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Galatean City
Galatea, Lyran Commonwealth
12 May 3038

The Fighting Fusiliers were a brand-new mercenary company and a small one at that, but traditions have to start somewhere. One thing that seemed to be emerging as a Fusilier tradition was taking on people who were misfits in one way or another.
     Take their new recruit, Laura Bauer. She was twenty-six standard years old and tall and beautiful, with blue eyes and long blonde hair. But her model-quality looks weren't what made her a misfit. It was her record.
     Hailing from the Lyran Commonwealth world of Mississauga, Laura came from a middle-class family with a history of military service. Both her parents had been in the LCAF as enlisted personnel. They had saved up and sent their daughter first to the Port St. William Military School, and then on to the highly respected Coventry Academy. Laura had thrived and worked very hard. She'd done so well in fact that she'd been sent to Officer Candidate School and earned the rank of Leutnant before going on to complete her training and graduate as a MechWarrior. She'd even earned herself her very own BattleMech, a GRF-1S Griffin.
     Her parents nearly exploded with pride. An officer in the family!
     Not only that, but Laura's first posting had been with the 3rd Royal Guards. The Royal Guards were the most prestigious command in the entire Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces, fanatically loyal to the Archon and regarded as something of a social club of the elite by the Lyran military. Her tour with them was uneventful but the honour was no less because of it.
     With politics and social networking being vitally important in the LCAF (the old adage of it's not what you know but who you know was true of the LCAF) Laura's parents encouraged her to enhance her career prospects by involving herself in the Byzantine command structure of the military. She got a transfer to Tharkad and did just that.
     Which of course is where it all went horribly wrong.
     Colonel Frederick Brandt took the young officer under his wing and she soon found herself mired in a web of court and military intrigue. It eventually came to a point where she had to choose between her personal honour and advancing her career. She chose her honour, and some of the Colonel's schemes went down the privy. The man who'd been her mentor was now an enemy, and a powerful one at that.
     Knowing it was only a matter of time before he destroyed her career in revenge, she resigned her commission while her name was still intact and so that no shame would come to her family. She took to travelling to get away from it all, but while playing tourist in the Draconis Combine she was arrested for a crime she didn't commit. She was tried, convicted, and spent a year in a Combine prison. There was no way to prove it, but Laura was sure Colonel Brandt had somehow arranged the whole thing.
     Now she was a convicted felon. With no other options open to her, she retrieved her Griffin from storage and made her way to Galatea in hopes that someone would hire her. But with her criminal record none of the reputable mercenary units would touch her, and her honour wouldn't let her join any of the questionable ones. After four months she'd begun to despair and thought she'd have to sell her beloved Griffin because she was now broke and couldn't afford to maintain it any longer.
     Then she saw on the message boards that there was a new mercenary company called the Fighting Fusiliers who said they were taking applications from anyone with a 'Mech. Seeing it as her last hope, she applied and got an interview.

"This is a very impressive résumé, Fräulein Bauer," said Alexandra as she leafed through the file Garadun had given her. She was picking up his habit of preferring real paper documents to handle instead of scrolling through holoscreens.
     "Thank you, my Lady," said Laura, sitting straight in her chair.
     "Near the top of your class at Coventry Academy, a Leutnant in the 3rd Royal Guards, did a stint with the High Command on Tharkad…"
     "What's her ride again?" Garadun asked, who was sitting on the edge of Alexandra's desk. "A Griffin, ain't it?"
     "Yes, the Steiner model."
     "Not bad, but we'll soon get that sorted out. Got a name for it?"
     "Excuse me, sir?" said Laura.
     "Have you got a name for your 'Mech? And it's not 'sir', it's Garadun or Gar."
     "Well, yes. I call her Okey Dokey," Laura replied, almost challengingly.
     Alexandra lifted her eyes from the file. "Okey Dokey?"
     "Yes, my Lady."
     Garadun grinned. "Heh. I like it."
     Alexandra laid the file down and looked at Laura. "And it seems you have a criminal record, Fräulein Bauer. Spent time in a Draconis Combine prison."
     "Urh, those are nasty," Garadun observed, shaking his head.
     "Yes, my Lady," said Laura, lowering her eyes. Well, so much for–
     "Welcome to the Fighting Fusiliers, Laura," said Alexandra, suddenly breaking into a wide smile. "I think you'll find your new team-mates to be very friendly."
     Laura gaped in shock. "You mean…you mean I'm in?"
     "Of course. You have an excellent record and your academy and garrison test scores show you to be a skilled pilot."
     "But my criminal record–"
     "Doesn't mean a damn thing to us," Garadun told her. "In fact the opposite with me. That you toughed out a Combine prison shows you got sand. We want pilots with sand. You pick up any Japanese while you were inside?"
     "Hai, Garadun-san."
     "Good, that never hurts."
     "Two of your new colleagues are from Kobe," Alexandra added. "The Combine part of Solaris City. Now, you'll go with Garadun to wherever it is you're staying and pack your things. I'll arrange a room for you with us at the Interstellar, and then we'll have your BattleMech transferred to our DropShip. Our Chief Tech, Jimmy Han, will give your Griffin a tune-up, see that it's in perfect working order, and install some new equipment that will help protect you. Any questions?"
     "None, my Lady," said Laura, and got to her feet and saluted. "I cannot thank you enough for this opportunity. I swear you won't regret it."
     "I know I won't, Laura." Alexandra stood, returned the salute, and then shook hands. "Again, welcome to the Fusiliers."


By the end of the second week of May, Alexandra had managed to add two more pilots to the unit's roster in addition to Laura, bringing the company up to two lances. She now had the task of deciding who was going to go into the newly-designated Command and Battle Lances, but it really wasn't hard to figure out. They were a small and informal unit who relied on friendship rather than military structure.
     Since Cera and Garadun refused to be split up, they would go into the Battle Lance, with Garadun as lance commander because of his age and experience. He took the position with his usual jaded indifference, but Cera was very proud of him. Also in the lance was Lauer Bauer and Marie Coriveau, the newest Fusilier.
     In the Command Lance was Alexandra of course, along with Ian and Sayuki who were now a close couple. Normal military doctrine frowned on unit romances, especially in the same lance, but the Fusiliers were anything but normal. Alexandra saw their love for each other as a strength, not a weakness. The final slot was another new pilot, Sun-Lao Ling. Like all the Fusiliers he had an interesting background.

Sun-Lao Ling came from the St. Ives Compact, the Inner Sphere's smallest sovereign state which had declared its independence from the Capellan Confederation during the Fourth Succession War, with Duchess Candace Liao as its ruler.
     Sun-Lao grew up on the world of Taga, and like Lauer Bauer he came from a military family. He attended the White Crane Military School and then the Taga MechWarrior Academy, a small but proud academy that put out soldiers who were deeply loyal to Duchess Liao and the independence of the St. Ives Compact. After the academy, Sun-Lao went on to serve for four years with the Second St. Ives Lancers. He saw very little action because the world was also heavily protected by troops from the Federated Suns, the Compact's supporter and military backer.
     Quiet garrison duty gave Sun-Lao a lot of free time, time he spent playing poker and improving his skill at billiards. During one fateful game of Eight Ball the stakes got very high while playing Robert Cheung, son of Baron Lee Cheung, a St. Ives nobleman. When the young royal in question lost and revealed that he didn't have the money he'd wagered, he surrendered a deed to a storage facility in payment. He had no idea what was in it; it had been sealed for centuries. With no other option and wanting to at least get something out the welcher, Sun-Lao accepted the deed.
     What he found was worth far more than any amount of money.
     It turned out that the private underground storage facility dated back to the Star League. Inside was a vintage Rifleman equipped with tons of lostech that was only now beginning to be reproduced. The classic BattleMech was powered by a Pitban 240 extra-light engine that was fitted with double heat sinks, which dissipated heat at twice the normal rate. There were 11.5 tons of armour, which normally on the Rifleman was infamously paper-thin. Not this 'Mech. It could take a hit. For weaponry it had the usual pair of Magna Mk III heavy lasers, but the Magna Mk II medium lasers had been dropped. Instead of the standard Imperator-A autocannons, it was armed with Imperator Ultra autocannons that, with the flick of a switch, fired at double the normal rate. It had two tons of ammunition, protected by a CASE system.
     The find was like winning the national lottery, only better. It was the kind of thing every MechWarrior dreams of. Sun-Lao kept the discovery to himself, completed his tour with the Second St. Ives Lancers, and mustered out with an honourable discharge. He then packed up his Rifleman, which he dubbed Eight Ball in honour of the game that had won it for him. He shipped it to Galatea, along with himself, to become a mercenary soldier; which would hopefully be more exciting than his time with the Lancers.
     Jimmy Han was thrilled with the addition of Sun-Lao Ling to the Fusiliers. Not only did the two men have the same cultural heritage, but the chance to work on the Star League-era Rifleman was, to Jimmy, a genuine privilege.

The final addition to the Fusiliers was Marie Coriveau, who was the company's youngest member at the age of nineteen. She matched the other female pilots when it came to beauty, and then some. She was tall, standing 175 centimeters, and had a slim yet shapely body with long legs. Her long hair was a deep, dark brown and she had captivating blue eyes and a wonderful smile. Her looks were, literally, supermodel calibre because that's exactly what she'd been: a fashion model.
     Marie Coriveau came from a white collar family of French ancestry on the Federated Suns world of Marlette in the Crucis March. Blessed with stunning good looks, she began modelling during her first year at Loyola Hall Preparatory School, and was soon a recognised face in fashion magazines and holosites. Her notoriety on her homeworld grew, as did the size of her modelling contracts. Yet for all her beauty and style, at heart Marie was a bit of a tomboy and like thousands of other teens in the Federated Suns she dreamed of being a MechWarrior. Her parents, however, wanted her to continue her modelling career, as did her modelling agency and most of her friends.
     Marie had no connections in the military, but one of her holographers told her about the Blackjack School of Conflict. It was the only privately run military academy in the Lyran Commonwealth and was proud of the fact that it would take anyone who could pay the entrance fees and tuition. You didn't need political or social connections, just money. Thanks to her modelling career Marie had plenty of money.
     She packed her bags and caught a civilian DropShip bound for Blackjack.
     The Blackjack School of Conflict had the usual gruelling basic training programme and curriculum to be found in any military academy, but also featured many "unofficial" classes that catered to a more mercenary way of thinking. This led to the school gaining a bit of a shady reputation, with the more traditional military types saying the school put out warriors with no ethics. As could be expected the staff and students didn't give a damn what anyone thought of them.
     Marie completed the three-year course and graduated as a qualified pilot. During her time at the school she continued to model in her spare time, in fact becoming Blackjack's new face (and body) for their recruiting campaign. At last ready to start her career as a mercenary, she booked passage to Galatea and once there used nearly every last bit of money she had to buy a used BattleMech. It was in really rough condition but at least she wasn't Dispossessed.
     Unfortunately, all the mercenary units she applied to turned her down because of her complete lack of experience. Well, there were some who would have taken her on, but she knew it was because of her looks. She could spot sleazebags a kilometre off and she was no 'Mech bunny, no matter what anyone said.
     Then she lucked out and met a beautiful young woman in the Hiring Hall by the name of Cera Kuroda, who recognised her from the Blackjack School of Conflict adds that were all over the city. They fell to talking, and not long after that she was in an office speaking with Baroness Alexandra Grosvenor, and before she knew it she was a Fusilier. She'd made it. She was a mercenary.
     The boys were more than happy to have yet another gorgeous girl on the team, but Jimmy nearly had a seizure when Marie's Hatchetman (which she dubbed Junkyard Slim after hearing that everyone in the Fusiliers named their ride) limped its way into Shearling's lower 'Mech bay. The left foot actuator was smashed, the ejection system was on the blink, the radar was malfunctioning, there was no ammo for the autocannon (which was damaged and non-functioning in any case) and over half the armour was gone. The hatchet in its right hand (from which it got its name) was busted up and the GM 180 fusion engine was nearly a write-off.
     "No wonder she got it so cheap," said Garadun, slumping.
     "It's a piece of junk!" Jimmy cried. "The engine shielding leaks all over the place! It's a piece of junk!"
     Cera smiled and put her hand on his shoulder. "Mechanical genius."
     Jimmy fumed. "Crap."
     But there was nothing else for it. Jimmy informed Alexandra that he wasn't going to repair Marie's Hatchetman so much as rebuild the thing almost from scratch. The damaged GM 180 was removed and sold to one of the city's scrapyards, and a brand-new VOX 225 put in its place. This wound up increasing the 'Mech's top speed by over 20 kph. All the remaining armour was stripped off and also sold for scrap, with 9.5 tons of brand-new armour put on, the maximum for a 45-ton BattleMech. Hatchetmen were notorious for their thin armour and that was unacceptable in the Fusiliers. Its hatchet was repaired, the jump jets overhauled, and the broken foot actuator replaced entirely. The Defiance Killer autocannon was sold to a used weapons dealer, as were the Defiance B3M medium lasers. A new Sunglow Type 2 large laser was mounted in the right torso, and a pair of Diverse Optics Type 18 medium lasers placed in the centre torso. All the malfunctioning systems were repaired or replaced.
     Marie now had a one-of-a-kind custom Hatchetman that was faster, tougher, and could take more punishment than any other of its kind. She was thrilled beyond words.
     With the Fusiliers up to two lances in strength, Alexandra began actively looking for a contract. She had spent an enormous amount of money getting her company up to the most modern standards and it was time for that investment to start paying itself off. The family investments and businesses brought in a great deal of revenue, but they couldn't support them and keep the books in the black at the same time.
     Besides, it was time for the Fighting Fusiliers to prove themselves. For her to show the mercenary community that she wasn't some spoiled noble playing a game, but a serious, competent BattleMech commander. She was about to turn twenty-four on the fourteenth of May, and a signed contract would make a very nice birthday present.
Fusiliers Forever is set in the BattleTech universe. Characters appearing use the MechWarrior 3rd Edition game rules for stats. The BattleTech setting is copyright Catalyst Game Labs.

Fusiliers Forever is an original story, and all the characters therein are copyright by me.

You can find all the chapters of the book here [link]

Map of the Lyran Commonwealth [link]
BattleMechs appearing in the novel [link]
Vehicles appearing in the novel [link]
Distant Memory and Shearling [link]
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TerraxLorche Featured By Owner May 22, 2016
Sorry, couldn't wait for you to re-release this again. For some DAR I never read the first chapters of TFF. THAT, and I've been waiting forever for you to put something else out. But, then again it's why I still by novels, re-readability.
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner May 22, 2016  Professional Writer
Well, there's no actually "re-release"... all the chapters of all my novels are always in my gallery to be read at everyone's leisure :)

As for something new, there's not at lot, if anything, I can do about writer's block.
TerraxLorche Featured By Owner May 22, 2016
Sounds like it's time to hot load the reactors!

Almost anything will be worth reading, gotta maintain standards don't'cha know.

I remember reading your stories every week and so looking forward to the next instalment. Highlight to my week.

Finding the right muse is very important. What's better is having the right muse find you!

Take care bud, and ty for everything.
Colourbrand Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice backdrop details on all the characters!

Like the limits you explain about the mechs too!
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Writer
Thank you! Solid characters always have to have proper details, not to metnion interesting histories. And all the 'Mechs have of course been worked out down to the last bolt using the BT game rules :)

Unlike Stackpole and the others, I actually play BattleTech and base my stories on the actual rules, not make stuff up ;)
Nuclear-Fridge Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm. I remember Vlad's twin gauss-rifle monster 'Mech from the Clans trilogy... nice idea, but there was no way in hell that the chassis could have carried all that weaponry *and* have been able to move.

I may just have to write up my refit take on the old Catapult and post it. Arrow-4 artillery rockets? Please!
Colourbrand Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"Unlike Stackpole and the others, I actually play BattleTech and base my stories on the actual rules, not make stuff up"

Wish more did!
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Writer
I agree.
Timekeeper9 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
Crazy! I mean like so many positive waves maybe we can't lose! You're on! :lol:
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Professional Writer
Hahahahahahahaahahah. Knew you'd gett that :lol:

Thanks for the fave :D
The-Colonel-382 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
Now THAT is an impressive Hatchetman mod. :)
Your story keeps getting better and better. Can't wait to read more.
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks so much, I'm really glad you're enjoying the story. Making the most of 'Mech designs is one of my things :D

And thanks for the fave :)
The-Colonel-382 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
I just posted pics in my gallery of one of the 'Mechs of my OC's. You should check it out. :)
The-Colonel-382 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
You are most welcome!
I love all the characters in the story as well. I( just might have to get minis for all their 'Mechs. :)

Oh darn an excuse to expand my collection again. ;)
Ordaka Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
Love the modifications to the Hatchetman ... most people don't want to give up the Autocannon ... and she is ammo independent :D
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks, glad you like it! All the rides of the Fusiliers are custom jobs :D
karanua Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good chapter, indepth on the new pilots is great but it seems the entire company structure will be of the female persuasion.
DrOfDemonology Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Writer
The Fusiliers do have more women than men, but it's not an all-female cast... ^^;

But thanks for the fave :)
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