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Alyssa Chase

Charles Maxwell

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Subject: Alyssa Emily Chase
Rank: First Lieutenant
Date of enlistment: 3026-02-02
Date of birth: 3004-11-29
Place of birth: Alarion, Lyran Commonwealth
Citizen ID #: 3470-079-3262
Age: 25 (as of 3030)
Height: 165 cm (5'5")
Weight: 58.96 kg (130 lbs)
Eyes: Violet
Hair: Auburn
Callsign: 'Radar'
Comments: Former Omega Adept, ComStar

Born November 29, 3004 in the Lyran Commonwealth. A former ComStar Acolyte. Exiled and nearly executed by ComStar for assisting Dexter Friedman with his theft of an RVN-1X Raven from the Order. While in hiding on Smithon, Taurians struck the planet as part of the larger House Arano crisis. Aegis Division responded as one of the mercenary units responsible for defending the world while its civilians escaped. During the evacuation, Dexter spotted Alyssa among the fleeing citizenry and directed her to the staging area for Aegis Division's DropShip. Knowing that Alyssa was not safe anywhere from the reaches of ROM, Dexter convinced Charles Maxwell to allow her to become a permanent attache to the mercenary unit. She now provides intelligence-gathering and technology-consulting services, and serves as a relief pilot for the unit's scouts.


My name is Alyssa Emily Chase. As of the writing of this testimony, I'm 25 years old. I'm a Lieutenant and intelligence analyst for the Aegis Division mercenary unit. I'm also engaged to its commander, Captain Charles Maxwell. We're planning to get married on December 1, 3030.

The Captain and I became friends after we realized we were both from the Lyran Commonwealth and shared similar nerdy interests. He understood my awkward Adept personality and helped me to acclimate to life outside the Order. Over time, we became more than just friends. My current role with Aegis Division is to provide intelligence-gathering and technology-consulting services. I also serve as a relief pilot for the unit's scouts. Most importantly, I'm Charles' closest confidante and wife to be.

So, how did I end up in a pseudo-religious space cult, only to have them expel me and sign my death warrant? Well, we have to go back to the beginning.

I was born on November 29, 3004, on Alarion, in the Lyran Commonwealth. My mother, Emily, died in labor. I carry my middle name in remembrance of her. My father, Joseph Chase, worked for Nashan Diversified. He had high hopes of starting a technology-focused business, a 'Mech repair and maintenance workshop, in support of the economic Renaissance our system was experiencing at the time. It became his obsession, to the point that having a social life and being a father took a back seat to his work. 

For most of my youth, my father never seemed to be home. Most of my formative years were spent in the care of babysitters and then, later, the public school system. I was the very definition of a "latchkey kid." My dad would even come home late and wear clothes he'd left at work the night before. Sometimes, he would act as if I were my own mother. For example, he would expect me to feed myself, even though I was a child. On rare occasions when we did get to spend time together, it was when he'd drink in the evenings and play with me.

As I grew, my father's absence drove me to try and find comfort and solace in friends and peers. Most notably, when I was fourteen years old, I fell in with a small school group of close friends who called themselves the "Enforcers."

The Enforcers weren't a gang - in fact, they didn't even have a connection to one - they were just a group of maladjusted social outcasts like myself. They were intelligent, but their languid social skills resulted in frequent conflicts with our classmates. Most of them were bad at getting along with anyone not in the group.

While it wasn't uncommon for some of the Enforcers to have run-ins with the law for their misadventures, I generally found other things to keep me occupied and out of trouble. For example, I found that I had a knack for technology and inventing useful things.

I also frequently found myself defusing conflicts between the Enforcers and "outsiders." At the time, I thought it was because I was a skilled mediator. My father later explained that the major contributing factor was that I was a teenage girl, and the overwhelming majority of conflicts took place between the boys. I was oblivious to this truth, largely because everything I'd learned about puberty came exclusively from web searches. By my sixteenth birthday, however, my perspectives had completely shifted, and my focus was no longer on mediation or creative endeavors. 

I began spending most of my time with the Enforcers, much to my father's displeasure. I'd fallen in with their mischief-making, lost my virginity in the back seat of an Aston Martin, and burned through a handful of boyfriends and girlfriends. My academic performance was falling off as well, but with my dad focused on his favorite extracurricular activity - drinking - whenever he was around, and with no real vision for what I was supposed to do after high school, it didn't bother me much. Instead, I spent my time with those Enforcers who hadn't matured out of it gaming, getting caught up in various misadventures, and occasionally pranking the local ComStar Acolytes who'd recently set up an outreach center downtown. 

By the time I turned seventeen, I'd also became very close to Walter Burrows, one of the Enforcers who'd graduated a year earlier. We had lots of mutual interests - electronics, chemistry, creative endeavors - but the bulk of our activities involved joking around, partying, not really growing up, and simply using alcohol to kill our excesses. I was experiencing my first real highs and lows of what I thought was an actual social life, and I was entirely consumed by it.

It was on one of these nights where Walter and I were hanging out on his sofa, getting increasingly inebriated, and watching torrents of rainwater cascading down in front of his apartment window, that I noticed him staring at the ComStar center across the street. 

"What's your deal?" I asked, slurring my words.

Walter asked me if I thought the whole thing was some sort of religious cult. I didn't think much of it at the time. I asked what was up, and he confessed that he'd been wanting to peek inside. Up until this point, we'd only been chased off by the Acolytes after pulling stunts like occasionally setting off firecrackers inside the complex's courtyard and leaving naked blow-up dolls at the front door.

"You want to go over there now? At night? In the rain? Like this?" I blurted out, making exaggerated gestures at my single-layer tank top, cargo shorts, and boots.

"They're priests or something. They've seen it all anyway. Besides, I've been wanting a look inside that building, and we're all gassed up on liquid courage," Walter replied, downing the last of his beer and licking his fingers clean.

Walter's enthusiasm was infectious, and I agreed to go with him. While we had no logical reason to expect the Acolytes would welcome us in at this hour, they were all too happy to help us out of the rain, and seemed totally unperturbed by our inebriated states and my entirely inappropriate appearance. While we'd been expecting to step into a dusty monastery full of judgemental religious zealots, we instead found ourselves welcomed into what could only be described as a cyberpunk den of techno-theology overseen by a bunch of hooded space wizards that were weirdly reverent to their machines, but seemed otherwise completely harmless. From the outset, they welcomed us as though we were old, dear friends. We ended up visiting for several hours, asking questions, learning about their quest to find and preserve long-lost technologies, and being regaled with stories about how they brought peace and stability to the galaxy through their management of the HPG network. We departed with a standing invitation to return any time, and Walter and I left feeling as though we'd been allowed into the inner circle of an exclusive group of people.

Over the ensuing months, we'd pay periodic visits to the Acolytes in between our various other bouts of mischief. At every turn, the Acolytes made us feel welcomed; like we were family; like we belonged. Unfortunately, later that same year, my friendship with Walter was cut tragically short.

Near the end of the semester, while I was at school, Walter got into a tussle over a gambling game in a local dive. By the time the police arrived, he'd been shot in the neck. The hospital couldn't save him. He was eighteen years old. His death devastated me, and I withdrew from my remaining circle of friends. I sank into a vicious depression for three months before I finally let myself snap out of it.

Somehow, despite it all, I just barely managed to graduate from high school. This significant accomplishment lifted my spirits, particularly since my father actually made it a point to attend the ceremony and throw a big celebration afterward, but the jubilation would be short-lived.

A few days before my eighteenth birthday, my father was hit by a drunk driver while returning home from one of his escapades. While on sick leave, he was laid off from his job at Nashan Diversified. The medical expenses wiped out his bank account. I took various customer service jobs to help pay the bills. We repeatedly relocated around various suburbs outside of town to try and find an affordable place to live. Eventually, he recovered, and I expected he'd start a job search. Instead, he dropped a bombshell on me, stating that he didn't intend to go back to work, but proposed instead that I continue to support us both while he "took advantage of the opportunity" to make his long-planned pipe dream of a startup a reality.

I'm not sure if it was a result of the cumulative stress that I'd been under, or if my reaction was entirely justified, but I was appalled. I felt insulted and betrayed. After years of enduring his absenteeism as a father, I'd still swept in to keep a roof over his head when he needed it the most, and now, he wasn't even going to consider seeking employment so he could start a company that was likely to fail. I was completely flabbergasted, and walked out of the conversation before I said anything.

As I let the front door shut behind me, I could feel the urge to cry, something I haven't done since childhood. During my childhood years, even after my father was barely around, I'd never really felt like a victim. I was angry because of my father's unfortunate involvement in my life, but also, because I'd come into adulthood with no one all I could turn to. I suddenly felt really alone, and it had left me feeling even more on edge than I'd felt before leaving the house.

In retrospect, I'd wish I'd had the presence of mind to at least listen to my father explain himself, instead of storming off. I might have chosen to stay. 

But that's not what I did. Instead, I went to the ComStar outreach center. 

I was ready to convert.

After all, the people I'd met were welcoming, charismatic, and friendly. They made me feel supported. They made me feel like family. When I arrived at their recruiting station, they were all too happy to accept me into the Order. In just over a week's time, I was processed in, classified as a new recruit attached to the Archives and History division, and given a ticket aboard a transport to Hilton Head, South Carolina, on Terra.

I only saw my father one more time before I shipped off-world for my initiation and training. He'd seemingly made it a point to be out of the house whenever I was around, but on the day I left, he drove me to the spaceport. During a rambling conversation with him over lunch, he surprised me by saying something completely unexpected. 

"Everyone goes through life with the right intentions, but many people never get to the end. They get lost along the way. Maybe because they don't know what they want, maybe they're just confused. I never managed to find my calling. It took you to make me see things differently. You may not have been intending to help me, but you did."

He got through his speech, we hugged goodbye, and then, I boarded the transport. I haven't seen or heard from him since.

When I arrived at Hilton Head, things with ComStar changed significantly. In stark contrast to the atmosphere at the outreach center, my Basic Training group was met with a martial style liturgy session of intake, complete with verbal abuse and mind-numbing physical tests of endurance and strength. We had all of our physical possessions confiscated - including our clothes - and replaced with basic necessity kits and plain white jumpsuits. The initiation was a combination of combat training, classroom education, and heavy cult indoctrination. The mental domination to which we were subject was so intense that, over time, our individuality was worn away; the memories of our lives before our entry into the Order were no longer ours. We became cogs. We became foot soldiers. Our brains became filled with ComStar dogma and doctrine.

After four months, those of us who made it to "ascension" were officially conferred the titles of Acolyte. The unit was broken down into smaller groups and sent off-world to various posts throughout the Inner Sphere and the Periphery. I came out of Basic Training believing that ComStar was the best thing to happen to humanity. Nearly every shred of my individuality was gone. I could no longer separate my actions from the Order, and at the time, I actually welcomed it. I wanted to belong to something, and, in my mind, ComStar was the only answer. My dreams and ambitions were gone. I was an Acolyte, forever. They literally held my mind hostage.

In the years that followed, I served in various local posts as an Omega Adept. I was assigned to handle menial tasks, assist senior members of the order in their custodial responsibilities, perform research, and carry out routine maintenance on ComStar technologies. On very rare occasions, I was assigned to patrols. It was mind-numbing work, but I accepted it and settled down to get on with the mission at hand. I was rotated through a number of outposts in the Periphery - mostly HPG stations in small rural communities. I made few friends within the Order - while ComStar didn't explicitly discourage its followers from maintaining a social circle, the regularity with which our assignments changed, coupled with the equally routine "reeducation" of members who committed anything that could be perceived as a transgression, made making and keeping friends difficult. So I invested myself fully in my work, my individuality, drive, and memories eroding further and further away. The spirited, headstrong girl I'd been on Alarion, however flawed she might have been, was gone. I was a shell, fully given over to the teachings of Blake.

In my third year, I arrived in the Aurigan Reach. It was just prior to the outbreak of the Espinosa Crisis. Here, I met Dexter Friedman, a Tau Adept who had been in the order for nearly a decade. He was zealously devoted to ComStar, and, in turn, to his faith. We were both given on-world assignments at an aging HPG station on Mechdur. He worked to test rediscovered and captured BattleMech technologies recovered from our local section of the Periphery. I was dual-purposed as a researcher and a support technician for the station's main computer systems. Working with Dexter had a strange effect on me. For the first time since my initiation, I became quite frustrated in my work. It wasn't because I couldn't do the work required of the job. Rather, I was frustrated by the constant struggle to maintain the religious stranglehold the Order seemed to exert over its followers, whereas Dexter made it look easy. I'd feel this tension whenever we would communicate, especially if it was done in public. Invariably, he'd admonish me in no uncertain terms to do what he expected of me; or, worse, he'd put himself between me and a request for resources, so he could "ensure it was handled according to Blake's plan."

And then, one day, I found out that Dexter himself was considering disobedience. Not because he'd lost his faith, but because he felt that ComStar had lost its way. In the four-plus years he'd been on Mechdur, he'd grown increasingly frustrated by the ways in which the Order was slowly but surely destroying itself from within. Schisms had formed between ComStar's traditionalists and a new, radical order called the Word of Blake. The traditionalists were taking an increasingly progressive stance toward the teachings of Jerome Blake, whereas, in the hardliners' perspective, Blake was not just a prophet, but rather, a literal god. Dexter didn't believe either view was correct. He wanted to get out. But he was torn between his sense of personal freedom and the strong, yet impassable desire to belong to something. Maybe I wanted to escape vicariously through him. Or maybe I just couldn't stand by and watch him suffer. I don't know why I did it. But I told him I'd help him escape.

We plotted and planned and spent countless hours together. We formulated a plan to use a BattleMech with ECM capabilities - a captured RVN-1X Raven prototype - that he could use to get beyond the range of the HPG station's sensors before anyone realized he was missing. He'd hijack it while piloting it on a training exercise and flee to Rollis aboard a cargo transport. When the day came, everything went according to plan - except that shortly after Dexter escaped, ComStar found out I'd aided him. I'm still not entirely sure how they knew, since we'd taken great pains to cover our tracks. Once they put two and two together, I was excommunicated for my insubordination, and sentenced to the worst punishment I could have ever expected: death. By a stroke of unbelievable fate, however, the Espinosa Directorate happened to launch a terrorist attack on Mechdur's communication grid the evening before I was set to be executed. In the commotion, chaos, and blackout that followed, and with only the clothes on my back, I managed to escape to the spaceport and stow away aboard a vessel bound for Smithon.

I went into hiding on the world - I'm not really sure how long I was there. I bounced from homeless shelter to homeless shelter, eking out a meager existence, subsisting on the generosity of strangers. All the while, I was constantly looking over my shoulder, knowing that ComStar would never give up until they found me. 

Early on the morning of February 2, 3026, things got much worse. The Taurian Concordat, pulled into the fray of the House Arano crisis, struck Smithon. When the first explosions happened,  I remember thinking, "This is it. They've come for me at last." But then, I saw the bull insignia painted on the descending DropShips that were systematically annihilating everything in their paths. It took a moment to register, but as the air raid sirens blared, I realized that it was an invasion. Standing in the street, I found myself awash in a sea of people fleeing for the spaceport. Explosives detonated around us. The smoke was thick. I felt it in my lungs. It was a harrowing moment - for a second, I found myself frozen, unable to take that final step to safety. I have few memories of the next few minutes before something, somewhere within me, finally switched into overdrive, and I started sprinting as fast as I could toward the spaceport. I looked back over my shoulder, seeing only death. More than I'd ever seen before. It was horrific. A few steps away from the spaceport gate, I was suddenly intercepted by a Raven BattleMech painted in mercenary colors, barking orders to the crowd over the war machine's P.A. system. 

I recognized the voice. Against all odds, it was Dexter.

Somehow, he was there, on Smithon, directing the evacuation from the cockpit of the same Raven he'd stolen from ComStar only a month or two prior. How or why he was now here, before me, I didn't know, but as he pitched the war machine's nose down to face the newest group of refugees, I saw the recognition strike him. The Raven froze momentarily, and then Dexter's distinct accent crackled over the 'Mech's speakers.

"Blake! It's impossible! It can't be!"

"Dexter!" I heard myself call, the name on my lips as though from another body entirely. A protracted pause met my reply. Eventually, Dexter came back on the loudspeaker, directing me not to the general staging area for the planet's evacuees, but to the DropShip of the mercenary unit to which he now belonged - Aegis Division. To my surprise, I later learned that he'd plead with Charles Maxwell to grant me asylum with their unit out of gratitude for the role I played in helping him defect from ComStar and out of concern for my own well-being. The Captain, though hesitant at first, agreed. And in due time, what started as a temporary errand of mercy became a more permanent arrangement.

Over the ensuing years, through no small amount of help and trust, I slowly reclaimed my humanity, and began to find myself in a place where I truly felt like I belonged.

The rest, as they say, is history.


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