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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Stupid inexorable march of time. Stop making me run late.

Prior Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/19680418/
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Maverick%20Hunter%20Quest
The IRC: suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com, #MHQ

You are Anode, Maverick Hunters 4th Overland, and you are currently standing at ground zero in a brewing political shitstorm.
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Before you is Chernyee Grach, your target, a maverick and known killer, and he just surrendered unconditionally. So, you engage in a proud, time-honored tradition, and you kick that shit up the ladder for your boss to deal with.

"Frog, you there?"

Hammer comes in over comms, clear as day despite the heavy rain around you in the Sault Ste. Marie night. "Yeah, I'm here. What's up?"

"I've got Grach here. He wants to come quietly. And is he--yes, he is currently waving to you."

The old, dour reploid sounds baffled. "You're kidding me."

"No, and it gets better. I think he's been set up. Worse, he says he's expecting company. Something to the tune of a Russian killteam. What do I do with this?"

There's a long silence.


"Sit tight," his reply finally comes through, "I'm taking this to Command."

"Firing orders here?"

"Keep Grach safe. I'm leaving it to your discretion, but for God's sakes don't make things any harder on us than they have to be."

And that's that. You look at your target--still disturbingly human in appearance--who just shrugs.

"Ball is in your court," Grach says in his thick Russian accent, "Will follow your lead. Do you want to disarm me? I can help with wet team."

>You can't risk it. Disarm and cuff Grach.
>...All right, take a chance and trust him.


>Tactics for this wet team? Lethal? Nonlethal?
I say trust him- it's like he said. he kills us, he becomes a target for the hunters without Russia having to exert any pressure on them- and he's still a target for Russia. He's got no choice but to work with us, really.

and Full lethal on the Killteam. they're... well, a killteam. they're not going to play nice just because we're a hunter.
>...All right, take a chance and trust him.

We have a god damn Russian wetworks team inbound, he knows their tactics better than us and we could use some help.

First thing to do is not be on the fucking roof, this is not a good place. We want below ground so their entrances are limited to blowing the ceiling and maybe the walls but that's less likely, they can't rappel in, can't explode the floor out from under us.

It's a kill-team, we go lethal as I don't want to take any chances with this.

Tell Grach to drop the accent, we're not dumb enough to think that he somehow managed to keep one with his job history.
I'm all for trusting, but if we are booking it, I'd say make for someplace else, perhaps the warehouse or Grach's place from last time. We need all the shit we can if we go lethal to cover our asses if Russia gets a bit pissed. I would assume he knows the area.
Work with him but beware the sudden yet inevitable betrayal.

Milk him for info about the killteam. Human/Reploid? What weapons, tactics? Team composition? If they're human we should probably do something nonlethal, reploid forces are a lot more resilient and harder to take alive.
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You frown, mulling it over. "Okay, I'm going to trust you."

He beams. "Will be on best behavior."

"...Could you drop the accent, at least? You didn't just up and vanish sounding like Boris Badenov the whole way."

He chuckles. "This is for your benefit."

"Okay, speaking of my benefit, information. This kill team...they're not going to hold back on my account, are they?"

He purses his lips. "Likely not. If I had to guess, outside contractors, deniable assets."

This decision is harder. It takes you a moment, standing in the wind and rain. "...Okay. Then we'll return the favor. If they want to play hardball, that's what they'll get."

He nods. "Will do what is necessary."

"Okay, tactics, composition, weapons, give me whatever you can about these guys."

"Probably foreign nationals, two three-man teams and a coordinator, mixed bag of humans and reploids. Good training, likely using surplus equipment with numbers filed off. The sort of stuff I'd sell," he adds. Not helping.
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"Where should we stand them off? Here?"

He shakes his head. "Was expecting to snipe one or two and reposition, wear them down until they call off. Will see you, come around back, catch us in crossfire."

"Your apartment?"

"Too open. Plus, Steven is there."

Right, yeah, the pawn shop owner. "Where, then?"

He frowns. "Will have to stay up here, fight moving battle on roofs. Before second team cuts us off, break away, meet back up at pawn shop. Have business to take care of." He looks up at you and grins. "You can move, yes?"

"Kept up with your friend back there," you reply.

"Good. Keep eyes open, will try to surround you. Find someplace with cover to wait. Will use you as lure, hit them from back."

"Gee, thanks." And with that, you and your erstwhile ally hunker down, and prepare for the attack.

>Let them make the first move.
>Try to ambush them.
>Try to ambush them.

We want this fight to go on our terms instead of letting them use their expertise in assassination and sneak attacks to their benefit. We have an absurd charge attack, even without much in the way of electrical charge, we should utilize that.

Also, try not to feel too bad about attendance, OP. This is the opening weekend for the new batman movie, afterall.
Eh, it happens, plus I only jumped because I saw how slow the board was moving. I've put off for days now because of quest saturation, trying to be mindful of non-readers and whatnot.

Also, saw Batman with friends opening night. Damn good time. I started doing Doctor Seuss's "Dirty Harry" while we waited.
Draw them in as much as we can before hitting them hard seems advisable.
You don't really have to worry that much about quest saturation, the people who bitch will do so whether or not you run and a good chunk of people adore your quest and want it to happen more often.
ambush 'em. they're not expecting us.
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While you wait, Grach tosses you a connection to an internalized commline, letting you keep in touch outside of vocal range.

"So while we're up here, what about this Abram guy? He in any danger?"

Grach actually laughs. "I would not be concerned. Abram cannot be found when he does not wish it. Usually when doing dishes. Lazy bastard." After a moment, he radios back again, voice more subdued. "Have you ever fired at humans before?"

"...No," you admit. You've been mulling that one over in the back of your head while you wait.

"Is no different. They will try to kill you. Is open conflict. Do nothing different." Yeah. Yeah, on some clinical level, you know that, but that doesn't mean you like it. "Any word from your superiors?"

"Nothing yet."

You fall back into silence, sweeping the rooftops. Grach has set himself flush to a wall, camouflaged well enough that you barely see him. You try not to look, lest you give him away. Every now and then you see his scope move, his head turn back and forth. As for yourself, visible by nature, you've settled for a position where you're less likely to get shot. And then--

"They're here. Two of them three roofs North, do you see?"

You turn--slowly, despite the sudden burst of excitement--and sure enough, you can make out two forms against the night. "I'm hitting them first."

"Move quick. Will provide overwatch."

And before they know it, you're on them.
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You don't take them completely off-guard--a long rifle comes up and flashes, and you feel your shoulder jerk backwards as a round slams through it.

It's not enough to arrest your momentum, as you engage your dash and come down on the man, your lance cutting a neon blur through the dark as you bring it around and cut a deep wound through his midsection. You turn and let your inertia finish out the movement, sowing a field of disruption between you and the second man.

So much the better, as his volley of plasma shots destabilize and peter out.

A split-second later, a pair of shots ring out, and the man crumples. Grach stands tall, shouldering his weapon. "Third man got around us but waved off when he saw. Second group will not fall for this. Let's move."

The lightning flashes, casting the scene in an instant of daylight. Pooling around the body at your feet is fresh, red blood, the raindrops already diluting it as they fall.

"...Yeah," you say. "Let's go."

You split off, jumping from roof to roof. Grach takes long, loping strides, interspersed by seemingly impossible high jumps, eight feet in the air easy. He clears buildings like cracks in the sidewalk as he vanishes from sight.
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"Keep going a few blocks, through alleys. They won't follow far until they've linked up," Grach says. After a moment's pause, he adds, "You see? Is no different."

You try not to think about it.

"Double back to shop once you are clear."

Fortunately for you, regrouping doesn't take long and goes off without a hitch. Abram knocks on the door, slinging his longarm around his back as the old man--Steven--gets the door.

"You're back," he says. "And I see you met your visitor." He lets the two of you through.

"Can't stay," Grach replies, "not safe." He reaches into a pocket and pulls out a small envelope. "Take it. Is next twelve months' rent. Should be enough for that place in Copper Harbor you wanted." Before the old man can ask, Grach is already up the stairs. "Get Abram to drive you," he calls over his shoulder.

"Oh, he'll be thrilled," Steven replies, bemused.

You follow Grach upstairs to find him pulling something out from behind his bookshelf, then moving back to his computer, which he's already removed the back panel of.

"Replacement hard disk," he explains before you ask as he quickly switches them out, and then unceremoniously dumps a water bottle over the entire machine. "They will probably try to salvage it anyway. The thought of government money salvaging barnyard porn makes me chuckle."

"You're a real bastard, Grach," you note with a weary grin.

"I try," he replies. "One more job."

"And what's that?"

"Can do it on the way. Abram will be securing warehouse, need to make call. Already secured his booze, I notice. Man has problem."
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>Abram knocks on the door
Dammit. Grach.
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You move quickly, going by side alleys and streets. Grach fiddles with his earpiece for a moment and begins speaking quickly and quietly.

You hear him in your comm line.

"Captain? Is me. Heading to station now. Outsiders after me, at least 2 down so far. Keep men out of slums for a while, in case of crossfire. Associate will be going west soon, trade his safe passage for some dossiers on problem cases. Check the firebox in back of warehouse."

You slow to a stop, looking at him. After a moment he turns, noticing. "...You gave him a radio line, didn't you."

Grach is just making some quip about shattered innocence when the second team attacks.

A strange, crawling sensation comes over you an instant before you're sent reeling from a blast. You see Grach vanish into the dark in the other direction as you bounce down the alley, unsure if he was struck or avoided it.

You haul yourself back up, sizing up the threat. You see two figures in front of you--one over six feet tall, with a heavy backpack assembly, with cables running into his arm. The other pumps a round into what almost looks like a shotgun. Both wear full-body, concealing armor.

>Mission first. Your orders are to protect Grach.
>Get to safety, then reconnect. He can handle himself.
>Combat tactics?
Mission first

Prioritize Disable arms/legs/weapons over killshots.
>Mission first. Your orders are to protect Grach.

The tubes running the the big guys arms are an obvious weak point, but I'm wart of getting close to a guy with a shotgun.

Wait, we're in an alley, right? That means they have to be close together. Chaff missile them, then book it after Grach.

Seconding this.
This is sound to me. We're in tight quarters, and even if they're human, a cloud of razor-sharp flechette is no fun to deal with.
>Mission first. Your orders are to protect Grach.

It's practically a tradition at this point to take hits to protect others.

We're in an alleyway, this means our chaff missiles will completely block them off. In addition we have Tension Coil which we can string behind us or attach to walls to make it so if they try to run through the chaff they'll run straight into really sharp wires and it will foul some types of attacks.

If we get into a shooting war we'll probably win due to us having some pretty awesome busters, get some distance to reduce the efficacy of the shotgun when we do this and open fire on the tall dude's cables.
Remember to charge out buster as we run. Important skill, for a Maverick Hunter.
Glee, having some internet problems over here again. Might be a minute while I try to get them sorted, if there's anything I can do.
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Deathsquad or no, human or no, these guys are between you and your objective. You don't intend to just lie down and make it easy for them. You raise your busters, cycling your new VWES over to its oldest setting.

The one with the heavy backpack fires again. You expect a blast of energy, and are instead met with a growing wave of distortion filling the alleyway. As your shot reaches it, the missile visibly slows in midair, nearly to a crawl. An eyeblink later and it's been slapped out of the air by a crackling blast from the not-shotgun.

Good thing you fired two. You unload a hellish wave of plasma on it, the shots rapidly catching up to the caught missile and setting it off. One backs off, the other diving back into a side alley, avoiding the dome of glittery shrapnel that fills the intersection.

It's like looking into a snow globe filled with razors, seeing the time-slowed chaff lazily drifting at a tenth of the normal speed.

That's when it dawns on you--that bubble hit you earlier. If you were stuck in slow-motion like that..

Shit. Sure enough, you have a lot more injuries than you did a "moment" ago. You barely notice any pain, just wounds, and a good amount of them. The comm link to Grach is full of angry, hissing static.

Time-distortion + "shotgun" + close-quarters != fun times for Anode. Get out of there and get some space.

Get a bit of distance and wallrun this, we've got the improved EAS and Lightning Dash. This gives us more ability to get out of the way should we get attacked going over it.

That timey-whimy bastard is the real problem here. We need to get him alone. Keep an eye on him, he shoots at you again intercept with another missile.
Around. We don't want to get caught in the air by that time thing.
Try to get a better angle with the chaff missiles and blind the guy, then ranged attack so he doesn't do a point blank bubble to slow us down while the other guy gets us/Grach.
Comm Grach, make sure he's not dead.
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You've at least got them separated, now. Sizing up the situation quickly, you decide to pursue while you have the chance.

The buildings are old, built without modern materials that can stand up to the strength of a combat reploid. Your foot digs massive divots through the masonry as you get vertical clearance, feeling the entire structure tremble through your hand. The shiver becomes a shudder as you engage your dash. As you clear the bubble of flak, you lock eyes with the big bastard and his time gun.

Fuck that guy.

You level one buster on him, and another straight ahead of you. You fire first--with a blistering salvo of charged plasma. A half dozen crackling streaks cut through the air, causing him to cry out in pain as he returns fire.

Your stream of shots sends his wide, and you feel the crawling feeling briefly with the sensation of motion as it passes you by.

Then you fire your Tension Coil and yank yourself sharply out of the line of fire a split-second before Shotgun Bastard fires into your side mid-jump. You land safely on the far side and go to give Timefucker his--

And he blinks out of sight. Localized teleport.

Keep on the rooftops. He's huge, hopefully to big to run around up here without falling through.
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You try your comms, with no luck. Just more hissing and radio complaint. Great. You start down the way you saw Grach break away, keeping your eyes on the roofs for that teleporting guy. Ahead you hear gunfire.

"Grach, if you can hear me, they came prepared with heavy shit. I guess they're pretty serious about wanting you dead."

You're answered in the form of a fireball rushing through the alley you were about to turn in to. The pressure and heat washes over you, and a moment later you round the corner to see one of your attackers ready to square off with you. As you do, you notice that the terrain itself is unharmed by the massive blast you just saw. Deniable ops, huh?

He raises a buster at you.

"I got two. Tell Putin I said hi."
Buster spam the piss outta him.
If we intend to stay on the ground, we have to take this guy out. A weapon like that in these alleys?

Could we get up to the rooftops, maybe get the drop on him?
We're in an alleyway, this means if get some T-Coils thrashing around in his area he really can't dodge. Whip some at him and begin the murder slicing.
That reminds me, we have to scream WOLVERINES at some point.
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"Yeah, I got two," you reply coolly, trusting in your armor and your coils.

You fire at the same time. The blast sends you rocketing back into the building behind you, crashing through brick and mortar like a cannonball from the force. At the same time, all that manages to do is whip the two coils you fired into a furious hurricane. By the time you can see through the glare and the debris again, you see the flailing, bladed cables have cut him to ribbons. He twitches a few times, but doesn't rise.

And then a pair of boots fill your vision and you hear the clack of a round sliding home as one of the killteam members aims down at you, point-blank.

You immediately have a half-dozen plans, and you don't get a chance to execute any of them before Grach crashes through the window grappling with another assassin.

You plant your boot on your dance partner's chest and engage the dash with nowhere to go, so he takes a ride for you, rocketing right back out of the hole in the building with a satisfying 'chuff' of EAS thrust.
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You sit back upright to help Grach, wincing a bit at the burns on your front.

Instead, you hear a painful snap and a howl of anguish as he shatters the man's wrist, elbows him in the solar plexus and punches him in the throat.

He looks back at you as he pulls back his hand, wet blades retracting back into it from his wrist and forearm. You realize it's the first sign that he really is a reploid you've seen.

A sound from the door makes you both turn, as Grach's arm splits at the wrist, his hand tilting back, presenting a wide-mouthed gun barrel. The killer you dash-kicked out barrels back in only to catch a shotgun blast, sending him sprawling.

Guess that would be the second.

Grach draws a pistol from his side and quickly puts two rounds into his chest, and a third into his head. "You okay?" he asks.

"Think so, you?"

"Yes. You caught the worst of the opening salvo for me."

"I'm good at that," you grumble, as he helps haul you upright.
>You realize it's the first sign that he really is a reploid you've seen.
The Superman jumps across rooftops weren't our first clue?
4 down,3 to go including the coordinator.

Yell him about shotgun and time bastard.
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Okay, maybe your second. It's 5, gimme a break.
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could have had jump boots.
Humans can be pretty badass when they want to be.
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"Is appreciated, but I am sturdy for my build," he says.

"Got my orders, Grach, I gotta keep you safe."

"Difficult to do if you're dead, yes? Here, there can't be many left," he says, rolling over one of the bodies with his foot. "Teleporter is their support, the other is using magnetic rounds. Not pleasant for reploids. He got you with a few in the bubble."

"No shit?" You look back down at your wounds.

"Are doing better than I expected you to be, after that. Probably has some freeze grenades or a variable weapon like that, at least one more launcher."

"What makes you say that?" you ask, as you slowly exit the building, sweeping the area together.

"It's what we would use. Come on."

"Will they pursue us into the better part of town?" Part of you just wants to be done with this whole bloody mess and get back home.

"If they are smart? No. If they are desperate, yes."

"So, which are they?"

"Probably the second. Angry, maybe also stupid."

"Guess you were right to warn the cops off," you say as you step over the body of the fireball-launcher.

"Maybe. Might have scared them off for fear of international incident."

You kick a bloodied T. Coil cable away. "This isn't an international incident?"

He shrugs. "All deniable so far, assuming they kill us and cart away bodies. So..." he stops and looks at you, pulling his hood back down. "What now?"

>Let's make a run for it. You got a vehicle?
>Can't risk the civs. We hold out here.
>Get his take on the situation.
>Get his take on the situation.

We can't drag civilians into this. Anyone we involve only means more cleanup for these bastards.

Also, anyone from the fourth not doing anything at the moment?
>Get his take on the situation
>Check in with Frog and Command; see if they've made a ruling yet
>Can't risk the civs. We hold out here.

We killed too many people tonight already.
>Get his take on the situation.

A possibility is to make it look like Grach is making a getaway in a vehicle, they're desperate as hell and they ought to leap at what looks like their last chance to get him. We've lined the routes with T-Coil wire that funnels them into predictable paths where we force them to run through clouds of chaff.
That's a LOT of setup for a wetworks team that's already here.
True. Drawing them out that way might still be viable. They're priority is us, if we make a target of ourself we could draw them away from civilians.

We can tank the magnetic rounds and without places with cover to pop to and from the Porter is less effective.
Their priority is Grach. We're just extra collateral. It's not like the Russians care if a Hunter died on their watch, especially now, never mind that this is a deniable asset team.
Us, as in Grach and the person who is preventing them from obtaining Grach, Anode.

It was a vague term and I should have clarified.
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You check your comms. Still nothing.

"That would be magnetics," Grach notes as you try. "Do you feel sick?"

"A little," you admit. Not much--with combat underway you've been too pumped to notice, but now that you have a moment of downtime you're starting to feel your wounds. "I'll be fine."

"Likely magnets are still powered, designed to punch into armor, stay there."

Christ. Powered EM-fletchette projectiles. "Fucking magnets. How do they work?"

He shrugs. "Talk to scientist. For now, can't remove them, they might come back midway through."

"That means no lines to HQ. What's your take on this, Grach?"

"Look on bright side, there are four less than when we started."

You grunt. "Yeah, great, I killed some people, I guess there's that. What's the but?"

"But, their next attack will be their last. It will be doozy."

"Great. So what do we do about it?"

He rubs his chin. "We move, draw them out. Rooftops again."

>Okay, roofs.
>Better idea?
>Okay, roofs.

I don't have any better plans, other than scrap the big guy first.
I thought roofs would be the worst place to face timebastard?

If his timezones are localized maybe we should just keep on the move as long as we can. If at least one of them is a human, well, they tire more easily than reploids.
Sounds like a plan, you should try to look like you were injured, they don't know that you're in just fine shape. Look like you have some damage, maybe a bit of a limp, look more vulnerable it'll draw them out faster and they'll underestimate you.

The roofs are the best place against time bastard as we have enough room to dodge the bubbles, and he doesn't have places out of our line of sight to port to.
It'll be way better than dealing with his timezones in a confined space like those alleys. It's not much of an improvement, but it's something.
Let's not lecture the Russian assassin who's been at it longer than we've been activated.
Couldn't he just port downwards? into a room or something?
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You frown. "What about Timejerk?"

"We keep thirty paces apart, he can't hit us both. Cover the other if he gets us, otherwise stay on move, avoid him. Weapon like that must have huge energy draw..."

"...And long recharge, right," you nod. "Anything else?"

"Just hunch, for now."

You have a little time to check your capacitor. At least all the knocking around has helped you build a little charge. You're sitting on 68%. You could ruin something's day, or fuel a good amount of electrified dashes to get around. That should make dodging Timejerk a little easier.

"So what was the deal with the police?"

"Not big deal," Grach says, "I feed them information now and then, work behind scenes. We have agreement. Will explain later."

You don't have to wait long before you hear your assailants coming again. Readying your lance in one hand and preparing a buster charge through the other, you scan the roofs once more.

And then a shell slams into the building beneath your feet, and the armored vehicle roars to life in the street below.

"Oh what the fuuuuuck," you call, leaping to another roof as yours collapses.

"Hunch confirmed," Grach replies as he touches down next to you. "Though, was expecting chopper myself."

You don't have time to talk about it further before you have to dive for cover, some kind of plasma LMG raking the area over your head. Looks like there's someone up here with you, too.

>I'll tie up the vehicle, you get the gunner up here!
>I've got him, you got anything for that IFV?
>I'll tie up the vehicle, you get the gunner up here!

Let's get on that car and light it up. Even if it's insulated, I think the heat would do fine job on anyone inside.
>I'll tie up the vehicle, you get the gunner up here!
Compared to Grach, we are heavy weapons guy. We can keep an IFV busy a little better than he can.
Responding to >>19989410
Don't know how I managed to botch that reference.
>I'll tie up the vehicle, you get the gunner up here!

We're better suited for the vehicle.

Drop a chaff missile on it, aiming down the barrel is overly hopeful so we should probably go for the bottom side of it, shred its wheels if it's wheeled and if it's treaded it might screw with some of the workings in there. It'll also fuck with targeting.

Then get to it, using our new dash, lightning dash if needed and T-Coil to stay out of it's line of fire from the cannon. Get on it, light the sucker up, shock the hell out of it.
Walking our lance across the treads/wheels should be enough to immobilize it. Maybe we can see if our lance can chop an armor's gun in two.
Do we have good enough aim to launch a coil right down that thing barrel?
What'll that accomplish? I think we'd get a shell up our buster for our troubles.
"Right, I've got the vehicle," you call. "Can you do something about the guy up here so he doesn't fire down on me?"

Grach nods, unslinging his rifle again. "Watch for Time guy."

"You too. Comms are shot, so yell if you need me."

"Stone age classic," he calls over the gunfire. "Be careful, hunter."

"Anode," you reply. "Name's Anode." And with that, you dive from the roof as you hear a pressurized hiss behind you.

The vehicle wheels its turret around to meet you as you hit the ground. Gunfire erupts overhead, but none of it comes your way, leaving you free to engage the vehicle.

It definitely uses caterpillar tracks, though they'll likely be hardened against buster fire. First thing to go, though, has to be its sensors. Chaff pings off the hull as you shoot it in the 'eye.' It blind-fires, but you've already moved, going to one side and taking an experimental stab at its tracks with your lance, to no effect. No surprise there.

So let's see how it handles chewing on some T. Coils. The treads grind and gnash furiously, and the thing's turn is clearly impaired as it wheels to try to target you again. You hop clear as a gun port opens up and it sprays the area with fire, awkwardly grinding against another building as it backs away with the damaged tread. All you need to do now is try to find its exhaust port and send some lightning through it.

And that's when Timejerk attacks.
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The one time it goes through instantly...

we could look to chop the barrel off with the coil- which wouldn't really keep them from shooting, but it'd ruin the weapon.

'course, it'd be better to just destroy it outright, but you know how it is
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You feel it before you see it, that crawling sensation washing over you as the time dilation field expands. Outside of it, you see the vehicle gun swivel and track you, and you wince, realizing that if you've seen it in the slowdown, it's probably already killed you twice.

And then the bubble unsticks, and no shells are forthcoming. You stumble back a half-step as time snaps back to normal--

And you see that the IFV is aflame. It backs away wildly, describing a half-circle and slamming ass-first into a building, the operator in blind panic. From above, through the rising smoke, you see the form of Grach. A faint 'whumph' is all you hear before a second explosion rocks the vehicle, liquid flame clinging to the hull and burning with a hellish, throaty crackle. You can feel the heat even from here.

A flash of light tells you where Timeguy just was, a few yards to your side, and you catch motion in the corner of your eye as you see his arrival up on the roofs.

You're not letting him pull that trick again. A coil embeds in his chest, and with an almighty tug you yank him right back down to earth. He slams into the ground beside you, hard, and you plunge your lance through his backpack and into him, then fire a chain of plasma point-blank into his gun's cables as he panics and tries to blink out again. The teleporter malfunctions with a few thumps as he vanishes, and you hear a distant pop as you see his body plummet back down again. Given the damage and the height of the fall, you suspect he won't be getting up again.
Where did they get a fucking tank and who's piloting it? Shotgundude?
Since they had time to regroup. As for how long it's been there, I dunno. Doesn't matter, since it's pretty much dead in the water now.
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Whatever Grach just fired, it wasn't a shotgun shell.

But it did give you a very handy opening.

You take off at a run, leap, and catch the barrel with a reverberating clang. You shimmy across the length, reaching the end, just as the driver decides to try to swing the turret, and you, around into the flames.

Too little, too late. You reach the end of the barrel, put your hand in, and you send him a love note in the form of a few hundred megajoules. The tank's electronics all fail and you can hear the massive amount of electricity arcing and tearing through as you hop off. Somewhere in the conflagration the magazine catches and a dozen explosions boil away furiously inside.

"Clear?" Grach asks. You nod, thankful for his save when the tank had you dialed in.


Mission complete.

Think it's salvageable?
Does it matter?
Probably not. The magazine caught on fire and all the shells in it went boom. We'd have to replace most of the IFV, it just isn't worth it.
Shame. Looks like we'll have to get Crankshaft something else for Christmas.
So, can Comrade Badass can pull these magnets out of us now?
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And I think a pause here, I need to knock a few heads together for this upcoming bit, and neither is around.

In the meantime, questions? Comments? Concerns? Requests for Q&A/interviews?
Got my heads knocked together, I'm good to proceed.

Now the burning question; do I have some readers still with me?
I'm with you!

For now anyway.

So am I.
Yep, me too.
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To your surprise, you link up with what feels like half a unit on your way over the bridge back home. When your comms went dead, the hunters scrambled a full team. With you and your 'captive' secured, their duty switched to investigating and collecting the remains of the op, and you parade back through the police station for beam-out, flanked by a team of bodyguards. Along the way, Grach himself tends to your injuries, citing his experience as a corpsman ("though I tell you now, this WILL hurt" (It did)). You're surprised when you arrive back at base to find Frog waiting with orders. "Glad you're okay," he says. "Now come on."

"No repairs?" you ask.

"His exact words were 'if he's standing, debrief him."

"His? Whose?"

"General Rhodes'," he replies.

Frog leads you and Grach into the Command room, but rather than take the chair, he engages the pad. He motions you through.

You find yourself in hallways. Sterile, smooth metal, bright lighting, and armed Berets posted at the doors. You're in the central tower of Maverick Hunter Headquarters. One of the soldiers steps toward Grach. "Your weapons please, sir."

"Don't bother," replies the other, waving you through.

Grach raises an eyebrow, mid-way into unslinging his rifle. "That easy?"

The guard just chuckles. "You can't assassinate Rhodes."
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Frog, meanwhile, moves the door. "This way." He leads you down a hallway and stops in front of a door, turning to look at both of you. "Best behavior." With that and nothing more, he hits the button and steps inside.

Already in the room are a very angry looking human, and a very, very large reploid.

You recognize him at once as as General Rhodes, chief Commanding Officer of the Maverick Hunters. And he does not look happy.

Standing at very nearly ten feet tall, his heavily armored frame is reminiscent of a high-collared officer's dress uniform, a deep red with bright gilt, white trim, dark navy accents, and a chest studded with gems. Solid blue eyes beneath a crested helmet combine with his angular face and jawline to make him look even more severe. Floating off his broad shoulders loosely are two fins, weapons of some sort. His arms and legs have heavy-duty cylinders running down them, with another embedded in his front and hints of one more in either shoulder. Behind one is the barrel to some wicked back-mount cannon, angled up to the ceiling presently. It all comes together to present an imposing, powerful face to the maverick hunters. He doesn't react when you step through the door.

The little man does, though, standing up and pointing a sweaty finger at Grach. "This man should be killed."
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"This man surrendered himself to Maverick Hunter custody," Rhodes replies, his tone permitting no argument, "My custody. With the expectation that he would be treated accordingly. And he will be."

"He's a war criminal, who--"

"Who has never been at war," Grach interjects flatly. His accent is gone, and you're momentarily taken aback by how...average, he sounds.

The 'diplomat' continues unabated. "--who has a three figure kill count, including humans and--"

"And political enemies of the state," Grach snaps back.

"And known maverick affiliations."

Your captive glowers for a moment, before sinking into a seat, eyes locked on the Russian advisor's. "I cut those ties."

"And when, precisely, was that?"

"When I shot her in the head," he replies dangerously.

The advisor is about to fire back when Rhodes speaks up again, bringing silence to the rest of the room. "That can wait. Lieutenant," he says, turning as he addresses you. "Report."

>...Well? How do you want to go about this?
give him just the facts.
Yeah, let's just teel him what happened as well as we can remember. No embellishments for diplomatic purposes, no speculation.
We may want to avoid pinpointing our attackers as a Russian killteam

Just go with "unknown assailants", and make it extra dripping with meaning.
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"Sir," you acknowledge, and begin. "Beamin site was a police station in Saule Ste Marie, where I secured local assistance and a ride out to my area of investigation. The captain was forthcoming with information and provided file that proved relevant."

You detail your investigation, Grach's arms dealing, and the involvement of this Abram, leaving Grach's audiofiles for you to find. At that, he clears his throat. "If I may," he says calmly, presenting a small datastick. "Nothing held back. I intend to fully cooperate with the hunters. This is the complete record."


Rhodes nods, but says nothing, simply motioning for you to continue. "After Grach offered surrender, he warned me of an imminent attack by a Russian kill--"

"That is a lie," interrupts the advisor, stabbing a finger at you. "You have no way of knowing that. For all we know this thug had you eliminate some of his rivals."

"With respect," you reply, hoping your tone conveys your precise lack of it, "I do not believe that to be in his character."

"Don't speculate, Lieutenant," Rhodes says.

"Yes sir. The fact is, Grach has not acted in a manner suggesting he ever intends to return. He alerted the police to his warehouse, gave his landlord money to leave town himself, and had his partner escort him out."

Rhodes looks at Chernyee, who simply nods. "I have no reason to go back. Another team would find me."
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"This team. Makeup, contents, loadout?"

"Sir. Humans and reploids, multiple weapon systems and an armored vehicle. I did deem lethal force necessary on my own initiative."

"Lethal force? You've known this maverick for half a night and he already has you killing human--"

"Enough." Rhodes cuts him off flatly. "The Lieutenant is not on trial here. He acted well within his authority as a hunter operative, with his Commanding Officer's approval, and was fully justified in doing so. I'm receiving reports of a time-dilation system, military-grade plasma weaponry, and magnetic disruption ordnance."

"And what of the matter of Grach's criminal undertakings? He is an arms dealer, an--"

"And that would be a matter for the United States government," he replies, "not the Russian Coalition."

The representative glares. "I have been instructed to make this clear. You will either turn Chernyee Grach over to the Russian government, or we will bar the Maverick Hunters all access to Russian territory and airspace."
Shit, that doesn't sound good.
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Rhodes turns and looks down at the man. To his credit, he doesn't shrink from the massive general's gaze. "...Fine," he says. "I'll have my men forward you our suggestions on protocol and files on every known maverick operating on Russian soil. They're your problem now. Are we done here?"

The man balks and stammers. "Do you under--"

"Yes," Rhodes snaps, patience visibly evaporating. "We have a base in Japan, we can operate around you quite well. I understand the situation perfectly. I understand that you attempted to use my organization for your national interests. I understand that my man risked his life to take care of your dirty political laundry. I understand that your President holds us in very high esteem indeed, even if your government does not."

He turns and looks at you as the 'diplomat' begins turning some fascinating shades of purple. "You are dismissed, Lieutenant."


You salute, Grach nodding to you one last time as you step out the door. You catch a hint of a smile on his face even as you hear the diplomat start speaking in hushed Russian.

...And with that, it's over. A Beret leads you back to the room you entered from, explaining that Frog's left orders for you to go get yourself repaired.

After that, though, what's your plan?

>Sleep it off. You need to think about what happened today.
>Find Schwarzhund. He always knows what to do.
>You need a drink.
Unless I'm mistaken, that's a horrible PR move. Russia might be able to handle the Mavericks with its own military, but the MH are a beloved force worldwide.

Russia might be able to go double or nothing by revealing the reason, but the MH have the advantage in spinning the story by far.
Lets go find schwarzhund, he probably know what to do when politics interferes.
Sleep sounds like a good idea, but let's get some hunterly advice from Schwarz first.

Then it's back to work. We've still got a laundry list of Mavs that needs taking care of.
if we don't have one acquire a meetoll
Sleep sounds good, but talking to Schwarzhund is better. Rhodes may be on our side publicly, but we just stepped in some shit, and we need someone more experienced who might be able to tell us how bad the fallout might be.
Right, my connection's doing its song and dance again. I'll be switching to cable from DSL next week, so here's hoping that marks the end of the infinite bullshit circus it's been giving me.
We already have one. He's made sergeant.

Talk to 'hund.

...Do we get salvage on that time-thingy?
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Repairs are more intensive than you expected--even for reploids built to sling electricity, magnetism and its effects on your systems are nothing to trifle with. Still, your sturdy design comes through again, and you're quickly back in working order. Right now, you need advice. Advice and a friend.

The Lifesaver tells you that Schwarz is in charge again while Frog is in the main HQ. You find him alone in the lounge, papers and datapads spread out across a table. He looks up at you and immediately reads your expression. "You okay?"

"You ever listened to Queen?"

He grins a little. "Required by law."

"Started on my own Bohemian Rhapsody today."

His expression falls. "How many?"

"At least one. Maybe more. It was my call, and they threw the works at me, so..."

"So you're justified?"

"I think so. I hope so. Rhodes thought so."

"Mark in your favor." Schwarz stands up. "Need to talk about it?"

"I think so, yeah. I wanted your advice."

"First thing, need to warn you. There's stigma about human killing reploids."

"Yeah, I know. Part of why it feels so..." you struggle to find a word and fail. He just nods.

"Doubly so for hunters. Protectors of humans, and whatnot. Or that's how they see us. You're going to get odd looks in the hallway. It can mess with your chances for promotion, get you singled out for investigation if you're unlucky."

"Great. I can't say I'm that surprised. Wouldn't have changed my decision."

"Good." Schwarz nods. "Just want you forewarned before something ugly happens. Word'll be around soon. Next question." He looks you in the eyes. "You okay?"

Yes, It's not like it can really get worse can it?
Not sure. We've seen that not all Mavericks are Sigma-virused, there are other reasons too. Some seem like they might always have been psychotic. Others seem calm and reasonable, as though right or wrong, they had their motives. What if we're considered to be in the latter camp? for that matter, what's the blowback for this on Hunter Command, or human-reploid relations in general? It seems like out of one in-the-moment decision, the aftermath could be who-knows-what.

(Ooc, we need to consider that this incident may be one of the beginnings of Repliforce, especially now Rhodes is involved.)
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Okay, so we're slowing up considerably and I've been at this for something like twelve hours. I do believe it's time for a proper break. Usual business, I'll be back to continue the thread after I make some sweet, sweet love to my bed. Feel free to vote on Anode's okay-with-this-ness in the meantime. Shouldn't need too many bumps between now and then.

Thank you and good... afternoon. See you tonight. Be there, or miss the bears.
I don't think anode can be okay: he shot a human, and he
was programmed to protect them
No. We aren't alright.
We aren't "programmed" to protect humans. It's our job to do the things we do, like protecting the populace and taking down Mavericks, and taking in Mavericks who have surrendered and haven't pulled anything funny.

And whoever they were (granted we KNOW who they were, but from an outside perspective), they interfered with that, and kid gloves weren't a feasible prospect. Reploid or Maverick, they cut us off from our support and were clearly loaded for bear.

What we did was right. It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't glorious, but it was right, and it was what needed to be done. It may not feel right now, and it may not look right to those who will look over it too quick, hear the office gossip and jump to their own conclusions, but it was the right thing to do in the circumstances, which were shitty.

That said, are we alright?

Probably not, but we're not going to go jumping off of a building or writing bad poetry anytime soon.

I did what I had to do, they were too dangerous for me to do it any other way. It was the "right" choice, if I didn't do one or both of us probably would have died.

But that doesn't mean I'm okay, because I'm not. I'm not okay at all. No matter how justified it was I still feel sick.

I've had a lot of missions where I can look back and feel some pride in what I did. Where I got to be a hero. This is as far from that as possible.
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I think we ought to have a sim sometime where we try to fight all the Robot Masters.

At once.
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I'm not sure they have the data for them but if they do...
... DO IT
Or have a tag team endurance match of Anode and his sister versus pairs of Robot Masters starting from MM1.
No, but I don't think it's a supr not alright. We killed humans, yes, but we knew it had to be done and we can't be second guessing ourselves now after the fact. Let's go get smashed and drown our unease in our friends and alchohol.
I think it's been established that any given Hunter (hell, any given reploid) can steamroll all the Robot Masters on any given day.
Doesn't mean we still can't do it just for fun.
Not completely, but mostly.
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I dunno about that. One of them, or maybe even a large group, but all of them at once might be a worthy challenge just due to all the shit in the air.
haha, Storytime ambush!

we're on... 6, i should think.

Our arrival back at base was, this time, a lot more cheery. We'd flown home in the chopper, exhausted, but looking forward to upgrades, which were going to come in a big chunk, since we'd had to skip them from the last mission. (kind of important: Upgrades, for us, come out of buildpoints, and we get a specific number of those. Think of them like XP. We can buy additional ones with zenny- it's 10z for 1 bp, which isn't too terrible bad, since most systems are in the hundred range, though this is still being tweaked)
We kind of differed on opinions, since Big B wanted to go down a route that would make him a hero worthy of the epic sagas, but leave him a but shortchanged on the teamwork end. We tended to disagree with this, but in the end let him do his thing, since it's his character. To that end, he snagged one of the 'free' copies of cat's hailstorm data (from ST#1). Integrated with the ax, it allowed for dial-a-yeild freeze attacks, with the possibility on the highest settings of encasing the target in ice. He also uprated his armor hardening and had a prototype “active' self-repair installed that, when online, would regenerate armor or HP (or both), repair lost crits, and give him a multiplier to his armor's damage reduction against attacks. That said, it chewed through S.cap fairly quickly, equating to maybe fully restoring him from near-death once.
After thinking about it, Badger picked up a full optical camouflage system, an IR baffler, an internal Faraday cage, limited plasma sheathing, and broad spectrum EM baffling. He also traded in his Beam saber for a trio of hi beam claws mounted to his left arm- the right housed his buster. He uprated the VWES from his buster from 2 to 4, which we all thought was kinda dumb, since he wasn't using any VWES slots to begin with. He also uprated the charge capacity on his buster as well, but only by one point (bringing it from +1 to +2) lastly, he acquired a silencer system for his buster, allowing it to make his shots clear, and with far less noise.
Wolf waffled for a while on her upgrades, I'm told, and handed in a proposal to the GM at the start of this storytime. He Okayed it, but she blew all her available BP, and it counted as a major rebuild. She swapped out her Primary weapon for a Molten metal Railgun..... that shot a molten ferric Plutonium alloy. Her buster moved to her other arm, though it kept all it's available characteristics. In terms of damage, it put her roughly on par with tiger for being able to kill armored opponents, with the added advantage that it also spat horrific levels of radiation- enough to interfere with unshielded systems.
Cobra, following his own plans, Upgraded his computer capabilities, bringing himself up to a level where it'd take serious jamming to really shut him down, and he could either hack or jam most any kind of electronic systems now.
Shit, sorry. meant to sage the rest of storytime so it didn't spambump the thread. my bad.

Tiger upgraded her EAS, again, adding a double-dash system that let her do two back to back in a turn, basically doubling her dash range. She tacked an airdash onto this, though she hit her hard limit in leg critical slots when she did. She then added an Experimental armor feature that allowed her armor to absorb incoming fire and channel it to her S.cap at a rate of 1 s cap to 5 damage. This worked nicely with her new VWES shells, though she still lacked data for them. The shells also necessitated a VWES system, which was integrated into both ammo bays, though it was one system and drew from the same pool of VWES data. The ammo bays got a new loading scheme with also doubled her ammo capacity. She grabbed one of the free copies of cat's data (dropping us to 3 copies)
I was kind of at a loss as to what to do, myself. I settled for heavily upgrading my armor hardening, as well as adding a trio of redundancy boxes, and doubling my weapon's rate of fire again- as well as upgrading the charge capacity one more step. I also upgraded myself to have a pretty beefy EAS, finally coming up to par with the rest of the team on movement speed. I kept the rest of my BP available, just in case, but it kind of felt disappointing. On the upside, I did have plenty of space to work with in critical slots, and I was now almost as hard to kill as Big B, and actually somewhat harder than Tiger now, plus I had more armor than her to begin with.
The downtime also included long-term repairs all of us kind of needed, as well as systems overhauls and paint jobs (on request. I elected to keep my maroon/gold scheme). We ended up feeling pretty good at the end of a 24-hour rest/refit period, with new upgrades installed and new paint to boot (and some 'cosmetic work' for Wolf and Tiger, who'd apparently decided to 'sexyify' themselves)

Our Range time was cut short, since another mission came in for us. We all headed off to the briefing room.

Inside, our boss was arguing with a pair of humans, a man and a woman, dressed in United States Navy dress uniforms. We sat down and waited while they ended an argument. “And like I said” our boss near yelled “I don't give a good goddamn WHAT your nation considers acceptable collateral here! This thing is so far past our level we should be calling in a damn orbital strike, not sending in my team!” then he noticed us when I cleared my throat. “We'll sort this later” he said, glaring at the Navy Officers.
“This one is well within your usual mission bracket” he started, calling up a map of some presumably godforsaken island. “this godforsaken island is Amchitka island, part of the Aleutians. The US used it for some nuclear weapons tests back in the 20th, but it's been pretty much unused for the last hundred or so years. Well, or so anyone thought.” The man cleared his throat, and started talking before the boss could continue. “all of this information” he said “Is highly classified. The US considers this matter to be in the highest interests of... “ “i swear to Every god that exists” The boss said, cutting in “If you say anything about this being a classified briefing, I will kick you so hard you won't need a damn aircraft to get back to the 'states. Now shut up before I have you ejected from this briefing room.”
“Turns out” the boss continued “That the US's Advanced Defenses Project Division had set up a fairly major base here back in the mid 21st. This is right when they were founded, this is their oldest and most important base. Part of the advances in some of you came out of projects from this base. It's as secure as they can possibly make it- including total wireless blackout. It houses some pretty advanced Reploid labs, manned weapons testing faculties, Unmanned development, the works.” He stopped, and zoomed in on one part of the island, where a series of large hangars and several buildings were clearly visible “This includes strategic weapons testing. What you're seeing here is the Satellite image for what they call 'the foundry'”. He pulled up another image of a sleek, angular, and very large bipedal weapons platform. “This is Project: Cobalt Horizon. It's a Bipedal weapons platform, armed with a pair of strategic railguns, capable of launching a stealth nuclear warhead anywhere in the world. It allows the US unprecedented first-strike capabilities, currently unmatched in the national arena” He looked back as the officers shuffled, uncomfortable “this is also in total violation of several strategic arms treaties, only just barely permissible by the potential of it being turned over to hunter command if the UN learned about it”
“About an hour ago, however, The one communications station on both Adak island, nearby and at Camp Zama, here in Japan, received a per-arranged Distress signal from the base's security element. The entire base was attacked by mavericks, who've managed to seize Cobalt Horizon, as well as several other advanced weapons on the base.” he paused, calling up some schematics of weapons “most of these are pretty well within the realm of 'expected'- advanced and upgraded plasma systems, upcaliber rail and coil guns, the usual gamut. There were several advanced reploids under development there too, but they were months, at the closest, from being able to go online. We'd know if they were online right now anyway.”
“we think their goal is either to destroy Geneva base, destroy major cities around the globe, or Use it to destroy some orbital colonies. We're not sure, at this point. We're hoping they haven't even figured out how to break into the thing to turn it on, but that's not going to last, even if it is true. We figure you've got a few hours, tops, before they're able to bring it completely online.”
“it gets worse. Cobalt Horizion was built to function as a strategic and tactical mobile artillery piece, leaving it vulnerable to closer-ranged conventional forces- it's CWIS of 30mm six barrel Vulcan weapons and 4 shot ATGM boxes notwithstanding. That's where Event Granite comes into play. It's a slightly smaller bipedal weapons platform, armed for heavy close in combat. Pair of auto loading 140mm tank cannons, pair of 30mm chain-guns, and at least 8 ATGMS. Plus they've got a pair of busters about the size of the ones guns had- but they're fully modern. It's also heavily armored. It's designed to go toe to toe with just about anything, national or otherwise, and win.”
“the US wants these projects intact at the end of the op. As the hunter commander in charge of this operation, I'm overriding them, and giving you full clearance to do whatever damage you need to to shut them down. The only reason we're not destroying the site from orbit is nothing's got a firing window- and there may be human survivors on the ground down there still. You'll fly in via a USMC assault transport, tilt-rotor. We wanted hunter transport, but the US nixxed it. It's spooling up on a carrier at USN Yokosuka.” we stood up and started to file out “just as a heads up” he said, stopping up “the pilots have never worked with reploids before, let alone hunters. They may be unaware of your capabilities. You'll have to prod them to get you where you need to go”
We headed out on that note, riding in a transport helo provided by the USN to the naval airbase near Tokyo. From there, we loaded onto a Tiltjet aircraft and took off, headed for the islands, a 2 hour flight, all told. Despite some turbulence, it was relatively uneventful. We picked up a fighter escort just inside the US's airspace, and went down to the deck to approach under radar. Wolf headed up to the cockpit, Instructing the pilots to land us as close as possible. “Ma'am, with all due respect, the LZ could be hot. We don't want to drop you into a situation where you'll get cut down”. She laughed at them. “My armor's rated to handle the equivalent of an infantry company firing on me for five full minutes. We'll be fine.” they blanched a little, but quickly agreed.
Even with her (mostly untrue) bravado, Big B and myself would drop first. We'd arranged with the pilots to go into a hover for a couple seconds while we unloaded, then changed that plan when we thought of the AA threat. Instead, we asked them to slow down enough to where the dismount wouldn't damage us, and we'd jump at low altitude. They hesitated, then agreed to the second plan, voicing their concern it was fairly risky, and wouldn't allow us any room to waive off if it was too hot. We Just laughed, till they pointed out that our fighter escorts did carry air-to-ground munitions. That gave us pause, for a second, but AA in the area meant we didn't want to put humans, even if they were military, in harm's way on a mission. We stuck with the second plan, planning to use our EAS to help slow down from flight speed.
Our LZ was a small yard near the hangars, which was mostly uncovered by AA guns, though the bigger guns could cover the airspace above 100 feet of it easily, and SAMs were a threat above 500 feet across the entire island. Still, our pilots were pro, and our fighters stayed well below the SAM threat and fast enough to make AA fire mostly ineffective. They had decided that returning to the carrier group with unexpended ordinance was for chumps, and were hitting various sites around the base, hopefully to throw the mavs off our scent as we dropped in. It worked, for the most part- Wolf put down a mech with her new cannon, but other than that, our LZ was clean.
That actually kind of put us on edge. Our LZ was chosen in flight, in a hurry, from a satmap, and was pretty obvious. Only a single mech on site? Not even anything particularly heavy, just one of those modified gunbolts like we'd run into in the Gobi. Guess they'd produced enough of those to where we'd be running into them from time to time, now. Still, it was nice to know we had three characters that could one-shot them, now, and I could put one down easily in an attack action (though, in my case, 'attack action' also involved like, 16 separate attacks. Per gun. 64 attacks, all told.) Similarly, it was fairly close to the assembly hangars Horizon and Granite were supposedly stored.
We got uplink to operators- USN ONI guys, this time, not hunter command, though a 5th division officer was on hand as well, mostly because hunter command had been about a half second from scrubbing the operation if the US didn't allow us a purpose-built reploid for support. They were very terse and matter-of-fact, though they had access to the data incoming from an orbiting ELINT aircraft, and the CBG that was a few Km offshore, as well as several small satellites that had been purpose launched for this mission and significant RPV drone assets.
They confirmed that Horizon was online, but Granite was still locked down. This gave us a good measure of hope, since a larger force would have brought them both online- Granite had been built to tackle higher-rank reploid threats (on the basis that the Chinese were tricksy, and had probably built A+ models). Horizon was also in an area swarming, hard, with hostile units. And there were some survivors on the base- holed up in remote areas, mostly, and the mavs weren't hunting them. That was good news, though the the ELINT bird was intercepting radio snippets that suggested the mavs were looting a treasure trove of experimental weapons, and preparing them for a beam-out. Entirely possible, especially if they'd brought in support elements, though that spoke of a very intricate plan, given the security of the base.
Still, with horizion online, our options narrowed drastically. The base was equipped with a local network, but no source of offshore wireless reception built in. still, Cobra went to ground and jacked into the local network- and found it lousy with mav programs. Still, he'd drastically improved his own abilities in that area, and went to work, trying to figure out how to gain us an advantage.
The rest of us decided to split up. Myself, Tiger, and Big B would hammer our way through the front, Wolf and Badger would see about getting into granite's hangar bay and getting it up to speed- we'd be able to use that kind of firepower if something beyond our league was in there, and if not, hey, badass battlemech, lol.
'fighting in through the front gate' turned out to not be the best idea ever. While we were cutting down Mass production mav reploids and mechs with stunning efficiency, we were getting slowly whittled down- death by a thousand cuts. Big B's new regen system helped loads here, and my own hardened armor was proving it's value in spades, as the LTs weren't able to hurt me in the least, and the bigger mechs were struggling to really do much more than scratch my paint.
However, this left Tiger in a bit of a bind. Her armor was excellent- leaving the LTs all but helpless against her, but the bigger mechs could damage her, and were starting to. Ducking back behind the limited cover of a few stacks of crates, she prepped two of her brand-spanking new VWES shells, and fired them into the biggest target.
The shells operate a lot like shotgun ice from X1, hitting the primary target, then spreading razor sharp, and impossibly cold shrapnel everywhere. the cannon driver had no chance, it's body smashed almost beyond recognition by the shells, while the hostiles nearest to it were viciously cut down. I think she surprised herself, noting to us "I think I'm going to start packing a lot more of those things, VWES is fun" Still, even with that, we were in danger of being overrun, the numbers were starting to get overwhelming, just a bit. "Just what the fuck did they do?" Tiger gritted to us, just about out of ammo several turns later "Drop the whole mav army on this island?" Big B was in the best shape- in close, they didn't get many shots on him, and most of the ones they did get either didn't land, or his armor made mockery of. I was still good to go, my armor green across the board, only a few points gone here and there. I was glad I'd been able to upgrade my guns, and really wished i had a cigar, since the mental image of a bear, standing in the open, braced and firing four plasma vulcan cannons slung under his arms into a mass of targets was just... delicious. and a cigar and sunglasses would have made it that much better.
The numbers started to thin down a little, and the three of us breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Then the Horzion hangar doors started to open, and it stepped out, weapons snap-locking Big B and unleashing hell on his ass, obliterating the nearby mavs in the process. big B only survived by dint of the active repair- which actually managed to not only counteract the damage, but repair a few points of armor as well, though he had maybe two more uses in it before he was dry on S weapons. it turned into a rapidly escalating problem when a mav EASed out and hit him with a lo-beam attack that did cut into his armor pretty badly. however, Tiger rolled out of cover, flinging a pair of VWES shells at horizon, which hit, but inflicting fairly low damage.
I swapped over to my long-disused Rail-vulcan, and lit the thing up. it should be noted, my S.weapons cap can only handle on turn of attacks from my optional weapon, and i burnt it all. Still, the railguns did damage, knocking out one of the strategic railguns, and shredding one of the 30mm six barrel weapons as well. All in all, I classed it as a win as I ducked into cover, while horizon staggered a bit.
Big B and his opponent were going at it tooth and nail. His opponent was fast, and had excellent armor for his size, some kind of advanced alloy that was causing his axe to do less than stellar damage. Still, his active regen had been used once more, bringing himself back into the green, though now there wasn't enough S.weapon left to activate it again.
So he iced his axe.
His next hit landed squarely, doing poor damage, again, but rolling extremely well on the critical effect, freezing his opponent to the ground. The mav, as-of-yet unnamed, responded by blasting Big B in the chest, point-blank, with a buster shot that tore a foot wide hole through him. we all got quiet- that was so unexpected, it was a legit shock. 'Course, a mere hole through the chest wasn't about to stop Berserker, who had enough redundant systems to stay alive, and he hit again with his axe, cleaving the mav's sword arm off... along with a quarter of his chest.
Aparently, though, the mav was built very well, and responded with another buster shot, which sent Big B flying across the field, half of his torso melted and his axe arm completely skeleton-ized.
Still, he'd created an opening- that Tiger exploited viciously. Double-EASing over to the target, she was in point blank range- and unloaded a pair of HVAPFSDS rounds into him, smashing his head and coring through his exposed torso internals- right to left- disabling his buster as well. not that it mattered, since the head had been a killshot.
Horizon was still up, though, and a pair of ATGMs hit her, crippling her as well. She wasn't dead, but was out cold, and would be dead, without fast lifesaver support. We were in a pretty bad spot as I EASed to get between her and horizon- Big B had been blasted clear of my line of sight- and opened fire, doing pathetically little damage. I calmly started relaying positional data to cobra, ordering a beamout of himself, wolf, badger, and tiger and, as acting field commander, requesting orbital hit on the base.
That’s when one of wolf's hyper velocity slugs of molten 'fuck you' slammed into horizon’s knee, staggering it again, and allowing badger to start climbing up it like a frenzied rabid crack monkey, clawing and shooting and biting as he went. Cobra point-blank refused, saying he had a better option available. That's when Big B staggered back into the ring, swaying like a punch-drunk prizefighter, but still as pissed off as ever. Cobra had been on comms the entire time, coordinating rescue lifts of the US national personnel, and hacking into Granite. He'd taken remote control, and was one turn from engaging.
I soaked the turn of shooting as Wolf ducked back into cover. Splash hit tiger, and the incoming dropped me into deep red and knocked out most of my redundancies, but I was still up, even if doing a damned good impression of Swiss cheese at the moment. my return fire, again, did painfully little, though It felt good to be able to still respond after that kind of beating.
Granite showed up, then, spraying the horizon with 30mm chaingun fire and nailing it with a pair of 140mm shells. Horizon, now minus it's other strategic railgun, still turned, game to fight on, and fired back, hammering granite with 6 ATGMs and some 30mm fire of it's own, knocking out a 140mm cannon and blowing away some antennas.
the antennas was the bigger of the two issues, and Cobra made a judgment call. he'd only just barely had control as it was, and the loss of those receivers made this an impossible job. So he uploaded himself, wirelessley, into granite, leaving his old body dead in a heartbeat, it's reactor going critical and leaving a crater in our old LZ.

Mav support units were starting to show up- including more modified gunbolts. They started plinking at granite, not really doing much damage, but it was clear how this was going to end. Big B charged in- his EAS was nonfunctional after the beating he'd taken, and Cobra started talking, calmly over an open freq.
"Did a little datamining while I was here" he said. "The US has some non-pad based teleporters here. it's all short range stuff- 20Km, maybe. We're not going to be able to win this one, not against this kind of force. But, as they say, 'La Garde meurt, elle ne se rend pas!' You guys get clear, I've already keyed the warheads in horizon's hangar to go. Big B's going to stay and cover me, we talked it out."
"Bullshi-" I got out- then I was on a carrier deck, a little under 20Km away. "This was the only way. no orbital option available. "Good Luck, good hunting" Cobra said, sounding totally at peace. "Keep at 'em" "VALHAL CALLS MY FRIENDS!" Big B yelled across the com, leaving them open for his verbal jabs at the enemy. "THIS ENDS IN DEATH!"
The explosion, despite being a stockpile of 'several' 30Kt warheads, was less impressive than the Gobi blast. Still, the ship rocked, and the USN corpsmen tending us looked up. Tiger, still hanging on by a thread, couldn't see. The rest of us, we just stood and looked into the rising mushroom cloud, saying nothing.
Wolf and Badger handled debrief, while Tiger and I got emergency medical treatment. Both of us were put under, the tramua-kitted lifesavers estimating it'd take a while, and we'd need to be on low power because our reserves were shot.
big B and Cobra headed out to reroll, and the rest of us decided to handle upgrades next game.
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"No," you say readily, "Not really. I know I made the right call--that part's not even a question. But that doesn't mean I like it."

Schwarz nods. "That's good. Won't say you're lucky. Seems like every time you get back I need to ask if you're all right with it."

You laugh hollowly. "Yeah, seems like. It's just...I don't know, I want to talk about it, and I don't know what there is to say. It happened, it's done, and I'd do it again if things were the same."

"And you feel uncomfortable saying it," Schwarz replies.

"Yeah, pretty much."

"It doesn't happen often, but it does. Happened to me."

"What hasn't happened to you, man?" you ask.

"Well," he says with the barest of grins, "haven't been retired. You either. That's the big one." You suppose it is. "You're alive. You made the right call, unpleasant or not. Trick's getting yourself to accept it."

You walk a half-circuit, looking at a plaque on the wall. "Any advice on that front?"

"I'll let you know when I work it out. For now, if you need it, there's counseling. Personal recommendation, go get friends, get liquored up, make stupid decisions, wake up hung over." Heh. Back to business as usual, is it? "And, Anode?"

You turn back in time for him to clap an arm around your neck and pull you into an almost brotherly headlock. "Tell anyone about this and you won't see another sunrise."

You grin, patting him on the back. "Yes sir, Major."

>Wat do now?
I'm liking the "get friends and go get liquored up" idea I'm hearing.
Go get friends, get liquored up, make stupid decisions, wake up hung over.

Seconding these. Friends plus Booze heals all wounds.
Lets see if we can get Cathode over as well.
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The Pond is humming along, even without Schwarz in the picture. Berets and LTBs mill around, a few humans carefully wend their way between tables with their drinks, and the music comes down warm and inviting.

Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jU9EFTMhbY

You carefully work your way between tables. If anyone's going to judge you for killing humans, the word's not out yet, as chairs scrape and move aside for you, and you get friendly nods from every set of eyes you meet. Steadily you make your way through the bustle, and up ahead, you see someone unfamiliar.

A giant reploid bear.
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Taking up most of a table in the back, he looks to be a few drinks deep already, given his hand motions. His armor is a flat grey, recently repainted, except for the right arm, a bright blue and white, with a green snake running down the length. Slung under either of his long forearms is what appears to be a massive vulcan gun. As you get closer, you see him talking to a few familiar faces.

"...do not know the details," he says in a slow, surprisingly soft voice for his size, "they only told me to give this to the British reploid with dark skin."

India takes the small parcel from him. "They've always been an exciting bunch. So, they like you, do they?"

"Da," he says. What is it with you and Russians lately? "I am not sure if this is a good thing."

"Yeah, sounds like Valflight. Wait, is this what...I..." she freezes, midway to taking a pull from her glass as you approach the table.

"Um," Em says as she snaps her goggles down over her face. She squares her jaw, gritting her teeth, murder plainly written on all her features.

"Those..." Her glass shatters in her grip as she clenches her fist. "BITCHES."

Abruptly, shaking broken glass and dripping booze from her hand, she storms out of the bar.

"...What just happened?" you, Em, and the bear ask all at once.
They fucked with her plane or a shipment, didn't they? Time to go to war.
Nah, this is something different. Remember that Valflight are the pilots working for 11th Space, India's former division.
"So, Em, ditching subtlety altogether, are we?" you ask.

"When have I ever been subtle?" he replies, sliding India's chair over for you. "This is Uralmash Ursa."

The massive bear nods to you. "Fourth Unit, normally out of Japan."

"Anode," you say. "Nice to meet you."

"You look like hell," Em notes.

"Just got in from a real clusterfuck."

"You're always just in from real clusterfucks," he notes, sliding you his beer and turning to order another.

"I don't always get Russia to close their borders to us," you reply. That turns his head. The bear blinks. "Well, maybe," you add. "I guess it was probably an empty threat. Rhodes clamped down on it pretty hard. Though I guess they've been pretty pissed at us for a while."

"This might be my fault," Uralmash says. "My team and I."

"No shit?"

"Yes, we cause massive explosion. Is classified." He pauses. "...Oops."

"I'll drink to that," you say, tipping up your glass.
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Alvays, with ze forgetting pictures.
>"Yes, we cause massive explosion. Is classified." He pauses. "...Oops."
I like him. Not to say I didn't already.
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It doesn't take long before you've worked up a decent buzz.

India never comes back, but between Em and Ursa, the three of you are doing pretty well for yourselves.

"Am here on leave," the Russian says. "Taking care of little sister. Our last op...it was difficult for us. She took it badly."

"Tell her she's among friends," you reply. "I've got half a mind to go talk to a base shrink after this last thing. But, hey, sisters...maybe I should give Cath a ring."

"Hey, that's an idea," Em says. You turn and shoot him a baleful look. "Oh, come on. Look, I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

You pause for a moment. "...You really don't do yourself any favors, Em, you know that, right?"

He leans over the table and smacks you on the back of the head goodnaturedly. "I mean sisters, dumbass. I can see if Sapphire's free for a few hours. Mutually-assured destruction."

>This cannot possibly end well, and I will have no part of it.
>Other ideas? We've hit shenanigans hour, so don't hold back. Help me help you!
If we're going to carve a path of self-destruction, at least the family will have approval of it. Although we still need to get Cath her gift. We still have a couple weeks, right?
Is he JUST a torso?
I'm more concerned with how furry those beers look.
Yeah, that's the problem in the filename.
Might as well.
Fuck yes. Sister time.


also: Suggest music change in the joint to 'fat bottom girls' by Queen. No reason for this.

no reason at all
Am I too late?

nah. still plenty of time and thread space.
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"Ffffffuck it. It's not gonna be the worst decision I make today," you say.

Ursa looks at you intently. Em looks stunned. "Jesus, man, what did you DO?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," you grumble. "We doing this or not?"

Uralmash stands up (the table sliding away from him as he does). "Will go see if little sister wishes to come."

You and Em head out, him to the command room, you to your own, and quickly dial up your respective siblings.

"Hey, Cath," you greet her as the screen comes on. "Got some time free?"

"I might," she replies. "What's the occasion?"

"Nothing special, just had a rough day, we're trying to get the band together. Em's calling his sister, wanted to see if you were interested."

"Sure," she says. "Anything you want to talk about?"

"Aside from how my present is going to blow yours out of the water?" you reply with a grin.

"Yeah, that'll be the day. Be there in a few."

You leave your room and catch up with Em just as the terminal winks off. "All set," he says. "Couldn't get ahold of Diamond, but Saph's game. Gonna meet her outside." The two of you fall into step and head out to wait for the new arrivals.

"We got any particular plans?" you ask.

"I dunno, we could drive out into Geneva and find some bars, or just camp the Pond." He rests his hands on his neck, stretching as he looks out over the Fourth's grounds.

"You look better," you note.

"Thanks. Guess I gave you my bad day. You okay?"

"I will be, once I've done something stupid."

"I hear that."

So, plans, plans...
>Any bright ideas?
We did promise Cath a tour of the Pond...
This is true. We're not sure if the First has a watering hole of their own, so we can at least show her around the grounds.

tour of the pond! then drinking! then possibly drunk antics on base!
Its hard to believe that Anode has been a Maverick hunter for only 2 weeks.
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"I don't really feel like going out. Let's be lazy and drink at home."

"Best way to do it," Em agrees. Before long, you can see a ride chaser with a familiar driver closing fast. You throw a wave as Cathode coasts in. "Best behavior, promise," Em adds helpfully. You punch him lightly in the arm.

Immediately, you notice Cath has a new set of toys. "Underslung barrels now, too?"

She grins. "What can I say? A girl needs guns. Hey, Em."

He waves. "Don't suppose you saw a blue me with tits on your way here, did you?" Cath shakes her head as she clambers off her ride.

"That's how you introduce me to people?" an unfamiliar voice behind you makes you jump. You turn to see a young woman leaning over Em's shoulders, her arms wrapped around his front as she pulls him back into a hug. "Long time no see, big brother."

"'Big' is a relative term," you note, what with Sapphire having a few inches of height on Em. "you must be Sapphire."

"Charmed," she says, as Em untangles himself from the ambush.

"Why didn't you drive?" he asks by way of greeting.

"I was off-base, remember? I beamed in from a post in the Atlantic."

"Oh. Right." Em rubs the back of his head as Cathode gives you her own hug.

You can see Em's description--aside from the obvious differences, the two are built on a very similar armor design. Her arms and legs have somewhat bulky protrusions with some sort of recessed fans, and of course the blue color scheme. Introductions are quickly made, and you head back inside to find Ursa waiting for you with his own 'little sister.'
Oh good, i arrived in time for hilarity ensueing. Thiss is going to be good
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Beside the bear is a smaller figure, with heavy, camouflage-specked armor and a cannon with short barrels and wide mouths beneath either arm. Two black stripes band around one of her arms. Between that and the paint job on Ursa...well, you have a guess, but you won't pry. Where she isn't armored, her body is lean and toned like a human gymnast.

She nods to you all as you meet up. "Panzer Tiger," she says in a surprisingly American accent, "nice to meet you."

"Likewise," Cath says. "...Nice guns."

After a moment, the woman's face splits into a grin. "Thanks."

You make your way back into the Pond, bring two tables together, buy the next five rounds in advance, and set about then out-louding the rest of the bar by yourselves.

"This is a nice place," Cath notes, putting down some kind of mixed drink. "The Fourth seems so...relaxed, next to the First."
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"No OC or anything?" Em asks, flicking a paper football between the goalposts Ursa's made. They high-five.

"There is, but everyone's so quiet and hurried all the time. It's like an airport lounge, or something," she replies.

"Wish India could be here," you admit. "has anyone seen where she got to?"

"No," Ursa says. "Is too bad, would have liked to boast about drinking with hero of Vienna. And speaking of," he says, turning. "I remember you now. You brought in virus test case, yes?"

"Guilty, yeah," you admit. "Not that I did much. Hell, that was my first op."

"Still a good story," Sapphire says. "You can impress the FNGs."

"Around here, I AM the FNG," you observe. "Cath and I have only been at this for a few weeks."

"That'll change. There's always new blood. Plus, isn't the Fourth one of the biggest units?"

"The biggest, if I remember right," Em says.

Tiger sits quietly, for the most part, taking occasional sips from an impressively-sized beer stein. Ursa pats her on the shoulder.

>Try to engage Tiger, she could clearly use cheering up.
>So Sapphire, any embarrassing stories about Em?
>So Ursa, about these explosions...
>Other questions?
Explosions. You can never go wrong with explosions.
>Try to engage Tiger, she could clearly use cheering up.
It's not often we get elements from out of town. Check with them and see what they're up to. Then we can mine Sapphire for silly shit Em has done, knowing full well this gives Cathode free reign to narc on us.
Changing my vote to this. Sibling hilarity better than explosions by far upon further reflection.
So it's late and activity's dwindled again, mostly due to my slow as fuck writing, so I'm going to call it here. We'll open the next thread with DRUNKEN SHENANIGANS.
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early morning vote for trying to engage Tiger. also: art
will the be a new thread or will this one continue?
there are only 183 posts in this thread, so this one still has plenty of life left in it.
So when are we goIng to pick back up? Anxious for drunk antics
Sorry, folks, I woke up this morning and my hands are stiff enough that typing is genuinely difficult. Cain offered to run some interview/Q&A in the meantime, though. I'll stick around to help as well.
well if we're going to have an interview my vote is for human
the one Schwarz consider the best of the best would be nice
A massive panel of interviews is taking place today. You get a chance to sit down with other journalists to interview one of the top human Maverick Hunters, or "Aces."

You assemble around the conference table to interview Major Ion-Felix Riegel, A-Rank Maverick Hunter, 17th Elite Unit.
^ Was me. Sorry. Forgot to ID again. -_-
How'd you get your start as a Hunter?
How long have you been at it?
How common is it for a human to work for 17th Elite, never mind as an A-rank Hunter?
What's the general attitude towards human Hunters?

>Capt. eatylsov
That panel is tomorrow, Captcha.
what's it like to be a human in a mostly reploid organisation?
> How'd you get your start as a Hunter?
Came over from NATO after a joint mission against a Maverick target.

> How long have you been at it?
Three years.

> How common is it for a human to work for 17th Elite, never mind as an A-rank Hunter?

The 17th doesn't take a lot of us, it being the Revenge Corps and all. Don't get me wrong, they're good people, but you're talking serious targets that demand top-flight response. Humans are either base personnel or A/B to work in the 17th, and the Bs don't see a lot of action.

> What's the general attitude towards human Hunters?
My time with the Hunters has been really positive; the new metal tends to look up to me like some old-time hero. My bits and pieces from the 17th do the same sort of work that their peers do. I've found that having lived a life gives you a leg up on the new metals no matter how big a database they were hooked up with.

> what's it like to be a human in a mostly reploid organisation?
Bruises. Lot of bruises. Oh, and I have to bring my own smokes. Biggest change I've found is the more limited options for, ah... fraternization.
sometimes B rated ops turn out to be A rank or above have you ever found yourself in such a situation?
if so did you take care of it alone, requested backup or were
recalled immediately?
Is the standard operating protocol different between humans and reploids?
How difficult, if at all, was it to attain your A rank?
Is there such a thing as an operation where it may be more advantageous to send a human compared to a reploid?
What sort of armaments are available to you?
Granted, this sort of concern may stretch to all corners of life, but especially among the Hunters, is there ever any worry that humans on the force will be replaced by reploids and be phased out?
> sometimes B rated ops turn out to be A rank or above have you ever found yourself in such a situation?
> if so did you take care of it alone, requested backup or were
recalled immediately?
Oh yes. Ran into several surprise S-Class threats over my career. Had to stand and fight one of them since I had no options for escape or backup. The others I pulled out of or got reinforced on. Never want to take on a solo again.

> Is the standard operating protocol different between humans and reploids?
The biggest difference is S-Rank, which is the glass ceilings for bits like me. We're also harder to patch up after a mission and (obviously) less durable, so we have regulations for standard downtime and a lot of monitors to wear.

> How difficult, if at all, was it to attain your A rank?
Fierce. I rolled out of NATO with top grades in every field you can think of, and the Hunters set me at C-Rank. For the first month, I couldn't believe it. After my first real fight with a Maverick, I was shocked they hadn't made me a D-Rank. It's a completely different experience, a different way of fighting, and you need to drastically reorient yourself if you want to survive. Took me most of the year to bump to B-Rank, and another year after that with more surgeries and medical downtime than I'd seen in twelve years with the military before I made A-Rank.

> Is there such a thing as an operation where it may be more advantageous to send a human compared to a reploid?
Oh sure. Stealth missions are a big one. We've got gear lets a human mask every vital sign you can think of. We're also go-tos for Mavericks with magnetic or timespace abilities. Special scenarios like having to deploy EMPs or use OLEL sweeps require humans.
> What sort of armaments are available to you?
Generally there's lower-end buster-type weapons, stun pistols and special ordinance assault weapons. We also carry grenades of various types, low-grade vibroblades, DMT gear (that's Demetallite) and sometimes OLEL weapons. Aces like me, we tend to favor custom weaponry, but nowhere near the variety my metals pack. Biological tissue can only take so much, eh?

> Granted, this sort of concern may stretch to all corners of life, but especially among the Hunters, is there ever any worry that humans on the force will be replaced by reploids and be phased out?
Well, if you look at the history, we were actually phased IN, at least at the enlisted and officer levels. Hunters were always under human command, since Wong's days - may he rest in peace - but now we're actually in the ranks, fighting the fight. I don't worry about the day I'm obsoleted so much as it will mean getting a new job, but with the kind of things I have to deal with, I don't think it's ever going to be an issue.
What was your most memorable hunt?
Your most dangerous?
What's there to do on your downtime?
What's it like working with Megaman X himself?
What's the one piece of equipment you'd never leave home without?
> What was your most memorable hunt?
Seize Harvester. Went rogue during the first Maverick War. Former 0th Unit officer, incredibly dangerous. Eight legs that detached to form electrified pylons, and he kept trying to cage me in and kill me. Took one straight through my pancreas; even with my magnetic buffer it still hurt like Satan's nails.

> Your most dangerous?
Cleanstreak Wrasse. First war, again. She was the escalation I mentioned earlier. No way out, beamout disrupted, and all of a sudden she interfaces with this floating armor and starts laying the smackdown on my shield. Ten minutes and twenty broken bones later, to say nothing of the burns and the retinal damage, I cause the armor to go critical after inverting my magnetic buffer to trap her in it.
> What's there to do on your downtime?
Recuperate, man. I get leave to go do things normal people do, but even some of that I have to spend just getting back in shape after a particularly savage fight.

> What's it like working with Megaman X himself?
It's like working with a kid. He's pretty quiet, lacks confidence and doesn't pay enough attention to the battlefield. Comes from being far more durable than most, I think. We teamed the first time against Lightwave Angel during the cleanup after the first war. Kid's solid in a fight.

> What's the one piece of equipment you'd never leave home without?
Magnetic buffer. Thing's saved my ass more times than the best shield.
So do you get a cool title, like Pulverizing Demon of the Ocean Depths or Noble Youth of the Skies like those other guys got?
Speaking from experience, what would you recommend to those looking to join the Hunters?
If you hadn't joined the Hunters, what would you be doing?
> So do you get a cool title, like Pulverizing Demon of the Ocean Depths or Noble Youth of the Skies like those other guys got?
Yes and no. I've got a title, alright: the Ace of Hearts. Why I have it is less "cool" and more "severe cardiac injuries." Though I suppose the fact that I can take that many losses of a major organ and keep doing what I do is pretty cool.

> Speaking from experience, what would you recommend to those looking to join the Hunters?
Don't. This job is so much harder than anything else out there. They literally have people made for these positions. If you don't take that advice, then I'd say get in with the toughest military unit you can and get to the top. That's when you're ready to move on up.

> If you hadn't joined the Hunters, what would you be doing?
Probably still at NATO or sideways into military technologies.
How easy is it to get free drinks and interested women at a bar by saying you're a Maverick Hunter?

Who is your favorite Hunter to team up with and why?

Tell me more about this magnetic buffer? You seem to like it quite a lot.
What are your thoughts on the other Hunter units?
Why did you join up?
> How easy is it to get free drinks and interested women at a bar by saying you're a Maverick Hunter?
Oh right, that's the other reason you shouldn't join the Hunters. More for me!

> Who is your favorite Hunter to team up with and why?
Ran a tag with Halogen Bulleteer a few times. Cool as ice. You wouldn't believe him in a fight though. I'm actually banned from discussing it, and they force him to wear a digital scrambler to prevent recording of his abilities. But I'll say this much: it's fu- euh, it's really something.

> Tell me more about this magnetic buffer? You seem to like it quite a lot.
Special type of personal shield. Creates a low-level magnetic field around the body that intensifies in response to certain incoming effects. Saves me from a lot of electrical attacks and can deflect some lower-level plasma by bending the envelope. I tinker with every single one I get so that I can do weird things with them.
> What are your thoughts on the other Hunter units?
Well, my metals down at the No can be a bit elitist, but they're good people and I kind of get their point. Co-bro and his team make my job possible. I don't really work directly with 2, 3 and 5 so I haven't got much to say there. Overland's not as organized as it should be, and I worry how that'll pan out if a war comes. The Marine and Air units have got their act together, though. Armored we need to get back up and running in a big way; same with 10. Have a few friends that went to orbit with Cygnus; they definitely threw some of the decorum out of that unit. I never see 12 or 13. Grapple Combat's boys and girls... heh, we grappled, alright... euh, yeah, they're tough bas- euh, fighters and I wouldn't want to get on their bad sides. Artillery puts on a good show and R&D gives me new magnetic buffers despite how many I waste, so kudos to them.

> Why did you join up?
After that first mission, hunting that Maverick... I just knew that this was the future of warfare, and that I had to be a part of it. I wanted to learn from the ground up, and boy howdy did I.
If you were to talk to Anode what advice would you give him?

You've worked with Schwarz right? Tell us about one of the operations you've performed with him.
Those questions seem a bit too specific. Besides, I'm not sure if a three-year veteran knows a two-week greenhorn like Anode, even if he's been on the news.
True, reword it to what advice would you give to a rookie Maverick Hunter?
Here's one: How common are cybernetic enhancements for humans in the Hunters? Any particularly popular ones?

Any hunters you specifically dislike working with? why?

what was your worst hunt?
> If you were to talk to Anode what advice would you give him?

> You've worked with Schwarz right? Tell us about one of the operations you've performed with him.
During the Hunter Killer era, Schwarzhund and I tracked down a timespace warper who employed a primitive type of cyberspace bubble to hunt victims. She was after equipment that would massively amplify her capabilities. We did manage to destroy it, but she hotwired part of it to a custom Ride Armor and we ended up having to give aerial chase over Las Vegas. We finished her off over the Luxor.

> what advice would you give to a rookie Maverick Hunter?
Have backup.

> Here's one: How common are cybernetic enhancements for humans in the Hunters? Any particularly popular ones?
Ah, some of us get them. The more everyday ones like HUDeyes and cannulas are common enough since everyone can make use of them. More major ones take some consideration, especially since they can make us vulnerable to weaponry that specifically targets Reploids.
> Any hunters you specifically dislike working with? why?
Coordinated with a logistics officer from Overland once. Guy was a real prick. I don't like working with ice-types - hard to share a battlefield with them. Mac's overconfident, which makes him a liability. Tyrantula from Zero's unit has a serious attitude problem and doesn't understand collateral damage.

> what was your worst hunt?
The Wrasse hunt was just awful all around.
And that concludes this interview. I hope you all enjoyed it!
> Biggest change I've found is the more limited options for, ah... fraternization.

hah. You'd think that wouldn't be an issue, considering how high the CDI factor of being an A rank Human has to be.
one bump before bed, just in the hope we'll get drunk hi jinx tomorrow.
So, would anybody object to me posting a story-time about a Mega-Man themed game I was/am in with WHM? Apparently a mutual friend saw MHQ and thought 'good idea'.

I mean, I could have a dedicated story-time thread, but maybe this is a more appropriate place?
Fuckin' go for it.

Alrighty then. I feel the need to apologize in advance, since while WHM did participate in the game, I'm not nearly as eloquent as him.

We were playing a three man special operations team. The idea is that the Fourth and First divisions decided top throw together small hit-squads that tackled threats that existed in the gray area between 'normal ops' and 'send Zero in'.

Three main characters were myself, playing the Reploid equivalent of a Navy Seal named Simo (after Simo Häyhä), WHM was playing a high-speed melee specialist named 'Will' (Originally was some really complicated serial number, one of the lab techs decided to give him something pronounceable), final bro on the players side of things was a ninja/tech specialist named Mitnick (Which is apparently a reference).

So as is probably clear, we focus a lot on stealth, speed and efficiency. Our motto is basically 'get in, get done, get out'.

Something else worth talking about since it's back-story related, all three of our characters were basically specialized prototypes. Mitnick was designed with the idea of deep insertions behind enemy lines in case of another Maverick uprising to do information warfare long-term with no support. Came out of the factory just in time to miss MW2. I was supposed to be his support guy/body guard.

Will was built in a different area, with a very different purpose in mind.

The idea was to take the best of the best when it comes to Hunters, see what makes them the best, and then try to make that magic happen 'more efficiently' (ie, cheaper). In his case: They wanted to make another Zero. Half as awesome, for about ten percent the estimated cost. Interestingly, although this is meta-information, this means that unlike all the other replods, he wasn't created using information from X as a 'blueprint'.

Anyway, since we were lacking a strong melee presence, he was added to our group to round it out.

We get a job shortly after we sit down to talk about our abilities. While technically our Unit is part of the Fourth, we're also considered honorary members of the 17th due to something of an overlap in our job descriptions, and therefore we take our orders from Hammer Frog on paper, but in actuality we could be called on by any of X's Lieutenant types for a mission. As was the case for this job.

We were given a 'milk run' assignment to get us used to working together as a team. Only a 'B' class threat, against three 'A' class (note: Technically Mitnick was a 'B' since he was less combat focused, but was more or less equal to us on the whole). Easy money, right?

We get beamed in to some Silo in Washington state somewhere. Remnant of the Cold War, more or less abandoned when the ICBMs were removed. A known Maverick tech specialist had moved into the area. Blackout Bandicoot had set up shop for unknown nefarious purposes, and we were gonna stop him as a live fire exercise for the group.

We get there, and We immediately run into a pair of thugs with Ride Armor. This encounter revealed two things not immediately obvious: The first is that this wasn't the 'cake walk' we were told it was. The other is that the GM clearly underestimated the damage a fire-team of black-ops specialists would be capable of. since they were standing right next to each other, WHM EASed directly between them, scored a crit and beheaded both of the drivers almost instantly. We had Mitnick move them out of the way and lock them down so they couldn't be used by the mavs and left them. Ride armor just wasn't our style at the time.

We get into the base and then start clearing it room by room. nothing of any real note here: We found some money lieing around, a couple of interesting bits of fluff.... nut nothing really important until we get to the boss-fight. when we get to the last room, we see what BB was working on: building another Sigma. He took one look at us, realized he couldn't take us in a straight fight, and then body-hopped into the replica of the single most dangerous Mav ever.

We panicked, briefly. But after about a round of combat it became obvious that BB was having trouble controlling his new body since it was so different than his old one, and was only MOSTLY constructed.

Still, it was fucking SIGMA, so we were kinda getting our ass kicked.... until Simo got lucky and hit him with some chaff to stun him, and then Will stepped in and literally disarms him.

BB sees how screwed he is and switches back to his old body to try and slip away while we focused on the Sigma-form. But without someone making it defend itself Will reduced it to scrap in one combat round, and both Simo and Mitnick were directly between the cyber-rodent and sweet-sweet freedom. He then chooses to surrender and be rehabilitated rather than try and fight us away.

Mitnick did a quick once over of the data in the base, copied anything that looked like it might be of interest, and then we basically set what was left of the base on fire.

Since we managed to not only stop the guy but force a live capture scenario, got two shiny new Ride Armors out of it, and a bunch of intel on Maverick activity in North America hunter Command unanimously decided to keep us together as a team for the foreseeable future, as well as look into the idea of other such 'special response' teams being put together.

As for damage.... Will got the worst of it, since he was melee only at the time. Still, it was pretty much all in his armor, nothing too critical got damaged.

There's more story than that, since this started off and on back in February and there's been several sessions since then. Too tired to type them out now. If you guys want I can try and make this a regular thing like 'wandering fa/tg/uy' does.

I'll be totally honest with you: Most of the interesting in the first session was us playing with the mechanics and figuring out how our characters meshed from an RP perspective.

The session before last we boarded and hijacked a cargo plane with a car.

In the middle of the Atlantic.

'tryin to steal my thunder?

haha, no, I'm kidding. sounds pretty sweet, actually. what system do you guys use? is it mostly homebrew like ours?
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>get back from power outage
>see this
I love you guys.
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We love you too assuredly. Also, I just started reading your quest from the start a day or so ago and caught up earlier. I love the work your friend and you do.
For those curious, all three of the names were references: Mitnick was named after Kevin Mitnick, one of the more famous computer hackers. Will is slightly more obscure, but he's named after William Marshal who is widely considered by those who know about him to be the greatest knight of the middle ages.


It's based on FATE, but it has a lot of 'brewed components.

It's definitely more narrative than hard rules constantly, which lets us pull some crazy shit. Which is pretty appropriate since we're supposed to be a team of bad-asses.

I'll let my friend do the rest of the storytelling, since he did a decent job of it. I will say that in either the next one or the one after he'll probably tell you about the car that Will fell in love with, and became the honorary fourth member of the team.

Beyond that.... I have nothing to contribute, and will now take my leave.

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