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Raid Aftermath

Chapter 22 - Aurigan Dreams (BattleTech CYOA)
[]


In Shock[]


When I wake up, I am lying down and still in pain. I blink blearily as I try to sit up and look around.

“Stay down, Colonel.” says someone, a voice that I don’t recognize.

“W-what happened?” I demand as I feel myself being pushed back down.

“You passed out from your injuries once the adrenaline rush is over.” says the person, “We’re taking you to one of the local hospitals.”

“We are taking you to a vehicle to take you to a local hospital.” says someone else, “You aren’t injured enough to need a MASH truck so we are reserving those for anyone who needs one. Since you are stable, we’re taking you to the hospital for a proper once over.”

“Stable as far as we can tell.” says the first voice, “Our equipment had a bit of trouble with you so we can’t be certain.”

“But if there was anything truly serious, we would have noticed it already so don’t worry.” says the first person.

“How-ugh-who? Am I alive?” I grasp, wincing at the pain of talking.

“They didn’t inflict any fatal injuries on you.” answers one of the people, “Beyond that, you’ll have to ask someone else. We’re just medics, not soldiers.”

“Try not to talk.” says the other.

“I should be dead.” I say because I was certain that I was.

There was no way that Kamea and I could have beaten that Assault Lance and that is why I had to cover Kamea’s escape. So there should have been absolutely no way that I should be alive facing the same odds on my lonesome. Ejection didn’t work so I should have died along with my ‘Mech.

So why am I still alive?


New Borne Skill[]


Phantom ‘Mech. That’s what saved me. Apparently I have space magic powers or low-key psychic powers. It isn’t the first time that something completely ridiculous and supposedly impossible happened to me and the knowledge I have from the last time something like this happened indicates that I used Phantom ‘Mech.

The acceptance of my death, making a last stand to protect others even if it was just one person in this case, the enemy ‘Mech suddenly missing all of their shots. I have seen this before, in fanfics, in the Warrior trilogy, in the Kell Hounds sourcebook, on the forums and on the Sarna wiki, unreliable as it was.

Of course, I would give a good deal to have a copy of the Sarna wiki right now regardless of just how reliable it was.

It all fits. The only problem is that it has quickly become apparent that my Phantom ‘Mech ability isn’t working how I read about it. For starters, Phantom ‘Mech only worked for Morgan Kell and Y-something Kurita when they were in the cockpit of a ‘Mech. Meanwhile the doctors attending to me are baffled at why their equipment is refusing to acknowledge me on anything out of the visible spectrum.

Fortunately, they don’t need to cut me open. I don’t have any broken or fractured bones and they haven’t been able to find any signs of internal bleeding. No, I just have a concussion and an ungodly amount of bruising along my left side. Nothing that won’t have healed by the end of the month.

None of it stops me from getting involved in the aftermath of the raid once I have had my painkillers. And even if I really ought to be resting, I need to have my say in the unfolding events.


Recovery and Discussion[]


“Baroness Nora.” says High Lord Arano as he visits me the next day whilst I am lying in my hospital bed.

Officially speaking, I should be going to him not the other way around, but in this case, the fact I am hospitalized and he is not takes precedence over the usual formalities. Such as my attire consisting of a hospital gown rather than something more appropriate for speaking with your liege lord.

“Baroness?” I repeat in confusion.

I know I have a concussion, but I’m fairly certain that I was a mere lady, the only difference between myself and a knight being that I had a landholding rather than just a ‘Mech.

“You risked your life to save my daughter, the heir to both House Arano and the Aurigan Coalition, and you took out two of the Assault ‘Mechs, which is more tonnage than anyone else achieved.” says Lord Arano, “Even Sir Raju failed to reach the same heights as you in this raid. I need to publicly award that sort of behavior so you are being made a baroness. In title anyway as I will need to find you some suitable lands.”

“Seems like a bit much.” I say, “It isn’t like I actually sacrificed myself. I survived after all.”

“It is the fact that you were willing to sacrifice yourself and visibly acted upon that willingness.” explains Lord Arano, “As much as your humility does you credit, the feudal nature of society requires me to publicly reward you for your deeds. Your already substantial assets means that I cannot give you C-Bills or a BattleMech, but I can raise your title amongst the nobility.”

“Feudal duty, got it.” I agree, “What happened in the end? I don’t remember much.”

“The battle was effectively over by the time that you passed out.” answers Lord Arano, “We had taken out almost two companies of ‘Mechs and lost about that many in turn. We had inflicted heavier losses in terms of ‘Mech tonnage, but we had also suffered additional losses amongst our armored and infantry support. The majority of the enemy losses had belonged to the Grey Bulls and you and Kamea went and broke Arkos’ Amazons. So when Farron lost his nerve after your encounter with him, the battle was practically over because Farron Military Solutions was the only member of the raiders who still had an effective fighting force at that point.”

“How badly did we get hurt?” I ask, “That is the Royal Guard and your House Guard.”

“Not concerned about your losses?” inquires Lord Arano.

“If we had the tonnage advantage, you weren’t losing my ‘Mechs.” I tell him.

“A reasonable conclusion.” says Lord Arano, “An accurate one too. As to your question, the Aurigan Coalition has suffered a net gain thanks to this raid, at least in military terms and once we have finished repairing the salvage for it to be used once more. In terms of civilian recovery, we will need to sink C-Bills into fixing up the damage. Fortunately we were able to avoid any major urban centers so it is primarily roads and the odd structure that require rebuilding. Nothing you need to worry about though, it is a matter for the government to handle and it will be funded by the infrastructure budget.”

“Ah, okay.” I say as there is nothing else to say.

“Speaking of salvage, I’m afraid that we’ll need your involvement for a few matters involving it.” says Lord Arano as he gives an apologetic look, “With the various units involved on both sides, things have gotten a little complicated and as the owner of the Rimward Sentinels, your say is required to make sure everything is handled above the board.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but I’m only functional right now due to painkillers.” I point out.

“Of course I don’t expect a decision right now given your state, but things will ideally be handled within the next few days.” says Lord Arano, “I shall start with the fate of the Grey Bulls. As you are aware, some of our infantry captured both of their DropShips and with the majority of their ‘Mechs down. We were able to force the survivors into a surrender, especially once Farron bailed on them, and forgot to tell them so they would unwittingly cover his flight.

As per the usual standards for dealing with mercenaries who acted with good conduct, we offered to treat them as prisoners of war and let them go in exchange for ransom. Provided that they had no prior record of piracy or war crimes and we had no evidence that they have committed either of those deeds.”

At this point, a very satisfied grin appears on Lord Arano’s face.

“Unfortunately for them, we had captured all of their documentation along with their DropShips and Major Perry had kept records on most of their side jobs.” continues Lord Arano with relish, “With those records in hand, we had everything we needed to arrest them as pirates and as per our agreement with them, seize all of their remaining ‘Mechs, their DropShips and all of their supplies. Unfortunately, the majority of their C-Bills are stored away in a bank account so they get to keep that at least.”

“Still quite a haul.” I note.

“Indeed.” agrees Lord Arano before giving me a look, “Since members of the Royal Guard took both DropShips and all of the supplies aboard on their own. We’ll be keeping that for ourselves, but due to the mixed nature of the defense, all of the ‘Mechs will be going into the salvage pool.”

“And the other ‘Mechs?” I inquire and Lord Arano shifts a bit before letting out a sigh.

“We intend to ransom them back.” he says after a moment, “While the C-Bills would be a poorer prize compared to the ‘Mechs themselves, the goodwill of letting them go and the ill will from keeping them…I feel it would be best to ransom the machines back alongside the pilots. Farron Military Solutions is still a substantial multi-regimental unit with a regiment of ‘Mechs. And Captain Belinda Arkos is one of the best MechWarriors operating in this part of the galaxy. We would cripple her lance, but she has the skills to get them new machines and it would be highly undesirable for her to hold a grudge against the Coalition.”

“What’s my part-wait, we took down some of those ‘Mechs.” I say, grasping why Lord Arano is telling me this mid sentence, “Kamea and I. So the Rimward Sentinels have a claim to some of that salvage.”

“Correct and with the terms of our contract, you could use your priority items to claim most of it.” says Lord Arano before giving me a wiry grin, “Part of me is hoping that you’ll keep the Assault ‘Mechs. It would piss off Farron, but ‘Mechs of that weight are rare out here. Unless you happened to be Colonel Nora, who has a company of Atlases.”

“Right, right.” I mutter as I think it over, ignoring the slight headache that is coming on, “Let me speak with Mastiff first. I want his opinion before agreeing to anything.”

“Of course.” agrees Lord Arano, “That just leaves the combined salvage pile. I’ll have someone send you a list of what has been gathered up so you can choose your priority choices once you’ve made your decision on whether or not to claim the other items as salvage. There is no time pressure on that decision though it would be preferable to make it in a timely manner.”

“I’ll discuss that with Mastiff too.” I say.

“There are a couple more matters we need to discuss and then I’ll let you return to your rest.” says Lord Arano before pausing as if something has just occurred to him, “But first I should remember my manners. How are you, Elizabeth?”

Now that is a question, one I don’t fully know the answer to myself.

“Part of me is refusing to accept that I didn’t die in battle and that I am still alive.” I answer, “I am upset and angry that my home was attacked, that people came specifically to target me. Part of me feels guilty because the raid only took place to get at me. I am happy to be alive. But mostly I just feel painful because I am hurt and even with the painkillers, my injuries are still causing me some pain.”

“I see.” says Lord Arano, “Given the circumstances, I can’t say I am surprised that you are feeling so poorly. I hope that things will be better for you once you have finished physically recovering.”

“So do I.” I mutter, “So do I.”

“Anyway, you remember how a company of Royal Guard jump infantry captured two DropShips?” inquires Lord Arano.

“I do.” I confirm, wondering where he is going with this as we already covered who is keeping them and what was found aboard them.

“The cornet leading them was your half-sister, Moana Kalani.” says Lord Arano and my jaw drops in shock.

Is this concussion making me hear things?

“It was risky on her part, but the Grey Bulls made the mistake of committing all of their ‘Mechs to the frontline so she saw her chance.” says Lord Arano with some amusement as I stare at him, “The Dictator’s sensors are on the verge of breaking down entirely and the Mule was foolish enough to be depending on the Dictator for spotting threats so they didn’t get detected until they were boarding the ships. Since Cornet Kalani’s initiative resulted in the capture of two DropShips, a substantial amount of supplies and enough evidence of piracy to arrest the Grey Bulls, I have to publicly reward her for it. As part of the social contract of the Aurigan Coalition, I need to reward good service to encourage more of it
and your half-sister has more than earnt it.”

“Sister.” I say, “Not half-sister. We grew up together so she is just my sister.”

“As you wish.” says Lord Arano, “This raid is the first attack on Coromodir in some time so people are worried and scared even though we beat it back with minimal damage and loss of life to the civilian element. We need a public hero to distract people from the woes of the raid and Cornet Kalani’s actions have turned her into a hero for people to rally around.”

“She’ll love it or hate it.” I say with an involuntary bark of laughter, which causes me to wince in pain, “Moana will go along with it regardless if you frame it as a matter of duty. She takes that seriously like I do. More than I do given she enlisted in the ACM.”

“She’ll be made a baroness like you.” says Lord Arano, “Normally I would give a ‘Mech and make her a lady or baronetess if I was feeling generous, but I’ll be making a symbol out of her and that means the prestige of being a baroness. Provided she is up for the challenge.”

“She will be.” I say firmly, “Moana is made of the same stuff as me and willing to do what it takes. Will you still be giving her a ‘Mech as well?”

“I’m glad to hear your vote of confidence for her and yes, I’ll be giving her a ‘Mech though what it will be has yet to be determined.” says Lord Arano, “Even handing out replacements for those lost in battle, we will have one or two spare and if I am to make her the hero of this battle, she will need the prestige of being a MechWarrior. Now if we are done discussing the actions of your family in the raid, I would like to discuss those of my own.”

“Kamea.” I say grimly.

“Indeed.” confirms Lord Arano in a similarly sombre tone, “Despite being instrumental in eliminating Arkos’ Amazons as an effective fighting force, she abandoned her post and almost got both herself and you killed. I understand that a teenager and novice MechWarrior is going to be reckless to a degree, but she went too far this time. I’m just thankful that she realizes it.”

“That’s good.” I say, “I knew she had it in her.”

“I’m glad you have such faith in my daughter.” says Lord Arano.

“She is my friend and future liege lady.” I say as I cannot say the truth that I know her potential from my memories of a life where our universe was a mere work of fiction, “She isn’t a bad person or incompetent, she just needs to grow up.”

“And you almost dying to save her from her own stupidity has been the catalyst needed for that growth.” replies Lord Arano, “Or at least I hope it will be. My darling is certainly thinking about the consequences of her actions more.”

“War is hell.” I quote.

“Pithy.” says Lord Arano.

“Some pre-spaceflight Terran general from one of the World Wars.” I tell him and he nods his acknowledgement.

“If I may start off by being blunt, do you still want to keep Kamea as one of your MechWarriors?” asks Lord Arano, “Given she deserted her post in pursuit of glory.”

“Yes.” I answer without hesitation, “I’ll reconsider my answer if she does it again, but despite everything, I still trust her to watch my back and if I may also be blunt, I want the prestige of having the heir to House Arano and the Aurigan Coalition in my command lance.”

“I’ll relay her the good news then.” says Lord Arano, “She was quite worried that you might have decided to fire her for her little stunt. Now, I would like to discuss her punishment since I would like to involve you in it.”

“I’ll listen to what you have in mind, but I won’t agree to anything until I have heard it in full.” I tell him.

“While it would be a poetic punishment for what she did, it isn’t practical for her to be forbidden from using her ‘Mech.” says Lord Arano and I nod my agreement.

“She still needs to train to improve her skills and so forbidding her from doing that would just increase the likelihood of her getting herself killed in the future.” I say.

“Quite so.” says Lord Arano, “Instead I have chosen to make her your personal assistant for the rest of the year. With your permission, of course.”

Okay, now my concussion has to be making me hear things.

“I beg your pardon.” I tell him, certain that I must have heard Lord Arano wrong.

“Since you are having trouble managing your new responsibilities, I wish to assign Kamea to you as your personal assistant for the rest of thirty-fifteen.” says Lord Arano, “She is more than qualified for the task and I’m hoping that acting as a glorified secretary will teach her some humility. I trust you to treat her well and by doing this, I get to show that I trust you.”

“I am grateful for your trust in me.” I tell him after a moment to process it all, “I accept.”

“Excellent.” says Lord Arano, “I’ll have a formal contract written up for you to sign since I doubt you know where to start.”

“I’ve written up contracts for mercenaries.” I say, “That’s a start.”

“I suppose it is.” agrees Lord Arano, “Now we just need to address the elephant in the room before we go?”

“Lord Arano?” I inquire in confusion as I try to think about what…oh, that’s right.

“We received BattleROMs from both Farron and Arkos along with the ones retrieved from the ‘Mechs you took out.” says Lord Arano, “And then there is all of the trouble that the doctors are having with their equipment when it comes to you. To be blunt, you seem to be invisible to computers and nobody knows why.”

“Space magic or some kind of psychic power.” I answer with a shrug which makes me wince in pain at the motion, “That’s my best guess because it isn’t technological in nature. Or scientific for that matter. Unless you know something that I don't know about Phantom ‘Meching.”

“Phantom ‘Meching?” inquires Lord Arano.

“That’s what I’m calling it.” I hastily explain as I try to come up with a plausible explanation for that term, “Because I’m apparently a phantom to everyone else’s computers.”

“It is a good enough term as any, I suppose.” says Lord Arano before sighing, “I’ll leave you be now, Elizabeth. You need your rest and I have too much on my plate dealing with this attack.”

“Sure.” I say in reply before turning my attention to the ceiling as Lord Arano leaves the room.


Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
The aftermath of the battle and despite Elizabeth currently being hospitalised, I have decided to skip the actual treatments because it is boring and I don’t want to write treatment scenes so that stuff is all happening off-scene. Otherwise, we have Lord Arano discussing salvage, ransom and rewards with Elizabeth. We also get Kamea’s punishment because while banning her from piloting a mech would be fitting, it isn’t really constructive.

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