A Feather on Thy Shoulder

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A Feather on Thy Shoulder

Post by Cronicler » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:27 am

Most of the Battletech followers know the sad march of time regarding the Mercenaries. Through strong leadership they grow stronger, then they
do great things and then... they fall victim to politics, they are caught alone and they are snuffed out. Gray Death Legion(3065), Blue Star
Irregulars (3067/3069), Wolfs Dragoons and Battle Magic (3067), 21st Centauri Lancers(3070), ... They were all powerful units but they all
lacked that last damn bit of firepower that would have changed the outcome.

Then again, sometimes the unstoppable march of inevitable can turn into an altogether different direction just because of a feather that fell
onto the juggernaut's shoulder. This alternate history was born when I was designing a different kind of "Mercenary" unit. One that was not
after glory, hard cash or just plain bloodcrazed fighting but after "weird" stuff...

This Merc unit was born, (or rekindled as one might say) in 3049 when an "unhabited" blue dwarf became the relucant host to a battle between
some really intresting characters. The Blakists moan and chant about the "holy" vision of the "Politician: First Class" Blake, while Clans blabber
about the heroic deeds of "Patriot" Kerensky. In the end when you throw all those loud idiots and the misinformation off the action, you will see that
it was just an unimportant, unnamed soldier at the wrong moment, at the wrong time at the wrong place ( for him) that saves a Nation.

But enough about destiny and all those mystical clap trap. To understand this "Feather" we need to go back, to learn of the forge that she
was breathed her fire:
Elcie Labhoise (Translates roughly as Unique Warrior Maiden from Irish) also known as G(r)anny El was one of those countless desperate, poor
and quick witted people you could find in the wartorn Inner Sphere by thousands. As a street learned mechanic from the Woodstock's free for
alls , she was able to get herself hired as an Astech for one of the small Armor based semi-Merc units that were commonly used to bolster
defence of secondary planets on a temporary but regular basis. The Merc Armor unit (Curiassers "213374") transferred from Capellan employment
to Lyran employment after their contracts had ended in 2997.

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Armor Section                    : 1x Puma 7x Manticore. (33 Crew) 
Mechanized Infantry Section: 5x Tracked APC (Long Range Mod) 4x Scout Car (50 Infantry 10 Crew)
Urban (MP) Infantry Section: 5x Tracked APC (Urban Mod) (30 Infantry 10 Crew)
Support Section                 : 4x AC5 MBT, 2x LRM MBT, 2x Marksman (26 Crew)
Headquarters Section         : (Also known as "Headquarters Herd") 2x Scout Car, 1x Tracked APC (Comm. Equipment), 1x Truck (All Terran Mod, 
Command Gear), 1x Medical/Ambulance APC, 2x Engineering Vehicle, 4x Ammo Carrier, 4x 10Ton Truck (26 Crew, 35 Specialists, 9 Replacements)
Air Cav. Section                 : 2x Ferret, 2x Cropduster (4 Pilots)
Under Steiner colors, the unit was stationed on Wotan as garrison and militia training contract and were totaly wiped out in the opening of
Jolly Roger as they were caught in the field maneuvers in a scattered formation and were anhiliated in a massive (For Periphery) and
frighteningly modern Mech Drop that missed its target and hit them head on instead. For most techs, this would have meant a forced change
in employers. However for the hardbitten street urchin, left alone with a damaged support APC, a wounded comrade and grim determination;
this meant meeting a young and naive young man with the name of Brian Juniper Truss (A false identity he was using to cover his real name
Bjorn Theisman).

BJ was and still is a... different kind of person that one is used to see in the Inner Sphere. Born and Raised at the Terran Belt, BJ is one
of those unique individuals that really does not care about C-Bills, politics or war. His speciality can only be classified as the arcane title
of "Computer Wizard" (on top of his unimportant titles like "Tech God", "Designer", "Lostech Operator".). With a genius level intelligience and
extensive trainings from his belter family; he had already been able to dis-assemble, copy and recreate most of the machinery he had been able
to get his hands on throughout the Terran Belt. By his own words he was on a "Prospecting run, but with the goal of obtaining inner-sphere and
periphery design blue-prints instead of digging for useless and forgotten SLDF crap".

On that fateful day he was being chased by a raider light craft when he (and the unfortunate squad of infantry after his buggy) met El and
her camouflaged APC. After gathering a few more lost souls, they managed to link up with a depleted militia infantry platoon that had been given
orders to execute a a S&D (sabotage & demolution) attack on a pirate dropship that had landed in a sheltered vadi on the flank of Borealtown.
The vessel turned out to be a vintage Manatee that had experienced a very hard landing. Despite El's protests the militia Lt. ordered assault
which resulted in very high losses for the militia.

During the bloodbath, the desperate group (El, TJ and Trooper Johnatan Tigg, El's shotgun on the APC, (concussed)) were able to board the
ship using a maintenance hatch. The presence of Jonathan proved to be the deciding factor as his bag of country goods turned out to be godsent.
Screamer bundles (a satchel containing heavy duty screamers that was used to herd local predators) and herd scattershot ammunition (heavy
caliber rubber shotgun shells) were deadly effective in subduing the 7 man crew left abroad the dropship (after the locked bulkheads misteriously
unlocked and let desperados in)
Spending the next 182 hours constantly hopping from one place to another ("You DO know how to pilot this thing, right? Right? Oh shiee...." El),
stealing loot and prey from the raiders (1 Ranger Bruckham Nielson and 1 Ranger Jainith Nielson from Wotan Outback Corps, a rural area civilian
unit tasked with general policing) ("Frak this, drop us at the edge of the plains, we might get something usable from the wrecks. No! NO! NOT
DROP! DON'T DROP!" El) and generally making a nuisance of themselves ("Oh my, there are so many red blips on this! Are these what I think they
are? Do we have any weapons on this bucket of bolts?" Nielson Jr) by creating unidentified sensor contacts, militia counterattack sightings and
other diversions (like capturing a looter convoy wich yielded 1x Heavy Industrial Exoskeleton, 3x Industrial Exoskeleton, 1x Patron LoaderMech,
17.8 tons of MREs, 12 tons of field supplies, 18 tons of fuel or another instance where they managed to locate and salvage a downed SWF-606 Swift)
for the Raiders they unintentionally tied up a good fraction of Raider's mobile units on a wild chase. When the Raiders pulled out of the system,
the general feeling was relief on BoB's (Bucket of Bolts) bridge. However the wildcats were soon to learn the second law of Mercenaries: Watch
your six, especially against your employer.

Despite being caught in a scattered deployment pattern, Cruiassers had been a big pain for the Raiders and they paid the price for that in blood.

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-Armor Section was caught in the field maneuvers with militia.
-Mechanized Infantry section was also participating in training maneuvers when the attack hit.
-MP section was deployed as guards for the Krauss-Liemann Incorporated's installation.
-Support Section had also been deployed in a defensive perimeter around Krauss-Liemann Incorporated
-HQ section was in the process of relocating to a new location when the attack hit.
-Except for the Ezgi's Ferret (which was playing mailman at the time), the Air Cav was on the ground at a planetary defence force airbase when 
the contact was lost.
BoB spent the next 72 hours hopping from one section's battlesite to other sections, searching for survivors. The butcher's bill was
heavy: Out of the 205 personnel Cruiassers had in the opening of the attack, they were reduced to 16 burn victims, 7 serious wounded, 6 light wounded
and 3 effectives (Including El and Jonathan). Most of the survivors were from MP section (With a few from Arty section) as they had been able
to use their prepared positions to avoid being overrun. From the HQ, Armor and Mech. Inf. sections only Puma's crew (Including commander Robert
Eloise Hedway, Serious 2nd degree burns) were able to evade the massacre thanks to Puma's odd quirk (Underbelly escape hatch). 3/4 of the Air Cav
was "simply" lost as they had been overrun parked on a planetary airbase. Only Sergeant Ezgi Headway (R.A.H.'s daughter, hadn't won her "spurs"
yet) and her Ferret was salvagable, being shot down by an raider ASF while on a Mail flight.

From their origina gear list, the Cruiassers had recovered only a damaged Ferret and two damaged APCs (Tracked, Urban). Rest of the gear had been
either totally looted (if it was easyly salvagable) or pounded into scrap metal by demo-charges (when it would take too much time for raiders to
loot it). After getting things organised (and finding someone that could claim the rights to negotiate with the Lyran Command unlike someone of her
"acting" corporal status) El dragged Ezgi to contact what was left of Lyran HQ to get some support.

Lyran Command, or more precisely Branz Pitek, the acting military governor, had other plans however. Following the progress of the raid from his
command bunker, he was aware of the militia's absymall performance and abandonement of Mercenary Armor and Mechanised Infantry assets on the plains
and the unsupported (by Lyran forces) defence of Krauss-Liemann Incorporated's installations by the MP and Artillery assets. The total destruction
of mercenary HQ and Air Cav units were also known. Hoping to gain some profit even from this situation, he wasn't planning to pay the unit by simply
eliminating any officers that were left and declaring them disbanded.

After an unfruitful meeting with the Military, El and Ezgi were on their way back to Beerplatz (Nielson's hometown) when governor's handpicked troops
tried ambushing El and Ezgi's APC. Due to a glitch in communications (Named TJ. How come I never get mentioned here?) E&E were able to "get lost" in
the chaos of the city and make it back.

Meanwhile, trading the captured supplies (field supplies that is, no self respected civilian will ever accept "Meal: Rejected by Everyone" if he has
any choice) with Nielson Sr's contacts in Beerplatz, TJ had managed to hire a sizable construction crew to have a troop compartment / infirmary built
in her 5th Mech Bay. (Bay 4 was full with a 35 Ton Sc-Powerman, Ezgi's damaged Ferret and the scavenged (destroyed) "Swift" ASF. Bays 1 to 3 and
most of the cargo bay was full with unmarked crates.)

Excerpt from BoB's bridge loogs:
"Frag, frag, frag, frag... We are so fragged. We are sooo fragged" (Johnson)
"Shut up Spanner!" (El and Ezgi)
"Dammed bastards! We need to get in touch with the ComStar to get our names cleaned! Motherless..." (Ezgi)
"Are you kidding me? Helloo? Reality check, miss I can't think straight? How are you going to get to ComStar with the whole Lyran Militia camped
around them? (El)
"With this Bucket of Bolts if it needs, dammit!" (Ez)
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a min..." (Johnson)
"I am your commanding officer AND YOU WILL OBEY ME!" (Ez)
"Get off your high horse and wake up missy! Wake up and smell the coffee! You are not my superior officer. Also if you haven't noticed we have dick
to back us up at the moment." (El)
"What the 1000 Hells is this ship then?" (Ez)
"War spoils that has to be given to Lyran command by your contract" (TJ)
"What?" (El, Ez, J)
"Sorry I am late for your get together. I though you may be happy to learn that nearly all of our survivors are guaranteed to make it. Anyway back
to your exclamation..."
"What the frag are you talking about?" (El)
"I managed to lift a copy of your agreement with the Lyrans from their network. I couldn't locate the original file but this file clearly states that you accepted
to give them full control of the loot, accepted Lyran Supply and Transpor clauses. I'm not familiar with the mercenary contracts but from the few legal
examples I found on the datanet, they seem to have you locked pretty tight. There is also an official complaint on ComStar about your unit..."
"Oh sweet mother of..." (Johnson)
(Starts sobbing quietly) "Bastards. Bastards... They will pick our bones apart... Cruiss was everything... Damm you..." (Ez)
"****!" (El)
"I haven't been able to gather much hard data from your surviving unit but I think I might be able to wing something for that." (TJ)
"How?.." (El)
"From the sorry excuse of Planetary Satalite Grid" (TJ)
"Just what the f. are you? (El)
"I am... A prospector, so to speak." (Tj)
"One of those loonies? (Johnson)
"No not one of those. But we can talk about it later. There is another important matter..." (TJ)
"Payment right? What part of my soul or body do YOU want?" (Ez)
"First I have been jumping a museum piece dropship around which is used to save you and your. Secondly I have been keeping your dependants alive.
Thirdly I am possibly the only person that can clean your name before you all die of old age. And Lastly no it is not about payment, not exactly..."
All three mercs stare uncomprehendingly at TJ
"Look I can't find a way to keep this ship if it is salvaged by your company..." (Tj)
"Mixed Force Armor Battalion" (Ez)
"Mixed Force Armor Battalion. If this ship is yours then it WILL go to Lyran command." (Tj)
"And how will we get off this rock?" (El)
"I'm sure Steiners will be happy to help us gel "lost"" (Johnson)
"What? No. Look. Will you at least let me finish my proposal before you start screaming "Oh my Ducats!"?" (Tj)
"What in the nine hells is a ducat?"
"............" (Tj)
"Shut up Spanner. El please let him finish. Go on mr Tj." (Ez)
"Here is the deal: You can give this ship to Lyrans or you can accept that your unit was not involved its capture, giving the control of this ship
to me, mr Johnson and miss El..?" (Tj)
"Just El" (El)
"For not giving the ship to the Lyrans, I'll get you the recordings of your unit's actions, help you clean your name and carry your unit to Tamar." (Tj)
"Did you guys planned this El? Spanner?" (Ez)
Stares blankly at Tj, mouth hanging slightly open "Huh? What?" (Johnson)
"If you would remember I was driving you to the Steiner Hq Ezgi..." (El)
"Nevermind. I guess poking something into those backstabbing motherless voidspawns' eye will have to do." spits on her hand and raises her hand "A
deal is a deal" (Ez)
Looks cross eyed at her hand for a second then does the same thing and clasps her hand "It binds the whole family" (Tj)
"What the frag was that from?" (Johnson)
"No where important. Now you may want to take a look at the infirmary and then grab some rest. I'll drop you here to go hunt for Comstar so that
they won't know your dependants are on BoB. Then I'll jump to the secondary spaceport to get her Fuel topped off" (Tj)

Next: We don't like Steiner: Swimming in Lyran soup