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L&d: Act Ii, Rainbow Rising Rp

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#61 RogueSpear

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 05:24 AM

Conference Room B,
Rainbow Stables,
International Zone,
Solaris City, Solaris VII,
June 16th, 3031, 16:00 Hours,

Jack nodded to himself. At precisely 16:00 hours, the buzzer from the main gate sounded in the reception and he turned off the p-comm unit he and Von Bremen had been using to listen for it. A wall mounted screen showed the receptionist turning off her p-comm, smoothing down her skirt and giving her top a sharp tug to remove any wrinkles or bunching.

Jack adjusted his own clothing. He wore a specially tailored burgundy velvet blazer with a bulletproof poly-amarid lining that did an excellent job of hiding the two snubnose holdout lasers in flick rigs in his sleeves and a compact machine pistol in a shoulder rig. Thin metal-ceramic composite scales sewn into a long sleeved poly-amarid undershirt provided flexible protection against small arms and edged weapons, worn under a steel grey silk shirt with a starched high collar that hid a half inch thick composite band. A clip on tie to match the blazer contained a lump of face hardened titanium-steel alloy spalled from a battlemech, equally viable as throat protection or a makeshift flail. His suit trousers were pure Terran cotton lining, black, over a thick poly-amarid weave, held up by a black leather belt with a sheathed kukri. The kukri had an ivory handle, old and on the edge of turning from white to yellow, with a ruby pommel stone bound in white gold. It’s sheath was soft leather and bore the name Cosgarach in white gold scrollwork. An embossed silver belt buckle proudly bore the icon of the hammer Mjollnir and fully encapsulated a small hand grenade. Polished leather boots the colour of coal at midnight were laced tightly with fresh laces, steel caps burnished to a lustrous sheen and composite plating completely hidden. Black leather fingerless gloves bearing a three quarter inch thick steel plate across the back with a graven Mjollnir rounded out the ensemble.

On a smaller man, these concealed protections would have been obvious, but with Jack’s bulk it would only be noticed by those who knew how to look. Simon Hennith knew where to look, but wouldn’t need to. Jack had bought the suit, rigs, guns and boots from him almost a decade before as down payment and equipment for a job. Jack hadn’t seen Hennith since and had no doubts that the merchant would remember his wares.

The conference room they were sitting in was Room B, chosen because it had two entrances and exits with two glass walls and two walls that were windows. Two guards with laser pistols holstered stood in the hall, looking like regular corporate bodymen in formal suits with a wired earpiece and standing at ease at the door to the conference room and end of the hall respectively. A squad of Von Bremen’s best soldiers were behind the second door to the room, in full combat dress with a plethora of wargear crammed into what was usually the advertising department. In addition to the usual laser pistols and submachine guns, Jack had insisted on shotguns, flashbangs, magnetic pulse grenades, two light machine guns and a Defiance A4L small laser that had been laboriously taken apart and rebuilt on a rotating assembly with a line to a powered up Taysider. Ostensibly, the Urbanmech was going through reactor testing in the main yard, in reality Jack had chosen that the Rainbow Stables delegation sat with their backs to the window so if need be he could propel himself out it, landing on a scaffolding net hanging from the wall and be closing the cockpit of Taysider in just a few seconds.

Von Bremen had deemed these measures excessive, no doubt continuing to think so even now as he ran his fingers across his own navy pinstripe suit and adjusted his hat, touching three concealed knives Jack had been able to spot through careful study while they waited. Nevertheless, he had arranged matters as his leashed ex-pirate had dictated, watching the proceedings with an amused smirk. Briefly, it reappeared when the LOKI agent turned to see Jack checking the load on his pistol. “Quite prepare, Mr. Churchill?”

Jack grunted, reloading the weapon and tapping two extra magazines back into place on the holster. “As we can be, Mr. Bremen.” The formal manner of address was another point Jack had been insistent on. “There he is now.”

Jack nodded at the screen, where the main doors had just opened. Two men entered the reception and Jack smiled when he heard Von Bremen gasp. The first man was a giant. Standing nearly eight feet tall, Tol Ehiwe was Simon Hennith’s bodyguard. Heavy mech grade armour swathed his immense form in inch thick slabs, immaculately enamelled in a cool, deep blue. Pneumatic pistons could be seen as he walked, panels on his legs and arms sliding as they moved, the soles of his feet crushing the rich carpet flat behind him. He carried a curved longsword at his waist, large enough to be a greatsword on any other man, a wrist mounted laser rifle, and a man portable PPC was slung against the reactor dome on his back. His head was bare, showing long, flowing dreadlocks that swayed as he surveyed the room. His skin was dark, in stark contrast to the bare metal around his left eye – a cybernetic that glowed like ice at the end of a cradle of protruding sensors. His right eye was blue by nature, glowering in a tight frown. More pistons could be seen against bulging muscle under the skin of his neck.

“I…see why you wanted the laser.” Von Bremen said slowly.
“Heh, I’d have told you about him properly but…” Jack waved a hand at the screen. “Has to be seen to be believed, don’t he?”

Von Bremen narrowed his eyes slightly, tearing them from the screen. “Your accent’s gone Jack.”

Jack shrugged and rubbed a freshly trimmed beard. Gone were the greying walrus tusks and bulging neckbeard, he now sported a carefully cropped midlength beard and close trimmed moustache less than half an hour old. At ten to three, the barber had arrived and shaved him in the living room, in front of his bemused teammates while they completed their discussions. No doubt there’d be questions later, but such was the price of timing.

“Different appearances for different men, Mr. Bremen. I’m sure you have a few of your own.”

The screen swapped to a second camera to follow their guests as they moved through the facility. “Tol Ehiwe is a cyborg. If you look into it, your contacts could possibly find out for sure, but the stories always start that he nearly died protecting Mr. Hennith out in the periphery, usually saying it was Sigurd or some other world in the Oberon Confederation . This was the early days, before Hennith mad enough of a reputation for himself. The one I tend to believe is he was selling mech parts to a lieutenant of Redjack Ryan’s. Deal went south when the Rebels decided they didn’t want to pay. Cue some posturing, Hennith’s men start getting intimidated. Some of them put down their guns and leave. Now Hennith’s outnumbered, unsure if his men are gonna fight, and about to be short a few million c-bills. Hennith’s arguing, but it’s weaker now. Head rebel gets impatient and draws a weapon. Tol Ehiwe blows his hand off. Another rebel draws, he gets put down. Then there’s a bunch of shooting that ends with Simon Hennith stumbling back onto a dropship with a case of c-bills in one hand and half of Tol Ehiwe in the other, still shooting. No idea what happened, but some folk will tell you they swear they knew a guy who knew a guy who was on the dropship and he said he saw a dead battlemech when they flew off.”

He paused, watching the two wait outside an elevator while the greeter checked the weight limit before heading for the stairs. "Only, they didn’t go too far. Fifteen minutes later, they land a Trojan dropship in the parking lot of a hospital complex. Simon Hennith and two crewman hauled Ehiwe out on a stretcher, straight into the main doors. Hennith reportedly pulled a pistol and demanded immediate treatment by their best doctor and promised them the full case of c-bills. Ehiwe went in for surgery while Hennith purchased an entire surgery theatre, piled it on to the dropship and hired staff to keep him under alive. Next time they showed up, Tol Ehiwe looked like an Atlas’ baby and Hennith was selling one to the Ministry of Canopus in return for a more elegant job and continued upkeep.”

Von Bremen eyed the monitor as the juggernaut in question left the stairwell. “Half of him you say?”

Jack shrugged. “He got better. I got to see him in action once. Took a hit from a man pack PPC and barely even slowed down. Last time I saw him, he was carrying it. Claimed it was the same gun. Looks like he’s still got it. So…” Jack gestured at the door.

“The laser, yes.” Finished Von Bremen. He shifted his weight and turned to face their guests directly. The glass walls of the conference room allowed them to see them approach, Tol Ehiwe hunched over and barely avoiding the ceiling with his lurching gait. “I suspect I should have asked for them to be disarmed.”

“They would have left.” Jack cleared his throat just before the door opened and stood.
“Mr. Hennith, Tol Ehiwe, welcome to the Rainbow Stables,” Von Bremen began, extending a hand. Tol Ehiwe entered the room, looking each of them up and down as he was welcomed. Simon Henning came through second, and paused. He wore a well tailored suit of rich, sea green chanderi silk, which hung close to his thin frame with no room to carry a concealed weapon. A matching trilby covered a receding hairline and bore a cropped salt and pepper beard. Piercing green eyes gave Von Bremen a cursory once over and locked in on Jack.
“Thank you, Mr. Bremen.” Replied Simon Hennith, removing his hat. Tol Ehiwe enclosed Von Bremen’s hand up to the wrist in one massive gauntlet and shook. There was a moment’s delay before Von Bremen gestured towards the guest’s side of the table and cleared his throat.

“Please, sit.”

“It is good to see you again, Jack Churchill.” Rumbled the bodyguard. “It has been too long since we last talked.”

“Indeed it has,” Jack replied smoothly, still standing. His accent now was rich and deep, Von Bremen shot a glance his way. If he didn’t know better, he’d have thought the voice belonged to a Lyran noble. Perhaps he stole it too, once upon a time. “I’d offer you a seat but I doubt my employer owns one you wouldn’t shatter.”

The cyborg nodded solemnly, pulling one away from the table. “Indeed, few men do. Fortunately, Mr. Hennith saw fit for me to bring my own.” The giant’s legs bent, his torso straightening, and a lever swivelled out from his armoured back to form a stand with a large skid to distribute the weight. Tol Ehiwe folded his arms, staring at Jack impassively, and sat.

“Awesome.” Jack grinned. “Would it be impertinent to ask when you had that installed?”

The giant smiled broadly, revealing pearly white teeth. “A year or two back, after a particularly lengthy set of negotiations. Mr. Hennith and the customer sat for hours, while myself and the customer’s guards stood for hours. No problem for me, but it left them somewhat uncomfortable.”

“How charitable of you, Mighty Ehiwe,” Jack smiled, seating himself across from Hennith. “I did not think you had such generosity in you. Perhaps it was added in a recent patch?”
Von Bremen smiled tightly as the armoured warrior laughed loud, Jack joining in while Hennith sat impassively. The merchant’s hands were clasped in front of him, leaning back in his seat, with the disposition of a father humouring his children.

“I have missed your humour, Jack Churchill,” Smiled Ehiwe, “Few dare to jest at my expense, still. Perhaps if I were taller?”

“Ahem,” Interrupted Hennith, leaning forward. “Perhaps not. Ehiwe has been having delusions of becoming the galaxy’s first human battlemech. Bringing him to Solaris has done nothing to curb these flights of fancy. I hope you have not wasted the trip, Mr. Churchill.”

Jack’s smile disappeared so swiftly Von Bremen felt a chill ripple up his spine. He had never seen a genuine smile vanish so swiftly or Jack look so calm and at peace.

“Might I ask why you have made this trip, Mr. Hennith?” Von Bremen asked, inserting himself into the conversation as gracefully as he could. Jack had left a wealth of information out of why they were meeting this man.

The merchant didn’t even look at him. “Does your employer need to be present?” He asked Jack.

Jack continued to meet his gaze. “I would have said no, Mr. Hennith, but as you came to him instead of me I had little choice in the matter. The nature of my contract you could say. I’m sure you understand why.”

Hennith inclined his head. “Regrettably at the time we were told you were residing on sight. Mr. Bremen’s…associates are quite adept at turning aside inquiries.” He turned to look at Von Bremen, locking eyes in a way that left him entirely sure that Simon Hennith knew well who Jack’s employers really were. “Mr. Churchill entered into my employ as a third party contractor nine years ago to aid in retrieving an item for my collection. The nature of his background afforded him certain skills and knowledge not normally available on the periphery. Over some months, Mr. Churchill was able to form connections to the owner of the item, introduce himself and enter the owner’s home.” He returned his view to Jack. “Unfortunately, something seems to have gone wrong.”

Jack had the good grace to look embarrassed. “Before entering Mr. Hennith’s employ, he required that I leave the employ of my former associates. I continued in Mr. Hennith’s employ for some months unaware that they were keeping tabs on me. When they discovered my connection and interest in meeting the owner, they became alarmed and sought to seek me out as he was considered a rival of theirs. Regrettably at the time of their arrival I had entered the home of the owner. As they made their way to join us and discuss the matter, a pirate raid struck the world. In the fighting, the owner was slain and I barely made my own escape. Fortunately for Mr. Hennith, I had acquired the item he sought and was able to escape with it in my possession.”

Von Bremen’s face remained impassive, the skin around his eyes and mouth only tightening slightly. Nevertheless, the cobalt armoured Ehiwe turned his head to observe him. A light sweat broke out on his brow.

He was under no illusions as to Jack’s past but this was the first time he’d come directly into contact with it. He didn’t miss the careful wording or their implied meaning. Nor that Mr. Hennith has contracted Jack for the endeavour.

He began to think the security measures were not enough.

“I had heard of the unfortunate events. It was some time before we were able to find you again. Almost six years in fact, at the other end of the sphere. Some men would have been suspicious.”

Jack nodded politely, “Indeed some men would have been, but I’m sure once you determined the message was from me any suspicions you had soon vanished. I’m sure you understand my circumstances.”

Mr. Hennith nodded, equally polite, “Alas, you were not able to make the proposed meeting. I understand you could not source safe passage to us.”

“Only understandable, I’m sure.” Jack demurred, “We are both such busy men. We can be so hard to locate. Indeed, I believe Solaris VII is the longest I’ve lived in one place since. A strange twist of fate.”

Ehiwe smiled widely. “This, I know. For a while, I doubted we were truly friends, you made your finding so difficult.”

Jack gave a small laugh, so seemingly natural Von Bremen decided to make the man an actor if the arenas fell through. “I do hope you did not take it personally, friend Ehiwe, I should never wish to endure your ire.”

“A most advisable hope, Mr. Churchill.” Replied Mr. Hennith. “May we to business? I wish to see the item.”

“I’m afraid it’s not one I have immediately to hand,” Replied Jack, raising both hands apologetically to his sides even as Hennith frowned and Ehiwe stood, “But fear not, I am able to fetch it for you on a moment’s notice. First however, I should quite like to ensure there will be no reprisal or restriction of payment as penalty for the delay.”

Hennith stared coldly across the table at Jack. “I’m sure we needn’t fear any reprisal, Mr. Churchill,” Von Bremen said evenly as he could, “Though perhaps your payment would be more negotiable now than in the past.

The other three men looked at him. The moment stretched out just long enough for him to recognise the look. He’d given it himself more than once, over his career. It was the look one gave someone who had no idea what they were really talking about.

Mr. Hennith tapped the table with one finger. “I feel no need to restrict Mr. Churchill’s payment if he has the item.”

Jack positively radiated malice. Von Bremen had grown to recognise that glitter in Jack’s eyes. It was like that of a child that knew their favourite toy was within their grasp.
And that they were going to use it to pull the wings off a fly.

Someone was going to have a bad day and Jack was going to enjoy it. He actually relaxed a little. Jack’s enjoyment meant that it could not possibly be anyone in this room.

“Excellent. In that case, you shall have the item before you leave the premises.” Despite the sheer, evil glee radiating from him, Jack’s face and voice was calm. “I have kept it in a sealed container.” He drew a small remote from a pocket and placed it on the table in front of Hennith. “Here is the key for it. It must be pressed to the lock to open the container. Inside that container is the original vessel for the item, which lies within and contains the item. Where may we retrieve my reward?”

Simon Hennith stood, rebuttoning his suit jacket. “An unmarked hauler two streets over contains your wares. Tol Ehiwe has already signalled for it to make its way over, I’m sure. We may make the transfer in the courtyard if you are amenable pending satisfaction with the items.”

Jack and Von Bremen rose as well, buttoning their own jackets as Tol Ehiwe retracted his stand and returned to his looming crouch. “I think that would be very amenable to us. I shall meet you in the courtyard shortly if you would be so kind as to see our guests out while I return with their wares.”

Jack Churchill bowed eloquently and left before Von Bremen could argue, letting an evil grin split his face from ear to ear as he strode down the hall, fighting the urge to run all the way.

#62 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 06:12 AM

[[Long, long, long, overdue. Super-Sorry. I've been slowly (very) working on this over the last few weeks. Had bouts of indecisiveness, and struggled with how... clunky things were.]

Sardini's Italian Bistro
Silesia, Lyran Quarter
Solaris City, Solaris VII,
June 16th, 3031, 16:00 Hours

Located just a stone's throw distance down Ashing Street from the Commonwealth museum, and located in the heart of Silesia's Skye District, Sardini's was nestled among an orderly row of small businesses. Weathered signs dangled from patinated copper brackets that jutted out of ancient limestone walls, looking more fitting in a medieval setting than the high tech 31st century. Inside, rough hewed logs supported a lofted ceiling that mounted a series of simple ceiling fans driven by a clever rope pulley system. Soft light spilled from the fans illuminating burgundy colored table cloths, and leaving just enough shadow to provide it's customers a degree of mysteriousness. Soft mandolin music emanated from some hidden source, while fragrant aromas wafted from the kitchens. Kaylee would be loving it if it wasn't for her dining companion.

"Cut the c-rap, Kaylee. You didn't drag my sorry ash all the way over from the Blackhills to this snazzy place out of the kindness of your heart. You obviously want something. So for funk's sake, get to the point." Kaylee had hoped that the rustic charm of Sardini's would have partly smoothed things over with her old roommate, Barbara, and put her at ease, but it didn't look like she was being too successful. Kay took another bite of her brown-buttered mizithra cheesed spaghetti and slowly chewed while gathering her thoughts.

"Well... I'm waiting." Barb added impatiently, dragging a crust of fresh baked bread through some peppered olive oil.

Kaylee gave the other patrons a cautionary glance before leaning in. "I... kind of need a favor," she offered meekly.

"A favor?" the brunette tossed the bread down onto her own dish, a Solarian scallop pasta in disgust. "The balls on this bit-h." Barbara offered to the room before crossing her arms across her chest and sitting back to skewer the tech with an icy glare. "First you get walloped by some ash-hole tech, and fall head over heels for some kindly white knight mechwarrior rescuer. Then you disappear one night shortly later to go shack up with said white-knight-mechwarrior."

Kaylee tried to cut in, "It's not like that,-" Barb wasn't having it, cutting her off. "I'm not done. You also left my fine ash out in the wind with the rent, so you're gonna have to do a whole Hell of a lot better than some," she glanced at her plate, still steaming. "Actually, not that bad food, before I even consider listening to whatever sob story bullshrimp this is," she added while snatching up the crust of bread. She then glanced up as the waiter neared and guffawed as he thought twice about coming to their table and retreated back the way he came.

The auburn haired tech patted the air in what she hoped was a gesture of 'whoa' she then leaned in and in a soft voice tried to reason with her old friend. "Calm your ta-tas, girl. Look, I funked ya, sorry about that. I feel real bad about that, and I really want to make it up to you,-" Barb cut her off, again. "You want something," she echoed while itching some fresh scar tissue on her forearm.

"I'm sorry," the technician offered again. "I can pay you back what is owed, and then some. And before you cut me off again." she added lofting up her fork dangling gooey-melted-cheesy-goodness. "We both know, I can do some decent fab work, but what I need is someone with skills like your's. Not just fabrication work, but with some pyrotechnic skills too. Interested?" Kaylee finished by clamping her teeth down on her fork and awarding the fabricator with a smile.

"I'm listening, keep going." Barbara added while leaning in conspiratorially.

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, 20 March 2019 - 06:17 AM.


#63 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 01:03 AM

[Personally not a fan of this as I lost the original right when I got done. Liked it WAY better. Figured with this one D and Heather are all alone in the stable with Jack doing his thing, Kaylee out with Barb, and Bertie doing... whatever. Maybe he's pounding out details to get that Warhammer?]

Rainbow Stables,
International Zone,
Solaris City, Solaris VII,
June 16th, 3031, 16:00 Hours

Gazing out the fourth story window of his shared common space, DeMarkus wrapped his fingers around the coffee mug, letting it's warmth slowly spread through his fingers and hands. Kurita's Kobe districts waterfront was positively stunning at this time of day on the too few sunny Solaris days. Shrines mingled with painstakingly manicured gardens while a statuary line held a silent vigil as white helmeted Kobe Security guards patrolled the area. The former Capellan smiled as two kimono wearing ladies strolled down a pathway. It was truly a beautiful day, and it was a shame that the stable was on lock down.

The details of the reason why were sketchy, or at least from the small bit he was able to pull from Larold, who got pulled in for extra protection. 'Some important VIP' was all that the security man was willing to share, so the mechwarrior from time to time wondered about who this individual could possibly be. Nobility? Considering the ownership of the stable it was very plausible that some of her family would be visiting, but wouldn't they be using their own guards in that case? Other possibilities that he'd come up with were members of the Solaris Stable Owners Association, but he thought that was unlikely due to the SSOA only seeming to meet monthly at over the top establishments. Maybe a big time investor or fight promoter paying a visit to check on this 'up-and-coming' stable? DeMarkus wasn't sure what was amiss but he had an uncomfortable feeling about it that he couldn't shake, kind of like an itch between his shoulders that he couldn't quite reach.

"Contrary to popular opinion, Polish resistance when the German army invaded in 1939 was a lot stronger and more determined than you might think. In this segment, we explore the Battle of Wizna."

DeMarkus' ears perked up at the beginning of another old war documentary as Heather slowly spun around in some office chair that she must have dragged out of her father's room. Leaning back she rolled her eyes into the back of her head. "I am so bored." She slowly sat up and glancing at the vidplayer then looked at the Capellan. "Like why are we watching all these old docs at all? They didn't have mechs, and Victorious Victor Mansfield is taking on Gustov Candar tonight in the factory, there's bound to be more interesting fights on the under card than these stories of these long dead guys." Heather whined as DeMarkus chuckled pulling a tray laden with corn dogs and tots from the oven.

"...how a small detachment of around 720 Polish infantrymen held off more than 40,000 German soldiers for more than three days. A story that has even entered Polish folklore as the Polish Thermopylae."

"Whoa... how they hold off for so long?" Heather asked, her interest perked.

"We's gotta watch'n finds out." The mechwarrior smiled fetching out a couple of plates from the pantry and bringing them into the common area.

"I guess we can watch this until the fight in the factory starts."

#64 RogueSpear

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:44 PM

Central courtyard,
Rainbow Stables,
International Zone,
Solaris City, Solaris VII,
June 16th, 3031, 16:23 Hours,

Rudolph von Bremen resisted the urge to pace nervously as Jack crossed the courtyard to where a large J-27 Ordnance Transport had been parked. Extensively modified, he'd swear blind the vehicle weighed at least half again it's stated twenty tonnes with a fully enclosed rear cabin, armour skirts over the treads and cabins, reinforced ceramite slats on the windows and a second Sperry-Browning machine gun on the rear cabin in a remote turret.

Tol Ehiwe stood by the ramp, arms crossed and a slight smile on his face; watching him Von Bremen decided he'd be a fool to assume the borderline tank had only the weapons he could see. Just what the hell is that mad pirate being paid to demand all this? He wondered, not for the first time. His eyes settled on the heavy case that Jack was wheeling out on a two-wheel dolley. Two and a half feet tall, a foot and a half thick and a further two wide, it was polished to a sheen, dark and burnished like gunmetal. A faint hexagon pattern revealed it's surface for what it was - face hardened titanium steel alloy. No doubt with a cubic boron nitride ceramic on a diamond fibre webbing for a backing,” he thought bitterly, All on top of at titanium-alloyed honeycomb lattice. That’s mech-grade armour plating, for crying out loud! Von Bremen caught the gleaming cobalt cyborg looking at him again. Despite his best efforts he felt the blood drain from his face and sink through his body, collecting his heart and stomach along the way to congeal all the way down at his toes. Merciful Lord, what is Jack trading?!

As Tol Ehiwe lifted the heavy crate into the J-27 one handed, the Loki agent made a mental note to stop assuming he knew more than anyone else in the room. Something very dangerous was taking place right in front of him and he was clueless as to what. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his P-comm and as naturally as he could sent a message to DeMarkus Frankfurt.

*********************************************************************************************************

Kneeling the back of his transport, Simon Hennith touched the remote to the container with a trembling hand. A blank LED flickered to life, green light signalling a successful unlock and with a hiss the case released it’s seals and opened. Lifting the lid to one side revealed a bundle of bubblewrapping. Carefully he peeled away packing tape to unravel the simple wooden box within. Unlatching it revealed an ornate, bejewelled laser pistol on a bed of velvet. Releasing a shuddering breath, he wrapped it again carefully and interred it once more within it’s armoured safe.
“I believe we have a deal.” He said, pushing himself to his feet. “Do you need to see your wares?”
The missing mercenary he’d hired so long ago was standing against the huge container that took up most of the room aboard the transport. Coming up to nearly his shoulder, the trimmed and groomed mechwarrior was stroking the emblem on the case with his thumb, gazing into it and clearly far away. After a moment he replied, “No, no I don’t think so Mr. Hennith. I’ll choose to trust you.”
Surprised, the illegal arms dealer raised an eyebrow. “Trust me? How unlike you.”
“Either you have been honest, which suits your reputation, or you have not.” The old pirate finally looked up to meet his gaze. “I’ve been carrying that weapon around for nine years, Mr. Hennith. I’ve kept a hold of it when it was damn hard to even hold onto my own skin.” He sighed and looked off to his left, still leaning against his reward. “Frankly, I’m tired. I have been tired a long time. I’m finally somewhere I might be able to change my course and that blighted thing is an anchor around my neck. If anyone ever knew what it was...”
A moment of uneasy silence followed, broken only by the sounds of the city outside the transport. “You’re a strange man,” Simon Hennith said slowly. “The very worst sort of periphery pirate by all accounts, but a man with an understanding of honour. I do believe I’m aware of just about every event you’ve been involved in as a pirate and that understanding is there, if twisted near beyond all recognition. So I’ll offer this advice. I can find you what you need to use that to it’s full capability,” He nodded at the crate, “But not in significant quantities and at an exorbitant cost to myself and thus to you as well. If you truly are attempting to change course, then there is one source of the relevant consumables and possibly even parts you might access.”
He gestured for Churchill to leave the vehicle stood to one side. “Fetch whomever you need to fetch to retrieve the artefact, then I suggest you consider contacting your father Mr. Bracken-Steiner.”

*********************************************************************************************************

DeMarkus Frankfurt was powering up his Catapult, maintenance hatches still open to expose it’s internals, when Jack exited the transport. For a moment he looked almost unrecognisably self-conscious, but it disappeared in a heartbeat. Tugging his blazer down to smooth out the crinkles, he turned a magnanimous smile towards the mechbay. “Guid sar Abnett!” He bellowed, accent returning, “Wid y’be sae kind as tae bring a wee crane ower here and take yon big box oot the van?”
Von Bremen eyed him carefully as he exchanged shouts with his crew, approaching the spy as he did so.
“Are we...pleased, Mr. Churchill?”
“Aye, we are.” The grinning pirate replied. “G’wan and let the nice arms smuggler oot, there’s a good lad, an’ drap the pleasantries.”
Von Bremen nearly choked, “Th-The arms smuggler? Jack, just what the hell did you just buy?
The fat pirate made a show of stroking his manicured beard for a moment. “Why don’t ye tell Mr. DeMarkus t’power doon that half built monstrosity an come hae a gander, we’ll see if you can tell.” With that, he strode off towards Taysider, leaving Von Bremen standing there aghast.

#65 Thom Frankfurt

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 02:26 AM

Rainbow Stables,
International Zone,
Solaris City, Solaris VII,
June 16th, 3031, 16:23 Hours

Seweryn Biegański, who was the last to leave the shelter, describes the moment; "The captain looked at me warmly and softly urged me to leave. When I was at the exit, I was hit on my back with a strong gust and I heard an explosion."

Just as the war-doc was reaching it's climax with Captain Raginis' vow of dying defending his homeland from it's aggressive neighbor, (by clutching a grenade to his chest.) DeMarkus' personal communication unit, his P-Com chimed, drawing yet another annoyed glance from Heather who was surprisingly entertained with the documentary. Justifiably so, as his unit had been quite active with frequent updates from Kaylee who was slowly arranging a deal with whom she refereed to as a rather reputable fabricator to build the mechanism to be engaged during the upcoming free-for-all match.

The Capellan still wasn't comfortable with the idea, thinking it somewhat underhanded, but if it gave him a leg up on the competition...

To his surprise though it was Von Bremen messaging him instead. With an excusing gesture offered to Heather, the mechwarrior left the common space and paced over to the kitchenette where he looked out again over the Kobe district's waterfront. While staring at the lengthening shadows stretching from the trees and statuary lines, he engaged the connection with the Stables PR man.

"Ja, Randolph?" DeMarkus offered as a greeting.

"No time to talk, Mr. Frankfur- err sorry, De'Markus. We have a bit of a situation down here in the courtyard. I need to to mount up in the Catapult, just in case things get out of control. Uh, Larold will fill you in when you get down. Please hurry. Von Bremen out." The line died suddenly, leaving him staring at the unit is shock. Just what was it that was going on? And that tone in Von Bremen's voice, he never heard his voice like that. Was it fear?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few minutes later

He left Heather alone on the sofa, watching the opening matches of the night as he slipped out the door. Stalking the empty halls of the stable the mechwarrior's mind raced over the possibilities of what was unfolding down below. As his plasteel boots echoed he became aware of how empty the halls were, almost abandoned. He thought it eerie and searched his memory on a time when they'd ever been this empty and drew up a blank.

Drawing up to the elevators he sighed and switched his battered neuralhelm to his other hand and stabbed out a bony finger to engage the call button. He then forced himself to wait, doing last minute checks. Making sure that his needler pistol was not only secured in it's shoulder holster, but that it had a fresh block of plastic charged and ready.

"Wat is going on?" He offered to the empty hall as he watched the numbers above the elevator ascend. He wiped a clammy palm across his jumpsuit as the car arrived with a chime and yawning open swaggered in. Immediately thumbing his desired floor's number. He rode in silence, the blood pulsing in his ears as he watched the floor number decent towards the bottom floor.

The elevator arrived and doors opened revealing Larold, clad in black riot gear, with his helmet's face shield tilted up. "Man, D, we got a situation," his handler offered as way of greeting.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A few minutes later...

DeMarkus rubbed a calloused hand across the arm rest of the partially reconstructed Catapult. He couldn't help but be impressed, the techs had been slaving away at a breakneck pace to not only repair, but customize the heavy mech accordingly to Kaylee's specifications.

Leave it to Kaylee to take a Catapult and try to turn it into a Thunderbolt... He smiled at the thought then mentally chastised himself and forced himself to focus on the task at hand. The Catabolt? stood idling by in a low power mode, it's body partially reconstructed, but it's lasers fully charged and ready to go, in case things got out of hand between Jack, Randolph, or any stable personnel for that matter, and what from Larold's description, one of the Chancellors Death Commandos.

For the umpteenth time since mounting up, he looked over his sensors feedback on the immediate target, the heavily modified J-27 transport, just to reassure himself that things were on the up and up. It was a pity that his sensors couldn't pick up any of the conversation between the men chatting among themselves, he'd like to eavesdrop [Note: I was tempted to do that Mr. Steiner] Again he looked over the transport calculating the additional armored plate in his head and whistled low.

I bet that's murder on the transmission and drive system, of course, that's probably been altered too. Who the Hell are these guys?

Motion below caught his attention, a reassured looking Jack from appearances saying something smugly to Von Bremen who had the look of a child being told not to interrupt the grown ups when they were talking.

"-psst- Hey D, it looks like things are all good now. Jack says you can power down now, and is inviting you over. It sounds like he wants to make introductions." Harold's voice sounded on over his neuralhelm's earpiece. Frowning the Hangman undid his 5 point harness and rising pressed a series of buttons upon his console, initiating a shutdown sequence. Within seconds he was back in his jumpsuit and descending down a rope ladder. Moments latter he was strolling on up to the small gathering of men and realizing for the first time, just how big the man-no, cyborg [it pains me to write that] was.

Blakes Blood! He does look like one of the Chancellors Death Commandos, but bigger. It was an unsettling thought. Despite that he embraced the persona that the Solarian Tabloids and media were spinning about him and for a moment embraced the Dreaded Hangman of Tikonov.

"Yo, wat up, Jack?" He glanced at the uncharacteristically immaculately dressed Jack Churchill and arched an eyebrow while eying the strangers casually.

[Edit: Spelling and rewording things.]

Edited by Thom Frankfurt, Today, 12:52 AM.






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