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Raid Aftermath

Chapter 23 - Aurigan Dreams (BattleTech CYOA)

Bedside Discussion[]

“Raju.” I greet the greying mercenary as he enters my hospital room and I sit up to speak with him.

“Elizabeth.” replies the man, returning my informality, “You wanted my opinion?”

“On the salvage and ransom.”I say, “Lord Arano wants to keep all of the Grey Bull ‘Mechs whilst ransoming the Farron and Arkos ones back. But since we took out Arkos’ ‘Mechs and a couple of Farron’s Assault ‘Mechs, we could use our priority picks to grab them.”

“Assault ‘Mechs are valuable.” says Raju, “Even if we have a dozen of them already.”

“Keeping them would piss off Farron.”, I note.

“Farron was going to be upset with you the moment that you drove him from the field.” Raju tells me, “Trust me, I knew the man from back when we were both still operating in Lyran space.”

“You know the man?” I inquire as while I know that Raju is from Tharkad and started off his mercenary career in the Lyran Commonwealth, I don’t know all that much about his past.

“I ran my last few jobs in Lyran space with him when he was starting out” replies Raju, “The man can be charming when he wants to be, but at heart, Farron is a prideful prick so when he tried to convince me to stay as he was making it big, I decided to stick with chancing my fortunes elsewhere.”

“What’s the man like?” I ask, “Any idea why he decided to work for my half-brother?”

“As I said, he is a prideful prick and Farron is rich enough that he is a MechWarrior and mercenary because he wants to be not because he needs to provide for himself.”, answers Raju before pausing, “Well that isn’t quite true, he is a mercenary because he got kicked out of the LCAF.”

“Now that sounds like a story behind it.” I note.

“And you would like to hear it.” says Raju with a wryly smile, “In that case, do you know what a Lyran Social General is?”

“I do.” I answer, having read about them too many times in fanfics to not know what they are.

“Theodor Farron is the owner of Farron Electronic Solutions, not one of the biggest or well-known names in Lyran space, but certainly a wealthy business.” says Raju, “They started off with electronics, but have branched out to all sorts of civilian markets from cars to industrial machining to even beginning work on an exoskeleton factory when I left the Commonwealth. Anyway, the point I’m making is that Farron is a rich man who is a MechWarrior by choice not necessity.

“When Farron joined the LCAF to do his five, he was something of a social general. That wasn’t to say that he was incompetent at his job, quite the opposite which is why he has successfully gathered such a large mercenary unit under his command. No, he just used his connections to get nice postings, bend or break regulations and was generally corrupt. So when the new Archon began her anti-corruption efforts, Farron was unlucky enough to be one of those caught out. Despite his competence, his corruption was exposed and he was discharged from the LCAF as an example of those abusing their connections. Though they stopped using him as an example when he found success as a mercenary.”

“So competent, but corrupt.” I comment.

“..and charismatic.” adds Raju, “Not to mention business savvy. He isn’t the greatest of military leaders, but Farron knows how to cut a good deal and make a profit, which is more than the majority of mercenary leaders can claim. He took safe or low-risk jobs at favorable rates until he could build up his forces to start taking more risky jobs with greater rewards. Trust me, he’ll bounce back from failing this raid.”

“That sounds like a reason to ransom his ‘Mechs back to him.” I say.

“No, just keep them.” says Raju, “Those Assault ‘Mechs are valuable and as I said, he’ll be holding a grudge over this defeat regardless. Keeping the ‘Mechs might deepen it, but even just giving them back for free won’t ameliorate his feelings.”

“A Zeus and a Stalker would be useful.”I say, “We could get enough ‘Mechs out of the salvage to build Coranni’s lance into a company.”

“I’ve looked at the salvage reports.” says Raju, “There is enough intact ‘Mechs that both us and the ACM will be getting a couple of lances each.”

“So a fourth ‘Mech company then.” I say, “We don’t have the DropShips for all of it, but we can use it for garrison contracts.”

“We’re also potentially looking at a fifth company though it would be expensive.” says Raju, “ Between our reserves and the more badly damaged ‘Mechs, we would have enough for another ‘Mech company once we have finished repairing the latter.”

“Huh, that would be nice.” I say, “We might even be looking at a full second battalion of ‘Mechs in the next couple of years at this rate. Now, what were we discussing?”

“Whether or not to ransom some of the ‘Mechs.” answers Raju.

“Right, that.” I say, scrunching up my face as I think about it through the mild headache of my concussion, “Assault ‘Mechs are valuable and Farron will be unhappy anyway so keep them. And the others…what do you recommend we do with the others?”

“I don’t know Arkos as well as I know Farron, but I’ve run into her a few times since I came to this part of the Periphery.” replies Raju, “She is an ace. A naturally talented MechWarrior, excellent looks and a smart mind, Arkos has a lot of things going for her. She didn’t start out as a leader of her own mercenary unit. Back when she was sixteen, she got her hands on a rundown Wasp and over the next few years, she turned that into piloting a Shadow Hawk and commanding her own lance whilst having a DropShip to ferry them about.”

“So not someone to make an enemy of.” I say, thinking back to my conversation with Lord Arano.

“No, she is not, but she isn’t prideful like Farron is.” says Raju, “And her ‘Mechs aren’t a couple of assaults either. Ransoming them back, I can’t see we particularly lose anything from doing that. In fact, we could probably cut a deal with her. Get her to provide some sort of favour or do a job for us.”

“I’ll go with your recommendation again.” I say, “Any ideas on what to ask of her?”

“I’m not sure.” admits Raju, “We don’t have any tough nuts to crack right now. Perhaps we could get the Amazons to provide some training?”

“I could offer her command of the fifth ‘Mech company that we were discussing.” I suggest.

“Huh, that might not be a bad idea.” says Raju thoughtfully, “Arkos might want to retain her independence, but a higher placed command position in a large and stable mercenary unit is something that any sane mercenary would consider. If we put expanding Coranni’s lance on hold, we could offer to turn the Amazon’s into our fourth ‘Mech company under Arko’s control.”

“Why not make it another combined arms battalion?” I suggest, “We have the vehicles for it and getting more infantry equipment isn’t a problem. Getting people for tanks and infantry isn’t going to be hard even if we are looking at them being green. Offering command of a combined arms battalion should be enough to get Arkos interested.”

“Just consider the composition when forming another battalion.” warns Raju, “We will be getting enough ‘Mechs that we can fill out another two combined arms battalions, but we only have the vehicle reserves to make one like our existing battalions. You’ll need to choose if you want to keep one the same and make the other lesser or if you want to try splitting the difference.”

“Split the difference.” I tell him, “I would rather have two half-good battalions than one good battalion and one bad battalion. Can you handle that? I’m supposed to be avoiding any work I don’t have to do while I am still on bedrest.”

“Of course.” answers Raju, “What about the negotiations with Arkos? Do you want to handle those in person or do they count as avoidable work?”

As much as I would like to push these negotiations off on someone else, especially in my current state, I also know that I cannot afford to do that. If I want to convince Arkos to sign up with the Rimward Sentinels, I’ll need to do it personally as the owner and leader.

“I’ll need to speak with her in person.” I tell him, “Otherwise it won’t look like I am taking it seriously to her.”

“You’ll need to do it sooner rather than later.” says Raju, “Your injuries mean that you have some leeway to delay it without looking bad, but waiting too long will just annoy Arkos.”

“I understand, but I won’t be doing it today.” I tell him, “Could you speak to her and arrange something for tomorrow? Conditional on me being well enough to attend?”

“I can do that.”answers Raju before hesitating, “You should probably know that Arkos can be quite the character. She is, well, the best way to put it is that Captain Arkos is aggressively Canopian. I don’t know if she is playing a part or not, but if she is, then I suspect she has been playing it long enough that some of it has become part of her.”

“Right, Canopian stereotype.” I say, “Will that be much of a problem?”

“I don’t think so.” answers Raju, “Our deal is solid on its own merits and you’re good at keeping your cool. You’ll be able to handle negotiating with her just fine and from what I know of her, she will be professional if she does sign up with us.”

“I’ll take your vote of confidence then.” I say, “Was there anything else-wait, the state of our forces, how bad was it?”

“We lost a Scorpion Tank and took some infantry losses, but we played fairly conservative with our infantry and armoured elements.” answers Raju, “A few other vehicles were damaged, but only the Scorpion was damaged beyond repair so we’ve taken it apart for parts. Between deaths and severe injuries, we’ll lose several infantry, but nothing that we can’t replace. The biggest concern will be how long it takes to train them up to a suitable standard.”

“And the ‘Mechs?” I ask.

“None got cored or otherwise damaged beyond repair, but plenty of them will need extensive repairs, including your own Atlas.” replies Raju as he gives me a look, “I’m not sure if you remember how badly damaged your ‘Mech got, but your Atlas is down its left arm along with its SRM launcher, a couple of heatsinks and a whole host of minor damage wherever the armor got breached. Even with our best working on it, with the lack of access to spare Atlas parts, you’re looking at somewhere around a month before it is fully repaired.”

“I expected as much.” I tell him, “I had an idea of how badly dinged up I got my ‘Mech and I’m a trained ‘Mech Tech. What about the others?”

“We’re looking at a month to two months to get everything back in shape, even with the Espinosa Refit Yards helping out though the ACM is getting priority with them.” answers Raju, “We have access to spare parts for the Griffins and Marauders thanks to neighboring the Taurians so we can get them back into fighting shape sooner. If you want to build another couple of ‘Mech companies, you’ll be looking at sometime around September or October before the salvage is repaired and our reserve ‘Mechs are brought out of storage.”

“Sounds about right.” I say before leaning back down into the hospital bed, “Do we know what salvage is available for us yet?”

“I have a list of the salvage for us to pick our priority pieces from.” Raju tells me as he holds out a compad, “Our contract allows us to pick four of them, which means if you are taking both of the Assault ‘Mechs, we are down to just two picks.”

“Understood.” I mutter in response as I begin to scroll through the list, “Raju, would you mind waiting a bit while I go through this?”

“Not at all, Colonel.” he answers as he pulls out a noteputer, “I’ll just get some work done until you need me again.”

Merlin Heavy BattleMech (by SU-SMD)

Merlin Heavy 'Mech

I give him a nod and begin to go through the list of available salvage. It is listed by weight category and then by damage sustained by the ‘Mech. The Stalker and Zeus are the only Assault ‘Mechs on the list, but there are a few Heavy ‘Mechs. A Grasshopper with only armor damage, an Archer and a Warhammer that are both missing a limb amongst other damage, a Crusader down its left arm and right torso but otherwise intact and oh, a Merlin. That has to be a new or newish ‘Mech considering they only went into production five years ago.

I can remember just how fascinated with the Merlin I was when I first heard it about four years ago when I was just entering the local technical college. The first new BattleMech design in over a century, the Merlin is nothing special. Sixty tons with a two hundred-forty fusion engine and four jump jets give it good mobility whilst ten and a half tons of armor give solid protection even if it is two tons short of maximum protection.

A particle projector cannon and an LRM launcher give long ranged firepower and it has a couple of medium lasers for anything that gets close whilst a machine gun and flamer let it deal with infantry. With eighteen heatsinks, it runs a little hot, especially if the pilot is making use of the jump jets, but nothing unbearable.

But the best part about the Merlin, at least for someone who looks at it from the perspective of a Mech Tech like me, is what it is made out of. Which is to say components that are readily and reliably available, which makes the ‘Mech real easy to repair and keep running.

I want it, especially since this one was taken from a surrendering Grey Bull pilot and didn’t sustain any damage beyond some to its armour. I could have some techs spend a few hours replacing the armor and it would be ready for a new pilot to strap themselves into it.

Okay, that’s my third ‘Mech decided after Farron’s Assault ‘Mechs. What about my fourth? I could take another Heavy, but do we really need one? I have plenty of heavy tonnage machines, but I am lacking when it comes to agile and speedy scouts. A Grasshopper could do the job better than my Atlases or Marauders, but there is a surrendered and relatively undamaged Phoenix Hawk amongst the captured Medium ‘Mechs. That would make it an excellent scout and that probably makes it more valuable to me than another Heavy ‘Mech.

Even if that Heavy ‘Mech is a Warhammer or an Archer or a Grasshopper.

A STK-3F Stalker, a ZEU-6S Zeus, a MLN-1A Merlin, and a PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk. Those are my choices.

Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
And here we have Elizabeth discussing the salvage with Mastiff. The Rimward Sentinels will be keeping the Assault Mechs and claiming a Merlin and a Phoenix Hawk alongside them. Meanwhile she will try to snap up Arkos’ Amazons for the Rimward Sentinels.

Anyway, the next chapter or so will include Moana talking with Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s meeting with Arkos.

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