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The Highlander Way (Chapter Cover Art)

The Highlander Way

Part 1 ”Christmas in July”

The Citadel
City of New Edinborough, Caledonia
Lyran Commonwealth
August, 20, 3132; Local Summer

General Dannaigh Mackay touched the pad controlling the vidcom accepting the inbound call.  "Good mornin'  Sergeant Major, I am to understand you have mustered nearly Four full companies of Infantry so far.  That is incredible!"

The man on the vidcom screen looked old and tired. The years of wars-gone-by showed in his face.  "Aye General'.  I honestly dinna expect this a' many to respond t' th' 'Gathering o' th' Clannach'!….  I've other good news for ya' as well tho‘..."   The grizzled old Sergeant Major could hardly contain his excitement.

Behind Caelan it looked like hundreds of men going through basic hand-to-hand combat training.  "Pray tell Caelan?'  'Ya woud na be hauldin' bak on m' na’ would ya?".   General Mackay attempted his best Highland broagh.  And failed.

Caelan smirked at his Commanders failed broag attempt "Na yer lairdship...but' I found something' ya might b' interested in!!  While I was a rootin' about  the' old factorry ah found a secret level below the' main floorr.   An guess' wot I found???   A  whole host of Battl’ Mechs!  They wer in various states o' assemblee!  Some wer nearly complete'!!"

Dannaigh Mackay sat in stunned silence... His mind not believing what his ears are telling him.  All at once hundreds of different probabilities ran through his mind…“Could it be?   Not since Devlin Stone turned ‘Swords into Plowshares‘...But, how could it be?  Someone must surely know this place exists!”  He thought to himself.

"Caelan, this is what I want you to do...  How many Veteran troops do you have ready to go??"  "Ach, only about Fifty or so... Wotcha scheming’ Dannaigh??"  General Mackay bristled at the presumed "Familiar".  "Caelan...  I know we go back a ways but PLEASE!   Remember my Rank in front of the troops!"

"See ya now!  I wet nurrrst yer natty leettle hide thrru yer own basic trrainin back in th' ol' days!   Now don’t ya b' pullin' no rrank on me now!  How many times did I pull ya arse outa th' Devils grrasp at Neevl's RRRift??"

The grizzled old Sergeant Major had definitely earned his right to speak his mind.  Nevels  Rift was a particularly Bloody campaign.  Nearly wiped out the entire regiment Dannaigh Mackay was in.   Sergeant Caelan MacDonnagh  was awarded many medals for that campaign, one of which was for saving, then Captain Dannaigh Mackays own life on two separate occasions!

“Ok… Ok…  Your point is taken…  Take half of the Veteran powered infantry and only the ones you personally trust!   Secure that factory.  Also, take only the best ‘Mech drivers and wrench turners you have and see if they can finish some of the more complete ‘Mechs down there.   I presume that power can be restored to just the ‘Secret’ lower level without the nosey satellites picking up the power signature?”

“Aye sir,  I believe there might b’ some sort o’ energy dampnr’ down’ there.  But I don’t know if it b’ worken or no.  I saw a panel that looks like it was fer it.”

“Ok Caelan,  get to it…  And by the way…  Contact Mara see if you can get her take a look around down there…  Shes ‘Old School’ and she may come in handy getting the rest of those ‘Mechs completed.” 

“Aye…  Will do, and I’m sorry fer callin’ ya’ familiar…  I know how ya are about such things!”  The Old Sergeant winked and smiled then signed off.

Gen. Dannaigh Mackay logged into the secure computer data files regarding the old mech factory.   Unfortunately the only information on file about it referred to ”Raelion Technologies Inc.”

The factory was built some twenty years after “Caledonia” was originally settled, and
most of the information indicated that the factory produced Civilian Industrial Mechs and assorted like equipment, but nothing about BattleMechs! The factory closed almost Ten years ago, something about the company losing too much money. ”Raelion Technologies Inc.” employed nearly 1200 souls, with jobs ranging from office clerical to assembly line workers.  Many people in Glenbury lost their livelihood when the factory closed down.

“Bloody Hell, I forgot to have Caelan take an inventory of what kind of ‘Mechs are down there and report it back!  I’ll have to remember that next time I talk to him.”

One thing troubled the General…  Thinking to himself.  “Someone else must know this place exists!  And if I don’t miss my guess, that “Who” will be coming back to re-claim it very soon!”

Mackay stabbed the intercom button.  “Leftenant Jameson I need you in here… And I need the status of our Aerospace units ASAP!”

“Yes Sir!” came the reply from the other side of the intercom.  Within a few minutes Lt. Jameson was in the Generals office.

Leftenant Jameson was the first to speak.  “Sir, we currently have four flights of Donar Vtols Two flights of Lampreys and six flights of Shun heavy Transport Vtols.  As for Space capable Aero Fighters, we are currently short by two flights of a full squadron.  However, that will soon be rectified within a week.”  ‘Operation Underdog’ is underway and so far is looking promising. 

And the Lyrans will never see it coming.  As it is they have virtually no real force stationed here since they consider us the local Militia anyway, and would not suspect us to turn on them.”  Leftenant Jameson paused for a moment as he listened to a communication from his wireless headset.

“Very well, proceed then to point ‘Sterling Bridge’ and execute plan ’Wallace’ and report back as soon as your mission is completed… Leftenant Jameson out.”

“Sir, the first reports from ‘Operation Underdog’ indicate that the Orbital Station has been taken and secured… Also, the Dropship ‘Archinelles’ has been taken with no losses or damage to her as well.  It would appear the Captain was not willing to put up much of a fight, or sacrifice the ship.”

“Excellent Leftenant! I take it we are on schedule then!”

“Yes Sir, as a matter of fact we are slightly ahead of schedule… Since the Dropship Captain did not resist us and he and his crew actually wanted to join us!   That puts us way ahead of the time table sir, AND we have now gained a valuable Dropship in the bargain.”

General Mackay could not help but smile.  Within a week he will have control of all the sensor nets and Aerospace control centers on Caledonia.  Now to tend to the matter of that Jumpship sitting out there… “We are going need a ride to get where we’re going Lad… So it is imperative that we secure that jumpship intact before he can jump out system!”

“Yes Sir!  Plan ’Wallace’ is being implemented as we speak, the dropship Archinelles is heading out there now with Four platoons of Cavaliers to secure her.  The Orbital Station will advise the jumpship that the ‘Archelles’ is enroute to her, and the destination is known only by the Dropship Captain, per Archon's sealed orders.  Once Docked the Cavaliers will disembark the Archinelles and secure the ship and crew.  We will then crew her with our own people and once we are ready we can secure them back here if necessary.”

“Very good Leftenant,  I want all available space capable Aerospace fighter squadrons on rotational patrol at all known jump points including potential pirate jump points.”

  • Pirate jump points are areas within a solar system that are not pre-designated jump points.   And are typically used by the military or raiding pirates, to shorten the time in transit to the planet.

“I want hourly updates from all Squadron and Flight Leaders.   Also once we secure the sensor nets, any and all anomalous readings will be investigated by our patrols immediately.  I want to know if so much as a micron has entered this system un-announced!  We can expect company and, I want them to be absolutely sure whether or not they are willing to invest heavily in securing this planet… Do I make myself clear Leftenant?”

“Aye Sir!  I had already anticipated that sir.  I advised Colonel Bartlow to begin outer perimeter patrols including Pirate points.  They have been in operation since 0700 hours.”

“Excellent work Leftenant… Now get to it”  The Leftenant moved to depart the office smartly after saluting his superior Officer and began talking to someone over his wireless headset.  He was two steps from the office door when he stopped and spoke intently to the person on the other end. Turning around abruptly…

“Sir!  One of our patrols noticed an abandoned Orbital Mining station on the outer perimeter of his patrol route.  He suggested that it could possibly serve as a perimeter sensor, or alarm if any jumpships try to enter through that sector.”

“Better yet!”  Mackay interjected  thinking and rubbing his beard.  “It could also serve as a base of operations as well for our Aerospace Fighters.  Good call Leftenant!  Get to work on that  ASAP!”

“Aye Sir!  Thank you sir, but it was Flight Leftenant Collins who found it”…

General Mackay thought to himself “Good Leftenant's are hard to find, Damn Good Leftenant's are IMPOSSIBLE to find!  Exceptionally DAMN GOOD Leftenant's are a rare gem to find and must be hoarded like a miser.  Damn this kid is good!  He takes after his Da.”

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