Transcript for DC-PH-04-03 Pirate Hunting Bjarred

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affiliations: Name: Kintaro Tanaka
Callsign: 'Iceman'
Rank: Sho-sa (Major)
Hardware: Kage BA (DEST)
Battalion: DEST
Company: Shadow
Platoon: PA(L) DEST Platoon Alpha
Assignment: Breach
Role: Executive Officer
Unit: Razan's Ronins
House: Draconis Combine

Transcript for DC-PH-04-03 Pirate Hunting Bjarred

Postby Iceman » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:22 pm

Registered Contract: DC-PH-04-03
Region: Draconis Combine
System: Bjarred
Galactic Coordinates: X: 245.15 Y: 411.8
Days to Jump Point: 12 days
Planet: Bjarred
Primary Planetary Climate: Arid
Approximate Population: 890 Million People
Capital City: Oasis V
Contract Type: Pirate Hunting
Primary Operational Terrain: Lunar
Contract Duration: 4 Months (60 Days in REAL TIME) negotiable
Employer: Draconis Combine
Employer Contact: Tai-sa Bernard Johnsson, CO 7th Pesht Regulars
Command Rights: Liaison Assigned
Forces Recommended: A Company Strength Detachment
Supporting Forces: 7th Pesht Regulars
Enemy Forces: Unknown, suspected pirate raiders.
Supplement Contracts Offered: Defensive Campaign
Bounty Per Word: 1,100 C-Bills
Minimum Bounty: 14,000 Word Transcript
Bonus Salvage Bounty Target: 54,000 Word Transcript
Bonus Salvage Category: Type-E Salvage

[3052]Bjarred is a rather small world beneath a large hot sun. Though it has little open water on its surface, huge underground rivers run through catacombs below the surface. Lush grasses, bushes, and trees cluster above these subterranean waterways. As a result, vast lines of vegetation crisscross the planet. Bjarred's barren mountains are rich in minerals and metals, which attracted the first colonists, an Ozawa scout group, in the early 23rd century.

Today, the Deep Ores Company is the sole industry on the planet. In contract with the Metals of the Earth, the Deep Ores Company has kept other companies away by frequently paying bribes to the planet's Chairman. Because the Chairman has recently been demanding higher bribes, the CEO of Deep Ores, Melissa Ozawa (a distant relation of the famous Ozawas) has decided to stop paying. She believes that her company is now strong enough to stand competition from any rival that appears on Bjarred.

Mountain bandits often raid Deep Ores' mines and camps. Defending the planet and the mining concern is a battalion of the 4th Pesht Regulars commanded by Colonel Brethby Stiverson. Their headquarters are in the capital of Bjarred, Oasis V.

[3050] During the fighting with Clan Smoke Jaguar in March 3050, the defending First and Second Bjarred Armoured Regiments took refuge in the Bird's Roost, a crumbling Castle Brian. The Jaguar's hunted their prey through the castle's maze of tunnels, and Trinary Striker suffered severe casualties when part of the castle wall collapsed on top of it. The survivors of Trinary Striker, along with First Trinary Battle and Binary Elemental, of the Jaguar Grenadiers, eventually flushed out the defenders and destroyed them.

[3059] During Operation Bulldog, the possession of Bjarred was decided by the toss of a coin toss. In bidding to take the world single handedly, Tai-Sa Katherine Oltion of the Sixth Ghost Regiment, in the service of the SLDF, stated in combat there are only two elements: skill and chance.
Her opponent, Star Colonel Olivia Drummond of the Nova Cat 189th Striker Cluster, impressed with the Tai-Sa's bid, agreed that the part of skill had been cancelled out between them, leaving only chance. Tai-Sa Oltion then flipped a coin, leaving chance to decide the fate of the world. Star Colonel Drummond chose "edge", and lost, granting the Bjarred to the SLDF. The Nova Cat forces were taken as bondsmen, and then freed to defend the world in the name of the SLDF.

Socio-Industrial Levels:
Technological Development: Some advancement; poor educational systems; medical care at level of 21st-22nd century; microelectronics industry non-existent; some areas with higher rating possible, but privately run/held.
Industrialization Level: Some industrialization at level of mid-20th century; fusion reactors imported.
Raw Material Dependence:World/system produces all the raw materials needed and commonly exports large quantities of surplus.
Industrial Output: World has a small industrial base that may produce a limited number of products for export.
Agricultural Dependence: World has and environment producing most foods, but relies on some imports for food not capable of being grown.

The DCPS is currently looking to hire a small to medium-sized, well equipped mercenary command to investigate escalated raiding activity in and around the Bjarred system. Over the past several months the fringes of the Pesht district have seen increased raiding activity by what are believed to be well-equipped pirates, though none of these raids has resulted in the successful capture of any interogatable personnel. The Bjarred system has seen the most notable rise in this kind of activity. The ISF has several leads, but has been unable to positively identify any of the attackers thus far.

Your mission is to find out who is conducting the raiding, and destroy them if possible. You will continually report your findings directly to Tai-sa Bernard Johnsson, Commanding Officer of the 7th Pesht Regulars who are currently stationed on Bjarred V. The 7th cannot leave the system and has limited aerospace and naval assets. If you find your investigation neccesitates departure from the Bjarred system further negotiations can be worked out with DCPS officials.

Mercenary units equipped with aerospace and/or naval assets are sought and will draw extra pay for this duty.

1) Ascertain the identity of the raiders in the Pesht Military District.
2) Capture one or more members of any raiding parties you encounter.

1) Protect military and merchant shipping and transportation assets.
2) N/a

After successful contract negotiations with a member of the MRBC on the supplemental for Telos IV, Tai-sa (Colonel) Onishi Razan is ordered, by her Modern Innovated Tactics Unit Handlers, to put a new resurgence of Land Air ‘Mechs through some real world testing; via a contract on the MHB Depot world, Bjarred. Its clear Rimward of the Draconis Combine on the border of House Kurita and Clan Snow Raven. Her Razan’s Ronins maintains imminent domain over the capture Telos IV Space Station, however; relinquishes their control of the two Invader Class JumpShips to DCMS Procurement Department.

The DCMS Modern Innovated Tactics Liaison wants Razan’s Ronins to investigate escalated raiding activity in and around the Bjarred Prefecture. Over the past several months the fringes of the Pesht district have seen increased raiding activity by what ISF Intel believes to be pirates, though none of House Kurita’s attempts to stop these raids has resulted in the successful capture of any interrogatable personnel. The Bjarred Prefecture has seen the most notable rise in this kind of activity. The Internal Security Force has several leads, but has been unable to positively identify any of the attackers thus far.

The Ronins’ mission is to find out who is conducting these raids and put a stop to them. Razan’s Ronins are to report all of their findings directly to DCMS Liaison, Tai-sa Bernard Johnsson, Commanding Officer of the 7th Pesht Regulars , the Kurita unit stationed on Bjarred V at a crumbling Castle Brian known as the Bird's Roost. The Pesht Regulars are under strict orders not to leave the system and have limited aerospace and naval assets.

Onishi, decides not use the Ronin’s JumpShips to reach Bjarred but hires a third party JumpShip Captain to ferry her Union Class DropShip to the Prefecture. Her reasoning is two fold. First, she uses the time to get her potential LAM Pilots weeded out and up to speed on their AeroSpace Fighter training; Second, to repair and bring the Fortress Class DropShip, the Ulvenwald, online.

The Razan’s Ronins unit dispatches the required force, a company, on to Bjarred. The company is under the command of Mechwarrior Chu-i (Lieutenant), Tushio Sakai and consist of a reinforced (with an AeroSpace Fighter Pilot) Recon LAM Lance, Dragon’s Eye; the vehicle Scout Lance, Awakening Dragon; a DEST PA(L)Breech Platoon, Bravo Platoon; two Gray Death Scout Squads; the Ronin’s VTOL Recon Flight, Stealthy Dragon; and a Long Range Aerospace Fighter Patrol Flight, Emerald Dragon. The Combined arms company musters out aboard the Combined Arms Union Class Transport, Dragon’s Nest.

Upon landing the Dragon’s Nest at the Bird’s Roost, Chu-i (Lieutenant) Tushio discovers the Bernard is actually Bernice - Tai-sa (Colonel) Bernice 'Bernard' Johnsson. Due to the clandestine nature of Tushio mission the Combine Officer and the Ronin instantly build friction one towards the other. The first three months on world Tushio can not confirm or deny any of the ISF ‘Leads’, however; in the final month of the contract, after the on world Ronins’ establish their own network of informants, Tushio gets a break.

Tushio uncovers the identity of the raiders, a pirate band which call themselves Ebon Raptors . In a quick skirmish the Ronins’ destroy two of Ebon Raptors LAMs. The next time the Ronins’ encounter Ebon Raptor is in a Diversionary Raid launched by the enemy that results in the loss of four enemy LAMs. However; the diversion was successful as it allowed Ebon Raptor time to lift from Bjarred.

The Ronins’ follow the Raptors to Tarnby and Altona were the Ronins’ are ambushed losing one of their own LAM pilots and capture an Ebon Raptor LAM Warrior. They interrogate the prisoner briefly before he dies. All they uncover is cryptic information.

Onishi Razan will take up the supplemental contract off a Defensive Campaign

DC-PH-04-01 #01

Draconis Combine/ULTRA Contested
Dieron Prefecture
Dieron Military District
Al Na'ir Province
Telos IV
Overlord Class DropShip
The Heaven Scent
Deck 9
Command, Coordination, and Communication Room
Friday June 1st 3094 0900 Local

Tai-sa (Colonel) Onishi ‘Rough Ryder’ Razan had called this command level meeting to inform her commanders of the two contracts that the Ronins were undertaking and to get their situational reports on the unit’s current status. The aging Overlord was kept up in good repair. Onishi had devoted an influx of Ryu into getting the 3C room up and running to code. She could see the improvements and new equipment all around the room. Half the C3 room was dominated by a small holo tank at which the ten officers of the Ronins were seated in a bloated oval shape, including herself, each at their own computer consoles. The remaining half of the room entail computer stations, monitors, communications equipment, and everything necessary to provide a commander with a decisive edge in planetary assaults. Her monitor currently displayed the Ronin’s Unit report. Her eyes drifted to the Dragoons Rating field. Razan’s Ronins had dropped to a ‘B’ rating but was now ‘officially’ classified as a Regiment..

The holo tank’s projection tube was in the process of warming up; so currently there was nothing showing at the moment. Onishi was seated at the middle of the holo table on the bulkhead side of the holo tank. Directly to her right and left sat her two Sho-sa’s (Lieutenant Colonels) Owen ‘Kestrel’ Callaghan, with green eyes and auburn hair, progeny from the ConMag and her Executive Officer of Ronin Legion Battalion and the handsome Kuritan from Kagoshima, Kintaro ‘Iceman’ Tanaka. He ran her Draconis Elite Strike Team Battalion. Well . . . he was ‘handsome’ to Onishi anyway. The Tai-sa (Colonel) wrinkled her nose as she caught a whiff of cigar smoke. She liked the way cigar’s smelled. It was cast off from Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel) Reece ‘Buddha’s Fist’ Kimura. He was head of her vehicle Battalion, Steel Dragon, and sat to the left of Callaghan. Directly across from Onishi, at the fat part of the oval, were seated her two Chu-sa’s (Lieutenant Colonels), the Veteran, fifty four year old, with salt and pepper grey hair, Georgi Draganov. He was the Lieutenant Commander of the Ronin’s DropShip Wing, Flying Dragon. And to his left was the venerable, John Dryden, responsible for the Ronins two Invader Class JumpShips, Red Storm and Hydra’s Bane. Flanking these two officers like book ends were the Ronins two Tai-i’s (Captains). The petite Kuritan, Torii ‘Nemesis’ Nashiro, AeroSpace Fighter Pilot in charge of the Ronin’s Ice Dragon Wing; and Onishi’s newest ebony skinned officer, Reid Mediate, who headed up the Human Services Section of the Razan’s Ronins. At the narrow or elliptical ends of the oval holo tank table were her two Sho-i’s (Jr Captains); the short in stature but big on ‘Napoleon’ complex, Lead VTOL Pilot of the Dragon Flight Squadron, Daniel ‘Slinky’ Taylor; and the grimy yet always professional head of the Ronin’s Repair and Logistics Lance, Harold ‘Bokor’ Fairbanks. Rounding out her officer cadre was the uber focused Chu-i (Lieutenant) Doctor Mariana Cocos, the lead physician over the Ronin’s M.A.S.H. unit. Doctor Cocos sat off to Onishi’s right, between her XO, Callaghan and Sho-i (Jr Captain) Taylor. Onishi swore that Mariana was part Manei Domini due to her slavish devotion to her patients.

The last two officers, Sho-i (Jr Captain) Fairbanks and Chu-i (Lieutenant) Mariana weren’t required to be her being that they each only commanded a lance. ‘Technically’ they reported to Tai-i (Captain) Reid Mediate. He had asked if they could attend not quite feeling comfortable providing Onishi with their sitreps. Since he was the new guy, the Tai-sa (Colonel) had cut him some slack, but he’d needed to get up to speed quickly from here on out.

“Let’s begin with hardware losses, shall we?” offered Onishi. Just then the holo tank sprang up a 3D image of Telos IV hovering in it’s center, rotating on its axis. Onishi manipulated the image from her console, zooming it in close enough to see the Heaven Scent floating in orbit while Reece Kimura fielded her query.

Reece prefaced his reply with a cough. “Yes Onishi-san,” he began in the honorific, “We suffered seventy percent losses in hardware of the platoon dispatched to retrieve Doctor Haney,“ he responded, eyes downtrodden as if it was his personal loss.

“And in Men?” Onishi was quick to ask. She didn’t give a damn about hardware when compared to the loss of life.

“One Onishi san, the Pegasus tank Driver.”

“Sho-ko (Master Sergeant) Brian Veurink?” questioned the Tai-sa (Colonel).


“How did you manage to lose three tanks and only one man?” Onishi asked incredulously. Then thinking better of it, she held up a hand to forestall any explanation that was forthcoming. “Nevermind Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel). I won’t take everyone here through this.” She cut her gaze to include everyone seated at the holo table. “I can simply read the report myself. Under the circumstances, your lance performed admirably. The butcher’s bill?”

“Domo Arigato, Onishi san. Twenty million, six hundred sixty eight thousand, six hundred seventy five,” Reece answered sheepishly.

A long low whistle emanated from the far end of the table in Reid Mediate’s direction.

“Is that in Ryu or C-Bills?” Onishi asked the Steel Dragon Commander.

“C-Bills, Onishi san.”

“Ouch. Very Well. We will just bill it back to the MRBC under the Battle Loss Compensation clause. Anyone else?”

Seated beside her to her left, Sho-sa (Lieutenant Colonel) Kintaro Tanaka interjected his losses, “We lost two Oni Battle Armor Suits during the raid on the BattleSat Station and the two warriors that piloted them. Wendell Hammerstien and Jasmyn Rudd.”

Onishi Razan briefly shielded her eyes from the assembled officers with her right hand before hastily removing it to show the fierce sparkle of her emerald colored eyes. “We will have memorial services for all three fallen Ronin for anyone who wants to attend and pay their respect. Tai-i (Captain) Mediate, add that to your ‘to do list’ and make it priority, please.”

“Ma’am, Yes Ma’am,” the Tai-i (Captain) acknowledge his ranking officer.

“When will we have replacements for our fallen warriors?” Onishi asked no one in particular.

Tanaka spoke first, “We have already identified two replacement battle armor pilots, Russell Awan and Aasiya Taysir. They will be arriving here to Telos within the week. If they successfully complete the DEST training program I will be making them offers.”

Onishi nodded and turned her attention to Reece.

“You’ve previously signed off on Tank Commander Sho-ko (Master Sergeant) Pedro Romero’s induction into the Ronins, Onishi san.”

“Commander? How’d he come in as a Commander? Didn’t either one of the Pegasus’ other crew members, Alfonso or Fujiko, want the promotion?” Onishi questioned unbelievingly.

“Romero was exponentially more proficient at reading the sensor contacts on the Beagle Active Probe and quite frankly, No. They did not desire the promotion. Neither wanted the additional responsibility.”

Onishi blinked her eyes and shook her head. “Okay. Any other personnel issues before we get back to hardware.”

Doctor Mariana shot her hand up half way before lowering it to adjust her spectacles. She started by clearing her throat. “The medical staff has had the usual influx of patients whenever we enter a new world, sprains, flus, viruses, common colds that are anything but common. We also have three vehicular crew members in the infirmary, Sivakumar Veeramani, Tomas Madaras, and Yi Kuang Lin. Tomas Madaras is suffering from plantar fasciitis . . .”

Mariana was cut off by the Tai-sa (Colonel). “Hey, hey, hey. What have I told you about that Doc Speak? Huh? Japanese girlfriend or at least the King’s English.”

A soft laughter went up from around the table.

Mariana’s cheeks blushed cherry red as she adjusted her glasses again and started over. “The three crew members all have severe bruising, cuts and abrasions.” She looked over the rims of her glasses at Onishi seeking Onishi’s approval of her new jargon. The Tai-sa gave her a curt nod so Msarianna continued. “Nothing that a few days of bed rest won’t heal ; however, I am keeping them off duty under medical care for another seven days.” Mariana stated the last part like she expected a challenge.

Onishi hunched her shoulders and said, “Okay. Fine. Three soldiers out on medical. Sho-i (Jr Captain) Fairbanks, where do we stand on repairs?” she asked the Logistics Chief.

“Uhm, Lemme see,” he stalled for time. He must have been playing the latest 3D holo vid game and needed a couple of seconds to retrieve the data Onishi had requested. “All ‘Mech assets are up at 100% as far as armor, sensors, and weapons are concerned. The Technical Staff and I are still fighting with a few glitches in actuators locking up from sand and grit clogging there joints and jumpjets failing to fire. But that’s nothing major. If you’ll authorize a little overtime I’m sure we could get all of these kinks worked out.”

Onishi smiled at the Sho-i (Jr Captain) and shook her head from side to side in the universal sign that said ‘No’.

“Oh well. You can’t blame a guy for trying, can you?” Chuckling, Fairbanks continued. “Uhmmm, those six AeroSpace Fighters we brought onboard back on Dieron were poorly maintained if at all. Each one is going to require a full scale maintenance overhaul. I’m talking the whole nine yards, like one hundred twenty man hours or roughly two weeks. I’ve got Butch Treybrig already started on one Lucifer. We’ll only do a single bird at a time due to the length of time it’s going to be offline. We currently at 75% of our power strength with three birds down. The Lucifer, an Aven with a rotary auto cannon linkage issue, and the Striga with a faulty Master's Sight 2-Psi targeting and tracking system.” He paused to look up from his console across the holo table at Onishi.

Her eyes were down peering at her own screen, she gave Fairbanks the necessary ‘Uhm mm’ so he took that as sign to continue with his sitrep.

“Your Vee’s are the in same state as your BattleMechs, 98% on armor, sensors, and weapons with some small motive system and stabilizer issues . We do have one small issue however. The Cizin clan ECM suite just conked out on us. I have had are best clan tech, Faraz Sha, work on it for three straight days and even he could not get it fixed. So I went ahead and ordered a refurbished unit. Its due to arrive in system by the 13th of this month.”

Now with the revelation of who the Tech was, Onishi’s head snapped up from her monitor to take in Fairbanks with her eagle like glare. Faraz was assigned to her Naginata with its mix of clan and Inner Sphere technology.

“Ahh, three days straight between his other duties, . . . of course,” backpedaled the Sho-i (Jr Captain).

“Yes, of course.” Onishi did not address his opinion that this was a ‘small’ issue. She would address that sentiment offline. The head of the Razan’s Ronins made sure that there was at least one ECM capable unit in each combat lance. She insisted that her lances be able to shield themselves from enemy detection. The Cizin was that single one for her Infantry Support Lance. This would not do. “And so what are you doing to avoid this type of delay going forward?”

“Ma’am, ah . . .er . . . excuse me?” Fairbanks stammered.

“Sho-i (Jr Captain) Harold Fairbanks, what, if anything, have you put into place to ensure that “I” do not lose another Clan ECM unit for more than your contractual 72 hours?”

“Oh, yeah. I see now. I uhm ordered two more units. One will be here within the next 60 days and the second one is due to arrive 30 days after that one. That way we’ll always have two in stock and when I use one of those two, it will trigger a search for another unit Tai-sa (Colonel). ”

Onishi relinquished her glowering at her now sweating Logistic Chief and got him back on track. “Where are we on the repairs to the Fortress Class DropShip?”

“Yes Tai-sa (Colonel), we can utilize the BattleSat Station’s docking facilities as a Dry Dock. We have the required manpower, parts, and tools. Once we get it into the Dry Dock, my projection shows us having it fully functional in ten weeks, twelve at the most.”

“Good. Make it happen. That’s more than a quarter million in Ryu asset sitting around collecting mothballs.” Onishi reflected out loud, slightly miffed that she had authorize the cash expenditure for a ‘Derelict’ Fortress. But she had to accept her own fate when dealing with unsavory black market purchases. “Sho-i (Jr Captain) Fairbanks and Doctor Cocos, you may return to your duties. Tai-i (Captain) Mediate will update you on what you need to know with the rest of his command.”

There were conversations that sprung up while the two shut down their terminals and left the C3 room. Doctor Cocos leaned over and said something to Tai-i (Captain) Mediate before she left. After they were gone, Onishi grabbed everyone’s attention again.

“Still no changes nor additions to the ‘Mech Battalion, Ronin Legion. But myself and the two Sho-sa’s (Lieutenant Colonels) have decided to implement some changes to the vehicle battalion, Steele Dragon, again. Halberd Section has increased to a full company by moving the Mobile HQ lance from Glaive to Halberd. The Mobile HQ Lance will be replaced in Glaive by a dedicated spotter lance. The spotter lance will be based on the Minion from the Arty Logistics Lance and the M3077 HMMWV from the Artillery Lance and will be brought up to full strength with two Crow Strike VTOLs.”

“The M3077 in the Artillery Lance will be replaced by the Teppo from mobile HQ which in turn will leave an opening in the mobile HQ Lance which will be filled by a Drone Hi Scout Drone Carrier. The vacancy in the Logistics Lance will be filled by a Coolant truck. And Glaive Company will be under the command of Sho-i (Jr Captain) Todd Karry. I know, I know. Its like trying to play the ancient terran shell game. I promise you the remaining changes won’t be so hard to track.”

“Moving on to the Draconis Elite Strike Battalion. We have decided to veer away from unarmored infantry. Our DEST platoon will be upgraded to Tornado PA(L)s complete with Basic Stealth armor and either Small Lasers, Machine Guns, or King David Light Gauss Rifles. We have also incorporated a second DEST platoon, in Nighthawk PA(L), designated as Breach Platoon. They will be equipped with Standard Stealth Armor and a mix of Assault Rifles, the 960 Mauser Assault System, and Heavy Grenade Launchers. With the advent of a whole other infantry platoon it required the Ronins to need more transportation capacity so we purchased four Heavy Wheeled APCs, and attached them to the DEST Battalion’s transport company and called them Spitting Dragon.”

“Last, but in no way the least, the Ronins have taken on a Field Medical Squad and two Firefighter platoons. We intended to move the Rescue Ailette PA(L) Squad to a new Lance called Fire & Rescue along with the, that’s right, you guessed it, the two Firefighter platoons. The Field Medic squad will replace the Ailette PA(L) in the M.A.S.H. Lance.”

“So there, that wasn’t too bad, now was it?”

Onishi lays out the details of the two contracts that the Ronins’ are accepting, the follow up Planetary Assault from their Objective Raid here on Telos IV and a Pirate Hunting contract on Bjarred. At the behest of Tai-sa Elizababeth Carrols, Commanding Officer of the 15th Dieron Regulars, the Ronins are being requested to stay on station for an additional two months as a reserve force to participate in the invasion of Telos IV at Tai-sa's Carrols discretion.

The Tai-sa (Colonel) divulges her intent of using the time to conduct some training exercises in the event that Tai-sa (Colonel) Carrols does not utilize the Ronins and to finally get their Fortress Class DropShip, the Ulvenwald, repaired and online. The Ronins plan to maintains imminent domain over the capture Telos IV Space Station, however; to relinquish their control of the two Invader Class JumpShips to DCMS Procurement Department.

Onishi goes on to explain that the Ronins’ were ordered by their Modern Innovated Tactics Unit Handlers, to put a new resurgence of Land Air ‘Mechs through some real world testing; on a contract on Bjarred. The DCMS Modern Innovated Tactics Liaison wants the Ronins’ to test out the capabilities of these LAMs while investigating escalating raiding activity in and around the Bjarred Prefecture. ISF Intel reports that over the past several months the fringes of the Pesht district have seen increased raiding activity by what intelligence believes to be pirates, though none of House Kurita’s attempts to stop these raids has resulted in the successful capture of any interrogatable personnel. The Bjarred Prefecture has seen the most notable rise in this kind of activity. The Internal Security Force has several leads, but has been unable to positively identify any of the attackers thus far.

The Ronins’ mission is to find out who is conducting these raids and put a stop to them. They are to report all of their findings directly to DCMS Liaison, Tai-sa Bernard Johnsson, Commanding Officer of the 7th Pesht Regulars , the Kurita unit stationed on Bjarred V at a crumbling Castle Brian known as the Bird's Roost. The Pesht Regulars are under strict orders not to leave the system and have limited aerospace and naval assets.

By lunch time, the commanders had reached censuses on whom they were going to send to Bjarred and the best way to get them there. They decided that their Dragons Eye recon pilots and an AeroSpace pilot were the most reasonable selections. Recon, because this mission required their special brand of skills. So they sent their Dragon Eye pilots and an AeroSpace pilot to learn how to pilot the LAMs. They also included their vehicle scout lance and their scout battle armor and their LRP (Long Range Patrol) Aerospace flight. In the end they figured that the main body of the Ronins could keep up the units reconnaissance duties with their VTOL assets.


Name: Onishi Razan
Callsign: ‘Rough Ryder'
Rank: Tai-sa, Commanding
Hardware: Naginata NG-RO1
Company: Ronin Legion
Lance: Fire Dragon
Assignment: MUCO
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #02

Draconis Combine/ULTRA Contested
Dieron Prefecture
Dieron Military District
Al Na'ir Province
Telos IV
Overlord Class DropShip
The Heaven Scent
Deck 9
Command, Coordination, and Communication Room
Saturday August 4th 3094 1130am Local

The format of this meeting was considerable different from the last Command Staff meeting Tai-sa (Colonel) Onishi ‘Rough Ryder’ Razan had called. First of all it was a ‘Debriefing’ meeting and not a ‘Briefing’. Second, and by far the biggest difference, was that it was being carried out via holovid conference and not ‘face to face’. The Regiment was all aboard moving DropShips that were burning for the JumpPoint and not just floating around in Telos IV’s orbit. So it wasn’t practical to shuttle everyone over to her flagship, the Heaven Scent, for a sit down ‘face to face’ meeting. Instead she had opted for a holo vid conference, the next best thing to being there.

Onishi was seated in the same seat at the holo projection table as last meeting, in its middle length, back against the bulkhead with two of her officers flanking her like book ends. To her right sat Sho-sa (Major) Owen ‘Kestrel’ Callaghan, XO of Ronin Legion BattleMech Battalion, and to her left Tai-i (Captain) Torii ‘Nemesis’ Nashiro, her AeroSpace Wing Commander, was seated. Their presence here had nothing to do with preferentialism. It was strictly based on which DropShip their Military Hardware was being transported on. Onishi had considered loading up a company of battlemechs on their Fortress class DropShip and allowing Callaghan to ride with them. The idea was so that if something did happen to the Heaven Scent the CO and the XO would not suffer the same fate. If they had been going into combat that’s exactly how they would have loaded out, her on the Overlord Class, Heaven Scent; the XO on the Fortress Class, UlvenWald; and her third company, Kiridashi, on the Union Class, Black Ronin, under Sho-sa (Major) Shannon Parrish. However, they weren’t deploying to a hostile planet, they were simply going to Ascella for repair and refit at Ronin’s Keep until the Bjarred contract concluded and that adhoc Company returned.

The three Officers sat facing five 72” holo vid screens. Windowed in each screen was the Class of DropShip it was being broadcasted from. The Heaven Scent had the capacity to interact with all five of them; however, each DropShip could only see the Officers on the Heaven Scent and none of the other officers aboard their sister ships. That was one of the fringe benefits of having a command level DropShip and everything necessary to provide a commander with a decisive edge in planetary assaults. On the top holo vid screen that read UNION, she could see images of Sho-sa (Major) Karen Tsang, Intelligence Director; Tai-i (Captain) Reid Mediate, CO of the Ronin’s Human Service Battalion; and Chu-i (Lieutenant) Doctor Mariana Cocos, the lead Doctor over her medical staff. There was currently only the one Union Class DropShip because the other Union, Dragon’s Nest, was currently enroute to Bjarred. Directly beneath the UNION screen were two others, ‘side by side’. The one to the left, GAZELLE, showed Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel) Georgi Draganov, head of the DropShip Wing; Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel) Reece ‘Buddha’s Fist’ Kimura, Vehicle Battalion Commander; and Sho-i (Jr Captain) Daniel ‘Slinky’ Taylor, over the Dragon Cavalry VTOL Squadron. The holo vid screen to the right had AURORA hanging above Sho-sa (Major) Kintaro ‘Iceman’ Tanaka, Commanding Officer of the DEST Battalion. And directly under those two screens there were two more. The left one read FORTRESS and had Sho-i (Jr Captain) Harold ‘Bokor’ Fairbanks’ grimy mug on it. He was responsible for the Ronin’s repair and refit division. And the screen on the right read INVADER and depicted a grainy image of Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel) John Dryden, in charge of their two JumpShips. The image resolution was shoddy because it was being transmitted all the way down from the JumpPoint from aboard the Red Storm. She could make due however.

Onishi cleared her throat loudly to signal the start of the meeting as to not catch anyone off guard. “Can everyone see me and hear me okay? John?”

After the Tai-sa (Colonel) received the necessary affirmations she continued on with the debriefing. “As you all already know, the Ronin’s have successfully fulfilled our role in the planetary assault on Telos IV. We have obtained sign off from Tai-sa (Colonel) Elizabeth Carrols, CO of the 15th Dieron Regulars, who actually wanted us to remain on planet to provide farther assistance in capturing the world. The Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission’s Deputy Director, Raymond Freeman MacCreary, has at present reviewed the data and has approved the funds from House Kurita be released from escrow and is simply awaiting for the House Kurita Ambassador, Tomoe Katsuie’s, signature and for her to divulge what the Ronin’s actually salvaged so that we can go through it and select a fair and equitable military hardware award.”

“If possible Onishi-san, the DEST Battalion could use those Nighthawk and Tornado PA(L)s that we disable in the field.”

Onishi looked up at the holo vid screen with AURORA windowed in it to acknowledge Sho-sa (Major) Tanaka’s request. “So noted Sho-sa (Major).” She replied as she typed in a few notes via her console’s keyboard. “Anyone else?”

From the UNION boomed the bass voice of Tai-i (Captain) Mediate, “Uhm yeah. As long as you’re taking request. The Fire and Rescue Lance could use a couple of those Heavy Wheeled APCs. I think I saw four of them that were in reasonable condition. We could get by with just one but two would be better. My rationale is for the times of emergencies when we don’t have a clearing large enough to land one of our VTOLs in. One M.A.S.H. Cobra can carry the entire Lance but it does us no good if we can’t get’em to the site.”

‘He was always so thorough’, Onishi thought . “Very well. I’ll request two of those APCs and if they are not available I think we can squeeze it out of our budget to purchase at least one. How would that be?”

“That would be excellent Tai-sa (Colonel).” The dark skinned Tai-i (Captain) replied.

“Sho-i (Jr Captain) Fairbanks. C’mon out with it. Give me the Butcher’s bill on where we are on repairs. And give it to me straight no sweeteners.” The Tai-sa (Colonel) demanded.

The thirty seven year old Sho-i (Jr Captain) removed his hard hat and scratched the top of his mop of black hair. He looked like he had reported to the meeting directly from crawling around inside of a battlemech’s torso. He had oil smudges on his face, grease stains on his safety vest, and his hands were washed but still appeared grimy. He began his report without looking up from his monitor. “It’s not pretty Tai-sa (Colonel).”

“No, I didn’t imagine that it would be.”

“Well. Lemme see. We don’t have a single battlemech out of thirty that didn’t suffer some kind of internal structure damage. Unless of course they didn’t see battle, ie the four ‘Mechs of Recon Lance. Their pilots are headed to Bjarred. We have eight units that are a total write off, the Hatamoto Chi, the
Hatamoto Ku, a Griffin, the Puma, a Crow VTOL, both Aven AeroSpace Fighters, and the Suzaku ASF. That’s a Grand Total of 60,552,544 c-bills or 61,763,594 Ryu at the current market exchange rate.”

‘The Ronins wouldn’t clear that on the contract’, thought Onishi. ‘It’s a damn good thing that their military hardware was covered under the DMM Battle Loss Compensation clause.’ Onishi tuned back in to the sound of Fairbanks’ voice.

“We have burned through sixty four percent of our armor plating patches. That’s ALL armor, Heavy Ferro Fibrous, Hardened, Reflective, Vehicular Stealth, Battle Armor, ‘ALL’ armor. We started with five hundred and two tons of armor and we are down to three hundred twenty two tons . The first Lance online will be Dragon’s Lair Lance and that’s only because it consists of merely two units and they’re both Light Class ‘Mechs. The Lance is due to be back up and operational by August 11th. The next lance that will be functional is Dragon’s Claw and that’s not until we make it to Ascella. The BattleMechs have no major fusion plant damage. Several limbs, Heat Sinks, and Jump Jets can not be repaired and will need replaced. Actuators are hit and miss. We can’t test them until we get the ‘Mechs up and mobile. But we are up to twenty seven percent that we know needs replaced. Weapons are all over the place. Again, we can’t test them in the DropShip’s hold so we need to wait until we land on Ascella. The biggest delay is the time it takes for the replacement parts to arrive. We’ve completely exhausted our stockpiles of spare weapons and parts. You should have a detailed breakdown report in your inbox.” Looking up from his monitor for the first time since starting his report, Fairbanks said almost pleadingly, “We could make this a little less painful if I could get you to authorize some over time.”

Onishi gave the Sho-i (Jr Captain) her best patronizing smile while shaking her head ‘No’ as she also silently mouthed the words ‘N’ ‘O’.

“Damn It. Okay. Well you can’t blame a man for trying. Anywho, the vehicle battalion pretty much mimics the battlemech battalion. All shot to shit. Armor, ICE Engines, power amplifiers, vehicle stabilizers, hover skirts, tracks, axles . . . you name it, it was damaged. You can see what’s what from the same report in your inbox. Your VTOLs were virtually unscathed, with the exception of that one Crow that exploded. The Battle Armor Battalion, Wow! What can I say. They fought a valiant battle but, Man, did they ever pay the price. We couldn’t scrap enough suits together to make one good squad. The AeroSpace Wing, well we’re down to seventy five percent with the destruction of those three fighters. The only good thing about that is, it saves us from having to overhaul those two Avens. The overhaul cost just about as much as the fighters themselves.” As callous as his statement was, Fairbanks was sincerely aloof to the heartlessness of his comment. He was more at home with machines and gadgets than with people.

“Thank you Sho-i (Jr Captain), will that be all?” Onishi decided to contain him before he made any more insensitive remarks.

“Ma’am, Yes Ma’am.”

“Doctor Cocos, what’s the report from the infirmary?” Inquired Onishi of Chu-i (Lieutenant) Doctor Mariana Cocos.

“Well Tai-sa (Colonel) I have Good News and Bad News. Which do you want first?” Mariana answered in her usual prim and proper way.

“Huh? We have Good News? Well by all means let’s lead off with that. We all could use some positive bulletins in these otherwise dreary updates.”

“All the fighter pilots ejected from their stricken crafts successfully and the miracle of miracles is that the Blue Dragon Fighter Pilot who flew the Suzaku, Sho-i (Sr Lieutenant) Miccah Galvrus, not only ejected successfully but did so without so much as a scratch, bump, or a bruise on him. The Regiment has taken to calling him by a new callsign from ‘Goose’ to ‘Lucky Goose’. “

A small round of applause went out among the holo vid screens. “I want you all to know how much I dread this. Go on with the bad news Mariana.” Onishi sighed.

“Yes Ma’am,” she paused briefly at the gravity of the situation. “We have one KIA, Kashira (Talon Sergeant) Teodus Matsuda, the Crow VTOL Pilot. It will have to be a closed coffin. There was barely enough left of him to make a positive ID.” Another pause as Mariana fought back her emotions. “Of the one hundred eighty six personnel injured in the battle for Telos IV, forty three of them have not seen a Doctor yet. They have all been referred to one of our various MedTechs. All seven of our Doctors are at maximum capacity with twenty one patients each; including myself. We had to prioritize our triage. The Doctors took everything from a sprain on up, concussions, lacerations, broken bones but we had to delegate some of the workload of bruises, minor cuts, and heat exhaustion to our MedTechs. Oh, that does not include bruised abdomens and chests, we kept those to verify that the patients in question wasn’t suffering from internal bleeding.”

“Well how did I get to see Doctor Jamie Sammons and all I have is a nasty bruise on my left arm?” Onishi asked. “I’ll admit, at first I thought it could be broken though.”

“Please allow me to finish Tai-sa (Colonel),” Mariana replied respectfully. “The medical staff had some openings so we went back over our patient list and began seeing patients with bruises to their load bearing extremities, arms and legs. We’ve gotten to most of them if not all of them. We made the decision to include sprained ankles and wrist due to those injuries requiring xrays to verify the presence of a break or fracture. But we have not entertained the notion of broken or sprained fingers and or toes. However, we are accepting referrals from our MedTechs. But for the most part the MedTechs are splinting them and giving them icepacks and pain killers. I have submitted a plethora of items for purchase to the quarter master, preserving sleeves, bandages, surgical gloves, antibiotics, pain killers, etc.”

“I know. I’ve already signed off on it after a rudimentary once over.” Onishi smiled at the flustered Medical Professional. “Okay Ronins, we are headed to Ascella for some much needed repair and refit. Three jumps to reach the Ascella solar system and then another thirty six days transit to the surface. Unless otherwise necessary we will have another briefing a week before we make planet fall. I’ll need all hands on deck during these next eight weeks. All non-essential personnel will fall back on their secondary MOS, whether it be AsTech, one of seven different Technician specialties, or medical assistant. This is a must people if you expect to still collect a salary while were not actively engaged in combat. After we arrive at Ronin’s Keep on Ascella we will be operating with a skeleton crew for at least the next three months. Battalion commanders make sure that every trooper under your command gets at least two weeks off with pay, including yourselves. I’ll want to vet whomever you decide to leave in charge while you’re out. Questions? Good. Get back to your duties. Sho-sa (Major) Callaghan, dismiss the commanders.”

“Razan’s Ronins Command Staff you are DIS missed.”


Name: Onishi Razan
Callsign: ‘Rough Ryder'
Rank: Tai-sa, Commanding
Hardware: Naginata NG-RO1
Company: Ronin Legion
Lance: Fire Dragon
Assignment: MUCO
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #03

Draconis Combine
Qandahar Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Nadir JumpPoint
Cargoking Class DropShip
Legacy II
Monday October 15th 1000 3094

Through the bridge’s view port, Chapineria appeared as beautiful as ever and like always, Captain Kelly Winterfield marveled at it. His crew and he had been docked at the Space Station for four hours and now, sitting in the dim bridge of the Legacy II, they prepared for departure.

The station controller’s voice crackled over the comm. “Legacy Two, you’re good for auto and cleared for undocking.”

“Legacy Two copies clearance on full guidance.” Kelly responded. “Captain has the helm.” Echoed quickly by the 1st Mate and his Comms Officer.

“Aye, aye Captain has the helm.”

The DropShip lurched as the powerful arms holding it in place, disengaged. Manipulating the controls with experienced nudges this way and that, Kelly turned the Cargo Carrier a full one hundred and eighty degrees until the view of the planet was replaced by the white shell of the sprawling space complex.

The Space Station was an old one, the very first as a matter of fact. Unlike its newer counterparts, it was the only station in the Qandahar Prefecture with this design. Made up of a patchwork of hundreds of years of additions, cylindrical arms, over ten miles long, extended horizontally from its bustling core and harbored several ships of varying sizes, linking them to its interior by way of retractable bridges.

The Legacy II drifted away from the wharf like structure and ten minutes later, when the computer indicated that they were safely beyond the outer edges of Chapineria’s junk rings, Kelly took full control of his DropShip and ignited its thrusters.

Seven minutes later, the Legacy II came out of Hyper Space Transit, attached to a Scout Class JumpShip, and the coppery colored planet, Bjarred, came into view. Their destination was a Military facility, five hundred feet above the base of Donrad Hill. In all his time delivering for the Pesht Military District, he had never been to this port, had never even heard of it. Whatever the cargo in his hold was, it must have been something really big because only very high level clearance could get him surface side on Bjarred. According to his agent, all they needed to do was pick up the shipment, deliver it, don’t ask questions, make no inspections and not stick their noses into it. Whatever it was, he had an uneasy feeling about the whole deal and just wanted to get there, drop the shipment and get home to Sawyer in time to catch a shuttle to the surface. In three weeks was his daughter’s birthday. She was, in her own words, officially ten and he knew she would never let it go if he missed her big celebration.

‘Do you really have to go out this time?’

His wife had tried to convince him to stay but this job was important and the Ryu it would earn him would set them good. His daughter would have a better future and he and Laura would finally be able to go on that honeymoon vacation they always wanted. After all, a Cargoking Class DropShip Pilot made
barely enough Ryu to cover the cost of living on Sawyer but this time, they would be able to make the move to Bjarred or Wolcott. Life on the MHB Depot Worlds was booming and easily affordable and less stressful than planetary hubs in the mid systems. His cargo business would flourish on either world too. Haulers were always in high demand on the MHB Depot Worlds.

In the length of time it took for an Invader Class JumpShip to jump into the Bjarred system at a pirate point, release three DropShips – a Nekohono'o (HQ) Class, a Mammoth, and a Colossus – and jump back out again using its Lithium Fusion Battery, the 15th Pesht Regular monitoring the Deep Space Radar had gotten up from his console to relieve himself. He would return to see the emergence signature but when he could not detect the presence of an actual JumpShip he would document it as an anomaly. His shift relief would pick up the three large DropShips much later when they reached the turn over point, but due to the 15th’s limited aerospace capacity there wasn’t a whole lot he could do to deter the intruders.

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Lower Atmosphere
Cargoking Class DropShip
Legacy II
October 27th 1000 3094

The bridge console beeped three times, alerting him of his proximity to atmospheric entry. Bereich, unlike Sawyer’s, Chapineria’s, and Qandahar’s moons, was nothing more than mining rock. The space stations orbiting Bjarred numbered only two but Kelly would not be docking in space on this trip. His hauler was one of a many types of interstellar Cargo carriers that could make the transition from space to atmosphere and back.

At twenty thousand kilometers from entry, The Legacy II slowed rapidly, covering the remaining distance in twenty minutes before burning through atmosphere. As the ship transitioned into Bjarred airspace, Kelly found, though nothing like Chapineria, that there was a unique beauty about this hostile world.

Sulfuric clouds, twenty kilometers thick, spread planet wide below him and lightning lit up the vast blanket in periodic displays of spectacular bursts. A few miles away and even as far as the horizon, Massive barges hung miles above the surface, transporting precious ore to waiting cargo ships in vacuum. But they soon disappeared as the acidic cloud cover enveloped his ship, blotting out the bright yellow sky above. The bridge shook with turbulent winds and bucked its way through the density of the mid atmospheric storm. Beneath the perpetual cover, life on this planet existed in near darkness by day and utter blackness by night. As Kelly broke free of the haze after what seemed like ages, the DropShip’s external lights automatically activated, illuminating massive wisps of sulfuric acid, drifting lazily along their paths. At twenty thousand feet above ground level, the lights of the mountain base finally came into view and the communications module crackled to life.

“Legacy Two, this is Outpost Three Command. Give link up and p..ilot ident.. , over.”

“Captain Kelly Winterfield of Legacy Two, Bjarred bound from Chapineria.” His Comms Officer read the identification codes on her thigh board into the mic and waited for confirmation.

“Welcome to Bjarred Captain.”

The Legacy vibrated as the outpost’s tracking system took control of it, directing the hauler to a docking bay built into the side of the mountain. The first thing Kelly noticed, as his ship glided smoothly toward the hangar, was the grunge that had built up along the outer walls of the base. Ferro Carbide would not be corroded by sulfuric acid, but grimy deposits collected over time gave it a disgusting appearance and covered it like a mossy shell. The winds had also picked up. Fifty five miles per hour to be exact but the Base’s auto guidance system kept the ride stable and when he finally entered the complex, the shaking of the bridge ceased.

Fifty minutes later, Kelly stretched his cramped muscles and leaned against the headrest of his pilot seat. This would be over soon. In the next three weeks, he’d be back on Sawyer with his family and five hundred million Ryu in the bank.

The communications console lit up.

“Legacy Two…shipment has been received and refueling complete, you have clearance for lift off, over.”

Kelly responded “Legacy Two copies clearance for lift off.” He relayed the order to his crew.

He jumped back into the pilot’s seat, strapped in and ran through the sequence that would ready his DropShip for the trip home. And as his Engineer fired up the DropShip’s Merlin 2400 Drives, violent streaks of gunfire lit up the massive hangar outside his view port. Kelly’s heart slammed into his chest like an out of control wrecking ball.

Tracer rounds shredded men and women in battle armor suits, and mercilessly blew apart ships and armored vehicles. The Legacy II lifted gracefully from the landing pad, glided its way out of the cavernous space and into the strong gusts of wind outside. Without the station’s auto guidance system to keep the DropShip stable, Kelly had to rely on natural reflexes honed by years of experience; nothing he couldn’t handle.

The scene before him was unreal. Four, military grade, walking battle tank viciously tore the place apart as an unmarked Mammoth Class DropShip nearby loaded cargo into its hold…his cargo.

Heart hammering, hands trembling, head swimming, Kelly sent a distress signal to the space station and adjusted his angle of ascent, then rocketed skyward, wanting nothing more than to escape the madness below. He never saw the four missiles streaking toward the Legacy II’s interplanetary drives. Then in a bright flash of fiery debris, that last thing he felt was horror.


Name: Onishi Razan
Callsign: ‘Rough Ryder'
Rank: Tai-sa, Commanding
Hardware: Naginata NG-RO1
Company: Ronin Legion
Lance: Fire Dragon
Assignment: MUCO
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #04

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
50k West of Bird's Roost
Dune Desert
Friday March 1st 3095 1655 Local

My LAM is part of a five man team on patrol across this barren Bjarredian Dune scape. I am Chu-i (Lieutenant) Tushio Sakai, call sign ‘Huski’. On my right, is Shujin (Staff Sergeant) Fred Hanser, call sign ‘Dachshund’ and Go-cho (Corporal) Troy Vassik, call sign ‘Pitbull’ and to my left, Go-cho (Corporal) David Drake, call sign ‘Akita’ and Chu-i (Lieutenant) Alberik Schuilenberg, the AeroSpace Pilot, call sign ‘Terrier’… call signs chosen by us based on what breed of dog we have on our respective home planets; it is one of the worthwhile things we all have in common.

Back in their heyday, LAM’s were the preferred recon and raiding unit, Land Air 'Mech (or LAM) was a hybrid military unit capable of transforming between BattleMech and Aerospace Fighter forms. The Coordinator sought out a resurgence of the LAM and we were the ‘Guinea Pigs’ selected to test them. And just like the rest of the team, with the exception of ‘Pitbull’, mine is a 30 ton light class Wasp LAM. ‘Pitbull’ on the other hand, piloted a 50 ton medium class Pheonix Hawk PHX-HK1R LAM.

The Wasp LAM was able to convert from BattleMech to Aerospace Fighter faster than any other Land Air 'Mech. The Wasp LAM also mounts no lostech (save the conversion equipment). The ease of use and ability to drop bombs from bomb bays makes the Wasp LAM especially successful in ‘air to ground’ strikes, no matter where that ground may be. The standard Wasp LAM 105 was armed with a Martell Medium Laser and a Holly SRM2 launcher. Me and ‘Terrier’ flew the 105M Wasp LAM variant. This variant of the ‘standard’ Wasp 105 replaced the SRM2 and one heat sink with a single LRM5. While 'Dachshund' piloted the Wasp WSP-100 LAM Mk I. This variant has a LTV 150 engine, slightly lower maximum ground speed at 84kmh, a 120 meter jump capability, and replaces the SRM2 with a rear facing One Shot version. In exchange the WSP-100 was equipped with a five ton bomb bay. This Bomb Bay allows the WSP-100 to carry Arrow IV missiles and conventional bombs without losing any speed. And ‘Akita’ was field testing the Wasp WSP-100b LAM variant based on the standard WSP-100, it replaced the medium laser and bomb bay with an extra jump jet, Medium Pulse Laser, Streak SRM2, and Guardian ECM Suite. The armor protection was also increased slightly.

We are Legs Dangling at forty feet above Artificial Ground Level and heading east at seventy kilometers per hour. My Heads-Up-Display shows me the sandy terrain and all its contours as they intersect with the computer’s generated lines. These lines keep us clear of obstacles but below dune peaks and off enemy radar. Our mission is simple. Patrol the Outlands and report any anomalies, life forms and or threats. We are to remain on our side of the fence.

For no reason, are we to go beyond the digital and imaginary lines which separate us from the locals. At no point are we to go weapons hot unless fired upon and some more blah, blah, blah. Personally; this world having hostiles raiding it and all, I think this is bullshit. But this is our mission according to 7th Pesht Regulars, the DCMS Liaison; our DMM Diplomatic Relations Bureau stationed on this rock, four hundred light years from Terra. Our Unit is here to assist these slackers because these House soldiers wouldn’t know what to do if the Mountain bandits stood on the borderlines and stared them down, let alone declared a full scaled attack. The only solace these pushovers have is the fact that the Bjarredians know the repercussions of such an act. But as history has taught us so very often, it only takes one madman to take the plunge.

So we are the servants of 7th Pesht Regulars for the time being. However, we don’t take orders from 7th Pesht Regulars. Our directives come from Tai-sa (Colonel), Onishi ‘Rough Ryder’ Razan; the head of the Combined Arms Mercenary Regiment , the Razan’s Ronins military might and arm of the Kurita Modern Innovated Tactics Division now spread out across the Draconis Combine. Our real mission, as far as
our Tai-sa (Colonel) is concerned, is to confirm the identity of the raiders in the Pesht Military District and to capture one or more members of any raiding party we encounter.

According to our most recent Roinin intelligence report, we stopped relying on the ISF, a few months ago, a Pesht Military District military base on Venus was attacked and all of the evidence links our targets to the crime.

Another chill runs through my body as my combat suit, the mechanical and biological link to the LAM, cools my skin with coolant fluid. My communication module lights up.

“Dragon’s Eye…one bar to lights out, Link and rep live, over.”

Our unit is Dragon’s Eye. One bar to lights out means one hour till sunset. Link and rep live means to contact base and report what is happening. The voice in my ear is feminine yet devoid of femininity. Her name is Tai-sa (Colonel) Bernice 'Bernard' Johnsson and she is a genuine hard assed, straight laced, battleaxe woman who kicks ass and takes no prisoners.

‘How in the whole entire Inner Sphere can a woman be so unwomanly? Imagine my surprise when I arrived on worldthree months ago to find out that Bernard was her nickname and that Bernard was a she.’

I respond “… ‘Huski’ to base, nothing but sand and rock out here. We’re runnin one bar after lights out before headin back, over.”

“Roger that Chu-i (Lieutenant), squawk on ret.”

The com goes dead.

Squawk on return is standard procedure when dealing with DCMS based military installations. If the pilot of any craft does not give the proper codes when returning to or approaching a base, the 419 millimeter assault class auto cannons placed around the Station would go active. These bad boys are the most feared ‘Mech Killers out there and as any pilot would tell you, respecting them is always a healthy decision to make.

“Tushio… ” my Com flashes again. It’s ‘Pitbull’ on our secure channel

“… Militia Roving patrols on scan, seven clicks south.”

“Okay ‘Bull, mark’em… ” They would show up on my scanners at three kilometers but ‘Bull’s LAM was a Phoenix Hawk PHX-HK1R and was equipped with a Beagle Active Probe with heavy sensors and detectors that enable him to see a lot further than any of us. He is our very early warning system and because he has traded most of his heavy weapons for extra eyes and ears, we keep him well protected. “…do we cross paths?”

“I’ve marked’em but they’re not gonna cross us… they’re bugging south…”

“Okay maintain course…going dark in two.”

According to my ‘Heads Up Display’, it is 16:55 Bjarredian time, which means that in two minutes, this Solar System’s dimming sun would end Bjarred’s ten hour daylight time. By the looks of it, tonight is going to be a bit clearer than usual and unless our readings are wrong, there won’t be another sand storm for at least two days.

“Okay fellas, going dark.” I throttle down, bring my engine to hover, start the conversion and descend until the thud of my Wasp LAM’s feet meeting ground, shakes the cockpit. As my LAM’s Automatic Gyro Balancing System keeps me from toppling over, the rest of my team falls in beside me. I hit the digital key on my visor and watch as we all become rippling reflections of our surroundings.

When we go dark, our stealth capabilities truly come to life. Chameleon Light Polarization Shield Technology allows our LAMs to blend in to our surroundings while Bull’s jamming equipment keeps us off radar and other sensor systems. I half consciously check the Neural Link in the lower right corner of my screen. It is an indicator that monitors the team’s movement, locations and LAM status individually. We all feel it, taste it, hear it and are digitally connected to what is called The Neural Link. I can almost feel the life of the men under my command… a sensation that is often strange and borders on invasive but it becomes natural over time.

“Dragon Eye you’re all a go…” I wait for my check.

“Tushio you’re good.”

‘Terrier’ confirms that my camouflage has engaged.

“Okay let‟s make this as clean as possible…” I turn my head toward ‘Pitbull’ and the outline of his cloaked LAM shows up on my visor; all its info and stats readily available at my command “…’Bull’, you know what to do. ‘Akita’, you’re on guard duty tonight.”

“Roger that Tushio.”

‘Akita’s German accent is still very strong, even after all these years away from home. His job on this run is to guard ‘Pitbull’ as ‘Pitbull’ scans and ‘Akita’ jams our enemies. His position is one that’s close enough to ‘Bull’ to provide protection but near enough to us to come in guns blazing if needed. He is the right man for the job, as he has proven so often before.

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
10k outside of Garland
Saturday March2nd 3095 2000 Local

I approach the digital lines that divide 7th Pesht Regulars and Bjarredian law. There is a feeling of satisfaction in our defiance as my LAM crosses it. The Dune Desert is behind me, all of its massive sand dunes in our wake; I give the signal and we come to a stop.

We are standing on the edge of a small cliff. The drop is two hundred and eighty six feet according to my reading and spreads out as far as the eye could see; one broad, flat, dirt and rock landscape. The view is captivating. Ten miles into the distance, a city sprawls like a massive manmade mountain, made of buildings and endless lights; wide and low on each end and rising near the center. Above it, one of this planet’s two orbital spaceports shines like a large star in the brown sky and every so often, shuttles, like little fireflies, travel to and from it.

I look at the drop-off in front of us; this could be a problem “ ‘Terri’… I thought you said this was the best route?”

“It is Tushio. It’s the most direct...”

I turn my attention toward the expanse of land beyond our position

“ ‘Bull’…you in position?”

There’s a flicker of static before I hear him “Dug in and watching, over.”

“ ‘Hound’..?”

“All set sir…”

“Okay boys, on go and fly.”

I do a split second systems check “Ready…” we move closer to the edge “… set… ” I push the accelerator and the gears in my LAM whine “… go!”

The three of us take a two step run, and jumping from the cliff, we free fall with our thrusters cold. My head swims in the sensation of the fall and we kill the stealth; we’ll show up on every radar system within a hundred miles. My altimeter counts down in a frenzy of numbers and now, with a hundred feet to go… “… FLY!”

I fire my engines full blast; every heat detector in the vicinity would see us, but this slows the fall tremendously and I stiffen as the full power of the Fusion reactor plant jolts me into a million shudders. My rate of descent goes from fifty two feet per second to nine feet per second and then I shut the thrusters down, go engines cold again and brace for impact. The titanium legs of my LAM slam into the ground and the myomers in them do what they were designed to do. Then we immediately reactivate our camouflage. Enemy radar and sensors would report our five seconds of madness as a glitch… at least I hope so. Frantic fists pound into my chest as I draw deep breaths of purified air.

“Let’s move.” I give the command and we begin our run toward the City.


Name: Tushio Sakai
Callsign: ‘Huski’
Rank: Chu-i (Lieutenant)
Hardware: Wasp WSP-105M LAM
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Kiridashi
Lance: Dragon’s Eye
Assignment: Recon
Unit: Razan's Ronins

Name: Zephyr Jorgensson
Callsign: ‘Spirit’
Rank: Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel)
Hardware: Invader Class JumpShip
Wing: Red Storm
Squadron: Hydra’s Bane
Assignment: Aerodyne Transport
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #05

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Saturday March 2nd 3095 2015 Local

Garland is one of numerous Districted Zones located along Oasis V’s eastern edge. Entirely the opposite of its western counterparts, it is a rough and sordid zone where seedy taverns, rundown towns and derelict infrastructures make up a dangerous and unfriendly environment. As we approach, I notice that parts of its tall perimeter wall are lying scattered on the ground in some places, while in others, it no longer exists. The place looks as though it got hit by a nuke. Buildings that would have once been architecturally pleasing to the eyes are now rundown, empty, broken, or rubble.

My Wasp LAM steps over the vandalized fence and I give the word to deactivate our camouflage. Now that we are close enough to the city, we won’t need it. There are too many signals and too much equipment that run interference on our behalf; we would be considered no more than the usual traffic.

Our destination is down a main road and then off through a dark and usually deserted side street. So far, the folks we’ve passed have hardly acknowledged our presence. Everyone seems to be somewhere else, either in mind or body. There is a feeling of emptiness here, a lack of openness and freedom not like other Combine worlds. Here its almost tangible. The only thing I can think of is desolation. It is in their walk, their demeanor… their eyes.

In the dark sky, void of any clouds as usual, the stars sparkle few and far apart. This is because of Bjarred’s dusty atmosphere and unlike back home, there is no moon. A few WiGE and hover Vehicles parked beside derelict structures catch my eye and questionable figures can be seen going into questionable buildings however, our mission has nothing to do with whatever is going on here; so we continue along.

My secure com lights up “Tushio…?”

“ ‘Terri’… ”

“How do we know that there are no ISF agents here?”

“We don’t… this is where we’re gonna have to take our chances but I doubt we’ll have that problem in this part of town.” I don’t worry about anyone reporting our presence to the local authorities because there are way too many illegal activities going on in this one locale for anyone to be so stupid. No one in their right mind would dare bring the law here and as we get to the end of the street and turn onto another wide road, everything changes. It’s a lot livelier here. The glow of dull yellow street lights and neon signs everywhere, reveal many of the district’s citizens going about their nightly lives, from street-side substance dealers to vendors, to buyers, to prostitutes, all driven by a common denominator; House Ryu.

We come to a halt outside a well aged tavern. Like most of the manmade structures on this planet, it is built of metal and almost all of its yellow paint has been stripped away. The guards at the front entrance seem a bit uneasy. I guess I would be too if three Razan’s Ronin, 30 ton, Wasp LAMs came and stood less than thirty feet away with guns and launchers pointed in my direction. But they hold their positions, admirable in a way, their guns futile at the ready.

“ ‘Bull’…how’s the weather?”

Static hits me “… All clear Tushio…”

“ ‘Hound’… ?”

“Ready and waiting sir…”

“ ‘Terri’, ‘Akita’, if anything goes wrong, do what you have to do.”

“…Will do boss.” ‘Akita’s voice is steady. He knows, just like the rest of us what the risks and potential consequences of coming here entail.

I power down my LAM and hit the release switch. The console in front of me hisses, as the pressurized air around is expelled, and slides downward. The legs of the machine crouch, thus lowering the cockpit to the ground. My harness tightens for a second, then goes loose and I unclip it.

“Be careful Tushio…eyes open.”

I won’t reply but ‘Terri’ knows I acknowledge his concern.

The air here is warm and dry but my MechWarrior Combat Suit filters it in and allows me to breathe cool and moist oxygen. My MCS neuro helmet tells me that the temperature is a nice 32 degrees Celsius (89°F) and I say nice, because the daytime temp is usually anything around 60 (140°F).

I climb out of my seat and down the built in ladder in front of my Wasp. The two guards at the door are now joined by three more and as I walk toward them, the sound of my LAM resealing itself ripples through the far recesses of my mind until it becomes another distant background noise.

I get to the door of the tavern and one of the guards step between me and it “Who are you and what is your business here Mercenary?”

His gravelly voice is like the rest of all who come from or live too long on this planet. It’s because of the dust and sand, according to those who are qualified to know these things. Gets into the throat and lungs and over time, the human body adapts.

“I am death to my enemies, but I am here to see Toros, my friend.” I keep eye contact and though he defiantly returns my gaze, I see a flicker of uncertainty.

“Wait here.” He leaves me with the other four guards and goes through the door.

Two minutes and some pass before he returns and makes way for me to enter. His colleagues seem on edge but they are of no concern. As a matter of fact, I think that the two Wasp LAM’s facing us have placed a healthy bit of fear in them; exactly what I was hoping for.

The guard I spoke to eyes me suspiciously but motions for me to enter.

Through the slanted steel doors, I go without hesitation and the world around me changes from openly wild, street side life, to controlled and nice…an almost cozy indoor getaway. The bar is dusty and hot but lively. Its yellow lights cast a dull glow across the large room. I recall from memory the exits and windows in my immediate view; on any world where hostilities could erupt at any minute, it has become second nature over time to do so.

The big bartender looks like ex Military; Bjarredian Special forces. And two men not far from him seem to be trading something unholy. Then there is the guy sitting at a corner table with two prostitutes; a Bjarredian tradesman by the look of his clothing. Tradesmen on this planet are often leathery skinned because of their extensive time in the sun. Their clothes are always long and made of patchwork that covers most of their bodies including heads and faces.

“Hello there…”

I turn toward the soft voice. A woman dressed in a very short, formfitting jumper and rugged high heels is standing next to me. She takes advantage of my silence.

“You look lost hun… ” Eying me like a piece of meat.

“Sorry, but I’m here on business.”

“Sorry indeed… ”

Just like most Bjarredian women, her face is rough and chiseled yet very attractive and her hair, bleached and damaged; all a result of the harsh weather.

“You’re here to see Toros. I’m here to take you to him.”

She looks at me as though I were a strange thing that made her curious. I realize now that she isn’t a prostitute and remove my neuro helmet, attach it to the magnetic clip on my waist and follow the slinky woman through the crowd and into a hallway.

The Digital Optics covering my eyes like contact lenses, Digital Eyes, or Dees as we call them, take over and feeds me second by second digital, visual information about my surroundings. The Digital Eyes are experimental technology specifically for the Draconis Combine's DEST based on Multi Mode Cybernetic Eye Implant but are not ‘Implants’ they are in essences, contact lenses. Digital Eyes incorporate dozens of optical sensors that not only mimic the functions of a Rangefinder Binocular but protect the wearer's senses from being overwhelmed by flash ordnance. Information is presented to the wearer through a high resolution miniature video screen and sophisticated heads up display which shows the surrounding environment in a compressed format. In effect the wearer's rear 180 degree arc is shown as a panoramic view at the top of their normal view, making it virtually impossible to outflank them, though this can be disorienting at first and requires minor adjustment time.

The Dees tell me what I want to know, when I choose to want it. But nothing ever prepares me for the air. It hits me like an invisible wall of stale warmth that smells like old carpets. I hate it but have no choice in the matter now; no one in the known Inner Sphere takes kindly to people in masks and helmets, especially Mercenarys in masks and helmets. We walk a few steps and turn through another metal door. It opens up into a large, dimly lit room made up of split levels where women and men of many races mingle and mix.

As I tread the velvety floor, a blue haired Bjarredian woman nearby looks my way and smiles but I continue on, passing what looks like a local miner and a Wonju Woman uncomfortably embraced in a purple lit booth. I have never been to the Wonju but I know what the folks there look like. Prolonged exposure to the atmospheres on the twin planets, Wonju and Wonju V tend to give the skin something almost akin to a light purple hue. The darker the skin, the darker the hue, in my book however, purple is purple no matter how you look at it.

My escort guides me through the mingling crowd, past two guards, through another hallway, two more guards, and now an unusually broad door stands before us. With a knock she opens it and I step into a fairly large office and finally, I see the man I have come to find.

“Welcome my friend!” He is falsely excited to see me. But it is never a problem, because I am also falsely happy to be here. The semicircular and windowless room smells of Cuban Cigars. ‘How in the Hell did he get Cuban Cigars through Combine Customs?’

“How are you Toros?” I shake his rough hand and look into the square, chiseled, hairless face as I take a seat by his desk; my escort stands between us waiting.

“Elna… drinks!” He says it as though there is a celebration to be had, then watches her slyly as she walks away. “…Very nice girl…been with my establishment from the beginning.”

His voice is rough and deep… way too much dust I always say. “You‟ve been hiding her… I‟ve never met her before…”

“My friend… ” he gives me a broad smile “…I have more than one places of business on Bjarred; surely you know this?”

“You must treat her like gold then? Good help is hard to find no matter
what planet you‟re on… ” I indulge the meaningless conversation for the

“Not on Stapelfeld… ” He grins, reminiscing “The service there is always excellent…you ever been to Stapelfeld, Mercenary?”

“No, I haven’t, but I know of it… ” I have never been to the planet of cities, but I have seen it on flybys and walked through it virtually many times.

“… Beautiful place my friend…” Toros shifts his hulking frame and the chair beneath him protests loudly. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you Mercenary. I was beginning to think that you’d left us here on this damned rock for good.”

“I’m here because I need information… ”

“Ah… as always, straight to the point…” His mouthful of bright white teeth flashes a broad grin.

I relax in my chair and accept my drink now that Elna has returned. Toros waits for her to leave again and after the door is shut behind her, he continues.

“What kind of information do you seek my friend?”

It is Bjarredian custom to not ask, but for the host to present a drink of their choice to a guest. I take a sip of the blue-ish green cocktail and it is good. “What is this drink?”

He leans heavily into his big, black leather chair. “Pine fruit, water pears and the best Bjarredian Fermentia you can find; it is good, no?”

I sip it again and nod my approval. Fermentia is Bjarred‟s version of wine and is ranked in the top ten of fine wines that the Galaxy has to offer.
“I hear that a small Ebon Raptor Company has landed on Bjarred…” I search his face for any sign of acknowledgement, but there is none “Do you know where they are based?” but I see his crooked mind working; the well-oiled gears of it turning at full steam.

“You’ve been coming to me for a long time now Mercenary, like what, about three months… ” He plays with his glass “…and I’ve always given you whatever you ask, you know this. You pay well and that is what it’s all about, no? What you ask now though, puts me in a difficult position…do me…and you, a favor my friend and leave this one alone...”

He’s getting shifty so I cut him off “… Name your price.” But it is as though I said nothing

“…These guys, they don‟t play nice. They’ll find me and end me, you must understand this Mercenary.”

“I thought you were well protected here…thought this was your domain?”

“Domain..? Mercenary, to these people, there is no domain they cannot reach; They’ll just send their assassins or bomb everything. They have spies…everywhere, and government connections. You have no idea what you’re getting into.”

“Who said I was getting into anything? I just asked a question.”

Toros places his drink on the desk and looks at me. The fear in this man’s eyes says it all. Ebon Raptor is obviously bigger and more dangerous here than in the other Prefectures. A burst of static hits my ear. “Tushio..?”

It’s ‘Pitbull’.

“… I just hacked into Toros’ logs and it appears that he has ties to Ebon Raptor. There was a transaction of fifty million C Bills two days ago to Toros for services rendered…sending to you…now.”

The info appears across my Digital Eyes. Now I know why the Bjarredian opposite me is avoiding the question.Toros is still rambling.

“… and I’m not stupid Mercenary. You don’t care if I get ended by these men. All you want is… wait a minute. You wouldn’t be asking about them if you weren’t planning some sort of raid…” His words trail off as the truth registers.

‘I wish it wouldn’t.’

“… or a hit… this is a hit. You’re going after them on Bjarredian soil…” He looks away from me in thought “… yes, you’re not here under instruction from your handlers. As far as I know, you’re not allowed to even be here. This is some kind of unauthorized operation and you don’t care what happens to me
after… ”

“I’ll double the Ryu Toros, and give you protection.”

“Protection..? Ha!”

I don’t like the look in his eyes.

“… I’m sorry Mercenary. I can’t let you this time… bad for business, you understand, no?”

The room seems to be getting a bit too small. I hate to do this but Toros has now become a liability…no, a threat. He shifts suddenly so I draw my hand gun and point it toward his face. “Don’t do this Toros. All I asked was where, are, they? Please my friend, I won’t mention you, I swear.”

“Friend..? Ha!” His face contorts in anger “… That will not stop them from knowing that it was me. No one tolerates a rat. I’ll be eaten alive.”

“Last time Toros. Where..?”

“You’ll never make it out of here alive Mercenary.”

I refuse to answer. The situation has gotten out of control. Inside, I recoil at the thought of what I am about to do. I wish it were different but now I have no choice.

“Please Mercenary… ” The bulky, bald headed Bjarredian is on the edge of panic “…do not do this...You have no idea…” And as he draws his hidden gun and shouts for help, I squeeze the trigger on my Sternsnacht Claymore Heavy Pistol. The ‘Hand Cannon’ as its nicknamed, lets loose its bullet with a heavy thud and I move as what was Toros’ head explodes into an expanding pulp. “I’m sorry old friend.” I reattach my helmet just as the door bursts open and slam the butt of my gun into the face that appears. The big man cries out but regains his footing and lunges toward me. I shift my weight and use his own to throw him over the desk of his fallen boss.

Another thug comes crashing through the door and my Sternsnacht puts him back through it. I need to get out of this hallway; it is a death chamber the longer I wait. I fire into the first man now rising from behind the desk and begin my run, then slow to a walk beside the metal door separating my corridor from the commingling on the other side. Pushing the button to open it is either going to give me freedom or death but time is of the essence, everyone in the building would have heard those shots.

The door flies open and after a quick glance, I run through the now empty space and stop once more near the hallway on the other side. No one is here either. I don’t like this, it’s too easy but I have to get out.

“Tushio… ” Terri’s is in my ear “…keep coming to us.”

I suck in deep breaths of purified air, and take the passageway in long strides with my heart clawing its way out my chest. But the deep breaths and a well trained, steady mind keeps me calm and thinking straight. The door to the bar and lounge is now within reach.


The sound hits like thunder and I open the door in time to see the front end of the tavern disintegrate.

“Tushio, come on!”

‘Akita’s LAM stands like the Grim Reaper, medium pulse laser spewing energy darts and tearing up everything moving or not and I run for it, putting a hole into the chest of another guard. I don’t know for sure, but it appears as though every customer that I left in here is now holding a weapon.

While I push my legs for more speed, My LAM is already opening by remote command and bullets whiz nearby as I run up the ladder.

“Tushio… ” It’s ‘Bull’s voice “…heavy ‘Mechs in bound on your six. I make two Quickdraws.”

‘Terrier’ is on the air now “Yeah we’ve got company. I got ‘em on scope. ‘Huski’ let’s go!”

I strap into my seat and wake my Wasp LAM’s sleeping systems. Everything comes online instantly and we turn to leave the half leveled building. Now I know for sure that Toros had dealings with Ebon Raptor. Quickdraws’ are the preferred Heavy ‘Mech of Ebon Raptor’s operations; heavy ‘Mech class war machines that could that could level a city block in a matter of seconds. This is fast turning into a ‘not good’ situation.

“Okay boys, look alive, weapons hot, ‘Hound’ get on it.”

I activate my missile launcher and hear the whir as my medium laser turns to lock onto my targets. We go back the way we came and as we come out onto the deserted main road the ground in front of us and the edges of the building nearby tear up with gun fire.

“ ‘Hound’, do you have them?” I hope to God his answer is yes.

“Got ‘em boss… ”

“Disable the bastards. ‘Bull’, hold your position.”

“Holding…” he replies

I imagine ‘Dachshund’ siting in his cockpit and targeting our enemies. His two hundred and twenty pound frame, taking up his entire seat, is perfectly matched to the monster, Arrow IV mounted above his Wasp WSP-100 Mk I LAM.

Bullets twang off our armor and my missile alert systems are going mad. I hear the sound a split second before the wall to my left explodes. Chunks of metal and ferrocrete slam into my armor but no damages are indicated. According to my scope, the Quickdraws are a hundred and twenty three meters out and closing. My warning system shrieks as it detects their missile lock again but in a bright flash… ONE…TWO! Both heavy ‘Mechs go down, their legs, blown out at the hip actuators. ‘Hound’s long range assault has done its job and now, my targeting computer alerts me.

“Tushio… ” ‘Terri’s voice “… I got lock…”


I need to make contact so I key it up, and see the module appear in the upper left of my virtual Head’s up Display. I select it and that activates my LAM’s auto frequency finder and it scans until I have the right one.

“Quickdraw Lance…you have engaged a Proxy of the 7th Pesht Regulars Regiment in unauthorized combat. Stand down or we will kill you. You have five seconds to comply.”

Eying the time counter on my Multi Function Display screen, I wait as the milliseconds change to seconds that will eventually bring the moment of destruction. There is static on the air.

“Seventh Pesht Regulars Snakes … ” his breathing is heavy and his voice like a loud whisper “… you are the ones who will meet death…”

His hoarse voice and labored breathing makes his words heavy, and in them is the sound of finality. I look at our crippled enemies and take in the shattered scene of old buildings and the empty street behind them. One of the Quickdraw’s, is using what’s left of his destroyed titanium legs, rolls over and brings his missile launchers to bear. My warning systems light up…I have no choice.

“Fire… !”

I select Swarm LRMs and my finger squeezes the trigger on my joy stick. Five Swarm missiles spat from their launch tube. The cockpit shudders. Their trails of grey and black smoke joining those from ‘Terri’s LAM creates an eerie sight as the missiles track their prey. Two seconds, One second, Impact, the fallen Quickdraws flare up in a brilliant flash followed by a wicked thunder and a raging dust cloud that expands rapidly outward; it is over. What is left of them is nothing more than superheated metal, melted into clumps of hard waste. The ground where they lay is now a small crater. Their debris, just more broken pieces added to the picture of this forsaken place; we turn to head back to base, I try to push Toros from my mind. I can’t. The time on my HUD is 21:35.


Name: Tushio Sakai
Callsign: ‘Huski’
Rank: Chu-i (Lieutenant)
Hardware: Wasp WSP-105M LAM
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Kiridashi
Lance: Dragon’s Eye
Assignment: Recon
Unit: Razan's Ronins

Name: Zephyr Jorgensson
Callsign: ‘Spirit’
Rank: Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel)
Hardware: Invader Class JumpShip
Wing: Red Storm
Squadron: Hydra’s Bane
Assignment: Aerodyne Transport
Unit: Razan's Ronins
Name: Kintaro Tanaka
Rank: Colonel
Callsign: 'Iceman'
MH: Steele Dagger Spec Ops BA
Role: DEST
Assignment: CO Battle Armor Regiment
Platoon: Black Ops
Company: SWAT
Battalion: HQ Battalion
Regiment: Smilodon

User avatar
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:51 pm
affiliations: Name: Kintaro Tanaka
Callsign: 'Iceman'
Rank: Sho-sa (Major)
Hardware: Kage BA (DEST)
Battalion: DEST
Company: Shadow
Platoon: PA(L) DEST Platoon Alpha
Assignment: Breach
Role: Executive Officer
Unit: Razan's Ronins
House: Draconis Combine

Re: Transcript for DC-PH-04-03 Pirate Hunting Bjarred

Postby Iceman » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:01 pm

DC-PH-04-01 #06

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Castle Brian
Bird’s Roost
Saturday March 2nd 3095 22:15 Local

We fly into the Bird’s Roost at 21:58. The massive Castle Brian complex is a waste of space if you ask me. Ten miles into the Dune Desert, most of it is buried below ground. I doubt that the folks stationed here take up even half of it. Lights outline the base’s circular metal dome. Windows at varying levels appear as electric blue lines from this distance; giving the structure an eerie glow. This architecture reminds me of how far away from home I am.

“Base Control… ” I read the code on my HUD and then “… Dragon’s Eye on approach, over… ”

“Dragon’s Eye, You’re cleared for entry. Touch down on zero seven.” A holo graphic line materializes on my navigation screen. It will lead us to Landing Pad seven. The voice this time is that of a young lady. I have no idea who she is though. Many new recruits and interns often get shipped out here from time to time and as they come… they go.

‘Lucky bastards.’

My team and I have been here for four months now. Four months of crap. This rock is nothing more than a routine filled life of nothing, as far as I am concerned, and this is the tenth time they have shipped us out here; I can’t wait to leave it behind again.

I drop toward the landing pad four hundred meters ahead. My thrusters whine as they compensate for the loss of thrust versus gravity. In my peripherals, ‘Akita’ and ‘Hound’ are right with me. ‘Bull’ and ‘Terri’ would be behind them. I switch my engines to hover and slide the throttle back, reducing power until my altimeter reads, ten feet above immediate ground level. We send our LAMs through the conversion and we all kill the upward thrusts almost at the same time and our LAMs touch down, feet first, with a series of heavy thuds.

“Dragon’s Eye. Proceed to wash down. Welcome home.”

She sounds so young. Why don’t these kids stay at home and enjoy their youth? But then I think of the Battle Axe who runs the base and I am suddenly more grateful for the new voice.

The landing pad; large, circular and made of dense metal is red and brown and covered with constantly shifting dust. The winds out here read at a good seventy miles per hour but our thirty ton Walking Battle Tanks hold steady. While we walk, I do a thorough systems check. This is standard procedure and it will take about five minutes as my team approaches the wide opening of the outer hanger.

I follow the lines glowing on the ground ahead of me with my brain feeling the tingle of millions of microscopic neural electrical jolts. Mind and computer linked together in a dance of pulses and waves; this stuff never ceases to amaze me. We continue, through the hangar opening and to a large chamber that seals us inside with a giant Ferro Carbide door. Locked in now, the five of us are subjected to powerful streams of super heated and compressed water and gas that hit our LAM’s armour under extreme pressure; scrubbing us clean of dust, parasites and any other dangers that might have been picked up on the outside. I finish up my usual systems check as every few seconds, jets of water and
whatnot slam into the narrow strip of cockpit glass around me.

After our time in decontamination, we go through another set of hangar doors and stand the LAM’s in their designated berths. Each assigned space has the Pesht Military District DCMS logo, and uniquely coloured lines along their edges, representing rank, indicate who goes where. I log the final reading from one of the sensors on my HUD, then power down my engine and hit the release switch. A moment passes as the cockpit lights come on and my neuro helmet’s visor switches from external to normal view, showing what is really around me. Then the front section of my cockpit slides backward and I climb out.

As my feet touch the metal floor of our docking bay, I remove my MCS neuro helmet and blink. There is a slight jab behind my eyes as the Digital Eyes adjusts to the brightly lit space and I join ‘Bull’ and ‘Akita’ while they wait for the rest of the team.

Standing lifelessly nearby, my Wasp LAM towers above us; its black skin casting dull reflections of lights around. I remember the first time I saw it, and the joy I felt knowing that I would be piloting it. With its cylindrical long range missile launcher protruding from its center torso, and the 5cm Martell medium laser mounted underneath its right arm, it still makes me feel insignificant. Designed by famous weapons specialist, Katherine Piscalla, daughter of the great, General Ganton Piscalla, the medium laser is the military’s most widely used energy weapon. It is also the Crown Jewel of Contractors back on Terra, being manufactured by as many as thirteen different independent contractors.

Across the gunmetal grey hanger, with its Ferro Carbide floor almost reflective, two Ronin light aerospace fighters, Sholagars; space shuttles; four armored tanks from Awakening Dragon Lance, three hover and one wheeled; and a few other Light Class ‘Mechs fill the manmade cavern. There is also a 7th Pesht Regulars DropShip here. Our Combined Arms Carrier, the Dragon’s Nest, is here too. Originally built as a ‘Mech hauling DropShip with a fully fitted weapons system of its own; she’s perfect for space warfare. The sleek and attractive spacecraft had been refitted to transport up to four BattleMechs, four AeroSpace Fighters, two heavy vehicles, eleven light, five squads of Battle Armor, and four platoons of infantry before being assigned to us. Its primary function; to take us from the JumpPoint to any planet’s surface and back without having to use a small craft.

“Time to eat…” ‘Hound’ says as he approaches.

“The ‘Pitbull’ agrees. Nothing else to do anyways so let’s… ”

I have no reason to disagree with them so we all follow ‘Bull’ and ‘Hound’ out of the hanger and to the Mess hall. “That was a good run guys…”

“Good run? Tushio, unless you forgot, we got no leads...”

I turn toward ‘Terri’, his black wavy hair a mess after its time in his helmet. “Of course we did…” They all look at me, puzzled “…we know for sure that the Raiders are somewhere on this planet.”

“But how do we know where..?” ‘Akita’ jumps in.

“We’ll pay another friend of mine a visit...”

“At the rate we’re going… ” ‘Terri’ again “… you’ll be out of friends by day after tomorrow. I’m thinking of unfriending you right now as a matter of fact.”

We all laugh and walk toward a glass doorway that slides into the wall.

“Chu-i (Lieutenant)..!”

We turn toward the voice. ‘Damn its he’r.

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Castle Brian
Bird’s Roost
Tai-sa (Colonel) Johnsson Office
Saturday March 2nd 3095 2300 Local

“Sit, Chu-i (Lieutenant)!” She’s all business. I take a seat. We are in her office, or prison cell, depending on how you look at it. All these enclosed metal rooms are basically the same to me, differentiated only by color and furniture. Hers is light blue with an L shaped, blue metal desk, two white cushioned metal chairs, and a hidden shelving system.

I try to read her for any signs of what is to come but there are none… she’s good. We sit in silence for a while. I know she is assessing me, maybe even trying to make me nervous; she should know better. Her red hair is in a tight bun today. Her eyes are livid as they scan the documents before her. There is an undercurrent there, an anger that is kept well in check if I am not mistaken. On the other hand, she has what I like to call ‘an unattractive, attractive face’. Even with the weathered effects of Bjarredian weather and the broad, painfully looking deep scar running from the middle of her forehead, down her left eye and to her lower jaw, something appealing still exists.

A Certificate case hanging on the wall behind her reveals that I need a shave. The stubble on my face, along with my black crew cut hair makes me look a bit older than I am, but then again, that could just be the reflective glass being negative; like its owner.

“Chu-i (Lieutenant) Tushio Yamashita Sakai… ” She says it without looking at me, snapping me from my daze, her attention rooted to a sheet of digital paper as she slides it across the metal desk. I haven’t heard my full name face to face in a very long time; so much so, that now I do; it seems foreign, especially coming from her. For the past few years, it has been Chu-i (Lieutenant), Tushio or ‘Huski’. She must be really pissed off.

“… gives you the right to think… ” Her voice registers again “…that you have the authority to carry out an unauthorized Op in my jurisdiction, on my watch..?” She is looking at me now, her eyes furious but her demeanour composed.

“I don’t understand. I don’t know anything about an Op...” The images on the translucent paper are those of three Wasp LAM’s standing in place while an unseen attacker blows the crap out of two Quickdraws. Outside of the current circumstances, it looks pretty cool on paper.

“… I don’t know what you are doing here or why you were sent, but I know one thing… this is my base. Your briefings and debriefings might be to Tai-sa (Colonel) ‘Rough Ryder’ but, everyone who is a part of my base is subject to the rules and regulations of my base…” She pauses, for some kind of effect I guess
“… therefore, you are to remain on my base for the duration of your stay. You and your team no longer have access to the hanger bay…”

“You can’t do th… ”

She raises her voice “…and I order you… ” Volume down and voice stern again “… to cease and desist whatever operation you are currently carrying out until further notice! Do I make myself clear?”

“Komanda (Commander) you don’t… ”

Loud again “I will have you and your squad court marshalled… !” Calm once more “… now do, I, make, myself, clear?”

I return her gaze “Crystal clear, Ma’am.”

Her eyes move away from mine “You are dismissed.”

I stand and walk away without hesitation. We have been back and forth in arguments ever since my first time here but this time…this one could be a problem. I quickly push her out of my mind. We have a job to do, and we need to get out of here.

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Castle Brian
Bird’s Roost
Chu-i (Lieutenant) Sakai Quarter’s
Saturday March 2nd 3095 23:30 Local

A half hour later, I am in my cell… room…quarters… whatever it is and thinking about our current predicament. I will have to discuss it with the guys when we get together in the Mess. I don`t trust talking on coms in this place.

There is a knock on my door.

“It’s open… ”

The steel door slides aside to reveal the oval opening, and who I see standing there catches me off guard, but I don’t show it. I stand and deliver an over exaggerated salute and try hard to not show my surprise…or is it interest… doesn’t matter.

“Chu-i (Lieutenant)..?” her voice is steady. She is carrying a file and obviously not in a good mood. Her manner has not changed since we last spoke. So why is she here?

“Komanda (Commander)… ” I acknowledge her.

“I have great news… ” She has not even spoken a full sentence and alreadyvher lips drip with fury “… the boots you wipe have cleared you for duty.” Her composure is failing.

She throws the file and it lands on the mattress next to me. I look at it, sit up and open the shiny case.

“When your Op is completed, you are cleared to leave this planet forthwith. Good day Chu-i (Lieutenant).”

Her head is held high and her back straight as a ruler. I continue to read what is before me and she turns to leave. “Komanda (Commander)… ?” I can’t help it. This is ridiculous the more I think about it. But she continues walking. “Bernice..!” She stops and turns her head slightly “… Wait. Please.” She turns her face away from me and toward the door but does not move.

“Chu-i (Lieutenant), you will address me with the necessary respect re…”

“Then court martial me, but before you do, tell me, what is your problem?” I wait but get no response, so I get off the bed and continue. “…This makes no sense. This is the tenth time I’ve run Ops from here and for whatever reason, of which I have no idea, you have shown me nothing less than unwarranted hostility.”

“What is my problem…unwarranted hostility?” The words slither from her lips like poisoned silk. She re-seals the door behind her and turns to me now. “… okay, you want to talk? Let’s talk.” Her eyes glare like shiny hornets “… you… full of yourself, pompous sonofabitch and answerable to no one… ”

I’ve never heard her like this before and now her cheeks blossom red… I’ve never seen this either.

“… Yes that’s you. Every time your unit runs an Op from here, you undermine my authority. You treat the regulations of my base as though they are beneath you… Unwarranted hostility?” She begins to walk away.

“This is pointless…” I move toward her.

“Yes, it is pointless.” She puts a hand to open the door. I hold her arm and she stops.

“I didn’t mean this conversation is pointless. I meant this…” I gesture to the space between us “… this hate between us.”

She retaliates


I move just in time as she swings into me but I was not expecting it. Her manoeuvre does not hit true but my body is still slammed against the cabin wall. She is good. I mean, I am a fully trained soldier and yet her technique against me was flawless.

“You don’t ever touch me Chu-i (Lieutenant)!” Glaring, she holds me in place. I think about what is happening. The tension between us had been building for some time now. I always knew she hated me and that eventually our clash would come but damn, how was I to know it would happen like this? Her eyes bore into mine and I take in the intensity on her face. Her anger, hair like fire, lips like…I don’t know but they are nice. I also see her scars up close for the first time. She has obviously seen battle, or maybe the wrong side of a past relationship who knows… why the hell do I care? I shift my weight, all one hundred and eighty five pounds of it and redirect hers. She releases her hold and I drive her slender frame to the spot where she previously pinned me.

“We’re adults Komanda (Commander).” I release her now.

“Assaulting a Komanda (Commander) of any 7th Pesht Regulars in a Pesht Military District installation is
punishable by…”

I back away. “I’m not what you think… ”

She takes a deep breath “What difference does it make Chu-i (Lieutenant)?” Her emotions betray her now. Anger and frustration in her eyes and voice spill out.

“… It’s not easy doing this job. You should know how it is when your directives don’t come from your immediate superior. You have no idea what my job entails so don’t judge me based on it.”

“And what..? Are we supposed to be friends? Does your secretive occupation of black ops and whatever other ungodly acts you do, give you the right to make me look like a fool on my own base? You obviously can’t see past your objectives.”

She’s cold and I find it difficult to digest. “…And you can?” I ask the question without thought.

“I know how to follow orders, but I also know when to show respect and common courtesy.”

“I couldn’t give privileged informa… ”

”It’s not so privileged now is it?” She’s loud again. Her eyes lock on to mine, as if boring through me… this is awkward. With her voice regular again “… You did not have the decency to let me, the base Komanda (Commander), know what you were about to do…”

“I had no choice. You know this. You know how this job works? You know how the Chain of command works. You above many should know what comes with taking orders.”

“You just don’t get it… ”

I cut her off “… No, you obviously don’t get it...” I’m annoyed now but she continues as though I said nothing.

“… after you foolishly do what you come here to do, and you and your little company leave, the Bjarredians become more hostile toward us. They don’t see us any different from you. No Chu-i (Lieutenant), you don’t get it. We’re the ones who have to clean up your shit.”

She turns on her heels to leave. I don’t think I need to say this but maybe I do… who knows? “I’m sorry.”

“… for what? It makes no difference. You come, you leave, and we pay the price.” The door opens again.

“So why can’t we put this behind us, start over… move on?” I don’t even know why I’m continuing this. Maybe I do but I don’t think so. I’m confused now as she stops outside of the porthole.

“I have moved on, just as I always do. I suggest you do the same.” She turns and disappears down the corridor, her boots echoing on the metal floor and the door closes. I want to turn my attention to the folder on my bed, I want to scream, I want to go after her, I think of Toros… I think of her again, I need to
get this mission done but for the moment, I can’t do anything. What the hell is happening to me?

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Castle Brian
Bird’s Roost
Chu-i (Lieutenant)Sakai’s Quarters
Sunday March 3rd 3095 04:30am Local

I open my eyes. My Dees tell me that it’s 4:31 am. My first thoughts are of her. This annoys me and I wish, for a moment, that there was some sort of pill for forgetfulness. Well there are pills for that but not in the way I want. I eventually forget her and remember my dream. It was of life back on Shimonita; I have not been home in such a long time. I wonder how much has changed. But these thoughts won’t help me now. There are more important things to deal with today. I gotta get up and down to my team. We have a lot of work to do. If we want to catch that Raider Company, we have to be quick and decisive about it. I push her out of my mind again.

The Mess Hall is not too crowded. The team and I have been discussing our strategy for our next run. We’ll be heading out in a few hours, when the sun is at its hottest. This way we should meet few, if any, local patrols. In a way, I am not looking forward to this trip. I just know it is going to be one of those drawn out and tedious ones but if all goes according to plan, we should be at our destination by late afternoon and back in good enough time.

My next contact is a Bjarredian who I met during my fourth week here; a narcotics and weapons dealer who gives me information for House Bills. He is not a problem because no dealer in their right mind would risk being exposed as a snitch or worse, having a Pesht Military District Battalion storming their
happy little world. Hopefully, he won’t be spooked by my last meeting with one of his associates.

“Okay guys, we’ll be mobile in a few hours so I’ll let you get back to your free time.”

“Thank you Tushio...” ‘Akita’ jumps up and without looking back, hurries away.

“What’s up with him?” I turn to ‘Terri’.

“The usual…she’s young this time, blue blonde and hypnotized by the ‘Akita’.”

I laugh “It‟s the same thing everywhere we go. This is what now, seventy something?”

“I`ve lost count...” ‘Hound’ joins in.

‘Terrier’ slides out from the table “Well I’m going to go back to my room to get some air time with the folks back home. The link up is gonna be good today.”

“Do your thing ‘Terri’… ” I watch him leave and think of his mother. She was like a mother to me after my parents died. I’ve known them a long time. “… and hey… ” He turns to me. His face is older but his eyes…his eyes are still those dark brown ones belonging to that kid I grew up with. “…Tell them I said

“No problem Chu-i (Lieutenant).”

“I’m gonna head to the lounge and see if I can get as lucky as ‘Akita’. See ya later guys.” ‘Pitbull’ disappears and ‘Hound’ and I remain seated.

“We need vacations.”

I look at ‘Hound’ before answering. The big German swings both boot clad feet onto the table and leans back fearlessly in the narrow chair.

“Tell me about it.”

He sighs “When this is over, why don’t we put in for some time off? We’ve been on the prowl for so long I can’t remember what life outside of my job feels like.”

“Sounds like a great Idea. I’ll talk to Onishi-san when this is over. I know ‘Terri’ wants to go home. I also want to see Shimonita again.”

‘Hound’ laughs “ ‘Terri’? He’s already had time off. He’s the only one who has.”

“Yeah but that was different. His mother was sick so that doesn’t… ”

“He spent a month with her Tushio. Way longer than needed. You know it, I know it. He got lucky and we’re on his side about it, but at the same time, we don’t like being overlooked either.”

“Okay you’re right, I must admit it, but that was six months ago… ”

“Six months… ” He cuts in again “…a year, yesterday…doesn’t matter. All I’m saying is that I too, would like some R and R. Sometimes I wish my mom would get sick.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll see what I can do. ‘Pitbull’ keeps talking about Kooken’s Pleasure Pit…”

“… The Island planet?”


“That’d be fun”

“I can only imagine. I’ve never been there.”

“… Seriously Chu-i (Lieutenant)..? I’ve been there a few times…nothing but tropical air and seas and islands everywhere; just awesome.”

“Where’d you like to go?”

“Well, ‘Akita’ has been telling me about Groveld Three…”

I should have known. “… The Red moon?”

“Yep…sounds like a blast…been thinking of it for some time now. He says that whenever, if ever, we get off this beat for long enough, he’d show me around there.”

“Yeah that’s ‘Akita’ for you. Travel a thousand light years for easy women. It’s the perfect place for him.”

We both laugh and I remember meeting ‘Hound’ for the first time. We were both young recruits in the BattleMech Academy on Sawyer, the paradise planet. We had just landed and after a small scuffle over seats in the transport, our hostilities became very evident in everything we did.

“Chu-i (Lieutenant)… I’m gonna go talk to the technicians for a while. Keep myself busy so I don’t fall asleep.”

He drags both large feet off the shiny table between us. Then, standing to his full six feet five, he walks away; blonde hair hanging a few inches below his crown and shifting with his walk.

“See you in a bit ‘Hound’… ” Back in our days at the training facility, I had grown to hate everything about ‘Hound’, just as much as he did about me, right down to his beady blue eyes and our rivalry had sprouted a separation in the camp, much to the disgust of our commanders. I remember him tracking me hard in his training ‘Mech as I tried to get into a firing position to take him down. We had been viciously going at it for a good ten minutes and then as I out maneuvered and bested him, my BattleMech went critical and slammed into the ground. It was ‘Hound’ who dragged me from the twisted heap of metal and wires and burning debris. The man had carried me a seemingly safe distance before the explosion threw him and put us both out of commission for almost six months. It was in the infirmary, on those two neighbouring beds that we had gotten to know each other, and we have been brothers ever since.

The sounds of three female voices break my train of thought. They walk past nearby and one of them flashes me a cute smile. I look at the few folks around me. I have no Idea who most of these people are. All nameless faces in a place far away from home, but I have my unit… and my unit is all that matters.
I notice the time. There is absolutely nothing to do in this place and so I get up and walk back to my room.

“Chu-i (Lieutenant)… ”

‘God please, not again’.

“Komanda (Commander)… ” I acknowledge her with a salute. She hands me a file containing a few sheets of digital paper

“These may be of some value.”

I take them from her, not sure what to make of her sudden friendliness “What are these?” I look at the first sheet.

“We are not the slackers you take us for. You’ll find that we are more resourceful than you think.”

I must admit, she is a beautiful woman in spite of the scars. Her red hair is still pulled into a tight bun with apparent military precision and her uniform, as crisp as ever. “Why are you doing this?” I’m not bothered by her for the moment. The thoughts and feelings from of our fight amazingly remain at bay.

“… because duty comes before personal issue. Good luck Chu-i (Lieutenant).”

She walks past me and continues until out of sight down the narrow corridor. I am still in shock but quickly regain my senses. That was bullshit and she knows it. At least I would like to think so. Duty indeed…The file reveals information about a small Company of ‘Mechs that had entered Bjarredian airspace a few days ago. I continue toward my quarters.

‘Maybe she was right after all. If I had let her know of our mission, Toros would still be alive and Dragon’s Eye would have been on that well deserved vacation.’
One of the sheets of digital paper shows a map of Bjarred and a possible location for the unauthorized Company. The image shows an unusually large concentration of heat signatures in a valley four thousand miles from here. I enter my room and barely register the door closing behind me. This spot on the map has got to be where they are based. They have obviously masked their position with some form of camouflage, so all the satellite sees are these red splotches. But I don’t get it. Why did she help us?

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Castle Brian
Bird’s Roost
‘Mech Bay
Sunday March 3rd 3095 10:45am Local

It is 10:45am and I am in my Wasp LAM doing a systems check. The rest of my team is doing the same as technicians and AsTechs run around beneath us prepping our gear for departure. My communications console comes alive.

“Dragon’s Eye… ” I know the voice, it’s the Battle Axe “… ten minutes to departure.”

“… Tushio copies ten minutes; ready and waiting.”

We walk toward the outer doors of the huge hangar. I take a look at my cockpit before switching to the virtual display on my neuro helmet’s visor. I have always been a believer in checking any computer system manually before digitally.

“Chu-i (Lieutenant)… ” It’s her again “… satellite has spotted three medium LAMs … Yurei’s to be exact and four Lightning Attack Hovercrafts so approach with caution.”

“Will do Komanda (Commander)…” We pass through the outer lock and then the protective doors of the outer hangar and take up positions on a sand swept landing pad. “Base… Dragon’s Eye is ready for launch.” I give my engine a little power and wait.

A flash of static hits me “Dragon’s Eye, your launch is a go.”

I jump into the air using jump jets and start the conversion and the LAM fights gravity as we lift off. The sand and dust filled winds read at sixty six miles per hour, making visibility very limited but we push upward nonetheless. At two thousand feet above AGL I give the signal and we level out, then check the uploaded flight path and hit the throttle. The vents of my thrusters shift and I am pushed back into my cushioned seat. My heart thumps away at my chest and we shoot forward. The acceleration is hypnotic. Within thirty seconds we break the sound barrier and are pushing a little over a thousand miles per hour and should be where we want to be in about three and a half hours.


Name: Tushio Sakai
Callsign: ‘Huski’
Rank: Chu-i (Lieutenant)
Hardware: Wasp WSP-105M LAM
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Kiridashi
Lance: Dragon’s Eye
Assignment: Recon
Unit: Razan's Ronins

Name: Zephyr Jorgensson
Callsign: ‘Spirit’
Rank: Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel)
Hardware: Invader Class JumpShip
Wing: Red Storm
Squadron: Hydra’s Bane
Assignment: Aerodyne Transport
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #07

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
4000 miles away
Ebon Raptor’s Camp
Sunday March 3rd 3095 14:15 Local

The landscape below us is drastically uneven. Deep fissures spreading out in random directions look like gnarled fingers between massive sand dunes. These dunes rise, in some areas, as close to us as seven hundred feet. The winds at our altitude are seventy miles per hour but rogue gusts register every now and again at a hundred or more. This is a treacherous location so I maintain our two thousand feet above Immediate ground level flight path.

“Captain..?” It’s the Commander. I haven’t heard from her since we left base three and some hours ago. “Link and rep live, over?”

“ ‘Huski’ to base, we’re alone out here. Thirty minutes to contact.”

“We’re tracking you but the weather is getting worse…signal interference is heavy.”

“Roger that.” I focus on the ground below as we speed by. My fusion engine is a remarkable piece of work. We, as a race, have come a very long way. The year is now 3095 and according to history, mankind came across Fusion - technology in the year 2021. I remember learning this in History class and wishing for it to end so I could go meet Rachel Sommers. ‘I wonder whatever became of her?’ The Western Alliance created the first ever successful, miniature replica of the sun. The applications were, as one can
imagine, limitless. Within fifteen years of its dawn, the Fusion engine had allowed mankind to go beyond their limitations and finally reach for the stars. This breakthrough had then led to one hundred years of galactic searching and mapping and development. Then in 2102 our ancestors left Terra in massive JumpShip Fleets for new homes and in doing so, a new era was born; the era of, The Great Houses. To escape the unrest of the late 23rd century, many prominent people began emigrating to the stars in the time from 2102 to 2313, a period later known as the "Exodus". More than 1500 worlds were colonized during these years, expanding man's reach to over 150 light years from Terra

“Tushio… ten minutes to contact.”

“Okay ‘Bull’, let’s get to five on deck.”

I pull the throttles back, extend all my speed brakes and feel my stomach reach up my throat as my Wasp LAM slows rapidly and drops to five hundred feet. As we fly past the last of the wicked looking fissures and tall dunes, and cross over a terrain entirely covered by massive boulders, I kill the throttle and switch the LAM to ‘Mech mode. The machine vibrates through the transition and we drop the remaining few feet to above an enormous flat stone and drop to the rough surface, dislodging and kicking up rocks with a quaking thud; we immediately go dark. “ ‘Bull’…?” I wait

“All clear for one mile. Their warning systems don’t reach this far… got nothing else on scan.”

“Okay let’s move!”

I switch from flight to ground commands and hit the throttle. My LAM takes the uneven, rocky surface with ease as we get closer to what could be another successful run, or our last mission.

“Tushio… ” It’s Shujin (Master Sergeant) ‘Pitbull’ again “… I’m picking up interference of some sort. Not sure what it is but I think we should be careful here.”

We are standing on the edge of another flat rock face. I step off, a mere five foot drop, and onto the dusty ground of yet more desert. On either side of me are high, wind carved dunes made of hardened dust and sand. The valley is wide for maneuvering but still small enough to make us sitting ducks. I come to a stop and check my scanners; there’s nothing. But I don’t like the feeling in my gut. And if I am feeling it, and the Shujin (Master Sergeant) feels it, then by experience, we need to be cautious.

“ ‘Bull’, how’s the weather?”

“… sunny… but something doesn’t seem right boss,” he replies as he scans with his Phoenix Hawk LAM’s powerful Active Probe sensor suite.

Bull hardly ever calls me boss. He is worried “Okay. Look alive, boys…weapons hot…” I focus on my weapons module and follow my own commands. My medium lase come online with a hum. There is an uneasy stillness in the air that puts me on guard. It could just be a case of nerves but after a few years in this business, you learn that the jitters often precede a real event. We continue our trek until the valley lies behind us and another one appears ahead and below. According to the co-ordinates, this should be the place but all that is here are generators and large transformers.

“Tushio… ”

But Chu-i (Lieutenant) 'Terrier' gets interrupted by the base commander on our open channel.

“Dragon’s Eye… we’ve got four Lightning Attack Hovercrafts and an unknown transport approaching Oasis V from the south west. Satellite Surveillance just picked them up. They’re two hours out.”

“They’re runnin’. Shujin (Master Sergeant), give me another full scan.”

“There’s nothing but that weird interference boss.”

“Let’s fly then. We gotta catch those bastards.”

‘Akita’ deactivates his ECM and barely notice as everyone else ripples into sight. ‘Bull’ comes over my com again “Tushio, these generators are the same heat signatures on the map…so was this a decoy?”

But reality hits me like a sledgehammer. They knew we would come “No…” My warning systems light up. “…it’s a trap..!” My virtual cockpit goes wild. Alerts of missile launches and gun locks assault my senses like a wildfire. “Evasive maneuvers guys, go, go, go, go..!” I switch to flight mode and drive my throttle all the way as my computer sends me flashes of tracking information and I almost feel the three missiles that approach. My LAM shakes violently with the sudden discharge of power, but I hold it steady as G-forces pin me to the seat while I accelerate upward.

‘What type of missiles are they?’

The computer sends the answer with a barely noticeable sting. Another flip of a switch sends hundreds of chaff spitting from the back of my machine with thousands of miniature vibrations that shiver the armor around me. But the first heat seeker is already here and hits close. The impact shakes me like an earthquake but my systems do not read critical. ‘Thank God’. Rising high into the air now, a thirty ton bat out of hell, my GM 180 fusion engine screams with the effort as I try to locate our unseen enemies. There are three of them.

“I’ve found those Mediums…” I shout it to the others.

“Roger, three Yurei LAM, northern hill top.” ‘Hound’ comes across calm and collective and he already has one locked.

I swing around and fly toward the Medium LAM that is tracking me; he is already on the move and my systems warn of another missile lock. They leave his launcher but I am within firing range. They might have more armor and heavier firepower but we’ve got speed and agility. I wait, hear my laser lock onto its target, and open fire. My 5cm laser beam shred into the oncoming missiles and they explode in a vicious flash of white as I quickly close the distance. With another squeeze of the trigger my Thunderstroke-L 5 shot missile launcher spits with a flurry of fiery streaks.

The view around me, with my altimeter counting down 500FT, 425FT, 350FT, 275FT in less than three seconds, shakes and shifts on the outer edges of my vision. The smoke and lights of my missile fire leads me toward my target as he tries to turn in my direction; I guess they thought we would have been dead on the first launch.

My laser fire rakes a trail of superheated dents and penetrations across the ground and the Yurei in my sights. Dust and sparks erupt where my target stands and my pulse, amplified, beats wildly in my ear. I have to get high again, so I jam my throttle to full power, angle my thruster vents and brace myself as I launch back into the sky. The engine howls with the effort, and the pressure of the maneuver squeezes me beyond comfort, but its fly or die, as every digital module goes blinking red again.

‘Damn, another flight of missiles!’

My heart hammers madly as all around, shrapnel slices the air and I hear, almost feel, a few pieces ping off my armor. Smoke trails crisscross the battlefield. Explosions light up the sky and another flight of missiles come toward me from below but they go wide and detonate well away; I see that our resident AeroSpace pilot, Chu-i (Lieutenant) Alberik, is alive and working is magic.

“Good work ‘Terrier’…”

I push over and return to the ground but the Yurei is in the air now. My systems alert me again but I am faster than my opponent. At seven hundred feet, my targeting computer locks on to the rising enemy LAMand I squeeze the trigger twice. Ten missiles leave my launcher. The cockpit shakes with it and their smoke trails, like black and grey spider webs, fill my vision. But laser fire slams into my armor. I activate the auto coolant system; it will stop the overheating. And while I fight to clear the space between us, my visor adjusts in a millisecond as the Yurei explodes.

‘I got him.’

My computer shouts its complaints into my senses as I roll over and force the engine to sustain the current power. I have to get down from here; I am an open target. But the other two Yurei LAMs are busy and this gives me a perfect opportunity to strike.

I shove my Wasp LAM into a shallow dive and get a target lock just as another of our enemies light up in a magnificent flash of fire and expanding energy.

“… got that ‘son of a bitch’..!” It’s ‘Bull’. His long range snub nosed PPC has hit true and ‘Akita’s barrage of streak missiles finishes the job.

There is one Medium left. I see his smoke trailing from a damaged hull. He’s in the air and heading south.

“I got’em… ” ‘Terri’ comes over the com as his missiles trace a deadly arc through the sky. The explosion thunders through the valley as what looks to be five long range warheads detonate in the distance; this fight is over.

“Dragon’s Eye… ?” Our Base Commander is not as composed as before.

I respond “…still standing...” I adjust power and descend slowly. My LAM is a bit damaged but I keep my nerves “… where are they?”

“… Seven hundred miles out, and a half hour to the city.”

I transition back to ‘Mech mode and touch down “Guys… status?”

“Alberik here… ”

“ ‘Akita’, good to go…”

“A few scratches but ‘Hound’ is okay…”

“Shujin (Master Sergeant) is alive and kicking…”

I am relieved. My computer tells me that all is well except a minor armor breach; that first flight of missiles had almost gotten me. “Okay let’s go!”

“Tushio, we’ve got half hour to cover seven hundred miles…”

‘Bull’ is right, but we have to try. I push the throttle forward, transition and lift into the air once more.

“Dragon’s Eye, you’ve got twenty nine minutes…”

“… Copy base. We’re going for it.” The ground falls away as we push toward our targets “… ‘Bull’, get me locked on. I need a flight path.” My tracking system finds our prey through ‘Pitbull’s sensors and gives me an intercept route. My GM 180 screams. The ground below becomes a blur and the speed indicator soon reads a thousand miles per hour and climbing.

At this rate, we will be cutting it close. My virtual map, courtesy 7th Pesht Regulars’s Satellite surveillance, shows our escapees gunning it across the desert.

“'Dachshund', can you get a shot?”

“… already on it and locking one now...”

“Take it when you have it. Let’s try and slow’em down.”

I glance toward 'Dachshund's Wasp WSP 100 LAM and the artillery range Arrow IV launcher lights up. Gray and white smoke trail from its muzzle as the huge ordinance launches soundlessly; the HEAP projectile traveling at nearly light speed should be hitting its mark right now. No sooner than I think this, the display shows one of the Lightning Attack Hovercrafts, as part of it disintegrates and then the entire thing falls to the desert floor.

“Good hit… ”

“Dragon’s Eye, Base is picking up heavy activity just outside of Oasis V. You’ve got multiple hostiles about to launch, get out of there.”

“Tushio… ” ‘Hound’s Arrow IV does not fire the next round “… I’ve got em on my scan too; about twenty Tamerlane Strike Sleds and a JES III Missile Carrier.”

These Ebon Raptor guys must be high profile. Tamerlane Strike Sleds could be dealt with but a JES III Missile Carrier? Those things could launch salvos of sixty Heat Seekers, Swarm LRMs and Air Defense Missiles.

“Okay guys bug out. Let’s go two above deck. ‘Akita’ jam that shit.”

I turn hard and drop to two hundred feet. Outrunning a Heat Seaking missile is difficult in the air so we’ll be better off getting on foot and going dark till it’s passed but my systems remain calm. All I’m receiving is an enemy lock threat, but nothing has been launched; I know when I’ve been beat.


“Go Chu-i (Lieutenant) … ”

“I need to know where that entourage is headed.”

Static hits me “… on it.”

And with time against us, the ground rushes by at a thousand, eight hundred miles per hour; we’ve gotta get to our DropShip.

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Castle Brian
Bird’s Roost
Sunday March 3rd 3095 16:00 Local

My team and I rip pass Oasis V. The sprawling city lies thirty kilometers off to my right while directly ahead; our base awaits us some fifteen away. I reduce power and jam my emergency stoppers to full extension. The large rectangular slats would rise up and out at different angles and immediately cut most of my forward momentum. The powerful displacement of energy from this maneuver jolts me violently as my LAM slows hard. Then we convert and descend without much thought.

“ ‘Huski’ to Base Control…” I read the code on my HUD “… Dragon’s Eye on approach, over.”

“Dragon’s Eye. You’re cleared for entry, touch down on Pad Zero Five.”

We drop to the red dusted, metallic landing zone and almost run our LAM’s to the hangar. After decontamination we are all docked and grabbing gear from our quarters while our ship’s personnel load our LAM’s onboard our DropShip. The Ronin’s Vehicle Scout Lance, Sholagars, VTOLs, and Gray Death Battle Armor are already onboard. With gear in hand, I head out and down the corridor. My MCS helmet, attached to my waist, hits my leg with every stride and as I pass Bernice’s office…

“Chu-i (Lieutenant) … ”

I stop and turn to see her approaching. She’s all business as usual.

“… what are you doing here? The briefing has been uploaded to your system…we have… ”

“I’m trying to get to my DropShip is what I’m doing.”

She raises an eyebrow “Chu-i (Lieutenant), there are shorter ways to your ship. That Ebon Raptor Company launched a half hour ago.”

What in the Inner Sphere is wrong with this woman? I take a deep breath “… I gotta go… ”

“Then Go.”

“You stopped me…”

“Chu-i (Lieutenant) … ” Her voice is steady “…if you lose these pirates, all of our efforts would have been for nothing.”

‘Our efforts…What the hell did she do to be a part of this’? I wait in the silence. Of all the women in the Inner Sphere, why does this one get under my skin? She opens her office door and closes it. I hate not having the last word. Why do I even bother? I begin to move again until the cavernous hanger finally comes into view.

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Castle Brian
Bird’s Roost
Sunday March 3rd 3095 16:30 Local

“Tushio, the weather’s about to get really nasty, we’ve got about twenty minutes before everything goes to dust,” came Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander) Nickolas Cedric Wyatt voice in my ear.

I’m strapping the X shaped harness across my chest after sitting in one of the rumble seats of the bridge when the Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander) informs me of this.

“Okay we’re a go.” I give the order and the massive, overhead, armor reinforced, panels retract into the ceiling. As we transition from the base to the open air of Bjarred, I notice that the weather is a bit worse than when we had just arrived. Red and brown dust whips past the windshield of our DropShip, with winds reading from sixty to seventy five miles per hour. But thanks to Star League V250 Drive System, it’ll take a bit more than this to make our liftoff a problem.

“Base… Dragon’s Nest has a window, all is a go, over.” Sho-i (Captain) Alejandro Sola is our DropShip Pilot for this run. Kashira (Senior Chief Petty Officer) Bennie Jacks is the communications officer and Chu-i (Lieutenant) Nidia De La Torre is our Co-pilot and our weapons Officer is Shujin (Chief Petty Officer) Michael Kempf. Gunsho’s (Petty Officers 1st Class) Geo Ecton and Demetrios Backus are the engineers who make sure that all the mechanical aspects of this bird run problem free. And the remaining four DropShip personnel are the huge ship’s gunners. But at the moment, we’re all strapped into our respective seats and awaiting launch.

“Dragon’s Nest, Base copies your window. You are cleared for launch…” She sounds no different than normal but I notice that the channel stays open but I ignore it.

The bridge shakes a bit as Solo begins our lift off. The DropShip leaves the pad and the sensation of our thrusters counteracting the planet winds makes my head drift a little. I check the information that has been uploaded concerning our Ebon Raptor buddies. They went off world forty eight minutes ago in a DropShip named Deep six. What type of ship though; the Intel doesn’t say.

“… good luck Ronin… ”

‘Pitbull’ and ‘Terrier’ turn and look at each other. I am sure we are all thinking the same thing; ‘since when has she ever cared if we had good or bad luck?’ The question is written on both their faces. But the Base and ground are no longer visible. It has all been replaced by high altitude dust and sand so I relax and let the G-forces glue me to my seat. I feel the ship angle more steeply. Everything outside of my window is becoming distant and shrinking further behind. I smile to myself.

We are leaving this Rock. ‘She’s back there. Who cares? I do, and I hate the confusion of it.’

The air clears now. A few flat clouds rocket by and disappear behind us. The sky becomes darker. Our engines rumble and the sound of it grows deep and deeper as we rise. It seems lodged somewhere in the back of my head and echoes throughout my mind. Then the sky gets even darker and the Castle Brian’s spaceport is now visible in the distance. A huge disk shaped station with lights traveling to and from it; and then it is gone.

We are about to go to break free of Bjarred’s gravity well. The exhilaration is second to none. I want to contact base again, but what for? What reason is there? I want to think of a plausible one yet it eludes me, but these thoughts fade away as we enter the vacuum of space.

“Dragon’s Nest… ”

I listen to Bernice’s voice with mixed feelings. Maybe I am a bit embarrassed by our fight… or a lot disappointed that we didn’t fix it. I hate feeling confused.

“… you are now out of our airspace and hand over to Recharge Command is now in effect. Is all a go?”

Recharge Command is the communications deck on any local Recharge Station. While space stations are the access points to and from planet surfaces, Recharge Stations are the stations that launch travelers from solar system to solar system. Several inhabited or utilized solar system has one Recharge Station or more depending on its population and or purpose. This system, K-1, has a single Recharge Station along with three inhabited planets, five mining worlds and an F1-III class sun, which simply means a Yellow White Giant.

‘Why is she still on comms?’

“Dragon’s Nest copies hand over… ” answers Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander) Wyatt.

I hate having to listen to her… no I don’t.

“… Switching on next transmission, we’re a go,” continues the Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander).

The com stays open. I wish she would say something. My hand slides across the digital tab that would disconnect us from Bjarred.

“… come back in one piece Ronin.”

For some unknown reason, I am annoyed at her for these words. Why didn’t she say this to my face? My finger hits the key and we all listen to the new sounds of K-1 space traffic control.

“After all the thousands of years that men and women have co-existed, we’re still baffled by them.”

Sola’s smiling face beams in my direction and I can’t help but add a groaning grin to this awkward moment. “Shut up and drive.”

Everyone’s laughter hits me at once while Sola works his magic, and in a moment, we clip our helmets in place and the familiar tug on my senses takes control as we accelerate to two G’s and punch through the fabric of space at eighty three point three, three, three times the speed of sound.

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Nadir JumpPoint
Recharge Station
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Monday March 11th 3095 18:00 Local

The engines on any standard spacecraft have what is known as an Inter Planetary Drive. The Inter Planetary Drive is just a larger and more amped up version of the original Fusion Engine; the difference being the scale of the output when it comes to power. And so it is that Fusion powers our galaxy, from the smallest of planetary machines to the massive banks on any Recharge Station. The lights of stars in the distance blur, and eight days and some two hours later, we come stop accelerating at two G’s and rocket toward the massive outline of K-1’s lone Recharge Station.

This is the part I hate.

As soon as Sola engages our braking system, we hit a cushioned, invisible wall. Everything slows down so rapidly that no one in existence has ever been known to resist throwing up the first few times; except infants for some longwinded reason. However, as great as this breakthrough was and is, it’s the, getting used to it, which makes it rough on the human body.

Two million miles from Bjarred, Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander) Wyatt selects the communications module “K-1 Traffic Control… Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander) Nickolas Wyatt of the RR Dragon’s Nest requesting docking.”

RR… I think of home. The Razan’s Ronin’s Combined Arms Mercenary Regiment, home for me and
the rest of my unit. But is it still my home? I feel so disconnected.

“RR Dragon’s Nest… ” The voice is male, and professional “…Docking request acknowledged, cleared for entry, you have Guidance on link. Welcome Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander) Wyatt.”

I check the linkup and Sola sets us on autopilot in order for the Station’s Magnetic Guidance system to pull us safely in. There is a slight jolt as the ship goes from manual command to auto. In all my time of space travel I still haven’t gotten over the fascination of all this. “Now to catch these bastards… ”

“We’ll find them Chu-i (Lieutenant)… ”

‘Terri’s sunglasses hide his expression but I imagine the look of determination on his face; I know him well enough.

Outside of the DropShip, the awesome picture that hangs there is astounding as the massive complex appears to slide closer. The monstrous, flat, half diskshape, made from Immix; a Bjarredian bluish metal, reflects the solar system’s sunlight with a shiny azure glare.

“This Port reminds me of one in the Shibukawa System.”

‘Pitbull’s words pull me away from outside.

“That’s your home system isn’t it?” ‘Hound’ asks.

“… Yeah… ”

‘Terri’ chimes in “. . . Phalan right..?”

“Yep and thanks to you guys, I haven’t been home in over four years”

“Welcome to the club my brother… ” I jump in.

“I knew a girl on Phalan … ” ‘Akita’ as usual “…There are some really sweet women in that system too.”

We all laugh and chant him about this until the conversation fizzles off and we each go back to our own thoughts. Stars and spiral Galaxies millions of light years away display the vastness of space beyond us, but what I see directly outside is also just as spectacular. Thousands of portals in perfect lines, like rows of colored lights set against the black expanse of deep space, glimmer. A movement draws my attention; a monster Hauler, floating slowly away from one of three very large rectangular docking bays below us. Opening up into the nothingness of space, they are the entrances and exits for thousands of ships on a daily basis. This hauler, moving away from us now, is a Behemoth Class DropShip that looks a few hundred times our size. ‘Pitbull’ had told me that he once worked on a Cargo Carrier. As for me, I have never done time on an Ore Ship but I have heard many a story from the guys that did. And theirs is a life of just as much adventure as any military pilot.

The com breaks my train of thought. “RR Dragon’s Nest…you are cleared for Docking bay T-seventeen, enjoy your time with us.”

The Tai-i (Lieutenant Commander) gives the required reply and lets the smooth sailing of the Autopilot take us in. I think of the score of ships docked here; some leaving, some just arriving, others parked indefinitely; owned by those who make this port their home. In reality, we are just another droplet in the galactic bucket. Looking out my portal I wonder about our Ebon Raptor friends. Where are they? When is their jump? Where are they going? If we lose them now… Bernice’s words replay in my ear. “All of our efforts would have been for nothing” Why do those words sting me?

“Tushio… ?”

I turn toward ‘Terri’

“… we’ll get em…”

It’s like he’s read my mind.

“Yeah… ” It’s ‘Hound’ now “… Let’s get on deck, snoop around, and catch these shits.”

“Leave the snooping around to me and ‘Akita’.” With a raised palm I quiet their disappointment “… we’ll get more done, and done quietly if it’s just two of us.”

“Okay Chu-i (Lieutenant) … I have no problems with that.”

“I knew you wouldn’t ‘Hound’. You guys could go have some fun and wait for us. More than likely, they’re not gonna be making a jump within the next twelve hours.”

What we have to do now is no easy task. We will need to get to a travel desk in the terminal first; gonna have to figure out how to get the information we need from an agent even though it will be against policy. In these times, nothing beats a face to face. It is never safe to work the system via computer when it involves breaking the rules.

The rippling energy from a departing JumpShip pulls my eyes to it again. I know what it is like to jump through the dimensions of space. What is funny about this though is that you don’t feel a thing after the initial jolt. As far as I know, Bjarred is only in standard jump distance of three systems, the trick will be finding out which of them our targets intend to visit.


Name: Tushio Sakai
Callsign: ‘Huski’
Rank: Chu-i (Lieutenant)
Hardware: Wasp WSP-105M LAM
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Kiridashi
Lance: Dragon’s Eye
Assignment: Recon
Unit: Razan's Ronins

Name: Zephyr Jorgensson
Callsign: ‘Spirit’
Rank: Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel)
Hardware: Invader Class JumpShip
Wing: Red Storm
Squadron: Hydra’s Bane
Assignment: Aerodyne Transport
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #08

Draconis Combine
Dieron Military District
Al Na’ir Prefecture
System: Ascella
Tarawa City
Continent: Askahr
Southern Peninsula
Space Port
Saturday March 9th 3095 0930 Local

Nebraska looked over, he ran out the supplies with the crew and then unlocked his Prowler, he smiled and hooked up the trailers, he had 5 of them. Each weighed in at 10 tons each. He smiled, in pride, his unit worked wonderful the last time, and he drove it down and looked to each side. He moved to the gate and looked at the box. The gate hadn’t opened and then he saw the man engrossed in a romance book.

He walked from his ride and looked around. He snapped the book from the man’s hands. He growled, “Ronin’s where?”

“Give it... how the hell do I know that?”

He saw a sheriff’s vehicle drive up and stop. He motioned, “Better open the gate or I’ll break it.”

He walked not to his ride but to the sheriff.

“Sir, do you know where the Ronins are?”

“I do. Normally three trailers are all we allow, 50 credit fine for the other two.”

Nebraska smiled and opened something and handed the 100 Star League script note over. It was folded, “Keep the change, for showing me, sir.”

“I’ve been around long enough, your PALS seems odd.”

“Ah, noticed it did you. It can be listed as ‘PALS’ but I prefer to call it a powered Zero-G exoskeleton. The solar sail embedded half cloak with built in combination sneak suit, and even something else, grounding.”


“See when you fire SP-PPCs, that would be this weapon, the static electrical discharge is brutal. As such, grounding, now I will turn and show you. The yellow stripe is the actual grounding. I did some drill instructor work for the Explorer Corps and tend to talk like a professor when I need to explain, saves time and money. Now back in the 20th century the Presidential Aircraft designated as Air Force 1, was what the leader of the free world flew in. Now, they were worried about lightning strikes. They ground slow and steady microscopic indents in the skin and then attached thing copper discs to them and covered with yellow paint, being as yellow was the best conductor at the time. The lightning then hit the leading edges and never penetrated into the aircraft because the energy ran down the electrical grounding area thus keeping the bird safe. Interesting side note, Plasma Rifles don’t work on me while I am in this.”

“Don’t work?”

“Half cloak is solar sail with embedded combination sneak suit ability as well. The plasma rifles power the suit.”

“Impressive suit.”

“I like it. Do you know anyone with horses?”

“I do.”

“Could you be asking them to come over, I am a tech and have an odd idea or two.”

“Speed you feel safe at driving?”

“20 klicks, maybe.”

“Good enough, hop in and I’ll escort.”


He waited outside the gate and smiled. He tried to stay close to the sheriff and then saw the ‘Ronin’s Keep’. The Sheriff passed him through and then drove to a building.

Draconis Combine
Dieron Military District
Al Na’ir Prefecture
System: Ascella
Tarawa City
Continent: Askahr
Southern Peninsula
Ronin’s Keep
Saturday March 9th 3095 1015 Local

The former Dragon's Breath warrior stood back from the main gate leading out to the idling Medium Classed Vehicle, a Prowler ‘Nose Guard’ variant. It was being held up by a Sentry, clad in Kanazuchi Battle Armor at the stone wall surrounding Ronin’s Keep. It had landed on Ascella at the SpacePort and had been escorted to Ronin’s Keep by the local Sheriff. Sho-ko (Command Sergeant) Karen Macvey was tasked with the organization, and all the paper work that went along with it, of Gunsho (Sergeant) Nebraska ‘Chuck’ Nobinsky into his lance, Rapid Response Lance, and his Battalion, DEST Battalion, by the CO of Razan’s Ronins, Tai-sa (Colonel) Onishi ‘Rough Ryder’ Razan. Karen hated every minute of it. She was surprised however; when Gunsho (Sergeant) Nobinsky exited through the hatch of his tank linked with all those trailers and walked over to her. The first thing she noted was that Nobinsky was wearing some phunky kind of uber bulky Assault Battle Armor that looked like it would kick the Kanazuchi’s ass.

Hiding her initial surprise, she greeted the Gunsho (Sergeant). “I take it that you have taken this time on your ride in from the Jump Point to get properly familiar with the Ronins and the way we do things around here? Good. I am Sho-ko (Command Sergeant) Karen Macvey, XO of the Transport Company.” She said as she extended her right hand to Nebraska. The first thing that Nebraska noted about Karen was her body builder physique. She wore a form fitting DEST suit and her blue-black hair was pulled back in a horse’s tail that extended down to the small of her back. The second thing that he noticed was that her left arm, clear down from her shoulder, was a three pronged, type three artificial prosthesis and her right leg, right at the knee cap, was a type four. Man, she had really been through something he imagined.

“Where do you think you’re going with that Choo-choo train? I’m sorry Gunsho (Sergeant) but we don’t have the necessary room aboard the Ulvenwald for an extra fifty tons worth of military hardware. Tai-sa (Colonel) Razan will probably order you to leave the trailers here on Ascella at the Keep for later transport back to Outreach. You’re welcomed to talk to the Tai-i (Captain), Ben Hanson, about it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”


The Gunsho (Sergeant) was a ‘Giant’ of a man at a little over 6’9” and weighing in at 275 pounds if he was an even three hundred. He was a handsome sort, with distinguishing white hair, hazel eyes, and the nose, lips, and eyes that identified him as a native of ComStar. Karen tapped her Vid-PDA, and scrolled to the ’N’s and scanned over the dossier label Nebraska Nobinsky. Her eyes stuck on the section that began with “Explorer Corps”. She allowed herself to briefly scan this section before returning to her briefing.

“Sorry I wasn’t at the SpacePort for your arrival, but our HMMWV 3077 busted an axle. You know, Shit happens. I will show you to the base and then to your hanger where you’ll garage your Prowler. Your Vehicle will be moved out to the parade grounds by your technician, Gunsho (Sergeant) Maranne Eide.” She held up her three finger prosthetic limb to forestall any comments from Nebraska. “I know, I know. You’ll perform your own maintenance on your Prowler.” She gave him that knowing look. “She’s been instructed to merely drive it and to provide you with an extra pair of hands. You’ll need to select a suitable Razan’s Ronin’s PA(L) armor from any Nighthawk variant or Tornado variant for your tank crew before you move out. You will need to setup your security codes and voice recognition patterns as soon as we reach them.” She handed him a holodisc as she spun on her heels began to lead him in through Razan’s Ronins Checkpoint Security. The metal detector went off and she flipped up her leather vest to reveal her firearm while simultaneously flashing the security detail her RRMR credentials. After a brisk walk and fifteen minutes later they reached an unmarked M3078 ‘Shelby’ HEV vehicle, it was a jeep on steroids. Shujin (Staff Sergeant) Dennis Geracimos sat behind the wheel. Karen climbed in across from the driver and Nebraska climb into the rear seat. They drove for the better part of an hour making small talk.


“On the holodisc I provided you with, you will find all the info you will need to bring your weapons online and all the mission coordinates, objectives, and waypoints. It has a schedule for chow, a list of comm frequencies and call signs, and a list of dates, times, and locations for pickup intervals in case you get separated from the unit.” She gave him his ID badge, and told him that he’d have to stow his gear in his Prowler’s crew compartment for now.

Karen took an hour to introduce him to the transport company’s Commanding Officer Tai-i (Captain) Maximilian Akamatsu and the DEST Battalion’s second company CO, Ghost Company, Tai-i (Captain) Ka Cheong Chan. Akamatsu was a swarthy skinned officer with jet black, close cropped hair and a full set of thick lips. From Nebraska’s brief encounter with his immediate CO he got the impression that he projected an Impudent demeanor. Ka Cheong on the other hand, who looked every bit to be Akamatsu junior, although; he did in fact outrank Akamatsu, came across as being the more laid back of the two.

Karen explained to him that he would meet with the Regimental XO, Sho-sa (Major) Owen ‘Kestrel’ Callaghan, sometime this evening and meet with the Regiment Commanding Tai-sa (Colonel) Onishi, first thing Monday morning.

Fifteen minutes later, and a brisk walk over to the barracks, Karen took just a moment to introduce Nebraska Nobinsky to his other two lance mates, VTOL Pilots Sho-ko (Command Sergeant) Gale Streng and Gunsho (Sergeant) Syung Soon Glass, who each piloted a Cavalry Attack Helicopter, Infiltrator variants. Gale was busy on the free weights. She lay on her back with a lean leg on either side of the bench. Her black bob cut cascaded down until just past the weight bench. Her taut stomach muscles were well defined and her body glistened with a thin sheen of perspiration. She wore a pair of silk blue running shorts and a half shirt that had ‘VTOL Pilots Do it in the Cockpit’ emblazoned across her breasts. Syung Soon was seated on a cushioned benched near a window reading from a tablet PC with reading glasses. He donned the standard Razan’s Ronins Duty Uniform. Starched maroon tunic, pressed trousers, and spit shined boots.

“VTOL Jock, this is your newest Warrio . . . uh, newest member of the Rapid Response Lance, Gunsho (Sergeant) Nebraska.” She deliberately dropped his surname feeling that he had not earned it. Holding up her Vid-PDA she said, “I have some other things I need to attend to . . .”

“Hey Sho-ko (Command Sergeant),” interrupted Gale as she waltz through the door. “Rapid Response is scheduled from some sim time in the next thirty or so minutes. Why don’t you fill in for Tai-i (Captain) Akamatsu and help us put the ‘Noob’ here through his paces.”

With a mischievous glint to her shark dark eyes, Sho-ko (Command Sergeant) Karen glanced down at her chronometer and answered, “Yes, I’d imagine that I could spare some time to break Nebraska in good and proper. Give me just a moment and I’ll meet the three of you down there. Boot up the Force recon simulation. I’d like to test Gunsho (Sergeant) Nobinsky’s reaction to ‘Broken Arrow’.”


Draconis Combine
Dieron Military District
Al Na’ir Prefecture
System: Ascella
Tarawa City
Continent: Askahr
Southern Peninsula
Ronin’s Keep
Colonel Razan’s Office
Monday March 11th 3095 0700 Local

He shifted as Colonel Razan finished the briefing. “Ma’am, thank you for your hospitality and before I left, I talked with Wolfie some. Seems we managed to find some Clan tech weapons and equipment, now the gunner and the comm officer have their own Small Pulse Laser for each side and I got some first line medical equipment while I was there, just field medical supplies, and what I could afford might seem and well the trailers came up. So I asked them for a little help in doing my idea. They link together to form a micro-manufactory. I can produce in limited numbers Star League mech warrior jumpsuits. Did cost me a bit more than what I was hoping it would but they said it would work extremely well for you, while the supplies last and we can if needed order supplies through them. I asked about that as well.”

Onishi grimaced before plunging on ahead, “Yeah, about those trailers. The Ronins are not going to be able to utilize them. I’m sorry. First, the Ulvenwald has no more room to store them plus packing a DropShip is an ‘Art Form’. Pack her too heavy on one side and you run the risk of not being able to maneuver at a critical moment when under an AeroSpace fighter sortie or worst still she doesn’t respond like the pilot expects when landing and we splatter the whole kit and caboodle all over a planet’s surface. Second, you never mentioned bringing in trailers. All you told me about was your Prowler. I’ll have them shipped back to Outreach at Your expense.” She said the last part as she stared Nebraska directly in the eye.”

He shifted, “Here’s a bottle been saving for a special time.”

Onishi took the proffered bottle from the huge Gunsho (Sergeant), inspected it, murmured ‘Nice’ and started to reach across her desk to hand it back.

“No, this one is yours. It is a 1812 Anno Domini Courvoisier, cognac de Napoleon. Said to be good, never had it, because well, not one to drink a lot. I won it in a game on Solaris, same time I won the tank.”

“Why thank you ‘Chuck’,” Onishi accepted Nebraska generosity. “My answer is Still NO to the trailers though,” she said playfully.

“I won’t let you down, Colonel.”

“Wouldn’t have hired you if I thought you would,” answered the Tai-sa (Colonel) to Nebraska pledge.

“Now, besides filling in my people to their new jobs, orders are what?”

“Wait, and when we need you come a running.”

He grunted and smiled, “I can do that.”

Draconis Combine
Dieron Military District
Al Na’ir Prefecture
System: Ascella
Tarawa City
Continent: Askahr
Southern Peninsula
Ronin’s Keep
Vehicle Garage
Monday March 11th 3095 1400 Local

He shifted, he was doing pushups when three people a man and two women walked in and over to him. He got up and opened the tank. “I am Nebraska Nobrinsky, call sign ‘Chuck’. This is where we will be. Right and left side had small pulse controls, the total occupancy here is 88 counting us 4.” At 6’9” in his stocking feet, and weighing in at 275 lbs., naked, he was a large man, both in the chest 58” and voice, he was almost a sub-base.

“Excuse me Gunsho (Sergeant), permission to speak freely?” The voice was definitely masculine. The second woman Nebraska thought was a female turned out to be a male instead. “But I hear that the Ronins have phased out all their unarmored infantry for PA(L) armored units. So how many of those will the Prowler seat?”

He was in the jumpsuit, identical to the ones he could make. Save it was tailored for him and him alone. “Here are the manuals to operate Nose Guard, this Prowler. The others are for the micro-manufactory over there and the cybernetic implant maker. I like being prepared. Do you need anything else?”

“No, sir,” both men answered in unison.

“Yes we do guys.” It was Heishi Tiffany Troyer who spoke up now. “None of us has ever piloted an armored suit before. We all need trained on the operation and use of PA(L) suit or Battle armor suit, something.” She glanced at both her comrades in turn as she reported all of their shortcomings to the Gunsho (Sergeant).


He looked at them and stepped back, he guessed sizes on the lady and handed them a G-suit, even him and he smiled, “Nose Guard has a toilet built inside, beer too. Don’t drink my beer, get your own. Normally I am in that armor when deployed. Just as a rule, always wear those when deployed as well, never take them off. Until we get back in this bay, we don’t undress. If I catch any of you, or you me, without the suit on fine us. Keeps us wired tight, can save us if we all agree. Putting them on and take them off takes time, this way we save time and well is a habit to get into. Means we can do more things out there.”

“Sir?” It was the he/she again.

“What is it this time tanker?”

“How do we relieve ourselves when wearing the suits?”


“The medical supplies are in that trailer, take what you need. The others are for moving the micro-manufactory I had modified to make suits like this. The pistol is a Colt .45 caliber automatic cartridge pistol called a model 2453a1. Underslung sonic stunner, side mounted vibro-bayonet, folding and a laser designator in the pin. (TAG to you. Think of it as a Sternsnacht Heavy Pistol with an extended magazine.) This one is a Nakjama predecessor and has an ascension gun (grappling hook) attachment. Both have 10 power pistol scopes. The helmets are configured for lowlight, telescopic and microscopic function, 36-hour air and power per charge.”



“Yes, sir.”

“Good, I’ll quiz you on some of that come lift off. Get familiar with it before you climb in, some parts are tricky. You are not going to be liking me, sir, I know what you will be speaking, trust me, the lady got the good stuff.”


“You are guys, she be girl. Girls plumbing is different.”

“Oh... OH. Bad?”

“Trust me, and a kick there is a nice thing to remember to do, others won’t like it.”

Joint post between

1229 words

Nebraska Nobrinsky
Call Sign: ‘Chuck’
Rank: Gunsho (Sergeant)
Role: Tech / Engineer
Hardware: Prowler
Battalion: DEST
Company: Transport
Lance: Rapid Response
Unit: Razan’s Ronins



Name: MyKayla
Call Sign: ‘Syberian Starr’
Rank: Sho-ko (Master Sergeant)
Role: Assault
Hardware: Daboku DCMS-MX92-E
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Katana
Lance: Dragon Sword
Unit: Razan’s Ronins


Name: Karen Macvey
Rank: Sho-ko (Command Sergeant)
Role: Tank CO
Hardware: Firestorm T11
Battalion: DEST
Company: Transport
Lance: Black Dragon
Unit: Razan’s Ronins

Name: Kintaro Tanaka
Rank: Colonel
Callsign: 'Iceman'
MH: Steele Dagger Spec Ops BA
Role: DEST
Assignment: CO Battle Armor Regiment
Platoon: Black Ops
Company: SWAT
Battalion: HQ Battalion
Regiment: Smilodon

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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:51 pm
affiliations: Name: Kintaro Tanaka
Callsign: 'Iceman'
Rank: Sho-sa (Major)
Hardware: Kage BA (DEST)
Battalion: DEST
Company: Shadow
Platoon: PA(L) DEST Platoon Alpha
Assignment: Breach
Role: Executive Officer
Unit: Razan's Ronins
House: Draconis Combine

Re: Transcript for DC-PH-04-03 Pirate Hunting Bjarred

Postby Iceman » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:53 pm

DC-PH-04-01 #09 'Broken Arrow'

Draconis Combine
Dieron Military District
Al Na’ir Prefecture
System: Ascella
Tarawa City
Continent: Askahr
Southern Peninsula
Ronin’s Keep
Simulation Room
Saturday March 9th 3095 14:30 Local

Sho-sa (Major) Tanaka ‘Iceman’ Kintaro did not like these types of simulated scenarios. The type of scenarios that he was reffering to were ‘Emergency’ scenarios. They dropped you into a dire situation and you only had mere seconds to take in your immediate surroundings and to formulate a plan. That’s exactly what he was doing at the moment, taking in his immediate surroundings. His four man, Nighthawk XXIII squad was in some sort of adimistative building. From the looks of it, it appeared to be a generic SpacePort terminal. Ten meters off to Kintaro’s right was Shujin (Staff Sergeant) Jimmy Pane’s six man, Tornado PA(L), G13, David Light Gauss Rifle Squad. They were closer to the sliding glass doors than Kintaro’s own Nighthawk Squad and two troopers, Gunsho’s (Sergeants) Detrick Hertzel and Steve Lalitha, were already kneeling on either side, with their Gauss Rifles trained out the doors. The other four troopers took up compass points behind the two sentries.

Kintaro quickly inspected his Nighthawk’s ‘Heads Up Display’ (HUD). He detected twelve more friendly Tornado signatures sixty meters away, across a street to the north, milling about inside a two story building. Arrivals and departures building, no doubt. Those would be Sho-ko (Command Sergeant) Ionela 'China' Bretan Small Laser Tornado Squad and Kashira (Sergeant Major) Barbara Ogawa Machine Gun Tornado Squad. He called them his ‘Femme Fatales’. Both squads were composed of all women although you couldn’t tell it from the outside nor in the way they performed. They were as efficient as any man.

The Tornado armor suits were custom fitted to its female wearer, which made them unusable by anyone else without major adjustments and also meant the user must maintain their physical condition. The advantages of the suit make up for this drawback, as it increases the wearer's strength, allowing the women to hit harder and faster than unarmored infantry while avoiding the bulk of full Battle Armor. The G12 suit also incorporated stealth armor and an adaptive Camo System which mimics the effects of a combination Camo/IR/ECM Sneak Suit, hiding the Tornado from all types of sensors. The armor is also good enough to stop small arms fire and even heavy weapons like a Flamer from hurting the wearer. A built in HUD system provides a wealth of information on the suit and surrounding environment, including low light and visual magnification gear, though some chose to forgo the protection and electronic aids for unimpeded hearing and vision. Not his DEST team, however. The suit did not aid mobility in any way though, so the Tornado G12 squad was no faster than a comparable squad of foot infantry, though it does include two connection ports at the waist allowing modified weapons to draw energy from its military power pack.

To better suit the more direct combat role, of her DEST teams, Tai-sa (Colonel) Onishi ‘Rough Ryder’ Razan purchased the G13 variants, based on the Achileus. Though retaining the stealth armor it removed the camo system in favor of a modular weapon mount in the right arm, hence the designation as Gauss Rifle, Small Laser, or Machine Gun, depending on what was mounted in their weapons mount. Each Trooper carried a KA-23 Subgun as well.

The Nighthawk PA(L) itself was little more than a heavily armored Sneak Suit with an integral ECM Suite. While it only has 120kg of armor, enough to stop a couple bursts from a Support Machine Gun, its protection against small arms was considered excellent. The armor plating had stealth capabilities similar to an IR/ECM sneak suit, enabling the Nighthawk to move undetected and making them more difficult to target if they are fired upon. The suit is also quite mobile, with integral jump jets allowing it to leap up to ninety meters at a time, and it comes equipped with an Extended Life Support system. The DCMS prototype variant, XXIII, utilize by Kintaro’s command squad has two integral clan, anti mech, extended range, small pulse lasers. It also has done away with the Extended Life Support system in lieu of a Beagle active probe and an anti personnel weapons mount. It upgrades the stealth capabilities from basic to improved. And for this simulation, the Nighthawks, too, carry a KA-23 Subgun in its anti personnel weapons mount.

Kintaro continued his scrutiny of his HUD and the data it displayed. His Alpha platoon was among several tall buildings, all of them were empty, that extended north and south through a maze of streets and junctions that were typical of any SpacePort. He even identified a customs facility and a Space Control Tower. He picked out the runway, a huge lake, and two DropShip blast pits. The HUD’s IFF beacon latched on to his extraction units, two Cavalry VTOLs and a solitary Prowler clear on the opposite side of the lake. They were already making best speed to his location but were still two minutes out. Then Kintaro saw what constituted the ‘Emergency’. His unit was surrounded on three sides by twelve infantry squads, North, South, and West. That made the formulation of a plan that much easier, Go East towards the runway. Maybe they could outrun their pursuers and make it to the maintenance shed at the end of the runway. He knew his Nighthawk squad could, because they had jumpjets, but wasn’t so sure about his Tornado PA(L)s that lacked them. He gave the order.

Sho-sa (Major) Tanaka 'Iceman' Kintaro open the Platoon wide battle frequency, “Bounding Overwatch! We make for those two maintenance buildings! Mk and David go first! Laser and MG cover us!” Kintaro spoke in shorthand for his units, Mk equaled Nighthawk Mk XXIII, David equaled David Light Gauss Rifle, and so on. His instructions meant for the Small Laser and Machine Gun Tornado squads to hold position and provide covering fire, while his command and the Gauss Rifle squads fell back; so that they could find cover and then support the Small Laser and Machine Gun Squads in turn, while they fell back, too. The Tornado Gauss Rifle Squad darted from the annex building, ripping the doors from their hinges in their wake sending shattered glass fragments everywhere. 'Iceman's Nighthawk Squad vaulted over them on their jumpjets. As the Nighthawk squad landed, some thirty meters ahead of Shujin (Staff Sergeant) Jimmy Pane's Gauss Rifle Squad, Gunsho (Sergeant) Daniel Kogawa loudly shouted "Incoming!!!". On the heels of the shouted warning, came the high pierced whistle of incoming warheads. From hours of practice, all ten men took evasive maneuvers, diving to the asphalt and rolling out of harm's way. The long range missiles cratered the pavement in a cloud of smoke and dust, peppering the Nighthawk armored troopers with debris and chunks of the tarmac but failed to penetrate their PA(L) armored skin. Two more enemy LRM squads from farther down the street also launched missiles at the David Squad. Their line of sight was obstructed by the cloud of smoke from their comrade’s missile strike and their salvos landed behind and to the right of David, pelting them with sod and dirt.

Barbara’s MG Squad vaulted over the luggage conveyors and, using the Tornado enhanced strength, quickly started tossing vending machines in front of the plate glass windows to provide them with some cover. Four of ‘China’s Laser Squad had went prone, lasers facing out through the glass, and two were kneeling behind them. The Sho-ko (Command Sergeant) was just about to give the command to open fire when her squad was beset by falling brick and mortar as a missile strike hit the exterior wall. A massive steel girder swung down like a pendulum, still attached at one end, and smacked into a kneeling Gunsho (Sergeant) Justice Keter hard enough to breach her armor and sending her flying into the far wall.

“MEDIC!!!” ‘China’s shrill scream pierced the battlenet.

“Sit Rep!” demanded Kintaro.

‘China’s voice came back steady and under control as Barbara’s MG Squad opened up with covering fire with a unholy volume of noise. “Justice Keter is down. She's down hard. No gunshot wound. But she has suffered blunt force trauma. She’s unconscious. Her armor has been breach. Possible broken neck.”

‘Damn It!’ Justice Keter was the only medic among those two squads. He’d have to get her evac’ed. “ ‘China’, listen carefully. I am gonna call in an immediate medical evac but you are going to have to move her to the evacuation point.The location is coming through on your HUD as we speak. Its going to be on the east side of the building that your team is in now. Do you copy?”

“Yes Sho-sa (Major). ‘China’ copies loud and clear.”

“Streng, do you have your ears on?” The Sho-sa (Major) queried his VTOL commander.

“Roger that ‘Iceman’. Rapid Response Bravo, get in there and med evac that downed trooper. I’m staying with the Prowler.” The VTOL Flight Leader, Sho-ko (Command Sergeant) Gale Streng, said as she came screaming in full throttle with the chopper moving at well over one hundred twenty kilometers per hour. She whipped the fragile bird through the cityscape at one hundred meters off the ground, dodging and skirting the tall buildings like a precision race car driver with a surgeon's focus.

“ ‘Chuck’, ‘Iceman’. I’m sending you our coordinates right now.” It was the DEST Battalion’s Commanding Officer. “How much longer until you can get here?”

“Uhmm . . .” Nebraska looked questioningly over his left shoulder to his loadmaster slash comm officer, Go-chu (Corporal) Yuroyuki Niznik.

Niznik held up two fingers.

Gunsho (Sergeant) Nebraska ‘Chuck’ Nobinsky realized he had made a mistake. The Prowler was traveling at well over 110kph when he had taken his eyes off the road for a brief moment to glance over his shoulder. Aided by his PA(L) suit he yanked the wheel hard to the left. All the occupants of the 55 ton wheeled tank were thrown into their five point harnesses. Nobinsky felt the front wheels as they stuttered and bounced across the pavement before they bit again and started rolling. He swerved the tank just in the proverbial nick of time as it came within paint scrape distance of crashing into a nearby building head on.

“Two minutes Sho-sa (Major)!” he finally managed.

“This conflict will be over in ONE! In two minutes all you will be extracting is Body Bags! I have twelve, I repeat, wun too, enemy squads converging on our position! That’s ait fow’er enemy hostiles! I need you here thirty seconds ago!”

“Alright you heard the man,” Nobinsky began. “Everybody hang on tight. I’m taking a short cut!”

“A What!?”

“What phukkin shortcut???”


The screams from Hieshi (Private) Tiffany Troyer were the last sound the tank crew heard before the Prowler crashed through an aluminum siding wall. Nobinsky took it on an angle and floored the tank. The 55 ton tank tore through the building like cannonball through toilet paper. He tried to avoid the larger obstacles inside of the SpacePort’s warehouse but what he couldn’t avoid he simply ran over it or through it. He wheeled the Prowler to the left and the right busting up any and everything in his path. He had to plow through two interior walls, each to the accompanying screams of Tiffany. When the Prowler finally hit the exterior wall and busted free of the warehouse, Nobinsky yelled, “Boss, the cavalry has arrived!”

Gunjin (Private 1st Class) Juuso Callara, the vehicle’s gunner, was Johnny on the spot. He saw an enemy squad dart into a utility building and he opened fire with two small pulse lasers and a Particle Projection Cannon. The light show was dazzling as green darts mixed with blue lightning. The PPC cut away huge chunks of the building while the pulse laser evaporated everything its darts touched. Callara couldn’t be sure but he thought he saw three men drop from his barrage amidst the flotsam and debris he’d caused.


Tanaka Kintaro
Call Sign: ‘Iceman’
Rank: Sho-sa (Major)
Hardware: Nighthawk XXIII
Battalion: DEST
Company: Shadow
Platoon: Alpha
Unit: Razan’s Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #10

Draconis Combine
Dieron Military District
Al Na’ir Prefecture
System: Ascella
Tarawa City
Continent: Askahr
Southern Peninsula
Ronin’s Keep
Simulation Room
Saturday March 9th 3095 14:31 Local

Gunsho’s (Sergeants) Lucille Kichida and Dallas Johnstone had a collapsible stretcher that they erected and gingerly placed Justice on it and began to ex filtrate their downed sister in arms. ‘China’ designated Gunsho (Sergeant) Toniko Hirata to take point and Gunsho (Sergeant) Malavika Yamura to bring up the rear as the five women snaked their way along the corridors and hallways inside the building. When Tonika reached the other side of the building she saw the Cavalry incoming. She stepped out the door to hail it. ‘China’ dove out the door after her, tackling Toniko to the ferrocrete just as several warheads zoomed by, detonating farther up along the side of the building in a ball of flame shattering windows all along the building’s eastern side.

The two woman swung around to face the enemy squad just as the VTOL sat down, buffeting the PA(L)s in its rotor wash. The Cavalry was hit in its right side armor and it took a missile to its main rotor which began smoking like a chimney. Through hand signals, the pilot waved off their return fire and instructed them to load their wounded trooper aboard the VTOL and then for them to climb aboard as well. ‘China’, Toniko, and the other three women complied. Trying to buy the Laser Squad some time, VTOL pilot, Gunsho (Sergeant) Syung-Soon Glass, linked his twin light machine guns and opened up on the offending enemy squad. Thirty caliber bullets peculated the ferrocrete and drove the squad back into cover. For good measure he loosed two salvos of rockets up wind towards the DropShip blast pits as he saw units scampering from them too. He witnessed them scattering to avoid taking casualties.

The Nighthawk squad made it to the maintenance shed by vaulting on their jumpjets. A quick ER Small Pulse laser discharge on the locked door and it was melted into a useless lump of metal slag and they were inside setting up a defensive perimeter. The MG squad was engaged in a shoot out with the LRM squad tagged as LRM Squad number five. They couldn’t get an unobstructed view on the enemy squad due to a thick copse of trees the LRM squad had taken refuge behind so their CO, Kashira (Sergeant Major) Barbara, ordered them to ‘Buzz saw ‘em’. In laymen’s terms, that meant to cut the trees down around them with weapons fire. The MG squad did just that. And as soon as they cleared they trees, they began hitting enemy soldiers. And when that happened, suddenly and without warning, the Tornado MG squad was flanked by LRM squad number six. Gunsho (Sergeant) Carolyn Frow’s armor was impacted by two long ranged missiles, blasting through her armor but leaving her virtually unscathed, even if she was slightly rattled. Barbara gave the order to ‘Fall Back’ to the next room, and placed Carolyn at the rear of their formation.

Freed up from the suppression fire of the MG Squad, LRM Squad #5 rushed the building, stepping through the now empty pane of the plate glass window. They plunged headlong into a wall of .50 caliber machine gun fire. The Tornado armor kept up such a ruckus among papers flying, wooden furniture being chewed up, and glass shattering, that the LRM squad never even got a shot off. Even though it was extremely evident that these corpses would NEVER rise again, the DEST agent’s walked among the dead, unholstered there KA-23 Subguns and shot each fallen enemy through the head. It was the DEST way. Barbara was on the horn, “Enemy Squad #5, Neutralized. MG Squad moving to extraction Point.”

The David Squad didn’t make it to the maintenance shed but instead Jimmy Pane saw an opportunity so he exploited it. He scrambled his Squad to take cover behind an airport landscape square. A landscape square was one of those 30’x30’ enclosures, surrounded by a three foot concrete barrier, where the terrain rose up flush with the top of the wall. It was dotted with grass, shrubs, trees, park benches, and small tables. Jimmy saw LRM squads #10 & #11 traveling single file, hugging the side of an administrative building, coming up the street directly towards him. When they made the corner, they stopped briefly to breech the door so that they could set up an ambush from inside. Shujin (Staff Sergeant) Pane’s squad picked off both enemy squad’s commanding sergeants, a radio operator, and an xo. Leaderless and in disarray, the squads return fire was desultory at best. They fired a missile or two that blasted the hell out of the landscape but failed to get anywhere near close to hitting the Gauss Rifle Squad. Jimmy Pane’s Squad counter fired with their KA-23 Subguns on full auto, suppressing the leaderless enemy squads and killing two more men in the process.

The sleek, black VTOL came whipping through the high rise buildings to played cat and mouse with LRM units #8, #9, and #12. It hovered in place and spun on its vertical axis, like only a VTOL could, and dropped down to ten meters off the ground. Whenever enemy ordinance got within five meters of the chopper, the pilot would rev the engine and lift the ‘copter up twenty meters, an angle to steep for the missiles to make the targeting adjustment and they would sail right on past and detonate in a fiery explosive ‘Boom’, harmlessly in the sky beyond. Gale Streng performed this maneuver several times until she received this distress signal from Gunsho (Sergeant) Glass.

“Rapid Response Alpha, Bravo here. I’m grounded, loading troops. Taking enemy fire! Requesting immediate assistance!”

“Hang on ‘brother’! Rapid Response Alpha enroute!” This time when Gale took the chopper straight up twenty meters, she kept on climbing until the Cavalry Infiltrator reached fifty meters. “Charlie! I gotto go.” The Lance CO addressed Nobinsky. “Bravo needs supporting fire. Hold down the fort. At the next intersection, make a right and ex filtrate David Squad. You will be in a 'Hornet’s Nest'. I’m painting six enemy squads in the immediate vicinity. That’s half of their deployed strength.”

“Roger that Alpha!” This time Nebraska did not divert his eyes from the road but instead spoke into his throat mic to address the Prowler’s crew. “Everybody button up! You are weapons free! If its not broadcasting a friendly IFF, then it should be dead!”

Gale Streng flew the helicopter backwards several meters until she cleared a four story building, before turning the Cavalry around and flying off to the north. She banked the speeding Infiltrator VTOL around a skyscraper and her HUD’S infra red detector sprang to life painting four new bogies. She swooped her bird down and in front of her grounded brethren, hovering the Cavalry at Nap of the Earth, NOE, inserting herself between the enemy LRM squads and Cavalry Two, two meters off of the ground. She attempted to strike with her 5cm rockets but didn’t give them sufficient time to lock on to their target before firing them, so they flew until they reached their maximum range before exploding, harmlessly. It was LRM Squad #4 stepping out into the open preparing to launch their deadly missile at the two choppers. Gale opened up with her twin Bulldog light machine guns. The enemy LRM Squad figured prudence was the better part of valor, aborted their launch and dove back behind cover.

The prowler sped up the street but this time Nobinsky braked hard before turning right around the corner. He took the Prowler another ninety meters before skidding to a halt and the Prowler’s Loadmaster dropped the bay doors to the loading ramp.

The Loadmaster, Go-chu (Corporal) Yuroyuki Niznik, stepped to the top of the open ramp and sprayed Subgun fire down the street at three squads bearing down on the Prowler and shouted to the David Squad, “GET IN!”

The Ronin’s Prowler took weapons fire from six enemy squads. The fifty five ton vehicle was rocked on its axles as it was hit on both sides, its front armor, and in its rear armor. One warhead penetrated the Prowler’s J-Seal Standard Armor and damaged a right side strut. Nobinsky immediately returned fire with the tank’s PPC and immolated a trooper in an instant.“Get on that 3cm laser!” he shouted inside the tank. And into his PA(L) armor’s throat mic he yelled,”Command, I need assistance at grid two Alpha Zulu fow’er Whiskey! Taking heavy fire! I repeat! Requesting covering fire while I load David Squad!”

The Prowler’s gunner swung the turret around and pumped twin small pulse laser darts into LRM squad #12. Now these were ‘Mech grade weapons that would burn holes through four inches of BattleMech armor, firing into a seven man squad of flesh and blood. The squad was incinerated with enough unspent energy to incinerate ten more additional corpses. “Tango Twelve, Down!” announced Gunjin (PFC) Juuso Callara.

“Roger that Rapid Response Charlie,” it was Sho-sa (Major) Kintaro. “Nighthawks laying down suppression fire.” The Command Squad opened up with eight more ‘Mech grade, small pulse laser, of the extended range variety, two per squad member with devastating effect. They targeted the building where the saw Squads #10 and #11 duck into it for cover. The hail of green energy darts tore through, brick, mortar, steel, glass, girders, anything and everything they touched, causing the building’s collapse directly onto the two squads inside the building and falling debris onto a third squad passing by out front. A man from each squad inside, miraculously survived the building avalanche and stumbled from the smoking ruins only to be mowed down by the Command Squad’s Thunderstroke II Gauss Rifles while the Nighthawk PA(L)s waited on their pulse laser to recharge. “Bogies seven, ten, and eleven, Neutralized!” reported Kintaro.

“Thanks for the assist Command.” It was a grateful Nobinsky.

“Thank us by giving us a lift home,” replied Kintaro.

“I’m all over it Command.”

David Squad was double timing it towards the Prowler and its inviting open loading ramp when the vehicle came under the horrendous volume of fire. The Tornado Squad stopped and turned half the distance to the Prowler, to face the three LRM Squads that were in hot pursuit. Donald Miller and Jimmy Pane fanned out on either side of the street. Gunsho’s (Sergeants) Detrick Herzel and Steve Lalitha went prone and the last two, Gunsho’s (Sergeants) Kimitada Lu and Daniel Kogawa, flanked the prone troopers and went into a sliding, kneeling position. The six Tornado troopers all fired at roughly the same time, Gauss Rifle slugs blowing chunks of flesh, brain matter, blood, and intestines from Squad #9 onto squad #8 who was following too close behind. Squad leader Jimmy Pane informed the Ronins,”Enemy Tagged #9 is down.”

The David Squad regrouped and made it the remaining distance and dove into the waiting Prowler even as the Prowler continued to take on enemy weapons fire. The loadmaster fired one departing burst from his KA-23 Subgun, ducked back inside the interior of the vehicle, slammed the loading ramp shut, and slapped Nobrinsky on the shoulder. Nobrinsky continued to immolate another enemy soldier with a man made lightning bolt, as he threw the Prowler into gear and made his way farther up the street to extract the Nighthawk Squad.

The Nighthawk squad unassed the maintenance shed as the Prowler screeched to a halt in front of them, its loading ramp already extended, sending sparks off the pavement. Their pulse lasers had recharged and they were firing down wind into another SpacePort building. An LRM Squad was firing on the run but having witness the demise of their comrades, this squad was on the move, unfortunately for them, however; they were unable to stay ahead of the destruction of the building as the anti-mech weapons reduce it to rubble. Two men from the enemy squad did managed to jump clear of the rapidly disintegrating building. Their weapons fire did manage to strike Nighthawk Trooper, Chu-i (Lieutenant) Hulda Stjern, despite the suit’s Improved Stealth Armor and it’s ECM bubble. The ECM did function as it was design to, however; it couldn’t compensate for human error. The missile never locked onto her Suit, Hulda had actually fired her jumpjets and jumped directly into the flight path of the deadly warhead. It blasted her mid air like a shot gun fired at a skeet. She tumbled side over side until she hit the ground a came to a rest against the wall of the shed. The missile had left huge rents in her armor and her skin suit was showing through in several places.

Being ever alert to situational awareness, Sho-sa (Major) Kintaro immediately shouted, “Nighthawk Four, Sit Rep!” Hulda didn’t respond but he saw her moving up on all fours. A quick nod of his head in Hulda’s direction and Sho-i (Lieutenant Commander) Chano ‘Frenchy’ Fuqua and Sho-ka (Command Sergeant) Cinderella Krall sprinted back to go get her. Kintaro provided covering fire with his Thunderstroke Gauss Rifle.


The lead Cavalry VTOL ‘leap frogged’ backwards over its wingmate in Cavalry two and sat the chopper down on the ferrocrete directly in its wake. Cavalry two was slightly delayed in lifting off due to the Laser Squad having to properly strap down their wounded trooper, Justice Keter. Lucille and Dallas were busy securing Justice. Malavika and Tonika were already strapped into their respective jumpseats, anxiously awaiting lift off. The Squad Leader, ‘China’ was busy laying down a pattern of small laser fire at the rushing enemy. The Cavalry Two pilot realized that they were a ‘Team’ and if his team was going to survive this encounter, it would rest on his laurels and what he did in the next few seconds to buy the Laser Squad more time. “Ladies, I need ya’ll to put a pep in your step back there! The enemy is closing in!” The Cavalry Infiltrator’s Garret D2j targeting and tracking computer locked onto four separated enemy LRM squads. He fired on the one that he had the best probability to hit according to the Garret D2j and it was less than 50%. He burst fired both, linked paired, machine guns. The Vulcan style barrels roared to life, spinning in a blur, dropping tens of hundreds of spent casing to the tarmac. And as LRM Squad #4 scattered to avoid the hailstorm of .30 and .50 caliber bullets, Syung-Soon lit off a rocket pod, and the ten HE warheads detonated among the Squad, killing more than half of the enemy troopers.

At the apex of the Lead Cavalry’s reverse leapfrog jump, it was beset by LRM Squad #3. Unable to take evasive maneuvers, due to it’s close proximity to its sister Cavalry, it caught a missile right under its cockpit, spider webbing the plasti steel canopy. The VTOL veered to the right before dropping hard to the pavement, damaging one of its landing skies. “I’m hit! I’m hit!” cried out Gale, the VTOL Pilot.

“MG Squads got you covered!” answered Kashira (Sergeant Major) Barbara as her Tornado MG Squad erupted from the reinforced admin building out into the open, took assessment of the situation and quickly engaged the offending enemy squad. The Tornado squad ‘hip’ fired their machine guns and merely succeeded in kicking up chunks of ferrocrete while failing to hit any warm flesh and blood enemy targets. Gunsho’s (Sergeants) Carolyn Frow and Christina Tsuji waved to the rest of the squad to go on and board the crippled VTOL. “We got this!” The Kashira (Sergeant Major) knew when to put up a fight and when not to. She gave the order to climb aboard the VTOL. The two Gunshos (Sergeants) took up defense positions between the two VTOLs and opened up with their KA-23 Subguns. Three enemy troopers fell to the ground, legs and arms akimbo. By then, the VTOL was back under control and Gale launched an Alpha Strike. The enemy Squad never stood a chance. The .30 and .50 caliber shells kept ‘Dead’ men elevated as the rockets tore them into pieces no larger than a human finger. “Bandit three has been successfully neutralized,” cooed Sho-ka (Command Sergeant) Gale Streng.

The remnants of the Squad tagged four had regrouped and were firing long range missiles haphazardly towards the two grounded VTOLs. “INCOMING!!!” shouted Christina Tsuji. Instead of following her training and diving for cover, the Squad Leader, Barbara Ogawa, turned to look and see which direction the missiles were coming in from. That cost her precious seconds and her armored Tornado suit. A warhead exploded violently in her chest, throwing her inside and against the opposite bulkhead of the VTOL’s troop bay. Where she lay, dazed and unmoving but otherwise still alive. Another warhead caught the second Cavalry Infiltrator VTOL in its rotor assembly AGAIN. It was pouring dark clouds of black smoke into the air overhead.

“Rapid Response Bravo, you’re hit pretty bad,” Gale intoned. “Can you make it back to the Rally Point, over?”

Syung-Soon tested his rudder pedals, his yaw, and his stick controls and responded, “I have a lot of play in the stick but I think I am good for the Rally Point.”

“Are you sure Bravo? It looks pretty bad from back here.” Gale’s chopper was still coming under heavy fire by LRM Squads #1 and #2 but they were firing without looking from behind cover, not wanting to be victims of any of her subsequent Alpha Strikes.

“No disrespect intended commander, but let ‘Jessie’ rob this train, will ya?” two warheads bracketed the Infiltrator and exploded in a cloud of shrapnel but they were too far away to cause any damage.

“Alright, then exfil, Exfil, EXFIL! MOVE OUT! DEST Actual, Rapid Response Lead, your Air assets have loaded up precious cargo and are ex filtrating to the rally point. Chopper Two is severely damaged. I’m escorting it out.” Gale switched over to the MG Squads frequency, “Girls, assholes and elbows we’re lifting off now!” Carolyn and Christina each hopped on opposite landing skies and clamped on to the Infiltrator with one armored glove and trained their KA-23 Subguns at enemy targets with the other.

The Nighthawk Squad had made it aboard the Prowler and Chano and Cinderella were strapped into their jumpseats. The Loadmaster had shut and secured the bay door. The David Squad members, Donald and Steve, had taken the injured Hulda and had her webbed in tightly. DEST Actual had just inched his way up to the driver’s compartment and tapped Nobrinsky on his helmet. (That was a sign for Nobrinsky to ‘GO’) when the call came in. “Roger that Rapid Response Lead, headed out now. We’ll see you at the Rally Point. DEST Actual, Out.”

Gunsho (Sergeant) Nebraska Nobinsky threw the Prowler ‘Nose Guard’ into gear, pressing down on the accelerator and screeched back down the street, amidst squealing tires and white smoke. He was driving at a more manageable speed of 75kph instead of that breakneck speed of over 120. He was going back through the ‘Hornets Nest’.

“Nobinsky, its just us against them this time. No air support. Do you think you can make it through?” Sho-sa (Major) Kintaro asked his subordinate.

“Does a bear shit in the woods and wipe its ass with a fluffy white rabbi . . ."

Nobinsky’s comment was cut off as the Prowler was impacted heavily on its starboard side armor by enemy LRMs. The vehicle was lifted up until only its left side tires were making contact with the ground before it fell back level, rupturing both wheels on its right side. The occupants of the tank were thrown violently against their restraining straps. All but ‘Iceman’, who was still standing beside Nobinsky so he was tossed around the troop bay like a rag doll. The loss of both tires made steering the 55 ton Prowler nigh impossible if it weren’t for the enhanced myomer strength of Nobinsky’s PA(L) suit. The tank’s speed was immediately cut in half. Nobinsky dare not take his concentration from driving the vehicle so he gave up firing control of the Prowler’s PPC. “Tiffany, take the Cannon! Gunner, get on the three centimeter laser, NOW!”

“Aye, aye Gunsho (Sergeant).” With a flip of a switch, Nobrinsky relinquished control over the targeting and firing of the Prowler’s Particle Projection Cannon to Tiffany Troyer and she mowed down three enemy troopers with the blue electron bolt. The icy rope crackled and singed all over every inch of their bodies. The Gunner didn’t need to be told, he was already firing green energy darts into the LRM Squad. He plugged every man twice. “Squad Eight Down!” Juuso Callara coolly announced.

From on his ass inside the Prowler’s troop bay, ‘Iceman’ recalled his air support, “Alpha, ALPHA! We’ve been hit! Abort escort sortie and provide immediate air support at grid two Alpha Zulu fow’er Whiskey! Over.”

“Alpha incoming to grid two Alpha Zulu fow’er Whiskey. Keep your heads down. I’m comin in Hot!” and then on Syung-Soon’s private channel, Gale instructed, “Bravo, continue on to the Rally Point.”

“That’s a Negative Commander. No can do. I’m NOT leaving my wingman.”

“Its not up for negotiation ‘Gunsho’ (Sergeant)” she put emphasis on her junior’s rank, “Its an Order.” No curt response. “Gunsho (Sergeant).” Nothing. “GUNSHO (SERGEANT)!” All Gale was greeted with was static. The smart Alec bastard had turned off his radio.

The two Cavalry Infiltrator VTOLs would have been a thing of beauty to watch, they way they turned in unison and sped back to the raging conflict; if they had not been bringing death and destruction in their wake. The two Cavalrys zipped in like razors in a strafing formation, mimicking one another like mechanical humming birds. As they approached the carnage from between the tall buildings, they saw that the Prowler was hobbling south up a main thoroughfare while trading long range shots with someone from an upper floor, taking shelter inside a building. The Ronin’s VTOL pilots zero’ed in on which floor the enemy fire was originating from by watching the missile contrails as they exited through the windows. Dropping to fifty feet, the Cavalrys unleashed holy Hell in the form of twin Alpha Strikes, obliterating the target floor and the two floors above and below it.

The Ronins were VICTORIOUS!


Tanaka Kintaro
Call Sign: ‘Iceman’
Rank: Sho-sa (Major)
Hardware: Nighthawk XXIII
Battalion: DEST
Company: Shadow
Platoon: Alpha
Unit: Razan’s Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #11

Draconis Combine
Dieron Military District
Al Na’ir Prefecture
System: Ascella
Tarawa City
Continent: Askahr
Southern Peninsula
Ronin’s Keep
Prowler’s Hanger
Sunday March 10th 3095 14:30 Local

He shifted, he was doing pushups when three people, two man and a woman walked in and over to him. He got up and opened the tank. “I am Nebraska Nobrinsky, call sign ‘Chuck’. This is where we will be. At 6’9” in his stocking feet, and weighing in at 275 lbs., naked, he was a large man, both in the chest 58” and voice, he was almost a sub-base. He was in the jumpsuit. Save it was tailored for him and him alone. “Here are the manuals to operate Nose Guard, this Prowler. I like being prepared. Do you need anything else?”

“No, sir.”

“Yes we do guys. We STILL need training on how to operated Power Armor.” It was Heishi Tiffany Troyer who spoke up now. “None of us has ever piloted an armored suit before. We all need trained on the operation and use of PA(L) suit or Battle armor suit, something.” She glanced at both her comrades in turn as she reported all of their shortcomings to the Gunsho (Sergeant).

He looked over, he managed to download and print more of the Memory Core’s section, all he was doing is printing out a short section and binding them. Not some, every single section the Core housed.

Owen Callahan looked over, Gunsho Nobrinsky had not accommodated himself well. But he was new to the unit, somethings would straighten out, he knew. He noticed the Prowler rolled down the Major had sent them to the range to work out some kinks and he had to agree with the man. Razan had flipped out, yelling which was unlike her. Nobrinsky could really drive her nuts. Been a while since he saw that kind of reaction, he knew shaking things up was good, but he also knew the Major was good. He waited and the Major walked back in. He also knew most tanks were, well loud, this was a very quiet tank.


“Yes, Major?”

I was listening to him and he asked me a question. “One did the unit have ‘warships’ in their company.
I said ‘yes’. We do. I know.”

He asked me why she yelled him out for calling her Sho-sho. Thought all people with warships were addressed as ‘sir’. Yes sir, no sir, and nothing else? Believe something about the orders to that effect, since you don’t insult them. Naval PPC fire makes big holes in uniforms.”

^♀^ was the symbol on the apron. The halo was gold, the rest of it was black
“Why this symbol?”

“Technician, halo with wings. It is also the old symbol for immortality. All I did was give it flight. The mind of a Technician is the mind of greatness, for others destroy, you build and repair. The outreached hands of hope, not the fists of mysticism and tyranny.”

He shifted and added a dedicated comm channel for the two gunners. Right and left, and both were men. The medic was female and she was sitting behind him. Waiting, she saw the hidden mission equipment compartments under the seats, there was a lot of medical equipment I them and she was glad for it. If they needed it, they probably would, they were a combat unit after all.

She paused as she checked more out, some were manuals on medical surgeries and some equipment she’d never seen before. It was all in English and Latin. She even noticed the small pad (it read ‘Personal Access Data Display’) and she tapped it. He looked back and sent the command to scan her retina. It allowed her to access the information, the Star League Memory Core medical information from Helm was available. She looked at it, the PADD even had an automatic translator function. She shifted it into Japanese and smiled, the system did it and was spooling off papers and essays and she blinked as she slowed it down. She’d somehow asked for it to download, but she slowed it down to the point she could read it. She knew he was someone special. The apron was proof of that. She also knew this was something to protect. The information was stuff she’d never heard about before, but seemed to actually make sense and tie in different disciplines at the same time. Like the extra Potassium one needed if you had cybernetics because the electrical impulse used Potassium to fire the nerves, and with the limb sucking up most of it.

She looked over and saw another article, it emphasized staples not sutures. Referencing the work done by Galen during the 1 century AD. She blinked, she looked again, it cited him and his work, like it was common knowledge. She paused and looked and noticed he had a copy of the work listed in the PADD as being in a specific mission equipment area. She opened and pulled out several books, 3 in all, with the name Galen on it but clearly 17 in the series, and she saw surgical equipment, this was older stuff, but working, and she saw that there was tech from 1 century AD to modern times, almost like someone had been collecting it for the entire time. Probably had. Lifetimes of dedication to preserving knowledge, even at the expense of their life. She looked over and there was a manual on cybernetic implants, the manufacture and repair of them. It was a large book, she opened it and it was electronic, it showed the basic holographic model and how it was adjusted for the individual patient. She closed it to look at others. She knew she would need a lot of time studying this, and he was special. More this was impressive by itself. She started to read and she knew she should be paying attention to help run the tank but this was a lot more interesting.

She looked over as they pulled in and she didn’t move. She continued to be reading and Yuroyuki, the loader, walked back and paused, Tiffany was reading and he was about to stop and yell her out when he noticed one of the books was in Latin and the drawing looked medical in nature.

“Yes, sir.”

“Make sure you put it all back.”

“Be here a while, some of these are lostech in nature and age.”

“That good?”

“This one is by Galen, 1 century AD.”

Yuroyuki looked back and Nebraska was smiling like he’d just won the lottery. “Collect stuff like those, habit, couldn’t go to school when I was younger, I had to work for a living, I tried to learn what I could when I could, even did some Drill Instructor work but that has always been my first love. Reading, got manuals all over this tank.”

He opened one seat and held out one. “Manual of Death.” He paused, “Every single Infantry call order, sit rep command paperwork is all listed. Asking for your movement, your direction, their direction and their speed, units, whole ball of wax. Specific enough to make sure if you have this you can get the proper paperwork to make sure you aren’t an idiot embarrassing yourself before your men.”

“I have not heard...”

“This is an updated copy. Original I saw here, was dated in the 20th century on Earth’s United States Marine Corps, published by the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms California. MCAGCC was as I understand well known it was considered the definitive publication.”

“You sure?”

He put it back, and picked up another book. “Anarchist’s Cookbook’. Every skill needs for resistance is here. Poisons, toxins, odd combat techniques, how to make snares, trip wires, and such. Even some interesting ways how to trip mechs.”


“Bullfighter Mech Trip lines. SLDF pioneered them during the 27th century. When Amaris came in, they hit so fast, most SLDF didn’t have time to put them out, Amaris however did have time and knew they would be coming. Every time they caused a mech to crash, he sent someone out to try and swarm to control. The 1216th Mechanized Infantry Division of the Sixteenth Army practically pioneered them. They always set those up, their Standard Operating Procedures. Probably should remove those for the company’s resources. Frees up spacing for the men.”

“Why do all the seats have holes in them, this slit...”

“So when they sit down their rifles are pointing down and held there.”

He demonstrated with a Zeus Heavy Rifle he sometimes carried. “So every man, like Sergeant Major Chasity or Major Callahan can visually inspect every weapon before they deploy. Yuroyuki, I have to ask you a question. I need to be blunt about it. I don’t like making mistakes, and more don’t like making them over again. I thought it was policy never to insult a person who commands a warship. As in, doing so is stupid, downright dangerous for everyone. Naval PPCs make big holes in this uniform.”

“Agreed, SOP.”

“So why did Razan have a problem with me calling her, Sir? I thought it was the only name used to say that so all know, yes they are in command.”
“She’s a girl. You’ll have to ask her yourself. I don’t know.”

“I am not going to call her a girl, let alone to her face. I may have been raised by my grandfather but I am not that stupid.”
“What’s with those goggles?”

“Smart Goggles, it is an adaption automatically calibrates to your prescription and auto-darkening to use on welding. Zoom, Telescopic and microscopic functions. Even has a built-in ear and extendable microphone. Range is 500 meters normally, but wearing the suit I can punch that up even higher. I use a three stage HUD screen. Goggles, Helmet and the main HUD function as well. I can even go hands free, move the turret just by turning my head.”

“You said your Grandfather raised you?”

“Yes, sir. He was on Tukayyid during 3052. In the specific unit known to have done the ‘Free Beer for Life’ incident. He raised me on Halifax after my parents were killed when I was just a baby. He was the one who taught me tech. Mean son of a bitch when it comes to proper paperwork, still have to take my time. Damn could he work when he had a mind to.” He flipped up one seat and lifted out a backpack filled with books and set them down. “Didn’t know which ones you had. Some of these are Star League golden century educational books, some are manuals, some are interesting reads.”

He walked back in and opened another and smiled. He had a flag called the Shandra Noruff of 2736. He put it on display. “I didn’t earn this, the tank did. I am just the new owner of the tank. Impressive record, all said.” He walked down to pick up more books and more gear. “How much have you got in there?”

“8 maybe 900 pounds.”

“That all?”

“Not counting the medical supplies, I like keeping stocked, never know when it might be handy. Saw one guy use roller bandages to tie up his boomerang, had to keep it working, used them to hold it together. Won’t go near it, didn’t like the look.”

He walked back in and opened the overhead bins and he smiled and handed them over. “Help...”

Juuso Callara walked off and he got a squad of Gladiator Exoskeltons and came back to help unload. “We take it nice and slow. Been collecting a while, I see.”

“Spent 20 full years in DES. Be roughly 60 years for retirement purposes. They pay damn well. One of the reasons I hired on was to take it. More time to spend doing what I love, fixing things, reading, and enjoying myself do a lot of other stuff than just watch grass grow.”

He shifted and held over a small shuriken. “Vibro-shuriken”


“Month’s salary at the time.”

“Nice, other stuff like this in there?”

“Yep. This one is a Nomad style folding compound bow. Only cost me 130 credits for this, the arrows came with it.”
“So cheap...”

“No string, I had to buy that one when I found someone who knew what it was. String alone was almost 3 grand.”
“For a bow string?”

“Not just any string, myomer, and look it has auto adjusting and recording so you know where you hit every shoot after you are dialed in. Even can adjust for high winds and oblique angles.” He put it away and shifted, “Slim-line machete’, this is a vibro-machete designed to be used in ship or for survival. Laser pistol and sonic stunner included. This is what is known as a ninja-to size. Half way between a Katana and a Wakazashi. Better for corridors then a full size, and one of the few things I like packing. I am trying not to be offensive, Yuroyuki. I know I didn’t come from the Kurita domain and my credentials are odd. I even speak some Japanese or Nippon if you speak it as well.”


“Hi back, or are you referring to ‘yes’. Now is it Kia or Hia.”

“Either will do, for releasing chi.”

They kept unloading and Nebraska paused for some beer and he looked over, “LAMs you got LAMs too.”

“Gomennasai. Demo, betsuni.” (Sorry. But, no) “We don’t own the LAM’s we’re just taking them through their paces in a Real World situation, is all.”

Nebraska downed the beer and crushed the can and dropped it in the can bucket he had and walked back in to unload. He finished unloading and they noticed the stack of books was impressive and he was holding a different weapon. “This I call the ‘Hunting Hawk’. It is a tomahawk that also has a sonic stunner, blazer style pistol and a folding vibro-blade in the handle, so when you hold the tomahawk head like a pistol you have a bayonet pistol. I like it because it is a jack of all trades weapon. Even has a light hammer on the back of the tomahawk axe head.”

He shifted, and held it over. “I developed it a while back. Working on patenting it, but never seem to find the right men for the work.” He shifted and pulled off his spurs. “I know right, little weird me wearing spurs. But these aren’t a spur, not officially.” He used a piece of his suit, and he turned it into a wrist rocket. “It collapses into spurs for transport. Lot of times you know being out there in the bush with nothing but stuff strapped on made it. These straps on, so you can’t lose them.”

He turned to step back and look at the man. He smiled. “Wearing your boots, what a little knee damage, what they remove the cartilage from your knee?”


“I can see, now I use these, they are horseshoes for the infantryman’s boots. In the Civil War, the American Civil War, roughly 1230 years before present, before planes, there was a Sergeant Major from Maine. Believe he was one of Chamberlain’s men but don’t count me on that. Chamberlain earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, the equivalent to the modern Blue Star, for his holding of Gettysburg in 1863. The Sergeant Major was so pissed every four months he kept having to buy new boots because he wore the old ones out. He went through heels fast. All that marching, so he came up with this, Brogan heels. It is a closed horseshoe designed to be put on the heels of infantrymen. Takes a while to wear it out and more if you put the boots to someone, you leave marks. Mine has my name here, and in glyph form here. As such it can be read by a computer if I mark someone. Which means I know who I stomp. You know, everyone knows who stomps who.”


“This now has the ability with those unloaded to lower the back of the seats for 12 stretchers to be placed here 4 rows of 3. I realize this seems a little but it actually is a lot of wounded, well to me it is.”

Nebraska looked over, and he shifted. “Miss Tiffany, yes?”

“Heishi, Sir. Why do they call you ‘Chuck’?”

“Ah, you ever watch the movie, ‘Anchor’s Away’?”

“No sir.”

“Comm Specialist was working on a handle. ‘Bob’. My name is different enough, most think it is ‘Nebraska’ and my name is ‘Chuck’. Sense of humor.”

“This seems so... odd.”

“Designed to be a carrier for infantry. An entire jump company, or even handle an entire company of heavy infantry. I won this on Solaris some years back. It has been wonderful to actually be able to use it. Do you know how many units rejected me because of this tank? All they see is something unusual. Unusual for a merc normally means keep on walking. For a normal unit, this alone is worth eyeballing, those LAMs, wow. Do you know I once offered to design an Infantry version of a LAM, I call a LAT, Land Air Tank? Based on this very vehicle but no one even seemed interested in it. Personally I feel that was a little more insulting. LAMs are wonderful, but light combatants, normally perfect for recon but a LAT, now that is just enough different to make others sit up and take notice. See because most vehicles which drop like mechs have to reset. Why, because the tank isn’t designed for movement on all three axis, like a mech is. One of the reasons why the Kanga wasn’t popular because sometimes if you hit the jump gear you have to reset the weapons, which was why I keep this, all energy weapons. It can’t have an ammo feed problem. Physical impossibility.”

He noticed Chu-i (Lieutenant) Michal Naero, the XO of the transport company, move to come over. He shifted to step away from Tiffany to give the Chu-i his undivided attention.

“Hey Gunsho (Sergeant), just thought I stop by and personally tell you that you performed exceptionally on the ‘Broken Arrow’ scenario. You are the omly ‘Noob’ to complete it with two kills. Great Job!”


Nebraska Nobrinsky
Call Sign: ‘Chuck’
Rank: Gunsho (Sergeant)
Role: Tech / Engineer
Hardware: Prowler
Battalion: DEST
Company: Transport
Lance: Rapid Response
Unit: Razan’s Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #12

Draconis Combine
Bjarred Prefecture
Pesht Military District
Bjarred Province
Nadir JumpPoint
K-1 Recharge Station
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Docking Bay T 17
Monday March 11th 3095 19:30 Local

Leaving the Dragon’s Nest behind, I walk with the team. The brightly lit corridor is wide and through its large portals, as we pass by, the vast expanse of deep space looms. Stars flicker against the inky blackness and billions of light-years away, three spiral galaxies complete the portrait. So much, so vast, but on the inside, the human traffic here is sparse. This terminal is primarily used for military and government business so this comes as no surprise. The more populated areas would be those on the other side of the station. The Freight and civilian terminals are often filled with hectic workers, tourists, business folk and anyone else with enough Ryu to burn.

Our DropShip is in a private, air locked hangar and after docking, I acquired the usual security code from Wyatt, ensuring its safety from any unwanted guests. As any military operative who have traversed space would tell you, pirates don’t just steal ships and cargo. Selling military grade parts can be a very lucrative business too if you have the right connections. Stepping out onto a wide travelator or moving walkway that runs along a busy street, we go over our plans before splitting up.

‘Bull’, ‘Terri’ and ‘Hound’ head off to find us proper lodging, while ‘Akita’ and I continue toward the departures terminal to look for answers. We all agree to meet back at an obscure bar and grill…should be about an hour or so.

This Recharge Station, while different in shape, reminds me of many others throughout my tour. The monolithic, manmade, ‘floating in vacuum’ city, complete with vehicles, streets, housing, hotels, businesses and whatever else it takes to make the clockwork run smoothly, has an appeal unlike that of any planet surface. And like all Recharge stations, everything, can be found on various levels. The lower you go, the more industrial and mechanical it will become while the higher, the more open and touristy. The travelator and street where we stand is also a part of the huge terminal; a wide and long circular link that connects the three ports of entry. Each of these docking bays and terminals in their entirety is as or maybe even larger than the city of Oasis V.

Angry voices fill the air as two cab drivers hang out of their respective cab’s windows cursing. I see that stealing each other’s passengers is still a popular sport, and as the debacle escalates to what might become a physical confrontation, we move on. Traffic here is just as busy as I expected. Bjarred is a popular system. Many corporation and government envoys and agents come to do business with its wealthy planets while tourists show up for all sorts of reasons. It is also a well known pirate hub. Bjarred’s laws allow for ‘off the book’ transactions that might appear questionable elsewhere, making it the perfect breeding ground for illegal substance dealers, and the like to thrive in relative safety. And then there are the Cargo Carriers; the Behemoth heavy haulers that make hundreds of millions in c-bills on each run. Finding our Ebon Raptor agents here would be like looking for a needle in space; a daunting task.

As ‘Akita’ and I walk on, I take comfort with the weight of my hand cannon (Sternsnacht Claymore Heavy Pistol) tucked away near my waist. I can change it from single action to semi -auto with the flip of a switch. Hopefully, I won’t have to use it on this trip. As for the rest of the team; every man has his preference when it comes to a sidearm; except ‘Bull’. Even with his dual guns, he rarely ever uses them. His fists and raw power often gets the job done. Entering the departures terminal, we take our time here and move carefully through the bustle.

“Okay…” I turn to ‘Akita’ “…let’s do our thing.”

Standing in the busy open space, as the sea of people shuffle to and fro, we search for our target. In all the years of mankind looking to the stars for extraterrestrial life, it is amazing to see that the only inhabitants of space as we know it, turned out to be just us.

“Right there… ” ‘Akita’ nods to what he’s talking about.

His gaze leads me to an attractive travel agent behind a desk with a fast moving line, and we walk casually toward it. ‘Akita’ follows two people behind me. If my efforts are unsuccessful, then he is all we have left. My fingers slide across the edge of the Credits card in my pocket. Bribery is not my forte' but if it comes to it…

The line moves steadily. This tells me that she is efficient. Her stance is strong and well balanced; shoulders squared, back straight; she’s disciplined. Eyes focused, her reaction time is fast and she speaks with confidence; a trained thinker. This might be a bit more challenging than I thought.

I forget the travel agent and search our surroundings. I wouldn’t know a Ebon Raptor Pirate even if I saw one. They could be standing right next to me and I’d have no clue. All we have is the name of a DropShip, but this is good enough for me; I arrive at the desk.


Her brilliant smile lightens my mood

“… and how may I help you?”

She has a nice voice. Her eyes sparkle and her hair is perfect; another clockwork clone in my book. I pass my fingertips across the scanner on the flat of her desk and wait.

“Hi… ” I return the smile; I hope it is radiant enough “…I am in need of your help.” She shifts her head slightly in acknowledgment and I continue “I’m not booking a jump as yet. I am an MRBC Razan’s Ronins Mercenary Unit Chu-i (Lieutenant) and I need information… ” I wait, but she says nothing “… a DropShip docked here not long ago. I need to know where this DropShip is headed, when it’s set to jump and who’s on it. Can you do this for me please?”

“Chu-i (Lieutenant) Sakai. I’m sorry… ”

It’s like she had the answer at the ready before I decided to ask the question

“… but it is against our regulations and laws to give information of this nature to anyone without the proper authorizations.”

I absorb her smile. She’s almost robotic. “I understand, but its Pesht Military District business. We are tracking known criminals and this information would go a long way to…”

“I’m sorry Chu-i (Lieutenant) Sakai, but it is against policy…”

I slide the credits card across to her but keep my fingers on it. “… twenty five thousand Ryu. All I need is the destination, crew and time of launch.”

She doesn’t even look at the pre programmed card. “Chu-i (Lieutenant), if that would be all, I kindly ask that you please step out of the line.”

This is done. I know when I’ve hit a brick wall so I nod courteously and move away; it is up to ‘Akita’ now. I take a walk and then sit in a plush chair at a distance where I can see him clearly.

“She’s by the book… ”

“Don’t worry 'Huski' … I’ve got this…”

Even on coms, I can recognize his intensions. He is next in line and I wait…

“Hello, how may I help you?”

“Hi…” ‘Akita’s voice, but he doesn’t give his fingers to the scan “…I was standing in line, thinking about whatever it was I was thinking, and then I saw you. And I decided that unless you have your next meal with me, I’m not leaving this terminal.”

There is no sign of amusement on her face “You don’t remember what you were thinking before you saw me?”

She’s not buying it.

“How could I…what is there to remember after seeing you?”

I don’t believe it; she’s smiling.

“You’re good…” She says “…I’ll give you that. But I can’t.”

“I don’t mean you any disrespect. Please, I hope you didn’t take my compliment’this way…”

“No, it’s not that. I can take a compliment…but ‘‟m already spoken for.”

“You’re married?”

“No, I‘m engaged.”

“What’s your name?” ‘Akita’ plows on.

“Why do you want to know?”

“A beautiful girl such as you must have a beautiful name. I must know it.” and as ‘Akita’ waits for her answer, I am yet again mystified by him.

“Riara…” she says it softly.

“I was right…” ‘Akita’ continues without missing a beat as another smile lights her face “…seriously, when do you get off work..?”

“I don’t even know you?”

“How could you, if you don’t get to know me?”

“You don’t even know me?”

I think she is at a loss for words now.

“I know, that the lights O’ Galactic, astronomical the more, I bespeak you visit mine, and to yours invite that I explore.”

What the hell was that? Was that poetry? When did ‘Akita’ start quoting poetry?

“I get off in two hours…coffee and sandwiches, nothing else.”

“Coffee and Sandwiches..? That’s more than gold as long as it’s with you.”

“I’ll meet you at The Vienna. It’s a café not far from here. If you are the kind of person you appear to be, you should be able to find it.”

“What do I appear to be?”

“I’ll let you know if we meet again.”

I remain seated and after ‘Akita’ walks away and out the main doors, I follow.

I stretch my hand and a sticker covered yellow taxi, hovers to a stop in front of me… thing looks like a flying ad board.

“Gascloud nine…”

The driver, no more than eighteen, sticks a wild looking head of lime green hair out the window “… eighty c-bills man!”

I get in and in a moment we’re off. I’ve left ‘Akita’ at the café to do his thing.

With a little more than luck, we will have the information we need and be on our way in good time. How he does it..? I wish I knew. It’s some kind of natural gift, I guess, or maybe it’s his eyes, green and bold, or the hair, shoulder length, shiny black and straight. It couldn’t be his build…but we all have military grade bodies. Whatever it is though, he has got more of it than the rest of us.

I am on my way to meet up with the rest of the team. Until we hear from ‘Akita’, we are stuck here so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

“You know what I love about our job?” Is what he told me before I left him at the café “...even though we’re always on the go, we can still find time to enjoy the finer things.”

I looked at him and saw nothing more than the anticipation of having yet another woman to add to his trophy wall. It is the same with him every time. He had given me that sly grin of his and I couldn’t help but laugh; what else could I have done?

It has been six hours since I left ‘Akita’ at that café, but I received his message a half hour ago and now, I’m on the bridge of the Dragon’s Nest with holoscreens up and information about Ebon Raptor streaming across them. I wonder what Bernice is doing. I wonder if she’s wondering about me. I can contact her, but as much as I want to, I don’t. What would I say? It is times like these I wish I had ‘Akita’s gift with the opposite sex. Of all the people I have ever known, none could win the heart of a woman as easily as he, the difference between us however, is that he does not know how to keep it.

The onboard system alerts me that the airlock has been opened. One of the holoscreens shows ‘Pitbull’, ‘Hound’ and ‘Terri’ on their way up and as usual when we make port for more than four hours, ‘Akita’ is nowhere to be seen. The doors to the bridge deck slide apart.

“… Brought a little something for you 'Huski' …” ‘Terri’ hands me a bag full of Bjarredian chocolates. I smile and pop a Pine fruit Mocha in my mouth.

“I forgot how great these taste.”

“I know you and chocolates bro… I got your back, but you still owe me ...”

‘Terri’ laughs and I am instantly transported back to a time when the most urgent thing in our lives was getting home on time so our parents wouldn’t go ape shit crazy.

“Hey 'Huski' … ” ‘Terri’ again “…you remember the mochas we stole from Colin Simpson?”

I grin with the memory “Yeah, he cried and blamed his brother while we ate them all on the roof of his house, how could I forget.”

“You were a bad influence on me you know that?”

“And now the roles are reversed so we’re even.” I pop another chocolate in my mouth and savor the smooth sensation of it, gliding like honey coated happiness along my tongue.

“'Huski' … ” Terri’s looking at me as though I am doing something I shouldn’t.

“… No eating before the jump…”

“… Yeah, yeah… ” I put the bag of goodies away.

I had left the guys at the bar shortly after eating. I couldn’t bring myself to indulge in the usual pleasures of making port. Not even with Nilani, the very beautiful and interested hostess who offered me her services…what is wrong with me?

“Where’s ‘Akita’?”

“… at the hotel with his newest victim. Riara… ” ‘Pitbull’ deliberately bends the name for added effect “… said he’d book us out when they’re finished.

“Well he’d better be finished soon, ‘cause time’s running out.”

They DropShip’s crew all get to work. Preparing the flight systems for launch would take five minutes but in forty five, we are going to have to get moving in order to get our holding slot. The volume of traffic passing through this Recharge Station has every DropShip making a jump, lined up in the queue three hours before launch. I wish I had contacted Bernice. Once we leave this system, communications will become difficult. An underlying current drives the urge to hear her before we leave, but duty…or is it fear..? I prefer duty…duty forces my attention back to the task at hand, and then the door opens, ‘Akita’ stands there smiling; it is time to go.

Deep six is due for launch in two hours and forty minutes. Their destination is Altona V; an industrial ice planet in the Altona system roughly thirty light years away. They are a crew of twelve, made up of four senior officers; Commander Pierce Larson, Captain Juno Gallagar, Sergeant Mark Riley and Captain Janet Barlow. And quite conveniently, Riara has booked our jump right after theirs. How can I not be awed by ‘Akita’s achievements? And like the rest of the crew, what I want to know is how he did it.

The Dragon’s Nest’s engines are online and awaiting Wyatt’s command. In a few minutes the outer airlock would disengage and we will be on our way to the JumpShip. I look around the bridge. These are all good men and even more… great friends…brothers, and after our four years together, I could not have asked for a better unit.

“So ‘Akita’… you know what we all are thinking, spill…” ‘Terri’ asks the question before I do. ‘Akita’ gives the usual grin and then tells about his time at the café. How he talked her into showing him around the station. Their common interests and the like, their spark of chemistry, according to him, and her willingness to spend some quality time at the hotel.

“I thought she was engaged?” I just remember this fact.

“Not anymore.”

And yet again, ‘Akita’ burns a hole in my mind. How the hell does a stranger get a beautiful, intelligent woman to hook up with him and break off an engagement in less than twenty four hours?

“I offered her a better life.”

“What life? When are you going to see her again?”

“When we get back to Bjarred…”

“What makes you think we’re going back to Bjarred?”

I should not have asked this. They all look at me with funny eyes and ‘Pitbull’ jumps in.

“…Two words Tushio…Bernice Johnsson...”

I ignore their smart-ass grins “Okay let’s say we do go back to Bjarred… are you saying that you’re giving up your life of womanizing for this girl?”


Everyone reacts to this with individual expressions of “not this-again” and while I thumb through the virtual keys in front of me… “Well forgive us, but, I gotta see this to believe it. It’s not exactly the first time we’ve heard this declaration.”

“Believe me Tushio, I mean it this time…”

“What was the poetry thing about?”

It’s what I’ve wanted to ask ever since he recited it. It turns out that it was from a book he saw on her side of the desk. “Poetry is a hobby…” None of us believed him. What’s interesting about Riara though, is not that she gave ‘Akita’ her private com code, but the fact the he gave her his. This relationship will definitely be an interesting one to watch.

We put on our safety harness after the laughter fades, and as our flight seats seal us in, the DropShip shudders when the artificial gravity outside is replaced by vacuum. The conversation dies. The main lights in the cabin go out and all that remain are those from our Holoscreens.

With gentle touches and jolts, Sho-i (Captain) Alejandro Sola and the Semi Autopilot guide us out of the small hangar and into the tunnel system of the Recharge Station. DropShips of all classes bearing various flags and emblems representing nationalities, corporations, alliances and the like can be seen in their respective hangars. Some behind sealed airlocks and others either being parked or leaving. One DropShip, a Periphery transport vessel docking not too far away, boasts the symbol of the Drakemoor Dynasty across its hull. The red and black DropShip, labeled Drakemoor IV, belongs to one of the few known habital planets in the Periphery, if memory serves me correctly, about five or so hundred light years from Bjarred.

Through my portal, the dense Ferro Carbide floor of this monstrous manmade chamber is lined with thousands of well lighted grooves. Five hundred feet below us, it slides by as our computer system, now on full auto pilot, guides us via Digital Magnetics; a computer generated magnetic field that enables our DropShip’s AI to work in unison with that of the Recharge Station.

We’ll be arriving in Altona via the JumpShip Dragonfly and by the calculations on my Holoscreen; our time in hyperspace will be one minute and two seconds.

According to our history books, Hyperspace in the movies of old was as simple as hitting a few buttons and strapping into your seat; if only it was that simple. Unlike the Speed of Light, the forces at eighty three point three, three, three Light Years per hour are so astronomical, that no human body would be able to survive it without the discovery of the Kearny-Fuchida Drive. Every JumpShip suit uses Kearny-Fuchida Drive Technology to keep the wearer in gravimetric stasis. In other words, no one is ever ambulatory during time in hyperspace, be it for several seconds or a full minute.

From my seat I overhear the com alert the Sho-i (Captain) of an incoming transmission.

“DropShip Dragon’s Nest… K-1 Traffic Control has you in sync for dock in forty minutes; stand by for guidance on link.”

“DropShip Dragon’s Nest copies stand by.”

No one ever gets accustomed to the anticipation of the jump. Although you Don’t feel the trip, that initial jolt as you enter the slipstream of hyperspace always gets you. Outside, as we exit the docking bay, the expanse of deep space fills my vision again. Most of the complex and its many bright portals lie behind us and the JumpShip, even though it reads four kilometers away, still looms above us like a monstrous cylindrical mountain. Blue, red and white electrical surges, arc and split along the surface of the JumpShip, giving the appearance of an oversized needler. Now that I think of it, I guess that’s what it is in actuality.

This is an interesting revelation because if it is indeed a giant needler, that would make us, the projectile. Our compartment lights up in dim flashes as the highly charged currents ripple more and more rapidly across thelength of the JumpShip. Then without a sound, it spits our Ebon Raptor targets from its mouth in a flash of light, and they are gone.

My com crackles to life.

“DropShip Dragon’s Nest you’re cleared for taxi. Twenty minutes to jump.”

My heart gives me that unusually large thump. “Dragon’s Nest copies twenty to jump. We’re ready for taxi, all is a go.”

“Control acknowledges copy, stand by for docking.”

The world around us glides by like a dream as our ship is ferried toward the JumpShip Dragonfly. The ride is flawlessly smooth. The station is no longer visible from our portals and as always before any jump to another system, I often wish there was another way.

“Here we go… ”

None of us responds to Wyatt. The looming structure before us has our minds in its hold. The red lights that line it in some areas, the monstrous yellow Dragonfly painted on its base, the undulating energies that crawl along its surface, the giant opening that awaits us as we begin the docking sequence; it just never gets old. Were it not for the cooling system in my suit, I know without a doubt that I would be sweating like crazy right now. Goose bumps rise and fall across my flesh even though I try hard to remain calm. The Dragonfly gradually changes from vertical to horizontal as the station keeping drives alter the ship’s angle of approach. In actuality, we are the ones who are changing angle. Slowly, eventually, we get to the open circular docking collar and slide into place; The groan of the JumpShip’s giant mechanized grappling arm fill my ear as it begin to move and then our DropShip finally comes to a stop.

As the massivedocking ring seal itself shut, darkness envelops us. My eyes adjust to the computer lit compartment. All is quiet. Every man at this point would be preparing, in his own mind, for the sensations to come; so why am I thinking of Bernice?

“Dragon’s Nest… Control has you ready for launch to Altona via Dragonfly, rep live.”

Wyatt looks towards me and I give him a thumb’s up. He responds. “Control… Dragon’s Nest is ready for launch, all systems are a go.”

It seems as if JumpShip Captain is making the extra effort to keep the nerves out of his voice. “Control copies all systems are a go. Jump is initiated…twenty seconds.”

The com goes dead. Here we go. There is no turning back even if we wanted to. The silence is mentally deafening. I imagine the crazy arcs of electricity that run up and down on the outer skin of the Dragonfly. There is no countdown to zero, just the fact that at some point within the next twenty seconds, we will be in hyperspace.

A hammer slams into my chest. I think it’s my heart but it’s not. The sudden movement catches me off guard and the JumpShip pushes me further into my seat. A single strand of blue electricity surges over the JumpShip’s exterior hull, lighting up the interior of the Dragon’s Nest in a brief flash.

“… BLAM!”

It’s the last sound I hear as the sensation of being electrocuted grips and twists the insides of my stomach, and everything goes black.


Name: Tushio Sakai
Callsign: ‘Huski’
Rank: Chu-i (Lieutenant)
Hardware: Wasp WSP-105M LAM
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Kiridashi
Lance: Dragon’s Eye
Assignment: Recon
Unit: Razan's Ronins

Name: Zephyr Jorgensson
Callsign: ‘Spirit’
Rank: Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel)
Hardware: Invader Class JumpShip
Wing: Red Storm
Squadron: Hydra’s Bane
Assignment: Aerodyne Transport
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #13

Clan Zone
Clan Snow Raven Space
Zenith JumpPoint
Argus Space Station
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Monday March 11th 3095 21:00 Local

The passenger bay and all in it, is a blur while my seat automatically returns to its inclined position and my muscles tingle as the blood flow in my body becomes normal again. The Space Station Argus is nothing more than a hazy shape to me. A very unpleasant heaviness saturates me as the station keeping drives from the Dragonfly brings us about to hang here in space. This ungodly and tormenting sensation feels like an unwanted hand moving around in my stomach. I hate it. I look around, and the rest of the team is in no better shape than me.

The bridge’s auto induction system whirs into action, a little late, and fills the space with an odorless gas that clears the effects of our jump and everything becomes normal again.

Why couldn’t they invent something to drink before the jump?

Well according to them, whoever they are, eating and drinking should be done at least four hours before any jump. The forces in hyperspace could causeundigested food and drinks to flow back into the lungs … enough said.

“We need to get that fixed…”

“I agree buddy...”

‘Hound’ and ‘Akita’ stop their chatter as the com lights up.

“Dragon’s Nest…Argus Control has you … link and rep live.”

I find my tongue. I think it was hanging around somewhere near my chin, but I’m not entirely sure. I’ll definitely have to get the Induction mechanism looked at when we get back to base.

“Dragon’s Nest copies Argus,” responded the DropShip CO, Wyatt. “We’re undocking from the Dragonfly and then are a flyby to Altona.”

“Argus Control copies Dragon’s Nest flyby to Altona. Link out.”

Nickolas Wyatt close the coms and I pull up a map of the system. We are ten point eight AU’s from Altona, one point something billion miles and it will take us three and a half days to get there. I turn out my overhand light prepare to take a nap.

After several minutes of undocking, Wyatt opens the com again “Argus Control… ” A bit of static comes through “… Dragon’s Nest is ready for inbound run to Altona.”

I wait as they run our trajectory through their systems. I am as hungry as ever; another aftereffect of the jump. The com goes active again.

“Dragon’s Nest … Argus Control copies your flight. You’re a go for inbound run.”

“Control … Dragon’s Nest copies go.”

Wyatt kills the com and the Dragon’s Nest Co-pilot, Alejandro Sola, hits the throttle. The scene beyond the viewport stretches a bit, and then stretches some more, and all sound in the cockpit vanishes. I am pushed into my seat and the lights on the outside become blurs as we vanish into space.

Clan Zone
Clan Snow Raven Space
Upper Atmosphere
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Thursday March 14th 3095 07:00am Local

The blue and white, more white now than blue, ball of Altona takes shape ahead of us. It looks like a distorted sphere as we exit the clouds. My mind seems to have arrived first, but my body catches up not long after. It’s a rush.

“Wyatt, go dark. Sola, give me a scan. We need to find them.”

The experimental technology cloaking device used on the Dragon’s Nest, gives us the appearance of invisibility by using the same reflective regeneration technology as our LAM’s. It’s just one of the many perks from being in the DCMS Modern Innovate Tactics program.

“I got’em in planet airspace and heading north.”

“What’s ahead of them?”

The image increases in detail as Sola checks the data. “I’ve got a mountain Base about ten kilometers from their current location.”

“Wyatt, get us down there.”

“When all this is over, I’m gonna buy the first round.”

“Sola … when this is all over, you can buy all the rounds, how about that?”

Laughter fills the bridge. The DropShip’s cloak deactivates and the thrusters push me into my seat as we begin our approach for atmospheric entry. My tracking module relays that the SpacePort belonging to this planet is on the other side of its thick ice rings and wouldn’t be at our position until the next twelve hours , so our presence here should go unnoticed. With its lack of a structured law enforcement system, the risk of being tracked or intercepted by any authority won’t be a problem on Altona. So unless we encounter Pirates or security from the local Mining Companies, we should be on the deck and still detected in about twenty minutes.

Clan Zone
Clan Snow Raven Space
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Thursday March 14th 3095 07:30am Local

Almost three times the size of Terra, the bright surface of Altona fills the viewport until it is all that is there and the bridge shakes as we enter atmosphere. Outside, the skin of our ship super heats to over two thousand degrees Fahrenheit and flares crimson but on the inside, other than the minor shaking around us, it is a relatively comfortable entry.

The planet surface shifts and shimmers but becomes clearer as we descend. I make out mountains and the gaseous clouds that surround them. Made up entirely of ice, frozen gases to be exact, this world has a temperature, according to my reading, of a lovely minus fifty five degrees. I remember this place well. I had been here once in the past but that was a recon mission when I was a Heishi in the DCMS and hungry for a little action.

“Sola where are they?”

“… Fifty kilometers north of our drop zone. They’ve stopped.”

“ ‘Terri’, the vehicles and battle armor, stay with the ship and wait for my orders.”

“Aye Cap’n… ” ‘Terri’ comes back in mock pirate lingo.

I remove my seat belt and unclip my harness. The metallic scent of the DropShip hits me. It is a cold scent that reminds me of winter nights on base back on Shimonita. I miss home. It has been a long time… too long.

“I can’t wait until we’re back on Outreach and getting a little R and R.”

“I’m with you on that one Tushio.” ‘Terri’ answers longingly.

“It’s been too long. I miss Mercenary girls.” ‘Akita’ breaks in.

We all laugh.

We’re seven minutes from arrival and ‘Akita’, ‘Hound’ and I are strapping into their LAM’s and waiting for the thud that would signify touchdown. The old, rusty tasting power bar in my hand will silence my stomach’s protests for now but as soon as this ordeal is over, I will be having some good old Tai food.

This mission is now unpredictable. I’m not sure what we are going to find out there but whatever it is, I hope that it is worth the trip.

Clan Zone
Clan Snow Raven Space
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Landing Zone
Thursday March 14th 3095 07:40am Local

Everything around me shakes as we impact the icy surface.

“Damn Wyatt, take it easy!” ‘Hound’s voice rings over the com.

“Sorry guys, the winds are a bitch.”

The hiss of the ship’s hydraulics, connected to the Hold as it closes and decompresses, meets my ears. I hit the virtual switch on my HUD, and my cockpit clamps down and seals shut as the floor beneath us rumbles and begins to lower our LAM’s to the ground outside.

“ ‘Bull’, scan. ‘Akita’ start jam.”

“ ‘Bull’ copies. Scan”

“ ‘Akita’ copies jam.”

“Wyatt, keep the engines hot.”

“The fires will be lit boss.”

“ ‘Terri’ you guard the DropShip and be are ready five man.”

“Ackowledged ‘Huski’.”

I push the throttles and the machine begins to move. The three of us step down from our platforms and touch the frozen surface.

“Let’s go.”

My com lights up. It’s ‘Bull’. “Good hunting guys…”

With this system’s bright white sun directly above, we push our LAM’s across and above the rough but blindingly white, icy surface and were it not for our Digital Eyes, we’d be blind in a matter of minutes. The ground rushes by forty feet below us at ninety kilometers per hour; we should be arriving at our destination in seven minutes.

“Okay guys, on foot from here.”

I pull the throttle back and reduce speed. My verbal command initiates the air braking system and I am suspended for a moment in time, between positive and negative G. I switch my LAM over to ground mode and drop vertically.

‘Akita’ comes to me “I’ve got three light LAMs and a Medium on scan, two kilometers out.”

“Okay let’s disappear.”

The four of us ripple into the surroundings and vanish from sight. We’ll run walk it from here. There is no telling what we are getting into. My warning system goes haywire.

“What the hell is that?” ‘Akita’ shouts over the coms.

“Wyatt, Get the ship in the air, we’ve been compromised!”

My scope shows the three light LAMs and one Medium along with an unknown. This changes things.

“Tushio I can’t get a read on the new guy. Where’d he come from?” It’s ‘Akita’ again.

‘Bull’ breaks in “Must have been cloaked.”

I link with the ship “Sola keep us undetected all the way in.”

“I’m trying Tushio.”

My com comes alive. A rush of static and … “Razan’s Ronin Terrorists… ” His words are sharp and clipped “ … You are within a restricted zone and are therefore in violation of our laws. I order you to immediately cease your advance and power down your machines.”

I switch to our secure com “How are they detecting us?”

“I don’t understand it Tushio… ” ‘Bull’s confused voice echoes across our channel “ … I’m blocking with everything I’ve got.”

Altona’s blue and white, uneven ice carpet rushes by on the edge of my vision. “Guys we’re weapons hot, I repeat, weapons hot!”

The calm but angry voice comes through again. “Razan’s Ronin Mercenary Scum, you are to stand down immediately or die.”

I think for a split second about making contact but I get rid of the thought all the same. Our mission is to destroy this Company. We will need another man.

“ ‘Bull’, get over here. Wyatt, get the ship to us and launch our two Sholagars and give us air support…”

“Already on my way… ”

“ ‘Hound’, ‘Akita’ … track the medium and get rid of it first. ‘Bull’ … you out there?”

“Comin’ to you, boss … got a tally on those Lights.”

“ ‘Hound’… flank‘em, ‘Akita’… take the high ground, I’m going after the unknown, ‘Bull’, take a shot when you have it.”

My targeting computer tracks and locks on to the strange LAM just beyond the last rise ahead. Warnings of all sorts bombard me now. I pull the trigger and rocket low, fifteen meters to be exact, above the terrain. The familiar vibrations run through the air around me as five LRMs pull away and mark a smoky path toward the enemy machine in the distance.

“What the hell is that thing?”

I’ve never seen anything like it. It looks like a forty-foot metallic man. I wait but two of my missiles hit air and three explode before impact.

“Hou…lee, Boss, you see that..?”

‘Akita’s comment helps to free my mind from the minor trance.

“… That thing dodged five missiles!”

“ ‘Akita’, go for the medium!”

I’m barking into the com, my eyes never leaving my target. I switch to hover and ground controls and drop heavily to the planet’s surface. The sensation is crazy, like hundreds of massive ground quakes rushing through my stomach all at once. My Wasp LAM hits the planet’s surface running. Large chunks of ice split apart under the tremendous weight as I engage the unusual Machine in close quarters combat.

My tracking systems alert me of its lock on. I shove the throttles for more power and watch the distance between us close rapidly. Every sensor on my HUD that can, warns of enemy radar and weapons that are targeting me but I ignore them, maintain my mad dash, switch to lasers, squeeze the trigger and hold it. SSSSSSSSSZZZZZZZZZAT!

Somewhere on the outskirts of my mind I hear my medium laser fire.

A 5cm red beam lights a path to my target and the cockpit trembles with the kickback. But the laser beam hits nothing. He jumps into the air and rockets straight up; the ice beneath him cratering in his wake.

“Look at him go.” ‘Akita’s voice in my ear

I switch to flight mode on the run, vault into the air, and push for every ounce of power my LAM can muster. The GM180 fusion plant howls and the Gs push me hard into my seat. I leave the ice but my finger does not release the trigger and my laser follow’s its prey in a deadly arc as he tries to outmaneuver me.

“Guys I’m airborne and engaging the unknown. Wyatt, keep tracking us just in case.”

“Gotcha on scan Chu-i (Lieutenant), be careful.”

I level off at fifteen thousand feet and cut in toward the enemy LAM as he doubles over and plummets back to the planet’s surface. He’s fast, and agile. I’ve never seen anything like it. But my laser beams never stop. I’ve got to get him. ‘Almost … damn I was so close.’

I’ll over heat soon if I keep this up. I use my left hand’s index finger to activate missile launchers, and while keeping the laser fire blazing, five Heat Seeking Warhead speed away from me. ‘This guy’s good.’

I watch as his LAM easily avoids the attack and “… WUW!” I hit the speed brakes, roll over and pull away hard. The unknown Land Air Mech just stopped, almost instantly.

“Tushio, what’s going on?” ‘Akita’ screams into my head.

“That crazy ‘son of a bitch’ just dead stopped me … almost had an air to air collision.”

I strain against the forces that are trying to rip me apart. My speed brakes retract and just as I add power the warning systems go red. Six short range missiles are speeding my way. He’s toying with me, and getting under my skin, but I refuse to run and so, push toward the oncoming projectiles.



600ft to impact

I center on the approaching killers and squeeze off three quick bursts from my medium laser.

The missile explodes as I pass a hundred or so feet away. My warning systems alert me yet again and I realize that the strange Mech is behind and above me; a killing position. With a movement of eyes and hands, I enter a mind bending dive. I hope my pursuer is foolish enough to follow … apparently he is. The planet surface dangles beneath me. Thirteen thousand feet, twelve thousand feet, ten thousand feet, nine thousand, my enemy’s three medium lasers track off and ahead of me but none of them hit true.

“ ‘Bull’, are you jamming his tracking?”

“Gotcher back Boss.”

That’s a relief. Where is he? I don’t believe it. The unknown has already freed itself from the insane plummet and is trying to intercept me from another angle. My warning systems go mad again, he has me locked up. I drive full power to my thrusters and enter a stomach knotting turn and burn to approach him head on, engine screeching, laser blazing. I hope to catch him off guard as the Inferno LRMs leaving me, bridge the gap between us. My com comes to life just as the strange Mech drops below me and out of sight.

“Draconis Combine Snake … It’s time to die.”

Every warning light comes alive and screams madness in my ear. I can almost smell the chemicals in the oncoming exhausts as no less than six missiles, Acid (AX) class, now track me. I’ve got seconds before I become ash and dust. Manually I command the vents on my thrusters to yaw. And as my LAM spins and I face my six demons, the vents in front of my machine obey me now, driving me backward.

Digital numbers on the upper right of my HUD tells me that I’m pushing past Mach one. I center the reticule on my pursuers and squeeze the trigger as my heart, beating the life out of me, feels like it’s trying to claw its way into my guts, but I keep it together taking deep breaths; I got this.

I barely hear the laser beam sizzle but the lines that it carves through the sky finds their prey as one, two, three missiles are cut down. My thoughts are rapid and ever changing in the moment. Pulling a hard left turn, I roll inverted and drop, back first, still flying backward, toward the planet’s surface now twelve thousand feet below.

Laser beams spitting and chewing up the sky, I select my IMPs and deploy a large load. Looks like frenzied fireworks going off in my trail as I turn yet again and push hard on the power.

Unlike chaff for heat seekers, IMPs or Improved Magnetic Pulse warheads blanket the target in electromagnetic noise, causing the target to move more slowly, overheat, and interfere with targeting and communications systems. Six missiles register now on my HUD as neutralized; the IMPs have done their jobs disrupting the onboard tracking systems and fooling the miniature computers into thinking they had found their targets. The sky in my line of sight, lights up as the missiles detonate, and in my cockpit, the focused action of climbing higher changes my course with only one thousand feet to go.

As I shift to the right, the clear sky vanishes and the icescape below comes into view. The last salvo of missiles is still tracking me and my laser iscreeping into the critical heat red zone. I am now reduced to short bursts, but the wild and erratic evasive maneuvers, coupled with flying backwards makes it difficult to center on this target. I see the missiles clearly. My computer tells me that their five hundred feet and closing.

The com comes to life. “Tushio I’ve engaged the unknown and I’m… oh God!”

Hard static hits my ear. I twist my LAM hard, roll over at twenty thousand feet, and drop into a suicidal plunge. I say suicidal because it is against everything I have learned, to enter a backward supersonic dive.

“ ‘Terri’!”

I shout into the com. The missiles are still tracking hot on my tail … ‘damned Acid things, never stop.’ I’m sure that was ‘Terri’. A gnawing sensation forms in my stomach and chest that I haven’t felt in a long time. The radar blip between ‘Terri’ and me is gone. The effect of this, like a hole dug in my gut shakes me. I hate it. I want to scream, or cry but I can’t. I gotta keep it together.

“Tushio, we’ve engaged the unknown… ” ‘Akita’s words are quick and his voice is strained as though in a high G turn “ … He got ‘Terri’, and now the bastard’s on my six.”

The chatter increases as Emerald Dragon Flight comes through. “We’re on him, just hold it together.”

“I can’t shake him, Tushio, get down here!” ‘Akita’s medium pulse laser is going mad in the background along with his shrieking engine. It means that he’s backwards flying too.

“Hang in there I’m on my way… ”

My gut cramps as though held in a vice. I can’t wrap my thoughts around what ‘Akita’ just said. A proximity warning goes off. The missiles are closer now. I’ve got to get into the fight.

“ ‘Bull’ …” I roll out of my crazy dive and try to outplay the incoming projectiles, “… where’s that Snub Nosed PPC of yours?”

“… Can’t get a lock Tushio. This guy is either a magician or he’s that good.”

I kill the evasive and drop straight down. The altimeter hits seven thousand feet and shows me six thousand in two seconds. I’ve got twelve seconds before I become a permanent part of this planet.

The missiles close but I wait for the digital crosshair to move into place. A little bit more … almost … I squeeze the trigger and hold it. I can feel the ground not far below. The medium laser goes critical and malfunctions due to heat over load and the line of coherent light ends with the explosion of my pursuer. I shift my vents again, they spin me around and I begin moving forward once more.

My LAM comes out of the dive with a murderous cry and a hundred and fifty meters to spare. I’m hard pressed to my seat and my vision dims around the edges, but my suit does what it was designed to do and prevents me from passing out. ‘Akita’s signal is five kilometers south of my current position so I hit the throttle and watch the indicated airspeed push beyond the speed of sound.

“ ‘Bull’, where are you?”


“… trying to kill this thing without hitting any of our guys…”

“Why was ‘Terri’ in his LAM? I told him to stay with the ship.”

“He jumped in to back us up. I wish I had told him no.”

I ignore ‘Akita’s pain as his streak SRMs saturates the background of my com.

“ ‘Hound’… ?”

“In the heat boss… wuw! This guy is crazy!”

“Hold on I’ve got a fix and I’m burning hot… ” I hit the speed brakes so as not to overshoot the action going on below, and fight the wave of nausea as the reading goes from one thousand seven hundred, to five hundred miles per hour in five seconds.

The battlefield looks like something from a bad dream. The three, enemy Light Pwwka LAMs are all nothing but melted piles of black metal. The Medium Yurei LAM is in pieces not too far away … looks like it fell out of the sky, and a large lump in my throat drops into my stomach along with a hundred stones. ‘Terri’s LAM is spread across the ice and burning in large and small pieces.

I shove it from my mind; I’ll have time to deal with it later. My engine burns hotter as I force my LAM higher. “Where’s that bastard… ?” I see him now “… Emerald Dragon, keep him busy.”

“Not a problem Chu-i (Lieutenant).”

I track the unknown LAM as he pursues ‘Akita’ and evades ‘Hound’. They too should be running low on ammo by now.

“Emerald Dragon, get to the ship and be ready for anything.”

Static again “…Okay boss, we are on our way.”

After climbing to five hundred feet above the action, I push my LAM into a shallow dive to catch and match the speed of our Ebon Raptor opponent. ‘Akita’ has him following his evasive run in a large, seven kilometer circle, perfect for my intentions. Just a little bit more … almost there. I can’t fire my remaining missiles because he’s obviously able to detect them early and steer clear, but for what I’m about to do … for ‘Terri’ and the rest of my team … he will never see it coming.

I push my engine for more power and drop toward my enemy.

“ ‘Akita’, get out of the circle and lead straight.”

And without question he obeys. “Tushio, I’m in the open and that bastard is locking me up.”

I watch the Ebon Raptor Lan Air Mech zigzag ‘Hound’ while keeping a bead on ‘Akita’.

“Hold ‘Akita’, I got him.” And my team trusts me as I drive full force toward the unknown; all of my proximity warnings alerting me. “ ‘Terri’ … this one’s for you buddy …”

“Tushio… !” ‘Hound’s voice “ … what are you doing?”

Five hundred feet

Four hundred feet

Three hundred feet

Two hundred feet

One hundred feet

At fifty feet away, I switch to ground controls. The machine fights me but I hold it, extend and then shove the titanium legs of my LAM forward.


The collision is monumental. Beyond anything I have ever felt; it shakes me to the bone. Every joint in my body feels unhinged. My head snaps back violently and I know that were it not for my seat’s protective brace, I would be dead now. The sounds of metal bending and twisting against metal bombards my ears as the thin strip of bullet proofed, protective glass around my cockpit shatters.

With the last of my physical capacity, I switch the controls to hover and initiate full power. The LAM hits the ice with thunder. Ice and snow rush by and onto my visor and everything around me, goes black.


Name: Tushio Sakai
Callsign: ‘Huski’
Rank: Chu-i (Lieutenant)
Hardware: Wasp WSP-105M LAM
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Kiridashi
Lance: Dragon’s Eye
Assignment: Recon
Unit: Razan's Ronins

Name: Zephyr Jorgensson
Callsign: ‘Spirit’
Rank: Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel)
Hardware: Invader Class JumpShip
Wing: Red Storm
Squadron: Hydra’s Bane
Assignment: Aerodyne Transport
Unit: Razan's Ronins

DC-PH-04-01 #14

Clan Zone
Clan Snow Raven Space
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Third Deck
Medical Bay
Monday March 18th 3095 14:30 Local

“Hey Tushio… ?”

I open my eyes. The room is bright with sunlight and a gentle breeze brushes my skin. I sit up on the couch and see ‘Terri’ in the seat opposite me.

“ ‘Terri’ … but I thought you were dead … ”

I can’t remember what I thought.

“It’s okay Sakai-san. Everything is okay.”

He hasn’t called me that since we were teenagers. There is something about the way he says it that makes me think, about what? I have no idea. “How long have I been out?”

“The guys are preparing to launch so I thought I should remind you. I know you wouldn’t want to be left behind.”

Suddenly I remember that we are supposed to leave this planet. I look closely at my childhood friend. He looks younger.

“Damn, I forgot. Thanks, let’s go.”

But his eyes keep me unmoving. They are soft. His face is sad but happy. How is this possible?

“I’m sorry Chu-i (Lieutenant). But I’m not flying with you guys this time.”

We look at each other and the strange feeling that passes between us is unnerving.

“Why can’t you go with us?”

He smiles “Good hunting Tushio.”

His voice echoes into the distance. His face becomes a transparent nothing and instantly, the room around me disappears and is replaced by a frozen ground littered with bits and pieces of a Wasp WSP-105M LAM … ‘Terri’s LAM.

I open my eyes and feel warm tracks of tears run down my face. The soothing sound of the Dragon’s Nest’s engines in space flight comes first. Then the sterilized scent of the medical bay and now I see ‘Bull’ sitting across from me with a semi-automatic KA-23 Subgun in his lap.

I exhale hard and use my left arm to free the fixed harness holding me in place.

“Tushio… ” ‘Bull’ rises at my sudden movement and approaches me “ … take it easy Boss.”

Holographic modules remain suspended all over me as I lie on the floating bed, monitoring every vital sign that I produce.

“What happened?”

‘Bull’ sets the submachine gun down and sits beside me. “We lost ‘Terri’.”

He says it as though he doesn’t want to believe it. That fist in my gut is back and it’s heavier than before.

“I know. Did I get that sonofabitch?”

“Yeah you got him but he’s not dead.”

I begin to rise but ‘Bull’ stays me at the shoulder and my head returns to the pillow with a pulsing ache.

“We have him in the brig.”

“That explains the gun.”

“Yeah ...” The big Military man seems lost “ … You screwed him up good though. I didn’t think we’d find you alive but your homing beacon told me otherwise.”

“Where are we?”

“… Short docking at the Sawyer Recharge Station Three and waiting.”

“How long have I been out?”

“About four days.”

“ … Four Da … Where’re we going?”



“Yeh … got the order from Ascella a few hours after the battle. ‘Rough Ryder’ says that we are to go to Callican and resupply, repair and await further instructions.”

I exhale heavily. I feel my headache subsiding. “Has anyone spoken to the Ebon Raptor pilot?”

“No. The Tai-sa (Colonel) gave us orders not to interact with the prisoner until on the Callican base at Sawyer.”

“Well that’s bullshit. We’re gonna interrogate the bastard here and now… ”

The headache is back “ … are you guys with me on this?”

“We were just waiting for you Chu-i (Lieutenant).”

“Then let’s not wait any longer. Deactivate this thing and unhook me.”

Clan Zone
Clan Snow Raven Space
Union Class DropShip
Dragon’s Nest
Sixth Deck
The Brig
Monday March 18th 3095 15:00 Local

The walk to the Hold, through the very narrow corridors of the Dragon’s Nest, has me feeling as though my legs are not my own. Effects of the jump through hyperspace coupled with the collision. I run through what ‘Bull’ has told me. Recharge Station Three is one of four Space Stations in the Sawyer system, six thousand light years fromSawyer III. Sawyer III is one of three planets here, three of the most beautiful known to mankind with Sawyer III being the only capable of sustaining life. Paradise is what Sawyer translates to from the language once spoken by the original inhabitants on this world; and they were absolutely right about it.

“Good to see ya Chu-i (Lieutenant) …”

‘Akita’ is not himself. I pat him on the shoulder.

“I assume that ‘Hound’ is in the ‘Mech Bay with Go-chu (Corporal) Deena Herron ?” Deena was the onboard BattleMech technichian.

“Yeah… ”

“Okay let’s get this done … ” I walk past the sentry, Go-chu (Corporal) Marvin Lang, into the room, head no longer pounding. The serum the ship’s medic, Gunsho (Sergeant) Demetrios Backus, gave me has acted quickly. I feel almost one hundred percent again.

Our Ebon Raptor prisoner is naked and in a sitting position, strapped to the only chair in the space. Stale vomit paints his mouth, chin, and chest. From his nostrils, a thin line of blood oozes, tracing a path along his body, ending beneath his chair where it pools.

“I take it this man wasn’t inducted after leaving hyperspace?”

‘Akita’ looks to ‘Pitbull’ “I thought you activated it?”

The mock tone is entirely void of amusement and ‘Bull’ responds. “ … thought you did … ”

I approach the sitting pilot and hold my hand toward ‘Akita’. He moves toward me as ‘Bull’ positions himself against the wall behind the seat. I take a vial from him and administer a serum to the groaning man. I hate seeing another human in this state but in this case … I make the exception. We wait a few minutes until the pilot is fully conscious and aware of us and then he stares at the floor.

“Ebon Raptor pilot…” I hold a split second but he does not acknowledge the statement “ … under our orders we are to extract information from you using any means necessary and place you dead or alive into the custody of our agents on Sawyer…”

Still no response.

“ … Who are you?”

I signal to ‘Pitbull’. The big soldier moves forward, grasps the pilot by the back of his head and forces him to look at me.

“ … The easy way or the hard way, your choice ...”

Still no response.

“ … I’m not in any mood to play games. Who are you?”

I remember ‘Terri’ and now anger replaces the fist in my gut. “Have it your way. Bring me The Gun.”

‘Akita’ leaves the room immediately. I return to the Ebon Raptor Pirate before me.

“You will answer by will or by force. Who are you? Why were you on Bjarred? Why were you on Altona? What are the plans of Ebon Raptor and their interests in Bjarred?”

The pirate keeps our eye to eye after ‘Bull’ releases him and with a concentrated effort, responds.

“You don’t scare me Ronin. If I told you what I know, you wouldn’t know your right hand from your left.”

The door opens and ‘Akita’ enters the room again. I turn to the brigand in the chair. “What do you mean by this?”

No answer.

‘Akita’ hands me The Gun and I turn once more toward the chair. The tool in my hand, named simply, The Gun, is a modified handgun that shoots truezine serum into the bloodstream. The truth serum, frozen in the form of a very small needle, dissolves once lodged in the body and can kill its host if they are not in the best of health. I point the gun to the neck of the naked man in the chair.

“Do you know what this is..?”

No answer.

“ … This is Truezine and you know what it does. Now who are you?”

No answer again.

“Did you guys strip his tech?”

‘Akita’ steps forward “ … Yeah, nothing much … ”

He removes two plastic packs from a slot in the counter nearby and hands them to me. In one, is a locator device and in the other, a pair of Digital Eyes which I take from him.

“Get rid of the locator… ”

‘Terri’s final words echo in my head. My finger squeezes the trigger and the bandit flinches as the red dot in his neck shows where the serum is now lodged. I watch his eyes as they begin to water and his sudden cry is pitiful. We wait for the drug to take effect. His eyes roll in their sockets. His mouth curves into a playful smile.

I ask again “Who are you?”

The smiling man looks happily at me “I am Captain James Hiram … ”

“Why were you on Bjarred?”

“To remove the obstacle…”

I turn to ‘Akita’ and he shrug’s in ignorance. “What obstacle?”


“You were sent to Bjarred to remove me?”


“Who sent you?”

“The man… ”

“Who is the man?”

“The man… ”

“Who do you work for?”

“The man… ”

I turn again to ‘Akita’. “Who the hell is, The Man?” He raises his shoulders and shakes his head. “What are the intentions of Ebon Raptor on Bjarred?”

“Protect it… ”

“Protect it..? From whom..?”

“The man… ”

“This conversation is going nowhere. How could you be protecting it from the man you work for?”

No answer.

“Why were you on Altona?”

“To kill you…”

“How did you know I was going to be on Altona?”


“Who ordered you to kill me?”

“The man… ”

“Where is The Man?”

No answer.

“Where is The Man?”

Still nothing.

“What were your orders after killing me?”

“Rendezvous on Bjarred and lock it down… ”

“What do you mean, lock it down?”

The Pirate’s face suddenly contorts. The after effect of the drug is taking over. I need more time “What do you mean, lock it down?”

His smile and bright eyes vanish and is soon replaced by a menacing look. “Bjarred will fall …”


“You stopped me … ” His voice is becoming a coarse but loud whisper “ … Bjarred will fall … The Pehst Military District will. The Star Bridge War is coming.”

“Why will Bjarred and the Pehst Military District fall ..? How … ? What is the Star Bridge War … ?” I immediately think of Bernice.

The pilot’s eyes roll into the back of his head and I shake him back to consciousness.

“We will lock down Bjarred. Take the Champions. No one can match them.”

He’s rambling now.

“What are the Champions?”

“You destroyed mine …”

“He’s talking about his LAM. It was a Champion CPN 1X1Heavy Class LAM.” ‘Akita’ cuts in.

I turn back to the dying man “There are more like it?”

“Ten … ”

This is not good. One was hell but nine more? “Where are they?”


“When is Bjarred going to be locked down?”

“Bjarred is…locked…d…d…d…” And with that, the man spasms and froths at the mouth as what’s left of his life leaves him in a shallow breath of foul air.

My mind is in hyper drive. I pocket the Digital Eyes and force myself to turn and walk away.

“Store him and let’s get to Sawyer.”

This simple search and destroy mission has just become something else. Who is, The Man? Why did he send these Pirates to Bjarred to get rid of us or was it just me? How did they know we would follow them to Altona? What the hell is going on?

I leave the room and stumble through the corridor to the narrow ladder leading into the bridge. If Bjarred is locked down, how are we to get back undetected? Bernice…is she okay…is she alive?

“ ‘Terr’ … Wyatt … ” The reality is numbing. ‘Terrier’ is not coming back. There are so many emotions running unbound and wild through me that I don’t know how to feel. But I must keep it together. This is bigger than me or ‘Terri’ right now.

“Yes Tushio ..? Should you be up moving around?”

I wave off his concern “ … get us to Sawyer for debriefing. We’ve achieved all of are objectives.”


Name: Tushio Sakai
Callsign: ‘Huski’
Rank: Chu-i (Lieutenant)
Hardware: Wasp WSP-105M LAM
Battalion: Ronin Legion
Company: Kiridashi
Lance: Dragon’s Eye
Assignment: Recon
Unit: Razan's Ronins

Name: Zephyr Jorgensson
Callsign: ‘Spirit’
Rank: Chu-sa (Lieutenant Colonel)
Hardware: Invader Class JumpShip
Wing: Red Storm
Squadron: Hydra’s Bane
Assignment: Aerodyne Transport
Unit: Razan's Ronins
Name: Kintaro Tanaka
Rank: Colonel
Callsign: 'Iceman'
MH: Steele Dagger Spec Ops BA
Role: DEST
Assignment: CO Battle Armor Regiment
Platoon: Black Ops
Company: SWAT
Battalion: HQ Battalion
Regiment: Smilodon

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