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Chapter 138 - What Could Go Wrong[]

16th July 3043
Thazi (Former Outworlds System)

The arrival of 80% of the unit on Thazi lightened the workload tremendously. It also allowed Chief Warrant Officer Vincent Zuniga to properly get some power to the downed Dropship, which allowed them to cycle a door open with some difficulty. With a small team, they entered and luckily found no remains aboard the unknown Dropship. Power was routed to the engineering station, and he was at least able to learn the type of Dropship, a Colossus. A total of three hours was spent inside before they exited the Colossus Dropship.

Colossus DropShip (Operation Lancaster)

Colossus Class Combined Arms DropShip

"It's going to take a monster Dropship crane like they used on Inner End for the Lion to even attempt to right this big girl. She is fully on her side, which makes even moving around inside difficult. Nice thing is, all the bays and such look just fine. Sort of like a Excalibur, but bigger and better. You actually thinking of salvaging this thing?" Chief Warrant Officer Zuniga asked

"I think it's too much trouble for us, but I bet I could sell it to the FedCom. How hard would it be to yank the bays out and replace them with torn up ones?" Colonel Mitchell asked

"Glad to hear this will not be my problem. Mainly it will be a matter if getting one of the big doors open and a bunch of cranes setup. Why?" Chief Zuniga asked

"The main SLDF base is in horrible shape, would be nice to swap them out for bays that are in good condition." Colonel Mitchell said

"Why swap them at all, just rip them out. Heck we could yank the double heat sinks and most of the weapons off too. A little elbow grease and I can make her look like she was stripped several hundred years ago before you dug her out. They will not know we pulled a fast one. Wait, why worry about doing anything here? I thought we was going to base on Wokha?" Chief Zuniga replied

"Do it. This is your baby now, Chief. Bring down whoever you need to make it happen. I will leave an infantry company here for security, but we are locking the base up for now. No sense taking any chances right now. I want to go check out that third base before I get too distracted by what all we need to accomplish here. I like this planet better. Plus, I do not have to worry about starvation on this planet." Colonel Mitchell said

"Your the boss, makes no sense leaving a perfectly good base for one that we have to work our butts off to make operational. To me anyway. Though not starving is a fairly good argument." Chief Zuniga replied

"It is, trust me. Plus, who knows, maybe we can figure out how to get some regular cash flow from the place." Colonel Mitchell said with a smile.

17th July, 3043

The sub orbital flight lasted barely 30 minutes before they landed near the coordinates for the third SLDF base. After a quick security sweep by the Battlemech lance, Captain Harold Croyle broke out he ground penetrating radar. Two hours later, he pointed to a spot and his engineers began digging. Three hours later, First Lieutenant Nathan Davis inserted the security "key" into the small slot and once again Star League engineering amazed him as the massive door began moving as the base once again came back to life.

This particular base was situated not far from the coastline, only 80km away, and about 120km from a small city, now in ruins. Pictures taken from their orbits showed distinct signs of craters in the area of the small city. But they were smaller than what he expected a nuke to create. Still, he had advised that they give the place a wide berth until it could be properly checked out. He returned his focus to the current task as the massive door finally opened fully. As they entered, they all braced for what they might find, fully expecting to find the base full of remains. But that is not what they found at all, after an hour of searching the base, they found it empty of anything major, except the base warehouse which contained quite a few shipping containers. They performed a quick inventory while he searched the base computer for the last entries.

Log Entry: 7th October, 2765

Colonel Geovani Pasternol, commanding officer 1369th Grunt Infantry Regiment, making my last report. Our food supplies have been depleted and I am forced to surrender my command to the rebel forces. As a satellite base, it was only stocked with 6 months of food supplies, and we managed to stretch them for 8 months. We have been promised fair treatment. We are storing our weapons and will be exiting via the secondary tunnel. All security sticks will be locked in the base headquarters safe except for mine, which I will destroy after locking the base down fully and entering captivity. There are only 483 of us left. May our relief find this base operational for their immediate use.

Well, that fills in what happened here., First Lieutenant Nathan Davis thought as he stood from the computer. He went to locate Colonel Mitchell, who he found down one of the tunnels looking into the Battlemech section, which only held 36 empty bays in neat rows, just like Wokha and the previous satellite base. "They surrendered to the rebels, but they locked the base down when they exited. I hope they got treated fair by the rebels."

"From what I have read about the Periphery Uprising and the Coup, I highly doubt it. I just hope it was quick. We get the chance, let's try to hunt down local records, maybe it will tell us something. Looks like all the good stuff is gone." Colonel Mitchell replied

"It is still a fully functional base that can house a Battlemech Battalion, Armor Battalion and Infantry Regiment. That alone is quite a find.", First Lieutenant Davis said

"While all true, Davis, it does not pay the bills. Everyone voted to keep what we found on Wokha, so that means we only have what we found the other day to sell off. If everyone does not vote to keep it too. If we expand to actually use everything, that means our expenses could easily be four or five times what they are now.", Colonel Mitchell replied

"No use keeping everything and not using it, sir. You still thinking about using this place as an advanced base?" First Lieutenant Davis asked

"It has a ton of plus marks and not many minus marks.", Colonel Mitchell replied

"Then we might want to think about some investments of some sort. Bonds, stocks or something to bring in a steady cash flow of some sort. Food should be no problem here, but ammunition, replacement parts and all the other stuff will have to be shipped in." First Lieutenant Davis said

"If the First Prince was serious about using Wokha as his little hidden spot, he will have to keep it supplied, which means shipping stuff out here. I might be able to cut a deal on getting those expendables out here cheap. But your right, and I have been thinking about it. Outside of supplying food to Wokha and the AFFC for a price, I have not pinned down a good idea." Colonel Mitchell replied

"Pretty sure none of us are worth a damn as farmers sir. There are some in the unit who have family in that business. That means winning over the local's to help out or something like that." First Lieutenant Davis said

"Exactly, because we are not pirates or bandits. So that means spending a bunch of money on them. Winning hearts and minds. So, I think it is time to send out a message with a big ass list of needs.", Colonel Mitchell replied

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