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Chapter 109 - What Could Go Wrong[]

28 September 3042
New Avalon (Federated Commonwealth, FedSuns State Capital)

"Professor Hiram Igram, thank for coming so quickly. Please have a seat." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Thank you, Highness." Professor Hiram Igram replied

"New Avalon Institute of Science. Specializing in recovered technology from the Star League Era. Secondary specialty in Battlemechs. Have I got it all correct?" First Prince Hanse Davion said

"That is correct, Highness." Professor Hiram Igram replied

"I believe you headed up the team inspecting recovered Battlemechs that the Draconis Combine surprised us with, correct?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"That is correct again, Highness." Professor Hiram Igram replied while wondering where all of this was going.

"Never got married? Why is that?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"Never had the time. People say I am married to my work, Highness." Professor Hiram Igram replied

"Workaholic. I can relate to that, though my wife has tempered that particular habit when she is on planet. It seems you owe me a favor and I am calling in that favor." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Highness? You have me at a disadvantage, a favor owed to you?" Professor Hiram Igram replied, totally confused.

"Back on Breed, a year or so ago. You were approached by an officer about some recovered SLDF data storage devices. You basically blew him off. Those drives contained information that has turned out to be extremely valuable. But, instead of having that information in my own hands, I am now forced to only get items recovered from that information at great expense and trouble. So you owe me for that slip up." First Prince Hanse Davion said

Professor Hiram Igram searched his memory until he remembered what he had just been told. "Highness, the information presented to me only looked to be of interest to Professor Julie Grant, she studied military history."

"Be that as it may, anything from the Star League era is valuable. The recovery of the Helm Core should prove that. While it contained mainly civilian data, that data has allowed all sorts of advances across the board. So, you are about to get a new assignment, Professor Igram." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"A new assignment, Highness?" Professor Hiram Igram asked

"You will be accompanying a mission very soon. I am assigning you to support that very officer from Breed in recovering or putting to use anything recovered from those very drives that you allowed to slip thru your fingers. His team is be given all the support you can provide, without question. You will also provide me with extensive and detailed reports on anything that he decides to keep for their own use. These will be hand delivered and never transmitted via HPG. I will arrange for a courier to take possession of those reports from you when the time comes. I expect you will accept this new assignment?" First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Highness, if I had known how valuable those drives were, I would have taken possession of them. You have my profound apologies for my miscalculation. How long will this assignment last?" Professor Hiram Igram replied

"I would not renew your lease on your apartment, Professor. Exactly how long, I honestly cannot say. But, look on the bright side, you will be one of the first to examine recovered Star League equipment and technology." First Prince Hanse Davion said with a smile

(Now for some background info)

6 June 2765
Wokha (Outworlds Alliance)

Several small groups of men had crept silently along the mountains for several days until they reached their destinations. Expertly concealed air intakes that supplied fresh air into the underground complex built into the mountain range. Silent intake fans sucked in fresh air with enough force that even a man was at risk of being sucked inside if he did not keep his wits about him. While the SLDF engineers constructed this complex, they had also hired locals to work on smaller projects like these intakes and the exhaust tubes located in other locations. This had allowed them to insert several of their own into the work force.

Other groups hauled up the large quantity of tanks filled with Sarin gas to each intake location. At the prescribed time, the tanks were hooked up to hoses and the gas was released immediately sucked inside by the silent intake fans. Normally, these intakes had sensors that could detect such gases, but these had been expertly bypassed by their undercover people. Even during testing, their bypasses had gone undetected. The Sarin gas quickly saturated the underground complex, silently killing the members of the 200th Royal Light Horse and the 2597th Engineer Brigade, most in their sleep. The alarms inside remained silent as the deadly toxin performed it's deadly task.

Inside the complexes security station, Major Bernard Strickland wiped his nose which was suddenly running, and he did not just feel right. It was only when one of his men also on watch fell over twitching that it all made sense. But his actions were getting confused, he focused harder and managed to trigger a base wide lockdown and his last conscious action was to pull his security stick from the base computer. The last action told the computer to lock down the base tight and it would not unlock until another security stick was inserted into either a exterior door lock or the security computer. Massive locking bars secured every exterior door once they had swung closed. Vent slats located at the complexes air intake and exhaust tubes swung shut and were locked down, while much more massive doors sealed off each tube at 30 meter intervals, some tubes reaching over a kilometer in length had many doors for any intruder to try and breach. Since the last command was a complete lock down, the computer system waited fifteen minutes and when it did not receive any new commands from anywhere inside the complex, it went into shutdown protocols, powering the complexes fusion reactors down to the lowest power level. With 5 years of hydrogen fuel in storage, and with pumps hooked into the largest aquifer on the planet to replenish its fuel supply, it could remain like this for centuries. It then waited for a new command to be entered by someone from the SLDF with a proper security stick.

For months, the members of Armaris' Secret Army had tried to penetrate the SLDF complex, but every attempt failed. Not even several nuclear detonations could breach the massive doors. Cursing their luck, they finally had to move on in their war against the Star League Defense Force.

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