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The Sanity of War
Facts
Author Monbvol
Series Name Short Story
Alternate Universe Name
Year Written September 22nd, 2021
Story Era Civil War Era




Overview[]

Sean MacIntyre is woman in unusual position. A young woman whom finds whom finds herself sent to a distant world in far reaches of the Lyran Alliance.

Characters[]

  • Sean MacIntyre, Federated Suns minor Noblewoman & MechWarrior
  • Duke Benjamin Utz, Lyran Alliance duke of Pocologan

Chapter 1[]

Utz Castle
Pocologan, Timbuktu Province
Lyran Alliance
7 March 3062
Morning


Sean MacIntyre sat across from the ruler of a relatively backwater Lyran world.

Duke Benjamin Utz.  He was a wirey looking man but not overly frail looking and his thick black hair and blue eyes gave him a rather striking presence when he needed one.

"This is a most unusual situation my dear.  With tensions the way they are I am rather surprised someone recommended you to be on my personal staff."  Benjamin's German accent thin enough that he was not difficult to understand.

"I don't know for sure but I suspect it is my father trying to kill two birds with one stone.  He's trying to keep me away from any potential fighting and I think he hopes that this will serve as the basis for an eventual arranged marriage."  Sean's own Scottish accent was equally light having lived on New Avalon nearly all her life.

"Ah yes, I see.  You are still listed as being heir to a noble title but, for a dead world.  I understand why you do not put more prominence on this fact.  Must be quite difficult."  Benjamin taped on his noteputer.

"I will admit it was enough to get invited to the right parties and get me into the NAIS since our family was off world at the time campaigning for the Federated Suns and threw themselves into serving with distinction over the generations but the pity, scorn, and carefully veiled ridicule at those parties was rather difficult.  Especially after my father disgraced himself on Solaris."  Sean answered fighting back some difficult memories.

"I understand that somewhat myself.  As a ruler of such a remote and unimportant planet in a realm that places even more emphasis on status I have faced much the same.  But I think that is enough for now.  Time to get you settled then we can talk more."  Benjamin smiled.

Chapter 2[]

Sean's room

A quick shower had Sean feeling a bit better.  Something about not recycled water just felt better to her and the trip here from New Avalon had certainly exposed her to enough recycled water to last her a long time.

She carefully dried her bright red hair and found herself looking at the picture of her family on her dresser.

It was the last time they were all together.  She was just about 15 and in her awkward growing into her own body phase.

Her older brother was only 'eccentric' then.

Her mother was about to be deployed as part of the AFFC to what was supposed to be a quiet periphery posting.

Her father was still a respected war hero for his service in Operation RAT and the War of 3039.

She sighed dismissing her depressing train of thought and finished dressing.

A knock at her door brought the rest of reality back into focus.

"Duke Utz requests your company for lunch."  A servant announced from the other side of the door.

"Let him know I will join him shortly."  Sean almost shouted back to ensure she'd be heard through the door.

A quick few strokes of her brush and some light makeup and she was satisfied with her appearance.  After all even if it was her father hoping to play some sort of subtle matchmaker game she didn't have to entirely play along.

Chapter 3[]

Breakfast

Sean stared at her plate briefly.  She knew she'd have to get used to some rather unusual meals while serving in Lyran space but she could not recognize anything on it.  But being raised in the circles of nobility she was able to manage just about anything for the sake of politeness.

What ever the meat was, well it wasn't the worst thing Sean had ever tasted but she kind of wished it had been prepared differently.  The things that Sean assumed were some sort of local edible plant were better.

"Everything to your liking Lady MacIntyre?"  Benjamin asked from across the table.

"Yes. A bit unusual I will admit but I suspect every world has their own unique twists when it comes to culinary offerings."  Sean responded carefully.

"I suppose that is true.  When I travel I find I do miss the comforts of home.  As such please let me know if there is something you would prefer to be on the menu as I wish to make your service on my staff as enjoyable as possible."  Benjamin smiled as he finished his own meal.

"Thank you, Duke Utz, if I can think of something I will be sure to let your chef know."  Sean again answered carefully.

"Good. Now back to our unfinished conversation since you are nice and settled in.  I find myself torn about something.  I wish to respect your privacy but yet at the same time there is much more I am also quite curious about."  Benjamin allowed himself to trail off.

"My family and my family's title."  Sean guessed.

"Yes."  Benjamin nodded.

"Well the title is pretty easy.  Our family used to rule a world in the Federated Suns.  The chaos of the Succession Wars rendered it uninhabitable.  Combine even dropped some dirty nukes on it.  But because my ancestor was out campaigning and the world would eventually be habitable again it was decided to allow the title to remain active even if it was largely now honorific in nature.  In return it became a family tradition to provide service as our family seemed to produce remarkable mechwarriors.  With the Federated Suns respect for military service this was enough to keep us in good standing.  My family becomes more complicated."  Sean answered.

"Take your time."  Benjamin adjusted himself in his chair.

"I guess I should start with my father.  He was always more of a political animal than a soldier growing up but the way he tells it Hanse Davion himself gifted him a Battlemaster as a reward for distinguished service.  I don't know if it was Hanse himself but I have been able to confirm our family's Warhammer was shot to bits in the War of 3039 and he was issued a Battlemaster replacement.  Which after my mother was declared MIA during the invasion prompted him to cashier out and go to Solaris and wind up doing so poorly in the arenas that the Battlemaster is now in hock with some stable.  This also tipped my brother over the edge as he always was a bit of an odd one but is now completely out of touch with reality.  He has a knack for escaping what ever institution we put him in and since I remind him of our mother and he thus blames me for our family woes, well he tends to be a bit of a problem.  Hell on my 18th birthday he somehow found a way to sneak a block of modeling clay with wires stuck into it leading to an alarm clock into my room at the academy.  I'm just glad he's so out of touch with reality that he is actually more annoying than dangerous."  Sean answered.

"Thank you for indulging me.  I also apologize for dredging up some obviously painful memories.  I shall have dinner sent to your room."  Benjamin nodded.

Chapter 4[]

The Movie

Sean sat in an open field on a picnic blanket in a short summer dress, her hair freely flowing in the gentle breeze when a dashing man with well defined physique came over the hill.

She recognized him immediately.  Dashing tri-vid movie star Sir Ian Hemsworth-Davion.

Her pulse quickened and she found herself unable to speak as he approached.

"Sean my darling I've come to rescue you!"  Sir Ian Hemsworth-Davion bellowed.

"Save me from what?"  Sean managed.

As if summoned miniature Battlemasters sprang up from the ground and started coming at her.

*knock knock*

Sean snapped back to reality from a really strange dream at the knock on her door.

"Thrice damn it.  Just a moment."  Sean was still trying to decide if she was angrier at being woke up from a dream featuring her teenage celebrity crush before it got good or for whatever she ate making it so weird.

She slipped on a robe and answered the door.

"Apologies Lady MacIntyre, my lord was worried something was amiss since you are late for this morning's meeting."  The servant assigned to her bowed.

"Please send my apologies to Duke Utz and let him know I will be down shortly."  Sean glanced over at her alarm clock seeing she forgot to set it last night.

"Right away Lady MacIntyre."  The servant scurried off.

"Well that settles it.  I'm going to have to find a way to politely keep what ever I ate last night off the menu."  Sean muttered as she hurried to not keep her new C.O. waiting more than she had to to make herself presentable.


Duke Utz's private office
an hour later'


"Apologies for keeping you waiting.  I'll understand if you wish to enter a formal reprimand on my record for such dereliction on my part."  Sean bowed.

"Nonsense. I fully understand.  This is a new assignment fresh off a long trip and getting used to the local day night cycle will take some time.  Plus I imagine the polish sausage in last night's meal did not help any.  It often provokes many side effects in those who are unused to it but I find I quite enjoy it.  Today's agenda is about preparing for when that day arrives.  We are going to get you a proper mech.  The one sent with you simply will not do.  The simple fact that you are on my staff makes it impossible for me to stay out of the coming conflict and dictates this course of action.    Still a punishment of sorts is in order.  Your punishment is to come with me as we travel to where we shall procure your proper mech and aide me in obtaining it."  Duke Utz said evenly.

"Yes sir.  May I ask where we are going so that I may prepare accordingly."  Sean stiffened to attention.

"Solaris."  Duke Utz flashed a mean smile.

"Yes sir."  Sean was immediately torn.

She understood his intent and wanted to do something inappropriate given their working relationship, but she also understood he was going to make her earn her father's Battlemaster back somehow.  Most likely by getting her to partake in the games.  Ultimately it would not be pleasant.  She knew that much.

Chapter 5[]

A defunct stable, Silesia District
Solaris City
Solaris VII, Lyran Alliance
14 July 3062
Morning


There's not enough coffee, in strength or quantity, to cure Dropship lag o'clock


It was official.  Sean hated everything about Solaris VII.  The riots made the place a mess.  The ground car trip here was an assault on her exhausted senses even when those were long behind them.  Now this place.  It was little better than a warehouse with some gantries tossed up and a small living/work area in one corner.

Sean barely managed to walk to the living area, claiming the first sleeping space she came across.

The tiny cot was terrible but still somehow not the worst thing Sean had ever had to sleep on.  That honor would belong to the Dropship bunk she was stuck with the entire trip here.

Not even bothering to change or roll out the extra padding Sean settled into the stiff canvas and fell asleep almost right away.


Several hours and the smell of strong coffee later


The sleep finally somewhat fading away Sean stretched out her aching body.  She was already considering it well worth it to fork over some of her pay for a proper bed as she grabbed a change of clothes and a towel, heading for the shower.

Feeling the first not-recycled water washing over her body in months Sean finally started feeling human again, taking her time to let the warmth sink in properly.

Then the shock of cold water.

Fully alert now Sean finished cleaning herself and got out of the shower.

"Sorry Frauline MacIntyre.  We have much to do and the sooner we get to it the better.  As soon as you are dressed meet me in the office."  Duke Utz's voice came from outside the shower area.

Sean wanted to be angry at him, but she knew she couldn't.  At least not right now.  So she made sure she was alone and proceeded to dry off and get dressed.

The desk and chairs in the office looked completely out of place compared to how rundown the rest of the place looked.

"The first delivery of many for improvements I arranged for this place just arrived.  First off I have confirmed your father's Battlemaster is now in the hands of a minor stable going by the name of Face Wrecker Stables. Their owner is still young and full of themselves enough to not grant us a direct audience to arrange for the purchase of your father's mech. So for now we are going to have to do things his way.  Which we had assumed would be the case for nothing is as simple as just throwing money at the problem on Solaris.  We have a few more forms to fill out and our mechs are still being inspected but if we're going to make a go at being a stable we got to do a few things.  I'll handle recruiting and administration.  Your task is to get us our first sponsor.  Get to this address and follow their instructions.  Be there by noon local.  You may want to bring something sexy to wear if you've got it."  Duke Utz spoke after he finished his breakfast and coffee.br>

Uggghhhh."  Sean rolled her eyes as she groaned.

She knew exactly what she was being asked to do and wanted to hate the universe right now.  She had been approached by the propaganda mongers to pose for some recruiting posters before she had shipped out for her first tour.  She foolishly said yes without realizing what it meant and could not back out then because it was a military sanctioned assignment at that point.

Now she was again being asked to use her figure and wear various revealing outfits that she'd never actually wear into battle for another sleazy photographer and she still couldn't really say no.

She was just glad that she had maintained her figure and knew just how attractive men did tend to find her.

Chapter 6[]

Studio 7, Silesia Broadcasting Company
Silesia District, Solaris City
Solaris VII, Lyran Alliance
15 July 3062
8:00 AM


Sean looked at the costume they wanted her to wear.

"You really want me to wear this?"  Sean was having trouble comprehending exactly what it was she was even looking at.

"What were you expecting?  Some sleaze ball photo shoot?  Honey this is Solaris 7 and while you look like you can certainly fuel a thousand male teenager's wet dreams that's a dime a dozen here on Solaris 7.  You want to make your mark you need a hook.  This is it."  The director's german accent was pronounced and his voice deep.

"Okay."  Sean answered as she took the costume to her dressing room.

Once actually on her and a full length body mirror inspection made Sean feel totally humiliated.  She was wearing some sort of mascot costume that clearly showed her face.  She didn't know what creature she was supposed to be but it didn't matter.  She looked ridiculous.

"Let's get this over with."  Sean groaned as she went back out to the studio.


Some time that evening back at the warehouse


"How did the shoot go?"  Duke Utz asked as he watched a personal trivid set.

"I don't want to talk about it."  Sean growled as she barely held back her anger.

She decided the smirk on his face was just a figment of her imagination or else she might be up on charges for killing her CO.  Though she wondered if she might be justified.


Duke Utz's perspective a couple hours ago


Arranging to have copies of the promotional photos sent to him took some doing but it was even more worth it than he had imagined.

He had assumed when the local IPA brewery agreed to be a sponsor that they were going to have Sean wear something skimpy to promote their product but the costume they had her wear instead was even more humiliating.  He'd almost feel bad for his new staff officer if it wasn't so damn hilarious.

Chapter 7[]

The Colosseum
Silesia District, Solaris City
Solaris VII, Lyran Alliance
15 July 3062
19:00 / 7:00 PM


"It's newcommer night here at the Colosseum ladies and gentlemen!  For our first match we have Sean MacIntyre with her Axman of the brand new Gravediggers Stables.  Her opponent is Henrieta Finch in her Cataphract from the Zoo Crew Stables' Team Elephant.  While the Zoo Crew is an established stable both our contenders are new to Solaris and the games.  This should be a good one to watch."  The announcer introduced them.

The crowd was mix of cheers and jeers when Sean's name was called.  Her opponent was largely cheered.

Sean had mixed feelings about her new ride.  She didn't like how it was geared for close combat with a fragile new XL Engine but the primal feeling she got from sitting in it and looking at the weapon that gave the mech it's name she'd be lying if she said she didn't enjoy said primal feeling.

"Good luck."  Henrieta's voice boomed over her mech's loud speaker.

"Fight well."  Sean answered over her own mech's loud speaker.

To mix things up the walls were in what was known as chaos mode.  So they started in the down position.

"You both know the rules.  So let's get this started!  FIGHT!"  The announcer boomed.

Henrieta moved toward the center and Sean did the same.

The Cataphract triggered it's autocannon and hit Sean's Axman square in the chest.  The PPC and one of the Medium lasers went wild.  The other hit the Axman's head assembly rocking Sean in her command chair as she felt her head hit something.

Sean answered with her Large Pulse Laser and AC-20.  The laser struck her opponent in the right torso and the line of tracers went into the Cataphract's right arm.

The walls shifted largely behind Sean with some raising to her right.

Sean could only assume her opponent panicked as they moved forward and turned away from Sean giving an easy approach to the Cataphract's vulnerable back.

Trained as a soldier not a gladiator Sean took the opportunity and again triggered her Large Pulse Laser and AC-20.

Sean cursed herself as she jerked the trigger too much on the Large Pulse Laser as it dug into the Cataphract's left leg.  The AC-20 was more true though as it dug into the Cataphract's rear left torso, completely shredding it.  The Cataphract's left arm dropped to the ground in a shower of sparks and splintered metal that used to be the Cataphract's left torso.

Her opponent lost her fight with gravity after that assault so Sean buried the axe in the Cataphract's right arm also turning that into a useless mess on the ground with barely a stump of torn metal and dangling myomer being all that was left as she yanked the axe out of the Cataphract's right torso.

Instead of signaling her surrender her opponent got back up and tried to just run away from Sean, stumbling in her haste but rising again on her second attempt.

Sean easily stayed behind her opponent, not letting up.

The Large Pulse Laser dug into the back of the Cataphract's head.  The large bore autocannon basically ended the fight by digging into the back of the Cataphract knocking it back over.

"Time to finish this." Sean said calmly as she brought the axe down into what remained of the Cataphract's back completely ruining what little was left.

The crowd was expressing their displeasure at such a one sided fight and Sean could hear the accusations of match rigging already.

She didn't really care.

  • Wiki Note; This fight was simulated on MegaMek.

Post Match Interview


"Tell me fedrat do you feel good?  Did you cheat or were you a typical fedrat bully?"  The reporter asked not even attempting to hide their contempt.

"Neither.  My opponent simply panicked and clearly wasn't ready for the arena.  With that I think we are done here."  Sean answered knowing it wouldn't make a bit of difference even though it was the most likely explanation.

She also held her tongue rather than say what she really thought about Solaris and how fighting should be left to professionals.

Chapter 8[]

Back at the warehouse


Sean finally got back.  Getting away from the mess that was the arena was draining.

Fortunately the gaming commission seemed satisfied that there was no match rigging.  At least so far.  With the tensions and lopsided viciousness that Sean displayed there was plenty of outcry for an investigation though.  Probably would be one already if the Zoo Crew was Lyran affiliated.

"Good news.  The Face Wreckers are now willing to take you seriously and setup a grudge match.  It won't get your father's mech back but it will be a big step towards it."  Duke Utz seemed entirely too calm.

"The sooner we can be done with this circus the better."  Sean groaned.

"Well it is my turn tomorrow night in the Factory."  Duke Utz left their small office.

Sean went to the kitchen and dug in the freezer for some ice.

No concussion from the knock to her head but there was a bruise centered on her upper left temple that came down just below her hair line that was quite uncomfortable.  She'd had worse from training runs back in the academy.

Ice pack filled she went to her room and laid down.

She couldn't really sleep that well with the bruise and ice pack but it was better than just trying to stay awake.


One largely sleepless night later

Sean rose from the poor imitation of sleep she had gotten and walked to the kitchen.

As she began making a strong pot of coffee she realized she wasn't alone and it wasn't Duke Utz.

"Hello.  I don't think we've met.  I'm Sean."  Sean looked at the tan skinned woman.

"I'm the new tech and warrior.  You can call me Momo." The woman's accent was unmistakable.

"You're from the Azami worlds aren't you?"  Sean winced as she reflexively raised her left eyebrow.

"Yes.  Hope that doesn't bother you."  Momo smiled.

"Nah.  Right now I got bigger fish to fry."  Sean answered as she watched the coffee pot begin to fill.

"Falcons, Wolves, and Ghost Bears am I right?"  Momo almost laughed.

"And stupid siblings that are too caught up in their petty squabbles, ambitions, and hubris to actually see to their realms properly.  But you didn't hear me say that."  Sean smiled.

"You're not so bad FedRat."  Momo smiled back.

"Same to you snake."  Sean laughed.

"Well your mech didn't take too much damage but I should still get to it.  With these primitive facilities it'll probably take about a couple hours to do the job right."  Momo put her plate in the sink.

"I'm not too bad with electronics so I'll be over in a bit to help go over those."  Sean began rummaging for her breakfast.

"Thanks.  I'll take the extra hands."  Momo waved as she walked out the kitchen.

"Did I just bond with a Drac?  Is this a dream?"  Sean muttered to herself as she sat down with her meal and coffee.

Chapter 9[]

Improvised Lounge
The Warehouse
17th July, 3062


Sean's next match wouldn't be for some days yet but with the tensions and her debut match she knew she dare not venture outside the warehouse right now.

Duke Utz's bout wasn't very crowd pleasing either but at least his opponent made more of a show of it.

Still it only took a couple hours out of Sean's day to perform the diagnostics.

So Sean did the only thing she could think of.

Since this was a converted warehouse there were plenty of added rooms from the previous owners that they had added to be their amenities.  Of course they were all pretty much gutted to pay off their debt but Sean started converting one to a small workout space.  Another she had her eye on to become a proper lounge.  The kitchen, mess, and office were all pretty decent now under Duke Utz's efforts and the other living spaces still needed a couple other touch ups but it wouldn't be long before those were taken care of.

In short order the warehouse would actually be quite livable.

Sean was moving in the selection of free weights she had ordered out of her own pocket.  She could afford them even if she would likely have to leave them behind when they finally left Solaris but that was fine by her as it was better than just running laps and eating.  After all she knew this entire scheme could likely take months and who knew when things would calm down enough she could go enjoy the few upsides Solaris had to offer?

"You really should risk going out, Sean.  You'll go mad staying here."  Duke Utz said leaning against the door frame.

"When things calm down a bit more I'll go have a drink.  Maybe chat up some interesting young man.  Maybe more.  Even a refined woman such as myself has her needs after all."  Sean almost couldn't keep a straight face through the last part.

She certainly was raised to play the part of a refined minor noble and could do so when she needed to, but thanks to being a minor enough noble and not very distinguished in her career yet she'd managed to slip out of the public eye a few times to let her hair down and have fun.

"I think that is my cue to leave."  Duke Utz shook his head.

Sean smiled a bit at getting Duke Utz to leave her alone so easily.  Her read on him was that he was helping her just to help her.  In all their time together he had expressed no romantic interest.

Eventually she would go out and probably before she should for the sake of her sanity.  For now though it was setting up weight racks, mats, and a couple machines should be delivered by end of day too.


Sean tried burying her head under her pillow because they were at it again.

She wasn't sure when it happened but Duke Utz and Momo had become quite involved and their 'enthusiasm' put to rest any debate about the effectiveness of any sound proofing the prior owners had put into the walls.  At least internal to the living space.  The outer walls seemed good enough to keep work on the mechs from being too intrusive.

Her match against Face Wrecker Stables was coming up soon and this distraction wasn't helping.

She did the only thing she could, she went down to the lounge and brought up the recordings of Face Wrecker Stables past matches that she could find.  If she couldn't sleep she could study until they finally tired out.

The name on the fight card wasn't coming up yet in the recordings.

Sean almost gave up before she found a fight in the Factory.  Her opponent was Hanse Shultz and in the fight in the Factory was from last year and he was piloting a Grasshopper.  Which was troubling as the fight card had him in an Archer.  This troubled Sean but she still loaded the recording hoping it'd still show her something.

Chapter 10[]

...somewhere in the bowels of Ishiyama
Solaris, Lyran Alliance
20:05 local time 22nd July, 3062


Sean was still skeptical of the excuse the Gaming Commission official gave her for why the match had to be moved to Ishiyama on such short notice but there was nothing she could do about it.

The directional beacon to make sure the crowd didn't get too bored waiting for the combatants to even find each other in the maze of caverns that was Ishiyama only gave Sean a very rough bearing to her opponent and without time to properly study maps it had still taken her a while to get this close to her opponent but she could see a noticeable move before the beacon cut out to raise the suspense again.

"Greetings Frauline MacIntyre.  I was beginning to wonder if you had chickened out.  It would complete your failure really.  You couldn't even satisfy a nobleman from the backwater of our realm to such a degree that he turned to a Drac.  How the high and mighty Davion who knows everything and is better at everything than us mere Lyrans has fallen."  Hanse's German accent was much more noticeable over the loud speakers than Duke Utz's.

Archer (In city ruins - by Jayden Morris)

Archer

"No wonder you can't fight worth shit.  All you do is talk, talk, and talk."  Sean didn't dare let him know that she was in such a bad mood precisely due to not getting laid for some time now.

She may be a noblewoman but she still had her needs and desires, which were amplified by the dangerous profession she chose to partake in.

Finally the narrow cavern opened to a larger area.  Sean could see across it that there was another narrow opening to a larger area again.

The last reading she got from the beacon suggested going straight or through the opening to her left would be bad ideas.  To her right looked to be another series of narrow corridors.

That suited Sean just fine as she knew it would favor her autocannon over her opponent's LRMs.

Twisting and turning through the narrow passages as fast as she dared go she knew she was drawing closer to her opponent.

Sean negotiated one last turn and found herself maybe 60 meters from her opponent.

As fast as she brought up her Large Pulse Laser and AC-20 her opponent let out two lasers and 60 missiles.

"MRMs really?  Sinking so low as to borrow a Drac toy?"  Sean screamed as she saw her opponent fall to the ground.

Sean kept her Axman upright as her opponent rose again.

"Seemed appropriate and it gave you quite a nasty surprise."  Hanse answered.

There was no more pretense of tactics.  The moved into melee range.

Another barrage of MRMs stripped armor off Sean's Axman and her Large Pulse Laser and Autocannon tore into her opponent.  The Archer's left arm became a crumpled mess with more scattered on the floor of Ishiyama than attached to the Archer.

Her opponent connected with a kick to her left leg as her hatchet found something it shouldn't have in the Archer's left torso.

More MRMs soon followed be her tried and true firing pattern.  A cluster of MRMs hit the Axman's head and Sean felt something get dislodged and smack into her shoulder.  It wasn't broken but she'd have a serious bruise again.

This time she could not keep her Axman upright though.  Her opponent took advantage and smashed her right hip actuator.

Sean willed her machine back upright and resumed firing.  More MRMs stripped away armor and set off alarms and warnings.

Again she brought her hatchet down into the left torso of her opponent.

Her foe was overheating bad according to her IR sensors.  He seemed hesitant to fire but she wasn't.

The tell tale signs of a Light Fusion Engine performing an emergency shutdown signaled the end of the fight.

Sean was exhausted and knew Momo was going to have her hide for the state her Axman was in now.

Chapter 11[]

A few hours later at the warehouse turned stable
Solaris, Lyran Alliance
22nd July, 3062


Sean stood at the entrance to the warehouse as her Axman was wrangled into position.  She was still dreading Momo's wrath but fortunately for her Momo was still occupied with overseeing the operation.

"YOU DAVION WHORE!  YOU COST ME EVERYTHING!"  Came a shout as Sean was broken from her exhaustion induced trance as motion and the sound of a person running caught her attention.

Sean recognized Hanse Schultz right away as he thrust a knife at her midsection.

Fortunately, Sean was still wearing her cooling suit.  It wasn't a fancy dedicated combat suit but a simpler one made for foundry workers that let her dress much more modestly without hampering her ability to pilot a mech. It's thick tubing was enough to keep the knife from penetrating her lower abdomen too deeply but she could still feel the stab.

Instinctively her hand was already going for where her service pistol should have been on her hip but since the gaming commission frowned on carrying such things during matches it wasn't there.

Recovering before Hanse could shove the knife in deeper though she managed a couple quick punches to his face.

As he started pulling the knife back to go for a more exposed part of Sean's flesh a loud crack followed by Hanse slumping over brought Momo carrying a large wrench into Sean's perception.

"Thanks.  I owe you one."  Sean smiled weakly.

"Oh you owe me a lot more than just one."  Momo's glare almost made Sean wish Hanse had done more than superficial damage.

Chapter 12[]

One trip to the hospital and police interview later
Solaris, Lyran Alliance
22nd July, 3062


One trip to the hospital and police interview later

Sean was really looking forward to getting some sleep after her ordeal.

Momo seemed to have other ideas.

"Rest first.  Doctor's orders."  Sean said sheepishly.

"Okay you can be lazy on one condition.  You wear what I leave you to dress in and stay where I can see you."  Momo smiled.

Sean felt like she visibly shuddered.  Maybe she did?  She was so tired she wasn't sure.

The pain killers and her sheer exhaustion meant she was able to sleep, of a sorts.  Sean was already getting an education in how much even superficial stabs to the abdomen could be quite painful and her shoulder was still sore from whatever broke loose and hit her during her match.

The dreams were something else though.  When she woke up she couldn't remember the details beyond feeling rather weirded out.

But what really made Sean rest her face in the palm of her right hand was the clothes Momo left for her.  A rather stretchy thin white cotton shirt, a pair of hotpants, and some tan sheer stockings with garter belt.   At least the shoes seemed sensible.  It made her wonder if Momo was making her be a display for the techs or Momo herself.  Some of the comments she heard Momo make at times made her wonder if Momo was actually bisexual.

"Well at least she isn't making me wear a skimpy two piece."  Sean muttered as she gathered up the clothes and headed for the shower.

Chapter 13[]

The Lounge
Solaris, Lyran Alliance
21st August, 3062


Sean cleaned the last of the grease off her hands in the sink.  Her Axman was back to full working order finally.  Her wound was healed and the doc did good work with making the scar almost unnoticeable.

She was just about to submit her notice to the gaming commission that she was fit to participate in the games again when Duke Utz entered the lounge.

"I have bad news.  I have confirmed Face Wrecker Stables have sold your father's mech to cover their financial losses after your match with Hanse.  My contact was able to confirm it left Solaris sometime last week but he could not trace it's final destination.  With the local tensions being what they are I think it is best we leave while we can."  Benjamin said as he sat down.

"Well I went into this knowing it was a gamble that might not pay off.  Thank you for trying anyway."  Sean hid her disappointment and frustration as best she could.

"We leave as soon as you are packed."  Duke Utz nodded slightly.

If he noticed he was giving no indications.

Sean went to her room quietly.

Between military habit and never fully embracing staying on Solaris long Sean was ready to go in just a few minutes.

"So what's Pocologan like?"  Momo said from Sean's doorway.

"Benjamin didn't say anything about you coming with us.  I guess how connected he is for a ruler of such a remote and unimportant world is something I'll never get used to.  To answer your question though I honestly don't know as I haven't even logged 24 hours there myself.  Still, I'm glad you're coming with us."  Sean smiled.

"Someone has to watch your ass.  Plus I doubt I could stay here much longer anyway with all this insanity going on."  Momo smiled.

"Let's mount up and get off this godforsaken place then."  Sean grabbed her bag as she adjusted her cooling suit.

Sean almost ran with all the excitement she felt at finally being free of this world that seemed designed to drive her insane outside the arenas.

"I'm going to stay strapped in so I can take a nap while the carriers cart us to the Dropship."  Sean announced over the radio as she worked the controls to help guide her mech onto the carrier.

"Sounds like a grand idea."  Duke Utz answered as he also eased his mech onto the carrier waiting for him.

"Great, now I'll be some sort of weirdo if I don't do the same."  Momo joked.

Chapter 14[]

Solaris City, Solaris VII
Lyran Alliance
August, 3062

Sean was jostled awake.  She knew there was rioting and open warfare going on still in some parts of Solaris City but had assumed that it had started dying down with Duke Utz managing to arrange transport off world.

She should have known better, her luck wasn't that good.

"You okay in there?"  The hauler loadmaster's voice came over her radio.

"Yeah. Let me guess there's a tunnel collapse."  Sean noticed they were not moving and her displays showed no signs of the other two haulers with Benjamin and Momo.

"Fortunately there's an emergency exit point right above you just for these sorts of situations.  We'll get you loose then you can make sure it's clear for us to get out of here."  The loadmaster seemed annoyed.

Sean began going through full start up procedures then settled in waiting for the crew to undo the straps and open the emergency exit.  While she knew objectively it didn't actually take that long it still seemed to drag on from her perspective.

Raising her mech up carefully and exiting the underground tunnel system Sean began sweeping the immediate area.  She could see sporadic firefights lighting up the night sky.  The closest of which was a Dragon, possibly a Grand Dragon, facing off against a Champion.  She didn't recognize the paint schemes on either and the IFF codes were not helpful either.

"You guys better button back up for a bit down there.  I have an active fire fight about 500 meters down the road I can see already and I haven't even really taken a good look around yet."  Sean discovered a whole new level of frustration with this world.

She knew part of it was due to the insanity of what was going on between Katherine and Victor.

Her Axman now on the street level, Sean began properly looking for other possible threats as the two mechs she had observed earlier seemed to be moving away from her current position.

"This was almost too easy.  Welcome to your doom, Sean MacIntyre."  An unknown voice came over Sean's radio.

Sean turned her mech and out from behind a building in 17th Arcturan Guards colors came a Battlemasted.  Not just any Battlemaster either....her father's.  She recognized it by a rare manufacturing defect that didn't compromise protection or performance but gave a visibly distinct bulge on the right torso.

"What is it with this planet and the cliches?  I mean seriously announcing yourself before attacking?"  Sean wheeled her mech about as a PPC blast went over her mech's right shoulder.

"You should know it took us some effort to acquire this mech then get it back here before you departed.  You're just famous enough now for it all to be worth the trouble."  The voice kept going.

"Well you're obviously not really 17th Arcturan.  I can only guess but my gut says Word of Blake.  Not that you'll ever confirm it."  Sean countered as she charged into point blank range and buried the hatchet into her father's mech.

"All I will give you is that it doesn't matter if I win or lose this fight.  The accusation will be there.  Even if an investigation does prove you right in the end the court of public opinion will crucify you."  The voice answered as the lasers and SRMs couldn't miss in their near grappled state.

"I should also let you know that I wasn't holding my fire because of nostalgia.  I just had to unlock the safties on my weapons."  Sean let her autocannon and large pulse laser rip.

The Battlemaster's fists slammed into her mechs torsos as she unburied the hatchet and swung it into the left arm of her father's mech.

Sean knew she was in trouble.  Her father's mech gave her few good options from where to engage.  Up close and it's superior mass would almost certainly carry the day in melee.  Backing off just let it exploit even more of it's overall firepower advantage but her autocannon might be enough to even those odds.

"Fortune favors the bold, the foolish, and children.  I'm two of three right now."  Sean muttered to herself as she kept the Battlemaster close to her.

Sean worked the controls and fortune did smile.  Her autocannon lined up perfectly with the large cockpit of her father's Battlemaster and she pulled the trigger.

"Well that was anti-climatic.  Time to get off this rock."  Sean knew her enemy was right, so why bother staying.

Chapter 15[]

Utz Castle
Pocologan Lyran Alliance
June 18th, 3063

Sean was finally glad to be done with all the inquests, investigations, and Solaris 7.

When Duke Utz learned what had happened and that she'd have to stay on Solaris to answer for her part, he and Momo canceled their flight to stay with her and support her.  Fortunately that was now behind them and they were on Pocologan again.  With one nice bonus.

With it confirmed that her father's BattleMaster was used in a false flag attempt to derail the cease fire talks between the rioters and the 17th Arcturan Guards Sean was awarded salvage rights in accordance with AFFC regulations.

"Bet you're glad to have your Dad's mech back."  Momo leaned through the hatch of the newly installed cockpit.

"I don't know, Momo.  It just doesn't have the same feeling of primal savagery that the Axman does.  It's a different kind of power for sure though.  It feels strange yet familiar.  Almost like a cousin you grew up with but haven't seen in nearly 20 years."  Sean answered as she finished securing a wiring harness.

"I guess that makes a strange amount of sense.  So what are you going to do with your first night off as a fully free woman and not suffering from jump lag?"  Momo said as she checked some of the connections to the rest of the mech.

"Honestly, I'm not sure.  All I know is I'm glad to be off Solaris because that bastard who tried to ambush me was right.  The legal courts may have cleared me but damn the court of public opinion was a completely different matter.  Fortunately out here, away from all of that, no one seems to care."  Sean shook her head as she closed the maintenance panel she had been working through.

"Then it's a girl's night out.  Don't think I haven't noticed how crabby you've been getting.  Someone needs to have a nice time with a young gentleman.  Chief tech's orders."  Momo smiled.

"I'm not sure if deranged or obsessed in the right word for what you are with my love life and sex in general."  Sean rolled her eyes.

"Probably both, but I'll tell you what I'm not.  Wrong."  Momo smiled.

"Uggh.  Fine.  But I pick the bar."Sean shook her head.


The Rough Patch Bar
A few hours later

"Sean I never knew!  If you'd said something we'd never have had to make this trip."  Momo was almost delirious as she looked around the bar taking in the exclusively female crowd.

"I'm actually not.  Just a matter of practicality.  Rather reduces the odds of having to be lectured about a social life resulting in a social disease and I'm realistic enough to know my Father will eventually win unless I meet a sufficiently severe fate on the battlefield first and set me up with some noble and while they may look the other way about my being experienced rather few would overlook over types of prior baggage."  Sean shook her head.

"Still you could have asked."  Momo almost looked to be disappointed.

"Not with a coworker, especially one involved with my boss.  Plus this way you get to have some of your own fun."  Sean shook her head.

"That's not a fun philosophy, but when you put it like that I can't stay mad at you."  Momo went from an angry face to a smile as a girl at the bar caught her eye.

One drunken night of debauchery later...

Sean wasn't sure how she got back to her own bed but whoever she was with last night was nowhere to be found.

"Better?"  Momo said from Sean's doorway.

"Despite the hangover, yeah.  Much."  Sean started sitting up slowly.

"Lucky. I struck out.  So if you start getting too pent up again....you're either asking me or we're finding you a nice young man to make it up to me."  Momo walked off.

As much as Sean hoped it was the hangover she knew the truth was Momo meant it.

"It is a sad state of affairs when a battlefield starts looking like the only sane place in the universe."  Sean muttered to herself as she slowly made her way to the kitchen.


Chapter 16[]

Some unnamed god forsaken battlefield
Blue Hole, Coventry Province
Lyran Alliance
June 3064

Sean hadn't slept for a couple days now and had completely lost track of what day it was in the intense fighting.

Duke Utz didn't want to choose a side really as both siblings were being idiots according to him, but when the Falcons decided to take advantage and come across the border. Then he was more than happy to offer Adam Steiner what little support he could.

He and Momo had married before they left and unsurprisingly Momo had to stay back on Pocologan on maternity leave.

But Momo and Duke Utz had arranged a surprise for Sean.

Momo had yanked the AC-20 and  double heat sinks from her Axman and scrounged up some Ferro Fibrous armor to slap onto her father's Battlemaster.  Saying something about not being able to stand Sean's whining about the BattleMaster not having enough primal savagery.

Sean didn't want to admit Momo was right in even the slightest bit but she had to admit to herself it did feel much more her style now.

The battlefield came into focus before Sean.

She wasn't sure where Duke Utz had gotten off to but she could see an 8th Deneb Bushwhacker being savaged by a Falcon Summoner.

Summoner OmniMech (Firing)

Summonor Heavy OmniMech

The Summoner kicked off it's jump jets after  the Bushwacker pilot became unbalanced and over committed in their recovery attempt.  The flourish the Summoner put into it's landing struck Sean as familiar.  Very familiar.

Before she could enter weapon's range though, the Summoner had finished the Bushwacker.

"You. Yeah you there in the Summoner.  You have information I want and I'm willing to play by your rules to get it."  Sean broadcast at the Summoner.

"Very well.  Tell me who do I have the honor of facing?"  A female voice came back.

"Captain Sean MacIntyre."  Sean answered.

"Sean?  I never dreamed this would happen but miracles of miracles it did."  The female voice came back.

"What?"  Sean nearly sputtered as she failed to comprehend what was going on right now.

"It is your mother, Anna Sean.  How did you recognize me?"  The female voice finally registered as a nearly long forgotten memory.

"Honestly I thought you were some tinspawn that learned something.  But to answer your question, Dad kept some of the old BattleROMs of your training days.  You have a distinct flourish you put into your landings."  Sean almost broke into tears.

"I have missed so much.  Curse, no formal communication agreements between the Clans and the Houses.  Tell me any nice young men in you life?"  The radio barely concealed Ann's own anguish.

"After all this time that's what you're opening with?  Why not come with me?"  Sean went almost angry.

"Even if it were that simple we both know that there are plenty that would not forgive me for what I have done.  At the very least I would have to serve time, probably the rest of my life.  Here I at least have a chance to make things possibly a little better.  I know people love to go on about how non-warriors are slaves in the Clans, but if you really stop and look at it. The real difference between the Clans and the Houses is the Clans are more honest about what they are.  I mean consider your fate, Sean.  We both know there is a time limit on how long you get to play soldier before your real duty of marrying some noble and popping out his children comes due.  We may come from an effectively landless noble line but it is still a noble line and there are certain expectations that come with it.  It is something I struggle with as your mother.  Having you and your brother was a wonderful experience because your father was a good man and we loved each other.  Part of me wants that for you, Sean, but part of me knows it is far more likely that you will wind up in a loveless marriage.  You could always come with me instead?"  Ann answered.

"Never going to happen.  Even if you're right I at least won't be looked down on or considered unable to contribute to society just because I grow old or was born the old fashioned way.  You should get out of here.  My boss is coming and I don't want to have to fight you."  Sean's emotions were now in full swirl.

"Hopefully it will not be so long before we can talk again.  I do miss you all.  Tell your father and brother I love them and I am alive please?"  Ann began retreating from the field of battle.

"I will."  Sean was restraining her need to scream and cry with all her might.


"Sean, you all right?  What happened here?"  Duke Utz's voice came over the radio.

"I'm fine.  I have no idea how the hell I'm going to write this one up."  Sean sighed.

Chapter 17[]

Military Transport DropShip, Unwelcome Guest
Blue Hole System, Lyran Alliance
June 25th, 3064

"So you finally going to talk about your encounter with your mother?"  Duke Utz had been respectful on the matter until this morning.

"I must admit I find myself wondering about if she is right in that the Inner Sphere is just as bad as the Clans.  I mean consider how many worlds were traded via treaty, populations and all.  It's not much better when it comes to military conquest.  There's also the potentially centuries of untapped potential because we let so many people fall through the cracks."  Sean sighed.

"No system is perfect but I will take what we have over the Clans.  They may claim they test to best place people but no test is perfect and workplace conditions matter.  Plus people do change.  Some may be more subtle than others or hardly do so but it happens.  Plus I find their concept of honor often boils down to what lets them be a victorious bully being fine but when someone else evens the playing field it is not.  Makes me think of an ancient account of two warriors during Terra's age of sail.  One was a raider and the other a navy man.  The navy man chastised the raider for fighting for money while he fought for honor.  The raider responded that each fought for what they lacked the most.  I think this is true of the Clans.  They claim to fight for honor but lack any true honor."  Duke Utz said as he stared at the questionable meal in front of him.


Chapter 18[]

2 April, 3067
Tharkad City
Tharkad, Lyran Alliance

Just after sunrise

After Adam Steiner worked out his truce deal with the Falcons Sean and Duke Utz couldn't be fence sitters anymore and had to choose a side.  Sean wasn't really surprised that Duke Utz proved to be anti-Katrina.  He wasn't pro-Victor though and that was fine by Sean as she had to admit she was of the same mind.

"Anyone who needs to wage such an obvious propaganda campaign is not worthy of being a leader."  Duke Utz's words still rang in her head after all the years of fighting.

Sean sipped from her thermos full of still hot coffee.  Well coffee was probably the wrong word for it.  It was an old Scottish trick that worked the same somehow by using burnt bread instead of actual coffee beans.


Sealing it up Sean knew the order would come soon and having hot bevarge spilling all over oneself was never a good thing in combat.

Finally the signal came to move forward for what should be the final attack.

Sean moved her Battlemaster forward with the rest of the line.

A Royal Guards Star Slayer caught Sean's eye.  It was obviously already heavily damaged but things had become that desperate for Nondi that they seemed to have little choice.

PPC and laser beams from her mech joined fire from the rest of her lance as the Star Slayer slashed at one of her lance mates with it's own lasers.

The combined fire finished the machine but it was not long before more serious opposition presented itself...

Shortly before Peter Steiner-Davion kills Nondi

Sean was now playing hide and seek with a Royal Guards Archer.  Her autocannon only had a couple bursts left from the long days of fighting and the armor was starting to get a bit thin in places and got a bit thinner as it popped back into sight just long enough to pepper her with some more LRMs.  Her PPC shot went wide right.

Pushing the throttle as much as she dared for her battered machine Sean tried to close the distance but this enemy wasn't having any of it and was keeping their distance.

"All units stand down.  Nondi Steiner is dead."  Peter's voice came over her radio.

"Can we stop now?"  Sean transmitted in the clear to her opponent.

"There does seem little point in continuing now."  A male voice came back.

"Good. My tech is already going to have my ass as it is for the battering I've taken today."  Sean sighed as she relaxed into her command chair.


3 April, 3067
Tharkad, Lyran Alliance
A small office just outside the Triad
Local Time: Noon"

Sean still wasn't sure why she was here.  The summons was rather vague but had all the correct clearances for her to know it was real and she needed to be in full formal dress uniform.

Then the door opened and in came her father.

"Sean. I'm glad to finally have caught up with you again.  Thanks for the letter about your mother.  That is a matter I will have to attend to now that I have settled things."  Sean's father smiled in a way that sent a shiver down Sean's back.

"Good to see you again too."  Sean's sense of foreboding was increasing by the second.

"Straight to business though.  I have put forward a proposal to Peter Steiner-Davion and he has agreed to it.  As a symbol of reconcilation between the Lyrans and FedSuns he has found a suitable match that is willing to take you as his bride. He is without title at this time but he does come from a prominent enough family line to make a good symbol without creating any fear of a Federated Commonwealth take two."  Sean's father used his serious voice.

"Oh?" Sean really wanted to scream and shout at her father for this stunt but she knew she couldn't squirm her way out of this arranged marriage like she had with so many of his prior attempts.

Not this time at least.  Because she knew he was right that her marrying a Lyran noble of some repute would indeed be a reasonable symbol of resumption of peace and prosperity between the realms.

As if on cue in walked in her future husband.

Sean went slack jawed.

"Sean may I present to you your future husband.  Alexander Carlyle."  Sean's father smiled.

"Hello."  Alexander smiled.

"Wait a minute... you?"  Sean recognized the voice.

"Oh this is rich.  I'm arranged to marry the pilot of the Battlemaster that gave me so many fits."  Alexander laughed.


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