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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 254

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April 3072
Interlude: A Idea

Tikonov Combat Training Center
Ufa Continent
Tikonov, Achernar PDZ
League March
Federated Suns

Despite the chill in the air Colonel Paul Ryan-Bowman wiped his sweat laden brow as he leaned against the heavily armored foot of the (modified) Koschei he had been piloting for the mornings exercise and sipped from the first of two chilled bottles of water one of his troopers had given him. The fast heavy cavalry 'Mech had been running hot as hell by the end of the exercise and he'd been drenched in sweat by the time the Wild Geeses' Blackhorse Squadron had pinned down the 2nd Tikonov Cossacks' 1st and 3rd Battalions and defeated them in a running battle that had taken most of the morning. The last hour had been a whirldwind of "combat" when his squadron had managed to isolate and destroy the 3rd Battalion before turning on the 1st as it arrived just to late to prevent their sister battalion's destruction. While the end result had been a triumph for his squadron, the 2nd Tikonov had certainly made them work for it. The Cossack's were already proving to be a harder fight than they had been just a few weeks before, learning from their mistakes and taking more and more advantage of their knowledge of the terrain of their homeworld. A few more months of training and they might possibly even be able to beat the Wild Geese troops that were helping train them!

"So how did you like her, Baron?" Major Mikhail Annenkov of the Cossacks' 3rd Battalion asked as he walked up indicating the heavy BattleMech that Paul was leaning back against and smiling despite his unit's almost total destruction in the recent "fighting". Then again he was always smiling or so it seemed, particularly whenever he was talking to the man he insisted on referring to as a Baron after his grandfather had insisted he accept the title of Baron of New Moscow two weeks ago - the title of the heir of Tikonov. While his smiling attempts to ingratiate himself with the man he clearly considered the future Duke and titular commander of the Cossack Brigade grated on Paul's nerves he couldn't ignore that the 3rd Battalion despite being cut off and isolated had fought well and had came within a hair's breath of breaking out of the pocket he and the Blackhorse troops had pinned them into. If the 1st Battalion had coordinated properly with them they probably would have broken out. Annenkov might be a borderline sycophant, but he did at least have the makings of a fine combat officer with excellent combat instincts. 1st Battalion's Major Yuri Danilov while his superior in organizational talents lacked that instinctive grasp of the ebb and flow of the battlefield. Colonel Ryan-Bowman after today's training had already decided to recommend to his grandfather that Danilov be promoted to a staff position where his talents would be better utilized and his weaknesses no longer as great an issue. It spoke to how much the two men had managed to repair decades of bad blood that the idea of making the recommendation to the Duke no longer seemed a foreign idea.

Forcing a smile onto his face Paul looked up at the still faintly shimmering heavy BattleMech and nodded a welcome at the Major. "She's fast and she can take a beating. Today's exercises proved that given how many of your MechWarriors tried to bring me down! A little under-gunned for my tastes, but at least some of that was my own fault for having her adapted to have jump jets..." As he spoke Paul picked up a second bottle of chilled water sitting beside him and underhand threw it to the officer.

Annenkov caught the bottle and gave a grateful nod as he took it and gulped around half of it down. Despite the cool air and the fact that both men were clad in only boots, shorts and t-shirt's the heat of a 'Mech in even mock combat had left them both flushed and with bodies desperate for liquids. "Spasibo, Baron!"

"Your welcome, Major... Still a good solid 'Mech and I can see why the design is popular with the Cossacks. Beyond just homegrown pride of course!" Paul nodded. "I'm surprised that it isn't more in demand for formations like the FSAC and Deneb Light Cavalry for instance though..."

Suddenly finding himself on dangerous ground, the Major continued to smile although it became a little more forced. Still nothing ventured nothing gained and he was a wise enough political operator to know that with the Ryan-Bowman's you needed to be bold if you wanted to advance in their eyes. "I suppose a residual stigma from it being from Tikonov..."

"Perhaps. No, not perhaps, you are almost certainly right." Paul nodded slightly to the clearly relieved Major. "As my grandfather has explained to me the AFFS is happy to buy the fine products of our factories but prefers the more generic Thunderbolts and Archers for instance to the more iconic Cataphracts and Koschei that have the taint of foreignness about them. A shame as both designs are solid and valuable BattleMechs."

"It is difficult to convince the rest of the AFFS that..." Annenkov was careful in his word choice.

Thinking for a second Paul inclined his head at the Major's point. "You are right again, Major... What Tikonov needs is to make the iconic "Tikonov" mechs so desirable it overcomes any latent prejudices however..."

"And how do we do that, Baron Ryan-Bowman?" Annenkov asked genuinely.

Paul smiled as he forced himself to his feet and finished the last of his water. "I think I might just have an idea... Thank you for the chat, Major Annenkov. It's given me an idea that I think I will put to the Duke. And you can be assured I will tell him who prompted the idea..."

Giving the clearly delighted officer one last nod Paul began climbing back up the chain link ladder to his 'Mech's cockpit. Eager to get back to the DropShips that had brought him and his unit to the Combat Training Center so that he could return to Tikograd and speak with his grandfather. As well as trade in the Koschei for his more regular ride. While he hadn't lied about it's good points he just preferred his own BattleMech.

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