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Chapter 257 - What Could Go Wrong[]

Wokha (Federated Commonwealth)
14th January, 3047

Archon Melissa Steiner Davion had departed yesterday, and everyone had sighed a breath of relief. Her final words to Vice Admiral Elliot Unger were "Take the two defective Titans to Thazi and give them to President Mitchell. Make sure you explain to him FULLY exactly what is wrong with them. Maybe they can at least bolster his orbital defense."

"I do not understand why the ships are defective. We have checked everything a thousand times and everything matches the provided design specifications exactly. Yet, we have seen cracks along internal bracing after high G moves, even some warping occurs. The metals are perfect, we have tested them repeatedly. Granted we could not build the exact engines, since we have no clue what they actually were or anything about them outside of the specifications, so we substituted off the shelf transit Drives that met the criteria with a little weight variance, but that should not have been a major factor." Ingrid Bertmaul said

"It does not matter now, the Archon shut the project down. Make arrangements for those ships to be taken to Thazi and handed over to President Mitchell. You go over with them and make sure he is fully briefed on everything wrong with them, down to the chipped paint in the back corner under the fire control computer. Make sure he understands completely the limitations, I do not need nor want another visit from the Archon because he tried to land one on the surface and it broke apart or crashed because he did not know there was an issue." Vice Admiral Unger replied

"This is the first failure I have ever had in twenty-five years building Dropships of every sort. It just baffles me that we cannot figure out the problem. I was there personally when the full design specs were pulled off their original Titan and handed over to us. We followed everything to the letter and every decimal point." Ingrid Bertmaul replied

"You don't think they handed over bogus information, do you? Altered the parameters maybe?" Vice Admiral Unger asked

"No. I watched them every step of the way. Those files are read only files, locked down to prevent any alteration of them at the factory of origin. Impossible to change. The data we pulled off was original, it was even date stamped May 2761 as to when it was locked down. We do the same thing to every Dropship and Jumpship ever manufactured, always been that way." Ingrid relied

"Very well. Go get them ready for transfer then. Shift the workers over to the Zenith Jump Point and they can help over there, no need for them here now." Vice Admiral Unger ordered

New Avalon (Federated Commonwealth)
17th January, 3047

Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion had returned to New Avalon instead of direct to Tharkad to deliver the news from their special project, not trusting any other method of communication. She had arrived late at night the previous day at a non-standard point but did not land. Instead, First Prince Hanse Davion took a shuttle up to meet her. They shared a quick kiss.

"A surprise visit? You miss me that much already?" Hanse asked with a smile

"I always miss you when I am away from you, but I thought I would deliver the news of what I learned in person." Melissa told him lovely.

"Oh dear, a personal delivery, this cannot be good." Hanse said with air of caution

"Not all of it is bad. They recovered a batch of those Nighthawk suits, close to the same ones the Gray Death Legion found. Different version. They gave us 30 of them to play with. They are being loaded on your shuttle now." Melissa replied

"If Mitchell is giving us anything for free, then he found a lot more than those." Hanse commented

"He did, but you need to keep an open mind and not fly off on some hissy fit. He found a lost colony, in the process, they have a Tracker Warship now." Melissa said as she watched her husband go a little pale before red started to show. She laid a hand on his arm, and said "I warned you to keep calm. It was not there for me to look over, but I am told it has a single Naval Laser and empty Barracuda launchers. If so, it is of no threat to us. He promised me that one of my officers could examine it when it gets to Thazi."

"It is still a Warship, Dear. That is always a threat. I conclude from the way you informed me that you told him he could keep it?" First Prince Hanse Davion said

"If it checks out that it is as he says, yes, I said he could keep it. I managed to sort out the raw material crisis, but it is going to cost us some. It was stupidity not corruption that started it all. That is now fixed for good. I also cancelled the Titan project. They cannot figure out what is wrong with the design, so no sense wasting money on it." Melissa replied

"Damn, I really wanted those carriers. So, we do not know what the problem is? Did we get bad information?" Hanse asked

"I highly doubt it. President Mitchell is a horrible liar, but I also do not think he would hand over bad information without provocation. Even then, I doubt he would risk the lives of innocent soldiers to such a move. In my opinion, even if he was provoked, he would rather tell you a flat out no than to pass off information that could kill innocent AFFC soldiers. He was one of them not too long ago after all. The shipyard at Wokha should be ready to start work this year though, so that is some good news at least." Melissa said

"He does speak his mind and does not beat around the bush. Okay, your read of him matches mine also. I am still not keen on that ship being in his hands though, none at all. What else did you learn?" Hanse replied

"Couple of mining stations he plans to keep for his own use. About 80,000 refugees, for lack of a better word. He is bringing them to Thazi along fairly quickly, but lacks the educated work force to advance much further. He has been spending a fortune trying to kick start his economy, that is why the iron ore price problem exploded so quickly, he needs the money. But at least that is sorted out now." Melissa said

"As long as your satisfied with the results. Speaking of satisfied?" Hanse replied

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