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New Dawn in the Sun's - Chapter 21[]

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Arranging Production[]

Trevlu Mechworks
Brockton, Federated Suns
February 15th, 3017

"As you can see our production capacity isn't limited by space, but rather by machine tooling. We still have two additional sites which were stripped of machinery back in the Second Succession War, given they were dug out of the Captains mountain range and been maintained in the hopes of reactivating them someday…" Andrew broke off with a shrug, which almost tilted the damned safety helmet he was wearing off his head. If he could have gotten away with it he would have worn his old infantry helmet, but its lack of hi-viz markings made it inappropriate. Instead, he was stuck with one of the loaner helmets meant for visitors, just like his companion.

"So you do have the space, that was a concern back on New Avalon." David Sanromea-Davion spoke softly. A well put together man, his dapper appearance was not the picture of marital glory a usual Davion noble presented. Between his soft voice and unassuming appearance you would think you were talking with an accountant, not a Duke in charge of one of the closest planets to New Avalon. "I see you have the production lines running overtime at the moment, and if I'm not mistaken you recently switched over from Icarus to swordsmen on one of the lines?"

"Five percent over list for the next decade on a guaranteed contract from the First Prince." Andrew agreed with a grin. "Between the distaste, we have for Corean products on world, and the commonality of parts, it was an easy decision to make. I almost gave the order to switch over the Whitworth line as well, but that was a bridge too far for the board. It's a steady earner and it hasn't earned the contempt of our Mechwarrior community… so the financials weren't there."

"Interesting," David said mildly as he was led into the soundproofed break room. With it being the middle of the shift there was no one present and it was the best place for the two men to talk.

"So," Andrew led off giving the other duke a sideways look. "What are you really here for? Hanse Davion isn't an idiot and sending the head of the largest banking conglomerate all the way out here with no warning when we haven't asked for a loan isn't a smart move."

"I was warned you were more perceptive than you choose to appear." David smiled slightly. "Thank you for the compliment, my family is often overlooked, despite our sterling service. Too Lyran I believe the popular perception is."

"Something I've been accused of being myself from time to time." Andrew answered while waiting for his answer.

"Ah, but you served in the AFFS, in infantry granted, but you did serve. My own family has traditionally been civil service, despite our name." David showed a bit of his research. The Duke of Brockton was a bit hard to pin down, his service jacket and industrialist ambitions not matching what one thought of as a traditional noble. Very few nobles who were 'mech qualified, and had the means to procure a BattleMech, would willingly serve in another branch. "As for why I'm here… Your family built that, didn't they? Those aren't recovered lines; I've been around enough of them to tell. Everything's too new, and you're using manpower instead of computer controls."

"It wasn't easy, and what we have is limited, but yes." Andrew favored the other duke with a frown as he said that. "I didn't realize it was that obvious."

"Not to a layman, but I've been involved in financing several retooling and expansion projects. After the snow job Starcorps ran on me I took the time to learn what I needed." David didn't let on just how annoyed he remained over that project even two decades after the fact. StarCorps Crofton had taken him for a ride, promising to bring back Warhammer production only to switch gears and increase the number of militia-grade Longbows once they had the financing. It hadn't hit the bank's bottom line, but it had hit his reputation. He had promised to improve the Suns abysmal heavy mech production only to fail publicly.

"Still looking for heavys? You would have better luck over in our Basantapur location. Prakash Azad and his team are working on modifying the Crossbow into a heavy brawler, and taking less time than they swore they would need." Andrew grinned as he said that. The MacEnroe database had turned out to be a godsend on that project. The six-cee version had the shoulder assemblies needed for their modification already on file, cutting the time needed to produce a prototype in half.

"I'm well aware of that, you cannot hide the effort that Trevlu is making in preparation, which brings me back to why I'm here. You're providing myomer looms and bone builders," David used the colloquial term for the machines which built a BattleMechs internal structure easily, once again showing his familiarity with the engineering involved in BattleMech production. "All of which are rated to produce a heavy mech. The question I have for you is can you do it for something heavier than sixty tons?"

"As long as I have the specifications, yes. My people can do it, though it may take us a little longer than we would like. Actuators, Electronics, engines, and Gyros… machines to build those components would take us a very long time. We struggle with the precision needed to produce the former, and our electronics industry isn't up to the latter. If we could get our hands on examples… then I would have a very different answer for you. Unfortunately, those sorts of machine tools aren't available to us for love or money," Andrew carefully didn't show how much his son's rejection in the Commonwealth had stung. He had expected it from the local nobility, but for it to come up clear across the sphere? That was insulting to an extreme degree, and he would remember the insult.

"Very good," David grinned like a satisfied cat as he said that. He was pleased to see the duke was living up to his reputation of being a relatively straight shooter. As part of his research for this trip he had reached out to several families who had worked with the duke in the past, and they had all said the same thing. The Gargs had been clear about what he would and wouldn't do, and surprisingly enough several of the smaller families who had gone through him to buy 'mechs from the Concordat had said the same thing. It was unusual for a man of his resources to be so careful about his reputation in business dealings, never over-promising and delivering almost without fail. Now he just had to put that carefully cultivated reputation to the test. "It seems your sons words to the First Prince were taken to heart, he's putting his weight behind getting Achernar back into the heavy mech game. Between lending them the expertise of his newest mercenary hires, a Doctor Banzai, and letting them have access to NAIS resources we believe they will have a workable prototype of a front-line Battleaxe shortly. The question is where to get the machine tools to produce it."

"Seventy tons? Doable." Andrew nodded firmly. "For the bone makers, it's a question of programming. They need too just set them up to add a few layers and tighten the spacing. Myomer weavers and extruders, we have the plans on file."

"Trevlu makes a militia-grade version doesn't it?" David was quietly cursing himself for forgetting that fact. It was obvious in hindsight but he hadn't been reminded of it during his tour. The Brockton plant was geared exclusively towards medium BattleMechs, which was why it had slipped his mind.

"We do, though I would need to see the specifications before I would authorize us even thinking about upgrading our plants to produce a front-line version. The original was way too much of a heat hog and too lightly armored for me to be comfortable offering it under our name. Achernar can survive the reputational hit of putting out a bad 'mech, we can't."

"Your son seemed to think it was acceptable?" David asked, cocking his head to the side.

"It will get the job done, I just think our Crossbow is going to be better. That I really don't want to start messing around figuring out how to produce PPCs at the moment. We've got some heavy financial commitments and overstretching that way would be inviting an attack."

"Corean… I see…" David nodded his understanding. "Could you produce the needed machines and produce enough to set up a Crossbow line here?"

"A longer production run is possible," Andrew narrowed his eyes in evaluation. "I'm not sure it would be advisable though. Going off the top of my head we would need to push any order we got from Achernar back by at least six months if we did that. Not to mention…"

"I'm authorized to provide financing for any such expansion you undertake at one percent interest on a single line." David said blandly, enjoying the shock on Andrew's face. "In confidence, the First Prince believes he has found a source for the machine tools you do not make at this time, though it will take time to see if he is correct in his assessment."

"What should this mysterious source fall through?"

"The loans will be contingent on delivery of the missing tooling. Should those fail to surface then the debt will be assumed by the Davion trust." David continued in his blandest voice. "Naturally such a consideration should be reflected in the pricing of your offer to Achernar."

Andrew nodded in understanding. The First Prince was willing to help out, but he wanted his share of the pie. Not an unreasonable request, and certainly something he could accommodate relatively easily. The heavy machinery division wouldn't complain, even if they had to eat a bit of their own profits on this run. If Hanse came through then they would be very well positioned to cover the gaps in their knowledge base and jump from limited capability all the way up to a true tooling manufacturer.

"I would need to speak with my accounting department, and the legal team, but this sounds like something I can agree to in principle." Andrew mentally lined up just who he would need to speak with, and how fast he could get it done.

"This is close hold, so please be discrete." David gently prodded the other duke.

"If the people I need to talk to aren't closed-mouthed then they would have been fired a long time ago," Andrew said with complete confidence. "Although, I have to ask, how did you know so much about what Harry said to the first prince? It wasn't in the social papers beyond the usual tittering about the social faux pas of an outback noble."

"My daughter," David's voice was filled with a mix of paternal pride and frustration which Andrew knew all too well. "She chose not to follow me into the family business and has ambitions of being the next Dana Stephenson."

"You have my condolences there." Andrew had to wince in sympathy. There was setting your sites on the attainable, and then shooting for the moon. It sounded like David's daughter had decided that the moon was a better target. "I presume she is with the Guards at the moment?"

"A captain with the Fourth, but she is tipped to be promoted to major and take command of the second battalion of the Third Davion Guards," David couldn't help but boast, He was proud of his little girl and completely unashamed of that pride. Although he did wish she had gone into logistics, or some other rear area post. That was after all one of the traditional ways for a noble to join the business community, assuming they didn't go for the civil service option that is.

"Impressive, she's done well for herself."

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