we *can* get there.

  Nato for the most part let their Airpower degrade (dude, the Germans use to have a PROUD military…) as much or more than their ground forces…  Exceptions being the French (a so-so capability or so its said) and the Polish (they remember live under the Red Banner and don’t like it much…).  The Baltic Three also have robust (for their size) militaries but they aren’t scary- though any occupier is going to have a metric shitton of problems.

  Remember, all the warfighting plans for NATO/WP were based on everyone having assets to contribute.  Right now….  The most we can hope for is contested airspace.  At least initially.

Our pilots overall are better- we get more flight hours than Russian counterparts do and that will be the bigger edge.  IF it came to that and that is a BIG if as it means it is now no longer a Small War thing but  now a World War Issue.

Reforger isn’t possible right now.  Assets for it would have been needed to be moving two months ago… if the shipping hulls were available.  And if the hulls were available, one had better hope Big Army and Big Navy is willing to pitch some of the rules preventing fast loading of ships.

And that is a topic for another day…  cause as I read up on all this, y’all cannot believe how mad I got.

Its for sure that more is going to happen over there.  What past what’s going on as of this morning is the big question.  I just know it looks like (based on Moscow Rhetoric/theater) that the Eastern Third is getting taken…. And the prospect exists for more.

Time will tell… and for those who remember the Doomsday Clock, I am pretty sure that sucker just moved…. And in the wrong direction.

Legends and Myths Eleven- caught

Mountain Retreat Compound

Knox Mountains approximately fifty kilometers from Zathras

0659hrs (GMT), 3 October 3079

  McCoy smiled at the explosive death of the Domini trooper that was coming out of the deck door to the inside.  He absolutely hated those fuckers with a passion only rivaled by Dragon Mom’s love of old things.  “All hands… look alive- Domini troopers are present.”  As he moved, a series of acknowledgements flooded his comms briefly.  Sighting down his Mauser, he one-hand gunned down another defender as it sought to shoot him for his actions.

[Spectre Three- watch your left; two defenders just slipped out of the garage and are heading your way.]

[Two, Three- thank you]


  Down the driveway, Spectre Two advanced up the pavement towards the ramp to the basement. Snapping a pair of gyroslug shots at the defenders who had just come from there, he was very aware of the open door to the garage interior.  Sprinting to the ramp, he snap-shot at one of the earlier defenders and dropped the Blakist with a hit to the unarmored chest.

  Coming to a stop at the top, he made a quick sweep of the area then lobbed a flash-bang down the ramp and into the space beyond.  “Spectre Two…  breaching,” Jake called into the comm and a second after the charge went off, he ran down the ramp, auto-shotgun out and ready to blast.


Cass advanced on the building; her target having gone down quick in her initial volley.  Secondary targets appeared fairly quickly, and she engaged those as rapidly as they appeared.  Once at the wall, she looked around.  Taking two steps back, she ran at the wall and used the enhanced strength of the power-armor to help her vault up to the roof on this side of the building.

  Coming to a landing, she scanned the rooftop quickly and made her way to a skylight further up the roof line.  She’d be pulling a Syd here… but with as quick as they were moving, the surprise factor should be helpful.  Slinging her gyroslug carbine, she drew her auto pistol and deployed her baton.  This was going to be some close quarters work…


Sidholm advanced up slowly, his rifle barking rounds at each target as it presented itself.  His Federated Gyroslug Rifle had been modified to fire bursts of two as needed and he used the ability liberally- the armor being excellent at ensuring rapid fire stability.  And the dead-eye skills of the trooper were absolutely murder on his foes.

  Seeing Cass up on the roof, he shifted position to cover her rear a little better, trusting Mercer to maintain his side of things.  Normally, he’d have been the one to breech the roof but after three rounds of R-P-S, he took the role loss in stride.  He was a better shot anyway…

“Mercer… watch the flanks;  I expect a secondary exit.”

[Agreement there…] Was Mercer’s reply.  [I’m looking for a viable entrance on this side.]

[Spectre Four and One, Lead.  In ten seconds, start hitting the house.  Two Wave strike…] McCoy called over the net.  [Two is breeching the garage and Three has the roof.  Pick your shots.]

Both men acknowledged the orders and made ready to charge the house.  Two Wave assaults were effective and dangerous… but they worked.


Inside, it was minor chaos.

Trinity kept to the side with her AX as the various Blakists went to windows to shoot out or to cover entryways.  The two Domini troopers were now reduced to a half, the second trooper having caught extensive secondary damage from the blasts that killed his partner.  He was on the floor near that door, his weapon out and ready to shoot.

  Other members of the household that weren’t shooting were breaking the electronics within the room just as the skylight exploded inward.

Contained in the falling plexiglass was a black-armored Nighthawk suit, the symbol of the Lancers plain as day as was the red-and-black-cross on the forearm bracer, when the figure lashed out with an extended baton at the nearest tech.  A pair of shots from a pistol it carried also sounded, all three attacks being successful in striking a target.

Trinity cursed as she brought up her AX and cut loose a burst at the invading armored trooper.  This isn’t happening!!!  She mentally screamed as her shots missed the now-rapidly moving Spectre.  I need to get out of here… A second burst of rounds and she ran for the garage stairwell to head down there.  If she could get to a vehicle, she might be able to get away… there was another bolt hole in Galen she could go to that was less remote.

The trouble with remote hide-outs… if attacked there really was nowhere to run to when the hounds showed up.

Coming through the door to the deck was another tumbling Nighthawk suit, this one with a throwing hatchet in hand which flew through the air into the last Tornado­ trooper, catching him right in the faceplate.  Coming to a knee, the Nighthawk trooper whipped up his main gun and rapidly cut down several defenders within eyesight.


McCoy rapidly shifted position from his knee as he took in what was remaining of the defenders.  Cass had done a number on those on the lower floor and judging from Jakes’s commentary, the garage was pretty much going to be secure too.

  Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw flopping blonde curls on a figure going down a set of stairs.  “All Spectres, HVT going for basement”

Jake replied. [Two, copy…]

McCoy retrieved his hatchet and continued a quick search of the upstairs.  Their precentor had to be here…

Cass continued to clean house on her level, trading shots with other defenders and in one instance, charging one to kick him in the face.  “Captain, follow her down?”

“No- let Jake get her.” He replied as he came around a corner to the kitchen- ducking back in time to avoid a large amount of cooking oil. “Shit!” He said and put his pistol around the corner to let off a few rounds.  “That wasn’t nice…”

“On second thought- back him up. I got the upstairs…” He changed his mind and Cass headed for the stairs.


Jake, having been warned, switched to slugs.  It required a bit more finesse to not kill someone with these but there was less chance of hitting more than planned.  And it was a good thing too… as he exchanged shots with three defenders down here when he entered, the flashbang having helped some with disorienting them.

  More shots were exchanged, with the Lancer Trooper putting down one and wounding a second.  He saw Trinity exit the stairwell and use the available cover to stay out of sight.  “HVT in sight” He called over the network. “Looks like she’s looking for wheels out.”

[Noted.] Called McCoy.  [Assistance coming.  Wave Two standby to assist outside.]

Jake continued to exchange shots with defenders as the outside Spectres answered…  and then Cass showed up on the stairs even as their quarry fired up an SUV.

“She’s moving… attempting to kill her wheels…”  Jake called and directed the rest of his auto shotgun magazine into the engine compartment of the SUV; even as its engine roared in a bid to escape the space.

  Cass charged the last defender and clubbed him from behind even as her own pistol attempted to shoot out a tire…


Trinity screamed in shock even as she floored her vehicle, trusting in the armored engine compartment to keep her operational.  And it was a near thing too- the heavy shotgun slugs had a good change at hurting her machine but as she was moving, none hit the same spot twice.

  The pistol at her tires though…  at least one managed to damage *something* back there as a warning light came on while she was racing up the ramp…. And straight into Syd’s sights.


Sidholm, having been alerted to the escape attempt, quickly shifted weapons to his own auto shotgun.  He was ready as she cleared the ramp out.  Not taking a chance, he put two slugs into the windshield to the left of the driver and the rest into the now damaged engine compartment.

  The windshield hits starred it up, the high-powered titanium slugs powerful enough to do damage to the ballistic glass.  This proved to be a distraction to the now-panicking Trinity, who jerked the wheel when the shots hit.  This threw her off and carried her right past the Lancer Trooper who was now hammering her engine compartment.

The combination of these and other shots early on were too much for the compartment, the damage carrying through to the engine…. Which was finished off when she crashed into a tree alongside of the driveway when she lost control of the vehicle…

“HVT escape neutralized…  moving to capture.” Syd called into the network.

[Spectre One, Moving to support,] Mercer called out, even as he picked off another defender.


McCoy didn’t acknowledge the calls as he was too busy hunting a Precentor.  It had been him who tossed the oil at him and well, McCoy had been lucky to avoid it.  Not that it would have hurt him in this armor… but the mess would be miserable, at a minimum, to clean out of his joints.

  Moving down the hall after the enemy leader, he readied his hatchet again.  It had killed once so far and if he was lucky, he’d only have to maim this guy.  Coming to a door, he snapped a peek around the corner and was rewarded with a blast of energy from what had to be a Blazer.  But he’d seen enough…. And as he moved- the axe was cocked then in the air a split second later.

  The throw was good, connecting with the gun arm of the Precentor – which caused him to drop the rifle he had.  McCoy ducked around the corner again, his pistol up and pointed at the man. “Give it up, dude… and you get to live.”  He said as he advanced, eyes watching for a dive for some fail-safe device.  The last two Precentors he had tried to capture both had them…

Drakman pulled the axe out of his arm, which set it to bleeding.  “Do you really think I’m going to be taken alive?” He snarled.  “I’ll bleed out before you get me help…”  He threw the hatchet back at McCoy who dodged it easily.  “You have no idea what you have welcomed into your nests, Mercenary…  And Only His Vision can prevent your destruction…”

McCoy chuckled darkly, which had the desired effect of puzzlement on the Precentor.  “What you fail to understand is I Don’t Care as its Outside my Paygrade ….” He commented as he shifted his aim slightly.  “I’d rather kill you… orders are Taken Alive if possible.  So, I need you passed out from pain first.  Or Blood Loss.  Both work for that…” He then shot Drackman in the leg.

Drackman screamed in pain when the shot hit and collapsed.  As his vision swam, he could only think of his failure to get to his office… and the detonator that lay within.  This would have gone a very different way had he made it there…  When he his vision cleared, the Lancer Trooper was in front of him and what came next was unexpected…

“Say Good Night, Wobbie…”  McCoy snarked as he kicked Drackman in the head.  And got the effect he was looking for- the Precentor knocked out.


Sidholm strode to the now-wrecked SUV and yanked the door open.  Within, Trinity was trying to recover from hitting her head on the steering wheel.  The Airbag had helped but not being belted in negated much of the benefit of the other safety device.  Syd reached in and grabbed an arm.  “Going somewhere?” He said as he yanked her from the vehicle.

Trinity, for her part, was still stunned but that was quickly disappating- especially when she got yanked from the SUV.  There was no resisting that- the power armor multiplied the wearer’s strength a lot more than she could fight physically.  But then, she didn’t have to…

“Uhhhh….  Yeah….” She replied as she reached into the small of her back.  “You aren’t invited.”  Using skills her father had taught her years ago, she snap-drew her slug thrower, pressed it into the less-armored section of Sidholm’s suit and pulled the trigger- twice.

The high-powered pistol was actually able to defeat the armor at this range and Sidholm grunted from pain as he released her arm, staggering.  “-Arrrgh-“  He exclaimed in pain.  “So you have claws too…”  He grasped the area of the shot, which was above the hip, with his free hand.

Trinity took off through the woods at this point, knowing the faster she got away the more likely she’d avoid capture.  She knew Argyle… and if she didn’t get scarce fast, she was getting caught.  What she didn’t count on was Mercer.

The fourth trooper had seen what she did and stowed his weapon. He was going to catch her and there was going to be no guns involved…  Not when a fist from this armor could break a bone in an un-augmented human.  Sprinting after her, he called over the net.  “Lead, One.  Four is injured and HVT attempting to escape.  Pursuing…”

[One, Lead.  Alive please…]

“That’s the plan…”

At a dead run, the trooper gave chase…  and within seconds, caught up to Trinity.  Without a word, he aligned himself behind her and with a last-second leap, collided with her back in a flying tackle that would make an NFL Defensive Coach proud.

A scream of pain and fear, some struggle, two wet smacks and then silence.


Inside, Cass had managed to clean house of the internal defenders.  A ton of broken bones from the baton, and no few wounded with shots from her pistol.  There would be prisoners to interrogate when this op was done… and maybe even some good intelligence to be had.  And in theory, it would save lives, which she was all about.

  When possible, of course.  Spectres were expected to take lives as necessary…. And it was necessary here.  Damn Blakists… Why anyone bought into their shit was beyond her.  “Captain!” She called out.  “Secure in the main areas…”

McCoy came out of an upper hall with a body being dragged behind him.  “Precentor’s Caught.” He said to Cass then triggered the net.  “Lead, all elements.  Status…”

[Two.  Coming up from the garage…  Secure down here.”

[Four…  supporting One.]

[One…]  Mercer paused in his answer.  [HVT secure… though I’m pretty sure I broke a few of her ribs. And maybe a cheekbone.]

McCoy sighed- he now knew (again) how Dragon Mom felt when he did that…  “Well, I did say alive,” He commented.  “Ok Team… search area for any additional resistance; I’m notifying the Militia in Zathras to come up and clean here.  A Ghost Detachment should be here soon too…”

 Seeing movement from the Tornado suit in the doorway of the deck, he shot him once more.  “And if they are the Bad Boys, make sure they are dead… No whammies.”

As the other acknowledged him, McCoy switched channels.  He had their VTOL to get here again and the Militia to brief.  Both this Precentor and Ms Farquharson needed to be brought back to Landing… and the faster that was done, the faster they’d find out what was coming next.

If whatever it was didn’t get here first, of course.

Dramatis Personae for Legends and Myths.

It is time to get some short background bios up for our various characters. There will be further updates to this list as more are introduced.

Colonel John Tinney– Overall Commander of the Lancers and Planetary Governor.  Capable Mechwarrior, he is a good Administrator and has been in command of the Lancers for over ten years.  In that time, he has refused the push to take the rank of General, stating that only the SLDF or House Militaries appoint Generals…  When he takes the field, he pilots a Refurbished Highlander.

Major Leslie McCormack– Commander of 1st Bn Alpha Company and commander of the Spirits, a subset of the Lancers responsible for Intelligence (ghosts) and Scalpel Direct Action (Spectres).  A military history enthusiast, she is something of an expert on SLDF history, equipment, and habits… like all the hidden facilities in various places found on Centaurus and elsewhere.  A Longtime friend with Rhonda Snord, the two used to compare notes on SLDF locations prior to the latter’s death in 3073.  The very logical thinking Major uses a modified Marauder II when in battle.

Major Sean Farquharson– Commander of 1st Bn Charlie Company, he was born on Northwind and has been a member of the Lancers for almost twenty-five years.  He was on Centaurus at the time of the Word Of Blake assault on 3069 and had led a portion of the Resistance that kept them busy until elements of the DCMS 3rd Pesht arrived along with the bulk of the off-world 1st Bn arrived to help kick them out.  A Soldier’s Soldier, the former Marine and now Mechwarrior is an accomplished pilot, piloting a Clantech-upgraded MAD-3M

Major DJ Hartman– Commander of 1st Bn Delta Company.  DJ is another of the long-time MechWarriors who found a home with the Lancers post Clan Invasion.  Crude at times and the occasional gambler, DJ rose through the ranks due to extensive experience fighting the Clans and, more recently, the Word of Blake; he was part of one of the companies that had been Off-World when the Occupation happened taking command when it’s OiC was killed.  Confident in his ability, he holds No Illusions that every battle could be his last… and if it is to be, then who ever takes him down is gonna have to work for it.  His battlemech is a heavily modified AS-7 Atlas

Captain Argyle D. McCoy­ – Commander of Direct Action Team Stiletto of the Lancer Spectre section of the Spirits, he is an unusual soldier in that he was a very talented Assassin prior to coming to the Lancers some twelve years ago.  Very Direct and Charming, McCoy possesses a distinctly warped sense of humor, which belies his quite bloody minded and brutal nature towards enemies of the Lancers- and Blakists in particular.  Loyal to Major McCormack, he is her personal attack dog for jobs that have to get done, no questions asked.

Trooper Cass Kymer– Team Stiletto Conscience, Cass is a capable troop, specializing in melee combat with her extendable baton.  She acts as the team conscious for direct action jobs, being one to ensure collateral damage is thought about during operations.

Trooper Syd Sidholm– Team Stiletto Heavy, the exuberant Sergeant is a large weapons expert who has a tendency to bite off more than he can handle easily.  Of the team, he is the only Mech Pilot in his four-man section.

Trooper Jake Gladu – Team Stiletto Electronics Expert, Trooper Gladu is the best on the team in defeating Electronic Systems  and penetration of networks.  Fond of Terran Heavy Metal music, the trooper often uses digital versions of the music to overwhelm opponent com-channels and prevent coherent transmissions.  He is also an accomplished VTOL pilot.

Trooper Jon Mercer– Trooper Mercer is what is known as a “Second Chancer” within the Lancers.  A Lancer Exile, He was allowed to return to the Command and volunteered to work with the Spectres as atonement for errors no one speaks of (even if pressed, no one will).  He tends to be quiet until its time for a mission and then he’s fully vested.  Each successful mission is one more step to rejoining (he thinks) the regular Lancer Armored Infantry units.

Colonel John Hollister– Commander of the initial Wolverine Detachment that landed on Centaurus, he is a fairly calm and even handed leader.  It was his idea to come to this system, based on various reports gleaned from captured data on this section of the Inner Sphere and a handful of SigInt gained during recon missions with the faction’s lone BugEye jumpship.  With their reception by the Lancer’s being as benign as it has been (with two exceptions), he is starting to believe the troubles of their Clan’s remains have been given a reprieve.  He pilots a refurbished Pulverizer.

Governor Diane Sodher-Schaller – A retired Regimental Duelist Mechwarrior, she is the civilian leadership for the Province/Continent of Sage, home to a number of farms and one of the known Outpost Castles on the planet.  Very even handed as a leader, it was her failing health that took her from the pilot’s seat to the governorship where she has poured her energy into being the best representative for her people she can be to the planetary council.  Her knowledge of agriculture and growing methods has benefited the area immensely.  Her last machine of record was a Battlemaster BLR-4S

Chief Engineer/ Deputy Governor Geoff Schaller – Just as his introduction indicated, Geoff is a retired Lancer Senior Technician and Engineer who retired from the Lancers to assist his wife with the governorship of Sage.  The internal refurbishment of the Outpost Castle was his “retirement” project until the Invasion and then his responsibility until elements of 3rd Pesht arrived to help push the Blakist Militia and their mercenary allies off world.  A good marksman, he considers himself to be a far better technician than soldier.

Trinity Farquharson/Adept Melton– Trinity is the older daughter of Major Farquharson.  She was recruited by agents of the Word of Blake during their brief occupation of Centaurus at the same time as her mother, who had divorced Sean while she was younger.  Trinity had remained a sleeper Agent for several years, hiding her mother-incited distaste for her father as part of her cover.  She only become more active about two years ago after a message from her mother, now a demi-precentor in the Word, indicated a need for information.  Her position within the Lancer Community was deemed important to maintain and it was earlier reports from her that led to a renewed interest in the Mercenaries…  at a most inopportune time for them.

Legends and Myths Ten

Port of Rahway, on the edge of the Kaladonia Range
Continent of Sage
0630hrs (GMT+4)

  The sleepy port town of Rahway had long been a destination for the cruise ships that plied the oceans of Centaurus.  It was a quaint place, with gorgeous views of the Mountains as they descended to the waterline and no few forests with vision as the land rose and fell as it left the coast line.  The residents of the area were geared towards Agrarian living as compared to the other small continents of Johnson, Bush and Cross.  As a matter of fact, outside of a few small industrial areas that were dedicated to maintaining the standard of living- after all, it was a resort town- the busy metropolis life was not a normal thing here.  In short, there was very little here that anyone would consider a vital Industry or major military facility

Unless you counted the long empty SLDF Outpost Castle, which was little better than a museum prior to the Word of Blake assault in 3069.  Then, it reverted to being more than a curiosity, becoming a steadfast fortress for the Resistance, along a few other facilities around the world.  Since the eviction of the Word six years ago, it had slowly returned to being a museum but with a more critical eye towards emergency use.  The Provincial Governor of Sage had not liked the idea of it being more than a museum but having lived through the Occupation, knew it was necessary… and it was via her efforts that the landscaping around all the defenses went back to obscuring them.  Out of sight, out of mind…

 With the return of the Wolverines to the Inner Sphere with what they still had; their being sent to Sage was something of a no-brainer.  The province needed people- so many had died during the three years the Blakists were here- and this was a facility well designed to take them.

The comm-call Governor Diane Sodher-Schaller had received two hours ago had woken her from a sound sleep.  And when the reasons for the call were explained, any thoughts of going back to bed were shot.  Indeed, shot and eviscerated….  She had kicked her engineer husband awake and after telling him the Castle was being activated, his sleepiness went away as well.  They had a plan of action for such an event… but reality, never expected to be using it.  Granted, the local Civil Defense Bunkers had been open for the last week as the fighting on Cromwell and Ashton had occurred but no major prep plans for the Castle had been made active.  And now, it was time to get it rolling.

  Geoff, a retired Technician and Engineer, started calling the various technical teams scattered all over the small continent (the size of present-day Australia) and alerted them to the activation of the Castle.  He then contacted the Museum Rangers and had them start the primary power plants.  That done, he then finally started getting dressed- though not in the comfortable clothes he had planned on.

 Diane, herself still in her sleeping robes, was working on the logistical staff call up (her initial calls to her assistants getting them in motion) when Geoff entered the home office in his old Lancers Uniform and gun belt.  She blinked.  “Honey… do you think that’s necessary?” She said as she tapped away on her computer.

  Geoff answered as he walked to the small weapon safe they maintained within the office.  “If we are activating the Castle, this is more than just a minor military affair… and our guests are soldiers as well as Clansmen.  All of this,” he said as he motioned to his uniform and gear, “is appropriate.  And perhaps a level of trust.  After all, soldiers know soldiers.  Even Technician ones like me.”


When the first of the Drop-ships began to arrive under Lancer Fighter Escort, the entire affair became all too real for those who had been woken up to get the facility ready.  The nearest landing field (a half mile away) to an Entry Door was already lit up with flood lights, the hard clay and dirt surface large enough for a quartet of inbound Mules to land.  And Geoff was on hand- as was a company of Guardsmen with their APCs- when the hatches opened up and the first of the civilians began to exit.

  Geoff walked up towards the lead passengers exiting the ships and noted a trio of persons heading for him.  All were clad in versions of SLDF uniforms he’d seen in books and in the museum.  Heck, even the Lancer uniforms were only minor deviations from them- but they were a deviant.  Not the REAL thing currently walking towards him.  When they got to about twenty feet apart, Geoff motioned his aides to stand put and he continued walking forward.  His counterpart from the other group copied his action about two seconds later.

Meeting in the middle, the two men eyed each other, and Geoff spoke first.  “Good morning and welcome to Rahway…” He began.  “I’m Chief Warrant Officer Geoffrey Schaller, acting deputy to the Provincial Governor. I am to be your initial guide in getting established in the area and at the Castle”

  The newcomer replied.  “Good morning in return; I am Loremaster Jerome Kosh; on behalf of all of us, thank you for all this.”

Geoff smiled.  “No worries, Loremaster.  And with the amount of work to be done, you might not be thanking me all that much; the facilities are capable but will require some work- we had about a three-hour notice.” He replied.  “Its not a facility for civilians… but we can deal with that question when all of you are down here.  There is a good amount of civilian housing on Sage so getting real lodging will not be hard. Just time consuming…”

Kosh nodded.  “Understood.  While it is a substantial amount of time for some things, I suppose in trying to accommodate so many, it would not be enough. And I agree, a Castle is not a place for civilians to live.”

“It is what it is- more warning than we got ten years ago,  but it was a different time then and for far worse reasons,” Geoff allowed.  “I admit there is a hope some of your technicians have a better understanding of some of the systems in here.  We’ve maintained them as best we can… but how some operate? Well, we don’t have manuals…”

  A laugh as the Loremaster watched his people come off the dropships and walk over to various trucks and trams for the ride to the Castle. “Well… we have a fairly large collection of such; I am certain we should have something to help with that.”

Mountain Retreat Compound
Knox Mountains approximately fifty kilometers from Zathras
0601hrs (GMT), 3 October 3079

 Trinity had arrived a few hours ago to the sight of at least two guards at the entry arch on the driveway by the road.  After they had verified who she was, she was admitted to the driveway and after a three-minute ride up it, she had come to the large two story building and parked her SUV outside a ramp that led to an underground garage.

  Getting out, she looked around the area and noting at least two people who seemed to be just sitting on the large deck.  It was when she got closer that she noted their submachine guns. Impressed by the light security, she entered the house with her duffle and packs.

  Inside, she was greeted by a robed individual and after pleasantries were exchanged, she was shown to her room on the second story.  After entering the room, she set her things down and sat on the bed.  She had been told breakfast was in two hours and with nothing else to do, kicked off her boots and napped.  She’d be meeting the Precentor then so it paid to be rested some.

When she awoke just before six, she quickly changed into a light combat jumpsuit pulled from the duffle and a light jacket was donned afterward. Boots on, she left her room and ventured into the central room where she saw about five others.

  The central room was recessed slightly lower than the surrounding floor area and possessed a large central table with a holo-projector on it.  Showing at this time was a section of the planet far to the east of Zathras, off the coast of Cromwell.  Several icons glowed in gold in the area of the Castle she knew was on Sage and in the areas surrounding it.

Other screens were on the surface of the table and they showed other spots on the planet, notable among them the heavy industrial areas of Forbes.  That one showed numerous icons in green and at least one gold.  Other screens showed similar- especially the area on Ashton where the Desert Strip was.  That was a mix of Green and Gold icons.

  Entering the room was a few servers with various foods in trays; these were set to the side on a side-table where some bowls and plates were.  Just after this came in, an older gentleman entered clad in the robes of a Precentor.  AS he entered, the others who were in the room came to attention and Trinity copied their actions.

  The Precentor stepped down to the end of the table and tapped a few commands into a panel.  The Holo dissipated and he began to speak.

  “Welcome to The Villa,” He began.  “I am Precentor Jules Drackman and will be coordinating attempts to extract the compromised and or shift some of you to new positions.  You are all valuable to His Light and Wisdom and with His Blessing, you will all continue to serve as you can.”

  He paused as he scanned the room.  “Some of you will have no issue with being placed in new positions to gather intelligence.  For others, extraction off planet will occur so you may serve The Word of Blake elsewhere where your talents will be valuable.

  Please eat and relax- discussions will be ongoing all day as to where you can or should serve,” he continued.  “Be assured, the situation that has been developing over the last few days is being monitored… and everyone’s status will be adjusted accordingly”

Trinity listened.  She was pretty sure she was someone who could not remain here unless it was here in this place.  Her family and its friends… made her stay here a bit precarious.  As she watched everyone go to get food, she joined the line to do so.  Just after she obtained a bowl of oatmeal, the Precentor appeared at her shoulder.

“Adept Melton…” He said with a smile. “I need you to come with me; I need a few words with you and you may bring your food….”

Trinity nodded and followed the Precentor.  She didn’t know the substance of why he wised to speak but she was pretty sure it was because of her familial ties.  She was led up out of the central area off to a side room at the end of the building.  Once in the room, the Precentor pointed to a chair for her to sit in and she sat.

  Taking a seat of his own, Drackman tapped a key on the computer in front of him on the desk and the screen sprang to life, showing a picture of her (looked like it was taken last year) and that of her father. An image of the desert strip was also on the screen where several wrecks of tanks were seen as well as a few battlemechs.   “So tell me, Adept…” He said. “What happened to cause you to run and do you know anything about this…. Debacle.?”

  Trin studied the picture.  “Of that battle, I don’t know overmuch.  I do know that there was a plan to ship the captured equipment off world as well as the prisoners to Federated Suns care…  and that what the Lancer’s faced was detachments of what is believed to be members of the Minnesota Tribe.  As I was departing, I managed to confirm who they were and some of the assets brought into the system.  I’m afraid that information is a few hours old at this point.  I would think you might have a good bit more by now.

The Precentor nodded.  “Indeed…  Warships not seen since the Clans invaded.  Decidedly important information- but you were in transit and not in a position to send it.  Since you went off the grid, the presence of the Warships has been confirmed and Dropship landings have been confirmed in several places.  Notable among them is on Sage and in the Industrial area of Forbes…. Do you have any information on what might be there?  Being there is a few of the Dropships there that came with the new Residents…  what might they have interest in?”

Trinity stopped and thought about it. “There is a few factory lines there for various types of equipment that the Lancer’s haven’t been able to get running right since the Helm discovery… or so my father said.” She replied.  “So, I imagine it might be some of their technicians being sent there to help get it running.  I don’t know any other reasons that would say different.  I know one was a League Era Engine plant that has bedeviled the Engineers…”

Drackman nodded.  “As for your father- he was able to interfere with the operation on Ashton.  That it had unforeseen forces was enough an issue but how was he in position to respond and prevent the retreat of our troops?  Do the Lancers have medical technology over and above most powers?”  It was a legitimate question.

  Trinity, surprised at their knowledge of her dad’s injuries, shook her head.  “I doubt it.  You see, my father is not one to miss a fight against someone he hates.  Injury or not…  Its why he’s popular with some of his Company… and one of the reasons Mom left him.  Its likely he took himself out of the Hospital when the 331st arrived… and likely broke a rule or two in even being there.”  She glanced at the holo of the airstrip.  “And he will dodge trouble for it because the Lancer’s didn’t fail.  Father lives for the fight… and not terribly much else.”

Drackman nodded again.  “Understood.  Adept Melton, I will likely be asking you a bit more later on.  I’m certain you will have much for the Order to learn about pertaining to the Lancers; but now is not the time to go over it.  I recommend being available later this afternoon for a debriefing.”

Trinity bowed her head. “Of Course, Precentor.”

“You may go.”

Trinity rose and headed back to the main room area, deep in thought.


Meanwhile, the pursuit had closed.

When McCoy and the rest of the team had arrived in Zathras around three in the morning they were met by an official from Planetary Security.  As the Kestrel was being off-loaded, the Spectre team was given an update on their quarry.

  A pair of station cameras had caught Trinity when she left the train and as she was leaving the Store Locker franchise.  Another camera in the Parking Garage also caught her on the Sublevel as she was heading for a stall.  Subsequent feed saw the SUV departing as the camera was swinging through its routine.

 A secondary discovery was forwarded to the local command here from the main Landing Complex.  With the suspicion of the Lancer family member and the death of the Comms technician, a complete review of who had access to the Lancer and Centaurus Government networks was initiated.  It started with who had active feeds or was drawing data from the secure network of Geo-Satellites that were in orbit… and an Unaccounted-For feed was discovered…. And the requested feed was being transmitted to an area north of Zathras.

 A recent overflight from a recon drone confirmed the location of the source- a mountain lodge some two hours or so by ground car from Zathras.  And at least three armed guards were present to the devices Low-Light cameras. 

  The decision was made by Captain McCoy to get up and get going- the longer they waited, the more likely their quarry would get away… and he doubted they expected a pursuit so fast.  Or even that they’d be found; the lodge was pretty unassuming.

 Roughly an hour and a half later, the team was in the woods around the Lodge and now were in position to strike.


McCoy looked down the sights of his Mauser and scanned the area in the early morning light.  Noting three guards on this side of the lodge, he tapped his mic active.  “Spectre Lead, have three- two walking the grounds north and south, one on the deck overlooking southwest corner pond.”

Cass spoke next. [Spectre Three…  I have one on the grounds east side.   No others visible.]

[Spectre Two…  I have two near the gate by the road.]

[Spectre Four…  One for certain north side.  Second in my sight is Lead’s north target.]

[Spectre One…  confirming Spectre Three count.  Add one South East corner.]

McCoy pondered the count.  “Lead.  I confirm Eight Count.  Twenty Five Percent Rule… Expect at least two more unaccounted for.  Unknown hostile count inside.  Choose your shots appropriately.  Move in thirty at my mark- confirm.”





A second later, McCoy transmitted.  “Mark.  First to go is deck man.”  Switching the selector to single fire, sighted down his weapon at the man on the deck.  Inside the visor of his helmet, he saw the counter descend towards zero and focused on his targets, plural.  “Mark…” he said and fired.

 The pulse laser portion of his rifle snapped out a bolt of concentrated energy… which connected with the neck of the guard on the deck, killing him instantly.  Quickly shifting his sights, he went for the southern target and within two seconds of the deck target dropping, this one fell too. His northern target dropped as Spectre Four took the opportunity to drop that one.

  Shots rang out over by the gate.  [Spectre Two.  One was able to react…  both targets down.]

McCoy was already moving.  “Happens…  move up and move in.  HVT is non-lethal only.  Judgement on anyone else…” AS he moved, he switched to the compact grenade launcher on the Mauser. He had a feeling he’d need it next…


Within the lodge, a small red light began blinking in every room….  And the internal staff was already moving.

  Trinity was startled by the sudden blinking light in her room and the increased activity.  Poking her head out of her room, she saw staffers were now armed with submachine guns.  Ducking back into her room, she opened up her rifle case and drew out the AX-22.  She had a good idea what was going on and was pretty damn sure it was NOT Planetary Security.  They’d have been far noisier.

Charging the weapon, she made sure her backup was in place as she left her room.  An internal comm unit spoke up at this point.  [Condition Red.  All Adepts draw weapons and prepare to repel assault.  Unknown assailant at this time…  Condition Red…]

 Trinity tuned out the notification at this point.  She knew who was here… and in hindsight, she should have worn a mask when she got off the train.  In any event, unless they were battle armor, the thirty or so Word Of Blake personnel here should be able to handle any group of commandos.  Coming out of the hallway, she listened to the Precentor sending folks to various places thoughtout the building when a small explosion was heard from the west side of the house.

“Adept Melton,” The Precentor said.  “I suspect you know something about what’s out there.  Speak now…” Drackman had two men in robes next to him and indicated them with his next words.  “They will be acting on what you know of what may be attacking here.”

  Trinity blinked.  “Um…  I believe they may be Lancer Spectres…  Those are the Direct-Action Internal Security troops my Aunt commands.  All highly trained; standard kit is Nighthawk suits and usually a mix of weapons.  All of them are capable Mech pilots as well as elite infantry- everyone of them has other talents in addition to the martial.  There is about a dozen that I know of…  or at least have seen.  I think there is more than that… I don’t know how many more though.”

 The two robed men disrobed, revealing Tornado suits under them.  “We can handle them…” The right one said and they headed for the doorway to the deck, each of them drawing a compact Mauser 1200 off their back as they reached the door.

One stepped through the door and disappeared in a series of small explosions…

Legends and Myths Nine

Zathras Station
Zathras Holdfast near the Knox Mountains
Continent of Cromwell
2215 hours (GMT) 2 October 3079

 As the train pulled into the station, Trinity was wide awake and quietly observant.  She was certain that someone was aware of problems back in Landing by now, some three hours after she left.  While she felt slightly bad about Jeff, he was a loose end at the wrong time and there was no having him keep quiet about her leaving or where she was going.  After all, he had been a good source of so much classified information over the last three years as he had been easy to turn.  All she had to do was show him some attention…  Nerds… She thought with ha slight smile.  Show them some affection and they will give you anything…

  When the train came to a complete stop, she stood and departed the carriage.  Taking a second to orient herself, she made her way to the station local Storage Block where a series of lockers were.  The Storage Block was a franchise that was primarily set up in areas where folks would vacation for either skiing or other recreational activities.  Within were storage lockers of various sizes where a person could leave bulky items, like rucksacks, skis and other things they didn’t wish to lug home.  Or lug back when they came back to visit.

  As such, it made the perfect place to store a Go Bag and equipment you didn’t want seen at home or caught with.

  Getting to the shop, she was pleased it was still open this late at night- there was afterhours access, but it required a code and the use of her ID card to get in.  And the less she had to use her legitimate ID the better.  Waving to the clerk behind the counter, she made her way to the proper bank of lockers and strode to the appropriate one…  which was not tied to her ID but to a code.

  Standing at the locker door, she looked both ways before entering the code into the keypad.  When it indicated open, she let out the breath she didn’t realize she had been holding and opened the locker door.  Inside the space was a small duffle bag, a military Hard-Ruck and a medium sized weapon case,  Pulling the duffle out, she opened it to verify its contents.  With a smile, she placed her travel ruck within it, closed it up and set it aside.  Grabbing the Hard-Ruck (a military backpack made with a light ballistic outer shell) and put it on, adjusting the straps as needed.  Pulling the weapon case out, she laid it flat and opened it.

  Within was an AX-22 assault rifle with several loaded magazines and a set of identification cards.  Grabbing the cards, she closed the case back up and after ensuring everything was out of the locker, closed it up.  Lifting the case and slinging the duffle, Trinity departed the facility and headed for the parking garage across the street from the rail station.

  Quickly crossing the road, she thanked the timing of all this madness- Zathras was a popular Summer and Winter destination and in off season, it was not crowded at all.  This meant to her that there would be few folks about and make it easier to spot any pursuit.  Gaining access to the garage using the other ID, she headed down a floor to Long Term Storage and entered yet another code.  The light on a stall down the way blinked Green and she hustled down the way to it.  Tapping in a third command code, the door to the stall opened to reveal a rather rugged SUV.

  Stepping to the door on it, she tried the handle first.  When it opened, she quick looked in the back of the vehicle and after ensuring it was empty, she stowed the gear within quickly.  Getting in, she pressed the starter and the vehicle fired up, the fuel-cell engine being full and apparently maintained.  After a few seconds to familiarize herself with the controls, she drove it out of the stall and to the ramp out.

Exiting the facility, she turned to the road heading out of town and heading north…  There was still at least another two hours of driving to the retreat and the faster she got there, the more secure she’d be for the next phase.  And there should be at least two others waiting there when she arrived.

RDF Section, City of Landing Spaceport
Continent of Cromwell
0049hrs (GMT+2), 3 October 3079

  The four commandos sat in the berthing in the small barracks area in the Spaceport Tower building.  All of them were in various state of relaxation as they awaited an update on their quarry.  None of them expected to be waiting long- the planetary security electronic investigators were pretty good and finding where she might have gone would be important.  Facial recognition software was handy for the various mass transit station cameras, and it was only a matter of time she’d be found if she had taken any.

  The Captain entered the spaces.  “Update,“ He said and the four perked up.  “They think she took the Landing to Zathras to Brookstone line.  Don’t know where along the line she might have gotten off if she did yet- Brookstone Station has been alerted to watch that train when it comes in; if she’s on it, they’re to detain if possible.”

  Cassie spoke up.  “I don’t think she went to Brookstone, Captain…”

 “Why?” He responded.

  “Too many people…. And even though it’s on the coast, there is only so many places to run if caught,” She said. “I mean, getting on a boat to one of the islands would work for a while but if stuck on an island, where you gonna run if found?”

  The Captain nodded.  “Ok continue…”

  Cass paused.  “If it were me, I’d find somewhere that was out of the way, some place I can pass the time while I wait for extraction.  Or set up a final stand if I was that bloody minded.”

The Captain stepped over to a computer and after entering a few commands, a holo of the rail line popped up.  “Ok, going with this line of thinking, where along this line would you go then, Cass.  Put yourself in the role…”

  She got up from her seat and walked over to the hologram.  Studying it, she pondered what she was asked.  “Well…  there are so many places,” She began.  “Any of these sites along the rail are possible but only if they’re on the schedule of stops…  That late at night, I don’t think so… so that leaves Zathras, Galen and Brookstone.”  Highlighting the three stations, she continued to look at the image.  “I still don’t think Brookstone is an option though.”

  Jake came over and de-highlighted Brookstone.  “Cass… I think you are right- she didn’t go there.  Even if she is a possible Blakist, she’s still family.  I don’t think Mass Casualty is going to be a first thought and any fighting there would have it.  Could be wrong though .”

Cass studied the line, pondering everything she knew about Trin and about what was available along the line.  “Zathras….” She reached out and made a circling motion in the hologram around the location, which picked it up.  “It’s not busy now as its off season, there is plenty of supplies available and there are a ton of cabins and camps up in the mountains.  All within three hours or so… and I bet if it’s here, she has somewhere already set up.  Or someone has something set up for her.”

The Captain watched her think it through.  “Anyone disagree?”

The rest of the team all looked at each other then back at the Captain. “No sir,” Sergeant Sidholm replied.  “It all makes sense to me. Galen is a poor choice as its just a river town. Options but not much different than Brookstone”

 The other two also voiced their agreement and the Captain looked at his watch.  “Ok, everyone go draw their Nighthawk suits; we are wheels up in fifteen…”

The captain departed the room, heading for his office here at the Port. Pulling a com-unit out, he dialed a number from memory.  “Dragon Mom, we think we know about where she is…. Somewhere in Zathras,” He said when the other end of the call picked up.  A pause…  “Of course, I’m going on this.  This team is good… but I think our wayward child was too well prepared to run, which means I think this might be a trap.  Or she has a lot more than herself wherever she is.”

  A second pause as he reached his office.  “I don’t think we will need Mech support; if this is a low-key retrieval op, they are not gonna risk assets.  Not on one agent unless they REALLY think she is that important.”  Entering his office, he walked over to a rather large footlocker.  “Most we might need is a battle armor team- if we need Battlemechs, this has gone stoooopid fast.”  Stopping at the footlocker, he smiled.  “Of course, I will be careful; Have I never not been?  Wait- don’t answer that….”  A laugh.  “Alright.  Let me gear up.  Will update as I know more.”

  With that, he hung up and set his comm on the table next to him.  Kneeling down, he placed his hand on a panel.  “McCoy, Argyle D… 135351,” He spoke aloud.  The panel on the footlocker glowed green around his hand and the locks popped open.  Reaching over, he popped the latches and opened the armored box.  Within was a nearly mint set of Nighthawk Mk XXII Light Power Armor which he began to pull out.

  Donning it quickly, he reached in and drew out the Star League era relic weapon, a Mauser 960 system.  The weapon was one had liberated, so to speak, from its previous owner (a Word of Blake Commando) about six years ago, and after having the gun smiths make sure nothing was screwy with it, it had served as his primary weapon when using this armor.  Setting the weapon aside, he pulled the lone magazine of micro-grenades and attached it to the port to the shoulder launcher.  Grabbing the hip-pack of power packs and magazines for the underslung grenade launcher on the Mauser, he attached that to his leg. He then slung the rifle over a shoulder.

Nodding, he began to whistle to himself as he closed the box back up.  Grabbing the helmet and the large caliber slug thrower from the office weapon safe, he then grabbed a pair of throwing hatchets. Donning the helmet, he stowed all three smaller weapons on his person as he made his way out to the airfield.
  Coming out of the door to the field, he saw the team approaching the custom Planetlifter they used for rapid deployment work, which sat with its engines starting to spool up.  Getting near them, he could see the looks of puzzlement on their faces.

  All of them wore the Mk XXX version of the armor he wore; it was no less capable but did not possess the micro grenade launcher attachment… nor did they have Mausers.

“Captain McCoy?” Jake called out.  “You’re coming tatcial?”

“Looks like it, don’t it?” He joked. “And I will be with you when we go to get her,” McCoy motioned for everyone to board.  “I figured I needed to nut up or shut up; so that meant I’m coming.”  On board the aircraft was a smaller VTOL lashed to the deck, a Kestrel.  It was a rare bird to see outside of Wolf’s Dragoons… but the Lancers had a few.  And obviously, it was being issued for this mission.  “I strongly suspect that she won’t be alone… and I might be an edge for this.”

Cass tapped the Mauser.  “Captain, I didn’t know these even existed any more…” She said.  “At least outside of ComStar.”

A laugh.  “Cass… not even Comstar knows this exists outside of their order or the Word, really,” He said as he moved forward in the cargo bay.  “The Blakist I took it from will never miss it, trust me.  Take seats and get your game faces on…  This trip is an hour or so…”

Quickly, the four troopers took up seats and stowed their own weapons- auto-shotguns and larger gyroslug rifles- next to them as the ramp to the aircraft began to close.  The Crew Chief of the plane came over to McCoy and after a very brief conversation, the man headed up to the front of the bird while talking into his headset.  McCoy sat down and leaned back into his seat.

  “I’d sit back and enjoy the ride…” He said to his team.  “We should have some answers from Planetary Security when we get there on if she got off there.”


Re-discovered SLDF Company Post C185
Ashton Badlands
2315hrs (GMT), 02 October 3079

  Major Farquharson stood in the post command center as various technicians worked to bring the facility back up and operational.  The discovery of this facility was something of a small windfall for the Lancers, with its supplies in cold storage and the two full lances of League Era battlemechs within.  And the types of machines were some serious heavy metal.  In addition to the four machines they found, a Battlemaster, Thunderbolt, Orion and a Catapult were in a second bay.  None were ready for quick deployment as ammunition bins were empty on every machine.  But they were in here and they were potentially able to be brought online without too much trouble- if their powerplants were able to activate.

 Right now though, the work being done was inventory and bringing as much of the facility to an operational stance before the battlemechs were to be tried.  And that was a huge thing as far as he was concerned.  Made the re-injuring of his ribs worth it.

And it was here in the command center where Major Leslie McCormack found her friend.  She had been on her way here when Argyle had updated her and with the information she got, it was time to let Sean know the bad news.  She was his oldest friend and if anyone was going to tell him about Trinity, it was her.  “Sean…”  She began when she entered the spaces.  “How’s it going?”

He turned to look at her.  “Pretty well…” He said. “Quite a bit here seems usable; the techs are saying the mechs seem to be intact enough but won’t know until a full systems check is run.  Told them to go one machine at a time…  and be certain.”  He set the tablet in his hand down.  “Not like you to come out here to ask that…  What’s wrong?”

  She looked around.  “There somewhere private we can talk?”

  Sean pointed to an office over along one of the walls.  “That there…”

  “Good…”  She said and walked over to the office, pausing to wait for him. “This is important…”

 A sigh.  “It’d have to be to bring you out here…” He said and entered the office.

McCormack closed the door behind them.

Techs in the command center heard him yell in Gaelic about three minutes later… then silence.  They continued to work, all of them knowing it had to be something not good for him to be yelling like that at his counterpart.  A crash shortly followed from behind the door.  Two of the troopers in here, drew side arms and went to the door cautiously, the rest taking up positions off to the side- then the door opened, revealing McCormack.

  “Private, get someone to bring Major Farquharson a first aid kit.  And send for a jeep.” She said quietly.  “Then find me Chief Colt.”

“Yes ma’am” the soldier said and departed to do both….

About two minutes later, a corpsman showed up with his kit and was directed to the office.  A knock and he entered leaving the door partially open.  Some quiet voices within and after three minutes, McCormack walked out with Sean and the corpsman with her.

  Chief Colt arrived and saw both Majors.  “Majors?” He asked, noting the bandaged right hand of Sean.

 “Chief, I’m taking Major Farquharson with me,” She said.  “There is a development involving his family and he’s needed in Landing.  You are in charge until relieved by me or someone from Logistics; likely Chief Spiegel.”

“Yes ma’am,” Colt replied, noting the pained look on his commander’s face.  “Don’t worry Sean, I got this.”

“Aye, lad,” Sean replied tightly.  “I’ve faith in ye…  I’ll be back soon as I can.”

With that, the two majors left the command space with the Corpsman in tow.

Legends and Myths Eight…

Mine Complex
Badlands of Ashton
Continent of Ashton
1558hrs (GMT+0), 2 October 3079

Major Farquharson and his three Mech Warriors walked their way down the entrance road into the mine.  All four had weapons up- the Feng brothers with small machine pistols, Campbell sported a pump shotgun to go with his pistol and the Major carried a Relic- an ancient Terran Thompson SMG.  All wore light combat armor and carried pistols in addition to their other weapons.

  Coming to a corner, Campbell peeked around the bend and looked as best he could in the dim light.  In the darkness, he could see the damaged Mongoose standing next to a closed set of Mech Size doors.  The Stinger also stood there, its cockpit open like the Mongoose’s.  A foot-size Secure Door sat open to the right of the Mech Doors… and a dim light could be seen emitting from that door.  Campbell relayed what he saw to the others.

 Jun Feng smiled.  “Allow me to investigate….” He said and with a nod from the Major, the lithe Cappellan produced a set of low-light glasses as he slipped into the darkness. His brother, Quaing, shook his head at his brother’s theatrics but said nothing.

In the darkness, none of the remaining lancers could see terribly much- they had flashlights… but they were a giveaway if someone was waiting.  Not for the first time this mission, Sean cursed the Commander of the Lancers- though it was more a pro-forma cursing.  Sean knew he needed to upgrade his accessories for ground shit.  But he never thought he’d need night-vision.  He’d address that when he got back to base.

  Campbell continued to watch the lowly lit area by the door- and startled slightly when the sound of several punches was heard along with two gunshots.  Then a body went sailing thought the dim light and crumpled to the ground next to the door, the victim’s neck at a very odd angle.

Jun moved into the light and motioned the rest of the Lancers forward.  When Sean got close, Jun gave a slight bow. “One down, Major.” He said in his accented English.

Sean smirked and gave a thumbs up.  “Nicely done, lad.  There is still two more…”

Quaing slipped by his brother at this point, a set of throwing stars to hand and a short sword in the other.  “Then finding them is a priority….” He said as he stepped into the doorway.

  The rest of the Lancers stacked up and one by one, they entered the hatchway.

On the other side of the entryway, a larger anteroom was found, which contained a set of hatch controls and another door, currently open, that led into the interior.  There was windows that looked out into the large Mech Passageway which was dimly lit by small LEDs in the floor and ceiling.

  Sean grunted once. “Either they were activated when they opened the door or who we are huntin’ found a light switch.”

Campbell shrugged.  “Could be either…” He replied.

Sean motioned for the Fengs to keep scouting.  “Forward lads…  “

Quaing and Jun slipped through the door ahead of their commander and Campbell.  Moving ahead, the two bodyguards advanced down the short passageway to another hatchway that was partially closed.  It opened up into what looked like a Guard Checkpoint which itself had windows that overlooked a very large Mechbay.  One capable of holding a pair of Lances.

  It too looked was dimly lit- though the mercury-arc lights were slowly getting brighter; revealing other mech sized openings to what could be another mech bay.  What the improving light in this area revealed though….

  In the mech cradles closest to the booth, the figures of two battlemechs could be seen.  An ancient Crusader stood in the closest one while a Shadow Hawk graced the other visible cradle.  Neither looked operational… though it would not be for lack of trying by someone.  The other Militia pilot was up in the Shadow Hawk Cockpit attempting to do something.

Campbell pointed up at the Militia pilot.  “There’s one…” He hissed as he lifted his shotgun.  As he did so, the Feng Brothers began moving forward out of the booth towards the cradle.  If Campbell missed, the militia pilot was going to be difficult to dig out.
  Waiting ten seconds for the brothers to get far closer to the cradle, the Lancer Pilot let loose one carefully aimed blast.  The buckshot tore through the air, spreading out some due to distance and various bits of the munition pinged off of the framework of the supports.  Not all of it though, as at least two pieces of buckshot hit the Militia pilot.

  They didn’t do much at this range but it definitely got his attention.  Said pilot brought up his pistol and returned fire, the Laser energy discharge missing the two lancer pilots but not by much.  Moving out of sight of any more shotgun blasts, the Militia pilot disappeared from sight to Sean and Campbell.

  The Fengs, sprinting from the start, reached the cradle and began climbing the stairs up the scaffolding.  Jun, ahead of his brother, was the first one to come face to face with the now-bunkered Militia pilot and a small gunfight broke out.

 Down below, Sean and Campbell moved forward to back up the Fengs, the Major taking a quick look to see if the last member of the Blakists was nearby.  And it was a good thing he did, as the former Malak pilot charged from the opposite set of cradles.  “Shite!” He exclaimed and triggered a burst at the charging Blakist.  Luckily, a round from the burst managed to clip the foe, which threw off his charge slightly.

  The Lancer officer took the charge- his body armor dampening the blow to his side and internally, he pictured a rib re-cracking from the hit.  Tumbling to the ground, he lost his grip on the ancient Thompson- the weapon scattering away from easy reach.

  Standing over Sean, the Malak pilot produced a gyroslug pistol and fired it at Campbell, who had spun to get a better angle on the Blakist.  The shot at the pilot connected with his armor, staggering him but not dropping him.  The distraction of shooting Campbell proved to be the Malak pilot’s un-doing..

  Even though he was in a world of pain, old reflexes kicked in for Sean as he snapped out a boot which connected with the Blakist knee.  Quickly rolling, the Lancer grimaced in pain. Definitely broken again He thought as he came up to a knee, his sidearm to hand.  Without even pausing to aim, Sean fired twice- hoping muscle memory was still a thing.

  It was…  as both shots hit his foe center mass… but didn’t drop him.  As the Malak pilot staggered, a boom from Campbell’s shotgun indicated he was still in action- and the buckshot connected with the Blakist…. Followed by a knife thrown from high up on the Cradle by Quaing.  The combination of all the hits dropped the fanatic- though no one was betting he was completely dead.

Campbell got up off the ground, shotgun to hand and stepped carefully towards the prone Word of Blake pilot.  “You ok, Major?”

Sean staggered to his feet.  “Aye… though I think I have a re-busted rib.” He answered.  That fookin’ hurt.”  His pistol in hand, he too moved a bit closer to the downed enemy.  “I’m debating shootin’ him again…” He muttered.

“Major, no one would say a thing,” Campbell said quietly as he glanced to the cradle where the Fengs were.  Seeing they had themselves a prisoner, the enemy Militia pilot over the shoulder of Jun, he returned his attention to the enemy and the Major.  “Though we do have one prisoner, a second one might not hurt- though I suspect he isn’t long for this world.”

“Nae… I dinnae think so either,” Sean replied.  “And I’m nae the one to shoot in cold blood.”  Holstering his pistol, he continued.  “Let th’ fucker bleed out… However, if’n he twitches, shoot ‘im again.”  Turning away, he walked over to his relic and lifted it off the ground, grunting with the effort to do so.  In doing so, he took the time to look around… and whistled softly.

The lights had come up even further at this point and he could see a lot more of the Mech Bay.  And in here, there was more than the Shadow Hawk and Crusader.  A pair of odd-looking Rifleman were in the other two Mech Cradles.  Both were far bulkier than the usual machines and appeared heavier.  “Oh holy crap…” he said in wonder.  “We are gonna need that platoon….


Desert Strip Delta One Alpha
Southern badlands of Ashton
1601 Hours (GMT) 2 October 3079

The scene in the Command Building’s Conference room was an odd one and something no one would ever had dreamed of.  A quartet of Mechwarriors, clad in SLDF fatigues and cooling vest,s sat in chairs on one side of the table while Colonel Warrington plus a pair of aides sat on the other side in their uniforms- similar in style to the visitors but bore different patches.

   A video conference had just concluded- the leader of the newcomers, Colonel Hollister- had had his concerns over the condition and treatment of the captured pilots from a few days ago addressed.  And addressed to very much his satisfaction as they looked healthy and his man, Captain Drake, assured him that their treatment was pretty good.  Even despite provocation from one of the others, their Captors had treated them very well.  After verification of everyone’s condition, the video call came to an end.

  Warrington looked over at the Communications Sergeant.  “Is the feed set for the next call?” He asked.

  The sergeant nodded as he tapped a few buttons on a screen.  “Yessir…  coming up now.”

On the screen, the Logo of the Lancers (a Phoenix with paired lances in its claws) cropped up and after about ten seconds, it faded away to reveal the bearded commander of the Lancers.  [Greetings, Colonel Hollister; my name is Colonel John Tinney, current commander of the Phoenix Lancers…. I trust you are a bit happier over your people’s conditions?]

 Hollister nodded.  “I am indeed.  Their condition is far better than expected, actually, and its appreciated.

[Good to hear this- I am of the mindset surrendering troops deserve the same medical care I’d give my own, albeit with a bit more security involved. All of yours were injured to one degree or another with one exception- and he picked a fight with one of my scouts who dug him out of his cockpit.]

Hollister chuckled.  “I was so informed by the senior officer among mine who are your guests.  No hard feelings on my end- it is my knowledge of past affairs this was not always the case- at least with other entities within the Great Houses.”

On screen, Tinney nodded.  [You are correct.  And even among the Merc crowd, some of them are less than accommodating…]  He informed the Myth before him.  [But this is not the primary reason for this call, is it?]

Hollister was quiet a moment.  In for a penny, in for a pound, He thought.  The Remnants need stability and odds are against anywhere being better.  Except maybe with that Stone person, if even then. “You are Correct, sir,” He began.  “Our coming to your system was for more than a social visit or to interfere with your fights…  That first altercation was a mistake and the second one compounded it… though it allowed us to prevent more errors.

  You see… the last of Clan Wolverine, Exiled of the Clans, are returning home to the Inner Sphere.”

The looks on the Lancer Officers in the room and on the screen was one of utter stunned shock.  After a handful of seconds, Tinney recovered quickly. [Ooooooookay….  This is a great surprise and not a small event, given what I know of where the Clans are concerned.  Its been almost 300 years since the SLDF left and 29 since your former cousins came back shooting up the place….  In short- Why now?] He asked, the greatest poker face he’d ever used now in place. [I mean, you and yours were seen, it’s believed, in the 2800’s out near Valentina… which by the way, is now Clan Snow Raven Territory and not far from here, unfortunately….]

 He paused.  [So, your return to here was a bit lucky on your part.  How lucky though is open to debate as it can be a bit bad for us here…  Which also leads into Why Now?]  The Lancer Commander fixed the Wolverine Officer with a very stern gaze. [I can think of a few reasons, but I want to hear yours.]

Hollister lifted the glass of water he had been given earlier.  This was going ok so far- but what was to be said next…  “Well, the answer is complicated and perhaps not so much, depending on what you choose to believe.
  In the time between our departure from the Pentagon Worlds and the avoiding of the Clan pursuits, We have wandered the stars looking for somewhere to settle.  And we did eventually find one though not all who left with us made it there.  Some ships disappeared and at least some chose to settle on the first location suitable.  The rest of the survivors continued on…  and eventually found a location some eight hundred light years away spinward of Terra.

  “We Wolverine Survivors managed to survive on the world but it was a tough time for the first century.  While there were many among the populous that were Technicians and no few craftsmen, the ability to maintain advanced machinery and the highest levels of technology was strained at best,” He paused.  “Do not misunderstand, the survivors managed to maintain for a very long time and even build a Mech Repair Facility inside our lone Fortress Dropship.  But as time wore on, it became very apparent that the thirty thousand members of the Clan were not going to survive a lot longer without access to whatever advances were here… and elsewhere.”  Hollister held up his hands, palms up and open.  “Maintaining what we had was becoming an issue and the issue of trying to return was put to the Entirety of the Clan vote.…. 

 Its not like we were blind to what was here; we knew some of what has transpired over the years- a patrol encountered Dark Caste renegades about five years ago and they revealed a good bit of where the Inner Sphere and the Clans sat power and political-wise….  We took what was said with a large amount of salt, of course.  But the decision to try was made.  We could not last forever and I took an oath to defend my people… I will not let them die without trying to find a means to help them.

And despite the dangers, coming back to the Inner Sphere was really the only option left to us.” He finished.  “hence the vote and our showing up here.”

Colonel Tinney’s face was still in poker-mode, the information he had just been handed was a virtual nuke in terms of history and danger wrapped in a semi-neat package.  The effort to keep his concerns and shock at what he was hearing off his face was damned epic.  And for the most part, successful

Visibly taking a deep breath, Tinney replied to Hollister.  [Colonel… I can only state the obvious that I am utterly shocked that you and yours survive.  Shocked… and yet, I should not be; history has shown time and again that we humans are capable of resilience and thriving under some of the worst conditions…  The fact your kin managed to last some 200 years separate of anyone else is testament to that.

  I am a soldier…  And I am a humanitarian when I can be…. Right now, those two things are arguing with my responsibility to the residents of this world and seeing to their safety as a whole. Especially in light of the madness that is still going on within the Inner Sphere and the machinations of the Word of Blake; or as you called then, the SL Comnet.  But the safety of Centaurus is a major consideration, especially when news of your return gets out.  And it will get out.]

Tinney stopped there.  He wanted to give Hollister a few moments to ponder the dilemma their return posed…and being asked of the Lancers before continuing. After a good ten seconds of silence, he continued. [So, if settlement here was a viable act, what can the Remnants of the 331st offer to help defend this world from those who would come looking for you and yours?]

Hollister, who had listened and weighed the words of his counterpart, spoke.  “What we offer is what we have left of our Touman; Six Warships of various classes, eleven Jumpships, twenty-eight Dropships of various classes, thirty two aerospace fighters and roughly two battalions of battlemechs….” He replied.  “Along with a substantial library of technical manuals for things we still have and that we haven’t for some time.”

Tinney pondered the report of assets being given by the Wolverine Leader.  Biting a lip, one could see he was weighing the man’s words on what they offered… and he took a deep breath.  [Substantial… and it leads me to think my decision is the right one.] He said finally.  [Colonel, you and the remnants of the 331st are granted permission to land and settle here….  With the caveat that you will pledge to defend Centaurus with all the means at your disposal.

 I assure you that once your presence is known outside of here, there will be many attempts to capitalize upon your return… or in the case of the Clans, exterminate you.  If I can help it, the Lancers will not let your Civilians come to harm while you are assisting in the defense of this world.  When should we expect your ships?  I’m fairly certain you had a plan if this situation didn’t go sideways.]

Hollister breathed out.  This had gone far better than he had any hope to have happen.  And one hoped his next answer didn’t stress out his hosts.  “Sir… sometime in the next hour, some of our warship assets will be arriving as well as a transport of initial… well, now they would be an advanced party of settlers.”

Warrington blinked. “Well shit.  Colonel-“

Tinney held up a hand on screen.  [Well then I suppose I need to let my Aerospace commander know… as well as our L5 station.  Don’t want any misconceptions.] He replied.  [Colonel, please record a canned message that can be transmitted at them or be available to speak directly to them… ]

“Of course” Hollister replied.

 [Good… Jim, I leave him and his company in your hands…  I need to let Conigliaro know right away…. And get with Interior to figure out where to put our new Settlers.]

Warrington nodded.  “I’ll get on it now…”

Tinney smiled for the first time in the conversation. [Good.  And Mister Hollister, welcome to Centaurus.]


Outer reaches of Centaurus System
1959hrs Landing Time (GMT+2)

  Lt Colonel Mike (Cujo) Conigliaro vectored further out into the deeper reaches of the local system.  After the dustup by Centarus III, he and his squadron had docked with the Leopard CV that served as the transport for his squadron when he got a change of mission.

  Four of the fighters were Omnifighters- captured Batu’s, from the time the Lancers participated in Operations Serpent and Bulldog… and they were pretty potent warbirds, despite their short legs.  The other two craft in the squadron were new SL26 Samurai medium fighters, dogfighters and capable ground support craft when needed.  Not that they would be doing that for what was they were just ordered to do.

No, what mission was coming next was an adhoc greeting party…. Of something that likely could blow him out of space if it was a sucker’s bet.

  When the call from Lancer Command came, Mike and his full flight had just docked to refuel, the engagement around Centarus III having been a wicked and brutal affair as the Dropship they pursued has deplowed a handful of its own fighters as it was docking with an Invader-class Jump ship.  Mike and his men had dealt with the fighters well enough (he suspected they were drone fighters as they were not hard to defeat) and had not been able to stop the Invader from Jumping out.

  So when that call came, he was looking for a distraction.

  And after he got done with the call, he almost wished he hadn’t taken it.  Getting with the crew chiefs, he had them get the fighters serviced quickly as he called up to the drop ships bridge to route them towards the outer reaches of the system as fast as possible.  That done, he warned the boys and girls of the squadron that they would be launching within the next half hour.  HE still could not believe what he was told…  and deflected questions to when they would launch.  “I’ll explain then,” was the common reply.  He hated giving it… but with OpSec being a thing right now (he didn’t think any in squadron was on anyone else’s payroll) the less ears the better for what he was going to tell his squadron.

So now that they were launched and away from the ship, he broke the news to the flight.  “Bulldog squadron…  listen up.  Sound off…” One by one, the rest of the flight sounded off as hearing their commander.  When the last one responded, Mike sighed once then began.

“Ok gang… Sorry for the secrecy but its goddamn necessary,” He began as he made double sure the recording he was sent was present for playing on the specified frequency.  “Because what I am about to tell you is some serious crazy and no little incredible.”

[Cujo… not a one of us don’t doubt its something stupid.  We know the rumors about them Mystery Mechs…]  Lt Darlene (Dancer) Joy, on of the SL26 pilots, commented.  [Everyone be like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs lately…]

  Another pilot spoke up.  [Yeah, Cujo… What could be more insane than those guys being actual Wolverines?] Lt Jimmy (Dropshot) McCoy said from the Batu on his wing. [Next you gonna tell me they are looking to join up?]

Cujo chuckles.  “Funny you should say that, Dropshot,” He replied.  “Cause that is essentially what’s happening, after a fashion.”

The lone Clan Born pilot, Lt Cassandra Phoenix, who had long been a bondsman of the Lancers and used their moniker as her last name. answered her commander.  [Cujo, I am not liking this news…  for many reasons.  If they are who they say they are, we may have a problem…]

Cujo knew this was coming.  “Phoenix, I know… and you also know how much of what you were told by your former clan Loremasters might be bullshit.  How long did you spend with the researchers on Strana Mechty and learning some of the information they kept from everyone?” He asked of her. “I know of some of it damn sure didn’t match what we did know… Like the battle of Luthien and Turtle Bay massacre?”

  The former Clan Wolf pilot was quiet.  [Aff, Colonel.  I cannot deny this…]

  “Good.” He snapped.  “Because I don’t want to send you back to the Dropship…  especially if this is a trap ‘cause I will need every fucking one of you.  So, you will act as a Lancer pilot and ONLY fire if fired on or one of us is shot at.  Am I fucking clear?”

 [Aff] was her subdued reply.

Cujo coughed once and continued in a more business tone.  “Ok then… AS it has been alluded to, our Mystery Folks are exactly that; the legendary remnants of the Three-Three-One.  And their follow on vessels are coming- and should be jumping in shortly out here… and we are the welcoming committee.”

[What are we expecting?] Asked Dancer as everyone’s sensors began to light up.

“Warships I was told, along with regular jumpship…”  Cujo answered.  “And I think this is them…. OH HOLY SHIT!!!”

Jumping into system about where Hollister had said they would be, five vessels that were more or less out of a history book.  In the space before them, four Warships in SLDF Naval colors shimmered into existence.  A Texas Class Battleship led the flotilla, a ship class not seen in the Inner Sphere since 3050. The last time Cujo saw one was during Operation Bulldog- and that one was a mess.  With it was two ship types he’d seen more recently but in the hands of the ComGuard, an Aegis Class Heavy Cruiser along with a Vincent class Corvette.  Following in their wake was what came up on the ThreatComp as a Potemkin-class cruiser, with its Dropship collars all containing Drop Ships of various kinds.  The last ship to arrive and set back aways was an ancient civilian Monolith Jumpship.  It too contained Dropships of various sorts.

“SLS Bismarck, SLS State of Grace, SLS Socket…” Cujo was calling out as the IFF of each ship as it came up on his computers. “SLS Juno and something id’ing as THS Rule 34….  Really?”

Dancer replied to that. [Sense of Humor, Cujo?]

“Heck If I know….  Message incoming…”  Tapping a button on his display, he listened to the message obviously coming from the small fleet.

[Unidentified Fighters, this is the SLS Bismarck.  Identify yourselves or be prepared to be fired upon…]  Targeting radar focused themselves on his flight as they closed…

“Oh boy…  Some friendly folks.  But then, I’d be a touch cautious too…”  Cujo said to himself before activating his transmitter.  “SLS Bismarck, this is Bulldog Flight of the Phoenix Lancers Regimental Combat Team…  Welcome to Centaurus System and stand by for a message from your representative, Colonel Don Hollister” Quickly tapping a few buttons on his side panel, Cujo hoped like hell this worked…

Otherwise, this was going to get messy.

Transmitting over the com-channel, a short message from the Wolverine commander played.

[This is Colonel Hollister.  To my brothers and sisters of the Clave, we have been given refuge and a home.  Condition Green Two….  I repeat Condition Green Two…]

Silence on the channel then a voice.  A slightly emotional one, too.  [Bulldog Flight… Thank you for that message…]  It said as the Threat Receivers registered the loss of being targeted.  [Its been a very long journey… ]

Cujo smiled softly at the emotions in the transmission, knowing full well someone was trying to hold it together.  Couldn’t blame them- he knew if he and his ancestors had been wandering the universe for 200 years, he’d be a bit emotional too at the end of something like this.  “SLS Bismarck, Bulldog Lead,” He said as he shifted his flight away from the flotilla and back towards Centaurus IV and their dropship. “Allow me to be the first to say….  Welcome Home.”

Legends and Myths Seven – a hunt begins

City of Landing
Continent of Cromwell
2103hrs (GMT+2), 2 October 3079

(Approximately four hours after battle at Mine complex on Ashton)

A light rain was falling over the city of Landing, the site of the main Phoenix Lancer command facilities and where many of the dependents of the Lancers lived.  A very clean city, the local infrastructure was something to be seen.  Fairly clean city with many shops and businesses, it possessed a solid mass transit system for local travel- hover trams being the most common form available- and an outstanding 250kph+ high speed rail network to the other major cities on the continent, including various locations in between.

  One could say you could get anywhere from here, either by train or plane via the Spaceport/Aerodrome on the outskirts of the city.  Considering it was the Capitol City and the oldest settlement on the planet, their being here was kind of expected.  Well, expected by those who enjoyed civilization…. Or needed to get somewhere fast, without fanfare.

With the attacks over on Ashton over the last few days, the Planetary Governor had ordered many of the reservists to duty and opened up the Civil Defense Bunkers for use if needed.  Since the fighting was over on the southern Continent, not many folks went to the bunkers as there was no apparent danger at this time.  It didn’t mean the streets were crowded though.  More than a few of the populous stayed home these nights as the Alert Level could change quickly…

And it was this night that saw Trinity Farquharson looking outside her apartment window to be sure no one was there.

On her bed sat a travel ruck and a note-puter set to a local music station.  Next to it sat a pair of knives, a high-powered laser pistol, spare powerpack and a small slug-thrower sitting in a belt holster.  Two magazines sat next to it on the bed, fully loaded with a box of spare rounds next to them.  When she heard of the Blakist Assault on Ashton a few hours ago, Trinity had availed herself of City Policy to leave up from work to get affairs or items in order before a potential attack.  However, it was not for reasons her Supervisor thought.  Several others had also left, using the same policy she was so she wasn’t the only one leaving.  She was pretty sure those others were legitimate departures, which helped give cover for her.

  The policy was put in place after the start of the Jihad and the attacks early on that hit the planet from the Word of Blake-hired Mercs and one of their Militia regiments.  The fighting had been fierce back then and it had taken immense effort by the Lancers with assistance from the 3rd Pesht of the Draconis Combine to push them back off world.  But the damages done were not all cleaned up in the time since nor was Blakist presence scoured completely.

No, the Word of Blake used the chaos to plant agents among the populous, both sleepers and recruiters.  And it was one of the later that had recruited her blood-mother and her.  Her mom, not long after the fighting had finished, had used the opportunity presented by the Word to leave Centaurus- and in the company of a Word Agent who recognized her valuable knowledge of the Lancers.  Her mom convinced her to stay here, maintaining the façade that she still cared for her siblings and her mercenary MechWarrior father for reasons her mother gave that she believed real… Being a fairly good actress, maintaining the façade wasn’t hard.

  Being one of the unit Dependents, she was privy to rumors, quiet news and the occasional classified information.  Some of it she had passed along to her handler or another fellow agent who moved it along the chain.  Some of it, she made a point to investigate more and simply document for later or send it up the line.

When the news broke internal to the Lancers about the mystery mechs fought by her Aunt and Step Mother, she knew this information she had weaseled out of her boy-toy was important enough to risk a priority message to a contact.  And that contact asked for additional information on locations of where the captured were being kept.  It took some doing but she managed to get the information out of her patsy, a CommCenter technician, including what that asshole Hartman reported on what he faced/found…

 Not long after sent the secure data packet, she learned her Aunt was looking for whomever leaked it to MIIO…  and subsequently, the Word of Blake as it had been said her Signals techs picked up a transmission late last night.  Or so she got from her plaything in the Comcenter when she spoke to him earlier.  Trinity had zero respect for the normal Planetary Security and Intel folks…  In her opinion, they couldn’t find an apple in an orchard.  But her Aunt was a different story- she had a knack for learning secrets and finding them.  Often faster than many would like… plus recruiting those who were just as good.

 And Trinity being a WoB agent… was a pretty big secret.  One that could get her killed, despite her father being a soft touch for his children.  Any other thing, she could convince him to use his position to save her ass or bail her out of trouble. For this though, Trinity knew it would not work for this.  Which is why she was packing to leave….

She quickly finished up packing and after activating a new note-puter, she sent a message to a drop box from her old device…

Hi Mom,

  Time to leave here before it gets too warm.  See you at the Mountain Retreat!


 As soon as it pinged as sent, she shut the device down and pulled its memory cards then its drive.  Setting them on her countertop, she reached under the sink and pulled out a container of acid.  Pouring it on the items, she made sure all the contacts of the memory cards and the drive were wrecked.  She then took a set of tongs and placed the drive into her oven.  Setting the timer for the oven to turn on, she then set the temperature to far higher than the meting point of the drive.  If she was right, it would melt onto the heating elements and catch fire… and maybe catch other items in here on fire.

It was as good of cover as any if someone did come in.

She went back to her bag and the weapons.  After stashing the two knives in un-obtrusive spots, she set her slug thrower with its inside-the-belt holster into the small of her back and covered it with her now donned coat.  Into the travel ruck went the laser pistol, the extra powerpack and the spare slug ammo along with her new noteputer.  It was time to leave and who knew how much time she had before her Aunt figured out who and where the leak was.

  She was pretty sure her message signal was buried among all the other junk signals in the area… but that the message had been detected meant the Hammer was coming.  And knowing the competency of who her Aunt tended to recruit, they would figure out about where before long.

And that meant it was past time to leave.

Glancing outside one more time, she saw her boy-toy’s car.  Shit.  She thought.  Horrible timing…  And a knock at the apartment door was heard.  Steeling herself, she went to it and after a second, opened her door.  “Hey!, She exclaimed to him.  “I was just getting ready to get out the door…  What’s up?”

  Jeff entered the apartment.  “What’s up? Oh man, Trin…  It got crazy in the COMM center!  Between the battle down on Ashton, the aerospace engagement out near Centaurs Three and the appearance of a trio of Warships with ancient SLDF IFF, the word Insane just doesn’t cover what’s happened over the last three hours.”

Trinity looked stunned, both at the news and the timing of her learning of it.  Damnit…  talk about horrible timing, she raged internally as she kept it off her face.  Could you not have come twenty minutes sooner or five minutes later? She answered in a semi-shocked tone (which was not too far from real) “Jeff, are they connected to those weird mechs fought by Majors McCormack and Hartman a few days ago?”  her question was one to confirm her thoughts on the matter.  What came after that was already decided on, no matter the answer…

  Jeff looked around.  “Oh hells yeah…  that is what makes it so insane.  Literally Legends have arrived here on this planet.  LEGENDS!!”  He threw up his hands.  “This is going to be a genuine windfall for some older Tech to come back.  Or even advances on what we have…”

  Turning towards the apartment’s fridge, he walked to it.  “Do you still have the beer I brought over?  And what’s with the acid on the counter?” He asked as he turned to look at Trinity- who now had her slug thrower in hand and pointed at his head.  “What the fuck?”

“I’m sorry Jeff, but I was never about you…” She said as she pulled the trigger, the weapon bucking once and its round entering Jeff’s open mouth as he was about to protest.  His brains splattered nicely against the fridge- almost like art, Trinity noted to herself as she spoke to the now dead Jeff.  “All you were was a means to an end…”

 She calmly reloaded then replaced the pistol in its holster.  She wasn’t worried about the shot being heard; the soundproofing of these apartments was pretty good.  Still, she went over to the entertainment center and powered it on to the local Acid Metal station.

Nodding to herself, she dimmed the lights in the place and after retrieving her bag, locked the apartment as she left.  She had a train to catch to Zathras Station where another bag was waiting for her to retrieve, and she was running a touch tight on time.  If anyone came looking for her, they would find the body and it might slow things down for pursuit as a McGuffin can.

Might.  If it was Planetary Security, then certainly.  If it was her damn Aunt’s spooks, the odds went down on it slowing them up, if at all.

Getting downstairs, she hoofed it to the corner and caught the Tram before it left the stop.  Part one of her journey was now in motion…  and part two was in ten minutes when she got to Landing’s rail station.  With plenty of cash on hand, the lack of using cred-sticks would help keep her off radar…

City of Landing
Continent of Cromwell
2215hrs (GMT+2), 2 October 3079

  The oven had come on a few minutes before and had started to smoke some when the apartment door busted in with a pair of shotgun blast to hinges.  Bursting in was a pair of men in light Special Operations body-armor armed with automatic shotguns; behind them was two more troopers armed with SMGs. The markings on all four bore the markings of the Lancers and a custom black-and-red cross patch with a gold center gem on their right forearm bracers.  All four troopers swept the apartment, with one stopping to check on the now very dead Jeff.


“Clear- one deceased”

“Clear!” The fourth one said as he reached out to turn off the oven.  “Something’s cookin’ here.  Grab that extinguisher, Jake.”

Five seconds after the apartment was secured, the Team Lead entered the apartment as the aforementioned Jake used the extinguisher on the contents of the oven.  “Report…”

The first man who had been through the door looked at the newcomer.  “Captain, no one here but this person- obviously deceased prior to our arrival.”  He pointed to Jeff’s body.  “No one else present…”

“No other signs of struggle?”

“Negative…  and judging by the body position, he was facing whomever shot him…” Came the reply from Trooper Three, her light soprano voice being at odds with the very martial garb she wore.  “No idea if the Subject did it or someone else.

Jake (trooper two) held up the partially melted drive from a corner.  “I’d say between the acid on the counter and this…  I got money on the Subject.”

The Lead nodded with a grimace.  “Not taking that bet…  This means the search needs to be upgraded, pronto.”  Pulling out a comm, he tapped two times on its panel and then held it to his ear. “Spirit Central, Spectre Team One…

He waited a moment before speaking again.  “Strike location cleared.  Subject not present though there is one deceased on location.”  Holding out his hand, Jeff’s id was placed in it as the lead listened to whomever was on the other end.  “Id found on the subject is that of a Jeffery Atkins….”  A pause as he listened again to the other party.  “Ok.  Secondary Search to be done and then the 9 unit can come in to collect.  Remaining on scene until Secondary gets here.  Spectre One Clear.”

  Hanging up, he stowed the com unit as he explained what was talked on.  “An Investigator Team will be here within five to give the place a full scrub.  When they get here, we can leave but must head straight to Landing Spaceport.  Once the Subject is located, we go to get her.”

  The female trooper spoke up.  “Detain or Other?”

 “Detain, Cassie. She is Lancer Family… Anyone with her, use judgement.”

“Hooah, Captain.” Cassie replied, shaking her head at the mess of the situation.  She knew Major Farquharson… and this would absolutely destroy him when he found out.

She was just glad she wouldn’t be the one to tell him.

Legends and Myths Six

Abandoned Mine
Ashton Badlands
Late afternoon, 2 October 3079

 The battle to stop the retreating Word of Blake battlemechs was fierce- and given the fanatical nature of the Blakists combined with the extreme hate for them from the Lancers, it was to be expected.

Major Farquharson maneuvered his custom Marauder around a hillside alongside his BlackJack bodyguards to reveal the slower Blakist machines into sight.  As he settled his sights on a Blakist Awesome, he heard the mad giggle of his daughter as she used the Clan-Tech Large Pulse on her Panther to savage a enemy Mongoose.

  Missing the enemy Assault mech, he muttered a few curses in Gaelic as the overview map showed two Blakist light machines managing to enter the mines.  “Shite…  Clarkson, get to that entryway and block it…” He ordered over the net.  “Someone stop that Celestial from getting in there…  Bastard probably has a key…”

[On it… just got to get by the Awesome…] The other Panther pilot, Warrant Officer Snyder, responded as he sent his machine into a dead run by the extremist machine, triggering his weapons as he did so and slagging some armor in the process.

The Awesome, buggered by more than a few targets, was distracted by the hits and its particle cannon shots went wide right as he targeted the Major.  Its companion machines, a Thunderbolt and a Trebuchet, also fired up various targets as they tried to make it to the mines.  The other Blakist machines fought desperately as the noose closed.  A Blakist Stinger and and the other Mongoose managed to get into the tunnel of the mines as their brethren attempted to slow the advancing Lancers.

  Destiny cored out the Mongoose she shot at earlier, ripping out its center in a blaze of energy and short-range missile fire.  [Take that, Cat-Snake!] She crowed over the net.  [Meanies get what they deserve!]

Sean shook his head as he adjusted position.  Ah Child… Not fun if its you…  He thought as the Blakist Thunderbolt turned to face him.  “Ah laddie, You should have ran…” He muttered as the enemy Heavy came towards him, its weapons attempting to hammer him and missing- though not by much. “Boys, give him some attention…” He said across the lance channel as he dumped everything into the approaching machine- his cockpit heat level rising a bit from the weapon discharges.

  The two Blackjacks- nicknamed Frick and Frack by Major McCormack- were twins hailing from the former St Ives Compact when they joined fifteen years ago and had always piloted these machines (DB models).  As such, they were very competent pilots and when working together, they rarely missed what they shot at.  And as ordered, they unloaded on the Thunderbolt, their own heat levels rising but the results were worth it as not a thing missed…

Between the Brothers and the Major’s weapons fire, the Thunderbolt visibly shuddered and fell over in front of Sean’s machine.  As it landed, the good Major delivered a kick from his heavy machine into the downed Blakist.  The results… were impressive, as his Marauder’s foot connected with a Thunderbolt head assembly.

  Looking up from the carnage his kick did, he saw that his light lance had managed to dispose of the enemy Malak, Cicada and Trebuchet as they made a break for the Tunnel.  The Cyclops fell to the firepower of the short-range weapons sported by the modified Griffin in his command.  All that was left of the Blakists at this point on the surface was that damned Awesome.  And it was not going to go without a fight.  But then, he wasn’t on planning to let it have much ability to fight.  “Slag that thing!” He called over the net and everyone who could shoot the machine, did so.

  It was overkill.  The mechs of Charlie Company, all of them sporting either minor efficiency upgrades (better heat dissipation) to their loadouts or salvaged Clan Weapons, cut loose on the Word of Blake assault class machine.  And the results were devastating.  When the smoke cleared, just about all the armor was scoured off the battle-mech and there was very little of his frame that was undamaged.  The carnage was that…. Horrific.

As the Mechs of Charlie Company spread out to check the other downed machines and investigate the opening, the news that came over the coms wasn’t good. 

 [Major…] The pilot of the Wolverine, Warrant Officer Campbell, called over the coms. [Two got in.  That Stinger and the Mongoose… and I think the Malak pilot hoofed it in while we were killin’ the Awesome.  Casey put a pulse laser ahead of the Treb pilot so he’s under watch right now.]

Sean let out a bunch of invective before he activated his mic. “Oh so ye thought a Celestial pilot was nae gonna be able to run, didya?”  His Highlander burr entered his speech when he was annoyed.  “There is even odds they are them Manei idjits.. which means they take punishment like a Marian Hegemony gladiator”

 [Major, I saw a fast-moving man running like he was being chased by hounds. Casey saw him and the Treb pilot running- he was able to get his Pulse shot in the way to stop the Treb guy.] Campbell replied. [If we got to go in after them, I’ll go.  I’m the one who missed ‘im]

Sean cursed a bit for a moment then answered his troop.  “Oh I suspect we have to go in and dig ‘em out.  I want to drop the openings… but I dinnae think Himself would like that…” He replied.  “Old Tech and all that…  Bloody SLDF and their hidden bolt-holes.”

[Understood, Major.  I’ll get with the others and then get my gear out.  And what do you mean, Bolt Holes?  Is this…]

  “Aye.  I got the news just as we were engaging… and from an unlikely source, let me tell you.  Get ye gear ready- I’ll be there in five.  Got to let Himself know what’s what right now.”


Sean stopped his machine by the opening to the mine as he pulled up the Command Channel. “Lancer Command, One Mike Charlie”

After about five seconds, [Lancer Command…]

“Three got in.  And one of them is a problem child…” He answered.

[Sean… that’s not good.  Precentor or the Celestial?] Came the reply.

“The Malak pilot.  Bugger popped his hatch and hoofed it in. The other two are Mongoose and a Stinger. Militia pilots we think.  We captured their Precentor- he’s currently snoozing… and four other pilots.”

[Well, thank the gods for small favors- I think Reyna might want to ask him questions…  Sean-]

 Sean cut him off.  “I know… you want us to dig the buggers out.  Any idea what that facility *might* be before we go in like damn fools?”

[Still working on that.  Les thinks it might be a facility like what Tris found…]

  Sean closed his eyes, thinking on what he had seen in the one Facility he had been in when he came to the Lancers at the end of the Civil War.  That facility had been pretty solid and its equipment, while somewhat worn from use (it had been a found facility about ten years before), was still in excellent shape and had plenty of internal sensors.  Its security features were sound too- the reinforced mech doors that would need several Luxor Class D Autocannon hits to blast through it on a good day was a feature he remembered.  The man-sized doors though… a proper command code or a really top-notch slicer could manage that.  If it wasn’t on a Code-Hopper setting.  Then there was the supply rooms…  Oh, if this was an untouched facility, Blakist troops locking themselves in here would be bad.

“Tinney, you know I want to just collapse the tunnels, right?”

[I do… and I don’t blame you.  But if its got a back door, we need to know before they come out it.  And if there is machines in there capable of being powered up…]

“… the last thing we need is a bunch of League Era Lynx, Thugs or worse to come boiling out of here.  We’re going, we going…  How fast can you get a platoon of troops out here?  We do have prisoners… and you know there is likely Blakist friends out here.”
[Working on it- Conigliaro is currently up in the air with most of our Aerospace chasing a Blakist Dropship away along with making sure CAP is in place… but there should be a full platoon of power armor from the 5th on its way to you via Karnov.  If you don’t see it escorted by a trio of Peregrine’s, shoot it down.]

Sean paused in his action of opening his hatch.  “Are we that penetrated?”

[No I don’t think so…  but until we know where the hole is, I count on nothing.] Tinney replied.  [I’m waiting for word from Leslie on that.  She said her network was on to something.]

“Right.  I will let everyone know- I trust ye are gonna tell Warrington?”

[he’s next.]

“Alrighty then.  Here’s hopin’ this dinnae go stupid.”

[Good luck, Jarhead…  This is going to get worse before it gets better…  I have a teleconference with a group of Myths shortly.  You are not going to believe what brought them here…. Or why they want to talk.]

“Sounds fun.  Wanna trade?”

[If I could….  Command out.]

Tossing the tethered gear bag out of its stowage space, Sean climbed down the rope ladder to the ground.  Once there, he opened up the bag and donned the light bodyarmor and webgear within.  Activating his comms set to the Company net, he began to brief everyone on what was going on as he loaded weapons and stowed spare rounds.  By the time he had his weapons set, Campbell along with Jun and Quiang Feng (aka Frick’n’Frack) had come over to him.

“…And that’s why we have to dig this buggers out.  Any questions?”

Silence was his answer for about four seconds.  [Dad…]

“I’ll be fine, Child.  Just because I haven’t been a ground marine in fifteen years dinnae mean I forgot how,” Sean answered.  “And I have the Feng brothers with me.  I’d worry more for them Blakists in the tunnels.” He glanced over at the lightly armored Blackjack pilots who smiled back at him as they bowed slightly.  “Anyone else?”

Six seconds passed. “Okay then.  Chief Colt, you have the Chair till I get back or another Lancer officer shows, Aye?”

[Aye, Major.]  Colt, the pilot of the Rifleman, answered.  [Anyone shows that isn’t us, they will get what for…]