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Jack Whitley

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  1. Elsewhere......December 7... "He called in and reported that it worked. The copy of that shit they played on our ship worked on them just as good." said Edgar. "Great. I wonder if it took out that fucking peroxide-haired chippie that's running the show." I growled. "A chippie?" Edgar asked. "Yeah." I said, tapping the side of my head. "A person with mods. Implants. Augments. Meat processors." I answered, tapping the side of my head for emphasis. "Chippies aren't always the most stable people." "Wow. I bet you could make mad cash on the body bank market for that." Edgar said, looking bloodthirsty in his eyes. "Well, tell you what, after I get my hands around his scrawny throat and choke the life out of him, you can have the leftovers." I snarled, slamming my pen-knife into the worn-down armrest of my bridge chair. "Where's the Lyran?" My first officer typed out some commands on his console. "He's headed for the Sheratan radiation belt. Plans to hide out there until he can make the rendezvous." "I hope he ain't planning on going anywhere anytime soon. I ain't jumping in there until I'm sure Kauffman and his gaggle of assholes are out of range." I replied. "What about the file? Did he send proof that he has it?" Edgar nodded. "He sent a file hash that we validated. He has it." "Good. I want the details when he's here." I ordered. I hated waiting. But that's all we could do for now.
  2. A pleasure! Bwaa haa haa haa haa,...
  3. DropShip Kusanagi En route to JumpShip Aquila High orbit of Outreach October 25, 3028 _____________________________ CONFIRM NETWORK MONITORING DISABLE? I stared blankly at the prompt which had appeared, unsolicited, on my terminal. "Rider. What the hell is this garbage?" I grumbled, gesturing at my terminal and glaring at my executive officer. "Uhh - I didn't do that," Edgar replied, squinting at the display. I clicked the 'NO' option, dismissing the prompt. CONFIRM NETWORK MONITORING DISABLE? "There it is again!" I exclaimed, slapping the arm of my chair. "That's too weird," Edgar agreed, keying a diagnostic command into the computer. The machine churned and clicked for several moments before returning its analysis. "Commander, I think someone's remoted into the main computer!" "WHAT?" I exclaimed, leaning in to review the output. "How can you be sure?" "Right here," Edgar replied, pointing at a section of the report containing recently-executed commands. "The root account's doing network discoveries and trying to shut down the intrusion monitor." I gritted my teeth. "Shut them out, then!" "I'm working on it," Edgar answered, running to another nearby workstation. "I'm trying to figure out out where they're coming in from. None of our comm antennas are in use." I walked over to the tactical scope and reviewed the sensor readings. "There's nothing out there other than the Crayven DropShip." "How could they be communicating with our computer without an uplink?" I hissed. "They can't be - unless..." "Unless what?" "Unless they've somehow gotten a transmitter onboard our ship."
  4. "What do you MEAN you took the offer?" I hissed. "Why wasn't I brought into that conversation?" Edgar glowered at me from the vidlink. "Because it was one hundred and five percent of our pay, and we don't even have to go anywhere. I couldn't imagine you not saying yes." "It wasn't about the pay alone," I seethed. "Didn't you read the contract? The kid was being sent after LosTech, and we could have gotten serious intel from his movements and his BattleMech logs! It's called intangible benefits, and you just let them walk away!" "Okay, I get it, I'm sorry. I thought that being paid to be your XO meant I got to make judgement calls from time to time." "You get paid to make smart judgement calls, Rider. Not stupid ones." The burly, bearded man on the other end of the line furrowed his eyebrows. "Well, maybe it's not too late. I could call Crayven back and tell them we're backing out." I shook my head. "I don't want to piss off a company with that many guns and that many lawyers. There might be another way around the issue." "Oh?" Edgar replied. "What would that be?" "I'm going to try to get hold of the skipper of Aegis Division. They still have the 'Mech, right?" I had a theory that if I could cause the right delays on that end, I might be able to disrupt the Crayven Corporation's plans. "As far as I know," Edgar answered. "Alright. I'm going to get them on the horn now. I'll call you back." I disconnected the videophone and opened my pocket folio. As I began to search MercNet for Aegis Division's contact information, I noticed a tall, lanky man in a captain's jacket emblazoned with a familiar insignia entering the lounge and taking a seat in a nearby booth. Glancing at a copy of the contract paperwork, I realized that it was the very logo of the mercenary company I was trying to reach. I didn't know how I'd managed to hit paydirt so quickly, but I wasn't going to question it. I shoved the folio back into my bandolier and headed in his direction.
  5. Military Depot 187 Outskirts of Gellen's Heights, Sheratan May 24, 3029 _______________________________ "All right, cadre, come to order." The crisp voice of Major Walker of the Tikonov Republican Guards echoed across the briefing hall, reducing the lively chatter of the gathered recruits to soft murmurs, then whispers, and finally, silence. "Over the last nine weeks, we've taught you the military pinciples of the Tikonov Free Republic. We've given you key doctrine training from the Sarna Martial Academy; we've shown you the strategies of the masters from the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces, and we've transformed you from a loosely-organized planetary militia into a cohesive fighting force. You've almost earned the right to call yourselves Sheratan Knights. Almost." "You're probably wondering why, two days before graduation, you're sitting in this run-down, derelict depot. Well, before we can certify you, there's one last exercise that all cadets must complete. An absolute non-negotiable task that will convince us that you've got your head screwed on right and know how to apply everything we've taught you. It's a live-fire exercise called Operation Crucible. Somebody hit the lights, please." The hall's overhead illumination dimmed. Simultaneously, an overhead projector chattered to life and projected a mission overview behind the hall's lectern, complete with a computer-generated rendering of the depot showing force compositions and positions. "I know we've kept you all on a very short leash as we've been getting you acclimated to being a lean, mean, fighting force. Today, we're going to take the safeties off and let you do all the driving. "This exercise will be about more than just vaporizing targets. You will be charged with two objectives - defense and annexation. We're going to split you into two lances - Anvil Lance and Hammer Lance - and we'll see how well you can coordinate between each other. "Your primary objective will be to reach and defend Camp Athena, an outpost two kilometers due East of your deployment zone. There are four structures within the camp, and at least two of the four must survive. While we're being generous with that figure, I expect you to do better than a 50% attrition rate. "Your secondary objective will be to push across the engagement theater and capture Camp Pallas, a base of equal size to Camp Athena, which will be held by the OpFor. To capture the base, you'll need to neutralize all of its defenders and keep one of your units within its perimeter for at least four consecutive rounds of combat." "Anvil and Hammer lances will both be comprised of a mixture of heavy, medium, and light BattleMechs. We want to provide you with a variety of platforms while not going overboard on the firepower. Don't worry - I'm sure that each of you will get to do a turn in an assault 'Mech in the future. "The OpFor will be two combined-arms lances of BattleMechs and conventional tanks. They have similar orders to yours - to hold their own outpost while attempting to destroy yours. To make things a little more interesting and unpredictable, we've decided to hire out the command of each defending lance to a separate mercenary company. Warrant Officer Alyssa Chase, from Charles Maxwell's Aegis Division will command the OpFor's Alpha Lance, while Bravo Lance will be managed by Lieutenant Edgar Galloway from Jack Whitley's Black Phalanx Company. "Now, before you get worked up about blowing up actual people in a training exercise - don't worry. We've brought in some local electronics wizards to rig improvised remote control technology into the OpFor units. While they will most certainly pose a threat to you, you may feel free to dispatch them without worry." "Victory will be determined when one side or the other loses their base - through destruction or capture - or when one side's fighting force is completely defeated. Any questions? No? Excellent. Time to earn your stripes. We'll see you on the range shortly." ____________________________ - Incoming Coded Message -- Command Instruction Follows - - Decode Zulu Protocol - IndigoEpsilon58red: 18th - - Disseminate by need only - ____________________________ Operation Codename: Crucible Planet: Sheratan, Tikonov Free Republic Terrain: Grasslands / Marsh / Waterfront / Urban Time: Day MISSION OBJECTIVES: - Protect Camp Athena -- Two out of four structures must survive. - Capture Camp Pallas -- Capture will be successful following neutralization of the camp's defenders and occupation of the base perimeter for at least four consecutive rounds of combat. FORCE COMPOSITION: TRAINING LANCES: ANVIL LANCE: 1x Heavy BattleMech (Missile Boat) 1x Medium BattleMech (Skirmisher) 1x Medium BattleMech (Skirmisher) 1x Light BattleMech (Scout) HAMMER LANCE: 1x Heavy BattleMech (Brawler) 1x Medium BattleMech (Skirmisher) 1x Medium BattleMech (Sniper) 1x Light BattleMech (Scout) DEFENDING LANCES: ALPHA LANCE (Aegis Division): 1x Heavy BattleMech (Missile Boat) 1x Heavy Tank 1x Heavy Tank 1x Light BattleMech (Scout) BRAVO LANCE (Black Phalanx Company): 1x Heavy BattleMech (Brawler) 1x Medium BattleMech (Skirmisher) 1x Heavy Tank 1x Heavy Tank _______________________________________________ Planet Details: Sheratan Star Type: K5V Position in System: 5 (of 9) Number of Moons: None Days to Jump Point: 4 Recharging Station: Nadir Recharge Time: 9 days ComStar Facility Class: B Surface Water: 40% Atm. Pressure: Standard (Breathable) Surface Gravity: 0.9 Equatorial Temp: 31� C Highest Native Life: Mammal Population: 86,000,000 Governor: Jiayi Chen Planetary Legate: Shi-Leng Huang OVERVIEW: A sparsely inhabited, forest-covered world with thick jungles around the equator, Sheratan is one of the most beautiful planets in the Sarna March. During the invasion, it became one of the most bitterly contested. The Sheratan Knights, a single regiment of warriors utterly dedicated to the Federated Commonwealth, defended Sheratan from both invading forces and internal rebellions. The planet had suffered a protracted terrorist campaign by various groups set up and funded by the Capellan secret police since the Fourth Succession War, and so the Knights had superior training in dealing with guerrilla-style warfare. When the Capellan Chancellor ordered his agents on Sheratan into action concurrent with the invasion, bombings and mass shootings became commonplace in Sheratan's few large cities. The Sheratan Knights flushed out and destroyed many of the rebel cells, but the vast forests and dense jungles gave the surviving Liao guerrillas plenty of places to hide. The arrival of the Fist of Mokal, mercenaries in the employ of the Free Worlds League, turned the tables in the Liaoists' favor. Seeing that Sheratan was lightly defended, the mercenaries landed in the capital and proclaimed the world a Capellan possession. The enraged Knights converged on the capital and engaged the Fist in a hit-and-run battle, downing several mercenary 'Mechs. Stunned by the attack, Major William Jeffreys ordered two of his mercenary companies to chase the Sheratan Knights into the forests and hunt them down while the third company held the fort in the capital. With the aid of the Liao guerrillas, the Fist MechWarriors found and destroyed a battalion of the Knights. The remaining Knights set the forest ablaze, trapping the mercenaries in a burning hell. Major Jeffreys ordered his unit to charge through the flames, but escaped the blaze with only a company left intact. The inferno utterly destroyed the remaining Liao forces. The mercenary company in the capital retaliated by slaying thousands of civilians. When word of the brutal killings got out, the Fist of Mokal's contract was declared null and void and the unit itself was proscribed. Before departing from Sheratan, the Fist started some fires of its own. Soon, vast tracts of land across the planet were burning out of control. Unable to cope with the crisis, the planetary government collapsed. Various minor nobles and other charismatic leaders rose up to fill the power vacuum, and numerous petty kings are constantly contending with each other for control of the world. Meanwhile, the fires continue to burn, kept at bay only near the cities. Most of the resources that could be used to fight the fires are instead spent on small-scale warfare between the various factions. Smoke from the huge blazes makes the days hazy and the nights unnaturally dark. The Sheratan Knights remain the only potential stabilizing force on the planet, but they control only the shattered capital city of Gellen's Heights and several square kilometers of surrounding territory. Rebel groups funded by the Capellan Confederation still operate on Sheratan, but the departure of the Marik mercenaries has greatly diminished their power. Once the emerald jewel in the crown of the Terran Hegemony, Sheratan�s surface was a single landmass blanketed by thick forests, lush jungles, and verdant farmland; dotted by a few, large, landlocked seas. Sheratan�s ruling family, the Grensons, were staunch supporters of Terra�s Cameron family when they assumed leadership of the Terran Hegemony and, later, founded the First Star League. In fact, First Lord Jonathan Cameron married Lady Ludmella Grenson, a connection to the First Star League that Sheratan�s population remains proud of to this day. During the fall of the First Star League, on the order of the Usurper Stefan Amaris, the Grenson family was nearly wiped out for its association with the Camerons. With no hereditary rulers, the Capellan Confederation easily claimed Sheratan after the fall of the First Star League. Aside from its fertile soil, Sheratan lacks significant resources, so Sheratan�s small population and agriculture were spared most of the ravages of the Succession Wars. When the Federated Suns invaded the Capellan Confederation at the outset of the Fourth Succession War, Sheratan was one of many Capellan worlds near Terra that were cut off from the Confederation and incorporated in the Tikonov Free Republic. COMMANDER'S NOTES: Today is your day in the spotlight, cadets. Make it an excellent one. - TRANSMISSION ENDS - ____________________________ Sender: Major C. Walker Encryption Priority: HIGH HPG Relay: None - Delivered in Person Recieved: OP Comp. 1838 Standard Terran Time ____________________________
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