Gramps' run through the Hyades Rim campaign

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MarkDey

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- - - - - - - - Flashpoint: The Periphery is a Harsh Mistress III- - - - - - -​
____ Our target is the HPG facility to prevent Harbinger leadership from coordinating and regrouping. Kitten's dropship will be making the attack run as we highlight the target. Hopefully our gifted Vulcan is fast enough.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -​
Mission 033: 3 Skull Target Acquisition ____ Employer: Satan's Kittens ____ Target: Harbingers of Doom ____ Biome: Lunar
Lance: Satan's Kitten (Dekker), Shiny (Medusa), MAD-3R (Glitch)

Report: Each pilot heads for their own beacon location, sprinting along the dusty lunar surface. No hostile units are spotted on the perimeter, but we finally get some blips as we close within 200m of the beacons. And then we get incoming fire - a lot of it. BL-UNK-KNT, TBT-UNK, GRF-UNK, WVR-UNK, CRB-UNK, PXH-UNK, ENF-UNK, HBK-UNK. There are also vehicles being deployed from a reinforced garage. 2x Bulldog, 2x Demolisher. We are able to cripple the Black Knight, through repeated shutdowns, but are forced to extract without destroying it.

Damage: Satan's Kitten, RL reduced to 60% structure, 1x Overheated. Shiny, 2x Overheated. MAD-3R, 2x Overheated. Reputation with Satan's Kittens increased to Friendly.
Advancement: Gramps: Gunnery 6 to 7, Piloting 7 to 8 - Ace Pilot. Medusa: Gunnery 7 to 8. Dekker: Tactics 6 to 7, Gunnery 7 to 8. Glitch: Piloting 6 to 7, Tactics 8 to 9.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -​
____Precentor Cattus contacts us on an official channel, thanking us for our service. We also are contacted by Kitten, and depart amicably after being informed that this is only the beginning for a bigger change in the Hyades Rim. Our reward is 1.5 million C-Bills, along with a lostech Communication system, LRM15+++, two Inferno++ launchers, and a fully assembled Tortugan Vulcan. I decide to scrap the Enforcer and bring the Vulcan into the bay to get a better look at what it can do. Regardless of what I decide though, we will need three weeks of downtime just to repair our mechs. Definitely a harsh recovery.
 
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Mu

MarkDey

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____After much thought, I decide to send the Vulcan to storage, and have Yang ready a CN9-AH chassis. That will be turned into a long distance command mech, with the recently acquired communication system, LRM launchers for supporting fire, and our only double heat sink to keep it somewhat cool. After a month's worth of work, Fearless Leader will be ready for action. I don't plan to just wait in The Twins for that to happen though, as there is a flashpoint opportunity in Sterope to solve a mining dispute that we should be able to get to before it expires.

____During our trip, I authorize a set of generous bonuses this month, about half as much of a bonus as last time. Next month will probably just be at normal pay, unless morale takes a major hit. Behemoth and I are eventually cleared for duty. As the Hysteria jumps into Mu, Darius notices a pair of contracts that could put us into a favorable reputation with Interstellar Expeditions and the pirates that run the black markets. After confirming with Sumire that we'll still have enough time left to make it to the flashpoint, I direct her to bring us into orbit. The day before we arrive, I come across a surprise.

Event - Moonlighting with an LRM: Glitch is tinkering with an LRM 15 in the mechbay, and I happen to come across her in the middle of the night. I need her fresh for the upcoming missions, and remind her that it's not her job to be playing technician right now.
Result: Glitch cleans up her work. No lasting consequences.

____The store in Mu has an ER S Laser and a Gauss Rifle, both of which I have Darius buy on the spot, making Yang happy.
 
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MarkDey

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Mission 034: 2 Skull Capture Base ____ Employer: Pirates ____ Target: Local Gov ____ Biome: Desert
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), HBK-X (Glitch), TBT-5N (Dekker)

Report: Plunder - A shipment of Spazz has been intercepted, and is being held in a secure facility. We've been hired to make the facility unsecure. Tricky, with only 160 tons to work with, but doable - especially since we're not worried about salvage for this drop. We encounter a defending patrol quickly, and Behemoth moves towards them while Glitch and Dekker move to the sides. JVN-10A, GRF-1N, CRB-20, LCT-1M. Light turrets from the base begin to open fire as well, but they are methodically silenced. 1x Sniper, 1x LRM, 1x Shredder, 1x Laser. Enemy reinforcements arrive to protect the base, and our mechs run low on ammo, but they are able to position themselves for rear shots that eliminate them. BJ-1X, PXH-1, ENF-4R.

Damage: Only armor. Reputation increased to Liked by the Pirates.
Advancement: Behemoth: Gunnery 6 to 7.
 

MarkDey

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Mission 035: 1 Skull Assassinate ____ Employer: Interstellar Expeditions ____ Target: Warboys ____ Biome: Desert
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), HBK-X (Dekker), TBT-5N (Gramps), HGN-C (Glitch)

Report: Ghost Walker - A limited time opportunity has presented itself to eliminate a mech that has been tracked for months. We will have no topographic intel, but we do at least have more tonnage to work with than our previous drop. Our initial plan to flank around the left is countered by deep water, so the long range units head to the right and jump up onto a plateau. We go on a very long flanking maneuver, and then radio Behemoth when we're in position to support her advance. She sprints into a small clump of trees to spot our targets, and the battle begins, with us scoring multiple rear and flank shots on our foes. 2x JVN-UNK, PNT-UNK (pilot kill), QKD-UNK (pilot kill).

Damage: Only armor. Reputation increased to Liked by Interstellar Expeditions. ____ Salvage: QKD-UNK, JVN-UNK assembled and moved into storage.
Advancement: Dekker: Guts 6 to 7. Glitch: Gunnery 6 to 7.
 
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MarkDey

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Mission 036: 1.5 Skull Escort ____ Employer: Warboys ____ Target: Local Gov ____ Biome: Desert
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), MAD-3R (Glitch), TBT-5N (Gramps), HGN-C (Dekker)

Report: Key Personnel - Some irreplaceable experts have been taken into custody, and we've been hired to take them into our own custody instead. Fortunately, the contract doesn't skimp on the deployable tonnage, and I decide to have Glitch take the Marauder since we have very favorable salvage terms. I just need to remember that it hasn't undergone a refit yet, so it has no jump jets. The approach to intercept the convoy is clear of opposition, but enemies show up once we redirect it. LCT-1S, JR7-A, Striker NARC, Striker. An additional group of mechs arrive as the convoy is loading onto their extraction dropship. Behemoth gets out-maneuvered as she closes to melee, and takes a critical hit in the back. Glitch does manage to decapitate two mechs with the Marauder, showing off her mastery of precision shooting. BJ-1X (headshot), GRF-1S (headshot), SHD-2H (pilot kill)

Damage: Shiny, CT rear reduced to 80% structure, Gyro destroyed. ____ Salvage: GRF-1S, LCT-1S, SHD-2H assembled and moved into storage.
 
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MarkDey

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Mission 037: 1.5 Skull Destroy Base ____ Employer: White Death ____ Target: Local Gov ____ Biome: Desert
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), HBK-X (Dekker), TBT-5N (Gramps), HGN-C (Glitch)

Report: Hide the Evidence - A raid has captured some people that know things. We are to destroy the base they were taken to so that nobody else will know those things. 240 tons should be sufficient to make that happen. A direct approach reveals a set of light turrets and fast response force of mechs. We are forced away from the base to prevent being flanked, and one of the many SRMs that are fired at us hits the cockpit of the Hunchback. 1x Sniper, 1x LRM, 1x Laser, 1x Shredder. JVN-10F (pilot kill), JVN-10N (pilot kill), WVR-6K (pilot kill), JR-7F.

Damage: Dekker injured for 14 days. HBK-X, LA reduced to 50% structure. Shiny, RT rear reduced to 65% structure.
Salvage: JVN-10F, JR7-F, JVN-10N, WVR-6K assembled and moved into storage.
Advancement: Gramps & Behemoth: Guts 6 to 7.
 
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MarkDey

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Mission 038: 2 Skull Battle ____ Employer: Warboys ____ Target: Harbingers of Doom ____ Biome: Martian
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), HBK-X (Medusa), TBT-5N (Gramps), HGN-C (Glitch)

Report: Big and Scary Mechs - There are large targets of opportunity that need to be removed, and this job will pay for 240 tons worth of mechs to remove them. Shortly after we land, another dropship contacts Sumire, stating that Spartakian Command is operating in this area and we should withdraw. Looks like I'll let these two units fight and just pick off the survivors. A 75 ton and 95 ton blip appear on our sensors, and I become very glad that we negotiated for double salvage shares. CTF-UNK, BNC-UNK (pilot kill). The bounty hunters arrive and engage the Harbinger Banshee. KTO-UNK, PNT-UNK (pilot kill), PXH-UNK.

Damage: Only armor. ____ Salvage: PNT-UNK, BNC-UNK assembled and moved into storage.
Advancement: Glitch & Medusa: Guts 6 to 7

(Updated to Hyades Rim 6.1.0)
 
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Sterope and Void Whispers

MarkDey

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____Having finished the contracts in this system, we set course for the jump point. Yang begins his repairs on the damaged mechs before returning to work on the Fearless Leader refit. Shortly after leaving the planet, Dr. Murad highlights something interesting.

Event - Void Whispers: During a calibration of our sensor array we detected an old transmission during the full spectrum tests. It was too faint to understand, but it was definitely artificial in origin. Dr. Murad would like to adjust the comms array for better gain, and Dekker has offered to help. Despite his injuries, Dekker feels well enough to volunteer for an EVA, and I give them the go ahead.
Result: The antenna is properly aligned and we receive the full transmission. However, Dekker stops responding to radio calls, and we eventually send out another EVA team to check on him. His suit has a large gash on its side, and he must have suffocated. Morale -1, Dekker dies (!), new flashpoint detected in Firey Plains.

____Still surprised by the sudden loss, I head to navigation to look at the details of this new flashpoint. ATC is asking us to go after the Mad Cat Who Walks Through Walls... which is Satan's Kittens. I shake my head in disgust. I also notice another flashpoint in Johnson's Reef, where IE is asking for help against the Antithesis Creed to deal with something that Came From The Rim. Neither of those systems are close enough for us to easily get to, so we maintain our course.

____We arrive in Sterope without further incident. I ask Darius to hire enough pilots from the hiring hall to fill our our barracks; I have a feeling that we're going to need more bodies, regardless of their skill. While he starts on that, I contact the mining company to address their flashpoint contract.

____New Hires: Mouth - 2/3/4/4; Nimbus - 2/2/3/2; Polish - 3/2/5/2 & Bulwark; Temper - 2/2/4/3; Yari - 3/2/5/2 & Bulwark
 
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PauloBrito

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And finally, Dekker goes. The rule of the universe is satisfied at least.
 
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Flashpoint: Jinxed

MarkDey

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____ Lady Centrella contacts us to say that she will be our liaison with Majesty Metals since there is a direct relation to Canopian interests. Officially, we will be working for Majesty Metals with a lance limit of 210 tons to reduce the political fallout. Our first objective will be to raid a TTI warehouse to secure data that will be used to defuse the situation. Our second and main objective will be to protect the Majesty HQ during their evacuation, which will happen immediately after, so nobody better get hurt on this drop. We've been warned to expect involvement from additional groups that will be looking to take advantage of the situation.

____ The timing of this operation can be flexible, so I'm able to secure a 30 day extension in order to have the Fearless Leader refit complete. While Yang gets to work, one of our new recruits comes to me with a different kind of job after I sign off on the normal pay rate for this month.

Event - Dubious Intentions: Mouth has located an unsecured warehouse, and wants to raid it. Darius suggests making an offer to buy the items instead. I think that Mouth is just trying to prove that he's not all talk, so I give him his chance.
Result: A few hours later, a rusty cargo truck pulls up to the Leopard with a large crate. Mouth gains Dependable. We gain a PPC++

(Hyades Rim updated to 6.1.1. A bug with being unable to complete Jinxed I, a refit to make time pass, and a mod update resulted in a mech chassis that should be impossible.)

____ Yang finds me early in the morning, and insists that I come down to the mechbay. He looks extremely creeped out. We stop in front of the HBK-X, and he pulls up the chassis history. After a few moments, I realize what he's trying to tell me. This mech has a log of refit activity that happened at the same time as Fearless Leader was being built... but there was no crew working on it. The UAC/5 was swapped for an LB-5X+, the LRM5 and LRM15 were combined into an LRM20, and there was now a lostech active probe integrated into the right torso.
____"Yang... I thought that the right torso was already full?" I looked up at the Hunchback.
____"It was, Boss. So now, it's overfull, and it's a ton and a half overweight. I dunno how it's holding together."
____I took a deep breath. "Okay, so we have gremlins. Just rename it Weirdback, and hopefully it doesn't fall apart on the next drop."
____"Very reassuring, Boss."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -​
Mission 039: 2 Skull Capture Base ____ Employer: Majesty Metals ____ Target: Taurus Territorial Industries ____ Biome: Polar
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), Weirdback (Medusa), TBT-5N (Gramps), Fearless Leader (Glitch)

Report: Our deployment is atop a frozen mountain, and using the high-end communications gear, Glitch coordinates our advance. Behemoth runs out to attract attention, and everyone else sets up along the ridge to blast mechs from afar. Behemoth jumps around, but then gets caught by a Firestarter and Shiny shuts down for a moment, stopping her momentum. TBT-5N (pilot kill), FS9-H, FS9-A, SDR-5V. Some light turrets from the base open fire as well. 3x LRM, 1x Laser. A TTI quick reaction force arrives while we eliminate the turrets. FS9-H, ASN-101, TBT-5J (pilot kill).

Damage: Shiny, 1x Overheated. Reputation with Majesty Metals increased to Indifferent. ____ Salvage: TBT-5N assembled and moved into storage.
 
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MarkDey

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____ We have a consecutive deployment, and our objective is to protect the Majesty HQ during their evacuation. There is a local TTI facility that is coordinating their response, and if we demolish it then that will end their attack. We've also been warned to be aware of pirate groups that are looking to take advantage of the situation.
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Mission 039: 2.5 Skull Attack and Defend ____ Employer: Majesty Metals ____ Target: Taurus Territorial Industries ____ Biome: Urban
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), Weirdback (Medusa), TBT-5N (Gramps), Fearless Leader (Glitch)

Report: The Majesty Metals HQ is protected by some light turrets - 1x Laser, 3x Sniper. There is also a local security lance consisting of a Flea, Griffin, and Firestarter. We will go spot for targets, and then advance on the TTI base to eliminate it. Our salvage options are poor for this part of the job, so we'll just be looking to shoot out the core of our opponents' reactors. As we move to engage, Darius reports that an unidentified dropship is approaching the combat zone - probably pirates. TTI mechs come into range and we open fire. CN9-AH, WVR-6K, COM-2D, HBK-4G (pilot kill). Medusa activates the active probe and scrambles the targeting systems of all TTI mechs, setting them up for additional attacks from the Majesty Metals units. The unidentified units arrive, and Sumire recognizes them as Jinxie and the Banshees units. WVR-TK, 2x WVR-UNK, WVR-DH. They move faster than expected, and begin engaging the TTI lance that was protecting their base. BJ-1DC, TBT-5S, CN9-A, CPLT-K2.
____ As the battle rages on, our allied Firestarter is destroyed after jumping in too close and shutting down one of our opponents. Our turrets prove useful but inaccurate, destroying several buildings and key pieces of city infrastructure. Behemoth and Medusa jump past the fight to reach the TTI base, and find a set of heavy turrets protecting it! 2x Sniper, 1x LRM, 1x Laser. Our attacks pull back some of the TTI defenders, allowing the LRM mechs to shoot them in the back. The Jinxie mechs begin to fight our allied Majesty lance, eventually destroying the Flea. Another TTI force drops into the area about the same time that Glitch runs out of LRMs. She spends the rest of the battle keeping up morale and sensor locking enemy units. FS9-A, QKD-4G, SHD-2H. I run out of LRM ammo soon after, and start sensor locking units as well. All of our allied turrets are destroyed, and the second wave of TTI forces begins attacking the Majesty HQ. Fortunately, Behemoth and Medusa have destroyed the TTI HQ, and we are all able to extract to safety before the Majesty HQ suffers significant damage. The Majesty Metals evacuation escorts are then able to engage and eliminate the remaining hostiles.

Damage: Shiny, RT reduced to 15% structure. Weirdback, RL reduced to 80% structure. TBT-5N, 1x Overheated.
Salvage: HBK-4G, WVR-6K assembled and moved into storage.
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____After the battle, we are contacted using Majesty Metals communication codes. However, it is a mysterious figure instead of Lady Centrella, and they would like to offer us an additional contract. Yang and Sumire suspect it is an attempt to get the lostech that Jinxie was using in her mech. Instead, the offer is to capture Jinxie herself. I decide to press our luck and accept the job.
 

MarkDey

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____ Our third consecutive deployment is to hunt down the notorious Jinxie amongst the urban landscape. Sumire is a big fan of Jinxie, and she's excited to get some battle footage of our operation to sell to other fans. Sumire also says that the latest holovids included a set of support vehicles, so we're going to try and eliminate those first.
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Mission 040: 2.5 Skull Assassinate ____ Employer: Majesty Metals ____ Target: Jinxie and the Banshees ____ Biome: Urban
Lance: Shiny (Behemoth), Weirdback (Medusa), TBT-5N (Gramps), Fearless Leader (Glitch)

Report: Glitch and I jump onto tall buildings while Behemoth and Medusa advance on the ground. We find the supporting vehicles easily, but the opening shots go very poorly for us, with Shiny overheating from enemy fire and Medusa being injured from a FAE salvo. 2x Striker, 2x Inferno Carrier. The band arrives in advanced Wolverines, and catches me standing still before I can jump away, detonating some LRM ammo and shearing off my right torso. WVR-UNK, WVR-TK, WVR-TQ, WVR-TP. Things start to get better, although Medusa is injured again from a spray of SPPC bolts. The last of the band members are removed from the fight just as Jinxie shows up. We are able to demolish the building she's standing on two separate times, and before she can make a run for it, precise shots sever her legs at the kneecaps. WVR-DH (legs kill)

Damage: Shiny, 1x Overheated. Fearless Leader, 1x Overheated. TBT-5N, RT & RA destroyed. Gramps injured for 14 days. Medusa injured for 28 days.
____ Reputation with Jinxie and the Banshees decreased to Disliked.
Salvage: Gyro, +2 hit defense recovered.
Advancement: Gramps & Behemoth: Gunnery 7 to 8, Tactics 6 to 7. Glitch: Gunnery 7 to 8. Medusa: Tactics 6 to 7.
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____Jinxie and her band are quickly and quietly whisked away. Yang has assessed Jinxie's personal mech, the Dark Horse, and found that it has a Tek BattleCom computer which makes that Wolverine maneuver as fast as a light mech. During the research, the historical manufacturer was notified and has claimed copyright infringement, demanding possession of the mech. I decide to ignore their demand and keep the lostech Wolverine, moving it into the bay where the TBT-5N was, scrapping what's left of that mech. We are paid 2 million C-Bills, and also receive an LRM20+++ as part of the salvage agreement. Our reputation with Jinxie and the Banshees drops to Hated, TTI drops to Disliked, and the Magistracy of Canopus increases to Liked.
 
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MarkDey

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____I decide to head to Leh to take part in the God Mecha competition, which will take us coreward through Taurian space. We should get there in just over a month, which will be enough time for Medusa and I to fully recover from our injuries. I talk with Yang about the future plans for our mechs, after signing off on a round of extravagant bonuses to boost morale just in case there is another disaster.
____Fearless Leader gets the lostech LRM20, and is fully repaired in a week and a half. Weirdback and Shiny can both be repaired in another week. Jinxie's mech gains the lostech gyro, and trades the AC/5 for two more SRM6s and more armor. That refit will take two full weeks, and Sumire has insisted that we can't keep the Dark Horse name, so it's been rebranded as Wolvie.
____Since we have some time to spend, I give Yang the go ahead to turn the Highlander into a dedicated LRM platform with 4x LRM20, renamed as Rainmaker. Its UAC/5, our other UAC/5 in storage, and our new Gauss Rifle will go in the Marauder, making that a dedicated ballistic platform called Snipe. Snipe will also have four jump jets, which will let it reposition to high ground when it goes on a hunt. Its mobility will be the main defense it has, with only scant armor covering its internal systems.
____With the prolonged downtime, people start to get bored, and one in particular starts finding fault with minor things.

Event - Minor Infraction: Glitch finds me to complain about Temper. Apparently, Darius has gotten a slew of complaints, and assigned both of them to garbage detail. Between the two of them, I need Glitch more, so I reprimand Temper for slacking off.
Result: I later hear that Temper stuffed Glitch's locker with garbage, and while that caused a few chuckles from the crew, Darius took care of discipline. Morale +1, Temper has gained Dishonest and Low Spirits for 14 days.

____As we arrive in Leh and begin heading to the planet, Yang excitedly calls up to the bridge about items that they have for sale. Two double heat sinks, and another Gauss Rifle are at the top of his list. I tell him that I'll think about it. Before I can consider it, Sumire reports a problem.

Event - Power Spike: Medbay has suffered a power spike and all systems are offline. To fix it, Dr. Murad states that we'll need to shut down all connected systems, leaving us with life support and little else for a few hours. Not wanting to just put the problem off until later, I authorize the power down.
Result: The crew were not happy with the disruption, but the system was completely repaired. Morale -1.

____While we wait for work to complete on the mechs, some of the crew head to Leh for shore leave. Temper, in particular, has been rather busy.

Event - Strictly Business: A man with slicked back hair in a suit places a call, informing us that a woman matching Temper's description racked up a two million C-Bill debt while gambling, and then fled the premises without paying. Attached security camera footage backs up his story. Temper doesn't have that kind of cash, and she's not worth that kind of debt, so I authorize Darius to cut her loose and deliver her to the gambling hall.
Result: Temper is no longer with the company.

____Looking through the hiring hall, I don't see any good candidates to take Temper's place, but at the moment I'm not in a rush. Once all of the refits are completed, we contact the local authorities to participate in their contest.

(Updated Hyades Rim to 6.1.2)
 
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Flashpoint: God Mecha

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The religuous rulers of Leh are holding a Naming Ceremony, which is basically just a series of lance versus lance combats using mechs that are provided by the Autocracy of Leh. Their mythology has more to it, but I'm not buying into their religion. If we win, then our pilots become Arauts, which are avatars of their God Mecha. Plus, the grand prize should be some good salvage.
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Mission 041: 2.5 Skull Battle ____ Employer: Autocracy of Leh ____ Target: Bad Moon Rising ____ Biome: Desert
Lance: ASN-101 (Gramps), VL-5T (Medusa), PXH-1 (Behemoth), WHM-6R (Glitch)

Report: Our lance isn't a terrible one, and I take the Assassin forward to go scout while everyone else begins moving towards higher ground. Everyone but the Warhammer has jump jets, which gives us an edge in mobility. I detect a blip and sensor lock it, identifying an enemy Assassin; a different model than mine though. The other mechs quickly come into view and the battle begins. ASN-21, VL-2T, BJ-1DC, CN9-AH (pilot kill). We core out the three lighter mechs, and then disassemble the Centurion, killing the pilot.

Damage: WHM-6R, LT reduced to 50% structure. ____ Salvage: CN9-AH assembled and moved into storage.
 
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MarkDey

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- - - - - - - - Flashpoint: God Mecha II - - - - - - -​
Same lance, different terrain, different opponents.
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Mission 042: 3 Skull Battle ____ Employer: Autocracy of Leh ____ Target: Badlands Horde ____ Biome: Tundra
Lance: ASN-101 (Gramps), VL-5T (Medusa), PXH-1 (Behemoth), WHM-6R (Glitch)

Report: We start near a small hill, and Glitch moves to the top of it for a better field of fire. The rest of us quickly advance, and find some suprising targets. CDA-UNK, JM-UNK, GHR-5H, WVR-UNK. We rush forward and blast apart the Cicada, and then jump back towards Glitch after letting loose a second volley. The Jagermech is picked apart, and when the Wolverine moves to protect it, we rush forward and smash it into the ground with melee attacks. The Grasshopper lights me up, but we have lured it out of the treeline, and so rush it while it is exposed, blasting through its rear armor.

Damage: ASN-101, RA, RL, LT reduced to ~65% structure. ____ Salvage: Gyro and Cockpit Bracing+ recovered.
 
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____ We receive a call of congratulations from Rebecca, the high priestess of the Leh religion. During the conversation, we confront her with the reports we've heard of Arauts conducting public executions at will. She restates that nobody should join the Autocracy of Leh if they are unwilling. Farah loses her temper, calling them a death cult. We are able to avoid a ceremonial duty and state that we look forward to the next combat. After the call ends, Farah begins talking about starting a revolution to tear down the government and improve the lives of the people. I pause that line of thought for now.
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Mission 043: 3 Skull Battle ____ Employer: Autocracy of Leh ____ Target: Warboys ____ Biome: Jungle
Lance: ASN-101 (Gramps), VL-5T (Medusa), PXH-1 (Behemoth), WHM-6R (Glitch)

Report: During the opening formalities, we discover that every weapon that isn't a support weapon has been disabled! It would have been good to know that this was going to be melee only combat, and Darius is already filing a colorful complaint on a separate channel with the Autocracy. Fortunately, our Vulcan should do well with these restrictions. We begin moving forward as a group and quickly detect our opponents, but are greeted by what sounds like an AC/10 shot! TDR-5S, RFL-3C. A second shot rips through the trees near me, and it's clear that the Warboys are playing by different rules. I have everyone jump out of line of sight while Glitch makes her way forward. The Thunderbolt rushes ahead to plink me with machine gun fire, putting it in the middle of everyone. We all charge in and knock it to the ground. Then I see the Rifleman pivot and fire, and everything goes white.
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____ When I regain consciousness, I can't see anything. I can't move. I can't smell. I can breathe though, and I can hear the muffled sound of a landing dropship. I remember that this feels like Coromordir before I lose consciousness again.
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____ The next thing I remember, I'm in the medbay with a severe concussion and am paralyzed from the neck down. The medtechs tell me that it's temporary, and they've seen this before from ejections under extreme circumstances. Apparently, the Rifleman landed both AC/10 shots straight into my Assassin's reactor, coring out my mech instantly. Medusa charged the Rifleman solo while Glitch and Behmoth kept kicking the Thunderbolt until it was destroyed, and then joined the Rifleman beat down. Darius and the rest of the command crew quickly appear once they are told that I'm awake, and we hook up a speaker so I can join the call from the planet that we've kept waiting.

Damage: ASN-21, CT destroyed. Gramps injured for 95 days.
 
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____ High Priestess Rebecca congratulates us, and accepts our surprise and dismay. The autocannon fire from the Rifleman was not a sanctioned part of the games (it was a bug) and an inquiry has begun into how the Warboys made them functional again. The melee only surprise was intentional, and was designed to prepare us for the final test. Our final combat, should we so choose, is against the current Arauts. Once the call ends, we begin discussing Plan B. Staging an uprising probably won't work since the populace is so cowed, but Sumire has heard that the Warboys have been expelled from the capital because of what they did. The talk ends up with two choices - trust the Autocracy and fight the final fight as is tradition, or discreetly inform the Warboys and have them crash the party. Given what the Warboys pulled during the last fight, I don't trust them to not betray us, so I decide to play this straight.
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Mission 043: 3 Skull Battle ____ Employer: Autocracy of Leh ____ Target: Arauts ____ Biome: Badlands
Lance: ASN-101 (Mouth), VL-5T (Medusa), PXH-1 (Behemoth), WHM-6R (Glitch)

Report: Mouth is the best pilot out of the recruits that we have, so he takes my spot in the Assassin. He heads to the right side to be bait, while everyone else goes left to gang up on that flank. MAD-3R, HBK-4G, GRF-1S, VND-1X. The Vindicator is beat down first, followed by the Griffin, and then the Hunchback. Mouth strays too close and takes a few hits, shearing off the entire right side of the Assassin. He gets back up though, and delivers the finishing blow on the Marauder.

Damage: Mouth injured for 35 days.
Advancement: Behemoth & Medusa: Tactics 7 to 9. Gramps: Tactics 7 to 8. Glitch: Gunnery 8 to 9, Tactics 9 to 10 - Elite. Mouth: Piloting 3 to 4, Gunnery 2 to 3, Tactics 4 to 5 - Sensor Lock
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____ Rebecca provides us with some parting words and a sealed crate before I direct Sumire to end the call. Hopefully, with the current Arauts no longer walking around Leh, things will be easier for the people for the next decade. We don't receive any C-Bills, but Yang is very excited about what's in the crate - a fully complete Star League Phoenix Hawk! I decide to send Shiny into storage and have this mech take over the scouting role for the lance after Yang works his magic. Days pass, and I receive an unexpected sort of visit in the medbay.

Event - Phantom Pain: Medusa is in the medbay for the third time today about a growing pain in his abdomen. The medtech insists that their scans have found nothing, and it's likely something neurological. He asks me to intervene, and I order the medtech to perform a second scan with a different set of equipment.
Result: The results come back in a few hours, and there are no physical abnormalities detected. The anti-anxiety medication that Medusa was prescribed has made a difference though, and he pledges to keep up his visits and counseling. Medusa loses Cautious. -1 Medical Point for 30 days.

As time passes, all of the pilots visit Leh, and the newly crowned Arauts have various responses to their presence. They are under strict orders not to harm anyone. I do, however, hear from Darius about a unique encounter.

Event - Bellowing Behemoth: A huge, hairy, leather-clad man was bellowing in apparent fury at Behemoth and Darius as they were visiting a market. Instead of squaring up for a fight, Behemoth takes a wide stance and bellows back. Darius, curious, continued watching, ready for trouble.
Result: The posing and shouting continued until the man ran in and lifted Behemoth up in a bear hug. Apparently, she knew him from her past, and this was a good start to social drinks and tall tales. +1 Morale, Behemoth gains High Spirits for 30 days.

It takes about five weeks, but the Phoenix Hawk is remade, with a L Pulse Laser for long range work, three M Lasers with varying levels of enhancement, the TAG for marking and surgery, and three MG++ plus a lostech arm mod to vastly improve its melee stability damage for close in fighting. It's been named Valkyrie, and I can't wait to try it out once I heal up, although it looks like I still have several months of recovery to go.

(Updated Hyades Rim to 6.1.3)
 
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Mission 044: 1 Skull Recovery ____ Employer: Magna Metals ____ Target: Ghost Riders ____ Biome: Jungle
Lance: Wolvie (Medusa), Valkyrie (Behemoth), Fearless Leader (Nimbus), Rainmaker (Glitch)

Report: Black Site - This job is to extract an operative and an encryption key from an organization that is the Autocracy of Leh's external missions group. Sounds like a wonderful target to warm up on, with no drop restrictions. I've asked the veterans to run each new recruit on a mission so we have some better backup for when people are injured. Seems like keeping the rookies away from the shooting is the best way for them to learn, so Nimbus gets into Fearless Leader and we get to work. Our drop location is terrible - the base of a forested mountain with the recovery location at the top. Medusa and Behemoth jump ahead to advance, while Glitch and Nimbus move to the right. FS9-H, FS9-K (pilot kill), 2x LCT-3V. The Locusts are surprisingly aggressive and swarm Medusa, striking his cockpit with bursts of MG fire. The Firestarters also manage to overheat his mech before he can move clear.

Damage: Wolvie, 1x Overheated. Medusa injured for 16 days. ____ Salvage: FS9-K assembled and moved into storage.
Advancement: Nimbus: Gunnery 2 to 3, Piloting 2 to 3.
 
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Mission 045: 1 Skull Capture Base ____ Employer: Alphard Trading Company ____ Target: Unitron Incorporated ____ Biome: Desert
Lance: Valkyrie (Behemoth), Wolvie (Polish), Fearless Leader (Nimbus), Rainmaker (Glitch)

Report: Lodgement - Our task is to secure a military base so ATC can use it for further operations on Leh. Polish is picked for the drop and shows up, well... polished - true to her callsign. She takes Wolvie since she already knows how to turn cover into a bulwark against incoming fire. Sumire drops the lance into a mineral field to somewhat mask the landing, and then the team moves out. They encounter a defending force relatively quickly. CDA-2A, TBT-5N (pilot kill). As they press on to the base, standard turrets begin powering up, and Sumire detects that reinforcements are on their way. 2x LRM, 1x Laser, 1x Shredder. FS9-H, FS9-K (pilot kill), 2x JVN-10N. Behemoth is struck in the head as the Javelins open up with a barrage of SRMs, but the added cockpit bracing saves her from serious injury.

Damage: Only armor. ____ Salvage: TBT-5N, FS9-H, FS9-K assembled and moved into storage.
Advancement: Polish & Nimbus: Gunnery 3 to 4.
 
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Mission 046: 2 Skull Escort ____ Employer: Alphard Trading Company ____ Target: Badlands Horde ____ Biome: Jungle
Lance: Valkyrie (Behemoth), Wolvie (Yari), Fearless Leader (Nimbus), Rainmaker (Glitch)

Report: Professional Lifestyle - For the last unrestricted drop on Leh, we are deploying to hijack a convoy and protect it from a mercenary that is leading a bunch of raiders who also wants the cargo. Yari will pilot Wolvie this time instead of Polish, and she also knows some defensive skills. Our payment for this job is mostly to boost our reputation, so I'm not worried about disassembling our opposition. Sumire gets us to the convoy before the raiders, and Behemoth and Yari run to secure the convoy while Glitch and Nimbus move up the mountain on the way to the extraction zone. After we get the vehicles heading our way, raiders appear on our sensors. COM-UNK, FLE-UNK, LCT-UNK, BJ-UNK. After defeating that roadblock, the convoy gets to the landing pad, and two more mechs arrive. The Professional announces their presence, and Behemoth jumps behind to blast through the rear armor, coring the mech in a single salvo. TDR-UNK, DRG-UNK.

Damage: Only armor.
Advancement: Yari: Gunnery 3 to 4, Piloring 2 to 3, Tactics 2 to 3. Nimbus: Piloting 3 to 4, Guts 3 to 4, Tactics 2 to 3.
 
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