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> The Universe, 3028
Jackson McKenna
post Oct 31 2019, 07:32 PM
Post #16



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"Yeah, Dexter. I definitely couldn't forget about you."

"Dankeschon, Jackson," the MechWarrior grinned - creepily - before wandering off.

I sat, flipping my stylus around in my fingers for several long moments, trying to center my thoughts. I had to admit that, of Charles' MechWarriors, Warrant Officer Dexter 'Abaddon' Friedman was the person about whom I knew the least. He originally hailed from the Lyran Commonwealth and was the unit's lead electronic warfare specialist. Incredibly, he was also a former ComStar Adept, who, despite his near-fanatical reverence for Jerome Blake, quite literally walked off the job with one of ComStar's RVN-1X Ravens during a training exercise. How he actually managed to get to the Periphery without being immediately apprehended by ROM agents or glassed into nonexistence by a ComStar WarShip was a total unknown, but somehow, after fleeing to the travel hub on Rollis, he ended up in a bar on Laconis, drowning his sorrows in alcohol and rambling about the teachings of Blake to everyone within earshot. As it so happened, one of those people within earshot was Charles Maxwell - who had been largely ignoring him - at least, until Dexter made a passing remark about the Raven being the only thing left to his name. At that point, I'm told, Charles interjected with, simply, "I'm sorry, did you say you were looking for a job?" The rest, as they say, was history.

Dexter's personality could best be described as...unpredictable. He had a tendency to fluctuate wildly between friendliness, intense irritability, and cold detachment. I learned very quickly that a particularly sensitive topic was his Raven, call-signed 'Aether.' He had an incredibly deep reverence for the machine, considering it to be an actual instrument of the divine, and was sincerely-entrenched in the belief that, without performing specific rituals before powering up the BattleMech, it would simply not function correctly. And he was a fantastic pilot. In my training sessions with him, I'd been amazed at the efficacy with which he was able to use his Raven not only as an ECM platform and versatile scout, but also as a weapon of direct engagement. And he just never seemed to get hit - by anything. Outside of the cockpit, the man was also an electronics genius, understanding technology better than seemingly anyone else aboard the Tana. Given the veritable Swiss Army Knife of talents that Dexter seemed to possess, I could definitely understand why Charles was willing to put up with the man's eccentricities. Marius, who'd been apprenticing under Dexter, and was himself something of a technological whizkid, was thus an ideal student.

There was one other person aboard the Tana who I'd seen in passing - someone by the callsign of 'Radar,' but she kept very much to herself and seemed to stay isolated on the bridge. I didn't know too much about her. What I knew came from bits and pieces I'd picked up from others.

'Radar' was more formally known as Warrant Officer Alyssa Chase. 30 years old, she was also a former ComStar Acolyte. Rumor had it that she'd been exiled (and nearly executed) by ComStar for assisting Dexter with his theft of the Raven from the Order. While in hiding on Smithon, Taurians struck the planet as part of the larger House Arano crisis. Aegis Division was called in as one of the mercenary units responsible for defending the world while its civilians escaped. During the evacuation, Alyssa was spotted amongst the fleeing citizenry by Dexter, who directed her to the staging area for Aegis Division's DropShip. Knowing that Alyssa was not safe anywhere from the reaches of ROM, Dexter convinced Charles Maxwell to allow her to become a permanent attach� to the mercenary unit. She now apparently provides intelligence-gathering and technology-consulting services, and serves as a relief pilot for the unit's scouts.

A sudden chime interrupted my train of thought.

"Now hear this - now hear this - we are making planetfall in ten minutes. Secure all loose gear and assume your landing stations. We are beginning our descent."
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Steve Jenkins
post Nov 8 2019, 08:20 PM
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ELSEWHERE.....

SOLARIS 7
MAP: Ishiyama

A bunch of flashes of light bursted by the windsdhield of my Thug BattleMech as I charged at the opponent in the area. He was in a Rampage BattleMech that was loaded with all kinds of crazy weapons, and right now, they were all bursting at me.


"Steven Jenkins, I will cremate you!" he screamed over the comms at me. The pilot was Nakagang Tai Chi, a Mechwarrior that was notorious in Kurita because he was a dirty player. I ran my Mech into a full bore to come right at him and unleashed my PPCs right into the Rampage's chest. Sharp bolts of lightning flew everywhere as the Mech's armor was sundered to pieces where the PPCs had hit.

"You won't get a chance!" I yelled back. "I'm undefeated in this arena and I'm not about to let a dishonorable pig like you get the high ground!" I screamed, and at the same time shooting double SRMs at his Mech. I drove my Mech forward over a ridge and suddenly found myself slipping down the other side. The crowd roared and cheered at me as I regained my pilot controls and started pushing back up the hill.

"Now I have you in my grip!" Nagakang cackled. His breath was so bad I could almost smell it over the radio as he intoned. I started shooting back at him, but I had faltered too late...millions of rounds of leathal death were flying at me from his arsenal of weapons now bringing target on me.

"Oh shit, you gotta protect me, I'm a sitting duck if I - " my words to the referee were cut off as the bombarding of the Rampage made landfall on my Thug. I watched as my cockpit disintegrated and caught on Fire around me. My pants were lit ablaze as the cockpit exploded everywhere and my Mech became a dumb wreck on legs. I yanked hard on the ejection handle to bail out, but the knob ripped off in my hands!

"BALL DAMN IT!" I screamed in rage, cursing at my ancestors. As I bent over to try to manually release the ejection, the rockets suddenly lit off and my Ejection Seat went flipping into the air with me attached, whipping wildly everywhere as it flew uncontrolled over the audience!

"AGGGHGGGHHGGHHHHHHH!" I screamed as my stomach turned into knots and the blur of the arena flipping past looked like one of those ancient magic Eye posters from primitive Earth. Suddenly, I saw a wall coming up on me and as it got to inches away, my Mind went to another place...

<FLASHBACK>

I am on Archimedes. My Sensei is there...Sensei Ronald, an ancient man of Wisdom, before me, telling me of the ancient arts.

"Steven Jenkins, you are here to learn the ancient Archimedian arts of combat. Only the chosen are allowed to know that which dwells within. Are you ready for your Mind to be entered?"

"Yes." I said, deeply. "My life was created to know the techniques of combat. I can know no other."

"Then we will begin." he said. Sensei Ronald approached me and put a Guiding Hand on my forehead. Then he began a deep humming. A humming which grew and deepened as the room turned white, and then...can't remember...

<FLASH>

I was back on Solaris 7, flying through the air strapped to an ejection seat that was about to smash into a wall. And then it did. It impacted so hard that the ejection seat smashed into a billion pieces that rained down and mutilated innocents in the audence, and I fell into the lap of a huge guy who had a tub of popcorn and a chilli cheese dog that went all over me as I landed on it. The man swore angry words at me and dumped his beer on me as he pushed me to the ground, which at least put out the fire that used to be my pants. I covered my exposed and wounded body in shame as I sobbed into the concrete at the dishonor of my loss. Then the voice of Duncan Fisher came on the PA system.

"STEVE JENKINS HAS LOST TO NAGAKAI TAI CHI. WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION. STEVEN JENKINS WILL CLEAN OUT HIS LOCKER AND EXIT THE ARENA."

What was I going to do now????

"You spilled my food, asshole." the fat man said, and then poured another beer on my head.
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Captain Charles Maxwell
post Nov 8 2019, 10:58 PM
Post #18



AEGIS DIVISION | Commander
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Well, hello there, Steve. Welcome bwck. I take it you would like to join our fun here?


--------------------
Position : Commander, Aegis Division
Callsign : Eden
Current BattleMech : CPLT-C1 Catapult
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Steve Jenkins
post Nov 13 2019, 11:37 PM
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We're not doing colors anymore?

I wandered down the streets of SOLARIS7 sobbing tears in rain. I'd seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhuser Gate. All those things were made nothing by the rendering of my mech and a crash into the wall of the Arena map. I screamed into the Night as I walked. All I had were my burned up shorts with chili sauce spilled on the crotch and my gym bag. My mech had got so blew up that there wasn't even anything left worth salvaging. I just left it all to some obnoxious junk Trader who gave me a bunch of C-Bills and nothing else. How could I be a Successful Businessman if I invented didn't even have enough money to buy a new mech???

I had to go to the bathroom really bad. I had been holding it since my ejection seat accident and now my bladder felt like it was going to burst. Because I had lost the match I could not use the bathroom at the arena. Because I had been banned from the locker room for not being the champion anymore. But luckily I saw a porta potty coming up on the sidewalk. I banged on the door and hollered to see if anybody was inside it. But all I heard was my own voice in the rain. So I went inside. It was dark and peaceful even though it smelled like turd, probably because it hasn't been emptied out in a while. I sat alone in there, alone, with my thoughts and also the flies, I guess. As I sat there getting relieved, I suddenly saw a poster on the inside wall of the porta potty. It said MERCENARIES WANTED - - - ALL SKILL LEVELS ALL EQUIPMENT PROVIDED - - - OUTREACH. I couldn't believe my good fate. A minute ago I was so lost about where to go but now I knew that there was a second chance, if I could only reach it...

I had to get to Outreach!!
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Jackson McKenna
post Nov 18 2019, 06:47 PM
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Harlech Interplanetary DropPort
Harlech, Romulus
Outreach
October 24, 3029

_____________________________

With a gentle 'whump,' the DropShip Tana eased onto its ferrocrete landing pad, the roar of its drive engines transitioning from a guttural roar to a slowly-fading whine. I slowly unbuckled my seat harness and rose to my feet, glancing at my seatmate, Alexander Blackwood, as I did so.

"So, I guess this is it, huh?" I asked, not sure how to broach the subject of disembarking.

"Ayuh," Blackwood replied with a sideways grin. "This is the big boy planet."

"'Big boy planet?'" I asked, raising an eyebrow. The terminology was unfamiliar to me.

"Outreach is the mercenary hub of the Inner Sphere. I'm sure you know that. It's also home to all kinds of corporate interests, social hubs, and of course, the Outreach Hiring Hall. This is where you want to come to cut your teeth and get yourself fully-immersed in the gun-for-hire culture. It's a big place - you know where you're going from here?"

"I'm supposed to meet the Black Phalanx Company's DropShip Estoc here tomorrow. That's all I know."

Blackwood nodded. "Alright, then. Well, there's a bunch of places you can stay over on Lakefront Drive. And if you get a wild hair and want to see the sights that this place has to offer, go up to the Hiring Hall on Cameron Road. It'll blow your mind."

"Hey, thanks, Alex. It's been great travelling with you guys," I smiled, shaking his hand as we made our way to the airlock.

"Yeah, it's been fun having you aboard, too. Good luck with everything," the MechWarrior replied. "Don't get yourself killed or anything."

"I'll try my best," I replied, with a measure more of confidence than I actually had. With a friendly wave, I made my way down the boarding gantry into the Outreach twilight. In the dusky sky, a myriad of twinkling lights passed overhead as various craft made their way to and from the surface, while others transited between the spaceport and the city, which glistened in the distance. All around me swirled the frenzied activities of a major travel hub - cargo loaders came and went, spacecraft landed and departed, and support vehicles swarmed across the tarmac like dispersed herds of animals migrating in all directions. In the center of it all, at the bottom of the boarding ramp, was Captain Maxwell.

"Came to make sure I got off the ship without wrecking anything?" I joked. Maxwell turned toward me and chuckled.

"Nah, I forgave you for the food slot incident," Charles laughed. "I'm just here for the fresh air. Well, as fresh as the pollution-laden air of a mostly urban planet can get."

I nodded, heaving my duffel bag over a shoulder.

"I want to thank you for all the training and stuff you gave me while I was on board, Charles. It really might mean the difference between me making it out of this and not."

"Don't mention it," Maxwell replied, nonchalantly. "I'm sure my staff benefited from being able to train you as well."

I nodded. "If nothing else, it gave me a boost of confidence that I think I really needed."

"Hold onto that feeling," Charles replied. “Get up every morning and tell yourself, "‘I can do this.""

"Sometimes, things are easier to believe before I'm up and moving, though," I laughed, half-jokingly.

"Bull shit," Charles answered, bluntly. "A great woman once said, "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” You can accomplish anything you put your mind to. I know you can. I did it. So can you."

"Your belief in me means a lot," I replied. "I hope when this is all over we run into each other again."

"I'm sure we will, Jackson. I'm sure we will. Good luck, my friend," the commander smiled, clapping me on the shoulder before making his way up the Tana's gantryway. "Be excellent."

I watched as Charles disappeared into the DropShip, and then, at length, I turned to face the city. With the protective environment of Aegis Division and their DropShip no longer available to me, my situation somehow felt more primal, dangerous, and real than it it had up until this point.

With the safety net gone, it was time to see what I was made of.
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Steve Jenkins
post Nov 18 2019, 11:36 PM
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MEANWHILE...

After I had got done with my relief I flagged down a Taxi to take me to the SOLARIS7 space port. I didn't know how I was going to do it but I had to get to OUTREACH, that's where the poster said I could sign up to be a gun for hire. I had ripped the poster off the wall of the Porta potty and put it inside of my shorts pocket to keep it out of the rain. When the taxi pulled up I got in and unfolded the poster and put it in front of the driver's face.

"I need you to take me wherever the fastest flight to here leaves from!" I Shouted in a commanding voice, I wasn't playing around because there was no time to lose.

"AGGGGGGH GETTA THE PAPER OUTSIDEA MY FACE IT SMELLS LIKE PEE" the driver said loudly. "I TAKE YOU ONE PLACE, IT TO SPACE PORT, YOU ARE ON OWN AFTER."

"OK fine" I said "But you better step on it"

"I DRIVE FAST." Said the Cab driver. Suddenly he hit the gas so hard that the taxi's wheels lit on fire and left all kinds of fire behind us as we sped away. I screamed as the G-forces threw me into the back window and my face got smashed on the glass, while I was up there I saw the Porta potty knock over from the force of our drive off and it looked like it dumped everywhere, I was glad I had used it before it had had a problem. Maybe somebody would stand it back up, even though the toilet paper would be ruined now.

I climbed back down in my seat and held on while the cab driver drove like a racecar driver through the city. He must have been doing at least 80 MPH through traffic, all the cars around us whipped by like they weren't moving. Then the car driver put on some music. It was loud garbage that sounded like a bunch of drums and some yelling and stuff. I wondered if he was listen to what they called "pop" on ancient Earth.

"Hey can you please turn this garbage noise off???" I asked yelling over the music. "It's annoying!!"

"NO I NOT TURN MUSIC OFF FOR NO ONE!" the cab driver screamed me.

"BUT IT'S AWFUL MUSIC THAT SOUNDS LIKE CRAP" I yelled at him.

"NO YOU ARE CRAP YOU NOT INSULT MY MUSICS!" The car driver yelled at me.

"SPEAK THAT WAY TO ME AGAIN AND I'LL END YOU!" I hollered back. Then I reached into the front of the car and tried to grab the radio knob. Unfortunately the cab driver grabbed my arm and twisted it back!

"AAaaaiiiiie!" I shrieked as I pulled back against the driver to fight him. Just then I saw a divided highway coming up and we were coming up at it really fast. I grabbed the steering wheel and yanked it toward the divided highway to create a danger and distract the driver so he would let my arm go and let me cut the radio off. But then to my surprise he turned all the way around in his seat with his legs up in the air and stared at me with evil eyes made of fire.

"NOW YOU'VE DONE IT" he growled in a voice like the devil. Then he threw his arms out to both sides and The next thing I knew there was a huge crash and I saw the air bags go off behind him in slow motion as I flew threw the windshield and everything faded to white.....

This post has been edited by Steve Jenkins: Nov 18 2019, 11:40 PM
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Jackson McKenna
post Nov 20 2019, 10:13 PM
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Phil's Tavern
Harlech, Romulus
Outreach
October 24, 3028
_____________________________


The tram ride from the interplanetary DropPort, located in the Inland South district, to the sprawling Inland North had been uneventful and relaxing. Whisking through a forest of dense, urban towers and sprawling compounds in the Corinthian style, the People Mover Express had provided its passengers with a tour de force introduction to the city as it traced an impressive route past iconic locations I had, until now, only seen on television and in the movies. On our approach to the commercial district, the stark, white citadel that was the ComStar compound rose into view, flanked by the monolithic Harlech Hiring Hall, both glistening in the purple twilight as we continued past them and crossed the Garrett River into the hospitality ward of the city. Steel and glass towers began to give way to more modest structures; a smattering of hotels and restaurants, interspersed periodically with an assortment of tenements in various states of upkeep, presented a more modest contrast to the corporate excess of the central metropolis.

After disembarking from the tram, I found myself drawn to the sights and sounds of 'Phil's' - a relatively dark and somewhat run-down establishment outfit with a bar that looked like it once was a lunch counter, a ramshackle assortment of tables and chairs, a coin-op VR arcade, and a single, rather poorly-maintained television set, festooned with a series of hand-written dinner menus. At several tables, patrons were gambling, though it wasn't clear what the stakes were, or even the game. The din of music playing over decades-old speakers competed for dominance with the crash of breaking dishes, kitchen activity, and the general rowdy atmosphere of the establishment.

It was my kind of place, and the frenetic energy was just enough to help me put aside - at least for the moment - the entire reason I was on Outreach. The glass of lukewarm cider perspiring in front of me sat at the center of my universe. It was, in the immediate sense, the best part of my truly messed-up existence.

The static of a radio turned between stations caught my ear, its white noise lulling me into a near trance-like state. Total relaxation began to work its way into my mind, transporting me away from the bar and its chaotic surroundings. Abstract thoughts began playing, like grainy recordings, in my mind's eye. A monotone voice from another place whispered in the background.

"I know that there has, as of late, been some question as to the motives behind our blessed matrimony. That Melissa and I, being joined in marriage, was orchestrated to create an unstoppable dominion of military might, and that our houses united not out of love, but out of convenience - out of a lust for conquest - and out of political machinations. My friends, I tell you now, nothing could be further from the truth. Melissa Steiner and I share a fiery kindredness of spirit - one that transcends politics; one that transcends territory; one that transcends the fabric of life itself. If the people have seen fit to bless our marriage with the greatest union the Inner Sphere has ever known, it is not my right, as a mere mortal, to question - "

"Can you believe that crock of shit?"

I was suddenly jolted from my trance by the slurring of a drunk, mixed with the putrid odor of halitosis. "Who the hell do those FedRat goons think they are? Swearin' in a new administration and sayin' we put 'em there?"

A long, vomitous belch followed the question.

"Fuuuck, we didn't even put the last one there!"

With a puzzled expression, I looked toward the uninvited visitor.

"What are you talking about?"

The drunk stared back incredulously.

"The radio, jackass! Shit, you've had way too much to drink."

I swallowed hard. "I, uh, I don't really follow politics."

"You mean to tell me that you don't know what's happening?" the drunk bellowed. "That you don't know how the Capellan Confederation, the Draconis Combine, and the Free Worlds League are being systematically savaged by these two power-drunken despots?" The final words showered me in a spray of saliva.

"What I mean to say is, I try not to get into messy conversations that can only end badly." I answered, as meekly as I could.

There was no booze-addled attempt at verbal intimidation. No territorial, ape-like shoving match. In reply, the drunk just swung.
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William Kauffman
post Nov 21 2019, 08:01 PM
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Simultaneously...

"Snord's Irregulars found it on Phecda in 3024."

The LCAF Hauptmann's words hung in the air, barely perceptible over the roar of the tavern ambiance which surrounded us.

"And since then, the Commonwealth has actually recovered it?" I asked, incredulously.

"We have. Snord looted it, of course. Shortly thereafter, Archon Steiner had the LCAF strip it of anything capable of benefiting the war effort. You knew all of this information already. What isn't commonly known - as it's not exactly a matter of public record - is that the LIC later burned it out of the ice, patched it up, and, somehow, got it off-world. The spaceframe is intact and the drives are functional."

I leaned forward in my chair. "Hauptmann - I have to ask - are you actually authorized to broker this deal?"

"Yes. The LIC heard about your operation and wants to bankroll it. Well, part of it, anyway - in exchange for first bid on certain technologies. You need a ship big enough to haul large-scale expeditions and defend itself; the Commonwealth needs a decisive edge. It seems like a natural fit. You'd be rich beyond the dreams of avarice."

"I'd like to see the ship myself," I answered, at length. "We're likely going to need to do quite a bit of work to get it back into service. But if the ROI seems worth it - "

My sentence was cut off by a sudden explosion of glassware and flatware, coupled with the distinctive sound of a heavy object crashing through an even heavier object, amid shouts of garbled obscenities.

"What the hell?" I blurted, instinctively rising from my chair and turning toward the source of the commotion. My eyes landed on a heavily-intoxicated patron who had fallen through the surface of a table after apparently attempting to throw a punch at its occupant. The bespectacled, lanky young man who I inferred had been the intended target of the attack was recoiled in self-defense, a mixture of shock and fear on his face.

"I'll beat your face in, you listless simpleton!" the drunk snarled, pulling himself out of the wreckage of the table and lurching toward his victim again.

"I still don't know what I did wrong!" the young man exclaimed, a crowd beginning to form around the pair.

"Oh, for god's sake. Hold this, please," I sighed, handing my compad to the Lyran military officer standing beside me.

"William, what are you doing? Your company is about to go IPO - "

"Yes, I know. I can't concentrate with this shit going on. I'll be right back."

With that, I muscled my way through the crowd, the brawl square in my sights. As I neared to within feet of the combatants, the drunk drew back his hand to strike again. The moment he swung, I grabbed his fist, twisting him around to face me, and eliciting a booze-laden exclamation of surprise in the process.

"Ow! Just who the fuck are you? Let go of my hand!"

"William Kauffman, CEO of the Crayven Corporation. And you're interfering with my business meeting."
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Steve Jenkins
post Nov 22 2019, 10:39 PM
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AT THE SAME TIME........

All kinds of white flashes and dark spots flew past my eyes as I flipped through the void. I screamed at the top of my lungs but there was no noise coming out. Where I was or if I was awake I did not know what it was it was, before I could figure it out I saw the ground coming up really fast and I hit. All of the consciousness flew back into my brain as my scream came back, starting from a quiet yell and Ramping up to the point that there was boogers flying out of my nose and spit coming out of my mouth and my ears were ringing because of the loudness of the screaming. I stood up still screaming and as my screaming went away I saw that I was standing in a freezer room. One that I never had saw before.

I started to look around but I couldn't figure out how to get out. Then I realized there was something hanging off my forehead, and I reached up to find the most terrible thing, a pack of Burger pattys had froze to my forehead. I tried to pull the pattys off but they had stuck to my skin and the pulling made me yell even more. After 5 minutes of pulling I just decided to leave them there instead.

Then, I noticed the freezer door and I walked toawards it. Suddenly, I got really sick to my stomach and felt dizzy. I felt like I was going to barf. I grabbed a bag of hot dog buns and vommed hard into it so that it wouldn't get everywhere. The smell was so bad, like booze and bacon and dog food or something, I couldn't remember what I had ate. I put the twist tie back on the bag and put it back up on the shelf to killthe smell. Then I stumbled forward.

"The shit-?? Where am I?" I felt a paper cut happen near my junk. I looked down and saw the OUTREACH poster still in my waste band. Now I remember.... I thought. I have to get to OUTREACH! I shivered and realized I was Cold. I looked down and I didbt know where my shorts had went, maybe they snagged on something in the car wreck. Now all I had was my t-shirt and my Fruit of the Looms, if I didn't get out of the freezer soon I would get froze to death. But luckily I finally saw the fridge door, so I tried to open it. I couldn't get the door open.

'HELP ME!" I started hollering. "LET ME OUT OF HERE!" I banged on the door as hard as I could. Every time I hit the door the hamburgers frozen to my head hit me in the face, which made my angrier and beat on the door harder. "LET ME OUT OF THE FREEZER! I AM GOING TO FREEZE!" I scremaed.

All of a sudden, the door fell off the hinges and fell out into the kitchen on the other side. I stumbled out of the Freezer into the kitchen. A bunch of guys stared at me as I walked out.

"DON'T LOOK AT ME!" I screamed and covered my shame with my hands. Nobody said anything so I kept walking. Then I walked into the dining area. It was jam full of people and noisy.

"Where am I?" I said out loud.

"You're at Phil's Bar on OUTREACH you idiot!" the Bartender yelled. "Now are you going to buy something or not?"

"Outreach?!?!? That's impossible!! I was just on SOLARIS7!" I bellowed.

Suddenly a huge Bar fight broke out and a drunk guy started swinging on another guy. A third guy with blond hair and a suit walked into the fight and grabbed the first guy's fist. I had to break up the fight before it went out of control! I ran up to the blond guy and grabbed him by his free arm and started pulling it.

"You need to stop fighting! I Have to get directions to the Mercenary Job Hall! It looks like this!" I held up the poster from the Porta Potty.

"Get that out of my face, it smells like pee!" One of the men said.
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Alan Monroe
post Nov 23 2019, 09:42 PM
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Assistant Manager | Phil's
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I ducked into the freezer, leaving the door open behind me - conserving electricity just wasn't a priority during the dinner rush. It was a wonder that we had a dinner rush, given what passed for "food" here.

I picked up a bag of "authentically meatilicious!" burgers from the back of the freezer, and a bulk pack of bacon from the shelf above the buns and rolls. I checked carefully to make sure the bacon was unopened - there were three mostly-empty packages, several discarded bacon strips, and a pair of white gym socks strewn around the floor nearby. Probably Phil Junior's doing - that boy's only skills seemed to be eating and slacking off.

I threw a couple bags of frozen corn on top of the pile of food I was carrying, and then bent down to grab a bag of "fresh n' ever frozen" chicken wings with my free hand. I saw that something with the consistency of chunky pea soup had splattered on my shoes - and Phil's doesn't serve pea soup.

I left the freezer, kicked the door shut behind me, and slammed the pile of frozen food product down on the counter by the girdle. "Alright, which one of you hid the fake vomit in the freezer?" I shouted.

There were some shrugs, and some looks, mostly directed at Junior, who was peering down at my shoe with great interest.

"Woah!" Junior exclaimed. "It's so realistic, it even smells like the real deal!"

I sighed. This was a kitchen that had built a soda stack behind the basement door, hid mayonnaise packets under all the rugs, and released termites into my file drawer. Authentic vomit in the freezer was entirely plausible.

This job had been wearing thin for a while, and in that moment, the last thread snapped.

"Well in that case," I said, and started untying my apron. "I hope someone comes forward, or at least cleans up this prank, before the health inspector shows up on Tuesday. Phillip, tell your father to find a new assistant manager. I quit." I pushed my apron into his hands, and left the kitchen.

This post has been edited by Alan Monroe: Nov 23 2019, 09:46 PM
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Jackson McKenna
post Nov 24 2019, 04:28 PM
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In the space of less than a minute, an astonishing series of events had transpired. A drunk guy attempted to take a swing at me in an act of outrage over what he'd heard Hanse Davion saying on the radio. After failing to hit me - instead, landing a very successful attack on the table - he'd tried again, only to be stopped mid-swing by some corporate type with unnaturally-fast reaction time and an incredibly expensive-looking wardrobe for the venue. Then, another oddball - in his underwear and a vomit-stained t-shirt, clutching a urine-soaked poster, with what appeared to be a pack of hamburgers frozen to his forehead - had started accosting the businessman, whining about needing directions to the Harlech Hiring Hall, while a Lyran military officer and a fellow in sever attire with a 'HI MY NAME IS ALAN' name badge looked on in amazement.

The universe seemed hell-bent on continuously upping the ante when it came to the definition of 'weird.'

"Hauptmann Albrecht, if you don't mind doing a small civil favor, I believe that this gentleman needs to pay his bar tab and settle his...incidentals bill," the businessman deadpanned, maneuvering the drunk toward the Lyran officer with one hand and gesturing at the destroyed table with the other. "And as for you," he continued, turning to face the underwear-clad weirdo, "you have hamburgers frozen to your forehead."

Taking the drunk by his arm, the Lyran Hauptmann turned toward HI MY NAME IS ALAN. "Are you a manager?"

"I, uh, don't work here anymore. This guy can square up with the bartender."

"Fair enough," the Hauptmann replied, leading his charge off into the crowd.

Turning toward me, the businessman raised a concerned eyebrow. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, he never actually managed to hit me," I sighed. "Thanks for jumping in when you did. Um, who did you say you were again?"

"William Kauffman. You are...?"

"Jackson McKenna," I answered, shaking William's hand. "I'm not from around here - I just wanted to grab a hot meal before I get shipped off to the jungle to find some random piece of LosTech. I honestly didn't expect that the violence would start before I got to my destination."

William's eyes widened ever-so-slightly. "LosTech?" he whispered.

"Uh, yeah. I think that's what Hastings called it."

"Intriguing," William smiled. "My Lyran associate and I were just discussing the same topic. Can I replace your drink?"
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William Kauffman
post Nov 24 2019, 05:36 PM
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Several minutes later...

"...and that's how I ended up here," Jackson concluded, taking a long swig from his glass of cider, its flowery bouquet wafting through the alcove which wrapped around our corner booth.

Hauptmann Albrecht and I exchanged incredulous glances.

"And you say you don't actually know what it is you're after?" I replied.

"Not exactly. Javier didn't tell me what he thought was in it; only that he thinks it's there, on Gan Singh. I guess he figured it wasn't my business."

Jackson took another gulp of his drink.

"I hope you don't think I'm being rude by saying this," he continued. "but I don't really understand why you're so interested in such an abstract assignment, either."

I nodded in acknowledgement. "A fair concern. And I apologize for asking so may questions without volunteering an equal amount of context in return," I answered. "I'm the CEO of an armed courier service called the Crayven Corporation. We're a partner of the New Earth Trading Company, based out of Meredith on New Earth. Our main business is providing armed and armored logistics services into and out of hot zones throughout the Inner Sphere. We've got ongoing contracts with most of the Great Houses, and with the outbreak of the Fourth Succession War, business is booming, as you can probably imagine."

"Yeah, it's got everybody acting crazy," Jackson agreed. "In fact, that's the reason that guy was swinging on me."

"I'm sorry about that," I continued. "For what it's worth, the war has also loosened everyone's purse strings - considerably. We're building a lot of capital, but we're also having to do some serious expanding of our fleet to handle the volume of new contracts that are coming in. To help finance the acquisition of ships, crews, and support staff that we've suddenly found that we need, we're about to do an IPO on the Terran Stock Exchange."

"That's good - right?" Jackson asked, with a slightly bewildered expression.

"It is - our financial analysts are projecting that it's going to land us a windfall in profits. And I'd like to funnel some of that surplus capital into a new project. I'd like to position the Crayven Corporation as the largest stakeholder in the Interstellar Expeditions outfit. Have you heard of them?"

"I'm familiar," Jackson nodded.

"I'm taking a risk by telling you this before it's finalized," I continued, cautiously, "but I think that your situation is a perfect business case for what I'm about to share with you. LosTech is a lucrative business. I want to get involved in it by providing Interstellar Expeditions with free transport services to sites of discovery in exchange for a percentage of salvage rights to the artifacts that their digs uncover."

"Go on," the young man acknowledged.

"They benefit because they get pro bono transport and protection - the latter part being perhaps the most important piece, given that ComStar and every other entity that's got the means to do so will be nipping at their heels wherever they go, and we get first pick at - and ownership rights to - anything that that they don't decide to keep for themselves."

"That seems like a risky proposition," Jackson replied, after a thoughtful pause. "There's no guarantee that you'll find anything on any of those excursions."

"It's a calculated risk, to be sure," I nodded. "That's why we plan to limit it to an initial year-long trial following our IPO, but we haven't even presented the idea to IE yet. We're still pulling together all of the pieces that we'll need. And that's where you come in."

Jackson looked incredulous. "Me?"

"Yes. You have the perfect example case on your hands. You've been hired to fetch a piece of LosTech; you don't know exactly what it is, whether or not it's there, and you're being schlepped from mercenary unit to mercenary unit to get out to the site and back, with absolutely no guarantee of safety or success. I'd like to buy out the second half of your contact from Black Phalanx, who it looks like you're scheduled to meet up with tomorrow. We'll take you out to Gan Singh and make sure that you get to the dig site safely. Then, when you're done at the site, we'll pick you up and deliver you to your employer safely. We'll also provide him with a lucrative offer for whatever the technology is that you recover. If everything goes according to plan, we can write the whole foray up as a successful case study for Interstellar Expeditions' consideration. I'll even reimburse you personally for the change of plans. What do you say?"
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Baroness Octavia Incendio
post Nov 24 2019, 09:25 PM
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Meanwhile....

Rasalhague
October 24, 3028


***

My bloodchit was utterly useless, but I couldn’t resist checking it periodically. I was desperate for information. Every avenue was closed off. Everything surrounding Capellan nobility was now classified. The war dominated the news, and there was no mention of the Incendio name, my planet, or even the Chens. Not for the first time, I was relieved I hadn’t put the betrothal in writing – Arthur was a dweeb, sure, but I didn’t want him to die for misplaced infatuation.

I drummed my fingers on the table. Liao would never let me keep my Baron title, that much was certain. How quickly they revoked it depended on the pencil pushers, who were likely focused more on the war. The war gave me time to plan. If I lost my title, then Victarion –

‘Damn.’ I hadn’t considered the chance that Victarion would inherit the head of house. Persephone was still legally dead in the eyes of the government. Only Scorched Earth, Victarion, and Arthur knew she was still alive. Unless the Maskirovka tortured it out of one – or both - of them, then Sephy was safe. Father would be rolling in his grave at the thought of the family name relying on Victarion to lead it, but titles could always be reinstated. Unless…

What had Hanse’s exact words been? “You will keep your lands and titles?” or “You will keep your ‘current’ lands and titles?” I couldn’t remember what the silver haired Davion had promised. The defection wasn’t official yet, as Hanse claimed to want to accept when the time was right. If my title was revoked, would I still be a Baron under a Davion banner? Would he instead negotiate with Victarion as he’d legally hold my planet if I was disgraced? He couldn’t. The Fox may have a reputation of being too clever for his own good, but he had to honor our agreement. There was too much at risk for me if he didn’t.

A chill ran down my spine. I had already been on thin ice with Liao - rejecting the council’s bribe and keeping claim to my planet, bringing in the Triad to my doorstep, helping bring Melissa Blakedamn Steiner to Davion. Victarion had tried to warn me by noting that they had stopped by to question our family’s loyalty, cautioning that the attention of secret police wasn’t making the Triad happy, and I still waltzed home like nothing was wrong. Our escape meant that Scorched Earth had made the Maskirovka look bad. Questioning me wouldn’t be enough now. They’d want to make an example of me.

….I needed a drink.

***

I found Johnny in the common area, smoking a nearly finished cigar. He raised his drink in greeting as I passed to make my own. Timmy was few tables away, chatting and eating crumb cake with Persephone. It looked nothing more than friendly, but they had been spending most of their time together lately. I sat down across from Johnny and

“I think Timmy…” I tilted my head towards the two.

“Are you going to try to sell her off to him now?” Johnny asked.

“What? I never – “

A sharp bark of laughter burst out of him, loud enough that the two teenagers in question looked up at us. Persephone started to stand, but I motioned for her to stay. I didn’t want her to hear me asking for advice from Johnny, of all people. She needed to see me as the head of our house, not just as her sister, and I couldn’t do that if I didn’t keep some things close to the chest.

Johnny’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “You tried to marry her off to Arthur Chen less than a month ago.” He brushed off a piece of ash from his once-white shirt. “How can she trust you?”

“I would have let her make the final decision.”

“Does she know that?”

My retort died in my throat as I glanced back at Persephone. She was smiling broadly at Timmy, handing him a napkin to brush crumbs off his face and laughing when the next bite caused even more to land on his cheek. Had she known? Ostavar’s attack had been over six years ago, and I’d been off-planet for a good chunk of time prior to that, but she had to know I wouldn’t throw her into a marriage she hated…right?

With a sigh, Johnny took a swig of his drink. “Kids these days.”

“How do I --?”

“Leave it,” he said bluntly. “They’re friends.”

“But –“

“Look. Whatever you would normally do, do the opposite.” His expression turned serious as he glared at me. “Don’t waste your time on this when we have a WAR going on.”

***

We located a small hotel willing to sell three rooms without asking questions about our baggage. I claimed a room, leaving the others to divvy the remaining rooms and take up the crates.

Voices rose and fell around me as I shouldered my way past the crowd. Police in Kuritian uniforms were interspersed with the native Rasalhaguians – while I’d never call a Kuritan casual, the officer’s patrol held an air of routine and repetitiveness. Polite suspicion hung in the air, but there didn’t seem to be any malice. The police had patrolled yesterday, they were making their rounds today, and tomorrow there would be more of the same as they kicked aside rocks in their path while betting on when the pothole in the road would be fixed. Despite the situation, I found myself fighting a smile. Bureaucracy was the same no matter where you were, it seemed.

I adjusted my cloak, resisting the urge to fiddle with the black cloth obscuring my bionic eye. The incident with the Maskirovka had its perks – even through the thick hooding, I had been able to make out rough shapes with the cybernetics. Normal fabric barely impacted my vision. Between the makeshift bandage and the gloves, I kept the bionics hidden from the casual observer. While none of us were as recognizable as Sven in these circles, I wasn’t willing to gamble being noticed considering how often we’d been televised, and my prosthetics were advanced enough to catch attention even without the fame.

‘You lot will handle supplies and defense.’ The Steiner officer had been gruff when handing out orders. Faint scars around his chin, coupled with a nose that looked like it had been broken multiple times, made it clear he wasn’t a stranger to combat. ‘We need to win this planet. Scorched Earth will try to sway the resistance, resupply them. Bring the defenses down and we’ll be able to bring in the ships. Fail and we’ll all be shot to hell.’

Johnny was already at the rendezvous point, a small bar tucked far enough away from the main road to be discrete but moderately busy. After ordering a drink I snagged the seat across from him.

“Patrol rounds are about 15 minutes,” I said quietly. “You?”

“Found some.” Johnny had overseen locating escape routes in case the meeting with the contact turned sour. The dual scars on his cheek caught the dim light. He looked bored, but his eyes flicked around the room as he drank. I waited for a moment, but the Davion knight didn’t offer any additional information. The others soon joined, murmuring their findings quietly before we fell into small talk, mimicking the other patrons. Sven hadn’t noted any unusual encrypted chatter, and there were no abnormalities in the crowds that Luke had noticed. All in all it was a generic little town that could have been in any system.

Shortly, Luke met my gaze and fluidly motioned to the door, the movement looking like a natural gesture save for his intense seriousness. Johnny stood and casually moved over to the bar, ordering another drink and nodding at the man who had just entered.

‘Here’s your passphrase. If it’s not your contact, they’ll think you’re just making conversation. If it’s the rebellion, they’ll respond with their passphrase. We’ll also send word to our contacts in the Rasalhague clans and have a meeting set up three days after you arrive. Coordinates will be provided prior to departure from the ship.’

Whoever he was, he’d answered correctly. Johnny bought him a drink and the two returned to the table. Sandy hair fell across light blue eyes, and he beamed at the group. He didn’t look like he’d ever seen a punch thrown, much less taken one, but the intel had been right so far.

“Glad to see you,” he said enthusiastically. “Good help is hard to find. But how do I know you’re on the level?”

Wordlessly, Sven pulled down the cloth covering the lower half of his face. The young man’s grin grew.

“Sven? SVEN MOREKAI?”

“Keep it down,” Sven muttered. He replaced his disguise and leaned back.

“Right, right. Having you here, the governor will have to listen to us.”

At the questioning looks from Scorched Earth, Sven sighed. “My father.”

Sven’s presence was invaluable, adding weight to his claim. Within minutes the rebel had agreed to lead us to their HQ the next night. Johnny bought him a second drink before he left, and we were left to decide if we trusted the cheerful Rasalhaguian.

“We could ponzi, bring the Yakuza in,” Johnny suggested after a short silence. “We take out a pro-Kurtian Rasalhague leader- “

I grinned. “Frame the bastards.”

“Exactly. Politicians blame them, Yakuza get pissed, they fight among themselves.”

Trevor shrugged and downed a cup of the local mead. “I picked up some methods from the Triad we could use. Decapitation, severed fingers – “

“There’s little, if any, Yakuza presence here,” Sven interrupted. “Besides, I can’t let you do that. Family is everything here. If people start messing with that, especially as outsiders, you’ll lose any support you’d otherwise have.”

I swear his face would crack if he so much as smiled. “Well, barring that, we could play the hostage angle with you,” I said. “Or the martyr. Luke, think we could spin that?”

Luke nodded thoughtfully, a glint in his eye. At Sven’s scowl I blew the grumpy hacker a kiss. “Last resort, love.”

***

We disbanded for the night. As the most conspicuous, Sven and I headed to our rooms immediately. The others sought out more drinks and recon. I checked my Noteputer – still nothing. All war propaganda. I rubbed my temple, feeling twinges of a migraine. Knowing the revocation of my title was a minor thought in comparison to the 4th succession war didn’t make the uncertainty any easier to stomach. How the hell could I fulfill Father’s wishes if I lost my title, much less risking our family’s rank entirely?

A loud knock at the door shook me out of my reverie. Cautiously, I peeked through the peephole. Johnny stood in the hall, looking annoyed. The second the door was opened, he pushed through and looked blearily at the room. “Two beds?”

“You almost sound disappointed.”

He glanced me over before shrugging and heading to the far bed. Within seconds of laying down his snores filled the room. Seems I had a roommate for the night, though why he hadn’t roomed with Luke was beyond me. Shrugging, I re-locked the door and turned in for the night.

The next morning I woke up to see Johnny walking out of the bathroom, a towel draped over his shoulders. Only his shoulders. Fire raced up my cheeks as I scrambled to find somewhere, anywhere else to look as he got dressed. “Shower’s free,” he quipped cheerfully, winking.
I briefly weighed the pros and cons of shooting him.

Downstairs, we met the others and grabbed a quick breakfast. The newscast caught my eye – Maximillian Liao himself was on the screen, raving about the assault on Paladaine and the bravery of the defending 27th legion before his daughter Romano gently ushered him off the stage. I paused mid-bite. Paladaine bordered Marik, not Davion. The 27th legion had been disbanded before I was even born. Either Marik was taking advantage of the flurry of confusion and claiming territories, or the Chancellor was sinking further into insanity. The grim possibility of both was sobering. We spent a few hours prepping our weapons and gear before heading out of the hotel.

We took the crates and rented a local truck, a Ühaül. The owner claimed it was a joke based off an old Terran company, though he seemed disappointed at our blank stares as he handed over the keys. Sven drove as Luke navigated. Johnny sat in the back, weapon in hand as a backup. We arrived at the coordinates to find an empty looking storage center, and within minutes a figure jogged up to the driver’s side of the truck. A hushed conversation with Sven led to a unit opening up.

Inside we found a small group with guns pointed at the truck. At a gesture from the same man who spoke with Sven, they lowered them as the unit door shut. We brought out our gear and handed over several bags to the rebels.

“Well damn, the Lyrans are serious about backing us.” A dark-haired man pulled out a rifle from the bag and held it to the light in admiration. “Didn’t skimp on costs either.”

A young woman in a tattered sweatshirt grinned at us. “I like these new friends.”

Best friends,” Trevor prompted.

Her grin widened. “Best indeed. We’ll give the Kuritans hell.”

***

True to the Steiner officer’s word, Sven had an audience with representatives of the clans. Elevated rows of seating with long stretches of desks circled a small stage,

Sven stood tall in the front of the room. “This planet has been our home for centuries,” he said, the words slow and deliberate. “We shaped the very surface to reflect our values, our culture, our people. With our first steps our traditions were born.”

A few murmurs of agreement rose from the crowd. Sven strode to the sides of the room, looking every listener in the eye as he emphasized his words with his steps. “While we built our culture, Kurita looked on in fear. They knew people of our ilk would design, create, succeed. Anything we put our minds to, we excelled in refining it to a level only we could bring out.”

“Here, here!” A voice called out.

“When they saw our capabilities Kurita quaked in terror at the thought of what we could – what we would – accomplish. They couldn’t stomach another culture outperforming them in the arts, in culture, in war.” His voice rose as the murmurs grew more enthused. “Despite our disinclination towards conquest, Kurita feared us. They knew our brilliance was second only to our love and loyalty to our families.”

His voice softened. “How many of our loved ones have fallen to Kuritan blades? How many have been broken and bruised under the mantle of their rule? Children are born and die under the wrongful occupation we suffer.” As he paused, the burden of the occupation seemed to weigh on his shoulders before he straightened up, fists clenched. “Like cowards the Kuritans seek to destroy anything that threatened to eclipse their so-called empire. They try to crush us beneath their heels because they know they hardly compare.”

A figure stood and slammed their fist on a table. “Your father supports Kurita. How can you preach your devotion and love when you clash against your own blood?”

Sven waited for voices to die down. “I stand not against my father, but with Rasalhague.” When the man who interrupted started to speak again, Sven continued. “Rasalhague has a right to return to an independent state. I love my family. I will fight for the blood of my blood. More than that, I will fight and die for Rasalhague at any cost. I will do what is right for Rasalhague even as it pains me to stand against my father’s stance, even if I must stand against my father as he is blinded by Kuritan lies.”

“I stand with Sven.” A bearded man in dark robes stood up. “For Rasalhague!”

“As do I!” Another woman stood.

“And I!” “I stand!” “For independence!” A majority of the audience stood standing, with only a handful of dissenters staying stubbornly in their chairs. The floor erupted into passionate conversations and debates, everyone buzzing to bring their opinion to the crowd.

A nobleman leapt onto a desk. “The Kuritans are evil, yes yes yes, we know that. But we have an important item we forgot.” At everyone’s confused look, he continued, “Honningbrew mead is the one and only Rasalhague mead!”

“Rafael, you must be drunk already,” a voice admonished. “For any true blooded Rasalahaguian knows that Black-Briar mead is best!”

In sheer seconds the debate turned to a hearty argument of which mean was best. Sven wove his way through the crowd to rejoin us.

“We have their support,” he said calmly, as the debates grew raucous. “Ready for the next step?”
The Steiner officer’s gruff voice came to mind. ‘After you sway the public or remove the opposition, you’ll need to infiltrate the military base at these coordinates. There’s a generator, mobile planetary guns, and two target positioning towers. One or all of these need to be taken out of commission, else our ships will be torn to shreds and we won’t make landing.’

I clapped Sven on the shoulder. “Time to do some sightseeing.”


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Jackson McKenna
post Nov 25 2019, 07:41 PM
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Elsewhere...

Phil's Tavern
Harlech, Romulus
Outreach
October 24, 3028
_____________________________


"I'll even reimburse you for your change of plans. What do you say?"

I was dumbfounded. One minute, I was drowning my sorrows in a glass of cider, thinking that things couldn't get much worse. Then, a drunk guy was swinging at me, proving just how wrong I was. The next thing I knew, I was rubbing elbows with the CEO of some startup who not only had saved me from getting my face bashed in, but was now offering to help me with my obligation to Hastings and pay me for my time.

It was an unexpectedly good turn of events. Almost too good.

"I, uh...I need to make a phone call," I replied. "Excuse me."

"Take your time," William nodded, turning toward Hauptmann Albrecht and immersing himself in minutiae about some kind of a ship purchase as I left the table.

Stepping into a nearby Vid-Phone booth, I shut the door and pulled out my own civilian communicator. Keying in a number I'd been given while in transit to Outreach, I waited for the recipient to pick up. Eventually, a voice with a familiar Irish brogue answered.

"Aegis Division, Walsh speaking."

"Commander Walsh, it's Jackson McKenna. Are you still planetside? Is Captain Maxwell available?"
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Steve Jenkins
post Nov 25 2019, 11:36 PM
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AT THE SAME TIME......

I couldn't not believe how fast the things had happened. The huge House Steiner soldier had hauled off the drunk barman and the Businessman took Jackson somewhere that I had not noticed on account of the crowd.

The only dude left was the guy with the name tag, who said he didn't work there anymore, but he might still know how to get to the hiring Hall.

I ripped the poster out of my waistband and went to walk up to Allen. But I didn't know where he had went to. So I went to the Bar instead. The Bartender was really busy and kept walking by me but ignoring me. I banged my fist on the counter a bunch of times to get his attention but it didn't make a difference. Finally I got fed up and I climbed up on the Bar. I took a hug breath and intoned in a powerful voice. "I am Steven, son of Zhuhao, and I am here to find the Harlech Hiring Hall. I must become a mercenary. " Then, I slammed the recruiting poster down at my feet really hard for effect. Unfortunately I wasn't watching my aim and I kicked over a pitcher of Beer when I threw the poster.

"HEY ASSHOLE WHY DID YOU KICK OVER MY BEER!!" some guy on a bar stool yelled. "IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!" I yelled back and then I tried to stand the pitcher back up. Unfortunately when I stepped into the spilled Beer to stand up the pitcher I slipped and my feet flew out from underneath me in two separate directions and the next thing I knew I banged down on my junk as I did a split I didn't mean to do.

"AGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!" I yelled as I felt a crazy amount of ripping and burning in my pants. I couldn't stand up because my legs had got stuck like that so I did the only thing I could think of and I pushed myself off the bar. I fell off the Bar and landed hard in the Ice Bin.

"HAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!" I screamed as the cold and wet went through my Fruit of the Looms.

"GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF MY ICE BIN!" The bartender yelled.

"I WASN'T TRYING TO HAVE MY BUTT IN THE ICE BIN!" I yelled back.

"NOW IT'S CONTAMINATED AND I HAVE TO EMPTY THE WHOLE THING" he screamed, then he picked up a Fire Extinguisher and started charging at me. I sobbed in fear and threw myself hard out of the ice bin onto the floor. The hamburgers which had been frozen to my face suddenly fell off and slid across the floor just as the bartender ran at me and slipped on them.

"AIEEEEEEEEE!" he screamed as he smashed into the bar and broke about 50 bottles of Alcohol as he fell down and hit hard. The Alcohol went everywhere and I ran away. I saw a Phone Booth up ahead and I tried to rip the door open, but the guy named Jackson was inside for some reason even though he wasn't using the vidiophone.

"LET ME INSIDE THERE!" I yelled putting my face right up against the glass so that he could hear me. But Jackson just stared at me and kept doing what ever he was doing.

"SERIOUSLY THE BAR TENDER IS TRYING TO KILL ME FOR NO REASON!"

Then I looked bejind me and the crazed bar tender was coming at me for no reason. I sobbed really loudly and I ran into the Kitchen and found a Stair into the basement. I ran down the stairs as fast as I could and then hit behind a box of Ketchup. I heard the bar tender come rinning down the stairs, about half way down the stairs I heard him trip and fall. I looked up over the boxes just in time to see the bar tender come flipping down the stairs and land right on top of his head. Then he rolled over one more time and was laying as still as if he was dead. He probably was. I said some quiet respects for him and then started wandering around the basement, trying to figure out how to Escape.

Then, I Saw a big door like you see on the submarines with a huge wheel to control the lock in the middle of it. there was a sign next to the door that said SEWER: ABSOLUTELY DO NOT OPEN. I knew that I had to open the door because it was the only way I could Escape with my life. There were a bunch of control knobs next to the door that said SEWER CONTROLS, EXTREME DANGER, DO NOT TURN, SHUT OFF WATER FIRST. I didnt have time to screw around trying to find the water controls so I prayed to my ancestors for luck and I started turning all of the knobs. All of the sudden I saw the bubbling brown water behind the Sewer door window start going down. I let out a battle yell, I was going to escape. Suddenly, somewhere up in the bar, I heard a huge explosion and a lot of water noises. Someone in the Kitchen started yelling extremely angry and I Knew I had to go now. I Ripped open the sewer door and the smell was awful, I gagged for at least 5 minutes before I could get control and I ran down the tunnel into the Dark, where I was going I did not know, but I had the poster as my only link to the future.......
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