Monday, 26 June 2017

Somewhere in the deserts of Vestra II; A Starport Scum adventure AAR

 In the far reaches of human space, colloquially called the fringe. Specificly on the planet Vestra II, a small war is going on. Unlike other places in human space, Unity, the pan-human government, has little interest in interceding unless there are some major strategic or economic concerns for itself.

 The rare elements and valuable crystals on Vestra II is not substantial enough to interest Unity, so several interested parties the hired mercenaries to claim the treasures of the planet.

That is how Pax Korbin, Sergeant in the Corvi Headhunters merc unit, ended up on Vestra II.

 His unit was sent to the deserts around the equator to claim a mine found a few months earlier, ordered to re-take the site from a rival Corp, Warg Industries.

 Warg is of course a big merc company with deep pockets, and the battle was woefully short..

 Pax didn't know how long he'd been walking through the desert. The suit AI had lost comms, and he had rebooted the unit a half-dozen times since he woke up, locked in the coffin-like cradle of the HARD suit.

 Temperature suddenly spiked, and alarms started going off inside the armor. "No,no,no! Don't die on me again!" Pax wheezed hoarsely.

 Wiggiling out of the suit as it triggered another safety shutdown, Pax opened the external storage and got the tools out. Without the suit climate control, He'd be dead in hours in this heat.
 Wiping the sweat from his brow with the already dirty cloth in his belt, Pax dove into the guts of the suit. A few minutes of searching and testing located the faulty connection and bypassed it.

  Looking out over the desert streching out infront of him, a nest of swarm xenoforms could be seen amongst the rocks up ahead.

 The rocky outcroppings seem to indicate that he is nearing the edge of the desert. Finally!
 The beasts seems to be unaware of him as of yet. If he was careful, he might be able to sneak past them..
There was also a big crystal deposit in the middle of the rocky outcropings. This might mean that this area could be assigned to a rival company. Pax would have to be careful, he wouldn't want to get shot now that he had gotten so close to civilization again!

 Getting back into the suit, Korbin said a silent prayer before flipping the master switch:
..AI start-up..
..Power plant online..
..Weapons online..
..All secondary systems online..
-Welcome Pax-

It had worked, the patchjob held!

 Feeling that familiar power, Pax started off in a run. With the HARD suits power coursing through him, he decided to smash through the Xenos.
  Lining up the machinegun on his arm, Korbin squeezed his hand inside his armor. The armor-piercing rounds slam into the nests and the closest beast, ripping them apart. 
 Scurring out of the nest to avoid destrution, the second Swarm monster looses a flurry of spikes from it's tail. They all smash into the MK III armor, but break against the dura-steel plate.

 "Alright you giant bug, let's see how you like this!" Pax smirked, happy to be back inside the conditioned atmosphere. Auto-fire smack off the armor of the Xeno, pinning it in place. The shoulder cannon fires, smashing the monster into bits.

 Looking through the outcropings, Pax manage to find a small alcove to set down the suit while he got his survival gear out and set up a small fire. Night was falling, and so was the temperature, so he decided to make camp and wait for morning before continuing.

 As the early rays of the morning sun comes streaming down, the sergeant is woken by a rumbling sound. A truck has just pulled up!

 The truck stops, and a bunch of soldiers disembark.
"Shit" Pax cursed lowly to himself. He needed to try and cold-start the suit. The soldiers hadn't seen him yet, so he sneaked up to the suit and tried to fire it up.

The suits warning carried in the early morning, alerting the soldiers. One of them fired his rifle at Pax, punching through his armor and causing some bleeding! 

 Crawling in behind the HARD suit, Korbin managed to coax the suit back to life, as bullets and plasma bolts smack into the stone.
"Thats great, at least I won't bleed to death right now." Pax thought as the suit AI stabbed and injected a cocktail of drugs.  

 Throwing him across the open, Pax fire on the truck, attempting to blow it up. At the same time some of the soldiers sneak around the rocks to attempt to flank our hero.
 A few bullets ping off the back of the armor as one flanker found a shot, causing Pax to swing his machinegun around. A quick burst silenced the soldier, just as he launched another shot at the truck fron the shoulder cannon. The earlier shot had nicked a fuel line, and the result was explosive!

The fireball blew apart the thug hiding behind it, and sent the remaining running for the hills.

 As the Soldiers move past the burning wreck of their transport, another vehicle came speeding towards the battle.

"Great, now what?" Pax didn't like the look of the armored vehicle that just pulled up.
Especially not the heavy gun on it's roof..

"We are the appointed peacekeepers for the sector. Cease all hostile action and surrender!"

 Wounded and exhausted, Pax saw little reason to refuse. Maybe they had some answers even..

 "I've deactivated my weapons, I'm coming out, don't shoot" The external speakers broadcasted.

A few minutes later they were all ready to be loaded up and transported to New Thebes, the closest hub with capacity for detainees while their interrogations were being prepared.
 Pax's armor couldnt fit inside the transport, so they lashed it to the top, after he obliged them by climbing onto the roof before shutting it down.

 "What outfit do you belong to son?" Asked the captain in charge as he was leading them up the ramp.
 "I'm a sergeant in the Corvi Headhunters sir. Do you have any news about my unit? I've been out of the loop for a while." Korbin replied.
 "I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but that outfit is no more. You lot got taken apart by the Warg, those who lived either signed on with others or left a few weeks back. The dissolution was announced over two weeks ago."
 "As I said, been out of the loop."

Pax was in a bind now. Without officially belonging to a fighting unit he'd technically just committed two murders and some destruction of property. On the bright side, the soldiers were deserters stealing from a claim that didn't belong to them, so he wasn't all doomed just yet.

He'd just have to make his case to the tribunal judge, and hope that it was enough..

Not off to a great start for my latest adventurer, but there is still a chance for him!

Next episode will come as soon as I find time for it, but I have a few projects fighting for my attention at the moment.

Til next time!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

A few bits of terrain, some mechs and the return of Starport Scum

Before I can get on with the 4th part of the battle for Hooke's World I needed to finish up a few pieces I thought I would need. As it turned out, they won't be needed just yet, as the NIJA managed to beat back the USS attackers last game.

Still, here they are:

The northern mines, or at least 3 of them, holding the precious resources currently fought over.

I also managed to put together something I should have some time ago, a station for my train:

The tracks run into a set of tunnels, since I haven't got enough track to cover the table end to end. It was a quick solution to keep the track from just running out in some random location untill I order more from AB.

The roof is as you can see, removable, in case somebody wants to hide in the ticket office. It also help making the piece a bit user friendly during games, cutting down on guesswork when measuring range etc.

The last of the terrain pieces is the missile command bunker, a huge structure from Sayiner Micro Toys.

A site of possible interest for defence in the case of the Imperials, and of possible disaster to the USS, this structure might very well feature in a future battle between the giants.

Slightly smaller, but no less of mecha goodness than their stompier counterparts, I finished up an Invader hunter-killer cadre: 

Little is known about the mysterious Invaders, save that they appear and disappear like ghosts all around the fringe. This cadre is no different.

The commander's unit is similar to previously observed versions, with slight variations in weaponry, carrying a missile pack in place of a energy weapon.

The remaining members are all identical to known units, save the distinctive colors of their units. 

The SADU of the Imperials have received reinforcements in response to increased reports of Invader activity on their borders:

The experimental EX-01 have been brought into limited production, given to particularly skilled pilots.

Similarly, the EX-02 have also completed it's prototype phase and is being delivered to shore up regular units.

New to the line is the EX-03. Still being evaluated, this mobile gun mech is being sent out with the other EX-units to undergo field trials against the Invaders and NTC.

The other week I had the beginning of a story forming in my mind, unrelated to the various mech projects I currently work on. When I hadn't manage to forget about this after a few days, I decided to pick out some models and paint them.

Now they are finished, and the first installment of a new Starport Scum adventure is set to begin:  

The three characters. Or in reality, the armor of one and the two characters in question.

Sgt. Pax Korbin, member of the Corvi Headhunters mercenary unit. He's only been with the unit for a few months, enough to get the hang of using a HARD suit when the unit is deployed to Vesta II.

Pax's Armor, an Mk III HARD suit. A old but reliable design, popular with planetary defence units and mercs. It's outclassed by more modern units, lacking anything but the most basic of AI, but availability and the ease of maintaining and training keep the MK III in widespread use.

The "Old man", one of the Headhunters' old hands. His name is Gibson Law, but no one ever calls him that. Veteran of many engagements and something of a luddite, the Old man puts his faith in experience and "good old-fashioned steel".

That's all I have for now, but a AAR should come before long, and I have a few more mechs in the works, but they need some decals before they are ready for the camera.

Til next time!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Breaking the line; Part 3 of the battle for Hooke's World

After taking the city from Imperial hands, USS high command decided that swift and aggressive action was still crucial. The Imperials had established a defensive line between the city and the mines, the principal target for the USS invasion force.

The base was out in the badlands, little more then a landing pad and an accompanying structure.

This was the spot selected to attempt the breakthrough, to insert forces in the rear areas of the blockading NIJA elements. If they could manage to get half of their presence's worth of units off the opposite table edge, they would have enough to interrupt supply lines and harass support units. The Imperials need to keep that from happening.

The NIJA, once again defending, consisted of a Katana heavy mech, one Dictator heavy mech, a Spectre medium mech, one each of a Dagger and Yumi-class lights, one light and one heavy tank, three light infantry units and one heavy artillery unit.  

The USS force consisted of a Imperator heavy mech, a Halberd heavy mech, a Regent medium mech, three Dagger light mechs and a pair each of light and heavy tanks.

Stepping out behind the cliff, a USS Dagger mech fire on the closest infantry unit. A lucky hit blows up the defensive structure, taking out the infantry as well.

Getting into cover, the mech pin down the next unit of infantry with a blast of plasma.

Return-fire boils off armor and jam actuators of the mech as the infantry targets their attacker.

On the other side of the battlefield, the NIJA Yumi hits an heavy tank and damage it's tracks.

More fire slam into the exposed dagger on the right hand side.

A second Dagger steps forth and takes fire, distracting the infantry for long enough to let the light armor sweep in and scatter the NIJA infantry.

Stepping forward, the Katana CHQ blasts away with it's energy cannons, taking down the already damaged Dagger in a one-two blow.

Both the Halberd and a light armor follow the tank up the left flank, hitting the blockading Yumi as they advance.

Having exposed itself to take out the infantry, the USS light armor takes some fire from a NIJA heavy tank barrelling towards it.

Showering the last infantry unit entrenched around the landing pad, the Regent manages to take down the soldiers.

As he is advancing toward the base, the USS CHQ reels as a bolt of coherent light shorts out some control circuits for the mech's cannon. 

Striking out at the second Dagger, the NIJA commander fires again. Black oily smoke rises from the mech as it topples, destroyed.

Seeing a chance to get past the blockade, the USS light armor speeds past the Yumi mech. It turns to make chase, blowing out part of the right track assembly.

Despite the damage, the armor speeds on, past the blockade.

While the light armor speeds past, the heavy tank fires on the NIJA light armor..

..But the momentum is too great! In a huge crash the light Imperial armor slams into the tank, wrecking itself in the process!

Following after the heavy tank, the Halberd stalks after and fire on the open back armor of the Yumi, ripping into all of the critical systems.

The last Dagger mech advances into cover, but not before taking a few glancing hits.

The red USS heavy tank advances past it's compatriot, slamming shell after shell into the flank of the heavy Dictator mech that went after the Halberd mech.

Actuators protesting, the Regent makes it into the rocky outcropping. Guns blazing, he manages to damage the Katana infront of him. 

It doesn't take long for the Spectre to launch a flight of missiles at the Regent. The last Dagger blows off pieces of armor from the attacking mech, but is quickly hit in return by the Imperial Dagger, felling it before it can charge the Spectre.   

The Spectre shudders as energy bolts from the USS Imperator slams into it. A rocket barrage from the NIAJ artillery hits home, knocking armor off the USS CHQ.

Start of the 3rd turn, last chance for the attackers to break out.

 Rotating left and right, the USS Halberd almost wrecks the Yumi as he moves for the border. Just before he dissappears out of range, he shoots a pair of energy bolts into the other flank of the Dictator.

The two USS heavy tanks trade fire with the NIJA mechs, melting armor and weapons off each other..

..The red heavy tank manages to break off, following after the heavy mech.

With a crackling of ozone, the Katana fires both guns at once. Falling backwards, the Regent's pilot ejects as the mech crashes to the ground.

Trying to join it's brothers in arms, the light armor guns it's engine. Before they can get anywhere though, the Imperial heavy tank blew out the tracks of the escaping armor!

With both armors unable to move, and the Imperator fighting the rest of the Imperials, the battle was over for all intents and purposes. Before he surrendered however, he managed to blow up the Dictator heavy mech.

The USS had managed to get some forces behind the enemy lines, but not enough to claim victory.

Both sides had sustained heavy losses however, and so it was only a minor victory for the NIJA.

At the end of this engagement the losses were:

1 heavy tank, 1 light armor, 3 Dagger light mechs, 1 Regent mech and the Imperator heavy mech, leaving the USS at 71 Presence (84-13)

1 Yumi light mech, 1 Dictator heavy mech, 1 light armor and 3 infantry units, leaving the NIJA with 71 Presence (80-9)

With some units to harass the NIJA supply line, the USS are still forced to re-think their strategy, the NIJA will most likely attempt some form of counter attack now that the line has been held.

The mines are still the primary target, but now the USS high command might have to come up with another way to get to them.

Til next time!