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

Chapter 5[]

Dead Man's Hand: The Kowloon Job[]

Planetary Command Center
Malibu
Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
10th April, 3054


Nathan Roshak and Henry sat in the formers office, which had previously belonged to the planets Duke, and went over what little information they had on the approaching mercenaries.

"I ran the woman's face through our database, and got a match." Henry pulled up a file on the portable holographic projector that had been placed on the conference table between them, "Her name is, apparently, really is Joker. Obviously not her birth name, but the only name on file for her with the MRBC and AFFC. She was on Tamar when the Wolves invaded..." his voice trailed off for a moment, something his superior chose, tactfully, to ignore, "According to the report the Watch put together, she was in hospital recovering from exposure to an unidentified hallucinogenic. Despite this, she somehow managed to not only evade capture, but draw the Wolves out of position and raid the spaceport, capturing the same DropShip they seem like using now, and escape off-world with a number of civilians."

"I feel the sudden need to buy her a drink." Nathan Roshak chuckled, "Anyone who embarrasses the Wolves like that can not be entirely bad, mercenary or not."

"Evidently embarrassed them enough that, according to the Watch, Khan Natasha Kerensky has taken a personal interest." Henry handed over a data-pad, "Should they discover we have had contact with them..."

"You mean captured them and taken them as Bondsman, Quiaff?"

"Neg. I can not say why, but I have the feeling that they are are not the kind to allow themselves to be taken as Bondsman."

"You did, and look at you now: not only a Abtakha, but a Star Captain." said Nathan

"I hardly think that I could be considered a good example of the average Inner Sphere MechWarrior: I grew up on a world that has known nothing but pain, death and suffering for most of its history. I have seen the scars of the endless, senseless wars that the House Lords insist on fighting, even as they slowly grind humanity to dust between them. Elizabeth, my sister, the one who sent these mercenaries, she has a favorite saying: We have lost so much knowledge we no longer know what we have forgotten. I see all that the Clans are, all they can do for the people of the Inner Sphere, not the corrupt, uncaring Lord's they serve, and it is all I can do not to weep."

"You told me once that your sister is dying..." commented Nathan

"Cholmann's Syndrome. And I have asked: even for the Clans, it is still an incurable condition. The New Avalon Institute of Science like to claim they have a possible treatment that could at least stop it from progressing further, but after what they did to our Great Uncle... Liz would die rather than set foot in Davion space."

"We have come so far, and yet still have so much further to go." Nathan Roshak lent back in his chair, deep in thought, "An idea does occur to me, and I would ask you to hear me out before calling for a Circle of Equals and beating me senseless."

"Oh, this has to be good." Henry chuckled, "What crazy scheme have you come up with this time?"

"We lose this battle, you go home to Kowloon, and prepare its people for the day they become part of Clan Jade Falcon." there was an odd calm to his friend and commanders voice, even as he skirted the edge of treason with his words, "You are the elder: you have a stronger claim to your sisters title, even if she... even if not for her condition. You would have a voice amongst the leadership of the Federated Commonwealth..."

"Right up until Loki arranged a little 'accident'." Henry shook his head, "I understand where you are coming from: far better to win a battle without having to fight, should you wish to rule over anything more than a pile of rubble, but the system is too broken to be fixed, even from within. No; they need to be forced to listen to reason, even if we need to hold a gun to their heads first."


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