Heavy Metal Sky

Civil War

While the Dark Tribe was grilling at the airfield, reporter Mary MacMorn and Father Brian Flanigan drove up in Flanigan’s car. Father Flanigan asked Hera for special consideration for his church, since it was taking in refugees, and then asked Hera to admit that the Dark Tribe was fighting in Skye for money and not for idealism, but Hera did not admit any such thing. Mary wanted to interview the Dark Tribe for a “human interest piece,” and Hera permitted it. The Dark Tribe claimed a philosophical support for the cause of Katherine Steiner-Davion. Mary was impressed by King Louie and asked him out. He accepted her invitation.

Catalyst called everyone into the office as Mary was finishing up her interviews and showed them photos of Mary having sex with Marshal Hans Mann. The Dark Tribe decided to gather more information about Mary.

King Louie and Mary went on a date together to a restaurant by the lake. They could hear a distant artillery barrage while they dined. King Louie surprised and impressed Mary with an impetuous dance right in the restaurant, and later they walked around the lake. King Louie proposed sex to Mary, but Mary rebuffed him gently.

Meanwhile, Catalyst and Hera talked a doorman into letting them into Mary’s apartment, where they copied the contents of her tablet computer, her data crystal of extensive interviews with Hans Mann, and a secret data crystal they found hidden in her bed post. A security program on Mary’s computer photographed Hera’s face during the operation.

Examination of Mary’s tablet files showed she had contact with both sides of the war on Skye. Hera directed Mike to decrypt Mary’s secret data crystal and to edit the interviews with Mann to create a propaganda piece against the loyalists.

King Louie took Junkyard to the Gravity Well to meet some girls, but they ran into Catalyst playing poker with her old buddies from Squadron 6, including Werewolf. They planned to play pool against the Squadron 6 pilots, but Junkyard accidentally hit one of them with a pool cue. Squadron 6 provoked Junkyard and King Louie, and King Louie threw the first punch, starting a brawl. Werewolf beat King Louie and took the Dark Tribe crest from the wall.

Hera showed up after the brawl. She was angry at King Louie for taking Junkyard to the Gravity Well and getting in a fight, and even more angry when she learned that Squadron 6 took their crest. She tried to take their crest, but the bartender told her that’s not how it’s done. King Louie proposed challenging Werewolf to a “shooting competition” for the crest. Hera was initially against it, but saw that King Louie needed to win one and finally agreed.

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Night Extraction

Hera was awoken late at night by a call. Firing up the vid-phone she talked to a mercenary liason with the Separatist forces on Skye. He told her the enemy had broken through the front and a wide area of territory to the East of Loch Glenmorangie had to be given up, but there were researchers in need of safe extraction in that territory. He offered a contract to escort trucks to the facility. They haggled, and settled on 350,000 credits for the primary objective and 20,000 credits bonus per vehicle that survived.

Since speed was important, Hera dispatched the light lance under Outpost’s command. The lance’s Locust was in maintenance, so Catalyst rounded out the light lance in her Firestarter.

The lance and the six trucks it was accompanying approached the research facility at 23:35 along a road with a scrubby ridge to the north. The research facility was at the edge of a wooded area, and as the lance approached their long range sensors detected movement in the woods headed toward the facility. King Louie moved forward and identified the incoming contacts as a Jackal and a Cicada.

Outpost ordered the lance to engage. In the first three minutes the Cicada was badly damaged and the pilot signaled surrender and withdrew. The Jackal destroyed a truck and evaded most of the lance’s return fire. Two more incoming contacts were identified as heavier mechs following the light, fast ones – a Catapult and an Awesome.

Outpost ordered the lance to hold their ground until the researchers had loaded. During the ensuing battle he destroyed the Jackal and the pilot ejected, but his Scarabus was also destroyed by fire from the Catapult’s long range missiles. The Awesome charged the center, perhaps expecting the lighter mechs to flee, and was mauled by concentrated fire before the pilot was killed by a shot from the large laser on Junkyard’s Wolfhound. Catalyst dueled the Catapult far in the front of the engagement, and when the other mechs joined her the Catapult withdrew, badly damaged, and the lance was forced to return to the vehicles.

Outpost called for three salvage vehicles to recover the three disabled mechs, but the window of opportunity was rapidly closing and only one salvage vehicle could respond. He chose to salvage the biggest, heaviest mech – the Awesome. The Scarabus was deliberately destroyed and its arm was salvaged.

Gained
450K credits
Awesome battlemech (market price 6.6M credits)

Lost
Scarabus (market price 5.5M credits)

Repair Estimate
Awesome, 200K credits
Firestarter, 20K credits
Raven, 20K credits
Wolfhound, 80K credits
Total: 320K credits

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The Morning After

The light lance returned from the Night Extraction tired but victorious with their new prize, the damaged Awesome. Before bed they gathered with Hera, Betty Boop and the other pilots in a room in the airstrip terminal that they’d made into a briefing room. Hera asked what had happened to Outpost’s Scarabus, which he seemed to answer to her satisfaction. She was pleased with the acquisition of the Awesome and decided to shuffle some mechs around, taking the Awesome for herself, giving her Rifleman to Junkyard and Junkyard’s Wolfhound to Outpost. Junkyard raised no objections. Junkyard would be moved to the heavy lance and Catalyst would be moved permanently to the light lance.

After the briefing, Betty Boop caught Junkyard deleting some contract notifications in the company account. He stammered out something and she seized on it and more or less convinced herself that he was allowed to do that as part of his logistics duties.

Hera was still thinking about the lost unit crest and she dragged King Louie out to the Gravity Well to find Squadron 6. They found Werewolf, Fastlane, and some other pilots celebrating Fastlane’s fifth kill. Werewolf was surprised when King Louie bragged about Junkyard’s cockpit shot against the Awesome. He tried to antagonize King Louie or Hera, but they didn’t rise to his bait and instead delivered a challenge to duel until system damage the next day. The terms were the unit crest against talking Catalyst into a date with Werewolf. He accepted the challenge.

Outpost cornered Junkyard in the bathroom and harangued him about his performance on the battlefield, complaining that Junkyard had been sluggish to advance when he was ordered to. He demanded an apology, which Junkyard eagerly gave.

During the weekly wargame Junkyard was called on to take control of the lance in a theoretical ambush and talk through the response. His timid answers were all second-guessed by a hard-charging Betty Boop, who was sure he was sandbagging. The wargame devolved into a dogpile on Junkyard with Hera, Betty Boop, and Outpost all standing around him shouting, trying to get him to sack up and take charge, and King Louie pleading with him to rise to the occasion.

Catalyst was hiding in the back of a truck to get some privacy while she read and she overheard King Louie talking to Doc Ahmed. Doc Ahmed told King Louie that his body was absorbing too much radiation in his career as a mechwarrior. He said that King Louie was over 1,800 rads and if he reached 2,000 his decline might be irreversible. He urged him to quit, but King Louie said he expected to die in battle anyway.

Catalyst phoned Werewolf and asked him to have King Louie shot in the leg before the duel so that he would not be able to fight. She called in an old favor to make him say yes, and he grudgingly agreed. They’re even now.

Junkyard approached Catalyst and Outpost in the hangar to show Outpost the paint job he was doing for him on the Wolfhound. Outpost complained that it wasn’t his style and started criticizing Junkyard again. Junkyard retreated to the utility cage where Outpost cornered him and Junkyard finally snapped and punched him. Catalyst said it was the first time in a long time that she respected Junkyard.

Hera, Catalyst, King Louie, and Junkyard went to the Catfish Cafe on Loch Glenmorangie for breakfast before King Louie’s duel. While they were there the gunman that Catalyst arranged with Werewolf approached and shot King Louie in the leg, shouting “Death to Katherine Steiner-Davion!” King Louie wrestled the gun away from the attacker and Hera grabbed him, but the man shucked off his coat and escaped across the lake. Hera made a full report to the police.

Since King Louie had been shot, Outpost substituted for him in the duel, which was televised by Mary MacMorn. Outpost borrowed another pilot’s Enfield and Werewolf fought in his Hercules. The duel was evenly matched, but Werewolf pulled out a narrow win by virtue of his slightly heavier mech, fusing the joints in the Enfield’s leg. After the battle, Mary MacMorn showed concern for King Louie’s injuries and she invited him to come to her family’s farm for a couple days. He accepted.

The morning after Catalyst’s mandatory date with Werewolf she was just arriving home and she was spotted by the pilots as they were jogging. Hera and Betty Boop followed her, asking questions about the date. Betty wanted her to dish some details, but Catalyst refused and retreated to her room.

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