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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:26 pm 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Excellent character interaction!

_________________
Karagin-

Darkness is a friend of mine. Sometimes I have to beat it back, or it would overwhelm me. Shirley Meier

[url]http://karagin12.livejournal.com/[/url]

The Wookiee, he's not wearing any pants!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:15 am 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
April 19, 3051
Ducal Estates
City of Tierney
St. Ives Compact


“Tormano, you have to pass the abort order to Kai!” Candace Allard-Liao pleaded.

Her brother looked sick as he shook his head. “We . . . we didn’t plan for PEGASUS to be aborted this late, Candace. I have already sent the abort order—but he will already be moving by the time it arrives. Especially given the cut-outs we are having to use for the operation to avoid detection by the Maskirovka.”

The Duchess of St. Ives lowered her head in resigned agreement. “Isn’t there anything we can do?” she whispered.

Her younger brother paused, and then he swallowed the sudden lump in his throat. “Perhaps there is, Candace.”

Kai’s mother looked up from her desk with a suddenly suspicious glare in her eyes. “Explain.”

“The FedCom has cancelled PEGASUS—hell, two-thirds of their RCTs and other units already in place have already left the Compact. But the rest will be here for at least a month. That gives us a month, dear sister, in which the St. Ives Armored Cavalry can still act.”

He began to pace. “Romano can’t attack the Compact, not with the FedCom RCTs still here as garrison—and she’s only got sixteen line Regiments left in the whole CCAF. Your Armored Cav has eight regiments by itself, Candace—and between us we have contracted four mercenary units as well. We ignore the original plan, and move directly on Sian with everything; we’ve got just enough transport capacity to lift ten regiments in a single go. Forget the distraction attacks, forget everything else; we hit Sian and remove our delirious sister from power before she can do more harm—before she can capture, torture, and kill your son.”

Candace squinted at her brother, and Tormano felt a cold chill running up his spine. “I would almost say that you planned this, little brother—it has the stink of your manipulations on it. But I don’t think you managed to arrange this massive invasion of the Lyrans.”

“Yes, it was always a contingency plan, Candace—you do remember those from when you led your own battalion, do you not?” he retorted in a more fierce tone than he felt.

“Don’t you dare try to use my son to manipulate me, Tormano—but I must admit, it does have a certain audacity to it,” she mused, her voice changing from dangerous to contemplative as she considered the possibilities.

“It has two advantages, your Grace,” Tormano continued, plowing ahead despite the bold flashing lighted signs warning DANGER: MINEFIELDS AHEAD. “First of all, it won’t be the Davions tearing our realm apart again—it will be you overthrowing an insane ruler and restoring the Confederation. That alone will put many of our people on your side—especially if we can capture Romano and her spawn in the initial push. Second, when Free Capella—and your son—launch their uprising on schedule, the CCAF and Romano will be too busy with you to deal with them.”

Candace sighed and leaned back in her seat, still glaring icy daggers at Tormano. “Sometimes, Tormano, you remind me of Father far too much for comfort,” she finally said.

The younger Liao winced. “You really know how to stab a guy through heart, sis.”

“How soon?” she asked.

“Everything is in place. And with the Armored Cav taking all of the JumpShips in system—they are yours, after all—the FedCom regiments and RCTs will have no choice but to stay and defend the Compact worlds. Give the word and we can lift in thirty-six hours.”

“We?”

“Well, it would certainly help to have a Liao at the liberation of Sian, Candace. And since you happen to have a spare one available . . .” his voice trailed off as he grinned.

“Indeed, I do, little brother. You will remain here as my Regent. I will lead the Armored Cavalry on this assignment—from the cockpit of my own Vindicator. A Liao will liberate the Confederation from madness,” she finished with a smile as Tormano’s face fell. “And Tormano?”

“Yes, your Grace?”

“Let us inform the Archon-Prince that I fully expect him to live up to his father’s agreement with me—especially if St. Ives accomplishes this on its own and without his support. And tell Victor that if Katherine is lost, then it will be acceptable for Kai to wed Yvonne, if he survives this campaign.”

“Of course, your Grace.”


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:32 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
April 21, 3051
The White Palace
Avalon City, New Avalon
Federated Suns, Federated Commonwealth


“Dammit, Morgan! I need to be there with my troops!” Victor snapped.

“No, boy,” the Marshall of the AFFC calmly replied. “This isn’t the Third Succession War, and your heirs are still minors. Like it or not, Archon-Prince, your place is not on the battlefield, but here. Here, on New Avalon, where your subjects can see and hear you. Did your father direct RAT and NAME from the cockpit of his Battlemaster? No. We can’t afford to lose another leader, Victor, not this soon.”

Victor set his jaw, his eyes flaring, burning with the anger that he needed to release at these Clans that had robbed him of his father and his mother both. He started to open his mouth, but Morgan cut him off.

“NO. And if you won’t listen to me on this, then I will resign my commission effective immediately, my Prince!” the older man bellowed.

The Archon-Prince drew in a deep breath and forced himself to relax, and then he grinned. “And you would, wouldn’t you? Go back to New Syrtis and leave me to deal with all of this by myself?”

“Aye, lad, I would and I will if you don’t do the right thing here.”

Victor slowly nodded. “All right, then who gets the field command?”

“Well,” Morgan said with a slow smile, “seems like that’s the sort of job that falls on the shoulders of the Marshall of the Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth, wouldn’t you agree, my Prince?”

The young man snorted and waved his hand as he sat back down. “Go, then. Have fun storming the castle.”

Morgan’s grin widened. “Loved that movie as a kid, I still do as a matter of fact. Good to see that Hanse raised you and your siblings right.”

Victor started to reply, but then the door to his fathers—no, HIS—private office opened and Justin Allard-Liao entered, his face a pale pasty white. Oh [crap], the Archon-Prince thought, what NOW?

“Prince Victor, I think you need to view this immediately,” he said in a tight, clipped voice that betrayed just how much stress the intelligence chief was feeling. He held a small disk in one hand—the hand on which he always wore a glove—a disk that sparkled with rainbow colors in the light.

Victor took the disk and set it within a player built into the desk, and a wide-screen monitor on the far wall came to life.

Candace Allard-Liao appeared, and she did not appear to be happy. “Justin, my love. The abort order came too late; Free Capella has already begun its pre-invasion operations—and Kai is in the middle of it. My dear sister is liable to go ballistic at this, and that could throw a wrench in the redeployment of the AFFC to engage these invaders on the Lyran side. Accordingly, I need you to pass this to Victor Steiner-Davion as soon as you view it. No matter what comes of this, my love, we will be together again.”

The message paused for a moment, and then Candace resumed speaking. “Victor, you are under enormous pressure at this moment, and I fear that I shall add to that. I cannot, in good conscience, allow Romano to continue abusing the Capellan people. Even though the Federated Commonwealth has terminated PEGASUS, I am moving forward with a contingency plan worked out in the case of an abrupt cancellation. All JumpShips within the Compact registered to the St. Ives government, to myself, and to corporations based within St. Ives are now currently in use to ferry six Regiments of the St. Ives Armored Cavalry and four mercenary Regiments to Sian. By the time that you receive this, we will have completed our first jump and be recharging to hit Sian from the pirate point. I trust that you will fufill your father’s word and keep the bargain that he struck with me—should Kai survive, and if it is still your wish, then he has my permission to bind our families in blood by marrying Yvonne when she comes of age.”

The Duchess—the Chancellor—smiled grimly, and sadly. “We may well fail, but at the least, I can assure you that neither Romano nor Kali will sit much longer on the Celestial Throne. This is Candace Allard-Liao, Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation, signing off.”

“My god,” Victor whispered. “Can we get any support to her, Morgan?”

The Marshall shook his head. “All of our available transport is heading in the opposite direction to Outreach, my Prince. And even if we could, they would not arrive until a week or two after she attacks Sian.”

The young leader looked up at his mentor, his Marshall. “What can we do then?”

Morgan closed his eyes. “I would suggest prayer, my Prince. It can’t hurt and it just might help.”

Victor nodded and turned back to look at Justin—and only now did he realize that the blood-drained look on the face of his Minister of Intelligence was not shock, nor was it fear; it was pure unadulterated fury. Fury at the snake-pit his wife was heading into while he sat safe hundreds of light years away. “Morgan, break open that bottle of Glenlivet, if you please; I think we could all use a stiff drink right now.”


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:28 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
April 28, 3051
Overlord class DropShip Warhound
Inbound to Planetary Drop
Tharkad
Ghost Bear Occupation Zone
(Lyran Commonwealth/Federated Commonwealth)


“Fifteen minutes to atmosphere!” Morgan Kell heard over his radio as he waited strapped into the cockpit of his Archer. Suddenly, a light began flashing on the comm panel, and he frowned as he activated the link.

“Yes, Marshall Bryant,” he asked.

“That is a WarShip, Colonel Kell! A fracking WarShip moving in towards us!” the woman screamed.

“Yes, Marshall, it is. And it is too far out to interfere with our landings,” he continued calmly.

“But . . . but it’ll be in orbit by the time we lift, Colonel! We have to abort right now!”

“Have you forgotten that our JumpShips need time to charge, Marshall?” the mercenary commander replied. “The Black Aces and our own fighters will keep him at bay.” They have to, Morgan thought, although a chill ran down his spine.

“You’re mad,” she whispered. “I’m not suiciding just because you got this brilliant idea to rescue the Archon—and I’m damn sure not taking my people with you!”

On the tertiary command monitor next to Morgan’s knee, the one that showed the radar return of the incoming raid, she saw the Eleventh’s DropShips suddenly veer away and begin to accelerate towards the ecliptic—and the three JumpShips Morgan had ordered there far beyond the normal system jump perimeter.

“Marshall Bryant, you will return to formation at once!” he barked. But the DropShips continued to accelerate away from the planet, their fighters also changing course to provide escort. Damn, she’s going to steal my go-to-hell ride.

Another flashing light on his comm console began to blink. “What do you think, Dan?” Morgan asked.

For several seconds there was only silence. “We carry on the mission, Colonel. We knew there was a chance it would land in the crapper, but . . . would you look at that!” the nominal commander of the Kell Hounds exclaimed.

Morgan stared at the screen, and his eyes bulged as he saw the WarShip inbound for orbit change vector and began to pursue the Eleventh outsystem! “All ships,” he barked into the transmitter, “all combat units, we’ve got our window. Let’s get ‘er done!”

***********************************************************************

The executive officer of GSS Bear’s Den pulled himself across the heavy gravity that the engines had created to stand beside the Star Admiral on his bridge. “We can catch them, Star Admiral,” he said, “but it will take us eight hours to do so and then seventeen to return to orbit. And the other group is continuing on to the planet.”

“Khan Tseng will handle the Inner Sphere rabble on the surface, Star Colonel,” the senior Bear officer replied. “Our orders are quite explicit—do not allow any to escape. Maintain maximum thrust on all engines until we reach weapons range.”

***********************************************************************

If Hell were cold and icy, Morgan thought, this would be it. He side-stepped his Archer past the staccato fire of a hostile autocannon almost without thinking; damn, but these guys are good! Better than the Genyosha, maybe better than us. But they don’t have the numbers on their side, not anymore. Burning ‘Mechs filled his display—a mix of Kell Hounds and Ghost Bears, but quite a few more Hounds than Bears. And those infantry that Daniel had christened as Gremlins . . . he shuddered, as he remembered seeing Scott Bradley ripped from his own cockpit and torn into a dozen pieces by three of them.

“Well, tanks a lot,” he heard Dan mutter as a half dozen of those unworldly PPCs ripped into the Kell Hound flank. “Boss, we’ve got tracks here.”

“Kell Hounds, form up on me,” Morgan rumbled, as he pushed his Archer forward into a charge. “Sic ‘em!”

***********************************************************************

Damn, these freebirths are good, Khan Tseng thought as yet another autocannon salvo slammed into her Silver Grizzly. The best we have fought so far—and they managed to arrive after the main combat formations had departed Tharkad. Perhaps those insurgents have another method of communications, one we haven’t yet found.

And that one BattleMech, that old-style Archer that would have been outdated in the Founders Star League Defense Force, none of her weapons could attain a lock! By Kerensky’s seed, even her sensors could barely make it out, and only in brief glimpses! Some kind of ECM, she wondered, but then she shook the thought from her mind as she lined up a shot on a lighter BattleMech that her new reprogrammed recognition computers IDed as a Wolfhound. Whatever it is, little freebirth, you don’t have it, she thought with a grin as she salvoed the heavy ‘Mechs entire weapons payload into its chest.

***********************************************************************

Melissa awoke with a start, pulling Katherine closer against her chest as she heard heavy gunfire just outside her bedroom, followed by two dull thuds. The door was kicked in and infantry—Inner Sphere infantry, by God!—surged into the room.

“Clear!” “Clear!” “Clear!” yelled the first three, one right after another. Oh my, Melissa thought as saw the shoulder flash on one clearly—Morgan came.

A fourth soldier entered the room. “Major Edwin Winson, Kell Hounds Spec-Ops, ma’am. We’re here to get you and your daughter out. Can you move?”

Melissa nodded, her throat too tight and dry to speak.

“Ok, we’ve got an Intruder in the courtyard, ma’am, just a couple of hundred yards and we will have you out of the line of fire—let’s move.”

***********************************************************************

The tanks were supported by conventional infantry, Morgan saw, but they died in droves against the combined fire from Kell Hound ‘Mech—although his sensors did show yet another regiment of them moving in fast—faster than any tracked tank that big had any right in moving.

Suddenly, a green light lit on his console, and Morgan’s heart soared. “Kell Hounds! WE ARE LEAVING! GET TO YOUR TRANSPORT!” he bellowed across the tactical net. He, Dan, and Akira began to back up, covering the lighter ‘Mechs as they flooded aboard the Overlords and Unions, and Intruders, and Seekers, and Fortresses grounded inside the shattered walls of the Triad. But then he saw a Ghost Bear ‘Mech that looked eerily similar to an Orion step forward.

***********************************************************************

“Well fought, freebirth,” Khan Tseng called out over the radio. “But you cannot escape, and I would know the name of a Warrior who has fought as gallantly as you.”

“I am Morgan Kell, and the Kell Hounds follow me. And you are?”

“Sandra Tseng, Khan of Clan Ghost Bear. Do you yield, Morgan Kell?”

“Funny, Sandra Tseng, I was about to ask you the same thing. But I think not quite yet.”

“Bargained well and done, Morgan Kell. I hope you live for you shall make a fine bondsman to the Clan.”

***********************************************************************

The two ‘Mechs began to circle, and the remaining Ghost Bears stopped their fire to watch. Hoping that Morgan knew what he was doing, Dan opened his radio. “Kell Hounds, cease fire and board ship. Do it now!” He switched freqs. “I’ve got the door, Morg,” he whispered. “Haul ass and get aboard.”

“Is the Archon aboard?” his friend and former commander asked, his ‘Mech reeling from multiple weapon hits.

“Yes.”

“Then lift, Dan. Lift now—while they are distracted.”

***********************************************************************

Sandra winced as yet another twin flight of LRMs hammered her, opening his right side and breaching the armor—but luckily the remaining missiles did not set off her munitions. He is too good, she thought, and once again targeted the Archer visually, without the aid of any of her electronic targeting systems. It had a long time since the Khan had been forced to gauge windage and drop on BattleMech weapons, but she was putting a fair number of her shots on target anyway. Unfortunately, so was he.

She snarled as she saw two of lasers punch through his side armor, and she slid her munitions selector on the autocannon from Slug to Cluster and triggered a burst to exploit the breach, quickly followed by another salvo from her own LRMs. The autocannon shots found their mark, but the LRMs went high—and then suddenly the Archer exploded as one of the munitions found the ammo bin and the pilot was ejected—straight into the path of an errant missile.

***********************************************************************

“MORGAN!” Dan screamed as the ejection seat was hit by a missile designed to remove BattleMech armor; he began to target the Ghost Bear ‘Mech, but he remembered the final orders Morgan Kell had given him and he stepped back two paces and hit the ‘Mech sized button with his Thunderbolt’s fist. The ramp began to retract even as the blast door slid into place. But he could see the Ghost Bear below kneel and bow towards the remains of his friend, his commander, his mentor. He squinted against the tears and changed the radio frequency. “Take us up, Captain,” he whispered.

“Aye, aye, Colonel Dan. We got everyone on board?”

“Everyone that’s still moving, Capt’n. Get us moving,” he officer said quietly as he turned off the radio and began to cry.

***********************************************************************

The Bear’s Den was still sixteen hours out, having just finished off the last of Marshall Bryant’s DropShips when the Kell Hounds broke atmosphere and rendezvoused with the surviving Black Aces. Together, the shattered regiments limped to their JumpShips and prepared to leave behind the frozen world beneath them.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:54 am 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
May 1, 3051
Planetary Flight Control Center
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation


“How’s Marina doing?” asked Gregor McCall as he activated the diagnostic program on the deep-space radar system that guarded Sian’s approaches.

His coworker grimaced. “She’s swollen like a blimp; and I made the mistake of telling her that last night.”

Gregor leaned back in his comfortable chair and swiveled to face Ivan Kalinin, shaking his head. “I’ve told you, comrade, absolute truth is not a good thing for marriage—sometimes it is best for a white lie or two.”

“Da. I am learning that—or rather my back is after sleeping on the couch.”

Gregor chuckled.

“Other than being the size of a beached whale,” Ivan continued, “she is fine. We just have another three weeks, according to the doctor’s, and then she should start labor.”

Gregor nodded as the computer monitor finished preparing for the diagnostic, and flashed a question on the screen: (F)ull/(P)artial?

Contrary to the procedures, Gregor hit the F key, and the entire deep-space array went into a self-diagnostic loop. Holding down another combination of three keys, he pulled up an archive file of last night’s sensor images, with today’s date and time-stamp superimposed on the monitor.

“Well, hopefully it will be a better world for your daughter, Ivan,” the member of Free Capella said softly as he turned to smile at his co-worker again.

“A better world? With a daughter that will probably be as beautiful as my wife? I will be lucky to avoid prison from shooting her suitors in a few short years.”

“Ah, yes, Comrade Citizen Space Controller,” Gregor answered very formally. “It is the universe’s revenge on every father that he has a daughter of his own, especially since he knows all too well how the male of the species behaves at that age.”

“I have seriously considered sending her to a convent for her schooling, Gregor, but Marina gives me an evil look every time I bring it up.”

“That, my friend, is an argument you are not going to win,” Gregor laughed as he noted the sudden appearance of several JumpShips and DropShips on an auxiliary monitor—and disabled the alarm.

“I fear you speak the truth,” Ivan said glumly. “She already has plans for Sasha to be a cheerleader—a cheerleader! I will have to threaten the entire boy’s athletic program, I fear.”

“Well, look on the bright side, Ivan,” Gregor said as he finished reprogramming the system. “You won’t have to pay room and board during your final years—the State will provide them for you!”

The two men laughed as several dozen DropShips—detected by no one else as of yet—drew closer and closer to Sian.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:45 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
May 1, 3051
DropShip Archimedes
Outbound, Sian
Capellan Confederation


“Any response from Flight, Wes?” Ship Commander Jin Teng asked as he stared at the dozens—scores—of icons on the radar display.

“Just the same automated message, Sir. This is an unscheduled military exercise; maintain radio silence and normal operations.”

Jin frowned. Military exercise my ass, he thought to himself. That many DropShips would be at least a fifth of the entire Capellan ‘Mech force!

“Are we still in comm range of the planetary net?”

“Barely, sir.”

“Then place a ship-to-surface call to this number, Wes.”

“Sir, that is contrary to protocol—everything has to go through Flight Control, you know the regs.”

“Damn the regs, man! Place the call.”


May 1, 3051
Senior Officers Housing, Capellan Hussars
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation


The shrill tone of the phone rang a third time, and Colonel Marius Teng pulled himself out of a deep sleep, frowning at the red digits on his clock that read 02:11.

“Teng. And you had best have a damn good reason for waking me.”

“Are you running an unscheduled exercise with DropShips, Marius?” his brother asked through heavy static.

“Jin? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Brother, I’ve got thirty-plus Droppers heading for orbital insertion up here, and all Flight,” static broke up the transmission, but then it cleared, “. . . exercise. Are you running one?”

Marius Teng felt a chill running through his body. “Get your ship clear, Jin, I’ve got some calls to make.”

He hung up the phone, and quickly dialed a number from memory.

“Headquarters, Capellan Hussars, Sergeant Monroe speaking. How may I assist you?”

“Teng, here. Send the Regiment to alert status, Sergeant—this is not a drill.”

“Yes, sir,” the NCO answered. “Authorization?”

“Quebec Sierra Seven Two Three Romeo Bravo Two One.”

“Confirmed,” Marius heard the NCOIC answer as the warning klaxon began to wail in the background.

“Tell Major Bernadotte to prepare to for immediate action against hostile troops dropping from orbit; I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

Without waiting for a reply, Marius hung up again, and dialed a second number.

“Sian Aerospace Control.”

“Scramble the alert fighters and get the rest of the wing moving,” Marius said as he began to pull on a pair of trousers.

“Excuse me?”

“This is Colonel Teng of the Red Lancers! We have hostile DropShips inbound, Sian!”

“Colonel, you don’t have the authority to order this, only Chancellor Liao can . . .”

“Son, you have two choices. Scramble those fighters now, or your XO will scramble them after a squad of Death Commandoes shoots your ass in the middle of your own Command Center! Now move!”

For a second, and then two, only silence answered Marius. But then a voice whispered into the phone, “Alert fighters launching now.”

Teng dropped the phone and began to pull on his boots, as his wife shook the sleep from her head. “What’s going on?” she asked.

The Capellan stood, stomping his heel on the floor to seat the boot correctly, and began to buckle on a pistol belt. “Wake the children and get to the shelter, Ann. Don’t come out until the all-clear sounds.” Without another word, Teng hurried to the door and left.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:31 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
May 1, 3051
Shrike Lead
Atmospheric Interface Zone, Sian
Capellan Confederation


Captain Elliot Nielson blanched as his TR-7 Thrush exited the interface zone and his radar display suddenly lit up with targets flashing the red of non-friendly IFF.

“Wuh duh ma huh ta duh fung-kwong duh wai-shung doh*,” Elliot heard over the helmet speaker.

“Yeah, Shrike Three, you got that one right. Command, we’ve got problems; we’ve got fighters and around thirty Overlords.”

“Da-shiong bao-jah-shr duh la doo-tze!”**

“Fighters, Overlords, and an Achilles, Command.”





*Wuh duh ma huh ta duh fung-kwong duh wai-shung doh. (holy mother of god and all her wacky nephews)
** Da-shiong bao-jah-shr duh la doo-tze! (The explosive diaherraha of an elephant!)

Both quotes are from Firefly.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:59 pm 
Offline
Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Nice...this is getting better and better!

_________________
Karagin-

Darkness is a friend of mine. Sometimes I have to beat it back, or it would overwhelm me. Shirley Meier

[url]http://karagin12.livejournal.com/[/url]

The Wookiee, he's not wearing any pants!

[img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/mil-army.gif[/img]


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:17 am 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
May 1, 3051
Courtyard of the Celestial Palace
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation


Marius Teng swore as he saw the colors painted on the BattleMechs entering the far side of the Plaza. Already, elements of his command had reported contact with the 1st and 2nd St. Ives Lancers, the Cheveau Leger, the Cuirassiers, the Iron Hand, and the Mounted Fusiliers. And now, he had visual confirmation on elements of all four of the Northwind Highlander Regiments! Gods, what a cluster-[censored], he thought as he shook his head. He had never dreamed that Candace would throw the dice like this—even though he had once served alongside her.

The defenders of the Forbidden City had done their best to hold back the storm, but the armored battalions and infantry companies had melted away in the pre-dawn hours. The Lancers were still fighting, but even with the Death Commandoes alongside of them, they were seriously outmatched. And where the hell was House Imarra?

He swiveled the torso of his Cataphract and looked over the remnants of his 1st Battalion; about five lances strong, reinforced with six Death Commandoes. There was nowhere else to fall back to, not with the Palace directly behind him—and Chancellor Liao refusing to leave. And as he watched the St. Ives Armored Cavalry joining the Highlanders in surrounding him, he knew that is was too late to run anyway.

“Here we make our stand, brave Capellans!” Marius heard Major Sebastian Cowell over his radio and winced. How the hell that bastard commissar had avoided being killed in the fighting was a mystery. He was Romano’s pet, that one, and a member of her Thugee death cult, assigned to his command lance in order to ‘advise’ Marius on the proper way that a Capellan Regiment was run. “They shall fall before us, for we serve the Celestial Light of Heaven!” the ass brayed.

Marius started to snarl, but then he saw one battle scarred Vindicator emerge from the St. Ives ranks on the far side of the plaza. An old Vindicator, but one painted in the hunter green of the House of Liao, and emblazoned with the bronze and jade emblem of the Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation.

His radio hissed with static for a moment, and then he heard her voice. “Marius,” Candace Liao said. “You can’t stop me, not with twenty-six ‘Mechs, you can’t. Lay down your arms and I give you my word—as Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation—that you and your men will be paroled with honor, and accepted back into the ranks of the Hussars once my sister has been removed from the throne.”

“Kill that traitorous [censored], Colonel Teng,” Cowell screeched over the open radio link. “Kill her and they shall break!”

Marius clenched his fist and began to move his Cataphract forward, his sense of survival warring with his oath and his duty to the House of Liao; but then his eyes fell on the picture of his wife and their two children. And he imagined them growing up in a Confederation run by Romano and her quisling thugs hungering for slaughter. He opened the comm channel and set it general broadcast.

“Red Lancers, this is Teng. Power down your ‘Mechs and exit your cockpits—that is a direct order.”

“You traitor!” Cowell howled, as he swiveled the torso of his Crusader towards the Colonel, but the commissar’s ‘Mech suddenly staggered forward and fell as an AC-20 exploded into its back. Directly behind the commissar stood a Centurion in the colors of the Death Commandos, the muzzle of its autocannon smoking from the heat of the shot.

“I never liked that son-of-a-bitch anyway, Colonel Teng,” the young warrior piloting the ‘Mech said over the radio as he stepped up and fired a second burst directly into the cockpit of the downed Crusader.

“Thanks for the assist, Sub-commander Jaffray. Chancellor Liao,” he broadcast across the plaza, “the Red Lancers yield.”


May 1, 3051
Celestial Palace
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation


Candace marched into the throne room behind her troops, most of whom immediately knelt and aimed at the infantry who were waiting for them. A mix of Death Commando and House Imarra stood in the great hall of the Celestial Throne, armed with lasers and blazers predominately.

“Ah, dear sweet Candace returns to us, children,” her sister Romano crooned from her seat on the throne. At her left hand stood Master Rush, while on her right there was Kali. Romano’s paramour, Tsen Shang stood along slightly behind Kali, with Romano’s son Sun-Tzu beside him.

“All we need now, is for poor little Tormano and we would have a family reunion, sister,” Romano said as she stood. “You see, my guards captured your son Kai late yesterday afternoon while he was organizing a seditious attempt to overthrow my realm!”

Candace’s eyes narrowed as two guards dragged in her own son, badly beaten, but still alive. Her heart raced, but she knew that if she showed any weakness, Romano would pounce.

“Quite a reunion, indeed, sister,” the Duchess of St. Ives said in voice that showed no concern at all for her son, even as her heart was breaking. “I brought my Cavalry to the ball, along with the Highlanders—you do remember them, do you not?”

“Those traitors!” Romano spat. “They abandoned Father and I when we most needed them, and for what? For the gift of a planet? To serve a Davion? Hanse could never be trusted—he is insane, you know.”

“They agreed to aid me, because it seems that you attempted to kill their Council of Elders, Romano. Although your assassin failed.”

“We all die, Candace,” the Chancellor answered simply as she sat back down. “Just as all of you will die today.”

Colonel William McLeod, the commander of the Highlanders spat on the polished floor. “Just let me shoot her, Chancellor Candace. She’s crazy as bat-[crap].”

Romano bolted back to her feet. “Chancellor? CHANCELLOR! You will never assume such a title, you Davion-loving slut! You will all die today,” she shrieked as she pointed at vents on the walls of the hall. “I have but to give the command, and a poison gas will be released within the throne room, within all of the Forbidden City. I—and those loyal to me—have been given the antidote, sister. But all traitors and whores will die!”

Several of the House Imarra troopers and Death Commandoes lowered their weapons and stared at their Chancellor in horror. None of them wore chemical suits.

“You would kill a million Capellans to hold onto the throne, Romano?” Candace asked softly.

“I would kill them all if they do not serve me well, and in allowing you into my presence, they have all failed me.”

Candace nodded. “In that case, dear sister, may you find your own peace in death. Master Rush? Do your duty to the State.”

Romano frowned, and began to turn towards the stocky Master of House Imarra with the clean shaven head, even as Tsen shoved past Kali and Sun-Tzu to rush to her side—but both were too late. Rush’s sword flashed out and severed Romano’s neck, and the back-hand sweep tore through Tsen’s throat in a bright arc of blood. Kali screamed and pushed Kai down, sweeping up a needler in her grip; the flechettes screamed across the room and tore into Rush’s arm.

She dropped the weapon and dove for a control wand that had fallen from Romano’s grasp, and a dozen heavy rifle slugs—some from the St. Ives contingent, some from the Death Commandoes—ripped into her body.

“Get your bonnie boys and girls moving, William, and disarm those gas bombs. You!” Candace yelled as the Highlander hastily nodded and began to jog out of the throne room. She pointed directly at Sun-Tzu. “Where are they boy?”

“You will address me, as Chancellor Liao, Duchess and Aunt. You abdicated all claim to this throne long ago—and I am guilty of no crime.”

“I asked you a question,” she growled as she walked forward, and Sun-Tzu swallowed heavily. "Consider yourself lucky, nephew, if I don't simply decide to end Romano's line here and now. I've wrested the throne from a mad-woman, I'm not about to hand it over to a teenager who has never done a day of military service in his life."

Sun-Tzu couldn't meet her fiery gaze, and he looked away, whispering, “She has them positioned throughout the city, in case of a coup attempt. There is a map in her private quarters.”

“Take him into custody,” Candace barked as she knelt next to her son Kai who lay on the cold stone floor.

He raised his bloody and swollen face, and cracked a grin. “What took you so long, Mom?”


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:28 pm
Posts: 1828
I finally had the time to read this, but a great take on the story. Will we see any more chapters coming down the pipeline?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:04 am 
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General
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
I am a week away from finishing the last book (The Long Road Home) of my Kerensky and Kurita trilogy. After that, I plan on picking this back up.

Master Arminas


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:22 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:28 pm
Posts: 1828
Great to hear. I have been waiting to see how things progress from Astra back toward Terra for ages now it seems.


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