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Shadows of Time Cover
Shadows of Time
Facts
Author Wolfgar
Series Name
Alternate Universe Name
Year Written 2013
Story Era Dark Age Era



Description[]

Shadows of Time is a short story focus on the group mercenaries known as the Wolfson's Heavy Raiders. The story is broken up in short chapter story arcs of events of the unit's history.

Chapters[]


Prologue []

Guadalcanal, Solomon System
Aug. 20 3134

Jane poked at the strange wristband computer that her Grandfather had tossed her and told her to put on moments before shoving her into a closet in the barn that she had never seen before. After he had done that he had told her to stay put and shut the door to the closet which had seemed to seal with a click and a hiss. Finally the wristband itself seemed to click into place locking the computer to her left wrist and forearm when it decided to light up. Looking at the miniature screen Jane read.

<<Powering up……>> <<Initializing Genetic test….>>

At this point Jane felt a small prick in her arm under the band and the screen changed once more.

<<Analyzing Genetic Markers……>>
<<Markers Approved….. Welcome Wolfson.>>

Jane thought fast even as she felt the “Closet” sink beneath her carrying her below the family’s large barn. “Wolfson,” She thought, “that is the family name, but why would a computer welcome me by my family name?”


20 minutes earlier

Jane loved visiting her grandparent’s farm; she loved investigating the ravine behind the barn, and riding with her grandfather in the old agro and industrial mechs that he kept around to tinker on and work the farm. The thing she loved most of all though was listening to her grandparent’s stories about the worlds beyond their little system and reading her grandparent’s large collection of books. She was currently working her way through a seemingly ancient book called “Through the Looking Glass” when she heard her grandfather swear. This would usually be followed by her grandmother calling him down for cursing in front of Jane, but when it didn’t Jane looked up.

Stravag!” her grandfather cursed again. Her grandmother muttered something in Japanese that she couldn’t make out and then asked “how long?” This caused Jane to start looking where they were looking in the sky. It didn’t take her long to find the falling “star” that they seemed so focused on.

“I would figure probably another ten minutes to land, maybe another half hour to range out this far in a patrol searching for something worth stealing.” Her grandfather answered. “That’s assuming that they haven’t managed some intel about our little retirement village.” He continued. “If they do have intel, then they might be heading right for us and I figure we have a half hour at most before they come into sensor range.”

“About what I figured,” her grandmother replied. “I’ll grab some ration packs and meet you both in the barn.” Her grandfather only grunted and took Jane by the hand to lead her out to the barn.

Reaching the barn didn’t take but about a five minute walk, even on an eight year old’s legs. When they got there her grandfather shoved the agromech back into its stall on its roller cart before going to a blank section of wall. Jane didn’t see how but somehow a panel opened and her grandfather reached inside and flipped one of the large breakers like the ones that separated the power off for either the barn, the shop or the house. Beneath her feet Jane could feel the startup and vibration of a heavy motor and pumps, and suddenly she saw the central floor of the barn rise. Its meter wide and decimeter thick planks rising on what looked to be steel pillars raising a beast of a vehicle out of the ground and level with the rest of the floor. “Put this on and hide in here.” Jane heard her grandfather say as he grabbed her and put her in another hidden door just as her grandmother arrived with three field packs, one of them Jane’s Christmas present from the year before.

Handing Jane the field pack her grandmother told her. “Just wait for someone to come get you, it will be alright.”

“Just stay put until we come for you.” her grandfather said gruffly and then slammed the door shut.


Chapter 1.1[]

L-3 Pirate Point
Solomon System
August 19, 3134
Operation Time: +0hours

Space rippled and suddenly empty space was no longer empty but filled with the mass of a Odyssey class jumpship. Its arrival sent out an electromagnetic pulse announcing that it had appeared in the system that anyone nearby would notice. But the position of the Jumpship had been picked with care not to close to either major orbital inhabitation for them to react, but close enough to the inhabited planets for the dropships that started to detach to reach them, raid and return before anyone should know they were there. First to leave the jumpship were the four Leopard class dropships, each pair heading in a different direction as they hit a full two G burn on their drives. Then came two fighters from one of the jumpships own bays taking up a patrolling station around the jumpship itself. Unfortunately for the jumpship and its parasites there was a satellite within a few light minutes of the pirate point which noticed its arrival and dispatched a message to the nearest fleet station. Savo Island station was one of the two main orbital installations in the system. Originally a fuel extraction station in orbit of the planet Savo Island, it had been expanded over the years to a proper fleet base for the Solomon system’s Defense force. This base was unfortunately too far away from the emergence to react in any near time. Other stations however were not, and thus the message went out.


L-3 Pirate Point
Solomon System
August 20, 3134
Operation time: +15hrs

Rebecca Stewart sat on the bridge of the jumpship “Bane of Existence” and worried. When Clan Burrock had lost its Trial of Annihilation her grandparents had managed to survive and fled the Clan Space Burrock planet that they had lived on and ran to the dark caste for protection. Rebecca didn’t know if they had conspired against the rest of the clans with the Dark Caste Merchants and Warriors prior to the trial, and she really didn’t care. She had grown up on a quiet station in an asteroid field and learned to pilot a jumpship from an early life. Now they were striking back, not at the clans, though that would probably come sooner or later. No, this was against another system that seemed to act as a black hole against pirates and raiders who went in, but very rarely came out. This was an intelligence raid to find out why those jumpships and warriors were not returning. It had taken years of searching for this system, jumpships would go out, and disappear, only to turn up later with their memory cores and jump history systems wiped to bare bones at dealers or various merchants. Finally one ship had not been completely wiped, a small oversight on those who were doing the capturing and information on the system was turned up. Thankfully this pirate point seemed to be off the locals sensors so it would work for this initial raid, but she doubted anything else would be able to use it. Also she didn’t trust that it wasn’t off the local grid, so the ship was at a constant level two alert.

Suddenly quiet anticipation and wariness turned into near panic as warning klaxons started blaring. “Report” Stewart called out hitting the button to kill the alarm in the control room.

“Sensors ma’am” a tech called out from the back end of the room. “I’m tracking twenty contacts inbound through the asteroids, 10 high and to the port side, same low and starboard.” “Tactical stand by weapons and point defense,” Stewart called out and people started to scramble around the zero G Bridge. “Sound class one alert, all personnel to space suits helm and stand by to jump. Chief put me on the squawk.”

“Hot mic ma’am,” the senior enlisted on the jump ship called out even as the helmsman called out, “30 seconds to jump.”

“All hands this is the captain,” she called out over the 1MC. “Stand by for emergency jump in 20 seconds, strap in or hang on as you can folks, because we are out of here.” As they waited for the countdown to finish they watched as the two fighters that they had put into space burned hard for one of the groups, knowing they wouldn’t make it back into the jump ship in time.


L-3 Pirate Point
Solomon System
August 20, 3134
Operation time: +15hrs

Even as the local units reached the extreme range of their weapons they watched as the Jumpship disappeared into jump space leaving the Solomon system behind along with their fighters. “Damn,” one of the defense pilots swore. “Now I have to tell command that they got away from us. Ok boys and girls, let’s take our prisoners back to station 15 for processing and transport.” Maybe the pilots who were currently jettisoning their weapon ammo would talk and tell them where they came from.


Chapter 1.2[]

Solomon System
August 20, 3134
Operation time: +22hrs

Star Captain Alexander Fortuna piloted his Shadowcat toward the farmstead that intelligence believed was the home of the head of the System Defense Force. Fortuna’s uncle had been one of the few people to escape this system, a place that sometime over the last sixty years had become a black hole for pirate and dark caste ships. His uncle had managed to escape this hell hole somehow. He had been taken prisoner twenty years earlier and only managed to make it back to their home system in the deep periphery a couple of years ago. Once home he started putting together the backing for this operation, talking to and or bribing senior members of the clan into providing the forces for teaching these people to behave themselves. A JumpShip, and four modified Leopard class drop ships had brought two nova binaries to the system and the four dropships had paired off each pair heading to a different planet with a binary a piece. They would hit the planets in question with what should be overwhelming force, take what they wanted, that which would give them the most profit, and then leave to go home and bring back a larger conquering force. The trick to the whole thing was taking the Defense force Commander, a lowly Colonel named Wolfson.


Wolfson Farmstead
Guadalcanal, Solomon System
Aug 20, 3134
Operation time: +2215hrs

James sat back in the tank commander’s seat of the modified Alacorn Mk V nicknamed the beast that he and his people had salvaged from a depot on Tulagi. It had only been a frame and engine when they had found it, but the techs had added clan armor and weapons to it, as well as a targeting computer and made it into beast. Now he watched the vision blocks as the enemy units advanced over the ridge that bordered his property on the road side. Three mechs leading a pair of hover units. “My, my, what do we have here, a pirate lance?” he asked no one.

Moments later the computer beeped and he heard his wife call up from her position in the driver’s seat. “Warbook is calling it a Shadowcat, a Vulture, and an Urbanmech and a pair of Bandit APCs with PPCs.” The system beeped again and she continued. “Add a Point of Elementals to that also, looks like clanners found us. Do you think their regulars or pirates?”

“Dark caste,” James Wolfson replied watching the range counter drop. “Regular clan forces would have issued a Batchall and bid for the planet or even the entire system. It’s not like the clan wars when they would just hit a planet with no warning because we were dezgra spheroids, now they bid just like they would for any clan holding.”

“So they’re clan pirates?” his wife asked with a smile ribbing her husband.

“Effectively,” he answered not rising to the bait. Suddenly the light on the communications panel lit up. “Ooh, maybe they decided to call ahead and surrender.” He quipped back to be answered with a snort from below. “Wolfson,” he answered flipping the mic switch on the communications panel on.

“Grandpa, what’s going on, what is this place.” James heard his granddaughter ask before starting to jabber in fear.

“Jane dear,” he said causing the 8 year old to quiet instantly. “Calm down and breathe sweetie. Now, on the console in front of you and to your left is a switch that is labeled full seal. I want you to flip it and its cover and nothing else.”

“Yes sir,” the young girl replied starting to scan to her left. Finding the switch and its cover she flipped them closed. “Flipped the switch and a light is on now, no, it’s a readout. It reads purging in process, full seal in 60 seconds. Is that alright?” she asked.

“That’s fine sweetheart,” James answered his own calm a lot more steady than it had been a few moments before. “Now read your book and wait on me and your Grandmother, we have to go deal with our visitors and I need to shut this off to do so.”

“Yes sir.” Jane answered and watched as her grandfather flipped a switch on his end shutting down the call and leaving her in a control room that she didn’t understand. Furthermore, she didn’t have her book; she had managed to leave it at the house before coming to the barn for her to hide and her grandparents to get the tank that they were currently in. Looking around she spotted a leather bound book sitting on a chair that sat in the middle of the room she was in. Moving over to it she could see that it was old, and had been sitting down here for a long time. A snap held the book closed and popping that snap she opened the book to the first page and read.

It has been suggested to me that I keep a journal of my time as a mercenary so that when the history books are written and the stories are told, that I have some kind of reference to point to when I tell my tale. This was suggested to my graduating officer class by Colonel Wolf September 15th 3057.

Jane closed the book for a moment and looked at the spine. Along its leather spine was the word “Wolfson” and the Roman numeral one. She shrugged and opened the book again, this time to the next page and its date and location. It read; Coventry, April 3058


Wolfson Farmstead
Guadalcanal, Solomon System
Aug 20, 3134
Operation time: +2230hrs

Star Captain Fortuna stalked his Shadowcat forward covering the pair of Bandit hover APCs as they swept down between the front of the house and the open and dark barn door. Elemental suits dismounted from the outside of the two Bandits and an infantry platoon dismounted and charged the house. Lights were out all over. “Coward Surat,” he muttered, “he must be hiding. Warrior Marcus, search everything we are looking for two Solhama age warriors and possibly a young child.”

Mad Dog (Farseer Animation version)

Vulture Heavy OmniMech

Aff, Star Captain,” the Elemental leader replied. Fortuna’s radio went quiet but he could see the reaction of the infantry platoon and the other four suits of battle armor as they split off to sweep through both the house and the barn. Suddenly a threat warning came up in Fortuna's heads up display even as a Gauss slug slammed into the vulture beside him and a pair of Elemental suits and some of the foot infantry were bowled over seemingly by its passing. In the wake of the Gauss slug a monster of a tank rolled out the barn door opening. At that point everything seemed to explode, as the tank's weapons cleared the barn door opening they fired again, this time an Extended Range PPC adding its voice to the mix helping to strip most of the armor from the chest of the Vulture OmniMech even as another barrel depressed and brought the APCs and the infantry, both battle armor and conventional under fire with a single blast.

UrbanMech (In Combat)

UrbanMech Light 'Mech in combat.

Fortuna didn't waste any time gawking at the tank as it trundled out of the barn, but put his controls hard over, running to his right while angling the torso of his mech to bring his weapons to bear. His weapons spoke next almost at the same time as the Urbanmech's AC20 did. Both the Gauss Rifle and the AC20 missed, and the Urbanmech's small laser couldn't range, but his medium lasers did, splashing armor from the tank's turret as they hit. The tank fired again even as it started rolling over the first batch of infantry that it had fired upon, an elemental going under each track crushed the armored infantry to paste even if they had survived their armor being hit. The Vulture's pilot couldn't seem to get his bearings so as to fire on the tank, and never it seemed would he as the three guns of the tank spoke again, this time concentrating on the center torso of the mech and hitting with at least two of its three weapons probably gutting the engine as the mech immediately shut down. The APCs opened fire, the pilots and gunners of the hover craft finally getting over the shock to their system of a unit this large in someone's personal keeping on such a backwater world. Both PPCs hit the front glacis of the machine, but it seemed to ignore the flea bites of the hover craft focusing now on the Urbanmech. The three guns of the tank belched fire and plasma once again hitting the center torso, gutting the gyro and the engine of the light mech even as the APCs started to run.

Suddenly his radio crackled to life, "Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of trueborn scum," the voice ground out harshly even as the turret started to track around. Fortuna finally could fire again, this time the Gauss rifle as well as both medium lasers hitting the flank of the beast. His war book was calling it an unknown Alacorn variant, his brain was telling him to run, instead he chose bravado.

"Spheroid scum, we are the Dark Moon Pirate clan," he called out over the radio. "Surrender and I might take you as my bondsman." his voice was getting a higher pitch and an almost insane giggle followed the threat, another lancet of Gauss slug and lasers lancing out to strike the turret.

"Boyo, you sure picked the wrong planet to pick on," the voice responded as the turret slewed around to track on the Shadowcat that was attempting to evade its ire. "We're Wolfson's Heavy Raiders," the voice continued. "And you should have stayed at home." Finally the turret stopped tracking and Fortuna watched down the barrel of three weapons as they all three fired seemingly at once.


Chapter 1.3[]

Coventry
Lyran Commonwealth
April 15, 3058 00:01 local

"30 seconds to drop!" James Wolfson heard over his radio as he moved the Mad Cat heavy omnimech into the open bay door of the drop ship. Outside he could see the dropzone approaching, an isolated mountain valley far behind Jade Falcon lines with a single road running straight through it. Behind him in the Leopard class dropship, a red light flashed illuminating the mech bay and its other inhabitants. In a flash the light turned green and James stepped his 75 ton mech out into nothingness without a hesitation. He knew that the drop pack and his jump jets would see him safely to the ground.

Two minutes later the Mad Cat stepped from the woods onto the road, the drop pack that had covered its back jettisoned behind it having done its job. The modified raven that had shared it's bay moved with it as they headed to the west end of the valley. "West end clear." James heard the transmission from the raven once they reached the pass and saw that there wasnt anyone coming from that end. After a couple more minutes the Owens on the other end of the valley with its Cauldron Born covering mech reported in also.

"East end clear, drop zone clear, commence drop." James heard the pilot of the modified Owen Recon 'Mech announce and turned to his rear camera to watch the drop. The Leopard's original decent had been steep and rocky, making it look like a meteor or a piece of space debris falling into this valley. It wasnt untill it had actually gotten below the mountain ranges that it had levelled out allowing the mechs to jump to the forest floor. Now the dropship was circling back down the road flying only a few meters off the ground as chutes deployed two at a time behind it, hover craft dropping from its aft bay. James knew what they had inventory wise, he was the team leader, and between their speed and fire power there wasnt likely anything they couldnt do. So long as the enemy couldnt really find them.

Condor Hover Tank (On hillside road)

Condor Hover Tank

Two heavy and two recon 'Mechs, accompanied by a pair of Condor Hover tanks, a pair of Condor Thumpef artillery pieces, and a pair of Condor hover trucks consolidated their position in the valley as the dropship thundered off. The fact that this had been a drop was going to be known as soon as the dropship was picked up on radar, and the small force of mechs and armor needed to move out fast. "All Striker units this is Striker lead, loading nav points now. We have six hours to make movement and be in position so lets get a move on people. Striker two you have point, striker four, you have drag. Keep a lookout and keep on your toes, i want to get this mission done with quickly." with that he shut his radio down and started following the Raven and its pilot East out of the valley.


(No) Mercy Hospital
Guadalcanal, Solomon System
Aug 21, 3134
06:30 Local Time

Alexander Fortuna slowly opened his eyes to white which slowly resolved itself into ceiling tiles and florescent lights. He lay on a bed, covered in sheets and a hospital gown, his wrists were restrained to the rail of the bed though. Slowly he turned his head to the right finding his bed surrounded by a curtain and a young girl sitting in the chair beside his bed reading a book. "Excuse me," he croaked being polite because he knew he was screwed. This was an actual hospital not the med bay on either the dropship or the jumpship, which meant that he had been captured. His uncle had said that he had seen a man get beaten for being overly rude, and not one of the prisoners but one of he soldiers that had captured them. As he spoke the young girl looked up from her book and smiled.

Jane had been left with her mother at the hospital to watch over the survivors of the attack on the farmstead while her Grandparents oversaw the capture and interrogation of the other two groups. Her mother had put her in the room of one of the mech pilots who had a nasty concussion and was supposed to let her mom know as soon as he woke up. He seemed to be maybe twice her age, and handsome in a roguish way. Suddenly she heard him talk and she looked up from her book for almost the tenth time since they had come here. This time his eyes were open and he had said something. "I'm sorry, what was that?" she asked putting her favorite bookmark into the book and hitting the call button on the remote that she had moved over next to her.

He smiled, the shocked look on her face as she had realized he was awake was cute in that way that most children are when they are caught unaware and not paying attention to what they are supposed to be doing. He had seen it often enough in his younger sisters before their sibko days, but once they had joined their sibkos only frustration would shade their faces if he or anyone else would catch them unaware. "Water, please." he asked, and watched as she picked up a cup and poured some water from a pitcher into it before bringing it over to let him drink from the straw that she had added. "Thank you," he said, his now moistened throat able to help form the words in his normal voice. She dimpled and moved back over to the chair just as a nurse came into the room behind the curtain.

After she had helped the young enemy warrior have a drink Jane thought for a moment as she waited for the nurse. This was the first time in what she was sure was a long time that a pirate ship had gotten to the ground, forget about the JumpShip getting away intact. It was not going to end well for either side, maybe she could get grandpa to move her out of the basement simulators and into a training 'Mech or even a fighting 'Mech by next year. Then the nurse was in the room checking the enemy warrior and telling her where to find her mother so that she could go get her.

After the girl left the nurse looked to make sure she was out of earshot before grabbing him by the throat with her bare hand and leaning in to whisper into his ear. "Harm her boyo, and you might last long enough for the unit's old man to tear your head off, but i doubt it." with that the nurse released him and stepped away remaining quiet until the girl and a woman who could only be her mother arrived.

Doctor Jasmine Calderon Wolfson finished examining the young warrior and then passed judgement. "Your in good shape and as long as the concussion doesnt kill you you'll be fine in a day or two, which should be about right for my father in law to return and decide what is going to happen to you and your pirate compatriots. Your lucky you came straight at him and didnt try and take any of the local city's otherwise he would have made cockpit shots. As it is your two mechwarrior friends are going to be in our burn unit for the next few months so count yourself lucky that he realized he could shoot the legs right out from under your mech."

"Yes ma'am," he answered. "What about the people I left at the dropship?"

"I don't suppose it will hurt to tell you they surrendered without a fight when they were overflown by my mother-in-law's fighter squadron before they could get out of atmosphere." she answered. "The old man had them land and then used their dropship to move to Savo Island Station collecting both the remainder of this group as well as the other group that didnt even make planetfall at Tulagi." at that point the doctor chuckled. "Your the only group I've seen this close in a long time. You should know however that my husbands father spent his youth as a mechwarrior busting pirate groups like yours under Dragoon colors." At this the youth went pale, mercs were death to pirates, and it was no wonder this was the black hole of the periphery to pirates.

"Now Jane," the doctor said turning to the girl, "I want you to sit here and make sure this young man stays awake for at least the next six hours." Turning back to him she continued, "and you will stay awake, if at any point you find yourself dozing off you tell her and she'll ring the nurse and get me so that we can make sure you dont have a subdural hematoma."

"Yes ma'am!" they both snapped and the doctor nodded before leaving the room with the nurse.

"Jane, I'm Alexander," Alexander said once they had left. "Could I please get some more water?"
"Sure, but i'm going to have to hold the cup, your not allowed to be released until either your bonded or taken away to prison."

"I understand," he answered and she brought the cup of water back over. After he had taken another drink he asked her. "What are you reading that is so entrancing?"

"I think its one of my grandfather's journals." she answered. "Would you like for me to read it to you?"

"Yes please," he answered. He really needed knowledge of his jailers, of those that he had fought and lost to. "I would like that."

"Alright," Jane replied and then picked up the story at the next journal entry.


Unnamed Ridge, (coordinates unknown)
Coventry
Lyran Commonwealth
April 15, 3058 05:50 local

Three mechs stood on the backside of a ridge from a Jade Falcon supply and repair base. The mission was simple, jump in, hit the base and then paste the response team with artillery while making off with whatever clan tech then could stuff on the hover trucks. The customized Raven was with the trucks, tanks and artillery to cover them with its ECM suite while the modified Owens was with the Cauldron Born and the Mad Cat at the top of the ridge. The Coventry fir trees grew sparse enough at the top of this ridge to allow them to jump over and come down right in the middle of the base's own defenders even before they knew what was happening, and the tanks trucks and artillery would move in under the Raven's cover from the end of the ridge as soon as the base was secure. Jade Falcon supply and repair depot.


Coventry
Lyran Commonwealth
April 15, 3058 06:01 local

The alarm klaxons sounded throwing Star Colonel Amanda Clees from her bunk and a sound sleep. She had taken the late watch the night before and had only just gotten to sleep it seemed when the alarms started to sound. "Report," she yelled slinging her door open from her quarters even as she pulled on her clothes. No one answered her however as they all seemed to either panic and run or stare awe struck at the three battlemechs that had just landed in the middle of their parade ground and opened fire on the gates. Clees only glared at the machines and the slavering black on red wolf's head emblem upon them until the speakers on one popped to life.

"Jade Falcon warriors and technicians of this base," she heard from the machine. "You are all now my prisoners. Come forward and either surrender or die." Star Colonel Clees walked forward and yelled up at the mechs.

Timber Wolf (MechCommander)

Timber Wolf Heavy Omnimech

"I demand a Trial of Refusal you stravag surrat," she said, "I am the commander here and what I say goes, either you fight me now or you get nothing and no one from this facility." A moment later the mech she knew as a Timberwolf crouched and the cockpit opened allowing a ladder to roll out and the pilot to descend. Once the pilot reached the ground she was able to get a better look at him, he stood about 170cm and weighed maybe a hair better than 80kilos but even at that height and weight he had a stockiness to his build that spoke of many years of heavy labor or training. The youthfulness of his face when he removed his neurohelmet however denied the first possibility, this pilot couldn't be more in his mid 20's at most and while younger than Clees it was only by a couple of years, not over 10 like some of the young Falcon bloods that seemed to move through her base on a weekly basis.

"My name is James Wolfson," the warrior stated plainly, "Lieutenant of Wolf's Dragoons, who may I ask am I addressing?" The question was polite enough if plain and to the point.

"I am Star Colonel Amanda Clees," she answered equally plainly, suppressing the anger at facing one of the traitors. "Choose your weapon or choose your ground, Lieutenant." she finished.

"Unaugmented if it pleases you Star Colonel," he said pulling off the neurohelmet and the coolant vest. "And I think right here is fair enough a place to fight, all the people will be able to see, quiaff?" he used the clan query easily as the coolant vest dropped atop the helmet showing a hirsute body, just as stocky and undefined as she had figured.

"Aff, bargained well and done." she answered and as he started to set himself she launched herself at him in the attack. She found he was surprisingly quick and nimble, blocking her first three punches with ease before moving into a counter attack that had her backing up and reassessing her opponent. Maybe he is older than he appears, she thought as she started to circle her opponent. She knew he couldn’t be young and just this well trained, the young just didn’t learn this in training, and the ease this opponent showed was one of years of fighting beyond training. James circled opposite the Jade Falcon Star Colonel watching for an opening or for a way to create one. She was good, and he knew that either she would die, or else he would, it was just that kind of fight, one that was likely to be to the death. He wasn’t giving in for anything, to take him alive she was going to have to get in a lucky shot and knock him out in one blow, and the same thing went the other way, unless he could grapple her and choke her unconscious. To that end, he stopped circling and shifted his stance from the near boxing mixed martial arts stance that he had been using to one that he would take for a draw strike had he been using a katana, at which point he closed his eyes.

Mech sergeant Thomas Creighton watched the fight from the cockpit of the Cauldron Born, recording it to his BattleROM from his forward video feed. He had watched the Lieutenant fight before, hand to hand against one of the elementals and it had been a good training bout. The lieutenant had lost, but that was mostly because of the sheer size of his opponent and the fact that the elemental had been able to absorb so much damage without flinching. He had seen the Lieutenant attempt this maneuver also, to suck his opponent in close so he could grapple them and take the fight and them to the ground where he could get them in a choke hold of one variety or another.

She had circled him twice while he simply stood there, eyes closed as if she didn’t even matter. It was insulting, disrespectful to take your eyes from your opponent, let alone ignore them and the fight that you began. “Stravag,” she muttered as she came around behind him again. She was tired of circling and there being no fight, if he wasn’t going to attack then she would. It was with that thought that she moved, aiming to put her fist through the back of his head and out the front.


Chapter 1.4[]

Space Station Hannibal'
Solomon System
08:00 Local Time

“Bondsman Fortuna reporting as ordered, Sir.” Alexander said as he floated into the old man’s office and looked around. An elemental had showed up at the hospital two days before, tied the red, black and green bondsman cord around his wrist and told him that “The General” wanted his new bondsman on Hannibal Station as soon as possible. With that he was issued fatigues and sent to the local spaceport where he was shoved aboard a shuttle and carried to the station in a geosynchronous station around the local sun.

“Sit down, and strap in.” The General grumbled pointing to a station seat to Alexander’s left. Pushing off the doorframe Alexander moved over to the chairs looking around the office more and smiled as he strapped himself to the chair. The nameplate on the desk matched the one on the door that read “Wolfson, Gen.” The old man looked up from the terminal on his desk, “Something strike you funny boyo?” he asked looking at Alexander instead of his terminal.

“No sir,” Alexander answered. “Just imagining my mother’s reaction to finding out you’re here. She’s going to flip when she finds out.”

James Wolfson had not expected an answer from his bondsman, and especially not one so full of information. “Who is your mother, Bondsman Fortuna?”


Pirate Point, System Unknown August 25, 3134 1000 Ship Time

“I am sorry Eldest, but there has been no word from the expedition since the jumpship jumped back to the rendezvous point.” The jump ship captain informed the leader of the Dark Moon Pirate Clan. “It has been 72 hours so I do not think we will be hearing from them short of going into the system ourselves.”
“Are all the dropships attached and ready for combat?” The Eldest asked.

“Yes Eldest,” the dropship captain replied. “The entire fleet awaits your command.”
“Then let us go and get my son.” Amanda Clees Fortuna, Eldest of the Dark Moon Clan replied.


Space Station Hannibal, Solomon System
Aug 25, 3134
10:00 Local Time

James Wolfson knew they were coming, he just didn’t know when exactly the pirate fleet would arrive. He had cleared both solar jump points of traffic and had a relay satellite moved into position at the pirate point to bring any transmission from that source to the station. “Jump emergence, multiple jump emergences at both the zenith and nadir jump points sir.” The sensor tech called out suddenly breaking James’s train of thought.

“Incoming communication from the enemy fleet.” A communications tech called out.

“On screen,” Wolfson answered calmly. He knew who he was facing, the question was had she remembered what she learned when they met so long ago. An instant later the screen came to life with a lined face of an aged woman and he remembered it unlined and strong, waking up from where he had knocked her unconscious.


Jade Falcon supply and repair depot
Coventry
Lyran Commonwealth
April 15, 3058
08:15 local

Amanda Clees found herself with a bloody nose lying on her side on the tarmac of the supply base as the rest of the group trudged around following the directions of the pilot of the Timber Wolf as six hover vehicles sat waiting on a different section of the tarmac. Two carried artillery cannons, two were hover tanks, and two were stripped down to nothing but drives and cargo area. All were grounded and appeared ready for action. Sitting up, she wiped the blood from her face and remembered how she had ended up there.

The rush had ended with her fist missing its target. The Timber Wolf’s pilot had pivoted, the heal of his sword hand landing in her solar plexus with not just the force of his swing, but the speed of her rush. The punch she had thrown had also overbalanced her, causing her to fall forward, and then blackness had taken her as her nose broke and her forehead hit the tarmac. Finally the pilot who had beaten her came over to her, ah good you’re awake, I hope nothing other than your nose is broken, for we have much to do and not much time to do it in.”

Chapter 1.5[]

Odyssey class jumpship: Wayfarer
Mule class Dropship: Wanderers Rest
Pirate point, Unknown system

In the hold that had been converted for the care and transport of the passengers the dropship a child awoke to the Zero-G environment that was a resting and recharging jumpship. She did not know where they were, nor did she know how long until they left this system. What she did know was that this dream that had waked her was important, and any dream that was important should be told to her elders immediately so that it would not be forgotten. This in mind she slid from her bunk, amongst the rest of her sibkin, and drifted across the compartment to the elder that watched over them. Gripping the bunk that the elder slept in and the elder’s shoulder she shook the elder trying to wake her as well. “Elder,” she said continuing to shake the older woman. “Elder, wake up.” This received a grunt and the rolling body of the Spirit Cat warrior that had been set to watch over this particular sibko.

“What do you need young one?” the warrior asked opening one eye to gaze upon the eight year old child that had awoken her. It was deep in the ship’s sleep cycle and both her and the child needed their rest.

“Elder I had a dream that I know must be true, for I saw the faces of those who would help us in our quest.” The child said.

“What makes you think this a true dream?” the warrior asked. The children of the sibko had many dreams and many of them thought they were true dreams. Rarely it would happen that they would turn out to be true dreams, more often they would not, but they would be recorded and watched for regardless just in case they turned out to be true, even if usually the dreams proved to be more fanciful than reality allowed.

“Because I saw faces of people that I have never met, each of them marked in a way to show whose allegiance they were born to.” The child answered. “Sharks who are Foxes shall bring to us a wolf, a falcon and a dragon who help us take what we need and shall save that which we thought lost.”

The Spirit Cat warrior noted the information, as well as the fact that as the child repeated it her eyes started staring into nothing, a sign that the dream at least had the potential for being true. She pondered however how this could happen. Sharks who are Foxes was the easy part, the Sea Foxes traded in this region of space, but what could it mean that they would bring a wolf, a falcon and a dragon to help her clan. Finally after the third time the child repeated the information and the warrior was sure she had it all written down the warrior spoke. “Very good Agatha, now back to bed, for tomorrow will be as long and tiring as today was.” The child nodded and drifted off towards her bunk, even as the warrior lay in hers, pondering the child’s dream.


Chapter 2.1[]

Pirate point, Irece system
Draconis Combine
December 22, 3142

Space rippled and three ships appeared out of the nothingness of hyperspace. Two of them, simple jumpships, released their brood of seven dropships and disappeared into the nothingness from which they came. Then the seven dropships and the one warship proceeded to burn toward the sole populated planet of the system and the screen of dropships that encircled it. Fredasa class Corvette: Ummagumma, attached to it is the Leopard Class Dropship: Astronomy Domine

Fredasa class Corvette (Delranes Fighting Ships 3061 - Matt Plog)

Fredasa Class Corvette

Jane stood on the deck of the modified Leopard dropship as the warship it was attached to drug it through space at a solid 2 G’s and watched as her best friend and most junior tech scrambled over the surface of her battlemech for the tenth time. Finally the blonde nodded, her long slightly curly hair bouncing in counterpoint to the thrum of the warship’s engines before calling out. “She’s ready.” She said simply and clambered off the mech to stand beside Jane.

“No new toys, Aggie?” Jane asked hesitantly, her friend was always coming up with new devices or new variations on old ones that she always wanted Jane to test for her. Sometimes they worked, most times they blew up, and sometimes they blew up spectacularly. She was the one person on board specifically banned from caffeinated sodas and coffee due to the resulting mess with the coffee maker afterwards.

“Nothing new today, Jane.” she said with a grimace. “Unless you want something.” she continued visibly perking up at the thought. “We still have four hours until separation, four and a half until drop.”

“No, I think I’ll stick with what I have, Aggs.”, Jane answered and watched her friend deflate slightly. It wasn’t Agatha’s fault that things tended to blow up, and she was the one usually in danger when they did because they would blow up on her work table more often than they would in a mech or a test bench at the range. Something just seemed to not like her trying to improve technology, and that seemed to cause her to have to work five times as hard at her job. “Besides, buck up.” Jane continued. “The shuttle squadrons are using the improved armor you came up with, along with most of them using your weapons configuration for this drop.” This caused the young Spirit Cat tech to perk up a little and practically preen at the thought. “Now get to your vehicle and get ready for the drop, and strap in tight, this time. This is liable to be a rocky entry and we don’t want you bruised up like last time.”

“Right chief,” the tech replied with a smile and scampered off to the recovery and repair vehicle that she would follow the headhunter team with. Two recovery vehicles, two hover tanks, and four mechs including Agatha and herself were going to be dropping behind Combine lines and seeking out enemy commanders to kill. They were also tasked with hitting the supply lines between the front lines and the Combine supply bases either stealing or destroying the bases much like her grandfather had done on Coventry. Unlike Coventry however, the plan wasn’t for the lines to fight toward her, but for her to delay as much as possible the enemy’s advance for one week before re-boarding the dropship and joining her grandfather and the rest of the unit for their extraction run back to the pirate point.

Turning to go to her mech, Jane caught sight of Lieutenant (senior grade) Alexander Fortuna as he walked into the bay and barely held back a sigh before going over to her mech in its cradle. She had been crushing over the older mechwarrior since she had met him eight years before, but she knew better than to say anything about it. He was eight years her senior, and her commanding officer besides. There were strict rules about fraternization amongst the ranks and with this being her first combat posting she didn’t want to throw a wrench into the works by trying to get romantic with anyone, let alone her commander.

“Everything ship shape mechwarrior?” she heard him ask as he worked his way up to the cockpit of his mech, the same shadowcat that he had arrived in.
“Aff lieutenant,” she answered. “Agatha went over both of them with a fine tooth comb and says everything is ready for the drop.” She watched as he opened the cockpit of his mech. “Good.” He answered and then climbed into the cockpit of his mech. “Get ready for the drop and be sure to strap in tight, it is liable to be rough.” “Aff Lieutenant,” she replied and climbing into her own cockpit sighed, knowing what her heart wanted could never be.


Union class Dropship: Norway
December 22, 3142

They had managed to beat the Combine forces to the system, and more importantly to the planet. The Spirit Cats of Marik wanted to save as many of their brethren as possible; they had known the rebellion that the main part of the clan had instigated against the Combine and Yuri Kurita was a lost cause when they heard of it, and they knew that the reprisal was going to be horrific. Their forces however were busy still holding Marik and making sure it was secure against any who would try and take it from them. But Kisho Nova Cat had gone to Irece, and he of all of them could lead at least a portion of their people to their new home. The Sea Foxes had been asked, and they supplied a jumpship and four dropships outfitted to carry the refugees in infantry bays. Then they had contracted with James Wolfson and his raiders for another jumpship, his warship, an escort and an extra Excalibur to be outfitted for infantry. Thus, here he was, the Sea Fox jumpship “Money” along with his own “Infinity’s End” and the Dark Moon Clan’s “Ummagumma had jumped into the Irece system and managed to beat the Draconis Combine’s forces to the planet. “Nova Cat forces of Irece, this is the dropship Norway requesting approach vector and landing instructions. We come in peace and with need to speak to your Clan Council and Khan.”

Norway this is Irece traffic control, all ships are to assume parking orbit until otherwise notified, any deviation from that other than to leave the system will result in all ships being fired upon.” A gruff voice answered finally. “We do not recognize your transponder please state your cargo, originating station, and reason for being here.”

“Irece control this is General James Wolfson of Wolfson’s Heavy Raiders, a combined arms mercenary unit. Our objective is the removal of the contents of your Genetic repository and as many civilians as possible to Marik and the Spirit Cat enclave there. To do this we have brought two Mammoths, an Excalibur and a Mule from Clan Sea Fox, and to escort them a Fredasa class corvette and an Excaliber class pocket warship. To ensure we are capable of loading everyone we can we have brought a cluster sized force to reinforce your current strength until such time as the ships are loaded and are ready to leave.”

“General Wolfson, Irece Control will inform Khan Nostra and the Clan Council of your intentions and get an answer for you as soon as possible.” “Thank you Irece control,” James replied. “Wolfson clear until hailed.”


Chapter 2.2[]

City of New Barcella
Irece, Irece System
December 22, 3142
1800 Local Time

James walked from the ground car, a point of elementals surrounding him as he walked into the Nova Cat council building. The elementals were out of armor, but their size gave away their genetic heritage as they led him into the building. Inside, James found himself facing the existing clan council of the Nova Cats, their khan, and the one face he had hoped to see here as well. “Well met Kisho Nova Cat, it is good to see you well.” James said bowing.

“As it is to see you Wolfson-san,” the mystic Nova Cat replied. “I understand you have brought a lot of equipment with you to help us out with, and all that you ask in return is the Genetic Repository.”

Neg, Kisho-sama.” James answered and then turned to the Nova Cat Khan. “At the request of the Spirit Cat enclave on Marik, I have brought to you a cluster of vehicles. They are a combination anti-air, infantry transport and artillery hover vehicles. The anti-air and infantry vehicles can also double as tanks. It is the request of the Spirit Cat enclave that to ensure the continuance of the Nova Cat warrior bloodlines that I acquire the contents of the genetic repository as well as a gift take from all the warriors currently on Irece, as their fight shall be recorded into the remembrance of the clan.”

“Our trothkin are truly generous to us in our time of need to have you bring us such items.” Khan Nostra replied bowing to James. “Call down your dropships and we shall start unloading vehicles and loading civilians and the contents of the repository. What shall you do if the loading is incomplete when the Combine’s warriors arrive?”

“If they arrive before we are finished I will guide the fight to hold them off until the ships are packed with all they will hold and then we will leave, fighting our way out to the jump point if we have to.” James said his face going grim. “I will not leave behind any civilian that I could possibly save, to the mercy of the DCMS.”

At this, Khan Nostra nodded, “Then we have a request for you as well Wolfson-san. Kisho has informed us of what you did on Marik to help our trothkin there, more so what you did to protect the children that were with them. Would you be willing to help a child once more, one that needs protection from the universe itself?”

“Of course, Khan Nostra.” James replied bowing, “I would be honored to help any child that I can. It is my hope that I will be allowed to take all of your sibkos with me to save as many children as I can.”

At this the Khan of the Nova Cats nodded, “It will be so and they will be the first to be loaded. There is however one that is much too young for the sibko, yet needs much more protection and training.”

At this James quirked an eyebrow, suddenly realizing whom the Khan was speaking of. “I swear on my honor that I and my Clan will personally see to the raising and protection of this child until such time as he is ready to care for himself. He will be raised to be all that he can be as a Wolfson, and as a child of the Clan.”

At this, the Khan and the clan council all nodded. “Well bargained and done, James Wolfson. For this your gift take shall also be added to the repository as an honorary member of our clan.” Khan Nostra said and the council joined her as she said, “Seyla.”

“Seyla.” James echoed.


Nova Cat Spaceport
Irece, Irece System
December 22, 3142
19:30 local time

Jane watched from the cockpit of her mech as lines of vehicles exited the two dropships that carried them. Her grandfather had brought the dropships down only moments ago and now the infantry vehicles were up on their hover skirts and heading out to the various villages to gather civilians who would be packed into four of the dropships like sardines into metal cans for rations. Others would be set up in the more spacious, but less livable amenities in the union and overlord dropships that had previously held the vehicles now going out to recover them. The Excalibur class dropship “The Division Bell” was landing at Cem Passos to collect the contents of the repository along with as many civilians as could be packed into her hold as well. “Headhunter two, this is headhunter lead.” Jane heard from her radio. “Command wants us to dismount and go meet a VIP so stow your mech and get decent, we have half an hour.”

“Understood lead.” Jane responded and started moving her mech around the backside of the Union to the Leopard that she was based out of.


City of New Barcella
Irece, Irece System
2000 local time

Jane squatted down looking at the four-year-old little boy who was peeking out from behind his mother’s kimono. “Hello, my name is Jane, what’s yours?”

“His name is Daisuke and until we get back to your parents he’s yours and Alexander’s responsibility.” Her grandfather answered for the little boy as his mother picked him up. “You can get Agatha to help if you want and she has the time but you are responsible until we get home.”

Jane could hear the young mother say something in a foreign language to the boy before setting him down once more, at which point the boy turned and spoke in clear if accented English. “Mother says that you are my new onee-sama and that I must listen and do as you say, are you going to keep the monsters away?” he asked.

“Yes,” Jane answered smiling. He was just so cute and sweet that she could not help but love him. “And I will teach you all I can and my grandfather or Alexander will teach you everything else.” She finished.

“Bargained well and done,” Daisuke returned in the clan way. He then walked over to her before turning around and bowing to his mother. “I must go now mother, be well.” Jane could see the stress on both the boy and his mother’s bodies, but she also knew that honor was demanding this scene be played out no matter how much they both wanted to just break down and weep.

“Go, and be well my son.” The mother replied. “Bring our family and our bloodline much honor in living your life.” With that the mother bowed herself, before turning and walking out of the room. After his mother left Daisuke took Jane’s hand in his and biting his lip, gestured that they should leave.


Zenith Jump Point
Irece System
December 23, 3142

Space ripped and a DCMS Jumpship burst into existence before releasing her brood of dropships. All of the dropships started a heavy burn toward the sole populated planet of the system even as the jumpship deployed its solar sail and a roving patrol of fighters.


DCMS Takashi Kurita
Officers Briefing Room
December 23, 3142
Local Time: 0800

Tai-sa Diablo Reid sat in his chair at the head table of the officers mess as the operations officer ran down the final briefing of the invasion of Irece and the extermination of the Nova Cat Clan. It would take almost 6 days for them to catch up to the planet’s orbit with landfall, barring outside influence on the 29th of December. “Finally, we are broadcasting the battlerom footage from the cleanup of other Cat forces throughout the Combine. The message is clear that there will be no negotiation and that only death awaits those that go against the Coordinator and the Combine.” His briefing concluded the operations officer bowed to the Tai-sa before returning to his seat.

Standing Reid looked at his officers, “Soldiers of the Combine,” he said. “By the end of next month I intend to be presenting the head of both the Nova Cat Khan and the so called Warlord of Dieron to the Coordinator. All I ask of you is that you fight well, and show no mercy to the traitors.” With that the entire occupancy of the room stood, and as one, bowed to their commander. “Fight well, dismissed.” With that he turned and strode from the room, fighting the two gravity pull against his body the entire way to his quarters.


New Barcella, Irece
December 23, 3142

James looked at the feed on the view screen watching as DCMS Mechwarriors stepped on infantry and surrendering pilots alike. “Well, I guess they intend to kill us all, not like we didn’t expect it.” James grumbled. “What’s the status on loading the dropships?”

“Loading as fast as they can Star General Wolfson,” one of the aides that had been assigned to him stated checking a small noteputer. “Current estimates have all of them loaded as of the 28th, maybe the 29th.” The aide looked at James and smiled. “The genetic repository has already been loaded along with that dropship’s allotment of civilians and is sitting in orbit on the far side of the planet from the invading forces.”

“Very good, now we must expedite the rest of the loading,” he looked back over his shoulder at the aide. “Now!” he snapped causing the aide to fumble for a minute before running out of the room.


/\/\/\/\/\/\/The End\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Notes[]

  • This was first story written by wolfgar on bg.Battletech Forums

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