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Wargames (MAC fiction)

Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:27 am
by Kelne
Andrea could almost hear the explosions ringing out across the ruined cityscape, smashing buildings to still smaller units of rubble whenever they struck. Which was often, since all the pilots were making the utmost use of cover. Except, of course, that this wasn't a live-fire exercise, and the explosions were all in her mind.

Which made it easier to concentrate, at least, she reflected as she corrected her aim and sent another trio of mortar shells arcing up into the sky, hopefully to impact upon that blasted elusive mage. Lives might not be on the line here, but the instructors were watching, and the little notes they'd be making would cut every bit as deep as bullets or beams.

A lightning strike from a cloudless sky smacked down to her right, demonstrating that the mage was still active. And, thankfully, had no better idea of her location than she did of his. Andrea would have liked to stick her head up to get a decent view of the field, but the orcs were just waiting for somebody to venture into line of sight of those obscenely powerful gatling cannons of theirs. Xastor had already suffered serious damage when he'd ventured briefly out of cover, though he was still capable of contributing to the barrage.

Right now, Andrea and her two companions were putting out as much indirect firepower as they could, to support the illusion that all of them were still hunkered down in cover. In reality, Higiyama and Kasan were sneaking around the flank, intent upon taking out the orc mech. Without that massive vehicle and its firepower, Blue Team would be severely hampered. Andrea intended to win this engagement, and win it convincingly.

As another wave of fire struck across the field, a voice crackled across her comm, "Corpath, we've got company." Eric Leischmann was a transfer student from Valth, and hence hadn't really made a lot of friends to date. Unusually for a Valthi, he was an accomplished mage and, shock horrors, didn't believe in the supremacy of technology over all else.

Which wasn't to say he didn't have an abundance of attitude. Still, his skills were good enough that Andrea had felt confident in assigning him to guard the right flank. Even as she pivoted to cover the flank, the 'company' Leischmann had referred to swept around the corner of one of the less ruined buildings.

The phoenix was upon them. <p>Centuries of threats of "I'll turn you all to stone!" and "I'll knock you all down!" have caused Domans to develop an instinct to form small groups. For safety, I assure you. – Keir</p>

Re: Wargames (MAC fiction)

Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 3:14 pm
by NamagomiMk0
Hmm. I will have to say, this is one of the first times I've seen a well-written combat scene. I speak from experience, as most of the ones I have seen, and the few I have written, felt and read extremely awkward at best. Kudos on that.

The only thing I can suggest improving at the moment is something I see as rather...nonsensical, given the time period. "Racial" Armors would make no sense in the MACverse--as society tends to advance, and weapons become more and more standardized, it would make more sense that Armor designs would vary more between nations and individual makers (by that, I mean organizations and corporations that would have the money and manpower to construct these, rather than individual people,) as opposed to races. Of course, some factions would prefer to buy surplus, or in the case of a group that rebels, effectively steal, but in the most case, Armor designs in the MACverse would be based on the aforementioned non-racial factors, and race would play a minimal role, if it would play one at all. <p>"DO YOU THINK YOU CAN DEFEAT US? OUR TREASURE MAY BE HEAVY, BUT WE ARE LIGHT AS WIND. ONLY MAGICS MAY HURT US, BUT ONLY WE KNOW WHICH ONES." --Omoikane, Digital Devil Saga 2</p>

Re: Wargames (MAC fiction)

Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:21 am
by Kai

*throws several anthropology texts at Nama*

*throws some valium as well*

All that because he used the phrase "orc mech?" It took me several minutes of scanning his post to even find what the hell set you off.

Kelne just posted a damn bit of fic.

Your response was odd. It's not, "What do you mean by orc mecha?" It's "BLAH BLAH BLAH RACIAL MECHA ARE PREPOSTEROUS GRAAAGHGRAH YOUR MOTHER SUCKS COCKS IN HELL."

Seriously, Nama. You should try to tone down the "OMG SETTING NAZI" thing. It's cool that you think about all this, because it means you're enthused. You know there's nothing I love more. Yet, I want to RP with you, not hear about how everyone else somehow misunderstands this setting on some fundamental level.You're using weapons technology the way Pervy used to use the Doman guard.

Offer ideas. Ideas are good, and we need your viewpoint on things. But on the other side of it, mushroom-slapping people with "weapons do this and people have weapons so you're wrong" is a little off-putting.
"It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit and the emperor remains an emperor." -- Sandman "The Kindly Ones" </p>Edited by: [url=>Kai</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/14/06 2:30

From underneath several anthropology texts and some valium

Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:50 am
by NamagomiMk0
Right. I deserved that.

Apparently I've become rather overpossessive of the setting. I won't try to rationalize as I usually do, given that there's no such valid thing here.

Anyway, idea suggestion that is more likely to not get me re-buried under anthropology texts and valium: As opposed to simply referring to it by the term "orc mech", try referring to it by common name, its "nationality," so to speak, or, particularly assuming it's a mass-produced model, model number.


Re: Wargames (MAC fiction)

Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 9:06 am
by Kelne
I'm sorry, Doug, but I just don't buy the idea that the end result of the advance of technology is for everybody to be building and using the same basic designs. That supposes that everybody has identical resources, design philosophies, and so forth.

Simply because people are building the same type of vehicle doesn't necessarily mean the end results will be indistinguishable from one another. This becomes even more the case when you throw different races into the mix. Mecha constructed by different races would likely be distinguishable from an aesthetic viewpoint alone. I harbour a sneaking suspicion that the difference between an elven mech and an orcish mech would be obvious even to the untrained eye.

Now, granted, if you assume that faceless corporations are doing the building, the race factor goes out the window. Or does it? Who's to say that predominantly racial corporations don't exist? Certainly any Valthi corporation will be dominated by humans.

There's also the end user to consider. Many pilots maintain and customise their own mecha, putting their own stamp on them. Thus, any mech with an orc pilot is potentially an orc mech, given enough tinkering.

Anyhow, enough tangential debate. New part coming sometime tomorrow, in all likelihood. <p>Centuries of threats of "I'll turn you all to stone!" and "I'll knock you all down!" have caused Domans to develop an instinct to form small groups. For safety, I assure you. – Keir</p>

Or, y'know, now.

Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:25 am
by Kelne
The Phoenix was, in theory, an old model Hawk tek suit. In practice, it had been upgraded considerably, sporting boosted engines and an array of nasty weaponry. Not to mention the distinctive fiery paint scheme that gave it its name.

Sonelle came around the corner firing, launching missiles and fireballs in quick succession at Andrea and Xastor. Leischmann, it seemed, had escaped notice. He took ruthless advantage of that fact. Fire was met by ice, shards interposing themselves in Sonelle's flightpath and spearing at her suit.

Of course, the magic in play was dialled down well below levels dangerous to even the lightest of suits, but sensors within each vehicle would apply virtual damage as appropriate. Missiles were entirely virtual, which meant that Andrea had to rely upon her display to pick off the incoming birds with flechette fire. All the while, she kept her main targeting reticle centred on the jinking phoenix.

A steady buzz informed her of target lock, and rather than do things piecemeal, she flush her entire missile pod. Sonelle, unfortunately, had her own countermeasures. Flares blossomed around her, generating confusion amongst the missiles as their primitive brains tried to decide which heat signature to go for.

There were a few tense seconds as the battle computers ran the numbers. Sonelle had weathered the ice storm with moderate damage. If she managed to dodge the incoming missiles, she'd probably manage to get out of line of sight, effectively getting away with her audacious strike.

She didn't. A lucky hit slammed into the phoenix's wing, shredding it and devastating the light craft with the explosion. Sonelle waggled her wings in salute and continued on out of the engagement zone, converted into a noncombatant.

Andrea reviewed their position. She'd managed to pick off all of the incoming missiles, virtually emptying her flechette launcher in the process. The fireballs hadn't damaged anything vital, thankfully. Xastor hadn't been so lucky. The damage readout listed his mech as crippled. He'd manage one more decent shot if he was lucky.

Still, the team as a whole was in good shape. They'd knocked out one of their foes, and the flankers must be nearly in position by now -

Lightning struck from a clear sky, causing fresh damage readouts to flare into life. A direct hit! That sneaky bitch must've been relaying targeting data all the while!

Andrea was already scurrying for a new position when the rest of the barrage arrived. Xastor, denied that option, was simply annihilated. Red lights went on across the board as various peripherals went dead. Mortar, missiles, main sensors, little things like that.

"Orders, oh fearless leader?" Leischmann, damn his hide, had gotten off unscathed yet again. He was going to be insufferable after this...

Ignoring Leischmann, Andrea keyed Hagiyama, "Tell me you have good news," she said.

"We're engaging now," the nekojin replied, excitement clearly audible behind the bland words.

"Alright, Leischmann," Andrea said, keying him into the circuit, "We're going over the top." <p>Centuries of threats of "I'll turn you all to stone!" and "I'll knock you all down!" have caused Domans to develop an instinct to form small groups. For safety, I assure you. – Keir</p>

Re: Or, y'know, now.

Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:20 am
by Jak Snide
Enjoying reading this!

I also demand to know what colour the orc mech is painted.


Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:03 am
by Kelne
A sharp boost of her suit's jets sent Andrea flying over the low mound of rubble which had been her latest refuge. Leischmann followed, staying lower to the ground rather than boosting over obstacles.

Ordinarily, breaking cover like this would be suicide, but she was counting on the others to provide a distraction. And it seemed Kasan at least was doing just that. The manner of distraction made Andrea want to cringe. She was actually charging headlong at the orc mech, oversized warhammer poised to swing. Granted, at that close range, the gatling cannons couldn't track fast enough to hit her, but the orcs weren't without close-in defenses.

The top of her assisted leap brought her high enough to sight another enemy mech, caught in the midst of turning to face Kasan. A bolt from her lascannon (about the only functioning weapon she had left) caught it square in the side, to her satisfaction.

As she landed, a crackling arc of electricity lashed out at Kasan from the tesla coil mounted on the orc mech's shoulder. Kasan interposed her warhammer in an apparently futile blocking gesture... And caught it. Could she do that? Surely that trick wouldn't work with a full-powered bolt? And yet it must, because none of the instructors had countermanded it.

The hammer, now augmented with the very energy the orcs had been using against her, struck home, with enough force to knock the orcs off their feet. Could Kasan actually take them down single-handed?

Andrea didn't have the time to observe the outcome of that fight. There was still some fight in her foe, and she still hadn't spotted the mage. As if in response to her thought, a message flashed up on the HUD.

>Temporal magics in effect.
>Speed reduced 20%

Andrea swore, with feeling. This was the last thing she needed. To make things worse, Kasan's voice burst in over the comm, "Not the face! Not the face!" before dissolving into mad giggles. Hardly encouraging, but Andrea couldn't spare any attention for her. She managed to get off a shot at her foe, which was answered by a trio of missiles. With her reaction times slowed by the spell, she couldn't hope to evade, and was unsurprised when the damage inflicted took her out of action.

Parking her mech, she settled in to watch the closing scenes of the battle unfold.

Kasan was sent flying backwards by a bolt of kinetic force from the orc mage in the mech's tower, hands still grappling with some silvery thing attached to her face. A few seconds' immobility hadn't spelt the orcs' end, but it spelt Kasan's. Those gatling cannons were finally brought to bear, with a sustained burst reducing her suit to scrap.

The orcs' triumph was short-lived. Like the proverbial ninja, Higiyama struck from behind, visible only in the instant he struck as his stealth effects failed to keep up with his swift motions. Deft hands clamped an EMP grenade into place and he leapt back as it detonated, taking the orcs out of the fight.

To her right, Leischmann was pounding away at the elusive mage, bolts of magical energy leaping from his wands. Ancell might be all right striking from hiding, but now that he was exposed, Leischmann's superior fighting skills were taking him apart. Leischmann was in constant motion, avoiding the direct attacks, and weathering the more diffuse washes of lightning. For a moment, he had his hands full dealing with two opponents as Andrea's foe brought his weapons to bear, but then Higiyama was adding his own bolts to the fray, forcing the mech to split its attention.

It was a fatal mistake. Leischmann took advantage of the distraction to finish his own opponent, and then it was two mostly fresh mages against one damaged mech. The fight was over quickly. <p>Centuries of threats of "I'll turn you all to stone!" and "I'll knock you all down!" have caused Domans to develop an instinct to form small groups. For safety, I assure you. – Keir</p>


Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:18 am
by Kelne
With the debriefing at 15:00, Andrea had time to see her mech stowed properly in the hangar, and hit the showers. The instructors didn't believe in leaving much time between an exercise and the analysis; better to run over everything while it was still fresh in peoples' minds.

They weren't really supposed to discuss things beforehand, but there was one question Andrea just had to know the answer to.

"What happened to you, anyway?" She asked Kasan.

Julia Kasan paused in the midst of towelling her hair dry and adopted a theatrical pose, "There I was, it was my moment of triumph. There was nothing that could stop me. And then this silvery thing with huge teeth leaps at me." Kasan was acting out each point in the tale with exaggerated motions, especially the 'huge teeth' bit, and Andrea couldn't help but smile. The term 'irrepressible' might as well have been coined to describe Kasan. She might have been taken down in unceremonious fashion, but she still regarded the whole episode as a great lark.

"Turns out they had an attack robot hidden away in a secret compartment. It latched onto my face, and that was it. Of course, now I have to plan my epic vengeance against those two. Want to help?" This last was directed at Sonelle, who'd been listening in.

"What betray my loyal teammates to the hated enemy?" She grinned, white teeth flashing against blue skin, "Depends. What's in it for me?"

Andrea shook her head, concealing a smile of her own. Sonelle might not be your typical drow, but she had the mercenary attitude down pat.

The joking came to an end as they approached the classroom. Both teams would be attending the same debriefing, in the interests of learning. Andrea couldn't help but feel a bit nervous. As leader of Red Team, Andrea was in large part responsible for their performance, and while they might have won, it had been a close-run thing, and she herself hadn't survived the engagement.

Those nerves didn't go away when she saw who was in charge of the debriefing. Old Man Stragov. Ex-Valthi-Military and all-round grouch. What he was doing here she couldn't say. Normally he ran strategy sessions for the seniors. Along with the aptly named Wringer engagements.

Students trickled in. Leischmann, of course, arrived last. It seemed to be some sort of principle thing with him. That or he just took longer fussing over his appearance than anyone else.

"So then," he said, as soon as everyone was seated, "Miss Corpath, perhaps you'd care to tell me where it all went wrong?"

Andrea drew in a deep breath. She'd been giving that some thought herself, "I would say it was during Sonelle's attack run. Aside from the damage we took, our positions were compromised."

"Ah yes, the attack run. Whose idea was that, incidentally?" Stragov's tone was bland, but Andrea got the impression he was setting somebody up for a fall.

Sonelle raised a hand, "Mine, sir."

"So quick to claim credit for a strategy which got you killed, Miss Sonelle?"

Sonelle flushed, but stuck to her guns, "Yes, sir. I felt the benefits outweighed the risks."

"On the contrary," Stragov's voice hardened somewhat, "Low altitude airstrikes on defended positions are an eventual death sentence. Sooner or later, the odds will catch up with you. Nor did the fleeting advantage gained justify your loss."

He paused, sweeping his gaze around the room, "Can anyone tell me what Blue Team should have done instead?"

Xastor raised a hand, "Stealth reconnaissance, sir."

"Very good, Mr Xastor. A textbook answer for what should have been a textbook question. 'How can we determine the enemy positions?'"

Out of the corner of her eye, Andrea could see Ancell fidgeting. With Blue Team's only stealth suit, that would have been his province. That he hadn't been sent on reconnaissance might point towards a lack of confidence in his abilities.

If Stragov was aware of that, he didn't choose to air it in public. Instead, having made his point, he moved on to another topic, "Mr Garbak, since Miss Corpath has so kindly pointed out your team's primary mistake, perhaps you'd care to identify Red Team's?"

The orc cleared his throat self-consciously before speaking, "Too many one-on-one fights. They had the numbers, they should've used them."

Andrea frowned, thinking back. In hindsight, the teams had paired off towards the end, and with the exception of Leischmann's, the duels had ended badly for them.

"True enough," Stragov said, "There was one particular incident I was thinking of. Mr Higiyama, I believe the original plan called for you and Miss Kasan to work together. What happened?"

Higiyama looked distinctly shamefaced, "I thought Julia had things under control, and Andrea needed my help more. By the time I realised Julia was in trouble, it was too late."

"Your reasoning was flawed, Mr Higiyama. Irregardless of who was in greater peril, your role was to aid Miss Kasan. Had the two of you worked together to defeat your foe, you would have been able to join forces against Miss Corpath's assailant. As it was, both perished. Attempting to alter a plan on the fly seldom works out well," he concluded, sweeping a stern eye across the class.

"Now then," Stragov said, punching up a tactical map on the display screen, "Since we've identified the major errors, let's run through the engagement as a whole, starting with deployment..." <p>Centuries of threats of "I'll turn you all to stone!" and "I'll knock you all down!" have caused Domans to develop an instinct to form small groups. For safety, I assure you. – Keir</p>Edited by: [url=>Kelne</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/20/06 18:23

Re: Debriefing

Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:53 pm
by Jak Snide

Nicely written close range combat segment. Not to imply that the rest of the stuff isn't of comparable quality.


Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:19 pm
by Kelne
Andrea had been right. The debriefing had proven to be a gruelling experience. Still, while Stragov had been quick to point out their mistakes, he had also drawn attention to the things they had done right. All in all, Andrea thought they'd do better next time.

Stragov's interest here was still a bit of a mystery. Probably the instructor who'd been scheduled to take the debriefing had been called away for something. In any case, they were now free for the evening.

Three of their number split off for rehearsals. "Oh, right," said Xastor, "For Van-"

"For The Barian Play," Kasan cut in.

"It's terribly bad luck to speak the name of The Barian Play," Sonelle said, eyes sparkling with mischief.

"Right, right," Xastor said, "Falling chandeliers or something."

"Actually, I think you get struck by lightning," Ancell said, setting a ball of electricity crackling in his hand, all the while maintaining an expression of cherubic innocence. Chuckles broke out, dispelling the few lingering tensions of the debriefing.

The group went their separate ways in good spirits. There'd be other engagements, of course, and they'd be doing their level best to grind each other into the ground. But they could worry about that later.

"So, how'd things go, Feric?"

Feric Stragov, leaning back comfortably in one of the chairs in the staff lounge, considered momentarily before answering, "Rather well, actually. They're good kids, and they've got the basics down. They just need more experience working as a team. Then again, that's what second year's all about. And yourself?"

Gustavo Joaquin shook his head, "Yet another stern lecture. Would you believe he managed to burst all the pipes in the dorm showers? I don't even know why he was experimenting in there in the first place. He said something about the acoustics." He shook his head despairingly.

Stragov could only sigh. Nobody, least of all the kid himself, knew just what the so-called Master of Accidental Property Damage would do next. He was a good student, and the Academy didn't like to let such types go, but one of these days one of his experiments was going to cross the line.

Still, that wasn't really his department, and minor emergencies aside, it had been a good day. <p>Centuries of threats of "I'll turn you all to stone!" and "I'll knock you all down!" have caused Domans to develop an instinct to form small groups. For safety, I assure you. – Keir</p>