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Chapter 146 - What Could Go Wrong[]

21st October, 3043
Sylvan (Federated Commonwealth)

On a rare layover at the Zenith Jump Point, Colonel David Mitchell, Marshal Herbert Horbaugh, Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Davion, Professor Hiram Igram and Derek Paulson were on the Jumpships mess deck. Everyone had already been warned that Derek Paulson was not read in on the actual operational nature of the unit and to watch what they said. He was strictly here for the civilian side of the house.

"So, you have purchased a Mining company that has zero assets. Not sure that makes sense to me, but it will be a large expense that we will have to plan for. So, I can assume that you will be starting some sort of mining operation on our destination planet." Derek Paulson said

"On two planets actually. One has active mining, the other used to have mining activity. I plan to purchase those active mines from the current operators along with whatever industrial assets they have. We will restart the mining on Thazi itself, reactivating the mines once they get properly surveyed. Thazi also has a large farming operation that I am sure can be expanded upon, which I would also like to take advantage of." Colonel Mitchell replied

"So, you will be conducting business on two separate planets in different systems, that will incur shipping expenses on top of the capital expenses. This is going to cost a great deal of money. How readily can you get the equipment this will require?" Derek Paulson asked

"That is still up in the air. You will focus mainly on Thazi, the second system, though it will begin to generate some sort of revenue fairly quickly, focus on Thazi. I want a viable long term income stream. Not all, but most of those funds will most likely be pumped back into infrastructure on Thazi and such. Your going to teach me the real business side of things." Colonel Mitchell said

"Very well, Sir. Mr Allard was very vague when he offered me the opportunity to work with you. I know you command a large mercenary unit. Your name is public record as being such. That is also a revenue stream and also an asset. But I am to focus on the civilian side, so I will discount the military affairs unless you direct me otherwise." Derek Paulson replied

"As for the shipping expenses, we possess a large fleet of ships already, free and clear. So, outside of payroll and maintenance expenses, shipping should not be a problem. Several of those ships will be utilized primarily on the civilian side of the house. The existing farming operations will produce a revenue stream fairly quickly also, supplying the other system." Colonel Mitchell said

"So, you already have contracts signed for these food deliveries? If the farming operation already incorporated and registered? Has it undergone its health inspections for quality control?" Derek Paulson asked

"Not exactly. Actually, no to all of the above." Colonel Mitchell said

"Sir, you can be fined extensively if your not following the rules and regulations. If the Federated Commonwealth officials find out before we get this all legal your very exposed." Derek Paulson replied seriously

"Thazi is not a part of the Federated Commonwealth. It is currently independent of any nation state." Colonel Mitchell said, getting a little irritated at the constant pointing out of everything wrong with his methods.

"Independent? Who is the ruler? Is the current government stable?" Derek Paulson asked, which brought a cough from Marshal Horbaugh and a smile from Lieutenant Colonel Davion.

"We just tossed out the pirates that had control of the planet." Colonel Mitchell said

"So, you control Thazi, well then, that simplifies most of the legal issues right now. As ruler, your entitled to a percentage of the system income. Normally, this is about 5%, but can go as high as 10% in some systems. Since you are the sole owner of the mining company, the profits of that are yours also. I assume the farming operations are also solely yours." Derek Paulson said

"I am not the ruler of Thazi, it does not have one, nor does it have any sort of functioning government. Look, when we get to Thazi, it will not take you long to figure everything out. But I am sorry, but we need to discuss some issues that I am afraid your not cleared for." Colonel Mitchell said

"Very well sir. We have a few hours before the Jumpship is due, I need to do a few name searches with the Recharge stations computer system anyway. I will not be using the HPG, Mr Allard was very adamant about that." Derek Paulson replied as he departed the gathering.

"Eager beaver that one." Marshal Horbaugh said after he was gone.

"I think he is going to drown me in paperwork." Colonel Mitchell replied

"Well, he did bring up a valid point that just reinforces what I already told you." Marshal Horbaugh said

"Yes, I heard him. Can we please not discuss that right now." Colonel Mitchell replied

"Very well. But that particular issue us not going away on its own. You need to wrap your mind around that little fact." Marshal Horbaugh said

Colonel Mitchell ignored him "Professor Igram, your sure that we can support the recovered items enough to field them?"

"With the number of spares we recovered, yes. As long as nothing is seriously damaged, your techs should have no issues swapping out anything damaged or destroyed with a new item." Professor Hiram Igram said

"Very well then. First order of business on our return is to empty the Wokha facility and get everything back to Thazi. Hopefully, they have made some progress on restoring the main base there. So, if we are using the recovered equipment as our primary, we need to discuss some sort of militia or garrison force structure. I am sure we are about to lose some folks to retirement, especially when they see how big bonus is going to drop when the unit is at full strength. Maybe they will just shift to Thazi itself instead of active deployments. But either way, we need to plan out some sort of force structure.

It needs to be versatile, able to handle most reasonable pirate raids on its own or until more help arrive on site. When I was researching the rank structure way back, I read up about an Elite unit used by the US Army on old Terra. Called an Armored Cavalry Regiment. Everything I read indicated it was a powerful force, that we could possibly duplicate with modern equipment. I sketched out everything I could find on it. Everyone take a look and see what you think." Colonel Mitchell said as he produced a large chart listing the unit's TO&E.

Armored Cavalry Regiment

1st Squadron
-HQ Section - 2 Bradley IFV
-A Troop
-HQ Plt - 1 Bradley IFV, 1 M1A1 Tank
-1st Scout Plt - 6 Bradley IFV
-2nd Tank Plt - 4 M1A1 Tanks
-3rd Scout Plt - 6 Bradley IFV
-4th Tank Plt - 4 M1A1 Tanks
-Mortar Section - 2 Mortar Tracks

-B Troop - same as A Troop
-C Troop - same as A Troop
-D Troop - 14 M1A1 Tanks
1st How Battery - 8 M109 Artillery 155mm

2nd Squadron - same as 1st Squadron
3rd Squadron - same as 1st Squadron

4th Squadron -HQ Troop - 6 UH-60 Blackhawk, OH-58 Kiowa
-M Scout Troop - 4 AH-64 Apache, 6 OH-58 Kiowa
-N Scout Troop - 4 AH-64 Apache, 6 OH-58 Kiowa
-O Scout Troop - 4 AH-64 Apache, 6 OH-58 Kiowa
-P Attack Troop - 7 AH-64 Apache, 4 OH-58 Kiowa
-Q Attack Troop - 7 AH-64 Apache, 4 OH-58 Kiowa
-R Transport Troop - 15 UH-60 Blackhawk

Index -Bradley IFV = Goblin
-M1A1 Abrams - Manticore, Patton, Rommel, Po
-Mortar Track - Goblin LRM, Bulldog LRM
-M109 155mm - Sniper Artillery
-UH-60 Blackhawk - Karnov VTOL, Transport VTOL
-OH-58 Kiowa - Scout VTOL
-AH-64 Apache - Warrior VTOL, VTOL Gunship

"From what I can tell, each Scout Troops have roughly 2 platoons of infantry in the Bradley platoons. That means each Squadron had roughly a Battalion of Infantry., but what do you all think?" Colonel Mitchell said

Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Davion spoke first "Your not listing any of the recovered equipment, so this will be for the militia? Pretty powerful for a militia command don't you think?"

"It is, but if we are deployed an a multi-month operation. They will have to hold out until we get back to them." Colonel Mitchell said

"It is doable, but it does lack Battlemechs. Though for a defensive command, it should be able to handle any normal pirate band. Battalion or lower in size. I would suggest keeping the vehicles as streamlined as you can make them to keep maintenance from becoming an issue. You said you liked fusion powered, but for a militia unit, they will be on their home anyway. Stay ICE where you can, keep the costs down. Ammo should not be an issue either, again on their own home ground." Marshal Horbaugh replied

"I could not figure out how to slide Battlemechs into the unit easily. Maybe have a Battlemech Battalion separate or as another Squadron to reinforce any of the others if they become engaged?" Colonel Mitchell said

"That could work. They do not have to be the fastest machines, but powerful enough to make a statement on any hostiles. Easy to maintain and keep operational will be the key. Or you could replace the solid tank companies listed with a company of Battlemechs each. That only enhances each Squadrons strength. Max speed 64kph, so everything moves the same speed, that fits most heavy Battlemechs or trooper Mediums." Marshal Horbaugh replied

"I might not be a Mechwarrior, but I heard the Merlin is a solid design. Fairly cheap and easy to work on. It uses proven equipment which doesn't contain anything exotic. About all I know though." Lieutenant Colonel Davion said

"It's not bad, has a weapon for just about any threat it might face. No personal experience with it, but I have heard nothing bad about it." Marshal Horbaugh replied

"Okay, so everyone agrees that this force structure is something we could model off of and make work?" Colonel Mitchell asked and smiled as he got nods of agreement

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