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Chapter 178 - What Could Go Wrong[]

Onverwacht (Former Outworlds System)
24th October, 3044

Later that evening, Major General David Mitchell sipped his coffee and looked around the camp table as the other gathered officers finished their dinner. The only officer not present was Colonel Dortman, who was taking a Company of his Jump troopers and some engineers out to a reported cache site long ago recovered from the 18th Army data drives. It was worth checking out while they were here anyway. A voice brought him from his thoughts "General, what is on your mind?"

"The prisoners. I just do not know what to do with them." Major General Mitchell said

"Adolfo told me that the surviving prisoners are not hated by the locals. Those that were hated are dead. Turn them loose maybe?" Colonel Gweneth Rolando replied

"He told me the same thing. That is an option. So now that it is out here, let's kick some idea's around. Let me lay some options out and all of you help me make a decision." Major General Mitchell said as he pulled his small notebook from his pocket where he had written different choices before continuing. "Option one, we turn them loose and they stay here on Onverwacht with those that have opted to remain here. Option two, we leave them here but arm them and they can act as the local's protectors. Option three, we take them with us, and they can join our Home Guard. Those are the options I came up with, so start kicking people."

"Option one is basically a death sentence in my opinion. Only a matter of time before some other pirate band comes here and takes over again. It is one thing for someone to choose to take that chance, another to basically make someone. Option two gives them a chance, but still, we are forcing them to stay here. Option three gives me some pause and I would only agree after they earn that right. But there is a fourth option, we turn them over to the AFFC and let them deal with it." Colonel Gweneth Rolando said

"While we can always use extra people, I have reservations on the third option myself. They are going to have to earn my trust before I am going to trust them with weapons or even near my Battlemech. Bad enough they are Dracs, most of them anyway." Colonel James Woodall said

"That option four appeals to me. Let the AFFC deal with them. They can serve their prison sentence and walk out free people. They turned pirate, they have to pay for that." Major Harold Croyle said

"Minimum sentence for piracy in the Federated Commonwealth is 20 years and no parole. I can go for that for the hard core ones, or those that do not accept any other option, but most of those people had a bad choice forced on them. I think they deserve a second chance. A chance to pay for their misdeeds somehow besides locking them up and tossing away the key." Colonel Gweneth Rolando replied

For twenty minutes, the pro's and con's of every option were kicked around the table with everyone but one having a say. Finally, Major General Mitchell said "Harry, you have been silent the entire time, what do you think?"

Chief Warrant Officer Harry Caldwell sat forward and looked around the table. "I have been listening to all the arguments and I can agree with any of them. But if you want my opinion, we let them choose their fate. If they want to live in peace, they can stay here. That is option one. Option two, they stay and we give them the means to defend themselves and others. Those that choose option three, well that one is sort of touchy, but say a five year enlistment. First year they play engineer or general labor back on Thazi, a little back breaking work rebuilding stuff. They keep a clean record, we can then offer them a more vital job. After five years, clean record and good service, they are free men or women, they can stay on Thazi, stay with us, their choice. But no way can we let them just go back to the general public outside Thazi, word would get out and it will be Inner End all over again. Those that refuse any of the three, well they get option four and the AFFC can deal with them. Which will probably mean a walk in vacuum without a suit, for the same security reasons. Those are my thoughts on the subject."

"Or, as another option, call it Option five, we put them all in the recruit Battalions. Let Corporal Adolfo and the other vet them for us. Not all are infantry, but they can earn their place among us that way. We can divide them up among the troops, gives us a full three Battalions, manpower wise anyway. And since we are all here, I want to promote Corporal Adolfo and the other three. They have earned it." Colonel Gweneth Rolando said

"I can agree to the promotions. And since we are talking promotions, who are we putting in charge of the new people? They are going to need some proper training, and I do not think Corporal Adolfo or the other three are up to that yet." Major General Mitchell said

"I have the perfect person. First Sergeant Tyler Crenshaw. We promote him to Sergeant Major. He can handle getting them into shape. I want Corporal Adolfo and the other three to be made Sergeants, maybe even Staff Sergeants. They can help the new people learn the ropes of being in a real unit. Officers, that one is a little harder as I really do not want to loose too mny of my senior enlisted and my lower officers are real good, but not ready for that step up yet." Colonel Gweneth Rolando replied

"Crenshaw? Sergeant Major? You have got to be kidding?" Major General Mitchell said almost choking on his coffee.

"I am serious. He has turned into one hell of a top soldier. Still a smart ass, but he has turned into one hell of a soldier." Colonel Rolando replied

Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell started laughing suddenly "Just think of the look on Sergeant Major Pullmans face when he finds out. He will probably have a stroke."

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