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The Other War (Cover)

Chapter 57 - The Other War
Babylon System
Pentagon Worlds

The Mandrills stood around the wagons looking toward Faye for guidance, “There is no one here Mission Commander. Should we investigate further?”

This mystery continued to feed into her standing orders received on Strana Mechty directly from the late ilKhan Lincoln Osis  Even though she was a Mandrill Abtakha, in her heart and mind were still that of a Smoke Jaguar, “Gao, your team is familiar with this type of installation quiaff?”

Aff, we have similar ones around Kuxing.” He stepped forward so that she could see her reflection in the gold visor of his helmet.

She pointed toward the funicular, “I want your team to take point with Bravo Four. Silver will stay here with Bravos One and Two.”

Silver's body language could not be read through his suit. She was certain he would be irritated and didn't care, his heavy suits would be more useful in reserve. “Alpha will follow and take Bravo Three.”

Fireteam leaders nodded in affirmation, Goa's FireNewts boarded the car with their heavier counterparts carrying forced entry gear. They checked the vehicle and its lift wheel for sabotage. “The cars still have power and everything looks in good condition. No security console, looks like a fifteen minute trip.”

“Bottom is clear Faye. Signs of conflict but no bodies or other weapons. Radiation is increasing but we expected that as we move closer to the reactor.”

Faye looked down into the darkened tunnel, her helmet light's reflecting off the ferrocrete reinforced ice. She stepped into the spacious steel sled which contained a simple control panel built into one of the cage's support beams. Gravity even weakened would do most of the work going down, her force weighed nearly six tons although the industrial elevator was rated for fifty. The trip down was quiet, the other cab came up from the abyss its lights like one of the deep water fish that hunted by such things. In the red glow she saw something, a damaged ceiling panel. She looked over to one of the heavy suits and pointed up, “Lift me. I want to look at that panel.”

The Mandrill positioned himself below the panel, even un-augmented he could lift Faye without difficulty as gravity was so low on this world. “Looks like a helmet. I am gathering measurements.”

Gao was waiting for her at the bottom and replaced her to conduct his own inspection. “How would a helmet make it up that high with enough force to deform the metal. It must be nearly four meters.”

“I suppose jump jets but the depression is to large for an Elemental so it must be something completely different.”

FireNewts looked at their weapons which were perfectly serviceable against Rovers or an Elemental but inadequate for anything heavier, “If there is a half-sized mech in here than I must say I do not want to find it.”

Faye stepped out into the hub icy tunnels led out like spokes to a larger wheel ensuring there were meters of ice separating engineering facilities from workshops and living areas. SLDF Glyphs marked each of the tunnels but worryingly there was one marking radiation hazard. Gao noticed her hesitation, “This facility is powered by a fission reactor, Mission Commander, keeping it warm and lit. If there was a containment breach we should have been able to detect it from orbit.”

She looked at the thermal readings around her suit, the trace atmosphere's temperature had increased nearly 30 kelvin which didn't make a lot of sense as they were going deeper into the ice. Looking around she saw pools of liquid nitrogen in low spots emitting vapor that rapidly condensed. “There are a lot of holes in the ice block, Gao. How do we know this ice is stable?”

“Cracks should be fairly evident but, in my professional assessment there is no danger. You should check the living quarters while my people head to engineering.”

Both teams split up leaving their Bravo heavy weapon teams behind to hold the center. Faye stalked through the glacier which was playing tricks with her eyes as temperature increased filling it with ultra-cold vapor instead of ice. Khan Drake's last census had nearly four hundred castemen here led by a Merchant Overseer but there was no sign of anyone. She stopped at one of the doors brushing off the frost to reveal a plate reading 'Simulator Room.'

One of the commandos was already there with a crowbar in his red-gray hand. Straining he settled back and another one came with an extension to force the frozen door open. What was on the other side was something that she hadn't seen before. Strange metal pods with clam-shell type lids propped open were arranged vertically like seats in an arena leading to a cylindrical holo-display that if not for the static could be mistaken for an icy pillar. She walked up to one of the pods inspecting it closely and found no control console on the inside, even the exterior was bare except for a status display. “Not like any Mech simulators I have ever used.”

The pillar of light in the middle drew their attention. She had learned enough about common operational commands living and working around the FireNewts that she tapped the keyboard to reveal the last log. A message dated to almost two months ago scrolled across the screen 'Z Oppenheimer taking on special cargo to Sanctuary. E'

“Special cargo?”

Goa's voice broke through the BattleNet, the view of his POV camera lingered on her HUD until she tapped the chin control to make it the main display. Large ferrocrete cylinders marked with radioactive signs lay in neat rows like a catacomb in the ice. “Tell me what that means, Newt.”

“These are empty casks for used nuclear fuel.”

“Why is that a problem?”

“Used nuclear fuel can be reprocessed and enriched in a breeder reactor.”


The FireNewt kept realizing that Warriors didn't learn about chemistry or engineering beyond the fact that they could use them, “Weapons.”

“Oppenheimer,” she did a keyword search in her computer's database and found the name, The Father of the Bomb. “This is not a mining facility its a weapon research one. We have to find out how extensive it is. Also where and what this Oppenheimer ship is. Pull back to the hub until we can bring down more Technicians from the ship. I need to send a full report to the Kindraa Leader and were are not equipped to handle this.”


Investigation of Sinclair Delta Complex

Prepared by CFM From the Ashes Technical Group

Priority Alpha

To Mick-Kreese Kindraa Leader Claude Goulet, Shadow, Homeworlds Cluster


Investigation of Sinclair Delta facility resulted in the discovery of a group or groups of as of yet unknown Bandits. At least one of which is operating an unknown vessel known as Z Oppenheimer which is enroute to some unknown destination with a cargo of nuclear weapons. Technical Group determines that based on transmutation efficiency and how much low grade material was in storage that it may have produced enough material for up to 200 nuclear weapons depending on size.

There is also evidence that there was a simulator training center and living space for up to two thousand. No production machinery was recovered from the site for either the main workshops or enrichment operations. Technical Group was unable to recover any usable intelligence from the facilities' central main due to ICE erasing relevant databases.

Despite the findings the facility is usable, the primary power plant and heat drill are operational and CFM From the Ashes is bringing it back online for diagnostics and rehabilitation. The Shanghai might be interested in expanding to the Babylon system to use its rich stores of volatiles and light metals.

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