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Chapter 104 - What Could Go Wrong[]

7 September 3042
Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

Word had spread like a wildfire among the former members of the 33rd Breed Mechanized Infantry Regiment that their former Battalion Commander had been promoted and was now here on Inner End as their Liaison Officer. Seated a corner table, only Colonel Mitchell and Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Davion were at the table. Colonel Mitchell could see the hostile glances the veterans of Breed shot in their direction and knew it was not directed at him. Sipping his coffee, he knew he was going to have to speak to the old guard very soon.

"Our operational tempo is fairly slow on the last contract, but we are now staffed and equipped for longer operations, so expect the tempo to increase." Colonel Mitchell said

Lieutenant Colonel Davion took a bite of the pie and it was delicious "My compliments, this pie is fantastic. So I have gathered after reviewing your submitted after action reports. Only a single operation on the last contract. I also gather your people have been training hard the last few months against the Kilbourne DMM. Their commander gave your unit low marks the first time out, but now he says it would be a 50/50 fight against your unit." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied

"I hired some excellent cooks and we serve real food here. Not that stuff from the AFFS nutritional guide designed to kill all flavor and nutrition. Yes, we have been hitting it pretty hard. I had a bunch of new people to meld into a unified command. I now have an excellent operations officer and small staff he put together to coordinate the larger unit." Colonel Mitchell said

"That lack of staff time I told you about back on Breed, it is important for larger units. A unit this big, with so much equipment, it must be expensive." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied

"It is. But if it saves lives on a battlefield, it is worth every cent spent. Switching to as many energy weapons as possible and as many fusion powered equipment helps keep the cost somewhat under control. Parts still break, maintenance still costs money, but minimal ammunition expense. Not only do we qualify with the laser weapons, but I also require we qualify with the standard rifles and pistols too." Colonel Mitchell said

"I noticed everyone is wearing a fatigue pattern I have never seen before, what is it?" Lieutenant Colonel Davion asked

Whoops, missed that detail, Colonel Mitchell thought quickly as he glanced around at the SLDF uniforms everyone was wearing from the depot on Joshua. "I had them custom made. Sets us apart from everyone else." Every member had gotten 10 uniforms and two pair of boots from the recovered cache, and they still had roughly tons of uniforms and boots in storage.

"They are nice looking. The shoulder patch looks good too." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied

SaRI Unit Insignia

Unit Insignia for SaRI.

The troops had designed a patch themselves and held their own competition. Circular, with Search and Recovery stitched across the top, a map representing the Inner Sphere in the center, with a simple Inc at the bottom. It was a base light gray in color, the center map was color coded by nation and the actual lettering was a royal blue.

"The troops had a competition and selected it. I had them made here on Inner End at a local print shop. They are quite proud of it, Chief Warrant Officer Zuniga spent about a Million C-Bills getting the logo painted on all the Jumpships and Dropships. Now that our new equipment is here, I expect it will be on all the other equipment too. There is a rumor that the troops want a flag also." Colonel Mitchell said

"You sure do give them a long leash and autonomy." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied

"They have all earned that right. Since our formation, we have had zero negative police interactions. No drunken bar brawls. Nothing. Discipline is still there, I just choose to treat them like adults. Remember how you used to lock all the small arms in the arms rooms, well if you look around, everyone carry's a pistol, with spare mags or power packs. They have their rifles in their rooms. We have an arms room and even an armorer, but it is used to store the crew served weapons. They even have grenades, stun, smoke, frag. Not a single problem with it." Colonel Mitchell said

"Regulations." Lieutenant Colonel Davion stated

"Stupid one. What if an enemy struck and no one could get to the arms room? Your defenseless. What good is having several hundred unarmed trained infantry? That is one of the dumb things I hated about garrison. In the field, we are all armed to the teeth at all times, but the moment you hit garrison, any sort of weapon is locked down tight as can be. Trust them in the field, trust them in garrison." Colonel Mitchell said

"Well, you did cherry pick some of the best in the Battalion when you left. I recognize quite a few of them." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied

"They were leaving the service anyway. I offered them a different path is all." Colonel Mitchell said

"Explain the ranks to me, you said Chief Warrant Officer earlier, where does that fit in?" Lieutenant Colonel Davion asked

"Between enlisted and officer. It's for the senior Tech troops. Sets them apart. Even though technically a 1st Lieutenant outranks them, woe be the poor Lieutenant who tries to play a rank card on one. We were super rank heavy, very few privates. Still are rank heavy, but we recruit very selectively, not openly so that is to be expected I guess. I patterned it off the United States Army, from old Terra history. I liked how it looked and ran with it. Every Battalion has a Sergeant Major, every Company has a First Sergeant, every Platoon a Master Sergeant. Lowest rank for a Mechwarrior or Aerospace Pilot is Sergeant. We are still getting used to it ourselves, but it seems to be working out okay so far." Colonel Mitchell said

"Forming your own little army, making your own rules, your own rank structures. Your enjoying every minute of it." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied

"That is what Mercenaries are. We are our own military, so we get to make our own everything. Some things are pretty much the same. I expanded the Infantry Company's to four platoons, mainly to attach direct support weapons to the company itself in that platoon. It maximizes the troops available for the maneuver platoons. The Infantry Battalion has a dedicated Armor Company attached that acts as both transport and direct support." Colonel Mitchell said

"I saw a few of those big ass wheeled tanks. They seem familiar but I cannot place them." Lieutenant Colonel Davion said

Turhan Combat Vehicle (in Desert)

Turhan Combat Vehicle

"Turhans. There are still a few hundred in various House armies and militias. Factory got destroyed centuries ago. We found a few on one of the pirate worlds. The AFFC got most of them, for a price." Colonel Mitchell said, telling the truth since he had no way to explain them away.

"Wonder if the AFFC will put them back into service, they do look like a good taxi." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied

"I think they would be dumb not to. Massed, they can take down a Battlemech, single or paired and a Light Battlemech had better stay away. Double large lasers pack a punch, each carries a platoon." Colonel Mitchell said honestly, lucky for him, most of the recovered equipment slated for the AFFC was either already loaded and gone or sitting over at the planet's militia base waiting for transport.

Aboard the Faithful, Union Class Dropship, Chief Warrant Officer Penelope Rodgers took stock of the replacement parts that had come in with the new equipment. She really wanted to boost the STC-2C Striker's firepower, but she still would be short on double heat sinks to do the entire company and it would deplete the limited supply of double heat sinks doing it, leaving no replacements for battle damage. Even though the double heat sinks were now in full production, there was none to be had anywhere, the House armies and well-off mercenary commands had huge orders in for them creating a virtual shortage of the limited supply not going to manufacturers.

New Avalon (Federated Commonwealth, FedSuns State Capital World)

First Prince Hanse Davion was never known for his patience, and having the possibility of his longest desire, a safe out of the way place to repair the Federated Suns small naval cache, so close, was driving him crazy. Just as the Federated Suns had their stash, he knew every realm had theirs also. Where and how many the others had was a question, but he knew what the Lyran Commonwealth had now, along with his own. It was all clearly typed up in a folder kept under lock and key. He held the folder in his hand. Only revealed to him after he became First Prince.

Federated Suns Naval Cache

FSS Jaipur - New Syrtis Fleet Aerospace Carrier - Heavy Damage
FSS Hotspur - Congress D Frigate - Heavy Damage
FSS Starlight Raider - Congress D Frigate - Moderate Damage
FSS New Ivaarsen - Robinson II Transport - Heavy Damage
FSS Marlette - Robinson II Transport - Severe Damage
FSS Samuel Davion - Davion II Destroyer - Heavy Damage
FSS Edmund Davion - Davion II Destroyer - Heavy Damage
FSS Sarah Davion - Davion II Destroyer - Heavy Damage
FSS Batavia - Vigilant Corvette - Operational
FSS Smolensk - Vigilant Corvette - Operational
FSS Port Victoria - Carrack Transport - Operational

Lyran Commonwealth Naval Cache

LCS Wagner - Commonwealth Light Cruiser - Operational
LCS Endeavor - Aegis Heavy Cruiser - Heavy Damage
LCS Sylvester - Sylvester Transport - Operational
LCS Profit - Sylvester Transport - Operational
LCS Vonager - Carrack Transport - Moderate Damage
LCS Wyrm - Vigilant Corvette - Severe Damage
LCS Chaffee - Tharkad Battlecruiser - Severe Damage

For centuries, the Federated Suns had scoured the many naval battle sites, salvaging and recovering what they could, but as technology continued its rapid decline, the ability to repair the ships had been lost. But they still remained cached. When the Federated Suns had taken control of Challenge Systems in 3018, First Prince Hanse Davion had ordered Challenge Systems to secretly maintain the naval cache to prevent further decay until such time as they could once again be returned to service. Until then, at their secret location, the Federated Suns Navy had also secretly trained warship crews aboard the FSS Batavia and FSS Smolensk inside the system for years. FSS Port Victoria, Carrack Class Transport also used to train warship crews until she was carefully mothballed in 3019 by Challenge Systems.

He now knew that the Lyran Commonwealth had been doing the same thing, and he was sure the other nations had done the same. But to what extent had they done so, that was a huge question and one that always worried him. His wife, Archon Melissa Steiner Davion had revealed that LCS Wagner, Commonwealth Class Light Cruiser, had done the same thing for the Lyran Navy, and that it was kept within a single jump of Tharkad at all times.

I want this, I want this so bad I can hardly stand it., he thought silently.

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