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Chapter 119 - What Could Go Wrong[]

20 May 3043
Wokha (Former Outworlds System)

Colonel David Mitchell was in a foul mood, as he always was when the troops under his command took what he deemed unnecessary losses. But this time, the heavy civilian losses just added to his foul mood. He had stood down SaRI from any offensive operations, leaving The Arcadians to handle the rest of the planet. He held his little notebook in his hands, written on it were notes, lessons learned in blood.

1) Not enough infantry for a city fight and securing a landing zone
2) NO MORE AMMO IN MECHS, unless it is housed inside CASE
3) Strikers need refit to all energy or replaced with something else
4) Hovers pose a problem, too fast for a Mech with firepower to take them down quickly
5) Only immediate support troops should land until target is secure
6) Artillery, we need artillery
7) No landing on broad plains, find rougher terrain to prevent easy hover attack

After reading his notes for what seemed the millionth time, he finally stood and placed the small notebook in his pants pocket where it normally was. He started walking to Intrusive, Intruder Dropship, it was time to complete their real mission on Wokha. After boarding Intrusive, he found First Lieutenant Nathan Davis.

"Davis, how far is that cache from where we are?" Colonel Mitchell asked

"Not far, 77 kilometers. To the recorded coordinates we recovered from the drives. Those scans and photos we took from orbit show some areas that do not match the normal mountain terrain here. Too busted up and fragmented. But the weird thing is it is not consistent, some areas are more natural smooth rock and at seemingly random locations the surrounding area is broken all to hell. Covers an area about 5 kilometers long of a 30 kilometer long mountain range. Our coordinates are almost dead center of the busted up area, but it at least a kilometer from there, right on the forward face of the mountain range." First Lieutenant Davis said

"We head out at dawn. We did our duty for the First Prince, now we get back to our real mission." Colonel Mitchell replied

21 May 3043

Captain Harold Croyle studied the mass of rock in front of him, his eyes scanned the surface carefully, looking for any sort of unnatural lines. They were right on top of the coordinates they had, it had to be around here somewhere, he thought. He continued to scan the area, but he was also silently cursing the SLDF Engineers that had built these cache sites, they had been just too good at their jobs. He waved to one of his engineers and pointed "Dig down about 15 meters and remove all this overburden. Give me a hundred meter frontage cleared."

22 May 3043

Captain Harold Croyle directed one of his TLF-LL6500 Fire Engines to wash all the dirt from the rock face of the excavated area. He had three more of the TLF-LL6500 Fire Engines if he needed more water for the task. He had demanded them after Valasha, he could use them for decontamination AND washing off dirt and mud.

After an hour, he was once again scanning the now washed down rock face, back and forth, up and down, his eyes scanned an area about 5 meters by 5 meters. He would then move ten meters and repeat the scans. He had been at it for over 2 hours when he though he saw something. He moved down the slight slope, the clay still slick. He knelt down and let his fingers trace what was an almost invisible line across the rock face. He stood up and started up the slope a little too fast, his feet slipped and he went down face first into the slick clay. Spitting out debris he yelled "Right here!! Dig this entire area out, keep digging down until I say stop."

It was getting dark when one of the Engineering Vehicles, using it's backhoe, suddenly hit something extremely hard on the large trench they had been excavating leading to the rock face. It scraped the surface loudly. Captain Croyle, still in a mud and clay covered uniform examined the exposed surface. "Ferrocrete. And it slopes towards the rock. Dig it out more, find the edges. I think we have a paved entrance."

23 May 3043

"There you are you beautiful sight you. I tip my hat to you long gone engineers, an absolutely beautiful job." Captain Harold Croyle said as he traced the almost invisible lines marking what he knew was a massive door. He moved down the exposed front and studied the immediate area until he spotted the almost invisible box outline. "Pry bar, the big one and get a Mech down here with hands."

"Hold on, Captain, let me look it over first. There is bound to be a way to open it easier." First Lieutenant Nathan Davis replied from the top of the exposed Ferrocrete ramp as he started down.

It was almost impossible to see, but under small ledge was a tiny port. First Lieutenant Davis removed the small security device from around his neck, they had long ago discovered what it was. He inserted it and the small "hatch" silently popped open revealing a smooth metal box, in the middle was another port. He pulled the security device from the first port and inserted in into the second port. With a loud CRACK, the rock face "door" moved inward about a foot and then it paused for almost minute.

Inside the security computer, long dormant, logged the arrival at the main entrance of a SLDF security drive. It quickly checked the security code on the inserted drive and verified it was valid. It released the security lock down and the bases main computer booted back to life, orders were sent to the air intakes and exhaust vents to open as the bases power plant shifted from ultra-low standby to normal power levels. The main entrance door resumed opening as the bases lights came back on, water purification systems once again resumed operation, taking note of the stagnant water in the bases storage tanks, it immediately flushed the tanks and began refilling them with purified water. After 278 years of lying dormant, the former base of the 200th Royal Light Horse was once again returning to life.

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