02/03/3050. Day 99, 19:00
After discovering the two Star League Catapult battlemechs, the Hellstrom’s Hellions continued exploring ‘The Vault’.
Ingrid ‘Mouse’ Marsh found the old reactor and that it had been shut down, and proceeded to start it up, restoring power to that segment of the base.
Ruin Dmitar headed to the pilot’s lounge and discovered the corpse of Mechwarrior Long, designated pilot of the Gauss Cannon equipped Catapult ‘Steel Horse’. She had been shot in the back by an energy weapon, and went there to die looking out at her battlemech and listening to classic (Terran) country music.
The wet bar of the lounge was well stocked, including among other treasures a bottle of Glenmorangie from Terra (before the fall of the Star League) and which had been aged 70 years before sale then brought to Atlantia where it had waited (and aged) ever since. Many of the other bottles were independently valuable, for consumption, and others for historical value.
Jacques Dubois inspected the two battlemechs, and discovered the odd stealth systems fitted into each.
Samara Hellstrom sought out the command deck of The Vault and found it was geared primarily towards conducting covert operations and secondarily to a backup planetary command centre. She also discovered the base was named ’Liberty’s Price’ aka Fort Vigilance. The base was composed of three segments, the upper portion (now destroyed) including most of the buildings and the star port, ‘The Bunker’ which had survived but was now gutted by fire, and ‘The Vault’ which had sheltered the Catapults.
02/03/3050. Day 99, 20:00
The group met up, discussed their findings, then continue exploring. Samara Hellstrom and Ruin Dmitar inspected the crew quarters, looking for more information on the occupants of the base. They discovered the corpse of Mechwarrior Evans, pilot of the LRM equipped Catapult the ‘Summer Rain’. The man had died of radiation sickness, and it appeared he had been tended to by the wounded Mechwarrior Long.
Jacques Dubois and Ingrid ‘Mouse’ Marsh sought out the storage rooms and did a hasty inventory of the contents, finding a third set of stealth systems like the ones fitted to the two Catapults. They also determined that the missing battlemechs from the other two bays were a pair of Exterminators. This strongly suggested they were also stealth units like the modified Catapults.
02/03/3050. Day 99, 22:00
03/03/3050. Day 100, 02:00
Samara Hellstrom and Ruin Dmitar arrived at the exploration plane and retrieved more supplies (four days) and have the plane contact the base. The Hauptmann ordered the Zmey to travel to the newly discovered base, a trip expected to take eighteen days. She also send the plane back to base to retrieve more supplies and return with them. The plane deployed a beacon and lifted off headed for the Atlantia Military Base.
Professor Anna Morozov remained behind with the main three squads from Gamma Platoon and the Hammerhead VTOL for their ongoing role in the war games.
The cover story for the redeployment of the Zmey was training and exploration exercises.
The plane was to take the better part of a day for the return to the base, and another to come back to the beacon. Upon returning to base Samara Hellstrom conducted a military burial for the two fallen Star League Mechwarriors.
During the two days waiting for the plane Ruin Dmitar was unusually rested and at peace, and realised that he was having less troubled sleep while dwelling within the shielding of ‘The Vault’. Conversely Jacques Dubois became increasingly tormented by the period of isolation. He was plagued by hallucinations and later by dreams of facing an evil incarnation of himself, riding upon a steel moose, against whom he was forced to fight (luckily also on moose-back, riding Moose, his childhood nemesis and now spirit guide). This was possibly fuelled in part by Jacque resorting to the (previously opened) bottle of fortified vodka he had found in the wet bar.
05/03/3050. Day 102, 06:00
The Exploration Plane arrived with enough supplies for the Hellions Lance to survive comfortably until the Zmey arrived. It unexpectedly also brought a very irate Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett who was both angry at and worried for Ruin Dmitar. After chewing-out Ruin for running off where she couldn’t find and respect him, Michelle was chewed out in turn by Ruin who rebuked her for her inelegant effort to hack Samara’s communication to the Zmey two days earlier.
The trio returned to Liberty’s Price, with Samara and Ruin in the exploration truck leading Michelle who drove the cargo truck which had been delivered by the exploration plane and was loaded with supplies.
Day 102 to 118
While awaiting the Zmey the occupants of the base playfully antagonised one another in various ways. The base was made ready for the Zmey, in particular the full inventory of the storage areas, setting up a chain ladder and cargo winch from the bunker to the vault, patching the crack in the wall of ‘The Bunker’, and the demolition of the bunker’s fortified doors (which was a narrowly averted disaster).
Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett was grilled by Ruin Dmitar who discovered she had known a lot (but not all) about the base. Michelle had access to some history of the plant from Clan Wolf but many details, such as ‘The Vault’, were not known to her. She was able to give the name of the base commander, Marshal Andrew Sinclair, as opposed to the officer in command of the vault (and covert operations) Lt General Ben Hartford.
From Michelle’s account it appeared that Fort Vigilance had been split evenly between those loyal to Kerensky (and the Exodus) and those loyal to Stefan Amaris, who was the leader of the Star League despite the circumstances of his rise to power. Michelle unfailingly referred to Stephen Amaris as ‘the Usurper’.
Noting Michelle’s interest in Mouse, Ruin began to warn her off and insist Mouse not be recruited to either Commstar or the Wolf’s Dragoons (or Clan Wolf). Michelle revealed that her interest was to ensure Mouse could help the Hellions to combat Commstar, and the Clans if necessary. Though he detected some dissatisfaction with Clan methodology from Michelle, Ruin didn’t press the issue or ask her reasoning.
21/03/3050. Day 118, 08:00
The Zmey arrived at Liberty’s Price, guided from the beacon to the base by Samara Hellstrom. On arrival Dmitri Radchenko pulled Ruin Dmitar aside to inform him the DMI didn’t trust him and was suspicious of Ruin and how he had gained information about the location of Liberty’s Price. Subsequently Ken Tyler pulled Ruin aside to inform him the DMI had informed him they were suspiscious of Samara Hellstrom. Neither of Ruin’s informants knew who had tipped off the DMI.
Samara Hellstrom meanwhile recieved a recorded message from Hpt. Kommandant Dieter Herrman warning her of the Lyran Alliance’s suspicions of her, both for discovering the base and apparently for too closely collaborating with the Federated Commonwealth. In his classic style Dieter was not dedicated to the interests of his political adversaries back home and instead of following their request that he closely monitor Samara, he instead informed her of the request by their mutual opponents and bluntly asked her for information. Samara and Ruin worked out that the Lyran intelligence service had learned of the discovery on Atlantia by monitoring the DMI agents and their information network between Strata and New Avalon.
21/03/3050. Day 118, 10:00
The Zmey facilities began to be used to recommission and repair the ancient base, and to protect it if needed.
In response to the undercurrents of subterfuge and espionage, Samara Hellstrom decided a straight-forward Lyran solution was in order. She sent a message to Lt. General Elisa Hayes and Hpt. Kommandant Dieter Herrman informing them of the nature of the discovery and requesting them to come and inspect the site.
Moments after the communication, a personal communique for Ruin came from Adept IX-Epsilon Bryce Alexander who inquired about the location and condition of Mouse. Ruin Dmitar was incensed at yet another attempt to poach ‘his ensign’, and told the adept to relay the message that ‘The Destroyer’ would come for Commstar if anything happened to Mouse. Bryce let slip it was due to her father’s concern that he was asking, and this wasn’t an attempt to recruit Mouse.