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The Mantis Freelancers

Discussion in 'FanFic' started by Kainsaw, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. Kainsaw

    Kainsaw Special Safeguard, megastructure provisional level

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    Lost
    The first time I lost something truly important, I was on Helga-6, assigned to a company of Celestial Guard. It was my first command and I was eager to make a good showing of it. My pride did me no favors that day. I lost my right eye and over 87% of the troopers assigned to me. A few years later, my new wife was lost on her way to join me on Xuě's capital. The imperial shuttle she was taking was captured by a Combined Army incursion force. I never learned of her fate beyond the signal loss of the shuttle but I pray that she died quickly, rather than be taken by the aliens. It was when the troop transport I was in was shot down in the Felgrave Campaign that I lost my left arm in the wreckage, most of my skin to burning fuel, and all 60 banner troops onboard. The worst loss was five years later while hunting Ariadnan insurgents in the Sisyphus Belt. While we were unloading humanitarian aid supplies after the successful pacification of the Berritus Colony uprising on asteroid 1Y120-89, a suicide bomber detonated on the Maglev rail, crashing the high-speed train into the docks. I awoke some weeks later inside a life support pod on the Hain Yu Hospital Frigate. I had nothing below the ribcage except a mass of tubes and scar tissue. Despite the addition of the Emperor’s finest cybernetic spine and legs, I was now ineligible to serve as an Immortal and received a medical discharge from the Hsien ranks. I had given so much to the service, and lost so much more.​

    That was when Madame found me. Her contacts within the Imperial Service keep her supplied with those men and women leaving the Emperor’s banner with unique skills and valuable experience. Often these former soldiers were dishonorably discharged or outright criminals, and entering Madame’s service was the only alternative to harsh punishment or even execution. Madame is as deft a gambler as she is a shrewd businesswoman and in this broken man, she saw the chance for redemption; the chance to lead her collection forsaken misfits and miscreants into battle and find something he had lost long ago. Her special Imperial edict grants her Mantis Freelancers, "Tángláng gùyōng jū", the ability to operate outside the normal channels of the Imperial Service and take on those jobs too dangerous, dirty, or unpopular for uniformed banner troops acting in His name. It also allows for the Empire to disavow of her companies actions should her mercenaries be seen by the prying eyes of Warcors. These missions are often deemed suicide missions, but death, too, is another path back to honor. I was lost, but as a field commander of the Blank Mantis Freelancers, I am found.​

    - Gongsun Sheng aka “Dragon In The Clouds”
    (ex) Hsien Lieutenant, 12.3.2192
    螳螂雇佣軍​
    hsien.jpg
     
    #1 Kainsaw, Dec 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  2. Golem2God

    Golem2God Just a Kooky Kumotail serving others.

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    @Kainsaw I'm liking this so far. Looking forward to hearing/reading your storied battle reports. May you serve the dragon emperor well in these future endeavors.
     
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  3. Kainsaw

    Kainsaw Special Safeguard, megastructure provisional level

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    Nameless

    Xie Bao was a name this one was called a long time ago. Five-thousand six hundred and ninety-four days to be exact. Now nameless, this one has acquired the nickname “Twin-Tailed Scorpion” from Madame. She wants to be called Auntie, with affection but having no use for affections, this one will always call her Madame. Madame has bought this one’s service, and serve it shall. It's comms chatter, and it listens.

    “Sir, we’re pinned down by heavy machine gun fire on the left! The monk was gibbed right in front of us, as though his smoke screen didn’t exist.”

    “Multi-spectral optics, probably. We have a YinYing infiltrated on that flank. Hold your position until that gun is silenced.”

    “Yes Sir.”

    Madame calls this one a scorpion with two tails because it stings her enemies in both real space and in net-space. It activates upon Captain Gongsun’s command and slips from hiding. Its therm-optic camouflage betrays only a slight shimmer to its enemies, invisible in the shadows. The apps are whirring, and its programs and proxies are dancing along the net-space, feeling the edges of the gunner’s comms, testing the firewall, slipping past guarded ports with spoofed protocols. This one spies the cube of its Haqqislamic target, pulsing within the nested defenses of its neural network. Does the cube hold the soul, or does the body? This one only wonders briefly as thoughts give way to actions and in one quick fluid movement, the sword is drawn, the gunner is slain, and this one escapes. Will the trooper’s ghost still find Jannah if his cube is recovered and reinstalled?

    This one hasn’t time to think, as internal alarms activate, automated defenses engage and the scrambled noise of a hacking attack washes over its senses. It survives. It has sacrificed a proxy to the attack, wasting the enemy hackers attempt on a digital illusion of its presence in net-space. This one’s bio-technological shield holds. The enemy hacker also employed therm-optic camo, but the hacking attack was sloppy and now this one’s tracer protocols have identified the hacker’s location to commander Gongsun.

    “Negative, Xie. You have larger game to poach.”

    “This one would ask you to stop using that name.”

    “Well, I would ask you stop talking about yourself as ‘this one’. I don’t care how augmented you are, you’re still Xie Bao to me.”

    “…”

    “Sat imagery shows a Saladin about one block to your south. If you cut the head off this snake we’ll have an easier time cleaning up the rest.”

    “Target Location confirmed, this one acts to your command.”

    “Yeesh, just go already.”

    This one adjusts its camouflage and dampens its net signal, cloaking its approach on the enemy command. It can see the enemy hacker’s useless attempts to locate it, detection protocols tracing across the neural net, and it knows that to assassinate the one called Saladin will be to expose oneself to the enemy once more. A port is discovered, and it finds that Saladin carries a repeater. Redrum protocols could crush the enemy firewall and reduce the hacker’s brain to pulp. Doing so will expose oneself to a counter from the Haqqislamic commander. This one has choices. This one also has orders. Long ago when this one had a family, its grandfather once told it, “The sheep has no choice when in the jaws of the wolf.” Saladin was surely in the jaws of the wolf.

    Dropping from the fire escape, this one’s sword sings its bloody song, claiming a second corpse bride of the day. Saladin’s nanopulsar erupts and this one is engulfed in a wet cloud of nano-bots. The neural network quakes as the enemy hacker’s Carbonite attackware assaults this one’s cybernetics, seeking to seize its joints. It’s not enough to stop the bladesong. The signal carrying the attack is silenced as this one’s blade cuts through kevlar, and neck, and antennae. The suit’s defenses hold, and the nanobots do little harm. This one has carried the day. The enemy lines are in chaos, as command and control breaks down. The twin-tailed scorpion dips back into the shadows.


    Xie Bao // Nameless aka “Twin-Tailed Scorpion”
    Ninja KHD, 12.27.2192

    螳螂雇佣軍
    ninjakhd.jpg
     
  4. Errhile

    Errhile A traveller on the Silk Road

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    Again, short, but excellent :)
     
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  5. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    I'm floored. I just love the way your characters narrate their stories; and how it does feel like two different people are doing so. Great work
     
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  6. Kainsaw

    Kainsaw Special Safeguard, megastructure provisional level

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    Thanks! My goal is to work my way thru the entire roster, highlighting a backstory or battle report that the trooper performed well in. The Ninja's takedown of the HMG and Saladin while dodging incoming hacking attempts was from the most recent tournament I played in. Before you think he's a badass, in the very next game he failed his infiltration roll and spent the whole match on my table edge :(
     
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  7. Kainsaw

    Kainsaw Special Safeguard, megastructure provisional level

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    Yong performed a final systems check in the dull red tac-light of the cargo hold. His jump pack and reserves were good, stabilization jets primed, satellite link active, internal data-feed was good. He was receiving regular updates from Pang on the ground and the fight was not going well for the Mantis Freelancers. Their mission was to apprehend the famous Tariq Mansuri, with the secondary goal of capturing any specialists he traveled with. For this mission, he was issued an adhesive launcher, which as far as he knew, the Freelancers did not bother to normally stock in their armory. The large bore less-lethal weapon was designed for immobilizing vehicles with rapidly expanding polymer foam which quickly engulfed its target before rapidly hardening into cement. He had read the dossier on Tariq, and wasn’t sure why he would need something made for locking down TAGs to take out a single man. His instructions were to take Tariq alive, and Yong knew the fanaticism of the man’s followers would make that difficult. He patted the dull matte bore of his Spitfire and smiled. He hoped they made it difficult.

    The sit-rep from the ground was not favorable. Captain Gonsun was commanding from a field base three kilos south of the slums where the firefight was underway. Lieutenant Yan Quing was in charge on the ground and had already lost his second in command to a panzerfaust. Yong hoped they recovered the Pheasant’s cube. Zu Run still owed him money. Lt. Yan’s request for air support pinged on Yong’s heads-up-display, and the high-altitude craft banked to place him over the drop zone. Pang, their EVO equipped remote, was with Lt. Yan and was feeding Yong triangulation calculations, meteorological data, and crunching the numbers to place Yong precisely on the battlefield where and when he was needed. Absent the supportware, Yong was confident he could land on the narrow rooftop with his skill and intuition alone. He thanked Pang, all the same, as the side door on the plane opened. He momentarily felt the chill of the thin air as it gusted about the cabin before the environmental controls of his pressurized armor kicked in to compensate. One final check of his equipment rigging, and he stood in the door, looking down at the dots and flashes of the city below. The green light flashed, the go code was given, and Yong commended himself to the upper atmosphere of the planet. 11,000 meters was not the longest drop he had recorded, but it was high. He rocketed downward, weapons primed like claws. The tiger pounced.

    Wu Yong, aka “Resourceful Star”

    Tiger Soldier, Spitfire 1.20. 2193

    螳螂雇佣軍
     
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