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The Bull and the Genie
- Chapter 20 - Interlude: Progress; Both Good and Bad

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Samantha, Taurian Concordat

Flight of the Stormbringer[]

TCS(D) Stormbringer, Brandis System, Taurian Concordat

"Standby for attack run." Captain Sandra Jenks said. She felt the pressure of the big drives start to push her into her acceleration couch. Everyone was full suited, as the big 36,000 ton dropship went to full acceleration. Weighing four times as much as you did in a standard well wasn't fun.

"Coming up on first targets."

"Guns, engage." From blisters in the sides of the ship, beams lashed out, lasers more powerful than any conventional laser, although far less powerful than the mighty naval lasers of the SLDF. But they had range, and the drones pretending to be fighters, soon vanished, the computer projecting red icons where they had been.

"Primary targets in range." This time, it wasn't just the lasers. The mid-hull launchers opened up and strategic missiles vomited fourth.

Leopard Class DropShip (by psicore)

Leopard Class DropShip

These missiles wouldn't "hit" their targets. They were too expensive, to casually expend, but they would come close enough that if they had been armed, the targets could have been shattered. Now the icons flared, the Leopard and Union class ships hammered. The core of the formation was four Overlords, burning in. And now they were in their range.

"Strikes to forward armor. Minor damage."

"Focus secondaries on their fighter escort. Set fire plan delta for those Unions on the other side. Main batteries target the overlords."

"Confirm. Coming into range…"

The entire ship shuddered, as the autocannon roared. Two, four cannon batteries opened fire, and smashed into two of the targets—in this case, rigged up drone ships—shells, but shells with armor close to what an Overlord would have.

It didn't help, as the cannonfire hammered through the armor, proving that at least in this case, the computer simulations matched reality.

The Stormbringer only had a few small craft, not many passenger facilities and wasn't designed to land mechs. It was designed to kill anything else in space that tried to fight and run down anything that tried to run.

"So what do you think?" She asked.

The observer frowned. "Nice simulation, but…"

"Simulations aren't reality." Sandra said. "Still, we've tested it as much as we can, short of actual conflict, Lord Shraplen. The Davions have nothing like this."

"Spaceships can't liberate worlds."

"But they can keep our enemies from reinforcing them." Sandra didn't let any hint of annoyance mar her faced. The admiralty orders were Clear. Shraplen was important to getting the funding, but the best way to get the entire project killed or backbenched was to have him run to the Protector, demanding they destroy New Avalon. "And that will make our worlds safer."

The ship was now decelerating, its big fuel reserves barely touched by the action. In front of them were the support docks, far away from the world of Brannis.

"Besides, sir, your support for series production will ensure that the Davions continue to fund our fleet."

"What?", Sharplen asked in surprised.

"This class, and the Aeneas class are both powered by the Bull Mammoth drives. Every Successor Lord is paying for them, including Hanse Davion."

"That's a violation of the embargo!", argued Lord Sharplen

"It is. That's why we're charging him extra." Sandra smiled. "And that money has been funneled into our naval expansion."

Not nearly as much as she was implying, but then, she could see that his eyes were dancing with the thought of shooting at Davion ships with weapons they'd paid for.

So it helps like hell on maintenance. The Aeneas class was 18,000 tons, the Stormbringer 36,000 tons, but they both more or less used the same drives, ECM, sensor, everything the engineers could figure would work on both classes.

"Stand by for docking."

"Ah, Governor, this is something you might want to watch."

"I've seen docking procedures.", observed Shraplen.

"Never anything like this," Sandra smiled. "this isn't something we found out of our archive. We thought of this ourselves."


"The limitation on JumpShips is going to be a fact of life for years to come, but the old Alliance used dropshuttles."

"I—" Shraplen frowned as he stared at the display. The big pod was docked to a Jumpship, but now one of three bays was opening up. Slowly, the DropShip moved into the bay. Articulated arms reached out and as they entered it, shocks ran through the hull.

"Reloading servos linked." The XO stared at his readouts. "Stand by for cargo and personnel airlock linkage."

"They stopped using them because they had more than enough Jumpships. We don't. This support pod includes three vacuum bays, repair systems cargo spaces, and quarters for support and relief crews. It can function either docked or on its own. Any Jumpship with collar space can take not just our warships, but all the support they need with them." She paused, and hit Shraplen with the last thing she had. "We were once known as the second most greatest naval power in known space. How about we change that to the greatest naval power?"

Concordat Frigate (Space)

Concordat Class Frigate WarShip

"Hmmm… Well, it's not a regiment of BattleMechs, but you have my support.", Shraplen told her.

"Thank you, sir."

With that, she fell silent as the first Concordat Class WarShip to fly in centuries was taken into its bay.

Pirates United[]

Star's End, Periphery

Morgaine stood in the docking bay, her bodyguards by her. Next to them, Redjack Ryan stood with his men. They hadn't talked—there were others here, and she didn't want to let them know about any potential weakness.

"A lovely acquisition!" Ryan called to Morgan Fletcher, the host who had called them here. "What is this?"

"A Potempkin…" Fletcher said. "You wouldn't believe how happy the LosTech prospector was at his good fortune. Sadly for him, he talked too much." She smiled, standing in front of a covered patch of bulkhead.

Potemkin (Old - Underway)

Potemkin Class Troop Cruiser

"It works." Morgaine said. "You jumped it here."

"Oh, it works. The damage in the jump drive wasn't unfixable, but whoever was using it took off quickly. Maybe they were fleeing Kerensky, but now…" She smirked. "They've given us a treasure."

"What kind of treasure?" Ryan asked.

"Aren't you tired of pillaging farmers? This is a Warship!" Morgan grinned. "They can surrender their provincial capitals to us or see us burn them. Meanwhile, you can make use of the distraction to take your pick of the best booty, and remind those spheroids that they're sheep… no what the Bulls claim. In fact, after Tortuga, I think they need some reminding…"

Morgaine stared at her. "And when they come for us with nukes?"

"That's the best part. They won't. For see, this isn't a pirate ship, it's a ship of some bunch of neobarbs. We found some insignia on it, stuff left behind by those who fled. Who knows, they might even be out there still, but the Sphere won't be hunting pirates. They'll be giving us a free hand while they search for… "

She reached up and pulled the cover down. The art was slightly dulled by decades in vacuum, but even so, the Wolverine glared out at the pirates.
"The Wolverines. It's not original, but hey, it's a Wolverine head on a flag, and before long, everyone in the Inner Sphere is going to know about it. I'm even going to have all my fighters and mechs put this symbol on. Nobody is going to have any idea where we came from or that this is related to our little pirate bands…"

"And how long?"

"It'd going to take us a while," Morgan admitted. "Maybe ready by 3029. After all, we want it to look like a warship from a nation, not something we found in space."

"Maybe I could borrow it and visit old Grim…" Ryan said and laughed.

Morgaine stared at the insignia. 25 dropships. Combine that with the forces they had, and they could overwhelm anything short of a capital.

So Morgan was right. The sheep did need a reminder that they lived at her sufferance. I like this idea.

"Who's in charge?" She asked.

"So you're all on board?" Morgan asked. Everyone nodded.

"Then lets talk organization and spoils. We're gonna need some unusual supplies to get Wolvie running." Morgan said. She gestured to a hatch. "There's a conference room in here, and it's a luxury compared to the shit we normally deal with… Also, we have a lot of space for, well human acquisitions, and I know you enjoy that, Redjack…"

As they passed, Morgaine noticed that some trick of the light, for a moment, seemed to make it as if the Wolverine Insignia was glaring down at her.

Too bad. We're making you ours.

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