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The Subcontractors

Chapter Interlude - Aurigan Dreams (BattleTech CYOA)

Arkos’ Amazons[]

“Coromodir,” repeats Captain Belinda Arkos of Arkos’ Amazons, “That’s the capital of Aurigan Coalition.”

“Just a minor Periphery state.” says General Theodor Farron of Farron Military Solution, “I’ll acknowledge that they are well-off enough that they could afford a regiment of ‘Mechs rather than just a battalion or two. But at the same time, they have over a dozen worlds to their name. I doubt they have more than a company or two on Coromodir proper, a battalion tops.”

Belinda doesn’t agree with the Lyran man though she keeps her face neutral. The Aurigan are just a sixth rate power by the standards of the Inner Sphere, but they are one of the stronger ones. Coromodir won’t be that undefended and even if it was, that leaves open the question as to why Farron wants to hire her services.

She doesn’t particularly like Farron, but the man is rich and successful with multiple regiments to his name even if only one of them is made of ‘Mechs. He is a charmer, but at least one who is competent enough to be pleasant company rather than some letch who isn’t nearly as fetching as he likes to think he is.

“I understand that you will want to be well-compensated for your services,” continues Farron after a moment when it becomes clear that Belinda won’t be speaking up, “I fully appreciate that you are one of the best in this part of the Periphery and expect to be compensated appropriately.”

“Well that is good to know,” says Belinda in a deliberately sultry voice, playing to the Canopian stereotype like she does, “I’m more wondering what the catch is? Because unless I’m missing something, you don’t need me and my gals for a job like this.”

“Ah, the catch isn’t with the job, but my other commitments,” says Farron easily, “I have a few regiments at my disposal, but most of them are on garrison contracts or otherwise occupied. I am able to spare a battalion of ‘Mechs for this job, but to be on the safer side of things, I’m bringing aboard some other outfits to help out.”

“So you’re subcontracting,” notes Belinda.

“Think of it as just another contract,” says Farron, “I’ll pay you one hundred thousand C-Bills a month along with all overhead and support costs covered at my expense. No battle compensation and you’ll be under my command, but I can offer you twenty percent salvage rights.”

“Twenty percent of your salvage rights or twenty percent salvage rights total?” inquires Belinda as she thinks over the terms, which aren’t bad apart from being integrated into Farron’s chain of command, “Because those two things can be very different.”

“In this case, Captain Arkos, they are the same thing as I have full salvage rights barring the hardware we are being sent to retrieve,” answers Farron, “My clients are merely interested in retrieving what they can of their rightful property. Anything beyond that they have generously conceded to those who are willing to take up the selfless task of reclaiming what is rightfully theirs.”

“Selflessly getting paid,” says Belinda with a laugh, that is the sort of selflessness that I can get behind.”

“Any proper mercenary can get behind that,” agrees Farron, “do you accept?”

“I will need a formal contract written up through the MRB before I make any official agreement,” answers Belinda as she flutters her eyes at him, “You’re a trustworthy fellow, but a lady like me needs to do things by the book.”

“Of course,” agrees Farron, looking pleased with himself.

“I do have some questions about the job.” says Belinda sweetly, “Nothing major, just a few things about just what we are retrieving and why.”

“Ah, I understand,” replies Farron with a knowing nod, “A bit of a nonstandard job, but sufficient to say, our clients wish to retrieve some inheritance from their father, an old acquaintance of mine, which was taken from them. You see, their illegitimate half-sister was able to exploit a legal technicality to steal enough hardware to outfit a combined arms regiment.

“They attempted to stop her, but while they were working their way through the courts like proper law-abiding citizens. Their half-sister ran off to the Periphery with her ill-gotten gains. Rule of law is harder to come by in the Periphery, but unfortunately for our little thief, that sword cuts both ways and they enlisted my help in teaching their half-sister a lesson and to reclaim their rightful property.”

“I see.” says Belinda and she truly does.

Belinda is still a Periphery girl at heart and she has been around the block enough times to know when someone is feeding her a pile of lies. Yet so long as the lies don’t impact her ability to get paid or put her in unnecessary danger, they don’t really matter. The client can claim what they want to suit their own beliefs or grant them deniability. A mercenary like herself just does the job that she is being paid for, not worried about how righteous their employer truly is.

“I trust that a list of what we are trying to retrieve will be provided?” inquires Belinda.

“I have a copy right here,” says Farron, pulling out a folded up sheet of paper from a pocket.

The Grey Bulls[]

“That’s a mighty fine offer,” says Major Cameron Perry of the Grey Bulls, “Makes a fella wonder what the catch is.”

“Just that I’m a bit overextended with my commitments right now.” answers Farron smoothly, “I can only spare a single battalion of ‘Mechs right now and while that should be enough, I would like the extra insurance enough that I am willing to pay for it.”

“I’ll admit that two hundred thousand C-Bills with transport, overhead and technical support all being covered in full is very tempting and the thirty percent salvage rights are decent,” says Cameron, “Integrated command is going to be a toughy. I don’t suppose that I can talk you down from that? ”

“Not unless you want to concede in other areas,” Farron tells him bluntly.

“We’ll get back to that,” decides Cameron, “Okay, some details on the job before we get any further. You said it was a retrieval raid, but where are we hitting and what are we retrieving.”

“Coromodir to retrieve some military assets that the half-sister of my clients stole from them,” answers Farron smoothly, “She acquired them from their mutual father on a legal technicality and then before my clients could resolve the matter in court, she fled to the Periphery, beyond the rule of law.”

“Right, I got ya,” replies Cameron with a knowing nod as things click into place, “Smash and grab for some goods.”

Cameron can’t help, but wonder if Farron’s clients are being legit with him or if Farron is being honest with Cameron. In the end, it doesn’t matter much so long as Farron is good for C-Bills and it isn’t like Cameron hasn’t done some jobs that border on piracy before. Hell, he has even committed a few acts of outright piracy when he could get away with it though he tends to stay away from that sort of thing. Too much risk if he and his Grey Bulls get caught committing piracy.

“Anything else?” asks Farron.

“Ah, just Coromodir, well, you do know that place is the capital of the Aurigan Coalition. They might not be big by the standards of the Inner Sphere, but they ain’t nobodies either and Mastiff has been working for the guy ruling Coromodir for a few years now.”

“They won't have more than a company or two of ‘Mechs at Coromodir, a battalion at most,” Farrson assures him, “My battalion combined with your companies will be enough to crush whatever defence that these Aurigans have to offer. As for this Mastiff, I presume that he is good enough to give you concern, but I have already acquired the aid of Arkos’ Amazons.”

“Boobs?” says Cameron and Farron winces at the vulgarity of the aggressively Canopian mercenary’s self-chosen codename, “Yeah, she could give Mastiff a run for his money. Even if she doesn’t take him out, she should leave him battered enough for our MechWarriors to finish off.”

“So the terms are acceptable to you then?” asks Farron.

“I still want to discuss command rights further,” answers Cameron before pausing as something else occurs to the man, “And I want to know what military assets we’re talking about here. A lance of ‘Mechs? A company of tanks? A flight of fighters?”

“A combined arms regiment worth,” admits Farron reluctantly and Cameron boggles at that revelation.

“What the ‘ell?” demands Cameron, “Where did that come from and why the ‘ell haven’t I heard anything about it before?”

“The father of my clients found a misjumped supply convoy from the earlier Succession Wars.” explains Farron, “A legal technicality saw them stolen by their half-sister upon their father’s death. My last reports indicate that she is trying to put together a mercenary unit to act as glorified house troops for this Aurigan Coalition.”

“None of this is going to be available for salvage?” asks Cameron, already both suspecting the answer and thinking of ways to get around it.

“No and my clients are sending a liaison with me to make sure we return it to them.” answers Farron, giving the response that Cameron was expecting, “But if some of it isn’t recoverable and you don’t get caught by our liaison with it, some things can be overlooked as a favor provided it isn’t an excessive amount.”

“Of course,” agrees Cameron with a toothy grin, deciding to not debate what counts as excessive if he doesn’t have to.

Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
A little at some of the trouble that will be coming Elizabeth’s way. All of these characters are mercenary characters of my creation that I came up with to flesh out the region a bit.

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