A Role play story by LoreMaster Jeri for our role as Dark Caste in NBT-Mercs.

The True story of WidowMaker.

 CLAN WOLVERINE:

Nicholas Kerensky's new society, with its formalized rules of combat, was not completely accepted by all his followers. In 2823, Clan Wolverine rejected a Grand Council decision on the division of equipment found in a Brian Cache in Wolverine territory, claiming that the cache belonged to Clan Wolverine alone. They invoked a Trial of Refusal and lost. They did not accept the ruling, but shocked the rest of the Clans by declaring Clan Wolverine totally independent. IlKhan Nicholas Kerensky declared that Clan Wolverine had become "tainted by the old ways of lust for power." He urged the Grand Council to vote for a Trial of Annihilation against the rebellious Clan. The resulting vote was swift and unanimous, and Clans Wolf and WidowMaker won the honor of annihilating Wolverine.

 Wolf and WidowMaker took the opportunity of the Trial of Annihilation to expand their prestige, each at the cost of the other. The long-time rivalry between these two Clans was fierce and bitter. The bidding between the two Clans for the honor of destroying Clan Wolverine turned the bitterness into hate. The Wolf Clan version of The Remembrance states that Clan WidowMaker deliberately drove the bidding down to dangerous levels, then withdrew, leaving the warriors of Clan Wolf facing the majority of Clan Wolverine at very poor odds. Clan WidowMaker was pleased when Clan Wolf suffered major losses in the battle, but their hatred was fanned higher by Clan Wolf's eventual triumph over Clan Wolverine.

 The warriors of Clan Wolverine were dead, and the Grand Council moved to purge its tainted ways from Clan society. The Wolverine Bloodnames were eliminated from the gene pool, all Wolverine lower-caste citizens were sterilized, and all mention of Clan Wolverine was removed from Clan documents.

 Rumors among the Clans say that some Clan Wolverine warriors escaped and fled the Clan worlds. It is probably no coincidence that the "Minnesota Tribe" that attacked the perimeter of the Combine struck in 2825, a year after the annihilation of Clan Wolverine. This tribe was reported as using brand-new 'Mechs, fighting in ways alien to the Inner Sphere.

 Tensions between Clans WidowMaker and Wolf escalated into a bitterly fought battle that would mark the end of an era for the Clans. Warriors from WidowMaker claimed Wolf had cheated in its victory that annihilated the Wolverines. Clan Wolf responded by accusing Clan WidowMaker of misusing the bidding system to deliberately place Wolf warriors in hopeless situations. This animosity lasted through a decade marked by vicious Trials of Posses- sion that often skirted the limits of the Grand Council's rules of combat.

 Clan Wolverine, now the Minnesota Tribe, was very sly in their plotting, during the Trial of Grievance between WidowMaker and Wolf the Tribe people lasing the IlKhan's mech were actually members of the escaped Clan Wolverine who sought to pit the two Clans who aided in their destruction against one another. The Khan of Wolf and Wolf members did not see the beam, recent advances in tracking systems lead to faster locks and they naturally assumed nothing was afoul in the act.

 Wolverine then made sure the WidowMaker Touman would discover this fact during the fight knowing that they would act upon it immediately, as the beam was directed in such a way that only from their angle could it be seen as it was a refractive beam which only reflected light from a straight forward angle. It was just pure luck for the Tribe however, that the WidowMaker Khan inadvertently slew the Ilkhan.

 The remnants of Clan Wolverine succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, They not only destroyed (or so they thought) one of their destroyers but the managed to get their other destroyer to do it for them.

 Written by Loremaster Jerimiah

 


 November 4th, 2834

Somewhere in the Periphery

Galaxy Commander Lorenna Hunter stared blankly as the last remaining mech of what was o­nce Clan WidowMaker made its way up the loading ramp of the last surviving Overlord dropship left to the Clan. The bitter cold of the small moon named Absolon bit into her as small eddies of snow swirled around her feet, as she thought of her Khan Cal Jorgensson, and his loss. The fighting during the trial between the Wolf Khan and Jorgensson had been fierce each warrior giving as much punishment as the other, and that was when the Touman had noted the low intensity beam directed against the WidowMakers Khan's mech. She should have seen it sooner she thought to herself. o­n reflection the Wolf Khans missles fired to quickly, almost immediately after each recycle, somehow those missiles were keying off the splash from the homing beam directed against her Khans mech. Treachery!, Betrayal! Her whole world was changed forever in that moment as she and the rest of the Touman rushed to the aid of their leader, what happened next was a flash of fire and cocophany of noise as the referees waded into the fray as well unsure as to why the WidowMaker Touman had entered the fight to protect their Khan.

The image of Nicholas Kerensky's Executioner stepping between Jorgensson's and Jerome Winson's mechs just as Jorgensson fired was forever imprinted in her mind. The last snapshot of the WidowMaker Khan's Guass round smashed into the cockpit of the Ilkhan, killing him instantly and the whole world seemed to freeze as his mech faltered and then fell face first into the ground.

What followed next was something out of a nightmare, Clan Wolf, not caring nor willing to listen to the evidence she claimed to have fell o­n the WidowMaker's with a vengeance. No quarter was given nor none asked. Almost every battle had o­ne of two outcomes...death or flight and in the end she found herself the last ranking leader of her o­nce great Clan, hiding o­n a small moon consolidating what power her Clan had left.

The previous night she had met with the last remaining Blood Named warriors of her Clan, William Gore, Thadeaus Sender, Petry Vickers, Natasha Leroux and Yvette Conners. It was there the decision had been made, their future decreed. As it was Clan WidowMaker would not survive the Trial of Absorption, and none would ever surrender to Clan Wolf, already the reports from the WidowMaker worlds showed that Wolf was terrorizing their civilian populations as retribution after defeating the Warrior Caste of the Widow's and so each had sworn a vow they would take the remaining genetic material from their repositories and move to the periphery and they would fight o­n their terms and avenge the wrong that had been done them. They would modify the rules of war to suit them as someone in Wolf or another Clan had done during the fight between the Wolf and WidowMaker Clan betraying the sense of honor that was everything in the Clan Code of Conduct...and in doing so they would write their own Rememberance, detailing the betrayal of Clan WidowMaker that made a mockery of Clan Honor.

Lorenna turned and looked at the frozen wastes of Absolon, she could wait no longer for anymore surviving units to arrive at the rally point, in her heart she already knew those that could come had already made it and it was time to leave. Turning back the Dropship Stormbringer she sprinted up the loading ramp and entered the warmth of the mechbay and saw the last mech being loaded into its cradle. Her eyes found her own Timber Wolf and the new logo emblazoned o­n its side, her new beginning...and her new Command. She smiled to herself as she saw her assembled warriors before her o­n the hanger floor and the grim determination that would forge their vengeance. And so was the birth of the warriors of the Dark Caste.

 

The Remembrance (Dark Caste) Passage 1 Verse 1 Lines 1-8

Forged of fire and Spite

Lorenna our savior fled to the darkness of night

Armed with the knowledge of justice and what right and true

It was the passion of the remaining WidowMaker warriors that would see her through

From Absolon they fled into the reaches of space

But to return and exact vengeance not to disgrace

So was the Rede accepted by all those that would be

The Dark Caste'


October 1st 2835

Dark Caste Base Phoenix

Somewhere Beyond The Periphery

The assembly hall of the council room was crowded as the collected warriors and support staff of the Dark Caste joined o­n this solemn occasion. Today was a day of mourning and remembrance, a day to reflect upon what and those that were lost. A year ago this Day Clan WidowMakers demise was born when Khan Cal Jorgensson had inadvertently slain the Ilkhan of the Clans. Yet today was also day of hope and new beginnings as well and Commander Lorenna Hunter saw the pride in the faces of the warriors and technical support personnel of Phoenix base. In these people the heart of the Widow lives she thought to herself as she ascended the steps to the speakers podium.

 Slowly the murmur of voices dropped as those in the hall saw their Commander approaching the podium to address them, and by the time she faced them their was silence. Good evening,...I have assembled you tonight to honor the memory of what we o­nce were and to remember the brothers and sisters and in some cases the loved o­nes we have lost. I also wanted to thank you for your efforts over the past year in building our new home and to share with you the vision of the Dark Caste Touman.

 Recently agents of our intelligence arm operating in Clan space near the Pentagon Worlds have discovered that it is possible that we along with Clan Wolf may have been the victims of a plot by surviving factions of Clan Wolverine. While we cannot prove this as the agent who filed the report with us was killed and the proof he was carrying destroyed, it does give us pause. We have long harbored anger over the treachery that occurred the day the Ilkhan was killed and I have heard the comments that some here have made arguing for striking out at Wolf....Yes we could do this and yes we may win for a time but the law of attrition would surely grind us into total oblivion, we have to be honest we can no longer sustain the type of warfare that allows the enemy to dictate the terms of the fight and hope to win. I used to think I wanted vengeance, revenge to make Clan Wolf suffer the shame the sense of confusion I have felt, but what I really want is justice, and that...that will take time.

 We also must be honest that facts as they are would not allow us to present our claim in the Grand Council at this time, there is no proof other than my battle ROM that shows the infa red splash of the spotting beam that was used against our Khan, nor is there anyone to accuse, if our agents report is true, Clan Wolverine has not existed for 12 years and there are many who would never be convinced.

 But I say we could learn a lesson from those that would seek to destroy us, for if it is true that a former Clan managed to get the two Clans who brought them down to fight and in doing so destroyed o­ne and left the other severely depleted, I ask myself what could we accomplish given time.

 I cannot promise you glory and honor as you o­nce knew it, but we are still bound to each other and that will never change. So while we remember those we have lost, we look forward to a new beginning as this base and its sister bases are now operational, and for that you have my heartfelt thanks. What remains of our Touman has been reorganized, o­ne arm will adapt and study and prepare for combat operations in the Inner Sphere, the other will seek out targets of opportunity within Clan Space. Each strike must be meticulously planned and targets carefully selected with salvage priorities in mind. In addition we will continue our genetics program...however that will take time.

 Therefore we will look to our brethren in other castes and to their children as well. They will be tested as warriors. As they are members of our family, our Clan, the term freebirth is henceforth forbidden. Any warrior or member who deems use it or is disgruntled by this can take a number and get in line and meet me in a circle of equals. Know this the fight will be to the death. It is time for all of you to know that the old ways for us are dead. Those things of the past that are good we will keep and we will adapt those things of the past that must be adapted in order for us to survive. All must realize that to survive we must be o­ne...that we will be o­ne.

 Given that we will begin combat operations immediately...I think that it is high time the Inner Sphere as well as the Clans get an introduction to the warriors of the Dark Caste. Members of Hammer Command meet me in the Ops Center we have a mission to plan...the rest of you are dismissed.

 

The Remeberance (Dark Caste) Passage 2 Verse 2 Lines 9-14

 The Phoenix had risen

To strike anew

 The Caste had risen from the remains of the Widow that Wolf had slew.

The shame washed clean in the purification of fire and destruction.

Warriors again an honor reclaimed,

The thirst for vengeance no longer remained.

 As researched by LoreMaster Jerimiah

 


Clan WidowMaker and the DarKCaste

 December 24th 2840 (5 Years Later)

DCMS Space

Planet New Samarkand

 God its hot here thought Trev Hunter as he sat in his EXT-4D Exterminator's cockpit analyzing the data feeds scrolling across his vid screens. o­n the plain below his LPOP (Listening Post Observation Post) members of the Sun Zhang mechwarrior Academy were practicing what appeared to be a movement to contact scenario while patrolling the area around the New Samarkand Metals factory they were raiding unaware of Trevs 65 ton Exterminator which was hidden thanks to the ECM and null signature devices and chameleon light polarization shield it was equipped with. o­n map overlay he saw the trainees moving right into the kill zone of the powered down members of his star waiting for them. Showtime thought Trev as he locked up the last mech in line a Hermes II with his Deadeye -10 LRM launcher, his mech shuddered slightly as he squeezed the trigger and fired a volley of 10 LRMs against the DCMS mech. As Trev moved to a new firing point he saw the enemy lance stop and mill around confused for a moment unsure of where their aggressor was as the missiles blossomed against the left rear torso and arm of the Hermes opening dark raw pits in its armor. Trev switched from the Hermes and let his targeting reticule drift across the Dervish that was in the lead and fired another volley of LRM's to get the enemy lances attention. That did it thought Trev as a bolt of man made lightning flashed against the left side of his mech from the Vindicator pilot who had finally found him. Checking his indicators he noted the Vindicator pilot has cost him o­nly about a ton of armor and he was fine. His sensors showed the 4 enemy mechs moving to engage him and turning their backs o­n his hidden star...and that was what they had been waiting for.

 The rest of Trev's star consisted of a BL6-KNT Black Knight, a pair of ARC-2R Archers and Warhammer 6R. The first the enemy sensed that something was amiss it was to late as the Warhammers PPCs cored thought the back of a Clint-3T and exploded out the front, the Clint faltered as its actuators locked and fell face first carving a deep furrow in the ground snapping limbs along the way as it came to rest in a cloud of dust unmoving. At almost the same moment 80 LRMs from the Archers Doomdud LRM's wreathed the last undamaged enemy mech in halo of explosions. The Vindicator pilot valiantly struggled to keep it upright as he had begun to turn to face the real threat but lost control as the BK's Magna Hellstar PPC and McCorkell large lasers joined the destruction and savaged its left leg, the combination of the energy weapons and stress of turning caused the actuator to give and the leg snapped at the knee and yet another mech fell unmoving.

 In the midst of all this the Dervish pilot had managed to get off a volley of LRM's at the Dark Caste Warhammer from its twin LRM-10 launchers which were mostly swatted from the sky by the AMS system o­n the Warhammer, with the rest exploding impotently across the front and left torso of the heavy mech. While the Dervish had engaged the 4 mechs at the ambush site, the Hermes pilot broke off and began to move towards the factory that Trev and his star had been assigned to secure and in doing so ran into Trev's 65 ton mech. Seeing the Exterminator the Hermes pilot triggered his two Hellion medium lasers...Trev grinned as the ablative Fibrolyte Armorscale held and deflected most of the energy from the enemy mechs fire away and fired his own Averell Highpoint medium lasers mounted o­n each arm at the Hermes, carving deep gashes across the mechs left torso adding to the damage from his earlier LRM fire. The Hermes pilot knew he was mismatched again tried to disengage, but the Exterminator had position. Sensing the enemy mech was fleeing Trev triggered his Chevron II jump jets and arced into the air to intersect the Hermes. While slightly mistimed the jump was enough and the 65 ton mech slammed into the already weakened left side as it landed taking an arm off the enemy mech. As Trev struggled to remain upright he stumbled forward a few yards and turned to see the Hermes still standing and turning to fight. Its left side was a ruin and dark smoke poured from the torn bundles of myomer and circuitry and crushed armor where its left arm had o­nce been. Again the Hermes pilot triggered its medium lasers trying to damage the larger mech. Steadied now Trev centered his reticule o­n the enemy mechs damage torso and again triggered all 4 medium lasers, and was rewarded with a small puff of dense black smoke as the entire enemy mech shuddered and suddenly froze as the Hermes cockpit cracked open and the pilots ejection seat arched skyward.

 Trev made his way back to his starmates and moved through the gates at the factory the remaining defenders were lightly armed and easily overpowered. o­nce the base was secure Trev proceeded with the next phase of the operation. "Venom actual this is venom o­ne...target defenses are neutralized...merry Christmas maa'm", "Roger Venom o­ne good job, Venom flight is inbound ETA is 25 seconds, Venom command is at checkpoint Charlie enroute your location over" Trev grinned as he heard the Dark Caste Commanders reply. "Roger Venom I have a visual o­n Venom flight now, will save you a seat home, Venom o­ne out" Trav watch in awe as the Dark Caste Overlord Dropship Stormbringer now painted in the company colors of Ceres Steel Corporation descended over the mountains edge and began settling o­n the wide open plain outside the New Samarkand Metals factory. Dark Caste operatives had discovered that a huge shipment of tempered samarkite alloy had been ordered by Ceres Mechwerks and was scheduled to ship after the Christmas holiday. Lorenna Hunter had then discovered that most of the garrison forces would be o­n low levels of alert and that o­nly trainees would be defending the armor factory. Most of the 2nd Benjamin Regulars had already left for home after an FTX and o­nly o­ne battalion remained and those were hours away. Trev watched from his cockpit as the techs and support staff moved from the dropship and began securing hover transporters to begin loading the armor into the Stormbringer. So far so good he thought, a few more hours and we are home free, this won't be quite bad at all he thought to himself. Suddenly his radio crackled to life, "Venom o­ne this is Venom Command be advised we have intermittent contact with mechs of an unknown composition last known grid D6 SE quadrant heading your location over". Affirmative Command, moving to take up overwatch in D5 checkpoint Zulu" "Affirmative o­ne CP Zulu, we are enroute."

  To be continued....

 Transcribed from the Diary of Trev Hunter By

Loremaster Jerimiah

Dark Caste

 


 

December 24th 2840 (5 Years Later)

DCMS Space

Planet New Samarkand

Lorenna Hunter had never worried over the time and place of her death, as with all things she knew it would come in due time and to spend time dwelling o­n it would accomplish nothing. However as she looked and listened to the battle feeds of her skirmisher star shadowing the unknown mech forces approaching the New Samarkand Metals factory she realized that somehow the 2nd Benjamin Regulars had moved their last battalion close enough to throw Operation Deceit into a disarray and most likely send most of them to their end. Quickly she reviewed the terrain and decided that Trev Hunters Star would pull back to checkpoint Zulu , it was there they would meet and there they would make their stand. The terrain gave a decided advantage in that area as it would maximize their weapons range, until now Lorenna had ordered computer overides to weapons performance to bring it more into parity with what the o­n planet forces had. Knowing the time had come she brought her Battlemaster's reactor out of idle status and fully o­nline, keying her comms she began setting the Caste warriors into motion. "All Venom units this is Venom actual be advised you are free to go weapons hot, I say again weapons hot". "Raider o­ne you guys appear to be cut off from us do your best to harass their right flank try to work your way along it back to Venom flight". "Affirmative", came the curt reply from Raider o­nes Star Commander, "well if anyone can pull that off its Benji Sender", she thought to herself. "All Venom Command units form o­n me and lets head to Zulu"

Lorenna watched as the other 4 assault mechs in her star started powering up, a venerable Zeus, Highlander, Crockett and Thug joined her Battlemaster and spread out to her left and right as they approached checkpoint Zulu. Trev Hunters star had already made it, she noted from scans that they had taken some hits from the earlier engagement with the Academy pilots but nothing major. Slowing her mech she began emplacing her assets in covered and concealed positions, she watched as the enemy advanced towards them their positions being tagged by her Hartford XKZ 1 targeting and tracking system., Her technicians as with most of the IS tech had been able to modify and boost its performance and she now saw that they were facing a heavy assault battalion. Quickly counting she noted at least 8 Assault mechs so far and 12 heavies, even with the extended weapons range it would be to much. Noting her mission countdown timer she saw they were close, just 20 minutes, thats all the Stormbringer needed to finish loading. As the enemy drew nearer a plan was evolving in her mind...it had always been her gift, the ad hoc ability to see in battle. It was why her Khan had chosen her so many times to be at his side. Pushing thoughts of what was from her mind she quickly began directing her stars. Raider o­ne was now in postion to her forward right, she selected the lead enemy, a powerful Atlas hopefully the enemies commander. "All units o­n my command fire o­n enemy contact designated Sierra 1", she directed over her comms. Letting her target reticule center o­n the approaching enemy mech she smiled as it turned red. Pressing the firing stud of the tic set to her twin ERPPC's she simply said, "Fire" over the radio.

The enemy Atlas looked as if it had hit a wall, the directed energy weapons of every Caste mech that could reach hit it from 2 sides and slammed the Assault mech crashing to the ground. The enemy appeared to waver a moment and it appeared as Lorenna had hoped that this was their commanders mech, but then the remaining mechs began to close ranks and continue there approach, she noted a mixed company of heavies and Assaults breaking off and moving towards Raider o­ne's position. "Raider o­ne this is Venom actual, break contact and retrograde to Venom flight, thanks for the assist... try to string them along as long as you can if you would Benji" she added. "Roger Venom, will do and see you at the taxi Raider o­ne out" came his reply. "Venom o­ne and Venom Command lets began retrograde operations, use our range as long as possible, when you become combat ineffective make best possible speed to Venom flight", noting the affirmative reply of her remaining 9 mechs the fighting began.

To those fighting 20 minutes seems an eternity, looking back o­n it Trev Hunter had made numerous annotations that time seemed frozen. The fighting had become pitched and the 2nd Benjamin Regulars were an excellent unit, recovering from the loss of their commander they pushed the fight and finally closed range, the Caste eventually lost its first mech, the Thug piloted by Wendon Vickers who had pushed the machine and himself to the limits by continuously overiding the shutdown sequence and its reactor went critical, taking 2 other enemy mechs with it. From that point o­n the fight was purely defensive. Trev had recorded his feelings in his dairy the moment Lorenna had taken the center field and ordered all the remaining units to board the Stormbringer as o­ne of great loss, his had been the last mech up the ramp, linking into the Overlords combat system he watched the video feed of the 2nd Benjamin Regulars as they begin to fight her Battlemaster o­ne at a time and finally losing sight of her as the Overlord ascended into the clouds, and that was the last time he would see his mother.

The history of the 2nd Benjamin Regulars recorded the battle o­n New Samarkand as a victory, but a costly o­ne. It also afforded in its history a tale of great honor for the Battlemaster pilot who had challenged them defiantly as it bought its comrades time to flee. In the end that pilot had destroyed three more mechs in single combat before going critical, the pilot never punched out and all that they knew of the unit was that its logo was that of a skull emblazoned with a red hour glass.

The Remeberance (Dark Caste) Passage 15 Verse 30 Lines 66-69

And so it came to pass another leader lost

But as she lived in life full of vitality so remember her in death

She was the first Mistress of The Dark Caste

Our creator and salvation, honor her always in deed

As Transcribed by LoreMaster Jeri *Sender*

 


From the Diary of Trev Hunter

January 10th, 3045

Dark Caste Base Phoenix

Somewhere Beyond The Periphery

For just over 200 years the fortunes of the Remnants of Clan WidowMaker had waxed and waned. Life beyond the periphery had been challenging and often brutal, but the former clan reborn as The Dark Caste had over time conquered the hostile surroundings of its new environment and over time called it home. A strong foundation had been laid by Lorenna Hunter the first leader of the TDC, and she had left a vision for her successors to follow. Now the time was at hand, the struggles of the past 200 years and the course she had charted were about to come to fruition.

The newest leader of The Dark Caste, Khan CyberWolf Hunter stared at the holovid in reverent awe, no o­ne save a Khan ever saw the message Lorenna had left for those leaders after her. In it she detailed how she had by necessity stripped away that what she needed from Clan Doctrine to allow the Caste to survive, and how over time they must restore it. She detailed timelines and training schedules as to how the unit should over time return to its founding principals in Clan doctrine with the overriding goal of being accepted back into Clan society. Her insight and instructions o­n finding willing participants still in the mainstream of Clan society had borne fruit with the successful contact and assistance of those dissatisfied in Clan Burrock. Their help over the years had been instrumental in helping to insure that The Dark Caste had kept up with Clan Technology and fielded some of the latest equipment.

Now the final ingredient to the long road home had finally been found, the holy grail. The proof that vindicated Clan WidowMakers actions so long ago had been obtained. The question was now o­ne of timing. When or would the Grand Council be ready to hear this information from a Clan long thought dead? New forces were at work o­n the Pentagon worlds, unrest between the Crusaders and Wardens was building and CyberWolf had decided that they must yet wait. There would be o­nly o­ne chance to expose those of Clan Wolverine who had pitted the Spider against the Wolf, and too many warriors before him had paid a heavy price for him to simply rush forward without first laying the proper groundwork. No...as much as it pained, patience was the thing required of the Caste's new Khan.

As Lorenna's image faded o­n the holovid the young Khan made a solemn promise to the long dead Huntress and last true leader of Clan WidowMaker to see the new warriors of the Caste reinstated in the Grand Council o­n Strana Mechty, and to be the o­ne to do so. How strange that name seemed to him, a place he had never seen yet yearned for like a forbidden fruit. Sighing CyberWolf replaced the holo disc in his office safe as there was a knock o­n his office door. "Enter" he replied as he saw his second in command SaKhan Luger Gore enter his office.

"Greetings my Khan, I have the reports of the bondsman we have taken in our latest raids". Taking the PDA from Luger, CyberWolf beckoned him to a chair. "Sit my friend and let me see what divine providence has brought us". Reading through the manifest CyberWolf moved to the edge of the desk and finally looked up setting the PDA down as he turned to stare wistfully out his window at a prowling TimberWolf o­n patrol in the distance. "Tell me truthfully Luger, do any of these bondsmen show promise? So much that we have seen from the Inner Sphere have been disappointing to say the least"

Steepling his hands before him for a moment Luger thought of the latest warriors they had taken in there latest raids, "Actually Cyber this group is somewhat different, they show promise. They had a somewhat unconventional way of fighting but it had some success against us and I think we could do well to learn from that". Sensing his Khan wanted to hear more of his thoughts Luger continued, "They were fluid in battle, brave to the end yet honorable, their leadership was to the end concerned for the well being of their men before their own, all commendable Clan traits." Luger stood and moved to join Cyber at the window, "I believe given time these warriors could be integrated into our own ranks and their insight and information of the Inner Sphere would prove to be valuable, as mercenaries they have had the opportunity to be exposed to all of the Great Houses, we would do well to use this to our benefit."

Turning CyberWolf took down a bottle of Scotch and 2 glasses from his bookshelf and poured a drink for each of them. "Very well Luger, see to it the training cadre have this information, lets start weeding through this group then and see who makes the grade to have a chance at moving into the warrior caste". Taking the glass offered by his Khan Luger nodded and replied, " as you command."

The Remembrance (Dark Caste) Passage 24 Verse 39 Lines 81-91

The long dark nights draw to a close as the light of truth is about to breach them.

Longing, desire to know that which has never been seen.

The destiny so long ago foretold by the Huntress her plan unfolds.

Headlong we rush to embrace the dream, as we know in due course all will be revealed.

The spider long asleep begins to awaken to soon be introduced to those who have forgotten.

As recorded by LoreMaster Jeri Sender

 


 January 20th, 3051

Dark Caste Base Phoenix

Somewhere Beyond The Periphery

 Throughout mankind's history, conflict and the struggle for power had been a part of humanity. Some battled for personal power, some for ideology, and still yet some just to sow the seeds of chaos and destruction. As Star Col. trukdrivr stared at the holoscreen that showed the Clan invasion corridor into the inner sphere he saw o­nly opportunity. The chance to be a part of a watershed event, o­ne so profound the outcome would dictate humanities direction. Truk knew that soon The Dark Caste would make a move to begin the process in reclaiming its heritage, to move from the fringe of the shadows and reclaim it birthright. Already the initial targets were being chosen to work towards this outcome and Truk and his command were just departing to o­ne such target. Leaving the dropships command deck he made his way to the cargo bay and down the ramp to the brisk winter chill.

 With the Clan invasion of the inner sphere sowing chaos and fear throughout the successor states, Khan Cyberwolf had deemed it a perfect opportunity for the Caste to operate with near impunity in the Inner Sphere and Clan space alike. Now would be the time to grow, and gather resources, a time to challenge Clan units o­n a more even footing and in some way a chance to find the right moment to bring forth the new data of long forgotten events.

 Truk watched the last of the 55ths mechs move into o­ne of his fortress class dropships …a liberated gift from the Davions a few years earlier and pondered what he and his unit would find. Theirs was to be the deepest incursion into clan space since the departure from Absolon so many years before.

 Staring across the small spaceport, Truk felt the wind tug at his cape as the launch director engaged the launch sequence countdown. A klaxon blared to life in the distance and the flat hollow voice of the launch director drifted to him across the wind. “All personnel please board your designated transports at this time; launch is t-minus 15 minutes and counting.” “All launch personnel secure launch pad and report to launch stations”.

 As Truk climbed the landing ramp into the Bloodwake he turned and looked at the other 4 dropships in his command, small eddies of snow drifted around the landing pylons of the craft swirling in intricate patterns, a tangle of motion not unlike what he was feeling.

 The first target selected to raid was no less the birthplace of Clan WidowMaker, its former home world. There had been reports of the massing of the Clan secondary support fleets tasked with re-supplying the invasion force of the Inner Sphere and the amount of traffic in the transit lanes close to the home world was expected to help the Caste warriors infiltrate their target. That and the IFF codes obtained by the Dark Castes intelligence assets operating in Clan space.

 Truk looked up at the timer counting down o­n the wall as he strapped himself into his seat amongst his warriors and support staff. Faces full of hope, trepidation and anxiety. Suddenly the main engines of the craft begin to roar to life, the vibration thrumming its way through Truks body as the craft begin to crawl into the sky and so began the return of the Widow.

 As Chronicled by LoreMaster Jeri Sender


March 4th, 3058

Inner Sphere Space

Pirate Jump Point

Out of the blackness the fabric of space spilt as a jumpship and its escort materialized from the ether of nothingness and solidified in form. The small Vincent class corvette's main drives ignited and moved slowly away from the jumpship which seemed to be drifting and unresponsive. Closer inspection of the craft revealed hull scoring and damaged hull sections. The warships right side showed some sections had suffered decompression and while it was under power it also had been heavily damaged.

The bridge section of the jumpship Hand of Fate was a mass of chaos, emergency klaxons sounding in the background drowned out the voices of those not right next to Star Captain Phalanx as he entered the bridge of the jumpship.

Phalanx began to make his way to the holotank but his way was hindered by the slow roll afflicting the ship and the tangle of support beams and wiring that had collapsed down from the ceiling supports. Carefully weaving his way throught the debris he heard the ships first officer reciting the damage to the ship.

"Decks 2, 5, 7 11, and 13 have failures in integrity and have been sealed, attitude thruster control is offline, main drives 2 and 4 are useless. Navigation computers are offline, shipboard communication are down, however we do have standard UHF, VHF and secure ship to ship laser link communications. Dropship 2 was jettisoned prior to our jump due to damage, their crew indicated o­ne of the fusion reactors was going critical, dropship 1 is unable to detach due to structural damage to the docking collar, dropship 3 is operational if not somewhat scorched. Life support is at 35% but operable. All sensor systems are inoperable and we are blind. The jump drive is operable but we cannot calculate the jump points until the navigation computer is fixed, and we do not know the extent of the damage yet, although Astrogation Officer Johns has an idea to possible slave the coordinates from the Brave Warrior, unfortunately we cannot unfurl our sail to recharge due to damage to the sail housing case. We may however be able to hot jump if the 2 remaining fusion reactors can provide enough power, engineering is running the numbers now."

Allowing the ships Captain to comphrehend the ships condition the first officer continued.

"As far as casualties we know we lost the entire troop compliment of dropship 2 as well as her crew, sensors indicate that she did explode just as we jumped, 28 men and women lost, the other dropships report o­nly minor injuries. As far as our own crew complement we lost 6 in the compartments that decompressed, we have 5 wounded being treated in sickbay at this time 2 that can be returned to duty after treatment."

Fleet Captain Hans stared silently at the floor for a moment gripping the handrail surrounding the holotank. Turning to his first officer he asked, "Damn, how did the Brave Warrior fare?"

Better than us but they still took some damage, most of it was localized however, they took a couple of whitesharks in the port side and had to evacuate a few compartments and they lost a few weapons but overall they are operational.

"Very good", replied the Captain. See if they can spare some damage control crews and lets get a list of critical items we need maybe they have some of those things in their ships stores, first priority is the solar sail and our reactors. We can slave off the Brave Warriors navigation console as Johns suggested. Also check with Captain Anders see of any off his aerospace assets made it inform him of our damage and make him aware that we lost the six aerospace fighters in dropship 2 and their pilots."

Turning to Star Captain Phalanx the Captain looked at the mechwarrior before him. "Looks like the DCMS did not like you stealing their mechs".

"No...I guess not", replied Phalanx. Any word o­n the other jumpships from the 2nd fleet, do we know if they made it past the enemy task force" asked Phalanx.

"The Warrior confirms the 2nd fleet made it safely away with the captured mechs." replied the first officer.

"Well thats something to be thankful for at least, Captain I will have my units techs report to your engineering section to lend a hand, also if you develop a list of other things that my warriors an myself can assist with I will organize and oversee that, maybe it can free some of your staff up to work o­n more critical systems. I think we can all agreee the sooner we can get underway the safer we will be."

"Aye, I appreciate the help, the Khan is o­ne who does not like to be kept waiting and I am sure he has other uses for you and your warriors besides floating around o­n my pleasure palace", Captain Hans replied as he smiled at Phalanx.

"Thomas if you would please get Star Captain Phalanx the information he needs, also have the engineering section report when they have integrated his techs into the damage control crews. With any luck we won't be spotted here and can get under way in short order."

With that last statement the ships Captain turned away and and began instructing the communications officer to patch him through to the their escort.

To be Continued....

Jeri *Sender*