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Chapter 6 - Aurigan Dreams (BattleTech CYOA)

Proposal for the Unit[]

It isn’t long before we arrive at the Arano Palace. There is tight security as I expected, but having Lord Espinosa get us through quickly as, to nobody’s surprise, it turns out he has some sway with the Royal Guard.

Compared to the Herman Ducal Palace, the Arano Palace feels different though not wealthier or classier in my very amateur option. While my niece’s home was built in resemblance to a European castle, the Arano Palace looks like some kind of crystal formation jutting out of the ground with rings of fortifications and other defensible positions surrounding it. While a good number of those fortifications appear to be seeing civilian and not military use these days, the Arano Palace’s origins as a Taurian fortress are quite clear if you know what to look for.

While I may be biased as a loyal Aurigan, I think the Arano Palace looks more impressive than the Herman Ducal Palace. Even if I apparently have a fondness for medieval castles that I didn’t have before the new year.

“Just treat Tamati the same way that you have been treating me, Colonel Nora.” advises Lord Espinosa as we approach the parlor that High Lord Arano is waiting for us in, “He’s actually more easy going than I am.”

“Santiago!” High Lord Tamati Arano greets his closest ally warmly before turning to me, a welcoming smile still on his face. “Colonel Nora. I take it that Lord Espinosa has brought you up to speed?”

“He expressed your concerns and I’ve done my best to mollify them.” I answer as Lord Epinosa walks up to one of the chairs next to Lord Arano.

“She has some ideas of her own to share,” adds Lord Espinosa as he takes a seat, “Please be seated, Colonel Nora.”

“Thank you.” I reply hesitantly as I take a seat opposite the two nobles, annoyed that spending a week with Ava hasn’t really prepared me for this at all.

“Colonel Nora had a plan of her own.” says Lord Espinosa, “More of a basic idea than anything detailed, but she has swayed me on its merits.”

“Oh?” says Lord Arano as he gives me a look.

“The young colonel has kept up to date with the wider political situation of the Coalition and the rest of the Reach.” says Lord Espinosa as he gives me a smile, “Such as the fact that the feudal nature of the Coalition means that the unwillingness of the Founding Council to come to any agreement has resulted in the ACM being unable to deploy to deal with threats. She has correctly concluded that such restrictions would not apply to her mercenary unit if they had a direct contract with either one of our Houses. Such a contract would allow us to use her Rimward Sentinels for pirate hunting activities.”

“I see,” says Lord Arano as he turns his attention away from me and to Lord Epsinosa, “You approve of this, Santiago?”

“The details will need to be worked out, but the basic idea is sound,” answers Lord Espinosa firmly, “Colonel Nora herself is untested, but she has proven herself to be capable, intelligent and, as far as I can tell, loyal to the Aurigan Coalition. She has convinced me to support this endeavor and you know as well as I do that the Coalition needs something like this. The pirate situation is getting worse and the Founding Council is all too content to ignore it until the situation gets fully out of hand.”

“It could help with the proposal we have been discussing.” notes Lord Arano as he glances at me, “A show of strength against the local pirates is exactly the sort of thing we need to shore up our position and credentials.”

It is clear that I am being talked around, but I don’t mind. They are giving me the benefit of the doubt, but I have yet to prove my trustworthiness. I am just a promising mercenary colonel who has yet to realize her potential.

But I am still curious about what they could be talking about and I rack my future knowledge for what it could be. I can’t think of anything that could be happening this specific year, at least not anything to do with the Aurigan Coalition. What happens in this time frame? Talks with the Taurians breakdown somewhere between 3017 and 3022, talks which are taking place because…ah-ha!

Aea, Artu, Qalzi, and Katinka all join the Aurigan Coalition at some point around this time, which antagonizes the Concordat, especially Katinka joining someone other than them. They aren’t part of the Aurigan Coalition yet and…it might not be that, but I can’t think of anything else that it might be and the timeframe certainly fits.

“It would help with that, Tamati,” agrees Lord Espinosa, “I take it you are in favor of giving Colonel Nora and her Rimward Sentinels a pirate hunting contract once she has finished filling out her ranks.”

“I am.” answers Lord Arano before turning his attention to me, “I read your MRB file, but I would like to hear the status of the Rimward Sentinels from you, Colonel Nora.”

“Well, we got enough hardware for a combined arms regiment of a battalion each of ‘Mechs, tanks and infantry plus a wing of ASFs,” I answer, “We also have Monolith Class JumpShip for interstellar transport, three Fortress Class DropShips for our ground forces, a Union-CV for our ASFs and a Mule to carry our supplies. All of those ships are fully crewed with people that my father recruited. The biggest issue right now is our lack of manpower outside of our JumpShip and DropShips. I’ve got three ASF pilots, a dozen MechWarriors including myself, enough crew for three tanks and a couple squads of infantry. We also got plenty of support personnel like doctors, techs and accountants. More than enough for now though we will need to do some more recruitment if we fill out all of our slots in the ground forces.”

“You are missing two companies of MechWarriors, seventeen ASF pilots, over thirty tank crews and effectively an entire battalion of infantry plus some assorted support personnel.” sums up Lord Espinosa, “Even if you are still recruiting, that is still a meaningful mercenary unit. Most never go beyond a single company of ‘Mechs at most.”

“If I may be so bold,” I interject, “Could I have some assistance in recruiting? Neither me or any of my subordinates have prior experience in the mercenary business and I don’t consider loyalty to the Aurigan Coalition to be a downside. If anything, the opposite.”

“Certainly,” replies Lord Espinosa, “With the ship crews accounted for, the biggest concern will be the ASF pilots. Filling out your support personnel should be trivial and easy as both vehicles and infantry are common enough throughout the Coalition that finding sufficient trained personnel to form a core that can train up fresh recruits should be equally easy. There are more MechWarriors than BattleMechs in the Reach and between nobility who don’t have family ‘Mechs for all of their children and Dispossessed MechWarriors, filling out two companies of MechWarriors will be an easy affair. The difficulty comes with the ASFs pilots. There aren’t that many ASFs around and while there is an excess of pilots for them, it isn't much as ASFs lack the glory of ‘Mechs so less are likely to train for them when they are unlikely to get a ride. Drawing them in from foreign realms can be done, but there is a similar problem where the relative lack of popularity means that ASFs pilots are significantly less common than MechWarriors.”

“Some would be better than nothing,” I say, “we have ASF simulators so training up some pilots should be possible.”

“ASF simulation pods would be a great boon to training new pilots,” agrees Lord Espinosa, “It will still take a substantial amount of time to train up new pilots. The timeframe would be years of training though cutting corners and focusing purely on the piloting could cut the time down to a matter of months. Less than ideal, but expertise doesn’t appear out of thin air and quality has its price.”

“Indeed,” says Lord Arano, “Nevertheless, this topic can be saved for later, when we are more prepared and ready for it. Today’s meeting was merely to assess the intentions and character of Colonel Nora and we have moved beyond that to the point that we are getting ahead of ourselves. Santiago and I will arrange another meeting with you tomorrow to discuss matters going forward. Bring your unit’s senior leadership and we’ll discuss a garrison contract while you recruit and the details of possible pirate hunting contracts in the near future.”

“That sounds good,” I reply, thinking about who counts as my senior leadership.

Commodore Geary is very much in charge of my naval element, but I don’t have much in the way of senior ground forces. The closest I have right now is Thomas and Vance, neither of whom had risen above being a junior officer before signing up with me.

“I’ll have someone send you a message with a time for a followup meeting tomorrow.” says Lord Arano, “Expect an official message to your work address later today. Now with that sorted, would you like a ride back to your DropShips?”

“That would be appreciated.”

Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
Start of the second arc and This is the second part of Elizabeth getting her main backers as she got Santiago Espinosa in the previous update and she got Tamati Arano in this one. I’m not too happy about how similar it is to the previous update, but I would rather keep both at this point rather than try and rewrite the two scenes into one.

Next up will be Elizabeth going home and meeting her family for the first time after getting her inheritance and going away for a couple of months.

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