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Fate Can be Cruel - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel - 2775[]

1 January to 1 April 2775
Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

Task Force Robber Baron returned from their multi-year mission. While the troops of the 272nd MID returned to the surface of Thazi, the Cargo and Passenger Dropships remained with their transports while they recharged to continue their journey to Blommestein. Though Lieutenant General DeMars wanted all the Battlemechs, Tanks and Aerospace Fighters off loaded on THazi, it was deemed near impossible due to the mixed load outs of the Dropships crammed full as they were. So, the decision was made to offload everything on Blommestein and then reload the equipment to be taken back to Thazi.

February saw the transports reach Blommestein arriving at a La Grange Point only 3 days from the planet to shorten the trip to the surface. As the large fleet of Dropships detached and began their trip to the surface, they were directed to land on the continent of Van Straaten, the second largest continent. SLDF engineers and several construction companies, one even transported from Thazi and another from Azur had worked for 4 months laying out a massive space port and laying the ground work for the assumed massive factory complex's. Here, they waited to begin work on assembling the recovered factory's as quickly as possible. Troops from the 280th MID and 10th Conventional RCT stood ready to assist in unloading the fleet of Dropships the moment they landed.

Also waiting, was Peter Sajak and Jimmy Orlando, who were introduced to Jermaine Haye (Battlemech Factory Manager), Jacob Henderson (Tank Factory Manager and Trina Weldon-Henderson (Aerospace Factory Manager). Peter Sajak explained that the Battlemech and Aerospace Facotory's would be located on Blommestein while the Tank Factory would be on Feijo. It was then that they ran into a brick wall, they had not known that they had a husband and wife team of managers. After an hour, they both came to the conclusion that to force the issue would create an unwanted problem and the decision was made to keep the Tank Factory also on Blommestein. Trina Weldon-Henderson offered a partial solution by offering to assist in getting an additional Aerospace Factory going on Feijo once they had the Blommestein Factory operational and additional people trained to operate the production lines.

Now having direction on what size to build the multiple buildings, the assembled construction companies and SLDF engineers moved into action while one construction company started clearing additional ground for the Tank Factory. The rescued workers of both Outposts were assigned housing and began to be seen by SLDF medical personnel in the fairly large city that was still being built by 2 local construction companies.

March saw the Dropships fully unloaded and the massive main Battlemech Production building 1/2 completed by the army of construction crews. The building to house the Aerospace Factory was expanded by 3X the size of the one on Outpost #7, much to Trina Weldon-Henderson's surprise. But she was more surprised when she was brought to the space port and saw a line of SLDF Aerospace Fighters parked in a neat row. Major General DeMars walked over and introduced himself.

"You look surprised. You did not think we would let you continue to produce the Star Dagger and Typhoon only did you?" Major General DeMars said

"Well, it is what the Factory is geared towards." Trina Weldon-Henderson replied as she walked around a Stuka STU-K5b2, running her hands along it's wing.

"Well, once you get settled, I want you to work up some upgrades to both fighters, bring them up to what we are used to. But, the most important thing is I would like you to reverse engineer these fighters so that we can buiid them ourselves." Major General DeMars said

"I finally get to build modern, advanced Aerospace Fighters and I get to have a free hand in redesigning the Star Dagger and Typhoon? General DeMars, you just let me round up my engineers and we will start taking these birds apart. I might just burst into tears." Trina Weldon-Henderson said as she stroked the smooth skin of a Lightning LTN-G15b.

Sabre SB-28
Tomahawk THK-63b
Lightning LTN-G15b
Hellcat II HCT-213C
Stuka STU-K5b2
Thunderbird TRB-D26b

"What kind of numbers am I looking at?" Trina Weldon-Henderson asked after a few minutes.

"A lot. I would plan on 2 production lines for each type. We will adjust as we get going. These are the best fighters we have. Please be careful, any fighter destroyed is going to mean I have a pissed off General after my head." Major General DeMars said.

"Oh, I will treat them like my very own children. Now, I need to go gather my people and get started. I am going to need some support in getting new production lines built." Trina Weldon-Henderson replied, her mind already calculating the work needed to be done.

"Just send me a list of what you need. Besides the Battlemechs, you’re at the top of the list." Major General DeMars said

Across the broad tarmac of the space port, Peter Sajak led Jermaine Haye into a Union-Class Dropship. Inside were 12 Battlemechs. Peter Sajak explained Jermaine Haye's task.

"You not going to be producing what you used to produce. Right now, these have been selected for production. Two I expect to be the easiest, the Archer ARC-2Rb and Battlemaster BLG-1Gb. Since I understand you already produced the variant they are built from. The others, you’re going to have to reverse engineer them, everything will have to build from scratch, the tooling, molds, jigs, everything." Peter Sajak said.

Jermaine Haye thought his jaw hit the floor on hearing what was said "You want me to manufacture every one of these Battlemechs? I am going to need way more people. You are talking 12 different production lines. I do not think anything this scale has ever been attempted before." Jermaine Haye replied.

"You won't be building every model at the same time, but you will be producing these at some point, maybe even more types. It is going to depend on who wins that fight, General Mitchell or Major General DeMars. General Mitchell would want everything, DeMars will want as few designs as possible to streamline the supply chain. The only reason I had these brought over was so you could start the reverse engineering process. Thats final" Peter Sajak said.

Jermaine Haye looked over the different Battlemechs. For the first time in his career, he was not sure he was up to the task.

Thunderbolt TDR-5Sb
Archer ARC-2b
Battlemaster BLR-1Gb
Phoenix Hawk PXH-2
Mongoose MON-66b
Shadow Hawk SHS-2Hb
Night Hawk NTK-2Q
Crab CRB-27b
Crab CRB-27sl
Warhammer WHM-7A
Dervish DV-6Mb
Highlander HGN-732b

"I don't know, Mr Sajak. You are asking for miracles." Jermaine Haye said

"Look, it can be done. You can do this. First, focus on the Archer and Battlemaster, at least your people are familiar with the design itself. Then focus on the Crab's, both versions. You’re not going to be producing the Talos anymore, so plan on replacing them there. You will get word soon on what other model to produce. Don't focus so much on the engine's, weapons or specials. We can handle that from other locations. We can always bring those on site later, get the actual design down." Peter Sajak explained, trying to boost the guys confidence

"I will do my best, but I am not sure. I have never been faced with this before. Dreamed of it, but now the reality of the task is monumental." Jermaine Haye said.

Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

While Jermaine Haye was having a small crisis of confidence on Blommestein, elsewhere, many people were stepping up to the challenge of creating things needed. Warrant Officer Hanley Sparks, Master Technician 272nd MID, after seeing the work done on the Stinger upgrades, wasted no time in figuring out ways to upgrade other Battlemechs of the 272nd Division. The 272nd MID had 130 Thunderbolt TDR-5S assigned to it and he had wasted no time in tearing one apart and getting a mold created to build an Endo Steel chassis. While the Endo Steel framework was being built, he had begun a simpler upgrade to existing Thunderbolt TDR-5S and upgraded the TDR-5Sd to Mk II design. Adding CASE to the right torso, swapping the SRM/2 for a Streak SRM/2, moved a Double Heat Sink from right torso to the left torso and swapped the armor for Ferro-Fibrous but dropping it to 12 tons for no armor loss to make room for the small changes.

He had then torn down a Archer ARC-2Rb to have a Endo Steel framework built so that they coud upgrade the massive numbers of Archer to the Royal version. Now that actual Battlemech production was on the horizon, the door was opened to large numbers of field upgrades. Crab CRB-27 were being upgraded to CRB-27b across the board. Thug THG-11E were being upgraded to THG-11Eb models. Highlander HGN-732 were being upgraded to HGN-732b models.

He had over seen an developing an upgrade for the 27 Striker STC-2C in the SLDF ranks to a STC-2Cb version. Swapping the AC/5 for a UAC/5 with 2 tons of ammo, CASE in the left torso, swapping the heat sinks to Double Heat Sinks and dropping to 12. Armor was changed to Ferro Fibrous at 14 tons maxing the armor. An ERPPC replaced the standard PPC in the right torso backed up by 4 MPL for close in work. He had dropped the large laser.

A Tech in the 29th MID came up with a upgrade for the Victor VTR-9B which he called VTR-9Bb. He swapped the heat sinks for 12 Double Heat Sinks, changed the armor to Ferro Fibrous at 11.5 tons increasing armor protection. Added CASE to the left and right torso, added 2 medium lasers to the left torso making this a Battlemech no one wanted to get close to. A jumping Alpha only budged the heat gauge by 2 over.

Another Tech, but from the 31st Infantry Division, had come up with a radical upgrade for the Phoenix PX-3R which he called PX-3Rb. Adding Endo Steel, he swapped the heat sinks for 14 Double Heat Sinks. Adding additional armor to 10.5 tons almost maxing protection. Swapped the PPC to a ERPPC, dropped the SRM's and added 2 MPL to left torso and a SPL to the left arm for anti infantry work. This all energy load made it excellent for long missions away from support.

A Tech in the 126th MID submitted an upgrade for the Panther PNT-8Z which he called the PNT-8Zb. Adding Endo Steel, swapping to 10 Double Heat Sinks. He enlarged the Fusion engine and added a jump jet to improve it's movement profile. Swapping the Large Laser for an ERLL gave it increased range, he then removed the SRM/4 and added 3 MPL, with 1 in the left arm and the other 2 in the left torso. Another all energy design meant to reduce a strain on supply. Though still slow for a light Battlemech, increasing it's speed to 86kph and jumping to 150 meters was an improvement.

From the 36th Infantry Division came a upgrade for the Talos TLS-1B called the TLS-1Cb. It was an expensive upgrade and it would require an extensive refit with factory support. Adding Endo Steel and adding a 300 XL Fusion engine, speed was increased to 96kph. Ten Double Heat Sinks kept the machine cool. The AC/10 was swapped for a LBX/10 with 4 tons of ammo, CASE was added to the right torso. All the missile systems were removed and 5 medium lasers were added, 3 to the left torso and 2 to the center torso a single SPL was added to the left arm for anti-infantry protection.

All of these upgrades landed on General Rita Mitchell's desk for approval. She was still coming to grips with a Battalion of troops deciding to remain on Drachenfeld. Though Lieutenant General Sverdlov had made sure they had plenty of ammuntion and spare parts for the 12 Turhan and 12 Merkava Mk VIII that she had let them keep. She still thought of those troops as her responsibility, but they were a long way from any support or communication. After speaking with Martin Zuni, they had come up with a plan of sorts. Once a year, ZaP Shipping would send a single Jumpship to Drachenfeld to check on them, bring additional supplies. He tagged Michael Crawford for the task. Used to operating alone and plying the space of the Periphery, Martin Zuni figured a 4 month trip to Drachenfeld, month there, 4 months back to Thazi with a 3 month maintenance cycle and down time.

Rear Admiral Trishia Delvaney busied herself with constructing several orbital factories above Thazi to build Endo Steel to meet the ever growing need for the stuff. Once that was completed, she would begin work on the Vincent Corvette conversion to a full Destroyer. The long mission to Drachenfeld had given her engineer's time to work on manufacturing naval ammunition on site, which they were sure they could now successfully build on a planets surface. The specifications were sent to Azur for Hegemony Weapons and Technology along with examples of Killer Whale, White Shark and Barracuda Missile's so that they could work on those.


March 2775

Rear Admiral Delvaney on the surface, she had to see General Mitchell about some of her concerns. Once inside General Mitchell's office, she laid out her desire to design and build several smaller Yardships. She wanted 3 of them for several reasons. First, to add additional recovery support to the Fleet. Second, it would not tie down SLS Salvation, Newgrange Yardship building orbital infrastructure. Three, they could also be used to train new workers in ship building and working in Zero-G during down times, which she doubted there would be very little of. Cost and crew requirements would be kept to a minimum and the ships would be restricted to work inside the borders of the Hegemony which would not require them to have HPG's or LF Batteries mounted.

General Mitchell gave her permission to go ahead with the design process but not actual construction permission yet. But she assured Rear Admiral Delvaney that they would probably build them, but she wanted to complete the upgrade to the Vincent's first and the Vigilant-Class Corvettes.

April to July[]

1 April to 1 July 2775
Graham IV (Terran Hegemony) Inner Sphere

Admiral Marrkgrae led the Fifth Fleet into Graham IV and simply overwhelmed the systems SDS. This cleared the way for 8th Army to strike Graham IV while the Warships and Marines of Fifth Fleet secured the massive ship yards and supporting factory's of Mitchell Vehicles and DeKirk Aerospace. Amaris forces launched nuclear strikes on 8th Army's landing zones inflicting heavy losses on the SLDF forces.

Using limited orbital strikes, the SLDF managed to slowly expand their perimeters. VII Corps pushed the defenders hard, launching assault after assault until they finally broke the defensive lines allowing XXV Corps to pour through the massive breach. It took 2 months to secure the system fully and although they had managed to capture the planets industrial complex's relatively intact, the planet itself was ravaged by the nuclear strikes and orbital bombardments. But 8th Army had successfully completed their mission, secure vital manufacturing to provide equipment for the SLDF.

Delbert "Red" Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell Vehicles, wasted no time in repairing his Factory to supply the SLDF with everything they needed. Though it would take almost a year to complete the repairs fully, within a month of the fighting ending, Mitchell Vehicles was once again supplying the SLDF with Battlemechs. Though at a reduced production rate.

Thazi (Terran Hegemony)(Periphery)

General Rita Mitchell looked over the design that Rear Admiral Delvaney had come up with, it looked good on paper to her, but she was not the expert. She handed the design specs over to Admiral Tanisha Tanaka so that she could tell her if it was worth the effort. It looked okay, able to do the same mission profile as the Newgrange-Class Yardship, but at 1/4 of the size and crew needs and much less expensive at just under 16 Billion.

At 550,000 tons, the Builder-Class Yardship carried a 1M ton unpressurized repair yard and 30,000 tons of specialized manufacturing equipment, exact copies of those aboard the Newgrange but not as many. Armed for solely self-protection, it carried 2 NL/35, 6 LPL, 6 SPL in the FLS/FRS and ALS/ARS arcs. Covering the AFT was 3 NL/35, 8 LPL and 8 SPL. The LBS/RBS mounted 3 NL/35, 8 LPL and 8 SPL. Carrying 500 workers, 56 Marines and 60 crew for the 12 small craft. Two Dropship collars and a cargo bay for 135,754 tons rounded out the design. It could build anything under 1M tons but at half the speed of the Newgrange due to not mounting as much manufacturing equipment.

"Well, it looks decent enough. The main thing is it frees up SLS Salvation for much more important work. As long as we don't deploy it ourside of our borders, at least not without a good escort, it should do just fine. I would like to get a few more Olympus Recharge Stations built around our territory, mainly to aid in the maintenance of Vice Admiral Seimens' Squadron of Vigilant Corvettes. I plan to work them pretty hard on patrol and I would like to keep them out of the primary shipyards, which my larger ships need. I say we let her build them, lord knows we need more Mining Stations built in a lot of astroid belts. Not to mention orbital factory's to take more pressure off the LInden factory's." Admiral Tanaka said

"Okay, I will give her the go ahead, but after she completes the Vincent conversions." General Mitchell said

On Blommestein, work continued getting the new Factory's up and running. Hegemony Inductries was selected as the name for the massive complex of individual Factory's. It was predicted that the complex would begin full operation in March 2776.

Trina Weldon-Henderson had been good to her word and her team of engineers had quickly come up with an upgraded variant of the Typhoon Aerospace Fighter. With cost effectiveness versus combat ability at the fore front of their mind they made only a few changes, but those changes boosted its overall performance. They had swapped the heat sinks for Double Heat Sinks and left the count at 26. Removing the PPC's, they replaced them with an additional 2 large lasers giving the Typhoon 6 in total. This allowed them to boost the fighters fuel to 6 tons and changed the armor to Ferro Aluminum and boosting it to 11.5 tons. These changes not only increased it's combat endurance, but also allowed it to Alpha strike with barely any heat gain. It was named the Typhoon TFN-2B and cost just 5.4 million.

They had also worked over the Star Dagger, but this one was a more radical and expensive upgrade. Mounting a 240 XL Fusion engine, this freed up weight to make some serious changes. Mounting 10 Double Heat Sinks, 8 tons of fuel and 7 tons of Ferro Aluminum armor gave it outstanding performance values. The weapons layout was changed to 2 medium laser in the Nose and each Wing for a total of 6 that did even put a strain on the fighters cooling system. Though it duplicated the role of the Sabre, it's larger fuel load made it a much better patrol platform. They called it the Star Dagger S-2C and it cost 3.6 million. Twice the cost of the original.

Hegemony Industries Aerospace Division was planned for a January 2776 with 8 initial production lines.

Thazi Motors, never one to stand still, had reverse engineered the BFFL "Buffalo" Hover Vehicle. Able to carry 40 tons of cargo it would be assigned to rear area support and even sold to civilian transportation companies. They boosted its range to 1,888 Kilometers with 8.5 tons of fuel and increased the size of the power plant to increase speed by over 30%. With it's dual role, they also increased its armor to maximum while still managing to carry it's 40 ton cargo load. At a cost just under 1.4 million, it was quite a bargain.

The biggest news was SLS Sneak, Bug-Eye had returned with news of the 2 Carrak-Class Transports in the Schrim system. Searching 4 systems, the Carracks had been their only find.

1 July to 31 November 2775
Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

It took 3 weeks to pour over all the intelligence gathered by SLS Sneak,her Bug-Eye Surveillance vessel during its long mission. Though it had only been assigned 4 systems as targets, it had passed through 14 systems on its journey. What was revealed shocked everyone. Systems were undergoing massive breakdowns of water purification systems, every HPG was down, there was very little if any interstellar traffic. Some systems could feed themselves, but some relied on others and with no interstellar traffic, they were slowly dying of starvation. Systems on the border regions reported increased pirate raids, some with devastating results. Almost every system seemed to be broadcasting to the heavens, asking for help and assistance.

General Rita Mitchell was on her couch reading some of the intelligence reports. In front of her, Amanda Cameron and Patrick Mitchell were doing their homework at the coffee table. After reading so many heart wrenching reports, General Mitchell wiped a tear that had slipped down her cheek. She never noticed Amanda Cameron looking at her "What's wrong, mama? Why are you so sad?"

"It's work, honey. There is some bad news in the reports." Rita replied

"Can we make the bad news better? Make it go away?" Amanda Cameron asked

"Yes, we could make it better I suppose. But it would be very risky and possibly strain our resources and maybe put our own people in jeopardy." Rita said

"We should try to make it better. Like when Bobby skinned his knee at school, I went and got a bandaid for him. I could not make it go away, but I could make it better." Amanda Cameron said

"Yeah mom, you always taught us that the strong watch over the weak. We help those in need and ask for nothing in return. That is the honorable way. Honor is everything." Patrick Mitchell said

The strong watch over the weak, her mind repeated over and over. Patrick was growing into a strong young man and Amanda Cameron was almost nine and learning fast. Rita thought to herself. "I will look into it in the morning, maybe we can help them."

"We are strong. Aunt Holly says we get stronger every day. Strong watch over the weak. Honor is everything." Amanda Cameron said.

Aunt Holly, aka Captain Holly Decroy, Royal Black Watch, Amanda's close in guard when she was not at home with General Mitchell, Rita thought. She could not help but smile when Amanda repeated what Patrick had said. She would not be like her father, First Lord Richard Cameron, she would grow to be a strong and honorable ruler, Rita silently swore.

"It's bedtime. I promise I will look into the problems in the morning. Now, let's get everything put away and you both go get ready for bed. I will be in shortly to tuck you in." Rita said

After the kids had left to get ready for bed, General Mitchell pulled out her computer and pulled up a Star Map. Most of the worlds SLS Sneak had passed through were in the Traders Domain in OutWorlds Alliance, but she had passed through a bunch of systems in the Onverwacht Province. Jesus, what if both Provinces were in crisis like the systems in the reports, she thought. No way can we absorb that many systems, no, we will do what we can to try and help, but not at the risk to the Hegemony. I cannot and will not allow the people of the Hegemony to be put in jeopardy, General Mitchell thought.

The next day, as promised, she called Martin Zuni in for a talk. She knew he had been wanting to venture out from the Hegemony borders, might as well put him to work. After she and Martin had shared a few minutes of small talk, she got down to business.

"Martin, I am going to take the leash off as you call it. Promise me you will use your head and not violate our security. You and ZaP Shipping may now venture into the Onverwacht Province and Traders Domain. Load up with food and basic supplies. We have reports that the systems are in dire straits out there. Gather me as much intel as you can. We are not, repeat not going to absorb those systems, you’re a free trader that happened to hear their call for help. Provide the aid, free of charge and report back to me so that I can figure out what else we can do to help but not at the risk of our security here." General Mitchell said

"It's going to put a huge crunch on shipping within our borders. You sure you want to risk it?" Martin asked, he knew how seriously she took her mission.

"Am I sure, hell no. But what else can we do? We cannot just let millions of people die. If we let the systems on our borders dive into utter chaos, that becomes a risk to our security. I will have SLDF transports and dropships take over shipping within our borders. No sense in having them just sit around idle. I need to know what is actually happening out beyond our borders." General Mitchell replied

"I understand, Rita. This is now my home also. I will not do anything to threaten us. I will put out the word, have my people start loading up food and basic supplies. No communications with our folks here makes me a little nervous though. I have to think about my people also." Martin said

"We keep a tight schedule. First trip out, stick to a system a single jump from our borders. We focus first on systems we know had trouble feeding themselves prior to the Uprising. Strictly 1 month schedule, then they come home. Someone does not show up in a month, we come get them, by force if it is needed. Everyone gets hazard pay, double wages during this expedition. This is an official tasking by the Hegemony Government, so send me the bill." General Mitchell said

"That will make everyone feel better knowing we have the cavalry ready to come after us. Can I ask for double security details? My people are civilians not soldiers, we have gotten used to having gun toters around, make me feel even better now that we are venturing into the unknown." Martin replied

"Okay, I will double the security details aboard all your Jumpships and Dropships. Tell you what, I will go you one better and assign 2 Aerospace Fighters to every Jumpship you have. Give you some additional support. Most of your Jumpships will lose their small craft, but you have some on the Dropships. They only launch if a clear threat is observed. I would prefer not to announce our presence by flying escort or patrol." General Mitchell said

"I will take it. No flying unless a threat is observed. I can live with that. Gonna get cramped on the other ships, but I can handle the doubled security force on my Star Lord easily." Martin replied

"They will just have to suck it up. Get going, get your people ready and load the Dropships. Make sure myself and Admiral Tanaka know exactly where each ship is heading. You tell the Jumpship captains that they jump out at the first sign of trouble if they can. Get back to our systems and let us handle going back in to rescue the Dropships. I will have forces ready to respond the second we get word of trouble." General Mitchell said

Mid November 2775, Zap Shipping began their ordered relief effort. A second wave of ZaP ships were standing by for word of additional needs.

Rhodon (Onverwacht Prov) - Liberty Jumpship, 4 Jumbo Dropships
Gaeri (Onverwacht Prov) - Liberty Jumpship, 4 Mule Dropships
Zalt (Traders Domain) - Invader Jumpship, 3 Mule Dropships
Mitz (Traders Domain) - Invader Jumpship, 3 Mule Dropships
Gitarama (Traders Domain) - Invader Jumpship, 3 Jumbo Dropships
Barahona (Traders Domain) - Star Lord Jumpship, 6 Mammoth Dropships


1 December to 31 December 2775
Rhodon (Onverwacht Prov)

Ships Captain Francis Malloy had rode down to the surface with the 4 Jumbo-Class Dropships. They had been on the surface for 4 days unloading the food, medical and general supplies to the planet's estimated 19 million people. When questioned about who they were and were they came from, Francis Malloy could only tell them that they had heard the radio calls and had come to help out. He had asked general questions on their needs and learned the water purification systems were failing. The water on this planet was not drinkable without them. This effected both drinking water and the hydroponics buildings.

The planet's HPG station was wrecked, which was usual for every system when the rebels had passed through the area years ago. The large mining operations had been idled years ago for lack of any transportation for their mined resources. Plus, they lacked the spare parts to repair many of their Dig Lord Mining Mechs and Corx Tunnel Miners. Though no payment for the food and supplies was asked for, Valerie Nemier, the planetary governor had offered to load the Jumbo Dropships up with raw material, it was doing no one any good sitting on the surface here. Francis Malloy declined, but not happily, but informed her that if he could get the water filters and maybe spare parts, then he would accept the raw material, but he could make no promises.

During their stay, the crews of the Dropships heard many stories and just as many complaints about the abandonment by the Outworlds authorities. Valerie Nemier stated plainly that if they had access to interstellar transport on a regular basis, they would declare independence and look after themselves.

Gaeri (Onverwacht Prov)

The ZaP Shipping detail assigned to Gaeri found a much more difficult situation on their target. The people here had drawn themselves into 2 armed camps and were fighting over the large farms on the single continent. Landing 2 Dropships at each groups main city, they distributed their supplies to both sides equally. The group that controlled the Capital City of North Salem, had roughly 13 million people in the surrounding area and was run by Colonel Garth Roshek, formerly of the SLDF Reserve force on the planet when the rebels passed through. His remaining Infantry Regiment backed by 5 Regiments of locals held their own and seemed to be the most thankful. The people here were mostly Hegemony and Fed Suns transplants. Many tales of massacres from the other camp were told.

The other group located around South Salem, consisted of roughly 9 million people and were mainly from the Combine. They had 4 Infantry Regiments led by Zelda Mathews, a charismatic woman but everyone sensed a mean streak in her, they wanted to get gone from here quickly. When the supplies were distributed and the Dropships were about to lift off, her troops tried vainly to halt their departure, but their light weapons were useless.

Zalt (Traders Domain)

The situation found on Zalt was about as bleak as it could be. The water purification system had failed completely which in turn caused the hydroponics to fail. Settled primarily to mine the 2 asteroid belts in the system, the lack of food and water had caused the 4 mining stations there to be abandoned. As the Dropships lifted off, the crews had felt guilty at the peoples plight, almost surrounded as they were by the Hegemony.

Mitz (Traders Domain)

Settled to mine both the surface and 2 asteroid belts in system, Mitz had once shipped most of it's material to Azur. In return, Azur used to ship them food and supplies. When the rebels swept through, they had massacred the small SLDF Reserve Battalion and moved on. With no contact, they had abandoned the 6 Mining Stations in the asteroid belts. They lacked spare parts for the Mining Mechs and other equipment. The water purification system was barely functional.

Gitarama (Traders Domain)

With large resource deposits in the surface and 12 Mining Stations located in the 3 asteroid belts in the system, Gitarama had once been a booming mining colony. Then the rebels had passed through, destroying several Jumpships and Dropships taking on mined ores. This had idled the planets potential and sent everyone into pure survival mode. They had enlarged and built additional greenhouses to grow barely enough food to sustain the 3.5 million people. The ZaP Dropships unloaded their supplies and departed the system with heavy hearts.

Barahona (Traders Domain)

Martin Zuni himself led the mission to Barahona, for he had carried cargo to and from here several times in the past. He could not help but stare at the severely damaged Olympus Recharge Station at the Nadir Jump Point. Once a bustling and busy place, with Jumpships and Dropships constantly on the move. Though it had scarce resources, it had ample fishing that rivaled anywhere in known space. The few resources it had were extremely hard to mine and were in very remote location, but their pure value made them worth going after.

With roughly 21 million people, it had roughly 19 million the last time Martin had passed through, he knew his 6 Mammoths worth of supplies would be badly needed. Over half the population were from the Hegemony, the rest either Outworlds or Fed Suns colonists. But they co-existed easily and Martin was surprised to find a still functional and armed SLDF Reserve command on the surface. With 3 Infantry Regiments, Lieutenant General Lamont James had managed to keep order on the surface. He soaked up all the news Martin would tell him. When Martin pulled the Dropships off the surface, he knew what General Mitchell would have to do, she just did not want to do it yet.

Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

General Rita Mitchell read the reports from ZaP Shipping. Luckily, every ship had returned safely but the breakdown on Gaeri concerned her. Not to mention that it still had SLDF personnel on the planet. She compared the reports to the Star Map on her computer, Gaeri and Barahona would have to be brought in, she would not abandon SLDF troops. But Barahona would require them to also absorb Danli, Gitarama, Las Tunas, Taumaturgo. She would not repeat the mistake of not bringing Zalt into the fold, while virtually surrounded by the Hegemony and that filled her with guilt. She penciled some notes and came up with a plan.

Rhodon - 1 Brigade from 31st Infantry Division
Gaeri - 280th Mechanized Infantry Division
Zalt - 9th Conventional RCT
Mitz - 1 Brigade from 36th Infantry Division
Gitarama - 1 Brigade from 126th Mechanized Infantry Division
Barahona - 181st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division
Danli - 19th Hussar Regiment
Las Tunas - 13th Conventional RCT
Taumaturgo - 11th Conventional RCT
Tanz - 238th Striker Regiment

Once the troops were on the ground and everything secure, she would let the DOME crews enter and repair the water purification systems. From there, they would play it by ear. She still was not sure about going hog wild on bringing even more systems into the Hegemony, but if they found SLDF troops, well those would have to be brought home.

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