|APAGear II Archives||Volume 1, Number 12||December, 1999|
Hey folks. Taking a little break this month from my current ongoing story ('Bad Trip') which should conclude next issue. In the meantime, have a gander at a character of mine intended for a PBEM game that never really got off the ground. Poof, now she's an NPC, here for your consideration. First up is a short piece of fiction to introduce the character... -JG
Have you noticed John here has the most author's comments at the beginnings of his pieces than anyone else? -Ed.
Sous-lieutenant Juliette Lemanz's Jäger roared down the street, blacktop streaking under its wheels at more than 70kph. The rest of her cadre struggled to keep up, losing a little ground when the woman rounded a corner expertly, leaning hard and dragging a single metal finger along the pavement to draw a line of sparks beside her.
In the cockpit, Juliette was feeling confident. The 5th had given the terrorists a good pasting tonight at the power station, and she was now leading her men to intercept a vehicle reported to contain none other than Damien - the elusive and infamous leader of the Saragossan People's Front for Independence. "Step lively," she chided her cadre. "Let me hear those v-engines sing." And sing they did, the five engines growling as they powered the gears through the dark streets of downtown Saragossa.
Ahead, a springer flew through an intersection. Not far behind it, several Republican gears were in hot pursuit, led by sous- lieutenant Simon Rael - the young officer Juliette had gone through the academy with. He was very nearly as good a pilot as she, and he was twice the braggart. Juliette frowned when his voice crackled over her radio. "Lemanz! You missed the intercept point!" he barked.
Turning the corner to follow the train of the other skating cadre, Juliette's brow creased under her intense concentration. "We're right behind you," she returned. "There was no way we had time to get in front of that truck. Not with these Jägers."
A few hundred meters down the street, the springer slammed into an oncoming car, turning it over and plowing on past. The damaged truck then rumbled up the steps to a tall apartment building, and when it finally stopped, several people carrying small arms leapt out and dashed into the structure.
Juliette and the rest of her cadre slowed as they approached the scene. Seeing Rael's gears assuming firing positions, the woman opened a line to the other Command Jäger. "Rael, what are you doing?" she asked. "Radio for the City Rats - we've done all we can. We need to take up positions to cut off escape from the building and wait for the cleaners."
"Negative, Lemanz," the rival sous-lieutenant returned. He was not about to be denied the kill - not when he might be so agonizingly close to decapitating the whole terrorist movement. "Concentrate your fire on the lower floors," he commanded his men. "They couldn't have gotten far. Fire at will!"
Juliette's jaw dropped inside her helmet. This was a civilian building - an apartment complex. Casualties would be enormous. Surely Rael didn't intend to-
The thundering of an autocannon, echoing off the high-rises that surrounded the group on all sides, was the woman's jarring answer. Rael and two other gears fired their 25mm cannons into the building, while the remaining two Jägers unleashed a hail of lead with their shoulder-mounted rapid-fire machineguns. The tracers and resulting pyrotechnics were spectacular, but Lemanz couldn't help but think of the carnage inside the building as hundreds of Republican shells and bullets perforated the structure.
"Rael, Stop!" She screamed into her comm. "Stop!" When the five war machines showed no signs of ceasing their assault, Juliette acted on instinct. Already her exterior microphones picked up the screams and cries of the innocent wounded, though they were all but drowned out but the steady pounding of automatic weapons. Drawing a bead on the closest gear - which happened to belong to Rael - Lemanz kicked her Jäger into motion, and, after a few pavement-chewing strides, slammed hard into the other machine's side.
Reeling from the impact, Rael's gear stumbled and fell to the street, crushing a parked car as it landed heavily. As the sous- lieutenant fell, his autocannon's high-caliber rounds raked first across the upper stories of the building and then poured straight into the back of one of the gears under his command. Caporal Pipkin's mount erupted in a ball of searing white light, his ammunition and fuel exploding with a boom that shook windows all round and silenced the rest of the cadre's chattering guns.
Juliette was stunned. Pieces of the gear clattered to the street as the flaming hulk, lacking an arm, its head, and very obviously a living pilot, fell first to its knees and then onto its face. It was suddenly very quiet, the only sounds being idling engines, licking flames and the tinkling of spent brass cartridges rolling around on the street. Lemanz found the quiet somehow even more disturbing than the din of the weapons she had succeeded in silencing.
Casting aside his damaged and now-empty autocannon, Rael slowly got his gear to its feet and moved closer to his downed soldier as a throng of anguished wails resumed from inside the lower portions of the building, hopeful that the deadly barrage was over.
His gear's head swiveling to look at Juliette's motionless machine, the sous-lieutenant called for assistance. "Lieutenant Almon, we have cornered the target inside a civilian structure, and are in immediate need of a Rat team. Be advised we have reports of civilian casualties, and that we have a unit down due to gross cowardice and negligence on the part of sous-lieutenant Juliette Lemanz. Please dispatch MPs to take her into custody."
Her cadre shifting uneasily behind her, Juliette felt her throat tighten upon hearing Rael's words. Tragic as the situation was, only one thing remained for Lemanz - her duty. Numbly commanding her troops to take up positions covering all possible exits from the bullet-ridden building, she put from her mind what she already knew to be the truth. Her career in Republican army - if not her life - was over.
Born in Port Oasis on the 16th of Summer, 1908 to Heiner and Debora Lemanz, Juliette was an ideal Republican child for most of her upbringing. Her father was killed in the War of the Alliance, and as a result Juliette grew up with only faint memories of the man. A highly motivated youth, she excelled at every task she set her mind to throughout her academic career. After spending a number of years in the Youth Guard, she entered, at the age of 20 cycles, the Republican Military Academy. It was at the academy that she had her first romantic encounter, with an older student named Simon Rael who would eventually turn out to be her biggest rival at the academy and in the military. She proceeded to rise to the top of her class, and graduated with high honors in 1931.
When she entered the army with the rank of sous-lieutenant in the 5th Cavalry Legion stationed at Saragossa, Juliette accepted the difficult assignment with a proud and steady heart. Finding herself again alongside Simon Rael, also a sous-lieutenant with the 5th, she resumed her not-quite friendly rivalry with the man. Lemanz worked hard for more than two cycles before an unfortunate mishap ended her military career prematurely (it should be noted that sous- lieutenant Simon Rael suffered a similar fate for his part in the incident - he is now serving with the MILICIA).
Lemanz watched her whole life go up in a ball of flame that night, after her actions resulted in the accidental death of a fellow pilot. Charged with Negligence Causing a Fatality, Juliette was publicly humiliated, stripped of her commission and kicked out of the Republican Army, only narrowly avoiding being executed for her crime. An outcast in her own country, the woman quietly accepted her lot and prepared to join a MILICIA unit, as was customary for dishonored SRA soldiers. When the MILICIA refused her admittance, Juliette was shocked. Though officials sited her misconduct at Saragossa as the motivation behind their decision, in her heart Juliette believed the refusal was entirely political. Lemanz's father had been an often-quoted critic of the MILICIA during his time in the SRA, and Juliette had followed closely in his footsteps, even to the point of making slanderous comments about the AST's war machine in her valedictory speech during her graduation from the academy. At the time so sure of her convictions, Juliette now lamented her pointed words.
The season following her rejection from the MILICIA was the darkest time of Juliette's life. Well-known to the general public as a dishonored pilot turned away by even the lowly MILICIA, she was unable to face even the most mundane of everyday tasks without what seemed a Herculean effort. But just before she sank beneath the swirling waters of depression and despair, Juliette was thrown a lifeline. The SRID, who had evidently been watching her closely since the accident, approached the young woman and made an offer. If she would work as an agent abroad for them, they would see to her eventual reinstatement in the Republican Army.
Lemanz never hesitated. Offered a chance to regain her honor and resume her rightful place in the military, she agreed to their terms without question. She dreams daily of a time when she can again serve her country, wearing the noble colors and badges of the powerful Republican Army. Her first assignment has taken her to the Badlands, where she has remained, waiting anxiously for further instructions. The sun, dust, and wind of the desert disagree with her refined tastes, and Juliette hopes that her time in the wild is mercifully short.
After selling everything she owned, the story goes, Lemanz used family money to buy a second-hand gear and made her way to the Badlands, where she is trying to forget her painful past. Although she works as an intelligence agent, she has no cover. She is who she is - the only secret the woman keeps is whom she currently works for - the SRID. Many of her associates in the Badlands know of her stained military record, and some know even of her rejection from the MILICIA. Few who know, then, question what could make a dyed-in-the-wool Republican like Lemanz abandon her homeland for the wilds of the desert. They well realize that Juliette would like nothing more than to proudly walk the streets of Port Oasis once again, but also that she cannot bear the baleful stares of her own people.
What Juliette does not know is that the SRID has had an active hand in shaping and molding her life of late. The Intelligence Directorate was directly responsible for some of the more notable harassment Lemanz was forced to endure at the hands of the public and the media. They also pulled strings to make sure that the MILICIA, who in fact very much wanted such a skilled pilot and leader in its ranks, turned the woman away. Finally, after a number of subtle, perfectly timed events designed to further drain the woman's sense of self-worth were executed, Juliette was ripe for the picking. They knew Lemanz was smart, talented, and dependable. She was also, in her current situation, utterly expendable and quite vulnerable to the Directorate's methods of maintaining control over its agents. In short, she was perfect.
Juliette Lemanz is a very attractive young woman. She has a beautiful, heart-shaped face, with delicate but pronounced cheekbones and a slightly pointed chin. Her emerald eyes can flash from sensual and bright to dark and piercing in an instant. Olive- skinned, she wears her lustrous, straight black hair to her shoulders. A stringent exercise routine, started when she was in the Youth-Guard, keeps the woman in fine physical condition.
In the Badlands, she dresses much like any other Badlander - in desert garb, including a desert suit, a long cloak, various belts and pouches and a full-face filtration mask. She keeps her Republican dress uniform pressed and clean in anticipation of the day she again has need of it.
Above all else, Juliette wants to be reinstated in the Southern Republican Army. So long as her honor is not further compromised, she'll do whatever it takes for that to happen, including working for the SRID.
Until recently, Lemanz was a sous-lieutenant in the Southern Republican Army, where she commanded a cadre of gears in the 5th Cavalry Legion, stationed at Saragossa. She has accepted an offer to work for the SRID, with the understanding that if she works as an agent for the state in the Badlands for an extended period, she'll be reinstated her rank and allowed to rejoin the army.
Juliette is the very personification of Southern principles. Her strong sense of honor drives her, and people frequently find her a little too intense to form close friendships with. It's often been said that the woman lacks a good sense of humor, empathy, and no small amount of humility. Indeed, she thinks herself above non- Republicans - particularly northerners - and she still waits on the day she can return triumphant to her unit. Juliette is a serious, strong woman with serious, strong opinions and no fear about voicing them. She strongly dislikes unfounded criticism, and takes affront very quickly when matters of personal reputation are at stake.
Lemanz is a smart, patient fighter. She prefers a straight stand-up fight, but when the odds are against her she's not one to charge in recklessly. So long as the means are honorable, she'll try and minimize casualties and asset losses while still achieving her objective. She is cool under fire, and as a result makes a good leader. Her one weakness is her strong sense of personal honor; there have been times when it's been used against her.
Juliette is very well equipped, especially for someone supposedly on the run. Along with her desert garb and survival gear, she has a tent, various survival utensils and tools, a standard-issue SRA rifle and pistol, and a Sidewinder heavy gear. From all appearances, the gear has been through the wringer - but the machine is actually in tip-top working order. Mismatched paint jobs, obvious patch-repairs and small bits of hardware that have been artificially weathered to have that 'Badlands look' all help to create the illusion of a gear that's on its last legs.
Lyncan Marineaux (specialties: espionage and military intelligence), Lemanz's SRID handler, Steiven Bacman (specialties: desert gossip and illegal trade), a bartender in the Oasis Tower she calls home.
Players might encounter Juliette as an ally if they are working for one of the Southern intelligence services, or if the SRID directs her their way for reasons known only to the Directorate. They might be able to call on her to provide a little bit of muscle (with her Sidewinder), she might be able to provide a crucial piece of information, or she might even work with them directly for extended periods if circumstances dictate.
Juliette makes a powerful, dangerous opponent. Her sense of duty and honor, coupled with the various agendas of her ruthless SRID masters, mean that Lemanz could come into conflict with the players for any number of reasons. Since she's not the subtlest of people, the conflict will likely be direct in nature - personal duels (rapiers or gears) or full-scale armored assaults are both possible. She would also make a good long-term antagonist; she's someone with enough resources and expertise to hound players across hundreds of kilometers for weeks on end.
Lemanz is a complex character, and the orders she receives from her SRID masters may conflict with her strong sense of personal honor and pride. She might make a good romantic interest for one of the PCs, and mixing the players up in her ordeal will allow the GM to explore a number of the themes present in Heavy Gear: the Southern sense of honor, the world of espionage, tragic characters who have been wronged, inner confliction, redemption at any price, etc.
|Age: 27 Cycles||Height: 1.64 m||Mass: 59 kg||Hair Color: Black||Eye Color: Green|
|AGI +1||APP +1||BLD -1||CRE +1||FIT +1|
|INF +1||KNO +0||PER +1||PSY +0||WIL +2|
|STR +0||HEA +1||STA 25||UD 3||AD 4|
|Bureaucracy 1/+0||Etiquette 2/+1||Leadership 2/+1||Security 1/+0|
|Combat Sense 2/+1||First Aid 1/+0||Mechanics 1/+0||Small Arms 2/+1|
|Communications 1/+0||F. Lang. (Anglic) 2/+0||Melee 2/+1||Stealth 1/+1|
|Dodge 2/+1||Gunnery, Heavy Gear 2/+1||Navigation - Land 1/+0||Survival 1/+1|
|Drive 1/+1||Hand-to-Hand 1/+1||Notice 2/+1||Swimming 1/+1|
|Electronic Warfare 1/+1||Heavy Gear Pilot 3/+1||Riding 1/+1||Tactics 1/+1|
|APAGear II Archives||Volume 1, Number 12||December, 1999|
Heavy Gear is © 1999, Dream Pod 9, Inc. All rights reserved. APAGear is not affiliated with Dream Pod 9 in any way. Submitted material remains the property of the creator.