MAY 1-6, 3049
The team is sent to the planet Tamar in the Tamar Pact to rest, repair, refit and train some before their next mission. Jack Deshane is promoted to Corporal and Sgt. Basil L Clumley is promoted to Sergeant Major. First Lieutenant Beck is also promoted to Hauptman (Captain). This causes some consternation with the other members of the Schattenjagers who quietly grumble to themselves.
While on the planet Tamar the team is stationed at one of the many military garrison bases on the planet. The team is assigned to a base not far from the capital city of Tamar. While here the past few weeks the team has been able in their free time to see some of what a major planet has to offer. All around there is rebuilding and construction going on. But the population of the whole planet it seems always has this subtle and rather intangible sense of slight foreboding hovering over it. This comes as no surprise given the number of times that Tamar has been attacked and sacked in its history.
While the Shattenjagers participate daily in urban warfare training Hans Krieger receives extended bonus training in piloting a Land-Air Mech. Recent actions and skill shown in combat as a mech pilot have shown he is capable of piloting this type of battlemech. He is eventually assigned to pilot a Phoenix Hawk LAM which has been transferred to the unit.
As it is each morning, the daily duty schedule is posted outside the team barracks on a monitor along with other updates and mundane information. Looking over you can see it is Salisbury steak night in the main cafeteria. Looking back at the updated duty schedule it lists that the Schattenjagers are to participate in small arms live fire exercises on firing range number six at 14:00 hours today. You roll your eyes. “Not that firing range again, it so far out of the way and dusty.” After lunch the team is loaded up into a military truck and taken out to the firing range. It is a little unusual that LIC agent Schumaker is coming along with the team. He rides shotgun in one of the two trucks and simply stares ahead the whole time.
As the team approaches the briefing room door they note that there are six well-armed guards standing outside the briefing room door and at each end of the corridor watching as the team enters. Schumaker doesn’t seem to be concerned by the heavy security. Entering the briefing room a Lyran Lieutenant motions for the team to follow her and have a seat. As the team enters the room they see that there are many high ranking Lyran officers, a few well-dressed civilians, one plain clothes civilian sitting on the far end and two men that are wearing officer uniforms of the Federated Suns sitting next to him. These people are all seated around a black table at the back side of the briefing room. The flags of both the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns stand in each corner. Along the left and right walls of the room are a few other persons seated quietly. Some are lower ranking officers that are looking over notes. The people seated behind the table have cold and lined expressionless faces. You get the feeling you are being sized up as you enter the room. In the center of the room are several nondescript chairs. Once the team is inside one of the officers at the table motions with his hand for the door to be closed. Behind them the door the team came in through is quietly closed. The team is then asked to hand over their ID cards to one of the lower ranked officers in the room and then have a seat. If any of the team hesitates Schumaker can assure them quietly that it is simply standard procedure and they will get them back. The young Lieutenant takes up the ID cards of the team and hands them to the Lyran colonel. He begins to look over the ID cards and compare them with some files on his desk. When he is done he passes them to the man seated next to him. The others pass and so forth. Most of the others look over the cards briefly or not at all. The only other man to look them over carefully is the civilian sitting on the end. As this goes on a man dressed in the uniform of a Lyran colonel stands up and then begins to speak to the team, notifying the team that what they are about to hear is ultra-top secret. The team and everyone in the room is not to discuss with anyone what they are about to be told. Once this is made clear the team is introduced to Edward Drake of the Federated Suns who is identified as a member of MI-7 in the Department of Military Intelligence.
A Federated Suns Intelligence Officer named Edward Drake is introduced to the team who are assigned to help him find a crashed dropship on the Planet Dalkeith VI in the Tamar Domains. The briefing officer informs the team that this mission is code-named Iceworm. The team then learns that there is a small Lyran scientific research outpost present on the planet sponsored by New Cambridge University. It has twenty five scientific research personnel and supporting staff conducting research into agriculture on cold weather plants. The planet Dalkeith was held by the Draconis Combine until 3025 when Lyran forces took back control of the planet in the fourth Succession War. There is a heavy asteroid ring around the planet. There are seven Kurita planets within close jump range to the planet. The Lyran Commonwealth has lost contact with the research station on the planet. The Team is therefore ordered to help Edward Drake find the dropship before Kurita forces arrive. Lyran military reinforcements are on the way to assist but the Schattenjagers are more easily dispatched in a short amount of time. The briefing officer then hands over the briefing to Edward Drake.
“I have read through all of your personnel files. Your Schattenjagers unit seems to be rather….unorthodox. I am assured however that your unit is qualified for this sort of assignment that requires a certain finesse and mild discretion. To be honest, we wanted some units from the 23rd Lyran Guards for this. But it was recommended that the Schattenjagers undertake this mission.”
“A Mule class dropship ironically named Forlorn Hope carried a military secret that the Lyran military wants back at any cost. It is a Lyran K-series transmitter or ‘Black Box’, one of the Lyran Commonwealths’ most guarded military secrets. This item must not fall into the hands of the Draconis Combine. “As part of our alliance and in the spirit of friendship and cooperation your government was nice enough to lend us one of their black boxes. It was all very hush-hush and called Operation Lamplighter. Only a very few number people knew about this. Our scientists at the NAIS took the black box developed by your scientists and toyed with it some. Eventually we were able to nearly double its range and capacity considerably. We then sent it back to your government on a dropship hidden in with a routine cargo shipment that wouldn’t cause any raised eyebrows or suspicion. In our case it was a regular supply run to the Atria research station. You see, we knew from certain sources and information that the Draconis Combine knew about the research station on the planet and had already on at least two occasions checked it out themselves and decided it was exactly what it was; a benign civilian science outpost and not worth their time. Thus a cargo ship making its regularly scheduled supply run to the science station on the planet would not attract any unwanted attention from our friends in the Combine.
We tucked the item nicely in the cargo hold where it would not be found, off when the dropship on its merry way from Federated Suns space to Dalkeith and then back at home two of our operatives who helped arrange that the item get put quietly onboard the dropship turned up dead floating in a river a two days after the jumpship with the dropship and our item left our space. When we finally identified the two men we realized that they were part of our transport team responsible for keeping the shipment secure while in the Federated Suns. But here is the problem, this happened after the jumpship carrying the cargo left the Federated Suns for Lyran space. We were starting to put the pieces together when we received report that after the jumpship and its cargo dropship arrived at the planet Dalkeith VI that something apparently went wrong on the dropship and instead of landing on the planet it instead went and crashed on the planet, and that is when we started to worry. You see the black box on the drop ship was the only other prototype intended to be given to your government. The research base used its communications equipment to notify the neighboring inhabited planet Dalkeith V. Unfortunately the garrison on Dalkeith V is a mercenary company; the Hsien Hotheads. These mercenaries and the Lyran government have been involved in some sort of contract dispute the past few months over the costs of past transportation that also involves some independent shipping company. Until this is resolved neither side wants to add to or provide more costs to the mercenary unit. In addition, moving parts of a known garrison unit like this will undoubtedly bring unwanted attention and show our hand, not to mention that we are not sure that we would want some mercenaries stomping around looking for our secrets, especially ones that are not happy with their finances. This is another one of the reasons your units is being activated. “
PC NOTES: The ubiquitous Mule Class DropShip is the most commonly encountered merchant craft plying the shipping routes of the Inner Sphere. Developed during the height of the Star League, the Mule has survived due to the combination of its practical and uncomplicated design, affordability, ease of maintenance, and spacious crew accommodations. This makes the Mule highly attractive for independent traders. The Mule is capable of carrying close to 8,500 tons of cargo, split between a single large 3,000 ton capacity bays in the lower portion of ship, from which four large cargo elevators lead to the upper decks which can handle remaining 5,000 or so tons.
“Now here is where it gets interesting. The same day the dropship crashed on Dalkeith VI a man named Dr. Peter J. Crenshaw, PhD and a whole list of other letters applied to go to the research base as an assistant researcher. Crenshaw had impeccable credentials which made Lyran Intelligence suspicious so in turn Lyran Intelligence sent one of their own men to the planet as well going by the name of Lang to keep an eye on this Dr. Crenshaw and eliminate him if need be. Four days after arriving things went wrong at the research station, fire, calls for help then puzzling messages – and that’s where you gentlemen come into the picture. You see it is apparent to us now that the Draconis Combine knows what was on that dropship, or at least that it was carrying something very important and something that might be worth their time and that they might like to possess. That makes the device we are looking for the most sought after item in the inner sphere.”
“The good news is we have a very good jumpship named the Razors Edge quietly parked here at Tamar. The Razors Edge is an Invader class jumpship. Though old, this ship is just what we needed as she is able to recharge her K-F drive very quickly; in about 72 hours and is equipped with two advanced fast charge poly lithium-ion batteries for recharging and re-jumping the K-F drive onboard the ship. In addition, she is also proven to be able to jump reliably past the red line, about 40 light years, though she has gone as far as 50 before I am told. Thus according to our sources, we should have at least 2 or 3 days head start on whatever the Combine decides to do or bring to Dalkeith. This mission is to be code-named Iceworm. Our job is to get in and get out as fast as we can before anyone else arrives. But just in case, there is a battlemech battalion that should be getting (looks at his watch) just about now their order to leave their garrison and load for transport to the planet in order to deter any thoughts that the Draconis Combine may have about a small incursion to the planet. However this battalion of yours is several days away. We tried to have units stationed here on Tamar go with you but the Duke of Tamar personally appealed to the Archon asking that none of the garrison units on Tamar be taken off the planet. After the events on Phalan you must understand many of the good citizens on the planets along the border with the Draconis Combine are fearful and a bit nervous. And that’s about it, if there aren’t any questions your Mule class dropship is already being loaded as we speak with your battlemechs and supplies for the mission. We will take off before sunrise at 0500 hours gentlemen to rendezvous with the waiting jumpship. I don’t think there is anything else at this point.”
Before the briefing ends the Lyran Colonel in charge of the briefing steps up and gives the team one more mission assignment. “There is one other thing gentlemen which I think will please you. We are loading a new type of battlemech into your dropship. If the opportunity presents itself, we want to you to do some field tests and evaluate the performance in the arctic climate on Dalkeith VI of this new battlemech design from TharHes Industries; the 35 ton WLF-2 Wolfhound. This mech is one of the newest and most advanced designs the Lyran Commonwealth possesses. It is important that it not be damaged but we ask that you put it through the paces and report back on its performance in arctic conditions. Again, I would like to remind everyone here that this briefing is classified.”
PC NOTES: A light, rugged, and dependable design, the Wolfhound made its first appearance in 3028. Following the success of the Hatchetman designed in partnership with the Federated Suns, Archon Katrina Steiner ordered TharHes Industries to produce a BattleMech to address a persistent problem of the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces: hunting down and destroying the Panther and Jenner, swift light-weight ‘Mechs of the Draconis Combine which had embarrassed the LCAF one too many times. The final design was a light ’Mech with an all-energy weapons payload effective at a variety of combat ranges, the maximum amount of armor for a ’Mech of its weight class, and the use of mostly standard components to keep costs down
As a “laser boat” the Wolfhound’s very basic weapons array frees it from supply lines and allows for superior endurance during extended campaigns. The primary long-range weapon is a Setanta Large Laser mounted in the right arm, which allows the Wolfhound to strike at ranges of up to seven hundred and fifty meters. As secondary weapons for close combat, the Wolfhound is armed with four Defiance B3M Medium Lasers. Three of these are split between the right, center, and left torso, while the fourth is mounted in the center-rear in case any ’Mech tries to exploit this traditional blind spot.
The Team is told that the planet Dalkeith VI is class P and is the sixth planet in the system of eight planets. The star Dalkeith is a type K5V orange star. The jumpoints are 2 days out. Dalkeith VI is an arctic planet. The gravity is .98 G and the atmospheric pressure is standard composed of nitrogen, oxygen and trace elements. The average temperature at the equator is -10C (14F). The period of rotation is 18 hours and it completes one orbit of the sun every 1.32 years. There is some active volcanic activity deep under the ice sheets that cover the planet. The heating of the water far below the surface by the volcanic forces causes the frozen ice sheets above on the surface to move around causing large cracks, canyons and fissures in the surface. Past surveys have also shown there to be evidence of useful industrial metal deposits which the ice makes difficult to extract.
Edward Drake is about 50 years old. He is of average height and build with greying hair. Physically there is nothing striking about him, he looks and dresses like and average middle class civilian. He is stoic and very matter of fact, coming across as unfriendly and not trusting of others but also very confident in himself. He always seems to be evasive when answering questions and you never feel you get a completely straight answer form him, as if he is always holding something back or deflecting. His conversations even when casual gives you the feeling you are being questioned and probed for information. When sitting in a room he always keeps his back to a wall and facing the doors and exits. His eyes are always watching others.
After the briefing but prior to leaving Tamar, LIC Agent Schumaker privately pulls a few of the Team aside and tells them that for undisclosed reasons he will not be joining them on this mission. He for some reason seems to be a little displeased by this fact. He then warns the Team members to be on their guard while on the mission. “There may be some things this Federated Suns intelligence officer going with them is not telling them or fully disclosing. Be careful out there on this mission. Often in these sorts of missions, there is usually more to them then just what people are told. There is something not quite right about this mission. Davion Intelligence and their operatives are very effective. I doubt this Edward Drake guy is MI-7 as he claims. More like MI6 or even possibly MI4.”
LIC Agent Schumaker also mentions in passing that “both Federated Suns and Lyran intelligence has been involved in something in called ‘Operation Flush’. I can’t tell you much about it, just keep it in the back of your mind. Because of Operation Flush, the Federated Suns intelligence services have been very paranoid lately.”
TAKING OFF, the Jump and Arriving at the Planet:
The team’s Mule class dropship takes off from Tamar on schedule. There is nothing noteworthy or of interest that happens with in route to the jumpship except that Drake seems to keep to himself in his quarters most of the time. If any of the team wish to speak to him he will, but he will not come and talk to them or fraternize with the team on his own. The notices that their mechs have been painted in arctic camouflage colors and all the units insignias and identifying marks have been removed. After a few days approaches and docks with the jumpship Razor’s Edge. The Razor’s Edge is painted in a cold grey color which makes her look sleek and strangely foreboding. The dropship docks smoothly without incident. As the Team leaves their dropship and boards the jumpship they find that to their surprise that the crew of the Razor’s Edge are not your typical merchant for hire as would be expected but are in fact Lyran Navy.
The master and commander of the Razor’s Edge is Captain Niles Harkon. Captain Harkon is about 30 and wears very stylish glasses and equally stylish dark hair. His demeanor is proper, to the point and all business but with a smile. Like many Lyran naval officers he wears a smart blue naval uniform. The Executive Officer is LT. Mitch Herschel who is also very professional but also extremely young. He is energetic and seems to be very eager to please the captain and also very loyal to him. If asked about the ship the captain will tell the team that the ship has a crew of 25 personnel and that the ship is about 100 years old and was captured by the Lyran Navy from the Draconis Combine in the Third Succession War. She was captured in Lyran space curing the war empty and without a crew but fully intact. It is suspected she may have misjumped. No one knows for sure though. “You will find that living in such close quarters the crew of this ship tends to be a little informal, going by first names. For example my first name is Captain.”
PC NOTES: Accounting for an estimated 46% of all registered JumpShips in the Inner Sphere (as of 3045), the popular, cost-efficient and widespread Invader class is the archetypical JumpShip. Despite its martial name, it is a civilian design and ill-suited for combat. It does, however, possess sophisticated communications gear and can maintain radio and laser-link feeds with up to ten transmitting stations, making it an ideal vessel to coordinate a task force. 51% of all Invaders are operated by the militaries of the Inner Sphere, 32% are owned by giant corporations and the remaining 17% are owned by Mercenary units or private citizens. The Invader’s most distinctive design feature is a pair of hydroponic garden domes. They produce food and oxygen for the crew, even a small surplus for trade with docking DropShips. Although fully automated, system failures mean that the gardens have to be maintained manually by the crew on every third ship. Many older ships also have a design flaw that could cause the hydroponics booms to lock in the extended position, preventing the vessel from jumping; this flaw was largely rectified following the Fourth Succession War and old ships were refitted accordingly. The original design of the Invader was not armed, but carried two special anti-meteor long range lasers. Maintenance problems saw these replaced with a pair of Large Lasers or PPCs, but even these can barely match the firepower of a single Aerospace Fighter. This, and the thin armor, has led to Invaders being regarded as non-combatants, like all JumpShips in the age of LosTech. The Invader can carry between 522 and 526 tons of cargo in the cargo section, depending on the weapon configuration. It also has two hangar bays for Small Craft. The mass of the Invader is 152,000 tons.
At the jump point the departure is delayed for a few hours. There is another dropship on approach to dock with the jumpship. One this dropship there are two last minute arrivals that come through the docking airlock. One is a man dressed in regular civilian clothes and a Lyran infantry officer named Lt. Albert Krupke. He is an arctic warfare expert with the 23rd Arcturan Guards. He has orders to join the group. Edward Drake seems irritated but the orders check out. A Forgery roll will show the orders are not forged. Lt. Krupke is gruff and not very personable. Like Drake he will mostly keep to himself.
The civilian that comes aboard is an old friend of Edward Drake named Akira ‘Sam’ Takahashi. Takahashi is obviously of Asian descent and still wears his hair in typical Draconis fashion. They shake hands and then briefly embrace as friends. To anyone watching they seem to be good friends and this is the friendliest and open any of the team has seen Drake act thus so far. It is apparent that Drake and Takahashi are friends and that Drake trusts Takahashi. Speaking to Takahashi Drake states “I thought you were on Caph.” To which Takahashi replies excitedly “I was until five days ago! They scooped me up and then…how you say….pony expressed me here on some jumpships as fast as they could! I tell you Edward I never will get accustomed to being cramped up inside small dropships. It makes me feel like a canned ration being trapped inside all that endosteel like that.”
Drake introduces the newcomer to the other team members as Sam Takahashi “He is the most anti Combine Draconian you will ever meet.” And explains that “Takahashi was a Kurita intelligence agent but he switched sides five years ago and now works for the Federated Suns Ministry of Intelligence. Since he came over to our side he has been vetted and proven true by the Federated Suns Ministry of Intelligence, your Lyran Intelligence Corps and by me. “
Edward Drake trusts him will tell the team emphatically stating that Takahashi has saved his live many times to which Takahashi states modestly that Drake has saved his life as well a few times. “And of course don’t forget about that mission on Deneb, you saved me from becoming married!” to which they both share a laugh. In the conversation Drake mentions that the two of them have been on many secretive missions together in the Draconis Combine. Unlike Drake, Takahashi is much more open, talkative and friendly than Drake though like Drake he does not reveal much either.
If asked about his switching sides and his reasons for doing so Takahashi will seem to be slightly insulted and reply firmly that “I was born in the Draconis Combine, but I chose my side out of conviction. Not by accident of birth.”
If Schattenjager Team member Hiro Toshiro who was also from the Draconis Combine asks if he has never heard of Sam Takahashi it will be that he has not nor does he have any idea where he is from. However he will note that if he is indeed a former Kurita agent that switched sides, if he is captured by the Draconis Combine he will most assuredly be executed in a very brutal manner after being tortured for a long time and then interrogated. From his reactions Sam Takahashi does not seem to recognize Hiro Toshiro beyond speaking to him briefly in Japanese with courteous greetings. Takahasi will talk to Hiro Toshiro in Japanese with these simple greetings before turning the conversation back to English.
Once the second dropship has detached and moved off from the port side of Razors Edge, Captain Harkon will then tell the Schattenjagers that the ship is fueled and the batteries for the K-F Drive are charged and ready to execute a jump to the target coordinates. He then turns to the navigator to give commands and give coordinates stating that “XO this will be a full power jump of 41 light years.” This is a very long jump to make and requires perfect calculations and a little bit of luck to pull off successfully. The further the jump the greater the risk of a misjump. The Schattenjager team cannot help but be impressed with the almost cold efficiency the jumpship crew operates. They are like a well-oiled machine in their actions and responses.
While the navigator and bridge crew get to work making their calculations, the XO suggests the team members strap themselves in or find something to hold onto and to prepare to jump. As Lt. Herschel states this to the Team, some crewmembers can seen strapping themselves to their chairs. After some busy activity by the crew the XO turns and coming to attention salutes and reports to the captain “Sir, all airlock doors are secure. All compartments report ready. Magnetometer is at 0.262. Engineering reports K-F Drive is at full power. Primary and secondary couplers show ready. Primary and secondary batteries are at 100%, voltage steady. Fusion reactor is at 100%. Navigation computer reports ready. The board is green sir, we are ready to jump.” The captain looks over the bridge panels briefly and then states “Very well XO, execute jump commencing at fifteen seconds from my mark……mark.” The XO then counts out the countdown to jump. The last thing the team hears is “Executing jump.”
All goes white and no more than a fraction of a second later the Razors Edge makes the space fold jump, arriving at the coordinates at Dalkeith seconds later. It was a far jump but it seemed to go very smoothly.
After the jump is completed the XO and navigator consult the navigation computer for a moment and then the XO reports to the Captain “Sir, Navigation computer confirms positive celestial lock. We have arrived at the designated coordinates at point 06.” To which the captain replies “Very well XO. Proceed with space keeping maneuver. Orient us at 80 mark 20.” The captain then turns in his command chair and tells the Schattenjager team “We have arrived. As soon as you are ready you may disembark. I wish you good luck.” The XO Lt. Hershel hands the team the frequencies for the research facility automated landing system as the team leaves.
The Mule class dropship detaches and begins the journey to planetary orbit around the planet Dalkeith VI. As the team reaches orbit in their dropship the team picks up an automated emergency signal originating from the base that repeats over and over. As time progresses the signal is growing weaker in strength. In addition there is a low power transmission that is picked up in transit to the base. This signal comes every day at 19:00 hours and lasts for about fifteen minutes. The signal being broadcast is on an open frequency and makes no sense. There is no reply from the Lyran research outpost to any attempts at contact by the team.
The dropship enters the atmosphere and proceeds to the coordinates of the research base. The landing proves to be a little more difficult than normal. On approach to the base the automatic landing system cannot engage and the dropship will need to be landed manually as the automatic instrument landing system for the base landing zone seems to be not functioning or transmitting as it should for some unknown reason. The automatic landing system cannot function and will require a manual landing. This doesn’t pose a problem however and any competent dropship pilot can make the landing even in the poor weather conditions. The team lands their dropship at the research base landing zone. There are clear signs of recent snowfall at the location of the base. Looking out of the dropship or as they exit the dropship there can be seen that there are seven major buildings arranged in a cluster that make up the research base. The air outside is cold and crisp and a little dry.
Leaving the dropship on foot the team can see that many of the buildings have been burned with black scorch marks on them or are destroyed. The aftermath of the fire still leaves a mix of burned fuel and rubber smells that still lingers in the air. The weather outside at the moment is clearing, very still and quiet giving good visibility. The buildings are covered in snow indicating that a snowstorm has passed through recently. The massive greenhouse structure at the center of the base has burned down and the power station is also visibly damaged from fire. The storage building is also partially damaged.
There is a dead man lying covered in snow in the open ground outside as the team approaches the base from the landing field. The dead man does not have on very heavy clothes. There is no apparent sign of the cause of death though it can be surmised that he froze to death outside. Searching the body the team will find that he has an ID card of with the name Dr. Henry Thomas, PhD. His name is on the research base personnel list as a botanist. Nothing else is known about the man.
Outside the storage building there are two dead men that appeared to have killed each other in a gun fight. Both have pistols in their frozen hands and gunshot wounds to the chest. Edward Drake identifies one of the dead men as Lang, the Lyran agent that was sent to this planet. A few meters from him is a man who has ID on him stating he is Doctor Peter J. Crenshaw, the suspected Draconis Combine agent.
Power Generator Plant
Removed from the other buildings is the power plant for the research base. The power generator plant is a plain square reinforced steel and concrete building with a flat roof. It shows signs of fire damage on the outside walls. Black scorch marks can be seen on the sides of the building. Investigation shows that the burn marks are from a fire and not from any weapons fire. Inside the building the station power generator is in a shambles but repairable. It will take many hours to repair the generator and power grid to get it operational.
Commons and Dormitory Building
This is the second largest building at the base and it is divided into two sub sections; a commons areas and mess hall that is connected by a door and small hallway to the dormitory area. The back of the dormitory area has collapsed and is covered by burn marks. It has been severely burned by fire. Investigation shows that there are four men here that are dead from the fire. Three of them are still in their bunks. Further investigation shows that these three have multiple gunshot wounds to the chest then had blankets put over them to hide the wounds.
In the commons area seven bodies are found huddled together in one corner wearing heavy winter parkas, heavy gloves, snow boots and wrapped with heavy blankets over them. One is clutching a small lighter now empty of fuel with the lid still open. Close by these bodies are the burned out remains of a makeshift fire that these men used to try to keep warm. Several broken chairs, pieces of wood and torn rags can be seen near them that were used to make a fire. All ten men have died from exposure to the subzero temperatures.
The Agriculture Dome is the largest structure of the base. This massive greenhouse has nearly burned down to the ground. The agriculture dome was damaged in the fire causing one side of the dome to collapse inward. Snow and ice have covered the inside of the dome. The rows of agricultural experiments and plants between the small trees that were inside have all frozen over solid making the inside of the dome look like an otherworldly white frozen jungle. There are some basic mundane gardening and farm equipment lying about the dome and some display monitors that have frozen over. There is nothing of value here.
The agriculture dome adjoins the Laboratory building through airlock pressure doors and a connecting tunnel dug into the ice sheet that is two meters wide and two meters tall. The door to the agricultural dome is frozen solid and will need to be forced open. The tunnel is very dark and cold without power for the lights along the ceiling.
Sciences and Laboratory Building
This building is mostly intact. Outside the door to the building is trash strewn about. Some snow and ice has crept in from a broken observation window on the western side of the concrete building. Inside are many pieces of scientific equipment. Several drawers and file cabinets are open with papers strewn about the room. The agriculture dome adjoins the Laboratory building through airlock pressure doors and a connecting tunnel dug into the ice sheet that is two meters wide and two meters tall. The door to the agricultural dome is frozen solid and will need to be forced open.
The tunnel is very dark and cold without power for the lights along the ceiling. There are several notebooks here with notes on scientific experiments. One such is a notebook of a Doctor Emma Foster. It is mostly notes on scientific experiments involving seed hybrids but on one page she does note the arrival of Doctor Crenshaw and Doctor Lang to the base with a date of about two weeks ago. However there is no mention of the crashed dropship in the notebook.
In the communications hut the frozen body of a man is seen hunched over a chair wearing radio headphones. He is in a heavy winter parka with heavy boots and a cold winter cap on. His body, like the others has some frost all over it and is very stiff. It appears this person has frozen to death. There are no other injuries that can be found. He has likely been dead for days. The old communications system is still on but is it showing to be in standby mode. It is barely functioning and switched to operate on the emergency batteries. The gauges for the emergency batteries indicate the emergency batteries are now nearly exhausted and there is barely enough power to transmit.
The communications system is tuned to broadcast out in the open on the emergency bands. The tuner is locked in this setting and will need to be unlocked with a Security Systems skill roll. This also means that the emergency calls for help have been broadcast on an open channel that anyone could hear.
Weather Station and Radar
Next to the communications building is the base weather and radar station. The station radar and weather station are damaged and laying in the snow. On close inspection, it appears the scaffold tower for the radar and the high gain antennae was knocked down at some point in the storm by high winds. It might be repairable given time and manpower, but there is no power source. Around the main tower are several other smaller antennae, spectrometers and a high and low field magnetometer array. The arrangement of the antenna and the magnetometers is unusual. The ferrous metal deposits in the planet crust make this arrangement necessary to get accurate readings. There is a power amplifier for the transmitters that is quite powerful for such a small base and communications tower.
The radar of the base is designed for tracking weather, but can be modified in about three hours to also function as a crude early warning radar.
The storage building is partially damaged from the fire. Inside there is a small workbench and maintenance shop. On the bench is a metal pipe that has had the end cut off inside a vice mounted to the work bench. There is also a multi-meter on the work bench and several small screwdrivers. There are many crates inside with winter clothing and gear, food supplies and spare parts. There are several tools and a welding blowtorch. Inside the team finds a locker has been forced open with a crowbar and some basic demolitions seismic charges have been removed from a locker. There is vehicle bay attached to the building with room for two vehicles. There is only one tracked vehicle secured here in the vehicle bay. It is non-military and capable of carrying five men and suitable for operations in the ice and snow. It has a small flatbed cargo area in the back and is powered by a simple interal combustion engine. the fuel tank for the tractor has been clearly completely drained of its liquid combustible fuel. The snow tractor can be repaired and will require finding the appropriate spare parts in the storage building work area. The snow tractor does have a functioning battery cell that can be used. A hose lays nearby the tractor fuel tank along with an empty fuel container. Several fuel canisters are apparently missing from the fuel storage locker nearby. There is also a pump for the liquid fuel that connects to a large capacity fuel tank under the building. According to the fuel tank gauge there is about 100 gallons of fuel still in the fuel tank.
The remains of the crashed Mule dropship are located about half a kilometer south of the research base. The dropship crashed rests at a twenty degree angle leaving a small crater in the ice. There are burn marks all around the area that can still be seen. The hull of the ship is black with burn marks covered with ice and snow over it. Nearby are a dozen metal objects lines up in a row. Moving closer in the snow it is apparent that these are where the crew of the dropship were buried. Investigating the condition of the drop ship it is discovered that it has suffered heavy structural damage from the crash. The decks have buckled and collapsed. This dropship will never fly again. It is good for nothing but scrap salvage. Access to the dropship bridge is difficult when climbing up in it the ship without any power. On the bridge there is no back up power. Using a portable power pack the team is able to bring some of the systems back online. The Navigation system has had its memory completely wiped for some reason. This can only be done on purpose. The log entries of the dropship have also been deliberately erased.
Down below, the cargo bays of the dropship have been severely jarred about, probably from the crash, though it does appear that someone has also gone through the cargo bay as well looking for something.
There are a few overturned crates that have been smashed and opened up and their various cargo contents have been scattered on the decks and on the ground outside.
There are no tracks around the dropship from vehicle or foot that can be seen. Any that might have been here have been erased already by the elements.
Abandoned Snow Crawler
The other snow crawler is abandoned outside the base area. It is half covered up in snow. It is difficult to estimate how long it has been this way. The batteries are drained and it will not start. The snow tracks have come off the left side of the snow crawler. A skill roll in Technician/Mechanic will reveal that it looks as if some repairs were attempted but abandoned and it does not appear the snow tractor can be repaired without some heavy equipment to tow it back to a repair facility and put it on a repair lift. It does appear however that some equipment it was carrying in the back cargo area has been removed. There are some tie down straps that have been undone and a few boxes are shifted around. Inside the other boxes in the back are some ice core samples, mundane scientific equipment, a box of 10 flares worth 7 C-Bills each and some shovels. There is nothing else of value or use here that can be found.
Returning to the research base, the Schattenjager Team compares notes as to what they found at the dropship crash site and the abandoned snow crawler. While looking for any more evidence around the research station the team and the research station is attacked by a team of Kurita Death Commandos armed with katanna swords and SMGs.
While fighting off the Kurita Death Commandos a squad of Draconis infantry enter the research station grounds from the south east and attack the team. The Draconis infantry are armed with pistols, riles, SMGs and a heavy rifle with a grenade launcher.
Near the storage building Edward Drake has discovered that Hauptman Beck and Lt Krupke have both been killed by Akira ‘Sam’ Takahashi. Edward Drake then killed Takahashi in hand to hand combat with a knife. Drake seems to be a little shaken by the whole ideal. Both Beck and Krupke have several gunshot wounds.
LYRAN INFANTRY REINFORCMENTS ARRIVE
Arriving back at the research station, the team observes an incoming spherical dropship approaching the research station landing field. Soon a Union class Lyran dropship can be seen with Lyran markings on the fuselage. The dropship makes a precision landing at the base landing zone. The doors to the dropship open and several infantry begin to deploy from the dropship and begin securing the landing zone. A Lyran infantry officer flanked by a sergeant and a communications specialist carrying a portable radio approaches the team. Hauptman Neil Krause commands an infantry company of the 4th Lyran Regulars introduces himself asking for Kauptman Beck. Captain Krause is dressed like the rest of his unit in arctic warfare clothing and wearing a Commonwealth Medal of Honor on his uniform which impresses Sgt. Basil L Clumley. He brings a company (3 platoons/9 miniatures) of heavy laser infantry along with two Patton heavy tanks. As he converses with the team, while ordering his Lyran infantry to begin deploying and taking up defensive positions in the research station. From the dropship two Patton heavy tanks roll out and move to positions as well within the base. Hauptman Neil Krause seems to be a fairly competent and efficient officer. He informs the team that his unit was stationed on Menkent in the Isle of Skye and was ordered to come to repel an invasion force.
Hauptman Neil Krause reports to the team that the main bulk of the 4th Lyran Regulars RCT dropships were attacked and damaged while entering the atmosphere by aerospace fighters and were forced to land to the south of the research station several kilometers away and regroup. His dropsphip was one of the last ships and was not attacked and thus able to make it to the tarter landing zone safety. He further states that “arctic conditions are not what his men are usually deployed in, but the men are always ready for a fight against the Draconis Combine.”
PC NOTES: The 4th Lyran Regulars are composed primarily of heavy and assault mechs. The 4th Lyran Regulars has always been a front-line BattleMech Regiment in the service of the Lyran Commonwealth. The unit is noted historically for holding grudges with and hating the Draconis Combine. The unit’s insignia is an outline of a palm tree with lightning striking above it. The unit’s nickname is Tropical Lightning. The regiment uses a drab green paint scheme with tan or khaki highlighting on their combat vehicles.
As time goes on the weather conditions are slowly deteriorating in the area as a blizzard begins to set in. The blizzard is coming from the north and will arrive in about an hour.
SEveral specialist in the infantry unit have hooked up portable monitoring and communications equipment to the research station communications array and weather station. They report to Hauptman Krause that their radar is picking up two inbound aerospace fighters approaching from the west at very high speed. There is no automated ID transponder coming from the incoming craft. The incoming craft will arrive over the base in 10 minutes at present speed. The infantry run for cover while the Schattenjagers suit up and get in their battlemechs.
A few minutes’ later two aerospace fighters fly over the base. They are painted blood red and are clearly from visual observation Draconis Combine SL-21 Sholagar class aerospace fighters. The Draconis Combine fighters do not attack and the Schattenjagers or the base, however the take a few shots with their battlemechs but miss the high flying fast moving aerospace fighters.
PC NOTES: The Sholagar is a fast and heavily armed light fighter. With a Hoverteck SRM-4 rack in the nose, and a Diverse Optics Type 20 Medium Laser in each wing, the Sholagar is heavily armed for a light aerospace fighter. With six tons of armor to back up the armament, it has more staying power in a fight than other light fighters.
The team locates a tracking device on the body of Sam Takahashi. Using it the team is able to find where the black box has been deliberately buried in the ice some distance from the base.
After searching for the black box with the tracking device, the team is able to find the location of the black box. It is located about 400 meters from the base. When located the team discovers that it has a complex bomb and detonator attached to it with a red indicator light that is on. This explosive device has been attached externally to the black box by someone. It will be difficult to disarm the device without setting it off. Judging from the size of the bomb attached to the black box, if the bomb went off the explosion would surely kill anyone within ten meters and completely destroy the black box entirely leaving no trace of it.
Shortly after locating the black box, Draconis Combine ground forces are reported to be approaching the research station on radar. The team hurriedly disarms the bomb attached to the black box and returns to the research station where they begin to plan out their defense of the base.
Hauptman Neil Krause makes an observation to the team: “With this sort of weather and terrain, in order to secure the base and bring in additional reinforcements, capturing the landing field will be their primary target.” During this time the Schattenjager Team observes that the Lyran infantry and their two Patton heavy tanks have deployed in defensive positions around the research station.
KURITA ATTACK FORCE ARRIVES
Colonel (Tai-Sa) Saito arrives with his forces to take the black box by force. This is the same unit that the Schattenjagers encountered on the Planet Phalen a month before. Colonel Saito identifies himself and states he is from the 2nd Sword of Light Regiment. He offers the Schattenjagers to surrender the field. “I am Colonel Saito, Commander of the 2nd Sword of Light Regiment. You are known as the Schattjagers. Your unit is known to us. There is no need for subterfuge. We are here for the same reason as you; to recover the communications device. You are outnumbered and outgunned. Surrender the field and your espionage listening post with honor and your lives shall be spared. This I promise. Resist and we will show you no quarter, this I also promise. As a show of respect, I give you two minutes.”
Sgt Major Clumley replies insultingly that the Schattenjagers will fight the intruders to which Col. Saito replies “I honor you with respect from one warrior to another and this is your reply. I am disappointed. Now I will have to destroy you. That too is honorable.” There is almost a hint of pleasure in his reply.
PC NOTES: The Sword of Light represent the elite of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery’s BattleMech arm. In order to join, one must have five years of flawless service in another regiment and pass a series of mental, physical, spiritual, and political tests. Non-combat staff are tested in the same manner. Sword of Light regiments receive top priority for supplies, and even have their own dedicated JumpShips and DropShips. The Sword of Light regiments are not tied to a specific area of deployment, but travel the realm to assist where needed. Their ’Mech paint scheme is usually flat red, with the Kurita crest on the left shoulder. Numbering twelve regiments until 2740 when the number of regiments in the Sword of Light was reduced to five, with each regiment representing one of the five Pillars of Combine society, to compensate for the smaller brigade the regiments themselves reorganized to consist of four battalions instead of three. Nickname: “The Steel Dragon”.