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 Post subject: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:13 pm 
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Edward’s War

A Work of Alternative Fiction set within the BattleTech Universe
By Stephen T Bynum
All Rights Reserved



Prologue

Pendle’s Town, Charleston
Taurian Concordat
February 18, 3026


“Eddie, my boy! Damn good to see you again, son,” exclaimed the old man as he rose from his chair behind the desk in his office.

The subject of that exuberant greeting grinned as he leaned against the door frame, his arms crossed over his chest. At just 22 standard years, Edward Calderon had seen fewer than a quarter of the days of the speaker—not by much, but fewer. But while the old man may have been retired from the Defense Force, the undress jacket of the planetary guard that he wore was still taut across tightly corded muscles. And if his hair was thinner than in years past; well, did the quality of the brain beneath the skin and bone actually care about the number of hairs on the scalp above?

“So this is where they shipped you off to, you old coot,” Edward said as he unfolded his arms, stood, and then walked up to the old man with his hand extended.

“Old coot, my ass, you young whelp!” the man snapped; the words may have been harsh, but his tone held nothing but warmth. “And for your information, Eddie, no one shipped me out. I retired, if you will recall.”

“Actually, Brigadier, as I recall, it was a medical retirement; the docs wouldn’t recertify you for another tour playing mother hem at the Academy. I think they said you needed some rest to ease the strain on that old ticker of yours.”

“A baseless slander; I was always planning to settle down out here away from the snake-pit of Samantha City politics. Just maybe not quite so soon.”

Ignoring the outstretched hand, Ray Jessup embraced the younger man fiercely. And then he stepped back and examined Edward from head to toe with a critical eye. “Commandant, eh? And with the office of the Inspectorate no less. You know you’re moving down in the world.”

Edward answered that with a snort. “We also serve who inspect troops and push papers, Sir. Even if we trained for four years to pilot ‘Mechs—and less than six weeks for our current assignment,” he finished sourly.

“What did you expect, Eddie?” the former head of the École Militaire softly replied. “You’re the bloody heir for Christ’s sake; did you just think that graduating fourth in your class was going to earn you a command slot in one of the battalions on the Davion border? Or chasing pirates out on the Rim?”

“No, Sir,” the Captain answered as he shook his head, “but they could have left me in one of the battalions of the Guard Corps. Those units only seldom get rotated out anyway. Instead I’m piloting a bloody desk too many damn days a week. In the stygian depths of the General Headquarters on Taurus, no less. You won’t believe the strings I had to pull to grab this inspection tour and get of the Cluster.”

“So is that why you’re here, Commandant Calderon? To whine to an old man about how unfair the universe is?”

Edward grinned, and then his face cleared of outward signs of emotion, he snapped to attention with a click of his boot heel and saluted smartly, fixing his eyes on the wall behind Jessup. “Absolutely not, Brigadier, Sir! Edward Calderon, Commandant, Office of the Inspectorate, Administrative Command, Taurian Defense Forces; reporting as ordered! Sir!”

Ray snorted again. “Cut the cadet crap, Eddie, and then draw up a seat.”

As the commander of the Charleston Volunteers sat back down in his sturdy, no-frills, no-comforts wooden chair, Edward did as his former instructor and both past-and-present mentor instructed and sat down in one of the two chairs arrayed before the desk.

“So, Mr. IG Man,” Ray drawled, “where exactly do you propose to begin with your inspection of Charleston’s defenses?”

“Well knowing you like I do, I’m certain you probably have the armor battalion out on a FTX—along with at least half of the infantry. The infantry you don’t want some staff wienie from Taurus taking too close a look at.”

Ray nodded, a slight twitch in his mouth betraying his amusement. “And so the staff wienie will do what?”

“Despite our reputation—well-earned reputation, may I add—at the IG’s office for an adverse reaction to fresh air, mud, muck, and grease, I think I will change into my field kit and borrow one of your choppers to observe the FTX in question. Then, after we all return to base, I believe that a surprise inspection of the barracks and vehicle hangers is in order. After that, we can start plowing through your paperwork.”

“Thank you, Lord,” Ray spoke loudly towards the ceiling. “You have worked a miracle today, a blessed miracle.”

“You know that God is omnipresent, right? You don’t have to shout.”

“The hell I don’t, boy. God is older than I am—I imagine he’s a mite hard of hearing as well. But seriously, Eddie, it sounds like you learned a little more from me than how to operate a ‘Mech,” Ray finished with a smile.

“I asked myself what would the Old Man do? And then I thought back to all of your inspections. Of course, that means you know what to show me and what to hide, so I’ve got two weeks to ferret out all of your trooper’s dirty little secrets.”

“Well, as it just so happens,” Ray said as he stood, “there is a Field Training Exercise currently underway. And I have a whirly-bird waiting on the pad anytime you want to depart. I think that the Inspector General’s office will like what we have been doing out here to train up the local troopers and the Constabulary.”

Edward raised an eyebrow. “You have the Constabulary in the field? Not just the regulars?”

The old man snorted. “Only the armor battalion is regulars, boy. And there is only a single battalion of that; plus a division of air-breathing fast-movers —one singular division of four planes—for atmospheric defense and a grand total of fourteen VTOLs, eight of which are converted civilian jobs. All six battalions of Charleston’s infantry are local troops that have never been off planet in their entire lives. Yeah, they wear the TDF uniform and draw a paycheck, but the previous commander let them go to pot—said that infantry were worthless and treated the troopers like [crap]. And so he got [crap] results. Good riddance to the asshole.”

“I’ve got almost three thousand registered volunteers in the Constabulary, though. They may be as green as fresh-cut pine, but damn if they aren’t eager as all hell to show the regulars what they can do. Since I got here, we’ve started whipping the full-time infantry into shape and I’ve personally taken a hand in getting the Constabulary sorted out and geared up. We train ‘em for three days a month, rotating then over a four-week cycle so that someone is in the field every bloody weekend—and the line infantry and armor are there with them each and every damned time. And I’ll tell you this; some of those volunteers are down-right sneaky bastards on maneuvers. They’ve got all sorts of dirty tricks they are itching to try out on raiders or regulars alike.”

“Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time out here.”

“Wonderful? Wonderful?! I’ve got volunteers out there some of whom are totally clueless—and more than a few of the regulars as well. Some of them actually know enough to lace their own boots without their mother holding their hand. A few—a few, mind you—of them are pretty good, but wonderful?”

A peal of thunder resounded against the office window and both men looked towards the glass as the first heavy drops of an autumn storm began to fall.

Eddie shook his head. “And you arranged for the weather to go south as well?”

“Don’t forget, God and I are close personal friends. We partner up for bridge every Wednesday night down at the social center and pick up old broads willing to buy us a dinner on their pension checks.”

“Having the time of your life, the time of your life. Let guess, the FTX is in the middle of some god-forsaken miserable swamp filled to the brim with the local equivalent of alligators?”

“Don’t be silly, Eddie, my boy; there is no indigenous life-form on Charleston that even remotely resembles an alligator. I had to import the genuine thing all the way from Ishtar.”

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

Edward frowned as he considered the field boots his batman had packed into his kit back aboard the DropShip Vindictive. He frowned at the black glossy highly-polished finish that gleamed flawlessly on the leather surface to be precise. Didn’t Stanton know what field utilities were for? Removing another item from the case, he shook his again. Sure enough, the buckle on his belt was bright glistening silver embossed with the Bull emblem of the Concordat. At least the career Corporal had not been able to polish the trousers, blouse, and field jacket—although the snap buttons on the jacket’s front closure and all four pockets had been. Polished and buffed until the anti-glare coating had been scrapped clean and each silver-toned circle shone like a mirror.

The young man sighed. He had known going into the Defense Force that it was a schizophrenic organization at heart. The Armor Command and BattleMech Command were filled with professionals who trained hard, fought hard, and played hard—but professional soldiers regardless that were dedicated to defending the Taurian people. Infantry Command and Fortress Command vastly outnumbered those components, but except in the direst of circumstances those sections never left their homeworlds. While there were some good units in both of the two defensive divisions of the TDF, by and large they were filled with short-timers serving the mandatory two-year term of service required of all Concordat citizens. The Navy was different; it was a professional service as well, but then the Taurians hadn’t had a proper Navy since the end of the Reunification Wars: just JumpShips and DropShips for transport and a handful of Assault DropShips and Fighter Carriers for local defense. Still, that branch had retained their elán and high standards, even if they no longer had the WarShips to go with them. Medical Corps was just as solid, and it stood proudly apart from the rest as an organization that had trained nearly all of the doctors and nurses and paramedics serving the people of the Concordat. And then there was the Administrative Command and all of its glorious sub-departments—including the Officer of the Inspector General—the Inspectorate as many of the grognards called it. Good solid dependable line troopers and officers fought like hell to stay out of the bureaucracy, leaving only those who wanted to play the political game to serve in its ranks. Or those of us like me, Edward thought, who get stuck here because some bureaucrat doesn’t want to explain to Pop that I am just a soldier like any other in the TDF.

The REMFs (Rear Echelon Mother F'ers, Eddie enunciated inside his head with a smile) of Administration seldom had any field experience, and for the most part they didn’t want any. The exercises and war-games they played were in the political arena, not physical combat, and it showed in how the enlisted and non-commissioned staff performed their jobs. Appearance—not substance—was by and large the watchword in Admin. His batman had never even considered that Edward would go into the field and actually do the job he had been sent out here to perform; the thought had quite possibly never even crossed his mind when he had blithely ruined the effect of the field camouflage back aboard ship. Even his rank tabs had been sewn on in bright golden thread, for Christ’s sake! Full color rank tabs to boot. Well, at least his sidearm was clean and functional—even if that too had been polished mirror bright.

His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the thin wooden door of the small room he had been given at Charleston’s defense HQ.

“Come.”

The door opened and a local volunteer walked in, carrying a bundle wrapped in brown paper and bound up with twine. “Sir,” the trooper said, “with the Brigadiers’ complements. And he said to pass along the following: ‘Ain’t seen a staff wienie yet that knows jack about the field—or their batmen.’ His words, Sir, not mine.”

Edward chuckled and shook his head. Sure enough, he could see the outline of boot soles against the paper wrapping. “Brigadier Jessup saves the day; or at least saves me from being embarrassed in front of real soldiers. Thank you, Corporal, if you will just leave that bund-. . .”

The window glowed with a flash of light as a sudden massive explosion slammed into the building, shattered the glass in the window and hurling both Edward and the volunteer to the ground. The floor, walls, and ceiling flexed from the concussion wave causing flecks of paint and plaster to spray outwards like flakes of snow.

His ears ringing from the deafening clap, Edward shook his head and worked his jaw, trying to clear the canals and sooth his thundering eardrums. He staggered up to his hands and knees, shards of shattered glass carving tiny slices in his hands and scoring his undress uniform’s knee-pads and boots. That’ll piss Stanton off, was Edward’s first thought, even as he could faintly hear emergency sirens in the distance.

His second thought was brought about by the faint creaking of the walls and large cracks running jaggedly across their surface. “Let’s get out of here before the whole place . . .”

He stopped before he could finish the sentence, because the Corporal would never hear him or anyone else again. A fragment of the shattered window had sliced deep into the youth’s throat, spilling his life-blood out upon the floor in a growing pool of crimson. Edward swallowed as he felt the bile in his stomach rising up, his nose catching the first wisp of the smell of death. Unable to stop himself, he retched and heaved up the breakfast he had eaten just two hours before. For several long seconds, he spewed bile and half-digested biscuits and bacon atop the broken glass, plaster dust, and shattered tile; and then he sat back on his heels and wiped the slime from his chin on the sleeve of his blouse.

The stench of his own vomit, combined with that of the hot coppery blood and the pungent odor of urines and feces caused his stomach to lurch yet again; but this time he held it back and he staggered to his feet.

Grabbing the web belt with his holstered automatic pistol, Edward Calderon sprinted out of the door and into Hell.


Last edited by master arminas on Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
For the purists among you, my vision of the Taurian Concordat is slightly different from what has been provided in canon. I see the Taurian Concordat as a mixture of French, Spanish, and United States cultures, settled way in the very earliest days of the expansion of Mankind from Terra. And they are just as prideful and as stubborn and as hard-headed as those three cultural groups. Most of the changed part of the setting will become evident within the story itself, but one thing most purists will immediately notice is the ranks.

Commandant is not a canon Taurian rank.

Well, that is because whoever wrote the Taurian ranks was an idiot. In canon, they are Cornet (01), Subaltern (O2), Brigadier (O3), Colonel (O4), Comptroller (O5), and Marshal (O6). Seriously? A Colonel outranks a Brigadier? Comptroller as a military rank? Six levels of officers in the entire nation's military structure? Two of which are equal to 2nd and 1st Lieutenants!

Not my Taurian Defense Force. Here are my officer ranks: Cornet, Subaltern, Capitaine, Commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier, General, and Marshal. Nine ranks, divided in junior officers (Cornet through Capitaine), field-grade officers (Commandant through Colonel), and senior (or flag) officers (Brigadier through Marshal). I have used some things from the French, from the Spanish, and stolen from the English militaries (not such much US in this area, although the enlisted and NCO ranks owe much to the Americans, and so does the Taurian Navy).

Anyway, bear in mind this is not meant to represent canon faithfully and 100%, but is only my take. And I hope you stay aboard for the full ride.

MA


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Chapter One

Port Sheridan, New Vallis
Taurian Concordat
May 24, 3026


Lieutenant-Colonel Sean Walker was riding the high produced by his adrenal glands as he rounded the final turn of his daily run. Passing between the concrete dividers that lined the traffic lanes heading in to and out from the Defense Force military reservation, he cast a casual salute with a sweat-soaked hand at the sentry on duty, all the while not breaking the rhythm of his exercise. Shaking his head, and trying not to grin (but failing!), the sentry waved the officer ahead. He continued to jog as he passed by row upon row of barracks and vehicle hangers, marching soldiers in field dress and raw recruits running in formation while a grizzled DI called cadence. First a right turn, and then a left, and another left, and he was past the sprawling circle of buildings that surrounded the military port of New Vallis.

Breathing steady and deeply, he slowed down and came to halt, checking his pulsing carotid with two fingers even as he gazed out over the collection of DropShips on the pads before him. Slowly, he sat down on the grass, and began to stretch; flexing muscles and tendons taut from the fourteen kilometers he had covered in the past seventy-two minutes. Finally, he stopped and sat upright, resting his elbows atop his knees. With a sigh that was almost a groan, Sean got to his feet and began to walk towards one of the near identical four-storey tall brick and masonry buildings.

Kirkland Hall was the name etched in the stone arch above the two doors, although the wooden sign that stood among the grass in front proclaimed something slightly different: Transient Mercenary Quarters #3. As Sean walked past the sign, he reached out with his right hand and lightly rapped his knuckles against a hanging plaque emblazoned with the silhouette of a Osprey-class BattleMech on a shield of red and white. One of his men had hung the plaque shortly after the unit arrived, proclaiming to the world at large that this structure was the temporary home of the Roughneck Cavalry.

A sentry stood at the door to the building, but this sentry was not wearing the field browns of the Taurians; instead he wore trousers and blouse of olive drab, along with a cloth garrison cap. A polished belt of rich brown leather circled the sentry’s waist, and a second belt crossed over his shoulder, holding a silver whistle on a chain of steel links. One his right side hung a holster filled with a heavy revolver, and the pommel of a short knife extended butt forward from a sheath on his left. A black armband with two letters in gold—MP—circled his right bicep.

“Good run, boss?” the sentry asked as he opened the door, releasing a blast of cold dry air into the humid spring morning of New Vallis.

“Not bad, Rabbit, not bad a’tal,” Sean replied with a smile. “You ought to get out and try it sometime, helps you keep your wind.”

Franklin ‘Rabbit’ Banner grinned at his lord and master. “Four or five hours of fun between the sheets with two or three of the local pretty young things works wonders on my wind, that and lifting weights—twelve ounces at a time.”

“You are incorrigible, Rabbit,” Sean said between chuckles. “One of these days the father is going to come looking for you with a shotgun.”

“Been there, done that, became a merc one step ahead of the marriage party,” the sentry replied. “And speaking of which, are we going to be lifting soon?”

“Tomorrow in fact; heading back to our old stomping grounds on Bell, but this time we’re working for Hasek.”

Rabbit grimaced. “The man’s a weasel, boss.”

“Yeah, but the pay is good and we need the job. And it seems that he wants us to do to Mad Max what the Chancellor paid us to do to him. Besides, think of it as a challenge; you’re gonna need extra silver on that tongue if the girl lost family in our raid.”

“On Bell? Don’t make me laugh, boss. All the young and stupid ones swoon for a well-dressed merc with money to burn and a belle to spend it on. Besides, after experiencing the short-comings of the Feddies and the Cappies those oh-so-sweet and not-so-innocent lasses will be lining up for real men—Taurian men.”

Shaking his head with a laugh, Sean went on in, and began to climb the stairs, taking three steps at a time as he pounded his way up to the third floor. Once he reached his quarters, he stripped, tossing his t-shirt and shorts into the laundry hamper and climbed into the shower. Even with dial marked hot turned to full, the water was icy, but Sean scrubbed the grit and grime from his body anyway. A quick and careful shave later, and the colonel got dressed in his own OD green fatigues, and then sat down in a wicker chair to lace up his boots.

The phone on his bed-side table rang, and Sean hit the speaker button and then went back to tying tight the nylon cords. “Walker.”

“Boss,” the alto voice of Elise ‘Castle’ Blenheim, his operations officer, emerged from the speaker. “Final pre-lift staff meeting in five.”

“Told you I’d be back in time, Castle.”

“That you did, but one of these days you’re going to sprain an ankle and come limping in an hour late. Until then, the pool just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

“The things you people bet on; next thing will be whether or not I have croissants and coffee or orange juice and eggs for breakfast.”

“Nope. That’s a sucker bet; you’ve had the same breakfast every single blasted day for the past six years outside of combat ops—pepper grits and . . .”

“. . .buttered toast, with four slices of bacon, two sausage patties, and half a grapefruit,” Sean finished.

“And don’t forget the tall glass of milk.”

“Have I ever?”

“Not in six straight years; damn it.”

Sean laughed. “I’ll be down in two,” he said as he made certain his trousers were bloused perfectly.

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

The conference room was full when Sean made his way through the door a few short minutes later. Almost a dozen men and women surrounded the table, their conversations abruptly ending as one of the crowd barked out, “Attention on deck!”

“As you were,” Sean said as the leaders of his combat and support units began to rise. He circled around the table until he came to the coffee cart, stopping to pour a cup of thick black java to which he added three heaping spoonfuls of sugar and a sizable portion of cream. Taking a sip of the hot drink, he sighed, and then he moved on to the single empty chair and sat down.

“Master Chief, where are we on fixing Hunter’s ‘Hammer?”

Master Chief Technician David Gregg, the senior tech of the Roughnecks, shook his head. “We’ve been over the machine three times now, boss. So far we have not been able to trace the fault in its right arm. The actuators look good; my teams have yanked them three times and ran diagnostics without a single blip on the screen, so the glitch has to be somewhere in the control runs.”

“And how long to run through all the runs?”

“It could take weeks.”

“Yank the whole bloody thing and get a replacement from base stores. I want Sergeant Kidd’s ‘Mech one hundred and ten percent by the time we go feet dry at Bell.”

Gregg shook his head sadly. “Already tried that, boss. Would you believe they have no complete sets of left arms for a WHM-6T on base? Three right arms, sure, but no lefts.”

“Vassily?”

“Da, Colonel. I shall find you and the intrepid Sergeant Julia one working right arm before we lift,” Captain Vassily Romankov, the Roughnecks quartermaster and logistics officer, replied.

“Good, I don’t care who or what we short, or how it gets done, but get the parts and get that machine in the green again. How are we on stores?”

“Vassily’s people have finished loading the general supplies on all the DropShips,” Captain Jason ‘Bullseye’ Hamilton, the battalion exec and commander of 2 Company chimed in. “Final load of munitions is scheduled to arrive at 1430 local today. Gregg’s techno-geeks have full stocks of spares and replacement armor, as well.”

“I still say that we could use more medical supplies,” interrupted Surgeon-Captain Valerie Piersdale. “We can never have enough pharma for every contingency.”

“Doc,” the XO shook his head, “no matter how much you have, you always want more. Do you sell the morphine on the streets?”

The brunette pursed her lips and turned to glare at Bullseye. Sean could feel the chill inside her green eyes. “No. Keep in mind, Captain, that the next time you’re injured and we run short, I might have to buy your meds there.”

“Are we that short on medical?” asked Castle.

The surgeon shook her head. “Not really short, Elise. It’s just that we can run through the drugs so fast if things go south.”

Sean rapped the table top with his knuckles. “Until we get our first checks from Hasek, folks, the financial cupboards a bit bare. We can’t afford to spend more of our budget on medical unless we absolutely have to; and you know it, Doc.”

She nodded glumly. “In that case, boss, medical is good to go.”

“Transport?”

Felicia Philips, commander of the DropShip Roughneck and the senior of his transport skippers smiled. “The eggs are fueled and ready to lift on your word, Major. Life support, water, and provisions have been fully stocked and secured; in fact, the entire battalion is combat loaded. Well, except for that ‘Hammer that Gregg’s boys are working on over on Open Range. Captain Hall says we will have full charge on the drive by the time we dock with Big Sky.”

“Any problems with the shooters I need to know about?” Sean asked.

“New folks a little green, boss,” Battalion Sergeant Major Miles ‘Bulldog’ Rutherford drawled in slow and lazy accent he had gained growing up on Jamestown. “This latest batch has potential, but damn it all; can’t the bean-counters let us keep what we train?”

“They do, Bulldog,” Sean answered with a chuckle, “or have you forgotten Rabbit? Or Hunter? Or Six-pack?”

The non-com frowned at Sean. “They leave us the screwballs and take the ones that we have just gotten up to speed. But, before you say it, Major, sir, we will make bricks without straw. I’ll have the new guys up to speed before we debark at Bell.”

“Good. All right, let’s get down to the nuts-and-bolts of what the battalion will be doing on . . .”

A sharp knock at the door caused Sean to stop in mid-sentence. He looked up as the NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge) of the day stuck his head in. “Your pardon, Roughneck,” he said to Sean, using the officers call-sign, “but General Derry insists on seeing you . . . and a Monsieur Jouett.”

Sean sat bolt upright in his chair, his face suddenly drained of all color. Jouett? Here on New Vallis? “Thank you, Thunder; please show them to my office and inform them I will be there shortly. You know the drill, people; I want to see asses and elbows from now until we lift. Dismissed.”

As his men and women filed out of the room, Sean leaned back in his chair and pursed his lips in thought. Jouett. Things are about to get interesting, he thought to himself. I hate interesting.

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

Even before he opened the door to his office, Sean could hear the two Taurians within arguing—in French, no less! He shook his head. Half of the Roughnecks had been raised either speaking the language as their native tongue, and the other half had all been taught it way back in primary school. Although the official language of the Concordat had long been the standard of Star League English, a necessity engendered during the centuries long occupation of the Concordat by that hated band of robber barons who had ruled the known galaxy from Old Earth, the men and women of the Concordat—the Hyades worlds especially—were infamous for the distance which they travelled to cling to their traditions. To call a Taurian stubborn would be akin to saying that space is black, or that an ocean is damp. And since Samantha Calderon hailed from Aix-la-Chapelle, was of Gallic descent, and had spoken fluent French during her life, then by God and all his holy saints so would the children of her followers! Even if she had lived more than seven centuries in the past and virtually no other group of people had bothered to retain the language. And because her husband had been a hidalgo, most spoke Spanish as well. A few even spoke a hybrid language called Creole, brought by their colonist from a small portion of North America on Terra. It’s tradition, the Taurians said; and in their minds that settled that.

And the outer worlds, those not shielded by the great clouds of gas and dust and asteroids of the Hyades, those not settled by Sam’s followers but who had joined the Concordat back in the dawn of time of their own free will and accord, those worlds had nearly universally embraced the idea as well. Sometimes, it seemed the outer systems wanted to out-Taurus the Hyades; to prove themselves every bit the equal of the Old Worlds of Hell’s Heart. And so it was that scores of differing cultural and ethnic groups had embraced and adopted the language and customs of three small and insignificant table-top sized provinces of ancient Terra. Language and customs that not even two centuries of occupation and concerted effort by the Star League could stamp out.

Of course, the mercs who normally passed through New Vallis knew barely enough French (or Spanish or Creole) to get by; many hardly knew the difference between a beignet and a bidet! Only his Roughnecks weren’t the normal run-of-the-mill, down-on-their-luck, hard-scrabble mercenaries that Port Sheridan normally encountered. And neither was he. The Roughnecks were Taurians, one and all; many had served in the Defense Force before going over the fence to seek a mercs life among the stars. Sean had been one such himself in days long past.

He smiled to himself as he forced his thoughts back upon the matter at hand, and he opened the door.

The conversation within drifted to halt as Sean walked in and laid his data-pad on the center of his desk. The desk that half-hid the obese, balding man who wore the uniform of the Defense Force and gestured with the silver-chased marble baton that signified the rank of General in the Taurian Defense Force. Sean shoved the man’s booted feet from the blotter atop the desk as he snarled, “Get your fat lazy ass out of my chair, Francis.”

“Is it your chair, Sean Gerard Walker? This chair belongs to the Taurian Defense Force, it belongs to III Corps in whose sector the defense of New Vallis is entrusted, it belongs to the Port Sheridan Military Reservation; in short monsieur Lieutenant-Colonel, the damned chair belongs to me.”

“Belongs to you, yes, monsieur Général, your own porcine self, but currently leased to me and my Roughnecks at the ridiculous prices that you are charging for a poor—but honest—mercenary to rest and refit between contracts. So, once again, with all due respect you corpulent sedate bastard, remove yourself from my seat or I shall demand in the Courts that III Corps refund my command a sizable portion of those inflated charges which you have billed us.”

Général de corps d’armeé (in the French fashion) Francis Derry stood with a groan and adjusted his uniform jacket, and then he glared down through the bi-focal lenses of his eye glasses at the third man in the room. “I told you he would be useless, Monsieur Jouett,” the Corps commander rumbled. “Not only is he a traitor and a criminal, but he is an insolent one as well. The Protector would best be served letting a loyal unit of the Defense Force handle this; not some bottom-feeding band of ex-patriates led by an officer who was drummed out of the service in disgrace.”

“And where would the troops come from, monsieur Général? Your own III Corps, perhaps? With tensions rising daily between the Fox and the Bull, and the Liao just waiting for his own chance to sow mischief into the mix; you would voluntarily donate a battalion or three of your own men and ‘Mechs?” the third man answered with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Perhaps not from III Corps, but surely the Guard can spare the men. We do not need to rely on this band of scum.”

Sean bristled at the characterization of his men, as well as the complete disregard the two men had of his very presence in the room, even as he sat in the too-warm seat. While he had long ago made peace within himself over what ill thoughts his former fellow officers might yet still hold for him, the sheer levels of contempt and barely concealed hate in the voice of Francis Derry was beginning to kindle his own slow-burning rage towards ignition.

“My Roughnecks already have a contract, gentlemen, so if this is your idea of a business proposal then you can rest assured the answer is no. Since the battalion is lifting in less than eighteen hours and I have quite a bit of work left to do, I believe that you can find your own way out.”

The dapper civilian known as Jouett simply smiled and shook his head. “I took the liberty of messaging monsieur Hasek on your behalf via the HPG station here on New Vallis; your apologies were quite profuse, but you decided at the last moment to accept instead a contract offered by the Protector for duty here in the Concordat. Furthermore, you informed him that the fault lies entirely with you, and you have withdrawn all claims upon the monies deposited with ComStar for escrow.”

“YOU DID WHAT!” Sean exploded as he came to his feet, his anger no longer controlled.

“The Concordat needs you, Sean; Protector Thomas needs you,” Jouett said softly without moving from his chair.

“HAH!” sputtered the fat General. “Thomas might need troops, but he damned sure doesn’t need this man.”

“Henri,” Sean growled, struggling to control the blaze within his blood from erupting. “My people needed that contract; we don’t have your budgets to draw on if things slow down.”

The slight man nodded. “I understand, Sean; really I do. And rest assured, you and your people will be compensated appropriately; if you survive, that is. General Derry, rest assured that rumors to the contrary, Lieutenant-Colonel Walker and his men are not criminals—they work for me . . . and they have the personal trust of Protector Calderon.”

“It had best be worth it, Henri, whatever you have planned. Damn-it-all,” Sean spat as he down in another of the wood-and-leather chairs the reservation favored for mass purchases, “it took us four bloody years to get a contract on the Davion side of the Capellan March. You are just throwing that opportunity away? MIIO is not stupid, Henri, whatever some of our senior officials and officers think; they will eventually find out that the entire battalion works for you behind the scenes.”

Henri Jouett, the head of the Taurian Concordat Office of Special Intelligence and Operations (TOSIO) nodded gravely. “Forty-one days ago, raiders hit Charleston in battalion-strength. Over ten thousand civilians were killed and the capital was leveled.”

“Charleston? That’s a newly recovered colony from before the Collapse; there’s nothing on Charleston to warrant that size of a raiding force.”

“Oh, but there was, monsieur Colonel. Edward Calderon was on planet as part of the annual IG inspection tour,” Jouett paused and he looked Sean squarely in the eyes. “He was killed leading a group of Constabulary in defense of the planetary headquarters.”

Sean’s cheeks drained of all color and he froze; slowly, he lowered his head and closed his eyes. “Merde,” he whispered, as he sank back down into the chair; he shook his head and looked back up.

“Yes. And according to eye-witness accounts of the battle, it was a Federated Suns unit that carried out the massacre.”

“The Davions hit Charleston? That’s nearly sixty parsecs on our side of the border! Three full jumps from their space, just to get there! And no matter how much we may dislike the Fed-Rats, Henri, they don’t normally commit atrocities; not on this scale. We’ve learned that much from our operations in the Confederation these past few years.”

“The eyewitness survivors confirmed Davion ‘Mechs, painted in the colors and insignia of the 33rd Avalon Hussars,” Henri continued. “They were using ‘Mechs that match what our data-banks show the Hussars as fielding. The attack came as a complete surprise; the raiders hid their initial force aboard one of our supply ships, which we can only presume they jacked, and once it landed, they swarmed out to take the Port and hit the planetary HQ.”

“Did the Defense Force just sit on its hands and do nothing?” Sean asked through gritted teeth.

“Half of them died attempting to defend Pendle’s Town and the spaceport, Walker,” General Derry snapped. “Brigadier Jessup, yes, that Jessup,” he continued as saw the recognition in Sean’s eyes, “was mortally wounded when the HQ building collapsed on top of him. Commandant Calderon assumed command of the local defense and led the Constabulary into the fight with small arms and man-portable heavy weapons from the capital armory. He fought, and died, like a true Calderon,” the General said with a sad shake of his head. But then he looked up and continued.

“The Charleston Armor Battalion was forty kilometers outside the capital on an unscheduled FTX, along with three full battalions of infantry. The capital only had just one battalion of foot and the Constabulary to defend itself for the first half-hour. By the times the tanks and heavy infantry had returned, the raiders were preparing to lift for orbit; leaving Calderon dead and half of Pendle’s Town burning and broken.”

“They tried a hasty assault on the space port to disable the transport, but additional DropShips had landed—and no one told the tankers. We lost half the battalion of armor and two entire battalions of infantry trying to break in before the survivors decided to pull back into a defensive perimeter. The raiders let them go and they lifted under the coverage of aerospace assets—fighters and assault ships.”

Henri nodded in agreement. “They couldn’t have kept the raiders from wrecking the capital, even if they had been there the moment our supply ship grounded. And it wasn’t just Charleston that the raiders hit. Celentaro, Dicallus, Grossbach, and Organo were all struck at nearly the same exact time; but those worlds were hit with just company-level units. Still, the raiders deliberately engaged civilians; it seems they wanted the maximum numbers of dead and wounded.”

“Why? Why would Hanse Davion do this?” asked Sean, his voice trembling with shock and fury.

“I don’t think he did,” answered Henri.

Both Sean and Derry stared at the intelligence officer for several long seconds. And both—at the same time, in the same flat and dangerous voice—said one word: “Explain.”

The two men glared at each other, but then turned back to face Henri as he cleared his throat. “The Defense Force on Charleston managed to capture one raider alive; only one, even though they disabled or destroyed eleven BattleMechs. That prisoner has been interrogated, rather thoroughly, I may add, and what he said disturbs me. Davion wasn’t behind any of these raids; rather a pirate lord on Tortuga is orchestrating these attacks to provoke a war between Thomas and Hanse, if we are to believe him.”

Both Sean and Derry began to speak, to question what had just been said, but Henri held up one hand. “We aren’t the only target, gentlemen; the pirates are also hitting Davion worlds, but using ‘Mechs wearing our colors and insignia. TOSIO has confirmed that six Federated Suns worlds have been struck hard and that the Outback governors are screaming to New Avalon to defend them against the Taurian threat.”

“It could still be a false-flag operation, with our POW the sacrificial lamb who feeds us this cock-and-bull story to draw our attention away from the Davion border,” muttered Derry.

“Which is why the Guard is being redeployed to serve as rapid-reaction forces all along the Davion border; and why your III Corps is not being asked to give up a battalion or two or three for this operation, Francis.” Henri stood and turned to face Sean. “Thomas needs to see you, Roughneck; he needs to speak with you, and he needs you to give him his vengeance. More than that, he needs you to find the truth of those who will pay for the death of his eldest son. Your Protector is calling for your help; can you in good conscience say no?”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:45 pm 
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General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Here is the full Table of Organization and Equipment for the Roughneck Armored Cavalry. Many of the 'Mechs I will post later on the story, or you can ask me. All equipment is 3025-era.

The Roughneck Cavalry
Table of Organization and Equipment
24 May, 3026


Firestorm Company (aka 1 Company)

Walker’s Lance
Lieutenant-Colonel Sean ‘Roughneck’ Walker; TDR-5T Thunderbolt
Sergeant Major Miles ‘Bulldog’ Rutherford; ARC-2T Archer
MechWarrior Helena ‘Mantis’ Madison; TPH-1N Typhon
MechWarrior Tabitha ‘Witch’ Vickers; TDR-5T Thunderbolt

Mitscher’s Lance
Lieutenant Natalie ‘Stalker’ Mitscher; CRD-3T Crusader
Sergeant Julia ‘Huntress’ Kidd; WHM-6T Warhammer
MechWarrior Jasper ‘Jumper’ Moreau; TDR-5T Thunderbolt
MechWarrior Virginia ‘Goose’ Rand; TPH-1N Typhon

Calderon’s Lance
Lieutenant Jennifer ‘Shadow’ Calderon; DRG-1G Dragon
Sergeant Victoria ‘Scotty’ Scott; TM-HWK-2A Tomahawk
MechWarrior Kristen ‘Midnight’ Becket; SCP-1T Scorpion
MechWarrior Franklin ‘Rabbit’ Banner; TM-HWK-1A Tomahawk

Braddock’s Air-Lance
Lieutenant Nicoletta ‘Book’ Braddock; Skyhawk
Aerospace Pilot Jasmine ‘Showboat’ Talbot; Skyhawk

Personnel: 28 officers and men (including techs)

Thunder Company (aka 2 Company)

Moreau’s Lance
Captain Olivia ‘Prancer’ Moreau; TDR-5T Thunderbolt
Sergeant Tobias ‘Gunman’ Nelson; CRD-3T Crusader
MechWarrior Ian ‘Reverend’ Moore; TND-1A Tornado
MechWarrior Thomas ‘Snowball’ Winters; WLD-1A Whirlwind

Cobb’s Lance
Lieutenant Dillon ‘Marshall’ Cobb; ARC-2T Archer
Sergeant Kay ‘Rogue’ Liana; TPH-1N Typhon
MechWarrior Jack ‘Blackjack’ Fletcher; WLD-1A Whirlwind
MechWarrior Fiona ‘Red’ O’Brian; TND-1A Tornado

Hastings’s Lance
Lieutenant Amanda ‘Vixen’ Hastings; TM-HWK-2A Tomahawk
Sergeant Rachael ‘Snake’ Anders; TM-HWK-1A Tomahawk
MechWarrior Shelly ‘Cocktail’ Rayborn; FSL-1A Fusilier
MechWarrior Nina ‘Blade’ Wells; TM-HWK-1A Tomahawk

Carmichael’s Air-Lance
Lieutenant Andrew ‘Ghost’ Carmichael; Skyhawk
Aerospace Pilot Quincy ‘Lynx’ Daniels; Skyhawk

Personnel: 28 officers and men (including techs)

Lightning Company (aka 3 Company)

Hamilton’s Lance
Captain Jason ‘Bullseye’ Hamilton; TDR-5TJ Thunderbolt
Sergeant Charles ‘Red-light’ Kell; TND-2A Tornado
MechWarrior Nancy ‘Barracuda’ Kerr; OSP-1T Osprey
MechWarrior Andrea ‘Pirate’ Phelps; VND-1R Vindicator

Tanaka’s Lance
Lieutenant Akira ‘Dragon’ Tanaka; TND-2A Tornado
Sergeant Monica ‘Typhoon’ Emerson; TND-2A Tornado
MechWarrior Lauren ‘Wildcat’ Chandler; VND-1R Vindicator
MechWarrior Grant ‘Thunder’ Halloway; PNT-9R Panther

Gearing’s Lance
Lieutenant Terri ‘Pointer’ Gearing; GRF-1T Griffin
Sergeant Paul ‘Iceman’ Burke; SHD-2T Shadow Hawk
MechWarrior Elizabeth ‘Shark’ Rohm; CLNT-4-3T Clint
MechWarrior Gordan ‘Six-pack’ Monroe; VLK-QT Valkyrie

Kincaid’s Air-Lance
Lieutenant Alexis ‘Raven’ Kincaid; Skyhawk
Aerospace Pilot Tina ‘Princess’ Holt; Skyhawk

Personnel: 28 officers and men (including techs)

Whirlwind Company (aka 4 Company)

Jackson’s Lance
Captain Adrian ‘Boxer’ Jackson; PHX-1 Phoenix Hawk
Sergeant Anna ‘Rocket’ von Braun; BDT-1A Bandit
MechWarrior Denise ‘Zephyr’ Bronson; BDT-1A Bandit
MechWarrior Desmond ‘Gambler’ N’Buta; MSQ-1T Mosquito

Patrick’s Lance
Lieutenant Ronald ‘Wolfman’ Patrick; PHX-1 Phoenix Hawk
Sergeant Deborah ‘Spirit’ Lieberman; BDT-1A Bandit
MechWarrior Lindsey ‘Boomer’ Blake; BDT-1A Bandit
MechWarrior Annabelle ‘Beagle’ Long; MSQ-1T Mosquito

Green’s Lance
Lieutenant Yvonne ‘Falcon’ Green; PTR-1A Patriot
Sergeant James ‘Marksman’ Pierce; PTR-2A Patriot
MechWarrior Miriam ‘Angel’ Deveraux; PTR-1A Patriot
MechWarrior Katherine ‘Spitfire’ Harris; PTR-1A Patriot

Rawlings’s Air-Lance
Lieutenant Shelton ‘Lightning’ Rawlings; Skyhawk
Aerospace Pilot Ernest ‘Tempest’ Hayes; Skyhawk

Personnel: 28 officers and men (including techs)

Service & Support Squadron
Combat Operations Section (24 officers and men)
Logistics Section (24 officers and men)
Medical Section (12 officers and men, including 2 surgeons)

Personnel: 60 officers and men

Combat Support Detachment

Mason’s Rifle Security Company (3 rifle platoons of 30 men each)
Harrington’s Cavalry Section (6 Rattlesnake Armored Cavalry Armored Vehicles, 6 Shrike VTOLs)

Personnel: 120 officers and men

Transport Section

Overlord-class DropShip Roughneck (43 officers and men)
Fortress-class DropShip Ramrod (42 officers and men)
Mule-class DropShip Open Range (20 officers and men)
Tramp-class JumpShip Big Sky (22 officers and men)

Personnel: 127 officers and men

Total Personnel: 419 officers and men with 48 BattleMechs; 8 Aerospace Fighters; 6 ACAVs; and 6 VTOLs


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:38 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Cháteau des Calderon
Samantha City, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
June 2, 3026


Sean waited beside the door as the Jesuit finished his whispered conversation with Thomas, and the two men hugged each other, and then knelt in prayer, the cheeks of the Protector moist with new tears. He glanced around the spacious, yet spartanly furnished private office; the bay windows on the western side of the traditional home of the Protector facing out over the bright blue waters of Lake Taurens. The towering snow-capped mountains and thick forests on the far shore stood defiantly pristine and primeval, as if ignoring that on this side of the glacially fed waters stood the most populous city in the entire Concordat could make that city vanish. Named after Samantha Calderon, Samantha City was clean, with wide streets and breath-taking architecture—and while, as with any major inhabitation of humanity across the endless depths of space and time, there were slums and neighborhoods less picturesque, those were far from this place where the Protector could gaze out over the still waters and calm his mind.

Sean’s mouth twitched. To think that the Inner Sphere call our people barbarians—if one of these Great Lords of the Inner Sphere could see our capital, our Core Worlds, they would faint from shock. And he snorted softly. Unlike their capital worlds, Taurus had never been touched by combat—not directly. No pirates or raiders or invaders had ever landed here with guns and cannons and lasers and missiles blazing. Not even during the Reunification Wars, although the Star League had occupied Taurus for twenty long years afterwards.

And the colony had the benefit of fusion power from the first day of their landings until today, leaving the planet far less polluted than many younger settlements of mankind. From January 23 of 2253 until today: seventy hundred and seventy-three years all told. Most of it, by far most of that time, the people of Taurus and her daughter worlds had been under the rule of the children and grand-children and great-grandchildren to the nth degree of Samantha Calderon.

The Concordat was old, the people of the Inner Sphere tended to forget that little fact; the government of today had begun life as the Taurian Concord in 2270, and expanded into the Concord of the Taurian Homeworlds, and finally the Taurian Concordat when colonies were founded outside of the walls of Hell’s Heart—the vast nebula that sheltered the core of the Concordat from danger. The Taurian government, essentially unchanged from that day in October of 2270, when Timothy Calderon was anointed as the Second Protector of Taurus, continued to rule over the Taurian people. And always, since that day, except for the dark hours in the aftermath of the Reunification War, a Calderon had led them.

The Concordat was older than the Free Worlds League, founded in 2271. It was older than the Terran Hegemony, founded in 2315, or the Federated Suns, founded in 2317. It was older than the Draconis Combine (2319), the Lyran Commonwealth (2340), and the Capellan Confederation (2367).

No, the people of the Concordat were no barbarians of the Periphery, although they lived out their lives surrounded by many who could reasonably be called such. Even today, not one of the Great Houses can match our literacy rates, our education, our arts—and our freedoms. But then, they did not need to, for quantity had a quality all its own—and they outnumbered the Taurians hopelessly.

Sean quit his wool-gathering as he heard the scrape of shoes on the polished hardwood floor, and he turned to see the priest and the Protector rising to their feet. He stood at parade rest and gave General Morton Grenadine, the commander of the Taurian Guards Corps, a nod, which the man—who was fully aware of Sean’s true status—returned warmly. Four armed specialists from the Guards elite Secret Service stood around the room in uniform—and Sean smiled slightly as he considered the gaggle of civilians. At least four of them were probably SS in mufti, as well. But the smile faded when he met the sour gaze of Grover Shraplen—a close friend of the Protector. Sean had never cared for the man, with his Liaophilia and rabid Davionphobia.

The Jesuit said his goodbyes to Thomas and Thomas’ second wife Katherine—Edward’s step-mother. Emily Calderon, God rest her soul, had died in a skiing accident on the slopes of those mountains in the bay windows, overlooking the lake and her home below. She had died when Edward was just three, back in 3007, and for years Thomas swore he would never remarry—but then he met Katherine, Edward’s nanny and she made some of his pain disappear. They married in 3018 with Edward’s blessing, and Katherine had given Thomas a little girl—Janice—who was almost seven years old, and three more sons—Ian (5), Felix (3), and little Jeffrey, born just two months ago.

Then the Jesuit turned and made his way to the door—but he stopped and smiled at Sean. Then he shook his head. “News travels far and fast, does it not, Monsieur Walker?”

“That it does, Father Oliver—how is he? The truth.”

“Not well, Sean, not well at all. He is angry and he is looking to lash out—be on your guard.”

Father Oliver patted Sean on the bicep and then he exited the room, and the mercenary née intelligence officer squeezed the hand of his former Chaplin.

Thomas’ cybernetic left eye—the legacy of a pheasant hunting accident ten years ago, when Grover Shraplen's inexpertly aimed pellets had grazed across the cornea and destroyed his vision—whirred and clicked and he smiled sadly at Sean, his roommate at the École Militaire so many seasons ago.

But before he could walk across to Thomas, another man stepped forward, his white robes out of place with the somber dress of the men and women in this room. A ComStar demi-precentor? Here? Sean wondered.

“The Peace of Blake be with you, Protector Calderon,” Demi-Precentor Taurus said with a face that simply oozed too much compassion to be sincere. “Primus Tiepolo sends his condolences at this. . . tragedy which has fallen upon your family.”

“We thank the Primus for his words,” Thomas answered curtly. “And we ask why there was no warning—if ComStar wishes to be our friend, they could have passed information regarding this attack before it came about.”

“Alas, the assault took us by surprise as well—but the Primus knows well your justified anger at those who are responsible for the destruction leveled against your worlds. He is concerned that Hanse Davion seeks to upset the balance of power—and restart the Succession Wars all over again.”

“Your Succession Wars are your concern—not that of Taurus. But whoever was behind this deed—they will pay for their crimes, Demi-Precentor!” Thomas thundered. "Regardless of who they are or the power at their disposal."

And the ComStar official bowed his head. “Indeed . . . and if I could have a few moments of your time this week, the Primus has given me certain . . . latitudes in arranging for your forces to increase their strength. So that you may secure your vengeance and in doing so preserve the status quo of the Inner Sphere and the Taurian Concordat, Protector Calderon.”

The private secretary to Thomas Calderon frowned—appointments to meet privately with the Protector were arranged through him, but the Demi-Precentor had just managed to circumvent him.

And Thomas gazed hungrily at the official. “How? ComStar has no army, no weapons.”

“But we know those who do, Protector Calderon . . . and we can arrange a transfer of arms to provide you the means of achieving your vengeance. That discussion can wait, of course, until you have finished mourning your loss; I remain at your disposal.”

“Information is ammunition,” Henri Jouett whispered to Sean as he moved into the room. “And one wonders just how much ammunition ComStar has at their fingertips?”

“I am shocked, shocked! That you would suggest ComStar might actually read everyone’s confidential mail,” Sean whispered back, and Henri chuckled.

“Just so. I know that neither I nor my predecessors have ever been able to penetrate their organization—their counter-intelligence operatives are fiendishly effective at ferreting out spies from their ranks. I wonder what they are hiding that they put such an effort behind it?”

Sean started to reply, but Thomas thanked the ComStar official once again, and called out his name. He walked over to the Protector and without a word he put his arms around the man and held him tight. “I am so sorry for the pain you must feel right now, old friend,” he whispered.

And then he stepped back and gave the Protector a full appraisal. “Katherine hasn’t been feeding you,” he said with a frown. “You’ve lost too much weight, my Lord. And you haven’t been sleeping, have you?”

Thomas shrugged and he walked over to the windows, Thomas trailing behind him. “I cannot sleep, old friend. Why? Why my son of all things?” he croaked. “Edward was safe—he wasn’t on the front lines of combat—why was his life just thrown away for nothing?”

Sean jerked and he stared at the Protector of the Taurian Concordat for a moment, and he cleared his throat, and Thomas turned to face him . . . and Sean’s open hand slapped the leader of the Taurian Concordat hard on the cheek.

The CRACK of the slap echoed across the room and the guards began to surge forward . . . but they stopped as General Grenadine held up one hand and resumed their station.

Thomas simply stared—and the civilians were looking at the two men in absolute horror, Grover Shraplen looking as if he were about to have a stroke.

“How dare you dismiss his service so flippantly, Sire? How dare you dishonor the memory of your son? Edward swore his oath to Concordat—an oath freely given because of his love for our homeland and our people, a people he wanted to serve. Your son’s life was not wasted, it was not thrown away, he died doing his absolute best to defend your people, Sire! It is tragic, and his loss should be mourned, but it must never be trivialized in such a manner again. Loss is something that the House of Calderon knows well—it comes hand in hand with serving the Concordat. Edward died as he lived his life—for his people; do not besmirch that service, Thomas Calderon, Protector of Taurus, of the Taurian Homeworlds, and the Taurian Concordat! Remember him as the man that he was, remember the joy that he gave you, and shame not his memory by making his last stand into something less heroic, less inspiring, less courageous than it was. He saved lives on Charleston, Sir. He organized the defense and he led the civilian volunteer Constabulary into the fire to give time for thousands to get to shelter or make their escape! Mourn him, grieve for him—we all will join you in that, my friend. But do not make the sacrifice he made in vain.”

Thomas sobbed and he sank down into a chair and he began to cry. Sean turned to glare at General Grenadine, but the old soldier was already barking orders. “This audience is ended—all will leave NOW!”

But the SS Guards allowed Sean to stay, and he knelt next to Thomas and wrapped the man, his friend, his liege in his arms and held him tight, as Thomas released all of the emotions he had bottled so tight within him, and he cried on the shoulder of his friend.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:15 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
General Headquarters, Taurus Defense Force
Mount Santiago Defense Complex, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
June 3, 3026


Sean shook his head and frowned. “Sure, the Roughnecks are a heavy battalion—built for combat, by God—but the force difference here is adverse in the extreme, Henri. A full battalion—three combat companies, plus a command lance—landed on Charleston. They were then reinforced by a second battalion, with a second battalion command lance. And these raiders hit four more of our worlds at the same time, with around a company each. They deployed eleven companies—that is a full-strength FedRat ‘Mech Regiment . . . with which my four must contend.”

“But wait! It just gets worse—because these raiders also hit Hanse Davion’s worlds with nearly the same strength simultaneously.” Sean shook his head again. “My people are good, Henri, but we are not good enough to deal with a minimum of two ‘Mech Regiments by ourselves. That is odds of five and a half to my one.”

The head of TOSIO smiled and he shrugged. “Perhaps you can catch them separated and defeat them in detail, Monsieur Walker.”

“No,” the stern voice of Janice O’Conner, the Marshal of the Taurian Defense Force said flatly. “We would potentially be throwing away an asset in exchange for very little gain. If we send Lieutenant-Colonel Walker’s Roughnecks out there, we must also send other units with him.”

And General Grenadine nodded his agreement. “At the very least, two more battalions will be needed—although I have no idea where we can scrounge them from; not with our current deployments on the border worlds to stop additional attacks.”

“Well,” Henri said with a slight smile, “there are mercenaries available. The TDF should be able to hire one or two additional outfits for a . . . recon-in-force, under the overall command of Lieutenant-Colonel Walker.”

Marshal O’Conner shook her head and gave the Intelligence Minister a bitter smile. “We have our orders from the Protector—who believes that your interrogation of the surviving attacker was disinformation designed to draw away our attention from the real threat. The TDF is moving heaven and earth to shore up our border defenses,” and O’Conner sighed. “And then to launch an assault into Davion space in reprisal if these attacks continue. What you, Henri have planned is a TOSIOI,” which the Marshal pronounced as To-see-we, “operation. Therefore, I think it is right and proper for your budget to the one which takes a hit.”

Henri winced. But then he nodded, and Sean looked around the room in alarm. “Just wait a damn minute! I know this penny-pinching bastard, Marshal, General. He will cut corners and give me a horde of cheap independent companies! Most with trash ‘Mechs fit only for salvage!”

And even as the Intelligence Minister began to protest, Sean locked his eyes on him. “And speaking of which—you still haven’t given me the details of how much you intend to compensate my people?”

“Your people are doing their Taurian duty, mon Colonél Walker; I will of course agree to pay them at the normal rate of their effective rank in the TDF . . . where are you going?”

Sean stopped en route to the door and he turned around. “Not for something like this, Henri. My people will get what they could have gotten from a legitimate contract—much like the one that Gordan’s Armored Cavalry has with the TDF.”

Henri snorted. “Gordan took the good Marshal to the cleaners—his unit is not worth so many Bulls.”

Sean shook his head. “Henri Jouett, you are a master at intelligence work—but in the real world, good people get paid more. Gordan’s battalions are damn good—just as good as mine.”

“He’s right, Henri,” O’Conner chuckled. “You are going to need to spend some of that money you hoard so well.”

The suave and debonair man looked absolutely furious, but he finally nodded. “Fine! And if you are so concerned about the quality of the mercenaries in question—then you hire them.”

“Agreed. How long do I have before we need to be underway?” and the pit of his stomach sank as Henri looked up at him in glee.

“Seven days, then transit time to Charleston and to the Badlands Cluster beyond; which is where our captive insists that our attackers are coming from.”

“I hope you have an accurate star-chart of the region?” Sean asked as he sat back down at the table.

“Oui, mon Colonél.” And Henri slid a thick folder across the desk. “Here are the mercenary commands which are available and can make rendezvous with you before you depart the Concordat space.”

“You planned this,” Sean stated flatly.

And Henri Jouett smiled. “Moi? Let us simply say that you know more of what you need in this matter than I—and leave it at that. The bottom sheet shows your total budget, mon Lieutenant-Colonel. What you and your Roughnecks do not spend shall be your pay; that is enough, oui?”

Sean pulled out the bottom and made some rough calculations—and it was . . . adequate. Not great, but more than he really expected Henri to part with. “I can work with this.”

Marshal O’Conner nodded and she stood, followed by everyone else at the table. “Good. Then go with God, Lieutenant-Colonel Walker—and discover the truth of who was behind this, of who is trying to goad the Protector into a war with the House of Davion.”

“I will do my best, Ma’am,” Sean said as the others filed out of the room. At which point he sat back down and opened the file folder and began to read.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:26 pm 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
I do like your take on Taurian Concordat. So far this story is going really good and I like the character interaction a lot.

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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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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:12 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Chapter Two

The Palace of the First Prince
Avalon City, New Avalon
Federated Suns
June 4, 3026


“Quintus, what the hell is Thomas Calderon playing at here?” Hanse Davion looked up from his desk as the Intelligence Minister entered his office. “Michael Hasek-Davion is complaining his ass off and for once I cannot disregard those complaints as blatant whining! Attacks on Warren, Lothair, Anaheim, Weippe, Caldwell, Pierce, Montour, Verdigreis, and Cohagen; nine worlds hit by either a company or a full-battalion, thousands of civilians dead and injured, millions of C-Bills in damaged infrastructure. What is going on out there?”

“According to my sources, First Prince, the Taurians are claiming that we hit them on several of their border worlds—and killed Edward Calderon, Thomas’s heir, on Charleston with the 33rd Avalon Hussars.”

The Fox stared at Quintus for a moment and then he looked at the map on the wall. “We did not carry out those attacks, did we Quintus?”

“No, Sire—the 33rd’s transports are undergoing an overhaul at Panpour. They could not have carried out this attack.”

Hanse nodded and he measured the distances between the Lothair and the Capellan border with a protractor and shook his head. “We both know Max is capable of making such a deep strike—but why? What would he gain?”

“I checked our records as soon as I received the information from Duke Michael—to the best of our knowledge, the Capellan units are in their normal deployment areas. They would need at least six battalions to carry out all of the reported attacks—each with transport . . . and I cannot find six missing Capellan battalions, Sire.”

Hanse nodded and he moved his thumb to the next most likely suspect. “Michael?” The Duke of New Syrtis was actively conspiring with Maximillian Liao—the MIIO had discovered that.

“All of his units are accounted for except for one battalion of mercenaries who cancelled his contract for a raiding assignment based on Bell.”

The First Prince nodded again and he walked away from the map and put his hands together behind his back. “It is too far for either Marik or Kurita—and the Outworlds Alliance would not dare. Which leaves us with an unknown enemy, operating on both sides of the FedSuns-Taurian border, trying to provoke a war?”

“Or it could be Thomas Calderon seeing how fiercely you will respond—every last one of our worlds hit was a world your ancestors took from the Taurians in the Reunification War.”

“No,” The Fox said with a shake of his head. “Thomas hates me and he hates my family—he hates every man and woman who serves me . . . but he can count. He will not start a war, not unless someone pushes him to the point where he has no choice but to lash out.”

Hanse turned back to face Quintus. “Which means, there is another player in the game,” he said as he shook his head. “The timing worries me. Justin has just agreed to play this role you want him to play—have we had a leak?”

“No, Sire. That is something I can assure you of.”

“For now, we need to make sure cooler heads prevails out on the Taurian Rim. What we do not need are more House troops to escalate the situation . . .” Hanse paused and then he nodded. “Pull the 33rd Hussars back from the border . . . and replace them with the Eridani Light Horse—all three regiments. Give Armstrong Winston command of the border in the Crucis March; Michael will not relinquish control of his own Capellan March units.”

Hanse looked into the golden-red sunlight as the star which New Avalon orbited slowly set. “And make certain you send some of the Rabid Foxes, Quintus. Let’s stop this before it can escalate into something that derails RAT.”

“At once, Sire,” Quintus said as he gathered his briefing materials and left the office behind him; the First Prince still standing at the window and watching the sun set.


Last edited by master arminas on Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Capellan March Command Center
Saso, New Syrtis
Federated Suns
June 5, 3026


“So, the First Prince is sending us his mercenaries to deal with this problem,” Michael Hasek-Davion, the Duke of New Syrtis, Field Marshal of the Capellan March, mused, as he read the dispatch from New Avalon. “Mercenaries stationed in the Crucis March, and not to protect my worlds which suffered at these Taurian interlopers.”

Damien Johnson, the Duke’s minister-without-a-profile, his trouble-shooter, simply shrugged. “Since when has New Avalon concerned itself with the welfare of the Capellan March, my Lord? Hanse Davion does not live so close to the Taurian threat; he does not read the reports on their insane hatred of the Federated Suns, nor does he seem to care that their agents incite rebellion on your worlds. He hopes that you fail . . . so that he will have an excuse to remove you from office.”

Michael snorted. “As if my Fusiliers would permit such a thing—there are limits on his authority, Damien.”

“Ah, but my Lord, you have the faithful and loyal Fusiliers—he has the bulk of the Avalon Hussars and the Ceti Hussars and the Crucis Lancers, not to mention the Brigade of Guards. Were it to come to a show of force, we would lose.”

“Perhaps . . . perhaps not, Damien. What do you think of Kristen Marik?”

“My Lord?” the agent asked, cocking his head at the non-sequitur.

“Janos Marik’s daughter, Kristen . . . the Marik and I had an . . . interesting talk last month. A talk that centered on his concerns over the ambitions of Maximillian Liao and Hanse Davion both . . . and of the possibility of the formation of a new state, a Hasek-Marik state, to replace the Capellan menace.”

“Ah,” mumbled Damien. “Two weddings are better than one, your Grace—but there is the small matter that you are already married . . . to the sister of Hanse Davion.”

“Marie? She is growing . . . tiresome, Damien. And it would be just the thing to provoke my brother-in-law to do what is right, to assign to my command sufficient force to crush the Taurian threat . . . should she meet her demise at the hands of an agent of Thomas Calderon. Perhaps in retribution for the death of Calderon’s son and heir? Not even Hanse could ignore such a provocation—he would have to respond.”

Damien smiled his appreciation at Michael’s audacity. “And then, once you have mourned poor little lost Marie, Kristen Marik will heal your wounds and unite you and Janos—perhaps with the bulk of the former Capellan Confederation being made a gift to his new son-in-law, securing his border and uniting a large swath of space under an Alliance between the Free Worlds League and Federation of New Syrtis. With the Taurian ‘Mech factories under your control as well?”

Michael frowned. “That fool Thomas will fight to the last—he will burn them to the ground before he hands them over. But why conqueror a realm when you manipulate them into fighting your enemy? The Concordat cannot invade us—not without suffering massive casualties they can ill-afford. But my esteemed brother-in-law can certainly lead his armies onto their worlds—and the Taurians will fight for every single square inch of their soil. Calderon will bleed him white, and the Taurian armies will be broken . . . and then? And then Damien, the time will come for the House of Hasek to rise and eliminate the threat posed by our so-called ally Maximillian Liao. And to then rise to our proper place at the head of a Successor State with a single united realm of my Capellan March, the former Capellan Confederation, and what remains of the Taurian Rim. We will give rise to the Hasek-Marik Empire—and our brother-in-law on New Avalon will not see this coming.”

Michael looked down on the agent who still smiled. “Set it motion, my friend. The hour of our opportunity draws nigh.”

“By your command, my Lord.”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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I am going to put this one back on the shelf for a while, gentlemen. Right now, I think I have just done too much BattleTech too quickly, and I need to collect myself here before I go on.

MA


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:28 am 
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Thanks for what you posted. Your writing is consistently some of the most enjoyable pieces I read, in BT or out.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
For those who want to read something different, I am currently working on my second Star Trek novel Star Trek: Republic (Book II: Ties of Blood) over on spacebattles.com (and a few other sites). I would advise readers to start with Star Trek: Republic (Book I: Wounded Warriors) first to understand the backstory, because Book II justs goes right into the action. Enjoy.

MA


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:21 am 
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Location: Stafford , England
MA, Thank You for all your Great Stories :toast: , I have really enjoyed them, I hope you continue when you are able.

Dave.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:00 am 
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
The Burning Brand
Samantha Calderon Memorial Spaceport, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
June 5, 3026


Sean stood and he extended his to the mercenary who sat across from him. Major Donal Faulkner stood up and he smiled broadly. “You will have no regrets for signing us on, Colonel. None.”

“Understand me on this Major Faulkner—I am hiring you to follow my orders. If I have any regrets, your Wild Geese will find themselves stuffed and roasted for Christmas dinner.”

The red-haired Irishman chuckled, the grin never leaving his face. “I’ve never yet reneged on a contract, Colonel Walker—honor of the Regiment and all,” he laughed, but then his smile faded. “Out here in the Periphery, Colonel . . . we are only as good as our given word—I’ve given you mine, and that should be good enough for you and any other man.”

Sean held out both hands in a placating manner. “No offense, Donal. I just want to be clear—once we lift, my orders go.”

“Aye, Colonel. Can I buy you a spot of whiskey to seal the deal?”

The commander of the Roughnecks laughed. “I have too much paperwork, Major Faulkner, but I will take a rain-check.”

“Such an optimistic man, he is,” the merc answered with his smile returning. “Here he is a-thinking that we be coming back from this mission!”

With a final handshake, the commander of the Wild Geese moved out, to let his boys and girls know that the contract had been signed—and that he had their advance pay ready for them.

Sean sat back down at the table and he sighed. The Wild Geese were a combined arms unit, with five lances of light and medium-weight ‘Mechs (organized in two short companies and a command lance, led by an ancient Ostsol, their sole heavy-weight BattleMech), two companies of tanks (one of light hovers and the second tracked medium-weight models), and a company of infantry. Just four aerospace fighters, though. Sean shrugged; mercs took what they could get—and Faulkner’s ‘Mechs and vehicles and fighters and DropShips were well-maintained . . . his people had inspected them before the serious negotiations had begun. And they had a reputation for getting the job done—regardless of what it took.

That was why they were out here in the first place. Their last job in the Inner Sphere had put Faulkner and his people up against a full Regiment of Capellans . . . after they had been told they were facing just a few companies of militia. So, with their contract hanging in the balance, Faulkner’s infantry had infiltrated the Capellan barracks and gassed two full battalions of sleeping ‘MechWarriors in their bunks. They got their objective and withdrew after a short, sharp fight with the final battalion.

But their employer had balked at their methods—and he hung them out to dry. Declared bandits and war criminals by the Confederation, the League, and the Federated Suns, the Wild Geese had fled to the Concordat . . . after making a combat drop directly on the estate of the man who had hired them and extracted their pay from his body.

The Taurian shrugged again. He had been lucky that the Wild Geese were here on Taurus and that they needed a contract; by far the majority of the commands on Henri’s little list were outfits that were shaky at best—downright bandits and pirates at worst. Most had ‘Mechs held together with spit, baling wire, and prayer to boot. Their past atrocities aside, the Wild Geese were about the best that he could expect, along with the Red Scorpions Battalion of Major Claudia Dreyfus he had signed the contracts with earlier.

Like his own Roughnecks, the Scorpions were a full-strength battalion of four companies of BattleMechs—forty-eight ‘Mechs and eight Aerospace fighters. No armor or infantry assets, but all of the MechWarriors in Dreyfus’ command were TDF veterans trying to augment their retirement as soldiers of fortune. Much like the Wild Geese (and the vast majority of state and mercenary commands in existence today), the Scorpions had a hodge-podge assortment of light and medium ‘Mechs, lacking any heavies and assaults. But they were fast-moving and highly capable, despite their lack of firepower. A good complement to his own Roughnecks, whereas the Wild Geese would bring to the game their reputation for innovation and inventiveness. Sean sighed and he sat back in his chair. Yes, with these two units, he was done. The rest weren’t fighters—they wanted to show up and draw a paycheck, but they weren’t willing to risk their machines and ‘Mechs, a good portion of which weren’t even operational, to earn that paycheck.

He closed the folder and signaled the waitress . . . one beer wouldn’t hurt before he returned to base, after all. That was when a shadow fell across his table.

Sean looked up at the man who stood there blocking what little light was available in the tavern.

“Señor Coronel Walker?” he asked as he took a seat, taking off one heavy leather gauntlet, then the other seating them both on the table before him.

“Si, Señor . . . ?”

“Don Raphael Francisco Alejandro Diego de Montoya y Navarro, at your service," he answered with a slight incline of his mustachioed head.

Sean blinked; he was certainly used to the hidalgo portion of the Concordat citizenry, but few modern families retained the epic naming practices of their distant ancestors of Earth. But then he smiled. “And what may I assist you with today, Don Raphael?”

“You may address, if you wish, Señor Coronel, by my familiar name or by my rank of Capitan-Padre.”

“Father-Captain? You are a priest?” Sean asked.

“Instructed at the Jesuit Seminary on Celentaro, and ordained by the Cardinal of Taurus . . . but I am a simple man who follows in the ways of St. Samuel.”

“St. Samuel?”

“Si. God may have made Men, Senõr Coronel, but it was Samuel Colt who made them equal.”

Sean smiled and he chuckled softly as the waitress came to the table. “A honey mead, my dear—and for my guest?”

“Alas,” Raphael said with down-cast expression, “I have taken strict vows to give up the consumption of all alcohol but the blessed wine of the sacrament. Perhaps a latte, if you would be so kind, Señorita?”

Sean nodded and she moved away; the Capitan-Padre sighed at her swaying hips. “God has put much temptation in my path tonight, Señor Coronel. But, to business! I understand that you are seeking out soldiers to deal with those who have attacked our fair Concordat—and slain young Edward Calderon, Prince and Heir to the Protector.”

“I am,” Sean answered simply.

Raphael smiled and he sat back. “Excellent. You shall have the use of my brothers and sisters in this task—I shall lead them and together we shall wipe the stain of these vermin from the universe itself.”

“Pardon me, Don Raphael, but you are saying that you command a mercenary unit?” Sean asked in disbelief.

“Heaven forbid such a thing! Mercenaries? Bah!” the amused hidalgo answered. “We are servants of God, and we serve him and the Concordat well—have you not heard of the Order of the Holy Knights of the Temple of the Hyades, Señor Coronel? The Black Templars of Navarro, as we are sometimes called?”

Sean jerked upright in his chair. “You are that Navarro?”

“Indeed,” the warrior-priest replied with a grin as the waitress returned with a mug of ale and a small cup filled with a rich, creamy coffee. Raphael placed his hand on her buttock, and she smiled, but slapped him all the same.

And then he frowned. “Such blatant disrespect for the authority of the Church, Señorita!” he admonished as he unwrapped the scarf to reveal his clerical collar. “But I forgive you of the sin in the name of God—shall we discuss what other sins he will forgive us both this night?”

She giggled and leaned down, whispering in the warrior-priest’s ear and then she sashayed away.

Raphael sighed again. “It is amazing what temptations the Good Lord seeks to place in my path—luckily, he knows well that I am only human and fallible and will request his forgiveness once my time in her loving arms is finished.” He stopped and stared at Sean’s eyes. “Have you a use for my company of Warriors of God, Señor Coronel? The Church has agreed to pay for our services as they have always done.”

Sean blinked. Not once, but twice, for the Black Templars were indeed well known to him—by reputation, not personally. Warrior-Monks knighted to serve the Concordat by the Church and the Protector alike, they seldom left Taurus, and only in the direst of circumstances. And they piloted only assault-weight BattleMechs; they could provide him with a hammer that that the expedition lacked.

He cleared his throat and took a deep sip of the mead. “Of course, Capitan-Padre Navarro—certainly we could make use of you and your Warriors.”

“Good! Now, before I leave with that young woman for a night of debauchery before I offer my confession to God—have you need to offer unto me your own litany of sins for forgiveness?”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:24 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:00 pm
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Location: Hope Mills, NC
Welcome back MA and great writing, I eagerly await more.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
General Headquarters, Taurus Defense Force
Mount Santiago Defense Complex, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
June 6, 3026


“Can you not just hire these JumpShips?” Henri asked in a plaintive tone. “I have already given you your budget!”

Sean shook his head. “We are heading into the Badlands, Henri—no commercial skipper is going to risk their JumpShip in that area, not any with a sense of self-preservation. And none of the merc units I have hired have their own JumpShips. I need at least three vessels, with a minimum of six collars that I can trust will remain on station—and that means I need ships from the Fleet. I would prefer nine collars to tell you the truth, but we can get by with six.”

Morton Grenadine and Janice O’Connor nodded their agreement. “Nine collars would allow for you to lose one ship to a helium seal failure without stranding any of your troops—plus the redundant collars can be used by cargo ships for any possible salvage,” Commodore Erik Flannagan stated flatly.

“Salvage? Of what possible use is salvage?” Henri asked.

“Salvage, Henri,” confirmed Marshal O’Connor. “There is always some salvage to be gathered if there is a large fight and this promises—if our informant is correct—to be a very large fight.” She smiled, “Depending upon how much Walker and his people recover, it could go a long way in repairing any holes in your budget, and provide the Defense Force with a stockpile of spare parts and supplies.”

Sean smiled. “Indeed it would—but you forget that Henri granted my Roughnecks, and the other mercenaries units involved, first rights to 50% of the salvage in this expedition.”

O’Connor winced and Henri blushed, then his face hardened. “But as you do not have the transport capability, perhaps we can renegotiate that section of the contract.”

The commander of the Roughnecks shook his head and grinned. “The contract is already signed, notarized, and filed with the Concordat Courts; no Henri, we will not be giving up the salvage rights.”

“Ah, but you need transport—that is a separate contract, is it not, Monsieur Walker?”

“You can argue that before the Courts, Henri . . . I think they might be able to squeeze in a hearing in a month’s time.”

“Both of you stop,” growled Janice O’Connor. “The expedition cannot be delayed—Commodore Flannagan, can the Fleet spare a few JumpShips for this mission?”

He nodded. “I’ll have the orders cut this afternoon. Abraham Hall’s Flotilla is at the zenith point, with an Invader, a Tramp, a Merchant, and a Quetzalcoatl. That gives you eight collars, Colonel Walker—and the Quetzalcoatl’s fighter complement will make certain I get my ships back in one piece.”

“Works for me, Commodore,” Sean answered with a grin. “She’s flying Skyhawks?”

“Hall has a division each of Sabers and Skyhawks aboard the ship, plus four of the Super Tigress gunboats; they should do the job.”

Sean whistled. “I’d say so, Commodore. Well,” he continued as he stood. “I think we have everything we need, gentlemen, madame. Marshall O’Connor, the expedition can depart as soon as the JumpShips are ready—our commands are prepared to lift upon your orders.”

“The order is given, Colonel Walker—good hunting.”

Sean gave the uniformed commander of the Taurian Defense Force a crisp salute, and then he spun on his heel and exited the briefing room.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Shraplen Estate
Samantha City, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
June 10, 3026


“He is wasting this crisis and turning his attention away from the perfidious Davion family,” Grover Shraplen whined. “He knows that only the Federated Suns would have the gall to launch such a series of attacks on the Concordat, but he listens to those cowards who advise caution—we should be striking at New Syrtis now! To teach the FedRats that they cannot attack us with impunity!”

Adrian Lorenzo, Demi-Precentor Taurus, smiled from his seat across from the Duke of MacLeod’s Land. “He is being cautious . . . that is not something with which I can disagree, Your Grace. But, I must admit, the evidence does appear overwhelming that it was the AFFS that laid waste to your worlds and killed your people.”

Cautious? Thomas is consumed with his grief and he is not thinking clearly—who else could have done such a deed than Hanse Davion? Who?”

“Who else indeed,” mused the Demi-Precentor. “It is good that you are here on Taurus in the Protector’s time of need, Your Grace; your advice may yet propel him upon the right course of action—what I fear is the only course of action he can take to protect the Taurian state.”

“Bah! Hanse Davion must keep troops on the Capellan and Draconis fronts; what little he has left cannot compare to the full might of the Defense Force.”

“Sixteen Regiments of ‘Mechs, Your Grace, now that the TDF has finished its reorganization into two-battalion regiments. That is a mere thirty-two battalions, plus another seven of reliable mercenaries.”

“You forget that our battalions are stronger than those of Hanse Davion!”

“By one-quarter, aye, Your Grace. I have not forgotten, that gives you a total of forty-seven battalions, less than sixteen of Davion’s three-battalion Regiments, with which to face off against him. But can he spare sixteen, or more, Regiments? And would he ignore your advancing formations to strike at the undefended Hyades and core worlds of the Concordat behind them? He is not called the Fox for nothing, you must understand.”

“Let him try—the Armor, Infantry, and Fortress Commands remain to defend our worlds, along with the Constabulary and Noble Regiments . . . I alone have six battalions raised on MacLeod’s Land in service to me. One outfitted with ‘Mechs.”

“Impressive,” the Comstar official said. “And it is true that you could make great inroads in the Federated Suns should you invade—their 39th Avalon Hussars is too wide-spread, and too ill-experienced . . . although apparently skilled enough to slaughter innocent Taurians in cold blood. The 5th Syrtis Fusiliers garrison the Capellan March, but the bulk of Michael Hasek’s forces are concentrated along the Capellan border—mostly from St. Ives to Terra.”

Grover took a deep pull of his black beer and he frowned. “He does not see that we are the ones who hold the advantage here—Hanse Davion does not expect us to respond to his provocations, and he will push harder and harder until he rules all of our worlds, not just the ones his ancestors stole.”

“Alas, I fear that you are correct, Your Grace. Why just today, I received word that he has given orders to deploy the Eridani Light Horse along the Federated Suns-Concordat border. Those three former regiments of the Star League will represent a major shift in power—and they might be merely the advance guard of an even larger invasion force.”

The Duke of MacLeod’s Land cursed, and then he frowned. “Is he moving other units?”

Demi-Precentor Taurus smiled. “You know that ComStar takes our neutrality very seriously, Your Grace. However,” and here Adrian shrugged, “I must admit that I frown upon bullies of state taking advantage of their smaller neighbors. So far no other units have received orders to move—but ComStar has seen copies of warning orders for something called ‘Operation Galahad’ sent to over two dozen Regimental Combat Teams; their destinations in the Crucis and Capellan Marches—not so very far from the Concordat as such things are considered, in fact. It is quite provocative of him in these troubled times to be moving so many troops.”

“I knew it,” Shraplen growled. “All this is nothing more than Davion ploy to gauge our strength before he invades our worlds.” He looked up at the Demi-Precentor and then he sighed. “But I am only a lone voice in the wilderness—and Thomas is not listening to me these days.”

“Make him listen, Your Grace,” Adrian said quietly. “Remind him of your friendship and that, like Thomas, you too have only the best interests of the Concordat at heart. Take these,” and the Comstar official handed across copies of the transmissions. “These will show Hanse Davion’s true intentions towards you realm. Of course, if Thomas’s grief is too intense for him to protect the Concordat, than perhaps a Regent is called for instead. A Regent who will do what must be done.”

Grover inhaled sharply and he began to reply, but then he paused, and whispered, “With Edward’s death, he has no adult heir, now does he?”

“Why, no, Your Grace, Thomas does not have such an heir at this moment; this most . . . pivotal . . . moment in the history of your Concordat.”

Grover sat back in his chair and he smiled. “I will take no action against him—unless he threatens the safety and security of the Concordat, of course. But with this information, perhaps I do not have to . . . he might be persuaded of the truth of the matter.” Grover took another long pull and he sat down the flagon. “You mentioned arms for the armies of the Concordat last week, Demi-Precentor . . . is ComStar still willing to offer them? And how many would they willing to broker?”

Adrian smiled. “We have made arrangements with several end-users that will allow us to provide the Concordat with enough ‘Mechs, fighters, and spare parts to outfit at least three more Regiments in the Taurian-style. That is six of your over-strength battalions, Your Grace, eight of normal organization. Such an unknown force might indeed give pause to Hanse Davion when he encounters it for the first time. But alas, I have not yet heard a response from Thomas on the issue.”

Grover snorted. “You will. I shall convince him that we need this material. And your proof of Davion’s plotting will ensure that.”

“Excellent,” purred Adrian as he stood. “If ComStar can be of any further assistance, Your Grace, feel free to call upon me. Blake’s blessing be upon you, Grover Shraplen.”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:49 pm 
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Celestial Palace
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation
June 10, 3026


Maximillian Liao smiled as he sat on his throne of jade and rare exotic woods. He held his hands before him and lightly tapped the tips of his fingers together with their opposites, and his gaze swept over the highest advisors of his court. “Clever, whoever is behind these deeds. They are very clever indeed.”

Pavel Ridzik, the Senior Colonel of the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces inclined his head. “How so, Celestial Wisdom? The Taurians have not the numbers of ‘Mechs to fight off the Davions should they be provoked, after all. They do not have the numbers of ‘Mechs to fight off us were we able to devote our full attention to them!”

The Chancellor sighed and his smile turned into a frown. “Candace, would you care to explain to my idiot Strategic Military Director why that would be a horribly bad idea?”

“Certainly, Father,” the Duchess of St. Ives answered with a slight bow. “Director Ridzik, the Taurian Defense Force is weak in BattleMech Regiments, to be sure—they field less than a third the strength of our own CCAF and barely one-sixth that of the AFFS. But each of their most valued worlds is also home to large numbers of armored formations, artillery, and infantry regiments. Not since the Reunification Wars when the entire might of the Star League itself and all of her member states was brought to bear against them has so much a single Taurian world fallen into the hands of some other power. Consider that amid the scores of worlds which have changed hands here in the Inner Sphere over that same time.”

Ridzik frowned and he shook his head. “That is because they possess nothing of value, Duchess Liao.”

“With all respect due your rank and title, Director Ridzik, that statement is false. On just two worlds of the Taurian Concordat—New Vandenberg and Taurus—they produce half the number of BattleMechs manufactured each year on all of the worlds of the Confederation combined. If their government wanted to, they could double the size of their ‘Mech force within four years time—but they make too much money selling those ‘Mechs to mercenaries,” Candace answered quickly. And she smiled. “Three-fifths of the ‘Mechs on the market each year for mercenaries come from the foundries of Taurus and New Vandenberg. Does the Strategic Military Director consider that to be nothing of value?”

“Periphery trash—our ‘Mechs are more advanced, have greater quality.”

Max sighed again. “Pavel be silent.” He leaned back in his throne and he nodded to his eldest daughter. Then he turned his gaze to his younger. “And what would Romano suggest that the Celestial Throne do about this situation upon our borders?”

Romano licked her lips and she glanced envious eyes at her sister. “Celestial Wisdom, we watch as two of our ancestral enemies tear themselves apart.”

The Chancellor raised one eyebrow. “Observe only, dear daughter?”

She blushed. “W-we . . . we use the Maskirovka agents in place upon worlds of the Concordat and Federated Suns alike to feed the tensions. A few random bombings on strategic worlds by our agents, with claims of responsibility made to appear as Calderon or Davion, will goad them even further . . . and push them into actual conflict.”

Max smiled again. “Just so, dearest daughter. Just so. Pavel . . . place our forces upon alert—but do not let them cross the border in raids. We do not need to divert Hanse Davion’s attention at this moment. And . . .” Maximillian paused and he stroked his long, thin beard for a moment. “Review our contingency plans. If the Fox pushes the Taurians hard enough, they may well collapse—they may not. If they do, I want New Vandenberg and Taurus to belong to the Confederation and not the Suns. But we start nothing without my explicit orders . . . is that understood by everyone?”

And all present bowed low answering, “Yes, Celestial Wisdom.”

Maximillian Liao sat back against his throne once more and he smiled again, stroking his beard with one hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Supreme Mugwump
Supreme Mugwump

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:42 pm
Posts: 3183
some arsonist sets something on fire and all the other arsonists start throwing wood and oil into the flames....

this looks like a whodoneit where the inspector wields a PPC instead of a PPK.

there seems to be an alternative that i find disturbing: could it be someone wants to draw an advantage out of the two sides not starting a war?
when on one or both sides of the border the citizens are told by some demagogue: "look how the government protects you, look how they cowardly do nothing about it, you would better follow my lead than theirs, and as you see they are weak and can do nothing about it"

then it is possible that one of the partys that seem to be "too far away" could be involved in the financing of it...or by gathering intelligence for who ever started it.

ther might not even be any politics behind it, maybe someone just wants to sell more battlemechs...wich does not mean that politics cannot gain any advantage out of it.

or someone wanted to clear the way for becomeing the new heir, and all of it is just a disguise for murdering a single person.

whatever the truth is, it shall be found out.

_________________
typos and spelling-mistakes are property of the finder. english is not my mother-tongue.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Council of the Damned
Raider’s Roost, Tortuga Prime
Tortuga Dominion
June 12, 3026


Twenty hard men sat around the massive table, but the galleries were quiet today; empty and without the backing of their bands, the pirates at the table were . . . off-kilter and subdued. The only light within the hall came from scores of blazing torches, marking the roof with soot and mixing the smell of ash and smoke with the sweat—and fear—exuded by these Lords of the Damned of Tortuga.

Each man at the table commanded his own JumpShip (some had several JumpShips), and with it his own band of raiders and pirates. Most had only ill-armed foot at their disposal, but a dozen of the pirate captains commanded ‘Mechs and tanks and fighters in addition to the expendable scum of the universe who comprised their boarding crews. Each had proven himself in the fires of combat and come out the far side—sometimes with victory and booty, other times extracting only a handful of men and his ship. But each was also a survivor in the most cutthroat game of all—life in the Tortuga Dominion.

Even with twenty captains at the table, it was more than half empty; for the majority of the captains and their pirate crews had joined forces with the new Pirate King who stood at their head: the man known to them only as Meurtrier Renard; an obvious pseudonym meaning the Fox’s Murderer. Although he allowed these assembled captains to address him as Lord Renard.

“Bring out the bitch!” Renard bellowed as he slammed his goblet of gold down upon the table, spilling some of the strong drink upon wood stained with grease, drink, and other less savory fluids.

Several captains looked down, away from the door which opened, and Paula Trevaline, known as Lady Death, the former ruler of the Tortuga Dominions and Queen of the Pirates was dragged into the chamber festooned in chains. Her long red hair was filthy, as were her clothes, and the stench that came from being denied a bath in her cell hung over the room—but her grey eyes never left the figure of Renard and hate was conveyed in that glare.

She was forced down on her knees to one side of the table, and Renard grunted as he stood. “Lady Death . . . you grace us with your presence,” and he laughed. “Have you reconsidered my offer?”

“I serve no one,” she hissed. “And I will see you dead, interloper.”

Renard nodded. “An event which well might come to pass, my dear; but not by your hands. Lords of the Damned! Three times have I brought her before me; three times have I offered to release her from captivity should she swear allegiance to me,” he paused and he smiled at Trevaline again. “Three times has she refused. Her company lies dead, her ships are mine—her throne is mine. She no longer has your allegiance—that is mine as well. You bear witness, Lords of the Damned.”

One by one, each pirate captain at the table muttered aye, or nodded his head, and Lord Reynard smiled again. “Even they desert you, Lady Death—there is no honor amongst these thieves and buccaneers. Take her outside,” he ordered the guards, “and kill her.”

“You might want to reconsider that, mate,” one gravelly voice rose from the table and Reynard looked down the long table in surprise.

“Lord Shrike, I had not expected you to come to her defense. Why would I reconsider such?”

“Because we follow a code here on Tortuga, Lord Reynard—a code that many others deride and dismiss, but it is our laws. And by our code, one cannot simply kill in cold blood a Lord or a Lady who has earned a seat at this table by right of pillage—such a sentence can only be passed down by the Council of the Damned in assembly voting. Not even the King of Tortuga can bypass the code.”

“Then we shall call this vote—by your code, Lord Shrike. Guards!”

Two dozen men armed with blazers filed into the galleries and took aim at the table below. But Shrike stood and he shook his head. “We haven’t a Quorum, Lord Reynard. Three-quarters of the Lords of the Damned must sit at this table to hand out a sentence of death—we have not half.”

“I hold the proxy of the men who follow me in the Badlands. I vote aye,” Reynard said, his face flushing.

“So sorry, mate, but we acknowledge no proxies in the code,” Lord Shrike replied with a grin as he twisted a strand of his greasy beard.

“I can have all of you shot,” Reynard mused.

“Aye, you can. But as you say, Lord Reynard, your men are by and large in the Badlands—and we have ours here in Raider’s Roost. You would not survive us long.”

“No. No, I might not at that. And so what do you suggest, Lord Shrike?”

“Hold her in captivity until the quorum can be settled, Lord Reynard—and then we can discuss why you have returned here to Tortuga. Could it be that you have need of our companies after all? Could it be that you are willing to ask those of us who remain for our help?”

“Ask? No. I will offer any man here who is willing to fight a share of our booty, however. We have shipped vast sums back here to Tortuga, plunder taken from Davion and Calderon alike. I think that perhaps it was you good captains who were planning to beg me to let you join my forces.”

“Ah,” mused Lord Shrike. “Some were planning on groveling towards you—some of us were not. What say you, Lord Reynard? Shall you return Lady Death to her cell and lead more men on raids against the Bull and the Fox?”

Reynard stood there for several minutes and then he made a slight nod of his head. “Return Lady Death to her cell; guards I have no further need of you.” He sat at the head of the table. “And now let us discuss how many of you wish to beg me to allow you a share of the treasure, lads.”

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

“He will have you killed, Captain,” muttered the old pirate as he limped alongside Lord Shrike through the streets of the city later that afternoon.

“He may,” the Pirate Lord answered with a chuckle. “But my company is the strongest here on Tortuga—and his strength is far, far away at the moment. And I fear that his plans will stir up the Fox and the Bull such as we have not seen in three generations . . . no, John, we will not be joining with Reynard on his mission to provoke war. Ready the ships, though, and the crews. Make certain our armory is well-stocked—he may lead Tortuga to glory, or he may be the reason it is burnt to the ground. But either way, the Company of the Damned will survive. Heard from your man within the donjon?”

“Aye, and I have the guard schedule and a surplus key as well.”

“Good. Then after Reynard lifts this afternoon to return to his war, let us free Lady Death and find a safe port until this storm passes us by.”

John frowned and he shook his head. “Don’t you be underestimating him, Captain—he came out here a year ago with two companies of ‘Mechs, and now he’s King and has scrounged enough to field two regiments. Three if all of the other companies join him. I would dearly love to know where he is getting them from.”

“Aye, wouldn’t we all? Still, as long as those ‘Mechs are in the Badlands and we are here on Tortuga, I think we are safe,” Shrike laughed. “As safe as any Captain of the Damned can be in a place where promotion comes through assassination.”

The pirate and his companion stopped at the crest of a road looking down over the spaceport and Shrike frowned one more time. “Of course, I am even more curious as to what he did for the robes that has those penny-pinchers build an HPG station all the way out here. When will they be finished?”

“A week, two at the outside, my sources say.”

“All of this coming together at once, John Preston—it is an ill wind I fear that threatens to blow our way. Make ready, for we leave as soon as retrieve our Queen . . . she will have orders for us, I am certain.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Chapter Three

Challenge Systems Corporate Headquarters
Matam, Panpour
Federated Suns
August 8, 3026


“Mister Beck? Mister Beck?”

Oliver Beck, the chief executive officer of Challenge Systems, stopped and turned around towards the security guard rushing towards him. “Yes?” he asked irritably. It had been a long day, and he was eager to get home to his wife and kids and a home-cooked meal after spending the last four weeks in transit and meetings on New Syrtis. But at least CS-M-327 was on schedule for completion—and it looked as though CS-M-328 would be finished ahead of schedule. That should net him and his people a sizeable bonus from the AFFS if he managed to get both Monoliths delivered and through trials over the next year.

The troubles along the border had him worried . . . Panpour was only two jumps from no less than four Concordat worlds—each of which had a sizeable garrison. And yet, despite the importance of his shipyards to the AFFS, the only garrison consisted of local planetary militia. Duke Michael had been apologetic when Oliver raised the issue again with him, but Panpour lay within the Crucis March, not his Capellan March . . . which meant that he could not garrison the planet or provide additional aerospace forces to protect the Yard.

Oliver sighed. Until three weeks ago, they had been assigned the 1st Battalion of 39th Avalon Hussars—but since the Taurians were claiming that the 39th had killed the heir to their throne, First Prince Hanse had withdrawn them . . . to avoid ‘provoking’ the Taurians; and their replacements had not arrived. The CEO snorted. Right. Like we are the ones provoking them. Damn bulls need a matador to teach them what’s what, he thought to himself. No, instead, the AFFS just leaves his people—and those working for Jalastar Aerospace, the premier manufacturer of light-weight aerospace fighters in the Federated Suns—hanging in the wind.

Accordingly, he had ordered security ramped up on the Yards and the industrial facilities on the planetary surface—the spaceport as well. And if Challenge Systems didn’t have ‘Mechs in their security forces, their personnel were all veterans of the AFFS and lavishly equipped with the latest in armored vehicles, personal body armor, and small arms. And in space, Jalastar’s test-flight squadron was keeping a close watch over the Yards as well—a responsibility that their CEO Hammond Lorne took seriously.

“Sir,” the guard said as he approached. “We have your car prepped in the underground garage, not out front.”

Oliver frowned. “The garage? You think I am in danger here, in front my own building?”

“Can’t be sure, Sir. But we are taking no precautions—you limo is on sub-level two.”

“Corporal, my limo is right outside that door,” Oliver protested, pointing to the vehicle waiting on the side of the street.

“That is the decoy, Sir.”

Oliver sighed, but these were the men he trusted to keep him and his family safe. “Fine,” he snapped and he headed for the elevator. The doors slid open and he stepped inside and punched the button for sub-level two in the underground parking garage.

The light within the button came to life, and the CEO caught a whiff of a sharp, acrid smell just micro-seconds before the shaped charge explosive hidden within the panel detonated, tearing him and the elevator to pieces.


Jalastar Aerospace Assembly Facility
Matam, Panpour
Federated Suns
August 8, 3026


Hammond Lorne nodded at his supervisor as the latest production of the venerable Sparrowhawk light aerospace fighter was rolled out onto the tarmac. “This the last of the special order for New Syrtis?”

“Yes, sir. Eighteen brand-spanking new birds—they are scheduled to ship out tomorrow and we put the finishing touches on this one first thing this morning. Duke Michael will have no complaints about our quality of work, here.”

“Good,” agreed Hammond as he looked over the lean predator lines of the fighter interceptor. Keeping the Duke of New Syrtis happy, and the Duke of Robinson happy, and the First Prince of the Federated Suns happy was part and parcel of his job description—almost as much as turning a profit for his investors. “They have all flown?”

“Yes, sir. We don’t send out any fighter until she makes her maiden flight—you know that.”

Hammond grunted. It was standard operating procedure for Jalastar, but sometimes people had been known to cut corners—not on his watch, but there had been incidents in the past. “We ferrying them to the space-port?”

“No, sir. They are going to get loaded on that,” he said pointed at the freight train Hammond had assumed was here to deliver components, “and delivered that way.”

The CEO frowned. “Well, that’s odd. Chartering a train has to cost more than the fuel to fly them seventy kilometers.”

The supervisor shrugged. “We got word this morning from the spaceport that the ferry flight was cancelled and alternate transport would be pro-“

The supervisor’s words were cut off as the train’s whistle blew and it back up on the siding less than thirty meters away—and then one of the boxcars exploded.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Wexworth Memorial Spaceport
Riverhurst, Diefenbaker
Federated Suns
August 10, 3026


Marie Davion-Hasek smiled as she shook hands with the delegation of local leaders and militia commanders. This was her seventh visit to Diefenbaker in the twenty plus years she had been married to Michael Hasek, and she knew the gentlemen she greeted well.

“Welcome back, Your Grace,” the mayor of Riverhurst said. “We’ve picked up the pieces from the Taurian attack back in March, but there are still some victims who would like to meet with you—and the survivor family of the victims.”

“Later, Charles,” another man said harshly. “What I want to know is when the AFFS is going to get off the pot and show those damned Bulls who is in charge out here? Dirty bastards think they have the right to attack our worlds. Our worlds! That and the wave of bombings coming from the traitors who want to turn Diefenbaker back over to the Bulls. It’s past time we cracked down on them all—hard.”

“Daniel,” she said as she shook her head. “The First Prince will make that decision—Duke Michael cannot invade the Taurians on his own; it would leave our border with the Capellans defenseless.”

“With all due respect, madame, he may not have a choice much longer. You people on New Syrtis—and that damn Hanse Davion on New Avalon—don’t seem to realize just how frightened our people here are. There is a large segment of Diefenbaker that still considers us as invaders and occupiers—they want to return to the Concordat. There have been riots between the factions the past two months and people have been killed. This is getting out of hand—we need troops and we need them now.”

“I understand, Daniel,” Marie said calmly as she tried to smooth the feathers of the agitated leader. “And so does Michael. That is why he sent me out here to try and calm the wat-“

The supersonic CRACK arrived a split-second after the bullet that struck Marie Hasek-Davion in the head created a fountain of blood and brains over the tarmac, as well as the clothing of those who had greeted her.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Munitions Storage Point #4
Port Sheridan, New Vallis
Taurian Concordat
August 11, 3026


Master Sergeant Greg Villanova frowned as the heavily loaded forklift spun around one stack of crates and came to a halt. “Slow that thing down!” he bellowed.

The driver lifted one hand and waved and Villanova sighed. Damn conscripts, he thought as he lifted his clipboard and began to check off the receipt of the latest delivery of mortar shells. Confirming each crate number against his manifest, he finally looked up and pointed towards the interior of the building. “Slow and easy, num-nuts, or I’ll have your ass running with a sixty-kilo ruck all bloody night!”

The fork-lift driver nodded and he proceeded onwards at a slower clip in the massive depths of the munitions bunker.

Villanova walked over to a chain-link door that partitioned the bunker, tossed the clipboard on his desk and sat down, running his hands over his itching scalp, before he lifted a cup of cold coffee and took a swig.

The door opened again and an ordnance specialist came rushing in as the NCO looked up.

“We’ve got a problem, Master Sergeant,” he said crisply. “Those idiots in the 47th didn’t remove the detonators on the excess ordnance they returned this morning.”

Villanova snapped up to his feet. “You’ve got to be shitting me!”

“Wish I was; I just ran a spot check on one of the cases of grenades—and each one is live.”

“Where are they stored?” He asked between curses he as bolted back out the door.

“Section Three,” the specialist answered and Villanova groaned. That idiot forklift driver was delivering the mortar shells to section three.

Then the ground heaved.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:57 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
General Headquarters, Taurus Defense Force
Mount Santiago Defense Complex, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
August 13, 3026


“Saboteurs! It is damned Davion saboteurs!” shouted Grover Shraplen after Marshal O’Conner finished her report, and the woman frowned.

“We don’t know why the Munitions Bunker lit off, Duke Shraplen—all we know at the moment is that it did detonate and caused a great deal of damage and loss of life.”

Thomas’s friend and advisor snorted. “You think it an accident, perhaps? If you believe that, then I have an armaments factory on Ishtar to sell you! Marshal O’Conner, I do not believe in coincidence. Neither should the uniformed head of the Taurian Defense Force—these raids and attacks have continued on nearly every one of the outer worlds. Every one outside of the Hyades. We have seen a spike in violence, shootings and bombings that are clearly the product of instigators from abroad. And now, in the heart of one of our most vital military installations, one of our secure ordnance sites is hit and we have at least five hundred confirmed dead! This is no mere coincidence, Marshal O’Conner, General Grenadine. This is the prelude to a Davion invasion. Pre-invasion sabotage of our defenses, assassination of the men and women charged with defending our borders, and attempting to dilute our strength through these raids. They are hoping beyond hope we take their bait and disperse the TDF, so that their RCTs roll right over us!”

“That is all supposition!” Janice O’Conner snapped as she stood. “My Lord,” she said turning back to the Protector sitting at the end of the table, “let us investigate this and find out what really happened on New Vallis.”

Thomas looked up and his eyes were narrow and angry. Janice swallowed as she could feel the anger radiating off of the Protector. “I have seen the reports Grover provided, Marshal O’Conner. The Davions are moving troops—Hanse Davion would not do that without a reason. And these raids and attacks have become unbearable. This, this . . . incident on New Vallis is the final straw.”

“Sir,” Janice O’Conner begged, “accidents happen when you handle explosives—even the best trained people have momentary lapses that can have horrible consequences. New Vallis might have been that. We have only just begun picking through what’s left there.”

“An accident now? Now? No, Marshal, the timing is too coincidental for my tastes.” Thomas stood. “I am calling all reservists to active duty throughout the Concordat—a total force mobilization of all assets. Admiral Rains,” he said to the commander of the Taurian Concordat Navy, “inform all corporations and conglomerates and the Far Seekers as well that pursuant to the Concordat Defense Act of 2842 I am hereby activating all of the Category A reserve JumpShips to military command.” He paused and looked down at his hands.

After several moments he looked back up and his eyes were hard, like pieces of flint. “Once the reserves have been mobilized, Marshal, once the ships have arrived at their marshalling points, Admiral, then I intend to authorize Case Gold. And I need remind no one in this room, we have never signed the Ares Conventions—I’ll be damned if let Hanse Davion roll over my Concordat without a fight, even if that means I have to nuke his ass on New Avalon to do it. Get it done, ladies, gentlemen—I want the transports underway no later than sixty days from today.”

Everyone stood as Thomas walked to the door and exited, Grover Shraplen in his wake. Henri Jouett cleared his throat. “And what exactly is Case Gold?”

Janice O’Conner shook her head. “The invasion plans for New Syrtis. Under Case Gold, we hit the March capital with ten regiments and decapitate their leadership. May God have mercy on our souls.”

Henri blinked. “Decapitate their leadership? Easier said than done, especially with military assets.”

“True, which is why I need to send orders to our special ops teams—can TOSIOI get a sniper team on planet?”

Henri paused. “Marshal, perhaps we should give the Protector time to . . .”

“We have our orders, Henri. And while they are not the ones I think we should be following, the Defense Force will obey them. Can your people get my snipers in position to eliminate Hasek-Davion and his military commanders?”

The chief of Taurian intelligence sighed and he nodded. “I can.”

“Then let’s get cracking, people.”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
The Dragon’s Lair
Imperial City, Luthien
Draconis Combine
August 13, 3026


The briefing officer completed his presentation and the lights slowly grew in illumination. He bowed and quickly left the two men in the room alone. “Your thoughts?” Takashi Kurita, the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine asked softly.

Subhash Indrahar frowned as he considered the holographic map projections and he stroked one long strand of his white mustache. “Intriguing, Lord Kurita . . . this information is most intriguing. It bears certain . . . possibilities which should be explored.”

The Coordinator snorted. “Agreed. But if it is true, our window of opportunity is very narrow—how best to exploit this for the Combine?”

The Director of the Internal Security Force—the name being a misnomer, although Internal Security was a large part of Indrahar’s duties, these days he spent nearly as much time on external threats—paused and he adjusted the controls for the holographic display. It switched from the Taurian-Federated Suns border to the line between House Davion and the Draconis Combine.

“What are the most valuable worlds along that border, my Lord?” Indrahar asked.

Takashi frowned and then he nodded. “Quentin and Marduk.”

“Precisely, my Lord Kurita; at the present time, the 22nd Avalon Hussars RCT is garrisoning Quentin, and the 1st Chisholm’s Raiders RCT are assigned to Marduk—although they may soon return to Breed, if my sources are correct. But I must warn you, my Lord, Gregor Samasov will not care for this idea—Vasily’s and Hirushi’s units from Dieron and Benjamin will garner the glory and claim those worlds and their factories for the Dragon. He strains enough at his leash as it is. His hatred for Minobu Tetsuhara and through him Wolf’s Dragoons has grown exponentially in the years since Tetsuhara snubbed him. He is planning something—I know it, but what . . . that I do not yet know.”

“It is a simple matter, Subhash; I will order the Dragoons and the Ryuken to move to Barlowe’s Folly and Al Na’ir, removing them both from his command and his influence. And if he cares to dispute that order, I shall appoint a new Warlord of Galedon and order Samasov to plead his forgiveness with the short blade.”

Subhash Indrahar bowed his head. “As my Lord Kurita commands,” he said, but then paused once more. “The Dragoons and Ryuken should take those two worlds easily—but what then? A general offensive along the length of the border?”

Takashi stared at the map and then he shook his head again. “Iie. This . . . border dispute between the Fox and the Bull may become nothing more than the threat of a storm—let us not get too deeply committed at this stage, Subhash. Besides,” and Takashi smiled broadly. “Did I tell you that the Taurian ambassador to Luthien made me a very . . . intriguing offer yesterday? To use your turn of the phrase.”

Indrahar inclined his head. “You did not, my Lord.”

“He inquired as to what I thought would be a fair price to release the Dragoon’s Contract—I gave him no answer, but offer Thomas authorized was quite . . . generous.”

The head of the ISF turned his head back towards the map. “Once they assist the Ryuken to take Quentin and Marduk, then if the Dragoon’s accept that contract they will have to traverse the whole of the Federated Suns en route to Taurus.”

“Ah, but here is the intriguing part; the contract we discussed was not only to garrison the Taurian worlds, but for the Dragoons to rip a path through the Federated Suns, moving from world to world and striking at high-value targets; akin to Archibald McCarron’s Long March back in 3022 and 3023.”

Now Subhash Indrahar whistled and he stroked his mustache again, considering the map. “The problem lies in that McCarron did not stray too far from Capellan territory and always had an option to retreat. Would Colonel Wolf even consider such?”

“He has not yet been asked—the Ambassador only wanted to know if I would consider releasing the Dragoon’s early. But does not any commander seek to prove that he is better than another man, especially a man like Archibald McCarron? Wolf may not accept this offer, but his pride and vanity might well push him towards doing so. It would be a feat unparalled in the annals of war, after all.”

Indrahar nodded and he traced off a route of systems on his screen, a line appearing on the hologram. “Raman, Exeter, Robinson, DeWitt, Kestrel, Streator, Freisland, Talcott, Kathil, Novaya Zemlya, Stein's Folly, Wappingers, Narellan, Jaipur, Mandaree, and Flintoft would leave him one jump shy of entering the Concordat at either Mithron or New Vallis. That is three more systems than McCarron hit during his March; and farther away from any safe harbour through much of it. Even if he manages to jump once every two weeks, which is not by any means certain, it will take him eight months to fight his way across.”

“Pride, vanity, and competiveness are such pleasant virtues when negotiating with a mercenary commander like Jaime Wolf,” Takashi mused.

“He would need substantial supplies from us to make the voyage,” added Indrahar.

“Indeed. He would. I want you to take a command circuit out to An Ting and meet with Tetsuhara and Wolf—discuss our plans for Marduk and Quentin . . . and take both of the Night Stalkers regiments with you. I will station them in Galedon to cover any gaps their departure makes in Gregor’s defenses. And Subhash?”

“My Lord?”

“Make certain to appeal to Jaime’s vanity when you broach the Taurian Ambassador’s offer. I will break the news to Gregor myself. If he gives you any trouble, dispose of him.”

"Hai, my Lord Kurita."


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:53 pm 
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Wolf’s Dragoons Field Headquarters
Chou’s Port, An Ting
Draconis Combine
August 19, 3026


“You have got to be shitting me, Colonel,” J. Elliot Jamison said bluntly, his eyes wide. “Takashi Kurita has agreed to end our contract early if we take on this . . . this . . . forlorn hope of a’marching through the dead center of the Federated Suns on the order of Taurians?”

“He has Elliot,” Jamie Wolf said softly. And then the Colonel sighed deeply. “Look, we all know that our relations with our current employer are souring—and fast. Yeah, some of them like Minobu Tetsuhara are good and honorable men. Then we have folks like Gregor Samsonov . . . I do not have to tell any of you that he means us no good. Takashi . . .,” Jamie shook his head. “He is just another Successor Lord and if the security of his nation means sacrificing a bunch of mercs like us, he will do it in a second. That said, I think that Samsonov is overstepping his authority here—and the fact that Takashi sent Indrahar out here to brief me and have a little chat with the Warlord goes far in proving that.”

He stood and looked at the collection of men and women who sat at this table today. Major Kelly Yukinov, his second-in-command of Alpha Regiment. William Cameron, his communications officer and unofficial bodyguard. Andrei Shostokovitch, the CO of Beta Regiment. Wilhelmina Korsht, who was not only the CO of Gamma Regiment, but the second-in-command of the entire Dragoons—and had been ever since the death of Joshua. Kathleen Dumont, the commander of Delta Regiment, who sat beside Baxter Arbuthnot, the head of Epsilon. Zeta Battalion’s J. Elliot Jamison, Jason Caromody who commanded the Dragoon’s Aerospace assets, Natasha Kerensky the commander of the renowned Black Widow Company, Hansen Brubaker of the Special Recon Group, Griffith Nikitich, the CO of the Seventh Kommando, and last, but not least, Stanford Blake, the head of Wolfnet Intelligence.

Thirteen men and women, including himself, and Jamie smiled. Others might think that thirteen was an unlucky number, but it had brought the Dragoons a great deal of luck—far more good than bad. And every single last one of the assembled men and women were from the Homeworlds. They had been born in the Homeworlds.

“We are experts at forlorn hopes, Elliot,” he said with a shake of his head. “Hell, our entire expedition was nothing but a forlorn hope.”

Wilhelmina frowned. “Perhaps, but we were a forlorn hope, with a purpose; with a mission to accomplish. What is the purpose in taking this contract? Working for the Taurians of all people? How do we further our mission in this?”

“Mina, Mina, Mina,” Natasha Kerensky chuckled. “What is the purpose in taking any contract? We haven’t had a mission since we stopped sending reports back to the Homeworlds, after all. Except for a vague statement of ‘prepare the Inner Sphere for our coming’ without us having any clue of when they are coming. Archimedes might have been able to move the world with a long enough lever, but we don’t have that lever yet—and these people aren’t ready to for us to even start to prepare them for what is to come.”

She shook her head. “But back to the purpose of taking this contract: we are mercenaries. Sell-swords. Lucre-warriors. Soldiers of fortune. With all of the good and bad connotations of that, Mina. Thomas Calderon is offering one hell of contract—and if we don’t take a good hard look at it, what will other people say? Will they ask if we have lost our edge? If we are afraid of taking on high-risk, high-reward contracts?”

No one at the table said a word in answer, but Jamie bared his teeth in a broad grin that Natasha returned. “They would be stupid to think that, but they tend to be stupid a lot of the time. Thomas is offering us 100% command rights, 100% salvage rights, and he is giving us free reign to select our own targets—military targets. He has offered a blank check to purchase supplies, munitions, fuel, spare parts, replacement ‘Mechs even before we leave the Combine. And the compensation package? We’ve had better—but not often. Twenty-five percent in advance with the remaining three-quarters held in escrow by ComStar. And he included an escape clause that provides us with a means of getting out of the contract after hitting eight targets in the Federated Suns by forfeiting two-thirds of the escrow amount. What other contract can you think of that we get paid 50% to not accomplish the mission, on top of the supplies he is buying and 100% of salvage? People, that’s a lot of lucre.”

“Second. We have ignored the Periphery states for too long. If our people are coming, then we need to assess what they can bring to the fight. How better than to do it in Taurian service? Once we get to the Concordat, our contract calls for us to defend the Taurian worlds, if the war is still ongoing, or to train existing Taurian formations while garrisoning their worlds—which will also give us a chance to evaluate their industrial might AND their military capabilities. After all, a good five percent of our own machines were originally made in Taurian factories . . . that alone tells me we aren’t getting the full story here in the Inner Sphere, just distortions based on ‘the Periphery are uncivilized, primitive, and backward’ ideas fostered by ComStar.”

“Third. We are talking about a contract that make Xenophon look like a piker in the annals of warfare!” and here Natasha’s eyes begin to shine. “By Kerensky’s Seed, we have a chance to perform an operation that will make everyone sit up and take note of the Dragoons . . . again! Crossing the entire width of a Successor State, of the Federated Suns, fighting off any and all challengers as we go, taking their own supplies and munitions and ‘Mechs for our own, and doing so with honor? This is what we live for. This is what we are born and trained for!”

“Fourth. As the Colonel says, things are getting iffy here in the Combine. Yeah, sure, getting us out of Samsonov’s District means he isn’t going to screw with us—but seriously? Do you of think that Vasily Cherenkoff is any better? Or Hirushi Shotugama? There are good and honorable people here, but there are just too many differences between how we wage war and how they act. They will try to isolate us and make us dependent upon them in order to drive us into the DCMS as a house unit—or feed us into the fire and see us destroyed piece by piece with third-rate garbage for supplies and parts. This is our chance to end this contract on honorable terms—three years ahead of schedule. Do any of you think we have a chance of spending three more years here without all of this boiling up to a head? I don’t.”

“Fifth. Someone is orchestrating these events out on the Taurian Rim. I don’t think Hanse Davion is pushing them this hard—he knows how difficult conquering the Concordat would be. And despite what the propaganda says about Thomas Calderon, he isn’t crazy enough to start a war on his own—not without being pushed back to the edge of the cliff, at least in his own mind. If we take this contract, it gives us a good chance to discover who is pulling the strings out there, who is deliberately attempting to destabilize both the Concordat and the Suns. Because frankly, if the balloon does go up, Takashi and Maximillian Liao will use it as an excuse to settle old scores. The Federated Suns will be in a three-front war, and that might be enough to break them.”

Silence hovered over the table again as Natasha Kerensky finished, and Stanford nodded. “She’s right on those last two points at least, Colonel. And we are too far away to probe into this FUBAR situation. And I must admit, gathering more intelligence on the Concordat would be helpful—as would having a base of operations on the opposite side of the Inner Sphere from where the Invasion will eventually come.”

One by one, the Regimental Commanders nodded their agreement, even Wilhelmina. Jamie took stock of the officers at the table and then he rapped his knuckles against the wood. “Kelly?”

“Sir, I am just damned worried about the whole mess. The Taurians never signed the Ares Conventions—what if they go 1st or 2nd War on us and pull out the nukes? We could get tarred pretty damn badly if we are on their side if that happens.”

“Agreed. Which is why if we do this—IF—I will insist that Thomas include an escape clause that states if the Taurian Concordat uses nuclear weapons, our contract is null and void—and that I will immediately contact Hanse Davion, inform him that my contract is now broken, and that I am offering the Dragoons in service to the Federated Suns for operations against the Taurians.”

“Damn,” whispered Baxter Arbuthnot. “If he isn’t completely insane that should keep on the straight and narrow—but we have seen in the past how insane these Successor Lords can behave. Remember Anton?”

Natasha’s face set into stone and her eyes grew cold. “Thomas would do well to remember what happened to Anton in response. Everyone would.”

“My Regimental Commanders are in agreement—any objections?”

No one spoke for several seconds, but finally J. Elliot nodded. “Hell if it wouldn’t make for capstone to our careers, Colonel. I must admit that going down in history appeals to my vanity.”

“It does to all of us, Elliot,” Jamie answered with a grin. “Very well. I will contact Thomas via HPG and provided that he accepts my rider, we will sign his contract. In the meantime, we have two assaults to carry out with Minobu Tetsuhara’s Ryuken before we can depart. I want warning orders for all commands and civilians issued immediately, with the first planning session to start at 1400 hours this afternoon. Stanford, pull all of our intelligence on Quentin and Marduk—I don’t know what other units Takashi is putting into the pot, so everyone count on just our units and the Ryuken. For now, plan on Alpha and Gamma, plus three Ryuken Regiments at Quentin, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, and two Ryuken at Marduk. We will discuss how to distribute the auxiliary formations later today. Dismissed.”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:32 pm 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Looking good, so far this one really gets into things and has a lot of color and i am looking forward to the rest.

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

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:54 pm 
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General
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
First Circuit of ComStar
Hilton Head Island, North America
Terra
August 20, 3026


“So far, Nicolas, HARBINGER has proceeded exactly as you predicted. That worries me,” Julian Tiepolo said sternly to the man in charge of ROM. “Nothing in this universe goes according to plan. I trust that you has the assets in place to correct for probable deviations?”

Nicholas Cassnew swallowed heavily and he nodded. “I would like to claim that we anticipated all the events that have so far taken place, but much of our success to date has been based on serendipity. This offer that Thomas made to Jamie Wolf, for example, I would be lying if I said that I had expected that, Primus.”

Julian snorted and he considered the map of the systems along the Taurian Rim. “I am worried about our exposure—is it time to shut down your Tortuga operation?”

“Shut it down? Now? When it is still serving our interests?” snapped Precentor Dieron. “Our agent there has united the pirates of Tortuga and for a pittance in cost we have mobilized three regiments of ‘Mechs and infantry that are sowing chaos along the entire border.”

“We have not succeeded in fully uniting them, Myndo,” answered Nicholas. “There are st-,”

“You will address me by the title I have earned, Precentor ROM!” she said in a voice dripping with acid. “This holy chamber is not to be trivialized by informality.”

Nicholas exchanged a glance at the Primus who sighed and then nodded. Myndo had always been touchy about protocol.

“My apologies, Precentor Dieron,” he replied. “As I was saying, our agent has not managed to fully unite the pirates of Tortuga—one captain in particular has managed to evade two assassination attempts and free Paula Trevaline from captivity before he fled the Dominion.”

Myndo snorted. “He has less than two companies at his beck and call, and Lady Death has nothing. Her forces were either destroyed or deserted her. Primus, if you value my advice, step up the attacks from the Tortuga contingent—expand them. Bath the Outback and the Taurian colonies in fear and terror and you will see their leaders having to respond.”

“Primus, we have already stoked the fires . . . and now agents in the employ of Michael Hasek and Maximillian Liao are furthering the tensions. Not to mention ROM operatives scattered throughout the Concordat and the Suns—Demi-Precentor Taurus reports that Grover Shraplen has fallen in line nicely and that Thomas has authorized the TDF to carry out their Case Gold.”

“And what is Case Gold, Precentor ROM?” asked the Primus as he sat.

“They are going to kill Michael Hasek and the senior AFFS military commanders of the Capellan March . . . in conjunction with an invasion of New Syrtis designed to utterly destroy that worlds military and industrial capability.”

Myndo laughed. “And Wolf is attacking from the other direction at the same time! My sources in the Combine believe that Takashi will launch an attack into the Federated Suns as well just before he releases the Dragoons . . . and if we can convince Maximillian Liao that it is in his interests to join in the fun and games? Perhaps we can end this Federated Commonwealth nonsense before it ever starts, and put paid to that insolent NAIS as well.”

“We are getting ahead of ourselves . . . Myndo,” the Primus answered, deliberately using her familiar name. Her face flushed, but she said nothing to her superior, and Julian nodded. “It would be good if we managed to arrange that, but so far the border tensions have not resulted in serious operations; they have yet to be more than a flea-bite on Hanse Davion’s butt cheek.” He considered for a moment as silence hung over the nearly empty chamber, but at last he nodded. “Instruct our agent in Tortuga to execute a second series of raids, Nicholas—and as Myndo so succinctly put it, their purpose will be cause fear and terror in the people. Unleash the pirates to conduct their utmost atrocities.”

“In the meantime, we will continue prodding both Davion and Calderon towards war . . . until this Case Gold goes into effect and the Dragoons invade the Suns. Between them, those two incidents will force Hanse Davion to respond. Escalate the activities, but make certain our agents know that they are to point the finger of blame at others . . . Hasek or Liao, I do not care which. Have we anyone close to Michael Hasek?”

Precentor ROM smiled. “We do, and he has his ear.”

“Well, let us see if he can convince Hasek to act without waiting for New Avalon to make up its mind. If a war has already started, Hanse Davion will be loath to simply end it without a victory; his pride will be his downfall here. If the blood of Federated Suns troops has already been spilt, and there are Taurian invaders on his worlds, he must respond. Press him, escalate the operations, but above all else, Precentor ROM, maintain our deniability. And ensure that a second agent is in place if it becomes necessary to decapitate the Tortuga pirates of their new found leadership.”

Nicholas bowed. “Of course, Primus.”


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:24 pm 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Impressive ComStar is good at one thing being a pain in the neck...they should be a bit worried that their Vandenberg White Wings bit doesn't come back and haunt them...

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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]

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:32 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
The Palace of the First Prince
Avalon City, New Avalon
Federated Suns
August 20, 3026


“I am ashamed to say that I never really knew her well, Quintus,” Hanse said softly as he gazed out the windows that overlooked the immaculate greenery that surrounded the Palace. “Ian was closer to her than I . . . and she was almost twelve years my elder. I was very young when she left New Avalon for the last time . . . oh, we talked, we wrote, but I never really knew her.”

He took a sip of whiskey.

“Why did Michael wait ten days to inform me?” he asked, but neither Quintus Allard nor Ardan Sortek mistook the softness of his tone for weakness. Both heard the anger, the sheer rage, which was welling up inside their liege.

“Officially, he wanted her body returned to her home on New Syrtis before releasing the announcement—actually he needed the time to issue his own orders to the units in the Capellan March.”

Hanse took another sip and he nodded. “I have already heard from Winston Ashley and Stephen—the Assault Guards and 1st Armored Cavalry have both received orders to redeploy to Carmichael and Lothair on the Taurian borders. They wanted my confirmation before moving, gentlemen. Are there other units moving that I should know about?”

Ardan Sortek cleared his throat. “The 39th Avalon Hussars is being moved back to Warren, the Illician Lancers are en route to Bromhead and Midale, two regiments each, the 15th Deneb is moving to Warren, the 3rd Ceti Hussars to Carmichael, and the Capellan Dragoons to Lothair. Plus, he is calling home the 5th, 6th, and 8th Syrtis Fusiliers to New Syrtis.”

“The only units he is not moving in the edge-ward half of the Capellan March are the 1st Albion Training Cadre and the three March Militia formations,” added Quintus.

“He’s stripping the Altair, New Syrtis, Sirdar, and Warren PDZs,” Hanse muttered.

“Not exactly. He’s played this very smart, my Prince,” said Ardan with a grimace. “He’s concentrating his regiments right at the border—and at New Syrtis itself—but all four PDZs still retain their regiments. And with the exception of the 5th and 6th Fusiliers, he hasn’t touched the PDZs on the coreward side of the March.”

“I should recall every last one of them to their duty posts,” the First Prince of the Federated Suns said, then he took another sip the very expensive Glengarry Reserve he was drinking. “But with the increase in incidents, I would be crucified by my own people for trying it, eh, Quintus?”

“Nothing quite so drastic, my Prince.”

“Ardan, what are the troops here on New Avalon saying?”

The commander of the Davion Heavy Guards RCT glanced at Quintus and then he took a deep breath. “Frankly, sire, they are asking why we are not already moving fresh troops into the area. Michael’s people has made a circus of each incident in the Capellan Marches—and it doesn’t help that the Darren Wright has been screaming bloody murder over the raids in Islamabad either. People are dead, our people are dead, and the troops can’t understand why we aren’t doing anything about it.”

Hanse took another sip and he nodded. “This is not the war I wanted, gentlemen. But it appears to be the war that I have. I want orders moving out to Marshal Horne—all Operation Galahad units are to begin embarkation for Taygeta immediately. When are General Armstrong and the Eridani scheduled to arrive at Caldwell, Montour, and Verdigreis? That should help to calm down Count Wright.”

“Presuming that they kept their schedule, my Prince, the Light Horse will be in position by next week,” Ardan answered.

“And alert both the Heavy Guards and 1st Guards. Ardan, I want you to take over command out there—I will inform every Regimental and RCT commander myself so that there is no ‘mistake’ in passing the orders from New Syrtis.”

“And once I get there?”

“Hopefully, Thomas and I will be able to cool things off—I think that perhaps it is time he and I had a little chat. If by some miracle there is not an actual war being waged at the moment you arrive, I want you to cool things down, Ardan. But understand me,” and the Fox’s voice dropped low. “Understand me, if we are in a fight by the time you arrive . . . I expect you to teach Thomas—and Michael—the folly of provoking me. If that means that the Taurians have to lose a few more systems, then so be it.”

Hanse lifted his glass to his lips once again, but he said nothing else. And after a long silence, both Quintus and Ardan bowed and withdrew from his office.


Last edited by master arminas on Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:30 pm 
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Supreme Mugwump
Supreme Mugwump

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:42 pm
Posts: 3183
Quote:
I think that perhaps it is time he and had a little chat
he and who? ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:04 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
HPG Station Taurus
Samantha City, Taurus
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Capitaine Olivia Suchet shook her head as the expensive ground-car screeched to a halt just outside the perimeter of Taurian Guards who surrounded the ComStar facility. As usual, the robes had not allowed her security detail to enter the compound—only a handful of the Secret Service assigned to keep the Protector safe were allowed within. Her troops were here in case anyone inside pressed their panic button, however—and if that happened ComStar rules and regulations would fly out the window and she would take control of the Station.

But for the moment, she was more concerned with events outside the facility. Grover Shraplen had not waited for the limo to come to a complete halt before he had swung open the door and tried to dismount—and she smiled as he nearly fell on his face from the forward momentum he had failed to compensate for. The politician recovered however and quickly moved towards the entrance where two of her troopers stepped in his path, their bayoneted rifles held at port-arm.

“Clear me a path, you imbeciles! Have you no idea who I am?” he roared, but the Guardsmen did not move.

Olivia walked over to stand beside him. “Sir,” she barked as she snapped to attention. “We are quite aware of who you are—what is your purpose here?”

Grover’s face turned a fiery red as he spun around and pointed a finger in her face. “Thomas needs my advice if he is going to speak face-to-face with that hell-spawn Davion!” he spat. “I am one of his most trusted advisors, and you will allow me entry, or I will have you broken from service! Broken!”

The commander of the Guards infantry just glared back at Grover and she reached down and unbuttoned the flap on her holster, and drew the revolver with her left hand—the barrel stopped just a few millimeters shy of the left eye of the Duke of MacLeod’s Land. “If the Protector had desired your presence, you would have been summoned, Your Grace,” she said as she thumbed back the hammer. “We have strict instructions from the Marshal of the Armies to allow no one to pass this perimeter—regardless of their rank or station. You, Sir, are not within my chain of command. You are not an officer of the Taurian Defense Force, nor do you have to the power to break even the least of my people. And if you do not withdraw to your vehicle immediately, Sir, then I will consider you a threat to the person of the Protector and will, regretfully, resort to lethal force against you.”

“How dare you!” Grover exploded. “It is the machinations of Davion sympathizers that are keeping me from giving Thomas my good advice—you act today against the people of this Concordat!”

“Back your fat ass up now, Sir, or so help me God, I will gun you down here and now,” Olivia said flatly.

For a moment, Grover Shraplen looked at her defiantly, but then his shoulders slumped and he took two steps back. Olivia placed her thumb on the hammer and slowly pulled on the trigger, lowering it back into its resting place. “Return to your vehicle, Your Grace—the Protector will be exiting the building in a short while. Corporal Henriquez! Guide His Grace’s vehicle to a designated parking area.”

Grover Shraplen glared at her, and she could see the message in his eyes that this was not over, but Olivia holstered her sidearm and secured the flap before standing at parade rest. Bring it on, fat boy, she thought to herself, as she stared back at the powerful politician. And for the second time that morning, it was Grover who looked away, and he returned to his vehicle.

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

Thomas Calderon, Protector of the Taurian Concordat waited while the ComStar technicians finished making the adjustments for a real-time HPG transmission between Taurus and New Avalon. He had been . . . surprised when Adrian Lorenzo, the Demi-Precentor of Taurus, informed him that Hanse Davion has personally requested—and paid for—the service. At first, he had been inclined to dismiss the request; after all, it was Hanse Davion who had started this entire mess to begin with.

But, his wife Katherine and Marshal O’Conner and Henri Jouett had convinced him to at least hear what Hanse Davion had to say. After all, Thomas himself had a prisoner from Charleston, a prisoner who claimed that the Federated Suns was not behind the escalation of this crisis. Thomas snorted. He didn’t believe the man—he didn’t want to believe the man—but his story had not changed even under chemical interrogation. Because if it wasn’t the Davions, Thomas admitted to himself, then the Concordat had another enemy—an enemy he didn’t know about. And that meant that he, Thomas Calderon, Protector of the Taurian Concordat, had failed his people; failed his son. And the Fox was moving troops; Grover’s information made that crystal clear—and Henri had confirmed it.

Still, there are a nagging voice in his head, a small quiet whispering voice, that spoke of how Davion worlds had also been hit—and asked Thomas what he would do if their roles were reversed. Would he not move troops to the crisis point himself? He had already done that by moving the TDF forward to the border, and calling up his own reserves—what made Hanse Davion so very different from him? And these claims that it was Taurian formations and special operatives who had sown such chaos on the far side of the border—Thomas knew they were lies. Untruths, at least, because it could be that they were both being played. But could he trust Hanse? Could he, Thomas Calderon, trust a Davion Prince when that Prince claimed no responsibility for the attacks on Taurian worlds? For the attacks which had killed Edward.

Grover said it was Davion himself who was attacking his own people—to give him a casus belli against the Taurians. But even if that was true, even if Hanse Davion was that ruthless, that pragmatic . . . would he kill his own sister? A half-sister, true, the bastard child of his father, but his sister still the same. For all that he himself demonized the Davions and all their works, that action—at the least—was far out of the known character of the man who ruled the Suns. He knew that, and it ate at him as that persistent voice droned on and on and on in his head about turning back before he sealed the fate of his people and unleashed Armageddon upon them.

He shook himself, and he drew in a deep breath. Not since Nicoletta Calderon had last spoken with John Davion in the wake of the dissolution of the Star League had a Protector and a First Prince spoken face-to-face, even holographically as he would today. Edward . . . Thomas winced as he heart broke again when he thought of his eldest son . . . Edward had campaigned for four long years that Thomas should start talking with New Avalon. Communicating Taurian concerns and discussing the issues between their peoples. His son had believed—with all his heart and soul—that Thomas could be the man who at last buried the long hatred between the Taurian people and the House of Davion. Not an alliance, not even a compact between states, but he had argued that Thomas should at least start a dialogue and through that exchange of information begin the long process of seeking a permanent peaceful resolution to the many issues that lay between the Concordat and the Suns.

Edward had a vision, not a prophetic seeing of the future, but an ideal that if his father and Hanse Davion could talk, then perhaps they could lift the embargos, establish trade of manufactured goods and resources, exchange knowledge, and—maybe, one day—with the passing of time see the possibility of reuniting the lost worlds with their homeland. Without a war.

Thomas choked back his grief—Edward had been the one who pushed him to be better than he was. But Edward was now cold in the grave, the victim of . . . well, that was the question, was it not?

Adrian Lorenzo cleared his throat. “Protector Thomas, the connection is ready to be established—if you could stand there, my Lord?” He asked pointing at a small marked square on the floor of the chamber.

Thomas nodded and he stepped forward, until he stood in the center of the designated area.

The lights in the chamber began to dim, fading away to a half-light. And then, a rainbow pattern of light appeared and coalesced into the image of man—a tall, strong man, with close-cropped hair and a strong jaw. A man, whose worry lines mirrored Thomas’s own.

“You must be Thomas Calderon,” the image said.

Thomas nodded, and he licked his dry lips. “And though you lack cloven hoofs and a pointed tail, I would presume you are Hanse Davion.” The corners of the mouth of the image twitched in amusement and Thomas half-smiled despite himself. So the Devil Davion has a sense of humor after all. “You asked for this meeting, Hanse—may I call you Hanse?”

“Certainly—if I might address you as Thomas.”

The Protector nodded again and Hanse sighed. “It is not easy for either of us to put aside the long history of our peoples, is it? Thomas, I do not want a war with Taurus—not today, not tomorrow, not in a decade, or even a century. Taurus is not my enemy, and none of the forces under my command have attacked you.”

“And yet, we have battle-ROMs of your ‘Mechs—the 39th Avalon Hussars, rampaging through Concordat space, Hanse. They killed my son. They killed my people. And yet here you are, claiming that you are not the one responsible—tell me this then . . . who is?”

Hanse nodded. “On our side, we have battle-ROMs of our own, showing your Pleiades Lancers and Hussars attacking our worlds—a dozen in all, killing my people. And you claim no responsibility for such actions as well, do you not?”

“My Lancers and Hussars remain on their duty stations—not one Taurian has crossed the border to conduct these attacks.”

“So, we have an impasse. We both claim that we are not responsible; but how to make the other believe what we say is the truth?”

“Trusting Davions is not something which comes naturally to my people, Hanse,” Thomas chuckled. “And trusting Taurians is probably not in your vocabulary either, I would imagine.”

“No. No, it is not. Thomas,” and Hanse grew grim. “I will not lie to you today—there are some among my people who think that this conflict is inevitable. Who want a war with Taurus. Who desire your industry and your worlds. And with this crisis escalating, we must work together to end these series of incidents before they become a conflagration neither of us can afford.”

“It is the same here. I have advisors who are strident in that you have orchestrated all of this—not for nothing do you have the nickname of the Fox, Hanse. Some even believe that you ordered the death of your own sister as an excuse for war.”

“I did not. I would not do such a thing—ever,” Hanse answered with iron-clad control of his body, but Thomas recognized the anger that the words had provoked in his eyes.

“Perhaps not,” the Protector mused. “So how do you suggest we slow down this crisis—resolve it to our mutual satisfaction?”

“If I have not ordered the AFFS to start these actions—and I have not—and if you have not ordered the TDF to carry out the attacks against my worlds—and you have said you have not—then some third party is attempting to provoke the two of us into a conflict. For what end? I do not know, unless they mean to tie my hands with a decades long fight amongst the worlds of Taurus.”

“Yet, you are moving more troops to the border. My generals and spies tell me that soon—within a few months at the latest—you will have more forces concentrated from Bromhead to Verdigreis than the Federated Suns has posted there since the start of the Reunification Wars.”

“I am moving troops to keep the peace, Thomas. You have also activated your reserves—many of my advisors believe that you are gathering yourself to strike.”

“Yes, to keep the peace on my side, Hanse. We are both fully alert, and soon we will both have enough troops in place that any fight will become a bloodbath—but if these attacks and incidents do not end, I will have no choice but to defend my realm.”

Hanse nodded. “Agreed. And if you force my hand in this, Thomas . . . the Concordat will cease to exist as a sovereign state. Whether it takes me a year, or ten, or twenty, I promise you this war will be our last . . . if you make me cross your border.”

“Threats?”

“Facts. I do not want this war, Thomas . . . but neither will I shirk my duties as First Prince if you attack us.”

Thomas looked down and he fought against the anger raging up within him as the voice within his soul screamed at him not to push, not to fall into the trap before him. And he looked back up. “I have a survivor of one of the attacks—a survivor from Charleston. He has told my interrogators many . . . interesting things, Hanse.”

“Really? I was unaware of that—we have captured none.”

“What makes his testimony so interesting is that he claims to be a pirate—from Tortuga. Not a member of the AFFS. And his cockpit was wired with command detonated explosives—explosives that malfunctioned when his ‘Mech was damaged. Some of my advisors consider the prisoner to be a plant—an effort to draw off our attention from the real threat you pose to us.”

“Tortuga? I had not thought they have the strength of arms—or the unity—to carry out such an operation.”

“Nor did I. I-I . . .,” Thomas paused. “I do not know what to believe anymore, Hanse Davion. But I have dispatched a force to investigate the pirate’s base of operations in the Badlands—what you call the Pirate’s Haven. They should be arriving within two weeks time.”

Hanse nodded again. “I was informed of that troop movement—by my spies. They had thought that perhaps you were trying to outflank my forces along the border. Your investigators are mercenaries, are they not?”

“They are. I could not spare a force of Regulars with the Fox poised on my own borders.”

“Then what do you propose that we do, Thomas?”

“Keep our forces in place—we both have enough that it will be a blood-bath if we strike the other. Give my expedition time to find out the truth of the matter—and I will give you our prisoner. Perhaps your interrogators can recover information mine has failed to reveal. Along with a copy of his entire confessional, of course.”

Thomas shook his head. “I am doing this, Hanse Davion, for my son Edward, who died in service to the Concordat. My heart cries out to deal you the most savage blow I can muster and send him an honor-guard to Valhalla worthy of my great ancestors,” the Protector slumped. “But Edward would not want that. For his memory, for his service, I will give you a chance to prove that you are not responsible. I will give my expedition time to unearth the truth of my prisoners statements. And I will hold back those on my side of the border who desire nothing less than to ignite that conflagration you fear.”

Hanse stared at Thomas, at the tear crawling down his cheek from his sole remaining organic eye and he slowly nodded. “I am sending a man to the Taurian border whom I trust with my life, Thomas. Ardan Sortek. He will control my people—I swear it.”

Thomas nodded, and he wiped his face. “Then I would suggest, we both get back to work and figure out a way to end this,” he paused and then he nodded again. “Perhaps we should speak more often? A regular basis of communication—to keep things on an even keel. I will, of course, pay for the next such session.”

“I think we can do that,” said the Fox. “For now, Thomas Calderon, good-bye.”

“And god-speed, Hanse Davion,” Thomas whispered as the image flickered out and died, the lights in the chamber brightening. Edward, he told the spirit of his son, I may not have been able to do what you wanted while you were alive, but if God is willing, maybe I can do so in memorial to your death. A stronger, truer memorial than any built of granite or bronze. A memorial we will call Edward’s Peace. Rest well, my son. And if God is listening to you, beg him to make it so.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Sanctum of the Primus
Hilton Head Island, North America
Terra
August 22, 3026


Nicholas Cassnew was admitted to the private quarters of the Primus by two dour-faced guardians—although technically ROM personnel, these men answered only to the leader of ComStar itself, and not Nicholas. And he shivered slightly as walked inside to be the bearer of bad news.

Julian sat in front of the blazing fireplace, dressed no longer in the pristine white robes of his office, but instead in a pair of worn slacks and a thick wool sweater, worn over a warm shirt. He even wore slippers upon his feet. The Primus did not rise to greet his guest, but only inclined his head slight as he sat down a china cup of hot tea.

“You should work on your poker face—Myndo and the others would pick up on your distress immediately, Nicholas. I take it that Murphy has struck?”

“He has, Primus,” Precentor ROM answered and he sat down on the table a miniature holo-graphic projector and played the full content of the discussion between Thomas and Hanse. Julian nodded.

“I take it that Thomas has sent a change in orders to Jamie Wolf, then?”

“He has—but the message has been relayed only as far as Terra. I put a hold upon it until I could speak with you.”

Julian snorted. “Delivering other people’s mail is our number one priority, Nicholas! I am shocked, shocked I say, that you would delay such an important transmission. What are Thomas’s instructions?”

“Wolf is to make his way across the Federated Suns once his contract with Kurita expires—but he is not to institute offensive operations until and unless he receives further orders en route.”

“Any particular system these instructions were transmitted to . . . or did Thomas just send them to the Dragoons?”

“Well . . . actually, they are addressed to the Jamie Wolf, but no system designation was given, other than the Draconis Combine.”

“Well, clearly we must fufill our obligation to deliver this message immediately! Instruct the night watch at HPG Alpha to transmit it to Galedon V, to the attention of the DCMS Office of Mercenary Liaison, with a secondary attention line of Wolf’s Dragoons . . . and a subject line of ‘Contract Terms of Employment, Taurian Concordat’; that should take care of things.”

“Galedon V? Haven’t the Dragoons moved?”

“Ah, have they? I do not believe that ComStar has yet been notified of such a transfer . . . or have we?”

Nicholas grinned. “Come to think of it, Primus, I do not believe we have.”

“Yes, it will go to Galedon, where the DCMS mercenary liaison will forward it to the Dragoons, will he not? Why the idea that Gregor Samsonov would dare to tamper with or sideline such a transmission upon being informed of it . . . beggars the imagination.”

“I will see to it immediately, Primus,” Nicholas said, as he began to turn away, but the raised hand of the Primus stopped him.

“All in good time, Nicholas. Have a seat, if you will.”

Carefully, the Precentor ROM sat down across from the Primus and he waited while Julian composed his thoughts.

“If neither Hanse Davion nor Thomas Calderon is going to act stupidly on their own, then it is time we brought certain . . . other assets to bear. Your man who has the ear of Michael Hasek—can he convince Duke Michael to act without orders from New Avalon? Or even against those orders?”

“He just might, Primus—but the Fox sent a personal message to each and every commander on the border or moving towards it, informing them that absent a Taurian assault, they are to stand on the defensive and not to cross the border.”

“Absent a Taurian assault, you say?” Julian laughed. “How is Grover Shraplen shaping up—has he received our shipment of ‘Mechs yet?”

“Indeed he has—two full Taurian battalions worth, with more on the way.”

“And Grover is most assuredly a Taurian, is he not?”

“He is, Primus,” Nicholas replied.

“Have Demi-Precentor Taurus . . . inspire Grover to take independent action—for the good of the Concordat, of course. And prime your agent on New Syrtis to prod Michael into action when the time comes. And once we do that, Nicholas, I want to shut down our operations slowly and carefully—leave no threads that can be traced back to us. Too many other players have their irons in the fire now, and the blaze is ready to catch. It would be a pity to carry this off and get burnt instead of escaping cleanly.”

“I will see to it, Primus.”

“Good. That expedition to Pirate’s Haven worries me, Nicholas—your agent there is a loose cannon. Remember the last time we used pirates for such an enterprise?”

“The Jolly Roger affair, Primus; yes, I remember it well.”

“I do not want a repeat of that ending, Nicholas. It would not please me one iota.”

“I . . . understand, Primus. At the moment, our agent is out of communication—there are no HPG stations in the Pirate’s Haven, but he should be moving before the Taurians arrive . . . if he has experienced no delays.”

“Myndo’s opinion aside, I want the Tortuga side of this operation terminated—with prejudice if necessary.”

Julian paused and he stood, and then moved over to stand before and admire a painting that hung on one wall. “Tell me, Nicholas, what do you think of this work?”

Nicholas also stood and he walked over to join the Primus. The painting was an oil work, an old one, dating back to just after the end of the Reunification Wars. It showed a Concordat warship fighting alone against a Star League Fleet.

“I am hardly qualified to judge the quality of the painting, Primus, but it certainly looks magnificent.”

“Yes. How do you think Hanse Davion will react when Quintus Allard discovers, though the agency of his own spies, that the Concordat still possesses a WarShip?”

Nicholas started. “The New Vandenberg? She’s not operational, and quite frankly, a single Vincent-class Corvette with no operational capital weapons is not a threat to the Federated Suns. The AFFS could destroy her with a single regiment of aerospace fighters.“

“You are mistaken, Nicholas. TCS New Vandenberg is not a Vincent-class Corvette—she is a Concordat-class Frigate. One that has been hidden in the Hyades since the end of the Star League, her damage too extensive to repair immediately after that conflict. And once the Concordat's industrial base shrank, they were unable to effect those repairs in the past. But today? No, as of today, Thomas has committed much of his industry to this task over the past decade and he has managed to acheive the impossible. Against all odds, she has been returned to service. Not as a hanger queen—she has been mostly restored and rebuilt and is ready to resume normal operations. Having tested her capital weaponry in the depths of the Nebula. Said operations will include supporting the TDF when they invade the Federated Suns.”

Nicholas raised an eyebrow. “Primus, that is not . . .”

True? Nicholas, the truth does not matter. Not when we are attempting to keep Hanse Davion from acquiring yet more power and infuence. Not knowing what we know, what will Hanse Davion do when his trusted Intelligence Minister receives information from his own spies on Taurus on our version of the New Vandenberg?”

Nicholas frowned and he shook his head. “He cannot let Thomas keep a WarShip—not one that powerful. It could tilt the balance of power along the entire Taurian Rim.”

“Indeed,” the Primus bent down and picked up a data-storage drive. “Here are the 'official’ Taurian documents that needs to be transmitted to Taurus. Make certain they find their into the hands of Quintus Allard’s spies. And never forget, Nicholas, our quiver has many, many arrows—sometimes it is best to use catspaws, at other times it better to rely upon human nature. And upon hearing that the Taurians have a WarShip, human nature means that Hanse Davion will have to either try to destroy it—or take it. Either option will give us the war we want.”

“It will be done, Primus.”

“Good. Now run along, Nicholas—you have a long night ahead of you.”

Nicholas bowed to the Primus again, and he backed out of the Sanctum . . . leaving the Primus of ComStar smiling at the painting hanging upon his wall.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:58 pm 
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And the rationale.

I half-joking renamed this Thomas’s New Model Army (Cromwell eat your heart out!) and think it may actually work for the Taurians. My take on it is this: beginning in the early 3000s, Thomas Calderon took a long hard look at the organization of the TDF and decided to reorganize the field forces to give his units a different look than traditional Inner Sphere/Star League formations, and to use his limited assets in more effective purpose of defense.

The New Model Army revamps only the BattleMech Corps; i.e., the rapid reaction arm of the Taurian Defense Force. At its heart, the New Model Army is built upon the battalion, which consists of four companies. Three of companies are ‘Mechs, while the fourth is a combined arms armor/infantry company, with an assigned division of eight Aerospace Fighters.

All of the companies in the battalion consist of three lances, each of which is build around three maniples that consist of either two BattleMechs or two armored vehicles and a 10-man squad of Taurian infantry. This gives each lance a total of 6 ‘Mechs or 6 armored vehicles and 30 infantry troopers; while each company has 18 ‘Mechs or 18 armored vehicles and 90 infantry troopers; plus the attached division of 8 Aerospace Fighters. Transport consists of three Model A Black Bull DropShips and one Model B (Black Bull) and usually a single Hyades class JumpShip (Hyades). The battalion has a total force a strength of 54 BattleMechs, 8 Aerospace Fighters, 18 light combat vehicles, and 90 infantry troopers.

Now, in canon, the TDF (circa 3025) has at its disposal twenty-six battalions of ‘Mechs, divided among nine regiments with four Corps HQ. Eight of those regiments are three-battalions strong, while only one (the Hyades Light Infantry) has two-battalions. Assuming everything is at 100% (probably not true), that gives the TDF (in canon) a force of 1,332 BattleMechs and 208 ASF. In conjunction with restructuring the battalions in the New Model Army formations above, I also propose making all regiments two battalions strong. This gives each Regiment a strength of 108 BattleMechs (equal to a standard Inner Sphere Regiment), with 16 ASF, 36 combat vehicles, and 180 infantry troopers in support. Transport would consist of eight Black Bull class DropShips, and the entire regiment could be embarked aboard just two Hyades.

Since the majority of the TDF deploys by battalion anyway, I see the regimental command as mainly an administrative unit, with the 1st Battalion being commanded by the regimental CO and the 2nd Battalion being commanded by his Exec. There would be no actual Regimental Command formation designed for combat—such a unit would be staff and support only.

Reorganizing our forces gives us thirteen regiments, twelve with two battalions and one with a single battalion (25 vs. the 26 that the TDF started with), like so (exclusive of mercenaries):

Guard Corps
1st Battalion, Taurian Guard (Elite; Fanatical)
2nd Battalion, Taurian Guard (Veteran; Fanatical)
1st Battalion, Taurian Velites (Veteran; Fanatical)
2nd Battalion, Taurian Velites (Veteran; Reliable)
1st Battalion, Concordat Commandoes (Veteran; Fanatical)
2nd Battalion, Concordat Commandoes (Veteran; Reliable)
1st Battalion, Calderon Red Hand (Veteran; Fanatical)

I Corps
1st Battalion, Concordat Jaegers (Veteran; Fanatical)
2nd Battalion, Concordat Jaegers (Veteran; Reliable)
1st Battalion, Red Chasseurs (Regular; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Red Chasseurs (Regular; Reliable)

II Corps
1st Battalion, Concordat Cuirassiers (Veteran; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Concordat Cuirassiers (Veteran; Reliable)
1st Battalion, Hyades Light Infantry (Veteran; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Hyades Light Infantry (Veteran; Reliable)

III Corps
1st Battalion, Pleiades Hussars (Regular; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Pleiades Hussars (Regular; Reliable)
1st Battalion, Taurian Lancers (Regular; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Taurian Lancers (Green; Reliable)

IV Corps
1st Battalion, Pleiades Lancers (Veteran; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Pleiades Lancers (Regular; Questionable)
1st Battalion, Taurian Dragoons (Veteran; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Taurian Dragoons (Veteran; Reliable)

V Corps
1st Battalion, Taurian Fusiliers (Regular; Reliable)
2nd Battalion, Taurian Fusiliers (Green; Reliable)

Ratings (morale and reliability) remain the same for the TDF in 3025, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Going off on a tangent, you know it seems like they dropped the ball when they started to add new Taurian regiments in 20 Year Update and later. Until then, they weren’t numbered: each Regiment had their own name. Well, that is what I have done.

I added the Calderon Red Hand (a Reunification War era unit) to their roster and assigned it to the Guards Corp as a single battalion. I also (since I needed three more Regimental names) when ahead and borrowed the Taurian Lancers from 3050, and added the Taurian Dragoons and Taurian Fusiliers. Still, we stay at 25 battalions in total strength.

Book strength for the TDF’s BattleMech Command (Circa 3025) would thus be 1,350 BattleMechs, 200 ASF, 450 combat vehicles, and 2,250 infantry troopers. Required transport would be 100 Black Bulls and 25 Hyades.

Yes, we went from 1,332 ‘Mechs to 1,350 . . . a difference of 18 ‘Mechs. Not really that much if you think about it. But, we also add substantial combat force multipliers to each battalion in the form of that combined arms company of vehicles and infantry. Can an individual battalion hold off an entire RCT by themselves? Of course not! But for dealing with raiders and pirates, they have more than enough ability. And, in conjunction with the separate Armor Command and Infantry Command and Fortress Command of the TDF (canon units, which are defensive, not offensive or rapid-reaction forces, remember), they should be able to hold out against even an RCT long enough to get reinforcements. Not to mention the Constabulary and the Noble Regiments.

None of those numbers includes Corp Headquarters, because I don’t see the Corps as a field force. Seriously, as old as many Marshals are, I doubt they are taking the field to command a single battalion with their HQ. Now, they may have ‘Mechs (heck, they probably do have at least a lance of 6 for security), but I really picture these formations as rear echelon command elements, not line. So, for that reason I have not included Corps HQ in any of the totals.

Our New Model Army (circa 3025) equates to exactly 37.5 standard battalions of 36 ‘Mechs each. That’s 12 regiments, 1 battalion, and 1 and one-half companies of standard Inner Sphere formations. Note that this is in addition to 12.5 standard battalions of combat vehicles (4 regiments, 1 battalion, and 1.5 companies), 2250 infantry troopers (nearly 3 regiments), and 200 ASF (33 6-fighter Squadrons, plus 1 air lance of 2 ASF).

Master Arminas


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:59 pm 
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Next, let’s take a look at the backbone of the Taurian Defense Force: Armor Command. Less glamorous than BattleMech Command, Armor Command is nevertheless comprised of regular TDF volunteers (not conscripts) and is charged with defending their assigned worlds—a task which they take to with much enthusiasm. The good-natured rivalry between the two branches aside, it is a rare TDF officer who looks down on a commander of an Armor Battalion or Regiment just because he is not a ‘MechWarrior. Note that the Armored Command does not have integral transport. They are not offensive formations, but defensive, designed to make invaders pay for every inch of Taurian soil. If an Armor Command formation has to be moved, they are normally loaded aboard a cargo DropShip for the journey.

Armor Command uses the same basic structure as BattleMech Command; both branches use the battalion as their primary maneuver element. A Taurian Armor Battalion (called a Squadron) consists of four Companies (which the TDF refers to as a Troop). Each Troop is comprised of three Lances, each with three Maniples. A typical Maniple contains two combat vehicles (hover, tracked, wheeled, or VTOL) and a squad of ten infantry troopers.

There are several different types of Squadron, based upon mission.

The Air Rifle Squadron is a highly sought after mobile unit. They consist of four Troops of VTOLs with their associated infantry demi-squads: total strength is 72 VTOLs and 360 jump infantry troopers. Air Rifle units are light and fast, providing the TDF with scouts and units capable of operating far behind enemy lines to seize strategic objectives.

The Light Cavalry Squadron is the next most prestigious unit. Consisting entirely of Hovertanks (and their associated infantry), the Light Cavalry is almost as fast-moving and mobile as the Air Cavalry, but more resilient. Total strength is 72 hovercraft and 360 infantry troopers.

The most common TDF Armor formation, however, is the Armored Cavalry Squadron. This unit consists of three Armored Cavalry Troops (medium-weight tracked and wheeled vehicles) and their infantry, plus an Air Cavalry Troop and their infantry. Total strength is 54 combat vehicles, 270 infantry troopers, 18 VTOLs, and 90 jump infantry troopers. In addition, each Armored Cavalry Squadron is assigned a Close Air Support Group of eight Conventional Fighters.

Finally, there are the Heavy Cavalry Squadrons. These units consist of three Heavy Cavalry Troops (heavy-weight tracked and wheeled vehicles) and their infantry, plus a Self-Propelled Howitzer Battery. Total strength is 54 combat vehicles, 270 infantry troopers, 12 mobile artillery pieces, and 6 VTOLs (for forward observers). In addition, each Heavy Cavalry Squadron is assigned a Close Air Support Group of eight Conventional Fighters.

For the higher echelons, formations include the Regiment (consisting of between 2 and 4 battalions), the Brigade (with 2 or more Regiments), and the Division (with 2 or more Brigades). There are no organized units higher than a Division in the TDF. If there are multiple Divisions on a single world, a General will be designated as the commander by the TDF High Command. Many formed higher-echelon units in Armor Command also have one or more Artillery Batteries under the direction of the officer assigned to command the unit.

Every single world in the Taurian Concordat (except Ishtar) is assigned, at a minimum, one full-strength Armor Command Squadron for their defense. Some worlds have substantially higher numbers. (This is, once again, canon.)

From that minimum force, we are also told that some worlds have multiple Divisions of defending Armor Command personnel. Which ones and how many exactly? We don't know. But I am figuring that the TDF, as a whole, has somewhere around 407 Squadrons organized with Armor Command, with every systems having at least one Squadron, and many quite a few more. Divided among 43 worlds (would be 44, but Ishtar refuses to allow any military presence what-so-ever). That works out to an average of just over 9 Squadrons per world . . . but many have just that single Squadron. Worlds like New Vandenberg and Taurus and the other Core Systems of the Concordat, they might have 30 or more individual Squadrons.

I won't get into the rest (remember, in canon, we still have Infantry Command, Fortress Command, the Concordat Constabulary (which is like a national guard/reserve force of civlian volunteers), and the Noble Regiments . . . most of which are around a company in size, but some (in canon) reach regimental size), but as you can see, invading the Concordat and taking their worlds is no easy task.

MA


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:42 pm 
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telling us all this u also tell us that the brown soft matter really is going to hit the ducted impeller...
[command voice]change into raincoats!! open umbrellas!![/command voice]

_________________
typos and spelling-mistakes are property of the finder. english is not my mother-tongue.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Chapter Four

TDF Planetary HQ
Mt. Pleasant, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Sean was not in a good mood to begin with; the expedition had been stranded here on Althea’s Choice for the past three weeks. Well, two to be honest since his DropShips had touched down on the pad. They had been here, sitting on their ass, because Big Sky (the Tramp-class JumpShip used by the Roughneck Cavalry) had blown a helium seal after jumping into this system. Vivian Hall had sworn up and down that she had checked the seals before leaving Taurus, and sure enough the unit which had given way was one of the replacements just fitted two months ago, before the expedition had ever departed.

Thankfully, the containment systems had prevented the loss of two-thirds of the helium cooling medium for the jump core—but the seal still had to be replaced and the helium pressure restored to normal operating levels. Vivian had two complete replacement seals in her spare parts storage and sufficient tanks of pressurized helium to replace the lost gasses—but it would take time. Even with the crews of the other JumpShips pitching in to lend a hand, it would a minimum of two weeks. And since the repairs would take at least two weeks, Sean and company had disembarked and spent seven days in transit to Althea’s Choice, giving the cooped up troopers a chance to get on the ground and blow off some steam.

But those two weeks of repairs had dragged on to three, with Sean’s blood pressure rising the entire time. He had seriously considered leaving Big Sky behind and continuing on without her . . . but that would mean leaving behind the DropShip Open Range which carried his supplies, spare parts, munitions, and gear for repairing his units. Not to mention his Tactical Operations Team and their gear, along with his Intelligence Section. Adding to Sean’s frustrations, it turned out that the local TDF battalion charged with defending Althea’s Choice had ‘redeployed’ to Organo in anticipation of offensive action along the Davion border. Leaving behind only two squadrons from Armored Command (one armored cavalry and one light cavalry) and a dozen battalions of Infantry to defend the system.

If Althea’s Choice had possessed an HPG station, Sean would have transmitted a blistering indictment of the officer who had made that decision back to Thomas and the High Command—but the remote Taurian world lacked one. To add even more insult to injury, the TDF officer in command of Althea’s Choice now that the 1st Taurian Fusiliers had abandoned their post, Colonel Jean-Claude Talbot, was one of those who were unaware of Sean’s actual position within the TDF. And he was quite familiar with the cover story of Sean’s Courts-Martial a dozen years ago. Sean had the codes from TOSIOI that would convince the man that Roughneck was working for Thomas, but he just didn’t trust that Talbot would keep his mouth shut after the fact. So, he had to endure the not-so-subtle insults and petty aggravations Talbot had arranged for he and his men.

All of which combined together to make the midnight order to report to the HQ Compound even more irritating.

Sean stormed inside the structure, past the two troopers standing post on the door and he placed his hands on his hips—and deliberately did not salute. “You wanted to see me?”

Talbot looked up from the plotting display and he nodded sourly. “Looks as if your mercenaries will come in handy, Walker—the 39th is back.”

Sean walked over to the plot and he stared down at the display for a moment. Two Overlords, four Unions, three Leopards, and a pair of Mules were burning for orbital insertion—without asking he reached down and zoomed the display out to reveal their JumpShips sitting at a pirate point: a Star Lord, an Invader, and a Merchant.

“We have . . .” he paused and calculated quickly in his head, “forty-five minutes before they hit atmosphere?”

“Forty-seven, Sir,” answered a tech.

“They are broadcasting no friendly IFF, Walker, and they have not responded to our hails. Now, I want your mercenaries standing to for deployment—and I want your fighters to intercept them.”

“No.”

“NO?”

“No,” Sean said quietly as he shook his head and turned back to face the titular commander of the garrison. “I have twenty fighters here, the other dozen under Commodore Hall are at the Nadir Point. That force hasn’t deployed fighters yet, but they might have up to twenty-six. Furthermore, these raiders to date have tried their best to avoid hitting heavy opposition—the 1st Taurian, which is supposed to be here, Talbot, has just eight fighters. If I send mine up now, they will know that hell of lot more than single TDF battalion is waiting on the ready for them. No, we are going to let them land and then give them a drubbing they soon won’t forget. If we launch now, they might get spooked and we won't get this chance again.”

“You are under my command at the moment, Walker!” Talbot shouted. “If you will not follow my orders, I will place you under arrest!”

Sean glared at the furious officer standing in front of him and then he turned to face the garrison’s Intelligence Officer. "Madam, a day may sink or save a realm," he quoted and pointed at the work-station. “Reference that code, Capitaine.”

“What is this nonsense?” asked Talbot. “Poetry readings, Walker? Now? Have you gone mad?”

“Uh, Sir?” the Intelligence Capitaine said as he looked up from the screen. “You might want to take a look at this.” He paused and lifted his gaze to Sean. “And the counter-challenge, Monsieur Walker?”

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield,” Sean answered. And the officer nodded as Talbot rushed over to the console.

“Code accepted and confirmed, Sir.”

Talbot read the log entry for that specific TOSIOI code and he blanched, before looking back up at Walker. “But they put you on trial!”

“Yeah. Some days it sucks to be me, Talbot. Listen up!” he bellowed. “By the authority of the Protector, I, Lieutenant-Colonel Sean Walker am hereby assuming command of the Althea’s Choice garrison. Despite what you have heard, I am on a long-term assignment to TOSIOI, detached from the TDF at the direction of the Protector himself. You!” he barked, pointing towards the senior NCO, “sound the general alert and broadcast to the civilian population that they are to immediately seek shelter. Is that line connected to the outside?” he asked another Tech.

“Yes, Sir.”

Sean picked up the phone and he dialed the Roughnecks duty office.

Talbot’s mouth worked, but he finally managed to get his tongue loose enough to speak. “I still outrank you!”

“Not with that code, you don’t—obey my instructions, or I will have you placed under arrest,” Sean answered with turning around. “Reverend, Roughneck,” he said into the phone, “Full alert, this is not a drill. Get ‘em up, hostiles hitting atmosphere in forty.” And then he hung up the phone.

“Get it through you head, right now, Talbot,” he barked. “I am in command now—if anyone here has a problem with that, get over it. Now, what are you deployments?”

The TDF officer just stared at Sean and he frowned. He rapped his knuckles on the table. “Jean-Claude, do I need to officially relieve you?”

Talbot flushed and he shook his head. “The 44th Light Cavalry is posted here, sixteen kilometers north-west of . . .”

And even within the confines of the thick walls of the command bunker, Sean could hear the invasion sirens start to wail faintly.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:05 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
2nd Tortuga Raiders
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Lord Redjack (known to ComStar, the Federated Suns, and his mother alike as Damien Courtney, back in the days he had been a respectable member of society) chuckled as his BattleMaster chewed up the terrain, throwing rich clumps of sod behind him with every step. In the distance, he could see the upper reaches of Mt. Pleasant—an isolated spur of granite that was oddly off-kilter here in the fertile river valley. It wasn’t much of a mountain, measuring just 803 meters above sea level, but here in the wide valley it was certainly imposing.

The city of Mt. Pleasant, the capital of Althea’s Choice, was built at the base of that errant peak. He had half-considered landing directly in the center of the capital—but Redjack was no knave among the Lords of Tortuga, he was an experienced commander of a dozen raids and expeditions. Even without their ‘Mechs, he was expecting that the Althea Garrison would put up a fight—and his DropShips were vulnerable during landing operations. Tankers and infantry who would not run—and while the Taurians were dumb farmers for the most part, they had courage a-plenty—combined with the firepower of their vehicles might have just crippled a few ships. And Redjack wasn’t about to risk those ships, not even on Lord Renard’s command.

Hell, if the Taurian ‘Mechs had been here, he wouldn’t have touched this world—for Redjack remembered well all the horrors of a long-ago pirate raid against a Concordat world from which he barely escaped with his neck intact. He had been a bit surprised that the Taurians had not yet started sending their conventional fighters and VTOLs against him, but then again, according to Renard, they had only eight of the first and just eighteen of the second. Whereas he commanded seven full companies of the Pirate Bands of Tortuga, ranging in size from a standard company to a full battalion strong each. And, of course, his ‘Mechs and vehicles and fighters were painted in the colors of the 39th Avalon Hussars, while his foot soldiers wore Davion uniforms.

How, exactly, Renard had managed to procure so many ‘Mechs, that so very closely matched what the 39th was comprised of, remained a mystery. But to Redjack, it didn’t matter. Soon enough, the Fox and the Bull would be embroiled in their own war, and then a new state would be formed in the Outback. A state ruled from Tortuga. And for all that Renard had engineered this, he was only mortal. Redjack would be the King who ruled over a pirate domain encompassing sixty worlds. Renard had only done him a favor by removing Lady Death and Lord Shrike as potential competitors.

Just ahead, the rolling floor of the valley rose and then sharply fell on the far side—and Redjack frowned as his lead Firestarter suddenly exploded. “Look’s like they came out of their holes boys,” he broadcast. “They are only tread-heads and infantry—forward! We burn this city tonight!”

“Lord Redjack!” another voice, wild with panic emerged onto the command circuit. “They have ‘Mechs—to the east and the south as well . . . ‘MECHS!”

Damien Courtney, Lord Redjack, pushed his BattleMaster into a run and reached the top of the ridge . . . and sure enough, he saw the Taurian tanks waiting below, dug in deep, their accursed infantry filling in the gaps in bunkers and pillboxes. And emerging from the woods on his flanks, there were at least a Regiment’s worth of BattleMechs—a Regiment led by sixteen pitch-black Stalkers adorned only with a blood-red gothic cross on their great bulbous nose.

Schiesse,” Redjack muttered, even as his missile alert began to scream and thirty-two LRM launchers snapped open in the distance—and thirty hundred twenty missiles screamed into flight all aimed at him. As they swept up towards the heavens and then slowly made their parabolic turn towards the ground, his radio sputtered static, and then began broadcasting a chorus of voices chanting in Latin . . . they were giving him the Last Rites. Those Jesuit bastards of the Black Templars were giving him the Last Rites.

Oh, I hate Taurians, he thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:33 am 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Roughneck Command
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


“To your left, Roughneck, danger close!” Bulldog yelled out over the radio, and Sean twisted his Thunderbolt’s torso around to face the Hatchetman that had jumped into melee range. The sweat of his brow instantly evaporated as the heat in the cockpit suddenly spiked—Sean’s thumb pressing the firing stud that unleashed three emerald beams from the torso mounted Diverse Optics Type 18 medium lasers, along with the full-throated roar of six solid-fuel rocket motors igniting in sequence as the Holly SRM launcher mounted just beneath the triple lasers snapped open and belched forth its lethal flight. Two lasers and five SRMs drove home and shattered armor on his opponent. He did not fire the arm mounted triple Voelkers 200 machine-guns, no . . . instead Sean took a step forward and swung his ‘Mech’s left arm, connecting squarely with the jaw of the pirate Hatchetman, while his right arm (along with the massive Sunglow large laser it carried) absorbed the force of that lethal hatchet the enemy carried.

And then the Thunderbolt staggered and Sean fought to keep his machine upright—the Hatchetman had fired its Defiance Killer Type T autocannon, the stream of shells slamming into the torso of Sean’s Thud. But the mercenary managed to keep his ‘Mech upright, and he grinned as he saw Mantis step her Typhon behind the Quickdraw and her SRM-pack snapped open. Between the two heavies, the medium-weight Hatchetman died before delivering another blow, although one of his lasers did manage to score the right arm of Sean’s T-bolt, leaving precious little armor there.

“Thanks for the assist, Mantis,” he said as he caught his breath.

Helena “Mantis” Madison laughed. “Don’t mention it—you haven’t signed the paychecks yet, so I can’t let you just die on us.”

Sean shook his head and he took one hand off the throttle long enough to wipe away the fresh sheen of sweat that was dripping down into his eyes. He flexed his hand and then put it back on the throttle and he pressed it forward to the stops. “Roughnecks! Follow me!” he barked.

But most of the Roughnecks and Red Scorpions were already ahead of him. Only his own company (Firestorm Company) was in formation around him and the eleven other MechWarriors moved out. Sergent Julia “Hunter” Kidd’s Warhammer spat cyan particle bolts from her right arm, and a stream of autocannon shells from her left as they moved up the slope towards the enemy. Bulldog’s Archer belched clouds of LRMs, along with Lieutenant Natalie “Stalker” Mitchser’s Crusader. Two Typhons (one belonging to Mantis and the second to MechWarrior Virginia “Goose” Rand) advanced as well, adding their own LRMs and PPC bolts into the carnage. And then there were the three Thunderbolt-Ts piloted by Sean, Tabitha “Witch” Vickers, and Jasper “Jumper” Moreau.

Jennifer “Shadow” Calderon’s Lance had already gone on ahead with her Dragon, the Tomahawks of Sergeant Victoria “Scotty” Scott and Franklin “Rabbit” Banner, and the four-legged Scorpion piloted by Kristen “Midnight” Becket. Sean laughed. He might not have any assault-weight machines, but by God, he had an assault company plain and simple. He kicked the Thud into high gear and tore up the ridge to where the pirates were starting to buckle under the Templar’s assault.

Sixteen Stalkers—85-tons each of death and destruction—were certainly enough to cause to that. Never mind that Sean had to admit to himself that the warriors in those cockpits were at least the equal of any of this boys and girls. And probably a damn sight better.

One of those Stalkers was fighting three pirates—a Griffin, a Shadow Hawk, and a Valkyrie, and Sean shook his head. “Firestorm Command, Grifter, Firestorm Two, Shade, Firestorm Three Val Kill Me,” he broadcast, and settled his targeting reticule atop the Griffin. A buzzing tone sounded his ear and Sean squeezed the firing trigger, sending fifteen LRMs down-range from his Delta Dart launcher, along with a golden beam from the Sunglow.

His shots were not alone, and a hail of missiles, laser beams large and medium, PPC bolts, and autocannon shells engulfed the pirates in a holocaust that those ‘Mechs simply could not withstand.

“Damn you, Sean Walker!” Capitan-Padre Raphael Navarro swore. “Do you not know the Eighth Commandment? Thou Shalt Not Steal My Kill; thus Sayeth the Lord Thy God!”

“Forgive me, Padre, for I have sinned against thee—but then again, there are more of them, and these aren’t quite yet surrounding your penitent ass.”

The Jesuit chuckled. “Say three Hail Mary’s and call me in the morning, my Son. Templars! Let us sort the righteous from the pagan—Onward, Soldiers of God!”

“Roughnecks! Red Scorpions! Pursue!” bellowed Sean into his radio as well as the morale of the pirates broke. “Major Faulkner, are your Wild Geese in position?”

“Aye, we are lad—and your 44th Light Cavalry Squadron is here with us. Never thought I would be leading a charge against grounded DropShips, though.”

“Just remember we split the profits if you can take them, Donal.”

“Oh, I’ll take ‘em, Sean, me boy—if it costs me every one of your Taurian cavalry to do it.”

Roughneck shook his head. “Get cracking, they are heading back your way and I don’t want them escaping us.”

“On it, lad.”

And here we go again, Sean thought, as another wave of heat passed over him as he squeezed the trigger, shooting the pirate ‘Mechs in the back as they ran.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:59 am 
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Major General
Major General

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 759
Location: Hope Mills, NC
Loving it so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:44 am 
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Supreme Mugwump
Supreme Mugwump

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:42 pm
Posts: 3183
me too.

btw: its scheisse with ei, not ie

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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:19 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
JumpShip Sheridan
Proximity Point AC-4, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


“The DropShips report they are under attack, Ma'am! More Taurians have emerged from the forests and are engaging them!”

Ziva Meir shook her head. Redjack was dead and his forces were running—running! Pirate scum, the ComStar acolyte thought as she silently cursed her ROM superiors who had assigned her to this cluster-[censored] in the first place. Still, her orders were extremely explicit on what would now have to happen.

“Commander Meacham,” she said to the commander of the Star Lord-class JumpShip. “Bring the batteries on-line and prepare to jump out of system. And power up the comm dish to transmit new instructions to the planet." Like her, Meacham and his crew were all members of ComStar tasked with supporting HARBINGER, and she had no doubt that he would follow his orders—unlike the pirates aboard the remaining two craft.

She entered code into her console—a long complicated alpha-numeric code—and then she lifted the plastic cover over a controller and inserted a key she wore around her neck.

“STATUS CHANGE!” a warrant officer barked out. “New arrival . . . Quetzalcoatl-class JumpShip with Taurian IFF—they are launching fighters and shuttles! Three minutes to weapons range.”

“Drive charged, ma’am,” the Captain reported. “Coordinates set.”

Ziva nodded and she turned the key. “Initiate jump,” she ordered as both of the pirate ships suddenly exploded.


Roughneck Command
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


Sean grinned as the Centurion he was fighting suddenly collapsed, it’s right leg shattered by the impact of a dozen missiles and a blazing golden beam of coherent light. The pirate fell on his back, and unluckily for him, a protruding boulder smashed through the weak rear armor over his missile magazine—the explosion ripped apart the ‘Mech sending debris flying through the air. But then his alarms began to sound and Sean pivoted the Thunderbolt on his right leg as autocannon shells tracked across his left hip.

A Marauder! He gritted his teeth as the infamous heavy ‘Mech raised its two weapon pods, and twin cyan bolts streaked across the intervening distance—both impacted on the torso of his Thud, and he fought to stay upright as more than a ton of armor melted away under the raw energy delivered.

The heat sinks of the pirate Marauder glowed white-hot, but the pirate didn’t seem to care as he triggered his medium lasers as well and this time Sean went down, a warning siren sounding that his left torso was penetrated—and one of the Diverse Optic Type 18 Medium Lasers mounted there went off-line with damage.

Thirty long-range missiles fell like rain from heavens atop of the Marauder, cratering its armor in a dozen places, but it remained on its feet and carefully adjusted the weapon pods to converge on Sean’s cockpit. Well, [crap], Sean thought.

That was when the cockpit of the pirate ‘Mech suddenly exploded.

“What the . . .” Sean asked as levered the heavy BattleMech back to its feet.

“Boss?” Bulldog asked in disbelief.

“God acts in strange ways, it is true, but this?” chimed in Raphael Navarro.

Every last surviving pirate ‘Mech came to a halt or fell to the ground, as each suffered an explosion in their cockpit at the same exact moment.

And then an eye-tearing glare erupted in the distance from the grounded DropShips.


Faulkner’s Lance
Glitterstream River Valley, Althea’s Choice
Taurian Concordat
August 22, 3026


The pirates had left their armor and infantry behind to guard the DropShips, but the Wild Geese were far better at this than these scum, Donal thought as he fired both Tronel III large lasers of his Ostsol into the flank of a Von Luckner heavy tank. He didn’t penetrate the armor, but two road wheels shattered and the track snapped in half, and Donal pushed his fast heavy skirmisher into a full run to avoid the return fire from the AC-20 and sixteen SRMs! Thankfully, the big gun missed, but nine SRMs rattled Donal in his cockpit as they slammed into the armor of his ‘Mech and exploded.

While the Wild Geese were dealing with the security teams, the 44th Light Cavalry Squadron—and their infantry—were swarming over the DropShips just a kilometer away. One of Donal’s mercenaries soared past him on thundering jump jets—and the Von Luckner crew desperately tried to slew the turret as they saw what he was doing. 45-tons of Phoenix Hawk came crashing down atop of the 75-ton tank and the turret crumpled. The top hatch cycled open, but Donal’s man wasn’t having any of that! He pointed his left arm at the hatch and the inferno gel of the flamer which had replaced his machine-guns poured into the gap, burning the crew inside alive.

Donal smiled. While there were a handful of pirate vehicles left, for the most part this Von Luckner had been their final gasp. “Geese! Let’s take those ‘Ships!”

But at that moment, one of the two Mules suddenly bulged outwards, and an unholy glare erupted from between the seams of suddenly parted armor panels. The actinic flare of the tactical nuclear device almost blinded Donal before cockpit windows darkened, but he could still feel the burn on his face—his ‘Mech suddenly shut down as the EMP burst raced outwards, and then the shock wave knocked the Ostsol over, amid the roar of winds and fire.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:13 pm 
Offline
General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Field Headquarters, Eridani Light Horse
Hale’s Port, Montour
Federated Suns
August 22, 3026


“And would you care to explain to me why I should not just have you shot?” General Nathan Armstrong asked the prisoner standing before him.

“Shooting people without speaking to them first, prevents the receipt of vital information, mate . . . ah, General, Sir,” Lord Shrike answered with a slight bow towards the FedSuns mercenary.

Nathan bared his teeth in a grim smile. “So then let us talk.”

“So you can shoot me afterwards? I was born at night, but not last night. And really are these chains so absolutely necessary?” the pirate asked holding up his manacled hands. “You have taken away me weapons.”

“The chains stay . . . Lamar Solis.”

Shrike shrugged. “I do not use that name any longer—I am Lord Shrike.”

“The Butcher-Bird,” Nathan said flatly.

And Shrike grinned. “It is tradition, mate. Just like if you want to be a real pirate lord, you have to wear a flashy hat,” he said pointing towards the flamboyant, wide-brimmed, feathered headpiece that had been taken from him.

“What guarantees do you want?”

“Look, mate, if you know the name from my past life, you know that I am a wanted man across the Draconis and Capellan Marches—the Outworlds Alliance as well. And a good portion of the Crucis March, too. But you are not a law enforcement officer—you are a mercenary in the service of Hanse Davion. I give you my information, and you let me leave, giving me safe passage back to my JumpShip and let me skedaddle on out a’here in one piece, safe as a babe in her mother’s arms.”

“Just let a pirate go?”

“There’s pirates and then there are pirates. For example, I might be a swashbuckler who takes a cargo every now and then,” and Shrike grinned, “even raids a few worlds, but doesn’t the Fox do the same to his foes? But I am no instigator of atrocities nor of massacres, mate. And I had nothing to do with the scoundrel who is provoking this war between Hanse and the Taurians.”

Nathan leaned forward, and his eyes glinted. “If you have any information, then I will decide what to do with you after you give it up.”

“That is not going to happen, General, sir. We get a deal and then you get the information—including where this black-hearted bandit is striking next; with orders to his men to deal as much civilian death and destruction as they can. No deal, and it be on your head the wailing of the widows.”

“What’s to stop me from promising you the sun and the moon, and then clapping you in irons the moment you tell me?”

“Irons have already been clapped, mate,” Shrike answered as he raised his arms again and chuckled. “And there be a reason I came to you and not the local authorities, or the Uruk-hai on Pierce—you are a man of honor. You are a man who lives by his given word because he knows that everything in this universe can be taken away, except that. Give me your word, General Nathan Armstrong, of the Eridani Light Horse, sworn in oath with your own hand resting upon that flag that once served the Star Lord himself, and I’ll give ye what I know in return.”

Both men stared at each other and finally Nathan nodded. “All right. I give you my word that you will be released and given safe-conduct.”

Shrike smiled again. “In that case, would ye mind removing these? They chafe my delicate skin.”

Nathan jerked his head and the guard walked over and unlocked the manacles and took them away, as Shrike rubbed his wrists.

“The one behind this whole scheme is Meurtrier Renard—not his birth-name, of course. If your French is rusty that translates to . . .”

“The Fox’s Murderer,” interjected Nathan.

“Jolly good, old man. You are more learned than I thought. Renard managed to unite many of the pirates of Tortuga behind him—and he brought several score of ‘Mechs with him. Right now, he and his followers have three Regiments at their disposal. One is hitting Althea’s Choice today—the other two, under Renard’s direct command are striking at Basantapur on the tenth of September. If’in you hurry, you might be able to get there before him.”

“Basantapur?”

“Aye, Basantapur. Home of Basantapur Fine Metals, and good metals and composites alike they make indeed. They own that mining operation that the Suns runs on Colorado, but it is on Basantapur where they process all that germanium destined for Panpour. Renard means to sack those refineries and steal the processed ore on hand—which would put the Federated Suns in a bind for the next decade or so having no germanium to build their Kearny-Fuchida drive cores with, now wouldn’t it?”

Shrike shrugged. “That is the most valuable part of what Basantapur produces, but they also make internal skeletal structures from ‘Mechs produced on New Avalon and Wernke. Never mind that Renard is hitting them with two Regiments, made up to appear like the Pleiades Hussars and Pleiades Lancers, or the little fact that he is planning a massacre of those Hindus the likes of which we haven’t seen since Kentares.”

Nathan released a deep breath and he nodded and started to rise, but Shrike raised one hand. “Mate, I don’t know who Renard really is, but this I know—he is a Capellan. Now, I’ve asked meself this time and again since he started his scheme . . . does he really think that by provoking a war between the Fox an’ the Bull that he is going to be able to carve out his own Empire from the Outback? That Hanse Davion won’t slap his three Regiments silly?”

“No, he has to have another purpose—he hides his accent well, but he was born speaking that jibber-jabber they do across the border in Sian. Mad Max, now he might well relish starting such a war and taking advantage of both of ye. Might’en he?”

“And just what are you getting out of all of this Lord Shrike?” Nathan asked as he stood, and the pirate did as well.

“Ah, mate. You are cleaning out the devil’s den on Tortuga of me competitors, for which I am most grateful. And the Lady that I serve, this will put her shapely arse back on the Dominion’s Throne, with crews a-loyal only to her—and to me. I don’t care one whit for the Federated Suns, nor for the Taurians, but my own realm, aye, mate, that I care for. I have not the force of arms to put paid to Renard meself—ye and your mates do, General, sir. And for that end, I’d make a deal with the devil himself. And so, I think, would you.”

Lord Shrike picked up his hat and he placed on his head at a jaunty angle. “And if our business is done, mate, then I’ll be a-taking my leave.” He turned to go, and then he sighed and turned back to Nathan. “A favor, I would beg of thee, General, sir, before I go off into night.”

“What is it?”

“I want to send a transmission to me dear old mother, back on Numenor. Let her know that I be alive and well, and that she still has a son, if you would permit me?”

“Guards, escort Lord Shrike to the HPG terminal, and then to the spaceport. And put him aboard his DropShip and get him the hell off this world.”

“You are a good and honorable man, Nathan Armstrong. I be much obliged to you for the courtesy.”

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

Shrike stepped into the recording booth, isolated from the outside word, and he punched in a complicated code in the machinery. A screen came to life and the face of Acolyte appeared.

“Sigma-Theta-Seven-Three-Four-Omega-Tau-One-Three-Nine-Alpha-Gamma-Six-Four-Seven-Two-Five-Eight. Authenticate,” Shrike said.

The Acolyte looked down at his screen and he nodded to himself. “Secure for priority transmission, Demi-Precentor Solis.”

“Lord Shrike, you idiot—do not let those other words pass your lips again. Record for transmission to Precentor ROM. Charles, I’ve cleaned up your mess. Next time you want to pull a stunt like this, kindly go have intercourse with a dead horse. Renard will cease being a problem very shortly, and I have diverted attention towards another source, away from ROM. If you need anything else, don’t ask. You almost blew my cover over this one, and if you do so again, I swear to Blake that I will find you and make you regret it. Returning to Tortuga.”

“Send it,” he ordered the white-faced Acolyte. Shrike sighed and shook his head. “It’s code, you moron. Send it.”

Shrike picked up his hat and put it back on his head. “And there is a message in the queue for my mother on Numenor, along with a transfer of funds—she gets it immediately, or I will be back. And if I have to come back, I will fillet you, mate. Alive.”

And with that, Lord Shrike, pirate-captain of Tortuga, and agent of ROM walked out of the booth and was escorted away to space port.


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 Post subject: Re: Edward's War
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:09 am 
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Master Tech & Major Scrounge
Master Tech & Major Scrounge

Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2002 8:00 pm
Posts: 3551
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Great read MA, thanks for sharing. :toast:

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