Ferox Rangers #5 (Battletech Campaign)
Date: March 14, 3066.
World: Kennard, at the border of the Federated Suns and the Outworlds Alliance.
Good morning Commander. I've been following your work with the Rangers and before with the Irregulars, and I think your unit has a lot of promise. Given our shared past and some of the greater trends I'm seeing in the Inner Sphere as a whole right now, I feel like you are one of the few people I can trust with this mission.
Representative Nazir has gone completely silent, but my intel officers are telling me that Davion is still tracking Captain Eedlehoff's Trebuchet. They're doing nothing about it, and the group that has begun refitting it with advanced technology hasn't found the tracking device yet. Fortunately for us, my intel people are also keeping tabs on the Davion transmitter, so we also know exactly where the Trebuchet is, even if we don't know absolutely who now controls it.
That being said, I have my suspicions. I just need a unit like yours to blow the lid off this whole thing so I can prove it.
Captain Eedlehoff is currently making his way north as part of a convoy bound for a secret drop pad in the tundra beyond Omicron Garrison. If they reach that drop pad, the evidence I need will be ferried offworld and we'll lose our shot at blowing this wide open. We need you to hit that convoy, down the vehicles and, ideally, scrap all of the defenders guarding it as well. We'll be dropping you near a narrow pass that the convoy must pass through, hopefully giving you the advantage in the situation.
Pay is light, but if I'm right about what's in this convoy, salvage should be good. Lindon's Battalion will pay 50,000 C-Bills per convoy vehicle downed. There are four in total. We'll also be offering half salvage on anything you kill, but Lindon's Battalion will get first pick. There won't be any support on this mission (I have nothing on Kennard I can spare) and you'll be responsible for your own damages, but our current offer of support and man-hours at our local facilities still stands, so that should cut down on your operating costs. Do this right, and I'll even put in a good word with the Allied Mercenary Command, which could lead to more work down the line. I'm still in talks with Jaime Wolf, but I'm leaning toward pledging my Battalion to his cause. We'll see where that goes, and where this goes, and maybe we'll all end up working more together. Got any interest in working in the Chaos March? Let me know.
And hey, watch yourself out there today, Commander. If we're dealing with who I think we're dealing with, you're going to be running into more than just LosTech. There's a very real possibility that you'll be facing salvaged Clan tech and possibly experimental tech unlike anything you've seen before.
Mission Report, Commander Ellen Ferox
Maybe it's a stretch to say that Sarah Lindon is like an aunt to me. I have some fond childhood memories of the weeks between missions where mom and Colonel Lindon would spend time in the dropship mess, just shooting the breeze. They'd talk about politics and rehash stories of past tight spots where they both thought their next breath would be their last, and I was there with them, hanging on every word. Things weren't so nice while Lindon was working with The Combine, but mom's never had any love for House Kurita. In her eyes, they're as treacherous as the Capellans. They certainly have a reputation for how quickly they've turned on several high profile mercenary groups, including Lindon's Battallion and mom's own Ferox Irregulars.
But this mission wasn't about facing The Draconis Combine. This mission was a quick strike on a convoy that got hot fast and could have turned real sour in an instant if we'd been anything but lucky. Colonel Lindon's message was cryptic, but gave enough information to make me nervous. The Leopard that flew us into the operational area dropped us at the top of the Caramond Pass near Omicron Garrison, and I ordered everyone to bunch up on the road immediately. This was our first time out with our new pilot, John "Osprey" Thudmucker and the "certified pre-owned" Rifleman we're calling Old Bullet. The weather was clear, but the pass was still dusted with snow from last week's storm. I picked up the signals for the enemy convoy almost immediately-- four administrative vehicles, two Locusts, a pair of Strikers, Eedlehoff's Trebuchet and something new, something I couldn't identify.
As an aside, I kind of have a bit of a love affair with Lindon's Company. One of the first Battletech related books I ever bought and read was the Mechwarrior book (the other was TRO:3025) and I immediately became enchanted with the idea of running a mercenary company. Unfortunately, as a pre-teen (I think I was 9 or 10) growing up near the poverty level, a solid 30 miles or more from the nearest game shop, without Amazon, Ebay or 3D printing, I didn't have a lot of miniatures. I had, at that point, only one, in fact (Dantor) but what I did have a fair amount of, were legos.
I had this weird idea at the time that if I was going to run a mercenary campaign, I would have to run one of the existing ones from the Mechwarrior book. There were only a handful in that book, and none of them really appealed to me, but Lindon's Company held a certain charm that kept me coming back to it. So, before I even had a solid ruleset to work with (I reverse-engineered and hand-wrote a very basic ruleset from reading TRO:3025 and asking questions on AOL chatrooms) I was running a Lindon's Company campaign using legos that was very much inspired by obsessively playing Mechwarrior 2. I even got my (then) stepdad involved a little, but his interests were more tied into classic D&D, so almost all of my play in those days was solo. We did create little Periphery nations, though. Mine was called "The House of Wynn" and I envisioned it as a fragment of the SLDF that went the opposite way of Kerensky and grew as a powerful, egalitarian nation that mostly just defended itself from Inner Sphere predations. My (then) stepfather created a nation literally called "Satan's Jello" that used a frowny emoticon as their standard, and used mostly only "jello launchers," designed to completely incapacitate a mech by filling it with air-hardening "jello". I suppose it's safe to say that he didn't take Battletech as seriously as I did. His periphery nation's mainline mech was also basically a giant, robotic Stephen Hawking-shaped mech (complete with giant robotic wheelchair) with pen-shaped missile launchers in the "breast pocket" protected by component armor. Classy! If I find the record sheet / technical readout one of these days (he was a decent artist) I'll post it for posterity. Definitely seems like the kind of mech that might be fielded by some group like, say, Clan Snek Cobra.
But my love affair with Lindon's Company dropped away as I discovered Citytech in high school, got some proper miniatures and realized I could create my own mercenary unit with its own history and standard. Taking some of my favorite mechs from my Lindon's Company campaign, I started a new campaign with a unit called "The Red Wolves" and, well, the rest is history.
Okay, so spoiler alert ahead! If you don't want to know the direction the story is trending toward, stop reading now and come back in a few weeks after the cat is out of the bag.
That weird mech that was just featured? Yep, it's a custom Word of Blake mech that I put together as a huge threat to kick around the Ferox Rangers a little. I call it the AN7-X Al-Noor, the name basically translating to "ray of holy light." I have to admit, I chose this name partly because it was the name of a restaurant I really loved that closed down, and also partly because it just seems so Word of Blake to have a mobile platform of searing death designed to bring so much "light" to the battlefield that it slags everything it touches. It has some really fun experimental equipment (see sheet and description below) and I also made a model in CAD for it as well, which you can find free on Thingiverse here.
Long story short, the AN7-X Al-Noor is a highly experimental death machine that packs four Word of Blake made Holy Fire Heavy Large Lasers on a 45 ton frame. What makes this thing experimental? The Radiant Blake Heat-Shunt System (RBHS): A highly experimental system that completely overhauls the cooling system of a mech. Cannot be installed with any form of heatsinks and weighs nothing (as it replaces the heatsinks in the engine) but it takes up two critical spaces on both the left and right torsos. Additionally, it requires the back of the mech to be completely unarmored in order to accommodate a system of vents and heating fins. It also cannot be installed on a mech weighing more than fifty tons.
Benefits: With the RBHS, all of the heat that a mech generates is immediately shunted out the back of the mech in a halo of shining light. This means that the mech can move, fire, etc. as much as it wants with zero heat buildup (as long as the system remains undamaged) but it will be completely visible during night ops, etc.
Penalties: The RBHS makes a mech much more visible, meaning that it is always considered illuminated for night ops, etc. Additionally, the mech cannot mount any back armor. If the RBHS sustains a critical hit, it continues to function, but its effectiveness is reduced by 25% for every hit it takes (round up.) Un-shunted heat goes immediately into the heat gauge, and is added to the total heat generated next turn, with 25% remaining (per crit hit) again. As an example, if a mech with one critical hit to the RBHS generates 10 heat, 2.5 (or 3) heat goes to the scale. Next turn, if it generates an additional ten heat, add the three to it (total: 13) then disperse all heat except for 25% rounded up (total: 4.) The remainder is then moved to the heat scale, meaning that this mech will start the next turn with four heat.
All in all, I think it makes for a mean boss battle. I feel like if it had hit more than it missed (we got really lucky and it missed about 75% of its shots) the battle would have been a massacre for the Ferox Rangers. Oh well, the Al-Noor will be back (along with some other fresh mech designs,) and maybe the Blakists will get some of their much desired revenge down the line. Hopefully not, but we shall see!