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Can you tell me where we can start again (cover art) Chapter Art

Chapter 16[]

Can you tell me where can we start over?[]

Manuever Area
Tamar, Lyran Commonwealth
[Company C, 3rd Battalion 26th Lyran Guard...]
"Rossi, move your ass!!" Hauptmann Patrick Ngo growled over the comms as his his fire-lance commander hesitated. The heavy machines of the fire lance were supposed to be the heavy punchers for Company C.

Thus far, Lieutenant Jakob Rossi was proving that even in experienced commands, there are still a few dud officers.

To wit;  The unit was commanded by the man in the lightest machine IN the unit, because Patrick Ngo could lead. Even if it means in a GRF-1N unmodified Griffin"Get your lance ****** and on the line, Rossi!!"

Today was the third day of practice maneuvers in the wooded zones outside Smitton, and thus far. While Alpha and Bravo lances were getting used to movement in the constrained terrain and blocked line of sight of the forest. Rossi's Lance were still getting lost, or breaking formation, or failing to reach waypoints.

The rest of Company C in other words was reshaping into a viable maneuver element, despite having some of the 'poorest' machines in the Regiment. With the bottom-scorers piloting them...with the exception of third lance, the 'fire lance' was lagging.

That lack was why Company C was running maneuver drills in the forested areas instead of enjoying a weekend pass off post.

"Holen Sie Ihren in Bewegung!!" He snarled over the comm channel, "The trees haven't moved since the last time you passed through here!"

Finally, after several seconds longer than it should have taken, the lead 'mech, Rossi's Thunderbolt finally cleared through the objective and found the road, followed by a pair of Warhammers.

"Sixteen minutes, thirty seconds. Mein Gott, du kannst dich in der Latrine verirren, nicht wahr?" Patrick growled, "I have seen cadets do better."

The fact that this man was the husband of one of Evelynn's bridesmaids was worse. Patrick would have to invite the lousy bastard to the bachelor party, and tolerate him at the service. When he could barely stand the man during normal business hours.

"Downloading your next maneuver point. This time could you maybe do us all a favor and pay attention to your navcom instead of...whatever it is you're doing?" He added coldly.  "There is a war on if you haven't been told, Lieutenant."

"Sir, my nav-com is off!"

Oh Jesus, not that excuse! Patrick thought rudely to himself. "Off?"

"There is interference!" explains Rossi

Okay, maybe it's technical then. Patrick thought.

Patrick smiled slowly, it was a nasty smile.  "Rossi, take the fire lance and retire to post for a maintenance check."  If it's really his navigation array, then he will be reluctant to-

"Sir, I really mean it, the navigation system is fried! I have no idea how to get there without maps!" exclaimed Rossi


"Hold position." Pat said, "Is everyone in your lance experiencing the same difficulty?"

Patrick had a suspicion.

A quick round check showed that. Yes, indeed...the entire lance; the Thud, both whammies. and the Catapult. They were all experiencing the same problems with their navcoms.

Patrick walked over to where 3rd Lance was holding position. He then climbed out of his 'mech, stopping to grab a toolbag from the storage locker at the Griffin's heel.

The four men in 3rd Lance were gathered at the feet of Rossi's Thunderbolt. "Let's have a look, shall we?" Patrick said slowly, "Diefenberger, you were seeing that maintenance tech..what's her name?"

"Um, which one?" asked Rossi

"Ja, which one indeed."  Patrick climbed into Rossi's machine and jacked a test reader into the 'mech's electronics.  "I'm going to say...the one responsible for handling your update schedule."  he said, and presented them with the readout.  "Your navcoms are virused, looks like. one of the ones that was supposed to be purged with the last patch. someone has been linking into the civilian networks while on guard duty!"

He pulled a disk out of a carry pocket.

"Sir...I-" Rossi began to explain
"You made a mistake, Rossi." Patrick said, "A perfectly human mistake, you trusted your equipment a little too much, and didn't...hello..." he typed out a string of commands in the machine's root file.  "...didn't verify that your technician was, in fact, doing their job correctly.  There we go..."

The purge took a few minutes, while Patrick climbed back down to ground level, went to the other stowage on his 'mech, and brought out a cooler.  "Lunch." he said, "Grilled beef for Honmarkt, chicken for Diefenberger. Rossi, you'll have to suffer with my own recipe for Banh-Mi, and same for you, Strauss." he tossed paper-wrapped sandwiches, "We've only got water, fellas, I didn't bring beer."

"This is your lunch."

"Yeah, no, it's yours." Patrick corrected Rossi, "That's because it's going to take four hours to get your computers back in shape and synched with mine. Then we need to the run the exercise again...and Diefenberger. Stop pissing off the techs, okay? Either date her for real or break it off and go dip it in a civilian."

"Sir it's my fault, I-"

"Not your fault, Rossi." Patrick scolded, "It's a normal mistake for a young 'Mechwarrior.  I'm more concerned with how I'm going to avoid having to write the four of you up for disciplinary action.  Fraternizing with enlisted in your own chain of command is a no-no, pissing them off so that they exact petty revenge schemes? Is even worse, but worst of all, is how I'm going to keep this from happening again? That means trading tech people with one of the other companies at best. At worst, having to call in IG to dig out the rot and while I don't have designs for a career, some of you do."

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