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Interlude: Stella

Interlude:  Stella

Stella…
You’re streaking beneath the flak cloud of the Clan cruiser, strafing everything that looks like a weapon, your hand cramping from holding the flight channel open with your thumb and the trigger down with your index finger.  You’ve been firing your main drive non-stop since Agamemnon took off, and at the edge of your vision you’re watching the reaction mass indicator plummeting towards zero.
“We’re heading to 179 once we’re clear of these cruisers,”  Summerville’s voice is all business, but relaxed.  You feel her behind you, a mile-long behemoth, burning from a thousand wounds, hurtling through the battle with no regard to her own safety.

There are fewer and fewer voices on the flight channel.
“Normandy just bought it!” cries Flannery.  Soon after, she too goes silent.

You clear the cruiser and come to 179.  There’s something in the way.
“Destroyer.”  You call out.
“We’re going through it,” replies Summerville, infuriatingly calm.
You decide to go around, expending the last of your autocannon ammunition against its dorsal anti-torpedo guns.

Then there’s nothing left but clear sky between you and the mass driver.  You give the throttle a nudge, even though there’s nowhere for it to go.  Agamemnon lets out a massive broad-spectrum burst transmission, the local EM spikes as she fires her hyperpulse generator for the last time, like a battle-cry.  As your ship’s communication system tries to disassemble it, your reaction mass runs dry.

Agamemnon, still accelerating, rockets past you – the forty-meter-tall letters streaking by just meters from your wing.  You miss the rotation of the centrifuge by a hair, her long body streaming past, and finally the massive transit drives.

The computer blurts out the part of the transmission meant for you.

You sit…stunned…as Agamemnon crashes into the mass driver.  Stunned…as your ship follows a ballistic trajectory into the expanding cloud of debris.  Stunned…as chunks of metal the size of small villages hurtle around you.  Stunned…as your ship rockets out the other side of the explosion, none the worse for wear but for some minor dings.  Stunned…as you watch New Samarkand getting bigger and bigger in your view.

“Ship…repeat last…”

Becker’s voice, “Tell the fighters thank you from the Agamemnon.  And thank you, major.”

Stunned.
Finally, “Did that sanctimonious bitch just promote me?!?!?!”

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Ascension Finale – 10 November 2012

Ascension Finale – 10 November 2012

As the enemy fleet jumps in and forms up, a number of events take place on Agamemnon.

First, Stella discovers that Flannery, newly promoted to Lieutenant Junior-Grade, is imitating her in many ways.  Stella let’s out a battle cry in the launch bay, inspiring the pilots considerably.  Second, Gerst shows up to stand watch at the main reactor with Corbett in tow.  He tells Janks that “there ain’t no non-combattants today”.  Janks accepts Corbett back for duty.  Finally, Vail arrives on the CIC with Jameson and Sims in tow and formally presents Becker with Admiral’s stars.  Apparently, Rance had done the leg-work into Star League military law and found precedents for the disconnected promotion.  The battle begins with a cutscene.

As the opposing fleets close, a message spreads through the galaxy, from HPG to HPG, broadcast and rebroadcast on every frequency….

“This is colonel Becker of the Agamemnon.

We are at war.  If you haven’t yet faced them, know this:  Their technology is better than what we have.  They never forgot.

Our enemies are the remnants of general Kerensky’s Exodus.  It failed, and this is what came.

You may try to negotiate with them, if they are even willing to talk at all.  I suspect they are headed to New Samarkand to destroy it.  With all the consequences that will have, for all of you.  It may be that bending your knees to them will preserve your lives, for now.  But you will be little more than slaves. Or you can choose to stand against them.  To fight them, to protect what you have, those you love.

If you have ships near New Samarkand, I ask that you send them to aid in the defense.  Not just for its own sake, but for yours as well.  If New Samarkand falls, it will have grave impact on the rest of the settled worlds.

The Last Legion of the Star League stands at New Samarkand.  Will you stand with us?

And to you of the Clans who are listening:

I knew general Kerensky.  Two centuries ago, I chose to go into exile with him, as did the crew of the Agamemnon.  Through fate’s throw of the dice, we never got to join them.
I see now what general Kerensky’s children have become.

What you are doing is not what he would have wanted.  He _chose_ to leave, and with him went almost all of what remained of the Star League Defense Force.  By choice.  We _chose_ to leave.  Because we believed in him.  His dream was to return and rebuild, to aid the settled worlds and return them to their former glory.

We will keep general Kerensky’s dream alive.

If you wish to attempt to tear that dream apart, we will stand against you.

We still keep his vision.  You can still be his legacy.  Cease your attacks on the worlds.  Join us instead in returning what was lost, rebuilding what was destroyed, to fulfill general Kerensky’s dream.  Honour his spirit and his memory, and help us protect and rebuild the world as he would have wanted it.”

The battle group engaging Agamemnon is centered on a huge battleship, easily twice the mass of Agamemnon, as well as a pair of cruisers, several frigates, a destroyer, two flotillas of Union-class dropships, and several squadrons of fighters.  The ensuing battle is pitched and brutal.  Briscoe is lost in the first volley, putting Stella in charge of Agamemnon’s squadrons.  Normandy uses her maneuverability to slip behind the lines and cause havoc to the smaller warships, and Alabama valiantly tries to prevent one of the cruiser groups from flanking the engagement.

Over the course of the battle, Alabama loses combat effectiveness and jumps clear of the engagement.  As Agamemnon is being forced to engage both a heavy cruiser and the Ghost Bear mammoth battleship, a group of smaller warships join the fight, led by the Hard Eight, commanded by Gentleman Roderick Black, who had survived Cerberus because “you obviously underestimate my ability to run like a little girl from danger”.  Black’s fleet engages the cruiser and allows Agamemnon to focus on the battleship.

Becker orders a small flotilla of Leopard-class dropships that had been rigged with explosives to advance on the mass driver.  They manage to clear a generous percentage of the mass driver’s destroyer screen, but do only minimal damage to the superweaon itself.

Multiple torpedo hits strike both sides of the pitched battle between the battleships, until finally Chief Galliard fires a volley that deals the killing blow to the enemy.  The session ends with a cutscene.

Mitch, the Normandy finishes a loop and pulls around the burning hulk of the massive Ghost Bear battleship and your breath catches, your heart sinks.

 

“Holy…holy shit….  Faro, let’s do a flyby.”
You close in on the Agamemnon, the despair rising as the details get clearer.  You switch over to the flight channel.
“Flight, Normandy, fire report, request Actual.”

 

 

Kim, on the CIC, Colonel Summerville is still trying to get his arms around the damage control situation, and you’re conferring privately with the fleet captains, Natasha Kerensky is speaking.
“Despite our best efforts, the rimward flank is falling to pieces.  I fear that our options are quickly being reduced to ‘lose New Samarkand’ or ‘lose New Samarkand AND the fleet’.  If we have any chance of getting out of here, we’re going to need a rear-guard or they’ll tear us to pieces bringing up our transit drives.”

 

Lieutenant Baker chimes in.  “Admiral, I’ve got Vagabond…sorry…Normandy Actual on a flyby with a fire report, he wants you to hear this.”
You set down the receiver.  “Alright, let’s have it.”
Mitch’s voice crackles in over the CIC loudspeaker.
“Okay Flight, you’ve got an uncontrolled plasma fire out of the ventral conduit aft of frame seventy-five, and another from the dorsal conduit just forward of frame fifty-three threatening the main reactor and the launch bay fuel reserves.  Damn…it looks like you took that nuke in the receiving dock, the primary recovery bay is exposed to space in several places.  The flight center and forward particle cannons are completely gone, and it looks like this end of the K-F drive might have been affected in the explosion.”

 

The CIC has fallen dead silent during the report.  All eyes are on you, and yours are locked with Colonel Summerville’s.  Something passes between you and his features soften, he smiles sadly and gives the tiniest of nods, then walks over to the comm station, puts a headset on, and starts conversing quietly.

 

You take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“Weps, what’s the status of the forward torpedo tubes?”
Chief Galliard doesn’t miss a beat.  “Ma’am, I believe the gun crews are dead but I retain remote control of the weapons and loaders.”
“Very well, transfer fire control of the forward torpedo bays to the Helm.  Chief of the Boat, make your heading two-three-nine-karem-four-six, ahead one-eighth.”
“Aye, skipper!  Helm, hard to port to two-three-nine, aft thrusters to z-minus-seven, ahead one-eighth.”
You take a long, slow look across the CIC and lock eyes with every soul in turn.
“Secure your stations, clear the bridge.”
You pick up your handset and switch to the ship-wide comms.
“All hands, this is Admiral Becker.  Abandon ship.  I repeat, all hands, abandon ship.”

 

 

Stella, you’re between targets when Colonel Summerville’s voice comes across the fleet-wide channel.
“All players, be advised, Agamemnon is under immediate threat of reactor breach, we’re abandoning ship.  We’re about to light up the sky here – use it to start your run out of the well.”
The radio explodes with activity as elements of the fleet attempt to disengage and fire their transit drives.
“Dire Wolf secondaries, move to sector seven and cover the fighter recovery.”
“Belisarius, establish a picket across sector two.”
“Fury S-A-R you have ten minutes to grab as many pods as you can, then get the hell back here.”
One voice comes through on your squadron channel.
“Agamemnon Echo Lead, Kojiwa Flight, we have berths for your squadron, approach from starboard for recovery.”
You squeeze the stick so hard your gloves creak, switch your comms over to the fleet-wide channel, and reply.
“Now listen to me, Kojiwa, you tell Admiral Ling that the last legion of the Star League makes its stand at New Samarkand. We’ll be here when you get back.”
You switch over to the Agamemnon channel.
“Alpha, Charlie, Delta, make sure nobody harasses our escape pods, Bravo…Flannery…we’re the tip of the spear, let’s make sure the old girl gets where she’s goin’.”
“Roger that, Captain.”
You switch back to the fleet channel and start hearing reports….
“Echo Lead, Dire Wolf Blue Squadon, we’re with you.”
“Kojiwa Fox here, what’s left of us anyway, call it, Echo.”
You line up next to Normandy off of Agamemnon’s burning bow and take a deep sigh.
“Well…okay then…”

 

 

Kim, you’re slowly pacing around the map table in the silent CIC, watching the fleet maneuver and the escape pods trickle away from the ship.  Agamemnon feels strange beneath your feet, the vibration of the deckplates isn’t right, the sound of the power plants strained.  Once everything appears to be moving the right direction, you climb into the primary helmsman’s seat, ensure you have control of the forward torpedoes and grip the ship’s control yoke for the first time since you woke.
You’re trying to figure out how to maneuver the ship where it needs to go without a pilot in the second seat, when Justin steps down from the engineering station and settles in behind the controls.  He flips a few switches and lays his hand on the master throttle between you, giving you a warm smile.
“Your orders, Admiral?”
And in his eyes you remember…everything….  When you first met on Agamemnon’s landing deck.  The endless arguments.  The tour that changed everything on the run to Earth at the end of the Amaris rebellion.  Your shore leave together on Santiago.  The days.  The nights.  Every moment since you first met – and you can see that he remembers too.
You lay your hand over his, fingers entwining over the throttle, blinking back tears.
“All ahead Flank, Mr. Summerville.”

 


Janks, you had to take the long way around to the nearest bank of escape pods, and you’ve been picking up wounded along the way, using carabiners to chain the unconscious or immobile together in trains to be pulled by your men.  Corbett is hooked to Captain Milet, trying to treat her severe plasma burns while Gerst pulls both through the passage.
You reach the escape pods, pile everyone into the nearest, take a second to look around to make sure you’re leaving no one behind, seal the door, and trigger the launch.
After a very brief high-G burst, there’s silence.  No klaxons.  No sound of explosions.  No strained wail of metal.  Just the sound of Corbett giving chest compressions to the wounded engineer.
“one…two…three….four…five……one…two…three…four…five”
Out the viewport you see Agamemnon burning from a hundred different wounds.  You see a swarm of sixty, maybe seventy miscellaneous fighters – mainly Agamemnon’s own Shivas, but dozens of others as well – form up around the Normandy ahead of her.

 

Then her main engines ignite…and she soars.

 

You’ve never seen a ship that big move so deftly – it requires a flight crew that’s as intimate with each other as they are with their ship.  With her screen of fighters blazing a trail, she loops around the wreck of the mammoth and passes between two heavy cruisers.  The fighters raze the weapons along the enemy ships so they can’t fire as Agamemnon deftly threads the needle.  You see dozens of tiny starbursts as the fighters are destroyed, and Normandy takes a broadside from a naval particle cannon that sends her spinning off into the void, aflame, but they give far more than they take.

 

A woman’s voice comes over the civilian rescue channel, raspy, choked-up.  “Thank you, Agamemnon.”

 

It doesn’t take long before the enemy realizes what’s happening.  One of the mass driver’s destroyer screen makes a valiant attempt to put itself between Agamemnon and the superweapon, but it’s ravaged by a pair of her heavy torpedoes, and like a flaming sword she barrels right through the remains and plummets into the side of the mass driver.
The superweapon cracks down the middle with secondary explosions occurring all along its length, and begins to break up.

 

Off in the distance, you see the fleet engage their transit drives and speed away, while the Clan forces immediately begin reconfiguring for a ground assault.

 

Your escape pod begins to rattle as you enter the atmosphere, becoming one of tens of thousands of falling stars in the skies over New Samarkand.

 

Thus ends Chapter Two.

 

 

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Ascension Session Notes: 27 October 2012

Ascension Session Notes: 27 October 2012

Later that week, Colonel Becker holds a funeral and honors ceremony, during which she recognizes the boarding party with Silver Stars and issues several promotions – including elevating Janks to Command Sergeant Major and Mitch to Major with a commission to command Normandy.  Mitch offers the XO and chief helmsman position to Stella, but she refuses, so he recruits the staff from the Coyote – Faro, Spunkmeyer and Chief Wilson.  Though not mentioned in the ceremonies, Jeremy Blake receives a spot on Agamemnon’s memorial wall.

A few more weeks and a few more jumps brings the small fleet finally to New Samarkand – where the meticulously-laid plans of Jameson and Sims come to fruition with hundreds of new recruits fleshing out the ranks and millions of tons of supplies and materiel brought onboard.  The Cynae-2 and Marathon-2 also arrive and berth in Agamemnon’s freshly-repaired docking rings.

A sizable fleet has gathered at New Samarkand, including the Texas-class battleships Dire Wolf (Natasha Kerensky’s flagship) and Kojiwa (Admiral Ling’s ship).  Kerensky and Ling come aboard for a tour and war council.  Becker returns Lev Arris’s sword to Ling, who obviously had a deeply personal relationship with the man.

The tactical discussions bring some facts to the table:

  • The Ghost Bear fleet is definitely heading for New Samarkand – the destruction or capture of the planet has always been critical to the invasion plans.  If New Samarkand is destroyed, its four billion inhabitants would of course be casualties, but also nearly four trillion people – a measurable percentage of the human race – are dependent on New Samarkand sprawling and highly-efficient farms for food.
  • Kerensky has a little information about the green men, who she refers to simply as “Warriors”.  She doesn’t have any advice for the dozen incubators the team found on Prinis Prime, as the process of awakening these soldiers upon maturity is a highly-guarded secret.
  • Kerensky knew nothing of the Consu or any non-human influence – but she qualifies that by stating that the information flow to the Dragoons from the Clans ended over ten years previously.
  • Kerensky confirms that there is only one mass driver, and since it took nearly thirty years to build, it’s highly unlikely that another was constructed since her defection.  It’s an extremely simple machine, which will make it difficult to destroy through surgical means.
The Agamemnon sits in refit for two weeks while the crew rotates through leave on the planet, and another two weeks pass with the entire fleet on high alert.
The session ends with a report of a massive gravitational anomaly coming in from one of New Smarkand’s moons.  Summerville calls the ship to battle stations.
“Here they come.”

 

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Ascension Session Notes – 13 October 2012

Ascension Session Notes – 13 October 2012

After the surge, the lights flicker off again, but it’s apparent that several systems are now operational.  After some work, Mitch finds that the glasses are part of an augmented reality system, and pulls the ship’s floor plan.  Pvt. Buck doesn’t respond to Janks’ orders, but makes an obscure statement over the radio about there being a “piece missing, but there’s a head”.

The squad moves down to deck three, at which point Blake notes that his suit had been compromised in the firefight and stops for a moment to repair it.  The team moves on to the medical suite – upon gripping the latch for the door, it comes free in Hudson’s hand and begins to crawl up her arm.  Janks and Stella pull the thing free, but it begins to chew through Janks’ suit.  They cast it down and Hudson puts a few bullets into it before it goes still.  Aaand then it jumps up and attempts to drill through Hudson’s face plate.  Jack snatches it away and casts it aside and Blake riddles it until it’s obviously destroyed.

Moving into the computer core, the team finds a section of the core missing, and in its place, a severed head.  The augmented reality glasses allow Mitch to access a series of master controls for the ship.  He immediately uses the security cameras to locate Pvt. Buck in the forward gunnery bay, and then begins re-pressurizing the ship in order to let the air scrubbers identify if there are any foreign elements in the air.  A futher review of the internal security cameras reveal no other obvious hostiles on the ship.  Janks notices that Blake is becoming increasingly agitated, and attempts to calm him a bit.

The team moves to the forward gunnery bay, and Janks starts sneaking up on Buck, who is facing a small observation port.  Hudson notices flashes that may be explosions in the port.  Janks tackles Buck and subdues him and finds that Buck has a one-inch hole in his faceplate and a similar hole through his left eye socket.  He can see a glint of the silvery material in the marine’s brain cavity.  A high-pitched wail ensues from Buck and the team evacuates just before his head explodes.

Back in the computer core, the air analysis reports no unknown elements.  Also, a view through the ship’s external cameras reveal a raging battle taking place outside.  A League-era Aegis heavy cruiser is firing torpedoes on Normandy, which are being intercepted by Agamemnon and her fighter screen.  The team decides to power-up the ship and attempt to join the fight (or at least maneuver out of harm’s way).

Stella, Jack, and Mitch get Normandy moving and make a few passes at the Aegis before Agamemnon, now free to maneuver, closes in for the kill.  When the battle is done, Becker dispatches medical and security personnel to help secure the ship and quarantine the team.  During Janks’ report, he mentioned that Blake had to patch his suit, to which Becker replied, “Blake who?”.  Everyone looks at each other in shock (and Becker quickly verifies with Summerville, Barrett, and the ship’s roster that no Jeremy Blake ever served on the ship).  It becomes apparent that no one outside the team on the Normandy knows who Blake is.  When confronted, the man appeared to take up a reverent pose, and speak in a very inhuman voice:

“This place has been sanctified in cunning and blood.  It is good.”  He then looks up, adding, “Do not presume to steal from the Consu again.”  A fire then consumes Blake and the ashes drift away, as if he were made of paper.  Immediately, the team’s memories of Blake begin to get somewhat fuzzy.  The team finally concludes that Blake never truly existed, but was instead a construct implanted in their memories at some point after boarding the Normandy.

The session ends with the team being examined by the Agememnon medical staff.  Darryl Gerst, who remembers Blake as a career-long best friend, kept asking the nurse how many people she saw in his squad photo.

“Darryl, there are only eleven people in that picture,” she insisted.

Gerst sighed in frustration and despair.

“I see twelve.”

 

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Ascension Session Notes – 29 September 2012

Ascension Session Notes – 29 September 2012

As the team moves aft, they lose contact with Agamemnon, but remain in contact with Cpl. Davis and Pvt. Spears in the Cheyenne – the skin of the Normandy appears to absorb emissions and no signal appears to be able to leave the craft.

Janks gets a flash of danger and stops the party, but not before Pvt. Page is sliced neatly in half by a mono-molecular tripwire stretched across the passage.  After Hudson comes up with a strategy for sweeping the party’s path, and removing the dead marine’s remains to the dropship, they continue into a CIC area.  Stella notices that there are small cabinets of eyeglasses scattered around the ship.  When examined, they have a flashing “Offline” in the corner.  They also appear to have a wide-angle sensor mounted in the bridge of each pair.

The party follows the blood trail through the CIC and into a small lounge, through a conference room and small lab, and into a large intelligence center, where they find a human skin stretched across a holographic map table covered with strange lettering, presumably written in blood.

Leaving Jack, Blake and Pvt. Stearnes to guard the retreat, the party files down a service shaft to the engineering deck.  There, they find what they presume is a majority of the crew in a service space, all having been horribly, but carefully and ritually mutilated, including two of the green-skinned Clan warriors.  They proceed into the engine room, where Janks chooses not to restore power to the ship, but the party discovers the following about the craft:

  • The engine core is not a typical fusion drive, but a sphere that seems to pulse and glow.  It’s made of the same silvery material found in the Alabama’s K-F field stabilizer.  It is referred to as a “BigBang Drive” on the nearby controls, which fills the engineering-minded of the party with a certain amount of apprehension.
  • Near the top of the reactor space appears to be a K-F drive coil wrapped around the perimeter of the chamber.  Again, the engineering-minded of the party attempt to describe why a non-straight K-F filament is theoretically impossible, but can’t find the math.
  • Near the bottom of the reactor space, Stella notices a device that looks much like the gravity-altering device found on Prinis Prime.
  • Also near the bottom of the reactor space, the party notices a conspicuous absence of a device – there’s obviously a piece missing, but the team didn’t research further.
The party realizes that Pvt. Buck has gone missing, having become separated from the party while bringing up the rear in the access shaft.  He doesn’t respond to attempts to contact him.
At roughly the same time, from their vantage point in the intel center on Agamemnon, Barret and Becker observe Davis and Spears’ life signs flatline, though they see no sign of what could cause it.  They assume equipment malfunction, but the two marines fail to respond.
After attempting to relay to Agamemnon through Davis, Janks orders Blake and Stearnes to investigate the dropship.  At the same time, Becker observes Spears making his way to the cockpit of the transport.  When Stearnes comes around the corner, Davis riddles him with bullets, and begins a brief firefight with Blake and Jack.  Janks and the team rush to assist.  As they’re passing through the CIC, Blake finally scores a hit on Davis, and Spears engages the Cheyenne’s drive, rocketing it away from the Normandy, causing a violent evacuation of the craft’s stale atmosphere.  Stella and Rance are barely saved by Janks and Hudson, while Jack is similarly rescued by Blake.  Stearnes and Davis are presumed ejected into space.
Rance takes remote control of the Cheyenne and attempts to guide it back to the Normandy, but Spears retakes control and sets it on a collision course.  The team slams the outer door of the Normandy shut and takes cover, while Agamemnon fires a shot and destroys the transport before it can ram Normandy.  After the debris has passed, Janks re-opens the outer door to converse with Becker and receive orders.
As they’re talking, Pvt. Buck comes on the line, saying “Hey guys, I think I found the computer core…”.  The outer door slams shut, and the Normandy interior lights blaze into life.

 

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Ascension Session Notes – 15 September 2012

Ascension Session Notes – 15 September 2012

Agamemnon makes her way to the edge of the system, followed at a safe distance by a Clan destroyer.  The members of the team who need medical attention are treated on the way.  After jumping to Quantraine and meeting with Alabama, then again with the jump to Milligan’s World, the crew undertakes a number of tasks.

  • Becker discovers an incredible amount of activity and funds expended against the ship’s accounts by Jameson and Sims.  After having Mitch and Captain Eaton investigate, they discover an intricate web of purchases and trading activity – the result of which has put a number of assets under control of the Agamemnon – including two Overlord-class dropships, two full battalions of  Battlemechs and their mechwarriors, a full crew compliment for both both warships, and time reserved at New Samarkand’s graving dock to repair the midships damage from Agamemnon’s misjump.  All in all, hundreds of millions of credits have changed hands through Sims’ dealings in certain bits of the ship’s losttech, and cleverly dealing in unique salvage finds throughout the Combine.
  • Between Becker and Mitch, Lev’s belongings are sorted.  A number of romantic missives are found, with no addressee, and Lev’s Upon Death instructions in his contract are that his remains and ceremonial sword be returned to Admiral Ling of the Draconis Combine.
  • Rance managed to fabricate an armored vest much like the trenchcoat Lev Arris used.
  • Mitch performs an exhaustive analysis of the Clan gunboat and derives specifications for several components.
  • A detailed analysis of the mass driver is performed – but offers up no surprises except it appears there may be limited ammunition supplies of the large, planet-killing slugs.
  • Data Analysis produces two options for supply caches.  The first is a forward base from the Amaris rebellion on Zalaf that was never completed before the Cameron betrayal.  The second is a deep-space cache known only to the 9th Fleet near Tabayama.
The jump to Zlatousi brings Agamemnon face-to-face with a border picket from the Draconis Combine composed of dozens of dropships, several squadrons of fighters, an antiquated destroyer and hundreds of automated defense turrets.  Their CO, a Major Hugh, trades some information with Agamemnon, and bids them make all haste to New Samarkand to meet with Admiral Ling.  Clan troops have been skirmishing all across the Combine’s borders – the Ghost Bears in addition to several additional clans – Wolf, Jade Falcon, and Smoke Jaguar.
The Agamemnon jumps to the deep space cache location, and finds the fifty cargo containers of the cache intact, but a small vessel is adrift nearby.  The vessel is a small fast-attack craft, named after a battlefield (Normandy) like a dropship, designed seemingly without the intent of gravity support for the crew, but capable of atmospheric flight.  The crew begins loading the containers, but sends drones to investigate one that had been tampered with in addition to the Normandy.  The warship shows no signs of life or emissions.  A corpse in a spacesuit is tethered to the nearby cargo container.  After investigating the container in detail, it appears to have not been tampered with, and the only indication of the fate of the man outside a lifted helmet seal.
Janks assembles a boarding party and takes a Cheyenne over to the Normandy and boards her just behind the bridge.  The ship appears to be completely unpowered, with life support not operating and degrading (but not completely gone).  The majority of the ship’s control surfaces are blank slates, with very few physical controls.  No functionality could be restored from the bridge, so the team moves aft.
The session ends with Geers spotting a trail of frozen blood drops, trailing into the darkness.

 

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Ascension Session Notes – 25 August 2012

Ascension Session Notes – 25 August 2012

The Alabama’s shakedown cruise reveals two critical pieces of technology – the first is a quantum entanglement communication system, presumably connecting many – if not all – of the Clan vessels.  Becker orders the system disassembled and duplicated.  The second is a K-F drive focusing coil that allows the vessel to jump from within a gravity well, and jump into the space created by the device found on Prinis Prime.  Because of the utter strangeness of the technology of the device, the crew has little choice but assume it is alien in origin.  If confirmed, it would be the first instance of intelligent alien life in mankind’s history.

The ships make the two jumps to Cerberus, and head into the well to the planet to accept Black’s invite to a celebration.  They make an extravagant show of their arrival, heading to the planet’s one major city – Hole – in the Thermopylae with a fighter escort.  They meet Black at his manor, in addition to the second most powerful man int he Outworlds Alliance – Caleb Jones.  Over the course of the evening, the crew learns of rumors that Caleb is moving a lot of weapons, and there is a lot of tension among his people.

After a brief argument over what the people of the Alliance could possibly do against the Clans, Summerville calls down with news that some ships in orbit have run into similar gravitational anomalies as they discovered over Prinis Prime.  The party immediately takes their leave and heads back through town to the landing strip escorted by two trucks from Black.  On the way, they are ambushed by men carrying advanced weapons and are forced to fight their way free.  Vail sends two Wasp LAMs to provide covering fire, and the party escapes, but Lev Arris is killed in the firefight.

Shortly after arriving back on the Agamemnon, dozens of warships begin jumping into orbit around Cerberus.  The Alabama jumps away, and the Agamemnon moves to engage her transit drives.  A massive, ten-kilometer-long mass-driver jumps in, and fires a slug that destroys Hole and everything within a thousand kilometers.  Agamemnon collects as much data as she can before engaging her transit drives and speeding out Cerberus’ gravity well.

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Ascension Session Notes: 11 August 2012

Ascension Session Notes: 11 August 2012

Barret, Faro, Flannery, Gizmo, and Hotdog enter the CIC and lay out a set of surveillance photos of the area around the listening post.  Barret points out the battlemech hidden among the peaks that was responsible for shooting down Mitch, and gives Flannery credit for her quick thinking in capturing the surveillance footage before escaping.  Faro volunteers to take a platoon of reinforcements up a treacherous gorge in a troop transport.  Becker grudgingly approves the operation.

In the listening post, the team prepares to enter a large set of doors, when they are blown off their hinges by a massive battlemech parked in the garage behind them.  As the team approaches, another squad of Clan marines attempts to flank the unit.  A pitched firefight ensues, during which, Rance is seriously wounded.  Eventually, the team manages to kill the pilot of the battlemech as well as the marines.

After a brief encounter with a handful of technicians, the facility is secured.  In the control room, the team finds the source of the broad-spectrum jamming, as well as the device that seems to be causing the gravitational anomalies in orbit.  The devices, the cloning tanks, and all the other bits of Clan tech that can be found are recovered.

Two dropships arrive, sent by Black to relieve the Agamemnon.  Cottle dissects one of the green warriors and discovers him to be an extremely genetically-enhanced human.  The green color is due to chlorophyll in the skin, the grey blood is rich in a form of nanites, and each of the warriors has a small computer implanted in their brain.

Agamemnon sets sail for Cerberus to meet with Black and collect payment for the service.

 

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Ascension Session Notes – 28 July 2012

Ascension Session Notes – 28 July 2012

Aboard Agamemnon, there’s a small cheer from the CIC crew as the IFF transmitter on Alabama is set to its original Star League designation.  Captain Anderson has a surprise for Becker – he had managed to track one of the Clan gunships that hadn’t been completely destroyed in the firefight and capture it.  In the Operations Center, Captain Webb has been up since the engagement examining the combat recordings, and just as Janks’ team is about to penetrate the listening post, realizes that the communications jamming hasn’t been working on the enemy.  A blanket of communication descends on the planet, preventing Agamemnon from contacting the surface.

Mitch’s Shiva is shot down by anti-aircraft fire near the listening post, and Bravo squadron withdraws to a safe distance.  He ejects and makes his way to the listening post.

On the ground, the special forces team attempts to enter the listening post, but is repelled by an extremely heavily-armed and well-dug-in enemy.  As the rest of the team begins resorting to extremely risky tricks to try and take out a weapon emplacement, Rance remote pilots their Cheyenne dropship through the garage doors and into the loading bay, causing a massive fuel detonation.

Once the area cools enough for the team to enter, they find themselves pinned by a force in an adjacent warehouse.  Several of the enemy appear to be highly-modified with greenish skin and grey blood.  Also, a small lab reveals several cylinders that appear to be growing these green humans.

On the Agamemnon, a sudden jolt in the ship’s trajectory reveals a large area of space above the planet that is seemingly free of gravitational forces – both from the planet and the Prinis Prime star.  It occurs to Colonel Becker that such a zone could allow ships to plot a K-F jump well within the gravity well of a star.

The special forces team forces their way into the warehouse, but Stella, Blake, and Geers are seriously wounded in the firefight.

 

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Ascension Session Notes – 7 July 2012

Ascension Session Notes – 7 July 2012

After a brief, quiet debate between Becker and Summerville on the CIC, Becker orders the Major to instruct Alabama to execute fire control in all compartments, evacuating the air to space.

Alpha and Delta squadrons engage the enemy fighters and suffer extremely heavy losses in the first exchange.  Bravo squadron escorts Echo on its bombing run against the other Ghost Bear frigate, then move to aid the others against the enemy fighters.  Between Echo’s light torpedoes and a naval-grade torpedo from Agamemnon, the other frigate is destroyed.  Becker orders all efforts made to salvage materiel while Janks takes several platoons of marines to secure Alabama, which they do with little incident.

Between arial bombardment and a deft BattleMech assault by Colonel Vail’s Black Knights, the Prinis Prime refinery is secured undamaged.  Shortly thereafter, Bravo squadron destroys the mechs guarding the old listening post and its hidden depot, and the special forces group lands to secure the facility.

 

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