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The Highlander Way (Chapter Cover Art)

The Highlander Way

Part 3  “Honor of our Fathers”

Mech and Implement Production Facilities
City of  Glenbury, Caledonia
Lyran Commonwealth
August, 3132; Local Summer

Sgt. Major MacDonnagh  finished the final explanations of the security plan with the leader of  the Security Forces & dismissed him to set out to his tasks.  There was so much to do in a very short time.  Returning to his converted Saxon APC he went to the vidcom unit inside. After a few entries he waited for the other end to answer.  A young woman of about nineteen years old answered.    “Hello, this is Mary Duncan how may I help you?”   “Heeloo Marry’, m’ nam is Sgt. Major MacDonnagh ma’ a’ spek’ taa’ Miss’ Marrra plees’?”  “I am her daughter, what is this concerning?”  “Geenrl’ Makaiy’ askd’ tha’ ah spek taa’ yer mum’ aboot soomthin’ impartant’.  Eess sh’ availbl?”

It was obvious by the look on Mary’s face when Sgt. Major MacDonnagh mentioned General Mackay’ as the requestor, she was not pleased.  “Just a moment…Umm… I don’t think my Mum is really all that interested in what ‘GENERAL Mackay’ wants…”

“Leesin’ missy, thins’ ah’ hapnin’ weel’ haf’ ah’ seeerious ahfeckt’ oon’ efry’ oon’ ‘eer, ana’ hee’ nad’s yer mum’s heelp!  Noo gae an’ geet’ eer’…Naayoow’!”  Mary pursed her lips into a pout, then turned from the vidcom display.

Mara appeared on the vidcom screen almost immediately.  “So… Sgt. Major.  To what do I owe this honor that the “General” sends his top lackey to do his bidding?”  The old Sgt. Major only smiled, ignoring the insult.  “Meese Marrra, ya’ noo tha’ sinse’ th’ HPG coom neetwark weeent doon’ tha’ ha’ biin’ loots oof’ rraamer’s a’ fooot’.  Weel’ ah’m a’ heerr’ taa teel’ ya’ wot’s wot!

Ah’ woos nasin arroon th’ ol’ faktrrry’ ahn’ ah’ foond ah’ sekrrit’ lowerr’ leevil…  Mees Marrra… Tharr’ b’ Battl’ Meks doon’ therr’!…    Th’ Geenrl theenks tha’ weel b’ havn’ soom veerry’ nastee’ coompanie soon enuff,’ anna’ ‘e rreally’ naeds’ yer’ healp’ rrestarrtn’ th’ faktrrry’ oop’

Mara stood frozen for a few seconds, then clasp her hand to her mouth, sucking in a breath of air then fell in a chair near the vidcom console.  A look of total disbelief on her face.  Mara Duncan-MacNamara was one of the best BattleMech drivers in the business in her younger days.   She met and married Mechwarrior Leftennant Alistaire MacNamara while she was assigned to the 1st Kearny Highlander Regiment over 60 years ago.  After her husband Alistaire was killed she opted to revert to civilian life.  The thrill of battle… Gone.  Later in her life she remarried and had a Daughter, Mary.  She pursued higher learning in the Engineering field during that time, specifically in power plant & weapon systems for the very Mechs that she used to pilot so well.  As it turned out she was particularly adept at reverse Engineering ‘Clan’ Technology.  Her Daughter Mary had demonstrated a high intellect and understanding of abstract theories herself, so she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps into the Engineering Field.  She was waiting confirmation of acceptance to one of the most prestigious Universities in the Prefecture, when the HPG system’ went down.

Mara shook her head slowly in disbelief, then regained her composure and returned to the vidcom console.  “So…Who does the General think is coming?”  Then it dawned on her… “Bannson!“  She half whispered aloud.

Wee’ doona’ haf’ mooch tiem’ Mees’ Marrra…”  MacDonnagh interrupted.   Mara appeared to contemplate the situation for a moment.  “What makes Mackay think that I would know how to run, let alone start up a bloody factory?”   “I mean… I‘m an Engineer… Yes… But I know nothing about getting a factory going, let alone run one.”

“Marra… Th‘ oonlee‘ oones‘ tha‘ neeu‘ ow‘ taa‘ rroon‘ th‘ bloody thin‘ lefft teen’ yarrs’ agoo.   Anna’ yerr’ th’ oonlee’ parson’ tha’ wee canna theenk off’…”

“How soon can you be here, Sgt. Major?”  Mara interrupted.

“Een’ aboot’ tweentie meenits’ ar soo’ Maam”

“Ok, But I am bringing Mary with me… If we are as short on time as you say… I will need all the help I can get.”

“Ach‘!, boot’ sh’ b’ ah’ wee lass!  Wot’ keenda heelp canna sh’ b’?”

Mara retorted “Mary is probably the smartest human being on this planet next to me… And I am taking her along… LIKE IT OR NOT!”

The Sgt. Major obviously wasn’t pleased but, he also realized there was no use in arguing with a woman either… There wasn’t enough time.  “Ach’!  Veery weel theen’  av’ et’ yer wa’.  Boot’ rameembrrr ’ yer reespoonsibl’ f’ th’ wee lassie’!  Ah'm oon m' wa' ta peek ye oop, Ahll b' theer in 'boot tweentie meenits so, bee reedy ta' gae w' ah geet ther.”

The grizzled old Sgt. Major closed the vidcom link, then ordered his ’Saxon’ driver to make best speed to Mara's home.

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

General Dannaigh Mackay pondered the most updated roster of available units, Three full companies of BattleMechs, each with one Heavy Assault Lance and One Heavy lance, Two Lances of Medium Attack lances and Two fast Strike Lances, one company making up his Command.   In Civilian Battle Mod Mechs, One full Company of various makes from construction to mining.  One Light Company of un-modified Civilian Industrial Mechs of varied types, Two full Armoured Tank Battalions, Two Full Batteries of Long ranged Artillery.  One Battery of Three each Long Tom’s and One Battery of Three each D1 Towed Artillery.  One Battery of Medium Range Artillery consisting of Three Snipers. And  One partial Short ranged Battery. Two Full Battalions of Various Infantry Types, both with Combat Battle Armour and without.   Air Assets…

Long Tom Artillery - Battery (Lance) painted by war4rged

Battery of Long Tom Artillery pieces

“Well at least I have One Squadron of Transport Vtol’s and a Squadron of Attack Vtol’s.”  “God!  I hope we don’t lose any Aerospace Fighters in taking that Jumpship!”  He thought out loud.   “And…  We have not even considered what is lying down below in that abandoned factory,”   “I only hope we can recruit enough qualified Mech pilots to drive them!”    “Bloody Hell!  Heaven only knows who else has an old Front Line Mech gathering dust or rust in a hole in the ground somewhere around here.”  Mackay rubbed his temples as he rested his elbows on the ‘Iron Oak’ desktop, the logistics of Command can be very frustrating.

Opening the bottom drawer he pull out the bottle of One Hundred year old Single Malt Scotch and a glass.  After opening the Scotch he set it down on the desk top and stared at it for a long minute before pouring three fingers worth into the glass.  Bringing the glass of the amber liquid to his lips, the pungent aroma from the malt tantalized his saliva glands.  Swallowing the strong liquor in two gulps he had to catch his breath after it hit his stomach.

With the discovery of Front Line BattleMechs in the secret lower level of the factory at Glenbury, this will mean the displaced Highlanders will need more ‘MechDrivers, and good ones.  General Mackay couldn’t wait any longer.  He had to know what was down there!  He was as excited like a kid on Christmas morning, but he tempered that with the seriousness of recent events.  Activating his vidcom, he called up MacDonnagh.  The old grizzled looking man on the other end seemed to be pre-occupied with something when the incoming vidcom alert sounded and almost caused him to spill his hot tea.  “Sgt. Major MacDonnagh heer’ Yer ha’ beeterr haf’ ah’ gaud raisin’ fer booothrin’ m’!”

“Sgt. Major, General Mackay here.  What’s so bloody important that you need to answer your vidcom in such a way?”

“Ach…Damm’ BLOODY Heil, SIR!  Ye’ nairly mad’ m’ speel’ m’ Bloody Tea! Sir!”

“I’m Sorry Sgt. Major, but I urgently require an inventory of what classes & types of BattleMechs are at the factory as soon as possible.  Especially the more complete ones.  Also I will require the estimated time frame for completion on the rest. Umm… Have you spoken to Mara yet?”

“Aye, sh’ dinna seeem taa’ b’ verrry happy taa noo’ at’ wa’ yoo tha’ wa askin’ fer’ herrr.”
  “Wa’, deya’ bloo’ doosters oop ‘er skart ‘er soomthin?”  Dannaigh sighed deeply and looked away from the vidcom screen.  “Remember at Nevel’s Rift?…  I had requested volunteers to stay at the pass to keep the ‘Blake Forces’ busy, so the rest of us could get back to the main body? Alistair was one of those volunteers.  And Mara has blamed me for his death ever since.”

“Aye sirr, ah’ rrremembrr  noo’…  Daam’ thoos’ currrsted Blakie doogs’.”

“Ahm’ oon m’ waa’ too’ harr’ noo’ taa’ git harr’ ana’ herrr wee bairrn…” Gen. Mackay interrupted   “What!!!  Is she out of her mind?  How old is this ‘Bairn’ anyway??”

“Harr’ nam’ ees Marrry ana’ sh’ aboot’  neanteen o’ soo’.  Ana’ eefin’ ya b’leev wot Marrra sees’ th’ wee one ees queet’ th’ brainnerr’.”

Mackay was getting angrier “Sweet Mother… Blast her anyway… Caelan, please get me that inventory as soon as possible!  I have a lot of planning to do!”...  “And Caelan?  We need to find Mech Drivers as quickly as we can or get some trained very quickly!”

“Aye sirr, ah’ weel teend taa tha’ wheen’ ah’ git’ bak taa’ th’ faktoree… Anathin’ eelse, sirr?”

“Yes… No, just get me that inventory and call me when you have it Mackay out.”   Thinking to himself.  “Have you ever had one of those days that seemed like an endless tunnel, one that will never seem to end?  This is one of those days!”

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