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Chapter 150 - What Could Go Wrong[]

29th December, 3043
Thazi (Former Outworlds System)

"First, let me say, it is good to be back with everyone. The expansion plans are in the works as we speak. How long it takes, well that is an unknown right now. To make sure my own short comings do not cause us losses, this is Marshal (Ret.) Herbert Horbaugh, formerly of the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns. He is going to be my second in command. Not because I do not trust any our senior officers but because he has the experience and skill set to make our expansion a success. Lieutenant Colonel Dortman did an admirable job as our operations officer, but he expressed a desire to return to a field command before I left.

I have been informed of the operations on Pilon and am impressed on the efforts. We will be returning there to break down the base on Pilon and transport it back here to Thazi, but that will not be taking place just yet. Lieutenant Colonel Dortman has informed me of the desire to liberate those on Onverwacht. So that is our next target. Those people have waited long enough for their freedom. This will be taking place fairly quickly so get everything ready. Lucky for us, I brought 187 new personnel that were waiting on Inner End for us. We can now field another Battlemech Company and Infantry Company. They will be staying here on Thazi while we are gone. Until we shift equipment around, we will break out a company of Battlemechs from the 199th Light Horse base for them to use.

We can also call on the Arcadians for help if anyone attacks us here while we are gone. We will move for Onverwacht in one month, that will give the new people time to get used to their equipment and Thazi itself. The Federated Commonwealth purchased what we offered to sell them. But I also spent quite a bit of money also. Long ago you all voted and approved of the 30 percent bonus funds, which was excellent when we were small time, but now we are about to go multi regiment sized with a very large Jumpship and Dropship fleet to match. That is super expensive to maintain. To reflect that, I am proposing that the previous 30% bonus be reduced to a 10% bonus to reflect the massive changes we are now undergoing. Everyone's salary remains the same as always, you new folks, are being paid the same as you were when you were in the AFFC. I am sure that Command Sergeant Major Pullman, who says hello by the way, explained how our bonus plan works and such. You have all seen the previous bonus pay, so you also know that 10% is a large amount. There will also be some that might want to leave the unit over this, if so, you will be transported back to Inner End and we will pay for your ride to where you want to go. I hope that is not the case though, there are plans for the future being laid.

We have 93% of the command here at Thazi, so majority vote rules. I am being open and upfront with everyone here. Our expenses are mounting quickly and that does not leave us with much wiggle room after each mission. I hope to be able to raise the bonus plan back up at a later date, but until I learn the feasibility of those plans, I cannot make that promise yet. We have several Jumpships that are coming up on some very expensive overhauls which is estimated to cost us several hundred million C-bills. I for one do not want to be way out here alone, riding on a Jumpship that might break down because we scrimped on yard time. That would just plain suck. Most of us have made more in bonus money than we did during our entire AFFS career's. We all know the rules, even our newest members get an equal share. There is a box outside of Intrusive to collect the votes, tomorrow, we learn if we can afford to expand as planned or if sacrifices in another area must be made. I for one am voting for the reduction now and the hope of a better long-term future." Colonel David Mitchell said to the gathered formation of SaRI personnel.

Intruder DD DropShip

Intrusive, the Intruder Assault DropShip

The senior command staff gathered aboard Intrusive, the unit's lone Intruder Assault Dropship to begin planning the next operation. Marshal (Ret) Herbert Horbaugh shook hands with several he knew that had served with him in the 3rd Davion Guards as they entered the large briefing room. When everyone was seated, Colonel Mitchell said "Anyone have any questions before we start planning the next operation?"

Looks passed around the large conference table until First Lieutenant Nathan Davis raised his hand. "Sir, you know how I feel about everything. Whatever you think is best, I am all for. I am just curious, not that it matters or will sway my vote any. How much did we get?"

"Right at 2.5 billion C-Bills. I spent damn near a billion already getting equipment. If we stay at the 30% number that is 334,522 bonus per person. Which leaves us in the usual place of needing to move on our next operation for salvage quickly. The 10% number puts the bonus at 111,507 per person and gives us some breathing room. But before we go further, Colonel Dortman told me about your idea for smaller advance parties to scout targets before we hit them large scale, I like that idea, it is a smart move. With that said and your previous excellent work, your hereby promoted to Captain. Next time we are on Inner End, you owe us all a beer." Colonel Mitchell said

"Hundred grand bonus. Works for me, Sir. That is 3-4 times what most of us made per year in the AFFS. Not hurting my feelings any." Captain Nathan Davis replied

"If we fully staff to our planned level, we will have over 11,000 personnel in the command. Payroll alone is going to be a massive expense. But we are laying the groundwork to hopefully bring in a steady income stream to offset some of our expenses. That is why I will be leaving for Wokha day after tomorrow, I have some mines to purchase and such. Colonel Dortman, I need escorts for all those experts we brought with us. Several will be going with me, but most will be here on Thazi doing their science stuff, they need to be looked after." Colonel Mitchell said and received a nod in reply

"Mines to buy, sir?" Chief Warrant Officer Harry Caldwell asked

"I bought a mining company with unit funds. Laying the groundwork to hopefully carry us thru any rough times. The Fedsuns are going to need raw material for Wokha or ship it all in. Why should we not be in a position to supply those needs, for a price anyway. Depending on what those experts find here also, well that is just icing on the cake." Colonel Mitchell said

"So, we are keeping Thazi for ourselves?" Chief Warrant Officer Harold Croyle asked

"I am not going to go that far. But, if we develop the mines here, well then, we own those at least. The people here decide their own fate. We are responsible for their safety though; we cannot leave them unprotected and at the mercy of some pirate scum. We will be basing on Thazi for some time, so why not take advantage of what the place offers us in the meantime." Colonel Mitchell said

"Sir, I could use replacement infantry from the new people. We have almost two platoons worth that still need some down time before they are fit for full duty." Lieutenant Colonel Gweneth Rolando said

"Then we shift things around some. Pull what you need to bring us up to strength." Colonel Mitchell replied

"Colonel? It might be time for a new rank, Sir. Colonel just does not fit your new position." Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Davion said

Marshal (Ret) Herbert Horbaugh finally spoke up "I did some reading on the trip back from the stuff Colonel Mitchell loaned me. He created the current rank structure from the old United States of America's Army, so we just expand it a couple ranks. As such, I think his new rank should be Major General, which would make me a Brigadier General using their old structure."

"Works for me, what about everyone else?" Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Davion asked and everyone nodded in agreement.

"Congratulations, Major General Mitchell, I might owe a beer to everyone, but you now owe us dinner." Captain Nathan Davis said.

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