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The Bull and the Genie
- Chapter 15

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Sudden and Expected (to everyone not named Mary) Betrayal![]

For the Directorate[]

"Sweep forward," Brigade Mary Cheng said. "I'm picking up a lot of scatter on my sensors. Anyone else getting it?"

"Confirmed, lead." another Taurian mech said.

For the Directorate. Victoria hadn't wanted to believe it, but her father had the information. Secret communications to the command. The Taurians were pulling back patrols. Rumors that Brigadier Cheng was gathering more information about important figures into the Reach.

The battle had become too rich for the Taurian's blood, and even if they didn't have the penetration into the TDF's organization that they needed to find out exactly what was going on, it made sense. Mary's anger at the necessary measures the Directorate had taken. They would leave, and let Lady Arano—Kamea—take over, and her inability to unify the Reach would end them. No doubt that was what the Magistracy counted on, another pirate-ridden region of space draining the TDF's coffers.

For the Directorate.

Her father had given her the duty. Because she was loyal. She understood that whatever the personal cost, the nation came first.


"Incoming LRMs!" They were in an overgrown region of the world, with many little ravines and gullies, heavy metal deposits making communication's iffy.

The worst possible terrain for the Taurian's movements, but the information that heavy weapons were being moved in here had been enough to force Cheng to come out, especially rumors that there were uniformed MAF soldiers here.

Rumors that had been planted by the Directorate, taking advantage of the fact that Cheng was focused on military affairs and most of the civil intelligence officers had died in the bombing.

Not that Victoria was happy about the bombing. If that misbegotten fool hadn't wanted to claim vengeance because a traitor had an allergic reaction, none of this would have happened.

She moved her mech to the side. The LRMs penetrated through the canopy, some detonating in the trees, sending splinters of wood down. The infantry was going to ground.

I could die here? After all, there were so very many ways this could go wrong. But if she died…

For the Directorate.

"I'm picking up a pair of medium mechs," Cheng said.

"On them!" Victoria shouted.

Marauder (Side View while in Combat - meltdonw14)

Marauder Heavy 'Mech in combat.

"Royal One—stay in—Blake Dammit!" Behind her, the Marauder started charging after her. The other units were fighting the rebels.

I can do this. They just had to get far enough ahead—and there were the enemies. Not mediums. One light, one medium. The Panther raised its PPC, but Victoria fired first, and her PPC's savaged it. Then from behind her, another three PPCs fired, and the panther stood for a moment, before the pilot ejected, the 'mech collapsing in wreckage. The other Battlemech, turned and jumped over the ravine.

Panther (In Woods - Blender Game)

Panther Light 'Mech

"What were you on!" Cheng snarled. "Didn't you remember, they like to play with minefields?" The Battlemech stomped by her. "Can't follow them. The units spread to hell and gone—they just fired and ran, but we really need to get concentrated in case they hit us with a counter attack. Why did they run…"

Because there's nothing important at this supply point. Not yet. There would be, but Victoria didn't need a pitched battle. She needed…

What she had. Fleeing 'mechs getting the Taurians spread out. Evidently destiny smiled on the Directorate.

Because now they were out of LOS (Line of Sight) of any allied unit. Now Cheng was alone with her.

"I was trying—wait, what is that?"


"The other side of the ravine, more mechs!"

Cheng turned and raised her weapons…

For the Directorate.

Victoria fired all of her weapons into the rear armor of Cheng's mech. The Mech staggered and spun forward, wobbling in a way that indicated its gyro was out, but somehow Cheng managed to stay on her feet, but Victoria charged and slammed into the mech, pushing it forward, firing her PPCs again. One missed, one hit, and now the shattered Mech was falling into the ravine, the waters below seeming to reach out to receive it.

For the Directorate. Then before Victoria could do anything else, the rebel medium mech reappeared—and this time is had two other's with it. They opened fire on Victoria, lasers and LRMs criss-crossing the ravine as she returned fire with her mech. The armor was yellow in some places. She kept backing off.

If I survive, this is good. The Rebels had PPCs, and it would prove Victoria's story, especially when father provided information that Lady Arano had issued a bounty for Cheng.

"This is Lady Victoria! Taurus One is down! Repeat, Taurus One is down!" She kept up her fire as more and more 'mechs appeared on the other side, evidently recognizing who she was.

It didn't matter. Even if she died, it didn't matter. She'd carried out her mission. Even if it meant killing someone who had fought side by side with her.

For the Directorate.

Down, but not Out[]

Okay, this is a new low in our political relationship., Mary thought. The cockpit was black, save for emergency lights, and water was coming in. And she was upside down, her broken arm screaming in agony

Agony was good. It kept her from panicking. Being trapped, underwater, was right up there with being trapped in a burning cockpit in 'nightmares mechwarriors have'. She fumbled with her good hand for the override panel for the fusion plant. Civilian plants shut down when they were damaged. Military plants didn't, which is why military fusion systems could explode, given that their design was a litany of things that you just didn't do in the civilian world.

Now if it isn't full of water, and preparing to simultaneously broil and explode me, if the myomers are still intact, if I can flip without just ending up deeper… The cockpit shuddered as Mary hit the right contact and the entire board came alive, red lights letting her know how fucked she was.

"Right, sorry Baby, just one more try…" Mary grabbed the controls and kicked out, the mech shuddering. There was another shudder, bangs, and suddenly light came into her cockpit.

Oh thank—

And the muzzle of a PPC tapped the cockpit, held by a panther that was not in her TOC.

Now Mary heard the sound of fighting, and the PPC tapped her cockpit again, a little more urgently.

Right, the rest of my people are moving up. The implication was clear, and Mary took a look at her weapons board. All dead. Of course. Ditto for the gyro. Sighing, she reached down and pulled the purge lever for the data in the computer and then opened her cockpit. There were rebel soldiers there, in Arano livery, pointing guns at her.

Mary shook her head, remembering an old, old movie she'd seen on Brannis.

"Take me to your leader?"

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