Promotion and Mystery
After the ilKhan's death, all the BloodNamed in the Clans were called back to Strana Mechty for consultations before the election of the new ilKhan. My twic, Klen Kerensky, was one of those, as were both of my superiors, Craig Ward and Dwilt Radick. Klen came to see me, and offered his apologies for leaving me, but I told him I understood, and only wished that I could be joining him. After a laugh and farewells, Klen left.
Later that day, I received a summons from Star Colonel Dwilt Radick. Somewhat surprised at the lateness of the summons, I hurried to his office. His aide immediately ushered me in, and again I was surprised by her speed and dispatch. Dwilt Radick was sitting at his desk inside. After the formalities, he calmly told me to pack my bags. Utterly bewildered, I asked if I was going on a trip. He replied that he wanted me to accompany him as an advisor. As that would effectively gut my Nova of all command staff, I was to take my entire Nova with me. Apparently a similar condition had occurred in Bravo Third Nova, so we were to link up with them and a provisional Star of BloodNamed Fighters from Trinary Fighter. Combined with the BloodNamed from SuperNova Command and some other warriors, we would form a provisional Cluster, named (oddly enough) the Provisional 16th Battle Cluster. It would be under Radick's control, with Craig Ward as his twic.
After being dismissed, I hurried back to Klen and informed him that we would not be separated after all. After explaining the situation to him, I got him to contact the Elemental Point Commanders while I got in touch with the MechWarriors. Soon, we were all packed and on board the JumpShips.
Some two months later, we had arrived at Strana Mechty. Consultations among the BloodNamed had been going on for a while. One day, as Bob and I were having lunch in the Officer's Lounge with Craig Ward and Bob's commander [I forgot his name, and I'm too lazy to look it up! :-) ], Dwilt Radick joined us. The table chatter was ordinary enough, until Dwilt Radick suddenly turned to me and asked, "Nova Commander, have you had much combat practice lately, quineg?" Caught completely off-guard at this broadside, I stammered out a negative. He continued, "Well, I have arranged for a combat practice for you. It will be in the format of a Trial of Position, but you may use any Mech you choose. It will be held on Thursday."
I asked him if there was any special reason for this "Trial;" he just commented that he liked all of his troops to stay in battle-ready form. Curious but confused by this turn of events, I asked Randell to prep my Mech for a battle.
When I reached the battlefield, I took a good look at the terrain. The field was a practice arena. I had come in through a ground elevator in the middle of a ferrocrete floor, on the east side of the field, while my opponents, a Stormcrow, a Warhawk, and a Timber Wolf, stood off to the west.
[In this diagram, my Mech, a Summoner, is represented by an S. My opponents are the M (I couldn't use S for the Stormcrow, so I chose M instead), the W (Warhawk), and the T (Timber Wolf).]
I issued the ritual challenge, and the Stormcrow was the first to respond. I moved to engage him, but due to either the pilot's skill, or sheer bad luck, he never once hit my legs -- all the damage was concentrated on my torsos and arms. I barely dodged several head shots that would otherwise have been fatal.
[What really happened was that I tried to use partial cover in the rocks on the upper side of the map to my advantage. However, my plan backfired; partial cover caused the damage inflicted on my Mech to be focused on my Mech's upper body! I had to invoke my Edge to save myself from a lethal head shot!]
I hid behind some high rocks, jumped out to take some shots and hid again. Eventually, I was able to corner the Stormcrow and shoot off its leg. It actually tipped over and fell into me, causing considerable damage to my center torso, and scratching the paint on one of my legs (that was the only damage to my Mech's legs)! [All of one point of damage to my right leg!!]
Next, the Warhawk approached, firing four large pulse lasers at me. Given the accuracy of the hits, it must have had an enhanced targeting computer. At any rate, after exchanging a few volleys, I realized that the Warhawk's next salvo would hit me straight in the head. Instantly, I pulled the "Eject" lever in my Mech, and just barely escaped the pulse laser beams that hit where my cockpit used to be. [In fact, my GM would have been out out of a job if he managed to kill his only player character. Therefore, he agreed that it would be to both our benefits if Adrian's Sixth Sense advantage warned him in time to eject before the lasers hit!]
[Our final locations are displayed below. Dead Mechs are marked by an X.]
After trudging back to the Mech Bay, I met my Tech Randell. We had come to an understanding about my Mech: He complained about what a shoddy warrior I was to get my Mech damaged so severely, and I complained about his crappy repair quality. We both understood what the other meant, so it was all in good nature. Our frequent jibing often surprised other MechWarriors, who feel that a Tech who speaks so to his Warrior ought to be severely punished!
At any rate, after we got through sniping at each other, we started discussing the battle. Randell happened to mention that he knew of only one Warhawk equipped with four large pulse lasers and a targeting computer, and I remembered that it was piloted by one of my MechWarriors, namely Kelly. Also, the Stormcrow was the favorite Mech of Nova Captain Craig Ward, and his Mech was not in its bay. As to the Timber Wolf, neither of us was certain who piloted it, but I knew that Dwilt Radick piloted one upon occasion -- he didn't have a single Mech that he used all the time; rank hath its privileges!
After cleaning up, I returned to my room. There I found a message from Dwilt Radick ...
To be continued ...
Quick note: I have been promoted to Nova Captain of Supernova Second, 16th Battle Cluster, Gamma Galaxy, of the Wolf Clan Touman. It appears that Craig Ward was not only incompetent in strategy (you'll understand when I write up the battles at Feltre), but he was a crappy warrior who questioned his commander once too often. Star Colonel Dwilt Radick challenged him to a Trial of Grievance and killed him. I was given a field promotion, and should my actions prove acceptable, the promotion will be made permanent!