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Chapter 42 - What Could Go Wrong[]

9 September 3041
Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

Leftenant Colonel David Mitchell groaned and looked at the small clock, it was 430am local time. He slowly rolled out of bed "This had better be important or I swear heads will roll." He said to the closed door. He yanked the door open seeing Sergeant Major Chester Pullman standing there, looking a little more awake than himself.

"Sorry sir, but he wants us down at that new Dropship. Right now." Sergeant Major Pullman said

"Who wants us?" Leftenant Colonel Mitchell asked

"Him. Allard, Right Hand of God. I was told right now sir." Sergeant Major Pullman replied

"Jesus, doesn't the guy sleep. Let me throw on some clothes. No time for coffee, this is cruel and inhumane treatment. Why do I feel like we are going to regret my decision?" Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said more to himself than Pullman. Quickly pulling on his field uniform, plunging his feet into his boots, not even bothering to lace them up. "Let's go see the guy."

Ten minutes later they arrived at the Titan Fighter Carrier Dropship where Quintus Allard was trying to stare down Corporal Tyler Crenshaw, who looked like he was about to faint. "Sir, may I ask what is going on?" Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said to divert Quintus Allard's stare from poor Corporal Crenshaw.

"Trying to see your new discovery, what does it look like." Quintus Allard replied still staring Corporal Crenshaw "Only I seem to have found the most stubborn soldier you have in your command."

"Corporal Crenshaw is following my orders, Sir. No admittance to this ship." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said to Quintus Allard before directing his next to Corporal Crenshaw "You can stand aside Tyler, I have this from here on."

Quintus Allard watched Corporal Crenshaw move over slightly to clear the closed and locked hatch "Rest easy, Son, you did really good. Not many people would have stood their ground to me."

Leftenant Colonel Mitchell moved to the door and entered in a code that only himself and Chief Zuniga had. "Sir, do you make it a habit of trying to terrorize everyone you come across?" He asked as the door lock turned green and opened with a hiss.

"Usually helps me get my way. Only my wife is immune to it. Or so I thought." Quintus Allard replied

"Before we enter, we have the computer systems fully deactivate except for basic lighting and environmental controls. So, your not going to be seeing much." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

"Not a bad security measure. How exactly have you disable them?" Quintus Allard replied

"You honestly do not expect me to answer that do you?" Leftenant Colonel Mitchell asked

Quintus Allard shrugged "Had to try." He said as he stepped aboard the Titan Dropship. "Sure is roomy looking. Been on the Vengeance, but this looks like it has so much more room on it. Very efficient looking."

"Chief Zuniga or Commodore Noble could answer your questions better than I can." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

Quintus Allard turned to look at Sergeant Major Pullman who had been bringing up the rear. He wasted no time "Crenshaw, get Chief Zuniga and Commodore Noble right the hell now!!!!"

Turning back to Leftenant Colonel Mitchell he said "See, come are impressed by my reputation."

With a short laugh, Leftenant Colonel Mitchell just swept his hand inviting Quintus Allard to wander around the Dropship while he followed along, trying to answer the few questions asked of him. "While we await the experts, tell me, where is your next mission going?"

While hesitant, Leftenant Colonel Mitchell thought to himself, what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound. Just hope it isn't a pound of our flesh. "Valasha. Outworlds Alliance."

"I know where Valasha is. So, I gather from your current operational area that your information covers what they call the Outworlds Wastes. Dangerous territory. Lots of pirate bands roaming out there. Hope you bring enough firepower to accomplish your goals. A couple Companies of Infantry and some Aerospace fighters does not scare too many pirate bands." Quintus Allard said

"We can take care of ourselves, Sir. Right now, my biggest concern is finding quality people to fill out our current manpower crunch." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"I am told that your Sergeant Major Pullman has quite the collection of markers owed to him. He already pulled some of those markers, so I am told. The only reason I have not gotten into anyone's face about it is they are being smart and recruiting those already in the out-processing phase and not enticing active duty troops to leave. Outside of your own initial recruiting effort that is. You gutted one of the AFFS's Infantry Battalions in the process if I remember correctly." Quintus Allard said revealing that he was still the King Spook.

"Yes sir, he is resourceful." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied, impressed by the man's knowledge.

A breathless Commodore Franklin Noble ran up the ramp and into the Titan Dropship. He did not immediately recognize the man with Leftenant Colonel Mitchell so ignored him "We have an incoming threat? Corporal Crenshaw said to report here immediately without delay."

"Relax, Commodore. No threat unless you count this gentleman here. Commodore Franklin Noble, Quintus Allard. He wants a tour, and you know more than me." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

It was getting sort of funny watching people go pale at the mere mention of the man's name, Leftenant Colonel Mitchell thought with a small smile on his face.

"Sir, I have only what I have read. I have not really had time to play on this ship. It just got here. But I can say a few things. It weighs 12,000 tons, more than a Vengeance, which carries more fighters, but cannot operate them to their full potential. She carries 18 Aerospace fighters in three separate bays that are able to operate independent from each other. Her onboard firepower is probably more powerful than an Achilles. Honestly, that is about all I know about her." Commodore Noble explained

"Well, I already knew all that. Probably read the history book I did to get it. Why do you think the Vengeance is no good?" Quintus Allard asked

"Did not say it was not good, just that it is hampered by its massive fighter compliment and not enough stores to use them properly. Not without a near constant flow of supplies and fuel. Nothing currently beats a Vengeance in delivering numbers, but those same numbers limit its overall effect. Having to cut off your engines in battle to recover fighters, well that is a bad gig right there." Commodore Noble explained

"And this ship is different how?" Quintus Allard asked

"Each of these fighter bays carries three times the cargo that a Vengeance carries in total. Allows for maximum potential for its fighters. Plus double the armor, a little less fuel, but 1/2 the fighters so twice the endurance before a resupply is needed from an outside source. Again, I caution, this is from the most basic of information I have been able to locate. Give me some time to play with her and I will have a much better answer next time." Commodore Noble replied

"I expect a full report when you return from your next operation." Quintus Allard said walking towards an Aerospace Fighter he did not readily recognize "What is this fighter?"

"SL-26 Samurai, Sir. Extinct for over 2 centuries. Same type that we sold back to Fairchild Dornier." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell answered

Samurai Aerospace Fighter

Samurai Aerospace Fighter

"It any good?" Quintus Allard asked

Leftenant Colonel Mitchell looked at Commodore Noble who shrugged "We have not flown it yet."

"I would like a full report on it also, Commodore Noble. If it is any good, maybe we can get it back into production." Quintus Allard said as he checked his watch "It's late. Since you have disabled the ship computer system, there is no more intelligence I can glean from this visit. Get this ship back into space quick Colonel Mitchell and keep it there." Without waiting for a response, he turned and headed for the door, pausing for a second to glare at Corporal Crenshaw before smiling and walking towards his waiting car, his security detail forming a ring around him.

"Sweet Jesus, Sir, what the hell is he doing here?" Commodore Noble asked

"I hope he is going to be the fairy godfather and not the harbinger of death." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied as he watched Quintus Allard stop at the open door of his car and take a last look at the Titan Class Dropship.

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