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Chapter 245 - What Could Go Wrong[]


Thazi (Independent System)
31st November, 3046


"How did your little talk go?" Major General David Mitchell said to Sarah Campbell when they saw each other the next morning.

"Excellent. She really knows her stuff. Maybe even better than me. She will run the show out here using her crews. I have decided to run the Federated Commonwealth portion from Inman. I think I can better help there, moving what is essential for you guys quicker or on a priority basis to where it needs to get. I will know a lot more once I get to Inman. Once the Monolith and Star lord make it out here, or are on their way, I would like to get the other Invader back." Sarah Campbell replied

"Okay, you might even get all the Merchants back for your Inman operation if the idea bouncing around in my head works out. I cannot say more right now, best you do not know for security reasons. Your security as much as ours. I am pretty sure the First Prince and Quintus Allard already know most of what is going on since we do use their own communication network, using their own codes. Though not all of it, one reason why I left the black box we had back here with Colonel Davion. Even he does not know what is happening at Boulsi except that we are settling people over there. I plan to keep it that way for now." Major General Mitchell said

"Okay, probably best I do not know anyway. It must be really big if you think you can spare all the Merchants from out here. But I am asking too many questions so don't answer." Sarah Campbell replied

"I will say this much, I want to establish some sort of refuel and maintenance yard between here and Inner End. Maybe even move the one here to a new location. We can also use it as a staging location or cargo transfer point so that if your ships do have to make a trip out this way, they only have to go so far before heading back. The more they are missing from normal operations, the more questions might be asked by the wrong people. It might be a few years before that happens, but I learned my lesson on pushing the ships too hard and do not want a repeat of that error again." Major General Mitchell said

"At least the lesson sunk in and stuck. So, how do we communicate without Big Brother listening in. If we need that to happen." Sarah Campbell asked

"Still working on that problem. For now, communication will be via Sergeant Major Pullman on Inner End. He drops messages for me thru the local MIIO office anyway. You should probably expect some shadows when you reach Inman, I am sure Quintus of the First Prince is going to want to keep close tabs on you when you return, you know all about Wokha and here. That is a high priority for them, especially Wokha." Major General Mitchell said

"Great, I have to start checking for bugs and hidden cameras." Sarah Campbell replied

"Hopefully it will not be that bad. Just making sure you are not surprised if you get a visit or see that your being followed. Though I would advise you to head for the local MIIO office if you do see that your being followed, for safety's sake anyway. Until we work out security. Not like I can stick a squad of troops on you 24/7. I'm going to miss you Sarah." Major General Mitchell said

"It was never going to work out the way we wanted. Your happy out here playing treasure hunter, me, I want a more normal routine without the inherent danger. I have had the adventure part of my life filled. I worry too much about my crews and ships to really be happy playing military stuff. I guess I am going to lose Chief Engineer Zuniga though, I spoke to him this morning, offered him a job. He wants to continue out here, likes the adventure part, said it is just getting too interesting for him to bail out now." Sarah Campbell replied

"No hard feelings, Sarah. Knowing your happy is more important to me than anything else. When are you leaving?" Major General Mitchell asked

"Mid-December, I want to run SaRI Express thru a quick maintenance cycle. She will take us to our new home. I am going to be taking the Mule with me though." Sarah Campbell replied as she stood to leave.

"We will meet again before you leave. Maybe throw a big going away party." Major General Mitchell said as she left the room.


Three hours later, he sat in a conference room as he outlined his vision for the future. After listening to everything, he opened it for discussions to the small gathering of people.

"Sarah, showed me the path you usually take from Inner End to here. If your serious about establishing a waypoint, Sornath is the place to do it." Captain Carla Hansen said

"Why Sornath?" Major General Mitchell asked

"It's inhabited for one thing. Though the people are not very nice to strangers. One of our rotation crews handles that particular trade route and have contacts there." Captain Carla Hansen said

"We have been thru that system several times. Never picked up a single radio signal or any sign of life." Major General Mitchell replied

"They are there. It is one of the few systems that has two habitable planets. Both are inhabited but have no contact with each other. Curtis is the first one, second position in the system, has about 200,000 people or so. We trade food and finished goods for raw material. They mine quite a few different ores there that can be easily traded. They have some dozers and dump trucks, so not totally uneducated. The other is Sornath, population probably closer to a million people, maybe more but scattered across the continent in city states. They also do quite a bit of mining, but each city state sort of hates the others. Low level warfare there all the time, we do not visit Sornath proper very often." Captain Carla Hansen said

"That is news to me. Not sure I want to get involved in that sort of thing though. They food poor?" Major General Mitchell replied

"It is only four jumps from Inner End according to the charts Sarah showed me. Then another six jumps back to where we are now. Not horribly food poor, Sornath can feed itself fairly easily, Curtis can survive. The DoME terraforming did not take or failed after it all fell apart. From what I am told anyway. There are areas that are crop friendly where it took hold and areas where nothing grows in the ground. This is going off pure memory though. We have full write ups back at Linden on every system we found that is inhabited or we trade with." Captain Carla Hansen said

"How many out here are inhabited?" Major Nathan Davis asked, wanting to see that particular database right away but knew he couldn't.

"More than you would expect. Most are under a million people, but there are several with way more than a million. The closest that falls into the latter category would be Blommestein. I have made that run a few times, probably close to 50 million there. Low level industry, good food production, decent mining operations. Nothing really high tech, no Battlemechs or even Industrial Mechs, but a fairly decent sized militia. Tanks and Infantry. Decent folks and place to visit. As long as they know you, your treated pretty good. They get hit by pirates every so often, mainly slavers, sometimes for resources. Mainly the outlying areas to avoid the militia forces which stick to the main cities and don't venture far from them." Captain Carla Hansen said

"I want that database bad to update our own Intel." Major Davis replied

"Where is Blommestein from here exactly? Fifty million people, that dwarfs what we currently have." Major General Mitchell asked

"Two, maybe three jumps. Used to be the regional capital of this area. They are not going to join easily. Your going to have to do some serious negotiations to make that happen. They do not really lack for anything, so it is not like a join or die situation for them. If your thinking of that, prepare for some serious winning of hearts and minds to persuade them. Outsiders are a threat to them." Captain Carla Hansen said


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