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Nicholas Schuster

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Everything posted by Nicholas Schuster

  1. I was about three quarters of the way toward the rear of the combined formation of Scorched Earth and Aegis 'Mechs as we entered the cave, with only Captain Maxwell and Steve Jenkins flanking me. As a result, I was treated to a front row view of the mercenary lances smashing into the pirate forces, the close quarters fighting and necessity to use melee weapons creating a chaotic atmosphere. BattleMech components flew through the air, vehicles exploded underfoot, and the cavern quickly filled with smoke and fire like some kind of hellish underworld backlit by erratic utility lighting. It seemed
  2. We drew up on the door of the communications facility, how it had survived the onslaught of a pissed-off Atlas, piloted by Charles Maxwell no less, I wasn't sure. I didn't know the captain well, but I knew enough about his personality to understand that when you put a war machine in his hands, he tended to use it to its utmost. Nevertheless, there it was. There was only one problem. We had to get in, and it had another one of those fucking irritating doors that were a Rube Goldberg machine of obstruction. "Great, we have another one to get past," I grumbled, "and I have a feeling that if
  3. “If you’re looking for something in town I can help you find it, especially if it’s near Bald Chuckie’s neighborhood, oh and I can fix mechs too, except it would be better if a real mech tech could look it over before you start them up again since I wouldn’t want what happened to Chuckie’s mech to happen to yours…” I looked at the Mech Jacker in disbelief. This guy seemed like he was way out of his league, and possibly also insane, as suggested by Captain Maxwell. As the thought solidified, Steve Jenkins, the personification of insane, ran wailing past us, his arms outstretched behind him
  4. This is crazy this is crazy this is crazy.... I thought to myself as my LAM sailed through the air in half giant robot, half airplane mode, about to do a crazy football tackle on an enemy target that was 10 tons heavier than my own BattleMech. It wasn't just the weight difference alone that concern me, though. It was the fact that I was designed like an airplane and Steve's Dragon was designed like a tank. Not an even match in any given scenario. There was likely only one outcome to this situation, and it was pretty bad. I didn't want to think about that, because if I was currently driving my
  5. One minute, Captain Maxwell was quizzing Bishop about his local knowledge, and the next, I was hanging off the back of a very angry pirate, trying to beat him into submission before he kicked our asses - or worse. This was just how things went in Aegis Division sometimes. I didn't ask questions. I was just happy to have a job. "BY THE POWER OF MY BLADE AND THE OATH OF MY PEOPLE I CAST AN ANCIENT SHAME AND DISHONOR ON - " Steve rambled, not actually attacking. "STEVE, SHUT UP AND KICK HIS ASS!" I yelled, trying to keep my hands over the pirate's eyes as he fought to wrestle me off his
  6. Slowly, painfully, I opened my eyes, a feeling of sheer terror washing over me as it seemed for few brief moments that I was blind, my eyes perceiving total darkness, inky black only. Every part of my body ached, feeling as though it had been bashed to a bloody mess by falling rocks....probably because it had. I sat up painstakingly, feeling stones of various sizes spilling from my torso. Taking a deep breath in, I coughed as a thick cloud of dust clogged my lungs. Suddenly, a muffled voice filtered into my ears. "Schuster! Mister Schuster! Are you alright?" It was Captain Maxwell.
  7. Nearby... Black Canyon - Discovery Site - Oberon VI Oberon System, Oberon Confederation October 7, 3029 __________________________________ You could hear a pin drop as we moved into the cave, Bishop and Orlex in the lead with their enhanced abilities, me and Captain Maxwell immediately following, and Steve Jenkins, who had apparently forgot to bring any useful weapons or gear, safely at the back of the formation. The only sounds in the air were the crunch of our boots on the rocky ground and the soft ping of the Captain's handheld unit as it received telemetry from Chase's Rave
  8. The Crossbow came out of nowhere, blue lightning exploding from its gun port and laser fire flashing as it came at me. I pushed my 'Mech in hard reverse, fighting to keep control as it reeled under the impact of a brutal PPC blast to its center torso. I returned fire with everything that the Phoenix Hawk LAM could bring to bear, watching liquefied armor slag off the pirate's avatar as it jockeyed for a better position. I snapped off another round of combined-arms fire, smashing into its heavily armed hide with as much fury as I could render. Statistically speaking, I was outmatched, but I was
  9. "Orpheus-5 to Orpheus-1, scope is clear." I reported as the last of the tanks exploded, a huge blossom of flame consuming their armored hulls in the detonation of the Arrow IV trailer. Turning my Phoenix Hawk LAM around, I took in the expanse of the battlefield. The entirety of the enemy OpFor was flaming wrecks and destroyed hardware; I was amazed at what just a few of us were capable of doing. That wasn't to say we had all made it through unscathed. I heard Steve Jenkins screaming something unintelligibly on the radio about both of his legs being broken, while Captain Maxwell and Bishop's A
  10. The terrifying crack of autocannons and the blaze of large lasers firing and glancing past my cockpit caused me to flinch instinctively on the LAM's controls as I backpedaled the 'Mech wildly. I group fired my laser suite in response, scoring repeated direct hits on the Rifleman's torso. I didn't bother with the machine guns; I knew that they wouldn't be able to effectively punch through the towering 'Mech's hide. The burly Rifleman kept pushing away from me, its long guns not particularly effective at short range. I tried to stay inside the war machine's minimum weapons arc. The Rfileman
  11. My sensor board lit up with hostile contacts moments after I went airborne. As the LAM tore over the canyon, I could see, from my vantage point, a huge number of twists and turns in the gulch, the first one being the bend just head of us. There, a jumbled group of Mechs, some tanks, and a missile boat on a trailer were winding their way back from what I assumed was a raiding mission. There were assorted flatbeds accompanying them with what looked like various crates of contraband and other, probably pilfered goods, and they were all headed back behind the lines of a small fortification blockin
  12. The cockpit of the Phoenix Hawk LAM smelled of oil, canvas, and old war hardware. It was laid out like a cross between a BattleMech and an ancient fighter aircraft I'd heard of a long time ago called an F-14 Tomcat. Cramped, with just enough room for me to fit in the seat and close the canopy dome overhead, and cluttered with control panels of every imaginable kind, it was the inevitable outcome of engineers attempting to achieve a fusion of the best BattleMech and air superiority tech the Star League had to offer, but ending up instead with mediocrity. It was the sad tale of every LAM th
  13. "Uh, yes, Captain...Captain Harlow, I mean." I stammered. "I'd love the opportunity to run the LAM through its paces. I haven't had the opportunity to drive it in real live." "You're not filling me with confidence, Schuster." said Nikki. I startled at the use of my new last name. "Well, if you've got a new identity, the time is now for us to start using it." Nikki added. "This is Nick Schuster!" she announced to the cadre in the room. "In case any of you were confused." A handful of acknowledgements flurried in. "There, that band-aid has been ripped off," she continued. "Now, back to
  14. Elsewhere in Neur0hack!... I yelled in surprise and a bit of pain as Archangel's mad contraption used what I could only assume was a pair of low grade lasers on my finger tips. I couldn't actually see what was happening since my hands were inside the makeshift procedure box, but I got the drift. A second later, a timer dinged, and I pulled my hands out to see my finger tips had all been rendered completely smooth, with neither a whirl nor a whorl to be found. "Holy shit..." I exhaled as Archangel came over and sprayed anti-burn treatment on my hands while I nodding satisfactorily.
  15. Neur0hack! Oberon VI - Oberon Confederation October 3, 3029 ____________________________________ As Bishop walked a slow circuit of the club, searching for the contact that the Crayven Corporation had sent us to meet, I also glanced around the place. Archangel was supposed to meet me here, but just like Bishop, I couldn't find him...her...whoever. I didn't know who I was looking for. All I knew was that they were going to meet me, or so they said. Since I wasn't "officially" part of the mission yet, I asked Nikki if I could have a look around, and she nodded an OK., "Just don't go t
  16. "Alright, so it looks like you and me are rooming together." Doc Mallory observed, handing me a room key. I looked at the keys and then glanced at Nikki. "We're doubled up?" I asked. "Jenkins got his own room." "Would you rather room with Jenkins?" Captain Harlow frowned. "No, that's okay." I backpedaled. Nikki nodded. "That's what I thought." she laughed. "See you in 15." Mal and I rode the urine-scented elevator up to the 13th floor, listening to its tinny muzak as the floor indicator dinged off. Eventually, I spoke. "I don't know how I feel about a hotel with a 1
  17. Elsewhere aboard the Hurry Up Bessie... The deck gave a lurch as our freighter plied down through the atmosphere on a steady, if slightly graceless descent from the heavens. Spheroid vessels were intended to be superlative spaceships first and mediocre aircraft second. A distant second. And that was definitely the case here. Not that I figured it as a problem. It was just the truth of the universe... you couldn't have perfection, which the Hurry Up Bessie very nearly was in terms of being a merchant vessel, without having some flaws elsewhere. I grabbed hold of my bunk rail as the ship he
  18. Escape the wilderness, a few hours earlier... “Say, Nathan,” Nikki said, “I’ve been noticing a pattern?” There was a long pause. “Um, what pattern?” “Maybe I’m just coming at this with the wrong expectations, since I haven’t worked with mercenaries before - but it seems like whenever Aegis’s people are involved, things that should be safe and straightforward just aren’t. Like a ‘shipping’ gig turns out to be a ‘take an occult artifact by force’ gig. Or spending shore leave stealing a pirate ship. So I was wondering - what’s your experience with them been like? And is there anyth
  19. “Escape the Wilderness” Ozymandias Station Vega System, Draconis Combine May 30, 3029 ____________________________________ With a huge crunch, I crashed into a nearby fake cactus where the donkey-horse-thing had bucked me off. Then the donkey stood around bucking mindlessly for a couple seconds while making rusty gate noises. Meanwhile, the random noises of fighting, explosions, gunfire, and carnival music kept playing over the speaker. Then, I heard a bicycle horn honk and the PA system cut back over to quiet countryside southwestern music and nature sounds. I rubbed my head and lo
  20. Meanwhile... Escape the Wilderness Ozymandias Station Vega System, Draconis Combine May 30, 3029 ____________________________________ I stared at the sign depicting the pale, thin woman floating out of the chimney. The illustrated figure was super-stylized with a face like a painting I had once seen called "The Scream." I leaned in closer to look at it better. Suddenly, two old red light bulbs where its eyes were supposed to be flicked on and a tinny scream came out of the sign. I jumped backwards and looked around in paranoia and embarrassment. "Ready to hit the trail?"
  21. After making a few calls, I had determined that Captain Maxwell and the rest of the crew had gone to a restaurant called the Screaming Dragon Bar and Steakhouse. Catching a pedicab uptown, I arrived a short while later, and walking in, found the members of Aegis Division and the Hurry Up Bessie crew holding court with a hulking, dark-haired man who sat at the head of the table with a meal spread out before him that looked like it probably cost a month's wages. I assume he must have been very well off, and thus, a person of some importance, so when I approached, I ensured that I was doing so in
  22. Meanwhile... Diamonds in the Dump Bargain Store Ozymandias Station Vega System, Draconis Combine May 24, 3029 ______________________________ "This one seems like it "fits" the most. It's been inactive a while too, which is good." I said, pointing to a profile in the man's folio of "orphaned" identities. "Matches my general physical makeup and stuff." "Same initials as you, too. You realize of course that once you've pulled the trigger, there's no going back? That this isn't a situation where you decide the change wasn't worth it and now you want to go back?" asked th
  23. I looked toward Nikki, my Captain, along with Charles and the rest of the group. "I've gotta take care of some things and I think this is the place to do it." I said. "Do you guys mind if I take a rain check on the festivities for now and run a few errands?" "No, not at all." Nikki said. "I'm pretty sure we have no official agenda for the next while and the ship is going to be in the drydock with the local crews working anyway, so everything there is covered, too. Have fun, Nathan. And don't get in trouble." "I'll try to do the first thing and avoid the second thing." I joked. N
  24. I looked toward the dockmaster's window as Charles and Alyssa turned over their weapons and received check receipts for them. I glanced at Steve and Orlex and then walked up to the counter. Looking from side to side, I got out my ID and my Nakjima laser pistol and set both on the counter. Before leaving Sheratan, I had traded the Blazer I'd previously bought for the Kuritan weapon instead, both because it was more concealable and because it would be more passable in the space that we'd be travelling through. The dockmaster grabbed the ID and the laser and put the weapon in a lock box. Th
  25. The MK VII landing craft erupted from the bay, pushing us back in our seats as it twisted down and toward the station. I looked over my shoulder and saw the Hurry Up Bessie and the Obsidian Dawn, the latter ship bristling with weapons and advanced equipment, falling away behind us. Nikki gripped the controls of the small craft, flying at what felt like near maximum thrust, Ozymandias Station rapidly drew nearer. "Everything ok, Cap? Going a bit crucial on the speed. Not that I'm complaining." I finally asked. "I don't like being exposed out here in a tiny aux craft a stone's throw f
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