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Deadman's Hand - The Kowloon Job (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 10[]

Dead Man's Hand: The Kowloon Job[]

Militia Proving Grounds
Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
14th April, 3054

Henry carefully maneuvered his Nova through a maze of what looked like boilers, or other pressure tanks. Someone had obviously attempted to salvage some of them at one point, leaving massive, jagged holes that had then been eaten away at by rust and the occasional stray shot from a training exercise. Enough remained to limit his line of sight, but also hide his OmniMech from the enemy.

Pausing, he listened carefully: he could hear the sound of something moving around in the massive, vaulted shell of a factory, but he could not tell what.

He had been attempting to flank the Shadow Hawk, but he had lost it amid the bombed-out ruins of an administrative block. He had tried to circle back, only to be cut off by an exchange of fire between Shelby's Conjurer and its Inner Sphere counterpart, a name he had learnt to never say aloud. He had watched as a burst of autocannon fire had tore into the left leg of his lovers Mech, and had almost moved to engage her opponent, before reminding himself that, until the mercenaries broke Zellbrigen, honor demanded that he stay his hand and trust that she would prevail.

Ducking back into the old factory, he had consulted his map, trying to work out just where the Shadow Hawk could have gone. This had led him to the massive chamber filled with old boilers that had been too big or expensive to easily remove. Given some looked to be almost the size of a DropShip, he could see why: they had probably been assembled in place, then the building constructed around them, a testament to the long lost prowess of the Star League.

A faint trace appeared on his sensors, indicating that something was in the next chamber, an area marked on his map as having once been a maintenance bay for the massive IndustrialMechs that had been employed by the factory complex. The wall between them was thick, built to withstand the blast of one of the boilers exploding, but there was an option...

Looking up, he could see a massive window, easily there stories high, almost completely devoid of glass. Judging by the map, it looked out over the roof of the maintenance bay.

It was a calculated risk, but it was probably the last thing the other MechWarrior would expect. Crouching, he fired his jump-jets, sending the Nova up and out through the window. The twisted remains of the frame exploding around him. Feathering his jets, he brought the Nova down onto the roof of the maintenance bay, which promptly gave way under the weight.

Cursing under his breath, he fired the jets again. Cushioning the landing somewhat, but still making a more dramatic entrance than he had intended.

Looking round, he saw the hulking form of the Archer standing by the doorway. In its hand it held a massive structural support, one end still encased in a lump of ferrocreat. It turned slowly to face him, and he could almost see the smile on the other pilots face as they started to pound the impromptu club into their free hand.

"Oh shit..."

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