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Chapter 190 - What Could Go Wrong[]

Thazi (Independent System)
17th January, 3045

Early in the morning the overdue convoy from Inner End arrived at the Nadir Jump Point. As the last Dropship detached and headed for the planet, Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Campbell got a quick update from the planet before asking for a Dropship to come back up and ferry her crews down for a much needed rest. She and Chief Engineer Vincent Zuniga grabbed a shuttle and made their own way to the surface.

20th January, 3045

Dropships were landing as Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Campbell and Chief Engineer Vincent Zuniga left the shuttle and shook hands with everyone gathered at the runway. She looked at Major General David Mitchell and said "Do I salute, bow, or courtesy?"

"Not you too." Major General (President) Mitchell said sourly.

"Too soon? Oh come on, David. You had to expect this to happen. You brought us all here, you led forces that freed them. What did you expect them to do? Say "Thank you and now you can leave?" We have been improving their lives for over a year now and really did not ask for anything in return. Yes, they let us sell their grain and apples, which you then purchased and continue to purchase things to return them to civilization. I am surprised they have not carved your face into the side of a mountain yet." Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Campbell replied

"I did not expect the whole for life bit. Maybe a stint as President, but not really for life. I cannot even resign nor can I be tossed from office, for anything. They even took anything that even remotely said anything like that out or rewrote the damned thing. Then, my trusted trio just merrily sign the damned thing knowing I was going to hate every minute of it." Major General (President) Mitchell said

"You have been planning to invest in this place since the day we took it away from the pirates. Then on the other hand you always worried about how the locals would feel. Well, now you know how they feel about it. So quit crying big fat tears and get on with business." Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Campbell replied as her eyes spotted the extra Jumbo Cargo Dropship on the landing apron and she gestured "We get a new ship?"

Major General (President) Mitchell turned to follow her gesture "Yes, and we are about to do something very risky and possibly stupid. But first, why the delay on return?"

"Blew out a helium seal. Took a week to replace it with a spare and that one leaked so we had to do it all over again. Almost did not have enough helium to refill it fully. We have been pushing the ships pretty hard. They need some serious down time for maintenance. So, what are we about to do?" Lieutenant Colonel Campbell replied

"In a week, after all your people get some rest. We are going to create a command circuit to Onverwacht. Once we have it established, we are going to load the Mammoth Dropship with everyone left on Onverwacht and bring them back to Thazi in a single day. I want that Mammoth to arrive no more than a day from where we stand. One of the Jumbo's will be stocked with food, water and extra supplies in case of an emergency and stay with the Mammoth all the way here. One of our Star Lords will go to Onverwacht to pick up all our own people and take the slow road back." Major General (President) Mitchell said

"Yard time, we need yard time bad." Lieutenant Colonel Campbell replied

"All you need, as soon as this is completed. I promise." Major General (President) Mitchell said

While they were having their conversation, Chief Zuniga and Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell had been having their own conversation not far away. Now having an idea of what was being discussed not far away, Chief Zuniga stared at the mountain of shipping containers while Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell explained his idea.

"It hit me late the other night. We can take the shipping containers, mount bunks inside them. If we can get some more of those prefabricated bathrooms while installed them inside also. We already have the extra environmental systems off the three Mech carrying Lees. If we run into this again, we load the containers into the Dropship and start moving people. No permanent conversion but a down and dirty but quick conversion. If I ran the numbers right, we could safely carry 5,000 people in those containers. Maybe even prebuild walkways and stairs for when we stack them for easy access." Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell explained

"It could work. I would want to run the environmental numbers myself before I agree fully. But the principle idea is sound enough. Better than tying our hands with a one purpose ship. Or costly refits everytime we have to have the need for that kind of capacity. We will talk more later, I need to get back up to the ships and double check everything if Sarah agrees to this command circuit idea. That is a bunch of lives on the line and that many people will leave us with almost no wiggle room for error." Chief Engineer Zuniga replied, slapping Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell on the arm as he headed for the shuttle.

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