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New Dawn in the Suns (Chapter Cover)

New Dawn in the Sun's - Chapter 1[]

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Cutting a Deal


Brockton Bay space dock
Brockton System, Federated Suns
March 7th 3014


Duke Andrew Brockton wasn't sure about his guest, his family had been dealing with them since Takiro's fraud but they had never sent such a high-level representative before. This was an unsettling turn of events. Not even the data transfers which had given both the Concordat and the Magistracy the ability to build their favored Swordsman had an heir travel to Brockton. For all its industrial potential the Brockton system was mostly forgotten, and even when it wasn't no one wanted to remember them.

That was the consequence of the first war. Having the Federated Suns premier ecology, biology, and genetic engineering college hadn't done them any favors. Especially when the duke at the time had deployed a large number of bio warfare containment units to the front in an effort to keep the plagues which all of the houses had unleashed contained. No one today remembered that, they just remembered that when the Storm Crows arrived on world, there were good odds that world died. Which had resulted in no one being too broken up when the Alliance college of Terraforming was nuked off the map in the lead up to the second go around.

These days Brockton was known as a bucolic farming world, of little note, with a dark and twisted history. Sure, spacers knew about the Bay and its repair bays, but never having been a production site had turned out to be for the best. Brockton had the good fortune of only being nuked once, and despite their losses Andrew was proud of how his people had recovered. No one in his family had let it be known that they had rebuilt the college as best they could, thinking it better to let sleeping dogs lie. They especially hadn't let on that the colleges library hadn't been destroyed. They had simply scaled back the Storm Crows, deploying them in smaller numbers throughout the second war as if they were switching to an apprentice system. Andrew wasn't sure what he thought about that, after all the Storm Crows had been responsible for most of the cures and vaccines produced on the golden five to this day, but he hadn't been in his ancestors' shoes. Letting a few worlds dies in order to keep his own people safe wasn't a choice he was comfortable making, and so he was glad that it had been made by the time he had been born.

"Duke Brockton," Thomas's cybernetic eye gleamed in the low light, giving him a sinister appearance despite the boyish good looks his curly hair and soft face gave him.

"Heir Calderon," Andrew replied easily, giving the man a bow. "I hope that you had an easy journey?"

"Easy as it could be…" Thomas almost growled out. "I do not want to be here but I am loyal to my nation."

"Understandable," Andrew shifted, slightly uneasy with the blatant hostility in Thomas's tone. "Welcome to the Brockton system."

"Thank you," Thomas un bent a little as he said that. "I was surprised to find out just how extensive your industry is, especially this ship yard. I would have thought it would have been stripped a long time ago to feed the insatiable appetite for carnage that your First Princes seem to possess."

"How much do you know about the history of the Brockton system your grace?" Andrew asked, letting the insult pass easily. It wasn't as if it wasn't true after all. The Davion family had always been militarily inclined, and Ian's reign had hardly been out of the norm.

"Very little." Thomas allowed himself to be led deeper into the complex they were on, his cybernetic eye recording everything as he walked. Despite his distaste for the Davions and their minions he was well aware that the Dukes of Brockton had been useful to the Concordat. Besides this was the first look that TMI would be getting of an active shipyard built into an asteroid. That was something they could use in the Taurus system. Kerensky had crippled the Concordats ability to produce jump ships when he had pulled out, and rebuilding hadn't been possible since then. Perhaps with a little luck something that his eye recorded would allow them to reclaim their place as a naval power. Admittedly Brockton was listed as a repair facility, with an attached civilian dockyard, but TMI had suspicions that there was more to it than that. The outback had too many Liberty II class jump ships running around, someone had to be building new ones even if officially they were all rebuilds of derelict hulls. "Assume that I am completely ignorant and you wouldn't be too far wrong. We have the Star league official atlas… but I don't need to tell you just how useful that is."

"Brockton was one of the Terran Alliance's furthest official colonies in this direction." Andrew said easily even as he guided the younger man down the corridor. "Before the Outer Reaches Rebellion, it was also one of the centers for the Terran navy and explorer corps. If the rebellion hadn't happened, we would have been the center for the next wave of colonization in this direction. After it? Their bases were abandoned and we found ourselves very much on our own. We signed on with the Suns at their founding and kept up what we could… which was mostly the college."

"Ah…" Thomas thought about what he had been told and then cocked his head to the side. "Genetic engineering? Planetary ecology?"

"Quiet, our ecologists and genetic engineers were critical in colonizing this region of space. Not that it helped us." Andrew gave a self-deprecating shrug. "By the time Ian Cameron had his brain storm we were already lagging behind the Terrans in terms of colonization science, and the Davions had more pressing interests then pushing the pace out here. We had hoped that we could improve our lot through the league… it didn't happen though. Alliance was downrated by the department of education to a third-tier institution and the promised funds for upgrading never seemed to appear, for some reason our people were eased out to make way for Terrans."

"Is that how you ended up in the bio weapons business?" Thomas noted the stiffening shoulders of his host.

"That is a base slander spread by ignorant fools." Andrew hissed before restraining his temper. "When the League collapsed, we were the Suns main source of trained geneticists, and so our people deployed to counter bio weapons releases…"

"I would have thought that the golden five would have had that knowledge?"

"Oh, they did, but despite being a founding member of the Suns we were outback hicks, expendable in other words, while the more important people on the five were recruited into the weapons programs…"

"Your people were deployed to the front lines." Thomas had to admit it wasn't a story he was terribly surprised by. "How did a founding member of the suns become one of the largest suppliers of the secret army in this region then?"

"Corean and Amaris." Andrew said with a snort. "After Takiro's fraud… we went looking to defend ourselves because everyone forgot about us during that little dust up. We got funding from Amaris, I'm sure you know just as well as I do why, and used that funding to put up a Corean annex on world."

"I'm surprised that wasn't looted by Kerensky, or blown up by the Blackhearts."

"Why would it have been? We made Locusts." Andrew shrugged as he opened the door to a well-appointed conference room. "Swordsmen, Whitworths, and Icarus IIs? We didn't have the tooling to do that."

"And yet you did and do." Thomas reminded the duke that he was just as versed in that particular history as his host. "Along with Talos and Riflemen. Not to mention the Lions."

"The Lions weren't that difficult, dropships aren't that different from Drop Shuttles, and when the Alliance pulled out, they left a lot of space-based infrastructure behind. Drink?" Andrew offered.

"Tequila if you have it."

"Trinity gold from the Free Worlds League," Andrew poured. "During the waning days of the League we put a lot of effort into our civilian yards. They aren't the biggest, never have been, but by keeping up the production of Jumbos and Drost class vessels it kept trade flowing despite disinterest from New Avalon."

DroST Class DropShip (above planet - by Stefan Huba)

DroST Class Transport DropShip

"Space based… interesting turn of phrase. You couldn't have rebuilt the mech yards without a solid industrial base and an active R & D establishment. Not after Corean came in and ripped everything out to rebuild on New Avalon ."

"It took us forty years to get back to close to where we were after that happened. Twenty-eight forty-seven wasn't a good year here."

"But you did it… and sold at least some machine tooling to a couple of other nobles as well." Thomas said, his eye glinting as he became much more focused. He was tempted to take a drink, but restrained himself for the moment. "There's a reason why the outback has less pirate problems then one would think given the disinterest on New Avalon in the region."

"Because we have Militia mechs? Free Worlds League was the first to introduce those, bringing back the Sarissa after their tiff with Comstar was just about the only reason they didn't lose more worlds."

"They did that by converting industrial mech lines, you didn't." Thomas stated flatly. "You built all new equipment, and while it might be crap compared to the stuff that comes out of Krupp or any of the larger manufacturers… it exists. That doesn't even get into the fact that I know you are building front line equipment again. There have been too many shipments of Swordsmen over the border for you not to be, between us and the Magistracy? Two battalions' worth in the last fifty years alone, those mechs are too new for you to have been pulling them out of reserves as well."

"Limited production of front-line equipment, you'll note we don't sell Talos or Riflemen anymore." Andrew's voice was guarded.

"You still rebuilt on your own, so I have a commission for you." Thomas said flatly, enjoying the gleam he could see in the duke's eye.

"What do you want?"

"Machine tooling to build…" Thomas paused and dug a chip out of his pocket, passing it over to the noble. "This. It's the newest wonderwaffen out of Coventry."

Thomas took a sip of his tequila as the duke slid the chip into his portable reader and looked over the information. Surprisingly the Free Worlders seemed to have managed to put together a fine tequila and Thomas made a mental note to see if he could get some for his own liquor cabinet. It wasn't often he came across such quality which wasn't Taurian. Given his preferences having some inner sphere quality booze on hand would be a good way to throw off anyone who thought him a complete backwater hick.

"Interesting…" Andrew spoke up, looking up from the information that TMI had gathered. "We played around with this very idea about a century ago… but never put it into production."

"Why?"

"Because people who work on weapons development have a bad habit of ending up dead, along with the entire city they were living in." Andrew said flatly. "Our security services are good, but we have never been good enough to stand up to the MASK or ISF. On a good day we might be able to take SAFE."

"And yet you've been trading with us for centuries…"

"If that connection isn't well known in the Fox's Den, I will eat this table." Andrew said flatly while rapping his knuckles against the veneered steel. "As long as we don't rock the boat and make waves everything is all well and good, but should that change?"

Swordsman SWD-2T (in wasteland)

SWD-1T variant of the Swordsman Medium BattleMech

"Selling us the technical specs for the Swordsman wasn't rocking the boat?"

"How many Swordsmen do you see in the Suns?" Andrew shot back. "It's a better machine then the Icarus or the Whitworth, but getting a loyal soldier of the Suns into one is more trouble than its worth. They're still considered a Rostov machine, and a sign of disloyalty. If we had sold you those designs it would have meant trouble… but not that one."

"Idiots."

"Agreed." Andrew blew out a breath and frowned as he thought.

"Can you, do it?" Thomas asked, his voice displaying his eagerness despite his self-control. The Multiple missile launchers would be a game changer for the periphery powers, and if the Taurians could get them into production before the Magistracy got their Andurien derived MRMs into production… it would be worth the trouble of dealing with Davion lackeys in his eyes. Especially if he could rub it into that smug cunt Kyalla's face that TMI had for once beaten the much-vaunted MIM to the punch.

"Yes." Andrew closed his eyes and took a deep breath through his nose. "Before you decide to go with us, you should know about the downsides to what we'll be selling you. We can't make star league era tooling, what we have are monkey models at best. They take more manpower to run, and produce a product that is a half-step up from civilian or militia grade."

"But you do produce at least some front-line equipment…" Thomas said shrewdly, eyeing his host. He wasn't sure why Brockton was being so dismissive of his planets industry, unless he intended to screw the Concordat and didn't want to be blamed.

"Because we do all of the electronics work with the remaining tooling in the yards. I would love to be able to sell you a chip forge that could produce military grade chips, but I don't have the capability. Even if I did, I wouldn't be allowed to sell you something like that without permission from New Avalon. What I can make will give you military performance, but the chips you get out of it will not have the durability to be truly military grade. You're going to be looking at five to ten years of acceptable performance before they need to be replaced. On the bright side its considered to be a civilian system, so neither of us needs to worry about export controls. You could go through an official border checkpoint and not have to worry about anything more than the usual corruption issues we have."

"So, it's a Talos of electronics," Thomas found himself nodding in understanding. "Good enough to get the job done for now, but its going to need to be replaced as soon as we have access to something better."

"Exactly."


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