We finally started our ATOW campaingn tonight! In typical beer & pretzels fashion, we began in media res with the tabletop Battletech skirmish representing the PC’s portion of the Trial of Possession of industrial city Kerrigan on the Smoke Jaguar-held world of Schuyler.
The PC, Davrik, was assigned as a crewmember of an Ares medium tank, so my spouse ran the star of Nova Cat tank forces intercepting a star of Elementals before the armored infantry could move in to support the Jaguar ‘mechs. My spouse sent out a spotter and basically pulverized the Elementals with indirect LRM fire before they could close to SRM range. The Cats offered the Jags surrender terms, but the remaining battle armor troopers received a radio message that gave them a little hope: reinforcements were on the way. As the last few survivors scrambled to regroup in the trees, two light ‘mechs – a Kit Fox A and a Mist Lynx C – came to support their battered comrades.
Only the Mist Lynx got a shot off, scoring a single hit with its large laser on the front armor of a tank. In reply, the armor star pretty well annihilated it in a single round. All three torsos were stripped of armor; the center was cored by a flight of LRMs. The pilot of the Kit Fox chose to accept terms when they were offered again.
With the mapsheets put away, the proper RPing could begin. The Nova Cats began setting up shop in the operations offices of Wakazashi Industries just outside the city. As a reward for a job well done, Davrik was assigned windowed quarters in the westward-facing converted office space. Of course, his real reward was an opportunity to go for a Trial of Position for Point Commander. As a member of the unit which captured two ‘mechs, one perfectly intact, he was also offered a shot at competing for one of them. The 137th Provisional Cluster isn’t overrun with trained ‘mech pilots, so both the ‘mechs and the necessary training are being offered to those with the ambition and skill to claim them. He put his hat in the ring for the Kit Fox.
But before any Trial nonsense, there was work to be done. Because Davrik has experience with Inner Sphere ways, he and his Point Commander were assigned to accompany the quartermaster and a pair of techs the following day as they met with local officials and business leaders to smoothly transition from Jaguar rule to the more lenient Nova Cat philosophy of government.
The first meeting was at the office of the Department of Energy. The Cats were frustrated by the layers of bureaucracy they faced – they were expected to attend a pre-meeting meeting with the personal assistant of the department’s secretary to set the agenda for the actual meeting with the secretary – but they kept their cool. Davrik knew that mixing a little give with the take would go a long way, so he asked what the Cats could do for the DOE. The secretary replied that they were having trouble repairing and maintaining the solar cell farm outside the city because it was within the area claimed for Clan military operations. Davrik offered to have Clan techs do the work – in exchange for access to DOE databases full of inspection information (e.g. floor plans and schematics for the planet’s industrial corporations, as well as information about the planetary grid and the other DOE offices, such as the one in the Jag-occupied capital city). After long talks and a couple of ties on Negotiation skill checks, the secretary saw the wisdom in working with these laissez-faire Clanners.
The meeting was wrapping up when a call came through on the radio. All units were to return to base because of an incident. It turned out that a couple of people on hoverbikes had crossed the Nova Cat perimeter and sent shoulder-fired rockets into the Wakazashi assembly lines before vanishing. The lines weren’t in operation and no one was injured, but Sai aerospace fighters would be off the menu for a while. Davrik wondered why rebels would attack an inoperative and uninhabited factory and concluded that it must be a distraction. He floated the idea and was pleasantly surprised when the brass agreed to put sensor techs on the perimeter to watch for other activity.
The liaison crew decided to head back into town for their remaining meetings. The next scheduled meeting (delayed only slightly by the attack) was with the lead partners of Skörd Investments. During the handover from Smoke Jaguars to Nova Cats, some of the Jaguar officials had complained of the money and corruption which underlay the economy of the Inner Sphere in general and Schuyler in particular. They were shocked at the idea of a company whose purpose was to give money to other entrepreneurs in order to ensure a future share of that business’s profits. Skörd Investments was mentioned as a particularly egregious example of this capitalistic barbarism. Davrik knew that it was also possible that SI was involved in less benign means of moneymaking – he was familiar with the way that organized crime often dovetails with the movement of wealth.
Still, when the meeting actually took place, there weren’t any overt indications of criminal activity. The eponymous Skörd had a slight Swedenese accent, while his partner Brian Russou spoke a more Davionized English. My spouse wanted to trade on Davrik’s time in the Sphere by allowing him to recognize some kind of connection with Russou, so Davrik noticed Russou’s class ring from a technical academy and did a bit of namedropping. This threw the investors off and let Davrik set a congenial tone for the meeting. The quartermaster and Point Commander Ben let Davrik take the lead on the negotiation, both because of his Sphere experience and his success in the last round of negotiations. Davrik surprised everyone by saying that the Nova Cats would be happy to ensure that business as usual returned as quickly and smoothly as possible. He spent several minutes reassuring the investors that the Cats were on their side.
After the meeting, Ben prodded Davrik about his rather un-Clanlike approach. Davrik replied that the Cats needed friends in the business community, people with established power and influence who would rather work with the Clan than fight (or fund a fight) against them. Ben was swayed by Davrik’s reasoning, but he cautioned that Davrik should speak with Star Colonel Lanis Drummond about it.
That’s where we left off the session. Bah! Meetings! Who wants to read about meetings? If only there was a way to convey the great fun we have with what appears on the face to be completely banal material. Still, I’ll see if I can’t get something more interesting for you in the next session log. 🙂