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Ian Davion - Golden Lion (Chapter Art)

Ian Davion, Golden Lion[]

Chapter 17 – Milk Run[]

FWDS Aerlion in In-flight[]

09/18/3043 - Aboard FWDS Aerlion , En Route to Sadurni - Free Worlds League


Corrine Marik banged her fist on the table, an action which would have upset the four wine cups on it were they not magnetized. “You're a damn cheat, Llewell!”

The Roma brushed his hands down bare arms and collected his winnings. Giselle and him were still in their bright tech overalls while Corrine and Duke wore the black jumpsuits of League spacers. A narrow purple diagonal stripe showing on their shoulder marked them as Cadets. “I don't even have sleeves on, Countess. Care for another round?”

She tossed the cards back into the center, taking a drink for the cup, “No I'm tapped out for the week.”

Llewell shuffled the collected cards back into a stack, “You're a legitimate, Countess, why so cheap?”

''“My lands and funds are held in trust by mother until I'm twenty-five or get married.”

Giselle looked over to her clearly surprised. Few AMI Cadets were nobles as most had their own house Masters-at-Arms or private universities to provide martial instruction. Most were scions of the League's wealthy industrialists and political elite looking to improve their family's standing through service. “So you have to ask your mother for an allowance?”

Corrine deflated, turning ever so slightly red from something other than wine, “Yes, and most of it goes to academy and maintenance fees.”

Duke Karamazov, an ambitious name for an adequate Mechwarrior, nodded “Sounds like a raw deal. Free Flight, Limited is paying my fees. You'd think with a last name like Marik AMI would be willing to cut a deal.”

“They would've. I turned it down.” She stood up and picked up her now empty cup. “Alright have fun guys. I'm hitting my bunk.”

Cicada (Blender Version by Pickledtezcat)

Cicada Medium 'Mech

She walked past the IrTech branded Ergonomic Containers in the cargo bay. Her first mission in Mechwarrior AIT was a 'Milk Run' guarding these upgraded Exostar Northstar 5cm (Large) Lasers. Twenty of which were to be transferred to the newly created 2nd Free World's Legionnaires gathering for training at their destination.

Cheetah, F13

F-13 Cheetah Aerospace Fighter

Along the way she stopped by the galley where the 20 IrTech Senior Technicians aboard were eating their dinner of richly spiced meats and fresh bread. These new Unions {The Union V, 3055 Upgrade except only 2 Air Lances (4 Fighters, 8 Mechs) with Ferro-Aluminium armor and an extra 200 tons of cargo} had much better accommodations for the 14 man crew and 24 bay personnel including a small rec room, more capable galley, and superior life support. The life support upgrade in particular eliminated the dank suffocating atmosphere she had experienced on her way to New Olympia after traveling on Monarch Passenger Dropship lines with her mother. While it was still a combat transport it was a comfortable and better equipped one.

Orion ( On the March)

Orion Heavy 'Mech

This group of professionals were tasked with refitting the Legionnaires' equipment and making the lance of refurbished Guillotines and four pack of Cheetah light AeroFighters on-board ready for battle. Additionally they provided support for the Cadet's Battlemechs (Her Wolverine, Duke's Orion, Giselle's Cicada, and Llewell's Trebuchet) in lieu of their normal crews, presently at an arms conference on Atreus. They were pleasant enough folk but she had no time for chit-chat with them today and deposited her cup into the dishwasher before heading to her room via a maze of ladders and slightly padded corridors.

Wolverine BattleMech (Crouching)


After showering and redressing from the locker built into the bottom of her bunk she looked up at the small vid-screen built into the bunk. She keyed in 'Ian Davion' and a small video (saved on her console) played of Prince Ian Davion stood before the Marik Assembly looking sharply martial but regal and wise at the same time. His latest addresses were thematically similar desperately beseeching the LCCC to act before its to late and the Civil War rolled over into Oriente and Andurian.

Even Mandrill Tormano Liao had changed, likely under some influence from the Prince. Where he once curried favor with his sisters and tried to stay out of the public eye he was increasingly visible and more regularly traveled within the League from his home on Solaris VII. With the support of the Archon and both regiments of the Kell Hounds he had carved out a narrow piece of border territory from Elnath almost to Bithinia as a refuge.

Both regiments of Genyosha under Sho-Sho Yorinaga Kurita, the original First Prince Ian Davion's killer (in combat) and blood rival of the Kells were deployed to that theater. Additionally the Federated Armored Cavalry, formed by Ian, had sworn vengeance although they had other deployments, with the FWLM in Andurian, and MAF in Fronc. She knew through her father's SAFE connections that 'her' Ian was currently on Detroit undergoing light duty with his company of Armored Cavalry after a particularly fierce engagement with Warrior House Ma-Tsu Kai.

A soft whisper distracted her, “He's just so dreamy.”

Corrine realized the video had played and another was lined up with Ian on it. Horribly embarrassed she blushed much to the delight of her roommate who ably avoided the small pillow thrown her way, “Are we going to bump into him again on Sadurni?”

Their destination was four jumps away from Detroit and the Armored Cavalry regularly went up and down border regions deterring either Liao sister from launching raids into the vulnerable Duchy of Andurien. A Duchy which only last year had been allowed to rebuild its militia commands after being under occupation by Oriente and Orloff Peacekeepers since the Succession Crisis now that the Hussars and Grenadiers were needed in their own home provinces.

Still she lied because she was fairly certain, or hopeful, she would 'bump' into Ian while training with the Legionnaires so close to where he was. “Probably not, Gee. We both have lots to do.”

Giselle settled into her own bunk opposite her throwing the pillow back with just enough force to make an impact, “I'm sure he'd make time for you. I have eyes, and ears.”

The lights turned off, “Go to bed.” Corrine told Gee.

On Detroit[]

On Detroit in the city of Flint, Captain Ian Davion along with 2nd FAC, Bravo Battalion, Company C wrestled with their emotions. Ian had foolishly underestimated Ma-Tsu Kai's scholar-warriors and now five of his command's Mechs had been lost, two with their pilots. The others had suffered critical damage from the elite air mobile infantry they were not equipped to handle. It was the worst raid he had conducted since taking command. While Golden Lion's firepower and his own 'tactically unsound but eponymous' rear guard action had preserved the command it had shaken his confidence. He took another shot of whiskey before finishing the condolence letters sending them to the HPG for processing.

He looked into the Mech Bay at Whetstone Depot from his office window, the last with light on for the evening. The Federation Armored Cavalry was forward based from this independent industrial world to appease Atreus and Canopus alike as neither wanted AFFS forces based within their own realms. Within its cradle his now partial Marauder, the Golden Lion, was crawling with techs undergoing its third complete refurbishment in five years. The missing mechs were being replaced by local production Shadow Hawk and Swordsmen (referred to as Calliopes in the Magistracy). To combat Warrior House and Home Guard infantry he also acquired a Vulcan, what happened on Exedor would not happen again.

Swordsman (SWM-3)

Swordsman / Calliopes Medium BattleMech

On Victoria, Temporary Capital of the St. Ives Compact[]

Within the Excalibur SIS Zheng Hei on Victoria Shiao-Zheng Michaelangelo Schmidt of Warrior House Kamata bowed deeply to Premier Candace Liao who had reverted to more conservative (and warmer) Imperial (Chinese/Russian) dress over the past years hiding her rapidly fading looks and sickly complexion with shadow and silk. “Premier, you requested my presence.”

Quintus Allard, her father-in-law and former spymaster to First Prince Hanse Davion, appeared out of the shadows behind her. “Lord Allard, please brief the Shiao-Zheng on his mission.” She coughed and politely started to retire to her chambers, only accessible from a single elevator, “I must attend to other matters.”

The elder gentleman bid the Lord Colonel to stand before handing him a encrypted datachip. “Everything you need is there, your target is very close to Betelguese. I wish you luck because.” He leaned very close to the other Warrior, “While Candace is not Romano, failure is not an option here House Master.”

Combat on Sadurni and Unexpected Company[]

09/30/3043 - Location: Sadurni, Duchy of Andurian, Free World's League

'Missiles incoming!' flashed on the HUD as a rocky camouflaged Wolverine clumsily dodged missiles arcing over the forest. Their warheads detonating with dark red smoke. Troubadour leapt on jets of super-heated air over the intervening copse of trees to find the offending unit. The area filled with an eerie mist concealing the 'Mech within the evaporated dew.

Once it cleared Corrine Marik was shocked to see a firing line of dismounted infantry dug in with entangling obstacles (rough terrain) in front of them. Through her viewfinder she could see the periscopes of the 2nd Legionnaire's (Light Mechanized Tank Company) Goblin IFVs as another flight of missiles shot over the intervening hill. Although they did not damage her machine instead Troubadour was covered in red smoke and struck by concentrated (but in reality low power) support laser fire.

Lucky's system marked the spots as critical and locked up the damaged components. Her own six pack of (paintball) SRMs and lasers caused some 'casualties' among the dug in infantry but with her mobility compromised another round of LRMs 'finished' her off. A large 'Mech Destroyed' showed up on her HUD, the Wolverine took a knee and powered down.

Corrine opened up a comm-channel, “Giselle why didn't you spot that formation?”

“They dropped FASCAM mines in front of my Cicada, and had Harasser Tanks in place to finish me off.”

“So wet T-shirt party spraying the paint off?” asked Corrine

“Or finding some of those hunky ARRS men to spray me down with their big hoses.”

“You're so lewd.” she commented

“You suggested it. What got you?” asked Giselle

The breeze began to dissipate the cloud that surrounded her mech, “I got smoked.”

“There's a reason they have those weekly seminars. Smoking will kill you, well that and VD, of course as we are reminded quarterly.”

“I appreciate the ones informing the guys to stop hitting on us.”

“Speak for yourself, sister. I've never had to buy my own drinks.”

“Well I got a few scouts although now I think they were luring me into this trap.”

She tapped on one of her multi-functional panels to access the local BattleNet in order to check on the status of the rest of her unit. Duke and Llewell were still in the fight against a medium tank company supported by a Striker Lance. “The guys are still in at least.”

“Well Duke's cannon is fairly mighty.” commented Giselle

“Can't say I've had the pleasure or interest, could see why you do.” she told her friend

“It has its benefits, unfortunately for me his cannon doesn't have a lot of staying power however...or range.”

“Did you put Innuendo on your languages during enlistment?” she asked

“It wasn't an option...much to my dismay.” Gieselle told her over comms

At the end of the exercise the combined 2nd Free Worlds Legionnaire's slowly worked their way back to base. Each entered within the high fence whose decrepit front sign noted 'Home of 7th Army SLDF' in fading letters that had withstood the elements for centuries. Corrine and crew dismounted, Duke's Orion had several scorch marks from firecracker ballistic weapons and red ARRS firefighting trucks were waiting by the entrance to wash the paint loaded into SRM warheads off equipment. The diluted red paint had a sickly look to it in the light that made Corrine uneasy.

They changed out of their Mechwarrior outfits and met at the mess, the flight line was active as the Legionnaire's pilots were preparing for their own night operations. She watched as one of the Cheetah's, likely transported aboard their dropship, took off in a bright pure white light followed by its squadmate. Both went vertical after a bit and boosted to space.

Tramp Class Jump Ship (CG)

Tramp Class JumpShip

In a distant corner of the Sadurni system a Tramp-Class jumpship arrives with flash of electromagnetic radiation against the velveteen blackness of the void. The vessel deploys its gossamer thin solar sail concentrating dim light from a distant star in order to fuel its jump drive. Four Trojans-Class vessels operating under the colors of the TDF's Red Chasseurs depart on a low speed ballistic trajectory star-ward.

Fight among the Rocky Flats[]

10/16/3043 Location: Achtur, Fronc Reaches - Contested World

Harsh winds blew across the desolation interrupted by decaying bones of mining machines and broken architecture from a long distant past. A small white sun began to dip to the horizon casting long shadows from the forgotten monoliths. Fumaroles and mud volcanoes erupted nearby; the stench of sulfur carried on an unceasing wind.

Hover-tanks ripped over the rocky flats throwing up gravel. The pebble landed with a sound dwarfed by the whoosh of missiles from the Saracens or thunderclap of the Gladius' guns from their casemates.

Eight Armored Cavalry mechs twisted and returned fire at the approaching tank platoon, the Jagermech providing rear guard with its flippable arms. Rapid firing auto-cannons and missiles stitched small holes in the rocks, focused energy beams hammered into tank plate at a molecular level. One small caliber autocannon round perforated one of the hovercraft's skirts causing air to leak out with a piercing howl sounding like a lanced pig. Another of the tanks belched black smoke from its ICE engine as it attempted to escape incoming fire.

Hover-tanks circled Captain Ian Davion's eight mech command like vultures. Before him stood a decaying fort of ferrocrete held together with epoxy. Ramshackle barricades that nevertheless provided the only cover in this scorched wasteland. “Bravo! Captain Dredge, Can you read me.”

A scrambled reply came over the net, interspersed with loud pops, he picked up or filled in, 'en route to LZ under fire.'

“Find a hole and fill it with your mech.”

Seven acknowledgment lights chimed on the local battlenet as Ian's Marauder stood abreast the Vulcan piloted by the newest Mechwarrior to his command, a promising recruit from the Magistracy Mechwarrior Academy. “Trish, damage report.”

Vulcan Medium Mech (Marching at Night - Farseer Animation version)

Vulcan Medium 'Mech

Her slender battle-mech had taken hits from the Gladius and Saracen. Raw gray myomer tendons showed beneath shattered armor plates flexing as she attempted to maintain balance. Her mech was not designed to fight armored targets up close and it showed. Nevertheless she had used it to beset effect against the pirate's strong-points before they were chased off by the tanks. “Minor actuator damage to the left leg, critical on the CT and LA.”

“Drop your machine gun ammo. Stick close and inside the pocket. You can still pace heavy lance.”

He switched to up-link mode, a small microwave and radio antennae deployed from the Marauder's head. Unfortunately he could only pick up encrypted comms from an enemy that seemed content to lurk just beyond their effective range. Valor's LZ beacon was lost in the rugged terrain beyond.

Ian poured water onto the softcap below his helmet which didn't make it wetter but much cooler. “Those pirates must have found the relay posts.”

The hilly terrain was only reachable by a dangerous crossing in the open. However, it was more defensible against hover-tanks and they needed to reach it in order to resupply and continue the campaign against these pirate bands. “We need to get into those hills.

I want immediate ammo and damage checks. The Aerofighters will eventually conduct a fly over and come within radio range.”

That smoking pirate hover-tank disengaged returning to the mining camp they meant to disrupt. Camps that had started popping up as control broke in the Fronc Reaches. These operations provided metals and gemstones throughout the Rim providing resources to New Vandenburg and both types of Capellans as well as pirates and other undesirables.

MIM and the DMI hadn't expected these groups to be quite so organized or well armed. He was busy with the comm panel when one of the Shadow Hawks walked up beside him, “Lieutenant, sitrep?”

Shadow Hawk (Golden Rule project by meltdonw14)

Shadow Hawk Medium 'Mech

“Ammo situation critical. Half dozen salvos with everything, cannons twice that.” reported the office

“Good thing we upgraded the Jagermech and Dervish. Still have some of that firepower.” said Ian

“Aye sir, unfortunately Nate and Trish have critical damage. Everyone else has taken some but the heavy guns didn't seem eager to close.”

“The damaged machines can pace within the Heavy Lance's pocket. The Hawks will hold the flank.”

“As long as we have ammo.”

“It will have to be long enough, those tanks are running low as well. With any luck Bravo company has broken through and is en route to the LZ as we speak.”

He paused to take a long draft from his canteen, “If we can stay on the move we might be able to evade their fire.” said Ian

“It's risky, Sir.”

“But necessary.” Ian opened up the local battlenet channel as Parish's Hawk returned to its position, “We will hold position for ten minutes. Catch your breath, get some water and a snack to keep up your strength. I am trying to contact our allies.”

No response came from Bravo company, the dropships, or Saber/Tusk Flights. All he could pick up was the encrypted digital transmissions of the pirates. Ian scanned the horizon with Golden Lion's IR and picked up another platoon of hover-tanks approaching at high speed. These ones were different and already damaged which was either good or bad. Two LTV-6s, using the same basic design as the Condor, but with a PPC in the turret, and a pair of J. Edgar light hover-tanks, known for their blazing speed but little else.

“Brace for incoming hostiles.”

Crusader Heavy BattleMech (Hill side - NuClassic - Painted by mokiplamo)

Crusader Heavy 'Mech

Golden Lion's gun barrel arms raised to track incoming contacts that were approaching them from all angles. The Jagermech and Vulcan's long range guns let loose their opening salvo against the rapidly approaching hovercraft scoring weak hits merely denting the frontal armor of the Gladii. The J Edgars and Saracens fired smoke rockets from their SRM batteries ahead of them.

Billowing clouds of pure white smoke stood out against the dreary dun of the rock around them. Within this mess Ian tracked and fired at one of the LTVs, they responded in kind and hyper-accelerated particles filled the air around them with an ozone smell and faint traces of lightning. Charlie's Crusader took the brunt of the damage from the incoming attack which collapsed the barricade in front of him as another shot impacted just below its knee.


J. Edgar Hover Tank in combat

This latest exchange crumpled more armor on both sides, but importantly continued the depletion of Charlie Company's ammunition. The hover-tanks wheeled off using the smoke to obscure themselves, continuing to circle the raiding party like sharks scenting blood. “We have to break out or run out of ammo.”

All seven status lights blinked in agreement. “Heavy Lance form the pocket. Hawks on the outside.”

Ian's Marauder took the right side of the pocket, several dozen meters away the Swordsman and Vulcan limped along. The Jagermech (2 LL, 2 AC/2, 2 ML, 4/6, 11 tons of armor) took rear, its ability to flip its arms and thick rear armor (the same thickness either way) tailor made for this kind of situation. On the left flank was a Dervish and on point a Crusader whose head was on a swivel, its fist full of LRMs ready to engage from any aspect.

The command made good initial time as the enemies did not expect the formation would attempt to conduct such a crossing in the open. After slight confusion they screamed back again pushing their engines to flank speed in order to reengage the Armored Cavalry. The Shadow Hawks supported by heavy fire from the rest of the formation took slight hits but scored mobility damage with their auto-cannons. With their maneuverability compromised and the terrain closing in the pirate hover-tanks disengaged after five minutes of maneuver warfare that would make any cavalrymen proud.

Once they had some elevation the beacon signal from Valor appeared on his screen after a quick check with the long range radio array. “Locking coordinates.”

As they crested hills their two Union dropships came into view, each towered over the surrounding ridges providing a clear line of sight that would give adequate warning for the 4th Magistracy Mechanized Infantry attached to the 2nd Federation Armored Cavalry to man their positions. As they neared the whale like Gazelle transport became visible along with the eight Corsairs, a Boomerang, and Ferret on the abandoned airstrip they occupied, remnants of some long lost prospecting group.

Corsair V12 - Aerospace Fighter (Robert Smith 1998)

Corsair Medium Aerospace Fighter

Most of Bravo company was there are well, six of the eight 'Mechs had returned although all were worse for wear. The two other pilots had to ride in the laps of their lance-mates who had abandoned the broken but, repairable machines on the plain. Charlie company walked in under the friendly guns of the Arachne tanks (Wheeled Scorpions) and MMI gun trucks.

He dismounted and stood in the midst of the technical staff, “I want anything that can be easily repaired and rearmed prioritized. More damaged machines can wait till later. We go again tonight.”

Ian slammed his fist on the table as murmuring began among the Mechwarriors of more damaged machines that wanted back in action. “No arguments. I will not allow those pirates to continue operations on this world while we are upon it. Is that understood?”

Assault on the Pirate Camp[]

Ian Davion’s assault team had taken the recently resurfaced but empty ferrocrete runway and landing pads. Their dropships were warmed up and ready to take off for the half-hour long trip to the destination but could not as their arrival and takeoff would be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary sensors. Golden Lion and crew crept up on the pirate camp only visible against the all-encompassing darkness due to a small number of dim lights active in the adjacent pit mine. Achtur had no moon so night vision was less effective as it only had starlight to amplify and beyond several hundred meters even large objects were lost to shadow unless one was using thermal sensors.

The 4MMI’s dismounted infantry were in the lead guiding the Arachne and Striker tanks operating in blackout mode forward. They disabled remote sensors by jamming them and foot patrols searching for runaways with suppressed weapons. The damaged but fully functional 2nd FedArmCav Battlemechs operated in support far behind sticking to the road to prevent their approach from being heralded by falling rocks. Golden Lion in particular as the heaviest 'Mech in the formation had to watch it’s step to prevent the primitive road from collapsing.

As they neared no sign of alarm was visible even though Ian could see how many cigarettes the sentries were smoking in thermal sight mode. 4MMI’s infantry were clustered around the perimeter but two Behemoth tanks were stationed next to the gate. The damaged pirate mechs and tanks were close by. Sparks from welding torches filled the area with a white-blue haze which would work to his advantage as it would spoil night sights. “Attack!”

LRMs filled the air, a dozen warheads impacted the ugly stout plate of the two gunned Behemoths, damaging them slightly. More importantly some hatches were still open, so their impact killed several of the tank’s large crew. The remainder managed to close the open ports as the tank activated its main engine skewing the heavy guns onto incoming ArmCav Battlemechs. 4MMI troops opened fire killing the guards closest to them although their advance would be slowed by razor wire and two tall electric fences protecting the prison camp. Arachne tanks had to carefully navigate the perimeter ditch and shoot through the outer barrier which combined with the attack triggered the alarm now ringing out through the previously quiet night.

A short and brutal press began as the FedSuns battlemechs poured immense amounts of firepower into the Behemoths who took it in kind. Their treads held for a time allowing them to press forward giving the pirates more time and distance to start their own machines. Golden Lion took a pair of the heavy autocannon hits the heavy ballistic force shattering armor plates. It and Ian felt it in their chest as four cannon rounds were fired their way momentarily causing a stutter step to maintain balance. Arachne tank guns turned a portion of the outer barrier into rubble and were starting on the inner one as MMI infantry followed cautiously snipping the electrical wires that could harm them.

Four Corsair Aerofighters dove hard strafing the pirate’s tanks and their crews with laser fire. Gas cylinders and electrical generators scattered about exploded with fire and lighting causing nearly as many casualties as the lasers. This fire creeped followed a stream of oil under a nearby LPG tank while pirates desperately attempted to extinguish the flames with sand while under attack fearing the incoming enemies as much as the looming threat

One Behemoth Tank was brought down after withstanding a constant stream of fire but not before two Centurions from Bravo Company were disabled by the pirate Pos joining the fray. They had closed with the forward line while the primary LRM carriers provided fire support. Golden Lion had already absorbed a number of impacts, taking four cannon shots and more than a dozen SRMs. Ian’s army display read yellow throughout and seemed to be pushing his luck against the monstrous assault armor.

The area near the gate erupted into flames as the fuel tank failed in a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid, Expanding Vapor Explosion aka Fuel Air Bomb) shaking even the distant mechs firing LRMs into the assembled area. Shockwaves rolled over the 4MMI infantry that had taken cover in the perimeter ditch after noticing the hazard. Nearby flimsy buildings were leveled, at close range anyone was liquified, at longer ranges killed by shrapnel and unsecured equipment propelled at immense speed. Ian prayed that there were no prisoners in those buildings. He utilized one of the Corsairs as a relay and transmitted the takeoff order for his dropships.

Stunned by the shockwave that damaged most of their equipment and killed many of their comrades the pirates fled through the streets. The second Behemoth and both Pos were a smoking ruin by the time Golden Lion and the other Mechs of FedArmCav entered, their pilots gingerly stepping around pirate Mechs torn limb from limb and wreckage.

Since they were primarily Military Police when not serving in Anti-Piracy missions 4MMI immediately began search operations. Their light tanks smashed down nearby buildings and pushed debris away to establish firebreaks and prevent this whole decrepit ghost town from erupting in flames. Stunned and deafened pirates were zip-tied and put in the perimeter ditch for safekeeping under guard. Critically wounded ones had their suffering cut short by a bullet if deemed unlikely to live through the next few hours.

With the chaos in the process of coming under control Ian Davion’s FedArmCav pressed forward heading toward the lights of the nearby pit mine. They were met with a group of pirates some of which were likely among those present at the opening battle hiding behind a line of chained slaves.

A Warhammer from Bravo and Ian activated their Mech’s spotlights shining them onto those gathered. He broadcast from the Marauder’s public address and all short-range radio frequencies. “This is Prince Ian Davion of the Federated Suns. You have two minutes to throw down your weapons and surrender or you will die on this world.”

A heavy-set barrel-chested man stepped forward yelling into a small personal radio, “You don’t intimidate us. You’ll just kill us on another world. We have hostages.”

The man disappeared as Ian’s Northstar laser flash evaporated a 5cm hole where the man’s heart once was. No blood came out of the body as it fell as the arteries were cauterized by the heat. Once more the PA rang out, “You now have thirty seconds to comply, this is not negotiable.”

Aftermath of a Pirate Ambush[]

10/23/3043 - Location: Achtur, Fronc Reaches - Contested World

Prince Ian Davion watched with great relief and accomplishment as the pirates were walked onto the Condor MJC Jailbird in chains under the watchful eyes and quick triggers of the Magistracy Field Officers and 4MMI. MIM and the DMI had managed to ‘convince’ some of them to cooperate in exchange for lenient sentencing for their crimes against the Rim. The past week had given them more insight into ongoing investigations and how they connected to fixers all the way to Marian Hegemony.

Bravo Captain Lance West walked up behind him, “We did good work here, Ian.”

“I know. It never seems like enough though.” Ian told him

“Pest control is always ongoing. Cheer up, enjoy some fresh media and the happy faces of the liberated. No HPG or enemy has made this place stale.”

A different Condor DropShip had also landed nearby to collect the liberated captives of the Captain Blackhawk, a derisive term for League privateers during the First and Second Succession Wars. Ian retired to his quarters above the Valor and pull down the latest news feed brought to them when their relief had arrived. He was drawn to the current state of the Capellan Civil War.

One headline caught his attention more than any other.

<<<10/18/3043 ‘Sardurni raided by force in colors of TDF Red Chasseurs, moderate casualties among 2nd Free World Legionnaires, serious damage to equipment, two dozen missing in action.’>>>

A Distraught Family[]

10/25/3043 - Location: Atreus, Free Worlds League

“What do you mean you don’t know!” woman shouts

Paul Marik weaved out of the way as the now distraught woman threw a glass ornament lifted from a nearby table toward him. He took this opening to embrace her closing his arms on the back of her dress, gently running his hands through her smooth black hair which seemed to help soothe her, “Cecelia, I don’t know where Corrine is or who has her. I only know that she wasn’t among the dead on Sardurni.”

Cecelia Marik-Kral wept into her husband’s shoulder, “Find her, Paul. You have to find our daughter.”

“I will love.” He kissed her and just let her ride it out as his own emotions churned deep in the pit of his soul. “She will be found, and her abductors punished. I promise.”

The next day within one of the many SCIF rooms of Parliament a rather plain looking but clean-shaven middle-aged man entered his white cape, held together with a golden brooch, swishing along marbled tiles. On the other side of the room Parliamentary Speaker Paul Marik stood in sharp cut black suit his mustache and beard in top form. Both men carried a lifetime of service to their respective organizations and had worked alongside one another in the past before parting ways on less than stellar terms.

“Precentor ROM Charles Seneca at your service.” the ComStar official announced.

“Please sit, Precentor.” Paul Marik said as directed him to a chair.

As the Precentor sat the door behind them closed and sealed off the room from any surveillance. “How may the Blessed Order of COMSTAR be of service Speaker Marik?”

“You can start by telling me where my daughter is, Charles?”

Charles was unfazed by the sudden query. Paul Marik was one of SAFE’s ace Active Analysts and serving Speaker of Parliament, so he had prepared for any line of inquiry. “I’m certain I don’t know.”

“So you are saying your ROM had nothing to do with her disappearance? We know about Focht’s deal with the Calderons and FLUSH.

You’re telling me the Red Chasseurs or a unit pretending to be them just show up over Sardurni and take my daughter right from her fresh posting without sending it via HPG.

That they could just jump across the Confederation on Taurian ships in order to preposition themselves for best effect.

I think not, Precentor. They had help and you were in the position to aid them.”

“Well you would also know Precentor Martial Focht has cut a deal with many high-level politicians throughout the Inner Sphere. Perhaps something leaked through the Magistracy, or Candace’s Confederation, or DMO (District-Marshal Oriente) Personnel leaked something.

Of course it could be some amateur noble hunter had their ear to the ground to find the charming young Countess that has attracted so much attention these past few years.”

The Precentor ROM stood up brushing the pleats of his cape in the process, “I do hope you find your little girl soon, Speaker Marik. Pirates have been quite the threat to the Rim lately it’s not the place for an unescorted young lady. In fact I would recommend bringing a gunship.

However, in the interest of continued peace between our organizations and in recognition of our shared history I will forget this conversation occurred; but if I hear anything, I will of course bring it to your attention.”

At the Atreus HPG the Precentor ROM walked right into the ready room where the acolytes were preparing today’s transmissions as if they were sacred scripts. A burst transmission emanated from the broadcast chamber traveling through five others before arriving at Sarna.

Photon Brett-Marik (as Stavros Lambda) heard a beep on his console as his Black Knight cleared the water to deal with the latest pro-Federated Suns insurgency. His demi-company of handpicked war criminals and pirates followed him closely as they marched toward the enemy’s camp. He silenced the beep, “I’ll get it later. Right now I have more pressing matters.”


10/28/3043 - Location: Union-Mk V Class, FSDS Valor - Detroit, Fronc Reaches

Within the FSDS Valor, Captain/Prince Ian Davion tossed in his sleep as much as one could in zero gees within the narrow bed even a Prince received aboard a Union. The deck officer broke the cycle with something novel, “Message for you sir. Encrypted with a verigraph. I’m sending it to the burner comm-pad.”

Ian rolled out and reached for the basic and more importantly disconnected comm-pad, encrypted messages could contain malware that only activated upon decryption. He ensured it was blacked out before pressing his thumb to the device unlocking a video file.

Corrine Marik appeared in the video file, appearing roughed up consistent with a rough bailout but not overly black and blue. She was still in her mechwarrior uniform at least but had a blade to her neck. A modulated voice played over the speaker, “Prince Ian Davion of the Fading Suns. One hundred million cash ransom for the Countess, a matching sum for everyone else. All or nothing.

Tell no one or we cannot guarantee they will be in good condition when you meet us on Zanzibar in four weeks’ time.

More messages to follow.

Pretium Sanguinis.”

Acton on Repulse[]

10/31/3043 - Location: 12km North of City of Active - Repulse, Capellan Confederation - Contested World

Bishop Sortek shook in his cockpit as Jumpin’ Jack landed on the short dry rise, the directed hot air of his jump jets setting the prairie grass aflame. The field was filled with a number of small fires filling it with a light smoke that scattered laser energy and that equally messed with the Wolf's Dragoons and St Cyr Armored Hussars’ weapons. A flight of missiles from the SIMC Vindicator’s that continued to press on their position which was rapidly worsening.

Perilous Heavy BattleMech

Bishop Sortek's Periless 'Mech, "Jumpin’ Jack"

He aimed his extended range large lasers at one of the machines, through the haze he could see it was battle torn and missing its own laser arm with the mechanism of the FarFire X visible. With a press of the trigger two bolts of focused light passed the six hundred meters between them in an instant just as the next volley were exiting their tubes impacting Jack with a mere trio of the ten launched. The resulting ammo explosion obliterated the machine, but the Vindicator’s head ejected with the likely unconscious pilot into the sky deploying a parachute and landing nearby before rolling down the hill toward the otherwise normal valley beyond.

“Just like the simulator.” He checked the rear camera to see nothing but smoke from the Archer and Apollos firing their weapons over the rise he controlled toward the main scrum. Impact smoke and small wildfires made the once green territory look like one out of the ancient Napoleonic Wars but unlike then he could use a radio. Bishop scanned the horizon looking for new targets within his effective range. “Mack, sitrep.”

A small wind picked up propelled by the grassfire that pushed the smoke to the East and revealed MacKenzie’s Excalibur wrist-deep in the blast ruin of a Cataphract. Two solid upper cuts by the 70-ton mech had punched through the engine containment of the Cataphract whose now 50-ton deadweight leaned forward onto his own machine which strained the myomer muscles and gyros holding him upright. The Wolf had the usual answer and deadpan delivery of any veteran mercenary or otherwise. “FUBARed. Critical ammo and armor.”

Finally he shrugged the machine off him and into the scorched earth below, his arms came up protecting him from two flights of LRMs whose warheads exploded off more armor revealing the myomer and endo-steel below. Bishop watched another platoon of Po tanks, uninspired but effective machines, trundle down the hill. Their Ceres Model T 105mm guns skewed toward the Dragoons skirmishing with the more mobile SIMC Battlemechs.

They came under fire from Canopian Pikes near the Fire Support Lance. The dozen long-range rapid fire ‘ultra’ autocannons, imported from the FedSuns, caused little damage to heavy armor but tore into treads from far beyond any effective return fire slowing the already sluggish Pos. Constant harassment forced the Pos back under concealing smoke from their built-in launchers allowing the Dragoons a safer corridor to regroup and pull damaged machines back toward their LZ.

Bishop looked down at his command, “Smoke five hundred rounds, crescent coverage three hundred meters.”


Missiles streaked out toward the enemy positions obscuring the Dragoons limping back to their defensive line. Mack’s Excalibur ‘Wolfsbane’ returned to the ridge firing off a gauss slug in a snap short that created a whorl in the smoke followed by the satisfying sound of a hypersonic impact on tank plate. The machine was actually equipped more like a Victor but with higher ground speed to favor the heavy cavalry tactics of the Dragoons and a defensive Anti-Missile system that had long since run out of ammo.

“Your new flashbulb is making quite the impression on the SIMC.”
“Well it wouldn’t be what it is now without the Dragoons. Although it gets a little warm in here.”

“If you are not pushing the heat scale, you’re not doing it right that is what father always said.”

“Another five minutes?”

Already the resupply trucks were restocking munitions for the front-line forces. Dragoon techs alternated fire support and front-line conducting field repair and rearmament in between waves. This would be the fifth wave and Jumpin’ Jack’s coolant level was running low after such intense fighting, he waited for the tracked coolant truck to arrive and top off the tank for the third time today. Although the St Cyr’s Armored Hussars outnumbered the Dragoons most of their machines were lighter and/or less mobile than their high-tech Dragoon counterparts limiting their effectiveness on the offensive.

The attrition was taking its toll however on the fifteen strong Dragoon Heavy Cavalry and their Magistracy Mechanized Infantry support. Both commands were trained to be on the offensive not guarding their dropships which had suffered bombing runs from surprise air attack by Guardians and Jump Bombers earlier this morning. Deploying the Pikes, Partisans, and other AAA combat vehicles to further out discouraged those attacks, or the Hussars had run out of bombs. Either way no side had air cover besides a few strike or recon helicopters.

Smoke cleared allowing them to see the St Cyr’s Hussars forming up for another attack on their former right flank. “Ten damaged Mechs and a platoon of tanks. Hardly fair for us to be facing the lesser part of battalion.”

Wolfsbane knelt down and received another ton of Gauss rounds, the exoskeleton equipped techs used a small crane to put each of the eight rounds into the compartment. “We are used to it.”

“What did you do to piss off St. Cyr? Jilted lover?” Bishop asked

“I have not had the pleasure. Her father lost his life at the hands of Romano after failing in a raid which the Black Widow Company foiled. I was not in it at the time however, but I suppose she thinks killing me will hurt Natasha or at least my father.”

“Would it?” he asked Mack

“It certainly would, she does not know what she is getting into, however. The Dragoons would hunt them down. We are bad enemies when we want to be.”

The Dragoons had conducted several bloody reprisal actions in their history when they were screwed over by an employer. Both the DCMS and Anton Marik’s loyalists had felt their wrath and it wasn’t pretty.

A large RADAR contact appeared on their screens in the distance. Everyone looked up at the sky to see a spheroid dropship descending near their position. “Another Union dropship?” As it neared, they saw the Federated Suns's Sword and Sunburst painted large on the side.

Amy St Cyr saw the arrival of the interlopers with great interest from the cockpit of her Battlemaster. “FSS Valor. Prince Ian’s ship? Damn him!” She looked over at the gathering ranks of her Hussars with dismay. Her mission of vengeance was over now that he was here. The Premier didn’t want this kind of diplomatic incident and would possibly act like her sister if they returned having injured or killed the Prince.

“Collect our fallen and begin withdrawing to Active. Today we will take a partial victory against the Dragoons. Until next time, MacKenzie.”

Prince Ian Davion disembarked from the Valor in his Marauder to see his old friend Bishop Sortek, now in an upgraded Jumpin’ Jack, and MacKenzie Wolf of the Wolfsbane Company. “While I appreciate your arrival. I think we could have handled them Captain Davion.”

“I have no doubt of that, Major Wolf. Unfortunately I need your assistance and it won’t do for your machines to be all torn up like they are.”

“We would love to help but it would be a breach of contract to the Canopians.”

“The Magestrix and her people have already agreed. We are going to Zanzibar, as quickly as your dropships can get into the sky again.”

“As you wish, your Royal Highness”

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