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Quest Deep Periphery Quest (Battletech Sandbox Empire Builder)

ShadowArxxy

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The Palace is opened up again for the annual children's Kart and Hovercraft race day, and just like last year it is an enormous success. This year there’s the addition of a soapbox derby track that is proving quite popular as well, and not just with the kids. The finale of the day is the adults soapbox race, with the entries judged not simply on who gets across the finish line first, but who does it with the most style.
Crashing. . . with STYLE!

You wipe out on the final berm and cross the finish line on your side, laughing the entire way.
Totally Willis fault! Totally totally!

You get to hold your latest granddaughter, and she’s named after you which makes you feel all gooey inside. Some things just make everything else worthwhile.

You totally understand ba now. You’ve become ba. And you couldn’t be happier about it.
All the gooeyness, none of the old. Life is good.
 
Turn 38 - With Parts Made In Japan

LordSunhawk

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Turn 38 - With Parts Made In Japan

The Free Folk return once more to the Zenith point, now that Griffin’s Roost is a known ‘safe harbor’ they seem to be coming far more often.

And they are in rough shape, leaking atmosphere and with obvious battle damage. You receive a transmission urgently requesting assistance. They had been attacked by Drac ASFs in a previously empty system and had suffered serious damage and needed to completely SCRAM their reactors before they suffered overloads, plus they were surviving in emergency pressure suits due to the extensive damage suffered. In addition there were Drac marines holed up in one of the sections of the vessel and intermittent fighting was continuing.

You barely even hesitate to think about it and send your flotilla of Defiants along with a HMS Argus transporting a group of power armor infantry wielding anti-boarding weaponry. They’re having to somewhat improvise the carriage of the power armor, setting up the field charging systems in one of the ASF bays and leaving that Eagle behind.

The small formation makes excellent time out to the drop point by boosting as hard as possible for long duration flight, and the Power Armor forces make… a strong impression on the Dracs. You have a few prisoners, but not too many.

The Free Folk jumpship is in very bad shape, HMS Argus had gone up without any of her flight crews on board and with most of her bays cleared, so she was able to take aboard most of the Folk until HMS Haskell arrived a day later. Several small craft ferry the prisoners to the Black Site for interrogation.

Engineers from both the Free Folk and your own survey the jumpship, the core itself is intact, along with all ancillary systems, but the reactors are badly damaged, the life support system is nearly completely shot, and very little of the vessel is capable of holding atmosphere. For the time being the Free Folk are likely to be your guests until repairs can be completed.

They share with you some of their charts, showing that the Drac expedition has occupied six nearby systems, although only three of them have fully habitable planets. The others simply have outposts constructed and appear to be mainly used for resource collection. All but two of them are to the galactic ‘east’ of you, with the medieval world and the apparent new outpost being to the galactic north and south respectively. Based on the charts, it looks like the Dracs are seeking to englobe you.

You do learn more about the history and background of the Free Folk. They were originally Jarnfolk, however political conflicts and an escalating series of feuds and assassinations led the ancestors of the Free Folk to leave Jarnfolk space, the original three Jumpships that they’d brought with them had slowly been cannibalized down to this one and they’d developed the heavy lasers they used to deter attacks from various pirate groups.

You do discover something else that is very worrying. The ‘pirates’ that you had faced several years earlier were a known threat in the region. According to the Free Folk, they are descendents of Amaris Empire forces who had broken contact with the SLDF and now occupied a region well to the Galactic South of you.

And they had multiple functional Warships. If it weren’t for the fact that they fought each other so much they’d have already started pushing towards the Inner Sphere to take revenge upon the Great Houses for failing to submit to Stefan Amaris.

And the incredibly suicidal tactics you’d seen? According to the Free Folk, the Amaris Remnant had brought with them advanced drone technology, which they used extensively.

Somehow you keep from peeing your panties at that news. The only good thing is that this group is about two dozen jumps away at their closest and only on extremely rare occasions do one or more of the ‘Brigades’ venture this far away from their central fastness.

With that in mind, it’s budget time. Which somehow seems a wee bit more important. Jeremy is again at the meeting with you.

General Jackson kicks off proceedings. “Your Majesty, we need 2 lances each of Shortbow and Ambush II mechs to finish converting 1st Mech Battalion, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade of 1st Armored to all Light Fire Companies. In addition, the Aerie would like a second battalion of Cadet mechs for the Nowy Gdansk annex’s training unit for winter training and training local recruits. We recommend holding off on worrying about the various heavier options, several weaknesses have been identified in simulated wargames and we will soon be issuing requirements for at least one and possibly a pair of specialist mech designs to fill those weaknesses. For conventional forces, we would recommend procuring the first elements of 2nd Brigade, 2nd Armored with a full Standard Armored Regiment.”

Jeremy pipes up, after getting a nod from the General. “The issue is specialist artillery and anti-air assets. With the development of Arrow IV missiles it is possible to potentially build an artillery mech, and a mech formation would be well served to have something to truly counter enemy ASFs in the event of our aerospace forces failing to maintain complete air supremacy.” He pauses. “Don’t tell Thanh I said that, she’ll kick my shins.” he mock whines with a grin.

General Reyes chuckles at that. “We’ll do our best, Colonel.” she says, eyes sparkling a little. “Meanwhile, Your Majesty, we have several Dropships commissioning next year that will require their air wings. We recommend equipping HMS Black Prince with interceptors to back up HMS Warrior’s Roc wing. We recommend equipping HMS Eagle with, well, Eagles, and HMS Havock with a flight of Rocs. If we begin construction of Star Fort defense stations I would recommend building out mixed ASF groups of Goshawk IIG, Eagle and Gyrfalcon wings. I would honestly recommend that for the first Star Fort that we simply assign the existing 1st Interceptor, 1st Dogfighting, and 1st Attack Wings to the station.”

Admiral Benjamin nods. “Your Majesty, we will have five dropships commissioning next year and one this year. HMS Destiny is the sixth Defiant-class vessel in commission. Next year we’ll have HMS Black Prince of the Warrior class, HMS Lightning of the Lightning class, HMS Eagle of the Microraptor class, and HMS Havock of the Velociraptor class, as well as USS Discovery of the Enterprise class.” he checks his notes. “Once HMS Argus and HMS Havock commission, I’d recommend filling both of those lines with Velociraptors to fill out the proposed squadron organization. I’d also recommend that HMS Warrior, HMS Black Prince, and HMS Lightning be squadroned together. For the former, I’d recommend that they be posted to primarily patrol the Zenith jump point, and the latter the Nadir jump point.”

General Potter then speaks up. “Your Majesty, a major focus for us will need to be increasing our strategic resource production capacity as well as building out Star Forts. However, and I believe Jake will be bringing this up later, there has been a proposal to significantly increase the size of the central staff of the AFGE, which would allow us to both do more, and also be more proactive in industrial affairs if related to military areas. I would urge you to consider that, although I do dread the increase in paperwork.”

Bridget is bouncy bouncy bouncy… and forgot to wear a bra again so it is very noticeable. “Your Majesty! We can build stuff, I mean stuff like bigger orbital factories and more orbital factories and better orbital factories, we should build as many as we can, and then maybe try and build some more. I put in a request with your politics people to authorize an expansion of my staff so we can build even more stuff to speed up our growth, but Jake’ll tell you about that, right, Jakey?” she grins at the Polish Political advisor, who rolls his eyes at her antics. “And if we’re not building things, we should focus some on the Asteroid Belts economy, get even more money coming in for building stuff!”

Isoroku isn’t present, as he’s working on the Olympics which is fully occupying his cultural affairs staff. He has arranged invitations to the Free Folk to attend in quarantined seats to ensure against any possible disease vectors (at Mary’s advice), which they’ve accepted.

Jake is sitting next to Bridget, and you’ve heard from a little birdie (named Jane) that he and Bridget have been seen going out to dinner together, could there be wedding bells in the future?

Wait, that would mean that Bridget would have babies… hrmmmm, there might be something to this, it may even calm her down a bit.

But back to the meeting. “Your Majesty, as both General Potter and Bridget have already spoiled for you, we’ve been working on proposals to increase the staff sizes for the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior. Doing so would be expensive up front as well as adding to ongoing upkeep expenses, but would allow us to accomplish more in a given unit time.”

Mary is there, smirking just a little, and fires up her ubiquitous presentation.
  • New Technologies
    • Military
      • Assault Bipedal Battlemechs
        • Between 80 and 100 tons
        • Simulations show that these monsters are the deadliest and most capable platforms on the battlefield.
        • Thanks to the realities of limited transport bays, the most efficient means of packing the most potential combat power in the fewest transports is via assault-class mechs.
      • Subcapital Missile - Piranha
        • Building upon work with Arrow-IV and Alamo, the Piranha is a theoretical design for a missile capable of easily tracking enemy ASFs while also being a threat to dropships.
        • Unfortunately the targeting and tracking systems required for this weapon system are incompatible with those we are currently using for subcapital lasers and cannons, meaning that designs which mount those systems are not able to be refit to mount these missiles
    • Non-Military
      • Iron Womb
        • This is an umbrella term for a family of medical equipment related to fertility and gestation
        • This includes the ability to combine genetic material to create viable embryos which can either be brought to term in artificial wombs or ‘naturally’ in the genetic donors own womb.
      • Genetic Engineering Lvl 1
        • Builds upon the knowledge gained via Genetic Editing to move beyond simple edits to more complex challenges.
  • Recommendations
    • Military
      • ER Medium and Small Lasers
        • Extended Range 3cm and 5cm laser weapons show promise in simulations. The 5cm laser especially is a very common weapon in our service, an extended range variant of it may well prove decisive
      • Spheroid Dropships (Heavy)
        • Larger and more powerful dropships could be a serious benefit, especially with the revelation of the Amaris Empire remnants in our stellar neighborhood.
      • Power Armor (Light) - Improved
        • With experience with the basic suits, improvements would be welcome. Leaving aside ECM and stealth systems, the addition of jump jets to the design would open up multiple avenues of deployment and use
    • Non-Military
      • Improved Automation Lvl 5
        • This will bring us to the pinnacle of Star League automation technology, with significant benefits to our economy

Harry is looking positively enthusiastic “Your Majesty, we have prisoners in the Black Site.” he grins, a rather disturbing grin. “May we play with them?”

Janet gives her colleague a… look. “Your Majesty, our review of regulations and laws is on track, and we hope to have a full after-action review of the Bratva situation very soon.”
 
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Knowledgeispower

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Welp if we have hostile warships in the stellar neighborhood we'll be needing nuclear ordnance aplenty for our ASFs and dropships to ensure we can quickly kill them. Warships or if need be Monitors of our own within a relatively rapid time period wouldn't be a bad idea either
 
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ShadowArxxy - Canon Omake - Ludicrous Speed I

ShadowArxxy

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OMAKE: LUDICROUS SPEED, GO!

Command Deck, HMS Destiny

In the eyes of her proud new plank owner crew, the Destiny was obviously the finest ship in the entire Imperial fleet. Sure, she wasn't nearly as big as the bold new Velociraptors that were just starting to enter service, but she was the very first Defiant class assault DropShip completed to the new Mod 1 standard, and that made her the fastest and most agile vessel in all space. Obviously, the Lightning didn't count because she wasn't in service yet, and absolutely no one would admit to an envious glance towards that building slip.

The Destiny was their ship, so she was the best ship.

Of course, right now the Destiny was very unglamorously docked to one of the Navy's big, fat orbital space stations. Most of her crew, -- including all of the senior officers, were out on liberty or planetside business, leaving only a skeleton watch minding the ship.

Jill Cunningham was the youngest and most junion Ensign on the entire ship, having graduated early from the Aerie *just* in time to draw this crew assignment. This meant she got last pick of watch rotations, and was on duty today while everyone *else* got to go on liberty. She did not mind this in the slightest, because it meant that even though she was only the junior watch stander, she was officially the Officer of the Deck and got to sit in THE CHAIR.

And sitting in THE CHAIR on a beautiful, brand new starship, with all of the controls and screens at her fingertips (even if she wasn't supposed to mess with them *too much*), and at least in theory being delegated all the awesome authority and responsibility of being in (acting) command, was really the most wonderful. . .

. . . the communications screens lit up with FLASH FLASH FLASH - ALL VESSELS - COMBAT ALERT - IMMEDIATE SCRAMBLE - UNSCHEDULED ARRIVAL ZENITH - INTERCEPT

"Red Alert!" She wasn't sure how she managed to not fall out of THE CHAIR and to hide the trembling in her voice. "Bridge to all stations, rig ship for emergency launch! Bridge to engine room, arm maneuvering thrusters!"

-----

Less than five minutes later, the *Destiny* overrode all mooring clamps in a combat undock, leaving the gangways pressurized in order to instantly blow the ship clear without waiting for a tug. Her lateral maneuvering thrusters lit instantly, followed seconds later by her main drives.

"Conning officer, maximum overboost as soon as we clear the station minimum safety envelope, course for the zenith jump point. Bridge to all hands, secure for thrust, secure for overboost."

Ensign Cunningham paused for a moment at the lack of reply, then remembered that there was actually no one else on the bridge. She reset the helm controls to the captain's console, then frantically paged through the ship systems indicators, making sure all stations were duly reporting secure. As she did so, one of the station's personnell transfer shuttles blasted from the launch bay and raced out towards *Destiny* at its own maximum safe accelleration. . .

. . . and was left very, very behind as the DropShip's brand-new, freshly-tuned, more-racer-than-combatant fusion drives went to almost six-Gs. Take that, Lightning sitting still!

"OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!" shouted a Lieutenant Commander without pants. "CATCH THAT SHIP!"

"I can't, sir, she's pulling five and a half Gs! We're a freaking CARGO SHUTTLE, we don't have the fuel or thrust..."

"ARRRGH!!"


Edit: Made a couple of minor edits per conversation with Sunhawk.
 
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LordSunhawk

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I'll note that the poor Ensign is literally reciting those orders from the book, because she is acting as her own conning officer and the only other person on board is down in the engine bay (2 officers, 3 enlisted, 3 gunners for crew on a Defiant)

Her CO, the two more senior enlisted on board, and all 3 gunners were not on board when the alert was given. CO and senior NCO in a meeting with the station CO, the gunners in the sim pods, supervised by the junior NCO. Leaving the green as grass Ensign and an engine room tech as the only two souls on board.
 

Culsu

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Well, seems like the Free Folk have fallen on hard times. Well, one man's misery is another man's fortune. For one, this is probably the first time in decades, if not centuries, that they are getting something as close to yard time as it gets. It also gives us the opportunity to play around with an actual JumpShip even more than the last time. Maybe we can help the Free Folk... upgrade and modify their ship? Given they were confined to pressure suits it seems like large portions of the internals are wrecked as well? Give them more armor, more power, more guns... more everything!

Regarding the Amaris remnant... given we're almost encircled by the Kuritans I'd say the Rimmers are a greater danger to them then to us right now.

As for the Kuritans... do we have proposals for a nuclear weapons program? 'cause it's really getting necessary. We need warheads, we need missiles, we need mines (to secure the pirate points)!
 

Vilegrave

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Honestly if the Jarnfolk end up sticking around they'll likely gravitate to either Griffin II or the GIAB as they're diehard spacers.
 

Knowledgeispower

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Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you the solution to which we at Giant Explosions Enterprises have been at hard work at creating these last few years to fix our Drac and Rimmer Remnant problem. Give it up for the nuclear bomb pumped laser and the Casba Howitzer. Each batch of 200 of each type will cost you only 250,000 and we guarantee you that a relative handful of these bad girls going off at their optimal range will destroy or cripple all but the largest spacecraft
 
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ShadowArxxy - Canon Omake - Ludicrous Speed II

ShadowArxxy

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OMAKE: SURROUNDED BY. . .

Over the next ten minutes or so, Destiny's course away from the station converged with those of her sisters Valiant, Daring, and Diadem. The four little ships had cut their acceleration slightly slightly in order to make a ragged but serviceable series of rendezvouses, then returned to thrusting all-out for the jump limit.

The console pinged with a priority conference message, and once Ensign Cunningham tapped accept, a split-screen showed Captain Williams (minus his hat) on Daring, Lieutenant Commander Vandy on Diadem (minus her hat and uniform top), and Lieutenant Commander Basala on Valiant (wearing a dress uniform). All of them blinked.

"Ensign, where's Lieutenant Commander Grady?"

"He was not aboard during the scramble order, sir."

"I see." Captain Williams looked down, clearly checking his console. "Well, the good news is that Fleet Command has confirmed that no, we have not been invaded again. The unidentified jump we were scrambled for was the Free Folk trading jumpship; they weren't broadcasting their usual IFF because their ship is currently shot to pieces. This remains a priority intercept situation, so we're to remain at full thrust until we can rendezvous with Warrior, further outsystem. Our orders are to secure the area and provide immediate assistance to the Free Folk. Argus and Haskell will follow when they can."

The two Lieutenant Commanders nodded, and their split-screens turned off, leaving Cunningham trying not to stare nervously. Captain Williams gave her a reassuring smile. "Relax, Ensign. You've done well getting Destiny scrambled so quickly, especially with the entire squadron short handed. How down are you over there?"

"Two, sir."

"Ah, that's not so bad. I'm down four myself. . . "

"No sir, I mean there's two of us. Me and engine tech first class Peters."

The Captain gave a slow, incredulous blink.

"Uh, uh, it's really not that hard, sir." Cunningham realized she was babbling, but wasn't sure how to stop." Easier than Academy shuttles, really, the controls on the Mod-1s are really nice."

"Deep breath, Ensign. Just keep doing what you're doing, and I'll see about transferring someone a little more senior over to you as soon as possible."

-----

As it turned out, "as soon as possible" meant "not until we rendezvous with Warrior", because although Destiny was the only one of the four to scramble without her CO, none of the Defiants had more than half crew on board, and while the risk of actual combat was low, it wasn't nonexistent enough to allow bringing any of the other three down to a 'combat ineffective' crewing.

In the meantime, Ensign Cunningham and Engine Tech Peters took turns dozing fitfully in their G-couches; there was far too much thrust going on to even think about their actual quarters.

----

As for the unfortunate Lieutenant Commander Grady, he found his pants and the rest of his stranded crew, realized that the only people on board his entire ship were its two least experienced crew members, and bitterly regretted that he was technically on duty and could not therefore take to drink.

There is really no worse fate for a Navy captain than watching his ship fly away without him, except perhaps for that and a superior officer cheerfully "suggesting" that this would be a perfect time for him to update all of his paperwork.
 
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Culsu

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How many combat droppers do we have right now? 10? Because I'd really like for us to have twice as many before we think about offensive ops outside our own solar system. With the news of the remnant out there we really need a defense-in-depth before we head out with a big hammer.
 

ShadowArxxy

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How many combat droppers do we have right now? 10? Because I'd really like for us to have twice as many before we think about offensive ops outside our own solar system. With the news of the remnant out there we really need a defense-in-depth before we head out with a big hammer.
Well, we have no way to head out until we have JumpShips, so for now it's a relatively moot. But for fighting droppers, we currently six Defiants, one Warrior, and one Microraptor; with one each of Warrior, Lightning, Microraptor, and Velociraptor coming online next year.
 

kelgar04

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How many combat droppers do we have right now? 10? Because I'd really like for us to have twice as many before we think about offensive ops outside our own solar system. With the news of the remnant out there we really need a defense-in-depth before we head out with a big hammer.
I’d also like to get the Piranha Launchers off the drawing board if we run into any warships I’d like both them and Sub-Cap weapons so we can have as many tech edges as possible because being a TH descendent colony and them being a RWR descendent colony means they may want to come to blows and I don’t want a RWR invasion to come down main street if we can help it especially if the clanners are coming down the opersite end.
 

ShadowArxxy

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I’d also like to get the Piranha Launchers off the drawing board if we run into any warships I’d like both them and Sub-Cap weapons so we can have as many tech edges as possible because being a TH descendent colony and them being a RWR descendent colony means they may want to come to blows and I don’t want a RWR invasion to come down main street if we can help it especially if the clanners are coming down the opersite end.
Nitpick: Piranha launchers *are* subcapital weapons.
 

ShadowArxxy

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Well, seems like the Free Folk have fallen on hard times. Well, one man's misery is another man's fortune. For one, this is probably the first time in decades, if not centuries, that they are getting something as close to yard time as it gets. It also gives us the opportunity to play around with an actual JumpShip even more than the last time. Maybe we can help the Free Folk... upgrade and modify their ship? Given they were confined to pressure suits it seems like large portions of the internals are wrecked as well? Give them more armor, more power, more guns... more everything!
Fortunately, the K-F drive -- the one thing we don't yet have the ability to provide help with -- is intact. At this point, I feel we've built up enough mutual trust that I'm offering a write-in vote that we offer to not only help repair, but to seriously upgrade their ship. Our production subcapital weapons were directly inspired by seeing their improvised ones in the first place, so it's totally fair to offer those as an upgrade, and I'd vote for also making available Enhanced ER PPCs, Gauss Rifles, Artemis-enhanced LRMs, and DHS.
 
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