In Memory of Dan Schulz
Article for the week of 11/16/09
Please take the time to read and remeber a Web personality that can never be replaced. We'll miss you Dan.
In Memoriam: Dan "Albatross"
By, Puns McKenna
Many people can say that they knew him, either through the Classic Battletech forums, his own Battletech related websites, through the many gaming conventions he attended, or just from day to day life. Some knew him better than others, of course, but in the end it doesn't make a difference. Dan touched everyone he met.
His love for Battletech was well known among its followers. He was always into one heady discussion or another. His even temper and clear thinking stalled many a flame war before it began, and ended many more with just a few words. I suppose it could be said that Dan wasn't really a man of few words, but he was a man of well-chosen ones. He was always quick to put in his two bits on the way things were, but he never spoke idly.
His passing was so unexpected that we are still in a state of shock. He was never really one to complain openly. I mean, I'm sure he did complain, we all do, but he never said anything in public. When his mother grew ill, he gave us a simple message saying he needed to step away for a time to take care of her. When he said that he was stepping away a couple of months ago, no one batted an eye. We all thought he'd be back… making another rich contribution to the universe we all love.
To say he will be missed is understating the issue. His contributions will live on, preserved for posterity, in every product he helped put out and every heart he entered.
I'd like to share with you all, my favorite Psalm from the Bible. I know it's expected at a time like this, but I urge you all to take a moment, as you read this, to look beyond the words for their meaning.
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runeth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Rest in Peace Dan. May the Lord bless and keep you
Time to Come Home
I lie here waiting for the shadows to fall
I have done my best, I gave my all
I shout to the heavens, "Lord protect me!"
And on the rushing wind I hear it
His answer sweet and clear.
"My arms around thee, my son
Close your eyes and rest, my child
It is time to come home."
From Cozmic: So I had also missed Dan's passing, and frankly, the news left me in shock for a while, and I think I'm snapping out of it right now, but still, he will be missed. Dan was one of those people I was lucky to consider a friend, and while we never talked a lot, he did help me out early on, when I was just beginning to realize that I wanted to join the Wolf Clan, and what my character would be. That was 7 years ago, and I have thought of him fondly ever since. Dan was the best Wolf on the boards, the man who could do the rallying call like no other, and he will be missed like a true friend. We've lost a valuable pillar of the community, we really have. Rest in peace Albie, may all your bids be fairly won.
Docking Bay 2
20th, August 0522 hours
A lot of time has passed since Alexei had joined the Souls. She was quite a sour person at the beginning with that entire grudge she held for that man that virtually changed her entire life and made her end up here. She finally forgot in a way about him because of pure circumstance. She just didn’t have enough time to hate the man and think of what he would do to him in case she ran into him on some planet.
All the changes that happened on Jabuka had eventually managed to creep with at her and made her change also. Their commander had changed in a matter of weeks, but luckily their new CO, Alexander Brade seemed to be there for a long haul. That is in case he didn’t managed to get himself killed in the process.
If she though better of it she didn’t even knew how much time had passed since Jabuka. Probably a year or more. The dropship life was pretty boring for a mechwarrior but Brade made sure of that not happening with all the simulated battles that plagued the Restless Souls during the time they spent on their way to the Cambridge system.
Alexei even managed to befriend the newest member of their lance, Michael. She didn’t though that it would be possible to happen to her but Rick’s departure from the lance left her with only one other ‘friend’, Lance and since the beginning he liked to keep to his own like he was waiting for something. Probably that was what had droved her into the welcoming arm of Michael or probably not. She wasn’t going to analyze it any further because the Cambridge system was here and she was in her mech expecting combat.
“Ivan, move to the left passage and see were you can help!”
She clicked twice to acknowledge Brade’s orders and proceeded to the target location while he went by her to the right passage where he managed to get himself into trouble. She wanted to direct herself that way to provide some covering fire until he managed to get the two mechs but the Lieutenant was already there searching for blood.
She would never understand a clanner or even this particular clanner who seemed to be a little more approachable then most genetically bred warrior she had the displeasure of meeting. Since the day they were born they jumped at the occasional fight and in no way did they held any regard for personal safety or comfort. All it mattered for them was the clan and if they helped their clan by dieing a pointless death they jumped at the occasion without looking back.
They loved to fight and to see their enemy crushed below their feet and they held no regard for the lives of others. They considered the Inner Sphere people barbarians and even though they tried to keep collateral damage low didn’t look back if innocent civilians did die. They treated their lower caste even worse. Every clansman was supposed to be ready to give their lives if it helped the clan. She heard about such a story Damien. He revered a one named Aidan Pryde commander of the Falcon Guards during the Great Battle of Tukayyid. Several clan techs and personnel were taken prisoners by a patched up militia. The Falcon Star Colonel tried to reason with the militia commander to avoid unnecessary blood shed, but he reached no argument and the captured personnel were almost begging their commander to forget about them and raise the town to the ground, which happened in the end.
But Alexei was suddenly awakened from this personality lesson of clan warriors by the insistent blare of the missile danger. She looked out her cockpit window only to see a point of elementals firing their SRM packs at her. She moved rapidly out of the way and only got hit at leg level. The elementals were late in their action to reposition themselves and Alexei’s counterattack put three of them out of commission, to put it lightly considering that one of them was splattered all over the station wall from the damage that the medium range missiles did to him. The remaining two were a burning mess of metal, flesh and bone.
Falling into her unusual state of mind Alexei failed to realize that the remaining living warriors were attached to her mech and climbing to her cockpit. She concentrated after a while and look for them in order to end this battle but she failed to find them, thinking that they retreated, only to be jumped by the two of them as they appeared on her cockpit trying to pry the glass open. Luckily for her they didn’t have a good grip and when she slammed herself deliberately into a station wall the two of them fell on the ground and Alexei took pleasure in stepping on the two of them with her mech.
Soon after her battle Brade reported an all clear and she followed soon after with the same report. After a minute or two the demi-lance was gathered and Alexander issued his orders. Alexei hold her position and played with a bunker by using her lasers and PPC to seal in the infantry and leave them no firing port.
Brade and the others moved out and the only thing that Alexei got to do in the next minutes was to take a PPC shot at one of Brade’s targets. But Brade soon followed with new orders. She was supposed to take his position because his cockpit had been compromised and mechwarriors preferred to suffer an engine implosion then a cockpit hit as a way to die.
An hour latter the demi-lance was on the prowl through the corridors when they came under attack. Brade ordered them back to the docking bay and her to take potshots around the corner while they retreated. Alexei bent her mech enough to take the shots and she did just that when another memory from the past came to her and she almost lost the control of her mech if she didn’t wake from her catatonic state.
After getting back to the lance Brade ordered her in a defensive position because by some miracle she didn’t have any serious damage. Alexei took advantage of the opportunity to think why was this happening to her. She never was so melancholic and if it continued it would get her killed. She stayed at her position for a long time even though there were reports that Brade collapsed from injury.
She did manage to get some rest because at five o’clock in the morning they had to get back into the saddle again and rip the falcon’s hearts out. A good thing about it was that they returned to their natural lances which would be an added bonus. She looked once more to the gathered Souls and had seen every last one of them who were still alive. She never managed to do that before, because they were simply too many. She did however missed Rick who was God knows where doing some routine checkups on stupid scientists. She thought that he would rather be here and fight. She at least had Michael with her. They spoke to one another during the mission quite often. She listened to the Major and Anakin before they departed to their mission and then Alexei turned her mech to designated corridor without thinking that this was the last time she would see any of them.
They proceeded forward and finally came under fire from the Falcon lance that was supposed to attack. The battle was proceeding quite well even though Alexei had to concentrate on punching on several occasion a pair of insistent elementals that hoped to get a quick kill out of her but Alexei managed to hold off her moods and managed to keep herself into the fight.
Alexei and Lance teemed up to kill of the lightest mech, which was to Alexei’s surprise because Brade usually took Lance as a wingmen in order to avoid any friction between Lance and the rest of the lance, but this time it was different because the Falcons were relentless in their quest to kill of these Inner Sphere barbarians that dared to attack them.
Here own relentlessness finally got her a mech kill in the form of a Flashman as she sent her PPC through the mech’s torso and destroyed the engine. After the remaining mech surrendered Brade ordered her and Lance to get reloaded while the Falcons prepared for a counterattack.
Alexei was back in the fight in seven minutes and she was ready for it. During the minutes, hours that passed she managed to hold herself from concentrating on other things than the battle and she was almost back into her old self. Not long after the battle resumed Lance was already sent to rear position due to no cockpit glass. Axe was still out of the fight and so it was up to her, Brade and the infantry to kick these Falcon bastards to kingdom come.
Alexei took in her sights a sentinel and pounded the mech as best she could. Then out of the sudden she was up against two mechs who were concentrating their fire on her. She wondered where the clan honor went but that though quickly left her as she realized that she was in quite a bind.
But even that didn’t hold her down from making a joke of the situation. Alexei was growing confident that all those memories was just something unusual that disappeared by now.
"Dawg, this is Ivan. My armor is in bad shape, but I'm holding. Axe and Lance will owe us some serious beers after this."
Alexei continued to fire her weapons into her opponent but to no avail. Brade finally took care of his opponent and turned his attention at helping her. Then Alexei noticed that all the remaining mechs concentrated their fire on her and then a thought occurred into her mind.
What if all those memories came to her because this was it, this was the moment when every mechwarrior found his peace, the moment of death. Alexei suddenly felt released by the old grudges that made her tick in the past and felt at peace with herself.
Looking down the barrel of the gun Alexei could see death coming and only spoke three more words.
”I’m coming father!”
Corporal Alexei Ivanov - KIA
RESTLESS SOULS (fictional mercenary unit at http://www.battletech-mercenaries.com/)
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