Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH (Career mode)

Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH (Career mode)

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Well, I'm finally about to start only my second game of BATTLETECH. I last played pre-flashpoint (August 2018 Steam tells me). I then basically just waited until all the expansions were out (might as well maximise the amount of new stuff, I do this A LOT). And then it's been sitting there as "something to look forward to playing."

(I tend to play most games through generally only the once, or more than once years apart. If it gets more than once, it's done very well! (See C&C series, MechCommander 2, X-com 1/2 (new versions)....)

I WAS going to leave it until closer to the end of the year (or next year?) when all the Catalyst kickstarter stuff comes through. But I just got done with my second X-Com 2 run, and I am still in the mood for something X-Com-y (especially with regard to the character generation - it still astounds me, but playing dress-up and taking the propaganda poster photos is a good, like, third-to-half of the fun). A look around and there wasn't anything that looked like it could scratch that itch (Phoenix Point maybe, but only when it comes to Steam and possibly Phantom Doctrine?) And basically all the places I looked for similar things said "BATTLETECH!!"


So here I am. After consideration, I'm not going to go straight to my post-campaign save, but start a career (something I didn't think I'd do). But that gives me a) more chance to generate characters[1] , b) gives me a better idea of how the skills revision changed before I commit to it on my post-campaign save and c) might actually give me a better chance of seeing how the lighter mechs (c.f. Raven, Hatchetman) play without dumping them straight into a primarily assault environment.

(And later in the year, if I feel BT-y again, I can go to the main save, or I can try RogueTech or something...)



[1]it's a shame we don't seem to have got a wealth of extra vouice packs like X-Com 2 does;, heck, one of the X-Com 2 characters was a Glitch voice mod...!



And then I figured, frack it, might as well make this a full Bleakbane Plays...!



Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part One:

So, this will be going up at Giant in the Playground forums, on my FimFic blog and on the Paradox forums, so as to fully spread the idiocy around for all.

(So for them as on the PDX BT forum, forgive the screencaps of stuff you already will know, the rest of the audience in other places won't! Though I'v culled a few, given there is apparently s picture post limit...)

For those of just joining this insanity (which is and has priorly located on just the Giant in the Playground forums and my FimFiction blog), expect a lot of Fighting With The RNG and a lot of character-ful insanity, but less the sort of ironman, hard-core challenge that most people do with this sort of thing, because I'm exactly the opposite sort of gamer. (I played basically one game on Hard, and that was TIE Fighter (one of my top three favourite games of all time) the time I did that for a Bleakbane Plays and FRAXK that was something I wouldn't do again...!) And I am also shamelessly self-indulgent.

We will be joined by various members of the recurring stable of hapless idiots that get trotted out for this sort of thing, level of character customisation depending, forcibly lore-splinteringly injected into the proceedings.

(For those of your who have followed previous idiocy, it is rather unlikely we shall see the Liches - including me, Bleakbane in game form due to lack of character customisation options - and Illyphase the Erinyes paladin and Alluria the succubus paladin are part of the crew of the main save; but there may be some familiar faces, and a load of ones which will be new (to you, anyway; most of them just finished X-Com 2 for the second time...).)

So, we shall start with the difficulty settings:


I umm'd and ah'd about the mech salvage number. Me and RNG have enough problems normally... But for the sake of pushing me a little bit out of my comfort zone, on four, I have to run across a mech at least twice. We will see how quickly I come to regret that decision.

Mech destruction enabled, though I don't expect it will matter unless it affects enemies, advanced pilots set to rare, since I'm doing this to make my own.


And this time, the company will be led by Lynessa Fair, taking a break from teaching the magical paladins of Azurella to lead a mercenary company as bit of a rest. (She heard that the much lauded hero of the United Concorde of Divine Realms, General Hayalyn Haelariel did a year or two ago, so...!)

So, the UCDR is from another dimension, so that must count as Deep Periphery, right? And her family is all alive since she joined the magical paladins, so she technically struck out on her own and mercenary is kind of like a paladin if you squint really hard...

Lynessa will be using the call-sign "Serene", since that is basically what she is; quietly confident, competent and level-headed to the point of serenity (though not without an understated sense of humour...)

From here on forward, my comments will be in italicised parentheses - this is down to Lynessa now!




Lynessa arrived on the Argo to tour around her new mercenary company. The first thing, of course, was to give it a suitable name. Lynessa decided that "Azurella's Paladins" seemed logically descriptive.

Time to pick a colour scheme!

(I don't remember this before, so I suspect this is new. Neat!)



The next job was to have a look over her new pilots and make a quick trip to the hiring hall.

After that was done, Lynessa reviewed her troops.

First off was one of her students, Mylassta Spiritweave. She was the "leader" of a little group, a five-man (well, girl) band who’d joined the paladins as a group from academy since being friends since magical school. Headstrong and occasionally a bit bossy (and full of herself), in almost any other situation than the ones she typically found herself in, she would have been The Protagonist. (It had become a running joke at this point.) Mylassta, then, had decided that even though she wasn't, she was damn well going to call herself "Protagonist," and maybe one day the universe would listen.



Second was Alarhan Tyanar, arguably the most stable of Mylassta's little group; studious, cool, calm and collected. Alarhan could always be relied on to be professional and provided some caution to the others.



Then there was Poppy Blossom, the third member of Mylassta's group. Poppy was The Quiet One. Lynessa saw in her a younger version of herself; Poppy was a little shy, but had pure steel underneath. Poppy could calmly beat you to a pulp with her staff if she felt you deserved it, apologising politely between each strike. She was also cautious by nature.



Then there was Scarlet Kaxatari. Scarlet was horrendously self-conscious about the fact that she was basically a demon (by birth) and permanently kept herself shapeshifted into a human form. She was shyer than Poppy when in unfamiliar company - which in this instance (surrounded by humans who didn't even know Demons Were A Thing) she was self-conscious to the point of being clumsy.



The last of Mylassta's little magical girl paladin band was Summer Glow. Her magical talent tending towards super-speed, Summer was the most cheerful and outgoing of the five. (She could be perhaps unkindly and inaccurately described as being the "boy-crazy" one, but Summer's proclivities were both broader than that and more to compensate for her more introverted and shy friends).



Finally, there was their new classmate, Pseekie Rala. Pseekie was a bit of a tech junkie (though that did not translate to any particular skills with this more primitive technology). She was currently seething, because she'd gotten a parking ticket from an overly officious bureaucrat was thus was technically a criminal.



Of the five, only Pseekie (because of her interest) and Scarlet had actually put any simulator hours in and had more than a vague idea of what they were doing.



Right, down to the mech bay to see what Lynessa had to work with...

(It was at this point, on the FIRST try, I realised I REALLY should have checked I was happy with the random mechs before I did the characters. Which was a BJ-1 a CN-9A a PNT-9R an FS9-H and a SDR-5V; too good, I felt, especially the Centurion which I had previously found to be arguably the best 50-tonner in its class.

Five or six restarts later, I had the line-up i was happy with. It required re-doing the pilots again, but this time, they were all females (first pass would have included Comedy Terrotist Jarmin Culd and his mate Ra-Ra Rama, so all to the good, really...), so I could trot out all of Mylassta's little group; though this time, a couple of them were starting off better, as opposed to the 3/2/2/2 mix all four pilots had the first time. Worse mechs, better pilots. *eh* So I hired a couple of the bottom level pilots as they were available, so I have plenty of newbs and conveniently Lasti's entire little clique, plus one, as described above.)


Lynessa blinked, it was like the universe had changed under her, but the mechs resolved into:

A BJ-1 Blackjack, an ENF-4R Enforcer, a JR7-D Jenner, an FS9-H Firestarter and a LCT-1S Locust.

That would do nicely.

(Sweet! That new "view mech" option is fantastic!)

Then it was down to the Argo's engineering, so see what needed to be done and whether there was any upgrades.

After a quick assess, Lynessa told Dr Farah Murad, the chief engineer, to start work on repairing the power conduits (as improving the mech bay's active storage was high on Lynessa's list.)

Lynessa had a quick look at the local store, but elected not to purchase anything at the moment, though there was a few nice bits.

Time to have a look at the map. Lynessa joined Sumire Meyer in the comms room and appreciate Comstar's new 1.7 map, now with store, biome and difficulty filters! Neat!

The Argo was currently at Independence.

Not a bad place to start.

Lynessa checked her companies' reputation with the major powers: -10 to all of them, except the local Taurian Concordat and the Ministry of Canopus (-5) and -15 with the pirates.


So, enough pre-amble! Time to check for contracts in the local system with Darius Oliveira!

Lynessa skimmed down the list of missions.

(A LOT more than I was expecting, last time I played, you only got, like, three or four choices!)

She selected Hold The Line, a mission to defend a planetary government base against Taurian attack - Lynessa was most attracted to it the large salvage possibilities, and it was only rated half a skull... However, on negotiating to get that 4 salvage, she'd only get 25k cbills (or 3 salvage for 88k).

So it looked like Contested Will, which would give her 3 salvage, but also nearly double the cbills to take an "ancestral fortress" for planetary government from the Ministry of Canopus would be where they would start. (But it was a one-skull mission...)

Lynessa took the Enforcer, and put Mylassta in the Blackjack, with Alarhan in the Jenner and Summer in the Locust. Time to head out!

Off to a good start...



The base was unoccupied, but that was when the enemy reinforcements showed up. Alarhan went up to have a look and spotted four contacts, and drew first blood on the only one she could see, a Javelin. the OpFor consisted of a Javelin, a Locust 1M, a Galleon, and a Striker with a NARC beacon. The group took them out with much trouble, sustaining only light damage to the Jenner.

For salvage, Lynessa considered taking the whole locust, but decided that (since it didn't come with any gear), getting some weapons in to start customisation first, and selected an LRM-10 and SRM-6 and some LRM ammo. She got part of the Locust and Javelin anyway.

(And I should have got the Locust whole because I forgot it's select 3 out of 12, the rest at random! Nevermind.

Also, I'm going to start toning the graphics down, it seemed very jerky, which it didn't last time, see if that helps.)


Both Mylassta and Alarhan increased their gunnery to 3, but to held off improving anything else yet. Summer elected to improve her piloting to 4; Lynessa improved her gunnery to 3 and her tactics to 5, granting Sensor Lock.

As it happened, there was still nothing Lynessa could really fit into the current mechs (at least not while the Jenner was under repair), so she elected to take a second contract...

She decided to take the Hold the Line contract, with maximum salvage.

Alarhan took the Firestarter this time, with the Jenner undergoing repairs for three days.

(Oh, yeah, that's better. Turned the trees, shadows and terrain down to medium and that was much improved.)

The base was initially approached by a lone Javelin. The OpFor contained a pair, plus a Locust and a couple of vehicles. Summer's Locust took a heavy hit, which took off the right arm, and put her out of commission for 23 days. (Ouch.)

The OpFor was destroyed for only minimal damage, however, and that granted Lynessa a little more cash as all the buildings had survived.

For salvage, she took two parts of the 10A Javelin and one for the LCT-1E and an AC 5.

The Locust would out of action for another few days, and worse, the SRM 2 in the right arm was a write-off, and currently there was nothing to replace it with.

Lynessa, Alarhan and Mylassta all increased their gunnery to 4.

As Lynessa was not willing to deploy with only three mechs, it meant a halt to operations until the Jenner was repaired.

As soon as they started to pass the time, though:



Well, Lynessa wasn't going to turn down free stuff!

WOW, what a haul! An ASN-21 Assassin mech, plus an LB-X 10 AC, plus a Coil-M weapon!

Oooh, it has an intercept system the better for taking out those fast-moving evasive mechs. Lynessa was delighted.

Lynessa could go straight out on another mission!

A supply Lines mission was worth a lot of cash; working for the Taurian Concordat taking out a Canopian lance. Lynessa opted to go for the maximum amount of cash (the supply was nothing special), since adding +50% to the current funds wasn't something to be sneezed at this stage.

So Poppy got to take the Assassin out for its first mission.

Uh-oh... This time the opposition was a full lance of mechs. Three Javelins and a Flea!

The first Javelin went down easy enough...



But the Assassin took a few hits before Alarhan jumped behind the second to take it out.



The Flea ran into the Enforcer and made a futile attempt to physically attack, so Lynessa just started punching it (she missed the first time) while Mylassta shot it once in the back and turned her attention to the other Javelin, which had been showering her with missiles.

Still, the job was done without TOO much damage.



There DEFINITELY need to be repair downtime now, though!

(Oh, that's right, armour doesn't take any time or cash to repair, so only the Assassin was down.)

Still, that one mission more than covered the month's current outgoings, so that was a start!

Two days later (Day 3/1200), the Jenner was back in operation.

Lynessa examined the Jenner to see if there was anything useful they could do with it; not really. It didn't seem worth putting the Coil-M on such a vulnerable platform at the moment. The same went for the LB-X 10; it would fit in the enforcer, but for the moment, the Enforcer's AC 10 was one of the few punching hits the lance had, so it would stay for the moment.

She did pop by the local shop to buy another ton of LB X 10 ammo though (while it was available, and she didn't know how readily it would be elsewhere) and a half-ton MG ammo, so at least the locust could be fitted with an MG when it was repaired...

The contract, then, would be a straight fight with the Taurians for the planetary government. There would be the minimal cash reward, but maximum salvage.

The opposition was a Flea (FLE-4) and a Commando (COM-2D) - they didn't take much killing.



Apart from one piece of the wreckage each, however, they there only a solitary SRM ammo left.

Still, no damage meant that they paladins could go straight out again; working for the Canopians to destroy a pirate lance.

But first, Mylassta and Alarhan increased their gunnery to 5 and thus gained Multishot. (Allowing them, fairly self-explanatorily, to be able to shoot at more than one target at the same time.)Lynessa choose to increase her piloting to 4 and Poppy likewise (in her case from 2 to 4).

A single enemy mech... That went in Phase two. That wasn't a good sig-



Ohhhh. SNAP!

K2 Catapult! Bad happen! Bad happen!

Even with most of its armour missing, the PPCs could ruin everyone's day!

Fortunately, having reserved, the lance got in two salvoes before it could fire, taking out one PPC. Despite reinforcements coming, they focussed on it and it missed its one PPC shot on Mylassta's Blackjack. Due to a lucky hit shot, it went down without CT (centre torso) destruction, so hopefully, there might be some nice salvage.

The rest of the opposition went down fairly easily - save that the Scorpion Mk 2 tank put a couple of shells into the Jenner's arm, so back to the repair shop it would go!



Lynessa picked a piece of an enemy Locust and the one part of the K2 Catapult. Luck was with her, as the one PPC was part of the salvage!

So, a four day respite, while the Locust was repaired - but back into the queue for three days after that to fit an MG and a half-ton of ammo to replace the lost SRM...

Another day's work, though, and the Assassin would be back out and ready for the next mission.

One Man's Art; a half-skull recovered mission for a Canopian philanthropist to rescue a painter (and his art) from religious zealots. It's a living...

The mission went smoothly, with only a couple of Locusts and a javelin plus some light vehicles. Though Alarhan got a little bit excited and Accidently A Death From Above, which damaged the Firestarter’s legs. Whoops! Still, aside from the both art and artists were rescued. The artist was apparently some sort of Ancient French person and kept babbling on about "the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies." Alarhan just sighed...



Due to head hits and knock-downs, there was a nice haul of parts - three each from the 1N Javelin and 1-E Locust. Lynessa took all three of the latter, since that meant she now had four parts for a function 1E Locust! Yay?

Of course, now the big problem was that it had to go straight to storage!

Lynessa raised her gunnery to 5 and also took Multishot, and raised her guts to 3 (which had no immediate benefit).

Mylassta, Poppy and Alarhan increased their tactics (to 4,4 and 3 respectively).

A day later, the Jenner was ready to go (which Alarhan would be piloting); last contract in the system! A hit job for the government to kill a "war-criminal."

The enemy screening forces were between the lance and the target: two vehicles and two Spiders. The first salvo was devastatingly effective: Lynessa and Alarhan took out both vehicles a shot a piece and Mylassta manged a beautiful one-shot of the one spiders, causing an ammo explosion. Which let Poppy, who had only just hit her target, feel quite insignificant...



The last spider went down, and the group closed on the enemy target. Which turned out to be a fully intact Kintaro KTO-18! Alarhan was again lucky scoring a critical hit and triggering and ammo explosion that took out one arm. And as the squad manoeuvred around, whittling away the Kintaro's solid armour, she landed a second salvo, which took out the other arm and FINALLY, after another fusillade of fire, it went down.




One piece of KTO-18 and one SDR-5K was salvaged, plus some various bits.



Alarhan choose to up her Guts from 2 to 4, but everyone else held off.

The Jenner went back into repairs (again - the Kintaro caught it a glancing blow with a laser).

The only contracts left at this point where in the neighbouring system of Mantharaka... One very lucrative one working for the local pirates against the government seemed the place to start. That was 12 days away, time enough to get some repairs underway, perhaps even some upgrades.

A day into the trip, the power conduits were repaired, so Farah started on the Mech bay; faster repairs and another six mech space would be great! That ate quite a lot of the funds, however!

The Locust 1S was refitted, and then Lynessa had it put into storage, so they could have a proper look at the 1E Locust, which had lots of energy weapon hardpoints, making it a little better than a not-quite-complete 1S (if perhaps not better than a complete one).

With so little to work with - and unwilling to risk something like the coil-gun on such a fragile target - Lynessa had it outfitted with the stock two medium and two small lasers.

On day 19, two days out from Mantharaka, Sumire reported there was a Flashpoint mission. That was 23 days away though, so Lynessa thought she had better deal with a couple of contracts first.

(Still had to split into a second post! Sometimes I wonder, when I duid that first one TIE Fighter and they said "you probably ought to have some screenshots," Did I perhaps take it too much on-board...?))
 
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As they arrived at Mantharaka though, events were afoot! Farah suggested the crew watch a meteor shower to raise morale.





There was simply no way of avoiding Pseekie's pleading eyes...





... And she did an excellent job.


But now, dealing with contract was at hand. As Pseekie had done such a good job, Lynessa assigned her the Assassin, letting Poppy take a break. the lance was otherwise as the previous mission: Enforcer, Blackjack, Jenner, Assassin.


Oh, this was going to suuuuck. The enemy was a Panther (a light mech with a PPC), a Jenner, two vehicles (all at full armour) and a couple more reinforcements coming in as soon as the fight started.


No, as it turned out THREE reinforcements, all mechs with LRMs.


The battle was very bad. Lynessa and the lance fought a retreat to the west, near a lake (as their mech has a heavy reliance on energy weapons). Lynessa took out both the vehicles early, as the easiest kills.


She got a lucky hit on the Panther -





- but it was another round before they could take it out, though fortunately, it's PPCs had kept missing.





The reinforcements proved to be two Locust 1M and a Javelin 10A - and that proved to be nearly more than they could handle.


(As the RNG made sure every hit on the Enforcer was the right torso and every hit I did was scattered around.)


It took the right torso of the Enforcer out completely, before the combined fire was FINALLY able to put it down.







Ouch.


Well, there would be no more missions for a bit, clearly. Lynessa was leading from the sick bed, and all four mechs had suffered internal damage (Mylassta's self-inflicted by overheat in a desperate attempt to kill the Javelin before it shot Lynessa's crippled mech again.)


The 5/23 salvage had better be worth it...!Well, 2 parts Locust 1M (yay, another locust!)


(Look, Love locusts on the tabletop, where I have like more than any other individual mech, but they work better as a roving lance...!)


That said, the 1M at least had missile hard points and could be fitted with LRMs, as so - as this battle proved - could be a long-range annoyance.


A piece each of the Panther, Jenner and Javelin 10A; and a load of salvage.


Well, the first thing Lynessa was going to do was hit the stores, since they had no AC 10 to replace on her Enforcer (well, they did have the LB-X, but that battle just proved it was in a rather vulnerable mount there...)


Fortunately, they did; and some ammo two. so that was the first purchase. But, by the time everything was repaired and refitted, the enforcer would be back in service about the same time as Lynessa... Maybe they would leave for that flashpoint!


Crushingly, the store had both a rare heat bank and thermal exchanger, but all that had cost a lot of cash. That said, there were a lot of half-skull contracts. So in a week, when there were four functional mechs again, Mylassta could lead the lance out for some money.


In the meantime, from her bed, Lynessa worked on her aim, raising her tactics to 6. Pseekie increased her own to 4 (aiming to be substitute support soon). After some thought, Alarhan decided to increase her piloting to 4, rather than get guts 5 (for Bulwark), electing that she would leave that to Mylassta, and opt for gunnery/piloting herself; Mylassta concentrated on improved her aim, and pushed her gunnery to 6.


They bought the Heat Exchanger - this would bring them dangerously close to bankruptcy, but they mechs would get done JUST in time to scrape by, if they took a lucrative contract and hopefully didn't take too much damage...


One day before the pay was all due, Mylassta set out to help the planetary government fight the Taurian Concordat, for the maximum money possibly, which should cover the 80k they were short of when payday hit.


Well. As it turned out, Mylassta would be leading a trio of government newbs, so at least only one of their mechs was at risk...!


Oh deary deary.

















"Say," said Burger Time, "does anyone else hear that odd sound? Y'know, like someone banging their helmet again the console or something?"


"NO. IT'S FINE," Mylassta ground out. "LET'S. GO."


Fortunately the mission was tame even by milk-run standards - a single enemy Commando COM-2D, clapped out and damaged.











Well, Mylassta, thought, it might not be the most glamourous first solo mission, but it was an easy 300k, plus a few bits of SRM4 and one piece of the COM-2D, so...





And there was a second Training Day mission. Mylassta shrugged. Easy money again, with a bit of luck...













Flapjacks annouced that it was no problem, they were "going to lick their asses."


(Apparently didn't screencap that one.)







"Hey, there's that noise again," commented Stubble...


(Credit, HBS, I was expecting the same dialogue again. Mow watch this be deliberate, this be a full 2 skull lance or something...)


The enemy this time was a single Panther, slightly damaged but then...







Figures...











Fortunately, the enemy lance was a single 1M Locust, and easily dealt with.







So, that got Mylassta a +25% bonus, a 1M piece, and 9R Panther piece and a PPC. Not too shabby...!


(Also, hey, got to use some Urbanmechs for the first and probably only time...!)


That was nicely enough to cover the cost of the thermal exchanger, and have plenty left for payday.


Mylassta elected to take a half-skull interdiction mission, again for max money. (While max salvage was generally preferable, at this point, raw cash was more useful in the short term.) She had Alarhan pilot the Assassin, the newly-recovered Summer the Jenner and Pseekie take the Firestarter.


The mission had two Javelin escorting a convoy of four vehicles, all fully armoured.





The Jenner took internal damage AGAIN. And the 10A Javelin manged to land a hit on Mylassta's head. Because of course it did.


So, the second-in-command now joined the commander in the sick-bed.


"So, You're in charge now, Alarhan!"


Mylassta took the time to toughen up, raising her Guts from 3 to 4, so hopefully she'd be more resistant to this kind of thing...


Alarhan weighed her options, and decided that no, taking the team out on a half-0sckull mission with the Jenner down seemed like it was likely to make matters worse if it went south. So they waited.


That brought the new Mechbay online (hurrah!) and brought the end of the month report.





Alarhan was mildly annoyed to see there were no medical upgrades, so she elected to have Farah start work on restoring the mech scaffolds, which ought to make engineer Yang's job a bit easier, at least...


But the projections were back in the red again. It seemed unwise to make the nearly-month long trip to the flashpoint (as if it was a hard battle, the might not be missions easy enough to recoup the costs), so it looked like the paladins would have to wait a week or so until they had the Enforcer back to take on some one-skull missions for cash.


But we will leave that for the next instalment!



So. Boy am I glad I took that crate for th assassin. Should have stuck with the "that's too good!" mechs, shouldn't I? (Well, I did really want to have to use a Locust at some point...)


I'm also fairly sure the OpFor has got a lot smarter, I don't recall it running up and clobbering me with physical assaults so often...


That said, I haven't had to Does Any Reloading, which makes for a nice change of pace, though we'll see how long THAT lasts...!

(Frack me, just under the limit so not three post...!)
 
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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Two:

Boy, do I really need this not to suck after the couple of days I've just had...

So, cash was a problem again. Alarhan decided that they better get some more cash in before they tried that flashpoint. There were a couple of missions yet, the first being a half-skull assassination and one more being a one-skull battle mission.

Alarhan only had the Blackjack, Firestarter, Locust 1E and Assassin available to her. If anything got damaged, that would be it for a bit. The half-skull mission would JUST pay for the end-of-month expenses at max cash, to Alarhan decided to play it safe, rather than risk it.

She took the Blackjack, and gave Scarlet (who was a bit tougher than Poppy) the Assassin.

This tuned out to be a wise decision. While the three vehicles and locust escort were no problem, the enemy was a Cicada CDA-3C with a PPC and it managed to take out the Assassin's arm.



(Because of course the AI was landing all its hits on the same location.)

And that was that for a bit, with only three functional mechs. It would be nine days before it was worth trying anything else.

So decision time. There was enough in the kitty to cover the trip and the next month's deadline, and it would allow all the mechs (and most of the pilots) to be ready when they arrived. Or the other option would be to stay behind, wait a bit and try for the one-skull missions.

Alarhan talked to her superiors, and elected to take the gamble.

(Reload on standby...)

A few days before arrival (and the cash was looking grim again), the mechs were all repaired. Lynessa was back on her feet, and had the Locust 1M fitted out. They only had a single LRM 5, but she noticed there was JUST enough tonnage for an LRM 10 and a ton of ammo if the Locust carried nothing else, so if it stayed right back in the one in fourp'nnies it out to be okay.

The -1S locust got the same treatment, only with an SRM-6 instead. Neither was a great choice, but it was, at least, SOMETHING.

The scaffolding was fixed, so hopefully that would keep the repair time down. Lynessa wasn't going to attempt to do anything else yet though, with money being very tight.

The Locusts were done, to Lynessa had the Heat Exchanger installed on the Blackjack in place of a heat sink. In theory, this would make it able to run a little cooler (or at least not overhear as fast). Heat was a particular issue, and all of the current mechs were rather heavy on laser weapons. That was down to a day's work, which was good!

And they arrived at Tarragonia to investigate the flashpoint.

Which was to rescue some chap who’d found a starship or something from pirates.

It was a two-skull mission. Thiiiis was going to get messy. Again.

Before they set out, Alarhan increased her piloting 5 and thus gained Sure Footing, and Pskeeie raised her tactics to 5 so she had Sensor Lock.

Lynessa got back into her enforcer, Mylassta took the Blackjack, Alarhan the Assassin and Pseekie the Firestarter - this was the best line-up they were going to get. (And they would go for maximum salvage, a 6/27.)

It was time to get started.

The first contact was a slightly banged up Shadowhawk. That was still quite bad, though, since it was a 55-ton mech, heavier than any of Lynessa's. But with the sensor lock, they were able to pelt it with a little fire first.. But the Bulwarked pilot, plus the cover, granted it 60% damage reduction. This was not good.

The paladins manged to take out the Shadowhawk with light damage - but the second mech (of three) was a Vindicator.

As they moved to attack that... Enemy reinforcements arrived.

This was going to be really bad...

And the THIRD enemy Mech was a HUNCHBACK. Whose AC 20 was likely going to take out any of the mechs with a single hit.

Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap!

Lynessa elected now seemed like a good time to break out that precision fire, and aim for the right torso.

The managed to chip away at the enemy...



Until the first enemy of the reinforcements came in - and UNDAMAGED Hunchback. (Which, it turned out, was supported by an undamaged Vindicator and Shadowhawk.)

Yeah, this was not looking good.

And an undamaged vindicator.

And then it said there were more enemy contacts moving in.

(SERIOUSLY, the first Flashpoint you're given in the first month requires you to fight three medium lances?

Oh, no... it just meant the reinforcement lance have moved into sight. It didn't MATTER, because there was no way that I could win a battle against six mechs heavier than me with early-game pilots and basically unoptimised stock mechs. I gave it a shot, but was not even CLOSE. I managed to take out four, but the remaining two did a wipe.

Whelp, bollocks to that; that would be fundamentally game over. RELOAD, and sod that flashpoint, I'm gonna ignore it until I AT LEAST have some (decent) mediums. Lesson learned.)




Alarhan blinked. So, actually, she though, no they WOULD stay where they were for a good few days until the Enforcer as fully repaired and stuff.

So, nine days late, when the Enforcer was repaired, Alarhan and Pseekie increased their piloting and tactics to 5 respectively, and Alarhan lead the lance out (Enforcer, Blackjack, Firestarter and Locust 1E to fight a 1-skull battle mission. She took the Enforcer, passing the Blackjack to Scarlet.



And even there, the enemy managed a load of precision fire which damaged the Blackjack...

Salvage was a piece of Javelin (which would complete one) and a piece of Commando.

But this meant the lane was down to TWO operational mechs (the Firestarter got hit by a Flea and took overheat damage), as the new Javelin of course, had no weapons mounted...




But FINALLY, it was at least a platform in which some damned LRMs could be mounted, so Lynessa added an LRM 15 and an LRM 5 with two tons of ammo, because the lance was desperate for some long-range firepower.

So, back to a good wait, until there was actually some mechs to fight with...

While they were waiting, Summer brought back some nice meat from a little trip down to the planet.




The scaffolding completed and the Locusts were being armed and outfitted; Lynessa had Farah start on the Structural Repair for 90k (leaving them with just enough to scrape by the next payday).

The lance was ready again though, so it was time for some more missions!

There were two available 1-skull contracts - and escort mission and a base defence mission. Figuring the latter would be the most difficult, Lynessa opted to tackle that first.

so with Lynessa in the Enforcer, Mylassta in the Blackjack, Alarhan in the Assassin and the excited summer in the Firestarter, they set out.

This base had turrets, but they needed a couple of APCs to be escorted to them. Summer and Alarhan rushed out to do that and the APCs activated the turrets.

The enemy reinforcements got a little hairy, since they appeared from two directions (and neither that Darius had indicated) and manged to heavily damage several and destroy one of the buildings. But the lance and turrets just barely managed to destroy them.



Still, a good bit of salvage and the lance was undamaged, so they were ready to go for the next mission.

And this time, it was an escort mission...

The first couple of enemy javelins went down nice and easy. The convoy was actually at the extraction point before the enemy reinforcements arrived - another couple of Javelins (10-Fs with lasers) and another Panther arrived. One of the Canopian APCs took a hit, but they were away and the squad efficiently mopped up the enemy mechs - though not without the Firestarter taking some hits.



Again, though, max salvage landed all serviceable mech parts - which gave Lynessa a 10F Javelin and a 9R panther. Finally, a light mech which could have a little more teeth!




Lynessa elected to outfit the Panther with a PPC and an LRM 10, which left enough for an extra ton of armour. Finally, the lance was starting to have some long-range firepower. (Though this came at the expense of not fitting jump jets.)

In fact, at this point Lynessa elected to cancel the work on the two Locusts (1M and 1S), as it hadn’t been started yet, and the six days it would take to fit them was better spend out outfitting the missile Javelin and Panther. Put both of them and the 10F Javelin into storage.

And that was it for contracts in the system. There were a couple of travel contracts for the Appian system - one claimed it was for dealing with a pair of opposing assaults. It was very generous salvage (from the Capellan Confederation), but it WAS a two-skull mission. Still, that was about it, and it would give the new mechs time to be finished, so Lynessa elected to have a try.

(Reloading on standby again...)

Off they set... Only to run into power issues.



Lynessa though discretion might be the better part of valour.



Everyone, however, was apparently a critic.

Payday:



As they were a day out from Appian, there was just time to do that Heat Exchanger refit than Alarhan had in that bizarre dream...

Summer increased her piloting and tactics both to 5, granting her Sure Footer and Sensor Lock, so she was able to properly do her scouting job.

Mylassta improved her guts to 5, so she could take Bulwark (so cover and guarded gave her double the damage reduction).

Poppy stayed an all-rounder, improving both piloting and guts to 3.

Lynessa improved her guts to 4 (for an extra health!)

Alarhan improved her piloting to 6 (for extra defence) and her tactics to 4.

As the lance prepared to drop, Summer grumbled a bit about having to exchange her fast, jump-jet capable Firestarter for the Panther, but only half-heartedly.

Time to see what this was all about... An enemy assault mech, potentially being attacked by another enemy assault mech... And a lance of mediums and one light to deal with it...

Well, the first assault mech apparently had a full lance with it. And just as Lynessa spotted them, the Taurian forces dropped in. This was going to be messy again, wasn't it?

Lynessa Sensor Locked one of the contacts and it was the assault mech - a Stalker! Time to beat a hasty retreat, and hope that the incoming Taurian lance attracted its attention.

It still got off several shots on Summer's Panther, though, landing a nasty head hit; Summer was highly grateful of all the extra armour, though, suddenly! But for all it did, her CT was soon quite critical.

The lance pulled back, taking shots at the pursuing Spiders (Summer just broke and ran). They then retreated to the very edge of the operational area and waited until the sound of fighting eventually stopped, leaving two Taurian mechs. The first, a flea, came rushing in and was easily dealt with.

The other sat there. Eventually, the lance eased forward and Lynessa locked it - a Banshee. Well, that was better than it might have been, though it was at roughly 50% armour.

But, without a spotter, the squad were able to pummel it from long range. It manged to get a couple of PPCs hits on the Enforcer before the LRM and PPC fire (Summer was ALL in having some payback, even if on someone else) until the disabled all its weapons. Then it was a case of backing off and shooting it until it finally fell over! Phew!



After all that, there was but on piece of banshee (and none of Stalker), bit there WAS a nice + Large Laser! Lynessa select from the max salvage parts to complete another locus 1M - that could be sold - and a couple of spider parts.

Summer would be out for a while, so she spent the time improving her guts to 4 and her gunnery to 3.

Alarhan improved her tactics to 5 - while she didn't get Sensor Lock, the -45m minimum range would help anyway, especially with her current assassin mount.

Mylassta elected to upgrade her guts to 6, giving her a +15 overheat threshold, which would help with the Blackjack, which did run rather hot at the moment.

Time to stat working down the other contracts. Firstly, am assassination for the pirates, dealing with an official in a Cicada with a "very heavy escort" (though this WAs only a 1.5 skull mission...!)

With Summer and the Panther down for the count, Pseekie jumped into the Javelin.

The "heavy defences" turned out be a Vindicator, a Locust -1V, a Crab and a frelling Shadowhawk - naturally instantly running into the lance as they tried to skirt around.

Fortunately, the lance was able to hammer at them piece-meal taking the biggest threat (the Vindicator) out first.



The Shadowhawk soon followed, but dealing with the Crab -


- and the Locust -



- WHICH WOULD NOT FREAKING DIE FRAGDAMMIT caused some severe damage to the lance.

But they were down and then there was just the Cicada to go.

(WHAT. THE. FRACK?! Engaged the Cicada, blew its leg off and the Darius said "enemy is making a run for it mission failed?" I BEG you pardon game?

Okay, no. We've not having that crap. Back to the mid-mission post esort-death save and reload.)


The lance finally kited the Cicada far enough away that their combined firepower actually, finally took it out without it being able to instantly flee.



But the lance was pretty damn fracked-up.



And the salvage was principally five pieces of five different mechs. Woo. And Mylassta and Pseekie were both out, due to a head hit and Crab managing to land BOTH Large Lasers on her Javelin at max range, while she was dodging, in the same location, because of course it did.

So that was it for a week.

In the meantime, the structural upgrade was completed. Lynessa had Farah start on harness for the mechs, which would further improve the repair speeds.

(Ah, there's the medical bay upgrade, juust need the beta pod... which is worth 900k and the paladins are barely breaking-even at the moment... Typical.)

Lynessa upgraded her gunnery to 6; Pseekie spent her sick-bed time improving guts to 4 and piloting to 5 (for sure-footed) and Mylassta spent her laid-up time working on her tactics (bringing it to 5, and thus gaining the reduction to minimum range).

Assassination of a pirate in the jungle was up next; hopefully, Lynessa thought, this wouldn't be quite as trying... Alarhan moved to the Blackjack, Poppy to the Javelin and Scarlet took the Panther (the Assassin was starting feel a bit insufficient, so Lynessa figured she experiment with a harder-hitting lance.

(No, WHY did I expect the RNG to not be a little pile of unfun crap today, just like everything else? First restart after the entire enemy force (like eight mechs) attacked me at once. doesn't matter that their lights, no-one can hit anything (funny how the RNG decides that I've not brought the Assassin which was useless against anything but lights), and it manages to do better precision fire than my ACTUAL precision fire.

And again. As after going the OTHER way, the
first thing it did was get a head hit on the command, and once again, manage to hit - with a barrage of missiles and lasers - repeatedly - ONLY on location on the commander's mech.

So, no, I'm not having fun with this; frankly, this feels like the mission is deliberately stacked against me, so I'm not doing it. Reload and that's why we do the saves...


Lynessa decided to take the one-skull travel contract to the next system while the mech were being repaired.

By day 72, all the mechs were back in working order, and Lynessa fitted the Enforcer with the +Large Laser.

So, Poppy in the Assassin and Scarlet in the Javelin. Off to destroy a planetary governor’s convoy for the pirates.

(As the Panther is apparently totally useless.)

Even this mission proved to be incredibly trying, with the enemy immediately scoring a head hit on Poppy. The lance finally took out all four vehicles, the spider, javelin 10F and kintaro facing it, but it meant another round of repairs. If it wasn't for Summer and co only being a day from operation, it would be looking very bleak for the company (and the next mission would have to be full cash).



The only consolation was that there was an AC 10++, LRM 10+ and SRM 2+ and the max salvage allowed Lynessa to take all three and some mech pieces.

And there we shall leave it for today.

So, that basically mostly sucked. Y'know what I said about how nice that first session was? Yeah, the AI and RNG were determined that I was just not allowed to have any fun today, because there's nothing like being continually frustrated by your stress relief when you could really use it, is there?

Hopefully tomorrow might go better. And, like, in more terms than just BATTLETECH would be favourite.
 
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stjobe

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Hey man, just dropping in to wish you a better day tomorrow.
 

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Hey man, just dropping in to wish you a better day tomorrow.
*winces*

Ooh, that sentiment is appreicated, man, seriously, but, as the tomorrow of my last post was today....

It got literally as bad as it can get instead? Like, 2020 can be Officially The Worst, because despite all it had done, I could say "well, at least we're all still here, right?"

So, yeah. My grandmother died this morning.

(Dammit, true to current form, I can't even find a clip of Jay Sherman (from "The Critic" going "how awkward..." to make a joke about covering your reaction for you...)

(We knew it was coming, she'd gone into care a couple of weeks after the (UK) lockdown started, but...)

I am finally about in a place where I am just about to load up for a quick installment this evening (hence why I'd cracked the forum open...) Kinda felt I ought to reply, first though because the universe is having a good go at being all ironic all over me at the moment. It is starting to feel like I'm suddenly Unlucky Alf off of the Fast Show.

So, we'll just shift that sentiment to Saturday, yeah, dude? (Though with the resigned feeling that 2020 might try and take that as a challenge)?

Right. Stompy mech murder happens now, be back in an hour or few....
 

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My condolences on your loss, it's always rough losing someone even if you know they're on their last.

But yeah, let's try for Saturday instead.
 

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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Three:

Whelp, had enough in me for quick session...

So the first thing that needed to happen was a day's wait, so that the paladins actually had four available mechwarriors, also giving time for the enforcer to be repaired. 24 hours later, Summer, Pseekie and Mylassta were given clean bills of health.

Lynessa elected to take a one-skull Canopian mission to clear out a load of mercs, and take it for max cash, just to tide them over.

(Just watch this mission be full of mechs I've had killed for...!)

Mylassta took the Blackjack back from Alarhan, Pseekie got into the Assassin, and Summer once again grabbed the Panther.

The lance quickly ran into the enemy. A Firestarter ran forward and took a shot at the Enforcer. Summer whipped up to take a shot (at 45%) with the PPC and LRMs and managed a hit. "Another hit and you're toast!" she said.

Immediately, a PPC shot from the middle distance hit the panther's arm.

(Set the tone already, haven't we? Hahaha, it is to laugh.)

The lance failed to knock out the Firestarter in one go, which jumped closer to Lynessa and instantly got a head hit with the machineguns.

Because of COURSE it did.

And the Panther jumped forward and GOT ANOTHER HEAD HIT on Lynessa with its SRMs.

(So, for the record, at this point the OpFor has fired five times, missed only once (PPC shot from a Cicada at the Assassin) and has dealt two head hits to the same target.)

Two bounds later, the Panther got a THIRD head hit, this time on Mylassta.

And again, it took a ridiculously long time to kill the Cicada four-to-one.




So, off to a flying start, the commander now down for a month, and the second command for two-and-a-half weeks (a DAY after she just got out). On the first 1-skull mission. And now there were currently only four pilots.

(Okay, so if we have a repeat performance of this on the next mission, or tonight, I'm going to call it right there. I'm EXTREMELY tempted to just call it right now and declare today's session "noncanon" already. I REALLY DO NOT NEED THIS TODAY.)

Summer improved her gunnery to 4 (seeming as we are at the point where she never had more than a 55% chance to hit) and Scarlet from 2 to 4 and her tactics to 4 as well. Lynessa (for all the good it would do her) increased her tactics to 8.

So. The only other 1-skull mission in the system was a destroy base mission, which Alarhan couldn't safely attempt with the Blackjack out for three days (the Javelin was still two days from repair). The only travel contract was a 2.5 skull mission.

All the stars around were one-and-a-half skulls, so Alarhan decided SOD THIS for a game of soldiers, they'd spent 23 days and jump all the way back to Independence.

(Three days into the jump, an event spawned, the result of which was -1 medical points for a month, which meant that it would have actually increased the time that the injured spent down. No. RELOAD.)



Well, Lynessa figured, it might be all the drugs making her head woozy, but didn't they have those fancy power conduits.



Excellent, Lynessa thought, the magical walrus pixie had successfully retrieved the magical nuts for the queen of squirrels. Good job, magical walrus pixie!

Farah backed slowly out of the room.

The repair harnesses were complete, but it was going to be a week before payday, so there wasn't room in the budget for anything new. And sadly, the amount of cash needed to upgrade the medical facilities was way out of reach, being 1.8 million cbills.

Payday...


A new flash point had appeared. Yeah, no. That wasn't happening...

(Oh, HEY, there were already several flashpoints, that big one was a CAMPAIGN flashpoint (that didn't expire) - the others were not, in fact, nearly so obvious. "Prototype" looked like it was actually a 1.5 skull mission, they could DO that... And it was in the opposite direction, because of course it was. Eh, it was a 3-skull world, though.)

Ace. There was only one mission at Independence and two travel contracts. Of course. Still, at least one was back in the right direction...

First things first Mylassta jumped in the Enforcer, Alarhan into the Blackjack and off they set on a base defence mission.

The vanguard went down quite easily and they lance managed the first "pilot incapacitated" kill of the career, by knocking out both torsos and knocking a Jenner down.

And FINALLY:



A frellin' headshot.

As the last mission, the enemy coming from two directions (and from the mountain down, where the turrets struggled) made it impossible to save all the buildings, but they saved 6/7.



But a mission where the only ones hit in the head were the enemy! What a novelty!

This is more like it...

(Or course, Mylassta had picked nearly max money, so the three pieces of Javelin they could have salvaged, they only got the one, and a second from random. Typical.)

A quick check of the store for the sake or argument - there was a + Medium Laser (+5 damage) and at 77k, funds would stretch to that, after the cash mission, though there was nothing else worth it.

Alarhan raised her tactics to 6, so she also had a called short bonus, making it viable for a second person to be trying for that. Pseekie raised her gunnery to 5.

Travel to Manthraka for what looked like ANOTHER training mission...

Mylassta glared. "What do you mean, 'this is your thing'?"

"You're already in the enforcer...?" Lynessa suggested.

Mylassta stormed off in a huff...






"But, seriously what IS that rhythmic banging noise?" Stubble asked.







Figured...

*thudthudthudthud*

"Will someone please tell me what that is!" Stubble complained.







Double figured...



Guano in the commando was mostly useless, since the drop-point had been on top of the cliff, and he couldn't get down to the base.

But it didn't matter, Mylassta could nearly have taken them all solo. In the end, the only real damage was the Panther overheating.







(I mean, I don't got to repair it, what do I care, right?)

There was enough parts to assemble a 2D Commando, but Lynessa didn't really think it was particularly worth it.

Contract-wise, there was nothing but a 1 skull and 2 skull for Appian (so back in the right direction, Lynessa guessed, WOW that trip to Independence was a waste...)

Still in the shop at Manthraka, there were several fairly cheap cockpit mods.

Lynessa bought all three.

Time for FINALLY a bit of proper refitting!

Firstly, the Enforcer got an improved comm system and replaced the AC/10 with the ++AC/10 (with extra stability damage).The Assassin got an upgrade to the +Medium laser, the ++SRM 2 and a Rangefinder (+25m viewing distance). The Panther for the ++LRM 10 (stability damage) and the Blackjack got a cockpit upgrade (reducing pilot injury).

That will do for today, I think; quit while I'm ahead...
 
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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Four:

So, off to do the pirate contract at Appian!

On the way Lynessa encountered Alarhan, Scarlet and Summer attempting to construct a culinary catapult.



Well, there was no way Lynessa was not going all-in in this.



Darius could consider this retribution for constantly moaning about the low funds Lynessa was perfectly aware of.

Payday again...


Lynessa though she ought to look out for an eighth mechwarrior, between all the head hits and such; plus if they needed multiple deployments for this prototype mission, they'd need at least one more. She started to keep an eye out.

Lynessa decided to undertake the contract with the three erstwhile siege engineers, since they were in such good humour; Alarhan in the Blackjack, Scarlet in the Assassin and Summer in the Panther.



The mission was accomplished, though focussed enemy fire meant again that the lance would have to wait a couple of days for repair before taking a second contract. This would be to capture a base for the planetary government (another one-skull, this time for max cash reward).

The mission went very smoothly. The enemy was two Jenners and a Javelin - and the first Jenner Summer shot at -



-died immediately.



Scarlet increased her gunnery to 5 and got Multishot. Summer increased her tactics to 6 (to gain the called shot bonus), as did Mylassta. Alarhan increased her gunnery to 6.

The next contract was a one-skull mission to defeat an Assault Mech! this could be messy.

To maximise their chances, Alarhan swapped with Summer, allowing Summer (who had sensor lock) in the vehicle with not indirect fire and Scarlet switched into the Javelin - which would give the squad hopefully a load of long-range firepower - hopefully, it would be enough. For somewhat obvious reasons, Lynessa took max salvage.

The first batch of enemies a Phoenix Hawk and commando went down easily enough, and then the true enemy arrived, detected, but not in sight.

Summer locked on - 90-ton a CP-10-Z Cyclops! Ooer... Scarlet let fly with the missiles, to little effect.

Alarhan had a clear line of sight, though, thanks to the sensor lock, so she got both her PPC and her LRMs and...



...

...

FRACK YES!

Alarhan was very thoroughly mobbed by everyone.

the max salvage meant they could even have all three... of the four parts they needed.

(FRAGDAMMIT!)

Oh well. A piece of the other two mechs and an AC/20 made the best of the other salvage (and there was quite a lot of it).



Scarlet choose to upgrade her piloting to 4 and Summer her gunnery to 5.

Lynessa decided that formation had worked, so perhaps they would try it in an arctic battle on a 1.5 skull mission for the pirates against the local government.

(Watch it now all be very fast light mechs...)

It was! Locusts, Javelins and a couple of vehicles with the reinforcements. But the operation zone was a ridge, and the lance's make-up worked very well this time, the light mechs simply never got up to speed and they were whittled away quite fast. With the lance's improved gunnery skills (and that little boost from the command unit), it was now fairly reliable to aim for the CT and destroy a light mech quite fast.



There was enough salvage to get an operation 10A Javelin and a COM-2B Commando - both of which went to storage.

Lynessa could now level her tactics to 8 and gain Master Tactician (improving her initiative among other things), so she did.

Well, things were going quite well, so Lynessa had a look at a 2-skull mission. I was polar (good for the heat-intensive lance) and was an attack and defend mission.

(One I've not played before... Reload on standby...!)



That is an absurd number of objectives.

The mission is clearly intended for you to try and rush the enemy base (turrets came on line at some point), but the lance was simply not at the level it was feasible. I got a bit into it, to the point where the first reinforcements arrived - which was another three or four enemies (with about three stull active). The four turrets on the base were no use; only two of them ever fired and then one of those got taken out by an enemy. Theirs seemd to be able to hit from miles away with missiles.

At that point, I shook my head and went "nope." That was still way beyond my level, it was painfully clear that aside from anything else, I simple, didn't have enough ammunition to take that many enemies out.[/i]

Instead, Lynessa undertook a 1-skull convoy intercept in the badlands.

This didn’t go nearly so well with the pirates managing to blow the leg off the panther, wounding Alarhan. The panther was otherwise lightly damaged, though Alarhan had to overheat it sharply to knock out the enemy before they did too much more damage.




That seemed to be that for this system, though, without taking on those 2-skull missions with a 1.5 skull lance.

Lynessa considered hard whether to start any upgrades or buy anything from the stores (+PPC or Snub-PPC), but in the end, elected to save the cash for now, saving towards the beta pod.

It was a travel contract to Detroit, then, to do a 1-skull escort mission.

Alarhan upped her gunnery to 7. Summer took her piloting to 6 (granting her extra defence). Scarlet took her tactics to 5 and gained Sensor Lock, making her a gunnery/tactics pilot.

At Detroit, Lynessa finally located Vey Lataylaern, Pseekie's best friend, floating around. The first thing one tended to notice about Vey was that she was large. She was rather tall and quite heftily built, almost seeming to be built on a slightly larger scale than everyone around her; "curvaceous" was a good enough word (Pseekie preferred "voluptuous," if one were to ask), "cuddly" perhaps; though an unkind soul might have said "overweight"." This would both be inaccurate and rather foolish, since while Vey was generally a rather sweet half-elf, beneath what had (by at least one impressed observer) been noted as "almost aesthetic surface fat," what Vey was was mostly solid muscle and she was still young enough to be a bit self-conscious about her appearance. Her preferred weapon was a cacking great two-handed axe and she was easily the strongest of Lynessa's little students as the occasional rude person had abruptly found. Vey did mostly apologise and patch them up afterwards, though; but she'd been getting a bit too much this around here, and having taken so long to be picked up had made her a bit rebellious.



Alarhan still needed a day to fully recover, so Pseekie to the Assassin out.

The mission was to escort some vehicles - including a superheavy Demolisher with AC/20s. The first half of the mission went quite smoothly - a Locust and a trio of Javelins - and the escort escaped safely. However, the enemy reinforcements were between the lance and the extraction point: two Jenner JNR-7Ds, another Javelin and a Spider. The lance took a modest bit of damage taking them down. (The Assassin by Pseekie accidently doing a Death from Above attack - and missing, of course...) So the lance would be down for a few days while repairs were underway.



On the plus side the salvage gave them a Spider, a Locust 1M and Jenner (the latter two of which were sold right away.) With the proceeds of that and about 27 Medium lasers (leaving 20 in stock) and 33 small jump jest (likewise), there was more than enough to start work on the Beta pod and have 700k left.

(My general rule is, the first mech of any type goes into storage, all other after that get sold. It is taking rather longer to fill the pipe, as it were, thanks to the 4 salvage...)

Scarlet increased her gunnery to 6.


One day before the next payday, the lance was ready again. The Javelin was still down, so the Panther re-joined the line-up. Mylassta took the Blackjack again, Alarhan the Panther and Poppy (who needed the practise) the Assassin and the lance set off one a one-skull corporate-scientist recovery mission.

And that will be tomorrow.

(I did have a go at that mission, but the RNG once again decided it always and only hits one specific location (getting very tired of that, because it never happens to me), so after it blew up the Enforcer's torso (with an lance of a Javelin, a Spider, a Flea and a Locust) I decided I wasn't going to have any more of that crap, especially since it would have lost the +LL, which is making the grinding slightly less painful. So I'm going to do that again tomorrow.)

Yeaaah... Definitely feeling that 4 salvage. Not getting that Cyclops really hurt, especially since I'm really struggling to get anything better at the moment. Everything is really fragile, and a lot of it is lacking punch. It's very grindy at the moment. (I have considered the training pod, but I think pretty much everyone must be above its limit now.)
 

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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Five:

First bit of Part five, since it's about at the image count-per-post limit; there will be more later, but I'm breaking for going out shortly, and there was just enough time to prepare this bit for posting here!

Time beat up on some light mechs more effectively...

"Everyone: punch the enemy!"



This time, the mission went a little bit better, but the enemy STILL managed to damage the Blackjack's internal structure, taking it out for a day.



Still, the lance managed to incapacitate the pilot of the panther, rather than KO it, so there was enough salvage for a second panther, which could be sold.



Vey was still coping, and it wasn't like her. So Lynessa said they'd go out for one last spacewalk together.



It was the right choice. Vey was now much more like her usual self.

(BOOM! Lost rebellious for dependable! Huzzah!)

Payday...


Poopy increased her gunnery and guts both to 4.

On day 151, the blackjack was repaired again, so it was time for another contract; a one-skull battle contract in the jungle.

The OpFor consisted of a Javelin, a blackjack and a FRICKING 70T ARC-2S ARCHER!



This was really bad. The Javelin was protected by the winds of fortune and then the Archer was upon then. It hammered the lance, but they managed to take out its left torso. Lynessa's decision to fight in the water was very wise, since it allowed Mylassta in particular to fire all her weapons repeatedly. But then the archer ran up and punched Mylassta's Blackjack in the back, leaving it in critical condition and her in danger of imminent death.

Alarhan made the only move she could - precision fire to take out the opposed Blackjack's leg.



Lynessa jumped to the Archer's right, and using only her small laser fired, hoping desperately to take the other torso out and incapacitate the pilot.



Mylassta didn't hesitate, and ejected immediately.



Lynessa was able to jump one more and take the damn blackjack out, before it could do more damage.



(It DID not want me to have this mission itreally didn't. It took over two rounds to knock out the Javelin with the combined fire of the lance, because the damage location scattered and the precision fire missed TWICE (and it was on base 75-80% accuracy to start).

And it did NOT want me to have that Archer, no, it did not. I managed to whittle it down to the point a small laser precision shot would take it out by torso destruction (and pilot kill, as they'd knock it down once) - anything more would have taken out the CT, and it took four reloads for it to deign to let me hit on a 90%/69% chance to hit... And the moment I did, it made the Blackjack kill Mylassta. Twice.

Okay, game, no.

So, basically I had to reload and reload and reload until Alarhan (the only one who could do anything) rolled the chance to blow its leg off.

After seven or eight reloads, it became clear that it wasn’t going to do, it which meant I had to use the precision fire *(because I couldn't do more than one per round) to knock the enemy blackjack down (Mylassta wouldn't even get an action to eject) and then reload until random chance hit the Archer's RT with the small laser from Lynessa.)


The lance was badly beaten up.



Oh, great, ejecting destroys anything in the head hit slot, that's nice to know. *sigh* At least it was only the "stop the pilot getting damage" module.

Also, I really hate that I did all this work and again, I don't get a mech out of it. Definitely not a fan of the more than three salvage rules now, it's such a grind trying to get up to a point where I can actually take on higher skull missions. And I'm beginning to think the OpFor AI gets more skilled as you pilots do or something, which is bad, 'cos you can't easily even grind lower missions. It's just a really steep uphill slope.)


On the minor plus side, the salvage gave them 3/4 of an Archer and enough to finish a 10F Javelin to be sold.

Just to taunt Lynessa, there was a single piece of a -2R Archer in the store, that they couldn't afford anyway.

Lance was down for four days, while the Blackjack and the Assassin were repaired. Poppy improved her gunnery to 5 and gained Multishot.

The next contract was a one-and-a-half skull contract, in the badlands, to recover some biological samples. Lynessa took the same line up - her in the Enforcer, Mylassta in the Blackjack, Alarhan in the Panther and Poppy in the Assassin.

This proved a troublesome fight. The enemy had about four strikers, plus a Javelin, Jenner and two Spiders. The latter of whom kept running into range and spotting for the Strikers well out of sight, which was highly tedious.

The lance eventually took them down, but not before one of them hit Mylassta in the head.

(You will note that it waited to do that until AFTER she no longer had an injury reduction component. Ha. Ha. Haaa.)



Another two day's waiting around. Still, they got nearly a full spider out of it (though a 5K version) and 10A Javelin, which could be sold.

Alarhan increased her tactics to 7; Mylassta, on her sick bed, increased the gunnery to 7. Poppy, following Mylassta's example, improved her Guts to 5 and took Bulwark.

The next contract would be fighting Free World's League mechs in the badlands on behalf of the local government. Lynessa decided to switch things around a bit. Summer took the Blackjack, Poppy transferred into the Panther, and Alarhan took out the Javelin - the lance would try the long-range approach again.

It was not a mistake, per see, but it struggled to pay off. the lance encountered the enemy scout lance as they approached the lake. the enemy lance continuously pounded Lynessa's Enforcer, until it was critical on both torsos and hit her in the head for good measure. The enemy reinforcements in included a 55-ton Shadowhawk. The lance prevailed JUST barely, and only because of a fluke hit setting off the Shadowhawk's ammunition.



Summer had to eject after both the Blackjack's arms were blown off, the panther lost both of its arms...

But they final won.



The lance was in a very sorry state.



(WHY is it suddenly so damned hard?!)

As a final insult, the ammo explosion had clearly taken out the Shadowhawk's CT, denying them more than one piece (for if not, they'd have had a complete one.) They gained a Cicada 3C (yay).

And the lance did not have any AC/2s to replace the blackjack's destroyed ones.

The ONLY saving grace was that the Blackjack's heat exchanger was in the torso section NOT blown off.

So, Lynessa had a look what they could do with the Blackjack. With no AC/2s in the local store (because of course), they could only replace the AC/2s with something larger - which would be shorter ranges. With only two gun and four laser and two support hardpoints, there wasn't a great deal of room. Lynessa didn't want to out the LB-X 10AC on such a fragile platform - especially as it would have to be arm-mounted.

In the end, Lynessa decided upon this, the Blackbeam (the first official rename!)



She replaced the medium lasers in the torso with larger lasers, supplemented by two small lasers. They added the heat bank to the left torso, so help with the heat issues, and removed the armour from the arms (the medium lasers mounted there were easy to come by) and beefed up the torso front armour. Finally, Lynessa have Yang add a couple more heat sinks - in the legs, to maximise efficiency when in water.

The result was that, at very close range, the damage exceeded the original, and in theory the new version should run cooler for longer. But this came at the price of range, with both a sharp drop overall and at medium range, only coming into play at short laser range.

All this would take a LONG time for the lance to be ready, almost to the next payday.

Lynessa elected, then, not to take a travel contract. On the way to the Prototype flashpoint, some 25 days away (so two days after the Blackjack was ready) was the world of Viribium, which was a one-skull planet. The kitty would extend, at least, safely, to the travel costs and payday with most of the next ready. That would be the next stop.

On the way, the Beta pod was completed. Lynessa, from her bed, authorised the construction of the training pod, since it was fairly cheap.

Summer, meanwhile, was getting a bit restless, and from a speedster, that was a problem.




Lynessa had them analyse the natural remedy.



Which was as well, since a hyper-active speedster would have been quite terrifying and it wasn't like Summer wasn't already a bit hyper from the get-go.

The training module was completed, which was a good start; further upgrades would have to wait.

Payday:



The mechs were ready, and they arrived at Viribium. The store was empty - but for an arm and two legs mods, adding melee stability damage DFA (Death from Above) damage. These took no tonnage, and were cheap enough Lynessa bought them all up.

Time to check the local contracts.

Four or so half-skull contracts, plus a couple of one-skull, though no travel contracts. Still, this would hopefully be quick work to rebuilt the rather low cash reserves. Lynessa elected that this stage, the cash was more important that what little salvage they would get from half-skulls, so they would start at the top and work down.

"No." Mylassta said with horror.

"They can't... HERE? But how? WHYYYYYYY?"

"Hey there, Protagonist," Stubble called cheerfully. "Wow, that banging is still going on isn't it?"

(At this point, the chatter was essentially the same as the previous times.)

Mylassta wondered HOW these cretins could still not have learned anything.

Still, the base this time seemed empty - except for the fast-approaching enemy contacts...

But as they were merely a locust 1E and a Firestarter, they went down without much trouble.



On to the next one! Though first, Lynessa improved her tactics to 9, and gained Called Shot Mastery (which now might start to allow her to reliably hit stuff with called shots).

Next was a mission with so little pay (84k) is was actually worth having max salvage. Lynessa went out with the Enforcer, Mylassta in the Blackbeam, Pseekie in the Assassin and Vey in the Javelin.

The opposition was merely two vehicles and the weapons salvage was at least worth barely more than the max money contract would have made...


To be continued!

Edit: Okay, so. Stepping back a sec. Trying to do a screenshot-by-screenshot repeat of all the dialogue like it did with Stardew Valley and hiterto up to now is not really going to work here (nor is there much point for this forum in particular). This next part of today's would have generated about 88 screenshots, the vast majority of which would be that dialogue. That's kind of excessive; and beside, unlike some of my previous let's plays, there's really not a lot for Lynessa to be saying between screenshots. So instead I'm going to summarise, using the screencaps to essentially re-write the scenes and events more proper-like with the characters in question. So that's why the style will be slightly changing in that regard from this point forwards - and discovering this meant that I am not, in fact going to get the rest of part five up tonight, 'cos it'll take too long! That'll come in the morning, but it'll just take more time than I sensibly have to do it now. (My weekend is Sun/Mon, it's fine.)
 
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Interesting stuff, keep it coming :)

FWIW the AI doesn't get harder as your pilots level, but the enemy pilots do get better as the mission difficulty increases.

You do seem to be taking an awful lot of damage, a lot of the time though. It could just be bad luck, but have you considered maybe employing more cautious tactics in battle?
 

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Interesting stuff, keep it coming :)

FWIW the AI doesn't get harder as your pilots level, but the enemy pilots do get better as the mission difficulty increases.

You do seem to be taking an awful lot of damage, a lot of the time though. It could just be bad luck, but have you considered maybe employing more cautious tactics in battle?
It's not like I'm particularly incautious; where possible, I always try to move for maximum evasion (and jump where I can), and from cover to cover if I can. I think the problem is several fold.

1) I have very little long-ranged or indirect firepower (the Javelin and the Panther are it, and that's only 30 LRMs and PPC between them), so they're all brawlers, basically, which means getting close.

2) The mechs I have are all pretty lightly armoured (save for the Enforcer) to start with and have been mostly stock. (And the Enforcer's 10 rounds of ammo has started to become a problem with more than one enemy OpFor.)

3) The reliance on a lot of lasers makes most of them run rather hot, which makes things very bad in badlands maps in particular. The Blackjack was a particular offender here; Mylassta would get a couple of salvoes and then only be able to fire a decreasing amount of lasers.

4) The high evasion of a lot of the enemy mechs means that the best way to actually kill them without them running around and slowly chewing the mechs to pieces is with melee (and they do the same to me now, I notice).

5) Pure bad luck with what maps I've been on, which way I went on said map and where the opposition came from. The nasty fight with the archer was because I saw the enemy lance indicator off to the northeast, I think, and thought "I'll lure them into that nice lake there in front of me, where we can keep cool," but they reached me before I could quite get to the opposite shore and then I was taken completely flat-footed when a 70-friggin' 90% undamaged Archer showed up on my right flank! And the scrap that did the most damage was badlands and again I'd approached the lake and not only got pounced by one than one OpFor lance at once, but the reinforcements came in from the ridgeline from the south and west, but also ABOVE me. I think I only managed because the water actually kept the Blackjack a little bit cooler for another salvo or two.)


Part Five, continued:
The next contract was to destroy a trio of lights, which nevertheless STILL managed to damage the assassin's internal structure.



It was enough to let Vey improve her gunnery to 4, however.

The next contract was a convoy ambush. With the Assassin out, Pseekie took the Panther.

Despite a bit of a run to only just catch the convoy before it left, the lance managed without too much difficulty.



Pseekie increased her piloting to 6.

The next contract would be a one-skull battle.

Poppy took over from Vey (as Lynessa realised that Vey was the only person currently benefitting from the training module) in the Javelin.

The enemy lance was but three mechs, and the two went down quite quickly.

The Blackbeam was definitely better at one thing - with the addition of the small lasers, it was better at taking out overly evasive light mechs...





The salvage was enough to finish a 5K Spider, which being the second, could be sold.

the store had three new arm mods in it, so Lynessa bought them; a total of four arm modules could now increase melee stabilisation damage by 60, which could be applied to almost any of the mechs (though the Assassin and Enforcer were the most likely options...)

There was currently 1.4 million in the kitty. While there were a couple more missions at Viribium, one was a one-skull attack and defend, which Lynessa was leery of, especially in the -35% heat efficiency of the lunar environment and the other a 1.5 skull mission - and travel contracts of 2 and 2.5 skulls.

So, perhaps it was time to try that Prototype flashpoint. Lynessa checked - there was a 0.5 skull world (Claybrooke) that was reasonably close afterwards - so perhaps it was finally time!

In-transit, Lynessa decided to fit the Assassin with all the arm and leg mods, giving it at least something it could do other than snipe at light mechs with its weak weapons.



Alarhan's competence had apparently got around. The Gray Death Legion were trying to recruit mercenaries and were even offering a hundred thousands cbills to any merc company he poached from. Alarhan has been listening to his speeches about how he could change the galaxy or something and she was tempted.

Lynessa suggested she have a long think about it and not make any quick decisions and most especially to talk it over with her friends and maybe talk to her goddess.

Alarhan went away and had a long think. She decided that, no, she preferred being a magical paladin mechwarrior girl, and also, her friends (especially Scarlet) would have been devastated if she left. Also, Azurella had told her in a dream she thought this Grayson Carlyle chap seemed like he had things under control anyway, plus she'd already figured this nice blonde lass would be a good match for him...



The paladins arrived at Fagerholm!

Davinder Singh, the Free Worlds League Liaison contacted the Paladins. Six months ago, a group called Black Caldera Defence working for the head family (Andurien) of the Free Worlds League stole a prototype BattleMech - the Raven - from the Capellan Confederation and were working on reverse engineering it. The Capellans were, perhaps understandable A Bit Miffed and were laying siege to Fagerholm and taking it back, and thus ensuring that House Liao alone would have access to brand-new ECM technology not seen since the Star League and thus tip the balance. Singh wanted the Paladins to swipe it back.

And the reason they hadn’t done so earlier was that the Dame in charge of the operation and Black Caldera Defence just hadn’t told anyone and it was only that House Marik's SAFE (renowned as the Worst Spies Ever) had accidently blundered into the information, probably by tripping over it or something.

First job first, the Paladins needed to rendezvous with Bravo Lance, a group headed by his niece, who were part of the 5th Andurien Defenders but had lost about two-thirds of their forces protecting said dame and had had enough and were ready to defect.

(YESSSS! Raven! One of my top favourite mechs!)

Well, this flashpoint had a max tonnage of 200 tons and a max weight of 55 tons per mech! Yeah, there wasn't going to be an issue exceeding that, since even with the best foot forwards, the lance only reached 170 tons and the largest was the Enforcer!


Best foot forwards. Lynessa in the Enforcer, Mylassta in the Blackbeam, Alarhan in the Panther and Summer in the Assassin (best pilot/gunner combo they had currently, and thus the best melee operator.)

Oooh, urban biome - not been in this one yet.

The Lance dropped in - in drop pods, for novelty (probably because it was urban) - and made contact with Bravo lance, under Lieutenant Genevieve "Ombra" Soberano.

Bravo consisted of a Spider, a Griffin, a Trebuchet and a Javelin, all a bit banged up and who pilots were more than a little cheesed. Meyer picked up some incoming drop pods in addition to the Liao contacts. But this wasn't more Capellan reinforcements, it was Lyran Commonwealth, coming to join the party.

Lucian "Peregrine" Greene commented he hated parties.

(Somewhere in the multiverse, someone had to forcibly restrain Pinkie Pie.)

Oh, snap.

The city of New Jakobstad had very heavy penalties for being illegally parked.



The lance encountered three light Liao mechs, and between them and Bravo, managed to take out a Spider - and then the Lyrans arrived.

Alban Steiglitz-Bradford (goddess, Lynessa thought, what a name) demanded that everyone go away or the lance he had just deployed would kill everyone until they died from it.

Whatever reply Darius or Ombra started to make was drowned out by Mylassta politely suggesting that he go and perform a very specific act of sexual congress with himself. Being an educated paladin of the goddess of love and sex, Mylassta already had some quite advanced theoretical knowledge, so the suggestion was both very explicit, detailed and also responsibly safe to perform.

There was a long moment of dead silence on the comm channel as everyone who wasn't a Paladin of Azurella gaped like a fish, while Lynessa nodded approvingly. Teaching about responsible sex was one of the most important duties, after all. Finally, someone on the Steiner end screeched in a tone that suggested they were crimson with embarrassment that they should get on with things.

The Lyran lance was a Commando, a Trebuchet and an UrbanMech, on top of the remaining Lyran mechs.

Messy messy messy!

Wait, hang on, the UrbanMech was Liao - it shot the Lyran Commando in the back!

(Ahahahahahahahahahaha!)

A precise shot from Lynessa and a beautiful shot of Mylassta crippled the enemy Trebuchet.



Pesky Liao Locust!



Showing a great lack of judgement (possibly still very flustered from Mylassta's comment), the Lyran Trebuchet ran out and kicked the Liao UrbanMech - and thus presenting its back to the lance...




They choose poorly.

The Lance mopped up everything but the UrbanMech in short order, but another Liao lance was being dropped in.

Oh poopy.

And from behind, so the lance needed to watch their backs!

Wow, the hell was that building made of, the UrbanMech took it out with one shot!



The paladins and Bravo played "kick the can..."



Dealing with that just in time for incoming Liao!



Oh, a Vulcan, not seen one of those yet...

Plus a Spider.

Summer was not doing well, so far she'd missed THREE melee attacks...

Hmm, perhaps it wasn't her fault, the enemy seemed to have a STUPID high melee defence (+10?!)

Still, the Liao reinforcements oddly seemed to do nothing but run up and entrench, so the lance kicked and/or Bravo shot them to death.

One down!



The plot thickened. Back on the ship, the Paladins got a message from Marina Liao, the Capellan Confederation Liaison that they would pay a great deal for getting the Raven back and also withdraw forever from Fagenholm. Lynessa said she'd think about it.

(You'll be bloody lucky, duck, give up me one of me favourite mechs, even if I have slight leaning towards the Capellans...(

Ombra wanted a deal of her won; in return for their help, she wanted to make sure Black Caldera's information was completely destroyed, so that the Great Houses would bugger off and stop enforcing illegal parking all over Fagenholm.

Fair enough, Lynessa said (and then giggled a bit because she never got tired of using her name as a bit of pun from time to time).

Ombra wanted the squad to hit a convoy, from whom's black box they could extract the location of the Raven.

(Oh, okay,. I was expecting when it said "multiple deployments" that damage and ammo and such would persist... Apparently not.)

The second mission was to intercept a convoy. The convoy was moving fast, and by the time the lance had reached them, they were getting close to escape, forcing the lance to focus-fire on them before they got away. The lance took a lot of fire from the convoy’s escorts doing so - they were only a pair of Locusts, a Commando and a Javelin, but two or three rounds of uninterrupted fire did quite a number on the lance - and one of them manged to land a head hit on Mylassta.



Salvage-wise, there was a ++AC/10, ++ LRM 10 and ++ SRM 2, so not bad!

More bad news - Bravo had got worse. The Capellans had followed them and ambushed them, and killed Ombra with a headshot with an AC/10.

But Bravo had the location of the Raven and the Black Caldera facility. Both were heavily defended and attacking one would alert the other. No chance in doing both at once, since the armoury was an unknown and the R&D facility was heavily defended by missiles - so while Bravo (still under the guise of being local to the local forces, of course) would sneak in there, the Paladins would nick the Raven and use it to no-sell all the LRM defences.

(Yeah, you're not gettin' that back are you Liao...)

Unfortunately, nothing was getting done for a week, until the mechs were repaired!

Alarhan and Mylassta both increased their gunnery to 8 and gained Breach (to ignore cover or guarded damage reduction with a single weapon salvo). Summer increased her piloting to 7 (+20% sprint). Lynessa increased her gunnery to 8 and her guts to 5 (mostly for reducing the recoil penalty). Tactics 10 (which was -3 to indirect fire) wasn't worth saving for at the immediate moment.



And that is the end for part five!
 

Aotrs Commander

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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Six:

First off, five days while the mechs repaired.

(Had an event spawn that wanted 1000000 cbills, would have made Scarlet a criminal... and the reward was ONE part of a Highlander (it might well have been a Star League one, but, hells no. Reload!)

Darius found some Triple-F burgers in the storage and seemed upset about it. Lynessa didn't understand why, that sounded lovely. It was only a shame they didn't have a hydroponics bay to do the job properly, but she gave them to Yang instead.

Everyone was pleased with the results, especially the tech crews who worked even harder (except Darius, but he was a big ol' stick-in-the-mud anyway, so whatever).

The mechs were ready again, so it was time for the next part of the operation. Mylassta was still out, so Poppy took over the Blackbeam.



The lance was off to a good start - their first attempt to approach the base was blocked by buildings, which meant they have to backtrack (since the Panther didn't have jumpjets).

They ran into a Locust and Spider, plus a vehicle. The latter went down fast. The Locust ran up to kick the Enforcer, and was itself kicked to death, with Alarhan's PPC dealing the final blow.

The Spider was a bit cleverer - it jumped onto of a building.

So Lynessa shot the building out from under it, causing it to fall and lose all its evasion and then the lance took it out. The last defender was a Striker, which was made quick work of. This left the turrets.

Darius then helpfully noted the base had turrets.

"Yes, Darius, we're aware," Summer snapped a bit, having already been shot by them and being interrupted just as she was about to drop the Assassin’s LRMs on the first one, thanks to Lynessa's sensor lock.

The lance mopped up the first two turrets safely - Lynessa sensor locked, Alarhan moved to direct fire with the PPC and LRMs and Summer finished with the Assassin's LRMs while Poppy had a little tea break. But then Darius picked up reinforcements coming in.

The lance stayed where they were, and picked off the third turret.

The first enemies to show were a Firestarter and a Locust - supported by another couple of vehicles.

Lynessa put her new called shot mastery to use by deftly shooting off the Firestarter's leg.



(FRAGDAMMIT. AGAIN with the accidental DFA. It killed the Locust, sure, but in also managed to destroy the assassin's leg and injure Summer when it fell over - and the enemy vehicle took a shot at the head; fortunately it missed, because OF COURSE I'd not saved since the start of the mission. I REALLY hate that there's no different indicator for DFA to regular physical attacks.)



Then, of course, Lynessa somehow manage to completely miss the Firestarter’s other leg while it lay prone, so before it died, it was able to get up and shoot the Assassin again - and of course her called shot to the RT destroyed it completely by taking out the CT as well.

(Always punishing me for not saving, aren't you? FRACK, I wish there was a quicksave option.)

They started on the last turret, which actually got a shot off at Poppy before it died.

(Because the game lied to me when it said that spot was out of line-of-sight of the turret.)

But the Paladins got the Raven.



So, the Assassin was out for three days, and the leg module was destroyed (though Lynessa supposed it HAD worked for that one DFA so...)

Salvage was enough for a 1V locust, which apparently they hadn’t got one of yet.

Poppy increased her tactics to 5 (on the way to the called shot bonus).

(So, after a bit of a search to find how I did the next mission...)

Still, as it would Lynessa taking the Raven out, there was no point in hanging around or repairs...

Lynessa was leading Peregrine, Viscacha and Conqueror.

(Okay, so while you’re within the ECM field, you get loads of missile defence and a cloak charge, which is only removed if you fire, one or more enemies are within the radius or you get sensor locked. Neat.

The active probe works like an area-effect sensor lock, and also shuts of enemy ECM. Double neat.)




Cool.

Apparently Ombra's mech had been the Spider, as Bravo was a Griffin, Javelin and Trebuchet.

So. This was a somewhat difficult mission. It clearly required being very slow and painstaking.

The lance did okay to start with, picking off the enemy LRM carriers before they really knew what hit them and starting on the Trebuchets.

The problem arose when getting too close to the base and then enemy reinforcements showed up. Lynessa had to start backing the Raven off sharply. The enemy reinforcements consisted of a pair of Locusts and for once, they were a serious threat, since they could advance into the ECM field. One still got close enough to do quite a bit of damage to the Raven with but a single shot, even given it was a 1V with a medium laser and two MGs.

Being too close to the turrets also mean the Javelin got very banged up (though a 10F Javelin armed only with lasers was a really bad fit for this mission). Lynessa had to have Peregrine functionally withdraw from the fight.

Lynessa, having the benefit of being able to take one shot and stay cloaked, kept firing for leg hits - an enemy that couldn't chase them down couldn't break her ECM.

Once the Locusts were down, and the following Strikers wiped out, the enemy's pair or Trebuchets went down.



The necessity to withhold ammunition meant that Conqueror's Griffin spent most of the time only firing its PPC.

This left just the steady process of taking out a turret from range, as they lance normally would, with Sensor lock and LRMs and PPCs. (Bravo's own Trebuchet only just had enough ammunition left to fire a single LRM to finish off each turret and the Griffin had fired.)




Then it was easy to destroy the buildings.

ECM is nice, but Lynessa noted that given how easy it was for light mechs to run up and ruin it, it wasn't nearly as good as one would like.

This was the lance's current problem - very agile light mechs were at the point the lance still couldn't reliably OHKO them, and them just getting close to act as spotters (ECM or no) was a problem.



For sheer spite, given as Lynessa had not been given chance to select cash or salvage, there was a full six Trebuchet parts and she could only select two - so NATURALLY, a third, which would have given them a Trebuchet - was not given by random chance.

Back on the ship, Alexandria Cunningham, the Federated Suns liaison, offered to buy the Raven as well. Bravo at this point weren't all that bothered about what Lynessa did with it, so it was her decision that would give very careful thought to and she was having the Raven, were they kidding?

(I was 90% sure of what I was going to do, but I did glance at the other options. But, this is career mode, and Lynessa is desperate for more mechs and who knows how long it will be before she manages to grab one, so...)

Reward: a cool half a million cbills, the Raven, a piece of Atlas AS7-D (!), a +PPC, an arm mod for extra melee damage (nice!) a ++flamer and a ++ cockpit mod that Mylassta was going to demand...

Cool!

Locust 1E went into storage, and the Raven joined the line-up! Lynessa had an examination, and removed the SRM 6 and the lower leg heat sinks to add a ++LRM 10. This made it run hotter (but only 4 over the sinks), but also increased the range at which it could contribute, and staying out of range seemed like a good idea. The Raven was now name Raven Fair.

With 2.2 million in the bank, Lynessa elected to spend some cash. She started on the new med-bay expansion and checked the store. There was some nice equipment there - a +++Rangefinder at 573k adding 120m range... But that was a bit too steep, and there was a ++ version for 280k-ish that added +100, so she bought that instead.

there was also a +Heat Bank for another 380k-ish, so she bought that.

The Fagenholm system was otherwise too dangerous to attempt a mission, but there was a Travel contract to a 1.5 star base destruction mission; the kitty would survive the payday there and hopefully they could get enough at the destination.

Raven Fair got the Rangefinder.




Blackbeam replaced the Heat Bank with the +Heat Bank.

Lynessa elected to hold off improving anything else for the moment.

Payday:


A day out from Itica, Lynessa was roped into one of Darius' card games. Darius made the foolish mistake of assuming the whole "paladins don't lie" thing and forgot that, as it is said, Charisma is the opposite of their dump stat. Yang won then game after some careful manipulation from Lynessa, but Darius had been paying him with the petty cash. Ah well, tech speed would be up for a week...

There was no a lot at Itica, so the best Lynessa could hope for easy to clean up the 1.5 contract and maybe the other one (the rest was 2-skulls, and ambush convoys or higher even that that) and skip to a system only a couple of weeks away.

For the pirate mission, she took the Enforcer, Mylassta the Blackbeam, Alarhan the Panther and (as Summer was still recovering) Pseekie the Raven.

As they dropped down, and it was at this point that Darius said that the factory they were attacking might be producing Orions.

GOOD TIME TO MENTION THAT, DARIUS.

(And one reload, because I am fed up to the back teeth of the game ALWAYS hitting the Enforcer's torso to the exclusion of all other areas, especially when it does so better than I do with precision fire.)

The lance peeled off and drew out the defenders (the ubiquitous Javelins, a Panther and a Jenner) and proceeded carefully towards the base, picking off turrets.

And THEN Darius said "hey, it that a pair of Orions I see?"

YOU WHAT, MATE?!

Fortunately, the fact the lance was under stealth meant the enemy didn't seem to be approaching, so the lance snuck up and completed destroying the turrets and carefully and slowly, with lasers, levelled all the factory buildings uninterrupted.

Now, the lance could probably sneak to the drop zone, but Lynessa considered whether to see...



ERRRM!

OKAY. Two undamaged Orions, with full working weapons. FRACK.

Still, as long as the lance was stealthed, the Orions didn't see to see them, so sneaking away was an option, but...

(Hells, no. I had Lynessa take a single shot (attempting the head cap), and the one that returned fire nearly blew the enforcer's arm off. Now, had I a weapon that did more than 60 damage, I might have been tempted to reload until the 18% kicked in and got myself an Orion, but no.))

RETREAT to EVAC ZONE (for the first time ever, normally the Paladins always cleared the OpFor out...)

One frantic stealth dash to the evac zone later...



Tangling with two undamaged 75 ton heavies who weighed less than a full battle mech less than the entire lance seemed REALLY unwise, especially after they'd been in a scrap already.

Lovely though it might have been to kill them and gain an Orion out of it, it was just really not worth it. Discretion, better part of valour and all that!



You'd have thought, what with all the Javelins they'd fought, they'd have had a 10N Javelin by now.

Apparently not.

So, not even a good run for salvage, really.

Lynessa pumped her gunnery to 8.

Second mission was very similar looking and the geology also looked suspiciously similar, only it was for the Canopians against the pirates and not vice versa.

It went pretty much the same as the previous mission, though against two Commandos, a Locust and a Javelin. There were a couple of minor hiccups - destroying one the buildings left the lance exposed to the remaining turrets, so the mechs took more damage than they might, and the Blackbeam overheated slightly, because the heat was right on the line and Mylassta thought she was safe. No Orions, though, so that was better!



Still, this time, the salvage was enough to complete a Commando 2D and sell it, along with a load of medium lasers and small jump jest (to get stock down to 30).

Pseekie increased her piloting to 7 and Mylassta her tactics to 7.

That was in for Itica - there was a travel contract to Aquagea. That appeared to be the best option at the moment - Lynessa had a good look around, that was about it. A 1-skull convoy ambush mission to a 1.5 skull world.

One day, Lynessa thought, they might actually get enough of a leg-up to be able to get some larger mechs...

In the meantime, Lynessa thought a lounge might be nice for the crew, now Med Bay 2 was completed.

They arrived at Aquagea. Lynessa spotted a Trebuchet 5N part in the store, so just MAYBE they might be able to FINALLY get a second 50 ton mech if they could scrape up a spare 620k...

As this was a convoy ambush, the Raven Fair didn't seem like it would be much help, so Summer instead took the Assassin out once more.

This proved to be a hard mission.

The convoy seemed horrifyingly close to the exit point, but it was only sometime into the battle it became clear that the route was winding up to a hilltop.

The enemy light mechs against succeeded in putting in concentrated damage to both the Blackbeam and the Panther before they could be put down. (At this point, an increase to morale to get precision shots off faster was important...)



Summer essentially have to chase the convoy down herself and only managed it because of the Assassin's jump jets allowing her to leap to the top of the cliff. Alarhan did what she could from range with her LRMs, but the enemy Mobile HQ had reached the exit point before summer was able to pounce on it.

Only at the last moment did one of the Strikers double back towards the rest of the lance, else Summer might have had problems.

Lynessa wasn't saying it was close but...



Still the salvage allowed a Jenner D to be completed, and sold. But it would be two days before the lance was ready again...



Lynessa decided to make it four days, and buy a gyro and a couple more arm mods and have them fitted to the Raven and the Assassin respectively. Finishing the Assassin would take six, but the next mission Lynessa planned to undertake was a 1.5 skull battle, taking max cash (which would about pay for the trebuchet part).

Alarhan increased her tactics to 8 in preparation.

Summer took the Raven Fair this time.

One-hit melee kill!




Lynessa was relived this finally was a nice, short, easy mission. Despite the Panther STILL getting internal structure damage, the opposition (a Javelin, Commando, Jenner and Panther) went down quickly. (Naturally, the lance did not get the random salvage that would have allowed them to complete a panther...)



But the cash was enough!

Lynessa bought the Trebuchet part and they lance finally had a new 50 ton mech!

She considered carefully what to equip it with. Eventually she decided that it would replace the Panther's role. It was faster and tougher. It was dutifully give the +PPC and an LRM 15 with 15 tons of ammunition, a heat bank and the rest of the tonnage spent on armour, making it the most durable mech. Furthermore, the weapons were mounted on the right side, so it meant that any damage to the left wasn't particularly meaningful - so it could maybe turn to the left and tank a bit better.



(Watch the AI only ever hit the RT now...)

But on that high note, we shall leave this for the moment and pick it up again probably Thursday.
 

ntw

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2) The mechs I have are all pretty lightly armoured (save for the Enforcer) to start with and have been mostly stock. (And the Enforcer's 10 rounds of ammo has started to become a problem with more than one enemy OpFor.)
Ah, that'll be part of the problem then - uparmour everything except ranged support Mechs! Stock designs are wonderful (see my other posts about how I think they add character), but universally sub-optimal :)
 

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Ah, that'll be part of the problem then - uparmour everything except ranged support Mechs! Stock designs are wonderful (see my other posts about how I think they add character), but universally sub-optimal :)
As you will see, I am trying as I get new stuff in. It's just that light mechs are mmore difficult to do it with and retain some offence; not helped by the AI's phenominal ability to deal precision damage from recruit pilots in normal shooting at a rate which exceeds the best my pilots can muster with precise shot.



Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Seven:

First thing, Lynessa had to cancel and re-do a couple of the work orders, so that the Blackjack could be repaired first, then wait a day before taking the next contract.

While they were waiting, Lynessa and Darius ran across a trio of young nobles in a bar, whom were desperately impressed to see real mechwarriors. Lynessa invited them along to see a meeting with the clients, so give them a little taste of what it was like, so show them it wasn't as fun as they thought it was. Two of them were a bit shaken, but the third? The third was clearly going to become a mechwarrior.

The next contract was a straight-forward 1-skull desert battle, which the target being vehicles and a lance of mechs. The line-up would be the same: Lynessa in the Enforce, Mylassta in the Blackjack, Alarhan in the Panther and Summer in the Raven Fair.

Off to a good start, as the lance marched up a mesa, only find that there was no way down for the jump jet-less mechs, and had to backtrack.

As they got back to where they started... the first enemy mech showed up, a 55-ton mech...

But it turned out to be a Kintaro, only supported by an UrbanMech. the lance dealt with them quite easily, though the vehicles made a solid effort to Sensor Lock then LRM the Raven.



Salvage included a ++AC/10 (stability damage again), another ++LRM 10 (same) and another +50% crit ++SRM 2, plus a part each for the Kintaro and UrbanMech (actually, the first UrbanMech part the lance had recovered.)

Summer could finally improve her piloting to 8 and gain Ace Pilot, allowing her to move after firing instead of before.

The next contract was to capture a base for eh Free Worlds League from the planetary government (another 1-skull) mission.

The lance slipped forward and started taking out the base's turrets. A Hunchback 2P (with lasers, rather than AC/20) and a Javelin showed up - but a little too slow, since the lance now had plenty of morale for precision fire, and the shot both legs out from under the Hunchback before it ever got a shot off.



Little light damage to the Blackbeam...



... but half a hunchback wasn't bad.

Still, it put them out for a few days until the Trebuchet was in operation, as Lynessa wasn't willing to risk a one-skull mission with the Enforcer and the light mechs, even if one was the Raven.

Payday:



Two days later (day 242), the Trebuchet was online!




Now, Lynessa had a problem. If she took the next 1-skull contract, the pirates would stop being indifferent and start to dislike the paladins; if she took their 1.5 skull contract, they'd have to either wait three days or do it without the Blackjack and basically with only one jump-capable mech to do a defend base mission.

Lynessa sighed - better wait the extra three days...

She then set out, with Alarhan in the Trebuchet instead of the Panther and Summer swapping to the Assassin, making this the heaviest lance they'd fielded yet! All of 185 tons...

The first batch of enemies was a trio of light mechs. With precision fire, the damaged mechs were dispatched easily. The main thrust of the enemy came from the other direction, but this time, the lance was close enough to intercept them.

This group was led by a wolverine, the first one that lance had seen.

With some significant effort, the lance managed to leg-cap it.




The other enemies - a Jenner, a Blackjack and a Javelin - went down easily enough. The Assassin's melee attack was becoming quite potent, at this point!



Not a building lost, plus half a wolverine in salvage, plus enough parts to complete a Firestarter and Javelin to be sold.

Still, the Enforcer paid for it with more structure damage.

Some of the cash was sufficient to start on a library (it was quick to build, and the lance needed more morale!)

Mylassta increased her tactics to 8 and Lynessa her gunnery to 9.

Next contract - for the Canopians, taking out a (1-skull) "heavy lance."

This turned out to be a lie - it was six light mechs. Which the lance ran into all at once.

The damaged was extensive - one of the Locusts even managed a fluke critical hit to take out Lynessa's ++AC/10, and something else killed the Assassin's other FA damage boost. (Not, as that had proved, been worthwhile.)

(And here clearly demonstrated, is the big problem with light mechs in this game. In YOUR lance, they struggle to be useful - but in the hands of the OpFor - where they can have more than four at once - they are DEVASTATING. Notice that the times I've got most banged up were dealing with mostly light mechs when there were lots of them? Because their high evasion means you can't kill them fast enough not for them to run around and cause havoc. It doesn't work nearly so well with your own lance, since you a) have to worry about next battle and b) can't have more than four units. Swarms of light mechs do work, but the swarm has to be BIG enough - more than the enemy - to work.

Because of the evasion stuff, you can't even fight them at range.

Also, the RNG decided to throw a right mard-on there. "Haha, you lose two of your bits!" If I hadn't just got another ++AC 10, that would have been a reload.

AND it definitely didn't want me to have any decent salvage, either.

I also don't understand why the AI has a particular hard-on for the Enforcer....




So. That was it for missions for a WEEK.

As the lance stewed, Lynessa came across Vey fiddling with a medium laser. (Clearly trying to impress Pseekie.) Lynessa told her to do her best; it wasn't like they didn't have tons of the blessed things lying around. Vey didn't manage to improve the laser, but because she'd thought to very carefully take pictures of it as she disassembled it, she put it back together fine.

(Lesson for everyone girls and boys - it you have to dismantle a piece of machinery or electronics you're not familiar with, take pictures at every step so you know how to put it back. Seriously, it's a trivial thing to do these days.)

So, that left a 1.5 skull escort mission. Hopefully that wouldn't go as badly... Summer traded the Assassin for the Raven Fair, on the basis it might help the escorts.

As it turned out, it was pointless. While the ECM did indeed affect them, the convoy charged suicidally towards the escape point DIRECTLY TOWARDS the enemy mechs at flat-out (the lance could barely keep up with them) to point blank range, where if the enemy had been even slightly canny, they would have been stepped on.

The crowning glory was - OF COURSE - a STRAY SHOT hitting Mylassta in the head. (If it wasn't targeting the Enforcer, it was shooting Mylassta in the head.)



(Oh, and for good measure, the music didn't happen, and this mission was delated a long time, because reality required about three other things to be a massive pain in my arse at the same time.)

There was no salvage worth a damn, either - not EVEN enough mech parts to fill the selected salvage.

Lynessa abandoned the idea of trying the 2-skull mission in the system, and there was no way in frack she was going to take the transit contracts to destroy a base or do another escort mission in the desert at 2-skulls. Time to look elsewhere.

Lynessa was heading back towards the Tarragona flashpoint (another decent mech or two and they might stand a chance of doing a 2-skull mission...)

She elected to spend a couple of extra days in transit to reach the half-skull world of Arn, which was back on the way. It was also an arctic world, because the lance were tired of fighting desert battles...

The library completed, and Lynessa calculated there was just enough to scrape over the next payday if she started work on the gymnasium (she DID feel an urgent need to be punching something...)

For such a tiny world, Arn's store was very surprising: + AC/5s and 20s, an Ultra and a LB-X AC 5...

There were two training missions, but Mylassta was currently ill... So instead, Lynessa picked convoy attack mission with the highest pay out for maximum cash.

As this seemed like a good point to do so, she took out Poppy in the Blackbeam, Scarlet in the Trebuchet and Pseekie in the Assassin.

The convoy consisted of nothing more than 10-ton wheeled APCs, but the escort of a Panther and a Blackjack 2B (which appeared to have more or less the same set-up as the Blackbeam) was a surprise.



This is what should have happened that previous convoy.

Naturally, as this was a mission where the paladins had gone for cash only, they did not get a piece of the newly encountered mech (their salvage was an all-time low - two MGs and small jump jet).

Still, it made them a solid half a million cbills.



The Enforcer was out, too, for a day, due to that once again uncanny accuracy of always hitting Lynessa's torso.

One day's repairs meant...

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Shrieked Mylassta. "WHY IS IT ALWAYS ME?"

Training mission one. Of two.

Mylassta, eye now permanently twitching, was greeted by Burger Time, Guano and Pontoon. Mylassta couldn't decide whether they were following her, they were some sort of ever present Officer Jenny/Nurse Joy or they were so stupid they kept getting kicked out of every militia.

Gauno commented he loved the smell of coolant in the morning. Sumire pointed out that Would Be A Bad Thing if you could smell coolant, because it was toxic. Pontoon immediately started asking what coolant smelt like, because it smelt like onions in here...

So, the last one, then.

(Lynessa wondered why Yang kept having to repair dents in the Enforcer's console after every one of these missions...)

The enemy "lance" was a single Panther, easily dealt with.

As the idiots celebrated, a new threat was dropped in.

A 45-ton mech.

Well, that was PROBALBY a Blackjack, but Mylassta was fairly sure they could handle it, even with two UrbanMechs and a Commando...

No, it was a fully undamaged Phoenix Hawk. It didn't make a lot of difference, it never got close enough to shoot four-to-one.



No useful salvage, of course...

(Lynessa was decidedly put out. Why was it, when they did these half-skull missions for cash NOW they suddenly started finding medium mechs?)

Training mission two - with Stubble, Flapjacks and Pontoon, this time and the same set of mechs.

Stubble again heard that ever present banging over the comms...

The enemy proved to be a single 1V Marik locust. As the lance tore the hapless fool apart, a Davion dropship dropped off a single... 1M Locust. This one didn't even make half the lance, as Flapjacks OHKO'd it.



Slightly better salvage this time, not that there was a lot for it to be selected from - but it allowed a Locust 1M to be completed and promptly sold, along with the excess medium lasers, SRM ammo and small jump jets.

Next mission. Mylassta could go and rest her sore forehead, while Lynessa took out Poppy, Scarlet and Pseekie in the Trebuchet, Blackbeam and Assassin respectively on a quick half-skull polar battle.

Two Locusts and a Jenner. And they STILL managed to do internal structure damage to the Blackbeam...



The Jenner only fired twice...

Before the next mission (which would take a day for repairs...) the paladins did some training. Alarhan increased her tactics to 9, so she too could take better called shots. Poppy increased her to 6, so she got the first bonus to called shots. Summer upped her gunnery to 6 and her tactics to 7.

Next mission was one for the pirates - supposedly only half a skull but with a big (5/23) salvage. Lynessa elected to take Mylassta, Alarhan and Summer along for this one, the better to see if they could disable enemy mechs.

ONE Commando and ONE Javelin.



Despite the lance's best efforts, there wasn't EVEN enough salvage to fill the selected 5 picks.

It would have been a complete waste, were it not for the Com-2B being the last piece to make a sellable mech.

There was a fair of assassination missions up next, both one skull, one for the Free Worlds against the local government and vice-versa.

The Marik propagandist was protected by a Locust and a Shadowhawk, both of which the lance were able to take down by pilot kill (NOW of course, Lynessa wished she'd got max salvage instead of almost max...)

Sadly, the propagandist herself - in and Enforcer - got taken out by CT destruction, so not a lot of salvage there.

Annoyingly, there was still only one piece of Shadowhawk salvage (three pieces of Locust, none of which were randomly assigned...), so Lynessa settled for that and the one piece of Enforcer.



Next mission, assassinate a diplomat.

(And the guard turned out to be a Trebuchet 7K with a PPC that immediately hit Lynessa in the head.

You know what game? No. From the mission start save point, thank you. You've had all the cheap shots you're going to be allowed today, I'm fed up of it.

And even then, it manged to "miss" with the PPC and hit the mech behind it, because the RNG is just being a little [witch] today...

That's better, blow off both torsos and Lynessa takes the leg off.)


That was much more like it. The enemy came to the lance in the lake one by one, and were easily picked off.



The diplomat target was in a trebuchet 7K too.

Lynessa cursed that THIS hadn't been the damn 5/23 salvage mission.





(Game was just mocking me at this point.)

She picked two trebuchet 7K parts and of COURSE received no mech parts by random allotment.

*sigh*

Still... One more look at the store. there was a single piece of 2H Shadowhawk, enough to finally get something over 55 tons. Lynessa considered it and then looked at the ACs available and at the 2.9 million in the kitty...

Screw it, they could afford it!

After a GREAT deal of thought as to what to do with it. Lynessa decided to strip the Assassin and place it into storage, and the Shadowhawk would take over its job. The Shadowhawk was fitted with all the arm mods (including the one that the Assassin had not been) and a newly-bought Ultra AC 5 and two tons of ammo, five jump jets and everything else on armour. Its job would be to run/jump up to the enemy and give them a good punching (since Shadowhawks were quite good at that) and thence to hopefully do some tanking.

Lynessa bought the second of the two Ultra AC/5s as a backup, as well as a +AC/20 (damage).

There was a recovery mission - 1.5 skulls - to a nice arctic world that was in the right direction on travel contract, so that would be the next stop, while the Shadow Hawk - now called the Shadow Punch - was outfitted. Off to Liu's Memory!

The gymnasium completed and after payday:



There were enough funds to start on repairing the mech bay's automation systems, which would help Yang a lot.

The funds, however, was going to see a very sharp dip, because the pirate offered entry to the Black Market for half a million cbills. Lynessa wasn't pleased with the amount, but if the pirate grew to hate the, it could be five times as much, so... She paid.

Another 10k had to be spent on replacing the ventilation fans on the ship, which were failing. Farah wasn't sure this was a great solution, but without a complete rebuild (which they could have afforded just, but were not at a manufacturing world), it would have to do...

Two days out from Liu's Memory, the Shadow Punch was ready!




They arrived at Liu's Memory. Because the universe hated everyone, there was an Archer part in the store... for a 2S, not 2R Archer.

Oh, well, Lynessa thought, they might as well get on with the contract...

Summer had the great honour of having the heaviest mech (at 55 tons) the paladins had managed to acquire. Lynessa stuck with the enforcer, Mylassta with the Blackbeam and Alarhan with the Trebuchet. But the lance, at least, had now finally hit 200 tons!

(First try on the mission, two head on Lynassa IN A ROW. Frack off, game, I said before, you aren't allowed any more cheap shots today. Reload.

Note, I have had MAYBE one head hit today.)


The opponents were a Flea, Panther and Javelin, but this time supported by a Raven (why was anyone concerned about that one prototype getting loose?)



Punch Raven. After Sensor Locking, since apparently you can't melee a cloaked target, that's annoying.

The Flea managed to hit Lynessa in the head.

(ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.)

And OF COURSE the Blackbeam got internal structure damage again...



Salvage at least managed to complete a Panther for sale.

Mylassta at least could increase her tactics to 9, so she could properly sub for Lynessa (who had just max out her gunnery and was quite peeved).

Mylassta elected to do a 1.5 skull battle next, for maximum cash (it was only 2/11 salvage anyway). She took the Enforcer, leaving the Blackbeam to Scarlet.

The enemy was a lance consisting of a Flea, a Javelin, a Blackjack laser version and an Enforcer.

The lance managed to de-leg the Enforcer, but they got no mech parts as salvage.



(Notice ONCE AGAIN that the enemy precision fired to IS damage the Shadow Punch, where as I frequently miss doing that when I'm using precision fire. Pretty convinced at this point the AI has been altered to cheat clustered shots.)

Alarhan increased her gunnery to 9. Summer increase her guts to 5 (the Ultra AC had a HORRIBLE recoil penalty) and gunnery to 7. Scarlet increased her tactics to 6 for the first called shot bonus.

Mylassta bought three new arm and leg mods, and rather than just repair the Shadow Punch, elected to spend three days upgrading it as well, replacing one of the +5 melee damage mods for a +10 and adding a -10 self DFA damage to one of the legs.

There were no 1.5 skull missions left, so Mylassta decided to risk it and try fighting a 2-skull battle for the planetary government.

That went... Somewhat poorly.

The lance consisted of two light mechs, which went down easily enough, but also a Wolverine and a 70-ton Jagermech. The OpFor, for some reason, focussed fired repeatedly on the Blackbeam, even though it pulled right back and blew the right torso off. (Again, mercifully, the heatbank was in the LT, so there was nothing irreplaceable.) Scarlet ejected, since it became clear that she couldn't move out of the Wolverine’s line of sight and it wasn't worth the risk.



The only good news was that the lance managed to de-leg the Jagermech, so at least they had salvaged two parts of that.



But it meant another nine day's wait the Blackbeam and the Trebuchet were repaired.

There were only 2-skull missions left at Liu's Memory - a defend base (with a very high cash reward or a lot of salvage, which made Mylassta very suspicious it was actually a 2-skull mission) and a destroy base mission. Perhaps it would be better to head out elsewhere? There was a 1.5 skull travel contract, and that would absorb the repair time and the kitty had enough to float over the next pay day...?

We shall leave Mylassta to consider her options for today!
 

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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Eight:

So. The choice of where to go boiled down to the 1.5 skull travel contract to Linhauiguan or 1-skull Joppa (which was a trade hub and also a black market planet).

After a lot of debate, Mylassta decided to risk it and go to the former.

As she got out of medbay, Lynessa noticed Alarhan arguing with the techs. Alarhan was insisting something was wrong, but they couldn't find anything. Alarhan told Lynessa she'd been having a recurrent nightmare about her internal organs necrotising and exploding out and trying to infect everyone. The med-techs were dismissive, putting it down to one too many horror films - but Lynessa had heard of Undead that did work exactly like that and Alarhan was not one to get upset about nothing. Lynessa ordered the med-techs to take another look - and they found a massive cyst, which they had to immediately remove. Lynessa personally checked it for necrotic emanations but found none; she incinerated it with a holy blaze and ejected out the dust for good measure as a precaution.

Lynessa visited Alarhan; she was in the bed next to Scarlet, who was still recovering and the whole clique was floating around. (Poppy had been cooking with what she could find and might have overdone it a touch because Summer had insisted on helping.)

Alarhan was immensely relived and with the weight off her mind, became even more reliable than she was before, which was basically impossible, since the dictionaries were arguing about whether it should be "dependable" or "reliable" whose definition should just be picture of Alarhan.

Payday:



"Darius?"

"Yes?"

"If you nag me one more time about the finances that you think I'm not keeping such a sharp eye on, I swear to Azurella, I will lock you in a room with Summer after we've spent twenty-four hours feeding her with nothing but coffee and sugar."

Darius swallowed. "Y-yes, commander."



Mylassta cringed. This may have been a big mistake. There was ONE 2-skull mission at Linhauiguan; the rest were 2.5 or even 3 skulls. Most TERRIFYING of all was there was a 2.5 skull training mission, which Mylassta had a horrible feeling she'd be going on...

Oh, well, nothing for it but to first do their 1.5 skull battle contract... Lynessa reclaimed the Enforcer and Mylassta climbed back into the Blackbeam.

The enemy lance was a Panther, Kintaro and a pair UrbanMechs.

The lance leg-capped the Kintaro - more from habit, given they were only getting 2/11 salvage at max - and took the others out easily, without an damage, for once.



And this allows them to finally complete a Kintaro!

Lynessa thought hard about what to do with the Kintaro. She seriously considered the Coil-M, but in the end, decided to make it into a more armoured version of the their Javelin (which could then be sent to storage). It was duly fitted with jump jets, two LRM 5s and a ++LRM 10 (this being the best mix of number of missiles verses heat) and three tons of ammo, and the rest of the tonnage on armour.

They actually had a Javelin 10A in storage, so that got sold and that at least brought them above the threshold for the next payday.

Mylassta sighed. She was going to have to do this, wasn't she...? At least she'd increase her gunnery to 9 before they started.

And on checking the contract, the newbs would still be in the Commandos and UrbanMechs on a 2.5 skull mission, no freaking way.

Lynessa concurred, three light mechs with idiot pilots would force Mylassta to be fighting Azurella-knew-what largely singled-handedly, it wasn't worth it. (And it would have been unpaladinly to go in and get the idiots slaughtered, no matter how much they deserved it...)

2-skull capture base, then, same line-up as before. (They'd probably need to transit anyway after this while everything that got horribly damaged was repaired...) Summer switched to the Raven; hopefully, the ECM would give them a bit of an edge and would make it easier to deal with the inevitable turrets...

No, no turrets, and of COURSE it was a lance of two Locusts, a Firestarter and a Javelin (and so REALLY not ideal for the Raven Fair) and OF COURSE one of the Locusts head Mylassta in the HEAD.

AGAIN.

They occupied the base, only to be jump by two more Javelins (close enough one was IMMEDIATELY able to move into the Raven Fair's ECM range) a Trebuchet and a Griffon.

Crap.

The Enforcer was pounded (again) and the enemy destroyed the AC 10 ammo (though there was only a couple of rounds left). Mylassta, in annoyed desperation, aimed for a headshot on the Trebuchet and manged to get a single hit. Lynessa backed the hell off and took a pot-shot at the Trebuchet with her single large laser.



FINALLY!

(That's the first sodding one I remember getting on a regular shot for bloody AGES!)

Actually, the Raven Fair was coming into its own here, as it forced the Javelins to waste action running forward - and Mylassta proved that with two sequential precision shots, they COULD headcap enemy mechs!



Moderate damage but nothing as bad as some previois missions.



Wow, good salvage this time! Three pieces of Griffon (it was either that or three pieces of Trebuchet and the lance had no pieces of either, so might as well go for the one they hadn't got) and one piece of Firestarter (to make a new mech) for selection.

(Naturally, the RNG did not give me a piece of Javelin 10N of the two, which could have finished off another one, but a piece of 10A, of which there was none...)

With the Enforcer damaged, it seemed like it might be a good point to leave the system for better pastures. Lynessa bought a couple of arm mods, planning to equip the Enforcer with a few, so when it was forced to melee (like when it ran out of ammo), it would at least be a little bit better at it.

Hmm. 17 day’s 1-skull travel contract back to Detroit (which was in the right direction... Or 16 days to Joppa.

Oh dear, the local pirates now didn't like the Paladins. Surprising it took this long, but it would probably only take a mission or two to rectify if they could...

The Detroit contract was a destroy base in the jungle. Joppa it was!

They was a reasonably amount of pennies, so Lynessa had Farah also start on the second training module.

The mech repairs and Kintaro outfitting completed...




... so Lynessa had the four arm modules they had installed on the Enforcer, upping its melee damage by 20 and melee stability damage by 10.

Somehow, a fire started in the barracks. Pseekie was concerned the only way to extinguish the fire was to vent the pod... But Poppy found an old fire extinguisher. Lynessa sent them in to put it out (really, where was the flame-proof demon girl and ice-mage and the speedster when you needed them Scarlet, Alarhan and Summer!) The pair dealt with the fire with minimal damage, and were both feeling decidedly more confident about themselves, much braver afterwards.

Farah reminded Lynessa that those power conduits really did need a good fixing properly, so this sort of thing didn't keep happening.

Day 316, it happen. Darius came up to the lounge, where Lynessa was quietly reading a book. "We're almost completely out of cash," he said, despite there being 707993 cbills in the accounts and only 467150 expenses.

There was a sudden dead silence. Lynessa very slowly put her cup down and looked up from her book.

"Oh snap," said Darius.

"Vey, be a dear and fetch Summer would you?" Lynessa said, in her most even, polite tone. "Poppy, fetch the coffee and sugared confectionary stores, please; Alarhan, yes, good girl, stop him running away..."

They arrived at Joppa.

Lynessa checked the Black Market.

Oh, GOODNESS. If they could scrape together a spare million cbills, there was a single piece of Cyclops 10-Z which would allow them to COMPLETE IT.

(Another million would give it a stupendous communications array...)

There were no missions for the pirates (so no chance to improve their standing again, so they wouldn't be suffering a 20% price hike on the black market) and there were no less than FOUR ambush convoy missions, two defend base missions and a solitary battle.

Wow, this was going to get tedious fast...

Battle first, then, for maximum cash. Summer swapped back to the Shadow Punch, and they were ready to go.

Enemy lance was a Commando, a Jenner, a Spider and a Crab. As they knew they wouldn't get any decent salvage, the squad levelled the with CT kills without issue.



Summer increased her tactics to 8.

Lynessa elected to do the first defend base mission for max cash for expedience. (She wasn't going to bother with the other, which was a low-pay half-skull contract against pirates.)

The enemy was a swarm of light mechs and vehicles, including a couple of packrats with ECM. One of the Locust manged the damage the IS of the Enforcer (of course), but the mission was completed without any base damage.

(The locust wouldn't have done that if the game hadn’t decided to lie when it said Mylassta had a firing position where she moved and thus couldn't actually take it out.)

Putting the stomp into big stompy mechs.





Still, that brought the lance's pennies up to 2 million. so 1.3 million went on that last Cyclops part because DAMMIT, Lynessa wanted a better command mech!

Well, the command system was probably not worth it, since the Cyclops already had a computer system in the head, and that gave the whole lance +1 initiative!

Lynessa had a good look to see what she could do.

After a very long time, she sighed.

"Mylassta?" She said. "Looks like you get a treat. When we leave this system, we're stripping the Blackbeam down, and the Cyclops will be your mech!"

Mylassta's squeal largely defied physics saying it couldn't be heard in space, and Lynessa was severely glomped.

But that seemed like the best option. Putting two large lasers and four medium lasers (two +5 damage ones, including one that Lynessa had just bought), plus a couple of heat sinks and the Blackbeam's heat bank and thermal exchangers, plus four newly-bought assault jump jest would allow the Cyclops to fulfil the Blackbeam's mission profile, speed and jump capability, with having massively more armour. And, at the moment, multiple laser-death seemed the best way of head-capping, so it just made sense for Mylassta to get it.

We shall leave Mylassta squealing with delight for today!
 

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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Nine:

(Welcome to "Ambush Convoy" theatre! Let's see how many of these I can get through before I'm well and truly sick of them!)

The paladin waited a day for the Enforcer to be repaired, and started on the first one-skull convoy mission. Lynessa decided that it was worth just doing these for max cash.

(With 4 pieces for salvage and unequipped mechs, the cash was just at this juncture better than farming for light mech parts and general jumble; and if salvage wasn't a concern, the mechwarriors could just got for CT kills to get the enemy dead as fast as possible, which was definitely what they wanted for a convoy mission. Plus that extra +25% bonus for killing the guards was worth more.)

Two Javelins and a Jenner, guarding a convoy that was very close. Easily dealt with, no damage.



(Second mission: reload, because ONCE AGAIN, the OpFor MAGICALLY managed to - in two salvos from a PHOENIX HAWK - blow off the Enforcer's arm. Okay, that's the last start game, from now on I'm going to start reloading on head called shots, because I am SICK of this clearly biased shooting distribution. If nothing else it will get me into the habit of making in-mission saves if I do so before every called head-shot, since there's no quicksave.

...

Oh, okay, fine, you're going to be a pain? Reload, we'll do this X-Com 2 Being Kvetchy-Mode then, and do it for every shot.

That's more like it.)


The defenders, a panther and phoenix hawk were swiftly dealt with, with no specifically concentrated damage, except for the Phoenix Hawk's head.



Last one, then, since the last two were verses local pirates, and this was 1.5 skulls, so max salvage this time.

The enemy was this time heavier vehicles, plus a Spider, two Firestarters and a Phoenix Hawk.

Yes, Mylassta WOULD be taking the head of the latter, thank you; she served Azurella and Azurella guided her aim, not the random number gods. Yes, Azurella would also guide Lynessa's point-blank CT shot on the Firestarter so she did not, in fact, miss twice at 95% chance to hit.

And EVEN WITH Azurella's blessing, Alarhan STILL got shot in the head and the enemy STILL managed to cut into the Blackbeam's and Enforcer's IS.



They took all three pieces of Phoenix Hawk (enough with the stores to make a full one) and as well they did for they didn't get any other mech parts as random rewards.

(The RNG is REALLY fighting me today.)

They would be heading to a new system, so Lynessa had a good look at what she could do with the Phoenix Hawk. Not much, really, but with near-max armour and jump jets and a trio of heat sinks, it seemed like it might as well be as good a testbed for the Coil-M as any, for a laugh. (It had vectored thrust units, which increased the damage after jumping, so it might as well...)

The Firestarter could go to storage, as now could the Blackbeam, having done its last job.

The Blackbeam was stripped and the heat bank and exchanger added to the Cyclops, with two larger and four medium lasers, plus four jump jets and the rest of tonnage devoted to armour. (It could run fairly warm, but the heat efficiency said it was still maxed, so... In necessary, they'd refit it with a couple more heatsinks and less armour, but they'd have to see how it went first.) This was named the Decapitator, as that is what Mylassta intended to do with it.

Lynessa sighed - they wasn't enough in the cash to buy the +++Comm system and cover the next payday, so that would regretfully have to be left. (Though they didn't have a great sturdy platform for it anyway.) There was a nice ++heat exchanger (-20% weapon heat), but it would have required the Cyclops to shed armour to be fitted and nothing else generated enough heat to warrant four heat sinks.

There actually some really nice stuff in the black market overall - a ++ Narc Beacon, a ++ Snub PPC, a ++ LB-X AC/20, +++ LRM 15 and 20... But nothing that Lynessa really thought was instantly useful, at least not at the price. She elected to spend about 400k on a ++ Ultra AC 5, however, which reduced the tonnage by 2, and would allow the Shadow Punch to fit a ++Leg mod which would reduce the DFA self-damage by 30 (to a total of 40 with the leg mod it already had.)

So. 21 days until everything was up to snuff. The travel contracts were to Alloway, a 1.5 skull system with a black market but a jump away - but that took 17 days. It seemed pointless to jump that close and wait three days. After some searching, Lynessa located Mandalas, a 1.5 skull world 22 days away that had the advantage of being only occupied by the Capellans, the local government and the pirates. Maybe some pirate missions could be found there...

Ah, to heck with it; Lynessa authorised the Farah to spend a good chunk of the funds on restoring the next stage of the power conduits - there had been that fire after all - and that would be done by the time they arrived. It would likely mean some cash missions on the other side, but whatever!

Payday:



Darius spent two more day's worth of time screaming to be let out because he'd been shut in a room with a hyper-active Summer.

The Phoenix Coil and Decapitator were completed!






On the trip, the paladins did a bit more training. Alarhan increased her tactics to 10 (since she did quite a bit of the indirect fire). Summer increased her piloting to 9, since she was mostly punching things at the moment. Lynessa herself increased both piloting and guts to 6.

They arrived at Mandalas with all of 41k in the kitty. Oops...!

Contracts then!

(True to form tonight, required a reload just prior to arrival to actually GET some pirate missions, the first try was nothing but planetary government ones...!)

First off, a one-skull battle for the pirates for cash - that would also just taken out of the "disliked" reputation.

Lynessa took the Enforcer. Mylassta delightedly jumped into the Decapitator. Alarhan figured she'd try the Phoenix Coil (a 1-skull battle seemed an ideal place) and Summer yielded her spot in the Shadow Punch to Pseekie. (The other three seemed to still be getting benefits from the training module).Lynessa's Enforcer was now the fragile egg of the group.

This qualified for a 240-ton lance, 3 skulls’ worth!

A platoon of enemy vehicles, plus an enemy lance.

(The Coil-M was a bit disappointing the first try - Alarhan jumped and generated 7 evade chevrons, but the damage was only increased from 25 to 30. Then I realised you only generate extra damage with the COIL if you RUN.

FRACK OFF, GAME! The enemy light mechs fired THREE times (a Flea, a Spider and an UrbanMech and despite the fact that she was standing in cover the ALL hit the Enforcer's right arm and blew it off. FRACK. OFF. Reload. This is RIDICULOUS! The OpFor isn't even using called shots! It ALSO magically managed to get a head hit on Pseekie as well. No, sorry RNG, I am NOT having this crap today, I'm really not. NATURALLY, it only ever pulls this crap if I DON'T save mid-mission. Reload.)


OH, Alarhan thought, WOW, that was a lot of damage!




Damn, maybe they should have used that earlier!

Time to test the Decapitator and ow, that was a lot of heat. (Being in desert mission didn't help...)



(Still had a reload then, because the OpFor AGAIN managed to IS the Enforcer with not-precision fire precision fire. Naff off, game, this is RIDICULOUS.)

OpFor down...



Lynessa increased her piloting to 7. Mylassta increased her gunnery to 10 and her piloting to 3.

Lynessa elected to change her flag. she was going to remove the comm unit from the Enforcer and spend a day transferring it to the Phoenix Coil and THAT would be her new mech. It had (ironically) better armour than her Enforcer (even though it was five tons lighter), was faster and with the COIL-M, had only slightly less damage potential, but also the fire would be much more concentrated.

The next battle would be purely for reputation - a one-skull distraction mission. Lynessa was making a bit of a buffer for future actions against the pirates. It wasn't a lot, but she was fairly sure at this point the salvage from a 1-skull wouldn't be all that great, and there were plenty more mission with better pay-outs cash-wise.

Alarhan took the Trebuchet back and they were ready to go!

Well, that idea was a bust... Lynessa couldn't generate four chevrons when she ran (three was only 75 damage) - so it looked like Alarhan would be getting the Phoenix Coil back next mission, and Lynessa would take the Trebuchet next time...

The enemy - three vehicles, a Firestarter, Locust and Javelin went down fast, but not before the Firestarter's flamethrower's hit the Trebuchet and super-heated it, the desert having rally not helped.



So that was down for repairs...

Looked like Lynessa was going to be on fire support duty next mission!

Still, they did at least get a Javelin part from their three pieces of salvage, so there was that.



And we shall leave it there for today!

Really wish there was a mod to shut Darius up (I looked, but not one for the low funds message). I can understand it when you have less than the next payday's worth of pennies to hand, but he does it when you've got more than that, and he does it repeatedly and it is FRACKING ANNOYING.
 

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Bleakbane Plays BATTLETECH, Part Ten:

Next job for the pirates - 1.5 skull convoy ambush, only with one of the convoy supposedly being a Shrek PPC carrier.

So, back into the Phoenix Hawk with Alarhan, and Lynessa would be taking out the Kintaro.

The defenders did not, in fact, have a Shrek PPC carrier; it was a Striker, a Bulldog, and LRM carrier, a Shadowhawk and a Locust.

BOOM! Headshot. (And without the need for Azurella's guidance for once...!)





Three parts of Shadowhawk and one of Locust, Not enough to make anything, but they were only one part away!

Pseekie could improve her piloting to 8 and thus get Ace Pilot. Mylassta increased her piloting to 4.

Next mission would be another 1.5 convoy ambush, but for the planetary government this time.

And the convoy was guarded by...



Oh, SNAP! Mylasssssstaaaaaaaaaa!

The Shadowhawk managed to immediately get a head hit on Lynessa. GREAT. And a head hit on Pseekie from one of the vehicles.

Yeah, Azurella would be giving some guidance on Mylassta's shooting, then.

(It did NOT want me to have the Marauder. At one point, I settled for two hits on the head and it IMMEDIATLEY went and shot Pseekie with everything and HIT with everything and knocked her down. Despite her being on three evade chevrons. Twice. NO, game.

Oh, it did NOT want me to have that Marauder at ALL. Notably, in about ten reloads, the large laser hit the head ONCE and the thing that hit it most in the head was the non-plus medium lasers. (Statistically, that was a third the number of LL hits than there should have been with two firing each time at 18%.) Bearing in mind it wasn't fully undamaged, so ANY TWO of the LL or +ML would have done it, and it consistently only hit with the ML. Right, We were at the "we will do this until you give me what I want RNG, because if you're cheating with numbers I will too.")


Mylassta, annoyed at this point, forwent her lasers and straight-up used her own magical beam attack, and then Azurella herself manifested in full divine war raiment and kicked the Marauder’s cockpit in personally .



(All that, about 12-13 reloads and STILL only once did one of the LL laser hit the head; statistically, there should have been FOUR. WOW.)



First shot.

(I should fracking think so!)

Mylassta shot the hapless Javelin.

(Oh hahaha, game, a random head shot, you're so funny.)

Sumire commented "that was a lot of metal on the field for 'not much opposition.'"

Darius noted that the paladin's employer might have had a leak.

Lynessa's quiet agreement was drowned out by Mylassta's "YA THINK?!"

Pseekie merely snarled and rather viciously stomped on the last Bulldog.

"That was so not a 1.5 skull mission," Alarhan commented bleakly. "Three heavy vehicles, a striker, a Marauder, a Shadowhawk and a Javelin. If we'd not got all the new mechs and sharpened our skills, we'd have been slaughtered."



Still the salvage was three Marauder parts, two Shadowhawk parts (enough for a new one), a Javelin part (enough to build one) and the ++AC/10 and ++LRM 10 which must clearly have been coming from the Galleon assault vehicles.

The Shadowhawk was still a bit bleh. It didn't really carry enough tonnage to be able to replace any of the existing line-up and the lack of hardpoints for missiles meant that it was inferior into the Kintaro in terms of being a missile platform. So it was put into storage (but not sold.)

Lynessa, grumbling, upped her Guts to 7 for another health point, hopefully reducing the time out for NEXT time she was hit in the head.

(I would just like to point out at this stage, that Alarhan has been on 55 deployments and been injured 4 times; Lynessa has been on 58 and Mylassta 59 and they have been injured 11 and 12 times respectively. In case you were wondering why they were getting fed-up with it.)

There was a MAD 3R part in the store for just under a million cbills, which would give them another mech.

Mylassta elected, then, the next mission, a simple 1.5 skull battle, would be for max cash (as it was only 2/11 salvage max anyway).

She moved the Decapitator up to the #1 lance slot, and had Scarlet take the Kintaro, while Summer took the Shadow Punch (Alarhan still being in the Phoenix Coil).

Two Shadowhawks, a Locust and a Hunchback. The heavens was up with these 1.5-skull missions all of a sudden?

Shame, but they wouldn't have gotten much salvage even at maximum.

The Hunchback took a good chunk out of the Shadow Punch, but a couple of precision fires from Mylassta ensured it couldn't do any more damage.



The next mission would be the final one for the Mandalas system; the 2-skull capture base for Capellans against the local government they could attempt, and the final mission was against the pirates, which Lynessa and Mylassta wanted to avoid.

Alarhan increased her gunnery to 10, and Mylassta (seeing as she was forever being HIT IN THE HEAD raised her guts to 7). Scarlet raised her tactics to 7.

With the Shadow Punch out, Summer transferred into the Raven Fair. Mylassta opted to go for one shy of max salvage, which would at least potentially guarantee them most of one mech.

(If, incidentally, I seem to be fighting with the RNG more than usual; it was brought home to me today how close to breaking point I am apparently am. I can't roleplay, I can't wargame, my 3D printer's down so I can't do any useful work, there's not going to be a pantomime this year (I've been doing that for thirty years too), Nanny's gone. During this mission my Mum came in; my sisters had been talking to the campsite where we booked to go away (as we do every year) in August; they're only opening it for caravans (which we have) and my sisters and their families are deferring their bookings to next year. The mere suggestion that I might not be able to go holiday to Abersoch in Wales, as I've done every year of my existence (before I was born, even) actually made me crack a little bit. Without warning. Intellectually, I've known we might not go (and we still might not be able to if the Welsh authorities elect to not let anyone from outside Wales in), but the actual looming finality? Was just too much. So, yeah, REALLY not taking any guff from the RNG today, I've got too precious little control over ANYTHING, so I'm really not prepared to have that dictate to me as well. Back to stompy robots.)

So, Alarhan was headcapping that Trebuchet, no matter how much help Azurella had to grant her.



The rest of the enemies were Locusts and Javelins. Then there were the turrets to deal with, and finally another lance consisting of a Locust, Jenner, Spider and Blackjack.



The damage to the lance was not insignificant, even with Azurella's direct aid.

Two parts of the 7K Trebuchet (the one with PPCs) and a 10A Javelin part were enough to make two new mechs (the latter of which could be sold). There was plenty of pennies to buy the last Marauder part.

The Enforcer, then, could be retired, as the Marauder (which improved called shots and reduced damage to the whole lance by 10%?!) would be taking that role over. The Fair Marauder would have four jump jets, the +Large Laser, two small lasers, a couple of heat sinks and Lynessa elected to try with the LB-X 10 AC (with two tons of ammo) and everything else on armour. Lynessa was sort of hoping that maybe the scatter of the LB-X AC would allow more head-hits with called shots; but it was experimentation, for the moment.

The next choice was whether to take the 1.5 skull travel contract for the pirates as an escort mission, or the 2-skull base defence mission with an enemy assault mech for the Capellans (both against the planetary government...) Lynessa thought hard, but the lure of an assault mech was too good to pass up.

Once the Trebuchet was repaired, Lynessa compared it to the new 7K Trebuchet and decided that, ultimately, the latter didn't really offer anything at the moment (she could have put and AC/20 and a couple of small lasers on it, but it didn't seem worthwhile on a relatively fragile chassis.) So to storage it went.

Adding improved automaton to the mech bays was the cheapest ship upgrade, and didn't significantly impact the funds, so Lynessa had Farah start on that on the way as well.

Lynessa was then quite annoyed to have to go down to the mech bay - still limping - because the MechTechs were rioting. Summer was actually restraining Scarlet, who was shaking, and in tears of anger. That alone was a sign to make Lynessa quite cross, to have upset Scarlet that much, let alone vandalisation the Shadow Punch with "No Techs, no Mechs" welded into the armour.

"We deserve respect," one the MechTechs was shouting, "and that means a raise!"

"MISTER SONNER!" she snapped, bringing the techs up short, since none of them had ever heard her raise her voice.

"If you think you are not getting enough pay, you should have come to me! But you do not, and instead pick a fight with a girl half your age! And welding graffiti into one of the Mechs? Potentially imperilling the mechwarriors? Literally a day after I spent funds to ensure you jobs would be easier and more comfortable?

"You say," she said, striding forward towards the tech who had spoken, whose eyes had frozen with sudden fear, "you deserve respect. Precisely what about your behaviour, Mister Sonner, indicates that you deserve respect?" She snatched the wrench he was holding out of his hand effortlessly and without looking, tossed it aside. The scrawny tech was suddenly VERY aware of how very FAR the wrench went, and even Yang went a bit grey as it struck the bulkhead and actually dug in sufficiently far it stuck there.

"You, MechTech Sonner, are not acting like respectable adult, but a petulant child. I will NOT tolerate such from a member of my crew, not now, not ever. This is Azurella's Paladins, and I expect ALL of you to hold to the high standard of a paladin, whether you are fighting on the front lines, or just cleaning the Argo.

"Don't think," she said, leaning forwards over the now visibly shocked and shrinking Sonner, "I am not aware of how you MechTechs treat Maintenance Operative McKinley, Mr Sonner. How he has to clean up after your messes - which you explicitly make more of for him, because you think it is funny. And how that he will not raise a WORD of complaint against you all. And I have allowed it to continue ONLY on his insistence, and against my better judgement.

"Perhaps, Mister Sonner, you should take his example and pull your head out of your posterior.

"Did you think you could get away with this, Mister Sonner? And the rest of you? It does not escape my notice that you picked on Scarlet, rather than Mylassta or Alarhan, who would not have tolerated your bullying, would they? But Scarlet? I'm sure you thought you could brow-beat her, didn't you? Perhaps you thought you might shove her into a locker, while you were at in, did you?"

(Lynessa quietly reflected that it was a shame they had not tried it on Poppy, as it would have been a rather nasty shock. Poppy was indeed quiet and shy, but unlike Scarlet, Poppy was not deeply self-conscious with it and beneath was made of solid steel. Sonner would have got more than just a black eye from Poppy, he would very likely have been party to an unfortunate sharp confluence between Poppy's staff and his genitalia.)

"Let me make myself clear, Mister Sonner. You are not irreplaceable. So if your behaviour and your attitude does not improve and is not EXEMPLARARY for the next month, you, Mister Sonner, will be leaving the Paladins on the next planet. Am I CLEAR?"

Sonner nodded, now absolutely white. Her expression seemed to suggest she would be escorting him off the ship personally and he was acutely aware that if she did, there was no way in hell he could do anything about it.

"As for the rest of you," Lynessa said, her gaze sweeping across the cringing and now ashamed looking MechTechs. "I'm VERY disappointed in you all. You should know better."

She turned on her heel, and indicated to Summer to take Scarlet away. Now the adrenaline was starting to wear off, she could see the shock setting in. Scarlet was the most sensitive of the girls, and this sort of nastiness was exactly the sort of thing that hit her worst.

Lynessa would look into the MechTech's pay all the same, and they would get a raise when they could afford it, but she was certainly not about to bend over backwards to that kind of behaviour.

Payday.



IF the MechTechs behaved themselves, Lynessa would consider improving the pay grade next month, now that they were starting to be capable of handling higher-level contracts.

A few days later, Lynessa found herself roped into playing a game of volleyball by Summer. Summer had persuaded Poppy and Scarlet to play (Scarlet was still down after the confrontation) and, showing the guile she usually hid, correctly predicted that being on Lynessa's team would do wonders for Scarlet's mood. The four had a delightful fun game. Lynessa and Scarlet lost horribly, but that was mostly because Summer was particularly good at volley ball. Partly it was her speed (even without magic) and partly she had a lot of practise, since Summer was the sort of person for whom playing volleyball at the beach was a form of attracting the gaze of interested parties...

The girls were in much better spirits.

The paladins arrived at Sacromonte. the contracts seemed mostly to be for the Capellan Confederation against the local government (bar a single one against the pirate) and one for the pirates.

The Marauder Fair was done.




Since they girls were in high spirits, Lynessa decided she would take the Decapitator, Scarlet the Marauder Fair, Summer the Phoenix Coil and Poppy the Shadow Punch. A 265 ton lance, rated to 3.5 skulls!

The enemy vanguard consisted of a Javelin, a Griffon and a Catapult - shortly joined by the assault mech, an 80-ton Awesome.



The Javelin was run down by Poppy and finished by Scarlet. Griffon was soon disarmed and then finished off by Poppy.

Lynessa managed to (without the aid of Azurella, for once) take out the Awesome with a couple of well-placed head shots from the Decapitator, though the lunar environment was NOT good for its heat dispersion.



The lance then ran around the confused Catapult, sniping at its head, until they finally took it down. A couple of the base buildings had taken damage, but nothing had been destroyed.



Three parts Awesome 8Q, three parts Catapult C1!

The next mission would a 1.5-skull recovery mission. Lynessa elected to have it be maximum cash (even though that was not a lot). The rest of the missions were 2.5 skulls, though to it seemed wise to do this one to cover the payday first.

Two Javelins, a Locust and a Jenner didn't cause the lance any problems, for once.



(At this point, just I after I think I saved post-mission, the computer abruptly shut off. Didn't immediately turn back on, but I unplugged and replugged it in and it booted up normally. No obvious reason (in a bit of a panic, because THAT would be ALL I need, I phoned my techie mate and looked at the Event Viewer and found no obvious issues... His professional opinion was it had basically just "crapped itself" for no readily apparent reason.

So, before I was so rudely interrupted...)


Summer increased her tactics to 9, giving her called shot mastery. Poppy increased hers to 7 and Scarlet to 8 (giving her Master Tactician).

Apparently, the planetary government weren't done with attacking bases with assault mechs - there was a second one to deal with, this time a 2.5 skull mission.

Oh, snap. This time, there were apparently TWO assault mechs Sumire was detecting. Great.

Vanguard was a Raven, a Hunchback (laser version), a Griffin and a Shadowhawk.

They were wiped (thanks to the favour of Azurella) just in time for the assaults to appear; a Banshee (could be worse) and... Something that was 100-tons!?

An Annihilator.



Fortunately, the lance was able to whether the fire, for once, until Lynessa managed to take its head out with a couple of sets of precise shots.



Summer, with the blessing of Azurella, was able to down the Banshee - a slow 3S with a LOT more guns than the 3M they'd faced last time - right at the time limit.



Salvage was three Annihilator parts, the first ++AC/10 (increased damage, FINALLY, a head-capping weapon...), two parts of the 4P Hunchback, allowing it to be completed, and two parts of the Banshee.

The -4P replaced the Panther in the line-up, and would be armed more or less as its stock version - eight medium lasers and thirteen heat sinks (but an extra half-ton of armour instead of a small laser). Lynessa wasn't going to start it yet, though, in case the needed anything repaired first.

Poppy increased her tactics to 8 and Lynessa her guts to 8.

Next mission was a recovery, getting a biological sample. Lynessa opted to take near-max salvage, but she also wanted some cash. The black market didn't have a lot in it (that they could remotely afford), but there was a nice large laser that was affordable if they ramped enough some pennies over the next payday.

Oh, this was bad. The enemy lances were just either side of the facility; one of with a Raven, a 1M Locust, a Firestarter and a Crab and the other of four mediums (a Kintaro, one of each of 4P and 4G Hunchbacks and a Vindicator).

Summer took the first one (a Kintaro) out with one shot.



The battle was tense, with the lance having to split up into two halves. The lunar environment caused them serious problems - Lynessa could manage a full salvo every third turn, and Summer could only fire twice before overheating, so it became a case of fire and run. Lynessa knocked out the 4G's AC/20, and then turned and sprinted away, while the Hunchbacks gave chase.

On the other side, Poppy and Scarlet fought with the lighter lance, quickly assisted by Summer sprinting back around.

The Vindicator only showed itself towards the end of the fight, when the lance had more or less reconvened.



Summer again took it out with an (unblessed!) head-shot.

Despite it all, the lance got away with fairly minimal damage, the worst being a head hit on Poppy.



There was LOTS of salvage, but they couldn't have a lot of it. Lynessa elected to take three parts of Kintaro to complete a mech for sale, rather than three parts of Vindicator.

That more than paid for the +++Large laser.

Summer increased her guts to 7, as the Phoenix Coil overheating in the lunar environment was a problem; that might buy her a little bit more of a breather.

Next was a two-and-a-half-skull mission for the pirates - yet another ambush convoy mission. Supposedly, this was "easy pickings," but somehow Lynessa doubted it...

(Yeah, no, we're not doing that mission. When the convoy consists of a Galleon, a Striker, a Bulldog and fracking Demolisher (with two AC/20s), guarded by a Commando, a Crab and Thunderbolt, in a lunar environment where I can only fire every other round... And when Summer missed the 91% chance of taking the Demolisher out and Pseekie missed hitting it in the right spot that might have killed it and it promptly blew both of Summer's arms off? No. Reload!)

It sounded so suspicious, in fact, Lynessa decided it was far too risky.

In fact, Lynessa looked over the other missions. A 2.5 skull destroy base mission, the verses-pirates mission she wasn't going to do and a 3-skull "target acquisition" mission.

No, Lynessa decided, she'd had more than enough of this lunar place. The two travel contracts would take her back to Appian. So she instead decided to head towards one-skull Tiverton, which was a water world, and close to the Tarragona flashpoint.

Lynessa had Farah start work on the last of the structural reinforcement; there was enough cash free (and they'd likely just take mostly money at Tiverton).

Refit time! The Marauder was going to have the LB-X AC replaced with the ++AC/10 (+10 damage). The shotgun effect was, as Lynessa had suspected, really not all that good in practise.

(I have never gotten why LB-X ACs are considered good with scatter ammunition, Sure, it helps with crit fishing, but otherwise you're just sandpapering the armour off. If in this version, like in TT, you could use either cluster rounds or solid shot, I might have a bit more time for them (I'd mostly use them as slightly better ACs, though.)

Installing the regular AC required removing the small lasers, but the added damage of the ++AC/10 and replacing the +large laser with the +++ version (+3 accuracy, +10 damage) went half way to help with the damage deficit, and also put that damage at a much more applicable range (and lowered the overall heat down, too). When not on a sodding moon, it might even be practical to jump occasionally again. (Even the Shadow Punch couldn't jump more than twice in the lunar environment without overheating that that did precious little else!)

Off to Tiverton!

A couple of weeks later, the Hunchback was finished.




Payday, shortly thereafter.



Lynessa had taken the MechTech's (properly worded, reasonably presented) concerns in hand, and raised the pay for everyone.

Darius practically had kittens at the prospect (and their funds had again dropped lower than Lynessa had expected), but Darius was forever having kittens, so no-one really cared.

There was really nothing special in the store. The contracts were almost all against the Taurian Concordat from the planetary government; but there were three battle, and a couple of destroy bases. (And an almost insultingly low pay half-skull recovery mission.)

First battle!

Poppy was healed, so she was given the Marauder Fair (Scarlet's high spirits had worn off by this point) and Pseekie had the Shadow Punch.

The enemy - pair of Javelins, a Commando and a Locust - were totally outclassed. Quite what the pilot of the already damaged 1M locust thought he would achieve running up to the Decapitator to kick it is an open question.



And we shall leave it there for today!

I think we're over the hump now. Funnily enough, getting some heavier mechs (and being able to consistently head cap) has allowed me to snowball, finally. Hitting that point, though, was such a GRIND. And, I think, the problem sort of it that now we'r more or less jumping past most of the medium and heavies and are straight into getting towards assaults.

Since fielding an entirely nonstock lance with extra armour, the IS damage has also dropped off a lot, finally, as well.
 

Harmon Ward

Corporal
Jun 5, 2020
47
20
Excellent write up. I remember the change after I managed to bag my first Marauder. Wolverines and Shadowhawks did not seem so dangerous after that.
 

aswitz87

Corporal
Aug 4, 2019
41
1
While your mech loadouts boggle my mind (efficiency wise), this is a enjoyable read.

Slight note, Coils are terrible on the Phoenix. You are better off using a basic medium laser (same damage, less heat and weight) unless you plan to run all the time (but then almost any other medium mech does it with more armor).
It’s not that either is bad, they just work opposites (one jumps, the other relies on running).