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A Warrior's Family (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 30[]

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A Warrior's Family[]


Raiders hell bent for Revenge[]

Monhegan
October 3029


Hap stepped out into the cold damp October morning. It was just before 0500. Minutes ago his only concern was that he was dreaming. He was warm, and in bed with the woman he loved. They were moments from kissing, moments from going much further. Then, just to prove it wasn't a dream, there was the emergency call to Ops. As the Barracks OIC he had to get everyone out of the barracks. This meant yelling at David and Joker to wake them up, and having to nearly pull Dillon out of his bed. Then he had to chase everyone out of the barracks. Now he had to quickly get to Ops.

The barracks shared the parking lot with the apartment and town houses, and there were several of the small ground ATV (All-Terrian Vehicles) parked in the lot. A few ATVs were designed to seat two and had an open back section for carrying gear, the others could seat six.

Hap saw Anastasia sitting in the back of a six seater with Tatyana and Sophia. Sophia was sitting in Tatyana's lap and all three were sharing a pink fleece blanket. Hap sat down next to Anastasia. All three Mechwarriors were wearing shorts, a cooling vest, and combat boots. In the morning air it was painful. Hap knew once he was in his BattleMech he'd be sweating, but at the moment he was shivering.

There wasn't enough blanket to share with Hap so he had to make do with sitting as close to Anastasia as possible. Sophia looked up from playing with her large grey and white stuffed dog to watch Hap. Hap reached for the toy teasingly and tried to pull it away from her as he asked, "May I have your dog?"

"Moy Volkcha" Sophia told Hap indignantly as she held onto it tightly.

"She loves her, V-" Tatyana paused "Wholf".

Hap held up his hands in surrender, and then addressed Tatyana, "Where's, Fletch?"

"Ze Ops Center. I get Sophia ready." Tatyana said as Joker started the ATV, and it lurched forward.

Joker pulled out of the parking lot as Anastasia asked, "Who's going to watch, Sophia?"

"Elinor I hope. If she is avake." Tatyana answered.

"Tetka?" Sophia asked and looked around expectantly.

"Yes, Auntie." Tatyana adjusted the blankets around her daughter. "You and Miss Volk and Tetka."

Sophie seemed pleased with this and snuggled with her mother. She was happy until Hap tried again to take her stuffed wolf. Sophia tightly clutched her toy and gave Hap a reproachful look.


In a few minutes they were in the ops center. It was crowded with MechWarriors, support staff, and watch standers. Hap spotted Erik, and noted he was wearing a warm looking leather jacket. Elinor was there, and Tatyana took her daughter over to her. When Elinor saw Sophia her eyes lit up and she flashed the child a large expressive smile. Sophia's laugh could be heard over the din of the Ops center.

Kelly stood up on the table near the Coffee Urn. "Alright, alright. I've pulled you out o' bed because Ahmed and his Immortals, 'ave decided to pay us a visit, and we need to prepare a reception for them."

Dropship Re-entry

Union Class DropShip making it's final approach to the planet.

There were murmurs and curses in multiple language. Hap glanced around the room, on several of the monitors was an image of a Union class dropship. A section of the sphere shaped DropShip was magnified to show a painted gold winged lioness holding a curved sword. Hap was sure it was a unit insignia, but he had never seen it before.

Hap glanced back at Kelly, and their eyes met. "Ye looked confused, young master Haphazard. Have ye never heard of Ahmed's Immortals?"

Hap shook his head, and before he could speak Kelly jumped off the table and the crowd parted as he walked toward the holo table. "I wouldn't have expected you would have." Kelly said, "To most people their just another minor Mercenary company. They usually operate around Marik and Steiner space. That image was taken a few hours ago by an orbital satellite. I had to tell the locals to look for that unit crest, because they didn't know them either." Kelly pulled out his pipe,"but we know them well."

Kelly searched his pockets for his tobacco pouch, "Farrah Ahmed's story is much like my own. He started a small Mercenary unit with his three sons. He took whatever jobs he could find and did well enough."

Kelly found the pouch and began tapping tobacco into his pipe's bowl. "Then one day we found ourselves across the battlefield from each other, My brother killed his eldest son. It was fair combat, nothin' intentional. His boy's cockpit was destroyed. In my mind it was just the nature of the business."

Kelly put his pouch away and pulled out a long wooden match. "Farrah disagreed. He and his remaining sons withdrew but within a month we 'happened' to find ourselves working for opposing clients. This time he prepared a nice little trap for us, we fought through, but it was a nasty fight. After that it seemed we'd often 'jest happen' to take a job and finding Ahmed's Immortals waiting for us, or, like today, they 'happen' to show up a few days after we start work."

Kelly lit his pipe and thoughtfully smoked for a moment, "He eventually killed Llewyn, and I'd hoped that would have been the end of it. My brother was dead, his son was avenged. Eye for an eye. But that was a nasty bit of night fightin'. One of his other sons ejected from his 'Mech, and someone stepped on him during the melee. He might have been dead before he hit the ground, it might have been one of the Immortals that stepped on him. But Farrah blamed us, and his hatred managed to get worse."

Kelly looked like he had more to say, but he just took another draw on his pipe, then slowly exhaled. "Roweyena, lets see what Commander Ahmed is bringing to the fight."

Roweyena sat down at a terminal and after a few key strokes, she nodded over to John Saint. He pressed a button on his console, and one of the screens displaying the DropShip was replaced by a the MRB's report containing the Table of Organization and Equipment for Ahmed's Immortals.

Anastasia asked Roweyna, "One Mercenary Company can query the Mercenary Review Board to pull up information on another Mercenary Company?"

"Well, no." Rowyena said with mock innocence, "But as the owner and proprietor of the Iron Wolfhounds LLC, and as the holder of a sub-contracting license, I can request information on potential mercenary companies that I may wish to hire or sub-contract for a job. It comes in handy from time-to time."

"And most Mercenaries avoid fightin' each other out of professional courtesy." Kelly said.

Hap studied the screen.


========================================================================================================
Ahmed's Immortals TO&E:
Command Lance
BNC-3S Banshee BLR-1G Battle Master STK-3F Stalker ARC-2R Archer

Aggressor Lance
ON1-K Orion TDR-5S Thunderbolt TRB Trebuchet HBK-4P Hunchback

Recon Lance
VL-2T Vulcan SDR-5V Spider FLE 15 Flea STG-3R Stinger

========================================================================================================


Hap nudged John Saint and asked him to bring up their TO&E. He pressed a few keys and then projected it on the screen next to the Immortal's TO&E


========================================================================================================

McFinnigan and Sons TO&E
Command Lance
HGN-733 Highlander CP-10-Z Cyclops AWS-8Q Awesome STK-3F Stalker

Pursuit Lance
DRG-1G Grand Dragon WVR-6M Wolverine KTO-18(mod) Kintaro VLK-QA Valkyrie

Fire Support Lance
JM6-A JagerMech CPLT-C4 Catapult TBT-5N Trebuchet DV-6M Dervish

Recon Lance
GRF-1N Griffin VLK-QA(mod) Valkyrie FS9-H Firestarter JR7-D Jenner

========================================================================================================


"It would be foolishness to attack us with just a company." Anastasia said quietly to Hap.

"Right." Fiona agreed, "We have more 'Mechs, and we're in the defensive. This can't be their complete force package." Hap glanced over his shoulder to see Fiona and Crow standing behind him.

Kelly studied the Immortals TO&E, "That's about all that'll fit in ah Union. Keep in mind Commander Ahmed has taken things personally. He's not making good business decisions or wise tactical choices. He sees McFinnigan and Sons and all he thinks about is revenge. When was this updated?"

Rowyena tabbed a few pages, "The TO&E is about six months old, but look at their active contract list. They started working for the Capellans last week. Got hired to do a mission to probe Davion defenses."

Kelly motioned for her to page down to the company manifest. "Hmmm… His last son is still listed as an active member, but I'd heard he'd died, also I thought we destroyed that Stalker last time we fought."

Fletch was standing near the coffee urn waiting for Jennifer Lan to finish filling her giant, nearly two liter, travel mug. "I'm with Fiona, boss. Ahmed, has proven to have a blind spot when it comes to us, but if he's bringing a company or a company minus a 'Mech, into a fight with us, he's lost his mind."

"He may have heard we lost our recon lance on Klathandu, and fancies he can take advantage of us while he thinks we're reconstituting." Kelly laughed meanly, "Jokes on him, though. We're stronger than ever. Besides we all know we're going to fight with him, what are you concerned about?"

"This data is old, and he could have a couple aerospace fighters in the Union. Air Support could change the dynamics of this fight." Fletch said.

"We can take down fighters." Fiona replied, "The Jagermech-A was made for it, and I can coordinate the rest of my lance. Fighters might distract us, but it won't take us away from the fight long."

"Perhaps it's time Roweyna subcontracted out a little help for us." Kelly said, "From what I've heard this world is brimming with Mercenaries lookin' for work."

Stuka Heavy Fighter (Battletech Space Wars Game Mod)

Stuka Heavy Aerospace Fighter

Roweyna closed the Immortals' TO&E and opened a list of available Mercenary Units in the area. Kelly studied the screen, and then used his pipe stem to point to a unit. "Open up the report on the Golden Eagles." She clicked on the link, and Kelly nodded, "A flight of Stukas. Two 100 ton aerospace fighters should stack up just fine against whatever Amhed tries to include in his formation."

"I'll put in the proposal immediately." Roweyna replied

"Wait, go back to the list." Kelly said and then he nodded as he smoked his pipe. "Robert's Rangers, they're the nasty sort of men I need to end this problem once and for all."

Rowena looked confused as she clicked on their report. It listed a simple ten man team and a few support vehicles. The specialties for the team included: Asset Seizure/Repossession, Bounty Hunting, Direct Action, Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA), Hostage Rescue, Low/Zero Gravity Combat.

Fletch looked up from stirring his coffee, "Who the hell are those guys?"

"They're the guys a smart noble calls when he'd rather pay someone to kill terrorists than pay a ransom for an abducted child. This is the lot the First Commonwealth Bank calls when a company defaults on a loan and they have to repossess a DropShip. When LIC wants to scare new recruits they tell stories about Brendan Robert and his boys." Kelly's smoked his pipe as his eyes twinkled.

"Brendan Robert recruits special forces operators that specialize in hostile ship boarding operations, and hostage rescue. They're some daring sons of bitches." Patrick said as he started filling his coffee cup.

"Horseshit." Fletch said, "If they're that good why have I never heard of them?"

"Two reasons, Mr. Fletcher, two reasons. First they're so good, you've seen their handiwork and didn't know it. Remember that 'unsolved mystery' from a few years back where that Dropship, the Maria Dorn, was found with all hands missing? That was Robert's Rangers. They camped out two days on an asteroid and then used jump packs to move 2,000 kilometers in open space and timed it just right to catch a Jump Ship just before it jumped. Then killed the entire crew of the Maria Dorn, and before the next jump they spaced the bodies and floated to a waiting dropship." Kelly gave Fletch a smug smile.

Fletch took a long draw on his cigarette and exhaled smoke while giving Kelly an irritated look. "Before I play your little game, and ask the second reason. I'm going to tell you that General Horzdorf knew that dropship was used by LIC for running weapons to 'freedom fighters' in the Rasalhague Military District. He always suspected Heimdell had something to do with the mysterious loss of all hands. "

Patrick shook the urn to get the last of the coffee, "Not sayin' anyone is anything, but if I were a Heimdell cell needin' to maintain certain special skills I might 'hide in plain sight' as a mercenaries."

Kelly gave Patrick a reproachful look. As Fletch got more annoyed, "We're hiring a group of terrorist or folk-hero-rogue-counter-intelligence-operatives to repossess another man's dropship?"

"Well Dad is Brendan's godfather, so they're almost like family." Patrick spooned sugar into his coffee.

Fletch shook his head, "Yeah, and the idea that part of your extended family is considered terrorists by most house lords wouldn't surprise me."

"In my mind, yer part o' the extended family too." Kelly matched Fletch's cold stare.

Fletch sipped his coffee, "I'm guessing you've given these 'gentlemen' some assistance."

"Perhaps, a while back." Kelly said then glanced at Patrick, "Back when we were smaller and did better at keepin' secrets. I won't confirm or deny what Robert's Rangers is, but you lot keep it to yourselves."

"Dad, I don't see an indication that the Immortals' DropShip in default." Rowyena said.

"It doesn't need to be." Kelly said "That DropShip is being used for a hostile military operation which makes it a military target. Every time we get into a fight with the Immortals they withdraw when they realize they're losing. I want to end this cycle. I've had enough of the Immortals showing up at inconvenient times to harass us. It's time we just defeat them in detail."

Rowyena nodded, "I'll send them a proposal as well. Anyone else you want to call up?"

"No one we need to hire." Kelly said, "Kitty, I need you to call up your new friend, the militia commander, and tell him I'll need his artillery." Kelly started to pull up maps on the holotable.

Fletch walked over to the table, "Boss, badass Heimdell agents or not, I have no idea how you think a commando team is going to steal a DropShip in broad day light in the middle of a military operation."

"We'll call up Brendan and the three of us will do some serious thinking and planning." Kelly said as he studied the maps of the mountain chain near the starport. "Odds are good Farrah will land on the other side of the mountain chain to protect his DropShip and then try haul ass through the mountains." Kelly smoked his pipe for a moment, pointed his pipe at a natural bowl in a mountain pass. "Hap, take the Coyotes and look at this area. I need a good place to murder a company of 'Mechs. Find me somewhere I can put half the family, array my fire support on a good military crest, and force any 'Mechs approaching us to come in single file."

"Understood, Sir." Hap said remembering Klathandu "I think I know what you're looking for."

"Good. The Immortals should be on the ground in roughly six hours. I'll need you're report in two hours. Off you go." Hap motioned to his Lance and started to walk as Kelly looked around the room then yelled, "Erick, I can't see you, but if-"

"I'm here, Boss." Erik called out.

"Get that new drone ready. It's going to see a lot of use today. Oh, and Erick, I need that Centurion we have in scrap put back together." Kelly told him

"I never got the replacement Luxor Autocannon in." Erick said.

"No matter, I just need a functioning Mech with an LRM 10. Conner or Dillon can operate it." Kelly said.

The Coyotes left the Ops center as Kelly started giving out more orders. The Dullahans were going to screen the swamp to the north to discourage the Immortals from landing there. The last thing Hap heard the commander put out was a warning that he may change up lance allocations.


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