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What Could Go Wrong (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 22 - What Could Go Wrong[]

4 May 3041
Sevon (Outworlds Alliance)

"Why the new ships? We already have the Invader and Intruder at Inner End." Sharon Campbell asked

"It is not certain that the courts will award the ships to us. They could easily be put up for auction, which means we lose them for good because we cannot afford to pay for them. At least this way, we have our transportation needs met." Captain David Mitchell said while eating breakfast in their hotel suite.

"Okay, that makes some sense. But we also have to hire a ton of crew for those ships. That could be a chore in itself." Sharon Campbell replied

"True, but I figure I will let Sergeant Major Pullman handle that. He will probably get one of his contacts to steer former AFFS people our way. Those leaving the service and such. Plus, if the courts do award the Invader and Intruder to us, well then, we have extra assets to use or even sell as needed. The main thing is to get back to Inner End and figure out how to get our butts back to Toten. We have some stuff to get off those stations." Captain Mitchell said

"Excuse me? I thought we sold those?" Sharon Campbell asked

"We did sell the stations and all FIXED or permanently ATTACHED equipment on said stations. Remember, Pallas demanded it worded that way. Well, last time I checked, all those mining mechs aboard the first station are NOT fixed nor permanently attached to the station. There are bound to be additional mining mechs on those other 2 stations. Plus, he demanded that we include that the wording "this sale also includes any unknown mining stations in the system. Well maybe there are more mining mechs out there we do not know about." Captain Mitchell said pausing while a waiter refilled his coffee "Pallas and his lawyer did not want us stripping those station until they were just a shell, well they did not think about those mining mechs or maybe even shuttles or lord knows what else that is not a FIXED piece of equipment.

"Are you sure you're just a former soldier?" Sharon Campbell asked with a laugh.

"Oh, I am just a simple former soldier, but I have 12 years of experience at word games and navigating the waters of stupid regulations and orders. One of the reasons I avoided any sort of staff time as much as possible. Business dealings, or so I have read in my studies is just like fighting a war. There is a winner and a loser. I plan to be the winner in every engagement. If I know I am going to lose, well then I will decline the engagement until such time as I am on a much better footing to win that engagement." Captain Mitchell replied

Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

The pair of men were halted outside the large warehouse by a pair of guards "May we help you gentlemen?"

The first man handed over a business card. "I have a meeting with a Mister Caldwell and Mister Zuniga. My name is Carl Heinrich Theodor Knorr head of development from Bauer Enterprises."

Studying the business card before handing it back, Sergeant Chambers smiled broadly "Yes sir, they are waiting for you inside. Please, if you will follow me."

Inside the large warehouse, one that had many temporary walls built inside, Sergeant Chambers led the pair to where Master Sergeant Caldwell and Chief Zuniga were lounging beside the only object in view, a RPR-101 Rapier. "Mr Caldwell, this is the pair you have been waiting for." He said before taking a step away to stand near one of the temporary walls.

Introductions were exchanged, water was handed out before Master Sergeant Harry Caldwell spoke "This is what we notified you about. This is a RPR-101 Rapier. Brand new, right out of its original shipping container. I was surprised to find out that you guys once built these for the Star League Defense Force. I had never even heard of the things, neither had Chief Zuniga here. We figured what the heck, maybe your company would like to purchase it."

Rapier Aerospace Fighter (in Flight - IWM version)

Rapier Heavy AeroSpace Fighter

Carl Heinrich Theodor Knorr studied the Aerospace fighter before him. He had zero background in anything close to this. He was a toy developer after all. "An amazing find, but I must admit, this is way beyond my expertise. I am sure that you are mistaken. Bauer Enterprises is a toy manufacturer."

"Sir, if you will take a look at this. Careful on the steps." Chief Zuniga said, gesturing Mr Knorr to follow him up the gantry ladder placed near the cockpit. Once Mr Knorr had reach the top, he showed him the attached data tag inside the cockpit, it read:

Bauer Enterprises
Tharkad, Lyran Commonwealth
Manufacture Date 9/2764
Model RPR-101
Serial Number SLDF00013894

Chief Zuniga continued "We only found that data tag after we spent a few hours deciphering the information on the shipping crate itself. This only confirmed what we had learned. At one time, your company manufactured this Aerospace fighter for the Star League Defense Force. You might not be in that particular business right now, but at one time, you damn sure were."

Carl Knorr was silent, he knew that on Tharkad, Bauer Enterprises did own a large complex near Cold Creek but it was not in operation, had been for years. Lockheed-CBM also had a large complex there. Just an asset on the books of the company. "The proof is there. What are you asking for this find of yours?"

Chief Zuniga and Master Sergeant Caldwell shared looks for second "Since we could find no real information on this fighter, plus since it is so rare. We think it worth at least 15 million C-Bills each."

"Each? What is this each?" Carl Knorr asked

"We have 5 more just like it. So, six in total." Master Sergeant Caldwell said, keeping the other six for themselves "It would allow you to take a couple apart for study yet have extra for testing."

"I must consult with my company before I agree to anything." Carl Knorr replied

"I would not take too much time making a decision. They are priced to move and move fast, we just thought we would give your company the first crack at purchasing them. You did build after all. But I am pretty sure another outfit will pay a handsome price for them." Master Sergeant Caldwell said

"Give me three days' time. I will have to send a priority message to Tharkad for guidance." Carl Knorr replied while picking up his briefcase.

"Chambers will show you gentlemen the way out then." Master Sergeant Caldwell said

Once the pair were gone, Chief Zuniga said "Tomorrow we have the meeting with Fairchild Dornier. Three days is cutting it close together, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is, way too close. Let's get the boys in here to shift the walls around. We need to make sure they do not see anything. Besides, I want to go see what the Mech techs have discovered about those mining mechs." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied

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