Spade's Aces

The Briefing
Enroute to Jumpship Encore, Solaris, Federated Commonwealth,

Military dropships were not designed for comfort, and this one is no exception. Named the Artful Dodger , it is designed to carry 12 Mech’s and their crew, technicians and support staff. Most of the room given to the safety and well-being of the 3 story metal monsters in the hold.

People are replaceable, Mech’s not so much.

Aidan’s eyes narrow at the brightness of the lights inside the dropship. Despite the coiled dragon emblazoned on the outside of Union class dropship, all the signage within the behemoth is in Mandarin, not Japanese. With English subtitles, none of the other Aces seem to notice the disparity. Aidan locks this bit of trivia away. He will retrieve it later when he has a moment to ponder.

At the end of the ramp, the group follows the signage to the pilot’s quarters. The spaciousness of the ramp now constricts to a single file hall. The Mechwarriors grumble into a line, and push into the bowels of the ship. Just before Bjorn enters the door to the quarters, he is intercepted by a shapely figure in a black flight suit.

“Mechwarriors Jorgenssen and Fujita, your quarters are elsewhere. Please follow me.” Not waiting for a response, the woman turns sharply and continues down the hall. Trudy follows gratefully, not really wanting to bunk with the likes of Chester and Darius. Bjorn looks back, nods, and falls into line behind the both of them.

“Lucky bastard” Darius growls through a sloppy smile.

“Isn’t that the gods honest truth” Ezekiel agrees wistfully.

When he read the words “Pilot’s Quarters”, Pierre imagined comfortable cots, clean sheets, and a small nightstand with a lamp. What he saw were steel bunk beds, bolted to the bulkheads, sporting sagging springs. Pierre watches with amusement as Ezekiel swings his duffel onto the top bunk nearest the door. Let ze games begin.

“This one’s mine” the Aussie claims brightly.

“Put your shrimp on a different barbie, Mate”, Darius drawls. “Chester called that one already.”

“I heard no such thing, bitzer” Ezekiel replies.

“What did you just call me? A bitcher? Really?!” Darius drops his rucksack to the floor with an overly dramatic motion. Cracking his knuckles one-handed, he gets as close to Ezekiel’s face as his belly will allow. “You ought to reconsider.”

A ride to the airport
Solaris, Federated Commonwealth, July 3056

Seb watched out the window of the loft above the Flaming Cockpit. Two AM was way to effing early for anything good to happen, even if it meant a paycheck. But, still, a paycheck would be nice, as things were getting tight. But two AM?

Headlights pierced the humid morning. No limo this time, nope, just a dump truck with a tarp overhead. “Ride’s here!” he called. Various groans and snorts growled out in reply. The Green Aces filed out of the warm loft into the cool damp. Each carried a ruck sack with the few belongings they would need. Hui Mah’s Samoan bodyguard stood behind the transport, massive arms folded over a massive chest. His eternal scowl set in a wide face. He seemed to take delight in slamming a screeching tailgate after they clambered in, each looking for the most comfortable seat amongst the two rows of uncomfortable seats.

Seb stood beside Ferret and watched the ungainly truck trundle out of sight. Still not sure if it was a good thing they were staying, they turned and crept up the stairs to the loft. Last night in this very loft, the argument had been heated. They needed money. They needed to figure out who framed them for Spade’s murder. Chester suggested they arm wrestle for who would go on the mission. Only Darius laughed. In the end, it had come down to the most democratic method they knew. A drinking contest. First two to pass out stayed behind. Ferret rubbed his temples. “I do not know if this headache will ever go away.”

They felt every ridge and pothole in the road, the truck’s heavy duty springs amplifying their discomfort. Noone felt like talking as they swayed in conjunction with turns and sloppy stabilizers.

From out the back of the transport, they watched as they entered the drop-port. Squealing brakes announced a lurching stop to their excursion. The Samoan scowled at them again as they gratefully clambered out of the back. Darius tried a smile at the Polynesian, but got narrowed eyes in return. “What that boy needs…is more fiber…”. Chester grinned and hiked up his pants for the 94th time.

They were directed to an Overlord Dropship on the far end of the tarmac. It was difficult to make out in the early gloom. Bjorn was mildly surprised that no lights shone about the ship. Bjorn’s surprise increased as the logo of the DCMS appeared on the side of the ship. Hui Mah met them as they neared the embarkation ramp. “Good morning, my fellow warriors.” More surprise as the Aces noted her mechwarrior jumpsuit. “Very good for making it here on time. We will brief in 15 minutes.” With that she turned sharply and strode up the ramp. The Aces looked at one another, not at all sure this was a good idea.

Three other mechwarriors, seemingly in the same estranged state, started up the platform. “G’day mates. Best we follow the little Sheila. Wouldn’t want to miss the party.” And so the Aces met Ezekiel Darter, Trudy Fujita and Clark Fitchner.

Doing the math, Pierre realized that with the Aces 7 members, Hui Mah, and now these three made 11 total. Three lances? The tramping of the company of mechwarriors up the metal ramp was lost among the rumbling of the dropship’s lifting engines.

“Meh! C’est le guerre” he mumbled, a cigarette butt flying from his fingertips towards the coiled dragon logo, but never quite making it.

The First Job
Solaris, Federated Commonwealth, July 3056

The Aces complied with the “stand down”, at least according to the Aces, they complied.

Amongst their endeavors they acquired an ancient Leopard class dropship, affectionally named “The Brick”. It needs a significant amount of work. They were not the only party interested in the ship, however. A slick suit kept running the bid until Bjorn persuaded him to move on to healthier pursuits. The last the Aces saw of him, he was taking photographs of them just before he entered a sleek black hover limo.

The waiting was beginning to wear on them, however. The worst of it was felt by Pierre. His nocturnal wanderings found himself in a seedy little casino called The Solaris Grand. It was anything but. Pierre broke even for the most part, until a rainy night and a group of drunk technicians. Pierre sat at their table, and within two hours won all of their credits (2,514 to be exact). More importantly he won the keycard to their salvage truck, after a brilliant bluff. Unfortunately, the techs did not appreciate that bit of brilliance. Quick talking, and a headlong dive through a plate glass window provided Pierre his escape.

Finally, the long awaited contact came. Go time….

Starting Over
Solaris, Federated Commonwealth, June 3056

The Pandora set down at an industrial airstrip on the south side of Solaris City. Not a word from Janis as she busied herself with refueling and refitting her drop ship.

The group finds a room above a blue collar bar, the Flaming Cockpit. There they begin their journey on erasing their past and making a new future.

Ferret makes contact with Jake Skeezer, a bookie and money launderer he knew from his past. Jake is “happy” to help, but needs a small favor. It seems the Solaris police confiscated his equipment in a sting, and is being held in the precinct office nearby. If Ferret and his friends can “liberate” his goods, Jake will be happy to launder their money.

As Ferret meets with Jake, Pierre wanders the opposite part of town to make a contact with the Chinese women who seem to know too much about him. He happens upon a busted up public phone. Wiring it up well enough to make the call is not much of a problem. Unfortunately, he has to leave a cryptic message, saying he will return to the phone later that evening.

Aidan talks Seb into seducing his way with the barmaid in order to gain access to her computer. Ever the paramour, Seb is able to smooth “talk” his way into her apartment, and uses the workstation as she sleeps.

Ferret returns with his news, and the Aces begin planning. They decide that they need some surveillance from the clinic next door. Chester, wanting to sell the “mugging” story, clobbers Bjorn cold, and has a taxi driver drop him on the steps of the clinic. After an interesting night Bjorn is able to scope out the police station next door.

Darius and Chester pay a “visit” to one of Solaris’s finest, and are able to “persuade” him to divulge information about the equipment. Seems that it is slated to be moved uptown soon. A ruse is hastily concocted wherein Bjorn and Pierre pose as SCIS (Solaris City Intelligence Service) officers and con the police into taking an empty van along the route, where they are ambushed by Darius and Chester. The van has the snot shot out of it by the red neck duo, leaving the soiled-pants officers intact.

The equipment is returned to the bookie, and a few hours later, “clean” C-Bills are posted to new identities associated with the Sisters of Perpetual Agony charity.

Pierre gets intercepted in his attempt to contact the mysterious women. He is hustled into a hover-limo. The women explain a “deal”. For a new life and protection from a vengeful merc unit, the group must agree to work for the “Organization”. A visit to a Solaris gladitorial arena seals the deal, and provides a good chunk of change for our mechwarriors. It’s always profitable to bet on a sure thing.

Their first test is against each other in a simulated Free For All. Each one proves worthy.

In the end, a figure in shadows on a communication-vidscreen welcomes them, and tells them to stand down until they are needed.

Escape to Solaris
Jumpship Blackheart, Enroute to Solaris, June 2, 3056

Janis hid the Pandora on the opposite side of the sun from New Delos until an “associate” she knew would arrive at a pirate jump point. Upon his arrival, it was a race against a wing of Aero fighters to the jump ship Black Heart. With the Aces pitching in on the gunn turrets, the Pandora managed to dock with the jump ship just before it’s departure.

Although the jump to Solaris would be instantaneous, it would be a week before they were planetside. The Aces watched the holovids downloaded from New Delos. It wasn’t good. The vids showed, over and over again, their Mechs obliderating Major Spade’s Hunchback. To make matters worse, the vids panned to the shots of them celebrating from their cockpits. Commentator after commentator denounced their treachery and cowardice. Eventually, Andre Cheval, the COO of the Spade’s Aces came on the tube to offer a reward for their capture and return to the mercenary outfit for justice.

The Aces occupied their time productively. Aidan hacked his way into the jump ship network, and changed the menu prices in the cafeteria. Darius knocked a video gambler unconscious with a drink meant for him. He then took his C-cards and ID and infiltrated the drop ship he came from. A few hours of skulking rewarded him with some personal weaponry.

Pierre spent most of his time at the rec area, gambling. He was trying to lose the C-cards imprinted with his identity, and get generic cards instead. Towards the end of his escapades, he was approached by two oriental women, who informed him they knew exactly who he and his comrades were, and gave him a contact card, should they “choose” to help.

Bjorn tried to start a brawl in the rec area, only to miss with his punch, and be put into an arm hold by his target. When Chester and Darius tried to come to his rescue, he inadvertently pushed the target the wrong way, and Bjorn’s arm snapped at the elbow. The fun was cut short by Black Heart security with stun darts for Bjorn, Chester and Darius. Pierre met with a similar fate as he attempted to intervene.

The next they knew, they were waking up with splitting headaches in the brig of the Black Heart. A furious Janis glowered at them. “Do you have any idea of what getting you out of here has cost me?”

Pierre stood numbly as he watched her storming from the room.


The Assassination
New Delos, Free Worlds League, May 3056

The briefing room screens on the Pandora and the Overreach flickered from blue, and displayed the Spade’s Aces logo. Lt. Boris and the two lances of the Green Ace Company watched from their seperate dropships as Major Benjamin Spade, their CO briefed them on the upcoming mission.

“A simple mop-up operation, gents. The good folks of New Delos had a pirate problem that was, well, politically charged, FWL military is hands off. The Black and Red Aces have already been down planetside for a week, and have soundly kicked their sorry arses. Now we have a handful of these vermin making a run for their dropship. Your mission is to stop them. Noone makes it past you. We need to be sending these clowns a message.”

“We will debark at a small airstrip near where intel has plotted their escape vector. You will form up and move out after a brief refit from the tech crew there. Seems there is a Tech school on New Delos, and they wanted some hands on work for their students. So we get some free labor. After refit, we form up and head out.”

“Immediately after the operation, you will assemble in the basement bunker room for a debriefing. Oh, and one last thing. The media will be there, filming for some mercenary promotional shots I lined up. Make us look good. Remember, don’t just win, LOOK GOOD WINNING! Spade out.”

And that’s how the op went. The Green Aces mopped up the fleeing pirates, and returned to the airstrip to pose for pictures. As they waited downstairs for the debrief, their attention turned to the holovid screens. The reporter was droning on about the proficiency of even the newest mercenary units. The 8 lancemates watched Maj. Spade come into view, his Hunchback gleaming in the sun. He marched into the midst of a formation of mechs.

Their mechs.

When the Major was with a couple hundred meters, both lances erupted in alpha strikes, unerringly targeted to the cockpit and center of the Hunchback. The Major never had a chance to eject.

The Green Aces had to avoid certain death by navigating through the ventilation system. One subdued guard later, and they were sprinting off towards the Pandora.

What has gone before...
January, 3056

Benjamin Spade was always pushing the limits. When the Clans invaded, he was very vocal in the upper ranks of the Free World’s League 1st Legionnaires about taking the fight to them. Outvoted and outranked, Spade maneuvered around the bureaucracy.

He exercised his “retirement” clause in his military contract, and mustered out with a tidy sum of C-Bills. He immediately formed “Spade’s Aces”, a light to medium Battlemech company specializing in covert operations and unconventional warfare. Early successes against the clans brought prosperity to the Aces, and by the time the smoke had cleared on Tukayyid, the Aces were two companies strong.

Spade’s next move would be to begin recruiting for a third company, the Green Aces. It was led by Boris, a Ghost Bear warrior who lost to Spade in a one on one duel. The bondsmen would be the new company’s commander. Spade wanted them trained in Clan tactics and covert operations. It was an experiment that not everyone in the organization found popular.

Major Spade’s knack for seeing potential brought together 8 recruits out of the roughest of life’s situations in the Inner Sphere. The Green Aces would either be a brilliant coup, or a spectacular waste of resources.


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