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Chapter 261 - What Could Go Wrong[]

Thazi (Independent System)
16th February, 3047

"The next group of 14,000 from Wokha will arrive tomorrow. We might need to slow them down some, two months is not enough time to get that many people settled in or even medically screened. I was too optimistic in my estimate on time frames. Sorry sir." Brigadier General Herbert Horbaugh said

"Have we found that many very sick?" President David Mitchell asked

"No sir, I was also afraid the FedCom might shuttle us the weak, old and feeble but looks like they are sending us just regular decent folks." Brigadier General Horbaugh replied

"Good. I am told that low level flybys indicated several of the towns on Boulsi were habitable with some elbow grease. Start getting the stuff needed to get a colony started over there. Have Major Johnson prepare an engineer company to deploy as support. Get them power, water and basic services up and running. We might as well get it started over there. We will use both the Lee Class Infantry Transport Dropships to shuttle them over there. First batch will be 2,000 people. What do you think we should deploy as a garrison?" President Mitchell said

"For now, the 199th Light Horse. We are not even close to deploying anything else right now. But they should have no trouble taking care of any unwanted raiders that make a landing." Brigadier General Horbaugh replied

"Make it so. The 199th Light Horse moves to Boulsi as garrison until we can shift another unit over. I know the Linden folks have about 15,000 who live on the surface there, so I expect they will also ground on Boulsi. Let's make sure we start cleaning out another town for them. Close enough to be easily supported by the 199th. If everything works out, that will give us 100,00 or so on the ground and 70,000 or so living on the orbitals at Boulsi. A decent starting point. It will start getting complicated when we start settling the other continents for their resources. Send the Union over to Boulsi along with their Overlord. I really do not want to ask the First Prince for recruits again, but we are going to need another batch really soon. You have any ideas?" President Mitchell said

"Outside of open recruiting, we could always cut the corner and have our own people do some headhunting of folks they know. Get a big list together and have someone make some calls. At least it would be folks that our own people are vouching for. Outside recruiting opens the door to infiltration by unwanted folks and we really do not want that to happen." Brigadier General Horbaugh replied

"I like that idea. You just got a new job, Herbert. Start making the list and pick a good recruiter. Figure out what we need personnel wise and tell him to fill the need as best he can. If we need equipment for them, make sure he sees Sergeant Major Pullman on Inner End. Top of your head, what do we need?" President Mitchell asked

"The 199th to full Regiment strength. Enough troops to fill out another Armored Cavalry Regiment for Boulsi plus a Battlemech Battalion for the garrison. Technical support for everything over there." Brigadier General Horbaugh replied

"That is going to cost some money. Get Chief Warrant Officer Harry Caldwell to come see me, it is time to do some horse trading for equipment. I will arrange for them to get back via AFFS transport and break open the vault. We have 427 tons of Gold in there, put an armed guard force together to escort it, load up a Seeker Troop Transport Dropship. That is roughly 2.1 Billion C-bills worth. That should cover the immediate needs. I was saving it for a rainy day, or to back our currency, but I decided we are going to back it with our Germanium reserves here on Thazi itself." President Mitchell said

"I doubt the new equipment will cost that much, not even close." Brigadier General Horbaugh replied with a whistle.

"Sarah also did some shopping, our account is under a Billion C-bills again. If I have learned anything, it is that developing a planet is a really expensive thing to do. Hopefully, by the end of the year we will be ready to start exporting crops back to the Federated Commonwealth in addition to raw material, but only the most expensive, not going to waste a Dropship hauling iron ore back. But I will haul a Mammoth load of Germanium back in a heartbeat. I have even toyed with a yearly operation to Linden to mine a couple Mammoth loads to bring back for processing and shipment to the Federated Commonwealth to sale. Right now, that is just an idea in the back of my head but adding another 8 billion C-bills to the account per year is mighty tempting. Not tempting enough to try and keep it a year-round operation but a quick couple month operation, scoop and run, literally is worth it, I just have not made up my mind yet." President Mitchell said

"I will go find Harry and send him to see you." Brigadier General Horbaugh replied

Two hours later Chief Warrant Officer Harry Caldwell entered his office and pulled up a chair. "What gives, sir?"

"Pack your bags, your taking a trip. Could be a year long one." President Mitchell said

"To do what and where?" Chief Warrant Officer Harry Caldwell asked

"We have 14 Night Hawk Battlemechs, take 6 of them. Your heading for Alpheratz, the capitol of the Outworlds Alliance. If I remember correctly, Mountain Wolf Battlemechs built those designs in the Star league days, do some horse trading and see if they would like a leg up on getting them back into production and what we can get for them in trade. That should be enough for them to tear a few apart to see how they did it, if they do not know how already. If not, the funds will be in the account to buy us another Battalion of Merlins. Get them shipped back to Inner End. Your going to be heading out on a Seeker, also loaded with 427 tons of Gold. Have Sarah transfer the Battlemechs to one of her Dropships and to Alpheratz when you send the message. You travel first class and quick. Then help Sergeant Major Pullman gather everything else we need out here." President Mitchell said

"I could probably trade all 14 Night Hawks for the 36 Merlins straight up, why not do that?" Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell asked

"Not going to put all my horses in one cart." President Mitchell said

"Won't this be breaking our word to the First Prince about first dibs on anything we are selling?" Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell asked

"Who said sell? I said trade. Something just occurred to me, something we never finished. Before you head to Alpheratz, have Sarah take you to Valasha. We never inventoried that cache there. Take some engineers and a security key, you know the routine. Get it inventoried and sell it to the Outworlds Alliance if it has nothing really juicy. This is only an inventory, nothing more. Company of Infantry, lance of Battlemechs and the engineers to clear the site. Inventory it, make contact, sell it and leave. The Outworlds can do all the recovery work." President Mitchell said

"I remember the Governor. He might be pissed after all this time." Chief Warrant Officer Caldwell replied

"Give him a discount if you have to. Anything is better than nothing and I can scratch that off the list." President Mitchell said

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