I took a long hiatus over the summer to deal with school and some personal life issues. Now I’m free to return and get cracking again. Expect some stitching updates shortly – but for right now, since this blog is serving as our log for our ATOW RP, I’d better get this entry in first!
A recap of our dramatis personae:
- DAVRIK, recently a Star Commander in Clan Nova Cat and holder of the secret Remembrance, now on the run from the Nova Cat Watch on Schuyler, romantically involved with Exetea
- EXETEA, a Star Captain, also on the run but adjusting to life as a de facto Dark Caste member surprisingly well
- BIANCA, a recently initiated Nova Cat warrior loyal to Davrik, accompanying Davrik and Exetea
- CYNTHIA, the Cat Burgler of Kerrigan on Schuyler, captured by Davrik and bonded into the Clan, also accompanying the team
- MERCENARIES formerly of the Li’l Folks Mercenary Group, now hosting the Clanners on the lam, flushed with the success of discovering the long-lost drone explorer JumpShip Bright Star
When last we left the Clanners and mercenaries they were discussing how to monetize their find. Major Reinhardt, the mercenary commander, had planned on traveling to either Pesht or Luthien, the two nearest (and richest) district capitals in the Draconis Combine, in order to sell the information to either the Combine military or to an intelligence agency. After some debate, that plan is agreed upon by all present. The group begins travel back into the Combine, leaving the Bright Star parked where they found it.
As they traveled, Davrik and Cynthia worked with the mercenaries to begin decrypting the memory core of the Bright Star in order to uncover any items of interest in the data recorded from the places the auto-explorer had traveled. As they worked, the Clanners secretly saved their own copy of the information, and Cynthia encrypted it with her own cipher to protect it. They discovered several locations of interest, not the least of these being a single fortification on an otherwise undeveloped planet – perhaps one of the fabled Castles Brian left by the Star League long ago, or even a holy Kerensky Cache from the earliest days of the formation of the Clans.
On the first jump away from the Bright Star, a random roll resulted in a system failure which dumped toxic gas into the engine compartment, Davrik’s work zone. He responded well, ushering everyone out except for himself and his most talented astech, whom he guided quickly but ably through the two-person repair process until the compartment could be flushed and reopened.
The first jump back into the Combine was to Bjarred. Soon after the mercenary vessel arrived at the recharge point, they received a message from the local militia. The planet had fallen to the Smoke Jaguars and then had been handed over to the Nova Cats. Rather than sacrifice themselves in vain, the militia had gone into hiding. Now they were on the attack as a guerrilla force, the Free Bjarred League. They implored the incoming vessel to assist them and stated they had already captured two Clan mechs and had some armor assets as well. The Free Bjarred League promised full salvage rights in return for aid. (Recall that in our AU, only the Clans developed the intimidating BattleMech; the Inner Sphere relies primarily on armored infantry and mechanized units. Clan mech technology is highly sought.)
I think my partner appreciated the irony of four loyal Nova Cats in exile working with the Inner Sphere resistance against the Nova Cat occupation force, because in the end the Clanners’ arguments in favor of the operation swayed the mercs. The plan was to invoke safe conduct to the planet’s surface in order to declare a formal batchall in a Trial of Possession for the planet. An excited Cynthia spent her portion of the burn in-system crafting a papier-mâché mask. None of the other Clanners had the heart to tell the bondswoman that the Nova Cats only used masks in Grand Council ceremonies.
It wasn’t until the mercs got very close to the planet that they were contacted by the Nova Cat forces; it seemed the Free Bjarred League had sabotaged the Cats’ access to in-system sensors. Safe conduct was granted and the mercs landed at the League’s main operations center. The League and the mercs both saw the batchall as an opportunity to spring a trap on the Nova Cats, but Davrik refused outright: it would be a fair fight.
On the way to the neutral field to meet with the Cats’ commander – an officer known to Exetea as a bit of a go-getter – Cynthia asked why no one else had their masks on. Davrik hid a snort as he told her that “the loincloth is a nice touch”. Still, it seemed to impress their opponents, who were heard whispering, “She’s dressed like a Khan!”
After a successful ceremony, the battle was enjoined with a series of rolls. Davrik and Exetea, both piloting the two captured mechs, excelled on the field. Bianca and Cynthia were relegated to tank crews and did almost as well. In the end, the victory was decisive. The mercenaries gladly took possession of the two additional Clan mechs left standing (the fifth mech in the Star that had garrisoned the planet was too badly damaged and would be used for parts), the few Clan mechanized assets, and – at Davrik’s suggestion – bonded several of the Nova Cats into their own forces and encouraged the Free Bjarred League to do likewise, lest the remaining Cats send word to their Galaxy Commander that the planet had been retaken.
The mercenaries jumped next to Sawyer. A select crew headed to the planet, where Major Reinhardt made contact with an acquaintance to get information on selling the captured Clan mechs. The mercs didn’t have the resources or space to maintain them, and having captured Clan tech would make them a big target for opposing forces. It turned out that the Combine military intelligence agency Order of Five Pillars was interested in purchasing the mechs and would happily send a buyer to Lonaconing, the mercs’ next destination.
Davrik and Exetea (and possibly Bianca, though she never said anything about it) both experienced a dream indicating they should return to Schuyler to get back to kicking the Smoke Jaguars off the planet. Specifically, both my partner and I found ourselves wanting to be back with the Schuyler crew instead of slogging down to Pesht and aimlessly drifting from there. So the Clanners offered the mercs a deal: in exchange for their share of the profits from selling the Bright Star, the Clanners would accept the money from selling the mechs and would simply muster out on Lonaconing. They hoped to buy a small DropShip and book passage to Schuyler. They were convincing, but Major Reinhardt couldn’t hand over all that money to them – he needed income to keep the operation running. He could give them about half of what they needed, which was still most of the money from the sale. They reluctantly accepted.
The jump to Lonaconing was made. After a day or so on-planet, the crew got their cash and bid farewell to the mercenaries. In order to get the rest of the money, the crew sent Cynthia to use her Streetwise skill to find buyers for the portions of decrypted Bright Star data they had sneakily taken with them. They kept the possible Brian / Kerensky Cache to themselves, but sold enough to buy a small DropShuttle, just big enough to comfortably allow four people to travel.
The six-week road from Lonaconing to Schuyler was accomplished in about five minutes of real time. The crew basically spent all of their remaining money on a JumpShip captain who would drop them off at Schuyler and jump back out as soon as he was charged up. They made it without incident and landed at the Kerrigan spaceport. Star Colonel Lanis escorted them back for a debriefing. She was pissed about their abandonment of their posts, but she also said she understood – at least a little – and wanted them back at their jobs.
According to Lanis, Leaf (the Nova Cat Watch officer / assassin) caused enough trouble for the Smoke Jags that they pulled out of their west coast holdings, and the Jag warship Oklahoma left the planet to bring some of those Jag forces elsewhere. But the Nova Cats have been unable to spare any of their own people to occupy and administer the west coast, so that population is self-governing for the moment, though they’re still unable to get messages offplanet because the only HPG is in Creekshell, the capital city on the east coast which is still held by the Jaguars.
Now that the crew had returned, Lanis hoped to use Cynthia’s particular talents to head a small strike force to wreak some havoc in Creekshell in advance of a Nova Cat invasion. Davrik handed Cynthia’s bond over to Lanis so that Lanis could be directly in command of the operation.
Two weeks later, Cynthia’s crew is ready to go, and she and Lanis are totally dating. 😛