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Trial of Possession
Minette, Minette Operational Area
Crucis March, Federated Suns
8th November 3100

Anna Devalis screamed in anger and in pain as the short-range missile exploded just above her head as it slammed into the Marauder C’s head. Despite the armour put onto a BattleMech’s head damage caused to it always had the tendency to throw a pilot around. Devalis’ Devils had been busy over the last few months after the operation on Woodbine they had been officially hired by the Federated Suns as a pirate hunting unit. They’d been shipped to Savonburg where they’d squared off against a raiding party there, they’d destroyed a small pirate unit capturing one of their Hammerhands BattleMechs along with several vehicles. Not having the crews for the vehicles, the Devils had sold them back to the Federated Suns making a little extra cash while Tech Connie Neilson had been promoted to MechWarrior status to pilot the salvaged Mech. “Ed, cut to the right!” She commanded “rip into these Clanners!” She said angrily she knew her transmission would be picked up by the employer but she wasn’t only playing for them the Nova Cats were causing her unit some serious damage. As she spoke Everardo Gout in his brand-new Argus AGS-3H stepped past her Mech heading off to the right-hand flank of the Nova Cat star they were facing.

The Devalis Devils had been recalled to Minette following the action on Savonburg initially for some rest and refit but now they were facing off against their fellow Clansmen in battle in a surprise Trial of Possession launched by the Clan. The Nova Cats often raided the Federated Suns and vice-versa the two sides had fallen into a routine of raid and retreat rarely exchanging large numbers of worlds. Gout brought down a Nova Cat Hankyu with a heavy salvo of long-range missiles from its two arm launchers. The thirty-ton OmniMech quickly picked itself up and began to retreat. “We’re turning them around” Anna Devalis communicated to her troops seeing Nova Cats begin to retreat “push now!” She ordered and her short company of Mechs stepped forward with militia forces either side of her unit, as the Marauder C moved forwards she activated a relay on her targeting system which would send information to the Nova Cats as she marched forwards ensuring at least some of their findings made it back to their Clan. As she did another laser blast savaged the right-hand torso armour on her Mech Anna spun her Mech’s torso to the left seeing a Black Hawk BattleMech. The recently produced fifty-ton BattleMech was built by Clan Hell’s Horses as a “cheap” version of the Nova OmniMech Anna hadn’t been aware of any in Nova Cat service but was read to answer the threat it possessed immediately letting rip with both pulse lasers and her Mech’s over shoulder autocannon. She felt the familiar vibration as it unleashed fire on the enemy Mech, then the wave of heat rising through her cockpit followed by the satisfying impacts on the Black Hawk seeing both pulse lasers cut into the left leg while the autocannon cut across the Mech’s torso.

The Black Hawk pilot returned fire with both torso lasers hitting the Marauder with one weapon as the lighter Mech lit off jump jets to jump past her Mech only to be caught mid-jump by a huge volley of long-range missiles fired by her militia allies. The missiles impacted all across the Black Hawk blowing through the right leg armour severing the leg below the knee and collapsing the torso armour. Even as the Mech rose the sudden loss of so much armour and one limb threw off the jump causing it to lose control the pilot quite rightly ejected from the out of control BattleMech exiting the Mech as it rose into the air Anna could see the pilot eject clearly from the Mech and travel across the militia’s lines. Should they survive, and be captured, she’d make a point at speaking to him the pilot had courage to engage a larger Mech even as his forces retreated. For now, she had a raiding party to drive off.

---

Hours later Anna Devalis was in the militia base visiting the stockade to “gloat” over the pilot who stood up to her she was a young woman with long blonde hair which was tied back into a ponytail her Nova Cat issue black jumpsuit looked like it was in good condition while she had some small cuts on her knuckles where it looked like she’d been in a fight. Her militia guard had escorted the victorious mercenary into the prison cells without issue and now she stood across from a Nova Cat MechWarrior who had been captured following the battle. “MechWarrior, I am Anna Devalis, the commander of Devalis’ Devils you piloted the Black Hawk that engaged me in combat?” She said Anna saw the confusion from the MechWarrior in her name. “Answer me.”

“Yes, I did” she answered still looking confused.

“Very good, you will be taken as my prisoner” she said seeing the militia guard’s surprise “their culture has a right that allows a victorious MechWarrior to take their opponent as a prisoner. I intent on personally dealing with this MechWarrior and I could use her expertise in maintaining her Mech which we have also taken as salvage.” She explained

“You did not defeat me in honorable combat, you had assistance from the surat armour…” the MechWarrior began but Anna Devalis struck out with a punch catching her across the side of the face knocking her down.

“I have defeated you in combat. You will serve my mercenary command now.” Anna Devalis said forcefully.

Seyla the young woman replied as she began to get back up, the guard looked confused at her response but Anna Devalis did not, stepping forwards she kicked the MechWarrior in the stomach as she began to rise knocking her down again.

“Its Clan speak, we’ll knock that out of her trust me she’ll learn how to speak properly.” Devalis sneered looking down at the downed MechWarrior as she coughed trying to grasp breath. Devalis leaned down so she was close to her “trust me, stay down, we will make sure you understand how things work from now on.” She said before standing down “my people will come over this afternoon after they have picked up the Black Hawk and collect her, if that is ok?”

“Affirmative, Captain, we look forward to seeing you again. Personally, I’m glad you know how to deal with these Clanners, if you’re looking for recruits, I’m sure we could find you some on Minette.” The guard said enthusiastically he was young and no doubt was born and bred on Minette and full of pride that he served his home planet.

“That may be something we look at.” Anna Devalis said stepping out of the cell trying to hide her disgust at the young man’s disdain for her people and at how she’d had to deal with a fellow Clan warrior.

---

Hours later Anna Devalis was at her desk with Lieutenant Eric Storm at the other desk adjacent to the door when the office door opened and in entered the newly captured MechWarrior her right eye was turning black as a bruise formed from the punch Anna had inflicted. “Welcome to Devalis’ Devils camp tech…” Anna Devalis said standing up and around the table to greet the newcomer.

“Kathryn” she answered glancing at Eric “I assume since I have been left unshackled or escorted since I entered this base and treated with more respect than I have been shown all day, we are all Nova Cats here quiaff?”

Aff, tech, I am Anna Devalis Nova Cat Watch.” Devalis explained “we are on a mission from the Khan to scout the Federated Suns for future operations. You have been taken as a Bondsman to this command you will officially serve as the Tech on your Black Hawk however as we are short on qualified MechWarriors I would expect you to fit into this command quickly, quiaff?”

“Aff, Captain, I will do what I can. Tell me do we observe any Clan customs within this unit?”

“Only when in private otherwise we act like the mercenaries the Federated Suns expect us to be.” Anna Devalis explained “which means our entire time here on Minette is as mercenaries which is why I treated you as I did…” Devalis began to explain only to be interrupted as Kathryn swung and punched her back, Devalis had half expected the punch and did not lose her footing but Eric did rise from his chair ready to react but Anna waved him off.

“I owed you that, Captain.”

“Aff, you did, next time I’ll deal with you in our way.” Anna promised her Kathryn nodded her understanding they were even for now. “Your Black Hawk needs to be rebuilt, we have parts to rebuild the leg, the cockpit should be repairable and fortunately the engine was not destroyed. Do you understand?” Kathryn nodded “very good, get to it tech” she said dismissing the young woman Eric smirked as she left.

“She should be fun” he said watching her go.

“She has not been trained in the ways of the Watch, she is a Clan warrior, much of our behaviour will be alien to her. We need to mold her into our ways.” She explained understanding the behavior.

“She’s our Clankin” Eric said looking at Anna Devalis after a moment of thought “if she reacts to us like this how will the rest of our Clan react to us when we return?”

“That will be up to the Khan, when in private we must remind each of our people where we came from.” She said Eric nodded in agreement “we need to perform a Chronicle of Battles once we are able, it will bind our people together and to our beliefs.”


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