• Attention All Comstar Customers, Due to unexpected interference by suspected Word of Blake operatives, the HPG systems update was *not* successful. No data was lost due to our careful and extensive backups; however, we will need to try again next weekend. Sincerely, Comstar Precentor Dune

Battletech Welcome to the Jungle

Knowledgeispower

Ah I love the smell of missile spam in the morning
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Reaction score
4,211
Vulcan VLC-7N
Mass: 80 tons
Chassis: Unknown
Power Plant: 240 Fusion
Cruising Speed: 2.5 Gs
Maximum Speed: 4Gs
Armor: Standard
Armament:
2 PPC
6 Medium Laser
2 SRM 6
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3025
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-D
Cost: 4,530,120 C-bills

Mass: 80 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: 240 Fusion
Armor: Standard
Armament:
2 PPC
6 Medium Laser
2 SRM 6
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3025
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-D
Cost: 4,530,120 C-bills

Type: Vulcan
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Standard)
Tonnage: 80
Battle Value: 1,902


Equipment Mass
Engine
240 Fusion​
11.5​
Safe Thrust:
5​
Max Thrust:
8​
Structural Integrity:
8​
Heat Sinks:
20​
10​
Fuel:
400​
5​
Cockpit:
3​
Armor Factor:
360​
22.5​


Armor
Value
Nose
108​
Wings
90/90​
Aft
72​


Weapons
and Ammo​
Location Tonnage Heat SRV MRV LRV ERV
Medium Laser
RWG​
1​
3 5 0 0 0
PPC
RWG​
7​
10 10 10 0 0
2 Medium Laser
NOS​
2​
3 5 0 0 0
2 SRM 6
NOS​
6​
4 8 0 0 0
SRM 6 Ammo (30)
FSLG​
2​
- - - - -
Medium Laser
LWG​
1​
3 5 0 0 0
PPC
LWG​
7​
10 10 10 0 0
2 Medium Laser
AFT​
2​
3 5 0 0 0
my take on a improved introtech vulcan
 
Last edited:

Blasterbot

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Reaction score
1,179
I hope the MC has his people design variants that don't require the up-teched equipment. It would be simpler to set up new lines and they can always upgrade to the more advanced model later. Especially since it will take 6-7 years to build factories for the new tech on the capitol of the LC. If the MC can get some investors together he might be able to establish a combined factory for Centurions and Vulcans on planets like Timbuktu.
his Anti Lostech plan isn't to make down grades. it is to proliferate the tech in the commonwealth. in a few years most of the Lyran's big producers will have some lostech production. making his relatively small production capacity less relevant strategically. short term his obscurity through obscurity works. mid term he will not be the only target so he will hopefully be able to defend since he is not the only target. long term he hopes the tech and doctrine will push for a border further away after the 4th war. in his most optimistic dreams he may even think of the combine falling due to the added strain of lostech from both the fed suns and lyrans.

my take on a improved introtech vulcan
very mean. it has a long range and close range option and even a bit of rear fire to send away light and fast fighters. had a bit of a fail at recognizing the aft weapons as rear firing. might need to sit down and play some aerotech so that sticks better.
 
Last edited:

Orangeduke38

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2021
Reaction score
102
his Anti Lostech plan isn't to make down grades. it is to proliferate the tech in the commonwealth. in a few years most of the Lyran's big producers will have some lostech production. making his relatively small production capacity less relevant strategically. short term his obscurity through obscurity works. mid term he will not be the only target so he will hopefully be able to defend since he is not the only target. long term he hopes the tech and doctrine will push for a border further away after the 4th war. in his most optimistic dreams he may even think of the combine falling due to the added strain of lostech from both the fed suns and lyrans.
The idea is not to make down-grades but to make introtech versions of the updated Centurian and an updated Vulcan that can be manufactured now. With the corruption scandal taking out Lockheed there is an opening for a new aerospace company that can fill the needs of the LCAF and the individual worlds. If it takes 7-10 years to build a factory for the no longer lostech on the Capitol of the LC then it will likely take twice as long to build them elsewhere. The factories also won't be able to fulfil all the LCAF's needs much less the planetary militias needs for decades. Getting in now will give the MC a firm foundation for the future while providing needed military equipment in the short and medium term. If the Vulcan is updated to use the same electronics etc. as the Centurian constructing a factory to produce both a greatly simplified. Then as money and talent become available accompanying freezer, XL, etc. factories can be built alongside the existing infrastructure and upgraded models produced.
 

Blasterbot

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Reaction score
1,179
The idea is not to make down-grades but to make introtech versions of the updated Centurian and an updated Vulcan that can be manufactured now. With the corruption scandal taking out Lockheed there is an opening for a new aerospace company that can fill the needs of the LCAF and the individual worlds. If it takes 7-10 years to build a factory for the no longer lostech on the Capitol of the LC then it will likely take twice as long to build them elsewhere. The factories also won't be able to fulfil all the LCAF's needs much less the planetary militias needs for decades. Getting in now will give the MC a firm foundation for the future while providing needed military equipment in the short and medium term. If the Vulcan is updated to use the same electronics etc. as the Centurian constructing a factory to produce both a greatly simplified. Then as money and talent become available accompanying freezer, XL, etc. factories can be built alongside the existing infrastructure and upgraded models produced.
then just make recommendations to procurement for which introtech fighters can be a stopgap while you upgrade. lyrans have money and can shell it out for good product if they know what to buy. just make it clear that these are not the same as the upgraded tech and will likely need to be replaced or relegated to garrison duties later on. no need to expend resources inventing the stopgap when they already exist. either buy them or invest in the upteching.
 

Orangeduke38

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2021
Reaction score
102
then just make recommendations to procurement for which introtech fighters can be a stopgap while you upgrade. lyrans have money and can shell it out for good product if they know what to buy. just make it clear that these are not the same as the upgraded tech and will likely need to be replaced or relegated to garrison duties later on. no need to expend resources inventing the stopgap when they already exist. either buy them or invest in the upteching.
The difference is that the Centurian before Catachan got their hands on it had several problems including poor avionics. The Vulcan on the other hand requires parts no one has made in literal centuries so updating it to use things currently in production is just common sense.
 

Blasterbot

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Reaction score
1,179
The difference is that the Centurian before Catachan got their hands on it had several problems including poor avionics. The Vulcan on the other hand requires parts no one has made in literal centuries so updating it to use things currently in production is just common sense.
yeah but telling a military to spend a year or more building the factory that will build something that will be obsolete within the decade is a bitter pill to get them to swallow. better to tell them which of the bad bunch is better and that improvements are within sight.
 

The Whispering Monk

Well-known member
Sotnik
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Reaction score
10,928
yeah but telling a military to spend a year or more building the factory that will build something that will be obsolete within the decade is a bitter pill to get them to swallow. better to tell them which of the bad bunch is better and that improvements are within sight.
Spend years setting up introtech production line, make a few dozen birds, then stop production to upgrade the line for FoundTech production, so it remains competitive
I think y'all are forgetting the sheer scale of the Houses. The Lyran Alliance is UGE! You could build the down-teched lines and makes sales for decades before you need to spend to upgrade. Demand will be that high even with new-tech birds available.

I mean...Catachan Arms could be the Aerospace's equivelant of the Kalishnikov!
 
Last edited:

Detlef

Member
Joined
May 19, 2021
Reaction score
27
The idea is not to make down-grades but to make introtech versions of the updated Centurian and an updated Vulcan that can be manufactured now.
I´m not sure if that is the best idea?

I mean you would have to build two different ASF lines plus (probably) some supply lines. For example I´m not sure if you can transfer the updated 30 ton Centurion electronics 1:1 to the 80 ton Vulcan? But I´m no expert here...
Anyway you have to build two ASF lines and train the people for it. For the Centurion you have at least existing Lyran factories (Donegal) and existing flying examples. For the Vulcan you have nothing except blueprints. And your ASF research team is somewhat small. :)
Wouldn´t it be easier and faster to concentrate solely on the updated Centurion?

The updated Centurion works so well because it´s a fast interceptor with quite some firepower fully heat sinked and well armored for a 30 ton ASF.
What do you take away for an "introtech" Centurion"?
For example you take away the XL engine and suddenly you have to find 5.5 tons to remove. You essentially return to the "old" Centurion only with better electronics and myomers?
If I remember correctly the two people designing the updated Centurion had to do a bit of moving parts around to fit all the changes into the hull so you can´t simply upgrade an old Centurion in the field. That´s what - depot level work? At least if you want to upgrade more than a handful?

For now produce upgrade kits for the LCAF. They can buy up existing Centurions and upgrade them on their own.
Or Katrina is extremely unhappy with Lockheed and suggests a transfer of the / of one Centurion line somewhere more secure? ;)
Then of course there are the upgrade kits for the Stingray Richthofen is flying.

But as I already said their design and construction team for ASFs is really small. And they´re still in the process of getting all the other production lines back to 100%. Including the satellite zero g factories. Plus building 2 new assembly lines for Mechs. Do they really have the resources to not only design ASFs but also design the production lines (for the Vulcan)? Not to forget they´d need a production license for the Centurion from Jalastar. They´re not Lockheed after all who bought a license.

Wouldn´t it be better and easier for the small ASF team to concentrate on improving already existing designs?
Catachan already has upgrade kits for a light (Centurion) and a medium ASF (Stingray). Sell them, use the money to buy some, upgrade them and Catachan has its own ASF unit.

Plus Katrina wants to start production of Rapiers once again. Sell a squadron or two to Catachan and in return Bauer will receive some lostech parts to improve the Rapier now so that they don´t have to wait 10 years.
That would give Catachan some heavy ASFs too.
 

Atarlost

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2020
Reaction score
735
very mean. it has a long range and close range option...
Um, no it doesn't. Long range actually has a definition for aerospace fighters. It doesn't have LRMs, AC-2s, or an LTAC. Those are the only 3025 tech weapons with long range.

To be fair in the case of the vulcan there a lot of things you can do with the frame. Be it Introtech or more advanced tech
Kind of. You can turn it into a Slayer or slightly oversize Eagle if you completely butcher it, but the first thing you always have to do if you want something that has a place in Inner Sphere ASF doctrine is either load on a bunch of LRMs or drop in a 320 rated engine, and the Thunderbird and Eagle already exist near the pinacle of those roles under 3025 tech using the easy to source Vlar 300 so there's not much benefit to switching over.

I guess you can rip out the SRMs and forward ML and the six heatsinks that support them for a 320 rated engine and have something that still feels somewhat Vulcan-ish, but I can't see anything else under introtech that doesn't involve swapping the iconic ballistics for lasers or missiles.

Plus Katrina wants to start production of Rapiers once again. Sell a squadron or two to Catachan and in return Bauer will receive some lostech parts to improve the Rapier now so that they don´t have to wait 10 years.
That would give Catachan some heavy ASFs too.
This is the path I'd take. If you use DHS but keep the RPR-102's large lasers instead of going back to the RPR-100's PPCs you save 6 tons.

Edit: Just realized I had the RPR-101 and RPR-102 confused. The 102 is the downteched RPR-100 and the 101 is the one that dispenses with the autocannon and missiles for medium lasers and a third PPC.
 
Last edited:

Brian-88

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2021
Reaction score
118
Um, no it doesn't. Long range actually has a definition for aerospace fighters. It doesn't have LRMs, AC-2s, or an LTAC. Those are the only 3025 tech weapons with long range.


Kind of. You can turn it into a Slayer or slightly oversize Eagle if you completely butcher it, but the first thing you always have to do if you want something that has a place in Inner Sphere ASF doctrine is either load on a bunch of LRMs or drop in a 320 rated engine, and the Thunderbird and Eagle already exist near the pinacle of those roles under 3025 tech using the easy to source Vlar 300 so there's not much benefit to switching over.

I guess you can rip out the SRMs and forward ML and the six heatsinks that support them for a 320 rated engine and have something that still feels somewhat Vulcan-ish, but I can't see anything else under introtech that doesn't involve swapping the iconic ballistics for lasers or missiles.


This is the path I'd take. If you use DHS but keep the RPR-101's large lasers instead of going back to the RPR-100's PPCs you save 6 tons.
Nothing wrong with large lasers either, especially ERLL. I actually prefer them in a lot of games, especially MW5. All my Marauders end up being the Marik refit with an LBX-10 up top if I can swing it.

So Lyrans will have the Centurion for interceptor, Rapier and Vulcan for dropship duty, what dogfighter can they manufacture that isn't complete ass?
 

Atarlost

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2020
Reaction score
735
Nothing wrong with large lasers either, especially ERLL. I actually prefer them in a lot of games, especially MW5. All my Marauders end up being the Marik refit with an LBX-10 up top if I can swing it.

So Lyrans will have the Centurion for interceptor, Rapier and Vulcan for dropship duty, what dogfighter can they manufacture that isn't complete ass?
The Rapier is a dogfighter too. It's an expensive dogfighter with questionable armor for its cost, but you get something that can do either Hellcat or Lightning missions for about a third more C-bills than either with the low tech 102 (which I previously mixed up with the 101). A DHS switch that doesn't go back to PPCs can fix the armor issue and still have tonnage to fit a comfortable ammo bin expansion.

The big attack bird should be the Thunderbird.
 

Knowledgeispower

Ah I love the smell of missile spam in the morning
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Reaction score
4,211
Nothing wrong with large lasers either, especially ERLL. I actually prefer them in a lot of games, especially MW5. All my Marauders end up being the Marik refit with an LBX-10 up top if I can swing it.

So Lyrans will have the Centurion for interceptor, Rapier and Vulcan for dropship duty, what dogfighter can they manufacture that isn't complete ass?
Lockheed CBM makes the Eagle aka the gold standard of this era. And the Rapier can do either dogfighter or strike fighter jobs equally well.
 
Last edited:

Brian-88

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2021
Reaction score
118
I always forget about who manufacturers what for aero tech, I know shit all about it compared to mech tech, which I don't know as much as I'd like.

So would the eagle be able to keep pace with other platforms if they were all upgraded, including the eagle?
 

Atarlost

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2020
Reaction score
735
I always forget about who manufacturers what for aero tech, I know shit all about it compared to mech tech, which I don't know as much as I'd like.

So would the eagle be able to keep pace with other platforms if they were all upgraded, including the eagle?
Yes. The only things that have trouble are small birds that fall too far behind the optimum size for their thrust and outpace pilot acceleration tolerance if you use higher rated XL engines, and stuff that can't be upgraded. You don't run out of crits trying to fit advanced tech like you do on mechs.

In terms of stuff that can't be upgraded, currently that's the engine on anything that can't take a 225, 300, 240, or 380; any autocannon other than the class 10; small and medium lasers on units that can't free up tonnage; and missiles. You can swap AC-20s for gauss rifles, but that changes your role.

The Rapier does suffer here, but an extra 4 cooling from the DHS swap improves its ability to use the weapons it has. You could drop the LRM for armor and autocannon shells instead of cutting heatsinks for them and have the capacity to upgrade the LLs to ERLLs, but you'd lose 27% of your medium range damage (assuming you expand the LRM bin so you can afford to use it freely) and if you tracked individual weapon ranges you'd lose absolute reach. It's okay, but it's a bit of a sidegrade.

Note that XLFE raise the price a lot so at this point you might want to skip them. An XLFE Eagle will cost close to twice as much as a DHS Rapier. The real price will come down (canonically the real price of advanced military technology comes down at exactly the same rate the C-bill suffers inflation so Catalyst doesn't have to print different price tables for later eras) but for that to happen new XLFE factories have to be built which means XLFE will be available in different sizes. This helps Both. (the Rapier gets more from XLFE at 6/9 because it's bigger, but the Eagle can take a 375 XLFE and move out of the new shadow cast by the larger bird.)

The Rapier does have one achilles heel in its quirks, but I consider the way Catalyst applies the atmospheric flier and atmospheric flight instability quirks to be a load of dingos' kidneys. They give bonuses to stuff with obvious aerodynamic problems and penalties to some of the most sensible looking designs and if you exclude the first superseded art with the screwed up perspective the Rapier is one of the latter. If the Zero and Cheetah with their ridiculous forward and rearward centers of lift get atmospheric flier everything that looks even vaguely plane-like should have it.
 
Last edited:
Chapter 31

Speaker4thesilent

Crazed Deplorable
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Reaction score
5,729
Location
An undisclosed bunker in Flyover Country.
Chapter 31​

Weber’s Holdfast, Catachan, Catachan System
Trellshire, Tamar Pact, Lyran Commonwealth
October 15th, 3016


“-and that’s when my dad walks in and finds Rowdy holding the soldering iron,” I wrapped up the story as Julia, sitting across the table from me, tried in vain to maintain her composure.

“Oh my God, that’s-” she managed to get out before being overcome by another attack of giggles. She really did have a beautiful smile. It made occasions when I could coax them out all the more enjoyable.

“And that is how Rowdy got banned from the ‘Mech bays forever. He’s a damn good pilot, but maintenance? He can usually manage to hand tools to a Tech without breaking anything. Usually.”

I sat back with a grin of my own feeling damn good about the state of things. My company was in the black and our Warhammer refit project was bearing fruit, I was dating a hot blonde with a sharp wit and a wicked sense of humor, and I’d just finished demolishing a good steak.

That was, of course, when both of our Comms went off.

My household staff had come well-trained and only gotten better as we got accustomed to each other. They knew better than to interrupt ‘Date Night’ for anything less than an emergency. Since the only other people on the planet who had the number for my personal Comm were my military subordinates …

Disaster it is, I decided, reaching for the device and hoping that I wasn’t about to be told that a half-dozen regiments of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery had jumped into the system. The Holdfast’s repurposed naval weapons weren’t emplaced yet and likely wouldn’t be for a year or more. With less than two Wings of ASFs I didn’t like our odds of stopping a determined assault.

“Weber speaking,” I said into my Comm even as Julia was answering her own.

“Colonel, an LCAF Jumpship forwarded us a report,” a man informed me. I vaguely recalled the voice belonging to one of the spaceport staff. “Steelton was raided by pirates a little over three weeks ago, and the Archon would like some of the Harquebusiers deployed to help stiffen the Regulars.”

‘It was going to be one of those days, wasn’t it?’ I asked myself, and saw the answer in Julia’s expression.

XXXXX​

We’d been more than half expecting something to happen ever since the mystery Jumpship had popped into and then out of the system before our return from Tharkad.

We hadn’t expected our enemies to start by hitting Steelton, though it seemed an obvious strategy in retrospect.
It was the regularly scheduled LCAF supply convoy that arrived with the news. A pirate raid had hit Steelton in strength about a week after the last convoy had jumped out and the raid caught the 3rd Lyran Regulars with their pants down. Of course, in this era, that wasn’t particularly hard to do. The Bee Squishers had fallen far from their origins in the SLDF’s 567th Striker Regiment. The brutally honest LIC readiness report admitted that they had the skills to earn a Regular rating from the MRB, but their morale and discipline could both ‘stand improvement.’

In the usual understated military way, that was a damning indictment of their willingness and readiness to fight, whatever their technical ability.

Despite having a full battalion within response range of the spaceport, only their active patrol, composed of a single Lance, and half the remainder of the company that was supposed to be on Ready Five actually got into the fight.

Even so, with relatively well-maintained BattleMechs, compared to the usual sort of Frankensteined pirate crap, a pair of Medium Lances ought to have been enough to see the raid off, intelligently employed. Instead …

“So you’re telling me that they just twiddled their fucking thumbs while the pirates looted the spaceport?”

“According to the report? Yes, that’s exactly what they did,” Comet replied. “Then when they were reinforced, the best they could do was some tentative skirmishing.”

So the 3rd Lyran Regulars had faffed around while the pirates loaded a cargo of processed food, booze, refined metals, clothes, and had even captured some slaves. And quite a bit of the food, booze, and clothing in those warehouses had been intended for us here on Catachan. That wasn’t even counting the damage to infrastructure.

“So the Archon wants us to deploy a Company-sized force to both Steelton and Toland to hold down the fort until she can get some people out here willing to actually fight?”

“Yep,” Geraldine agreed, “the dispatch says that she’s sending a couple regiments of the 12th Star Guards, but they’re deployed down in Skye right now. It’ll take time to get them clear out to the periphery border.”

Which meant independent commands for two company-grade officers. That wasn’t quite the nightmare scenario that it might have been for another unit. I had good people. Still, it was a complication. I didn’t really have the transport to move them efficiently, for one; the Overlord I’d corresponded with Shipil about wouldn’t be a possibility until at least 3024. Even buying Unions meant a two year waiting list if I went for new construction, and it didn’t seem like anybody was selling used right at the moment. Or if they were neither my nor Julia’s contacts had heard about them yet.

Add to that the need for my people to be able to stand up to higher-ranked officers in the Regulars if need be to get the job done, and the possibility that these were just diversionary attacks to draw forces away from Catachan, and it was looking to be an interesting couple months.

My first thought was to send Levy and Foehammer, but with our Third Battalion finally fully activated and working up …
“We’re gonna need to finalize promotions and maybe do a little bit of ‘Mech gifting,” I decided after a moment. Comet curled an eyebrow, but Julia was nodding along in agreement.

Or maybe vindication. I’d been dragging my feet on handing out patents of nobility because the thought made me uncomfortable, but any Captain I sent would need to have the social rank to compete with the military rank of a Major or Colonel. It also meant I’d need to sort out Comet as well.

“Are you thinking of holding off on promoting Captain Levy?” Julia asked.

I hesitated. I was planning on inducting her as the first member of Catachan’s new Knightly Order, name pending, as well as gifting her the ‘Mech I’d promised her a few years back. As far as I was concerned, she’d earned it just for the work on the new doctrine, but she’d also done a darn good job as a combat officer on Sevren as well. If I made her a Baronetess, she’d definitely have the social standing to get her job done even in the face of disapproval from a Colonel in the Regulars.

Still, my first thought was to go ahead with my notional plans and promote Captain Levy to Major and hand her Third Battalion. Comet effectively already had Second Battalion as a Major, but I’d need to at least make her a Lieutenant Colonel as my 2IC. That left Foehammer to displace me for command of First Battalion; I had too many hats to wear already to fight to hold onto that one.

That did, however, leave some pretty big holes in First Battalion, including the leadership of one of the units I wanted to send.
“I think we need to go ahead with her promotion. Same with Foehammer. Maybe even ship them off to Tamar so the Archduke can pin the Order of the Tamar Tigers on them.”

One of the first messages I had gotten through the LCAF Quartermasters Corps had been a request that I send them to Tamar to be rewarded for their actions on Sevren. The hammering they’d given the Rasalhague Regulars and the Teak Dragon, respectively, had won them a great deal of favor with Archduke Kelswa.

I’d been holding off on that since we were expecting to come under attack, but if the pirates were going to go after our suppliers rather than try to come at us directly, I didn’t see any reason not to let them go get their medals and knighthoods.
Besides, Kelswa was my direct boss. I really didn’t want to have a strained relationship with him.

“If not her, then who are you thinking?” Comer inquired.

“Honestly, I think Melody would do well with an independent command. Go ahead and promote her to Captain and promote her sister to her old position as Lance leader,” I suggested.

“Breaking up the Dream Team? They won’t like that,” she shot back at me.

I shrugged, but it was Julia who responded.

“Melody is wasted as a Lieutenant. She’s got a keen mind and good instincts. I think an independent command could be precisely what she needs to come into her own as an officer, not just a Mechwarrior.”

“And after I make Foehammer a Baron, she’d have the weight of a Baron’s daughter behind her as well.”

It was the first time I’d mentioned that part of the plan out loud. If I was finally going to go ahead and make the eldest Fischer a noble, then Geraldine would certainly end up as either a Baroness or a Countess.

I swear I didn’t intentionally wait until she was taking a drink, that was just a coincidence. Didn’t stop Comet from trying to breathe her sake, though.

Spluttering from the alcohol going down the wrong pipe, the soon-to-be Lieutenant Colonel tried to say something, but it was too garbled by her coughing and Julia’s giggles to make out.

Rather than permit her to rally, I pressed the attack.

“Of course, since you’ve got time in grade on him, you get first pick of lands,” I told her. If I was going to start making people Barons and Baronesses, I was going to do it right.

“So what have you had your eye on? First Step? Last Stop?” Those two settlements were probably the best of the small, fortified towns still extant with the town built up around the Germanium mine long since swallowed by Catachan’s jungle.

It was way too far down the mountainside to bother with. Julia’s dad wasn’t the only one sending graduate students off to do research, and the one expedition we’d sent down to get samples from below the Cloud Forest had returned with three ‘Mechs seriously damaged after an encounter with something that looked like a cross between the more objectionable aspects of a centipede and a scorpion. If either of those creatures grew to the size and mass of a train locomotive. And that wasn’t including the stinger-tipped tail with a nasty enough caustic to dissolve much of the shoulder of a Thunderbolt after a single strike.

I’d need either a dedicated regiment of BattleMechs or Warship support to secure the abandoned town and germanium mine long enough to rebuild the walls and Dropship port we’d need to hold it. And I’d still probably need to station Whiskey Company there to help defend it.

While I’d been momentarily lost in thought, Comet had managed to get the booze out of her sinuses, or near enough to be capable of coherent speech at least.

“Damn it, Junior, I’ve got no idea what to do with lands or a title!” She objected, but before I could decide to interrupt, Julia cut her off.

“And yet, Alistair needs to be seen rewarding people for excellent service just as the Archon rewarded him,” she pointed out. While Comet was still trying to come up with an objection to that, I jumped in to address the more practical concerns.

“As for not knowing what to do with your lands, well there are people for that. Delegate. And don’t tell me you don’t have enough money to hire a good manager and some staff. The only things you spend money on are your Sake collection and poker night at the O Club.”

“I’d be happy to put you in contact with some people my branch of the Family uses to manage our holdings. I’m sure they can find a suitable estate manager to help you get your feet under you,” Julia added with a twinkle in her eye.

“And what am I supposed to do about passing it down?” Comet demanded. “I may not be current on Court gossip, but even I know that much!”

“This isn’t the 21st Century, Geraldine,” I shot back, “Canopus might be on the far side of the Sphere, but Kroner spend there just as well as they do here. You’ve got time to have a couple kids if you’ve got someone in mind, and if you don’t? Find a worthy soul and adopt. Worked for the Romans.”

Well, right up until it didn’t, anyway.

Not that I was going to say that out loud, she was skittish enough already.

“For that matter, Grethar Lestrade, the Duke of Skye himself, has chosen to adopt in order to secure his Duchy's future,” Julia, who was always more up to date on current events than I was added in. Comet looked between us for a long moment, then reached out and refilled her sake cup with every outward evidence of calm.

“You’re not going to give up on this, are you?” she asked. We politely ignored the ripples the liquid in the cup made as she held it.

“Sorry,” I told her, “not sorry.”

She snorted and drained the cup.

“I guess I’ll take First Step. If you’re gonna stick me with this job, at least I’ll be getting paid for it,” she replied after a long moment.

First Step was the settlement nearest the Tungsten mine we’d reactivated. It was also rather smaller than Last Stop, or, in fact, most of the other mining towns dotting the upper reaches of the Nova Himalayas, but then Comet probably saw that as a positive, even if her descendants or her adoptee’s descendants would probably curse her for it.

Still, it was her choice.

“Alright, I’ll have the paperwork done up for the announcement,” I told her, making a mental note to ensure that her lands also included a chunk of good terrain for Argent Maple cultivation.

“Of course you’ll also be getting Whirlwind II as part of the arrangement, can’t have my second ranking noble without her own ‘Mech.”

That put a complicated expression on Comet’s face before Julia distracted her with questions about the truly important things, like what she wanted her personal heraldry to look like.

While Comet was trying to fend off my girlfriend in full artist mode, I let myself consider my next moves. Foehammer would be easy; he was a more traditional Lyran than Comet, and would be both pleased to be ennobled and prepared for the responsibilities. I knew the man would have seen the direction the wind was blowing.

Captain Chapman and Captain Tandles would probably need a little bit of managing, but I fully expected to be able to convince them to say yes.

That, however, left my other selection for company commander, and that … that had the potential to get complicated in a hurry.

XXXXX​

Ryūken McCready was a survivor of my grandfather’s last action as commander of Weber’s Warriors. The memories of him that I’d inherited from Alistair cast him as an intimidating, almost unapproachable figure. Of course, he’d been my doctor as a kid and through my teens, so Alistair had been biased.

Jimmy’s dad looked even more ethnically Japanese than his son, with hair far more silver than black. Like his son, he was also a consummate stoic. Unlike his son, he was fairly demonstrative in his observance of Ásatrú; he was perhaps the only one that none of the old Warriors gave any shit to about it.

Taking his neo-paganism seriously was a better reaction than most to losing his ‘Mech, his father, and his wife in a matter of hours. And if that hadn’t been enough, he’d gotten even more bad news when his broken shoulder and leg recovered. The neurological feedback from his Dragon’s AC-5 ammo going up had done permanent damage.

Injury Associated Neurohelmet Incompatibility was one of the Three Unhappy Fates for Mechwarriors, with the precise order between it, death, and Dispossession depending on the individual in question. Getting hit with two of the three right after losing almost his entire family over the course of two tumultuous days would have broken most people.

According to hoary unit legend, Ryūken had supposedly thanked the doctors for their time, then knuckled down and worked his way through Medical School. While also raising his young son. Three full time jobs at the same time. And when he was done, instead of going with a private practice in Uniontown, he’d come back to work for the Company.

In other circumstances, that sort of dedication would have been a lot like insanity. With the McCreadys it was … well still insanity, but it was culturally-instilled insanity, so everyone just nodded and pretended it was normal.

Not that I was complaining. We hadn’t had anywhere near enough doctors when we landed on Catachan and despite aggressive recruiting, we were still chronically shorthanded in that department. Strangely, people who could command a high salary with an excellent standard of living where they were tended to be reluctant to pack up stakes and move out into the interstellar sticks sight unseen.

And you’re dragging your feet again, dumbass, I told myself as I sped up and cleared the last few stairs. While Ryūken made the sort of money that would have allowed him to buy a home in the nicer part of town, the man instead lived within walking distance of the Harquebusiers base and the medical facilities there. Judging by the furnishing of the building and the lack of ostentation, he’d picked the apartment to shorten his daily commute rather than for the amenities.

I resolved to do the best I could to throw out the leftover impressions from Alistair’s childhood, and try to build an understanding of my old doctor from the perspective of an adult. As the first item on that list I noted ‘puts practicality over luxury.’

Then, before I knocked, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that he wasn’t going to be waiting inside with a bunch of needles to give me shots. Half of me vaguely remembered having a nightmare about that as a kid.

Then I had to bite my lip to keep from grinning in amusement. From an adult’s perspective, having had a nightmare about fleeing through a hospital in only a patient gown with your doctor waiting for you with a handful of comically oversized needles on the other side of half the doors you opened was hilarious, not scary. Especially since it was always the nurses that gave me the shots.

Thankfully, it took him a few moments to get to the door, so I managed not to terminally embarrass myself by grinning like a loon when the middle-aged doctor opened the door. His face was as composed as I remembered with only a handful of new lines and the absence of a few more strands of color from his hair to mark the years since I’d seen him for high school physicals.

“Duke Weber, a good evening to you,” he stated. It was a little bit annoying to discover that I still couldn’t read him. Before I could quite decide on how or even if to broach the subject I’d come to discuss, he continued.

“Please be welcome in my home,” he stepped back and gestured for me to precede him.

I did as he asked, stepping into a small foyer with a coat closet. The latter was more for handling rain than cold. For all that the Holdfast was high enough up in the Neo Caucuses to rival the peak of Everest, it was also damn near the equator and Catachan’s thick atmosphere held the heat in better than Earth’s did. There were also a pair of decorations on the walls. The first seemed almost like a Japanese wall scroll, but in Norse runic script rather than the more traditional language. The other was an almost Impressionistic painting. By what I knew of the McCreadys’ it was probably Jörmungandr and Thor duking it out during Ragnarök.

If I’d been meeting the man for the first time, I’d wonder why he had a painting of a giant snake trying to crush a dude in armor. I had to admit, though, that whoever had done the painting had done a truly excellent job depicting the light shining down through a combination of blowing snow and poisonous miasma. The off-camber perspective of the painting, on the other hand, ruined most of my enjoyment of the piece.

“Would you like anything to drink?” Ryūken asked, taking advantage of my distraction.

“Some water would be good, thanks,” I responded. I suspected there was going to be quite a bit of talking in my future.
Ryūken acquired a pair of glasses, added some ice, then filled them while I dithered over how to approach the conversation.
It didn’t go unnoticed.

“You have the look of a man working out how to say something unpleasant without giving offense,” the aging doctor declared. “Did my son do something intemperate?”

I snorted involuntarily. About the only thing that could make Jimmy lose his composure was the Dracs. Even then he held his composure better than most, but I had a sneaking suspicion that at least part of the reason he’d chosen to pilot a Galahad was because they didn’t mount flamers. Couldn’t be tempted if you lacked the capability.

“Not at all,” I answered. “I think Ji-James may be the single least likely Mechwarrior to cause trouble in a garrison posting like this,” I answered honestly, stumbling a bit over Jimmy’s callsign. As was tradition, Jimmy had been given that call sign starting out because he hated it. Military hazing. Wheee!

As I remembered, his dad thought that the diminutive lacked dignity as well. His ‘resting bastard face’ always seemed a little harsher after he heard it. The part of me that had been born in the Inner Sphere was trying to cringe over my faux pas. Fortunately the rest of me was … less intimidated.

Not unintimidated, but also not intimidated enough.

“No, this is about something else,” I hurriedly continued.

“Pirates hit Steelton after the previous convoy left, and the Regulars there f-fouled up by the numbers,” I explained, changing my word choice at the last second. “The Archon has requested that we stiffen the spit with some buckshot until she can transfer some of the Twelfth Star Guards out to take over.”

I paused to take a sip of water and try to decide what approach to take, but Ryūken was no dummy.

“And so you have dropped by to tell me in person that my son will be deploying. How considerate.”

That was about the most Japanese dig/demand that I get on with it I’d ever heard. Maybe I should have been thinking about the good doctor as a former Mechwarrior rather than as a physician.

“Yeah, well, James has been on the list for promotion to Captain for some time. He acquitted himself well on Sevren as a Lance leader, keeping his people calm during the fire attack, and he’s never once cracked under pressure. Not even back when his patrol got jumped by Hyper-Raptors when they were already dealing with a man down from an Antlion attack. This situation, however, is speeding up the process somewhat.”

It was the elder McCready’s turn to consider the situation. I could read the pause for a sip of water for what it was even if he kept his eyes on me the entire time.

“You’re standing up Third Battalion.”

It wasn’t a question.

“Yeah, with easier access to LCAF veterans who left after their five years, or were Dispossessed, we’ve finally got the experienced people. And yeah, I want James as Captain for their Medium Company. LCAF might have more formal education, but I don’t like LCAF doctrine. We just haven’t had time to pound our new doctrine into them as deeply as I’d like, so I want someone who knows it inside and out to lead them until I’m sure they get it,” I explained.

“And you expected me to object?” he inquired. There may have been the slightest incline to an eyebrow. There also might not have been.

“Not inasmuch, but the situation is … complicated. Politics are going to be involved, because the Bee Squishers have a battalion and a half each on Tolland and Steelton, which means their commanding officers are going to be a Colonel and a Major. If we’re going to actually be able to accomplish anything, I need the officers I send to have the Social rank to counterbalance their lack of military rank.”

“You intend to play the Social Generals’ game against them,” he said and gave the slightest shake of his head. “My father is either looking down from Valhall and laughing or he’s cursing the Norns for their sense of humor.”

That was not the reaction I’d expected. Ásatrúar has their own splits and arguments over doctrine just like anybody else, and I wasn’t sure precisely where either Jimmy or his dad stood on the issue. What I was proposing was rather underhanded, which was sort of a Loki-ish thing to do. Some sects frowned on that. Didn’t seem like the McCreadys’ was one of them, which was one concern out of the way. Still didn’t explain where Ryūken was headed here.

“Have you heard the story of why my father departed the Draconis Combine?” the man said before I could decide what, if anything, I wanted to ask. I wasn’t ready for the non sequitur.

“Uh, just that he had beef with how Hohiro was running the Combine and went Ronin over it?” I responded.

“That is … one way to describe it, yes,” Ryūken agreed before explaining further. “He served in the Rasalhague Regulars. He witnessed with his own eyes the ISF slaughtering a crowd that was protesting because their local hospital had been shut down and the ComStar one was seven hours away by car. His Lance had been dispatched in case a riot broke out, but the protestors had simply stood in the streets with placards and chanted slogans. Their only true offense had been their refusal to disperse when commanded to do so.

“APCs set up barricades around the square where the protest was occurring, then once all the egress routes were closed off, they opened up with machine guns. When he protested, he was ordered to stand down by a man who identified himself as the ISF station chief. The man said it was ‘better to cull the rebels before the rebellion could begin.’”

“That alone, my father admitted, he might have forgiven in time. Perhaps convinced himself that the ISF must have known something he didn’t. It was only when another officer chided him for not joining in that he decided that House Kurita had lost its way. ‘What honor is there is slaughtering unarmed peasants,’ he asked himself, and could only conclude that there was none. Thus, there was no honor in serving under an officer who supported such actions, and if such a man had risen to the rank of Sho-sa, Major here in the Commonwealth, then there was no honor in serving a Lord who clearly held him in favor.”
Ryūken paused to drink, and I felt impatient for a moment before reigning myself in. The man was a good storyteller.

“My father concluded that there was only one path available to him. He approached his immediate superior, a Tai-i, and asked for advice. ‘What should be done if an officer under my command showed poor judgment in the field such that others' lives were put at risk?’ he inquired. His superior considered the question for a moment, then told him that surely no such Mechwarrior would be permitted to graduate into the Dragon’s service, but that if such a soldier existed that he would be unsuitable for a military career.

“My father thanked him for the advice, and immediately tendered his resignation.”

I’d wondered if that was where he was going. It was a smart move. By doing things that way, he’d effectively blamed his resignation on the Major in the eyes of those who were on his side while cloaking his actions in the aura of respectability and deference to authority in the eyes of those who might have otherwise chastised him.

“It happened to be the case that the Major who had chastised him was Azami and made the mistake of expressing surprise at my father’s resignation. This fact created a certain level of discord in the chain of command.”

I let out an involuntary whistle. That really would have set a cat among the pigeons. In the Combine, the Azami were widely considered second-class citizens. This was mostly a result of not drinking the Kool-Aid when it came to ‘Traditional Japanese Values.’ Forcing a subordinate out over a mistake would have been considered normal in the DCMS. Doing it by accident because he didn’t understand how his subordinate could choose to take the criticism?

“Quite,”the elder McCready agreed. “The ISF were sufficiently distracted with the dissent and subsequent duels that they appear to have neglected to pay sufficient attention to my father’s departure.

“They certainly failed to intercept the letter he sent advising the Coordinator of his intention to become Ronin. And the reasons for that decision.”

“That probably went over like a sailboat in a hurricane,” I said with a wince. Hohiro Kurita had not been a man to accept even a minor slight. And it didn’t sound like the old man had been particularly temperate in his denunciation.

“That is likely,” Ryūken affirmed. “Either way, with the Combine unlikely to be tolerant of his presence, my father was left looking to the Lyran Commonwealth for a worthy Lord to serve. Information about Lyran and Feddie successes are suppressed in the Combine, but my father was a Samurai. He knew from the tales from the Fourth Royal Guards’ last stand on New Caledonia and Eric Steiner’s defeat of the 6th Sword of Light on Freedom that there were worthy lords to find in the Commonwealth, if one had the time and patience to look.

“What he did not expect was the expense. His savings were enough to get him across the border, but he was nearing the end of his resources when he arrived in Lyran space. The system he jumped into was Icar, and your grandfather convinced him to sign on. He was willing to stay until a better opportunity came along or he found a Lord worthy of his loyalty.

“The Norns truly have a perverse sense of humor.”

I thought about that for a moment, then snorted. The Norse version of the Fates had given his father precisely what he wanted … two generations early.

“So, will you accept?” I inquired, listening to what he had not said.

“What would my obligations be?” he returned.

“Selecting one of the smaller mining towns and getting it back up and ready to function. Countess Kowalski and Baron Fischer have already claimed First Step and Last Stop, but any of the rest are available. Projections are that within four months we’ll be eating into our stockpiles of refined metals,” I explained. With our limited supply of Lumbermechs and no pipeline for more, there was a hard cap to how much Argent Maple bark we could process. With the expanded production as we prepared to start rolling out Warhammer refit kits we were finally going to be exceeding that source’s capacity. “Biggest needs by volume are going to be iron and chromium. By scarcity, Molybdenum. Also silver.”

There was never enough silver when it came to industrial applications.

“Initial repair and startup costs to be borne by the Dutchy, but actually attracting people to the Barony is up to you.” Left unstated was that it was also the true leadership check for all of this. Could he find people who wanted to live well away from large population centers or, more likely, convince people that they did? “Included in the initial grant will be enough Kroner to hire a staff to assist with the setup process and replace lost income.”

And once metal started coming out of the ground, the whole process would rapidly begin paying for itself. Even so, getting to that point was quite a bit of risk and a lot of hard work. On the other hand, cultural impetus.

Finally after a long moment, Ryūken stood and bowed formally.

“I am honored by your trust, Duke Weber. My swords are yours.”

I stood and returned the bow, if more shallowly, racking my brain for something appropriate to say. Just because I could grok some bits of Combine culture didn’t mean I could speak it.

Wait

“Swords I possess in abundance,” metaphorically at least. A regiment of BattleMechs was a hell of a beatstick. “Wisdom and dedication are scarcer by far. For more than twenty years you have fought ‘the savage wars of peace’ as a physician. Approach your new duties the way you approached the last and I have no doubt you and your lands will prosper, Baron McCready.”

We both stood. I was already going over what I’d need to do to get the paperwork rolling. I opened my mouth, but he beat me to the punch.

“For someone who professes not to follow Ásatrú, you certainly understand how we think,” the new Baron said. “Are you certain I can not convince you to join us at the next festival?”

I shook my head, bemused. It was probably the Kipling quote.

“Not my cup of tea,” I deferred before switching topics. “I’ll have my staff run down copies of the dossiers we have on the rest of the old townships as well as estimated production figures so that you can study up. Julia will almost certainly have some recommendations as far as staff goes as well. Formal investiture isn’t scheduled yet, but it will be soon, if only because we need to get forces moving.”

Ryūken nodded in agreement.

“Time is the one foe that none may prevail against.”

XXXXX​

A/N: Thanks again to Seraviel, Lordsfire, and Yellowhammer for beta reading, idea bouncing, and canon compliance checking. This chapter is vastly improved by their efforts. Any issues with paragraphs are because TS is still borking my formatting.
 

Speaker4thesilent

Crazed Deplorable
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Reaction score
5,729
Location
An undisclosed bunker in Flyover Country.
And since the site decided to stop notifying me of posts on the thread ...
I hope the MC suggests Brewer reconfigures the Sentinel line to produce the Swordsman instead. Obviously upgraded with standard tech and a better engine and weapons loadout. Maybe a 150 engine, ppc, 4 ML, 12 single heat sinks and about 10 tons of armor.
See, you're missing something here. The Sentinel line is absolutely perfect for what Brewer is going to use it for: a testbed so he doesn't accidentally fuck up a product that matters.
yeah but telling a military to spend a year or more building the factory that will build something that will be obsolete within the decade is a bitter pill to get them to swallow. better to tell them which of the bad bunch is better and that improvements are within sight.
Actually, it's something that's been done before, and on a far larger product. Naval innovation was such that all the way from before WWI all the way through the interwar years and even the start of WWII warships were hitting the water already obsolete. Especially Battleships, because they took so long to build. So countries were spending millions on ships that they knew were going to be out of date before they were even completed, but they needed to do it as the proce of keeping up with the Joneses. The question is if that would be worth it in this case.
I think y'all are forgetting the sheer scale of the Houses. The Lyran Alliance is UGE! You could build the down-teched lines and makes sales for decades before you need to spend to upgrade. Demand will be that high even with new-tech birds available.

I mean...Catachan Arms could be the Aerospace's equivelant of the Kalishnikov!
Which leads us to this. As long as they had the plans in place going in, then yeah, Militias are going to be buying forever. Mercenaries need gear. Even second line formations can use weapons that are 'good enough.'

Of course that would require that Alistair's brain work this way, which it doesn't, so it's doomed to be a missed opportunity.
 

Brian-88

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2021
Reaction score
118
An update on range day? Glorious!

I was really hoping for the hammer to land on Catachan for the hilarious Kaiju shenanigans, but it looks like C* is playing fuck fuck games.
 
Top Bottom