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Chapter 20 - What Could Go Wrong[]

3 February 3041
Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

Their arrival back at Inner End was met by cheers among everyone aboard. Even those detained for piracy smiled among themselves, no one looked forward to dying a slow death of starvation in some uninhabited system. Captain David Mitchell made contact with FedCom Customs control and reported that they had prisoners from an attempted act of piracy. Once those prisoners were secured by the proper authorities, FedCom Customs impounded the Invader Class Jumpship and Intruder Assault Dropship until a determination of their status could be reached by the courts. They cleared the Mule to the planet's surface since the piracy charges did not pertain to it. When the last person was loaded, the Mule Cargo Dropship detached and headed for the surface 3 days away.

6 February 3041

Sergeant Major Pullman was waiting to meet them at the Space Port, having been alerted of their return when Captain Mitchell began responding to his waiting messages. Once the ground crews gave the all clear, Sergeant Major Pullman was waiting at the foot of one of the cargo ramps when Captain Mitchell, Corporal Davis, Master Sergeant Caldwell, Lieutenant Sanders and the various crew began disembarking. Handshakes were shared all around and Sergeant Major Pullman began pointing people towards awaiting vehicles.

"I have already made arrangements for quarters for the new people when you gave me a head count. While no one gets grand hotel accommodations, everyone does get hot showers, decent food and a dry place to sleep. I got us all quartered not far from where we currently stand. About ten minutes away. You said the Mule had cargo to unload so I secured us a warehouse here at the space port and have guards posted. Pistols only and concealed for the outer guards, one squad with full battle gear inside. I also moved our own vehicles to that warehouse since it is larger than my original one. Which by the way is where we are all quartered." Sergeant Major Pullman explained

"Excellent work as always. I will not be here long. Until the courts decide the fate of the ships, we are sort of stuck here for now. I will be taking Ms. Campbell to Sevon so that we can provide Mr. Pallas our findings and hopefully secure some much-needed cash. Until then, Master Sergeant Caldwell, working with Chief Zuniga and the other techs will start sorting out what we actually recovered. Figure we will be gone about 6 months. But the biggest issue is, we have got to get some specialized training. We got lucky that the bad guys were dumber than us. I am not sure we would have gotten off as easy as we did if we would have had to fight a full bore Zero G fight." Captain Mitchell said

"It will give me something to do while you're gone. I will start working on that right away. Hopefully you will return with some cash because we are running thin on that resource fast." Sergeant Major Pullman replied

"That is the plan. In the meantime, we will let Caldwell and Zuniga figure out what we can sell here on Inner End to raise some money." Captain Mitchell said

7 February 3041

Seated at a small table acting as his desk in the cramped little office, Captain David Mitchell went over the roster given to him by Sergeant Major Pullman and it was larger than he expected. In addition, he had an incomplete list of items that they could sell right now which he currently held. These had been salvaged off the wrecked SLDF Dropship, but since they were salvaged, they would not get top dollar for them.

(13) Large Laser - salvage price 75,000 each
(4) AC/20 - salvage price 225,000 each
(4) Medium Laser - salvage price 25,000 each
(33) Heat Sinks - salvage price 500 each

Total - 2,095,500 C-Bills

Not much, but it is a start and would keep their little operation going a little longer. He picked up the personnel roster and studied it, trying to mentally total up what some sort of payroll expense would be. Then it hit him that he had no idea what to even call this little adventure. Luckily, all the original people except the Jumpship and Dropship crew, had joined knowing paychecks could be hit or miss. He refocused on the roster and tried to put into some sort of order he could work with.

Command Group
Captain David Mitchell
Sergeant Major Chester Pullman
Corporal Nathan Davis

A Company (Infantry)
Captain Brackus Geovani
Lieutenant Jordan Sanders
Lieutenant Gina Rouse
Sergeant Paul Chambers
Sergeant Christian Manswell
106 Soldiers
(2) Heavy Track APC
(1) Hunter Light Tank (Ammo)

B Company (Infantry)
Captain Gweneth Rolando
Lieutenant Ingrid Swanson
Lieutenant Frank Gilborne
109 Soldiers
(2) Heavy Track APC
(1) Hunter Light Tank (Ammo)

Doctor Alan Dryson
5 Medics
(1) Jeep

Technical Support Master Sergeant Harry Caldwell
25 Mechanics
5 Battlemech Techs
3 Aerospace Techs
(2) Powerman SC XV Loadermech
(1) Jeep

Engineer Support
Master Sergeant Harold Croyle
32 Combat Engineers
(1) Carbine Con-7 Construction Mech
(1) Crosscut ED-X4D 1
(1) Engineering Vehicle
(1) Brunel Dump Truck

Jumpship Crew
Ship Master Sharon Campbell
Chief Engineer Vincent Zuniga
12 Crew

Total Personnel - 313
Monthly Payroll (Est) - 435,000 C-Bills

At least now he could wrap his mind around the organization. While the Jumpship crew that had been left behind had elected to join, the Mule Cargo Dropship crew had not. They had elected to remain independent and seek a new contract that kept them in normal inhabited space. He made notes to take 435,000 of the hopefully incoming cash and for Sergeant Major Pullman to disperse it to the people.

While Captain Mitchell worked in the small warehouse office, over at the large warehouse, Master Sergeant Caldwell and Chief Engineer Zuniga watched over an all hands-on deck crate opening party to sort out exactly what the hell they had recovered and what they could do with it. Caldwell watched over the opening of the various engine crates while Zuniga supervised opening the much larger crates believed to contain aircraft. After almost 8 hours of work, they had a complete inventory, some known, but some they had to research using a computer hook up to the local library system. Some were just information they pulled from the data tags and manuals found in the packing crates.

Inventory of Recovered Items

(12) Rapier RPR-101
(6) Hellcat HCT-213R
(1) Samurai SL-26 (missing entire nose/cockpit)
(1) Samurai SL-26 (badly damaged, possible repair)
(2) Spare 250XL Engine
(6) Spare 240 Engine
(10) Spare 340 Engine
(200) Marine Combat Environment Suit
(12) Extended Range Large Laser
(60) Medium Laser
(36) PPC
(18) Large Laser
(120) Double Heat Sink
(60) Heat Sinks
(30) Tons LRM-20 Ammo
(180) Tons Standard Armor
(60) Tons Ferro-Aluminum

Each of the containers containing an Aerospace fighter had also contained spare weapons, armor and heat sinks. All carefully packaged and stored, brand new in their own smaller shipping containers inside the larger containers. It was clearly obvious that the SLDF did not mess around and made sure the replacements to units were very complete. It was the lead Battlemech tech that identified the Extended Range Large Lasers and Double Heat Sinks as they were just starting to make a return to the field after many years and had actually missed the fighting on Breed due to attending a retraining course on New Avalon at the NAIS covering the new technology coming online.

Samurai Aerospace Fighter

Samurai Aerospace Fighter

Research managed to decipher the manufacture code found on one of the wrecked Samurai. Fairchild Dornier. One of the Aerospace techs had made the comment that he had never heard of Fairchild Dornier manufacturing military aircraft, only civilian aircraft. The same was done on the RPR-101 Rapier Heavy AeroSpace Fighter which revealed Bauer Enterprises on Tharkad, a damned toy company. The HCT-213R Hellcat was still in production at various manufacturing locations around the Inner Sphere. And for that reason, it was tagged for remaining with the outfit, plus the 10 ton fuel tank made it ideal for long range operations. It was Chief Zuniga that had made the first real suggestion.

"Well then, they obviously once did. Maybe we should send them a message that we have recovered a long-lost product of theirs and see if they want to buy it back. While we are at it, maybe we contact Bauer and tell them the same thing, who knows how much either of them will pay for what we have." Chief Zuniga said

14 February 3041

With Captain Mitchell's blessing, messages were sent to Tharkad and Mizar to both companies. Neither really said exactly what was recovered except that it was a long-lost product once manufactured by their respective companies. Captain Mitchell and Sharon Campbell had left the surface bound for Sevon in the Outworlds Alliance on the 12th. With months of waiting, an ad Hoc technical team assembled just one of the Hellcats. The largest tech team played with the more intact SL-26 Samurai, using parts from the much more damaged one where they could in hopes of it maybe flying again. If they could get it to fly, it would be worth so much more down the road.

Sergeant Major Pullman continued to work his contacts trying to come up with some Zero G experienced people that could possibly assist in training this band of gypsies in staying alive out in the pirate infested Periphery.

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