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> Outskirts of Gellen's Heights, Gellen's Heights, Sheratan
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post Dec 19 2005, 01:31 AM
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Not all sections of Gellen's Heights glimmer with the tourist-trap grandeur that is Downtown. As you walk down a rainy, pothole-ridden city street known as 'Prosperity Avenue,' you figure that the name is someone's idea of a sick joke. The neighborhood is definitely approaching the term known as "slums."

Terrifying-looking bars, pawn shops, weapon stores, and darker, more sinister-looking unmarked buildings line the streets. A number of warehouses rise skyward several city blocks away, undoubtedly serving as home to scores of 'unregulated' arms merchants interested in offering BattleTech of questionable origins to parties with fat wallets and few questions.

This is the seedier end of town - where criminals maintain their underworld, arms dealers make a killing (both literally and figuratively), and people vanish with neither rhyme nor reason. It is where deals are made, uneasy alliances are formed, and where the darker side of life in the 31st century can be experienced firsthand.

If you've come here to conduct business, you will be accommodated. Just hold on to your wallet.

If you've come to disappear forever...that can be arranged as well.
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Captain Garrett Garland
post Dec 26 2005, 04:52 AM
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Joined: 16-December 05
From: Seattle, WA
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December, 3068

"You could have come, another man of your profession did."

Malachi Dreyfus looked up, matching his weary eyes with my equally tired ones. As he looked at me, his grey eyes reminded me of murky waves upon a stormy ocean; no sane man would go out in those waters. It almost made me discontinue my dealings with him—I didn't want to end up like him, constantly tormented by some past burden.

"I was… occupied at the time. What happened of this other man?"

Hardening my own eyes, I responded, partially to chastise him, and partially to deflect his own glare. "That's not important—you still should have come; we barely made it."

"Yet you did survive, many of you at least, with or without my help. I see though that you did not make it out in one piece—why bother coming to me if you cannot use any of the tools which I trade?"

First looking at the remains of my left arm, I turned around, pointing at the massive flatbed truck behind me with my good arm. "Can you fix it?"

Tracing an imaginary line between my extended finger tip and the transport truck Malachi spoke as if he were already inside the Battlemech lying flat on its back.

"Shattered gyro, cracked reactor housing, cockpit sheared away, missing hand actuator…"

"Can you fix it?"

"It's going to cost close to what a new 'mech would go for… but I can do it."

"Feel free to modify as you see fit—I trust that you'll improve upon the original design."

"I have acquired some new equipment since your last visit, but in these dark days high-technology comes at a high price."

"Just don't go beyond reason—I'm sure you know my budget. I'd help you load it onto that Planetlifter of yours, but…" I held up my arm.

"Yeah, I get it."

"I'll be back in six months."


This post has been edited by Captain Garrett Garland: Dec 31 2005, 08:14 PM


--------------------
Position : Captain | LEGIONNAIRES
Callsign : Fox
Current BattleMech : Shadow Hawk [55 tons] [97.2 km/h max] [120 meter jump range]
Loadout : [1x Rotary AC5] [1x LRM-20] [1x Medium Pulse Laser] [2x Streak SRM-2] [AMS] [CASE] [ECM] [JumpJets]
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Captain Garrett Garland
post Jan 9 2006, 11:36 PM
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From: Seattle, WA
Member No.: 3





"You're late."

"I know."

"But it seems you've returned a whole man—may I?"

Nodding my head, I extended my left arm towards Malachi, pulling back my sleeve as I did so. To Malachi's keen interest, I extended my fingers as far as possible and then clenched the hand into a fist.

Gripping my forearm he marveled, "Incredible! They've almost replicated the texture of human skin perfectly, and is that warmth I feel?"

"Yes, this arm is state of the art—it was quite hard to come by. The heat of the electronics inside the arm actually produces the heat equivalent of body warmth."

"And can you feel?"

"Well, the doctors at NAIS said this is the best they've got—I can feel pressure and temperature—but the feeling isn't too localized—I don't think their technology is advanced enough to send nerve impulses that specify the exact location of pressure and temperature changes like human nerves do. I can feel slight differences in location of pressure in my arm though—I would know the difference between something clasping my forearm versus something around my wrist. They seemed to put most of the detectors in my hand though—I can hold a 'mech joystick pretty well."

"Very good, because I wouldn't want this beauty going to waste."

Pointing behind himself, Malachi Dreyfus indicated a large black mass in the moonlight. The rain became clearly visible as a lone floodlight activated, illuminating the previously dark giant. As the rays glinted off the behemoth's ferroglass canopy I stood in awe of what Malachi had managed to do with the 'mech. Gone was the chest mounted missile launcher which had so dominated the machine's torso only month's before. And there was something very different about its shoulder mounted autocannon.

"Well?"

"Is that… an RAC10?"

"Indeed—a new Clan Rotary Autocannon, 100 MM. It'll put out a horrendous rate of fire and rip through anything in its path—it's also on a variable mount so its accuracy won't be severely diminished with movement. I had to strip out the LRM launcher in the chest to make room for the ammunition and to make sure the 'mech's weight didn't surpass more than the chassis could hold. But don't worry, that thing has still got quite a range. And I know that you probably don't want to wait till 550 meters to engage your enemies, so I replaced the 'mech's medium pulse laser with an extended range large laser. I kept the twin SRM-2 Streak launchers in case things get close, but I also added another little surprise—may I see your hand again?"

Shrugging my shoulders I extended my hand once more. In the same fashion that it was examined by the NAIS surgeons, Dreyfus combed over my hand as if he was searching for something. Letting out a slight 'aha' he noticed that the ferrotitanium bones in the base of my palm were slightly different than the hand of a normal human's.

"So it is true. I think you'll like this then."

Motioning to the 'mech's left hand he shared the secret, "Much like you, there's hidden a laser within the left arm. The hand has to be fully opened in order to use it… but if things get tight it'll be something completely unexpected—it's doubtful that it'll come up on an enemy sensor scan. It's only a small pulse laser, but any edge you can get helps. I also added an ammunition based anti-missile system perched on the 'mech's right shoulder—should swat the first couple missiles from each volley; LAMS are too hard to come by these days."

"Anything else?"

"Nothing else of too much significance. You've got ECM, CASE, and JumpJets—not too much of a difference. One of your jets had exploded as I'm sure you know when the gauss round ricocheted off your reactor housing and out through your 'mech's back so I replaced the whole system. You've got a bit more thrust now and I think these new jets are more reliable than your old ones. Just remember though—your 'mech's chassis isn't really rated to take a drop a full drop from you maximum jet height, so make sure to flare them just before you touch down. Oh, and one more thing. All of the new Shadow Hawks and Pheonix Hawks have this, and since you busted your cockpit I thought I'd add it too: your entire head ejects with you now, like an Atlas' or Axeman's."

"I owe you one Malachi."

"Try 10-million."

This post has been edited by Captain Garrett Garland: Jan 9 2006, 11:36 PM


--------------------
Position : Captain | LEGIONNAIRES
Callsign : Fox
Current BattleMech : Shadow Hawk [55 tons] [97.2 km/h max] [120 meter jump range]
Loadout : [1x Rotary AC5] [1x LRM-20] [1x Medium Pulse Laser] [2x Streak SRM-2] [AMS] [CASE] [ECM] [JumpJets]
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Bounty Hunter: Sam Grisham
post Apr 16 2006, 05:26 PM
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Bounty Hunter
Rank: MechWarrior



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Posts: 44
Joined: 2-January 06
Member No.: 34





The twilight sky began to cast dark shadows that seemed to eerily fit with the area’s equally dark tone. Night time Gellen’s Heights was not a pretty sight. I knew from experience.
It had only been a few hours since I had left the Legionnaire’s base, or more precisely, the base’s medical bay.

Just a few hours ago…

“You boys really know how to get banged up on missions, don’t you?” replied Dr Saturina as she examined left arm. The cuts and tears of artificial skin that covered my robotic arm where out of the Doctor’s main area of expertise, however, that didn’t stop her from addressing them the best she could. There were also other minor injuries that circulated around my left and right arms, however all they needed was a band aid and some time to heal.

“Well, you know what they say: ’You cant keep a good bounty hunter down’!” I replied, laughing nervously. I hated visiting the doctors… they always put me on edge, especially when they were this cute. The doctor rolled her eyes and continued to bandage the wound.

“Hay doc… would you mind not telling the others about this arm?” I eventually asked after plucking up mighty courage.

“Well, Doctors ARE required to keep patient confidentiality… however there are some things we have to tell our superiors.” she replied. “Although honestly Sam, an artificial arm isn’t anything to be ashamed of…”

I let out a hefty sigh.

“There’s a history behind that arm that I just don’t feel too comfortable about revealing. That’s why I want to keep it a secret from the others…” I said as the Doctor finished concealing my damaged arm with several layers of bandage. She tied neat bow, something that made me scorn at it’s ’prettiness’.

“Well, your secret is safe with me Mr Grisham. Now, are you sure you don’t wont our artificial limbs expert take a look at that?” she said as I put my jacket on.

“Honestly Doctor, you ask me this AFTER you bandage my entire arm?” I chuckled, watching her cheeks flair in blush.

“Thanks for the offer… but I know a guy down town who can fix this up at a discount price.”

“Speaking of which, since your not a member of the Legionnaires, an outside contractor to be more precise, your bill with be in the post…”

“Gee… thanks…” I murmured. “Your not so cute when you bill me…”



I chuckled lightly to myself as I reminisced. I quickly stepped down the cobble steps that led to MacDoogle’s basement and rang the door bell. The dim light above his place of business flickered wildly every few seconds. A couple moths fluttered around it, both were dazed by it’s illumination.

“Grisham… I should have known you were due for a visit… come in.” MacDoogle said through the sliding peek hole. He locked the shutter closed, stepped aside and opened the door.

“Why do you always have to sound so pissed off every time I come to visit?!” I laughed, much to the amusement of MacDoogle.

“Because everytime that you come to visit, it means I HAVE to work! Now get your ass in here!”


This post has been edited by Bounty Hunter: Sam Grisham: Apr 16 2006, 05:29 PM
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General Harold Saxon
post Apr 23 2006, 03:11 PM
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Crayven Securities, Inc. | Tactical Division
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The corporate limosuine bounced and lurched as it traversed the pothole-ridden strip of concrete that was Prosperity Avenue. Rain pounded against the sedan's ferrosteel body, falling from the night sky with such intensity that it nearly drowned out the sounds of the vehicle's suspension, which protested loudly under the torment it was being subjected to.

The car made a right, and turned down a narrow side street, sending a wave of rainwater spraying skyward as it plowed through an ankle-high puddle. My eyes played across the various dilapidated cars parked curbside, making note of each and every license plate present. I planned to run them all through the Crayven Intelligence database - it paid to know who the locals were.

The limousine rumbled past a large, olive-green humvee, emblazoned with the Legionnaires' crest, parked outside a run-down bonding agency. Beneath a gaudy, flickering neon sign reading 'MacDoogle's Bail Bonds,' the building's street-level windows were dark, but a small shaft of light played upward from a stairwell leading down into the structure's basement.


How very interesting...

The proprietor of the bonding agency was no doubt conducting some manner of illicit after-hours business, his customer probably someone on the Legionnaires' payroll. It didn't faze me - there was hardly a mercenary outfit in existence that didn't employ black marketeers to acquire certain 'specialty items' - it was the nature of the business. In fact, I was here for the same purpose.

The driver of the limosuine pulled the car curbside, stopping alongside a large warehouse several buildings down from the bondsman's. Moments later, the chauffer appeared outside the car, opening my door and holding an umbrella over my head as I exited the vehicle. Nodding a silent 'thank you,' I took hold of the umbrella, and made my way across the street to a nearly identical, yet slightly larger warehouse, flanked on either side by several bombed-out office buildings and an eclectic assortment of shops.

I approached a small modular building, which had been connected to the front of the warehouse in a rather ramshackle fashion. Climbing its rickety metal staircase, I pressed a discrete button mounted next to the modular's door. A buzzer sounded off somewhere within the corrugated structure, followed almost immediately by the sound of heavy footsteps drawing nearer and nearer, stopping just before the doorway. With a squelch, an intercom speaker positioned above the call button sputtered to life.


"State yer business."

"This is Templar."

"Enter."

With a loud, electric buzz, the door's locking mechanism disengaged. I collapsed the umbrella, and stepped through the doorway into the dimly-lit office beyond. A large, burly man, bedecked with a full beard, and tattoos up both arms, stood in the shadows, cradling a menacing-looking submachine gun, and smoking a freshly-lit Yak 42.

"DiForenza."

"I could be," the man growled, his voice low and raspy, "but then again, for the right price, I could be anyone."

"For the price I'm paying, I expect you to be no one at all. Now - you told my contact you had the item. Is this correct?"

"Oh, I've got it...but I'm afraid that...due to some unforseeable...de-conveniences...some price adjustments needed to be made."

I took a step closer to DiForenzo, my eyes narrowing.

"What sort of 'price adjustments' are you talking about? You said you could get it. We agreed to thirty million even - five million more than market value. That should have been more than adequate coverage for any...'de-conveniences.'"

"The method of acqusition proved slightly more...complicated...than I had originally anticipated - and then there's the cost of transporting...illegally procured...goods across jump points without being detected."

"You're selling me a stolen BattleMech?" I hissed, my eyes coming alight with fury. "That was not part of our agreement!"

"We didn't have an agreement about that, Mister 'Templar!'" DiForenzo roared, taking several long strides toward me. I fought the urge to reach for my weapon, leaving my hands hanging neutrally at my sides. "Your contact stated you needed a CP-11-A - intact - with no aftermarket parts or variations from the original design - a very difficult order to fill - and that you would pay thirty million upfront for it. At no time did anyone specify any 'terms of acquisition.' I fulfilled my end of the deal - now - are you going to make good on yours?"

"Of course. For thirty million."

DiForenzo nodded, and made his way over to a tattered-looking desk, atop of which sat an ancient computer terminal.

"Very well. If that's your final offer, then I'm certain the Sonoma War Museum will be very interested in learning that the almighty Crayven Corporation is in posession of their beloved Cyclops."

"You sick piece of shit!" I exploded, "You stole it from a museum? Do you have any idea how hot that makes the merchandise? The amount of money we're going to have to expend just in altering the serial numbers..."

"I guess you're going to have to make a hard choice, then," DiForenzo purred. "Pay for the...unfortunate...expenses associated with this transaction, and get a pristene piece of equipment. File off a few serial numbers, reconfigure the loadout, and rest secure in the knowledge that you've acquired a quality piece of hardware. Or save a few million C-Bills and..."

I nodded, a look of reluctant resignation crossing my face.

"It seems you have me over a barrel, Mister DiForenzo."

A toothy grin appeared in the midst of the arms dealer's smokey-gray beard.

"Care to see the merchandise?"

This post has been edited by General Ryan Caswell: Apr 23 2006, 03:34 PM


--------------------
Position : General, Crayven Tactical
Callsign : Templar
Current BattleMech : MC2-CS-A Mad Cat-II (Prototype) [Assault]
Loadout : 2x Clan ER PPC, 2x Clan Arrow-IV, Artemis IV BAP
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Bounty Hunter: Sam Grisham
post Apr 25 2006, 03:55 PM
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Bounty Hunter
Rank: MechWarrior



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Posts: 44
Joined: 2-January 06
Member No.: 34





“There… that sorts your left arm…” Replied the aging MacDoogle. He took a long drag on the cigarette that was embraced by his thin lips.

“Christ, them Legionnaire boys sure know how to tango!” he sighed, letting out a thick cloud of hot smoke. I swung my freshly repaired left arm through the air, displacing the retched smog as best I could.

“Do you always have to smoke while your fixing me up?” I replied, to which the old man chuckled.

“I’m a man of bad habit!”

MacDoogle’s office of work was a quite difference in appearance to what one might perceive. On the outside it was a seedy, graffiti covered warehouse, something that wasn’t out of place on this side of Gellen. On the inside, however, stainless steel sheets of metal coated every inch of wall. Bright lights flooded the room with perfect illumination. Steel cabinets littered the sides of the room and were filled with everything a synthetic technician needed. Several outdated - yet essential - computer terminals sat on wheelie tables, switched on and ready to perform diagnostic tests and what not. I sat on a chair with my left arm gently resting on the table I sat at. The patch up job MacDoogle had preformed was fantastic, as expected at the price I would surely pay.

“You’ll have to come back tomorrow if you want the touch sensors to kick in “pain free”. Right now if I were to turn them on… well you’d probably hurt me…”

“Yeah, you would be guessing right, old timer.” I replied with a soft wink and a smile. MacDoogle stamped his cigarette out and picked up his tray of equipment he had used.

“The tissue will sync with your existing ’living’ tissue and start to heal naturally on it’s own. Just keep the bandages on and try not to knock it so much. A night’s rest and you’ll be out hauling in bounties again in no time!” he chuckled, quickly stopping as he saw my dismal expression. He sighed and pulled a chair up to the table he had just worked at.

“I take it that things in the bounty hunting business are still slow?”

“Oh its more than slow; its nearly non existent!” I replied, frowning back at the old man.

“Yes… you three certainly cleaned up Gellen, back in your time.” MacDoogle and I then sat in silence. My mind cast back to a time when bounty hunting was at it’s peak. It was about seven years ago when the Baron of Sheratan was reigning terror over Gellen’s Heights. In the city’s worst financial situation to date, bounty hunting suddenly became popular when a staggering 30 million c-bills was placed on the Baron’s head. Soon every man and his dog was a bounty hunter. But there were those who didn’t do it just for the money. There were three in particular that did it for justice. They were know as “Gellen’s Trio”. And I was a proud member of that team.

“How is Emily doing?” MacDoogle replied, breaking the silence. It was a tender question that always caused me to hesitate. The very mention of her name twisted and scratched at my heart.

“She’s doing good for someone in her condition…” I replied, signalling a nod from MacDoogle. Another long silence filled the room.

“MacDoogle… bounty hunting just isn’t bringing in the cash it used to. I’ve never been a man to prioritise money… but Christ I need it bad… for Emily’s sake. I think it might be time for a career change…”

“The Legionnaires? I thought you hated mercenaries?”

“Well… these guys are different. They remind me of what bounty hunting used to mean to me. Justice. These guys don’t work just for the money. I can see it in their eyes; they do it for what’s right.”

“And if there is high money involved its just a bonus? OH Common Sam, get with the program! Do you honestly-”

“WELL money is what Emily needs right now!” I shouted, my voice echoing around the metallic room. I had pounded my right fist deep into the metallic table, denting it as if it were a thin sheet of aluminium. MacDoogle’s new, unlit cigarette quivered slightly as it balanced between his lips. His ageing eyes were filled with shock and shame.

Unforgiving silence once again crept into the room.

“Sam… I’m sorry. Sometimes I just get a little insensitive…” The old man finally said with an apologetic tone.

“Sometimes I forget how much Emily means to you…” I sighed and removed my fist from the table.

“Sam, please… I’m sorry.”

“No I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lose my calm…” I quickly said. The old geezer didn’t mean what he said, or rather, he I just took it out of context. It had been taken to heart.

“How much do I owe you for the repairs?” I said after another pause. This time a smiled, easing MacDoogle into relief.

“For you - this time - it’s free!”

A few drinks later…

We sat in MacDoogle’s den/living quarters, chuckling and reminiscing over the good old days as we watched the bottle of mature malt whiskey empty into our glasses. The old timer had, of coarse, drank a far few more than I had.

“SO! So I says… I’ll buy that for a c-bill!” The old timer sputtered, causing an eruption of laughter that was on the brink of hysteria. I laughed back - harder than I had in a long time. MacDoogle was always entertaining for his stories - and even more entertaining was the way he told them.

“Christ old man! Is there a story you HAVN’T told me?!”

“Not by a long shot! Want me to fix you another drink?”

“Another?!”

“Well…?” The old man squared up, a persausive smile crossing his checks.

“You drive a hard bargain old geezer! I’ll have another… but make a small one - I don’t want to catch the last bus back completely out of my head!” I eventually said, slightly slurring my words. I wasn’t drunk… just “half cut”. MacDoogle let out a loud chuckle as he made he way across the living room and into the kitchen to fetch us another round of drinks. The old man looked out of the window, his chuckle fading from existence.

“Say… that’s strange…” he said, standing on his toes to get a better view out of the window.

“What’s that?”

“A "suit"… walking around THIS side of town… He’ll be lucky if he comes out of here unscaved!”

“What do you mean?” I said, standing up and making my way across the kitchen.

“Take a look for yourself.” The old timer said, pointing out the window. I was much taller than MacDoogle and could easily see what he was getting at. The “suit” comment was in reference to the posh dressed man who stepped out from his shiny new limo. He made his way across the court yard, protecting his expensive suit from the heavy rain. The man then stopped outside a door next to MacDoogle’s place and rang the buzzer.

“Shit that guy is either very brave or very stupid… and I’m guessing the latter.”

The man then stood before a large, heavy set man who seemed to reek of trouble.

“Who’s the big guy?”

“Him… bad news, that’s who he is! I don’t know much… but I know enough to stay away from him!”

“Got a name for him?”

“Well, I cant say I’ve ever spoken to him… however some of my clients think they know him.” MacDoogle answered, just as the “suit” walked into the building with the door slamming behind him.

“And?”

“They call him… DiForenza.”

That name struck a cord inside me. I knew that name VERY well.

“MacDoogle, I need to borrow your night vision goggles and whatever form of stun weapon you have!”

“What is it Sam?”

“I need them now old timer! I’ve heard that name down at the police station a few times- usually havoc rears it's ugly head when that name is mentioned. I need night vision goggles and a stun weapon, NOW!”

“Christ, you want the skin of my back too? I don’t have NVG’s… all I have a thermal scanner….”

“That’ll have to do… and what about a stun weapon?”

“Sam, I’m an artificial limbs technician, not a bloody armourer!”

“MacDoogle! This isn’t time for your sarcasum!”

“Of coarse I don’t own a “stun gun”!” The old man shouted, frustration mounting. I let out a sigh.

“Where’s your thermal scanner?” I asked as MacDoogle took me around the back of his place. Within moments I had secured the scanner and made my way outside.

The rain poured in large torrents as I crouched behind a car parked outside DiForenza’s place.

“Christ almighty… I hope he isn’t expecting me…” I muttered, checking that my revolver had a full six rounds in the cylinder. All six rounds, illegal enforcer rounds were accounted for.

“Now lets see… what we can see…” I muttered again, switching the thermal scanner on and bringing it up to my eyes. Although the rain had cooled off a lot of the heat signatures, the scanner’s high tech lens could still pick up the two distinct, human shaped orange glows.

“Bingo…” I said as I twisted the lens to get a better reading. I was soon struck with shock.

“What the hell is THAT?!”
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General Harold Saxon
post Apr 26 2006, 12:00 AM
Post #7



Crayven Securities, Inc. | Tactical Division
Rank: General



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Posts: 10
Joined: 14-April 06
Member No.: 39





The Cyclops' fusion reactor screamed to life, the massive fires that burned within its ferrosteel heart generating a jet-engine whine as they breathed life into the BattleMech's body. The massive assault-class war machine's shoulders raised, and its limbs tensed, changing the Cyclops' appearence from that of a limp marionette to that of an intimidating, aggressive avatar of darkness, its single, ruby-red 'eye' glowing angrily. It was...unnerving. Of course, the machine wasn't capable of moving of its on volition, but that didn't stop the odd fantasy from creeping into my mind.

I nodded a silent approval to DiForenza.


"Good. Now shut it off. I don't want anyone seeing the thermals."

DiForenza threw a few switches on the maintainence panel. The Cyclops sagged, the color draining from its eye as its fusion reactor wound down.

"Satisfied?"

I glanced briefly through the 'Mech's data sheets.

"I'll leave that to the techs to decide. Now...a tandem flatbed will be arriving within the hour to collect the machine," I began, stepping close to DiForenza, "and I expect it to still be in
the condition it's in now."

'But of course, Mister Templar," DiForenza sneered, holding up a PDA with a CredTube reader attachment. "Just sign on the dotted line, and I assure you, all of your needs will be met."

"Does that include...confidentiality?" I deadpanned, inserting my corporate CredTube into the PDA and pressing my thumb on the unit's biometric scanner.

"My credit rating is my bond," the arms dealer smirked, his voice dripping with greed as over forty million C-Bills poured into his account. "Business is, after all, a gentleman's trade."

"I plan to hold you to that promise. Step out of line, and I assure you, it will be the last thing you do."

DiForenza nodded.

"Right, then. May I show you to your car?"

"The front door will be fine. I believe I can find my way from there."

DiForenza and I made our way from the gigantic warehouse into the cramped confines of the ratty modular building.

"Always a pleasure doing business with you, Templar," the arms merchant quipped, unlocking the heavy front door, and holding it open as I stepped out into the wind-swept, rainy night. The wind tugged at my umbrella, threatening to tear it from my grip and carry it off into the gloom. I squinted at my watch, and stepped up my pace toward the waiting limosuine. As I neared the waiting sedan, a single Shilone bomber, bearing the crest of the Crayven Corporation, plunged from the clouds, cutting through the rain as it dropped almost to street level. At the last possible moment, the wedge-shaped bomber pulled up sharply, and rocketed over the roof of DiForenza's modular office, releasing a single, low-yield 'smart' missile as it did so. The intelligent warhead punched through the roof of the flimsy structure, and exploded violently. The corrugated walls and roof of the shack were blown completely apart, with molten shrapnel spraying everywhere, as a hellish fire consumed what little survived the attack.

DiForenzo won't be talking to anyone now...

As I reached for the sedan's door handle, a string of shouted vulgarities stopped me in my tracks. I turned to see a slightly-unhinged looking character, with a mop of soaked hair partially covering his face, peering from behind the Legionnaire humvee, staring in shock at the flaming mess. His gaze caught mine before I had time to enter the vehicle, and we stood locked in a gaze for several long moments.

"Fucking unbelievable!"

I felt like a deer trapped in the headlights of an oncoming APC. The man had obviously witnessed the event from start to finish, and I wondered if he had made the correllation between the arrival of the Shilone and my departure from the building.

"Yes...you - you don't see that every day, do you? I hope there weren't any casualties."

The man looked stupified.

"I'm not talking about the explosion! I'm talking about the fact that the bounty I was about to claim just got blown to bits! DiForenza was in that building - and I was about to take him in! A cool million C-Bills...blown to shit."

"Mmmm...how unfortunate. Better luck next time."

I again began to enter the sedan, only to be stopped by the bounty hunter, who had begun walking toward the limosuine.

"Now wait just a damn minute. I've been watching this street all night. You was in there - with him. What do you - "

A banshee scream interrupted the bounty hunter's line of questioning, as he and I both turned our heads toward the source of the sound.

Incredibly, DiForenza was still very much alive. And very much on fire.

The arms dealer, totally engulfed in flame, was screaming madly as he ran from the ruins of the burning building. Staggering drunkenly into the street, he threw himself into the first puddle he came to, futily attempting to extinguish the burning napalm adhered to his body. His efforts were met with little success.


"Looks like you might have another shot at bagging your prize, bounty hunter," I muttered, struggling to maintain my composure, "...at least, until the napalm finishes him..."

I discretely reached for my microgauss pistol.

...or until I can get a clean shot...


--------------------
Position : General, Crayven Tactical
Callsign : Templar
Current BattleMech : MC2-CS-A Mad Cat-II (Prototype) [Assault]
Loadout : 2x Clan ER PPC, 2x Clan Arrow-IV, Artemis IV BAP
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Bounty Hunter: Sam Grisham
post Apr 29 2006, 06:21 PM
Post #8



Bounty Hunter
Rank: MechWarrior



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Group: LEGIONNAIRES
Posts: 44
Joined: 2-January 06
Member No.: 34





DiForenza thrashed around like a wild animal. He screamed and shrieked like a dieing boar. He had been transformed from a heavy set criminal into a walking fireball. Napalm was truly a horrific weapon. I watched the million c-bill bounty drop and roll into a puddle. However it was futile. Napalm was designed to keep its victims ablaze for as long as possible. The flammable substance was like Vaseline, thick and gooey in texture. The second you are coated in the stuff, its near impossible to remove. Only a thorough scrub would have any chance of removing the stuff. The fact that the substance was ignited and the fact that all DiForenza had was a shallow puddle, it became blatantly obvious that I would not be collecting my million c-bills.

“God .. DAMMIT!” I shrieked. Emily’s money was within reach… and it had quickly evaporated in a rush of hot, liquid fire. DiForenza’s boar like screams continued for several more moments as he flapped around in the puddle. As exhaustion set in, the living fireball’s flapping began to slow down. The screams quickly became raspy gasps for air. The raspy, blood-curdling chokes died as, along with DiForenza. And all I could do was stand and watch the inferno.

“Well this is a sorry affair…” said the ‘suit’, who calmly removed his right hand from his coat pocket. I stood speechless. What the hell could I do now?

“I suppose we should be thankful that we weren’t caught in the blast.” Again I stood silent.

“Christ all mighty…” I muttered, staring deeply at the still burning DiForenza. I was so absorbed in self pity that I hadn’t realised the ‘suit’ had walked and left the scene.

“And I didn’t even catch his name…”

Several hours later…

“So let me get this straight…” Detective Drafts said, burying his head into his left had. His right hand stamped out a cigarette.

“You just happened to be around THAT side of town… at THAT particular time of night when DiForenza’s ‘place of business’ exploded into flames?"

“How many times do I have to tap dance for you idiots? I stepped out of the place I was visiting and discovered DiForenza’s hideout. I crept up on the place and BAM, the place was napalmed to hell!”

“Grisham… do you realise WHY we are so pissed off?” he shouted, his voice echoing throughout his office down at the police station. I shrugged my shoulders and stared back at him blankly.

“Because you can't quite pin me to this?”

“Its because we had a stake out on DiForenza! Everything was running fine until you showed up on the scene! Why is it that trouble just seems to follow you around?!” It suddenly made sense. That ‘suit’ that showed up had to be an undercover officer.

“I’m telling you now Drafts, I had NOTHING to do with the explosion! I had nothing to do with DiForenza’s death! Hell it might have been an accident within the building. That prick’s warehouse was filled with all sorts of weapons!” I shouted back, furious that I was being interrogated. I was a bounty hunter. They didn’t just give out badges to anyone. Bounty hunters were to be trusted and this line of questioning from a pencil pushing prick who was barely a year on the force just… sickening. Drafts stared at me with a hint of murder in his eyes. His thick ginger hair matched his red-hot fiery mood. Drafts had not long transferred from some department or another, I wasn’t too sure. All I knew was Drafts’ was inexperienced and definitely the wrong man for this job. This hadn’t been the first time me and Drafts’ had crossed paths and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

“Christ, why don’t you ask your buddy who was there with me!”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

”The ‘suit’ that was also there. He’s one of your guys, right?” I said, engaging Drafts’ reaction.

“… Right?” It had suddenly dawned on me that I could be wrong about the ‘suit’. And from the look on Drafts’, it seemed he was wrong about the ‘suit’ having any connections with me.

“Well… this is interesting…” The detective finally said. “Grisham, don’t leave town. We’ll be getting in contact with you soon, pending further developments in this case.”

“No more questions?”

“Oh no, your quite mistaken. There will be more questions, just not right now. Now get your ass out of my office and out of this station.” Drafts angrily said as he opened the door and stood by it. I sat in my chair a moment longer, just to antagonise the detective. I hated pricks like him, just like he hated pricks like me. As the colour of his face matched the colour of his hair, I decided to vacate the building.

The night’s cool air filled my lungs. It’s temperature snapped my senses open, and I felt more awake than I had in the station. But it wasn’t just the temperature that was cool. There was a cold uncertainty about this whole case and there were many unanswered questions. How long had Drafts’ team been staking out DiForenza? Why wasn’t I quizzed on the ‘suit’ character? And who the hell was that guy?

“Those questions will have to wait… right after I’ve had a few shots of tequila down at Mandy’s gentleman’s bar and a good nights sleep…”

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General Harold Saxon
post May 1 2006, 05:25 PM
Post #9



Crayven Securities, Inc. | Tactical Division
Rank: General



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Posts: 10
Joined: 14-April 06
Member No.: 39





"You didn't eliminate him?"

I leaned back against the upholstered brahmin-hide rear seat of the corporate limosuine, brushing raindrops from my coat as the sedan sped into the rainy night.

"I most certainly did not. There's no telling how many witnesses your pyrotechnic display attracted - by my count, at least one. And if someone had witnessed my 'elimination' of the bounty hunter - damnit, Martinez - had you waited until my vehicle was out of sight, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. I expect much more precision from Tactical in the future."

"Understood, General."

I let out a long sigh, and ran my fingers through my hair.

"Damage report."

"After the explosion, there was a flurry of t/c activity in the immediate area - almost to the point that the grid was overloaded. Several calls went out to law enforcement - one call came from the bounty hunter's mobile device. It ended up at Precinct 14 - a Detective Drafts took the call."

I raised an eyebrow inquisitively.

"What was discussed?"

"Unknown. Drafts instructed...Grisham is the name your bounty hunter gave...to come down to the precinct and give a statement."

Grisham...

"Do we have a background on this Grisham character?"

"We're still looking into it. So far, we've only managed to track down his citizen ID number and a bank account registered in his name."

I pulled my PDA from my coat's inner pocket, and switched the unit on, retreiving the stylus from its built-in holder as I did so.

"Give me his ident number."

There was a pause as Martinez retrieved the information.

"His citizen ID is 0342-775-2613."

I jotted the information down on my PDA.

"And his banking information, please."

"Sir?"

"The banking information. Now."

Martinez paused again. The clicking of keyboard keys punctuated the silence.

"ComStar - the Most Blessed Branch of Gellen's Heights. Account number 1729571-29518. Do you want his PIN as well?"

"That won't be necessary. Connect me to Financial, please."

"Right away, sir."

The vidlink flickered away, replaced by a black screen featuring a rotating, three-dimensional Crayven Corporation logo, across which blared the word 'TRANSFERRING' in a garish lime green. Several seconds later, a live feed swept the logo away, as a blonde, bespectacled woman appeared onscreen.

"Crayven Financial, Jennifer DuBois speaking - General Saxon, what can I do for you?"

I tapped a command out on the PDA, initiating a wireless connection to the comm terminal.

"I need you to perform a funds transfer to a third party. Use the account in Tanis - I don't want this to be traceable."

"Destination and amount, please," an unflinching DuBois requested. Although my request might have been perceived by some as cause for concern, those in the Financial division knew better than to ask questions unless absolutely necessary.

"Transfer two million C-Bills to this account," I instructed, uploading Grisham's banking details to DuBois' terminal. "Mark it as 'EFT from Hashoush's Electronic Bazaar.' with the message 'Your confidentiality is appreciated.'"

The financial specialist's fingers played across her keyboard with the skill and flair of a concert pianist. With a boisterous punch of the 'transmit' button, DuBois concoluded the transaction.

"Done. Two million C-Bills have been transferred into the account of Grisham, Samuel C., holder of account 1729571-29518, at the Most Blessed ComStar Branch of Gellen's Heights, Sheratan, from proxy account 84201-24901, Tanis, Terra. Would you like a receipt for this transaction, General?"

"That won't be necessary. Thank you, Agent DuBois."

"You're welcome, General. Will there be anything else?"

"Not at this time - please transfer me to Tactical - Captain Martinez's desk."

"One moment, please."

The 'transfer' logo splashed across the screen once more. Moments later, Captain Martinez responded.

"Tactical. Martinez speaking."

"Grisham's been taken care of."

"And Drafts?"

I slipped the PDA back into my pocket.

"I leave that in your capable hands. Consider it...a chance to redeem yourself."


--------------------
Position : General, Crayven Tactical
Callsign : Templar
Current BattleMech : MC2-CS-A Mad Cat-II (Prototype) [Assault]
Loadout : 2x Clan ER PPC, 2x Clan Arrow-IV, Artemis IV BAP
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