Tseng-Jorgenssen Nature Preserve
The members of the Wolf Watch team had not expected the resistance from the staff of the facility they encountered. While the one member went for the labs where it was expected to find the Lancer officer, the other three men attempted to shut down and eliminate and potential interference. It didn’t go as expected.
The staff at this facility was a mixture of Clan Ghost Bear science caste and natives of Alshain. And the natives, with a long history of resistance to various invaders from before the Ghost Bears and after, fought back with a level of fury and skill quite unexpected. Technical Staff assisted what security officers were on site with adhoc weapons like water sprayers and tools. In one instance, a janitor used a bottle of cleaner to catch an attacker in the face which blinded the Agent before another ran up to club him down. Another, a medical technician, produced a large hypodermic full of sedative and stabbed another in the throat after hiding in a closet until the attacker went by.
Overall, the twenty-something staff of the Facility managed to stop the attack but not without casualties. Some fourteen members of the staff were injured and of them. Five of those would die from those injuries but their sacrifices were not in vain.
As the Security Forces responding swarmed the site about nine minutes after the alarm went out, they found the staff tending to their own as best they can, with the visiting mercenary doctor assisting the medical staff with treating the wounded. One Elemental almost got bit by one of the doctor’s mastiffs, the doc calling off her beast when she saw the trooper come into the main foyer of the facility.
The lead trooper, Star Captain Kincaide, called out to the one security officer by the entrance for a report and he quickly explaining the events as he knew them. Kincaide then called for additional medical transportation for the injured. He then went looking for Kris and Cassandra.
Kris, for her part, assisted the other medical personnel to best of her ability. She was not a human doc, but many techniques were similar… and she also had experience with dealing with combat injuries from back home. As she exchanged gloves for what must have been the twentieth time, Kincaide and another Elemental approached her and Cassandra, who was helping her with her work.
“Warrant Officer Tinney?” The Elemental officer asked, triggering his visor open as he spoke.
“Yes?” She replied as she donned the new gloves. “Cassandra… hold that bandage in place please. I don’t like the way its still bleeding. Should have stopped by now…”
The trooper waited for her to finish giving instruction then continued. “Ma’am… I have been given orders to get you out of here and back to Silverdale.”
Kris glanced at the trooper as she applied more wound-clot, the gunshot wound on the security man refusing to stop bleeding. Her patient was still awake though very pale and being monitored by a veterinary technician who had some EMS experience. “That’s nice, Trooper… but I’m a touch busy.”
“Ma’am…” The elemental was unfazed. “My orders come from the Khan.”
“And?” was her retort as she fastened the new bandage in place. “Mine are from higher than her… Ok, Janice, it starts bleeding again, do as I did, ok?” At the acknowledgement from the tech, Kris turned her full attention to the Trooper as more sirens could be heard in the distance. “Sorry… but patient care comes first for me.”
Kincaide looked to Cassandra, who he recognized then back to Kris. “Ma’am, I understand but I have my orders to get you out of here.”
Before Kris could retort, her Elemental guard spoke up. “Kincaide, as soon as the transports get here and the injured are moved out, we will go. I happen to agree with her- the situation is stable at this time and the wounded need tending. Warrant Officer Tinney is the only one among the functioning staff who knows Human medicine and has worked a mass casualty event created by combat. She is needed until proper personnel are here,” Cassandra said as she too exchanged gloves as her charge had done. “Which should be shortly. We will need to assist getting the injured out. The attackers came here armed and were obviously attempting to kidnap her… Only one had non-lethal means.”
Kincaide’s eyes narrowed. “Impetuous… of them.” Was his reply after a moment. “And there will be repercussions for this insult once the Khan is made aware of those facts. Ma’am, once the wounded are loaded, we are leaving with you and the Star Captain. No agruments”
Kris breathed out. “Agreed…” The sirens quit as the medical transports arrived. “Many are able to walk; a few will need stretchers.”
Kincaide nodded. “Understood.”
Ghost Bear Dominion Government Complex
Kris and Cassandra entered the Khan’s office with the dogs and found the rest of her companions there with the Khan and Loremaster Tseng. The two were a mess, with various amounts of dried blood on them, as well as on both dogs. “Hi,” Kris said. “Um, I can explain…” She waved a hand at her disheveled state.
Leslie and Kabrinski looked at each other then at her. Kabrinski spoke first. “I am aware of what you were doing there- I was given a report by Star Captain Kincaide and a corroborating report from the head of the Facility.”
Leslie added. “I was informed when she was, Kris. Are YOU ok?”
“I am,” Kris replied. “Its been a hot minute since I had to work a triage… I need a drink.” She looked around for a seat she would not ruin with sitting on it in her messy state.
Kabrinki merely motioned to her to sit anywhere. “Do not worry; I have a very good cleaning staff.” She said as Tseng went to the beverage cabinet that was in here for private meetings. “I can only thank you for your efforts, Kristina. I am ashamed this happened as you are guests.”
“Its not like you were expecting this, Khan Kabrinski. Kidnapping attempts are not exactly predictable,” She replied as Maggie brought over a beverage handed to her by Tseng. Kris accepted it from her friend. “I hesitate to ask what other madness is going to happen with us here.”
Leslie looked at the Khan again who sighed. “Funny you should ask that…” The Khan said. “We have received a communication from our erstwhile some-time opponents the Jade Falcons.” Reaching out to a panel on her desk, she hit a couple of buttons.
On the end of the office, a holo appeared with the symbol of Clan Jade Falcon in the center. The image of a very stern-looking brown-haired woman appeared shortly thereafter and she began to speak.
“I am Samantha Cleese, Khan of Jade Falcon, heirs to the True Vison of Kerensky. I request Safcon for the purpose of overseeing a Trial of Possession of the dezgra Mercenary known as Lieutenant Colonel Leslie McCormack of the Phoenix Lancers for judgement in regards to Crimes against The Vision and Traditions of Nicolas Kerensky, founder of the Clans.
We request to face her on the field of battle to avenge losses suffered by My Clan during Operation Revival at the hands of her Organization. When defeated, she will be taken into custody for Trial on Sudenten where punishment will be meted out.
We also request a Grievance against Loremaster Laurie Tseng, for advancing the insult to the Way of the Clans. In her position of Loremaster, she should not have even entertained the assertions of a Mercenary over The Way of the Clans.
Arrival of our contingent is estimated to be by noon of 20 December 3080.
Refusal to agree to this request will be seen as an insult and Ghost Bear will be considered to be harboring individuals we regard as Criminals. Repercussions for such an Act will be appropriate for such actions.
I await a response via Hyper Pulse Message within forty-eight hours…. And Bid will be matched as appropriate. If no answer is forthcoming, our next communication will be more direct.”
The message ended with the Falcon symbol.
Kris stared. “Of all the bullshit reasonings….” She started to say, the two dogs bristling at her initial anger then stopped, looking over at Leslie and then Kabrinski. “Is this even a thing?” Both dogs moved to sit next to her and Kris put a hand on both of them, her drink now resting on a table.
Kabrinski held out a hand and Tseng put a glass of beverage there. “Unfortunately, while highly unusual, it is more or less a legitimate request. Colonel McCormack and I discussed this a good bit while we awaited your return. And while rather circumspect, it passes our Traditions well enough. That they are even offering to allow you to defend themselves is unusual. But given they seem to have a…. bone… to pick with your Unit, I suppose they think they will be able to address those losses from back then.”
Leslie picked up where the Khan left off. “From what I remember of what she speaks of where the Lancers are concerned, it involves two challenges the previous commander made against them during the original Invasion,” she said. “Colonel Kalan Jammack had managed to figure out the dueling rules, the concept of Zellbringen, that was tradition for the Clans then. And used them against the Falcons. First was a solo battle between Jammack and a Galaxy Commander, with Jammack managing to defeat the Commander of that Galaxy. They tried again about a week or so later and their attack was met with Challenge again. This time it was Commander versus Commander with their respective star or lance, in a battle for control of the world. Same Galaxy, if I recall… and the Falcons lost that one too.
Then more insult to injury when the Wolves attacked the planet about a week later after they found out about the Falcons losses. By then, I believe, the Lancers were retreating off world as there was no way for us to stop a second attempt. The Wolf Commander let them leave…”
Shan, who had been quiet, spoke up then. “I’m with Kris… this is bullshit. And if the Birdies want to play stupid games, they should get a stupid prize… I mean, what’s done is done and if they are all butt-hurt over shit that happened decades ago, that’s THEIR problem.”
Maggie commented quietly. “Shan… I get their anger. You never listened to Sean talk about the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland on Terra. I have… and the Highlanders of Northwind still speak on it as if it was only last year, hating on the English even though they have not been on Terra for centuries…” the woman said. “And that was over a thousand, thirteen hundred years ago. Doesn’t make it right but traditions are what they are and memories long. Especially with a clan-based society. No offense…” she added for the Ghost Bear benefit.
Tseng nodded. “None taken, Margaret.”
Kabrinski pounded the drink in her hand then looked at the Lancers in her Office. “It would seem I have a decision to make here but unlike many, it is not as difficult as it may seem. As it now involves my Loremaster, I am having a stake in this.” She spoke. “I am told you also brought your battlemechs as cargo with you?”
Leslie nodded. “We did. I made the decision as if your world was attacked while we were here, we would not sit on the sidelines. That would be rude.”
The Khan exchanged a look with Tseng then returned her attention to the Lancers. “I see… and your willingness to fight on our behalf shows your honor. I must agree to this request; while the Dominion could resist their efforts, we are still rebuilding from losses incurred during the Jihad. It would set us back some were the Falcons to launch a full assault on our holdings.” She paused. “If you are going to honor their request, I would like to ensure that your machines are fully operational for the Trials.”
Tseng added. “As I am also named, I think adding myself to your Defense might throw them off some. I suspect they might expect me to fight Alone in a Grievance… Perhaps making MY Trial a part of yours will mess with their plans. They are a hide-bound Clan and an unexpected variable may be an advantage.” She smiled. “If nothing else, I did pay attention to your unit’s history and the lessons within.”
Leslie blinked. “The offer is welcomed, and I trust your Technicians will perform brilliant work on our battlemechs. Some of the weapon systems are salvaged Clan equipment and having them examined by those used to it will be a good plan.”
“Then a reply will be crafted and sent” Kabrinski replied with a grim tone. “I do NOT like having my guests threatened… but I am in theory not part of the Trials. We will be ready for treachery on their part though- I suspect something back-handed on their part because this is all highly unusual. And I think I know a suitable reply. I suspect they won’t like the counters…”
She looked at the Lorekeeper of Wolverine and a slow smile began to appear on the Khan’s face. “And I think an additional Insult should be sent too. Don’t worry, Lieutenant. I think your addition to the message will really cause them to overthink, or not think, which is the goal. Fighting in anger often means fighting stupid. And that can lead to loss… I think the reply will help make them mad enough to fight stupid…”
The return message was sent about six hours later.
It began with the symbol of the Lancers, the Phoenix Rampant with lances clutched in claws. It faded out to show Leslie clad in her Dress Uniform, a Ghost Bear Remembrance Award upon her right breast.
“Khan Cleese, I am Lieutenant Colonel Leslie McCormack of the Phoenix Lancers and I am answering your Challenge with one of my own….
I will defend myself against the nonsense you put forth as Allegations with regard to denying Historical Facts. Myself and my Command Lance will face whatever you choose to send to attempt to take possession of my person in a Trial of Refusal… because I REFUSE to be considered a mere prize to be fought over in this manner. If your Clan wants me, you shall have to fight me and my companions. Be advised, I am no easy Foe to face and I do not Fight Alone; thus I will not go Quietly.”
The image shifted and Loremaster Tseng appeared within it, clad in her Ceremonial Uniform. The older woman’s features were a mask of stark anger and the tone of her voice reinforced this notion.
“I am Loremaster Laurie Tseng of Clan Ghost Bear. I am answering the insult to my Position as a Guardian of Ghost Bear Traditions and Honor… and I am choosing to tie your Demand of Grievance to the Trial of Refusal that Lieutenant Colonel McCormack offers in rebuttal. They are our guests and your attempts to take them for a nonsense reason is of Grave Insult to me and to the Honor of the Ghost Bear.
This insult to our Clan’s Tradition of Hospitality will be answered for by those coming to seek to take MY guest. Thus I am tying my Grievance over this blatant misuse of Traditions to their Trial.
Clan Ghost Bear refuses to let them fight alone.
Whomever comes for Her will also be facing Me as part of reinforcement to their Batchall. Choose wisely who you send for I will fight on her behalf as does the Ghost Bear in defense of those claimed as Family. Be Wary and Be warned… You are courting disaster with your actions… and I assure you, it will come for whom you send to try for those in our Home.”
Tseng faded from view to be replaced by Shari Hallis in her Dress Uniform, the patches that showed her affiliation clear as the sun.
“I am Shari Hallis, a Lorekeeper of Wolverine…. I am to be witness to the Trials that have been asked for and the parameters proposed. History is history… one can deny it at their peril for the truth, the facts… are what they are. Hiding from them only disgraces those who choose to ignore the truths of the past.
And that past is bloody.
What happened two hundred fifty-five years ago occurred because of lies and hubris of the one you hold as Saintly. Dishonorable Actions put forth by a petty, jealous man over the success of those he could not control, a Clan Leader who he could not cow…. Then later copied.
Your assertions of his Infallibility are flawed and your reasons for pursuing this course of action equally imperfect… History will ultimately Judge your Clan when the time comes, as it always does. Even your own Loremaster will not refute that.
May you be prepared for the future you are creating here… for it will not be kind.
I am Shari Hallis of Wolverine…. And I, along with the Universe, will be watching.
The message ended with the symbols of the Lancers and Ghost Bear side by side, while the symbol of Wolverine sat below them. After five seconds, the message faded out.