Sunday, September 26, 2010


It was late evening, and deep in the darkest recesses of the most obscure, run-down and quiet of the Badlands Caravan Guild vehicle bays, Gade Vonyran was toiling away in relative frustration.

“Goddamn keffer parts,” the mechanic switched to his native Equitorial Hispanic and let the offending piece of ceramic and wiring really have it. After several by-the-book attempts, Gade had even tried the tried-and-true method of hitting the thing with a wrench, but no joy. Whatever it was, it was going to have to be replaced by something Terranovan.

Updated Caravan Roster: Major NPCs, 1935


Brom, Avatanya: 55/F, Hand to hand combat; leadership.
Avatanya is the nominal leader of the Caravan Guild's "Alpha Caravan" (decided upon when no one else could come up with a better name). She still smokes cigars, still drinks Trinwood Blue, and takes care of Trishaw Carmichael in her spare time.

Cantor, Benjamin: 55/M, Negotiation, leadership.
After recuperating, Ben Cantor is back on the Caravan as the lead contract negotiator and resident commie-hippy activist.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Last night, Our Heroes (tm) returned to Peace River as part of a diplomatic delegation from the Free Emirates. Their main point of contact was none other than Maia Kessler. Surprisingly, no one died. No one was even wounded, except for people we don't like anyway. There was, on the other hand, much banter.

24 September 2010 Peace River Machinations - Again

Our heroes return to PR, where, surprise surprise, they encounter none other than Maia Kessler.

Antics follow.  No one is killed (or even maimed).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Always with the negative waves, Carmichael, always with the negative waves!

"Well?" Kain Delacroix eyed the HT-68 hovertank warily. Even in the low-light of the Caravan Guild hangar, the machine gave off a predatory glow that sent the former soldier back 20 cycles to when he first encountered the HT-68 in the field. Kain knew from first hand experience just how dangerous these beasts could be.

"It's a piece of junk!" Trishaw Carmichael's head popped up from the driver's hatch on the deck. "The avionics are gone. The fire control is gone. The engines aren't functional. There's no way this heap is ever flying. You got taken for a ride, Delacroix." The old Westerner wiped his brow.

"Hey now," Gade Vonyran poked around the turret, marking obvious structural weaknesses, "look, Kain, this here's a real fixer-upper. So's the two LHT-67's. But we can make them work."

"Dawg's balls," Carmichael muttered just loudly enough for everyone to hear. He disappeared back into the driver's compartment.

Gade rolled his eyes, "don't listen to him Kain. Me, Carmichael, Tessa, Stacy, we'll get these monsters flying again. When the time comes, they'll be ready. Just don't expect all the bells and whistles."

Taking Debriefing to a whole new level

The Lucky Shot Casino, Khayr-ad Din, Badlands

3100hrs, 1 Spring, TN1935

The Lucky Shot Casino bustled with activity. The main floor was jam packed with a hopeful crowd ready to try their luck. A live band was playing some upbeat classical swing and a small knot of dancers kept moving, close to the bandstand. The liquor flowed, and the money rolled in.

"Looks like a good night, Miss Julie," Curtis, the floor manager, looked down onto the main floor from a small landing. He was dressed in a dark tailored suit accented by a green ascot. Curtis had bright green hair, completing the ensemble.

Report of the Lance Point Inquiry

Volume I - Chapter 1

Principal Conclusions and Overall Assessment

1.1 The object of the Inquiry was to examine the circumstances that led to loss of life in connection with the labour rights revolts in Lance Point 10 Autumn 1931. Three hundred and fifty seven civilians were killed by MILICIA troops on the day. The day has become generally known by various metaphorical names but for the purposes of this report we will refer to it simply as The Incident. In 1932 Andrea Sinclair, then the Attorney General of Prince Gable, held an inquiry into these same events.

Friday, September 17, 2010


In an odd twist of fate, it seems like our mission yesterday ("Operation: Steal the Enemy Hovertanks") actually went off pretty much as planned. The hovertanks have been well and truly stolen, our allies in the Free Emirates are going to get a bunch of stolen materiel, and I got to play a super-twinky Gear pilot and take out 5 enemy Gears all by myself. So everyone wins! Onwards to quotes!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let's make a deal!

Found in the electronic mailbox of Dr. Tomohiro Chambers:

Congratulations on a successful operation!

Intelligence shows a 97% likelihood of you travelling to Raleigh, a large city-state in the Humanist Alliance, in order to acquire a cache of arms currently held by unwelcome Snakes, for distribution to newly rebellious forces in Okavango, Free Emirates.

My employer would greatly appreciate if the assets and operations of our mutual friends in Raleigh were impaired, and would be willing to facilitate the insertion and extraction of your task force in order to better the chances of operational success.

My employer is, however, anxious to regain posession of three large, inoperable vehicles which made their impression on all of us, some 20 cycles ago. My employer is thus willing to aid in the insertion and extraction phases of your upcoming operation in exchange for the three vehicles in question.

If you are encouraged by the appearance of a heretofore unknown mutual ally and would like to know more, please reply to this message in the affirmative. You will be contacted with rendezvous points and other information to facilitate your insertion and extraction to and from Raleigh and the Humanist Alliance.

Best of luck in your future endeavours!

A Friend.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The End.

Kain was walking down the halls of the palace diplomatic wing. The vaulted ceilings and gilded mouldings struck him as gaudy and offensive. He hated the palace. In fact, he was becoming increasingly intolerant of the E.S.E. as a whole.

He resented being there. He berated Ben for going down there on some foolish mission and begrudged him for getting caught and forcing Kain to come to his rescue. He disapproved of the Emirs, the populists as much as the demagogues, each in their own way. He despised the entitlement of the elite and the subservience of the sajhalin. And he had nothing but contempt for the arm-chair rebels devoid of initiative and good honest bravery.

Even the bravado of the tunnel forlorn hope, who had all died save one, was inspired by religious servility to their emir, not out of martial courage or enlightened self interest.

If all that wasn’t enough, the E.S.E was hot, humid and smelly. A swamp with little or no charm wrought by violent turmoil and undignified slaughter. In short, he hated it there.

He let himself into the Doc’s room, privacy and individual space has long since become irrelevant amongst the wary traveling band. Chambers was sunk into a pouf; an overstuffed, spineless thing typical of E.S.E. couches and to Kain’s mind, they’re people. He was enveloped in a thick cloud of grey smoke coming from a double corona in his right hand; in his left, he held a bottle.

“Where did you find the cigars” Kain said nudging a box with the end of his steel caped boots.

“I liberated them from the Emir’s tower. I don’t think Bhravo should be smoking at his age anyway. Have one, Thoras had remarkably good taste in cigars but his taste in whiskey was terrible.”

“But drinkable”

“Only to get drunk on, I swear I haven’t enjoyed a single drop.”

“I’ll come back later Doc, when you’re sober”

“If you wait for that, it might be too late. What’s up Kain, I’m not that far gone?” He put down the bottle, dropped the rest of his cigar in and capped the smoke-filled bottle before tossing it aside. He reached into a box and withdrew another cigar which he proceeded to prepare with practiced hands.

“I’m leaving.”

“The room? Or..”

“The palace, the ESE, this whole scene. Maia left this morning, Gade is heading out again. He said he didn’t want to risk what was left of his skin on the Raleigh stash; he has Bart to think about. I can’t fault him that.”

“So now you’re going too. Well I don’t see why you would stay. You always had your own agenda to attend to.”

“That’s why I’m here, I want you to come with me. I don’t know what you have going on here with the Emir? I know you offered your services…”

“And was unceremoniously rejected. Apparently he has some use for me, but it won’t be in front of a camera and it won’t buy my reputation back.”

“Your reputation may be the problem Doc. You’re not exactly a trustworthy public figure these days and it’s hard to come back from that image. You’ve got to see that too? You’re not going to be wheeling and dealing like you used to, those days are gone.”

There was a long silence. Tom Chambers had fallen from grace in an epic way in the last 4 cycles. The Lelland Endowment and the Meredith foundation were incorporated into larger city state social programmes. The Guidebank was nationalised by NuCoal, that same organisation blamed Chambers publicly for sedition and complicity in mass murder in Lance Point. His empire building days were gone, he had held an unrealistic hope that he could start over in the E.S.E., at the right place at the right time and with the right contacts, but Terra Nova was too small to forget Tom Chambers so soon.

“So what can I do for you Kain? A medic, a sniper?”

“I have no patience for you self pity Doc, you’re a schemer, a natural organiser and a born strategist. You can do what you do best, just behind the scenes, out of the limelight and for a greater purpose.”

“Greater than what? NuCoal could be the start of an equatorial power Kain, a counterbalance to polar bellicosity. It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done for Terra Nova or could ever do.”

“Except save Terra Nova. The NEC is still around, still networking, still planning to finish what they started. Everyone else has forgotten, they’ve gone back to their petty rivalries. But I know Doc, I know what the NEC has been up to because I never forgot what they did to us and what they’re capable of. I’ve been doing this for 15 cycles, trust me.”

“So you want me to help you hunt them down.”

“I need you to help me defeat them. I can’t keep taking them out one by one, it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I need to figure out how they work, what they’re plan is and establish a bulwark against it. Those are things you could help me with.”

“You didn’t want to work with me after the Arens affair, what’s changed?”

“You. Back then you were still too arrogant and too bent on building an empire. I’m talking about fighting a war. You don’t have anything to loose now Doc and everything to gain. To put it simply, I think you are now capable of taking your ego out of the equation.”

Tom smoked quietly. Kain was right, on many scores - probably all. Tom had lost everything he had built that propped up his ego. Now he was free of all that, free to organise a resistance for a war no one wanted to acknowledge was coming. Kain was right, too much of Tom’s ego had been wrapped up in everything he did. With his reputation gone, he was free to operate with only one objective: doing what was necessary and what was right.

“OK Kain. I'm your man."

"Took you long enough."

"Fuck you very much."

"C'mon, let’s blow this shit hole.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Feats: Sniper Tree


Prerequisites: Small Arms 2; Specialization: Rifles
The Sniping feats are designed to represent the superior and often awesome abilities of premiere marksmen. A sniper can place extremely accurate rifle fire onto a target. In order to activate Sniping feats, the user must be stationary, employing single fire, and using a rifle. However, certain feats are enhanced or even require a weapon with the 'sniper perk', since certain aspects of sniping can only be achieved through the synergy of the right skill with the right tool. 

Sniper feats uses PER instead of AGI for the Small Arms attack benefiting from the Sniping manoeuvre. 
(Note that this replaces the Sniping skill from the HG Rulebook 2E, p. 66.)

Called Shot (PER, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 3 (or MoS 2 with a “Sniper” weapon)
Requirements: None additional.

This is the standard Called Shot manoeuvre and requires an Opposed MOS 2 for it to work.  Called shots against the head or other very small target incur a -1 die penalty to the subsequent to-hit roll.
*Fumbles mean that the attack misses.

Luck of the Devil (PSY, non-opposed)
Threshold: None
Requirements: Stealth: 1, Camouflage: 1

Success is often largely skill-based, but there is a widespread belief that luck can play an important role. Even an elite marksman can benefit from a sudden lull in the wind, the shadow caused by clouds passing in front of the sun, or the rare time when the target literally steps into the path of the bullet. This feat may be used to re-roll an attack or to re-roll the Sniper's static Stealth or Camouflage roll.

Armour Piercing (PER, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2 (or MoS 1 with a sniper weapon)
Requirements: None additional

This is the standard Armour Piercing manoeuvre and requires an Opposed MOS 2 for it to work.
*Fumbles mean that the attack misses.

Snap Shot (AGI, Opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2 
Requirements: Called shot, Combat Sense: 3; Short range only; weapon is not “Awkward”

The Snap Fire ability represents profound special forces training in close quarters combat target acquisition.  With Snap Fire, the shooter is not required to be stationary to perform a Called Shot maneuver.  Movement penalties apply as normal.
*As with Called Shot, fumbles mean that the attack misses.

Ludicrous Range (PER, non-opposed)
Threshold: 6 
Requirements: Forward Observation: 1;  “Sniper” weapons only
This feat represents the ability of snipers to make “impossible” lang distance shots by zeroing in the sights on a weapon and accurately adjusting for environmental conditions etc.  “Ludicrous Range” is a fifth range bracket equal to the size of the weapon’s Extreme range bracket, eg. Short: 1 Medium: 2 Long: 4 Extreme: 8 Ludicrous: 12; or Short: 50 Medium: 100 Long: 200 Extreme: 400 Ludicrous: 600.  The Ludicrous range bracket does not follow the same progression as the other range brackets.  The range penalty is -4.
*The Ludicrous Range attack can only be applied to one Small Arms (Rifle) attack per round.
**Fumbles mean that the sight must be readjusted for 1d6 rounds.

Suppression (CRE, non-opposed)
Threshold: None - Special
Requirements: Leadership: 2

This unique skill allows the sniper to use a single shot to suppress a small unit as though it were pinned by a high-ROF weapon. The sniper rolls the Leadership skill, and then the Small Arms skill to strike as usual. However, the Leadership roll result counts as a static threshold for the target group. The group must roll Leadership against the threshold; if it fails it is unable to act a number of rounds equal to the MOF of the roll.
*Against individuals (RPG context), a WIL roll can substitute for Leadership.

Two Birds (AGI, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2
Requirements: Small Arms: 4

This feat represents the ability of the sniper to take advantage of the tendency of targets to bunch up during combat in conjunction with careful use of timing and anticipation of the enemies’ movement in order to strike multiple targets with one round.
*Each additional target after the first confers a +1 bonus to the defending AGI roll.
**A failure means only the original target is attacked.  Fumbles mean that the attack misses.
***The maximum number of additional targets = xX (Damage Rating) / 20 (rounded down).
****Maximum penetration is factored by cumulative armour or targets.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Coining the phrase

It was morning, and the swamp's haze was burning away under Helios' harsh glare.

Okavango was not burning. It was a relief to see the city still standing, nearly intact, still floating. A pair of hoppers buzzed the emirate palace compound and then dipped off towards the northern district of the city.

Emir Raphael Bhravo smiled tightly. He hadn't slept, he hadn't eaten. He was still feeling woozy from the mild concussion that he had endured from a particularly large, particularly close, detonation during his entrance into the city. As he looked out over the city, the nausea subsided. The view focused his mind.

"Gerard, is everything in place?" Bhravo called over his shoulder.

"Yes, your Highness."

"Very well. It is time to address my subjects."

"Yes, your Highness," Gerard was even more solemn than usual. He drew in a breath.

"Yes, Gerard?" Bhravo turned and looked up at his mentor.

"What of Doctor Chambers' request?"

"We will not be requiring his services in this matter. I do believe, however, that we will have some use for him and his companions before the cycle is up."

"Very well your Highness."

With that, Emir Raphael Bhravo went down into the palace courtyard to make history.


"My people. I have returned. No longer shall you suffer under the cruelty and oppression visited upon you by the tyrant Thoras. The usurper who murdered my mother shall trouble you no more. We shall mark this day, the 39th of Winter, TN1935, as the beginning of a new dawn for the Emirate of Okavango.

My people. Our land, our league is deeply troubled. A madman, an insane tyrant even more despicable than Alexius Thoras now rules in Strathclyde. He is toady to the wishes of his Republican overlords, and drowning in blood and hedonism. Patriarch Oliver Masao has led our league down a dark path, one which threatens our very way of life. The Patriarch has wrecked the foundations of our noble society, and left nothing but turmoil and destruction in his wake. The March of One Thousand has called for change. And you, who overthrew the tyrant, have called for change.

I am listening!

We must move forward, with determination, willing to make sacrifices for our future, and the future of our children!

I declare now, that the Emirate of Okavango is now part of the Free Emirates of Basal and Bangweuleu.

I call on the Patriarch, Oliver Masao, to cease his brutal onslaught and see the error of his ways.

I call on the Lord Chancellor, Kenichi Tenaka, to order MILICIA forces to stand down. We do not seek any quarrel with the Allied Southern Territories.

And I call on the entirety of Terranova to witness our rebirth into freedom! Witness a new dawn for the Eastern Sun Emirates!

It was a good plan.

Kain loped into the security room under the palace. The place was quiet now--the palace had been secured, and Bhravo's people were using the main security checkpoint across the courtyard as their HQ. Still, the room smelled of explosives and the walls were scorched from the tell-tale signs of a flash-bang grenade. There was no one here, so Kain sat down at a station facing the door and accessed the security cameras.

"There's the emir," Kain mumbled, watching Thoras enter the tunnel. He typed in a few commands, and the computer did the rest, rewinding the feed, keeping Thoras in view. In this backwards world, the late Emir was resurrecting dead tunnel fighters with knives and a submachinegun, as he backed his way through some of the tunnels. He was no slouch, and rarely missed. Kain watched as Thoras backed into the armory, putting back his weapons, and then backed up the tunnel to the vehicle hangar, where he then backed up to his palace havildar, talking to him.

Kain frowned. He watched the Emir back into an elevator. He checked the time stamp on the video feed.

We hit the roof at 0200. We had to wait forty-five minutes for the Doc's second landing attempt and then the full revolt and the tunnel assault. By 0300, I was on the balcony....

Oh bawls.

He let the tape play forward.

At 0302, the Emir was in the 1st floor of his private quarters high atop the Emirate Palace tower. With him were three SRID commandos. At 0303, two of the commandos rushed up the stairs to the floor Kain was on, while the Emir quickly made his way to the elevator. A moment later, Gade dove down the stairs into the reception hall.

"Oh, hey Kain!" Gade turned into the room, heading right for Kain's station.

"Hey Gade, how's the shoulder?" Kain typed in another command.


"Fine fine. A little stiff. Whatcha lookin' at?"

"Oh, nothing."


Friday, September 3, 2010

A New Dawn

High in the palace tower Doc Chambers sat in an oversized leather cushion on the veranda of the former Emir’s suite. Spread out bellow him was the chaos of civil revolt and social revolution. By now all of Okavanga knew Thoras to be dead, by sunrise; the whole world would know Okavango had joined the ESE rebellion.

Maia stepped out on the balcony near where the Doc had slumped down. The predawn scape sprawled out before her was backlit by an orange glow still too faint to diminish the brightly burning fires of the night’s pandemonium.

“Where is everybody?” she asked the Doc.

“Sam and Gade are out there, in the streets, mopping up Thoras loyalists. Kain went over to security, he said something about a personal mission debrief, I don’t know?”

She nodded distractedly, drawing her gaze away from the grizzly sight of
Okavango’s recent travails, The Doc looked tired, the focus he had during the recent operation was gone.

“How about you, what are you doing?”



He snorted, shaking his head. “I don’t know yet Maia. I guess I’m waiting to see what I do next. How about you, what are you waiting for?”

“I don’t follow.”

“We’re done, our friends are out, Thoras is dead, Brahvo the new Emir and
Oka will join Basel in the revolt. We’re done and so we’re done with you. You’re free, I’ve already contacted Paxton to tell them to dissolve the Demonstration Team.”

Thoughts spun in Maia's head and she slumped onto a cushion next to Chambers, too tired even to remember that she was supposed to be mad at him for getting her into this mess in the first place. The last few weeks had been the most difficult in her life, even counting the seasons fighting the Keff. At least then, they'd had a real sense of purpose and a stark simplicity: everything was black and white. Now, everything was as grey as the swamps before the dawn.

She forced herself not to sigh and stared directly forward, down at the burning fires of
Okavango. "You were behind that, then. I suppose I should have known."

She shook her head, trying to make sense of everything and failing miserably. "I suppose I'll go home. I've wanted to go home since I stepped foot in Basal, and now there's no reason for me to stay." She paused a moment, doing math in her head, and this time she did sigh. "Damn. I missed my anniversary down here. My wife will never forgive me."

For an instant, the thought flashed in her mind that she would have to tell Celina about everything that had happened, and she felt a knot tighten in her stomach. She let her breath out slowly. That was a problem she could deal with later.

To distract herself, she faced the Doc. "You're from the
Badlands, aren't you? You gonna go back? See your family?"

“I don’t have anything waiting for me in the Badlands, well, nothing I would consider a homecoming. At best I can expect criminal charges and a fixed trial, at worst; they stick a knife in my back while I sleep. Sorry I got you into this Kessler, I'm a user, a professional exploiter. Heh, I guess now that I've killed the Emir I can add political assassin to my resume, next to selfish missionary and mass murderer.”

Maia scoffed before she could stop herself. "And now you've fucked up my life, too. Thanks, Chambers."

She looked out over the fires of
Okavango to avoid catching the Doc's eyes. Then the air went out of her. "I'm sorry. That was cruel. And not even true, not really. I'll bounce back from this. If I play my cards right, I can..." She shook her head. "I don't know what I'll do, but I can make this work. You, though..." The words trailed off again as she considered what Chambers had just told her. "That's quite the pile of shit you've gotten yourself into."

"Don't worry about me, the one thing I have going for me is an over-abundance of self pity, I don't need yours. Anyway, While I don't know what to do about my situation just yet, I can help yours. What do you want Kessler, a promotion? Are you trying to prove yourself professionally of just socially because they may be mutually exclusive? Climbing the social ladder means getting more and doing less, the corporate ladder on the other hand, means working more but getting less recognition. I've got contacts, I have strings I can pull and money I can throw around. Consider it severance for the troubles I've cause you and yours. So what do you want?"

Maia shook her head. "Thanks, but no thanks, Doc. I appreciate the offer, but I got where I am under my own power, and if I get anywhere else, it'll be by my own power too. And if I stay stuck where I am, it's still more than my parents ever had, and maybe Tanya'll go farther than me."

She said it with conviction, and she meant it, but a thought tugged at the back of her mind. She knew, wholeheartedly, that she didn't want to accept favours from Doc Chambers. Somehow, she sensed that getting embroiled with him would come back and bite her. Still...

Her brow furrowed, as conflicting desires played out. "Actually..."

The Doc stared at her levelly, waiting for her to continue.

Maia took a deep breath, let it out again. "My wife, Celina. I've been trying to get her promoted for years. I thought that after we got married..." She shook her head. "It didn't work. The systems are too new, everything's too untested. Hell, sometimes I feel like a lab rat myself. Anyway, she always seems to be just below the cut-off, every year."

She put a hand to her forehead, remembering. She'd finally convinced Celina to do the training and take the exams about seven cycles back, when Tanya was first starting school, even though she knew her wife wanted nothing more than to stay at the hospital with her friends. The scene in the house the day the promotions were announced and Celina's name wasn't on it... it was a good thing Maia was sent on assignment the next day, because she was sure she'd be sleeping on the couch for at least a season.

She shook her head, bringing herself back to the present, to the swamps and the fires and her potential patron. "So that's it. That's what I want."

He held her gaze a moment and, to her shock, he began to laugh; a laughter emanating from deep within. Maia started to shake with anger; she could barely contain herself, his laughter stabbed at her, at that moment she could not imagine having been more insulted or more deeply betrayed in her life.

Tom caught sight of Maia's demeanour and it sobered him up like a stim. He didn't need Sam's uncanny ability to read people to see she was deeply offended, even livid.

"I'm sorry Maia, don't take this the wrong way. I'm not laughing at you or your request..." he croaked as he wiped tears from his eyes. " I offered you anything within my not inconsiderable power and you ask for something for someone else. I know you benefit from her happiness, but by the Prophet's graces...I guess I haven't met someone who cared about someone else as much in such a long time. I was just a little overwhelmed. You're request brightened my day Maia, hell, my cycle. Not only because it is so damned selfless, but because it is so damned simple. Consider it done. You have my word on it. Merciful sands! It almost rekindles my faith in love and redemption in the world."

Maia turned to stare at Doctor Chambers. "Thank you," she said, not trusting herself to say any more. "So darned simple," he had said. If only it were! But there was no trace of guile, no sense that he would have any trouble doing what she had been unable to do for nearly a decade.

It took several moments before she felt comfortable speaking again. "And what about you, since we're all putting our souls on the table?" she asked finally. "Now that your friends are free and there's no reason for you to stay here, what do you want?"

“I’ve got to figure something out to save myself, what we did here last night is only the beginning for me. In the spirit of exposed our souls, let me share an insight into my person with you Maia, I only know how to do two things well: Shoot people and build organizations. The first one got me into this jam and I’m hoping the second will get me out. So I guess I’ll stick by Brahvo a while and see what I can do?”

Maia nodded, still uncertain how to speak to the Doc. She was remembering some of her apprehensions when she had met him for the first time, the way he threw out references to ‘Gerry’, as if president Simosa was a personal friend. Sitting here in the Emir’s tower, having toppled a city state, she had to admit to herself that maybe he could do what he said. And now he was going to help Brahvo.

She wanted to shift the conversation away from his emotions and guilt. The callousness she had seen in him after the food riots, that hollow darkness which had so repelled her was part of him, but she felt he resented them as much as she did. Following their slow raft ride into Okavango, she had thought he was decent man, she felt that again now. “So, what’s your plan?”

“Short term? Well Gade’s got some scheme in Raleigh that should score some material for the fight. Also, some kind of coordinated diplomatic meeting is going to have to take place between Brahvo and Shirow, I think I can swing that. Long Term, the free Emirate will need ties and supplies to keep it fighting. But I think more importantly it will need breathing room. So far the AST hasn’t come down on this situation with its full might. If I can figure out how to keep it that way, or better yet, how to get the AST to back off and look at this as an internal matter for the ESE, the free Emirates may actually stand a chance.”

The sat in silence for a while. At last the dawn shone brightly and they both squinted looking out on the city, the fires were still there, but faded in comparison.

“Sun’s up” Maia said for no particular reason.

“Time for you to go home Maia.”

Fumbling blindly

This wing of the palace looked as though it had been out of use for some time. The Doc figured it was for visiting officials or an ambassadorial wing. Given the civil war in the ESE, it looked as though diplomacy was temporarily on hiatus.

The five man fire team, or to be more precise, four man fire team plus one woman support team had immerged from the hidden tunnel system on the northern end of the palace. Just moments before their assault on the tower had revealed that their target, the Emir, was not where they had anticipated and all their well laid plans had been for naught.

They were running southward trying to find a path to the courtyard separating them from the presumed location of the Emir: the vehicle hangar. They had already suffered some wounds, but what was more debilitating was that they had lost the element of surprise.

In fact, the Doc was thinking their attempt had failed because of heightened security and so they had never really had surprise on their side at all. The enemy knew they were coming; at best they had had the initiative.

The only chance they had, as far as the Doc could see, was to take the initiative back. Speed had been on their side, he thought to himself: only moments before they were clear across the compound assaulting the tower and the last resistance they came across was mobilizing based on the belief that they were still up there.

The Doc tried to assess his opponent’s strategy. The enemy had clearly been expecting an attempt on the Emir’s life and now they had had it. This gave him and his team time because the adversary would now be shifting their attention to their next plan, especially if they were proceeding on the false assumption that the assassination team was bottled up across the compound in the tower.

That reassured him, if the Emir’s people did not yet know where they were and what they knew, than maybe they had regained the initiative, albeit if only briefly. ‘So what to do with it?’ The straightforward approach would be to attack the “tool shed” and try and regain the element of surprise, but the Doc felt that was fool hardy at best.

Kain and company were a small force coming up against a larger force in a secure position. That was assuming their information was correct and that the Emir was even there. They had already severely damaged their chances of success by getting wounded and loosing some of their offensive weapons. In his view, a head-long assault was the wrong tactical approach and the wrong strategic decision.

They didn’t know for certain the Emir’s position, they didn’t know his escape routes, they didn’t know his guard detail and they didn’t have any asymmetrical advantage to help balance those handicaps.

It occurred to the Doc that the guard station would give them much of the intel and strategic edge they lacked. He considered that the guards were probably dispersed to protect the facility thanks to Kain’s organized revolt, leaving internal security manageable.

A well coordinated comm. jamming by Kessler and Sam’s quick shot made the goal of assaulting the security station feasible. From the guard room they could confirm the Emir’s position, his guard detail, secure his escape routes as well as manipulate the main doors and communication frequencies of the enemy as force multipliers in they’re favor. Everything Kain would need to come up with a tactical assault on the Emir.

They had a few minutes while the enemy assumed that the assassination had failed and got their act together, the Doc thought those moments had to be used in the best possible way.

“Kain wait!”

Kain who was leading the assault came to a halt and assumed a defensive position pulling his weapon to eye line to gauge any threats, he checked his quadrants and after a two seconds’ scan realized they were still secure. He let Gade take his place in front and moved back the line of his team to the Doc.


“We need to assault the security building, not the vehicle hangar”


“We don’t have eyes on the target, we don’t know his lines of retreat, we don’t have the advantage of numbers we need a force multiplier and we have a few minutes to get all this while they think that we have failed before realizing that we can try again.”

Kain mulled this over briefly, quickly assessing the implication of each element presented to him is summary but which he had to unpackage in his mind to fully evaluate, it gave him pause.

“Go on” Kain felt there was merit in the proposal, but his instinct was to take advantage of the confusion to strike as quickly as possible while there might still be surprise on their side.

“If we go in the hangar it is guaranteed there are more of them than us, guaranteed they know all the exits and have planned how to use them, guaranteed we will not have time to sneak in covertly if we are fighting the clock and pretty much guaranteed we will fail and die.”

Kain nodded, not necessarily in agreement with the Doc’s dire estimations of their chances but at least with the enumeration of the tactical concerns and let the Doc continue.

“They may be on the move now or soon, assuming they have foiled the assassination attempt they were clearly waiting for. From the security room we can ascertain where they are and where they are going, we can jam comms and keep quiet the fact that we are no longer in the tower. We can use their own security against them to find the best place to ambush the Emir. Finally, when we feel the time is right, we can use the security room to open the gates and let the masses in. The Emir is certainly better guarded than the security room right now, we don’t know for sure where he is but the security room can’t run away. It is the achievable goal and in taking it we can regain the advantage, whereas going after the Emir now, like this, only underscores our tactical weaknesses.”

Kain eyed the Doc for a second. As much as he had been listening to the reasoning put forth, he was making a decision based on how sound the planner was and not just the plan. Although Kain could debate some of the points, it was clear to him that the Doc had thought this through and was reassuringly resolute.

“OK Doc, If I had more assets I would split us up and send a team to the security room and another to cover the hangar but there aren’t enough of us so I’ll give your strategy a go. Right everyone, new plan.”


Last night saw the conclusion of the comedy of errors known as "Operation Assassinate Emir Thoras." But the mission objectives were, in the end, obtained, and we didn't even get too beat up doing it. So... onwards to quotes!

Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.