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…
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.