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Raid Aftermath

Chapter 24 - Aurigan Dreams (BattleTech CYOA)

Meeting with Captain Arkos[]

I’m ashamed to say that my first thought upon seeing Belinda Arkos was that the other woman was hot. Mainly because she is and she knows it from the way she had dressed for our meeting.

To my surprise, Captain Arkos had insisted on holding the meeting in person. Even if it meant her coming to me. Which was acceptable because the hospital had released me after I had spent the better part of two days under observation.

I am also supposed to take it easy and not do any more work or strenuous activities than necessary. I think that the doctors want me to completely rest and not engage in any work or activities, but if they did, I’m also certain that they had dealt with enough nobles and military officers to know better than to expect that.

In any case, I have Raju with me to provide a helping hand. The older man is far more experienced in the mercenary business than me and if my concussion causes any trouble, then he is available to pick up the slack.

But hopefully everything will go fine.

Back to the matter at hand, the three of us are meeting in a private dining room of one of the more upper-class restaurants. Raju is wearing a casual red and black outfit consisting of trousers, a shirt and a jacket while I am wearing one of my faux-tribal dresses, made up of various shades of brown with synthetic fur trappings. I could have done with some of my other clothing, but these days my wardrobe is either Arano colors or faux tribal and I figured that the former would set the wrong tone for this meeting.

Meanwhile, Arkos has dressed up for this meeting. Her face is done up with makeup, the right amount to make her more attractive rather than gaudy. Her tight, hug-dressing red dress goes really well with her long blonde hair and gorgeous blue eyes. A dress that barely wears her knees, has no sleeves and while it doesn’t expose their flesh, it certainly does nothing to hide the pair that she has titled her callsign after-and now I’m staring. Great.

Look, the point I’m making is that Belinda Arkos is hot and she knows it. And thanks to my initial stare, she knows I know it and she gives me a smirk.

“Captain Arkos,” greets Raju, a steadfast rock as I am torn between wanting to look away in embarrassment and wanting to look Arkos in the eye.

“Major Mastiff, Colonel Knight,” replies Arkos in a sultry tone as she takes a seat at the table with myself and Raju, “A pleasure to meet the two of you, especially you, Colonel.”

“Likewise.” I say, still annoyed at myself for staring.

A pretty lady shows up and I just lost my composure at the sight of them. Sure, she is a very pretty lady, but that's no excuse.

“Now, the dear major over there mentioned that you had something beyond just ransom for me?” says-no, purrs Arkos.

“We do though we are willing to settle for just ransom if you decline.” I tell her, making sure that I am looking at her eyes, her bright blue eyes.

Gah, what is wrong with me?

“Oh, now you’ve gone and got me interested.” says Arkos as she gives me a look up and down.

Okay, I don’t know how to feel about that.

“What Colonel Nora is saying is that we would like to recruit you into the Rimward Sentinels.” says Raju, coming to my rescue, “And to sweeten the deal, we are willing to offer you either command as a captain of a ‘Mech company or as a major of a combined arms battalion depending on your preference.”

“Now that is most definitely an interesting offer,” replies Arkos, sounding only semi-interested, but her widen eyes give her true feelings away, “Now I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I’m sure you will understand that I would like to know more of the details given the magnitude of this offer.”

“Of course,” I answer, having expected this sort of response and already having an answer pre-prepared, “thanks to our salvage, we have enough ‘Mechs to fill out a ‘Mech company though if you do accept our offer. We were hoping to use your lance as a core to build the rest of the company around. If you choose the battalion command, you’ll be answering to me as part of a reinforced regiment. For the company command, I would like to go for it being part of a combined arms battalion, but you and your Amazons are skilled enough that I accept you operating as an independent company answering directly to me. Pay would be at standard MRB rates.”

“Enticing, enticing,” says Arkos, “What about the ‘Mechs? Got any more details to share? I trust that you aren’t trying to shove a bunch of Bug ‘Mechs and cored ‘Mechs into my hands.”

Stalker (Missile Doors Open - Mountains - MWO)

Stalker Assault 'Mech

“We have a couple of Assault ‘Mechs, a STK-3F Stalker and a ZEU-6S Zeus as salvage from Farron Military Solution.” I say and Arkos perks up.

Zeus (by tplambert)

Zeus Assault 'Mech

“I remember watching that.” interrupts Arkos before I can continue speaking as she leans forward, “You wouldn’t be willing to share the secret behind that real impressive ECM trick you pulled back then? Because seriously, it was really impressive.”

“Space magic or some kind of low-key psychic power is my guess.” I answer, “I call it Phantom ‘Mech because I apparently went as invisible as one. If you have a scientific explanation for what went down, I would love to hear it because I can’t begin to think of one.”

Mainly because there isn’t. Sure, I’m cheating with knowledge that I shouldn’t have, but Phantom ‘Mech is one of the clearest cut bits of supernatural elements in the BattleTech setting. A holdover from the early days that the current devs really want to sweep under the rug, but can’t due to its prominence in the fandom.

God, when did I start thinking clearly about this sort of thing?

“Can’t say that I like that explanation, but I saw it first hand so I can’t write it off as a tall tale.” says Arkos as she gives me an assessing look, “Nor can I begin to think of a technological solution. Unless it was some super-secret super-duper Star League LosTech that you came across and installed in your ‘Mech.”

At that, I just laugh, startling both Raju and Arkos.

“Captain Arkos,” I say as I get my laughter under control, “As a fully trained and certified Mech Tech, let me assure you that there is no technology that can completely conceal a ‘Mech like that. Not even the best of the Star League’s stealth systems could begin to approach that level of undetectability.”

“I’ll take your word for it then.” says Arkos as she shoots me a stunning grin, “Now, I won’t deny that a Stalker and a Zeus are fairly attractive on their own, but I’m curious about what other ‘Mechs you are willing to toss my way.”

Phoenix Hawk Medium BattleMech (In Combat in a Forest - NuSeen - by mokiplamo)

Phoenix Hawk Medium 'Mech

“We got a Merlin, a Phoenix Hawk, and a Wasp that we acquired with nothing worse than armor damage,” I say before pausing for a moment, “Well, they were poorly maintained when we got our hands on them, but nothing that our techs can’t take care of when they’ve got the time for it. We also have a Griffin and a lance of Marauders that are in factory fresh condition in our reserves. We also got a few other functional ‘Mechs that need repair work due to battle damage, mostly mediums.”

Lord Arano pulled no punches with the salvage assignment after my priority choices, picking the best options for the ACM. I can’t blame him for that and to be perfectly honest, I’m still getting a good amount of salvage out of the deal.

All of the remaining Heavy ‘Mechs went to the ACM along with almost all of the undamaged ‘Mechs. I got a Wasp that had nothing worse than armor damage, but that was because even a damaged, but repairable medium was a superior choice over a Bug ‘Mech like the Wasp. Throw in a damaged Griffin and that is all eight ‘Mechs that the Lord Arano is claiming for the ACM.

Meanwhile the Rimward Sentinels, get a Blackjack, a Trebuchet, a Javelin, and a Whitworth as damaged, but functional ‘Mechs. They’ll need some substantial time in the Mech Bay, but they can be repaired with time and parts either purchased from foreign markets or forged in local machine shops. As for the rest, we got a lance of cored Bug ‘Mechs that can be repaired with a great deal of effort. It will certainly be cheaper to put them back together piece by piece than to purchase a fresh ‘Mech, even a Bug ‘Mech.

Other cored ‘Mechs that we claimed from the raid were a Cicada, a Shadow Hawk, another Phoenix Hawk, an Enforcer and a Vulcan. The Cicada will be going into storage, but we can get Vulcan parts from the League and Enforcer parts from the Feddies while the Shadow Hawk can be fixed up by purchasing parts from Majesty Metals and Manufacturing.

Cicada Medium BattleMech (MWO themed Trailer)

Cicada Medium 'Mech

Or it could be used as spare parts for Arkos’ Shadow Hawk. That’s what will probably happen to it and the Phoenix Hawk as while I would like to build the cored Phoenix Hawk into a third one for the Rimward Sentinels to use, the truth is that we’ll be using it as a source of spare parts for our two working Phoenix Hawks. For that matter, there is a solid chance that all of the cored ‘Mechs will be used for spare parts instead of being rebuilt into functional form.

“For the rest of the combined arms battalion, the second company will be tanks and the third infantry,” I continue, “We have a couple of Demolishers and a pair of Manticores for the armored elements, but the other two lances will be Sleipnirs and Scorpions Light Tanks. Infantry will have APCs, but otherwise they’ll just be infantry. For the quality of each, we are looking at green recruits. We’ll try to get more experienced personnel, but we are already looking at freshly trained troops or in-house trainees since we’ve exhausted the local sources of veteran recruits.”

“Not as good as the ‘Mechs, but better than average for an outfit operating out in the Periphery,” says Arkos, “The Demolishers and Manticores should make for a pretty good core to build the rest of the company around. You know, consider me interested. I know Mastiff over there is a straight shooter and I always fancied calling myself a major with a proper battalion someday. Don’t get me wrong, I like my independence, but I’m not so fond of it that I am going to turn down a generous offer like this.”

“Great,” I say, hoping that I’ve snared Arkos for the Rimward Sentinels “Would you like to order some food and discuss the details over lunch?”

Dining with Moana[]

“Did you know about this?” demands Moana as I return home for the first time since the battle.

“Hi Moana,” I retort as I gently close the door behind me, “No, asking about how I am or being glad that I survived the fighting?”

“You’re a Mechjock and a favorite of Lord Arano,” replies Moana with a roll of her eyes, “You were going to be fine. They’re making me a Mechjock as well, by the way.”

“Yeah, Lord Arano mentioned that,” I mutter and that quickly proves to be a mistake.

“So you did know!” exclaims Moana as she points an accusing finger at me.

“Girls!” calls Mum from the kitchen, “Stop fighting!”

“Yes, Mum,” we both call back as while we might both be battle-hardened soldiers, Mum is still Mum.

“Lord Arano mentioned his plans to me, but I didn’t get any say in them.” I tell Moana before she can speak up again, “Well, not with anything to do with you. I had some say with the things involving the Rimward Sentinels, but you are part of the Royal Guard. So Lord Arano gets all the say in that without any input from me, because you are in the ACM and all that.”

“Well, they’re making me a MechWarrior and a noble.” says Moana, almost whining about it, “I bet you heard all about that.”

“Which ‘Mech are they giving you?” I inquire, remembering the couple lances of ‘Mechs that Lord Arano claimed for the ACM.

Grasshopper (Front View - Facing ruined Building - NoGutNoGalaxy Rudy Valle) 1

Grasshopper Heavy 'Mech

“Something called a Grasshopper,” answers Moana and I perk up at that bit of news.

“You got that one?” I say, “Wow, Mo, you got lucky. That Grasshopper was undamaged and it is a nice solid ‘Mech. Excellent mobility with those jump jets and thirteen tons of armour gives some solid protection that allows you to stay in the field. A bit undergunned for its weight, but having over twenty heatsinks means that you can keep fighting without overly needing to worry about overheating.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear it will be a good ride,” says Moana, “I figured it would be a good ‘Mech because the bigger ones are a tougher fight than the smaller ones, but if you’re gushing over it, it must be good.”

“It is.” I assure her, “I almost considered claiming it for the Rimward Sentinels, but I went for the Merlin because it is a Merlin and the Phoenix Hawk because I need more scout ‘Mechs in my forces than I have need of even more high tonnage ‘Mechs. To be fair, all of the Heavy ‘Mechs that got taken as salvage are solid designs. Some are better than others, but none of them are poor designs.

“Of course, all of them have their drawbacks. I mentioned that the Grasshopper is undergunned for its size, but you also need to worry about learning to use its jump jets and source spare parts. If I remember correctly, the Grasshopper requires a below average amount of maintenance, but at the same time, it hasn’t been in production since one of the first couple of Succession Wars. Local machine shops can make spare parts, but that takes time and they won’t necessarily be as good as proper spare parts from a factory. ”

“So good protection and mobility, but it lacks firepower and easy access to spare parts.” says Moana, “That sounds easy enough to remember.”

“Also remember that the Grasshopper’s purpose is to catch and kill Medium and Light ‘Mechs.” I tell her, “It can stand and slug it out with ‘Mechs of its own weight, but if you’re doing that, you aren’t using it right.”

“This is a lot to remember,” grumbles Moana, “I wish I could have just stayed as part of the infantry.”

“Nah, you’ve got better survival rates and pay amongst the ranks of MechWarriors,” I tell her, “You’ll adjust in time, just like I did.”

“It still feels a bit extreme,” says Moana, “I just captured a couple of DropShops.”

“Once you move up in the ranks, you’ll realise just how silly that sounds,” I reply, not bothering to hide my eyeroll and earning a scowl from my sister, “Two DropShips are a big deal anywhere, especially out here in the Periphery. Not to mention that seizing all of those supplies forced the battle to come to a head and capturing the records that allowed Lord Arano to legally declare the Grey Bulls as pirates and seize all of their ‘Mechs. If you didn’t want to be rewarded, Mo, you shouldn’t have made yourself the big hero of the battle.”

“I just saw an opportunity and I took it,” complains Moana, “Now they’re making me a ‘Mech warrior and a baroness.”

“Well, when I last saw an opportunity and took it, I gained a mercenary regiment with its own transportation,” I say, “Also, they’re making me a baroness too so you’re not alone in that. The reason is saving Kamea if you’re wondering why.”

“At least I won’t be alone in this,” says Moana, “I don’t suppose you can lend me a hand in dealing with all of this.”

“I can give you some pointers on how to handle being a noble or at least I know someone who can,” I answer, thinking about my new personal assistant, “And I can probably help you with MechWarrior training. I don’t know what the Royal Guard has in terms of training facilities, but I have a fair few simulator pods aboard my ships and I can book you some time aboard them. Now, let’s get going before Mum calls us out for spending too much time chatting at the entrance.”

“Yeah, that’s for the best.” agrees Moana.

Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
Here we've got the recruitment of Arkos and her Amazons along with Moana’s post-raid meeting with Elizabeth. Anyway, Moana is getting the Grasshopper that Elizabeth turned up and I’ve covered the various salvage that the Rimward Sentinels have gotten. Only half of it is functional however and the other half is cored because Lord Arano took every intact 'mech he could for the ACM.

The next update will be a timeskip. Well, not entirely because I plan to start off with a scene where Yang and Elizabeth do mech tech things together, but I plan to skip ahead in time to move from covering the immediate fallout to the more delayed effects.

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