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L&d: Act Ii, Rainbow Rising Rp

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#21 Listless Nomad

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:35 PM

The Warrior’s Hall, Cathay District
Solaris City, Solaris VII
May 28th, 3031. 10:15 Hours.

Mason stood idly at the bar, a smug expression on his face. He was late, he knew it, and he didn’t care. Looking around at the whirling mass of humanity surrounding him, Mason Adler knew it was going to be a good night. One way or another he felt like things were finally starting to go his way. All he had to do tonight was be a glorified middleman for some broke flunky, and he'd get a little extra luck for his next match. It couldn't be simpler.

"Mason!" Kelly had to shout to be heard over the roar of the club, despite standing practically behind him.

Mason turned with a grin on his face at the sound of his name, searching the crowd for a moment before spying the smoldering face of Kelly. She didn't look all together pleased to see him. Quicker than she could react, he pulled her close to him, pressing her body against his and taking a long drag of his cigarette. "Hey sweetie pie. Glad to see me?"

"Thrilled." Her voice dripped with sarcasm as she rolled her eyes and wormed out of his grasp, batting away the smoke from Mason’s cigarette. She attempted to take a step back and increase the distance between them, but the crush of the crowd had already expanded, nearly pinning her against him once more.

Smirking at her obvious discomfort being near him, Mason took another long drag on his cigarette before continuing. "Aw what's the matter? You didn't seem to mind the other night..." The comment seemed to give Kelly pause, and she searched for a moment to give a suitable reply before continuing.

"Are you here to help or just be a {Richard Cameron}?" A sharp laugh from Mason gave her the answer she requested. It was early, but already her frustration rising along with the red of her cheeks.

"You called me here sweetie. You don't like how I act then I'll be on my merry way.” Mason took a moment to survey the crowd and wink at a few of the revelers on the dance floor. “There are lots of other ladies here who'd like to see the inside of my mech's cockpit..."

Rolling her eyes at the comment, Kelly let out a sigh. "My friend is holding a booth for us, come on."

Thoroughly satisfied with himself, Mason abandoned his place at the bar, and followed along through the crowd, sipping his drink while avoiding the gyrating dancers of the club floor. Once he arrived, he plopped down in the booth opposite Kelly and her male friend, before leaning back with his hands behind his head. "So what can the most kind and benevolent Mason Adler do for you today Kelly?"

Kelly started to speak "Well...um...This," but was abruptly cut off by her mysterious “friend.”

"Mr. Adler. A pleasure to meet you." The man extended his hand across the table in greeting. "Your last fight against Kenji Sotohara was exceptional."

Mason warily shook his hand, while eyeballing Kelly suspiciously. He didn't like being caught off guard. "Yeah...thanks. You must be the boyfriend that needs money so desperately. I gotta tell you...Kelly ain't exactly been faithful..." A lecherous grin spread across his face as Kelly's face first drained of blood and then flushed.
The man chuckled, a cruel egotistical sound, drawing a smirk from Mason. "I think you've misread the situation Mr. Adler. Kelly and I are simply friends."

Raising his glass in toast, Mason gave a chuckle of his own. "Well what do you know? Seems like Kelly is just giving herself to everyone these days. What a giving soul she has.” Mason shot a sideways glance towards Kelly before continuing. "So what is it you need stranger? Actually, I don't think I ever caught your name. Hard to do business with just a face."

"Arron Baxa." He said warmly, before raising his beer, mimicking Mason's action. "As you've apparently gathered already, I'm having some financial issues…" Baxa inclined his head toward Kelly seated next to him. "She seems convinced that you might be able to help me with my current situation."

Mason smiled before pausing a moment to light another cigarette, adding to the smoky air of the dusky club. "I'm a man of many talents Mr. Baxa. What is it you are looking for exactly?"

"To be frank Mr. Adler, I don't have enough money to fix my Hermes. At this rate I'll be forced to sell the mech simply to survive. I have no wish to become one of the Dispossessed if I can help it."

Mason's face darkened a bit and he took an unusually long drag on his cigarette. A mechwarrior's worst fear was becoming dispossessed. Being kept from the thing you love, likely for life, was a fate worst than death for the gladiators of Solaris. When he next spoke, he words were quieter, and more serious. "I can understand that...Arron. I know a gentleman who can help you. He's a straight shooter who can get you what you need...but you'll only cross him once. You feel me? He doesn't kill, he takes what you love most..." Mason shot a glance at Kelly, "Real or imagined." The concern for Kelly was uncharacteristic and he quickly shook it off. "I can get you in contact with him, but then it's up to you. Interested?"

Baxa, equally serious, was quiet for a moment before responding. His eyes stared off into the distance, as if he were viewing something within his own head, as opposed to the crush of humanity around him. Mason had no idea how the man could appear so focused in such a distracting place, taking the opportunity to smack a passing waitress’ behind. Mason smirked and stole a glance at Kelly, who wore a horrified expression on her face. Whether it was from Mason’s behavior or the implied threat on her life, he couldn’t be sure – nor did he care. After a moment, Baxa seemed to snap back into reality and spoke once more. "I'd appreciate that, Mason. Does this gentlemen have a name?"

Mason took another drag on the cigarette before continuing. "Veer Shivahare. He's a Leaguer who likes to bet on the games, lots of cash. He'll hook you up with however much you need. Just remember, pay your debts. He doesn't forgive, and he doesn't forget. Keep things on the level, and he'll be your best friend."

Mason rummaged around in his jacket pocket for a moment before handing Baxa a worn business card. "There's his number. Tell the receptionist that you are inquiring about a loan. He'll take it from there. If you run into trouble, tell him Mason pointed you to him. If that doesn't work…" Mason gave a devilish grin, "Then it appears my luck has already run out."

Baxa took the car from Mason’s hand, put it in his jacket pocket and abruptly stood up from the table. Mason was a little surprised by the swiftness of the action, but judging from the look on Baxa’s face, it was clear that the club atmosphere was getting to him.

“If you’ll excuse me Mr. Alder, I fear I must be on my way. Kelly, I’ll find my own way home.” A firm handshake later and Baxa had disappeared into the crowd. Mason and Kelly now sat alone at the booth, his eyes wandering over Kelly's frame as he sipped his drink. "I told you to wear something fun Kelly. Glad you didn't disappoint."

Kelly smiled and appeared pleased with herself. Whatever goal she’d apparently had for the night had been fulfilled, and she seemed more relaxed. "Thanks", she replied, although it was hard for Mason to tell if she was thanking him for the compliment or for the earlier help. “You clean up nicely yourself." Without warning, Kelly grabbed Mason’s glass from the table and downed the remainder of his drink in a single go. She burped discreetly before giggling. "Would...would you like to dance?"

Kelly Dobson’s Apartment, Silesia, Lyran District
Solaris City, Solaris VII
May 29th, 3031. 3:15 Hours.

Kelly was snoring loudly, the night’s “festivities” having taken their toll on her. Next to her, Mason sat on the edge of the bed, the lights from the never sleeping city streaming through the single window of her cramped apartment. In the distance, Mason could see the glittering lights of the Coliseum twinkling brightly. Although not lit for a match, to Mason the lights had never looked brighter. For a time he sat transfixed, not on the woman beside him, not the garish video billboards doting the skyline, not on the hovercars and other distractions that rushed by, but solely upon the twinkling lights of the arena. He wanted nothing more to be seen in that arena, a living Avatar of War, fighting for the never ending glory of Solaris. After a time, Mason smiled to himself and finally reclined in bed, eventually drifting to sleep. One day, and one day soon, he would get his chance and everyone would see what Mason Adler was capable of.

Edited by Listless Nomad, 05 November 2013 - 01:39 PM.


#22 Sparks Murphey

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:26 AM

The Mausoleum
Outskirts of Solaris City, Solaris VII
May 29th, 3031, 00:03hrs

The spot Bertie eventually found was on a small rise. A cruciform "tomb" dominated the crest, adorned with the hulk of a gutted Centurion and with any luck providing some cover from return fire. A small copse of trees provided a screen to the east, though the ground fog wasn't very thick here. He was willing to give up a little obscurity for the commanding position.

The light amp system remained off, for now. It was mostly effective at close ranges and wouldn't pick up the slight hints of movement that would first betray an approaching target. That, and Bertie didn't like the false colour everything adopted. It made it feel distant, like a vid game.

This match was certainly playing out slower than the raceway fight last month. Where that had had people engaged almost from the start, here minutes had rolled by without a contact. A flight of LRMs to the north east indicated someone had found someone else, but Bertie couldn't see either of them. Finally, Rei contacted him.

"I think I've found our first victim," she said, "Snakehead Ding, Hunchback-4H. I'll give him something to follow, then lead him into your sights. You're still up by the wrecked Centurion, I assume?"

Bertie raised an eyebrow. He’d still not seen Rei, nor communicated when he was, yet she already knew.

“That’s right,” he said, “Where should I be looking?”

“Past the howling wolf statue,” she replied.

The statue was a large concrete piece of post-planar art cresting a ridge. He found it and rested the targeting reticle over the edge of the rise. A few seconds rolled by, then a dark shape hopped over the crest. He tracked it for a moment, verifying it was Rei’s Phoenix Hawk, then snapped back to where she’d come from just in time for the Hunchback chasing her to come into view.

“Firestorm, if you’ve gone back on the deal, you’re the first one I’m hunting down,” Rei said after several seconds had passed of her jinking through the relatively open space without Bertie firing a shot.

Bertie ignored her, focusing on the Hunchback wandering further and further away from available cover. Finally, he was satisfied, and hit the firing stud. The PPC bolt and large laser stabbed at the Hunchback, both striking the upper left side of the machine near the ammo hopper and leaving a glowing welt on the armour. The Hunchback turned and opened fire, blasting shrapnel from the gutted hulk of the Centurion as Bertie retreated behind the edge of the tomb.

Either his luck wasn’t with him, or someone running the arena didn’t want him getting away that easy. One of the automated spotlights did a lazy sweep over the tomb, briefly illuminating his Enforcer. The Hunchback turned to face him directly and he could almost hear the sound of the autocannon’s loaders working. Bertie took another shot, cutting more armour off the left side before hitting the jump jets to force the Hunchback’s return fire to fly below him. Rei was dancing her Phoenix Hawk behind the Hunchback, the machine guns chattering away in accompaniment to the sound of medium lasers.

The Hunchback pilot, Snakehead Ding, realised his mistake. He couldn’t deal with Rei while under Bertie’s attention, couldn’t deal with Bertie from the middle of the clearing. The panic set in and the Hunchback began to lash out with its lasers and AC, scoring little more than glancing hits on its aggressors before Rei’s machine guns found the autocannon ammo. The ‘Mech blossomed in flame, Snakehead Ding rocketing away on his ejection seat.

“Nice work, Firestorm,” Rei said, “I’ll go find us an…”

There was a loud clang as her Phoenix Hawk, returning over the ridge by the wolf statue, collided face first with a Kintaro coming the other way.

Well, this should be interesting, Bertie thought as the two sized each other up.

#23 Spokes

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:16 PM

The Mausoleum
Outskirts of Solaris City, Solaris VII
29 May, 3031 -- 00:03 Hrs

The 45 ton BattleMech rang like a bell from the impact, the sound of the collision felt as much as heard. Rei shot forward into the safety harness, her padded cooling vest soaking most of the blow, one finger reflexively mashing the "invert throttle" toggle. Both machines stumbled backwards, but the ridge was steeper on the far side and the Kintaro tottered on the uneven slope.

Rei recovered first.

She hit the throttle toggle a second time, pulled both control sticks back as the Hawk hunched forward and dug its feet into the soft earth. Her 'Mech's arms came up, hands flexing open, mechanical fingers splayed wide as the diamond shaped crosshairs converged on the boxy machine looming in front of her.

Rei brought the Hawk's M100's to life. The staccato rattle of the machine guns filled her cockpit as she walked the burst up the Kintaro's faceplate and into the sensor array on the top of the head. The 13 mm rounds did little more than pancake and ricochet off the armor, but her opponent reacted by snapping the Kintaro's torso left, bringing his 'Mech's right arm up to shield the cockpit and inadvertently giving Rei the precious seconds she needed to effect her own escape.

"Hey Firestorm, you ready for seconds!" Rei twisted her Phoenix Hawk to the left while the Kintaro was momentarily blinded by its own forearm. Her opponent stumbled left, dropped the defensive stance, flashed the Kintaro's arm mounted laser through the empty space where he expected the Phoenix Hawk to be. Rei cut back to the right and lit off her jump jets, the Kintaro overbalancing and nearly toppling back down the slope as it tried to track the Hawk with its torso mounted weapons. Eighteen high yield missiles sailed harmlessly under Rei's 'Mech as she shot upwards, the bright glare of the super heated plasma likely further disorientating the hapless MechWarrior beneath her.

Running hot and shooting blind. . .that one's all yours Albert.

There was a sudden exchange of laser fire far ahead and to the right. Rei feathered her jets, dropped behind another ridge and turned in search of another opportunity. The rolling fog swallowed her BattleMech, quickly erasing all signs of her passing. . .

#24 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:01 AM

Boreal Ranch, Black hills
Solaris City, Solaris VII
Freedom Theatre, Lyran Commonwealth
June 3rd, 3031 17:23hrs

"Are you sure you want to do this, Mar? Mar?" Kaylee asked, snapping DeMarkus out of his thoughs. "Huh?" D asked in reply fixing his tech with a confused expression. "You sure you want to go through with this? You could always back out using that clause in your contract." The MechWarrior scoffed lightly at the suggestion. "Mar, you go in there with a target painted over your heart, that interview earned you plenty of enemies on Solaris..."

DeMarkus chuckled at the thought of his 'interview.' It started out fine with a meet and greet and get to know the MechWarriors, until they starting asking about his military history with him mentioning how he left the CCAF straight from a FedRat prisoner of war camp and joined the Tikonov Free Republic. One of the men interviewing him became openly hostile at that point asking edged questions that cut deeply into DeMarkus' character and painted him as a 'bad guy'.

Despite that Frankfurt remained cool and answered to the best of his ability to use the per arranged answers Von Bremen supplied him with. When he was asked questions he couldn't find a suitable answer to he replied that he didn't understand in Russian and to his everlasting frustration was then asked the same questions in Russian. Finally not being able to deflect the questions any more and growing angry with the belligerent man, DeMarkus lost his temper and cut into the man as well, not caring what it did to his image. Von Bremen looked on in horror, silent, with a blanched face like he'd just seen a ghost.

It was only after the interview that DeMarkus found out that the man, a Anthony Lefgarrison, hailed from Hall, one of the planets that were attacked by the TFR during the waning days of the Fourth Succession War. And he lost his entire family in the assault on the now Sarna March world of the Federated Suns. (It's not officially called the FedCom till '41)

"Havin' enemies isa noting new, Kay." He smiled as the figure of Quing Li approached. Clad in a worn CCAF jumpsuit the Asian woman approached with a gleam in her eye and a spring in her step. D felt Kay's nails digging into his arm. "Beside's I'sa got a wingman." He said nodding his head in the direction of the Jaded Giant's warrior.

"You just be careful, Mar." Kaylee said in an icy tone before whirling about to double check everything on 'One-Eye.' Quing Li neared a smile on her lips and a twinkle in her eye as she regarded the retreated tech. "Just like old times eh, Sang wei?" she asked in an amused tone.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Boreal Ranch, Black hills
Solaris City, Solaris VII
Freedom Theatre, Lyran Commonwealth
June 3rd, 3031 17:59hrs

Focus, DeMarkus. There's eight people out there openly hostile and only one other person you can almost trust not to shoot you in the back. Still...

DeMarkus eyed the direction of Quing's Urbanmech. Supposedly Madam Wing-Wa herself was wishing to have the warriors of House Liao put forth a good showing and Quing sworn that she wouldn't 'destroy' D till all other targets were vanquished. Then why was he still nervous?

Shouldn't be to difficult to drop her. Slow short ranged moving target that Urbie is, just stay out of it's range and all should be fine. Shouldn't think about her too much.

DeMarkus turned to regard the other competitors. Johnaton Celeb-Masterson's Whitworth, DeMarkus was still trying to figure out how he managed to get medium mech into a light mech bout, was staring straight at him ready to loose it's missiles at him. Along side of the Whitworth stood a faded purple Stinger mirrioring the 'Worthless' pose. To the left of Whit and Stinger stood a Javelin and Valkyrie from Blackhand stables standing poised to pounce upon a Jenner from Akuma stables and an independent Spider pilot that was threated to be sandwiched with a Lynch Stables Wolfhound and Locust that was mirroring the Javey and Val's posture. It was no secret that the Combine warriors were going to be in a world of hurt right off the bat.

In fact as he thought about it, they were arranged in a rough map of the Inner Sphere, save for where the Lyrans and Davies places were swapped. The arena itself was just as the photos he'd seen depicted, save more showy. With strobe lights working overtime, and multicolored spotlights and laser lights spun around the arena like something out of a rock concert, big geysers of flame shot out at random intervals from the heart of the oily looking pool at the bottom of the pit. And everywhere the Vita Orange corporate logo feces was smeared on anything that they could place it, across the banners that circled the arena, from the big laser and light housings, to the vests worn by a few Boreal Ranch service technicians making a bee line out of harms way as the final seconds clicked off the clock.

Sighing heavily, DeMarkus wiped his sweaty hands off on the front of his new cooling vest and returned them to the One-Eye's controls. In silence he watched the final seconds tick off.

Here we go...

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 16 December 2013 - 07:49 PM.


#25 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 08:36 AM

Boreal Ranch, Black hills
Solaris City, Solaris VII
Freedom Theatre, Lyran Commonwealth
June 3rd, 3031 18:00hrs

Right at 18:00hrs all Hell broke loose. It started with several hundred fireworks streaking through the arena and detonating followed by a score of multicolored flares shooting out to give the entire far flung alien warzone feel. And amongst the showering sparks and off colored neon flare light the mechs charged forth spewing death and destruction at one another.

Not so for DeMarkus. After reviewing the info he was provided and using his own experiences with light mechs, he knew that the vast majority of light mechs, and his opponents in this case usually fielded short ranged weaponry. Once again not so for DeMarkus, while once upon a time 'One-Eye' may have been the traditional Com-2D, it now sported a PPC. A long ranged weapon that packed a nasty punch.

Dropping 'One-Eye' down to a knee DeMarkus dragged his targeting reticule over the nearest 'openly' hostile mech, the faded purple Stinger, that was charging hell bent the (former)Capellan's way in great five meter strides. Pulsing gold, Frankfurt calmly depressed the trigger spitting the Stinger right in it's right torso with a bolt of manmade lightning. Great globs of molten metal flew from the light mech as it's arm and torso sagged inward upon their selves finally collapsing behind the charging mech. Still the thing charged onward like a crazed lunatic.

About that time missiles began to rain down upon the Hangman, missing by mere centimeters and throwing up great clods of earth from the nearby area. Following the contrails left behind from the missiles, he was able to tell that they've come from the Whitworth. D qued his mic and shouted over the frequency he was sharing with Quing.

"We'sa need to drop dat medium! Keep everyone off my a$$!" Bringing One-Eye to a stand and throttled up charging straight at the damaged Stinger with the Urbie trying to keep up.

Let's see if he's willing to shoot at his compadre...

He was. Loosing both of his Longbow LRM10's at the rapidly approaching Comanther. A double handful somehow streaked past the Stinger through the space previously occupied by the mechs arm and torso to drum away angrily against One-Eye gouging the armor on the mechs torso and leg. But all the others seemed to pound away at the other light mech obliterating it's tissue thin rear armor and pulverizing it's insides. The Stinger dropped in a heap at One-Eye's feet then skittered down the slope towards the pool below.

Shocked that the Whitworth pilot had just cored his lackey, DeMarkus almost didn't shoot back when he heard the 'ping!' that his particle cannon was recharged. Almost. He settled the reticule over the center mass of the missile boat and mashed down on the trigger. Charged particles flew downrange to smash into the mech dead center the mech barely seemed to notice though as the armored covers for it's missile launchers flew open to unleash another score of missiles upon him. Racing forward, DeMarkus hoped to get within the minimum range of the weapons.

The missiles backlash lit up the Whitworth competing with the neon flares and fireworks to give the mech some otherworldly appearance. The warheads showered against the Panmando angrily not detonating or shot by to detonate harmlessly away from him, DeMarkus was within the minimum range and was ready to make this medium mech his b**ch. Ping!Centering his crosshairs over the mech he squeezed the trigger with a smug look upon his scarred up face. At the last second the Whitworth pulled back and the shot overshot where DeMarkus was aiming, the still glowing mangled armor where his last shot hit, instead it zapped out and smashed squarely into the mechs head.

DeMarkus looked on in horror as the mech stumble-stepped before falling to it's side and lay very still.

"Excellent shot, Sang-Wei!" Beamed Quing over the frequency they were sharing, "Now let's go shoot the Davion Dogs!" DeMarkus pried his eyes away from the sprawled out medium mech's smoldering cockpit and turned just in time to witness the Akuma Stable's pilot rocket out of his mech on his ejection seat a split second before the Jenner blew apart in a rather spectacular ammo explosion. Thankfully the seats parachute opened correctly and drifted down towards safety. DeMarkus then looked on as the Fed-Com warrior's fell upon the independent Spider from all sides. It seemed like the Dracs were more interested in shooting the Lyrans than the Davies, judging by the mangled state of the Wolfhound.

"No, let's take out some bankers." D then moved about to begin moving in the direction of the Locust and Wolfhound, hoping that the Spider's pilot was good or to hold it's own enough to get out of the pickle it was in or fight it's way out. Throttling up, the Panmando quickly picked up speed as DeMarkus maneuvered it about the lip of the pit. He even chanced a long ranged shot at the Lyran Locust, the nearest enemy mech. The shot sailed wide, but it did manage to get the Lyran's attention as he turned to face then engage the two MechWarriors hailing from what once was Capellan Space.

The Spider pilot seized this opportunity to jump out of the pickle it was in and shoot the Locust in the back, while one of his shots missed wide the other flew true lazing away at the Locust's leg stripping most of armor off of there. The Javelin blasted off after the jumping Spider on it's own jump jets, spewing forth it's missiles at the apex of it's flight. The earth around the Spider erupted tossing great clods of earth everywhere, but a few of the warheads slammed into the Fleeing Spider which stumbled forwards a few steps before regaining it's composure. The Locust whirled about upon the audacious Spider who dared to shoot him in the back only to find himself once again getting shot in the back by a Hellish blast of charged particles that blew all the way through the back, torso and part of the frontal armor. The mech stood there a second frozen as if in agony and they collapsed.

Free of it's tormentor, the Spider leaped forward on it's jets just as a barrage of beams and missiles devastated the area where it was only a second before, still a few missiles impacted upon it's leg as it leaped littering the ground with tortured bits of broken metal. At the apex of it's flight it, shot out at DeMarkus who was trying to secure a tight beamed communication line with the nimble mech's warrior.

Now why'd you have to go do that?

Dropping back on his throttle, DeMarkus angled himself a bit closer to the mech as he brought his crosshair over the mech.PING! With a zap the particle cannon discharged, blasting off the armor on the Spider's side torso, bits of flayed myomer and occasional spouts of sickish green coolant shot out of the crater in the armor.

From it's perch on the far side of the arena the Valkyrie unleashed a volley of missiles that screeched across the sky to pound against the Spider which withered under the assault, armor withering under the assault the mech stumbled as it was making to lift off on it's jets. A brilliant ruby red beam shot through the smoke and fire, dust and explosions drilling through the last bit of ferro titanium bone making up the Spider's left leg. The mech dropped with the grace of a sack of potatoes, sprawled out. A second later a green flare shot out from the mech as it's pilot finally admitting defeat.

DeMarkus suddenly found himself in a bit of a pickle as the FedRat and Lyran mechs seemed to turn all their attention upon him.

Oh shrimp.

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 22 November 2013 - 01:12 AM.


#26 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:46 AM

Boreal Ranch, Black hills
Solaris City, Solaris VII
Freedom Theatre, Lyran Commonwealth
June 3rd, 3031 18:00hrs

Not wasting a second, DeMarkus whirled 'One-Eye' about and slammed the throttle full forward which quickly brought the ComPanther up to a breakneck speed. The brilliant red beam of the Wolfhound's large laser spurred him on as it shot past just about his shoulder.

"Alright's Quing, here they'sa come!"

The ground erupted around him as incoming long and short ranged missiles just barely missed him, it seemed like the whole world was in an uproar, but through the smoke and whirling shrapnel he ran. Zigzagging at random intervals he chanced a potshot on the Wolfhound not expecting to connect, but somehow he did, hitting it right in the elbow.

More missiles cascaded down upon him, but like last time he juked his way through the explosions. Suddenly his damage display lit up like a Christmas Tree flashing a deep red as something destroyed every last bit of armor over his left leg.

SHRIMP! One more hit like that and I'm a goner.

Up ahead loomed Quing's Urbanmech, standing tall it spewed forth death and destruction from the gaping maw of it's 200mm auto cannon. The shells flew downrange to slam straight into the Wolfhound's armpit, the arm remained upright lined up with the fleeing form of the PanMando a second before whirling away in a chaotic flight pattern. The Wolfhound pilot thrown off balance by the monster cannons abuse and the loss of a limb fell backward and slid forward toppling and twisting with bits of broken armor plate spiraling from the tumbling machine.

Klaxons sounded an angry sound as One-Eye detected a hard missile lock a second later the mech was trembling as a handful of short ranged missiles impacted all over the 25tonner. More clods of dirt rained down upon him as more missiles detonated all about him.

PING! Whirling about with a new feeling of confidence, DeMarkus whirled about and drifted his
crosshairs over the rising form of the Wolfhound. Just as it was halfway upright he drifted the reticule over the gaping hole in the Lynch Stable warrior's mangled torso armor. With a grim face, thumbed the trigger. Charged particles streamed out, shooting through the rent in the armor to eat away at the mechs vitals. Sparks and thick strands of myomer flew back out the rent, followed shortly afterward by bright green coolant and yellow flames. The side torso laser shot out like a missle with flames chasing after it. A split second later a green flare shot out from the mech as it powered down signaling surrender.

From out of the Wolfhound's shadow raced the Javelin. Quick and maneuverable it neared for a good firing position, loosing it's warheads towards the Hangman. They missed streaking past and detonating all around the Urbanmech. Streams of heavy autocannon flew past, uncomfortably close, the shells impacted in the middle of the ground between the two mechs. He wasn't sure who the intended target was.

I think it's time to keep my distance from her.

Throwing the throttle forward DeMarkus sent One-Eye racing away from the Urbanmech, and as he neared the Black Hills affiliated Javelin, he hung out the PanMando's hook for a hand. With a sickening crunch the hook raked through the mechs armor as DeMarkus darted by. Missiles impacted behind him peppering the Urbie's armor about it's head and stubby arm. Suddenly D was thrown forward as several warheads plowed into his tissue thin rear armor, but miraculously the armor held. He whirled about firing as soon as he had a lock. The manmade lightning struck home, an angry blue bolt of crackling fury which blasted into the Javelin's side torso right over the Arrowlite SRM6 housing. Great globs of molten steel flew in a crazy pattern from the wound, but he mech remained upright and in the fight.

DeMarkus watched as missiles rained all about Quing's Urbanmech as the Valkyrie bombarded it from it's perch on the far side of the arena, through the explosions and raining dirt the Urbanmech came metal and destruction flying from it's autocannon but the shot sailed wide of her target, whomever that was supposed to be. Again the shot went right in between him and the Javelin. DeMarkus put one more shot into the Javelin before moving to put more space between him a Quing. Manmade lightning flashed and boomed as the bolt crashed into the Javelin's other side.

Boom, boom, boomThe monstrous autocannon sounded as round after round of destructive fury flew downrange, but the nimble light mechs were able to dance around the shots as they exchanged shots with one another.

Across the way, the Valkyrie was finally leaving it's perch and approaching it's stumpy laser capped arm leading the way. DeMarkus brought One-Eye to a dead stop and took a knee as the missiles flew past to impact about the hard packed earth of the crater, making crater's of their own. Centering his reticule upon the Javelin D mashed down on his trigger as soon as he heard the PING! of the PPC being recharged. The beam hammered into the frontal barrel chested armor of the Jav rocking it back on it's heels but remaining upright. But the Hangman didn't stick around to survey the damage he was already on the move again, trying to put more distance between the Urbie and himself.

The Comanther shook violently as a trio of missiles somehow tracked him, slamming into him and digging his restraints into his shoulders. His damage display began to strobe to get his attention and klaxons sounded as 'Betty' began her bi**hing.

Warning! Left femoral armor breeched! Warning! Left Pectoral armor breeched! Warning!

"OH'S SHUT UP!!" DeMarkus growled out while bringing his mech up short to snap a shot off at the Javelin. Again the man made lightning struck as if hurled by an angry god. The bolt slammed right over the Javelin's heart, crumpled armored plating, melted vital components and ate away at the Javelin's bones like a cancer. Still glowing from the Hellish blast and with electrical arching dancing along the few strips of armor remaining the Javelin fell to it's knees and toppled over powerless.

DeMarkus then took a couple of seconds to compose himself and let his heat levels drop as he watched the Urbanmech exchange fire with the Valkyrie at long range. It seemed that the Val was out of ammo for it's launcher so it moved in to use it's medium laser. DeMarkus was content to just sit back and let them knife fight each other to pieces and then pick apart the victor, but it seemed that the promoters for the even had other plans as a green light flashed upon his console. It was only to be turned on if someone was idle for too long. It must have had something to do with the fact that the Urbie and Val couldn't land a shot on one another.

Moving forward, DeMarkus angled himself towards a nice looking spot where he could shoot down upon the pair of dueling mechs from a range that they'd be unable to reach. He then set himself to picking them apart, but he did wait till the Valkyrie signaled defeat before turning his guns upon Quing's Urbanmech... After all a deal was a deal.

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 22 November 2013 - 01:18 AM.


#27 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 07:30 AM

Boreal Ranch, Black hills
Solaris City, Solaris VII
Freedom Theatre, Lyran Commonwealth
June 3rd, 3031 18:24hrs

Climbing out of the side hatch of One-Eye's head, DeMarkus was quickly assaulted by his senses.

First was the stinging scents of burnt plastics, of autocannon propellant, spilt coolant, rocket fuel, and hot metal. These were underscored by another more insidious scent, one of charred meat. The next thing he became aware of was the light. Blinding light that shone down from everywhere. Climbing out onto the PanMando's shoulder, D cupped his hand over his eyes to realize that every spotlight in Boreal Ranch seemed to be focusing down upon him and his mech.

With his eyes shaded, DeMarkus was shocked by the shear speed and proficiency of the arena technicians and support staff. Already the staff labored away at extracting men and women from their downed machines, while others slaved away at loading up the shot up hulks upon mechhaulers to no doubt be serviced, repaired, and thrown back into the arenas at the first chance. Blasted and shot up, the Valkyrie and Urbanmech were leaving under their own power.

Nearby he saw a team of engineers and EMTs working away at the ruined cockpit of the Whitworth. DeMarkus frowned as another one stuck his head out of the flayed compartment to bring his hand slicing over his throat in a sign of the MechWarriors condition. With a frown and the thought that he'd just killed a man for other's entertainment DeMarkus climbed down off One-Eye using rungs welded onto the mechs armor.

Well that's when he could use them. The Comanther was shot up and looked like it just got through being used for target practice. The only section that didn't appear riddled with blast marks, crater, or the furrows of lasers carved through the armor was the head. Coolant leaked from the mechs side in a manner that reminded him of the wound he received in his last arena fight. Everywhere sparking bundles of myomer, the mech's muscles if you will, hung loose and limp, but the worst section was the left leg which looked like it was only holding on by a few millimeters of skeletal frame.

"Kay is gunna kick my As..." He cut himself off as he noticed a pack of individuals flocking his way. At their head a short balding man with his hair combed over to cover his pate, with what looked liked two bodyguards, and two women dressed up in Vita-Orange 'sportslike' outfits that left very little to the imagination. But it was what the balding man held in his arms that held DeMarkus' attention; a ridiculously oversized check. And in their wake followed several camera crews from the SBC and DBC. Seeing this D raked his hand through his wet neural helmet hair and pasting on a smile went to intercept them.

"DeMarkus Frankfurt. On behalf of the Solaris Game Association, and Vita Orange Sports Drinks I'd like to offer you thi-" the suited man slipped in the mud as he made to thrust the check into DeMarkus' arms, but the Hangman was quick, catching him before he fell and crumpling the check between the two of them. "Uh, thanks." the suit offered earning scowls from the two bodyguards. The man began anew like his near slip in the mud never happened.

"DeMarkus Frankfurt. On behalf of the Solaris Game Association, and Vita Orange Sports Drinks I'd like to offer you this check for ten million C-bills!" With that he thrust the now wedge folded check into DeMarkus' arms.

"Uh, tanks." DeMarkus gave a confused look as the two girls put a Vita Orange ball cap upon his head and took turns kissing him on the cheek while they gave beaming smiles towards the camera crews.
----------------------------------------------------------------

A few moments later after the cameras, suits, and girls were gone, Frankfurt was able to get ahold of Kaylee as she overlooked the process of Eddie and Chris loading One-Eyes fragile hulk upon the bed of a mechhauler.

"How's abad is he?" D offered by way greeting. "Won't know for sure till we get him back to the stable and have a good look. All in all, he doesn't look too bad. Certainly not as bad as things could have gone." She added while looking across the arena to where tech crews were still gathering parts of the Jenner that exploded.

"You know there's going to be an inquiry, right?" She turned to face him, then looked into the direction of the sprawled out Whitworth that had several suited men wearing bright yellow SGA vest taking holopics and examining the Whit's cockpit area. "You didn't purposely..." She began, but he cut it off. "Nah, I'sa was atrying to's shoot em in da same spot dat I'sa already shot em, da battle ROM will'sa show dat. He'sa moved an well, we'sa know what ahappen." He frowned and the frown only continued to deepen as blanch faced Von Bremen wound his way towards them from where the SGA technicians still milled about the Whitworth.

"Please tell me you didn't deliberately kill that Leaguer?" The toe headed man wrung his hands then quickly busied himself with brushing dirt off of his ivory colored jacket. "First his a'name is Johnaton Celeb-Masterson. Anda secondly, nah man. I'sa wasa trying to shoot em in da same spot I'sa already shot em in. How's many times I'sa gonna have to say dat?"

"Well that's good. Um, Kaylee, will uh, One-Eye's battle ROM be able to prove without a shadow of doubt that this is all what it appears to be, an unfortunate accident?" Randolph asked in a curious manner, as if he was preoccupied thinking about other things. The tech nodded then gave the strange face she sometimes made when she was deep in thought. With the three of them focusing on their conversation they weren't aware of the SGA goons approach.

"DeMarkus Frankfurt. We are here to seize your battle ROM. It will prove whether you're to be tried for murder or innocent of any crime. Your license is hearby suspended until a time when it's clear weather this was a malicious attack or an unfortunate accident." The Man snickered as his goons flocked in to retrieve the ROM from the Commando. He then bid them good day with a snicker and headed off on his own way.

Frowning D watched as the goons headed off, he then looked upon Kay and Randy. "I'lls abee needing another match soon. Here take dis, deposit it or whateva you do with it, I'sa just want my share, I'sa got debts to pay." DeMarkus thrust the check at they Heimdal agent. "Now let'sa get's outta here."

Sure enough, by the time he was showered and dressed, Slater had already messaged him three times wonder if he'd be able to pay off the rest of the balance on the Commando.

#28 Sparks Murphey

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 06:27 PM

The Mausoleum
Outskirts of Solaris City, Solaris VII
29 May, 3031, 00:04 Hrs

It was doubtful the Kintaro pilot knew exactly what happened until he saw the replay later that night. As he turned to track Rei’s Phoenix Hawk, he left his back a wide open target. Bertie obliged, punching a bolt from the PPC directly into the Kintaro’s back, then raking the large laser across it. The ‘Mech’s internal chassis held up, but the fusion engine inside fared worse, dying with a brilliant flash of blue-white light as the superheated gases escaped and rapidly cooled. Powerless, the Kintaro fell on it’s face and slid back down the ridge. A flare launched from the cockpit, signalling his defeat.

“Rei, you got another one yet?” Bertie radioed, scanning about for her ‘Mech. The fog seemed to have swallowed her whole.

“I’ve found...ugh,” Rei grunted as the sounds of laser fire came over the comms, “I’ve got a Cicada here, but he doesn’t seem willing to take the bait. Heinrich Reginar, I’m pretty sure.”

The name meant nothing to Bertie, but Rei said it as though it explained everything. “I may have to do this the old fashioned way. He keeps nipping at me and bolting everytime I so much as glance at him” she added, “Or, you could move your a** a kilometre bearing two-two-zero and join in.”

“On my way,” Bertie replied, cautiously getting the Enforcer moving. It was slow for a medium, it’s strength mainly coming from delivering attacks while jumping in and out of cover. Exposed, he was out of his element. Bertie round the edge of another tomb, expecting to find Rei dancing with the Cicada, but instead found a rather beaten up Trebuchet putting the finishing blows into a Vulcan. The Vulcan released another flare into the air, and the Trebuchet paused to pick up it’s right arm, which had apparently been severed during the fighting. The action caused Bertie’s shot to fly clean above it, though not without startling the pilot.

With it’s arm gone, the only weapons remaining on the Trebuchet, a -5J model that removed the left arm missile launcher in favour of jump jets, were a single LRM-15 and a medium laser. Bertie expected a long chase pursuing the slightly faster machine as it tried to keep outside the arming range on it’s missiles, but was surprised as it jumped towards him, quickly getting inside the inhibitor range of the PPC. Bertie ducked the detached arm as it sailed over his head, only to catch a punch on the Enforcer’s shoulder. He jumped backwards, slashing somewhat randomly at the Trebuchet with both his lasers as it followed him through the air.

Whatever he hit, it must have been a critical part of the Treb’s balance system, as it crumpled onto both knees on landing. Bertie took a few steps forward, and delivered a solid kick into the chest of the machine. He drew back for a second, but held back as the Trebuchet launched a surrender flare.

“Rei, what’s your position? Do you still need me to step in?” Bertie asked. In his head, he was running through ‘Mechs he’d seen go down. Hunchback, Kintaro, Vulcan, Trebuchet. Of the eight who went in, that left him and Rei, plus the Cicada and one other. If Rei had dealt with the Cicada, and whatever the eighth was had been taken down by someone else already… it might be time to find some open ground. With a flare of the jump jets, the Enforcer vaulted to the top of a near-by tomb and Bertie started active scanning for the Cicada. Or a Phoenix Hawk trying to creep up on him.

He didn’t have to wait long.

“Firestorm, that Cicada has taken the bait, I’m leading him back over,” Rei said, her Phoenix Hawk appearing from behind a copse of skeletal trees. One leg was trailing smoke.

Bertie floated the gaze of his large laser and PPC on the where Rei had emerged, keeping one eye on the distance to Rei’s ‘Mech. 500 metres… 400… 300… she wasn’t skirting along to meet the Cicada, she was circling around to flank him. As the P-Hawk approached 100 metres, the absolute maximum it’s machine guns could effectively reach, Bertie spun the Enforcer quickly on it’s jets, firing the large laser at her just in time to foul her own shots, which bit into his right arm rather than the weaker armour of his back.

“Touche,” she radioed, bounding her back into a spiralling pirouette. Bertie had been intending to follow his laser shot with a PPC bolt aimed at that smoking leg, but Rei’s chaotic movement left him holding and waiting. She touched down again and he fired, flipping the switch he and Blair Dallas, his tech, had installed before the match.

The four gas cylinders jury-rigged inside the Enforcer’s right arm vented their payload, surrounding the arm with propane gas. As the particle burst channelled from the aperture of the PPC, it ignited the gas, enveloping the arm in a wreath of fire. For a moment, the Mausoleum was lit by the Enforcer with it’s burning arm.

The spectacle wasn’t without a cost. “Critical hit: particle cannon. Weapon offline,” announced the machine’s battle computer, and Bertie added a curse. Blair had warned him it was a risky plan, though it had still seemed safer than the water vapour idea. His shot has taken out Rei’s hip actuator, though, and her machine was now limping around. With his PPC offline, though, she was now packing more firepower than he was.

Bertie’s Enforcer was now the faster, though. He jumped back out of effective range of her medium lasers and fired low with his large laser, this time hitting the other leg as his aim was thrown off by the jump.

“Rei, are you going to shut down, or do I have to blast that leg off you first?”

“You haven’t got me yet, Firestorm. Not everyone ejects at the first sign of trouble,” she taunted, cutting into his left torso with her own large laser.

Bertie clenched his teeth. Alright. Fine. He fired again, and again, burning through the Phoenix Hawk’s knee and severing the lower leg.

“It’s a Phoenix Hawk, Rei, not a Black Knight. You can’t fight with a leg gone.”

A flare popped from Rei’s machine, followed moments later by the blare of a horn across the arena, and Bertie realised he’d won his first Solaris match.

#29 RogueSpear

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 01:03 AM

Mechbay 4,
Rainbow Stables,
Solaris City, Solaris VII,
Freedom Theatre, Lyran Commonwealth,
June 3rd, 3031, 13:52 Hours,

The 'Graveyard' was a small affair, a crisscrossing maze of wrecks built in the saddle between two hills. Jack flipped through the collection of maps and panoramic photos and scowled. It was a perfect arena for Taysider or Steel Lady, dozens of walls built from old tanks, planes, mechs, pretty much any kind of machine that could move under it's own power. Flanking the labyrinth were two massive stands protected by sheets of transparisteel nearly a metre thick, built along the sides of the hills. Accordingly, one boasted excellent aerial views of the fighting and hosted all the rich booths and the other was long and low with 'standing room only' making the majority of available space.

There was plenty of room for his usual d*ckery, something Jack was sure Hephaestus would have approved of, the innovative pr*ck. The walls were loosely cobbled together and Von Bremen's notes emphasized their tendency to collapse under the least provocation, rapidly changing the rhythm of a match. They ranged from short, thin fences Taysider would barely poke over to huge, thick plateaus that could conceal a Steiner scout company. Some seemed easily scaled, others would require jump jets he wouldn't have to mount. Overall, it'd do. Plenty of cover, plenty of firing lanes.

The clink of bottles caused him to flick his eyes up at Rick and Dan, busy setting fuses on Steel Lady's autocannon rounds and carefully arranging them for loading. Flak rounds wouldn't do much damage to a mech, but the black billowing clouds of smoke they created would obscure an opponents view and mess with some of the older targeting computers. Setting the promiximity between a metre and five would certainly add to the confusion. The flak shells were to be interspersed with standard HEAP rounds roughly two in every ten and Jack was confident they'd throw off his opponents enough to give him an edge. His two techs being merrily drunk only appealed to him.

After a’, if they didnae ken what they were daein’ what on Terra could his opponents even hope to figure out?



Heather squealed involuntarily when he flipped the maps and pics over her head. Her hands clapped loudly to her face as he slowly and deliberately put on a fearsome frown and turned his head to glower at her. “Nae noise, that wiz the deal.” He growled. Heather nodded fervently. He couldn’t quite keep the edges of his mouth from twitching as he tried not to smile, slowly turning his head back to the sheaf of paper.

“Right, c’mere you.” He beckoned Heather to come round. “You’re wantin’ t’be a mechwarrior like yer da, right?”
She nodded, not daring to take her hands away from her mouth.

Jack pursed his lips, aware he was treading difficult ground. “Richt, now, d’you want tae win when ye’re fighting?”
She nodded again, with a slight look of disbelief in her eyes. Of course she wanted to win, why else fight?
Jack handed her a dossier on one of his opponents. The front page contained a short blurb on the mechwarrior’s history and match record with the rest dedicated to his mech, a MAD-3D Marauder. "What's the most important piece of information on this page?"

Heather looked over the page intently, absently biting her lip. Finally, she pointed to the mechwarrior's kill tally and looked to Jack hopefully.

Jack leaned back and crossed his arms. “Why?”

“It shows he’s good?”


Jack raised an eyebrow. “Does et now? And how’s that?”

“Cause he's won against these other people?"

Jack shook his head. “14 kills, 7 ‘deaths’ and 9 assists.” He tapped the assists column. “See that? Ye can’t get an assist in a 1 on 1. So he’s been playin’ lots of brawls like this one ah’m tae go intae. But look at his wins and losses.”
Heather looked back at the page, trying to wrest knowledge from it. Jack gave her a moment. “Three wins and seven losses. That’s ten games and he doesn’t finish most of ‘em. So what this implies tae us is he’s very aggressive. He goes and hunts down whoever he can, takes ‘em down if he can, but he fights to kill not to win. But it doesn’t tell us that. It just hints at it. So the maist important bit of information on this page isnae his kills, petal.” He flicked image of the mech. “It’s his mech. This is all facts. Marauder Em-A-Dee Three Dee. That means nae autocannon, so ah can’t try and get his ammo rack. It’s not there – he’s got a large laser instead. So if ah’m fighting him, ah need tae try to overheat him if ah want to slow him down.” He looked down at the little girl. “Now what am ah telling ye here?” What am ah tellin’ her here?

"You have to fight him in the desert or on the beach?"

Jack made a face. “Ah’m tellin ye...Ah’m telling ye this. A’ this on this page. Apart fae the mech, it’s crap. It’s not fact. It’s not real. It’s an opinion. Opinions can be wrong, facts can’t. Opinions get ye kilt. Opinions make ye lose.” He licked his lips and gestured at the other mechs in the bay. “This lot...they’ll read that page. And they’ll read this nonsense about how he studied at the Nagelring. An’ they’ll say ‘Oooh, he’s trained in the ways of the LCAF, he’s a Lyran noble, we know what tae expect.’ But they’re wrang. That’s just noise. There’s hundreds of professors and trainers at the Nagelring with their own opinions and agendas and they have hundreds o’ students. Studied at the Nagelring? That means nothing!”
He tore the short bio off the page and threw it across the bay. He flicked through the dossier and held up a list of the mechwarrior’s games. “This tells us useful stuff. This is facts again. Now we can go and watch his matches and see what he does. You won’t normally get to do that, ye’ll be using...using this.” He held up a dry diatribe of ‘observed tactics.’ “Right, this bit here. He goes right for who’s next to him, downs them fast, up close and dirty. He pilots a heavy, lot of armour and a Marauder’s not slow fer one. So even running full tilt away, maist folk he fights can’t outrun him. So he chews them up. Then he skulks about and looks fer an opportunity to rush in for another quick kill.”

Jack halted his rapid diatribe and looked at the petrified girl again. He put his hand on her shoulder in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. “What ah’m telling ye is two things. Lads like yer da, they fight fair. They fight with opinions. Yer da’s no stupit, he kens – knows, sorry, when tae cut his losses and eject. He doesn’t mind losing ‘cos he’s done his best and achieved his goals. He’s a soldier. That makes him fodder for folk like me round here.” He shrugged. “The b*stards, but don’t go sayin’ that word. ‘Cos we don’t fight fair. We fight wi’ numbers and facts. Some wise lad said if ye know yer enemy like ye know yerself, ye’ll ne’er lose. If ye know yerself, but no yer enemy, ye’ll win half yer fights. If ye don’t know either, yoo’re well hooped. So when ye’re fightin’ make sure ye don’t fight fair, ye figure out the other lad and ye never lie to yerself. And ye won’t lose.” He thought for a moment. “Unless there’s a bunch o’ them, but that’s a different story. So ah’m telling ye three things. Have a think about that, ah’m goin’ t’the pub.”

‘Cos we’re no’ lying tae wirself, are we Hans? Drunk pr*ck.

Edited by RogueSpear, 27 August 2014 - 12:53 PM.


#30 Spokes

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:55 PM

Huscarle's Grog and Griddle
Xolara, Solaris VII
Rahneshire, Lyran Commonwealth
3 June, 3031, 09:52 Hours

"The fact of the matter is, June's allotted maintenance budget for the number three Phoenix Hawk doesn't come close to covering the cost for a new leg, while the storage expenses at our Montenegro facility are projected to go up by 30 percent over the next quarter."

The two men scowled across the rough wooden table, their well rehearsed tag team intended to give them complete control over the conversation and make the outcome feel inevitable. But the fact that Rei had been able to arm twist them into driving all the way out to Xolara with a simple visiphone call put the lie to their act, and both of them knew it.

"The number one Phoenix Hawk, you mean."

The man stopped, his stern countenance momentarily replaced with a look of confusion. "What?"

Rei saw her opening and took it. "Xie hasn't done anything at all in almost two seasons. He stays inside the budget you give him by popping off his surrender flare at the first sign of trouble. Alice hasn't been able to get into a match since she panicked and caved that guy's cockpit in. If you're going to number your Phoenix Hawks, please, get the order right."

Right on cue, the waiter arrived and three glasses of nanjari juice landed on the table with enough force and commotion to cut off whatever the man's reply was going to be. Rei allowed herself a smile-- home field advantage could be such a killer.

"Also, you don't need to refer to it as your 'Montenegro Facility'. You only have the one building, and everyone who cares already knows where it is."

"Insubordinate as ever. You never learn Reiko."

"I don't work for you any more Greg. Try and remember that." The man pretended to ignore her, focused instead on the nanjari juice in front of him. The dimissive gesture fell flat when he nearly choked on the alcohol in the glass.

Rei's smile grew wider. "You never learn Greg."

The other man took the opportunity to jump back into the conversation while Greg sputtered after a napkin. "Your high opinion of yourself aside, the fact is the last 30 seconds of that match have put the stable into a very difficult position. If you had had the foresight to bow out when Reginar first breached your leg armour, we could have avoided this unpleasant decision."

"The last 30 seconds of that match was the only part that mattered." She fished a glossy out of the pile in front of her and passed it across the table. "You see that Greg? We. Made. The Front. Page."

Greg took a quick look at the full color images of his Phoenix Hawk trading fire with Albert Walker's Enforcer. "So what? You still lost."

"Did I? I had two match invites hit my message box before I even got back to the staging area."

"What are you going to fight in? A one legged 'Mech?"

Rei leaned forward. "Alice's Hawk has two perfectly good legs. Pull one of those and put it on Nimbus."

Greg shook his head. "The Solaris Gaming Association seized the 'Mech Alice was renting last night."

Rei frowned, took a long pull from her glass. That complicates things.

"Greg and I went over the numbers yesterday. There aren't any Phoenix Hawk legs available on Solaris at a price we can remotely afford."

"You mean no one has a high enough opinion of you and your stable to set you up with a part you need at a price you an afford."

That struck a nerve. "Reiko this isn't a game!"

She leaned over the table, angry herself now, locked eyes with her former employer. "Yes it is! And it's a game you can't win by playing defense all the time!" She stabbed a finger down on the glossy. "This is real! This matters! You can wallow in facts and spreadsheets all you want, but this is what drives people's opinions and those opinions drive sponsorships and tournament placements and everything in between. You can't buy this kind of publicity, and you shouldn't just walk away from it when it happens!"

Greg looked over at his partner, who simply shook his head and checked his wristcomp. "Reiko, based on our numbers, it's a seller's market for Phoenix Hawk components right now. With the number two Hawk gone, the stable has made the decision to scrap the number three Hawk and use the parts to take advantage of current market conditions. I'm sorry, but we will not be renewing your lease on the number three Hawk when it expires at the end of this month."

The two men stood to leave. "Any subsequent damage to that Phoenix Hawk will be subject to the contract clauses currently in force, though give the current state of the 'Mech I don't think we have to worry about that. Good day Ms. Tsuji."

Rei pulled the glossy back across the table, ignored the two men as they made their way out of the restaurant. There were two pictures on the front page-- one of Bertie's "fire bomb" shot and one of her returning fire. Nevermind that the heavy laser hit hadn't scored any real damage, the real score was the picture itself. And the boost in the opinion polls that came with it.

Rei motioned the waiter over, placed her order, then got up and moved to the visiphone booth near the back of the establishment. The last 30 seconds of that match may have been the most important, but it looked like the opening minutes were going to end up being just as valuable. She brought the machine to life with a pair of coins and a few button presses.

"Hey, it's me. Yeah, you saw that? That was a good shot, wasn't it? It's nice to be appreciated. Listen, is my Uncle available? Business I'm afraid. Okay, I'll wait. . ."

___________________________________________________


Rei settled back into the booth just as the plate was hitting the table, along with a fresh glass of the juice concoction. The blissful smell of the fresh pancakes did much to lighten her mood.

Side bets on the Solaris matches were extremely common, with everything from first weapon fired to an individual pilot's hit ratio being fair game for a bookie's odds sheet. She smiled into the glass, drained half of it in one go. "Snakehead" Ding was fairly talented medium weight competitor with a penchant for striking from ambush. The odds of him falling first in the Mausoleum had been particularly long. She'd have her new leg, hopefully soon enough to convince those idiots at her old stable that they were making a huge mistake.

___________________________________________________


"Welcome, welcome! Mr. . .Baxa? Is it? So sorry to keep you waiting, but I had a call I absolutely had to take. My niece you see. Good head on her shoulders, and a real eye for the games."

The man gave the Hegemony MechWarrior a meaningful look. "Always pays her bills." He waved Baxa into the room, moved to sit in an arm chair with a commanding view of the back property of his estate.

"I'm Veer Shivahare. I understand you have a proposition to discuss?"

#31 Sparks Murphey

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:28 PM

Mechbay 3,
Rainbow Stables,
Solaris City, Solaris VII,
June 3rd, 3031, 14:05 Hours

Da-da-da-drum. Da-da-da-drum. Da-da-da-drum. Bertie’s fingers tapped an insistent beat on the armrest of his command couch.

“You done yet, Blair?” he called to his tech, hanging in a harness alongside the Enforcer’s right arm.

“Almost, Mr Walker. Gimme one sec…”

“Daddy? What are you doing?” Heather asked from the gantry.

Bertie turned to her, rubbing the weariness out of his eyes. “The PPC got damaged in the last battle, honey, and we’re checking to see if technician Dallas has fixed it yet.

“...there, I think I’ve got it,” came Blair’s voice from below, “Give the diagnostic another shot.”

“Can I do it?” Heather asked, half leaning into the cockpit. Bertie grabbed her under the arms and lifted her in to sit on his lap.

“Alright. Let me just set this up,” he said inputting the specifications on the diagnostic console, “Now, push the button that says Start.”

She did.

Federated Hunter Mk III
FH Diagnostic Tools v10.5.522a
Copyright Federated Industries 3022

Querying ports 0-7

Port 0
Expected: null
Found: null

Port 1:
Expected: SLChisComp32
Found: SLChisComp32
Interrogating… device reports normal. [Details]

Port 2:
Expected: LLChisComp43S
Found: LLChisComp43S
Interrogating… device reports normal. [Details]

Port 3:
Expected: AC10FedAutoloaderSE
Found: Null
Retrying…
Found: Null

Port 4:
Expected: Null
Found: Null

Port 5:
Expected: Null
Found: Null

Port 6:
Expected: Null
Found: Null

Port 7:
Expected: PPCJohnstonParticannon
Non-standard device, loading interface specifications… done
Found: PPCJohnstonParticannon
Interrogating…
guncam01 IO confirmed
rollservo IO confirmed
rollservo +- test complete
pitchservo IO confirmed
pitchservo +- test complete
yawservo IO confirmed
yawservo +- test complete
focusarray IO confirmed
focusarray +- test complete
thermalsen01 IO does not respond
thermalsen02 IO does not respond
thermalsen03 IO confirmed
thermalsen04 IO does not respond
accelerationrail01 IO returns unexpected value “MSP430x0003B16A”

Error: data overflow on Port 7
Diagnostic terminated.

Bertie thumped the armrest with a fist, causing Heather to jump.

“It’s okay, sweetie, it’s not your fault,” Bertie said, taking a breath to cool his anger, “Blair, the acceleration rail spat out another MSP code then crashed the system.”

There was some quiet cursing from outside.

“Sorry,” Heather mumbled, her lower lip trembling as though she was on the verge of tears.

“Hey, I said it wasn’t your fault,” Bertie said, ruffling her hair, “It was already broken. Maybe it’s beyond being fixed.”

“Is that a fact, or is it a pinion?” she asked.

Bertie was still giving his daughter a strange look, wondering where that had sprung from, when von Bremen rapped on the side of the cockpit.

“If I may interrupt, Mr Walker?” he asked as Bertie lifted Heather back out to the gantry, “There’s a gentleman in my office who would like to have a word with you.”

Bertie rolled his eyes. “A creditor looking for money?”

“I don’t believe so,” von Bremen said smoothly, “He seems interested in giving you some, actually.”

Wonders never cease, Bertie thought to himself, as he followed von Bremen to the administration building.

#32 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 02:17 PM

Solaris Game Commission Headquarters
International Zone
Solaris City, Solaris VII
June 10th, 3031 12:15hrs

"...Whoa. Hey check out the price on this one 'Lip!" With a gruff voice a burley Rasalhagian mechjock shouted over to one of his fellow countryman, waving him over with a high gloss flier depicting some adds for a used mech dealership. Quickly 'Lip' headed on over from water fountain, paper cup sloshing water all over the place to join his Viking-like bearded companion.

DeMarkus half listened in on their conversation, asking prices for used battlemechs, what they normally were priced, and what they knew of the designs. Apparently some designs were next to unknown in the war torn area between the Lyran Commonwealth and Draconis Combine. But it was difficult to make everything out with the heavy Swedenese accents, so DeMarkus resumed his vigil looking out the window over a uncommon bright sunny Solarian day. Despite the sun everything still appeared gray and rain slicked. Rocky and ominous, hard regardless of the bright neon lights advertising everything from mech bouts to apple wine to clove cigarettes. The clicking of the rooms only door handle opening drew the attention from the 5 rooms occupants. All MechWarriors who've slain one of their opponents within the past week.

"Frankfurt." A dark haired, plain faced Solarian native wearing a tin badge of the SGC and SSOA spoke from the half opened door, motioning for D to follow. Turning from the window, DeMarkus gave the man a cool look before shrugging to his fellow MechWarriors and following after the man.
*************************************************
God, this chair sucks! Kaylee thought while squirming about in her seat trying in vain to find some comfortable position. High backed and stained a deep chocolate like color, the pew like benches lined the great hall of the SGC in some sort of parody of a church or courthouse in all their ominous glory. Looking about she noticed that the packed ranks of people were arraigned in some sort of demented order by Stable or Successor State allegiance.

Chris and Eddie were there, as well as some of the other techs and Rainbow Stable staff wearing their 'Sunday best' which consisted of a hodgepodge of plain brown suits and dresses, with Lisa wearing something more appropriate for a 19th century funeral. Von Bremen was there, immaculately dressed as always, in a turquoise hued suit which Kay was afraid to guess the value of. The Countess was even there, sitting there next to Bremen wearing a pale gray number with fine lace making a high neckline. With head held high the noble woman leaned over to whisper something to Von Bremen who nodded thoughtfully as the woman leaned back regally, a twinkle in her eye and a bemused look upon her face. Kaylee felt out of place in her puffy pink and white frilly thing which didn't fit in at all.
*****************************************************
"That egghead from Ceres Metals all but won our defense by himself. Even corrupt official like these funks can't dispute solid evidence like that, despite whatever that Worm from the Blackhills tries to grease their palms with." Erin sat back confidently awaiting for her pet Capellan to enter the room so the SGC officials could announce his innocence.

"Yes Countess." Randy muttered at her side. "Perhaps we should pursue a PR campaign to promote the 'Dreaded Hangman of Tikonov' Her voice took on playful tone mimicking the voice of one of the popular Free Worlds League commentators who've villainized her Pet Capellan for everything from murdering babies, to devil worship, to mail fraud. She sat back a mirthful look upon her face.

Despite her gleeful manner she became all serious as the side door opened to a SGC official ushering in a neutral faced DeMarkus in. Clad in a powder blue suit with a paramilitary cut the man strode in with a fluid like grace. The Capellan looked over the crowd, no doubt looking for that trollop-tech girl of his, but he locked gazes with her and suddenly the man's eyes grew to the size of saucers. Erin wanted to cackle manically.
***************************************************************
BLAKE'S BLOOD! WHAT IS SHE DOING HERE!?!? DeMarkus gazed out slack jawed upon the toe headed girl who checked him in at the customs area at the Space port. She was uniformed then, not clad so regally or linked arm in arm with Von Bremen. But the pouty smile was the same along with the amused look that reminded him of a lioness playing with a mouse. Stunned by this, the Hangman didn't even hear the head of the tribunal deliver it's findings that he was innocent of any crimes and that Johnaton Celeb-Masterson's death was an unfortunate accident.

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 20 April 2014 - 08:16 PM.


#33 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 02:57 PM

Rainbow Stables
International Zone
Solaris City, Solaris VII
June 14th, 3031 09:25hrs


Erin's office was nothing like what DeMarkus would think of a Lyran Noble's would be like. All considering it was a bit small, only about the size of half the team dorm's that he shared with Jack and the Davey, Bertie Walker. Dark stained wood paneling lined the walls with some neo-classic furnishings, a large floor to ceiling mirror, a small decently stocked teak wood bar, and a large black and gold maze patterned rug. The other furnishing was a massive modern desk which the petite countess sat behind looking almost child like. Green light from the desk's mounted computer lit up Erin's face in mute tones of neon green while gave her an ill look.

"Alright, here we go." She said to the rooms occupants while finishing with typing in a command on the computer. From the desk the light hum of machinery came seconds before the mounted holo-projector, it's light spreading across an unadorned wall showing a grainy picture with scrolling data along the top and bottom. The image seemed focused in on a classic looking schoolhouse being battered by a fierce rainstorm, lighting flashing across the wall and thunder booming over the computers hidden speakers. The image zoomed in upon the building, seeming to seep through the lighted windows to show a classroom of children aged around nine to ten. The teacher stood before the white board dry erase marker in hand, drawing in the leg on a stick figure dangling from a crude looking stick gallows. The letters sprawled out on the board read as:

'T_E __NGM_N DEM_RC_S FR_NKF_RT'

Barely remaining in the chairs, eager children raised their hands making 'Oooh Ooooh' sounds, as the teacher rocked back on her heels with hand on chin, a considering look upon her face. "Sofia." She said indicating a strawberry blond girl with blue ribbons in her hair a rainbow emblazoned across the girl's dark shirt.

"I think I know the answer, Mrs. Potter," the girl beamed with a smile that ran from ear to ear. "Oh you do? Well what is it then, Sofia?" Sofia's smile became positively triumphant as she squealed out the answer, "THE HANGMAN DEMARKUS FRANKFURT!" The camera focused in on the classes door as it flew off it's hinges amidst a cloud of streamers and confetti, there stood DeMarkus clad in a orange and black jumpsuit emblazed with the Vita Orange logo across the breast in big bold letters, with similar jump suited wearing women on either side of him.

"Hey did somebody say my name?" The mechwarrior asked while strutting into the class to the adoration of the children and neigh psychotic celebrating of Mrs. Potter.

With a groan DeMarkus felt himself burying his face in his palm from the embarrassment, from everything from the clown suit he was wearing in the vid, to the two 'aspiring actresses' to the smooth voice over his gruff Warlockian accent in the soon to be finalized promotional work.

"Don't look so glum Mr. Frankfurt, the finished work won't be as choppy or grainy. The men producing this commercial know their business and won't disappoint." The Countess stated as the room's light lit up. Looking up and locking gazes with the lithe towheaded woman, D felt like sicking up.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

A little while later Erin sat behind her monumental sized desk watching the spectators leave her offices, the desk from which she'd orchestrate the powers of the Kapteyn Concords demise and the rise of House Steiner, and she fixed Randy with a steely glare.

"What was it that the Capellan muttered before rushing from the room like he did? My Russian is sorely lacking, Randy." The ever immaculately dressed recruitment poster handsome man coughed into this fist before straightening his tie and standing up straight. "It was gruff, Countess. But the gist of it was he needed to puke."

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 24 August 2014 - 04:16 PM.


#34 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:34 AM

Rainbow Stables
International Zone
Solaris City, Solaris VII
June 14th, 3031 10:41hrs

Absentmindedly peeling the rind off of an orange, DeMarkus looked over the scene before him from his perch atop a crate of 30mm bolts. Several crews of techs scurried about laboring away upon the stable's mechs. Bright arching sparks rained down from where several techs clad in an old faded Ceres Metals jumpsuits welding armored plating on the rapidly coming together Catapult. A few mech cubicles from there, Dan and Rick stood before Jack's Steel Lady having some unheard dialogue concerning something on the Jagermech.

Popping a bit of the fruit's flesh into his mouth, D turned his attention to what he was starting to refer to as 'his corner' of the yard. One Eyed stood suspended upright from the overhead crane like some overgrown marionette, it's mangled leg removed and laying before the ba$tardized Commando/Panther. The broken limb being stripped of anything salvageable by Kaylee's two underlings, the green technician brothers, Chris and Eddie Nixon. Her hired help whom seemed to argue or bicker about everything.

"Damnit, EDDIE! Just how cross-eyed are you? You're missing that entire... uh, thingy!" The younger brother crossed his arms across his chest, his hands covered with grease caked anti-static gloves that led all the way up to his elbows. From his work space hanging halfway inside the tortured limb Eddie shouted back at the younger Nixon brother, but DeMarkus couldn't make out the reply. Behind the two stood Kaylee, clad in a pair of OD green dungarees, some sort of colorful designer shirt, with red wooden Capellan styled clogs, she twirled a spiraled rainbow parasol over her shoulder while shaking her head sadly as the two bothers worked.

One-Eye. His mech. The former Capellan liked the sound of that, and looked over at the blasted and shot up hulk of the Comanther with an affectionate gaze.

Chuckling, DeMarkus popped another bit of orange into his mouth before turning his attention to flyers he picked up after leaving the screening of that horrible commercial. Opening up a flyer for 'Bombay Sam's' he cracked a twisted smile while tracing a rough tipped finger over the glossy image of a Phoenix Hawk. Even after paying Slater the balance on One-eye he had a sizeable nest egg of C-bills, maybe enough to upgrade to a medium mech. Hell, he could probably sell off the Panmando and be able to afford a cheap heavy but something about the thought of selling One-Eye didn't feel quite right to him. The mech got him on his feet again and even earned himself something of a reputation on the Game World, and despite it's sad pathetic state, he had come to appreciate the Lyran design. And like him, there was a whole bunch of fight left in the mech.

"Daydreaming?" Von Bremen's reserved tone caught DeMarkus by surprise and half choking the Capellan forced the half chewed segment down while fixing the Lyran with a steely glare.

"Just'a tinking about da mech and'a how long's its'a gonna be down. Might's be'a month at'a current pace," the mechjock nodded his head in the direction of the severed limb and the two grab-a$$ playing technicians. "Ah, well I wouldn't worry about that. It seems that in wake of your stunning victory at the Ranch, the Countess can't wait to see what you can do in a heavy mech. She intends for you to enter a match in the Catapult. What, you alright?" The Lyran-spook firmly patted the gladiator a few times on the back to stop D from choking.

"You alright?" Von Bremen asked again, arching a blond eyebrow. Coughing, the Capellan nodded. "Good. She's even planning to let your technician, Kaylee, customize the mech to that configuration that she was talking about the other day. Erin is interested in seeing how proficient Kaylee is, and is eager to see what a short ranged missile boat can do in the arena." The Lyran chuckled before continuing on, "Don't worry, we'll try to squeeze you into some arena with tight quarters, the Factory, Jungle, Ishiyama or something else if it comes up."

DeMarkus remained silent momentarily, looking upon the Catapult's half assembled form in a new light. "I's haven'ta been in a's 'Pult in'a decade, Randies..." The Lyran turned to regard the heavy mech in it's corner perch before adding, "Then I'd suggest you logging some sim time, DeMarkus. That's an expensive pile of equipment over there, and the Countess, well... she has faith in you. You better not disappoint." The PR man turned to go but stopped up short as if forgetting something. "Oh yes, I forgot this." The man handed out to D a folded bundle of glossy paper, a magazine? "You made the cover. Good job." With that the Lyran turned about in his expensive Armani suit and heading towards the office wing of the mechyard.

DeMarkus unfolded the bundle to look upon the latest edition of Bad Fight Magazine, the cover image displaying a severely damaged Commando, One-Eye, dragging it's hook for a hand across the torn and pitted midsection of an equally damaged Javelin with a war strewn alien looking back dropping. In the background missile detonations spurted up clods of dirt amidst fallen battlemechs, the caption on the lower corner of the magazine read 'Rainbow Rising?'

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 26 August 2014 - 11:26 AM.


#35 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 05:27 PM

Rainbow Stables
International Zone
Solaris City, Solaris VII
June 14th, 3031 18:52hrs

From within her gloomy dark wood paneled rooms Erin watched the going-ons of the stable via the stables security feeds. It was interesting seeing the mannerisms of the peasants under her rule as they went through the motions of their day to day routine. Technicians labored away, breathing life back into the shot up hulks of battlemechs. The security personnel, knuckle-dragging thumb breakers with the odd LOKI agent spent their time sweeping the grounds and surrounding area searching for bombs and various other threats, but mostly all they did was intimidate the vagrants and homeless peoples finding shelter in the vicinity of the Stable building.

The MechWarrior's time was passed in various different ways. Bertie Walker, her resident medium mech pilot, passed his time several different ways. Everything from playing with his daughter, Heather, to overseeing repairs on his Enforcer, and watching fight footage. Mad-Jack-Churchill, Von Bremen's creature and bane of her existence, spent a good portion of the day sleeping off whatever rotgut he consumed the night before and finally rose pass mid-day to consume some bacon and head back to bed. Dylan, the Dragoon turned gladiator/assassin's bullet magnet spent his day training, doing many, many, reps in the stables weight room and beating the Hell out of the heavy bags mounted there.

After his flight from her offices, her pet Capellan spent his day in the mechyard, merging minds with his oddly dressed technician and overseeing the work being done on the Catapult. Erin had to admit that the thought of a short ranged missile boat, the parting from something so traditional and well known intrigued her. It was that idea that swayed her to agree to the suggestion in the first place.

There was something about the scar faced mechwarrior that fascinated her. She wasn't sure what it was. The man was possessed of a certain naïve charm, the look on his face when Randy dropped the bomb on him that he'd soon be piloting the Catapult was priceless, but there was more to it that that. The man was dangerous, and there was no doubt to that. His actions, everything from the militant swagger in his walk, to the results of his two fights or the reports that crossed her desk of him hospitalizing a man and brandishing a flechette pistol in the Solaris Mechspace. That and the lovely little file on the Capellan that her friends at MIIO forwarded to her.

Typing in a simple command her desk mounted computed switched from the security feed showing Frankfurt using a series of hand motions to direct the crane operator as he hoisted the modified wing/arm mount from a K2 series Catapult to where it was to be mounted to a wall of green script tallying the post combat report or butcher bill of the battle of Tikonov. With the clack of Steiner blue lacquered fingernails, she keyed the commands to focus the report on the financial district of Tikonov.

...Mayra's 1st Battalion of the 8th Crusis Lancers engaged elements of Stapleton's Iron Hand and Hamilton's Highlanders led by Colonel Pavel Ridzik. As the battle turned against him, Ridzik pulled out with the command lance of the Iron Hand, commanded by Captain DeMarkus Frankfurt leading the rear guard.

Erin read on, scanning the numbers which were grossly one sided. Nearly an entire company of battlemechs and their support wiped out by a single lance of Capellan mechs? She scanned through the data, eventually looking over holopics taken post battle. Mangled armor and downed VTOLs with a duo of battlemechs buried under the rubble of demolished buildings with decapitated or otherwise broken mechs strewn about the area. It seemed that that single lance of mechs sold themselves very dearly for Ridzik to make his escape.

"A most dangerous man indeed."
*************************************************
[Meanwhile in the yard..]

"Yes, it's a K2 mount, but I got it rigged to hold a Magna Mk III, with the weight saved, I'm going to beef up the armor," Kaylee smiled while twirling her umbrella. "On the other side I wanted to pack in a quad of Holly four packs, but I couldn't get the feed mechanisms just right, so I figured to stick with the basics and mount two Coventry 90 mils with one ammo bin and another heat sink." Kay turned her attention to where two techs looked over the modified weapon mounts coupling to the Catapult's torso with a critical eye. "One thing is for certain though, Mar," Kaylee turned back to the Warlockain giving him a pearly smile. "He's going to be shiny."

DeMarkus nodded and kept his silence, this mech was going to take some getting used to.

#36 Sparks Murphey

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 09:50 PM

The Proving Grounds
International Zone
Outskirts of Solaris City, Solaris VII
June 15th, 3031 09:35hrs

The morning was dismal, overcast with a constant drizzle of rain that had been steadfastly soaking things since sundown the night before. It pattered off Bertie’s black umbrella and slicked the mud beneath his feet, but his eyes were on the BattleMech standing quietly to one side of the arena as the Vandenberg work crews finished giving it a final prep.

It was a Warhammer WHM-6L, wearing a matte black coat of paint only marred by the teal logo of Vandenberg Mechanized Industries on the left shoulder. The “L” in its designation still unsettled him; it might have been made by Taurans, but it was designed by Capellans. Who else would find paired machine guns insufficient for killing infantry and replace them with a weapon that roasted them alive instead?

He had to admit, though, the flamers suited the image he was attempting to sculpt for himself, and unlike the PPC on his Enforcer, were meant to catch fire. Vandenberg, for their part, wanted to demonstrate their ability to compete alongside the big manufacturers of the Warhammer, like Olivetti, Ronin, and of course StarCorps. For that, they wanted a MechWarrior to give them some exposure. As part of the deal, Bertie got to use their Warhammer (which they made clear remained theirs unless he actually bought it outright) as long as he kept the VMI logo prominently displayed and only gave positive comments on the machine’s performance.

The techs signalled the machine was ready and Bertie clambered into the basket of the waiting bucket truck, which lifted him the many metres into the air to access the Warhammer’s cockpit.

Today’s session was a chance for him to get his first feel for how the machine handled. From Vandenberg’s perspective, though, it was also a media opportunity, which they were spinning as demonstrating the ease of operating a Warhammer even for someone who had never been in one before. Another thing that irked Bertie - it might be his first time in a Warhammer, but he was hardly an inexperienced pilot, despite his limited reputation on Solaris 7. Additionally, he’d been attending Vandenberg organised sims of the -6L for almost two weeks now since they’d approached him with the offer.

Bertie paused at the lip of the cockpit, smiled and gave a thumbs up to the watching media crew, then settled in. Time to give them a show.

#37 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 11:50 PM

Sim-Time!
Black Hills, Solaris City
Freedom Theater, Solaris VII
June 15, 3031 09:45 hrs.

Even as Bertie Walker was making himself ready for Vanderburgs media gurus, DeMarkus was reading himself for climbing into a strange cockpit, albeit nothing more than a glorified sim pod. Even as D's personal bodyguard, Larold pulled the stable's hovercar up before the Sim-Time franchise building, the Warlockian found himself odd of ease. Maybe it was the fact that the former Capellan found himself a mere stone throws distace from Boreal Ranch, in the Black Hills sector of Solaris city, the area imfamously known as the Davion Sector and the site of his last upset.

Peering out the rain spotted passanger window, DeMarkus beheld the building before him. A stout khakied brown brick building with large black tinted windows emblazoned with the Sim-Time logo in bright sharp slanting neo lights sat before him. Despite being relativly early in the buisness day and the almost never ceasing Solarian drizzle, flocks of patrons lined up before the glossy black doors awaiting a chance to have a go at the simulators. The Hangman looked over the crowd seeing an uncomfortable number of wannabee mechwarriors and would be young toughs. To DeMarkus' eyes they looked like a pack of kids playing hooky from school.

With a sigh he opened the door and climbed out into the almost rain ignoring the bemused looks from the youths to take his place in line.
******************************************************
[A bit later.]

The simpod drunkenly rocked back and forth poorly imitating the birdlike gait of a Catapult. In D's opinion, Sim-Times simulators were decent at best, lacking the proper 'feel' of a mech's cockpit. The pod's insides lacked the funky musklike scent of decades of sweat waifing from the command couch, the 'neural helms' and knock off coolant vest felt too light and had the look of cheap holovid props, lacking the bullet resistant material and feeling too new.

That being said, the mech selection was rather impressive and broad, including the local favorites, Zues, Banshee, Commando, Firestarter, and Valkyrie. But it also boasted having some of the more common disigns from the other Sucessor States, Enforcer, Dragon, Javelin, Hermies, Orion, Vindicator... And Catapult.

Glancing at his sensor feed, DeMarkus veered the simed missleboated mech up a rocky red rise to survey his suroundings. As he reached the rise he brought the C'pult up shortly. Broken windwept buttes dotted the landscape dotted with odd twisted rock colums and arches. [Think of Goblin Valley
and Monument Valley getting together and making a baby.]

"Hey Old Man, I can use some help over here," a German laced voiced cracked over his coms system, one of the few remaining members of his 'company' cried. "I got three badguys penning me in here!" The voice pleaded, desperate.

DeMarkus winced thinking about the young gun's odds of making it out of that pickle and glanced at the youth's posisition on the map. It was near a location that D mixed it up at range with a Marauder and Hunchback earlier.

"Wafflebanger," DeMarkus barked into his mic reading the friendly Dervish pilot's Callsign. "I'sa can't get to'a you's in time to'a pull yer rear outta da flames. You's need to git ta me! Jump outta der an head's me way around da mesa wit da bit rock formations to da East side... I'lls a cover ya!"

Grumbling the Hangman adjusted his mech's bearing and headed back the way he'd just come and brought his mech upright behind a cracked lichen covered outcrop of rock. And there he waited.

First they mock me, now they rely on me. Ungrateful little shrimps.

All too soon motion drew his eye, a savaged and punished looking Dervish jumped into sight in a shallow arch that dipositied it just within range. A split second later a blue bolt of manmade lightning crashed into a nearby bolder, splitting stone in a neigh explosion. It gave the Hangman an idea.

"Come's on, git outta der!" D growled into the mic as the Dervish clambored up the slope towards him. Several seconds later enemy mechs stomped into view, the Hunchback, Marauder, and a Zues.

"Follow my's lead, Kid!" The Warlockian shouted as he mashed down on the triggers for his main weapons, unleashing a flock of redtipped warheads schreeking out of the Catapult's boxy shoulder/wings to slam into the base of a massive rock spire, there was a momentary glitch in the simulator as the program worked on what would happen in this case.

Slowly with a slight tremble barely felt within the sim pod and a canned groaning sound lowly moaning from the pod's speakers the spire collapsed in all the grace that multiple tons of windblasted rock could manage, timbering down upon the hostile mechs. Even before the rocks began to settle, DeMarkus charged down the slope to pouce upon the stunned pod-pilots.
***********************************
[A bit later]

Sweaty and a bit giddy DeMarkus climbed out of the simpod, raking his fingers through his sweaty hair. Despite being a sim run, he had found himself getting into the fight and loosing himself in the moment as he and the Dervish pilot known as Wafflebanger mopped up the rest of their opponents. The last enemy being a shot ridden eighty ton Zeus that the two slowly wittled down to nothingness with combined missile and laser fire.

"Fancy moves, Old Man." The German laced voice sounded behind him, and DeMarkus found himself turning to regard the youth. Young, painfully young, the speaker smirked with sterotypical Lyran looks of blond hair and mischivious blue eyes. The Mechwarrior found himself suddenly feeling very old. A feeling that only seemed to deepen as the day dragged by with him climbing back into the simulator time and time again.

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 28 September 2014 - 10:09 AM.


#38 RogueSpear

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 06:46 PM

The Proving Grounds
International Zone
Outskirts of Solaris City, Solaris VII
June 15th, 3031 09:35hrs

For the first time in a decade, Steel Lady walked. Gently at first, small steps building into the more determined steps of a true war machine. Still moving slowly each step ate metres as her pilot put her through her paces, stretching out the kinks. Armoured pistons gleamed on each joint, protective oil coatings seemingly impervious to the mud kicked up with each mighty footfall. Her reactor hummed smooth and clean, low and husky rather than the high pitched, throbbing hiccup of her old one. New armour plates shone like mirrors through the rain, titanium-steel alloy reflecting the floodlight beams across the mud, as yet unmarred by paint or all but the most basic engineering markings. Those daring the blinding lightshow would have seen scrawled measurements in permanent marker where plates had been cut to size, equipment had been covered, deadly weapons mounted.
In her cockpit, the glass lit up with green wire when Jack booted up the upgraded and patched Garret D2j targetting computer with trembling fingers. The air in front of the huge radar array visibly rippled as the first microwave pulses shot across the barren field. Angular red brackets rapidly appeared across his vision, tracking and locking the unfamiliar mechs of other pilots at work in the grounds. Idly he cycled through the assembly, checking the projected data against visual recognition, extrapolating the targetting solutions provided by the powerful computer on a hand pad to ensure they matched up. Fine calibration would need to be done once the autocannons were ready for testing, but he could do this much at least now.
His eye lingered over Bertie Walker's new Warhammer when it powered up. Jack might be jockeying the first ever Rainbow Stables heavy fight, but he far from held the heaviest or best machine. Bloodshot eyes drank in her details greedily, jealously searching for any flaws and imperfections, resentfully finding none. Unconsciously Lady's guns rose to face it, tracking her lead marker as it slowly distanced itself from the moving bracket. Walker was in the process of taking his newforged prize through it's baby steps.
Jack swung Steel Lady away and ramped up the throttle. Her turret swung left and right acquiring passing targets, heavy feet churning through the mud at full speed. Her steady handling did nothing to alleviate his nerves. Every flawless function made his shoulders knot tighter, heartburn creep further up his throat. He ignored the other pilots on the grounds as anything other than a moving target, stayed clear of the localised media storm around his teammate, stewing quietly in his own thoughts. Cresting another mudsoaked hill he took a swig out of a green bottle with an elegant label proclaiming the quality of it's contents, filled three quarters with a rich, brown liquid and tried not to grimace, wishing it wasn't yet more ice cold tea.

Edited by RogueSpear, 29 September 2014 - 03:01 PM.


#39 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 29 November 2014 - 05:30 PM

Sim-Time!
Black Hills, Solaris City
Freedom Theater, Solaris VII
June 15, 3031 17:37 hrs

With a hiss the Sim-Time simulator pod's door yawned open, allowing a sweaty and weary DeMarkus to drag himself out. The rooms light seemed oppressively stark, harsh after the relative murky gloom of the pod's interior. Standing there with his eyes closed, the Hangman raked his fingers through his sweaty hair as he mentally reviewed the latest sim-bout. It was a rout, a total spanking.

And not in a good way...

His team fragmented right from the get go, despite his warnings, with half of them charging the enemy positions like a pack of crazed space-samurai MechWarriors from the Combine, who were then systematically gunned down. Then outnumbered and outgunned the enemy team slowly but surely tightened the noose upon himself and his remaining teammates, picking them off one by one with the last handful of survivors making a futile last stand upon a barren hilltop.

For the umpteenth time DeMarkus reminded himself that these weren't professional soldiers, but Solaris arena fan-bois and mechwarrior wanna-bees. Though there was talent here, as evident from some of the pilots he'd been teamed up with, like Wafflebanger, Thatguydoughnut, and MynameisBobby, they wouldn't last a single day on a real battlefield. Amateurs yes, but definitely talented ones.

"That sucked." Wafflebanger stated while climbing out of his pod, the youthful Lyran likewise raking his fingers through his hair. D nodded. "Very's rough, we's were'a boned within da first minute." The Lyran stretched while nodding thoughtfully as Thatguydoughnut, and MynameisBobby gathered around with them, then together the lot of them made their way out to the lobby where no doubt the other team would greet them with mirthful jeers and jokes.

As they walked, the former Capellan kept replaying the fight thought his head. Statistically speaking he was doing good all in all, but he still wasn't pleased with his performance. Well, that wasn't true, he wasn't pleased with the Catapult that he kept using. Like the Catapult design itself the pre-programmed versions that he had been using were geared up for long ranged missile support and lacking any hard hitting anti-mech weapons. In other words, while it was a good design that excelled at it's intended purpose, it wasn't DeMarkus' cup of tea and wouldn't excel in whatever arena he'd find himself tossed into.

And once those missiles run out...

By now he was used to the birdlike gait, well the simulator's version of it. He just now needed a program with weapon systems more like what he was going to be using. Walking out into the lobby the pack were welcomed by the jeers and sneering looks of the triumphant team as had became expected as the matches scores scrolled across a screen with highlights playing across another holo-projector. DeMarkus winced seeing his simulated Catapult getting picked apart by a Zues and Awesome tag team. The laughs and sneers accompanying the playback chaffed at the mechwarrior who looked over the other team then looked to his small clique of companions.

"You'sa guys wanna go again? I'lls pay. We's acan't a'finish like dat. You's in?" After a moments hesitation the three agreed, and DeMarkus pulled out a black credit card emblazoned with the Rainbow Stables logo.

*****************************************************
[A short while later]

DeMarkus plopped into the pod's seat and quickly scrolled his way through the mech variants supported by the Sim-Time systems and settled upon an old favorite; the CTF-2X Cataphract. Smiling thinking about his opponents and allies surprise of him suddenly changing mech designs, the Warlockian opened up a mic channel with his simulator piloting company. "Alrightes guys, pick yer best'a hard hitting mech and'a stick wit me, we'sa going to win dis one."

After waiting a moment the sim program loaded up the simulated terrain of a score of loosely attached islands separated by roughly mech ankle deep water, with some scattered hills, some grape vineyards and Spanish tile roofed villas. Smiling wickedly the Hangman watched the final seconds tick off. "Let's do dis."

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 29 November 2014 - 11:41 PM.


#40 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 12:47 PM

Sim-Time!
Black Hills, Solaris City
Freedom Theater, Solaris VII

Messy motherfu- Seventeen year old Jerry trailed off while continuing his cleaning of the Sim-Time pod area. Apparently one of the players had a bit of a sunflower seed habit as the husks were scattered about the area. Sighing he paused in his sweeping to pluck up a half full bottle of Vita-Orange, and shook his head in a disgruntled fashion. When he landed this job he fully bit into his scumbag boss' words of there being opportunity to go places or meeting plenty of mechwarriors or even underage mechbunnies, but so far all he'd met were countless slobs with dreams of grandeur.

I need a new job. Maybe I can get into Boreal Ranch as a help- his thought process suddenly stopped as he heard a loud 'thud' from one of the nearby pods followed quickly by a stream of barely intelligible curses if a funky outlandish accent. He took a step backward as the cursing free flowed into some other language, Russian?
*********************************************************

Pain throbbed from DeMarkus' hand from where he slammed it into the chair's lightly padded armrest as he slowly inched his simulated Cataphract forward around the corner of a large cathedral.

"Take's da bait you's ******..." The pods sudden jerking cut him off as phantom fifty millimeter slugs fired by an enemy Zeus dug into his mech's right arm, D snapped off a shot with his large caliber laser, but the angry red beam shot over the Lyran mechs shoulder to burn a red furrow in some distant building. He then pulled back full on his throttle, causing the pod to sway drunkenly as the simulator mimed the behavior of an actual mech shifting to full reverse.

"Come's on take da bait-" the Hangman trailed off and smiled as the gaping maw of a Defiance Type J autocannon slowly moved into view. The smile widened as the finlike shape of the top of an Awesome's arm peeked into the picture behind the thunder god named mech's shoulder.

"Light em' up!" DeMarkus shouted into the commercial looking microphone mounted in his barrowed neuralhelm. A split second later both assault mechs staggered back as not one but two Tomodzuru AC mount 20 two hundred millimeters crashed into the location followed by scores of missles fired by the remaining members of his 'company' from their locations. Admits the blooming orange red explosions gem colored lances of light flew cutting away into the tortured rented armor, burrowing away into the heavy armor seeked critical components...

The two assault mechs winked out of simulated existence as their ammunition detonated tearing the two mechs apart from the inside even as more missiles pounded away at their location. Upon seeing the two wink out, the Hangman smiled wide, causing his scarred up face to take up a neigh demonic look. Throwing his throttle full forward he screamed out a single word as his Cataphract charged into the still smoking space previously occupied by the Zeus and Awesome. "CHARGE!"

Following on his heels his companions quickly followed spewing simulated death and destruction at the enemy team. And as his opponents fell back in confusion, DeMarkus racked up kills as the Hangman stalked the battlefield like the grim specter of Death.

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 06 December 2014 - 02:30 PM.






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