Legends and Myths Seventy Five- The Storm: Airborne!

Karnov “Lady Lodestar”
Nine hundred meters above Central Divide
Approximately thirty kilometers North of Drazi
0030 hours 09 December 3080

 The Lady Lodestar flew through the night air, its rear ramp open.  A pair of pallets sat in the center of the cargo bay and an assistant load master checked the straps on its parachutes one last time. Four troops were on either side of it in jump seats, lounging as they awaited the word to get ready.  The rest of the platoon was further in the craft, all seated much as the pallet teams were.

 Top of the ramp stood the load master who looked out into the night air, a hand to an earphone.  After a moment, the load master walked forward towards the front of the crafts. Stopping by the lead trooper by the starboard door, he tapped him on the shoulder. When the trooper looked up, the loadmaster (who doubled as the Jump Master) held up five fingers then moved on towards the door and triggered it open.

 The trooper he tapped, Sergeant First Class Anthony (Shade) Sadowski took a deep breath after acknowledging the message. Four minutes, He thought to himself and stretched once before sitting up proper.  Looking back over his stick of troopers, he could only lament over their job tonight and how odd it was.

  Shade was part of the Phoenix Lancers’ infantry contingent, which was made up of a number of disciplines ranging from standard foot to special operations. Right now, he was the acting platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon of Bravo Company, Third Battalion, 173rd Airborne Regiment. And they were about get stuck in for the first time this invasion.

 Paratroops were a rare thing in the late 31st century, with most militaries using one of the tried-and-true forms of grunts or the flashy Jump-pack types for the non-power armored sorts.  The Lancers, being the odd sorts with their lineage and habit for *non-traditional* means of conducting warfare, elected to use maintain units like his in their forces; indeed, they had three battalions of them..  It was rare they deployed anywhere and in his twelve-year career, he had only been off world twice for contracts and had five combat drops (one a near-space HALO drop!) between those contracts.  And in his career, he never expected to be doing a combat drop on his own world.

 And yet, here he was…. And about five minutes from showtime.

 As the side doors opened on both sides of the craft, he could hear the engines change pitch- the pilot settling into a slow stable speed for dumping troops.  Above the doors, a red light snapped on, bright in its glow.  The Load Master turned to face back towards the troops on board the craft.

“FOUR MINUTES. OUTBOARD, STAND UP!” The Loadmaster screamed out and the troops on the outboard positions stood and turned towards the door.

 “INBOARD, STAND UP!” The troops of the inboard of the craft duplicated the movements of the outboard troopers.

“JUMPERS… HOOK UP!” At the command, the troopers clicked the static lines to the central cable that ran the length of the bay to the door.  The troopers by the pallets did the same for the floor snap-rings for the ramp deployment.  Then they hooked their lines to the center cable that ran to the back ramp. They would be following the pallets when they rolled out.

“JUMPERS…. CHECK STATIC LINES!” All the troopers checked the lines that ran from the hooks to the chutes and made sure they would work as they were supposed to.  One didn’t need a failure when it was time to step.

“JUMPERS…. Check EQUIPMENT and SOUND OFF” The next thirty seconds was spent by the troops checking snaps and chutes, making sure the clasps were in the proper position to function.  From back to front all sounded off that gear was correct. Gearbag tethers were checked to make sure they were connected properly; the biggest mistake was always not checking this and losing your bag.  Such an event would suck as it usually held spare ammo and other items that could be important on the ground.

The light about the door changed to Yellow.  “JUMPERS… STEP UP” The line of troops either side of the craft moved forward two steps towards the doors. The troopers by the pallets rested hands on pallet releases.

The light turned Green.  “GO GO GO GO GO!”

 Shade stepped forward and spun- he’d be the last one out and he patted each man in his stick on the shoulder as they stepped out the door into the night sky.  As soon as the last man went, he followed them out the door.

 The process was duplicated on the opposite side of the craft, his assistant platoon sergeant doing as he did.  The troopers with the pallets hit the released and gave the platforms a shove which sent them down the ramp into the air, followed by the troopers assigned to them.

As soon as all the troopers were out of the craft, the Lady Lodestar flew on for another three minutes before banking south for another five minutes of flight then made a turn for the route home.

 Elsewhere, a similar process played out with four other craft, their passengers all hitting the night sky and floating to the surface of Centarus for their missions.


 Shade unbuckled his harness after he gathered in his chute upon landing a few minutes later.  As near as he could tell, all thirty of them managed to land without major mishap.  At least so far…. But he wasn’t counting on shit just yet.

 Dropping the harness on the balled-up parachute, he shoved it under some brush as best he could and went back to his gear bag. Withdrawing his M18 Modular Battle Rifle, he made sure it was loaded before slinging his gear bag over a shoulder. Others near him did the same and within the next six minutes or so, the troops formed up into small teams and headed towards the location of the pallets.

 The M18 was a very updated version of a twentieth century design, the M8. Over the centuries, the weapon concept had been refined and was the standard rifle for the Lancer Para and Special Operations troops due to the options the weapon allowed for. For this mission, everyone was using the Carbine loadout, with at least two men set up for Marksman and two running the light machine gun configuration.  The platoon could dish out serious fire power if needed… And if they did their jobs right, they would not need to unless they chose to.

 Dumb shit always happens though, which is why his platoon had a pair of LS3 robotic pack mules. The LS3 was a concept dating back to the 21st century and had seen use periodically over the centuries. Their use allowed forces like his to have heavier weapons and equipment for missions of importance… much like this one. Carried on the two machines with them was excess ammunition, a collection of one-shot Antitank launchers and various shelter tarps/netting for the soon to be established base camp.

  Shade had been pleased to have the machines for this mission but was also dubious about bringing them because they might not survive it…  Supply was notorious for being pains in the asses over expensive or sensitive equipment and these things were NOT cheap. A battlefield loss could be written off, of course, but it would play hell with the budget for next year… or so his CO had said.

  He thought that was bullshit; the damn planet was invaded, and some supply puke was giving them crap about accountability for this thing? That motherfucker could come out here and claim it back his damn self.


 Approaching one of his squad leaders, he knelt next to her. “Shantz, you got everyone?” he said in a near whisper.

 Sergeant Ekat Shantz, a five-foot five brunette dynamo and native to Centaurus gave him a thumbs up. “’Course I do,” She replied. “no one twisted an ankle, either. Dunno if that’s good or bad… Already saw Mikey; he has all his goons too. Even Bear.”  The one she referenced, Bryan ‘Bear’ Bogdonivitch, was every bit as big and burly as his nickname.  And just as sleepy most of the time too… at least when he wasn’t busy. There had been a betting pool he was gonna nap through the drop and be asleep on landing.

 “Nice… was he awake?”

 “Yep- even had his chute balled up and stowed. You owe me five credits…”

 A shake of the head. “Shit…”  A pat on the shoulder and Shade moved out, collecting the rest of the platoon and the two MULE teams.  If he was right, they had about four hours to get to the base camp site and then through the pass to the Objective.  It was a small field supply point for the other side, located in one of the wineries and his platoon had been lucky enough to draw that straw. It wasn’t supposed to be all that large but still of importance, even if it was just for ammo.

 If things went right, he and his troops would hit it at sunrise and either take it or blow it.  All things being equal, he’d rather take the place.  Clover Hill made a very nice spiced-wine and the place they were to hit was where it was made.  He really would rather not have to blow the place up…


 About four and a half hours later, the assault sections of the platoon were in place at the outskirts of the winery as the sun began to peak over the horizon. Overlooking the place, Shade panned his infrared mag-noculars around and took in what was there. By his count, there was about a dozen, maybe a dozen and a half, troops defending the place and another fifteen to twenty technicians of various sorts.

 Several Caterpillar P5550 Power Loaders were sitting by portable generators and roughly twenty tons of munitions were stacked neatly between rows of wineberry vine-racks- all covered with netting. Several pallets of armor and the fuse-welders for its attachment were sitting to the side of the pressing barn. No major repair facilities otherwise; the site was meant for reloading and basic armor repair only.  And everything was protected from aerial observations by the netting.

  It was neat and orderly… and not terribly out in the open either.  However, it was likely to be busy come mid-morning, though. His platoon leader, First Lieutenant Charles Norris, had told him the armored boys had given the southern defenders of the central divide a big ol’ shove north. It had cost them some, but it cost the invaders more in position and their tanks. Of the battlemechs, it was more ammunition and armor on the machines; may not seem like much but the invaders had retreated.

 Norris figured they would likely come here not long after first light- battlemechs had a rough time at night- and it would be here that they would get a surprise. First of many…

 Shade had made sure every squad had an antitank rocket or three when they left the base camp and was glad he did.  The disposable weapons didn’t have great range, but they were able to hurt a mech…. Or blow up an ammo pallet.  And right now, he didn’t want to face a mech.  So, blowing the place, as much as it pained him… was going to have to be a thing. Having to blow this place up hurt his soul… but such is the hell that was war. I hope they have a warehouse somewhere with this year’s haul, he thought. This will suck if I’m the one who destroyed this year’s product…

 Activating his platoon net, he gave orders to his squad leaders. “Shade to all teams…  we are blowing the place. Engage in ninety, nine zero seconds…. On my mark. Acknowledge.” One by one, his squad leaders acknowledged, and Shade lifted his rifle up. Quickly adjusting his sights, he settled his aim in on a large bell hanging on a post by what looked like a hand pump.

 “At the sound of the bell, unleash hell…” He said into his microphone and focused his aim.  Breathing in, he held it for a moment and then let it out…. Squeezing the trigger at the natural pause in his breathing, the rifle fired.

  The shot split the morning air and it flew true, the round striking the bell with a resounding PING and subsequent ringing with the shock to the device.  A moment later, the morning air was further torn apart with the sounds of multiple rifles shooting at defenders and antitank rockets streaking into ammunition pallets, detonating the contents in a maelstrom of explosions and fragments.

 The resulting explosions had the effect of taking out nearby pallets of armor, damaging them and wrecking various structures they were near. A few of the power loaders toppled from the concussive wave of sound energy and air, the machine falling like dominos.  Some of the technicians were caught in the explosions and not terribly many survived being engulfed. Those that did, did not live long. Few defending troops were able to return fire, the surprise being as complete as one could have hoped for and their lack of expecting to be engaged was plenty plain to see.

Shade pulled back from his sights and watched the carnage unfold. After about three or four minutes, he decided the place had had enough and called into the platoon net once more. “Eagle Platoon, disengage and fall back to rally point. This place is toast.” As the squads acknowledged, he watched a little longer before turning to his RTO (aka Comms Tech; the phrase RTO was something from a looooooooong time ago that was still used. Damned if he knew why…). “Alrighty Sparks, let’s get the flock out of here.”

 The RTO, Specialist Jane Sparks (her real name), nodded. “Couldn’t agree more, Shade; Ain’ no one gonna be happy down there…” She headed out ahead of her platoon sergeant, her weapon at the ready as they moved. “Fuckers shoulda stayed the hell away; crazies get you killed.”

 Shade agreed with his RTO; the bastards down there should have not gotten involved with the Word and this was not going to end well. Not if he had anything to say about it.

Legends and Myths Seventy Four- The Storm: The Leadership returns

Potemkin Class Cruiser SDS Juno
Near Deep Space Sensor Station Agnes
0810 Hours 09 December 3080

 The Juno, positioned some five thousand kilometers from the occupied station, floated as a picket for the system. Marines from both the Lancers and Wolverine sources were currently cleaning out the Blakist troops aboard the station. 

 Before the crew had evacuated two days ago, they had managed to lock out the invading troops from the engineering controls and this in turn kept the Blakist defenders from blowing it up when boarded.  It didn’t mean they weren’t going to fight but it did mean there would be no suicidal detonation of the station.

  Which was good, as command wanted the station retaken and back in service as soon as possible.

 Captain Sierra Mann, commanding the Juno, sat in their command couch and listened to the bridge crew update status as operation on the station progressed.  On the surface of Centarus VII, the handful of Blakist forces were pinned between Lt Ford’s crew in the bunkers and the company of Marines deployed to put them down. That fighting had gotten bloody fast though it should not last overly long.  The Blakists had their troop ship and not much else in support while her marines had fighters and at least one marine Alacorn that was used for popping gun positions.

 Probably another hour, tops, she mused.  Glancing over to the local space display, she noted the status change for the station. “Lieutenant Xi, that correct?” She asked the Deck Officer, indicating the status change for Agnes.

 “Yes ma’am. Captain Tomlinson reports 95% of the station in Allied hands. Some hold outs in the foodstuff storage area,” Xi reported then paused. “Ma’am… standby; we have an inbound jump signature.”

 Captain Mann spun to face the screens and noted the annotation. “This could be interesting,” she mused, noting the details that sprang up alongside the sensor blip. “General Quarters, Ms XI…”


Aboard the Merchant Class Jump Ship “Charon”
Outer Jump Point A Centarus System
0814 Hours 09 December 3080

 Senior Captain Thomas Benton, commander of the Charon, sat in his command seat and watched the screens.  It had been some time since he’d plied the Centarus Route, something like five years now, and he looked forward to putting in here.  Benton was one of about a dozen captains that knew the route.  At least among those that wasn’t Fed Suns Navy or employed by the Phoenix Lancers themselves.

 The story as he knew it was that the location of the planet had fallen off most commercial maps over the years- either through laziness or concerted effort by those who settled the place back then. Its existence was known and unknown to many within the Ship Trades… and if you got the chance to come here, you made a point to visit.

  While it wasn’t a Canopian Pleasure Planet, it was a wonderful place to stop over.  Nice folks, fairly advanced technical base and remarkably low ravaging by the various wars that had been fought since the Star League.  Its presence as a known destination since the days of the League changed several times… which likely explained why it was still in such good shape. Also helped having the descendants of three SLDF Regiments settle the place back then….

But yeah, not many folks knew of the place.  The Armed Forces of the Federated Suns knew as it was in FedSun space and Comstar knew of it, of course- those bastards had info on a great many places. And if Constar knew it, by extension, the Word of Blake did too.

 Heck, if not for a jump ship in the process of leaving when the Blakists invaded in ’68, it might have taken longer to free the place when it was invaded than it did.  The Word had wanted it for a base of operations, so he had heard, and had not expected the populace to resist as well or as much as it did.  But they did and the concentrated effort by a Kurita Regiment (of all things), a unit of the Davion 1st Royal Cavaliers and elements of the Mercs who called the place home that were off world freed it by the beginning of 3072.

 When he was last here five years ago, the planet had been free of Blakist presence for about three years and had bounced back in that time. Benton was happy about that and even more happy that some of the places he had took shore leave in had survived.  And with this trip, he was hoping to do so again.  And this time, he would have the time to do so.  The Charon had been tasked with toting a Independent Unit, the Khon Kaen Legion, in its mission to pursuit a bunch of Drop Ship thieves.

 Well, pursue the unit that had stolen the supply ships, at least.  It seems that a indie unit called the Grey Bolts had managed to abscond with two full dropships of supplies and parts that had been destined for the Khon Kaen. This hadn’t sat well with them, of course…. And his passengers had been tasked with bringing them to heel.  And hopefully getting their ships with the items back. A tall order to be sure…

 Looking over to his right, he watched the Legion’s commander’s, Colonel Adam Francis Pryme, response to the lightshow that happened during transitioning from a jump and commented. “Don’t get to ride in a Jump ship Grav-deck much, do you?”

 Pryme, a slightly heavyset dark skinned older mechwarrior just shy of two meters tall, chuckled as he took in the sight. “No sir…  Combat Jockeys like me tend to be either in a mech cockpit waiting to drop or on the command deck of a dropship.” He commented. “As of late, it’s been more the drop ship deck but never up here. So, I have never been able to see this… Not in the thirty years I’ve been doing this, at least. Rank has its privileges and a price for them.”

 Benton nodded in understanding. “I totally get it… and at least you now get to ride up here,” he replied. “Getting old is a bitch, ain’t it?”

 Another chuckle. “Hell yeah it is…” Pryme said as the colors began to fade. “And thank you for the opportunity.”

 “Not a problem, Colonel,” he said. “Centarus is a pretty planet and I’m pretty sure the local authorities will be very helpful in collaring the Grey Bolts; The Phoenix Lancers are pretty upstanding sorts for a Merc Unit. Really should be a House unit but politics, I suppose…”

 Pryme was quiet. He knew all about politics and seen plenty of it play out in his career.  Both on the Great House level and among minor nobility too.  It was rare he had a chance to not have it get in the way… and if the Jump Captain was correct, having a planetary government work WITH him for a change would be great. “Politics colors everything, nowadays.”

 Benton laughed ruefully. “Yeah it does…”

 The Navigator spoke out. “Transitioning complete in three… two…. One…. Complete. Welcome to Centaru- Oh SHIT!” The exclamation from the navigator was total surprise as his sensor board lit up with notification of fire radars targeting the Merchant class jump ship.

 Benton sat up straight in his chair. “What the fuck, Jones?” He exclaimed as the comms technician to his left attempted to decipher the warning incoming on the comms.

 The tech, Missy Malloy, looked at Benton. “Captain, we are being hailed…. On speaker.”

[Attention unidentified Jump Ship, this is the SDS Juno.  Be advised this system is currently under restricted travel directives set by Governor Sodher Schaller of Centarus IV. Identify yourselves and be prepared for boarding parties to verify information.]

 Benton looked at the ship that showed up on the cameras. “Jesus Christ… it’s a goddamn Warship!”

 Pryme held onto the rail that was next to him. “Alright, calm down… we ain’t dead yet…” He said to the air. “Who are they?”

  Benton held up a hand as he activated a mic. When Missy nodded, he spoke. “SDS Juno, this is the Merchant Class Jump Ship Charon, Thomas Benton commanding; we are on a pre-arranged transit submitted approximately six months ago via representatives with the Periphery March Militia offices. We request a meeting to discuss the supercargo we carry,” He said. “We are NOT hostile. I repeat… we are NOT hostile.”

 He stopped his message. “Missy, log that!” To Colonel Pryme, he continued. “This is NOT what I was expecting… no sir not at all…”

 Pryme signed. “Captain, unless a war broke out here without anyone knowing- which is possible, considering, I think we might want to do what the nice big ship says.”

 “Ya think?” came the reply.

 Missy spoke. “Reply transmission, Captain.”  And the message played across the bridge speakers once more.

[Charon, Juno. Your status as a Non-Hostile remains to be seen as we detect two Combat Drop Ships attached to your collars.  Please standby for a boarding party to verify documentation and intent.]

 Benton sighed. “Juno, understood and we are standing by for boarding party. Station Keeping engines will be operating only.” He replied into the microphone.

  To Missy, he said. “Missy, make sure folks get the message not to be stupid. We are a civilian ship and well, I don’t see the locals beating us up for that.”

 Jones, the navigator, spoke up then. “Boss… there is a ton of debris near here, far reaches of our sensors.  Looks like there had been a fight out here- lots of dead dropships and a few fighters. Blakist markings mostly…”

 Benton shook his head. “Well… that would explain the nerves… Who the fuck is the SDS Juno?” he asked the air. “Last I knew, the Lancers had no warships…”

 Missy spoke. “Captain, remember the reports of the Wolverines returning last year?”


 “They supposedly came back with a few and this might be, well, probably one of their ships…” She replied. “Makes sense…”

 Pryme spoke up as he moved towards the lift. “As much as anything else, at least.  I need to get back to the Armageddon, Mendez must be going apeshit right now…”

 Benton turned towards Pryme. “Yeah… last we need is your people losing their shit with this…”

 “Which is why I am going- I trust them but I should be there and not here,” he said. “Let me know if we are getting visitors to us too. We’ll behave either way- space isn’t our environment to play in.”

 “Right” Benton replied and turned his seat to face the screens once more, which now showed several shuttles heading his way. Shit… he thought. Centarus is supposed to be a secure system; this shit doesn’t happen here….

“Captain,” Jones spoke up. “We got a LARGE sensor blip forming behind us….”

SDS Mustafa
0829 Hours 09 December

  The Mustafa transitioned into Centarus Space and was greeted instantly by the Juno even as her own sensor technicians took in what was in the space within range… and all three leaders on the bridge were shocked. Callahan, being the least surprised of the three, started barking orders to the various stations and ordered a holo-com call with the captain of the Juno.

 Within a minute, the holo-com sprang to life and Captain Mann appeared within. [Greetings Admiral,] She began. [Sorry for the mess you’ve stumbled into but it has been a touch busy last few days.]

 Hollister looked to Tinney, who exchanged the glance with his counterpart then the Wolverine leader commented. “Captain, it certainly looks like it is a right mess.  What happened?”

 Tinney added. “And what is the condition of Centarus…Synopsis is fine.” He asked.

 Off to the side, Callahan was handed a tablet with system updates of everything within range- notable the Merchant ship being boarded and the numerous wrecks of Blakist craft in the area.

 Mann paused. [My Khan, Colonel Tinney…  The Word of Blake launched what appears to be a last gasp offensive upon the system two days ago.  It was a combination of space invasion and pre-positioned mercenary units on planet.  Governor Devine is working to figure out how it happened and he’s not being polite about it,] She said dryly. [The enemy fleet consisted of nine transport jump ships and four Warships.  Commodore Rayson directed the immediate defense and counter; all Blakist warships were destroyed or captured with only one crippled among the fleet. All the jump ships were taken but not before an in-system jump by a handful put them almost on top of Centarus.]

 Tinney listened intently. “How bad were the landings?” He asked, expecting bad news.

 [Better for the defense than there was any right to expect, Colonel.  I want to commend you for the readiness of your commands.  The space battle around Centarus was fierce and unfortunately the enemy managed a few combat drops on key ports.  Only one was taken; the two other targets saw the drops repulsed or destroyed,] She replied.
[At this time, Governor Sodher-Schaeller has organized a counterattack is underway upon the primary landing areas on Cromwell. The Hyperpulse Generator facility in Kensington Park was destroyed via large car-bomb.  The Comstar Representative is quite furious and has pledged his entire remaining command to assist where we need them. And from I understand, his resources will be needed. The Blakist forces are not going quietly.]

 Tinney blinked. “They never do…. And where is Lieutenant Colonel McCormack?”

 [Off world, sir.  She is currently on Alshain or still enroute to it. She placed Governors Sodher-Schaller and Devine in charge while she was gone.]

 “What the hell?” Tinney questioned. “Why would she- never mind, I will find out later. Thank you, Captain.”

 Callahan took up questioning. “I will receive a report on fleet readiness later…  who is the Merchant you have shuttles going to?”

[The Charon. She jumped into local space about ten minutes before you.] Mann replied. [She is on the list of approved ships, but she is currently carrying two Battlemech Capable drop ships. With the assault on the system, she is being boarded to verify identities.]

 A nod. “Good plan and well done, Sierra. We will wait here and support you as needed.” Callahan glanced to Tinney, who was deep in thought as he had backed away from the holo unit then back to Mann. “Depending on the cargo, whatever is on board might be pressed into service. Get us that detailed report when you can; I imagine it will be quite enlightening.  Callahan clear.”

Mann saluted as the projector shut down.

 Turning towards Tinney and Hollister, Callahan spoke. “Well… this is a rather interesting development. I note she didn’t say anything about Wolverine forces but then, we are pretty integrated right now.”

 Hollister nodded. “I noticed. Either they didn’t hit us or whatever fighting we were part of was not worth singling out.”

 Tinney looked at the both of them. “Perhaps… but we won’t know until we get the full report…. And I get ahold of Auburn Center. May I?” He pointed at the bridge comm station.

 “By all means… they will want to know you have gotten back, I’m sure.”

Legends and Myths Seventy Three- The Storm: Operation Riposte Two

Eastern Central Divide
176 kilometers east of Zathras
1621 hours 08 December 3080

 Major Sean Farquharson looked over the advance from the slightly to the rear of the line of Mechs he commanded and grinned slightly.  This was the beginning of the end for the invaders, he was sure. The initial assaults on Centarus by the Word of Blake had met with mixed success.  Those turncoats on the planet had managed to have some victories- most notably over on Johnson and near Crossroads.  That they had used Phoenix Lancer hospitality to enable an invasion of the planet… well, that just pissed him the hell off.

  Advancing on the front was the entirety of Charlie Company, First Battalion and they were supported by the Hammer Lance of Alpha First Battalion- an entire lance of Warhammers.  Support for all the mechs was a pair of Maxim transports with platoon of Cavalier battle-armor and a full platoon of Bulldog tanks.  It was one of the largest groups he’d ever led and he was rather pumped.

  The command channel pinged, and he answered it. “Aye, Charlie Six…” he said as he piloted his machine forward.

 “Charlie Six, Auburn Command…” The voice of Governor Sodher-Schaller was heard. “I have information for you…”

 “Send it.” That it was Diane calling and not one of the communications technicians was ominous.

 [Sean, we have an identity on who you’re facing.  Up until the drone was shot down at least,] She said. [A unit called Gordon’s Dragoons… they landed with the Zathras forces.]

 Sean blinked. Gordons?  “Lass… are ye sure?” He asked.

 [Yes, which is why I am calling…] She replied. [Remember the mission, Sean.  No vendettas… Do you understand?]

 He growled.  “Lass… I nae be stupid.  Me Clan hatreds willnae color my response to these bastards overmuch.  I want them off as much as anyone else and I willnae jeopardize kicking them off planet just to give an extra kickin’”

 Silence. [I will believe you for now, Major… I know you and I know if you give me your word, you will stick to it. No crazy vendetta Honor Hunts.] She said. [Am I clear?]

 Sean replied firmly. “Crystal, Governor…  I know if th’ Colonel were here, he’d just pull me or stick me as follow on.” A pause. “Mission first….”

[Good.] She said.  [Data sent… be well, Sean and I look forward to hearing from you after this. Auburn clear.]

 Sean looked at the tactical plan and noted the information relayed to him.  The hated Gordons were spread line abreast, with a light lance supporting a platoon of Zhukov tanks and what looked like an Ontos of all things.  A Badger platoon was on the far right of their line and looked like they were going to be spoilers.

 The heart of their line was anchored by a pair of clan machines, a Dire Wolf and a Stormcrow. A Griffin occupied the central area while their left flank had a pair of heavy hitters- a Highlander and an Awesome.  Those two were supported on their left by a vicious quartet consisting of an Avatar, Warhammer, Lynx and a Nightsky. A Vulture was lurking out there too and would be a concern. It was a very strong force… and it looked like it outweighed him a bit.

 “Tonnage is overrated…” he breathed and clicked on the transmit key to Chief Colt. “Chief… we find a comms channel for the other side or am I insulting the bastards over Guard?”

[I was wondering when you were going to ask that…] Colt answered. [I took a stab at looking and I think I got it. Pirated a feed off some sensor they have out here- fuck if I know where but it’ll do.  Put your secondary on One-Four-Four-Niner-Sierra…]

 Sean entered the channel in on the secondary comm unit. “Alrighty… Time tae insult a bunch of shitebag Gordons…”


  Lieutenant Colonel James Michael Gordon sat in the command couch of his Highlander and looked at the data feeds from his own drone, still flying out and about.  One of the early moves he had done was to salt the forward areas of their lane with sensors.  Basic things, they were… but they served to provide basic data.

   And the sensors were working well as they picked up the collection of Lancer troops advancing on his position.  A pair of Panthers, a Valkyrie, a Hatchetman on the enemy leftfollowed by a lance of Warhammers, a Marauder and Rifleman in the center with a a pair of Blackjacks, a Griffin, Shadow hawk, Wolverine and Centurion anchoring their right flank. What was curious to him was the two Maxims, not exactly the best in hilly terrain and a platoon of Bulldogs split between the center and enemy left.

 Targets for his Zhukovs, he supposed when the sensor feed became corrupted. “What the hell?” He said as he tapped the screen. All of a sudden, he heard a voice come from the unit speakers.

[Mar sin dè am baga shit Gòrdan a tha a’ stiùireadh an rabble seo?]*

(*: So which shitbag Gordon leads this rabble)

 Gordon cursed as he adjusted a commset to the channel to reply. “Unknown sender… Identify your honorless self…”

 [Am Màidsear Sean Fearcharson Chlann Fhearchair, a shit. Faigh a-mach às mo fhearann ​​​​mus cuir mi gu bàs thu.]

(Major Sean Farquharson of Clan Farquharson, you shit. Get off my land before I kill you.)

 Laughter. “Bha mi a ‘smaoineachadh gu robh mi a’ fàileadh cù an seo. Thoir an aire do mhodhan, cur. Tha thu an làthair do rudan as fheàrr …”

(I thought I smelled a dog. Mind your manners, cur. You are in the presence of your betters…)

 [Oh, laddie Is e an aon rud as fheàrr a tha thu mar neach-brathaidh do dhaoine sìobhalta.]  A pause. [An cothrom mu dheireadh … fàg no faigh buille do asal..]

*(The only better you are is as a traitor to civilized people. Last chance… leave or get your ass beat)

 Gordon had a flash of anger. “Pòg mo thòin!!”  He snarled.

* (kiss my ass)

Laughter [B’ fheàrr leam a bhreabadh. And so be it- It’s tae be your funeral.]

(I would rather kick it)

 Gordon cursed as he clicked on the overall command net. “All Dragoons… there be Farquharson dogs over there.  Ten thousand c-bills to the one who brings me his head!”


 Sean chuckled to himself.  He was dead sure he pissed the Gordon off… which meant his opponent might make a mistake.  Psychology was part of warfare… and if he had learned nothing else from Tinney over the years, he had learned that much. Clicking on the lance channel, he contacted the Fengs. “Lads…”



 “I need ye both to support the right side…” He spoke. “I do believe I am going to be hunted a wee bit…”

 Jun spoke. [Major, what did you do?]

 A chuckle. “I made it personal… Tis a Gordon o’er there and I insulted him a wee bit…” He said. “They will be gunning for me and I need ye both to take advantage of that.”

 Quaing questioned. [Was that smart, Major?]

 “no… but I have Colonel McCormack’s Hammers around me… so its nae like I’m alone.”

 Jun answered. [Then I have confidence you will be fine, Major. Colonel McCormack’s Warhammer pilots are all competent and dangerous. I have no worries.]  This was echoed by his brother.

“Good… Get on with ye then…  It’s almost time tae give them a kickin…”


 The battle joined not long after the exchange and lasted for about forty minutes, the fighting fierce as the two sides clashed.  Charlie Company’s light lance worked their frontage like champs, drawing fire and giving the Bulldogs time to get into position to use their missiles against the Zhukovs. The enemy light force came out to engage along with the Badgers and ran right into the sights of Lancer armor.

  First to go was a Gordon Commando, as combined fire slagged it in place as it was looking to plunge the line to go after Sean. Not long after, Destiny worked over a Gordon Night Hawk and harassed it into becoming a target for her lance mate in the Valkyrie. Between the two of them, the enemy light machine died in a hail of pulse and missile fire, mere meters from her father.

 Towards the center, the Gordon Zhukovs and an attached Behemoth engaged the Lancer Warhammers, keeping them honest.  Their fixation on the heavy lance cost them in the end as the Bulldogs eventually closed and wrecked them- two of the heavy tanks detonating from ammunition explosions.

 The Gordon center and left forces had a different problem.  As the enemy Dire Wolf cleared a hill, every available PPC on the Lancer side lit into it. And kept shooting at it over the next few minutes, forcing it to retreat under the punishment. The Gordon Left played a maneuver game with their Lancer counterparts… up until the Maxims arrived with their deadly cargos.

 Cavalier battle armor made their appearance and became the threat they were supposed to be.  Between weapons fire and leg attacks, the suits kept the Gordon Mechs from getting too set in place or comfortable.  This bought the Lancers time to get solid solutions on their foes and make their weapon fire sting.  And sting hard.

 A Gordon Awesome had a particularly hard time of it.  It’s pilot suffered a fall early on from damage and briefly stunned himself… which was long enough for a Cavalier squad to jump on its chest and attempt to rip out an engine.  Even when the pilot managed to return to its feet, the battle armor hung on and continued to rip at various places on the machine’s upper body.

 The Lynx and Nightsky attempted to support their heavy companions but between ranged fire of Charlie’s medium machines and the battle armor, they never were able to make their guns matter. Indeed, the moment they found something to shoot at, it would fade from sight and be replaced by another machine, the Lancer forces using their maneuverability to make life difficult.

 The Gordon Vulture’s role in all of this was muted, at best. Early on, the machine suffered an armor failure from a long-range attack and two pieces of its engine shielding failed.  This forced the former clan machine to fall back as being able to shoot effectively… was rendered nearly impossible.  When this battle would be reviewed later on, the early loss of the fast heavy with its firepower would be deemed a critical event… One of several.

  The carnage being dished was not all one sided… as the Gordon troops laid into the Charlie Company mechs.  Whether it was due to the innate toughness of the battlemechs in the command, luck or just plain better tactical decisions, the only machine to fall was one of the Warhammers. Damage throughout the Lancer forces was substantial but ultimately not enough. More than a few would need extensive time with techs replacing armor and the occasional limb. None of it was enough to stop them in the meantime.

  Gordon recognized that things were not going well and this was struck home when the Warhammer on the left fell followed by the Lynx. That entire front had been rolled… and his right was folding too.  The Zhukovs had held their positions well and their weapons had ripped much from the Lancers in front of them… but the enemy had the right combo to put them down. 

 As the last of his heavy tanks was rendered unable to fight, he signaled to the command to fall back. This battle did not go the way he intended, and it would be a neat trick to get out with half of his command at this point.  He’d lost far too much and with the Awesome being mobbed as long as it had been and leg damage to his own Highlander from those damn power suits, preserving what he had become very important.

 From what he could tell, his niece got dropped but managed to get away from her Warhammer; there was enough of his men in the area to make sure of it. If not, Gordon felt she’d not let herself get captured. That would be an embarrassment… especially with who he lost to.

 The damnable Farquharson on the other side had managed to beat him… this was a stain he’d find difficult to live down.  He knew he had the bastard on the ropes… but just couldn’t pull off a finishing attack. Perhaps he had over extended… he didn’t think so but then, war was a funny thing; sides that should prevail sometimes don’t.

 There would be a next time… as the invasion force would not be dislodged anytime soon.


  “Charlie Company, Charlie six…  Hold position and let ‘em git.” Sean called over the company net as he paused his mech’s advance. “They be runnin’ with their tails between legs and tha’s good enough for the likes o’us.”

  Even he was surprised he pulled this off.  Going into the battle, the weight disparity was serious. When you factored in the Firepower, even more so… but terrain and mobility were keys here.  And perhaps, his insulting the Gordon on the other side. That was fun…  When the command channel pinged, he answered it right away. “Aye Charlie Six…”

 [Major, Stiletto One,] the lead battle armor squad leader was calling him. [Are the MP’s on the way?]

“Stiletto, Charlie Six; they are, lass. Why for?”

 [Six, it would seem we have a prisoner to add to the collection the armor boys have. My team just pulled the pilot out of that Warhammer of theirs.  And she has an interesting last name…]

 Sean lifted an eyebrow. “Do tell.”

 [Name tag says Gordon…  Had a quick search done and ID papers has her listed as a Colour-Sergeant Hannah Gordon, age twenty-six…] Stiletto One replied. [I got her drug over to our transport; she’s a mess.]

 Sean thought a moment. “Aye… make ‘er comfy, One, and watch ye sharps. I’m certain she’s nae going to be happy when she wakes, and Gordons are good for stabbin’ ye in thae arse when ye distracted.” He said. “I’ll be by tae give a look-see later when follow on’s get here.”

[Six, don’t worry- she’s in no real condition to be stabbing anyone but thanks for the warning,] Stiletto One replied with a slight chuckle. [Already called for medivac so she won’t be our problem long. Even money who gets here first- recovery or them.]

“Good on ye,” He replied. “If nothing else, she is a bargaining chip.”

[Stiletto One receive. See you when you get here.] One replied. [One clear.]


Legends and Myths Seventy Two- The Storm: Galatea six

 Over the course of the next fifteen minutes or so, Talamini laid out what sort of fines and or violations had been racked up with this little operation, along with the potential MRBC repercussions…. And how all of it was being taken care of.  The city charges were not even being leveled at them, with the Galatea City Police, of all people, telling the Port that The Colorado Blues was part of an ad hoc operation against a nest of possible Blakists.

  The MRBC was already notified of a Sub-Contract the group had signed with the police, by way of Hooker, Starsky and Hutchinson Security Services (Talamini produced a paper copy of the contract and tablet with a digital one for Rhi to sign) that covered the use of the Dropship within city limits.  The MRBC was also notified of the potential issue with Blackthorne Enterprises being a front for Blakist Intelligence and a clearing house for their mercenary employment operations…. And that Arkanian Group had brought it to the attention of a bonded representative and law enforcement.  Because of this, any penalties incurred for a contract breach or breaking should be moot because of Blackthorne’s associations. The local MRBC offices and the planetary government’s dislike for the Word of Blake being the major reason for no issues here.

 And this was the issues the AG would have had with the city and the Commission.  Financially… the compensation for the operation would be different.

 The AG would make money out of all this. There was no issue there where compensation was concerned. How much was the question, though as well as future employment options.

 Future employment on Galatea could be in jeopardy as the cover story to free them from repercussions with the MRBC could give them issues with other units or potential employers. Any merc unit that worked with Authorities to investigate or assault other entities would be viewed as suspect by others. Not so much by the larger groups- but by anyone smaller who had dubious morality or ties. And such units were all over the Mercenary World and the profession. Always would be that way too… Not everyone was a Light Horse or Romanov’s Crusaders, with their reps as Honest and Moral Mercenary Commands.

 In the near term, Talamini explained, his employer was rewarding them with approximately one-point-seven million Cbills, which would more than cover unit salary plus expenses.  A princely sum but one earned by blood. New lodging would be arranged too, as their current location was now compromised… and likely going to be assaulted/destroyed by parties unknown.

 Once everything was settled down and the various medical cases taken care of, the question of Arkanian Group still wishing to remain on Galatea would need to be addressed. Talamini looked at Arione for that. “As I understand it, you are the final arbiter for where your company goes.” He commented. “Once you deem yourselves able to travel, I can assist in arranging jump-ship passage from her to almost anywhere within the Inner Sphere except clan-held territory.”

 Arione rubbed his chin. He was still in his armor and spent the entire time processing the Mob Money Man’s words.  And they all made sense to him.  He knew they couldn’t stay here long… and leaving here was likely the best plan of action for them. But where was the question. As he pondered this, he recalled his conversation with Adara… and the promise he made her.

 “Mister Talamini… the course of action Arkanian Group will be taking is the one that is probably the more sensible one.  AS soon as my wounded are able to travel and our equipment repaired as needed, the offer of paid transit fees on a Jumpship for us will be accepted.”

 Talamini made a note on his datapad. “Someplace in mind?”

 Arione didn’t even look at Rhiannon when he said it. “Yes. Centarus system. I am told there should be work available for the likes of us there.”

 Rhiannon sputtered. “Wha… Who…” and she quieted as Arione held up a hand.

 “I made a promise to Adara when all this started. And perhaps…” He mused. “Its past time to bury that hatchet.”

 Talamini made another series of notes. “I see… have you been there before?”

 “Nope. Just know a few folks who live there… and can assist with other work.” He replied as Rhiannon struggled to remain quiet and not laugh. Or scream- he wasn’t sure which.

 “Not a problem. I understand it’s a very nice place,” Talamini said, choosing to remain ignorant of the issues between the two Arkanians. Not his business… “As for your wounded, they were taken to a trusted hospital capable of caring for the injuries and the non-injured are currently at an estate not far from here, cleaning up.  Your severely injured member… has been taken to the trauma facility and I believe will be in surgery rather quickly.” Consulting a note that popped up on the tablet screen, he continued. “There is plenty of security on location.”

 Arione nodded. “Thank you for that…”

 “No thanks necessary. Once you and Ms Arkanian was ready to travel, I will take you to them.” With that, Talamini stepped from the bay and back down the ramp. “I will be in the car.”

  When he was out of easy earshot, Rhiannon turned to Arione. “Centarus? Really?” She asked, incredulously. “Are you LOOKING to get in a fight and maybe die? You fucking swore you were gonna kill him… and highlanders are notorious for remembering that shit. That old man…  I love you but my love….”

 Arione sighed. “I know what I said then… and I also know what he did after the fact. And well… sometimes feelings change.”

 Rhiannon snorted as she led the way back to the crew area. “Yeah… and this bitch can fly on her own.” She snarked. “You made a promise to Adara we would go if this didn’t work out here, didn’t you? Or is it something else?”

 Arione removed the armored top of his suit when he got to the cube he used when the ship was in space. “Yeah I did… and to be honest, it is past time to end that grudge.  It really wasn’t his fault what happened, and I was rather… emotional.”

She shook her head. “Actually, it was his fault she ended up in an ICU for a week… He could have killed her but didn’t. Not that smashing her hip and ribs with that damn hammer of his did her any favors.”

He looked at her as he put on a clean shift before removing the lower suit. “Don’t you think I know that… but it *was* business and well, he made right by it.  And right now, resolving my anger issues is likely going to be a big help in keeping us afloat, whatever we get for this job notwithstanding. Add in that she holds no grudges, why should I?”

She just stared at him. “Are you going soft?” She asked, half joking. “I mean, you and grudges…”

 Arione didn’t answer as he fastened his belt and slipped on shoes. “Sometimes, wake up calls happen in the weirdest places and times, Rhi.  This one… happened when Amelia became known to me and the scope of what we were in the middle of became very apparent.”  Grabbing a coat, he led the way out of the spaces and to the ramp where their ride was waiting.

 “I told myself if we survived all this, I would go and bury this grudge. I already know doing so will probably involve a lot of pain and likely, just as much alcohol.” He paused as they reached the top of the ramp and looked over to her. “In the end, it was just business… and we were friends before.”

 Rhiannon chuckled. “Oh, I agree there…” She said as they made their way down the ramp. “There will be a lot of both… I love you but you’ll be lucky if he only breaks your jaw.”

Burlington-Bonaventure Medical Center

Burlington Province, Galatea

0659 hours 09 December 3080

 Adara stirred from the chemically-induced slumber to the low sound of a medical monitor and the slightly louder sound of snoring.  Cracking open an eye, she saw in the dim light that the room chair was occupied by Arione, his head nodded downward onto folded arms as he snoozed.  A soft smile graced her dry lips as she took in the sight. “Hey…” she croaked out. “Wake up before you fall…”

 Arione stirred and lifted his head. “Oh hey, you’re awake…” He said. “how ya feeling?”

 “I’ve been better,” She said as she attempted to adjust her position and the lack of ability to do so vexed her as much as told her she was in no condition to move just yet. “I’d say you should see the other guy but I know better.”

 Arione chuckled. “Yeah well… they told me they had to operate right away as there was concerns about a fragment and your spine.”

A nod. “A part of the bullet. It shattered on the way in; armor stopped most of it but it also didn’t help.” She said. “I had Darren explain it all out to me… and I’m the one who said why wait…”

 Arione smiled. “You and waiting… are things that don’t go together.” He joked. “Anyways… I figured I would be the one to tell you that when you are able to travel, we are doing what I promised you.”

Adara’s eyes grew wide. “We are?”

 “Yes….” He said.  “I think you are right- he’d help us out if he can and the Lancers always have work; I checked with the MRBC online records; they have an ongoing contract to train up other merc units and have responsibility for the border areas out there so I am pretty sure they have something we can do. Add in you get to see your teacher and perhaps witness a burying of the hatchet.” A smile. “And not in each other…”

 A chuckle with a groan. “Ha- ow…” She grimaced. “Hurts to laugh. I’m glad you are willing to lose the grudge; it was always stupid.”

 A smirk. “You will note guys can be stupid…”

“I’ve noticed…” Adara answered. “So how soon?”

“Once you are cleared to travel. And not before- its over four months of travel.” He said.

 “Oh, I’ll be ready…. Don’t you worry,” She smiled. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything.”

Drega House

Dregamire Preserve

0610 hrs 09 December 3080

 Aleister Blackthorne sat at a desk in the house’s study. Drega House was a rather stout mansion built in the northern swamps and badlands of the continent four hours north of Galatea City. The house, built of stone and heavy timber, had been in existence for some five hundred years and owned by the Blackthorne family for at least the last two centuries. Constantly undated with new tech as it became available, the residence had all the modern amenities with a frontier veneer.  And it was in the den where Aleister sat, going over the events of the past few days.

  The operation to obtain access to the internal workings of the Phoenix Lancers data networks had not gone to plan.  Taking the girl had been risky but since all external attempts had failed to crack their encryptions, it was deemed the best course. It was not like they hadn’t tried; ever since his organization had allied itself with the Word of Blake, the exchange of training and knowledge had given both sides an edge. His people had benefited more, of course, as the Blakists had access to everything the Star League had worked on when it fell… but some of the advances since had been outside of Comstar or Blakist facilities. That the Word understood this

  That they had wanted access to the Phoenix Lancer networks had proven surprising to him. They were, after all, just a overlarge mercenary organization with a rather effective special operations attachement. All too effective one, in his opinion.  Even with the death of their founder when their world had been assaulted in 3068, the Blood Spirits and their parent unit the Lancers had remained a problem for groups like his own. Groups that worked for their own advancement and the furthering of a ruling elite… Those who knew what was best for all… and unafraid to act.

 The gamble to take the girl was compounded by his selecting the Arkanians.  He supposed he may have relied on the grudge Arione Arkanian had against Duncan MacKenzie, the former exec and a field leader of the Spirits, too much. Given the known animosity between the two, he had been certain there would be no weakness in watching over Amelia Yoder’s incarceration while his experts worked. Aleister had needed the information quickly to support the Blakist operations currently ongoing on Centarus and deemed the snatch necessary.  The guards over them, if repercussions were to happen, had to be expendable. He needed a cutout for this operation, a useful cutout… and the Arkanian Group fit the bill.

 That they ultimately weren’t… was an error on his part in picking them.  Sometimes, he mused, animosity was not enough to ensure usefulness. That it appeared the local mafia was involved in all this was also an oversight in his thinking and something of a surprise.

 It was an oversight that would delay other operations he had planned.  Unfortunate, he thought as he lit his pipe, but not over-comeable.  Such groups could be bought; he just needed to find the right price.

Legends and Myths Seventy One- The Storm: Galatea five

Alisandria Cliffs outside

0010 hours 09 December

 Jon advanced the Vulcan forward onto the property of the estate.  Kennedy’s gunmen had engaged the platoon of troops initially defending their incursion.  As soon as his mech showed itself, additional forces showed themselves in the form of a sniper here and SRM team there. Each time something anti-battlemech showed itself, the snipers of his Allies removed them as a threat. Pretty effective teamwork, when one thinks about it, and that Jon was grateful for.

 It was when the two small missile turrets popped up as the Fury dropship closed on the place that shit started getting real.  And it got very real when a pair of small Quad mechs rose out of the bottom of the pool.

 “What the ever-loving fuck….” He cursed as the two machines crawled from the water and began to engage Kennedy’s men. Dropping the targeting reticle on one machine, he cut loose with his light Armstrong Two.  As the slug struck home, he followed it up with a medium laser which scarred the quad machine’s torso.  “Kennedy! Go to ground or back off; you don’t have the ass for those!”

Kennedy’s reply was not what he expected. [Nope! But it’s what you’re for,] He said. [We’ll manage- I’ve got Mikey on the way wit’ a trio of MRAPs. He’s a minute out so we’ll manage till he gets here…]

 Jon sent another autocannon round at a quad along with all his machine guns. “Dude… don’t be a hero!” The Lancer’s shooting was rewarded with a smoking short range launcher on his target as the internals lay exposed. His own machine rocked with small explosions from the other quad battlemech’s launcher. That machine earned a laser in return, which shredded leg armor but not much else.

[Again, that’s what you are for…] Kennedy joked with him, the sound of gunfire coming through the comms. [Just don’t miss…]

 The LRM turrets that sprang into being began to fire at the dropship as it approached, the salvos coming fast and furious from the two positions.

“The Colorado Blues”

0010 hours

 Rhiannon had settled into a glide path to the estate when the launchers had appeared. This had elicitied a small curse from the pilot and a squeak of surprise from Caitlyn. “Steady….” Rhi breathed then called out into her microphone, “Gunners… Weapons free, I repeat Weapons Free… Pick your targets kids…”

 The wing gunners let their weapons do the talking, returning long-range missiles back at the two firing points along with medium lasers as they came in range.  The exchange was a little one sided as the gunnery of the drop ship crew showed- the cascade of explosions striking the weapon towers. Neither fell silent but the damage was not small.

 The craft rocked a bit with the damage received but Rhiannon held the ship steady. “Randi… get ready to open the ramp,” she said with a calm she actually felt. Her family was down there doing something crazy; the right thing maybe but crazy… and she was going to get them out.

[On it,] The crew chief replied. [Ramp opening in fifteen seconds… you go this.]

Inside the Underground

0010 hours

 Adara’s charge took her into the room at the end of the hall and her hands lashed out with their weapons, blades slashing into anyone within reach. As some of the defenders were attempting to deal with the CS that had been used, the suited Arkanian used their distraction to full advantage. A stab here, a slash there, the close quarter specialist launched into a macabre dance of blood and death.

 As her old teacher had stated many years ago, all close quarter combat, be it done with weapon or hands, was a dance and it was a dance that only you knew the steps to.  The key was finding that groove and embracing the movement to make it flow. The Flow of the Dance is the key, Lass… without th’grace of ye movement, all ye doing is flailin’ aboot. Find ye flow, find tha’ groove… and th’rest will take care of itself.

 Adara remembered these words as she spun through the room, her blades flashing in the weave of flying blood she was creating.  Within seconds, the six men that had barred the way were dead or dying as she paused in her dance- in many cases, missing a hand or some sort of piece of their body…

 “Darren! Let’s go!” She called as she reset one baton against a floor then stowed it on her suit’s waist. Drawing one of her pistols again as her companion entered the room with the unconscious Amelia over a shoulder, Adara led the way out and into the opening that led outside next to the Manse above. They were close and the two of them could hear the fighting nearby.

“Colorado Blues”


 The gunners on the dropship returned fire at the missile towers, discovering each one had an anti-missile defense system protecting them.  It didn’t matter in the long run as medium lasers from the big craft also stabbed out at each gun tower, slagging armor and inflicting punishment even as the towers dished their own.

  A flash of bright blue-purple light was seen as Rhiannon added the particle-cannon she controlled to the exchange and a tower detonated in response. “Gunners… target remaining tower… engage the other quad as opportunity presents,” she called into the ship’s network. “Stand by for retrieval… Open the ramp…”

[Ramp opening…] Randi called back as she lowered the entryway to halfway.

Outside on the grounds


 Arione and Caelan exited the underground by the pad, looking around at the insanity that was the surface.  In the distance, they could see the Vulcanengaging the second quad battlemech, dancing around the building as each sought to damage the other. The Vulcan was still pretty untouched, a bit of damage to a torso and legs from the handful of successful strikes from the quad. The quad was smoking in spots too as it weathered hits from their ally.

 The dropship glided into place, its guns opening up on the towers that were shooting at it, now one less as the dropship destroyed one emplacement. Out front, the ground troops engaging each other were joined by a trio of APC’s, the heavy wheeled vehicles lending their machine guns to the fighting and suppressing the defenders handily.

 Speaking of defenders, about a half-dozen engaged both the troops on the ramp of the dropship and the two figures coming from the mansion area.  Seeing this, Arione quickly brought his machine pistol into play supporting the advance of his family members.

  The defenders, not expecting the two power armored escapees to have managed to get loose, went to ground to avoid being hit. This allowed Darren (who had shifted Amelia to his front to carry her, shielding her with his body) and Adara to hurry towards the pad and waiting dropship.

 In his ear, the voice of Aleister sounded once more. [You will regret this, Mister Arkanian… you will regret all of this, I assure you…]

 Arione emptied the magazine of his weapon in the direction of the defenders, being rewarded with the dropping of one of them. “I regret a great many things, Aleister… and this won’t be one,” He replied as he quickly reloaded on the move, advancing to a point to better cover Adara and Darren.  Caelan mirrored his movement, his submachinegun stuttering as the highlander shot at defenders trying to kill them.

 As Adara hurried by Arione, she staggered as a heavy rifle shot boomed. A defender, who had managed to get a heavy rifle into play, clipped her in the back she ran.  Caelan ran over to help her up, his weapon firing the occasional burst.

 Arione, seeing who had shot at her, poured the remaining shots from his weapon in his direction.  When it clicked empty, he attached it to his armor and threw a protesting Adara, who was struggling to stand, over his shoulder. “Shut Up!” He scolded. “I know you are a strong independent woman who doesn’t need the help… but trust me, this time you do!”

“Its not that!” She hollered back. “I dropped my pistol and can’t shoot the fucker who shot me…”

Caelan grabbed the dropped pistol. “Got it,” he called as he fired a few rounds back at the mansion.  Running for the ramp behind Arione and the others, he stayed low as other members of AG shot at anything shooting at them.

  As soon as he boarded the ship, it began to lift.


 Jon kicked the jump jets into action and his battlemech rode the columns of flame upwards and back as he triggered his autocannon once more at the quad.  Satisfied with the result of the shot, he landed back towards the road.  His headset chirped with an incoming message from Kennedy… “Yo…”

 [Looks like the ship is leaving,] the ground commander said, the sounds of weapons fire heard behind his voice.

 “Yeah it does…” he replied as his laser flashed once more and was rewarded with a direct hit to the quad’s center, slagging it clean through which seemed to power it down like a bot. “Stand by…” He clicked over to the channel he figured Rhiannon might be monitoring.

 “Rescue Two, Rescue One…”


 As she lifted from the scene, Rhiannon angled her ship away from the estate and began to gain some speed.  Hearing Jon call over the side channel reserved for use, she answered within a few seconds, realizing why he was calling. “Rescue One, Rescue Two… packages recovered. Two going for a new nest…”

[Two, One; Copy… safe flight and stay low.  Someone will meet you on location.]

“Gotcha One. Be safe and see you later” She replied and flipped her attention back to the low level flying she was about to do.


 Jon returned to the other channel. “Alright, Jimmy- get everyone out of here… cops will be arriving eventually, and nobody better be here…”

 [don’t gotta tell us twice.]

 Over the next three minutes, the men who had come with Jimmy Kennedy backed off to the vehicles or MRAPS that had arrived.  Retreating, the mafia gunmen were covered by Jon in the Vulcan as they drove away.

 Jon, as soon as everyone was clear, broke his machine in to a run.  He had a facility to get to where Marone was waiting to collect this prized machine.  While it was not the most powerful machine he’s ever used, this Vulcan had done the job well… and he’d managed to face off against a pair of quad battlemechs in it AND keep it mostly intact.  Good thing they were kinda crappy- otherwise that might not have been the case.

Galatea City Police Department

0012 hours

 Police Captain Lance Katz, a twenty-five-year veteran of the department and a survivor of all the insanity the Jihad had brought to his world, was in Dispatch when the calls came in for the fighting over at Alisandria Cliffs.  As the number of notifications increased, he turned towards the Shift Sergeant, Jon DeMare, another veteran of the madness of the past decade. “Jon, think we should send someone that way?” He said with a wink.

 DeMare glanced at the wall map, which highlighted the area of the complaints. “Isn’t that where Mister Talamini said there was some sort of crazy party going on? Lots of fireworks and a lightshow?” his question was lighthearted in his asking, a cup of coffee in his hand.

 “I do believe that’s what the man said…” Katz replied as a lieutenant looked at the two of them incredulously.

 “Sir… there is a report of a battlemech over there too…” The lieutenant, Kiara Carson, stated.  Kiara, a fairly recent transfer to the city precinct from one of the outlying departments was both confused and somewhat understanding.  She had been here when a most peculiar person had paid a visit to the precinct some six hours ago.

  The Don of Galatea City and his chief accountant had come with several boxes of pizza, just as many boxes of donuts, jugs of coffee (with travel mugs!) and a donation to the Galatea Policeman’s Benevolent Association (a large one, too, from what she heard later) to which the two men merely requested a meeting with the chief, the Shift Captain and Shift Sergeant. All that was wanted was that…

 She suspected that meeting had something to do with the calls they were getting right now. “Sirs?”

 DeMare smiled at the lieutenant. “Lieutenant, have units 31, 33 and 51 head over there, class three. Notify SWAT 5 to also head there, same class. Let them know I’ll be there shortly and not to enter till I get there, if they can help it. Same with EMS…”

 Carson nodded. “Sergeant DeMare, why three? The reported gunfire…”

 DeMare held up a hand. “Kiara… sometimes one doesn’t want to get too involved in arguments between factions. And this is one of those times…” he said. “Matter of fact, go grab your vest; I’ll explain what the hell is going on while on the way. Trust me, it’s an interesting story…”

Bonaventure Airport

175 kilometers west of Galatea City

0050 hours

 Rhiannon set the dropship down on the private airstrip west of the city. The location had been given to her about an hour prior to their lifting for the rescue and she had only had time to just program the location into the NavComp and not much else. As such, she didn’t know much about the place, just that no matter what happened she was to land there, and resources would be available.

 So, when they landed, she was only partially surprised by the three ambulances and a few private vans that rolled up on them. “No cops at least,” she said to Cait as she powered down the engines. “I guess the Lancer Boy wasn’t kidding he knew someone.”

 Caitlyn quickly flipped switches on her side to power down other systems. “I guess that’s good…” She replied. “Go on… I go this. I heard Randi’s report on injuries…”

 Rhiannon unbuckled and bolted from her seat. “Thanks kid…” She said as she hurried towards the troop bays.  The pilot scurried down the accessway and slid down the ladder to troop bay one.  Here, she found a fairly elated group of AG troops and a bunch around Adara.  Amelia was being looked after by Darren and he was quietly telling folks to move that patient plus the handful of wounded out of the compartment to the ambulances.

 Her poly-wife was on a litter, power-armor top removed and a series of bandages in place.  Bjorn and Darren had worked on her after lift-off along with the handful of other injuries as the drop ship made its way to the field, Looking at Adara, Rhiannon noted how pale she looked. Stepping up and kneeling, she reached out with a hand. “Hey sugar… you forgot to zag,”

 Adara, who had her eyes closed, opened them up at Rhi’s voice. “I know… and I didn’t see the fucker who got me.”

 “That’s what snipers do, honey…” Rhiannon said as she looked up at Bjorn, who nodded. “Bearman says y’all gonna be alright.”

 The wounded close quarter specialist chuckled. “Yeah… one more scar to add to the collection. Darren said if I hadn’t been in this armor, be a different story.” A pained shrug. “I’mma be fine, Rhi. You just keep the others in line till I get back.”

 Darren showed up at this moment. “Hey, there is a medic truck here… You two-“ he pointed at two of the AG troops. “Get her up and down to them. I’ll be going with…”  The two troopers hopped to it and grabbed the stretcher to move out of the bay and towards the ramp.  Darren looked over at Rhiannon. “Nice flying, by the way.”

 When the stretcher followed by Bjorn left, she looked at Darren. “Truth?”

“Missed her spine by that much,” He held his fingers apart by about five centimeters. “That armor saved her, Period…” He grabbed his bag, closed it quick and continued. “She’s gonna be fine, Rhiannon. If your contact has that good of medical people handy, then definitely…. Go check on Arione- – he’s busy kicking himself.”  With that, he departed after Adara.

 Rhiannon followed along and found her lover standing on the troop ramp watching the ambulances depart with the injured members of the group.  Coming along side of him, she placed an arm around his armored shoulders, noting the areas of damage on it. He’d been hit too, she noted, and was also bleeding a little.  He wasn’t complaining right then but she knew it would happen. “Hey…. We lost nobody,” She said to him as another vehicle pulled up, this one an armored limousine.

 “No. No we didn’t… but I can’t help but wonder if we didn’t fuck ourselves in the end. Even though we did the right thing,” Arione mused as they watched a well-dressed man in a blazer exit the limo.

 “Don’t know till we know,” She replied as the man in the blazer, who now had a briefcase, approached the ramp. Two men remained behind at the vehicle. “Can I help you?” Rhiannon asked in such a way that Randi and the rest of the crew who were nearby took notice, becoming on guard.

 “It’s more like I’m here to help you,” He replied as he came to a stop about three feet away. “Name’s Thomas Talamini… I am the personal financial officer for Gotti Holdings and will be handling some financial issues for you as arranged for yesterday afternoon. In addition, there is the question of compensation for your efforts on behalf of my client; I am here to adjudicate this as well.”

 Arion looked at Rhiannon with a quizzical expression. “Arranged by who?” He asked the pilot, who merely smiled back at him.

 “I told you that the Lancer and I talked… and he told me things were being taken care of, on all fronts as much as possible. I got this,” She replied to her love before turning to Talamini and her charm turned on. “Well come aboard Mistah Talamini… Sorry for the accommodations for discussion but we were a might busy… Rhiannon Arkanian and very pleased to meet you…” She held out a hand.

Talamini didn’t miss the byplay between the two. He had been briefed about the Arkanian Group and its dynamics. He was also warned about the *charms* the pilot was capable of displaying… which is why he chose to do this now instead of later.  A flight suit, while it could be flattering, still requires a bit of lead time to make it so and Rhiannon was a very fetching woman.  But he didn’t get to be Gotti’s money man by being fooled by cleavage and a pretty smile; taking care of things now meant less chance of a mental faux pau

“Oh I am not concerned about the accommodations, Ms Arkanian; I’ve settled many a deal in some off the wall places… An infantry bay on a dropship won’t be the weirdest or the first time, either.” He shook her hand and followed her into the ship.

 Arione followed the two of them and merely listened. Rhiannon had obviously cut some sort of deal- what sort, he didn’t know… but he was about to find out.

 And find out he did.

Legends and Myths Seventy- The Storm: Galatea Four

Alisandria Cliffs

2349 hours 08 December 3080

  Arione stood outside the accessway to the underground areas near the VTOL pad and looked out at the night sky. Since he saw Rhiannon in the morning, it had been a whirlwind of activity and preparations. While he had spoken with the ship captain, Adara had begun getting the rest of the AG rounded up and getting their gear together. This was going to be a make-or-break moment for the organization, and he’d be lying if he ignored the butterflies in his gut.

 The Decision to break their contract had not been an easy one… but with what Caelan had found in his wanderings through the hidden spaces this morning along with his own pokings around some of the manuals for systems within the control room, it became very apparent that they were working for someone they really shouldn’t.  It also explained why the money was so damn good…

 Aleister Blackthorne, his contact, had been the one to initially hire them all those months ago. The sales pitch given then had been pretty good- a monthly retainer for services, ability to subcontract out and a stipend for lodging in exchange for availability. Hind sight being 20-20, the man knew all the right things to say to the Arkanian leader. Arione should have done more digging… but with how semi-desperate he was to rebuild The Family’s assets after Tikonov, the contract offered seemed like a blessing with its steady money and potential for more. Now that they were doing active work for this contract, that thinking was quite changed.

 Arriving back early after hearing an update from Rhi, he walked into a situation on site. The group that had relieved them had been witness to some disturbing events.  Their employer had some interrogators come down and question the prisoner.  And by question, his people meant they tortured her for information.

  According to Bjorn, the other medic among the AG and Darren’s relief, the people who conducted the interrogation session knew their business… but were not kind in their handling of the prisoner. Shocks and beatings… it had been rather thorough and rough.  Bjorn, sickened by what had transpired, was relatively impressed by the woman’s toughness. “Bossman….” He had said. “She wouldn’t break for them…. She wouldn’t break…. Kept saying her uncle was going to come for her… And she maintained that until she passed out.”

 That information tore at the Arkanian headman. It was quite plain that Amelia believed help was coming and that her uncle would be the one to bring it. Unfortunately, Arione thought, the uncle on the charm likely didn’t know she was taken. Unless she was referring to a different one, no one was coming that was a Spirit.

  The Lancers knew… Rhiannon had told him the guy she talked to was one and apparently made some calls to get help for this.  And between him and her, they had a plan to evac them out.  But getting themselves and the prisoner free… that was going to take some work. Telling Bjorn to contact Rhiannon when he got free, Arione and the others began to take serious notes as to patrol patterns of the active security on the grounds as well as assess means of getting out with their charge.

 Caelan had investigated the lower accessways to the boat dock and reported it was a bad way to go- to many possible bottlenecks and if the gate dropped on the entryway before they got out, they weren’t getting out.

 Adara had walked the passages from the cells to the control area and to the surface.  While difficult, as long as they managed to either get into the mansion or one of the exits near the VTOL pad, they could get out. As she put it– “It will be a bitch and someone is gonna get shot…. But we can get out one of three ways… as long as we don’t turn down the hall to the barracks.”

 Darren assured him he had something for Amelia to weather the pain of being carried- those goons had worked her over bad…. And something for them too. Clanner QuikStim shots, he said. “Saved for a rainy day and right now, I think it’s getting ready to storm.”

  Glancing at his watch, he noted the time and took a deep breath. Now or never, Rione. He thought to himself. If there was one time I wished that goddamn old man was here, this would be it.  Entering the passageway, he sent a two-word text to Rhiannon before stowing his comm.

It’s On.


Fury Class Dropship “The Colorado Blues”

Galatea City Port Field

2350 hrs 08 December 3080

  Rhiannon Arkanian sat in the pilot’s seat of her ship with her eyes closed, listening to her crew’s banter and the low rumble of the engines as they idled.  She had been semi-kidding when suggesting the hovering over a landing pad to collect Arione and the rest of the family at that estate. Running and gunning, all action movie-esque… but when it was settled on as a plan, she had been shocked.  Then dismayed…. Then worried…. and then finally, excited.

 It was something straight out of a tri-vid… but far more dangerous than she thought.  Aerodyne Dropships didn’t normally hover well; after all, they were designed like planes. The Military Troop Carriers could do so, but it wasn’t their strong suit. It was also a stunt she never thought to try. Oh sure, she had done more than few low and slow approaches to pads before with a last second flare of engines before a landing…. But never tried to hold a hover and load people at the same time. That… was a new trick, at least for her.

 Her ship’s crew chief, Randi Gossamer-Wing (she was a real deal Indigenous Indian from Old North America on Sol) had laughed when Rhi had told her about what was happening tonight. The trick, as the crew chief explained, was to *feel* the ship as she was close to landing and gently increase the landing jets until the ship no long felt like she was about to land. Randi reminded Rhiannon that knowing when the ship was about to land was instinct as much as training- and she’d have to trust her instincts on holding the ship in place. Don’t worry, Randi had said. I will be at the ramp with the rest of the guns; I’ll let you know when you are close; I know you got this, you have to decide you do.

 Reassured at her crew chief’s confidence in her skills, Rhi had conferred with the Phoenix Lancer representative she had chatted up earlier when he contacted her about four hours ago.

 He had said his uncle was overjoyed at being able to help with this… A distraction would be had to help ease the removal of her people and to not worry about the Authorities.  His Uncle had an Understanding with them, and any fines incurred by her unauthorized flight would be taken care of.  As for any other problems, Jon had said they would be addressed after all this was done.

 Rhiannon sort of read between the lines at the comment about a, quote, understanding, unquote, his uncle had.  She could only imagine what kind… and wondered exactly how much a man of the Street the Lancer rep really was. And exactly what sort of street…

 Her comunit chimed. Opening her eyes, she saw the message. “Well ok then….” She breathed out and yelled back out of the cockpit area to her co-pilot.  “Caitlyn! Get yo’ pretty buns up here! Time to get this party started!”

 The slim copilot entered the cockpit within thirty seconds and hopped into her seat, buckling up as she did so. “So this is it?” She asked as she began to go through activating her panels.

 “Yes it is, doll, yes it is…” Rhiannon said as she tapped a message out on her unit and set it back into a flight suit pocket. “Arione is moving, and our distraction is now notified. It’s time to get The Blues in the air and on her way.”

 Slipping her microphone into place in front of her mouth, she activated the ship wide comms even as she increased power to the engines for takeoff, shadowed by Caitlyn on her controls. “All hands…  condition yellow…” Rhiannon announced in a professional manner, all trace of her usual accent gone. “All hands, condition yellow.  Combat operations imminent. All gunners stand by; landing security teams to positions…”

 It occurred to her in the nine years she had piloted this ship with at least a dozen combat drops, this was the first time she was able to give warning in a calm voice. Every other time was hella crazy…. Especially Tikonov… cause fuck that place and everything Capellan.


One Kilometer from Alisandria Clffs

2352 hours 08 December 3080

  Jon Richards sat in the cockpit of the ancient VL-2T Vulcan and hummed to himself.  Looking over the cockpit systems once again, he was amazed Uncle Joe had this antique, much less how well it was running. And it ran like it was off a factory line…

 The Vulcan was an anti–infantry machine from the closing days of the first Star League and had been instrumental in the retaking of Terra then. Effective at that job, it was a widely feared machine by ground troops all over, often becoming a giant target for any anti-armor weapons in the area. No one wanted to be burned up by the mech’s flamer or riddled with holes from its autocannon or machine guns. The only difference in this machine from stock was the lighter version of the standard Armstrong cannon, ferro-fibrous armor and the addition of a few extra machine guns and CASE.  It actually made the machine a bit more dangerous, at least to light forces and maybe some 20 to 25 ton battlemechs.  To a more combat capable heavier machines, not so much.

 But like so many other things, mech on mech came down to the pilot as much as the machine. And as a former gladiator, Jon was pretty sure he could handle anything short of an old-tech Wolfhound with this mech. He hoped he didn’t have to try though.

 When he had called Don Gotti with the news about Amelia and the conditions she was in, the mafioso was pleased she was found.  Jon had informed him of who had gotten the information and the predicament they were in…. and the plan to get her out.  He replayed the concerns they had, and Jon also said he understood them… that perhaps something could be done to minimize repercussions.

 Gotti was more than willing to loan assets to make a distraction. Even willing to pay some of the fines. But he was not willing to prevent any charges being filed. It wasn’t his fault that they were in this mess.

 Jon had agreed to that but pointed out that if they had not been in the wrong employ, Amelia might still be missing… That statement got through the Don’s reticence to do more than was initially suggested. Jonathan, you have made a very valid point… had they not been Men of some conscience, we would not know where she was… or have a means of getting her out so fast. Please assure them I will pay for what ever fines they should earn, within reason… and see to assisting limited repercussions. Uncle Joe had said. I’ll have some of the boys be available to help with a distraction.  Artie Marone will be calling, too. I think he will have something for you to assist with all this.  And I only trust you with it, no one else, Jonathan.  Let me know if anything else is needed… and I want to know when the job is done.

 Jon had hung up with Joe and wondered what the heck Marone had for him that was so valuable. About two hours ago, he had found out and was now in the cockpit of that valuable thing, this machine.

 Joe had sent about a dozen gunmen to help.  Jon knew about three of them and their leader, a capo he had worked with a few months prior.  Jimmy Bongiovi Kennedy was a good guy as far as Jon was concerned and in the small meeting they had prior to coming to the rendezvous point, Jimmy said he was told to follow Jon’s orders; that this was an important job and that the Lancer fixer would have the full details.

 Jon told him what was going down and some of what to watch for and Jimmy had nodded understanding. He knew some of who the Blackthorne’s were and well, he had no love for them. He and the boys would pick their targets and if anyone had something big that could hurt that drop ship when it showed, it’d be taken care of.

 As he looked at his watch to check the time, his comm chimed. Looking at it, Jon smiled. Tapping a key, he said into his microphone. “Alright boys… showtime!” and throttled up.


Underground Cell Control Room

0001 hours, 09 December

 Arione eyeballed the panels one last time as Adara and Darren approached the cell with the prisoner and the now finished interrogators; a last deep breath was taken before he hit a key. This cut the video feed just as an alarm klaxon rang. That would be our distraction…  He thought as he stood up.  Caelan was already moving, his Vector MkIX submachine gun to hand and scanning ahead.


 Down by the cells, Adara had been in front and as she drew next to the guard by the cell door, the alarm rang. When it did, her hands flashed out and grabbed the soldiers head.  With a vicious twist of it, her next action was to shove him into the room…

 The two interrogators spun as the body flew into the room and were greeted with two pistol shots to the faces, Adara’s high powered pistols speaking death in the confined space.  As they dropped, Darren ducked in and quickly assessed Amelia.  With a shake of his head, he gave her a small amount of painkiller then cut her free of the chair.

 “Time to move!” He said as he stood with Amelia now over his shoulder. “She’s not going to feel much right now and I’ll feel better if I can examine her better later.”

 “No shit… I’ll feel better about it too- it means we aren’t here.” Adara replied with a snark and led the way out and towards the hallway to the VTOL pad exit. Stowing a pistol, she removed one of her seven-inch batons from its carrier and held it loosely as they hurried along.


 Arione led the way at this point, his own machine pistol out and visor on his armor down.  This was going better than expected and he knew there was going to be a wrinkle somewhere.  And he didn’t have to wait long…

 [Mister Arkanian… did you think I didn’t know?] came the voice of his Contact in his comms. [I do my research too…]

 Arione was about to step around a corner when a hail of shots impacted ahead of him. Shit. He mentally cursed. “Oh Aleister…. Know what?” He answered across the comms as he fired back around the corner.  The hall he needed to be in was on the other side of this junction.

 [I knew you couldn’t let a woman be questioned in such a fashion… And that you have a past with the girl’s employers….] Aleister’s voice answered. [You did surprise me though- I would have thought your anger with them would override the protective nature of yours… Seems I was in error.]

 Arione looked over at the goal hallway and saw a door drop into place. “Caelan?” he said to his partner.

 Caelan laughed. “Their encryption is good… but I’m better…” He backed up a step then dove across the hall in a running leap. Landing in a undignified heap, the burglar member of the Arkanians pulled a data-jack and a tablet from a large armored pouch.  With a quick rip of a key-panel from the wall, Caelan immediately stabbed a prong into an inner port and went to work.

 Arione shook his head and clicked on a device on his left forearm.  Within a second, a highly flexible ballistic shield dropped into place. A creation of the same company that made his armor, the Insta-Shield (for lack of a better name) was a light defensive device that could resist weapons fire for a short time.  Larger calibers degraded it quickly but against light energy weapons, it would last a good while as its material dissipated the energy that struck it.  IT did NOT work against anything particle related and Gyro jet weapons were murder on it… for this, it was just fine.

  Once it was deployed, he too scooted across the hall to give Caelan more protection.  Meanwhile Aleister’s voice continued.

[Have you nothing to say, Mister Arkanian?]

 Arione activated his com. “I’ve plenty to say, Aleister. Would rather say it to your face though…” He replied.

 [Considering you won’t escape, that could happen… though you won’t like how it happens.] Aleister replied. [You are quite outnumbered… even with the small group of people outside trying to shoot up the grounds. I will have what I want and you can’t stop it]

  “Caelan….” Arione growled as he fired a few more shots down the hall. The return fire was rather thick and he watched a portion of the shield fail.

 “Ten seconds… then I’m gonna need your help lifting the door, bro.” He replied. “Then we got six seconds before it resets.”

 “Aleister, I’m afraid I’m going to have to decline the offer of accommodation in this fine facility…” Arione said into his comm as he rapidly emptied the magazine on his weapon.  Stowing it, he deactivated the nearly dead shield and placed his armored hands in the opening that just appeared at the door bottom.

 Between the two of them, the door was lifted, and they both slid through quickly as the pounding of feet was heard coming up the hall. Three seconds afterward, the door dropped shut.

 As they stood, they could hear the troops on the other side express anger at the escape. Quickly reloading, Arione commented as Caelan stowed his slicer. “We need to find the others…”

 “Outside?” Caelan asked.

 “Outside,” Arione replied. “Knowing Adara, she took a wrong turn…” With that, both men ran for the exit.


 Adara and Darren had made it to the hall that led to the exit near the back of the mansion.  She had taken a wrong turn somewhere… but that was spilt milk at this point. The problem they now had… was a hallway and room full of bad guys. And trouble coming from behind to boot.

  “Oh goody…” She snarked. “Surrounded again.”

 Darren set Amelia on the ground for a moment to draw his own submachine gun, a Vector like Caelan’s. “What’s the problem? I thought you liked that kinda thing,” He joked. “I mean…” He lifted the still form of the Lancer woman again with ease, the powered armor lending him plenty of strength to do so.

 Adara flipped him the bird as she stowed her pistol and then reached into an armored pouch. “Fuck you, Darren… that’s different and you know it.” Pulling a pair of small metallic orbs from the padding of the pouch, she rotated them in her hand until she found the right spot.  “Time to hit them with these balls….” Adara said, pressing on the two orbs where the trigger pads were.  When both turned green, she quickly pitched them down the hall.

 The two orbs flew through the air and just about when reached the room by the exit, they detonated.

 The first one to explode was a flash-bang.  The little orb’s detonation reverberated in the compartment and damn near rattled ceiling panels to the floor halfway down the hall.  The effect on the defenders was pretty telling, as enemy troops held their ears and or screamed in pain.

 The other, which popped just after the flash-bang, was concentrated CS gas.  And the concussive explosion of the first device helped spread the contents of the second.  Anyone who wasn’t messed with from the bang would start coughing shortly.

 Adara counted to three after the first bang and broke out into a full-on run.  The powered armor she wore added to her natural speed and she was inside the room before anyone in there knew it. As she ran, she grabbed the other baton off a hip. As she was entering the room, she activated the hidden feature of both batons… carbon-fiber blades dropping into place on the end of both weapons.

 She was here to cut some motherfuckers on the way out and nothing was going to save them from the dance she was about to perform…

Legends and Myths Sixty Nine- The Storm: Galatea Three

Alisandria Cliffs Underground

0002hrs 08 December 3080

 Arione caught the charm that was tossed at him and gave a look.

 It was in the form of the Blood Spirits symbol, the fancy templar-like cross with the gemstone-like décor within each arm. The central gem was an actual gem, this one the yellow of a citrine. From his past run ins with the Spirits over the years, he knew the central colors had meaning as they dictated who you worked for among their hierarchy.

 Red was for the information gatherers, the more spy-centric among them. Blue was for the more direct-action members and Green was for the explorers and technical types…. And he’d never seen a yellow. Mind you, every single member of that group was very capable in the commando or spy realm. Just some were better at specific areas than others.

 Flipping it over, he read the inscription.


 Be safe and well on your adventure out there. If you need me, I’ll be there.

 Uncle A.

 Arione closed his eyes. “Fuck.”

 Darren looked between the two of them and asked. “Ok… the symbol I know, which is why I said what I said. Who’s Uncle A?” He’d only been a member of the group for a few years and didn’t know the complete history between the two organizations.

 Adara answered him.  “The Blood Spirits are part of the Phoenix Lancers, Darren, but not always. Their original head was a woman by the name of Birgitta Drexel. You’d have loved her; all regal and Viking-looking; at over two meters tall with sharp features and blonde, a frigging recruitment poster model for Rasalhague if there was ever one, even though she’s as Lyran as they come. She was also one of the most competent commandos outside of any House military…. If she had been a mech jockey, she’d have kicked Kai Allard all over Solaris in his prime,” she said with admiration. “Yeah, I was a goddamn fangirl.”

 A pause “She recruited the equally skilled, be they spies or commandos… and she had no lack of folks trying to join, because she gave them a REASON to do what they did rather than because a government said so. Apolitical as hell…
 I know I tried to join them… but at sixteen, I was too young. Her Standards for membership was pretty strict and you had to be a bit older than the norm for joining… I hated that but I’ve gotten to understand the reasons for them better now that I have some experience.” She shrugged. “I figured being a military brat and martial artist would be enough. I was wrong.”

 Darren blinked. “Sixteen?”

  Adara smiled.  “Yep.  Told you I was a fan girl… and I wanted to be like her. Like I said, she was super competent… and lucky. At least until the Word of Blake hit Centarus in ’68.  Anyways, she had an attack dog of a commando among her group that made her look utterly peaceful. If I’m right, that would be Uncle A.” She said. “Argyle McCoy…”

 Arione finished. “And he is quite not here…” He said quickly. “Thankfully. But it still presents a problem.” He held the charm up. “If he isn’t, who is and do they know?”

 Caelan spoke up from where he lounged. “Whelp, bossman… I think we might want to find out ‘cause if she isn’t here alone, things might get a wee ticklish.”

“Ye think?”

“Ayeyup.” Caelan said laconically. “Might want to ask Rhiannon and see if she knows anything.  You know drop ship captains know shit…”

 Adara nodded. “I think that’s a good plan… what about the others?”

 Arione glanced at his watch. “Our relief is due at zero-six; I will have a plan of action by then… and maybe some additional answers to be had for some questions that are cropping up in my brain about all this…” He turned to the console to revert back to normal operations in here. “The more we are here, the more I have questions that likely have answers I don’t want.” He sighed. “I have a long day ahead… and I’m not looking forward to it.”


Lancer Mechworks offices

Technical Services Building Delta

Galatea Hiring Hall, Galatea City

1331 hours, 08 December 3080

 Jon Richards sat at Amelia’s desk in the offices and held his head. It had been a very long night of phone calls and explanations about what was known pertaining to Amelia’s kidnapping.  And it was damn little, unfortunately.

 Paddy Muldoon had called him about three hours after he left the scene. Carmichael had gotten the requested video and a piece of the vehicle tag had shown. A large amount of data searching had been done and just after a match was found, the car was discovered about two blocks from the spaceport, a burning wreck. Video from THAT incident was still being sifted through to see if a driver could be identified.

 Uncle Joe had been very quiet when told the news. After a moment, the mafia don told him that anything he could do to assist the authorities in their search would be done…. And if needed, some specialists would be called to deal with anything they could not. Jon wasn’t sure which scared him more- that Uncle Joe was so calm or that he was more than willing to cooperate with the cops.  After a bit thinking on it, he came to the conclusion that being willing to cooperate might be scarier.  Whoever these guys were, having both Galatea City PD and the Mob looking for you was not a good thing.

 After those calls had been made/fielded, he went back to the office to look at the last bunch of contracts for clues. Not that he expected any to crop up but it didn’t hurt. And he just wasn’t finding anything of the recent stuff. On a hunch, he started looking through the files of the No Deal offers and his eyes settled in on the MAS offer.

  Tapping a few keys, he pulled up the file and the screen-cap shots of those who had come to negotiate. Studying the faces, Jon’s eyes focused on one of them, a gent with a handlebar mustache and slicked back hair. Studying the picture, he leaned back and thought about that bunch.

 The reps from MAS had approached them with a request for some work for their armored vehicles, a series of hovercraft bult by HK Group and small arms refurbishment. They also had some mechs they wanted work on, mostly damaged Blakist machines that hadn’t been pressed back into service with someone.  When Jon had run their credentials and did a history search, the number of discrepancies had been large- almost 40% of the info given on service history didn’t add up and there were a few correlations between their history and that of some of the known Merc units that had openly sided with the Word of Blake.

 It was that, along with a bit of hand jewelry that clued him in on their leanings… and that saying no was completely the way to go.  The ring on one of them was something he had seen on a Blakist Precentor a few years ago when the Word forces had been beaten here; the latin symbol for Rho. Wondering if there was a possible match, he took the pictures and sent copies to Muldoon’s net mail. He’d get them to Carmichael and if there was something, he knew the detective would tell him.

 Just after he sent the mail, he heard a rather solid knocking on the door to the offices. Looking up at the monitor feed for the main entrance, he saw a rather solid and voluptuous woman standing outside, clad in what for all the worlds looked like a sea-captains greatcoat and a Pirate Captain’s hat, complete with a big ol’feather. “What the ever-loving fuck?” He asked aloud as he got up and went to the intercom panel. With a touch, he activated it. “Can I help you?”

 The voice that came back across was pleasant. [Oh I think so… though I think I might be the one to help you out a bit…] The woman’s voice was a bit whisky-sounding and she looked up at the camera with a smile. [I think I have some valuable news you might have a good bit of interest in… considering what happened last night. Might I come in?]

 Jon blinked. Ah holy shit… he thought as he grabbed the heavy slug thrower from the desk and tucked it in the small of his back. “Gimme a minute…” He said into the intercom.

 [Oh no worries…] She replied evenly. [Its broad daylight out here so I think I’ll be alright.]

 Jon raised an eyebrow. That was a warning about being watched if he ever heard one. Grabbing his comunit, he sent a quick text on his way to the door then pocketed the device.  Arriving at the door, he unlocked it and ushered in the woman. Re-locking, he turned to face her and motioned to the deeper areas of the offices. “Message received…”

  The Woman nodded. “Oh good…” She replied. “Charlie O’Neil from the Saint’s Row said you were a man of the streets and would know a warning when it was heard. Name’s Rhiannon Arkanian….” She held out a hand. In doing so, it opened her coat some and the end of a sawn-off shotgun could be seen holstered on a hip.

 Jon smiled at the name of O’Neil as he took her hand, noting the hardware she wore on her hip. “Jon Richards… Pleased to meet’cha.” He said. “Charlie is a good guy for a broken-down barge captain, and if he told you anything like that, you may just have something of interest for me.”

 “Well… I’m pretty certain you want what I got, honey…” Rhiannon smiled seductively. “Though I doubt y’all are gonna be happy how it came to me.” Reaching into a pocket when they reached a room with seats and a desk, she set the anklet charm on the table.

 Jon saw the charm then looked at Rhiannon square in the eyes. “You are a fairly wise woman,” he began. “And I would love to hear the story on how you got that.” There was no menace in his tone but only a fool would think it wasn’t there. And she was not…

 “Oh, believe me… there are days I question my sanity and wisdom, honey…” She began. “Most of the time its ‘cause of my love but I remember I love him for reasons… and he’s the one who gave me this. And it’s not for reasons you might think…”

  “Please have a seat… and would you care for something to drink. We are going to be here a bit while the local exterminators find those rats you mentioned.” Jon commented with a slight smile. If the guy he texted was not busy, whomever was watching the offices would be taken care of soon.

 “Don’t mind if I do… and anything will be fine.” Rhiannon replied with a smile. “Where to begin…. Oh yes….  My part in all this started about five hours ago….”



 Rhiannon hit her head on a compartment cowling when she was surprised by her name being shouted in the engine room and cursed inwardly before replying. “What?”

 Arione came into view as she backed out of the compartment. “Rhi… we have a problem,” he said. “And its going to require some finagling to get out of it.”

 Grabbing a rag, she wiped her hands. “What now?” She asked. “Who did Adara kick the crap out of this time or did Caelan piss off someone with an army?” Standing up, she caught the look on his face and noted there was no smile at her joking question. None at all. “Arione?”

 He stood in the passageway of the engineering section and held out his hand.  Within it was two items. One was the anklet and the other was a shoulderflash from a Word of Blake uniform. “This.”

 She stared… “Okay… which is the problem?” She asked and realized right away, they were likely both. But for what, she could only guess. She knew the anklet symbol- she’d been with AG for over a decade and had been there for everything for the last ten years. Including *that* job.

 “Our employers are connected to everyone’s boogieman,” referencing the patch. “and the other is a prisoner of the former. And we are her jailers.”

 Rhiannon stared. “Shit….”

 “Understatement,” he said. “Adara is pretty sure there are other members of the Sprits or at least Lancers here on planet- hell, they have that Tech Office at the Merc Hall… and they will be looking for the prisoner. And if a means of getting her out AND extracting us from the clutches of the Word isn’t come up with, the AG is done… along with her.” A pause. “We didn’t kidnap her. But we both know they won’t care about that if she’s found with us in a rescue…. And getting her free on our own, while the right thing, could finish us if it goes wrong just as much as being found employed by Blakist symps. If I can avoid killing us, great…”

 If anyone knows who to talk to, it would be you. Drop Ship Captains just know things… and we’ve been here long enough for you to know who is who… or where to ask.” He smiled. “It’s what you do.”

 Rhiannon leaned against a stanchion “Geeze…. Ask for much do ya?” She groused slightly, her mind going over all the other captains in port and the handful of barfly soldiers she had *befriended* in the last few months. “I think I know someone… who knows someone. Yeah, I think I gotta line. I’m gonna need that charm though.”

 Arione handed it to her, and his very stoic face softened. “Rhi… I know I don’t get it right all the time. But right now, what I thought was right for the group isn’t… and in doing the right thing here does us in, I’m sorry for it. The four of us talked it out this morning when we left, especially after Caelan found that patch.” He sighed.”  We are going to get the girl out… but it won’t be easy.  Best means is via this ship off the cliff pad. But we need a distraction. Adara is with the rest of the family at the warehouse explaining things to them… ‘cause they might be it. This is straight out of a damn tri-vid.”

 Rhiannon held up a hand to his face and cupped his chin. “Hon… I get it and yeah it is. Its also kinda fucked up they-“ she held up the charm- “are involved in this too like some sort of Damocles Sword if we get it wrong… but if I remember anything about them, they honor debts. We know we aren’t the reason she got taken… so we will be fine there. But we gotta do the thing to risk the thing to maybe get a thing, eh? Ya brain is borrowing trouble.”

 Arione smiled back at her. “No… I’m not borrowing trouble. This is one of those times I know what we are in the middle of and how crazy it will get.  We might not be finished because of it… but I will be damned if I go home in shame.” He shook his head with a laugh. “Got took by a pretty sales pitch and delusions of riches… I’m supposed to be the guy that does that to others, not the one who falls for it.”

 She laughed with him. “Yeah well… nobody’s perfect.” Leaning forward, she kissed him. “Go on, git.  I need to close up baby here and go find a person or three who know some things. Before you go back on, we will have something of a plan… If hovering on a vtol pad like it’s some kind of Great Escape scene out of a Felix Bond film is what we do, then that’s what we do… And it is kinda sexy exciting….”

 Arione laughed as he took her hand and kissed the knuckles. “It is, my love, it is… Before we go on shift, you will have a time on your comm unit. When I have more so will you. Please let me know if you are successful…”

 “Oh, I will. If nothing else, I’m certain there is a place for me to set down afterward and hide if needed. It’s a big planet…”


“…. So you see, we do have something of a plan,” She finished as the last drops of the scotch Jon poured her was consumed. “Arkanian Group had NO part in your girl’s disappearance. But we are going to have a part in getting her out. Our worry is how bad we are going to take it in the teeth. No body outside of a House Unit is escaping repercussions from associations with the Word, even if it was accidentally done. Fucking shell corporations…”

 Jon leaned back as his comm unit chimed. Pulling it, he looked at the message on it and smiled. “Sounds like what you got is the best you can get on short notice, plan wise.” He said as he stowed his comm. “If I may, you were spot on about the rats. I was informed they have been dealt with.”

 “Oh good…” She replied. “Charlie WAS right about you…”

 Jon smiled again. “As for your plan… I think I can help. I have a few calls to make but depending on the answers I get, you might want to load those not working on your ship for the extraction.  I might manage to find you a distraction. I’ve an uncle who is a little perturbed right now and would like something to take his annoyance out on.  And I think you just gave me something to satisfy that….”

 Rhiannon chuckled. “Keeping family happy can be hard; glad to have helped?”

 “I think you did,” He said. “Give me your contact code; when I have an answer, I will let you know so you can plan accordingly.”

 Rhiannon produced a pen and paper then scrawled her comm code on the paper. Handing it to Jon, she said, “That’s my personal one; if I don’t answer, its not because I’m ignoring you. I’m probably neck deep in something and can’t.”

 “Noted,” He said and rose from his seat. When she did the same, he escorted her to the door. “A pleasure having this discussion with you, Captain Arkanian…” He said with a smile. “Should things pan out, it will be a pleasure doing further business with you.”

 Rhiannon giggled. “Oh, the pleasure is all mine, honey… And its Rhiannon for personal stuff. I’m certain we will see each other again sometime soon…” She exited through the door when Jon opened it. “Laters!”

 “Later,” He replied and relocked the door.  Heading back to the desk, he grabbed his comm unit and called a number from memory.  When it was answered, he spoke. “Uncle Joe, its Jonathan…. I believe I have something that will make everyone happy… and get Amelia back…”

Legends and Myths Sixty Eight: The Storm- Galatea Two

DeKirk Logistics Park

Western side of Galatea City, Galatea

0721hrs, 07 December 3080

 The warehouses in this part of the city were bustling this morning as Arione Arkanian pulled up at a low building on the edge of the logistics park.  The building, a nominally disused part of the complex, served as his groups base of Operations while on the planet. Arkanian Group, his mercenary specialist infantry platoon of some twenty men, had rented the place when they had arrived on the planet some seven months ago.

 They had come to Galatea at the behest of a recent employer and had taken up residence in the building when no normal billets could be found.  He and his people had stayed in worse over the years and to be honest, he could have done worse. Galatea had become the hotspot to hire mercenaries of all sorts and his employer had stated he needed them to be away from the major areas. The reasons for this were not forthcoming… and in the back of his mind, he thought it was probably a good thing.

 His group was not known for being super quiet or neat… and both could be an issue with a discerning employer. Living in a warehouse gave them freedom to spread out and work on gear in the privacy that a normal barracks area wouldn’t. It also allowed for some creative mechanic work on various vehicles his people acquired.

 It didn’t help his group’s MRBC rating was a C at best. Not their fault, really.  Several bad jobs and at least one outright error on a mission had seen to that. At least they weren’t Wilson’s Hussars or one of those units who had signed with the Blakists.  Those groups… well, they would likely never recover anything worth a damn in a rating. At least their retainer fee paid for the place, and they were able to subcontract out for extra money. And there was plenty of subcontracts to be had… the issue was getting top dollar. THAT was tough to do, and it was rare they came close. But it paid the bills and allowed some reserve to be built up.  Just wasn’t fast enough for getting upgrades to increase capabilities.

 However, the news he got at a meeting this morning would change a bunch of things for them.

 Driving through the bay door that had opened at his approach, Arione parked the vehicle next to a stairwell that led to an upper office area. Getting out, the finely dressed leader of AG climbed the stairs to the offices that served as the bunk area for him and his coterie. “Adara!” He called as he entered the space. “Good News!”

 Adara, a very slim and lithe woman with dirty blonde hair framing her face, poked her head from what passed for a kitchen up here. “What? You win the lottery or find some new power armor for us?” She asked.

 “Funny…” He replied. “We have a job… And its high cash.”

 Caelan called from the sleeping area in the next room. “Money is always good… and I thought we had a job?”

 Arione laughed. “Yes, it is and yes, we have a job… this is related to it with some damn good money. Short Term work too.”

 Adara entered the main room with a mug of coffee. “How good and how short?” She asked as she took a sip of the warm brew. “The retainer fees are nice but we ain’t getting rich on it.”

 Setting a hardcopy chit on the conference table in the middle of the room, Arione replied. “Class B-Plus money with a kicker for any complications… minimum week to a month or two. Not specific outside of at least a week Full month pay for fractional time.”

 A smirk. “That kinda money for such short term? I call Bullshit,” Adara snarked as she reached for the chit. “What’s the catch?”

“Oh, ye of little faith,” Arione smiled as he watched her read over the information on the hard copy of the contract he brought in. “Money is half upfront with rest paid on normal pay cycle or end of the job, whichever is first. No catch that I can see; we are sitting on a Highly sensitive site of interest requiring protection from prying eyes. Minimum personnel is four, max is ten. If we have a medical person, bring them. Extra in the contract for that.”

 Caelan entered the room at this point. “That’s some good money for babysitting….” He stated. “What are we guarding?”

 Arione shrugged. “I did not ask, and they weren’t forthcoming. If we need to know, I imagine we will find out. Job starts in three hours and make sure your gear is clean. We have an image to project.”

 Adara looked at Arione. “Oh boy… It looks like we can do this alright.  How did you talk them into the coin?”

 A smile. “Well… it came up in conversation at the meeting that they needed several small jobs filled. It was this one, a general security job on a mech park over in Lewis and some sort of direct-action raid with no details. This job and the raid paid the best… and I didn’t think we were big enough for the raid. Or could afford any repercussions to reputation if it went sour. I am trying to build us up again, after all…”

 Adara laughed. “Nice…. I would have liked the Direct-Action job though… been too long since I got into a killer scrap.” The woman smiled evilly; Adara was a close quarter specialist and was one of the more effective members of AG at such fighting. Very Talented, she had a good number of opportunities over the years to demonstrate her skills… and had rarely faced anyone who could counter.

 Caelan shook his head as he retrieved the chit from Adara. “Oh aye… That I can imagine.  Like sparring with the likes o’ us isn’t enough to get your blood flowing?” he joked at her.  Caelan was a Highlander long departed from Northwind and his wit was no less for it, just his accent. Looking over the document, he noted the location. “Alasandria Cliffs? I know that address….”

 Arione looked at his lieutenant. “You do?”

 “Yeah…  Fucking nice mansion. Built like a small fortress for a rich guy’s house and has a good security team there. Dogs too…”

 Adara looked at Caelan. “Do I want to know why you know this? Were you casing the place?”

 The slim highlander smiled. “Every boy needs a hobby…” Caelan was something of a breaking and entering specialist (i.e.: burglar) prior to becoming part of Arkanian Group. Everywhere they went, he had a habit of looking at hard places.  Just in Case or so he always said…. Arione had his doubts but as long as Caelan didn’t moonlight while they were working, he didn’t care.

 Arione listened to the two banter back and forth. Caelan’s observation was a warning bell of some kind… and maybe he should have picked up on it. “What else do you know about the place, C?” He asked as he walked over towards the room he used to sleep in.

 Caelan thought a moment. “Well… it’s like a twelve to sixteen-room mansion above ground with who knows how many rooms for a basement. Large swimming pool, six car garage with a VTOL pad near the cliff and a low building off to the side where the security team supposedly lives. Supposedly has a inside-the-cliff boathouse too; at least there is an opening for something like that down there.” The highlander paused. “Sounds like some sort of Evil Overlord lair, now I think of it.”

 Adara blinked. “Wow… sounds pretty tight. Why us?” She asked as she looked at Arione. “With all that and in-house security, why they need us?”

 Arione shrugged. “Beats me… unless the fact we have some power armor suits.” He said. “Not many groups out there have them unless they are a lot bigger than us.”

 Adara stared at him. “We have seven suits… and four of them is us.”

 Arione smiled. “I know… but given this job only needs four minimum and its likely for a week, I think we can do it just fine. Easy money and we can apply a chunk of it to getting other suits up and running.”

 Adara threw up a hand. “Oi… If I didn’t love you, I’d kill you right now… I Hate Twelve and Twelves…” She shook her head. “Anyone tell Darren? We have two hours before we gotta leave… and he’s going to be busy getting his medbag together again.”

 Caelan raised a hand. “I’ll go tell him… I gotta get my guns from Cody anyway; he was supposed to fixing the sights on the burp gun.” With that, the highlander left to slip on sandals and head downstairs.

 Arione watched him leave then looked at Adara. “Hon, it’s a good job. Good coin, short time frame and we can do it with assets on hand. It will be tight but there isn’t anything else out there outside of dirty work. Or worse.” He stepped toward her and wrapped an arm around her waist. “And if it doesn’t work out, I will agree to your idea.”

 Adara Arkanian smiled as she looked into Arione’s eyes, her own arms wrapping around him. “Really?” She asked. “I know you have issues with Duncan, but I know he’d help us out… and they always have work.”

 “Yes… we will go to Centarus if this doesn’t pan out,” He replied. Arione had a long history with Duncan MacKenzie and the group of commando-spies he was part of. Most of that history was good but the last time they had seen each other, it hadn’t been pleasant…. As MacKenzie was the reason AG had suffered a busted protection job- as he was leading the group that they had faced.

 That the old man had paid for Adara’s medical bills and rehab sight unseen when Arione couldn’t at the time told him there was no hard feelings… Business was business, after all. But Arione had had a hard time thinking there wasn’t any insult implied in the act (pride is and was a thing) or other reasons outside altruism. Sometimes bad emotions lingered, and this was one of those times.  And he owed that man a punch in the mouth at the very least, and a scotch of some kind, for reasons closely related.

 Centarus was where MacKenzie lived, last he knew… and Adara wanting to go there had been a minor point of contention for the last few years between them. Why she wanted to go there, she never said… but he suspected it was either to thank him in person or to try and mend the fences between her mate and her one-time teacher.

 Five years is a long time to hold a grudge, especially in the current spec ops world. And neither Arkanian Group or the Blood Spirits Mercenary Company (even if they were no longer indie) could afford such things to linger.


Alisandria Cliffs

2331hrs 07 December 3080

 Arione was in the command center of the mansion taking his turn monitoring things when the ground car arrived.  As he watched the cameras, his com unit chirped. “Arkanian,” he said as he answered, still watching the screen.

 [Mister Arkanian, please have your medical technician down in the holding room. We would like a full medical assessment on our guest…] came the request from the facility security chief, Cosmo Cooper. [Apparently there was some resistance involved to her coming to have a discussion.]

 Arione continued to watch the screen and saw the condition of the woman being removed from the trunk of the vehicle. Oh, I bet there was resistance… “Of course.  I will have my man there momentarily.” He said in a neutral tone.

 [Very good.] The channel clicked off.

  As Arione activated the com to call Darren, he lamented that this job might not be what he thought it could have been….

  The mansion was everything that Caelan said it was and no less fabulous inside.  Finely furnished, the contents of the place would have fit in with any billionaire’s residence without an issue.  And that was the above ground structure.  Below the ground level, it was well built with halls and rooms tunneled out of the rock of the cliffs, reinforced with extensive rebar-laced ferro-crete. Several levels were built into the underground portion, with the lowest level being the rumored boathouse/dock at sea level.

Staff above and below ground was polite and well mannered, as one would expect. Almost fanatically so, which was slightly unnerving. The security personnel seemed competent which was an assurance.  But they had the feel of plain soldiers or goons; not anything hyper special or specialist. If this was a dime-store action novel, they were mooks. This had been noted by Adara even as he had noted it. And it was then he began to have doubts.

 It very much seemed like a villain’s lair… to include holding cells with cameras in it. That his quartet was responsible for the cells… something smelled here. And while he wanted answers, he was smart enough to know finding them was going to take some time.  Perhaps an answer would be had with this, quote unquote, guest that was arriving.

  “Darren, Arione. Get down to the cell block with your med bag. Our hosts have a guest that needs tending to.”

 [On it… How bad?] the medical specialist of his team asked. Darren was a former combat medic in service to the Marik Guards prior to becoming one of the Arkanian family. He was a very good medic to go along with his action-hero looks and aw-shucks charm which often served to put patients at ease.  Good trait to have no matter the scene.

 “Judging by the images, bruising and abrasions… likely some sort of concussion. Shock too… she arrived in a car boot.”

 [Riiiight…. On my way.]

 In one word, Darren told him everything he needed to know of the medic’s opinion of this job. Sighing, Arione returned to looking at the screens then glanced over to Caelan, who was pointedly not looking in his direction. Oh for christ’s sake… He thought to himself as he pondered what exactly he was seeing.


 Darren arrived at the cells with Adara in tow. He was not going to examine a female patient in a cellblock without another female present.  Not for any reasons he needed to worry about but having another woman present would be for the patient’s peace of mind if they were aware.  And he was glad for Adara’s presence. If trouble developed, she was fast on the uptake and just as convincing as him in lowering tensions- though her methods often involved the implied threat of violence.

  To the guard by the door, he motioned him to open it.  Once it was open, Adara took up station just inside the doorway, her pistols and batons near her hands. Darren had his own sidearm attached to his chest as he entered the room with his medical bag in hand.  The specialized power armor suits they wore, the NIDI (New Israel Defense Industries) Combat Suit Mk V, were based on the Nighthawk suits popularized by the Star league and Comstar/Word of Blake. They were very flexible and had a number of features not found on the military standard suits. Features such as custom holster mounting points and latches for attaching other gear. Like a medical bag.

 Darren went to one knee next to the female who was laid out on the bunk, still manacled. Shaking his head, he produced a master key for the shackles and removed them from wrists and ankles. As he did so from her ankles, a small anklet chain with a charm dropped free. Noting the shape of the charm, he quickly collected it in a slight of hand move as he stowed his manacle key then moved the shackles away from the patient.

 Quickly assessing the injuries, he was pleased to note that there was no major trauma. Only thing found was some cuts and abrasions from the trip in the trunk.  A few contusions and likely a concussion… but nothing broken. No sexual trauma, either, which was good. Had there been, he and Arione would have had a few words after this.

 Cleaning up the wounds, he noted the woman starting to come around. “Adara, have the cell light dimmed please.” He asked as he finished applying a bandage to an upper arm cut. As Adara managed to get the lights lowered some, Darren spoke. “Shhhhh….  Don’t move fast, lady. No body in here gonna hurt you…”

 The woman awoke with a start and backed away from him. “Don’t touch me….” She cried out as she balled herself against the wall. “Don’t hurt me…”

 Darren closed his bag up and backed away. “No worries…” He replied. “Not my intention or my thing.” Glancing back at Adara, he motioned with his head to move out. To the woman, he continued. “I have bandaged up your wounds, ma’am… if something else is hurting you, please tell a guard and I will do what I can.” With that, he backed out and let the guard close the door.

 To the guard, he said. “If she has a complaint about pain, please document it and inform us so I may see if I can take care of it.”

 “Noted, sir.” The grey-fatigue-clad guard said. “Orders are to ensure she gets medical care if needed.”

 Darren lifted an eyebrow at that statement but said nothing.  Turning, he headed away from the cell block and towards the command center where Arione was.  When they got there, he waited for Adara to enter and closed the door. Noting it was the four of them in here, he spoke in Hebrew. “האם יש כאן מכשירי האזנה? “

(Are there any listening devices in here?)

 Arione blinked then reached to a series of buttons on a screen. Five taps later… “Not now.”

 Taking the charm from the wrist compartment he had stowed it in, he tossed it to Adara first. “I believe there is a complication…”

 Adara caught the charm and looked at it. And then closer still.  Then she cursed several times in the five languages she knew before tossing it to Arione. “Complications hell….” She spoke. “this is going to be a fucking nightmare.”

Legends and Myths Sixty Seven- The Storm: Galatea one

Tech Services Vendors Section

Galatea Hiring Hall Building Delta, Galatea City, Galatea

2201hrs, 07 December 3080

 Amelia Yoder looked at her watch and smiled.  Quitting time! She thought to herself and tapped the save button on her screen.  It had been a long day at the office, with several small contracts in work with several outfits here on the planet.  Since the last large contract with the former Knights of the Inner Sphere back in July, business had actually picked up though mostly with small merc units and the occasional corporate entity looking to upgrade assets. The vast majority of work had been refitting contracts, which brought in easy money. All of it low risk stuff, but profitable.

 That Knight contract though… that had been a huge deal and word had gotten out quick that they’d taken them on.  It had led to some inquiries from other groups in similar straights and thankfully, all of them could be worked here with available techs plus a few freelance hires.

 Jon had been dubious about a few of the jobs but given his job was checking bonafides, he would be pessimistic about these inquiries.  Of them, only about five had been outright turn-downs, the units in question unable to pay upfront or having ties too questionable to take on. No, Lancer Mechworks Technical Services had a reputation to maintain and while they might gamble on some contracts, they were not stupid.  Especially the most recent No. It was rumored not long after that they were involved in a raid on one of the Hinto Koto sites over on Back-Of-Beyond Proving Grounds three months ago. HK had taken the contract and it looked like they paid for it too, with the damage and missing gear from the raid when that unit disappeared.

 While she could be a soft touch, even she thought that group, Malyc’s Armed Services, was seedy.  While some mercenaries were just bad with picking contracts or had issues with discipline and violence, the MAS’s record belied their presentation. A rather religious bunch, they just gave off a bad vibe to her. Kinda like a dog who was working on becoming rabid. Yeah, they dressed nice and were polite, there was just… something… that struck her wrong. Jon’s background check on them noted a ton of employment discrepancies- to include a supposed job on a dead world.  Amelia could not turn them down fast enough when that came to light…

 That was two months ago and while there had been some angry words traded, there had been nothing as questionable since.  Which was good for her nerves and Jon’s paranoia.

 As the terminal powered down, she got up and began to close up the various monitors throughout the office.  Going to the door, she locked the entryway and dropped the security gate.  Tapping a command on a panel near the door, the window gates also dropped into place.  Satisfied that the latches activated, she headed for the back room to collect her jacket. Jon or Carl should be outside the back entrance with the car by now.

  The security measures might seem a touch extreme but on Galatea, it was necessary.  Even though a great many things had improved here, the Mercenary Hiring Hall and the Tech Services Vendor building areas still had the occasional problem with muggers or others despite security patrols.  Nowhere was truly safe, she supposed, on a world that had the rep of a Mercenary Star with the old school wild Frontier feel.


Outside, a ground car pulled up near the rear door to the Tech Services building. Blacked out windows hid the occupants within and for their sake, it did the job well.  The vehicle’s three occupants watched out their windows and spied another ground car sitting next to the actual doorway.  The driver of that vehicle got out and lit a cigarette, letting the smoke of the tobacco drift into the night air.

 Within the car, the occupants looked at each other briefly then back out at the driver of the other vehicle.  The front seat passenger lifted a small comm unit. “Stand by… Subject should be exiting shortly”


 Setting his comm unit down, the man lifted a stun-gun and checked its battery. Satisfied it was ready, he returned his gaze to the door and unfastened his seatbelt as he did so.  The rear passenger did the same…. As this was going to have to be quick.


 Carl blew a smoke ring as he surreptitiously looked around.  Noting the other vehicle nearby and a cargo van down the way, he thought on the last time he saw anything else in the area this late at night. Deciding that while not a usual occurrence, it wasn’t that unusual.

 What was unusual, his brain registered, was that the other car was running, parking lights on. Hmmm… he thought just as the door opened next to him. “Hey….”

 Amelia smiled at Carl. “hiya… busy day today.” She said. “And I’m hungry.”

 Carl opened the rear door of his vehicle. “I can imagine… lets get going.” He motioned to her to get in.  As she did so, he gave one last glance around and never finished it as his head exploded.


“MOVE!” came the command from the front passenger as Carl’s head vaporized into a mix of mist and chunks of skull. 

  Their car surged forward even as the screams of their target was heard.  Piling out of the now stopped car, the two men raced to the still open door of their target’s vehicle.  Reaching inside, Front Man applied the taser to an exposed body part of their quarry.  When it produced the expected results, the second man reached in and dragged her out.

 Lifting the dazed Amelia over a shoulder, the second man carried her to the now open trunk on their vehicle.  Setting her in, the first man produced two pair of manacles and a gag.  Working together, the two of them bundled her up then gagged Amelia. Closing the trunk, they quickly got in the vehicle, and it raced away into the darkness.

Two blocks away, the sniper who had killed Carl reached the motorcycle staged at the base of the building. Kicking it to life, he too rode away from the area just as a siren was heard in the distance.  Seems like folks paid attention to loud gunshots still, he said to himself as he left the area.


Alleyway behind Tech Services Building

2302 Hours 07 December

 Jon Richards arrived at the end of the blocked off Alley.  Galatea City Police had the area blocked off and there were easily a dozen personnel here. Getting out of his vehicle, he pulled his Lancers ID out along with a reserve Police credential.  He had always joked with some of his less-than-sterling friends that the police ID was kinda a weird item to have for one of his backgrounds but then, one never new when it would come in handy.

  And this was one time he was glad he had it.  Whenever something happened here in the Hiring Hall areas, anyone without a badge or connections was going to be stopped from getting close.  He had both… and right now, he was going to use the legit one.

  He had been downtown at Molly’s Den taking in the scenery when he got the call about an incident at the building.  Once he got to a place to ask questions of the caller, his blood chilled at the news.  Hanging up, he raced over as fast as he could make his car move. Walking up to the scene, he took in everything and noted nothing out of the ordinary other than the covered body next to the car. As he got close, one of the officers by the car saw him and walked over.

 “Nothing more known Jon,” the officer, Detective John Patrick (Paddy) Muldoon, said when he was close. “Carl never knew what hit him…” Muldoon had known both Jon and Carl for years, back when he was a street cop and Jon was a mech jock for the Gotti Syndicate; he had been a friend and one of the reasons Jon was no longer part of the Underground Scene here. “There was some sign of struggle in the car- her bag was left behind and not much else. No blood other than what came from Carl.”

 Jon cursed. “Well, THAT is a fucking positive…” He growled. “Any ideas on a possible group?”

 Paddy shrugged. “Being worked on.  Johnson Controls has cameras over there and remarkably enough, they are working.  I have Casey Carmichael getting an insta-warrant for them. Should have an answer within an hour.” Casey Carmichael was the local precinct’s tech wiz and there wasn’t a data feed he couldn’t clean up. If there was anything there, he’d find it.

 “Good…” Jon said and breathed out. “Goddamn it… I though this shit no longer was a thing, Paddy!”

 Paddy laid a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “It still is… just not around here. Which means outworlders most likely. No one here does wet work or snatches here. At least not for the last year and a half.  No one wants to upset your old boss. Bad for business. He’s going to want to know too…  When you tell him, let him know we are working it; I’d appreciate him only getting us tips and no gunfights to work.”

 Jon nodded.  His old boss, Joseph Salvatore Gotti (Uncle joe to those who were on his good side) was the local Mafia Don for this part of Galatea and had been a help with reclaiming the planet back in 3075 with his still-in-place networks.  Gotti was a firm believer in how some things should be done and had a respectable relationship with the planetary authorities.  He kept some of the worst issues under wraps and the police turned the occasional blind eye to some of his enterprises. One could almost say he was a complete throwback to the mid twentieth century mafia bosses where mutual enemies of The State and his people were concerned. This had been shown during the jihad… and his actions then still gave the Don some good will from the cops, even five years on. “Oooh believe me, I will be telling

 Uncle Joe.  He’s not going to be pleased… he rather likes Amelia. Thinks of her as a daughter he never had.”

 Paddy chuckled darkly. “Ah shit… Jon, you tell him I would take it as a personal favor if he does as I ask. If I need his help past that, I will gladly ask for it… but right now, its Galatea PD’s job to find out who did it. Any info his people come up with, we will take at face value.”

 Jon looked at Paddy dead in the eye. “You might as well try to push over an Atlas….”

 “Yeah, I know…. But if he respects me, he’ll do what I ask.  I don’t expect you to keep out of it… but I know you know the drill.”

A grimace. “I know the drill, Paddy, I know the drill.” Jon replied. “I have a few calls to make of my own. Lemme know what you get?”

“I will, Jon, I will… Right now, I have Captain Kincaid attempting to get the ports under an alert- asked for it when I saw this was a snatch. He’ll get it.” A pause.  “Gotti could be a help there, by the way…”

“I’ll tell him.”

 “Thanks… Lemme get back to it.”

 “Sure… I gotta go.” The two men shook hands and went their separate ways.  When Jon got back to his car, he started it up and departed, tapping the in-vehicle com unit to the private number for Uncle Joe.  Gotti was not going to take this well… but the sooner he knew about it, the better.  And it needed to come from him.  Otherwise, there would be some explaining to do… and he really didn’t have time for that.

 Whomever kidnapped Amelia made a very big error.  And Jon was sure they would not like finding out how big an error they made.

Legends and Myths Sixty Six- The Storm: The returning commanders

SDS Mustafa

Pattinson Local Space

1751 Local Time, 08 December 3080

  Colonel Tinney entered an observation blister near the bridge of the Mustafa and saw his Wolverine counterpart already here.  Over the multiple jumps going to Barbados, the two commanders had encountered each other in this observation lounge. It became something of a ritual for them, to meet and discuss issues or thoughts on the upcoming operation.

 While actually on Barbados, they had benefited from these meetings… and when the decision was made to return, the meetings were re-instituted.  One could say it was almost ritual at this point, these private discussions.  More than a few ideas were passed between them as well as plain bullshit; leaders rarely have anyone to truly bounce an idea off of and the two of them, while of the very different backgrounds, shared the burden of command… and having someone to just bullshit with was something of a godsend.

 Contact with the Snow Ravens had been managed via the shipboard HPG and the handful of satellites left behind on their route.  When Khan McKenna had been informed of the Mongoose rebirth and their plans, the concern and annoyance was palpable. A handful of messages were exchanged, and an agreement reached; a task force was being sent within days to come safeguard the expedition site and collect the Mongoose troops. They should be there within the month…

 Speaking of the former Mongoose troops, a number of the Lancer troops present knew how to deal with Clan troops on a cultural level from experience. Indeed, at least three members of Second Battalion were former Bondsmen (two were former Clan Wolf and the third Clan Diamond Shark); those three took the lead on integrating the new bondsmen into use with excavations and other operations.

  The Wolverine forces took their lead from the Lancer pilots with this and prior to the two commanders departing, the process to improving both the camps and dig sites were well underway. Captured machines were de-weaponed and used to assist clearing and digging. Not perfect by any means… but it was a help.

  Those that didn’t choose to get with the program… were herded into hastily constructed facilities for retrieval by Snow Raven. Oliver was not among these; he had elected to try and help with the reclamation projects as it was a distraction at worst, or he really did wish to assist.  In either case, he did lend a hand as he was able. History was history and there was a lot of it on this planet.

 As for the Snow Raven responses to the news, the idea that the home clans would even try such nonsense was concerning… and as Barbados was practically the back door to the Outworlds Alliance/Snow Raven space, the warning about the Mongoose fleet was very welcome. Khan McKenna stated in the last message that treaties would be honored.

 As allies, the Snow Ravens had a vested interest in assisting the Wolverines… and in a cyphered piece of message sent among the last exchanges, McKenna indicated that she had gone over old records with a fine-tooth comb and what she had found made her both mad and determined. Because of what she had learned, her troops would be instructed to defend the Expedition Site as if it were their own. There would be no shenanigans, no (in her words) “Kerensky-level treachery”. That her forebears had had to live with the Clan’s shame was bad enough; she refused to add to it. I cannot change the past, but I can help form the future was what she had said.

 This assurance from McKenna made the decision on who was returning easier.  And the route home would be faster too.  On the way here, the Expedition had to skirt Alliance space… but with the exchange of messages, permission was given to go straight through. Doing so would save almost a month of double jumps….

 Which was how they were now one to two jumps from returning to Centarus.

 “John…” Tinney began, calling to Hollister by his first name. “You’re here a bit sooner than usual.”

 Hollister turned to look at his friend. “I am… been thinking about what you had said about diversifying our combat assets.” The Wolverine leader returned to looking out into space. “Given we are still learning about battle armor, adding tanks to the Touman might be an act a bit too soon still.”

 A chuckle. “Maybe… but it gives the non-mech inclined folks who want to fight with something other than a rifle a means.” Tinney took up position alongside Hollister in the observation window. “I know I have some really good folks among the Lancer Armor.  No less unusual personalities too…”

 A nod. “Unusual is a partial understatement.  I recall Captain Murray…” Hollister said. “Form of an exotic dancer with the dark humor of a common infantryman. No, I understand the need to add more to our forces; its just going to be a steep learning curve for us as a whole. Your people have helped a lot in overcoming this… and I think we’re almost ready. The question will be what platforms to invest in.  You and yours can’t give us everything and I know this.  There are designs from the Star League that would fit with us, keeping with our roots… but how many are still available?”

 Tinney shrugged. “Not sure, really.  I know I’ve never given much thought to it.  I do think sticking with the simpler designs might be a good way to go though.  I’ve seen some very low-tech tanks give clan machines serious trouble… and well, sometimes older gear works best.”

 A chuckle. “Interesting mindset, considering how advanced some of the Lancer battlemechs are.” Hollister replied. “But mechs are a different animal, I know.”  The Wolverine leader paused a moment and continued with a different subject. “What is your take on the Snow Ravens? I know they are supposed to be pretty honorable in their dealings and Khan McKenna seemed very forthright. They haven’t done anything to betray agreements so far but I am going to worry.  It is over two hundred years of thinking one way and sometimes, changing mindsets is hard.”

 Tinney leaned back in thought. “Well…. I’m not sure.  Leslie would be a better person to ask but she’s not here.” A pause. “My take on her… is she’s a leader who means what she says.  I mean, most clan leaders are that way in my understanding though in the political arena, not always.  In deals and treaties, its always been letter of the agreement…  Where the Wolverines are concerned with them, I am as worried as yourself.”


 A nod. “Yeah…  I’m worried but then, I’m also a big believer in culture being a factor.  And to a clan who is pretty big on keeping their word and agreements, I’m inclined to think her promises to you over Barbados and the other treaty you signed…. Those agreements are going to be honored.  I do see maneuvering for advantages if they are possible… but I am pretty sure she’s not planning on anything shady.  That last message to you is a good indicator.

  We’re never going to know what she found… but whatever it was, she felt the need to explicitly say something about it.  She wants to strengthen her Clan and her allies…. And needless fighting doesn’t do that.” He answered thoughtfully. “Right now, my feeling is she is going to try to reestablish those old ties from before the Wolverines left Clan Space. Considering the Ghost Bears seem to have gone that route and they are allies… makes sense.”

 “The Ghost Bears took their history and the writings of their founders as additional basis to right the wrong because of Kerensky’s diary.” Hollister reminded Tinney. “The Snow Ravens… doing the same is unusual but possible. They were historically very strong allies.”

 “Agreed… though I think it’s a combo of something in their records and whatever the Ghost Bears told them.  I mean,” Tinney said. “They showed up looking to make peace from the beginning, saying much the same as the Bears. They still are integrating with the Outworlds Alliance so making nice makes sense… Which is a nice change of pace. I’m tired of the crazy cropping up.”


 Laughter from Hollister. “I can imagine… first us, then Word of Blake sponsored raid then the Ghost Bears showing up followed by Ravens…  Then what you called impossible with the infamous former Smoke Jaguar Officer that just showed up leading a task force… I would call it madness too… and would question veracity, if I wasn’t there for all of it.”

 Tinney laughed with Hollister. “Yeah… This is stuff you can’t make up.” He chuckled. “In any event, it all happened, and it will be nice to be home for Yule.”

 “That it will be…” Hollister agreed as his com chirped. Tapping it, he answered. “Hollister…”

 [Sir, we will be preparing to jump in about fifteen minutes to Kilborne then to Centarus.] Came the voice of Commodore Callahan. [I surmised you would like warning before the main announcement.]

 “You surmised correctly.  Colonel Tinney and I will be there shortly.”

 [Very good, sir. See you both shortly] Callahan clicked off.

 Hollister looked at his counterpart. “Well… shall we?”

 Tinney nodded. “I think so…  Be nice to be on the bridge for this instead of a dropship couch. Too many of those trips…” He replied. “Should be a nice return.  Not often I get to see such transitions.”

 Hollister smiled. “I imagine not.  At least there should be no surprises here…”