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What Could Go Wrong (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 1 - What Could Go Wrong[]

19 November 3039
Breed (Federated Commonwealth)

Captain David Mitchell stood looking over the destroyed equipment being brought in from all over the planet now that the fighting had finally ended. The Combine forces had been using Battlemechs and equipment not seen in many years and that equipment was being carefully separated from the more common equipment. His current job was to just make sure nothing walked off from the ever growing "salvage" piles. He pointed to a burnt-out hulk "Davis, take a look at that hunk and see if anything is worth pulling."

With a nod, Corporal Davis ducked into the hatch of the vehicle. He grimaced at the smell inside, but quickly went about his task. He pulled several portable computers and map cases from the interior rubble, lightly tossing them out the open hatch. The captain can give those to the intel squirrels, he thought as he scanned the interior a little closer. His eyes slowly focused on the bank of computer displays, all were busted all up. Down near the floor panels, he saw some writing, extremely faded. He wiped away the soot as best he could and read "Bac_u_ D_i_e". He pulled a screwdriver and started opening the panel. He might be a simple grunt, but his first love was anything to do with computers. His goal after serving his time was to enroll in a university and get a degree in computers. With the screws removed, he pried open the access panel and found several very old looking computer drives, but they were not even hooked up. Shrugging he pulled the drives and tucked them into his field jacket. Maybe I can make a few bucks off them, he thought.

Emerging from the vehicle, he carried the portable computers and map cases over to Captain Mitchell. "Here you go sir, nothing else worth a damn inside that vehicle."

"I am not stupid or blind, Davis, what are you holding back?" Captain Mitchell asked, while pointing to the small bulge inside Corporal Davis's field jacket.

"Just a couple dud drives. They were not even hooked up to anything sir, honest." Corporal Davis pulled one of the drives out and showed his Captain. "See, there is some serious dirt in the data ports. No cable has seen any of these drives in a really long time."

"So, you want to either tinker with them or sell them." Captain Mitchell asked with a slight grin.

"You know me, sir, if it has anything to do with computers, I just have to play with it." Corporal Davis replied

"Fine, go stash them in your pack. BUT, if anything important is on those, you bring them right to me. We do not need the intel folks up our ass over this." Captain Mitchell said

"You got it sir, and thanks." Corporal Davis said and moved quickly to stash his little find. Captain Mitchell was a great officer, only got on someone's case if they deserved it. He would follow the captain anywhere, and he was not alone, most of the Company would and probably the entire Battalion. He knew from scuttle butt that the captain had been passed over for promotion to Major. Mainly because the Battalion commander was a total jerk and Captain Mitchell had a habit of pointing out just how stupid the BC was. Hell, if it was not for Captain Mitchell, most of the Battalion would have been killed during the fighting, instead they had inflicted losses on the Combine forces while using hit and run actions after Major Burlow had been "knocked" out of action with a serious concussion. Funny how when the fighting ended, after several months, Major Burlow had retaken command of the Battalion, just as the last of the Combine troops departed the planet.

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