Make your own free website on Tripod.com

lore.gif (9082 bytes)

boxtop.gif (82 bytes)

Navigation Table
.


Stories

Remembrance

Ping Pong?

Falcon Rap


 

 


[Click to return to Stories Menu]

 

 

 

 

 

Jade Banner

- Hot Springs, Medical Ward
- 20th March, 3069, 23:48

He sat up in the hospital bed, wrapped in several tight bandages - he wondered briefly about how close the scientists came to wrapping the bandages so tightly that they prevent his breathing. The melodic beeping of the nearby heart-beat monitoring machine lulled him, beckoned him, to sleep. But he had too much to reflect on for that - he had so much to think about before his mind would allow rest. He thought back to the events that happened six days ago.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


- Jade Falcon Occupation Zone, "Jumpship Ulysis"
- 20th February, 3069, 21:28

The Khan was standing on the bridge of the dropship, and was looking out into space when Dragonfly entered the room. "You summoned me, sir?" with that he effected a sharp salute. "At ease, Galaxy Commander.. come here..." He motioned out the window "..look at the stars." Not sure how to take that, Galaxy Commander Chistu cautiously walked up to the bridge and stood beside his Khan, he looked out over the vastness of space.

"To think how far we have come over the past three hundred years is mind-boggling.. all for that bright speck in the distance, that which we call Terra. When I started out, I was a MechWarrior, as ambitious as they came, too..." the Khan drew in a deep breath, "..now we are warring with the InnerSphere, freebirths they may be - surely there is a better way, but as of know, war is on, and we must use every weapon in our arsenal to defeat all opposition. It is my sole duty not only to see the demise of the Inner Sphere as we know it, but to keep our own Clan stable, as others will want to do us harm."

Dragonfly fidgited, as much as he appreciated long lectures and the information that could be gleamed, he was under the impression that something urgent was amiss, and he wanted to know what. 'Best to let him finish, he is probably taking the scenic route to the matter.'

The Khan raised his glass of some swirling substance and motioned towards the stars once more, "Holovid Up, Display Solaris VII." A whirl of colors converged on the window display, and a planet as clear as day became so visible, one could think it was in orbit right now. Letters scrolled across the screen, giving measurements, diameters, climates, and the various activities of the planet.

"The Inner Sphere, they war for many reasons, but scarecly do they ever fight for Honor, it is usually petty greed, which explains this display here. They form various 'stables' which fight in pre-determined matches, people bet on the stables and either win or lose 'c-bills' - which is their form of currency - depending on the outcome." the Khan looked into his glass and took a sip, "Recently a galaxy-wide message has come across, stating that as an inter-galactic challenge several 'representatives' of each unit could attend."

'Ah, so that is what he is getting at - he probably wants to send me and several other pilots to these games, and bring glory to the Clan and thusly intimidate the Inner Sphere - but Khan Hazen is craftier then that... he has something else up his sleeve.'

Dragonfly spoke for the first time, "My Khan, what exactly have you planned for this occasion?"
"This is not an occasion, Commander, this is an opportunity," the Khan continued, "you see, the Inner Sphere is banking on the Clans attending to display our might and prowess, defending our 'honor' while they can examine our equipment and observe our fighting styles up close. I am selecting five of our best pilots and placing them into a representative star, while you are there, and I stress the importance of this, you are to engage in dishonorable combat." Dragonfly was taken aback, to go against everything he was trained for?

"You were bred for war, Chistu, not for political nicities. We want to show them what levels we can stoop to, that we can not only play them at their own game, but beat them. And not only can we beat them, we can do so with superior skill and technology. It must be impressed upon them, that they are without a doubt, doomed."

'How does he know what I am thinking? Although, I suppose that is what great leaders do - anticipate then counter..'

"Affirmative, Khan, but we will still be playing into their trap of attempting to assert ourselves over them. This would still be playing on their terms, letting them know they can intice us whenver they wish with the false promises of honor and glory."

"Well met, but that is exactly what I want them to think. You see, we already have several covert operations deep in the Inner Sphere, if we put up a show of easy inticement and little regard for caution, then they will be less-likely to suspect our group." Dragonfly mused some, he felt as though the Khan could read his mind anyway, so he might as well come out and say it, "But if we fought with honor, it would make them believe that we would be even less-likely to attack covertly."

The Khan smiled slightly, he apparently enjoyed verbal encounters, in the Clans people rarely sank to arguments, but instead used tactical facts to represent their argument for them, "A truth is best hidden between two lies, you know that. We are making them think we can be easily enticed, and that we are willing to fight underhandedly and we are not telling them we are attacking covertly - now you tell me, which is the truth, and which are the lies?"

"That, my Khan, I cannot say - but all lies lead to the truth, quiaff?"


- Deep Space, "Dropship Voyager"
- 11th March, 3069, 21:50

 

The dropship sped through space. Dozens of thoughts raced through his mind, 'Is their trap so obvious? Are they instead trying to trap, interrogate and kill all the Clans' best pilots? Surely they do not expect the Clans to be so stupid as to not suspect a trap?'

He looked around him, sat also in the small room were some of the best pilots Jade Falcon had to offer, Galaxy Commander Nightmare Pryde, Galaxy Commander DarkDemon Kryla, Star Commander Oracle, Star Colonel Regnar and, humbly, himself. They talked little amongst themselves, nothing needed to be said - they were all thinking the same thing. Regnar was the first to brake the trance when he switched on the holo-player and caught the news presentation:

"...laris VII Intergalactic Tournament, 'Mech Stock ,' begins in only two days! The tourny promises to last a span of three days with fighting in all categories, from Lights to Assaults, Teams to Singles - even infantry combat is permitted! The best of the best will gather, and the best of the best best will leave with untold honor to their respective unit, an..."

"And if that is not promoting the Clans to join, what is?" said Regnar, they had to agree, they could count on one hand the number of times they heard the Inner Sphere, perhaps excluding the Draconis Combine, mention the word "honor" in any telecast presentation, already it was mentioned within two sentences of it being on.

Oracle looked up, "I am a little concerned here, all of the top brass are attending, they know the Clans fight for higher rank by combat, and so the best representatives would be highest ranking - this smells of a trap to me."

"Calm down Oracle, I agree fully but the Khans have all agreed on this, if it were that risky they would not have sent us in the first place." Nightmare had a point, but it did little to console them, they all knew that Falcons were not the most cautious of all Clans, considering that one of their favorite tactics were to drop a cluster of assault 'mechs directly on top of enemy capitols as opposed to the conventional method.

"What can they do though? Trap us all? Jade Falcon sent a binary of pilots to represent the Clan alone, I know for a fact Ghost Bear spared almost a cluster! We are all armed and dangerous, if you ask me, and if they try anything..."

"...we would be smeared across the wall, DarkDemon - if it is an ambush they can take half of us out within the first three seconds of battle, I am not underestimating ourselves or them. We have to be realistic, and while the DemonFly can kick some serious bottom in combat, we may not do so well while we are dead asleep in different rooms, with our side-arms removed. Although I doubt they would try and kill us in an underhanded trap, not that I think them honorable.. but to do so would almost certainly break the Truce."

"Let us just take it as it comes, not much else we can do now," said Oracle, "except suit up - ETA is 5 hours... but not for long." everyone looked curiously at Oracle, "What do you mean not for long?"
"Khan decided it would be more impressive if, once entering their radar scope, we were to incease to a nice 4g burn to speed up entrance in a dramatic fashion."


- Spaceport, Solaris VII
- 13th March, 3069, 13:28

 

The dropship bay doors opened, and Dragonfly looked out over the Solaris VII complex. There were other dropships, with various House, Clan, Mercenary, even Bandit Kingdom logos, dozens of them - the scene reminded him of an overcrowded parking lot. People were being escorted to the immense complex, where they would be stationed at their designated barracks, and their 'mechs would be placed in the nearby 'mechbay, "monitored for your security". 'More likely 'monitored so we can examine it,' he thought. He was glad a small detachment of elementals would be guarding his 'mechs.

Striding down the stairs which were placed at the side of the jade colored dropship, Dragonfly felt like all eyes were upon him - a likely situation with his full-dress uniform and jade falcon feathers making up his flowing cape. He was greeted at the bottom of the stairs by a uniformed official, the uniform was not unlike ComStar, although this looked more civilian and de-militarized.

"I am Steve Johnson, and I will be your guide for your stay at MechStock 3069."
"Galaxy Commander Dragonfly Chistu, Clan Jade Falcon, I am here to annihilate all opposition."

The guide smiled nervously, "Yes, that's the idea." Dragonfly cringed, "I'm sorry, I mean, um, apologies for the contraction - I am just not used to your culture ... bit of a shell-shock really!" between the foolish grinning and southern drawl in his accent, Dragonfly was not sure if it was an insult being assigned such a guide for the tournament.

Nightmare, Oracle, DarkDemon and Regnar stood behind Dragonfly - for a few seconds everyone glared at their new-found guide, before the silence was broken by several people who walked up to help carry their bags and items, but were ushered away when it was noted they had no personal possessions on them.

Laughing nervously, the guide turned to the clansmen, "well, let me show you to your quarters."


- Meeting Hall, Solaris VII
- 14th March, 3069, 16:48

 

The next day he and his sibkin walked over to the "Meeting Hall" which was not unlike a disco or bar, monitors covered a wall displaying various combats taking place as people cheered on their bets, and one wall in particular had a single monitor, a huge one at that. Dragonfly supposed that is where the MechStock matches would be displayed.

People were buzzing all over, the place looked like a bazaar only there were no wares to trade or buy, but the sheer diversity of the situation was astounding. In the corner was a Ghost Bear pilot in battle uniform, and over there, a Wolf Clan - and there was a small mercenary unit. None-the-less, when the Falcons strode in all eyes were upon them - they were the only pilots that donned a full dress uniform. 'An expensive one at that' he mused, thinking about his clothings. His cape was made from a Jade Falcon, the feathers draped over his shoulders as though he were a king, and his helmet resembled the head of a falcon, with twin gleaming emeralds in place of the eyes placed into sunken black holes, which gave a deep shimmering jade effect.

They walked over to the monitors and watched a fight in progress, a Ghost Bear was fighting against a Federated Commonwealth pilot, the former in the giant kodiak and the latter in an atlas - almost evenly matched although the kodiak had superior heat dissipation, and a mostly laser arsinal. The Ghost Bear pilot walked down the center of the valley, while avoiding radar detection the FC watched from above, he was walking along the sides of the narrow valley. Literally taking a leap of faith, the Federated Commonwealth pilot lept from the sides and down onto the kodiak, who's response was lighting fast and blocked the fatal DFA with his arm not a millisecond too soon.

The atlas fell down and was sat against the valley-wall, the kodiak, now with only a single arm, opened its AC20 on the immobile atlas and the shots came increasingly closer to the 'mech - throwing up a dust cloud and then embedding the slugs into its leg, mangling it hoplessly before expending all its ammunition. Not to be outdone, the atlas returned fire, severing the remaining arm and hitting an intenral ammo case on the kodiak with its own AC20. A fireball engulfed the Clan 'mech - when the dust settled it was still standing, it lowered its remaining ER large laser and fired, hitting the cockpit and blowing out the glass.

Booing ensued, the clansmen too emotionally detatched to offer any form of response, but then they noticed after the kodiak turned its back on the atlas, its arm twitched. The pilot was not dead yet, but probably seriously wounded. Raising its massive arms, it group fired its LRM20 and lasers on the rear torso of the already charred kodiak. This time, nothing remained but strewn salvage and charred chunks of smoking metal. Somewhere in that pile was a clan warrior.

Laughter and cheering filled the bar, a particularily drunken looking FedCom pilot walked over to a Ghost Bear and jeered him about their lack of training and called him a test-tube baby. The Ghost Bear ignored him, until the FedCom attempted to prod him with his finger. The clansman grabbed his arm and threw him over his shoulder, and with a flick of his wrist snapped his arm, then swept down with a knife and finished the job - all in under five seconds the ordeal was finished with. The bar grew silent, and where "bar fight" would usually be yelled out, security moved in to take the Ghost Bear away.

Dragonfly grabbed the security guard's shoulder firmly, "Leave him alone - do not turn his private affair into an open war." he glared at the security officer and fingered his katana's handle, taking the hint the guards walked forward slowly and merely removed the corpse before dissapearing into the tense crowd.

"Galaxy Commander Dragonfly Chistu of Jade Falcon, your match has been computed please report to the control room."


 

- First Match, Solaris VII
- 14th March, 3069, 18:41

 

The smoke cleared, and his summoner took a step forward, the earth shaking with its mighty girth.

"Stealth - step forth!" The announcer blared over the loudspeaker, only just dawn, at 08:00 Global Metric Time, a golden blanket of light had set across the 5 kilometer wide arena. His opponent, another summoner, stepped forth from the two starting points seperated by 700 meters in the center of the vast arena.

Dragonfly cursed once more that only standard 'mechs were allowed in the engagement - a test of "skill" they said; more like a test of boating! Everyone knew the only good standard variants when available were the "missile laden support 'mechs" as his guide had put it. Nothing hid the fact, however you dressed it.

A missile salvo flew forth from the enemy summoner, Dragonfly quickly keyed in the jets and swivled around the missiles, which crashed into a nearby husk of a building, sending cement crashing. His own missiles responded, severing an arm off of the enemy 'mech - wrenching it free as though it were balsa wood. Keying in the jet commands once more, he beckoned his massive machine to jet away and to the back, narrowly missing the same building which received the earlier punishment and hiding behind it for cover as their range increased.

An emerald glow appeared from the building, Stealth was behind the building and soon the war-ravaged structure fell to group
fire, crumbling to the dust as missiles flew through the falling debries and slammed into Dragonfly's 'mech - thanks to years of
training he managed to keep his flight path steady, as though the missiles were mere gnats. When his range exceeded a
kilometer, he slowed down to cruising speed in the opposite direction of his opponent.

His intercom buzzed to life, yes it is about time for some kind of remark... people like to taunt when out of weapons range to try and infuriate them to make the first move...

"I can wait as long as you can, Dragonfly."
"I feel like outdoing myself today."

 

After the battle, Dragonfly returned to the gathering hall to watch the progress of the other contenders. He noticed straight away Nightmare was not present, he turned to the other three falcons.

"He survived, in critical state though, some guy blew up all the surrounding buildings.. and with no cover left they just boated his timberwolf to death.. he had no cover."

"Thanks Regnar. Where is DarkDemon?"
"He is already dropped, he drew the Melee Free For All."

'What a senseless competition, a free for all - so unrealistic.' he reflected on that - true it was unrealistic but on the other hand it provided a different sort of approach to warfare - almost a scaled-down version of political wars between several factions... where you have to defeat all opposition without giving your own position away. A cat and mouse game of dodging the draft and nailing those who expose themselves...

The fight was just beginning, he saw the various 'mechs power up inside an ice cavern which threatened to collapse, but he saw it was artificially constructed and such cave-ins were not a problem. The 'mechs were painted all white with splashes of ice-blue to blend in, some even sported huge models of paper maché painted to look like snow so it would blend perfectly in with the backdrop. DarkDemon on the other hand piloted a summoner sporting a forest-green, proud and resiliant to the enemy forces, presenting a challenge, a dare to the enemies to face him in single combat.

'Unfortunately this is not single combat...' The various 'mechs strode forward, cautiously and slowly into the battlefield, all save for two 'mechs, DarkDemon's and another clansman, whos timberwolf was a gleaming glossy black with the logo of Diamond Shark. Missiles from every corner of the arena spewed forth, engulfing the Diamond Shark in a spray of missiles which peppered his legs, then tore an arm off, and finally converged on the missile-pods causing deep internal explosions. The torso was ripped asunder as the Diamond Shark finally learned that pride was a devastatingly poor move in such conditions.

DarkDemon shrank quietly away behind a boulder, and an overhead camera spotted another 'mech rounding the same terrain feature. The two met and immediately jumped away, DarkDemon getting the upper hand and blasting the vindicator with bursts of autocannon and a salvo of missiles, all shots rang true and the enemy buckled under the onslaught and fell to the ground, DarkDemon levelled his particle projection cannon at the cockpit, "Eject now and spare your life." waiting no longer he fired, and the enemy ejected not a second too soon.

Turning around he encountered a timberwolf who fired both vollies into the summoner, DarkDemon hesitated a second then jumped forward to initate DFA, but in the process making himself a target - but everyone was too wrapped up in their own fights to pay heed. The timberwolf  lacked jets and could not dodge DarkDemon's expert precision, the summoner landed with a crash and its foot embedded itself deep inside the cockpit, inadvertantly it got stuck, but would soon be blown free by the internal explosions of the 75t 'mech.

DarkDemon turned, his leg was mangled and severed, leaning against a boulder he aimed his PPC at an on-coming FedCom atlas, its autocannon ripping the summoner's remaining leg free. As the torso tilted forward the atlas carried on firing, a fireball engulfed the summoner making ejection impossible. Turning away from the flaming wreckage the atlas sought another victom.


- Second Match, Solaris VII
- 14th March, 3069, 15:07

 

Sonofa-Ronin shifted in his cockpit. The unfamiliar Rifleman IIc Alternate Config B was alien to him. Though he preferred missiles, he knew how to point a laser or two. He saw the Jade Falcon unit insignia on his opponent's own Rifleman IIc. He had been challenged to laser-only combat - he knew how these clanners thought, he was expecting it. And this time, he was going to beat that righteouss clanner at his own game.

He lurched his sixty-five ton 'mech forward, it felt light to the touch, compared to his usual 'mech - blue beams of light passed his cockpit, scorching his window slightly - this guy was good. Flipping auto-ejection off, he swore himself to victory. Keying in a sliding jet meneuver, he ducked behind a nearby building after firing a few more bolts of his large lasers. Good, he thought to himself, I nailed him at long range - let's see what he does up close.

He looked out the side of the building - but there was no opponent to be seen. Cautiously stepping to the front of the building, he switched to group fire and grouped his small pulse lasers and swivled his torso around. Damn! he thought, he quickly tilted his torso forward and to the side, just in time to hear the clanner's rifleman iic land on his 'mech - thanks to the evasive dodging the enemy could only slide down his back instead of causing a crippling DFA - he lined up his small lasers and squeezed off multiple bursts, shredding the torso armor off of the opposing 'mech - which brought it's double-barrled arm up as a broad-sword and hit him squarely in the cockpit.

The glass shattered as he tried to shield himself from the shards of glass, he felt a stinging pain as several cought in his fore-arm - only superficial, he thought thankfully as he reeled his 'mech around for a second pass. He brought his own arm up and leveled it at the enemy's cockpit - payback time. Only this foe appeared to expect such a move, the enemy 'mech ducked, somehow, and brought all its weapons to bear and alpha-striked the arm, tearing it off completely in one fell swoop. Not to be outdone, he twisted his torso deftly to the side, knocking the enemy's arm out the way with his own and lining up another arm shot, he squeezed the trigger and grinned madly as red-hot plasma melted from the enemy's arm.

Taken aback, the enemy rifleman jetted away and to the side, apparently looking for cover behind a building. Not so fast, test-tube baby. A few aimed group bursts reduced the building to rubble, but again, the enemy 'mech was no where to be seen. He quickly looked above him, expecting another attempt at DFA - but to no avail - he totally dissapeared.

C'mon, where are you... he started to turn his 'mech around to look behind him, but halfway his arm flew off from a powerful apha-strike, the enemy double-tapped and melted his torso-mounted weapons off. This was it, no weapons, damaged jets, he could do nothing more. He centered his torso and looked at the enemy head on, and remained stationary.

His communications equipment long burned out, he looked intently into the enemy cockpit as he saw the clansmen fingering his weapons console. He appeared to be making a bow - of final respects.


- Complex, Solaris VII
- 15th March, 3069, 07:00

 

The sirens blared, it was the second day of combat. While the sirens were used to wake everyone up in time for the battles, the falcons were already dressed and heading down to the gathering hall. Some tough-as-nails mercenaries were going to a different destination, about ten of them, and the classic situation of "who goes first" came up. Well, there was no way that the falcons would let freebirth rabble cross their paths!

What appeared to be there leader, an almost human looking person dressed as a biker halted at the intersection and started to say, "Where do you think you're going?" but while he halted, the falcons continued walking and thus beat them to their path. This infurated the mercenaries to no end, and without another word being uttered they charged the falcons.

Already expecting the situation, Dragonfly whipped out his vibro-katana and turned it on, cutting down the first opponent within seconds. The second attacked with a lead pipe, which was chopped in half using his sword. Kicking a third goon, Dragonfly finished the lead-pipe guy then chopped off the leg of his third combatant.

Oracle was even faster to respond, throwing a knife and hitting the leader between the eyes and then drawing another and slashing the face of a second attacker open in seconds. Regnar effected a jump-kick on one mercenary then flashed out a shuriken quickly slicing it through the air into another attacker. Silently cursing themselves that fire-arms were not allowed in the Solaris VII limits, the remaining seven mercenaries fled, leaving behind the wounded to face their timely demise. Putting away their weapons, the falcons continued to their destination.

 

The gathering hall was as busy as it was yesterday, though some familiar faces were absent. The Ghost Bear that fell the attacker yesteday was still standing in the corner, just watching the monitors. None of the clansmen were drinking, they all had their water and food rashons back at the barracks - it was a sight alien to most of the inner sphere freeborns, this was a bar, drink for crying out loud! But no, they would just stand there, isolated from the rest of the world and watching intently at the monitors... looking for flaws.

Various names were being called over the speakerphone, pilots would enter and leave as a steady flow of traffic. More leaving then returning, though some new contendant or spectator always found a spot to fill. Oracle looked concerned, "DarkDemon survived, he is miraculously in good shape though."

"Aff, I knew he would be, but he will not be able to fight for the rest of MechStock." Regnar said, turning to Dragonfly.
"Indeed, we will be hard pressed to successfully complete our mission, it is the second day and we are already down two pilots."
Oracle did some calculations, "Well that still leaves one pilot for tomarrow, if we keep this rate up."

Regnar sighed, "And minus one pilot after the Finals on the third day."

The loudspeaker blared once more, it was time for Dragonfly to complete a second day's work. 'I hope I can keep this pace up' he silently thought to himself, 'I must... for the Clan... and just as importantly... my survival.'

 

He strapped into his cockpit tightly. 'That last fight was too close, and these guys were better then he expected. Please do not allow me to fall into the same trap of arrogance as my trothkin! Alas, that at least can never be...' His fusion reactor roared to life, as though a god of war was being born...

His opponent was in a summoner too, so it will be an even match... 'I hope...' he throttled forward and targetted the enemy's cockpit canopy, "Erukiu (jpn)." He briefly wondered if that was good or bad - he settled on the latter and gritted his teeth. ...not going to go down without a fight! The rhythmatic hum of a missile lock rang in his ears - almost as soon as he heard it a salvo of missiles crashed into him - his own missiles crashing into a nearby warehouse thanks to the enemy's fast reactions, but Dragonfly had no cover to hide behind.

Not playing that game today... he keyed in his jets and swept upon the enemy 'mech, who was apparently taken aback by the sudden close-engagement. Quad emerald green beams of light lanced out in a deadly combo, slicing deep into his torso. The dual SRM4's hissed out in greedy anticipation, most missing their target but a few hit with a satisfying explosion. The enemy reversed the semi circle of death by twisting his torso opposite and turning likewise, when he finished the move he fired his own lasers, doing critical damage to Dragonfly's leg - even now he could hear the popping of actuators and groaning of his gyros, as though a simple step was a task to be met with extreme exhertion. 'It is not supposed to end like this!' he thought over and over in his mind, 'it must not!!!'

'Must find an edge... a weakness...' he jetted above the enemy summoner and fired his dual LRM20s without lock, he was pleased to see most impacted and threw the 'mech off balanced - he risked a critical overheat by alpha striking his remaining weapons, four pulse lasers and twin SRM4's, and knocked the enemy off his feet.

A massive explosion shook Dragonfly's cockpit,half his missile weapons went up in a ball of flame, threatning to rip his arm off with them. The enemy tried to jet up, but only succeeded in sliding across the ground into a nearby building which prevented further travel, drained of jets, he started to struggle with his targetting computer - which would suffer serious hinderence due to the current position of the 'mech.

Once more risking a serious malfunction, Dragonfly leveled his lasers at the now stationary enemy cockpit and squeezed off a burst fire - the enemy's limbs went dead as he saw the cockpit blast away. This had been close... too close. 'There goes the rest of my missiles.'

 

He walked back to the gathering hall and saw Regnar standing, arms crossed, watching the monitors.

"Hail - what news of Oracle?"
"He is in combat right now, look."
Regnar motioned to the monitor, where a rifleman IIc with the Jade Falcon logo painted on was engaging a much larger atlas, the same Federated Commonwealth gigantuan that nearly killed DarkDemon. The two were stalking the city, out of radar contact so far.

The atlas opened its radar housing, a sattilite dish extended from the head and apparently connected to a nearby spy sattilite - which beamed down a steady stream of information. Already planning on this happening, the Solaris VII officials made a monitor which displayed such information, it showed Oracle's position not 400m away.

Slowly walking behind cover, the atlas watched as the radar was updated again every ten seconds. Oracle's lighter 'mech walked much quieter at lower speeds, and did so almost silently as he rounded another corner. The atlas updated his radar again, 300m.

Oracle was oblivious to the atlas' position, until he turned to a building, where he saw its reflection on the windows of the mighty sky scraper. He put his 'mech into reverse and sought cover behind a building, lest he give his own position away should the enemy pilot look at the same building. The atlas started walking, the huge feet leaving deep impressions on the ground as it left cover and headed for the building that Oracle was hiding behind.

The radar updated once more, but this time there was no rifleman - just a picture of the atlas. The mighty assault 'mech paused to get its bearings and waited eight more seconds for the next update... seven.... six..... five..... four....

Oracle shifted his 'mech's position, he saw what the atlas was playing at - he saw the radar dish.....

three.... two....

Lifting the arms of his rifleman IIc he levelled it with the dish on the atlas' head, he was standing under an overhanging building, not even his arms would be visible on the next update. He precicely adjusted his aim, this shot had to count, he would not get another...

one..... *BOOM* the radar dish flew from the atlas' head and landed a good ten meters away, this left the over-cocky freebirth pilot with no eyes to see, not even his line-of-sight radar. Oracle briefly wondered how come the line-of-sight radar did not give his position away, but assumed that the FedCom was paying too much attention to his update feed.

The atlas turned its gigantuan body to face the direction of now in-coming fire, lasers pelted his torso and acted more as an annoyance then a major threat to his armor. The FedCom opened fire with his LRM20s, but Oracle was too fast and hid behind the missile from which he sniped. The warheads blasted chunks of building away, making it teeter slightly - the overhang was now scantly supported.

Oracle lept behind another building, autocannon rounds shredded the air and sent more chunks of building away. Leaping over the roof and over the atlas, the rifleman IIc though outtonned, fired constantly with his small pulse lasers - gnats so they might seem, but hundreds of them will eventually wear down the largest of titans.

And that, this atlas was. It slowly followed Oracle attempting to keep up, seeing his opportunity Oracle jumped over his head again and led the slow moving hulk to a nearby building. More autocannon rounds ripped forth, most of this volley missed but a few hit the torso, shredding armor and breaking off one of the gun-pods on the rifleman IIc's left arm. Backing away slowly, the rifleman kept up its steady stream of fire with no breaks or pauses, expert heat management kept the 'mech from overheating at any one time.

The atlas lumbered forth, trying to catch the rifleman which jumped to the roof of the building, moving slowly in, the atlas fired several lasers into the air, hoplessly off course. Dropping to the other side, Oracle fired repeatedly now on group fire at the top of the building that he just lept from, the barrage of laser fire was just enough to force the building to collapse on the previously damaged supports that Oracle had hidden behind earlier.

The atlas was caught in a landslide as the whole building fell upon it, knocking it off its feet and onto the ground half covered in tons of debres. Oracle moved in closer, noticing an absent right arm on the atlas, as it clutched its mangled left arm rythmitically, if it was a computer glitch or an attempt to dig itself out remaining unknown. Oracle stood over the damaged 'mech and lowered its right arm to the cockpit.

The remaining autocannon rounds suddenly ripped out from the atlas' left torso, it blew the rocks that covered it to pieces and shattered the arm from the rifleman - which quickly lept 200m into the air - but the atlas was on its back and maintained its aim, shearing the leg off of the 'mech with autocannon rounds combined with its remaining medium lasers and dumb-fired LRM20s. Oracle lost his jets, and quickly keyed in what remained of them to make a perfect landing, squarely on the cockpit of the mortally wounded atlas.

A huge erruption ensued, tearing metal and burning all flammable material, flames licked at all the armor joints as heat steadily rose inside the cockpit, even after death the atlas was making life difficult. Soon the flames died down, Oracle checked his damage meter but unfortunately it was broken.


- Ramsau City, Solaris VII
- 15th March, 3069, 22:47

 

The evening of the second night came, dusk. Cool winds blew through the Solaris VII complex. At the end of the second day, hundreds became the dispossessed. Those fortunate enough to be good pilots were recruited, those who were already in a major unit got replacements, but the unlucky mercenaries or freelancers who had nothing to fall back on, and who were short on life-savings were reduced to alley-way rabble. Some would spend the rest of their lives in the sewers, spending whatever money they amassed in the vast casinoes in hopes of "striking it rich" so they could once return to a life-style that they enjoyed not a few days prior.

Such thoughts were sarcely fleeting as Dragonfly prepared for the last battle of the day - he had enough on his plate with sorting out the universal balance of power then spending time wondering about the future of those who's 'mechs he destroyed, he spent no time weighing up if their lives would be better off if they turned autoejection off.

Though he did think about it, not much, of course, but the bitter taste of defeat was something he was not unaccustomed to. So many battles he was bound to have many defeats, he had a few - and all rang out of incompetence to him. But his life was always spared, by luck, guile, or divine intervention. He had to make this fight, to prove to himself he could come in first place. Maybe not all the time... but...

The enemy beckoned. Locutis was taking a Timberwolf Prime. 'Too easy,' Dragonfly thought, 'I will just jump to 900m, fire off LRMs, jump away further and he will walk smack into them, while I outrun his own missiles.' The 'mechs powered up, and Dragonfly went according to plan, but he had not counted on Locutis using the buildings for cover by dodging back into them in the time it takes LRMs to travel 800 meters.

"Stravag!" he thought aloud, that is the second salvo that crashed into him, and he has not taken damage yet! He jetted out to a kilometer and throttled down. Again, he had to find his weakness.. 'What now? Of course!' Remembering the way his own Jade Falcon starmate was destroyed, Dragonfly jetted towards the city, being sure to keep several buildings between himself and he wily timberwolf.

More LRM's breezed past him, more warning shots then lethal threats, with the radar contacts cut off by the various buildings and structures. He looked carefully around the edge of the building, there he was, scanning. He was not noticed yet, so he had a chance.... he lined up his medium pulse lasers, but fired at the building on the other side of his intended target - it was demolished in a cloud of rubble - the enemy only saw the explosion and went to investigate.

'Okay that has tied him up, now I just need to blow his cover...' he turned and destroyed a cluster of buildings around him, that certainly got the enemy's attention who set about demolishing the building that Dragonfly was using for cover. 'I didn't blow all my cover...' he dodged behind a nearby building, blocking radar contact once more. The enemy shot through this building also, Dragonfly alpha striked the timberwolf's leg, knocking it into the red and slowing it down slightly - but it still possessed enough agility to out run missiles at 800m... he set about taking cover and cooling off - those shots had really heated his 'mech up, and if he lost his missiles this time he would be dead.

Last cluster of buildings, then I am home free. He jetted out and took cover, ignoring the LRM20's breathing down his neck. "Critical Hit, Gyro." 'Savashri! I still have my jets though, and that is all I need....' that and my own missiles. He walked, or limped, to the side of the building, which absorbed the next volley of missiles. The wall shuddered, threatening to collapse - he jetted back behind another building and blew up two more. 'Only two buildings left, that husk of a building and this one, time I jetted out.'

While the enemy was reloading his LRM's, Dragonfly jetted full throttle out - another volley of missiles came, these would threaten to finish off his badly battered leg - no matter, victory was within his grasp. He targetted the the building that he fled from and fired dual LRM20s at it, just enough to demolish it. His range from the enemy timberwolf increased.... 600m....700m....800m....900m.....

The timberwolf pilot doubled back and took cover in the last remaining building. Dragonfly set down a kilometer away and waited for his jets to recharge. He locked onto the last remaining building the timberwolf was behind, which was only 950m away, and fired. 'Now that is your last remaining cover.'

The intercom cracked, "Hey, you blew all my cover!"
"Apologies - but the choice is you or me."
"Understood...." 'At least he is a good sport about it... '

He stayed at one kilometer away until his jets recharged, then jetted into 900m and fired at the timberwolf, then jetted out to a kilometer and thus dodging any return fire. When the battle was over, Dragonfly walked to the center of the city and looked at all the rubble. 'Imagine... if this had been a real battle on another planet, then this city would have been populated... even if they took shelter in the basement they would have nothing to come up to... is Jade Falcon truely that devious?' Dragonfly nodded his head sadly and spoke aloud, "Victory is everything, when the universe hangs in the balance." His missiles lit up the night sky.


- Meeting Hall, Solaris VII
- 16th March, 3069, 08:23

 

This was it, he made it into the Finals. His mission objective was within sight. He turned to the falcons, who were still intact.

"Well, Oracle, Regnar, looks like we are making a comeback."
"Perhaps, let us not get overconfident however."
"Aff, we must stay cautious."

"That goes without saying, but we must not get paranoid either." Dragonfly understood their point, but he felt that after two days of hard fighting they earned the rights to take just one breath of fresh air before charging back into the raging inferno. Afterall, it was unspoken they knew that by mentioning chance of success they feared jynxing the matter - even though none of them were supersticious.

Regnar turned to Dragonfly, "I have a funny feeling about this next match, would you mind lending me your fuzzy dice for this battle?"
"Sure Regnar, but I want them back and intact before my upcoming fight." He radioed Scully on his wireless.

"Scully, transfer the fuzzy dice to Regnar's grizzly, quiaff?"
"Aff saKhan Chistu, do you wish the lint roller to be transferred too?"
"Of course."
"Affirmative. Out."

For the first time in the tournament Dragonfly laughed before he could catch himself, drawing nervous attention to him from several people. After the questioning look was shot at him by the falcons, he lowered his voice, "If that transmission was intercepted by Inner Sphere intelligence, which it was, what do you think they would make of it?" quietly grinning, the other falcons nodded and covered their mouths lest they give themselves away.

Regnar was called out for the next match. "Will she have the dice transferred already?" Dragonfly nodded, "Aff, she works fast." Regnar bowed and walked out the room, his cape swaying behind him. A few minutes later he watched as the battle commenced, he would have stayed to watch but his own name was called out. He silently swore to himself and wished he had his fuzzy dice with him. He too walked out the room, leaving Oracle watching the monitors.

 

Another timberwolf. This time he had respect for them, seeing how his last 'mech was nearly destroyed. He would have to think of a new strategy, once someone knows your tactics you might as well surrender... in most cases. Well, a few....

Again he jetted away, and both 'mechs rocked under the torrent of missiles. 800m.... 900m..... there. The enemy stopped walking and stood still. This is strange.... he walked to a kilometer then jetted to 900m and fired a volley of missiles, then retreated again. The enemy timberwolf started running to the side, outracing all the missiles. Dragonfly throttled up and walked away from the city. The timberwolf followed. 'Good... enough to worry about without those buildings... but this guy is different, he is not relying on the buildings at all.'

Dragonfly noticed how he ran to the right side... well he would fire missiles off to the right on an intercept course... he quickly calculated the ratio of turn to the distance by the speed of the enemy into his battle computer.... chance of success evened out to 40%. He jetted out and fired, then retreated, almost half his missiles hit - he calculated in how much damage almost two tons of LRM20 would do.... impressive to say the least. Still not adequate enough.. he had to think of something.

He jetted out and fired another salvo, complete miss, the enemy returned fire and caught Dragonfly off-guard before he could retreat, the force of the battery knocked him out of the air and onto the ground, he fumbled for his controls and swiftly brought the 'mech upright.... using the last of his jets. 'Stravag, 800m away and closing with no jets... no cover, I may get fried here.' He started running in the opposite direction, there speed and range leveled out - but he needed jets to outrace that thing.. another salvo, he quickly twisted his torso right and looked over his shoulder, then spun his torso the opposite direction so his center torso took most of the damage. Running at top speed he jetted again... 900m..... 950m.... out of jets again.

He sensed the enemy locking on... he just needed a final burst... there! His 'mech semi-gracefully sailed through the air and landed exactly one kilometer, one meter more, then the locking range of LRMs. Missiles trailed his steps, falling meters behind him due to the speed difference. 'Too close!'

The enemy 'mech, "Test-Pilot" was his callsign, came to a stop again, seeing that he could not catch up. Dragonfly was relieved at the break and throttled down also. "You know, my last opponent did the same thing before I killed him." Dragonfly laughed over the intercom, thinking to say anything else unbefit to a freebirth. 'Good impressions count... afterall.'

He jetted in to 800m in a desperate attempt, he knew he was going to run out of ammo, or something was going to go wrong, if he did not act now! "Missiles away.." he jetted back but his Weapon Camera had his full attention, he saw the missiles hit directly. He looked up on his viewscreen to see missiles less then 4 meters away following his every move. Hey keyed in the sideway-jets and managed to increase the distance just enough so the missiles ran out of feul.

He looked up and saw the leg of the enemy 'mech turn to the red and slow the timberwolf down to about 9kph. 'Whew, now I just hope I have enough ammunition to finish him!' He fired his LRMs as they recharged at the enemy 'mech repeatedly, finally the arms fell off and all the weapons were lost.

"You fought well, Test-Pilot, eject now and spare yourself - you deserve a better death."
"Never."

 

He walked back to the Meeting Hall, that last fight was closer then he liked it. Come to think of it, almost every fight over the last few days was closer then he would have liked to admit. He saw Regnar standing outside the doors to the Hall, spinning the fuzzy dice on his finger. Dragonfly noticed they looked slightly more charred then usual.

"Hail Regnar."
"Hail Dragonfly."

They greeted each other formally and bowed, "Regnar, what happened?"
"Oracle borrowed the dice after I finished with my match - his was slightly less successful."

Dragonfly's pace slowed, "Is he alright?"
"Nothing more then hurt pride, I can assure you."

The falcons entered the Hall, Regnar holding the door open before promptly closing it in the face of an incoming freebirth, a muffled disgruntled epithet followed. They walked into the main area. Dragonfly noticed how quiet the Meeting Hall was compared to a few days ago, when it was bustling with activity. Those that were left were subdued, quiet. Looking up at the monitors and watching intently, no longer cheering or jeering at the matches. No longer was it Inner Sphere verses the Clans to these warriors, it was "Will I make it? Can I make it?" in the largest Free For All since battlemech combat.

Dragonfly looked around him, only one Ghost Bear left, two Smoke Jaguars, no sign of Wolf Clan or Diamond Shark, or Cloud Cobra. In the process the Federated Commonwealth was annihilted, a handful of Draconis Combine left. Liao and Marik were absent. Various Bandit Kingdom members, mostly on their own, either sat at tables or stood in corners. All tucked away in their respective areas, hiding from the lights. One thing was clear, everyone was scared of elimination. Him included, but he would not dare let that show.

Regnar started to stand over to the side, but Dragonfly brushed past him and stood in the center of the Hall, which was the most well-lit area and deserted of traffic. He stood in the center and crossed his arms, looking sternly at the monitor. Regnar joined him, and for a second they felt as if they were starring on a major motion picture action holo-vid. Several minutes passed, and the monitors flickered to life.

Striker and Psycho fought, former in a timberwolf, latter in a summoner. He watched as the timberwolf's AC10 shredded the leg of the summoner, sending metal flying in shards - Psycho was quick to respond and jetted away from the deadly timberwolf and shot his dual SRM4's which served only to obfuscate the cockpit and throw the pilot's aim off slightly. LRM20s locked on and loaded, the summoner sent a volley at the timberwolf who was still trying to get off the last of the AC rounds before the range was exceeded. The timberwolf pilot switched to LRM15s and fired presumably when a lock was aquired, shearing the already-damaged leg of the summoner off.

Psycho crawled to the cover of a nearby building, twin ER large lasers impacted repeatedly and started to crumble the walls. He saw the
besieged 'mech squirm under the pressure, roll into the open and fire a volley of LRM20s before taking cover again. The missiles hit the timberwolf, shearing an arm off. The timberwolf returned fire and the full force of the volley hit the prone 'mech directly in the cockpit.

 

He was the next up - it would be between him and Striker. He opened his wireless radio, "Scully, come in."
"Aff, saKhan?"
"Can you get me a timberwolf rigged in time for the next match?"
"Affirmative."
"Excellent - do so immediately, set it up for Alternate Configuration D."
"Affirmative. Out."

He could sense the uncertainty in her voice - the Alt Config D was a formidable design indeed, but if used against a more mobile unit then his own it would be out of its short-range missile locking distance, which would mean certain death, even in capable hands. If the enemy was not highly mobile however, another timberwolf for example, such a machine could truely shred all opposition. It was a risk he felt willing to take. He prayed that his opponent was not as crafty.


- Final Match, Solaris VII
- 16th March, 3069, 10:23

 

He took the first step, taking cover behind a nearby building. 'This timberwolf feels a lot heavier then the summoner,' he mused. Probably due to the cockpit shape and torso mainframe, and the lack of jets. Thirty long range missiles impacted his 'mech, thankful of the larger amount of armor he plodded on. 'This is going to be short and bloody - you cannot run...'

600m.....

'...and hiding will only prolong the inevitable..'

500m....

ER large lasers lanced out at him, he shrugged them off, and walked steadily forward... calmly.

400m...

He heard the comforting hum of a missile-lock, he squeezed the trigger and a quad rack of Streak SRM6s left their pod bays and homed in on the inevitable target - metal was ripped from the torso, followed by twin bolts of PPC energy - he watched in amusement as the plasma bolts melted armor. Taken aback, the enemy timberwolf pilot circled around and inversed the circle of death, his AC10 opening up and shredded armor off of Dragonfly's arms and torso.

Another salvo of LRM20s impacted his 'mech threatening to tip it over, Dragonfly keyed in several commands and the chicken-walker joints contracted, effectively ducking the rest of the salvo, and returning his own with a collective 24 short range missiles, heavily damaging the leg. Seeing the new fighting style, Striker lowered his aim in turn and fired a few quick AC bursts at his legs, ripping the metal and jamming one of the gryo housings. 'This guy is good, but I almost have his leg... stravag... must shield leg!' Inversing the circle, Dragonfly fired another salvo of missiles and knocked the timberwolf's leg into the red.

'Too late, he thought, my leg is almost off, I best expose it now rather then have it my only remaining limb.' The last AC10 burst shot forth, blowing out his missiles, severing his arm and leg - by centering his gravity with lightning fast altercations, his timberwolf's torso was moved to exactly on top of his remaining leg, which buckled under weight as planned. By applying maximum thrust from the leg his torso moved forward slightly and the leg acted as a "stand" to keep him upright. He fired with his last remaining PPC as another torrent of LRM20's came forth, the heat from the PPC activated several nearby warheads and sent dust high into the air, one of the missiles made a direct hit on his cockpit, and the other severed the remaining limb.

Silence fell across the landscape, and when the dust cleared he saw the bolt of lightning had hit the enemy 'mech right in the joints of the legs, freezing one up and severing the other, tilting the enemy timberwolf forward and over, it ultimately fell directly onto the cockpit. If the pilot had of ejected, he would have been smeared across the wall of the building directly in front of the fallen foe.

Dragonfly removed his neurohelmet and the wind swept through his cockpit, his hair matted down to his head with blood from the missile hit, he gave a quick damage-check and all the wounds would be recoverable. He looked out over the windswept plains, the burning husk in front of him, and charred buildings surrounding him. A vast expanse of mountains lay out before him, the city was atop a kilometer-high mesa, stretching over green vallies lush with vegitation and forest Something rolled down his cheek, he didn't know if it was blood or a tear, but he knew something... he survived.

 

- saKhan Dragonfly Chistu

 

AUTHOR'S NOTES:
It truely was a great tournament. For those of you interested, most of the characters here are true, and though a lot of the battles were altered for better presentation they do remain basically true-to-fact. All the fights were best 3 of 5, save for the Melee FFAs and Teams. Oracle was eliminated in the Assault Finals, Nightmare was eliminated in the Medium Finals, DarkDemon was eliminated in the first FFA - though he was teamed.

Nightmare and I continued in the Heavy Teams and took first place, I later took first place also in the Heavy Finals and would have taken first in the Melee FFA had I not been otherwise engaged during the Heavy Finals.

These fights were very intense and everyone was a good sport about it, on several occasions I was close to defeat - but on several occasions my enemies were close to victory - I have come to realize that being close to something means nil if you cannot acheive it. All the same, I know I learned a lot from it.

My overall booty is a BattleTech Tee-Shirt, a Kali Tee-Shirt, Two $10 Ral Partha Gift Certificates and MechCommander. And even harder earned experience. Oh yeah, also an extremely long story about it in which I did not even cover the team matches nor the FFA - of which I could have droned on and on and made an entire novel about it (talking 100 pages here). <G> And, I hope *nudge nudge* that I will be mentioned in the Remembrance for numerous acts of valor. *nudges Loremaster* :)

 

home1.gif (823 bytes)    mail1.gif (869 bytes)

BattleTech, 'Mech, BattleMech, MechWarrior, CityTech, BattleForce, and AeroTech are registered trademarks of FASA Corporation. &COPY;1997 FASA Corporation. Use of the name of any product without mention of trademark status should not be constituted as a challenge to such status.