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What Could Go Wrong (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 107 - What Could Go Wrong[]

18 September 3042
Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

Chief Warrant Officer Vincent Zuniga watched the erecting of the special recovery crane being assembled next to the downed Lion Class Dropship. With 16 tracks to a side, the crane spanned 120 meters in width and used massive hydraulic lifts to raise itself to over 130 meters in height. Eight massive cables, each attached to powerful winches, together could lift 10,000 tons. He had learned all of this by speaking to the team lead from Salvatore Inc. The crane itself weighed right at 20,000 tons and took 2 weeks to assemble and 2 weeks to break back down as long as they had the proper support equipment to do the job. Operations on a Space Port made it easier, trying to assemble the crane in the field was a nightmare, so he was told. Taking weeks to grade the ground, pour massive ferrocrete roads for the crawler design to reach a downed Dropship.

Liaison Officer Edwin Davion wandered the SaRI compound, mainly just getting a feel for the normal flow of work being done and what pace it was conducted at. He stayed back to not be in the way and just observed the activities. It was obvious to anyone watching that the unti was about to head back out. Technical staff were loading shipping containers with hundreds if not thousands of tons of equipment. It was actually a learning experience for him, being an Infantry officer, his Battalion could be ready to boost in less than 48 hours, but SaRI was much larger and required way more equipment and spare parts for a deployment. After watching the techs in this warehouse for an hour, he wandered over to a massive warehouse that seemed to house most of the units vehicles.

He remained near the massive doors, just watching as over a hundred Mechanics swarmed around the vehicles checking and rechecking everything. He knew this was not even all of the vehicles, as quite a few were on the large training ground conducting an exercise against the Kilbourne DMM. Even though he had been offered the chance to go with them, he was more interested in the recent activity around the SaRI compound itself. Colonel Mitchell held meetings aboard their Intruder Dropship, which he had been told was the units mobile headquarters, but his own access to the ship was highly restricted. Half the normal Infantry bays were isolated, sealed off, guarded at all times. He recognized one of the people directing the work being done, Master Sergeant Caldwell, used to be the chief mechanic assigned to his own Battalion on Breed. He wandered over to say hello.

"Master Sergeant Caldwell, been a long time." Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Davion said

"Yes sir. Several years. It's Chief Warrant Officer now. New rank structure." Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell replied

"Yes, I remember, still getting used to it. Colonel Mitchell said I was going to get briefed in on the upcoming mission, but he has not had time yet. I was wondering, if the units is on the training grounds, why are you preparing these vehicles?" Lieutenant Colonel Davion asked

Drillson Heavy Tank (On Water)

Drillson Heavy Hover Tank

"We have extra vehicles, so why not take spares along. If a vehicle goes down, or is heavily damaged, we can break out a spare until such time as we can repair the other one. We are deploying a company of Drillson Hover Tanks, so we are taking an extra company worth with us. Same for the Turhans. No spares for the Manticores, but we do have those on order. It puts less stress on the tech teams and keeps the line units up to strength." Chief Caldwell replied

"There are obviously vehicles being readied that I see no particular use for a anti-pirate raid operation." Lieutenant Colonel Davion stated

"The Colonel said we are doing a full deployment, so we pack everything we can field. Out there, you never know what your going to need and waiting several months for the proper equipment to arrive sucks. Been there and done that. If you want a more detailed answer, you will have to ask Colonel Mitchell, Sir." Chief Caldwell said

"Very well, Chief Caldwell, thank you for your time. I will let you return to your tasks." Lieutenant Colonel Davion replied making his way back to the large doors to continue observing.

Over on the training ground, Colonel David Mitchell observed Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Dortman, S3 Operations, direct the flow of the "battle". Normal maneuvers Dortman handled himself, but if the enemy looked to be doing something that placed the unit in greater risk, he then passed that off to Colonel Mitchell for his decision on the matter. His small staff constantly updated the situation map in the Mobile HQ and it gave him a very clear picture of the action. Overhead, Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Noble kept the Kilbourne DMM's Aerospace fighters occupied and not assisting their own troops on the ground.

Olympia Command HQ Vehicle (Design by Matt Cross & Painted by Joshua Bressel)

Mobile HQ Vehicle

By the end of the exercise later that night, it was judged that the action had been a tie, though the Kilbourne DMM would be hard pressed to "win" the fight if it continued to the next day, having lost 11 of their Aerospace Fighters to SaRI's 4. This would allow SaRI to commit their own air power against the DMM's ground troops.

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