Mechwarrior PBeM Report 3c: Hair of the Dog

This is the opening of the third scene of the Hair of the Dog PBeM Mechwarrior Campaign, entitled Hand that Feeds. This version of the scene is as it played out for the character of Mel MadDog Winters as he imprisons a Lyran operative and fights for his life. The campaign is being played using the 4th Edition rules: A Time of War.

Hair of the Dog: Scene III

~ Hand that Feeds

Present Day – November 21, 3028 – 1:13pm

Carol Abercrombie’s thin, but determined frame is blocking the doorway to the Administration Office when Rom and Westerlie, with Fitzsimmons half-supported between them, step through the Entrance and into the building’s lobby and reception area, right on your heels.

The great clock on the wall with its harsh message to all future military men, quietly counts off the seconds between each person present and their inevitable deaths.

Abercrombie, the Dean’s personal assistant, is saying firmly, “I am sorry ‘Miss Goetz,’ but the Dean has requested that all communications be restricted until after the 4pm Assembly. We have cut all outgoing access, but have set the automated message service to record all incoming communiqués and messages. You won’t miss anything important.”

Over Abercrombie’s sharp-looking shoulder clad in its customarily plain, but high-quality silk, the Dean’s door can be seen to be standing open, but no view of the interior is possible. The rest of the office is empty of people, each desk neat and tidy, all files put away. Miss Goetz is looking flustered and is standing far too close to the older woman blocking her entry into the Administration office. Her mouth is moving, her cheeks flushed, but no sounds are coming forth.

Glancing over her shoulder, she takes in the sight of you standing close behind her, and then her eyes widen to take in the three others who follow you from the Main Hall. She stammers out a reply, finally, looking at you mechwarriors, not the assistant, “I – I – guess I will just be going off to my room, then.”

Standing here, it is hard not to remember the first time you stood here…

That first meeting with the Dean involved being told in no uncertain terms that you were being taken on, and hidden here as a partial payment on a life-debt Dean Liscombe owes to Major Collins. The Dean made it abundantly clear that the favour was being done for Collins and begins and ends with the assignment at Hanachi Military Academy. The obligation you have to the Dean is to teach well, and not to take any risks or draw notice which will put Collins in peril.

The Dean has a direct way about him, and although getting on in years, you suspect his curious warning has every chance of coming true. In no uncertain terms, “Saint” Liscombe, a highly decorated mech jock, had said, “Imperil Collins and you will learn very quickly what the underside of a Mech foot looks and feels like.”

He softened the threat a little by concluding the meeting with these words, “This post will be hard for you, young man: You’ll need to be a good example. Don’t mess it up.”

Miss Goetz, flustered and looking guilty, is trying to put on a cheerful face and greet all of you, “Oh – hello~ I guess none of us will be able to call our loved ones…”

You raise your hands in front of you, fingers extending with hands opening palms up timed with, “Awkward…”

Her expression, vulnerable and upset, warms as she flashes a brilliant smile at you – making eye contact.

You lean her way and, say, “Miss Goetz, how about you let me buy you a coffee and I can fill you in on some of what’s going on….” but are cut off at that point by Cool Hand, who sounds firm and authoritative, not cool at all.

You’ve heard it said around the school that there is more to his background than he admits to… could it be true?

“Lieutenant Winters! (pause for dramatic effect). You will take professor Goetz into custody this instant. You will search her for potential weapons and communication equipment and escort her to secure containment. Charges are attempted murder and espionage.”

Goetz’s face shifts into an expression of shock and fear, but you catch a flare of murderous anger in her eyes before the perfect mask of innocent victim obscures her secrets.

Without missing a beat, Luke continues, “Ms. Abercrombie: I would ask that you inform Dean Liscomb of this arrest, and ask that a guard be assigned Ms Goetz. Lieutenant Winters, once the guard arrives to relieve you, meet Westerlie and me in the medical bay if there is time before the Dean’s announcement. There will be time for discussion then, but I need to get Fitz to medical attention NOW.”

As Goetz reaches out to you for help, Luke turns his attention from you toward Westerlie, and continues in the same tone. “Retrace Fitz’s recent path to find the coffee cup he was drinking out of. Bring the cup and a sample of the coffee and meet me in the medical bay.”

While Rom may have no notions of propriety between men and women, you do. With Blotorch hip deep in grease out in the stables, and with Westerlie having been sent to look for the cup suspected of poisoning Fitz…. you may have to procure another woman if you wish to be chivalrous. …Or you may have to become callous if you wish to confront espionage. A moral dilemma.

Ssadly from the perspective of many on staff, there are no cells. Options off the top of your head suggest that you could take her to the basement (only 1 door, no windows) and tie her to something, or lock her in a custodial closet. The classrooms would be far too easy places from which to escape.

It is not a difficult task to get one of the school’s uniformed security officers to assist you in securing Ms. Goetz in the basement. To the benefit of your cause, there are several small rooms in the basement which may have maintenance offices in the past, but are now empty apart for desks and chairs. You will be able to bind her wrists securely with wire to a post, and by virtue of the officer’s badge-mounted remote camera, can reasonably ensure that no question of her mistreatment can be raised.

With the officer at the door, filming the entirety of the small room, Ms. Goetz against the far wall, and you at the desk with only her purse and the roll of wire on top of it, you begin to search for incriminating evidence. She stands against the wall, looking at you defiantly.

In her purse you find nothing out of the ordinary, other than a small, empty vial, such as could contain pills or powder. There are some spilled grains of powder in the seams at the bottom of the purse that could be make-up or… who knows? She is apparently able to think ahead; she has three condoms.

When it become obvious that you intend to frisk her, she goes for a knife hidden in her clothing, getting it out with truly surprising speed and a grip that shows true familiarity with the weapon. She must have a fair amount of confidence if she is ready to take on two men, one of them an active mechwarrior known to teach martial arts classes, and the other a member of the Dean’s security team. While you are both unarmed and she is not… she is giving up a lot in terms of weight and positioning.

(She had initiative and used it to draw and begin circling around the desk to your left. The initiative order now is You -> Her -> Guard)

The knife is in her right hand, her skirt is short enough and her legs long enough that she can move quite freely, but the spike heels may prove to be a problem. Her blouse is very loose so she has a lot of upper body mobility. She seems focused on you, Her left hand is open with fingers hooked into a relaxed claw shape. She is much faster than you, but at least 20kg lighter and a full head shorter. The room is a square about 5m by 5m with a smallish desk in the very centre. There is a light panel on the low ceiling which is just a few cm above your head. The door is closed, and the guard has his back to it. He has no weapons, but does have basic hand to hand training, and knowledge of submission holds and restraining techniques.

Your assessment is that she is going to attack you with deadly force, with an emphasis on rapid cuts followed-up by strikes. The blade of the knife is 10 cm long, 3 cm wide, double edged, with a diamond cross-section and serrations along the inside edge. She has it angled so that the blade is down her forearm, meaning she will either try to cut from your left side through to the centre line before reversing for a ripping stab from centre back to left side as she withdraws, or that she will try to disable your lower arm on the way in and go for the heart.

You cannot see the guard but doubt that he is moving yet.

Goetz moves more quickly than you would have expected from your previous experiences with her. Is nothing about the woman true… could it be she does not have the hots for you?

 Dramatized Combat

The knife crosses from your left, close to your rising arms, almost touching your sleeves as it glints laterally across your body toward your centre, slightly below your chest. Goetz’ blade is angled back down her forearm, as she steps diagonally forward across your centre line. Your arms out with hands open, you delay your action, waiting for the opportune moment to step in and seize control of the weapon arm to dissuade her from further attempts to resist her confinement. Curling her arm, instead of reversing her cut she takes a further step forward to drive the point home and bury it in your heart. She seems to be playing for keeps!

Instincts honed by countless hours of routine drills, your hands seek out her hand and elbow, neatly using that lever to steal her balance and swing her around you violently as you step back and torque your body to the right. Unfortunately for her, the laws of motion are the same on this world as any other, and the desk’s immobile bulk prevents her lower half from smoothly following her upper half in its prescribed arc around you. Her torso slams into the top of the desk as its edge digs into her hips. Completing the motion, you force her arm behind her back as you step forward and drop your weight on her.

It is a simple matter to strip the knife, ignoring her foul mouth and her assurance that not only will you burn in hell, but that you will rot in a Lyran jail, and have the guard bind her with the coil of wire.

As she sits on the floor against the wall farthest from the door, blood on her lips from a bitten tongue, she glares at you with murderous venom. Gone is the hot Ms. Goetz and in her place is humiliated covert agent.

The guard, earthy and grounded in the practical, suddenly asks, “Uh… so, what do we do with her?”

It is not a bad question. Given time, she will no doubt have skills to free herself from both the wire bonds, and the room. If she indeed poisoned Fitz, and if she is as willing to kill as the knife suggests she is, then letting her loose among the students cannot be considered. Of course, staying with her here means subjecting yourself to her scathing and scatological comments.

There is nothing to do but stay, and hope for relief. Cool Hand said he’d be along as soon as he got Fitz to the hospital.

Time drags on. Goetz clams up, and the guard doesn’t. None of his questions have answers… or polite ones, anyway. Two o’clock becomes three; three o’clock becomes three-thirty.

While you waited, using the guard as cover, you searched her and found no other weapons. During this process you heard expressions which could make a career naval officer blush. Where did she learn such vulgar language?

As 3:30 nears, the guard’s suggestion of a gag begins to sound better and better. Moments later, Westerlie’s voice and a soft knock comes from the door. “Mel? Are you in there?”

At your nod, the guard opens the door and lets her in. As she is the operational supervisor for security and transport for the student body, the guard is quite pleased to see her, and snaps to attention cleanly. She has two other guards with her, each armed with batons, and carrying proper restraints.

She smiles at you, her plain, natural face, framed by carefully maintained short hair, filled with a sort of amusement as she looks down on Goetz. “We have someplace to be. I think these three can take care of our… guest.”

After leaving the room, she takes you out of earshot of the door, and indicates that Fitz is out of the woods, that she will stay down here to ensure the prisoner does not escape, and that your presence has been requested by the Dean at the office next to the Main Hall.

One Response to “Mechwarrior PBeM Report 3c: Hair of the Dog”
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  1. […] Posted by Runeslinger on March 23, 2011 · Leave a Comment  This post continues the dramatized actual play report from the Mechwarrior ‘A Time of War’ RPG campaign ‘Hair of the Dog’ where PBeM Report 3 left off in its description of events as experienced by Mel ‘Mad Dog’ Winters. For details of the campaign and previous entries detailing the events therein, please start here. […]

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