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The Golden Pen Event!


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#21 Escef

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 12:57 AM

Ok, a bit quickly written, so hopefully it's up to snuff. If another of these contests gets done I hope it's better publicized, I didn't know about i until about 5 hours ago.

"Something to Talk About"

Spoiler

Edited by Escef, 25 July 2015 - 01:16 AM.


#22 Peiper

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 03:19 AM

Smoke Jaguar and the Cherry Tree

By: Peiper
Edited by: Teuf and Woofler

Edo, Turtle Bay
Clan Smoke Jaguar Occupation Zone
May 3050

Kita Masaru coughed into the towel again, the towel that tasted like his breath for he'd been breathing through it for much too long. Another explosion shook the rafters above again. A spider fell and landed on the battery lantern he was huddled next to, along with his cat, who he had to put in a bag to keep from scratching him to shreds while he tried to keep it protected. The bombardment had gone for at least an hour, maybe four. It was hard to tell, his ears were ringing and his ears had popped too many times from nearby explosions that sucked out all the air in his basement through the shattered windows. Jars of preserved fruit were smashed and scattered on the floor, soaking his kimono, but he dared not move from old hardwood desk he was hiding under. It might just be the difference between getting crushed by his ceiling or survival.

* * *

At least an hour ago, the holovids were broadcasting news that the yakuza had hurt the Smoke Jaguars enough to drive them from the city. He was so happy he pulled out the bottle of saké he'd hidden away for just some sort of meaningful celebration. He'd just started heating it on the stove when the first of the bombardments hit. At first he thought it was fireworks and went to the window to get a glimpse. But the thumps and booms kept getting bigger, shaking the earth and he knew it was war. He moved to the other side of the house where the noise was louder and looked out only to see meteors falling from the sky. He couldn't see over the rooftops where they were hitting, but he could feel it, and saw smoke rising.

It was no meteor shower, at least, nothing natural. And it was getting closer.

He walked over to the stove and shut off the heating pads. His walk away from the window saved his life, as the window blasted out, sending shards of glass across the room. He felt like he'd just hit the water from a bad high dive, only the water came and hit him all over, slapping him to the ground. He landed hard and fell unconscious for some time. When he came too, the ceaseless rumble of a dying city, and muffled screams from somewhere down the block brought him back to the present. His cat was cowered under the rolling cabinet watching him. Feeling his body, and testing his old limbs, he found he had not been as liquefied by the blast wave as he had felt. Smoke was thick in the air, coming in from the shattered windows. He grabbed the hand towel from the sink and used it as a filter, and still low to the ground, scooped out his cat from underneath the rolling cabinet. The cat protested, but he ignored it and he made a dash for the basement door. Opening the door, he pushed the cat through and tried the light switch. No dice.

Masaru closed the door to keep the cat downstairs and thought: what do I need? A pillow and blanket? A gun? Pillows and blankets were upstairs, where the smoke was thicker and he had no gun. He quickly opened the fridge and pulled out three bottles of water. A series of explosions started walking closer again, vibrating the glasses off the top of the cabinet so that two of them came crashing down around his feet. That was enough! He bolted for the basement door grabbing a cloth shopping bag on the way.

His cat, Junko, was at the top of the stairs trying to make a break and he had to move quickly, reaching down, he grabbed it and put it in the bag. Damned cat might be right, but he didn't care. Searching for the best chance to survive if the house collapsed, Masaru pulled the boxes out from under an old hardwood desk. Sitting atop was a battery operated lantern and he grabbed it and crawled underneath. Turning on the lantern, he held his bagged cat to his chest, and used the towel as a pillow. He wondered if he was holding the cat to comfort himself or simply to protect her as he told himself. Maybe the cat would have a better chance finding it's own hiding place or running around outside. However, having the living, breathing cat close to him kept him from losing his wits. Over the next few minutes the bombardments rattled large jars of preserves, knocking them off the shelves, and sending their juices across the floor. Curled up like an infant under the desk, the side of his kimono slowly getting soaked through with juices, he held his protesting cat held firmly in his arms and shook in fear and shock. Smoke and dust seeped into the room and he had to resort to breathing through the kitchen towel.

This went on for hours, for so long, that he gave up trying to think a complete thought. He was just staring in shock at the far wall where a steamer trunk lie. The steamer trunk carried with it photographs, holographs, paintings, data disks, and documents. Several hundred years of family history going back to ancient Japan on Terra. As he stared at the trunk, thinking of the generations, he began to recite the names of every ancestor he could think of. First, starting with his grandchildren and going back five generations. He remembered reading stories of the family's migrations from planet to planet, and the simple but significant contributions his great-great-great grandfather made in genetically engineering the cherry trees on Turtle Bay to resist the local bugs. The first cherry blossoms to bloom outside on the surface of the planet belonged to his family. They were called Kita Cherry Trees in honor of his family and the symbol of Edo, where they were first cultivated. Inside of the steamer trunk were several dozen original seeds of the plant. Each first born of the Kita line was honored by having a cherry tree planted on the day he or she was born. The one planted when he was born was still in his backyard, old, but strong. He'd made many pies from the cherries that grew on the tree and given them away to his neighbors. Many of his neighbors had planted Kito Cherry Trees in their yards as well, and for a day each spring, when the flower petals fell, no motor vehicles were allowed on the street. It was that way so everyone could sit in the quiet and watch the leaves fall.

Today, it was bombs that fell. The crashed into the trees, the houses, the hover cars, swing sets, pagodas, cemeteries, businesses, everywhere. Nothing was untouched.

Masaru thought of his late wife and the times they spent traveling the planet and visiting all of the foot bridges they could find. They'd visited hundreds of footbridges together, and had hundreds of photographs to prove it.

His three children, all girls, went on to college. One became an engineer, one a nurse, and one a gardener who still lived here in Edo, he prayed. Those three women gave him seven grandchildren, two of which he saw regularly and showered upon them the spoils he couldn't afford to give his children. One of them had carried on his mother's green thumb, and cultivated prize flowers that had won her awards throughout Turtle Bay. He prayed for each and every one of them.

His old body finally succumbed to the poor air and he fell asleep.

* * *

He woke to hear the sound of a loudspeaker outside. “Anyone alive, please come out! If you can't, scream or bang on a pot. Make noise!” The sound was getting closer. Masaru crawled out from under the desk and stretched his weary muscles. Junko was meowing somewhere and the battery lamp had ran out of power. A dim light shone through the windows, giving him enough light to move around.

He was uninjured, but sticky with fruit juice and feeling disgusting. The smell of burning wood, plastic and corpses wafted in through the window, but it was almost better than the towel he'd been breathing through for hours. Starting up the stairs, he hacked for a minute, trying to clear his lungs. At the top of the stairs, his cat waited.

“I'm sorry about this Junko.” he said quietly and quickly scooped up the cat and threw her back into the cloth sack. Opening the basement door, he found that one of the walls had been completely blasted away from his house and he was staring through the open space at a city shattered by ordanance and blackened by flame. Everywhere oily smoke competed with the sun for dominance of the sky. A tracked city utility vehicle was crunching its way down the street and the speaker on top blasted out the message. “Anyone out there alive? Please come out or make some loud noise so we can find you!”

A small crowd of people were walking along behind the truck, one of them a woman. She was walking toward his house. His granddaughter, Akemi! He saw her carefully thread her way through the destruction toward what was left of his house. Tears welled up and cut streaks in his ash covered face.

“Over here! My grandfather! He's alive!”

Three people split off from the small crowd and came over to his house while his granddaughter ran up and embraced his sooty, sticky, wet kimono. He was a little embarrassed of his appearance and that he would get her filthy, but the embrace meant so much more than decorum. She fussed over him a minute to see if he was okay, and took the bag with Junko squirming inside. They hugged twice more before one of the others behind her cleared his throat.

A man in a police officer's uniform politely but firmly stated, “Excuse me, old man, but we must keep moving. Pick one thing to bring with you, and we will take you to a safer place.”

Masaru didn't even have to think about it. “It is good that you are a strong man, then, sir!” With that statement he headed back downstairs with the police officer in tow.

They struggled together to get the steamer trunk up the stairs.

“What is in here, old man?”

“Cherry Tree seeds.”

“This is a lot of seeds!”

“We need seeds to make new life, and give purpose to old lives like mine. I am an old man, so I will not see the city be reborn, but you will, and in that city, at the center, will be a cherry tree. From that tree will spring hundreds more, and you will live to see them grow. The trees will be here long after the Smoke Jaguar are no more, and with the trees will stand the Japanese people! Do you know why?” He didn't wait for an answer. “You see, the Smoke Jaguar only knows how to take life away. We Japanese know how to create it! You will live to see this is true.”

With the rescue of Kita Masaru, the reconstruction of Edo began.

Edited by Peiper, 25 July 2015 - 08:33 AM.


#23 CyclonerM

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 04:35 AM

I would have liked to write a battle story for this contest, but i discovered it too late and i can only take something i already wrote..
Title: "There is always a first time"

A chapter taken from my WiP book "The Eagle and the Wolf"

Mind that i am not a native english speaker so please forgive blatant and horrible grammar or language mistakes :)

Spoiler


#24 MeltedSnowgirl

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 05:15 AM

Here's my entry. Has no real title. Sorry if it seems rather bare bones, but with only 2500 words to work with, my descriptive talents were...limited. It's under the spoiler tag because I was really skirting the line length wise. I write novels for a living so it's difficult for me to prune my baby to bare bones. :D

Spoiler


#25 Kageru Ikazuchi

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 07:01 AM

Edit: <<The following is based on real people and events>>

I just saw that bit in the rules ... Panic did sponsor me, both Verci and I drink like fish, I used to chain smoke, and Vercinix does have tattoos ... feel free to contact them, they've seen this before. All the rest of it is bull.

INTRODUCTIONS


International Zone, Solaris VII

Skye March, Lyran Commonwealth

12 Aug 3048



The comm band on Vercinix’ wrist buzzed briefly, alerting him to an incoming message. Sliding the screen open, he saw that it was another message from Panicbutton about another potential recruit.

Verci -
Have Queen check this guy out -- Kagu Izama, former Drac Maj, goes by Kageru Ikazuchi -- he has been asking questions about us.  Seems like a straight-up guy, but guarded, may be hiding something.
- Panic


Verci sighed. Panic had been dragging in new members left and right. His instincts were usually good, but every now and then one of them turned out to be a flake. Occasionally, they were a threat.

Queenblade -
High priority request.  Full background check: Izama, Kagu; DCMS Sho-sa; AKA: Kageru Ikazuchi.
- Vercinix


Verci closed the screen. DCMS officers don’t just pull stakes and leave the Combine to join a rag tag Mercenary Unit, he thought to himself. Whatever his story was, Queenblade could find it. The 228th IBR hadn’t done anything to attract O5P or ISF attention … at least not recently, so this guy might be legit. If this Kageru’s story was interesting, Verci might call him in for an interview.

Montenegro, Solaris VII

Skye March, Lyran Commonwealth

18 Aug 3048



Kageru Ikazuchi's eyes had trouble adjusting to the dim lighting as he followed close behind a man he only knew by his callsign, "Panicbutton". Weaving between closely set tables and small groups of people nearly shouting at each other over the thunderous music, Panicbutton stopped and gestured towards one of the club's corner booths, occupied by one man. The dark tattoos, barely visible under his cuffs, caught Kageru's eye. In other places, such decoration would mean something different, but here on Solaris VII, it was not uncommon for 'mech jocks or fans to "get inked".

John "Vercinix", nodded towards the seat across from him and intently studied one of the data tablets scattered around his beer, half-eaten plate of food, and overflowing ashtray. Vercinix was the Executive Officer of the 228th IBR, a small Mercenary Corporation by coreward standards, but with a fierce reputation for professionalism and prowess. Kageru adjusted in the seat, trying to find a balance between sitting up straight, as would be expected when meeting with a superior in his past life, and relaxing casually.

Vercinix swiped through screen after screen on the tablet, then paused to glance at Kageru, eyebrows raised, looking somewhat impressed. Kageru settled into a slight slouch, leaning back into the curved seat. Swiping the tablet again, Vercinix glanced up, his brows tightened into a slight grimace. Kageru sat up straight.

As Vercinix set the tablet down, and the screen faded out, Kageru caught a glimpse of the last document, an official Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery letter.

"More than twenty years of honorable service as an officer in the DCMS, over ten of those as a MechWarrior," Vercinix began, as he filled his beer mug and offered the pitcher to Kageru. "Why did you resign your commission? Why do you want to join the 228th?"

Filling his mug halfway, Kag looked down and said quietly, "It's a long story."

"They all are,” Verci sighed, “We're mercenaries. Most of us have shadows in our past we'd rather not talk about, but if I'm going to trust you with a BattleMech, with my teammates, with my life, I have to know you. So, why?"

Kag sighed, took a long drink, refilled his mug, "mind if I smoke?"

After lighting his own cigarette, Vercinix offered his pack to Kag. "Thanks, but I prefer these," taking out his own hunchbacks. "After about five years with the 5th Cadre on Moritl, I got word that my mother's health was failing, so I requested transfer to the garrison back home, on New Samarkand. The Cadre had recovered from the War of 3039, so it was easy for my Commanding Officer to approve. Once I got settled in with the Galedon Regulars, I was able to take a bit of leave and visit with my family.

"My sister had grown into a fine young woman, but had not yet married.

"My father was the same as I had always known him. He was a loyal worker, skin blackened and muscles hardened from forty years at New Samarkand Metals. He may have been a bit slower, but he was still the stern and demanding man I grew up with, and in his eyes, I was still the unfaithful deserter. He'd expected me to follow in his footsteps, as is appropriate in the Combine, as the next head of the household, and never forgave me for joining the DCMS.

"My mother acted the part of the quiet and devoted wife, a bit smaller and appearing as frail as ever, but she had a fire in her eyes I did not remember. At first, I thought she was proud of me and happy to have me back on NS, but now I'm not so sure.

"Every few months I would visit, and each was basically the same. My sister would quietly serve us dinner and drinks, Mom and I would make small talk, and my father would sip his shochu pretending to not listen. It went on like this for a couple of years."

Vercinix looked bored out of his skull, resting one elbow on the table and propping up his head vaguely in Kageru's direction, but obviously distracted by the tablet in front of him and the timepiece on his wrist. Kageru lit another smoke, watched as the blue-gray cloud blended with the layer overhead, then continued.

"Just over a year ago, my battalion was on Chirala conducting training maneuvers with the Tabayama 31st Regulars, when I heard that my sister was in the hospital, and not expected to live. Three days later, I was able to get passage on a jumpship back to New Samarkand. I arrived late at night, long after visiting hours were over. Luckily, there aren't many local bureaucrats willing to obstruct a DCMS officer, particularly since I was wearing my field uniform, complete with daisho and sidearm. The doctors told me that her condition had improved, that she would be fine in a few weeks, but would likely lose sight in one eye. They also said that 'they could not save the child'. My sister had been pregnant.

"She had been beaten within an inch of her life. On my order, the doctors eased off the anesthetics enough for her to talk.

"Azumi told me that it was our father who had beaten her.” Kageru’s brow creased with his anger. “He had done it after she told him that she was carrying his daughter."

Vercinix straightened up a bit and waved for another pitcher as Kageru poured himself another mug.

Kageru continued, a bit more calm, "I should have set aside my weapons before entering our apartment. I wasn't planning to kill him. I just wanted to just give him a bit of the same treatment he had given me, my mother, and now my sister for so many years. Before I could even get through the door, he charged and swung at me with a hammer. My training and instinct took over."

Kageru wiped a tear from his cheek and continued.

"By the time I realized what I had done, I was kneeling in front of the body, holding the barrel of my pistol against my forehead.” Kag briefly fingered a scar over an errant tuft of his left eyebrow. “Mom was there, her gentle hand taking my sidearm from me. She told me in her quiet voice, 'close your eyes, I love you, I'm proud of you’, and 'this is going to hurt. A lot'."

Kageru paused and chuckled a little, "She fragging hit me in the side of the head with my father's hammer." Once again serious, "as I started to black out, I heard her scream a banshee's wail that I didn't think her capable of,

'YOU INCESTUOUS, MURDEROUS *******!', a shot rang out from my pistol, 'SATOMI!', another shot, 'YUKI!', another, 'AZUMI!', another, 'KAGU!', another, 'NO MORE!' ... and in rapid fire, she emptied the rest of the magazine into his chest.

Vercinix raised his hand slightly, "Satomi? Yuki?"

"They were my other sisters, Satomi died before I was born, Yuki fell from the roof of our apartment complex. She was only ten years old."

Vercinix nodded, glanced at his timepiece, sipped his beer, and waited for Kag to go on.

"I came to as the MedTechs were treating the gash on my head, and saw other officers talking to my mother. There was a strength and confidence in her eyes that I had never seen before. She looked radiant. She had told the police that he had attacked me, that he had knocked me out, and that she had taken my firearm from its holster and killed him. It apparently didn't take much questioning for my neighbors to back up her stories of decades of abuse."

Kageru choked back tears, which were flowing freely now.

Vercinix waited for Kag to regain his composure. "You still haven't answered my questions. Why did you resign? Why do you want to join the 228th?"

Kageru smiled and wiped his eyes, "I told you it was a long story."

Pouring another beer, Kag went on, "by tradition, Kuritans go into a year-long period of mourning after the death of our father, so Mom, Azumi, and I had a long time to talk about what had happened, and where the future led. I couldn't go back to the DCMS, not knowing the truth about my father's death. I am an honorable man. I cannot keep secrets, especially when I know how easy it would be for someone to discover the truth.

"While he certainly deserved to die, there are some who would use my dishonor against me, some who would argue that I should commit seppuku. Kuritan history is rife with suicide, death, vendetta, and murder, but also at the core of our traditions is filial piety ... honoring your ancestors. What I did to my father, killing him with a firearm when I could have just as easily disarmed him, was not honorable. I could not go back to the DCMS, and would never be able to serve the Coordinator as a MechWarrior with honor again. I had almost convinced myself that it would be best for me to take my life. I even started planning things out, my dress uniform was cleaned and prepared, my katana and wakizashi polished, my death poem and names chosen. But, I could not go through with it until I was certain that what was left of my family would be taken care of.

"I arranged for Azumi's wedding to a promising young Chu'i. One of the conditions of Azumi's marriage was that he take in our mother. As we were packing up the apartment, Mom started to get suspicious of my plans, and shared a secret with me, one that the women of our family had kept to themselves for centuries. She showed me this."

Kageru quickly reached down to his boot. As he did, all conversation in the club stopped. All eyes were on Kageru. Four of the closest patrons started to get up from their tables.

Kageru froze, staring at Vercinix.

Vercinix stared back, and then smiled and motioned that everything was alright, and the other conversations resumed, if a bit more muted than before.

"Slowly," Vercinix said.

Kageru unclipped his stiletto from his boot, held it reverently in front of him, bowed his head slightly, and placed it on the table. This little ceremony complete, he spun the still-sheathed dagger's hilt towards Vercinix and slid it to him. Verci looked at the dagger curiously, while the sheath was modern, the hilt and guard looked ancient. In Vercinix's large hands, the hilt was thin and unwieldy, obviously made for a much smaller person. As he drew the slender blade he noticed a symbol etched a few centimeters from the hilt, a cross pattée superimposed with Cameron's star. On the other side was etched, “CCXXVIII.”

Straightening in his seat, Kageru spoke proudly, "in late 2784, a young MechWarrior named Tomoe Gozen, my ancestor, disagreed with her commanding officer's decision to remain in the Inner Sphere and left her unit, the 228th Independent BattleMech Regiment of the 35th Corps of the 15th Army of the Star League Defense Forces, to join those that had assembled over New Samarkand. She arrived on the 10th of November, five days after General Kerensky's forces departed, and settled on New Samarkand. And that," Kag gestured to the blade, "was her knife."

Kageru rose, the club once again grew silent, his face turned steely calm, and he spoke clearly,

“Haku-no-fukyuu,

kageshita hana.

Ikazuchi kageru.


“Under the shadow of rotten trees,

flowers bloom.

Thunder, darkness falls.



“I am no longer Kagu Izama, Sho-sa in the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery, Sun Zhang MechWarrior, blind child, naïve adult, and murderer of my father.”

Kageru looked through Vercinix, with the cold, hard glare of determination that only warriors truly know. “That man is dead. I am Kageru Ikazuchi, Ronin MechWarrior, and I offer you my ancestor's blade."

Raising his wrist to his cheek, Vercinix spoke into his timepiece, "Queenblade?"

"Everything checks out," spoke a gruff voice.

Vercinix rose and gave the stiletto back to Kageru, "that is your blade."

Vercinix picked up his beer with his left hand, and extended his right to Kag. As they shook hands, Verci said, "Welcome to the 228th."

Edited by Kageru Ikazuchi, 25 July 2015 - 07:41 AM.


#26 Gorgo7

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 08:04 AM

Victory is difficult to quantify.

<This story is based on real people>

-Berenson 3052, 1st quarter, local.

Gorgo took a deep breath and smelled the green foliage of spring while he admired the early morning dew, perfectly silver and glistening as the mist wafted across the glen. Maybe he should settle down, marry Margaret and raise a family…
His musing was interrupted by Captain Vash being noisily sick next to his command Mechs left leg…
Luck. Every morning the same.
He watched Vash wipe his lips and begin the long climb up the leg rungs and along the top of the Catapult’s egg shaped fuselage towards the open cockpit.
Squinting, Gorgo looked for the protuberances that were so clear to see upon Vash’s shaved skull. He couldn’t make them out at this distance but the fascination of knowing that Vash could interface directly with his Mech as well as the Command module aboard without the bulky headset and extensive calibration time made Gorgo’s thoughts of domestic bliss vanish in a puff of heat as Vash fired up the reactor.
Silent but hot, the big Vlar 300 power plant caused a local temperature bloom that dispelled the mist and evaporated the dew.
“Mount up Gorgo.” Came the order from Vash. Birds burst from the trees at the volume of it.
Gorgo said nothing and obediently climbed his own set of handholds up the front of the right leg and right torso of his Cataphract.
There was killing to be done.
Luck


-Capella 3051, 4th quarter, local.


“I’m telling you they are vat raised and sexless!”
“Horsehockey! They are men just like you and I!”
“No, Sean had an opportunity to question one. He said, that before the prisoner died he admitted as much!”
“Go on! Sean’s been unreliable since he overheated his Awesome and fried his brain on Cestis IV!”
“Luck you, Sean’s a hell of a pilot!”

Gorgo shut out the din in the bar-room and ordered a drink. He was supposed to meet Vash and Eli here at the Eel and his mind was on getting out of this chicken-pooh unit. Margaret had come into her inheritance and Gorgo had a stable of Mechs from duels, successful campaigns and piracy. He would never admit the last though. Not to anyone. Piracy was a hanging offense and mutiny could be carried over from House to House. Best not to even think of it.
Yup, raising a gaggle of fat kids sounded OK to him.
“Gorgo, you’re not drinking that slop again are you?” asked Major Eli as he settled his not inconsiderable bulk onto the stool next to him.
“Yeah, that pooh will kill you.” Echoed Vash in a monotone that signalled he was concentrating on something other than the conversation as he sat on the opposite stool.
“Hi guys,” replied Gorgo, “I’m glad to see you. You see…I was thinking of retiring and going civilian.”
It kind of poured out of Gorgo without any forethought. Kids, money, growing old.
Eli said nothing and instead ordered a couple of glasses of Stregg. One for himself and one for Vash.
“Well, that’s interesting and all, but we got orders and you leaving the unit just isn’t one of them. We boost at midnight. You will bring your four best Mechs and we can discuss mustering-out after the mission is complete.” Said Vash distantly.
Eli slurped noisily at his Stregg and remained indifferent.
Gorgo sighed. “No, I’m done, I was quit when I walked in and I’m twice as quit now. See ya.” Gorgo got off his stool and pivoted to walk out.
Eli turned his head and eyed the pot-bellied Mech warrior who was built like a gorilla, as rich as a Solaris promoter with his own stable of Mechs and penurious as a beggar when it came to anyone but himself.
“You walk out of here and you know what you are? Little people, that’s what! You read me Gorgo? Little people!”
Gorgo stopped and sniffed, his back ramrod straight he pivoted and stared into Eli’s eyes.
The major was made of stone. “OK. That’s how it is?”
“That’s how it is.” agreed Eli. “We boost at midnight, briefing at boost plus 15”
“What’s the mission? Tell me it’s a quick in and out? Raid the Fed rats? Burn and raise? Out with it Eli!”
“We boost at midnight.” Eli got up and left, Vash went with him his drink untouched.
“45 c-bills Mechwarrior,” said the bartender.
Luck.


-Berenson 3052, 1st quarter, local.

Vash had had an intermittent contact at close to 2 km’s. No ID, no transponder. It was clear that there were no friendlies nearby.
Hell, there was no air cover and all low orbit satellites were gone as well.
Pooh on a stick.
They had worked their way up to a saddle above the loading/transhipment point of a city that controlled the major trade of a small continent including the only star port on the planet.
“Orders,” said Vash.
“We have friendlies and some local support” said Vash.
“Oh, and we have hotties and beer” said Vash.
Horsehockey, thought Gorgo.
But he didn’t say it.
Luck.

-24hrs later

“Target!”
“Delta!”
“Madcat!!”
Christ! Let me live through this!
“He’s in the open! His right torso is squishy I could use some copulatin’ support!”
The big, nimble, Timberwolf vaulted up onto the fallen overpass over the smoking, ruined Hunchback it left behind as an offering to whatever twisted God the Clan worshipped.
Gorgo’s Blazefire Sightlock tracking system gently encouraged him to attack the Timberwolfs right torso as he locked it up.
Gorgo’s Battlemech, a Cataphract Model 4X was extremely non-stock.
Twined Ac 5’s in his right arm barked with rapidity and authority while the LBX-10 thundered intermittently from the left arm. Paired Diverse Optics type 2 med lasers linked to a Hovertec Quad SRM-4 jacked Gorgo’s heat to near unbearable levels, but were lethal in-close. The Timberwolf shook like a hunting dog shaking off after a swim as the Cat’s fire smashed into it.
Hot, hot! Was his coolant vest even working? Pour it on! POUR IT ON!
His computer claimed that the Cataphract could take a lot more before sustaining heat damage but Gorgo doubted that he could.
The Timberwolf paused in its advance down the overpass as its pilot zeroed the Cataphract and attempted to melt his torso with a multiplicity of lasers and rapid fire cannons. Its missile ports remained closed.
“Target locked, support in three seconds” said Vash.
At 300 meters it couldn’t miss. Gorgo twisted, weaved and jinked. Liquid goblets of metal and glass sheared away from the Cataphract as Gorgo attempted to protect his vitals at the expense of his arms and sides. He survived the assault and turned back into the beast.
Vash’s Missiles were dropping onto the Timber Wolf and it was moving obliquely towards an apartment block seeking cover from the blinding explosions that were sandblasting its Ferro fibrous armour and damaging the internal structure which Gorgo had exposed with his initial assault.
“Pour it on Vash! Pour it on!” Gorgo screamed at Vash over coms as euphoria and battle rage took command of his actions.
His cannons continued to thunder as he advanced on the now retreating Timber, his heat was down and he triggered the lasers and SRM’s to end the contest, the spike in heat was simple punctuation to his rage as fear was submerged beneath eagerness for victory and death. The LB-10X, mother of all shotguns pealed open the Timberwolfs right torso and with it the right arm spun into a residential building, setting it on fire. Gorgo could clearly see light shining through the holes in the right torso armour of the Maddog which pumped toxic coolant all over the road.
Like a crippled beast from mythology it continued to fight.
Vash’s missile fire never let up and the Timbers laser fire was sporadic and poorly aimed. Finally, his cockpit was shot away just as his engine core was breached. The Timberwolf squatted down and died. His pilot never ejected.
Somehow the smell of cordite had worked its way into Gorgo’s sealed cockpit. The alarms were just now heard and Gorgo took stock, one AC5 shot away, ammo at 25% reserve, central armour zero. Right arm armour zero. All other systems nominal. Some minor damage to the rest of the Armour, mostly cosmetic.
“Unknown target 800 meters, holding fire until you eyeball him.” said Vash.
Luck.

Berenson 3052, 2nd quarter, local.


Gorgo watched the leopard class dropship come in and touchdown on the hastily cleared landing field from the back of a three ton truck. He wore some local camo and carried a rifle over his shoulder. Not for fighting so much, as for hunting.
Vash was asleep. These days without the Mechs Vash slept a lot. He had also stopped puking every morning. That Gorgo had begun to do, at least when he was able to find some booze…
Gorgo toed Vash in the ribs and he got up to observe the Dropship opening up while Gorgo ordered the local commander to pull over to the ship. Eli walked down a ramp flanked by a dozen armed crewmen. His normally hard face split into a wide grin, “Vash! Gorgo! You S.O.B.’s! You made it! Get aboard!”
In the officers briefing room, after lift off, the three sat down to discuss the situation.
“We lost our Mechs,” said Vash. “Where the Luck have you guys been?!” asked Gorgo.
Eli expertly poured three large glasses of Stregg and passed them around.
“Well, after your company dropped on Berenson the sector exploded and the Battalion was tasked with holding Elgin and then Hsien.” Intoned Eli. “Things got so heavy there were actually spacebattles at the jump points between jumpships…I never thought I’d live to see that day.”
Eli drank deeply from his glass before resuming his narrative. “We lost Elgin and half the Battalion but managed to keep Hsien and Berenson. God job Vash, Gorgo.”
“Keep Berenson? In case you haven’t noticed we were afoot when you showed up and living in the woods. The population centres are crawling with Clan and their turn coat slaves!”
“Easy Gorgo, these days any planet that continues to resist the clan is considered a victory regardless of cost or condition. The Clan pushed so far, so fast, that their logistical support is collapsing. We have begun a counter attack that is intended to retake all of the Confederations lost worlds, plus some more.” Eli pressed a stud and up came an inventory of unit and personnel Battlemech. “We will rendezvous at Tall Trees, the Clan has been using this world as a forward staging point for their attacks. Once we possess it, we can effectively begin to strangle them out. This is a list of Mechs available to the two of you, choose three each, we will have lots of support and secondary’s. The chancellor has authorized mind recordings, so you’ll get a second chance if things go….badly.”
“Mind recording? I thought that was for the Nobility only.” Said Gorgo, watching Vash perk-up as he looked at the Mechs available to him.
“The way things are going you are Nobility, at least for the next couple of years.” Said Eli.
“Years!”
Luck

Edited by Gorgo7, 29 July 2015 - 06:17 PM.


#27 Chados

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 08:45 AM

Codename: CHADOS

"I knew I'd find you here, Tara."

His deep, even voice startled her and she spun, dropping her jacket on the dusty ground of the disused mechbay. Before she could snatch it up, Shiro was already there, smoothly sweeping it up. He held it carefully, surveying it with a lifted, grey eyebrow before looking up at her, measuring her reaction.

"I haven't seen this in a long time." He was angry. It was obvious. "Seventeenth Rasalhague Regulars, I recognize that patch. The battle honors."

"Yes." She tried to keep her voice neutral.

"Tara, why? Why didn't you tell me?" Not angry. Hurt. And more. Shiro was afraid, and she'd never heard that tone from him before.

"I couldn't, Shiro. I'm sorry."

"I knew you'd been in the Fourth Succession War, with the Chancellor's father. And that you served on the frontier." His hand caressed the faded patch of the Seventeenth on the jacket's chest, resting over her name and a row of enameled honors won in battle, and House Kurita's dragon in red and black on the shoulder. "That was a proud unit. Light 'mechs. I should have realized, with Bug here, all this time. I thought it was your father's, but it was yours, wasn't it." He jerked a thumb at the 'mech, an old Locust, standing shadowed behind them in faded, green camouflage.

"Yes." She gently took the jacket from him.

"And now you're going back? Now? That was thirty years ago, Tara. The Mustered Soldiery has changed, it's not the same outfit you remember. You're a grandmother now, not a trooper fresh out of the training course. You'll be twenty years older than your next oldest lancemate!"

"And I'm starting at the bottom, too." She smiled at him. "My Reserve rank didn't transfer."

They stood there for a long moment, staring at each other in the moonlight. She swallowed, steeling herself for what she knew she had to say next.

"I have to go, Shiro. For Black Hat and A-ko, and everyone else who fought with Takashi." As she spoke, her voice grew more firm. "I was their leader, I commanded the Seventeenth. And we lost so many of our friends."

He sighed, an exasperated sigh, his jaw clenched. "They're dead, Tara. It's not your fault that they died. And the Seventeenth has been disbanded for years. The Rasalhague District doesn't even exist anymore. Takashi isn't the Coordinator anymore, his son is." He paused. "So Ironhand returns to the fight? Why? You owe me that, at least."

Ironhand, she thought. What the Lance used to call me. "You remember when Marik raided Luthien at the end of the Succession War. I was here, with the Bug." She turned away from him, resting a black-gloved hand on the Locust's flank. "First units into the city. You could stack up the dead like cordwood." She turned, and he saw the fire in her eyes. "And now the Clans are coming, Shiro. Do you want Keiichi and the girls to end like that? I don't! I can't let it happen!"

He stood still for a moment, like she'd slapped him. Then he nodded, reaching for her, folding her into his arms. "Be careful...Ironhand. The Bug will get you killed on a modern battlefield."

She giggled. "I'm not using that old call anymore." She reached into her jacket, pulling out a sheaf of old pictures. "Keiichi found these." She indicated a picture of a Shadowhawk. "He said, 'look, Mommy! Chados!' He's still learning how to talk."

Her voice grew distant.

"Chados. That's my name now. The Clans will learn to fear it. I swear it."

#28 Bill Bullet

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 09:00 AM

Aaaaaaand time! No more entries or edits allowed past this point!

#29 Bill Bullet

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 09:04 AM

Thanks SO much to the community for making this event as big as it is! Thanks Tina for putting this on the MWO social networks, and thanks to all who read, write, and like the stories here! I'll start the task of reading and judging the entries today. Feel free to "like" the stories above to vote for the "Fan Favorite". Winners will be announced in a new thread that I will start.

See you on the battlefield MechWarriors!

#30 Gorgo7

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 09:11 AM

Thanks Bill! I havn't writtena story of anysort for years! I really enjoyed the exercise.

Thanks again!

#31 Peiper

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 11:08 AM

This thread should be pinned until the 'like' part of the vote is complete. I'll ask a mod to have this pinned.

I 'reported' the OP and requested it be pinned. Hopefully a mod will soon read the report. So many good stories, the thread should have a least a little better visibility.

Next time, if someone wants to offer a contest like this, PGI should put it on the announcements page or something. The generosity of the contest organizer should be enough to get a little higher profile on the forums. He's offering over $100 in prizes. Not much to some, but a lot for many!

_______________

It's been pinned! TY mods!

Edited by Peiper, 26 July 2015 - 10:01 AM.


#32 xX PUG Xx

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 11:27 AM

Cheers Bill

and well done to everyone that posted, some very cool stories in there.

I love that we are all so "into" our little game that it inspires us to add our own flavour to the IP. It is this sort of thing that gets my blood pumping for the BT Universe and I firmly believe the Lore has enough variety and depth to truly compete with J.R.R Tolkien or Star Wars; if only we were able to promote it more to the younger generations ;)

#33 Harper Steel

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 11:31 AM

Thank you Bill for this..
it gives many of us MWO writers a chance to show others our work
thank you sir...
you are a Gentleman and a Warrior

DeejayM

#34 Soulstrom

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 12:00 PM

Great, Great Contest! Love it. Thanks for putting it on Bill Bullet.

#35 R 13

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 04:51 PM

Good fun, and great Idea. Thanks for organizing it!

#36 Rhaythe

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 04:56 PM

Glad to see so many entrants! Looked like scarce picking at first. Good wordsmithing, everyone.

#37 WatDo

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 06:49 PM

"Trust Issues"

Spoiler

Edited by WatDo, 25 July 2015 - 06:57 PM.


#38 Bill Bullet

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 07:11 PM

Alright this is gonna be harder than I thought! And I mean that in a good way, just so many good stories! So good and so many in fact I can't judge them fairly alone! So I got an English teacher and a panel of judges reading over these now, winners will be announced on Thursday July 30th in a new thread that I will start. Once again, great work and thanks to everyone who made this possible! Remember to read and "Like" your favorite stories to help pick the "Fan Favorite" winner!

Edited by Bill Bullet, 26 July 2015 - 07:13 PM.


#39 BafGandalf

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 04:22 AM

View PostBill Bullet, on 26 July 2015 - 07:11 PM, said:

Alright this is gonna be harder than I thought! And I mean that in a good way, just so many good stories! So good and so many in fact I can't judge them fairly alone! So I got an English teacher and a panel of judges reading over these now, winners will be announced on Thursday July 30th in a new thread that I will start. Once again, great work and thanks to everyone who made this possible! Remember to read and "Like" your favorite stories to help pick the "Fan Favorite" winner!


Non native english speakers will be judged the same way as native ones? (because i see some guys and also me, who doesn't have english as their native language)

Thanks and regards,

#40 Escef

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 05:09 AM

View PostBafGandalf, on 27 July 2015 - 04:22 AM, said:


Non native english speakers will be judged the same way as native ones? (because i see some guys and also me, who doesn't have english as their native language)

Thanks and regards,


Well, it is a contest where everything is in English. Would it be nice if there was a fan-run contest for fanfic in other languages? Absolutely.

While the criteria are completely up to Bill, I don't see how it would be fair to treat people that have English as their non-primary language any differently for an English composition contest.

Besides, being perfectly honest here, I've found that many people that speak English as secondary language are more proud of and careful with their English than most of us who speak it as our primary/only language.





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