About the Author

Author EmeraldLightsaber

Stories : DSA/Clan Wolf In Exile Venture

Special Interest (None) tale by EmeraldLightsaber, 2010-04-27T05:47:00.0000000. Reads: 2015
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Introduction

(From DSA Original Forums by DSA Warhorse) Salute! I enjoy writing. You might be able to see that in my posts. I started this storyline in 2006 but Hurricane Charlie put finishing it to the side for 4 years. Now that we're reviving the DSA, I have experienced a reawakening and desire to tell this tail. The events actually took place within our realm. Jamie Wolf and I did face off against the Draconis Combine forces on Rochester. The DSA went on to do battle against the worms in ISW and other League actions. Many of my characters are compiled from family members and friends. You, my team mates, will serve as principlals in my future stories. All will be described as warriors and heros of the DSA. You all deserve that and I promise you no less.

Chapter 1

The DarkStar Alliance Field Action Report:
As submitted by Major Laze Hodgson, RedMoon Advanced Operative:
Rochester/September/3067

All actions and recordings have been verified. DNA Testing substantiates the Target's Identity and Confirms the Kill. The Bounty has been paid.

These are the sequence and series of events I entered into the "RedMoon/DSA Official Report". They are based on recordings and eyewitness statements. I revert to third person perspective when microprobe data is included and will preface all such entries with an “MP” beforehand. The “MP” indication shows data and recollection from multiple sources. All data is available upon request.

“MP”

No one in Doob's Bar noticed the microprobe as it slipped unseen into the old establishment. Micro guidance and propulsion technology had evolved to this level and the probe's remotely positioned pilot was checked off and current in its use. The Operative skillfully flew the microscopic craft to its ultimate hover point high and to the rear of the bar. Its position had been determined through questions and study of the construction data available anywhere for the right price. The probes sensitive visual and listening devices continued to transmit signal as it looked down on the bar patrons, the bar tender and every table with in this watering hole. Every movement was recorded; every conversation that looked interesting was monitored. The probes pilot was particularly interested in the patrons ordering Timbiqui Dark. Those ordering the alcohol based drink were recorded and compared against known and filed bios. If a file existed the verification was instantly relayed to the operative/pilot. If no file was available in the Security/Intelligence Database, a file was started. A possible data source was never passed up.
The microprobe remained active in Doob's Bar for several days. During that time the operative pieced together the leads he had first uncovered in a dingy bar on New Avalon. That first scent of profit, eventually led him up the chum line of intelligence to Rochester. It was becoming very clear that he had reached the Profit Source.
The Intel file now included several known formidable warriors of impeccable repute. These targets were monitored and their comings and goings were detailed. Proper initial contact would be critical to any venture and its success.
The "Order" decided upon an individual that was thought to be a good first contact. Communications and updates were sent through the Order's series of back channels to several Operatives now heading for AU's Spatial Sphere of Influence. The Order further decided that "First Contact" would not take place until those support assets were at hand. These assets include "Der Sthal Wachen" veterans, now "Brethren Monks" of the "Order of the RedMoon". This DSA Venture looked most promising.
The microprobe left Doob's Bar as quietly as it arrived. The activity levels of the Corporation, its Security Forces and the Mercenary Unit rose to a hum. The Order of the RedMoon oversaw all while placing its faith in the Brethren Monks now en-route. There were, in particular, a few of those within the support assets that were respected by all Council members of the DarkStar Alliance. The RedMoon's able warrior monks would represent the DarkStar Alliance. Introducing themselves and the Alliance to the warriors surrounding their besieged AU Commander, a General Wolf, Clan Wolf in Exile was tantamount. The Order of the RedMoon and its military, the DSA Mercenary Force, would do all they could to ensure General Wolf's safety

Sub section 1

Note Review: this next section confirms my intent to set our forward listening post inside the bar. That position was considered "Danger Level Extreme". I could not ask another to take that position. Knowing too, that my family's killer, the killer of my village, of thousands of villages throughout Outworlds Alliance space was among the bar patrons there would be no other. None but me would take that forward position. I had spent the last twenty years of my life tracking this man down. His name, his life, he, was mine to destroy. Of course for me, the bounty prospect merely added a necessary topping to the venture. I'll use the scum's bounty in further efforts to track down other such criminals. The Order will use the rest as we may.

“MP”

An old codger stepped through the door cloaked against the howling winds and the ever present sand of this violent desert night. Even though his frame was bent over from age and travels the old stranger was obviously taller than most at one time. He moved quietly to a table at the rear corner of the establishment and sat down wearily. A pretty barmaid took his order and moved to place it with the bartender calling "one Timbiqui Dark." The bars murmur lowered slightly as a few heads turned toward the old fella but picked up again with just the slightest of hesitation once the patrons saw that the man ordering the drink was no one of any consequence.
The old man sat and sipped the dark liquid seeming to enjoy its wonderful heavy bodied fullness and powerful intoxicating qualities. With only two third of the Dark consumed, the liquid had its effect on the ageling and his head dropped to his chest fast asleep. The microprobe that had entered the bar a few moments ago would serve as his sentinel alerting him of any impending dangers while he remained vigilant, and monitoring Comms with eyes closed.

And he waited….


“MP”

Intel was arriving quickly now. The old man sat slumped. He leaned slightly to the left. He was clad in several layers of clothing, a rumpled untidy mess. Under his cloak he placed his right black leather gloved hand on walnut pistol grips. This 44 caliber revolver was his personal ballistic weapon of preference. It had been in his family for many generations. Parts availability was scarce of course. The family had gone into arms manufacturing as a result of the mere necessary act of furnishing replacement parts for the ancient weapon. The "Beloved" would kill again. This time it would extinguish life, restore honor and repay many debts.


Note Review: indicates the following events, actions and thoughts occurred while performing my mission.

I was receiving many sources of information at this time. I had just received word that Colonel Rune' Von Stieleiche and the other Brethren Monks had finally arrived on Rochester. Colonel Von Stieleiche was proceeding through the desert storm directly to the bar and would arrive momentarily. The other Brethren were en-route to their respective fire support positions surrounding the bar.
General Jamie Wolf and his mother had been united; each arriving separately and in deep cover. The General's movement was becoming uncertain however and was closely watched due to this new visitation factor. The probe pilots were then alerted to an unsettling change in our planned execution of the mass murderer. The General and several others had, at that time, climbed into an air limo and were then thought to be en-route to Doob's Bar.
“If, however, in the unlikely event that either the General or his mother were to visit the bar before I had carried out my mission, the assassin would have to be killed before all our support assets were in place and prepared.” It was a dicey scenario to say the least. We had planned for this contingency as witnessed by the Field Action Report I filed and substantiated through other recording factors. All the careful planning was changed slightly but we adjusted nicely.
My mission that evening was to kill a wanted criminal and make "Initial Contact" with the AU. Not an easy fit. I would be lucky to kill my target before being knocked down myself by the General’s guard. My only hope was the 44 and her deafening report. It just might give me the element of surprise and the time I needed to gain cover if necessary. It didn't ultimately matter though I guess. I'd have died taking him out. My life for the thousands killed at his command. This man, this assassin, was mine to kill, my bounty to claim, my family vindicated and avenged, my Blood Oath quenched.


Note Review: shows that things got a bit slippery there for a few brief moments as our surveillance confirmed the contact with General Wolf and we then knew the General to be en-route to the bar. All data confirmed this fact. We had to act before we were fully prepared, but this assassination would take place in a way the assassin I was looking at least expected.

“MP”

The old fella was so far gone that he looked as if he was going to fall over. One patron at the bar noticed the old dude's position and looked at the bottle of Timbiqui Dark in his own hand with understanding and a knowing shake of the head.
He was actually listening intently to what was transpiring outside the bar. Two more DSA Microprobes entered the bar, their operatives checked in with him as they positioned their probes. “This is it Laze” offered the Brethren Monk serving as Master Microprobe Controller. “It won't get any better than right now. We have the General in-bound. Let's keep him out of the kill box.”
Laze did not hesitate. Slipping a scarlet red leather gauntlet on over his thin black leather glove, he grasped the revolver now resting in his cross draw harness. The gauntlet was emblazoned with the RedMoon's Logo, the revolver familiar in his hand. He mumbled two words as if in his sleep and the execution began. Right! Go!
Four things happened almost simultaneously. One microprobe positioned outside the door began broadcasting General Wolf's voice in quiet conversational idiom and would seem to be approaching. A second Microprobe emitted an energy pulse that disabled all other frequencies but theirs. The DSA bio-plasmic pulse technology was a little surprise for its Draconis foes. The pulse blinded all that might have any interest within the bar that night. The third and forth actions shall be remembered in the eternal history of the DarkStar Alliance Mercenary Force and the Order of the RedMoon.
The old codger quietly and smoothly rose to his full 6 feet 3 inches while casting off his dusty old cloak. The bar suddenly froze in time, the air thick with tension. There, revealed to any interested, stood a full dress Officer of the DSA Der Sthal Wachen Elite. Most bar customer's attention were focused on a man at the bar. They were much more interested in escaping from the field of fire he had before him.
The target for execution, hearing General Jamie Wolf approaching rose from his bar stool at the far end of the long wooden bar laser pistol in hand. Time leapt forward once again. People yelled or sobbed in fright but all dove for safety knocking over tables and scattering chairs as they threw themselves out of harm’s way. The killer of thousands looked at yet one more opportunity to ply his skill for profit and his amusement. Before him lie an area barren of human obstacle. He shifted his position presenting his right side and slimmest silhouette toward his expected target zone.
"So simple after all this time” Laze spoke quietly. This assassin thought too much of himself. He was too self assured that drawing his weapon alone would act as his shield against any retaliation” thought Major Hodgson. Laze now stood with his right silhouette facing his target's full frame and some 20 paces away. Sighting calmly and without a trace of emotion, he thumbed the double action hammer to full cock, sighted on his target's heart area and squeezed off the first deadly subsonic round. The heavy slug ripped through the target's left chest blowing out it’s lung and passing through the heart and out through the back. The subsonic slug did not have sufficient velocity to punch through the target's rear armor. Instead it ricocheted around the inside of the assassin’s armor and destroyed organs and bone until it lodged itself in the target's left leg. The massive sub sonic impact threw the target against the bar as this man's executioner took careful aim once again. The target rebounded off the bar rail with a shocked look in its dead eyes. Its last pain filled thought might have been "Who is this stranger?" and Beloved roared again! This time the slug hit the target at the base of the nose and squarely between the eyes. The target's head exploded leaving nothing above the eyes, slammed back into the bar rail then slid to the floor motionless, a bloody pulp. Major Hodgson then knelt with his weapon at half cock in ready position and surveyed his fire zone for any other additional targets and threats. It was a ready and defensive position but non-threatening if allowed. One, he hoped any seasoned warrior would recognize. Seeing no further immediate threats, the tall Major rose again reloading and placing his revolver back in its holster, but not secured. He moved with singular, deadly attention, his focus fixed on the body of his enemy. Spinning in a counter clockwise circle the DSA Major checked his six once again. All probes were functioning with no Danger Level Extreme Alerts forthcoming. His immediate perimeter was secure. Most patrons were in shock at the horror they had just witnessed. Those of the warrior classes saw the operative's actions for what they were, a ritual execution. Those AU Officers present knew this action to be an execution as well but the general was on his way and they had momentarily lost comms contact with the limo. The Clan Wolf in Exile body guards knew that they stood between their General and the danger present within this blood bathed, death filled bar. All took up a defensive position in front of the bar doors. The DSA officer in front of them would be cut down the moment he made an offensive gesture. Their posture spoke volumes about their training and movements as a unit.
The AU's comm systems were known to be of the best quality but the DSA had Clan contacts among fellow weapons dealers. Clan tech was in use here ala the DSA Microprobes. The stunning blast of bio-plasmic energy within the bar a millisecond before any physical action took place had momentarily blinded all communications not on the DSA frequencies. Standing over the killer's body the DSA Major adjusted the black cloak he wore under the costume of the old codger disguise. The full dress black cloak with tails clasped back over both shoulders revealing a dark red satin lining and the military clasp of the DSA Der Sthal Wachen Elite. The bounty hunting ambassador, the DSA's trusted advanced operative, knelt beside the wrecked body of his arch enemy. Pulling the satin lined cowl over his uncovered head he bent over the assassin’s body as if in prayer. He murmured something softly and looked as if he had administered some form of right by anointing the victims mouth with a religious or rune like symbol. The scene was a sticky mess yet when the Elite gunman rose; no blood stains were visible on his uniform. His Service boots were knee length and shown in the subdued luster of well worn and cared for riding boots. The silver riding spurs came into view now that the cowl and cape had been pinned back in ceremonial greeting. His black dress service breeches were piped with three vertical dark red pin stripes. This gunman looked the part though. His black Sam Brown belt and double crossed shoulder harnesses were as well cared for as all the other adornments decorating this veteran solders' uniform. The deadly marksman now hooked a scarlet red and gauntleted right thumb near the belt buckle but not very far from the deadly revolver. He took a position behind the body facing the solders before him and the door. Positioning his body to face a potential threat with as little visible silhouette as possible, the Elite gunman now placed his left side to the potential threat. This was his favored position when wearing the cross draw. The twin crossed Kindjal fighting knives partially unsheathed and ready to be used were positioned at the small of his back. They were a deadly dress uniform requirement. The DSA were known for their vicious closequarters attack using the 22", curved and double edged fighting blades. The Kindjal was first used by ancient man on the planet Earth. His dress tunic was emblazoned with the silver thread of an officer. The three piped dark red stripes of the DSA Der Sthal Wachen Elite were prominently displayed on both cuff and the up-turned collar. Clasping his gloved hands before him now, the Major Officer set his position while communicating with the probe pilots and support assets outside. He stood alert and awaiting the Generals arrival. He was now the Order's chosen "First Contact" representative. The AU officer in command of the General’s body guard was at the forefront of the protective ring with-in the bar.


Note Review: The following are compiled from external and internal probe sources. Additional eyewitnesses were then re-canvassed among those present. The mouth scraping of the target has proven the body's DNA to be that of the targeted individual. My primary target had been eliminated. The primary mission was reported to be successful. Congratulations and sorrowful wishes for peace of mind flowed in through my micro sensor chip located deep with-in my skull and just behind the left ear. We also carried additional sensors elsewhere. Back up was not just a physical military action for us Brethren Monks. We carry our brothers and sisters with us as we make our way through the outer realms of the far periphery. Each of the individual RedMoon Brethren Monks, each a past military combat veteran from many different backgrounds and causes, all tried and true patriots of the Alliance, each battle hardened veteran of Der Sthal Wachen Elite, is always a mere mummer away from help or assistance of any kind.

Note Review: Also records that all operatives had finally taken their assigned position. The rapid change in plans and the desert storm hadn't impeded our movements as we closed the outer protective ring around General Wolf and the accompanying party of loved ones and friends. The General's trusted guards formed a tight knot around the treasured group as first alerts were finally able to be relayed to the world outside Doob's Bar. Transcripts indicate the General took the news in stride. It appears that he was in constant communication now with many different sources based on DSA probe observations. The General was safe for the moment. My main concern then was for any additional assassins who might be about? Those as yet identified or possibly still en-route were acute possibilities in the future. Other agents and operatives were at play here as well. The long initial recon mission by my microprobe identified several other interested parties in play here. Danger lurked heavily, like thick smoke, in Doob's bar that night.

“MP”

Laze, we have the outer perimeter secured. He acknowledged the call and stood erectly and with considerable poise given the possible odds now facing him. The faces of those opposite were as hard and set as he felt. Suddenly he heard the voice of an old and familiar friend through his internal comms.
“Major Hodgson, this is Colonel Von Stieleiche.” With little delay and considerable release of inner tension the Major acknowledged and hailed his old friend.” “Better late than never eh, Rune'?” His sensors crackled with a mass of returning energy as he sensed his Colonel's relief that his older student had survived another near thing. “Major! We shall continue with proper comm etiquette, acknowledge.” He loved tweaking the older veteran officer and Commander of the DarkStar Alliance Mercenary Force. “Roger your last Colonel. Any further sitrep on our inner perimeter enemies?” the Major asked? “There appears to be none of an extreme nature with-in your zone Major,” came the reply. “Ja, roger that Sir. I'm initiating Mission objective 2 now.” The alert came at this moment as recorded. The Colonel's low voice was in tight control as he ordered all assets to tighten security and be prepared to die for this General and his dreams. With luck all around the next comm would signal the next critical series of events. “All operatives” called the Colonel, “The General's limo has landed.” The DSA operatives forming the unseen outer defensive ring around General Wolf moved en-mass and with precision. All DSA operatives moved silently and with their silence came a dark death for those now opposed to their way of life, their families and the many alliances holding the Outworlds Alliance together. This was the Order's chance to initiate contact with this General and his ideas of uniting all like leaning mercenaries together for the greater wealth of all. This man and his followers were of honorable stock. The Order of the RedMoon wished to advance all those of good heart here this night, at this bar, at this precise moment. Reports started flowing to Laze. All reports were clear until advanced operative Captain Winslow jumped a known Draconis Combine Special Operations officer and silently dispatched him into his netherworld. “All combat team members”, he called “We have the worm about.” “Roger that” called the Colonel. “All operatives, be advised we have encountered soldiers of the Draconis Combine caught between our outer defensive line and the AU's Inner defenses surrounding General Wolf. Operative Jones this is Colonel Von Stieleiche, over.” “Ja, my Colonel” came Jones' reply. “Is the General still under full protection?” Von Stieleiche called. “He is Sir and we're close about as well.” “The Draconis worms caught between our lines are insufficient in their numbers to do anything but die bravely” thought the Colonel. “All operatives, commence an immediate scan for any further Draconis personnel”, he called urgently. “We have them among us lads! Let's take them out as quietly as possible.”

Note Review: Shows that many Draconis souls left the planet Rochester that terrible evening. None left in the manner they would have wished. Only a few who may have slipped through the web would consider themselves lucky to have lived at all. Any that did evade capture did so with serious combat wounds. It was confirmed later that one assassin was among those escaping the lethal net. It had been imperative that no other disturbance be observed that evening. Any further threats were to be dealt with quickly and disposed of without notice. We lost two fine men that bloody night. Both were taken out with a certain alacrity that indicated professional expertise. It was here that we picked up the first indication of yet another assassin's trail. The General was still in peril of assassination. The Order considered it fortunate that this new factor be known to them. DSA special operatives were prepped and awaiting mission launch into what became a famous chase and ambush tale.

“MP”

General Wolf pushed his way through the armed warriors and stood at the vanguard tip of those forces confronting the DSA Major. Colonel Von Stieleiche had just sent word that the outer ring had been secured without the Draconis making contact with the AU inner security. The Brothers had lost two themselves but not before more than thirty-seven Dragon worms had been rooted out and killed. A few were captured for interrogation. They would be dispatched later.
The General asked who this DSA Major was and all pertinent plans for formal "First Contact" ritual was scraped post haste. Taking the change in plans in stride, Laze set to the task at hand. Remaining left foot forward he swept a low formal bow extending both hands out with palms open and turned upward. "Please pardon this rather messy intrusion General Wolf." Laze said in a moderate and well modulated tone. He showed no negative emotion over what he had just done. Instead, Laze showed a slight dimpled smile and his blue eyes were clear, lacking any fear or negative emotion as he addressed the General. "I am an advanced operative for the DSA Order of the RedMoon, Sir. I am Major Lazarus Hodgson of the DarkStar Alliance Mercenary Force." I have hunted this scum lying before me for the last 20 years." Laze said with a hint of added animation. This (pointing at the bloody body) was here tonight to perform an assassination. It was here to murder you sir. Instead Hino LaBlanc, mass murderer and paid assassin was executed as authorized by the Outworlds Alliance and my DSA Order of the RedMoon for crimes against humanity with-in Outworlds Alliance space and beyond. This was here to assassinate you this evening General Wolf. The Order would never allow that to happen. We are here tonight, to show our good faith and well wishes to you Sir." Laze bowed deeply with gloved hands over his heart and then out to the side. He rose and looked directly into the General's eyes. My I approach General? The Order has an honor we'd like to give you if we be so allowed?
Laze reached down and grabbed the corpse's thick neck and cowl with his red gauntleted right hand and lifted the mess off the floor. Dragging the body he advanced after being granted leave to do so by General Wolf. He cast the body down in front of the General snapped to attention and with command voice he spoke, "With the General's permission we offer you "First Taste" as Alpha Wolf of the AU. We'd also like to offer you the Execution Gauntlet of the mass murderer and assassin Hino LaBlanc. I shall also place the Vizcard of the Order of the RedMoon in its palm as an offer of friendship and in the hopes of furthering our relationship." Laze stepped back and snapped his spurred heels together. Standing at full attention Lazarus spoke again, "The Order of the RedMoon and the DarkStar Alliance Mercenary Force offer you our full services. We have many assets and are at your disposal General Wolf.
General Wolf declined the "First Taste" honor. The general did not know that the "First Taste" of the prey's liver became refined over the centuries to the honor of the presentation ceremony alone. The RedMoon roots reach back into their Celtic and Norman heritage. Hunting packs of hounds was a daily way of life within their culture. Even today the great farms in the Alliance hosted scores of Field Trials every year. Pack Masters and their hounds arrived from throughout Outworlds Alliance space to compete and see whose hound would eventually win the Alliance Championship and rewards.
The General then turned as Laze bent down and withdrew a syringe. He deftly plunged the long needle directly into the chest cavity of the corpse and withdrew a full vile of blood and skin material. This sample would serve as additional tags for target verification if need be. Laze bowed again and withdrew from the corpse. As he did so the body's head rolled to the left. A miniature red crystal skull tumbled out of its mouth and thudded softly and unseen onto the barroom floor. Another, finding it later, would see the words "Compliments of the DSA" inscribed with minute care. They had found the DSA's ritual calling card.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2


Laze was invited to the bar with the General's offering. He moved to the rail and listened to the communications being thrown about as DSA, advanced operatives and merchantmen all planned their decent to Rochester. The Sporrans were carrying the equipment necessary to insure the Generals safety.
Rune' was overseeing the operation as Commander of the Order and the DSA military assets assigned while Star Commander Lt.Colonel Sherwood saw to the off loading of the BattleMechs, their support personnel and equipment, plus a Main Field Base enclosure which would act as the repeat station to the Main Operations Center high above and beyond. The Star Commander position was to be filled by a DSA Major, however, Rune’ needed Lt. Colonel Sherwood’s experience and expertise on this venture. Rune’ was overall commander of the Venture but all communications were being viewed by the Council of Elders and their representative throughout the Alliance. Knowing he could count on Sherwood allowed Rune’ to rest a bit more easily. He was sure there'd be more than enough useful encouragement as he dealt with socio economic issues as well as balance sheets and military assets. They'd use a portion of those assets with a Unit backed by BattleMech capability. All other available hardware was to be placed in high orbit. The equipment and support supplies would be fleet protected from anything come high come low. Their backup was en-route. The Light Cruisers would arrive shortly, the Heavies a tad later. Along with the Heavy Cruisers came the Kindjals adding more Advanced Fighter firepower. Laze knew the Kindjals were Colonel Von Stieleiche’s design. "A warrior having survived this long in this game surely would find profit in his experience if he were worth a wit" Von Stieleiche was heard to say when asked about it. Laze lifted a glass to the General and his good health! Taking a long swig of this dark substance he was remarkably surprised at its potency. Reaching down he snapped the pistols hammer tie down securing the old revolver! He thought with all that Fleet Firepower how secure a ride you think those Merchantmen were enjoying? Sporrans, especially the Heavy Haulers were monstrous and evil tempered to helm. They carried massive payloads and they were coming his way! He laughed out load for the first time since…..had he ever, since that day he lost his kin and the Great House his family had been a part of. Since that day the assassin Hino LaBlanc had swept through his village and summarily executed all that walked upright or crawled? He took a stiff jolt of Bourbon and chased his blues away for good and certain that night! The rest was a blur. He had been swept up in the winds of change and was now placing his fate in the hands of bon chance! His luck had changed.

"Colonel Von Stieleiche speaking. Good evening Admiral." Good Evening you ole WarHorse!" came the reply. "Rune', how goes it? Are we well prepared for the flagship?" asked the Admiral. "Yes, Admiral. I do believe we might be able to accommodate that dingy of yours" Von Stieleiche smiled. There's ample room and our Cruisers will provide you with anything you need while at anchor." "Yes, indeed Colonel" bounced the Admiral! "We'll remain in high orbit and back a day's jump if it's either too hot or too cold, do you read me?" hinted the Admiral. "Aye I do." replied the old veteran. We'll control things here on the ground but if it gets warm I expect you all here and able Sir!" Rune' pronounced each word forcefully. This Commander of the RedMoon Order was establishing the Command Structure for this DSA Venture as early as appeared to be necessary. In this instance, with his “old friend” but in this case still a stuffed bird, blue space admiral. Rune knew it was his turf and he made damned sure he had pissed out to the borders of his Command in much the same way any good hunting hound or wolf would do. The servos quietly whirred in the left leg brace he wore. His gloved hands tightened around the Command Center's railing and the mic he now held. Beside him and to his right, Sherwood's cybernetic hand was whirring as well and it broke the flushed spell of power he had briefly felt. He shook his head and smiled. “Lt.Colonel Barrett Sherwood, CallSign: Cyborg1…aptly named: he thought.
He knew there wasn't a Brother on this mission who hadn't at least one limb or digit cybernetically enhanced. He was surrounded by men who carried multiple sensory chips and other mechanical or cybernetic aids to either compensate for combat wounds (as was his and Sherwood's case) or those pilots and advanced operatives needing the additional edge to survive a dangerous mission.
"I think we'll all do just fine with all that firepower up there" Rune' stated. "Easy now Colonel" declared the Admiral of the "First Contact Fleet". I certainly don't intend to step on your toes here Rune'"" the Admiral replied. You're calling the ball as Commander of the Order. We provide you with whatever is necessary. Never hurts to go into a venture with overwhelming Force I always say" the heavy accent becoming more pronounced. Rune' understood what "Overwhelming Force" meant and what could ultimately happen should that force be used. He was in Command to prevent just such a disastrous scenario. "Yes I am in full command of this Venture Admiral, that’s true. However, your presence here assures our collective success." was his reply. "That should smooth birdies feathers" he chuckled. "I heard that Rune'" the admiral shot back also chuckling!
"Well it’s good to hear your voice Von Stieleiche" called the Admiral "We've some course adjustments coming up and I want to be on the bridge as we make our final course correction and begin planet fall into high orbit. Please alert the AU to our imminent arrival. Damned the security on that cinder of a planet should they not comply. If they don't grant final approach or docking privileges we're coming through and there won't be much to stop us from reaching you and yours Rune'. We'll be with you shortly Sir!" piped the Admiral of the First Contact Fleet, Admiral William Dorsey III.

Note Reviews: The following actions and events were substantiated through several MP present at that time and on scene witnesses. Further deep interrogation of Draconis captives, reveled the following facts and strong chemically induced speculation.

Draconis currents are moving very strongly through this quadrant of space. Heavy activity has been intercepted and monitored. Draconis assassins are still about the area. The General is their target. We pushed security around the General out to include four rings of advanced operatives and brought in the battle hardened Lieutenant Colonel Barrett Sherwood, CallSign:DSA_Cyborg1, to oversee the Orders contribution of additional, if unseen, security. Colonel Sherwood was promoted to Second in Command to Colonel Von Stieleiche during this venture and on Von Stieleiche's recommendation. We also thought it prudent to launch additional Corporate and Military spacecraft to within two days jump of Rochester. In addition to the four Sporran Class Heavy Haulers and twenty-five Sgian Dubh Escort Fighters already a mere one day jump away from Rochester, we dispatched the Main Battleship DSA Flamberge and, three Claymore Class Heavy Cruisers, the DSA Broadsword, Falcata and Dirk. The Light Cruisers DSA Rapier and Seax along with Von Stieleiche's new Kindjal Class design frontline fighters all were sent ahead as a spearhead to fend off any unexpected trouble arising from the proposed execution of Hino LaBlanc. Events proved less tenuous than first seen and we placed the spearhead forces and the Sporran Heavy haulers at the AU's service should they be required. Any further demands on our shipping would be covered with the succession waves of shipping we had set into motion on General Wolf's behalf. More Sporrans were on route as well for any military jumps where they may be needed as actions rolled out. We believe that we placed ourselves in as good a profit picture as possible. The DSA/AU Venture was officially underway at that time. All allocated assets were rolling. These events occurred as recorded. Additional data is available upon request.

“MP”

A man of medium height but powerfully built stood with his hands clasped behind his back…"course and speed helmsman!" "South by 180 degrees at impulse 9, aye Captain!" responded the young Ensign. "We're closing on the jump co-ordinates Sir. The fleet is with us Captain. The escort fighters are in place and we're falling in just behind the Cruisers. The Main Battleship Titan and her escorts are behind us Sir" the young Ensign replied again. "Thank you Ensign. In the future, it would be unwise to divulge more data than was requested" cautioned Senior Merchantmen Captain Claus Van Kreigel. His Merchant Fleet was escorted by some very heavy ordinance, he thought. The Order was being backed to the hilt by the DarkStar Alliance on this unknown venture. Rousted from bed and dreams of his beloved wife so many light years away, he wondered if he would survive this massive movement of Inner Sphere and DSA hardware. His fleet had rendezvoused with the forward Cruisers just fine. The problems were swinging into line with the Cruisers while maneuvering into the currents and eddies sent out by such a heavy displacement of sheer power. He had to watch his stern as he grabbed hold of the Cruisers displacement shadows using his vessels thrusters and brought his Heavy Haulers into place. His Sporrans had to make sure they had given adequate area for the Flamberge Class DSA Titan and her escorts. Captain Van Kreigel watched the sensors carefully while ordering small course corrections, further refining his position. He knew enough to know that he'd never been part of a venture so large. Farther still from hearth and home, his darling wife and kinder. Away from his beloved Edelweiss and Alliance space. "Ach, such an adventure though." The Captain allowed. "So much to profit by and from." he thought. "Tis the Merchantmen's life for me, me buckos!" he smiled in thought. With a merry eye the Captain spoke again, "and now for a few surprises of our own eh, Ensign Kreigel?" asked the Captain. "Yes Captain." was the Ensigns reply. The Captain waited." And Ensign?" he toyed with this young women from time to time. He knew the result and enjoyed watching her fight back her frustration with this old Uncle of hers. "Sir, I am aware of much more data but, as you've said, I was not asked to divulge more, Sir!" responded his young Ensign. "Your father would be proud of you young warrior", he thought. "And so it is Ensign! You learn quickly!" he stomped in good humor. "Weapons!" Captain Van Kreigel called. "Weapons aye" came the reply. “Weapons lets test those Heavy Gauss and ERPPC's” he replied. “Send out the drones and ask if the Titan would be so good as to launch a Cruiser mass Main Gun Target Raft if you please Number 1.” In the corner and watching the interaction of this Uncle-Niece comedy team with glee, Merchant Commander Lieutenant Christen Eppsfeld popped out of his amused state and back to the deadly business of killing the enemy before they killed you. "Captain, the Titan acknowledges target platform launch on a bearing 90 degrees East and heading away at 45 degrees Southwest and is widening away." the Commander replied. "Very good Commander. Bring up those special weapons we've installed." ordered the Captain. "Very good Sir. Sir, we have lock and trajectories of target resolutions for a weapons spread or a mass launch along a series of projected impact points. Which would you prefer?" "Aye Commander lets string them out and watch the show. We'll work the targeting scenario to include several targets going away. We'll take the farthest out first and the nearest last. Is that clear?" asked the Captain. "Aye Sir" All weapon systems up and able Sir. Awaiting orders to fire Captain." "Very well Commander, please commence fire."
The heavy Sporran lurched as all guns were brought to bear on the drones and fired their first salvos. Other Sporrans were enjoying this last chance at gunnery practice before jumping into who knows what? Each had launched target drones and were happily plinking away with a wide variety of weapons. The Captain's lead Hauler was not defended so lightly. The Chief Engineer of this potent gunship, a Commander Randolph "The Bear" Hollis had suggested this last minute change of hardware. The Commander thought that it would be a nice idea if they sacrificed one third of their mech and hauling bays and mount long and medium range "Anti Cruiser Missiles" and the newest long range auto cannons as an extra surprise should the merchantmen be caught unawares and without the appropriate escort. These tests would prove the Commander's argument, if any questioned. If successful, they'd refit a few others with-in the Merchant Fleet if space was made available in the future. A deafening whoosh was heard as the first of several Anti Cruiser Missiles were launched. The ship staggered sideways and to port as the missiles blasted away from the Heavy Hauler. "All weapons up and firing Sir" came a welcomed response. "Aye Commander, keep me advised on the missiles if you please?" "Aye Sir" replied Commander Hollis. "All missiles running hot, straight and normal Sir" the Chief Engineer replied with satisfaction.
A faint and brief flash of light announced the first successful missile strike at 350,000 kilos. The missiles intercepted their targets as designed and plotted. The flashes of missile detonations brightened as they drew nearer. Each Anti Cruiser Missile vaporized the hefty Cruiser Mass target drones as they homed in and intercepted their quarry. "A deadly string of pearls wouldn't you say Ensign" asked the Captain. Any beasties looking for a soft target will be greatly surprised I'd say" Chuckled the Captain with a mischievous nod. Wonderful job Chief Engineer Hollis!" "Thank you Captain. We aim to please, Sir." There were chuckles all around. "Very well, cease fire and secure all weapons for Jump" ordered Captain Van Kreigel. "Let's have all sections report Mr. Eppsfeld" ordered the Captain "and thank Admiral Hennessey for his Flagship's targeting aids Commander." The battleship Titan was a very fine vessel indeed! One that served the Admiral's Flag with distinction. "Aye Sir. Already on its way” replied his number 1. The Captain's eyes took on a weary but agreeable twinkle. "Very well number 1. Signal all merchantmen; stand by for jump." "Signal all, Good Luck and Good Profit!" "Stand by Jump aye!" replied the helmsman. "Very well helm, take us toward our destiny. Good luck all crewmen and stand by for jump." Preparing to jump now captain. All vessels in proper position and have synchronized to our action." "Very well helm jump when ready."
The advanced Light Cruisers and their advanced fighter escorts all twinkled and sparkled as they commenced jump. Not long after the Light Cruisers departure Captain Van Kreigel and his Sporran Heavy Hauler Merchantmen and Sgian Dubh fighter escorts disappeared into the abyss of space. The Titan followed the procession into the adventure with the aural spectrum of a jumping Capitol Ship of the Line. Its escorts twinkled merrily as they too disappeared with a wink of light. The Order and the DSA Mercenaries were off to the aid of a young general and his ideals. If brute force was asked, the Order would respond with unimaginable industrial and military might.
Flight Captain Rudolph Schrader scanned his instrument panel and readouts periodically but the autopilot was on and the jump would be in a series of shorter jumps out to Rochester. "This new Kindjal Class is a shit hot craft" thought the Captain. One sweet little ride. She was wrapped up with all the comforts a combat pilot expected for these long range jumps. Her armament was impressive and the Skye Laboratories had spent no small modicum of effort on her updated propulsion systems, sensor arrays, its neurological connections and relay systems. The Kindjal Class Fighter was one very potent weapon. He preferred to jump with his fighter nestled into its drop bay on the Naval Class Armed Sporran "Ticonderoga" but, Colonel Von Stieleiche ordered the test that he was now about to undertake. Knowing the crafts entire capabilities would allow the Skye Lab techs to build upon their designs and systems they had built into this newly designed aero-space front line fighter. The Kindjal was equipped with a stasis chamber with-in the combat cockpit. The craft would take any evasive actions necessary to avoid damage or harm to its pilot while reviving him should his life be in danger along the jump line. "Here's where it gets a bit sticky" thought Captain Schrader. "Comms this is Schrader" He called. "Comms Aye." "Comms I'm ready to commence jump and stasis testing" Schrader announced. "The Fleet is scheduled to jump with-in 190 seconds" called main flight controller over the Fleet Channel. All ships commence stasis programming. Crewmen take your launch stations and prepare for jump." "I'm locked in and commencing stasis programming now" announced Schrader. He looked down at the stasis consol and thought through the program launch systems check. All were with-in normal operating ranges. "Test Flight Control, auto pilot is on, stasis is on and functioning normally." He sensed his world graying somewhat as the stasis programming took control of his bodily functions. He entered a twilight that was peaceful, restful, yet enlightening as programming was fed to Schrader while he slept in his twilight world. All sense of time ceased as the little ship twinkled and warped from view. None of this mattered; Schrader was in another world entirely.

Note Reviews: Indicate the jump was uneventful and the series brought the fleet to within two days planet fall of Rochester. The advanced Cruisers and Kindjal fighters arrived in Rochester's star system the night of the execution of Hino LaBlanc. These ships had been dispatched just as quickly as it was determined that General Wolf might be his target.
The Order had its eye on the business opportunities with-in Rochester's vicinity. Although the Corporation had its advanced market analysts perform market studies in the area as a general search for new or improving markets, the Order saw very little profit in the area, until General Wolf's dire position and the possible future of all Mercenary Forces from all areas of the Galaxy.
Now, it appeared that a great deal was at stake there at that time. The fate of several mercenary forces was unfavorably weighted against any further success. All mercenary forces throughout this area of space were in danger of going extinct. The attempted domination of all worthwhile planets in the Rochester area by an enemy that was as yet unknown was a disturbing factor. Although the Corporation, the Order and the DSA knew all too well that, hard facts notwithstanding, this attempt at a faction takeover by the Draconis Combine was not projected to commence for several more months. It was felt that this dominating force may try to break any non related Mercenary Units with-in the areas the enemy captured. Their final objective was to eliminate all threat from all sources including any mercenary unit not pledging allegiance to them. This is what we knew at that time.


“PM”


Rune' rolled back in his high padded chair. The Fleet was en-route or had already arrived and landed outside the Wolf's Layer. The DSA had deployed its BattleMechs and support personnel. The constant flow of information was troubling in its content. Energy traces were converging on Rochester. The DSA had informed the General and his security forces of these trace lines and the possibility that an event was about to happen that might be of some concern. The Order had decided to hold all assets in high alert and prepared to jump to the General's defense with one of the five DSA divisions not already in service with the Federated Suns, Home Defense or otherwise employed elsewhere. Armed Sporrans where still inbound and stacking up waiting for final deployment. Light Cruisers and their Kindjal fighters were on station above the Wolf Layer and their weapons were tracking any impulses or traces that even remotely resembled an inbound unidentified mass. Rune' had sent out extended range fighters that were reporting normal activity but nothing that looked dangerous or offensive in nature. They detected nothing that indicated any overt move by any known forces toward Rochester at that time but the dicey reports from advanced operatives in Draconis space still poured in. Colonel Sherwood had done a bang up job on the logistics and security procedures as Rune's second in command. Sherwood updated Rune' every half hour or as necessary if urgent comms were received. Off loading had been smooth and swiftly done. All personnel and assets were either in place or on station above. Patrols were reporting nothing suspicious and no enemy contacts were sensed or marked. The Orders advanced operatives on Rochester and elsewhere marked the activities of all suspicious or neutral agents having a stake in the AU's success or failure.
Lt. Colonel Sherwood had taken it upon himself to stand in as OIC of the DSA’s Wolf Watch Brigade and Der Sthal Wachen Elite. Sherwood climbed into his Raven periodically setting out to check Der Sthal Wachen positions and fields of coverage. The base was studied and a security grid was developed that would allow maximum coverage for security purposes given this specific occasion. It wouldn't be the last time the DSA would supply security services to the General and his cadre'. Each circumstance would be a different set of problems. The DSA was well known for its ability to think quickly and provide maximum coverage of security as the General's outer defense. The DSA cut its teeth on Special Operations many years ago. Although this exercise could have been approached as just another contract, the stakes were just too high to consider this mission as being other than of the highest priority.
General Wolf was the focus of the Order's hopes for their continued success as a Mercenary Force in this market. The danger levels were extreme. Der Sthal Wachen was well aware of the Order's wishes. The future of their continued success around Rochester space was of paramount importance. The DSA BattleMechs and Fleet assets were a hairs breath from reaction should any untoward offensive hostile actions be detected in the vicinity of this valuable planet stronghold. The AU would be protected and served as the Order wished. The General would be safe and protected with all means necessary.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The Stasis programming terminated two hours before Captain Schrader and his craft were due to arrive at the Advanced Fleet coordinates just off Rochester space. “The process and testing had been completed successfully,” the Captain thought.
He was relieved to sense all was where it should be and he reached down to physically check those important areas he regarded as most essential in a young males life. The Kindjal could support its pilot in stasis while performing a jump. This was quite an exciting result. This deadly little craft was jump capable in all ways. The DSA had just extended its influence tenfold. Schrader set about preparing, scanning the LZ and taking up station after completing the jump. His final positioning would be monitored. The Lab Ship would pull alongside and make his craft fast. The Kindjal would then be taken aboard and Schrader could climb out of the advanced fighter. A shower and a good meal were on the priority list but first he'd have to debrief.
The Kindjal sensors indicated the Light Cruisers pacing him, and in position for jump completion. He knew the advanced Sporrans and escorts had already arrived and were stationed above Rochester. This advanced shipping would serve as high cover with the assurance of its massive firepower. It would serve as a combat cap over the theater of operations. The Heavies and the Titan were inbound. He was anxious to engage with his lethal weapon! It was nice knowing if any such actions took place he and his squadron mates would be going forward accompanied by the fleet and its massive guns.
He knew there was a Sporran skipper out there tweaking his craft by arming it with an unusual stinger. He wondered how Captain Van Kreigel had faired with the missile tests he and Chief Engineer Hollis had planned?
Sporran Gun Ships where a possibility. New and highly technical systems and weapons advancements were coming online. The Flight Captain felt that his mission was becoming more defined and would add to a well weighted DSA approach to forming a three dimensional, 360 degree sphere of advancing or withdrawing firepower. "Covered from all sides" he thought. The Kindjals and Sgian Daub fighters could spin freely within that field of fire. "Thor smash all who enters" he summoned. The DSA, the Council of Elders and the Order had seen to it that the DarkStar Alliance would be well positioned for the turmoil that appeared to be coming this way. The Fleet would act as a giant battle star capable of moving at light speed and with acute mobility. Whole Combat Infantry Divisions and their BattleMechs would move within this sphere if the movement of full divisions was deemed necessary. Rumors had it that a Super Sporran was on the ways; her keel laid and was being built. These ships would haul the wave pounders necessary for some planet assaults. It was suggested that several off world manufacturing complexes in DarkStar Alliance space were now producing surface ships of the Patrol Boat Class. What would come next, a Destroyer Class perhaps? And then?
The Captain worked through the pre-staging procedures for deceleration to coordinates. All systems ran perfectly and the Kindjal began slowing down through the spectrum with brief bursts of reverse energy. The little craft held steady and without any hint of vibration. Captain Schrader began feeling the currents through his Neuro-System. He felt the subtle ebb and flow of the space folds he was passing through falling toward the jump coordinates. Star systems began to take shape once again as he continued to decelerate. Rochester was now being verified and targeted. Slow down continued with the pull of the restraining harness announcing that the craft was on final approach and auto pilot was about to disengage. He took control of the ship after disengaging the auto pilot himself. It was early and he was still traveling at speeds greater than was the ship or his ability to react successfully should a catastrophic failure occur. None-the-less, Captain Schrader liked coming in hot, especially into a possible "Hot LZ".
A blue streak of light announced the Captain's arrival as he shot across the heavens, his weapons online and ready, his sensors reaching out for even the briefest of contacts. He closely monitored the situation as he made his pass. "Flag Cruiser DSA Sickle, this is Captain Schrader" He called." I've made my first pass through the landing coordinates. I have no contacts on first pass, over". "Affirmative Captain Schrader" came the cruisers reply. "Captain, would you make a second pass" asked the Flag Captain of the Sickle. "Roger Captain" responded Schrader. "Initiating second pass now." His thoughts and actions guided this swift dart. Looking 90 degrees and upward he maneuvered the ship into an upward or outward spiral from his center of coordinates and began a second curving sweep around the periphery of the LZ finishing the recon with a slashing oblique attack again through the center of the LZ. Still no contacts. "Flag, you are cleared to dispatch forward fighters at this time" announced Schrader. The Flag responded with fighter launches and a bustle of comms flowed to and from all parties monitoring. Sgian Daub and Kindjal pilots sub channeled and spoke with their immediate ranking officer or sergeant, for orders. Orders were flowing downward now at a pace that would have identified this Advanced Fleet force to be well trained and knowledgeable of each technique and style making up this Strike Team. Captain Schrader punched in the pickup coordinates and settled back as the auto pilot commenced its programming. It had been a long trip and although in stasis, he still felt completely wrung out. Some real sleep was called for as well it seemed. "Soon Captain" he thought," Soon."


Note Reviews: Captain Schrader was promoted to Major of the DSA and awarded the DSA Order of Merit for his performance during the entire Kindjal testing period. He later became one of the heroes of the battle actions that were to come.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

DSA Field Action Report:
As submitted by Lt. Colonel Barrett Sherwood, DSA XO Military Order of the RedMoon
Rochester/September/3067


All actions and recordings have been verified. These actions were beneficial. Many prisoners were taken and interviewed. Several prisoners revealed that they were paid mercenaries. The information gathered brought to light the objectives of the Draconis Combine and their intentions to crush Clan Wolf in Exile. They had not bargained on DSA intervention.

These are the sequence and series of events I entered into the "RedMoon/DSA Official Report". They are based on recordings and eyewitness statements. I revert to third person perspective when microprobe data is included and will preface all such entries with an “MP” beforehand. The “MP” indication shows data and recollection from multiple sources. All data is available upon request.


“MP”

Lt. Colonel Sherwood paced out with his little Raven. "What a sweetheart" he thought. She packs a punch for the unsuspecting. She's quick and able. He always enjoyed these outings with this small BattleMech. The Raven was just 35 tons but the variety of weapons and armor options plus its impressive 100 kph top speed made it a useful mech for the busy commander of the Inner Sphere or mercenary unit. That was, of course, before the coming of the Clans. The Raven was an experimental design originally introduced by the Capellan Confederation. The Raven was produced and used as a sophisticated mobile sensor and electronic warfare vehicle. They proved very profitable for the DSA and the Order. We had performed several contracts with an assortment of Clan BattleMechs against Clan battle actions. He had used this Raven several times and was impressed with its overall abilities. The Clanner contacts netted the DSA several advanced BattleMech of Clan design including a mean light heavy called the Cauldron Born. Other impressive BattleMechs purchased by the Order were the Daishi Assault Mech, the Mad Cat heavy, Thor, Vulture, Super Nova Assault, the Warthog, the Gladiator and of course the Shadow Cat medium to name several. "I often felt that the DSA was in a win, win situation." The Colonel was later heard to say. "We either killed the opposing Clanners or our employer's Clan forces did. It made no difference to me who we killed just as long as we were getting paid!" There were more than a few Clan supporters in the Periphery States. We were working on the Clan problem and were encouraged by our progress at that time. It was better to enter into trade deals with the clanners than doing battle against them. Their technology gave us an edge. Being situated in the Periphery we were first to experience contact with them. It was to our advantage to enter into trade agreements rather than facing off against them. The Clan were scum but their technology was top shelf.
The Lt. Colonel was working the outer perimeter and checking with the security personnel on the ground. The Lances were positioned and their support vehicles were disbursed throughout the area of operation. He ensured that the Security Alert Lance was on stand-by and ready to launch at the first sensor detection alert. The Ravens' Beagle Active Probe led him along the security coordinates of the outer ring while the mech’s Guardian ECM masked his movements through its counter measure programming. He had purchased this one from the Capellan Confederation several years ago but she was as stealthy and able a mech (if not more so now that he had added a few weapons refinements to her sting) and very difficult to detect. This Raven served him very well in the various command positions he had held in the last several years.
"Colonel Sherwood, this is Sensor Control" came the voice of the young Lieutenant OIC. "Colonel, we have detected a single heat trace descending to your North West and out 10,000 meters plus. Sensors indicate that the heat source is a Drop Ship. We have no clearances in that sector. Consider this contact to be enemy Sir." Colonel Sherwood acknowledged and called "Scramble the Security Alert Team please." Instantly, the Security Alert Team OIC came online and asked, "Colonel Sherwood, this is Major Richman, what assets do you require Sir?" "Major Richman, I'm not in a position to fully determine the threat. I am preceding West North West at full speed. When I am with-in sensor range I will be better able to determine the correct course of action and which Battle Mechs to deploy. “Please notify all commands we have enemy forces in planet fall. The Advance Fleet was at battle Stations above. Launch a Hellspawn, any ready Vultures, and a Shadow Cat for now. I want you in a Thanatos. You will serve as Combat Control for this team. I want two Uziels powering up and launching as soon as possible thereafter. Place two Mad Cats on standby for now should this be a larger threat. Copy Major"? "Roger that Sir" came the Major's quick response. “This is Major Richman CallSign:DSA Judge all ECM BattleMechs on me. We’re to be the eyes and ears for this engagement. Knowing that the Security Alert team, all blooded veterans of Der Sthal Wachen was in the immediate process of manning and powering up, Colonel Sherwood activated his radar, maps and sensors as he piloted his speeding Raven toward the suspected enemy threat now descending to the Rochester surface.
With-in the Mech Bay, activity was frenzied but controlled. Support crews had already powered up the Major's Thanatos and it stood ready for Richmond to ascend the ten meters to his pilot pod. Stepping from the lift, Richmond seated himself and began connecting to the Battle Mech. Placing his helmet on began the Neuro-connection process which directly linked him to the computer processors of this seventy-five ton Command Mech. The Thanatos he had manned was of stock configuration. It sported an LBX Scattershot 20, 4 Flamers and a full missile capacity of MRM 40's. The Shadow Cat, Hellspawn and Vulture pilots were doing the same.
Moving his Thanatos forward and away from the Battle Mech's support tower the Major called "All Pilots on me" and knew that the three Battle Mechs in his Lance were moving to his 6. "Make your bearing WNW, On Me, Move Out" called Major Richman. While the four mech Lance moved away from the Mech Bay, two Uziels were beginning to be powered up. These oddly shaped Battle Mechs were 50 tons of pure hell to any enemy coming into its sights. With a maximum speed of 95 kph, it's Jump Jets and a weapons selection of SRM 6's, 2 MG arrays and especially its 2 main gun Particle Projection Cannons, this Battle Mech was favored by many. The SRM 6 maximum range is 250 meters with no lock on capability. This means that a good pilot using the BattleMechs speed and Jump Jet capability had to close with the enemy and loose a deadly missile salvo, dashing out of range again before they could be fired upon. Not the best of choices. So the SRM 6 was used purely as a last resort. The PPC was its greatest asset. These cannon fires a bolt of plasma which resembles and sounds like lightning over a 750 meter distance and is considered a standoff weapon of major value and possessing tremendous hitting power. The Uziels Jump Jets allowed it to pop over a protecting ridge line and fire its PPC dropping back behind cover before it was detected or fired upon. This capability and its speed is why so many prefer these Battle Mechs to many others.
The two Uziels, ready and manned stepped away from their support towers and out of the Mech Bay in pursuit of the leading Lance.
In another section of the Mech Bay the missile racks of the two 75 ton Mad Cats were being loaded with their Clan LRM 20 missiles. Reaching 10.5 meters in height, these monsters where among the most feared and effective BattleMechs known. Their advanced fusion power plants were warming and would soon be ready for launch. Their pilots were suiting up and they were prepared for action should they be called upon.
Far to the North West, Colonel Sherwood was still in hot pursuit of the incoming enemy contacts. He hoped to arrive with-in sensor range well before the contact made planet fall and touch down... He flicked the Beagle Active Probe on and off trying to get a reading and direction of the suspected inbound enemy Drop Ship. He activated his Mechs electronic counter measures or EMC sensors on and off as he drew closer to where he thought the craft may be landing. The EMC was a stealth device which masked his presence but only if he kept his heat trace down below 50% and so he glanced the Mechs temperature signature and output as he drew nearer. Dashing along at 100 kph in a 35 ton Mech wasn't the easiest of skills to master but his experience had long since eclipsed this level of training. The Colonel was approaching a series of medium height ridges reaching up some 1,500 meters above Rochester's sea level. The tops of the ridges were cloaked in early morning cloud. The sky above was slightly overcast but clearing rapidly. Beyond the ridgeline rose several mountains to the East and on his right and beyond that the first rays of sun rise tinged the clouds in radiant colors of deep purple, gold and a silvery glow. Beautiful, but more importantly he would be approaching the enemy facing the sun if he continued on this course. If the enemy landed as he proceeded WNW he would then have to turn east into the sun facing his enemy with the sun at their back and in his face. He hoped they would land farther to the West where he'd have them at the disadvantage with his enemy facing into the sun and he had the high ground of the ridgeline, a distinct advantage. Further to his West the terrain flattened. He guessed that a Drop Ship commander would opt for a more level LZ and pressed on at blinding speed. Bon Chance!
The Hellspawn pilot paced along quickly outbound and bearing WNW. Lieutenant Erin Harper CallSign:DSA Shadow had several years experience in this particular Battle Mech chassis. She was a superb pilot and a sensor wizard. Only 45 tons, the Hellspawn was fast at 106 kph top speed and agile. With its Jump Jets and ECM plus its 2 LRM 10's and 3 Medium Pulse lasers she had been able to place the mech anywhere it was needed and still return from the mission alive and unharmed. The ECM also served to mask any mechs that were close to her and this was one of the reasons why Colonel Sherwood chose it and her as its pilot. Right now Erin was serving point and leading the way with the ECM active and covering her lance mates movement. Close aboard was the fierce Shadow Cat piloted by Senior Master Sergeant Angus Mc Man. A veteran pilot, Mc Man was known as a brawler both on and off the battlefield. Offered an Officer's Commission many times in the past, Mc Man shunned such offers and was heard to say that he worked for a living unlike many of the officers he had knocked down in bar fight after bar fight across the galaxy. He was a gun toting fist fighter of the first degree and ranked highly as a Gladiatorial Match winner on many worlds. Lieutenant Harper was very happy to have Mc Man CallSign:DSA Chaos on her 6. The Shadow Cat was an awesome fighting machine! Weighing in at 45 tons with a maximum speed of 102 kph the Shadow Cat was truly a hard punching Mech with its Clan ER Large Laser, 3 Clan ER Medium Pulse lasers, Clan ER Small Laser, 2 Clan MG Arrays and a rack of Clan Streak 6 Missiles. The Shadow Cat was Mc Man's weapon of choice. Mark my words, he knew how to use it!
Major Richmond was busy in the Thanatos monitoring communications and sensor reports. Moving along at a steady 80 kph he paced Sergeant Sarah Star CallSign:DSA Shooter piloted the Vulture. Star's Vulture weighed in at a hefty 60 tons and was considered one of the mainstays of any Mech Lance. A superb Fire Support Mech, the Vulture carried 2 Clan ER Medium Pulse Lasers, 2 Clan LRM 20 Missile Racks, and 2 Clan ER Large Pulse Lasers. Many variants were built off this chassis. Some carrying only Clan ER Large Lasers, others with an assortment of ballistic and energy weapons. The best and most effective of the variants proved to be those fitted with two additional missile racks and loaded with either Clan LRM 20's or Clan LRM 10's. Fired in one single salvo these mechs could knock down the largest of Assault mechs with one massive punch! To their rear but advancing quickly the Uziels were making their way forward and drawing up on the Major's right and left flanks. All moved forward with a grim determination knowing that any one of them may die in the coming engagement.
"Colonel Sherwood, this is Sensor Control. The inbound heat trace has been identified as a Talon Drop Ship Sir." "Acknowledged" was the Colonel's reply. "A Talon Drop Ship doesn't appear out of nowhere. There must be others out there. Even the possibility of the larger Horthgar Drop Ship ferrying in Troops and supplies should be considered and searched for. One inbound Talon doesn't make sense but I'll take it if that’s the way the Draconis Combine wants to play it. We destroyed their assassination attempt last night. We'll do the same with them this morning and…." "Colonel!" the Sensor Control OIC broke in. "We now have a second heat trace inbound and descending for planet fall".
"Acknowledged, I want a Full Alert sounded. Scramble the Mad Cats WNW and On Me. I want 2 Nova Cats Powered up immediately and dispatched inbound On Me. Scramble two Awesome to be posted as additional far perimeter defense and 3 Daishi stalking the mid perimeter defensive line. Do you copy Sensor Control"? "Acknowledged Colonel Sherwood. This is Sensor Control All Stations Copy". "Roger Sensor Control. This is Colonel Sherwood DarkStar Alliance Command and Control, do you copy"? "Acknowledged Colonel Sherwood. DSA Command and Control copies and is complying. All DSA personnel, Security personnel and operatives are already in position around General Wolf's quarters and are preparing additional fortified positions to protect the General. The Fleet is on High Alert and has dispatched Kindjals and the Light Cruiser DSA Rapier to a position above the suspected Talon drop zone. All other Fleet vessels are on station and patrolling for any additional inbound threat. We have no further contacts at this time. We believe that this is an attempt to gain a foothold on Rochester by the Draconis Combine Forces as well as a second attempt to assassinate General Wolf and his party". Colonel Sherwood acknowledged the DSA Command and Control Officer who had just alleviated any thought or worry about the mission or the safety of General Wolf's party. The General's safety was money in his pocket. The Draconis Combine had launched a deadly series of attacks on the Mercenary Forces scattered through the Inner Sphere in an attempt to purge the galaxy of all known Mercenary interference or resistance. The Draconis Combine would meet their match this day! General Wolf and his Clan Wolf in Exile would survive to be reunited with those Mercenary units who still fought against oppression or any threat to their way of life or the business they transacted.

"DSA Combat Control, do you have Night Fighters and Peregrine Attack Choppers in route? If so, I want the Nightshades to take station in a High Combat Air Patrol above the Draconis Talon Drop Ships. Have the Peregrines hover below the ridgeline to the WNW of the Drop Ship LZ. Dispatch Bulldog's, Harassers, LRM Carriers and Vedettes to knock out any ground troops and support personnel disembarking from those Drop Ships. I want our Armor between the Drop Ships and our forward defense perimeter, copy?" "Acknowledged Colonel.. We have all assets up and on the way Sir. ETA armor to Drop Ship LZ one hour Sir. All aircraft scrambled and in route. Nightshades shall arrive shortly, ETA Peregrines twenty minutes." "Acknowledged DSA Combat Control" replied Colonel Sherwood. Everything was in place or in route. Battle Mechs were powering up in the Mech Bays. Soon they too would be in route or on station. They were ready for whatever the Worms threw at them.

"DSA Combat Control, all Lances, all BattleMechs, switching to Combat Comms now." Colonel Sherwood's call for Combat Comms indicated that he was nearing the Drop Ship LZ. Only the most relevant communications would be transmitted on all frequencies. All BattleMech pilots would preface all communications with their CallSigns and Lance designation before briefly supplying data such as target contacts and bearings, their current positions, or battle actions they were undertaking.
Sherwood's Raven neared the top of the ridgeline. His position was completely hidden by the low clouds he had observed obscuring the ridge earlier. He guided his mech to a rocky outcrop and positioned himself so that he had a view to the West and set all sensor arrays to passive. The Ravens ECM would cloak his location and position. Passive radar contact indicated that he had a ground target in a valley to his West and out some 1,500 meters. Using his weapons scope, Sherwood mentally zoomed in on the contact before him using the Neuro-connections in his helmet. Sherwood was literally a part of this BattleMech. All thoughts and sensual stimulus necessary to the BattleMechs functionality were all initiated or channeled through him. Zooming in, he saw the Talon Drop Ship they had detected. The Talon had landed and had begun to deploy ground troops and support vehicles. The LZ was alive with activity. He identified the Draconis Combine dragon insignia on the side of the Talon. BattleMechs bearing that insignia had, for years, perpetrated numerous military attacks upon the Outworlds Alliance member planets; so many in fact that the Draconis Combine was viewed as an adversary to the Outworlds Alliance's very existence. Draconis Combine military and mercenary forces bearing the Dragon insignia soon became disdainfully known to the DSA as “worms”. Viewing the insignia once more, Colonel Sherwood was reminded of how much like a worm that despised unit designation looked. The foulness of this militant force was offensive to the Colonel. Looking down at his left hand, or where his left hand use to be he thought about the events leading up to the battle action that cost him that hand; events that forced him to replace his shattered stub with the prosthesis after narrowly escaping his exploding BattleMech with his life. The worms had been paying for his loss ever since. Today they would continue to pay.
Through the Neuro-connection link to his Battle Mech and with the chip implant all DSA Officers and field operatives were equipped Colonel Sherwood issued his first battle comms order. "All Lance Leaders, this is Cyborg1. Report your status and location." SitReps for all BattleMechs were instantaneously uploaded by their Lance Leaders. These in turn were downloaded directly to Cyborg1. "Star Commander, Lance Leader advanced lance 1 reports all BattleMechs fully functional and in position" called Major Richman, CallSign:Razor. "Star Commander, Lance Leader defensive lance 1 reports all Mechs fully functional and in position" relayed Sergeant Adler, CallSign:Stinger. Sergeant Adler's two Mech lance of two Awesomes were on station and in position along the outer ring of the defensive line. His BattleMechs measuring 11 meters in height, a maximum speed of 75 kph, were generally armed with 2 SRM 2 missile racks along with 2 Medium Pulse Lasers and sporting 2 PPC's as their main weapons system. These 2 Awesomes were far from stock. They mounted 3 ERPPCs providing excellent long range capability. Crusher 1 was the last Lance Leader to reply. "Star Commander defense lance 2 reports 3 Daishi on station, fully functional and ready to engage! Crusher 1 was itching for a fight! His Daishi were all similar in most respects with a few individual modifications preferred by their respective pilots. Measuring 11.5 meters in height and weighing in at 100 tons these front line Assault Mechs were unbelievably rough to go up against! Using its LMR 10 missiles the Daishi could engage the enemy at 1000 meters while closing to 800 meters where it could blast you with its 4 Clan ER Large Lasers. At 6oo meters the Daishi Assault Mech would then unleash a barrage from two Clan Ultra Autocannon 5's. It was deadly as it closed even nearer to shred its opponents with its 4 Clan ER Medium Pulse Lasers at 400 meters. If anything was left standing at target level after an Assault by a Daishi the pilot either crushed them using the BattleMechs great weight, blanketed the area with its 2 Clan MG Arrays or dispatched any fleeing BattleMechs using any combination of the weapons he or she had at their disposal. Nothing could withstand a Lance of Daishi save the Atlas and there were precious few Atlas BattleMechs distributed about these outlying worlds. Here, the Daishi Assault Mech was Top Dog!
"Razor this is Cyborg1, hold your Lance at 1500 meters and outside of the Talon's sensors" instructed Colonel Sherwood. "Acknowledged" Razor replied. "Holding at1500 aye!" Pounding out to both flanks of their lance the 2 Uziels sought cover some 300 meters from their lance mates. Their PPC's ranged out to 750 meters. They had an effective cross fire before them as their weapons effective range reached maximum effectiveness some 75 meters beyond the 600 meter point where their weapons energy bolts would cross. With 4 PPC's directed against most Battle Mechs, the target Mechs would simply explode in a small blinding flash as the energy bolts slashed their way through all but reflective armor to the engine's fusion core. Although core breaches were highly discouraged for salvage reasons this was going to be a no holds barred and bloody slug fest. Lieutenants Janice and Candice Atkinson, CallSigns BlueStreak 1 and BlueStreak 2 and affectionately known as "The Ice Sisters" were simply murderous as ambushers! Too many Mech pilots had mistakenly strayed into the ambush kill zones of these two deadly women warriors! After hoisting several stiff shots of an amber colored 120 proof aged scotch whiskey these two pilots would commence to give a detailed description of the damage they inflicted as after action stories were flung about by exhalant pilots who were, for the most part, just happy to have survived. Not so the Ice Sisters! These fierce warriors took great delight in their ability to maim and disable BattleMechs. There were more than a few times when our Field Techs came back with the remains of the Ice Sister's work. PPC scorch marks carefully avoiding the pilot pods but close enough to cause the temperature to rise to unlivable conditions. Many roasted enemy pilots were pried from their seats after falling to these lethal sisters. Weapons gathered from around their targets were seen as untouched but blasted away from the Mech at its hard point. Several with one leg neatly sliced off by four direct PPC hits at their connection points on either the right or left hip joint. The Techs reported that it appeared the targeted Mech would try to get up but was only capable of spinning around on the ground as its ambushers continued to toy with the hapless mech pilot. Their shooting skills were unsurpassed in the DSA. Their exploits were humorous and very profitable. BlueStreak 1 and BlueStreak 2 were priceless to us that valued their bravery, skill and above all the way they went about their very specialized role. The worm was about to be sautéed ah la Ice Sister Style!
Farther back the two Mad Cat pilots had found cover behind a two hundred foot rise of land. Spaced 50 meters apart the Mad Cat pilots had switched their systems to passive. With their cockpits barely breaking the rise of land, each pilot scanned the horizon for any movement. They then went about checking all of the Mad Cats weapons systems. The Mad Cat is a Heavy class Battle Mech and stands 10.5 meters in height. With a top speed of 85 kph and a maximum weight of 75 tons, this Heavy is one of the strongest and well balanced Mechs on the battlefield. Built of Endo Steel and wearing 11.5 tons of Ferro Fibrous armor the Mad Cat takes a punch as well as it gives. With 2 racks of Clan LRM 20 missiles the Mad Cat can strike its target at 1000 meters. Its 2 Clan ER Large Lasers reach out 800 meters. Closer in the 2 Clan ER Medium and 2 ER Medium Pulse lasers deliver the coup de grace at 400 meters. If any ground contacts are still active thereafter it can use the 2 Clan MG Arrays to clear the field of any further resistance.
Both Mad Cat pilots were veterans having served with the DSA for many years. These mechs were assigned to only those pilots who had proven their courage, skill and experience over the course of several campaigns. Captains Veje Vanderhorst, CallSign:Talon 4 and Captain Rudolf Schumacher, CallSign:DarkRaven had proven their loyalty and skill many times over. They were both Elite Guardsman of Der Sthal Wachen and destined to become members of the RedMoon Order. Two more Der Sthal Wachen veterans now joined the Mad Cats. Each piloted the Heavy Nova Cat. This mech required a skilled hand. At 10 meters with 14 tons of Reflective armor, a top speed of 70 kph and a maximum weight of 70 tons, this Battle Mech proved to be a premiere long ranger fighter. Designed by Clan Nova Cat and originally built by the Draconis Combine the Mech showed itself well in many engagements with one very large exception. The Nova Cat is prone to overheating due to the massive amount of energy weapons it supports and uses. The 3 Clan ER Large Lasers and 2 Clan ER PPC as well as the Clan ER Small Pulse Laser must be alternated in their firing sequences. If handled incorrectly, the Mechs skimpy heat sink capabilities will not be able to compensate for the massive build up of heat the energy weapons emit. This will result in the complete shutdown of the BattleMech and its systems. If flushing the system doesn't offset the heat buildup, the mech will shut down for extended periods of time during a battle. This, of course, leaves you, the pilot at the opponent's mercy and there is no mercy found anywhere in a Battle Mech engagement. If a Nova Cat is hit by a series of weapons during its shut down/cooling off period the mech will in most cases explode in a blinding nuclear explosion. Also, if the Nova Cat is heat managed improperly during a battle, the mech has been known to explode as the fusion power plant goes critical due to excessive heat build up! For these reasons the DSA has slotted only the most cautious and astutely aware pilots for duty in a Nova Cat. In the right hands there are few Battle Mechs that can withstand the Nova Cats lethal weapons systems. In the wrong hands it’s a coffin.
"Cyborg1, this is DSA Rapier. Our sensors indicate a second Talon Drop Ship in planet fall. The ship's trajectory indicates it will touch down at the enemy LZ." "Acknowledged" called Sherwood. "Please have your Cruiser and Kindjals engage ECM and let them pass. I want to have every inbound enemy contact on the ground and their locations locked into our weapons guidance systems. I intend to let our enemy deploy and move towards the city before we spring our trap." "Acknowledged Cyborg1, we are activating our ECM systems now. The contact is closing fast. It should be no more than 30 seconds before your sensors pick it up." The second Talon Drop Ship came into sensor range a few moments before it became visible in the high atmosphere. Its retro firing engines appeared as a bright point of light and grew rapidly as the ship descended toward the Draconis LZ. Sherwood continued to monitor the progress of the growing enemy foot hold they were attempting to establish on Rochester. "All Lances, this is Cyborg1. The enemy has deployed multiple armor assets to include as many as 15 Bulldogs, 10 Harassers, 5 LRM Carriers and several SKUD Launchers. Watch the speed of those SKUDS. Target them as soon as we engage. I want them knocked out before they get anywhere near their launching range on the City. There are as many as 10 SRM launchers deploying in defensive positions around the LZ with at least 5 Vedettes carrying AC/5 AutoCannons as back up. Several other Vedettes have already deployed outbound and look to be setting up as the forward strike force. The Harassers and Vedettes are the swiftest at 27 and 23 kph respectively. Expect these two vehicle types to be the spearhead of the attack. The LRM's will hang back and engage at 1000 meters if they get the chance." Sherwood continued to watch and report the enemy activity. He observed the movement of BattleMechs moving down the Talon loading ramps now. The first to disembark were 4 Cougars. The 7 meter tall Light Mechs were the creation of Clan Jade Falcon. With Jump Jet capability and a maximum speed of 97 kph at 35 tons the Cougar was considered to be among the best fast recon mechs in existence. Heavily armed for its class the Cougar supported 2 Clan ER Large Lasers, 2 Clan ER Small Lasers and 1 Clan ER Medium Laser. The Cougar also sported to racks of Clan LRM 10 missiles and a Beagle Active Probe sensor system. The Cougar far outclassed his Raven in every way but his mech's Beagle Active Probe and Electronic Counter Measure sensor arrays. He was banking on the ECM to keep him cloaked and hidden from radar contact.
Emerging now was a 4 mech lance of Thor Heavy Battle Mechs. The Thor offered the Draconis elements a front line stormer capable of mid to short range firepower. The 10.5 meter high Battle Mech weighed in at 70 tons with a top speed of 85 kph. Jump Jet capable the Thor came equipped with 2 Clan Ultra AC/5's, 4 Clan ER Medium Lasers, a rack of LRM 15 missiles and a Clan MG Array. For defensive capabilities the Thor carried the Guardian ECM sensor system. Ground crews were attending the 2 Lances of Draconis Combine BattleMechs as the 1st Talon Jump Ship ramps began to close. The second Talon had touched down several minutes previous and was lowering its ramps.
Sherwood continued to observe the enemy's dispositions as Bulldogs and Vedettes staged themselves into a diamond shaped formation. The Lance of 4 Cougars now positioned themselves to the left and right flanks of their armored vehicles. The LRM and SKUD Carriers took up their positions to the left and right rear of the formation as the Thor Battle Mechs moved into the center of the formation behind the armor. All assets were equally spaced approximately 100 meters apart and each covered one another nicely. On command the first wave of the worm assault moved out in unison. The LRM and SKUD Carriers held back and awaited the Second wave BattleMechs yet to emerge from the 2nd Talon.
Open, rolling and sandy ground lay before the 1st wave of the Draconis assault force. The desert floor shock and rumbled as the massive battle armada rolled into action. "All Lances, this is Ir0nfist, the Draconis invasion has begun" called Sherwood. "Enemy forces are now advancing on your positions." The 2nd Talon was now issuing forth its deadly cargo. A lance of 4 Catapult Heavy BattleMechs quickly pounded down the Talon's ramps and immediately formed into pairs. They dashed off seeking cover and protection to the left and right rear flanks of the1st Assault wave. The surprise came then. Emerging from the Talon's bay came the silhouette of not one but 4 Daishi Assault Mechs. Accompanying them were 2 Nova Cats. This made the Draconis assault force total at 18 Battle Mechs. A brutal force that had to be stooped at all cost.
The Daishi formed into a diamond shaped lance and began to advance along the path of the 1st assault wave. The Daishi swiveled their torsos from left to right scanning the area around them for anything that moved. The Daishi's massive tri-talon feet pounding up and down on the mech's two massive legs, crushing any living thing that was in its 100 ton path. Their pilots were ready to spew fire and destruction, leaving nothing in their paths but death. The LRM and SKUD Carriers fell in behind the Daishi. The Nova Cats took up flanking positions to the Daishi as the Catapult pilots sped forward looking for their next covering terrain. Now out to both sides and farther in front of the lumbering Assault Mechs the Catapults made good use of their speed. At the tip of the assault formation the 4 cougars ran quickly ahead firing their jump jets and bounding high over the landscape as they scanned the area for contacts and targets. Below them the land was crawling with armored vehicles all traversing their turrets and scanning for likely victims. The Thor heavies twisted their torsos as their weapons arms moved from side to side ready and willing to engage. Their pilots were anxious to be the first to fire upon Der Sthal Wachen mercenaries. Nothing would stop them. They would drive their combat force through the DSA Elite Guards, into the City and kill every living soul they found! General Wolf and his dreams of uniting with the Clan Wolf in Exile would be burned to cinders today. The DSA would finally be eliminated as a viable Mercenary Force and the Army of the Federated Suns, House Davion would suffer miserably for their very existence in the Galaxy. Today the Draconis Combine would begin to regain its power base with-in the Inner Sphere and kill all those who opposed them!
While the Draconis assault moved away from the Talon Drop Ships and their defensive force, Colonel Sherwood sprung the ambush. “All Attack Lances, direct your fire on all Draconis long range weapons systems upon my command. All Defense Lances select your targets and provide fire support but do not advance until ordered. All Lances, maintain battle comms…. The thoughts of each pilot immediately intertwined in their neurological systems. Every pilot heard the BattleCry of the DSA echoing in their very souls. “This is Cyborg1, for home and hearth, for the souls of our dearly beloved so cruelly murdered by these Draconis scum, for the honor of Der Sthal Wachen Elite! Their BattleCry rang out with a collective shout “Valhalla”! Commence fire, commence fire!”
Together each pilot had selected their target. Together each BattleMech joined the attack as missile tracks blazing smoke and fire rose into the sky. A terrible sound filled the landscape as the DSA engaged their hated foe. The Ice Sisters began their grizzly wet work as their PPC blue streaking bolts caught the advancing Cougar scouts in deadly cross fire. Pieces of their arms and legs flew off as the pilots saw their weapons systems stripped with each massive jolt of energy. The Draconis Vultures quickly acquired target lock and began returning fire. Through the smoke and haze Laser, PPC fire and ballistic weapons boomed and barked. “This is Cyborg1; we have them in our kill box. They have fallen into our ambush. Maximum fire! Take out those missile platforms. Kill every long range weapons system first. Leave the Thors and Daishi to be picked up by our air assets. Target those Nova Cats and Vultures. All Attack units advance! Defense units move up and cover. Cyborg1 went active and spurred his Raven forward. This little mech would not last long if caught in the open. He had to use terrain and speed while he attacked on the oblique. His first priority was staying alive to command. His second was targeting the Draconis Daishi in the enemy’s rear. One small Raven against the Draconis main Assault BattleMechs was not good odds. He’d play the cards that were dealt. With luck he might survive. Bon Chance!
“Shadow this in Cyborg1. Close on me and away from the main action. We’re targeting those Daishi in the rear. I want them Narced and engaged by our LRMs.” “Roger” returned Lieutenant Erin Harper. “Shadow is with you Cyborg1”. “Cyborg1 this is Shooter. You tag em, we’ll bag em” called the Vulture pilot. The attacking DSA Nova Cats were now carefully cutting loose with their ERPPCs and ducking back under cover until they had their heat under control and in the blue. The Awesomes were engaging the Draconis armor assets adding to the cacophony of sound now dominating the bloody battlefield. The defensive Daishi of the DSA waited to hear active Narc Beacons anxious to launch their salvos on their opposite numbers manning the Draconis Daishi.
“Combat Control this is Cyborg1. I want all air assets to engage the Talon Drop Ships. We give the worms no way out. I want all Draconis scum wiped from their miserable existence. We take no prisoners! Wipe them out to their last scum sucking worm!” Together, Cyborg1 and Shadow disappeared into the smoke and horror, exultant for their chance to kill the worm. “Valhalla” rose once again in unison and with hatred against the murderous Draconis enemy. “Valhalla, Valhalla, Valhalla” echoed in the soul of every DSA Pilot. This battle would be remembered in DarkStar Alliance history. Valhalla would echo with the war cry of DSA heroes entering the Great Halls this day.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5

The battle went on for hours. The Draconis force never came within range of Rochester’s Capital City. Instead they tried to turn tail and run as more DSA forces dropped to Rochester’s surface and reinforced the DSA defenders. The fleet intercepted several more Draconis drop ships and the worms either turned back or were destroyed trying to run the naval blockade. The heavens were filled with the star like explosions of Draconis ships trying to rescue the attack force. The Draconis Combine had grossly under estimated the resistance they encountered and had finally retreated back to their outposts on the Outworlds Alliance border. None of the Draconis attack force survived. They were wiped out to the last warrior.

General Wolf and his Clan Wolf in Exile staff established their base of command and began operations to form the MRBC for the benefit of all mercenary forces, the Outworlds Alliance and the 3 planet system of the DarkStar Alliance. House Davion acknowledged the efforts taken on by the DSA Mercenary Force and the RedMoon Council of Elders.

Rune’ remained on post until it was deemed safe to be relieved. He coordinated the DSA’s responsibility for providing the security needed to protect Rochester and General Jamie Wolf. The MRBC was formed despite the Draconis Combines attempts to annihilate all remaining vestige of mercenary force against them. The DSA was most pleased at their salvage haul. BattleMechs of every description were added to the MechBays. Many honors were bestowed upon the DSA Pilots by the RedMoon Council. Rune’ saw to that. The pilots’ coffers were overflowing with the C-Bills gained through black market sales. All in all it was a very tasty venture indeed.

After establishing a reinforced garrison on Rochester the fleet withdrew deep into DSA space and began distributing its take to the DSA outposts and garrisons within the Outworlds Alliance. A Regiment of Der Sthal Wachen Elite was posted to the Achermar PDZ. Rune’ was given the rank of General of the AFS and appointed as CO Achermar PDZ in thanks by House Davion and the AFS General Staff. Although Rune’ Von Stieleiche was nearing retirement he accepted the position but immediately began looking for his replacement. He saw to the needs of the regiment and that his replacement was comfortable with all he had done before he stepped down from his post. General Von Stieleiche received thanks from House Davion and was finally released from AFS duty with a substantial retirement package. He had been away from home too long. He missed his wife, his kin and kinder. His home world and his farm had always remained an important driving force in his life. It was past time he made planet fall to his beloved Edlewise.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Rune’ awoke from stasis’ a few hours out from his home world. “Edlewise Control, this is Colonel Rune’s Von Stieleiche requesting permission to enter Edlewise space” he called. “Colonel Von Stieleiche!” called the startled controller. “Welcome home Sir. Colonel you have immediate clearance to enter Edlewise space Sir”. “Roger that control and thank you. Please download my docking coordinates and I shall begin planet fall”. The coordinates were conveyed and he was surprised to see that he had been given direct approach to the Skye Laboratories main facilities. “Thor be praised” he thought. What had he done to deserve such an honor?
The Kindjal fighter broke through Edelwise’s atmosphere with a crack and thunder that rumbled across the planet surface. Many faces looked skyward knowing that the sound of the advanced fighter built by Skye Labs indicated an esteemed pilot was at the helm. Few had the privilege of piloting such an advanced DSA fighter. High above many saw a streaking blue fire race across the heavens as Rune’ brought his craft home. He was met with some pomp as the Skye technicians secured his craft in docking bay number 1. “My heavens, all this bother for one old warrior” he thought as RedMoon Corporate executives and the President of Skye Labs reached out a hand of welcome and thanks for what the DSA had done. “I had little to do with turning the Draconis Combine away from our worlds” Rune’ replied. “No, your thanks must go to the brave pilots of the DSA”. “We lost too many defending Rochester” he said. Many good pilots are with their ancestors in Valhalla this day” he spoke quietly and with great reverence. Lieutenant Harper, killed while taking on and destroying 3 of the 4 Draconis Daishi, Major Richmond, killed leading a boarding party on the last remaining Talon jump ship. His old friend Lt. Colonel Barrett Sherwood, his XO, killed while leading the final assault on the Draconis defensive force surrounding the Talons”. As he mentioned those warriors and friends tears came to his eyes. “Please forgive me. I have served with each. There were no finer men and women than those who died in defense of their homeland” “They are deserving of your thanks, not I” he spoke. “I am too long from home. If I may, please allow me to proceed to my farm where my family awaits” he asked. “If you’ve honors to bestow, place them on the graves of our fallen heroes”. “I do not deserve such attention”. “They were the flower of our youth, now gone”. “Let us morn their passing with the hope that we lose no more fine warriors and that the Draconis scum continue to be kept at bay”.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7

A figure moved through the soft shadows of a tree lined lane. Roses climbed and cascaded over the split rail fences bordering the grassy way. A cool breeze touched the old warrior’s battle scarred cheek and the clicks of servos helped him move forward toward the farm just making itself seen over a gentle rise to the right. The old man stopped and glanced about. He smelled the clean perfumed air. Looked upon the farmstead nestled into a small valley, through which flowed a gently moving stream. The vineyard was heavy with grape. The orchards showed a good harvest to come. The fields were full and ripe with grain as quail and pheasant moved among the breaks.
He could hear his hounds bugle calls as a pack chased down a hare. The huntsman’s horn sounded above the pack’s progress as the shouts of the drivers rose in excitement, happy to be on the scent. Visions of his boyhood visited his reverie. Moving forward once again, a walking staff in his right hand, the figure revealed itself in a golden patch of sunlight that found an opening in the canopy above. Rune’ stood straight and unbending. He wore the dress uniform of Der Sthall Wachen Elite. His satin lined cloak pinned back over his wide shoulders and clasped at his throat by the Military Order of the RedMoon given to him many years ago. The well used Kindjals were crossed at the small of his back, his comfortable riding boots shown with a warm luster. The well tailored dark grey uniform blouse still fit the old warrior well and was adorned with the many medals he wore not so much for him but for the memory of those DSA warriors that came before. He was home at last.
Moving to the long winding path that lead to his farmstead Rune’ noticed a surrey standing to one side of the farmhouse. He heard his grandchildren playing in the orchards. He saw his wife Kathryn, his son Seth and Rhonda his son’s betrothed watching the children. As he walked further up the path his wife and son turned, surprised at what they saw. He was not due home for many months. They rose and his son called out a welcome. Kathryn ran to him and held him close. His grandchildren fell silent looking at their grandfather, this old warrior finally home from the wars.

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