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Trial of Possession
Mararn, Nova Cat’s Den
Periphery
22nd February 3102

The Devalis’ Devils had a busy year assisting several Federated Suns worlds with pirate hunting and anti-Clan raids against Clan Nova Cat. They had traveled through the systems of Cogdell, Filtvelt, Baxley, Gillingham, and they had raided several Nova Cat worlds. During their time on Filtvelt Anna Devalis had made the decision to hire Matt Wilsbacher a local born MechWarrior to pilot the Bushwacker the unit had captured on Hahira. He had proved himself in battle several times against pirates and while he was inexperienced in fighting the Nova Cats he’d proven he wished to help the unit as a warrior and an able technician, the unit had now spent months dancing around Wilsbacher hiding the unit’s origin from him.

As part of their Federated Suns contract, they were now on the world of Mararn, which was held by Clan Nova Cat, engaged in a Trial of Possession for a pair of OmniMech that the Clan had targeted. Both OmniMechs were actually Inner Sphere models a Blackjack and an Arctic Fox that the Nova Cats had captured from the Federated Suns which is most likely why the Clan had entertained the Trial of Possession, or at least how the Devils would explain it if they were ever asked, as part of the Trial Anna Devalis had requested and been granted safcon which brought them to the surface safely.

Now standing on the warm desert world of Mararn the eleven active members of the Devalis’ Devils stood waiting for the battle to begin. Anna Devalis dialled into the third lance to listen in on the conversation between the MechWarriors.

“Boss, why did they let us land, it disnae mak’ sense, we’re mercs? The Clanners hate mercenaries.” This was Matt Wilsbacher his Filtvelt accent was unmissable with cut off and merged worlds as were his contractions.

“The Captain asked for Safcon, it’s a Clan thing that allows us to land without harassment.” Lito explained his own use of contractions surprised Anna as she listened. “The Nova Cats have fought us more than a dozen times they know who we are, and they know we’ll fight them the way they want, so you need to fight the way we taught you. This is the Clans we’re fighting we need to fight them their way.” Listening to her fellow Nova Cat Anna was surprised by the contractions used by Lito, it made her realize her people were becoming more like the people they were living with. It wasn’t a surprise she had expected her people to become more mercenary like and with the addition of a Federated Suns born MechWarrior in their ranks the change would be accelerated.

“I got ye, Lito, ye dinae need to worry about me.” He responded before Anna cut off the feed seeing the Nova Cat commander had answered them. As part of the trial Clan Nova Cat had sent against them a single star of Mechs and a mixed star of vehicles and battle armor which Anna had split the command star would target the enemy Mechs while the second and third stars would be going after the mixed vehicle and battle armour star.

Anna targeted a Nova Cat Hellbringer with her pulse lasers and fired her challenge at the enemy, playing the part of mercenaries they did not call out challenges like a Clan warrior would instead it was all done by targeting data. Each of the Devalis’ Devils had their own targets and each of them had been instructed not to target anyone else until a free target came up or the Nova Cats challenged them to a fight.

---

Deeper in the battle Eric Storm ran into battle with his modified Snake BattleMech he’d been directed as part of the battle to target a point of Nova Cat Elementals and then clean up the vehicles if there were any left and his forty-five-ton Mech with its ultra-class autocannon, short range missiles and medium laser was perfect for that task. His first missiles struck several of the warriors while his autocannon blasts exploded around. The Clan warriors weathered his returning fire with their short-range missiles several of which slammed into the Snake. Feeling the impacts of the missiles Eric didn’t stop his Mech moving instead he leaned into the hits before jumping his Mech around them continuing to pour weapons fire on the point. Against a fast moving BattleMech while the Elementals were tough, they couldn’t keep up with his movements or his fire and after expending their second volley of missiles, of which only two struck his stealth armoured Mech they were now reduced to short range lasers. He had no intention on closing to a distance where the armoured warriors could jump up onto his Mech instead his longer ranged weapons would finish them easily.

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While new to the Devalis Devils Matt Wilsbacher had fought the Nova Cats before, on Filtvelt, during a Clan raid against his homeworld he had fought as an infantry man for the Filtvelt Citizens Militia in support of the Third Filtvelt Guardians Regiment his unit had been a missile support unit and he was certain at least one of his short range missiles had struck one of the invaders BattleMechs but otherwise he’d had a quiet day as the battle was concluded miles from his position. Today he was fighting them in a fifty-five-ton Bushwacker BattleMech armed with a fast firing anti-armour autocannon, two small racks of long-range missiles, machine guns and an extended range large laser. Stalking forwards he targeted the pair of forty-ton Joust Main Battle Tank he’d initially been assigned to target. He hadn’t liked that he’d been assigned to mop up armour but he’d decided to take the challenge in his stride. As he closed both tanks opened up on him with their large lasers and missiles one laser scored a hit while the other flew through the air beside his Mech while the missiles peppered the torso armour of his squat Mech. As he closed in on his targets, he opened fire with his own missiles and large laser striking one of the vehicles with his laser burning an ugly scar over its left side while the missiles missed. He’d worked hard to get used to firing missiles from his new platform but still he struggled with the targeting system for them. “Practice makes perfect” he thought and fired another salvo of missiles this time seeing at least one missile struck one of the tanks. As he entered his autocannons range both tanks fired again this time both lasers struck staggering his Bushwacker into a stumble while some of the missiles struck. Suddenly Matt went from being on the offence to trying to keep his big BattleMech standing he fired his autocannon defiantly at the two Mechs but missed completely watching the shells rip up the ground beside the two vehicles which were now charging forwards confident.

Unfortunately for the two Jousts Matt kept his Mech standing and was ready for the two tanks as they closed he heard an audible click as the autocannon reloaded and fired again this time scoring a hit on the left vehicle, he noticed his long range missiles had reloaded and his laser was ready to fire again and let rip against the right hand vehicle scoring hits with the laser and most of his missiles. The brave vehicle crews continued forwards firing lasers and missiles as they attacked Matt instinctively ducked his Bushwacker and was rewarded watching the missiles fly over his Mech but both lasers again struck the armour this time penetrating the armour on his Mech’s right arm fortunately the Bushwacker had no weapons or equipment there he needed to worry about.

The two Jousts were trying to move either side of him as they closed and Matt let them running directly at the one on the right while twisting his Mech’s torso to track the other he fired his autocannon and laser adding his machine guns as the range closed to fire on one vehicle while literally running his BattleMech into the other vehicle delivering a crippling blow to the vehicle shredding its track.

Machine gun salvos, missiles and lasers filled the air between the two vehicles an his Bushwacker as Matt Wilsbacher delivered a killing blow to the tank, he’d kicked by punching it with his BattleMech’s left arm. The Bushwacker’s battle fist went straight through the top of the crippled tank causing the armor to fail crushing the top of the turret. The Bushwacker was rocked by another laser blast and more missile hits from the second Joust as Matt pulled the left arm out of the Joust and turned towards the other target. With one enemy down he now had the task of tracking down the other vehicle.

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Elsewhere in the battle MechWarrior Gerald stepped forwards against the enemy Nova Cat OmniMech. As the heaviest Mech of the second star he’d been selected as the Mech to take on the fifth enemy Mech which just happened to be a Nova Cat. Gerald thought it was poetic he’d fought for Clan Nova Cat for thirty years but had never proven himself more capable than being a MechWarrior, in other Clans Gerald would have been resigned to being a solahma but the Nova Cats allowed him to remain as a MechWarrior respecting that age brought wisdom and experience. Now he was fighting against the Clan as part of a mission for the Clan, it made little sense, but perhaps it was how it should be.

As he marched his Excalibur forwards, he struck the Nova Cat with the Excalibur’s particle cannon and long-range missiles while the Nova Cat’s paired particle cannons struck the Excalibur in return. His seventy-ton Mech shuddered and buckled under the double particle cannon hit as nearly two tons of armor was shredded in a single attack. The Nova Cat OmniMech was a hard hitting Mech designed to engage and destroy Mechs of all sizes and Gerald knew he was out matched but he was at peace with it, he knew what was needed of him from this battle. Stepping forwards he fired his particle cannon and lasers again striking the Nova Cat causing damage but not enough to faze the Clan warrior instead it raised its other arm which held three large lasers and engaged him with another salvo of weapons fire. All three large lasers struck his Excalibur’s right leg burning through and shattering the armour and structure underneath causing the heavy Mech to stumble forwards Gerald fought the Mech with all his strength returning fire but missing with his missiles with most of them slamming into the ground all around the Nova Cat as he tried to control the Excalibur.

Regaining control of his seventy ton Mech Gerald raised the Excalibur’s particle cannon to engage the Nova Cat again but saw that the Nova Cat was already in position “I live in service of Clan Nova Cat, I die in service…” he whispered as both arms of the Nova Cat lit up at and engaged the Excalibur with a full alpha strike. Particle cannons and lasers tore through the Excalibur’s armor and structure shattering any remaining resistance that was left in the Mech the combination of weapons fire tore through the structure which held the Mech’s extra light fusion engine and caused a minor internal explosion. The feedback through the neuralhelmet caused by the explosion knocked Gerald unconscious meaning he had no defense nor did he feel the follow up particle cannon blast which consumed his cockpit killing the MechWarrior.

---

One the sunbaked plain of Mararn the words had come through the communications system quite clearly. “In battle I have defeated them, I claim these tanks as Isorla for Devalis Devils.” the from Matt Wilsbacher could be heard for all on the field. They had been transmitted after the second Joust had surrendered after being disabled by the Bushwacker.

Now that the battle was over and the words were said Anna Devalis would have to add the surviving six crewmen from the Jousts and the single salvageable tank to their number as was Clan tradition. The Devalis’ Devils had been victorious over the Nova Cats she’d received a communication from Star Colonel Alex Drummond the commander of the Nova Cat’s Eighth Roar Cluster thanking her for giving their older warriors honorable deaths, granting the unit Safcon to leave and wishing them well for the future. The border commands of Clan Nova Cat would by now have been made aware of the Devalis’ Devils mission, Alex Drummond would have been well aware that they were fighting another Clan unit and had used it as an opportunity to allow the older members of their command to die with honor. The Devalis’ Devils had secured their victory and the two targeted Trial OmniMechs, while losing two of their own MechWarriors in the battle but claiming one Nova Cat MechWarrior and two vehicle crews overall a net increase in personnel and equipment for the command.

Before the command’s Union-class DropShip left Mararn Captain Anna Devalis mustered them all in the DropShip’s Mechbay standing in front of the captured Blackjack and Arctic Fox OmniMechs which had been delivered by the Nova Cats. “Congratulations of a victory against Clan Nova Cat on this world, it was a hard-fought battle and we lost a couple of friends but we have gained what we came for and we have added several new members to our command.” She began “To the new members of this unit only one of the main battle tanks we captured is salvageable, in the meantime we will use each of you to crew the operational tank and all of you will be welcome to fight simulated Trials of Position for a position to become the pilot of one of the two Mechs behind me.” She said surprising them while all the warriors were middle aged or so most of them had likely been trained in sibkos as MechWarriors initially before dropping down to the armor forces once they failed their Trial of Position. “Count this as a second chance at a way of service, you are among friends here many of this unit originate in your former Clan. Get used to your new surroundings and your new unit mates. We have a lot of travel ahead of us.” She said dismissing them everyone filtered away from them except Matt Wilsbacher while only in his early twenties he was tall and broad shouldered with a thick mop of dark hair on the top of his head while the sides were shaved to the scalp. “I apologies for not being honest with you when you joined us, are you alright?” She asked him following the revelation that many of them were former Nova Cats.

“I sort of guessed, your family names, some of the vague origin stories the people in the unit came up with. I’ll tell you this boss there were rumors of it before I joined up on Filtvelt, lots of things didn’t add up about you guys.” He said honestly “but you got me off Filtvelt and put me in a BattleMech on a regular basis so I’ll take it. You guys aren’t Clanners anymore if I needed anymore proof of that I only have to look at today.” He said Anna remained silent for a moment as he glanced at the two OmniMechs.

“Because of our Clan origins I am ready to accept those tank warriors into our ranks without question, I know how they will react to my command, we defeated them in battle and now they are members of this command. Your recruitment was a little different we needed to get to know you before letting you in on some of our secrets. You understand?” She explained he nodded “Do you wish to be included in the Trials for piloting one of these Mechs?”

“No, I’m happy with the Bushwacker, I need to get used to it before thinking about something that can carry different weapons.”

“Very good” she responded, “as I said before only one of the Jousts is repairable the other will be salvage so if you wish I have authorized the chief tech to put parts of the tank onto your BattleMech.” She explained which brought a smile to the young man “we look after our own Matt Wilsbacher, you are part of Devalis Devils and if you serve us, we will serve you, you understand?”

“I do, Captain, thank you” he said continuing to smile as he walked off, she knew she couldn’t tell him the full truth of the unit, that they still worked for the Nova Cat’s Intelligence Watch but releasing some more information about their command would help him settle in more while giving him the first choice of salvage from the Joust would also make him happy while the unit headed to its next job.



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